The Recognition of a True Spiritual Master

The Recognition of a True Spiritual Master

The Recognition of a True Spiritual Master (Sant Satguru)
     82. The recognition of a true spiritual master is the most difficult of tasks. However, the one who has purity of character (rectitude), who practices diligently the Yoga of Sound, and who can explain clearly Sant Mat (the Path of Saints) can be accepted and trusted and given devotion as a spiritual master. A person without rectitude or purity of character, regardless of the other qualities just mentioned, should not be regarded as a true master.

If one has accepted a teacher and later finds him or her lacking in rectitude, that teacher should be abandoned. In spite of the teacher’s exquisite knowledge, association with that teacher is not desirable if he or she is lacking in moral character. As the aspirant is particularly affected by the teacher’s moral character, it is imperative to avoid teachers without moral virtues. Purity of character is the essential quality of a teacher and if purity is lacking that teacher is no better than an animal. A teacher lacking purity of character or other essential virtues is a false spiritual teacher.

Kabir Sahab states:

If you ought to learn the holy science of attaining the Supreme from the master, sacrifice your ego to him. For many having kept their pride, lost themselves in the current of ignorance. Surrender yourself to him who has no worldly desires, who is devoted to God and has forgone his ego. Do not take long in leaving the association of a false teacher for you will wander time and again and will not find the Entrance to the Divine Sound.


The fruits of accepting a true master are immense. Unfortunately, true teachers are few and difficult to find. A spiritual master who is wise, pure and a practitioner of the Yoga of Divine Sound gradually imparts his or her virtues to the student. The good will of the spiritual teacher cannot but help affecting the aspirant in a positive manner because one is affected by the power of a higher vibration. Section 77 describes the qualities of the teacher and how the aspirant benefits from his or her relationship with the teacher.

The master who practices the Yoga of Sound but is negligent in his moral character and in his spiritual knowledge is harmful to the seeker of spiritual knowledge. If one has accepted such a master, disregarding the importance of rectitude and knowledge, the aspirant would be deprived of the benefits of the association with a true preceptor, mentioned in the previous paragraph. In addition, in following an immoral teacher the aspirant would have the difficult task of not going astray, much less advancing on the Spiritual Path. However, without the aid of a true teacher this spiritual task can be undertaken by a few steadfast learned disciples. For most it is almost impossible to undertake this task.

Clearly the energy, physical and mental, of one person can enhance the same faculties of another person. Thus it is not surprising that the spiritual power of one who is advanced in meditation enhances the spiritual energy of the aspirant…

It is apparent that the disciple benefits from the sacred radiance (personal aura), higher knowledge, and spiritual energy of the master. Baba Devi Sahab quotes the verses of Ghat Ramayana of Tulsi Sahab in which Sant Tulsi Sahab, in giving instruction to an aspirant describes the importance of a true master:

“0 Taki ( disciple) after being veracious and
content (giving up the illusory enchantments
of the worldly things) go in the shelter of a
perfect spiritual teacher who will give you
the secret knowledge to get into Sushumma
Nadi (the door to internal spiritual knowledge).”

The saints and true teachers are known to be impartial; their blessings fall like the rain. However, the rain, while falling on all, tends to collect in deep pools just as the grace of the saints while showering on all flows rapidly and collects in the deep pools of the aspirants who are devoted. It is not surprising that the aspirants through their devotion draw the grace of the master towards them. Aspirants who give great attention to the ways of the teacher are worthy of the gift of knowledge. Obviously, not the careless one, but the one who honors the gift and cares for the receiving bowl receives the gift of the grace of the teacher. Making oneself worthy is the secret of devotion to the master, the way of gaining grace as described in the writings of the saints.

K. Narayanswami Aiyar translates a Sanskrit hymn of the third Brahmana of the Mandal Bramanopanishad as:

“Saying this, he the Purusa of the sun embraced
his pupil and made him understand it.”

In his commentary on this verse, Narayanswami Aiyar states:

This is a reference to the secret way of imparting higher Truth (the Knowledge of God). (Thirty Minor Upanishads, p.259)


It is essential that the spiritual teacher has penetrated the Realms and shattered the illusion of the material plane. Even the spark of a little teaching of Shabad-Yoga for the attainment of the Supreme as learned from a teacher will be of far greater value than the worldly teachings.

During this lifetime, the one whose consciousness at the time of samadhi (a state of deep trance) transcends all the concealments of the Non-Conscious Realms and immerses in the Sabdatet Pada is satguru (the true spiritual master). Even while engaged in activity, the consciousness of a true master remains uninvolved, and remains poised in the Essential Divine Sound.

-Maharishi Mehi, The Philosophy of Liberation, Translated by Don and Veena Howard, Sant Mat Society of North America)

Reverse thy gait from the court of this
world and attain thy True Home.
The drop will merge in the Ocean, and thou
thyself will know the wonder.
The lost treasure will be found and thy true
Self will be revealed.
He who has solved this riddle, 0 Tulsi,
is indeed a true Saint.
-Param Sant Tulsi Sahab, Shabdavali, Agra, India

251. If a person at the outset finds a teacher who does not know the mystery of Shabd, but subsequently finds a Sat Guru versed in Shabd, he should give up the former and submit himself to the Sat Guru. To quote a couplet: “Do not hesitate to give up a false (imperfect) guru, otherwise you will not find the portals of Shabd and will go on missing the right path again and again.” (Sar Bachan Prose, Book Two, Sayings of Soami Ji Maharaj)

252. He, who first meets a guru who knows the secret of Shabd but has not yet attained perfection, but later on meets the Sat Guru who is perfect in Shabd practice, should consider the previous guru as included in the perfect Sat Guru and take the protection of the Latter. (Sar Bachan Prose, Book Two, Published by Mrs. S.D. Maheshwari, Agra)

The last part of the last sentence again, from the Dayal Bagh translation of Sar Bachan Prose: “…he should consider his previous Guru as present within the Satguru and seek the protection of the Satguru.” (Dayalbagh Press, Agra, India)

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