Spiritual Realization Requires a Spiritual Master


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"There but for the Grace of God go I":
The need for a Spiritual Transmission Master to liberate man the machine



  • Are we machines? Certainly the signs of "man as machine" are everywhere. We see "man as machine" on the individual level in our habits, our addictions, our oedipal (and other archetypal) patterns; much of our therapy is devoted to purchasing freedom from such past-regimented patterns. We see "man as machine" on the global level in centuries-old conflicts that are endlessly re-ignited by the automatic reactivity of "an eye for an eye". Only spiritual maturity moves us along the spectrum from the "machine" end toward the "free being" end.

  • A body in motion tends to stay in motion unless acted on by an outside force We often learn Newton's first law of motion in the context of billiard balls on pool tables. But human beings are rather more complex than billiard balls. A more apt metaphor for "man as machine" than the passive billiard ball is "man as homeostatic system", a pattern of egoic activity which, even when acted on by an outside force, will exert a counter-force, in order to perpetuate the present pattern.

  • The need for Grace An interesting aspect of many contemporary addiction treatment programs (particularly twelve-step programs) are the steps in which the addict acknowledges the powerlessness of "man as machine" to relieve himself of his addiction, and accepts the need for Grace, or the intervention of a Higher Power, in his life. Just so, all the spiritual traditions of humankind are oriented around the need for Grace, and the establishment of a genuine connection with It, in order to grow not only humanly, but spiritually. But once one intuits the need for Grace: Where to find It? How to link up with It? How to benefit from It?

  • Grace as the Spiritual Transmission of the Spiritual Master In the traditions of the East, Grace is understood to be a tangible Spiritual Transmission from the Greater Reality, accessible to anybody who is interested, and willing to live the kind of life that supports its steady reception. The living Spiritual Master (or Guru) is the means by which one contacts that Spiritual Transmission. Unlike miraculous visitations, which, by their nature, can only come and go, the human Spiritual Master serves as a stable bridge between the material world and the Greater Reality.

  • Human and Spiritual Growth through Divine Distraction As Avatar Adi Da Samraj once humorously put it, while His devotee is "away", distracted by the ecstasy of His Spiritual Transmission, the Spiritual Master enters the devotee spiritually, and cleans up the place "like a little old lady cleaning out a bird cage." This cleansing, or release of old patterns, is not something the devotee does by effort; rather, the devotee allows the Master (who, unlike the devotee, is in a position to know what he or she is doing) to do the work.

  • Grace for World-Blessing Work Interestingly, the Grace of the Spiritual Master has always been understood to not only serve the Spiritual liberation of individuals, but also to have a beneficial effect on the world in ordinary terms. The beneficial effect of Spiritual Transmission on the world can take many forms. But positive benefits on the material level are of limited spiritual value, because they pass, and because we die. To the extent that Spiritual Transmission leads to a more peaceful world and better life conditions, and thus, an environment more greatly conducive to Spiritual life, its use is truly spiritually valuable. But Grace invoked solely for the sake of material gain has always been criticized by the human sources of that Grace.

  • Maintaining the Availability of Grace over Time The greatest gift for the world that a Spiritual Master can leave the world is the establishment of a community of disciples capable of preserving and even magnifying the Spiritual Master's Transmission down through the ages. This is in fact one of the primary purposes behind Avatar Adi Da Samraj's establishment of the Adidam spiritual community. Such a community would communicate the existence and availability of Grace to the world at large; and it would persist in keeping Grace available in the world, until the last "separate being" was Awakened out of the dream.

 

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