A Master’s Love for a Master
Each one of us has it within to reach the same level of spiritual attainment as the Master. This is the reason that he initiates disciples: to realize within ourselves the divine perfection that is God.
No one comes to God without going through the Master. We come in human form and we are taught by the Master or Guru in human form. That is the will of God. Every single Master that has come on to the earth in human form has had to find a Master in human form in order to travel the inner journey back to God.
The love that the Masters have for their own Masters is indescribable. Still, we have books full of love songs, poems and stories written to express the depth of their adoration, gratitude and respect.
The woman saint Mira was born in 1498, the grand-daughter of the ruling prince of Merta in Rajasthan. Her Master was the low caste cobbler Guru Ravidas and she followed his path of divine love with unflinching dedication, in spite of public censure, persecution by her family and even attempts on her life.
Mira repeatedly pointed out the necessity of a Guru in order to realize the Lord. The Guru, she said, is the doorman to the gates of salvation: he alone holds the key to open the door. With the key of divine love he opens the lock and flings wide the portal of liberation for the soul to enter. “Without meeting the Lord I cannot live,” she says. “But without the Master He cannot be realized.”
In her prayer to her Master she says:
Pray come, O Master, illumined and wise;
A glimpse of your face has enchanted me.
When you come my way, inquire for the one
Who, pining for you, is frenzied with pain.
Day and night I have no peace or respite,
And I writhe like a fish out of water.
Save for your darshan nothing can soothe me;
In constant anguish I am nearing my end.
Mira, The Divine Lover
The lovers of the Lord tell us that there is no human love that can compare with the experience of divine love. We have only the merest glimpse when we compare our love for each other and the divine love that the Masters write about. Ours is worldly love. But the love of the Masters is constant and never failing.
Mira describes the pain of separation from her Master as the writhing of a fish out of water – nothing can soothe this terrible agony except the darshan of her Master. One might think that Mira is being dramatic, but it seems the greater the love, the more the pain of being denied the darshan of the beloved.
In his poem “The Malady”, Saint Paltu speaks through the voice of a girl who has fallen in love and is disclosing her secret to her mother. Knowing that many will be able to identify with this powerful emotion, he draws the listener to his own condition as he talks about his own malady:
I have lost my heart, O Mother, I feel so helpless!
I feel so restless without a glimpse of my beloved.
My life I shall lay as offering at the feet of my Lord.
This malady of mine will cost me my life, for sure.
There is but one remedy: if I could but meet my beloved.
I have been smitten with poignant love,
And the dart of His Name has pierced my heart.
Unconscious, I fell down, oblivious of public slander.
Who can treat me, O Paltu, except Master, the Physician?
I have lost my heart. O Mother, I am so helpless!
The poignant love that Saint Paltu describes is very moving: having met his Master he is now sick with love for the Lord. Often in human love we are caught in the paradox that the one we love is also the one who makes us suffer, and the one who makes us sick with love is also the one who has the power to cure us. Paltu calls the Master his Physician, the only one who can cure his malady. He refers to the “dart of His Name” and uses the ancient analogy of the dart or arrow of love to describe the sweet pain that he experiences.
Every story told about how a Master met his Master is a love story. In Heaven on Earth Daryai Lal Kapur describes the three year search by Baba Jaimal Singh to find a Master who could teach him about the five shabds. Alone and barely 15 years old when he left home, Baba Ji had travelled on foot to every place where there was talk of a Guru. The author describes the meeting with Soami Ji:
Baba Ji sat on the banks of the Jamuna River, deeply distressed and not knowing what to do next. He had spent almost three years in his search; he had covered thousands of miles, visited hundreds of places and met countless sadhus, yogis and holy men.… Now on the brink of discovery, his search seemed destined to fail. His heart was torn with desire to meet the Master he could not find. With tears rolling down his cheeks, in his helplessness, he prayed to the Lord.
Suddenly Baba Ji became aware of two bathers engrossed in a discussion about a holy man and the wonderful discourses he gave. Baba Ji moved closer to them and listened for a while. He asked them the name of the saint they were speaking about and where he lived. They told him that the great saint, Soami Shiv Dayal Singh, known as Soami Ji, lived in Panni Gali….
He quickly went to the house and found Soami Ji Maharaj sitting in the courtyard among his disciples, about to start satsang. The moment Baba Ji saw him, a sense of peace filled his heart and he approached and bowed respectfully at Soami Ji’s feet. Soami Ji smiled and remarked: “He has arrived – my old friend!”
Baba Ji became Soami Ji’s most devoted disciple, deeply immersed in meditation and unquestioningly following his Master’s instructions. And in Sar Bachan Poetry we read Soami Ji’s love poem to his own Master:
I am in love with the form of my Master,
My heart is enraptured by his sweet words.
Ever since I embraced his feet and bathed
In the dust of those feet
The darkness of my heart has been entirely driven out.
His charming face, his elegant form
And his radiance
Have slain the devil in my heart.
The company of my Master and his words of wisdom
Have proved this world and the next to be false.
The body’s inner mysteries
Have been revealed to me by my gracious Master
Who has travelled the path himself.
The love that the Masters have for their Masters has been told in the stories of their lives and in the letters that passed between them, as well as by the Masters themselves in intimate conversation with close disciples. Books such as Heaven on Earth, Treasure Beyond Measure and With the Three Masters are filled with accounts of the devotion of the Masters for their Masters.
Making contact with the Master is a necessary precedent to the working of his grace. The key to the inner door is held by the perfect Master who has himself travelled through the inner regions and become one with the absolute. The key is the method of meditation that enables the seeker to go within – that is, withdraw his consciousness to the eye centre and enter the inner regions of divine bliss.
It is the Master who brings us to the path and guides our every step along the way. It is he who connects us with the divine melody within. It is he who gives us initiation and teaches us the method for meditation so that we can return home to the Lord. It is he who softens our hard and ego driven hearts and teaches us to love him.
He is there at the beginning and the end of journey. He is the faithful friend who never leaves us, who never rejects us and who never abandons us. He is the one who is worthy of our love and devotion!
When the inner eye is opened one realizes that the Master is the one before whom all should prostrate themselves. He is the life of the universe. He is Truth personified or Reality in human form. He is of the Truth and reflects the Truth. He is the top of creation. There is no one better than him. There is no one greater than him here or hereafter. Both the worlds should bow at his feet.
Maharaj Sawan Singh, Philosophy of the Masters, Vol. V