Relationships are indeed a weird and confusing aspect of human life. Man always places a great deal of personal trust into relationships that matter the most to him. In a way man clings onto those relationships that he feels define him as a person; he places a great deal of impetus on ensuring that those relationships endure beyond the divides of time, place and needs. However we often find that in this world, nothing is permanent and everything is subject to change. Relationships too are no exception to that rule. With time our relationships change; some blossom into new forms while others wither away as the need that suffices their existence no longer remains there. There are many such relationships that truly define a person and mould him into the man that he becomes. Today I am going to speak about the most important relationship of all; the relationship between a master and his apprentice.
In the spiritual sense of the term, a relationship can be considered as nothing but a need- based association. This association might come owing to some unfulfilled karmic bonds between the said people or from some long lost desire to unite. Usually the need or the karma which is to be fulfilled is two-pronged and is enforced from both sides; however the divine relationship between a master and his apprentice is somewhat of a exception.
The master is a giver of all things and the apprentice is there but to receive. In any spiritual journey, the seeker on his own accord has some unfulfilled karmic bonds with his master; moreover he has some desires that he seeks to fulfill; they may be aspirations that relate to his worldly life or things that would yield him a great deal of happiness and bliss; however the ultimate goal is that with the satiation of these desires, the seeker would go a step forward in his spiritual journey and reach towards self-realization. Ultimately this is what the master seeks to achieve; to bring the seeker to a point where he becomes independent and can thus proceed on the path that is ordained to him on his own accord. Of course the master always remains with the apprentice in spirit, but that is an entirely different story.
Any seeker’s spiritual journey is always marked with a phase wherein he fosters a deep and enriching relationship with his master; there comes a stage in every seeker’s life, when his entire day is consumed with thoughts of naught but his master; his nights are filled with spiritual dreams that enlighten him beyond count. Also during these times the master remains in close physical contact with the apprentice enriching him with his own divine energy and bringing forth the light of illumination and self-realization.
Any realized master, once he acquires a disciple knows the entire scope of the journey through which he needs to take the apprentice. He knows where he has to pick him up and he knows where he has to drop him off. There comes the parting of the ways; where the master having given the seeker, all that is due to him silently departs from his life, only hoping and praying in his heart that his apprentice would find the greener pastures a much endearing and enriching place to dwell. At times it might also be the case, that the master willfully sends the seeker into the worldly illusion of maya for he knows that to truly liberate himself, the seeker would first have to liberate himself from the allures of the worldly illusions.
Such is the travesty, that at this parting of the souls, the seeker receives all that he has desperately desired for long, while in that process losing the one relationship that enriched him and embellished him the most. In that one moment the seeker gains the world; and in that moment itself he is parted from his master for the master has already given him his world; he has already colonized his dreams; being the divine gardener he is, he silently gifts the apprentice the fruits that have been reaped from the sowing of his own desires; and in one divine gesture departs from his life…
Irony… A’int it! Well such is Life…
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We often hear the term “spiritual healing” as one being used incessantly these days. Many people tend to make a quick buck out of offering such services to those in dire need. However many times, we fail to cognize the true meaning of the term itself. Indeed the true meaning of spiritual healing is even lost upon those who claim to offer it. So in reality what does spirtual healing comprise of? What is the true essence of the process and what does it truly accomplish? The aforementioned questions often plague the heart of the sincere seeker as he walks the road to self-realization. The human life is ultimately a journey of evolution. Human Beings evolved from primates, imbimbing in themselves superior characteristics that distinguished them from their counterparts in the animal kingdom. Simply put, as man evolved through time, he started becoming more and more virtuous. He was endowed with a superior brain, shrewd intellect and the ability to cognize and effectively discern as to what is in his best interests.
The spiritual journey is ultimately a journey of evolution. It is the journey that takes the human being to the plinth of the evolutionary cycle as the spiritual path creates a divine entity out of the shell of a man that walks it. As any seeker walks the spiritual path with great devotion, desire and dedication in his heart, he subconciously starts to experience a spiritual change occuring in him. I refer to the change as being spiritual for it indeed is so. The spirit undergoes significant change. Through the countless incarnations that the spirit goes through in its journey on this wretched lands, the spirit accumulates many traits. Some of them are good, while most of them are bad. I refer to these traits explicitely as being good or bad, for indeed the good traits are those that are conducive to the seeker’s quest for emancipation; while the bad ones are those that create an undesirable shunting in his spiritual journey.
Thus when a seeker finds his true master; or rather when the master finally seeks out the seeker, it is for the sole purpose of spiritual healing. What spiritual healing accomplishes in the end is that it completely ablates the bad traits from the seeker’s spirit while enricing the good ones. In a way the process of spiritual healing acts as a great catalyst in the seeker’s evolution. The master is ultimately the one that initiates and implements this process in the seeker. As the seeker spends more time with his master, through the sheer power of the presence of the illumined being, his spirit gets healed. The master on his own part always seeks to enrich and embellish the spirit with all that is good. At times through gentle cajoling and at times through sterner words, he carefully leads the seeker on the path of realization.
One simply cannot decribe the importacne that the master ultimately plays in the seeker’s spiritual journey. The many processes that he initiates and implements within the seeker are intricate beyond the scope of human intellect. While many in the world claim to heal others spiritually, only a realized master can truly accomplish it. While this article gives a brief overview of the process of spiritual healing, it can hardly relate to you the true scope of this divine venture. However, one thing is for certain; thousands squander in darkness and death, searching in vain for life’s true wealth, as the lone seeker humbly kneels, the hands of the master, with love they heal…
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The subtle relationship that exists between a spiritual master and his apprentice is something that goes beyond time immemorial and transcends both life and death. It is the most powerful relationship in the whole world, and its constancy and virtue can only be experienced and not related in words. A master is someone who is free from the recursive and redundant way of existence that the human life is. Simply put, he is a causal being who is not bound to his physical existence owing to his karmas.
The master is a liberated individual who only returns to the physical existence with a purpose in mind; a purpose of selfless benevolence that is instituted in the progress of his apprentice. The master may accomplish this feat through many means. He may either incarnate or manifest in this world as a human being. Both incarnation and manifestation have different meanings to them. We will elaborate on this in the near future, but for now it will suffice to say, that the master always remains near his apprentice to guide him and shape him accordingly, so that one day, he may become a master himself. The worth of a true living master is beyond all quantitative measure. It takes lifetimes of good karma on part of the seeker, to be in the end blessed with a living master. Many seekers, through the course of time, take to themselves many masters, but in the end they fail to realize the fact that it is not the apprentice who seeks out the master; it is the master who finds the apprentice. A seeker can only get to the point where he can get a living embodied master, through sheer perseverance and unshaken faith in the lord. The lord tests the resolve and the constancy of the seeker’s desire all the time and in the end when he feels that the seeker can truly transcend the illusion of choice and come to a point where his perceptions would remain the same through time. The master is an invaluable and imperative asset in the spiritual journey of the seeker, and the seeker on his part has to prove his worth to be granted that boon.
The master’s scope of work is hardly something that can be described in words He is an individual in whom the divine cosmic energy instantiates itself and manifests itself to the seeker’s perception. Being a liberated individual himself, the master possesses all knowledge pertaining to the seeker’s past, his present and his future. To put it crudely, the master knows each and every significant karmic liaison that is enlisted in the seeker’s name. He is aware of all the latent desires that the seeker bears in his heart. The master knows and cognizes the fact that the seeker can hardly progress on the spiritual path with a heart that is burdened with the regret that stems from unfulfilled desires and a boatload of unrequited karma to his name. Thus the master on his part chooses to liberate the disciple through this recursive and redundant form of existence. In the end, the master achieves this when he instantiates the same form of cosmic energy in the seeker; i.e. when he instantiates the image of God in the apprentice; when the apprentice in the end transforms to being more than just a man; when the apprentice in the end himself becomes the master.
The journey referenced in this article is a journey that transcends thousands of years. It is a journey that takes great perseverance and dedication to complete; but most of all it takes great devotion and unparalleled spiritual desire to be selfless and to be benevolent. That is the only way into God’s kingdom. Many a times, some spiritualists claim that a person is his own master. That stage is a very advanced stage of spiritual evolution and does not necessarily apply to everyone. Those who get to that stage can only do so with the guidance of a realized master and hence they on their own accord never ever proclaim themselves to be great realized souls. An astute example of this is Sant Dnyaneshwar, who all through the “Dnyaneshwari” (a commentary on The Gita written in the 13th century by the great saint) never even refers to himself as a saint or a great master. He always refers to himself as the apprentice of NivruttiNath (“nivrutti daasa mhaNatee”)
Thus the point of the matter is that the master is of paramount importance in the life of any seeker. We should always be aware of this and with gratefulness and humble austerity continue our journey on the spiritual path…:)
The featured image is that of Sant Dnyaneshwar Maharaj.
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