Becoming Another Being
We’ve often heard it said that Sant Mat is a path, not of information but of transformation. And perhaps we’ve looked at ourselves and thought that if the final goal of this path is becoming one with the Lord himself, then there’s an awful lot of transformation that has to take place first! It’s a goal that seems so very far away that we tend to file it away under the heading of ‘very far distant future’ and we put it out of our minds for now. It just seems to be too unreal for us to think about it seriously yet.
What we probably don’t consider is that the more mundane things we find easier to deal with are what are actually unreal; and that the whole point of the path is to move away from our familiar world, which is transient and unreal, to the reality which we don’t see, the true and lasting reality. In fact, the very purpose of the meditation that we’ve been asked to do is to help us move from our present ignorance to a greater understanding of the true reality and our true identity.
But we probably don’t understand any of that yet. And certainly we have no understanding whatsoever of God, the Supreme Lord with whom we’re going to become one.
The Masters tell us that the difference between our soul and the Lord is simply the level of consciousness. What all our effort and all our devotion are now doing is slowly removing all the obstacles that are blocking us from reaching that level of divine consciousness and becoming the Lord. And we’re also told that, more than anything else, it’s love that helps us to grow and grow till we can reach that level.
Love for whom? At this stage probably not love for the Lord. We don’t understand who or what or where he is. He’s a complete mystery to us. So we can only love our Master. To achieve God-realization, Great Master says, we necessarily have to devote ourselves to a true Master. And the time will come when we’ll discover that loving him means the same as loving God. This is a love that will grow and grow in us as we do our meditation.
Devotion to a Master and our Shabd meditation - the two big essentials about this path. We don’t have to study anything; we don’t really need to understand anything; we don’t have to go to the Dera (although this helps). But if we love and obey our Master and do what he tells us, that can be enough.
And then we also have to accept the fact that by ourselves we can actually do nothing. Everything depends on his grace. To quote Maharaj Charan Singh:
Everything happens by grace. Without his grace nothing can happen. Unless he wishes, nobody can reach him. We are all blind, groping in the dark. He is the only one who can show us the light out of this darkness.
Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. II
Ultimately our transformation is entirely thanks to his grace - grace which goes side by side with our meditation. In the book Living Meditation we read:
Meditation is the means to realize the fleeting and impermanent nature of human life, of all our attachments and endeavours - even life itself. Meditation is the means to realize a higher, more permanent level of reality. … The Masters teach us that just as it is the very nature of the world to change unceasingly, so it is the privilege of human beings to experience the changeless, deathless and blissful nature of their true Self.
And that incredible realization will come about through our meditation. In that same book the author also says:
Through Shabd meditation we actually experience that we are not these ever-changing identities that we assume through our feelings and neuroses, but that we are fundamentally pure and constant. We are not the small self that we thought we were, but rather the Shabd Self - this light, bliss and love that is within us.
How does this change come about in us? Surely by curbing, little by little, the antics of the mind, which is trying its utmost to keep us asleep, trapped in this world of illusion. The mind does this very largely by distracting us from the goal of human life, by locking our attention into meaningless compulsive thinking.
And this is where our simran comes in. The purpose of simran is chiefly to stop the mind’s indulgence in too much thinking. It’s our thoughts that keep our attention outward, away from the eye centre. What our simran has to do is reverse the direction of our attention from outward to inward - as often as possible to direct the attention to the eye centre.
We need to keep remembering that our simran has been given to us for a definite purpose. Simran, with attention, is the instrument given to us to check the mind. As long as the mind runs around unchecked, flitting from one inconsequential thought to another, it’s doing its own work of keeping us under its control, of keeping us unconscious. But when we remember to say our simran with attention, so that other thoughts can’t slip in unnoticed, then we’re starting to curb the mind and harness the power of simran.
If we’re honest, we must admit that we really have no idea of what’s happening behind the scenes when we try to meditate, when we repeat the words of our simran. But each round of simran must be subtly changing us, cleaning us, growing our consciousness. We don’t need to understand our simran. We only need to do it - for the slow process of transformation to take place.
And sometimes we do have a sense that something has already changed. We are not the same person we were 10 or 20 or 30 years ago. And it’s not that we’ve simply grown older. We are changing. We are being transformed. We’re coming to realize that we’re not just this body or this mind-created image we have of ourselves. We may even start to have an inkling that our real being is sublime and infinite.
Maharaj Charan Singh tells us in Die to Live:
Your real self is not this body. Master’s real self is also not the body. Your real self is the soul, and the real self of your Master is the Shabd, the Word. The soul merges into the Shabd…. Ultimately the Radiant Form becomes the Shabd and you become pure soul, without form and shape, and the soul just merges into the Shabd.
Baba Jaimal Singh went even further. He told his disciple Baba Sawan Singh:
You are not separate from my own sarup. …You appear to have another form only for the purpose of carrying on your worldly duties.
In other words, he told him, you are already one with me: there is no separation. Would that also be the same for us?
Of course, at this stage we don’t have the slightest understanding of how it all works. All that we know and feel, with such grief sometimes, is the sense of separation from the One we long for. And then we’re told, even as we feel swamped by our feeling of separation, that actually we’ve never really left him. How can we understand this? It’s all a profound mystery.
Through all our confusion and bewilderment, we’re now being told that the One who sent us out into the creation is guiding our steps back to him. He is nurturing our slow growth and the development of our understanding, and will do so up to the time that we are clean enough and mature enough to merge back into his ocean of love. We’re even given to understand that there never was any separation from him and that we have always been part of him.
In One Being One the author writes:
Human perceptions are all awry and very limited. When we think we have been abandoned, He may be protecting us. When we wonder where His help has gone, He may be supporting our every step…. Such is the magic of the love with which He tends us, and which He weaves around us. He himself has given us this illusion of freedom and separateness. He plays the game of letting us slowly discover things for ourselves. … And in the end, we discover that we never had a separate existence, but have always dwelt in the sanctuary of his love.