By Sant Kirpal Singh, from the book "Spirituality – what it is", chapter 6
Spirituality is another name for Surat Shabd Yoga. In other words, it means union of the Surat (consciousness or soul) with the Shabd (Sound-principle Sound-current or God-in-action). It is an inner experience of the soul and far transcends what various creeds and faiths have to tell us, or promise to give. This science is known as Sant Mat or Path of the Masters. It tells us of the fundamental of spirituality. It far excels religions as known in this age, for these teach us merely theories and beliefs, and dabble in jugglery and supernatural powers, etc. A science is not a true one if it does not reason out conclusions. A blind faith or a blind belief has no place in a spiritual science, which should work out results with mathematical precision, as any other science would do. Wherever and whenever persons have experimented in this science, they have, one and all, given their experiences and come to the same conclusions.
Spiritual life consists in peeling off layer by layer the various Koshas or sheaths, physical, astral and causal, enshrouding the spirit, until it shines forth in its pristine splendour (self-luminous and shadowless), and comes into its own and says, "I am soul," "Aham Brahm Asmi," or "Tat Twam Asi" (I am Brahm, or I am as thou art). I am a drop of the ocean of all consciousness."
It is only after this consciousness dawns on the spirit, that it rushes headlong towards its source or fountainhead – the ocean of eternal bliss. This is called Jiwan Mukti (salvation in life or life eternal). When dyed in the very colour of God, a person manifests veritable Godhood in thoughts, words and deeds. He becomes a perennial source of life, love and light for the entire humanity.
Father and the Son are dyed in the same colour
and administer the same law unto mankind.
Rag Bhairon M.5
Poor Nanak is the mouthpiece of His Beloved.
Rag Gauri Sukhmani M.5 "
O Lalo! I open my mouth simply to express or
give vent to the thoughts that arise thoughtlessly within me.
Rag Tilang M.1
Whenever a Master-soul opens His mouth,
He does so to utter the words of Allah or God,
though the voice may seem to be human.
I and my Father are one ...
All things are delivered to me of my Father ...
I am in the Father and the Father in me.
The words I speak unto you I speak not of myself,
but the Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the work.
When a drop of water losses its identity in the ocean, it becomes an integral part of the ocean itself. In the same way a spirit, when it once enters into Godhood or merges in God, no longer remains an individual spirit for the rest of the allotted span of its physical existence but is an integral part of God, the very ocean of life. All this can be achieved only through the grace of a Master-soul; and thus the tedious journey homeward is accomplished quite easily and smoothly. It is not given to man to achieve this by himself, unaided by a Satguru.
It is the fundamental law of God,
that no one can move Godward without the aid of a Satguru.
War Bihagra M.4
There is one and only one way Godward, for all alike, rich or poor, high or low, learned or unlettered, oriental or occidental, Laplanders of the North or Bushmen of the South. It is the most ancient and the most natural way, universal in its appeal, since it is ordained by God Himself for His children, no matter wherever in the wide world they may be or whatever religion they may profess, and whatever be their colour, caste or creed. This in essence is the scope of spiritual science as taught by Master-souls from time to time, according to the needs of the age in which they lived and in the then common language of the people. Hence the basic similarity in their teachings. "Truth is one, though tile sages describe it variously," states the Upanishadic text.
Saints work as pilots in the stormy sea of life. They take upon themselves the burden of steering tile righteous souls clear of shoals and submerged rocks, and do not rest contented until they are safely taken back right to the home of their Father. They come from afar from a purely spiritual realm, with a set purpose and mission – to ferry the world-weary, pilgrim soul anxious for a reunion with the source and fountainhead of life.
They are godly souls clothed in human bodies and come with God's knowledge,
They come from unknown places to trade in souls and ever look backwards.
The scriptures are full of the spiritual experiences of such high-souled saints and constitute a common heritage for mankind. Their instructions are for all alike, for theirs is a universal appeal to humanity and not to this or that social sect or order. They speak from the level of the soul to all embodied souls. irrespective of denominational emblems and nomenclatures, for God belongs to them who claim Him as their own.
He is peerless and unconcerned, but bound to His devotees;
All others are attached to the world and have no devotion for the Lord.
Surat Shabd Yoga aims at a direct union of the soul with God. The Master at the time of initiation gives to the aspirant a first-hand inner experience, howsoever of the lowest order it may be, of spirituality. This can, in course of time, by regular Sadhan or practice of spiritual discipline, be developed. All scriptures give a fine record of the teachings of this natural Yoga, which is not the reserved right of any particular sect or religion. As God is for all mankind, the Masters of this science are also for one and all. As one proceeds on the spiritual path, unknown vistas open to view, revealing undreamed of spiritual realms. But such experiences are possible only through the grace of a Satguru.
In brief, no one can possibly travel on the God-way all by himself without the aid of an unerring guide, call him what one may – a God-man, Murshid-i-Kamel (perfect Master), or Rahbar-i-Haq (guide to the realm of truth).
It is, then, absolutely necessary that a seeker after truth make a quest for some perfect Master well versed in the theory as well as the practice of Surat Shabd Yoga. It is immaterial that one may have to spend his entire life span in search of a really competent Master, and may, in the attempt, have to wander from place to place, in all the ten directions of the compass – for strait is the path, sharper than the razor's edge, narrow is the gate and few there be that find it. A perfect Master veritably leads the soul from darkness to light, from untruth to truth and from death to immortality. He is a never-failing friend, both here and hereafter.
He remains ever with you whether you live or die,
And no matter whether you are here on earth or in the hereafter.
Again: Even at the place of reckoning, He shall stand by thy side.
It is therefore said:
O Nanak! snap all worldly ties and search for a true friend.
The one shall leave thee even in life,
while the other shall accompany thee into the Beyond.
Maru War M.5
In their company one can transcend body-consciousness and rise into cosmic consciousness and then on into super consciousness, which lies far beyond the limits of the grand dissolution and is eternally the same. All our toils and troubles are the result of our separation from the power of God, but, with reunion, we can once again gain the Kingdom of God. It is through the fault of the Primal Man (Adam) that we lost the Garden of Eden, and it is through the Primal Man (the son of God) that one can have reconciliation with the Father (Spirit of God), behind the otherwise impenetrable veil of darkness (Bajjar Kapat) at the back of the eyes, and enjoy eternal beatitude while basking in the light of heaven.
Farid, a Muslim saint of great renown, emphatically directs: "O Farid, start on a world-wide quest for some Master-soul. Carry on a ceaseless search, high or low, right or left, in short anywhere and everywhere, for once you are able to find out a man of grace, you, too, shall have grace." Such a one not only tells us of the way and is with us always, but naturally accompanies us on the way, as a guide from plane to plane – from mundane physical world right up to Sach Khand, or the abode of truth. When a spirit transcends the physical body and crosses over to the preliminary regions of stars, the sun and the moon, it comes face to face with the luminous form of the Master, and it is then said to have taken a second birth. From here the Master takes charge of the soul and takes it on from plane to plane. Christ, too, speaks of it as follows, "Unless you are born anew, you cannot enter the Kingdom of God." This is the birth of the spirit, as distinguished from the birth by water. While the latter is of the corruptible seed, the former is of the seed incorruptible.
Henceforth, the spirit or the soul is under the charge of the Master and no power of darkness can tempt it.
The teachings of the Saints are, as said above, the most ancient and the most natural. They are the most suited to all ranks and ages, and to all types of persons irrespective of sex, caste, colour or creed. This natural way has never been changed, and is learnt from a competent Master only. Every individual soul can verify the truth of these teachings by accepting them, even as an experimental measure.