It may seem a little strange to combine the concepts of spirituality and investing in one phrase, but if we examine the root of the verb to invest we see that it means to put energy into a venture with the expectation of achieving a profit.
One invests money into a commercial venture, shares or property. In spirituality we invest our time with the hope of receiving a far more worthwhile return on it − that of spiritual wealth, of merging into and becoming one with divine love. When we conscientiously adhere to our Master’s instructions and invest our time wisely, then our goal is to become suffused with Shabd, with divine sound and light.
Every person has the same amount of time every day of their lives. For everyone a day has twenty-four hours. How we use this gift is entirely up to us.
How do we go about investing our time wisely? We are asked to give one tenth of our daily time to sincere and devoted spiritual practice. We are given five words by our Master and we repeat these over and over, in remembrance of him and the Lord. This brings the mind to a focussed still point, above and between the eyes where the Radiant Form of our Master patiently awaits us. He will then lovingly guide us from here on for the remainder of our journey along the shah rug or royal highway, to regions beyond time and mind, to realms where we will be suffused with pure love.
The Master’s path is called Surat Shabd Yoga. Maharaj Sawan Singh explains in Philosophy of the Masters, Vol.V, that surat means consciousness and refers to the soul. Shabd is the melody-based power of the Supreme Lord, the Sound Current that resounds everywhere in creation. Unless we are attentive we cannot hear it as its music is not external or worldly, but the music of the soul. Yoga means the uniting of the surat with the Shabd and becoming one with it. When hearing the sound the soul is irresistibly drawn to it.
Surat Shabd Yoga is very ancient and has existed from the very beginning. One cannot add to or subtract anything from it. The Shabd was in the beginning. It created this universe. The soul has a natural affinity for the Heavenly Music.
Philosophy of the Masters, Vol. V
Masters consider Surat Shabd Yoga to be the highest of all forms of yoga and has as its objective connecting the soul with the Shabd. This is the only way to merge the soul into the divine source from which it originally emanated. Great Master tells us that it is an easy form of yoga to follow as we do not have to undergo any suffering while practising it. No effort is required other than listening to the melody of the Shabd with close attention. All that is required is to find a secluded spot away from noise and distractions where one can achieve this inner seclusion. To help us, our Master teaches us a method of closing the outer doors of the body and sitting in one-pointed concentration gathering our attention at the third eye.
The poet Rumi’s own spiritual Master Shams-i-Tabriz, had this to say of the role and function of true Masters or true teachers:
There are birds who lay golden eggs,
They fly to the realm of the skies every morning
When they run, they seem like suns in the seventh region.
When they sleep, they make the sun and moon their pillows.
O Shams-i-Tabriz, they enable thousands of those born blind,
With one kind look, to see the path.
Philosophy of the Masters, Vol V
The Masters who have achieved such union with the Lord find souls who are earnestly seeking God, wherever they may be. Masters help such souls and they become the means of uniting them with the Lord. Such Masters distribute their spiritual powers freely and at no cost. By their grace, a disciple can progress rapidly and unite with the Lord in this very life. Although perfect Masters have assumed human forms similar to our own and live among us, in fact they live in union with the Lord. We are incapable of fully describing or even understanding such great beings. Even Kabir had difficulty. He said:
If I were to mix all the mountains in the sea to make ink,
and were to use the whole earth as paper,
I would not be able to describe his virtues.
Philosophy of the Masters Vol. V
Great Master wanted to know how we, poor beggars completely deceived by maya, can even begin to know anything of the glory of such spiritual kings. It takes a true Master to describe a Master, and we are unable to understand what or who a Master is. Soami Ji offers this description of a perfect teacher in Sar Bachan:
He alone is the Guru
Who loves the Shabd.
He who knows it not is not a perfect Guru.
He who practises the Shabd
Is a perfect Guru.
Bow before such a Guru.
Become the dust of His feet.
Philosophy of the Masters, Vol. V
Every one of us needs a Master to convey the teachings of the saints to us and guide us as we proceed. A very special relationship develops between the disciple − the one who meditates to seek the Lord − and his or her spiritual Master, who guides the disciple to find the Lord. By following the teachings presented to us and investing our time in sincere meditation in the end we will, through our efforts and with his infinite grace, reap our rewards.
The Lord’s Name is my wealth;
I neither hoard it for myself
Nor sell it for a living.
Nam is my farm, Nam my orchard;
Thy slave worships thy Name
And seeks thy shelter.
Nam is my asset, Nam my capital.
Other than thee, O Lord,
I know of no riches.
I neither hoard thy Name
Nor sell it for a living. …
Whom the Lord keeps in the world
Yet keeps detached from it,
Of such a one Kabir is a slave.
My wealth is the Lord’s Name;
I hoard it not for myself,
I sell it not for a living.
Kabir, The Weaver of God’s Name