Searching for God
When we look at the world around us with its splendid variety of life, and at the night sky with all its magnificent stars, galaxies and constellations, can any of us doubt the existence of a Creator?
It should be obvious that this universe didn’t just make itself. There must have been a power that brought this creation into existence. And we cannot but be aware that this master designer, this master craftsman, this Creator, whoever he is, possesses an incredible intelligence – far beyond anything we can conceive of. There is a perfectly logical, rational sequence and design throughout the creation: the splendour of flowers that bloom in their seasons, the symmetry of a snowflake, how a tiny seed can develop into a giant tree. We just have to open our eyes and look.
But for us, the greatest miracle of all must be the human body. And here we are not referring only to the physical nature of the body, but also to the spiritual.
In Sarmad, Martyr to Love Divine, the author says that it is through the human body that one can find the entire creation and the vast spiritual regions. The higher the region, the vaster its size, the greater its splendour, the more joyous its bliss. A disciple can, while still in this body, find the truth for himself regarding past prophets and saints, gods and goddesses, paradises, hells and heavens. He can unfold the divine mysteries, and experience the Creator himself.
The problem is, though, that there are so many conflicting opinions about the nature of this Creator that we are seeking. We don’t know who or what to believe. How do we get to know this being or have a relationship with him?
But before we continue in our search for God, let’s look at our life situation for a moment. When we reflect on this we normally focus our attention on our present specific birth. We never take into account that we have been around a very long time. Our time here, whether 50 or 100 years, may be a nano second compared to the length of time we have been in this creation. The mystics tell us that we have been here since the creation started – not just since the last Big Bang, which scientists estimate happened about thirteen and a half billion years ago. (Let’s assume for the moment that the theoretical Big Bang actually happened.) We would have then been through all the Big Bangs, through many cycles of creation. We have been through every possible species of life; we have been kings, beggars, killers, peasants; we have been male and female. And all this time we have been unaware of our true essence, our true nature.
This is the message that the saints have tried to convey to humanity since the dawn of time: you are living in a state of unconsciousness, entirely dominated by ignorance. How did this happen? Largely because we have become encased in mind, which has given us a false sense of self: the ego.
The word “I”, together with the words, “me”, “my”, “mine” are the most frequently used in everyday language. But in reality when we use the word “I”, we are referring to something that doesn’t really exist – our greatest delusion. The physicist Albert Einstein referred to this condition as ‘an optical delusion of consciousness’. So we have created this artificial structure of who we think we are. And we are so proud of this identity.
Now what eventually becomes of this little “I”? When we die the ego implodes – that part of the ego anyway which has identified itself with the body. This image of ourselves crumbles. Once we pass away, when we are floating above our bodies in a hospital, or an old age home, or at the scene of an accident, we realize that we never were the body, because the body is a separate thing lying down there. Everything we associated with the body no longer exists. We identified with an illusion. We identified with the wrong “I”.
Now, running parallel with this false identity is another problem. We can call it division or duality. When we come into the world the process of division begins. We are separated into a gender; we are given a name. We live in a specific country. We call ourselves German, Indian, English, Chinese. We divide ourselves on social, cultural and ethnic grounds. And we also divide ourselves into different levels of society according to our wealth, our religion or our language. And so the division continues. By this process of division we think that we are little islands of humanity. We are separate from everything around us. Individual. Exclusive.
And this is the delusion we labour under. All the saints from the dawn of time have tried to impress upon us our interconnectedness, our unity with everything around us – not only with our fellow human beings, but with the universe – with the animals, the trees, the flowers, and the forest. We are a particle of the whole, all part of one divine consciousness. The divinity that is at the core of our being is the same divinity that illumines the sun, the moon and the stars.
It is only when we proceed to the higher spiritual realms that this oneness will become evident – when we realize our oneness with the Creator. But now we’re still searching for that Creator.
Following a spiritual path is the most challenging, demanding task we will ever undertake. It is complex and involved. We have enormous difficulty coping even in this physical realm. We have difficulty finding our car in the parking lot after shopping at the supermarket! How can we possibly cope on the higher planes without a guide? For this we need a true Master of the highest order.
In The Path of the Masters, we’re told of a few infallible ways to distinguish a real Master from the many who may pose as such. Among these:
* Real Masters never charge for their services
* A true Master is self-supporting -he is always a giver, never a beggar.
* He will not perform miracles to attract followers.
* Genuine Masters teach and practise the inner path of the sound current.
There are other criteria you could apply, but these are the main ones. And, most important, he must be living while we are living. We can only learn from, and love, someone at our own level.
When we find a Master, this is where our search ends – till he himself guides us further. For us, the Master represents God on earth. He is his emissary. He has merged his consciousness with that of the Lord. And he has been authorized by God to help those who are seeking liberation. His job is to awaken us to our inner self, that spark that is of the same essence as the Creator.
Sant Mat refers to this as Shabd or the sound current. What is keeping this body alive is the sound current, that God-part of us. Disconnect this life force and the body dies. So we are always, if unconsciously, connected to this life force.
At the time of initiation the Master energizes this connection so that we can begin our spiritual journey. And this is the means of conveyance out of here. This is the conveyance that brought us here and, with the aid of the Master, it will get us out of here. This stream of consciousness will propel us through the different levels of consciousness, back to our original home. When we attain the level of superconsciousness we are eligible to merge back into our source. Then there will be no more separation. But we need to consciously connect with this sound current.
At the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London, there is the prime meridian. It is the 0-degree line of longitude, marked by a metal bar embedded in the ground. This meridian separates east from west. And when tourists visit the observatory they like to have their photos taken astride this bar, which means they have one foot in the east and the other foot in the west.
This is similar to the state that most of us find ourselves in. We have one foot in the physical and one foot in the spiritual. We want to get to the spiritual, but we have strong roots in this physical realm which drag us back. Where do we stand on this path? Are we serious or just going through the motions, leaving all to the Master? At some stage on this path, we have to step over that meridian and cross over entirely to the spiritual hemisphere.
At the time of initiation we entered into a contract with the Guru. We promised him that Sant Mat would be the main focus of our lives. Everything else would be secondary. Can we say in all honesty that we have complied with the provisions of that contract? If not, then it is time to reassess our position and get our priorities right.
When our soul grows weary in its search for the Lord, and is anxious to return to its home, when our eyes long to see the Lord and we hunger for him, then, in order to fulfil our intense desire, he incarnates as a perfect Master or Satguru. In order to release the seekers from their bonds he himself comes as a redeemer.
Maharaj Sawan Singh, Philosophy of the Masters, Vol. V