What’s Spiritual “Mastery”

What does it mean to have a Master’s degree from a university? It means that the subject matter has been thoroughly, exhaustively studied, digested and made ready for practical application. The highest level of achievement for any given academic pursuit. A Master. A candidate for Ph.D., like myself, has mastered his chosen academic path and is recognized by his professors to have something unique to contribute to said genre. Something that nobody on earth has ever presented or developed sufficiently before! Post-graduate studies polish mastery and sublimate select facets of it for use in the public domain.

What does it mean to master a martial art? At what stage is one considered a master? Black belts are a dime a dozen, aren’t they? And many of them will be taken out quickly by an MMA pro who might or might not have a belt. How about the Shaolin monks? Masters of their art? What makes them so? What is the criteria for even becoming a Shaolin Monk, or training with them, much less graduating as a master monk or entering the ranks which are eligible to teach. Ever see Kung Fu Panda?

Did this guy

ever reach the level of this guy?

And did that guy ever reach the level of this guy?

What differentiates them?

Check out these two guys. Two spiritual masters.

What does that even mean? One’s black, one’s white. One’s Aghori one’s Shivnetra. In this photo one is master one is disciple and though I consider myself master now I would still defer to Him, usually, if He were still alive. Like Hanuman says to Lord Rama,

When I believe I am the body, then I am your faithful servant. When I know I am the soul, I know myself to be a spark of your eternal Light. And when I have the vision of truth, you and I, my Lord, are one and the same.

Yogi and master, two titles not generally used together, as in Master Yogi. The two words should be synonymous, but in reality there are yogin whom I would not call master. Master means the highest level of attainment on the path. On the path of Yoga it means perfect control and this and that.

But there are other spiritual paths, too. Perhaps as many spiritual paths as there are physical paths and mental paths.

A Master Carpenter is judged by his creations and still not all will agree. A master of psychology will be able to guide you through the complex associations of the mind, and still not be entirely familiar with the extent of the terrain. Similarly a master Sherpa will be able to guide you up the mountain and know as much as you need to know to get you safely to your destination and back.

So it is with the spiritual master, who may know quite a lot about the various facets of the spiritual world, be they occult esoteric, culturally religious, mystically artistic or whatever. The spiritual master knows a lot of stuff. And like I said at the beginning. That still doesn’t make a Ph.D. And that still doesn’t mean that master has been able to practically apply his knowledge, wisely, to personal benefit or for that of others.

Personally I’d say that a master of the spirit is able to correlate the energies of the spirit world with those of the physical world and all the worlds in between, and is thus empowered to create reality and circumstance in alignment with personal vision – at least. That’s a master. Go a little higher, and the personal vision is put aside in favor of a greater vision that is something akin to Nature’s own vision. But now, I’m afraid we are going well past mastery and that is fruit for another question.