THE NATURE OF ONENESS
VERILY a Satguru (Master of Truth)
is one with Sat or Truth, as he is embedded in and revels in Truth.
Truth is infinite and all-pervasive, while it manifests itself and works
among people from a human pole - call it what you will: Master, Satguru,
He is a beacon light that sheds the light of Truth on the tumultuous sea of life, to guide yearning humanity. He may be likened to a live switch that has behind it the entire energy of the powerhouse, but doles it out in such measure as may be needed by each individual according
to his or her requirements.
Like a magnetized pole or a live switch, he possesses a raiment, but in fact is not the raiment, but the Power inside the raiment. Exactly so is the case of jivas or embodied spirits.
We too are in fact not what we possess and apparently seem to be - physical entities - but spirits or souls that enliven the physical bodies.
A spirit or soul is purely of the same essence and power that works in the Master, though clothed in countless raiments or sheaths and hedged in by numberless limitations.
But when it is able to transcend the various bodies and become a spirit untrammeled and free, it can then witness the glory and greatness of the Master, for he is the horizon where the earth and heaven meet and the sun of God's Light rises and illumines all space.
A veritable sun lies hid in him.
We cannot have any adequate idea of God's beauty, grandeur and greatness by looking at the physical form of the Master. For an actual experience of Him, we have to rise to His level.
Unless we rise to the level of God, we cannot know of God.
As God is spirit, we too, by self-analysis, must be able
to separate the spirit in us from the material sheaths or raiments enshrouding
it, for spirit alone can see and experience spirit; not the physical senses
nor even the intellect or mind.
The eyes of a Master are charmed casements that open within on Infinity and without on the finite. In them, one can get glimpses of Divine Light unparalleled in this world - a shadowless Light that never is found on sea or land.
Maulana Rumi tells us about him:
A Godman is ever in a state of intoxication without a drop of wine.
He is ever satiated without a morsel of food.
His eyes are the eyes of God; his hands are the hands of God.
While living in the world, he is not of the world, nor
he a prisoner in the prison of the body, as we are. He a free entity and
at will crosses over into spiritual realms and is competent to grant this
power and capacity to thousands of jivas, if he so wishes.
A living Master of Truth is one with Truth, and has in him Truth in fullness, whereby he carries on the work of salvation entrusted to him.
In spite of his form, he is formless. He is Word personified, a great fountainhead of love, bliss and peace. Man has to learn from man and, in accordance with this natural law, Word becomes flesh and dwells among us to impart spiritual instruction and guidance. Again, by transmitting his own life impulse he enables us to go homeward.
While doing this work among us, he every day at his sweet will escapes to his heavenly abode of Truth, so as to take rest in Nij-anand or imperishable bliss.
Master of Truth and Truth are one; for he is polarized Truth.
He is beyond everything, beyond Brahma, the primal principle;
Nanak has met with such a Guru.
The Master of Truth is eternally the same.
He neither comes nor goes.
He is the imperishable Life Principle that pervades everywhere.
With all our paeans in praise of the Master, we can never do justice to him; for he existed when nothing was and from him everything came into being at each cycle of creation.
Who can sing praises of the Master? He is the source of Truth.
He is eternally unchangeable, the source of all life from age to age.
In Gurbani, it is mentioned that after careful scrutiny within, one comes to an irresistible conclusion that Master is Truth and Truth is Master, with no distinction whatever between the two.
When churning the great sea within, one thing has come
to the surface: Guru is Gobind and Gobind is Guru.
O Nanak! There is no difference between the two.
The Almighty in fact resides in the garb of a Saint and works His plan through him.
The Kartar (primal principle) resides in the Master and he becomes
the means of salvation for many a soul.
One knows nothing of love without a Master, for everyone is devoid
of love. Hari resides in the Master, and blessed Master becomes
the connecting link between a jiva and Hari.
Kabir Sahib tells us that he is one with God:
Now I am one with Thee and feel satiated and blessed.
Having reached the highest abode, I am one with Him;
so much so that one cannot distinguish Kabir from Ram.
Similarly, Shamas-i-Tabrez speaks in the same strain:
We have become so united, like body and soul, that hereafter
no one can say I am different from Thee.
Christ, too, says:
I and my Father are one.
He that hath seen me hath seen the Father.
God and Godman are indeed just like a sea and its tides.
Momentarily as the tides rise and fall, they appear as something different,
but they are of the same essence as the water of the parent sea.
Exactly the same is a drop of water. When separated from the sea it is a drop, but the moment it goes into the sea, it loses its apparent individuality and becomes part and parcel of the sea.
God is formless, while in Godman He assumes form for instruction and guidance of the people.
Nanak has after careful study of the Vedas and scriptures come to
the conclusion that there is no difference between Parbrahm and Guru.
God is the primal Sound Principle, which He gives to the thirsty through a Godman.
God resides in a Guru and releases the Sound Current among the aspirants.
Established in Truth, Master revels in Truth.
He is at once the Master of Truth and Truth itself.
In every age, He comes down for the benefit of the devotees.
In the Holy Bible, we read:
The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us ... full of grace and truth.
In Gurbani, we have:
There is not the least distinction between Satguru
and Swami (God-in-action and God).
A contact with the former leads to devotion for the latter.
A man of God is called Satguru or Sat Purush and he speaks
of Hari alone; whoever listens to him attains salvation.
Guru being one with the Almighty is the doer of everything and sustains the entire creation including the jivas.
Guru is the doer and does everything; he is the true Gurumukh.
Guru is a conscious co-worker with God and is the sustainer
of the entire creation.
Guru is the bestower of peace and comfort
and he is the Kartar (great motor power),
O Nanak! We live and have our being in him alone.
Gosain Tulsi Das, the celebrated author of the Hindi Ramayana, speaks of the Guru:
Salutation to the Lotus of the Guru, who is the ocean of mercy
and God Himself in human form. His kindly words dispel in us
the darkness born of blind attachments.
In the Holy Bible, we read that Jesus once asked his disciples, "Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?" And Simon Peter answered and said: "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus said to Peter:
Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed
unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock
I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
MATTHEW 16:13, 16-18
On another occasion, he spoke more clearly to them:
Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father and it sufficeth us.
Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you,
and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me
hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?
Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me?
Guru Arjan has in very explicit terms told us of his oneness with God:
My temples are in the highest heaven, and my Kingdom is limitless.
My sway is eternal and countless is my wealth. My glory is known
through the ages and my people live everywhere. I am worshiped
by all and sundry and everyone is devoted to me. My Father is
manifest within me and now the Father and the Son work together.
O Nanak! The son has become a conscious co-worker with the Father
and there is now no difference between the two.
In the Hindu scriptures, we have:
Guru is Brahma, Guru is Vishnu, Guru is Shiva, and Guru
is the veritable Par Brahm; and we offer our salutations to the Guru.
In Mandukya Upanishad, it is stated:
As the various mountain streams after passing through different
plains fall into an ocean and lose their names and separate existence,
so do the knowers of Brahma merge in the Illustrious Self-Lustrous
Being, losing their names and forms.
Here a question arises as to how an all-pervading spirit can come to occupy a limited space in a human body. In Discourse 7 of the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna thus sets at rest this question:
knowing my transcendent, imperishable, supreme character,
the undiscerning think me who am unmanifest to have become manifest.
Veiled by the delusive mystery created by my unique power, I am not
manifest to all; this bewildered world does not recognize me,
birthless and changeless.
Again, in Discourse 9, Shalok 11, the Blessed Lord says:
Not knowing my transcendent nature as the Sovereign Lord
of all beings, fools condemn me incarnated as man.
Muslim divines also seem to corroborate this, according to Maulana Rumi:
The arm of a Pir (Master) is in no way shorter than that of God,
and the veritable Power of God works through the former. His long
arm stretches as far as the seventh heaven; his hand is in the hand
of God and no one besides him shows His greatness. In fact, an effulgent
sun lies hid in him and the greatest good lies in knowing him, as he is.
Again, the Maulana says:
The Light of Truth shines in the heart of a Wali (Godman) - If you are
a momin (Guruman) you may see this as it is.
The Prophet once declared that God Himself told him that He far
transcended the highest heights, the lowest depths, the earth, the sky
and all the heavens; but strange as it might seem, He could comfortably
rest in the heart of His devotees, and he who wished to meet Him
could find Him there.
Though he (the Murshid) lives on the earth, yet his soul spreads out
in the limitless beyond, which all reasoning and philosophy of
the religious cannot reach.
Shamas-i-Tabrez tells us in this wise:
The King of Kings is enthroned in us, behind a dense curtain. In the
vile garb of flesh, He comes to grant us access to Himself.
Bulleh Shah says:
Maula (God) becomes man so as to pull men up (from their deep slumber).
We have in Gurbani many references to this effect
God Himself assumed the name of Ram Das.*
Greatly intelligent is our God. He Himself assumes and
takes for Himself the title of a Saint.
* The fourth Guru of the Sikhs.
O Pipa! Pranva (the Sound Current) is the only Reality,
and becomes embodied as a Satguru for our instruction and guidance.
Satguru is Niranjan (pure, immaculate); do not consider him
as a human being.
A devotee of the Lord himself becomes the Lord,
but man knows not this mystery.
Bhai Gurdas likewise says:
Ek Onkar (the one God unmanifest) becomes Akar (the manifest)
and assumes the appellation of a Guru.
He who can tell you of the Reality (impersonal) and put
you in contact with Reality (Truth eternal and unchangeable permanence),
is no other than personal Reality (Truth personified). He truly is the
primal Sound Current emanating from the Most High.
In order to teach mankind, this Sound Current becomes materialized in the form of Saints. How else can men have spiritual instruction unless the Spirit of God, which the Sound Current is, takes a human form and lives among them, talks to them face to face of mysteries both human and divine? This is why Kabir says:
Brahma cannot speak as Brahma alone. He too needs a human agency
for His self-expression (among human beings). We, as human entities
encased in flesh and bones, cannot have an idea of that attributeless
Formless One, unless He assumes a likeness to our own, on this
material plane, and becomes for us a living God capable of being seen,
heard and understood. He is at once both God and man, and may be
called Godman. He works as a means to an end, a link between man
and God. He is Word personified so that He may impart instructions
about God and guidance toward God.
Peter the Great, Czar of Russia, was anxious to learn
shipbuilding and the art of navigation, so he went to Holland disguised
in the garb of an ordinary laborer. In the Dutch dockyards there were many
other Russian laborers, working for their living, and Peter worked with
them, talked to them of Russia their native land, and often asked them
to return with him.
These poor people were exiles from their country and would heave sighs because they could not go back however much they wished. Peter told them that the mighty Czar himself was known to him, and he might be able to secure them a pardon. But very few could imagine that a person in tattered clothes like their own could have anything to do with the Czar.
When Peter started on the journey homeward, after completing his training, just a few who believed his words accompanied him. When he entered Russia, he was received royally from place to place. When the outlawed laborers saw the honor given Peter, they felt encouraged
and confident that he would be able to have the Czar reverse the decree of outlawry against them. When at last they saw Peter enter his capital and ascend the throne, they were astounded at the change in their co-laborer.
The Master, like Peter the Czar, is the King of Kings. He comes into the dockyard or prison-house of this world just as an ordinary laborer or prisoner like us. He also earns his living as we do, talks to us of our native land, infuses in us a longing and desire to return home, and
offers to be our companion and guide on the way. A few who put faith in his words begin to act on his advice, and they are taken out of this vast prison back to the throne of God, where they find the Master in his Radiant Form, more lustrous than thousands of suns and moons
Guru Arjan tells us that He who sent us into exile is now calling us back to His Kingdom as His true inheritors and legatees.
Again, when Queen Indra Mati completed her course of spiritual discipline and reached Sach Khand, she found her Master, Kabir, in the seat of Sat Purush (the True God). Seeing this, she said, "Master! Why did you not tell me before that you were Sat Purush yourself? I would have believed you." Kabir, smiling, replied, "I could not have convinced you then."
All Saints who reach Sat Lok or Anami Desh become one with God and as such rank equal to each other; and none can be said to be greater than the other.
He who tries to distinguish a Saint from a Saint starts headlong for hell.
Generally, thousands of people congregate around a Satguru
and listen to his discourses, but each one sees him according to his own
mental and spiritual make-up. Some consider him as a person of piety; some
take him for a philosopher, and some as just a man of learning. Others
regard him as an ideally moral man, and still others as a selfless worker.
Rare indeed are the jivas who find God in him.
Thus each one finds in him a reflection of what he himself actually is or wishes to become, and so gets from him that quality, for he distributes to each what he merits.
As a man in physical raiment his foremost duty, of course, is man-making; and as God personified it is revealing or manifesting God. So it all depends on one's own preparedness through the ages. Blessed indeed is the man who is ready for immediate transformation into
God, for to such an individual he at once reveals his Godhood; as Krishna revealed his oneness with Kal to Arjuna, when through ignorance he hesitated to perform his duty as a Kshatriya prince.
A blind man cannot see one with eyes nor can he take hold of him, unless the man with sight compassionately takes him by the hand and leads him aright.
Similarly, no one can see in a Master the Master of Truth or Truth itself lodged in him unless he reveals his real self to him. Even those who constantly live with him, including his close relatives, can seldom recognize in him the hidden Godhead.
Without the gift of special merit one can never know of the really intrinsic nature of a Saint (his Godhood) He who can see and recognize God in him has indeed found God, for He not only resides in him but manifestly works through him.
He is the pole from where the power of God shines forth and works out the Divine Will.
Bhai Nandlal says:
God is ever present before thee; see thou His blessed form.
Guru Nanak similarly says:
The God of Nanak is ever before him.
In the same way, when Naren (later Swami Vivekananda)
first met Sri Ramakrishna, he asked him, "Master, have you seen God?" And
Ramakrishna replied, "Yes, my child! I have seen Him as I see you."
Thus it all depends on our inner vision. If one is gifted with this, or if Satguru so wishes, he may see the flashes of God's Light coming through the Master. The purpose of all spiritual discipline is the restoration of the lost vision to the inner eye, so that we may be able to see God,
both as all-pervading in the Universe and as deeply concentrated behind the mighty breakwater of the Master.
This revelation then depends upon the sweet will of God and no one can claim it as a right. It is just a pure and simple gift from Him to one who has prepared himself through the ages.