In every clime and in every age, man has ceaselessly struggled with his enveloping darkness. He has struggled and prayed for Light. In temple or church, in mosque or agyari,* or again in the unredeemed loneliness of his life, he has prayed and struggled, struggled and prayed, without losing faith and hope; and even when he has seemed to give up his prayerful approach he has never given up seeking more and more Light, through the exercise of his limited intellect. Those who have seriously experimented with some world-religion or the other, exhibit their zeal by trying to follow the teaching of the founder with inviolable fidelity. In the lives of such people, ardent and unyielding search for Truth is generally the most prominent note. Time and again, however, man has lost is moorings. He has got entangled in the superficiality of rigid forms and ceremonies, seeking consolation in mechanical ritualism and evading the drastic results of applied Truth. As Truth is the very negation of the ego-life, to which man desperately clings, he tries to escape from the deeper perceptions of his own Higher Self, ardently praying for Light in some form of Church, but resisting it in everyday practical life, in numberless ways. Afraid of the flooding forces of Light, which his own prayers have released, man seeks to perpetuate his ego-life, by embracing self-delusion and by clinging to word rather than meaning, to form rather than spirit.
He cannot whole-heartedly accept Truth; nor can he whole-heartedly accept ignorance. So he takes shelter in high-sounding words and comforting slogans, misleading himself and others, thinking that he is following Light, when in reality he is resisting it. But the pseudo-light which he seems to get through fanatic allegiance to un-understood dogma, cannot give him real peace; nor can it eternally fortify him against the purifying and redeeming forces of the Living Truth, which he has himself invited upon himself, through moments of sincere prayers and earnest search. Not being able to reconcile himself with Light or with Darkness, man seeks to entrench his ego-life by taking his stand in the illusory and penumbral realm of merely verbal learning, which is like a mirage that only arrests further search for real water, without in any way allaying thirst. But he cannot eternally elude the redemptive forces of life, by overloading himself with half-digested and tenaciously held intellectual formulations. He is like the ostrich, which is reputed to bury its head in sand, when pursued, believing that it is unseen.
Man cannot permanently escape his own Divine Self and must inevitably yield to the life-giving Truth, which finally overtakes him, not in the form of a skillfully woven structure of dry and intellectual tenets, but in the form of a Divine Incarnation or Living Manifestation. It then becomes an irresistible and emancipatory power, challenging the false without compromise, and releasing the limitless Divine Life of Love and Understanding. Man can be dislodged from the sandy land of empty words, only when he voluntarily and wholeheartedly surrenders himself to a Perfect Spiritual Master, who in his example, brings to him the Religion of Life. The Religion of Life is not fettered by mechanically repeated formulae of the unenlightened, purblind and limited intellect. It is dynamically energized by the assimilation of Truth, grasped through lucid and unerring intuition, which never falters and never fails, because it has emerged out of the fusion of head and heart, intellect and love.
The Master is important and indispensable in spiritual life, not only because He shows the Path, but also because He takes the disciple to the goal. Because of His unity with the One Divine Self, which is in all selves, the Master becomes the Divine Beloved for the disciple. The Master as Truth represents the highest self of the
© 1976 by Adi K. Irani