Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj has returned to India, where he will lead a few weeks of programs on meditation and spirituality. He is tentatively scheduled to return in late June for a series of Chicago area programs, including his keynote addresses at Veggie Fest on August 11 and 12.
Among the rewards of his recent visit were many profound and motivating discourses, as well as the uplifting spiritual charging that always characterizes the company of true spiritual Masters.
In her retreat/workshop last Saturday, Mona Grayson identified yet another benefit we receive from association with spiritual adepts. It concerns our karma. In the Sant Mat tradition, the Master’s invaluable help with our karma is considered among the foremost aids to our spiritual evolution.
To appreciate this concept, we need to understand that karma is the main obstacle to spiritual realization. Karma is the fuel that drives the great machinery of birth and re-birth. Karma is the opaque curtain that obscures our soul from its own Light and from the Light of God. Karma shrouds the soul in dense layers of maya or illusion. Karma leads us to identify with the physical body, mind, senses, emotions, and personality—blinding us into accepting them as our true nature. That illusion, born of karma, is what prevents us from realizing our inherent identity with the divine.
The spiritual Master plays a unique role in helping his followers shed that karmic burden and thereby break the cycle of transmigration. Their help on this esoteric level allows us to realize our divine nature as soul and return to our spiritual Home. How does this work?
Calling on her elementary education background, Mona offered a simple explanation in her workshop. She brought along three paper bags, each bag representing one of the types of karma with which all sentient beings are burdened.
SANCHIT KARMA. This is the vast storehouse of the consequences of actions undertaken throughout countless births. Every thought, word, and deed, after all, has karmic repercussions. Those karmic consequences accumulate endlessly in the sanchit storehouse, from where they drive the great cycle of transmigration, birth upon birth, of all forms of life.
PRALABDH KARMA. For any birth we take, in whatever species, a handful of the sanchit store is allocated for that birth. This includes our current human existence. Pralabdh karma is also called fate karma, because it determines who we are and what will happen to us during this lifetime. Of course, we also have some free will, without which we could not create karma in the first place. By definition, our current existence ends the moment our allotted pralabdh karma is exhausted.
KRIYAMAN KARMA. As we exercise the free will that a human birth provides, we create new karma, called kriyaman. Whether our actions are noble or base, significant or seemingly insignificant, our every thought, word, and deed causes karmic consequences. A portion of that kriyaman karma might fructify in this incarnation as pralabdh karma. However, most of it goes into the ever-growing storehouse of sanchit karma.
How does a spiritual Master help with our karmic predicament? In two ways, mainly.
Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj addresses the first:
The law of karma is the governing law for the physical, astral, and causal regions—the three lower regions of existence. If our soul can rise above those three realms and enter the fourth realm—the supracausal region, and the fifth realm—the purely spiritual region of all spirit, we can escape the effects of the karmic law and of rebirth. The saints who have traveled beyond the three realms have the power to take us there and to free us from the effects of our karma and of rebirth. They themselves have mastered the process of separating their soul from their body and traveling into the higher spiritual realms. They know the journey back and can guide other souls to the realms where they are freed from the cycle of karma.
The spiritual Master, having himself transcended the region from which karmic law functions, can help us do the same. Once our consciousness transcends that region, the soul is no longer bound by karmic law.
The second benefit is integral to the greatest blessing bestowed by a spiritual Master—initiation into the divine Light and Sound of God. Again, Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj:
The only way out of the cycle of birth and rebirth is to come to a perfect Master. At the time of initiation the Master takes over our sanchit karma so we can escape the cycle. He only leaves our pralabdh karma, which is that portion of our sanchit karma allotted for this lifetime. Once we are initiated by a perfect Master, we are guaranteed to go home either in this life if we follow his instructions, or in another human birth under the protection of the living Master of the time, if our Master decides that would be best for our ultimate spiritual progress.
Picture taking a match to the sanchit paper bag on the left. Through initiation, the power of the Word or Naam with which the Master connects the soul, rids us of the entire store of sanchit karma. Think about what this means. Our pralabdh karma is, by definition, finished at the end of our current life. The only thing then standing between us and divine realization is the fruits of our actions performed in this lifetime. That relatively small karmic burden can be overcome by good living, regular meditation, and the further grace of the spiritual Master.
With their sacred boon of initiation, soul breaks the chains of karma and rises into the cosmic awareness. This is the ultimate goal of human existence, which the power of a spiritual Master places within our grasp.