What the Living Master Does for Us
We lack the capacity to understand what the Master, in his physical form, does for us, let alone understand anything of his power and protection beyond the material plane. Nonetheless, we can gratefully acknowledge a little of how he looks after us.
We can probably remember the Master entering our lives and how different they became. Where we once might have felt alone or vulnerable, now we’re reassured by the knowledge that, as our eternal guide, he is constantly helping us deal with the uncertainties of life. Where we once might have struggled to understand why the world is as it is, the Master teaches us the law of karma, encouraging us to view events from a broader perspective. As a result, when things don’t turn out as we desired, we remind ourselves that whatever is taking place is the result of our actions in previous lives. Even though it doesn’t always stop us from feeling disappointed, we try to follow our Master’s example by looking for the silver lining in every cloud. When we think of how we might have reacted to events before and after meeting the Master, we get perhaps one of the clearest illustrations of his transformative effect on us.
The Master wishes us to become good human beings. In fact, of the four life-changing vows we make upon initiation, the first three are blueprints enabling us to do just that. Adopting a lacto-vegetarian diet stops us from hurting any of the Lord’s creatures. By refraining from eating eggs, we stop endangering unborn life. By not indulging in alcohol and intoxicants, we keep a clear mind and avoid a host of awful actions and complications that could hurt others and drag us downwards, entangling our soul ever more tightly in the material world.
The Master wants us to think logically and realize that actions have consequences, so that, during this life, we learn to make better choices. He explains the importance of finding a living Master rather than devoting ourselves to a past Master. We should not rely on second-hand teachings but receive initiation direct from a Master who is contemporary with us.
The Master tells us what we must do if we wish to leave this creation, which includes adopting the three life-changing vows outlined earlier. If we show we can do this for at least a year, then we can apply to become initiated into the path of the Masters, during which we are taught the fourth foundation of a satsangi’s life, namely, meditation. This is the method by which we learn to focus our attention at the eye centre. As our focus deepens, we become attentive to the Shabd resounding within us.
Both before and after initiation, the Master encourages and guides us, answers our questions in satsang meetings or in letters. By spending time with us, he strengthens our relationship with him and loosens our ties with the world. In fact, in ways we don’t often recognize, the Master guides our life, shaping it in such a way that we are directed towards seeking him within. Whilst this is one of the greatest forms of grace bestowed upon us, it is different from how we normally view grace. We believe the Master is showering his grace when things are going well and our hopes and aspirations are realized. His concept of grace brings us closer to meditation and draws us away from the world. For him, an ideal prayer is meditation, during which we ask for nothing but communion with our inner Master. As the Great Master wrote in Spiritual Gems: “It is the business and duty of every disciple to make his mind motionless and reach the eye centre. The duty of the Master is to help and guide on the path.”
The present Master says he would like us to develop spiritual maturity – to view as significant not what happens to us but how we deal with it. Again, he emphasizes the role of meditation. The Master does not change our karma but reassures us that practising meditation will help us remain balanced during life’s crises. As our attention gradually shifts from the outside to the inside, the worldly things we once held dear lose their attraction.
In Philosophy of the Masters, Vol. V, the Great Master wrote that unless we meet a living Master, such is the nature of divine law that we can never return to our source. Explaining further, he writes: “We need the Lord’s conscious self to be manifested so that we may know him. The Shabd or divine creative sound takes bodily form, connects us with itself, and unites us with the Lord.”
The present Master is clear that, instead of becoming dependent on his physical form, we should meditate. Reminding us that life is precious and will not last as long as we think it will, he has said that none of us is doing enough meditation. Not to do the full time is ‘crazy’. In fact, the Master continually emphasizes that he won’t be satisfied with anything less than 100 percent of our effort. Meditation must become a priority rather than something we try to fit into our schedule if we can. The Great Master gives the same advice, writing in The Dawn of Light, “Any part of our time not used in spiritual practice is lost. Therefore you should always try to save your time for meditation, because to incline our mind and spirit towards the things other than the holy sound is to lose our fortune.”
One reason why the mystics wish us to prioritize meditation is that it helps us become receptive to divine grace. Meditation is the ‘actionless action’ that provides the gateway for us to merge with the Master. Ultimately, the choice to meditate and our level of effort is in our hands, while the results are in his hands. If at times it seems that our best efforts are too puny or that he is silent to our calls, let us remember Maharaj Charan Singh’s repeated reassurance that he is always with us. When we think about it, this is the only ‘result’ we’re seeking: that our beloved Master is forever standing by our side. In fact, of all the immeasurable graces bestowed upon us, perhaps the greatest is yet to come. During our greatest hour of need, when it’s time to leave this body, the Master will be with us and, leading us into the ringing radiance of the Shabd, he will finally take us home.