Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Ascension of the Soul, Part 2

The Ascension of the Soul, Part 2

The Ascension of the Soul into Interior Regions of Light & Sound, Part 2: Introduction to the Inner Regions/Heavens, And, The Second Inner Region: Causal Plane: Trikuti

"The ascension of the soul, stage by stage, to higher regions can be accomplished with the help pf Shabd. Hearing these Sounds, the soul will proceed from one region to another, and will ultimately reach the Highest Region, and enter into Rest."  (Huzur Maharaj, "Prem Patra Radhasoami")

The Higher Regions

One's passage into the astral plane is aided by the sound of a deeply resonant bell. A dazzle of colors immediately emerges, subsiding into a deep blue, like the blue of a late afternoon sky. Subsequently a light appears in the blue, intense but diffused, as if veiled by a gauze screen. The soul aims for the light, penetrates the gauze, and arrives at a brilliant flame surrounded by a dense blue-black sky. That area, a higher realm within the astral plane, is called shyam kunj (the thicket of darkness), and it is regarded as the divine headquarters for managing both the physical and astral realms. It is controlled, of course, by Kal; here he appears as Niranjan, the Lord of the astral realm. The soul should not be satisfied with attaining this realm, however, but focus on the flame, which replaces the blue-black sky with an intense bright white. This enables the soul to by-pass all the supernatural regions referred to in the literature of other religions: the Christians' heaven and hell, the Hindus' svarga and naraka, the Muslims' dozakh and bahisht. These all exist at the level of shyam kunj, but there is no ultimate advantage to being lodged in one rather than another. Heaven may be filled with "comfortable rooms" and hell with "painful cells," but in the last analysis all who live in either are trapped "in the same jail."67 The fortunate soul, however, has a way out. The Radhasoami master guides it to a dark spot in the light and a sound similar to that of a conch shell, which it hears at first only distantly from a tunnel high above. The tunnel is called banknal (the crooked path). Upon following the sound into the tunnel, the soul turns around and then enters the next plane.

This second region is called the causal plane, for it is from here that the phenomenal world is ultimately generated. At one spot, for example, is a four-petaled lotus from which emerge utterances that eventually issue as the four Vedic scriptures of Hinduism. The world was created in this region as a subtle, invisible form, and here karmic burdens are dispatched and reclaimed. Thus cause and effect, both material and moral, begin and end here. Brahm, the creator, sustainer and dissolver of the universe, is considered the Lord of this region, but he too is an agent of Kal, so this world, like the astral, holds its perils for the wary Radhasoami soul.

The soul, forewarned, enters the causal plane with care, listening again for the guardian sound, which in this region reverberates like the sound of large drums or rolling thunder, and which may also sound like the rumbling chant of the Hindus' om, om, or the Muslims' HU, HU. The light that the soul looks for to guide it takes on a brilliant reddish color in this realm, like that of the sun in a summer sunrise. The soul fixes on these aural and visual guides, and passes by locations where the things of our physical world were created. Within the landscape are also vistas that are well known from Hindu mythology-Mount Kailasa, for example, where Lord Shiva is thought to dwell, or the forests and gardens said to have been inhabited by Krishna. The light that the soul has followed, already brighter than many suns, becomes ever brighter as the wayfarer proceeds upward, bursting through the pyramidically shaped causal realm.

At that point the soul moves beyond the arena in which causation has meaning and transcends the last shreds of materiality. It leaves behind realms referred to by Hindus as "the three worlds" (trilok), i.e., the known universe, and moves into what Radhasoami calculates as the third spiritual plane: Daswan Dwar (the tenth door), also known as Sunn (emptiness). This transition is more decisive than any other, and is second in importance only to the initial shift from the physical to the spiritual plane, for it marks the point beyond which the soul no longer inhabits form, whether physical, astral, or causal. From here onward, the soul exists purely in spirit. It passes beyond the karmic cycle, breaking free of the bondage that forced it to shuttle from one physical life to another. The soul has now achieved moksha (release), in the Hindu reckoning, and is "rid of all covers of matter and mind, and shines forth in its naked glory with the radiance of twelve suns."68 It has a new name, too. It is called hamsa, the high-flying goose that in Indian mythology is invested with almost magical properties; in Radhasoami writings it is usually described as a swan and is sometimes identified with the phoenix. Having passed beyond the realms governed by Kal, the soul is free to revel in divine bliss and enjoy an ambiance suffused by a pleasant light and a divine sound. The light resembles that of the full moon in a clear sky, shimmering in all directions, and the sound is like that of a guitar, lute, or harp. ("Radhasoami Reality," Mark Juergensmeyer, Princeton University Press, ISBN 0-691-07378-3)
65 Rai Saligram, Jugat Prakash Radhasoami, p. 26.
66 Misra, Discourses, p. 219. See also Sawan Singh, Philosophy of the Masters, vol. 4, pp. 132-33.
67 L. R. Puri, Radha Swami Teachings, p. 202.
68 Ibid., p. 183

The Higher Regions (Continued)

There are interesting places for the soul to visit on this plane: Maha Sunn, for example, "great emptiness," a vast expanse of utter darkness located above Sunn, where hidden spiritual secrets are revealed and where five new universes, each with its own Brahm, may be observed. Or the soul may rest in Achint Dip, an "inconceivable island" of spirituality in the midst of the void. The Lord of this region is called Parbrahm, "super Brahm." He has the power to direct the soul either downward or upward to an even higher region, and with the assistance of the master, the Radhasoami soul can make the further ascent.

When the soul leaves the third realm and ascends to the fourth, penultimate level, it finds itself in a medium that at first seems strange. The fourth realm whirls in dizzy delight and is called Bhanwar Gupha (the rotating cave). Its central sound is like that of a flute or the sound of the Vedic mantra soham (I am that), and the Lord of the region receives his name from that term: Soham Purush (the person of soham). The light is like that of the sun at midday, radiating in all directions. There are lovely islands where souls dwell and have fellowship together, but the Radhasoami soul hastens on to the fifth and final region.

This ultimate level is called Sach Khand, or Sat Lok (both meaning "the realm of truth"), and Radhasoami writers expend countless superlatives attempting to describe it: "an ecstasy of Divine Love," "intense bliss," "a beatitude indescribable."69 When it approaches this highest state, the soul first meets a sort of guardian in the form of saba; (spontaneous, intuitive consciousness).70 If it passes beyond sahaj, it is ushered into the entrance, which is like a garden or like a courtyard in a golden palace. One is surrounded by flowers of charming fragrance and fountains flowing with nectar. The sound that circulates in this ultimate realm is that of the bin, a wooden musical instrument that produces an oboe-like tone and is often played by snake charmers. Some Radhasoami writers, however, claim that the word that is intended here is actually vina, which refers to a classical stringed instrument that one Radhasoami author translates as "harp."71 The words sat, sat or haq, haq (the Sanskrit and Persian words for "truth," respectively) may be heard intertwined with the tones that emanate from the bin. The light is as strong as sixteen suns, but even with that brilliance it is scarcely able to compete with the radiance emitted from the luminous form of the Lord of the highest realm; his name is Sat Purush (the true person) or Sat Nam (the true name). The soul presently enters into the very chambers of the ultimate Lord, and the meeting that ensues is described by Swami Shiv Dayal as involving a sort of password given in response to the Lord's command. As the soul "pushes forward," it "beholds Sat Nam smiling in bliss. Out of his lotus-like appearance comes a voice: 'Who are you, and why did you come here?' The soul replies, 'A true guru instructed me in the secrets. By his graciousness I have received the grace of your presence, 0 Lord.' And as the soul beholds the sight of the Lord it becomes greatly enraptured."72

After that brief encounter, the soul rushes directly into the form of the highest Lord and "becomes one with Him in an ecstasy of Divine Love and intense bliss."73 The soul has finally reached its home. The journey is over. ("Radhasoami Reality," Mark Juergensmeyer, Princeton University Press, ISBN 0-691-07378-3)
68 Ibid., p. 183.
69 Ibid., p. 180, 181.
70 One finds saba; also in the final stages of the Buddhist and Nath  yoga journeys of consciousness. It is the "mysterious state" that is  the goal of hatha yoga as practiced by the Naths (Vaudeville, Kabir,  p. 125), and their idea has influenced Kabir, who speaks of saba as a spontaneous experience of truth" (Hawley and Juergensmeyer, Songs of the Saints of India, p. 44).
71 Maheshwari, Truth Unvarnished, part 2, pp. 35, 107-8. The leader  of another Radhasoami branch confirms that the bin is the snake-charmer's oboe (Interview with Bansi Lal Gupta, Gwalior, August 21, 1985),
72 L. R. Puri, Radha Swami Teachings, p. 180. 73 Ibid.



"Three Prominences"

"At the apex of this Akash (in Sahas-dal-kanwal), there is a passage which is very small like the eye of a needle. Your Surat (spirit) should penetrate this eye. Further on, there is Bank nal, the crooked path, which goes straight and then downwards and again upwards. Beyond this passage comes the second stage. Trikuti (having three prominences) is situated here. It is one lakh yojan in length and one lakh yojan in width [millions of miles in inner space; an expression describing tremendous dimensions]. There are numerous varieties of glories and spectacles at that plane which are difficult to describe. Thousands of suns and moons look pale in comparison to the light there. All the time, melodious sounds of Ong Ong and Hoo Hoo, and sounds resembling thunder of clouds, reverberate there. On obtaining this region, the spirit becomes very happy, and purified and subtle. It is from here onwards that it becomes cognizant of the spiritual regions." (Soami Ji/Shiv Dayal Singh, Hidayatnama, Sar Bachan Poetry)

{Causal Plane; Universal Mind}

Progression to successively higher regions of existence is secured in Radhasoami and Sant Mat through listening to the finer shabd (sound) melodies. As remarked before, it is the bell sound which leads the soul into the first region. Subsequently, access to the next stage, Trikuti, is garnered by attaching one's attention to the powerful rhythm of drums (or, clashing thunder). However, on the sojourn between the first and second regions, one must pass through bank nal, a crooked tunnel which can ward off spirits from progressing further. An interesting description of this particular stage comes from a letter written by a disciple of Sawan Singh, dated January 30, 1945 (Rai Sahib Munshi Ram, 1974):

"My progress again started from 9th January. Sometimes I could see light and get some taste, but there was not upward progress. One day I saw three paths and after many days my soul started following the middle one. It is not a straight path but a sort of crooked tunnel which goes on narrowing as one moves forward. At one place it was so narrow that I had to crawl forward on my stomach. There were many snakes and scorpions in this path but through Your mercy they all appeared dead and did no harm to me. I felt absolutely no fear because I was conscious all the time of your presence and your Shabd Form. Further on, the path narrowed still more and a sinner like myself could never go through it without Your mercy and grace. It is like a round tunnel and it is all lightened up with a beautiful circular light like that of the morning sun. It appears as if the sun is rising. I tried to pass through this sun but could not do so and therefore came back through this tunnel. This happened about two or three days ago."

Trikuti, so named because of the three huge mountains of light situated there, is the home of the universal mind where individual karmas have their origin. Saints point out that this region is the most difficult to traverse because it means surrendering one's mind entirely. Since such a task is almost impossible immediately, the soul stays within the boundaries of the second stage for a considerable duration.

The spectacles of Trikuti are reported to be so enticing and spectacular that the meditator often does not want to go on further. Indeed, the inner master sometimes prevents the student from beholding the sights in fear that he/she will become too saturated with joy and forget his/her real mission (Rai Sahib Munshi Ram, 1974).

Faqir Chand, a radical teacher in the Radhasoami movement who presented a number of startling interpretations on the nature of religious visions (Lane, 1983), believed, on the basis of over seventy years of meditation, that the reason Trikuti is so hard to overcome is due to the fact that whatsoever one desires it manifests accordingly. Literally, worlds upon worlds can be created by sheer thought in the second stage. Thus, the soul can be trapped by an infinite set of cravings, wants, and wishes, which continually attract the mind to ephemeral pleasures (Faqir Chand, 1976).

Furthermore, in the grand design of the cosmos, there is a negative force whose sole purpose is to detain the soul from transcending to higher states. This power is known as Kal (time/death), the lord of the mind, in the terminology of the saints in the Sant Mat and Radhasoami traditions (Julian P. Johnson, 1974). Kal is the antithesis of the positive current, Sat, which constantly goes back to the Supreme Lord, Anami Purush. Kal's force is downward (instead of upward) toward the creation. Hence, Kal, though also a manifestation of the Absolute on a lower vibration, represents the main obstacle in the ascent of the soul. The only way a sincere student can conquer Trikuti is by withdrawing the spirit from the mind itself, just as the mind separated from the body.

(The Section Above is from the Book, "Enchanted Land", by David Lane, MSAC Philosophy Group)

"Saints show us the Path of Sound and Light,
They still the mind and raise it to the skies
The soul gets concentrated at the Door and
is in bliss;
Ascending the celestial skies she is in sight
of Gagan (Inner Sky of the Second Stage).
The fortunate soul sets out on its journey
along with the Divine Melody;
Listening to this Celestial Music day by day,
she becomes detached." (Bhajan of Sant Tulsi Sahib)

Thursday, December 18, 2014

From the Esoteric Teachings of Satguru Kabir -- Brahm Nirupan

From the Esoteric Teachings of Satguru Kabir

In the book, Brahm Nirupan, Satguru Kabir explained the inner meaning of spiritual life to Dharam Dass, his foremost disciple. The Brahm Nirupan is a matchless text that discusses the Essence of the Word or Sar Shabda [the Divine Sound Current], also called Ni-akshar or Nir-akshar shabda. This Sar-shabda refers to the Ultimate Reality:

20. Contemplating the Sar Shabd [the Divine Sound], even for half of a moment, confers much more spiritual merit than living in the holy city of Kashi (Varanasi) for millions of years.

28. The knowledge of the Essence of the Word is indeed the meditation of all meditations, and the austerity of all austerities. The keen devotee who obtains this knowledge definitely obtains the rewards of the eternal abode.

89. The Word is the greatest of all, and is the cause of all beings. It is beyond mental perceptions. It shines brighter than millions of suns. It is the essence of all knowledge. You should meditate on the Essence of the Word.

90. With knowledge of the Essence of the Word, the large heap of sins of countless lifetimes will be burnt, just as a huge heap of dry grass burns in the fire.

91. When the wise devotee goes to the refuge of Satguru, and follows his instruction to meditate on the Essence of the Word, and recites the Supreme Name, he becomes so great that the gods -- Brahma, etc. act as his servant.

92. Whoever is bound by various rituals and karmas, will reap the fruits of their actions by being in the bondage of rebirths in this world. The medicine to cure this disease of rebirths and suffering is the Essence of the Word that gives liberation. O Dharam Dass! There is no other remedy.

93. That Essence of the Word is the basic support of everything, but is itself without support. It is formless and is beyond the attributes of Maya. It is all-powerful and is the life force of all living beings in the three worlds. It is even more powerful than the gods. It is realized only with proper meditation.

30. A devotee who controls the mind and practices hearing the Divine Melody, reaches the difficult-to-obtain state of union of the right and left nerve currents in the central channel in meditation. This central is called the Sushumna in Yoga. These three meet at the third eye. In deep silence the devotee sees the intense Eternal Light of Reality.

31. Above the Trikuti (third eye) there are three states of silence -- the beginning, middle and end. These three states of silence merge or dissolve into the Eternal Light. He who does not know the secret of these cannot be said to be a Vaishanava.

32. When consciousness in meditation reaches the thousand-petalled lotus, it then rises to the eighth lotus above. This is called Unmani Chakra. In this state the devotee sees the Divine Light without the presence of a lamp, and hears the Divine Melody without musical instruments.

33. The Sant Mat preached by Sat Guru Kabir explained that the yogi who practices meditation would rise above all of these (the chakras) and, going above the eighth chakra, reaches a region where the lotus has countless petals. The yogi then sees the light of millions of moons and suns, and reaches a state of supreme silence.

34. When the yogi reaches this state of realization, he becomes aware that the Self is free of the support of the body, space, heaven and earth. His consciousness rises above the physical and astral forms, and then even death becomes his servant. This state of consciousness is one of unity with God.

-- The Brahm Nirupan of Kabir, Translated by Dr. Jagessar  Das, Kabir Association:

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Ascension of the Soul, Part 1

The Ascension of the Soul, Part 1

The Ascension of the Soul into Interior Regions of Light & Sound, Part One: Introduction to the Meditation Practice, And,The First Inner Region: Astral Plane: Sahas-Dal-Kanwal: Thousand Petalled Lotus

Unlike other yogic disciplines in India, such as kundalini, surat shabd yoga does not advocate breath control (pranayama) or a series of physical postures (asanas/mudras) as part of its practice. Rather, it is concerned with withdrawing consciousness from the nine apertures of the body (eyes, ears, nose, mouth, genitals, and alimentary canal) and transcending the corporeal frame and its limitations altogether. This is accomplished by attaching the mind's attention to an inner light and sound which is believed to be radiating behind the proverbial "tenth door" (the "third eye" of the Hindus), anatomically located behind and slightly above the physical eyes (Shiv Dayal Singh, 1970). When consciousness becomes totally concentrated at this pivotal point "between the worlds," the soul, according to the saints in this tradition, leaves the body and experiences in elevating degrees higher regions of bliss.

The distinctive characteristic of surat shabd yoga is its emphasis on listening to the inner sound current, known variously as shabd, nada, or audible life stream. It is through this union of the soul with the primordial music of the universe that the practice derives its name (surat -- soul, shabd -- sound current; yoga -- union). To be able to achieve a consciously induced near-death state takes great effort. Hence, masters of this path emphasize a three-fold method designed to still the mind and vacate the body: simran, dhyan, and bhajan (Charan Singh, 1979).

Simran, the repetition of a holy name or names, draws one's attention to the eye center, keeping thoughts from being scattered too far outside. Such sacred remembrance is similar in form to the use of a mantra or special prayer, except that the name(s) are repeated silently with the mind and not with the tongue. This stage, according to practitioners, is the first and perhaps most difficult leg of meditation.

Dhyan, contemplation within, is a technical procedure to hold one's attention at the third eye focus. In the beginning this may be simply gazing into the darkness or re-imaging the guru's face, etc., but it eventually develops into seeing light of various shapes. Out of this light appears the "radiant form" of one's spiritual master, who guides the neophyte on the inner voyage and becomes the central point of dhyan.

Bhajan, listening to the celestial melody or sound, is the last and most important part of surat shabd yoga, because it is the vehicle by which the meditator can travel to exalted planes of awareness. Whereas simran draws and dhyan holds the mind's attention, it is bhajan which takes awareness on its upward ascent back to the Supreme Abode, Sach Khand. Naturally, mastery of surat shabd yoga is not an overnight affair, but involves years of consistent application and struggle. The desired results, adepts in the tradition agree, being largely due to the earnestness and day to day practice of the seeker.


In due time, if the process is complete, the individual spirit current or substance is slowly withdrawn from the body. First from the lower extremities which become feelingless, and then from the rest of the body. The process is identical with that which takes place at the time of death, only this is voluntary, while that of death is involuntary. Eventually, he is able to pierce the veil that intervenes -- which in reality is "not thicker than the wing of a butterfly" -- and then he opens what is called the "Tenth Door" and steps out into a new world. The body remains in the position in which he left it, quite senseless, but unharmed by the process. He is now in a world he never saw before... -- (Julian P. Johnson, 1952)

Before the inner voyage of light and sound can begin, the meditator must become adept at withdrawing his/her attention from the world and concentrating one pointedly at the third eye center. Accordingly, when the neophyte has achieved even a modicum of success, having sensations of numbness just up to the solar plexus, flashes of light will begin to manifest. At first it appears that the light is coming and going, causing the phenomenon of bright sparks, but in actuality it is the mind which is ascending and descending (Charan Singh, 1958, 1967, 1973, 1979).

The feeling of physical insensibility is one of the important "acid tests" to determine if the mediation process is proceeding correctly. Starting in the feet, numbness rises slowly through the lower extremities, until the entire body feels like stone. When such a voluntary paralysis occurs, the meditator gravitates more to the inner universe than to the outer one. According to the masters (Julian P. Johnson, 1974), it is the function of simran to instigate this type of benumbing impression, which releases the mind from its constructing hold on the material corpus.

It is at this junction when the meditator senses an intense feeling of upward movement, as if being literally pulled by a magnetic force. This sucking effect is the direct result of one's attention moving inward away from the outer orifices. Though it but a preliminary stage, the student experiences first-hand what it is like to have an out-of-body sensation. With practice, the meditator finally does achieve total out-of-body consciousness, traveling at immense speeds through regions of darkness, not dissimilar in content to reports of clinically dead patients who have been resuscitated (Raymond Moody, 1975, Kenneth Ring, 1980, Darshan Singh, 1982).

After complete withdrawal from the physical body, the neophyte's capacity for inner sight (nirat) and sound (surat) increases tremendously, enabling him/her to see and hear clearly what was only thought before to be a figment of religious imagination. Accompanying this ability is also the realization of a super-conscious state of awareness, remarkably more vivid and lucid than the ordinary waking state (Sawan Singh, 1974).

To understand how such a new degree of consciousness can be awakened, it is important to see how awareness moves through various degrees of clarity. In the waking state, for instance, attention is centered behind the eyes at the back of the head. But, after eighteen or so hours, we notice a movement downward and inward from this station towards the throat (Jagat Singh, 1972) culminating in sleep. Likewise, after about eight hours, we sense a rising upwards to the eyes, with the final termination being, of course, our normal, everyday consciousness. In both of these cases, our common language expresses in a graphically simple way the process of awareness: "We fall asleep; we wake up," "My eyes are heavy;" "I feel so awake and high." In yoga psychology the farther down one's consciousness descends the deeper the sleep (or unconscious) state; the further up it ascends the higher the awareness (super-conscious). The pattern is quite clear; clarity increases steadily the more one ascends (not vice versa). Ken Wilber (1979, 1981) has beautifully described this spectrum of consciousness as having a definite hierarchical structure, with the higher orders subsuming and transcending their lower counterparts.

The following account, primarily based upon Shiv Dayal Singh's Hidayatnama is filled with rich mythological characterizations, metaphors, and illustrations. For anyone steeped in science, the account will sound too fantastic to be true. However, we should keep in mind that although Shiv Dayal Singh's description may be limited to the analogies of the 19th century, his fundamental insights are consistent with mystics from time immemorial. When reading Shiv Dayal Singh's descriptions of the inner regions we should always keep in mind that trans-rational experiences cannot be adequately contained by the inherent boundaries of human language. Let us not confuse a map for the real territory or a menu for the meal.

The First Inner Region: Sahas-dal-kanwal: Thousand petalled Lotus



"Thousand Petalled Lotus"

"When your eye turns inwards in the brain and you see the firmament within, and your spirit leaves the body and rises upwards, you will see the Akash in which is located Sahas-dal-kanwal, the thousand petals of which perform the various functions pertaining to the three worlds. Its effulgence will exhilarate your spirit. You will at that stage, witness Niranjan, the lord of three worlds. Several religions which attained this stage and took the deity thereof to be the Lord of All, were duped. Seeing the light and refulgence of this region they felt satiated. Their upward progress was stopped. They did not find the guide to higher regions. Hence they could not proceed further". (Swami Ji/Shiv Dayal Singh, Hidayatnama)

[Astral Plane; Cluster of Lights]

Although the wondrous journey out of the body in surat shabd yoga meditation begins in darkness, eventually the meditator glimpses keen points of light, much like stars filling up a black midnight sky. The student is advised to focus his/her attention on the largest and brightest of these "stars" (Kirpal Singh), which with repeated concentration will burst revealing a radiance similar to that of a sun (Sawan Singh). When this light explodes, a brilliance comparable to a full moon will pull one's attention even further within. Out of that light, according to the masters (Julian P. Johnson), known as Asht-dal-kanwal ("Eight petal lotus"), the resplendent form of one's guru will appear. This marks the half-way point in the disciple's ascent, since from here on one is guided to the upper regions by the radiant form of the master (Sawan Singh). Hence it is by comparison an easier progression for the soul than the withdrawal of the mind current from the body.

Along with the seeing of light, consisting of different colors and hues due partly to a particular person's karma (Faqir Chand, 1978), the meditator also hears a variety of different sounds. At first, as the concentration becomes finer it will assume a more distinct tone, not dissimilar to the tinkling of bells. Indeed, it is the bell sound which is to be held onto, as its melody will help lead the soul into the first region, known technically in Radhasoami as Sahas-dal-kanwal, but also termed in other traditions as the astral plane, turiya pad, etc...

Entrance into the pure astral plane, though heralded as a magnificent achievement, is, according to Sant Mat, but the beginning of the inner voyage. It is alleged by many saints in the tradition (Kabir, Tulsi Sahib, Sawan Singh, etc.) that several great religious leaders mistakenly believed that the light and sound of this region were of the Absolute Lord. Instead of realizing that the manifestations were partial glimpses of a higher reality, they worshipped them as the totality of God. This kind of error is perhaps the chief reason why the Sant Mat and Radhasoami movements stress so much the necessity of a living guide. Above all else, the masters emphasize, test thoroughly whatever appears inside meditation. [The main test advised by the mystics is to repeat slowly the holy name or names which were given at the time of initiation; also verify the authenticity of one's experiences with the outer guru for his/her validation.]

Each major region of consciousness has its own center and guiding lord. In Sahas-dal-kanwal the ruler is known as the lord of light and is the creator of all the universe in its jurisdiction (Julian P. Johnson). However, the extent of each ruler's power is limited and circumscribed by the next higher deity, who, likewise receives its creative energy from above, etc. This governing hierarchy, like the kundalini chakra system, is based on the concept that all spiritual evolution (and even material transformation) was preceded by an involution. Therefore, the meditator must pass through several regions of light and sound before attaining true enlightenment.

In order to overcome the many barriers and obstacles on the way, the guru instructs the student not to attach him or her self to any particular vision, as they are merely signposts along the way. In fact, all of the intermediary lords, or centers of power, are not to be venerated but transcended. It is for this reason that the Beas branch of the Radhasoamis and Sawan-Kirpal Mission in agreement with previous saints, give out five holy names as their meditation mantra. Each name represents the presiding lord and his relative spiritual energy; to the meditator they serve as passwords, so to say, to insure safe passage into the next level of consciousness.

Obviously, the concern here is that a student may get stuck or retained in one of the lower realms, believing that he/she has reached the ultimate, when, in fact, what they have attained is illusory and impermanent. Surat shabd yoga literature is replete with stories of would-be masters who have been duped on the inner journey (for instance, see the book Anurag Sagar which goes on in detail about sages being misled in their meditations).

(Above is from, Enchanted Land, by David Lane, MSAC Philosophy Group)

Huzur Maharaj (Rai Saligram):

"This discourse is intended for the benefit of those who, seeing the instability and transitory state of the things in this world, as well as its short-lived pleasures and greatness, have a craving for everlasting and unalloyed happiness and undisturbed peace in a realm which is not subject to change, decay or dissolution".

Huzur Maharaj (Rai Saligram):

"The method of taking back the Spirit entity to its Original Source is to ride the Sound Current".

"The method for taking back the spirit entity to its Supreme Source is first to concentrate at the eye-focus -- the seat of the soul, the spirit entity and mind which are defused in our body and in a manner tied to external objects by desires and passions, and next to commence its journey homewards by attending to the Internal Sound, or in other words, by riding the Life or Sound Current which has originally emanated from the Supreme Source".

"The Current which has been instrumental in having brought it down here must naturally be the Path for its return to the Original Source, and whoever finds this Current is on the Path of Emancipation. This Current which is the Spirit and Life Current is called in the Radhasoami Faith, "Sound" or "Word" or Holy Name". (Prem Patra Radhasoami, Agra)