There is a word that in most languages carries with it a feeling of comfort, safety and, very often, love. This word is “home.” Home is where we belong. It’s where our hearts long to be. Soami Ji says it all when he says: “Let us turn homeward, friend – why linger in this alien land?” And that’s where we all are right now, in an alien land, far from home and seemingly with no way to get back.
Imagine that the captain of a luxury liner makes us an offer. He will take us aboard and deliver us safely to our homeland. He is our spiritual Master. All he wants in return is that we do a bit of work that he will ask of us. Our earnings for this job will be a fraction of the huge amount we would owe for such a journey, but he would take our work as settlement of our debt. How foolish would it be not to accept this offer?
For initiates of a true Master, the captain is not an imaginary being, and the debts we owe are not imaginary either. The law of karma has been explained to us; the actions of millions of lives have been faithfully recorded, and we must reap what we have sown. Be it pleasant or unpleasant, it can only be done here, on this material plane.
We have in truth been lost in an alien land for so long that we have almost forgotten that this is not our home. We have come to think that we belong here. Under the sway of the mind we have at times even enjoyed being here and perhaps thought that this a very pleasant place – only to discover that the pleasures do not last and, in fact, do not really satisfy. This alien place offers not only pleasures but bitter disappointments and loss, be it of loved ones, health, or possessions.
Deep within us, the longing for home has always been present, but mainly not acknowledged, because the mind has suppressed it with more and more attachments, desires, and promises of lasting happiness and glory. These promises have never been fulfilled, for while seemingly granting satisfaction and happiness, they have turned out to be transitory, ending in loss or finally death – with the whole futile scenario starting again with another birth, another body, another see-saw ride of pleasure and pain.
We now know that we have had so many, many lives. But having been brought in contact with our Master, we have been told of the wonder of the Shabd, God’s essence, creator and sustainer of everything that exists – and the ultimate goal of one day merging with the Radiant Form of the Master, which is really Shabd.
We are trying to get there because we have started to realize that there must be something of greater and of more lasting value than our earthly lives. The deep-seated longing of the soul for home has begun to surface and we no longer feel we belong here. In fact, although for so long we did not realize it and could not really explain this feeling of nostalgia and dissatisfaction we experienced from time to time, it was exactly that – the soul’s longing to go home.
In the story of the captain of the luxury liner, he offers to take the exiles home. In our case, the captain is so much more than a captain. In fact, we can’t conceive of just how very great he is. In the book With the Great Master in India, the author wrote – and this accurately applies to our own captain, the Master who has come to our rescue –
Some of the older and more advanced satsangis here tell this disciple that the secret of the Master’s power to draw all men to him can be known only after one has gone inside and has followed him to the higher regions. Then it becomes clear to him. Looking at him as a mere man, one can form no conception of his true greatness. But if you go inside and travel with him to and through those upper regions, then and only then do you see him as he is.… And the higher up you go with him, all the way up to Sach Khand, the greater he is seen to be. He is literally and truly King of kings all the way through those regions of light. But returning to earth again, he never says a word of all of that himself and appears among us simply as a kindly, patient father, going about ministering to his children.
What greater blessing can there be than to be an initiate of such a Master, to have been accepted into his fold!
We have received the immense privilege of initiation, which includes the gift of simran – the five holy names imbued with the power of the Masters. Let us use it as the Master wants us to do. Let us repeat it continuously, at every free moment during the day, while busy with everyday tasks, or walking somewhere, or waiting for something or someone. Let us attentively repeat it during meditation, and not be concerned with results. We may think we are getting nowhere, but we are assured by the Master that not a second of meditation is ever wasted.
If we honestly put in the effort and keep trying, if we regard this lifetime’s pains and pleasures as part of his will and go through them cheerfully and gratefully, his loving kindness and grace will carry us through. Baba Jaimal Singh has told us:
The body is a house of pain and pleasure, and in it both will certainly come to pass.… Years and years of a satsangi’s sufferings are paid off within a few days. So do not worry about anything.
We’ve been told that in truth we can only really live in the will of the Master when we go beyond the realm of mind and maya. But till then we can at least try to live in the will of the Father, the Master.
The Masters keep encouraging us. They show us that they understand our weaknesses. They never blame us, they just shower us with love and grace, ever loving, ever forgiving. No matter how far we stray, how badly we may neglect our duty to the Master, he will always welcome us back with open arms.
So, having received initiation from a true Master, what excuse can there be for not working as hard as possible towards the ultimate goal? We may still be taking the very first steps of this journey, but there is simply nothing to compare to the wonder of having a Master. Nothing can replace the love we feel for him in our hearts, a priceless gift that has been bestowed on us, a love that we cherish deep within us, our precious treasure.
We are reminded over and over by the Masters that love is the central core of this path because the path is leading us back to God, who is nothing but love. We are trying to get to the stage where we will be merged into the Master, the Shabd, and thus merged into God. This means that we are trying to become love, which is the beginning and the end, because the Shabd, which is everything, is pure love.