English translation of a talk given in Hindi at Sawan Ashram
The Vedas and scriptures of all the religions have glorified the Spiritually Great Who came into the world from time to time. Some have even gone to the extent of exalting the position of Guru above that of God. This is just a way of expression, for who can be above God? The term “Guru” is not something new. It is as old as the creation itself. Whenever practical teachers of Paravidya, knowledge of the Beyond, come into the world, They give correct understanding and right lead to the people. After the departure of such teachers, deterioration sets in. Guru Nanak was once questioned as to Who His Guru was? He replied:
Shabd is the true Guru and Surat is the disciple
meaning that the Sound Current was His teacher and His attention was the disciple. What is this Sound Current? God is Wordless and Nameless. He is absolute in Himself. When that Absolute God comes into expression, He becomes God-into-expression Power. This Power is described as Shabd or Naam. The Power of God in Its fullness is called Shabd or Sound Current. Christ called It the Word.
Similar questions were put to Kabir as well: “Where does Your Guru dwell and where does the disciple? How are the two related together?” He simply said: “My God dwells in the Gagan (sky) within me; and the disciple, too, resides therein. When Surat (attention) gets united with Shabd, there can be no separation thereafter.” What does it mean? When we say that Guru resides in the Gagan, it means that He is the indweller of the body and not the body itself. This human frame then is a wonderful house in which we — the God Power and the spirit in man — live. He Who has created such a wonderful house must be a Master-architect. Let us for a moment examine this house. It has a number of outlets — eyes, ears, nostrils, mouth, and the two openings below. Despite all these outlets, we cannot run away from this house (body). Everything is going on with a certain rhythm and order. The exhaled breath cannot remain out for long. There is some Power which pushes it back, and we are alive with the breath of life going in out. The beauty of this house remains so long as that Power is in it. Man is man so long as the Father is in man. It is said:
The body lives so long as the God Power is in it;
The moment the God Power departs, the body becomes a heap of dust.
We are in the body but not the body itself, and yet we are not free to escape from it. There is something that is keeping us a prisoner in the body and is controlling this relationship. When that something departs, we have to leave the body. It is this Power which is controlling and sustaining the various planes and sub-planes in the creation. All these innumerable regions are moving rhythmically without colliding with each other. When this Power withdraws, there follows dissolution and grand-dissolution. As said before, this Power in the terminology of Saints is called God-into-expression or God-into-action Power. It is this very Power that is called Naam or Shabd: “O Nanak, the entire creation is the result of Naam; one can contact It only when He wills.” Again, “They alone come to It who have the Father’s name writ in their foreheads.”
The universe comes into being through the Word
and dissolves by its withdrawal,
And it is through the Word
that it again comes into being.
We have now to find ways and means of contacting this Power within us. It can be contacted only at the place where the soul-currents withdraw at the time of death. We have to locate the seat of the soul in the body. You might have seen a dying person. The death process begins when the lower Chakras (ganglions) give way because of withdrawal of the soul-currents therefrom. Beginning from below, this process continues on and on until the throat-center gets involved. It is then that the eyeballs turn upwards. This happens when these currents get collected at the eye-focus. It is from here that the soul sitting in the body keeps the body in control. This then is the Gagan, and here lives that God Power together with the soul; and when the soul and the God Power become one, They live eternally. This is called the union of the disciple and the Master. Speaking of the Guru Power, Guru Gobind Singh tells us: “From end to end, the God Power remains with us; consider that God Power as our Guru.” It is this God Power within us which is the connecting link between the material body and the immaterial soul, quite disparate in essence. This Power is All-Pervading and immanent in each one of us:
My Lord is enthroned in all, and there is not a place where He is naught,
Blessed indeed is the human-pole from where it shines in full effulgence.
We all live by this God Power, but we are unaware of It. The God Power is manifest in the Guru. We adore the human-Pole from where this Power works. Who then can contact us with this God Power? God Power is complete in Itself and has no relationship in the earthly sense of the word. Who then can do this job? None but this manifested God in man. It is the lighted human-pole that can contact us with the Light of God. A Guru never claims any perfection for Himself. He always says that the contact is given by the God Power and not by Him. He lives in His Will and has no will of His own. “Let Thy will be done and not what I will.” Again, Kabir, speaking of Himself, says:
Kabir is just a dog of His Master and is known Mutia.
He moves about wheresoever He is led by the nose-string.
Those who consciously dwell in God become, in course of time, conscious coworkers of the Divine Plan; and such Personages are known as Disciplined Souls and Saints. Thus, we see that the Word is the God Power in the Guru — the Word made flesh — for man alone can be the teacher of man. He dwells amongst us to instruct and guide us. This is what the Gurbani says: “God Himself in the Guru doles out the gift of Shabd.” Guru then is the human-pole on which the God Power manifests and carries on the work of redemption. “He lives among the people, but His soul dwells in Him.” In the world, He acts as the mouthpiece of God. Nanak explaining to His friend Lalo said: “I only express that which comes within me from above.” — “While living on the earth, His spirit dwelleth in heaven,” said a Muslim Saint. Outwardly we see Him busy in the work of the world as any one of us is. For His livelihood He may be working in the field or carrying on some business or be engaged in service. He, too, like us may lead a family life. But He can rise above the body and bodily relations the moment He may so like. In the human frame He is nothing but a manifested God-in-man or a veritable man living in God.
On the other hand, we are a slave of the mind and senses and are entrapped in the maze of the world, so much so that we are identified with them and have forgotten our real nature — the soul behind the mind and sense, giving life and light to all that is. It is the flow of our attention outside that is sustaining the world around for us. Sometimes it so happens that by seeing we do not perceive and by hearing we do not understand. What is the reason for this absentmindedness? It is because our attention is somewhere else, and we are not our own at that moment. It is just like removing the belt from the flywheel of a machine, and the entire work comes to a standstill. The various departments in our body carry on their functions in the light and life of the spirit. It is the spirit that gives strength and power to the mind and the various sense-organs connected therewith. It is the spirit that has to be controlled and manipulated and made the director of the body and the bodily functions. We must strengthen our spiritual power and be able to use it at our will rather than allow it to flow along with the mind. With the spiritual power well developed, one can do what he likes as a master of the house in which one lives. One Who can do this is a Sadhu, a Saint, or a Mahatma. Bhai Gurdas says: “He Who has disciplined His outgoing faculties is called a Sadh (a Disciplined Soul).” Again Kabir tells us: “One who is lost in the nine portals of the body cannot get to the Reality.” A Person Who has acquired this gift becomes the mouthpiece of God. Of Him it is said: “His words are the words of God, though seemingly coming out of a human being.” Speaking of himself Nanak says:
The humble Nanak opens His mouth when He is bidden to do so.
This is what is called right understanding; and each one of us has the capacity to understand things rightly, provided one has his attention under control. The attention of the worldly-wise is flowing out into the world. If one could by self-analysis separate his attention from the mind, he can become the knower of himself and the knower of God. Hence, the aphorism: “Know thyself.” — “O Nanak, without self-analysis one cannot get out of the grand delusion.“
One Who knows the Self or the human in Him, knows everything. In His company others, too, can become the mouthpiece of God as He Himself is. He does not inject anything from without. He makes us understand what is what: “He alone is our friend, by whose instructions we are reformed and transformed.” A friend like him tells us in detail of the great wonders that lie in the wonderful house in which we live. Human body is the temple of God, and God verily dwells in it. All the scriptures sing highly of it. It is called Brahmpuri because Brahman can be made manifest in it. It is a place with nine portals and six ganglionic centers and is described as Ajudhya or the Kingdom of Lord Rama. All the gods and goddesses reside in it. Hence it is called Nar-Naraini Deh, or the abode of man and God. Even the celestial beings aspire for the human form because it is in this deiform that they can hope to attain salvation. In brief — man is next to God. He may be said to be even a micro-god.
With the gift of the human body we can meet the Power-of-God within. What do the Enlightened Souls tell us in this context? Of Guru Amar Das it is said that for full seven decades and over, He went from place to place in search of God and tried to find Him in all possible ways. It was after this long search that He came to the feet of Guru Angad and found the Reality within Himself. Now we are taking one of His hymns for discussion. Let us see what He has to say:
Blessed indeed is the human body in which God manifests Himself.
It is said that when God made man He commanded the angels to do obeisance to him. In Tritiya (third) Upanishad, we read that the Rishis and the Munis prayed for a human habitation for themselves. Fortunately, we have got this advantage; and we must make the best use of it and try to make manifest within us the Power-of-God — the Self-luminous Power — which is already there. But where that Power is already manifest, we have a veritable temple of God. How can we know that?
It is only by the grace of some Master-saint that one realizes this.
By ourselves, we cannot understand the truth of what is said. It is only a God-realized Soul Who can make us understand the Truth. We may consider this body as something full of filth. We do not realize that in this human frame God Himself resides; and, as such, it is a beautiful temple. We, in our own way, try to beautify it with cosmetics on which we spend a lot of money. If we begin to live consciously in the God Power within us, there would hardly be any need for cosmetics. The outer application of toiletry cannot do the trick that we wish to play. It is our thoughts that give color and scent to our body — If our thoughts are pure, we hardly need these outer aids. One Who has developed His psychic eye can at a glance see through the inner working of any person who comes before Him. The real nature of a person comes out in bold relief.
The physical body is a mere covering. The beauty beneath this covering lies in contentment, equipoise, and inner quiet, all of which come when one is inwardly united with God. The soul feels restless until it rests in the Oversoul. He Who is in tune with God will have a rhythmic blood circulation and will emit forth radiant rays. It is on spiritual health that the life of both body and mind depends. Everything needs its own food — body, mind, and intellect. The spirit, too, needs its own food: the Bread of and Water of Life. As you think, so you become and likewise create a personal aura of your own. A loving soul will have eyes full of love, while one who is obsessed with lusts of the flesh will send forth rays of envy, jealousy, and anger. Eyes are the windows of soul, and they reflect outside the color of the mind within.
Every thought has its own peculiar smell and its own color. Should you like to have experience of this, you should stand in the sunshine with your back to the sun so that you are able to see your shadow on the ground or on some wall in front of you. Now try to see the color of this shadow. A lustful person will cast a shadow with a black tinge in it, while one in whose anger predominates will cast a shadow tainted with redness. Similarly, there is a peculiar smell in the body of each. The former emits a foul smell as coming from a flock of sheep, and the latter as that of a half- burnt rope. One who is settled in God has peace of mind and thinks well of the whole world. He may not use any toiletries and still you would have sweet fragrance as if coming from a lily, provided one has love in him, for love beautifies everything.
I remember to have read long ago of a girl who was not comely in appearance and no one would, therefore, like to marry her. Like one disgusted with herself, she went out of the town and began to frequent a church where she would get lost in the love of God. After a year or so a person accosted her saying, “I want to marry you. What do you think of my proposal?” The girl could hardly believe her ears. “Who would like to marry one who is ugly?“, she said. The young man said: “You are not what you say. I see a kindly light in your eyes.” So, beauty emits from beautiful thoughts. Have you ever seen the eyes and forehead of high souled persons? There is always a kind of radiance in their eyes. Their bodies have a personal aura which is quite different from those of ordinary persons.
Everyone emits a peculiar light from his body. But we do not perceive it, because we have not developed the single eye that is capable of seeing this radiation. Theosophy tells us that everyone has his own radiation, the length of which varies from person to person. In some cases, it extends just to a few inches and in others to a few feet. The Enlightened Persons radiate Their light to a considerable distance; and whosoever comes into the field of Their radiation, he becomes magnetized.
Guru Amar Das solved the enigma of life when He came to the feet of Guru Angad. His contact with His Guru transformed Him altogether. He got a kind of new light from His Master Who was God personified. He now became, in His own right, the Master of His body and bodily senses. One Who is a manifested God-in-man can give you contact with God. God is not something outside you. He is the Soul of our very soul. Some say that there is hardly any need for a Guru, while others say that there is such a need. Who is a Guru after all? Not the human-pole that you see. He is God-in-man, or if you like, you may call Him man-in-God. One in Whom the God Power is manifest in fullness. He alone can collect our wandering wits at one focus. He has a soul-force in Him; and with its help, He can lift you above body-consciousness and open your inner eye wherewith you will be able to see inwardly. This inner perception is in each one of us, but we never had an opportunity to use it. This Power cannot come overnight. Every Saint has His past and every sinner a future. What a man has done, another can do, of course, with proper help and guidance. Under the Guru’s loving care and attention, we, too, can become a Saint. He casts you in His own mould and gradually you will be able to channelize your thoughts in one direction — Godwards. The more you will practice concentration, the more you will develop your likeness of the pattern of your teacher. With inner peace and steady contemplation, there would come a change in you. The secret of success lies in His company. The breeze that blows from a mountain will be cold and fresh, while the desert winds are hot. Similarly, the words of a Master-saint are charged with the Divine Power in Him. So the human-pole that has the Divine Manifestation in Him will manifest the divinity in you. It is the thoughts that make the man. You have to change your thoughts for the better. With this change, you will have inner peace for yourself; and whosoever will come in touch with you will also have serenity.
Blessed indeed is one in whom the God Power
manifests through the grace of the Guru.
God alone is our Eternal Consort. We are so constituted that we cannot rest until we rest in Him. Atman and Paramatman (soul and Oversoul) must be linked together and consciously learn to live together. All the souls are but sparks from the same Fire. When once the soul is linked with the Oversoul, there comes about an eternal union.
The pleasures of the world are short lived — may be for 10 years or 100 years. We meet but to part. This, too, is a necessary phase in one’s life. We should live happily with those among whom we are born and discharge our worldly duties and obligations. But above all, the soul is to get united with the Oversoul. Such a union will give us eternal happiness. How can this union be effected? It is possible only through Guru-Shabd, the Word made manifest within. There is no other way besides this. Without this inner manifestation, the human life goes in vain. So long as we are in company with the Power of God in us, we are sentient beings. And when one comes in contact with that Power Itself, one becomes a Godman. It is, therefore, said that without the Life-Principle in us, we have no value whatsoever. The Enlightened Persons generally address Themselves rather than addressing others:
O man, what hast thou gained by coming into the world?
Alas! thou hast not gained anything while thou art here.
The human birth is a great blessing. God verily resides in the human body. It is an opportunity for us to realize Him so that we could get out of the cycle of births and deaths. This is eternal union. Mira Bai speaking of herself has said: “Mira is eternally happy with her eternal Lord.” Gurbani also tells us: “One may go the world over, but without a perfect Master one cannot achieve this.” It comes as a gift from a theo-centric Saint, a Person centered in God. One Who is in tune with God alone can make us attuned to Him. We have advanced a lot in the field of science and technology, but we have not done that which is so very necessary in life. We must make hay while the sun shines. Although much time has been lost, we still have some time left. We must, therefore, make most of the time that is still with us: Once we slip from the top rung of the ladder in life, the life goes in vain. The Human body is the temple of God, and its sanctity must be preserved at all costs. It is a vehicle of great importance and must be kept in good trim:
Always remember the Lord within, and His Name must be on the lips;
O Nanak, the body is to be preserved only for this purpose and nothing else.
The Power of God is within you. Perceive that Power with your own eyes; and having perceived It, sing His praises. Take care of the God-given body. Maintain it as best as you can. Protect it from heat and cold. Give it enough so that it lasts as long as possible. But for what purpose? For self-realization and God- realization. This is the summum bonum. of life. If it is not done, then:
Accursed are all the activities of life: eating, drinking, sleeping, and clothing,
And accursed also is the body and bodily relations if one does not get unto the Lord.
Married life is no bar to Spirituality. It is just a first step in life. It provides one with a life companion in weal and woe, but it is not something that is lasting. One of the two has to depart before the other. On the other hand, the companionship of the Lord is of a permanent nature. God is the Lord of all, and God resides in each one of us. We live because of Him. All that we need is a Godman Who is the chosen vessel of God. To be in the company with such a Godman is real Satsang. To be a disciplined soul is a great thing. In the Sukhmani, Guru Arjan, speaking of the greatness of a Sadh or Sadhu, tells us of the advantages that one gets in His company:
In the company of a Sadh, one is washed of all impurities;
In the company of a Sadh, one becomes a true devotee;
In the company of a Sadh, one is transformed completely;
In the company of a Sadh, one gets to the indescribable.
A Sadhu gives us inner perception. To start with, He gives us some capital to carry on the spiritual business. The soul, by being constantly associated with the senses and the sense-organs, becomes identified with them. It is because of this identification that we try to find God on the sense level. Little do we know that the Power of God dwells above the plane of the senses. How then can we find God in the field of the senses (world)? It is only the spirit in man that can approach and realize God, Who, too, is Spirit and can be worshipped in spirit. So long as this knot between the spirit and the senses is not snapped, there is no possibility for the spirit to turn upwards. We, therefore, before everything else, have to become spirit. To become spirit is called self-realization. The moment one realizes the Self in him, he becomes capable of knowing the Overself. Self-realization then precedes God-realization. Light alone knows the light. And blessed is the body wherein the spirit having extricated itself has an experience of the Great Soul or God within. This is called eternal friendship, the union between the soul and the Oversoul. Be ye ever blessed in the love of the Lord and gain eternal communion. This communion can be established only by the grace of some Godman.
Thrice blessed is man. He has in him untold possibilities of which he is not aware at the moment. What these possibilities are we shall see presently:
One who revels in the love of the Lord loses his egotism.
Love unites two souls, the lover and the beloved, so much so that one loses his own existence and becomes one with the beloved. God is Love and the human soul is a spark of that Love. The whole is in every part of its own, and every part is in the whole. One immersed in the love of the Lord is truly an undivided individual and is wholly detached from the affairs of the world. While living in the world, he is not of the world. His soul is ever in a state of divine intoxication. Nanak speaking of Himself says: “Nanak is eternally in a state of Divine Inebriation.” When Guru Nanak met Emperor Babar, the latter offered Him a cup of hemp. Nanak, with a twinkle in His eyes, politely said:
O King, this cup gives you a momentary forgetfulness.
You have to help yourself again and again
to hemp for maintaining this continuity.
I have within me a cup of Divine Elixir
which keeps me in a state of continuous bliss.
When one forgets himself in holy ecstasy, one automatically rises above body-consciousness, leaving all thoughts of duality far behind. A disciple ceases to be a disciple when he loses himself in the love of the Godman. A Muslim Saint said: “My being is so filled with the love of the Lord that I have lost all thoughts of my ‘self’ and I have become dead to my self.” Saint Paul says: “It is I, not now I; it is Christ that lives in me.“
We have not seen God. How can we love what we have not seen. We have, therefore, to contact the manifested Power of God in us. But who can manifest the God Power? Only the Godman in Whom the God Power is working in fullness. To come near a Godman is essentially to come near God. To be away from a Godman is to be away from God. It is the God-in-man or Godman Who brings us to the Power of God within us. He is the human-pole that guides us to the Power in us. There is no other way to the God Power except through a Godman. All the philosophies of the world have not been able to solve the riddle of God.
The greatness of God is beyond measure, and human imagination fails to have any conception of Him. Still in the realm of relativity it is said: “When God and the Guru both manifest Themselves, one wonders to Whom he should pay his obeisance. Blessed indeed is the Guru Who led me to Satguru or God.” It is just a way of explaining things on an intellectual level. When one is lost to himself, he escapes from the bondage of I-ness and becomes forever free. So long as one feels that he is the doer, he continues in the cycle of births and deaths.
The question is one of right understanding. All mankind is one. All men are embodied souls. Soul is of the same essence as that of Oversoul or God. And God is the mainstay of all creatures. When this knowledge dawns, we would think good of the entire creation and love all mankind. This state comes only when one is dyed in the color of God: “Strait is path of the Guru; none can pass through it without merging in the Guru.“
Wondrous is the Word of the perfect Master,
A perfect Master makes It manifest and It leads unto Truth.
What is Truth? Nanak says: “O Nanak, know ye the Truth as true.” This, of course, refers to Absolute Truth or Truth in abstraction. When the Formless Absolute manifests Himself, then it is said:
Truth was in the beginning (of time);
Truth was in the beginning of each age;
Truth is and Truth shall remain forever, O Nanak.
We have here two phrases that need to be distinguished: Gurbani and Guru-ki-bani. By Gurbani we mean the scriptures coming to us from the Gurus. This hymn, for instance, is from the Gurbani as it is recorded in the scriptures. Guru-ki-bani is something different from Gurbani. It is defined as: The Word of the Guru is in fullness in each one of us; God Himself has placed it and Himself makes it manifest.
In the Gospels we have:
In the beginning was the Word;
the Word was with God
and Word was God.
As to the antiquity of this Bani (the Holy Word), it is said: “The Holy Word has been resounding from age to age. It is true in Itself and leads to Truth.” Thus, we see that Guru-ki-bani is nothing but a Sound Principle. It has music in it — Music of the other world (Udgit). Gurbani tells us that one should contact a Word-personified Saint — a teacher in Whom the Word is fully manifested — for He alone is capable of manifesting the Word in others, and that Word becomes instrumental in leading us Godwards. The Holy Word has two phases — Light and Sound.
By communion with the Word,
one comes to testify the effulgence of millions of suns.
The All-Pervading Word is resounding everywhere.
So we see that the Holy Word is Sound-in-light or Light-in-sound and this is an axiomatic truth. The Gurbani serves as a pointer to Guru-ki-bani (the Holy Word) which the Master manifests as a means of contacting the soul with the Oversoul.
In the human body are all the grand divisions, planes and sub-planes
(though on a smaller scale).
The macrocosm is in the microcosm. This body is the wonderful house in which we live.
The human body is on the model of Brahmand (cosmos),
Whosoever searches in himself
gets a veritable (missing word, possibly ‘treasure’ / ‘life eternal’) of it.
In the cosmos there are three planes — physical, astral, and causal. God has also provided man with three bodies — the physical (the tabernacle of flesh); and within it, the subtle (or feelings, emotions, and thoughts); and lastly, the causal or the seed body. And for what? So that we may be able to work in any of these three worlds as we may like. The pity is that we have forgotten to transcend the human in us. At the time of death, the physical covering goes off. This is the very experiment of rising above body-consciousness which the Master gives to those who are initiated into the mysteries of the Beyond. This experience is exactly akin to actual experience of death, but with the difference that it is voluntary and leads to awakening in higher consciousness while living in the body. With the experience of death-in-life, one mocks at death; and by daily practice one goes to and comes back everyday from the valley of death. But this is not the end. There lies the infinite before us. It is after crossing the astral and causal planes that we reach the threshold of the Kingdom of God. All this and much more is to be unraveled in the laboratory of mind in the body.
In the body is the Life-Principle of the entire universe;
And that Life-Principle is sustaining everyone.
We are not separate from the life in us. We, in fact, are the very life that is the life of the universe. In the Holy Quran it is said: Kanzan Mahphian (I am in you like a secret treasure). This is just what all the Saints (tell) us in Their own way. We have to rise above the body to get to this hidden treasure (life eternal). “Learn to die so that you may begin to live,” the Gospels ask us. Without traversing the body we cannot enter into the Beyond where each plane is vaster, richer, and more beautiful than the one preceding. Beyond these three planes lies the real world of the spirit where there is All-Beauty and All-Glory.
The God-in-man is competent to give this experience at the time of initiation. It is a practical process of inversion by gradual self-analysis. This He does by transferring His own life impulse into the initiates. His greatness lies in giving a practical demonstration of what He teaches on the physical plane. His Light-form then guides the soul from plane to plane where there are worlds greater than the universe in which we live. Even of this universe, we know nothing. There are numberless stars and spheres, whirling around and around, of which human imagination cannot have any conception. Now you can well understand what would be the expanse and magnitude of the astral and the mental worlds. The more one rises above body-consciousness, the more one knows of the secrets of the higher worlds within him. But how many of us are prepared to die while living? We want to live on and on, even if it be a few hours beyond the allotted time. Why? Firstly, we are afraid to leave the body. Secondly, we do not know what is beyond this body. But if we once know the grandeur that lies ahead of us, we would not like even to come back in the physical world:
He who can, by the grace of the Master,
learn to die while living can know the Divine Will,
O Nanak, one who begins to understand
the Divine Will loses all thought of himself.
A conscious coworker of the Divine Plan always visibly sees the invisible hand of God working in and around him, and he becomes eternally free. It is, therefore, said: “O Nanak! a death like this is a gateway to life eternal.” This is called re-birth or resurrection of the soul, Dwijanma (being born again), of which all the Great Souls have spoken in glorious terms.
Blessed is the Person Who is in constant touch
with the Word made manifest in Him.
God is Nameless. But God-in-action Power is called the Word or Naam. Most of us are always in communion with our mind and, as such, have become the mouthpiece of mind (manmukh). In contrast to this, there is “Gurmukh-Naam” to which one gets an access through the grace of the Guru. While the mind works in numberless diverse ways, the Holy Word or the Gurmukh-Naam is of one pattern: “O mind be thou in communion with the Holy Naam. A treasure of Naam comes only through a perfect Master.” There is no greater name than the Holy Word — It is the Power that is sustaining the whole creation. This Sound Principle is reverberating in the entire universe. It has to be explained in so many words. We have to understand the theory on the level of the intellect. Having once understood the basic truth, we have to go ahead to get to the Truth and hold on to it. As this Sound Principle is very rhythmic in Itself, It makes those who come in touch with It rhythmic; It gives them equipoise and frees them from all ailments and lusts of the flesh.
He Himself resides in the human body,
but it is so subtle that one get to it.
In this temple of God (human body), God verily dwells. One cannot comprehend Him with the aid of the senses and sense-organs, although it is the very life of them. Unless one rises to the level of God Power, one cannot apprehend the said Power. The finite cannot get to the infinite. What then is the remedy? The scriptures tell us: “A Saint Who lives in the Kingdom of God may, in His grace, put us on the path Godwards.“
The unwise do not understand the secrets
and go in search of Him without.
Guru Amar Das has defined Gurmukh as: “Gurmukh is One Who has been duly initiated by the Guru and practices the spiritual Sadhana as is enjoined by the Guru.” Again it is further explained: “When one meets the perfect Master and gets a practical demonstration of the inner science, he comes to know the secret of the Divine Science and begins to explore within.“
Now about manmukh: “All those who are ignorant of the Sound Principle fall into this category and those who have no idea of the love and fear of the Master.” The inner Sound Principle is working in Its fullness. We cannot apprehend It on an intellectual level. Even after meeting a perfect Master, we still remain, for the most part, a manmukh since we do not develop love and fear of the Master. As such, we still wander in the wilderness.
When the Reality lies elsewhere
and we search in the wrong place, how can one get to it?
Kabir saith, we can get to it only
when One Who knows the secret of it assists us.
We usually search for the Truth in the holy scriptures. The study of the scriptures has its own value, but the scriptures cannot by themselves deliver the goods. The books, at the most, can give us an idea of the subject. But for practical demonstration, we will have to go to One Who can demonstrate the Truth to us. He, too, helps us to understand the theory with the help of scriptures: “The scriptures are handy aids with the Master; and with their help, He enables us to ferry across the sea of life (Samsar). Without the perfect Master, we cannot possibly understand their true import, for He is the veritable human-pole from where God Power works.” Spirituality is both a science and an art of life. Like the medical science, there is the need in Spirituality to demonstrate what is given in the books. The manifested God-in-man Who has unraveled this mystery can help us to unravel it for ourselves. It is He Who can give us a practical experience: “O Bhika, it is something mysterious and cannot be explained in so many words. He who knows cannot speak, and he who speaks does not know.” Similarly a Chinese Saint has also said: “He who speaks sees not, and he who sees speaks not.“
He who follows the commandments of the perfect Master basks in His sunshine;
To him the perfect Master manifests the unmanifest in him.
Christ also laid emphasis on strict obedience by His followers. “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” Again it is said: “Blessed are they who have implicit faith in the perfect Master, for they become hearers of the Word made manifest in them.” Here the question arises how to judge a perfect Master? Kabir tells us: “He Who can bring down the celestial harmony from above is the real Master.“
All the Great Souls, more or less, speak in much the same strain. The term “Guru” stands for One Who brings light in darkness or, in other words, makes light visible in the enshrouding darkness within.
Light shineth in darkness,
and darkness comprehendth it not.
What does the Guru do? He, by making the Holy Light visible within, makes one apprehend the same. He makes one the seer of the invisible Light which is the mother of all lights in the world without. This is the touchstone of a Sadhu, Saint, or Mahatma. Search for such a One. You would undoubtedly come across many who would talk to you of Jnana and Vijanana and give you lectures on the performance of rites and rituals, formulas and formularies, and enjoin reading of scriptures and epics. This anybody and everybody can do with a little training. They cannot unravel the mysteries of the Beyond and give a demonstration of the Truth in you.
Who on earth has the power to pull up sensory currents to the seat of the soul? Who can open the all-seeing inner eye? It can be done only by a perfect Master. It is, therefore, said:
By meeting the perfect Master, one is rid of the darkness within.
By meeting the perfect Master, one sees the Holy Light with his own eyes.
Again, it is said, “It is only a Sant Satguru Who can make the invisible visible.” The scriptures are so very clear on this subject. If, in spite of this, we go
astray and search for God outside, it is our ill-luck. “If the blind leads the blind, both shall fall into the ditch,” is a common saying. “Those whose master see things darkly cannot but do deeds of darkness.” Again, it is said: “A blind man cannot put you on the path when he himself does not know it. One who has his eyes would not lead people astray.” Further, in this context we have:
One who has not enough for himself,
What can he spare for those who depend on him?
This is the experience of Guru Amar Das Who came by the spiritual riches after a long quest of no less than 70 years. But when He came to realize the Truth through the grace of His Master, Guru Angad, He then tried to expound and elucidate things in a proper perspective.
In the human body there are countless riches of inestimable value;
It is by devotion alone that one gets to these riches.
Spirituality is the path of devotion — devotion to One Who has solved the mystery of life for Himself and can help us to solve it for ourselves. He gives us some inner experience to start with and guides us inwardly until the end. He does not rest until He leads the disciple soul into the Kingdom of God. All the scriptures are full of praise for the Guru. It is a pity that Gurus nowadays are looked down upon with disfavor. The reason for this is very clear. A real teacher is difficult to find these days . But, at the same time, the world is not without Enlightened Souls. God, Godway, and Godman are interlinked with one another. Without a Godman to put us on the Godpath, we cannot move Godwards. There is not much in the repetition of the formula unless the formula is delivered to the initiate with the charged-impulse from the Master. It is this life-impulse that opens the inner eye of the initiate:
The human body is on the pattern of the universe
and abounds in spiritual riches,
In the human body is the Power of God and untold treasures
which one can get by communion with the Word.
We are all fortunate enough as we have the means wherewith we can get into contact with the God Power in us. But alas! we have not known the value of the human body and are wasting our life in vain. It is long since that we are in the world as a human being. We, no doubt, have for quite a long time been in one or other social order. But we have never for a moment tried to understand as to where we are and what we are. All social orders have, undoubtedly, God as the highest common factor. The basic teachings are the same in all religions, irrespective of the different modes of expression:
Within man there is Light and therefrom is coming the eternal Sound Principle;
By attuning to this Sound Principle one gets a contact with Truth.
The scriptures tell us of this Sound Principle. They constitute the record of the valuable experience of the Enlightened Souls and, as such, are very precious for us. But, we have to experience the inner Light and Sound of which the scriptures speak. The Upanishads tell us that sage Ingris unfolded this secret doctrine to Lord Krishna. Zoroaster, Pythagoras, Plato, and Aristotle taught the same thing each in his own time. The Hindu scriptures also lay emphasis on “Sruti,” that which is heard. The Muslim divines call it Noor and kalame-kadeem.
In the human body sits the Balance-holder, balancing every one aright;
The mind within is a mine of diamonds, rubies, and jaspers of inestimable value.
The God Power within sees to the needs of all of us and knows them before we do. Accordingly, He looks to them, gives whatever is just and necessary. The said Power has also provided us with a valuable instrument called Mana or the mind. As at present it is working into the world without. All that one has to do is to change its direction. It is a connecting link between the material body and the immaterial soul which are two disparate things: “Thou art consciousness and thy body is a lump of clay — how are two linked together?” Mind is a great force that stands between the two and takes on the color of both. When connected with the sense-organs it works through the senses. But if it could be introverted, it follows the spirit. Like fire, it is a good servant but a bad master. When under control it moves inwards. It has, of course, to be put on the path Godwards. The Master-soul helps in linking it with the God Power within. When it gets a taste of the Light and Life of God, it loses all charms for the world. Such a Master-soul with a competency to manifest the saving life-line within is a great gift of God.
It is said: “Mind follows the world while a disciplined soul follows the teacher.” We are slaves of the mind. We follow the mind, wherever it drags us into the fields of senses. We follow the Master only to the extent that is acceptable to the mind. An Enlightened Soul has an all-seeing eye. He sees where we are and how we are helplessly drifting along the current of time. He knows that human spirit is of the essence of God, and that the Power of God also works in us. He pities us in our sad predicament. It is out of pure compassion that He tries to take us out of the wilderness of the world. He tells us to make friends with the mind. When the mind is yoked from day to day, it becomes a matter of habit to do a thing. We have simply, like a good pointsman, to turn the point inwards, and give it a new direction. Who would give this direction? It is we who have to do it. When can we give this direction? Only when we become conscious of the Reality within us. The Enlightened Soul gives us a living touch with the consciousness already in us. Besides this He imparts inner direction and help. We must, therefore, take the words of the Master as Gospel truth and follow them to the very letter: “Let my words abide in you and you abide in me,” is the exhortation of Christ.
Take a firm hold of the words of the Guru
and keep them firmly tied in the closet of your heart.
There is just one way to live in the heart of another person: “Love begets love.” When you love a person, it is but natural that he will respond to your love. If the disciple remembers the Master, the latter, in turn, attends to him: “Master takes care of the disciple with every breath of His life.” It is nothing but the law of action and reaction. The great Master very lovingly tells us of the Balance-holder within. Now, all our weight is in the pan that is on this side of the world. We have gradually to shift the weight to the other pan. But how? Under the guidance of Somebody Who can assist us in shifting the balance. Mind, no doubt, is like a wild elephant; but it can be controlled with the help of a piked iron rod with the Master: “Mind runs after the pleasure of the world, but the Word of the Master attracts him the other way.” The Holy Word has a great attraction in It. It works like a magnet and pulls the mind around: “The field of sense-pleasures lose all their charm when one once tastes the Elixir Divine.” Engrossed in the world, the mind is now not aware of the happiness that lies in the inner world. It is just a matter of contrast. We have to weigh the one against the other. The music of the world works this miracle: “So long as one does not taste the Elixir of Life, one does not get any peace.” How can we have this taste for the Divine? The Gurbani tells us: “The power, pelf (riches), and intellect are of no avail. A Sadhu alone may help you to it.” The term “Sadhu” is difficult to define. The scriptures tell us: “Sadhu is just a human-pole on which God Power works.“
How can we evaluate Naam or the Holy Word
When we cannot get to it without the help of the Guru?
Naam is something inestimable and has a vast potency in It. “Those who commune with the Word, all their labors end.” The societies and scriptures cannot help us to Naam. If the Guru wills, then alone we can get to It. Guru gives us correct understanding and actual experience of It: “Guru demonstrates the Truth to us.” It is a direct experience that counts. It is Aham Brahm, or “here is Brahm,” so to say. Generally, we are told to tread the path step by step and then we get to it. But what path do we really tread? Sitting at the plane of the senses, our path lies through the senses. The Truth lies far above the senses and mind. We may all our life be engaged in virtuous deeds, and we will reap the fruits thereof. Good deeds, too, are enough to bind the jivas as the bad deeds are. We have, therefore, to rise above the field of karmas. This ascension becomes a possibility in the company of a Saint, for He gives an experience of it. It is through the instructions of the Guru that we begin to commune with the Word. This experience forms the basis or stock-in-trade with which we have to proceed further. It is, so to say, our subscribed capital to carry on the business in the practice of the world. Without such initial capital, no business can be started. It is not enough to know merely the formula without actually making a preliminary attempt to work it out. The words given for repetition are but words to help in the withdrawal of the sensory currents; but beyond that, they cannot help in opening the inner eye. This is done by the transmission of the life-impulse from the living Master. This is why it is said: “Do not attempt to commune with the Word without the help of the Guru.” Similarly, we have in the Gospels: “Take not God’s Name in vain.” It is the Son of God Who can reveal God and His Power in man.
No one knows the Father but the Son
and they to whom the Son may reveal.
So, it is a question of revelation and not mere instruction. Nanak in Jap Ji tells us:
You have no power to speak or to be silent,
No power to ask or to give.
You have no power over life or death,
No power over wealth or state for which you are ever restless.
You have no power over spiritual awakening,
No power to know the Truth, or to achieve own salvation.
Let he who thinks he has the power try.
Thus, we see that salvation depends on His Will alone. One has to surrender himself to His Will and then wait and watch.
Only those who are ordained,
they alone can take to communion with the Word.
Similarly, in the Revelation it is said: “Those see the Power of God Who have the Father’s Name written in Their foreheads.” It is the inner Light that makes one Khalsa, or the Pure One. When does a man become pure? The scriptures tell us in this context: “When one gets into contact with the inner Light in Its fullness, then alone one becomes pure; otherwise, not.” Guru Gobind Singh speaking of Himself says:
Khalsa is my own form,
and I reside in the Khalsa;
and my Satguru, too, is Khalsa.
True devotion consists of the manifestation of the Light within and of the inner Music. And whosoever succeeds in this process is true to himself, no matter if he is a Hindu, a Muslim, a Christian, or a Sikh, or anything else. The secret lies in becoming a Gurmukh or a chosen vessel of the Guru in which His grace may descend. The right to approach the Father is the birthright of each one of us. It is not reserved for any particular community or sect, as most of us think and believe.
In preparing the Sikh scriptures, Guru Arjan tried to collect the spiritual experiences of all the past sages and seers that He could lay His hands upon. In them we have the sayings of Ravi Das, the cobbler Saint; Kabir, the weaver Saint; Dhanna Jat and even Sadhana, the butcher by profession at one time. We have, therefore, to search for a Person Who has manifested in Himself the Power of God. Such an Enlightened Soul would naturally give both oral instructions and inner experience. He tells us: “Man is man first and man last — recognize this as a fact.” This is the fundamental principle. The religious labels come afterwards. The main purpose of these labels is to keep societies free from corruption. And next, He makes us Gurmukh. Now, Who is a Gurmukh? Gurmukh is One Who penetrates in Himself (for the Light of God). This then is the mission of a perfect Master — to demonstrate Truth in us and to make us consciously aware of Truth.
In the human body one must cultivate fear and love,
And then one sees the Reality through the grace of the Guru.
We can certainly know, understand, and contact the God-Power with the help and guidance of a Godman. Where there is love, there is fear also. With faith in the perfect Master — One Who is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent — who would dare do anything wrong? And then the love for Him would give an added strength to one’s faith. “Listen ye to the instructions of a perfect Master. And you will see Par Brahm within your reach.” This love and faith also come with the grace of a perfect Master. It is He Who can help us to get both love and faith.
It is in the human body that all the gods and goddesses abide,
And all the creation is being sustained by them.
The whole world worships the three Powers of God — the Creative-Principle (Brahma), the Sustaining-Principle (Vishnu) and the Destroying-Principle (Mahesh/Shiva). All these three principles are working in the body. Brahma, sitting in the regenerative organ, is carrying on the work of procreation. Vishnu, at the navel (ganglion), keeps the body in well trim by digesting food and converting it into life-giving energy to the body. Mahesh or Siva at the heart center winds up the life-processes by etherealizing the lower elements into a vaporous form.
When the sensory currents get to the eye focus at the seat of the soul, the three powers have already taken leave by winding their respective affairs. You will thus realize that the seat of the soul at the eye focus is much higher than the elemental centers below. Why is it so? Because soul is of the essence of God. Nanak, in this context, says:
The Great Mother, conceiving, brought forth three regents:
The first creating, the second sustaining, and the last destroying.
What He desires, they perform.
They work under His Will.
But great the wonder, though He watches over them, they behold Him not.
It, therefore, behooves us to worship the Supreme Being. We should have respect and regard for the various God Powers, but God Himself is alone worthy of our adoration and worship. These God Powers can take Their devotees after death to Their own respective regions or spheres, but They cannot free us from bondage.
The True One has set up the stage of the world
on which the actors come and go.
It is with the help of these three powers born of the Great Mother that God is carrying on His plan and purpose of creation, and we are playing ( something missing, such as ‘. . . superior role because of . . .’ ??? ) the fact that we occupy a much higher position in the scale of creation than these Powers Themselves.
The perfect Master Himself manifests the Word;
And this Word becomes the means of liberation.
It is the perfect Master Who shows us, while living, the planes and sub-planes in the Brahmand (universe). A real teacher does not ask us to accept things on faith or credit. He wants us to see with our own eyes and to hear with our own ears — of course, inner eyes and ears — while we are yet living in the world. How can one trust the uncertain future that may or may not give anything at all? Seeing is believing. A direct perception is greater than all theories or dogmas. Now we have to work out the initial experience as far as we can by following the instructions of the teacher. He gives us the inner eye, without which we are all blind. Defining blindness it is said:
They are not blind who have no eyes on their faces.
A blind is one, O Nanak, who does not see the Lord.
When the inner eye is developed one begins to see the Light of God in him and understand the working of the Divine Will. The Audible Life Stream is the stream of life and an experience of It gives us All-Wisdom.
That human body is really human that worships the Satguru;
Such a human body is verily the handiwork of God Himself.
We build temples, mosques, churches, and Gurudwaras with our human hand. But this temple of the human body is raised by God Himself, and His Power works in fullness in it. When in this bodily temple we are able to manifest the Power of God in us through the help of a Master-soul, we become really blessed.
Without the Holy Word there is no place of refuge,
And we cannot escape the cycle of births and deaths.
We, all of us, are sitting in the giant wheel (the wheel of life, of action and reaction) that is carrying us up and down in the mighty maze of the creation; and there is no peace for the soul. Among the Hindus, when the last moments of life draw nigh, it is customary to light an earthen lamp and place it near the head of the dying person; and he is asked to look straight into the flame, meaning thereby that the flame may take his soul upward along with it. This is just an outward ritual of the real Light which alone helps the soul on the onward journey. Of this Light it is said: “This lamp burneth eternally.” An Enlightened Soul gives us a touch with this life to start with on the Spiritual Path. To ferry across the sea of life, one needs both the inner Light and the inner Sound Principle. These inner manifestations are possible in the company of One Who Himself has manifested them in Himself. One who has not yet got this inner contact still remains in the sphere of time and is to render account of all his deeds:
With the revelation of the Power of God inside, the book of deeds is wound up;
O Nanak! such a one is not to render any account to the just King.
Satguru settles all the accounts of His disciples. He pulls the soul up out of the world. “It is only the Guru Power that can pull the sensory currents out of the body.“
It is only a fortunate one who meets a perfect Master;
And He links the soul with the Sound Current.
A real Saint gives an actual inner experience. He says:
Never take the words of a Master on their face value,
Unless you see for yourself the truth of what He says.
A personal experience works for conviction. The study of the scriptures creates in us some interest and prepares us for an experimental test.
O Nanak! one understands the greatness of God,
When God Himself so wills in His grace.
It is the grace of the God that one meets a Truth-personified Saint. And such a Saint gives us a way in. Then He gives us an actual demonstration of what He says. Last but not the least, He in His radiant form guides the soul within from eye-focus upwards. The company of such a Saint is a real blessing.
O Nanak! snap all thy ties with the people of the world
and search thou the eternal friendship of some Saint;
While the people of the world shall leave thee in the world at one stage or another,
while He shall stand by thee to the end — both here and in the hereafter.
All this and much more is the work of a theo-centric Saint. It is He Who can grant you salvation through the Power of the Word made manifest. We have had this sermon from Guru Amar Das. His appeal is not to this or that sect, but to the humanity in general. “Enlightened Souls give out Truth which is common to all.“