Written by Jack Barratt

‘I shall talk to the world through the positive transformation and metamorphosis of my consistent companions.’  

 – Atmananda (Mohanji), Mast

How can we ascertain the spiritual stature of someone who claims to be a Master or Guru? First of all, anybody that claims to be a Master or a Guru, probably is not. A real Master is established, conscious and active as this entire universe and beyond. Why would he feel the need to shrink himself down into the limited identity of being a ‘Master’? However, some beings, even if they identify themselves with nothing, and even if they don’t even say their own name—some such beings pick up the tag of ‘Master’ during the course of their lives on earth.  

So how to judge the stature of a being who has become known as a Master or Guru? This is simple. A Master has dissolved all of their own limited patterns of perception. Once they have done this, and if their body still remains alive and functional, then they will spend the rest of their lives empowering others to become the same as them. 

Masters make people happy. Masters make people strong, stable and steady. Masters, by their presence alone, force others to confront their own hypocrisy, shallowness and ignorance. Masters accept others totally. This acceptance and total lack of judgement is experienced by others as love. Love is not a mental or emotional object that a Master wills into existence. Love is simply the space that a Master finds himself in once he has reached a state of absolute acceptance. 

What is absolute acceptance? It is accepting ourselves, others and also our life situation from moment to moment. If all of these things are accepted totally and without complaint or protest, in each moment, then what is there to worry about? Perfect acceptance means that we don’t even hold a concept about whatever seems to be happening in our lives. We may confront somebody who is extremely emotionally unstable and unreliable, and yet we will not have any concept about them. We will not judge them. We will not frame them as being one way or another. We will approach all beings and all situations, in each moment, from a stance of perfect openness and innocence.  

Someone that wishes to pull and lure vulnerable, gullible and traumatised beings to themselves is not a Master—such a person is simply another ignorant being who taken the role of predator, of abuser, in the endless karmic play of predator and prey, abuser and abused. A true Master needs nothing. In each moment, a Master understands himself to be absolutely complete and in want of nothing at all. He needs nothing from the world or from anybody. He doesn’t even need to give, teach or share. He doesn’t need to have students or a flock of people that adulate and follow him around. However, if people ask, he gives. If people wish to connect to him, then he is there existing as permanent, stable space of availability and spiritual nourishment. Such a being can make others happy because he himself is happy. Such a being can light other’s lamps because he himself is already lit. This is how a Master is known—he makes other beings happier, freer and more stable. He doesn’t even need to do anything in particular to make this happen. His own stability offers a reference point for other beings to tune themselves to. His consistency offers others a picture of what a life looks like when it purposeful and well-lived. As the sun shines, so too does the living Master who radiates to warm the hearts of all beings whether they know about it or not. 

No being can be seen for what they are in isolation. We can only see the real nature of someone or something when we view it in relation to something else. A person may feel themselves to be an accomplished yogi when they are staying in isolation pretending to meditate. However, when they come around other people, they may crumble and fall to pieces as they find their fragile sense of self to be continually challenged and prodded. A Master cannot be seen in isolation. He is to be seen in relation to the difference and the transformation that he has created in the lives of others and the life of the world. 

Looking back at a number of photos of my spiritual heroes from this lifetime and perhaps others, it is plain to see their stature from the faces, from the hearts of people around them, who simply glow, shine and expand in their presence. 

I dedicate this writing to my Guru, Mohanji. Without his example, I would not be able to write a single word about this topic. He is the perfect example of what a Master is—he is the natural perfection of existence personified.

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