Sunlight fell upon the wall;
the wall received a borrowed splendour.
Why set your heart on a piece of earth, O simple one?
Seek out the Source
which shines forever.
In this little poem Rumi concedes that this world is splendid – there is much to admire in it. But its splendour is borrowed from the inner worlds, he says. We may be deceived into thinking that the wall in the poem emits its own light, and under this mistaken impression we may desire to own a mere “piece of earth”. However, he urges us rather to seek out the source of all beauty so that we can find that which is everlasting. Instead of trying to possess a fragment of the physical creation, we can have everything. In finding the source, we can become united with the One.
If there’s great beauty in the creation, this is not some random accident. If there is a design there must be a designer. We read in One Being One that to believe that the creation happened because of some act of random chance is like believing that “a hurricane could blow through a junkyard and create a jumbo jet”.
It does seem that the creation has been rather carefully planned. If we took the time to look at it sensitively, we would become conscious of a power that is hidden in it – we would give thought to the Grand Designer. However, we generally value what is unreal more than what is real. And therefore, in pursuing what is of this earth, we can have no more than a piece of it. What’s more, we deny ourselves our real heritage: In so doing we don’t seek out the Source which is eternal.
In spite of all the material objects we embrace, we will still carry no more out of this world than we can take out of a dream. Yet much of our time on Earth is spent acquiring stuff. The mistake we make is forgetting that everything is given to us in trust. In Spiritual Letters Baba Jaimal Singh writes to his disciple Sawan Singh, who would become the Great Master:
All your possessions were given to you in the beginning by the Satguru, so they should have been held in trust. They were never to be regarded as your own. … Understand that “I am nothing”. All is Satguru’s. I do not exist. … So surrender yourself and step aside my son. Consider that each and every thing in the world – body, mind and wealth – belongs to the Satguru, that you are nothing.
This advice was given by one Master to a Master-in-the-making as a reminder of the illusory nature of the creation. It also encourages an attitude of humility. Being humble does not mean that we have to stop striving for worldly success. We should strive to attain a good education, or a promotion at work. But being humble also means internalizing the fact that nothing on this plane can belong to us.
Hazur Maharaj Ji tells us there is nothing in this creation to be proud of. He asks:
Are we proud of our youth? Have we never seen anyone in old age? Are we too not going to grow old? Are we proud of our looks or our beauty? Have we never seen the faces of sick people in hospital? … We are proud of our money, but have we not seen the wealthiest of people, kings and rulers, roaming the streets like beggars? We are intoxicated by power, but have we not seen influential and important leaders hunted down like animals, made to stand before firing squads or thrown into jail? These are people who were so powerful that others would bow to the ground before them.
Spiritual Discourses, Vol. II
Nothing here is permanent. As Rumi points out in his poem, this is nothing but a shadow world. And in Dawn of Light Great Master provides this translation of a poem by Kabir Sahib:
Primordial Maya did in cleverness create
A false show which in Pind she did thus adumbrate.
In Anda first a copy drew,
of which she here a shadow threw.
Pind means this physical world and Anda, the astral world. So Kabir is revealing that the physical creation is a copy of the astral region. But to us it is so alluring that we are tricked into believing it is real. We fail to realize that everything in the physical world has been created by the Universal Mind – which has drawn its power from the Source of all. As we read in One Being One:
Everything we perceive with our senses is just a projected image. There is light in the projector: that’s the One Being. Then there’s the film through which the light shines; that’s the mind. And then there’s the screen on which the projected images appear: that’s this world. … Switch off the light in the projector and everything disappears.
We are so busy accumulating little pieces of the created world when the Creator himself could be ours. Why approach the ocean with a teaspoon? Why stand across from the waterfall when we could stand beneath it and be drenched in grace?
In Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. I, Hazur tells us the physical world is made of the five elements: earth, water, fire, air and ether. Earth will be dissolved by water; water will be evaporated by fire; fire will be consumed by air and air will merge back into ether. Finally, ether will go back to God. So there has to be something to hold this whole universe together, to prevent dissolution. You can give it any name, he says. We call it Shabd or Nam.
In With a Great Master in India Dr Julian Johnson wrote about the beauty of the sunset at a time when he was with Great Master:
At last the sun dropped down below a purple curtain and suddenly spread out upon the river a great sheet of gold. … This disciple sat at the feet of the Master as he watched the sun go down at last behind the city. The Master sat quietly talking to a few enquirers concerning the way to approach the inner worlds. … Someone remarked to the Master of the great beauty of the sunset colours. Glancing towards the west for a moment, he said: “Yes, it is much like the colours in Trikuti, the second region.”
At another time they were visiting an abandoned palace in the city of Jaipur, admiring its faded glory. Great Master turned to the young doctor who was acting as a guide and remarked:
One who goes inside will see many palaces, rare and beautiful buildings, landscapes, gardens and all sorts of scenes vastly more beautiful than any that an earthly raja ever built, or that man ever saw on this plane.
The gardens and palaces we see in this world are reflections of what exists in the inner regions. In Dawn of Light Great Master quotes Soami Ji as saying that when approaching the fourth region one can see palaces that appear to be made of pearls, with their top stories made of emeralds, rubies and diamonds. In the fifth region there are palaces of gold set in fields of silvery light. But the treasure of all treasures is that we get to behold the King of kings, who then himself takes us on to meet the monarch of all, Radha Soami. And most incomprehensible, Soami Ji says, is that all of this is created and sustained by the power of love.
What an amazing legacy we have. This is our birthright. When we wish to claim our divine heritage, the Lord sends us a Master. Once he links us to the Shabd, no one can ever deny us our divine heritage. Yet, how we waste our time chasing after shadows and reflections!
Rumi tells us: “Seek out the Source, which shines forever.” This Source is not far away. We have this assurance in One Being One:
He is never apart from His creation. He is always there, within every little being, every soul. It can never be said enough, never recalled enough, never lived enough. He is in the present moment, right now. He is within. He is without. Whenever the mind is quiet, we will find Him in our being. He is the “wind beneath our wings”. He is not what we think. He is what we are.