A friend messaged me the other day and seemed rather worried and concerned. It took my friend great courage to speak up. For many years, he had followed one Spiritual Master and that Spiritual Master left His body. After a few days, a Successor was chosen and my friend had trouble with accepting the Successor, a few years have passed now and the feeling is the same for my friend.
He has told me about the few times that he has mentioned his concerns to people in the spiritual group and he has been met with hostility and been frowned upon. I explained to him that group mentality imposes that people should meet a code, sometimes a hidden code, and even if they claim to be all-embracing, it is a very difficult virtue to imbibe. It is not their fault but deep within, they must have doubts hence the hostility towards him. There must be fear too as he is addressing his issues and they are burying them, repressing them.
I explained to my friend that one shouldn’t look at the personality or worship the body of the Spiritual Master. The Spiritual Master is beyond these limitations. What one needs to concentrate on is this Formless that is revealed by the Spiritual Master. The whole journey of a spiritual aspirant is to go to the Formless. That is what the Master points to. Look at what is being pointed to. Many people right now have fragile faith or may have a perception that they have faith but in fact, they are just holding onto the finger to save themselves. This is not the way forward. The real step is to absorb oneself into the Formless. This remained true with the previous Spiritual Master and it remains absolutely true with the current Spiritual Master.
My friend asked me if I had accepted the ‘new’ Spiritual Master. My response was simple. I neither accept nor reject. The Master is beyond this. The Spiritual Master is the spiritual wisdom – Jnana. All my job is as a devotee is to merge into this wisdom and the more I am merging in this, the more I am worshiping the Master. This doesn’t mean I have to explicitly mention that one should have faith in the Master, this faith and worship has to be based only on spiritual wisdom. Once the merging is established and the foundation is strong then naturally I feel gratitude towards the Master.
See devotion is beyond the body and mind. Accepting or rejecting is purely based on body and mind. One cannot be in devotion if one is pointing to the body of the Master all the time. Nor can anyone be forced to accept the Master because it is the ‘right’ thing to do as a devotee. Anything forced will break and will never be fixed. Therefore, be in the natural way and that is to fully merge yourself with the Formless.
Any praise for the Spiritual Master without the full merging is never complete nor is it worthy of being appreciated. When one is fully merged, self-realized, liberated then praising the Spiritual Master is powerful and inspiring. Otherwise, it is empty words and empty words lead only to empty devotion. This is very dangerous. So many have empty devotion and yet people think these are great people of wisdom. It is mere trickery. They have deluded themselves and will ensure you fall under delusion too. It is the blind leading the blind. Spirituality gives you awareness, it makes you alert and any nonsense is swept away by the strong breeze of wisdom.
I told my friend that I understood him and that this journey is one of compassion and understanding. It is about being calm and letting one flow. A river that flows has a beautiful rhythm to it, similarly a spiritual journey must flow if one wants to liberate when one meets the ocean.
My simple advice is always to attach oneself to the Formless alone. It is in this relationship that everything else blossoms. If one loses complete focus on the Formless, then they lose the Spiritual Master and they lose the company of the Holy Ones. Don’t get stuck on accepting or rejecting, don’t get stuck on whether you are right or wrong for accepting or not accepting. The Spiritual Master is always understanding and compassionate. The Spiritual Master allows you to build your faith and never forces you to accept them. They are there to solve all your spiritual issues and will help you. Even if you go to the Spiritual Master and tell them that you cannot accept them, they will still hug you and tell you that they love you. They will never turn their back on you. The Spiritual Master is the ideal human and they are the truest examples of how to be.
The deeper truth is that there is only ever one Spiritual Master. The forms change but the wisdom remains the same. Whichever form of the Spiritual Master you feel closely associated with, let that form take you to the Formless. All I can say is the more reasons you look to accept or reject a Spiritual Master simply means less time focused on the most important aspect of devotion and that is the Formless and your own self-realization.