Three Vital Words
Let’s begin with a bit of fun:
Devoted disciples of true worth
Work hard at avoiding a next birth.
Faith, love and devotion,
Ensure their soul’s motion
To Sat Desh and not back to Earth!
Faith, love and devotion - three vital little words with enormous significance. These three qualities are inherent in every living human. Only man has the vital fifth element of discrimination: essentially an ability to discriminate between right and wrong and to be aware of the need to worship - and therefore to become imbued with faith in, love for, and devotion to the Lord.
That every human being should have this ability in his make-up is a necessary part of the divine plan: that souls marked for rescue from the creation should return to the regions of pure spirit beyond the reach of Kal, the negative power. But since the ultimate departure from Kal’s realm of all such souls will depopulate his own kingdom, he has equipped souls with a mind, the lower aspect of which he has programmed to delay this event as long as possible.
Although the Supreme Lord pervades his entire creation in the form of Shabd, it is simply not possible for us to comprehend the Lord with our limited intellect. Yet we are instinctively aware of the need for the guidance, protection and blessings of the Lord. This awareness can translate in time into faith, a belief in the Lord’s guidance and protection, even though we cannot understand him.
Maharaj Sawan Singh tells us:
A devotee must have faith. Firm belief is a prerequisite. When that belief takes the form of faith it turns into devotion, and eventually culminates in love. Worldly attractions and pleasures do not interest such a devotee. Only love for the Lord remains.
Philosophy of the Masters, Vol. II
But considering the magnitude of the task and the length of the journey, in order to succeed we require much more than mere belief and faith in our concept of the Lord. Spirituality and spiritual growth are complex concepts and, considering the limitations of our mind, these are definitely beyond our reach unaided. This is where the divine plan provides for the necessary help in the form of the perfect Master. This is the Lord’s way of enabling our soul to travel the path to reach him.
Maharaj Charan Singh was once asked whether there was any other way to God-realization except with the help of a Master. After explaining that in all branches of science and philosophy requiring learning and understanding a teacher is essential, he said:
Spirituality is the most difficult subject. For this we need a Master, a teacher in spirituality. He tells us why we have to meet the Lord, and where the Lord is; how to find the Lord; and what is between us and the Lord that keeps us away from Him, and how to overcome these barriers between us and the Lord.
The Master Answers
He pointed out that the journey after death through the astral and causal regions is extremely difficult without a guide. The obstacles and temptations increase and we could never overcome them on our own. But the guide or Master must be perfect. He must know the path and have travelled it himself many times.
In Philosophy of the Masters, Vol. V, Great Master tells us:
Religious books are like directories. They simply point the way. The Saints-incarnate take us to the higher regions in the ship of Nam. We can obtain tickets and passports from them and cross in their ship of Nam or Shabd. They are themselves the captains. We can thus reach the region of the Lord.
The perfect Master knows who the souls are whom the Lord has selected for commencing the journey. The shepherd recognizes his marked sheep. And so at the start of the journey, we will come into contact with the Master in his physical form. This is so that we can, with our limited mind, relate directly to him and start preparing for the journey. The real form of the Master, the form that will be our guide all the way up to the final destination is the Radiant or Shabd Form.
Our soul being a drop of the ocean of the Lord is also Shabd; and the Master’s Shabd form and our soul are merged within us at the time of initiation. When our inner senses of seeing and hearing are fully developed with the help of meditation and his grace, we will be able to realize his Radiant Form within. The recognition by the disciple of the Master as his Master is instinctive. You simply know. It is an inner conviction. Thus faith begins and starts to grow with meditation. Love too may come initially when a disciple first meets his Master. Again it is instinctive; an inner feeling which somehow bypasses the barrier of the mind.
Great Master explains:
Love is awakened when the currents of love, which emanate from the Beloved, enter into our hearts. This is true love, and it is not dependant on any outside influence.
Philosophy of the Masters, Vol. II
This true love is totally unmixed with ego. It is in fact attaching us to the Master, and it is a priceless treasure which we must nurture and strengthen. The Masters teach us that the way to do this is by living the teachings - by being vegetarian and avoiding addictive substances, by living a moral life and especially by doing regular meditation. If we do this then automatically we will be increasing our love for the Master.
That we have come to the feet of the Master and been accepted by him is an inestimable gift for which our gratitude should be boundless. Naturally the way for us to express our gratitude to him is through our obedience to him and through our regular meditation. And let us always have firm faith that he is fully aware of our efforts because he is always with us. There is never a moment that he is not with us. We are told in One Being One:
He is never apart from his creation. He is always there within every little being…. He is within. He is without. Whenever the mind is quiet, we will find Him in our being. He is not what we think; He is what we are.