A grand Delusion
The whole world is blind; tell me how can I make people understand higher values of life.
Common people do not see the world in its true colours. But One Who has liberated His soul from the clutches of mind and senses, known His Self and has realised God sees the same world from a different angle of vision. Such Persons observe that the spirit of worldly people, under the influence of mind, is completely identified with the body at the plane of senses, so much so that it – soul – is hardly able to distinguish itself from the material body or its director – the indweller of the house (body). Before the Inner Eye is opened, one sees the outside world from the level of physical senses. All external knowledge is visionary and superficial, purely concerned with sense-organs.
Unless and until we learn how to rise above the sensual level and transcend the physical body, the Inner Eye does not open. As a result, we are not in a position to withdraw our Self from the glamour of the outside world. When we tap inside, there is subtle body having subtle indriyas – organs of perception – which are lying dormant as yet. Now, the question arises what should we do in such a predicament?
Maulana Rumi says:
Learn thou to shut external doors of thy house and open the Inner One.
He Who is able to tap inside would consequently develop cosmic awareness. He sees the world from a subtle level and in true colours. So Kabir says that as far as He can see, the entire world is blind. All those who have not developed an Inner Eye are said to be blind in the eyes of Awakened Persons. Although the atmosphere is full of microbes, nothing is visible to the naked eye. Does that mean that there is nothing in the air? There is. Either whatever is present in the air needs to be magnified so as to correspond to the visual level of our eyes, or our vision becomes so subtle as to see the tiny things clearly.
Nanak, while defining blindness, says:
They are not blind who have no eyes of flesh. A blind is one, oh Nanak, who does not see the Lord.
All the scriptures proclaim that the Power of God is pervading everywhere in its fullness. The Lord dwells in every human heart. There is no place where His Word does not exist. But He is highly subtle and indescribable. As such, our physical eye cannot see Him. Who then can see Him?
Unless one rises to the level of God, one cannot know Him.
If we are to develop super-consciousness and subtlety of His level, we can have some experience of Him. Seeing the whole world shrouded in darkness, Kabir says how could one endeavour to reveal sublime Truths to anyone? The fact remains that all are sailing in the same boat – may be one is learned or unlettered, rich or poor, ruler or the ruled. Then how could a blind man lead the blind? If they do so, both would fall into the ditch.
Once a Divine came to a village. Moved by compassion he forewarned the villagers, saying: Tomorrow at such and such time a treacherous wind will blow. Whosoever is affected by it will go mad. Some of the people who were wise enough believed the words of the sage. The next day at the appropriate time, they hid themselves in self-protection. All others who had exposed themselves to the tempest, contrary to the warning of the sage, turned mad. Those few who had taken shelter were saved. After the tempest was over they came out of their hideout. Surprisingly enough, they were called mad by the majority who were actually so.
Similar is the case with the worldly people. A Realised Soul, Who has risen above body consciousness after freeing His Self from the impact of mind and senses and has developed the Inner Eye, is very, very rare. Only such Persons see that God is Omnipresent. All the rest are floating at the level of the mind and senses. In such a deplorable condition of the world, Kabir feels Himself in a bewildered condition and goes on to say:
If there are one or two, I may make them understand; but alas! all are confronted with the problem of bread and butter.
Everywhere you find people awfully busy in making money by fair or foul means. One takes the material life as the be-all and end-all of human existence. Even those who claim to tread the Spiritual Path are doing business indirectly. Their object was man-making, but they are engaged in money-making. But, as the hour of death approaches, one comes to his senses.
A man awakens only when the angels of death strike at the head.
But, then it is too late. It is no use crying over spilt milk. This is the reason why Awakened Persons, whenever They came into the world, were referred to by the highly learned and worldly-wise people as those who perverted the intellect of others. Guru Nanak was condemned by the worldly people like that. He was not allowed to enter into the town of Qasur – now in Pakistan – lest He should misguide the people.
People take to the Epicurean way of life – eat, drink, and be merry. They do not perceive anything beyond material enjoyments. They live and die for them. Kabir, therefore, finds it difficult to bring home to such people the higher values of life.
What is the reality of human life? Kabir says that our body is like a horse on which the soul is the rider. It can be compared to a dewdrop containing air inside and covered by a layer of water. How long does a dewdrop last? It vanishes as soon as the wind blows or the sun shines. This is exactly the case with man. The body lives so long as its indweller – the soul – remains in it, and there is circulation of vital airs. The moment spirit departs, it becomes a corpse that is carried to the cremation ground by the near and dear ones. Every one of us has had such experiences of carrying dead bodies to the cremation or burial grounds. We may have even lit the funeral pyres with our own hands. Seeing all this, still we do not believe that we too will have to depart one day. We consider the material world as something real and permanent. None can escape the iron hand of death. When it comes, all the play of life comes to an end.
It is, therefore, said:
Kings, warriors, subjects, prophets, incarnations – all came and went; likewise, every one of us has to depart one day according to our turn.
Great personages entered the world, lived a while, and then left for the heavenly abode. History bears testimony to this fact. Our own eyes stand a witness to it. Before physical death, if we develop the Inner Eye, we can traverse into higher regions at will. It will give us double benefit. Firstly, we would be able to withdraw the sensory currents from the living body and thus escape from the dire agony that attends the death process. Secondly, our soul could fly into higher Spiritual Planes or work at the physical plane at will. This is known as Life Eternal. One gets convinced about its reality only after experiencing it. Those who do not see anything beyond the life of flesh have to shed tears on the doomsday.
As such, all Great Souls have stressed that so long as you are after the life of flesh, you would remain deprived of the life of spirit.
In the Bible it is stated:
Whosoever shall save this life shall lose it.
Except you be reborn, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.
Again He says:
Is not body more than the raiment and life more than the meat?
Death keeps no calendar. The silver chord may break at any time. As such, we should lose no time in getting an out-of-body experience and thus eliminate the fear of death.
We are afloat rudderless on the stormy sea of life and might get lost in its whirlpools.
Kabir says that tossed on the seas of sense-pleasures, we have lost our moorings and are drifting rudderless on the sea of life. Each one of us tries to catch a floating straw to save himself. The natural result is that after a brief struggle with chance winds and waters, we sink into the great oblivion without solving the riddle of life.
Mind is the ocean untamable in which endless tides spring up.
This mind is like an ocean in which unending waves of animal passions, anger, greed, attachment, and egotism are constantly emanating. Everyone is tossing about under the impact of these waves. Unless mind is stilled, the goal cannot be achieved.
Without a Competent Master, Who can ferry us across the mighty sea of mind?
Only the association of an Adept Who has controlled the mind and transcended its limitations can help an aspirant to do likewise. Otherwise, there is no way out.
Reality lies within but the blind search for it in the world without.
Kabir says that the thing we are in search of dwells within our body. But, unfortunately, we search for the Truth either in the Holy Scriptures or on the riverbanks or on hilltops. All our efforts in this direction are at the sensual level. Then, how can we find Him? Mind is enthralled by the powerful steeds of senses and is thus driven helplessly into the mire of sense gratification. So far we have not learned how to introvert. The result is that we are far away from Reality that resides in every human heart and is the very soul of our soul.
I met a gentleman in Kanpur. He told me that he had travelled on foot from Gangotri – source of the river Ganges – to Kanya Kumari – Cape Comorin. But still he could not find the Truth of which he was in search. How could he?
When Reality lies elsewhere and we search for it at a wrong place, how could one get to it? Kabir saith, we can get to it only when One Who knows the secret of it assists us.
Once we take the knower of the secret with us, He manifests Reality within. Thus, the experience which we could not have gained in myriads of lives is granted within in no time.
Tulsi Sahib says:
The Lord dwells within, but we remain ignorant. Cursed is such a life.
Even after getting human life, if He is not manifested within, it is a great curse.
Oh Tulsi! the whole world is suffering from cataract.
Cataract is a disease in which a thin membrane covers the pupil of the eye, affecting the eyesight. An eye surgeon can remove this membrane to restore the vision, which is already there but is covered by a water layer. Similarly, the God-Power shines in full effulgence in each one of us, but we cannot see Him because of our attachment to the external world. All Saints proclaim that God resides in every human heart. When He dwells within, how can we reach Him in the world without?
Once Swami Ram Tirath, who lived in Lahore, saw an old woman in the street searching for something with the help of an earthen lamp. He inquired of her as to for what she was searching. The old woman replied that she had lost a needle. Swami Ram Tirath also assisted her, but the needle could not be found.
Ultimately he asked her:
Mother, where have you lost it?
– In the house,
was the answer.
At this Swami Ji said:
My dear mother, what you have lost at home cannot be found outside.
This may seem to be ridiculous, but that is exactly what we are doing. Soul is with the body as long as God-Power controls it. A Divine Link is present in all of us. But we search for Him outside at the level of senses. How is it possible?
So Kabir asks: ‘Is not the world blind?’
The whole world is ablaze with the fires of lust; but for the Guru gyan – practical Inner Experience by a Perfect Master –, mankind would remain immersed in ignorance.
Kabir says that all are consumed by the passionate desires for worldly things. Every house, every social religion, every city, every country is afflicted with this malady. We are also one of them. A man is known by the company he keeps. If you happen to associate with someone completely engrossed in the worldly affairs, you would find that he invariably speaks in terms of the world. Accordingly, you would be dyed in the same colour. Who can read the Inner Condition of the people? Only Those Whose Inner Eye is open. They see the world from the level of subtlety. Others cannot do it. Through a peep inside, everyone can feel that he is haunted by desires. This is a secret fire engulfing the entire world. Is there any escape from this? Yes, through a conscious contact from a Perfect Master. In this lies our salvation.
The Gurbani says:
The wildfire (of lusts) has burned down all trees; only a rare green is left unaffected.
There is a mad race for worldly possessions. Only a rare Awakened Soul or a man of intuition is immune from this.
Maulana Rumi says in this context:
Oh mind! seek thou the nearness of Someone Who is fully conversant with the condition of mind.
By this He means that we should seek the company of a Realised Soul with Inner Awakening. The proximity of such a One could alone save us from the Inner Cravings and impulses. People who go to the feet of a Spiritual Adept feel a soothing effect through concentrated attention because of the highly charged atmosphere around Him. So the company of a Satguru is the sole remedy for all ills of the world. Now, Who is a Satguru? One Who is established in Truth.
Satguru is Truth Incarnate.
He has realised His Self by liberating it from the impact of mind and senses, and attained atonement with the Ultimate Reality. The nearness of such a One gives us a cooling bliss. He also gives us a practical experience into the mysteries of the beyond, which is True Jnana. Reading of the scriptures or learned disputations constitutes Jnana in the eyes of a layman. But it is not considered True Knowledge in the terminology of Saints.
They define it:
Know ye the True Knowledge and Meditation as Dhuni (Sound) Divine, for it is indescribable.
The Sound Current, Sruti or Udgit as you may call, is the real Jnana which is All-Pervading and It is sustaining the entire creation. To commune with It or experience It is called Naam – the Word – which one gets through the Grace of a Perfect Master. Even now It – Naam – is within us, but we are ignorant about its presence. The reason being that our attention, under the impact of mind, is flowing outside at the plane of the senses.
Kabir says in this context:
The soul which is getting lost in the nine portals of the body can never realise the Eternal Bliss.
The soul that is flowing out through the nine channels of the body is consequently deprived of the unique bliss within. What are the nine channels? Two eyes, two ears, two nasals, mouth, rectum, and generative organ. One who has not transcended the senses through self-analysis and inversion and has had no contact with Reality cannot escape from the mighty maze of mind and matter. All learning, knowledge, study of scriptures, or such other methods at the level of intellect are not of much avail in this regard. One may be able to control the mind for a while, but ultimately one is likely to fall. The delusion of the world affects us through the outgoing faculties of senses. When you start transcending the sensuous level, you would experience higher bliss on the Inner Planes. Then you will no longer be troubled by the lusts of the flesh and will be like an air-conditioned room that remains cool irrespective of the external temperature. If you are able to collect your sensory currents between and behind the two eyebrows, you would not feel the effect of atmospheric heat. You can try it out. Because of our ignorance about this natural science (esoteric), we are suffering in the world.
When we meet a Perfect Master, He bestows upon us the gift of Naam or real Jnana. Who can see the malady afflicting the common man? Only an Awakened Soul.
When Guru Nanak was about to leave His home on a Divine Mission, His family members produced His two sons before Him. Then His mother-in-law, named Molo Ji, said:
Look Nanak! if You were to act like this, why did You produce these children?
Sometimes worldly people are very harsh towards Master-Souls. But Nanak replied in a polite tone:
Mother, I have come to liberate mankind from the bondage in which you want to chain me. The world is ablaze with the fires of lust, and I want to rescue them.
He then prayed:
Oh Lord! save this world from the mighty maze of mind and matter.
But how? Nanak then appealed to the Lord to show compassion and Mercy:
Oh Lord God! employ any means which pleaseth Thee for the redemption of suffering humanity.
It is quite evident from the recorded experiences of Enlightened Souls that life at the plane of senses, purely concerned with the material body, is the root cause of all our miseries and sufferings.
He had not seen a man who was happy, for each one He happened to come across was in misery.
When you leave the plane of senses and rise above body consciousness, you would experience a life full of bliss. When you transcend the astral body and enter the causal plane, you would feel something more exhilarating. But life is not at all smooth in all the three planes – physical, astral, and causal. Unless you transcend all the three stages, you cannot have Eternal Bliss. This can be achieved only through the association and Grace of a Master-Soul.
Having obtained practical Inner Experience from a Perfect Master, one should enhance it through regular Spiritual Practices. If you do so, you would develop Inner Perception. Consequently, all sensual gratifications would cease to have their hold on the mind. Great Souls carry on Their mission of initiating the aspirants against all sorts of hazards. They hate sins but love sinners. They say that there is hope for everybody whether one is a sinner or virtuous. Those who follow Their instructions, their lives are transformed. It is our duty to develop loving devotion towards Enlightened Souls and leave the rest unto Them.
It is, therefore, said:
He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is Love.
Our soul, too, is a particle of Divine Love. If it could be set free from the outer sheaths, Love for God within will of itself sprout forth. Only then would one be able to realise Him.
Listen ye, oh seekers after Truth, saith Kabir; one day man has to depart empty-handed.
Kabir at last serves a warning to the world at large to take it for granted that everyone would have to quit one day. All worldly possessions would be left behind. What to speak of them, even the body we take at the time of birth would not accompany us. Death does not spare anybody and death keeps no calendar. There is absolutely no exception to this rule. If only we may understand this, our angle of vision towards life would definitely change.
Guru Arjan, therefore, says:
Once we slip from the top rung of the ladder, we cannot get to it again; and the human birth goes in vain.
To fall from the top rung of the creation is indeed a very sad fall. Once we miss this opportunity, we have wasted our present life. Who knows when we may get to it again? Only then would we be able to liberate our soul from the clutches of mind and senses and attain self-realisation and God-Realisation. If we remain engrossed with sense-pleasures and do not accomplish this task while living in the body, what would be the result?
As you think, so you become.
We will have to come into the world again and again. Soul goes where the mind goes. As such, Great Souls exhort us not to forget the day of judgement. Death is not something frightful. The only thing is that we should act with wisdom. We should do this job – of developing cosmic awareness – right here and now so that we may feel at ease while leaving the world. In this context, there is a story of a wise king:
Once there was a country in which, according to the prevailing tradition, people used to select a king for the full term of five years. During this period he was vested with full powers. After the completion of his tenure, people would get together and leave animals like tigers, panthers, and poisonous snakes. When the king ascended the throne, he used to feel very happy. But at the time of leaving, he wept bitterly because of the calamity that would befall him. So many kings came and met the same fate. At last, there was a king who acted with foresight and wisdom. As soon as he occupied the throne, he started thinking of life after he had completed five years as king. At last he hit upon a wonderful plan. Secretly, he summoned a team of workers, and in good faith ordered them to clear off the jungle. There he erected beautiful palaces with gardens and provided all sorts of amenities. One can work wonders within a period of five years. After the completion of his term, he was very happy and cheerfully accompanied his subjects to the jungle. People were surprised to see the king in this condition, as hitherto all his predecessors had departed in tears. They wanted to know the reason for this. The king replied that he had made necessary arrangements for his stay and had nothing to fear in the jungle. Rather, he would lead a peaceful and quiet life free from all responsibilities.