Picture yourself on a major freeway in summer, on your way home from work. Part of the road is under construction. It's rush hour. Traffic is bumper-to-bumper. You've been sitting in your car a long time, hot and tired, without getting very far. Other drivers are sticking their heads out their windows, yelling at each other. Inching forward, you wonder if you'll ever reach your destination.
Hold it – wasn't there another road around here? Before they built this asphalt artery that's getting you nowhere? Something in the vague shadow of memory tells you there was another road, but you can't see it from where you are. You assume it's gone – and wish it wasn't.
Then it happens: some unseen, powerful force picks up your car, moves it sideways, sets it down on a parallel road. A strange experience, yet oddly natural, as if it's happened to you before and you knew, somehow, it would happen again.
This road you're on is old, but smooth, straight and clear. Feeling it beneath you, solid, you realize it's always been there. You feel relieved, cool, refreshed. Above all, you're thankful for the helping hand.
The power that put you here seems to be pressing the accelerator, moving you. All you have to do is to make sure you stay on this road and enjoy the ride. You're going home.
"This is what you have to find in the world. There are many paths. Many, many paths … all seem beautiful. But there is one path which we hardly can look at, because it is so bright.
People who are really people, people who are really humans, walk on it. The man who walks this bright shining path always gets brightness. And God handles him …"
– Guru Maharaj Ji
The path of Knowledge is the road beside the road: an alternate route through life. It's always been there always – but it takes a totally loving power to lift us up, move us away from the road blocks, and reveal the most natural, most flowing way home.
Part II By Charles Cameron
No matter how many employment agencies you visit, or how many times you flip through the want ads, there's only one job you're unlikely to find listed: the job of disciple. And yet, some of the most respected figures in the history of the world have been disciples, or have gathered disciples around them. Christ's disciples included Peter, John and Matthew. John the Baptist had a circle of disciples. Buddha had disciples. Plato was a disciple of Socrates.
It just doesn't seem to come naturally to people of our time, to offer any sort of obedience to another human being. And yet, think of a symphony orchestra.
At first sight, it seems a little strange perhaps: fifty or sixty grown men and women gather together in a beautifully decorated room, and surrender their individual tastes and preferences to follow the smallest gesture of one of their number. They give him their complete and unquestioning obedience. And stranger still, several hundred more people pay good money to sit and watch them.
But when an orchestra gets together to perform one of the Beethoven symphonies, that's exactly what happens. And the musicians' discipline, their obedience to the conductor, is essential, if the music is to be well-played.
Nobody wants to listen to an orchestra where the bassoonist is competing against the violins, and the second trumpet insists on playing long solos in the middle of the slow movement. It isn't music.
And the reason why musicians follow their conductor's lead is very similar to the reason why disciples of a spiritual teacher follow his directions with such care.
A great and wonderful harmony is the result.
* * *
Guru Maharaj Ji offers his disciples a path to follow. He invites them to practice three disciplines, called meditation, satsang and service.
When a boy falls in love with a girl, his friends soon discover three things. It is difficult to separate him from his beloved when they are together. It is difficult to dissuade him from showering her with gifts and attentions. And it is impossible to stop him from talking about her.
Meditation, satsang and service are rather like that. Putting it very simply, meditation means experiencing the deep source of love that is inside us all; satsang means encouraging each other to keen returning to that source; and service means letting that love flow into our lives in the form of selfless actions.
Loving, talking about our love, and acting on it.
As Guru Maharaj Ji puts it: "There is just one thing to say, and that is: satsang, service and meditation. The path we have searched for our whole lifetime is right there, just three steps away."