Guru Dev – The Radiant Form of the Master
The word 'dev' comes from the root 'dev', which means light.
By Guru Dev is meant the Radiant- or Astral Form of the Master. Theosophists also say that in the astral and causal planes the form of the Master is very bright and is visible for many miles.
Tulsi Das says that the nails of the feet of the Master shine like diamonds and by meditating on them, divine sight is developed.
The nails of the feet of the Master shine like diamonds; meditation on them gives divine sight.
Bal Kand 3
Maulana Rumi says that when the Master dwells in your heart, you begin to see the past and the future.
When the Guru (Master) appears in your heart, you know everything from the beginning to the end.
A deep study of the teachings of the Gurus shows that by the Guru, Master, is meant the manifested incarnation of the Lord, and our need for such an incarnation has been stressed. A Master is really a Godman who is the manifestation of Divine Truth in the world.
Oh Nanak, the Guru is the Lord; the Perfect Master unites the devotee with the Lord.
Kanara M4, 1310-17
The term Guru Dev is also used to refer to the inner light-form of the Satguru. This form is free and beyond the bondage of body and mind. It can be seen with the sight faculty of the soul only. When it appears, all doubts are removed and the disciple's service bears its true fruit.
My eyes were opened by the Master, and all my doubts were removed. My aspirations were fulfilled.
Gauri M3, 200-10
Guru Arjan Sahib says that this blissful image of the Master appears in the forehead.
The blessed image of the Guru appeared in my forehead, and now I see it wherever I go.
Dev Gandhari M5, 535-14
This light-form remains with the disciple in the eternal regions as well as in the regions of Brahrna, and unites him with Sat Purush. There is no difference between the Guru, the Satguru, and the Lord. These are merely the names of different forms of the same current of the Lord. Owing to the law of "like attracts like", when the Lord appears in human form to redeem souls, he is called the Guru. His real form, which has existed from the begining and throughout many ages and is very bright, is called Guru Dev. This form is very blessed. Satguru means the Perfect Master. This term is used to mean the True Being, Sat Purush who is manifest in the Satguru.
The Gurus say that beyond Guru Dev there is the real form which is Satguru and Hari (the Lord), and that it is invisible and imperceptible.
Oh Nanak, I bow to Guru Dev, Satguru, Par Brahm, Par Meshwar and Hari.
Gauri M5, 256-5
The Guru is our Light and our Lord; His very sight is beneficial, for He is the perfection of all virtues.
Bilawal M5, 802-11
He is beyond all praise; He is the all-powerful Master. The Master is Par Brahm Par Meshwar. He is limitless, unseeable and imperceptible.
Gujri Var M5, 522-12
Guru Dev is unseeable and imperceptible; all the three worlds become known through His service. It was a gift of His own bounty that I could find the unimaginable and imperceptible.
Bhairon M1, 1125-10
In the human form, he is called a Guru, a Master authorized to teach. In his Light-Form, he accompanies us to the subtle, causal and spiritual regions and merges into the form of Satguru or Sat Purush and becomes indistinguishable from Him. The Guru Dev is the connecting link between the Guru and Satguru.
When the soul gathers in one place and crosses the stars, the sun and the moon (Shashmar Chakra – which is called Path of pitri yan and devi yan in the Vedas), it finds the Light-Form of the Guru manifested.
This form is like the bodily form of the Master, but it is extremely beautiful, radiant and alluring. When hinting at this, Maulana Rumi says that if you wish to see this form, you should travel towards your original Home, the region that was visited by Hazrat Ibrahim, Abraham.
You should pass through the big star and by your determined efforts transcend the sun and the moon. You will then be able to place your forehead at His door.
Like Jalil, go towards the Reality; cross the star, the skies and the blue beyond; put your foot on the sun and the moon, and then place your head at the door of His court.
Guru Nanak Sahib also hints at this spiritual path.
From the east you should turn to the west, and should join together the sun and the moon.
Ratan Mala, page 767
First go to the east; then go to the south. Then climb the mountain from the west after a full round; beyond the seventh region is the lotus throne, which is the seat of Par Brahm, resplendent with a wealth of infinite Lights. Oh Nanak, that is the land of perfect detachment.
Ratan Mala, page 767
Gather the soul together in the back of the eyes and cross the Sun and the Moon. Then rise up, walk round the seventh Puri, Sahasdal Kanwal, and pass by Brahm and reach Par Brahm, where there is the jewel of Naam. He who reaches there is truly detached. The Light-Form of the Master is blissful.
Guru Nanak has said:
The wonderful form is blissful; it is shown by the Perfect Master.
Maru M1, Sorath 1041-16
On seeing that form the disciple cries out:
Wahe Guru! Wahe Guru!
This form remains with the soul in all the regions and universes. It takes on the form of the Shabd in the region of Brahm. It takes the soul to the ultimate Home or Sach Khand, True Region.
When this Form appears within, all doubts are destroyed, the service of the devotee is approved and half of the task of the disciple is then accomplished. Thenceforth the devotee has to do nothing. The Light-Form is responsible for taking the soul to the ultimate Home. The Saints praise this form and the bliss of contemplating on it.
The Lotus Feet of the Guru Dev are dear; the Saints worship them with Love.
Asa M5, 394-5
The Saints are filled with joy, when they remember the Guru Dev.
Gond M5, 869-14
Khwaja Muinud-din Chisti describes the Light-Form of the Master as follows:
Oh Master, on seeing your moon-like face the sun is steeped in the water of shame, and on seeing the effulgent rays of your cheek the moon has hidden its face. On getting the dust of your path the sun has become bright and has built his golden throne in the skies. If even one ray of your bright face were to shine in the skies, the sun would hide itself with shame. In the person of the prophet this sun or light of truth is manifest, just as the moon gets its light from the sun.
The sun saw your moon-like face; and drowned itself in the waters of shame. When your face arose, the moon hid itself. The dust of your feet is luminous. The sun obtained radiance from it. It erected its golden tent in the sky. Beauteous are your cheeks; if a flame from them shines in the skies, the sun hides behind a curtain. The light of the Lord appears in the Guru. The moon gets its light from the sun; the Guru gets his Light from the Lord.
Maulana Rumi also hints at the Master's radiant form:
You do not know the emperor sitting in my heart. Look inside, and do not be misled by my outer form.
You do not know my companion; you do not know the King inside me. Look at my golden face; look not at my iron feet.
St. John described the light-form thus in the Bible:
I was in the spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet.
And I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks: and the midst of seven golden candlesticks one like to the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. And his head and his hairs were white, as white wool, and as snow, and his eyes were a flame of fire. And his feet like unto fine brass, as in a burning furnace. And his voice as the sound of many waters.
After these things I looked, and behold a door was opened in heaven and the first voice which I heard, as it were, of a trumpet speaking with me, said: come up hither, and I will show thee the things which must be done hereafter.
There is a hint about this in the Sar Bachan, where it is stated that the Guru showed his wonderful form which cannot be described.
The Guru appeared in a wonderful form; it cannot be described.
A pure heart is needed to see this form. It can be seen by pure eyes only. It cannot be manifest to every eye.
See with the inner eye; His face is like the moon. Not every eye can see the glory of that moon.
This form of the Master is everlasting, eternal and ever-existent. This has been so throughout the ages. It leads the seeker to merge in Sat Purush.
Great is the Lord; great is the Guru Dev; great is the Eternal Being, Who feeds the hungry lotus.
Kabir, Gond 873-3
The Guru Dev is eternal; the Guru Dev is ever-existent.
Gauri M5, 250-5
Guru Arjan Sahib also says to the same effect:
I bow to the eternal Guru. I bow to the ever-existent Guru. I bow to the Satguru. I bow to the Guru Dev.
Gauri M5, 262-10
The Guru Dev is the highest of all and is all-powerful. All happiness is gained by serving him. By his Grace egotism is destroyed and one gains release.
The Guru Dev is the most powerful. All happiness is gained by serving Him.
Bhairon M5, 1152-14
By Your Grace egotism is banished. The Guru Dev is all-powerful.
Bilawal M, 811-5
The Guru Dev is true. His service is also true. All else is false.
The Guru Dev is true; His service is true.
Nam Dev, Bhairon 1166-15
Guru Arjan Sahib has sung the praises of the Guru Dev in a beautiful manner.
Guru Dev is mother, Guru Dev is father, Guru Dev is the Lord and Parmeshwar (the Powerful One). The Guru Dev gives happiness and is a true friend who never deserts us. He banishes ignorance. He gives the gift of Naam. He is the manifest image of peace and of true intelligence. He is the philosopher's stone. The Guru Dev destroys all sins and is the redeemer of sinners. Holy is the spot where He sits; it is the true fountain of divine knowledge and immortality. One becomes pure by bathing in it. The Guru Dev is from the beginning, and has been through the ages. One is redeemed by remembering the mantra of the Guru Dev; His mantra is the Lord's mantra. Oh Lord! have mercy and lead us to a Guru Dev. Take us sinners and fools, across. The Guru is the Satguru and Par Brahm Par Meshwar. We bow before the Guru Dev.
Guru Dev is the mother and the father; Guru Dev is the all-powerful Lord; Guru Dev is the friend who banishes ignorance; Guru Dev is the blood relation and brother; Guru Dev is the bountiful one who gives Naam; Guru Dev's mantra stills the mind; Guru Dev is peace, truth and wisdom personified; Guru Dev is the philosopher's stone; Guru Dev is the sacred pool of nectar; Guru Dev is boundless knowledge; Guru Dev is creator and redeemer; Guru Dev redeems the sinners; Guru Dev is from the beginning, existent in all ages; Guru Dev gives the mantra which saves, Guru Dev's company leads to the realization of the Lord; Guru Dev's Grace takes us sinner's across; Guru Dev is the transcendent Lord, the God of Gods; Guru Dev is the Lord; Nanak salutes Him.
Gauri M5, Bawan Akhri 250-1
The Gurus mention various benefits that result from realizing the Guru Dev. Lust, anger, greed, attachment and pride are gotten rid of, and millions of sins and sufferings are banished. It removes all defects and raises the soul from a lower to a higher level. It extinguishes the fire of Maya in which all are burning. All desires are fulfilled, and actions prove fruitful. One is honoured in the world. It redeems souls in the Iron Age, and the foolish and ignorant souls take to devotion for the Lord. They get happiness, peace and equipoise. One becomes emancipated, and redeems one's family also.
The Guru Dev can be realized only through the mercy of the Lord by a great good fortune.