The Tree of knowledge
Shabd Yoga: The Mystic Essence
There are several mystic practices in the world, all of which aim at unveiling the hidden mystery of the universe. None is perfect except Shabd Yoga or Sawt-i Sarrnadi, the practice of listening to the eternal inner sound, which takes us to the very final stage of ultimate reality. Other practices leave us along the way. What the rishis of old achieved through long and arduous practices extending over hundreds of years, as stated in their ancient books, mystics of Shabd Yoga may attain in a few months and without unnecessarily straining and torturing the physical frame.
Moreover, the rishis even then could not reach the highest plane, which is our true home and into which access can be obtained only through Shabd Yoga. Shabd has a natural attraction or affinity for the soul, and is a straight road to God; other practices do not take us to the ultimate spiritual realm because their vehicle is not purely spiritual. Shabd is a purely spiritual power, and consequently it can provide access into purely spiritual regions. One who is initiated properly into the mysteries of Shabd by a perfect adept may easily scale those spiritual heights, which are inaccessible to mystics of other schools.
Shabd mystics dive deep into the ocean of existence and fathom the very bottom of reality. They have opened their inner eyes and they see; they have opened their inner ears and they hear; they know the transcendent mysteries and hidden secrets of God; they move in the higher planes of absolute consciousness. They are in this world but not of it, and they want to take others also to their high stage of spiritual bliss and absolute knowledge. Salvation can be had in this very life, before we leave this frame, only if we learn how to die before our final death. Mysticism teaches us how to do this; how to take our soul out of the body and transport it to high spiritual planes. By thus dying our death, we go beyond all delusion and darkness and find true bliss and beatitude of the spiritual planes here and now.
“If before thy death dost thou die, This dying shall bear fruit.”
— Bulleh Shah
“Thou art such that without the (physical) body, thou hast a body (astral); be not afraid then of leaving thy mortal frame .”
— Masnavi III
The fruit of dying before one’s death is liberation from the thralldom of maya and salvation from the bondage of karmas. All mystics strike the same route. Mystics therefore invite us to go up into their blissful realm during our lifetime; they call us up. “Rise, 0 soul, and come thou up before thy death; Behold thy kingdom and thy eternal home,” said Rumi. We cannot have true life unless we cross the boundary of death, and so to speak, are born again on the subtle spiritual planes during our lifetime. Shabd Yoga is such a practice. It enables us to die while living and to experience transport into spiritual realms. But this dying before one’s death does not mean going out of the body altogether and severing one’s connection with it. It only means withdrawal of our conscious spirit current within us from the physical plane to the subtle transcendent realms. When we are in the waking state we are, so to speak, sitting at the windows of our house and looking outside. Our eyes, ears, nose, mouth and the like are external windows through which we perceive phenomena. In transport, we close those windows, open our inner window and go into the inner apartment of our self to look on reality.
True light is within us; without, all is darkness and delusion. God is not physical or material, such that he may be found in this physical creation. He is extremely subtle and spiritual, and consequently we should seek him in spiritual transcendent realms, access to which is possible only through inner concentration. Therefore, mystics tell us again and again to look within. God abides in the deep recesses of our own being, but we search for him outside
“Under thine own arm is thy Beloved, And thou art ignorant; in thyself is the Beloved, and yet thou goest from door to door.”
“In the body resideth he himself the transcendent divine being, but the egoistic foolish fellow seeketh him outside.”
— Guru Amar Das, Adi Granth
The infinite is contained in the apparently finite; the eternal resides in the outwardly evanescent; the transcendent absolute is screened in flesh and blood; the Supreme Being is concealed in the human body. “Who seeketh the Lord elsewhere and not in his body, is verily a fool; in delusion doth he wander hither and thither, Like the deer that for his own musk looketh in shrubs.” (Guru Amar Das, Adi Granth)
God is within us but we foolishly search for him outside — in books, in rivers, in temples, in stones and elsewhere — but vain is our search. If we learn the path of Shabd from a mystic adept, we shall be able to find God within. This human frame is the true temple of God, for he is to be realized and worshipped in it.
“The temple of God is this body from which come the rubies of knowledge; but the egoistic people know not at all that man can be the temple of God.”
Guru Amar Das, Adi Granth
“As a handful of straw dost thou know thy body, but underneath it floweth the ocean of life; outwardly thou art a particle, but inwardly art thou a hundred suns.”
Rumi, Divan-I Kebir: Bahr-I Remil
This small creature, the human being, is a wonder of wonders, but we know it not. If by the grace of the mystic adept our inner eyes are opened, then we will realize that the true temple of God is this human body. This human body has been created by God after his own image, and he himself lives within it
“God created man; in the likeness of God made He him.”
— Bible, Genesis 5:1
“Ye are the temple of the living God.”
— Bible, 2 Corinthians 6:16
Extracts from ‘Mysticism: The Spiritual Path by Lekh Raj Puri’
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