A talk given by Sant Kirpal Singh, November 1, 1972, Chicago
Dear brothers and sisters
You are all fortunate, because you have got the man body, the highest in all creation, which is next to God. The highest aim in the man body is to know Self and to know God. The ultimate goal of all knowledge is the knowledge of the Self. The Upanishads ask us. What is that by knowing which everything else is known? For that, God makes an arrangement to bring those who have got a real yearning to search for this ideal, in contact somewhere where they can be put on the way back to God, which is within you.
So body is the true temple of God. But we find the best thing is, if a man is put on the Way, he should keep the commandments literally. But it is mind, you know, that defiles everything. Even if we are putting in time for meditation, we find difficulty, so that we cannot go on with it. And there are some things that are impediments on the Way, the spiritual way. That we know; everybody knows; but I am going to enumerate them as the subject of this talk.
First of all, you see: We should stand on our own legs. Don’t be dependent on anybody. One Saint prays, “Oh God, give me this: That I may stand on my own legs. If I have to be dependent on others, it is better that You take my soul from the body.” To be dependent on others is a heinous crime; all evils creep in. So we must have honest earning. All Masters have referred to it; Guru Nanak said, He who earns his money in the honest way and shares with others, such a man alone can know God. Whatever money we receive through dishonest means, naturally, we have got that dishonesty creeping up within ourselves. If money is earned by honest means, then you will find some rest – some peace.
Further, whatever we eat and drink has its own effect. If a dog is kept on vegetable food, he is very amiable. If he is kept on meat, etc., he will be howling and growling. So it is a satvic [i.e., strict vegetarian] diet that we have to take.
And even if we take that kind of diet, we have to watch the hands through which the food passes: by whom it is cooked, and by whom it is served. That diet also carries the effect of those through whose hands the food has been prepared and served. All these things affect the man who eats it. If the food is earned by honest means, and those who prepare the food have been in the sweet remembrance of God, with chaste thoughts – then you will find that when you eat, that will give you calmness within.
And one more thing: If such food is prepared this way, that will have its effect; but if you eat too much, more than what is wanted, then what is the result? Diet which is digested will give you strength; that which is not digested? So diet has a great effect, you see. Eat one morsel less than you need. There was an incident with the Prophet Mohammed, who had about forty followers with him at one time, and somebody attached a doctor to him, so that if anybody went sick, he might be treated then and there. The doctor remained with the party for six months; but nobody got sick. He went to Prophet Mohammed and said, “Well, I have been here six months; nobody has been sick, so there is no need of my being here.” The Prophet said, “Yes, so long as they do what I have ordered: have a good character, chaste thoughts, and hard work; and take one morsel less than they really need, there can be no sickness. You better go.”
So our earnings should be honest; that is the first step. It should not be blood squeezed from others. What is yours, is yours; what is others is for the others. Don’t usurp the rights of others; that is the first thing required. Otherwise many evil thoughts will creep up in you.
There was one Maharishi Shivbrat Lal. One man came to him and said, “My head aches, I cannot sit in meditation for long.” He said, “Look to your stomach.” Then another man came the same day and said, “My mind wanders away.” “Well, look to your stomach.” Then another man said, “I cannot sit in meditation; my mind rebels.” He said, “Look to your stomach.” So this is the first elementary thing which stands as an impediment on the Way you have been put on.
Second thing: God has given rights – equal rights – to everybody. We are born the same way; outer and inner construction is the same. And we are ensouled bodies. Soul is of the same essence as that of God, and God also resides in everybody. We should have no hatred for anybody. One may be standing, waiting on the table; another one is sitting in the chair. This is due to as we have sown, so we have reaped. Higher position or lower position, richness or poorness – all these things depend on that. Sometimes a man thinks, “I am in power.” Or, “I am a very learned man.” You hate others for these reasons: because you are very rich, because you are very learned, because you are a man of position. Humility is the only remedy for that; we are all equal, you see. If you hate them, then how do you think the God within you will receive you? So we are all equal. We are all brothers and sisters in God. Generally we feel, “Oh, I know much better.” These are the little little things that affect the reservoir of our subconscious mind. And they react.
The third thing is: Forgive and forget. I am giving you practical difficulties. If anybody has done anything wrong to you, you say, “All right, I forgive”; but you have not forgiven at heart. You are in the watch – “when can I retaliate?” Forgive and forget. If you remember somebody who has done this wrong or that wrong, then naturally that element of your retribution won’t go. If a child has done anything wrong, do you not forgive?
And one thing, you see: Each man has to work at his own level. Suppose a man with a primary grades education is there, and a college man is there. Can you expect the primary man to talk up to the level of the college man? Make some allowance; try to understand what he says.
So as I told you, one thing is honest earning; and pure diet passed through, cooked by, served by, people of good character in sweet remembrance of God. In the old days, a mother would not let anyone enter the kitchen when she was preparing the food; nobody entered there. I think I mentioned to you that when I was a military accounts officer attached to a regiment in the field, one orderly was given to me to cook my food. So I told him, “Well look here: So long as you are in the kitchen, you should go on reciting some scripture or have the sweet remembrance of God. No other thought should enter your mind.” He said, “All right.” Well, for three days he obeyed. On the fourth day I was sitting in meditation at about 12 or 1 in the night; something was wrong in my mind. I called that man – at 1 at night: “Well, come on, who was it in your kitchen today?” He said, “No, sir, nobody was there.” “Don’t lie!” Then he said, “Yes, there was, we were talking about such-and-such.” Why don’t we notice these things? Because we are already so filthy; if an ounce is added, we don’t notice. But those who have got no filth, little things affect them; one gram affects them. So these are the first things, you see; just see how far we have gone.
The second thing was, as I told you, on account of our being rich or learned or a man of position or a man of possessions, we hate others. We think they are not men of our own status; that they are not fit for our society. This hatred of the heart affects your mind.
The third thing was. Forgive and forget. After all, men are not of the same stature; each man works according to his own level of thinking or development. Make him understand politely, but once it has been done, then – forget. Forget all. If you don’t forget, again and again the thought goes on – “he has done that, he has done that” – that also poisons the mind and affects you.
The fourth thing is chastity: of thought, word and deed. Even if any unchaste thoughts enter your mind, you think of them, your whole body is poisoned from head down to foot. Others do not know; you know. Sometimes people say, “We do not do anything, we simply enjoy – they are talking of suchlike things, you see, unchaste thoughts. But those very things affect you. As I explained to you the other day, every thought has its effect. As you sow, so it is sown; whether it is done in a frivolous way, for enjoyment’s sake – it affects.
So there is chastity of eyes: Don’t look to others with lustful thoughts or any rancor rankling in your mind, or any enmity, or thinking that the other man, he is no good. And for the ears: don’t hear anything evil about others – because a little thought comes to you, and that awakens doubt; and we begin to doubt that man about which we have heard. But he may be all right. So for that reason, don’t believe anything anyone tells you – “I have heard” or “I have seen” – unless you hear for your own self with your ears and see with your own eyes.
Then comes chastity of tongue: Anything which is not of satvic character, you will become fond of it; you will think, “it is very delicious”; then that will affect your stomach. So what is wanted is chastity of everything – eyes, ears, tongue – skin also. In these little little things, we receive infection from others. That is the main thing.
Chastity in itself is a blessing. As I told you, married life in accordance with the scriptures is no bar to spirituality. It is companionship; a sacrament, not a contract. God has given you a companion to help each other on the earthly sojourn, in weal or woe, and to help each other to know God. And then for begetting children, whenever they are wanted. So a life of self-restraint is a blessing, you see; those who keep it, they will feel blessings in their body. And that chastity has its own thought by radiation. I am telling you, each thought has its own color and it’s own fragrance; so beware! Thoughts are very potent. This is the fourth thing: Where there is chastity, all virtues will find an abode in you; your mind will be at rest; whenever you sit, you will progress wonderfully.
Then the fifth thing is: Don’t work as the unpaid apprentices of the C.I.D. of God. (“C.I.D.” means “Confidential Investigation Department.”) “He is like that – he is like that – he is like that” – you are always looking after that. God is there too; He will look after it. If you have got any friend who is clearly doing something wrong, you may tell him privately, politely, “this is no good; don’t spoil your life; I have love for you.” But don’t broadcast it like a plague rabbit, going around everywhere.
Sometimes we say, “You know how wonderful I am?” If you want, let others say you are wonderful. These things are based on what is lying in the depths of your hearts. Out of the abundance of his heart a man speaks.
So for this reason, don’t think evil of anybody: because as you think, so you become. If you are always thinking, he is bad, he is bad, you will get infected with that. I read a book once when I was in school, that said that some missionaries went to Japan and preached one commandment of Moses: Don’t strike your woman. The people were leading very innocent lives; they asked, “Is it in your country that they beat women?” The result was, after a year’s preaching, they began to beat women. I have seen men, foremost preachers in society, who preach, “Don’t drink, don’t drink,” but privately, they do drink. I have seen, I tell you. “Don’t drink, don’t drink” and all the time they are thinking of drinking, are they not? Maybe the word “don’t” is there, but drinking is also there. Then you say, “all right, let’s see what it’s all about.” So as you think, so you become.
Further: we criticize others. We should criticize ourselves as we criticize others. Mind your own business. If you have a friend whom you love, tell him privately, “please don’t do it.” What more can you do? Unless a man in his heart of hearts feels that he has done wrong, he won’t follow you. Man will go by the dictates of his mind. If he is convinced that what he is doing is really wrong, then he will listen to you, otherwise not. So – Wanted: Reformers – Not of others, but of themselves.
REFORM YOUR OWN SELF: you will reform many men around you. People judge by what they see, not by the words you express or preach. So example is better than precept. You see, you have been given a diary for that. Criticize yourself as you would criticize others; put down your failures and weed them out. Don’t simply say, “I am a sinner, I am a sinner”; you will become a sinner, God knows. If you weed them out, then it is all right; and for that, you have to keep diaries.
These are six things which stand in the way of our progress on the spiritual way. And there are some constructive points which help us on the Way. Both things should be known. You know, mind defiles, everything: a thought of lust defiles the whole body from head down to foot; a good thought, a thought of love, permeates your whole body. So don’t let the mind be vacant. A vacant mind is the home of the devil. Keep it occupied, either in your work or in the sweet remembrance of God. There is one thing that helps us with this: Do one thing at a time, wholly and solely. There is a table there with so many drawers; open one drawer and attend to it fully; then close down that drawer. Then open the next drawer, attend to it fully; then open the third drawer. Then you won’t have two or three things hovering over your mind.
If you read the lives of great men, you will learn many things. Napoleon Bonaparte, for example: The night before the Battle of Waterloo, at 1 a.m., he was writing the proceedings of a primary school. You see how self-composed he was? There is something in some men which makes them great, you see. At eight o’clock in the morning of the Battle of Waterloo, he was strolling in the compound where he was living. A minister was there, hovering around. “What are you after?” “Sir, the battle is to be fought at nine.” “That is at nine o’clock; it is eight o’clock now.”
So do one thing at a time, completely, wholly, and solely, and you will find you will save many troubles. One man comes to you to talk, you attend only a little and leave him not fully attended; another man comes, you attend him only a little; then a third man, a fourth man, and you do the same; the result is that they are all hovering around you, you see, they won’t leave unless you satisfy them. So whatever thought strikes you, attend to it fully: decide one way or the other finally. How many problems do you have daily? I don’t think one or two! So many problems are heaped together. Sometimes you think of that, sometimes of this – they are hovering around you. So this you can learn from Bonaparte’s life, you see: Do one thing at a time.
John Bunyan wrote “The Pilgrim’s Progress”; you might have seen that book. His motto was, Write something daily; and he wrote “The Pilgrim’s Progress”. There was another man, Stanley by name; his motto was. Finish something daily. That I took to be my guide, you see – Finish something daily. Whatever you take, finish it; it may take one hour, two hours, three hours. Then you will go to bed quite buoyant and fresh, and awake the same way. Otherwise, the work which is left incomplete is hovering in your mind throughout the night. Then you worry, “I must attend to this and that thing”; you see? These are very little things that will help us.
Keep your mind occupied always. When you are at work, be fully occupied in work: Work is worship. When you eat, be fully in your eating, because that is a gift from God. Thank God. If your attention is in eating, that eating will give you good results. Sometimes you have taken the morsel, but your thought is somewhere else; you don’t know how much you have eaten, you see. So when you are at your practice, be fully at practice. These are the things that affect us; I am telling you what constructive things help us.
Now, one thing more: Man is the highest in all creation. All creation has been made subservient to you; all are lower than you are – animals, birds, reptiles. The laws of Nature you are controlling. Man is next to God. So have reverence for all. God resides in every body, whether high or low; have reverence for all who are over you, above you; reverence for all who are around you; and reverence for all who are beneath you, under you. If you are the head of a department, love your subordinates. When I was in office, I was a superintendent; superior officers are only pleased if you have turned out more work – it may be at the sacrifice of those working under you; they are after the subordinates. In my case, the subordinates were pleased and the officers were also pleased. Why? I treated them alike as brothers – reverence for them. And they turned out twice the amount of the work which others did – and quietly and friendly. These are the practical things which help us.
So you are the head of all creation, excuse me, next to God: great is man. And you must have reverence for all. All are our brothers; our younger brothers in the family of God, whether they are round you, above you, or below you.
And one more thing: Be true to your own self. We deceive our own self first, then we deceive others: telling lies, usurping others’ rights. Then we say something, but we mean something else. What your heart means, let your brain think and your mouth say. When these three agree, then that is true.
So as I have told you, Wanted: Reformers – not of others, but of themselves. God is within you; the Master Power is within you. When Baba Jaimal Singh initiated somebody, he used to say, “Look here: now I am residing within you. Take care; I am looking after you now.” Do we think like that? If you think somebody is watching you, can you do anything wrong? No. So be true to your own Self, then you will fear nothing in the world.
The man who is not true to himself, he will have to tell lies, excuse me; why? Because he is afraid the secret will be out. He will speak to one man a few words, and he will talk to another, because at heart of hearts he is in fear. Then you will find, after a month or two the whole statement will change. So the man who betrays his own Self, is not true to his own Self, he has to tell hundreds of lies. To keep one thing secret he has to tell hundreds of lies. But a secret is never a secret! The cat must be out of the bag. If you don’t watch it, others do see it. So be true to your own Self; these are simple words, but they carry great meaning – they provide you with greatness of culture, I would say. And ultimately you will learn humility.
So knowledge means what? Knowledge means service. God resides in every heart, and a man is one who is of service to others, not to his own self only. Then further, knowledge means what? Fellowship. We are all brothers and sisters in God; we all go together; we are all reading in one class to pass the same examination: to control our mind, to know our higher Self, and to know God. So these are the things which help us.
Last of all, there are two or three more constructive things which I have found, and will put before you. One is: Cleanliness is next to Godliness. Body is the temple of God – keep it clean and tidy. Not that you should wear rich clothes, valuable clothes, silken clothes; but keep it tidy. That will help your health, too. And when you will sit, you will be wide awake. For meditation or any work, you will be buoyant and fresh.
And not only cleanliness outside, but inside too. This is the temple of God. Outer temples, which are the models of the man body, we keep clean and tidy. But outside they are not so clean as inside, I tell you. But this body – we keep it clean outside but not inside, that’s the pity. We spend thousands of dollars for the outer cleanliness, outer beauty; but what about the inside? It is mind that denies the whole thing, as I submitted earlier. Whatever thought comes up, that has its own color, its own odor; and by radiation, that affects others. If a filthy cloth with a bad odor is lying in a room, the whole room becomes full of that odor. If flowers are put in the room, then it is full of perfume, is it not? Why do we not find this? Because we are already filled with lies and filth, one or two pounds added to it, what difference does it make? But those who are pure in heart, naturally, little little things will affect them.
Guard your outgoing faculties. Seeing is not bad, but seeing something wrong is bad. Eyes are the windows of the soul. When you wear spectacles of a certain color, then you see the whole world in that color. Smile and the world will smile with you; torment others and you will be tormented. If you think evil of others, others will think evil of you; thoughts are very potent.
Think twice before you speak. Think twice! What should you think? One: Is it necessary to say anything? Two: How will it affect others? Is it in their interest or will it hurt them? Is it good? Is it necessary to say something? If not, keep quiet. Mind your own business. And what effect will they carry, your words? These are the two things. Do you remember to do that?
Be very much on guard, you see: Guard your eyes, guard your ears, guard your tongue. The remedy for these things is usually: Kind words imbued with humility. That doesn’t cost anything. Kind words imbued with humility. Sometimes we become bosses; we use any language we like. But even a very frivolous thought carries its effect. Karma is very exorbitant, you see: as you think, so you become.
Another thing: Forget the past and forget the future. What has happened already, that cannot be mended; you may have a lesson from that, that’s all. Forget the future – “we’ll do this, we’ll do that” – like that. These are two spikes, I would say, eating into the veins of our lives. Live in the living present. Whatever stones you lay, that building will come up. As you sow, so shall you reap. What you have sown already, that must be reaped. So live in the living present. You will have no burdens; your mind will be free. Now our mind is overburdened with thoughts of the past and of the future – what we will do. Thank God we have what we have. We have earned it, by sowing the seeds thereof, and we are still earning. Whether you are happy with whatever comes up or not, finish it. Those seeds were sown by your own self in the past, about which you do not know. So do your best and leave the rest to God overhead.
And one thing more I will tell you: If you have got a watch, you wind it up every morning, do you not? Then it goes for 24 hours – going on, going on – with no interruption. So every morning, wind up the watch of your mind. Sit and devote time to your practices. Come in contact with the Light and Sound within. Then you will get strength; because that is the Bread of Life and the Water of Life; That will give you freshness, vigor, strength, to work with all through the day; you will be quite buoyant and fresh. And at night before going to sleep also: wind up the watch. These are the constructive things that will help you. The other things, which stand as impediments on the way, I have also put before you. But these things I have spoken of, they are no new things.
Well, dear friends, what I have submitted, does it appeal to you? Do you want to be fresh and buoyant, not brooding over anything? Then wind your watch daily every morning. You will get strength; the Water of Life and Bread of Life will give strength to your soul. And when the soul is strong, all other things get strength, you see: your mind, your outgoing faculties, your body also. You will find that when wrestlers do exercises, they put their whole attention on the body; that attention gives them strength. One example I may submit to you (you may have seen this point): When you are very tired and hungry, you take a morsel of food and drink water, you get strength. Where does that strength come from? Strength from the food comes only after it is digested; not all at once. It is your soul – your own Self. Soul has great curative power. You are soul. You are sons of God. Great is man.
These are little little things we have never cared for, you see? But with them we can make our life sublime. But there should be some ideal before us. We are adrift – aimlessly adrift – that’s the pity. We dig pits here, there, everywhere – some five feet deep, some seven feet deep, some six feet deep, and water nowhere. So I submit to each one of you that you must decide your aim. It may cost you a day, three days, seven days; never mind. Once you have decided, then you are going step by step to your goal. Some go one foot ahead, then go back, then go ahead, then go back; that takes time, of course. When I entered the world, I had great ambition also: ambition of life, etc. But I had to decide; and with the grace of God, it was decided: “God first, world next.” Then everything goes in a constructive way to help you.
So we are aimlessly adrift; these are the things that we don’t observe. We follow with eyes closed, I would say: headlong down without caring what the result will be. Man can change, you see. This is your right as man because you have got discrimination. Not animals. Animals can also be very helpful when you train them, but man is free, you see, within certain limits.
So as I told you, wind your watch daily, quietly. You will be fresh every day. You may have too much to do, but still, when you are set, you are fresh. So these are some of the impediments on the Way, and some constructive things which will help you – in all your affairs of life, outside, and inner too – in the spiritual Way, too. What will you get if you reform your own self? Godhead – which is your hereditary right.
These little little things make men great. Ultimately, greatness lies with that which you have been put on. You are very fortunate, that you have been put on the Way, and given something to start with. Why not wind up daily? Come in contact with that – and that is the Bread of Life and the Water of Life that has fortunately been given to you. You are more fortunate – those who have been put on the way – than others in the world. Christ said. Those who follow my words, they are my disciples; those who take cross daily, they are my disciples. “Taking cross” means rising above body consciousness. So every day morning, wind up your watch.
These are the helping factors, and these are the impediments on the way. This is why it is said. Truth is above all and true living is still above Truth. We care little about the true life; even if we do something, it does not give us full fruit.
So please – you have been put on the Way with the grace of God, working as a result of the greatness of our Master, Baba Sawan Singh; it is His grace that is working. You know it is raining outside; ever since I have come it has been raining. The word Sawan means the rainy month; in the month of Sawan it always rains – and generally, wherever I go, the rains come first. That is His grace working; all credit goes to Him. What little I have come to know, I have put before you in a few words.
So don’t give food to your body until you give food to your soul – first thing; make it a point. And, to enable you to progress on the Way, you must go by these things. True living is above Truth.
Tomorrow I might be leaving physically, because I am going round as my Master wishes – the God in him; I may not be physically with you, but my thoughts are with you. That Christ Power or God Power is always in you, working always for your best interests, and extending all feasible help and assistance and protection. So remain in contact; go by what I have given you in these few words. God will bless you all. That is all I can say. Remain in contact; don’t be led away by what you hear outside, unless you hear for your own self or see with your own eyes.
So you are all children of God; children are always dear to the Father, you see. You are all dear to the God who is also residing within us. You are dear to me as well. And you should progress from day to day; I wish you all to become ambassadors – better than me, I would say. Every father wants his children to be more competent, more able, than himself.
So these are my few words. Tomorrow I will be leaving physically – only. That Power within you will be helping you and extending all protection. Remain in contact. This is all I have to say.
So, you see, you are fortunate to see me, but I am more fortunate than you. Because you have seen only one; but I have seen all of you. Am I not more fortunate? So love beautifies everything. And thanks to those who are crusading with me, conveying this message to the people at large. It is His work: credit goes to God and to our Master.