February 27, 1971 — Heart-to-heart talk by Sant Kirpal Singh
(Light of Kirpal, chapter 69 — “Obedience — If You Love Me, Keep My Commandments”)
Q: I have a question about food.
Master: Food. All right, go on.
Q: The people who are interested in Your teaching are very often asking why we should not eat eggs, because the eggs these days have no living germs in them and cannot be developed into chickens.
M: First of all, where is the surety that every egg does not have that element in it? Are they sure? There are so many eggs mixed together. When they sell eggs in the shops, you see, there is no differentiation. You cannot earmark definitely what is infertile or fertile — first thing. The other reason — eggs are not be be used because they flare up passions. Any food which flares up passions is not to be used. That’s all. They say it is very cold in —. I have been there for three months and never used any eggs. I never felt the necessity for it. If your stomach is all right — eat less than you actually want — no disease will overtake you. So that is the reason for that. What else? Yes?
Q: Oftentimes you are invited by non-initiates and they offer you certain foods which we are expected to take; if you do not take that food they will be offended, she thinks.
M: If anybody offers you poison are you going to accept? Politely refuse; especially poison.
One man came to me. “There is something in the Bible which says whatever is offered should be accepted.” He quoted something like that and said, “If anybody will offer me any food, I will accept.” And because of that condition he was not initiated. I did not give him initiation. If anybody gives you meat and you eat it, then? You are to see to what you are taking. A friend would not like to give you poison if he comes to know that it does not suit you. If a friend offers you something, and he knows fully well that that does not suit you — will he press you to take it? No. Common sense. These are only lame excuses, I would say. Those who reason in this way want some excuse to have that food, that’s all.
So far it has never happened that I was invited anywhere and they pressed me to eat meat. Sometimes even the other people did not have it. If they ate it themselves, they never invited me. But even if they would invite me, if that flesh food was there I should not take it, that’s all. Only take what is necessary. In America we were invited by —— to a banquet hall so sumptuous that even the kings could not offer so many kinds of dishes, so many kinds of meat. Plates were passed out to us. I took one cup of tea! Others who were with me did not partake. They were also passing on the dishes. More than fifty, seventy, eighty kinds of plates were passed on. And —— was wise enough, as he also did not take things. He did not know that I was not taking meat or fish. With all that, he did his best to prepare a very sumptuous banquet the likes of which even the kings could not offer. It is your choice. I think never in life, even the kings gave a spread that way. With all of that, I took only a cup of tea. He also did not take any. It happens many times, but it is for you to decide lovingly; you are not to antagonize anybody.
Q: Sometimes I’m invited not by friends, but by some colleagues, or by your chief in someplace where you are working. And if you will not accept the invitation, will you hurt them?
M: If they invite me, I will go. I will take only what is required of me. They cannot force the food in your mouth.
Q: We also go sometimes to cocktail parties; it’s very important. We take only ginger ale, or some nuts or something.
M: Yes, take what suits you. Generally if they know, they don’t prepare dishes you cannot eat. If they’re ignorant then that’s another reason. Even then you need not show your distaste; take only what you want. These are very little daily dyings, you see. We must use our common sense. As I told you, if somebody gives you poison, would you accept it, even from a friend? So politely send off, politely refuse. “Well, it does not suit; thank you so much anyhow.” When once they come in contact with you and know, they don’t force. If out of ignorance they prepare something, well, don’t hurt them. Send it off in a polite way. What else?
Q: Master, if you suddenly have to start cooking meat in your job, or sometimes they ask you to do things which you’re not accustomed to do…
M: Look here, if it is part of your duty, do it, but don’t take it yourself. Baba Jaimal Singh, the Master of our Master, was a military man. He was given the duty of distributing the meat to the soldiers. All right, he kept his own food. If your duty binds you to cook, you are not to partake, you see. In due course, avoid such duty. Somebody wrote to me, “Well, it is my duty to taste.” [Master chuckles.] They’re paid for that, you see. Sometimes hundreds of thousands of rupees are paid for that, only for tasting food. Then what to do? Well, if you taste it, certainly you ingest it, and have the effect of it. Yes?
Q: Someone here in India, a Sikh gentleman, asked me if I would mind sitting at the same table with others who were taking meat, and I said, but not on my plate.
M: What do you do in the planes? In the airplanes you can have vegetarian food if you tell them you want it. One time there were no arrangements provided for vegetarians and every few hours they kept running up with biscuits, with fruit, with this and that. “We are sorry, we did not know.”
These are lame excuses given, that’s all. When they come to know, they never press you. This is our weak point, you see. At heart of hearts we want it and want some excuse. “How could I hurt his feelings? He may not be able to take it…” Be a man of principle!
Well, being a man of principle, we also need to know how to speak. Last night I was telling you about this. There are ways and ways to refuse a thing without hurting anybody. Kabir said, if a man knows how to speak, it is of such great value which cannot be comprehended. This is a man who simply knows how to speak. Remember I told you there are two different ways of addressing a blind man: “Oh, blind man,” and “Well, when did you lose your sight, please?” The same thing — but with vast difference in effect. One is crowing over, “Oh, blind man!” And the other, “Well, dear friend, when did you lose your eyesight?” Is it not the same thing? The difference lies in the mode of expression. One phrase makes our friends enemies. The other phrase makes enemies our friends.
These are common sense things not laid down in books. How many things can you write in books? So in the physical presence of the Master, you learn many things which are not given in books, in detail, because He has passed through life like you as a man; He has not been a recluse. He knows all these difficulties, He has met with them, and He can tell you how to meet with them. How can a man who has no experience of the world advise you? We need somebody to guide us who has been like us, passed through the world, and knows the ins and outs of the world. Yes? Come on up. I learn many things from you people, too.
Sweet words imbued with humility is the panacea for all ills. Sweet words imbued with humility washes away so many difficulties.
Once a man came to Satsang in Delhi and approached me. I was just doing my best; I was a man like you. He said, “When is the Satsang going to be held?” I told him, “I think it will be between 8:30 and 9.” — “What is the exact time? You do not know when the Satsang is going to be held.” … “It may be so,” I told him, “but that’s all I can tell you.” When he came I was giving a talk. “Oh!” He was surprised. I told him it was between 8:30 and 9 because I did not know the exact time. How could I ensure that it would be exactly between 8:45 and 8:40? He was right, too. I told him “It may be so,” that’s all. He exclaimed, “You are Him — you are a man!” Of course I am a man, you see. I cannot be ex-communicated from the category of man. Sainthood does not lie in outer dress, but in simple living and high thinking. So learn the circular I wrote about humility. I meant something. That is a very long circular-five, six pages. Yes?
Q: (translated from German) Is it right that Satsang is more important than anything else? She had broken her arm, and so she went to her place, and in doing this she missed Satsang two times.
M: Look here, that depends on the pain she has. If she cannot bear that pain, so strong it is, unbearable, naturally, if she goes home, no harm. But I tell you, there are two friends. One wanted to go to the church, the other wanted to go to the football match. The man who was in the church was thinking, “My friend is now kicking a football in the field.” Mentally he was in the field. And the man in the field was thinking, “My friend is praying.” Who is better of the two? The man who cannot bear pain, he has gone home, but all the same he is in the church, Satsang, his thoughts are in the Satsang. But one thing, if you have control of your attention, the pain is less.
Q: Master, she says her boss broke her arm and she had to work in her place, and that was why she missed.
M: She is duty bound. That’s all right. Duty is duty. Once I was to conduct Satsang at Lahore. It was Sunday. Just as it was to start, I sat down. I got information that my Master has come to Lahore to attend to a surgeon. I was thinking–what to do now. Should I run to see the Master, or do this duty? I attended the Satsang duty. The Satsang was over in two hours. Then I ran up to the place where Master was to come. When I reached there He had left and went back to Beas. Then I ran up to Beas on the evening train, reached there, and sat by Him. “Master, I do not know whether I’ve done right or wrong. I was duty-bound to give a talk, at the very moment I got that information you have come. I could not decide but I stuck to the duty. After Satsang, I went to Lahore but you were not there, so I’ve come here.” He said, “I am pleased you have done your duty.” You see?
Sometimes, usually twice a week or so, I went to see Him in the evening. I reached there at about nine, ten in the night. But I had the privilege to be with Him at any time, day or night. One Saturday — the next day was Sunday — I had a mind to stay there with the Master, and arrange for somebody else to give a talk. I reached there at about nine in the night. I went in and sat by Him. So I was thinking at heart of hearts, I wanted to arrange for tomorrow. It was at about 10:30 or so. “Kirpal Singh, tomorrow is Satsang?” — “Yes.” … “Then you should go.” So duty is duty, you see. I had already made up my mind to pass the whole day there at least once, but I had to go. Twelve-thirty, one o’clock, I left. Caught the train at about three, reached there in the morning. So duty is duty, you see. I’ve left the dead bodies of my children at home and gone to perform my duty; I just appointed somebody else to take charge. Well, duty is duty. He never allowed anybody else to take my place. “It’s your duty — go.” Yes?
Q: But with other duties…
M: Duty is duty. You must be sincere. Don’t deceive your own self. Why do some men run day and night spreading the Master’s teachings? What for? Do they get any remuneration? All the same you are doing duty, you are there. How can a man who is not honest to himself be honest to anybody else? We must be honest in detail. So duty is duty, you see.
In my thirty-six years long service, I never stayed away from my office except if I could not move from the bed. Master also gave me instructions about attending Satsang. I asked one day, “Well, what if a man is sick and he cannot attend the Satsang?” He replied, “So long as he can move, he should attend the Satsang.” Once it so happened it was Sunday, Satsang time. I was really sick, but I could move in the bed. I remembered Master’s words. “Well, I can move.” I think it was hardly a furlong away. On the way I sat down three or four times in order to reach that place; sat down to take rest. When I arrived I sat down, very tired, so weak, and started Satsang. That day Satsang extended for three hours. When I came back I came running! So duty is duty. You are revived. These are lame excuses, I tell you. Mind stands in the way to deter you from the right way. He’ll come like a very good gentleman. “Well, you are sick, you cannot go, what can you do?” We don’t really value the worth of Master’s words.
I remember the story of one Ayaz, the private servant of King Humayun. The King had great respect for that private servant. So once his ministers complained, “King, you care more for your private servant than you do about us.” — “That is because he takes me as a king.” … “Well, naturally, do we not take you as king?” He said, “No, strangely enough.” Two days later while all ministers were sitting, his private servant was also there. He sent for one cup from the treasury, studded with jewels, a very costly cup. He put it on a table and ordered his ministers, “All right, break this cup.” — “Well, this is very valuable thing, a wonder of the world.” Next minister also said the same thing. All ministers said, “That is very valuable; it should not be broken.” … “Well look here — Ayaz, break it.” He did not hesitate. He took it and broke it. Then the king said, “Oh Ayaz, don’t you know how valuable this cup is that you have broken?” — “Master, your words are more valuable than this jeweled cup.” We don’t take Master as God. We may say, but how many are there who really know? They mouth it according to their own intellect. The King said, “I respect him more; he takes me as a King.” You see? And the servant said, “Your words are more valuable than this valuable cup.”
If you live by His Words, what is left between you and the Master? The servant becomes the Master. Sevar becomes Swami. Gurumukh becomes a Guru. What is there? We don’t keep the commandments. “If you love me, keep my commandments.” He has given the order ‘stay’ — stay. Why do you enter your mind into it? I tell you, mind is a very, (what do you say), very clever, all around. He will come on very gentlemanlike. “You see your son is sick; he is going to die. What does it matter if you do not attend a Satsang? And the doctor advised you, ‘Be careful, he may pass at any moment.’ What will you decide? Will you go there, or take care of your child?” This is what is meant by, if you love me keep my commandments. You simply read it, and read out and explain to others; we don’t live what we read our own self.
Again I would say, if we keep up the commandments of the Master, why all this dissension? Why is all this disrespect, fighting going on? We don’t take Master as God. Taken in that way, as I just explained to you, whatever is in the Master will be transferred to you. You know what is meant by “keep the commandments”? How many are really keeping His commandments? We fill our diaries and we keep our own shortcomings reserved, don’t show them. So be like a hard taskmaster. Don’t spare yourself. You make confessions to your ministers, weekly or monthly, why not make a confession to your Master, to the God in Him, every time? Live in that way for even a month, then you’ll change like anything. Mind stands in the way always. Like a very good gentleman, he says, “Well, look here, it is your duty. Your son is sick, he is going to die.”
Guru Nanak had one disciple by the name of Ajita. He told him once, ”Look here, I see that the worldly man does not need anything. They are not after spirituality. There are some who have some inkling and they sacrifice everything for the moment, and they don’t live up to that. The others are like those who are sitting under the tree of spirituality, laden with fruits. And third are like those who have eaten the fruits.“