Scrubbing

Preliminary notes on an often overlooked spiritual topic:


   The great Huang Po is credited with saying, “If you have not endured through the bone-chilling winter, how can you except to enjoy the scent of plum blossoms?” We generally do not like to hear things like that, but purification is an essential and unavoidable part of the path, if it is actually to be lived, and not merely realized or understood.

   Sant Darshan Singh was a contemporary spiritual master who spoke quite alot about this preliminary “scrubbing” process for the soul.

   "...in order to make something of great value and beauty in the lovers, the Beloved sometimes shakes up their hearts. Not all lovers can withstand it. Many hearts become crushed or broken in this process. But those who are able to submit to the Beloved's shake-up, and who surrender to it, are not broken - instead they come out whole and give forth the sweetest taste. Such lovers who have surrendered to the Beloved's treatment, be it gentle or vigorous, are the most fortunate."

   It is this aspect of the path which makes the Eastern Orthodox Fathers consider spirituality to be a branch of medicine - not philosophy. And in my case, for Kirpal Singh to use the metaphor of an ashram as a “hospital” (for sick souls).

   A friend of mine wrote: "as we drove in on a bus to Sawan Ashram and entered through the gate, Sant Darshan said, “This is where souls were made into men and women.“ He focused on “man making” a great deal and was a role model of a compassionate and loving being.

   St. John of the Cross spoke this way of some of the more advanced stages of this cleansing process:

   “The purgation of sense is only the entrance and beginning of infused contemplation leading to the purgation of the spirit, which, as we have likewise said, serves rather to accommodate sense to spirit than to unite spirit with God. But there still remain in the spirit the stains of the old man [i.e., blemishes”, according to Darshan Singh, the Sants, various Tibetan gurus, and others],  although the spirit thinks not that this is so, neither can it perceive them; if these stains be not removed with the soap and strong lye of the purgation of this night, the spirit will be unable to come to the purity of Divine Union...It is clear that God grants the soul in this state the favour of purging it and healing it with this strong lye or bitter purgation, according to its spiritual and sensual part, of all the imperfect habits and affections which it had within itself with respect to temporal things and to natural, sensual and spiritual things, it’s inward faculties being darkened, and voided of all these, its spiritual and sensual affections being constrained and dried up, and its natural energies being attenuated and weakened with respect to all this (a condition which it could never attain of itself, as we shall shortly say). In this way God makes it to die to all that is not naturally God, so that once it is stripped and denuded of its former skin, He may clothe it anew. And thus its youth is renewed like the eagle’s and it is clothed with the new man, which, as the Apostle says, is created according to God.”

   Kirpal Singh wrote:

   “The subconscious reservoir of the mind  must be thoroughly drained out before it can be filled with the love of the Lord/Master.”

   “Masters are commissioned to take all to Sach Khand. He will not if you are not clean. Make my job easier. I must clean you. Masters always test their followers, each in his own methods. These tests are for advanced disciples - those who have advanced by the Master’s grace - and usually they are not aware of what is happening.”
(Sat Sandesh, September 1973)

   Scrubbing....An initiate can hardly imagine what he has signed up for.

   Sri Nisargadatta:

   Q: Why is my faith weak?
   M: Desires and fears have dulled your mind. It needs scrubbing.


   His master, Shri Sadguru Siddharameshwar Maharaj, wrote of building a 'platform' formed by investigation and deduction of the four major bodies: Gross, Subtle, Causal, and Great-Causal, before the "Truth of the Self" can be invoked and established:

   "The procedure for making something is quite different from the procedure of scrubbing and cleaning thereby making it absolutely smooth and appealing. Unless it has been manufactured in that finished condition, it will not be considered finished, nor will it return a fair price. Therefore, before becoming a Siddha, we must be aspirants for some time, persistently polishing the "Pure Knowledge" of the Great Causal Body. It must be made completely clean."
(p. 75, Master of Self-Realization)

   Master Weishan (771-853):

   “Though the practitioner may get a moment of sudden awakening to the inherent truth from causal circumstances, he still has the flowing consciousness of manifold karma without beginning. The Dharma will cleanse that.”


   Kabir:

   "With no thought of the self, be established in him;
   After the mind, what then remains? Not even the body;
   Having given the body and the mind, no burden remains to be carried;
   He who takes pride in this sacrifice will yet have punishment;
   For who can part with the seed-mind within?
   O Kabir! How can that mind be subdued and surrendered?
   Along with body and mind part thou with the seed-mind;
   O Kabir! Only after hearing the master, one becomes fearless;
   Place the seed-mind at the altar of the Lotus Feet of the Master.”
   "So what if you have dropped illusion?
   You didn't drop your pride.
   Pride has fooled the best sages,
   Pride devours all."
- Bijak

   Another friend writes:

   “The metaphor that you shared reminds me of story #97 in The Flowering of Grace, one of my favorite stories in that book which you recommended to me, in which Fannie is shown, during an NDE, the blemishes on her soul, and so forth. I especially like the story too because it portrays the Lords of Karma (or, as she called them, Karmic Judges), as concerned with her growth and with providing her with opportunities, rather than as cold, heartless meanies. Then Sant Rajinder Singh steps in a negotiates a compromise, promising to take responsibility for her growth. Great story.”

   A similar example of purification of such blemishes, or “harmful traces,” while out of the body is given in Peaceful Death, Joyful Rebirth, by Tulku Thondup, p. 163-165:

   “[Do Khyentse Yeshe Dorje (1800-1866)] got sick with small pox, which in those days was fatal. As a result, he expired and remained dead for fifteen days. Since he had exhibited unusual mystical power from his childhood, his followers didn’t touch his body, hoping that he would return to life. Do Khyentse felt that he was accompanied by his sister Dakini Losal Drolma, who was also a great adept, and two other women and a yogi. They traveled to many parts of the world, from the hell realms to the celestial realms.”

   “Crossing many continents, they went toward the Glorious Copper-Colored Mountain, the pure land of Guru Rinpoche [Padmasambhava]. On the way, they met various beings at different places. Although he couldn’t understand their languages, he was able to communicate with them all through the power of intrinsic awareness of his mind.”

   “At the beginning of a enormous bridge, his party was met by ten wrathful deities. The deities performed a rite of dispelling harmful traces from their human habits, even though they were realized masters who had been separated from their bodies.”

   “After going through the outer and inner gates, they were met by a great adept holding a vase filled with nectar. The adept purified them by washing their impurities with the stream of nectar from the vase.”

   “Then they entered a palace with inconceivable manifestations of prosperity. Inside, they saw Guru Rinpoche in wrathful form with such overwhelming power that Do Khyentse fainted away in great fear for a while. When he regained consciousness he witnessed all the deities enjoying a human body as a feast. It seemed to him that the body they were enjoying was his own...Generally, resistance against giving up or losing our physical body, born of our habits of attachment, is strong. To get rid of that habit of attachment is a powerful spiritual feat.”

   “Then they climbed up a great crystal stairway. Do Khyentse felt as if they were floating up like pieces of paper in the wind, not having gross bodies anymore, since those bodies had been devoured by the deities on the way. They entered an astonishingly beautiful and crystal palace...At the center of the palace, Guru Rinpoche was sitting on a precious throne, radiating rays of light in all directions...Then a dikini with a white complexion holding a skull in her hand approached Do Khyentse. She explained: “Guru Rinpoche is the embodiment of all the Buddha’s of the three times. His manifestations appear in every realm of the universe, likely one moon with reflections in numerous vessels of water. Like a reflection in a mirror, you too are manifested by Guru Rinpoche and delegated to Tibet to serve human and nonhuman beings and to discover and preserve the mystical hidden teachings. Since you were obscured by womb defilement of your illusory body, your body was consumed by the deities as a feast. Now you have the body of light with the essence of wisdom...”


   Anadi writes:

   “It is essential to understand that even with inner awakening, expansion beyond the mind, it is not sufficient to reach complete emancipation.Until the mind has become pure and the heart healed, the burdens of the past will not allow the soul to achieve true freedom.We cannot realize the state of surrender without undergoing a deep purification that enables our human nature to fuse with the soul.”

   Fenelon:

   “There is no remedy for all this except hoping in God, who is as good and powerful as you are weak and bad. Yet he will probably let you grovel on at length without uprooting your natural disposition and your long-formed habits. That is because it is far better for you to be crushed by your own weakness and frailty and by the proof of your inability to escape from it, than to enjoy a sudden advance toward perfection.”


   Bhai Sahib, guru of Irena Tweedie:

   “There is only one Teacher, only one Spiritual Guide in the whole world, for each of us. For only he alone is allowed to subject a free human being to sufferings and conditions - only he and nobody else.”   “On the physical plane, or the worldly platform, as Guruji likes to put it, the Sufi training is chiefly a test of endurance. How much one can endure for the sake of love. How much and how long one can tolerate.”   “It works this way: if one comes to the saint and the saint is pleased, he will clean your room. What is your room? Your heart. And the cleaning means that the samskaras are being pushed. This will cause great suffering. People will then say: he is punishing her. But in reality it is not so.”
- Daughter of Fire, p. 144, 558, 576