A Perfect Master and His Company
By sitting near a Perfect Master and contemplating on Him the mind is inclined to get under control and is stilled to some extent.
By seeing Him, the mind becomes happy; but how are we to see Him? The Saints are our friends, helpful and true; They dye us in His colour and help us live in His presence.
Suhi M5, 760-10
Rays of purity constantly radiate from him. He is full of wonderful light and kindness. He has an indescribable influence on others. He has magnetic attraction. By his words, which are full of mystical meaning, he pulls the soul upwards. He produces an experience of bliss which defies description.
If he were to give out the secrets of his mysteries; the souls would take flight towards the sky.
One finds a strange radiance and attraction in his eyes and in his forehead when one gazes at them, even for a moment. He feels a pull, and his attention gathers together and seems to ascend to the higher subtle regions from the gross regions. His consciousness expands and is elevated.
There is peace and evenness within a Perfect Master. As a result of being in his company, a current of bliss runs through us. We feel happy on meeting him. All our doubts are removed and we feel certain that our ultimate destination will be attained.
Such a one is the Satguru, on seeing Him one feels happy; that the doubts of the mind are banished, and the abode of the Lord is attained.
Gauri M4, 168-10
He is full of the elixir of life. His face is bright and radiant. His voice is attractive and the light in his eyes is both alluring and piercing. Powerful currents of life-energy emanate from a Saint and surcharge the surrounding atmosphere. His words have a strange influence. They penetrate the hearts of the listeners. The mere presence of a Saint awakens souls and redeems them.
A Perfect Master can, with a single glance, find out one's inner condition. He then instructs us according to our condition. When anyone visits him he can see the visitor's inner condition as if that person were encased in transparent glass, but he keeps it a secret. Bees rush to flowers for their fragrance and honey; similarly, the seekers go to the perfect Master to partake of his wealth of spirituality and righteousness. No one returns empty handed from the bountiful Master. They bring back with them the seed of Naam which, sooner or later, fructifies and gives release to the soul. When one begins to visit a Perfect Master, his good days begin.
When I met the holy man my good days began.
Dhanasri M5, 671-11
The Sant Satguru is the true son of the Lord. To him all religions, castes, faiths and sects are alike. He sees the same Lord in all living beings.
The Lord Himself acts in this body of five elements (the body of the Saint).
Janam SakhiGuru Nanak – Journey to Mecca
Without partiality to any religion or caste, he imparts the same message to all the world. To him, all are the children of God, and he looks upon them with the same eye.
The Satguru is merciful, and all are equal to Him. He looks upon all with the same eye, and he who loves him, prospers.
Gauri Var M4, 300-15
He clasps all to His bosom.
Oh Nanak, the Satguru unites all to the Lord.
Sri Rag M1, 72-8
He does not ask anyone to give up his religion and adopt a new one. He is concerned only with the soul. He does not mind what religion he belongs to. But it is necessary that you should have a desire for spiritual progress.
There is no question of religion or caste so far as he is concerned.
I rejoice in the Shabd, which knows no distinction. It is the same for all, whether a Brahmin or a Sheikh.
The Perfect Master fearlessly preaches the path of spirituality, which is free from the limitations of scriptures and formalities and is present inside everyone.
He is a true Haji, one who has made the pilgrimage to Mecca; one who has seen God, who has made the upward journey to the Court of the Lord. You will derive spiritual benefit from a perfect Guru wherever you meet him.
Maulana Rumi says, "If you wish to go on a pilgrimage, take with you someone who has experience of it, whether he be a Hindu, an Arab or a Turk."
Do not be misled by his outer form. Consider only his spiritual attainment. We do not have to enter into any outer relationship with him. We must take instructions in spiritual science from him and practise what he teaches us.
If you wish to go on a pilgrimage, take one with you who has experience of it; He may be a Hindu, a Turk or an Arab. Do not look at his features or colour; look at his ideal and determination.
The perfect Master is an incarnation of the Lord. Just as the Lord communicates His teachings to the Saints without the agency of speech, similarly, the Saints impart their messages to their disciples by means of internal experiences, and without the use of speech.
Like God, the Master does not make use of speech or any material instrument. He teaches the disciple without speaking.
The Master is formless like God and above the sphere of senses. He instructs his disciples without uttering a word.
The teachings of the Saints are imparted in an unspoken language, the language of the soul which, one soul conveys to another soul. The soul is a particle of God and His great mystery. It speaks without tongue or throat.
The soul is a particle of God, and it is a secret of God. It can speak without a tongue or palate.
It can function and act without the aid of any senses.
He sees without eyes; He hears without ears; He walks without legs; He works without hands; He speaks without a tongue; He dies while living. Oh Nanak, he knows His law; He is one with Him.
Majh Var M1, 139-2
Maulana Rumi also says that in the higher spiritual regions these feet are not needed for walking, nor do we require a tongue for eating, wings for flying, ears for hearing or eyes for seeing.
The soul travels without wings or feet, it eats without lips or teeth; it sees the universe with closed eyes.
With Perfect Masters it often happens that seekers after truth have no need to put questions during discourses. They get answers to their questions without asking them.
Whenever the Saints manifest themselves, they preach the practice of Naam or the Surat Shabd Yoga, Yoga of the Sound Current, and clearly say that the Lord has never been and will never be realized by formal religious practices. He is inside your heart. Your heart is the true temple of God. You must search for Him there. The Lord can be realized only by going within.
This body is the temple of the Lord, and the jewel of knowledge is to be found therein.
Prabhati M3, 1346-4
The body of man is a wonderful thing. If the inner eyes are opened, it is discovered to be the abode of the Lord, the temple of God. It is the true mosque wherein God is to be found.
The heart is the mosque; the body is the true place of worship. And God created man to His own image.
Why should men who have within them these natural mosques and temples, wander about outside seeking the Lord? This is not proper. Those who search for the Lord outside the body cannot find Him.
The Friend is by your side; why are you so ignorant? Your Friend is within you; why do you seek Him elsewhere?
In your head are beautiful gardens, and the company of great souls. Make haste and visit them; ask the secret from the Master.
They who search not inside the body are ignorant and foolish. They look for the treasure in wrong places, like the deer that looks for musk in the bushes.
Gauri M4, 309-9
Those who search for Him outside the body are fools. They are like the deer which searches for musk in the bushes. Out of ignorance they wander in solitudes and wastes. Whatever is in the macrocosm is in the microcosm. You must search for Him inside your own self. We are mistaken when we search for Him in brooks, streams, hills, man-made temples and other places. We will not find Him there. If we know the secret of the path, we will find Him. We cannot, however, go inside without a true Master.
Know ye by the Grace of the Master, the temple of the Lord is within you.
Prabhati M3, 1346-2
The teachings of the Perfect Masters are wholly-true and scientific. They are natural and practical. They are not merely the result of imagination and intellect. Whatever they teach, they teach with absolute conviction, for their teachings are not the result of mere reading or learning. They are based on their own personal inner experiences, and these experiences are common to all holy men. Their spiritual experiences tally with the experiences of other holy men. They do not ask people to have blind faith. They have themselves seen the Lord.
But the Lord of Nanak is visible to the eyes (of the Saint).
Asa M5, 397-7
Namdev filled the golden cup with milk, and placed it before the Lord. Such devotees dwell in the Lord's heart. The Lord was pleased; He drank the milk and the devotee went home. Namdev then had the vision of the Lord.
Namdev, Bhairon 1163-19
They are true Hajis, men who have seen God. They say, "Practise the spiritual meditation and see with your own eyes."
The Beloved should be seen with the inner eyes, and His words should be heard with the inner ears. You will see His light behind the darkness, and will understand His wonderful words with the ears of the spirit.
We should see the Beloved with our own eyes, and listen to His voice. When one closes the eyes there is darkness. One should see His light behind it.
You would then understand His glory as a result of your own experience. The Perfect Masters or Saints do not rely on scriptures and books, for the scriptures merely describe the experiences of holy men. Saints, however, are themselves the Vedas and the scriptures personified. Books owe their origin to them. They are all this and more. The teachings of the Saints are free and true, and all bondage is banished through them. One attains immortal honour and distinction through them.
Guru Nanak Sahib has described the signs by which one can recognise the perfect Master in his "Malar".
The real Master is one who shows us our True Home inside our body. He makes us hear the five melodies that are ever resounding within us. All the worlds, the underworlds, the islands and universes are wonderful, as the sweet melody of the Shabd, (Divine Sound) is resounding in them. The melody comes from the throne of the true Lord.
Guru Granth Sahib advises us to hear that Shabd in the Sukhman or the Royal Vein, and attune ourselves to the spiritual regions. The melody is indescribably sweet; on hearing it all worldly desires die out. When the lotus of the heart turns upwards, it is filled with this nectar. When you drink this nectar, your mind will not waver. Prayer will become automatic and constant and there will be communion without speech with the unspoken Word, which has been since the very beginning. All the seekers who realize the five melodies are real devotees and return to their original Home.
Guru Granth Sahib says that he is a slave of anyone who seeks and realizes the Shabd and reaches his Home.
He is the wise and True Master, Who shows us our home within our body. There rings the melody of the five Shabds; there is the beat of the drum of Shabd. The worlds, underworlds, islands and seas all make one wonder-struck. A deep and subtle melody plays there, and a king sits on the throne of Truth. Hear the music in the Sukhman, in the region of the void, hear the unutterable music, and the desires in the mind will die out. The lotus will be upturned and will be filled with nectar; then the mind ceases to wander, and the eternal music never leaves us. It is with us from the beginning through the ages. All who realize the five Shabds and go back to their original Home, have found the Shabd which leads them Home. Nanak is the slave of such Perfect Masters.
Malar Var M1, 1290-19
All holy men say that the True Master is one who can attune the soul to the Shabd or Divine Harmony.
The Perfect Master attunes us to the Shabd; He is all-powerful and all-pervading. He is above the illusion of Maya, and has not an iota of greed in Him.
Maru M1, 1021-7
A Perfect Master does not make his disciples engage in any external practice.
His teachings are:
Go inside and attune yourself to the Shabd.
The sign of meeting a true Master is that the unending music begins to play within the initiate.
Oh Nanak, he who has a Perfect Master hears the Anhad Shabd (unending music).
Asa M5, 393-16
He who is attuned to the Nam is a Perfect Master. In this Iron Age, he is like a ship that can ferry the souk across. A devotee sets sail on board this ship and goes across the ocean of existence. He realizes the Truth within himself.
The Perfect Master is attuned to the Naam; He is the boatman in the Iron Age. He who obeys the Master crosses over; for he gets attuned to Truth.
Bihagara M4, 552-9
Whenever Saints and holy men appear, they sometimes create an atmosphere which is not liked by the worldly-minded people. They do so, so that the slaves of the world and worshippers of mammon, who often gather round them like flies, may leave them, and the real seekers may not suffer. They intentionally provide some cause for criticism so that only the deserving will come to them.
Should there be no keeper at the gates of the Master? There should be one so that worldly dogs may not crowd in. Slander acts as the Master's doorkeeper, so that no undeserving soul may approach them.
In the Janam Sakhi (Biography) written by Bhai Bala, it is stated that Guru Nanak said, "Many Saints will incarnate in the Iron Age in order to redeem the sinners."
Bhai Ajite then asked what would be the signs by which they could be recognised, and would the people be able to find them?
The Guru said that one sign would be that whenever Saints would incarnate, many impostors, who followed the formalities of religion, would criticise them. A few would follow the Saints, but they, too, would be criticised by the so-called disciples of the so-called gurus. People would forget the Yoga of the Sound Current and would read the written words and say prayers while kneeling. The Path of the unending Music would be forgotten. Men would repeat other mantras and would not know about the Path of inner devotion. When the Yoga of the Sound Current would not be practised, I will appear in the garb of Saints. When the practice of Anhad Shabd (unending Music) commences, one could know that I was there.
When a Saint appears on the earth, there is a flood of spirituality. The true seekers gather round him from all sides. All benefit from his teachings – the simple as well as the righteous, for they find a true satisfaction in the teachings. It even happens that some thieves, robbers and sinners also come to the Saints, benefit by their teachings and become holy men. The Masters act like a washerman and wash away the dirt of our sins. They are living examples of selflessness and sacrifice.
They rule the hearts of the people. Spirituality is preached by them on a grand scale. People throng around them by the thousands, and the world is wonderstruck by this demonstration of spirituality and devotion.
The Perfect Masters or Saints are powerful personalities. They look after their disciples whether they be near at hand or far away. This naturally creates confidence in the hearts of their disciples. Their hand is no less strong than that of the Lord. Their reach is so great as to transcend the seven skies. As the disciple's contact with his Master increases, he receives fresh benefits and sees new miracles.
Powerful is his hand; It is no less strong than that of the Lord. His hand has the power of God. You may be sure that his reach is so great that it transcends the seven skies.
These are some of the signs of a perfect Master which should be taken into consideration by a seeker.
Besides these, there are innumerable other signs which a seeker recognises after being in his company for some time.
Maulana Rumi says there are other signs which are known only to those who are acquainted with them.
There are many signs to help one recognise a Saint; but only he who knows them can recognise them.
When one goes inside, one sees the light-form of the Master and this form speaks to the disciple. It replies to his questions and remains with him constantly.
The Master is constantly with me.
Asa M5, 394-3
The disciple then knows the Master intimately.
The world is full of the so-called "Masters". But most of them hunger for fame and wealth and are not real masters. They should be avoided. A Master should be adopted only after a careful and balanced consideration.
If one should find the above signs in anyone, it would be an indication that there is some reflection of the genuine truth in him. Never try, however, to test a Master. When one meets a Perfect Master, the mind is stilled by his magnetic attraction. There can be no success without his help.
Except for the Master's Grace, nothing kills the ego. Hold fast to the garment of that great mind-subduer. If you hold fast, it will be because of His Grace; whatever power you get, will be His.
The Perfect Master is a person who is free from cravings and desires. You must surrender to him all your mind, body and wealth so that he may make you like him. How this body and mind should be surrendered is described as follows by
Surrender body and mind to Him, Who has no desires; Who has given up all consideration for the self, and Who attunes you to the Lord. Surrender of the mind means surrender of all, for the body goes with the mind. What else is left with you to give?
Kabir has said:
Surrender of body and mind is for your good; the burden is then removed from your own head. If a man asserts that he has done this by his own efforts, he is quite in the wrong. Surrender of body and mind means nothing, ih the underlying desires are not given up.
Kabir says to that seeker:
How can the mind be controlled? When body and mind are truly surrendered, the desires should also go with them.
Kabir says that he is without fear, for his mind is with the Master. His innermost thoughts are also surrendered, at the Lotus Feet. Oh Kabir, these feet are those of the Master, I see naught else.
A Perfect Master is a wonderful being whose worth is beyond description.
A Perfect Master is glorious. Oh Nanak, may I be a sacrifice unto Him.
Sorath M5, 618-14
The Master is very great; no one can truly evaluate Him.
Sorath M5, 514-15
A Perfect Master is a highly realised soul. He has no feeling of duality. One is redeemed on meeting him.
His mind is enlightened; He has no feeling of duality. Oh Nanak, meet Him, for He redeems and sings the praises of the Lord.
Gauri M4, 168-15
He is a helper of the helpless and a pardoner of the sinners.
Be humble and lie prostrate before the Master; the Master honours the humble and blesses them.
Sri Rag M4, 41-4
No one remains here forever; it is so ordained. Time tears the body. This mind is full of defects, and the body suffers because of them. I am a sinful beggar. But the Perfect Master obtains reprieve for me, and forgives my sins.
Maru M1, 1012-4
When a Perfect Master looks at a soul with a merciful look, the soul is redeemed.
The devotee reflects on the self, and recognises the diamond. The Perfect Master gives him a single glance, and thereby redeems him. When the disciple accepts the Master, his mind is stilled.
Asa M1, 413-16
Bhai Nand Lal says that one life-giving look of the Master is sufficient.
A single life-giving look of the Master is quite sufficient for redeeming the disciple.
Whatever the Perfect Master desires is approved by the Lord and comes to pass in this world.
Whatever the Perfect Master prays for, is heard by the Lord. It pervades everywhere, and is in every heart and on every tongue.
Bilawal M4, 856-12
The power of the Master is the Shabd. It is eternal.
Perfect is the Master; perfect is His power; His Word is eternal; It lives forever.
Prabhati M5, 1339-19