Many of us begin our lives entrenched in a religious system that was passed down to us from our parents, whom received it from their parents, whom received from their parents and so on and so forth. Although we may have had the best intentions to accept the teachings oftentimes, we stray from our initial foray into spirituality because it was thrust upon us from a preceding generation. It is not uncommon that what has been passed down to us lacks the resonance that our soul required to evolve.
This was most certainly the case with me. I was raised Catholic and I abandoned my faith at a pretty early age because the church simply didn’t speak to my soul. I continued on my journey through life completely devoid of any desire for religion nor any inkling towards pursuing a spiritual path. This stage took up the better part of my twenties into my early thirties until my thirst for answers needed quenching.
I began my long journey down the path to be reunited with my soul’s call to find God once again. Believe me, initially I rejected this notion of finding God. I didn’t want to be viewed as someone who suddenly “found God” in the middle portion of my life. My quest was something that I kept a secret while I searched for some deeper meaning to the life I was living.
What I would discover is that this is not an all that uncommon path that we find ourselves on. We search for meaning when what we have been taught to believe fails to provide the spark that ignites the fire within to have a Divine Relationship with God once again. We begin to follow our own path. We begin trusting the voice inside that states quietly at first, “We are One With God.” We begin a quest that includes five stages to reach God.
My discovery was that this happens during deep contemplation of God. It doesn’t necessarily happen in a specific building, at a specific time, in a specific location but instead when we align our Spirit with the resonance of God in the early morning solitude when a large portion of the world sleeps. We go deep within and we chant the Holy Name in the hopes of glimpsing the Light of the Divine in Remembrance that we are all one. We are all connected.
The journey, at times, can seem long and arduous. There are many times where we may even consider quitting. That is until we hear God speak to us through the Light of Compassion.
Dharam Khand—Stage of Righteousness
This is the stage of Spiritual Awakening. A person begins thinking about why he or she is here and what is the purpose of life. As a soul advances in this life they begin to discover that God created this Earth with an assortment of elements, opposites, and experiences to give us an environment that is genial to exist while simultaneously giving us the opportunity to focus on the Divine and experience Union With God, thus fulfilling our purpose of life. The moral duty of a person in Dharam Khand is righteous living.
During this stage we come to the understanding that everyone will be graded according to their deeds and their success or failure in achieving the goal of spiritual advancement. It’s important to note that God will not “judge” our journey, however the Divine will use our life as a litmus test of how we used our time on Earth. Once our soul reaches God we will be aligned once again with our Fundamental Truth and all things that we experienced that were not in Union With God will be revealed to us.
Giaan Khand—Stage of Divine Knowledge
The second stage of spiritual development is the stage of Divine Knowledge. At this point, a person realizes that God’s Creation is beyond human comprehension; that ours is not the only planetary system and that there are many more of them in the Universe. We progress with our knowledge and come to understand that there are many “earths”, “suns”, and “moons”. Once we come to this understanding, we move to a state of awe with the realization that God’s powers of Creation, Provision and Destruction are endless. In this stage we become humbled and filled with humility at the vastness of the Divine’s Creation. Words cannot describe the bliss we feel as we move into a state of Divine Joy which is beyond description. It has to be experienced to be understood.
Saram Khand—Stage of Spiritual Effort
Once we recognize our purpose and duty in Dharam Khand and we come to the realization of the vastness of God’s Creation in Giaan Khand we begin to work harder to elevate ourselves to Saram Khand. This is the stage of work. Through our devotional daily practice, we elevate ourselves to this new stage of advancement through the sweat of our brow during our Sadhana. Saram Khand is the stage of hard work to beautify and uplift our soul. Here an enlightened mind of incomparable beauty is fashioned through meditative remembrance of the Naam with love and devotion.
We rise in the morning to dedicate ourselves to God by chanting the Holy Name and offering ourselves in service to the Lord God. We ask the Lord, “Bring me today whatever is for my Greatest Good and the Greatest Good of All.” When we move into this state of service to the Divine, we develop an enlightened mind that is beyond description. In fact, if one tried to describe the state they would fail and regret the attempt to do so.
This is where the intuitive consciousness, intellect, and understanding of the mind are shaped. This is where Spiritual Warriors are chiseled and created—the beings of Spiritual Perfection are shaped here.
Karam Khand—Stage of Divine Grace
Once we are shaped as Spiritual Warriors we move to the Stage of Divine Grace. We become completely blessed with the Grace of the Almighty. Spiritually, we become so profound that worldly desire and attachments do not affect us anymore. We become totally immersed in God’s Name and we experience eternal joy and bliss.
In this stage, we are so blessed with God’s Grace and we become so spiritually powerful that worldly evil and “Maya” (illusion) cannot affect us any longer. In this dimension of spirituality, no one resides here without first becoming worthy of God’s Grace.
Only brave and powerful Spiritual Warriors reach this stage, those that have conquered worldly evils (desire, anger, greed, emotional attachments, ego). These beings are totally imbued with the Essence of God. They remain completely absorbed in God’s praises and their spiritual enlightenment cannot be described.
These devotees are immune from spiritual death and worldly evils cannot overpower them. In the minds of these Spiritual Warriors, God abides. The devotees of many worlds reach this stage and dwell there. They experience eternal joy as the realization of God’s Presence is always there within their hearts.
Sach Khand—The Experience of Union With God.
We complete our life cycle when we reach Sach Khand. In this stage we experience a total Union With God. It is a Merger With God. In this realm of Truth, we become a devotee of the formless Almighty that will Forever Abide in Our Heart.
When we reach this stage, we come to the full understanding that the entire Universe is functioning under God’s Command. We see God as All-Pervading and we know that God’s Grace is being bestowed on everyone.
We come to understand that there are endless planets, solar systems and galaxies and we are able to grasp an understanding of how limitless God’s Creation is. We see that God’s Creation extends to worlds beyond worlds and we see that everything functions as the Divine Commands.
We realize God takes care of Creation and even derives pleasure out of providing for everything in Creation. This stage is so elevated it is beyond description.
May you stay blessed on your journey through the Stages of Spiritual Development. We will meet once again in the Arms of the Divine.