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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

If there were no living Masters there would be no Students

If there were no living Masters there would be no Students
By James Bean

Copyright April 2007

Books falling from the sky did not create the world religions. Before there was "The Book", there was the author or authors of "The Book." Without living teachers in history there would be no Torah, no Buddhism, no Christianity, no Sermon on the Mount, no Golden Rule or Gospel of Thomas, no Suras of the Quran, no ahimsa message of Lord Maharvira in Jainism, no sages to compose the Upanishads, no Krishna and the Bhagavad Gita, no Jap Ji of Guru Nanak, no Tao Te Ching of Lau Tzu, no Golden Verses of Pythagoras. If there was no Master by the name of Shams of Tabriz, there would have been no disciple by the name of Rumi -- no Rumi poetry. If there was no Swami Ji Maharaj, no Tukaram, no Tulsi Sahib, no Dadu, no Ravidas, no Mirabai, no Maharishi Mehi, no Sawan Singh, no Guru Kabir, no Sant Dariya Sahib, no living Masters, there would be no Sant Mat Fellowship on the worldwide web, no students, no initiates, no satsangs to attend, no clear and organized system of inner Light and Sound Meditation called surat shabd yoga to be initiated into, nobody to give the initiation, and no one expanding their awareness due to the sweet influence of the Saints.

On the Path of the Masters, being influenced by a competent living teacher who has spent many successful years in meditation, and who has been honestly approved (accredited) by his teacher, is the goal. The essential reason for having a spiritual teacher is not to worship the personality of the teacher, but to learn from them the Methods of spiritual practice. The living teacher preserves the Methods of meditation and passes that Knowledge and Experience on to the next generation. A good spiritual master also motivates his or her students to practice meditation and lead an ethical life in the context of a spiritual community or group of people (satsang). Books alone isolated from a community of others would not be enough to sustain spiritual practice, especially inner mystical experiences. Satsang inspires, teaches, motivates, and group meditation helps to accelerate one's own inner experience. "Where two or three are gathered in My Name, I Am in their midst."

"Rumi says, 'If you seek to know God, sit at the feet of the Saints'".

A great description of what living Masters do for their students is found in the Gospel of Thomas unearthed in Egypt. Variations of this saying have also turned up in the Hebrew Bible, Greek New Testament, other apocryphal gospels, the Quran, Gnostic texts, Mandaean scriptures of Iraq, Buddhist sutras, the sacred texts of the Mandaeans of Iran, in the bhajans of Kabir, Nanak, and other Sants of the East:

The Master said,
"I will give you
what no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
what no hand has touched,
and what has never occurred
to the human mind."
(Egypt: Coptic Gospel of Thomas, 17)

There is an axiom of wisdom found in many world scriptures about exploring Inner Space, the Kingdom of God, spiritually or mystically with new eyes, and hearing spiritually with new ears. This saying about ........

"seeing what no physical eye has seen and
what no material ear has heard"

appears in many ancient scriptures of the West and East. Visionary mysticism, inner seeing and hearing are universal experiences of contemplative souls in the various world religions.

In the Ethiopian Bible is preserved a Jewish apocryphal text that reminds me of an NDE (Near Death Experience): And this angel said to me, Isaiah, son of Amoz, I set you free; for you have seen what no mortal man has ever seen before. Yet you must return to your garments of flesh until your days are completed. Then will you come up here again. (Ascension of Isaiah 11: 34)

Jesus-Yeshua: How privileged are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. I swear to you, many prophets and righteous ones have longed to see what you see and didn't see it, and to hear what you hear and didn't hear. (Matthew 13: 16-17 = Q/Luke 10: 23 - 24 -- New Testament and Sayings Gospel Q)

His power will be given to them,
which no eye has seen nor ear heard.
And they will rejoice in My Kingdom.
(Jesus, apocryphal "Testament of the Lord in Galilee")

A Manichaean scripture from Central Asia:
....that I may redeem you from death and annihilation, I will give you what you have not seen with the eye nor heard with the ears nor grasped with the hand. (Turfan fragments, translated in "Gnosis On The Silk Road,")

The tenth century Persian Sufi Master Abd al-Qadir al-Jalani quotes an interesting passage from the Quran: I have prepared for My righteous servants that which no eye has ever seen, of which no ear has ever heard,
and of which has never occurred to the heart of man. ("Concerning the Affirmation of Divine Oneness", Al-Baz Publishing)

From a prayer found in the Mandaean scriptures of Iraq:
Thou hast showed us that which the eye has not seen, and caused us to hear that which the human ear has not heard. Thou has freed us from death and united us with Life, released us from darkness, and united us with Light....... Thou hast shown us that which the eye has not seen, and caused us to hear that which the human ear has not heard.
("Canonical Prayer Book of the Mandaeans", E.S. Drower)

The Divine Eye According to the Buddha:
With the Divine Eye, which is purified and surpasses the human, a bhikkhu surveys a thousand worlds. Just as a man with good sight when he has ascended to the upper palace chamber, might survey a thousand wheel-rims, so too, with the Divine Eye, which is purified and surpasses the human, a bhikkhu surveys a thousand worlds.

The Divine Ear According to the Buddha:
I have proclaimed to my disciples the way whereby with the Divine Ear element, which is purified and surpasses the human, they hear both kinds of sounds, the divine and the human, those that are far as well as near. Just as a vigorous trumpeter might make himself heard without difficulty in the four quarters; so too, I have proclaimed to my disciples the way whereby with the Divine Ear element....far as well as near. And thereby many disciples of mine abide having reached the consummation and Perfection of Direct Knowledge. ("The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha -- A Translation of the Majjhima Nikaya," Teachings of the Buddha, translated by Bhakkhu Nanamoli and Bhikkhu Bodhi, Wisdom Publications)

From India, Guru Nanak:
We speak without tongue,
we see without eyes,
we hear without ears,
we walk without feet, and
we work without hands.

Sant Kabir:
May I see You with my eyes,
hear Your Sound
with my own ears.
Speak Your Name
in my own words, O Lord;
rest Your flower-like feet
on my heart.
("Songs of Kabir From the Adi Granth",
translated by Nirmal Dass, SUNY Press, NY)