(The following is based on part of a discourse by Guru
Maharaj on the eve of the Gwalior Bhandara. This is reproduced in Amulaya
Niddhi
,
Vol. III,
Chapter 22). In this discourse, Guru
Maharaj briefly traces the history of Scriptures leading to four basic
questions. In the words of The Buddha, these questions (which He termed as the
Four Noble Truths) are as follows:

I.             
The Noble Truth
about Suffering
II.          
The Noble Truth
about the Cause of Suffering
III.        
The Noble Truth
about the Cessation of Suffering
IV.       
The Noble Truth
about the Path that leads to the Cessation of Suffering

Every Scripture has tried to
answer those questions. Guru Maharaj
takes us on a journey (a thought experiment) to answer and help us understand
these truths. Let us join Guru Maharaj on this journey.

As we leave Mathura with Guru Maharaj,
we cross Agra; clouds start appearing on the horizon. Soon it is drizzling,
followed by a storm. Fields become flooded. Those drizzles, composed of small
droplets, come together to break the boundaries of the fields. These small
droplets become flood water and rush forth, breaking all barriers to the river
Chambal. Chambal merges into the Yamuna river near the town of Ettawa, which
merges into the Ganges near Allahabad. The Ganges merges into the sea to lose its ferocity, frenzy, and restiveness.
By reaching its objective, the source, the origin, the river rests in
peace.

In the second phase of the journey, Guru
Maharaj takes us through what in the Meteorological world is known as The Water
Cycle.

Water in oceans and seas is
heated by the sun. It evaporates as vapor into the atmosphere. Rising air currents take
the vapor up into the atmosphere where cooler temperatures cause it to condense
into clouds. Air currents move water vapor around the globe; cloud particles
collide, grow, and fall out of the upper atmospheric layers as rain. Droplets become separated from
its source, the ocean. But the intense desire to unite with the origin continues
as runoff enters rivers, moving towards the ocean. Over time, the water
(droplet) returns to the ocean, the origin, completing The Water Cycle.

The Atman enshrined in
our bodies is similar to the droplets separated from its origin. However, the droplets always remember their
source, the ocean, whereas we have forgotten our origin, the Brahman. This
is the reason that no matter what one does, the soul is always in a state of restiveness. As long as it does not unite with the source,
the soul’s miseries won’t end. That’s why the scriptures tell us to go from where
our fall occurred. If the air is cooler and more soothing towards the Himalayas,
then proceed in that direction. However,
we don’t always move in the right destination. We are travelling, but not in the right direction. To move towards the
right destination, we have to change our mindset. However, when an aspirant
tries to do this alone, he runs into huge obstacles.

We and He, the Atman and
the Brahman are separated by a huge lake. This lake is called the ocean
of Maya. To reach Him, to get to the origin, there is no other way than to
cross this ocean of Maya. If we move in
His direction by enduring torments, then all our miseries will be over. There will always be a few, like sinking worms,
who enjoy where they are; most would like to be free of misery.


The art of swimming is required
to cross this ocean. During the rainy
season, there is a marathon for swimmers. Swimmers jump into the Yamuna under
the watchful eyes of their coaches. A few of them begin to drown. However, when their coach sees them drowning,
he pushes them across the river.

In spiritual world the one who
teaches the art of swimming the ocean of Maya is known as the Guru. After
teaching the art of swimming, the Guru lets the aspirant go and swim. But, when
the Guru sees the aspirant drowning, he pushes the aspirant across the ocean,
provided the aspirant does not let the Guru out of his sight. God is on the
other side of this ocean of Maya. The only way of getting to Him is to learn
the art of swimming from someone and get his help. Simply talking and
discussing won’t get us anywhere in this journey.
Do not let Guru Maharaj out of sight. He is with us and He will push us to
the other end of the ocean: the origin, the source, the ultimate resting place.
Our Sadhana
represented by the art of swimming, combined with the guidance of Guru
Maharaj—our “swimming coach”—shows us how to reach the opposite shore and rid
ourselves of all miseries.