GURU, GURUDEV, SATGURU
By Sant Kirpal Singh from the book "The night is a jungle" – chapter 5
"I have heard that many have seen You. But actually none has known You, what You really are."
O Satguru, myriads upon myriads of people greet You and bow in obeisance at Your feet, but few recognize Your greatness in the measure in which You may choose to reveal. "Son knows the Father and those to whom the son may reveal."
He is a living embodiment of the Father of Light and it is only through His Grace that He manifests this Light of God in others. I shall now tell you what the Guru is. It is best to know of Him from some Gurumukh; that is, One who has become a mouthpiece of the Guru, for it is said, "A Prophet alone can recognize the Prophet."
All great Masters the world over have presented the same eternal Truth, each, of course, in His own inimitable way. They say that the Divine Power-of-God resides in every human heart, but the heart wherein it is manifested the most is worthy to be adored. A perfect living Master is an embodiment of the Power-of-God and, as such, He is much more then what He appears to be. He does live in this world but is not of this world, as the soul in Him is in tune with the infinite.
Nanak says, "0 Lalo, I do not speak anything on my own; but whatever I utter, I am inspired by Him."
Though physically He, like us, may look to be a denizen of this world, yet inwardly His soul is free from the shackles of mind and matter and is in perfect harmony with the universal life-principle. All great Masters bear testimony to this sublime Truth. Who can give us the tidings of God? Who can unite us with the living lifelines as provided by Him? Since He is peerless, self-created and the causeless cause, how can we possibly get to know Him and realize Him and with whose help? It may, therefore, be taken for granted that merely by our own manifold efforts, we cannot get near Him. If there is God, there must also be a God-way which, in turn, leads to the irresistible conclusion that there should be a Godman who has practised God and is competent enough to lead us on the God-path. Without such a human polestar, we cannot know of the Pole. It is just a plain talk. It does not involve any ratiocination nor is there any ambiguity about it. Sages and seers have always spoken in the third person for our guidance. "Kabir (speaking of Himself) says that He is conversant with tile Mysteries of the Beyond and has brought a message from the Most High."
My Master, Hazur Sawan Singh Ji, also was a messenger of God. If we were to hear directly from such Master-souls, we would get from Them sublime Truths illustrative of Their inner greatness. Once He said, "Whenever we come to this physical plane, we bring with us our own staff to work with us. When our work is finished on one side, we are deputed on to the other." You can well understand what this signifies. Similarly, all other Masters in the past have said the same thing.
The tenth Guru (Guru Gobind Singh) says, "Having become one with Him, I had no intention whatsoever to come back to this world; but willy nilly I was made to do so to fulfil the Divine purpose."
Christ also said the same thing. "I and my Father are one. He who has seen me, has seen the Father. Father knows the son and the son knows his Father."
Guru Arjan says, "The Father and son are dyed in the same colour. The Father and son have entered into a Divine partnership."
All Masters have given Their own version of the same thing. Shamas-i-Tabrez says, "0 people of the world, do not look at my tattered clothes; just try to peep into the innermost recesses of my mind, for then you will know of the vast Kingdom of God to which I belong. Do not take me as a poor mendicant or a helpless being like yourself . I am much more than what I appear to be and blessed with untold treasures of spiritual riches." Continuing in the some strain He says, "We may be likened to an experienced physician. We need not feel the pulse or test the urine of the ailing patients, but through their eyes we look deeply into the deep-rooted maladies of the mind. We have with us a panacea for all ills of life and freely dispense the same."
During my last tour in the USA, I happened to give a talk on Christmas Day. I told the congregation that Christ lived long before Jesus did. It is just 2,000 years ago when Jesus come into the world, but Christ Power was always there working for the spiritual welfare of the humanity at large. Significantly enough Christ remarked, "I am that I am." The Master-soul never dies. It is eternally present from end to end. The great Divine Power when manifested at some physical pole is known as the living Master. Just try to understand that Guru Power is nothing but the Power-of- God.
In the Gurbani it says, "He who is the ever-living God Power is called a Guru when It adopts some human-pole for working in this world."
"Satguru is the great immaculate Power; Do not mistake Him for the human-pole from which It works."
"The servant of Hari (God) is like Hari Himself. Please do not be mistaken by the physical raiment of the servant."
As explained so many times, Hazur was the Sun of Spirituality. He is ever with me and lives with me.
The Spiritual Stalwarts come whenever the world is in need of Them. Guru Nanak came when there was a tremendous rift between Hindus and Muslims. Kabir also came in the same period. Both of Them preached, God is one and all mankind is one. All persons are ensouled bodies. The soul is of the some essence as that of God. The various religious orders were set up for just one purpose, spiritual emancipation. But, alas, they have degenerated into strong fetters and manacles for our hands and feet.
"We had started Godwards, but unfortunately got stuck fast on the way."
We had entered into religious orders for God-knowledge and God-realization, but became contented with the labelled liveries of socio-religious forms and formularies. The result is that we have failed hopelessly in our search for God. We had joined the different social orders just to equip ourselves for the realization of God but sidestepped God and got engaged in internecine quarrels with each other in the blessed name of religion. Millions of people have been sacrificed on the altar of religious fanaticism. Hazur, too, come at a critical juncture when many sects, at variance with each other, were at loggerheads.
Guru Nanak, when questioned as to who He was replied, "If I say that I am a Hindu as apparently I happen to be with all the outer hallmarks of Hindus, you will surely kill me; but at the same time I am not a Muslim either in the sense in which you take it to mean by outer signs. My real character is that my physical being is made of five elements of nature, while within me the God's Divine Power is at work."
As we are usually apt to forget this great lesson, the Masters come to revive it as and when necessary. The first problem the Masters tackle is to knit the children of God in the silken bonds of love, sacrifice, and service of one and all. They have to bring all children of God together to one common platform. My Master came to the earth plane when there were many diverse sects in Christianity, Sikhism, Hinduism, Islam, and many other creeds. He delivered His Divine message to the people-to learn to sit together with love and to try to understand the basic concepts of the one Divinity that is working in the entire creation.
In the Gurbani it states that, "The wisdom of the seers is all alike."
Those who have realized their own self regard all mankind as one. The various sects, creeds, and religions are like so many schools of thought and outward forms like so many hallmarks adopted by us. But, all the same, in spite of these seemingly differences, we are basically human beings; and the soul in man has the same attributes on a miniature scale as those of God. From this lofty viewpoint, all are alike. It was Hazur's great desire that there should be some common platform for teaching the science of soul to all, despite differences in their outlook on world, colour, or creed. Ruhani Satsang was the name suggested by Hazur for such a forum. He was a Jivan-Mukt, a liberated Master-soul, and had come for the liberation of humanity.
It was once suggested to Hazur that He should form a distinct sect or religious order dealing exclusively with Spirituality. You will be surprised to know how gracefully He replied, "What earthly good will it do to dig more wells where too many already exist." All that was needed at the moment was to find out the Water of Life already referred to in various scriptures. Truth or divinity is already existing in man, and those who have realized it say the same thing. But those who have not seen the Reality are vainly engaged in fighting the varying ideological beliefs and doctrines. The principal aspect of His teachings was that we should be able to sit together in love for understanding the divinity that forms the common bedrock for the humanity. We are already one and must try to know the One in us. We are blessed with the same type of eyes, ears, hands, feet, etc.; and from the level of the soul, we are also one. The God we worship is also One for the whole human race. He is the Lord of us all. As we are likely to lose sight of this fundamental Truth, the Masters come from time to time to revive It. So the first lesson which we get from the Master is that we should, while remaining in our respective religions, strive to realize our true self, and then realize the self of the universe, and finally the great Truth which is the very life of all creation. To find this Truth it is necessary that we should know what is "true living."
Guru Nanak says, "True living is higher than knowing the truth."
A truly blessed life flavoured with Divine Love is above everything else. Such a living is conducive to spiritual uplift. Just as an electric bulb when clean and neat sheds clear light, so does a life free from all blemishes. The purity of life – or man-making, as it is called – was the outer work which my Master accomplished, and it is admittedly the only way that leads to the welfare of humanity and prepares the way for spiritual development. It is Spirituality alone that offers any hope for the security of man.
I once happened to talk with Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India. He listened to me with rapt attention for about fifty minutes. And since then in his speeches he used to emphasize that Spirituality was the only common ground where mankind could live in peace and amity. Spirituality then is the only remedy for all ills of mankind; and leaders of all thoughts, social, political, or religious could derive their inspiration from it. We are all worshippers of One God. As men we are all alike.
It is on this common ground we can meet, irrespective of differences in religious creeds and beliefs, social customs and living habits, which are of little consequence. The Rig Veda exhorts us to participate in congregational prayers in which thousands may join to glorify the Lord. This great lesson of the Vedas has once again been revived by the great Master (Hazur). It is not something new. It is the ancient science. Since we had forgotten it, He came to remind us of it. Historically the Vedas, which contain the wisdom of the ages, is the oldest of the scripture; whereas the Guru Granth Sahib is the latest compendium incorporating the teachings of as many great souls of different times and climes as could possibly be collected at that time. We have great respect for all who have enriched our spiritual heritage and have left for our guidance a valuable record of their personal experiences with the great "Self" within.
All great Masters have, in fact, said the same thing, of course, in Their own language. The holy Quran says that God sent His Prophets to different parts of the world. A true Muslim is one who believes in all the Messiahs of God. Similarly, a real Sikh is one who accepts the teachings of all Masters as recorded in the Guru Granth Sahib, a veritable banquet hall of Spirituality. If this Divine message is carried to all, then peace and harmony will reign supreme in all homes, societies, and countries.
In my second tour of the West, I had an opportunity to meet political leaders of different shades of opinion, and I always dwelt on the principle of "live and let others live." God had put so many children of His in their loving care, and it was their duty to serve them as best as they could. If one country could not, for one reason or another, properly look after the welfare of its people and attend to their legitimate needs, let others extend their helping hand to them. Why resort to violence and shed the blood of millions of His creatures. By the Grace of God, the timely realization of this basic truth actually helped in preventing a crisis on two different occasions when things were getting out of hand. I received an S.O.S. from a third place as well. I am placing these facts before you just to stress the importance of spiritual unity which is the only way out from our present difficulties, as it will enable us to get nearer to each other and be able to solve our problems. But here there is one difficulty: differences in views and cross purposes.
Guru Arjan has, therefore, suggested a remedy, "Let us put our heads together; and in a spirit of friendliness, iron out all our differences with a determined will born of burning faith in God."
Just learn to sit together in love, leaving aside all thoughts of duality for we all are children of God. Do we not worship one God who is God of all, though our modes of worship may be different according to the environments in which we are born and brought up? When we are already one on the common ground of Spirituality, like rosary beads of different designs and colours, then where is the scope for conflict?
The Gurbani tells us, "Let us get united in the Name of the Lord, for we are not apart from Him."
So this is the way that leads to unity in diversity, for diversity circles around the centre, the unchangeable permanence.
Guru Arjan has also emphasized, "Sit together shoulder to shoulder in the company of one who has become Gurumukh."
Gurumukh means the mouthpiece of the Guru, who is the human-pole from which the Power-of-God works. I would like to stress the importance of spiritual understanding.
Kabir says, "In this world there is none more munificent than the Guru. In fact, He alone is the giver of all gifts."
The blessings of the Master are indeed very precious. Let us see what He actually bestows upon the disciple.
Gurbani says, "Satguru has granted me a priceless boon (the Holy Naam) and has explained to me the Mysteries of the Beyond."
This is something that lies beyond the pale of the senses, mind and intellect. He alone is in a position to grant such a boon and no one else can for none can give what he does not have himself. It is something that one cannot acquire by mere learning and wisdom by the study of the scriptures. Who would give the wonderful of the Power-of-God?
Guru Arjan also says like this, "Having manifested Him in the Master, He Himself distributes the holy Shabd."
We find also in the Gurbani, "He grants us His own life-impulse and makes manifest the saving lifelines within. Who can do this? None but a polarized God on earth."
On the one hand there is the Absolute God, and on other is the Power-of-God or God-in-action; and unless the Power-of-God becomes manifest in us, we cannot possibly have a contact with God. As it is the living Master who can grant us this contact, His importance to begin with surpasses that of God Himself. Though the two are but one and the same, yet in finite terms, have to differentiate between the two.
Kabir says, "When the Master and the Lord both are standing before me, to whom should I offer my obeisance? Definitely, I will bow to the Master who has been the means of uniting me with Govind (the Lord)."
God the Absolute is an abstraction that no one has known and can know, and hence can bow only to the personified God where God's Power works. Just as there is a powerhouse that you have not seen, but you see in your house a small switch that serves your purpose. Similarly, the living Master is in possession of all the Divine virtues and powers granted to Him by the Absolute God for the spiritual welfare of humanity. Thus it is quite clear that we have to adore a living Master, for the physical body of the Master is superbly Divine, having been made by invisible hands for a specific purpose – to work through Him in bringing about a union of human souls with Himself. If with all this we still regard the Guru just as any one of us on the human level, it is our misfortune. Kabir says those who take the Master as nothing more than a mere human being will come again and again in lower forms of creation.
Again He says, "Kabir's mind has become so subtle and pure that even the Lord is now after Him."
One whose mind is pure and intellect is at rest will surely reflect the Light of God. We are to be worshippers of the Light of life, no matter to which social religion we owe allegiance. Every religion speaks of this Truth.
Guru Gobind Singh tells us, "In whom the Light of God shines in its fullness, He alone is Khalsa (the pure in heart). Khalsa is my own form and I reside in Him. Khalsa is the true Master All-Powerful."
When such great Souls come, Their mission in life is to unite all mankind in one great family of God. One who views all beings from the soul-level is really a great Master for God works through Him.
What does He give after all? He gives something that the senses cannot comprehend. We have to find such a Guru who can do this. This quest is one of supreme importance for all of us, irrespective of sex. The physical relationship between man and woman ends with the holy wedlock. Next comes the spiritual relationship: the wedlock of the soul - whether of the male or female - with the Oversoul. The scriptures tell us that Paravati, the consort of Shiva, accepted Narada as her Guru. Sita, the consort of Rama, took Anasuiya as her Guru. Those who consider that there is no necessity of a Guru for women are mistaken. Both men and women do need a Guru for the emancipation of their souls from the meshes of mind and matter. The spirit of each one of us cries for liberation no matter in what bodily raiment it may be clothed.
The institution of marriage only provides us with a life companion, a standby in weal or woe in the life's journey. This stage of a householder (Grihastha Ashram) is an important integral phase in one's life and must, therefore, be gone through happily. Marriage is no bar to Spirituality. It rather helps in spiritual advancement when both are engaged in spiritual sadhna (practice). Procreation is one aspect of married life. In the bygone days the married people were contented with just one or two children and thereafter they would renounce the world and retire into jungles for meditation and God-realization. Christ has emphasized that husbands should love their wives as Christ loved the church. It is good to be married; but after begetting one or two children, the rest of the life span should be dedicated to the highest purpose of life – God-realization. It is a pity that we regard marital life as a means of sense-enjoyment. Some Masters in the past were householders and had children.
In ancient times there were gradations in brahmacharya (period of celibacy), the minimum being that of 25 years. These days we can hardly find one who observes complete brahmacharya – in thought, word, and deed – for even one year. With this sad state of affairs, how can we aspire for a truly spiritual life?
The one great lesson that we learn from the life of Hazur is that of brahmacharya (continence). He married before attaining the age of 25, but His wife died before consummation of marriage. He married a second time after He had attained the age of 25, which meant an observance of complete brahmacharya for all these years. His wife lived with Him intermittently for brief spells that hardly totalled six months. Besides, He had in Him all Godly virtues. God is immortal and so are our souls. He is All-Truth, All-Wisdom, and All-Bliss; and our "self," too, is endowed with all these attributes. But the "self" in us, environed as it is by mind and matter, has forgotten its essential pristine nature and has so identified itself with the body and bodily adjuncts that we cannot see anything beyond this physical world. Whenever great Souls come, They tell us of the right path and give us right understanding and a correct lead.
Now, where lies the path homewards? There are so many yogic systems; some aim at physical development, others provide the means for prolonging the life span. There is Bhakti Yoga that tells us how to develop love and devotion. So long as man remains in constant search for spiritual enlightenment, he does not descend to lower gradations of the creation. Ramakrishna Paramhans was the worshipper of God as a Divine Mother, and he saw Her immanent in all creation. He thus remained in a state of duality and could not transcend into the beyond. When he went to Guru Totapuri, the latter gave him the secret of the eye-focus, behind and between the eyes, and then hit him hard in the forehead with a piece of glass and directed him to meditate at that point. It was then that he was able to transcend body-consciousness and pass from duality to oneness. Then there is the path of Gyan Yoga of ratiocination and inference, fit only for those gifted with strong intellectual powers. It cannot be practised by everyone. How are the young, old, and imbecile people to benefit from it?
The great sage Patanjali has defined yoga as yogish chiaavriti nirodha; i.e., stilling the vibrations of mind. In reality this, too, is but a preparatory stage that paves the way to God-realization. The sage Yajyavalkya has defined yoga: yogish atma Paramatma sanyog (the union of soul with the Oversoul). But, there is something beyond this. It is self-realization or constant awareness of the "self" which comes as you rise above body-consciousness; gradually cast off physical, astral, and causal vestures and develop cosmic and super-cosmic awareness. And last of all, you are a wave of the Ocean of All-Consciousness. How can this be achieved?
Guru Nanak says, "Without self-analysis the miasma of delusion does not disappear."
So long as you do not rise above body-consciousness, you cannot even get an idea of the "self" within. You have to uncover your "self" from the various enshrouding sheaths of physical, astral, and causal, all of which are illusory. Even the great Shankara hinted at something far above and beyond when He said, "0 Lord, I know that there is no difference whatsoever between You and me. Yet I am Yours. You are not mine for the river has its waves, but the waves do not have the river." On the one hand, there is self-awareness; and on the other is cosmic-awareness; and yet transcending them is the state of super-cosmic-awareness. Saints have always referred to this state of super-cosmic-consciousness. All great Masters have done the same and are known for Their catholicity. Hazur used to tell us that He was for all and accepted all, and that it was the foremost duty of a real Master to unite all children of God.
All human beings, all religions, all nations, and all countries are His in spite of seemingly differences due to geographical and climatic conditions, because they live on the same earth and under the same blue canopy and are charged with the same life impulse. Saints give to all alike the same inner contact with the overflowing Ocean of Divine Intoxication lying hidden in every soul and long since forgotten because of the heavy pressure of the work-a-day life. The Master helps us to gain access to the Divine Nectar by raising us a little above body-consciousness. A great Master has His soul-currents well under His control, while ours are flowing out through the sense organs. The sunrays do not ordinarily burn; but when made to pass through a convex lens, these are collected and burn anything on the other side of the lens. It is our own attention that gives life to mind and intellect. If instead of flowing outward through the senses, it could be collected at the centre of the soul, you could well understand its potentiality. It is a subject of actual experience and not of theory only. The living Master then is a great Ocean of Divine Bliss and Harmony:
"A Godman is ever in a state of Divine Intoxication."
Those who really become Men of God, They need no outer aids to get lost to Themselves. This is why Mira Bai exclaimed that she remained in a state of constant intoxication without any wine.
Christ tells us, "It is not by bread alone that man lives."
Guru Ramdas tell us, "The mind remains fully engrossed in the music of the soul."
The living Master is just like a blooming tree laden with fragrant flowers and luscious fruits. Blessed indeed is one who happens to meet such a Master. Please remember that the eyes are the windows of the soul. The power that a Saint has within is imparted through the eyes. His soul is charged with Divinity. This realization one can have from Him.
Every Master has had His own "bola" (a chosen form of remembering God) and whatever the "bola," it is charged with all the magnetic force of the Saint. Guru Nanak very often used to exclaim "Sat Kartar," meaning that the Creator was All-Pervasive. Similarly, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu went about saying, "Hari Bol" (take ye the name of the Lord). Once he happened to pass by a pond where washermen were busy washing clothes. He asked one of them to say "Hari Bol," but the latter did not pay any heed, taking him to be a beggar. But when Chaitanya once again emphatically asked the washerman, the latter could not resist but repeat the words "Hari Bol" and began to dance in ecstasy with the refrain of the words. Very soon other washermen nearby caught the rhythm of the charged words and the whole place began to ring with the merry chant "Hari Bol" in rhythmic unison. You see, my point is that the words of a Master-soul, no matter whatever they be, are highly charged on account of His personal contact with the God-head within Him and, as such, cannot but profoundly affect the hearers and help them in spiritual advancement. The eyes are the windows of the soul, and a single love-laden glance from His God-intoxicated eyes is enough to raise the spirit to heights immeasurable.
Shamas-i-Tabrez prays, "0 Master Divine, give me just a draught from the holy vintage which may bring peace to my lacerated heart. 0 Master give me that elixir of life which is not available even in paradise."
Bhai Nandlal says, "A single tumbler from the Water of Life is more exhilarating than two thousand barrels of wine."
And from Guru Gobind Singh we learn, "It is not a subject of discussion on intellectual level but one of seeing yourself."
Bhikna declares, "He who knows does not speak out as it is not given to mortal imagination. It is a subject of seeing only. Those who speak out that they know, they really do not know."
Maulana Rumi tells us, "If I were to tell something of this state, then all the infidels of the world would instantly turn into Godmen."
After all, what do the Masters give? It is something supremely Divine and defies description. The great Maulana then goes on to say,
"If after my death, manure were made of my body, and if that manure were scattered in a field of wheat, the cook and bearer of chapatis made there from will dance in ecstasy, and even the very oven will start emitting flames of love."
The Maulana has said this much, without telling us what will be the state of one who partakes of the food thus prepared, for that is ineffable.
The Path of the Masters is a straight one involving no physical yogic practices. He gives a direct contact with the strands of life within. This consists of linking the soul-currents with the Power-of-God in which we actually live, move about, and have our very being. It is a matter of direct inner perception quite apart from all kinds of reasoning, feeling, emotion, and inferential knowledge that are all fallible. Actual seeing is believing, leaving no place for scepticism. Guru Amardas came to this rich heritage at a fairly advanced age of seventy; and when He experienced God, He said,
"If one is fortunate enough, one may get in touch with a Master-of-Truth (Satguru) and get from Him communion with the Holy Word or contact with the inner Sound Principle, the Light of Life."
While philosophical treatises deal with the theoretical aspect of religions, the mysticism brings you face to face with the Divine Power-of-God.
Even small children can be attuned with the Light of God. Nothing is taken for granted and no make-believe is required. It is simply a direct and conscious contact with the God-into-Expression-Power within, the primal manifestation of Light and Sound Principles. Hazur was an adept both in the theory and practice of Surat Shabd yoga. In this modern age, this science started from Kabir and the Sikh Gurus, and, in turn, came to Tulsi Sahib of Hathras and on to Swami ji, Baba Jaimal Singh Ji, Hazur Sawan Singh Ji, and the same Power is now working through the living Master. It is Hazur's Divine Grace that everybody, without exception, is being blessed with inner experience of Light and Sound. It is indeed a Priceless Gift. Guru Nanak speaking of It said, "Nanak remains all the time in a state of continuous ecstasy."
I was talking to you of meditation and the natural question you would like to ask is, What should one meditate upon? One cannot meditate upon something one has not seen. In other words, how can we meditate on the Abstract and Absolute God? Contemplation is a dangerous thing. If you are lucky enough to get in touch with a perfect Master, then it may be well. But if perchance, and God forbid, your teacher is not competent to fulfil his promise and you contemplate on his form, you will be lost in the wilderness.
During the early days of my discipleship, I once questioned Hazur as to what one should fix one's attention on after the withdrawal of one's sensory currents. He smilingly replied, "We all the time usually think of our children, friends, and other worldly possessions. So where then is the harm to contemplate for some time on the form of a Sadh?"
In the Gurbani it states, "God Himself comes in the form of a Sadh."
After some time, when I once again questioned Hazur about dhyan (meditation), He lucidly explained, "When the Master initiates a person, He, in His radiant form, becomes a constant companion of the disciple. You may, while sitting for contemplation, think of His form or you may not; but when you will progress within, you are sure to meet Him there. The Guru, after all, is not a human being as one may generally take Him to be, but something much more than that; for in Him works the Power-of-God in Its plenitude for the benefit of humanity. He does not leave nor forsake His chosen souls till they are safely led to the true home of His Father. Fortunate are they who had the privilege to get holy communion or inner contact from Hazur Maharaj Ji. The contemplation of His holy form is all that is needed.
But herein comes another great obstacle. We can easily contemplate on any human form like our own, but it is not possible to visualize the form of a highly advanced soul like the Master's, which is one with the Divine. We may try to visualize His form within by thinking of His milk-white flowing beard, His radiant face, His turban, His tall stature, His regal gait, or anything else associated with Him; but it will be our make-believe and not the real form and hence of not much benefit. It is because of this that do not advise anybody to contemplate on any form, even of the Master, but to look straight ahead into the eye-focus and therein see intently whatever comes into view – light or darkness – and mentally repeat the charged Names very, very slowly, may be a intervals, so that the inner gaze is not disturbed. As the loving gaze will grow steadily in intensity, the Divine form of the Master (the radiant pole at which God is working) will appear of Itself within and begin to stay, at first momentarily and then for a longer time with the development of inner perception.
On initiation here in India, it generally happens that some 25 to 30 percent of the initiates do see within them the radiant form of the Master and of Hazur Maharaj, even those who had never met Him at all. The appearance within of the Master may, therefore, be left up to Him. It is His job. We can do nothing much in the matter. He is God in-man and knows best the level from where and how to work. He may come alone or along with His Master or any other benign soul, for They all are children of the Light of God.
Guru Arjan says, "The Gurudev (the radiant form of the Master) has opened my eyes (the inner eye) to see His Light. I have now no delusions and all my strivings have come to an end."
With the coming in of the radiant form of the Master, half the bhakti (Gurbhakti) is accomplished. We must, therefore, unceasingly pray to God to bring us to the Divine pole or the live switchboard where His power is fully manifest. The immutable law of demand and supply works equally at all levels. There is always food for the hungry and water for the thirsty. There are instances of lovingly devoted souls who get inner experience of the Master's form much before they actually come in contact with Him on the physical plane. In Pakistan there are still many persons who used to see the radiant form of Hazur though they had never met Him before. In my case, Hazur's lustrous form often visited me inside seven years before I actually met Him and got my initiation.
I was telling you that our prayers must spring from the bottom of our hearts. Frankly speaking, I did not favour the idea of having a Guru, though I knew that without a competent Guru one could not make headway in Spirituality. I was, however, afraid of the fake Gurus in which the world abounds. But how was I to find a true Master when there was a swarm of them and each held out high hopes and was ready to bless you for a pittance? So I used to pray earnestly, "0 God, grant me inner guidance in my quest." My humble prayer was granted and Hazur began revealing Himself to me and continued to do so for seven years before I was formally initiated. I did not know then who He was, and always took Him for Guru Nanak. I also composed some verses in praise of Him.
I was extremely fond of rivers. Wherever I happened to be, I would look for a stream nearby and find a solitary spot for my meditations. When I went to Lahore, I had river Ravi. And so it was at Jehlum. For hours together I would sit by the riverside absorbed in thought. While at Lahore it struck me to see Beas river. It was this lure of the flowing water that led me to Beas. It was a fine Sunday morning that I took a train for Beas. I inquired from the stationmaster at Beas the location of the river. Surprisingly enough, he asked me if I had come to visit the sage of Beas. I exclaimed as to whether there was any sage living there. He then told me of Hazur. Thus the visit to Beas was amply rewarded. It gave me an opportunity to see both the river Beas and to meet my Master-to-be.
On reaching Dera (colony), my surprise knew no bounds when I discovered in Hazur the likeness of the radiant form that had visited me in my meditations all these years. I imploringly inquired as to why He had delayed our meeting for such a long time. He, with a benignant smile, replied that that was the most opportune time for the meeting.
A competent Master reveals Himself even before initiation. There is hardly any need to conjure up any images while engaged in spiritual practices. The Master plants His own image at the time of initiation and His radiant form comes in of Its own when we completely get into the eye focus. The secret of success lies entering into the eye focus completely and entirely, and the real Master's form does come regardless of any invitation. This is comparatively easier and the most natural way of God-realization. Guru Bhakti is the surest way back home to God, but the Path is quite slippery as well.
When the end of Maulana Rumi approached near, He said, "Little doest thou know of the great King within me; See thou the radiance in this house of flesh and bones."
When a disciple rises to this level and becomes a Guru man, he becomes truly blessed. I have told you just two things that the Guru does: Firstly, He teaches that all the children of God should sit together, for this is the only way out for the entire human race to escape from the trials and tribulations of the world. Secondly, He gives us such a Divine wealth as cannot be had from anywhere else. It is, therefore, of supreme importance that while looking at the physical form of the Master, one should be conscious as well of the spiritual radiation emanating there from.
Maulana Rumi says, "0, Shamas-i-Tabrez, if I see somebody other than God in the mirror of Your face, I would be worse than a infidel."
To meet a real Master is to get closer to God, whereas to be away from Him is to be away from God. Whenever the Master come into the world, They do so to serve us with the Nectar of Life.
It is said, "The scriptures are useful to the Guru for teaching the masses. Without a living Master, we cannot even get the right import of the sacred books."
It is God alone who can lead us into Him. The Master the true lover of God and is competent to narrate the story of His Beloved.
Bhai Nandlal says, "Get hold of a perfect Master and follow His instructions fully, then shalt thou gain salvation even while engaged in worldly duties. God is with thee from eternity; Thou hath but to turn thy face unto Him."
For Guru Arjan, Ramdas (His Guru), was not only a mere human being, but was an embodiment of God Himself and God verily dwelt in the form of Ramdas.
A disciple who does not see in his Master the Power-of-God is not yet a true disciple. He is yet on probation and continues to be so until he sees in him the glory of God; and this, in the true sense, happens only when the Master reveals His radiant form within the disciple. It is this resplendently luminous form that guides the soul from plane to plane in the spiritual journey Homewards. When this radiant form comes, you may converse with Him, for then many problems will resolve of themselves. The Guru, who works as a human guide on the physical plane, is known as Gurudev when He manifests Himself in His astral radiance; and the same Power, when It escorts the soul on to the highest region of unalloyed bliss and harmony, is called Satguru (Truth personified or Master-of-Truth). Those who are Gurubhaktas, they see something superb in the living Master.
A Sikh disciple truly lives in sweet remembrance of the Guru. Just as an infant depends for his very existence on the milk of his mother, so does the disciple depend on the "Water of Life" or the "Blood of Life" with which the Master continuously feeds him. He loves him with every breath of His life and constantly takes care of his well being in diverse ways that the poor infant does not know. How fondly the mother takes care of her baby, herself undergoing all sorts of privations to make him comfortable. A Master does much more than this. It is a pity that we do not realize the greatness of the Guru. We know only that much which He may, in His Grace, choose to reveal to us. If a mother were to ask her child if he knew her, he may say "yes" but "how much" can he? Similarly, we the disciples cannot possibly fathom the greatness of the Guru.
After all, why all this adoration? What do They give us to merit such encomiums? They impart to us Their own life-impulse and transmit to us that Divine ecstasy of which we have read so much in the scriptures. All this is done through Their magnetic eyes from which highly charged spiritual currents pass on to us. Life comes from life as does light from light. A really living Reservoir-of-Life can help us to find the Fount of Life, and nobody else can do this. This is the immutable law of nature and admits no exception whatsoever. Our Hazur was a limitless Ocean of the Life-Giving Water.
We find in the Gurbani, "The teachings of the great Masters are the same for one and all. Listen ye to the direct testimony of the Saints for They speak of what They actually see with Their inner eyes."
The testimony of Saints, then, is direct and immediate and not one based on hearsay or on the authority of scriptural texts. In succinct and lucid terms They tell us of Their inner experiences with Their own "Self" and with God. Having a direct contact with the Power-of-God within, They are able to give us correct interpretation of the various scriptures, ironing out the seeming differences, and present an integrated picture of the Reality as seen by sages and seers of all times.
It is said, "Those who see God face to face shall all tell the same thing."
The differences come in only because of the means of approach in each case, the language of the time employed, the mode of expression then prevailing, and the intellectual level of the age. Again, these differences are not in essentials but only in non-essential details.
To "sit together" is a sovereign remedy for all the ills of mankind. What the Masters give is an invaluable gift of pure Spirituality which cannot be taught but may, like an infection, be caught from the radioactive rays that emanate from Them.
I may tell you that Spirituality, too, is a kind of science not unlike other sciences. It is a science of metaphysical experiences, the results of which can be verified with precision and exactitude. The credit for presenting It as a regular science and for the scientific approach to the abstruse and abstract subject that has ever baffled mankind goes to Hazur. With the change in the temper of the people in this scientific age, it was He who conceived that it could appeal most only if it was presented in a spirit in conformity with the present times. It is an age-old subject, the most ancient, coming from time immemorial. It is to our advantage that Hazur revived this as a science of soul. Though spiritual awakening is given by many, yet the Divine Revelation is granted by few. It is due to His good Grace that so many are acquiring the inner experience of holy Light and Sound principle which can, of course, be developed by practice with loving concentration.
Let us strive to be worthy sons of our Father. Try to understand the facts of Divine life. Hazur has not gone away from us. His Divine Power is ever with us in spite of ostensible change of covering. And even now the same Divine Grace is working in abundance.