From the book "The crown of life", written by Sant Kirpal Singh
Even the foregoing bird's-eye survey of the nature and of the Surat Shabd Yoga conveys some of its unique features. He who studies it in relation to the other forms of yoga cannot but note the completeness of its solution of all the problems that confront the seeker when pursuing other systems. On the plane of outer action, it does not base itself on a dry and rigid discipline that is often laden with the consequences of psychological repression. It holds that some discipline is necessary, but adds that it must ultimately be inspired by inner spiritual experience and be a matter of spontaneous living, and not of rigorous asceticism and a too deliberate self abnegation. The seeker must strive toward a state of equipoise and must therefore cultivate the virtue of moderation in thought and deed. The integration he thereby achieves enables him to gain greater concentration, and so higher inner experience, and this inner experience must in turn have repercussions on outer thoughts and action. The relationship of sadachar to inner sadhna is a reciprocal one; each enlivens and gives meaning to the other, and one without the other is like a bird with a single wing. How can the spirit be brought to perfect one-pointedness without the purity of mind and body, and how can the soul transcend all human attachments and imperfections without centring itself in the love of the Divine?
When the qualities of the Ancient of Days stood revealed, then the qualities of earthly things did Moses burn away.
The Surat Shabd Yoga not only provides a means for achieving in practice the difficult ideal of sadachar, it also offers a mode of life that, while raising one above this physical world, does not enslave one to the realm of Name and Form. The Masters of this path know only too well that abstract speculations about the non-attributive aspect of the Absolute cannot lead one to It. How can man, conditioned by name and form, be drawn directly to that which is beyond name or form? Love seeks something which it can comprehend and to which it can attach itself, and God, if He is to meet man, must assume some shape or form. It is this recognition that inspires the devotion of the bhakta to Shiva, Vishnu, Krishna, or Kali the Divine Mother. But these divine beings represent fixed manifestations of God, and once the devotee has reached their plane, their very fixity, as we have seen already, prevents further progress. The Masters of the Surat Shabd Yoga wholly transcend this limitation by linking the seeker not to a fixed, but to an all-pervading manifestation of God; the Radiant Sound Current. It is this anhat and anhad Naam, this unstuck and unfathomable Word, that supports the various planes of creation ranging from pure spirit to gross matter. Its strains pervade every realm, every region, and it runs through them like a river that flows through the valleys which it has brought into being. And like the river, it exists in a fluid state, changing at every plane, yet ever remaining the same. The seeker who has been inspired by the love of the river of the Word is blessed indeed for he knows none of the limitations experienced by those who adore God in other forms. As he is drawn upward by Its beatific power, he finds It changing, modifying, becoming even stronger and purer, beckoning him on to higher and still higher effort, never allowing him to halt or to loiter, but leading him on from plane to plane, from valley to valley, until he arrives at the very source from where the Unmanifested comes into manifestation, the Formless assumes form, and the Nameless, name. It was this completeness of the inner journey made possible by the Yoga of the Sound Current that led Kabir to declare:
All holy ones are worthy of reverence,
But I adore only one who has mastered the Word.
The Surat Shabd Yoga is not only the most perfect of the various yogas, but it is also comparatively easy to practice, and one accessible to all. Not only do those following this path reach the ultimate end, but they do so with greater economy of effort than is possible by the other methods. The transcendence of physical consciousness that the yogin pursuing the path of the pranas achieves only after a long and arduous discipline, is attained by practitioners of the Surat Shabd Yoga sometimes at the first sitting at the time of initiation. That this should be so is not a mere chance or accident. The fact is that the Surat Shabd Yoga adopts a more scientific and natural approach to man's spiritual problems. Why, it asserts, if the spiritual current reaches the bodily chakras not from below but from above, should it be necessary to master each of these chakras in turn? A man standing at the heart of a valley, if he wishes to reach the river's source, does not have to travel down to its mouth and then retraverse the distance. it further holds that if prana and mind (even at their most refined) are not of the true essence of the spirit, then how can they be the best means of disengaging it from its encrustations? If it could be put in touch with that which is of its own essential nature, like would draw like, and with the minimum of effort the desired end would be achieved. It is from the point of the tisra-til, the third eye, that the spiritual current spreads itself into the body.All that is needed is to check its downward flow at this point by controlling one's senses and it would, of its own accord, collect itself and flow backwards toward its source.
Shutter your lip, your ear, your eye
And if you do not Truth descry,
Then let your scorn upon me fly.
The seeker has no need to begin from the very bottom, all he has to do is to turn in the direction of the spiritual stream and the rest will follow.
What is there in reaching the Lord?
One needs only to transplant the heart.
It is this simplicity of approach coupled with economy of effort that has induced many to call the Surat Shabd Yoga the Sehaj Marg or the Easy Way. It begins at the point where other yogas normally tend to end. Sahasrar, the region of the thousand-petalled lights, which marks the end of the normal yogin's journey after traversing the various bodily chakras, is well-nigh the first step to be taken by the follower of the Surat Shabd Yoga. Further, by refusing to disturb the pranic or kundalinic energies, this yoga greatly reduces the strain of physical transcendence. By contacting the Sound-principle, the sensory currents are automatically drawn upward without the practitioner consciously striving to achieve this end, and the motor currents are left untouched. Not only does this simplify the process of entry into the state of samadhi, but that of returning from it as well. The adept in this path needs no outer assistance for coming back into physical consciousness, as is the case with some other yogic forms; spiritual ascension and descent are entirely voluntary and can be achieved by him with the rapidity of thought.
The method of transcendental hearing is only an extension of our normal dailv practice. When we are faced with some knotty problem, our entire conscious energies tend to focus at one point – the seat of the soul – without affecting pranic-motor energies functioning automatically in our body. The Surat Shabd Yoga practitioner achieves this concentration at will under controlled conditions through simran and dhyan, and as soon as he contacts the reverberating Word, the sensory spiritual current that is still in the body is drawn irresistibly upward and complete physical transcendence is achieved.
It is this quality of sehaj, of naturalness and ease, that makes the Surat Shabd Yoga accessible to all. The music of the Divine Word is vibrating in all alike, and he who follows Its path, needs no special requirements, whether physical or intellectual. It is as much open to the old as to the young, to the sinners as to the saints, to the simple as to the learned, to women and children as to men. Indeed, women and children and the unsophisticated, owing to their simpler modes of thought and their spontaneous faith, often make quicker initial headway with this method than their more sophisticated brethren. However, full attainment in this field demands unwavering perseverance and effort, which may not always be forthcoming. As no rigorous and extensive disciplines of food, physical exercises, etc. are required, it does not necessitate sanyasa or complete renunciation of the world, and is as much open to the grehastis, the married, as to the brahmcharis, those who are under a vow of celibacy. Had the pranic and vigyanic systems been the most natural available then we should have had to conclude Nature to be partial, for the physical and mental capabilities they require are distributed unequally among men. If the sun and the air are available to all, why should the spiritual gifts be reserved only for the chosen few? Besides, prana and vigyan can at best lead one to the plane of their origin and as they are not purely spiritual, how can they lead to the realm of pure spirit?
However, to say that the Surat Shabd Yoga is the most perfect of the yogic sciences and the most natural, is not to say that it demands no effort and that anyone can just take to it and succeed. Had that been the case, humanity would not have been floundering as it is today. The fact is that competent teachers of this crown of all sciences are rare and that even when a teacher is found, few are prepared to undergo the kind of discipline required. The spirit may be willing, but the flesh is weak. Most men are so deeply engrossed with the love of the world that even after having had a glimpse of inner treasures they are reluctant to give up their worldly ways and concentrate on the possession of that which makes one the master of all. Since the stress in this yoga is always on the inner, never on the outer, no path could in a way be more exacting for the general run of men. Many can spend whole lives in outer ritual and ceremonial but few can attain perfect inner concentration, undisturbed by mundane thoughts, even for a few moments. Hence it was that Kabir compared it to walking on a naked sword, while the Sufis spoke of it as the rah-i-mustqim, finer than a hair and sharper than the razor's edge. Christ described it as the “strait and narrow way” that only a few ever tread. But for one whom the world lures not and who is filled with a passionate love of God, nothing could be easier and quicker. He needs no other force than that of his own urge and, purified of earthly attachments by his sincere and strong longing, his soul shall wing homeward, borne on the stream of Shabd toward its point of origin, the haven of bliss and peace. Should the soul confront any obstacles on its homing flight, its Radiant Friend is always beside it to lead it past and protect it from all pitfalls.
The road through the higher planes lies charted before the soul as completely as that for Hatha yogins of the lower bodily chakras, and with such a Power to bear it, and such a Friend to guide, nothing can deter or entrap, nothing can disturb the steadiness of its course.”Take hold of the garment, O brave soul, of One who knows well all places, physical, mental, supra-mental and. spiritual, for he will remain thy friend in life as well as in death, in this world and the worlds beyond,” exhorted Jalalud-din Rumi.
And sang Nanak:
He that has found a true Master and pursues the perfect way of the Holy Word shall,
Laughing and living in this world, find full freedom and emancipation.
Like the lotus shall he rise immaculate above the mire of the world
And like the swan shall he shoot forth from its murky waters untouched and untrammelled.