Through the Eyes of a Seeker
As a young seeker who is drawn to the teachings and the path of Sant Mat, I am inclined to write the following article, which hits upon what I feel every sincere seeker is going through. I hope it will reassure these seekers all that they are not alone. And I hope this article will give insight into my personal thoughts and feelings, whilst addressing how one should try to conduct oneself before plunging into the path and getting initiation. My advice will be on the basis of what the past and present Masters have stressed and advised.
I am a beginner on this path. I have not got initiation, but most of my family have. Never have they forced the path on me – they simply took me to satsangs from the time when I was very young. Back then satsang and the teachings seemed to make no sense, and everything that was said usually went in one ear and out the other. It’s only as a young adult that anything remotely ‘spiritual’ seems to have taken hold of me.
Like any other seeker, I feel I am on a spiritual quest which sometimes feels quite daunting. Daunting in the sense that I am unsure if I am truly heading in the right direction. I have been and still am searching into many different belief systems, just to satisfy my mind and compare them to these teachings. At times, I thought maybe this was a wrong way to approach things. Was I abandoning the teachings? Not so, is the answer, as Maharaj Charan Singh so wonderfully states in Light on Sant Mat:
Let me tell you at once that instead of discouraging, we encourage a thorough study and investigation of the various spiritual disciplines, for it is only by impartial, comparative study and investigation of the various teachings that one comes to know the true value of any system.
This great quote gives me so much hope. It makes me feel that it’s all right to be searching into different religions, philosophies and belief systems if my heart feels the need to. We seekers should not feel that this is wrong. In fact, it is quite the opposite – we should do it if we feel the desire to. These sorts of concerns and issues I believe are best dealt with before initiation to give us a strong foundation we can build on, if we decide to become firm followers of this path.
I understand and sympathize that some youthful seekers on the path of Sant Mat, or any other path for that matter, may feel that they are under pressure to adopt a particular path. Perhaps, for some seekers, their family members are following this path and therefore they may feel compelled to do so as well.
Others may be feeling pressure from friends and are only pursuing the path in order to fit in and not feel left out. Or lastly, to those who might be similar to me, perhaps you are putting a little pressure on yourself about where you stand on the path. For instance, I occasionally feel time is passing by and I still have not moved forward in my mind and am still contemplating on certain things. Should I get initiation? Is this path for me, and do I really want to pursue it and make it a part of my life? These are just some of the questions that I ask myself.
Nonetheless, it is in these specific moments that I take great comfort in what the present Master often says. He frequently reminds us seekers that we should be comfortable with the path we choose to follow, and that he does not want disciples to have blind faith. This advice always strongly resounds in my mind.
Therefore, we seekers should open our hearts and ask ourselves ‘am I heading into this path for the right reasons?’ We need to be patient until our hearts reveal the answer.
So, to all seekers reading who may also be unclear about whether they should follow the path, please don’t despair. We can take refuge in the words of Maharaj Charan Singh in Quest for Light:
This path is not to be followed just … because someone known to you is on it. You yourself must understand the science thoroughly and see what it is, what it expects of you, and what it has to offer.
The urge to follow this path is to come from within you. No other person can tell you if you are fit to follow the path or not. Your own heart must speak.
Everything comes at the proper time. Please do not be in a hurry to receive Initiation. Have no worry. First get yourself fully satisfied mentally. Your questions and doubts are quite genuine.
And again in Light on Sant Mat he says:
It is perfectly correct for you to make sure that you really want to tread this path.… Even if you spent half your life in investigating the truths and possibilities of Sant Mat, I would not be sorry. I would even add that you will get credit for any honest and sincere inquiry.
As seekers, we may ask ourselves what practical steps we can take to develop a deeper understanding of the path. In Quest for Light Maharaj Charan Singh gives us some beautiful advice that I feel we should try to take on board:
The right thing for you to do at this stage is to read and study books on this science and try to understand the teachings fully. This understanding of the subject is very important and the time spent in this endeavour is well utilized. Try to live up to the principles of Sant Mat. Effort can and should be made to mould your life according to the teachings of the saints.
And in Die To Live he says about seekers:
They should try to understand the philosophy thoroughly and make a full investigation, and once they’re convinced about the path, then they should try to follow the path.
All the above advice is so positive and practical. If we are enthusiastic to follow this path, we can get a great head start by understanding what the key principles are. We can then try to apply all that we read and understand to every aspect of our daily life. For example, we can follow the lacto-vegetarian diet, refrain from alcohol, attend satsang and generally be a good person. As seekers, we have the opportunity to mould our life in accordance with the teachings of the saints right here and now. So why not try to begin.
The personal and private journey to discover one’s spiritual path is not easy and straightforward. In this period we seekers should try to be positive, patient and be brave enough to ask ourselves tough questions. This, I firmly believe, will eventually lead us to the place and path where we are meant to be.
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds;
and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
Bible, Matthew 7:7–8
What we look for beyond seeing,
and call the unseen;
Listen for beyond hearing,
and call the unheard;
Grasp for beyond reaching,
and call the withheld –
Merge, beyond understanding, in a oneness
which does not merely rise and give light,
does not merely set and leave darkness –
But forever sends forth a succession of living things
as mysterious as the unbegotten existence (Wu)
to which they return.
Lao Tzu, as quoted in A Treasury of Mystic Terms