The Incredible Journey
In 1993 Walt Disney made the movie Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey. The movie is a fictional story of three pets, two dogs and a cat, as they travel through the Canadian wilderness in search of their home and their beloved masters. We, on the other hand, have found our beloved Master, and the journey we have embarked on under his guidance is not fiction, but a journey into reality – the search for our original home.
But what exactly is this ‘home’ we are trying to reach? In Sant Mat it is called Sach Khand – but what does that mean to us? Do we have any idea what it is, where it is, or how to get there? We may think we understand how this incredible journey will unfold, but if this is based on images and fantasies projected by the mind, how accurate can that understanding be?
Soami Ji writes in Sar Bachan Poetry:
I see the uniqueness
of the path revealed by the Master
as my mind and soul make contact with Shabd.
I see a great spectacle within
and like a maiden at the village spring,
my soul collects nectar from the sky.
Soami Ji beautifully describes an aspect of the inner world. But what real appreciation do we have of these delightful descriptions? Do we have any idea what he is trying to explain? We interpret these according to our own very limited understanding and perception. We try to wrap the ephemeral in mental images, and then we treasure these images as if they were reality.
We are given descriptions of inner regions bathed in beauty: brilliant suns, moons, and stars – whatever the mind can conjure up and language can explain – but of what use are our fabricated images without actual experience?
In the translator’s notes in Sar Bachan Poetry we read:
Soami Ji is pragmatic. He knows that we don’t know who the Master is or what our real home is like. He teaches over and over that we should go on with meditation, seva and satsang. These are the things that will enable us to experience reality for ourselves.
Every successful journey requires preparation, and here Soami Ji gives us the real foundation of our spiritual journey: seva, satsang, simran, and bhajan – under the guidance of our Master.
Soami Ji suggests seva as an essential part of our spiritual development. Real seva is our effort to bring our attention back to the eye centre and connect it to the Shabd. All other seva is simply a means to that end.
Great Master tells us that any kind of service done for the Master enriches us. He says in My Submission:
Sincere and selfless service done for the guru opens the channels of spiritual communion between the disciple and the Master.
The next piece of advice Soami Ji gives us for the preparation of our journey is attending satsang. However, in Sar Bachan Prose he qualifies this, saying:
Satsang is really association with the Sat Guru.
For most of us this is theoretical, and satsang refers to the outer activity of attending a talk on various aspects of the path. Focusing on what is being said will frequently clear our misconceptions and give us a better understanding of the teachings, but the greatest benefit of attending satsang is when we are inspired to be more devoted to our meditation practice. Buffeted by a world that entices and delights us, we are constantly drawn into the domain of materialism. Satsang draws our attention back to meditation and the importance of our journey.
Both seva and satsang keep us focused on what we should be doing spiritually, which is our simran and bhajan. Simran is the powerful and effective means we use to achieve inner stillness, peace, and equilibrium, without which we cannot embark on this journey. Silently repeating our simran calms the mind, which simultaneously results in subduing the ego – the veil that stands between us and our Master. We all have the opportunity of moving that veil aside by attending to our meditation, which will lead us to the Shabd.
In Spiritual Heritage Maharaj Charan Singh highlights the importance of Shabd:
You see, the basis of all spirituality is Shabd. … If you remove that from the teachings, nothing is left.
Our incredible journey is just that – incredible, because it is a journey into Shabd. Hazur Maharaj Ji tells us:
This sound not only leads us but actually takes us back to the Father. First we follow it; then as we make internal progress, we merge into it and ride or ascend to our home by means of the Sound, the Word. It is constantly pulling us inside like a magnet and attracting us homeward.
Light on Saint John
Through the grace and help of the Master, the Shabd draws us from within. All we can do is make ourselves receptive to its pull and enjoy the ride.
Despite its limitations, language is the only way the Masters can explain their teachings to us. Their beautiful descriptions – the containers they use – serve to entice us to continue with our spiritual practices. However, we need to stop admiring the beautiful containers and drink the water of spirituality they hold.
But how thirsty are we? When we become disillusioned with our meditation we may use negative containers such as ‘can’t,’ ‘hard’, and ‘difficult’, to describe our practice, and then, disillusioned, we turn to the world to try and satisfy our thirst. But we must persevere with our meditation, because we have embarked on an incredible journey – an experience that lies beyond the ordinary range of perception. Only meditation will open our inner eye to that experience – our incredible homeward journey.