Very Beauteous Is the Body-Bride
In one of his poems Guru Amardas writes:
Very beauteous is the body-bride
with whom abides her Darling Spouse.1
Guru Amardas emphasizes in this poem the beauty of a human being. How admirable this form is when it is used for the purpose for which the Lord has given, when it is used in the quest for the Divine. During this life when we become conscious of Shabd, the “Darling Spouse” of our soul, then by the grace of that power we realize our true self and the Lord. Hazur Maharaj Charan Singh says:
The main purpose of life is to realize God. This privilege the Lord has bestowed only on human beings. The human body is the top rung of the ladder of creation. From here we either drop down to lower species or we can go back to the Father and escape from the cycle of birth and death. Everything else we have been getting every time we have come into this world, in any form, in any species.
But the privilege of going back to the Father can be achieved only in the human life. So, we should always be mindful of our destination and try to follow the spiritual path which leads us back to him. While working out our destiny, our karmic accounts or adjustments – our other duties, responsibilities – we should not forget the end and purpose for which we have come into this world.2
Saints and mystics live among us to remind us of this “end and purpose” for which we have been born, to find our way back to the Lord. They offer us the key by which we can open the door that will gain us access to the spiritual path that leads back to the Father, which is hidden within every human being. By following this spiritual path, we get the understanding that going back to him doesn’t mean we’re going to a specific place. It’s just a matter of realization, of becoming conscious of his all-pervading Divine presence. In order to realize his presence, to experience his greatness, we don’t have to acquire certain virtues – qualities like love, compassion, forgiveness, devotion, humility or patience. Nothing is further from the truth. These qualities are already in our hearts. As Great Master used to say:
Every soul is virtuous. Our eyes and hearts are at fault if we fail to see its worth, for God himself sits in every human heart.3
The loving divine essence is already in our hearts, in our bodies, so all the qualities which are connected to this essence are there too. That’s why Guru Amardas writes in the same poem:
In the body are the invaluable wealth
and the brimful treasures
of the Lord’s meditation.4
Sardar Bahadur Ji gave the following explanation of this line:
Innumerable priceless things are there, lying inside this body… Inside this body where you find lust, anger and so on, you also find forgiveness, discrimination, patience – those things are there too.
Inside each person is a treasure trove of love, a storehouse of devotion for the Lord, lying there, brimful. There’s not just a drop or two, there are oceans, full to the brim.5
So, don’t think there is no love or devotion in your heart. We are all full of love, filled to the brim with devotion and full of divine light. But we’re not conscious of it. Isn’t it distressing, that the essence of life is invisible for us? And that qualities such as anger, jealousy, lust, pride and greediness predominate in us? According to saints and mystics, this is due to the restlessness of our mind and all the impressions that are stored in it. These impressions cloud our mind and cause ripples in its surface, through which the depth of the Divine, that lies hidden underneath, is invisible.
The focus of the spiritual path is on stilling the mind and cleansing it of all these impressions. Everything serves that goal – satsang, seva, spiritual books, question and answer sessions with the Master – are all meant to expose our mind to a certain atmosphere. These all create a longing in our mind to search for God and to find everlasting peace. Every practice of meditation is an effort to focus our mind on Shabd, so it can be cleansed of its impressions. Under the influence of this loving power we dare to let go of all our concepts, ideas, desires, attachments, and above all, ourselves. Sant Mat is about letting go and surrendering in stages. It’s about removing that which limits us. Hazur Maharaj Ji would explain this in the following way:
...the soul is full of devotion for the Father. But it is helpless due to the weight of the mind. And the mind has become a slave of the senses. So being mixed up with the mind – rather dominated by the mind – we do not feel that love for the Father. Love is there in every soul. Potentially, every soul is God. So, the more weight we remove from the soul, the more love and devotion we feel for the Father. There’s no other way. You see, you have to remove the weight.
The needle is always attracted by the magnet, but if there’s a weight over the needle, it becomes helpless. It’s not that the needle is not being attracted by the magnet. The attraction is the same as it was before the weight, but it just has become helpless. So, all we have to do is remove the weight from the needle; then automatically it goes to the magnet. Similarly, the soul is always in love with the Father, full of love and devotion for the Lord, for its Creator. But it has become helpless due to the weight of the mind, and the mind has become helpless due to being a slave of the senses. So we have to adopt that means and that method by which we can remove the weight of the mind from the soul.6
Hazur Maharaj Ji then continues and says about these means and method:
Satsangs, discussions, meetings, good company, good literature – they are ways to create longing in us for meditation, for the Father. But achievement can only be done through the meditation. The means create longing in us, strengthen our faith in meditation, but the real achievement we will only accomplish by meditation. So there’s no short cut to meditation. That is why Christ said: Sin against the Holy Ghost can never be forgiven. There’s no other way to seek the forgiveness of the Father but to attend to the Holy Ghost. The devotion is already there, love is there – we are not creating love in the soul, we are only removing the weight of the mind. And then we realize the love from within.7
This is the message of all mystics. Love, compassion, devotion, and the divine presence, will reveal itself in our hearts when our mind becomes still, and we surrender to Shabd. And for that, the daily practice of meditation is essential, as is the guidance of our master.
How often has Baba Ji emphasized this? He seizes every opportunity to remind us of meditation. Without our daily practice we will not get the experience, the understanding or the consciousness. Without meditation we will remain under the delusion of our mind, deceived by our own thoughts, convinced of our own ability and knowledge. It is exactly through the practice of meditation that little by little the scales fall from our eyes, our ego loses its power, and we begin to recognize how insignificant and ignorant we are. We realize that without his grace and help we are not able to do anything. We get the understanding that nothing is in our hands, absolutely nothing. As the Buddhist scholar, Edward Conze, writes about bhakti (faith or devotion):
The bhaktic trend eliminates, in faith, all reliance on self-power, all reliance in one’s own ability to plan and control one’s own life and salvation.... Surrender in faith involves a high degree of extinction of separate selfhood, partly because one does not rely on oneself, or one’s own power, and partly because one sees the futility of all conscious and personal efforts and allows oneself to be ‘carried’ to salvation.... Elementary modesty lets us perceive that any merit we may claim compares as nothing with that of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, and with the power of their help.... All pride in our intellect, all pride in the purity of our heart, sets up a self against others. If the intellect is seen as futile, the heart as corrupt, that self is deflated. The grace of the Absolute alone can carry us across, and our own personal schemes and endeavours are quite trivial.8
Conze describes in a beautiful way how the daily practice of meditation fills us with humility; how devotion to the master wipes out the idea of a separate selfhood. Devotion makes us receptive to the grace of the Absolute, the Divine. It’s the experience of ostensibly failing in meditation, of the difficulties with concentrating our attention at the eye centre, and the constant wandering of our thoughts, that makes our ego fade away. It might sound a little bit strange, but it is the attempts that don’t bring us the results that we expect and hope for, that bring us to the point at which we let go and surrender. With letting go, with surrendering, we become receptive to the grace of the Divine and allow the master to carry us back home to the Father. That’s why Hazur Maharaj Ji said:
Please remember that wherever you may be the Lord is always with you and he should never be forgotten. We should always do our duty towards him with single-minded devotion and without letting anything in life take us away from this important task.9
When we get a chance to go to Dera, we should make best use of the time away from our worldly responsibilities with the opportunity to focus completely on the Master and his teachings. We can serve and follow Master’s most important instruction: the daily practice of meditation. The result of meditation is beautifully illustrated by a legend in the Puranas. In this story there was a man called Pundalik, who was travelling with his wife and parents. They joined a group of pilgrims on their way to Varanasi.
One night the pilgrims stopped at the hermitage of a great sage. Tired from the day’s long walk all fell asleep except Pundalik. As he lay awake, he saw a group of beautiful women clad in soiled clothes enter the hermitage. They swept the floor, fetched water and washed the sage’s clothes. Then they had darshan of the sage, and when they came out, their clothes were spotless, pure white. Astonished at this sight, Pundalik asked them who they were. They replied that they were the river goddesses in whose waters thousands of people bathed. Their clothes became soiled because of the pilgrims’ sins, but when they purified themselves by serving the sage, their garments became snow-white again.10
The aim of this legend is to show us the exalted value of serving our master. It highlights that we, like the river goddesses, can be cleansed and purified through service to him. Let’s obey our master, so the divine light that fills us to the brim can reveal itself again. Let’s become beautiful human beings, body-brides, with whom abides our “Darling Spouse,” by taking the advice to heart of the Maharashtrian mystic Eknath, who writes in this poem called “Master Guides His Disciple”:
Meditate deeply three times a day
in search of the Light
that’s your soul.
Close yourself to the world
with thumbs in ears, eyes closed.
This is the way you open to meeting
the Self that shines within you –
the face of life itself,
the face that fills the universe.
But don’t stop there, my son,
search for your master beyond all this…
Continue meditating, my child…
Soon the Imperishable, the Lord of body and soul,
will appear in your heart.
Keep on gazing, Eknath –
finally you’ll see that he is you.11
- Guru Amar Das, Adi Granth, Raag Soohi, 754.
- Maharaj Charan Singh, Spiritual Perspectives, Volume I, RSSB: Beas, 2010, p. 193-194.
- As quoted in Enigma of Love, p.
- Guru Amar Das, Adi Granth, Raag Soohi, 754.
- Sardar Bahadur Jagat Singh, Discourses on Sant Mat, Volume II, RSSB: Beas, 2006, p. 22.
- Maharaj Charan Singh, Spiritual Perspectives, Volume II, RSSB: Beas, 2010, p. 335.
- Ibid. p. 336.
- As quoted in K.N. Upadhyaya, Buddhism: Path to Nirvana, RSSB: Beas, 2010, p. 207
- Maharaj Charan Singh, Quest for Light, RSSB: Beas, 2002, p. 150.
- As quoted in Judith Sankaranarayan, Many Voices, One Song, the Poet Mystics of Maharashtra, RSSB: Beas, 2013, p. 73-74
- Ibid, p. 172-173