I really can’t resist asking this question because it’s so important to me. There is a post in this forum entitled "Broken promises, bad karma, and divine forgiveness" where N. Hriman says the Masters are none other than your own Higher Self. This makes me sad and disappointed! Are we fooling ourselves? Does our higher self "pose" as Master and the gurus, and even as God? Shouldn’t we then just always pray to our higher Self? Is Guruji really there for us? I feel deceived.
—April Bryson, USA
Your question is confusing, if somewhat heated! It is an axiom of Vedanta and metaphysics that there is no other reality but God, who has created this universe and us — not with sticks and stones but by “becoming” the cosmos (through vibration and duality) in the grand illusion called “maya.”
In this precept, our ego has no essential reality. The masters act as instruments, stepping down the Infinite Power onto wavelengths, so to speak, that we can handle and relate to. As we are children of God and sparks of the Divine Flame of Life, so are the masters who come to guide us to Self-Realization. So, yes, the masters are none other than our own Self, and they, in turn, none other than the Self of All: God!
Master once consoled a devotee in regards to his future departure from earth, “To those who think me near, I am near.” At another time he promised that for those who stay loyal and attuned to the end of life, he, or one of the masters, would be there to usher us into the astral world. Such is the divine promise, for the masters have been sent by God to lead souls to the eternal shores of His bliss.
Yes, you can pray to your “higher Self” if you feel to, but then how do you know this higher Self isn’t but your ego or subconscious? Far safer to pray to God in the form of one’s guru(s) until such time as the soul is awakened and we become identified with it as our true Self. Yet, even the soul is not absolutely “other” from God, though our uniqueness as a soul is eternal. A paradox that we cannot solve with the mind alone.
Ironically, at such time, the differences fade into insignificance, except in this respect: for us to achieve freedom, we, too must help others as the gurus have helped us! The goal of the guru is to awaken the inner guru. The essence of both, however, is divine. In God alone is freedom and we are One. A “mantra” I like goes like this: “There is no god but God. No good, but God; no-thing, but God.”
Swami Kriyananda’s form of practicing the Presence was to mentally chant, “Aum Guru.” Many a saint achieved freedom by mentally calling to his or her guru. Yogananda’s most advanced disciple, Rajarshi Janakananda, become so identified with his guru, that he could not longer distinguish his thoughts from his guru’s. Swami Kriyananda prayed that every thought and feeling he would have would be in tune with and an emanation from his guru’s consciousness.
Be not afraid and do not let the ego undermine your aspirations by refusing to accept and realize God’s presence in the guru(s). The ego is very, very clever. Only the heart knows.