-- What it is


    The scriptures are indeed wonderful and precious records of the personal experiences of the great souls in their quest for Reality; and, as such are worthy of respect and adoration. The study of the scriptures has its own value. To a certain extent, these books awaken in us a desire for knowledge of God. By reading them, we too are moved to experiment in the science of life, to seek out some living Master competent to initiate us into the preliminaries of this science, for such a one can help and guide us on the spiritual Path from plane to plane. But beyond this, the scriptures cannot help.
    The real help comes from a living Master alone, who makes us repeat the experiment of old. For our satisfaction, he refers us to recorded results and conclusions for a general check-up with our own. Again, it is the living Master who can correctly interpret to us the ancient texts, and impart to us the right import. Linked as he is with the Powerhouse or Reality, his utterances are those of God Himself, no matter if the words may appear to be coming out of a human mouth.

"His words are the words of Allah (God), though seemingly these come from
 Abdullah (the Servant of God)."
     Guru Nanak explained: "O Lalo, I open my mouth just to utter words that come to me from my Beloved (God)." Such words of Divine Wisdom, coming directly from God-men are more precious than the most wonderful thoughts recorded in the holy books. All these have no other value except that of creating in us a desire to know God, but cannot actually help us to introvert, to tap within, to withdraw and recede back and be linked with Word, Naam or Kalma. "But, unfortunately, the people of the world get entangled in the books, wholly and solely depend upon them as their mainstay in life, without attempting to do what the books say: 'Get attuned with God.' Without this attunement, one gets entangled in the world, tied to the scriptures, and one finds no bliss. The Srutis and Puranas all speak of the Way. But instead of freedom, one sinks deeper in the morass." -(Ramayana by Tulsi Das )
     A living Master, on the other hand, points to us a 'Way Out' and puts us on the "grand trunk road" leading to the Infinite. He becomes a guide to the weary soul torn by life's struggles in the world, a work which no book can possibly do.
    Man is the most ancient of all sentient creatures on earth. All religions and all sacred texts came into being only after his advent. All religions were made for the benefit of man, and man was never intended for any religion. God made man and man made religions. Man is the author of all scriptures, but the grand mystery of life, which the latter describes, ever lies within the human breast. No one can know and solve it unless some Master-soul points the "Way-In" and helps the soul to withdraw and transcend all limitations, physical, astral and causal, before it is enabled to have a glimpse within, and to listen to the inner Divine Music.
    Man is ever engaged in the recitation of scriptures and in expounding the sacred texts to huge congregations, but the pity of it is that he remains all the time far from the Reality that he studies for himself, preaches to others, and makes so much noise about.
"He studies the sacred texts for the sake of disputations,
     without knowing the Reality.
 And Reality cannot be known but through a Master-soul
     who gives the true Way to the True One." -- Maru M.1
    There is a vital difference between man and scriptures. The former is a sentient being, endowed with consciousness and reason, and is aware of the same; while the latter are insentient and do not know that they are inert and lifeless and cannot impart correct knowledge without a true interpreter. How can the sacred books speak to, reason with, and try to convince, a living entity. With his book knowledge and learning every person feels that he knows Reality, little realising that the Infinite cannot be comprehended by finite means. Its power can be felt by the spirit alone, if properly attuned and adjusted under the guidance and instruction of some living Master-soul.
    As long as we do not have an inner experience of the soul, we remain in utter darkness. Bookish knowledge becomes a headache as it draws and draws the mind out into the world through the senses, and makes us feel identified with the senses by constant association with the world, and by always thinking in terms of body and bodily relations around us. On the contrary, self-knowledge satisfies the innate craving and hunger of the soul for peace and happiness. All that we need learn is the Book of Man, for the greatest study of man is man.
    When once a person is able to open the pages of the soul and see the great and immense possibilities lying hidden therein, there dawns in him a new kind of awakening and new light, shadowless and uncreated. This is called regeneration or rebirth or resurrection. It puts an end to his otherwise endless sufferings, tribulations, wants and miseries, and he becomes established in his native Godhood and Divinity. The soul thus freed from worldly ties comes into its own, knows its truly Divine nature, and tries to understand and find its Source and Fountainhead, the Great Ocean of Consciousness, containing the three vital elements of Life, Light and Love. Attaining this Supreme Truth, there comes to the soul eternal bliss and perfect calm forever. But all this process of spiritual revolution, blossoming into the Universal Consciousness, comes only through the grace of some God-man, and not otherwise. That is the fundamental law since the dawn of creation and admits of no modification. Just as there is one God and one reality, there is also one Path leading to Him - the Path of the Masters. This is nothing else but Surat Shabd Yoga, or Yoga of the Sound-current. A Muslim saint, therefore, affirmed:
"Consign all thy books to the flames, and by constant remembrance of the Lord,   transform thy mind into a veritable garden of Allah (God)."
    The Vedas and Upanishads tell that Atma Silhi, or Self-realisation, cannot be attained by the study of, or listening to, the scriptures, as Self ties far beyond the scope of both the mind and the intellect. It can be achieved by intuition, an integral experience of the soul, through the grace of some Master-soul.
     In verse 39 of Sukat 164 of Mandal 1 of Rig Veda, and in verse 8 of Chapter IV of Shwetarshweta Upanishad, it is stated that a person who knows the Primal Causeless Cause, Self-existent and Immanent, which is the very soul of the Vedas and in whom all gods and goddesses are deeply rooted, will not have anything to do with the Vedas. Those alone have real peace who are engrafted to Him.
     Even if a person were to be well versed in the four Vedas, eighteen Puranas, nine Viyakaranas, the six Shastras (six schools of Indian Philosophy), and all other sacred scriptures of the world, he would be lost in the maze of the scriptures and remain as far removed from God as ever before. So long as the human soul does not come in contact with Shabd or Word (God in action), it wanders in the world like a Chandooi (parrot), who on the spur of time moment begins imitating whatever it hears.
    All philosophic disputations are the offspring of dull and drab intellect and the source of headache. It would certainly be better, by far, if one were to leave off all knowledge and learning and grasp the one and the only pivotal stillpoint - Reality - the bestower of all bliss and happiness. Bulleh Shah, Guru Nanak and others also speak in the same terms.
"Why do ye bother with so many books, for these are a source of headache;
 Learn ye the mystery of the Centre, and leave off the vicious circle
   of endless and idle talk." - Bulleh Shah

"One may read carloads of books and carry a heavy load on his head;
 All such studies forge but strong fetters and keep one bound therein.
 One may read endlessly from year to year, and from month to month,
   nay, every moment of his life;
 0 Nanak! only one thing counts, and all thee rest
  but make one self conceited." - Asa War M.1

"The study of the scriptures, including the Vedas, far from freeing the mind
  of shackles, makes one all the more egocentric." - Sorath M.5

    Hafiz, a well known Persian poet, goes to the extent of saying that so long as a person does not leave off intellectual wrangling, he remains ignorant of the Reality. Man must take note of one thing - that he must transcend himself if he wants to escape from all limitations and shortcomings.
    If any problem has to be solved, one must apply himself heart and soul to its solution. The Upanishads, with a clarion call, declare that Atmavidya, or self-knowledge, dawns only when the senses are at rest, the mind is stilled and the intellect too, is equipoised. Learning and knowledge may be additional assets for a spiritual person, but certainly constitute a crown of thorns for the worldly wise.
"Knowledge may adorn a spiritual adept,
 But it is a headache for the carnal mind." - Maulana Rumi
    In Brihadaraniak Upanishad it is mentioned that an unlettered person is steeped in dark ignorance and a learned one is in still greater darkness. Why? Because a man of great learning can hardly know the glory and greatness of the saints and their saintly teachings.
     The saints and sages, therefore, lay stress on a life of spirituality. Book learning has no real value for them. The hearsay words of wisdom and knowledge derived from books are all lifeless, and, as such, cannot transmit life-impulse to others. It is just like talking of sweets and not partaking of them. Should a person go on repeating the word pudding for a century, or even keep meditating on the various ingredients that go to make a pudding, he cannot relish the pudding nor can he have any satiation unless he actually eats it.
    Bhai Gurdas says the same thing, in this context:
"By repeating the word sugar, one tastes not the sweetness of sugar,
 By repeating the word fire, one is not rid ot the cold,
 By repeating the word physician, one is not cured of the malady,
 By repeating the word suffering, one never escapes therefrom,
 By repeating the word sandalwood, one never enjoys its fragrance,
 By repeating the word moon, one never gets its soothing light,
 By repeating the word jnana, one never gets out of ignorance,
 It is only the actual practice that brings in Heaven's light," - Kabit Sawai 452

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