(Spiritual Elixir, chapter 2 — from part 1 “Answers to Questions”)
Q. What makes one stray from this golden grand trunk road of spirituality after finding the true God Man and sacred initiation from Him?
A. It is the ego in humans which debars them from spiritual illumination. It can be annihilated only by stern spiritual discipline and a sacred schedule of holy meditations together with deep reverential humility. Sometimes uncongenial environments do affect the spiritual progress of the dear initiates, who should always pray for right understanding and Divine Grace.
Q. During meditation hour I hear without thumbs in my ears. My mind tends to concentrate on the thumbs. But without thumbs in the ears I hear sound waves.
A. It depends upon your receptivity whether you feel better without thumbs and difficult with thumbs. You seem to remain conscious of the thumbs while listening to the Sound Current, which shows that your attention is divided. Please know it for certain that the inner Sound Current is not the outcome of our own perception but the Divine Grace of the Master which can be experienced by loving devotion and humility. You should try to do one practice fully and solely at a time. When you hear the Sound principle while sitting in meditation, you should not pay any attention to the Sound, as in that case the attention is divided. Similarly while sitting for hearing the Sound if the Light comes up, you should not pay your attention to that. If, however, the Sound becomes audible during the day that will surely keep your attention occupied and save it from being frittered away to other things but you should hear the Sound coming from the right side by closing your ears as in that case the Sound will draw closer, grow stronger and ultimately come from above to pull your soul up into the beyond.
Q. Since a deep purple colour is identified with one of the divisions of the astral plane, when one sees this colour in meditation, can one assume that one has reached that plane in meditation?
A. The manifestation of the holy Light within in varying shades does not necessarily mean that one has reached a particular plane as it is just a reflection of those regions which are made manifest at the initial stage. It may at best indicate the inner spiritual background of the aspirant which follows one like ‘trailing clouds of glory from God which is our home’.
Q. How can we become passive and attain absolute stillness and silence inside to enable us to obtain the bliss of the Light of Lights?
A. There are no short cuts on the spiritual path. One has to work for the spiritual bliss. Mind, like fire, is a good servant but a bad master. While sitting for meditation, we have to free the mind of all thoughts, and the intellect of all reasoning. This can be achieved by a mental revolution. What in the world is after all ours? Nothing, not even the body, the mental apparatus and the wealth that one may possess. These are given to us for a legitimate use only. They belong to the giver. Why not surrender them at the Holy Feet of the God Man when attending to the task assigned by Him: to wit, to sit at the eye focus and lovingly gaze within with devoted undivided attention, mentally repeating the charged words very very slowly, may be at intervals, so as not to disturb the gaze. Gradually it will, by practice, become a habit and a second nature with you, and the Master Power above will take care of you, and without any effort on your part, you will find your ‘self’ (soul) rising above body consciousness, into consciousness of a higher order. Love, longing and devotion are the key-notes on the path godwards.
Q. In the meditation I hear the sound of crickets and the noises one associates with outdoor. What is happening?
A. The sound of crickets is the lowest sound and outer noise heard by you shows that you fail to attune yourself completely to the Sound Current. You should not apprehend any untoward happening as these are the entanglements of your own mind which creates similar thoughts for diverting your attention from inside.
Q. What is the true meaning of ’Word’?
A. God is ‘Wordless’, and when It came into expression, it was and is called Word or Naam in the terminology of Sant Mat. It is the God-into-expression Power which when manifests reveals the Divine Light of God and the holy Sound Current, the conscious contacts of which are granted by the Master to the initiates. Please refer to the book Naam or Word for exhaustive explanations.
Q. What are the five Shabds? Are these the charged names?
A. The five Shabds are the varying types of the Sounds heard within denoting the various spiritual planes up to Sach Khand. As a matter of fact the Sound Current is one but varies according to the density of the inner realms. In Sach Khand, there is All-Consciousness. In the second plane (below Sach Khand), consciousness is more than maya. In the third plane, maya and consciousness are at par; in the forth plane maya is more than consciousness, and in the fifth plane, maya is still more than consciousness. The five charged names denote these stages.
Q. Why it is so difficult to hear Shabd?
A. Shabd is reverberating in all universes seen or unseen. The human soul and holy Shabd are of the same Divine essence. Those who develop their inner consciousness by regular, faithful and accurate meditations can listen to this heavenly melody anytime they choose to do so. The novices do feel some trouble in focusing their attention at the eye centre and controlling their vibrations and thoughts carefully. Besides those who speak much and waste their precious energy in idle and loose talk cannot listen to this heavenly melody. It is the inner single-minded devotion and attention which grants this rapturous listening. Practice undertaken with perseverance and steadfastness invokes Divine Grace and the initiate can listen to the holy Shabd Dhun.
Q. Why does one put off practising Shabd when it is so very essential for spiritual progress?
A. Human mind is fashioned as such by providence that it resents silence and stillness at its centre — back between the two eyes. It is an agent of negative power attached to each human soul and relishes externality. It does not relish introversion. Besides it is fond of sensuous pleasures, which cannot be eschewed easily. It is the gracious protection of the living Master that He grants the conscious contact of this heavenly melody, yet the Satsangis do not pay proper heed to this most important aspect of spiritual discipline. It may be added that the dear ones who are engrossed in the pursuits of gross pleasures of flesh and matter seldom take to the holy path, and if per chance some of them may happen to be led to the Master and granted initiation, due to some past karmic evolution, they do not relish this spiritual discipline.
Human body is just like a radio set wherein these Divine melodies are being received by all living. The living Master is the One who can repair our damaged sets and grant us the knob and wave-length at which this heavenly song can be heard. Regularity and steadfastness coupled with untiring selfless service in a spirit of dedication are the chief helping factors for practising this spiritual discipline.
Mind has a varying set of tricks to unloose on the initiate for evading this listening. Sometime it poses as a friend to coax the disciple by putting forth family obligations etc. and the dear one is caught in the noose of attachment. At other times it stands up in tough fight like a formidable foe. Besides, the temptations of worldly pleasures keep the mind constantly swinging and wavering. The only point where it can find rest is at the eye centre, the seat of the soul. The putting off of practising Shabd is an age-old malady of the human mind for which Divine Grace of the Master is most essential.
Q. People say they are searching for truth or they have found truth. What does this word ‘truth’ imply in the teachings of the Masters?
A. Truth in the teachings of the Masters is a definite science. It is called Word or Naam. It has a practical aspect. It is universal and for all mankind. It is the natural way back to God achieved during lifetime. It is a process of self-analysis and self-introspection in which first-hand experience is given by the Master individually or in a class by opening the inner vision to the Light within, called the Light of God and a contact with Sound or the audible life stream or the voice of God at the time of initiation, more or less according to each man’s receptivity and background. The disciple must then develop it further by allotting time regularly each day with love and devotion.
Q. According to Page 34 of ‘My submission — Surat Shabd Yoga is easy’.
I feel it is quite difficult to keep the attention completely on Shabd, others have the same trouble. Is there some method by which this difficulty can be overcome?
A. When we say that Surat Shabd Yoga is easy, we are using the words relatively. It is easier when compared with other forms of yoga: karma yoga, jnana yoga, bhakti yoga, raj yoga, hatha yoga, the traditional ashtang yoga, all of which call for stern and severe outer disciplines, which a common busy man in the work-a-day world of today has neither the patience nor the time nor strength nor the leisure to do with all his wits about him. The Surat Shabd Yoga, on the other hand, can easily be practised by every one: man or woman, young or old with equal ease and facility. It is because of its naturalness and simplicity that it is often termed Sehaj Yoga. With a direct immediate experience of inner perception and audition given by a competent Master, one can, with loving devotion, steadily proceed along the path under the guidance both without and within of the Master Power that works like an unfailing friend and an un-erring guide on the spiritual path.
Q. When a disciple of a living Master follows instructions in diet etc. but does not get the Sound Current in this life, must he or she return for three additional lives in order to achieve self-realization?
A. No. It is not necessary to return for an initiate who cannot attune to the holy Sound Current to return. The holy Sound Current is the very enlivening principle and is present in every human being. It is a fundamental truth and must not be overlooked. If, however, somebody cannot hear it even after the sittings given by the living Master for initiation, there must be some flaw in the attempt. The possibility of future incarnations can be ruled out by gradual development of loving devotion to the Master Power and aversion for worldly possessions.
Q. Is variance in intensity because of one’s degree of devotion and attention?
A. The variance in intensity of the Sound Current is not due to either of these two factors but it depends on your inner receptivity. The holy Shabd is reverberating in the entire universe but it cannot be listened to without Master’s guidance and Grace. Although the single-minded devotion and inner attention are helpful for this, none can ascribe this Divine bliss to one’s own efforts, howsoever best these may look outwardly. The Sound should be heard at the seat of the soul at the back of the eyes, which will draw closer, become stronger, and ultimately come from above. If you follow the Sound to the place from where it comes, it will become faint and ultimately fade and die out.
Q. What causes or how can one overcome the blankness after about thirty minutes of concentration?
A. Thought is the keynote to success. The inversion with the help of repetition of charged names makes for inner withdrawal of the sensory currents from the body below to the eye focus; then starts the second phase of Dhyana — the contemplation. It can be attained by absorbing your attention into the inner Divine Light so much so that you forget yourself entirely. The blankness after about thirty minutes, felt by you is due to your lack of sustained practice and absorption within. It is by hard effort and strict spiritual discipline that the human body is purified of the impurities of the mind and thus can remain attuned to the holy Naam at the eye centre.
Q. Is the formless or sun like Light also considered the form of the Master?
A. Yes, it is the astral form of the Master Power and when one attains proficiency in this principle, the inner radiant form of the Master manifests of itself in due course.
Q. Is it true that a disciple does not acquire any spiritual progress in meditation for at least five years?
A. It is incorrect to think that spiritual progress cannot be had for at least five years. Those who are not ready, are neither led to the gracious living Master nor are they initiated into the mysteries of the beyond. Those who are initiated, get some experience of Light and Sound to start with. However, progress does vary according to the past background and because of this some may progress rapidly and others may lag behind. But there is sure hope for everybody. It is a simple, yet arduous schedule which is made much easier by the Grace of the Master.
Q. When a soul has made its seat in the eye focus, is it not the Master who is seated at the eye focus?
A. No, when soul is completely withdrawn to the eye focus, contact with the holy Shabd Dhun (Sound Current) can be had. Soul and Shabd Dhun are of the same Divine essence. The radiant form of the Master manifests at times to assure the initiates that He is with him or her.
Q. How can man free his body from all negation, and achieve perfection or near perfection?
A. Man can free his body from all negation and achieve perfection by resort to stern discipline, self control and regular meditations faithfully under the guidance of a perfect Master.
Q. What is ‘yogic sleep’?
A. It is a sleep in which the soul descends into the lower chakras and goes into deep sleep and sometimes sees dreams. It comes on while contemplating on some fixed idea. The Masters do not advocate or encourage it.
Q. Several occasions I had fallen asleep and was shaken out of it by a tremendous high pitched roar at the right side and flashes of light. I could not move the body. What is this?
A. The sensory currents from the body below are withdrawn up to the eye focus with the aid of holy Naam. The slackening of the inner gaze at the eye focus results in sleep as you experience. During this period the Surat or attention slips down to the gullet ganglion instead of ascension within. The Divine revelations of holy Light and Sound Current awaken you and you feel the numbness or stiffness of the body below.
Q. How can I prevent going to sleep during meditations? Sometimes I seem to drift into a kind of dream and yet I do not truly seem to be asleep. Sometimes with all the will in the world to meditate it is hard to remember that I am meditating, because of this sort of dream state which comes over me.
A. Sleep during meditations can be prevented by keeping the inner gaze constantly fixed into the middle of whatever you see within and mental repetition of charged holy names, to be done very very slowly, may be at intervals, so that the inner gaze is not disturbed. Sleep or stray thoughts intrude only when the inner gaze or attention is slackened, and it requires a good deal of strenuous effort to develop the habit of staying wide awake and fully conscious during meditations. The fact remains that when going to sleep or meditating fully the soul is collected at the seat of the soul which is at the back of the eyes. While in the former state soul descends into gullet centre when she sees dreams and into solar plexus when it goes into sound sleep, in the latter case body sleeps but soul remains conscious and ascends into the higher realms and enjoys the flights consciously. The one is called the ‘dream’ and the other is termed as ‘vision’. In dream you have simply a hazy idea of what you have seen and not at the time of dreaming. Prophet Mohammed when asked about sleep said, “My body sleeps and my soul does not sleep”. Guru Nanak says that such a Soul remains always awake and is never seen asleep.
Q. Does the disciple see God in his meditation?
A. Nobody can ever see God Absolute. God-in-expression called Word or Naam manifests in the form of Light and Sound principle which can be seen and heard with the inner eyes and inner ears with the help and grace of a competent Master. He has a two-fold function; one that of kal and the other that of Dayal. Mohammedans designate these by the words shaitan and Rehman, while Zoroastrians use the term aharman and Harmuzd. These may be called the negative and the Positive Powers, both aspects of the one great and undivided God. The negative power, kal, shaitan, aharman, represents the power that is going into expression, bringing all creation into being, and the other, Dayal, Rahman and Harmuzd (Positive Power) represents the Power of inversion, bringing the soul back to its source. These then are the centrifugal and centripetal powers working in all creation. Mind is an agent of the negative power and always brings one into the outer world. On the other hand, the contact with the Divine Word within leads the soul back to God, which is Wordless or Absolute. Though mind is activated by the soul, yet it has come to dominate it. Again, mind is further controlled by the senses or the outside faculties which in turn drag us into the field of sensual pleasures born of our attachments to sense objects without. Master tells us how to withdraw the soul current by means of concentration at the centre of our being and grants us contact with the Divine Word which is within and which is the way to God. Negative power keeps in control the creation in expression or manifestation. But once the soul comes in contact with the Divine Word, it is liberated from the bondage of mind and matter with the help and grace of the Master, and is freed from the grip of the negative power.
Q. Why does the mind forget the bliss?
A. Forgetfulness is the chief attribute of human mind. It is due to the gross maya or materialism that we forget the inner bliss and are overtaken by the sensuous urges. When inner consciousness grows gradually, mind forgets its lower pulls and relishes inner bliss perpetually with the Grace of the Master.
Q. When pain in the legs is unbearable, in either asana after say forty-sixty minutes, that is when the things really begin opening within. How is this overcome so that I can completely withdraw?
A. You should sit in any posture quite relaxed but straight. Let there be no tension in the body, and you should not change your posture. Do not pay any attention to the body below nor think of rising above to the eye centre. Leave all to the Master Power working overhead. Just keep your attention constantly fixed at the eye centre while repeating the charged names mentally at intervals so that the inner gaze is not disturbed. You will not feel any pain and inner Light will sprout forth. Practice makes a man perfect. The holy meditation should not be a mechanical routine of just sitting for a certain time but it should be of loving devotion dyes in reverential humility when you stand abegging at the Divine door of the Lord. The inner openings stated to be falling to your lot towards the close of forty-sixty minutes meditation will be enjoyed much earlier by resigning to His will.
Q. Sometimes when I am not even meditating, I can hear the Sound?
A. It is an auspicious omen and shows your growing receptivity. The holy Sound Current becomes audible by regular, faithful and accurate meditations without closing the ears. This keeps the attention of the initiate engaged, but the Sound should be heard by closing the ears regularly, which will draw closer, become stronger and ultimately come from above to lift you up into the beyond.
Q. Is it alright if I experience visual inner glimpses while sitting in Bhajan (listening to the Sound)?
A. One thing should be done at a time. You should try to absorb your attention completely either in the Divine Light by looking into its middle or listening to the holy Sound Current as coming from the right side with rapturous attention. If you do both the practices together, attention will be divided.
Q. Why do none of the visions of the Master’s radiant form stay and also why do many attempts yield no result? Perhaps my attitude is ungrateful. Why does the face or the form of the Master dissolve when I try to make out the features?
A. It is due to the lack of your receptivity which would develop by prolonged meditations and great deal of loving devotion. You simply keep your gaze constantly fixed while looking intently and minutely into what you see before you. Your so-called attempts amount to a clutching tendency to have one thing or the other which should be avoided by resigning to His will and pleasure to bless you with whatever is deemed best for your spiritual progress. The dissolution of Master’s form when you try to make out the features is due to your intellectual interference, which has to be stilled and silenced.
Q. Once while sitting in Bhajan, I had a vision of your radiant form which changed into countless other Masters’ forms and back again. Devotees were clustered around the Master. All these appeared near but far away. I couldn’t get free from my bondage to join this holy company, I wanted too. I felt sad and inner bliss at the same time.
A. Such like rare visions denote His gracious love and protection being extended to you. Moreover, it goes to show that Master Power working at the human pole of the living Master also worked at the poles of others. He is One in all and all are one in Him. You are advised to resort to the repetition of the charged names during such revelations, when inner manifestations will become more stable with the Grace of the Master. The serene bliss derived from this Divine manifestation is auspicious and should be assimilated gratefully.