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Saturday, November 08, 2014

Seeing the Unseen, Hearing the Unheard, Knowing the Unknown -- Light and Sound on the Path -- Newsletter of Spiritual Quotes and Sant Mat Satsang Discourses

Seeing the Unseen, Hearing the Unheard, Knowing the Unknown -- Light and Sound on the Path -- Newsletter of Spiritual Quotes and Sant Mat Satsang Discourses

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This Sant Mat Radhasoami E-Newsletter is dedicated to the Path of the Masters (Sant Satgurus of the Past, the Living Present, and Future), and to the Supreme Being, the Lord of the Soul Who is the Ocean of Love and All-consciousness, and explores the poetry, prose, spiritual discourses, books, scriptures, letters, prayers, ahimsa ethics, podcasts, videos, philosophy, cosmology, and history of the Masters from a traditional Indian perspective, and might also include quotes from various world religions in harmony with the Way of the Saints, the Path of the Masters and Mystics.

"What's the use of receiving this human form if we do not serve others in thought, word, and deed. If we hold our thoughts only on worldly material things and refuse to think of that which is higher and more subtle, then our faith in the Transcendental will inevitably diminish." ("Quintessence of Yoga: Secret of All Success", a Sant Mat publication)

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Like all Masters do, Sant Dadu Dayal the Compassionate Mystic came to rescue souls from "the matrix" of illusion, time and duality.

"Kal* has besieged all the world. Few have cared to inquire about the Dayal (the Merciful, Compassionate God, the Ocean of Love)…. Few came to know of Sants, therefore the religion of Sants remained hidden, concealed. I now openly and clearly explain the principles of Sant Mat [Path of the Masters]." (Soami Ji Maharaj, Sar Bachan Poetry, Volume II)

*Kal: lord of illusion, death, time, negative power, limited perception, universal mind, Gnostic demiurge (false god);

Ego-based Seva vs. Right-Hearted Seva (Selfless Service)

Seva is a term that means "selfless service". According to the Sants, everyone has a gift or talent to contribute in one way or another. Seva is never something meant only for organizational "seva elites" in charge of "ministries of seva", as if others have no permission or rights as human beings to share or contribute in some way. All satsangis, devotees or initiates should do some form of seva, in some way, if they can, according to their abilities, according to the teachings of the Masters. Translate some verses of spiritual poetry from Urdu into English, or words of Masters from Hindi into Thai or some other language. Give someone a book. Liberate a book and upload it so that others may be able to access it and benefit. Donate to the poor. Feed the hungry. Be compassionate toward someone in need that crosses your path, comes to your attention. Seva is not intended to be solely the domain of a few individuals at some institution of religion or spirituality. Rather, seva is something we can all do as part of our spiritual journey of following this Path of the Masters during our time here on planet Earth, the Ocean of Samsara.

Maharaj Saheb said: "The strengthening of the outward tendency or inclination, be it even in Parmarthi [spiritual] activities, is harmful and injurious. For example, to cherish a desire for power and authority in the seva [service, activity] of Satsang or some such other work one is entrusted with, or to become totally engrossed in the seva of the Head of Satsang or in the personal or special seva of the Perfect Guru, which may fortunately be allotted to one, if He [a Master] is present, and to forget the real object, constitutes ignorance. The object of Parmarth [spirituality] is that Surat [soul] and the mind, which are at present getting diffused outside  [in the world of the five senses], should withdraw and ascend within. The modes and methods to achieve this end, are Satsang and Abhyas [meditation practices]. Along with these, seva is also prescribed. If this object is achieved by performing seva, then it is all right, otherwise, the real purpose will be defeated. But, from this it should not be inferred that performing seva is of no avail. According as one’s grade is, seva is also necessary and beneficial, but to consider this alone to be the be-all and end-all of Parmarth [spirituality], and to remain engrossed in outward activities day and night, without giving importance to the withdrawal and ascension of Surat [the soul] and mind is a gross misunderstanding on one’s part.

"Some keep their own Swarth (self-interest) uppermost in seva. Great jealousy also finds a place amongst one another. Changes in the allotment of acts of seva or taking away of any seva lead to antagonism and quarrels. That by which one wins the pleasure of the Lord is real seva. Be it reproof, rebuke or humiliation, one should bear it cheerfully and not try to show off one’s cleverness at all."  (Discourses of Maharaj Saheb)

Ethics: From the Right Speech Section of the Saakhi Granth of Guru Kabir 

Ek Shabda: Shabda Samhaare Boliye, Shabda Ke Haath Na Paanv.
Ek Shabda Aushadhi Kare, Ek Shabda Kare Ghaav.

"One must exercise extreme control while speaking because words have no hands and feet of their own. They may roll down in any direction, if spoken without exercising proper control. A word may be capable of bringing comfort and working like medicine and, another word may be shocking and distressful."

"Speak only what does not cause pain to others; a word that may bring comfort to the hearts of others; a word of ultimate truth (one must speak only what brings comfort and benefits others)."

-- Kabir, "Kabir 1008 Vani -- Nectar of Truth and Knowledge -- Essence of the Collection of Saakhis (the Saakhi Granth of Guru Kabir)

"Countless are the belief-systems and theologies. What matters most is, right now in the living present, via meditation having a direct, personal experience of the Divine." (Agochar)

"I will come to you in the silence." (Acts of Saint Thomas in India)

Gnostic Prayer: "....Bestow upon us a spirit of knowledge for the revelation of your Mysteries, to come to a knowledge of ourselves: where we have come from, where we are going, and what we should do in order to live." (Book of Allogenes -- The Stranger in a Strange Land, The Nag Hammadi Scriptures)

"The souls will come running to their home as is the nature of the baby turtles..." (Anurag Sagar, the Ocean of Love)

"It does not matter if your bhakti is imperfect.
Perform bhakti! Radhasoami [the Lord of the Soul]
graciously declares that you should perform bhakti
in whichever way you can. Fear not. He will grant
you the Treasure of Love. You will be a recipient
of the Gift of Love."

-- Soami Ji, Sar Bachan Radhasoami Poetry, Volume Two

"A negative mind will never give you a positive life."

Attempts at "soul travel", spiritual "science" or mystical experiences divorced from following the ethical precepts and love for God are merely an astral illusion of Inner Light and Sound. Rumi says: "If in thirst you drink water from a cup, you see God in it. Those who are not in love with God will see only their own faces in it."

Kabir: "Without Bhakti [love] and devotion, nobody can swim across the vast and deep Ocean of this Samsara [World of Changes] even if one makes use of lakhs of ways and means; but if one takes to the Word and develops love for the Shabd, one will one hundred percent go to their eternal Abode." (The Essential Kabir, Translated by M. G. Gupta, Huma Books, Agra)

"Today's karmas become the fate of tomorrow. According to our last life actions, our mental tendencies are formed in this life. Because of our pure actions we will have the desire to seek the association of Sants [Saints, Masters] and to meditate." (Swami Vyasanand, The Inward Journey of the Soul: Chal Hansa Nij Desh [O Sawan-Soul, Return to Your Original Abode])

"The teaching of the Masters aims to release the souls which have been imprisoned for in numerable ages and births, to free them from the shackles of religion and castes, to take them to Everlasting Bliss and to merge them back in their Source, the Supreme Being." (Huzur Baba Sawan Singh)

Huzur Baba Sawan Singh: "Those who get this experience of the presence of the Lord need no arguments to convince them of God's existence."

Huzur Baba Sawan Singh: "The person who has obtained the secrets of the Path that leads to Him will never be subject to the pains of rebirth, and gradually the progress of his spirit will be towards higher planes. The day is not far off when his spirit, after freeing itself from the trammels of mind, will take rest in the eternal home of the Supreme Father."

"You should pay more attention towards the repetition of the Holy Names and listening to the Sound so that you may cross this plane soon."

Rumi says: "Why should I stay at the bottom of a well, when a strong rope is in my hand?"

"The personal and private instruction in the art of this spiritual practice should be received from a Satguru (an accomplished spiritual Master). Once the technique has been learned, one should practice it regularly and daily according to the instructions given by the Master." -- Maharshi Mehi, Philosophy Of Liberation

A Human Being -- Where Inner And Outer Worlds Converge

"Anyone who has probed the inner life, who has sat in silence long enough to experience the stillness of the mind behind its apparent noise, is faced with a mystery. Apart from all the outer attractions of life in the world, there exists at the center of human consciousness something quite satisfying and beautiful in itself, a beauty without features. The mystery is not so much that these two dimensions exist -- an outer world and the mystery of the inner world -- but that we are suspended between them, as a space in which both worlds meet … as if the human being is the meeting point, the threshold between two worlds." (Shaikh Kabir Helminski)

Ibn Arabi wrote in his Bezels of Wisdom: "He [Allah] brought the Cosmos into being as constituting an Unseen Realm and a Sensory Realm, so that we might perceive the Inner though our unseen and the Outer through our sensory aspect."

Rumi: "Everything you see has its roots in the Unseen world.
The forms may change, yet the essence remains the same.
Every wonderful sight will vanish;
Every sweet word will fade,
But do not be disheartened,
The source they come from is eternal, growing,
Branching out, giving new life and new joy.
Why do you weep? The source is within you
And this whole world is springing up from it."

"When ever you are in trouble, sit down for doing simran [repetition of the mantra/holy name or names of God]. When you reach the state of concentration, then you are surrounded by a protective aura automatically. No power on earth can harm you then. Therefore, do simran and be anxiety-free." (Anurag Sagar, Volume Two, Tarn Taran Edition)

Create Your Own Darkened Room or "Cave" For Meditation -- Soami Ji's Special Room, A Mystical Meditation Room-Within-A-Room: "From childhood Soami Ji Maharaj used to shut himself up in a small room which is at the back of another room on the ground floor of his house. For light and air there is a small aperture, otherwise no noise can reach within. This room still exists in a renovated form and is considered as one of the most sacred and hallowed of places." (Biography/Jivan Charitar of Babuji Maharaj, published in Agra)

Time For Practicing Spiritual Disciplines [Meditation] -- Kirpal Singh, Naam Or Word:

"One may devote oneself to the worship of Naam or Word at any time and at any place for there are no restrictions in this behalf. But Amrit-Vela (early dawn) is the most appropriate and fruitful for the purpose.
'At the ambrosial hour of the early dawn,
Be ye in communion with the divine Word,
And meditate on His glory.' (Guru Nanak)
'O thou rise early, and worship the Word day and night,
and then, O Nanak, thou shalt have no grief and escape from all troubles.'" (Guru Ram Das)

Moving On To The Higher Stages of Meditation, by Swami Vyasanand Ji Maharaj (The Inward Journey of the Soul)

Material names and forms are not everlasting. Subsequently, by meditating on them it is not possible to attain the eternal State. Some devotees, whose ultimate goal is the eternal essential inner Self, begin with an early stage of practice. At this stage they are still focused on the material names and forms, and they have not yet moved on to the higher stages of meditation. Should they leave the body at that stage, they will again get a human body and will proceed on the path of meditation. In this way, obtaining increasingly higher human forms in consecutive lives they will eventually attain liberation.

Now the questions arise: What is the correct method to mediate on the material form of the deity, to meditate on the light or subtle form of the deity, and, finally, to meditate on the subtlest form, the Divine Sound form (also known as Nada Brahma)? The answer: Just as the mythical Chakor bird constantly stares at the moon; just as a tortoise, even though she stays in water, constantly thinks of her eggs on the dry land; just as a woman carrying a water pot keeps attention in the pot on her head even while talking to others; just as the legendary snake keeps attention on its mani (jewel) while hunting; just as a circus performer focuses full attention in the act being performed; just as a devoted wife keeps her attention on her husband who is traveling; just as a woman while husking the grains pays attention to the grain thrasher; just as a baby bird or a baby cow keeps its attention on the mother; just as an archer keeps attention on the goal; just as a thief always thinks about others’ money, in the same way a practitioner should always concentrate on the deity and keep constant single-minded attention on the deity...

Our Gurudev [Maharshi Mehi] has given clear instruction:

"Practice the recitation (japa) of the name of the guru and focus on the form of the guru (manas dhyan). These preliminary practices purify the mind and intensify the focus. The subtle form of meditation begins at the center of the eyebrows (Ajna Chakra), also known as the third eye. Maharshi Raman calls the third eye -- "the Agni Chakra." This is the place where the channels of Ida and Pingala converge. Here the subtle light-point begins to emerge. From this point the inner subtle meditation begins. Therefore, in order to focus on this point, it is important to concentrate initially on the physical body of the deity. We concentrate on the material form with both streams of the eyes and focus so intensely that the material form of the deity becomes infinitesimally minute. And at this juncture, the gaze becomes so concentrated upon the material form that we cease to see the form. The reader may be surprised at this, but with practice it is certain to happen in time....

"...At this time, pay attention so that no other thoughts enter in the mind. Once the mind is completely focused, then with purified intellect, disciplining the mind, merge the mind with the intellect, and merge the individual Self into the inner soul. Then uniting your inner Self with the Supreme Being, a still-minded person merges into the Supreme tranquil State." (Shri Shukdeva)

Lord Krishna also emphasizes: "A wise man should withdraw his senses from the sensory objects through the mind. The mind should be yoked to Me (the Divine form of God) with the help of the charioteer, the intellect. The mind that is scattered in different directions should be withdrawn and focused in one place. While meditating, do not think of other parts of My body, only My smiling face. Having focused your concentration on the face, then remove the gaze from there and place it in the Inner Sky. Finally, leaving that behind, unite to My pure form without thinking anything else." In this quote the focusing on the Inner Sky is referred to the subtle form of (shunya dhyan) meditation. The shunya does not mean "emptiness", but means devoid of material components....

The Inner Sky (inner heart) is devoid of all five sensory elements. All sensory name and form disappear here. Generally, the material name and form distract the mind and make it agitated. The significance of Shunya or subtle meditation is that since there exist no sensory objects, the mind becomes settled and focused. At that point there are no physical desires to pull you downwards. Sants laud the importance of this stage. Sant Kabir says: "The Shunya meditation tames the mind of the practitioner." Sant Mirabai says: "When the consciousness rises to the Inner Sky, it becomes restrained." We can explain with a simple example: Just as a snake crawls in a zig-zag manner, but becomes straight when it enters in the hole, similarly, when the mind is engrossed in the nine gates of the body, it is fickle, but when it enters in the tenth gate, it becomes straight (without any crooked thoughts), and becomes peaceful. Sant Tulsi Sahab says: "With the association with the guru (in the passage way of the inner Self), and with the help of the guru mantra [simran], the great poisonous mind is brought under control." The "passage way" refers to Brahmarandhra, "the guru's abode.” It is the gateway to Brahman, it is also known as the tenth gate, and is also referred to as the shunya marga, the subtle path...

Drishti Yoga (The Yoga of Inner "Seeing" -- [Inner] Light Meditation)

There is more attraction with the subtle form of the deity than in his material (physical) form. The consciousness is much easier to become absorbed in the subtle form rather than the material form. The worshippers of the qualified or physical form of the Divine do not consider the significance of subtle meditation. They argue that it is not possible to mediate and concentrate on the Formless since without an object it is impossible to concentrate our mind and gaze at it. However, through a close consideration of the subtle form, one can begin to understand the possibilities and purpose of the subtle meditation.

There are two kinds of scenes within the inner world. One is darkness and the other is light. Initially, when practitioners close their eyes, the darkness is seen within. Then, after some time of diligent meditation practice, the light emerges. First, during [inner seeing], the mind’s eye sees the shapeless darkness. In the same way the light is without form and shape. But through the mind's eye, the practitioner is able to concentrate their gaze upon the inner Light.

Sight is seen only through eyes. Focusing the inner gaze in the darkness and light is called the meditation of seeing, or Drishti yoga. The recitation of a mantra and the meditation on the Sound is called sightless meditation. Focusing the mind in the darkness is called the meditation of seeing in darkness. Concentrating the gaze on the Light is known as practice of contemplating on Light. One's gaze must become concentrated in such a way that the whole darkness becomes a single point. In other words, the power of gazing gathers the whole darkness and transforms into one point. This dark point is known as the dark bindu or mark. By focusing on this point unceasingly, the white point emerges, and is known as the "white bindu" or "point" (bindu or small dot), "white lotus," and "pranav bindu." From this white, effulgent bindu the meditation of Light begins. These various kinds of meditation, both gross and subtle, have been described by the Sants in the following ways. Withdrawing from all other physical names and sounds and only focusing on the name given by the guru is called: "material but Formless meditation." Withdrawing from all material forms and focusing on the image of the deity as taught by the guru is called material-visualization meditation. The meditation on the point or bindu is the subtle form of meditation. The meditation on the countless Divine Sounds is considered the subtlest form of meditation since it does not require visualization or focus on any form. This is called the most subtle and Formless meditation.

When we close our eyes and do not see any objects, this does not mean that there exists nothing that can be seen. In other words, the shapeless darkness is also an object. Unfortunately, we cannot even see pure darkness because we are constantly thinking about the images of the world, and instead of seeing darkness we see the imaginary sights projected on the screen of inner mind. Without practicing the meditation of focusing in the darkness, it is not possible to see the subtle Light that lies deep within. The experience of Divine Light in the meditation brings joy, and the progress then becomes rapid. Consequently, one's faith and conviction becomes stronger. Goswami Tulsi Das says: "This form of meditation of the Divine is easy and gives joy; who will not enjoy it."

However, until the sheath of darkness is in front of us, it seems that this is a very difficult path to realize the Divine. The fountain of joy has not yet opened, and progress in meditation is slow. Furthermore, if the conviction of practitioners is weak; their faith is also not mature. Gradually, the practitioner may become doubtful of the meditation technique because progress is not in sight. Some even leave meditation and become fake sadhus. Some abandon the path and expound meditation to others to save face. Some open ashrams and indulge in satisfying the sensory desires. This apparently impermeable vast realm of darkness is capable of destroying the enthusiasm of many great seekers, making them disheartened and turn toward the world. However, keep in mind that a coward leaves the battleground but a fighter continues to struggle to the end. The courageous practitioner battles the realm of darkness and diligently engages in the yoga of drishti or focused gaze. This is the juncture. It is essential to be firm in moral rectitude. At this time it is important to dedicate day and night to the practice. It is necessary to discipline your daily lifestyle and study the scriptures. It is essential to focus the mind and gaze, follow the practice according to the instruction of the guru. Therefore, it is necessary to surrender oneself to the guru, and serve the guru with the mind, body, and life-breath, in other words, diligently following the teachings of the guru. For this, it is important to surrender to the holy feet of the guru.

When we gaze at a scene in the middle, our mind becomes focused and we only see the center of the scene, which is the source of the scene. This focal point can be likened to a seed. At the very center of the seed lies the invisible energy, which is the source of the visible tree. Even though the source of the tree lies in the seed, many are not able to understand the mystery. The implication of this analogy is that the cause of darkness lies in the Light, the cause of the Light lies in the Sound, the cause of the Sound lies in the material subtle Sounds, the cause of the subtle Sounds lies in the Infinite Divine Reality. In other words, the primal seed, the cause of this whole world -- both seen and unseen -- is the Divine Being. Until we realize the direct experience of the Divine, we are engrossed in the delusion of the material world. As soon as we have complete knowledge of the Divine, the other forms of material and subtle reality disappear.

As discussed earlier, the center of our energy is the Divine Being. However, as our consciousness is bound in the physical body, its visionary center is considered to be the Ajna Chakra (Tenth Gate). As soon as the consciousness becomes focused on the bindu (point) in the center of the realm of darkness, it realizes that its source is beyond this center. Thus, consecutively transcending the centers of lower realms and ascending upward within, the consciousness goes beyond the world of material name and form and merges into the root center of the Supreme Being, the original source of all creation.

As we discussed earlier, the imaginative center of our consciousness energy is the Ajna Chakra or third eye. The attenuated form of the conscious energy is categorized under four names: mind (manas), intellect (buddhi), thought processes (chitta), and ego or "I" principle (ahamkara). These four create this world, which our center, then these created images of the world slowly begin to dissolve in the mind, because this is all created by the mind. Then the mind and intellect become dissolved in me. I created my world and I am created by the Supreme Being. Logically, the creation becomes dissolved in the cause. In the same way, through diligent meditation my world will merge in the mind, the mind will merge in me, and then I will merge in the Divine.

Thus holding onto this deepest conviction you should meditate (sadhana). You should consider that all the darkness you see is illusory and it is inevitable that illusion will be destroyed. In this way, first you should disassociate yourself from the names and forms of the world created by the mind. Then with full intense concentration you should gaze at the darkness within. Gradually begin to concentrate scattered thoughts and gaze into the darkness. Slowly, by concentrating your sight, focusing your gaze (concentrated seeing within), establish yourself in the center of the darkness. In other words, focus on the middle of the darkness.

Remember, do not hasten to get success in this endeavor. With great patience and earnestness withdrawing your mind constantly, try to prevent your gaze from wandering up or down or left to right. When the gaze moves away from its focal-point, then concentration disappears. When the gaze is unstable, the mind becomes restless. When the mind becomes restive then again, the thoughts of name and form of this world begin to arise in the mind. During this practice, it is very important to concentrate both the gaze and the mind so no disturbance arises between the sight and the focal-point.

Focus on the Most Subtle Inner Sounds During Meditation

The French mystic Edward Salim Michael stumbled upon this primordial "Nada" Sound by accident late in his life, opening him to a profound mystical experience of at-one-ment with the Universe... He describes the Nada of inner Sound in the following way:

"When the aspirant employs this Nada (inner Sound) as the main support for his meditation, he must follow all its slender fluctuations, subtle variations of note, and mysterious jewel-like glitterings, second by second, with the utmost diligence. He will discover that this unusual Sound with its strange vibrations, celestial twinklings, and, above all, enigmatic continuity will become a most precious support for his concentration in all his future meditations…When the aspirant has recognized this Nada [Inner Sound] and familiarized himself well enough with it, he will perceive that, contrary to the ever-changing inner and outer conditions that he was used to up to that moment, this mystical Sound has a strange unearthly continuity about it…it can also be compared to the soft whisper of the wind and the continuous hissing noise of the ocean waves, with a shrill "ultra" Sound on top of it, composed of all the harmonics in the Universe. On higher spheres, this sacred Nada will have a strange sort of silvery aspect to it, somewhat similar to the uninterrupted jingling Sound of very little pieces of glass, with other smaller, ever more subtle Sounds superimposed on it, until finally these finer Sounds seem to disappear into infinity."

Michael then goes on to describe the actual mechanics of meditation upon the Unstruck Sound:

"In the beginning, the seeker should fix his attention on the part of the Sound that is most shrill and, as explained in the previous chapter, oscillating slightly somewhat like the twinkling of a star. It will be easier to hear that way. Later, when the aspirant gets more familiar with it, he will begin to hear two or more Sounds at the same moment. At first he may not quite realize, or be really sure, that he is hearing two Sounds simultaneously. However, if at such times he listens carefully, he will note that one of these two sounds is slightly more obvious, whereas the other is a little more high-pitched and more subtle. He should listen carefully to both Sounds for a while until it becomes absolutely clear to him which of these two Sounds is the more subtle and high pitched. It is to this one he must then gently let his attention turn and concentrate on. He must not be tempted to follow the more obvious of these two Sounds any more -- even though it will keep intruding and drawing him back to it."

-- "The Unstruck Sound: A Buddhist Perspective", by Ozmo Piedmont, published by the Prajna Institute for Buddhist Studies