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Friday, October 20, 2006

Satsang Discourse: The True Temple Within

Satsang Discourse: The True Temple Within

A Living Master initiates his/her students into the Mysteries of the Kingdom of God:

"What your own eyes cannot see,
your human ears
do not hear,
your physical hands cannot feel,
and what is inconceivable to the human
mind---that I will give you!"

-- "Yeshua the Living Master" (First Century AD),
the new Lynn Bauman translation of the Gospel of Thomas:
The Gospel of Thomas---Wisdom of the Twin, White Cloud Press


"One may go to Mathura, Kashi, Dwarika or Haridwar, Jagannath; one may travel on a pilgrimage to all these places; but so long as one does not come in contact with true Saints, so long as one does not sing in praise of God, visiting these holy places will bear no meaning; one shall never be able to attain the state of quietude."

-- 1008 Kabir Vani, The Saakhis of Kabir, Manoj Publications, Delhi: http://www.ManojPublications.com

Satsang Discourse: The True Temple Within

By Sant Sevi Ji Maharaj,
The Harmony of All Religions
(a book on Sant Mat, inter-faith studies
and comparative religion)

The Inner Sacred Place

How are we to understand this Allah? The Koran says Allah is compassionate and merciful. All the saints say that we must seek the One. To know Allah it is not necessary to wander anywhere. To find Him, simply look within.

A Fakir has said:

"Man is oblivious to the fact of God's all pervasive and mysterious nature. The Prophet Muhammad is visible, but God is not visible with these eyes."

If you want to find Allah (Khuda) you must turn within. He will not be found outside and therefore, you must make your heart pure and keep the heart clean in order to invite the Divine guest within.

Another Fakir has said:

"Purify the heart to invite the presence of God. Leave aside thoughts of others if you want to seat God within. One heart with many worldly desires leaves no room for God. Then, there is no place for the Divine to sit in such a heart. It is heartbreaking that you go to the man-made temples and mosques, but God is only found in the inner mosque-in the pure heart."

Sa'd al-din Mahmud Shabistari (1250 - 1320), one of the most celebrated authors of Persian Sufism, also writes:

"Go sweep out the chamber of your heart. Make it ready to be the dwelling place of the Beloved. When you depart out, He will enter it. In you, void of yourself, will He display His beauties."

We go to temples, mosques, churches and we build these fine structures. They become places of worship and are places to sit quietly and remember God. However, God does not live in the temple, church or mosque. The Divine temple of God is the body. The Body is the mosque and within we will find Allah.

True Prayer

Once we have understood the true place of worship, we can now discuss the true nature of prayer. We say prayers, but, what is a prayer in reality?

A Muslim poet says:

"True prayer is bringing joy, to sick and suffering beings. True prayer is giving refuge to one who has no refuge. We have learned from touching the mentor's holy feet (learning under their tutelage), that if you desire to find God, you must know yourself (your own true nature)."

The Divine Unity of the Soul and Allah

Until we know ourselves, we will not be able to find God. The moment we know our self is the moment that we will find God. At that time, God will not be lost from us. That moment of self realization is the same moment that we will have God realization. A great Sufi, Sa'd al-din Mahmud Shabistari, eloquently states:

"What are "I" and "You"? Just lattices in the niches of a lamp through which the One Light radiates. I and You are the veil between heaven and earth; Lift this veil and you will see how all sects and religions are one."

Praise, Prayer, and Meditation

There are three important requirements to be met in the practice of a person who pursues devotion to the Divine and seeks to attain liberation. First is praise; second is prayer; and third is meditation. We know that when we are indebted to someone, we should express our gratitude and appreciation. God has blessed us bountifully. Although we are unable to repay God for his generous blessings, we can acknowledge this goodness by chanting praises about the Divine Being. When we exalt God through song, we declare the glories of the Divine. In doing this, we remember the grandeur of God. As a natural result, our faith in God increases ...... Thus, it is through praise that we extol the divine powers of God and draw our mind toward God .....

Prayer and invocation are not merely concerned with the mindless muttering of requests, but rather, prayer should be the voice of our heart. God always listens to the one who calls out with a pure heart.

"Lift this veil and you will ask "I" and "You" do not exist. What is mosque? What is synagogue? What is fire temple?"

We should carefully consider that it is impossible to see God with the physical eyes.

Sant Kabir Sahib says:

"You cannot see God with the physical eyes. You must see God with the eyes of the soul. And, He who has seen his soul has seen God."

If one is able to recognize a drop of water, then he will be able to recognize the water of a small pot, the water of a big vessel, the water in a well, river water, and the water of a vast ocean. He/she will then be able to see the same water in whatever form it appears. In the same way, the one who has recognized the true nature of his soul will see an elephant, a horse, a bull, a camel, a human, and even animate and inanimate creation, all as the one God. There will be no question of different castes or religions.

How to Experience the Divine Within

The question now emerges, how can we recognize this soul and God within? In order to do this, we must use specific techniques. First, one must experience the Divine light, and then one can listen to the inner Divine Sound. The Koran addresses this:

"Those who have faith in Allah, then Allah is their protector and helper. Allah takes them from darkness to light." .....

If you want to get a glimpse of the divine light---the celestial form of the Divine---the aspirant may then ask: "What kind of path is this, and have others traveled this path?"

The Fakirs assure us that this path has been well traveled, and many sages and mystics---Mansur, Sarmad, Shams, Bu Ali, and others---have traversed its road. This is the path of pure devotion and love of the Divine, and it is not a difficult path.

Where then would we find the light of God?

Sant Kabir Sahib says:

"My prophet (the Divine light) lives in my eyes. When I focus between my eye brows I see the light of the Divine. I live in this inner space of my heart where resounds the celestial music of stringed instrument. My Beloved is always with me and takes me to the Palace of the Divine Sound."

Amir Khusro, a Muslim poet, writes:

"With the blessing of my teacher Khwaja I went to the Ganga River. There I saw the great Guru Swami Ramanand. He blessed me with his grace, and my heart became pure. The radiance of God manifested in my purified heart."

Guru Nanak Dev Ji said:

"0 Feeble Disciples! Take refuge in Guru. Go, get the key to this (spiritual) gate from an accomplished teacher if you want to open this tenth gate, the gateway to the spiritual realms. None other has the key to open this gate."

How do we see that inner light? The answer: When you have the grace of a pure spiritual teacher. Khwaja Sahib, a Muslim Fakir, says that just as Muhammad went from Mecca to Medina, in the same way we have to leave the nine gates of the body and enter in to the tenth gate. This is the door to the divine realms (ajna chakra). It is the practice of piercing the ajna chakra (the third eye, between the two eye-brows).

Now we live as slaves in the nine gated body. The gates are the two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, the mouth, and two organs of excretion. We are living in this nine gated body.

Saint Radha Swami, who lived in Agra, wrote:

"This body is permeated with darkness. We are under an illusion and we are deluded. Now we should search within for light and leave this nine gated body."

To repeat, as long as we live in the nine gated body we live in darkness. We must leave the nine gates and go through the tenth gate. How do we go from darkness to light, and what is the means for accomplishing this? This is only possible if an accomplished guru teaches us the path of escape from the darkness. Otherwise, we will remain in darkness.

As you open this gate you will be immersed in the Divine light of God. When you leave the nine gated body and go through the tenth gate, then you will go from darkness to light, and from untruth to truth. When you are able to see this divine light then you will begin to hear the divine inner sounds. This inner sound can not be heard with the physical ears, but only with the inner spiritual ears.

A Sufi Fakir, Yunus Emre has written:

"We entered the house of realization, we witnessed the body. The whirling skies, the many-layered earth, the seventy-thousand veils, we found in the body. The night and the day, the planets, the words inscribed on the Holy Tablets, the hill that Moses climbed, the Temple, and Israel's trumpet, we observed in the body. Torah, Psalms, Gospel, Koran---what these books have to say, we found in the body. Everybody says these words of Yunus are true. Truth is wherever you want it. We found it all within the body.

Communion or Meditation Practice

The practices of praise and prayer---glorification and invocation---are followed by communion through the practices of contemplation and meditation. The Sanskrit word upasana literally means sitting near God. The Saints distinguish four categories of upasana. The four basic practices are Manas japa ---Simran---Remembrance or the chanting of God's Name, Manas dhyana---contemplating the form of the Master, Dristi sadhana ---The Yoga of Light, and Nada-nusandhana---The Yoga of Sound.

[To be continued.....]