Why are you confused and disheartened, dear soul!
Take it from me
the Master will ferry you across the ocean.
Kal cannot touch you
if you hold tight to the banner of Shabd.
You should become enthralled with Shabd
and refuse to be swayed.
Ignore all misleading talk –
acknowledge the path of the Master as true.
Rise up and establish yourself in the realm of Agam,
as Radha Soami has explained to you.
Sar Bachan Poetry
This reassuring poem by Soami Ji reminds us that the Master will take us home. Our role is to “become enthralled with Shabd” and to “acknowledge the path of the Master as true.” He reminds us that if we hold tight to Shabd (to our meditation of simran and bhajan) and if we follow the teachings prescribed by the Master, then we are protected from the negative power and will be delivered back to the
Divine. The poem is full of loving advice and gives us insight into the strength of the teachings and the power of the Shabd. It also reminds us that “Kal cannot touch you if you hold tight to the banner of Shabd.” He is trying to empower us to be vigilant in our attempts to follow the teachings and to focus on Shabd. So here Soami Ji reminds us that by attaching to the Master and Shabd we can detach from worry, confusion, and despair and then return to the Divine.
Saints teach us that true happiness can only be found if we search within, for the kingdom of heaven lies within us. Happiness will never be found if we go on searching in the outer phenomenal world. That little two-letter word if provides us with one of the truths – that unless we seek spirituality within ourselves, we will not find it. So, as the Masters remind us, if we search within the human frame, we are going in the right direction.
Not only is this an inward search, but at the heart of the saints’ teachings lie three great concepts or realities: 1) the Word or Shabd is the creative power or spirit out of which the whole creation arose and which sustains all life; 2) the Master is a realized being, who bears witness to the Word and who can awaken others to its presence within; and 3) salvation is possible during this very life, not in some vague afterlife.
Inherent in Sant Mat teachings is the need for a living spiritual teacher who has made the complete spiritual journey and can, therefore, instruct each disciple in that same method of spiritual evolution through a daily meditation practice. If we wish to extricate ourselves from the illusion of this world, we must meditate to go beyond mind and achieve the real purpose of our human birth.
The karmic balance of cause and effect is implied. It’s conditional, much like statements our parents might have said: “You can have dessert if you finish your vegetables.” Or the teacher who said, “You all can go out for extra break if you work quietly for the next ten minutes.”
The condition that Soami Ji is reiterating in this poem is, “Kal cannot touch you if you hold tight to the Shabd.” Soami Ji is reminding us that Shabd is our true protector; it is our association with the Divine. By holding tight to our meditation, we are in the Master’s company, and he is protecting us, supervising our lives, regardless of our destiny.
We read about the power of meditation, the power of Shabd, and the power of the company of the saints, but when we don’t feel we are experiencing that power we may get disheartened. Perhaps that is why Soami Ji reminds us in the beginning of this poem that we need not be disheartened, confused or discouraged, because the Master will ferry us across the ocean. This is a statement – a promise – a balm to soothe our troubled and weary minds. This bold statement is full of compassion and understanding of our predicament.
If we study the four vows of the path, we can see the relationship that they have with karma: To follow a lacto-vegetarian diet creates less karma than diets that subscribe to meat eating and the killing of animals. Sant Mat is a path of love, and we don’t wish to cause unnecessary harm to any of God’s creatures. To follow a healthy lifestyle by abstaining from alcohol, drugs and tobacco – maintaining a healthy body and a mind that is not altered by certain substances – is important when trying to raise the consciousness to a higher level. We need to follow a lifestyle that is in keeping with the ‘Golden Rule’ by treating others the way we wish to be treated.
These first three vows lead to the fourth – to meditate two and one-half hours every day. We are told there is nothing more important in our lives. The Master assures us that if we meditate, he will take care of the rest. Again, a condition is put into place – a bargain is made. What a bargain! That one action every day is so important that the Master will literally take care of the rest. If we meditate, the soul that has been trapped for many lifetimes gains freedom.
Soami Ji ends the poem with the following statement, “Rise up and establish yourself in the realm of Agam, as Radha Soami has explained to you.” Soami Ji is giving direct advice and clearly telling us what we must do. Agam is the inaccessible, the unfathomable; and thus he is imploring us to rise up to that level – to make the effort to awaken the consciousness through meditation and to “establish” ourselves. He will be there to help. We don’t know the way but the Master does. It has often been said that we must keep knocking at the door of the Master. It often seems as if he is giving us the door, the strength to lift our arm to the door, and the desire to knock. We are so close: We have been given this human birth, the true Master, and the path of love. The conditions are truly right for going home in this lifetime.
Why trek so far on pilgrimage, friend?
The first thing to do is purify your mind.
Going on pilgrimage can’t purify the mind;
just sit still in one place – you’ll see.
If the mind is pure, you’ll find God
in your very home.
Devotees see him wherever they may be.
This is my only advice, Janardan tells Eknath,
nothing is greater than this.
Eknath in Many Voices, One Song