Resting in the Holy Sound, by Huzur Baba Sawan Singh
“Please devote some time daily without fail to Sound-practice and Repetition, as this is the only fruit of our life which we will take with us on leaving this world; whereas, even the kingships of this earth shall have to be abandoned when death overtakes us. Therefore, it is necessary that we should add to our spiritual wealth, which is the only thing to help us at the time of departing. And the only way to increase our spiritual power is by means of Sound-practice and Repetition. The greater our love for Holy Sound, the greater will be our peace of mind and spiritual progress. As far as possible, we should try to make the focus above the eyes, in the brain, our resting place. Just as a man, weary with the day’s work, resorts to his home to take rest, so we habituate our soul, on being tired with worldly work, to take rest in the Holy Sound. The attention has to be brought inside, and when it likes to rest there, like the wanderer coming home, it will find peace within.”
I feel old and tired, I want to sleep. I sleep whenever I can nowadays and, when I wake up, wake reluctantly. Sleep is no longer a healing bath, a recuperation of vital forces, but an oblivion, a nightly brush with annihilation.
Vegetarianism, Veganism, and Sant Mat, by James Bean, Plus a Compilation of Veg Quotes of the East & West
It’s hard to reach more subtle states of tranquility in meditation on an animal flesh diet based on the suffering of other beings.
“I must point out that animal food, even if a single particle is eaten, is detrimental to spiritual progress.” (Huzur Baba Sawan Singh)
The Way of the Saints and Mystics, Getting Back to Eden: “And God said, ‘Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.’” (Hebrew Bible, Genesis 1:29, New International Version)
Master Kirpal Singh speaking about Rumi and the other most advanced Murshids (spiritual masters) of Sufi mysticism once said: “Those who take up the practices concerning the lower centers in the body, do take meat – the Mohammedans and people of other religions also. But those who are anxious to rise above body consciousness and go into the Beyond have of necessity to eschew all that. This is the Path I have put before you. Liberation or salvation is something which starts only when you rise above body consciousness. For that reason, vegetarianism is the first essential.” (The Night is a Jungle, published by Ruhani Satsang)
The harshest words that Guru Kabir ever spoke were directed against the slaughter or consumption of innocent animals: “The man who eats meat is a demon in human form. Keep away from him – his company will ruin your meditation.”
Ahimsa (Non-Violence) and Diet
“Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.” (Albert Einstein)
The following, on the reason why we in Santmat advocate following the vegetarian diet, is by Swami Santsevi Ji Maharaj from the book, The Harmony of All Religions (Sarvadharma Samanvy), published by Maharshi Mehi Ashram:
“The saints have addressed the sin of violence with particular attention to the foods which are eaten. Foods which are produced by killing living beings, as well as foods which are not pure and fresh, are considered tamasic. Consumption of these is prohibited by the teachings of the saints. This includes animal products such as meat, fish, and eggs. These foods inhibit the clarity of the mind and the health of the body. There is an old saying: 'Whatever kind of food we take in, its properties will also fill our mind.’ A parallel saying is, 'Whatever we eat, just so will our breath smell [indicates the visible effect of food].’
Further, Kabir Sahab says: 'The kind of food and drink which we consume directly influences how our mind will become. Even the quality of water which we drink will influence our speech.’ These words of Kabir Sahib are not merely rhetorical conjecture, but represent direct experience…
"A great yogi named Bhupendranath Ji Sanyal has said: 'It is preferable to always avoid the consumption of flesh and fish. This is because in the very cells of these animals there might be bad diseases. But even more significantly, the natural vibration of these creatures is absorbed into the blood. This can create agitation and even sickness, and will destroy the natural calmness of the mind. Also, one must not take intoxicants, as this is a great breach of the spiritual path and natural duty (dharma). [Under the influence of intoxicants people are unable to discern the right path of action].’
"Therefore, we must be disciplined in what we eat and drink, and by being disciplined, our wealth and spiritual path are protected. This world becomes agreeable, and so does the next world, since we won’t be incurring the karmas from killing other living beings.” (Beloved Swami Santsevi Ji Maharaj, Sant Mat, the Path of the Masters)
All past and present Masters of Sant Mat, the most advanced Saints of Inner Light and Sound, advocate following the vegetarian diet. In fact, being vegetarian is a requirement in order to be initiated into the meditation practice of Sant Mat, Surat Shabd Yoga, Meditation upon the inner Light and Sound of God.
Sant Mat is a vegetarian Path for mystical, spiritual, ethical and theological reasons. The Masters teach that foods are of three kinds: Satvik, Rajsik, and Tamsik. This last category of foods, which includes all flesh foods, is to be completely avoided. Satvik (pure foods), the first category, includes: grains, beans, vegetables, fruits, seeds, and nuts. Satvik foods are considered by Mystics to promote relaxation, meditation, and spiritual experience.
The bad karma and other negative effects of flesh-eating darkens one’s vision of inner Light, interfering with concentration and meditation. It’s interesting to notice that the Satvik diet of Sant Mat, of Hinduism and the Yoga Philosophy of India is also: the life-extension diet, the anti-cancer diet, the diet for antioxidants and most of the other plant-based nutrients, AND the diet of the Light & Sound mystics, East and West.
A Young Kirpal Singh Meditating at an Early Age
“Kirpal began meditating at the age of four. When other boys and girls of his age were busy playing, he would be busy meditating. He never wasted his time with sports. He would sit quiet with eyes closed. He would see spiritual sights within and would traverse on spiritual planes. He would remain lost in ecstasy. But whenever this absorption in meditation would break after intervals of 2 to 3 months, he would feel very restless. His spiritual ﬂights would, however, start again shortly afterwards.
Abstinence from Meat
"His family was non-vegetarian But he was averse to taking meat even as a child. While his brothers and sisters would ask for more, he would have none at all. He was content with bread and vegetables. His father asked, 'Pal, why don’t you take meat? It will do you good.’ He sweetly replied, 'It is very well, father, but is not meat dead ﬂesh, and would you have me make a burial ground of my body?’ The father could only smile and the child had his own way.” (The Beloved Master – Some Glimpses from the Life of Sant Kirpal Singh, by Bhadra Sena)
The notion that vegetarianism is “cultural” and confined mostly to India is the inaccurate assumption of some new age or esoteric teachers in the West. It is true that many conventional world religions condone flesh-eating, but if you do some comparative mysticism you’ll soon discover that the serious esoteric traditions which have practiced Light mysticism, Sound mysticism, and Ascension mysticism through higher planes of heavens are all in agreement about the need for contemplative mystics to abstain from the flesh. The list of Western vegetarian paths includes: Pythagoreans, followers of the Hermetic philosophy of Egypt, the Sethian Gnostics, Theraputae, Essenes (and other Light-mystics within Judaism), the original Jewish Christians called Ebionites (see The Gospel of Jesus – In Search of His Original Teachings, by John Davidson), the Gnostic religions, Manichaeans, some Catholic monasteries, monasteries of the Orthodox Church – including the great mystery school atop Mount Athos in Greece, and the Sufi mystics of Islam who practice Zikhr of the Spirit, Light, and Sound. Most every path that advocates a present-tense spirituality about reentering Paradise or going Back to Eden during this life teaches vegetarianism.
A Western Master of Sound & Light by the name of Pythagoras once said, “Our Earth has abundance of such pure and harmless foods and there is no need for us to partake of meals for which blood has to be shed and innocent life sacrificed.”
Pythagoras also said: “As long as Man continues to be the ruthless destroyer of lower living beings, he will never know health or peace. For as long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seed of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love.”
Just like the Pythagoreas gathered together at sunrise, so did members of a Jewish sect of antiquity known as the Therapeutae, and like the Essene branch of Judaism, they were vegetarians. Josephus and Philo wrote about the Essenes and Therapeutae. Philo of Alexandria describes meals at a Therapeutae monastic community in Alexandria: “…And the table, too, is kept clear of animal flesh, nothing which has blood, but there is placed upon it bread for food and salt for seasoning, to which also hyssop is sometimes added…”
John the Baptist Ate Locust (Carob) BEANS, NOT BUGS
“John the Baptist belonged to a group of ascetics who believed in repentance and in leading an austere lifestyle. The carob bean was seen as the diet of the lower class who normally endured hardship and exploitation from the priestly class. So we can conclude that JTB ate (locust plant) seed from the carob tree.” (Wiki Answers Website) Also according to the Gospel of the Ebionites, John the Baptist ate carob beans, bread or cakes made from carob bean (locust bean) flour.
In recent years some of us have noticed the vegetarianism and even veganism present in the original teachings of Jesus and Original Jesus Movement or Hebrew Christians (Ebionites, Nasoreans) found in the Gospel of the Hebrews, Aramaic texts, and other scriptures once used during the early centuries.
Vegetarian Sayings of the Historic Jesus and His Spiritual Successors (Apostles) in the Original Jesus Movement (Ebionites of Israel)
“Be on guard, so that your hearts do not become heavy with the eating of flesh and with the intoxication of wine and with the anxiety of the world, and that day come upon you suddenly; for as a snare it will come upon all who dwell upon the surface of the earth.” (Jesus, Luke 21:34, Evangelion Da-Mepharreshe — Old Syriac-Aramaic Manuscript of the Gospel of Luke)
Like the Essenes, Jesus, his family, and the original followers were also vegetarians and opposed to all sacrifice of animals in the Jewish temple.
“I am come to do away with sacrifices, and if you cease not sacrificing, the wrath of God will not cease from you.” (saying of Jesus in the Gospel of the Hebrews)
Stopping Animal Sacrifice in the Temple of Jerusalem
During the First Century AD, the Essenes were one of the three main branches of Judaism. They were opposed to animal sacrifices being made in the Jewish temple and they were also known to be vegetarians. The Essenes were the group that Jesus and the first Christians, the Ebionites, were closest to, sharing with them many of the same values and sacred texts. Unlike the Sadducees and Pharisees, the Essenes are never criticized in the New Testament.
“When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the Temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords and drove all from the Temple, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said: 'Get out of here.’ (John 2:13-16)
According to the Gospel of the Ebionites, Jesus also rejected the Passover meal:
"Where wilt Thou that we prepare for Thee to eat the Passover?”
To which he replied:
“I have no desire to eat the flesh of this Paschal Lamb with you.”
The first followers of Jesus, also known as Ebionites or Nasoreans, were not only kosher, but also strictly adhered to a vegetarian diet. The largest surviving collection of Ebionite scriptures is the Clementine Homilies and the Recognitions of Clement, which are vegetarian gospels that condemn animal sacrifice in any form. For example, the Book of Homilies states that God does not want animals killed at all (3.45), and condemns those who eat meat (7.4, 7.8). And the passages below also show that the diet of the Original Jesus Movement was vegan – plant-based (no eggs, no dairy, and no animal products), as plants are the only foods mentioned in all the texts!
Peter said, “I live on olives and bread, to which I rarely only add vegetables.” (Clementine Homilies 12,6; also see, Recognitions 7,6)
“And happiness is found in the practice of virtue. Accordingly, the Apostle Matthew partook of seeds, and nuts, hard-shelled fruits, and vegetables, without flesh.” (Clement of Alexandria, The Instructor, Book 2, Chapter 1)
“John never ate meat.” (Church historian Hegesipp according to Eusebius, History of the Church II 2:3)
“James, the brother of the Lord, lived on seeds and plants and touched neither meat nor wine.” (Epistulae ad Faustum XXII, 3)
“James, the brother of the Lord was holy from his mothers womb; and he drank no wine nor strong drink, nor did he eat flesh.” (Hegesippus, quoted in The Church History of Eusebius, book 2, chapter 23)
“James was a vegetarian.” (Biblical scholar Dr. Robert Eisenman, author of, “James, the Brother of Jesus”)
The following passage is from the Recognitions of Clement, another “Book of Acts”, an important scripture of early Christianity. This Ebionite Christian author has very nice things to say about those in India who worship One God, follow peaceful customs and laws, and are vegetarian or vegan, seeing parallels between his own religion and that of his brothers and sisters “in the Indian countries” of two thousand years ago:
“There are likewise amongst the Bactrians, in the Indian countries, immense multitudes of Brahmans, who also themselves, from the tradition of their ancestors, and peaceful customs and laws, neither commit murder nor adultery, nor worship idols, nor have the practice of eating animal food, are never drunk, never do anything maliciously, but always revere God.”
(Recognitions of Clement, Book 9, Chapter 22, Brahmans, Volume Eight, in a New Testament Apocrypha Section of, “The Ante-Nicene Fathers”)
“The consumption of animal flesh was unknown up until the great flood. But since the great flood, we have had animal flesh stuffed into our mouths. Jesus, the Christ, who appeared when the time was fulfilled, again joined the end to the beginning, so that we are now no longer allowed to eat animal flesh.” (pro-vegetarian early church father Hieronymus)
Gnostic Vegetarianism and the Vegetarian Prayer of Thanksgiving in the Nag Hammadi Library (Gnostic Gospels)
The ethics of Jewish and Christian Gnostic sects of antiquity included vegetarianism. The Prayer of Thanksgiving, one of the Nag Hammadi scriptures unearthed in Egypt, describes a vegetarian communal meal as being part of Gnostic worship. The Manichaean Gnostics were known to be vegetarians. The Prophet Mani’s parents were followers of the Elkasites, which was a Jewish-Christian sect related to the Ebionites and Essenes. They were veg. Mani was the founder of Manichaean Gnosis and was vegetarian, and his inner circle of followers or initiates were as well. A group in China known as the Church of the Light , related to the Manichaeans and Syriac-Aramaic branch of Eastern Christianity, were vegetarians. Their beautiful scriptures are known as the Jesus Sutras.
The Gnostic and Hermetic Prayer of Thanksgiving in the Nag Hammadi Library, also a text found in the Corpus Hermetica of Egypt, describes a vegetarian communal meal or Gnostic love feast. At the end of the prayer the final verse reads:
“When they had said these things in the prayer, they embraced each other and they went to eat their holy food, which has no blood in it.”*
* “Vegetarian food” — footnote from the Marvin Meyer’s translation of this in, “The Gnostic Scriptures”.
* A vegetarian meal. This passage is also found in the Epilogue of Asclepius, in “HERMETICA,” translated by Sir Walter Scott: “Having prayed thus, let us betake ourselves to a meal unpolluted by flesh [animalia] of living things.”
* The G.R.S. Mead translation of the same passage: “With this desire we now betake us to our pure and fleshless meal.”
* “With such hopes we turn to a pure meal that includes no living thing.” (Asclepius, translated in “Hermetica”, Brian Copenhaver, Cambridge University Press)
The Vegan Evolution of Humanity: Vegetarianism is Going Vegan
Traditionally, Santmat and the yoga philosophy have advocated the lacto-vegetarian diet: abstinence from meat, fish, fowl, and eggs, but allowed dairy. Vegan means complete abstinence from all animal products and strictly adhering to a plant-based diet: no dairy, eggs, or meat of any kind, or products made from animals. Based on the current cruel practices of the dairy industry in India and around the world that violate the principle of ahimsa or non-violence, plus all the scores of medical studies showing that dairy consumption adversely affects our health and well-being, I believe if they were here today, the classic Saints such as Mahavira, Guru Kabir, Guru Nanak, Tukarama, Ravidas, Tulsi Das, Namdev, Dariya Sahib, etc… would not only be advocating a vegetarian diet, but a vegan diet. These days, many are making this transition to vegan, including a growing percentage of those following Sant Mat. This is the compassionate direction that the vegetarian movement is headed in. Vegetarianism is going vegan.
For the medical, human health aspects of veganism, see the research of Dr. T. Colin Campbell, author of, “The China Study”, and Dr. Michael Greger, author of, “How Not To Die”, and creator of the NutritionFacts dot ORG website, a great online resource.
The Reality of Dairy Cruelty – the Final Destination of Dairy Cows is the Slaughterhouse
The following is excerpted from a document called, “My Visit to a Dairy Farm”, published by Pravin K. Shah of the Jaina Education Committee of Jainism (the vegan Jain movement), Jain e-Library, and the Jain Study Center:
“I visited a dairy farm located on Route 2 north of Burlington, Vermont (USA) in May of 1995. The dairy owns approximately 150 cows. All of its milk production is used to make ice cream.
"Here is the summary of what I saw and learnt:
"It was milking time (5:00 PM) and the cows were being milked in 3.5 minutes each by a machine. This is done without regard to how hard it is on the cow. It was extremely difficult to watch the cows’ sufferings during the milking. The machine has no feeling. To extract the last drop of milk sometimes traces of blood get mixed with the milk.
"Since cows produce the most milk after pregnancy, they are kept pregnant for their entire fertile life through artificial insemination.
"Every morning hormones or drugs are injected into the cows. They are also fed a diet geared toward high production of milk. The dairy cow produces about 8 times the amount of milk a cow on the traditional family farm produces.
"The gestation period of cow is 9 months same as human does. If a male calf, of no use to the dairy industry, is born, he is shipped to the veal industry within two or three days of birth. The evening I was there, the farm was shipping three baby calves in a truck to a veal factory. The mother cows were crying when their babies were separated from them. I cannot forget the scene and can still hear the cries of the mother cows.
"The veal industry is the most cruel meat industry in the world. It produces very tender meat that is considered a delicacy. The baby calves are raised in darkness in a very confining crate, which allows practically no movements. They are fed an iron-deficient diet. This way the meat gets very tender and properly textured. They slaughter the baby calves after six months. There is much literature available about cruelty in the veal industry.
"Within two months of delivery, the cows are impregnated again. I did not have the stamina to watch the process of artificial insemination that the farm was showing off.
"About four to five times a year, this farm would take the cows outside for a walk. Otherwise, the cows are tied in one place and they have no choice but to defecate where they are confined. It badly stunk when I was there; the farm would wash the confinement areas once or twice a day, and the remaining times the cows would live in their own waste.
"The life expectancy of cows is about 15 to 20 years. However, after about 4 to 5 years, their milk production capacity drops significantly so these cows are sent to the slaughterhouse for cheap meat which is used in fast food restaurants, hot dog filler, dog & cat food and a variety of other 'foodstuffs’. The rest of the body material (by products) turns up in the products like floor wax, pet-food, medicines, insulin, gelatin, footwear, upholstery, taco filling, cosmetics, candles, and soaps.”
“It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” (Jiddu Krishnamurti)
Compassionate Vegan and Vegetarian Quotes From Supreme Master Ching Hai, and Buddhism
“A true vegetarian diet is vegan: Most of the milk production causes suffering, first of all because the babies of the mother cows are taken away at birth. Deprived from mother’s milk and mother’s love, they’ll be killed as soon as they’re taken away. Then, the mother is forcefully hooked up to a machine that can cause tormenting pain along with illness, just so that humans can take her milk.”
“This killing of other beings must be stopped for humanity to evolve as a civilization.”
“Making a vegan choice is thus a true advancement in the evolution and goodness of our humanity. And then we also know that like attracts like, goodness attracts more goodness. As we share this compassionate truth with others, not only will our own humanity be further uplifted, so will the world’s.”
“It’s the high time that the human race should rise to a higher level of consciousness. They should be noble, kind and compassionate. Go veg, be green, do good, is not just for the planet, it’s for the whole human race ennobling, spiritual merit and quality. They should do it, just for the sake of being noble.”
“We have to turn back to our caring and compassionate nature inside our heart. That’s very simple. We are that. We are compassion. We are merciful; we are caring.”
“If we truly wish to see real harmony born between humans and animals and nature and Heaven, we must be the harmony, we must live in harmony and act also in harmony, which includes the act of eating harmoniously each time we come to the table.”
“Even if the world reduces greenhouse gas emissions, the planet will take time to recover from the gases already in the atmosphere. This is why it is necessary to focus on short-lived gases, namely methane. Organic vegan will produce a beneficial, cooling effect as it will cut down methane and other greenhouse gases which are fatal to our survival.”
Change the World by Changing Ourselves: “It begins with us. Since time immemorial, evolution always begins with the individual. If we want to change the world, we change ourselves first. Now, even if the government forbids smoking or drinking or drugs, but if people individually continue, then we have not made much difference. So now, we have to change.“
“The more people who eliminate meat and, indeed, all animal products from their lives, the more we have a chance to save the planet and not only that, to actually restore our earthly home to her original grace and beauty and even more so, more than what we have known, more beautiful, more abundant, more peace, more gladness than what we have known up to now.”
– Quotes above are from Supreme Master Ching Hai, SMCH Association, from the online book: “From Crisis To Peace: The Organic Vegan Way is the Answer”
“The eating of meat extinguishes the seed of great compassion.” (The Buddha, “Mahaparinirvana Sutra”)
“Veganism is simply letting compassion guide our choice of food. As such, it is a basic Buddhist practice that ought to be expected of everyone who takes refuge vows.” (Norm Phelps, “The Great Compassion: Buddhism & Animal Rights”)
“The Buddha’s teaching leads us to the realization that we must always strive to harm no sentient being, human or nonhuman, whether or not it is in our selfish interest to do so.” (Norm Phelps, “The Great Compassion: Buddhism & Animal Rights”)
“Meat eating and a compassionate religion do not go hand in hand.” (Bodo Balsys, “Ahimsa: Buddhism and the Vegetarian Ideal”)
Vegetarian Diet, Guru Nanak, Guru Kabir, Other Sikh Gurus and Scriptures
Nanak abstained from animal food and enjoined against cruelty to animals: “Having prohibited his disciples to drink wine and eat pork, he (Nanak) himself abstained from eating flesh and ordered not to hurt any living being.” (the Persian historian Mohsin Fani, DABISTAN-E-MAZAHIB)
“To take what rightfully belongs to another, is like a Muslim eating pork, or a Hindu eating beef. Our Guru, our Spiritual Guide, stands by us if we do not eat those carcasses. By mere talk, people do not earn Liberation. Salvation only comes from the practice of truth. By adding spices to forbidden foods, they are not made acceptable. O Nanak, from false talk, only falsehood is obtained”. (Guru Nanak Dev Ji, Guru Granth Sahib Ji, 141)
“Countless are the cutthroats who trade in violence. Countless are sinners who keep on sinning. Countless are liars, wandering lost in their lies. Countless are the impious who live on unwholesome food.” (Guru Nanak, Jap Ji, Guru Granth Sahib Ji, 4)
“Living by neglect and greed, the world eats dead carcasses. Like a goblin or a beast, they kill and eat the forbidden carcasses of meat. Control your urges, or else you will be thrown into the tortures of hell.” (Guru Arjan Dev, Guru Granth Sahib Ji, 723).
“Kabeer says, the dinner of beans and rice is excellent when flavored with salt. Who would cut throats to have meat with his bread?” (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, 1374)
“Kabeer: for those who consume marijuana, fish and wine, no matter what pilgrimages, fasts and rituals they follow, they will all be consigned to hell”. (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, 1377)
“You keep your fasts to please Allah, while you murder other beings for pleasure. You look after your own interests, and so not see the interests of others. What good is your word? O Qazi, the One Lord is within you, but you do not think or contemplation on Him. You do not care for others, you are mad about religion, this is why your life is wasting away.” (Kabir, Guru Granth Sahib Ji, 483)
“You kill living beings, and call it a righteous action. Tell me, brother, what would you call an unrighteous action? You call yourself the excellent sage; then whom would you call a butcher?” (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, 1103).
Bhai Gurdaas Ji said: “They eat meat by cutting throats, what will their own condition be?” (Vaar 24, Pauree 17)
“One who does not steal, commit adultery, slander anyone, gamble, eat meat or drink wine will be liberated in this very life (i.e. Jeewan Mukt)”. (Guru Gobind Singh, 10th Sikh Guru, “Sudharam Marag Granth”)
There is an ocean of nectar within you,
which you can drink
just by withdrawing your consciousness inside.
Burn away the world, push your way into the inner sky
and recognize the palace by inner signs.
Enshrine the image of the Master in your heart –
why degrade yourself wandering around
in the company of the mind?
Keep listening to the never-ending melody of Shabd
and the Master will accomplish everything for you.
People of the world go crazy
with rituals and superstition –
why should you go along with them?
Take charge of your soul
and keep the company of Saints –
why mix poison with nectar?
Your home, dear soul, is in the inner regions,
so why tie yourself down to the physical?
Quick, rise to the higher planes of consciousness,
so says Radhasoami.
– Soami Ji Maharaj (Shiv Dayal Singh), Sar Bachan Radhasoami Poetry, Agra
Inner Light and Sound Meditation – Exploring Inner Space
Mataji exuded a sense of joy and happiness. We talked for more than three hours about a variety of subjects, but I was most intrigued with Mataji’s experiences on the inner spiritual planes. I asked her what it was like to leave the body. Mataji responded with a beautiful description of how consciousness can be released from the mortal frame by attaching itself to the stream of celestial music radiating from the top of the head and beyond. To do this, she said, one first must be initiated by a genuine mystic who has gained access to the higher realms. The practice itself, although it may take years to master, sounds relatively simple. The body should be kept perfectly still with one particular posture held for at least three hours. One may choose a cross-legged position (like the yogis in the lotus pose) or a more comfortable, relaxed position in a chair. Keeping the back erect and the mind alert, one continuously repeats God’s name as given by his/her guru. This simran, as Mataji termed it, should be done with one’s attention centered behind closed eyes. Coupled with this physical stillness and ceaseless repetition of God’s name, the next step is to contemplate the light within.
At first, Mataji pointed out, there will be only darkness but eventually light will appear in the form of either small flashes or small star-like points. In any case, one should focus on the radiance, keeping one’s simran intact and allowing the light to draw the soul inward. The third and most important step, Mataji said, is to listen to the sound that issues forth from the light. It is this internal music which will numb the body and allow the consciousness to leave its ordinary dwelling. By riding this current of light and sound, like a fish going upstream, the soul will be able to go back to its original home. On the journey within, however, the soul must be guided by a true master so as not to be detained in any of the lower illusory regions. According to Mataji, what near-death patients experience is only the beginning of a vast sojourn into great universes of light, love and beauty. (Enchanted Land, from a chapter about the teachings of Yogani Mataji of the Radhasoami Faith)
Souls Merging Into or Riding the Sound Current, the Inner Sound, During Meditation Practice
“Huzur Maharaj [Rai Salig Ram] describes surat, the spirit entity [the soul], as a particle or the smallest representative unit of the Supreme Being like the ray of sun or drop of ocean. It has originated from the Supreme Being and has in essence all the attributes of the Supreme Being. Since Shabd [the Sound Current, "The Word”] is the First Manifestation of the Supreme Being, the spirit-entity has a natural affinity with it.
“Situated inward at the focus of the two eyes known as the teesra til [third eye center], the spirit-entity has been called the surat. As it descends at the heart centre and functions in the world, it is called jiva. Surat gives energy to every part of the body acting as the life-giving current. Though invisible, it can be known through its functioning. As it descends from above, it imparts vitality to mind, and then it combines with the current of mind and supplies vitality to sense organs. The jivas come in contact with material objects, and experience pleasure and pain through the sense organs.” (The Radhasoami Faith – A Historical Study, Agra)
The Condition of the Soul (Jiva) – The Change of It’s Powers with the Change of the Dimensions It Has Access To
“At present the spirit entity of a human being is residing in the third or material-spiritual region, and has, therefore, to do all the work here by means of the senses and the mind which are mediums between it and the material objects, and consequently, as a natural result, its power has become quite hampered. But as soon as it begins to ascend [during meditation practice], the powers, which are now lying dormant, become active and the spirit entity acquires ultra-material or higher power.
The Method of Taking Back the Spirit Entity to It’s Original Source is to Ride the Sound Current
"The method for taking back the spirit entity to its Supreme Source is first to concentrate at the focus of eyes the spirit entity and mind which are diffused in our body and in a manner tied to external objects by desires and passions, and next to commence its journey Homewards by attending to the Internal Sound, or in other words, by riding the Life or Sound Current which has originally emanated from the Supreme Source [Surat Shabd Meditation].
"The Current which has been instrumental in having brought it down here must naturally be the ‘Path’ for its return to the Original Source, and whoever finds this Current is on the Path of Emancipation.” (Huzur Maharaj, in, Radhasoami Mat Prakash)
Riding the Sound Current, the Stream of Celestial Music By Focusing Attention on it, Merging with it During Inner Sound Meditation
“…Consciousness can be released from the mortal frame by attaching itself to the Stream of Celestial Music radiating from the top of the head and beyond. To do this, she [Mataji] said, one first must be initiated by a genuine mystic [Master] who has gained access to the higher realms. The practice itself, although it may take years to master, sounds relatively simple. The body should be kept perfectly still with one particular posture held for at least three hours. One may choose a cross-legged position (like the yogis in the lotus pose) or a more comfortable, relaxed position in a chair. Keeping the back erect and the mind alert, one continuously repeats God’s name as given by his/her guru. This simran, as Mataji termed it, should be done with one’s attention centered behind closed eyes.
"Coupled with this physical stillness and ceaseless repetition of God’s Name [simran practice], the next step is to contemplate the Light within. At first, Mataji pointed out, there will be only darkness but eventually Light will appear in the form of either small flashes or small star-like points. In any case, one should focus on the radiance, keeping one’s simran intact and allowing the Light to draw the soul inward. The third and most important step, Mataji said, is to listen to the Sound that issues forth from the Light. It is this Internal Music which will numb the body and allow the consciousness to leave its ordinary dwelling. By riding this Current of Light and Sound, like a fish going upstream, the soul will be able to go back to its Original Home.” (About the Teachings of Yogani Mataji, Enchanted Land)
7 Levels or Stages of Inner Sound Meditation (the Yoga of Sound) Described in the Shurangama Sutra, a Buddhist Scripture
“The Buddha taught me to enter samadhi [deep meditation, union, absorption] through a process of listening. I began with a practice based on the nature of hearing:
(1) First I redirected my hearing inward in order to enter the current of the sages.
(2) Then external sounds disappeared.
(3) With its direction reversed and with sounds stilled, both sounds and silence cease to arise.
(4) So it was that, as I gradually progressed, what I heard and my awareness of what I heard came to an end. Even when that state of mind in which everything had come to an end disappeared, I did not rest.
(5) My awareness and the objects of my awareness were emptied, and when that process of emptying my awareness was wholly complete, then even that emptying and what had been emptied vanished.
(6) Coming into being, and ceasing to be, themselves, ceased to be.
The Ascension of the Soul into Interior Regions of Light & Sound, Part One: Introduction to the Meditation Practice, And,The First Inner Region: Astral Plane: Sahas-Dal-Kanwal: Thousand Petalled Lotus
Unlike other yogic disciplines in India, such as kundalini, surat shabd yoga does not advocate breath control (pranayama) or a series of physical postures (asanas/mudras) as part of its practice. Rather, it is concerned with withdrawing consciousness from the nine apertures of the body (eyes, ears, nose, mouth, genitals, and alimentary canal) and transcending the corporeal frame and its limitations altogether. This is accomplished by attaching the mind’s attention to an inner light and sound which is believed to be radiating behind the proverbial “tenth door” (the “third eye” of the Hindus), anatomically located behind and slightly above the physical eyes (Shiv Dayal Singh, 1970). When consciousness becomes totally concentrated at this pivotal point “between the worlds,” the soul, according to the saints in this tradition, leaves the body and experiences in elevating degrees higher regions of bliss.
The distinctive characteristic of surat shabd yoga is its emphasis on listening to the inner sound current, known variously as shabd, nada, or audible life stream. It is through this union of the soul with the primordial music of the universe that the practice derives its name (surat – soul, shabd – sound current; yoga – union). To be able to achieve a consciously induced near-death state takes great effort. Hence, masters of this path emphasize a three-fold method designed to still the mind and vacate the body: simran, dhyan, and bhajan (Charan Singh, 1979).
Simran, the repetition of a holy name or names, draws one’s attention to the eye center, keeping thoughts from being scattered too far outside. Such sacred remembrance is similar in form to the use of a mantra or special prayer, except that the name(s) are repeated silently with the mind and not with the tongue. This stage, according to practitioners, is the first and perhaps most difficult leg of meditation.
Dhyan, contemplation within, is a technical procedure to hold one’s attention at the third eye focus. In the beginning this may be simply gazing into the darkness or re-imaging the guru’s face, etc., but it eventually develops into seeing light of various shapes. Out of this light appears the “radiant form” of one’s spiritual master, who guides the neophyte on the inner voyage and becomes the central point of dhyan.
Bhajan, listening to the celestial melody or sound, is the last and most important part of surat shabd yoga, because it is the vehicle by which the meditator can travel to exalted planes of awareness. Whereas simran draws and dhyan holds the mind’s attention, it is bhajan which takes awareness on its upward ascent back to the Supreme Abode, Sach Khand. Naturally, mastery of surat shabd yoga is not an overnight affair, but involves years of consistent application and struggle. The desired results, adepts in the tradition agree, being largely due to the earnestness and day to day practice of the seeker.
THE INNER ASCENT
In due time, if the process is complete, the individual spirit current or substance is slowly withdrawn from the body. First from the lower extremities which become feelingless, and then from the rest of the body. The process is identical with that which takes place at the time of death, only this is voluntary, while that of death is involuntary. Eventually, he is able to pierce the veil that intervenes – which in reality is “not thicker than the wing of a butterfly” – and then he opens what is called the “Tenth Door” and steps out into a new world. The body remains in the position in which he left it, quite senseless, but unharmed by the process. He is now in a world he never saw before… – (Julian P. Johnson, 1952)
Before the inner voyage of light and sound can begin, the meditator must become adept at withdrawing his/her attention from the world and concentrating one pointedly at the third eye center. Accordingly, when the neophyte has achieved even a modicum of success, having sensations of numbness just up to the solar plexus, flashes of light will begin to manifest. At first it appears that the light is coming and going, causing the phenomenon of bright sparks, but in actuality it is the mind which is ascending and descending (Charan Singh, 1958, 1967, 1973, 1979).
The feeling of physical insensibility is one of the important “acid tests” to determine if the mediation process is proceeding correctly. Starting in the feet, numbness rises slowly through the lower extremities, until the entire body feels like stone. When such a voluntary paralysis occurs, the meditator gravitates more to the inner universe than to the outer one. According to the masters (Julian P. Johnson, 1974), it is the function of simran to instigate this type of benumbing impression, which releases the mind from its constructing hold on the material corpus.
It is at this junction when the meditator senses an intense feeling of upward movement, as if being literally pulled by a magnetic force. This sucking effect is the direct result of one’s attention moving inward away from the outer orifices. Though it but a preliminary stage, the student experiences first-hand what it is like to have an out-of-body sensation. With practice, the meditator finally does achieve total out-of-body consciousness, traveling at immense speeds through regions of darkness, not dissimilar in content to reports of clinically dead patients who have been resuscitated (Raymond Moody, 1975, Kenneth Ring, 1980, Darshan Singh, 1982).
After complete withdrawal from the physical body, the neophyte’s capacity for inner sight (nirat) and sound (surat) increases tremendously, enabling him/her to see and hear clearly what was only thought before to be a figment of religious imagination. Accompanying this ability is also the realization of a super-conscious state of awareness, remarkably more vivid and lucid than the ordinary waking state (Sawan Singh, 1974).
To understand how such a new degree of consciousness can be awakened, it is important to see how awareness moves through various degrees of clarity. In the waking state, for instance, attention is centered behind the eyes at the back of the head. But, after eighteen or so hours, we notice a movement downward and inward from this station towards the throat (Jagat Singh, 1972) culminating in sleep. Likewise, after about eight hours, we sense a rising upwards to the eyes, with the final termination being, of course, our normal, everyday consciousness. In both of these cases, our common language expresses in a graphically simple way the process of awareness: “We fall asleep; we wake up,” “My eyes are heavy;” “I feel so awake and high.” In yoga psychology the farther down one’s consciousness descends the deeper the sleep (or unconscious) state; the further up it ascends the higher the awareness (super-conscious). The pattern is quite clear; clarity increases steadily the more one ascends (not vice versa). Ken Wilber (1979, 1981) has beautifully described this spectrum of consciousness as having a definite hierarchical structure, with the higher orders subsuming and transcending their lower counterparts.
The following account, primarily based upon Shiv Dayal Singh’s Hidayatnama is filled with rich mythological characterizations, metaphors, and illustrations. For anyone steeped in science, the account will sound too fantastic to be true. However, we should keep in mind that although Shiv Dayal Singh’s description may be limited to the analogies of the 19th century, his fundamental insights are consistent with mystics from time immemorial. When reading Shiv Dayal Singh’s descriptions of the inner regions we should always keep in mind that trans-rational experiences cannot be adequately contained by the inherent boundaries of human language. Let us not confuse a map for the real territory or a menu for the meal.
The First Inner Region: Sahas-dal-kanwal: Thousand petalled Lotus
THE FIRST REGION:
“Thousand Petalled Lotus”
“When your eye turns inwards in the brain and you see the firmament within, and your spirit leaves the body and rises upwards, you will see the Akash in which is located Sahas-dal-kanwal, the thousand petals of which perform the various functions pertaining to the three worlds. Its effulgence will exhilarate your spirit. You will at that stage, witness Niranjan, the lord of three worlds. Several religions which attained this stage and took the deity thereof to be the Lord of All, were duped. Seeing the light and refulgence of this region they felt satiated. Their upward progress was stopped. They did not find the guide to higher regions. Hence they could not proceed further”. (Swami Ji/Shiv Dayal Singh, Hidayatnama)
[Astral plane; cluster of lights]
Although the wondrous journey out of the body in surat shabd yoga meditation begins in darkness, eventually the meditator glimpses keen points of light, much like stars filling up a black midnight sky. The student is advised to focus his/her attention on the largest and brightest of these “stars” (Kirpal Singh), which with repeated concentration will burst revealing a radiance similar to that of a sun (Sawan Singh). When this light explodes, a brilliance comparable to a full moon will pull one’s attention even further within. Out of that light, according to the masters (Julian P. Johnson), known as Asht-dal-kanwal (“Eight petal lotus”), the resplendent form of one’s guru will appear. This marks the half-way point in the disciple’s ascent, since from here on one is guided to the upper regions by the radiant form of the master (Sawan Singh). Hence it is by comparison an easier progression for the soul than the withdrawal of the mind current from the body.
Along with the seeing of light, consisting of different colors and hues due partly to a particular person’s karma (Faqir Chand, 1978), the meditator also hears a variety of different sounds. At first, as the concentration becomes finer it will assume a more distinct tone, not dissimilar to the tinkling of bells. Indeed, it is the bell sound which is to be held onto, as its melody will help lead the soul into the first region, known technically in Radhasoami as Sahas-dal-kanwal, but also termed in other traditions as the astral plane, turiya pad, etc.
Entrance into the pure astral plane, though heralded as a magnificent achievement, is, according to Sant Mat, but the beginning of the inner voyage. It is alleged by many saints in the tradition (Kabir, Tulsi Sahib, Sawan Singh, etc.) that several great religious leaders mistakenly believed that the light and sound of this region were of the Absolute Lord. Instead of realizing that the manifestations were partial glimpses of a higher reality, they worshipped them as the totality of God. This kind of error is perhaps the chief reason why the Sant Mat and Radhasoami movements stress so much the necessity of a living guide. Above all else, the masters emphasize, test thoroughly whatever appears inside meditation. [The main test advised by the mystics is to repeat slowly the holy name or names which were given at the time of initiation; also verify the authenticity of one’s experiences with the outer guru for his/her validation.]
Each major region of consciousness has its own center and guiding lord. In Sahas-dal-kanwal the ruler is known as the lord of light and is the creator of all the universe in its jurisdiction (Julian P. Johnson). However, the extent of each ruler’s power is limited and circumscribed by the next higher deity, who, likewise receives its creative energy from above, etc. This governing hierarchy, like the kundalini chakra system, is based on the concept that all spiritual evolution (and even material transformation) was preceded by an involution. Therefore, the meditator must pass through several regions of light and sound before attaining true enlightenment.
In order to overcome the many barriers and obstacles on the way, the guru instructs the student not to attach him or her self to any particular vision, as they are merely signposts along the way. In fact, all of the intermediary lords, or centers of power, are not to be venerated but transcended. It is for this reason that the Beas branch of the Radhasoamis and Sawan-Kirpal Mission in agreement with previous saints, give out five holy names as their meditation mantra. Each name represents the presiding lord and his relative spiritual energy; to the meditator they serve as passwords, so to say, to insure safe passage into the next level of consciousness.
Obviously, the concern here is that a student may get stuck or retained in one of the lower realms, believing that he/she has reached the ultimate, when, in fact, what they have attained is illusory and impermanent. Surat shabd yoga literature is replete with stories of would-be masters who have been duped on the inner journey (for instance, see the book Anurag Sagar which goes on in detail about sages being misled in their meditations).
(Above is from, Enchanted Land, by David Lane, MSAC Philosophy Group)
Huzur Maharaj (Rai Saligram):
“This discourse is intended for the benefit of those who, seeing the instability and transitory state of the things in this world, as well as its short-lived pleasures and greatness, have a craving for everlasting and unalloyed happiness and undisturbed peace in a realm which is not subject to change, decay or dissolution”.
Huzur Maharaj (Rai Saligram):
“The method of taking back the Spirit entity to its Original Source is to ride the Sound Current”.
“The method for taking back the spirit entity to its Supreme Source is first to concentrate at the eye-focus – the seat of the soul, the spirit entity and mind which are defused in our body and in a manner tied to external objects by desires and passions, and next to commence its journey homewards by attending to the Internal Sound, or in other words, by riding the Life or Sound Current which has originally emanated from the Supreme Source”.
“The Current which has been instrumental in having brought it down here must naturally be the Path for its return to the Original Source, and whoever finds this Current is on the Path of Emancipation. This Current which is the Spirit and Life Current is called in the Radhasoami Faith, "Sound” or “Word” or Holy Name". (Prem Patra Radhasoami, Agra)