When studying the lives of the great Masters, what purpose do we find in them? They show us an example; and seeing such an example, we should pattern our lives upon Theirs.
Ages go by, man hears the same words again and again; but in a practical way how much have we learned? When a schoolteacher writes the words on the blackboard, the child copies them, carefully trying to make his letters as beautiful as the teacher's. Eventually he succeeds. The words of the Masters are the recorded examples of Those Who realized the great Love, and you are all here to realize that same Love. How did the Masters get this realization? One by one, the accounts and descriptions of Their experiences are given out to you, hearing which a deep enthusiasm swells up and a yearning is born within one to become like those Masters. Is it not so?
There is but one way to achieve this noble aim: "Love thy Lord, O mind, Love thy Lord." This Love is innate in our soul; It is one with our inner true Self, for God is Love and the soul is the entity of that Love, and so is the very form of that Love. Consequently, its nature is to attach itself to something. It should have attached itself to the Supreme Lord but connected itself instead to the world at large. It is said, "Wherever one's desire, there one is;" and since we left the Lord's lap, we have not, up to now, returned to it. Had we done so, our entire condition today would be very different.
Ages have passed, and today we are still sticking on ourselves the labels of caste, religion, social status. Furthermore, through those ages we have at times been leaders, or managers, in various walks of mankind's society, but where has it led us? We were busy teaching others and learning nothing ourselves.
Where is God? Where is He not? All that we can see is His manifestation, and the nearest approach to Him? He is in every being, and those who say that they have love for God, but do in fact, hate any of their fellow beings who are all God's entities, are nothing but liars. In truth, how can anyone love one whom he has never seen? He who has had no connection with God and has never enjoyed the happiness of that cannot love anything so remote. Real love is the only thing which holds any value. "Without love, O man, there is no tranquility" - in this world or the next. If there is no love in the home, there is conflict - simply through the lack of love. In religions, in different sections of the community, among countries one with another, in all phases of life you will find conflict - because love is lacking everywhere. Take just a pinch of love and put it in the household - it will be filled with peace. Put a little love in among a group of workers, and they will start loving one another. Religions and sects can enjoy peace together by incorporating love into their relationships, and the same principle applies to the countries of the world. Love is lacking everywhere; and if there is no happiness here, how can one expect to find it in the Beyond?
All Masters have said that God is Love, and the way back to Him is also through love. The true purpose behind ritual and custom was to develop love in us. They were designed to do this work. Guru Nanak said very bluntly, "Burn all customs through which the Beloved is forgotten." He said also, "O Nanak, that worship is good through which love for the Lord is enhanced." Only that love or worship has any value in which the Lord is remembered. If our love for God increases through meeting one another, it is all right. If not, what is the use?
One Master even says that we should throw hundreds of books into the fire if necessary and should make our heart a garden of flowers of love. What kind of flowers? The words which are being placed before you are flowers from the Lord's garden. The big question is, in what way have you developed? Others may have developed spiritually, but what have you become? Love only gives - it does not take. This is a criterion of love; for love knows no returns. There is another criterion: it knows service - service without show. Further indication of love is to sacrifice oneself in service, without any show or ulterior motive, like a living martyr who lives only for the love of God.
Now from where can such love be obtained? That true love is within us, but it has become bound up with the outer world - through us, the attention. In attention there is love; it is the very nature of attention. When expressed toward outer things, this love turns into attachment; but if it withdraws from outside and goes into itself; it becomes whole again. Everything wishes to go toward its natural source, and the source of the soul is God. The flame of a candle rises, even if it is turned upside down, for its source is the sun. We must understand these things, and from where our help will come.
When Namdev's family told him to bring a carpenter to repair the balcony, he forgot this errand because he was all day in deep remembrance of the Lord. For three or four days the same thing happened; the connections of the heart are serious enough, but when the soul itself becomes connected the result is overwhelming. So finally Namdev's people became very annoyed with him for his continued failures to bring a carpenter, and threatened to beat him if he failed again. Namdev gave his solemn vow that he would do his duty the very next day, but when the day dawned he once again forgot everything in remembering God. Seeing His devotee's plight, and the threat hanging over him, God in His great benevolence came Himself as the carpenter and repaired the balcony. That evening, when Namdev returned home and saw that the balcony had been repaired with such beautiful workmanship, he knew that his Beloved had performed the task. The saying states that only a bulbul (a bird with a distinctive call) can understand the language of another bulbul. Only a true lover of God can recognize the Lord's hand at work. And when the people asked him what payment his carpenter expected, that they might also employ him, Namdev told them that his Carpenter did not work under those conditions, but rather demanded true love as His wages.
He comes when one withdraws one's attention from all other things. Why should He come, just by the summons? Between Him and you stand your children, your friends, money, pride, ego.
It does not mean that He does not have love for all His children - that love does come when you have withdrawn your love from all other things. So now please ask yourself: how successful have you been? I do not mean this sighing and nodding as if you are intoxicated with ecstasy, or other outer demonstration of show. I mean what have you become? "What is it to realizing the Lord? Just uproot it (attention) from here and plant it there." Very clearly both the learned and the unlearned alike can do this work, the work which must be done. It is the very bread and water of life - if there is no gasoline in the tank, how can the motor start? We know that God comes when we really want Him - He comes to the one who has true yearning for the Lord. Ask yourself, do you really desire God? Be honest about it. If the answer truly is "yes" then without your calling Him, He will come, for He would like to meet someone who wishes to meet Him. It is a natural inclination that a person likes to have the attention of someone; but if you have no desire for Him, neither will He desire you. Do you understand this?
In love the tongue becomes very gentle; it catches hold of the other person's heart and drags it. A really love-filled glance can even affect a stone. Masters say very revealing things sometimes. Lord Krishna once remarked that He had a pain in His stomach, the cure of which could be effected by the heart of a living person; and He told one of His closest devotees to get such a heart from somewhere, otherwise He would die. The devotee was so concerned he ran at once and began searching from house to house, but no one was willing to cut his heart out and give it. All day he searched and searched until finally at night, exhausted and desperate, he came to the home of a prostitute. When he told her of his mission, she said, "All right, here, take it," and thereupon cut out her heart and handed it to him. At once he ran with the heart to Lord Krishna and sank at His feet. Lord Krishna said, "Oh, you finally found one person who loved me enough to give her heart! - but what about yourself? Are you not a living man with a heart, and are you not supposed to be my closest devotee?" You can judge for yourself who was the more devoted of the two - the disciple or the prostitute. Everyone talks about how devoted they are to God, but what about their lives? Where there is love, there is peace, happiness, stillness, and an ever-present attraction toward the Lord - a constant remembrance.
What is Love anyway? That is Love through which remembrance of the Beloved goes on without a break; helplessly through that attraction, the lover is changed into that very attraction. "If for only a short time I forget You, my Beloved, it seems like fifty years." In love the lover and the beloved become one, and in that oneness all differences are forgotten. This is why God is described as being Love Itself, and Love is God. And He in Whom that Love is manifested is an overflowing cup of that Nectar of Life. Such Personalities are said to be "Overflowing cups of the nectar and color of love, in the company of which the yearning is developed." Overflowing cups of intoxication. "The intoxication of Naam, O Nanak, inebriates day and night." Through this, radiation can be imbibed, but not by those who love the body and the world. Masters are like huge magnetic mountains, but if the iron is covered with mud it cannot be dragged. Remove all the mud and it will jump towards the magnet - the pull can work from even thousands of miles.
You are all sitting here - but where have you reached? You preach, you demonstrate your great devotion, you act and pose; but how much love have you got? You almost kill yourselves fighting one another - this is not love. In love there is cooperation, and those who really love the Lord will naturally have love for all other beings. Is it not a natural sequence that whoever loves the Father will love His children? It may be possible to love the children without loving Him, but not vice versa. Masters give the most valuable advice: "O mind, love the Lord; O mind love the Lord." Also,
They who learn how to love, realize the Lord.
The worldly people waste their time sleeping, but not the lovers of God. Guru Arjan says, "Sleep does not come to me." How then do such people pass the night? They spend the night in sighing, for to them one single day of separation is like thousands of years. What use are all rituals and customs and outer modes of worship, if one does not achieve this condition? A certain poet writes,
One Master says,
Through the dark night the lover sits awaiting - and if that spark of Light appears, it becomes Id (Muslim holy day, advent of which is determined by the new moon). This Light is an indication of His coming. The Masters make it possible for those who are "blind" to see the Light of God. Hafiz Sahib describes it as the thief of the heart, coming in the darkness with a lighted lamp in His hand. So read, think, and digest all this. How much of your life has been given to your development? If the development is there, then all right - otherwise, you are not making the best use of your precious time.
How many people have had the great blessing of meeting God animate in physical form during their lifetime? No doubt, the Guru and the disciple are one like "the Guru is me and I am the Guru;" but there is great intoxication in the outer attraction of the Guru, double attraction, in fact. He is a man like us, sympathetic to our suffering, just as a friend. Also there is the radiation. A friend can be recognized no matter what clothes he wears, and Guru Angad Sahib goes as far as to say, "Die in the Beloved's Presence - but cursed is the life without Him in this world."
I have said before, love knows service and sacrifice. These are ideals being given to you. Love knows giving - giving in service and in sacrifice. What have we done up to now?
What is youth? If you eat and drink, you are healthy - what more is youth? We should be concerned with what the soul says, and the soul's food is love. Masters are sometimes very open - "O Lord, You are our Friend; but why have You kept us far from You? We have sacrificed everything in Your Name - now without You there is no life."
Who are we in fact? We are soul. When we forgot this identity, we became the body. "Your residence is different, loved one; but you have tied yourself to matter." Similarly, Guru Nanak prays, "You reside in the True Home, and I am one with matter." It is a prayer of the soul - imprisoned in this matter I cannot reach You, and do not even know the path that will lead me to You. Also, as a prayer to those who have reached Him - "O Brothers, tell Him of my condition." Such desperate pleas are a sign of love for the Lord. Rain comes after the clouds form, and very far from God is he who has no tears of separation in his heart. One may be a fine lecturer, or be intellectually advanced in other ways, or a good administrator, or have many other talents; but,
The fact can be explained in many different ways, but the crucial question remains - what have you become?
Nature has made the animals spend all their lives with head down, and their attention always towards the earth - this is not their fault. But man, with his head upright, should keep his attention aloft toward higher things. Animals fight each other - with their horns, etc. When man does this - "The outer form is of man, but the habits are of an animal." Paval Das Ji describes man as an animal with moustache and beard! Will he remain an animal always? When will he become a true man? A man is he who is the image of love - he who lives for all mankind. Only an animal lives for himself. And he who lives for the Lord will automatically live for others, with a give and take attitude.
If service is being performed, it should be selfless. Bringing happiness to others is really bringing happiness to oneself. Live for others, and they will love you. You may have done so much worship and devotion; but if your life is not like this then no matter to which sect or religion you belong, you are very far from Home. Some people light a lamp at the bedside of a dying person. Light the lamp while you live. And what is the use when those in whom this Light has been lit do not maintain it? Reformers are wanted - not of others, but of themselves. Know ye that example is better than precept. We do go on advising others to "do this" or "do that" or "go to the Master"; but ignoring our own lives, we who do go to the Master do not practice what we receive from Him.
"Without love, O man, there is no peace." Not in this world, nor in the next. How much philosophy is needed for this? It matters not if a man be literate or illiterate; this is a subject for everyone. Change your way of living. Excuse me, but our home (body) is very filthy; what can God do? He is calling, "My children, come to Me"; but He is alone, and He wishes us to go to Him all alone - everything, body, mind, intellect, pranas, must be left behind. Ask your heart if it really desires God. What harm is there in asking? You can take a day, two days, even a few more to find out what really lies in your heart - and if you do desire the Lord, you will get Him.
Many people desire God for business purposes. As Christ said, "They have their reward."
Wherever He is manifested is worth worshiping. We may not have actually seen Him in each being, but we have read and heard the words of the Masters, that He is the very Life Sustainer in all life - why then so much hatred of one another? Seeing all this, in the twilight of my life I have turned toward the Man Center, Manav Kendra, which is a big revolt against all these conditions. Masters tell us to think of all mankind's caste as one. Guru Nanak said, "This puppet (body) is of five elements, in which the Invisible is playing."
You came into this body to get the everlasting Elixir of Life from the Guru. "The purpose for which you came - that Amrit - is given by the Guru." Open your ears and listen carefully:
You cannot buy life everlasting with hypocrisy. If you believe in Islam, then become a true Muslim; if you believe in Sikhism, then become a true Sikh. Out of I-hood brother is fighting brother: "I am a Hindu; I am a Sikh; I am big; he is small; I am an intellectual; I am this; I am that." Brothers - become human! A true human being is full of love and compassion; what share of this humanity do you have? This is seen only by your actions, and not by empty words, boasting, or intellectual prowess.
When the Masters say that it is like a donkey laden with books, we can see just how much value They place on philosophies and bookish knowledge. This does not mean I am against reading; I have read a lot myself - biographies of great men - and whatever I have understood from that reading, I am placing before you. I think I have read the words of more than three hundred great Masters. Keep the example of even one before you, and then become whatever you aspire to. What is the difference between the Masters and you? See that you make a definite decision - if not today, then tomorrow, or take a few days. When your decision is made and you know what you want to become, then daily change and grow nearer to that achievement.
You people do not want to benefit from your diaries. What is the purpose behind keeping the spiritual diary? If you keep it accurately, you will gain inner benefit, for will not that water which has no dirt give a crystal clear reflection?
After more than seventy years of searching, Guru Amardas concluded, "Curse on the life in which there is no love for the Lord." If, after getting the blessing of this human birth, no love for the Lord has been born in us, then shame one thousand times upon our life. He added that even the work we do is cursed, if it does nothing to help develop our love for the Lord. And then He also gives the cure for the malady: "Love a Satguru, through which a love for the Lord is created." Sit beside the overflowing Cup of Love - you will get peace if you are receptive. But how much will you get if you are covered with many layers of dirt? This is the reason why many people gain nothing in the Master's presence.
Our Hazur used to say that the calf comes from some distance, drinks the cow's milk, and leaves again; but the ticks which are stuck to the udder of the cow and are closest to the milk get nothing but the blood they are sucking. The Masters' words are pregnant with meaning, and should be properly appreciated. Those who are near the Master have a golden opportunity, but whoever makes the effort gets the gift. This is not a lecture I am giving, but a heart to heart talk. It is a voice from the heart - love God. What kind of love? A love for Him Whom you have seen. What must you do to see Him? "Get in contact with the Beloved through the Satguru's teaching." He will give you something with which to start your spiritual work. Society makes a man, and a man is known by the company he keeps; so keep away from such a society which will do you nothing but harm. If you have got good society, it is all right; otherwise, live alone with your spiritual practices. Even if you get nothing, continue to live alone, by yourself and within yourself, for the important thing is to withdraw your attention from outer things and sit within yourself - the practice of which has already been given to you. Those who find that they do not live near a Satsang group should spend the time in inner practice. Even when we but speak of the Lord, what peace we get! What prospect is there, then, if we have also got the contact within.
We say we respect the Guru. If that were so, could we talk when sitting at His feet? What respect is there in such an attitude? Benefit is not gained like this. Truly wedded is that person who has no other remembrance but that of the Lord - with full attention. Think deeply over these words. Even now, I think we feel reluctant to leave here; this is what happens when one talks about the Lord. All is calm, quiet, and no one wants to leave. What more can be enjoyed, then, if we have the inner contact with Him? Make the best use of whatever time you have been given.
Christ told His followers that He had come to make those see who did not see. Lord Krishna, Mohammed Sahib, Lord Buddha, and other Masters have said the same thing in Their different languages, and each with the similar condition: "Through the Guru the Light becomes apparent." Only through the blessing of a God-realized Person can the Light be seen. He Whose Light shines in full radiance can light the lamp of another. This human life is given through the grace of great good fortune and one should make the best use of it. And the highest achievement is to realize God, the nearest approach to Whom lies directly within the human form. Be in the company of the true Khalsa, in Whom the Light is apparent; and the Light will become apparent in you. He is a true Hindu, or Muslim, or Christian, or Buddhist, in whom the Light is apparent. You have all come here with a certain purpose in view - remember that everyone gets some experience to start with on the very first day (at initiation). Those who devote regular time to the practices, at least 2-1/2 hours daily, will find that the Light and Sound increases. Those who have already received their instructions - start carrying them out in full obedience.
Muslim brothers say that one should read the Koran, and the Christian brothers say that one should read the Bible. The Sikhs say the Guru Granth Sahib should be read, and the Hindus recommend the Vedas. But the thing is that all these scriptures say the same things; and furthermore, mosques, churches, gurdwaras, temples, all have been designed after the same model - the model of the human form, in which the Light of God is burning. The outer modes of worship, such as lighting lamps, ringing bells, and so on are but aids to remembrance of the Lord-to remind us that the Light and Sound of God exist within the true inner temple of God, which is the physical human body. "This body is the temple of God in which exists the Light of Truth." Masters give the means of seeking out this hidden Truth - the means of learning how to withdraw from all that is outer, and invert into that which is inner. "Tap inside." "The Kingdom of God cometh not with observation... it is within you."
A Muslim Saint said similarly, "That which you seek is within you, O unconscious man; what you seek is within; why wander without?" That which must be realized is hidden in the human form, on which all outer buildings of worship are patterned; so why run to the models when one has been given the original? I am telling you these things very frankly. Live in your own religion; follow its outer modes of worship; keep all the signs and symbols. But always remember that the true meaning of that religion is basically the same in all others; and if you have not realized that basic true meaning, then of what use has your religion been to you? Temples, mosques, churches, etc. have been made for those whose eye is not open, that they may learn about the Light within the true temple of God and the Sound which is also vibrating there. Small children learn how to become householders by playing with dolls and other toys; but when they grow up, the toys are put aside. Now is the time to know where you stand.
The Koran states, "I am hidden within you like a hidden treasure - seek Me."
The Jap Ji states,
Such is the advice from people who did go within and find that hidden treasure. All this singing and dancing in God's Name - what does it achieve? If, for instance, a bridegroom's party is going along the street, decked with its lights and flowers, etc., and the relatives and friends are dancing at the head of the procession, young and old alike, but the bridegroom himself is not present in the party, then what is all the dancing for? I have not come to break you away from religions and sects; I, rather, would make you more strong in them; because if by remaining in them you have not imbibed the very true teaching therein, then you have up to now wasted your life. You may meet many learned or interesting characters - lecturers, story-tellers telling the tales of God - but ask them to show you the Lord; they will not be able to do so, for only the Master Who travels within can give you something spiritually substantial.
Not only this, but "Unless I see with my own eyes, I cannot believe even my Guru's words." When a man sees the Truth with his own eyes, only then can he really believe that what the Guru has told him are true facts. Here, talks are given on the basic teaching existing in all religions; the subject of Truth is discussed and how one can get the company of that Truth - Satsang. When you have seen and heard the Inner Light and Sound, you will have tasted a little of the real intoxication. But you cannot get that intoxication by just reading books or listening to talks.
One thing is very important to remember - wherever you fully put your attention, there you will succeed; for attention is the outer expression of the soul and as you think, so you become. If your attention is centered upon people of bad character, you will also become bad; and if you keep company with those of good character, you will develop in that direction. Anyone who works among perfumes will always spread around him a fragrance, wherever he goes. Actually, if one merely passes through a perfumery, one's clothes will to some extent be permeated with fragrance.
That school is successful from which a large percentage of children pass their examinations. If very few pass, then of what use is such a school? I am not saying anything against religions - rather would I praise them. But the work of each and every man is to withdraw from the outer environments and learn to sit within himself. The knowledge of this Science has been given to you, plus some experience to start the journey. Increase it; leave your bodies at will. There are other worlds alive and flourishing within you - And, Brahmand, Par Brahm, Sach Khand. The Lord can be realized in this very lifetime, but how much nearer to that are we if we have not even risen above the physical form? The reason for this? We have firmly fixed our attention on the enjoyments of the world. Yes, you may say that the whole world is similarly engaged; what can be done about it? But have you not had a little awakening from this tragic sleep of the senses? I have not spoken of these things in a foreign language; have you understood the depth of their importance? If so, then start doing the work - do not look to others; look to your own duty. If your attention goes on focusing on others, you will take on their color, whatever it may be. If your attention is always centered on that living force to which it belongs, it will become part of the Greater Attention.
Mind your own business. You have understood something of what Truth is, and you have had some experience of the God within you - go your own way; try to reach Home first! If others do not have your enthusiasm, what is that to you? Make the best use of your time. Only those who have traversed the Beyond can be of any help to you on your journey; so do not be led away by those who indulge in learned cogitations and intellectual wrangling, for such things will lead you nowhere.
We have an ocean of the Elixir of Life within us. "That Nectar, for which you came to this world, that Amrit, can be got from the Guru." In creation, what is that life-giving Elixir? "Amrit is the Shabd." Only by rejoining God does one attain everlasting life, and this well of Amrit lies within; it can be contacted through the grace of the Guru. When sitting in the Lord's remembrance does it matter if those of other religions sit beside you? You have come to know the basic oneness in all life, for this science is the very basic teaching for all men. You have been put on the way; and if people ask you about the subject, tell them that this is the way of Spirituality - the one and only single way by which God can be realized. If you yourself listen to the arguments of others, you will be lost. Remember this: he who listens to others will waver. But those who take the Guru's words as Gospel will reap the fruit of them.
Many people are advanced in intellect, but they have not withdrawn or risen above body-consciousness, or have even taken the first step toward it. The intellect is useful to help one understand, or to ponder the subject. For instance, when I am talking to you I am using my intellect; and through the intellect you can understand, but its worth ends there. However, you can go on much further when this very intellect is stilled. So intellect is to be transcended. Withdraw from outer things and go within, "Look within yourself." The worldly minded will go on raving about the happiness and enjoyment in outer things, but what kind of judges are they? What do they know of real happiness or enjoyment?
What is there to believe in words which are impregnated with the poisons of the senses?
Man has two halves: one is below the eyes, and the other above the eyes. If man had no head, he would never have had the faculty to understand, or the faculty to hear, etc. From the eyes downward lie layer upon layer of poison - poison from the outer impressions that one intakes through the eyes, ears, nose, etc. How can we get out of this poisonous trap? Rise above the eyes where all is tranquil, where the storms of life's tumult cannot affect you. You will be above it all. All this is the play of the attention; you are the attention. Put your attention here: (pointing between the eyes) - which is the seat of the soul in the body. The Controlling Power is within. When Masters work in the world, They are not at all affected by the poisons.
Those who are connected to Naam, although living in the world, can be entirely unaffected by it. There are certain men who live among the snakes and scorpions but are unaffected by their poisons; they have the knowledge and the ability; but if we were to copy them, would we not get the effects of the poison? So the Masters Who come to the world are spiritual experts - They do Their work while living above the effects of the senses. While doing Their work, They do no work; seeing They do not see; hearing They do not hear.
Guru Amardas Ji met His Master after more than seventy years of desperate searching, and then He said,
He infers that like others He also was drowning, with attention steeped in the poisons of the senses, like a heavy stone which can only sink to the bottom. When He came to the feet of His Guru, He was lifted out of His plight. That great Controlling Power which is God cannot be seen - my fingers are holding this watch, but who is holding it? I am - not the body. So God is in those Realized Souls; and when the seeker goes to the Master's feet, it is God's mercy that works through Him. There is hope for everybody. Every Saint has His past, and every sinner a future. You are human, remember. When did you become a Hindu, Muslim, or Christian? All religions were made after the advent of some Master. Expert guidance is needed from One Who knows how to get out of this "physical well." He who knows not this secret can never help others to find it. The scriptures are full of the words of these Great Masters and are there for your guidance and action.