We are neither much concerned with races and religions nor with any social order. The problem before us is that of God or of Godmen Who found God. We are all worshippers of the Reality that is One and pervading everywhere:
Lovers may be myriads, but the Beloved is one.We are all seekers after God God of the entire universe and God of the learned and the unlettered. He has nothing to do with Hinduism, Sikhism, Islam, or Christianity. He is One and only One, and we are His worshippers. Devotion to the Master is a sine qua non on the path Godward. Christ said: "I am the vine and thou art the branches. So long as the branches are embedded in the vine, they are bound to bring forth fruit." It means that the seekers after God must strike their roots in the Godman. Without devotion to the Master, one cannot achieve anything. Guru precedes God. We have not seen God nor can we see Him. He is at a level much higher than that on which we are. He is the subtlest of the subtle and beyond comprehension. So long as we do not rise to His level and become as subtle as He is, we cannot see Him. Each one has his own range of vision. Even the atmosphere around us is full of tiny living creatures called microbes, but we cannot see them without the help of a microscope. It is the microscope that changes the level of our vision, and we begin to see them magnified.
The creeds and faiths may be different, but the objective is one.
The first thing for man is to rise to God's level. In the Godman, God is fully manifested. If we become Guruman, we rise to the level of God and begin to see the Power and Spirit of God in Him. We can neither visualize God nor contemplate Him, as He is formless. In the Guru, He assumes a form. Devotion to Guru then is devotion to God in Him. Guru, in fact, is not the body but the God Power working in and through that body. He is the human pole on which the Divine Power works and carries on the work of regeneration. This Power neither takes birth nor dies. It eternally remains the same:
God cannot speak unless He assumes a human form.Guru is thus the human pole of God and works like a live switch with all the power of the power-house behind it. Man is to be the teacher of man. Even to know God one has to seek the help of a God-teacher. In God-teacher or the Guru, the Power of God surges in fullness. His eyes are the overflowing cups of Divinity. In His presence, one loses all thoughts of himself, of the world here, or of the world hereafter. From this stage begins Gurbhakti (worshipful devotion to the Master). From now on, the disciple lives in and for the Master. Saint Paul, when He rose into higher consciousness of Christ Power, said: "It is I. No, not now I, but Christ lives in me." Khawaja Hafiz, in his own way, speaks of the same thing:
Without a human form how can the said formless express Himself?
My whole being is so permeated with the love of the LordElsewhere, this Sufi mystic has said:
that I have now no thought of tile self and my old self has completely disappeared.
O Lord, I am now Thine and Thou art mine;
I am the body and Thou art my very soul.
Henceforth no one can say that we are apart from each other.
Since I am united with my Beloved,The Apostle, when one with Christ, said:
I have lost all sense of fear;
One who has sunk deep into the water of life
can have no fear of death.
I can now fearlessly walk through the shadow of the valley of deathIt is a question of grafting -- grafting a branch of one tree into another tree. What happens? The fruit of the second tree, while retaining the shape and color of its own, acquires the taste and flavor of the other. This is exactly what happens when the Guru Power or life-impulse of the Guru works upon the disciple. While remaining as before, the disciple is now no longer his previous self, for he has been bought with a ransom. To be one with God-- Fana-fil-allah -- one has first to be one with the Godman Fana-fil-sheik. This is the easiest way to reach God. It is the Atman in us that has to realize Param-Atman. A part is always in search of the whole. We are so constituted that we cannot rest until we rest in Him. The flame of a lighted candle even if turned upside down would still rise upwards. A clod of earth if thrown upward is sure to come down. This is the law of gravitation. Everything tends to move towards its source. A conscious entity cannot but seek the Ocean of All-Consciousness. So the search for God is something natural in man. Why? Because we are in search of peace and happiness. But unfortunately, our search is in a wrong direction. We try to seek happiness in the world without us. And strangely enough, whatever little pleasure we get because of mental concentration we call it happiness. It is, however, a misnomer to call sense-pleasures as happiness. When the Reality dawns in us, then we realize our mistake. The real happiness lies in us. It is born of love -- love of the self in us and love of the Overself which, too, is in us. God is the Soul of our soul. Soul is of the same essence as God. There is thus an innate similarity between the two. But for want of real knowledge and lack of competent teachers, we do not understand the exact position. Like a butterfly, we flit from flower to flower in search of honey, or like a musk-deer, go in search of musk from place to place. Little do we know that the honey and musk lie at the very center of our being within us. A child takes delight on a playground, while an intellectual person revels in his intellect. On the other hand, a young man seeks pleasure in his family. This is how happiness travels from one place to another, but it defies all our attempts to arrive at it. When one gets tired, one tries to search for it elsewhere. This is the beginning of wisdom. From without he turns inwards. God, Who is the knower of all hearts, makes some provision for the aspirant, that leads the seeker after Truth to Someone Who has realized Truth in Himself and is competent to help us Truthward. We have before us a Psalm from Guru Ram Das. Let us see what He has to say:
for Thou art with me.
I am smitten by the arrow of God's love.It is a beautiful way of describing one's love for the Lord. Once this love enters into the heart, it gets deeper and deeper with time. It is something quite different from the love for worldly things. Guru Ram Das in this Psalm is giving us a pen-picture of His own mind. He had an intense love for God, and it worked like an obsession in Him. He now goes on to explain what it meant to Him:
I am feeling restless for the sight of God,In this couplet, an attempt has been made to describe the nature of longing in Him. The great Teacher wants to see God face to face. He likens His condition to a person dying for want of water. You can well imagine what a painful state this is. Lovers always pine and wither away in their love for their beloved. God is Love. Our soul, which is of the essence of God, is also dyed in the color of love. It is but natural with man to be in love with one thing or another. As at present, we are in love with our body and bodily connections -- family and children, friends and relations, wealth and possessions. But all these things you will realize are of an impermanent nature. Again, they are changing from moment to moment. And, ultimately, they do not abide with us forever. Either we are obliged to leave them, or they leave us in course of time. This being the case, we cannot derive permanent pleasure from them. It is just a transitory affair. Guru Arjan tells us in this context:
As restless as a thirsty man in need of water.
We are in love with all that is visible;Let me say that this is not enough. It is a kind of attachment. We are momentarily carried away by the glitter and glamour of worldly things. We see things superficially. We do not realize that they would not remain with us for any length of time. The pleasures of the world come and go like pictures on the screen. How can we have happiness with passing shadows? Real happiness is a state of the mind. The Saints, therefore, emphasize:
O Lord, how can we love Thee, the Eternal One.
If ye are in search of real happiness, take refuge at the feet of the Lord.The Power of the Lord is All-Pervading and All-Permeating. The Saints are worshippers of the Supreme Being alone. There is no god but God. They tell us to be worshippers of the one God. They come into the world to connect us with God. Their mission is not to establish personal connections with Themselves. They are the Messiahs or the Messengers of God. They bring His message to us. They live in the Will of God and have no will of Their own. Kabir always prayed:
My wish is of no consequence;We may take the writings of any Saint. In each one, we find the praises of the Lord. They have nothing to say of Themselves. Christ speaking of Himself said: "I do nothing on my own. I do as my Father willeth me to do." They have no sense of I-ness in Them. The great Teacher has a great anguish in His heart. The wearer knows where the shoe pinches. The seekers after God are ever in a state of crucifixion. Why? One has to rise above the cross of the body -- the point of intersection between the physical and the astral worlds in man (the eye-focus):
Whatever is, is from Thee.
The Beloved lives far above;It is a question of inner struggle between the mind and the soul. The soul is keen to reach the Oversoul (God). The soul is languishing in the love of the Lord. One wants either to go up to God or God to come down to him. There is no third alternative. He wants to see the Reality face to face and be absorbed in Him. This is the way of love. Amir Khusro, a mystic poet, said: "O God! come unto me and dwell in the pupil of my eyes. Let Thou see me and I see Thee. Let our love-play be between us alone." Kabir likewise says:
How can we reach Him ?
Come Thou into the chamber of my eyes and rest a while there;This is how the lovers talk. They are bubbling over with love (of the Lord). This is the way to be one with God. Spirituality cannot be taught but may be caught as an infection from One Who has It in Himself. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. It is just like splitting the milk with a pinch of curd. in the company of such a One, we begin to put on some of His color. A certain change is surely to be felt. The atmospheric effect cannot but affect us to a certain extent.
I would hide Thee with my eyelashes and try to win Thee over.
The way to God lies through love. Love is the connecting link between the soul and the Oversoul. Whatever practices and performances we do are the means for igniting the flame of love in us. But unfortunately, we engage in them just as a matter of routine on the physical level like gymnastics, and these do not bring about an inner change. As such, they are not of much value to us. It is, therefore, said:
One may, for hundreds of years, perform practices and penancesWe have to fan the fire of love in us. Without love we cannot reach God, for He is Love. In the fire of love, nothing survives but the Beloved. In the Quran it is said: "Love is a forest fire that consumes everything but the object of love."
and yet be far removed from God.
One cannot win God without lighting the flame of love in him.
Again, love is likened to an eagle, seeing which all the tiny birds fly away to save themselves. Who can stand this terrible ordeal? None but One Who has ignited the fire. Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Guru in succession to Nanak, has rightly said:
Listen ye all with attention -- verily I tell ye that it is through loveGuru Ram Das, having developed the fire of love in Him for the Lord, is now feeling restless like a thirsty person for water. He then goes on to explain:
that one reaches unto God.
God alone knows the condition of my mind and the great anguish in me.You would please realize that it is only the beloved who can understand the excruciating pain in the heart of the lover. God is the knower of all hearts, and He can know best who is pining for Him. It is only one who has passed through this stage who can visualize what it is. I may tell you of the condition of my mind in the year 1911 or 1912. In those days I had a great inner urge for God. It may be due partly to my past karmas and partly to the present development. While sitting in the office, tears would involuntarily flow from my eyes and spoil the papers before me. I wondered what it could be. In those days, I was under orders of transfer, and my colleagues and home-folk thought that I had taken to heart my transfer orders. What could they know the real state of my mind?
The mystery of life is the greatest
mystery in life. Once this question crops up, one cannot ignore it, however
best one may try to do so. It keeps on revolving again and again and presents
itself in so many different ways. I had an opportunity to sit beside a
dying person. That had a tremendous effect on me. With the purity of life,
I had also developed the faculty to read the future. All these came to
me in a natural way. But with all these I could not solve the enigma of
life. The sight of the dying one before my very eyes quickened the intensity
of my heart. I could feel that there was something that was slipping out
of the person, but I could not make out what it was. I had yet no inkling
life-impulse. While it was still surging in me, it was ebbing out in the other. The lady on the deathbed called her friends and relations to meet them before leaving them for good. And in an instant thereafter she closed her eyes and never to open again. This is how she passed away in my very presence, and I felt bewildered. I was flabbergasted to see the dead body before me. The life in her had gone out, but I still felt that it was working in me. I followed the bier to the cremation ground along with others. While on the way, my eyes inquiringly looked at the bier but could not make out anything. Even the learned and the wise do not know how to solve this mystery. Upon reaching the cremation ground, I saw the dead body of an old man being laid on the funeral pyre. Alongside that pyre, we set up another pyre for the body of the young lady that we had carried on our shoulders. The contrast between the two scenes -- the young and the old -- deepened the anguish in my heart. Neither one could escape the clutches of death. Both were lying lifeless before me. I wanted to know what life was. I tried to find the answer to my problem in the books. The whole night I would go on reading, but the books did not provide me with any solution. All that I could gather from them were veiled references here and there. At some places I could get tall and loud professions from the sayings of Mahatmas, as recorded in those books, advising one to do this or that. The books even would tell that it was a question of death-in-life. But how it could be done was the problem. For this, there was no answer in the books. Bookish knowledge cannot give that which one can get from practical experience. It is a question of self-analysis. A real Master can give you some experience of the way-out. I came to understand the great mystery in its practical aspect only when I came to the lotus feet of my Master, Hazur Baba Sawan Singh Ji Maharaj. So all things work their way and shape themselves when there is an intense longing for something. I alone knew as to why I was shedding tears in those days. How could others know of it?
In the world we see people weeping and wailing for one thing or another. All these tears are for the things of the world. Very few weep for the other world (life hereafter). A real seeker after God is always in a state of acute restlessness; and this, invariably, is a happy augury. The thick and lowering clouds are the harbinger of rain. The fruit trees bring forth buds and flowers before bearing the actual fruit. So this was the condition of the mind of Guru Ram Das. In a condition like this, one invariably says: "O Lord! a moment's separation from Thee prolongs into a life's agony." A night of separation is a terrible hell. The worldly-wise weep for the world, but a devotee weeps for the Lord:
It is through tears that one reaches God;It is necessary to give vent to the feelings deeply set in one's heart. It is by copious tears that we can wash down impressions of ages lying in the folds of the mind. Maulana Rumi tells us that a pilgrimage to Kaaba is possible only through the sea route and not by land. So God can only be reached through the pearly tears flowing down one's checks. This then is the state of Guru Ram Das. The world does not know what it is. But God knows it all right.
If one could get Him easily, then who would wear the widow's weeds ?
He who talks to me of my Beloved Lord is next of kin to me.In these memorable words, the Guru has given a beautiful picture of His inner feelings. Are we not always anxious to hear about one who is near and dear to us? God is the dearest of the dear and the nearest of the near. We are all in search of God and are keen to hear about Him. Where is He? How can he be found? How can He be reconciled to us? Lastly, how can He be won over? God is the sole object of our desire, and for His sake we should be ready to sacrifice all including our own self. In love one expands and feels that he is the richest person on earth, capable of giving away everything for His sake both himself and his world. We are so keen to hear of Him and His tales that whosoever speaks of Him endears himself to us. The person may be a total stranger to us, and yet we begin to love him because of the God's tidings that he brings to us. Guru Arjan likewise says:
Whosoever would take me to my beloved God,Why should one be a slave to another for life? "For I am so keen to see my Beloved face to face." This then is the condition of the mind of one who is languishing in his love for the Lord. In such a state of mind, one welcomes any and everybody who can narrate to us the love yarns. The storyteller may be anybody in the world. We are not concerned with his caste or creed or the social order to which he belongs. We are all tipplers in the divine tavern. We all love Divine Intoxication. When a number of bibbers can sit together and enjoy, why cannot the devotees of God? It means that we have not yet developed love of God. When God Power resides in all of us, why is there love lost amongst us? The first step in Spirituality is to realize this fundamental principle. One who understands this basic principle puts on a different color:
I would happily sell myself as a slave to such a one.
Ever since I have come into the fold of a Godman,This then is the signal change that one feels in him when he begins to associate with a Saint. One begins to love the world because he sees the Power of God in everyone, without any distinction on grounds of religion, caste, or creed. This is the first lesson that one gets from Satguru.
I have lost all sense of duality and none is a stranger unto me;
I am now a friend to all and everyone loves me.
Satguru is known for His all-embracing love;This is why Guru Ram Das considers everybody as His real friend and a close relation. On the other hand, we are all anthropocentric and have not yet known that we are brothers and sisters in God. All relationships of the world remain in the world when the soul departs. On the other hand, the Guru knits us into a kind of brotherhood that is everlasting. How? He places a common target before us -- the ideal of God-realization. When the goal is the same, we have to tread the common path leading unto the goal. Ultimately, we shall all meet in God. Once I questioned my Master as to how all the disciples would meet in the end when each one has his own time and measure of advance on the spiritual path. Hazur replied: "We have all to go across the river of life. Some may ferry over by the first boat and some by the next. Ultimately the port of disembarkation is the same for all. We shall all meet at that port." It is, therefore, said:
In His company all sit together forming one holy family.
The Guru seeks His own and unites them in true relationshipThis is the kind of relationship in which we are united by the Master. The people of the world come and go in their own turn and are soon forgotten. But the godly people remain forever with
which is eternally the same.
Let all of us unite together as friendly maidens and sing praises of the Lord,In oriental terminology, God alone is considered as the bridegroom, while all the souls emanating from Him are regarded as brides or damsels. Those who commune with the Lord enter into an eternal wedlock and are forever happy. The earthly unions are short lived -- may be 10, 50, or even 1,000 years, if possible. Guru Ram Das, therefore, advises us that we should learn to sit together as friends in God and take delight in nothing but talking of God. We can sing praises of the Lord only after a Satguru has given us an inner contact with God Power. Without this actual experience, we do so only after reading of God in the scriptures or hearing of Him from others. This singing is of a secondary type. But when we sing after having seen the Reality and tasted of Divine Intoxication, our singing would be of a transcendental nature. What a world of difference between the two. The songs may be the same, but the singers are different.
After having taken to heart the lessons in God-love from a Godman.
The devotees of the Lord remain in touch with the Lord. They see Him face to face. They live in a state of perpetual intoxication. When they sing of God, they do so in a way peculiar to them. Theirs are a typical rhythm and strain. Their songs automatically flow from the depths of their hearts and deeply affect those who hear them. We cannot get this taste and flavor from the songs of those who have no practical experience of God. With an experience of God Power in the Godman, we cannot but spontaneously sing of Him. Satguru is the fountain of the Power and Spirit of God. He gives us a taste of that Elixir. In His company, our intellect grows still and we begin to rise above it. Without this integrated experience, our songs, however sweet and melodious, are of a second rate. Why? Because our intellect, all the time, goes on thinking of one thing or the other. This perpetual vibration in the mental zone proves a great hurdle in our way. We may start with the best of intentions and cleanest of motives, but we cannot stop the intellect from working. In the depth of the mind, undercurrents are perpetually in motion. In course of time, even the good custom corrupts itself. All thoughts whether good or bad take us into expansion. This being the case, our mind never gets stilled. Without stilling the mind, we cannot move ahead. It is only the mind in equipoise that can shoot ahead and find its way out. The question is one of single-mindedness. By sitting together in a genial company, we think and talk of the love of God and love of the Godman. This helps us to gather our scattered thoughts. It is, therefore, said:
Sit ye together as member of a single family;There is a great blessing in sitting together. The Lord hath said: "Where two or three persons sit in my Name, I am with them." Again, in sitting together we try to understand the point of view of each other. When we learn the correct position, we become tolerant of others' views. And still more, we escape from the evil of double-mindedness. When like-minded persons meet, they would naturally talk of nothing but what is of common interest -- God and love of God. This would lead to singleness
Sink down all differences and direct your attention Godward.
When the entire creation is the manifestation of the Holy Light,The duality between man and man is only at the surface. Nothing is good or bad but thinking makes it so. One may be rich and another poor. One may appear to be good or bad, but we cannot pass judgment on them. Each one has the Power of God in him. We are all one on the body level, as all human beings take the same pattern within and without. We are born alike with equal privileges from God. God made man -- a conscious entity -- after His own image. Man is a part of All-Consciousness. It is by experience that we come to this conclusion may be after getting through the storms and stresses of life in the living present or in previous incarnations. Man is always in the making. He may learn today or tomorrow or at some distant date. We are all on the Way. The real happiness lies somewhere else. It comes only by union with the Whole. This is why Guru Ram Das advises us to sit together in love of the Lord, for it would give us clarity of vision, and we will stand on terra firma. Besides this, there is no other remedy on the sense-plane.
The manifested beings are nothing but holy at the core of their being,
no matter what their acts.
O God, grant unto Nanak His heart's desire;With this prayer, we come to the finale of the beautiful Psalm. This is the highest type of prayer that an Awakened Person could make.
Bring Him face to face with the Reality so that He may have peace eternal.
Now we take a hymn from Guru Arjan, the fifth in succession to Nanak. Let us see what He has to say in this context. This talk, too, is similar to the previous one from His immediate predecessor, Guru Ram Das.
In the bottom of my heart, there was a keen desire to meet my Beloved;The question, once again, is of earnestness. Do we really need God? Sometimes we do ask for God. Even our intellect also, at times, feels the need for God. But does our mind want God? This is the crux of the problem. We ask for things with mental reservations only if they are of any use to us on the physical plane. On the other hand, the mind is entirely dyed in the color of the world. It has no time to think of anything else. Mind has a great potential in it. What the mind wants, it fervently prays for. At times, it even cries for it. God comes in only as the means for the satisfaction of his worldly desires. And day and night one thinks of nothing else. This is the actual condition of our mind.
Somehow or other, the perfect Master has graciously fulfilled
my long cherished desire.
You can search it for yourself. Do you sincerely wish for God? No. We want Him only as a means to an end -- the end being physical pleasure and comforts. Otherwise, God has no meaning for us. It is a question of demand and supply. If we actually wish God, the law of nature comes to our aid. Where there is fire, oxygen comes to its aid. All that we need is to put our tongue, intellect, and mind on one level. Such an attitude increases the mind force. Where the mind force is strong, nothing can stand in our way. We must be true to our "self," and then whatever may be our wish shall be fulfilled:
If our prayers are truthful and arise from the contented mind,What is a truthful prayer? It is one that springs equally from the mind, the intellect, and from the tongue. Otherwise, we are not true to our self and are deceiving our self and our God. Why are our prayers not granted? Because we ask amiss. To ask rightly what is necessary is the first condition. The second condition is that we should be contented with what we have and be grateful for them. Ingratitude is the greatest evil. What has God given us? All that we need and much more. Have we ever offered a thanks-giving prayer for what He has done and the bounteous gifts supplied by Him? If we fulfill these conditions of truthfulness and contentment with a sense of gratefulness, He would not deny us anything for which we may happen to wish. If we ask for God from God with a sincere mind, He would never deny us. On the contrary, He would draw us unto Himself. He is the knower of our hearts and readeth us correctly. We cannot hide anything from Him with all our cleverness and cunningness. He sees right through us what is passing in our mind, and acts accordingly. We cry for bread; we cry for our losses, but we never cry for God.
Then hearing them, God calls us to Himself, nay draws us on to Him.
Of Namdev, the calico printer Saint, it is said that once the balcony of His home crashed down. His home-folk asked Him to call a carpenter to carry out the necessary repairs. The devotees, as you know, hardly remember such things. He went out as usual and sat in the sweet remembrance of the Lord. He forgot Himself. He forgot the world around Him. He forgot the balcony and the carpenter. In the evening, He got up from His meditation and went home. His people asked Him if He had arranged with a carpenter to do the job. "I am sorry; I forgot all about it. I shall certainly call the carpenter tomorrow," He said. Some days passed away like this. Everyone at home felt annoyed and threatened Him with dire consequences if He did not bring the carpenter the next day. "I shall certainly bring the carpenter tomorrow," He replied. Strange as it may seem, Namdev again forgot to get a carpenter. A man of God is always absorbed in God. How can He think of the world and the worldly things? They are of no consequence to Him. Again in the evening when He woke up from His trance, He felt ashamed. But there was no way to get out of the impasse. He sorrowfully waded His way back to His home. God foreseeing His sad predicament had during the day gone to His house in the garb of a carpenter and set right the broken balcony. When Namdev reached home, He was dumbfounded to see the work. It was a piece of rare workmanship and had been done in an unusually short time. He could make out who the carpenter was. None but God's hand could do this miracle.
"A nightingale can alone understand a nightingale." The devotee knew that His God had done the job. He took courage and pressed on to His lane. The neighbors flocked round Him and inquired the wages that He settled with His carpenter for such a wonderful piece of work. He replied: "Love is the only wage that my carpenter demands." The next question was as to how the carpenter could be called. "My carpenter comes when One cuts Himself completely from His family," He added. You can now well understand the position. If you become His, He becomes yours. He then comes to you of His own accord without being called. Namdev was lost to Himself in His devotion. He had never asked God to repair His balcony. God keeps the honor of His devotee for His Name's sake.
I would tell you of my own personal experience. It happened during the lifetime of my Master, Hazur Baba Sawan Singh Ji Maharaj. My son was seriously ill. He was hovering between life and death. The physicians apprise me of the critical condition of my son. They even asked me to be prepared for the worst. They advised me to take a few days leave so as to be near my son's sickbed. The next day happened to be a Sunday. I was due to give discourse at Amritsar. It was a duty assigned to me by my Master. I got up at quite an early hour in the morning. The premonitory words of the physician were still ringing in my ears. I felt that life and death were in hands other than mine. What could I after all do? To carry out the behests of my Master was, of course, in my hands. I decided to attend to my duty, and let Hazur see to His. I accordingly left for Amritsar to play the role that had been allotted to me. The discourse was delivered as usual. The weather was hot and sultry. I finished my job at about 10 am. I left the auditorium an hour later. As I was half way down from Beas, I felt a strong urge to push on so as to have Hazur's darshan. I might have reached Beas at 1:30 pm. Hazur was taking His rest. Learning that I had come, He called for me upstairs. He sat up and inquired: "What about your son?" I replied: "He was ill and somewhat in a precarious condition, but I had to discharge the duty assigned to me. I could not do anything more nor was it in my power to save him by remaining there."
My words appeared to make Hazur quite anxious. For a while He sat in silence. I quietly said: "Hazur, whosoever thinks of You is relieved of all his worries. How is it that You are feeling so much for me? He replied: "Kirpal Singh, you took the burden off your head, and I have to take it upon my shoulders. When you are so inclined to your duty what else can I do?" The scriptures tell us: The gracious Father hath so ordained whatever the son asked for that hath to be granted. But what one should ask for? God or world? Nanak tells us:
The humble Nanak simply asks for one thing;This is what all the scriptures say. In the Holy Quran, we have: "I shall grant unto man what he desires." So the only thing to be desired is an intense longing for the Lord. If we are sincere in our search, we shall certainly get Him.
O Lord, plant Thy lotus feet in my heart.
Once a little toddler was sitting all alone in a room. His mother was in the kitchen. The milk can was on the fire before her. The child wanted to stand up but slipped and fell. Then he tried to pull himself up by supporting himself against the wall. His little hands did not find any catch hold and he fell again. Then he saw the door curtain and stretched out his hands to help himself. As luck would have it, the curtain itself slipped down the rod and both came down upon him. In his helplessness, he began to cry piteously, calling his mother. No sooner than the mother heard his cry, she ran to the room without caring for the boiling milk and hugged him to her bosom. She took the baby and came back to the kitchen to attend to the milk. But it was too late to save the milk from spilling over. The child perhaps felt that he had known the trick of attracting his mother's attention. After some days, while sitting in the room he again began to cry mother, mother. The mother could guess that he was idly indulging in a sing-song and did not run up. The child slowly came to the kitchen and inquired as to what the mother was doing. She replied that she was busy making dal (gruel). The child said he had thought that she was perhaps preparing some dainty dish much better than the milk because she had not answered his call for a pretty long time. The mother replied: "My child, there was no anguish in your voice today."
So, you see the question is one of inner craving. We crave for mundane things of the world and do not wish God - God only replies to the cry from the heart. He does not answer to our oral prayers. While we sit in worship, our mind is running after family affairs. Excuse me, we are not sitting in the temple of our heart but are practicing idolatry. God would never come where there are so many idols to attract you and to keep you busy. You may better compare the state of your mind with that of the Awakened Souls. Guru Arjan's heart is aflame with the love of God and is keenly in search of ways and means to find His Beloved. The only way to find God is first to find means to the end. God cannot be found without the help of a Godman. When you desire God with all your heart and soul, He Himself provides the means. It is said that the simple squeak from a contrite heart reaches God quicker than the loud and long prayers offered in public by boastful people. When God resides in all hearts, He knows even the tiniest vibrations therein. He is the soul of our soul and is not sitting in high heavens. We can deceive ourselves. We can deceive the people of the world, but we cannot deceive the great Power in us. If you are sincere in your love for God, God would surely come to your aid. His grace is beyond measure, and He would put some Godman in your way.
It is a great blessing to meet a really Awakened Soul. You cannot come across such a One unless God desires it so. We cannot even know a Godman as we cannot know God. A blind man cannot find a person with vision. The latter may take pity on the blind man and take him by the hand. When our inner eye has not yet been opened and we are sitting on the plane of senses, we cannot possibly see the human-pole on which the higher Power is at work. Apparently, the God-pole looks like any of us; and we have no means to understand His inner greatness. Nanak, you know, was called a man with a perverted intellect. Why? Because people had not the eye to fathom God in Him. A competent Master is a rarity. The scriptures speak highly of a "perfect Master." It means that there are in the world Masters who are imperfect and not fully competent to impart spiritual experience. The world is full of so-called teachers and self-styled Masters. Christ warns us to beware of false prophets and half-prophets. A perfect Master is One Who has experienced the "self" in Him and also has the power to manifest the same in others. He Who has seen God can make others see Him. No one has seen God but the Son and those whom the Son may reveal. How to know such a fully Awakened Soul? He is not to be judged by the palatial buildings in which He dwells or the huge congregations before Him. The real test is that He should be able to give some practical demonstration of God Power by momentarily lifting the soul from the level of the senses. You cannot test Him on the level of the intellect, however hard you may try, even by close contact with Him, may be for a long time. The Reality is in Him and He keeps it as a sacred trust from God. He would not go about making a show of it. He can be moved by your genuine and keen desire for God-realization. And if you have God's Name writ in your forehead, He will certainly reveal the Spirit and Power of God in you. "Ask and it shall be given; seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you." So it is a question of asking, seeking, and knocking at the door of a Godman. And secondly, the experience depends upon the life-impulse that the Godman imparts, for life comes from life. Mere knowledge of the formulas from books or from so-called teachers will not help. It is the radiation that passes from eyes to eyes and works the miracle:
One glance of grace from Him is enough to serve the purpose.It is He Who raises up and upholds our attention so as to give us the inner experience.
In the times of Hazur, many learned persons conversant with scriptural texts would come and enter into idle discussion with the Master. Hazur would simply inquire of them if they had any inner access and, if so, could they take others also into the realms within. This would naturally quiet them for they had no such experience even for themselves.
Once Kartar Singh, a sightless philosopher, came to hear Hazur. After hearing the talk, the gentleman got up and said: "I am a great philosopher. I used to deliver rhetoric talks that would silence all opposition. After having heard Your talk, I feel that I am just like a child collecting pebbles from the seashore, while the great ocean is lying unexplored before me." You would realize that there is a world of difference between a talk from a practical teacher and one from a learned person. The Master's talk spontaneously flows from the depth of His heart and sinks deeply into the hearts of the hearers. The thoughts that descend from above without thinking are said to be flawless and perfect:
Attend ye to the true testimony of the Saints,"I speak nothing on my own, but as my Father bids me I do." (St. John). Nanak speaking of God's presence says: "I see my God as in full view."
For They speak out what They actually see within.
Saints speak with authority. This is the way of sages gifted with divine wisdom. They have love for all and enmity with none. They even love Their enemies. Once the disciples asked Jesus as to how they should behave with the people, particularly with their enemies. Jesus explained: "Ye have heard that it hath been said by Moses. Thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, love your enemies and pray for them that ye may be sons of your Father in heaven." You would realize that divine laws are given out according to the times and needs of the people. The Mosaic Law was delivered to the people because they were hard of heart. With the change of times, Jesus modified the position as above.
The really great persons wish well to everybody. Their love is All-Embracing. Their hearts are large like a sea. They do not raise even their little finger against them who cavil and carp and speak ill of them.
It is a pity that the world is full of people who forget themselves for the sake of belly. It is very rare that you will find a person who is really in search of God. Our temples and Gurudwaras are crowded to suffocation. Thousands of people go there to attend the routine service. They listen quite attentively to the recitations and the talks over there. But just search their heart. Everyone has his personal motive for this kind of religiosity. Excuse me, we make a cat's paw of God. We do not want God for the sake of God. We must, therefore, learn to be true to ourselves. This is the first step and the most important step. God is great and gracious. He gives what we desire. If we want world, He would give us world but not Himself. The process of world is long and unending.
Have you realized as to what is the greatest hurdle in our way to God? We stand at the gate blocking the way and pray God to enter. How can He? We must step aside and make a way for Him. We must empty ourselves of all thoughts of the world so as to make room for Him. We have to wait and watch for Him. "He comes like a thief in the night, and there is no hour fixed for His coming." God is not deaf. He knows what is passing in our hearts and acts accordingly.
The Law of God is good, just, and for our ultimate benefit. If we ask amiss, He would not grant us. We must learn to live in His Will and accept His Will whatever it be. Therein lies our safety and security. We even do not know what to ask of Him and how to ask. The fault lies with us. Sometimes it so happens that our desires are fulfilled and yet in the end things go wrong. It is then that we realize that we had asked something undesirable. Why not then pray God to give us that which He thinks the best, rather than to blame the stars if anything goes wrong? That is why an Awakened Person has a ruling passion for God alone. All things work to the good of those who win the love of God. How can we do this? We even do not know where God is and how can we reach up to Him. For this:
We shall have to rise as high as He is;God is very subtle and beyond the reach of our senses, our mind, and our intellect. We cannot see Him with the eyes of flesh. If we learn how to etherealize ourselves, we can come in contact with God-into-expression and thereby win His love. Now the question is one of finding a Guru of the right type. On the one hand, we have Gurus who simply profess themselves as such. By acting and posing as Gurus they make their living. We have nothing to do with Gurus of this category. Then there are social teachers and preachers doing their work according to the set rules of the organizations to which they belong. Man is a social animal and cannot but live in society. The fundamentals of all social orders are almost similar enough. They tell us to have a clean living and chaste life of truthfulness and continence. This is something commendable. Social reformers can certainly help to raise society and social life of the people to a certain extent. But unfortunately, our reformers too, in course of time, grow narrow minded and lose their elastic touch with the society, with the result that splinter groups grow within the society. This leads to splitting, friction, and unrest. So whatever they do, they do something of a limited nature for a limited time. The good they do is not enduring. This is the second category of teachers, and we may class them teachers of society and worldly wisdom. They cannot be of any great help to us in self-realization and God-realization. For these objectives, we will have to search for another type of Guru -- the Satguru type or one established in Sat or Truth. They are Realized Souls with a knowledge of and access into the realms beyond -- realms beyond the range of the senses, the mind, the intellect, and the pranas (vital airs). They are teachers indeed and hold in Their hands the keys of Heaven and Hell and of the Beyond. The gnarled Sage, Ashtawakar, Who gave a practical experience of the inscape to Raja Janak, belonged to this category. He was the only Rishi Who not only professed, but claimed to have realized His own "self" and was capable to make others realize likewise. India, as you know, was at that time at the zenith of its glory, full of sages and seers of different types and orders; but none could demonstrate God to the royal seeker after God (Raja Janak). The great sage Yajna Valkya could only give the king the theory of Pravidya or the science of soul. So all we need is a perfect Master for our instruction and guidance on the God-way.
It is then that we can know Him.
The next question is as to where a perfect Master is to be found. You should know that He is not tied down to any particular society or to any particular country. A Man of Spirit comes and goes like a free wind. And then God may choose any human-pole as His befitting receptacle to work through. He may come as a cobbler like Ravi Das or as a cloth printer like Namdev or as a weaver like Kabir. He may take His birth among Kshatriyas or among Jat cultivators as Dhanna Bhagat. He may appear in one country or the other, in East or in West, or anywhere in the world. Wheresoever God's Light may appear, people like moths are sure to gather. He may come in a high class family or be born low. It matters little. But this much is certain that if He Himself is a man of realization, then alone you may expect some inner experience from Him.
We must then pray day and night for meeting a competent Master. I would like to tell you one of my personal experiences. Even as a child, I had some background of my own. Everyday I would take down a couplet from the Sikh scriptures. I would write it down and throughout the day would cogitate upon it. On I one occasion. I took for my couplet something where stress was laid for contacting a real Guru, may be a Sadhu, a Sant, or Mahatama. This set me athinking. I began to pray to God to help me to a real Guru, so that I may derive full benefit in this very life and thus fulfill my long cherished desire. Gradually this became an obsession with me. I even wished that God may Him-self shower His mercy directly upon me as He did to Dhruva or Prahlad in bygone days. But now the times had changed. God's Power could now be experienced only through the grace of some Godman. I was afraid that if I erred in my choice, my life would be wasted.
For a long time I continued thinking like this. From time to time I had Divine visitations. I always took the form of the Holy Man Who used to visit me in my meditations as Nanak. In those very days, I composed a poem in which I beautifully described the lovely features of the Divine Guide Who kept guiding me all these years from day to day on different planes. This state continued for about seven years. It was only in 1924 that I happened to go to Beas and met that visionary figure in the form of Hazur Sawan Singh Ji Maharaj. All I mean to say is that God listens to our prayers provided they are genuine, deep, and sincere. When I inquired from Hazur as to why He had taken so long a time to draw me to His Lotus Feet, He simply replied that it was the most opportune time to do so.
I cannot help repeating that a Godman is not a man in the ordinary sense of the term. He is always a human-pole on and through which the God Power works. The Power of God is pervading everywhere; and on the chosen human-pole, It works on so many different levels. As a Guru, He works on the physical level as any other worldly teacher would do. He joins in our joys and sorrows. He may even shed tears with us in our distress. All this He does to develop our human nature and our faith in Him. Inwardly He remains as He is, unaffected and unconcerned with all our weals and woes. Thus on the human level, He acts as a perfect human being. But, besides this, He is something more as well. When you leave the physical plane and transcend into the astral world, the "Guru" now assumes the form of "Gurudev" and appears in His radiant form. When the disciple is able to manifest in him this radiant form of the Master and starts communing with Him, he becomes a "Guru-sikh." This radiant form of the Master now becomes our guide on the inner planes and leads us to the feet of the Sat-Purush. The Power that merges in the Sat-Purush is called "Satguru." It is this Power that works in the world on the human plane as a "Guru." This is why it is said: "Satguru remains in His fullness."
It means He is fully manifested where ever He is, even on the human pole but is not attached to the pole. Excuse me, we have not yet understood the real nature of Guru and His greatness. Like a little child, we presume to know Him. What can a child know of his father and more so of the heavenly Father? We know Him only to the extent that He wishes us to know or reveals Himself to us. The Guru is as incomprehensible and ineffable as God Himself. We simply cannot know Him on the human level of the intellect.
You may take the life history of any great soul and you will find that the heights he gained were because of the intense fire in him. God cannot be had so easily as we may imagine. Rabia Basri, a Muslim divine, suffered from severe pangs of separation from the Lord. She had an intense longing for Him. She would go into meditation at early dawn and remain so till night. And then would sit again till daybreak. Her neighbors were surprised at her continuous devotion. Once they inquired of her: "O Rabia, would you kindly tell us if God visits you before you go into meditation or after you have finished the meditation? She said: "He comes before I sit for meditation." They asked: "How do you know this?" She replied: "It is He Who pushes me into meditation. Whenever I feel restless and am overwhelmed by strong feelings and emotions, I know that He has come."
This is something normal in the lives of spiritually great. From a very early age, Nanak had no love for the world. As a child He remained in a sort of self-absorption. He was the only son of His parents. His father and family members could not bear to see Him in a state of distress and distraction. Nanak was sent on to a pilgrimage. It did not help Him. A physician was called in. He began to feel the pulse of the young man. Nanak Himself described this incident so beautifully:
The poor physician came in and began to feel my pulse;And then, He significantly added:
How could the simpleton know the anguish in my heart?
O physician, go thy way back for I am smitten by the love of the Lord.The first thing that we need is an inner craving for the Lord. It is in the furnace of love that the Lord shineth in full effulgence. The past Samskaras (impressions) get a good impetus from a man of realization. The latter fans the flame of love. In every heart, there is love. But what is desired is love for the Lord and not love for the world. The Guru finds a ready soil in a loving heart for sowing the Word of God. Guru Arjan goes on to explain:
Whatever one sets his mind upon, he cannot do without that.It is a matter of common experience that we always follow the mind. If a child is hungry, nothing would satisfy him except food. A mother may place hundreds of toys before him and try to play with him in diverse ways, and the child would still go on crying for milk. Milk is everything for him. This is exactly the case for one who has in him hunger for the Lord. The world and the things of the world have no value for him. The riches and the possessions, however immense he may have, fail to give him any satisfaction. The inner urge for God is gnawing him down. All that he wants is to find a way to God. He is prepared to sacrifice his all for one who can put him on the God-way.
Once a man went to a Mahatma. The latter was preparing to go to the riverside for a bath. He asked the young man to accompany him. Taking off their clothes, they went to have a dip in the river. The Mahatma pushed the man where the water was deep and held his head down under the water. The man felt suffocated and struggled to raise his head out of the water for breathing. The Mahatma pulled him out and inquired of the man if he had a choking sensation for the Lord as he had for air while under the water. This is what is required for a seeker after God. Without it one cannot do anything.
Once Hazrat Junid of Persia was riding along a river bank when all of a sudden His mare came to a standstill. However hard He would kick the mare, the animal would not move. When all coaxing and kicking failed, He gave rein to the animal to do what it liked. All at once, the animal went into a gallop and took the Hazrat to a mountain cave where an old man was sitting by himself. The Hazrat alighted and remained with the old man for sometime giving him instructions in the way of Allah (Lord). Before parting, the Hazrat gave His address to the seeker after God. The man, all unconcerned, naively said: "There would be no occasion for me to follow Thee to Thy place. He Who has sent Thee now, shall send Thee again if at any time I feel the need for Thee." It is, of course, too much to expect for a Mureed (disciple) from his Murshid (Master). The fact is that God is not far away from us. He is in us though we may not be in Him. It is He Who directs the Godman to seek and find the lost sheep.
I may tell you something from my own personal experience. One day I was sitting with Hazur in the house of one Duli Chand in Amritsar when a Sikh gentleman walked in. Hazur, with a twinkle in His eye, looked towards the newcomer and asked in a familiar tone: "O, you have come." "Yes, Maharaj, I have," he replied. Surprisingly, I inquired from him as to how he had come. The gentleman replied: "Last night, Hazur came to me in a vision. He asked me to come to this place the next day. I had never met Hazur before. It is my good luck that I have come to Him." What I mean to say is that an Awakened Soul is just like a person on the top of a hill Who from a point of vantage can look around and see smoke arising from the hearts yearning for God. When He does witness this, He makes a provision either to reach unto them or direct them in one way or the other to come to Him. Such a person is called Guru or a Mahatma (Great Soul).
O mother, with all thy dainty dishes before me, I feel as unsatiated as before.The love for God is unending and increases from moment to moment. No amount of worldly pleasures can divert the attention of a person suffering from the pangs of separation. The parental love is undoubtedly immense, but the love of the Master for His disciple is still greater and exceeds all bounds. It is as all-embracing as God Himself. Once I called on Hazur at Beas. It was at nighttime. I offered my obeisance unto Him and sat down by the couch on which Hazur was reclining. In the course of the talk I remarked: "Hazur, such of the disciples who do some Bhajan and Simran are undoubtedly doing something. But what of those who are still slumbering on the plane of the senses?" Hazur sat up on the couch and said: "Kirpal Singh, do you mean that I should stop giving Naam? A loving father always wishes well of his children. Am I not anxious that each one of my children should try to stand on his own legs?" The grace of the Guru is always with us. His Spirit and Power are working for our good at all times. If He has left the earthly plane, it does not mean that He has gone away from us. I have told you so often that the Guru Power never dies. It is only the human-pole that the Power changes. He Who implants the seed of Naam, attends to the seed and helps it to sprout and blossom forth into a tree with flowers and fruits. His Power continues to work for our benefit both here and in the hereafter. We always err in thinking that God Power in the Guru dies with the physical death of the Guru. But it is not so. When God is eternal, His Power too is eternal. Is not this Power upholding the heaven and the earth and all that is in them? Though we are unable to see Him physically, He is not far removed from us. His astral form in divine radiance is still behind our eye-focus. All that we need is to transform ourselves into spirit to contact the Spirit of God now in the luminous form of the Master (Gurudev). In His radiant form, He is anxiously awaiting for us to shower His benediction the moment we reach unto His feet. He is like a Parda-Nashin (veiled) lady who would not like to appear in public. If we keep playing in the world and do not turn towards Him, the fault is ours. We must, therefore, strive to reach the door where He is standing. The moment we get near Him, He would stretch out His hands to hold us and pull us up to Him. Be assured He would do so for His Name's sake. This is His Truth, and He would always stand by It.
Return to: Elixir