No More Talk
The time for writing poems
has gone away.
I saw the Poet himself,
he passed my way.
And every soul that caught his shining eye
became a poem himself,
so that is why
the time for writing poems has long gone by.
The verse above was composed by someone like you or me, an onlooker, as someone very special passed by. And he found the experience so intense that after it he was quite lost for words.
We generally love to express ourselves, whether through a phone call, text, tweet or Facebook entry or by commemorating something more permanently through poetry or a piece of descriptive writing. Words are very important to us; through them we let others know our thoughts and feelings; through them we listen to the thoughts and feelings of others, participating in a shared culture.
Consider the part that words played in introducing us to Sant Mat – the satsangs that we attended, the conversation and advice of fellow travellers on the path, the inspiring Question & Answer sessions with the Master that we may have been lucky enough to attend; maybe we have been one of those who formulated a question, reached the microphone, and expressed the feelings of their heart to the Master. All this, we are able to enjoy because we’re human and we have at our disposal that blessed tool, words!
However, the writer of this verse says that the time for writing poems (in other words, for expressing ourselves) has gone by. The reason is that “the Poet” has come. “Poet” is being used as a term for the living Master, God’s representative on earth, and the experience of seeing the Poet walking amongst us is a life-changing event.
We do not always realize just how life-changing the Master’s darshan is. Sometimes we are mentally focused, sometimes not, and the recognizable effect of the Master’s presence depends upon our receptivity. But whether we are conscious of it or not, that meeting with a Master is of huge significance. Kabir says:
The Master is the philosopher’s stone.
Approach him with humility and care;
He is the burning candle
to which neighbours come
to light their candles from its flame.
A philosopher’s stone reputedly had the power to change base metals into gold and was used by alchemists in the Middle Ages in the attempt to effect such changes. In calling the Master the philosopher’s stone, Kabir is telling us that the Master has the power to change the spiritual condition of human beings from base metal – bound by ties of mind and body – into gold, that is, pure soul, released from this bondage. He is also a “candle”, lovingly described as lighting other candles “from its flame”. The Master is our inspiration, lending something of his own pure energy to everyone who encounters him and thus enabling spiritual growth.
In the verses quoted at the top of the previous page, the writer describes the transformation brought to the disciple by his Master: “every soul that caught his shining eye / became a poem himself.”
Using the power of words, many disciples have tried to convey the potency of the moment when the Master’s powerful soul current, flowing through his eyes, touches the disciple’s soul. In Call of the Great Master, Daryai Lal Kapur writes of this experience with his Master Maharaj Sawan Singh: “He cast a piercing glance directly into my eyes. Oh, that glance! It was not a glance; it was a flash of light that, passing through my eyes, entered my brain. What miracles such a glance would not perform!”
Maharaj Sawan Singh himself, writing in Philosophy of the Masters, Vol. V, confirms this experience. He says:
Powerful currents of life energy emanate from a saint and supercharge the surrounding atmosphere.… One finds a strange radiance and attraction in his eyes and in his forehead when one gazes at them, even for a moment. He feels a pull, and his attention gathers together and seems to ascend to the higher subtle regions from the gross regions. His consciousness expands and is elevated.
Despite such a privileged moment and the uplift and sense of joy that the physical presence of the Master brought to him, the experience of an ordinary disciple may be that life afterwards, with all its ups and downs, goes on very much the same as before. No one, even an advanced disciple, can sustain completely even progress. Those less evolved fail and fall again and again. In spite of this, nothing can take away the lasting power of an encounter with the Master. The inner transformation of the disciple is taking place from the time of initiation onwards and that is what is meant when, in the verse, the soul is described as becoming “a poem himself”. The Master turns us into something beautiful and meaningful, however long that process takes.
In practical terms, the Master, at our initiation, gives us a system of meditation – simran, dhyan and bhajan – through the practice of which we can ourselves work at effecting the needed change. In The Dawn of Light, Maharaj Sawan Singh explains why our input as disciples and meditators is so important:
It is very easy for the Master to pull up a soul and bring it face to face with the Light within, but it is not easy for the devotee to bear the strain and behold the Light. The daily practice, however, makes it easy. The combination of spirit with matter is very intimate, and to avoid a shock it should be separated bit by bit.
That “bit by bit” separation of soul from body is achieved through daily meditation. Serious disciples know that everything that comes to them comes from their Master’s grace, but they also acknowledge the part they themselves have to play by living the life and meditating. That requires them to pour all their energy into doing rather than saying. It’s comparatively easy to talk Sant Mat, talk about love for the Master and read about the inner regions. How much harder it is to start to put it into practice through the faithful discharge of the promises we made at initiation. Now at last we understand what the writer means by saying that “the time for writing poems has long gone by.” Of course, the talks, the discussions, the books, and (dare we say it!) the magazine articles remain useful tools in reminding us of what we should be doing. But, the fact is, that once we’ve met the Master’s eyes and experienced that inner pull, then there is really no more to say. Everything that we might try to put in our poem – and much more – is waiting to be experienced inside when the divine Poet comes forward to meet us and the full meaning and music of his song finally dawns on us.