Many of us have done ardaas and bargained with God, made promises in return for outcomes we desire, or simply asked for specific things. I started answering questions for Sikhnet a while back and realized one of the most common things that comes up is “God isn’t listening to my prayers that ‘X’ desired outcome should happen.” This question comes at varying stages of the process. It starts with asking what kind of prayer to do to get something specific, then frustration at the desired outcome not happening, and loss of faith. I want to share what I’ve learned because I used to have the same thinking, and it led me to a painful and spiritually dark place at one point, and I know it's done that for others too.
God created maya (which as I’ve reviewed before includes physical things in the world but also our thoughts). God put Kaal in charge of maya. Kaal gives based on karma. When we do our ardas to get material things then we are praying to Kaal! The only thing out of Kaal’s control is Naam. Bhai Sewa Singh Ji Tarmala explains in his book Forgetting the Way of Love, “We then [after bowing to Guru Granth Sahib Ji] ask the Guru for material things. But as we’ve learned the owner of all material things is Kaal. Despite the fact that we are in the presences of the Guru we ask servant, Kaal, to fulfill our desires for material things.” Remember, God created this game of love. He sent Kaal to confuse us, but He waits for us to find our way home with real love, and if our love depends on getting a specific outcome, it is not real. This is a false love conditional on the outcome we desire. We have started to love and pray to kaal instead of God, and we have become friends with kaam, krodh, lob, moh and hankaar. So when we do simran, we wake up the mind and let go of maya, then the situation changes. Bhai Sewa Singh Ji explains: “The mind that comes to the Guru leaves its thoughts behind and follows the Guru’s wisdom. That mind changes its lifestyle as the Guru advises. This way of begging is different. It goes to the door of the Master (Truth) to ask for things. The master resides in the tenth door…It does not matter if the Master gives us something or nothing- we do not leave the door. This mind understands that Truth is father and loves us regardless of our wish is fulfilled or not.” This quote from the Guru Granth Sahib beautifully explains: “With an offering of Truth one obtains a place to sit. If a prayer is offered with truth and contentment, God will hear it, and call him in to sit by Him” (878). So first we have to get to a spiritual level where we are letting go of our own desires and plans behind to accept gurmat and then we may “get a seat at the table” with God.
Personally having this knowledge has helped me greatly in reminding me to let go of my desires. I catch myself when I am doing ardaas with false love. Instead of giving up faith, knowing this builds faith and encourages us to continue to do simran with love.
Bhul Chuk Maaf