Why is a Master necessary?
Hans Ji Maharaj
‘Satguru’ means ‘the one who dispels the darkness of ignorance and reveals the Inner Light’. Spiritual Masters or enlightened souls come into the world to transmit to others the knowledge of the Self. They come to liberate us from the restrictions of our materialistic vision. Satguru is therefore called ‘the deliverer’. Shri Hans Ji Maharaj was such a Satguru. He delivered those who approached him with a guileless heart from the constrictions of maya by initiating them into the Holy Name (‘Shabd Brahm’) and Divine Light (‘bhargo jyoti’).
According to the ancient Indian scriptures there are two type of vidyas (knowledge), known as apara vidya and para vidya. We need teachers for both. Apara vidya is related to material knowledge while para vidya is the experience of spirit or consciousness. All the information about the world around us that comes in through our senses or intellect, as well as the branches of science and philosophy which we develop to organize and interpret this information (including scriptures), falls into the category of material science. The para vidya , on the other hand, is the science of spirit, the science of consciousness. Satguru is the one who triggers the quantum leap in consciousness. He reveals the know-how, the living technique of linking the mind with the all- permeating consciousness – the soul – within. All the masters have proclaimed that scriptures by themselves cannot reveal the divine within us. For that we need a living master who can open up the inner channel which leads to that level. He shows us how to refine our awareness so that we can tune into the eternal vibration, the cosmic engine which is the source of all creation. Invariably the scriptures of all religions eulogize the divine master and emphasize his important role in spiritual realization.
Shri Hans Ji Maharaj used to say that there are four types of grace with which a human being can be blessed:
- First is the grace of God who gives the jiva – the individual spirit- the gift of a human form in the first place. It is a great blessing. It is the gateway to salvation. It is only in a human body that we can commune with God, the highest goal of life. The knowledge of good and evil, of righteousness and unrighteousness, falls within the human domain. Man can scale the heights of nobility like Buddha and Christ or degrade himself to levels lower than beasts.
- The second grace is the grace of scriptures, which lay down the guidelines and map out the path one must follow to peace and enlightenment. Reading the scriptures motivates us to know not only the purpose of life but also the way to achieve it. The scriptures provide a balance, a higher perspective, without which human society would be all the poorer ethically and morally. The scriptures teach that there is a higher life beyond the mind and senses which gives immense bliss, peace and understanding.
- Third is the grace of the master. Scriptures are undoubtedly very important, but the living spark of divinity is transmitted by the perfect master. It is only through his grace that the sacred and the secret knowledge of the divine is revealed to the disciple.
- The fourth grace is self-effort. In the Gita, Lord Krishna says that we can be either our own best friend or worst enemy. If a person chooses a low lifestyle (‘adharma’) he does himself great harm and ultimately degrades himself spiritually. On the other hand, if he follows the path of knowledge he will achieve higher levels of consciousness.
Shri Hans Ji Maharaj belongs to the galaxy of saints of seers who spread the teachings of devotion and universal religion. He spent his life travelling around India and initiated millions of people into the ‘para vidya’.