Where Are You Going? What Is Your Path?

They asked Nanak: Where are you going? What is your Path?

From Sidh Gosht, Guru Nanak’s Conversation with the Siddha Yogis, translated in:  Peace Lagoon — Sacred Songs of the Sikhs, the Collected Hymns of Guru Nanak, Guru Amar Das, Guru Ram Das, Guru Argun Dev, and Guru Gobind Singh (Dasam Granth), by Sardarni Premka Kaur, published by G.T. International

The yogis asked Guru Nanak:
Who are you? What is your name? What is your sect? What is your goal? We pray that you give us your true answers, for we are a sacrifice to the truthful ones. Where is your seat? Where do you live? From where have you come? Where are you going? The non-attached siddhas wait to hear your reply. 0 tell us, what is your path?

Answered the Master:
The Lord is in every heart, and within Him is my seat and my home. I walk in the will of the Sat Guru [True Guru], and this is my only caste. I have come from God and I shall go wherever His will guides me. Nanak is my name, and I live to obey His command. My way is to sit in contemplation of the Imperishable Lord, and the attainment of such an all-encompassing vision is my life’s goal. By the Guru’s grace I have come to know and recognize myself, and have merged with the truest of the true.

The Art Of Seeing – Inner Light

"Do not live even a single day without inner meditation." — Baba Devi Sahab

The Art of Seeing
By Shri Santseviji Maharaj

Shortly before Shri Santseviji Passed from this world he collected many of his essays and poems which he had composed over the years into a book that has been named The Holy River (Ganges) Knowledge. There are 121 essays and poems. Below is a translation by Veena Howard of essay number 112.

What is the use of beautiful eyes when you do not understand the art of seeing. Just as a flower is beautiful, without a fragrant scent it is not so appealing. Sant Paltu Sahab says: "What is the use of decorating your eyes if you do not know the art of seeing". By ‘art of seeing’ he is not talking about how to see beautiful scenery or magnificent sights. But rather he is referring to the practitioner (sadhak) on the spiritual journey. He is referring to the sadhana (spiritual practices) which allows one to develop the art of seeing. One may ask whether it is a practitioner of what—and what kind of art is Paltu Sahab speaking about?

There was a Fakir who lived in Allahabad in the 1600’s by the name of Malukadas Ji. He says: If we do not see the Divine Beings then these eyes are worth nothing. Without that ability to see the celestial he considers the eyes as of little value. Also he says: Who has not conquered desires how is that person able to love the Divine. If we can not see the unseeable then we are not using our eyes to the fullest extent possible. What kind of eyes are we speaking about here. Are we talking about the physical eyes composed of flesh-—-no. Sant Kabir says you can not see the celestial subtle with these physical eyes of the flesh. Rather, we must acquire the inner eyes—-the eyes of the soul.

The saints say if God could be realized in the physical world then the physical eyes would be sufficient to see these celestial sights. However, this is not the case. Even though, God is all pervasive he can only be seen within. Once we can see Him within then and only then can we see him outside. Therefore, it is important to turn the attention from outside to the inward. Swami Vivakanda explains: What is the meaning of seeing the divine inside. He says all the worldly things are beautiful but looking at them is not the way to see the divine. We should turn our Dristi (power of seeing) inward. First one has to curb the eyes desire to look outward and then one must have a desire to look inward. When the desire to look outward diminishes then one is able to see the grandeur of God within. In this regards Sant Charandas Ji says: Only a bird can understand the birds language, other animals are unable to understand the birds. A female saint named Sahjo Bhai had a pure heart. In her happiness to understand she says that her Guru became happy with me a told me the secret of seeing the Divine. No one can see the subtle celestial by looking into this physical world, only by looking within using the art of seeing can we understand the celestial. Therefore one must turn inward to understand this Formless Atman the inner self.

In the Katha Upanishad it is said that the Divine has created these senses to go outward and away from our true identity. Some patient and persevering practitioner desires the nectar of the inner world and brings the outward senses to the inward journey.

If after hearing about the possibilities of the inner journey how do we behold and experience this. Seeing in this way is called Dristi—-that is the art of seeing.

There are five kinds of Dristi:

1. The sight of the waking state. That is seeing things in the everyday world.
2. The sight of dream state in which we see the dreams.
3. Manasi Dristi which is seeing with the minds eye. This is the realm of the imagination and seeing while imagining.
4. Divya Dristi is divine sight. Through which the vision of the celestial worlds is seen.
5. Atman Dristi is the state of seeing the Absolute Self.

In considering these five types of seeing everyone in this mundane world experiences the first three. The last two are only developed through meditation. In regard to Divya Dristi Sant Paltu Sahab says that without this one cannot see the Absolute Atman. Therefore, it is important to learn how to obtain these last two. There are two methods for achieving this.

First, to begin the process of experiencing Divya Dristi and Atman Dristi the saints say that by controlling and stopping the first three types of seeing then the mind becomes under control and it will be possible to experience Divya Dristi. So when the first three types of seeing are halted and while in a conscious state we attain Divya Dristi. In the process of curbing these first we must curb sight in the waking state as the mind constantly is considering what it has seen. (The more enticing a scene is, the stronger will be our attachment to it and accordingly it will be more difficult to rid oneself of such thoughts.) The dream state is also affected by the sights we see in the waking state. So by controlling sight in the waking state the dream state is also controlled. Therefore, we should see and experience those things which will help our spiritual journey. We should not witness those things which are counterproductive to the spiritual life and which increase our desire to experience more and to go outward. Sant Goraknath said: We should be careful in each action performed each day, careful of what we say and what we do. We should watch our path carefully. Mahatma Gandhi says: God has given us these eyes, we make them impure and we do not learn what is proper to see. There is a difference in seeing, between a disciplined yogi and a person seeking pleasure. The Yogi uses his eyes to see the Divine and goes inward. The pleasure seeker looks at those things which give enjoyment and pleasure and goes further outward. Gandhi says not to waste our time in seeking after these pleasures of the world, he does not recommend movies even. Someone has said that in regards to the senses that we should enjoy things but do not be attached, talk but do not gossip, see the things of the world but do not be attached.

The second method for controlling the seeing is to sit in a clean place with the back and spine erect, the asana (seated position) firm with the eyes closed, however do not stress the eyes or pinch them or strain them in any way. Since we are always seeing things and events during the waking state they naturally these same events come to us during meditation. Therefore, through pratyahara (1) we constantly are bringing the mind back to the object of the meditation and focusing intently on that. Then we begin to abandon these scenes of the world. The object should be on the holiest object. A divine image or an image of the Sat Guru should be employed. We must stare at the form intently without flickering the eyes or moving the eyes, simply and firmly focused. We should focus without thoughts on this holy form without having any thoughts. In this practice the mind begins to be controlled and focused and we gain some power to enter the subtle celestial realms. We begin to know the thoughts of others etc. To make further progress we use the minute Bindu (infinitesimal point). The Tejabindu Upanishad says that the meditation on the light bindu requires perfect focus, it actually exists and is established within each of us. We have only to realize it. By meditating on this point (bindu) full concentration of the mind becomes possible. Once full concentration is accomplished the mind then goes upward and we pierce the realm above. When consciousness is directed inward and we are in the dark realm of this gross world then we are brought to the realm of light through the focus on bindu.

Maharishi Mehi says: Dristi is the power of seeing by uniting beams of both eyes on the point. Only then the mind becomes focused. Now there is no difference between opening up the Divya Dristi and the art of seeing they are the same. Sant Paltu Sahab speaks about Bhungi which is the method of mediation where one stares at one place without interruption as instructed by the Guru. This results in Divya Dristi. Once the Divine sight is attained then the practitioner automatically begins to experience the divine sound and the Divya—-Divine seeing is less prominent and the sound becomes dominant. This is so because of the power of the sound to attract, and through the use of divine sounds one transcends and rises to higher and higher realms until one becomes established in the Divine and one then is seeing ones own inner essence from the level of Atman Dristi, the fifth type of seeing.

(1) Pratyahara is one of the eight limbs of Yoga according to Patanjali. It is in reference to meditation and admonishes the practitioner to return constantly to the object (single thought) of the meditation. This strengthens the mind and prepares it for Dhyan or continuous uninterrupted focus on a single thought.

I Worship Only God-Within, Nothing Else, Says Namdev

Sant Mat Fellowship: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SantMatFellowship

"Repeat the Name of your Beloved, day and night, again and again. With care in thought, word and deed, you will cross to the other shore." — Sant Dadu Dayal

Sant Namdev

Below is from, The Hindi Padavali of Namdev, translated into English by Winand. M. Callewaert, published by Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi.

The name Ram [God]
has entered my heart
placing a golden scale

I worship only
nothing else
says Namdev.

Love of Ram
is hard, Father
till you see the self
pervading everything.

Your fine exterior
filthy within
cannot be washed
with water, idiot.

God is no idol
nor the proffered leaves.
Namdev does not worship
in this manner.

False worship
cannot please Ram.
It may fool
the shallow
and the blind.

My eyes have turned
My heart clings
to the feet
of Ram.
says Namdev.

Who can be tainted
once he says Ram?
Sinners become pure
when they cry Ram.

Those who live
in the truth of Ram
should they fast
or visit holy sites?

In remembrance
I found
the right thing to do
says Namdev.

They will surely
find moksha [liberation],
those who say Ram.

Sing Ram.
Narhari, Sri Banvari.
Constantly worship
the feet of Murari.

The guru’s word
is a stairway to heaven.
The heart is Prayag*
where sweet love flows.

I wandered
through the cosmos
in search of the treasure
but found it within me.

Do not come or go
stay at home and
sing of your Ram
says Namdev.

I have pleaded with Ram
I shall not ask another.
My life grows shorter
I cannot waste another birth.

I will not implore another god.
My tongue will taste only the elixir of Ram.

Ram is with everyone,
whether a worm
or a moth
or still.

Ram is my life
other gods are empty and useless
says Namdev.


— Sant Namdev

*Note: "Prayag": Prayag is the ancient name for the city of Allahabad. In Prayag the river Yamuna meets the Ganga. Another river, called the Sarasvati, is also said to meet the Ganga here, although it remains invisible and is believed to follow a subterranean path. The confluence (Triveni) of these three rivers is a very holy site, and millions go to bathe there. In Sant literature Prayag or Triveni is the name for the confluence of three mystic channels in the body, called ida, pingala and susumna. This was an important concept in Tantrik yoga and in Nath lore and it greatly influenced the Sants.

7 Teachings Of Sant Mat, The Path Of The Masters

By James Bean

1) God is Real..

2) God is Love, the Ocean of Love and Compassion..

3) All of the world scriptures teach about the same manifestation of God as inner mystical Light and Sound..

4) Our true identity is soul, the Self. Soul is part of God and therefore is, like God, pure love..

5) During this human existence we have an opportunity to experience God..

6) As we experience communing with God’s love during meditation — Surat Shabd Yoga, we can rise above body-consciousness and explore Inner Space, the "Kingdom of the Heavens" that are within us. "We travel back from the realm of Darkness to the realm of Light, from the Light to divine Sound, and from the realm of Sound to the Soundless state." (Swami Sant Sevi Ji Maharaj) The drop merges back into the Ocean of Love..

7) As we get initiated into the Mysteries of the Spirit by a Living Teacher (Sant Satguru), the purpose of our life is fulfilled. Reuniting with God is our reason to be here: "It was for the sake of the God-conscious beings that our True Lord created this earth, and began this play of death and birth".. (Adi Granth) Kabir says: "For millions of years you have slept. This morning, will you not wake?"..

"All beautiful forms and tones of this world are mere reflections of some aspect of that ultimate Love-Music of the Great Creative Word. Within the vast complex of creation, each individual spirit is himself/herself a spark of that Eternal Song of Love"..

"There are those who have wandered among the darting comets and the shimmering orbs of sounding fire. The soul-explorer is not alone, for there are those who have traveled the highways of the inner cosmos; far more than one may at first realize"..

"…The planes of heaven are about us everywhere. One has only to know this simple truth consciously, and then we will be free".. (George Arnsby Jones)

Necessity Of A Contemporary Master-Guide (Sant Sat Guru)

Radhasoami Reality: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Radhasoami-Reality
Radhaswami Dayal ki Daya Radhaswami Sahai: "Grant Merciful Radhasoami Thy Grace and Protection"

Mere Knowledge of the mode of devotion derived from hearsay or reading the holy books will not help a would-be traveler on his journey homeward; he or she needs full instructions from an experienced guide and occasional help and information from him to enable a novice to proceed on his journey unhampered by obstacles and impediments which are generally met with in traversing material spheres..

According to the Radhasoami Faith the presence and help of a Sant Sat Guru is absolutely necessary for a neophyte to commence the work of salvation [jiva mukti], or in other words, to practice internal devotion for the purpose of first concentrating and then raising his spirit beyond the material spheres..

All embodied spirit entities living here having left their original home from time immemorial, and having passed through various material spheres in their descent to the corporeal body in the third grand division, have become so firmly attached to their present dwelling, viz., the body and its surroundings in this world, that it is difficult, nay, impossible, for anyone to effect a change in the present condition and abode without the aid and instruction from one who is a resident of that sphere and holds communion with the Supreme Father, because He alone can be expected to know all the secrets of the descent of the spirit current to the lower regions and the means of liberating it from the bondage of matter to enable it to rise and return to its original source..

— Huzur Maharaj, RADHASOAMI MAT PRAKASH – A Brief View of Radhasoami Faith — Being a message of Eternal Peace and Joy to all nations — Originally written by Hazur Maharaj in English and published in the year 1897A.D..

Know Thyself As Soul, According To Lord Mahavira And Jainism

"Now, since it has been said that you are my twin and true companion, examine yourself, and learn who you are, in what way you exist, and how you will come to be. Since you will be called my brother, it is not fitting that you be ignorant of yourself.." (Yeshua, The Book of Thomas the Spiritual Athlete, Nag Hammadi Library)

The greatest mistake of a soul is non-recognition of its real Self, and it can only be rectified by recognizing itself..

Know thyself; recognize thyself; be immersed in thyself — you will attain Godhood..

— Mahavira (Tirthankar Bhagwan Mahavira)

By merely meditating upon Him all inflictions of the living souls (jivas) which have arisen from the world are destroyed. These are not destroyed through any other means. He is the Lord of three worlds, and is the Indestructible Supreme Soul..

Whatever is the Supreme Soul, so am I. Whatever is my essential nature, is the essence of Supreme Soul. Therefore, I am fitted for meditating on my inner Supreme Soul — none other..

— Pundit Puja Tika

The only method to know Consciousness is to experience (the true nature of) one’s Self and thus to purify and uplift the mental tendencies. It is most desirable for the practitioner to search for one’s self by one’s self. There is no other means other than meditation, which verifies subjectively and substantiates objectively that which previously was only known through listening or teaching..

— Acharya Tulsi

This soul in itself is illumined by the light of knowledge. However, in this body it is covered by three coverings: the gross body and two subtle bodies (Taijas and Karman shareer). As long as this soul does not recognize its enlightened form, the bondage remains..

An ascetic established in the Self (Atma) is liberated. The ascetic who is not thus established does not attain liberation through mere observance of niyama (outer observances). The state of being established in Atma is the Right Faith (belief verified by experience), and firmness in this is the ‘discerning character endowed with knowledge’..

—Jainist Sutras quoted in the book, The Harmony of All Religions

The person who has recognized the true nature of the soul (Atma) and experienced it through self-knowledge, merges into the Pure Form and becomes Paramatma (Lord, the Supreme Soul)..

— Pundit Puja Tika

Human beings without knowledge of the Supreme Soul wander through the law of karma in the deep forest of the world. By the knowledge of the Supreme Soul a human being attains a prominent place — even greater than Indra (king of the gods). Know Him to be the true manifested Supreme Soul. He is the abode of all joys. He is the brilliant light of knowledge. He is the protector. He is the Supreme Person beyond thinking and His nature can not be described..

The One, who can not be described by words and is not conceivable as matter or material stuff is the Supreme Soul. He is infinite, transcends Sound, has no birth, and is not subject to wandering in the world. With a still and tranquil mind meditate on the Supreme Soul..

— Jainist text called, Jnanarnva

Arati And Santmat

Special on the Auspicious Day of Guru Purnima!

Sant Mat Fellowship: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SantMatFellowship

"Repeat the Name of your Beloved, day and night, again and again. With care in thought, word and deed, you will cross to the other shore." — Sant Dadu Dayal

Param Sant Tulsi Sahib of Hathras

Arati and Santmat

– Pravesh K. Singh

Most of the Hindu religious ceremonies end by performing a ritual called ‘arati/aaratee’ (a ceremony performed in adoration of a deity or a deeply respected religious figure of highest spiritual accomplishments by circular movement of a lighted lamp accompanied by ringing of bells, blowing of conches, beating of drums and gong etc.). The lighted lamp is usually placed in the centre of a large flat metallic plate or platter which is decorated with ‘akshat’ (whole unbroken rice grains), camphor, flowers, fruits, sandalwood paste/powder, betel leaves, confectionery sweet dishes, incense sticks, camphor etc. Use of light and sound in some form or the other are found to be generally associated with most of religions worldwide. In a mosque, for instance, ‘chirag’ (lamp or some other source of light; as ‘namaz’ is not offered in darkness) is kindled and ‘namaz’ (prayer) is rendered by the ‘Imam’ (priest) through microphone. Candle and bell can be found in churches. While, in the Buddhist temples a lamp is kept lit and a gong is hung.

Therefore, it emerges that light and sound are central to almost versions of worship. Sants say that this emphasis on worship of light & sound is, in fact, a hint at the fact that the true worship consists in worshipping (focusing one’s undivided attention on) the divine Light and the divine Word which are pervading the whole of universe/creation – gross or astral. Even our own life depends on the presence of these two – Light and Sound. Absence of Light (indicated by the complete loss of body warmth; light and heat are mutually inter-related to each other essentially) and sound (manifested in the pulse-rate and heart beat) implies our bodily death. So, sants explain that these outer light and sound are symptomatic or suggestive of the more important inner Light and inner Sound. God has made the creation with the help of these two. Maharshi Mehi Paramhansji Maharaj, one of the all-time greatest exponents of Santmat, would say that Light and Sound are like the two arms of God so that if we wished God to embrace us with all His love and affection, we must try to catch hold of these two limbs of His. Thus, a different notion of ‘arati’ is found in Santmat. The ‘arati’ of Santmat is an internal activity and should be accordingly performed within the temple that is, our own body. Sants like Tulsi Sahab of Hathras (U.P.), Maharshi Mehi Paramhans ji Maharaj etc. have composed wonderful verses exhorting seekers to perform ‘arati’ (signifying meditation on inner Light & Sound) within. Below is presented essence in English of one such ‘arati’ by composed by Sant Tulsi Sahab of Hathras, based on its Hindi Translations by Maharshi Mehi Paramhans ji Maharaj and his worthy disciple & successor Maharshi Santsevi ji Paramhans. This ‘arati’ is sung at the end of Akhil Bharatiya Santmat (the branch of Santmat started by Maharshi Mehi Paramhans ji Maharaj) Satsangs (spiritual gatherings):

"Perform ‘arati’ (within you) in the company of the True Guru, and behold the Light that keeps illuminating the inner sky. ||1||

Manifest Divine Fire within this body, made of five elements, (this may also be construed as to make the five characteristic colours of the five elements forming the gross universe around us including our own body appear within the body) and spread light by lighting lamp from this fire. ||2||

Placing (decorating) the Sun and the Moon as fruits & flowers on the plate or platter of the inner sky, install the pitcher of camphor i.e. the white luminous Point, in the beginning of ‘arati’.||3||

Make ‘akshat’ (whole, unbroken grains of rice used in arati and other religious ceremonies) of stars and wear the garland of pearls visualized in the inner sky.||4||

[N.B. The spiritual practitioner comes to visualize stars, the Moon and the Sun in the inner sky in the course of meditation. These celestial bodies may be thought of as resembling small grains, flower, fruit etc. (articles used in the ritual of ‘arati’ performed outside in the gross world) kept on the plate or platter that is, the inner sky itself.]

Different forms of bright light seen within are like the betel leaves, sweets, sandal, incense sticks, lamps etc. used in ‘arati’.||5||

While visualizing the refulgent Light within, melodious Sounds of various musical wind and percussion instruments are heard by the mind-fish (just as the fish can swim upstream against even very strong currents of water, mind also ascends in the inner sky and, therefore, has been likened to tiny fish by Sants. Thus the method of ‘Surat Shabd Yoga’ or ‘Naadaanu-sandhaan’ – meditation on the inner divine Sound – is also referred to as the ‘meen-maarg’ or the path of the fish).||6||

Just as the black bee is lost completely in the sweet fragrance of, and gets willingly trapped within, a lotus flower, focused surat plays in the inner sky joyfully, captivated by the fragrance of divine Sound.||7||

The pure Light that appears within destroys all the sins of the beholder.||8||

In the inner void or sky the currents of Light and Sound keep pouring. The spiritual seeker who can ascend himself unto this gateway (of divine kingdom) merrily drenches or soaks himself in this rain.||9||

The surat drinking the nectar (of Divine Light & Sound) gets intoxicated with the resultant joy, and thus marches jubilantly forward.||10||

Brilliance of Light seen within is comparable to the luminance of crores of Suns taken together. Connect yourself (to God) by seeing (ascending) beyond the Unseeable (Quintessential Sound) ||11||

Every moment keeping your surat focused in the inner sky, sip the rare Imperceptible juice by the Guru’s grace.||12||

The path to Guru’s abode is illuminated with sparkling Lights and reverberates with divine Sound. Sant Tulsi Sahab advises us to forsake the body (rise above the body) by reverting inwards just as the bird ‘alal’ does. ||13||

[N.B. In Hindu Scriptures there is a mention of a bird named ‘alal’ which is said to live pretty high above in the sky. This bird never comes down to the earth. The eggs laid by the ‘alal’ begin to fall down towards the earth. However, these eggs are laid at such great heights that before these can reach the earth’s surface, their hatching period is over and the young kids come out of them and fly back towards their homes high above in the sky. Using the allegory of the ‘alal’ Sant Tulsi Sahab advises our individual souls to climb back, through meditation, to the great heights, our own true Native Abode i.e. the Realm of God.]

Upanishads: Third Eye Center: Place Of Worship, And, All Life Is One

Sant Mat Mysticism Blog at: http://SantMat.Gaia.Com

The Third Eye Center is the Place of Purification from the Effects of the Outer Senses and Impressions, and is the Place or Field of Vision for the True Worship of God in Meditation

Wisdom of the Saints and Sages of the Upanishads,
From the Jabala Upanishad:

Thereafter the sage Atri asked of Yajnavalkya: "How am I to realize the Self which is Infinite and Unmanifest — the Imperceptible Atman?"

Yajnavalkya said: …..The Infinite Imperceptible Self is worshipped…….between varana and nasi. What are varana and nasi? Varana is that which dispels all the evils done by the sense-organs, and that which destroys all the sins done by sense-organs is called nasi. Where is that place? That place is at the location of both the eye-brows and the nose. That is also the meeting place of this world and the next..

The Brahmajnanis [gnostics or knowers of God] worship at this meeting place. By meditating at that Point, they attempt to realise Brahman [God, the Lord of Love]..

(above: Jabala Upanishad quoted in the book, Satsang Yoga, Part One, English Version, Compiled by Maharshi Mehi Paramahansa)

Wisdom of the Saints and Sages of the Upanishads, from the Taittiriya Upanishad:

The Lord of Love willed: "Let me be many!"
And in the depths of his meditation
He created everything that exists.
Meditating, he entered into everything.
He who has no form assumed many forms;
He who is infinite appeared finite;
He who is everywhere assumed a place;
He who is all wisdom caused ignorance;
He who is real caused unreality.
It is he who has become everything.
It is he who gives reality to all.
Before the universe was created,
Brahman existed as Unmanifest.
Brahman brought the Lord out of himself;
Therefore he is called the Self-existent..

The Self is the source of abiding joy.
Our hearts are filled with joy in seeing him
Enshrined in the depths of our consciousness.
If he were not there, who would breathe, who
He it is who fills every heart with joy..

Until we realize
The unity of life, we live in fear.
When one realizes the Self, in whom
All life is One, Changeless, Nameless,
Then one fears no more.. 

(above: The Upanishads, Eknath Easwaran translation, Nilgiri Press)

Jainism And Sant Mat, Part One: Lord Mahavira Taught Inner Sound Meditation

Jainist Mysticism from a Sant Mat Perspective, Ethics and Meditation Practice

Sant Mat Fellowship: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SantMatFellowship

"Repeat the Name of your Beloved, day and night, again and again. With care in thought, word and deed, you will cross to the other shore." — Dadu

Note: Since Lord Mahavira was the 24th Tirthankara in a long lineage of Tirthankaras and was born 599 BC, this makes Jainism an extremely ancient world religion..   The following is from, The Harmony of All Religions, Chapter Two (Jainism), By Swami Sant Sevi Ji Paramahans..  

The word "jain" is derived from the root word jina meaning "conqueror." A Jina is one who has conquered the desires of the senses and overcome ignorance, thus attaining Samyak Jnana, Right (Absolute) Knowledge. The followers of this dharma (spiritual path) are known as Jains. The original impetus for this tradition came as a reaction to the violence in the form of animal sacrifices condoned in the Vedas. A seed of resistance began to germinate and from this seed Jain dharma developed..   Although specific details of the origin of Jainism are not known, but ancient tablets discovered at archaeological sites in Udayagiri and Junaghara in India indicate that Jainism preceded Buddhism..   The honorable teachers of Jain dharma are known as Tirthankaras. They are considered to be free from of all impurities, liberated, and granters of freedom (absolute freedom). The meaning of tirtha is "to ferry one across the ocean of the world." The one who has crossed this worldly ocean is known as a tirthankara. "Tirthakaroti iti tirthankara" means "one who has crossed over and helps others cross the world-ocean.."1  

According to Jain Dharma, there have been twenty-four Tirthankaras—-enlightened spiritual teachers—who have shown the way to Liberation. Rishabhadeva was the first Tirthankara of Jain dharma. After Rishabhadeva there were twenty three more Tirthankaras. Lord Mahavira was the last in the line.The names of the twenty four Tirthankaras of Jainism are as follows:  

1) Rishabhadeva

2) Ajita

3) Sambhava

4) Abhinandana

5) Sumati

6) Padamprbhu

7) Suparshva

8) Chandraprabha

9) Pushpadanta

10) Sheetla

11) Shreyansa

12) Vasupujya

13) Vibhata

14) Ananta

15) Dharma

16) Shanti

17) Kunthu

18) Ara

19) Mallinatha

20) Muni Suvrata

21) Nami

22) Nemi

23) Parshvanatha

24) Vardhamana Mahavira……..  

Mahavira was born about 2,500 years ago (ca 599 B.C.E.) in Vaishali Republic (Bihar), in an aristocratic Kshatriya2 clan. His father’s name was Siddhartha……..   Lord Mahavira: His Teachings   Lord Mahavira began his journey to spread the essential teachings of Jain tradition. He rejected the superiority of the higher castes which were only based on birth. Therefore, he completely disregarded the caste system. He considered the thoughts and actions of a man to be the true measure of the excellence not the high caste or class. He revolted against the established religious observances and rituals, and sought to restrain religious inexorability and squandering of monetary resources..   Lord Mahavira never tried to coerce others to follow Jain doctrines and practices. His attitude was progressive and novel..   He says:   "Whatever I say, you must test this with your own reasoning and verify it through your own experience..   "Do not accept what I say blindly by faith alone until it passes the litmus test of intellection. Otherwise, it will never be yours. If you accept what I teach on the basis of the sacred texts, or from my convincing reasoning, or even because of my radiant personality, but not by testing with your own reasoning, then in the end this will create only darkness (ignorance) in you and not light.."   Mahavira’s teaching about the Law of Karma was similar to the other saints of Indian traditions. He taught that each person’s own karmas or past deeds are the cause of each individual soul’s present condition. Life and death, joy and sorrow, are all caused by one’s past deeds [actions] or karmas. He said that it is foolish to consider other persons as the cause of our joy, sorrow, life and death. When it is understood that living beings suffer due to the consequences of their own past errors, then it will be understood that it is only through counteracting one’s own errors and recognizing one’s own mistakes that a person can become happy..   The central point of Mahavira’s teaching is about the liberation of the soul (atman). Primarily, Jainism is the path of freedom. Lord Mahavira elaborated anuvrata (a moral code of conduct) and emphasized the absolute importance of the development of human character:   "…..You are God! (lshwara): recognize yourself. Develop the inner divine qualities and become God. If the soul labors in the right direction, then that soul can become God (parma atman).."  

Lord Mahavira’s Teachings on Atman and Meditation   Here are some references to atman and meditation as taught by Mahavira:   "Atman is Brahma (the Ultimate Reality). Brahmacharya (living in Brahma; restraint of the senses)7 is the state of being established in one’s soul. The practitioner who is freed from the body and established in the soul is the true brahmacharya. The practitioner who lives abandoning (detaching from) his/body (desires of flesh) is a true brahamchara. The practitioner who lives abandoning (detaching from) his body (desires of flesh) is a true brahamchari..   "Through meditation of the soul Param Samadhi (highest state of concentration; state of liberation) is attained..   Absorbed in meditation the mendicant leaves behind all impurities. Therefore, meditation is the cure for all the impurities and inflictions of the soul..   "If your vision itself becomes the source of removing darkness [by the practice of meditation the divine Light dawns and the practitioner’s divine vision opens up], then why would a man need an outside source of light? If the soul itself is an abode of infinite joy why then would the sensual pleasures have any value for that practitioner?"  

In the above quote Lord Mahavira describes the divine vision which removes one’s darkness. His words find support in an ancient anecdote about Mragavati, a devout woman and devoted wife, who was able to see clearly in the darkness..   The bright bindu point [infinitesimal point] emerges when the practitioner becomes established in the discipline of focusing on one point with the beams of both eyes. When the inner Light is attained, a practitioner is established in the divine Light, which is not conditioned by any outward source of light. This technique is known by different names in texts of the various saints and traditions. 8

In this practice of Light the practitioner sitting in meditation is able to observe the scenes from anywhere (clairvoyance ).9 The outward darkness does not hinder the power and ability of seeing. Therefore, Mahavira has asked why the practitioner would need outward light once his vision has itself become the source (instrument) of removing darkness..   Once established in light, the practitioner hears various types of sweet inner melodious Sounds. The saints have named this sound the Anahad (Unstruck, self producing divine Sound). Through the technique of Shabad Yoga (Yoga of Divine Sound) the practitioner goes beyond these sounds and enters the eternal Sound—Pranava dhvani OM (the cosmic sound of OM),. Through this the practitioner reaches God (paramatma—the Supreme Spirit) and reaches the point where the distinction between the devotee (practitioner) and God (object of worship) disappears. The soul which is united with the Supreme Soul, becomes the Supreme Soul. This is known as liberation or nirvana..  

A discussion on the Shabad Yoga is found in the text, Jnanarnva composed by Shrishubhachandracharya:   "This focus (intense concentration) moves from one sound to another, and from one yoga to another. Therefore, it is known as that which is endowed with focus and logic.."   Lord Mahavira speaks of the experience of the Bindu-point-in meditation as the experience of sva (inner self) by Lord Mahavira. Dr. Hukumchand Bharill in his book, Tirthankara Mahavira and his Sarvodaya Tirthal, 10 has beautifully depicted the inner depth of meditation practice of Lord Mahavira. From these illustrations it is evident that Mahavira practiced inner Sound Yoga or (Shabad Yoga) 11..   In the Jain texts we find various references:   "In the deep state of meditation) Lord Mahavira experienced the divine Sounds. The Sound of Om was ceaselessly emanating, and the inner form of atman manifested in its utmost grandeur, and the nectar was pouring.."  

Mahavira knew that in a life, without morality and observance of discipline, it is impossible to attain liberation and the well-being of the self..   Mahavira said:   "Restraint (Sheela, life of moral rectitude) is the ladder to liberation.."   He stressed purity of life and practice of moral behavior. He emphasized the five principles: non-violence, truth, non-stealing, brahmacharya (restraint in sexual misconduct), and non-possession (lack of greed; being satisfied with one’s possessions). In order to apply these principles in daily life, he taught the monks and nuns mahavrata (great vows), laymen and laywomen and anuvrata (lesser vows)…..   Until the last moments of his life Mahavira inspired many to seek world peace through the establishment in inner peace, and he encouraged people to realize their divine nature. For 30 years he traveled throughout India to spread his message. At the age of 72, on the day of Diwali (the Festival of Lights) in the town of Pawa Puri, Mahavira ended his worldly journey while in the state of deep meditation and attained nirvana. His close disciple was Indrabhutti Gautama..   [To be continued………]

Living Students Of Living Masters – Radhasoami Reality

Students of Living Masters Radhasoami Reality: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Radhasoami-Reality

Radhaswami Dayal ki Daya Radhaswami Sahai:
"Grant Merciful Radhasoami Thy Grace and Protection"

Below is a gist on what a genuine living Master (competent or qualified teacher, Sant Satguru) communicates to their students/chelas), and is from, Prem Patra Radhasoami (literally, "Love Discourses of the Lord of the Soul" or Radhaswami], Volume Three, by Huzur Maharaj. Then further below, from the same document, very helpful satsang instruction providing much insight on the different categories of disciples with varying degrees of enthusiasm for the Path or closeness to the Masters. There is also guidance about making our way through life in diverse circumstances over time, sometimes close to satsang gatherings of Saints or perhaps are further away, with the intent to derive full benefit and make spiritual progress by navigating the highest currents of spirituality that Divine Grace provides..  The Living Master—Qualified Teacher   Huzur Maharaj: Great is the necessity of a Qualified Teacher, the Satguru in Sant Mat or the Radhasoami Faith, the Path of the Masters. Without him, no one can learn the secrets of the Supreme Being, the Path, the method of proceeding on that Path, and the rules of conduct which must be observed by a devotee. He alone knows these secrets, who has traversed the Path within and has reached the Original Abode or a high intermediate region. To a greater or a lesser extent he also knows them, who has met with a Satguru, attended His Satsang for some time and, having been initiated by Him, is practising devotional exercises. Barring these three, viz., Sant Satguru, Sadh Guru, and a sincere Satsang of the Master, none else can know these secrets. One, who has set his heart on the quest for the true Supreme Being and has a burning desire to find Him, will not get peace till he meets any of the aforesaid personalities. No one can proceed otherwise..   When a devoted seeker attends the Satsang of such a Guru, he will really know the following:  

1) the secrets of the creation;
2) the real object of his love;
3) the objects to which he is unnecessarily attached;
4) how to obtain emancipation easily;
5) that the pleasures of the world are trivial and transitory;
6) that the source of perfect happiness and bliss lies within;
7) that this can gradually be secured by the performance of bhakti (devotional practices);
8) that the throne of the Supreme Being Radhasoami Dayal [Merciful Lord of the Soul] is also within;
9) what he should do to experience His refulgence, to some extent;
10)  and how he should secure His grace and mercy for traversing the Path, obtaining Ananda (bliss) and enhancing it..  

The Living Disciple—Student in Sant Mat   Jivas [souls in creation] are of three kinds: Uttam (of a higher nature), Madhyam (moderate, ordinary, passable, mediocre) and Nikrisht (lukewarm, inferior, halfhearted). Their understanding is also of three types: Teliya (oily), Motia (pearly) and Namda (felty)..   (1) The characteristic of the Teliya (oily) understanding is that like oil: it spreads over and covers the entire surface. When an Uttam Adhikari (of superior category) hears the discourses, he elaborates on them. He adopts what is useful..   (2) The Motia (pearly) understanding is like a hole bored in a pearl; the dimensions of the hole remain what they are. Similarly, a mediocre, on hearing the discourses, adopts what he hears. He cannot elaborate on them..   (3) The Namda (felty) type of understanding is like a hole made in felt. The hole is visible while it is being made, but it immediately disappears. Likewise, persons of inferior understanding hear the discourses and appear to comprehend them, but in fact they forget them immediately..   A Jiva [soul] of superior Adhikar (fitness) can derive much benefit by attending Satsang even for a short time. He sticks to the following two principles and always acts up to them according to his unbiased understanding..   (1) The Seat of the Spirit in the wakeful condition is in the eyes. As the Spirit-Current is withdrawn internally from this focus towards higher regions with the aid of Shabd (Inner Mystic-Sound/Music) and Swarup (Inner Form or inner Mystic-Light), i. e., accordingly as the pupils of the eyes are turned [the current of mind and spirit is elevated and raised inwards and upwards], attachment with the body and the world will be loosened. In other words, as the devotee loses consciousness of this side, he gains consciousness on the other side and enjoys bliss accordingly. Considering this matter necessary and beneficial, he will ever do his best to maintain the practice. Nay, he will gradually enhance it..   (2) The currents of mind and senses are flowing outwards. These currents proceed with desires. They are impediments in the performance of practices of turning the pupils of the eyes, i. e., elevating and raising the current of mind and spirit inwards and upwards. It is, therefore, necessary that only such thoughts arise in the mind as are proper and necessary. The current of the senses should pursue only that business which is necessary. Useless, unnecessary and improper thoughts and desires must be not allowed to arise, internally or externally, at any time, more particularly at the time of Abhyas [meditation practices]..   An Uttam Adhikari understands these things. He can always exercise proper control. He need not mind any lapse due to his old habit, but he should be careful for the future and restrain himself. By striving in this manner for some time, his mind and senses will begin to behave properly..   A Madhyam Adhikari has to attend Satsang for a longer period. He should listen and understand the discourses, perform the devotional exercises to some extent and observe the Uttam and Madhyam Adhikaris who, may be attending Satsang for a pretty long period, or visiting it frequently. By the grace of Radhasoami Dayal this will enable him to acquire the ability to exercise some restraint over himself even while living away from the Satsang. If he finds any difficulty in any matter, he may, off and on, write to the Satguru and obtain necessary direction from him..   A Nikrisht Adhikari, provided he is somewhat careful and earnest, must attend Satsang for considerable period and watch the behaviour of Uttam and Madhyam Adhikaris, before he can derive some benefit. And when away from Satsang, he will be able to do something, with the help and in the company of Uttam and Madhyam Adhikaris. Gradually, he will become a Madhyam Adhikari..   Those, who have no sincere desire for Parmarth [spirituality] but happen to come in the Satsang of Sants [Saints] with some sincere devotees, will also derive some benefit. But their condition will not change until they attend Satsang and perform Abhyas [spiritual practices, meditation] with care and attention. It will be enough if they associate with Uttam and Madhyam Adhikaris, because they are not fit to attend the Satsang of Sants..   In short, as long as a person is strongly inclined towards the world, and his mind is filled with the desires for worldly pleasures, he cannot derive so much benefit from Satsang and internal practices of Sants, that his condition may change speedily and he may obtain spiritual bliss within himself regularly..   A truly earnest Parmarthi [devotee of spirituality] can derive great benefit by studying the holy books of the Radhasoami Faith. He can be initiated by letter and thus, by the grace of Radhasoami-Dayal can even secure the bliss of Bhajan [inner hearing] and Dhyan [inner seeing]. He can, off and on, write about his devotional practices to the Satguru or an Uttam Adhikari and get necessary instructions, and make progress in Abhyas [meditation practice]. But there are many such things concerning the Radhasoami Faith and its Abhyas as can only be explained verbally. If reduced to writing, there is danger of mistake or misunderstanding. It is, therefore, imperative and necessary for such a Parmarthi to attend and remain in Satsang for some time, at least for awhile, and get his doubts, misgivings or misunderstandings removed. He should understand fully what can be explained verbally so that his Abhyas (practices) may not suffer due to his living away from Satsang. And his love for and faith in the Supreme Being Radhasoami Dayal, Satguru and Surat Shabd Yoga [inner Light and Sound Meditation] may be strengthened..   If, however, such a Parmarthi cannot attend and remain in a Satsang, then he may, under instructions from the Satguru, associate with and attend the Satsang of some Uttam Adhikari, who has had the good fortune of having attended the Satsang of Satguru for some time. He would derive more or less the same benefit as he would from the Satsang of the Satguru..   In case the company of an Uttam Adhikari is also not available, then the Parmarthi should come in contact with a Madhyam Adhikari, who has attended the Satsang of Satguru. Getting initiation under the orders of Satguru, he should commence spiritual practices in his company. He will thus be able to secure some benefit. He should look for an opportunity and make it a point to meet with an Uttam Adhikari or Satguru, attend His Satsang and secure full benefit..  (Huzur Maharaj, Prem Patra Radhasoami, Volume III )