Thursday, 1 June 2017

56. The Holy Service


Pandit Brahm Sankar Misra, M.A.


            89. It will not be out of place here to describe in some detail the holy service (the Satsang held under the presidentship of a living adept). Such a service represents, as it were, a training class for practical spiritual instructions and for devotional practice. The presiding adept, who conducts the service, sits on an elevated place, so that no difficulty might be experienced by the audience in listening to his discourses. The audience is of a mixed character, both men and women being present in it. The space provided for ladies is, however, screened, and is quite separate from the place where the male portion of the audience is seated. Visitors are not allowed to be present at the time of the service, except with special permission which is given as a matter of course if the visitor is desirous of acquainting himself with the principles of the religion of Saints with a view to get practical religious training. The main reason for restricting the access is that not infrequently the practice of attending to the internal spiritual sound is performed as a part of the service, and this practice cannot be performed in the presence of visitors. The service commences with the recitation, in which all the members of the congregation can take part, of certain holy pieces, which contain a grateful expression of the immense spiritual benefit conferred by the gracious Supreme Creator, Radhasoami, in revealing the true path of salvation, and always extending His gracious assistance to the devotee in his inward journey to the region of pure spirituality, which is the abode of supreme ecstasy, bliss, and immortality. The service closes with another recitation of the description given above; but the subject matter of the holy pieces is different, the purport of the prayer contained therein being that assistance and grace may be extended to frail and forgetful humanity which can, unaided, do nothing towards the attainment of true emancipation, and that true love may be generated for the lotus feet of the Supreme Being, as in the absence of grace and love, the bliss of His glorious and beatific vision, and location in His ever-holy mansion cannot be attained. During the interim of the service, the holy books compiled by Saints (they are both in verse and in prose) are regularly read out. Such portions of these books, as do not admit of easy comprehension, are explained by the presiding adept, or made the text of a holy discourse. Other discourses also are frequently delivered. They contain either an exposition in a scientific and logical form of the tenets of the Saints' religion, or deal with subjects connected with the practice of spiritual devotion. While the books are being ready, the members of the congregation simultaneously attend, to some extent, to their devotional practice, specially of contemplation, which is rendered easy in consequence of the presence of the adept, and also in consequence of the inspired subject-matter of the holy books they listen to. Consequently with this, the process for the purification of mind and the eradication of evil desires is also at work. The root of all evils is ignorance which clouds the discriminating faculties and conceals the viciousness of sinful motives and acts. In the presence of a Saint or an adept, this ignorance is dispelled to some extent, and his serene and sacred company is at times alone sufficient to disclose to the members of the congregation their shortcomings and to generate true contrition at the condition so revealed. The discourses delivered during Satsang, however, more frequently effect the purification, referred to, and, at the same time, provide a masterly training to the audience in developing the faculty of true discrimination, whereby the devotees become gradually capable of finding out the motive of their minds, even in its subtlest and most disguised form, when it is contrary to true virtuous acts and correct religious conduct as prescribed in the religion of the Saints. The surroundings of Satsang, the presence of the adept and his discourses also produce great effect upon the faculty of religious emotion, and as the devotee makes progress in his spiritual practice, gradually the Satsang affords such exquisite emotional ecstasies to him that all pleasures of this world dwindle into insignificance, and the entire service is one of engrossing rapture to him. This is what Kabir Sahab refers to in the following verse :-

ewj[k tu dksb eje u tkus] lrlax esa ve`r cjlsA

The translation of this into English is to the following effect :-
            The ignorant are not acquainted with the secret : showers of ambrosia fall in the Satsang.

No comments:

Post a Comment