No Greater Blessing
We call the spiritual teachings we follow the path of Sant Mat. It was the eighteenth-century mystic, Tulsi Sahib, known as the Saint of Hathras, who first coined the term ‘Sant Mat’ for the teachings of the saints. It is said that he did this in order to stress the basic unity of all the teachings of all true saints. Soami Ji Maharaj took over this term from Tulsi Sahib, and it is by this name that our spiritual path is now known.
Have you ever wondered what is it in us that makes us want to follow this path and heed the saints; what it is in certain humans that makes them want to hear words of profound wisdom? At some stage in their lives these people realize that there is more to the world than the purely material sphere of existence. They develop a sensing and a knowing that a deeper love exists, and they start longing for the Lord, wanting to experience the ecstasy of spiritual love. Before they even have the words to express it, they feel the need to experience the joyous exuberance of being in touch with the creative loving force we call the Holy Spirit or Shabd. They realize that what the sixteenth-century saint Tulisdas says in the following verse is true:
There can be no happiness for the soul
And no rest for the mind, even in a dream,
If one does not meditate on God,
And relinquish desire, which is the abode of sorrow.
The Teachings of Goswami Tulsidas
Seekers then set off on a journey of discovery, wanting to walk the path that leads them back to the Lord. In order to do this and make headway towards self-and God-realization a person must fit certain requirements. Apart from developing a deep love and longing for the Lord, one also needs courage and steadfastness in the face of what will constitute the biggest challenge of one’s life: reuniting with the Supreme Lord. We will need stamina to stay the course, and a high level of spiritual fitness if we are to make the grade. It is a long and arduous climb to the top and we do not see results overnight.
The next thing that is required is honesty and truthfulness. By not deceiving ourselves or others in any way, and by taking an honest look at ourselves and the efforts we put in to make progress, we can monitor our efforts and adjust them according to our goal: the attainment of spiritual liberty and freedom from the dictates of the mind.
Thirdly, we need to develop humility. We have to become a humble servant of our Master, placing our trust in him and following his instructions implicitly, adhering to the principles of Sant Mat and not thinking that we know better about what is required in changing our lifestyle to suit our spiritual purpose. Should we adhere to the path of Sant Mat with courage, honesty and humility, we stand to gain an immense reward for our efforts.
Fortunately we do not have to walk this arduous path alone. Goswami Tulsidas tells us that there is no blessing in the world equal to that of meeting a saint. We have a Master, a saint of the highest order, one who has come from the ineffable abode of Shabd, to teach and guide us, as we can only ever make contact with the Shabd with the help of a perfect living Master. It is from our Master that we receive the greatest gift of all: initiation. He gives us the method of joining the soul to the Shabd within, so that we can cross the astral and causal planes and merge with the Supreme Power in Sach Khand.
What is being asked of us in return? We are required only to give of ourselves – our time and our energy in the form of meditation, of paying attention to and focusing on the spiritual instead of the material aspects of life. We are not asked to give up our worldly wealth; and we will attain more wealth in the form of the spiritual riches that await those who courageously, honestly and humbly seek the Supreme Lord within.
We are on this path because we seek the all-embracing love of the One who loved us first – regardless of our human follies, foibles and flaws. Despite our failings love still flows to us from the source of all love. In time we will be moved by its power and beauty and be carried to our spiritual home on the current of love, the audible life stream.
All that is required of us is to do our meditation, courageously and steadfastly, in all humility and in obedience to the will of our Master. We do this out of gratitude for the love and forgiveness that our Satguru bestows on us. He offers us deliverance from the cycle of birth and death. Who would be so foolish as to decline such an offer? The price we would have to pay for missing this opportunity hardly bears thinking about. Now is the time to completely surrender to him, to follow his will and to reap the benefits. Now is the time to heed Goswami Tulsidas’ advice when he says:
Cherishing the desire in your heart
That He, the most merciful one,
Would impart to you the technique
Of obtaining divine wealth,
You should unswervingly and most dearly love the Saint.
The Teachings of Goswami Tulsidas