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Just got back from a 3 day meditation retreat in Lexington, Virginia―a place in the forest called Sat Guru Dham. The photo here is not from that trip, but in a similar way, I played some of my songs for the other satsangis at the outdoor langar (free kitchen). It was very nice to have even the most cryptic of my lyrics understood and appreciated.
I told a few about how I had traveled to Bangalore last winter and met Baba Ram Singh Ji―spent two weeks meditating and attending His satsangs―how jolly and beautiful and how full of authority He was. How to tell people about Him without proselytizing? haven’t quite figured it out. But here it is, almost a year later and I’m still under His charm.
Under the Charm
I can see my desires rising up so clearly
I can feel my loss; falling down so dearly
the gift of love, again, missed so nearly
It seems that life is a game that no one can win
It’s all arranged so cleverly and queerly
Are we born to live?
Or are we born to die?
Some say we can choose our view
yet both the young and the old
still wonder why
and neither know what to do.
Whether we look at the earth
or look beyond the sky
none of it, real or true
Then You come with Your revealing story
with Your mystic love and Your graceful glory
into the world for some time
of all things forgotten, You remind
Then all our weary old hearts are breaking
with Your every familiar glance
Then the very earth begins shaking
just like our trembling hands
Then the pains of all the ages aching
pour forth at such a chance
All relatives and dreams of relatives we are forsaking
as You walk upon these ancient and bitter lands
Then, no more plans are we making
under the charm of this romance
But, what of our failures; what of our crimes
Every moment our guilt is exposed in these hard times
You say, “Judge not!” but all we do is judge
We wipe the mirror, but we only make a smudge
My friends say, “Jesse, don’t take it so seriously, man!”
My answer is that we all do what we can.
Then You come and Sweet Justice falters
goes out the back door with his chains and his altars
with his curse of impending doom
and now, at last, we can breathe in this room
Now the timid day dreamers are free to make friends
Now the desperate self-defeaters can make our amends
We lowly floor cleaners will stand as women and men
Even these of ghostly poor demeanor may come forth again.
Here I have listed a selection of websites with Information concerning the Masters of my spiritual Path. This ancient Path has been known by various names down through the course of history, including: Sant Mat—Surat Shabd Yoga—The Path of the Masters—The Way of the Saints—Science of the Soul—Radasoami Satsang—Ruhani Satsang, and many others, depending upon the lineage and culture of the Living Master of the time.
http://www.ruhanisatsangusa.org/ruhani.htm –a USA based site in memory of Kirpal Singh of Delhi, India [1894-1974](first Sant Mat Master to visit the Western world. Master Kirpal first came to America in the 1950’s.)This is a great site for obtaining Master Kirpal’s books and other media.
http://www.santji.allegre.ca/4-index.html –USA based memorial site for Ajaib Singh [known by many of his followers as Sant Ji] of Rajasthan, India [1926-1997] (Gurumukh disciple of Kirpal Singh) (Sant Ajaib is Jesse’s Master)
http://www.santji.allegre.ca/lifesj/lifesj.html –this is a page from the previous site, but I listed it here because it contains both a beautiful brief biography of Sant Ji and a lineage of the Masters, going back to Kabir, Who was the first Sant Mat Master to appear in the age of Kali Yuga.
http://www.ajaibbani.org/ – this India based website was created and is maintained by the residents of Ajaib’s home and ashram in Rajasthan.
http://ajaib.com/ a website with a lot of information and material relating to Sants Kirpal and Ajaib as well as Sadhu Ram Ji. It is called” Sant Ajaib Singh Ji Memorial Site”. This site is created by the followers of Sadhu Ram Ji.
http://www.mediaseva.com/ –this website is a great source of the books and other media of the modern Masters. It is run by the devotees of Sadhu Ram Ji.
http://www.scribd.com/doc/53735046/Sant-Ram-Singh-Ji-A-Brief-Life-Sketch -Not to be confused with sites concerning Sadhu Ram, this is the biography of Baba Ram Singh Ji of Bangalore. Ram Singh was initiated by Baba Somanath, a contemporary of Kirpal Singh. Somanath’s mission was in South India and He had a great many disciples in that area. When Somanath left the body, Ram Singh was twenty two years old.* He then followed and remained under the guidance of Ajaib Singh until Ajaib left the body. He considers both Masters to be His Gurus.
http://www.santbani.hu/ –a website concerning Sirio Carrapa of Ribolla, Italy [1952- ](Italian disciple of Kirpal Singh and long-time representative of Ajaib Singh) This is the English version of a site that originates in Hungary. Sirio considers both Kirpal Singh and Ajaib Singh to be His Gurus.
www.santbaniashram.it –the original Italian website about Satguru Sirio Carrapa
There is a great variety of sites with information regarding Sant Mat. It’s a natural fact that when a true Man of God, or Godman, leaves the earthly plane, there are often a number of successors who carry on the work of their Master. Sometimes there are controversies among the devotees over the authenticity of these successors.
With that in mind, but having no intention of in engaging in controversy, I have noted here only a certain few websites that concern the Guru lineage, as I understand it leading to my Master Ajaib. I will state my personal opinion that I do not believe the issue of successorship can be decided on an intellectual level―”But the Master said this…” or “there is a will…” and so forth. To me, it is purely a matter of recognition. As Master Kirpal Singh used to say, “If your old Friend comes to you in a new coat, won’t you recognize Him?” I pray that with His grace, all the dear ones will find themselves at the Feet of their perfect Guru―their perfect Friend.
The authenticity of other branches: I honestly know little of them. I understand spirituality as a very personal experience, and that, in all reality, we do not choose or find our Master or Guru, but rather He finds us. He leads us to Him. He makes us come to the satsang. He makes us sit and meditate. He makes us do His seva (service). It is all in His Will and pleasure.
Most fortunate are the recipients of the Guru’s undying, unconditional, and all-encompassing Love.
*Sant Baba Ram Singh’s age:
I had previously written that Ram Singh was nineteen years told when His Master (Baba Somanath) left the body. He was actually twenty two at that time.
I came to the conclusion that certain parts of my poem, below, were too cryptic. I like cryptic, but it was not my intention here.
For one thing, the transition at the end was too abrubpt. Other things too, that I first perceived as subtleties, were making the meaning sort of ambiguous. So I made a few changes.
Should anyone be kind enough to take another look, I hope these changes facilitate understanding. jesse
It’s long been my understanding that the Kali Yuga is the most auspicious age. It is really the winding down or the growing old time of the creation, or that part of the creation that is sometimes called the material world. Russell Perkins, former editor of Sant Bani Magazine and author of Impact of a Saint, once used a beautiful analogy of a spring that is unwinding until, unchecked it simply flies apart, to explain the parodox of Kali Yuga.
The beauty of it is that the grand illusion that we’re under is becoming more obvious all the time. The impermance of things is very much in our face these days–these years–it very much has been so from the beginning of the age, I think. And with the illusion coming undone, the idea of spirituality gains popularity, and the implementation of various types of spiritual practices becomes more prevalent. Kirpal Singh, the great Mystic Saint of the Path of Surat Shabd Yoga (Sant Mat), told us that in Kali Yuga there would be more “fragrant Saints” coming into the world to show us the Way.
So, in a way, we could say the world is gone into it’s twilight years. It may still be coming to it’s very dark years; some folks certainly believe that it is, I don’t know. In any case, some of us have been practicing (or more accurately, attempting to practice in cases such as mine) spirituality for the better part of our lives and we are now entering into our own twilight years. For many of us, our Masters who have loved us and inititiated us, years ago, have now left the body. They haven’t left us in the truest sense, but physically we have had to go on without them. It is natural to seek out “our old friend in a new coat”.
With that long introduction in place, I do hope you will appreciate my little poem, the path in twilight, which I dedicate to all of my old and new brothers and sisters, who, touched by the love of the fragrant saints, is going forward in the shelter of the same.
Thanks for stopping by my blog and I invite you to comment if so inclined.
jesse s. hanson
the path in twilight
jesse s. hanson
I am your true kin
taken in by the same mysterious and otherworldly benefactor as were you
we were brought together by the wonder of, in the awe of that love
Who took us into the home
where we were fed and clothed and taught right from wrong
told stories of lovers as well as of cruel lords
and of the true gravity of our ghostly lives in this world of ghosts
of our perpetual births and deaths
told stories of lovers by our hero of love
until the time when the embodiment of that love left us
confused, disoriented, wandering, as before, over the parched wasteland
in fear and sickness and terrible dread of our future
long times go by
by remembering we live, but forgetting we near perish.
in the distance, shadows cross the path in twilight
remind us of our loved one
you turn that way and I turn this
chasing shadows in search of bliss
He asked if we would not recognize our friend, come in a new coat
but also added, “Don’t follow the false one.”
in love, I send you greetings, I write a letter
my old friend, my brother, my sister
will you, in turn, write me off at worst
or worry about or worry for me at best
saying, truth is truth, is it not?
so has the perfect love from the perfect lover become imperfect
by our imperfection
by some fatal mistake?
do our anguished cries of separation and longing that caught our beloved’s ear now fall on deaf ears?
has the heart that would melt like wax at the pain of the children, of the dear ones, now become as hard as the stone?
are we thrown back to the wolves?
what then of love
what then of perfect love
perfect love is perfect love, is it not?
so if my friend wears a coat of cotton
and yours a coat of mail
and if now you’ve found you’re not forgotten
I’ve also found that love can never fail
Here, Master Sirio Carrapa Ji, of Ribolla, Italy, gives a beautiful satsang on a story of the Sufi Sant/poet, Maulana Rumi.
The King and the handmaiden and the Doctor
Do you know why your soul-mirror does not reflect as clear as it might? Because dust has begun to cover it; it needs to be cleaned. Here’s a story about the inner state that’s meant by soul-mirror.
In the old days there was a king who was powerful in both his kingdoms, the visible as well as the spiritual. One day, as he was riding on the hunt, he saw a girl and was greatly taken with her beauty. As was the custom, he paid her family handsomely and asked that she come to be a servant at the palace. He was in love with her. The feelings trembled and flapped in his chest like a bird newly put in a cage. But as soon as she arrived at the palace, she fell ill. The king was like the man who had a donkey but no saddle for the pack. Then he bought a saddle, and wolves killed the donkey. He had a water jar but no water, then he found water but the pitcher fell and broke.
He brought his doctors together, “You have both our lives in your hands. Her life is my life. Whoever heals her will receive the finest treasure I have, the coral inlaid with pearls—anything.”
“We’ll do what we can; each of us is the healing-savior of our regions. Surely we can find a cure.”
They neglected, in the pride of their accomplishments, to say “If God wills”. I don’t mean that just the saying of the phrase would have helped. There was a coldness and a closed quality in the omission. There are many who do not say Inshallah, and yet their whole soul resonates with it all the time!
So the doctors began, and no matter what they tried, the girl got more pale and thin. The effects of the medicines were the opposite of what they expected. Oxymel, produced bile, almond oil caused dryness, mirobalen, instead of loosening the bowels, constricted them. Water seemed to feed the fever. The king saw that his doctors were helpless. He ran barefooted to the mosque; he knelt on the prayer rug and soaked the point of it with his tears.
He dissolved into an annihilated state, and as he came out of that, he spoke this prayer, “You know what is hidden here. I don’t know what to do. You have said, “Even though I know all secrets, still declare it outwardly with an action.”
He cried out loud for help, and the ocean of grace surged over him. He slept in the middle of his weeping on the prayer rug. In his dream an old man appeared. “Good king, I have news—tomorrow a stranger will come—I have sent him. He is a physician you can trust—listen to him.”
As dawn came the king was sitting up in the belvedere of his roof. He saw someone coming, a person like the dawn. He ran to meet this guest. Like two swimmers who love the water their souls knit together, without being sewn—no seam.
The king said, “You are my beloved, not the girl! But actions spring from actions in this reality. What should I do?”
“We should always ask for discipline. One who has no self–control cannot receive grace, and it’s not just himself he hurts. Undisciplined people set fire to the landscape!
“Withhold your giving and no rain clouds will form. When sex goes on between every body all the time, epidemics spread in every direction. When you feel gloomed over it’s your failure to praise. Irreverence and no discipline rob your soul of light.”
This very beautiful story by Maulana Rumi, it’s taken from the Mahasnawi and it is typical of His style. All of this big work of His (more than a thousand pages), it’s characterized by a common continuous story telling, from which He often goes far off to ponder over certain truths with which the story in itself doesn’t seem to have much in common. In actuality, there is a subtle leading line that allows our poet to go back again to the story He was telling, maybe for just a few lines, and then again to start pondering about some thing else. So all the book is written in this fashion. This story also does not end this way. Here we have stopped it because whatever it has been said up to now, it’s what is relevant with us. Now the rest may be taken over in some other occasion.
“As dawn came, the king was sitting up in the belvedere on his roof.
He saw someone coming, a person like the dawn. He ran to meet this guest.
Like two swimmers who love the water their soul knit together
Without being sewn, no seam.”
Here the great Sufi Master (Maulana Rumi) wants to make us understand that up until we have the good luck to meet our Master, towards whom we feel a spontaneous attraction and an innate soul affinity, in no way anything really meaningful may happen in our spiritual life. There can’t happen that opening of the heart, that falling in love that is a sine qua non conditioning for a real spiritual awakening. It’s somehow similar to what happens to the king of the story who, by seeing the beautiful girl, falls in love with her and does what he can to take her with him.
The same thing has happened in the life of each one of us (some more, some less), when at some point we have found the man or woman with whom we have fallen in love madly. In a magic way we suddenly started liking every thing about that person, and even if there was something wrong we didn’t want to consider it.
Ok, in the path of mystic love it has to happen, exactly the same thing. We have to meet that Master that we like madly. His way of being, of talking, of watching life, and of explaining the deep truths of existence make us very fond and ring bells within us. His truth must be evocative of our own truth, and there must be something in Him that makes vibrate some very deep strings of our being. It must bring, on the surface of our consciousness, deep forgotten truths, unthinkable in the common state of physical and sensorial consciousness. When we meditate with Him and we find our self in His presence, we have to feel a spontaneous love that makes vibrate all of our being. It’s like the mother that, enchanted, looks at the tiny face of her baby—thus we become enchanted in looking into His face.
So it’s not the matter of converting one self to a new religion, which may be to us more or less familiar or unknown. It’s not the matter of following a master because he might have thousands or lakhs of followers. It’s not like following a master because some of our family members or friends follow him.
We must say that in the majority of cases people join the group of a guru because of several of the things we mentioned before. Maybe the movie star or any kind of renowned person that we like, who has converted to some religion, so we also do the same (it may look funny, but often it goes like this). Or our dear friend, or somebody in our family, is now following such and such a master or spiritual path, so we become convinced that it’s good for us as well.
It may be that the master of the case comes from a far away country or culture and this creates a halo of mystery that makes him very fascinating, so we follow him. Maybe we don’t understand much of his teachings, maybe he uses big words, sentences or stories that seem mysterious. It could be that he often uses Sanskrit, Tibetan or Arabic words, and this makes his message the more appealing because it sounds very mysterious and enchanting, so we are fascinated.
Well, often these factors, which are very appealing for beginners, who are always in need of people that come from a far away country, different culture or religion, to be able to give credit or value to a spiritual message. Therefore, for westerns will be interesting masters that come from India, China, Japan—or from the Amazon forest (may be with a good cup of some kind of drug, called “sacrament”, to commune with God).
For Indians it may be more interesting, a guru coming from the west—American or European. I’ve seen on more occasions that for Indians, is not at all difficult to understand a western as a valid master—much easier than for westerns.
Any way these kinds of motivations, that may take us to follow a person as a guru or guide, are not sufficient to assure us an authentic spiritual awakening. Rather we can say that when these are the motivations then we can be sure that a real soul to soul contact, it’s lacking; otherwise these motivations would not be needed at all. We think about the qualities and the wealth and the reputation of the family of the person we want to be married to when there is not a great love. If this is there, than all else is unnecessary. The extreme love and passion for the beloved will be sufficient warranties.
When I met Master Kirpal in 1973 I didn’t need to ask Him any thing about who He was, His social status, how learned He was, and how many followers He had. Who ever thought about that? When I got down from the bus that took me from Dehra Dhun to Subash Nagar I had the clear feeling, like I had placed my feet on another planet. I clearly saw a halo of light all over the area around the Ashram, and when I passed over the holy threshold of the Ashram, it was for me, just as if I had entered Heaven because so heavenly was my inner condition. After walking for about twenty meters I saw the Master sitting on a chair in meditation under the veranda of His house, and I saw Him all wrapped in Light, just like if His body was not of flesh, but of Light. Then two intuitions flashed into my mind with absolute certainty. The first it was, I have found what I was looking for—my quest is ended. The other one was, If it is true that God incarnates on earth in human form, then this man must certainly be God on earth.
After thirty two years I can say the same thing, “Yes, I had found my Path, and my Guru, and if it’s true that God incarnates on earth, then Kirpal was, for sure, one of the great divine incarnations. In my all life I never met anyone, even if I have met tens of gurus, who has captured or fascinated me as much as Lord Kirpal. Why? Not because I think that He was the greatest of all, this is not what I mean. It was because in between me and Him there was such an affinity, which it is just indescribable. I liked every thing about Him—His way of walking, His way of sitting, His way of talking, of gesturing, His deep voice and His free [rough] way of rebuking, and to put to test by refusal and sending you away (I was put to test in a pitiless way).
Of course the good wisher and the moderate ones, those who are afraid of losing themselves, will say that such an attitude is dangerous—that we have to be very careful not to lose our head for no one, that many a one has been disappointed, and so on and so forth. Nonetheless the Mystic Path needs a great love to be travelled. We have to recognize the Divinity in the person we accept as a guide, and to trust and surrender completely. We have to become like the one with whom we have fallen in love because in Him we see the face of dawn, and we want that our face too, becomes as beautiful as His.
The records of mythical history are full with tales of the great love that the disciples tell to have experienced in their meetings with their Masters. If we only think about the love between Lord Krishna and the gopis, between Lord Buddha (the awakened) and His intimate disciples, between Lord Jesus and His Apostles, between Maulana Rumi and His Master Shamas Tabriz, between Saint Francis and Brother Leone or Saint Clare, between Saint Jhon of the Cross and Saint Teresa of Avila, between Kabir and Daram Das, Guru Nanak and Guru Angad, Baba Sawan Singh and Sant Kirpal Singh, between this last one and Sant Ajaib Singh, etc.
Well, I haven’t been a witness to all the other examples which I have mentioned, but I have been a witness to the great love my Master Kirpal had for His Master Baba Sawan, and of the one Sant Ajaib had for Sant Kirpal.
An absolute faith, limitless love, complete devotion, and dedication, and surrender, this is what I could see with these great Beings. And what kind of benefits did They get? They got completely transformed by absorbing from their Beloved all His good qualities. They had somebody they just needed to remember and their Heart would simply overflow with love, and tears would wet their eyes. In human love, as much selfless as it might be, there is always some trace of self interest. In spiritual love, it is required, a complete giving of one’s self without egoism or self interest of any kind.
I know many people that at the age of fifty, sixty or seventy keep looking for the great love of their life, or hope they may fall in love again. Well, I tell them, “My advice to you is that you look for a spiritual Master with whom you may fall in love, and devote to your spiritual evolution, the few years you are left with. The love for a Master will never betray you. The love of an ordinary Human being, though the person may be good, will always be limited and will have personal interests more or less evident. The love of the Master will instead be completely selfless, and will inspire you to develop a ruling passion for the Divine that is in the very nucleus of your being.”
Irreverence and lacking of discipline rob the soul
of her light, and he does not harm only himself,
undisciplined people set fire to the all landscape.
In this last line of Rumi’s story we are faced with two big dangers on the spiritual path, irreverence and lacking of discipline. We may meet the Master, we may fall in love with Him (not in a sentimental way, but in a spiritual way), we may decide to take Initiation from Him in His inner Path, and make so many beautiful promises about our future spiritual life. Nonetheless in between saying something and doing it there is a vast difference. When difficulties come up, because of our numberless imperfections and our limitless faults, and we are unable to continue in the same attitude of loving submission, then we become irreverent and we give up the discipline which is very important to continue to walking on the path of self perfection. Irreverence towards the Master, it’s a great danger and a dark threat in our relationship with Him. It’s not that He really gets upset because He very well understands human limits and the difficulties in the battle with our low tendencies. He knows how to forgive, and even if sometime He gets impatient with our dishonesty and stubbornness, His heart is any way as sweet as honey, and He is not able to dwell upon upsetness for long. As soon as He sees our good intentions, and our willingness to correct our selves he immediately forgives us and He is again ready to help us in our difficulties.
Lack of discipline, it’s the other big problem. Poor human being is a victim to so many weaknesses and imperfections so it is very difficult to keep up with a disciplined life in which daily he devotes time to his spiritual practices to acquire self control over his physical and mental faculties. The impediments are many, and they come from our day to day life, by the people we spend time with, who willy nillly, influence us with their typical atmosphere, their mentality and often absurd convictions. It doesn’t matter how steady we want to be with our convictions and our radical decisions; in the majority of cases we are not able to avoid that their typical centrifugal energy disturbs ours with centripetal tendency. Just by osmosis their empty thoughts penetrate into us and somehow we absorb their bad qualities without being aware.
Anyway if we think that by keeping far away from society we’ll be able to be more disciplined and steady in our proposes it’s not at all true. Those who are not able to be steady and uninfluenced in the midst of society, will not be able to be disciplined even if one goes to live in the country, in a wood just the way I do. In this last case there comes up other types of difficulties that any way go to test our own determination and would be all the same difficult to face.
Certainly it is very important to go from time to time, far away from the town and from the usual environment and go to a spiritual place (a place where there is a spiritual energy) to spend time with an enlightened soul: to meditate with him or her, listen to his words of wisdom, and here also, allow his spirituality to penetrate in us by osmosis and to transform us deeply. If periodically we expose our selves to such situations and we do our best to be disciplined—at least in these occasions—by giving out our best, than these experiences will go to strengthen our selves enormously, and will allow us to live better, our day to day life, with the several difficulties that come up.
Who knows? It may happen that sooner or later, during one of these retreats and deep meditations with him our soul will be uplifted so much and our heart wounded by the arrow of divine love, our consciousness so awakened that from then on we will not go back again to what we were before; so then our purpose is served! We will not go back again to harming our selves with our laziness and sloth, with our procrastinating the spiritual work by leaving it always hanging up, and giving fire to entire situations with our undisciplined and wandering life. So we have to try to become like rocks which are not shaken by weak or strong winds but stay at their place no matter what happens. Only this way we may become bridges on which souls may cross over from the kingdom of matter to that of the spirit.
The other beautiful image, it’s that of the ship or boat that takes across the souls from the kingdom of death to that of immortality. We can go across over these bridges, go across on these ships or boats, there is no other way to reach the land of the blissful and the liberated ones. The Master will be our bridge, our boat or ship.
Therefore there is nothing that is more helpful in the spiritual life than [to] leave off our involvement with the world and to devote our selves with body and soul to come in contact, or contact again the Light within us in a retreat with a Master who has great experience in the way of the Spirit and is a channel chosen by the Most High to spread His Light.
Take advantage, come to the retreats that we have here at Sant Bani Ashram. It’s a special place and whatever happens here, it’s also very special. Your spiritual life will be orientated again and your face will again shine with glory.
See you soon
Found the following quote by Sant Kirpal Singh Ji on facebook. It brought back a flood of emotion to me, as this profoundly hopeful statement by Him (perhaps in a different form, but this sentiment) was like a lifeline to me so many years ago in the most difficult times of my life.
And seeing it again, I realize that it still has the same effect. jesse s. hanson
What can other people know of the condition of one’s heart? If the enigma of the
mystery of life enters the heart, the person knows no peace until it has
been solved. Sant Kirpal Singh