What is the use of the living Master?

I had always dreamed of a love that never dies. I too had not known for a long time, that I would find it only within myself.

— Sri Durgamayi Ma

With all my heart I want to welcome you all to this darshan and I want to remind you, for this short period of time, to simply let go of all past and all future, of everything that was or might be, including any expectations, ideas and hopes. Only recently I wrote to a disciple, it’s best to come to a spiritual Master empty-handed.

During my last darshan here in Berlin, I spoke about the truth that life as such is completely meaningless, that it has no meaning in and of itself. It is up to us – each for ourselves – to give our lives the meaning that we wish to receive from it and wish it to have.

A meeting, an encounter with a spiritual Master is not meaningful in itself either. It is up to each individual to bestow meaning on such an encounter. Even many of my chela find this difficult because it means that one is really and truly solely responsible for one’s own life. And, of course, the question may arise: Why then have a Master, what is the use of a living Master if in the end I have to do everything myself anyway?

I have pointed this out many times and would like to point it out again tonight: the Master is “only” there for the chela to practice. For example, to put all that is in the past and all that is in the future aside, here in my presence, and simply come into this moment, that is what you can practice in the presence of the Master.

Ma holding the Aarti light on Nirvan Divas 2013

The external master is a manifestation of the nameless Master within who – really without any difference – resides in all living beings. The connection that a person can establish with his Master opens the door to the nameless Master within. And once this person has eventually become one with the inner Master, the external Master is no longer needed. However, the external Master plays a major – in my eyes indispensable – role on this inward-bound journey.

I once was a spiritual disciple myself: in 1971 I found the way to my spiritual Master, Sri Neem Karoli Baba in India. Miraculuosly called by Maharajji, it was the beginning of a very disturbing and overwhelming journey within. I always remember this seed of love, that Baba had put in my heart, so I could begin to love Him at all – and that this wonderful seed felt at times like a painfull grain of sand in the eye, but one that you wouldn’t ever want to get rid of.
After Maharajji’s death I was lead, with numerous other devotees of Sri Neem Karoli Baba, to what turned out to be my next Master – this time in a female form – to Sri Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati. At Her side I was granted seven wonderful and wild years in Florida as a spiritual student. These two living Masters, at whose Feet I had the fortune to sit as a disciple, showed me that a human being can only overcome himself out of love for another human being. True to our beloved inspiration Hanuman, who overcame Himself out of His love for God Rama.

Again, a human being overcomes himself only out of love for another person and a spiritual disciple overcomes himself out of his love for his Master. That has been my experience and that is also what I mean when I say: love is the only force that really enables us to overcome the earth within us!

Once the student enters into a relationship with the Master, he cannot but realize what tremendous joy he gives the Master if he only so much as tries to leave behind his old tracks, those beaten paths, by adopting a new way of thinking. Again, I speak from personal experience: there is nothing more lively, more beautiful for me as a Master, than one of my students trying to form a new thought, to follow a new path even once.

Sri Neem Karoli Baba

The external master is a manifestation of the nameless Master within who – really without any difference – resides in all living beings.

At the time, when I was found by Baba, I was young and I really didn’t have a clue. All I knew was that I wanted to live; I wanted to live at any cost! But I did not know how and at that time I was really searching for someone who could show me.
In the beginning of my spiritual journey, I too, like all of my chela today, was confronted with myself – with human nature, the earth within. I had also fancied myself – like many of you today – much more spiritually advanced, much freer, much less deceitful, much less tainted by the imperfections of human nature than I was in reality, as I realized at Maharajji’s and Ma’s sides. So I know all the resistance that can arise to avoid looking into the mirror – the mirror that the Master just is for the chela.
What I was presented with was not nice to look at: a tight heart, unbelievable narrow-mindedness, constant preoccupation with myself, always looking to blame the others for my own misery. And every lie was just fine with me to avoid the truth that was facing me in this mirror.

However, what I could not fail to recognize was the completely steadfast and unconditional love, that my Masters always showed me, regardless of how big the dark within me manifested itself – this became increasingly undeniable.

I can show you how to live your life yourself, how you can heal yourself.

— Sri Durgamayi Ma

This was the first time in my whole life that I had met another person whose love for me was not dependent on my behavior, and so I gradually lost the fear of making mistakes, doing something wrong. The love of Maharraji and Ma was always the same, regardless of the mistake I was making or had made. Ma for example would only become severe, when I tried to hide behind guilt and shame about a mistake, only then she would enter the scene. I had not been aware of how ashamed I was and how I condemned myself for simply being human, making mistakes. Through Her love for me, I began to lose this fear – this is the crucial task which falls to the Master and which is neither strenuous nor does it cost Him anything, because the spiritual Master can only love. That is all He can do.

Also I, your Master today, can only love – but I cannot relieve you of anything, I cannot remove anything disturbing from your life, I cannot live your life for you, I cannot walk your path and I cannot heal you.

But I can show you how to live your life yourself, how you can heal yourself. That, however, is the use that the chela at some point has to make of the Master: he has to dare to reveal himself with all his flaws and imperfections, just the way we humans are. This path through our own flawed human nature takes us beyond it. At the same time, however, there is no way around it.

If you want to reach heaven, you have to pass through the earth – the earth within yourself. And only through the unswerving love of the Master was I able to look at even the darkest corners within me, always supported by the love of my Baba and later my Ma.

I cannot tell you what an incredible time that is, when you finally stop hiding, when you finally reveal yourself, when you finally make peace with yourself, with this flawed human nature. Then you extricate yourself into a new way of thinking, into a new consciousness. Enlightenment is the highest level of human consciousness. Everything around you remains as it is and as much as we humans are always waiting for a change, the only thing that changes is yourself. You look at the same but with completely new eyes. You become a new – complete – human being.

That is why I consider the living Master to be indispensable, because one does not go into one’s own basements and dark corners of one’s own accord. That is something one only dares to do, only has the courage to do, because one is sustained by the love of the Master – and because we realize what great joy we bring to our Master when we dare reveal ourselves, when we stop hiding. This is a tremendous process in which a person really begins to reveal himself. After all, every human being wants to be recognized, and will, therefore, eventually reveal himself. That is exactly what can be practiced with the Master, whose love – even in the face of the biggest mistake and greatest darkness – outshines everything. Without Them, without Their love, it would not have been possible for me to overcome myself; I would not have dared to venture out that far.

Make this use of me, your spiritual Master, today.

Moorti of Lord Hanuman at Sri Neem Karoli Baba Mandir

At the time when we came to Sri Neem Karoli Baba it was said that Baba was Hanuman – the incarnation of Hanuman: someone who has overcome himself out of love for God.

Here to my left is a picture of Hanuman, the monkey God in Indian mythology. Hanuman, as I pointed out before, is a force within us that we can awaken on this path. Hanuman is said to have overcome His ego out of love for God Rama. He represents a power within us that enables us to take up a spiritual task without knowing in advance whether we will be able to complete it successfully. After all, most people normally take up a task only if they at least are somewhat sure that they can accomplish it. Hanuman represents the quality of opening ourselves to such a task without knowing the result beforehand and then only do we come into contact with the power that enables us to accomplish it.

At the time when we came to Sri Neem Karoli Baba it was said that Baba was Hanuman – the incarnation of Hanuman: someone who has overcome himself out of love for God.
Again, God must not be understood as a God outside of ourselves, I am speaking of the nameless Master within who is only waiting to be finally heard, to be
recognized at last.

Thus, on the first half of a spiritual path we transcend the earth within ourselves. Acknowledging one’s own divine light, which is always within us – the second half of the journey – is the part I experienced to be the more difficult one. To acknowledge one’s own darkness is difficult; to recognize one’s own divine nature is more difficult. All the forces of the ego are set in motion once again and say: „No, this can’t be true. This light, this divine essence, this is not you!“ But even then, feeling sustained by the love of my Masters, I ventured on, further and further. At each doorstep the sentries became bigger, vehemently discouraging me with powerful voices from opening the next door – I’m talking figuratively, because this process can hardly be put into words – and I distinctly remember the last door. It was very difficult to open, but that was all I wanted!

And when I stood on the threshold of the opened door, I looked back one more time and saw the whole path that I had walked lying behind me. Turning around I looked ahead and saw the same path lying before me that I now had to return on: back into my body, back into the world, back to all beings. I could hardly await to go and set out immediately. I wanted to return to be amongst people and tell them, report to them about this possibility, that we all have, of transcending the earth within us and thus ascending into our divine nature.

All I can do is love. I love the world, I love life and I love everybody and everything. This divine love is indestructible and unchangable – it gushes from one source, from this nameless Master within. It springs from itself and therefore never runs dry.

That is exactly how I had always wanted to live, liberated from any external or internal conditions. I had always dreamed of a love that never dies. I too had not known for a long time, that I would find it only within myself.

And I am eternally grateful to these two Great Holy Beings who came into my life as my spiritual Masters, and it is an expression of this gratitude to Them that I am sitting here today speaking to you about it.

This has been a great joy for me.