A True Disciple
Sant Mat is not for the faint-hearted – being on a spiritual path requires great courage. Fortunately we do not walk this path alone. We know that our Master is there to help us overcome the challenges we have faced for so many lifetimes, those challenges that have for endless millennia kept us from reaching the ultimate destination on our spiritual path: the salvation of our soul. Soami Ji entreats us:
Be valiant of spirit
and disentangle yourself, in any way you can
from the web of worldly attachments.
Only those who have fought and subdued their mind
are truly brave …
First cultivate love for the Master,
then listen to the Shabd within.
Sar Bachan Poetry
In our quest for spiritual fulfilment and as seekers after truth we have one goal in mind and, despite the many challenges along the way, we should never give up until the goal has been reached. We would not have been attracted to this spiritual path if we did not have the courage to see it through. Courage is nothing other than “fear that has said its prayers”. This is according to the Swiss theologist Karl Barth-to which author Joyce Meyer has added a few words, so that the popular quotation now reads: “Courage is fear that has said its prayers and decided to go forward anyway.”
A true disciple is one who has placed his trust in his Master and one who is courageous, committed and responsible. Not for a single moment does a true disciple lose sight of the spiritual goal of attaining self-and God-realization. True disciples are disciplined in their spiritual practice and lead principled lives. A truly devoted disciple never compromises and never gives up on the heartfelt yearning to meet the inner Master, the Shabd and the Supreme Lord.
And if we have truly set our sights on self-realization and God-realization, we will do everything in our power to reach our goal. If we are focused on what we want to attain, we hold a vision of it before us. We can only achieve what we can visualize. If you cannot see God, how can you hope to reach him and realize him if not through his emissary, the Master, the one appointed by the Supreme Lord himself to lead us on our quest and guide our souls back to our true home?
A true disciple is discerning and knows what, or who, he wants to achieve. And he knows how to concentrate his attention and focus his energy on achieving this. If we lack courage, insight and discernment we will not be able to make correct choices in life, those that work in our favour spiritually. Discerning minds believe only half of what they hear, and a truly discerning person knows which half to believe.
A true disciple knows his own limitations, and we know that we need help, that we have to look up to and follow our Master, the one who leads us in the right direction: by example, by his words and his actions. We have so much to learn from our Master, who has such immense generosity of spirit and compassion; through his enthusiasm and his positive outlook, he continually guides us to change our lives by changing our attitude. He leads us to change our attitude towards life and towards what really matters – our meditation.
We have the great good fortune to be in the human form and as such we have the capacity to develop the necessary skills and acquire the necessary knowledge to change our lives accordingly, in order to meet our greatest challenge head on. We need to lead a principled life, never compromising on any of the principles on which we base our spiritual lifestyle. Leading a principled life builds character and our character becomes our compass, steering us through the storms of life, keeping us on track and directing us towards our destination.
We as satsangis have pledged an oath: we have committed ourselves to devoting one-tenth of our day to our spiritual practice. To be committed to a cause is to stop talking about it and start doing something about it. It means taking action, moving step by step, without wavering, in the direction of our goal. It means turning up punctually for our duty, day after day, and executing it to the very best of our ability. The more we meditate, the easier it gets and the more we want to do it. Practice makes perfect. Unfortunately though, the less we practice the easier it becomes not to practise. Attending to our spiritual practice every day is the only way to become more competent in what really matters in life.
Above all, devote yourself to the Master
and think of all else as secondary.
Enshrine the form of the Master in your heart
and grow within yourself the kind of love
that a moonbird has for the moon.
This is the only practice
that will let you find that kind of love.
Once devotion to the Master is complete,
your soul will automatically ascend to the inner sky.
Soami Ji, Sar Bachan Poetry