Contentment and detachment

Lecture by Dr. Harbhajan Singh held at St. Gilgen on 9 December, 1990
[ Published in “Sayings of Sant Kirpal Singh” 1998-1 ]

Listen to original recording (Audio Talk “How to live in the world”) by Dr Harbhajan Singh (1:08:52),

You have just been listening to the Teaching of the great Master Sant Kirpal Singh. The purpose of all the competent Masters who have come in the world so far, was one and the same. This Teaching directly concerns man, man must become man by overcoming his failures, his attachments, and those Masters were the practical examples we had with us.

First they showed us the very art of life they lived with, and then they gave a demonstration to all others who came to them. Though the Teaching never differedfrom one to another Master only some instructions differed, which concerned the outer aspects of life, the prevalent conditions of that time. They asserted out different ways and means to deal with the same very old, old subject. We started clinging to the outer rituals and rites but we paid less attention to the real subject.

In this very time Sant Kirpal Singh laid much stress on the subject by quoting different examples from various holy scriptures, mostly from all competent Masters who came into the world so far, to tell all human beings that their purpose was one and the same, and our purpose is also one and same. He simplified this very Teaching by giving a demonstration of it. Without the practical self-analysis this Teaching is very, very difficult.

Attachment in the world is very miserable. To live unattached in the world of attachments seems to be very difficult for a common person. But if Master raises us above these attachments, we know the very secret of life, and then we are not disturbed about it.

It is said that love is innate in the soul because it is transmitted with the waves of the thoughts. Love is a thought that starts from the “Word”. Without the Word love could not be transmitted. You know, when this essence in the physical body (Naam), which is the Word, is withdrawn, nobody likes to see it (the dead body) because that which glorified the body is no more in the body, that has left it. So we are in the world only due to one thing that is common to all and exists in all — that is the Power of God, the Word — or you may say the One (God) who lives everywhere. He lives in the whole creation, and He also lives in us. When He withdraws, a change takes place. Similarly, when He withdraws from this holy body, this remains only a heap of dust.

What is the reason that we cannot leave the body? Why can we not learn to overcome the tentacles which are spreading in the body? It is not possible because those attachments have been created by us, and whatever has been created by us seems very lovable to us. The food which is cooked by ourselves may not be tasty but to us it tastes good, because it has been cooked by us. So a problem created by us does not seem to us to be a problem. We are attached to it and say, “No, it is my own thing, it has been created by me.” Whether it was created in a good or in a bad way, we love it.

As every action has a reaction, good and bad seeds are stored at the seat of the soul, where they create a very big barrier, an iron door between the soul and the Master Power, the Word. Those seeds which are released in the form of Pralabdh Karma grow and bring more seeds with them. There is no place in the world or in the body where those seeds can be burned. You know, those seeds which Master burns at the time of Initiation were stored beyond the body, the mind, and the intellect. It is in the hand of that power which controls the body and the universe: This judge, who is called Dharam Raj (Lord of Justice), is very strict. Everything he does is just, but he also does what is in his favour. What is in his favour? That he would never allow anybody to go from this world; he wants to keep everyone under his clutch.

So he is very vigilant. He finds even little, little mistakes and he will not permit us to think over. We can perform many, many things in the world in this man-body, but we cannot change anything that is stored beyond this body. Those stores are beyond our reach. Even in a very painful situation, in very terrible disease, we cannot get rid of this body because we cannot tackle the source of the problem. So this problem remains with us and we have to bear it.

Thus it is a wonderful job which Master does at the time of Initiation by burning those good and bad seeds. All are burnt. So far those seeds are not burnt, one cannot withdraw from the body-consciousness, and one cannot go to the point where our life is broken, where we will meet the death end.

This job is always carried out by a competent Master, a Master Soul, who has been commissioned by the God Power. He can reveal the mystery of life. He helps us to solve this mystery of life by giving a ray of His attention. Only one ray! By giving only one ray of His attention He can burn all those karmic seeds, and then one is free from the bondage. Then Master says, “Do not sow more seeds, do not create any new karmas!” Suppose there are some new seeds sown — they can grow again and that only happens when we do not pay attention to the commandments of the Master.

Master says, “Live up to the commandments! Learn how to live in the world.” Is it difficult to live in the world without attachments? This is the question. I think, for him who is initiated it is not difficult.

If he does everything for the cause of the Master, for the higher values of life, for other people, he loses all attachments. Attachments remain with us as long as we live for ourselves. If we do not live for others — this is attachment. In order to get a good thing we sacrifice all little and bad things. We say, “Okay, we want to dispose of it, we only want to get good things.” Master gives you life.

There is no place outside where to put the dirt. If you take the dirt from one side and put it somewhere else, it will remain there. Dirt is dirt, whether it is here or somewhere else. This is why Master used to say, “Whatever bad things you have, whatever does not fit you, what you are sick of, or whatever does not appeal to you — please give it to me.” Because Master has the storage to burn it, as Master lives beyond that. Our karmas are burnt above the body-consciousness. If those were burnt in the body, we could not bear its effect. This is the greatness of the Master.

You know, if some people have to bear the consequences on their body, they cannot do it. Master used to say, “We cannot even bear our own karmas, how can we bear the karmas of other people?” Those reactions which are forced upon us or which have been acquired by us, are all very painful. It is Master’s grace that He dissolves our karma in a very nice and effective way.

At the time of Baba Sawan Singh sometimes people came in the Satsang and said, “Hazur, I committed this mistake, forgive me!” Baba Sawan Singh used to say, “Is there anybody who can bear the reaction of it, who can forgive him?” Nobody can do that. We cannot even overcome our own problems, how can we overcome the problems of other people? But we can help them not to commit any mistake. For that there is the Satsang. In Satsang it is taught by the Master Power to live in such a way that you do not commit any mistake. Then Baba Sawan Singh simply raised his hand and said, “Okay, don’t commit it again. I forgive you.” That is what Christ did. He said, “Do not commit this sin again!” He forgave.

It is something beautiful that His loveable protection and grace are working overhead all the time, and they give feasible help whenever and wherever it is needed. So the disciple is direct under the grace of the Master. If the Master says, “No!”, then the disciple won’t do that.

If by the grace of the Master the disciple keeps the Master all the time with him, remains under His commandment, and does everything with fear and respect, credit goes to the Master, and he can overcome all those things (which would be a barrier).

But at once ego and attachment come to help the mind. The mind which, with the grace of the Master, started to sleep, starts to awake again with attachment and ego. So Master tells us, “Never create any attachment in the world!”

Once Lord Krishna went to a very old person who was to die soon and said to him, “Now you have finished with this life, you have only a little more time to live in this world, you can go back home. I can take you (to heaven).” He said, “No, I still have to look after my grandchildren, I have much affection with them, I cannot go.” This he said because he had much attachment with the home and home-affairs. He died and reincarnated as a parrot and came into the same house. The nature of a parrot is to look after everything. When everyone is sleeping, the parrot is awake. Again Lord Krishna came to him and said, “Now you can go with me. I see your condition, I can help you and take you with me.” He, however, replied, “Everything here has been created by me, I am the owner of all this. I have created this house, I have created everything. Everything belongs to me. It does not matter if I am not in the human body but my attention is here, I am here.” Then this parrot died and became an insect that lives in the odour. Lord Krishna came and took this insect from the odour (and again offered him to take him back to heaven). But he returned to the dirt saying, “Don’t you find any other person in the world? Why are you only after me?”

If we do not learn how to leave our attachment, these attachments will go with us, in all forms in which we may be born again — whether we are caught in transmigration (in lower forms of creation) or we come back into the man-body, whether we stay in the astral plane or we rise above the astral plane. As long as we do not rise above the causal plane, these attachments remain, because only after rising above the causal plane one knows the cause and effect, then one dreads to do something in the world that can bring attachment to the soul.

Master tells us, “Leave this body and the three worlds!” Neither this body, nor the three worlds belong to you. Where the world-philosophies end, there the religion starts, because your subject will only start when you rise above all those planes.

Your purpose is not to see something in the astral or causal plane because that would create wishes. You would always wish to see something there. What is there? Something beautiful, something better than you will find in this world, but Master says, “No, there is a midway, simply go to the midway, Master Power is there. He will carry you beyond all these barriers.”

Master is not satisfied with our meditation if we meditate only to see something or just to get our wishes fulfilled. Some people only have the wish to see something within. That is no meditation.

Meditation means, you must know the right way of meditation, and then you can proceed further. This meditation also means that you determine your life so that you can rise above the body at will. You must have the ruling passion (for God) and know where to stay and where to go (in your meditation). As long as you do not know where to stay and where to go, you cannot move forward.

But what is our condition? We start to see something and merge with it, and then we forget our inner journey.

It is like the king who made a bazaar full of beautiful, wealthy things (and allowed the people to take something with them). Everyone who came there got interested with little, little things which they took to their home. There was only one girl who looked and praised everything, and although everything appeared very beautiful to her, she would not pick up anything. Some people said to her, “Well girl, this bazaar is going to finish, get something to take back home! By praising those things only you won’t get anything and you will lose the opportunity.” But she wanted to see who had made it all — she wanted to see the creator. She went to the king and asked him, “Who has made all this?” He answered, “I made it.” So she said, I prefer you to all those things! Though all these things did not belong to her, by having got the creator she had got everything else also, but without being attached to those things. She preferred the link with the creator and not with the creation.

As we are one ray of His attention, we must go wherever our attention goes. You know, there was once one king Bharat, whose name was given to India — the original name of India was Bharat. This king renounced the world and went to the forest for the purpose of self-analysis. There he came in contact with a little baby-deer. When this little deer became older, it always ran after him. Wherever he went, there the little deer followed him, and his attention was always fixed on the deer. This deer became so dear to him, that he could not even sleep without the animal. When this deer grew older, it left him and ran away, and the king died out of this pain of separation. So what happened? The king had to be reborn in the form of a deer.

These are the reactions. If we create a reaction, we have to come back to fulfil it. We have to come into the world again to spend what we have earned. So Masters tell us to have contentment. We should be contented as our holy scriptures tell us, as the Masters tell us. Sometimes Master’s words seem to be very strange for ordinary persons.

Some people say, “No, we cannot do this. How can we leave the world and the worldly affairs?” Master never says that we should renounce the world. We must live in the world and learn the art of life. We should earn money and we may use it, but we should not live beyond the necessities. We should always have contentment in us.

At the time of prophet Mohammed there was one person who used to come running to the mosque, and after making a prayer, he went back running again. All people were very surprised that he never talked to anybody but ran away at once. One day they asked for the reason, and he answered, “Well, we have only two clothes, one is for me and one is for my wife. When I go to the mosque, I take her cloth, so she is naked and the house is locked. Only when I come back home and give this cloth to her, she can go out of the house. I must use her cloth because without a cloth the prayer cannot be made.” He used to take the cloth of his wife as a prayer-rug. When this news went to prophet Mohammed, he was very upset and said, “My disciple lives in such a terrible condition? I must help him!” So he ordered something to be loaded on camels, and to be provided to the disciple. He said, “Why? Who complained about my Master, my God, my Allah, to His Rasul, His prophet? I cannot tolerate that. Take it back! I don’t need it. If my God wants me to live like this, who is there to interfere between me and God? When all these things were brought back to prophet Mohammed, he felt very happy that there was one person in the world who lived with contentment and who did not need anything. He said, “I want to have his darshan.” It is said that he went barefooted to see him. To go barefooted is a sign of respect, as sometimes people go barefooted to pilgrimage places.

Once Guru Arjan Dev gave a wonderful grace to one of his disciples by telling him how to live in the world. He asked him to get rid of everything, and he did so. When he had nothing to eat, the Master said to him, “Come to me!” Though Masters rarely do like this, but this time he wished to create an example to show how we can live without those things and how to live according to the necessities. Then the disciple, whose name was Bhai Manj, lived in the ashram. One day Master asked him, what he is living on. He replied, “I only take the food that has been left.” Guru Arjan told him, “I don’t like it. You must earn your livelihood!” So he started to earn his livelihood by cutting wood. Part of it he used to bring to the ashram to cook food for the Sangat, and the rest he used to sell in the market. This was his daily routine. Once it happened that he fell into an old well. He kept the bundle of wood on his head (so that it would not become wet). When he was found, people told him several times, “Throw down this wood and come up.” But he said, “No, first take out this bundle of wood, and then I may be pulled out.” When this news was heard by Guru Arjan Dev, He came running there and embraced him lovably after he had been taken out of the well. He asked the disciple if he had any wish. Bhai Manj, however, only asked that in future his brothers and sisters may be spared such a hard test. Guru Arjan said, Bhai Manj is a boat, a big ship, where all the disciples can go back.” The Master had made a ship of the disciple. The disciple became a ship to carry all his brothers and sisters back to the God Power. The Master created an example, how a disciple must be. Bhai Manj could become an example because he left the attachments, he left everything aside and rose above it.

Master does not say that you must leave everything (and retire to solitude). Live in the world, earn money, but live above it, so that you are not attached with those things. If you remain attached to those worldly things, you will have to come back to suffer with those things. Everyone will have to suffer then, one cannot be happy in this way. You may have attained those things happily or unhappily — the result will be unpleasant.

Baba Sawan Singh once said, “Suppose he who lives according to the commandments of the Master has any wish, the Master can fulfil it.” There was one lady who was very receptive, but she had no child. She was longing for a child, and so she had this great wish even at the time of death. Her attention was always with this wish, so the reaction was there and created a big hindrance. She had to leave the body but she could not leave it. Then Baba Sawan Singh appeared with a beautiful child and put it in her lap. She asked, “Master, who is this child?” He replied, “This is the child which you demanded all the time. It was with Master and He would not give it to you beforehand. He would only give it to you at the time of your departure because this is a special child that could not be given beforehand. Are you satisfied now?” She embraced the child and could go back. So this hindrance was removed. She had been unable to leave the physical body, though the attention of the Master was there, though she was initiated. The hindrance was there, and hindrance was a wish.

Master says, “If there is a wish between the Master and the disciple, that can easily be fulfilled, but if this wish is connected with the negative power, you have to come back into the world to fulfil it.”

This is why Master says, “The give and take process is a must. If you have to give something to somebody, you must pay it.” You should never delay it because you should always think that it is your last day in the world. If you have to get something from somebody and it is not possible (because he is not willing to give it to you) — forgive and forget! Don’t worry about it.

Master tells the theory in a practical way: Forgive and forget! If you forgive and forget, there will also be no reaction. If you say, “Well, it is not possible (to get it back), I forgive and forget,” then you lose the reaction. Otherwise this reaction will remain and will have an effect.

I told you already: in the coming time there is only one thing that will help you — that is contentment! In the Golden Age contentment is the carriage and pity is the driver. Everyone will have to live with contentment. “O Master, whatever You give, is sufficient for me and for the others.” If you want to be happy in the world, keep all other people happy. Don’t give bad attention to them, don’t injure their feelings. Overall contentment means, you have to become a (perfect) man from all directions, from all sides.

You will never be hungry if you give the food to others first. If you always take pity on others and think that they are like us (you will help them and) you will never be hungry. You want to be loved here and hereafter? Love all others with all your heart — but without attachment. Love means: If you find a problem in somebody, try to remove it lovably.

Love knows no burden. If you carry the burden on your shoulders and you feel the burden, it is no love. Once you carry some burden, you should never feel that you are burdened. With love you can carry the burden of whole the world. Master does so; the burden of all human beings is on His shoulders, good and bad karmas, all is on His shoulder. But He never feels weary and tired.

He always seems to be very lovable to all who come to Him. Though Master (Sant Kirpal Singh) sometimes had an injured leg, heart pain, head ache, or physically His whole body was burning like anything — who would see it? Only he who went inside, he who has become a conscious co-worker of the Divine plan. If he is thousand kilometres away from Him, he feels what Master’s condition is like.

At the time of our Master we sometimes felt that Master was not in a good condition. We went there but Master was in a good mood. Master said, “Who knows me from inside? All know me from outside only. The one who knows me from inside will cry.” He cannot sit and be idle. He will say, “Why Master has to do this work, why should not I do it? It is my duty to do that!” This is why selfless service is needed!

Without selfless service we cannot help the Master. Meditation only clears our way. Meditation can also help the Mission of the Master. But we can also do physically what we want to do with meditation. If we learn how to do it physically, we can also do it with attention (in meditation). Attention is due to this physical body, attention alone cannot do anything. If we use the physical body for the very right purpose, the attention starts to work more and more. This is why preference is given to the selfless service; it is taken as higher values.

In Gurbani it is written about all services to the Master but it is said that the selfless service hundred per cent benefits the disciple, the Master, and the Mission. It fully serves the cause of the Master. The more people serve selflessly, the more of Master’s work is done, and the more the way is cleared for all others who are to follow back home afterwards.

I told you already, how Master came to our house. He said that everything belongs to Him. I gave Him the promise, “Okay, Master, I surrender everything to you!” Did Master take anything from me? No, He only taught me how to bring all these things into circulation in order to bear a positive effect for the Mission and for myself — that was His wish. The thing which is to be brought into circulation must bear a positive effect. That will help all your brothers and sisters and all people who will come after you. They will get something in their life.

It is the function of the Masters to mould the attachments you have into a positive way. Each and everything that the disciple has, belongs to Master, which means, it should be used only in the positive way. If anything is used in the negative way, it will morbid your consciousness, and that will destroy some very potent things within us. Nobody wants to misuse what he has. Those (lower) powers which are spreading in the body, those tentacles which are spreading through the senses compel us to do many things in the negative way. Master tells us the right way to control those things.

Attachment is not only money-matter. Attachment leads to many directions. Where we are drawn, that becomes attachment. There are many, many forms of attachment.

Attachment is also called maya (matter). It is the greatest and most potent weapon in the hand of the negative power who controls the world. He knows how to bring man back to the attachment. He pleases the man only with attachment, whereas Master takes His disciple back to Him (into Home eternal) through detachment. Leaving everything, the disciple merges with Master and feels happy within. There is a way, there is an eternal life. You still have all those things but you are not attached to it. This is the real living. Reactions are there, a reaction of everything is there.

The Teaching of the Master is comprehensive; it covers all your risks in life. Whatever He takes from us, He gives back — and much more, each and everything multiplies. You know, in the holy scriptures it is said, “Everything is given back, for every action there is a reaction.” But the payment which Master gives for selfless service is credited in your name, that is not given to you but is put “on an account”, and it bears more and more interest. When one goes back, all is given to him, “Okay, go happily now. No problem.” Whatever the circumstances may be, Master may have to bear some problem due to that, but He will never ask the disciple to spend his cash payment, earned through selfless service.

Selfless service means what is done on the level of the soul, leaving all attachment. We have earned something — and that is with the Master. There is no journey more beautiful than this very journey back with Master. This is the most beautiful journey one has to undertake, and without selfless service one cannot go ahead.

Ask those who meditated and went within. They had to stop at certain places, they had to wait and had to bear the reactions. If you read the wonderful teaching from some very competent devotees of different Masters — not even traces (of hindrances) are found in the way of those who did the selfless service. They went back with Him. Either they are working with Master (inside) or they were given certain duties to deal with very important matters. They are not less than Saints. When Master says, “All my disciples are like Saints,” everyone can become a Saint. Suppose he is not a Saint, he will not be honoured less than a Saint, I tell you.

It is a time now which is recalling the world to find some solution for the betterment, and that is in the hand of the people who have this right understanding. They are the testimony of their Master. If you check them, they must be very exact according to the consideration of the Master.

And that is what happened in the past. In different ways the disciples were checked and they were found fit (for their Master). They could even sacrifice their life. They said, “Okay, if you want to cut off piece after piece (from my body), why you start from the fifth one? Start from the first one over here!” Because they knew how to live with Master. When one knows how to live with Master, one is withdrawn from the world. I tell you, it is the reality.

Many brothers and sisters saw — I tell you about meditation now — what happened to your Biji (Surinder Kaur). Your Biji used to cook food for all brothers and sisters then, in 1974. Even at the time of Master many disciples used to come to our house. We spoke about Master and His Mission, and the subject never finished till food-time came. Biji started to cook for all. She rose above the body-consciousness, and her hand was on the hot plate. Sometimes it was there for many minutes, as nobody noticed that she was above the body-consciousness. But when her hand was taken off, it was cool, and nothing had happened to her.

When one rises above the body-consciousness and becomes the Word-personified form, what effect will those things have which are under the control of the world? They will not have any effect. Nothing could happen to Kabir because He was the Word-personified form. Nothing could affect Him. Even the king (who wanted to kill Him many times) became His devoted disciple, because Kabir said, if He had not wanted, he could never have done so. He wished like this, and so the king could do it. Kabir wanted to show His power in the world, He wanted to show that this God Power exists.

There is no need to go to the forest, there is no need to search for that Power outside — that Power is within, even if you do not see Him physically, if you do not search for Him physically as our Master did. He (Sant Kirpal Singh) prayed to Him (the Almighty), and He manifested within. It happened so. This Power being within can help you in wonderful ways, in all ways of life. If you wish good things for Master, good things will come to you. If you demand more and more things for the Master, more and more things will come to you; there is no limit to it. Everything will come in abundance.

Master says, “It is such a grace, it is such a heritage which by spending grows more and more.” We, however, demand something only for us, not for others. The Mohammedans pray, “O God, give us something where we can spend.” Normally people say they will not spend anything for others. But they pray to God that they should be given some work to spend on. This means, if God gives us some work to spend on, He will also arrange for the means to spend. If God gives the work, then He will also give you something to do that work.

Without help no work can be done. So Master gives the work and also helps the disciple. When one demands everything for his brothers and sisters and for others, He gives more. So it is our own sphere which we have to create. If we create a bigger sphere, He comes with more help. If we cease it, then this help which comes from above will also cease. We saw it practically in our own life. We had some demand — Master fulfilled this demand. A disciple of the Master is very broad-hearted; he is so broad-hearted that the whole world can come into his heart. So broad-hearted is he. He is like Master. He becomes an image of his Master. Whatever Master likes, he does it in the same way.

When the king wanted to pass by the village where Kabir used to live, Kabir said, “Well, you come with your army, you can have dinner with us!” The king thought, “What a poor man he is! He is a Saint but he doesn’t have many things, he only has his thread to sell and his cloths and by this he can earn his daily necessity — how can he feed my army of hundred thousand people?” Kabir went away from the house and said, It is His work, I have not to do it. What happened? He (the God Power) gave one plate to all who came and all were given food.

At the time of our beloved Master we already saw this. When there was only very little left, Master said, “No problem, why do you want to cook again, when people are sitting and waiting? They want food, now serve them! If it becomes less, then it is something else (then you can cook some more). Do it!” Master said, “Put some cloth over it and then go on distributing it.” The whole Sangat took the food and still there was the same food lying there. There is a law of demand and supply, that is eternal.

If you leave the attachments, if you are above, you have everything for yourself and for others. When you demand it from heart, it will come, I tell you, really it will come. If you demand something for His Mission, if you demand for the whole world, it will be given to you. Because from above both those powers are sitting and watching, where there is the person who is broad-hearted. The Positive Power (Master Power) sees if there is somebody who also thinks like Him — He gives everything to him and says, “Well, he will do that, and he will teach all others to do it in the same way.”

Detachment from the world means that you get His grace, you get His blessing. Wherever you need it, His grace is there.

So drunk am I with the presence of my Beloved
That all my ambivalence is gone forever.

O Kabir, a potter’s bowl,
Once baked in the fire,
Is not turned on the wheel again.
— Kabir

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