A Quick Quiz About the Blind Receiving Sight
One of these sayings was written by a Jewish prophet, another by one of the four evangelists of Christianity, one was spoken by a poet who grew up in the Islamic faith, one by a Tibetan Buddhist, and one by a Hindu. The thing is, can you tell which one comes from which religion? Or does it look as though each of these wise men was talking about the same thing?
Blind people get back their sight,
and the lame walk.
I have learned from my Teacher how to
walk without feet, to see without eyes,
to hear without ears, and to drink
without a mouth.
Listen, you deaf people, and look,
you blind men, so you may see.
Dumb, he speaks, blind, he sees.
Deaf, he hears, and crippled, he can run.
A cripple climbs up to heaven and drinks.
A deaf man is overjoyed to hear music.
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A blind man is very happy to see the light.
It takes a wise man to understand this riddle.
Blind your eyes, so you may behold My beauty.
Stop up your ears,
so you may hear the sweet melody of My voice,
empty your self of all learning,
so you may partake of My Knowledge.
Could you tell which was which? It doesn't matter much, really. The important thing is that Guru Maharaj ji is doing today what all these people were talking about. You can read what a blind disciple of Guru Maharaj ji has to say, on page 190. Guru Maharaj ji is giving sight to the blind. Spiritual sight.
He is the wandering swan everlasting,
the soul of all in the universe
… Svetasvatara Upanishad
Whenever the Perfect Master has walked among men, there have been some who were blessed to live within his radiance, and to receive the perfect gift which he bestows. The records which have come down to us from those who lived in this experience are known as scriptures. We preserve them and revere them, like children left searching the sky for sparks after the fireworks have ended.
Ninety-eight percent of what it means to be alive is common to all of us. Mother and father, night and day, birth and death. We all breathe air, we all drink the same water. We sing, or cry. We hope, fear and love. But because what we have in common is so obvious, so omnipresent, our minds have come to focus on the differences between us. What war would ever have been fought if people hadn't seen themselves as Us and Them? And when we apply this same habit of ours to the scriptures, we come up with a very foolish myth: that Ours are better than Theirs.
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The Bible, the Bhagavad Gita, the Koran, the Tao Te Ching, the Buddhist sutras: most people live by one of them, and disregard the others completely. Some people are familiar with several of them, but treat them merely as literature. Scholars specialize in one or another of them. A few people even take them to heart and are genuinely moved by them. But we need a Perfect Master to make the scriptures really come alive for us. Because only if our experience is the same as the experience of the disciples of old, will we really know what the scriptures mean.
If Guru Maharaj Ji really is a Perfect Master, then the Knowledge that he is giving now will also have been given by all the Perfect Masters of old. And if that's the case, then there will be traces of that Knowledge in all the great scriptures of the world. Let's take a look now at the scriptures of the world, and see whether mention is made of the same Knowledge which Guru Maharaj Ji is offering to people today.
The message has always been the same: you don't know everything there is to know! There is another kind of Knowledge you won't find in a book, nor even in everyday life. The Sufis are people who have long been on the track of this higher truth. Themselves great saints in the Islamic tradition, they have not feared to find evidence for the truth in the writings of Jew and Christian, Hindu and Moslem alike. Ibn Arabi was one of the great Sufi mystics of the Middle Ages. He said:
There are three forms of knowledge. The first is intellectual knowledge, which is in fact only information and the use of this to arrive at further intellectual concepts. This is intellectualism.
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Second comes the knowledge of states, which includes both emotional feeling and strange states of being in which man thinks that he has perceived something supreme but cannot avail himself of it.
Third comes real knowledge, which is called the Knowledge of Reality. In this form, man can perceive what is right, what is true, beyond the boundaries of thought and sense.
The people who attain to truth are those who know how to connect themselves with the reality which lies beyond.
The Upanishads (the name means "sitting at the feet of the Master") are to Hindus roughly what the New Testament is to Christians. The Mundaka Upanishad talks about two kinds of knowledge:
The lower is the knowledge of the scriptures and also of ceremonies, grammar, etymology, and astrology. The higher is Knowledge of that by which one knows the changeless Reality. By this is fully revealed to the wise that which transcends the senses, which is uncaused, which is undefinable, which has neither eyes nor ears, nor hands nor feet, which is all-pervading, subtler than the subtlest - the everlasting source of all.
So how can we get hold of this Knowledge? Not by thinking about it, says the Katha Upanishad. You have to be sincere about it, you have to ask for it with a pure heart.
Prostrate yourself at the feet of the wise, render them all forms of service, and question them with a guileless heart, again and again. Those wise seers of Truth will unfold that Knowledge to you.
The Knowledge will be transmitted to you the only way it can be - by touch. "Krishna by His divine
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touch gave Muchukunda freedom and knowledge," says the Shrimad Bhagavatam. "Through laying on of the apostles' hands, the Holy Ghost was given," says the Book of Acts. This is the way by which Knowledge is given. "Thou hast laid thine hand upon me. Such Knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high," complains the Psalmist.
The Bible stresses that God wishes "all men to be saved, and to come unto the Knowledge of the Truth." (I Timothy). And the Koran tells us that "those who have been given Knowledge see that what is revealed unto thee from the Lord is the truth."
The Four Techniques
1. Divine Light
Nobody remembers coming into this world, and no one is quite sure when their existence actually started. Our beginnings are lost in the mists of time. And yet the scriptures of the world all tell us that we are wayfarers upon earth, that this body is but temporary accommodation for our spirit.
What life exactly did we have before we were conceived in the womb? This is the question posed by the old Zen riddle, "What face did you have before your parents were bom?" And the answer, all the scriptures assure us, is that we are creatures of light. "Your own consciousness, shining, is inseparable from the Great Body of Radiance. It has no birth, nor death, and is the unchanging light," the Tibetan Book of the Dead tells us. This unchanging light we call divine light, and that is "the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world," as St. John has said.
But though it lights us, we've forgotten it. As the Isa Upanishad puts it:
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The face of truth remains hidden behind a circle of gold. Unveil it, 0 god of light, that I who love the true may see!
It's always through light, because he is light, that the everlasting one shows himself to us. The Psalms declare "God is the Lord which has showed us light." And the Koran agrees, "Allah guides to his light whomsoever he will."
Christ told his disciples, "If thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light." He was referring to the same eye which Lord Krishna speaks of in the Bhagavad Gita. Krishna tells his disciple Arjuna, "You cannot see me with these gross eyes of yours, so I give you a divine eye." The fifteenth century Moslem seer Al-Ghazzali explains further:
You have now realized that there are two kinds of eye, an external and an internal; that the former belongs to one world, 'the World of Sense, and that internal vision belongs to another world altogether, the World of the Realm Celestial; and that each of these two eyes has a sun and a light whereby its seeing is perfected.
Comments Lao-Tsu, the Chinese sage, "A sensible man prefers the inner to the outer eye."
2. Celestial Harmony
The divinity in us isn't limited to light. We can experience it in various ways. And so, from the source of light there flows a music, a harmony. The Tibetan Book of the Dead says, "Within these radiances, the natural sound of the truth will reverberate like a thousand thunders. Know them to be of thine own inner light." The Christian Book of Revelations also compares this music to thunder: "And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps." It's all of this and
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more, the "delicate anklets that ring on the feet of an insect," as the Muslim poet Kabir says, "and a stampede of horses on the plain." It's the harmony of the spheres, the sound of the universe in tune with itself.
How is it produced? That's a mystery the Zen Master Bodhidharma tackled when he asked, "What is the sound of one hand clapping?" It's a more-than-human sound, though our own sound is in there. But we don't produce it. The Sikh Guru Nanak said, "His ears catch strains of celestial music when the lute strikes notes without being touched." The thing is, its source is far beyond us.
The object is to "bathe in the centre of sound, as in the continuous sound of a waterfall," as Lord Shiva told his wife. We can actually let perfection flow through us, carrying our disharmonies away with it. How could it help but be perfect for each of us? It bubbles up right from the heart, touching us wherever we happen to be, and leading us back to the place of calm. "Why don't you learn from yourself by listening to the sound of the natural law within you?" asks the Buddhist Surangama Sutra. And the Psalmist in the Old Testament, too, rejoices:
Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk in the light of thy countenance. In my name shall they rejoice all the day.
The Upanishads tell us that:
By the power of inner harmony, and by the grace of God, Svetasvatara had the vision of the Supreme. This is the music of eternity, the piping of the piper who is leading us home.
3. The River of Life
"There is a water that flows down from heaven," wrote the Persian poet Jelal al-Din Rumi: the elixir of
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immortality, which we call nectar. And even though it's undoubtedly heavenly, the Perfect Master can show us its hidden source right in our own bodies, our material connection with the infinite. "I have fully revealed the vessel of nectar juice," proclaims Buddha in The Sutra of the Golden Light. The point is, we can actually, physically drink of it. The Book of Proverbs in the Bible says, "Drink waters out of your own cistern, and running waters out of your own well."
It's no accident that the land we've been promised flows with milk and honey. This nectar is more than a sweet liquid, it's love itself in liquid form. St. John of the Cross says he felt as if
all the balms and perfumed spices and flowers in the world were mingled and shaken and revolved together to give that sweetness.
It's not so surprising that St. Kabir advises us to "drink the sweet honey that steeps the petals of the lotus of the heart."
We are all thirsty for love. And the Koran promises those who ask that "their Lord will give them to drink a pure drink." Says the Bhagavad Gita, "Those who fully partake of this nectar are extremely dear to me." So, "let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." That's from the Book of Revelations.
4. The Word of God
All energy comes in waves: light waves, sound waves, shock waves, and so forth. And behind all these waves, underlying all these vibrations, is a fundamental vibration called the Word. But it isn't a word in any language, it's only a verb in the sense of reverberation.
This Word is the source of every breath we take. It is the life that God breathes into man, and the spirit that all religions speak of: the power pack that He has planted within us. And it is the energy from which this universe is woven.
This Word was there before time began. St. John opens his gospel by saying, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." The Hindu sages recorded in the Katha Upanishad, "This Word is the Supreme, the everlasting." And halfway around the world, the Uitoto Indians of Colombia came to the same conclusion: "In the beginning the Word gave origin to the father."
This Word really is the source of everything. The Psalmist has it,
By the Word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.
Guru Nanak, the great prophet of the Sikh religion, says, "With one Word He created the whole universe."
Many people who hear about this Word think it is something to be spoken. People chant, "Krishna, Krishna," or, "Lord Jesus, have mercy," "Amida Butsu," or "Allah, Allah." But this Word has nothing to do with language. It can't be spoken, because it is beginningless and endless. It is this Word which is God, and in this Word we live and move and have our being. Al Ghazzali, the Muslim mystic, has said, "His Word goes beyond all sounds and syllables," and Lao-Tsu warned us,
The name that can be pronounced
Is not the constant name.
No name that we can chant can be the energy that makes us live.
Yet there is a way to connect with it. Kabir tells us to "receive that Word from which the universe springeth: that Word is the teacher. I have heard it, and become the disciple." We can be put in touch with the life source within us. But we must become disciples in order for that to happen. In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna makes Arjuna his disciple, telling him, "Arjuna, listen once again to my supreme Word."
The Word of God is universal. It lives in all hearts. It is the subject of all scriptures. And it is the home to which we must return.
So read the scriptures, investigate them. Cross and re-cross the testimony to divine light, to the holy Name, to nectar and the divine harmonies. But something more. We all collect mementos of the ones we love, we store them and fondle them, seek some sort of presence in them. It never works. The scent evaporates from a pressed flower. A photograph doesn't breathe. And the melancholy they generate is at the opposite pole from living love.
So come to know the scriptures, put them in your heart, and feel sad. Why? Feel sad to know that others were enraptured by a Lover you have never known. But when you feel the desire to know this perfect love above all else, come to Guru Maharaj Ji. And sit like a child at his feet.
Another Quick Quiz
Here's another brain-teaser for you. One of these quotations comes from a Jewish source, two are from Hindu scriptures, one is Christian and one is from an Islamic poet. Can you match the sayings to their respective religions?
Neither sun, moon, nor fire shine there. Those who go thither never come back. For that is My Celestial Home.
There the sun shines not, nor the moon, nor the stars, lightnings shine not there, much less earthly fire. For by His light, all these give light, and His radiance illumines all creation.
The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory.
And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the lamb is the light thereof.
What a secret splendour is there, in the mansion of the skyl There no mention is made of the rising and the setting of the sun. In the light of love, day and night are felt to be one.
Once again, it doesn't matter how you score. What's important is that you can experience the heavenly city too. The doors of the city are being held wide open, light and love are patiently waiting, you are welcome to come and see …