What Are We Waiting For?
If we are honest with ourselves, we will admit the mind has never really been our friend. It tortures us in adolescence, misleads us in adulthood, and taunts us with regret and humiliation in old age. We have been duped and we have been hustled. We have been misled and we have been deluded. We have been fed lies and empty promises – all because we took the company of the mind. We are given a human birth for the sole purpose of escaping this prison of the creation and finding our way home to the lap of the Creator. But instead we are deceived by the mind and the veil of illusion again and again, birth after birth.
No one has ever found lasting happiness in this creation, but that does not stop us from trying. We continuously throw ourselves into the world thinking that we will somehow be different from everyone else, that somehow we will be able to escape the tragedy and the disappointment. We are always running towards something that we have convinced ourselves will bring us happiness. This is the cunning design of the creation that keeps us trapped here: the eternal promise of happiness and our desperate, failed attempts to realize it.
The more we follow the dictates of our mind, the more we commit our soul to further incarceration, the deeper we become entrenched in this world. The mind doesn’t care; it is only along for the ride, enjoying the good things while they last and then tormenting us with regret and shame when we end up in trouble. This is the cycle of birth and death: life after life, the mind makes us chase its objects of desire. We follow its dictates, and we pay the price.
It is not a comfortable realization, but currently we are held captive by the mind. We are born either male or female, and we have no recollection of our true origin. We believe we are this body, this personality, this mind. We are told that we belong to our parents and that they belong to us. Then the net is extended wider. There are grandparents, siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles. We are given a family name, and we are told that we belong to a certain religion because we have been born into that religion. We embark on our careers and start families, and become consumed by our desires for wealth and possessions, and for position in society.
Masters tell us that we work day and night to try to own that which can never be ours; and to that which is already ours, the Lord himself, to whom we do belong, we give no attention. Only the soul can enter the court of the Lord, and unless we can rise above the mind and release ourselves from its shackles, we will never be able to free ourselves from the illusion.
Since the creation began, no soul has ever succeeded in conquering the mind and reaching the Lord of its own accord. The same laws that allow the creation to continue govern our escape. First, the Lord must want a soul to return to him. No soul can decide on its own exit. Second, when the Lord wants to collect one of his souls he sends a Master, in the human form, to collect that soul, and the Master takes it as his supreme responsibility to ensure that the soul returns to the Creator. The living Master is able to communicate with us because he inhabits a human body, he is living in the world with us, he can instruct us on the means to achieve salvation, and he provides a living example of one who has achieved the end goal.
Amidst all the confusion, deception and uncertainty that the mind and creation have to offer, the Master is the only one who will not disappoint us. He is the one who has been quietly waiting for us to turn to him. The Master is the one who awakens us to the truth and gives us the means to conquer the mind. He is the only entity in the creation who is considering our best interests. All else is deception.
He has been entrusted with a secret weapon, the greatest power in the universe and the only power greater than the mind, the only power that can conquer the mind. This secret weapon consists of sound and light, and it is called the Sound Current, the Shabd, the Logos, the Name, the Word or Nam. This Nam is within us. It is the sound and light of Sat Purush himself. As the mystics tell us:
Nam is the root of all knowledge;
Nam is the door to salvation.
The one whose heart is occupied by the Lord
Falls not into the entanglements of the world.
By instructing his disciples in the practice of listening to this sound, the Master gradually breaks down the illusions that have held the soul captive for so long. And it is a very gradual process – there is no overnight cure – because we have very deep roots in this creation.
If we cooperate with the Masters, if we heed their gentle advice, we assist in the process of freeing our soul from mind and illusion. If we don’t, we remain forever in illusion. We can keep talking about the Lord and the Master, we can keep coming to satsang and doing physical seva, we can donate money to the sangat and still we will remain deceived. We will continue to love the world and we will continue to act in delusion.
Only when we meditate, only when we make an effort to direct our attention to Nam, will we begin to destroy that veil of ignorance that stands between him and us. By falling in love with the Sound and the Master, its embodiment, we start to disable the mind and maya, and we automatically have less interest in this world. When there is nothing left to keep us here, then we will be able to leave this body at will and become familiar with where we are to go at the time of death. And at the time of death, the disciple who is fortunate enough to have attached himself to Nam in this lifetime passes easily and effortlessly from this world to the next, and continues steadily upwards towards his true home, never to return to this madness.
The disciple who is less fortunate, the one who continues to throw himself into the world and give himself over to sense pleasures, despite the continuous pleadings of his Master, will not become familiar with his destination. In a state of bewilderment and confusion he will run towards the things he loves – he will continue to run after the illusion, and will likely have to take another birth. But, as an initiate of a perfect Master, he will not be allowed to fall into the hands of Yama, the lord of death. The Master will still take charge of his destiny and ensure that the disciple’s next birth is more advantageous from the spiritual point of view.
How long do we still want to turn a deaf ear? Imagine the bliss of not wanting or needing anything of this creation. Imagine the freedom and power of being with your Master wherever you are – never alone, always happy, above circumstances, wealth and possession. Do we want to wait until we have exhausted ourselves dancing to the tune of Maya, until we have been utterly defeated in our attempts to find lasting happiness, before we start to take heed of the Master’s words? We should resolve once and for all to stop falling for the lies of the mind and devote ourselves to the practice of Nam, whereby we will achieve freedom and happiness, and then victory will be ours, here and hereafter. We will move from delusion and suffering to enlightenment and bliss. There is no sense in denying ourselves relief for a second longer.
Masters come in their infinite mercy to detach us from the creation, but they never use force; it is not their way. They use love, compassion and forgiveness. They use only gentle persuasion, pleading with the disciple to save himself. Is it not time we paid heed? What are we waiting for?
Without the Master
no one will ever cross the ocean,
without his Nam no one will ever find salvation.
Without attending satsang
no one will ever learn the essence,
without love no one will ever meet the Friend.
Without the proper technique
no one can penetrate the inner sky;
without grace the mighty gates will not open.
Without surat no one can ever catch the Shabd,
without nirat, the soul cannot sustain itself
at the level of the Shabd.
First and foremost, develop love for the Master,
then conquer the mind and drink the nectar of Nam.
Soami Ji, Sar Bachan Poetry