Translation of Hindi Satsang at Sawan Ashram (Delhi) — published in Sat Sandesh September 1973
There is no greater aim or goal for the soul, when it is born into the human species, than to rejoin the Lord — to make its way back to its Source, via the holy pathway. This has been the ultimatum of all great Masters Who come to earth to help mankind realize this very aim. Having received the good fortune of the human birth, which is the highest form of all the species, this is man’s most important task in life.
To achieve this end, we must first seek the company of One Who has already achieved His goal, and has realized the Lord. A man with but empty words is of no use in this sphere of work. Likewise, success will not be met if, having found the Master-soul, one does not obey His instructions.
When all the Masters tell us that God is indescribable — He cannot be expressed in words, and mere speeches, therefore, are of no avail — then how can the Lord be realized? It is a subject concerning experience, through actual contact, and is not a subject for merely repeating, or memorizing in parrot-like fashion, certain words uttered in some worldly language.
Don’t take the Name of God in vain,
but take It with some purpose in view.
It is a subject of contact. And who is to experience that contact? The soul.
The soul, at present, is under the mind’s influence; and the mind is under the influence of the senses which, in turn, are being dragged around by the sense objects — through enjoyment. The result is that the soul has become the very image of the body and has forgotten its true nature. Until it awakens unto itself, how can it meet the Lord? Reunion with God can happen only to the soul. As long as the soul is under the control of the senses, the mind, the intellect, pranas (vital airs), it can never meet the Lord. So God is experienced by the soul, but we are all embodied souls; and until we come to know and recognize our true selves through analyzing our selves from mind, body, and senses, we will not meet the Lord. This is why all the Masters have stressed the importance of self-knowledge; for, in fact, self-knowledge is akin to God knowledge. After taking the important step of self-knowledge, then God-knowledge becomes attainable. There are no means of knowing God without the soul awakening, becoming aware of, and knowing itself.
It is often said that man cannot live by bread alone — that is only food for the physical body. Similarly, reading, writing, and thinking help to develop the intellect. To feed the soul, however, one must have contact with God — without which the soul will never gain strength. For this the Masters have introduced certain spiritual practices: upon awakening in the early morning, one must sit in remembrance of the Lord and meditate upon the Naam. In this way, the soul is fed before the body. But people prefer to feed only the body, or the intellect, and usually the soul gets nothing. Consequently, the soul becomes weaker and weaker, is fearful and tremulous. The whole being becomes filled with fear.
Know that the soul is the entity of God — it is a child of the Lion, for God is above fear; He is valiant, intrepid. When the soul is the Lord’s entity, and its nature, therefore, is also fearless , then why is man so full of fear? Simply because the soul is not conscious of its true nature — it never gets its food, the Bread and Water of Life. The Masters say that our first job is to feed the self, to know the self, to become strong in the self, and then do other work. As a test, just sit calmly and quietly, and you will realize that the strength for the whole of one’s being comes through the soul. For example, to take physical exercise, one must place one’s attention on that and then the body gets the strength to act. Similarly, if you turn your attention to intellectual activity, you will gain intellectual strength. If the attention is not focused at all, the senses will not work, and the body will not function. So the actual source of one’s strength is within one’s own self, the true self. Attention or soul is a great power; but because we have never fed the soul since we came into this human body, we are spiritually weak.
What then is the food of the soul? The soul is a drop of All-Consciousness and, therefore, should have gotten connected to the Greater Consciousness — the Oversoul. Through that connection the soul’s strength would have increased magnificently, instead of which the little strength it had was scattered in various directions in the outer attractions, and depletion naturally follows. Soul has the same nature and caste as Sat Naam; it is the child of the Lord, a prince of the Emperor and, therefore, no small personality. However, by existing in outer expression only, it has receded from the Truth. These are facts which cannot be readily seen by reading and writing on the subject. Realization of the Truth can come only with experience. While the attention — which is the soul or sruti — is not withdrawn from outer entanglements, it is not possible for it to realize the Lord. To extricate oneself from this predicament, one must go to One Who has already freed Himself. A man who has actually seen something will not waste his time on mere idle talk about the subject. This means that God-realization cannot be achieved in any form of academic education, though that might help one to understand to a certain extent.
When Kabir Sahib met a certain eminent pundit (scholar), He asked him,
How can your mind and my mind become one?
I speak of what I have seen,
and you speak of what you have read.
How can one who has never seen anything reveal the inner Truth to others? So the wisdom in keeping the company of He Who gained knowledge through experience, experience of the Indescribable Lord Who cannot be defined, is very obvious. This is not a matter of social bodies — we are talking of the embodied soul. Regardless of one’s religion, there is but a single answer to this question, as there must be to any question. What is God? He cannot be seen; He is beyond sight, is imperceptible to the senses and mental faculties. His attributes are inexpressible — beyond description. Remember that reading, writing, thinking are all at the level of intellect; and so one must rise above these in order to experience Him. In the Upanishads it states that when the senses are stilled, and the mind and intellect is also still, then the soul perceives the Truth.
Come, beloved Saints, let us tell of the Ineffable Story.
It is only Those Who have realized the Truth Who can say, “Come, beloved Friends, and sit together — we will tell the story of that which is beyond all description.” Here the “story” means the true facts. It is not a fictional novel. The facts can be told only by the People Who know them. That is why a Saint is One Who has seen the Lord. Therefore, if one sits with the Saint, one will also be able to understand Him and ultimately to see Him.
In the company of the Saint,
the Lord is seen within;
the Name of the Lord becomes sweeter.
A man who cannot see will say that such things do not exist. Brothers, the soul does rise above body consciousness, and there is Light within; but the man who has never left the body and has never seen the inner Light will say that it is all madness. So this is a subject of seeing.
Listen to the Saint’s true words:
He speaks of what He has seen.
Saints never speak from hearsay, or merely repeat what They have read. They speak of what They have seen through inner experience. This subject is known by Realized Souls — not by intellectuals — and only the Realized Soul can tell of how He realized the Lord, and how the rest of humanity can do the same.
Come, beloved Saints, let us tell of the Ineffable Story;
Tell the story of the Ineffable, and how He can be realized.
He, the Saint, is calling all Realized Souls together — and what other subject would They speak of but the story of the Ineffable Lord? Just as intoxicated people sit together and discuss intoxicants, so God-realized People talk of nothing but the Lord. This is called Satsang, the company of the Truth, where nothing is spoken of but God or Those Who have realized Him. If, for instance, four drunkards sit together, all differences of caste and religion will be thrust aside and forgotten; and in their intoxication they will embrace each other, for there will be no conflict. When great people come into the world, they leave their footprints behind; they leave the message of their own realization, and they show the way to realization.
Tell the story of the Ineffable, and how He can be realized,
Give unto the Guru, body, mind, wealth, and obey His commands.
Body, mind, and wealth must be surrendered to the Guru; and to follow His instructions implicitly is imperative for success. Having surrendered all unto Him, there is no question of the body being too tired for meditation, etc. If He says, “Sit for two hours,” then sit for two hours. When Raja Janak received initiation from his Guru, Ashtavakra, he was asked to give these three things. Giving the body does not mean that you give it away, but one must keep it as the Guru desires, pure and clean, and do not use it for mere enjoyment — and one must sit in meditation. Whether your heart is in it or not, you have given your body up to His commandments; so follow them. Raja Janak agreed to surrender his body, mind, and wealth; and Ashtavakra told him to go and sit among the shoes at the back of the huge court. It was a difficult task for the ego of the King to submit to such a lowly action before so many of his subjects. Pride and ego are very bad traits, you see; but it was his Master’s order, and he had to do it. Having given one’s word, then where does hesitation or question enter into the matter? One must simply obey, but such people are very rare who obey implicitly. Secondly, one should consider whatever wealth and possessions one has, to belong to the Guru. Christ told the fishermen to leave everything and follow Him.
Take your belongings and go with the Saint;
leave the poisonous entanglements behind.
Usually the Guru will not tell you to leave home and family, but instead teaches you to live with everything, knowing it all belongs to Him. We should be attached to nothing and entangled in nothing. This is what He means by giving up one’s wealth. His third injunction is to give up the mind.
Mind is sold to the Satguru;
then all the server’s actions will bear fruit.
He who gives his mind to the Guru
will never need to worry and debate over his actions.
Janak, powerful King that he was, readily obeyed his Guru. Forgive me, but a little praise renders us reluctant to humble ourselves before others — we prefer that others should bow before us. Such thinking must all be pushed aside. Leave all concern for the world’s opinions, likewise the opinions of one’s family. See for yourself what you really want — what your true aim is. Ask yourself why you have come here. Have you come to realize God, or for some other purpose? How did the Masters achieve God realization? By putting all other considerations as secondary. Those who are enamored of the worldly opinions will remain empty of spiritual wealth. Those who have the Lord’s intoxication, who know of the Ineffable Story, will sit in mutual affection, gazing into each others’ eyes. Only those who do not have this realization will indulge in religious conflict.
There are those who give their wealth to the Master, but they are few; for most people would rather give the skin off their bodies than to part with even a small sum. They will declare that they are prepared to obey anything; but on the question of money to help the poor or any other worthy cause, they cannot afford to give. However, for their personal requirements or their family needs, the money magically appears and flows like water. There are many who will not give to a spiritual cause, or to help those in dire need. But remember, whatever sacrifice a person makes, so will he receive in return.
Surrender of the physical form means living a pure and chaste life, with good actions. Remove yourself from immorality. Let all your physical actions be guided by the commands of the Guru. He has commanded you to sit in meditation. Do not dye your body in the immoral colors. As for wealth:
Repeat the Naam, and share your food.
And remember this: that whosoever achieved realization did so through sacrifice.
Do you know how Kabir Sahib gave realization to Dhani Dharam Das? He was a millionaire, but he gradually spent everything in his search for the Truth. After many years of searching, without success, having spent all his fortune in the process, he finally decided to commit suicide by jumping into the river; but at the crucial moment, Kabir appeared to him. You can say that this is true sacrifice.
When King Janak had taken his place at the rear of the court among the shoes, Ashtavakra asked him, “Where are you sitting?” The King replied, “I am sitting in this lowly place.” Ashtavakra wanted the King to admit his present lowly status. He then said, “You have given all your wealth, rank, and possessions to me; so stop your mind dwelling on these things.” The King found this very difficult, so he closed his eyes to shut out the vision of his surroundings. When this was not effective, he also closed his ears to prevent the distraction of the many sounds around him. But constant habit becomes like nature, and the mind continued to dwell on his outer life — his court, palace, his queens, his army, and so on. Again and again he would tell himself that he had given all these things away, and his mind would withdraw a little. The tug of war between the soul and the mind went on for some time, until eventually Ashtavakra asked him, “Where are you at present?“
Janak replied that he was like a crow flying around a vast ocean, finding no dry place upon which to perch. Ashtavakra told him, “You have given away your mind, so do not fraternize with it. Think now with the Guru’s thoughts only — not your own; still the mind.” King Janak was competent in all yogic practices; and with the strength of his Guru’s order, he stilled his mind for a while, and the inner path was opened for him through the attention of his Guru. The Light was revealed within, and he heard the Sound vibrating. Upon completion of this experience, Ashtavakra asked King Janak, “Have you received the knowledge?” The King replied, “Yes, Maharaj, I have received the knowledge.“
The receiver must admit that he has received something. There are those who will say, “Go, child, you have got salvation — your seat in Sat Lok has been reserved.” But brother, what have you received, what have you experienced? — that’s the point. If you have already received something, I rejoice with you. If not, go and search until it is given to you. The True Master gives some capital with which to start the spiritual journey.
The Saint has given me some capital.
This capital is given through Their grace.
With Their life impulse,
They give the true devotion.
Through applying Their life impulse, They rejoin the soul to the Lord with devotion. Sometimes it happens that at the time of receiving, the receiver is unsure of what he has received, especially if the experience is minute. Nevertheless, with daily contact according to the Master’s instructions, that will show increase every day, thereby reassuring the initiate that he has received some experience and is on the true path.
Having admitted that he had received the experience, King Janak was told by his Guru, “This body, mind, and wealth are returned to you as a parshad (gift of grace from a Guru) — use them all in my name — do not misuse anything.” It is very rare to find anyone who gives complete obedience to his Guru. Even those who are willing to give over their bodies are very hard to find. We can obey the Guru just as much as the mind permits; we can do as much spiritual work as the mind permits — how then will we realize that Ineffable One? We should live pure and chaste lives, having no bad thoughts about others. We should become embodiments of the Truth in thought, word, and deed. God is in every being, so we should love everyone and hate no one. Share the woes and trials of others; share your food with the hungry person.
The Guru is He Who brings forth Light in the darkness within the human being. He gives this Light as a free gift. To live in the human form without seeing the Light of God within is a waste of a human life; it is a life without real meaning. Of what use is a tree that does not bear fruit? If the Light of God is not manifest in you, it is a waste of precious human birth. Without a thought you give food to the body, so why not feed the soul also? Naam is the soul’s food. Naam is the perpetual flow of God which is All-Light, All-Completeness, Indestructible, Indivisible, and Perfect; and that flow is forever on its course. When joined to this flow, the soul will get its daily food. This is the Guru’s work — to rejoin the soul to this ever-flowing Source — so obey Him.
When Guru Amar Das wanted to select the capable disciples from among His followers, He devised a test. Remember, Masters always test Their followers, each in His own methods. These tests are for the advanced disciples — those who have advanced by the Master’s grace — and usually they are not aware of what is happening. Guru Amar Das told each of His disciples to make a raised platform out of mud, and they were all willing and anxious to begin. We are usually quick to jump and obey, but how long can we keep it up? When they had each made one platform, He inspected them and decided that they were not satisfactory, and should be made again. They all remade them; but when the Master inspected the work, He told them that they were still not satisfactory, that the clay was not the right type and should be brought from another place. This was done, and the platforms were remade. Again the Guru declared that they were not right, and the disciples remade them once, twice, thrice more. When Guru Amar Das inspected the platforms again, He was still not satisfied and told the disciples that they should change the site, shift all the clay to a different place, and there remake the platforms again. When they got to the new site and the clay was moved there, the remaking started again. Again and again the Guru rejected the work once, twice, ten, twelve times. Again the site was changed and the clay carried over. You may wonder how many disciples were left doing the work. Very few; for one by one they had left, until only Jetha Ji remained. Jetha Ji later became Guru Ramdas when He succeeded Guru Amar Das. But at the time of this story, Guru Amar Das was over 120 years of age, and the people who saw Jetha Ji faithfully doing this work told him, “Why waste your time like this? Your Guru has become old and senile, He is not in His full senses; He tells you to make and remake these platforms again and again — is this the action of a sensible man?” When he heard these words, Jetha Ji cried. He was a soul of no small enlightenment, and could see the Light of God working in his Guru. He could not bear to hear people speaking of Him thusly. Through his tears he said,
Brothers, you do not understand:
the whole world’s thinking may be wrong, but never my Guru’s,
for He is the only Awakened One, the God-realized Guru.
If He tells me to make and remake these platforms my whole life through,
it will be a joy to do so, for I want only to obey His orders.
It is a wonderful example of obedience. All Masters have emphasized the importance of obeying the Guru. Christ told His followers,
If ye love me, keep my commandments.
And what was His commandment?
Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart,
with all thy soul, and with all thy strength.
And what is the natural outcome if you follow this? You will love your neighbor as yourself. God is in each being; and if we truly love Him, we will naturally love Him in all others — wherever He is. It is said that this was Christ’s most prominent command; for in obeying this one commandment, other rules of ethical life are automatically adhered to. For instance, if you love someone, will you steal his goods? To follow this commandment completely removes all danger of one’s downfall from wrong actions. It is useless to outwardly declare surrender of one’s physical body or one’s possessions, if one does not obey His orders. This is not the way to realize the Ineffable. Complete obedience to the Guru has been unanimously decreed by all the Realized Souls as being the only way to realization of the Lord. No one should do what the mind commands. Keep the Guru’s wishes in your mind always, whether the intellect agrees or not.
Our Hazur used to give a very good example of this. On a battlefield, an officer will order the men to fire. Does any soldier stop to ask why? Ethical life is the stepping stone to Spirituality. His orders are that one must be pure, chaste, humanitarian. Forget all pride and vain — glory. One person may have pride of knowledge; another may have done a little meditation and wishes the world to acknowledge him as a great devotee. The consequences are that whatever little a person has gained will be lost, and one will be left lamenting. Always remember that all spiritual progress is solely due to the Guru’s grace — be grateful, not prideful. If a million rupees or dollars are placed in a treasury, why should the treasurer feel proud? Whatever comes, whatever goes, it is all due to the will and pleasure of the Guru; and the receiver should feel neither a sense of pride nor a sense of loss. Humility is a very beautiful adornment. The fact remains always that those who wish to tread the path of Spirituality will have to learn to walk in obedience. Only those who obey will gain emancipation. You may not bow to the Guru’s outer form, which should be given all due respect as the Temple of the Lord; and yet if you obey His commands, even then you will get salvation. It is a law which has the unanimous approval of all the Saints.
Obey the Guru, and sing the True Word.
To speak of the True Word means that there also must be some word which is not true. There is the Word which is the Sound Principle. There is also the outer word, which comes into worldly language, and this has two types: the weak and the strong. The weak comes from unrealized people. The strong word comes from People Who are realized. By outer word, therefore, He is telling us to sing the True Word. The True Word or Sound Principle lives forever; It is perpetual.
The Guru’s Word vibrates in all;
He created It, and He Himself distributes It;
Whoever repeated It was released and entered the Perfect Place.
The Lord is the Source of that vibrating Word. The Creator Himself manifests It in whomsoever He chooses to shower this special grace. Such fortunate souls cross the Ocean of Life and gain freedom. They reside forever in their permanent abode.
The Word vibrated in the four yugas
and made the Truth audible.
The Word is also called the Sound Principle — the Sound which has vibrated through all the four yugas, or ages. This Sound spreads news of the Truth; It is a link with the Source. The outer word of God has had a much shorter existence. For instance, some word was started just about a hundred years ago with Soami Ji. Then about five hundred years back we have the words from the Sikh Gurus. Thirteen or fourteen hundred years ago the Koran was spoken. If we go back nearly two thousand years, we find the birth of the words of the New Testament; then the scriptures of the Jains and the Buddhists date back about five or six thousand years. All these holy scriptures were made up from the words of certain Masters.
The Inner Word is invisible, but It becomes manifest through the grace of a Realized Soul.
The invisible Word was made apparent.
It means that the Master has the key:
The key to the treasure of the Limitless Word
was given into the Guru’s keeping.
He can make the inaudible Word audible and the invisible Light manifest. Whosoever can do this amazing thing is a True Master, indeed, for it is a connection with the True Word, which comes only through the order from God Himself. The true seeker should strive to find the connection and then meditate upon it regularly. What happens to those who are not regular? Soami Ji calls them “thieves of bhajan” when He says,
Thieves of bhajan dive into anger and passion,
drowning themselves in a river of greed.
This type of person lives in attachment, the enjoyments of the senses.The first indication that the inner connection is working is shown when the taste for outer enjoyments begins to become insipid.
So the Master’s command is to Sing the True Word. Have you understood what the True Word is? It is not an outer word — even the words of the Masters, strong as they are, come through the ether. The True Word is that Word which is vibrating and permeating everywhere. It is called Word, Naam, Shabd; It is called the God-into-Expression Power. As long as the attention remains at the level of mind and senses, in the enjoyment of the senses, in the greed, passions, and love of possessions, one cannot receive this higher connection.
Oh restless mind, no one received this through cunning;
Listen, oh my mind! No one received this through cunning.
This subject is not mastered by any cunning means or cunning talk because it is not a subject which lies in the realm of intellect. Cunningness is connected to the intellect, and the Upanishads say,
Senses, mind and intellect must be stilled,
and then the soul perceives.
There are four phases of the mind: reasoning, desire, intellect, and ego. While any of these four phases continue functioning, God cannot be experienced. All four phases operate through the I-hood and if I-hood is there, how can God be there?
When mind is sold to the Satguru,
his selfless service succeeds.
So Guru Amar Das is emphasizing that, in the sphere of spiritual progress, nothing is achieved through cunningness. The same applies to clever lectures, which are outer words. Remember the subject of the matter is the Ineffable Lord, and this cannot be brought into words. He has never been described — and never will be. The Masters have given many, many descriptions of Him; but They always conclude by declaring that He cannot be described — He is beyond worldly expression. Guru Nanak has explained that if a devoted person read millions of holy scriptures and then with devotion and an unlimited supply of ink and paper wrote continuously with the speed of the wind, it would even then be impossible to accurately describe what God is. How can we understand while we are in the sphere of intellect? — for He is beyond intellect. If you think you have understood what I am telling you, then take the next step and learn to still the mind. Otherwise, the hidden treasure which comes into this life with you will go back with you, undiscovered. We waste our whole lives entangling and trapping ourselves in outer activities.
Listen, oh my mind! No one received this through cunning;
This enchanting illusion makes one forget, in its forgetfulness.
Illusion, another name for forgetfulness, starts when we enter this body. We are really embodied souls, but from the moment of birth we become more and more identified with the body; we see everything from the body’s level. The world’s structure is changing every second, but this fact cannot penetrate our minds. Only the soul is Truth, and all changing things are untruth; but we are under the impression that the world and its affairs are the truth. This means that our angle of vision is faulty; it is incorrect. Illusion is something very enchanting and is ever attracting us in its direction. Learned, unlearned, rich and poor both, even the cunning people of the world, are all under its influence and control. How can an individual awaken from such forgetfulness and get out of the clutches of illusion?
This enchanting latent Bani becomes manifest
When you contact some Master Who has got the secret.
The question arises, where did this illusion come from? It is said that the Creator made two power phases. One is the Negative phase, also called the Power of Kal, which is said to be taking everyone into forgetfulness. He Who created the world placed it into a vortex of illusion; and being constantly dragged into this vortex, one loses one’s true awareness.
Positive and Negative were made by the Lord
to create this worldly play.
These two principal powers were necessary for the creation of that play — one being Positive, the other Negative. If you realize the Lord of Creation, all influence of forgetfulness or illusion will be banished forever. Rejoin the Source of the power of creation, and illusion will automatically fade into nothing.
I sacrifice myself to He Who sweetened this attachment;
Nanak says you cannot receive through the cunning trickster mind.
No one ever received enlightenment through cunning, and no one ever will. So leave all cunningness. As an aid to that, understand the theory in a constructive way. Understand that the Maker of both Positive and Negative powers is something else; the powers themselves are not ultimate. For example, if a King makes someone a Viceroy and someone a Commander-in-Chief, then both of these officials get their authority from the King. But they are responsible for their own work. Similarly, this vortex of illusion is under the authority of the Ultimate Lord.
So the Masters tell us to get to know the Source from whence these powers came, and this is the only means of escaping from the illusion. Now Guru Amar Das tells us more about how to realize the Ineffable Lord.
Oh beloved mind, always treasure the Truth.
This is the answer to the problem. It has nothing to do with speaking the truth.
O Nanak, know the True as the Truth.
When the True One, the Lord, came into expression, the Truth came into existence.
Now He is Truth, He was ever the Truth,
He ever will be the Truth;
O Nanak, this is also the Truth.
This constant, unchangeable, imperishable Power of the Lord came into being long before time or age started. It was, It is now, It ever will be in existence. The Name of that Power is the Truth. He advises mind to get connected to that Truth and treasure It forever more. This Power is called by various Names: Truth, Naam, Command (Hukam), Word, etc. The mind should learn to enjoy that Power, that expression of the Lord. At present, unfortunately, it is being dragged by the outer senses reveling in the enjoyments; but in the experience of that Power of the Truth, there is a greater bliss and happiness. So get connected to that Truth and remain so forever.
What is it that drags the mind so easily outward? There are two things: one is form and the other sound. Beautiful objects attract the mind, pulling it towards them. Melodious music has the same effect. These things happen in the outer world, but just imagine the power of attraction of that which permeates and vibrates in all creation. If you get connected to that, the mind will change its attitude and direction; it will be charmed by the sweetness of that Power and begin to enjoy the Truth, the Naam or the Shabd. In that Naam there is an effulgence of Light, which increases in each plane of progression. In that Naam, the Music of the Spheres is constantly playing. Those same things, form and sound, which attract the mind outwardly can do so hundreds and thousands of times more powerfully within — within this human form. There is an abundance of beauty within; and when the mind begins to become enchanted by this inner beauty, it becomes still. When the mind is still, the soul ascends and transcends the senses where the realm of physical matter ends. Ahead of this it is called prakriti in the astral plane, and pradhan in the causal plane, wherein illusion continues to operate. When, from this physical plane, the soul rises beyond the astral and causal planes, it leaves the sphere of illusion completely. This process of progression starts by rising above the physical form and journeying from there.
Oh beloved mind, always treasure the Truth;
Family and friends, you see, will not go with you.
Children and acquaintances ensnare the soul even further into illusion’s net. For the sake of these entanglements, man will sacrifice everything — money, sleep, reputation, everything — he dances to whatever tune they care to play. The Masters see this tragic condition very clearly, and tell man that he is getting deeper and deeper into this forgetfulness, that his True Companion is the Lord within, the Naam, the Shabd, the Truth, his perpetual Companion, the One Who will never leave him. Keep attachments to a bare minimum. You have certain work to do among these relationships, which God has given according to your karmas, which are the reactions of the past actions. These relationships have come as wife, husband, child, friend, and so on. Give to them whatever is necessary — pay your debts. Serve all men, for God is in all men; and do not forget the Almighty Life Sustainer.
If you do not gain freedom from illusion, where will you go when you die? Wherever your attention, there will you reside. Everyone is anxious to accumulate wealth for the benefit of their children and relatives, but is reluctant to give even a penny to help some poor unfortunate that may be dying on their very doorstep. Repeat the Naam, and share your food. All human beings are interdependent upon each other in this world — we cannot live without each other. Earn your own living, look after your family obligations, but put aside a little to help those who are less fortunate than yourself. Since the world began, it has been a natural law to share one’s good fortune with others. Give one tenth, or one-twentieth, or even as little as one-fortieth of your income to aid the needy. Those who are hungry will no longer hunger. India is a poor country materially, and it is said that many loans have been taken from other countries. But brothers, if each man would share his food, there would be no shortage in India today, and no need to borrow money.
There was once a Muslim who with great difficulty saved 300 rupees with which to pilgrimage to Mecca. He was on the point of leaving for the journey when he realized that the plight of some of his neighbors was dire indeed. He was unable to bear the sight of the hungry children and gave his savings for their sustenance, canceling his pilgrimage to Mecca. They say that when the list of pilgrims accepted by God was read out, this man’s name was at the top. His pilgrimage had been accepted without his leaving home. Brothers, you may go on pilgrimage; you may visit the temples; but He Whom you are striving to please is dying of hunger in some nearby fellow human being. If you have no care for your fellow beings, how can you expect to earn God’s pleasure?
You may remember the life of Rabia Basri. One day she was accompanying some others on a pilgrimage, and they stopped at a well to drink and gather water for their journey. When they had finished, had packed away the rope, and were on their way again, Rabia noticed a dog by the roadside who was nearly dying of thirst. She mentioned this to her companions, but they refused to stop and help the dog. Rabia herself went back to the well. The others had taken the rope, so she took her clothes and tied them together; but they did not reach the water in the well. She tore out her hair and tied this on the end, and she was thereby able to wet the clothes and take them back to the dog, who gratefully drank the water she wrung from them. As she tended the dog, she heard the voice of the Lord saying, Rabia, your pilgrimage has been accepted.
He for Whom we pilgrimage and He for Whom we search resides in each and every being. Do we expect to be accepted when we ignore Him? Family and friends will not go with you. This is a definite fact!
None will go with you, so why tie your heart to them?
He is repeating this statement: none will go with you when you leave the world, so where is the wisdom in tying oneself to perishable relationships which cannot last? Do your service unto others, for God is in all; your responsibilities exist insofar as your past karmas must be answered for; so do your duties cheerfully. When traveling on a train one can pass the time in cheerful companionship with one’s fellow travelers; but when each one gets off at his own station, will you cry and cling to one another? You know that the company was to last for but a few hours and so feel no sorrow at the parting. If only we would all realize that this is the true situation of life in the world.
Wherever the eye can see, who is our brother, our friend?
One has gone, one will go, the turn of each will come.
Each one must leave at the appointed time, even ourselves. So the Saints advise, “Keep attachments to a bare minimum.” Attach your heart to He Who is the Thief of All Hearts, He Who will always be with you. When outer conditions become trying, go through the difficulties cheerfully. Give loving service to others, for the sake of He Who resides within them. This is the cure of this disease of forgetfulness.
Do no action to bring regrets.
Whatever you do, do with foresight; think of what the result will be. If you do all your actions with awareness, you will save the regrets later on.
There was once a King named Mahmoud. During his conquests in India he went on looting, taking out millions and millions in diamonds and other gems. One day he fell seriously ill on the journey and thought he was dying, so he gave an order for all the looted wealth from India to be brought before him. When the chests were brought, he said, “Open them up; I want to see them once before I die.” When his senior adviser heard this, he said, “Your Majesty, this wealth cannot leave this world with anyone.” The King, although very ill, replied, “Is that so? Then if and when I reach home, you may remind me about this.” The adviser thought he was about to be rewarded and promptly reminded the King as soon as they entered the palace. The King told him that he remembered perfectly and called for the guards to throw the adviser into prison. When the soldiers grasped the man, he cried, “But your Majesty, what is my crime?” The King replied, “Your crime is that when I was making children orphans and wives widows by killing their fathers and husbands, and when I was looting their properties, doing all kinds of atrocities to amass this wealth, you should have at that time advised me to stop my actions. What is the use of all your wisdom afterwards?“
Why regret now, when the birds have eaten all the seeds?
We go on doing things from which only regret can be the outcome. When a man is dying, tears come to his eyes. Why? Because he realizes that he is leaving his body and his accumulated wealth. Very often his keys, all the possessions he has earned with his own hands, are being grabbed by others even before he breathes his last. All alone in pain and torment he leaves his body with no one to help him. The tears flow more freely when he thinks of all the work he should have done. At that stage, what is the use of regret?
Follow the advice of the Satguru, which will be with you always.
What is the Satguru’s advice? To listen to the True Sound and get connected to the Naam.
The Word of the Guru never perishes;
The Word of the Guru cuts the noose tied by the Lord of Death.
Follow His advice and get out of this forgetfulness. Who will accompany you at death? Only the Guru’s Naam. In this world and in the worlds to come, in the higher planes, He will always be with you. The physical form alone is not the Guru — the Guru is that Power that works within the physical form. That Power is perpetual; It never dies, but sits within the initiate and resides there until the soul has reached its True Home. Did not Christ say,
I shall never leave thee nor forsake thee?
You can call It Christ Power or Guru Power, but the contact with It is given from whichever pole upon which It is manifested. The Masters take up the physical form, and leave it at the appropriate time. Today, where is the body of Guru Nanak, or Kabir, or Christ? Each Master works for the length of His mission. Those who received the contact through Their grace, found that Guru Power working within Them. Today, if you withdraw inside, you can meet all these Masters. The True Master, the God-Realized Soul, is found very rarely. You may find thousands of so-called Gurus, but the True One is very rarely met. The only criterion which is foolproof is the contact with the Light and Sound within.
He removes the veil from the eye and gives the darshan of the Lord;
Such a Satguru do I appreciate.
This statement is very clear. The True Satguru will not merely give fine talks and then tell you to go on following the instructions and gradually you will get something. If this method worked, then everyone would have got contact with God. He Who gives a conscious contact to the aspirant at the start, maybe some little capital to start with, is a True Satguru.
Follow the advice of the Satguru, which will be with you always;
Nanak says, Oh my mind! you then remain with the Truth forever.
To be connected to the Truth ensures your future forever. Meditate on Naam and increase that contact daily, and you will never be alone. Furthermore, your coming and going in creation will finish.
O Thou the Inconceivable beyond comprehension,
no one has ever defined Thee.
Now we come to the crucial point of the Ineffable Story. He says,
O Lord, You are Agam, Agochar — Inconceivable and beyond all comprehension —
and up to now no one has ever defined what You are.
The Guru is the human Positive Pole. For instance, the electric power from the powerhouse is sometimes distributed at one thousand watts, sometimes at ten thousand watts; but the source of the power remains the same powerhouse. Whatever Power the human pole is capable of receiving is distributed. When He withdraws from the body, He merges with the All-Consciousness; when He is in the body, He goes on connecting the souls to that All-Consciousness.
None can define You, only those to whom You have made Yourself known.
Only God Himself knows how great He is. Even the Masters give up the impossible task of describing Him. He is just Ineffable.
You are the Ocean of All-Wisdom;
how can I, a poor fish, define Your depth?
No one can describe even this play which is Your creation.
Take the subject of botany. When I was in America, I met a man who had written a thousand-page book describing a single plant leaf with all its intricacies. It is hard to imagine that there could be so much description for but a single leaf. But a leaf is a wonder of wonders. And as for the rest of creation, there is no beginning nor end to it. Take the soil: it produces sweet fruit, bitter fruit, sour things, flowers of myriad scents and colors. How can all these wonderful things be described?
Eyes do see whatever You created.
You have created the world; You can define it, and only You. Whatever mercy the Lord wishes to shower, that much is manifested; and whatever awareness He gives, that much is expressed by the receiver.
Nanak says You are Inconceivable;
No one has discovered what You are;
Munis and gods who searched for the Water of Life,
found It through the Guru.
Even advanced souls, different gods and goddesses, must follow the same law of seeking enlightenment through the grace of the Guru; so this law apples to everyone. Bhikha says,
He who boasts he has received, has received nothing.
Truly Realized Souls come with humility — humility is Their adornment — and They never say that They know everything. They credit the Lord for everything.
As the words come from God,
so they are brought into outer knowledge.
This Water of Life, the Water of Immortality, is given by the Guru. Guru Nanak says,
You came to this world for the Water;
that Water of Life is given by the Guru.
It is the giver of all kinds of happiness; It immortalizes the person.
Rise above all garbs — if you stick to them,
that will result in diversity and cunningness;
these will bear no fruit.
Remain where you are, in your own religion, your own environment; but learn to rise above body consciousness. Our connections with religions are but physical. The true purpose of joining them was to receive the Water of Life; and for that, go to any Realized Soul Who will give you the contact. Merely adhering to the outer symbolism of religion will not avail you of this precious gift. You will die bound in its chains. The true wealth can be received only from the Satguru.
Within is a deep bowl,
overflowing with the Water of Life
which He extracts and distributes.
Naam is like a deep well within you; so learn to leave the body, rise above, and take a deep draught of this Elixir of Life. We have a store of an abundance of Life within us, and yet we continue to come into birth and death. Will we ever get a small sip of that Elixir?
All nine doors are valueless;
the Elixir of Life is found at the tenth.
Our attention is constantly flowing out of these nine doors: the two eyes, the two nostrils, mouth, the two ears, and the genital and excretory orifices; and so we can never taste the Water of Life. When the attention or soul inverts and gathers at the tenth door or orifice, which lies hidden between and behind the two eyes, it finds that the Elixir of Life is dripping there. Any soul that rises to that point may sip that Elixir. It is a matter of inversion, and this inversion is taught by the Guru.
Meeting the Satguru, brother, inversion starts;
Dying while living, the mystery is unraveled.
Just by meeting that great Personality and placing one’s full attention upon Him, the senses will incline toward inversion. Then at initiation He gives an experience — you can call it a boost — and the soul rises above the body consciousness; the body becomes apparently lifeless. He then opens the inner eye and gives the contact with the Light within. He opens the inner ear and gives contact with the Sound Principle within. The Name of such a wonderfully competent Personality is Guru, Satguru, Sadhu, or Sant. Dying while living means that the soul must rise above the body. Unraveling the mystery means an awakening into the Beyond. There is no other way but the way which is opened up by the Guru’s grace. If you think you can do it yourself, I will be happy to see you do so; but remember this, and think very calmly over it: the soul is at present at the mercy of the mind, the mind is under the control of the senses, and the senses are being dragged by passions. What kind of practices can the soul do, thus identified with the body and all its senses? Yes, it can do any of the outer practices: reading, writing, devotional prayer and song, rites, customs, fasting, pilgrimage, austerities, and others. Identified with the senses, doing practices involving the senses, how can the soul rise above these things? If you admit you cannot do it, then take pity on yourself and get someone’s help. The Guru’s greatness is shown to some extent when, with a little of His attention, He opens your inner eye and reveals the Light within. You yourself will admit that you have received something. It may be a little, it may be more, but that must be increased day by day.
Water of Life is received by the grace of the Guru
Who manifests in the true heart.
When the Guru gives the sitting, the experience, He manifests Himself in the heart of the disciple.
From the Beyond, God’s command has come;
Without the Satguru, realization cannot come.
The Lord has laid down certain fundamental rules, and among these is the one which decrees that without the Satguru there is no realization for any soul. Christ said,
… neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son,
and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him.
He Who sees can make others see also.
In all Your creation, few are there who see and recognize You.
Very few men, in all God’s creation, ever see Him and realize Him. Lord Krishna told that one in a thousand walks toward Him; and if a thousand such ones were found, then from them only one will take what is offered; and if a thousand of those were found, only one from them will realize it.
In hundreds of thousands, there is none;
In millions, there may be one.
What happens to the rest, then? They remain in the passions of the senses and the sense enjoyments. Some are left on the astral plane, some on the causal plane, some are here — on the mental plane.
Your Servant, there may be only one;
all the rest are lost in business.
Some desire only the world and what it has to offer, and they remember God for this reason. How many are there who remember the Lord for His sake alone?
By the grace of the Satguru,
greed and pride are finished;
Only His attraction remains.
No greed of the world — or of the other worlds — remains; there is only a desire for God. All this happens by His grace, and this is why the Satguru is so very attractive.
Nanak says, Upon whomsoever rests His pleasure —
He gets the Elixir of Life through the Guru.
So finally, who realizes the Lord? Whoever is truly in search of Him. Wherever fire burns, oxygen comes to help. Wherever there is a fire of separation from the Lord, so the Lord Himself makes it possible for that soul to meet the Personality in Whom He has Himself manifested. This human Positive Pole, or Satguru, rejoins the soul back to the Lord.
If there is His mercy, then the Satguru is met;
Connection to the Lord’s Naam is made.
You must sacrifice three things: physical body, possessions, and mind. Then, obey His commands which are: “Within you is the Naam; rise above the senses and go within.” He who does this gains freedom from illusion.