Reveal, Release and Liberate
In Spiritual Discourses, Vol. I, Maharaj Charan Singh shares with us the purpose of the saints:
Saints come to reveal to us the way to achieve God-realization. They come to release us from the eternal bondage of birth and death. They come on a mission of mercy to cut away our chains and to grant us true liberation.
Saints don’t waste anything while in human bodies – not energy, not food, not time and definitely not words. Hazur says the saints reveal, release and liberate.
When something is revealed, there is a sense of mystery involved. Something is being made known that was either forgotten or unknown. Thus, saints reveal or make known to us something that has been hidden or forgotten. Our true home was, is and forever will be Sach Khand, but we have forgotten that home. We have become so entangled in the creation that we have forgotten our true identity and have forgotten we were ever merged into the Creator. This path of merging back into the Shabd is being unveiled for us. The clues to solve the mystery of God-realization are given to each disciple at initiation, and “true liberation” then becomes each disciple’s personal revelation.
Hazur uses the words release and liberate. Elsewhere in Spiritual Discourses, he says that saints come to “release us from all attachments to this transitory world … to liberate us from the cycle of birth and rebirth.” If something is already free it does not need to be released, so here he is reminding us that our souls are not free; our true selves are in fact captives in this creation. The saints come to release us from the bonds that hold us to this creation. They come to help us untangle the karmic knots we have tied in past lives. It is not enough to release the soul temporarily. Through their loving compassion and their devotion to the Lord and the seva they are performing for the Lord, the saints devote their lives to liberating each designated soul, freeing that soul from ever having to return to this creation.
This detachment from the world is difficult. Some of us are stubbornly attached to the creation and find its beauty captivating. A questioner once asked Maharaj Charan Singh, “Why do saints and mystics always seem to emphasize the darkness and ugliness of the world rather than the beauty?” To most of us that is not the case, we see the saints as if on a balance beam juggling the darkness and the light, well aware that this world is not our real home. The saints in fact tell us to enjoy the creation but not to get attached to it. Hazur enjoyed nature and spent hours photographing roses, mountains, scenery, and clearly appreciating all of it. Nevertheless, he responded to the questioner with:
What is the one thing which belongs to you? The Father. Why don’t you try to make him your own? When you get peace within, you’ll get peace outside. That is their approach. They know the reality. It’s not that they don’t see beauty in this world or that they only try to explain the back side of the picture. But they also have to show us the back side of the picture. These faces are so beautiful, but from the back, those pictures are nails and cardboard. The saints know both sides of the world. They know that peace within, and they know that misery within. They know the reality.
Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. I
In this letter Hazur reminds us that this world is an illusion. Until we experience this place as unreal, until we realize it is a prison for us, we will continue believing this place of constant change and transition is our home. The saints come to free us from ourselves, from our illusions, and from the prison we have created for ourselves here in this world. They have come to help us extricate ourselves from our own karmas and attachments. Maharaj Ji then says in Spiritual Discourses, Vol. I:
The world is a vast prison house. It is a tight net in which we are caught. It is a dangerous ocean. It is an impregnable fort. There is only one exit from it. The secret of this exit – the only way of escape – is, however, known to the saints alone. It is only when they apply the key that the gate opens. The mind then turns toward Nam Bhakti. Devotion to the Lord becomes practicable. The spirit ascends to the higher realms and meets her Lord face to face.
This world, with all its varied entrapments for the soul, is very much the prison house, and Maharaj Ji makes it clear that only the saints know the way out – know the way to escape from the prison. We might well ask how do the saints know the way out? We have read and been told that a perfect saint is one with the Creator. We have also heard the Master consistently say that we cannot know if a saint is a perfect saint until we experience his Radiant Form within. It seems like a “Catch 22” – we won’t know for sure until we experience him within, and we cannot experience him within unless we do the prescribed meditation and follow the tenets of the path. Despite all our quandaries and conjectures, despite our moments of doubt and our frustration, despite our occasional rebellion, most of us find ourselves, or will find ourselves, following the four tenets: leading a lacto-vegetarian life, abstaining from drugs, alcohol and tobacco, leading clean, moral, and healthy lives, and doing the required two and one half hours of meditation each day. As one of our dear satsangis used to say: “What if you get to the end of your life and this God-realization isn’t to be had, will you regret the life you led?” Even if God-realization is a myth, we would have led good lives, we would have worked toward something noble. If in fact the promise from the saints is true, that God-realization is to be ours, then all our effort will be rewarded with truth, with real love.
The saints tell us that God-realization is real − they share with us that they have the key to unlock our prison cell, and they come to us so full of love that we cannot resist them and their message. In the next paragraph of Spiritual Discourses, Hazur quotes Soami Ji:
O soul, if you wish to meet your Beloved; if you wish to enjoy your pristine glory; if you wish to enjoy ineffable bliss and eternal happiness; if you wish to transcend the plane of sorrow and suffering give up your association with the mind and awaken from your long slumber.
This is such a promise! This makes it sound as if it is our birthright and Baba Ji has said as much! If we want to enjoy the company of the Divine and our own pristine glory, it seems that this pristine self, which is already our true identity, is ours when we awaken from the dream. If we want to have the happily-ever-after life that seems to be waiting for us, then we have to do whatever it takes to set the alarm and wake up from this illusion. The saints come to remind us to do the spiritual work so we don’t have to die again and again. Hafiz says:
But would not a good father
Instruct all his heirs
Toward that path that will someday
This world is a treacherous place
And will surely slay and drown the lazy.
The only life raft here is love
And the Name.
Say it brother.
The Gift: Poems by Hafiz, rendered by Daniel Ladinsky
We cannot help but enjoy the thought that we are the heirs of a spiritual treasure. We cannot help but be awakened to the truth that if we are spiritually lazy, we will be drowned in the karmic ocean due to our lack of spiritual effort. We cannot help but see salvation in climbing into the life raft that our Master has given us in the form of meditation. In this poem, Hafiz is reminding us that we always have our simran to repeat, we always have the five holy names to remind us of our Beloved. The more simran we do, the more we turn our focus on him, the closer we get to claiming our birthright as spiritual beings.
The Master has his role in this ongoing journey − he reveals and releases, or liberates us from this world of transmigrating souls. He draws us to him like a magnet and infuses us with this love. He teaches us to meditate and to turn our attention inward.
In turn, we have our role as well. We are told that we must put in our sincere effort of meditation. We are told that if we sit down and let go, he will take care of the rest. We are reassured that he is there waiting to help us whenever we are willing to let go of the world and turn toward him. We are asked to remember him as we go through our day by doing simran when we can and by doing our meditation without fail with as much devotion as we can muster. Baba Ji keeps infusing us with positivity, with hope and with the needed conviction that we can do our part, we have the capability and the capacity to succeed. And he reminds us that there are no losers in Sant Mat − we are all winners.
Who is the Master? He is the One who is waking us up and taking us up! He reveals, releases and liberates!
One does not become a satsangi simply by being initiated. One must mould his life in accordance with the principles of satsang. Every thought, speech and action must conform to them. Actions speak louder than words. Thoughts are even more potent. A satsangi’s daily conduct must bear the hallmark of excellence and must reveal that he is the follower of a true Master.
Maharaj Jagat Singh, Science of the Soul