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The Doctraine of Sabda

Posted by Art Of Legend India [dot] Com On 4:15 AM
Beautiful Mirabai
In the beginning was the soul merged in the Lord and with the Lord. But since then aeons have passed and the soul has left its abode of peace, where it lay wrapped in bliss. The ignorance persisting for ages, and the association with the grosser elements of matter and ego have covered the subtler element to such an extent that the spirit has apparently become benumbed. In the innermost core it is still alive, but the covers that it has put on have made it insensible to the Call. It has lost its sensibilities, and has become insensate to the shafts of love. They cannot pierce the dense layers the soul has put on. But at times it so happens that, when they do pierce, the experience, howsoever shortlived gives a thrill; but this effect is soon masked by the external reactions. If this temporary selflessness is allowed to sustain itself a little longer, real love will spring forth. These temporary flashes are not of much value to a devotee, not very praiseworthy even. They cannot lead the pilgrim Home. The successful termination of the journey presumes sustained effort and consequent joy.

Once this Bhakti is aroused in this frame, it begins to respond to the Eternal; the soul then starts upwards to the real home.

The soul has since its departure from the eternal Home been enjoying itself with the mind and the body Like the proverbial spendthrift, it is sharing with these cheats the boon of its Home. Like an ignorant child, it has fallen into bad company and is every day descending lower and lower in search of new pleasures of a vulgar type, which makes its redemption impossible. But, before the final wreck comes, it makes amends to the Father, and is forgiven. It then begins its career afresh. It only takes time to rise to the old place once more. This often happens when it is reminded in its fallen condition of its glorious past and is assured of the forgiving nature of the Father. The innate goodness is then aroused in the child. Then it realizes that these thieves the body and the mind which were to all appearances its companions, were really enjoying at its cost, as the soul was the only life-giving element. The covers of depravity are removed, it repents and then the Lord appears and makes it conscious of its fallen condition and of His mighty forgiving nature. This realization is bound to come, as the connection of the soul is yet unbroken with the Lord. When such a stage is reached, the Guru makes His appearance. The Guru knows the secrets of the Divine Path, and understands the malady of the aspirant. He ministers to the ailment of his new patient. To the aspirant he describes his fall and points out to him the path, following which he can reach Home. This path is nothing else but the current of divine love that leads the individual towards the Eternal Soul. If this route were not extant, the individual soul would never experience the thrills from the Universal. The soul, when it lay in the Ocean of Divinity, was lying silent, calm and unruffled; but, when it started its journey downward, the loss of energy in the motion resulted in its depletion, and this process of fall produced sound. This sound is technically termed abda in Vedanta and Yoga. At the various stages in its descent the soul adopted the form and the colour of the centre through which it passed. In our world it assumed the form of `Manas' and `Maya'. If now the soul wants to return Home, it has to retrace its path; it has once more to draw together all the energy it had diffused and then to proceed backwards. Just as in the wilderness in this world the traveller is guided by the sound at a distance, so also the soul on its pilgrimage is guided by the Sabda. It is the open sesame of the Divine Home. 

MirabaiThe soul moves on and on in reponse to it. As the sound grows clearer with the soul's advance in its upward march, the speed also increases. Like the snake that gets spell-bound itself when it hears the music of the charmer's flute, the soul drinks deep of the eternal music that issues forth from itself. This music of the soul is also called by the Yogis as Anahata and by the St-ills as Saut-i-sarmadi, the music without a beginning and an end, which never stops. When the music of this world appeals to one so much, one can easily imagine what must be the condition of the soul when it hears this divine music all the time. This music the soul has brought with itself. It sustains it. It is under its influence that the devotee goes into trances. It is the password to reach Home. Mira called this Sabda NAMA'. Without Nama', she incessantly repeated, you cannot reach Him. It is, in fact, the realization by man of his divinity. But this, she repeated, could be possible only through the help of the Teacher. And the Teacher will come only when the aspirant lies ill, crying for the beatific vision. He gives the gift of NAMA', and the path becomes accessible to the recipient.

The love for the Gum must be unadulterated, unselfish and spontaneous. The Guru is he who will open the gate that guards the entrance to the Divine Throne. There must be implicit faith in him. Divided affection is abhorred by him. An honest heart wins him over. How tenderly Mira loved her Guru and with what tenacity, is depicted by her in her beautiful lines, full of pathos and music and brimming with genuine feelings of affection and respect for the Teacher.

How many are those honest people that have the stern faith and hope in the Teacher? It is very nice to sit philosophizing that the world is a dream. But these are only pious thoughts. The poet is more honest (I say honest, not correct) when he says: 'Life is real' and 'not a dream'. Because he says what he sees But the Teacher will open the devotee's eyes and show him the hypocrisy of the world and its transient nature. It will be only then that in disgust he will turn his back from the world and realize that is was a dream. This hollowness will be shown to him as a stern reality as God was shown to Vivekananda by his Teacher, Swami Ramakrsna Paramahathsa, as a being that 'stood face to face with him and conversed with him.' But one who for ages has been enjoying the wine administered by the body and the mind can seldom get out of the stereotyped rut to breathe the pure fresh air.

The soul in this world has put on covers with which it enjoys when it dives deep into the quagmire of sensuality. It is difficult for it to shake them off. It is only after removing these covers of dirt that it can follow the path of love, so difficult and narrow many are prepared to follow this path with equilibrium and resolve maintained throughout. Although every-one is ready with his gospel and is up to deliver a sermon on the virtues of a devotee's life and the glories of the Path yet very few find the Teacher, still less obtain his favours. On whomsoever he showers his blessings, he takes him in his company, reveals to him the secrets of the Path and leads him Home. That is the beginning of real LOVE, the love that is synonymous with the Lord. The eye sees, with its senses intact, 'camels pass through the eye of the needle' and the 'seas drown in the boat.

To meet the Lord is easy, to discover His lover is difficult.' This is not a truism, but a truth. When the soul proceeds with implicit faith in the Teacher, this automatically happens when the Teacher shows to the devotee his real form, then it reaches Home and merges itself in divinity. Everything it sees there is its own. It dances in ecstasy when it sees its Lord. On one side stands the Teacher and on the other it witnesses the Lord in full effulgence. In a dilemma it finds itself.

And it falls on the feet of its Teacher, unable to understand its own action and decision. The Lord smiles and clasps the soul to His bosom. It feels the warmth of the embrace. It revives from its slumber and tastes of the eternal life. This is life immortal which it now gets. The way is through the Teacher, who is to impart the knowledge of the abda. There is no other way in this Kali age. Prepare for His arrival; for, sooner or later, He is bound to come. You are to be equipped, not with the riches and the wealth of the world, but with a poor man's heart, a heart that will burst forth into tears of joy at His name and in which the waves of love are constantly rising, leaving no space for any other love besides that for the Holy One.

The inception of love is the result of the ascent of the accumulated energy upwards. The way upwards is through the Guru.

Mira was imbued with similar feelings. She cried, "Take the torch of `Guru-Thana' and steer clear through the abysmal darkness of the world." What she said will be understood only by those who have passed through the path traversed by that great devotee. The fidelity required in this domain is too taxing, nay, boring at times, for the soul that has started suddenly and with great vigour at the very outset. It staggers at the first shock it receives, as it is yet raw in the sense of lacking in the support of the Guru. But, when the Guru is met, the watchword of the soul is "Always with the Guru." This is the sign of emancipation, and, sooner or later, every soul must crave for the divine support. Then redemption is not far off. Else, like the many, it also finds a place in some abyss. The onlookers have watched with careless eyes the wrecking of many boats, but they have never cared to diagnose the cause. The phantom of death, as the dear ones have been carried on the bier, has haunted them only for a moment. The realization has been short-lived. The attention is carried again to the wrangles of the world, and once again the soul is drowned in the sea of pain and pleasure, steeped in the desire of the world, in its joys and in its sorrows. The momentary flash does cross at least once everybody's life, and many a pious resolution is then arrived at, and solemn promise made thenceforth to follow a course that may lead Home. But their unstable position soon wrecks them on the rocks of worldliness. When once caught in its meshes, no amount of frowning or fawning will avail them. But even then, if he were to realize the greatness of the soul and follow its dictates to the last, there is every chance of redemption. The Teacher will give the devotee the strength to fight the blandishments and snares of Maya and Kala and ultimately tow his boat unperturbed through the gushing current. Few realize the boon the Teacher confers although everybody is familiar with the prevailing practice in big households. The entry there is regulated by permits. It is therefore not a matter for surprise that the divine preserves should be protected by these saints, who act as the repositories of divine secrets, mysteries and knowledge. If the Cela is ready, he whispers the password, and with its help the aspirant reaches the unexplored region.

MirabaiThe Guru tells how the descent began and the agonies of the soul commenced. He knows it, as he has the experience of that region. When the ingress into the region of darkness has been through doors of pain, the way back must surely likewise be decked with wreaths of tears, not burning tears this time, but the soothing draughts that quench the thirst of the soul. Seeing the wilderness in front and the uncertainty in the result of the espoused cause, the tiro does not grip the opportunity offered to him, but allows himself to be washed with the downward current into the region of abysmal darkness. The proverbial laziness in man, coupled with his love for pleasure does not permit him to steer through and beyond the rushes of Maya. He is afraid of being drowned and desires to come out unbruised. Thus, when a beginner finds after some time that the path is too difficult for him, he abandons it immediately. Thereupon the sparks of renunciation convert themselves into strong chains of worldliness, thus preparing the way to Hell. The solitary stars shine in the firmament of time; while some have persevered and others have sneered, the devotees have worn expectant looks. They have sat helpless and penitent, awaiting the motherly touch to come and take them up. And the mother has come. Their hopes have not been frustrated. The Teachers have come and opened the portals for them. There drinks the soul the nectar of bliss, unable to find words in which to express gratitude to the Teacher. In no words can it pay tribute to him, the repository of the GREAT MYSTERY, who unlocks the mysteries that lie unfathomed in the recesses of the heart.

Writer – Bankey Behari

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