Here's something curious (or, maybe not). Back in my fundamentalist days – yes, there's Eastern fundamentalism also – I was deeply concerned about my salvation.
I felt just like Woody Allen:
I don't want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it through not dying.
Yet now that I've evolved to a more open and non-dogmatic form of spirituality, I don't obsess nearly as much over whether I'll live on after I die. Or in what fashion my rebirth will occur, should that be in the cards for me.
So when I was nominally more religious, a true believer in the Radha Soami Satsang Beas (RSSB) branch of Sant Mat, I was seriously worried about what was going to happen to this ego-encapsulated being known as "Brian."
Yet isn't religiosity supposed to make you humble and egoless? I got to thinking about this after reading the July 2007 issue of the Western USA RSSB newsletter:
Sant Mat tells us…We have the opportunity to attain immortality…jivan mukhti, salvation before death.
Well, my first thought was "how can you be saved before you die?" I can see how you could believe you're saved from hellfire, rebirth, or whatever before your physical death.
However, until you actually die, that's just a hypothesis. Death is the ultimate spiritual experiment. It separates truth from falsehood cleanly, just like that!
My second thought was, "immortality sounds nice, but if it doesn't happen, that's OK too." As if I had a choice in the matter.
I was struck by how calmly I could accept precious little me being gone forever, imaginatively at least (hold a gun to my head and my reaction might be quite different).
Again, isn't this curious? Religious people fret over whether they're doing everything just right to ensure their personal salvation. This points to a Me-Me-Me mentality.
I know, because I once had it. And knew many others with the same "Thank god I'm saved, while others aren't" mentality.
That seems self-centered to me now. Plus, it doesn't show much faith in the goodness, justice, and harmony of the cosmos.
With my current Taoist sensibility, I'm pretty much content to accept that what will be, will be. I'm not looking for any special salvationary treatment.
On a Metolius river walk today, I came across a natural bridge that spanned the water.
Another stopped halfway. But the end of it displayed a burst of beauty.
I don't know which comes closest to being an analogy for what happens when we die. Do we fall into deep waters, never to rise again, or do we cross to another side?
Whichever, it seems to me that flowing along with whatever comes along is the best (and, really, only) course of action.
Life is much better enjoyed, and even the smallest things much more seen, then that was, in the santmat period..
There is not anymore the feeling of"actually I have to do simran, or attachments problems, or I have to do my meditation..''so, just go with the flow and enjoy whatever there IS,is very beautiful these days..
I agree with you about the ''ego''..just don't think about it and it doesn't seem such a big deal..
Posted by: Sita | July 04, 2007 at 01:01 PM
Thought you might want to see Pistis Sophia ch. 118:
And the Saviour answered and said unto Mary: "Amēn, amēn, I say unto you: All men who shall receive the mysteries of the Ineffable, blessed indeed are the souls which shall receive of those mysteries; but if they turn and transgress and come out of the body before they have repented, the judgment of those men is sorer than all the judgments, and it is exceedingly violent, even if those souls are new and it is their first time for coming into the world. They will not return to the changes of the bodies from that hour onwards and will not be able to do anything, but they will be cast out into the outer
darkness and perish and be non-existent for ever."
Posted by: Robert Wahler | December 16, 2012 at 03:29 PM
sorry, ch 119
Yes, I'm a Satsangi
Posted by: Robert Wahler | December 16, 2012 at 03:35 PM
"For the fate of the sons of men and the fate of beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts; for all is vanity. "
- Ecclesiastes 3:19
Posted by: Mike Williams | December 16, 2012 at 09:29 PM
Real salvation, necessarily must be a matter of one's own state of consciousness, real knowledge, and understanding of the nature of 'existence'. Everyone will be "saved", but only when they have awakened to Reality. That is the only true salvation and liberation from suffering.
Posted by: Roger | December 17, 2012 at 02:06 PM
Roger, just out of interest are you from the UK? I always thought that the UK and India had the vast majority of RS sangat and that in the US there would be a few centres.
A question to ex/present USA satsangis, is there seva on Saturdays? Here in the UK we have seva every saturday at the main centre, the seva consists of office work, gardening etc.
Posted by: Gaz | December 17, 2012 at 02:21 PM
I'm from Texas, now living in Las Vegas, Nevada. I have no background in RS sangat?
Being a Texan, what the heck is a sangat?
Posted by: roger | December 18, 2012 at 10:03 AM