SCRIPTURES AND THEIR VALUE
GURU is a highly spiritual being
with a sway extending as far as Sach Khand. He has a firsthand knowledge
of And, Brahmand and Sach Khand: the three grand divisions from physical
to purely spiritual realms.
Free from the clutches of body and mind, he is charged with pure spirituality. Unless a jiva comes into contact with such a being, his latent spiritual aspirations are not stirred up. The Guru is really a lighted candle that lights many blown-out candles. He can, by transmitting his own life impulse, enliven others. Some persons feel that by the study of scriptures alone they can have spiritual light and need no Master for this purpose. We may pause here and consider the value and worth of the sacred books or holy scriptures.
These are, after all, nothing but the records of the personal spiritual experiments and experiences of ancient sages, seers, prophets, and men of piety. It is good to read them with loving devotion. We should have respect for them, for they constitute a great treasure-house of spirituality which our forefathers have left for our benefit.
The sacred books and biographies of the high-souled personages create a spiritual longing and inspire us with hope and courage. We may to a certain extent become acquainted with the broad principles of spirituality, but cannot learn their right import nor get the life impulse, both of which come from a living Master alone.
Books are, after all, material things and matter cannot impart Life.
Life comes from Life as Light comes from Light. It is only an awakened soul that can rouse us from our deep slumber. We may read scriptures for ages upon ages and perform countless sacrificial deeds, but cannot have spiritual awakening and spiritual insight.
Spirituality can neither be bought nor taught, but may be caught like any infectious disease from one who may himself be spiritually infected, nay rather, obsessed.
The teachings of the Saints have not only to be learned but have also to be revealed. Besides knowledge of the theory of the Path, it has to be seen, experienced and verified. It is at once a science and an art, into the mysteries of which only an adept can safely lead, guide, and take us through.
God can best be served through devotion to a Godman, for it is by his grace
that we can reach God.
Again, even the scriptures and the past Masters emphatically exhort us to find a living Master.
Drink the washings of the Sadh's feet.
Make a holocaust of thyself for his sake.
Wash in the dust of his feet and be a sacrifice to him.
Be ye a slave to the Saints - and this is all that ye need to know.
Bhai Gurdas also tells us:
In the Guru lie hidden all the Vedas and the sacred scriptures. A contact
with him is enough to help one to safely cross over the ocean of life.
We cannot know Truth without the Master of Truth. God Himself has to
come down for this very purpose.
There are persons who studiously and scrupulously study the scriptures all their lives. They know a great deal by rote and can deliver learned discourses and give high- flown talks on spiritual matters, but unfortunately are altogether devoid of spiritual knowledge and spiritual experience. Their life and conduct is as blank as that of any other. They have not learned at the root nor drunk the Water of Life at the fountainhead of life: the living Master. In Sri Asa Ki War, we have:
may stuff his head with so much learning and accumulate a heavy load
of knowledge. He may raise and gather a regular harvest of learning. All his
life he may go on studying from year to year, month to month, from moment
to moment. O Nanak! One thing you may know for certain: he will become
a bloated ass.
Nanak! One may study sacred lore by weight and be engaged ceaselessly
in this task. What after all is the value of learning when Naam lies
far beyond all holy books?
Books, after all, contain a description of God's Knowledge, but cannot actually deliver the goods.
ye for certain that the essence of all knowledge and wisdom
lies in Dhuni (Sound Principle) and as such it is indescribable.
This essence then is within us, but we cannot have It
unless we know how to tap inside, as Emerson puts it.
Dr. J. D. Rhine, the parapsychologist and researcher, tells us in his book Mind and the New World that there is something in man that transcends all matter. If spiritual knowledge could be had from books, then all the learned people would by now be saints.
But in actual experience we see that in spite of all their book learning they continue to be as material as the very libraries that house these books.
Laden with the dead weight of book knowledge, they may be likened to an ass staggering under the dead-weight of sandalwood and experiencing not the sweet scent emanating therefrom.
Like a ladle in the pudding, they are ignorant of the taste of the pudding. In this age of learning, when the world is literally flooded with books, there is, unfortunately, no flood of spirituality and not even a sprinkling of spiritually-minded people.
It is only the advent of a Master of Truth that brings spirituality into the limelight and many there are who become dyed in spiritual colors. A conscious spirit can be activated and quickened into life by someone who is more conscious. Neither books nor intellectual knowledge can do this thing. No person, no matter how intellectual, can infuse Life in another unless he himself has Life.
To talk of spirituality is much easier than to live spiritually. Such persons only dabble in spirituality and just make a show of it, and cannot do any real good.
Maulana Rumi says:
under the overall influence of some Saint;
Thou canst not find the path from a mere imitator.
In the Gospel we find the words of Christ:
of false prophets which come to you in sheep's clothing
but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
An association with a Saint is bound to create in a jiva a longing for spirituality. This, in fact, is the touchstone for the worldly-wise. Such a being is worthy of respect and adoration with all our hearts and souls. Whoever comes in contact with him is magnetized and is charged with spirituality and taken along to spiritual realms.
body, mind, and wealth all belong to the Master;
His Grace has provided the Holy Grail and made me whole;
The world holds no greater benefactor than he,
He who contacts a Sadh is ferried across safely.
The ideal of the Master is spiritual. He is not limited to his physical body as we are. He is Word personified.
The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.
The physical body is just like a raiment which has to
be cast off both by the disciple and the Master, the moment this spiritual
journey begins; as it is the untrammeled spirit that has to tread the spiritual
path. But so long as he works on the physical plane as a teacher to the
stray brethren, blessed indeed is his form full of Godly Grace, shedding
Godly Light around him and charging all and sundry with powerful rays of
spirituality. Man is the teacher of man and ideal man has ever been the
ideal of man.
Those who regard it as idolatry do not know the secret of the Master's greatness. This "man worship," as they call it, is much better than "book worship" or "idol worship," because it is a worship of Higher Consciousness by lower consciousness. Life can come from Life, not from inert matter. Hazrat Khusro, a great Sufi poet, in his well-known couplet, tells us:
allege that Khusro has become an idol worshiper,
Verily do I admit it, for the world has nothing to do with me.
Again, another Persian poet from his sick bed said:
ignorant physician! take thy leave, for thou knowest not that for the
love-sick there is no other remedy except the sight of his Beloved.
Similarly, Guru Nanak in his childhood when afflicted
with the pangs of love asked the physician who came to attend him to quit,
as he could not find out the illness of his heart.
There is nothing in common between a worldly-wise man and a devotee. One who has never known devotion cannot know the worth of a Master, who is a polarized God, shedding kindly Light in the world.
Truly speaking, the term Guru is not an appellation of any person. It signifies and stands for a dynamic power that works in and through a particular human form and is the ideal for us all.
This is the power that helps in spiritual advancement. Like a floodlight he floods the world with his spiritual Light, and one cannot see anything besides Light. The aspirants for spirituality gather around him like moths and make a holocaust of themselves in his august and holy presence.
Kabir Sahib says:
ignorant regard the Master as a human being and are caught in
the whirlwind of the world and sink down. Their mind and body are
of no consequence and they cannot gain anything. They cannot develop
any devotion in themselves, hence cannot escape from bondage. Such
jivas make a headlong dash for hell-fire, and ceaselessly move with the
giant wheel of creation.