GURU: WHAT HE IS
'Tis much that man was made like God, before,
But, that God should be made like man, much more....
God clothed Himself in vile man's flesh, that so
He might be weak enough to suffer woe.
It is well nigh impossible to know the Master and to understand his greatness. We have not the eyes where-with we may behold his Reality. A prophet alone can know a prophet. We, the embodied spirits living on the plane of the senses, simply cannot know him.
What Thou art we know not;
What is most like Thee?
How can the lesser the Greater comprehend?
Or finite reason reach Infinity,
For what should fathom God were more than He.
In Jap Ji (the daily morning prayer of the Sikhs), it is mentioned:
Unless one rises to His level, one cannot know of Him (God).
A Master Soul may be likened to a skylark, which is described as:
Ethereal Minstrel! Pilgrim of the Sky.
He who can soar as high as the skylark and follow her course may know something of the ethereal pilgrim; but poor crows and doves cannot. The Master is, however, not a pilgrim of the sky, but a denizen of the highest Spiritual Realm, and he comes down to sing to us the "Ethereal Song," and to take us along with him to his heavenly abode. While on earth, he is:
Type of the wise, who soar, but never roam;
True to the kindred points of Heaven and Home.
He is far beyond the limitations of the three
bodies (physical, astral, and causal) ; of the three innate, natural and
native propensities or instincts (Satva, Rajas, and Tamas;
i.e., of righteous actions, worldly actions, and inertia or inaction, or
actions born of ignorance and darkness); of the five elements
of which the entire creation is made (earth, water, fire, air, and ether);
and of the twenty-five Prakritis (i.e., subtle forms of varying
degrees of which the elements are compounded); and also of mind and matter.
Shamas-i-Tabrez therefore describes him as:
He is a lark that lays a golden egg;
that is, an egg that shines like solid gold; the reference being to the Light of Naam or Word that is bestowed on each individual at the time of his Initiation.
He rides the high heavens every morning.
When he races, he covers all the solar systems,
And when he goes to bed, he makes pillows of the Sun and the Moon.
In other words, when he is not engaged in any worldly pursuits he crosses over into higher regions for rest.
O Shamas-i-Tabrez! by just one kindly look,
He can give sight to thousands of stark blind
(i.e., make them seers and prophets).
Such Master Souls are in fact one with God,
but come down into the material world at His behest to fulfill His divine
purpose. Out of compassion for the world-weary souls, thirsty and hungry,
moaning for reunion with the Beloved, God has to make provision for their
As man alone can be a teacher of man, God has to send forth His Elect with a direct commission to lead back those who will listen to God's Message. He works as a means to an end.
Standing on the top of a hill, as it were, he can locate the smoldering fires of love in the various human hearts, and like a great and powerful magnet or lodestar, he draws all such individual souls as come into his sphere of influence, and by personal instruction and guidance works out the Divine Mission.
Each soul gains in spiritual grace in proportion to her receptivity. The more a person develops this receptivity, the more he experiences grace and spiritual benefit. Gifted with a limitless spiritual wealth he generously bestows it on all who aspire for it. Each gets according to his need and capability, and gradually develops the seed sown in him.
Sheikh Mueen-ud-din Chishti says:
They (Master Souls) live in the world, but
their spirit is ever in the High Heavens;
Imprisoned in the tentacles of the body, their
spirit soars high above.
Maulana Rumi also says:
Never take a Godman at a human level; for he
is much more than he seems.
Apparently, and in generalities, all men
look alike, though each differs from the other in inner development.
It is this background that helps each individual on the spiritual
path and determines the measure of every step he takes, and, consequently,
each one has his own time factor.
A Master Soul in human form cannot be rightly comprehended. He is a limitless ocean of Sat or Truth-ever the same from the beginning of creation and from age to age. As it is not possible to do justice to God's greatness, so we cannot do justice to God's elect.
A Persian Saint tells us:
He is beyond comprehension, apprehension, conception,
and even conjecture. He outstrips the faculties of sight, hearing,
and understanding. All the glories that one can sing of him all his life
cannot do any justice to him.
If all the mountains were pounded into ink and mixed with the waters
of the oceans and the whole earth were a sheet of Paper, one cannot
record the greatness of a Guru or Master.
He is the King of Spirituality, and we, groveling
like insects in the muck of the world, cannot know him and his greatness.
Maulana Rumi says:
If I were to sing praises of His countless blessings till Eternity,
I can hardly say anything of them.
Whatever we say of him, we perforce do so
at an intellectual level, which has a very narrow and limited scope. All
our efforts in this direction are bound to discredit him rather than to
give him any credit.
Guru Arjan, therefore, says:
Thou art a King, and I address Thee as an "Elder-Man";
Far from doing any honor to Thee, I bring Thee discredit.
The highest and subtlest intellect attempting
to describe him is just like a toddler standing before his mother and saying,
"Oh darling, I know you!" How much can he know of his parent when he does
not know anything of himself? His sweet lisping words cannot do any justice
to the deep motherly love and affection that lies in her bosom. We too
cannot sing the glories of the Master, for we cannot know, at the bar of
the intellect, him who is beyond all barriers and limitations.
Blessed indeed are we, for Master Souls, as and when they do appear, at times tell us of themselves. It is from their rare utterances that we can know something of their greatness and of the potential power that works through them.
In innumerable little ways, in parables and otherwise, they tell us of what they are, what is their mission, from where they come and how they carry out God's Plan.
It would be advisable for us to go to them and listen to what they have to say about themselves.