Starstuff Contemplating the Stars -- Light and Sound on the Path -- Sant Mat Satsang
"We are the local embodiment of a Cosmos grown to self-awareness. We have begun to contemplate our origins: starstuff pondering the stars...." (Carl Sagan)
"O Soul (Surat)! Who are you and whence have you come? You are a ray from Purush (the Supreme Being) and an inhabitant of the purely Spiritual Region." (Swami Ji Maharaj/Sant Radhasoami Sahib)
"The teaching of the Saints is to raise the soul from the lower chakras to the higher chakras -- till it reaches the highest chakra, where it initially landed, and then reach the MASTER -- THE SUPREME SOUL, from where it initially parted. The path of upliftment is the same as that of descent, except that the movement is reverse, i.e., ascent in place of descent." (H.N. Saksena, The Secret of Realisation)
O Guru! May my consciousness ascend the sky.
Kindly help me catch the current of seven melodies and
the Quintessential One.
After allowing me to catch the support of your Radiant Being,
Let me have a glimpse of your highly resplendent Vision.
(Padavali of Maharshi Mehi)
"This world is perishable and so also is all that pertains to it. A wise man is he, who, having closely examined the nature of existence here, has realized that it is all transitory and illusory, and consecrated his human form by devoting himself to Bhajan and Simran (listening to inner sounds and repetition of the Holy Name of the Supreme Being) and who, taking the fullest advantage of the various faculties which the Supreme Father has graciously endowed him with, has translated the invaluable jewel within him, which is Surat (spirit) or the essence of his being, to its original abode." (Soami Ji Maharaj)
Day is Night - Night is Day
"Use all your power to free the senses from attachment and aversion alike, and live in the full wisdom of the Self. Such a sage awakes to Light in the night of all creatures. That which the world calls 'day' is the night of ignorance to the wise." (The Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2, verses 68 and 69, Eknath Easwaran translation)
"That, which is night to all beings (who are turned away from God), in that state the disciplined Yogi keeps awake. And that in which all beings are awake (enjoying the worldly pleasures and prosperity), is night to the enlightened seer." (Bhagavad Gita 2: 69 from the online translation at IndiaDivine[dot]org)
"Only a perfect Master and Shabd
(Quintessial Unstruck Sound)
Are your two true friends.
Dedicate your heart to them
And discard everything else."
-- Sant Radhaswami Sahib
"When we receive initiation from a Saint, practice Naam simran to retrace our consciousness from toes to a spot behind the eyes [Third Eye Center], only then something is accomplished." (Baba Kehar Singh)
Sant Mat Meditation: "Those practitioners who assiduously practice meditation will behold wonderful spectacles within." (Swami Achyutanand)
"The support of the soul is in the head, and now I will tell you of the
recognition of Shabda. One who gets connected with the Unrepeated Repetition to see gets the infinite-petaled lotus. When he reaches the astral door, he [ultimately] goes to Agam and Agochar [by way of] the True Path. His inner Self-where Adi Purush resides-gets enlightened. Recognizing Him, the soul goes to Him -- and He takes the soul to its origin. The soul is of the same essence as Sat Purush and is also called Jiva-Sohang." (Anurag Sagar)
Quality of Concentration in Meditation: "Single-pointedness results in absolute concentration, which causes ascension (vertical rise) enabling one to move onto a higher level or stage. This way it would be possible to transcend all illusory sheaths [subtle bodies, astral, causal, etc...]." (Maharshi Mehi, The Way of Liberation)
Subtle Bodies Associated With Inner Regions
From the Article, Visions of Allah
The process of gaining a vision of paradise and mystic transport has been described as "stripping off old garments" and replacing them with a new heavenly robe made of Light. In his Persian Sufi classic, Divine Flashes, Fakhruddin 'Iraqi describes the process:
"When the Beloved would exalt the lover, He strips from him the garments collected from all the worlds, and clothes him in the robe of His own attributes. Then the Beloved calls him by all his own attributes. Then the Beloved calls him by all his own names, and seats him in his own place. When the lover studies his new clothes he finds himself arrayed in different colors, and will wonder 'what is this beautiful tint, this garment so unique?'"
This quote from Divine Flashes reminds me of Saying 37 in the Gospel of Thomas, one of the earliest collections of the sayings of Jesus.
His disciples said, "When will you appear to us, and when will we see you?" Jesus said, "When you strip without being ashamed, and you will take your cloths and put them under your feet like little children and trample them, then you will see the Son of the Living One and you will not be afraid." (The Complete Gospels, Robert J. Miller, Polebridge Press)
Sufism is a form of Islamic Gnosticism which really does have many affinities with earlier Gnostic mystical traditions of the middle east. Like other movements of the past that embrace spiritual experience and mystic transport through the Seven Heavens, Sufis have found it useful to compare out-of-body or ascension journeys to the stripping or shedding of garments. The above quote illustrates their view that each soul on the earth-plane is wearing several garments. We are souls wearing subtle bodies or coverings; our physical body is made out of the material substance of the physical universe. We are, as the late Dr. Carl Sagan put it, "star stuff pondering star stuff." Our bodies are made out of atoms that once came from stars and other objects in the cosmos. When we enter into contemplation and mystical states, our awareness is elsewhere; we become "dead to the world," have risen above body-consciousness.
In that sense, we have, for the duration of our meditation period, "stripped" ourselves of the garment of the body for the purpose of exploring other levels of our existence. The mystic traveler enters into what has been called "the fourth state of consciousness." In addition to the waking state, the dream state, the unconsciousness state of deep sleep, the truly holistic explorer can also integrate into his or her experience the spiritual worlds.
Mysticism teaches that there are many layers or levels of reality, that there are other garments that will eventually be shed during journeys of ascension. These garments or subtle bodies have been given names in Hebrew, Greek, Coptic, Syriac, Arabic, Persian, Hindi, and other languages. In addition to the "garment" of the physical body, each soul is wearing several other garments or bodies, other sheaths that surround the soul (the True Self), allowing the soul to connect to the various regions of creation. Counting the physical plane as Level One, Level Two is called by many "the astral plane," made of astral stuff -- astral substance, existing at a slightly higher vibration in the astral region. Level Three is the causal body, made of causal or akashic substance, inhabiting the causal plane. Level Four is the mental body made of mind substance, and is part of the mental plane. The etheric body allows the soul to access that region. Above these worlds of mind and matter, the soul resides in the Timeless Spiritual Realm of Truth (Sat, Haq). Metaphysically speaking, we're already in heaven, we just don't know it! 'Iraqi says:
"By day I praised you but never knew it; by night slept with you without realizing; fancying myself to be myself; but no, I was you and never knew it!"
"From the Source of the Ocean opens a Window of Light. Awaken that resplendent Light within thee....Repeat the name of the Lord and secure Him." (Shabdavali of Param Sant Tulsi Sahib of Hathras)
"Moment by moment gather thy soul and hold it at the Eye Center. Cleanse thou the mirror of thy mind, and catch the Divine Melody with thy soul. If thy longing is keen, thou shalt pierce the veil and attain the Quintessence." (Shabdavali of Param Sant Tulsi Sahib of Hathras)
"Within thine own self, behold the splendor of thy Beloved. In the pupil of thine eye is a mole, wherein is hidden the entire mystery. Peep within and behold thou what lieth beyond this dark curtain. The secret of the fourteen realms will, for certain, be disclosed to thee. Let thy attention not slip, see that thou art ever vigilant." (Shabdavali of Sant Tulsi Sahib of Hathras)
"I beheld in the firmament an inverted well, and was filled with resplendence of Light within." (Shabdavali of Sant Tulsi Sahib of Hathras)
Tulsi Sahib: "The disciple sees within himself the Akash (sky) which is like an inverted well, and merges his Surat [soul's attention] in it."
Chart of the Inner Regions: The Top-most Region is Anami (Nameless), Soundless (Anadi), Nirguna (Formless), Radhasoami -- The Lord of the Soul.
Surat Shabd Yoga: Surat refers to spirit and Shabd to the Sound Current; hence, it is the union the soul with Shabd; the spiritual exercise by which the Current of Consciousness is applied to the hearing of the Sound within; joining the mind and the Attention to the Sound Current. Surat Shabd Yoga: Union (Yoga) of the Soul (Surat) with the Inner Light and Sound of God (Shabd).
The Satguru: "When all the thought waves merge into the Divine Sound, they become Sound. There are no more thoughts. Only Word remains. The surati and Shabda cannot then be differentiated. When the surati unites with Shabda, it is just as when water mixes with milk and become one. Surati gives up its own identity and merges into the Word. Although surati and Shabda appear different, they are not really separate. Once the union has occurred, and the thought waves are silenced, bliss is experienced. When the waters of two rivers such as the Ganges and the Yamuna unite at Prayag, one cannot differentiate the waters, just so, when surati and Shabda unite, they are indistinguishable. However, for this to occur one has to meditate before that Oneness can be realized." (Prakash Mani Naam)
"When the soul (surat) mergeth into the Sound (Shabd) and becometh one with it, then one obtaineth the supreme Bliss. The lamp burneth inside, O Ravidas, and Divine Bliss ariseth within. Steeped in meditation with one-pointed attention, practice devotion to God, O Ravidas. Let the automatic repetition be continued within, Reverberating the True Naam." (Sant Ravidas)
"The divine Melody resounds within,
Upon hearing it, the mind rejoices!
And at long last, attains self-realization,
Never again to stray,
From devotion to the Eternal Teacher.
All its sufferings dissipate.
The soul grasps the rope of divine Melody,
And climbs upon it to liberation."
(Kabir, Songs of the Divine," Dr. J. Das)
Tulsi Sahib said: "When the Surat-disciple meets the Shabd-guru, the path will be traversed."
"The Divine Melody is always resounding when one becomes attuned to it through diligent meditation practice." (Brahm Nirupan of Kabir)
"I now daily hear Shabd in this mansion (of the body, Pind). All the time, I am engaged in this practice." (Swami Ji Maharaj)
"As long as the soul remains in the body, O brother, practice the Path of Shabda." (Anurag Sagar)
"Get detached from the world by associating with Shabd. Shabd removes the barriers." (Swami Ji Maharaj)
"Shabd alone can eradicate Karmas. Without Shabd, we are wandering homeless." (Swami Ji Maharaj)
"Saint Kabir says that our movement is that of a bird (represented by the Shabd); and that the Satguru has given us the key. With the resounding of Shabd, the doors have been flung open, that this Desh [realm] beyond Pind and And [the physical and astral] is ours." (from a hymn of Kabir quoted in, The Secret of Realisation, H.N. Saksena)
I fly as a bird, my wings the Word,
Saith Kabir I'm free, my Satguru liberates me.
My consciousness awoke
Only the Word did resound,
And then beyond the Pind and And,
my true home I
found. (Kabir, another translation of the verse above)
"The body is divided into four regions. These are the Pind or Pinda, the physical or material body; the And or Anda, the lowest part of Brahmand, the spiritual-material region; Brahmand, the spiritual-material region, which is mostly spiritual but mixed with a certain amount of refined matter; and Sach Khand, which is absolutely pure Spirit, the highest and only perfectly pure region. Sach Khand is also the only permanent region." (Huzur Baba Sawan Singh)
Go to heaven --
why go back to the world?
In the house of the fearless One,
where music, unstruck, sounds,
you shall play trumpets.
Meditate upon Him in your heart.
Without meditation there is no salvation.
Your heavy load is taken off.
Welcome Him in your heart,
so you will not be born
again and again.
will light a lamp inside you
that does not need any oil.
This lamp will make you immortal;
this lamp will draw out the poison
of lust and anger.
Pierce this meditation
that gives you salvation,
and wear it around your neck.
Never take it off.
Your guru's grace will get you across.
Meditation will free you
from dependence on others:
You will sleep on silken sheets at home.
Your heart will be at peace;
your life will blossom:
Deeply drink this meditation.
will erase your blemishes;
you will be free from Maya's touch.
Meditate, meditate, and sing,
"Hari, Hari" [God, God]. You will obtain
this meditation from your true guru [Satguru].
Always, always meditate day and night:
When you rise, when you lie down,
when you breathe in, when you breathe out.
Waking or sleeping,
relish the taste of meditation --
meditation will bring union.
Meditation will remove all your burdens;
meditation upon Ram's name [God's name]
will become your support.
Kabir, says, "He is limitless."
(Songs of Kabir from the Adi Granth, Nirmal Das, SUNY Press, NY)