A True Saint
A true saint is practically the same as God Himself. Like God, the saint also is by nature. All everything is in him, he is in everything, he belongs to all, and, at the same time, he is separate and distinct from all. All this happens, because he is one with God.
The true saint is the prop and support of the universe, its object of adoration, its very embodiment, its protector, its ornament. He is the prop of Dharma, the very embodiment of Dharma, the personification and protector of Dharma. By his very nature, he goes on performing acts, which continue to protect the universe and Brahma. But in spite of this, he ever lives transcending the universe.
The saint is ever free from the least trace of egoism and pride; hence he never claims that he has realized God by his own effort. He lays primary emphasis on Divine grace as the means to God–realization. His effort is, in reality, guided by grace, and is identical with grace.
The saint is, like God, an ocean of compassion: he is by nature everybody’s friend. In that compassion of his, there is no place either for cowardice or attachment, selfishness or fear, desire or pride. Just as the sun gives light to the universe by its nature; even so the saint shows compassion to all in the universe. But being very far-sighted, or possessed of the total vision of the whole, the compassion works for the fulfillment of what conduces to real good in its effect. That is why though extremely mild by temperament, and possessed of a heart which is ever full of the milk of human kindness, there are occasions when he may appear as hard as the adamant.
The saint is wholly equal in his attitude towards all; he is sameness personified, and is the very embodiment of equality. Without entertaining any attachment towards anybody, he gives his artless love to all. Just as in the case of an average man, when a limb of his body gives either the sensation of pleasure or pain, he feels it equally, for he is identified with and attached to the whole body: even so the saint, free from egoism and attachment in naturally identified with all beings, he appears to feel pleasure and pain, and tries even at the cost of his life to remove their suffering and increase their happiness. For their own false self interest, worldly-minded persons do not hesitate to injure others. Contrary to this, the saint will, with a smile on his lips, sacrifice his body, and all that is held dear in this world for the true good of others. He does not care even to look at his own happiness or suffering. In respect of such conduct, though appearing unequal, his mind ever remains stable in the state of equality. Neither happiness in its finest form, nor misery in its worst and crudest form, can shake him from that stable state.
In all fights between the qualities of honour or dishonor, praise and blame, profit and loss, the saint ever remains equal. When he receives honour, praise and wordly profit. he does not feel puffed up with pleasure; similarly, in dishonor , blame and loss, he does not forget the self through dejection of the spirit. But he does not hesitate to do what is appropriate under all circumstances. Neither is he afraid of accepting honour, praise and worldly profit, nor does he consider it a loss from the point of view of the self to adopt some remedial means against dishonor, blame and insult. But even while doing so, he remains ever above, untouched and always unaffected by them.
Though subject to no duty, or obligatory and prohibitory rules of conduct, the saints ever exhibit extreme devotion to their duties, and scrupulously observe all the rule of conduct. The spring of desire in their heart for universal welfare constantly compels them to act in such a way that it may contribute to the good of the world. Though internally established in the self, beyond the realm of desires, they perform only auspicious deeds, like any country practicant observing caution about his acts. Though living beyond the bounds of ‘acceptance’ and ‘rejection’ , they move in the world accepting what is auspicious, and rejecting what is inauspicious. That is why their life becomes an ideal for other men to follow.
Though all true saints internally satisfy the standard set forth above, it is not necessary that the external conduct of all of them should be invariably as described above, or should follow a uniform patters.
After going through the above account we have understood well the noble virtues of a true saint. Blessed is he who comes across such a saint in his life. He is very fortunate if he gets a chance to be in his company or live with him for a period. But to derive the maximum of divinity, grace and blessedness one must know how to behave and serve the true saint. There are some specific points to be observed with utmost sincerity.
Never seek any worldly object through service of a Mahatma, or contract with him. And if you gain any such object, never hold that you got this through the grace of the Mahatma. The grace of a true Mahatma results in the attainment of a very high object-the eternal, indestructible Truth. Mahatmas do not care for transient, destructible things.
Not that the grace of a Mahatma cannot help you in gaining a worldly object, but to attempt to utilize the grace for any such purpose is as good as, nay, even more absurd than securing a huge load of rubbish in exchange for the philosopher’s stone. It means lowering the value of the Mahatma’s grace and scattering it to dust.
The contact of a Mahatma is bound to lead to the eradication of evil conduct and the evil impulses an d promptings of the mind and the gaining of the divine virtues, and when one takes shelter under his grace it is bound to bring one of that eternal state of Truth and Bliss which the scriptures describe as the state of (Truth, Bless and Beauty). Nothing is left to be attained after the attainment of this state.
Among the associates and followers of a true Mahatma, purity of conduct is as natural as it is in presence of the sun to get light and experience heat. If you observe any deviation from this, you should conclude that either the Mahatma is not a true Mahatma, or that you are not a true associate and follower of his.
He is a true associate of the Mahatma, who associates himself with the conduct of the Mahatma, and he is a true follower who regulates his conduct according to the directions of the Mahatma. When these two conditions are satisfied and yet there is no improvement in the conduct of the follower, it should be concluded that there is some deficiency in the Mahatma himself.
But there may be possibility of error in this. Among associates and followers there are many who imagine themselves to be associates and followers, but they neither carry out the wishes of the Mahatma, nor do they seek to imbibe the purity of conduct of the Mahatma.
On the other hand, there is no lack of imposters assuming the role of a Mahatma. A true Mahatma is he who has attained constant union with God; who has surrendered to God all his desires, attachment, sense of possession and even his individuality; who has become an embodiment of equability, peace, contentment, non-injury to others, magnanimity, simplicity, gravity, forgiveness, patience, Truth and self-restraint; whose heart is never touched by despair, grief, feat, anxiety, restlessness, lust, anger, greed, infatuation, jealously, pride, egoism, hypocrisy, etc; who lives beyond the influence of pairs of opposite impulses like joy and sorrow, honour and dishonour, praise and blame, friendship and enmity, love and hatred, etc; whose body, mind and wealth are completely dedicated to the service of others; who having absorbed all selves into his own self has merged his ‘self’ in the Paramatma(God).
The truth is, not to speak of association, the heart of man is purified merely by the touch, sight, thought, praise or even the the hearing of the name and glory of the Mahatma, when this is done with reverence. The impurities of the heart get eradicated through the mere touch of the dust of his sacred feet. Therefore, cultivate true reverence for the Mahatma. Associate with him in the proper sense of the term and be a true follower of his. You will, then, become a Mahatma yourself.
But never aspire to be called a Mahatma follow by all means the footsteps of a Mahatma; make your conduct as pure as that of a Mahatma, and be a Mahatma; but never allow the desire to cross your mind that people should know you or regard you as a Mahatma. The opinion of the people in this matter possesses no value at all. The true values lies in your purity of conduct, in the superior level of your spiritual existence.
If there are shortcomings in you, do not try to concea them; if they are revealed before others, allow them to be thoroughly revealed But certainly attempt to hide your virtues. Feel abashed through humility when your virtues are revealed before others. Know it to be like death itself to advertise your own virtues.
Never desire to hear your praise from the lips of others; know that to be poison mixed with sugar. Words of praise are very sweet to hear; but he who it caught in the meshes of love of praise loses all hope of being released from the whirligig of births and deaths. A lover of praise gets used to hear only words of praise and cannot tolerate any criticism, however true it may be. As a result of this he has to devote his life only to earning praise. In this world praise generally goes to the person who when weighted in the balance of the world proves himself to be heavy and substantial. The measures of weight of his worldly balance are generally such as go to make a man a worshipper of external nature, that is, transform the element of consciousness in him into gross matter. If you must hear; gather courage to hear your censure. Do not be afraid of blame. It is true you must never be guilty of any conduct which may run counter to the injunctions of the scriptures, or the inner voice of your soul. A Mahatma is not touched by either praise or blame, he lives beyond both, and treats both with an equal eye. But he who aspires to follow the footsteps of Mahatmas has to cultivate love or attachment for blame and fear of praise. It is then that he can hope in the future to attain the spiritual state of a Mahatma.