The Simplicity of Truth
Johann Wolfgang Goethe, the towering genius of German literature and science, once wrote: “Nothing is true but that which is simple.” Many of the world’s great thinkers have agreed with him.
Looking up at the heavens on a dark cloudless night, one is presented with a spectacular display of trillions of stars. The amazing truth is that all of those celestial bodies, without exception, have their motion relative to each other controlled by a single law, the Law of Universal Gravitational Attraction. Isaac Newton, too, pondered this nightly show and was able to bring this truth down to a single simple short formula.
At the other end of the physical scale, Albert Einstein was able to bring an understanding and quantification of the enormous energy holding together the components of every atom in all forms of matter. His incredibly simple formula merely combines mass with the speed of light.
What about Sant Mat? Can the vast concepts contained in the teachings be condensed down to a simple essential truth? A simple formula? Such a formula should surely be capable of being understood by any soul entitled to a human birth, regardless of intellectual capacity and level of education. This formula could well be 1+1=1: The first 1 being our soul (which is a drop of Shabd), and the next 1 being the Shabd form of the Master, which once we are initiated, eventually merge and become one. That is the essence, the bottom line of Sant Mat: Master and disciple.
All that is required for the understanding of this concept are certain inner attributes potentially inherent in every human being, viz. faith, love and devotion. These qualities are awakened by the Master himself at the appropriate time. If we were to sit in front of the Master and ask him: “Why am I here?” he might well reply, “Because I am here.” And he could just as easily add: “And I am here because you are here.” He is here for each of his disciples. That’s what the path comes down to – Master and disciple.
The Master has promised us that he will, without fail, take us home. But there is work to be done. We have to be scrubbed clean of all the dross of desires and karmas before we can be presented by him in the court of the supreme Lord. We have to be purified of the results of mind-domination during our many previous lives. And we are still today governed in our thoughts and actions by the same mind. It is merely doing its job. But we must do our duty and play our part in assisting the Master in his task of taking us home.
The work we must do could be seen as falling under two headings: living the Sant Mat teachings, and daily meditation. We are living the teachings when we consistently follow his instructions – the object being to approach the state of surrendering our own will to the will of the Master, of the Lord. This way our actions will tend towards becoming karmaless, thus facilitating the process of our salvation.
One thing he asks of us is that we should always try to be happy. We should always remember that whatever befalls us has been stamped ‘approved’ by the Master, who has taken over the management of our karmic account from Kal. We know that whatever the karma is, he assures us it is for our good. We should not therefore be anything but happy. Besides, he also assures us that being miserable won’t help anyway.
Here’s a good way to look at life: When beset with setbacks, rebuffs and knocks, tell yourself, “It actually doesn’t matter – we are going home!” What does it matter what life dishes up to us? We are going home! No need to fear the future of the world as it is gloomily predicted in the media – we are going home!
Let us have faith in the Master. Our homecoming is assured. In a stanza from Soami Ji’s Sar Bachan Poetry, he urges us:
Take hold of the Guru’s feet, my friend!
Why keep wandering in transmigration,
now that you have a human body?
Use the human birth to your best advantage,
love the Master and think of the world as a dream.
Taking hold of the Guru’s feet is submitting to his will – which in effect means trying to be a better human being, trying to live the teachings. We must keep a constant watch on our thoughts, desires and actions. We have to continually try to abort the tendency to think and react with the lower mind. We have to stop and rather let our thoughts and reactions be governed by the higher, noble mind. Our motive at all times should be love. We should ask ourselves how the Master would want us to handle every situation as it arises. And that would be with love: love at the level of the eye centre – higher mind.
There is an interesting definition of love in Stephen Covey’s book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People:
Love is a verb – to do. The feeling of love is the fruit of love. Love is to serve, sacrifice, listen, empathize, appreciate, affirm, forgive. Love is a value which is actualized through loving actions.
A neat definition of a level of love rare in our material world. Shakespeare, too, in a sonnet refers to a higher form of love: “Love is not love that alters when it alteration finds.” A higher-order love endures even if all around is subject to change; just as truth is not subject to change. Love alters not in altering circumstances. Such love is a gift from the Master, which we earn according to the effort we put into our meditation.
Our struggle with the mind begins every morning when we wake up. “Come on get up, the Master is waiting,” says the higher mind. “Lie a bit longer, it’s warm and comfortable here,” says the lower. Choosing to respond to the call of the higher mind is in fact demonstrating love and devotion for the Master.
The two aspects of mind pull in opposite directions, and our behaviour, thoughts, speech and actions reveal which of the two is dominating.
Hazur Maharaj Charan Singh often used to say that we can have no worse enemy than the mind, but we can also have no better friend.
The Masters are supreme examples to us of how to live the path. One has only to watch how Baba Ji, the quick-acting, businesslike, fast-travelling Master for the present time, in the evening meetings at Dera, shows infinite patience, tolerance and empathy with question after question, many of these longwinded and convoluted. He always stresses the handling of all problems we encounter with love and compassion. He personally sets the example for us of ego-control.
Hazur also used to tell us that in our dealings with others, our approach should be one of love. And he remarked once that most of our problems in this creation come from our tongue. If we could control it, he said, we could solve 90% of our problems.
For control of our tongue Buddha provides a simple short formula. He is reputed to have said: “Before you speak, ask yourself : Is it True? Is it Necessary? Is it Kind? – TNK. Like TNT it has a powerful effect! To apply TNK continually requires real ego-control. That is living the path. How do we get there? How do we with our limited willpower subdue the mind which has dominated our thinking and behaviour for so many lives?
This brings us to the second of our duties as mentioned earlier. We have to meditate daily according to the Master’s instructions. It is by holding our attention at the eye centre during meditation that we do the greatest seva for the Master. It is then that he does his work inside us. It is then that he applies his grace and love to prepare the soul for the journey. By meditation, love for the Master is developed.
To a question about creating love for the Master ourselves, Hazur replied that we ourselves cannot do this – he gives his love. But we can make ourselves receptive by meditation. By living according to his commands we are invoking his love and becoming receptive to him. His love is a gift from him. And when we become receptive to that love, he becomes our everything.
Soami Ji writes in Sar Bachan Poetry:
The Guru is the life-breath of my existence,
The Guru alone can set me free.
There is no beloved like the Guru,
The Guru alone will reform me, purify me.
Yama, the lord of death, and Kal have fled in disarray,
Only the Guru lives in my heart.
Here again, Master and disciple. Simple.
Our Master is not the flesh. Our Master is the Word, the Shabd, the Logos, which is within everyone of us, and we are in touch with that. So everyone has his own Master within himself.
Maharaj Charan Singh, Spiritual Perspectives, Volume III