The Glance of Love
Most of us very happily refer to our Master as “Master,” but it is a word with many interesting connotations. It implies power, control, accomplishment, great skill or ability – someone who has gained mastery over other people. Someone who has gained mastery over a skill or activity can also be said to have complete control over his or her instrument. Having the upper hand in a situation might mean one has mastered that situation.
How truly fortunate that our Master has all of the skill, the knowledge, power and control he needs to get his job done, as well as infinite love.
So, what is the Master’s role in our lives? First, he is our redeemer and saviour. He is the only person who can free us from this jail of creation and take us back home to God. Second, he is our guide and teacher who has travelled the route home, knows all of its complexities and has mastered them all. And third, he is the Master washerman – cleansing us as we undertake this return journey.
The redeemer part of Master’s job is to initiate us on to the path of Sant Mat to reunite us with God so that we can leave this cycle of birth, death and rebirth forever. At the time of initiation our Master places his Radiant Form in the eye centre of each disciple, and from that moment on is constantly with them, guiding their every step, physically and spiritually. Sultan Bahu says: “A lover, with but one glance of love, can carry millions to their deliverance.” All initiates have received that glance of love.
The first thing that Master explains is that we have been in this creation for aeons of time. And during that time our soul has incarnated into millions of different life forms. All of this we would continue to do were it not for Master’s glance of love.
Masters tell us that originally we came from Sach Khand, at God’s behest, and only a true Master can reveal the route home, place the disciple on it and guide him all the way. The Master explains that God has decreed that the route home is the path of love. Perhaps we were sent away in order to learn to consciously love the Lord.
Our Master ensures our eventual release by reconnecting our souls with the Shabd, the Word or Nam – God’s power through which creation was brought into existence. This power is present in all living things, and in humans it takes the form of sound and light that our inner consciousness can experience.
The Master must teach us to look at this world of phenomena differently. We have been here for so long that we think we belong here. We need to view it as a room in an inn where we will stay for a few nights only. Soami Ji tells us in Sar Bachan:
All this play is a night’s dream,
and I have now woken up.
False is the body, false is the world,
and false is the mind that allures.
As quoted in Sultan Bahu
Having told us that we belong to God, having put us on the pathway back to him, the Master explains that we must detach ourselves from the world and attach ourselves to him. He explains this extraordinary concept that God’s true home is within the human body. He is the very essence of our being. He is not just close by – he is us, we are him. But we need to follow our Master’s teachings before we can experience this for ourselves.
Now we are very happy with all that our Master has done and explained. Yes, he has initiated us; and yes, he will guard and guide us all the way home. But we must participate actively. If he is our Master, then we must bow down and submit to his will completely. We call him Master – but do we treat him as a Master?
Sant Mat is a path of love and effort. First comes the Lord’s love and grace in the form of the Master and initiation, but then comes our response in the form of our effort – principally: meditation, simran and attitude. Maulana Rum says:
My pull it was that caused you
to make your efforts.
It freed your feet.
As quoted in Sultan Bahu
Are we obeying, trusting and accepting in all things? Nowhere does this question become more valid than when it comes to our Master’s other role in our lives – that of master washerman. Happily, we accept him as the great redeemer, freeing us from this world. But it is just possible that we’re less comfortable with his role as the master cleaner.
Why does he need to cleanse us and how does he go about this? Masters explain that before the soul can merge back into the Lord it must be pure and clean, as it was originally. As long as we still need to reap the consequences of past actions and are still bound by our karmas and attachments to things of this world, we will not be free to escape from this domain of Kal.
One of Kal’s best devices to keep us here is our forgetfulness of previous lives and ignorance of the law of karma. In each lifetime we sow more than we can reap, and each lifetime’s overflow gets added to the stockpile, which, left to our own devices, we can never, pay off fully. Which means we are trapped.
So how is this debt to be paid? If we can’t do it ourselves, how will we ever be free? The answer lies with the Master and his glance of love. He has taken charge. He now judges how best the load can be lifted and how the purification process should be undergone. The negative power must accept his mastery in this instance.
First of all, he asks us to become actively involved in this process by meditating. Masters explain that meditation is the only way to empower us with enough strength to undergo our karmas gracefully. So, meditation is our principal contribution. But also as cleanser he can take a different approach. A satisfied, totally content and happy soul might not see a need to leave and re-join God. What therefore is Master’s method of disillusioning us, of making us long for God’s love?
Some of it seems to be through suffering and struggle. Suffering is one of his most successful tools. Maharaj Sawan Singh says in The Dawn of Light:
The Master tries to get as much of the debt as possible paid off by suffering here, so that by suffering a longing for the Master may be created and the upward journey made easier.
Feeling disenchanted, lonely and sad is – for some of us, par for the course – but the true thread running through all is the love of the Master pulling us home. He does what he needs to do to turn us towards him. Master is like the potter, slapping the wet clay on the outside and supporting the pot on the inside. Kabir says in Kabir, the Great Mystic:
The Master is the potter and his devotees the clay.
He kneads the clay, removing its impurities,
then shapes the pot,
supporting it within
with his own hands – unfailing, strong –
while slapping the clay from the outside alone.
No doubt we have all staggered under the impact of the potter’s slaps. No doubt there have been times when many of us have thought: “This isn’t fair. This is too much. Where is he?” These are natural responses to calamities. If we are happy to call him redeemer, then we must be equally happy to call him cleanser. He will take care of our whole karmic story, one way or another, out of his extraordinary love for us.
Meditation is his gift of love to us, to help us cope on a daily basis; to help us pay off our own debts; to help us move towards him, where he is waiting for us at the eye focus with nothing but love. Great Master wrote:
My home is within you and I am also within you. The outward homes are of clay and are perishable. The real permanent home is within. I wish you could come up and see me there.
The Dawn of Light