On this path of Sant Mat there are various words and concepts that present us with some difficulties – precisely because they are just that: concepts. Until concepts turn into direct personal experiences, they may be hard to fully grasp and accept.
For example, what can we make of words such as eternal, unchanging, and undying? Every single thing in the material world we inhabit is subject to change, decay and death. The mightiest mountains are eroding and changing constantly. Species of plants, birds, insects, fish and animals become extinct. Every human being we know will die, including ourselves. So how can we possibly relate to, and understand the words eternal, undying, and unchanging?
If we are honest with ourselves, we will realize we can’t truly relate to them at all. It’s ironic that with our limited mind, and our limited understanding of these words, we find ourselves in the midst of an eternal and undying situation. It is also the greatest love story ever told.
So what is it all about? How did we wind up in this fantasy-like scenario, and how can we absorb or understand its immensity? Obviously we cannot apply our own answers and explanations to this extraordinary state of affairs. Therefore let us look beyond the limitation of human words and experiences, to those offered by people who have reached higher states of awareness. True Masters and mystics are the only people we can turn to for clarity, because they are the very people who have introduced us to these concepts and assured us of our success on our spiritual journey.
The mystics tell us that this story of love begins with God. They tell us that it involves something called the Shabd, and that through the love of a true, living Master, our souls have been gathered into an embrace of eternal love and been promised a release from this world of duality and change. It is a story so positive and optimistic that it is quite hard for our jaded minds to grasp. And it is a love story so vast that the mind fails to grasp more than the tiniest speck of it. But that speck should have us shouting with joy and gratitude.
God, the mystics tell us, is indeed the origin of our love story, as he is the origin of everything, both seen and unseen. In the words of Guru Nanak:
The creator of all is One, the only One.
True is his name. He is the doer of everything.
He is without fear and without enmity.
His form is immortal. He is unborn and self-illumined.
He is realized by the Guru’s Grace.
As quoted in Basic Principles of Sant Mat, Vol. I
We are used to the idea of things being created. Creating is not just a human ability either. Animals, birds, insects, and fish are all capable of creating things. However, the concepts of ‘unborn’ and ‘self-illumined’ are difficult to wrap our intellect around. Therefore the Masters say we must go beyond our intellect and strive for a deeper understanding – something other than an intellectual idea of who and what God is. Guru Nanak also tells us that God is immortal. He is undying, never-ending, and unchanging. He is also love. And if he is immortal, then his love is immortal, unchanging, and never-ending.
This entire creation is a manifestation of love, and love sustains us all. We are all intimately and intrinsically a part of this love story. God’s love poured out and willed us into being. We are his children.
At the centre of every living thing is a spark of God’s love, which we call our soul. The soul is of God, just as the drop is of the ocean. And, just as the drop embodies the essence of the ocean, so too, the soul embodies the essence of God; namely love and immortality.
We are drawn to love as a nail to a magnet. But, as humans, we tend to seek love from friends, family, partners and even pets! This is the soul’s longing to return to its source. However, no earthly love can satisfy the yearning of the soul for its home.
Does that mean our soul’s love story is doomed to an unhappy conclusion? No, not at all. There are two other crucial factors in this love story: the Shabd and the true living Master. They are both manifestations of the Lord’s love and ensure that this story ends in a triumphant reunion of the little drop of soul with the boundless ocean of love.
The Shabd is God’s creative and sustaining power, an immortal unchanging current of love. It is actually God himself in an active and dynamic form. Great Master tells us:
All else in this world is changeable, and changes continually, but not this Sound Current. It is an emanation from, or wave of, the Great Source of all, the Supreme Creator, by whatever name you wish to speak of Him. Each individual is a spark or a drop of that same Infinite Source.
Glimpses of the Great Master
The question is: can we find our way back to our source on our own, having identified the cause of our soul’s yearning? The mystics tell us we cannot. We need an intermediary, a true living Master. And it is at this point in the love story that the real miracle of God’s love unfolds, when such a Master enters the life of a seeker.
Who and what is the true living Master whom we are told can take us back to our home in Sach Khand? Hazur Maharaj Ji said:
The saints and mystics are waves of the ocean of the true Shabd. They come into the world, bear witness to the Shabd and preach the Name. Then they take us with them and merge back into the ocean of the Name.
Spiritual Discourses, Vol. II
The mystics tell us that being accepted, claimed, and initiated by a true Master has always been in the destiny of certain souls. As we read in Basic Principles of Sant Mat, Vol. I, “They alone find the perfect Guru in this dark age of Kali Yuga upon whose foreheads such pre-ordained destiny is inscribed.” Maharaj Charan Singh is quoted in the book Seva as saying this about the life-changing gift of initiation:
This initiation is not just some ceremony. The Lord has made you his own. He has chosen you for eternal liberation and wishes you to come back to him.
Initiation is not the end of our love story, though. We have a part to play that revolves around three main words: love, obedience and discipline. Our soul, being immortal, has been in this creation for countless ages, reincarnating through 8,400,000 species, and every action we perform has consequences. So it is in our soul’s interest to live as a good human being.
Our part is to show our love for the Master by complete obedience to him in thought, word, and deed. And it is discipline that is required in order to reach our goal of focused meditation as we bring our attention to the eye centre. This discipline is not constrictive, but rather gives us security and guarantees us ultimate freedom.
Meditation is our act of love, the call for his grace, which will help our love grow. The Master is waiting at the eye centre in his radiant Shabd form, ready to take us to our final destination, our source, Sach Khand. Great Master put it this way:
As the river flows on for ever, regardless of the ways of men, so flows the love of God. Be as constant in your devotion to the Master as the river is in its course, and his love will carry you to that Supreme Ocean as surely as the river flows to the open sea.
Glimpses of the Great Master