Remembering Our True Objective
This world is always governed by two contradictory philosophies. One is a materialistic philosophy and the other is a spiritual philosophy.
The followers of a materialistic philosophy maintain that this creation comes into existence on its own and is running on its own momentum. There is nothing called spirituality and there is no God.
The followers of this philosophy believe that the only purpose of our human existence is to collect the material objects of this world and to enjoy them all to the core. In brief, the proponents of a materialistic philosophy have only one aim: “Eat, drink and be merry. For tomorrow, we shall die.”
Now this belief, this thought process, leads us towards a very fundamental question: Is it the only purpose of our existence? Is it the only reason behind our presence in this creation? If we are here only to experience this world, to procreate, and just run after ephemeral sensual pleasures, then how are we different from the rest of the animal kingdom?
If this is the course of our life process, then every animal – be it dog, cat, horse or our nearest evolutionary relatives, the ape – also have the same life cycle. They also come into the world; they eat, sleep, grow, produce offspring, and then die. Then in what aspect can we claim that we are superior to the rest of these creatures?
The quest for answers to these questions leads us towards the second concept, spiritual philosophy. Once we start treading the path of spirituality, we start to understand that this world is created by a supreme power. That power has not only created but is sustaining this entire creation. We may call this supreme power Lord, God, Hari Om, Waheguru, Allah or by any other name – the meaning is the same. Gradually, we begin to understand that we are here in this creation with a definite purpose. And that purpose is God-realization.
As the present Master often says, quoting a French philosopher, “We are spiritual beings going through a human experience.” So the real purpose of our life is to be a seeker of spiritual realization while living in this creation.
Now again, the question arises that if it is so easy to realize our supreme goal, then why are we perpetually dwelling in darkness? Why are we going through the endless cycle of transmigration? Why can’t we have God-realization on our own?
In the Adi Granth it is written:
Aapan leeya je mile, vicharr kyon rovann.
If people could meet the Lord by their own efforts,
why would they be crying out
in the pain of separation?1
The full understanding of the real purpose of our human birth unfolds only when we take refuge in the company of a contemporary true Master. Once we start following the teachings of a true Master, we begin to realize that the real purpose of this birth is to merge our soul back into the Lord.
In the company of our Master, we gradually understand that there is only one purpose of human life.
Bhayi paraapat maanukh dehureeya,
gobind milan ki eh teri bareeya.
Avar kaaj tere kitai na kaam,
mil saadh sangat bhaj keval naam.
This human body has been given to you.
This is your chance to meet the Lord.
All other efforts are in vain.
join the company of the holy
and meditate on the one Nam alone.2
A true Master is not like the philosophers of the world. He does not just impart the teachings of others. Rather, he becomes the embodiment of his teachings and becomes a role model for us, so that we may also feel motivated and can incorporate the essence of those teachings in our daily life, in our daily actions.
In every sphere of life, to learn a worldly art or skill, we need a teacher, a professor. If we want to be a doctor or engineer, or to learn any other profession, we need a guide who has experience in the subject and is able to lead us towards the goal. Now, if we need a teacher to progress in our normal worldly pursuits, it is obvious that we would need the guidance of a true Master to follow the path of spirituality.
A true Master in his physical form appears to be a normal human being like each one of us. He also eats, sleeps, talks, and goes through the phases of life, as all of us do. So, looking only at the physical level, we creatures of limited intellect fail to understand his real identity and start questioning. But his true identity is not the body. Beyond the physical, at the inner level he has merged his soul with the Shabd, the Word. He has realized God and is one with that supreme power.
The Adi Granth teaches:
sat purakh jin jaaniya, satguru tis da naa’o.
The one who knows the true Lord
is called the true Guru.3
Throughout our history, we have examples of true Saints who guided their disciples on the path of God-realization. In our own lifetime, we have the example of a true Master right in front of us, who not only connects but guides us at every step on the path of our spiritual journey.
Hazur Maharaj Ji always used to remind us in his satsangs that Saints or true Masters do not come into the world to create a new religion or dogma, nor do they come to introduce rituals or outer forms of worship. They come into this creation with only one purpose – to take us back to the Lord. They come with the single aim of awakening our soul and merging it back into the supreme.
Masters do this by imparting the technique of withdrawing our attention from what pulls it outward and downward and channelling it inward and upward. They connect our soul to the Shabd, which is also called the sound current, audible life stream, holy name, the Nam or Word.
True Masters are the custodian of this spiritual wealth. They have the absolute authority to bestow this wealth on anyone they so choose through Naam Daan – the gift of initiation.
The Nam or Word is the essential reality of which all Saints and Masters speak; it is the source and sustainer of this entire creation. Throughout the ages, Saints have described it with different names. In the Sikh religion, it is referred to as Hari Kirtan, Akath Katha, Saachi Bani or Dhur ki Bani. Hindu scriptures refer to it as Ram Nam, Ram Dhun or Akash Vani. In Christianity, it is referred to as the Holy Ghost, the Word, and Logos. Muslims Saints remember it by such names as Nada-i-Sultani, Kalma, or Bang-i-Elahi.
All these names are just the attributes of the inner sound that is intrinsic to the Shabd or Word. But the essence is that absolute reality which is constantly reverberating within each one of us. This reality which we call Shabd or sound current is resounding within each of us and is the heritage of every individual. But because we are ignorant of our divine heritage, we live a life of spiritual poverty.
Baba Ji often describes our present situation with this quotation:
bheekha bhookha ko nahi sab ki gathri laal;
girah khol na jaansi, taate bhaye kangaal.
O Bhikha, no one is lacking; within everyone’s bundle
is a priceless jewel.
They do not know how to untie its knot –
thus they remain wretched and poor.4
Mystics explain to us that the Lord created this creation through the Word. This word is our link with the heavenly father. This Word is the creator and sustainer of this universe. If the Lord withdraws the Word from this creation, the whole creation will cease to exist.
The Bible explains this supreme reality:
In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. All things were made by Him and without Him was not anything made that was made.5
Similarly, the fifth Guru, Shri Guru Arjun Dev, in his Bani, describes Nam:
Naam ke dhaare sagle jant,
naam ke dhaare khand brahmand.
By Nam are sustained all creatures.
by Nam are sustained continents and universes.6
In Sar Bachan Poetry, Soami Ji Maharaj describes the Shabd as creator of this whole universe:
Shabd ne rachi triloki saari,
shabd se maaya phaili bhaari.
Shabd ne khand brahmand racha ri,
shabd se saat deep nau khand bana ri.
The Shabd created all the three worlds;
the Shabd spread the vast net of illusion.
The Shabd created the regions and universes;
the Shabd created the seven islands
and the nine realms.7
Brothers and sisters, to get the gift of initiation or Naam Daan is not just a one-off event in life. It is the culmination of good sanskaras (good deeds and impressions) of our countless births and the grace and mercy of the Lord himself, so that we may get a chance to be in the company of a true living Master.
In the company of a true Master, when we do our meditation regularly, we start to understand the reality of this creation, the reason for our separation from the Lord, and the true purpose of our life. We learn how to merge our soul back into the creator.
Just as any worldly institution is governed by principles and stipulates certain regulations, so the path of Sant Mat has laid down conditions to be followed in the form of four vows:
- To maintain a strict lacto-vegetarian diet; not to eat meat, fish, fowl, eggs, or anything made from them;
- To refrain from all intoxicants, including alcohol and mind-altering drugs, as well as tobacco products;
- To lead a clean and healthy moral life, and earn our livelihood by fair, honest and honourable means;
- To give two and a half hours of our time to our meditation every day.
Sant Mat is not a path of expressing our love merely in words; it is a path of demonstrating that love, that earnest desire to meet the Lord, in each and every action. Our every thought, every word, and every action should reflect our true love and desire for the Lord. The only way to express that love is by attending to our meditation most regularly, for at least two and a half hours every day.
However, looking at our present situation, the Adi Granth says:
Poochhat pathik teh maarag na dhaarai pag.
Preetam kai des kaise baatan ke jaa’eeyai.
One asks a wayfarer about the path
to the Beloved Lord’s abode
but does not tread on it, not even a step.
Without walking that path, how can one reach
the abode of the Beloved
by mere talk?8
Out of his love and grace, the Master has bestowed the gift of initiation on us. Now it is our turn to express our gratitude to the Master by attending to our meditation.
Being initiated on the path is not the end-point but rather it is the start of the journey. It is the lifelong commitment to be steadfast on the principles of Sant Mat. Being initiated does not mean that our life will be smooth, or that there will be no pain or suffering in our life. We have to go through whatever is written in our destiny. But if we attend to our meditation regularly with love and dedication, we will be able to face every situation in life with the grace of the Master.
As the present Master always reminds us in his satsangs, that if we have caught hold of our father’s finger, we can pass through every challenge of life cheerfully and we will not be afraid of anything.
The question arises: How can we hold onto our father’s finger? The answer is simple – by attending to our meditation; by doing our bhajan and simran with sincerity, regularity, and with one-pointed love and faith in the Master.
While emphasizing the need to have complete trust and with absolute surrender to the Master, Goswami Tulsi Sahib explains:
Ek bharosa ek bal,ek aas bisvaas.
Swaanti salil gur charan hai chaatrik Tulsidas.
One is my hope, One is my strength,
and in One alone is my faith and reliance.
The feet of the Guru are like the swanti drop
for Tulsidas, the rainbird.9
However, the truth is that our trust in our Master is not based on our absolute love and surrender, but it is based on wishes and expectations. It changes with the circumstances of our life, with our happiness and sorrows. That’s why whenever we sit in the meditation, instead of asking only for Him from Him, we beg for the objects and relations of the world. We spread a long list of our demands, wishes, and aspirations whenever we sit for meditation.
Looking at our inner condition, Hazur Maharaj Ji often cited this passage from the Adi Granth:
Vin boliya sabh kichh jaanda,
kis aagai keechai ardaas.
He knows everything without being told –
unto whom should we offer our prayers?10
The purpose of this life is not to accumulate the wealth of this world. The real aim of this birth is to accumulate the wealth of Nam. If the purpose of this life was only to collect worldly wealth, then Mira Bai Ji, who was born into a royal family and had all the wealth and comforts of the world, would not have decided to renounce it all to become a disciple of Sant Ravidas. When the Master gave her the gift of Nam, she did her meditation with absolute devotion and love. With the Master’s grace, when she got the inner wealth, she expressed the following words of gratitude to her beloved Master:
Paayo ji, main to naam ratan dhan paayo.
Bastu amolak di mere satguru, kirpa kar apnaayo.
I have realized the jewel of Nam;
I have obtained that precious wealth.
My true Master bestowed a rare gift;
in his mercy, he has made me his own.11
Dear brothers and sisters, the relations of this world are transient and temporary in nature. With the passage of time, every relation comes to an end. But our relationship with the Master is the only relation that is permanent and everlasting.
That day when he bestowed the gift of initiation on us – at that very moment our relationship with the Master was established. This is the only relationship which will always remain with us – not only in this lifetime, but also after death. We may turn our face away from our beloved Master by not attending to our meditation, but his face is always turned towards us, waiting for us. So, whatever the conditions of our life may be, our face, our focus, should always be turned towards our Master. Meditation should be the central axis of our life. Our every thought and every action should only revolve around our meditation and Master.
And, while attending to meditation, we always must submit only one request to our beloved Master:
Asi khate bahut kamaavade, ant na paaraavaar,
Har kirpa kar kai baksh leho,
hau paapi vad gunahgaar.
Har jeeo lekhe vaar na aavayi,
tu bakhas milaavanhaar.
I make so many mistakes –
there is no end or limit to them.
O Lord, please be merciful and forgive me.
I am a sinner, a great offender.
Beloved Lord, if you keep an account of my mistakes,
I will never be forgiven.
Please forgive me and unite me with yourself.12
- Adi Granth, p. 134
- Adi Granth, p. 378
- Adi Granth, p. 286
- Bhikha Saheb ki Bani, pp. 71–72
- Bible, Gospel of John 1:1-2
- Adi Granth, p. 284
- Sar Bachan, 9:2:1
- Adi Granth, p. 439
- Santbani Sangreh, part 1, p. 221
- Adi Granth, p. 1420
- Mira Bai ki Shabdavali, p. 24
- Adi Granth, p. 1416