GURU IS SHABD
(Master is Word Personified)
The Gospel of John begins with the memorable words:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.
Guru is Shabd or Word
personified. The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, says the
Gospel. Shabd or Word is just a ray from God or the great Ocean of Consciousness,
and this one ray is responsible for the creation and sustenance of all
the planes comprising the universe.
In the Gospel of John we read further:
All things were made by him (i.e., the Word)
and without him was not anything made that was made.
In him was life; and the life was the light
And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended
Dryden in his poetic fantasy refers to It as Harmony (or Sound Principle):
From Harmony, from Heavenly Harmony
This Universal frame began;
Through all the compass of the notes It ran,
The Diapason closing full in man.
In Gurbani, we have:
Word is the Master and spirit is the disciple of Word.
Word is the Master and the Prophet, full of wisdom, deep and profound.
Without Word, the world cannot exist.
Between Word and the Master, there is no distinction. Word indeed
is the Elixir of Life, and whosoever follows the Word according to the
instructions of a living Master, safely crosses the ocean of life.
Tulsi Sahib says:
Spirit is the disciple, and Word is the Master. It is only after
is linked with the Word that she finds the way Godward, by rising
into the beyond and entering into the inverted well.
Bhai Gurdas speaks of spirit as:
It is only after the spirit faithfully
and conscientiously accepts Dhunni
(Sound Current or Word) as Master, that she becomes a Gurmukh
and knows that the Word and the Master are in fact One.
Saint Kabir likewise thus explains:
Where is the Master, and where does the
How can the two unite? For without union, spirit has no rest.
He himself then answers:
Master is in the Gaggan, and so is the
seat of the Spirit.
When the two are united, there is no separation thereafter;
Accept the Word as Master; all the rest is sham tinsel;
Each selfishly engaged wanders from place to place.
Thus Word or Shabd
is a World Teacher from the beginning of time.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for in them the Word of the Master manifests Itself. This Word is the Real Saint and can act as a living guide. It is "God-in-Action" and is expressed in abundance in Master Souls who are one with God.
When I churned the sea of body, a strange phenomenon came to Light;
God was identified in Master, and no distinction could Nanak find.
He who is a doer of the Word is called a Saint, or a Master Soul. This Truth dawns only when one studies the significance of the term Guru. It is derived from the Sanskrit root Giri, which means One who calls; thus he who always hears this call within himself, and is devotedly attached to the call and can make it manifest in others, is described in Gurbani as Guru.
Accept as Master one who can make Truth manifest;
Give expression to the Inexpressible by means of Sound.
O Nanak! verily Truth alone is True.
Kabir Sahib says:
We do obeisance to all teachers, whatever their creed;
But the Adept in Sound Principle is greatest indeed.
Teachers there are of degrees vast in variation,
But the one of Sound Current is for highest adoration.
Tulsi Sahib also exhorts:
He who can reveal Sound Current is verily a Saint;
By analysis of self, one locates the Sound within.
Kabir Sahib has challenged
that whoever calls himself a Satguru or a Saint should enable us
to see the Unmanifest Manifested.
In Sar Bachan we have:
Master brings the message of Sound;
He serves nothing but the Sound;
Perfect Master is ever engaged in Sound;
Be thou the dust of the feet of the Master of Sound.
Satguru is a
veritable Veda. He is endowed with Sach Naam and thus possesses
the Elixir of Life. He distributes Shabd, which works as an "Open
Sesame" to the Heavenly regions and grants free access to pilgrims on the
The Theosophists call It the Voice of the Silence; its reverberations can be heard from plane to plane.
In the terminology of the Masters, a real Saint is one who can teach of Shabd. Without an adept no one can have the gift of Shabd or Naam. It may be likened to a rope ladder leading directly to God, and a spirit by taking hold of It can easily ascend Godward.
Contact with Shabd is contact with God;
and blessed is one who contacts Shabd within.
God in Guru distributes Shabd;
By contact with Truth one merges in Truth.
O Nanak! all Saints from the beginning are embedded in Shabd;
Blessed is Master Ram Das who too has contacted Shabd.
In the Holy Bible we have:
The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.
It is from an adept
in Shabd that one gets a true life impulse. He himself is one with that
true Life Current, from which everything animate derives life. He is a
resident of the egoless region, he is Shabd personified. He lives and has
his very being in Shabd, having crossed far beyond the sway of Kal
or Time; he lives life everlasting and is competent to pass it on to others
who contact him and follow his instructions.
The human spirit at present lies buried under an immense load of mayaic or material pressure. It does not even know that it is spirit. It can be awakened to Reality and made aware of its greatness only by means of Shabd. This Life Principle of Shabd already lies in each one of us, but only in a latent form.
It has to be made patent or audible to the spirit, so that it may by sheer affinity grow conscious of its rich spiritual heritage and claim it as its own.
This contact of the spirit with Shabd can be brought about and is firmly established by the Master (who is Shabd personified) and no one else can do it.
Shabd is a sacred trust with the Master, and is scrupulously discharged;
Shabd of the Master, a Master alone can manifest;
And none else is competent to do so.
It means that Shabd
or Word is under the control of the Master. He alone can manifest It or
make It audible by pulling the spirit out of the physical sensory organs.
This contact with Shabd comes as a gracious gift from the Master. No amount of meritorious deeds performed within the limitations of time, space, and causation, can merit such a priceless gift, so vast and so limitless as Shabd:
All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.
By works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
The Master may grant
the gift of Shabd out of extreme compassion and grace if he so wills.
The moment a helpless child tries to pull himself toward his mother, she fondly runs toward him, tenderly picks him up, and lovingly hugs him to her bosom.
It cannot be had by endeavors nor by service;
But may come when fully reposed without clutching;
Out of the Great Grace of the Lord,
one takes to the instructions of the Master.
It does not mean that
a person should not try to exert himself. He must on the contrary work
zealously according to the Master's instructions. The success, however,
depends on the will of the Master alone, for he is the sole arbiter of
the manner and measure of His Grace.
If you love me, keep my commandments.
To mold one's life in terms of the Master is a necessity on the path of the Master.
He who verily follows the Master is ever engaged in hearing the Divine
As the Naam develops, one gets absorbed in it.
Though this Anhad Bani (Ceaseless Sound Current) or Naam (Word) is the Life of our life, yet we cannot make It manifest or audible by ourselves; an approach to It is always through a Master Saint or Ustad-i-Kamil:
Ceaseless Sound is a Treasure within, with an approach through a Saint;
Without a Master, even Sidhs and Sadhaks have failed to get Naam.
Shabd is the mainstay
of Saints as well as of all living creatures, the difference being that
of conscious awareness in one case and unconscious ignorance in the other.
While the former have not only an experience of "Sonship" but truly live
in that relationship, the latter have no idea of it at all.
I am the Son of God.
I and my Father are one.
Whatever comes from me comes from my Father.
In Gurbani we also have similar references:
Hari (God) does what His Saints wish for.
What they (Saints) desire, that comes to pass;
none can deny their wishes.
Father and son are dyed in the same color.
Maulana Rumi tells us:
An Aulia (Godman) is competent enough even to divert a bolt from above.
It does not mean that
Saints in any way question the authority of God, or run a parallel
administration of their own. Far from this, they act as agents and hold
His Commission. In the world God acts through them.
Egoless as they are, they become fitting instruments of Godly Powers. Allied closely with Shabd, they receive from and transmit direct messages to God; and in relation to the world, they are just polarized God:
The Father and the Son are One, and administer the same law.
O Paltu! In the domain of God, there is no other manager than a Saint.
The two are so closely and indissolubly knit together that the
Saint appears to be running the whole show.
Maulana Rumi speaks of It in this wise:
Aulia or Godmen are the chosen of God.
They have full knowledge of all that is visible and invisible.
Again, God speaks through Saints:
O Lalo! I simply speak out what God makes me speak, said Nanak.
Sadh is the mouthpiece of God.
In the garb of man, God comes into the world for the sake of suffering humanity, and through His Saving Grace He takes upon Himself vicarious responsibilities for their shortcomings:
See God descending in thy Human frame;
The Offended, suffering in the offender's name;
All thy misdeeds to Him imputed see,
And all His Righteousness devolv'd on thee.
A living Master is
the only hope for the erring mankind; a kindly Light to guide their
faltering footsteps and a Saviour for the sinful. With the help of limitless
Naam or Shabd, of which he is a vast treasure-house, he helps the jivas
or the embodied spirits to cross safely over the ocean of life and gain
Inwardly linked and embedded in Shabd, outwardly he works like a Teacher or a Guru and gives spiritual instructions to the aspirants on the physical plane, and then passes on at will to the subtle and the causal plane and beyond, as the jiva progresses on the spiritual path and guides him at every step. He does not stop until he leaves the Sadhak in his native home from where Shabd originates and which, in fact, he is.
One who has known Sat Purush (or the Primal Cause), is a Satguru (or Master of Truth). He is beyond the sway both of Dissolution (Kal or Time) and of Grand Dissolution (Maha Kal or Greater Time), and is competent to lead the aspirants to this stage. A Master of this caliber alone can save the jivas and nobody else can.
He Who is One with Truth, is the Master of Truth;
He can liberate spirits and Nanak sings His praises.
More safe and much more modest, 'tis to say;
God would not leave mankind without a way.