A Simple Path
The path of the Masters really is simple. The philosophy is simple. The instructions are simple. What we are asked to do is simple. There is no reason that our lives should not be simple. We have been drawn to a living Master and he is taking us to our true home.
Let us look a little closer at this:
First, in following this particular spiritual path, we do not have to have any special qualifications, go anywhere, learn anything difficult or pay anything.
Second, yes, there are things we are called on to do. But once we have settled into the routine of a lacto-vegetarian diet, abstinence from alcohol and mind-affecting drugs, a good moral life and daily meditation, these – far from being a complication – keep life straightforward.
Third, our days of searching are over. In fact, it was never our searching which brought us to the path. It came to us when we were ready.
Fourth, our progress is inexorable and we will surely move forward. We do not have to make value judgements about our progress once we are attached to the Master and are following his instructions.
Fifth, our inner connection with our Creator is made ‘live’ when the Master initiates us and puts us in touch with that primal energy, the sound current, which is the energy of the Creator.
We can actually hear and identify this sound current and we automatically follow it towards our eternal home. Attachment to the sound current is the certain way to leave this creation forever.
Finally, although we do not always recognize it, the love and care of the Master is always there. Everything is under his charge.
It is our minds that generate complexity. Complexity is a distraction. Complexity is in the nature of the creation, and to be submerged in complexity is to be of the creation. Simplicity is of the spirit, and is a quality that belongs to love, and love is our relationship with the Creator to whom this creation and all in it belong.
Do we owe anything at all to complexity? For example, let’s ask ourselves whether we are at the Master’s door because we have a complex intellect that uniquely unravelled the mysteries of the spiritual worlds. Is it because our complex financial investments have brought us great wealth? Have we searched through the world to find hidden ancient manuscripts? Has it been passed on to us by a previous generation as an automatic family inheritance? It is none of these things.
The Creator is simply calling us back home like a mother who calls to her child playing in the garden to come in and clean up. The only difference in principle is that the directness of the call registers with the soul, not with the conscious mind, and therefore we may be aware, at a conscious level, only of the stirrings of dissatisfaction with this world.
The living Master
There is something we need to know – that a living Master is essential to succeed on this journey. But how are we supposed to find a Master? How do we recognize him? Isn’t the world full of so-called masters and gurus?
Answers to these questions can be found in the third chapter in The Path of the Masters, in which the author simply but thoroughly examines the subject. In the section Why Surrender to a Master? he asks:
I am sure many of our critics will say: “Why surrender your individual will or personality to a Master?… Isn’t that another way of crushing individual initiative and strength of character?”
And the answer is given:
“First let us say that the word ‘surrender’ is not a suitable term but it is about the best term we have. It would be better to say that (the disciple) fully trusts the Master… (he) trusts his higher interests in the hands of an expert.”
But what about free will, we could reasonably ask. Love founded on compulsion or love which is a dependency surely isn’t love.
Let us go back to the example of a mother calling her child in from play. She knows that the night is coming. She knows that the child will need to be fed and washed before bed. If the child does not come after being called a few times, what happens? The mother will go to find the child and if it still won’t come readily, she lifts it up and carries it in, probably screaming and kicking. To the child, this isn’t love. This is a harsh dictator spoiling the games. But we all know that the mother is driven by love for the child. She cares for it at every level – even levels of which the child is completely unaware. And so it is with the Creator and his care for us.
Rapid progress under the guidance of the Master would clearly be possible if we consisted only of soul, the divine essence in each one of us. But the Creator decreed that we take on mind and physical form to operate at the physical level. He also organized the created worlds on the basis of scrupulous fairness and justice. We are told that a detailed record is kept of all actions, the effects of which must be accounted for at some time, either in a current or future life. No soul can leave the creation without its karmic record being in balance. If one considers the enormity of stored karma from millions of lives, for all practical purposes a soul is trapped here unless there is some intervention of grace. In other words, we have to have our account cleared – only possible with the help of the Master – before we can finally leave, never to return. We do not need to understand the intricacies of karma but we do need to be grateful and show that gratitude by fulfilling the vows we make at initiation to the very best of our ability.
When we are initiated we make four promises, and failure to observe any of these cuts at the root of spirituality and inhibits further progress. The first three form the foundation for the fourth. Our fourth promise, to sit in meditation, is the simplest feature of the path, but it is the core activity for us. It means we have some work to do. Simple work, but work all the same.
We undertake to allocate a minimum of two and a half hours every day to meditation, for the rest of our lives. The meditation must be carried out in the way described at initiation, giving the first period to simran or the repetition of the five holy names, and the second to bhajan or listening to the holy sound reverberating at the eye centre.
The Masters sometimes use the allegory of travelling home in the dark and listening for the sound and watching for the light of our house, then following that sound and light. It’s simple to understand but not so easy to achieve the desired result of stilling the active mind. So, consistent with that simple message, when we accept the wake-up call to go home, we should keep our lives simple. By simplifying our dealings with the world and involving ourselves in essentials only, we can make it much easier to gather in our attention at the time of meditation.
A simple path
We have found that all essential aspects of this path are simple. Intellectually understanding the complex issues of the meaning of creation or the technicalities of karma are not essential, and we do not need to understand or delve into them. In due course, at an inner stage of our journey, we will come to know these things. For now, we can and should keep it simple, keep it basic, and then everything can flow in the easiest way. Take life easily as it comes. If we are beset by adversity of whatever nature, we can remind ourselves that this too shall pass and that the Master is making that adverse event as painless as he can, commensurate with the eradication of the karma. Attendance to meditation and simran during the day will help us to develop the strength to be unaffected by our karmas.
Remember the screaming child who did not want to come when its mother called? Let us make sure that we are not like that. We must have some trust and faith in our Master. We should remind ourselves that a higher power is guiding our destinies so that we move along within the will of the Master. He alone knows what is best for us. He has our highest and best interests at heart. He is good and merciful and we can rest in his hands.