See also “Library > Sant Kirpal Singh — Talks > What “Guru” means”
A talk given by Sant Kirpal Singh in Hindi at Sawan Ashram, New Delhi, India
Let us take a hymn of Guru Nanak. Please attend to it carefully. The Masters come to this unhappy world of woe and suffering in order to show the Godward way to the people. And yet we deny Them, for we take Them on our own human level and thus, more often than not, fail to benefit from Their august presence amongst us.
Guru Nanak tells us that if we come to a perfect Master, we must accept His words. He gives us right understanding. What is right understanding? God and His Power and Spirit can be experienced within the tabernacle of flesh right here and now. He who has seen Him can help others to see Him. He has something substantial to offer us as personal inner experience:
Hearken ye, O bewildered and woebegone,
take ye a firm hold of a Master-soul.
We are ceaselessly being tossed along on the sea of life with no handhold or foothold to keep our barque steady on the tumultuous waters raging around us. It is only a competent Master Who can ferry us across the fearsome and fearful storm in which we are caught. Guru Nanak does not speak of the self-styled teachers with whom the world abounds. They are as ignorant of the Reality as we are. How then can they show us God’s Light when they themselves are grovelling in darkness? An intellectual giant, like Yajanavalkya, may give us a grand exposition of the science of soul, but cannot demonstrate the truth of what the scriptures speak so ably and eloquently.
The Light of God is in each one of us, and we naturally live by that Light. But, strange as it may seem, we have not so far seen a flicker of It. A competent Master can teach us to introvert, to tap within. He gives us an experience of the “way-up” to have a glimpse of the Light of God. Some people may object as to the necessity of a Master. They feel that the scriptures provide enough guidance, little realizing that the books cannot work in the laboratory of the mind seething with countless currents and undercurrents. The term “Guru” means One Who can dispel the darkness of ignorance and reveal the Light of God within.
Jesus said: “When I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.” Most of the people continue to think that Christ is still there to give them necessary guidance and help.
He has very frankly stated: “So long I am here, I shall continue to serve as Light.” As soon as His mission was over, He left the earth plane. Those who went to Him were duly initiated into the mystery of the Holy Light.
Though Jesus has gone, the Christ Power of the Holy Ghost still continues to work, as it worked even before He appeared on the scene. The God Power or the Christ Power is ever engaged in the work of regeneration and has from the beginning of time been doing the task of linking up human souls with the Divine-in-man. For Its working, this Power has, of course, to choose a human pole somewhere. “The wind bloweth where it listeth and no one knows whence it cometh and whither it goeth, and ye may only hear the sound thereof. So is with the man of spirit.”
To know whether a person is a competent Master, a Man-of-spirit, is to ask from Him for an inner “Pentecostal” experience of Light. It is a frank talk. Fact is a fact. So there is nothing at which to be dismayed. The world is never without a Godman. Search for Him high and low; and if you are sincerely after God, come to the Godman Who will surely appear and be your aide.
The scriptures per se cannot give us a correct lead. Take for example the text: “Braham (Brahaman) is only one without a second.” But there are many other qualified Brahams as would appear from the personal experience of persons with varying approaches within. There are several stages in the inner spiritual development; and unless you happen to meet a perfect Master, you fail to get to the core of what the text signifies. Life comes from life as does light from light. A Master cannot give you more than what He has. Guru Gobind Singh says:
It is by transferring His own life impulse
that the Master makes a true devotee of thee;
It is only then that one attains union with the Lord.
Just as a mother feeds the baby by milk – feeds from her breasts, the Master feeds the initiate-disciple with His loving life-impulses. Now you can well imagine the greatness and the generosity of the Master. It is merely out of His innate compassion that He rears us with His own life-breaths of the Divinity in Him. He, God-like, offers it as a gift of Nature free and freely. Some Americans once wrote to my Master, Hazur Sawan Singh Ji Maharaj, that they had enormous riches and wealth, and they would gladly exchange it for something of the spiritual riches from Him. Hazur wrote back: “It is purely a gift of Nature but very precious and is granted free to whosoever aspires for It.” Saints do not want your worldly Wealth. They have with Them the wealth of Naam in abundance. You should search for such Saints and Faqirs Who have this divine gift with Them, the rare gift of Divinity, and seek for your portion of It. It would be a blessed day for you if you are linked with Naam and freed from the fear of death.
Naam means God-into-expression Power. It is characterized by Light and Sound, the primal manifestations of God-hood. There are two types of Bhakti or devotion: one is that which is undertaken at the level of the senses, and the other is that which is undertaken at the level of the spirit, through the direction and guidance of a perfect Master. All the scriptures tell us to worship God only through the guidance of a Guru or a Master. Why? Because He is God-in-man and tells us how best to approach God within the temple of the body.
In Him the God Power works in fullness in the form of Shabda or the Holy Word. The Power of God is overflowing in the Master Who helps others by giving them a contact with that Power. Once one gets into touch with that Power, fear of death vanishes away. Is there anybody who can save us from death our last enemy? No, none.
Now let us try to understand as to why we are afraid of death. For this, there are several reasons. In the first place, we do not know what death is. And secondly, we have not learned to die. And thirdly, we do not know where we are led to after death. The Masters tell us that death is simply the transference of soul from the physical to the astral world. It is not a bugbear as it is commonly supposed to be. It is just like the setting of the sun here and rising elsewhere.
We can overcome the horror of death by practising the art of death-in-life under the instruction and guidance of a competent Master. “Learn to die so that you begin to live,” said Jesus. Death is just a gateway to life eternal. One who comes to know this and practices it from day to day “is not hurt of second death” (death which in the end overtakes all). The Guru grants a practical demonstration of this process of death. He gives an actual experience of it by lifting us above body-consciousness. This experience can be increased by regular, faithful, and accurate practice as enjoined by Him. Guru Nanak says:
He who is afraid of the pangs of births and deaths,
Let him take himself to the feet of Saints.
Again, why so? “A beloved of the Master fearlessly goes into and comes out of the jaws of death.” Saint Paul, speaking of Himself, once declared: “I can happily walk through the valley of death because Thou art with me”; and then testified that He died daily, “swallowing death in victory.” Similarly, Kabir used to say that He died a number of times every day and found immense pleasure in the process.
It would indeed be a feat of wonderful divine grace if one comes to conquer death, in a practical, scientific way. It is a matter of daily routine with the Man-of-spirit, for He can, at will, separate the spirit from the tabernacle of flesh and go out into the Beyond. He who traverses daily in the unearthly realms under the protective guidance of a Master-soul at once becomes fear-free of death. “There are many mansions in the house of the Father,” is what Jesus declared, meaning astral and spiritual realms where one could go at one’s will or pleasure.
After leaving the physical body, the spirit goes into one of the worlds of spirit, may be astral, mental, or into the Beyond, as the case may be, rising in higher Consciousness from plane to plane. It is only after one traverses into the Beyond as a pure spirit that one gets self-knowledge or the knowledge of the Self in him as freed from all limitations of the flesh and of the mind. It is not simply a matter of feelings, emotions, and inferential knowledge arrived at on the intellectual level, but a personal experience of the soul when it wings its way free from the all limiting adjuncts, physical and mental. All this and much more one can gain through the good grace of the Master and come to a stage when one Christ-like would exclaim: “I and my Father are one.”
The Master cautions against the varied tricks of the tricky mind which usually runs amuck after sense pleasures and tries to evade and bypass the holy commandments. In such moments, one must seek shelter at the holy feet of the Supreme Being.
Many years ago when life insurance came into vogue in India, an agent came to see me and pleaded with me to have my life insured. I told him: “Look here, my friend, my life has already been insured by my Master Who has guaranteed to me all feasible help and protection both here and in the hereafter. After all, the physical frame has to be handed over one day or the other, and so I have done well in handing it over, right now, to my Master and surrendering my all to Him. You have come not to insure my life, but only to assure me of something in the event of my death for which I do not care.”
After all, what is the purpose of all our noble endeavours? Nothing but a vision of the Lord within us. The last verse of the Guru Granth Sahib very significantly tells us: “May I be blessed with Thy vision divine.” So if you fail to have this divine vision and remain stuck-up only in deeds of one kind or the other, what avail will it be? It is just like watering the leaves and branches of the plant without feeding its roots.
Man is an inverted tree with roots upwards at the eye-focus the seat of the soul. The soul is to be fed with the Waters of Life springing from the throne of God, the Divine Melody that brings refreshing showers from above. If this is not achieved, the human life goes in vain.
One who is not fortunate enough
to get into touch with the Word is miserable;
How can he be happy and enjoy life to the fullest?
The real happiness comes only through contact with the Spirit and Power of God within. And this contact is given only by a Godman. It is, therefore, said:
Whosoever comes in contact with a Godman,
He is immediately put in touch
with the All-Pervading Power of God.
But such a meeting comes about by a mighty good fortune:
Only they who have God’s name writ
in their foreheads get attuned with the Word;
Nanak saith: Blessed indeed are the people
who attend to the eternal Voice of God.
It is because of such a glorious life of the spirit that we go to the Man-of-spirit. He being Word-personified can help us to the ever-reverberating Word and make us truly blessed. To know God truly is life everlasting. We can gain life immortal for the self in us only through the active aid and guidance of a Godman. This is the only way and there is no other way besides. Guru Nanak, therefore, saith: “Hail to thee, O Master! I am now eternally thine.”
These are the words of an Awakened Soul, like Nanak. Do we still need any more testimony? Let us see what He says further:
“I cannot now live even for a moment without Him.
To forget Him and His Word is a veritable death to me.”
Spirituality then is the essence of life on earth and the Saints and sages revel in It and live by and for It. This is to Them the purpose of life: “I live only to sing of Him or let me die. It is easier said than to revel in the true Name.” This then is the sermon of Guru Nanak.
The communion with the Holy Word is what makes one really religious. Those who have not yet been initiated into the mystery of the Word cannot claim to be religious. The Word is at the root of all creation. It is by the Power of the Word that God manifested Himself in so many forms and colours. God made man and man made all the religions. And why and to what end and for what purpose? Simply to reach to the basic truth and rediscover for himself the strands of life lost in the work-a-day world of his own making. He who goes in search of the Holy Grail and succeeds in finding out the life-principle in him, becomes a true man, a true woman, a true devotee, and a true crusader, as a worshiper of the Holy Light in the Holy Hill of the Lord in himself. “O ye blind, forget not God’s Light for It shall be a lamp unto thy feet on the path God ward.” With all the organs of sight intact, we are yet vision-less. Why? Because we witness not the Light of Life in us. It is this Light that is to take us to the House of God. But when? When we are blessed with inner vision. And how are we to get it?
The inner eye is there, but we have not known to develop it. A Master-soul opens it for us and makes us see the Light of God. He then warns us to heed so that it is not darkened again. It is for us religiously to practice the Light and to catch the life-current made manifest by Him. Gradually we are led on and on by this Light in the company of the Master – now our Gurudev, in His lustrous form by our side as an unerring guide and an unfailing friend. He never rests contented until He takes us to the source of Light and Sound, the Sat Naam or the true Name. It is the most ancient, the most trusted, the most perfect, and the most natural science; but we have forgotten it. The Masters come from time to time to revive it for the benefit of mankind: “One who himself sees things darkly cannot make others perceive plainly.”
We, with all the wits about us, are blindly groping in the dark, and cannot lead others to the way of Light. Now, when you have eyes, what is blindness? When you have eyes, Saints have Their own terminology:
They are not blind who have no eyes on their faces;
O Nanak! blind are they who art not at one with the Lord.
It is pretty easy to be highly intellectual and to gain knowledge of the whole world and start preaching to others, but it is really difficult to open the inner vision and witness the glory of God within.
“The entire world is stark blind;
if there were one or two,
I would manage to make them
understand and see Reality.”
Similarly, Swami Ji has said in much the same strain:
“The wakened ones say that everyone in this world is blind;
O, none knows how to peep within into the Beyond.”
Guru Nanak also speaks in this context:
“Surely a blind man cannot lead the blind aright.
O Nanak! a man of vision only can take the right path.”
It is pretty clear that we blindly follow those who have no personal experience of God’s Light. They have a smattering of book knowledge and have made it a means of their livelihood. We should understand and see whether they can deliver the goods. If by following such a teacher for a number of years we do not get an ingress, we must know where the fault lies. Our scriptures are full of praises for a real teacher, call Him a Sadh, a Sant, or a Guru as you may like. There is a special virtue that these extol.
Again, Guru Nanak says: “How can the servant have his fill if his Master has not enough for himself?” The world abounds in false masters and half masters who claim to have the whole truth with them. It has been the same ever since the world began and so was it in the times of Nanak. Guru Nanak traveled far and wide. He visited the so-called teachers and in a loving way persuaded them not to make a trade of this sacred science.
He undertook four long travels in the north to the Himalayas, in the south as far as Sangladeep or the modern Ceylon, in the east up to Burma and the Chinese frontiers, and lastly in the west up to Israel covering Persia and Iran.
When the Masters come, They offer right understanding to the people; but after Their passing away, the populace once again, by force of sheer habit, fall back into their evil ways. And yet another Master makes His appearance somewhere to revive the same old Divine Truths and invites the spiritually hungry to His banquet hall.
Without a perfect Master nobody
can manifest Naam in himself;
And without the manifestation of Naam,
there can be no peace.
So long as we do not meet God’s chosen human-pole, we cannot, by any means whatsoever, have an inner contact with the Spirit and Power of God. God has no brother, no friend, no mother, and no father. He is Supreme in Himself, and yet His Spirit and Power works everywhere, in you, in me, in any and everybody else. But it is in a latent state. In the Godman, however, it is fully manifested and in a patent form, for it is through Him that God works among His people. This is why we have to seek the guidance of such a Master. He can guide us both here and hereafter into the Beyond. It is the manifested God-in-man Who attracts us to Himself and makes manifest His own Light and life.
Guru Nanak once again says: “The teacher and the taught are both off the track.” And it is really so inasmuch as they (Shidhas) think that, by self-mortification through austerities and penances, they can silence the mind and gain salvation. Little do they know that by flagellating the hole, they cannot kill the serpent inside the hole. The deadly cobra can only be charmed by the snake-charmer’s flute and not by will-worship after one’s own will and fancy without divine authority.
They come and go out of the world without any purpose;
Like crows they wander in and out of deserted houses.
The crow is a filthy bird and is always attracted by carrion. We too, like crows, love the muck of the world more than any thing else. Love of lucre being uppermost in our minds, we waste away the precious moments of our life in getting and spending our powers to no purpose and barter away our soul with mammon.
Without contact with Naam, there is endless suffering,
A barren land that yields not to the plough-shares.
With all our mighty efforts in science and technology, have we been able to bring happiness to man? The more we advance materially, the more we find ourselves drifting into a state of perpetual terror and precarious imbalance. With a pool of nectar within, we can be really blessed.
But the question is are we blessed? No, not in the least. Why? Because we know not to draw upon the divine beatitude, which is ours and of which we are the lawful heirs by the divine decree. Oh! if we could but know how to tap inside and drink freely and fully the Water of Life from the empyrean spring within us. Because of our lack of knowledge as to its existence and the technique to delve deep into the depths within, we are suffering helplessly and hopelessly in body, mind, and spirit. “Sound mind in a sound body” is a well known adage.
But is our mind sound? No. Why? Because of the lack of spirit-force behind the mind. The mind is continuously frittering away its powers (borrowed as these are) through the sense organs into the fields of sense-enjoyment. The spirit, as at present, is not the master of the house in which it lives. We have not yet known how to conserve and develop the spirit-force, which can only be done by freeing the spirit from the clutches of mind and matter, and attuning it with the Spirit and Power of God.
When the spirit comes to its own and takes control of the mind and the body, everything is set right in its own proper place, and one is freed from all the ills of life, physical and mental, and is enabled to ride roughshod over all kinds of calamities, even Nature’s upheavals.
Soul has its own curative power; and if the human system is not unnecessarily interfered with by toxic foods and too much medication, it can stand four-square to all the wind that may blow from any direction whatsoever. “One cannot reach the Kingdom of Heaven as long as one does not give one’s self completely to Truth.”
One must surrender to Truth and Truth shall uphold in the end. This is an axiomatic truth and knows no variation. So long we do not enter within, we cannot see God nor enter into His Kingdom. “The Kingdom of God cometh not by observation. The Kingdom of God is within ye.” Now, what is Truth? Guru Nanak Himself gives us an answer:
O Nanak! to know the True One truly is Truth.
Truth was in the beginning,
Truth was the beginning of Yugas,
Truth is and Truth shall ever remain, saith Nanak.
Truth and Naam are synonymous terms. The contact with Truth can be established only by a practical process of self-analysis, and there is no other way besides. Kabir, therefore, says:
Why waste thy time and labor
in fruitless search at wrong ends;
Better by far take thou a sure Guide
Who knows the way, saith Kabir;
With such a Guide by thy side
thou shalt surely reach the right end,
Covering thou the distance in no time
which otherwise would take ages long.
Excuse me when I say that the so-called Gurudom has done much harm to this sacred science. Everyone who has a little book knowledge and a sharp tongue tries to pose as a prophet and an apostle and impinges upon the credulity of the simple folk, with the result that the poor artless people very soon discover to their dismay that they have been duped and begin to curse the Gurus. The very word “Guru” becomes an anathema to them and they feel shy to come near a Guru, however genuine one may be. This is the root cause of unbelief in God and Godman.
Recently I gave a talk on Gandhi Ji. What was the reason of his spectacular success? It was because in his presence one would sing of God in Arabic, another in Sanskrit, and every one would take up “Ram-dhun.” Gandhi Ji in the end would try to synthesize the teachings of all religions that were and are one at the bottom. The sacred teachings of all the Masters whether in the East or the West are essentially similar, because God is One, though our approach to Him may be individualistic. We have, therefore, to arrive at a common ground, the Divine Truth.
How are the people at large to know your worth as Satsangis? It is simply through your behavior towards fellow beings. The deeds are certainly more eloquent than words. You are judged for what you are and not from what you claim to be for yourself nor from your long drawn ancestor. Then I spoke for a few minutes on the essential unities underlying all religions. Acharya Vinoba Bhave, who was present at that meeting, declared that was the best way to approach integration.
First, learn to enter into your body, collect yourself at the eye-focus, and then try to proceed on to the true Home of the Father. That is the only way back to God. He alone is a true Master Who can attune you, while yet in the flesh, to the tabernacle of God, with the Power of God in you. It is only then that you will truly benefit from the human birth that has come to you as a rare gift from God.
“By communion with the Word
one reaches the true Home.”
— Guru Nanak
The same Word Power is known as Naam or Shabd in the terminology of the Masters. Guru Nanak says:
The creation and dissolution come about
by the Power of Shabd,
And it is again through Shabd
that re-creation takes place.
In His absolute form, God is Ashabd or Wordless; but when He came into being or expression, He came to be known as Shabd or the Word, characterized by primal Light and Sound. The Mohammedan Saints call the same Divine Power as Kalma. Maulana Rumi says:
O Lord, lead us to the place
from where cometh the wordless Word (Kalma).
This Divine ground or the Holy Hill lies within the human body at the seat of the soul and can be reached by the aspirants with the grace of a Master. If you will attune yourself with the heavenly music, it will raise you to the highest heaven, to the throne of the True One, which is beyond the magnetic field of Maya.
Maya, or delusive-matter, has three phases known as Maya, Prakriti, and Pardhan in the physical, astral, and mental worlds respectively. The Masters teach us a way across all these mind zones and into the Beyond to God in His primal manifested form. In unmistakable terms, Nanak refers to the Master as the final authority:
Once the Holy Word enters into the very fibre of your being;
Ye shall forever be freed from all the ills born of ego.
The Master here extols the importance of emergence and absorption into Shabd, for it will make you fear-free for all kinds of ills and will enable you to see the glory of the Lord in full effulgence. When one transcends the human in himself, he becomes divine in his nature and essence and begins to see visibly the invisible hand of God working in and around him.
The Shabd burns down to ashes all vanity and infatuation,
And the worshipful disciple testifies to the Light of God in him.
Egotism is the worst of all the human maladies, it being the most ancient, the most potent, the most enduring, and the most difficult to be remedied. And yet its cure, too, lies in the human frame itself in the Shabd or the Divine Melody, hearing which the mind, like the venomous cobra, is enchanted and charmed; and its fangs are drawn out for good.
The union between the two (soul and Oversoul)
comes about in a smooth and easy way;
And one reaches the True One
truly and gets united with Him.
It is just like going up in an electric lift. The Word has a great magnetic pull. It lifts the soul out of the body in no time. You have but to turn towards Him and there comes His Spirit and Power to help you, and take you to the true Home of your Father.
Those who are purified by the Word a
re freed from desires, anger, and egotism;
Ever absorbed in the Word,
they live in Him eternally.
When this stage is reached, one cannot but sing praises of the Lord all the time. “Glory unto Him,” is always in his heart and his tongue. Nothing gives him greater pleasure than to talk and hear of Him. What has he to do now with the pleasures of the world? With no desire left in him, anger and egotism vanish away on their own. Guru Arjan says:
Why not, O friend, leave thou
the field of sense-enjoyments
with no real happiness in it
and take to the distilled Nectar Divine?
Without tasting the heavenly Elixir,
all get lost and are bewildered with no peace.
Again, the question arises as to how to get to the fountain of the life-giving water. Then there comes the answer:
By all thy vain efforts and mighty deeds
ye can’t get it;
Go thou in all humility to the Saints
if ye desire to get it.
It is purely and simply a gift of God, and a Godman alone may grant it if it is so writ in one’s forehead. This is a fundamental Law of Nature, and there can be no deviation from it. You cannot have it by riches or by strength or by crying for it. The reason and intellect also are of no avail inasmuch as this precious treasure lies far above their spheres. Try for it, if you like, by whatever means you have; you will not find it. He Who has it, can make you partake of it:
Why then forget He Who is the very life of our life?
This then is the position in clear words. If you are after life-eternal, you can have it right here and now. There is certainly no promise of it in the future, as many would want us to believe. Take to it then seriously and search for it:
Those who get lost in the Word
become dead to the world;
Once lost, they are lost forever
and are not hurt by death.
Once one is absorbed in the God-into-expression Power, one is lifted above and gathered up once and for all. He is freed from the cycle of births and deaths and is not hurt by either. To know true God truly and to live in Him is the purpose of life to wit, gain life-everlasting. Guru Arjan says:
He who, through the grace of the Master,
practices the art of death-in-life,
He trans-humanizes the human in him,
and at once becomes divine.
In a nutshell, this is the way-up to the mansions of the Lord. Whosoever wishes it can follow it and become pure existence, consciousness, bliss, a conscious co-worker of the Divine Plan.
What passions music cannot raise and quell. Such indeed is the power of earthly music. The inner heavenly harmony is something unifying. It is a rare gift unknown and unheard of on earth.
All outer harmonies and delectable tunes are but an imitation and cannot come up to the Music of the Spheres, hearing which the mind gets absorbed into It and becomes a hand-maid of the soul; and both proceed onward, each to one’s native habitat, the Chitakash and Sach Khand the True Home of the Father respectively. While the outer music, at the most, may carry us to the farthest fringe of the rarefied of matter, yet it fails to cross the transfrontiers of the material world; the inner Divine Music or the Holy Word helps us to cross over the mental zones to purely spiritual realms:
All this and much more are the glory of the Word,
And one comes to love the Name of the Lord.
It is only through Shabd that we develop love for the Lord. It is just like riding the ray of the sun and reaching the sun itself. Similarly, the lowest links of this Divine Music made manifest would enable you ultimately to reach the source of the music, Sat-Naam or the True Name. When you meditate on this Sound Principle within, by rising above body-consciousness, a conscious contact is established between the spirit and the God Power, and you begin to understand Him and His ways; and the more you do so, the more your love flows towards Him.
But all this depends upon the grace of a competent Master, with God Power surging in fullness in Him. It is this divine vision that induces true love and devotion. Excuse me, mere chanting from without the solemn hymns and psalms, however glorious they may be, will be of no avail. It may be likened to feeding on the crumbs of others.
A true lover must have his own first-hand experience of his Beloved and then chant whatever he may. There will then be a world of difference between the two. God-realization is something personal. Unless you yourself are intoxicated with this Divine Bliss, neither you can benefit yourself nor can you impart any benefit to others around you.
Without Shabd the entire world is wandering,
distracted in delusion,
And all are helplessly and hopelessly revolving
up and down in the great wheel of life.
We are all in the time-scale of life and death. There is no end to the gyrations in which we are. If we want to escape from the world of time into Timelessness, we shall have to take the help of Shabd that is resounding in space and out of space, and is the only means of salvation:
All worship on their own, each in his own way,
And claims that to be the best.
Here is something of supreme importance. Guru Nanak explains that the intellectuals are caught up within the domain of their mind and intellect and think that they are adepts in God-knowledge. They, however, put God in cold storage and forget Him altogether. It is really surprising to ignore Reality and profess to know about Him.
How can we know God without experiencing God? The divine knowledge, be it understood, cannot be imparted by just anybody. It is a special privilege of one who is armed with the authority to do so not by any secular organizations or societies nor by one with academic qualifications, but by God Himself. Divine dispensation is done by Divinity from where soever He may choose to work.
Even competent Masters Who carry on this work never claim any credit for Themselves, but humbly attribute it to the grace of Their Master and to the grace of God. He who knows, says not; and he who says, knows not:
O Bhika! the narrative of God is ineffable;
He who knows Him, breathes not a word,
while the ignorant one brags of Him a lot.
Whatever experience of God one may have cannot possibly be explained in human language. Even the Saints Who are One with Him and are witnesses to His doings simply glorify Him and His Power flowing through Them:
No one without a Guru can unravel
the mystery of God on his own;
The riddle of God cannot be solved
by mere idle talk.
Even in ordinary work-a-day life, we do not give any credence to hearsay testimony. How then in esoteric matters of supreme importance can one rely on cock-and-bull stories and fables? Spirituality is a practical subject that can only be learned and practised with the aid and guidance of a practical teacher who has for himself made an experiment with the Spirit and Power of God in the laboratory of his own body and mind, by unveiling one by one the coverings hiding Reality in him.
On the level of the intellect one may say that he is not the body, not the mind, nor the intellect, nor the pranas or vital airs; but unless he has experienced this personally by complete withdrawal from all these adjuncts and gathered himself up to the eye-focus, all his assertions, however vehement, are valueless and fail to carry any conviction. I say, “this is my turban; this is my waistcoat; this is my handkerchief.” Can I not pull off all these raiment at will and put them on again when I like? But can I step out of my physical body at will or unhook myself from one or the other of the bodily adjuncts? If I cannot, then all my tall claims are of no avail.
This then is the crux of the whole problem. We say that we have the senses; but unless we have a firm hold and grip over our sense instruments and are able to manipulate them as we desire, they are not our tools but we are theirs. The Master grants you an actual experience of the “way-up” within by lifting you above body-consciousness, and then you see for yourself what it means in practice apart from the theory.
It is then that you know that you are a spirit our consciousness functioning in and through the bodily organs both cognitive and motor. What we call “attention” is the outer manifestation of the pure consciousness that we actually are. It is a matter of practical demonstration that can be had from the Master Who initiates you into the science of soul.
In due course when you grow in stature and develop this technique, you become the Master of the house, capable to command the mind and the senses to work or not to work as you may desire. But now the indweller in you is an abject slave in his own house, a love prisoner in the citadel, chained hand and foot like a king on a chessboard, susceptible to every gust of wind that blows, bouncing from place to place with no roots anywhere. In the swirling waters of life, we are floating like seaweed with no roots inside on which to hold.
When once you actually rise above body-consciousness, you will come to know the intrinsic value of the body and the ephemeral sense pleasures which will lose all their charm and glamour, like so many multi-colored pebbles on the seashore. It is by rising to high altitudes that you begin to see how small and insignificant the mighty rivers and mountains look. When you get above the starry welkin above, you will realize what a potential you had in you and to what extent you could tap into it to your advantage. Guru Arjan says:
O ye! why barter pearls for pebbles?
These are the piteous words from the Awakened Souls when They see us indulging in the filthy sense pleasures. A house built on sand cannot last long. It would tumble one day, and the crush when it comes about, as it must, will be tremendous indeed. It is through some mighty good deeds in the past that God has blessed us with human birth. We are all fortunate that we are listening to the testimony of the sages and seers. Why not then make hay while the sun shines:
O Nanak! it is only by practising the Shabd
that we overcome the ego.
One cannot possibly forsake the lusts of the flesh unless one comes to know by actual contrast the real happiness in the life of the spirit that comes about by communion with the Holy Word. From the world of relativity, we have to rise to the world of Reality to know the difference between the two, to distinguish sham tinsel from sterling gold tried in fire. It was not in vain that Jesus counselled the people to buy from Him “gold tried in fire.”
Guru Gobind Singh, speaking of the divine glorious life He had attained by being in the Lord, tells us:
From duality, I attained oneness with Reality;
How then could I agree to remain any more in the world?
But the Lord reminded me of my mission,
And commanded me to continue with it;
This is why I am still working here on the earth plane.
0 ye! consider me now as the servant of one and all.
There is not a grain of falsehood in what I say;
Nanak, the Lord of realms beyond, is my witness.
Again, He goes on to explain thus:
I am just a slave of the Supreme Being,
And have come here as a mere spectator to see His glory.
Those who consider me God and worship me as such,
Believe it, they all shall go into the fires of hell.
It is simply out of our sense of gratefulness that we extol the Master and sometime in our enthusiasm exalt Him to a pedestal higher than that of God. Otherwise, there is no difference between God and the God-in-man or the chosen human-pole on and through which God Power chooses to work.
I have tried to place before you some rare Truths from Divine Wisdom in as simple and lucid manner as possible. You should try to assimilate them by trying to live up to these teachings and gain for yourself the aim and purpose of human life.