The Role of the Master
Sometimes, we find it a little strange that although the Master himself creates a strong attraction in us for him, he tells us not to confuse the physical Master with the real Master, the inner Master. As disciples we are always longing for those precious moments in his company. We rush to be with him, like birds flying back again and again to drink at the same fountain. We yearn to see him, to hear his voice. The memory of our friends and loved ones fades over the years, but the memories of the Master grow over time and increase in their power to move us.
Some of the most precious moments in our lives have been spent in the company of the Master. So why is it that he is continually keeping us on our guard against a blind adoration of his physical person? Baba Ji has spoken very clearly about this question. The point – without minimizing the importance of the Master’s physical form – is that if we think that being with the Master will compensate for not attending to our meditation, we’re not going to get very far. Being at the Dera, however encouraging, is no substitute for our meditation. The real form of the Master is Shabd, and it’s the Shabd that we have to attach ourselves to.
We speak of Sant Mat as a science, so we should apply logic to our understanding. We are in search of Truth. What is true is eternal; it does not change. Everything that comes and goes is maya. If we only attach ourselves to the physical, we are not attaching ourselves to the permanent. Rationally, the attachment to the physical Master will have to end. The physical form will die and be consigned to the flames. Our attachment will take us that far and no further, and so we need to attach ourselves to that which is changeless and eternal, which never dies.
Sometimes it seems that we want to put the Master on a pedestal but this is completely contrary to the message that the Master is so lovingly trying to get across to us. He tries to show us that the Master is a normal person like us and that if he can do it, so can we; that those of us engaged in the activities of a very average life are capable of a life of meditation too. Putting the Master on a pedestal suggests that there is a gulf between us – that people like us can’t do it.
The role of a father is to build confidence in his child so that he can grow to walk shoulder to shoulder with the father. The Father doesn’t bring the child up to be dependent upon him, but to come to his level. Otherwise when the parent dies, the life of the child would be shattered and he wouldn’t be able to function. The father brings him up so that when he is no longer there the child can stand on his own two feet. And that is the role of the Master. He walks by our side so that we can walk with him. He does not walk in front because we would not be able to follow, nor behind because we would not be able to lead. We have to walk the path together.
We can look upon the Master as a friend, as a brother, or as a parent or a teacher – whatever we are most comfortable with. The Master-disciple relationship is realized at a high stage and develops only slowly. To trust him as a Master doesn’t come straight after initiation, but comes when we do our spiritual practice and gain inner experience.
There are no words to describe the feeling of love the Master inspires. There are no words to thank him. But we can recall Hazur Maharaj Ji’s response when asked if there was any gift we could give him. He said we should attend to our meditation. By attending to our meditation, he explained, we are doing the Master’s own work. Nothing else can liberate us, he said; we must come to the eye centre to see him.