The Pain of Separation
The Master fills, and fills to the brim, the cup of love and offers it with his own hands.
Sant Dadu Dayal, as quoted in Kabir, The Weaver of God’s Name
When we are in the Master’s presence, nothing else gives us more joy. He lifts our spirits and fills us with calmness and peace. Our worldly problems instantly dissolve and we revel in the moment. Without the exchange of words, we communicate through the voice of our soul. Sitting before him, we try to absorb every word he speaks and every loving glance.
Before we know it, the Master folds his hands and walks towards the door, leaving us to hold on to his words, that he is always with us. In those priceless moments, he has filled our hearts with so much happiness and love – yet why does the heart feel heavy?
Every disciple longs to be with the physical form of the Master. What is it about the Master that is so attractive and alluring? Why does our gaze not want to leave his form? And why does the heart constantly yearn to be with him? Maharaj Sawan Singh explains in Philosophy of the Masters, Vol. II:
A Master is a lover of God. In him there are boundless currents of true love. He is the physical form of that love. To love him is to find the most important medium for developing love for God, because he is a manifestation of God, and his heart is full of love for him. His face shines with the light and energy of God. By seeing him, love and longing for God increases.
Being in the Master’s presence reminds us of God’s selfless love. In his company, the deep longing to return to our source is awakened. Because of his divine qualities, we are irresistibly drawn to him and long to be in his presence. Hazur Maharaj Ji explains the importance of the physical form:
I don’t think you can help having an attachment to the physical form of the Master. If you love the teachings, naturally you love the person giving you the teachings. But ultimately, as Christ says in Saint John, it is in your best interest that I leave you. Now you are running after my physical form; you’re not trying to give your attention to the holy word within yourself. When you are no longer able to find me physically, the only way to find me will be within yourself. So this physical attachment is only meant for one purpose: to create in you a longing to remain with the Master. Our real Master is within ourselves. So we should try to use this love and devotion within ourselves to find the Radiant Form of the Master. If from that point of view we are attached to the physical form of the Master, then of course we gain everything. But if we do not direct this love towards the form within ourselves, then we are not making the best use of our time.
Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. III
When circumstances separate a disciple from the physical form of the Master, a deep yearning develops for the inner Master. And when the disciple cannot reach the inner form, his pain further intensifies. Writings by the saints are filled with longing and often describe the excruciating pain of separation. They express their sole desire to see the Beloved, and to be with him – a desire which consumes all other desires of the world. Their love is pure, emanating from the depths of their soul.
If my whole body were adorned with eyes,
I would gaze at my Master with untiring zeal.
If only each pore of my body had a million eyes,
Then even if some eyes blinked
Others would remain open to see.
Hazrat Sultan Bahu, as quoted in Voice of the Heart
The saints tell us that longing is a necessary prerequisite for union with the Lord. The Great Master has said (as quoted in Philosophy of the Masters, Vol. II): “Where there is no bireh (intense longing), there can be no meeting with the Beloved.” It is through intense longing, that we persevere on the spiritual path towards our true home.
It is an agonizing pain. No amount of material comfort can soothe the disciple. However, ironic as it may sound, there is a pleasure in this pain, for the disciple’s thoughts are constantly focused on his Beloved. The Beloved may be out of his sight, but never from his heart.
When he saw me burning in the flames of longing, my Master came running; he sprinkled the cool nectar of love and quelled the blaze. The pain of separation whispered to me: “If you hold on to me with all your might, I will carry you to the bliss of the Beloved’s lotus feet.”
Kabir, the Weaver of God’s Name
The pain of separation and longing is given to us when the Lord wants us to return to him. What is most heartening, however, is that the Master is more anxious for us to become one with him; his longing is far greater than ours. Hazur Maharaj Ji explains:
He is there waiting for us and is longing for us to come, more than we are to go, no matter how strong we may think our urge to return to the Lord.
Light on Saint John
The Masters explain that the only remedy to this pain of separation is meditation. The more time we give to meditation, the greater the pain of separation. And the more pain of separation we feel, the further progress we make on the spiritual path. All the Masters have spoken of its significance in the journey to God. The Master engenders love in the disciple’s heart and the disciple’s longing for him sustains it. Ultimately, it is this deep longing which leads the disciple to become one with God.
Your happiness will know no bounds when you meet me within yourself. Then you will absolutely forget all your trials and sorrows. You will be so filled with love, joy and indescribable happiness that there will be no room for anything else. You will then not even remember that you were ever sad. When you merge into my Spirit Form, the Holy Ghost, all your doubts will vanish because everything will be clear to you. And whatever you wish will be granted by the Father. When we merge into the Father, our desires are more than fulfilled and there is absolutely nothing more to wish or hope for. Whatever we may ask for has already been granted – not only that, but much more than we could ever hope for.
Maharaj Charan Singh, Light on Saint John