We Are One
The saints tell us there is no separation between the soul and the Lord. Our true self is the soul, and the soul is one with the Lord. We have never been separated. We are one. It is the ego and the mind that create this illusion of separation. When our karmas are cleared and the mind is under control, we will realize the “I” or individual does not exist and the soul will be freed.
Maharaj Sawan Singh explains this relationship so clearly in Spiritual Gems:
The Creator is existence, knowledge and bliss – or power, wisdom, and love. An atom or a spark of this essence of existence is the soul which, encased in its coverings of mind and matter, forms the individual man. If the coverings were removed from the individual, the soul would be naked and would be qualified to know its Creator. The individual will know itself – attain self-realization – and will in turn, be able to know its Creator. Wrapped in its coverings, the soul merely hears of its source from others or reads about the Creator in books, makes guesses and draws imaginary pictures to satisfy its intellectual curiosity.
At our core we are bliss, power, wisdom and love. But lacking that realization we identify as John or Mary, Ashok or Meera. We think we are smart or stupid, tall or short, rich or poor, lucky or unlucky. When we see beyond these limitations, we know that we are one with the Shabd – that divine current that animates and sustains each and every one of us.
Seemingly trapped in the darkness of the world, salvation comes to us when saints are sent by God to wake us up, present the facts of our existence, and show us a way out of the chaos and darkness of intellect, instinct, and duality. Why are saints so essential to ending this separation of the soul from the Lord?
Maharaj Sawan Singh helps us understand the role of a saint when he tells us in Spiritual Gems:
The individual, as he is constituted now, is incapable of understanding what happened or is happening at the source. The saints who come from that end and have access to that end at will, know what is going on at that end; but, by the very nature of things they are handicapped in trying to convey information to the individual at this end. They attempt, in various ways, to satisfy their audiences. Some are convinced, and some are not. No matter what answer is given to these questions, we can always find fault with it and even if reason and intellect are satisfied for the time being, the necessity for converting theory into facts and experience and personal realization still remains.
But the point is that saints do not wish to satisfy their audiences by empty words. They offer to take the inquirer to the other end and thus give him firsthand knowledge. One beauty of it is that, at that end, these questions do not arise. So if the curious questioner would exercise a little patience and faith, most of his questions would be answered automatically as his experiences increase.
Mystics tell us that we are trapped in this creation, as if we’re at the bottom of a deep well. It’s dark and damp down there, and we’re lonely and uncomfortable. But someone comes along – in our case, the Master – and drops a rope down the well. He tells us to grab hold of the rope and he’ll pull us out. The little bit of faith and patience required of us is to grab hold of the rope and keep holding on while the Master pulls us up out of the well – pulls our consciousness inward and upward so that we can become fully conscious of the love, the Shabd, at the core of our being.
Taking the rope and holding on to it is what we do when we apply for initiation, get initiated, and then follow the teachings. Once we are initiated, the process begins – of moving from intellect, instinct, and duality to the experience of oneness that we all crave. We do this by orienting our entire lives toward our spiritual objective, by following the vows we take at initiation, including doing two and one-half hours of meditation each day. Day in and day out we have to stick to the vows taken at the time of initiation, all the while living a balanced life.
Although the guidance of a living master is essential to the journey home, the relationship between Master and disciple is not physical, and the physical form of the Master is not the be-all and end-all of our spiritual relationship with him. Moving beyond the physical, we have to dive deep within ourselves through our meditation to find the real Master, the true divinity that is the core of our being. The Master is our outer gateway to the inner experience of our true selves, the Shabd. He is our guide, but not our ultimate destination. Maharaj Charan Singh explains in Legacy of Love, “May your love of the form culminate in the love of the Formless.”
Through simran and bhajan we hold on to the rope of Shabd, hold onto the Master’s hand. It is that very effort of holding on to the Shabd that allows us to let go of all that keeps us bound to this world – our attachments, our desires, our fears, our karmas. The saints tell us that the effect of meditation is to destroy our karmas, to clear them, to enable us to rise above them. By attaching our mind to the Shabd through meditation, we purify it. It is only then that our soul can be released from the mind and rise above it, and we can be cleansed of our karmas and our attachments.
We don’t have to worry about what these karmas are; we don’t have to examine them or analyze them. When we take our garbage to the dumpster, we don’t pick through it to see what’s in there – we just throw it out. We don’t think about it. We just let go of it. First it’s in our hands – we’ve collected it, put it in a bag, and then we toss it and it’s gone. Our meditation is like that. We’re taking out our trash and burning it. Then we can feel light.
All we need is a little patience and faith, to hold on to the rope and attune ourselves with the real Master, the Shabd within, as he pulls us out of the dark well of this world. Then we are truly one.