A Stepping Stone
Baba Ji tells us that our actions are all need-based. The reason we are ready to follow the Master’s directives and put in the required effort is because we feel the need to find something more meaningful in life. Our soul craves the experience of love and oneness it once knew. We need happiness beyond the fleeting pleasures of the senses, a life that will not end in separation, and truth behind the changing phenomena we are immersed in. Unable to fulfill these needs here, we barely recognize our longing for deeper meaning in life.
Encountering the Master sheds light on our vague discontent, giving us a glimpse of love and compassion so profound it delights our soul. The sublime sense of peace and holiness we experience in his presence stirs us deeply. And that which has been missing in our life is illuminated – a love that embraces all, that is joy, compassion, serenity. Love that gives and comforts. Love that is our essence and at the core of life itself. In the Master’s presence, our intangible longing is clarified. We want what he has; we want the knowledge of truth that he possesses.
The saints tell us that our thirst for the divine is essential for our journey back to the Creator. Great Master, in Philosophy of the Masters, Vol. II, calls this intense longing “a stepping-stone, over which a seeker has to tread to attain communion with the Lord.”
To describe the longing for God experienced by the saints, authors often refer to bireh, a condition in which the lovers are so in love with the Beloved that they merge with him and see him everywhere. They do not want to be separated from their love even for a moment. This yearning to meet God is not reserved for saints. We are told we will all experience that depth of love once we have conquered the mind and lost ourselves in his presence within. Until then, our longing cleanses the mind and attunes it to the needs of the soul.
Maharaj Jagat Singh states in The Science of the Soul: “Intense yearning for the Lord is the primary prerequisite, for it is this that purifies and strengthens the mind.” Given the importance of this longing, how can we increase it? The answer, of course, is meditation. To understand how meditation increases our longing to meet God, let us consider how the Masters define the soul.
In The Science of the Soul, Maharaj Jagat Singh also writes:
Almighty God is the Ocean of consciousness and Bliss, the Word (God in Action) is a wave of the Ocean, and the soul is a drop thereof.… On reaching Par Brahm, one experiences that God is Infinite and Eternal, that He is the Life and Light in all – All is He and All is from Him – and that Almighty God, the Word and the Soul are of the same essence.
If our soul is of the same essence, having the same properties as God, then it is by nature infinite and eternal. If God is love, then our soul’s essential quality is love. Being a drop of the ocean of God, the soul is consciousness and bliss. Is it any wonder our soul is unhappy here, longing to experience the eternal life and light that it shares with the Lord? While trapped in a human body (what to say of bodies of other species in previous lives), the soul is nearly powerless to express itself; we have allowed our consciousness to become enslaved by the mind, an apparatus that craves the pleasures our senses provide. For countless lifetimes we have trained this inanimate tool of the mind – our body – to dominate our attention while repressing our divine consciousness.
Since it is our soul that yearns to return to the Lord, we must learn to tune in to that silent, pure self that lies behind the stream of thoughts and impressions: our consciousness. Gaining control of our mind through simran allows us to reach the conscious awareness central to our being. Without the perpetual distraction of the mind’s activity, the soul regains its power to influence our thoughts and actions.
Taking control of the mind is a formidable struggle, no doubt, but with the help of the Master, it can be done. The soul has its own power, and once awakened and no longer constrained by the mind’s dominance, it will regain its authority over the mind.
To increase our longing for the love our soul needs, we must remove the impediment that blocks that love – the mind. Once removed, our soul will do the rest. Our pure consciousness needs no incentive, no training, no inspiration. It knows what it wants. And meditation is the key to the realization of that desire. Concentrated simran will still the body and silence the unsolicited current of thoughts, enabling us to hear the Shabd. Attention to the sound current will flood the mind with the Creator’s energy, cleansing it of accumulated karma.
When the Lord determines we are sufficiently cleansed and worthy of his presence, he will lift the inner veil, releasing our souls to travel within. Our intense longing for him has brought us into the company of the Master, where we will ultimately lose ourselves and merge into the love and bliss of the Creator. This will fulfill the yearning that has haunted us since we left him. From the stepping stone of intense longing for his love, we have travelled within, overcome the mind and made the final leap to our destination – awareness of our oneness with the Creator.