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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Spiritual Principles of Sant Mat Mysticism

Spiritual Principles of Sant Mat Mysticism

1. Ultimate Reality is beyond any beginning or end, infinite, beyond birth, beyond the senses, all-pervading yet beyond pervasiveness. It must therefore be understood as the Supreme Being. This Essential Element is known as the Lord of All and is the foundation of all things. This Being is beyond both the inanimate and animate aspects of nature. It is without qualities and beyond qualities. Its nature is infinite, imperishable, all-powerful. It is beyond time and space, beyond sound and beyond form. It is the One without a second. The Supreme Being is beyond the scope of mind, the intellect and the senses. This entire universe is powered by the energy of this Being. This Being is not human. It is not manifested in physical form. It has existence beyond the illusion of maya, and there is nothing that exists outside of it. It is the Being which is eternal, existing from the beginning. Santmat considers this Being as the Divine Reality and this [knowing or merging with] Being is the goal of all spirituality.

2. The individual soul is an inseparable part of the Supreme Being.

3. The physical world of nature was created. It has an origin and an end.

4. The soul bound by illusion (maya) remains in the cycle of death and birth. This is the cause of all suffering. In order to escape from this cycle of death and birth we must experience realization of this Supreme Being.

5. By practicing devotion through these four techniques: Manas Japa (recitation of the divine name [Simran]), Manas Dhyana (focus on the divine form [Dhyan]), Dristi Sadhana (focus on the infinitesimal point [Third Eye Center -- contemplating the inner Light]), and Nada-nu-sandhana Yoga (concentration on the inner divine sounds [Surat Shabda Yoga] -- the practitioner consecutively transcends the realms of darkness, light, and sound which cloak the Truth -- the Divine. Only through a human body is a person able to achieve unity with the Divine.

6. Lying, stealing, intake of intoxicating substances, adultery, and violence (including harming other beings) are the five sins to be avoided. Eating meat or fish is also considered to be a form of violence and should be avoided. The aspirants of Santmat must abstain from these vices.

7. Consider the following as the requirements to attain liberation:

Trust and belief in the Divine;

commitment to seek the Divine within;

devotion to a spiritual master;

listening to the teaching of the spiritual discourse [satsang] including study of the teaching of the saints and the scriptures;

and diligent meditation practice.

-- Sant Sevi Ji Maharaj, "The Harmony of All Religions"

The individual soul has descended from the higher worlds [the Realm of the Divine] to this city of illusion, bodily existence. It has descended from the Soundless state to the essence of Sound, from that Sound to Light, and finally from the realm of Light to the realm of Darkness. The qualities (dharmas, natural tendencies) of the sense organs draw us downward and away from our true nature. The nature of the soul (atman) draws us upwards and inwards and establishes us in our own true nature.

To go back to our origins means returning: withdrawal from the sense organs in order to go upward (by withdrawing consciousness) from the darkness to the realms of Light and Sound, in other words, to go inward from the external sense organs to the depth of the inner self. (Both of these expressions are exact special metaphors that describe the same movement.) The natural tendencies of the soul (atman) are to move from outward to inward. The current of consciousness which is dispersed in the nine gates of the body and the nine senses, must be collected at the tenth gate. The tenth gate is the gathering point of consciousness; therein lies the path for our return. It is also known as the sixth chakra, the third eye, bindu, the center located between the two eyebrows. This is the act by which we leave the gates of the sense organs and become established in the soul. We travel back from the Realm of Darkness to the Realm of Light, from the Light to the Divine Sound, and from the Realm of Sound to the Soundless state. This is returning back -- the return. This is what dharma or religion really intends to teach us. This is the essence of dharma.

-- Sant Sevi Ji Maharaj