The Power behind the Words
If one accepts the major premise of a supreme and benevolent Creator, whose fundamental nature is love, then he can scarcely believe that Creator would leave untold billions of his children to wander around like babes in a wilderness, unguided, unenlightened and unprotected … There simply must be Masters … They are necessary to any rational order in this world.
Without them, there is chaos, only blind drifting, and chance. Nothing but hopes and vague uncertainties; groping speculations.
With a Great Master in India
What do we know about the Master? Most of us know very little about who he truly is. And more than likely he is nothing like what we think he is.
Today, when Baba Ji reaches out to us as a friend, perhaps we become a little familiar with him and forget his true identity. We see the man taking part in worldly activities and fun, and perhaps we forget to look past the man and remember the significance behind him, his inner form, the Shabd.
And because of our spiritual immaturity, we analyze the Master’s words and his actions and we defy his instructions. We create our own interpretation not only of who and what he is, but also of how he should act and react.
This process of intellectual and mental analysis is the only way we know to create our own understanding of something before we can accept it – it’s the way we have learnt to exist in this world for thousands of lives.
But the inner world is different. The Master’s world is not measured or gained through mental or intellectual fine-tuning and understanding. It is received as a gift, a ray of light and understanding, shot directly into our hearts. It is an affair of the heart. We feel his truth, we know it instinctively – it is intrinsic to who we really are.
So what is the Master? He is our friend, our teacher, divine guide and incomparable example.
In The Path of the Masters Julian Johnson devotes an entire section to the Master. Among other things he tells us:
His mind must be of a very high type, keen, penetrating, quick of wit and sound of judgment … His mind must have under-gone the severest training and discipline … In him all of the excellences of the civilized man reach their highest expression … In him all the virtues recognized by the world are carried to their highest degree of perfection.
Dr Johnson also tells us that the Master stands alone; he comes and goes absolutely at his own will and asks favours of no man. He has all things at his command. If he suffers hardships or inconveniences, that is because he chooses to do so for some purpose. He is the supreme giver, not a receiver. His life and teachings are universal. He belongs to no race or time, but to all nations and all times.
Irrespective of what form or action the Master chooses to reach down to our level, so that he can interact with us at our degree of understanding, we should never lose sight of who he really is.
When we sit in front of the Master and the mind is in charge, it will analyze everything he says or does, and we will take with us our own analysis of him and what he says.
When we sit in front of him without the mind and simply enjoy him, then he speaks to our heart. In the gaps between the words he speaks are the messages we receive. In the gaps is his state of being. If we catch the gaps with an open heart we come away filled, wrapped in his fragrance.
When the Master speaks his words have significance, but they don’t necessarily have the meaning we ascribe to them through our limited understanding. But because the Master has penetrated the divine mystery, whatever he tells us is very significant. It can transform us completely, if we listen to him. Whatever he says is pure gold.
Listening to him means we put aside our interpretations and our thinking and allow his words to settle in our hearts, for then we will feel the tremendous love he releases within us – in the inner silence.
When the Master speaks he is on a different plane. The distance between us and him is great. We are at the level of mind, and he is beyond mind.
The Master says more in silence than when he uses words. Just think of the power and intensity during darshan, when not a word is uttered; while we, even if we are silent, remain chattering within. When we listen to him speak we have to drop the mind and let the heart sing. Baba Ji asks us not to take notes during his talks because we miss what he says and we misinterpret. We hang on to his words and our interpretations and then we produce pages of words which we send speeding around the world via the Internet. Is this not a form of judgment of him – to do exactly the opposite of what he asks? To give in to the ego because we want to share our interpretation of him?
When we hang on to the words we lose the gaps – when his heart connects to our heart.
We have been told that the Masters never use words lightly or carelessly, but our interpretations happen quickly and somewhat carelessly. We hang on to our interpretations and often it is only years later that the real significance behind his words rings a bell within us and we understand. Our interpretation serves only to keep his words in our memory until we can understand the true meaning of what he has told us. We need language, we need words to communicate. He doesn’t need words to communicate with us. He touches our hearts and shows us the way through his inner connection to us, a far more subtle form of communication.
As Mirdad says:
When your I and mine are one, even as mine and God’s are one, we would dispense with words and perfectly commune in truthful silence.
When we are busy with interpretation we can’t listen because our focus is on the interpretation. When we start thinking, listening stops.
Have you ever sat near a waterfall, and just listened to it? We don’t analyze what the waterfall is telling. All we do is listen; quietly we just absorb the beauty of it and its melody. We simply allow it to go deeper and deeper within us, calming us. That’s why we have water fountains in our homes or gardens. We love the sound of water because it calms us, because the mind slows down as we listen to it. As everything becomes quiet within us, it’s as though the Shabd enters us through the waterfall, through the serenity it creates.
So learn to listen – don’t think. When we stop thinking and start to listen, that’s when we open our hearts.
This, too, is what we try and achieve in meditation. What happens during bhajan? We sit quietly and listen for the Sound. The moment a thought comes into our mind the listening stops. The power and the importance of bhajan is that we learn to drop the mind and take delight in Shabd.
In With A Great Master in India Julian Johnson tells us that the Shabd is the Master’s real form, consequently both the Shabd and the Master are the two vital factors in making the upward journey. Without them both it cannot be made.
The true form of the Master is Shabd. It is Shabd that we listen to in the waterfall, and in our meditation. It is Shabd that we listen to and Shabd that our soul delights in.
And I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man:
A motion and a spirit, that impels
All thinking things, all objects of thought,
And rolls through all things.
William Wordsworth, extract from Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey