In this book, Isaac Ezekiel examines the life and teachings of Paltu Sahib. Paltu Sahib was a mystic of the highest order, who freely gave his teachings to men and women from all walks of life. He lived in northern India in the eighteenth century. Like many great spiritual teachers in that part of the world, he chose to write in verse form. In those times books were a scarce luxury, and the verse form. In those times books were scarce luxury, and the verse form made it easier for his message to be remembered by the literate and the illiterate alike.
The author tells us something about the structure of Paltu's verses, which are traditional in form, but he does not pretend that their beauty can be fully translated into another language and another culture. This is not a book about literature or poetry per se; rather, the emphasis is on Paltu's spiritual message.
Ezekiel was an initiate of Maharaj Sawan Singh, who was the Satguru (master) at Beas, India, until 1948. Like the masters at Beas before and after him, Maharaj Sawan Singh dedicated his life to giving out the teachings of Sant Mat and to guiding and helping his disciples on the path of self-realization and God-realization.
The term Sant Mat literally means 'teachings of the saints' and was popularized by Tulsi Sahib (c. 1763-1843), another great spiritual teacher. Subsequently, the term has been used by the masters at Beas, among others, down to the present day. However, this should not be taken to mean that Saint Mat is a new teaching that appeared at a particular point in history. On the contrary, the term serves to remind us that the teachings of all saints or mystics of the highest order are the same. They have all attained union with the one supreme Lord; in Biblical terminology, they are "the Word made flesh". Thus their teachings are bound to be the same in essence. The language may differ with time and place, but the message is unchanging.
Their message is that God cab be found only by seeking him within the human body. The path back to God is right there, within each person. In order to find God, we must therefore turn our attention within, by meditation.
Sant Mat does not lay claim to a monopoly of the truth, but it does insist that we can only return to God by finding the Shabd (the Word of God) within our own body. This Word of God, which Paltu often calls Nam (the Name), is worth more than all the riches of this universe because it has the power to purify us, to detach us from the world we see around us and to pull us up to ever higher levels of consciousness. Through this process, we eventually realize that we are not what we think we are; we think of ourselves as body and mind, but by following the path of Shabd we learn that body and mind are just temporary vehicles for the soul, which is our true self. This is self-realization, which is followed by God-realization, when we become one with the supreme Lord.
The saints emphasize that we cannot follow this path alone. The path of Shabd cab be followed successfully only with the guidance of someone who has already followed it and attained God-realization. Therefore, before we even start on the path we have to find the right guide-a perfect saint, a true master. Then by various means, but ultimately by meditation, we must develop our faith and confidence in our master. This relationship of love between the disciple and the master is at the heart of Sant Mat.
The poetry of Paltu illustrates all these essential points. He tells us, for example, that "The saints are steeped in his Name and they alone cab bestow the gift of the Name" (Kundli 14). He says, "Offer your all to the saint and serve him with all humility" (Kundli 116) and "As fragrance lives in flowers, and fire in firewood, so does the Lord reside within a saint" (Rekhta 17).
Paltu also tackles head-on the particular problems of his time-problems that keep emerging throughout history because they arise from the negative tendencies of the human mind. As Ezekiel points out, Paltu lived in a time and place where orthodox religion had a firm grip on the people. Over and over again, Paltu's verses point out that we are all victims of our own selfish desires, which put us at odds with the world, and that we are all deluded. We mistakenly take this world to be real and of lasting deluded, religious dogma and social pressures misdirect our longing for truth into performing non-productive rituals, ceremonies, fasts, penances and pilgrimages. These external observances, though they may sometimes bring temporary solace and satisfaction to the restless heart, can never put us in touch with the deeper truth of our soul that will only be found by turning inwards.
Therefore, much of Paltu's poetry is written to convince his audience of the futility of such selfish and socially conditioned pursuits. In Kundli 133 he says, "Don't care what people say- shed all sense of shame and ridicule"; in Shabd 100 he talks about his own futile attempts to find peace through scriptures, yoga, fasting, pilgrimages, etc.
Ezekiel tells us that Paltu's verses acquired great popularity with the Indian people. His deeper message may not be always fully understood, but Paltu's simple language and his forthright attacks on the priests and powerbrokers of society endeared him to the common man. People often sense intuitively that there must be something beyond their scriptures and the rituals of religion, and they also recognize that it is the religious establishment who benefit from religious superstition. Yet they fear to step away from the social norm. it takes a Paltu to give them the courage to step from the accepted path and pursue what they know from within.
Though Paltu was no social reformer, his message threatened important vested interests. It is no great surprise, therefore, that he was burned alive in his own home by those who opposed the liberating effect of his teachings.
This book was the last work prepared by Mr. Ezekiel. He had already submitted two works to Master Charan Singh in seva: one on the celebrated saint, Kabir Sahib, and one on the lesser known Jewish mystic of India, Saint Sarmad. This work on Paltu Sahib was in its final stages when he passed on. The process of completion was taken up by a team of sevadars working under the guidance of Master Charan Singh, and the book was finally published some years after the author's death.
Now going to press again more than twenty years after the last edition, considerable revisions have been made. In the intervening years the world has changed rapidly. As technology links the many cultures and peoples together, and English becomes more and more the lingua franca, people's expectations of the written word have changed. Expressions that were acceptable then are no longer appreciated. Ezekiel was a journalist. His style was colourful and energetic, and his concern was with the broad picture rather than the details. In this way, he saw no need to distinguish between the translation and paraphrases of Paltu's words, as long as he accurately conveyed Paltu's teachings, Now the general public is more demanding. A quotation, for instance, that Ezekiel may have heard from his master and included without giving its source, is no longer acceptable to many of today's readers, just as the reader would like to know whether particular passages are Paltu's or the author's words.
For this third edition, we have tried to address such issues. Wherever possible, we have located the sources of the many quotations included in the book. In some instances, where the author brought in a quotation from another mystic to substantiate his point and the quotation from another mystic to substantiate his point and the quotation could not be found, we have omitted it our substituted a different quotation making the same point.
Paltu's poetry, because it touches the deepest levels of human experience, survives the passage of time and cries out its message across language and cultural divides. It is a message of courage, humility, humour, and the wonder of inner bliss, and it directs us to find a living guide today who can lead us to the same truth, which Paltu in his day communicated to his disciples
|Preface to the Third Edition||xiii|
|Part One: Life and Teachings|
|Saint Paltu's Life||3|
|The Style of Paltu's Poetry||10|
|Defiance of Orthodoxy||24|
|Maya or Illusion||35|
|The Temple of God||57|
|The Lord and His Creation||62|
|The Supreme Lord||67|
|The Name or Word||72|
|Dying While Living||103|
|Spiritual Discipline and Spiritual Experience||109|
|The Fruit of Spiritual Practice||120|
|Part Two: Selected Poems|
|The Name Is Rare||127|
|The Name Is Immaculate||128|
|The Word Made Flesh||129|
|A Boat without the Boatman||131|
|The True Yogi||132|
|Saints and the Lord||134|
|The Decree of Saints||135|
|Saints Transcend Duality||136|
|The Equanimity of Saints||137|
|Rare Are Earnest Seekers||138|
|Avoid the Fool||140|
|The Importance of Effort||141|
|Worldly and divine Love||142|
|Denunciation of Polytheism||143|
|The Worn-out Garment||145|
|The Sinking Ship||146|
|The Colony of the Blind||147|
|God Is Within||148|
|The Company of Saints||149|
|Surrender to the Master||152|
|The Forgotten Promise||154|
|As One Sows||155|
|A True Devotee||156|
|Love Means Absorption||157|
|The Immanence of the Lord||158|
|Worry Consumes All||160|
|Satsang Corrupts All||162|
|Withdrawal from the World||163|
|Maya and Her Wiles||164|
|Saints Earn Their Own Living||166|
|Saints Care Not for Fame||167|
|Vanity and Pride||169|
|The Living Master||170|
|The True Warrior||175|
|Slander Not Saints||177|
|Dance with Abandon||178|
|The Name Is Ineffable||179|
|The Path of Love||181|
|Saints Are Tender of Heart||182|
|Storming the Fortress of the Body||183|
|The Arrows of Wisdom||184|
|Water and Stone||185|
|Saints and the World||186|
|The Futility of External Observances||187|
|The Way Is Within||188|
|Churn the Vital Elements||189|
|The Lord's Grocer||190|
|The Saint Reigns Supreme||192|
|The Saints Come As Redeemers||193|
|This Other Paltu||194|
|Index of Hindi First Lines||207|
|Local Addresses for Information and Books||215|
|Books on this Science||219|
Item Code: IDJ182 Author: Isaac A. Ezekiel Cover: Hardcover Edition: 2009 Publisher: Radha Soami Satsang Beas ISBN: 9788182568396 Language: English Size: 8.6" X 5.5" Pages: 240 Other Details: Weight of the Book: 380 gms