ALL Masters say that marriage is a sacrament, not a contract. This system began ages back. We are entering into life. For that, Masters always enjoin that we must have good lives: we should be righteous; that is, have good thoughts, good words and good deeds. All scriptures tell us that outer marriage means taking a companion in life for weal or woe on this earthly sojourn to help each other to know God, which is the highest aim before us in the man-body. One duty of marriage may be that of begetting children; it is not 100% of our duties. We need a companion in life. Whoever God unites, let God disunite. It is the unseen hand of God working behind it, that brings two souls together to wind up the give and take of the reactions of their past.
But marriage is meant for a higher purpose of the union of soul with God. All scriptures and all religions tell us that. The Sikh scriptures have given as the first step that we should have righteous lives: good thoughts, good words and good deeds; and love for all: not to hurt the feelings of anybody. Naturally, love knows service and sacrifice. One who loves knows only to give, give and give: to help himself and to help others, too. An ethical life, with the normal duties of a householder, is a steppingstone to spirituality. The ultimate goal is to know God, and we should help each other to know God. The first step is an ethical life.
We have joined various schools of thought or religions for the purpose of having spirituality. What is spirituality? We are spirit in man. Spirituality is the subject of analyzing spirit from the bondage of mind and outgoing faculties, to know ourselves and then to know God. God cannot be known by observation: "You cannot enter the kingdom of God by observation." These are the elementary steps of the outer religions we have taken up; the main purpose is to have love and devotion to God. Also, as God resides in every heart, and we are spirit in man, we should have love and regard for everyone: even of creatures, not to speak of men.
With that object in view, what have we to do? The ultimate goal of union of the soul with God is the true marriage. Naturally, to be married in the outward way, you have to call for the minister. Here a minister is supposed to be a very holy man, and he knows about the marriage business. Similarly, for the inner, true marriage of soul with God, we need somebody who knows the way and who is adept in there, in that subject. So, learn to sit at the feet of somebody who has known God, because we want to know God. Those who have known God have all said the same thing; of course, in their own languages. But the purpose is the same. What do they say? Man is the highest in all creation, and the highest aim before us is to know God. Remain in any religion you like. This outer union of two bodies -embodied souls- together, is the first step toward the ultimate.
The second step is to help each other to have union with God. That is the true marriage: the soul with God eternal. Mira Bai said, "I now have the eternal marriage with God; now I have nothing to fear. He is unchangeable permanence; so I have a marriage that will never break."
For that marriage, you will naturally need somebody who has that inner contact or achievement. Call him by any name you like: you might call him a minister or a Master or anything. He is supposed to have known God. In all churches, ministers are meant for that purpose. They should unite with God and help others to unite with God.
So, have pure lives and guidance: sit at the feet of somebody who has known God. What will he do? Naturally, if he has known God, he will know what are the helping and what are the retarding factors to the union of the soul with God. He will tell you how to withdraw the outward attention, which is the expression of the soul and which is now devoted to the world, from the outside and then how to rise above body consciousness and come in contact with God, Who is already there. Such a soul becomes enlivened, you might say; the other souls are dead. (The attention of the soul, which is diffused in the world, becomes so identified with it, that it materializes.) They have died from the sense of consciousness; they are always thinking of matter and of outside things, they will know nothing further than that. Guru Nanak says, "Only he is alive, 0 Nanak, who is awakened, who is conscious of God": as I see you and you see me. Only such a man is living; others are dead. This is also what Christ meant by "soul dies." Soul does not die; this is the meaning behind it.
The first step is to follow outer righteousness: have chaste lives, truthfulness, love for all, and service and sacrifice for the sake of others. The first step is taken when you have this kind of life and you sit at the feet of somebody who knows the way-who knows God, who is united with God and whose soul is married to God, you might say. I think you remember that in your biblical scriptures, some of the saints said, "Christ has given me a ring." That is the elementary step: the soul's marriage to God. They became conscious of it, and they thought that their soul was married to God. When you have taken that step, consider that it is the first step: you are married to God; your soul is married.
The second step is what He gives you. He gives you a contact with the God-power within, which is called Word. The outer expression of Word has two aspects: Light and Sound. He gives you a contact with them. The result is that, day by day, you get more and more bliss and enchantment within yourself. Naturally, you become more attached inside and less outside. The result is that Sound begins to reverberate, and you hear. That is already reverberating, but we are not in contact with it. When you are given a contact with that Sound and Light Principle, you begin to bear that Sound all twenty-four hours of the day and night, without closing your ears. The result of contacting that eternal Sound or Music of the Spheres is that you are become more attached to that higher bliss than to the outside; then you are in the world and yet out of it. This is the first result. Passions do not assail you, because you have more bliss inside: your attention is always drawn by that higher power within you. You will feel that you are in the world and yet out of it. Just as, if you sit by fire, all cold is gone, and when you sit by ice, all heat is gone, similarly, the more you come in contact with the Light and Sound Principle within, the more you will become unattached to the world, and all passions will begin to leave you. When you have that realization in your life-that you are in the world and yet out of it-you take the second step towards the union of the soul with God.
What happens further? You begin to see Him within this temple of God, the man-body. You see that the Light is within you, and you also hear the Music of the Spheres. Then, when that expands, you see that the whole of creation is the temple of God. Wherever you look, He is there, and there is no place where He is not. That inner vision opens. When you see God within and all around you, you sometimes feel as if you forget yourself. When that realization comes, you have taken the third step toward the union of your soul with God.
And what comes last? You become one with God. You lose all individual consciousness, like a drop of water, which, when it unites with the river or ocean, becomes one with the ocean. Guru Ramdas said, "If there is such a man, who has become one with God, how would you define him?" He said, "Tell him that he is the same, that's all." This is the ultimate consummation of the soul with God: you become one with God; you see He is in you and you are in Him: "I and my Father are one." This is the ultimate feeling. Feeling? No, seeing. It is not even seeing-seeing remains in the third stage. The ultimate is that you become one with Him. It is becoming.
This fourth stage is the ultimate goal. But still, those who attain that goal experience some duality. Shankara said, "0 God, I know there is no difference between You and me, but I am Thine, Thou art not mine; because a wave can be of the ocean, but the ocean cannot be of the wave." First, those who become one lose all "I-hood" and become the conscious co-worker of the divine plan; then, they become; they rise into Him. This is the ultimate consummation of soul with God: union with God.
This is the higher form of religion within each one of us; and for it, we have joined various schools of thought or religions. They have been a helping factor to those who have attained that stage. In the Sikh scriptures, the four stages are given, step by step. Generally a teacher gives the first step, and in all religions they give a little reference to it. What do they say? "God has united you; let God disunite you." If you are together for the same goal, you will even live together after leaving the body, too. You are going the same way.
These are the steps, step-by-step, that we have to take to reach that ultimate union with God, called the true marriage of soul with God. In the Sikh scriptures, both aspects are given: first, the outer ideal; and then, with that-because it is not the end-all-the further ideal of the union of soul with God.
The grace of God working in some human pole-it is His grace alone-helps step-by-step to reach Him. If you meet such a Master in whom God is manifest, that manifested God will help you to take up the way, step-by-step. First, you become a normal, righteous man. You sit at the feet of the Master; you obey His orders; you love Him. If you love anyone, you love his commandments. From Him you get the Bread of Life and the Water of Life: you become spiritually strong. This is the first step you have to take.
The second step is when you become intoxicated with the Light and Sound Principle of God. You are in the world, yet out of it. Nothing can contaminate you. The next step is, that whatever you see within you, you begin to see all around: the whole world, the universe, is the temple of God.
In the last step of all, first you become a conscious co-worker. You see that "I and my Father are one." But still, sometimes you take a dip in the ocean and you become one, and then again you feel, "I and my Father are one." Something has been given out by Masters as the ultimate goal, and that is to unite our souls with God: that is the true, higher form of marriage. If those two souls are put together, and their souls are married to God, they are one; they cannot be separated.
This is something given out by almost all Masters. Love is not love that changeth from place to place. What is that love that changeth and is here today, there tomorrow? Christ said, "If you cannot love your brother whom you see, how can you love God whom you have not yet seen?" This is a form of outer marriage, which is a symbol of the higher marriage that you have to attain in due course. Blessed is the man who has had the man-body and his soul has united with God forever: he is one with God.
This is what is meant by the goal. God has united you. Continue, and go on through weal or woe to help each other, with the ultimate goal being to know God. Maintain whatever children you have, and set your lives as an example, so that the children may copy you.
Ever since I've come here, I've had the occasion to see three marriages. And others, also- hear me! Open your ears to see. Instead of running here, there, and everywhere, either be purely chaste, or, if not, be married; it would be better. That is the last thing I would advise you. Marriage does not mean, all along, a sensuous life. It is a very noble thing: a sacrament. Help each other. But running here, there, and everywhere is not a good example. Either remain 100% chaste: good-I'll wash your feet-or, if not, be married. That will help you on your way back to God. Christ said, "Husbands should love their wives as Christ loved the Church." This is the highest ideal before us, even as married persons.
In the old days, in the times of the rishis, there were three grades of chastity. The lowest or third grade was of 12 years. The second grade was 24 years of complete celibacy. And the first grade was 48 years. Now, just look to our own selves. This is the power that makes body, mind and soul. We do not value this very important thing. We raise our buildings on sand. This is a very valuable thing: it is not meant to be given to a sensuous way of living. It is something that gives strength to your body, to your mind, to your soul. It is a very great helping factor.
Marriage is very noble. You'll find that many Masters were married. They had one or two children, and that was all. When they took up the role of Mastership, they left off all of that. This is a very valuable thing. The pity is that these things are not taught. We think it is below our dignity. But these are the things which I think are sapping the very life of the coming generation. We should wake up: it is time. I request those who come here to be chaste and to have very righteous lives. If they are married, they should be married in the true sense of the marriage, and help each other to know God; that is all.
For that purpose, they have the company of those who have succeeded that way. They can give you right guidance and can also help you on the way. And what is that helping? It is first the giving of the outer, righteous way of living and the inner, higher contact; and then, the development of it. First, we will see and find that the body is the temple of God. Then, that is developed further, and with open eyes we will see that the whole universe is the temple of God. And sometimes, in that intoxication, we will forget ourselves. So, it is a matter of seeing: not seeing, but becoming. The ultimate goal of soul is God.
Masters have been giving such teachings, but we simply ruminate over them and do not go into the right import of what they taught. These are only ceremonies that are performed, and ordinarily they are taken very lightly; but they are very serious; they have some meaning behind them. From time to time I have been laying before you the digest, in a few words, of what I came to know intellectually and spiritually. Just strive to live up to it. Truth is above all, and true living is still above truth. If you have very chaste lives and a righteous way of living, you will have truth; and that will earn my pleasure, too, and the praise of all who see you. They will praise you, they will praise your school of thought, and they will praise the person at whose feet you sit. If you don't live up to them, you will simply spoil the good name of the school of thought and also the name of the Master at whose feet you sit.
Well, what does marriage mean?
Marriage means taking a companion in life, in weal or woe, in our earthly sojourn. Both should meet God, the ultimate goal. First, we have to live very amicably, in a loving way, because God has united us, not any earthly power. It is the unseen hand of God that unites one with another. The girl is born somewhere; the man is born in the West somewhere; and that's the unseen hand of God which brings them together, as it happens now, as I told you, as a reaction of the past. I mentioned to you that Arran Stephens' great-grandfather was Governor in Punjab somewhere in the early nineteenth century. So that reaction of the past has brought them together here. So this is what has come before you. It is a reaction of the past. It is the unseen hand of God that has united both of them. Whom the God unites, let no earthly power separate. Let God only disunite, you see.
So, first of all, they should have a companion in life. Let them work as one soul in two bodies--to have a happy life in their earthly sojourn. If any mistake is committed, 'All right, forgive me'--that's all. Forgiveness washes off everything. If any order is given, all right; you obey, there is no conflict. So if anything comes from above, then all right, it is His Will; we submit. These are three things which help us to carry on our earthly life in a happy way. And there are two or three things more which we have to adapt ourself. That is, we should be humble. 'Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.' Humility is the first thing. How can we meet God? 'First humility, second humility, third humility.' We should have all virtues abide in us; we must have a life of righteousness. Righteousness means, good thoughts, good words, good deeds. For righteousness we should maintain pure lives, you see.
"So these are the things required, you see. Sweet tongue honeyed with humility; that's the, I think, what can you say, the remedy for all ills in life. This is the first part of life, but how can that life be cemented, unless you get some food for your soul? You have got food for your body, you have become physically strong. You have got food for your intellect, you have become intellectually strong; but what food have you given to your soul? Soul is a conscious entity; its Bread of Life is to come in contact with All Consciousness and for that purpose we have just to meet some person, some son of man in whom that God is manifest--'Word is made flesh and dwelt amongst us.' He'll give you a contact with it, God into expression power. So all Masters say that in your earthly life, you love God. But we say we have not known God, seen God--how can we love Him? So for that purpose you will have to meet somebody like us--born in our way, the same way--in whom that God is manifest. So, manifested God in man, you have to meet--what will you do? He will first prescribe one thing. Why have you been coming into the world? Ever since we have left our Father's Home, it is the desires of the world that has attracted us here again and again and again, until you attain this man body in which you can again return to the Home of your Father. For that He says, 'All right, have sweet remembrance of God.' The world has been imbedded in our hearts in the subconscious reservoir of our mind, so much so that we dream those very things of the world. And we give out in our deep sleep state by muttering too. He says, "Have the sweet remembrance of God." Let your mind be depleted of the worldly thoughts and be filled so much so, that it overflows of the sweet remembrance of God; that's the first step. And second, Whom you remember, come in contact with That. There are so many words given out by Masters to denote that power which is One, which resides within every heart, which is reverberating everywhere and that's the controlling power within you-- controlling you in the body. Your body --this is a very wonderful house we live in, in which we have got so many apertures: two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, mouth and two underneath with all that we cannot run away out of it. Our breathing goes out, some power pushes it back into the body. And that controlling power resides in this very human body; and we also reside here. We have to know that power, which is called the God-into-Expression Power, Word or Naam. Word made flesh only can give you contact with that Word within you.
So, when you see Him, with your inner eye, with your third eye or the single eye, you will just hear the Music of the Spheres reverberating in all creation. So that's the Bread of Life--the more you come in contact with this, the more love will overflow within you for God. Now, after that, what will you do? Where will you go? You will go only to Whom you have got that love. Hitherto we have been coming to the world again and again because it has been, we have love of the world, you see. So, for that, Godman gives you firstly the conduct of life, the way of life, how we have to conduct in life--that I have already described; and the other one, to come in contact with That. When you have that bliss, naturally that love will overflow in your lives. When that state comes in which you remember Him by any word, you'll be full of joy, sweetness within you. For instance, you have eaten one mango, very sweet, later on when you just hear the name of mango, because you have tasted that sweetness, again you'll feel sweetness within you. So Godman gives you contact with that sweetness of the Elixir of Life, the Priceless Jewel within each one of us; then naturally when you say, 'God, O God', you'll have sweetness within you. When you reach that stage, that is the first stage of your communion with God, everlasting in life, you see. Second stage will come when that Sound Principle, Music of the Spheres, becomes audible without closing your ears, all twenty-four hours of the day. You will see inside, you have developed that light within you with the Grace of the Master. When you develop, you begin to see that light outside too. Then that second stage will come of your, you might say, matrimony with God, your soul's matrimony with God. Third stage will come when you'll see Him within and outside, everywhere--the whole world is an expression of Him. You'll go in raptures when you see all the world over. Then you'll feel while in the world, outer things won't attract you, you'll feel detached. Then a time will come when you'll see virtues and evils and everything and you remain unattached. When that stage has arrived then the third stage of your communion with God is developed. Last of all, you'll sit down: inside, outside, everywhere you'll see Him. You'll hear the same melody reverberating throughout all creation, the Music of the Spheres, and you'll sometimes be absorbed in Him, you'll forget your own self, all ego will go, then that is the permanent soul's matrimony with God.
This is what is meant by the four turnings around (the circle). The first stage is like that, second, third and fourth. Truly speaking, the true soul's matrimony with God is realized, you see. So this is a ritual amongst the Sikhs. That was started by Guru Ramdas under the instructions of Guru Amardas in 1637 A.D. and that has been the custom now. You'll find, the first stage includes everything, but to cement that true life, one must have Bread of Life. After that when you feel sweetness, by hearing that Name, go in raptures for Him, that's the first stage only completed. Then second is when you hear that Music of the Spheres, all without closing your ears. You see inside, outside that light, then you have fulfilled the second stage. Then when you are in that stage, you are in the world yet unattached by the world, then you will have the third stage. After all you'll begin to absorb your whole self in God. This is what is meant by the ritual now performed before all this audience. What does marriage mean? It is uniting two souls together in earthly life. They should help each other in weal or woe and both of them should try to reach God. Be of use to your own self and to others as well, because God resides in every heart.
So the main thing, what God has united, let no earthly power disunite, this is first of all. Second, they should work as one soul in two bodies under the instructions of the Master. He prescribes to you the way of life here too, the way of life the other way too. Under His guidance you'll develop step by step and you'll begin to absorb yourself in Him, you'll forget everything--all ego is lost. That's what Mirabai has told, 'Now I have got the eternal matrimony with God.' So that's the highest aim in a man's life.
And especially the brothers in the West. You know what is meant by all this, what you have done? That's only telling what is a way of life, how to fulfill, how to realize, have happy life here and hereafter too. So with this thing all blessings. First turn was there, second turn was there, third and last of all when they reached that stage, that means we throw flowers--'Well you have got a successful life.' The flowers are only thrown when they have reached the last stage--throwing flowers means you are a good couple, you have reached the ultimate goal of life. And this is before you, both you couple, you are my children; I wish you happy life here and hereafter.
It is no conversion. It is only at the expressed wish of Mr. Arran that we have performed these Sikh rites. This is one social body's way and I was just explaining what the duties are.
I think that covers everything East and West. Thank you.