In The Path, Maharaj Charan Singh writes, “While a Saint is alive, we listen to his words, but we do not heed them.” How sad and true this has proven to be for some of us. Wrapped up in the Master’s love and light, we disciples sometimes miss the glory of the Master’s teachings. Often we realize, years later, that the Master’s words apply to us and not to someone else. But when a Master speaks of our ritualistic religious tendencies, he speaks literally not metaphorically. When he points to the spiritual root of life, his words are true and not merely symbolic or moralistic. We disciples may be convinced as our Master speaks that we understand him, but looking back at our lives, we may now see that many of our working concepts, attitudes, and actions do not conform to his message, despite our many efforts.
As soon as he leaves the world, we turn to rites and rituals and thus completely forget his real teachings. We begin once again to reduce his lofty teachings and the truth of his experience into creeds and sects, thereby sowing the seeds of discord and dissension. We do this, actually, for selfish reasons and justify it in the name of national honour or the prestige of traditional religion.
Seemingly, Hazur is speaking to the broadest social context where politicians and priests stir up strife by promoting fear and manipulating religious ideas for personal advantage. But in subtle ways his portrait of conflict is a warning to us as well. Narrow religions start with us, the followers of a mystic saint. We begin to judge who is worthy and unworthy, what mores and rules should define our small community, and our cultural bias dictates the creed we support in the otherwise open-ended world of mysticism. We need to reflect.
What are his real teachings? Is the Master speaking about worshiping the infinite Lord or success in life? Is he speaking about oneness or duality? Does he ever insist on a conservative or liberal posture? Does he advocate monarchy or democracy, hierarchy or brotherhood? What is his management theory and cultural ideology? Does the Master divide followers into categories of sinner and redeemed, saved and unsaved, good and bad, or create special categories of more talented and favoured followers, or divide families into converted or not converted? We listeners may have a bias on one side or another of these issues, but does the Satguru? Never. The same message of love, compassion and mercy is given to everyone.
After his cautionary note, Hazur makes his case for oneness and unity instead of duality by saying, “Our soul is of the essence of the Lord. We are a drop of that vast ocean of divinity, a ray of that mighty sun.” The Lord, he says, is our essence. Soul has emerged from the Lord and is a particle of him. This means that ultimately our self, our essential nature – our very identity – comes from the Lord, not from our body and life circumstances. Real consciousness in life comes from ascendency of the soul, not the reverse.
Maharaj Sawan Singh says:
By praying to him and merging in him one shares in his powers. But he who considers him to be a separate being cannot enjoy this wonderful pleasure and the full benefits of merging in him.
Philosophy of the Masters, Vol. III
No words could better communicate the benefit of spiritual realization. Prayer, as conceived here, is seen as a form of intimate communion. The Lord is the author of all identity and consciousness. The sooner it dawns on us that we have no fundamental identity or existence or self that is separate from the Lord, the sooner we can appreciate everything the Lord is doing. We are already linked, though we may not understand or realize it. If we are conceiving the spiritual path as a journey from material to spiritual with a private benefit to us, we are doomed to failure. Expressed differently, if we think that our bodily identity is who we are and that it will somehow persist after death, we are considering ourselves as fundamentally separate and must by definition fail once again.
All dualism is a fiction in the sense that dualism is not permanent, but only with God-realization do we gain this awareness. Nearly all words and concepts have a subject and object and are based on dualism. Thus our standard notions of spirituality and who we are, do not stand up to simple analysis and are largely fictional. The only way forward is merging. Mysticism and love destroy dualism and with it every dictate of creed and cultural belief. With the Lord paramount in our hearts, delusional ideas derived from race, class, gender or personality fade away.
Frankly, achieving this perspective takes maturity because we have to be able to sense the Lord’s purpose in the middle of all the contradictions, passions, and apparent suffering in life. We need human understanding that stems from seeing life from a stable perspective beyond words and thoughts. Meditation is the way to achieve this. Through a life of meditation we can gain the maturity that comes from facing our own mortality and realizing that even in the scale of outer things we are insignificant.
After the death of our identification with the limited self, we realize that everything happens as the Lord wants it to happen and according to ultimate wisdom. What he made is good, the natural order, the moral order, the spiritual order, law and compassion, all. What we do with it is only good in so far as we choose to act in support of his will and wisdom. Our only virtue comes from developing a truly intimate relationship with him. He has virtue and identity that he generously shares; we have nothing. We have to go deep into meditation to understand this.
Spiritual maturity means we habitually place our experience in a wider context, as part of something bigger. Only an all-pervasive friend can help us cross the limited boundary of identity and circumstance. He is always with us, everywhere and in every state. We are connected. From this vantage point, the sense that he knows everything about us is welcome and obvious. The Lord has a handle on things. Our worry is less. We begin to trust others to do what they must do. We all stand before the same Lord. We cease imposing religious superstition on ourselves and fear-based prescriptions on others. We understand that everyone is growing and developing.
Great Master affirms in Philosophy of the Masters, Vol. III, “Those who think that the Lord is on high and directs the affairs of the world from there seldom receive a response to their prayers.” Dualism reinforces ego, the sense that we are a separate independent self, vulnerable and alone, and that this is my body, my car, my house, my children, my art, my clan, my class, my education, my country, and my world. With dualistic thinking, our creed must bolster our position against those seemingly different from ourselves. However, we as disciples of a loving Master can’t hide behind the notion that the Lord is remote, inaccessible or apart. The Master is here. He is in human form. He embraces us. He gives proof of our unlimited human potential – that the Lord is not chained in heaven, and man is not confined to the earth.
Great Master writes in Philosophy of the Masters, Vol. III, “The Lord is with you and within you and not far away from you. The Lord is inside you. He is none other than the spirit of your soul.” Nothing could be more straightforward. Meditation is the process of inner reflection and travel that destroys the subject-object delusions embedded in language and thought. From this perspective of unity, we can resolve every problem that we seem to possess. Our cultural codes too often distort our understanding of other people and circumstances. We feel responsible when we are not. We don’t even see obvious virtue in others when we think ourselves separate.
Let’s reflect on the unambiguous words left to us by the Masters. If we act on them with focus and conviction, we will look everywhere but find no fear and no enemies and nothing wrong, only fulfilment of every hope – and the Lord instrumental in everyone:
Meditation helps us to see how there is oneness between everything and everybody in the creation – that, externally and internally, all is Shabd. We see how everything is interconnected. As we bring this realization to all aspects of our daily life, we demolish the walls we have built that separate our spiritual life from our daily life. The fracture that is experienced by so many people in the wholeness of their being is gradually healed.