Life’s True Purpose
Whether we are aware of it or not, there is one thing, one thing alone, that we crave to feel, to know and to love with every particle of our beings. And that is the divine reality, whom many call God – the deep root of our souls. Seeking after and realizing this fundamental truth is the real purpose of our existence here on earth. Rumi says:
There is one thing which you must never forget.…
All human beings come into the world for a particular mission and that mission is our singular purpose. If we do not enact it, we have done nothing.… Remember the deep root of your being, the presence of your Lord. Give your life to the one who already owns your breath and your moments.
Rumi, as quoted in Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, Love Is a Fire
“Remember the deep root of your being,” says Rumi. Remember, that one reality. For, if we have done nothing in our life towards that end, then we have done nothing at all that is worth anything in this world of illusion.
At the level of ordinary human consciousness, we know that God is beyond anything that our limited senses and intellect can grasp. Yet mystics tell us that that one power, God, exists as the constant life-support and consciousness of creation – the essential nature of everything in existence.
Mystics also tell us that it is reasonable to assume that if such a reality does exist, there must be a means by which we can know it. Such a means, they say, does not involve the intellect or the five physical senses – because God is not merely a physical or mental being. Rather, it involves turning our attention within, so that we can transcend the mind and senses and turn our soul to what is subtle, spiritual and essential.
Spiritual essence manifests within the soul in the form of sound and light. It is something that the subtle faculties of the soul can both see and hear within. We are speaking of the creative stream of the life current that is known in various religions.
This Truth, this essence of God, can be experienced only in the human form through the guidance of a God-realized living Master. By means of the subtle vehicle of the sound current, the Master takes his disciples into realms of consciousness deep within the soul, where they can gain true knowledge of the one eternal Lord. In the following, Guru Arjun Dev gives us a hint of his own experience:
In the society of the Holy, I saw the Lord within myself
And I loved the sweet Name of the Lord …
And my mind is held, and I hear the Celestial Music,
Of which I cannot tell, so wondrous is its ecstasy.
Guru Arjun Dev, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, translated by Gopal Singh
We often find that we forget that which is so very close to us, that which is within. That which is part of the appearance of things and temporary, we love. We live in the changing world of appearances and believe the illusion to be solid and real. It never occurs to us that the real unchanging essence of things is something infinitely deeper, infinitely truer. We forget the certainty of our own death and become imprisoned and obsessed by our desires and passions. We pass our lives in such a state until, finally, we are fortunate enough to meet a perfect liberator, a living Master. In the following, Maharaj Sawan Singh describes the unique reality of such a Master:
The Master is not a creature of this world and is not in the bondage of this body.… The living Master is one with the Lord. He is the true manifestation of the Lord in this world. He has been given the duty of working for the salvation of its creatures. He is the manifestation of the Shabd. He is the source of love…. Only man can guide man. This is the law of nature. The Master assumes human form according to this law, so that he may persuade people and unite them with the Lord through his own strength.
Philosophy of the Masters, Vol.V
Relying upon the grace and strength of the Master, the disciple steadily grows in conscious awareness of the Lord’s presence within the soul. The more that spiritual awareness expands, the more the disciple begins to see the ego for the true emptiness that it is. A profound change in understanding begins to take place. This includes a shift in the disciple’s identity, a shift that takes him from believing the self to be the separate ego-self to knowing that his true nature is that of divine spirit. The soul discovers that there actually is no such thing as a separate self. There is only God.
The Persian mystic Aziz Nasafi, as quoted in the book What is Life? says:
The spiritual world is one single spirit who stands like unto a light behind the bodily world and who, when any single creature comes into being, shines through it as through a window.
According to the kind and size of the window, less or more light enters the world.
For us, it is the perfect Master who shines in the world as the great beacon light of the spirit. For us, he is a wondrous window, a link into a world otherwise unknown and unexplored by most of us. Sitting in the Master’s physical presence is a great privilege that brings with it a deeper, truer awareness of what it is that we are longing for. The Lord is manifested to our consciousness through the Master. Beauty, purity, love, power and truth are his true qualities. When we love him, we not only love his personality and his physical form, but we love something far subtler and much greater. What we love in the Master is his true essence. Kabir says:
I fell in love with Him,
His love like sugar dissolved
To fill my soul, my heart;
My body’s every pore cries ‘Beloved, Beloved’
Mouth is required no more.
Kabir, The Weaver of God’s Name
The disciple, finding himself held in the Master’s love, experiences a communion with him that reaches previously unknown depths. This brings remembrance and soul recognition. The disciple has been touched by the truth. As Great Master tells us, it is a communion in the deepest intimacy, from soul to soul. He writes:
The currents of love emanating from the heart of a devotee strike against the heart of the Master, draw power from it, and return to the heart of the disciple with a double force. In this manner the spiritual powers of the Master enter the heart of the disciple and it appears to him that the Master has become one with him, and he himself feels one with the Master. Once the disciple is in communion with the Guru, all the gates of bliss and happiness are open to him.
Maharaj Sawan Singh, Philosophy of the Masters, Vol. II
The power of love that is incarnated in the Master automatically awakens love for the Lord in the disciple’s heart. Gradually, through association, there is created in the disciple a clear awareness of, and deep attachment to, the presence of God in his Master. As a result, the disciple falls helplessly in love with the Master.
At the same time, the Master never ceases to urge his disciples to turn their love and longing within, to seek within their souls the divine melody that is the real Master. For he is truly present within us in his Shabd form. This is the purpose of meditation – to know who the Master really is and, thereby, to know the Lord.
Meditation, as taught by the Masters, is a means of moving our consciousness into the Truth, the Shabd, the Essence. They tell us that we must return our attention to its source if we are to find true fulfilment and happiness. Nothing in the world of appearances can fill the emptiness within our hearts and satisfy our deep longing for wholeness. Only surrender, love and devotion to that infinite power can bring satisfaction. We want the real thing, says the Master in so many words. We want the actual.
There is nothing more beautiful, more profound or more precious and holy than meditation because we can never be closer to him than we are then. We meditate simply because we want to be with our Master. We want to be with him wholly, completely and with every particle of our being. There is nothing else in life that can satisfy such longing.
Through the practice of meditation, we awaken gradually to the finer reality of the Shabd Master. What we perceive in the physical Master as his innermost reality, we also perceive in meditation as the substance of our very own souls. We become aware that the real Master also lives within us.
There is no thought or process of reasoning that can lead to the understanding of God or the inner Master. Realization is achieved as a result of direct inner communion with him. The key to inner communion with the Lord and the inner Master is complete surrender in his love. The key to surrender in his love is meditation. For he is not separate from us. He is our deepest innermost self.
On the spiritual path there is room only for one, not for two. And that one must be the real thing; it must be true. Anything that is not true, such as the ego – that I-ness or individuality – can never become part of the Shabd, the one. His truth always exists within us, but there is a veil of I-ness between his reality and our awareness. Therefore, he remains unknown to us – intimately close, yet so very far away. And so, if we are to truly know him, our soul, our true essence, must merge into Shabd, the true essence of the Master. Great Master says: “As long as there is ‘I’, then he does not reveal himself; but when ‘I’ is gone, then only he remains”(The Dawn of Light).
In other words, when the “I” is eliminated, the illusion of ego will vanish. When this occurs, “he” replaces “I” as the authentic, real self. Rather than ego, we find certain knowledge of the Master’s presence.
Spiritual progress is a matter of a deeper, more intimate, more loving communion with the inner Master. When the Master’s love captures the soul and takes it over, our entire awareness is automatically placed in him. Nothing else can exist in such a state. There is nothing left to want. There is no where else to go. And so in this way, we remember the deep root of our being. We fulfil the true purpose of life.