BECOMING OF A SPIRITUAL ASPIRANT
Though the human soul, unconsciousness of his Godhood since beginning of his separation of universal soul (God unconscious of His infinite Knowledge, Power and Bliss) is seeking to know as who he is? Individual soul (Unconscious God) to know Himself identifies Himself as gas, stone, vegetation, fish, bird, reptile, animal and finally man. Before reaching the human stage of evolution, soul gets false experiences of all six stages through instinct as in these stages, mind is in latent form. In these evolution stages till human form, soul gains sanskaras of lust, greed, attachment, anger, ego, jealousy and hatred.
Gross and subtle body, mental body is always present in the soul from the very beginning of evolution even before stone stage in latent form. In the lower forms of evolution mental body manifests as instinct while in human form, the mental body gets fully developed with tuition and intellect, the faculty of discrimination between good and bad.
Only soul in human form, mind and heart is also fully developed mind being the seat of mental body instinct of animal life turns into tuition which further turns into intuition.
In initial stages of human incarnations, animal sanskaras are dominant. The sanskaras of animal stage which a soul carries in human form are called “Prarabdha Sanskaras”. Though mind (seat of tuition, intuition and intellect) and heart is developed in human form, but under the dominance of Prarabdha Sanskaras (animal), human soul as man or women spends his sanskaras of animal life through acts, some time heinous acts like murder. His mind takes over his heart.
There tuitions come into picture. According to law of karma, bad actions bring bad results. Viz: punishment and suffering proportion to gravity of his misdeeds. This unwanted result makes human soul to thinks a reason for it. Tuition teaches him think of unwanted results of his act as how to get away from it. Now the tuition turns into intuition which makes human soul begin to realise that bad results of his action and there appears to be some kind of super natural power which precipitated the results of his bad actions. This intuition first comes from his mind. It turns into Intellect which guides him to discriminate between good and bad. Now his intellect makes him to find a remedy and human soul gets inclined to reform himself not to involve in bad acts but rather good act.
Sanskaras plays very important role in reformation of human soul. Every thought, word and actions are spent with the force of his accumulated sanskaras of his past life at the same time new sanskaras are formed in this spending of sanskaras. Now the soul, through his intellect tries to improve his actions slightly better than the past. Though, degree of countering his bad sanskaras with good sanskaras is very minimal in every birth with his own efforts unless a master, Sadguru or Avatar comes for his help. After several births, the when sanskaras begin to thin by good acts by which intellect leads human soul gathers thirst for knowing inner realities of life. Intuition first comes from mind and later gets combined with his heart.
Later begins to think about very purpose of existence and the aim of life. His search starts from reading of scriptures, or hearing discourse or contacting a saint as destined for him.
With intuition coming from the heart, human soul starts believing in existence of God and his master saint, Sadguru or Avatar as guide. Intuition from heart leads one towards faith (belief) in God or Master. At this stage human souls can be said of spiritual aspirant or seeker.
Tuition and Intuition defined by Meher Baba
Intuition has been buried under the debris from the piecemeal tuition of the assailing experiences of the false. Tuition is impressed from without, while intuition dawns from within.
Tuition thwarts intuition. Therefore, the tutoring of the mind by external events has to be counteracted by inner awakening. Then and only then can intuition, in its transcendent
understanding, truly judge without yielding to the stupor of indiscriminate impressibility. (Life at its best- pp- 37-38).
Faith is also of two kinds
- By Intellect (unstable)
- By heart (stable)
Meher Baba explained: Faith may get shaken but conviction does not get swayed under any circumstance. Conviction is unshakeable faith in the Master. Such conviction in one’s own Master is a definite path that shall lead one to illumination. Thus, the journey of the soul can also be said as growing from instinct to intellect and intuition to illumination.
Meher Baba discoursed: A seeker undergoes three stages on spiritual path – viz: the stone stage, worm stage and dog stage. In first stage akin to the stone, it is the Master Himself who pours unconditional love and by His grace, love is awakened in the aspirant. When the aspirant progresses to the next stage, one is like a worm wriggling between doubts and devotion, while in the last stage the aspirant is like the dog, always faithful to the Master under all circumstances.
In the context of intellect, aspirants may be grouped as under.
- Illiterate: It is easier for an illiterate aspirant to accept God or a Master by heart almost without much reasoning by intellect.
- Semi-literate: The aspirant accepts God or a Master by heart with moderate reasoning by intellect.
- Fully-literate or Intellectual: The aspirant accepts God or a Master by heart with sufficient reasoning by intellect. Some intellectual aspirants develop tendency of reading, writing and thereafter speaking still being aware that all these are meaningless compared to constant remembrance of the Master silently and wholeheartedly.
Sign of a spiritual aspirant
When an aspirant begins introspection i.e. analyzing his thoughts, words and actions for its goodness, he is fraught with the obstacles of self-conceit, righteousness and pride unless he is under the guidance of a Guru or Master. As the aspirant gradually progresses on the path, he develops a feeling that he is far behind in his love towards his Guru or Master. The more he deepens his effort, the more he feels incapacitated in his effort. This tendency helps him intensify his love for his Master, sadguru or Avatar to the fullest and reduce his ego to zero, which is final stage i.e. Manonash; (annihilation of mind) and the aspirant gets instant God-realisation with the help of His master.
Value of faith for an aspirant
One of the most important qualifications for the aspirant is faith. Of faith there are three kinds:
- Faith in oneself,
- Faith in the Master, and
- Faith in life.
Faith is so indispensable to life that unless it is present in some degree, life itself is impossible. It is because of faith that is cooperative and social life becomes possible. It is faith in each other that facilitates a free give and take of love, a free sharing of work and its results. When life is burdened with unjustified fear of each other, it gets cramped and restricted.
It is not necessary to have full road map of spiritual path for an aspirant
In the spiritual life it is not necessary to have a complete map of the path in order to begin travelling. On the contrary, insistence upon having such complete knowledge may actually hinder rather than help the onward march. The deeper secrets of spiritual life are unraveled to those who take risks and who make bold experiments with it. They are not meant for the idler who seeks guarantees for every step. Those who speculate from the shore about the ocean shall know only its surface, but those who would know the depths of the ocean must be willing to plunge into it.
It can better be understood by a well-known story of an ass. An ass, who was plodding along a road for a long time and was very hungry, happened to see two heaps of grass—one at some distance on the right side of the road and the other at some distance on the left side of the road. Now the ass thought that it was of utmost importance to be absolutely certain which of the two heaps was clearly the better before he could intelligently decide to go to one heap rather than the other. If he decided without thorough thinking and without having sufficient grounds for his preference, that would be impulsive action and not intelligent action.
Therefore he first considered the distance at which the two heaps were respectively placed from the road he was treading. Unfortunately for him, after elaborate consideration, he concluded that the heaps were equally distant from the road. So he wondered if there were some other considerations that might enable him to make the "right" choice and speculated upon the respective sizes of the heaps. Even with this second attempt to be theoretically sure before acting, his efforts were not crowned with success because he concluded that both heaps were of equal size. Then, with the tenacity and patience of an ass, he considered other things, such as the quality of the grass. But as fate would have it, in all the points of comparison he could think of, the two heaps turned out to be equally desirable.
Ultimately it happened that since the ass could not discover any deciding factor that would make his preference appear theoretically sound, he did not go to either of the two heaps but went straight ahead — hungry and tired as before and not a whit better off for having come upon two heaps of grass. If the ass had gone to one heap, without insisting upon the theoretical certainty of having chosen wisely, he might perhaps have gone to the heap that was not as good as the other. And despite any mistakes in his intellectual judgment, he would have been infinitely better off from a practical point of view.
A spiritual aspirant needs to develop following qualities for speedy progress.
- If possible, observe celibacy. If already married, keep as little sexual intercourse with your partner as possible. Consider, if you are a man, all other women as your sisters; if you are a woman, all other men as your brothers.
- Avoid all animal food, except milk and the products of milk. Don't partake of even eggs.
- Avoid all intoxicating drugs and drinks. Tea is not an intoxicant, provided it is weak. But be moderate in your habit of tea drinking.
- Curb yourself, and never give way to anger. Whenever you fly into a passion, you contact red sanskaras, which are the worst of all.
N.B. Baba’s messages are written italics.