This Birthday Message was given by Master Kirpal Singh at the Friends’ Meeting House, in Washington DC, on January 25, 1964. (Published in Sat Sandesh February 1976).
Click to listen the full talk as mp3 file (40,5MB, duration 59:04).
We are all children of Light. I was wondering how I should address you, because I see you in me and I in you. I think the best way I can address you is as my friends. I have not made you slaves, but equals: because only an equal man can recognize what he is. Those under him cannot know him from that status. You are all my friends; I have love and regard for you. Ever since I came in contact with you physically in 1955, although physically I was in India, I have been carrying your sweet remembrance with me all along. During the day I was very much burdened with the work over there, but at night I was all along with you, replying to your letters. During the day I was there, at night I was with you. This is the other part of the world: when there is night there, there is day here. So I was working all during the day, there or here.
I have been appreciating your loving thoughts which you have been sending to me from time to time and your anxiety to have me here. I wanted to be here, but on account of exigencies of service, I was tied down over there. But you know, “Stone walls do not make a prison house nor iron bars a cage.” Though physically I was bound there, in my mind and spirit you were with me all along: that I can assure you. Even hereafter, the God in me will be with you, guiding you and helping you in all your affairs. It is through the grace of my Master (Baba Sawan Singh Ji) that this is being extended to you, that it was extended to you in the past, and that it will continue to be hereafter, too.
Ever since I’ve come here I’ve been feeling quite at home: I never thought of my home; I forgot India, because of the love that radiated all around me. There I was among my friends, and here, also, I am among my friends. Of course, during the day I am here, but at night I have to attend to India, in the same way that I did for you here when I was in India. You are all dear to me. Whether you are in the East or the West makes no difference to me. Outer forms make no difference. I see you from the level of the man-body or at the level of embodied souls. You are children of Light. This present tour has been taken as the extension of what my Master wanted of me. He impressed on me to have a common ground for all men, irrespective of whether they belonged to one religion or the other. They are all the same as man, and further, they are embodied souls. He wanted me to have a common ground for all, where men belonging to all religions, of the East or West, could sit together on the same earth and under the same canopy of heaven. So it is with his grace that this present renovation, you might say, or revival of the old, old truths taught by all past Rishis and Masters is being given out. In the Vedas — the Atharva Veda, the Rig Veda — it is said: “Thousands of you sit all together; pray to God.”
We have joined various religions, which are our schools of thought, and we have joined them to know God. These religions are our recruiting centers from which we have to “join the army of God.” We have to become the true Khalsas (the pure ones), in the terminology of the tenth Guru of the Sikhs. Zoroaster was asked: “We are to join the army of God: what is required to do that? What is the qualification?” He never mentioned any one religion or the other. Masters always look to all mankind from the level of the man-body — from the universal level. They consider all humanity to be their family.
Guru Nanak had a wife and two sons. When he left his hearth and home to carry this message to all the world over, the worldly people came up to him and said, “What are you doing? Why are you leaving your family?”
He said, “Look here, the whole of mankind is my family.”
This is the level from which all Masters who came in the past gave out their teachings. They laid before us the way to come up to that level. These schools of thought that are called religions, which we have joined and whose outer forms we took as badges, were means to the end to free our souls and unite them with God. They were meant for our freedom, but those very religions have become the chains and fetters to bind us. That was never the purpose of joining any school or religion.
“So, what is required,” the people asked Zoroaster, “for joining the army of God?” He said, “Righteousness.” — “And what is righteousness?” … “Good thoughts, good words and good deeds.”
This is what all other Masters said. Guru Nanak said the same thing:
“Truth is above all,
and true living is still above truth.”
While you are here on this common ground of Spirituality you forget your outer levels of living. This is the first quality you acquire when you come to some Master: you lose all otherness. You see all mankind as one; you see the same soul in everyone, the soul which is the drop of the Ocean of All Consciousness. We are all children of Light. Naturally, what lies before us is to love God.
We love God, and that very God resides in every heart. Since our souls are of the same essence as that of God, naturally we love all. To love all is the main thing, because God is Love. God is Light and we are also children of Light. God is Life and we are all conscious beings. God is Love and we are also Love; so the way back to God is also Love. This is the main lesson that we learn at the feet of the Masters. It prepares the way to God.
All our outer rituals, rites, saying of prayers and reading of scriptures are meant to develop that love and devotion in us. Blessed is the society or the school of thought to which we belong, in which we develop this very precious jewel of love.
What is required, as I told you, is righteousness. And righteousness means good thoughts, good words and good deeds. It further enjoins us, naturally, to live a life of continence, of control over our senses. So many senses are dragging us, through our outgoing faculties, to all the world over. If you would like to control one passion, you must have control over all outgoing faculties.
If you control one organ of sense and let the others run loose, it is just like putting your hand into fire and expecting that it will not burn. This is what is required: control over the senses. The attention, which is the outcome of our souls or expression of our souls, is diffused into the world through the senses and sense organs. We know now how to know God: by simple ways. God cannot be known by the outgoing faculties, by the intellect or by the vital airs. It is the soul alone that can know God: Like alone can know the like. So the outward expression of soul is attention, which is diffused into the outside world. It is to be collected, you might say: the rays of attention are to be brought back to their source, our soul, which is at the back of the eyes. That is the first thing to be done. You are not to touch the pranas or to have recourse to any physical exercises or to engage in intellectual wrestling to come to some conclusion. This is because it is the attention, or the expression of soul, that gives life to the intellect, to the mind and to the outgoing faculties.
I think you might at some time have experienced that when you sat in a very absorbed condition, you went into a transport: your intellect and your outgoing faculties did not work. The way of the Masters is purely withdrawing the attention from outside, entering this laboratory of the man-body and leaving these organs of sense. Retrace all the rays of the attention back to their source: the soul at the back of the eyes. When you come there, you will find God already there. This is a natural way. This is called the Surat Shabd Yoga — Surat Yoga (Yoga of Attention). Or you might call it “The Path Divine.” This is the easiest way: even children see light, if a little attention for withdrawal is given. This is the natural way, which all Masters gave to children, to the old, to the learned and to the unlearned.
When the Masters came, what did they tell us? I mentioned it very briefly in a few words in my message, too. They said,
“Love is the way back to God.
God is Love and our souls are also Love,
and it is through love alone
that we can know God.
Love knows true renunciation,
service and sacrifice.
Not for the self, but for the good
of others without any consideration.”
All Masters say that love is the way back to God. Read any scripture. And there we are wanting. We are very intellectual; we are very wise in all other affairs; but we are wanting in love. Love is not grown in any field; it cannot be bought at any shop. It is already within you, engrained within you; it is innate. That love has simply been misfit. Where does that misfit love take us? To the body, to the enjoyment of the senses and to the attachments of the outside world . The result is, where do we go? Where we are attached.
So this love, which is misdirected, is called “love.” But if you look to its reality, you will find it is God in itself. Because God is Love and our soul is Love, when love is withdrawn from outside and we come within, we come in contact with All-Love. This is what is required.
“Those who do not understand love
cannot understand God.
Those who do not know love
cannot know God.”
The tenth Guru of the Sikhs also gave us the same thing: “Hear ye all” — irrespective of whether you belong to the East or the West, to one country or the other or to one religion or the other —
“I tell you the truth:
God is had only through love.”
But we have not understood the true meaning of love. We take it to be the enjoyment of the senses with the body and outside things. That is not true love.
Mind that, love is a gift from God to man. Love seeks union with the beloved. First there is yearning, there is pining. You want to see him, to be near him. What is love? What is the result of love? When love is there, whatever, for whomever, you are always, constantly in sweet remembrance of him. That is the outward token of love. First, you would like to be near him; then you would not like to disobey any order he gives.
As Christ said,
“If you love me, keep my commandments.”
He said further:
“I give you a new commandment,
‘Love one another.’ ”
We say we love God, but we do not love one another. Why? All Masters say,
“Love God, love thy neighbor
and love all creation.”
If we love God and do not love our brothers, then what does the Bible say? “You are a liar.” Do you see?
“If you do not love your brother whom you see,
how can you love God whom you do not see?”
So love, ultimately, after yearning, wants to be near him; to obey him: and then obedience will result in surrender. Obedience seeks the pleasure of the beloved. Why do you want to be obedient? You want to seek the pleasure of the beloved, whom you love. One who loves is a lover of the beloved, and one who obeys is the beloved of the beloved. If you love your Master, Master loves you. Those who are more obedient, who love him and never transcend any of his injunctions, become the most beloved of him.
Ramakrishna was sometimes seen weeping for Swami Vivekananda, when he did not find him. It was by the grace of my Master that I used to go to him twice a week, sometimes weekly, the maximum number of times I could. Sometimes it happened that I could not go. And he would send someone to go and find out why I did not come. It also happened that he took the car and drove to Lahore, about forty miles, and he went and stood under my office and sent a man up to call me down. Do you see? If you love the Master, the Master loves you the most: you become the beloved of the Beloved.
We have not ever thought of the value of love. We say we are lovers of the Masters. Then why is there so much discord and disunion? When two men love the same thing there should only be competition of this kind: if one man puts in six hours in meditation, you put in seven hours; if one man serves selflessly, you do even more service than that; if one man puts one shoulder to the wheel, you put your two shoulders to the wheel. This is what he really means by love. About love, I say: one who loves is the lover of the beloved, and one who obeys becomes the beloved of the beloved. Who is the greater? And that love should also be within a respectful mood.
Once I wrote my Master a letter in which I said,
“I pray, grant me love, your love;
but that love should be within respectful limits.”
Sometimes, out of love, we transcend the limits. Sometimes we want to overrule the one whom we love. That’s not the way of the true lover. He received the letter and put it on his breast. He said,
“I want such a one who loves
within a respectful mood.”
You will find that for one who surrenders, nothing has any existence other than the beloved. Surrender is above obedience. Obedience is sometimes practiced in a willy-nilly way. But surrender means giving up everything for the beloved: you have nothing else except the beloved. So greater than love is obedience, mind that: greater than love is obedience. And all these can be summed up in “Love Divine.”
This is, perhaps, the only lesson or injunction or counsel I can give you to make you successful in all ways of life, especially in your spiritual life: because you abide in the one you love.
“Let my words abide in you
and you abide in me.”
How can you abide in him? First, by obedience, and second, by surrender.
“As you think, so you become.”
The fifth Guru of the Sikhs tells us, that …
“If the disciples remember the Master,
what does the Master do?
Whom does he remember?
His loving souls.”
Never for a moment think that the God in the Master forgets you. For instance, I told you at the commencement of my talk that when I was in India, I was there with you here at night. When I am here, I am there at night. When the sun rises there, I am there; when the sun rises here, I am here. Do you see? That is God in me, not the son of man.
Godhood is the birthright of every man. Fortunately we have that birthright; it is the grace of God. And the grace of God has further descended in that we have some desire, some yearning, for God. It is to achieve Him — to find Him — that we have cared to join any school of thought or religion.
It is possible through love alone to become God, I would say. The lover and the beloved both become one.
“I and my Father are one.”
And St. Paul said,
“It is I, not now I,
but it is Christ that lives in me.”
This is what is meant by the word Gurumukh. Master is God-in-man, and a lover of the Master becomes a Gurumukh: he becomes the Guru — a Godman in man. This is the ultimate feat of love, and this is the easiest way.
I remember a story that has just struck me: Lord Rama went into exile for fourteen years. He went to the wilderness where many other yogis were living. There was one lady there of a very low caste. She heard that Lord Rama was coming into exile into the wilderness, and what did she do? She thought, “Rama will be coming and he may be barefooted, so that the thorns might prick his feet.” So she simply cleared the way of all thorns. And then she thought in the heart of her heart, “When he comes, what shall I offer him?” In the wilderness there is no food to eat, but there are berries everywhere. She began to pluck berries and taste them: those that were sweet, she put in her pocket. So, she kept all those tasted berries with her.
Each of the yogis who was living there thought that perhaps he was the greatest of the yogis and that Lord Rama would be coming to his cottage. (Mind that, this I-hood — “I know better; I am better than all these others” — is the last weakness that leaves a man, even the so-called masters.) But where did Rama go? When he went to the wilderness, he met the lady who had collected the berries. And what did he do? She offered him those berries that were tasted, and he ate them. Love knows no law. Love is above all. The yogis living there had been doing penances for hundreds of years. Then he went to them, and they came up to him and asked: “Will you kindly grace our cottage?”
There was a pond of water where they lived that was full of small insects. There was no other source of water, and they asked Lord Rama if he would just clean the pond of all dirt and insects by his grace, by putting his feet into the water. He said, “No. I think you are the greatest of the yogis. Why don’t you put in your feet, for they must be better able to clear up the pond.” They did, and the water remained the same.
Then they forced him: “Kindly put your feet into the water, and all insects will go.”
He said, “All right. It is up to you.” He also put his feet into the pond, but the insects were still there. Lord Rama had to demonstrate the greatness of love. True love does not know any show, mind that. He said, “I think it would be best if you called that Bhilni ( a woman of very low caste) and let her put her feet into the water.”
Then she came and put her feet into the water, and the pond was cleared. These are instances to show that love is a great miracle. God is love. Through love only you become one with God. You can become one with him whom you love. “As you think, so you become.”
But we have not seen God. How can we Love? We can only love one whom we have seen, who is at the same level at which we are working. The Mohammedan scriptures tell us, “Each man must have some beloved.” What sort of beloved? Not one that leaves you, but is ever with you: one who does not leave you in this life and in the life hereafter. And who can he be? It is the God in him.
Christ gave an example to show this:
“So long as the branches are embedded
in the fruit-growing tree, they give fruit.
But when they are cut off,
they cannot give fruit.”
Then he said,
“I am the vine, ye are the branches.
So long as you remain embedded in me,
you will bear forth ample fruit.”
Do you see? This is what is meant by love. Hafiz, a great saint, tells us,
“O God, people call me Hafiz,
but I am no longer Hafiz.
I am He Who lives in me.”
So, for men, God becomes man and has love for His beings. In that man who has become one with God, God becomes man: God in man and man in God. This is the word I have given in this message, too. And who was he? My Master. I saw him; he was man in God. To love Master is to love God: the God in him, not the son of man.
Mind that, there is no sadhna (spiritual, mental or physical discipline in the quest of enlightenment) greater than love. All outer performances, rites and rituals and the saying of prayers are only meant for love. If you have developed love, everything is there. There is no higher law than love. And there is no goal beyond love: because Love is God and God is Love. In this way, God and love are identical, for the one who has Divine Love has reached God. He is one with Him. That is why I said here that what the Masters taught in their lives is a religion above all religions: they gave out that very Love.
No amount of intellect can fathom God. No amount of austerity can enable you to attain God. Only when one loves Him and loses oneself in Him, can one find Him. It is only by the feat of love that you can lose yourself: when the two become one. And there are no other means, there is no other way back to God, except through love.
The question was put to St. John: “What is the remedy for all our ills?” He said,
“Love, and all things shall be added unto you.”
And a Mohammedan saint tells us:
“Whoever has no love is a dead body.”
Love, even on the level of man only, revives a man. When you are in a loving mood, your face freshens. Is it not so? And when you are wanting love, you have a sad, pensive, long face. If even in outer ways you find these things to be so, then how will it be when that love overflows your soul? We go to a Master because he is overflowing with love for all. When you go near him, your love is flared up.
The love that starts in the flesh and ends in the flesh is no love. That is passion.
The love that starts from the flesh and dissolves in the soul — that is true love: that makes two into one.
Love burns the lover, and devotion burns the beloved. He has to take care of everything for you when you are devoted. Love seeks happiness for the beloved, not for the self, mind that. We sometimes love in a business-like way. Love knows giving.
Devotion seeks blessings from the beloved. His kind look is all he wants. Nothing more. He is not showy. He sees the heart in you. That power which is working at that human pole is residing in you. He sees all hearts, also the heart within you. So love seeks to shoulder the burden of the beloved. He wants to shoulder whatever the beloved has taken up and help him with that. And what do we do? We show more and do little.
Devotion throws the burden on the beloved, mind that. Once my son was dangerously sick. The doctor advised me: “He will pass away in a day or two. Take two or three days’ leave and sit by him for at any moment he may pass on.”
It so happened that within those three days there was a day on which I had to go to attend to a Satsang, about 27 or 28 miles away. I thought, “Well, the doctor has said he will die. What should I do now? All right,” I thought, “life and death are not in my own hands. They are in the hands of the Master. It is left up to him.”
I went to the Satsang, and when it was over it was about eleven. Then, as Master lived near that place, about twenty miles away, I thought: “Let me have it.” I went there and reached there about two during the day. The Master was upstairs. He sent a man at once: “Call him up.”
I went up. He was lying in his bed. I bowed down and sat down. He sat up in his bed: “How is your son?”
Then I had to tell him he was sick. And he was very sad and pensive. I told him, “Master, whoever thinks of you becomes jolly. What has made you sad?”
“Because you have thrown the burden on me.”
Do you see? The Master’s job is very hard.
So devotion seeks blessings from the beloved, but love seeks to shoulder the burden of the beloved. And devotion throws the burden on the beloved. Love gives: love does not require the presence of the beloved, mind that, in order to love. One who loves, he loves — that’s all. He is never alone: a lover is never alone, mind that. He may be in the wilderness: he keeps sweet love for the pure. He resides in him — the beloved resides in him. They are one, whether they are near or far. So devotion asks, and love is silent — and sublime, devoid of outward expression. Such is the ideal of love. This is what Master always referred to as love, love, love, and love. Love has great blessings. Devotion expresses itself in outward things, but devotion demands the presence of the beloved to express affection to the beloved. Then what is greater? Love — and surrender.
This is the message that has been given by all Masters, whenever they came. I am giving you no new thing on this birthday, which you are going to celebrate. The true celebration of the birthday will lie in the fact that if you live, you have love. Have a life of love. “Love, and all things shall be added unto you.” To my mind, I don’t feel joy for the day I was born. I will feel joy only if the purpose for which I am meant is completed. Then I will feel joy. I quite appreciate that you have expressed all your love, devotion or surrender: you may decide among these in your own hearts.
I want you to love. That will give you physical health, moral health and spiritual health. That is the only way back to God. Physically it is not possible to be everywhere; but the God-in-man — God-in-him — is everywhere: that can materialize everywhere. When you rise above body consciousness, there also you can contact him and talk with him face to face. By God’s grace, working through my Master, you are all of you having some experience to start with, the very first day of initiation.
Truly speaking, you are all on probation, but not on such a probation from which you can be discharged, mind that. In the outer world, any service on probation is subject to discharge if the work is not satisfactory. But this is a probation from which you cannot be discharged. But truly you become a follower when you meet the Master within and talk to him face to face. He is ever with you and you are ever with him.
I wish you all to progress on the way, to be regular in your practices and to lead a life of love. Love does not even dream of harming anyone. If you want to know God and you do not love the God in men if you harm those where God resides — how can you expect to know God? This is what is wanted. As I told you, love is the innate quality of the soul. Love knows no duality. Oneness. I think that is why they say God is Love and Love is God.
I wish you to progress spiritually. Physically I have not been here for so many years, of course. But as I told you, I was with you all along in thoughts. You know this is God’s grace; and with the grace of my Master through whom He works, you will remain in my mind, so long as He wishes me to continue in the physical body.
I think the best way of celebrating this physical birthday is to live up to what the Master says, that’s all. And I don’t want anything from you except love. You will be truly nonviolent; you will be truly truth-speaking, truly truthful; you will become truly chaste, because your love will go into the soul and not remain in the body; and you will have love for all.
Love knows service and sacrifice. Love knows service and sacrifice. When you know love, you will give, give and give, with no compensation. If need be, you will have to sacrifice yourself for the good of others. If love always knows the betterment of the good of others, not of one’s own good, then you will have to sacrifice your everything for the sake of others. If you but learn this very lesson, I think there will be peace in the world, peace all around: the kingdom of God will come on earth.
Sometimes Masters teach by parables and sometimes by direct talks. I just gave you a digest of something very directly, in a few words. Now I will give you a parable that is in the Puranas of the Hindus. The God of Nourishment invited all the good and bad men: because God provides for everyone, whether he is a bad man or a good one. He laid out a very rich banquet hall. When it was ready and the food was served, the guests were made to sit in their own rows, the good on one side and the bad on the other. Then he rose and said, “Look here, all this that is ready and served is for you. Eat it to your hearts’ content, as much as you desire. But there is one condition: Don’t bend your arms to bring the food to your mouth.”
Bad persons always judge things from their own level. They considered among themselves: “If you don’t bend your arms, how can you bring the food up to your mouth?” They decided that they could not find any way out and concluded: “The Lord has ridiculed us. He does not want us to eat.”
Everyone throws the blame on the other one, even though he does not understand the situation properly. They left the hall. The good men, with some concentration, thought, “It is a God who is telling us this thing; He is not an ordinary man. There must be some truth in it.” (Take a lesson from this: Master is God in him; he is not an average man. If he said something, there must be some truth in it. We decide from our own levels, and then we begin to blame the Master through the God in him.) They said, “There must be some truth in it. Let us consider it calmly.”
Then it struck them: “Oh, it is very easy. Here’s the food. I put it in your mouth and you put it in my mouth.”
Do you see? So all were fed.
These are parables. If we look after the good of others, everyone will attain good. If we care to feed others, all will be fed. If we care to clothe others, all will be clothed. This is what we have to learn. Love knows this.
Love knows giving, service and sacrifice,
with no compensation.
On this day I am giving you the best of all I think I have come to know, and that is love. You must become conscious of yourself. God is Light and Consciousness. That Consciousness is now enveloped by matter. You are not matter. You are sparks of Light. Be one with the great conflagration of Light.
I think that in a few words, I have given you, to the best I know how, what I came to know by a parallel study of religions and by sitting at the feet of my Master. He had love for all. Sometimes people rake up many things. Once it happened in his life that while he was speaking from a platform, some people set up another platform near him and gave talks against him. He never showed authority over anyone — “I dare you to say these things!” — or anything like that. The poor fellows had no arrangements for food, because they had to come from somewhere else and spread that propaganda against the Master. So they had to arrange to bring food from outside. When they had given all their talks against him, Master went there and said: “Brothers, hear me. You are here all alone. Our kitchen is always ready. Have your food here.” — (“Have your food here, and carry on propaganda against me!”) — This is what is meant by “love your enemy.” Do you see? Without any consideration. These are the words I have given you in this message. It is a practical experience. My Master lived it. And this is what the lesson is.
Master wrote to me. He wrote sometimes out of love. One letter has been my guiding star all through my life. He wrote, “We saints come into the world. We have no easy life.” He continued: “In the Satsang, so many kinds of people come up. Some come to pray and to appreciate — they come to love and surrender-and others come only to find fault, to criticize.” He said,
“If a bad man does not leave off his bad habits,
why should a good man leave off his good habits?”
I think this is the sum of what I can give you. If you keep to it, God will help you. Whether I am here or not, the God in me, with the Master’s grace, will help you. Love knows no showing: he feels it at heart. He gave me one or two things: once he gave me a very big carpet: he gave me something to wear; he also gave me an overcoat. I am keeping them for worship, you see? Whom you love, you love his things, mind that. I was thrilled when I came to know this is Master’s *) … [there is a very long pause, while Master cannot speak because of tears] … “Love, and all things shall be added unto you,” that’s all right.
Have respect from the heart. It is not a matter of show. The more you live a righteous life and practice true living, the more you live up to what you are told to do, that eases my burden — my burden. You help me, that’s all I can say.
*) Master is referring to a carpet next to him. Just before Master began his talk, it was announced that the carpet on which he was sitting had been used by his Master. Upon hearing this, Master pulled the carpet from underneath him, and gathering it together, put it on top of his head. He then put the carpet next to him, where it remained throughout his talk.