I and My Father Are One
In Sant Mat, the teachings of mystics and saints, the living Master is essential. Hazur Maharaj Charan Singh Ji has beautifully explained why, in the book Light on Saint John. The gospel begins:
“In the beginning was the Word
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made by him;
and without him was not anything
made that was made.” (John 1:1–3)1
Before there was any creation at all, only the Lord existed. He has created the whole universe through the Word, and there is no difference between the Lord and the Word, the Holy Spirit, [...], the Shabd, the Nam [...], or the divine Sound Current. The Creator and the Creative Power are one and the same. The Word cannot be written, it cannot be spoken, it cannot be touched. It is not the physical eyes which see it, nor the physical ears which hear it. It is within every one of us.2
Hazur cited another passage from the gospel:
“In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
And the light shineth in the darkness;
and the darkness comprehended it not.” (John 1:4–5)3
Hazur further explained:
The Word to which Christ refers has both sound and light. Elsewhere in the Bible he alludes to the light of the Word: “If therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.”4 This means that we will be able to experience and enjoy the light of that Word when we withdraw our consciousness to the eye centre. He also indicates that we can enjoy the bliss of the sound of that Word when he says, “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth.”5 Here Christ is actually describing the Voice of God within and the effulgence of light which emanates from the Word of God.6
Mystics and saints like Hazur Maharaj Ji are witness to the truth that God exists. God is the loving power which gives us life. Without this love nothing can exist. God is the life in every particle of the creation, the light that shines in all. Strangely enough, we are not conscious of the omnipresence of this power. When we close our eyes, we don’t see this divine light. We see only utter darkness. How is this possible? How can we be so blind to the true essence of all life? Mystics explain that this is caused by the restlessness and impurity of our mind. Our mind is like a veil of darkness which prevents us from seeing or enjoying the divine light and hearing the inner Voice of God. And this is the cause of all our human suffering. The mystics also say that the true purpose of a human life is to remove this veil, to eliminate it, so that we may realize the presence of the Divine and experience its love and supreme bliss.
How do we remove this veil? In other words, how can we dispel this inner darkness, this restlessness? How can our mind become still and pure? The mystics say that it is through love and devotion to the Divine.. But is it possible for us to worship the Divine, which we cannot see? Is it possible to love a power we’re not conscious of?
Saint John reveals that we can eliminate this veil of darkness and see the Light of the Lord within us only when, with His grace, we come in contact with someone who has come from the Father and who, after having come to our level, is also at the level of the Father. Otherwise, how can we worship Him whom we have never seen and whom we have never known since we have come to this creation? How can we love Him if we do not know what He looks like? So the necessity of the living Master arises. If it were not so, there would be no link between us and the Father.7
The Odes of Solomon, a series of hymns attributed to a Christian mystic of the first century CE, poetically expresses the teaching that God makes himself known to us through the living Master.
My joy is the Lord, and my course is to Him:
this my path is beautiful.
For I have a Helper to the Lord.
He made himself known to me,
without grudging, in his generosity,
For in his kindness,
he set aside his majesty.
He became like me,
in order that I might accept him.
In appearance, he seemed like me,
that I might be clothed in him.
And I did not tremble when I saw him,
because he had compassion for me.
He became like my nature,
that I might come to know him,
And like my form,
that I might not turn away from him.8
Every living true master, whom Jesus called the Word made flesh9, is a helper to God, a bridge, a ford to the divine reality through the river of life – full of rapids and eddies of happiness and sorrow. As he bears witness to the existence of the divine from his own experience, he teaches us how we too may devote ourselves to the divine. He teaches us how we can withdraw our attention from the world and focus it on the divine through the practice of meditation. But above all, through his very being, our heart becomes filled with love of the divine, and we are imbued with a longing to realize this love. How may we do this? Through the unspeakable love that emanates from the saint, as beautifully described by the Indian mystic, Sant Paltu, who writes:
Soft and tender are saints,
No one else in the world is like them.
There is no one else like them;
They are kind and merciful to all.
Foe and friend are alike to them,
And alike are bad luck and good fortune.
They are as tender as flowers;
Not even in a dream do they see others’ faults.
They ever wish well to others,
For they savour the wine of divine love.
Affable to all, with a gentle smile,
Soft and sweet of speech are they.
Cheerful whatever happens, they emanate coolness;
In every glance they radiate compassion.
Whatever one might say to them, O Paltu,
They are not in the least perturbed.
Soft and tender are saints,
No one else in the world is like them.10
The divine love that emanates from the Master opens our heart, resonates in our being, and increases our love for the divine – love that culminates in the daily practice of meditation, which deepens and intensifies through his grace. And that is nourished by moments of being in his physical presence – precious moments which we should not ever take for granted – as this period of the Covid pandemic teaches us so clearly. Dr. Julian Johnson, a disciple of the Great Master, wrote about the precious moments when he was with his Master. In his letters we can sense the divine love of the Master and the loving response of the disciple.
Since seeing him I can think of nothing else. His image lingers before me all the while. I have never seen such a face before, nor imagined there was one like it among the sons of men. If ever there was a face combining old age (he is now seventy-four years of age) with beauty, majesty, and calm power, it is his. But beyond all of that there is a sort of a spiritual radiance which no words can describe, but which gives one a feeling of deep peace, as if discords of earth were no longer possible in his presence.
As you look into his face you lose all desire to talk, even ask questions. You simply absorb the light. His voice is vibrant with love and his smile seems as if it lights up the room. … His manner towards all of us is like that of a mother comforting her tired children and soothing them to rest. His manifest love is his supreme quality, as it appears to me, and that is also the very essence of his gospel.11
There is no place so sacred as at the feet of a living saint. He who is privileged to sit there is blessed above all others. To look into the eyes of divine love, to listen to his voice full of resonance of the highest spiritual culture, to feel in the depths of one’s own soul the warm glow of his holy light – that is something never to be forgotten when once experienced. How precious the moments.12
This love is not only nourished by the moments of being with the master physically. It also deepens and intensifies when we are separated from him. How is that possible? How can this pain of separation be expedient for us? Huzur Maharaj Ji explained this to us in the light of Jesus’s words, who said to his disciples before he died:
“Nevertheless I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him to you.” (John 16:7)
As Maharaj Ji further explained:
Christ explains: Day and night you are running after me now. You are mad in your love, and you are not trying to devote your time to the Spirit inside. But without attaching yourself to the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, you can never go back to the Father. So when I leave you physically, you will not find me anywhere outside and will have no option but to seek me within. Then you will be in touch with the Comforter, who will pull you up to my level, the level of the Father.
The Master comes to our level to fill us with devotion and to put us on the path, and he fills us with so much love that we cannot live without him. Physically we cannot always be with him, so the love he creates in us ultimately leads us within. When we turn within, we are in touch with the Comforter, which pulls us up to the level of the Father. “But if I depart, I will send him unto you.” I am so much in love with you that my love will always be pulling you to my level.
According to history some saints often kept their disciples away from them for many years. It was no fault of the disciples, but it was a divine design to fill them with more longing, more love, more devotion, to prepare them for something much higher.13
So the Master kindles love of the divine reality in us but prevents us from becoming dependent on him. That is why Baba Ji has often said that he himself doesn’t matter, for the physical master is not the true master. The physical form is a means to an end. He is like a finger that points towards the teachings, the truth, towards Shabd, the Word, the true Master, to God. We have a tendency to take the easy way out. We prefer to focus on the finger, ignoring what it is pointing to. Therefore, it is in our interest that we are not allowed to be with the Master all the time. As soon as we become physically separated from him, there is only one place where we can find him, where we can find comfort for the pain of separation – and that place is inside, at the eye centre. So the physical separation helps us to search for the true Master, to focus our attention within, where he waits for us, where he always is. It urges us onward, to follow his instructions, to practise meditation, to do seva. By doing so, the love of the Master, and with it love of the Lord, is being cultivated within us. And our belief and faith in the Master, and in God, intensify. For these are the same, as Hazur Maharaj Ji explains, citing the gospel:
“Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me.” (John 12:44)
Jesus says: If you believe in me, you do not believe in this physical form but in the Father who sent me. If you love me, if you have faith in me and follow my teachings, then you love the Father who sent me, because “the Father and I are one.” (10:30) I do not need your love and devotion, but I want you to go back to the Father, and that is his way of calling you back. Therefore, if you love me and follow the teachings, actually you are loving the Father and are on your way back to him.14
Hazur Maharaj Ji goes on to the next passage, followed by his explanation:
“And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me.” (John 12:45)
Whosoever will see my Radiant Form within himself is actually not seeing me but the One who sent me, because I and the Father are one. If you have not seen the Radiant Form of the Master within but have seen the living Master in the flesh, even then you will eventually go back to the Father. By seeing the physical form of the Master you will become attached to him, and that attachment will enable you to see his Radiant Form within. From that point you will travel upwards until you merge in the Father.15
This personal, unprecedented, strong bond that is formed by walking this spiritual path ultimately leads to such a great love in our hearts that only one desire will remain there: to see the Master in his true form within and become absorbed in it. We will be happy to give up all other things if that one desire might be fulfilled, as beautifully declared in Soami Ji’s poem:
Reveal your real form to me, O Master.
You have assumed this physical form
to lead souls to their salvation.
Show me now your other form
that is inaccessible and boundless.
Let me see that form and be absorbed in it,
and grant me the gift of fearlessness….
Merciful Radha Soami, benefactor of souls,
help me realize the purpose of life.16
This intense longing for his real form will enable us to see the Master in his radiant form, as demonstrated by Hazur Maharaj Ji’s explanation, which is based on the words Jesus shared with his disciples shortly before his death.
“A little while, and you shall not see me: and again, a little while, and you will see me, because I go to the Father.” (John 16:16)
Christ says: When I leave the physical body, you will not be able to see me with your physical eyes, but after a little while you shall see me.
This does not mean that you will see me with your physical eyes or that I will return to a physical body, but that your spiritual eye will be opened and you will be able to see my radiant Form within yourself.
When I shall have left this physical body, you will miss me and will long to see me. You will therefore devote more time to the spiritual practice and will try to reach the point where you merge into me and into the Father, just as I have merged into the Father….
But your happiness will know no bounds when you meet me within yourself. Then you will absolutely forget all your trials and sorrows. You will be so filled with love, joy, and indescribable happiness that there will be no room for anything else. You will then not even remember that you were ever sad…. We then have no unfulfilled hopes or desires but dwell forever in perfect love, peace, and bliss beyond description.17
To summarize: The Master is a son of God, a manifestation of His love and grace. In his physical form he teaches us the method of meditation through which it becomes possible for us to focus our attention within, to remember the Lord and devote ourselves to him. He also serves as a living example and gives us good advice. And in his true form, as Shabd, he purifies and stills our mind. He does this all just to help us dispel the veil of darkness and realize the true essence of all life, the omnipresence of the divine.
Do we realize how merciful he is to us? Let’s make the best use of this special period by deepening our meditation, so that our love of the form may culminate in love of the Formless.
- John 1:1-1:3, as quoted by Hazur Maharaj Charan Singh in Light on Saint John (LoSJ), pp. 9-12. All quotations from this gospel are taken from LoSJ.
- Maharaj Charan Singh, Light on Saint John (LOSJ), p. 9
- Ibid, pp. 9-12
- Matthew 6:22
- John 3:8
- Maharaj Charan Singh Ji, Light on Saint John, (LOSJ), p. 10
- Ibid, pp. 14–15
- John Davidson, The Odes of Solomon, Ode 7, p. 30
- John 1:14
- Saint Paltu, His Life and Teachings, p. 182
- Julian Johnson, With a Great Master in India, p. 28
- Ibid, p. 98
- Maharaj Charan Singh, Light on Saint John (LOSJ), pp. 261-262
- Maharaj Charan Singh, Light on Saint John (LOSJ), p. 214
- Soami Ji, Sar Bachan Poetry, Bachan 33, Shabd 15, p. 329
- Maharaj Charan Singh, Light on Saint John (LOSJ), pp. 264-267