IN order to derive full benefit from Para Vidya (Science of Spirituality), it is absolutely necessary to have the guidance of a living Master, or an adept both in the  science and art of spirituality. He must be a Murshid-i-Kamil or perfect Saint who can lead aspirants to perfection. If the blind leads the blind, both fall into a ditch is a common aphorism too well known to need any comment.
    There are various grades and stages on the spiritual path. A Saint of the highest order alone can safely take the jivas to the pinnacle of spirituality. One who is a novice or has climbed half-way cannot take a jiva to the top.
    In an educational institution we see that there are different types of teachers for different classes. In this science also there a number of grades and degrees, as for instance, Sadh, Sant, and Param Sant.
    For a proper understanding of the theory and practice of spirituality, we need the help of at least a Sant or Saint. A Sadh (one who has successfully transcended the physical, astral, and causal planes, and is above body and mind consciousness) can give us a lead, and befit us for further training from a Saint; but one who is not yet a Sadh cannot be of any help. For complete liberation from the cycle of birth and death, a Master Saint is necessary.
    A perfect Master has no hallmark on his person. It is by personal contacts that one gradually begins to know something of his greatness, just as a student when he advances in studies gets to know little by little something of the ability of his teacher.
    Again, the Master cannot disclose all his greatness at once, but only in proportion as an aspirant shows his keenness and makes progress on the path. The Master starts just like an ordinary teacher and imparts instructions as any friend or well-wisher would do. In course of time, he demonstrates the authority of a Murshid or Master on the path, and finally is seen embedded in Sat or Truth as Satguru or the Master of Truth; until there comes a stage when he and God appear merged in each other with no line of demarcation between them.

Chapter Twenty  Contents