November 21, 1967 — Morning Talks, chapter 23
How can our devotion to God or the God-in-man bear fruit? First of all, we should earn our livelihood by the sweat of our brow and by honest means. We should not squeeze the blood of others knowingly or unknowingly. All of our actions should be above board, in which nobody’s blood is squeezed. You should earn your livelihood honestly, maintain yourself and your family and at the same time share with others. Some part of your earnings must be given away for the good of others. History shows that one tenth of their income used to be given away by the old Christians, Hindus and others. Why? because some part of our income might be due to our not having done our duty very honestly, even for half an hour or ten minutes. Suppose for example, you are paid for six hours work and you have not put in a full six hours for the job but have wasted half an hour. So whatever you have been paid for in that half an hour is not yours. It has not been earned by you. This has been the custom with all Masters.
Guru Nanak was once invited by a ruler of His time to a big feast in which all sorts of dishes were served. He did not attend the feast but instead went to stay with some poor fellow, Lalo by name, who was a carpenter and worked very hard to maintain himself. So Guru Nanak remained with him and ate his bread. The next morning, the ruler came to know that although Guru Nanak had come He did not join the feasting. He sent for Guru Nanak and said, “Well Nanak, you did not join my feast. Why?” Guru Nanak replied, “I came of course, but did not join your feast because it was served by squeezing the blood of others. I could not suck the blood of others and that is why I did not come.” The ruler was enraged. Masters are not afraid to tell the truth in order to bring home to us what it is that we are doing. So the ruler demanded a proof from Guru Nanak that what He said was true. “All right,” Guru Nanak said, “bring me some of the dishes that were served at your feast.” The ruler had them brought and at the same time, Guru Nanak sent for the bread that He had eaten at Lalo’s home. He put His left hand into the dishes served at the feast and His right hand into the bread brought from Lalo’s home. He then squeezed both of them. The result was that drops of milk fell from the bread brought from Lalo’s home and from the dishes served at the ruler’s feast, there fell drops of blood.
So if you want progress in your devotion to God, always earn your livelihood honestly. Our Master used to visit one Baba Kahan at Peshawar. I was then in my school life and I also used to go to him. Baba Kahan once went to our Master’s office and said, “What are you doing?” The Master said jokingly, “Well, I am just preparing a bill.” . . . “For how much?” — “For Rs. 4000.00.” . . . “Give it to me,” said Baba Kahan. “I will give you two thousand if you like,” replied the Master. As it so happened, a war occurred in that area and our Master was detailed for duty. After a few months, He had earned about Rs. 2000.00. The Master then thought that he should go and visit Baba Kahan. Previously, He used to offer him Rs.10.00, but this time Baba Kahan said, “Well, look here, I want Rs. 20.00 this time.” The Master said to him, “What, are you becoming greedy?” . . . “Not the least,” replied Baba Kahan, “I want the extra so that the poison may be taken away from your earnings. Before you earned less and I took Rs. 10.00, which was given away to the poor. I want Rs. 20.00 now only for the reason that you have got more money. Let it be shared with others.”
You follow me? So the first thing required is that the source from which your earnings is derived must be an honest one. If it comes from a source whereby somebody’s blood is squeezed, how can you think that your mind will be pure? You must live on your honest earnings. The second thing is that love knows no burden. Devotion to God does not mean procrastination. The lover of God works harder than other people because love knows no burden. Out of love he serves everybody. He does not become tired. Generally, when people sit for devotion, they sit for purposes of show and then say to themselves, “Oh I am so tired, let me lie down.” Well, what’s the good of it? This is show, you see. If somebody gives you even a glass of milk, he sends a debit to you and whether you have got money in your bank or not, you will become bankrupt. So be careful not to squeeze the blood of others. Your livelihood should be earned by the sweat of your brow. This is one thing if you want to be successful in your devotion to the God-in-man, or God. Further, anything which helps you to have sweet remembrance of God is a true ritual to be followed. If you go anywhere where you forget God, that place should be avoided. Just have a society or suchlike ritual in which the remembrance of God is boosted. Love knows no show. Love knows no burden. Love would not like to squeeze the blood of anybody. This is the stage to be reached in order to be successful in your devotion to God. Generally, people don’t care for these things. So first, you must be active. You must stand on your own legs. Earn your livelihood by honest means, maintain yourself and your family and also share with others who are needy, naked or hungry. Generally it has been the custom in all nations to give one tenth of one’s earnings. Secondly, if you love God, you must have love for all, as God resides in every heart. All are the children of God. These are the two things required in the way of devotion to God, which will give you success.
If somebody else is looking after you and serving you, that will be debited against you. You will become bankrupt. If you have got money in your bank, that’s all right, otherwise it will go against you. So first of all, to be successful in the worship of God you must earn your livelihood by honest means and by the sweat of your brow, by which you maintain yourself and your family, and share with others who are needy, hungry and naked. The second thing, is that you must be active and do such works as will flare up your love for God. All ceremonies, rituals and other things are blessed if they develop or flare up your love for God. Any action or engagement that causes you to forget God should be avoided.
So this is the subject for today. Every day you get something different. These are helping factors for your success in approaching God. If some sincere seeker after truth who was living on the earnings of others came up to our Master, he was told to put in three hours meditation for himself and three hours more for those who served him. Nobody serves you without wanting something in return. So our Master asked those who were served by others to put in double the time for their meditations to be successful in the way to reach God.
One man came here this morning (he happens to be a temple priest) and asked me how he should maintain himself. I asked him, “Well, you get some pay?” — “Yes,” the man replied, “but not too much.” I said, “Well, if you do some work for somebody you are entitled to the pay, but don’t live on offerings. If somebody offers something to God or to a temple, they want something in return. If you live on these offerings, they will be debited to you.”
So be very careful how you live. Even if nobody else sees what you do, He sees. You have to account for all of your actions. If you follow what has been explained to you today and put in regular time to your spiritual practices, you will succeed.