This question comes up frequently, for certain seekers on the path of light claim that one does not need a Master to attain spiritual realization. According to them, all one has to do is to choose a discipline from among those that are offered to the public. And they maintain that by practising this discipline with perseverance, one will inevitably reach the goal one day.
These men and women affirm with conviction that spirituality is a matter between God and man and that there is no need at all for an intermediary. But let us say right away that this last assertion is risky, to say the least, for who then had spoken to them about spirituality? Where had they learnt that there was something called spirituality? Even if they had eventually got it from someone close to them, hadn’t it come directly or indirectly through messages from Great Prophets of the past? In any case, God Himself did not appear to them to tell them to follow that path!Continuity of the Divine Message
But they feel that they know enough for them not to follow a living Master who is also a Prophet and who, in truth, continues the work of the Prophets of the past. Indeed, Maharajji has said several times that all true saints (meaning those who have attained divine realization), whatever path they had followed before their enlightenment, are one, for they are definitively united with God. From then on, in order to help other men attain the same magnificent goal, which is the aim of all that exists (even stones, plants and animals), these saints all receive the same message which, adapted to the level of evolution of the epoch and culture of each nation, becomes the religion of that nation. However, men, in their blindness and separative attitude, think that only their religion is the true one, and make war on other nations who have other beliefs, or make fun of them.Necessity to Hear the Guide
Spirituality is indeed a matter between man and God. But are those men able, at the level of evolution that they have reached, to hear or see the instructions that God would give them? Wouldn’t it be perilous to follow a path while being directed by someone whose instructions one can neither see nor hear? And is it not logical to think that God has appointed ministers or intermediaries who can speak the same language as those they speak to? What ordinary citizen speaks directly to the Head of state for business with government offices, schooling, medical care etc.? If our Heads of state work through ministers and numerous civil servants and agents, how could man, arrogant as he is, think that he can speak directly to the infinite God for instructions?
One thing is sure: these same men will never say that if you want to reach a level in mathematics (or any other academic subject) which is as high as someone with a university diploma, you do not need qualified teachers. And why would they not say that? Because they had gone to school and had seen how much it was difficult for example, to solve certain equations in algebra. So when they remember how they had often toiled over those exercises, they will never underestimate the more than necessary help from a competent teacher.The Path — a Hard Battlefield
Do they know that spiritual progress raises even more difficult equations to solve than mathematical ones or exercises in any other academic subject? Do they know that one of these equations is called purifying the consciousness of certain inclinations and bad entrenched tendencies (bad in the sense of what keeps one away from the Light, what prevents one from perceiving the Truth) and which the disciple cannot get rid of by himself ? Are they aware of this other equation which is first of all making the disciple’s karma lighter and then liberating him from it? And yet another one which is the judicious awakening and at the right time (and not in a disorderly or brutal way) of the different psychic centres? For the order in which they are awakened changes according to whether the disciple belongs to one or the other of the seven big groups of men which inhabit the planet; and the disciple does not know which group he belongs to.
Have they even thought about the fact that the disciple has to avoid falling into traps — and there are a lot of them — on the path? While it is up to him to avoid some of those traps, for others he will need the protection of the Master, for the disciple is not even aware that they exist. This is especially so for certain powerful forces which naturally try to impede the progress of all disciples so as to keep them in their present state of ignorance. And there are many other equations to solve, and not the least, for the path to liberation is a very hard battlefield. Do those who want to set off on this path on their own know the laws governing one’s being, so as to be able to lead their soul to the realization of God? The disciple does not know these laws whereas the Master does. That is why he is a true guide and in India, his highly respected name is Guru
, i.e. he who leads from darkness (Gu
) to light (Ru
). Even this holy name has now been defiled and emptied of its meaning by some supposed gurus who have brought public condemnation upon true Instructors. But it is said that every cloud has a silver lining. Indeed, this state of affairs also helps to set up a guardian on the threshold of light so that those who are not yet ready and who listen to the murmurs of the world may not find the door to the Master...Fruitful Cooperation
In our schools and universities, students have to learn lessons and do the exercises set by their teachers. Their progress results from teaching and guidance from a teacher on the one hand, and their own efforts on the other. In the spiritual domain that is also how things go. The Master does teach indeed, but the disciple has to put those teachings into practice in his daily life. However, there are aspects of his progress which do not depend on him, or at least which he cannot deal with alone, for he is not even aware that they exist.
But that is not all! A Master is able to give energy to a disciple at any time, so as to push his consciousness up to a higher level if he finds it necessary. It is similar to the case where the doctor gives tonic to a sick person.
Truly Like Childbirth
One can say that attaining divine realization is literally the birth of a spiritual man. And we know that to be born, at least in our age, we need parents. So who can say he was born by himself, without parents? We all know that the mother goes into labour and pushes while the baby is being born so that he can come into the world of men. In the same way, the Master pushes, so to speak, the disciple into the spiritual kingdom (the fifth) when he sees that his disciple is ready for this ultimate stage. To do so he uses his divine power to set off the disciple’s enlightenment. This energy is shaktipat, which the disciple does not possess, and therefore can never set off by himself. Isn’t the Master therefore indispensable?
But before we end, let us not forget the following for it may have a bearing on the topic we are dealing with. A true Master never wants anyone to be subjected to him. He does not try to dominate anyone, even his disciple. He only wants the latter to submit himself to his own inner God, which some call soul, for it is this inner God which must be revealed and come to power in one’s being when the ego or outer personality (the social man) characterized by ignorance and numerous limitations falls away … All the Master’s work consists in fostering the coming into power of this inner being.
And the disciple works towards that goal while living a normal life in society, with a job and a family. There is no need at all to go off and live in a monastery, an ashram etc. A true Master does not seek to keep his disciples with him all the time.
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