Header Graphic

   An often overlooked spiritual topic, this article is a companion piece to “Spirituality is Medicine - Not Philosophy” on this website.

   The great Huang Po is credited with saying, “If you have not endured through the bone-chilling winter, how can you expect 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, or even truly understood.

   “I continue to thank God daily for having thus struck me in His mercy by making me pass through this spiritual cleansing.” - deCaussade

   “God proves the devotee by means of severe ordeals. A washerman beats the cloth on a slab, not to tear it, but only to remove the dirt.” - Namah Shivaya

   “The innermost light, shining peacefully and timelessly in the heart, is the real Guru. All others merely show the way…The inner Guru bides his chance. Obtuseness and wrong pursuits bring about a crisis and the disciple wakes up to his own plight. Wise is he who does not wait for a shock, which can be quite rude…The inner Guru is not committed to non-violence. He can be quite violent at times, to the point of destroying the obtuse or perverted personality. Suffering and death, as life and happiness, are his tools of work…The self means well. But it must be taken seriously. It calls for attention and obedience; when it is not listened to, it turns from persuasion to compulsion, for while it can wait, it shall not be denied.” - Sri Nisargadatta

   “He who is not tempted, what does he know? And he who is not tried, what are the things he knows?” [Ecclus. 34:9-10]

   “You have chastised me, Lord, and I was instructed.” [Jer. 31:18]

   “For whom the Lord loveth, he chaseneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth.” (Heb. 12:6)

   “Real teachers smelt and refine their students hundreds and thousands of times.” - Yuanwu (1063-1135)

   “The soul, as it were, is undergoing a cure to regain its health, which is God himself.” (Kavanaugh/Rodriguez, trans., St.John of the Cross, The Dark Night of the Soul, Bk 2, Ch 16, 10)

   “There are many who desire to advance and persistently beseech God to bring them to this state of perfection. Yet when God wills to conduct them through the initial trials and mortifications, as is necessary, they are unwilling to suffer them and shun them, flee from the narrow road of life [Mt. 7:14] and seek the broad road of their own consolation, which is that of their own perdition [Mt. 7:13]; thus they do not allow God to begin to grant their petition. They are like useless containers, for although they desire to reach the state of the perfect they do not want to be guided by the path of trials that leads to it...God finds few vessels that will endure so lofty and sublime a work.”
- Kavanaugh/Rodriguez, trans., St. John of the Cross (The Living Flame of Love, Stanza 2, 27)

   This can get intense at times, for one is dealing with The Master:

   “Since this divine contemplation assails them somewhat forcefully in order to subdue and strengthen their soul, they suffer so much in their weakness that they almost die...In order for the rust of the affections which are within the soul to be purified, it is needful that, in a certain manner, the soul should be annihilated and destroyed, the poisons and imperfections have become so natural to it.”

   “Wherefore, because the soul is purified in thus forge like gold in the crucible, as the Wise man says [Wis. 3:6], it feels both this terrible undoing in its very substance and extreme poverty as though it were approaching its end.”
(A. Peers, trans., The Dark Night of the Soul, Book Two, Chapter 5, Verse 6; Chapter 6, Verse 6)

   “The world is a furnace in whose fires the soul is purified.” - Baba Sawan Singh (The Dawn of Light)

   Sant Darshan Singh spoke quite a lot about this “shaking-up” or “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. Some 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.” (1)

   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 Sant 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.“ Kirpal Singh often said, “To become God is easy, to become a man is difficult.”

   St. Paissos: My God, I do not know what You will do, but I surrender myself to You completely so that You will make me into a human being.”

   Shri Atmananda: ”Become a man and nothing more. Then you are free.”-

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

   “The habitual imperfections are the imperfect habits and affections which have remained all the time in the spirit, and are like roots, to which the purgation of sense has been unable to penetrate. The difference between the purgation of these and that of this other kind is the difference between the root and branch, or between the removing of a stain which is fresh and one which is old and of long standing. For, as we said, 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 of 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.” (The Dark Night of the Soul)

   David sayeth: ”He sent fire into my bones, and has taught me.” (Lamentations, i, 13)

   In the Rig Veda IX.83 we read:

   "Wide spread out for thee is the sieve of thy purifying, O Master of the soul; becoming in the creature thou pervadest his members all through. He tastes not that delight who is unripe and whose body has not suffered in the heat of the fire; they alone are able to bear that and enjoy it who have been prepared by the flame."

   Sri Aurobindo wrote:

   "But it is not every human system that can hold, sustain and enjoy the potent and often violent ecstasy of that divine delight. Ataptatanur na tad amo asnute, he who is raw and his body not heated does not taste or enjoy that; srtasa id vahantas tat smasata, only those who have been baked in the fire bear and entirely enjoy that. The wine of the divine Life poured into the system is a strong, overflooding and violent ecstasy; it cannot be held in the system unprepared for it by strong endurance of the utmost fires of life and suffering and experience. The raw earthen vessel not baked to consistency in the fire of the kiln cannot hold the Soma-wine; it breaks and spills the precious liquid. So the physical system of the man who drinks this strong wine of Ananda must by suffering and conquering all the torturing heats of life have been prepared for the secret and fiery heats of the Soma; otherwise his conscious being will not be able to hold it; it will spill and lose it as soon as or even before it is tasted or it will break down mentally and physically under the touch." (1a)

   anadi likewise explains why this purificatory process is necessary:

   “We need to understand that enlightenment is not a mere shift in perception and consciousness. It is an existential metamorphosis on all levels that radically transforms the frequency of our energy system and the delicate balance of our brain and subtle bodies. A sudden and complete enlightenment that bypassed all intermediate stages of awakening would undoubtedly result in a mental and emotional breakdown, or even physical death. The body and mind require time to adjust to the dramatic change in our energy and sense of identity that the radical transfiguration of enlightenment engenders.”(1b)

   Paul Brunton is forthright in saying that one could not even recognize the highest truth if it presented itself to him without such preparation:

   “Even if the highest truth were to appear in all its glorious fullness before his mind, he would be unable to recognize it for what it is - much less understand it - if there had been no preparation or purification for it. He would not even be free to look at it if the ego held him tight in its encircling network.”

   Not only fixed habits of emotion and will must be undone, but age-old mental habits as well, for a complete and balanced illumination to manifest. This can only be achieved in the waking state of earth-life, and without it one will be entirely unable to comprehend the inner void, much less the mystical states along the way. For the ego will distort everything.

   He emphasizes the need for prayer, with a cautionary note:

   “Beware what you pray for. Do not ask for the truth unless you know what it means and all that it implies and nevertheless are still willing to accept it. For if it is granted to you, it will not only purge the evil out of you but later purify the egotism from your mind. Will you be able to endure this loss, which is unlikely to be a painless one?"

   Madame Guyon also urges prayer, in recognition of ones helpless condition:

   “Pour out your heart to Him as a little child pours out his heart to his father. Never doubt your Lord’s deep love for you. As you come to Him, come as a weak child, one who is all soiled and badly bruised - a child that has been hurt from falling again and again. Come to the Lord as one who has no strength of his own; come to Him as one who has no power to cleanse himself. Humbly lay your pitiful condition before your Father’s gaze.”

   deCaussade succinctly describes the relationship of inner purification and spiritual growth:

   ”The extent to which the soul is purified in its most secret recesses, is the measure of its union with the God of all holiness.” (2)

   He further elaborates on the process, using metaphors common in mystic literature:

   “If you throw green wood on the fire the flames does not affect it except for a moment, and the heat of the fire acting on the green wood makes it exude moisture and emit sighing sounds, and twists and turns it in a hundred different ways with great noise, until it has been made dry enough for the fire to take hold of it; then the flame spreads and consumes it without any effort or noise, but quietly. This is an image of the action of divine love on souls that are still full of imperfections and the evil inclinations of self-love. These must be purified, refined, and cleared away and this cannot be achieved without trouble and suffering. Look upon yourself then, as this green wood acted on by divine love before it is able to kindle it, and to consume it with its flames. Or else as a statue under the hands of a sculptor, or like a stone which is chipped and cut with the chisel and hammer to make it the right shape to take its place in a beautiful building. If this stone could feel, and if, while it suffered it asked you what it should do in so much pain, you would, without doubt, reply, “Keep perfectly quiet in the hands of the workman and let him proceed with his work, otherwise you will always remain a rough common piece of stone.” Take this advice yourself, have patience and let God do the work because there is really nothing else for you to do, only say, “I adore and submit. Fiat!” (Ibid)

   Fenelon further explains:

   “While any self-love remains, we are afraid of its being revealed, but so long as the least symptom of it lurks in the most secret recesses of the heart, God pursues it, and by some infinitely merciful blow, forces it into the light…Our own hand can effect nothing but superficial reforms; we do not know ourselves, and cannot tell where to strike; we should never light upon the spot that the hand of God so readily finds. Self-love arrests our hand and spares itself; it has not courage to wound itself to the quick. And besides, the choice of the spot and the preparation for the blow, deaden its force. But the hand of God strikes in unexpected places, it finds the very joint of the harness, and leaves nothing unscathed. Self-love then becomes the patient; let it cry out, but see to it that it does not stir under the hand of God, lest it interfere with the success of the operation. It must remain motionless beneath the knife; all that is required is fidelity in not refusing a single stroke.” (source misplaced)

   “God will eventually test you in all areas of your life, but He will not let your trials become greater than you can bear. Let God use trials to help you grow. Do not try to measure your progress, your strength, or what God is doing. His work is not less efficient because what He is doing is invisible. Much of God’s work is done in secret because you would not die to yourself if He always visibly stretched out His hand to save you. God does not transform you on a bed of light, life, and grace. His transformation is done on the cross in darkness, poverty, and death.” (The Seeking Heart, Christian Book Publishing House, 1992, p. 11)


   “What is the purpose of all this Long Path work upon himself? It is to clear a way for the inflow of grace, even to the most hidden parts of his character.” (Notebooks, Vol. 15, Part 1, 4.46)

   Madame Guyon comments:

   “The reason many of those who follow the Lord do not advance very far is because back in the beginning they had not allowed themselves to be stripped. Or, just as wrong, they had tried to accomplish this stripping by themselves. You cannot strip yourself. As much as you wish to follow the Lord, and as much as you wish to be stripped, your own efforts to do so will only make you religious and hard or extremely confused. God will come and He will strip you.”

   “You can be sure, dear reader, that you will never be motivated enough to allow this purging process to happen to you! Man, by his nature, is very reluctant to submit to such a transformation. All of us are greatly enamoured with self and very fearful of its destruction. You can be very sure you would never consent if it were not that God takes it upon Himself to act upon you. It is He who comes with power and authority. God must take responsibility for bringing man into union with Himself.
(2a) But is this possible? Will God act upon man without man’s consent? Is this a break with divine principles, an imposition of God upon the free will of man? Well, let us return to that hour of your conversion. At that time you made an unreserved surrender of your being to God. Not only that, you surrendered yourself to all that God wills for you. It was at that very time that you gave your total consent to whatever God might wish to require of you. Oh, it is true that when your Lord actually began burning, destroying, and purifying, you did not recognize that it was the hand of the Lord in your life. You certainly did not recognize the operation as something good. You had the very opposite impression! Instead, you saw all that beautiful gold in you turning black in the fire rather than becoming bright as you had expected. You stood looking at the circumstances around you that were producing all that tragedy in your life. You thought that all the purity in your life was being lost. If at that moment, the Lord had come and asked you for your active consent, at best you would hardly have been able to give it. It is more likely that you would not have been able to give consent at all. There is something you can do at times like those, however. You can remain firm in a passive consent, enduring as patiently as you can all that God has introduced into your life.” (2b)

   Mariana Caplan speaks to this granting of consent in relationship to a true Master:

   "What is not understood is that a real teacher will never threaten the free will of a human being because they know that it is a gift from God...Before the master tests a human being, he or she has to give permission to be tested. He or she has to say, "Yes," Because certain things can't be done to a human being, spiritually, without the human being saying, "Yes, do with me as thou wilt"...The human being has to be turned inside out, has to be burnt to ashes, and a master can't do that to a human being unless they say, "Yes." They don't have the right to. Because everybody is free. The disciple, at each place along the way, is given a choice: do you want to continue, do you not want to continue? The teacher is there to open your heart, to tear you apart and feed you to the lions of love. But not everybody wants that."

   "There are some souls who come into this world already surrendered to God. There is a desire to be with God that overrules any human desire. But those people are rare. Most people say they want, but they don't want. This is the whole struggle with the spiritual path - do they want to surrender, or do they not want to surrender?"

   "It is said that even until the last initiation, the teacher does not know what choice the disciple will make. The disciple can say yes, or the disciple can say no. It has to be like that."

   Zen master Nanquan (749-835) said:

   “Even though you may claim to have been awakened, I would still give you thirty blows. How many more would those who have not awakened receive?”

   Anthony Damiani, on the purgation involved, says it is not that a teacher necessarily personally goes inside the disciple and starts “shoveling around” (except as he may be used as a channel for the divine), but that proximity to his company, and the gradual maturation of the quest, naturally brings hidden tendencies to the surface:

   "In the presence of a sage, a past habit which is still alive in you is brought up to the surface and now you have to overcome it once and for all...These parts of ourselves that can’t serve the higher purpose have to be taken up, brought up into the daylight, into your consciousness. They have to be understood for what they are and then they must be disowned, discarded, or completely dissolved. So very often when a person is neurotic, if he starts meditating, things are going to get worse, not better. Because these problems start coming out into the open. Those of us who have been at it a few years begin to recognize that. You know, “Why is everything going wrong? What’s going on?” But that’s exactly what to expect and it’s good, because if these things are not brought out they will always stay in what the psychologists call the unconscious, the subconscious. And when the right opportunity comes, they’ll spring out and you’ll find out, “I am not at all the way I thought I was. I’m really a grub, something horrible.” But all the time we thought we were 99% gold. So these things happen, very naturally. It’s to be expected.” (3)

   Rangan, a disciple of Ramana Maharshi once asked:

   “How is it that the egos of some of your devotees, instead of becoming less and less, seem to grow more and more by their contact with you?”

   Bhagavan replied:

   “If the ego is to go away, it has to come out first from its hiding place. When water is put on the stove to be boiled, it must get heated, overflow and then evaporate.” (Godman, David, ed., The Power of the Presence, Part One, 2000, p. 24)

   Robert S. deRopp states:

   “This seeing is the essence of the alchemical process called nigredo, “the blackening.” It involves confronting those forces in oneself that are mainly responsible for one’s inner slavery, forces referred to [by Gurdjieff] as the chief feature. One who has seen his chief feature and learned to separate from it is on the way to real liberty (the whitening or albedo).

   “But this work of discovering the chief feature can be as rough on the teacher as it is on the pupil. The teacher has to maintain a role that may be unpleasant and difficult. He must put up with abuse from the person he is trying to help. For few come easily to the meeting with their chief features. It is a real showdown, at which Dr. Jekyll meets Dr. Hyde, at which all the rotting monsters in one’s personal cesspool come crawling out into the light of day.”

   Sri Ramakrishna called this “lancing the boil.”

   Fenelon said:

   “Self-love finds hidden strength and secret hiding places because of your natural strength and ingenuity for survival…God will force your old nature to cry out loud and come out in the open…The more God loves you, the less He spares you.”

   American master Vitvan wrote concerning this matter, couched in terms of what he calls the initiation into the “Third Degree” (in his system there were Ten Degrees). This quote seems to portray a “deep scrubbing” occurring, in this case, after a fair degree of progress has been made, either on ones own or under a master:

   "Prior to reaching this state in the initiatory process one seldom, if ever, has any realization that a purificatory process is necessary. Not until he begins to comprehend that Mind level state does it dawn upon him how unclean, how impure he is...If someone belongs to the race mind and the crowd, there is no need or requirement to undergo a process of purification..Do not ever tell him that there is a purificatory process ahead of him because he is not concerned with it and he should not attempt it. If he did, he would be attempting something that is beyond his state, and he could not live up to it if he wanted to. If he tried he would have to put in a tremendous amount of mental effort to repress the animal propensities...There are many who get mentally self-righteous or spiritually ambitious and say, "No, I am not going to live like an animal." They repress their animal propensities and develop all sorts of neurotic outlets and substituted and compensatory forms of expression. They may have nervous or mental breakdowns, whereas they should be good animals. See that? If you are a dog, be a good dog. But one who has reached the third degree in the evolutionary process, who has gradually expanded and developed out of that, is faced with something that is inescapable. He must purify the vehicles. He must purify the temple in preparation for the coming of the Christ, the coming of the Light. That Greater That, that Greater Power, that Fire (because that is the Fire), cannot come into unpurifed vehicles - the higher psyche, the lower psyche, and the [energy] configuration. It would be disastrous to awaken that fire and bring it in when the vehicles have not been sufficiently purified."

   "There are several divisions of the work of purification of the vehicles. First the higher psychic level must be purified. By what is the higher psyche characterized? Love, over and above all else...That love demands self-surrender, a giving up, a dying. The personality begins to die when you begin to love...Kindness, sympathy, and helpfulness also characterize the higher psyche. All that we value in human relationship - warm, true friendship...That is the higher psyche."

   "Then how and why does that need purification for the coming of the Christ? You may be doing all of that with the consciousness that you are doing it - not that you are going to get something out of it, but that you are doing it - egoic satisfaction in the doing, personalization of all those activities that we call the higher psyche. You might even be a little proud, have some vainglory and some selfishness about it. There is where the need for purification comes. You must realize that the motivating force of that love is not something that originates in yourself...You are becoming an channel, an instrument, through which that higher influence can work. In that recognition the higher psyche becomes free from the little, personal self. It becomes free and clear, very lovely and beautiful."

   "Not until that loveliness, that beauty of the higher psyche, has been established does the Brother of the Third degree realize what a job has to be done on his lower psyche. In that beauty and loveliness of the purification of the higher psyche two things happen. On the one side, he reaches above and makes contact with those on the lowest of Light's Regions, the Mind level, the power and influence of the Christ state. On the other is the purification of the lower psyche."

   "There is purpose in this, because the Brother of the Third Degree cannot muster the strength to cope with the influence of the lower psyche by himself...It is extremely necessary to cultivate the practice of looking to a higher level for power, for strength, because when one is up against the conflict between higher and lower psyche, he has to call upon all the strength that he can obtain. He needs lots of it."

   The gist:

   "You can do all the AUM chanting and your meditation work, you can listen to the sound currents until they roar like a Niagara, and at the same time that you are in all that loveliness and beauty on the higher psyche the devils of the lower psyche are raising old Ned with you. They are kicking up everything to prevent your getting more light and more fire. They are pulling you down, trying to dissuade you from higher development...You can lift your forces into the higher psyche and beyond, but you have not purified the temple of those entities that have occupied it and are still occupying it."

   "When the battle has gone on pretty well...the third phase in the purificatory process begins...The flesh must be remetamorphosed because so long as the quality of animal propensities remains in the flesh, the body cannot entertain the higher Fire, the higher Light of the Christ. It has to undergo purification."

   Scrubbing takes time because, as PB wrote:

   "The depth to be penetrated from the surface to the deepest layers of the human psyche is too great to be reached quickly without acute sacrifice and intense anguish...He has brought over from earlier births a number of subconscious memories, tendencies and complexes, unfulfilled desires and unexpressed aspirations. These have to be dealt with, either by increasing eradication or by diminishing satisfaction, so that they no longer interrupt the calm tenor of the mind.” (Notebooks)

   Sri Nisargadatta said:

   “There is destiny to consider. The unconscious is in the grip of destiny; it is destiny, in fact. One may have to wait. But however heavy may be the hand of destiny, it can be lifted by patience and self-control. Integrity and purity remove the obstacles, and the vision of reality appears in the mind.” (I AM THAT, p. 399)

   Sant Kirpal Singh echoes this and the earlier remark of deCaussade (regarding “purification of the innermost recesses of the heart being the measure of ones union with the God of all holiness”) by saying:

   “The subconscious reservoir of the mind  must be thoroughly drained out before it can be filled with the love of the Lord/Master.(3c - also see note for Kabir comment)

   “It is during this probationary period that the soul will feel some discomfort. It has become so besmeared with the dirt of the senses that it has lost its original purity of heart and is not fit to be raised out of the prison house of the body."

   "Even though the door has been opened, it is so attached to the things of the outside world that it does not wish to be free. It is only when the soul begins to regain its original purity of heart and mind that it can at last want to be free of the desires of the flesh and outward attachments. The loving Master tries to avoid all possible discomforts to the child disciple by explaining what are the vices to be avoided and the virtues to be developed in order to regain this purity."

   "Unfortunately, more often than not the words of the Master do not sink in and little or no action is taken by the disciple to amend his ways. Therefore, the Master Power must take firmer measures to bring home to the disciple the importance of the truths that have been explained in words. Hence the discomfort that is sometimes felt by the dear ones in their day-to-day living...If a child gets itself so dirty that the only way the mother can wash it clean is by using a scrubbing brush, can it be said that the child will feel comfortable during the scrubbing process? It will only feel comfortable after the scrubbing has ceased and it is shining clean and pure."

   "Help and protection is always extended by the Master to his followers. He looks after their comforts in every way, both outer and inner. Even the effects of the reactions of the past - from the gallows to an ordinary pin prick - so much concession is given. As the mother sacrifices everything for the sake of the child, even so does the Master sacrifice everything for the sake of his children. The follower does not dream of what the Master does for him. He fills his followers with his own thought, with his own life impulses. When we remember him, he remembers us with all his heart and soul."

   "The Guru may give happiness or misery, for he has to make a beautiful form from a rough piece of stone and therefore has to wind up all the karmas; but a true follower will never complain, no matter what condition he has to face in life - no matter what hardships the Guru allows." (5)

   “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. (6)

   Michael Molinos, in The Spiritual Guide (1675), wrote of this process of spiritual initiation followed by purgation:

   “At the time of your conversion [or initiation], your Lord came to dwell within you...in the spirit...the inmost part of your being. Now for that celestial King to make even your soul His habitation, it is necessary that changes be wrought in your soul. The Lord purifies our soul as gold is purified in a terrible furnace of fire...Your Lord desires to purify your soul, and He can use a very rough file. Yes, He may even assault the purer and nobler things of your life! These assaults serve as a revelation to awaken the human soul...for the soul to truly discover, to truly know, just how miserable is its natural state.”

   “Deeply within you is a place of internal peace and if you are to come through these periods and if you are not to lose that peace, it is necessary for you to believe. You must believe in the fineness of Divine mercy...even when that mercy humbles, afflicts and tries you.”

   “It is a certainty that the soul never really loves and believes more than at those times when it is afflicted. Whether you believe it or not (and whether you consent to it or not), those doubtings and fears and tribulations that beset you...are nothing else but the refinements of His love.”

   Bhai Sahib, guru of Irena Tweedie:

   “When the pain increases and becomes unbearable, it goes forever. This is the law. But you yourself interrupted it. So it was not to be...”

   “Faith and obedience are only possible if there is great love. Very subtly the Master puts you against him, before testing...Sometimes the test is impossible, too difficult to fulfill. But if one thinks: what can happen - I cannot more than die - and accepts it, then the test has been passed and one is ready for the high stage.

   Pere La Combe, spiritual director of Madame Guyon, wrote:

   “The soul that is destined to have no other support but God himself, must pass through the strangest trials. How much agony and how many deaths must it suffer before losing the life of self! It will encounter no purgatory in the other world, but it will feel a terrible hell in this.”

   Scrubbing....An initiate on the path 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, speaking of a high stage and of things somewhat beyond the scope of this article, but also included under the nature of ‘scrubbing,’ 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."

   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.”

   Narada Bhakti Sutras:

   “Bhakti is our mother. She does not expect her infant child, embroiled in mud, to first clean itself and then climb into her lap. Rather, she picks up the child, bathes and wipes him clean, beautifies him and then offers him to the father’s (god’s) lap.”

   Another friend writes:

   “One of my favorite stories in that book which you recommended to me, The Flowering of Grace (stories by devotees of Sant Rajinder Singh), is #97 in which Fannie is shown, during a Near Death Experience as a result of a cerebral stroke, the blemishes on her soul that would prevent her advancing spiritually. I especially like the story 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 just cold, heartless meanies - even though she was to return to life paralyzed. Then Sant Rajinder Singh steps in and negotiates a compromise, “No, not paralyzed! No, no!”, 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 by Tulku Thondop:

   “[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.
[ ~ “His countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength, and when I saw him, I fell at his feet like one dead, and he laid his right hand on me saying unto me: ‘fear not, I am the first and the last...And I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire that thou mayest be rich.’ ” (Rev.) ]

   “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, like 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.” (12)

   Paul Brunton explains how a disciple’s aspiration and intention influence this scrubbing process:

   “The forces set in operation by his determined attempt to approach the Overself in every phase of his living habits eventually produce a vigorous effort on the part of his subconscious mind to cleanse itself of ancient accumulations of negative animalistic and egoistic tendencies. Although the process produces disagreeable and evil symptoms, it is not to be regarded as other than a self-purifying one, a natural way of vomiting debris from the depths, removing and expelling it. The more earnestly he takes to this quest, the more will his latent evil qualities be stirred up and then make their appearances in his character or conduct...Ordinarily they are suppressed in self-defense by the conscious mind, and their existence hidden because it has quite enough to deal with. But the candidate for illumination has flung out a challenge to vigorous war....If the higher forces were to descend upon them while they are purified only in parts and developed only in some faculties, these forces would prove harmful instead of helpful. Consequently, these parts are brought up by events to the surface of his life in order that they may be dealt with...He challenges the gods who takes to the Quest so seriously and, let him be warned, it will ferret out his weakest spot and expose it for his ultimate benefit. (12a)

   Fenelon writes at length on some of the subtleties of this scrubbing by the divine:

   “As long as the least bit of self-love remains in the secret parts of your heart, God will hunt it down, and, by some infinitely merciful blow, force your selfishness and jealousy out of hiding: The poison then becomes the cure. Self-love, exposed to the light, sees itself in horror. The flattering lifelong illusions you have held of yourself are forced to die. God lets you see who you really worship: yourself. You cannot help but see yourself. And you can no longer hide your true self from others, either.”

   “The death that God brings you will pierce deep within. Soul and spirit will be divided. He sees in you all that you cannot see. He knows exactly where the fatal blows should fall. He heads straight for that which you are most reluctant to give up. Pain is only felt where there is life. And in this situation life is precisely the place where death is needed. Your Father wastes no time by cutting into that which is already dead. If He wanted to let you remain as you are, He would certainly do so. He seeks to destroy your old nature. He can only accomplish this by cutting into that which is alive. Do not expect Him to attack only those obviously wicked desires which you renounced forever when you gave yourself to Him. Rather, He may test you by taking away the wonderful sense of freedom you feel, or by taking from you all that now brings you spiritual comfort. Will you resist? No! Allow everything! Volunteer for your own death, for God will only accomplish His work to the extent that you let Him. Do not push away the progress that God wants to make in your life.”

   “In the long run, the pain of resisting the cross is harder to live with than the cross itself...Submit yourself peacefully and simply to the will of God, and bear your sufferings without struggle. Nothing so shortens and soothes your pain as the spirit of non-resistance to your Lord.”

   “As wonderful as this sounds, it still may not stop you from bargaining with God
. The hardest thing about suffering is not knowing how great it will be or how long it will last. You will be tempted to want to impose some limits to your suffering. No doubt you will want to control the intensity of your pain. Do you see the stubborn and hidden hold you have over your life? This control makes the cross necessary in the first place. Do not reject the full work that the power of the cross could accomplish in you. Unfortunately, you will be forced to go over the same ground again and again. Worse yet, you will suffer much, but your suffering will be for no purpose. May the Lord deliver you from falling into an inner state in which the cross is not at work on you! God loves a cheerful giver. (II Corinthians 9:7) Imagine how much He must love those who abandon themselves to His will cheerfully and completely - even if it results in their crucifixion!”

   “So to strip self-love of its mask is the most humiliating punishment that can be inflicted. You see that you are no longer as wise, patient, polite, self-possessed, and courageous in sacrificing yourself for others as you had imagined. You are no longer fed by the belief that you need nothing. You no longer think that your “greatness” and “generosity” deserve a better name than “self-love.” Now you see your selfishness like that of a silly child, screaming at the loss of an apple. You are further tormented because you also weep in rage that you have cried at all!”

   “Nothing can comfort you because your poisonous character has been discovered. You see all your foolish rudeness and condescension. Look at your own frightening reflection. Say with Job, “For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me.”(Job 3:25) Good! What your old nature fears the most is necessary for its destruction...All you have to do is to be quietly willing to see yourself as you are. The minute you do, you will begin to change.”

   “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.”

   “You ask for a remedy, that you may get well. You do not need to be cured, but to be slain; seek not impatiently for a remedy, but let death come...Seek no consolation for self-love, and do not conceal the disease...But this is not to be accomplished by any exertion of strength. Weakness is become your only possession; all strength is out of place; it only serves to render the agony longer and more distressing. If you expire from exhaustion, you will die so much the quicker and less violently. A dying life must of necessity be painful. Cordials are a cruelty to the sufferer on the wheel, he only longs for the fatal blow, not food, not sustenance. If it were possible to weaken him and hasten his death, we should abridge his sufferings; but we can do nothing; the hand alone that tied him to his torture can deliver him from the remains of suffering life.”

   deCaussade, an admirer of Fenelon, also delves deep into the nature of this process as it advances:

   “I know how much suffering this operation entails. The poor soul feels as if it would become utterly annihilated, but for all that, it is only nearer the true life. In fact the more we realize our nothingness the nearer we are to truth, since we were made from nothing, and drawn out of it by the pure goodness of our Lord. We ought therefore to remember this continually, in order to render by our voluntary annihilation a continual homage to the greatness and infinity of our Creator. Nothing is more pleasing to God than this homage, nothing could make us more certain of His friendship, while at the same time nothing so much wounds our self-love. It is a holocaust in which it is completely consumed by the fire of divine love. You must not then be surprised at the violent resistance it offers, especially when the soul experiences mortal anguish in receiving the death-blow to his self-love. The suffering one feels than is like that of a person in agony, and it is only through this painful agony and by the spiritual death which follows it that one can arrive at the fulness of divine life and an intimate union with God. What else can be done when this painful but blessed hour arrives, but imitate Jesus Christ on the Cross; commend one’s soul to God, abandoning oneself more and more utterly to all that this sovereign Master pleases to do to His poor creature, and to endure this agony for as long as He pleases.”

   “This and a hundred other miseries...are permitted for two reasons. First, to humble you in an extraordinary degree, to make you realize what a heap of misery, what an abyss of corruption is yours, in allowing you to see what would become of you without the great mercy of God. Secondly, in order that by the interior supervention of fresh operations all these germs of death, hitherto hidden in your own soul, can be uprooted like noxious weeds, which only appear above ground that they may be more easily taken up by the skilled hand of the gardener. It is only after having completely cleared the ground that he can cultivate wholesome plants, sweet smelling flowers, and choice fruits. Let Him do this, give up to Him entirely the task of cultivating this rough ground, which left to itself could bring forth nothing but thistles and thorns. Do not be anxious. Be content to feel yourself greatly humbled and much confounded, remain profoundly abased in this heap of mire, like Job on his dung-hill; it is your right place; wait for God to draw you out of it, and meanwhile allow yourself to be purified by Him. What does it signify so long as you are pleasing to Him?”

   “When this storm is past you will...not know how, sufficiently, to thank God for having been so good as to put His own hand to the work, and to operate within your soul in a few months, what with the help of ordinary grace would have taken you, perhaps, twenty years to accomplish, namely, to get rid of a hidden self-love, and of a pride all the more dangerous in being more subtle and more imperceptible. From this poisonous root grows an infinite number of imperfections of which you are scarcely conscious...You would have run a great risk of remaining for a long time subject to these defects, filled, almost without suspecting it, with vanity and self-confidence without either power or will to sound the profound abyss of perversity and natural corruption that you had within your soul...The. Heavenly physician has therefore treated you with the greatest kindness in applying an energetic remedy to your malady, and in opening your eyes to the festering sores which were gradually consuming you, in order that the sight of the matter which ran from them would inspire you with horror. No defect caused by self-love or pride could survive a sight so afflicting and humiliating. I conclude from my knowledge of this merciful design that you ought nether the desire nor to hope for the cessation of the treatment to which you are being subjected until a compete cure has been effected. At present you must brace yourself to receive many cuts with the lancet, to swallow many bitter pills, but go on bravely, and excite yourself to. filial confidence in the fatherly love which administers these remedies.”

   “When you find yourself in such utter dejection that you cannot make a single act of any virtue whatever, beware of tormenting yourself by violent efforts but keep simply in the presence of God in a great silence of utter misery, but with respect, humility and submission like a criminal before his judge who sentences him to a chastisement he has well merited: and understand that the inferior silence of respect, humility and submission are worth more and purify better than all the acts that you, uselessly, force yourself to make, and which only serve to increase the trouble of the soul.”

   “It would be very unjust to complain of this God of infinite mercy, Who alone knows how to purify your soul, a thing you would never have been able to do yourself. Your very complaints prove that you would never have had the courage to put an end to your self-love which alone impedes the reign of divine love in your heart. Bless our Lord then for sparing you the trouble, and because He only asks you to allow Him a free hand to accomplish this work in you.”

   “For without me ye can do nothing,” said Christ.

   Scrubbing....what does it take for someone to want this?

   In Fifty Verses of Guru Devotion we read:

   "Marpa scolded and even beat Je-tzun Mi-la re-pa many times. This was not because he personally disliked him, but because out of compassion he saw the needs for skillfull means that were forceful. Thus if your Guru is wrathful to you, try to see this as a method he is using to tame your mind and lead you to Enlightenment. As a Buddha, how could he possibly hate you?" (14)

   Marpa put Milarepa through many harsh tests - such as building nine houses only to be told to tear them down one by one. Even so he lamented that if he had been able to plunge his spiritual son Milarepa into utter despair one more time he would have saved him years of suffering to eradicate all of his impurities, and that he would have become an even greater master than he eventually did. The Milarepa story (15) has become one of the archetypal examples of the fierce purification that may come to the chosen - and willing - devotee.

   Marpa’s predecessor, Naropa, also went through severe trials almost to the point that of death. This story apparently has several variations. According to Patrul Rinpoche (1808-1887), Naropa underwent twenty-four trials (twelve major and twelve minor) at the hands of Tilopa, including jumping off a nine-story tower and suffering great pain and physical damage, remaining he said, "like a corpse," after which Tilopa restored him to health; being beaten to within an inch of his life by angry mobs after Tilopa ordered him to steal; and also having red-hot bamboo splinters shoved under the nails of his fingers and toes by his guru, leaving him for several days with blood and pus spilling out of his wounds before being blessed by him once again. Finally one day Tilopa hit Naropa on the forehead with a sandle and the latter received all the qualities of his master's wisdom mind. The point of such stories lies in the recognition that guru yoga, or implicit faith and endurance of a true master's ways can in itself produce realization on the ripe disciple. Rinpoche writes:

   "As the twenty-four trials undergone by the great pandita Naropa were, in fact, his teacher's instructions, they became the skilful means by which his obscurations were eliminated. They appear to be pointless hardships that nobody would think of as Dharma. Indeed, the teacher had not uttered a word of teaching, and the disciple had not done a moment of practice, not even a single prostration. However, once Naropa had met an accomplished siddha, he had obeyed his every command regardless of all difficulties, and in so doing achieved the purification of his obscurations so that realization had awakened in him." (16)

   Shri Upasani Baba also spoke on this necessary purification:

   "When God becomes very impatient to have somebody, he at once throws in his way all sorts of insurmountable difficulties, one after another, in quick succession; the person simply gets tired and disgusted with everything. In fact it is God who meets him first in the form of all the ailments and difficulties. Ailments and difficulties are very essential for a person who is sincerely desirous of attaining Godhead. Even a Satpurusha cannot take you to God. From my personal experience I can tell you that the greatest pain and difficulty - physical and mental - alone are able to take anybody straight to God." (The Talks of Sadguru Upasani Baba Maharaj, Vol. 1, Part II, p. 92-93)

   Such things are sometimes thought not to occur anymore, but, perhaps in another, unexpected form, who are we to say what is possible or necessary for a soul serious about liberation?

   Another classic tale is the story of Kabir and the king of Bokhara, summarized from Tales of the Mystic East and other sources:

   Saint Kabir's wife Mai Loi asks him why he should not give the king of Bokhara spiritual initiation. Kabir told her that he wasn't ready (in the old days Masters tested their disciples for a long time before giving them inner experience). She said he certainly looked like he was ready. Kabir said, let's see, and the king goes to work in their household for six long years, doing menial work without a word of complaint. Mai Loi said to Kabir, "the king is certainly ready now." But Kabir replied, "as far as I can see, his mind is not yet crystal clear." Then Kabir asks her to go to the roof and throw the entire sweepings of the house on the king's head when he passed by. The king gets upset and said if only they were in Bokhara she would not dare do that to him. So another six years pass. Finally, one day Kabir said to his wife, "now he is ready to receive the Nectar." His wife saw no change in the king, whereupon Kabir then told her go to the roof and pour the "night waste" [i.e., contents of the chamber pot] on the king's head. The king's reaction this time, however, was, "Oh Lord, I am even worse than that!" And, "as Kabir Sahib gazed on the king, the king's soul swiftly ascended, traversed the upper realms and ultimately merged in the Supreme Being. After this, Kabir Sahib said to the king, "Your devotion has been completed. Now, return to your kingdom."

   The bottom line was exemplified in the story of Job:

   “Job was not prepared for converse with God by means of those delights and glories that he says he was accustomed to experience in his God. But the preparation for this converse embodied nakedness on a dunghill, abandonment and even persecution by his friends, the fullness of anguish and bitterness, and the sight of the earth round about him covered with worms [Jb. 2.8; 3:17-18]. Yet the most high God, he who raises the poor from the dunghill [Ps. 2:7], was then pleased to descend and speak face to face with him and reveal the deep mysteries of his wisdom, which he never did before in the time of Job’s prosperity [Jb. 38-41].” - St. John of the Cross (16a)

   "Whatever purifies you, is the correct road. I will try not to define it." - Rumi

   “Remember that God loves you and therefore He does not spare you.” - Fenelon.

   Bhai Sahib explains the significance of a divinely-appointed Master in this regard:

   “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.” Bhai Sahib explained that this was the shakti or divine energy purifying the karmas of the body-mind: "Ancient karmas form part and parcel of the blood. It was in you. It would have dragged you back again and again into the womb, but from now on it will burn itself out. From time to time this fire will burn in your body. This is purifying fire, this suffering, and you will need a lot more…On our Line such suffering is given that there are no words for it…”

   “It is BECAUSE you love deeply that it happens…And the fact that the pain is sharper and deeper each time is a good sign. Pray that you should love more and more…”

   “There are two Roads: the Road of Dhyana
[meditation], the slow one, and the Road of Tyaga, of complete Renunciation, of Surrender: this is the Direct Road, the Path of Fire, the Path of Love. If one chooses the Way of the System, if it is done according to the System, then it takes a long time. If one chooses the Way of Love, it does not take long, relatively. But it is difficult. Life becomes very sad. No joy. Thorns everywhere. This has to be crossed. Then all of a sudden there will be flowers and sunshine. But the road has to be crossed first. There is nothing which can be done about it. People will hear one day that you have been turned out; and not only that, but other things too. And it is not the disciple who chooses which road to take; it is the Teacher who decides...If there is love, there is great uneasiness. The greater the love, the more the uneasiness. Love is not the same all the time. It cannot be. Love at times is intense suffering...The Path of Love creates a great psychological upheaval; not everyone can be subjected to this pressure.” (17)

   Quite similar to what Sant Darshan Singh said at the outset. And not surprising for, a Sikh by birth, Darshan was also a reknown Persian poet, while Bhai Sahib was a Sufi Master. Also recall the quote from Fenelon above: ”the hand alone that tied him to his torture can deliver him from the remains of suffering life.”

   Perhaps the following bizarre tale could be considered as an example of “extreme” scrubbing. Bhai Sahib relates:

   “I was present then, when it happened. I was there, and my Rev. Guru was there, and others too. The boy was the son of a disciple and the whole family were disciples of his: father, mother, uncles, all of them. They were all sitting there, and also the Master, the Teacher of the boy. The boy had a natural smiling face; he seemed always to smile, like my Rev. Father....He also had this expression. The Master looked at the boy and said: ‘Why are you smiling?’ And the boy kept smiling. At that time everybody used to have a stick. I still have mine today; you never see me go out without a stick. So, with the stick in his hand he began to beat the boy till the stick was broken. The boy kept the smile on his face. When the stick broke, he grabbed the heavy piece of wood with which wrestlers practice, and he continued to beat and beat till the head entered the shoulders and the shoulders into the body. One could not recognize who it was - nothing was there, just a mass of broken bones....flesh and blood were everywhere. Then he stopped and said to the relatives of the boy: ‘What is this? Am I not at liberty to do as I like?’
   “‘Yes,’ they said, ‘we belong to you for life or death; you can do with us what you like.’ ‘Yes,’ he said, ‘I can do what I like,’ and he went inside. Some say he was sitting and chewing betel nut. Then he came out. ‘What is this?’ he asked. ‘Who is lying there?’ And, pointing to the mass of broken flesh which once was a human being, he said in commanding voice: ‘Get up!’ And the boy got up and was whole, and not a scar was seen on him. And he was told by his Teacher that from now on he was a Wali. He was a Wali all his life....”
   I said that it seems pointless to kill a man and then to make him a Saint. Why commit such action?
   “Oh no,” he said....”You see, to make a Wali, it takes thirty or forty years. The physical body, the heart, the mind, is subjected to great suffering to clear out all the evils which are in the human being. And here the work was done in half an hour. How many evils were cleared away through such a terrible suffering. The boy loved him so much, always was sitting and looking at him. Never spoke before him. And was killed. Of course he was ready to be a Wali. Things are done in different ways according to the time and the people of the time.”

   Someone dear to me whom I shared this story with was shocked and simply replied, “disgusting” ! Which led me to thinking, what is the likelihood that this story was literally true? Is it even physically possible as described? And that the boy was smiling throughout the whole event? But if it is taken as an allegorical, albeit outrageous, tale told by a rather at times cryptic Satguru, about the pressurized process of grace that is activated in the company of a Saint for ripe souls, then perhaps it is not so far in its significance from what Sant Darshan Singh said about his own Master, that ”Hazur (Baba Sawan Singh Ji) used to say that once a saint has taken a soul under his wing, he is keen to compress the progress of twenty births into a single one. And if we desire to pack the accomplishments of twenty lives into a single one, we must pay for it."

   Another friend whom I deeply respect felt it was a true story, albeit an example of “crazy wisdom”; he compared it with an anecdote Paramhansa Yogananda told about Babaji burning a devotee with a stick to alter his destiny which was for him to die. One might also compare it with the stories of Milarepa and Naropa given above.

   But, truly speaking, how many want this degree of intense scrubbing? Perhaps only by degrees can one be made to want it. Or even, to want to want it...But the saints in all ages have spoken highly of it, and indeed, have begged it from God.

   “Let me be, or at least seem to be, hard, unfeeling, indifferent, without pity, annoyed, and scornful. God knows how far it is from the truth, but He permits it all to appear this way. I shall be of much more use to you by this false and imaginary character than through my affection and real assistance. The point is not to know how you are to be kept alive, but how you are to lose everything and die.” - Fenelon (19)

   “Babuji loves you too much,” said Satendra to me yesterday. “He does not, he treats me badly.” “But this is a sign of love,” said he. “I know the System. If he treats you badly, he has much love for you.” (20)

(1) Darshan Singh, Spiritual Awakening (Bowling Green, VA: Sawan Kirpal Publications, 1982), p. 234
(1a) Sri Aurobindo, The Secret of the Veda (Pondicherry, India: Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, 1956, 1998), p. 94-95
(1b) anadi, book of enlightenment (www.anadi teaching.org, 2011), p. 94-95
(1c) Paul Brunton, The Notebooks of Paul Brunton, Vol. 6, Part 1, 4.87
(2) deCaussade, Spiritual Counsels
(2a) Jeanne Guyon, Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ (Sargent, Georgia: SeedSowers, 1975), p. 125:

“Meditation will not bring divine union, neither will love, nor worship, nor your devotion, nor your sacrifice. Nor does it matter how much light the Lord gives you. Eventually it will take an act of God to make union a reality. In the Old Testament the Scripture says, “No man shall see God and live.” (Exodus 33:20). If your prayer still contains your own life, that prayer cannot see God. Your life will not know the experience of union with His life. All that is of your doing, all that comes from your life - even your most exalted prayer - must first be destroyed before union can come about.”

(2b) Ibid, p. 91, 130-131
(2bb) Mariana Caplan, The Guru Question (Boulder, Colorado: Sounds True, Inc., 2011), p. 312-313
(3) Anthony Damiani, Looking Into Mind (Burdett,New York: Larson Publications, 1990), p. 134-135)
(3a) Robert S. deRopp, Warrior’s Way (New York: Dell Publishing Company, 1970), p. 236-237
(3b) Vitvan, The Seven Initiations (Baker, Nevada: The School of the Natural Order, 2011), p. 66-75
(3c) Kirpal Singh, Morning Talks, 1982 ed., p. 95:

   “If you want your devotion, your love of God to bear forth fruit, then be wholly and solely devoted to One. Think of Him, see Him, hear about Him and know Him...Kabir says, “What is the criterion of a man ho is devoted wholly and solely to God? If in a deep sleep state, the word of God or the Master comes out of his mouth, then such a man is wholly and solely devoted to Him. What would I offer to such a man? I would offer my flesh, my skin to make shoes for his feet.”

   Further along these lines, Brunton writes:

   “It is a teaching of the mystical order of Turkish Sufis that the progress of a disciple is partially to be measured by his teacher by the progressive purification attained in the character of his dream life.” (Notebooks, Vol. 13, Part 1, 3.61)

No (4) "The Cage of the Soul", Sat Sandesh, September 1976, p. 25-26
(5) "Joyfully I Surrender", Sat Sandesh, Feb. 1972, p. 9
(6) Sat Sandesh, Sept. 1973
(6a) Michael Molinos, The Spiritual Guide (Auburn, Maine: The SeedSowers, 1982), p. 35, 33, 34
(7) Irena Tweedie, Daughter of Fire, p. 633, 475
(8) Sri a was Nisargadatta Maharaj, I Am That
(9) Shri Sadguru Siddharameshwar MaharaI, Master of Self- Realization, p. 75
(10) reference misplaced
(11) Tulku Thondop, Peaceful Death, Joyful Rebirth, p. 163-165
(12) anadi, book of enlightenment, (www.anaditeaching.com, 2010), p.
(12a) Brunton, op. cit., Vol. 3, Part One, 3.118, 120, 132
(13) The Complete Fenelon
(13a) deCaussade, op. cit.
(14) Asvaghosa, Fifty Verses of Guru Devotion (Dharamsala: Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, 1976), p. 29
(15) Step by Step to the Temple of Total Ruin: Lessons from Milarepa
(16) Patrul Rinpoche, Words of My Perfect Teacher (Boston: Shambhala, 1998), p. 157-159
(16a) Kavanaugh/Rodriguez, trans., The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross (Washington, DC: ICS Publications, 1991), p.386-387 (The Dark Night of the Soul, Book One, Chapter 12:3)
(17) Tweedie, op. cit., p. 144, 558, 576, 237, 137, 484
(18) Ibid, p. 551-552
(19) Fenelon, The Seeking Heart (Christian Books Publishing House, 1992), p. 42-43
(20) Tweedie, op. cit, p. 445