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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Light and Sound on the Path: The Week of January 17th, 2010

Light and Sound on the Path: The Week of January 17th, 2010

Sant Mat Radhasoami Blog:

The Monthly Sant Mat Satsang Podcasts Are Here:

Sant Mat recognizes the great Sages, and Saints of the different traditions who are accomplished in the spiritual goal of human life. Sant Mat respects the Saints, Prophets, and Sages of all traditions: Buddha, Mahavira, Jesus Christ, Guru Nanak, Kabir, Rumi, Bahá'u'lláh, Mira Bai, etc. Furthermore, Sant Mat believes in the uninterrupted continuation of the emergence of Saints (Masters, Sant Satgurus) on this Earth.

Contemplative Silence -- The Art of Tapping Into Our Source of Inner Wisdom and Guidance
By James Bean
Copyright, December 2009 - All Rights Reserved

"Deep within us all there is an amazing inner sanctuary of the soul, a holy place, a Divine Center, a speaking Voice, to which we may continually return. Eternity is at our hearts, pressing upon our time-torn lives, warming us with intimations of an astounding destiny, calling us home unto Itself. Yielding to these persuasions, gladly committing ourselves in body and soul, utterly and completely, to the Light Within, is the beginning of true life. It is a dynamic center, a creative Life that presses to birth within us." (A Testament of Devotion, Thomas Kelly, Quaker mystic)

In this matrix or labyrinth of existence we can become quite habituated into remaining as surface-dwellers living inundated by all the outward distractions that life on earth provides. We may ask of ourselves, "Am I availing myself of the spiritual direction and wisdom that comes from within?" This would be a source of wisdom that not only provides an inner perception of bliss, insight, or affirms a "Truth" of some sort that one believes in, but an inner intuition that can also make a positive contribution to one's outward life on the physical plane. Mystics teach that the inner and outer life are not separate. There is a relationship between one and the other. A life-affirming state of being on the inside leads one to making the outward life into something more heavenly too.

There are both outward and inward avenues to wisdom. There is the wisdom of living teachers with us now, as well as the wisdom left behind in the form of world scriptures and spiritual classics by teachers of previous generations. "Through association with Masters, the hearing of spiritual talks and study, wisdom can be acquired. Wisdom is essential in determining what is the right way to live your life." (Maharshi Mehi) "Let thy house be a place of meeting for the wise, and dust thyself with the dust of their feet, and drink their words with thirst." (The Mishnah, Jewish text) "Approach someone who has realized the purpose of life and question him with reverence and devotion; he will instruct you in this wisdom. Once you attain it, you will never be deluded. You will see all creatures in the Self, and all in Me." (Krishna, Bhagavad Gita) "The superior man acquaints himself with many sayings of antiquity and many deeds of the past, in order to strengthen his character thereby." (Confucianism. I Ching 26: Taming Power of the Great) "Without proverbs [traditional wisdom], the language would be but a skeleton without flesh, a body without a soul." (Zulu Proverb, South Africa) "Whoever discovers the interpretation of these sayings will not taste death." (Yeshua, Gospel of Thomas) "Absorbed in the Scriptures and their purport, he transcends the cycle of birth and death." (Jainist Sutra)

Outward instruction and inspiration is priceless, and there is also an inner Voice of the Silence we can tap into. "There is a speaking of God in the core of the soul where no creature can enter or speak, for only God lives there and only He speaks. God speaks there when the soul puts aside all that is created, when she silences her powers and gains a vision into the foundation of her pure essence. In this pure and silent soul God the Father speaks and she hears His Voice." (Meister Eckhart, German mystic) "The imaginations of the mind are just as innumerable as the innumerable waves of an ocean. If somehow this mind can become quiet by itself, attainment of true knowledge -- like diamond will become easily possible [everyone in this world is sad and restless because of lack of true knowledge. This true knowledge can be attained only when the mind becomes quiet]." (verse from, The Sakhi Granth of Kabir) Through silence meditation we can "step outside the box." Silence speaks volumes. The practice of receiving inner guidance or hearing the Voice or Life Impulse of God in the silence of contemplation is a universal teaching of all great saints and mystics.

In, "The Way of the Saints", speaking to both the need for guidance about more temporal matters as well as inner wisdom that leads to the eternal experience of Ultimate Reality, Kirpal Singh said, "There is a cardinal need for developing inner receptivity. The Master-Power, as you all know, is not confined to any particular place. It is working in and around you. You have but to turn your face towards Him inwardly to get the required help and guidance wherever necessary. Learn to sit still and be mentally still, and the silence thus generated with be more vocal than words spoken and written; and you will have an instantaneous solution not only to your own personal problems but to the problems of others as well........

"God is the Ocean of utmost and restful silence. So long as we cannot have this restful silence within us, the soul cannot listen to the Voice of silence arising out of the greatest depths of Silence. By following that Voice we can reach the source and fountainhead of the Great Silence called God and be blessed forever.... In silence the heart illumines; veil after veil is removed. In the heart shines the Light, and the very silence becomes vocal giving vent to the Music of the Spheres reverberating in all creation."

From the Depths Within, Living From the Center of One's Being

The art of listening/seeing/perceiving/being introspective in the silence of meditation provides us with countless opportunities to see clearly without the usual day-to-day distractions, perceiving the events of our life from a higher vantage-point. As Mother Teresa of Calcutta said: "Silence gives us a new way of looking at everything." Silence allows angels to whisper advice into our ears. It also makes it possible for the authentic self to rise to the surface, introducing a new divine power or grace into this dimension of reality. It imparts insight, and ultimately, wisdom borne out of the depths or womb of contemplative silence gives birth to the realization of the soul itself. "There was within me a stillness of silence, and I heard the Blessedness whereby I knew my real self." (Book of Allogenes [The "Stranger" or "Foreigner"], Nag Hammadi Library)

A Diet of Kindness and Compassion

"Be gentle of heart and fill your mind with compassion if you want to attain the supreme purpose of life." (Swami Ji Maharaj, Sar Bachan Poetry)

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you...no matter the species.

"Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet." -- Albert Einstein

Our Reason to Be Here

"We are the pearls of the shoreless ocean, sometimes the waves and sometimes the sea. We came into the world for this purpose -- that we might show God to His creatures." (Kamal, one of Kabir's sons)

Giving Life Meaning

"Ponds, rains, trees, and Saints -- all these four give meaning to their existence by helping others. A pond is meant to quench the thirst of living beings. The rains cause crops to grow and fills the world with greeneries. A tree gives cool shade, fruit, and wood. A Saint gives meaning to the lives of others by imparting True Knowledge to them." (The Saakhi Granth of Kabir, an ahimsa ethics manual of Sant Mat)

"The Master always tends and protects his disciples as a gardener nurses his seedlings. In his divine presence, he nourishes them with his merciful glance. It is only appropriate to use the name 'Master' for someone who shows you the Lord within your own body, O Bahu!" (Hazrat Sultan BaHU)

Meditate Daily

"No big deal if you had to live for a day without meals, but never live a single day without meditation!" - Swami Sant Sevi Ji Maharaj

Explore the Currents of Sound

"It is the highest duty of every individual to acquire experiential Knowledge of this Shabd [inner Sound Current], and to investigate or explore the Origin or Source from where this Shabd flows out". (Baba Devi Sahab)

"The other Music or Sound is internal and the way to listen to that is by focusing our attention on the internal `Shabd' or Sound which is Ringing within each one of us. Shabd is a highly precious wealth in the life of every human being. So long as this Shabd is present in a man he is alive; as soon as the Shabd exits, it is the end of him." (Baba Devi Sahab)

"Who else is Christ but the Sound of God?" (Acts of John, Gnostic Christian scripture)

True Simran Practice in the Sant Tradition

By James Bean

The Many Names of the Nameless (Anami) One

The Nameless God has been given many names over the centuries. There are countless divine names used in various schools of spirituality. Some are given "The Five Names" (panch naam) consisting of five holy names of God. These are revealed at the time of Initiation into Sant Mat or Shabd Yoga meditation. These same five names have been used for centuries in certain branches of Sant Mat connected with Kabir and Sant Dharam Das, Sant Dariya Sahib, Sant Tulsi Sahib, and Sant Radhasoami Sahib. Others have been given five Sufi names of God at the time of Initiation into Surat Shabd Yoga meditation. These five Sufi or Islamic names have the same essential meaning as the five Indian names used in Sant Mat, and, as with the Indian names, also correspond to five basic inner regions. (In one of the Jewish Gnostic paths of antiquity, a group known as the Sethians, there was also a five-named or panch naam mantra approach, only with five Hebrew names. Those were associated with certain heavenly regions: Harmoz-el, Oroia-el, Daveithai, El-eleth, and another word meaning, the "Self-Begotten One".) Others are given the name RADHASOAMI (Ra-da-Swam-e, "Soul-Lord" or "Lord of the Soul") to use in simran practice along one's journey though all of the various states and stages within. Other Sant Mat lineages use a two-syllabled sacred word revealed at the time of Initiation, and it represents a name for the Soundless One, the Most High God.

In the classic bhajans and banis of the Sants of India appear numerous names of God. One can read verses exhorting devotees to repeat many names of the Formless One:

"Repeat the Name of Raam".
"Repeat the Name of Radhaswami".
"Repeat the Name of Hari".
"Repeat the Name of Govinda".
"Repeat the Name of Vitthala".
"Repeat the Name of Allah".
"Repeat the Name of HOO (HU)".

Many names have used by various Sants: Param-Atma, Hari, Alakh, Allah, Raam or Rama, Rahim, Agam, Purushotama, Khuda, Gobind, Panduranga, Pandhari, Vitthala, Narayana, Vitthoba, Sat Purusha, etc... Some of these names are used by Hindu paths too, and have different meanings. As Sant Dariya Sahib once said:

"Consider the four meanings of Ram,
The first Ram (1) is our inner self.
Parashu-ram (2) is said to be the second one.
The third one lived in Dasharath's (3) home.
The fourth Ram is the Primeval Sat Purush (4)
Call Him (Sat Purush) Ram or call Him Naam, Ram and Naam are one. Both are mutually indistinguishable; Satguru's Sound Current reveals this wisdom."

The Life Principle that pervades everywhere, permeating, witin all. Parashu-ram, the son of Sage Jamadagni, is regarded as the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Ancient king of Ayodhya, the father of Ram. Rama: the seventh incarnation of Vishnu and the hero of the great epic Ramayana (Adventures of Rama). The Nirguna or Formless Raam, All-Spirit. (Sant Dariya Sahab)

For the Sants of the East, all names of the One God represent the Nameless, Formless (Nirguna) God of Love and Compassion Who is Timeless (Akal), Spirit, and Eternal (Sat).

The True Spirit of Simran Practice is Bhakti

"Simran" is a term which means "Remembrance", the spiritual practice of remembering or being mindful of God by repeating his Name. Devotees sing or chant various names for God. Higher spiritually, and more "within" is the practice of "manas jap", the mental repetition of God's name or names "with the tongue of thought" - in other words, chanting names of God within one's mind. The Sants have always placed much greater emphasis upon mental Simran over vocal chant.

There is however, more to Simran than the repeating of sacred names. Simran must be approached with the right attitude, the right spirit, for one's intent determines how successful the practice will be, and what effect it will have upon one's consciousness. Simran has never been intended to be a dry or lifeless mantra practice. The path of the Sants is a bhakti path, a path of love and devotion for the Supreme Being. Thus, the true Masters have always instructed their students to repeat God's Name with love and devotion, as a lover calling out to one's Beloved, the Lord of Love.

Guru Kabir

"Keep your mind ever engrossed in the Name of the Lord as the lover's mind is ever engrossed in his beloved. He never forgets her for a single moment - Through day and night he remembers her.

"Happiness rests in ever-repeated simran,
Sorrow and suffering is removed by simran.
Kabir declares with utmost force and clarity:
Practise this simran and be one with the Lord." (Kabir)

What, then, is the practice of the Name? It is a form of interior prayer by which a person learns to keep his or her attention always in the Lord, in every circumstance and situation, at all moments, through day and night. It is a form of inner remembrance that leads to a heightened awareness beyond the limitations of the physical world and the portals of death.

Through meditation on the Name, or Nam bhakti, one learns to draw one's attention away from the outer world.

Sant Namdev

Always be in rapport with the Lord
And enjoy true contentment -
This is the state of ineffable serenity.
There is no peace except in the Name of the Lord -
Meditate on it with one-pointed attention.

Experience the state of superconsciousness
Where the Lord's love surges
And you will see your own form
In each particle of the creation.

0 Nama, the Lord will make
The pupil of your eye his home,
And your eye will expand
To contain the entire universe.
(Saint Namdev, Mystics of the East Series)

The Simran of God's Name Will Lead One to the True Name: The Sound of God

The repetition of the holy Names is the truest spiritual technique. An uninterrupted inner repetition of the holy Names given by the living Master has to be practiced daily with love, devotion, and one- pointed attention. One thereby transcends one's body and is transported to the realms of Light.

The repetition develops into an ever-going spontaneous process, and one catches the unceasing inner Music which takes one to its Source, and reveals God face to face. One is, therefore, exhorted to search daily for the Source of this Unstruck Music. Whatever one does and wherever one happens to be, one is asked to be a sacrifice unto His Name and to have ardent longing to behold Him and hear His voice.

Sant Dadu Dayal

From within, the indwelling Lord Himself
tells me.
"The repetition of My Name alone
is true; all else is delusion."

The Name, the essential Truth of the
three worlds, alone is efficacious.
0 Dadu.
With discrimination, repeat it exclusively
day and night, 0 mind.

At every breath be devoted to it, and
thy Beloved will meet thee one day.
Repetition is the path leading to bliss;
thus hath the Master explained.

Be dedicated to God moment by moment,
even if thou art to lose thy life.
No other way is there to support
the self.

Who is that ill-fated one preaching some
other means?
Without the Name, tell me, where can
one find a foothold? asketh Dadu.

Let not the Name be separated for
a moment from within thy heart,
0 Dadu.
Millions have been purified by
repeating God's Name alone.

Be dedicated to God while the body
is in good condition,
Else later on, when the body and mind
are worn out, thou shalt repent,
sayeth Dadu.

The whole world is full of poison; rarely
someone is free from it, 0 Dadu.
He alone will be free from poison
who is steeped in the Name
of the Supreme Lord.

Repeat the Name with the pang of
separation, and sing its glory with
love and devotion.
Fix thy mind in repetition with joy and
dedication, 0 Dadu.

While speaking or listening, giving
or taking, eating or drinking,
Repeat the Name of God at all times,
0 Dadu, thus shalt the self rest
in the inner lotus.
(Encyclopedia of Saints of India, Volume 25: Sant Dadu Dayal)

Several Bhajans (Hymns) of Kabir. Good audio quality:

Importance of Initiation

"The process by which the secret of how to realize God is taught is called deeksha or initiation. It is always rewarding to seek initiation from a Satguru or preceptor." (Swami Achyutanand Ji)

Radhaswami: The Lord of Love

"Great emphasis as been made by the Masters on the generation of love for the Supreme Being, the Supreme Master who is all love. Love is the prime source of boundless energy. Love is bliss, and thus the Supreme Being is Supreme Bliss. Love is Light and Truth and from them emanates intelligence. Thus, the Supreme Being is an infinite Ocean of bliss, intelligence, energy, truth and light. He is eternal and unchangeable, the sole director of the whole creation. Such a Supreme Being is omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent. He is all-pervading. The entire universe is the creation of His own Current and as such He is present at every stage in the creation." (Agam Prasad Mathur, "Petals of Love", new book)

Creating the Golden Age, Why Wait for the World to Catch Up?

There have always been a few enlightened enclaves in the world, here and there over the centuries, a few ashrams of Essenes, Gnostics, and Saints living ahead of their time. I like the idea of personally stepping into the Sat Yuga or Golden Age as an individual choice. Rather than waiting for the world to catch up -- a mighty long wait indeed, we can live more and more from our spiritual Ideals, of meditation, vegan or vegetarian diet, spiritual community, enlightened activities, rising up to a higher octave, here and now. Calendars will be always be calenders, but we are free to create the Golden Age today, can step into Sat Yuga in this present moment.

Standing at the Crossroads of Time

Kirpal Singh: "Standing at the crossroads of Time, we must make a firm resolve to do better from day to day; at least from the New Year's Day that beckons us on with a promise of rosy dawn. As there are landmarks on earth, so there are landmarks in Time. The past and future are like sealed books to us: the one is in the limbo of oblivion, while the other is in the womb of uncertainty. It is only the LIVING PRESENT that is ours, and we must make the best use of it, ere it slips away through the fingers and is lost forever. Human birth is a great privilege and offers us a golden opportunity. It is for us to make or mar the same, for it is given to each individual to forge his or her own destiny as best he may."