In Legacy of Love we read that, “The Masters become a bridge for us to cross. By loving a perfect Master, our soul eventually comes to love the formless and indescribable one and only God. Although the Lord, like electricity, pervades everywhere, the Master is the point where he shines out as light.”
We were born with a mission, and in the course of our life that mission becomes clearer. We are to restore our lost relationship with the divine and in the process get in touch with our true selves. The living Master is a bridge because he is anchored in both worlds, the spiritual and physical. He is our link to divinity. Our relationship with the physical Master is therefore of tremendous importance.
Although Masters have been born in the East since time immemorial, ever since the second half of the twentieth century they have travelled the globe as well, opening their doors to seekers from all parts of the world. For example, in the 1960s Hazur Maharaj Charan Singh made his first visit to the West, to the eternal benefit of seekers there. The spiritual thirst with which we were born could be quenched only by meeting the Master in person and by being embraced by his love. A turning point and a sacred moment, meeting the Master is the beginning of a long relationship played out over time.
We can’t imagine a life without our Master. Though we are hardly aware of it, our Master forges in us a strong inner bond with him – he becomes a part of us. Masters keep their promise never to leave us. Naturally we go through tough lessons in life – at our jobs or within our families there are issues which may remain unresolved. We may face dilemmas within the sangat, maybe things we weren’t expecting. We may waver, but always something happens that pulls us back onto the path – a seva, perhaps that we couldn’t refuse and which keeps us in line; or a shattering life event that forces us to turn to the Master, grateful that he is there, giving his support and comfort. On the departure of Maharaj Charan Singh from this world, Baba Gurinder Singh has guided and inspired us, and so, like children, we have been provided for, loved, protected.
A way of life
Looking back over our life, we will see that our pathway across that spiritual bridge is made up of the way of life taught by the Masters and the values they inculcate; we imbibe these through association with them. Our memories of visits to Dera and of the Master’s tours to his satsang centres at home and abroad reveal to us how we grew into the path, so that slowly but gradually the depth of the spiritual way of life began to sink in. It permeated our behaviour. For older satsangis, the sense of responsibility grows in terms of living the life, serving the Master by serving his sangat, and giving a helping hand to the next generation.
So much of our life isn’t lived to the fullest. We’re so consumed by our daily activities that we constantly forget our real purpose. That’s why we can’t do without satsang and seva. Attending satsang has been made so easy for us now that we have Science of the Soul centres of our own. The same goes for doing seva. Perhaps we don’t realize how beneficial for our spiritual lives these opportunities are. As we rub shoulders with fellow satsangis and learn to bring respect, compromise and a sense of service to our dealings with each other, we feel the Master’s power at work. To serve well, we must attend to meditation; then, inspired by the atmosphere of seva, we attend to meditation with renewed enthusiasm.
Our meditation is a driving force and an act of gratitude. The spiritual life we live and build up over a lifetime is based on a steady, daily rhythm of practising meditation. Living the life and practising meditation is the way we take our first tentative steps across the bridge to spiritual understanding. There is no handbook for how to do it. You can only do it by doing it. ‘Talking’ the path won’t lead anywhere. What helps us immensely is first of all sticking to that daily practice, hanging on to it for dear life. An unbroken rhythm of meditation forges daily links of an unbreakable chain. There is also a simplicity and beauty to it which somehow opens our eyes to the beauty and simplicity of the everyday. In other words, we begin to perceive the workings of the divine in the small and seemingly insignificant things around us.
It says in the Bible that “he [the Lord] comes like a thief in the night”. The meaning of this is that spiritual transport comes to us quite unannounced – like a thief who doesn’t announce his presence. Spirit is everywhere but with our limited consciousness we are unaware of it. Still, that unannounced presence will touch us and reach us from time to time. This is what we are working towards when we do what our Master wants us to do – to actually make use of his bridge by stepping across it. These are most precious moments in life, breaking through life’s routines, giving one a sense of aliveness to that something within us which is so much greater than our individual personalities. That embrace of love also gives us a sense of the presence of the inner Master. It touches the stillness of our being.
Sant Mat is the path of Shabd meditation, and the Shabd can be experienced within ourselves in the form of sound and light when we learn to concentrate our attention at the eye centre. Getting closer to the divine, getting closer to the inner Master, is the reward of all our efforts and failures. At the end of the day, we can only pray that the sum total of all our actions will be closeness to the Shabd. It is an awakening to the living God – the Shabd within us – to which we aspire through the practice of simran, dhyan and bhajan. Saint Kabir says:
He who obtains Shabd,
Who keeps his soul in Shabd absorbed,
Reaches the royal audience hall;
Kabir, there he will see the Supreme One,
My Beloved Lord.
Kabir, the Weaver of God’s Name
When we come to experience this living reality within our being we will “reach the royal audience hall” – meet the inner, radiant form of our Master. His physical presence has guided and sustained us, bringing us into sight of the other side. We realize that his physical being is actually a manifestation of Shabd, and that the bridge we walk on is itself nothing but Shabd.
Loving the physical Master and accepting his guidance, we end up by loving the inner Master. He is our bridge to our real home in Sach Khand.