The Season of Summer
As we progress from autumn to the harshness of winter, and finally through spring to the warmth of summer, there is hope in our hearts and we look forward to the season of bounty. Summer for us represents such a season, when nature displays its beauty both in the wild and in heavily scented, colourful gardens; the fields bring forth crops for our sustenance and the trees yield delicious fruit and provide shade. The sun shines brightly, and for a little while our minds are lifted from our preoccupations.
In nature these seasons have a purpose, each following the one before in nature’s self-perpetuating cycle. We, as inhabitants of this land, under the same sun and sky as the rest of nature’s creatures, are not immune to these changes, to which we also must adjust. Maharaj Charan Singh often explained that the winter has to come and the summer has to come, but if we don’t adjust to the variety of the seasons then we will end up suffering all the more.
Our karmic seasons
However, our karmic seasons are as erratic as they are unpredictable. Virtually in a day we could experience the withering of our expectations as in autumn, the wintry chill of fear over some loss, the hope for recovery as in spring, and the summer flowering of our fulfilled wishes. Enduring such daily fluctuation and uncertainty causes us constant worry, a sense of deep unhappiness. We all wish to rise above this level of total uncertainty. We all yearn for peace and permanent happiness, the end goal for which human life has been granted to us by the Lord.
The saints, during their discourses, explain to us at length the reasons for the daily changes in our fortunes, and also offer a permanent solution towards which we can work each day, in parallel with our other activities. They explain that behind the curtain of the mind there are other worlds of existence or levels of consciousness, which are infinitely superior to this world and where the sense of happiness that can be achieved is beyond our comprehension. The saints go so far as to say that, just as there is no real happiness in this world, equally there is no hint of pain, worry or sorrow in the higher planes of consciousness.
A spiritual guide
For realization of this spiritual potential, on a practical and pragmatic level we must acknowledge that we need the help of a guide in the same manner that we would seek a competent person to obtain a worldly skill useful for our day-to-day living. In the field of spiritual science, the living Master is that unerring and competent guide. The path of spirituality, the sacred science of the soul, is an exact science that is aimed at elevating our essential self, our soul consciousness, to function in the spiritual planes even during our lifetime.
Alongside the practical element of spirituality – our daily meditation – a certain amount of instruction and logical explanation is given for our current state of play and our predicament. The gist of the saints’ teachings is that the soul, our real identity, is trapped here as a result of the adverse actions performed by us under the influence of the lower mind and the senses, which become binding and act as a downward drag on our soul and thus keep it confined to the level of physical phenomena. The saints advise us that if we were to raise our consciousness to the eye centre, riding the vehicle of the sound current already present within us, we would get a foothold in the higher spiritual planes. Once the sound current is grasped, we wake from deep slumber and come alive.
Once the call of the Master awakens the soul, we begin to progress to the place of light, through which we journey back to our eternal home. We can draw great comfort from the fact that the disciple of a Master is not left alone to make his way back home under his own initiative but that he is constantly guided and encouraged to go forward in the loving company of the Master. Mystic literature is emphatic on the point that the Master remains with his disciple every step of the way, until the disciple is delivered safely in the lap of God.
The love of the Master and his overflowing grace are a source of indescribable happiness and engender great strength in weathering the storms of life in relative safety. In the meantime, we must do the best we can in adjusting to the karmic seasonal realities. Those who are under the protection of a living Master, those who accept his words of wisdom sufficiently to mould their way of life so that it reflects the essence of the teachings, are indeed among the most fortunate.
By grace it is possible to have full knowledge of all other created things and their works, and indeed of the works of God himself, and to think clearly about them, but of God himself no one can think. And so I wish to give up everything that I can think, and choose as my love the one thing that I cannot think. For he can well be loved, but he cannot be thought. By love he can be grasped and held, but by thought neither grasped nor held. And therefore, though it may be good at times to think specifically of the kindness and excellence of God, and though this may be a light and a part of contemplation, all the same, in the work of contemplation itself, it must be cast down and covered with a cloud of forgetting.
And you must step above it stoutly but deftly, with a devout and delightful stirring of love, and struggle to pierce that darkness above you; and beat on that thick cloud of unknowing with a sharp dart of longing love, and do not give up, whatever happens.
The Cloud of Unknowing and Other Works, translated by A. C. Spearing