Lost in the Maze
The world is a thick forest, thickly populated, where all have lost their way and are ceaselessly and aimlessly running about, life after life, harassed by the great dacoits: lust, greed, anger, attachment and pride. The remarkable thing about these dacoits is that people associate with them joyfully and, knowing that the result of their association is suffering, have not the courage to dissociate themselves from them. They eat the poison, cry, and eat the poison again. Lucky is he who begins to understand the game of these dacoits, luckier is he who tries to dissociate himself from them, and luckiest is he who meets a master-guide and is put by him on the path of the Sound Current that leads him out of this wilderness to his eternal home of peace and bliss in Sach Khand.
Maharaj Sawan Singh, Spiritual Gems
As Great Master tells it, we are lost in the maze of this world, bamboozled and bewildered by influences that pull us this way and that; seduced by the immediate attractions of being in a physical body in a physical world where everyone says: “Sweet is this world, who has seen the next!”
So when we feel that inner discontent that is the voice of the soul longing for its true home, we say: “I am feeling bad, let me go out there and do something to make myself feel better.” And we visualize the various things that are our predilections for pleasure, whether these be indulgence in the sense pleasures or other things that cause our minds to turn away from the one thing that can truly give us real and lasting satisfaction. Instead of turning within to the true reality, we turn to the ephemeral and the false. We convince ourselves to believe in the deception that these worldly distractions are really good and worthwhile, and that the inner discontent we feel is really evidence that there is something wrong with us.
What a cruel deception the mind has practised on us: to convince us that the one avenue of escape from the eternal wheel of coming and going in this world is something akin to a psychological malfunction that we need to expunge and root out! And yet we continue to fall for this trick, even though our Master has taught us to know better. We know that there is really only one way that we will ever be truly happy, contented and fulfilled, and the means to achieve this is not to be found in the world.
Still, we have to face the fact that we are in this world and have to continue functioning in it, while pursuing our one true objective, and that is to free ourselves once and for all from the tyranny of the mind, and to find our way to the loving embrace of our Master’s Radiant Form within.
It is the inner nature of our search that causes us so many problems. We seek something that we cannot even prove exists. There is nothing tangible about it. It is like giving someone the promise of the ultimate oasis and then telling him to head out into the desert, because that’s where it is. And once one heads out into the desert, and one looks back to see the last vestiges of civilization disappearing over the horizon, one cannot help but feel a pang of regret and misgiving. We are giving up so much. We are leaving so much behind us, and here is only sand before us, stretching it seems to an infinite horizon. We are abandoning something familiar and heading into nothing!
There comes a point, to use the desert analogy again, where one reaches the point of no return. Beyond a certain point there is no turning back. Water and provisions will only last so long, and beyond this point there will not be enough to see us back to the familiar and the comfortable. Beyond this point one is irretrievably committed, whether one likes it or not.
One suspects that at the moment of initiation we passed beyond the point of no return. We are out in the desert of dissociation, of separation, pulled forward by an inner yearning that surpasses all our attempts at understanding, while still feeling the tug of all that was comfortable and familiar - the ordinary life we have left behind. And all the time, behind the veils of our delusion and our disorientation, the Master is present, guiding our struggling feet with a certainty that is the domain only of one who knows.
So we find ourselves involved in an inner conflict of desires - one for the things of this world and another for the unknown, unseen wonders of realms beyond our experience or understanding. We find ourselves torn between these forces. And yet somehow there is a certainty within us that is so powerful that we know beyond any doubt that in the end, all the attractions and desires of this world have absolutely no chance of succeeding in keeping us from that goal which we set ourselves when we applied for and received initiation. When our Master initiated us he placed before us the path that will lead the soul back to its true and original home, and the means for us to reunite with the Lord, our true Father. The soul within us is an innocent child, with its arms upstretched in a wordless gesture for its father to pick it up.
The saints of old have often said that the pathway to the Beloved is through a river of tears, because the great motivator for us all is that pain of separation that torments our hearts and will never go away. Read the poems of Mira Bai to see a reflection of our inner heart. This pain within us is not a psychological malfunction, it is not an indicator that we are maladjusted or need medical help. It is in fact his blessing - if we could only summon the strength to deal with it adequately, and have the insight to recognize it for what it is: the grace of the Beloved to make us long for him!
And in our longing, through our tears, we should turn to him alone for comfort and consolation. In silent contemplation we can be with him and draw from his strength. And though we may not yet have reached the stage where we can see him and speak to him face to face within, we should know that he is not limited as we are. He knows and he sees. He is intimately aware of every aspect of our being. He knows our pain, he knows our longing, and he responds in a way that he deems most appropriate to hasten our journey home. If we consciously turn to him, he will help.
A Master possesses the unique magnetic power of love which draws a devotee towards him and creates within him a feeling of indifference towards worldly attractions. This magnetic power is an inherent quality of the Master and emanates from his every action and movement. Everything that radiates from the Master - the light of his beautiful face, the lines on his forehead, even his indifference when he is displeased with the devotee, the lustre around him when he speaks smilingly - all pierce the heart of the devotee and thus attract him to his Master. Through the lustre of the Master’s face shines the lustre of God, and one sees God in his Master.
Maharaj Sawan Singh, Philosophy of the Masters, Vol. II