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The Bardot. Romeo and Juliet. Mystique Peonies. With big, bright, and sunny yellow blooms, sunflowers Helianthus spp.

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Even better news, there is nothing poisonous about these sun-loving beauties. This goes for both animals and humans. Sunflowers can be eaten or taken medicinally or recreationally without adverse effects. Its leaves and petals are frequently used as tinctures for loosening up phlegm and coughing. Sunflower seeds, as you well know, are not just tasty snacks but excellent sources of beneficial minerals, such as manganese, selenium, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin B6, folate, and niacin.

Petunias are striking flowering plants native to South America. They bloom vibrant flowers in all colors imaginable, except true blue and grow wildly particularly during summer months. Celosia is a little genus of edible flowering plants from the Amaranth family. Its name is derived from an ancient Greek word which means burning because of its flowers that resemble a flaming bush.

Celosia are flowering annuals that come in the loveliest shades of orange, pink, purple, red, white, and yellow with leaves of equally stunning colors, ranging from blue, chartreuse green, purple, gold, and burgundy. Some celosia varieties bloom in the summer while some favor fall or autumn season.

As experienced flower gardeners would tell you, there are three groups of celosia:. Another good-looking and pet-friendly member of the daisy family, zinnia are considered safe for your cats and dogs. These flowers, which can pass as an identical twin of daisies and dahlias, are amazingly prolific bloomers, especially during summertime.

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  • Also called the Herb of the Sun, marigolds are offered to ancient gods and goddesses during Indian traditions like Durga Puja. In Mexico, the golden flowers are offered to loved ones during Dia delos Muertos. Marigolds have 56 species divided into two genera, Tagetes and Calendula. Some of our favorite marigold varieties are:. The beauty about marigolds is that they also act as natural insect repellents against mosquitoes and other nasty bugs while being completely non-toxic to cats and dogs.

    Unfortunately, they are deemed super deadly to cats. Lilies may pose a risk of severe kidney failure or even death to our feline friends should they consume two or three petals or leaves or even water from a vase. The Pet Poison Hotline says there are benign and dangerous kinds of lilies, which of course, all pet guardians should know about.

    Beware of these types of lilies or true lilies as they can put your pets in dire medical situations. Lethargy, vomiting, drooling, dehydration, uncontrollable urination or thirst, and seizures are tell-tale signs of toxic exposure in pets. The symptoms can vary depending on the type of plant, flower, or specific variety, and severity of exposure. When the soul separated from the Lord it was caught in the net of Maya — the consort of the Negative power — and became a slave to the mind Maya has many forms The Negative Power has a limitless army at its beck and call The miracles of the mind are truly legion They have completely overwhelmed the soul and whatever actions are performed under their influence, the soul has to go through the consequences, for this world IS a vast field of action Whatever one sows, one must inevitably reap Actually, the soul is in effect entangled in the web that It spins itself under the influence of the nund and the senses Neither good nor bad actions can bring about Its escape In whatever kind of hfe it is placed.

    The human body does not consist merely of flesh, bones and blood It is the repository of wondrous treasures of the rarest gems and diamonds Above all, it is the house in which the Lord resides If there is any laboratory where we can successfully carry out research to discover Him, it is the human body. Our mind makes us constantly dance to its own tune. It IS in ceaseless motion It continually jumps from one subject to another All this has to cease The surface must become perfectly calm The water must become crystal clear before we can discover Him This can only happen when the mind is completely subdued We have, therefore, to study its nature We find It IS fond of pleasure But no one pleasure can hold It for all time As soon as it comes across a more THE SOUL IS OF THE ESSENCE OF THE LORD 23 interesting or fascinating one, it leaves the former and runs after the latter It does not submit to forcible disciphne This may quiet it for a certain period of time, but the moment the disciphne is relaxed the mind begins to dance about again The greater the force apphed to restrain it, the more violent is the manner in which it reacts and rebounds Runmng away from the world is not a permanent method of escaping from its continual activity because it will follow you wherever you are The mind is an insidious enemy It hves within your own body.

    The possession of diamonds naturally causes one to lose interest m colored shells The world ceases to be an attraction, and the nund faces Gkidwards. It IS the Word alone that can subdue the mind. The contact with this Immanent Power which created the umverse and now sustains it, is absolutely essential for weamng the mind away from its present interest m the world and turning it towards God At present it is completely enchanted by the world and its objects They fill its entire horizon Its every pore IS full to the bnm with sense pleasures It is saturated with the poisons of lust, greed, anger, attachment and egotism When the mind comes within the magnetic field of the Word, it is wholly transformed It undergoes a complete metamorphosis The sense pleasures lose all charm and potency.

    From being a treacherous foe it turns into a faithful ally It begins to realize that its own redemption depends upon befriending the soul and working with it, rather than against it It then gives up all its cunmng and wiliness. But it is only when we know the correct technique that we succeed in producing fire or discovering the Word The abihtv to learn is present in all human beings but it is awakened only when we go to teachers, faithfully carry out their directions, and bum the midnight oil Then only do we become learned Similarly, we must go to the teachers of spiritual science to learn how to enter within and where to search before we can find the treasure-trove of the Word.

    Egotism is a dread disease. It spares no one. They all blaze the same one trail They all give the same one message They all reveal the same one reality This reality is that without joirmg the cons- ciousness with Nam or the Word which hes hidden in the human body, one can neither succeed in dispelling the darkness of ignorance nor in attaimng the Lord, nor m ending the cycle of birth and rebirth It IS only when we leave the leaky boat of the mind and step on to the strong and seaworthy ship of the Word that we escape the perils of the deep and reach the haven of safety.

    We must never forget that our hfe is like a paper bag that a few drops of water could destroy It is like a piece of thin glass that a little gust of wind could shatter. It is hke a goatskin filled with air floating on a nver, which would smk to the bottom if the air should go out of It It is like a wall of sand that may collapse at any moment. Therefore, do not merely bmld castles in the air, but start building them on the ground. Every breath is precious, for once lost it can never return. Make hay while the sun shines. Take advantage of this human body so long as it lasts in searching for the One without whom the entire world is going adnft and astray.

    Nobody, however, can succeed in this purpose unless he takes refuge in the Saints Only then can he know the secret of human hfe and fulfill its great destiny Only then can he discover what a wondrous treasure the human body holds, and how he can gam it. The great Lord has locked this priceless treasure within all human beings and has handed the key over to the Saints, and they alone know how to unlock this mystery It is only when this great secret is disclosed that one compre- hends how the Lord is mamfest in some and hidden in others, and how the hidden can be made mamfest It IS only then that we see Him everywhere, in every leaf, m every gram, in every particle of sand, and realize that nothing can ever happen without His will The entire creation and its motivation are His dispensation.

    He IS the Doer behind all scenes. He is the player behind all games. They point out how people, forgetting the Lord, are engrossed in various kinds of actions. They are oblivious to the existence of God They have no time to think of Him. All Saints warn us that death lies in wait for all, and no one can escape it Everyone must die and face the Lord of Judgment Hardly is one nd of one body when another stands ready to entomb the soul. Saints hken this world to a vast ocean whose shores are invisible, whose depth has never been sounded, where dangerous currents and whirlpools abound, where fierce storms rage and toss the waves about in fury On such a dangerous ocean we move about in a frail and leaky boat, without sails, oars or mdder, and the consequences of such a situation can well be imagined Down we go with the waves and are lost in the vast expanse of water The ocean is infimtely complex in the pattern of its life.

    It contains eighty four lakh 8,, different forms of living beings. Yet never have we tried to find a boatman who can ferry us across this ocean We remain bound by the desires and dictates of the mind. We have made fhends with this insidious enemy and as a result cannot but suffer. What we sow now we shall reap hereafter Neither good nor bad deeds release us from the ever-turmng wheel of birth and rebirth If we do good deeds, we will be born as kings and rulers with power over vast dominions We may even stay for a short or a long period of time in the heaven worlds Our iron chains may be replaced with gold ones But we will still be prisoners in this vast prison-house all the same On the other hand, if we do bad deeds, the fires of hell keep ever ready to consume us This world of sunshine and darkness can be crossed only by taking refuge in the company of the Saints and carrying out their directions with love, faith and devotion It is only when we give up the frail boat of the mind and step on to the seaworthy ship of the living Master that we can safely reach the shore of Light, Love and Wisdom.

    Whoever would sit with God, let him sit in the company of the Saints If you are separated from the company of the Saints, you are in a sorry state, since you then are only a part without the whole All of our association with the world is because of this body At the time of our departure, even this will be left behind If there is one thing that will accompany us beyond and be with us hereafter, it is our devotion to the Lord, our contact with the Divine Melody that emanates from Him and resounds in all human beings at the eye-center This is the only sustenance one can have, the only staff one can depend upon, the only raiment one can retain, the only wealth one can accumu- late, the only good deed one can preserve for all time.

    Parents, wives, children, friends, wealth and possessions, all fade away even before the earthly scene IS closed They are lost forever with our last breath, yet all throughout our hfe we hve and toil for them We remain beasts of burden We gather nothing that can be truly ours both here and beyond Our soul is in a state of deep slumber. It has forgotten its great past, its innate glory, its oneness with the Lord It must be awakened and taken back to its Home This is its real destiny and it must work to achieve it The entire process of evolution consists in raising it to the top of creation by means of the various steps of the ladder of the Word or Nam It ascends to the top only when it comes within the orbit of the Audible Life Stream or the Word of God This can be accomplished only when the soul is guided by a living Master The living Master and the Word are the two essential prerequisites that are needed to release the soul from the world of tragedy and tears and enable It to enter the world of everlasting bliss and joy.

    We should avail ourselves of it for the purpose for which it is granted to us Wife and children, food and dnnk, we have had in every life. The umqueness of the human, form consists in its abihty to reahze God as long as it is activated by hfe Towards this end we must bend all our energies This is our real work.

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    • The rest is all to no purpose It is hke forced labor where we toil the whole day, work to the point of exhaustion, and yet return home empty-handed Our rituals and cere- momals, our penances and fasting, our holy baths and pilgrimages, our alms and chanties keep us. It is we who tire of receiving. For the consummation of our desires we must be born again and thus continue to tread the wheel Rabia Basri, a great Muslim Saint, says.

      Whoever contacts this Divine Music is released from the unbreak- able net of this world This IS the only means of redemption It is the only way of escape from the vale of sorrow No second way exists It behooves us, therefore, to use the rare opportumty granted to us to transcend matter and mind and merge in the Divine If we fail to accomphsh this, we are no better than sheep that run into a burnmg sheep pen even when people try to rescue them from It We are like flies that return again and again to filth and shun the fragrance of the flowers The Saints incarnate into the world in order to take us back to our True Home Their judgement is sound, they are radiant as a brilliant flame, they are as immaculate as heaven and as lofty as the stars.

      Instead of being grateful to them, how shameful it is that we often torture them We crucify them, we flay them alive; yet lovc- intoxicated, they cheerfully bear our harsh treatment. Jesus Ghnst said. Venly they know not. Once she realizes that she is the spark of the Flame, she rushes forward, and joining it becomes the Flame.

      Even man, the epitome of the creation, has a long tale of woe to tell His cup of misry is ever full to the bnm. The Varnatmik names mav be likened to a pitcher of sea water, while the Dhunyatnuk name is the entire vast ocean This Dhunyatmik name is the heritage of all mankind It is resoundmg in all human beings With the help of different names that we give to God we must reach this current of spirituahty, which draws us across the ocean of phenomena, sunders the shackles that tie us to the wheel of birth and rebirth, and takes us to the lap of our Father.

      The network of words is a big forest, it is the cause of curious wanderings of the mind It is such a pity that we get caught in the meshes of verbiage and miss the Reahty that the words describe We chase the shadow and ignore the substance We pursue the mirage and remain forever thirsty. The Saints, therefore, exhort us to seek the Reality. This Reality is Nam, the Word or Logos It is only by uniting our consciousness with it that we can cross the dangerous ocean of phenomena and gam the shore of the realm of lasting bliss This IS the only elixir that can free us from the cycle of coming and going It is the only potion that can dissolve all our doubts and suspicions It is the only magic that can break the spell of Maya or Illusion.

      It IS the only Power that can awaken the soul from its ageless slumber and can lead it to union with the Lord. I'his Bam created the worlds, the upper realms and the underworlds, and sustains them all It pervades and permeates all human beings The Bam that we read is also worthy of our reverence, for it creates in us love for the Lord, it engenders m us a strong desire to meet Him, it reveals to us our destination in life, it tells us of the way, it speaks of the obstacles that beset the path.

      It points to the method of surmounting them The Saints come to extol this Bam, this Timeless Truth, this Ancient Wisdom It is only by umting our consciousness with this Bam, Nam or Shabd that we get to know ourselves Self-Reahzation is essential before God-Realization. They alone enjoy the ineffable bhss of the Lord In them devotion to Nam has fully awakened, and they in turn awaken the same in those who come in contact with them.

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      In the world there are two kinds of people, namely, Gurmukhs and Manmukhs Both are His creation But praise be to the Gurmukhs who attain Self-Realization They hve in the world, but do not become of the world Even in the mire and dirt of the world around them, they remain free from its stains, and are dyed in the color of the Satguru.

      In spite of their being a part of It they are not stained by it. The real pool of the nectar of immortality hes within the body It is by gaimng access to this pool within that we can wash off our sms, remove our coats of filth, untie the knot of the mind and the soul, reahze our hidden selves, and go beyond the domain of KaL Nothing short of access to this pool can win us salvation We revere Amritsar, which is a holy city in the Punjab, for it was here that the great Sikh Gurus lived and meditated. It was here that they practised Nam Bhakti; it was here that they sang to the masses of their love for the Lord It was here that the penances, the changing, the meditation, worship and prayer of innumerable devotees were carried out But by bathing in the pool in Amritsar the cycle of birth and death does not end The outside dirt can be washed away with water and soap, but the dirt of sms can be cleansed by Nam Bhakti alone.

      No intellectual sophistication or argumentation can ever bring salvation The case of the intellectually learned is like that of a person whose heart is burmng in the five fires of lust, greed, anger, attachment and egotism And yet he is constantly engaged m trying to extinguish the fires of others He has himself a heavy load of karmas to carry, yet he remains a beast of burden for others His own house is being robbed by the five thieves, while he is standing guard over the property of others As regards the reading of scriptures, it would be well if one were to read or listen to them carefully, under- stand their true sigmficance, and then act upon them.

      But we do not perceive Him and therefore we are accounted blind The human body is the temple of the hving God He resides within this house of clay But when we close our eyes, we are conscious of nothing but darkness within Saints explain that this darkness is that of Ignorance We lack real Wisdom The true Light does not shine within us Hence the darkness in which our mind is enshrouded The whole world is bhnd because it is a stranger to the Word — the Power behind all powers We are entranced mto deep slumber by our attachment to- material objects We are so engrossed in the affairs of the world that we have little time to think of why we are here and what is the purpose of our sojourn in this land of illusion The colossal ignorance from which we suffer, can be removed only by using the collynum given to us by a living Master When we use this, when we carry out his directions, when we nsc above the mne portals of the body and enter the tenth gate, we are on the Highway to His Mansion.

      It IS the most melodious symphony and pours forth in the most enrapturing strains This Music is the legacy of all mankind Whoever gains the Mansion of the Lord, be he a Hindu, a Sikh, a Muslim, a Christian or a Zoroastrian, he can do so only by listening to this Audible Life Stream which is the immanence of God. The Saints pomt out again and again the umqueness of the Word.

      Yet it is only a rare few — perhaps one in a milhon — who carry out sustained research within the body and unravel its mysteries This great discovery transforms all evil into virtue The sinner becomes a Saint, the pagan becomes a man of faith. The imnd is the agent of the Negative Power. Fasts and learning only add to our ego. As a snake charmer sucks away the venom of a snake, so does the Master, by umting our attention with Nam, rid the mind of maligmty and disease and take it for- ever beyond the realm of pleasure and pain Whatever way the Gurmukh points out to us, we must follow that steadfastly He exhorts us to face the Lord and to turn our back on the world Instead of losing ourselves in the mne outlets, we are urged to draw our consciousness away from the domam of senses and to focus it at the point where the Supreme Giver bestows High gifts.

      It is there that showers of heavenly nectar fall For those who drmk this ambrosia all sense pleasures lose their flavor and become insipid and tasteless It is only then that the mind returns to its own source and all. This Nam is hke the goad which is m the hands of the driver who controls every movement of the elephant.

      Gradually the enchanting strains of the Music become overpowering and all-absorbing.

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      It is then that the mind awakens to the Lord Its dreams are then cut short It recogmzes the transience and impermanence of everything that surrounds it here. It gets to know the fact that the world is unreal, that It is only a shadow-show, and that God alone is real, permanent and immortal. In actual fact, there can be no worship superior to that of Nam When we are engaged in the repeti- tion of five holy names day and mght, there can be no better recital.

      When we surrender ourselves completely to His will and go through our karmas cheerfully, there can be no better penance. Duality has to end in oneness, just as Leila was transformed into Majnun by un- alloyed love and devotion Intellectual gymnastics and wordy argumentation create, rather than demohsh, the walls that separate us from God. Through them you can rationahse your behef, but can never succeed in attaining salvation.

      In fact, the more we indulge in them, the farther we recede from our real goal. Before accepting the path, it is necessary to carry out research Let us carefully weight the value of the various methods that are supposed to awaken the mind But once a path has been accepted with full knowledge and understanding, there should be no room for furthei doubts and suspicions about its efficacy Faith works wonders and this is nowhere more true than m the pursuit of spirituality Reahaie once for all that without Saints no one can realize Nam, and without Nam, the mind remains a wild horse that runs out of control at the slightest pretext or whim The Saints do not have to add anything from without, for the treasure of Nam has been placed within us by the Lord They merely point out the way to discover it The power of learmng hes latent m all of us, but It manifests itself only when we go to schools and colleges and carry out the instructions of our teachers.

      It IS only then that we become learned and scholarly. In the same way, Gurmukhs are teachers in the school of spiritual science and whenever we wish to gam the secret, we have to offer ourselves to them This wealth lies within us in the same way as oil is in the sesamum, or fire is m the flint, or ghee is in milk, or scent is m the flower, or shade is in the clouds This THE MIND MUST BE AWAKENED 85 mystery can be unravelled and comprehended only by surrendering ourselves completely to the Gurmukhs.

      The reward of following the path is that we free ourselves from the vast pnson-house of phenomena; we end the eternal cycle of birth and rebirth, we umte with the Supreme jEleing and thus gam eternal bliss This is how the dormant mind can be awakened from Its age-old sleep Knowing th? He evidently cannot be found in forests or deserts, on the tops of mountains or in the depths of the seas The only place where He can be found is within our own selves If there is any laboratory worthy of our research, it is our own body.

      Whoever has found God has done so within himself. If there is any church or temple m which God is realized, it is none other than the human body We are faced with the problem that if God is within us, why do we not see Him? It is within the bounds of speech On the other hand, Dhunyatmak Nam cannot be reduced to writing or speech, nor can it be heard with the physical ears. Many more Saints will arrive in the future and will remember the same One Lord with different names However, Dhunyatmak Nam is transcendental m character It is beyond the senses and beyond time and space This Nam is the Creator of the universe and everything that exists All creatures, as well as the land, the water, the sun and all the heavenly bodies owe their existence to its Power.

      Nevertheless, these books serve a useful purpose because they instil in us a desire to find the Nam and thus induce ns to tread the Path What we must not forget is that the real Nam is not in these scnptures or in any other wntmgs. Just as the medical books contain the prescnptions but not the medicines, just as the account books contain the accounts but not the cash, even so, the scnptures contain the description but not THE THING A prescnption, however effective in itself, cannot provide a cure unless we procure it and take at m the right doses Similarly, the appetite of a THE LORD IS WITHIN US 89 hungry man will not be satisfied by reading recipes in a cook book It is only by eating the food that his hunger is appeased.

      So also the writings of the Saints simply point out the Way, and unless we actually tread the Path we shall never reach our Goal. If we knock at the eye center, the gateway to liberation will be opened for us When we think of our business or profession, our relations and friends, or varying scenes and objects, their forms and pictures appear before our eyes Thus, even in worldly matters, we perform a kind of Simran Repetition throughout the day, even though it is a Simran of transitory objects.

      This results in our attachment to them and it, in turn, keeps us bound to repeated incarnations and deaths All that needs to be done is to change the direction of our attention, take It in and stop it from spreading out again. As soon as our concentration is complete, we begin to hear the Dmne Melody which, in fact, is always there This Divine Melody or the Word is the heritage of all and is not confined to the Saints alone.

      Everything takes its flavor from God and turns divine; everything that happens reveals God. Some repair to temples and mosques, others seek the seclusion of forests and mountain caves Some undertake pilgnmages and holy baths, others resort to learned discourses and religious arguments or discussions These are all superficial methods, adopted by the mind to put the soul off the nght track The real and true method of commumon with the Lord is through Surat-Shabd Yog, but the imnd is a cunmng and clever waylayer Sometimes it urges us to eat, dnnk and be merry.

      We can get nd of these covenngs by listemng to the Sound Current. We should remember, however, that human bemgs are mcapable of reahzmg Him without Ehs Grace. Whenever He wills to take us out of the cycle of birth and death. He comes m the garb of a Master to take us back Home. Thus we find that first comes the grace of Gk d, and then comes die grace of the Master We should also bear in mind that we have to play our own part too.

      We must work to that end. When a beggar dances at your door for alms, it is up to you to determme whether or not you want to give him anything The beggar does not make any conditions that he will ask for alms only if he is sure to get results. His duty is simply to ask. We are all humble beggars at His door and must ask m our prayers for the bestowal of Nam. When he finds us smcere, He will shower His grace. The grace has to be received, rather as the eyes have to be opened if the hght of the sun is to be seen Huzur Maharaj Ji used to say that if we move one step towards Him, He will take ten steps towards us But we do not worship Him with selfless humility.

      If we sit m meditation, we put up a long list of requests befiire Him. This is not true worship He demands our complete surrender, and unless we place ourselves at His feet we should expect no results. We have to find Him within us and not outside. If we are to knock at the doors of any church or temple, we should knock on our own door withm.

      So also a true longing leads us to true spiritual practice and that, in turn, leads us to God- reahzation Such longing can be created within us by Satsang, by the company of Saints and fellow- travelers, and by the study of spiritual literature, in addition to the spiritual practice People who follow the dictates of the mind instead of those of the Saints, make no effort to know them- selves nor do they go beyond the domain of matter and mind. They never take, but are always the givers We should endeavor to understand them and hve up to their teachings Although God and the soul are hving together m the same house, our body, they have no commumon, because there is a thin but strong wall of the ego m us.

      The way of the Gurmukhs is to sing Bhs praises only. This is really hstemng to the Divme Melody withm and havmg complete submission to His Will. They are constantly occupied m worshipping Him. They hve m this world by taking an objective view of all thmgs as a duty, and without any love or attach- ment for the things of the world.

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      It thus keeps our tendencies extrovert By listemng to the dictates of the mind, we are offering an opportumty to an insidious enemy to defeat us, to deflect us from the purpose of human hfe, to deny us our umque pri- vilege; to keep us away from our exclusive heritage Against an outside enemy, we can put up defences of various kinds, build land and nver barriers, muster armies and weapons to win a victory over him But with an enemy residing In the same house in which we OBEY NOT THE DICTATES OF THE MIND ourselves live, all these means are of no avail With our own mind constantly leading us astray, we have no chance to win It is a case of a house divided against itself, which cannot but fall like a castle of sand.

      The only way to subdue this enemy is to go to Gurmukhs who have themselves conquered the mind, and learn from them the secret of doing so If we wish to cross the seas, we board a ship and submit to the orders of the captain of the ship Likewise, to gam mastery over the mind, to cross the ocean of the phenomenal world, to reach the distant shore, we have to board the ship of Nam captained by a Gur- mukh and unconditionally surrender to him. On this path the scattered consciousness is withdrawn and brought back to the eye fiicus, where it contacts the Word or the Audible Life Stream This gives us mastery over the mmd and m due course ends the vicious cycle of birth and death Man-mat spins around us cobwebs of doubts and suspicions.

      It engenders m us fear of pubhc criticism and slander, with the result that we give up devotion to the Lord. This only means that we consider public opinion as being superior to the Supreme Being Even if we go to Samts and Gurmukhs, we go only to gam worldly advantages. We bring with us numerous desires and cravings m our hearts which we wish them to fulfill.

      And if these are not fulfilled, we lose con- fidence m them. Little do we recall that no mother would ever allow her child to touch red-hot charcoal, nor would she ever give sweets to an aihng child. In- stead, she would draw the child away from fire. We would do well, therefore, to leave everything to His Wisdom. He is our only sheet anchor We have no one else to lean on.

      We have no haven save the Master Like a sea gull that has nothing but the jetty on the shore of the sea to perch on, we have our Master as our only refuge Yet the mind continually turns us away from Him and makes us pursue shadows, and thus drowns us in the bottom- less sea of worldly suffermg. It is only then that it changes from a foe into a friend. It IS only the rare few who follow the path and attain God-realizatjon who know that there is no difference between the man of God and God Himself.

      Not only do we ourselves cross the ocean of phenomena by devotion to Satguru and Nam, but we also enable our family and friends to do the same. If lust, anger and hatred dominate the heart, the vision of Cod will fade away. The Gurmukhs are in constant communion with the Lord Nay, they are the very Lord themselves. Attached to them with bonds of love, faith and devo- tion, we also gam the region of meffable peace and eternal bhss and become one with the Lord.

      When we look around us, we do not see the Omnipresent, Omniscient and Ommpotent Lord, despite the fact that all Saints have said with one voice that no particle of the Universe is without Him, So- long as we are in deep slumber, so long as the knots of attachment are tied tightly around our neclffl, so long as love for the world and its objects fills the pores of our body, so long as the utter darkness of ignorance hes thick and heavy upon us, so long as the blinding screen of ego remains intact, so long as the third eye remains closed, we can never see the rcfiilgence of the Lord and meet Him face to face The soul and the mind are tied together in a knot.

      We open the floodgates of sorrow and suftenng We are cast loose from our moonngs. We sacrifice a valued principle to gam material objects and wealth which only too often leave in their wake, bickering and bitterness, clash and confusion, discord and dissension Even when we engage ourselves in recitals and penances, and other siimlar rehgious practices, we remain subservient to the mind Our multitude of wishes and desires does not leave us We merely change our old fetters for new ones.

      We get rid of iron manacles only to fasten on chains of gold. We move from huts into palaces We rise from poverty to nches We replace the broom m our hands with the reins of power and authority, but the five passions give us no rest, or respite The five foes do not stop their vicious and determined pursuit We remain in the same hapless and helpless phght We stay in the dark dungeon of this world We continue to be prisoners weighed down with heavy chains.

      They have called this same power by different names in different languages We have no quarrel with words. We are not to engage in wordy duels nor should -we stir up struggle and strife. But in association with the mind it becomes extremely dirty. It gathers heavy coats of rust, it loses memory of Its immanence, it begins to feel that it has no separate existence, that it is a part of the body and the mind, that it is a powerless clay which can be moulded by the potter mind into a vessel of any shape, that it is a fragile piece of parchment that can be blown hither and thither by the winds of passion When it IS once again umted with Nam, however, it comes into Its owm, it awakens from deep slumber, it recogmzes Its exalted origin, it realizes that it is different from the body and the mind It then dawns on the soul that these two, the body and the mind, are mere accretions, mere garments, mere coverings to hide its purity, to mask Its transparency, to provide vehicles for its functiomng in the world The uncovering of the soul is the discovering of God So long as the soul is attached to the body, it can never escape from its captive condition All of us in this world are ignorant and bhnd.

      This IS so despite the fact that we have to our credit many remarkable scientific achievements. But we still have little knowledge of our Creator We even deny Ehs existence We bear no love for Him. Instead, we lavish our love upon the world and its shadow-shapes We try to make them our own. Our chains can be broken only by devotion to Nam. So far as reading is concerned it is not to be condemned, for it brings home to us the manner in which we should live in the world, the way we should conduct ourselves, but putting into practice what we read is infimtely more important Reading alone IS like churning water, we can never make butter out of it The scriptures remain a string of empty words unless they lead to the Reahty which they all describe They can never consummate salvation of the soul Example is better than precept.

      How happy we are to have a child We celebrate the event with a flourish, but if the child falls ill or turns out to be evil, or the Lord calls him back, our gnef and sorrow know no end We amass wealth, sacrificing for it our health, our morals, our principles We feel greatly elated; but if it is lost or stolen we are struck dumb, and are filled with dejection and despair We run after name and fame, but history tells us that we may soon have to face disgrace and dishonor In a shadow-show nothing can be lasting.

      In the domain of Kal there can be only torments and tears Lasting peace, endless happiness, ever-increas- ing joy, ineffable bliss, and never-ending sunshine can be had only in the domain of Dayal, the merciful and compassionate Lord Within the mne outlets flows nothing but pain; above the eyes there is nothing but pleasure Just as lasting bliss is impossible in the former, so is pain non-existent in the latter.

      They keep us constantly in the laybnnth of this world and at the time of our departure they are no more than helpless spectators Saints urge, therefore, that we devote ourselves to Nam Bhakti one-pointedly, wholeheartedly and exclusively If we are ever to nd ourselves of attach- ments and love of the world, it will be only through Nam Bhakti If we are ever to be really wise, we have no other path to follow but to depend wholly on Nam If we wish to go beyond the domain of matter and mind, we can do so only by practising Nam to the exclusion of all else.

      If we wish to break the spell that Maya has laid on us, we can only succeed by gathering Nam If we wish to realize ourselves by getting nd of our covers of darkness and ignorance, there is no better remedy than that of Nam. If there is one thing and only one that can awaken us from our long sleep, it is the potent charm of Nam If we are to advance towards Godhood there is no better staff than Nam. Therefore, sitting, standing, eating, dnnking, awake or asleep, we must keep our attention at the third eye focus and hear the celestial music We must remain within the magnetic field of the Audible Life Stream Nam alone is the panacea for all ills.

      It is then that we realize that Nam alone matters. It IS the only wealth that we should amass while hving in this world. It is the only wealth that can be eternally ours. Nam is distinct from all else. It has no stain and no impurity. When we merge in it we also become transparent, pure and refulgent.

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      It IS transcendent and everlasting, and by devotion to It we also become distinct from the world and become eternal and everlasting. We cross the phenomenal world of joy and sorrow, pleasure and pain, nches and poverty, health and disease, hope and despair, youth and old age, and life and death. But we have to desert the leaky boat of the mmd and must board the shin of Nam captained by our Master. Those who are fortimate enough to do this reach their destination safely and meet the Lord. Others linger on m doubts and suspicions, fall into the rapids and whirlpools of life, get tossed about by the stormy waves, and perish m the morasses of sensuahty, disease and decay.

      We are all m the domain of Kal.

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      So long as we remam in it we will have to continue the rounds of birth and death, we will have to suffer pain and privation. This alone is the way to escape from the ocean of incarnation and death. He alone is permanent, unchanging, everlasting on the other- wise shifting sands of time and space. Those who devote themselves to Him alone also become eternal and deathless They end forever their roimds of Inrth and death, they transcend darkness and ignorance and enter the realms illummed by the refulgence of the Lord.

      The seat of Shabd hes withm the human body The celestial sound emerges from Sach Khand and resounds at the eye focus m all human beings. We have to jom our consciousness with it and reach our home by traversing one stage after the other.