The Way, the Truth and the Life
Many of us may have had the following kind of experience. We have a query about our insurance policy and it appears that a phone call is the only way to sort it out. So we gather our wits, patience and all possible information and dial Customer Care. Inevitably there is no live voice on the other end, just a pre-recorded voice asking us to press one of half a dozen numbers to narrow down the options. This is repeated three or four times – while our temperatures rise and patience begins to fizzle out. Eventually this disembodied voice says: “Dial 29 for a consultant.”
Hoorah! So we dial 29 and wait – finally a voice answers, again pre-recorded, saying all the consultants are busy, our call is valued, please wait. At which point a terrible synthesized version of a popular song starts to play, and the waiting continues. Five minutes later, after countless requests to be patient, patience runs out and we put the phone down. So frustrating! Has the old privilege of talking directly to a live person who can help us disappeared for good?
Happily not. The most important aspect of our lives, the path of Sant Mat, is not like that at all. The number of disciples following the path may have grown to millions, but we can still contact the CEO directly. We can write to the Master – the letters are answered and the replies always get delivered. We can travel to the Dera, sit at the feet of our Master and even address questions directly to him. He even visits us in our countries. And we can have private “phone calls” with him lasting two and a half hours every morning.
Does his accessibility make us undervalue what we have? Does it make us forget who we are actually dealing with? Master is not just a voice on the other end of the Customer Care line. He is not the head of the accounts department. He is not the CEO of Quick Fix Insurance. The one who gazes directly into our eyes as he answers our questions and travels all over the world to visit us is none other than our Master, who is sent by God to free us from this world. The fact that he is in a human body and accessible to us should not blind us to who he is.
In the Bible, Jesus Christ says: “I am the way, the truth and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me”. (John 14:6) This simple statement tells us the whole story of Sant Mat. For us, the Master is indeed “the way, the truth and the life”.
Until we meet his Radiant Form, and become one with him, we cannot really grasp who he is. We can, however, read what has been said about the Masters, most particularly what has been written by perfect saints themselves. For example, Maharaj Sawan Singh wrote:
The perfect Masters are those who have distinguishably become one with the Lord. They are born in human form according to the wishes of the Lord, so that they may take souls from the lower regions and unite them with the Lord. They connect with the Lord those who follow their instructions, and make them like themselves.
Philosophy of the Masters, Vol. V
It is the Master’s Shabd Form that will take us home once he has initiated us. In his Shabd Form, Master is the door that opens into the spiritual world; he is also the guide on the road that leads to our home, and once we are there, we will discover that he is also our destination.
It is the sound and light of the Shabd, the Master’s true form, which will attract our soul like a moth to a flame and draw it out of its prison into eternal freedom. Left to its own devices the soul would never find its way home. It will remain trapped here in the endless cycle of birth, death and rebirth. The soul may have a deep-seated longing for home, but it is powerless to act unless it receives a helping hand. On its own it is lost in the darkness of a labyrinth with no exit.
This has been our story for countless, lonely ages, and we have become weary and dispirited. The world can no longer offer any pleasure, happiness or security that can be relied upon to last. We have come to understand this, maybe only subconsciously, and we have started to yearn for something, someone, who can offer security, truth, light and hope. This yearning is the Lord’s gift and generally precedes the appearance in our lives of a living Master.
The enormity of what a Master represents is very difficult for us to understand with our intellect. We are dealing with concepts and images that almost seem like fairy stories. The Master is like the ultimate prince, come from a faraway land, to rescue the damsel in distress, release her from her wicked jailer and return her to her long-lost Father’s home.
The way out of darkness, the path back to God, can be realized only if we catch hold of the Shabd, and our Master is the worldly manifestation of the Shabd. He has been sent by God himself, and he is, indeed, “the way”.
He is also “the truth”. Maharaj Charan Singh says in Light on Saint John:
It (the Word) is the truth, because it never perishes. It has created the whole universe. Everything we see will perish, but not that creative power, the Word.
The true essence of the Masters is Shabd – eternal and imperishable – and their teachings never change. Masters may come at different times and speak in different idioms, but their message is always the same. They tell us that there is one God and the way back to him can be found only through the living Master. This is the unchanging essence of mystical teachings.
People everywhere have wrapped layers of disguise around the truth – rituals, ceremonies, creeds and dogmas – to such an extent that many have lost sight of the truth altogether. It is the Master’s job to reveal it. He explains the teachings and he shows us how to make contact with the Shabd, the truth itself. Through the Shabd we can begin to approach and know God. There is no other way that this can happen.
And what about our soul’s true home? We know all our worldly homes. They, like the people in our lives, are impermanent and perishable. Sach Khand is a different story. Sach Khand, God’s home of truth, beauty and love, will never perish, and it is our birthright. The soul has a memory of all this, and longs for it.
We all need and yearn for something real and true in our lives – a person, a belief, a hope that is unchanging. Only our Master, the Shabd in human form, can satisfy this need. And somehow or other, we have found our way to him. We sit in the palm of his hand. Eternal life, filled with peace and bliss, awaits all those initiated souls who follow the Master, the Shabd, along the path of light and sound to its final destination, Sach Khand. The soul longs to return to its source in God, from which it was separated originally.
Only through the Master can we be granted this perfect destiny. His Radiant Form will guide us along the whole journey until finally we merge with the Lord. Our love and gratitude should know no bounds.