We need to realize something to which we do not pay much attention, and that is the “Language of God”. People say that God has written His Word, or God’s Word is written in scripture. Scripture means that which is written i.e. the script. The person who writes is called a scribe. (And if you write something which no one can understand it is called a scribble.) And if it is written about life, soul or God, then it becomes scripture. But, nevertheless, it is still written by people, who have had inner awakening (enlightened people), or they have been attuned to God. But how often are we aware of what language God uses to communicate with us? Does God rely on the scripture to communicate with us? Or, should we rely on the scripture to communicate with God? If we say that the scripture communicates with us, on behalf of God, try to examine if that is correct. Scripture definitely gives us instruction. It gives us ideas. It gives us motivation. It gives us fellowship with other like-minded people. It helps to put us on the right path, towards God. But scripture is not anything more than written instruction or explanation, or prayers, which we say in order to help us to understand what the instruction is. Or, what we expect of God. But is that really what God wants of us? If we say that the scripture is the communication of God, then in what language will God communicate?
The world is full of thousands of languages, and also different dialects. People all over the world do not understand the same language. If God spoke in Hindi, perhaps, half a billion people would understand Him, and five billion will not. If He spoke in English, perhaps, one and a half billion would understand Him, and three or four billion will not. If He spoke in Chinese, perhaps, a billion will understand Him, and the rest will not. Yet, God has spoken to people all over the world, no matter to what language they belong. So what is this secret that God has? What is His language? If we analyze the situation, it is obvious that God does not have a spoken language, belonging to a certain region. We can say that God has no language. And, yet, we can say that God has all the languages, because the teaching of God has been expressed in all the languages. God is beyond the confines of language.
Did God dictate to any person what to write? Usually it is not a dictation by God. What it is, is a dictation of the mind of that person, who has been enlightened, or who had some intuitive inner communion, or communication with God, and so God speaks to his heart; to his intellect. God gives him a certain awakening, and impels him in a certain way, or directs his mind in a certain way to say certain things. But God does not actually give him the words. The words come because of the language prevalent where that person lives. So if God were to come to Canada to speak to the Canadian people, His scripture will be written in English or, perhaps, French if He were in Quebec. But would God really use English? Is it not more likely that English happens to be the language of the person who wishes to write about his insights? So when you analyze the whole situation of how God talks to people, it is not like talking in words. God’s language supersedes all words – all languages put together – because God speaks to the heart. God speaks to your feelings; to your own inner mind – your consciousness. Therefore, there is no need for language. Whatever language you grow up in, whatever language you use, God will speak to you, as an inner awakening in you. Then you use the language, which you are familiar with, to express what you feel God wants to impart to you, or to the people. So that is how God speaks to us.
Now what do we have to do, in order to listen to what God is saying? We all know that God expects something from us. It may not be a material thing. People say that God expects us to glorify Him, to honor Him, to do devotion to Him, to love Him, etc. Try to understand how far will we rise in spiritual life, if we did devotion to God and thanked Him, honored Him, loved Him, wherever He is. How far will it uplift us, spiritually? Guru Kabir has said: pothi parhi parhi jag muv, pandit bhaya na koi; ekai akhar prem ka, parhe so pandit hoi (People have read many scriptures and have died, but have not become spiritually learned. If they read the one word ‘love’ then they will indeed become learned). We are taught to read the scriptures of whatever language we are familiar with, and we can recite the scriptures, and we can talk to people about what the scripture tells us. But Guru Kabir has taught that the world has read scriptures; argued and debated about them, split hairs about their meanings, and formed different sects because of different doctrines and interpretations of the same scriptures. In this case, he is using the word pandit, which means to be knowledgeable about God. Guru Kabir says that we will truly know God, if we learn only the word love. So what does he mean by that? God is Love and Love is God, and Love is what we express towards God; and since God manifests in the hearts of all beings, Guru Kabir is saying that we have to love all beings. Only when we love all beings can we love God. So the language God uses is not a written language. Language has come about because of the consciousness and the intelligence God has given us. We are the instruments, because of our location, our geography, our culture and our time. God’s language varies according to us, not according to Him. His language is always one of inner awakening, a realization, and there is no word in any language to explain that condition which we arrive at by attuning ourselves to God. So how are we going to describe that? That is why saints always speak in parables. The parable is to try to use concrete examples of things that people are familiar with, and try to explain what God is teaching.
Now God does not come and teach anybody any particular thing. But God tells us that if we are attuned to Him, we realize there is a Great Power, and that Power resides within us, and for us to know that Power, we have to go inward within ourselves and reach the source. Let me make a comparison. We see a lighted bulb. Let us say the electricity has consciousness, or it is intelligent and can think, and the bulb is you and the consciousness is in you. But there is a source, let us say the power house, sending the electricity to this bulb, and the bulb, by means of that ‘intelligent electricity’ manifests consciousness and life. Now, if this bulb which is you, i.e. the physical body, wants to communicate with the power house to see where the source is, how will it do it? It has a scripture. It has a road map with specific directions how to proceed. The description is clear, but if this bulb, endowed with consciousness, continues to read the instruction from one day to the next to the next, will it find the source? It cannot. It has to do something to get there. It has to actually get up and go to the power house, which is the source. But if we want to reach God, how are we going to do that? The easiest way for this bulb, which is likened to us and has some intelligence or consciousness, to communicate with the power house, is to go back through the electricity. Go back into itself, attune itself with the electric current which goes right back to the power house, which is the source.
Similarly, if we want to get to God, can we do it by going externally – by any external means, devised by any person, anywhere in the world? Where are you going to go to meet God? Is there a place where you can go to meet Him physically? The scriptures tell us that God is within you. Guru Kabir said that God is in the breath of your breath. He also said: ghunghat ke pat khol re, toko piya milenge. (Remove the external veil of ignorance, and you will see the Divine Master within you). For us then to get to God, we have to turn our consciousness from the external things, turn it inward, because it is our inner being that is connected with God. It is nothing external. No matter how much instruction we read, if we do not do it, we cannot get to God. Many people are fooled in this world thinking that they will recite the scripture everyday dutifully, or they will do their rituals, or they will meditate on God. Whatever teaching they have, they will use that method, and they are going to say that they are going to go to God. But don’t you know that God is already within you. Does God want you to go and find Him somewhere? Did He lay down a path that is external to you where you can go and find Him? No one has been able to find an external path to God yet. That is why Guru Kabir has said: jag khojat hare… (The whole world has searched and has failed to find a path to God, because they are searching outside of themselves). They want to find God in some holy person, or a holy place, or a temple, or in a holy cave, or in a mountain, or holy river. But Guru Kabir’s teaching is that the secret is this: That God is already with you. You do not have to go anywhere. Only remove your own ignorance; control your desires; control your mind and realize that God is already within you. So where are you going to find God? You have to use your mind to direct you on the proper inner path.
Hence the mind becomes an instrument. Your intellect becomes an instrument. Your body becomes the instrument, and the path is without language, without direction, without distance; you are already with God. You just have to know that. And what the saints tell us: Be still and know that God is already with you. There is no place to which you have to go. There is no particular scripture that God wants. There is no particular ritual or ceremony that will get you to God. If they did, then all the people, who are praying in the whole world, and reading all their scriptures, and doing all their ceremonies, would have already attained God. And what does attaining God mean? To attain God means that you have love in your heart, you have compassion, forgiveness, humility and kindness. Do all the people praying in the whole world at this moment have compassion, forgiveness, humility and kindness. Are you seeing that in the world? You don’t. Because the very premise that you have to find God somewhere external to yourself is wrong. Guru Kabir has said that when he searched his own soul, then he found that: lali mere lal ki, jit dekhu tit lal, lali dekhan mai gai, mai bhi ho gai lal. (My beloved God is with me all the time, no matter where I looked; I have become dyed in His colour). That is when you are united with God. When you are united with God, you see that every other being is united with God, and there is no separation. So we come back then to the language of God and the scripture.
Scripture is only a means to an end. It is not the end itself. Religion is a means to an end, it is not an end in itself. Ceremonies, rituals, fasting, observances and prayers are all means to an end. They are not ends in themselves. But many people feel that these practices are ends in themselves, so they perform them with utter devotion. Obviously, that is not correct. That is why Guru Kabir has said: jap mare, ajapa mare, anahad hu mare jai, nam sanehi na mare, kahe kabir batai. (Let the recitation of the scripture and the prayers die, if they have to; let the inner sound, the Divine Melody die, if it has to; but let the lover of the Name that is within you not die, because that is God, Himself.)
Guru Kabir’s teaching tries to remove confusion based on scriptures, various religions, doctrines, ceremonies, and observances, and he shows you the quick and easy path to God realization. That is why he said santo sahaj samadhi bhali: (O saints! The easy union with God is the only and the best union), and you do not find that outside. He said: kahu so sumiran. (Whatever words I speak becomes a prayer). Further, he said: uthat baithat kabahu na bisre. (Whether I get up, stand or lay down, God is never separate from me). He said: jab sou tab karu dandawat (When I sleep it becomes my prostration to God) [Danda is a stick, thus lying prostrate like a stick]. But it is not dandawat until you have God in your heart. When God is in your heart your sleeping becomes your prostration to God. In similar ways Guru Kabir is showing that you do not have to go to find God somewhere, because God is with you. Open the veil of ignorance, remove the Maya (illusion) and you will find God dwelling within you already.
If that were not so why would Guru Kabir make such a strong statement like: mandir toro, masjid toro, to kuch nahi mujhaka hai, dil mat toro kisi ka bande, yaha ghar khas khuda ka hai (You may break the temple and the mosque; it is of no great consequence. But O my devotee! Do not break the heart of anyone, because the heart is indeed the dwelling place of God). If you break the heart of someone, and then you go and pray in a physical temple, would God accept your prayer? We must not be fooled. We must have our thinking straight. If we do wrong things to our fellow human beings, and then we go and pray in a physical temple, would God be pleased? Will we get closer to God? Does it make sense? God has created that temple in your own heart and He dwells there. So we must accept the physical temple, in which we are sitting, as a means of coming together to do satsang, in order to know God and to enrich our lives spiritually.
Your heart is God’s temple. The temple built by your hands is your temple. Your temple is supposed to teach you how to know God’s temple. Does that make sense? What is the purpose of the temple which you have built? Are you going to catch God and bring Him and put Him in that temple, and then pray to Him? Don’t you see the logic, that when you have created your temple, your temple is supposed to teach you that you are God’s temple. But people do not get that teaching, unfortunately. Of course, they learn about God, about the soul, how to pray, how to sing, how to have reverence for the Word of God, but do they have reverence for God, Himself? Do people have reverence for God, when they do not recognize God in their brothers and sisters. The heart of everyone is a temple of God. So what do we do? Do we rely on the verbal language written in any scripture, in any language of the world, or do we rely on that ‘language’ which speaks directly to our heart, no matter what language we use, in whatever part of the world.
What is the language of the heart? Guru Kabir said to submit to that language which teaches you the way to God, i.e. to go within yourself. That is why he told the scholar: tu kahata hai kagad lekhi, my kahta tu akhan dekhi (You are telling me all the things you have read in your books, but I am telling you what I know within myself, that I have seen with my Divine vision). He did not say to go and read any scripture, of any language and then you will know God. No! You can talk about the scripture, because it is a language. But that language does not give you God. That is why Alan Watts said: “When the knowledge of God begins the work of the church ends”. Religion is a path. It is a path to something, and in this case it is to God. When you have arrived at the destination of God, what need is there for the religion? You may say do not burn the bridge that you crossed. You do not destroy the religion. There are many people along that path. But for each individual, who has already crossed that bridge and reached God, does he still have to keep on crossing that bridge? He does not have to, because he has arrived at his destination. The destination to which religions lead you is God. So let us use religion as a means to attain God. Religions have enough instruction in all the various scriptures, about what you should do, how you should live and conduct yourself in devotion and prayer etc. But they are just like road maps. If you do not travel them, you are going to get nowhere. That travelling has to be done internally. There is no external way to get to God.
jaise jaise man chale, taise hi karm hoi;
jo man sidhe chale, sidhe hi karm hoi.
(As your mind wanders, so will be your actions; when your mind is concentrated, your actions will be perfect).
A steady mind manifests steadfast actions. It will be directed to reach that one goal – God realization – which you are attempting to reach from week to week, day to day, through satsangs, through bhajans, through prayers, and through good deeds. That path is within you; still your mind, give up all the kam, krodh, moha, lobha, ahamkar (lust, anger, attachment, greed and ego), and wash out all the filthy things you may have in your mind. Make your mind pure and turn it inward, where the source is, and that will lead you to the Universal Source, which is Cosmic Consciousness or God Consciousness. So in the name of Satguru, I have tried to explain the inner journey, which means that you have to still the mind, by removing all the external obstacles and passions, and meditatively, know God in your own heart.
Dr. J. Das
Guru Kabir Association of Canada