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Sunday, February 24, 2008

7 Stages of Mystic Ascension to Heaven

7 Stages of Mystic Ascension to Heaven

Sant Mat Fellowship:
{"Repeat the Name of your Beloved, day and night, again and again. With care in thought, word and deed, you will cross to the other shore." -- Dadu}

7 Stages of Mystic Ascension to Heaven: 1) Praise or Bhakti, 2) Prayer, 3) Manas japa (simran, praying without ceasing, repeating the name of God -- mantra, the first stage of meditation), 4) Manas dhyana (visualising the form of the Living Master, second stage of meditation), 5) Dristi sadhana (seeing Inner Light at the Third Eye Center, third stage of meditation), 6) Nada Sadhana (hearing the Inner Sounds --- Surat Shabd Yoga, fourth stage of meditation), 7) Reaching Kaivalya (Oneness with Soundlessness, the Nameless One, Formless Supreme Being, the Supreme State, The Ocean of Love -- the Goal)

Three Important Requirements: Praise, Prayer, Meditation
By Sant Sevi Ji Maharaj

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. Unless we acknowledge someone's qualities, it is impossible to be faithful to that person.

Tulsi Das Sahab says:

Without having the knowledge of the nature of God
it is impossible to know him. And without understanding
his qualities we can not have love for God. Without love
we cannot have devotion and true faith. This is as
unattainable as the mixing of water and
oil [which is impossible].

Therefore, in order to have devotion and faith in God it is necessary to know the grandeur of God. Once the glory of God is known, our heart is attracted to God. This is a great way to keep your heart in devotion to God. Thus, it is through praise that we extol the divine powers of God and draw our mind toward God.

After singing praises to God we, then, pray. Prayer is supplication with deep humility. In general, people have desires and make demands. Only the great sages do not have wants.

Kabir Sahab said:

My desires are gone, as are my worries.
My mind is filled with detachment.
One who does not want anything is
the king of kings.

Sant Tulsi Das says:

People desire sons, wealth and fame in this world.
Why do people desire that which taints the mind?

Why do we desire these things?

Sant Tulsi Das considers this:

[Fleeting] pleasures come to us without asking,
whether we are in heaven, hell, house, or forest.
Why then do people work so hard to get these
pleasures while they ignore the advice of the
sages [to seek permanent joy?

Why do we invest so much effort in acquiring these worldly pleasures which come to us naturally? And let us consider as well that there is always pain involved in acquiring worldly objects, and that an even greater exertion is required to sustain them. And further, when these very same insidious sensory pleasures leave us, the distress is even more intense. This is why, the wise do not ask for things which are transitory. The truth is that our desires should only be for something which would eliminate the desire [for worldly pleasures] itself. In reality, the only thing we should be asking God for is to achieve union with the divine. After realizing the Divine, there is nothing left to be achieved. This is the end of all wants.

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.

In the Yajur Veda (chapter 20) it is said:

Oh God, even as we unknowingly commit various
sins, day and night, please forgive these offenses
and ill desires. You are omnipresent, like the
pervasive wind.

We have previously spoken about prayer in both Christianity and Islam. Christians refer to this practice as prayer, and Muslims call it ibadat. We see that in all theistic religions there is a great emphasis on prayer.

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 1) Manas japa, 2) Manas dhyana, 3) Dristi sadhana and 4) Nada-nu-sandhana.

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

Meditation Practice (Sadhana) According to Sant Mat Mysticism

There are several meditation practices in Sant Mat. There are several techniques described, the specific details of which are taught to students at the time of their deeksha (initiation) into the practice:

1) developing a daily routine, the habit of meditating at the same time or times each day;

2) proper posture with back straight so that one is truly focused at the Third Eye and remains alert and awake;

3) Manas Japa (Simran), a mantra repetition of a sacred word or words done mentally;

4) Manas Dhyan, the technique of mentally visualising a form of God or one's teacher;

5) Drshti Yoga (Yoga of inner Light), the technique of focusing upon an Infinitesimal Point. This Point will eventually blossom into inner Light or visions of Light. One gazes into the middle of the darkness or the Light one sees while in meditation. Think of the Infinitesimal Point as being like a laser pointer or cursor keeping one focused. One passes from scene to scene and vision to vision always looking toward the center;

6) Nada Sadhana (Yoga of inner Sound or Bhajan), the practice of inner spiritual hearing; and,

7) reaching the State of Kaivalya: Oneness with the Supreme Being in the Pure Conscious Realm. The ultimate goal is to merge into the upper level of Kaivalya known as the Ocean of Love and Compassion, the Ultimate Reality of God in the Nirguna or Formless State, also described with terms such as Radhaswami (Lord of the Soul), Anami (The Nameless One) and Anadi (The Soundless State beyond Light and Sound).

The poet-mystic Param Sant Tulsi Sahib describes the interior journey this way:

There is a Being who is Inaccessible (Agam), unfathomable (Alakh), and Nameless (Anami), and who has no locality, location, and is not confined to space.

Sant Tulsi Sahib also often uses the Sufi language of love or bhakti, describing this Timeless Spiritual State of Oneness as the Abode of the Beloved:

On having found the teacher, I shall adopt his refuge,
and I shall follow the path to my Beloved's Abode.
The way to the Beloved lies within. My heart's desire,
says Tulsi, is that my soul may meet the Beloved.

The love-intoxicated soul is bubbling with joy. The
darling of the Beloved has prepared and bedecked
the bed and, imbued with the Beloved's bliss (ananda),
has cast away all bondages. The soul prepared the
Beloved's bed, and, lying there, enjoyed great bliss.

(from, The Shabdavali of Param Sant Tulsi Sahib)

Friday, February 22, 2008

I state what is in your best interest

I state what is in your best interest

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

I Say This For Thine Own Good -- Sant Radhaswami Sahab

[English rendering of Hindi translation, by Maharshi Santsewi ji Paramhans (1920-2007), of a verse composed by Sant Shiv Dayal Singh or Sant Radhaswami Sahab (1818-1878) of Agra, U.P., India, the first Guru of Radhaswami Sect of Santmat, excerpted from the October 2004 edition of the Hindi Monthly "Shanti Sandesh" (Message of Peace) published from Maharshi Mehi Ashram, Kuppa Ghat, Bhagalpur, Bihar, India -812 003.

- English Translation by Pravesh K. Singh



In the following verse Sant Radhaswami Sahab has explained very lucidly the ideal way of living and meditation to be adopted by a spiritual seeker who has a genuine thirst for Self-Realisation or for getting rid of the painful vicious cycle of birth & death. A few words or phrases used in the verse are difficult of interpretation and call for an experienced and self-realised Sant for clear elucidation of their true connotation:

Original Verse:

"Cheto Mere Pyare, tere bhale kee kahoon ||

Guru too poora dhoondh, tere bhale kee kahoon ||

Shabd rataa guru dekh, tere bhale kee kahoon ||

Tis guru sewaa dhaar, tere bhale kee kahoon ||

Guru charanaamrit pee, tere bhale kee kahoon ||

Guru parashaadee khaao, tere bhale kee kahoon ||

Guru aarat kar le, tere bhale kee kahoon ||

Tan man bhent chadhaav, tere bhale kee kahoon ||

Bachan Guru ke maan, tere bhale kee kahoon ||

Guru ko kar parsann, tere bhale kee kahoon ||

Nitt bhajan kar nem, tere bhale kee kahoon ||

Jeev dayaa too paal, tere bhale kee kahoon ||

Dukkh na de too kaay, tere bhale kee kahoon ||

Bachan taan mat maar, tere bhale kee kahoon ||

Kaduwaa too mat bol, tere bhale kee kahoon ||

Sabako sukh pahunchaav, tere bhale kee kahoon ||

Naam amee ras peev, tere bhale kee kahoon ||

Seel chhimaa chit raakh, tere bhale kee kahoon ||

Santosh bibek bichaar, tere bhale kee kahoon ||

Kaam krodh ko tyaag, tere bhale kee kahoon ||

Lobh moh ko taar, tere bhale kee kahoon ||

Deen gareebee dhaar, tere bhale kee kahoon ||

Santon se kar preeti, tere bhale kee kahoon ||

Bhojan bahut na khaav, tere bhale kee kahoon ||

Satsang mein too jaag, tere bhale kee kahoon ||

Maan badaaee chhod, tere bhale kee kahoon ||

Bhog baasanaa jaar, tere bhale kee kahoon ||

Sam dam hirade dhaar, tere bhale kee kahoon ||

Bairaag bhakti naa chhod, tere bhale kee kahoon ||

Guruswaroop dhar dhyaan, tere bhale kee kahoon ||

Guru hee kaa jap naam, tere bhale kee kahoon ||

Guru stuti kar nitt, tere bhale kee kahoon ||

Guru se prem badhaav, tere bhale kee kahoon ||

Teerath moorat bharm, tere bhale kee kahoon ||

Jaat abhimaan bisaar, tere bhale kee kahoon ||

Pichhalo kee taj tek, tere bhale kee kahoon ||

Waqt Guru ko maan, tere bhale kee kahoon ||

Teerath Guru ke charan , tere bhale kee kahoon ||

Guru kee sevaa bart, tere bhale kee kahoon ||

Vidyaa Guru updesh, tere bhale kee kahoon ||

Aur vidyaa paakhand, tere bhale kee kahoon ||

Leek puraani chhod, tere bhale kee kahoon ||

Jo Guru kahe so maan, tere bhale kee kahoon ||

Maarag jnaan na dhaar, tere bhale kee kahoon ||

Bhaktee panth samhaar, tere bhale kee kahoon ||

Surat shabd mat le, tere bhale kee kahoon ||

Surat chadhaa nabh maahi, tere bhale kee kahoon ||

Gagan tirkutee jaav, tere bhale kee kahoon ||

Dasave dwaar samaav, tere bhale kee kahoon ||

Bhanwar gufaa chadh aav, tere bhale kee kahoon ||

Sattalok dhas jaav, tere bhale kee kahoon ||

Alakh agam ko paav, tere bhale kee kahoon ||

Radhaswami naam dhiyaav, tere bhale kee kahoon ||

Bhatak atak sab tod, tere bhale kee kahoon ||

Tek paksh Guru baandh, tere bhale kee kahoon ||


O My Dear One! Wake up, Come to your senses! | I state what is in your best interest ||

Search or look for an accomplished Guru | I state what is in your best interest ||

Find a Guru (who remains) immersed or engrossed in Meditation on the Divine Sound | I state what is in your best interest ||

Serve such a Guru | I state what is in your best interest ||

Sip his foot-nectar (water in which his feet have been washed) that is, (have utmost devotion towards him - English Translator) | I state what is in your best interest ||

Eat/ accept the `prasaad' (propitiatory offering;) given by the Guru (Guru's discourses or kind words of counsel are also his `prasaad' only – English Translator) | I state what is in your best interest ||

Show `arti/ aaratee' (a ceremony performed in worship, by moving a dish holding a lamp in circles in front of an idol or statue – English Translator) to the Guru | I state what is in your best interest ||

Offer yourself whole-heartedly (physically and mentally) at his lotus feet. | I state what is in your best interest ||

Pay heed to the Guru's teaching; bear his words in mind | I state what is in your best interest ||

Propitiate Guru (the best way to make Guru happy is to obey his instructions resolutely – English Translator) | I state what is in your best interest ||

Practice meditation daily in accordance with the rules (as taught by the Guru) | I state what is in your best interest ||

Be merciful, kind or compassionate to other beings or creatures | I state what is in your best interest ||

Do not cause trouble or distress to anybody | I state what is in your best interest ||

Do not taunt or ridicule anybody | I state what is in your best interest ||

Do not utter bitter or harsh words to anyone | I state what is in your best interest ||

Bring happiness to all | I state what is in your best interest ||

Drink the elixir of Sound | I state what is in your best interest ||

Maintain or preserve virtuosity & forgiving disposition | I state what is in your best interest ||

Imbibe the virtues of contentment and prudent wisdom | I state what is in your best interest ||

Renounce lust and anger | I state what is in your best interest ||

Keep greed and infatuation at bay | I state what is in your best interest ||

Live a life of poverty (conscious detachment from, or non-indulgence in, riches – English Translator) | I state what is in your best interest ||

Inculcate genuine love & affection for Sants | I state what is in your best interest ||

Do not overeat. | I state what is in your best interest ||

Attend Satsang alertly or attentively | I state what is in your best interest ||

Abandon weakness, or desire, for dignity and praise/adulation | I state what is in your best interest ||

Burn or destroy the indulgence or passion for worldly or sensory pleasures/enjoyments | I state what is in your best interest ||

Control your mind, restrain or suppress your senses | I state what is in your best interest ||

Never forsake detachment and devotion | I state what is in your best interest ||

Focus your attention to visualise the Holy form of your Guru in the inner sky | I state what is in your best interest ||

Chant internally or repeatedly recite the name of Guru | I state what is in your best interest ||

Sing praises or glory of Guru daily | I state what is in your best interest ||

Intensify your love for Guru | I state what is in your best interest ||

Mind! Places for pilgrimage and idols are illusions | I state what is in your best interest ||

Renounce the pride in (the highness of) your caste | I state what is in your best interest ||

Forsake the hope in the past | I state what is in your best interest ||

Believe or have faith in the Living Guru | I state what is in your best interest ||

Consider the lotus feet of Guru as pilgrim-centre | I state what is in your best interest ||

Treat the service to Guru as the meritorious act of devotion, or penance | I state what is in your best interest ||

Acknowledge the counsel of Guru as your true learning or wisdom | I state what is in your best interest ||

See all other education or knowledge as being sham or of no true worth | I state what is in your best interest ||

Quit orthodoxy or old ways, or worn out traditions | I state what is in your best interest ||

Obey meticulously whatever the Guru commands | I state what is in your best interest ||

Do not follow the belief that true liberation can be achieved all by `jnana/jnaana' (knowledge) alone | I state what is in your best interest ||

Adopt the path of `bhakti' (devotion/meditation) | I state what is in your best interest ||

Follow the path of `surat shabd' | I state what is in your best interest ||

Ascend your consciousness in the inner sky | I state what is in your best interest ||

Soar into the Realm of `Trikuti/Trikutee' (Sphere of `Maya Brahma' or the region where Sun is sighted internally) | I state what is in your best interest ||

Enter into the Tenth Door (here reference is to the 'Shoonya (Void) or the region between the `Trikuti' and `Maha Shoonya' (Great Void)) | I state what is in your best interest ||

From there rise into the `Bhanwar Gufa' (Spiralling or Whirling Tunnel or Cave) | I state what is in your best interest ||

Be saddled into the `Sattalok/Satalok' (The Region of Quintessential Sound or Pure Consciousness) | I state what is in your best interest ||

Make your access into the domains of `Alakh' (The Invisible Region) and `Agam' (The Inaccessible Region); (both these regions lie beyond the `Sattalok") | I state what is in your best interest ||

Behold Radhaswami/Radhasoami (True Supreme Being)| I state what is in your best interest ||

Snap your ties with all the wanderings and attachments | I state what is in your best interest ||

Have firm belief in Guru (belief that following Guru's commandments only would lead to the Supreme Destination) | I state what is in your best interest ||

Come Into Being as You Pass Away - The Gospel of Thomas

Come Into Being as You Pass Away (Saying 42, "The Gospel of Thomas -- Wisdom of the Twin", Lynn Bauman translation, White Cloud Press)

"The world is a bridge. Pass over it, but do not build your dwelling there."

-- Yeshua, Saying 200 -- an inscription from a mosque at Fatehpur Sikri, India, translated in "The Unknown Sayings of Jesus", Marvin Meyer, Harper Collins

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Key Practices of the Radhaswami Faith---Sant Mat---Path of the Masters

Key Practices of the Radhaswami Faith---Sant Mat---Path of the Masters
By Huzur Maharaj, from Discourse 25 of Prem Patra Radhasoami, Volume One, Agra, India, 1893

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

Note: The Prem Patra Series, Volumes I-VI, is one of the primary texts of the Radhasoami Faith, an extremely valuable encyclopedia of Sant Mat teachings and practices.

(a) That Merciful Radhasoami is the True Supreme Being and is Omnipotent and the true Father and Mother of the entire creation;

(b) That the Surat Shabda Yoga [meditation upon the inner Light and Sound of God] is the true and perfect method of spiritual practice and is an easy path for reaching the Original Abode. There in no method or path in the entire creation superior to this nor there can be any, for all other methods followed in the world depend on those currents which terminate within the limits of Maya [illusion] and therefore cannot lead to the Region of the Merciful Lord. In the Radhasoami Faith, one has to ascend with the current of life (i.e. spirit) and as this current of life or spirit is the most superior essence in the whole creation and the entire creation depends on it for its existence and is maintained by it, there is no other current better than or superior to it.

(c) That the mind and the senses are made up of the material of Maya and therefore their inherent inclination is outward and downward towards the enjoyments of the world and its objects. Their activities are considered desirable if only they accord with one's needs but there is real harm and loss if useless and unnecessary desires crop up. Therefore it is very necessary for a devotee to restrain and check his mind and senses to some extent, particularly at the time of the spiritual practices, otherwise he will not get as much pleasure in the practices of Bhajan [lovingly listening to the inner Sound Current during meditation] and Dhyan [visualising a Master or contemplating inner Light during meditation practice] as he should.

(d) That love for the world and worldly people and attachment to wealthy persons and association with them create obstruction to some extent in the love for Merciful Radhasoami [Lord of the Soul] and in spiritual practices. Every devotee can confirm this within himself by associating with such people for some time. It is therefore desirable and necessary that one should associate with and love such Jivas [souls in creation] only to the extent that may be proper and necessary. It is not desirable for a devotee to develop one's attachment for them and to waste his time uselessly either in their association or in all kinds of worldly gossip.

Learned people also, who truly love reading books, spend their time very carefully i.e. they spend all their time in reading new books and newspapers with the exception of the time spent in earning their livelihood and other essential work pertaining to their body and family. How much care should then be exercised by a devoted paramarthi [one who follows the spiritual path] to see that he does not spend his time unnecessarily?

(e) That the devotee should surrender himself in all sincerity in the Feet of Merciful Radhasoami and should have full faith and reliance in His Grace and Mercy.

II. If a devotee constantly keeps these five facts properly in mind, it is believed that the obstacles created by Mind and Maya as well as obstacles of the world would have very little effect on him and his devotional practices would be performed more and more successfully day by day and progress in them would be maintained while he would also get some joy and bliss.

And it should be noted that all the following activities are included in devotional practices:-

(a) Repetition of the Holy Name [Radhasoami];

(b) Repetition of the Holy Name along with Contemplation of the Holy Form;

(c) Bhajan;

(d) Reading Holy Books more or less intelligently or listening to them in Satsang;

(e) Discussing the principles of the Radhasoami Faith or listening to such discussion;

(f) Thinking about and reflecting on matters pertaining to the Radhasoami Faith and its practices and pondering upon them; and

(g) Examining the ways of one's mind and senses daily and keeping the mind under control as far as possible [self-introspection and self-correction].

12. The devotee should not make unnecessary haste in paramartha and should know that even worldly affairs e.g. acquisition of knowledge are not satisfactorily done in haste. When the student spends all his time in studies only and even goes away from his family and relations and agrees to live at the school, easily fifteen to eighteen years are spent in education. How could then this great work of paramartha [the spiritual path] be done so quickly, when hardly only two, three or four hours are given to it every day and the rest of the time is spent in worldly activities and in the association of worldly people? It is really an act of great Mercy of Merciful Radhasoami that He showers His Grace on us even when we put in so little labour and grants to a true devotee at least some internal help in a few days.

-- Huzur Maharaj

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Prakashmani Gita, Surat Shabd Yoga Sadhana

Prakashmani Gita, Surat Shabd Yoga Sadhana

Receiving Initiation from the Satguru, the Greatness of Satsang, Ahimsa Ethics, Repeating God's Name, Inner Light and Sound Meditation Practice, and Merging into God

Sant Mat Fellowship:
{"Repeat the Name of your Beloved, day and night, again and again. With care in thought, word and deed, you will cross to the other shore." -- Dadu}



(Surat Shabd Yoga Sadhana)

Translated from the Hindi by Mahant Jagdish Das Shastri
Edited by Dr. J. Das, Kabir Association of Canada

Who was Prakashmani?

Prakashmani was a great scholar of spirituality and was the first acharya (head) in line of Guru Kabir who wrote several great literatures since the first disciple Dharamdas. This Gita is a theological explanation of the inner path to reach God realization in this life.

Chapter 1.

Mangalacharan: Salutation.

Salutation to Satguru Kabir Saheb who is the ocean of mercy and bliss. We offer humble salutation to get a drop of that bliss. Prakashmani Nam Saheb speaks of the greatness of Kabir. The word Kabir means great. Those people who wish to get salvation and bliss should know, first of all, that bliss is already their true nature. A drop of that bliss can intoxicate others. For it, many munis and rishis gave up worldly pleasures. Kabir Saheb explained the greatness of God, and that we should bow down to Him to realize bliss.

The "Word" (Shabda) is guru, and it removes worldly bondage and confers salvation quickly. It breaks the bondage of worldly existence and removes all the sins. The Word will support all devotees who follow the guru's teachings and obtain eternal life.

The Satguru imparts knowledge of Surati Shabd Yoga, and control of the mind and senses. When both are controlled, we glimpse the essence of everything. Thus we bow down to Him that reveals this essence.

The Satguru came into the world to remove bondage from the souls. Those who had positive and good thoughts and pure hearts came close to Him. He showered his grace on them and freed them from the worldly bondage. Whenever the devotees called for him, he appeared and, with the power of the Word, alleviated their suffering and taught them the essence of all knowledge. We need to take refuge in the Satguru who is the manifestation of the Word.

All the souls in the world desire to know their real nature. The soul that resides in all of us is called Jiva. But what is Jiva? Jiva is the destination, or the object of meditation. He is Himself the meditator, the act of meditation and the object of meditation, which is a state of non-duality. He is thus the knowledge and the guru. He is immortal and is the Inner Light of every living being, as the Light of Consciousness. I bow down to Him. His Word is like the boat that takes people across this worldly ocean. Who created that boat? Kabir Saheb. Again I bow down to him. I pray to his Light that destroys all the darkness of ignorance. With his power, the water of his washed feet brought life to dry branch of a banyan tree. Again I bow down to him.

When a devotee performs his devotion with pure thoughts, then Satguru bestows on him the gift of God's name (initiates him into the secret of the Name). The devotee then attains liberation (moksha). It is, therefore, the duty of the devotee to serve the Satguru and have all his karmic bondage and fear of birth and death removed.

Devotee: O Satguru, ocean of compassion! Please explain to me the significance of Nij Nam, by which the Sar Shabd (Essence of the Word) would manifest in my heart.

Satguru: Nij Nam is that which enlightens a person. It is for the welfare of the soul. It is also called Sar Nam and Adi Nam. It is the means by which the soul obtains liberation. Though there are many names, one does not obtain salvation through them. But when one meditates on Nij Nam and realizes it in the depth of his heart, he is assured of salvation.

What is Nij Nam? Nij means the Self or Atma (Soul). Nam is the reality of the Self. Atma is Sat which means Eternal Existence. Sat also has the attribute of making the devotee realize his own "form" i.e. to know himself. Therefore, those who want salvation must rely on Satnam. The Sat Shabda (Eternal Word) appears by reciting the Name over and over, and when combined with meditation the Word becomes steadfast in his heart. When the name is always in the devotee's heart, it removes the sins of many births. He then becomes pure and can do perfect devotion to God.

A diamond just taken from the mine is rough and lacks brilliance and beauty when compared to a cut diamond. In the same way the devotee who attains the Name and recites it, is likened to the diamond that is cut and polished. When you wash clothes with soap and clean water all the dirt is removed. In the same way, with the recitation of the Name, the mind of the devotee becomes pure. It then becomes easy for the mind to concentrate on Sat Purush (God) and merge into the Ocean of God Consciousness or Shabda. Just as a drop of water merges into the ocean, in the same way the consciousness, which originated from the Shabda (Word), merges into the Shabda again. When you take a drop out of the ocean, the drop is not the ocean, but has the same qualities as the water of the ocean. The drop by itself is a very small quantity, but when it merges into the ocean, it becomes the ocean. In the same way, the soul feels separated from God and limited in power, but when it merges into God, it becomes one with God, as there is then no separation.

Devotion to the Word is the stairway and destination to the immortal residence. To obtain it, devotion to the Word is the only proper way.

What is necessary in order to get the Sar Shabda?

Disciple: O Satguru! You speak about the Sar Shabda, but please tell me how I can obtain it?

Satguru: First of all you have to go to satsangs, before you obtain it.

Disciple: Please explain the greatness of satsangs?

Satguru: O disciple, listen! The company of the saints (satsang) is like a beautiful tree that provides good shade, and people rest there to escape from the heat of the sun. Similarly, people can take 'rest' in satsang. Satsang is like the kalp taru, the fabled wishful-filling tree. (A story about kalp taru: Once a poor man went into the forest for firewood to sell. The sun was hot. He became tired cutting the wood and went under a tree and slept. He did not know that it was a kalp taru tree. He was thirsty and wanted water. As he thought about it, a jar of cold water appeared. He then desired food and food appeared. He was satisfied. He then desired to sleep and wished for a nice bed and it appeared. Seeing all this, he thought that some ghost was doing this, and the ghost will come. As he thought, the ghost appeared. He then thought that the ghost will eat him and the ghost ate him.)

In reality, the kalp taru is really inside you and it gives whatever you want. Kabir Saheb stated: He is dwelling in you and is aware of all your actions. If you have ears to listen to His words then you will get instructions to fulfill your wishes. Satsang is the outer kalp taru. He who wants salvation has to participate in satsangs. It is his spiritual duty. Whoever in this world obtained spiritual knowledge, got it through satsangs. All the great souls took part in it. As a result of satsangs, foolish people can become wise. Just as the fabled touchstone converts iron into gold, just so satsangs can convert a dull person into an intelligent one. Rahim said: "Constantly drawing water from the well makes the soft rope cut the hard stone." If the rope can cut the stone, why shouldn't the dull person become intelligent with regular satsangs. Since every person likes to be happy materially and spiritually, once he participates in satsangs he can achieve both. He would also understand the positive ways of life and avoid bad company.

When you look at your face in the mirror you may see some dirt on it. In the same way when you attend satsangs and be attentive, you would see the blemishes in your own life and take corrective action. The company of saints and noble souls removes all the blemishes and doubts of your character, and earn you respect. Satsangs make the heart joyful, and confer fame, congeniality and knowledge. Make satsangs a daily habit and righteousness, good thoughts, happiness and bliss will follow you.

One has to visit a saint even if the latter says anything or not. It would be good if he instructs you, but if he remains silent then you would absorb good vibrations and peace and purity in his presence.

There are two kinds of satsangs. One is called Sadhya which means the destination that we want to know and to reach. The other is Sadhana - the means by which we reach the destination. Sadhya satsang is more important than sadhana, because the former takes you to Truth (God), the essence of Sar Shabda. Others, such as singing, listening to sermons, etc. are the second type that helps us to create interest or intention in ourselves to obtain the first one. Thus the second type of satsang plays a supporting role to the first.

Chapter II

Devotee: O Satguru! You speak about satsang and that we should take part in it, but what is the reason for us to do so? Who is the saint and why do we have to go to him? Why do we have to serve the sadhus (holy men)? What is the service to the saints and what are its effects?

Satguru: Many people go on pilgrimages where there is water, idols, images to worship, etc. but they do not obtain true benefit at that time. But the company of the saints confers benefit right away. The darshan of sadhus (seeing the saints) is much greater than pilgrimages, so people get greater benefit.

Devotee: How many such saints are there who have these good qualities in them? Who are pure in thoughts, words and actions? How many are there that think of the welfare of the whole universe, and do not negatively criticize others. Can these saints remove the darkness from the hearts of others?

Satguru: Whoever wants good results in life has to serve the saints. This is very important. After performing service and obtaining knowledge, sins are removed, and one gets salvation. What can the devotion of saints not give! It gives everything. If you reach a great lake of pure water, how can you remain thirsty? Everyone can quench his thirst. Sadhus and saints always think about and work for the welfare of others. Thus, they are great and others (devotees) must serve them. They are calm and full of knowledge, and think always of giving to others generously without any distinctions. Since Sadhus are this way we should serve them and earn spiritual merits.

The one who imparts knowledge that removes your ignorance becomes your Satguru. There are many who put on the clothes of sadhus, but they do not have the knowledge. If such a person comes to your home you should treat him respectfully, and offer him food and clothes, and serve him within your means. But the one who reveals the means to reach Sar Shabda and salvation in this life must be served with the highest regard, and with all the means at your disposal. Prakashmani Nam Saheb stressed this.

Devotee: O Satguru! Please explain to me the greatness of Satguru. I do not see anyone else who is like you in this world who can lovingly lead me on the spiritual path.

Satguru: Satguru is like the doctor who removes the fear of old age, disease and death, and who has the most valuable medicine that confers eternity. That medicine is like nectar. Satguru has that, and he imparts it to the disciple. The soul, slumbering for many births in ignorance, is awakened by the Satguru who imparts knowledge. When the soul is awakened, it sees the Light and obtains liberation. Satguru is the ocean of mercy and compassion, and He measures out the proper medicine that removes the blindness of ignorance and reveals the Truth. Satguru protects the soul of the disciple who is floating on the worldly ocean, rescues him from drowning, and easily takes him to the other shore. I bow down again and again to that Satguru. He is like a boat's captain who can avoid all the obstacles and dangerous places.

The Eternal Truth (Eternal Word) is hidden in every being. Without Satguru it does not become known. One thus needs the compassion and grace of the Satguru. Therefore, O devotee! If you want salvation, go to the Satguru's refuge. Surrender yourself body, mind and speech completely, and serve Him. Only complete dedication and acceptance of the true teachings taken to heart would be of real value. Crossing the worldly ocean then becomes effortless.

Who is Satguru? The Satguru is one whose nectar-like words remove the troubles of old age, death, fear, ignorance and doubts, and implants divine knowledge. He will shower compassion on you and protect you in the boat of God's Name, and remove you from the cycle of births and deaths.

In this Chapter spiritual knowledge (para vidya) is imparted. It is also adhyatma yoga shastra which means the scripture of the knowledge of the Spirit. It deals with the importance of Satguru and how the devotee has to obtain him. When a devotee receives the grace of Satguru and obeys His instructions, then he has to put them into practice.

Devotee: O Satguru! Please tell me what is my duty in devotion. How am I to prepare myself for meditation?

Satguru: Attend satsangs and meet sadhus and saints. In their company you will be able to meet Satguru. When you meet him you will get knowledge that gives salvation. All devotees perform righteous duties and avoid bad actions. If an unrighteous person claims to have higher knowledge, he is false and should be avoided. Righteousness with knowledge is called Kriya Yoga or the discrimination between righteous and unrighteous actions. The devotee who desires salvation must perform righteous duties, and give up violence of every kind, in thought, word, and deed. He must accept non-violence and truthfulness as commands in his life. He must also practice non-stealing. He must have the highest character and the best conduct. The best conduct is the control of all the senses, the mind and one's self. Control over the senses gives power and one becomes spiritually and devotionally stronger. He also enjoys long a life, freedom from disease, enthusiasm, devotion, dedication, and other good attributes. The great souls and deities conquered death because of brahmcharya, which is the control of sensual desires.

Satguru: The devotee must live without possessing too many things. He should have only what is necessary for his use. (Story in Hitopdesh of Jackal wanting to collect many things and got killed with an arrow. A Hunter shot an arrow to kill a wild boar. The boar, wounded with the arrow, attacked the hunter with his strong teeth and killed him, and the boar died with the arrow. A snake got crushed in the struggle. The hunter's arrow and bow lay there. A Jackal arrived and was pleased to see so much food (a dead man, boar and a snake) that would last him for many days. He thought of only eating a small bit and hoarding the rest. He started eating the bowstring made of animal tissues. When the jackal cut the string the end of the bow sprang violently and cut the jackal's throat and he died). This is just a parable to show that it is not good to hoard things. He who hoards things will always have a restless mind, and he would not be able to meditate or accomplish important duties in his life.

Cleanliness is a duty of a devotee. It is of two kinds, inner and outer. Outer cleanliness is to wash the body and wear clean clothes, and keep a clean environment. Inner cleanliness is to replace all bad thoughts with good thoughts. Saints give greater importance to the inner cleanliness.

The devotee has to be contented. He should accept what is available and necessary and not to give in to cravings. Contentment makes a person happy, whereas cravings make him unhappy. Craving is like a mirage that you try to reach, and it keeps on vanishing. A thirsty deer pursuing a mirage to get water is called mrig trishna or the burning thirst of the deer. Cravings do the same thing, and the person finds that he cannot always get what he really wants. He will never be satisfied. So contentment is the best for happiness.

After contentment, you have to have Titiksha or the courage to endure hardships such as hunger and thirst, heat and cold, and to control desires. The wise people say that whoever in the world got something of value got it because of austerity. Good conduct and character are also austerity. To live simply and truthfully is also austerity. Keeping a fast is also austerity.

How does the soul merge into God?

Devotee: O Satguru, please tell me how does the union of surati and shabda come to a person? How can the surati be pure and how can it love the shabda? (Surati has different meanings - mind, soul, and consciousness). When the soul merges into the universal Word, Sat Purush (God), then how do all the differences become abolished?

Satguru: When all the thought waves merge into the Divine Sound, they become sound. There are no more thoughts. Only Word remains. The surati and shabda cannot then be differentiated. When the surati unites with shabda, it is just as when water mixes with milk and become one. Surati gives up its own identity and merges into the Word. Although surati and shabda appear different, they are not really separate. Once the union has occurred, and the thought waves are silenced, bliss is experienced. When the waters of two rivers such as the Ganges and the Yamuna unite at Prayag, one cannot differentiate the waters, just so, when surati and shabda unite, they are indistinguishable. However, for this to occur one has to meditate before that Oneness can be realized. The Yamuna merges into the Ganges and loses itself, and only the Ganges remains. In the same way, when surati merges into shabda, then only shabda remains. No one can then identify any separation or differences. When one attains unity with shabda, his surati becomes pure. All the passions of lust, anger, attachment, greed and ego are removed. He becomes a true devotee. Kabir Saheb said that the person who has lust, anger and greed couldn't do devotion. When there are water droplets in the air, sunlight can produce a rainbow, such as you can see in the mist near a waterfall. Though the water has no color, it reflects the various colors of light. The light does not color the water. In the same way, when surati merges into God (Word) then all the "colors" of passions cannot color the pure Word. All emotions become powerless.

For meditation, the devotee has to observe the rules of Yama and Niyama. He also has to sit in a proper and comfortable posture for a certain length of time. The sahaj asan or easy posture is practical, and it should be perfected by regular practice.

The yamas are: non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, non-hoarding of possessions, and control of all the senses and passions. The niyamas are: cleanliness of mind and body, contentment, austerity, study of scriptures, and intense desire for God realization. The devotee must control his mind and then meditate on the Word. This is called Surati Dharana or Surati Shabda Dharana which means to control the mind with the Anahad Nad or the Internal Mystical Sound Current. This is the way for the beginner to get control of the mind. When the mind is fixed on the Word (the Inner Sound) and does not waver from it, then it comes under proper control. After control of the mind, the devotee has to meditate. In meditation the meditator realizes 'oneness' with the object of meditation. Meditation is just like pouring honey from a bottle: the stickiness of the honey makes every drop stick to the others. In the same way the thought waves maintain a continuous flow towards a single object. The devotee will then attain samadhi or Self-realization. Though there are different kinds of samadhi, he will try to reach Nirvikalpa Samadhi. There is the Savikalpa Samadhi in which the devotee retains a sense of differences. He cannot stay in Savikalpa Samadhi for a long time. In Nirvikalpa Samadhi, all differences disappear and the devotee can remain in it for a long time. In this state there is a constant realization of Oneness. The meditator, the meditation and the object of meditation merge into unity. In Nirvikalpa Samadhi the soul, God and the meditator become one. By achieving this state the devotee obtains immense bliss. The attainment of this state of Samadhi (Sahaj Samadhi) is also called Jivan-Mukti (liberation during this lifetime). The meditator realizes oneness with God during his lifetime. His actions, words and thoughts become harmonious, and he enjoys bliss.

Without devotion to the Satguru none attains true meditation.

Devotee: O Satguru, please tell me, how am I to do devotion to Satguru who gives me the true Name?

Satguru: The devotee has to serve his Guru with pure mind and good intentions. The Guru will then impart knowledge. This knowledge helps the devotee to realize the Eternal State Of Being. It is just like a person digging a deep well to find pure water. In the same way if someone performs devotion to Satguru, he obtains true knowledge that helps him to obtain salvation.

There are three ways to obtain this knowledge:

1st---- To serve the Guru
2nd---- To give wealth to get knowledge
3rd---- To give knowledge in exchange for other knowledge.

Among these three ways, service to the Guru is the best. The devotee should worship his Guru, as all other kinds of worship are included in it. It is like watering the root of a plant and the whole plant becomes watered. The devotee must give up pride and ego before he worships his Guru. A special "electric current" resides in the body of Satguru and it is passed on to the devotee's mind. This is a direct benefit to the devotee. When a person has bad thoughts, another person meeting him will be influenced by those thoughts. Similarly if one meets a person who always has good thoughts then he will be influenced by the good thoughts. Satguru always has pure thoughts, so the devotee gets pure thoughts in his company. When you feed a cow she can give you milk, just so when you serve your Guru you get knowledge. If the devotee has good thoughts, they will influence the Guru to impart true spiritual knowledge.

(A parable) One day an old lady wanted to visit her daughter who was living outside the city gates. She was walking and carrying a bundle of presents. She got tired, so she asked a rider on a horse to give the bundle to her daughter, and directed him to her daughter's house. The rider refused to do it and left. After having gone some distance he thought that the lady's bundle must contain some valuables. If he had taken it and rode away no one could have caught him. He returned to take the bundle. Now the lady thought how foolish she was to offer the bundle to him, that he could have taken it for himself. Now, the man politely said, "O mother, give me the bundle and I will give it to your daughter." The lady then said: "No my son! I will carry it myself." The man said, "You wanted to give me. Why are you refusing now?" The lady then said: "The same one who told you to take this bundle now, also told me not to give the bundle to you." What really happened here: The thought of the rider influenced the thought of the lady. Just so good thoughts of one person, induces good thoughts in another. Therefore always perform devotion with good thoughts.

When an eagle builds a nest on a tree, all the other birds residing on that tree will fly away, in order to protect themselves. In the same way, when meditation and Satguru's knowledge are in the heart, all the evils vanish.

Devotee: O Satguru! Tell me how I should recite nij nam? How can I obtain the sar shabd (essence of the Word) by recitation?

Satguru: The form of sat (Existence) is the "form" of the soul as is accepted by all the great spiritual masters. Thus nij nam is sat nam or the Eternal, Self Existent Name of God. The recitation of sat nam leads the devotee to salvation. But before the devotee recites sat nam, he has to develop the emotional state or feeling of devotion in his heart, and not merely utter the words. Sat nam is the Eternal Name that has always existed, exists now, and will always continue to exist. It is not bound by time. Sat is the ocean of perfect bliss. Sat nam or nij nam is itself the Eternal State or Being, which is really the final destination. The devotee must thus recite sat nam with this feeling that sat nam is his final destination. Japa or recitation is the process used to control the mind. When the mind is involved in meaningful recitation, then the process is known as japa yoga. The devotee who wishes salvation must practice japa with love for a long time as the first step. Then the sat dhwani (anahad nad) or mystical sound appears automatically inside him. His japa then becomes ajapa jap or recitation without uttering or thinking of words. The devotee must have a deep love for this recitation and he will easily obtain bliss.

Whatever we do in this life goes with us. If we perform good actions, then they help us in this and the next life. Nothing but our righteousness is helpful after death. All of our material possessions are of no use. It is the devotional and the spiritual life now that will help the soul's onward progress.

(Parable: A person had three friends and he used to visit two of them regularly, as he loved them very much. He loved the third one a lot less and visited him only occasionally. One day the man committed a criminal offence. The injured party filed a criminal lawsuit, and the person had to go to court. If he could produce witnesses he could perhaps avoid a penalty or imprisonment. He went to his first friend whom he loved a great deal and asked him to be a witness and to speak in his favour. The friend refused. He tried to persuade him, but he still refused. He then went to the other friend whom he also loved a great deal. He asked this friend also to testify in court in his favour. This friend said that he can go to the court but will not testify on his behalf, because he limits himself to the outside of the court house, and will not go inside. The man then thought what was the use if the friend would go to the court but would not go inside. He then thought of how much he loved these two friends and now they were not helping him. He then thought of his third friend whom he did not love much. But when a person is in trouble he will seek help from anybody. So he went to this friend who welcomed him. He related his problem and said that if his friend could testify on his behalf, perhaps, he will be forgiven and set free. On hearing the problem this friend agreed, and told him that if he had some trouble, that he will bear most of the trouble for him. This friend went to court and testified. Though the man did not love this friend much, he got help from him).

This simple story illustrates that in life we have three types of friends. The first friend is all the material possessions. But these do not go to the 'court'. At death all the possessions remain right where they are. The other friend is all the relatives. They can go with you to the grave but not in it with you, nor will they be cremated with you. The third friend is dharma, righteousness, which will go with the soul. Dharma breaks all of the soul's bondage. Thus you can see that material things and relationships are attractive but not helpful for liberation. Spiritual life is the only means for liberation.

All the saints state that when someone ties the knot with God using the Sat Shabda (Eternal Word), then death does not break that knot. Nothing else crosses that boundary of death. The Bhagavad Gita also states that what we have achieved, spiritually, in this life will go with us. If liberation is not achieved in this life, then the soul will be reborn in such a state that it will have greater opportunity to perform righteousness and obtain liberation. He who merges in the Eternal Word, in God, goes beyond worldly things and dwells eternally in the Word i.e. attains eternal life.

What is Ni-akshar? Kshar means all that is perishable or impermanent. And what is not destructible is akshar. Thus the soul is akshar. Ni-akshar refers to the Supreme Soul. When the soul merges into that Being which is beyond kshar and akshar, it is said to be one with Ni-akshar and is beyond the limits of time and space. This is attained in meditation. The Divine Melody (Anahad Nad) is heard inside with the Grace of Satguru. When one merges with that Melody, he does not return to the cycle of birth and death. The devotee must have deep love for God and sing the glories of that Divine Sound which will lead him to the immortal abode. When the moon rises, its light is pleasant and we enjoy it and feel happy. In the same way, when we experience the Shabda inside, it creates permanent happiness and enthusiasm in us. When someone obtains the Anahad Nad, (the limitless and unstruck music), and his mind becomes attached to it at all times, then he attains salvation.

As a magnet attracts iron filings, just so Shabda, the Divine Melody, attracts the soul that then comes close to it. The soul then unites with the Word that is immortal and omnipresent. The devotee realizes this omnipresence by the grace of Satguru.

The Ganges started from the Himalayas with pure water, and as it reaches the ocean the water becomes polluted. The soul is from God and is pure, but coming into the world it becomes polluted. If we reverse the process, and withdraw from the polluting influences of the world, we will find the purity from where we started. That purity is Divinity itself - Sat Purush - with whom we have to unite. The light of the soul is indescribable as it falls in the realm of Para Vani (Divine Word). Apara Vani is worldly speech.

There are two kinds of Vidya (knowledge) - Para Vidya and Apara Vidya. All the worldly knowledge is Apara. Knowledge about the soul is Para. There are four kinds of Vani (speech), Vaikhari, Madhyma, Pashyanti and Para. Vaikhari is our ordinary speech. Madhyma is speech that occurs silently within. Pashyanti is subtler form (thought) of speech. Para is the Anadad Nad or Divine Sound that the advanced devotee enjoys inside. It is a state of bliss. This sound is connected with the light of the soul. When the devotee gets such realization, then the cycles of births and deaths vanish. But before he attains that, he has to be perfectly righteous. With the Grace of Satguru, the devotee is able to overcome all difficulties and obtain bliss. Even many yogis cannot obtain this bliss. They meditate and try to attain Nirvikalpa Samadhi (cosmic consciousness) but they do not attain the Para Vani. Those who follow the instructions of Satguru, and recite the Name inside, will attain the Para Vani and salvation.

The goal of life is liberation from all the troubles of life. If we get everything in life, but fail to get liberation, then it means that we have not finished our duty in this life. There are four goals in the life of everyone. They are dharma (religious duties), artha (wealth), kama (fulfillment of desires) and moksha (liberation). Everyone wants money and enjoyment, but without righteousness, they are dangerous. They will lead a person to live like a demon. There must be righteousness with money and desires. With righteous living one reaches the last goal of moksha (liberation). It is better to have salvation during one's life (jivan mukti). Kabir Saheb said that if you cannot obtain salvation in life, how can you obtain it in death? Who can bear witness that someone got salvation after death? Salvation is worthwhile only if it is realized in one's life. This salvation is obtained through devotion, meditation and attunement with the Divine Word inside.

What is the yoga of sar shabda or surat shabda? This is the mystical teaching containing the "hidden treasure." Whoever is able to understand it, and wants to, will get to know it.

Devotee: O Satguru! You spoke of surat shabda yoga, but I do not know what it means. Please explain it to me. O Satguru! You are full of compassion. Please tell me about the yoga of surati and shabda, and also about sar shabda. What is the essence of all of them?

Satguru: Surati and shabda are two things, but when they unite, they become one and lead the soul across this ocean of life to salvation, just as a boat takes a person across the ocean. All the saints say that in this universe, which is endless, the sat shabda (Divine Word - Melody) is itself the soul and God, and is itself the support of the soul to reach its destination. That Word is like a magnet that attracts the soul. Surati (Soham Surati) which, in reality, is the same as the soul, is reached when the mind is concentrated on ajapa (unuttered sound or Word). This becomes soham surati. When the surati rides on the boat of the Word, then it reaches the eternal abode of God. There then remains nothing more for the soul to attain. With the Word one can be what he wants. He can fulfill his wishes with the power of the Word.

Without the knowledge of Sar Shabd, the soul does not escape from the cycle of birth and death. The Sar Shabd is so important that it manifests eternally inside the person in a hidden or mystical way. That sound is going on all the time and has many "signs" if the person knows how to recognize them. That eternal Sound is in everyone, but dormant. One has to "awaken" it with love, devotion, recitation of the Name and meditation. That Sound is unceasing and unfathomable, and is full of bliss. It may take many lifetimes to achieve it depending upon one's spiritual development. We must understand first of all that many of us have the opportunity in this world to achieve our goal. Many people do not get this opportunity. Those who do must have done many good deeds in their past lives.

So ends the Prakashmani Gita with a brief explanation of the inner path to reach our ultimate goal of God Realization and freedom from karmic bondage.

Sri Sadguru Paramatma Mahanta Santidasaji Maharaja Saheba (of Kabir Panth)