Life in Fullness

This earth, the arena of so many struggles and strives, full of sharp antinomies and contrarieties, presenting, as it does, a vast panorama of life in its variegated forms and colours, is but a speck in the boundless creation of the Great Creator:

There is no end to the creation; there are countless forms of life with varied names, species and colours; written on the objective world by the ever-flowing pen of the Creator.

Guru Nanak

With all its seeming imperfections, this world serves a useful purpose in the Divine Plan, just like an apparently insignificant cog in the machinery of a great powerhouse. Nature, the handiwork of God, is not the least extravagant in its design and plan. This world is a penitentiary, a house of correction, a sort of purgatory, a plan of expiation, a training ground where souls get chastened by experience. It is a half-way house between physical planes and Spiritual Realms.

The powers that be of the earth are hard taskmasters, believing still in the ancient Mosaic Law of,

an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.

Here all kinds of third degree methods are employed and hard knocks are administered; rendering less than justice, untempered by compassion and misery, so that one should take his lessons seriously, and by degrees turn away from the way of the world to the Way of God. Life on the earth-plane then is a dreadful thing, dark with horror and fear, and we are long lost children of God in the labyrinthine wilderness of the world.

Evolution is in the nature of living monads and consists in moving towards its source and becoming one with it, for True Happiness lies in,

Fellowship Divine; fellowship with Essence; till we shine; fully alchemised and free of space.

But the tragedy of life on earth is that we do not know what we are and much less of what we may become for

What we are we do not see; what we see is our shadow.

The Inner Being in us is so constituted after the fashion of God that it knows no rest until he rests in Him.

A truly religious experience,

says Plotinus,

consists in the finding of the True Home by the soul exiled from heaven.

And this experience can be ours if only we know how to unhook the self from the trammels and trappings of body and mind.

Self-realisation and God-realisation are the highest objects of mundane existence. Self-realisation precedes God-realisation.

Know thyself,

has ever been an article of faith with the ancients.

First the Greeks and then the Romans in their turn laid great stress on gnothi seauton and nosce te ipsum as they called it respectively and both these terms stand for self-knowledge or knowledge of the self in us. The knowledge of the self or Atma Jnana of the Hindu Rishis, and Khud Shanasi of the Muslim dervishes, comes first. Next comes the realisation and experience of the Overself or God – Paramatma or Rab-ul-almeen and this is called Khuda Shanasi or Knowledge of God.

The process of self-realisation whereby the self can be separated from the mighty maze of mind and matter, begins with introversion – receding of attention, the outward expression of spirit in the world outside. It is an art of inversion of the attention from the world of senses to the world within, and beyond the physical senses, technically called Para Vidya. Real Life, or Reality is something that is cognised only in a death-like state, a state that intervenes on conscious withdrawal of the sensory currents from the body to the eye-focus. Life is an active principle, however removed; from senses and observation.

In the workaday world, we are prone to all kinds of lusts – lust of the flesh, eyes, ears and other sense-organs – and we are being constantly swayed by countless attachments, myriads of aspirations and desires, springing from the diverse longings of the heart and unknown latencies lying hidden in the folds of the mind. All types of likes and dislikes, prides and prejudices, loves and hatreds and many other things unwittingly keep creeping into our consciousness, personal consciousness, frittering our energy, and keeping us away from the Ultimate Goal and purpose of life; to wit, self-realisation.

This ignorance of the aim of life is a serious malady we are afflicted with, and it is the cause of bondage – bondage of the soul to a world bursting with sin and sorrow. Yet, there is a Power within us that resurrects the soul. We have, therefore, to take a turn from this drama of hectic activity and find the still-centre of our being within the human body where the All-pervading and All-free Power resides.

This body is verily the temple of God, and the Holy Ghost dwells therein. So all this present activity has got to be reversed and geared back into the opposite direction. This is termed by Emerson as tapping inside and going into the fox-hole in the brain, as once remarked by President Truman, for it was into this fox-hole that he repaired whenever he wanted peace and relaxation from the burden of his high office. The Vedas call it Brahm-rendra or the hole through which Brahman could be contacted.

Knock and it shall be opened unto you,

St Matthew (7:7) says significantly enough.

It shows that a Door within the body leads into the realm beyond – the Kingdom of God. And of this inlet it is said:

Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way which leadeth unto Life, and few there be that find it.

St Matthew 7:14

To locate this gate and to have an experience of the ingress makes for personal conviction, for nothing becomes real till it is experienced. Intellect is finite and so is reasoning based on intellect. Scriptural texts speak of Truth but do not demonstrate It, much less give a contact with Truth. Logical knowledge is all inferential and cannot be depended upon with certainty. Certitude comes only when the Eternal Word speaks.

The shortest, the swiftest and the surest way to plumb Truth is through a mortal leap (into the Unknown),

says Henri Bergson, the great philosopher.

Perception, intuition and reasoning just help in understanding the Reality to a certain extent at the level of the intellect; but seeing is believing, seeing within with ones’ own eye, the Single Eye as it is called. Of this inlet or ingress little is known to the people at large.

Nanak emphatically declares:

The blind find not the door.

In order to find the Strait Gate and the Narrow Way leading unto life – Life Eternal – the life of spirit as distinguished from the life of the flesh, we have of necessity to recoil from the present downward and outward expansion, gather in the outgoing faculties of the mind at the seat of the soul, behind and between the eyes. In other words, we have to change the centre of our being from the heart-centre as at present to the eye- centre – Tisra Til or Nukta-i-Sweda – and develop the Single Eye of which Jesus speaks:

If, therefore, thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of Light.

St Matthew 6:22

This Single or Third Eye variously called by the sages as Shiv netra, Divya chakshu or Chashm-i-batin provides an ingress into the Spiritual World – the Kingdom of God – now a lost realm to most of us. It is here that one has to tap within, and to knock and knock hard with fully concentrated and single-minded attention, as an undivided individual, in order to find the way-in and gain an entry into the astral world.

Hence the exhortation:

Now is the time to awaken and lovingly remember the Lord.

But how? We have not seen Him. And one cannot concentrate on and contemplate, the formless void as He is. In the same breath comes the sage’s counsel as well.

Learn of this (approach to the Absolute) from some Godman.

What does the Godman say?

Fix thou thy attention at the eye-focus, the seat of the Lord Shiva (the Shiva-netra), for then everything will follow of itself in due course, as you will gain experience of the Self in you.

The Masters tell us that the entire world is blindly groping in the dark, chasing the fleeting shadows, ever eluding and ever fading away into airy nothings as we draw nigh to them; while the fountain-head of all bliss and harmony lies untapped within at the eye-centre which is the seat of the soul in the body in the waking state. This centre, when located, gives an access to, and provides a supra-conscious contact with the realms that lie beyond the farthest ken of the human mind. Equipped with the sense-organs, our only means of outer knowledge is through them. The soul is perfect without the senses for its action is direct and immediate and not indirect and mediate depending upon outer aids as knowledge of the world is.

After obtaining this contact, one is led, step by step, to the True Home of the Father. This is life in fullness. Thrice blessed is man for it is given unto him the power to traverse the regions, both astral and causal, and to go into the beyond – Brahm and Par Brahm –, the region of Eternal Bliss outside the pale of repetitive creation, dissolution and grand dissolution.

But so long as one does not withdraw himself from the world and from himself as well, from his body, mind and intellect, he does not draw any nearer to God.

It is only when the outward man perisheth (the human in the body is transhumanised), that the inward man (spirit) is renewed, and the dizzy heights of the mount of transfiguration are gained and one becomes a living spirit freed from the body and its impediments, capable of getting Inner Experience of meeting the ancient Masters like Moses and Elijah,

St Matthew 17:1-3

and of joining the Lord in the feast of Passover.

St Matthew 26:26-29
St Mark 14:22-25

It is at this place that the Lord awaits His disciples:

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock, if any man hears my Voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.

Revelation 3:20

All this experience that St John reveals to us, he had when he was transformed into spirit, and he speaks of the coming in of the Lord as a thief in the night – in the darkness of the soul (1 Thessalonians 5:2).

Hafiz, a Persian mystic of great repute, also testifies:

The Murshid comes in the darkness with a lantern in His hands.

The Way Godwards, says Prophet Mohammed, is narrower than hair and sharper than the razor’s edge.

It is described by Nanak as khande-di-dhar – sword’s edge – and thinner than a hair; and one has actually to pass through a death-like experience.

In this context St Plutarch says:

At the moment of death, the soul experiences the same impressions and passes through the same processes as are experienced by those who are initiated into the Great Mysteries.

But how many of us are prepared to experience the death processes while living? We are all mortally afraid of death. And why so, particularly when we know, and know so well that it is the necessary end of all created things? The reasons therefor are not far to seek. In the first place, we have not learnt to die at will while living. And secondly, because we do not know what happens after death? Where do we go? What lies beyond the death-trap?

This is why we have a horror of death; and the mere idea of death holds us in a state of mortal terror:

The entire world is mortally afraid of death, and everyone desires to have an endless life, if by the Grace of the Guru one learns of death-in-life, he becomes the knower of Divine Wisdom. Oh Nanak! he who dies such a death, he gains for himself the gift of Life Eternal.

Death, after all, is not a dreadful incident.

How charming is Divine Philosophy; not harsh and crabbed as the ignoramuses suppose; but sweetly melodious as Apollo’s lute; and a perpetual feast of nectared sweet.

It, in reality, opens new vistas and new horizons of life beyond the grave, and the flames of the funeral pyre, that engulf, entomb and extinguish the mortal remains.

Dust thou art and to dust returneth,

Genesis 3:19

was not spoken of the soul.

The Life-Principle in us or in fact in any other living thing never dies. It is only the elemental parts that go through a process of change which we erroneously call death, and wrongly understand it to be an extinction.

In nature, death feeds life and life illumines death.

It is the Universal Law that operates everywhere and on all planes of existence.

The wise men discover that the perception of Reality comes with the annihilation of the self (the bodily self in which the spirit is incarcerated).

The moment the spirit voluntarily breaks through the fetters, something breaks in upon the spirit with a terrible illumination from the world behind the world making it the Prophet of the most High God.

It is at the Mount of Transfiguration that one gets revelations and sees the mingling of heaven and earth.

St Matthew 17:2

It is here that one finds the dark grows luminous and the void fruitful.

Everyone has, as a matter of course, to die some day – man, bird, or beast; rich or poor, healthy or diseased, young or old. The soul which takes on the physical raiment has to shed it one day. Death alone is certain and real, while life – in this world – is uncertain. We seldom pause to think about the long journey which lies ahead of the Inner Being in us. We usually lament the death of others and mourn for them for days on end but are not wise enough to care for our own end and prepare ourselves for the final journey into the great unknown that lies beyond life’s end. Before an analysis is offered of the death-process, practical and informative as it may be, it would be worth our while to know at least what we are. Who we are? Whence we come? Whither we go? And above all what is the meaning or purpose of life?

Man, as at present constituted, is an aggregate of body, mind and intellect with a great motor-power working from behind, called soul. Formed and environed, as we are, through the ages, our attention is continuously flowing outwards and downwards through the nine portals of the body – the eyes, the ears, the nostril nares, the mouth and the two passages below the waist. It is not that we wish it or do it voluntarily but it has just become a habit with us. We are not yet master of the house in which we live. We are being constantly dragged out by mind and the senses through the various sense-organs, into the vast and varied fields of sense-enjoyments.

It is this constant association of the self in us – attention – with the mind and the material objects that has not only debased us, but defaced us beyond recognition, and now we do not know what we really are. We have become so identified with our limiting adjuncts that we do not know anything independent of, and apart from them.

Unless the self gets depersonalised by throwing off the mask of dross personality with which it has covered itself and becomes disrobed self, pure and simple; by dissociation from these countless limiting agents:

  1. the mind comprising the faculties of hoarding impressions (chit), thinking (manas), reasoning intellect (buddhi) and egotism or self-assertiveness (ahankar);

  2. the sheaths or coverings: physical (ana-mai), subtle (pran-mai and man-o-mai), causal (vigyan-mai and anand-mai);

  3. the inborn and natural propensities of righteousness (satva), mercurial restlessness (rajas) and inaction born of ignorance (tamas);

  4. the five elements (tattwas): earth, water, fire, air and ether of which the entire physical creation is made and

  5. the twenty-five compounded elements in varying degrees of proportion (prakritis) which prepare the physical moulds or bodies in different shapes and patterns, shades and colours as a result of karmic reactions; the self, imprisoned in so many meshes, cannot know its own real nature, much less its Divine Ancestry and the rich heritage, all of which comes to light only when it comes to its own and realises itself as the self-luminous Self.

Let us see what some of the English thinkers have to say in this context:

Man is a little world in himself, made cunningly of elements and angelic spirit. His God-like qualities have depraved by the fall, and he is constantly visited by divine wrath – wars, plagues and thunderstorms. Yet, he can enjoy a civilised happiness, provided he treats the world as preparation for the next, and keeps the body subject to his soul.

John Donne

What is it to trust on mutability, sith that in this world nothing may endure.

John Skelton

There is within the all-comprehending ambit of animal instinct, some secret urge which drives the chosen men towards transcending of animal impulse. This transcending animal impulse manifests itself as complete disinterestedness (of all that is in the world without). The urge of animal ego is completely disregarded; and the evidence of this disregard is a willing submission to a ‘self-sought death,’ an acceptance of the annihilation of the animal instinct is arrayed against this acceptance […] (till) nothing remains on the subjective side but pure consciousness, and one is transformed into a Superior Being whom he imagines (contemplates) […]

Nothing ever becomes real till it is (actually) experienced – even a proverb is no proverb till your life has illustrated it. But how many philosophers have made this acquisition?

For this, the mind has to be reintegrated (made an undivided whole), as a faculty of sense, integrating which is a prelude to and a necessary condition to total detachment from it. The self must be whole before one can wholly detach oneself from it (body, mind and intellect). It is an all-seeing mind which embraces the totality of being under the aspect of Eternity. As we gain our entrance into the world of being, a total vision is ours.

Middleton Murray

There is a communication between mystery and mystery, between the unknown soul and the unknown reality; at one particular point in the texture of life the hidden truth seems to break through the veil.

Middleton Murray

How, then, is this Inner Urge to be fulfilled? The process of getting fully into, and staying completely, in the eye-focus – the Gateway to the so-called death –, is akin to a part of the process of death.

The process of withdrawal of the sensory currents from the body below the eyes is a voluntary one, and one comes to experience the mysteries of the beyond into which a Master-Soul – Sant Satguru – initiates a disciple during his lifetime. He gives a first-hand Inner Experience of conscious contact with the Holy Naam – the Divine Light and the Holy Sound Current – Holy Ghost – as coming from the right side, as the lowest expressions of the Divinity within.

One cannot by one’s own unguided and unaided efforts have an access into the spirit world when one cannot hold on by himself even in the physical world without the active aid and guidance of many teachers from the cradle to the grave. Herein lies the paramount need and importance of Satguru or Murshid-i-Kamil – Perfect Master, an Adept in the science and art of soul –, competent enough to disentangle the spirit-currents from every pore of the body, the plane of sensations as it is, and to raise it above body consciousness to witness for himself the Inner Divine Splendiferous Glory.

With the process of withdrawal of the sensory currents from the body, the death-like process commences. You have not to do anything but simply to sit in a calm, composed and fully relaxed position with attention fixed at the eye-focus and engage in Simran or repetition of the Charged Names, which carry the Life-Impulse of the Masters through the ages and serve as passwords into the regions beyond. While so established in an easy posture – asan – in healthy surroundings, you forget yourself, entirely forgetting even the life-giving and life-sustaining pranas – vital airs – which will of themselves gradually slow down and grow rhythmic, and so do the entire respiratory and circulatory systems of the body.