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is happy in this world
Some complain of unemployment and poverty, others of disease, death in the family or some other distress. Every-where a tide of pain, misery, grief and suffering seems to engulf mankind.
Nanak! all the world is steeped in pain,
Muslim philosophers have named this world, `The Home of Distress.'
The world is divided into, two parts, water and land. In water, big fish live upon the small ones, and are themselves eaten up by still bigger ones. On the land, big birds eat the small ones and the latter make worms and flies their food. Lions and tigers make smaller animals their prey, and thus it goes on. Man kills all. Nothing is safe from him.
And yet life is very dear to everyone. Imagine the agony of dumb creatures that are daily butchered to provide us food, and the distress of those that are wounded or killed when we are out hunting. The human form, that was granted to us for the sublime purpose of God-realization, is spent in tyranny towards His beings. When man sinks so low, he is worse than a beast. The beast kills only to satisfy its hunger, but man does it for pleasure, notwithstanding the fact that the slightest injury to his own person sends him reeling with pain and he demands immediate relief. What a strange world to live in, which has no security nor peace! No one knows when death will overtake or what catastrophe will befall one.
We are in an alien land where nothing is either permanent or our own. All around us is matter and mind made up of the five elements: earth, water, fire, air and akash (the matter that surrounds the earth beyond the air and, for want of a better word, is called ether). Soul, on the other hand, is a denizen of Sach Khand, an essence of the Ocean of Light and Bliss, pure, radiant and transcendent. It is a drop of the ocean of eternal happiness but, in its association with mind, for many ages, has gathered so much dross that it has completely forgotten its origin and has come to believe that this world is its real abode. Soul is tied down with mind, which in its turn is led by the five senses. It thus suffers the consequences of this unfortunate association and has to go through the long chain of life and death. It is in the human form alone that it may come in contact with a perfect Adept, get the secret of Nam from Him and by devotedly practising it, attain liberation.
Like grass have I grown many times;
Guru Nanak says:
Many times have you been born as worms and flies;
None other of the eight million and four hundred thousand species has this capacity. Man alone has this privilege. Even gods and angels pine for it. The human body is the exit through which one can get out of the vast prison and thereby put an end to all pain and misery.
But alas! we do not give up the pleasures of the senses. Our mind has become so feeble and erring that it finds itself unable to withstand the ravishing sense pleasures and falls an easy prey to temptation. It is, however, never satiated. The more it gets, the more it desires. It perfectly realizes that the reaction of all `bhogas' (sense enjoyments) is pain, sorrow and dejection, yet it persists in its silly pursuits. Beware! DO action in this world goes without bearing fruit. Every action has its reaction. The worst reaction is that of lust.
Guru Nanak says:
For one moment of lust enjoyment,
This adds up to thirty-three thousand years of agony for one moment of sensual pleasure. Only a fool would enter into such a bad bargain. What fools are we! If the result of pleasure is pain, how can it be pleasure? A wise man always keeps the ultimate result in mind.
Blessed is the person
But what is the remedy? How to dissuade the rabid mind from following this insane course, which takes it to destruction? In order to find a suitable remedy we must consider the nature of the mind. We know that it is fond of pleasure but it never sticks to one thing. It constantly keeps flitting from one to another. Nothing can keep it engaged for long. As soon as it sees something better, sweeter or prettier than what it has, it runs after that and throws away what it has in hand. The mind is never constant. The same is true of its love and attachment. It will readily give up all if we provide it with something sweeter and more absorbing than the worldly pleasures. That `something' is within us, in our own body. It is resounding above and behind our eyes in the form of sweet Music, which the Saints call Shabd, Bani, Nam, Word, Anhad Shabd, Sound Current or Audible Life Stream. When the mind hears this Celestial Music, all worldly pleasures become tasteless.
All the Saints and Sages say that God is within us and that all our sorrows and worries will come to an end, only when we turn our attention inward.
The Kingdom of God is within you.
Guru Nanak, Kabir, Tulsi Das, Soami Ji, Prophet Mohammed, all say the same thing. But we search for Him without, in temples, mosques, and churches; in rites and rituals; in scriptures and holy books; in sacrifices, penances and charities. All these, undoubtedly, have some merit in them but they keep us confined to lower worlds and cannot take us beyond the sphere of action and reaction. For reaping the reward of good deeds, we have to be born again in this phenomenal world. We can get true liberation only by totally withdrawing our attention from the outside and concentrating it at the eye centre as instructed by the Master.
He alone can show us how to vacate the nine portals of the body and enter the tenth which leads to our Eternal Home. The Vedas, Shruties, Smrities, other holy scriptures and the Saints and Sages of all religions stress the need for a Mystic Adept for transport into subtle realms. Actually, man needs a teacher at every step from the time of his birth. He has learnt nothing without one. His first guru is his mother who teaches him how to sit, stand, walk, eat, drink and dress. Later his father, brothers and sisters take on the onerous role and he begins to prattle. When he grows a little older, his friends and playmates become his guru. Next he goes to schools and colleges where there are any number of them to teach him. Yet when it comes to learning the science of the soul-the most intricate of sciences, rarely do we search for a guru, and without one it is impossible to proceed even an inch on this path. Maulana Rum says:
Even in the streets through which,
Not only is it impossible to know God without the help of a Mystic Adept, but without his protecting hand over one, it may be hazardous to make an attempt at going into subtle regions. In this path, many are the temptations to lead us astray, many the pitfalls to drag us down. Without a guide, we are sure to lose the way and fall into the quagmire of delusion and danger. The Perfect Master will show us how and where to enter the body, "the temple of the living God". There are nine outlets which lead to the sense world but the tenth opens into the spiritual regions. This is called the `Sushmana' gate and is located in the centre behind the eyes. It is through this aperture that we pass beyond matter and mind to reach the Everlasting and Immortal Region where the Supreme Lord-The Creator of all-resides. Austerities and the yoga of Pranayam (breathing) do not take us beyond the six centres. Only the Surat Shabd Yoga, the Yoga of the Audible Life Stream, the Anahat Shabd of the Upanishads, the Word or Logos of the Bible, can take us to the Highest Region, which is Eternal. This yoga can be taught only by the Saints. Nanak, Kabir, Dadu, Paltu, Maulana Rum, Shams-i-Tabriz, all preached and followed this way.
The Surat Shabd Yoga is not a new science. It has existed ever since the world was made. Saints do not come to establish a new religion, nor a new creed, nor even a new sect. Their mission is simply to liberate the qualified souls from this land of misery, and to guide them back to their Home of Eternal Bliss and Peace. The Saints say:
Brothers, this world is not your True Home. Nobody is happy here. This is the home of pain and sorrow. Leave this prison-house of evolution and devolution, and return to your own Home. This can be accomplished only while you are in the human body. Take full advantage of this opportunity. Seek a Perfect Master. Learn from Him the Science of Surat Shabd Yoga. Attach yourself to the Voice of God which calls within you at the eye centre. Follow this Divine Melody. Like a Powerful magnet, it will pull you up and take you to the feet of the Lord, whence these Currents emanate.
These are the teachings of the Saints (Sant Mat) in a nutshell. The Saints do not ask you to give up one religion and join another, nor do they ask you to renounce the world or your family, or to change your mode of living. They advise you to live with your wife and children as usual, to carry on your profession and to perform all other duties. They only enjoin you to give some time daily, punctually and regularly to the most important of your duties, which is devotion to God and listening to His voice, the Celestial Sound within.
You are to live in the world, but in a sensible way. Enjoy the world and its objects, but realize their true worth. They are meant to serve you. Take full service from them but do not yourself become their slave. Let not your mind be so entangled in attachment to these objects that, instead of being of service to you, they become your master. Live in the world in the most unconcerned way. Neither should the gift of a kingdom elate you, nor the loss of possessions depress you. Live in the world, but be of God and not of the world. Without actually renouncing, live like one who has renounced it. This is the real `Sanyas' (renunciation of the world) and has nothing to do with donning a saffron coloured robe or other religious garb. How aptly a Hindu Mystic has portrayed it in the following lines :
Even when you have renounced the world,
Both renunciation and attachment pertain to the mind. Outward forms and symbols have nothing to do with them. Enter this garden of the world. Take a walk in it. Enjoy the fragrance of the flowers. Eat fruits and behold the beauties of Nature, but do not get entangled in thorns and prickly shrubs, lest you may get abrasions and wounds.
Earn wealth honestly and spend it well. It is meant for you. Attend to your work during the day. Day is for work. But at night give some time to devotion and contemplation. This is `your real work'. Just think for a moment. Of all that you do during the day, nothing of it is for yourself. Much that you do is for your family and friends. Daily you spend some time in adorning your body, but realize that even this is not yours and will not accompany you on your last journey. It will stay behind to be buried or cremated.
Your own work is that of doing Simran and Bhajan (the Spiritual Exercises) which will, in due course, liberate you from this vast prison in which you have been confined for countless ages. Life is short. Time is fleeting. Take full advantage of it, and if you have not done 'your own work' already, start doing it now. Seek a True Master and under His guidance attach your soul to the `Word' and reach your True Home.