Seven Steps to Salvation
Music has no language and God is not restricted to any one religion, hence it is often said that inner music is the universal language of God. When in tune, it elevates the conscious state of the soul and creates a conducive environment for it to connect with the spiritual world.
Outer music is based on seven notes, wherever you go. In Indian music the combination of these seven notes of the scale is known as Sargam (similar to Doh, Ray, Me, Fah, Soh, La, Te, Doh in Western culture). Sargam starts at the note Sa (the lowest note) and ascends to Re, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha and Ni (the highest note). Now, as inner music is said to be the language of God, we can look at Sargam from a Sant Mat point of view. The interval between every ascending note is a step that takes us closer to God.
SA for Satsang
In music theory, the base note of a chord is the lowest note played forming the fundamental of the chord. Likewise satsang, which literally means association with the divine, forms the foundation of our spiritual quest. Mind is often influenced by the company it keeps. By association with the people of the world, our worldly tendencies will predominate. However, keeping the company of spiritually elevated souls will allow one to become more spiritually inclined. So satsang helps us to touch base with our true inner self, and discover our true objective.
RE for Rescue
Moving one step up, the definition of rescue in the dictionary is to ‘set free from danger or imprisonment’. Our ultimate goal is to be rescued from this world of illusion. The question is, how do we get from here to there, from being tangled up in the maze of the mind and senses to becoming one with the Lord and his ocean of bliss?
The first requirement to attain liberation is a human birth. And the importance of human birth comes from the fact that this is the only form in which we can ultimately attain God-realization. This is where grace comes in as, in order to reach our objective, we need to be blessed with a human birth.
GA for Grace
There’s a tendency to measure grace by how many of our desires are fulfilled. However the saints explain that grace is anything that pulls us closer to the Lord. So in essence, having got a human birth is nothing but grace and it’s with grace that we realize we are separated from the Lord. Nevertheless, the biggest sign of grace by far is having met a true living Master.
With nothing in our pocket and the Father with us – this is the best grace we can have from the Father.
Maharaj Charan Singh, as quoted in Legacy of Love
This takes us to the next step, which is the Master.
MA for Master
The Master has been sent here by the Lord to take us from here to there. Maharaj Charan Singh, quoted in Legacy of Love, says:
To go back to the Father’s house is the main purpose of our coming into this life. All other things we do simply to maintain ourselves in this world. But while doing so, we should not forget the Father who has given us all these things.
The Master does so much for us; it is beyond our comprehension. In the following verse we are reminded of how little we do and how much he does for us:
If you take one step to take refuge in the Master,
The Master meets you on the way by taking hundreds of steps.
If you remember the Master just once,
The Master remembers you again and again.
Even if your devotion is as small as a fragment of a cowrie shell,
The Master showers all benefits on you.
The Master is all merciful,
His praise is beyond understanding;
I bow again and again to the one and incomprehensible Master.
Bhai Gurdas, as quoted in Philosophy of the Masters, Vol. III
We should feel lucky that we have a Master who takes such good care of us; the least we can do is express our gratitude through prayer, and take that step closer to him.
PA for Prayer
Prayer is universal. From the beginning of time, people have been praying. However, rather than remembering the Lord, our prayers usually are restricted to asking for worldly help. Maharaj Charan Singh used to illustrate this point by saying that we are beggars at the door of the Lord, that the Lord is a very good giver but we are very poor beggars; the Lord has nothing but jewels to give us, but instead we ask for worthless stones. This kind of prayer will not take us to the Lord – a different kind of prayer is needed:
Never pray for any mortal thing … I vow I will not pray to God for gifts nor worship him because of gifts bestowed, but I will entreat him to make me worthy to receive, and worship him for being of the essence and of the nature that must give.
Meister Eckhart, edited by Ursula Fleming
Real prayer, then, is anything that reminds us of the Lord. Every religion has some holy word: God, Ram, Christ or any other word with which devotees can remember God. Likewise, we go to our Master. He gives us the five holy names to repeat, which is our simran, and thus these words become sweet to us. They become supercharged because they remind us of the person who has shared them with us. Simran creates a magnetic attraction between us and the Radiant Form of the Master. It creates a yearning to be with the Master all the time.
DHA for Darshan
Darshan is the helpless gazing at the Master by the disciple and can be of two types – outer and inner. When we look at the physical form of the Master we are not able to take our eyes off him, because we are in love with him. However, as Maharaj Charan Singh says in The Master Answers, “The real darshan is inside. Everyone has to work for that. The outside darshan is good, but then we have to take a practical view.” On another occasion, when Maharaj Charan Singh was asked by a foreign disciple to go with him on his return back home, he replied with characteristic humour:
You want to abduct me to the United States? There’s a lot of checking at the immigration department. They won’t allow me like that. So you have to conceal me in such a place that nobody knows you are taking me.
As quoted in Legacy of Love
A lot of importance is given to inner darshan because it is the darshan of the Master that will help to take us to true liberation, to the state where we will be free from all suffering.
NI for Nirvana
The word literally means ‘blowing out’ – referring, in the Buddhist context, to the blowing out of the fires of greed, hatred, and delusion, being free from suffering, as nirvana means the union with the Supreme Being. In The Master Answers, Maharaj Charan Singh, when asked about the state of nirvana, said:
Nirvana means release from birth and death, salvation. God-realization or salvation are different terms to explain the same thing.
Salvation or God-realization, which started off as our goal, is the highest note on our Sargam ladder. It is union with the Lord. Some of us are just embarking and some are already on this musical journey. What we must always remember is that the Master is with us at every step to help us merge with the divine power.