What is the Perfect Master?
He is a father who finds his lost child, takes him by the hand and leads him home.
He is a battlefield doctor in a war "between us and our mind," who stands prepared to heal us if we are wounded.
He is a gardener who weeds out the darkness so the flowers of love and joy can grow freely in the garden of this world.
Guru Maharaj Ji has likened the Perfect Master to these and many other things: a teacher of perfection, an auto mechanic who mends our engines, the captain of a ship in a sea of drowning souls, a radar controller who keeps pilots on course.
But always he is talking about the same thing.
"I am just teaching them perfectness and that's why they call me Perfect Master," he said in London in 1973. "And as a matter of fact, I AM the Perfect Master, because I CAN reveal this peace. I can reveal this peace which is perfect."
Over and over, he speaks of himself as a man who has a key that everyone needs but no one else has until he gives it to them. He says he has come to this world to give it to everyone. But, to get it, each of us has to fulfill certain conditions.
For one thing, we must be sincere.
"You must just ask humbly, ask with a guileless heart and the next moment he will reveal to you that reality which has been unrevealed since your childhood."
For another, we must be prepared to use the key once it is in our hands. It does no good sitting on a shelf.
For those who put it to use, the master promises much.
"That person who comes to save us, we call him our Savior, we call him our everything, and that person we really have to understand.
"You came to me and you asked for Knowledge. Now it's my responsibility to make sure that you also follow the instructions of satsang (speaking and hearing words of Truth), service and meditation. (These three disciplines are the basic elements of the practice of Knowledge.)
"Because a doctor's duty is not to just go and write a prescription to anybody and say, 'Okay, these are your tablets and forget it. Go away.'
"It is his responsibility to make sure that that person is okay."
Thus, the Perfect Master's job is threefold: he offers the key, makes sure a devotee uses it and guarantees results once it is used.
"Guru Maharaj Ji is a mechanic. Whenever your car fails he comes and mends it up and gets you on the road. All you gotta do is give him a call. It's not a big deal. You know, it's like this is your engine right here. It freaks out sometimes. And Guru Maharaj Ji comes and fixes it up and he gets you back on the road."
In India, in 1971, Maharaj Ji said people in the world today are crippled and blind. Not necessarily in the lieral sense, but in the sense that they are caught up in believing that the physical world – made up of their bodies, their houses, their cars – is the truest reality. Thus they are blind to the greater truth that is lying deep within their souls.
"You are crippled with materialism," he said. Then he added: "Come to me, for I shall heal you from your disease.
"You are blind with your eyes, for you cannot look into the spiritual world. Come to me, for I shall enlighten you.
"If you are lame, I am there to help you."
No One Else Has This Power
Often, he simply uses the term "Guru" as a synonym for Perfect Master. And he explains that such a being has been on this earth many times, but at any given time, there is only one person who can fulfill this role. He is unique.
"Guru Maharaj Ji," he has said, "is the one who gives the True Name of God. No one else has this power."
The metaphors he uses range from lengthy tales of ancient saints and Satgurus to the most up-to-date acquaintance with analogies of modern technology, derived from his own experience with cars, airplanes (he has a pilot's license), and high-fidelity sound equipment, which he often builds himself.
"If it weren't for radar centers," he said in one discourse, "many planes would have been lost.
"The person who has completely lost touch with the radar control is really looking into trouble. And that is the difference between the man who has the Perfect Master and [one] who does not have a Perfect Master.
"When it comes to a point where there is really confusion ahead of us, where there's really problems ahead of us, that is the time when only the person who has the guidance of Perfect Master will go through."
More timeless, perhaps, was the allegory which he drew on July 17, 1974, during a celebration of his having first come to the United States on that date three years before.
That night, Maharaj Ji compared each of us to a man trapped in a maze, trying to find his way out and it having a very good time of it. Meanwhile, 100 feet above the maze, is another man who can see clearly what the man down below needs to do to get out.
The man above is the Perfect Master. And, if the man below listens to his directions, he gets out of the puzzle in short order.
In his impromptu remarks to his followers and others, Maharaj Ji uses a number of words from the Hindi language. Some don't seem to have any couierpart in English, and one of these is the term "agya," which means the directions given by the Sat-guru – that one means "true guru" and, again, is a synonym for Perfect Master – to his devotees.
In the case of the story about the man in the puzzle, "agya" can be translated as the man up above saying, "Okay, if you want out, now take a left here." In the case of Guru Maharaj Ji, it has to do with his instructions for the proper practice of Knowledge.
We Are All Children …
Often, he explains that such basic instructions are needed because human beings on this earth are really like children, needing constant guidance and love from their parents to keep them from getting hurt or lost.
It is in these analogies that Guru Maharaj Ji's expressions of love for all mankind often are the most beautiful and moving to those who seek his guidance.
"You have to always understand," he said once, "that you are a little kid. You are a little child. A very, very, very little child. And you are at such a stage that if you try to go – I mean, you're so little that you cannot afford, you cannot dare to even go into the haunted houses yourself. You cannot sleep without your mama. You are too little to do all those kinds of things.
"And if a person can be that humble, and really understand that, 'Yes, I AM a little child and I need directions,' then everything will be so beautiful."
Needless to say, the world is full of grown men and women who don't relate easily to the idea that, underneath it all, they are really still small children. But the simplicity of Maharaji's many examples about fathers and children suggests that he sees beyond the pride snd the sophistication, recognizing the fears, the pain and the long-held desire, deep in everyone, to return to the source of all Truth and all love.
At a festival in Toronto in November 1975, motion picture cameras whirred as Guru Maharaj Ji told yet another tale about a lost child. The words are poetic to many who have heard them while viewing that movie footage.
"The child is lost. Completely, completely lost.
"Well, just imagine that parent, the father, has his arms wide open. And he is running.
"He is running, running, running, and this small child has now realized that his father is right there, and that he can reach to his father, he can go to his father.
"So the small child is also running with his hands wide open. And it's so beautiful."
The Grace of the Perfect Master
There is something in this universe called God. There is also something called Grace. And, while Guru Maharaj Ji has sometimes turned aside the question: "Do you claim to be God?" by saying he is only a servant of the supreme power, he also says man must have the Grace of the Perfect Master if he is to know that power first hand.
"There is a small, dim curtain between ourselves and our Father," he said once in India. "It is a very slim curtain and this curtain can only be raised by that person who is authorized to raise it. And that authorized person is one. This curtain can be raised by a Perfect Master, by a master who is perfect."
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The Perfect Master
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In the mountains of Colorado in 1972, he said God, as the father of all, had an obligation to help his children when times were darkest.
"Suppose I am a father, and my child is crawling toward the fire, and he is very near to the fire and he is almost in the fire, and I am still watching him. Am I a father?
"Don't you think that we have already entered this fire which is getting out of control? It is a very, very, very bad fire we have entered and can God still watch?
"Can the human race be destroyed and God still watch? Is He a father? Is He going to watch while the world is being destroyed? Then He is not a father.
"Our real Father will always come to save us. He manifests Himself, before the whole world is destroyed."
Those are strong words. But Guru Maharaj Ji's words were even more straightforward when, at age 12, he delivered this pronouncement before a vast audience in New Delhi:
"Give me your love. I will give you peace. Come to me. I will relieve you of your suffering. I am the source of peace in this world."
That declaration has come to be remembered as the "Peace Bomb" satsang. In it, he also proclaimed:
"I declare I will establish peace in this world. Many times have I come. This time I come with more power than ever before. But what can I do unless men come to me with love in their hearts and a desire to know peace and Truth?"
Anyone who has heard Guru Maharaj Ji speak knows that his style is one which can go from a shout to a gentle near-whisper in the space of a few sentences.
Thus, at one moment, he may seem to roar like a lion, yet a moment later, he may turn to the most mundane aspects of our daily life to make a point that seems almost whimsical, even though it speaks of Truth.
Like a teacher who knows a thousand ways to keep the attention of his students, he jumps from daytime television shows to Bugs Bunny cartoons to popular songs and on to the most elemental details of what makes an automobile work.
In 1974, he mentioned a TV show in which a contestant was asked: "Who is Guru Maharaj Ji?" He said the answer given on the program was: "Fifteen-year-old Perfect Master." His comment about that was:
"Anybody who says that Guru Maharaj Ji is 15 years old is out of his head. That would mean there was a time when Guru Maharaj Ji wasn't even born."
To those who have followed Guru Maharaj Ji for these several years since he came to the West, it has grown clear that his words only point the way to a deeper understanding that must come from the practice of meditation and those other actions which he prescribes.
The end point – a point which doesn't really have an end, because it never seems to stop growing, and it always seems to be right here – goes beyond any intellectual understanding of what the Perfect Master is talking about.
"The problem," he once said, "is how to get to the Truth. You need someone to reveal the Truth to you.
"When you want to learn math, you need a math master. When you want to learn physics, you need a physics master. And, when you want to learn perfection, you need a Perfect Master.
"When you approach this Master, he reveals to you the secret: the Truth that is within us."