Cool as Sandalwood, Serene as the Moon
Life in this world of constant activity and change can be challenging and demands on our time and energy may leave us feeling quite overwhelmed. Our mind constantly is preoccupied with our worldly life. When the present Master is asked about hell, he reminds us that hell is a mind on fire, indicating that we are experiencing a type of hell created by the worries and cares that will not give us a single minute of peace. Until we come across a living Master, we cannot imagine that there is another way to live. However, in his company, we see how calm, peaceful, good-humoured, kind, and compassionate he is and we want to be like him.
The eighteenth-century Indian saint, Paltu, says:
Cool as sandalwood,
serene as the moon are saints;
Serene as the moon,
the feverish heat of the world do they cool.
Anyone who comes to them on fire
is soothed by the sweetness of their words.
Infinite is their patience,
boundless their love and compassion.
Kind, tender and merciful,
their sweet and loving words melt even stones.
The way they live, the way they smile,
lends fragrance to their wisdom.
The maladies - physical, mental and spiritual -
all three vanish when the eye beholds a saint.
Even the fire of hunger, O Paltu,
is quenched in no time.
Cool as sandalwood,
serene as the moon are saints.
Sant Paltu, His Life and Teachings
Just reading Paltu’s words can send a ripple of coolness through our feverish minds. But when we meet such a Master, the impact is so much more. In this saint - this kind, tender, compassionate being -we find a role model, a goal to aspire to. We too want to become cool as sandalwood, serene as the moon in the midst of the turmoil of this world.
In reality, what the Master offers is much more than to be able to handle the stresses of the world with serenity. The Master comes to remind us of who we are and the real reason why we are here in this world. We once knew who we were, but we have been in this creation since the beginning of time, involved in the all-engrossing experience of birth and death in every life form imaginable, and we have forgotten who we are: we are spiritual beings going through a human existence. So Maharaj Jagat Singh in The Science of the Soul advises:
When good luck brings you in contact with a true Master, offer all your love to him. Give up attachment to the world and the worldly objects, and discard the path of mind and senses.
He tells us to offer all our love to the Master. We need to live in the world, discharging our worldly duties, turn our face to the Master, and remember the Master with our simran. We need to learn how to be in the world but not of it. Above all, we need to work at our meditation, try to reach the eye centre, and go within. Maharaj Jagat Singh continues in the same book:
Take the Master with you and enter inside. He will attach you to Shabd. Identify yourself with it and become one with it. By and by, you will be able to withdraw your consciousness…. Do not lose heart, but be patient. In due course, you will be able to concentrate your attention at the eye centre. Enter within and give up all thoughts of the external world. You will achieve everything.
It is interesting that Maharaj Jagat Singh says: “Take the Master with you”, as if we might think we are able to go within by ourselves. We should never think we are alone on this path. We are never alone. The true Master is Shabd; he is within us in the form of sound and light and, as Shabd, he is also in every cell of our body. He is closer to us than hands and feet, closer to us than breathing. He is in us and we are in him. The fact that we cannot see him is our great misfortune. Only our meditation will open our inner eye and show us the truth. Until we experience the truth, we can think of Master as being constantly with us, constantly helping us. And through our meditation, with his grace and mercy, we will realize this truth when we meet his Radiant Form within.
Maharaj Jagat Singh continues:
First comes the Jyoti - the Celestial Flame - out of which emanates divine melody. Concentrate your attention on it and, focusing your subtle mind on the vision, penetrate it. Continue this practice every day, giving up love for the world and increasing it for Nam [Shabd]. Desire for Nam grows only by virtue of constant contact with the Master within.
Isn’t it true that if we love someone, we want to be with them all the time? In our worldly relationships we have surely felt this - with our spouse, children, and other relatives. This is why a living Master is so important. How can we fall in love with the Shabd, which we cannot see, we cannot talk to, we cannot interact with? The body Master gives us this opportunity. His personality is so magnetic that we love to be with him. Remember the characteristics of the Master that Paltu speaks of: cool, serene, patient, compassionate, tender, merciful, and full of sweet loving words that melt even stones. No wonder we want to be in the physical presence of the Master wherever he is in the world; being with his physical form and having the opportunity to ask him questions is part of building that relationship.
Loving the outer form of the Master is good, but our goal is to fall in love with the inner Master - the Shabd. The present Master has said that the purpose of meditation is to build a relationship with the inner Master, so we can do simran like one half of a conversation with him. Talking with him in this way, we are continuously cementing our relationship with him. Our relationship with the Master, our love for him has to become so strong that it will pull our attention inwards and upwards away from the world, away from the lure of the senses. The more we meditate, the more we build the relationship; the more we meditate, the more love we feel; the more love we feel, the closer we are to becoming one with the inner Master and imbibing his qualities.
Love is crucial. We can’t follow the path without it. Intellectual conviction that this path leads us to our source will only take us so far. When life throws troubles in our way, the intellect just lets us down. When tragedy strikes, we might rail against the Master and say, “How could you let this happen?” But when we love the Master, we also trust him and when we trust him, we accept that he will never do anything that is not in our best interest.
The more we turn towards the Master, the easier it is to follow the path. Turning towards him allows us to give up worrying about what is happening in our lives. He is in charge and he has told us that if we do our meditation, he will take care of everything else. When we live like this - putting our full trust in him and our full effort in the path - we can live cool as sandalwood and serene as the moon. We can become like our Master.
He [Paltu] says that the lovers of the Lord find the Lord everywhere, in everyone.
The Lord is in everyone. He is in the guru, he is in the disciple.
He is the Creator, he is in the creation. He’s in the patient, he’s in the doctor….
He is to be worshipped, and he is the one who makes us worthy of his worship….
The lover sees none but the Lord in this creation.
He doesn’t see anything else at all…. What else is there to talk about?
Maharaj Charan Singh, Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. III