Seven Stages of Mystic Ascension to Heaven According to Sant Mat
- View SourceSeven Stages of Mystic Ascension to Heaven According to Sant Mat
The Seven Stages of Mystic Ascension to Heaven Are:
1) Praise or Bhakti,
3) Manas japa (simran, praying without ceasing, repeating the name of God -- mantra, the first stage of meditation),
4) Manas dhyana (visualising the form of the Master, second stage of meditation),
5) Dristi sadhana (seeing Inner Light at the Third Eye Center, third stage of meditation),
6) Nada Sadhana (hearing the Inner Sounds --- Surat Shabd Yoga, fourth stage of meditation),
7) Reaching Kaivalya (Oneness with Soundlessness, the Nameless One, Formless Supreme Being, the Supreme State, The Ocean of Love -- the Goal)
Three Important Requirements: Praise, Prayer, Meditation
By Sant Sevi Ji Maharaj
The Harmony of All Religions
There are three important requirements to be met in the practice of a person who pursues devotion to the Divine and seeks to attain liberation. First is praise; second is prayer; and third is meditation. We know that when we are indebted to someone, we should express our gratitude and appreciation. God has blessed us bountifully.
Although we are unable to repay God for his generous blessings, we can acknowledge this goodness by chanting praises about the Divine Being. When we exalt God through song, we declare the glories of the Divine. In doing this, we remember the grandeur of God. As a natural result, our faith in God increases. Unless we acknowledge someone's qualities, it is impossible to be faithful to that person.
Tulsi Das Sahab says:
"Without having the knowledge of the nature of God it is impossible to know him. And without understanding his qualities we can not have love for God. Without love we cannot have devotion and true faith. This is as unattainable as the mixing of water and oil [which is impossible]."
Therefore, in order to have devotion and faith in God it is necessary to know the grandeur of God. Once the glory of God is known, our heart is attracted to God. This is a great way to keep your heart in devotion to God. Thus, it is through praise that we extol the divine powers of God and draw our mind toward God.
After singing praises to God we, then, pray. Prayer is supplication with deep humility. In general, people have desires and make demands. Only the great sages do not have wants.
Kabir Sahab said:
"My desires are gone, as are my worries. My mind is filled with detachment. One who does not want anything is the king of kings."
Sant Tulsi Das says:
"People desire sons, wealth and fame in this world. Why do people desire that which taints the mind?"
Why do we desire these things? Sant Tulsi Das considers this:
"[Fleeting] pleasures come to us without asking, whether we are in heaven, hell, house, or forest. Why then do people work so hard to get these pleasures while they ignore the advice of the sages [to seek permanent joy?]"
Why do we invest so much effort in acquiring these worldly pleasures which come to us naturally? And let us consider as well that there is always pain involved in acquiring worldly objects, and that an even greater exertion is required to sustain them. And further, when these very same insidious sensory pleasures leave us, the distress is even more intense. This is why, the wise do not ask for things which are transitory. The truth is that our desires should only be for something which would eliminate the desire [for worldly pleasures] itself. In reality, the only thing we should be asking God for is to achieve union with the divine. After realizing the Divine, there is nothing left to be achieved. This is the end of all wants.
Prayer and invocation are not merely concerned with the mindless muttering of requests, but rather, prayer should be the voice of our heart. God always listens to the one who calls out with a pure heart.
In the Yajur Veda (chapter 20) it is said:
"Oh God, even as we unknowingly commit various sins, day and night, please forgive these offenses and ill desires. You are omnipresent, like the pervasive wind."
We have previously spoken about prayer in both Christianity and Islam [chapters of, The Harmony of All Religions]. Christians refer to this practice as prayer, and Muslims call it ibadat. We see that in all theistic religions there is a great emphasis on prayer.
Communion or Meditation Practice
The practices of praise and prayer-glorification and invocation-are followed by communion through the practices of contemplation and meditation. The Sanskrit word upasana literally means sitting near God. The saints distinguish four categories of upasana. The four basic practices are:
1) Manas japa,
2) Manas dhyana,
3) Dristi sadhana and
--- Sant Sevi Ji Maharaj, The Harmony of All Religions
Meditation Practice (Sadhana) According to Sant Mat Mysticism
There are several meditation practices in Sant Mat. There are several techniques described, the specific details of which are taught to students at the time of their deeksha (initiation) into the practice:
1) developing a daily routine, the habit of meditating at the same time or times each day;
2) proper posture with back straight so that one is truly focused at the Third Eye and remains alert and awake;
3) Manas Japa (Simran), a mantra repetition of a sacred word or words chanted mentally;
4) Manas Dhyan, the technique of mentally visualising a form of God or one's teacher;
5) Drshti Yoga (Yoga of inner Light), the technique of focusing upon an Infinitesimal Point. This Point will eventually blossom into inner Light or visions of Light. One gazes into the middle of the darkness or the Light one sees while in meditation. Think of the Infinitesimal Point as being like a laser pointer or cursor keeping one focused. One passes from scene to scene and vision to vision always looking toward the center;
6) Nada Sadhana (Yoga of inner Sound or Bhajan), the practice of inner spiritual hearing; and,
7) reaching the State of Kaivalya: Oneness with the Supreme Being in the Pure Conscious Realm. The ultimate goal is to merge into the upper level of Kaivalya known as the Ocean of Love and Compassion, the Ultimate Reality of God in the Nirguna or Formless State, also described with terms such as Radhaswami (Lord of the Soul), Anami (The Nameless One) and Anadi (The Soundless State beyond Light and Sound).
The poet-mystic Param Sant Tulsi Sahib describes the interior journey this way:
There is a Being who is Inaccessible (Agam), unfathomable (Alakh), and Nameless (Anami), and who has no locality, location, and is not confined to space.
Sant Tulsi Sahib also often uses the Sufi language of love or bhakti, describing this Timeless Spiritual State of Oneness as the Abode of the Beloved:
"On having found the teacher, I shall adopt his refuge, and I shall follow the path to my Beloved's Abode. The way to the Beloved lies within. My heart's desire, says Tulsi, is that my soul may meet the Beloved.
"The love-intoxicated soul is bubbling with joy. The darling of the Beloved has prepared and bedecked the bed and, imbued with the Beloved's bliss (ananda), has cast away all bondages. The soul prepared the Beloved's bed, and, lying there, enjoyed great bliss." (The Shabdavali of Param Sant Tulsi Sahib)
--- Sant Sevi Ji Maharaj,
The Harmony of All Religions