With the Master
To sit at the feet of a perfect Master is, no doubt, the greatest good fortune anyone could possibly have – supreme good fortune. When we’re in his presence, waves of spiritual energy automatically draw us inward and upward. Something inside us wakes up, and there is an outpouring of love, a sense of fulfilment beyond words. The intensity of the experience goes beyond anything we are used to feeling, and with the feeling comes an even greater desire to be closer and closer to our Master.
A Master possesses the unique magnetic power of love which draws a devotee towards him and creates within him a feeling of indifference to worldly attractions. This magnetic power is an inherent quality of the Master and emanates from his every action and movement. Everything that radiates from the Master – the light on his beautiful face, the lines on his forehead, even his indifference when he is displeased with the devotee, the lustre round him when he speaks smilingly – all pierce the heart of the devotee and thus attract him to his Master. Through the lustre of the Master’s face shines the lustre of God, and one sees God in his Master.
Maharaj Sawan Singh, Philosophy of the Masters, Vol. II
Master is showering grace on us all the time. If we could see the spiritual light in which he bathes us, no doubt we would be blinded. Who knows what profound effects his presence has on our stubborn earth-bound natures? We do know from experience that these moments of darshan grow rather than fade in our memory. They stay with us, and when recalled, revive in us the same feelings of love and devotion. They become the fuel for our spiritual practice.
However, in his presence we sometimes begin to feel very frustrated with ourselves. In the light of his spiritual purity all our own defects come up before our mind’s eye. At those times we may have to force ourselves to concentrate, to fight with the aches and pains of our bodies, and to look at him through a barrage of wayward thoughts and feelings of guilt. It can be a painful experience. But as he tells us, diagnosing the illness is the first step towards recovery. The longing to be at peace with him, to be one with him, spurs us on.
At other times, he makes us feel that we are his beloved children. His love completely overwhelms us, leaves us breathless and satiated. These times of bliss are to be experienced and digested.
How little we understand our good fortune and the limitless nature of his gift. Like a loving father, our Master is very eager for us to share his wealth. Certainly we cannot achieve spiritual progress by our own efforts and even the extent of our love for him is not in our hands, but he reassures us that simran and bhajan will create that love in us. So at least the sitting part we must try to do.
Master keeps telling us we’ll find what we are looking for inside ourselves. Do we really believe him? At times it seems that we’re too busy, too worried or too excited about some outside obsession that we hesitate to even try it out. But sooner or later, he brings us round; through his grace and the constant hammering of satsang, and perhaps occasionally after a series of hard knocks, we eventually start trying it out for ourselves.
The time comes when we just have to face the fact that our lives are never going to be quite the way we would like them to be. We may never really be happy with the way things are going. Certain problems we’ll never be able to solve. No matter how much we long for peace, we never actually seem to experience it – unless, that is, we remain in the present and in the thought of our Master.
We get discouraged because we cannot see, as no doubt the Master does, the gradual lightening of the load and the imperceptible centring of our attention. Sometimes we get so weighed down by our miserable performance that we might even stop trying, or we try so little that we cannot hope to achieve anything. But as Master has told us: if we don’t take the correct dose of the medicine we cannot hope to be cured. Meditation definitely works, if we put enough effort into it and keep at it.
If we can concentrate in meditation as easily as we can concentrate at the time of darshan, and if we can just realize that he is there in front us when we close our eyes, then the same currents of love will automatically spring up. As soon as we think of him with love and devotion, we start to concentrate and become absorbed in him. The more we think he is there, the more we feel he is there, and then we know that he is there. Then the love comes into play, and we become lost in him.
As a satsangi recently put it: I think the key to simran is giving; it’s the sense of lovingly offering each word to the Master inside. Then comes the sweet feeling of communion, the touch of his presence, fanning the flames of our love.
We need the outer Master to get started, but the real thing is inside all the time. As Master explains, the physical Master is a guide. He is there to generate love in us, but the true form is the Shabd, which is inside us. He assures us that the discipline and balance he is asking us to have in our lives, and in our meditation, will make us receptive and give us more love and faith.
The grace is pouring out. As the Master opens the storehouse of Nam, giving initiation to thousands of souls, it seems that wave upon wave of love and compassion are flowing out towards the sangat. What a wonderful guide and companion we have to inspire us. It is marvellous to see the Master smiling and laughing. It is as though the whole world is right again. Real joy is so uncommon in our lives; his laughter seems like a wellhead of happiness, evoking images of a state of limitless bliss.
So even if we cannot comprehend the extent of the gift, at least we can try to make a real effort to acknowledge his love and grace. Meditation is the best way to thank the Master.
God troubles about nothing but our good will. He is quite unconcerned about any other of our qualities or lack of them. All he wants from us is an honest, straightforward, simple, submissive and loyal heart. When he finds such a heart, he takes possession of it, controls all its responses, and so uses it that it finds in everything, no matter what, something which is invaluable in its progress to holiness.
Jean-Pierre du Caussade, Abandonment to Divine Providence