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Saturday, September 08, 2007

Key Practices in Sant Mat

Key Practices in Sant Mat

Radhasoami Reality:
{Radhaswami Dayal ki Daya Radhaswami Sahai:
"Grant Merciful Radhasoami Thy Grace and Protection"}

Key Practices in Sant Mat Mysticism, the Path of the Masters

Huzur Baba Sawan Singh, in, "My Submission--A Perspective For Your Consideration"

The Outer Master Guides Us to the Inner Master --
The Inner Master-Power Escorts the Soul Back to God

Until and unless we are spiritually evolved to a point where we can worship God in his Nam or Shabd form, we must devote ourselves to the master, who is God in human form, and manifest his Radiant Form within through the practice of Surat Shabd Yoga. The Shabd-dhun [inner Sound Current] will be heard when our heart is attuned to the master's heart. The master and the Lord are one. Therefore devotion to the master is devotion to God. If we lovingly devote mind and body, the guru will carry our soul across the ocean of existence.

Key Practices in Sant Mat

A human being is a combination of body, which is gross material; mind, which is subtle material; and soul, which sustains them both and provides us with the gift of life. The first two components are time bound and perishable, while the third one, the soul, is beyond the sphere of death. The soul sustains the body in much the same way as God sustains the entire universe. Not only that, whatever is in the universe can also be discovered in the body. In other words the soul bears the same relationship to God as does the part to the whole. Muslim mystics have described the human body---aalam-e sagheer (microcosm)----as the model of the entire universe---aalam-e kabeer (macrocosm). Guru Nanak says that the macrocosm is the same as the microcosm, and we understand the Lord by the guru's grace and recognize him through his Shabd. Anyone who seeks God must search for him within himself, for that is where his real abode is.

jo brahmande so'i pinde jo khojai so pavai ("He who is in the universe, that also abides in the body, and whoever seeks, he finds Him there." -- Pipa)

Saints speak of the soul as being a particle of God; in other words it has the qualities of God. It is the primary objective of all human beings to strive for the full development of their body, mind and soul. As far as spiritual development is concerned, saints advise us to go to a perfect being who hasn't merely learnt from books, but has, through spiritual practice, attained union with God.

The food we eat, the company we keep, the lifestyle we adopt and the environment we live in all influence the development of our bodies and minds. We are therefore advised to eat satvik food, [satvik qualities of peace and tranquility --- vegetarian food: vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, milk products] forgo what is not essential in life and avoid activities that destroy our concentration and dissipate our energies. Seekers who follow these principles are taught certain practices that help to unfold their consciousness and develop them spiritually. These are:

. Simran (repetition of God's name(s)
--- remembrance)
. Dhyan (contemplation)
. Bhajan (listening to the Shabd)

Our mind is always engrossed in the remembrance and contemplation of worldly things, and thoughts concerning friends and worldly objects keep hindering our concentration within. In order to eliminate these worldly thoughts and images and fix our mind on God, devotees are given certain sublime names of God to repeat and advised to contemplate on the beautiful face of the master. Saints teach us to repeat these names with the 'tongue' of the soul and to contemplate on the form of the master with the 'eye' of the soul.

These two practices help bring about stillness of the mind and prepare it to listen to the melody of Shabd, which is heard with the 'ear' of the soul and which reverberates within everyone regardless of religion or nationality. The soul and the current of Shabd, being of the same essence, have a natural affinity for each other. Through the three practices mentioned above, the wave of Shabd attracts the drop of the soul and merges it into the ocean that is God. The mind can no longer receive energy from the soul and so it becomes motionless.

The master explains these three steps to his disciples in detail. With the help of simran and dhyan the scattered attention is concentrated at its natural seat at the eye centre. By stages the Shabd then elevates the soul to salvation in its true home, which is the very Source of Shabd.

The Supreme Being, a Boundless Ocean of Spirit and Love

The Supreme Being, a Boundless Ocean of Spirit and Love

Radhasoami Reality:
{Radhaswami Dayal ki Daya Radhaswami Sahai:
"Grant Merciful Radhasoami Thy Grace and Protection"}

48. Love for Supreme Being

108. This practice can be conducted easily and comfortably if the devotee has a little love for the Supreme Being. Without love it will be too hard and difficult to practice Surat-Shabd-Yoga [Yoga of the Audible Life Stream, Inner Sound] with any good result to be obtained within a short time.

1. The Supreme Being, being a boundless ocean of spirit or love; and, human being, being a drop or current of spirit or love from this ocean; and, love being the very essence and means of existence of the whole creation, it follows that no effort in any direction, temporal or spiritual, unless actuated by love or affectionate regard, can be crowned with success, and, the work or labour rendered easy, sweet and harmonious.

2. Love is most sublime, having its origin in the highest region, the abode of the Supreme Being. In whatever heart it sprang up, it will gradually raise and carry the fortunate possessor of this lofty and noble passion to the highest region.

3. All good qualities and goodness itself will gradually find their home in the heart in which love dwells and all bad qualities will be rooted out by and by.

4. Whatever a human being, full of pure love thinks or does, is all wisdom; while the thoughts and works of worldly wise persons are full of selfishness and folly.

5. Knowledge without love for the Supreme Being is futile and tends towards untruth or darkness or materialism, while love turns everything to good use and leads to enlightenment and truth. Even worldly love, such as filial and conjugal, is attended with goodness, happiness and comfort to all concerned. How much more good would then result to mankind in general if the same loves become spiritual, and be directed towards the Supreme Being, the merciful and Kind Parent of the whole creation.

6. Self-love brings on egotism or pride, and sows the seed of hatred, jealousy and disregard in the minds of kindred, associates and neighbours; while pure and sacred love for the Supreme Being creates in the heart humility, meekness and an affectionate regard for kindred, neighbours and humanity in general.

7. Pure and holy love is always ready to spend (regardlessly) whatever it has for the sake of its beloved, the Supreme Father, and the benefit of mankind without any distinction; whereas self-love or love of world always tries to appropriate everything to itself, even at the risk and loss of others.

8. Pure and holy love is always ready to sacrifice anything whatever to gain admission into the presence of the beloved, the Supreme Being; whereas, self-love will never part with anything except for the sake of its own aggrandizement and indulgence in sensual pleasures.

9. The noble passion of love is most powerful and strong. It removes all obstacles and thorns in its way and discards all superstitions, doubts and skepticism.

10. Where pure love dwells there sheds the light of Grace, as it forms a link with the spirit or love current from its source, the Supreme Being.

11. Such is the strength and effect of affection and kind treatment that it subdues ferocity and other injurious and dangerous characteristics in beasts and other animals, that is to say, they begin to love and have an affectionate regard for their keepers and trainers.

12. A heart devoid of love or affection is as hard as stone, and does not form a suitable receptacle for light of Heavenly Grace and Mercy.

13. Sincere love is reciprocal, so if one has a heart full of love for the Supreme Being, one is sure to be attracted towards Him by Grace, Mercy and Holy Light which will gradually illumine his inner-self, and then all menial and worldly affections and desires will gradually disappear.

14. Love or the power of attraction is the basis of the whole creation and the cause of its sustenance and preservation.

15. The Supreme Being loves and takes special care of those who love Him with all their heart and soul, and gradually draws them towards Himself, the Grand Centre of Pure Light and Attraction; while those whose hearts are imbued with worldly love and passions recede from this centre, or in other words, they of themselves fly away towards the circumference or darkness and untruth.

16. Every wave of love rising in a lover's heart brings tidings of goodness and joy from the beloved, and every thought springing up in such a heart is a harbinger of good works and good services for the sake of the beloved.

17. Love has no bounds, knows no restrictions, and is not limited by conditions, and like its source is extensive and far reaching in its beneficial results.

--- RADHASOAMI MAT PRAKASH - A Brief View of Radhasoami Faith ---
Being a message of Eternal Peace and Joy to all nations ---
Originally written by Hazur Maharaj in english and published in the year 1897A.D.

Emphasis on Love and Devotion. Reviving the bhakti traditions of Medieval India, the founders of Radhasoami faith emphasize the devotional aspect of religion. According to them bhakti alone would bring salvation to the suffering humanity. One should engender true love for the formless Supreme Being and take shelter (saran) in his divine will (mauj). Hazur Maharaj says that "a heart devoid of love or affection is as hard as stone and does not form a suitable receptacle for the light of Heavenly Grace and Mercy…The Supreme Being loves and takes special care of those who love Him with all their heart and soul and gradually draws them towards Himself – the Centre of Pure Light and Attraction." Love, therefore, is the keynote of Radhasoami faith.

A practical Religion – Blending of Bhakti and Yoga. The founders of the faith have essentially made it a faith of actual practice and behaviour. The philosophical moorings and thought-processes are subsidiary elements in it. It is through practice alone that teachings would prove efficacious. The founders of the faith set the motto: "Practice and observe the results yourself." They introduces a mode of spiritual exercise – surat-shabd-yoga – and claimed to have based it on scientific lines. The practitioner of this yoga would derive practical benefits in the world and feel no pain at the time of death. An abhyasi [meditation practitioner] dies while living. He gets absorbed in the bliss and ecstasy of higher and spiritual life and attains the status of a sthitpragya [state of stabilized cognition, tranquility, peace]. Hardly does he feel the joys and sorrows of the world. The founders assert that surat-shabd-yoga is the easiest and best of all modes of yoga ever practiced in the country in the past or present. It can be practiced by all alike – men, women, old, young, rich and poor. A person leading a family life with all his temporal preoccupation can practise it as effectively as a recluse.

The faith also presents a harmonious blending of yoga and bhakti. The key to surat-shabd-yoga lies with the guru of the time. A practitioner must, therefore, practise bhakti of the guru as a prerequisite to successful performance of yoga. When the practitioner serves the guru with body, mind and soul and with all love and humanity dissolves his ego, he himself witnesses a transformation of his life within and without, and achieves remarkable progress in spiritual pursuit. The founders have, thus, delivered the message of love on practical grounds. They have affirmed that the path of love excels everything. True and selfless love is itself the yoga. Surat-shabd-yoga is the devotional mode of self-realization.

by Prof. A.P. Mathur
M.A., PhD, F.I.H.S., F.R.A.S. (London)
Former Vice-Chancellor, Agra University, Agra, India