For God So Loved Us
The relationship between the Lord and the Master and us, his disciples, is an interesting one. In general, the dominant figure on the path is that of our Master. Yet this is ultimately a path of God-realization: a path that seeks to reunite the individual soul with its source that is God, the Father.
In fact it is quite easy to lose sight of God – the ultimate destination-given the fact that we cannot see him or relate to him directly in any way, while we can relate to the Master. There is no doubt that for most of us the Master is the crucial, pivotal figure on the path of Sant Mat. Yet our strong bond with our Master, our desperate desire to love and be loved by him, must not blind us to God’s presence and role in the whole scheme of things. He is after all the Creator.
In one of the poems in The Odes of Solomon we find the key to discovering what our relationship with the Lord really is. The key is love, of course. But it starts with love for our Master. The poet tells us:
I should not have known how to love the Lord
if He had not loved me.
For who is able to know love,
except he who is loved?
I love the Beloved and my soul loves him,
and where his rest is, there too am I.
And I shall be no stranger at His door,
for there is no begrudging
with the Lord Most High and Merciful.
I have been united to Him
because the lover found the Beloved.
And because I love him that is the Son,
I shall become a son,
For he who is joined to him who is immortal,
he, too, will become immortal.
So we will become immortal through our love for the Master.
Most of us have heard a great deal about the Lord God but very few, if any, have actually heard him or seen him. Yet he wishes to communicate with us. But he chooses to do this through the physical embodiment of his very own Shabd form: the Master.
The Master can tell us all about God because he is a soul that has reunited with the divine source. He is in constant communication with that divine source, while simultaneously being here at this level in a human body. In this way he forms a bridge between God and man.
These souls who have realized the Lord are one with God and in fact have his powers, and they could be anywhere, doing anything they choose. Yet they remain here at this dirty level of creation out of love. It is the Master who collects souls that are lost and lonely and takes them home. Were it not for our Master’s intervention in our lives, we would never even think of God, let alone find our way back to him.
This is how the seventh ode from The Odes of Solomon speaks of the Master:
My joy is in the Lord, and my course is to Him:
this my path is beautiful.
For I have a helper to the Lord.
He made himself known to me,
without grudging in his generosity:
For in his kindness
he set aside his majesty.
He became like me,
in order that I might accept him.
While the Master is our own personal “helper to the Lord”, he is also the embodiment of the Lord’s qualities. Loving him is both journey and destination combined in one magnificent package deal. We cannot resist loving the Master. We all have a drop of divine love in us – that is our own soul. But the Master is no drop, he is a tsunami! And who can stand against such a powerful love?
In the Bible Jesus says: “For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I come out from God” (John 16:27).
That is the first thing God wants us to know: that he loves us and wants us to love him. The second thing is that he wants us to come home now. Many souls have begun to grow tired of this world and have started to long for a state of permanent peace and joy. These are the souls marked by the Lord for return to Sach Khand. The weariness, loneliness and longing that we feel are given to us by the Lord and they prompt us to respond favourably to the message the Master brings.
This message is quite simple. He says that he will give us initiation, teach us a technique of meditation that needs to be practised wholeheartedly, and then in time he will take us back to Sach Khand. It is the gift of initiation that will ensure our release from the cycle of birth and death in which we currently find ourselves trapped.
The Lord also wants us to understand how he can assuage those very feelings of fear and loneliness even now, if we will only turn to him for solace through meditation and constant simran. He knows we live lives of restless anxiety, depression and stress, and he longs to comfort us and give us peace. Out of his love for us he gives us access to it now, if we will only turn to him, love him and obey him – which we can do by following, loving and obeying our Master.
At the time of initiation the Master places his radiant Shabd form within each of his disciples, and from that moment onward he never leaves us. He also explains to us that turning to the Lord for help in meditation and daily constant simran will always bring a loving response from God. However, if we don’t turn to him and use the life jacket held out to us, we shouldn’t be surprised to feel ourselves sinking. Nor must we blame the manufacturer of the life jacket if we begin to sink because we haven’t inflated the jacket!
Everything we know about the Lord has to come from a perfect living Master. Everything the Lord wants to give us has to come via a Master. Everything God feels for us will be expressed by a Master. The Master is God’s right hand and he also conveys to us how we can please the Lord and thank him for his love.
We’re taught that there are two main ways in which we can please the Master and thereby please the Lord: We can follow his instructions implicitly and we can try to become more and more like him.
Obedience is not always the flavour of the month in this day and age, but it is the hallmark of a true and loving disciple. Obedience and love are two sides of the same coin. If we love someone or wish to learn to love someone, then we must be obedient to their wishes. Obedience is a part of love. There can be no true love for the Master or the Lord without true obedience.
In the Gospel of St John Jesus says: “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him” (14:23).
There it is. To love Master is to obey – to “keep” his words. What exactly does this mean for us? Obviously it means following the vows we take at the time of initiation to the letter.
And the most appreciated gift we can give the Master, and therefore the Lord, is our meditation.
There is yet another way to try to please the Lord, although the Masters themselves are too humble to stress this at any length. However, trying to become like our Master, God’s beloved Son, would surely be pleasing to the Father. If he could see us trying to emulate our Master in word and action and attitude, surely he would look upon our efforts, no matter how puny, with favour and love.
The Master is our yardstick for good behaviour in every aspect of our lives. The Masters are the embodiment of obedience, love, energy, determination, patience, humility, kindness and sympathy. Every good and positive quality known to mankind is to be found in our Master. We need look no further for our role model and guide on how to go through life. The Master does want us to become sons and daughters of God; fully realized as he himself is. He offers us the living example of such a Son and is both the example and the means if we wish to follow in his footsteps and reunite with our heavenly Father.
This path is all about our heavenly Father, about his Son our Master and about his love. It is pure love that prompts the Lord to send his beloved Son, the Master, into our lives. It is pure love that prompts the Master to initiate us, care for us for the rest of our physical lives and then escort us home to Sach Khand. It must be love that prompts us to follow and obey our Master and in so doing, learn to love both him and God, the Father.