What is the difference between God and man? Man has mind, without which he would be the same as God. Kabir tells us that, All this (creation) is a part of God. The soul is the same essence as that of God; it is a drop of the Ocean of All Consciousness. However, through being joined to the mind, it became jiva; but as it is of the same essence as God, when the mind is removed only God is left. So God plus mind is man and man minus mind is God.
Gold is made into jewelry and other attractive articles, but that which comes direct from the mine is called "ore," although the gold is there. When the mud and other minerals are filtered from it, the pure gold is left. And so, when final analysis is made, and the mind and senses are removed, man is then God.
One can conceive the great possibilities of which to avail oneself, having received the blessing of a human birth; to separate the consciousness from matter and realize who one truly is. When the soul became jiva, by association with the body and the world it adopted the same identity, for wherever the attention is directed one becomes as that. So now, lost in creation, it cannot find itself and return to its true home or origin until it is free and pure again. He who has found his own Self, has realized himself, has become one with God - he is man-in-God or God-in-man. The same Light which has become effulgent in him is sustaining the whole creation.
What is God? In truth, He is not Light, He is not Sound; but when He expressed Himself these two principles emanated from Him and came into being. Our soul being a drop of the wave of that God-into-Expression Power, a direct connection with It will take us back to the source from which It emanated - which is Anami or Absolute God. This is the message extended by all true Masters who have come, in different mode or language, according to the time.
Everything has a natural inclination to return to its original state and source. If you turn a lighted candle upside down, yet its flame will go up; for its source is the sun. If you throw a ball of clay in the air as hard as you like, it will but return to earth again from whence it came. If the soul gets freed from mind and senses it will automatically be drawn toward God.
The first thing we must do is: still the mind. The very foundation of yoga is controlling the intelligence. The word yog is derived from yuj, which means "to rejoin," and to rejoin the Lord is the ultimate task ahead of man, a task which can be achieved only in human form. Other forms are only for various enjoyments. Some human beings, because of their past karma, also live to enjoy, whereas others are not so heavily burdened and therefore the Truth is more apparent to them; they have better powers of differentiation. The latter type of human being can realize himself and realize God.
Today is the festival of Basakhi, ( The first day of the Indian month of Basakh, corresponding approximately to April 15.) which is celebrated in different ways according to the various religious customs. Nature itself celebrates by sprouting of new buds and leaves, and the new life begins from this season. We should take a lesson from Nature and sprout forth with a new life. In the Hindu religion there are ten avatars, and certain Hindus celebrate this day as a double event: the birth of Parshuram, and the overcoming of evil by Narsing Avatar. Parshuram was a great yogi. Narsing was the avatar who saved Prince Prahlad and killed the Prince's father, the tyrant King Hirnaikashya, who while ruling the people with a rod of iron had declared himself God and had made them worship him. By performing severe austerities he had obtained a great boon from the gods: that he would never die by any hand born out of life, nor during the day or night, nor within or without any building, not on earth, nor in the sky, etc. His son Prahlad became a true devotee of the Lord and solemnly declared that God was God and not his father. The King tried to kill the Prince by various methods or torture, but the pure devotion of the child repeatedly drew on the grace of God for salvation, until finally his father ordered that Prahlad should embrace a red-hot iron column. Confronted with such a formidable test, the child at first hesitated, but on seeing an ant crawling up the column he stepped forward with joy and placed his arms around the column. At once the column split asunder and out stepped Narsing Avatar in a form born out of the fiery structure, terrifying to gaze upon. He took the King in his powerful hands, and as the sun went down he stepped into a doorway, neither inside nor outside, and tore the King apart.
I congratulate the Buddhists on this day, for the Lord Buddha was born on Basakhi, on Basakhi he received enlightenment, and on Basakhi he left his body finally - Nirvana. So both religions have good reason for celebration. For us also it can be a great day, for we are constantly lamenting that we should start life anew; so we should start this new day as the beginning of a new life in which the flowers should blossom and the fruit should come forth. There should be so much fruit on each branch that the weight may bow the fruit to the earth.
This is a great day for Sikhs also. In truth, Sikhism is not a cult; this is what I feel. One poet says that the world changes, and a true man is he who changes the world. On this day, some three centuries ago, Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh Guru, started the Khalsa. In those days the people were killing each other in the name of religion, and he started to erase the controversy by forming the Khalsa. A khalsa is a true disciple, and on this day the Guru found five true disciples among his followers and made them leaders of the people.
There was religious enmity during the life of Guru Nanak, who was once asked who he was and replied, I am not Hindu, neither Muslim; The breath of this body is Allah and Ram. He meant that Allah and Ram are one, but they still insisted on further explanation, so he said, If I say I am Hindu you will kill me, Muslim I am not; Nanak is that invisible Power playing in this puppet of five elements. They were concerned only with outer labels, and he had no desire to claim the outer form which signifies a Hindu or Muslim. His answer served to show them that man is greater than his outer appearance, for he is truly the power which resides in the physical form. We all stick on labels, sooner or later, entangling ourselves in conformity, but in truth we are just men - just human beings.
On this subject, Guru Gobind Singh Ji says, The caste of all humanity is one. We are all born the same way and have been given the same faculties. During the life of Kabir, as an open challenge the Brahmins declared that they had come to the world by direct orders from the mouth of Brahma, but Kabir replied, O Brahmin, if you came direct from God, why were you not born differently than other men? Even the outer and inner physical structure of all men is the same: no one has four arms, etc. All have the same privileges, whether born high or low according to their karma. As for these karmas of the past, Tulsi Sahib says, The great Law of Karma has created the world's conditions; Each will take the fruit of his actions. Valmiki was a low-caste untouchable, who became Maharishi Valmiki! Because according to karma from his past, the change was bound to take place. But these days the children of brahmins are called brahmins indiscriminately, and so on in other castes, for as time passes, chains upon chains are added in the name of religion, and the basic oneness of all men is forgotten.
So on this day, five specially selected disciples were chosen, and they were called Panch Piara or the beloved five. The prevailing conditions of India at that time called for such action, but that is past and is not our concern. In those days, whether friends or enemies, men had no respect for each other, and the Guru sought to awaken the life and meaning of true teaching. He made a public announcement, and asked, "Who will offer his head for sacrifice?" Now, it is a simple matter to find hundreds of people who will agree with everything you say, and still more who will willingly bow down in obeisance. There are many also who will give their wealth for a cause. But how many can you find who will give up their lives? After a moment's pause, one man arose and came forward to the Guru, and then four others, one by one. He did not kill them, but made them his beloved disciples, above all religion - true human beings with the fact accepted. Then he gave them his Light, for from one Light others are kindled. He made the Khalsas---and what is said of the Khalsa?
He is one who will never leave me. He takes responsibility for the soul until the end; In that Lord does my mind rejoice. And as further indication: Think of Him as the Pure One, in whom the effulgent Light is glowing.
He infused them with the Water of Life. Religion is no consideration; He who takes God's Name becomes His own. Masters never make people the prisoners of religion. Religions are our schools of thought, of which we have to make the best use. I am Thine, O Lord. May Thy victory be everywhere. The Khalsa has been described as a Living Light. Guru Gobind Singh gave them the Inner Light, and even outwardly bound them unto himself by vows with charged sweetened water given by his own hands. And then he made them offer the same water to himself, showing - that the Guru is the disciple, and the true disciple is the Guru - which is an outer pointer to his greatness.
All Masters made disciples of course, including Lord Buddha, Hazrat Mohammed Sahib, Jesus Christ and others. They made disciples that they should become Buddhas and Christs. They regularly took food with their disciples, though the disciples never actually realized them to be as great as they were. I am speaking very frankly. The tenth Guru Sahib said, I am a Khalsa and saying this, he took the amrit from their hands; and to combat the conditions of the time he formed a volunteer corps. He changed nothing in their religion; they remained Hindus, but willingly sacrificed their lives for the cause of truth and honor. One is reminded of Vali Khan and Nabi Khan Ali Khan who were Muslims, and who also sacrificed their lives for Guru Gobind Singh's cause. When Nabi Khan Ali Khan was killed, a man went to inform his wife; her first words were not concerning the death of her husband but, "Is my Guru all right?" What sacrifice that was!
When Bhai Nandlal Ji wrote a book of prayer called Bandgi Nama, Guru Gobind Singh gave the book the title of Zindgi Nama, meaning "The Giver of Life." If you have the opportunity to read it, you will become thoroughly awakened to the true teachings. The tenth Guru said, We are the worshippers of the same Living Light. All Masters pointed out that outer practices are of our own making, meant for the preparation of the ground. Maulana Rumi also said that theists and atheists have the same right to realize the Truth, for the soul is the same in both. All rituals are results of superstition.
First the unity of consciousness in creation was set. There is only one Brahm - there is nothing else - which was later qualified by others according to their own approach. Through God's Light were all His children created into His play; With the same Light was the whole world created - who is good and who is bad? It is a subject for deep thought. How can you make a Khalsa by merely sticking a label on someone? The greatness of the tenth Guru lies in this: that he himself infused the Light, and then made them as great as himself. Wherever these five beloveds will be, there will I be also. If you sit near an awakened soul, you also will awaken.
The system was excellent, but it was difficult to get constituents. He made one Guru-home in which all were equal. No one need worry what he was going to eat, where his clothing was coming from, how his children were going to be fed. He told everyone to do nishkam seva (selfless service) and to keep the Living Light within alive always. He gave an example: Like sparks jumping from a fire, they fall back to become part of it again. We are the sparks of that Living Light. The soul has an innate desire to return to its own home, but estranged in this foreign land, it has become entangled with the mind and senses and is superficially reluctant to leave.
Guru Gobind Singh Ji broke down the religious narrowmindedness; it was a great work. It is not an easy task to break old rituals, even though the basic teachings are the same given by Guru Nanak, Kabir, and other Masters. Ravidas Ji says, He cannot be bought, but is attained through true devotion. It is also said, Count the executioner as the purest, if God resides in his mind. Anyone in whom God is manifested is the purest of all. If the system that Guru Gobind Singh Ji Maharaj introduced could be implemented today, all life's uncertainties would be removed. From the very beginning I have thought that there should be a common kitchen and everyone should eat there. Everyone is subject to the attitude, "this is mine, this is mine," but it is an obstacle. All are not at the same stage of development, but there is great hope for those who are sincere and willing.
So today we celebrate Basakhi, because the Khalsa Panth was started on that date. Many people have the wrong understanding of the word Khalsa - he is the one in whom the Light is manifested. It has even been said that, The Khalsa will reign over all; all those who will sit at his feet will be saved. You will note that those who come to his feet will be saved; not the rest. The Khalsa is not formed from outer appearances, and in the end only the spiritual men will rule. The spiritual person in whom God has manifested Himself is the Khalsa, and those who come to his feet will be saved; others will have to remain in their humiliation. That which man accepts as law through generations of customary habit, is viewed by the Masters from a detached and therefore more accurate angle of vision. They see no value in religious highs and lows. They light the Light within all and reveal that all are one and the same. The so-called gurus remain as gurus and their disciples remain disciples, but the true Masters say no, we are one and the same. Our Hazur used to say, "No emperor wants his son to remain an official." A true Saint desires that his followers also become Saints. All men, from both human and spiritual levels, are one and the same. He who is the Controlling Power is the Giver and the Doer. Even the meaning behind the puja or namaz (Hindu and Muslim devotional practices respectively ) is the same. With puja, a lamp is lit and then the puja performed, while the Muslims place their hands on their ears and utter the sound called baang! On the Path of the Masters the initiate is taught how to place the hands on the ears and hear the inner Sound. One should listen to this inner baang (Music of the Spheres), which is spiritually efficacious.
Guru Nanak once went to Shiraz (in Persia), and there he met a Muslim priest named Rooknudin, who asked the Guru, "Have you ever seen the house of the Lord?" Guru Nanak replied, "Yes, and proceeded to describe the physical form: It has twelve minarets, six at each extremity (joints of the arms and legs); fifty-two spires (thirty-two teeth and twenty nails); and two windows (eyes). It is also said, In a lofty special palace, Khuda (God) is giving the baang. So one should be able to understand clearly that the true mosque, church or temple is the human form. Mosques are forehead-shaped, church steeples are nose-shaped, temples and gurudwaras are dome- or head-shaped, all model imitations of the true temple of God. This body is the temple of God in which the true Light is seen.
Maulana Rumi tells us that for those whose eyes are not open, mosques are made with clay and water. For the awakened people--the complete Masters-the mosque is this true heart, at the seat of the soul. During my Western tour I told the people many times that God does not reside in temples made with stone, but He Himself made the house in which He resides. But we have forgotten the true temple and respect the man-made outer images of the true house. What tragedy that we go to the imitation temple, leaving the natural mosque to bear the labor. The man-made model was intended to teach us that there is such a thing as inner Light and Sound, and we should have learned to withdraw to experience it; but instead we are worshipping any image, indiscriminately. In sacred solemnity we are clutching the outer skin, oblivious to the fruit that lies within.
In the Upanishads it is written, What is that, the knowledge of which makes everything else known? The soul is a conscious entity; as long as it does not merge into the All Consciousness, it will never be at peace. Furthermore, the mind can never be controlled while it remains without contact with the Naam or God Power. When you get the Naam, the mind becomes controlled. In the life of Lord Krishna it is mentioned that deep in the River Jumna he encountered a thousand-headed serpent, which he overpowered by playing his flute. This serpent represents the mind, which has a thousand ways of poisoning us. With victory over the mind, you have victory over the world. There is no other obstacle between us and the Lord, but the mind. If your heart holds a strong desire to realize God, then put one foot on your mind - to still it - and the next step will take you to the home of the Lord.
In the Koran it is written that if a man can recognize his true self, then he will recognize God. The same teachings are brought by all Masters for all people. A Light appears in the human form, and all religions are enlightened by It, for those who meet him receive the enlightenment. When each enlightened soul leaves, a new religion starts to keep his teachings alive, but without the practical guidance, a decline sets in. Everyone is over-zealous in upholding his own beliefs, and no one is willing to sit on common ground on equal footing to discuss spiritual matters. The true teaching remains the same, age after age - Truth is One, for everyone. God is not different for Hindus, Muslims, Christians and so on; He is the God of the whole world and is not a Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, etc.
Even now a small amusing incident remains in my memory, which happened when I was in Peshawar, studying in the ninth grade. I used to take my books and study in a garden named Shahi Bagh, and one day a man whose name I still remember - Darbari Lal - asked me, "Where is Shahi Bagh?" I told him that he was standing beside that very garden, and he said, "I have come to settle judgment on a dispute, for I have been told that the Hindu God is crying because the Muslim God has beaten him up and broken his leg." (People gathered in Shahi Bagh specially for discussing different controversies.) Even at that young age I was shocked to discover that people thought each religion had a different God.
Poor understanding is widespread because men do not rise above the worldly· level to see the facts from a more accurate angle of vision. Up to the time of the tenth Guru, no Master had revealed the circumstances of his past births so openly as he did. In the latter part of his life he talked of many strange things, including the "seven-pointed splendor" of Hemkunt, a place of seven hills where he had performed many austerities in a past life, through which he lost individuality· and became one with the Lord. He was there seated in great bliss, but the Lord gave him orders, "Child, go into the world and work." Guru Gobind Singh Ji recounts that he had no desire to return to the world, but was persuaded, so he said, "What are your orders, my Lord?" The Lord said, "Those who are there and most of those who have been there have encouraged the praise of their own names. Go and tell of My Name - show that there is God."
When Guru Gobind Singh was asked who he was, he said, I am the servant of the Most High who has come to see the play in the world; Know me as His servant, there is no difference between Him and me. He has also said, They who think of me as God will all go to Hell. God is sending His Water of Life through a vessel, but the vessel should not think of himself as the Doer. No true Master will say, "I am the Guru," for the ray is of the sun, but through being connected with that ray one can reach the Sun itself. With one single ray of the Lord, the whole world was created. From one source, millions of rivers emerged. What and who exactly is God, no one can know, for man has exhausted himself in attempting to sing His praises. In the Jap Ji, Guru Nanak says :
Nothing has been mentioned of God Himself - only the things He created. You cannot know Him by talking, though you may talk for millions of years. Even the Masters have failed in the attempt. Finally, they resort to observing Neti, neti - He is not this, He is not that. A Muslim prophet says, Through philosophy, generations have passed in descriptive attempts, but God's character remains unsaid.
Today is Basakhi and our new life should start. All differences in our hearts should be removed. A man once asked me why it was that no Master has said, "Put your attention on me," but rather they say, "Put your attention on Him." I told him that the instructions must be properly understood. Lord Krishna said, Put your attention on that true form of mine. The method remains the same regardless of where the Power is manifesting. Electricity will sometimes heat and sometimes chill. Avatars and Saints are manifestations or phases of the same Lord. Misunderstanding and narrow- mindedness create separation of brother from brother, but God's intoxication is one and the same. We are all worshipers of the Living Light, regardless of which religion we belong to.
Some Christians came to the Prophet Mohammed and requested him to give them a place where they could build a church, and what did he do? He gave them half the mosque for their church! Would anyone do such a wonderful thing today? Think carefully over his action and what it means. Are we prepared to follow in the footsteps of our elders?
Guru Har Gobind, the sixth Sikh Guru, built mosques and temples as well as gurudwaras side by side whenever necessary. In Amritsar, the foundation stone of the famous Sikh Golden Temple was laid by Hazrat Mian Mir, a Muslim Saint, at the special request of Guru Arjan. To rise above body consciousness means to rise above illusion; then one realizes in truth that there exist no differences - religious, sectarian or other. This is truly the ultimate goal; outer things are merely helping factors leading toward it, and man as a social being must live in some social group, otherwise corruption starts its corroding process.
Once in Lahore, an atheist called people from various religions together to discuss the question, "Is religion necessary?" Each religious leader spoke at length, proving the necessity of the different forms and rituals, etc. I was present, sitting in the front row. Then the atheist stood up to give his proof as to why religion is not necessary, giving various examples. Among these, he stated that when a marriage is to take place it is merely a matter of the priest, pundit or mulla placing his hands on the couple in blessing before a group of witnesses, to join them together, so as to prevent corruption. It does not make any difference if it is performed in one religious way or another. I stood up and said, "Brother, is it not true that if ten or twenty thousand people were of your thought, then a new society or sect would have to be formed? In that society, some rules and regulations would have to be made. You desire to save yourself from organizations, but you are inadvertently creating another. If each man stayed in his own sect and learned how to know his true self or soul and that Power which controls all things, would that not be better?" He was an atheist, but he replied, "What you have said is correct." For as long as I lived in Lahore we used to meet on very loving terms.
There is a great deal of misunderstanding existing regarding this subject. In holy places only Truth should be discussed - and realized - for Truth is Truth. Keep the company of someone who has realized the Truth and get right understanding. We say "God is One" and even this is not true, but we are finite beings and must therefore use finite terms. Let us now take a hymn of Guru Gobind Singh on this celebrated day:
Oh mind, take such a sanyas:*
(* Sanyas means renunciation or ascetic discipline. The Master has inserted a comment here, after the first line of the hymn. This line refers to the following lines which explain it.)
This is a lesson for the mind, that it should adopt such renunciation that will still all desires. To leave one's hearth and home is not the true sanyas; one must become desireless, and then the very silence sprouts forth into Light and that same silence becomes vocal.
You can make your home a lonely forest. Is not the night a lonely forest? Just consider for a moment. Those who have made the best use of their nights, by knowing oneself and the Overself, have themselves been made. Those who have wasted their nights in frivolous pursuits have wasted themselves. Even a student of worldly knowledge becomes intellectually strong if he makes full use of the night as well as the day. Those men who exercise the physical body through the cold nights become giants in muscle and strength; it is obvious how strong they are. And the disciples who spend their nights in sweet remembrance of the Lord become God themselves. If man can control the dim hours from sunset to sunrise he becomes a true human being. But instead we eat, drink, enjoy the worldly pleasures until midnight, and then snore the rest of the night away.
One Master has said that in the night, the Lord's fragrance is given out - he who remains awake receives this precious gift. Do the worldly duties in the daytime, and at night consider that you are all alone, deep in the country. One's duties and social obligations with family and friends should be performed with pleasure, because God has joined you together, for the sake of give and take. But in the night you can feel free from all this and repose in His lap. It is not at all necessary to leave your home and family for meditation when you have the long lonely nights. When you are wholly absorbed in some object, it is a true sanyas, cutting off from all other things, and if we start from today, most definitely our lives will change.
This invaluable guidance is written in the sacred books, but sadly it remains there, or it penetrates only to the intellectual level. We have to take the knowledge and live up to it, only then does it become a part of life. The night is a jungle - do your work in the daytime and then benefit from the night. The true purpose of having a human form is to make daily progress toward the great goal, so sit down each day and see where you are. The meaning of keeping a diary is of utmost importance, but very few fully understand it. Remove those things which are obstructing your progress - weed out the imperfections, one by one. A strong man revels in his strength and the weaker man wonders how he got it. When a wrestler walks abroad, people turn to stare and remark on his strength. He has not achieved that overnight, but through many nights of hard exercising. As the renunciate leaves everything and goes to the woods, you can sit down nightly in your own home, forgetting the world and freeing yourself from all entanglements.
(* Renunciates let their hair grow, cover it with ashes and coil it on their heads; this is called jatta. They also stop cutting their nails.)
One should make one's jatta out of the purity of life - guard carefully one's brahmcharya (chastity). Chastity is life and sexuality is death. Our whole house has to stand on this foundation; do not make it out of sand. You will then be able to live properly; your mind and intellect will be wholesome. This in itself is a most valuable thing, for even if you have only dry bread to eat, yet you will have full strength. You won't need any tonics.
In regard to the householder's life: marriage is not a bar to Spirituality, if one lives according to the scriptures. There may be one duty of begetting children, but that is not the be-all and end-all of married life; there is grossly wrong understanding on this subject. Do not make the human form a mere machine for vice. Instead, make your life pure and controlled. If you wish to have one or two children, well and good, but look after them properly and help them to become something good. Set a worthy· example for them, and remain aware of the responsibilities of parenthood. Furthermore, the whole family should sit together and sing the praises of the Lord.
The Guru Sahib tells us to take a bath in the Yog. If you want to become one with God you must throw away all worldly thoughts. To take a bath in Yog means a daily bath in His contact - become one with Him. If you cannot wash your hands of worldly affairs, you should not sit in God's remembrance. The Muslims do vazu (washing of the hands, face and feet) before they sit for the namaz, for they believe that unless this is done, the prayer will not be accepted. So we should wash the worldly environments out of our thoughts before we sit in meditation. The Hindus say that puja should not be done unless one first takes a bath. The most effective bath is to withdraw your attention from outer things.
Grow the nails of regularity. An army without a commander will end up in chaos, so we must command our lives with regularity. If you are employed somewhere, you go there daily at the proper time, without any trouble, and for meditation we should adopt the same attitude and sit daily at the regular time. Sadly, we are adrift; sometimes we sit, sometimes we don't. If we were truly regular, we would find that if we should happen to have a day without meditation, we would feel ill at ease, as though we had missed something. If possible, there should be a room in the home set aside for God's remembrance alone - you would find that the very atmosphere of that room would remind you of Him.
In the last stanza of the Jap Ji, you will find, Make chastity your furnace and patience your smithy. To fashion gold into something beautiful, a goldsmith must first melt the metal by the aid of a furnace. Take these two things, patience and chastity, and go on working toward your goal. With patience one will continue to persevere, even when the progress seems slow. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. It is a promise Christ gave. So take these things into our lives: patience, perseverance, chaste and pure living, and regularity. Then? Make the nights your jungle, and see what a beautiful program will result.
In the past, a true brahmcharya would spend his first twenty-five years in a jungle ashram, learning the Vedic and Shastric scriptures. Then he would enter the grehastha ashram (take up the duties of a householder). After conscientiously bringing up his one or two children to the stage of adulthood, he would then return to the forests in the vanprasth ashram wherein he would study for self-realization. Having realized the Truth, he would leave that stage and journey around in the world, helping the people to awaken. Today's preaching is done for the stomach only. Some people earn their livelihood by their own hard labor in one way or another, and some take their living from religion or religious books.
So make your home a jungle. He who lives in his own home, remaining aloof from worldly taints, yearning within for the Lord, will receive far more benefit than from taking a bath in the limpid waters of the holy River Ganges. Become so closely connected with the Lord that either He or you remains - not two.
Get connected to the pure Naam, through the Guru's knowledge of the soul. This Guru's knowledge is a practical experience; there is nothing academic about it. This knowledge is of Attention (Surat) and Sound (Shabd); It cannot be brought into words. The word "knowledge" here refers to the Music of the Spheres which is vibrating within our very being. It can only be experienced. The one who makes audible the Sound coming from the gaggan (astral heaven) is my Gurudev. Who gives that experience? Through the Guru's knowledge I got the true eye, through which the veil of ignorance was pierced and the Light revealed within. So what is the value of Gurubhakti (devotion to the Guru)? All living souls should do Gurubhakti, and become one with the Light within. Become connected to that Light and develop your devotion - which should increase so much so that each pore vibrates with the Guru's Naam. When a little love awakens in a person, does it not bubble up and overflow? It should be developed steadily up to full realization, through which all peace and serenity will reign in your being.
Eat less, sleep less; have mercy, forgiveness and love.
The Prophet Mohammed said that one should eat one mouthful less at each meal. Sheikh Saadi said that half of the stomach should be filled with food, one-fourth with water, and one-fourth left empty. Swami Ji Maharaj said that those who desire to taste the Nectar of Shabd should eat one meal per day only. We eat too much--naturally sleep will come to our house. If your food is regularized you will rise up punctually in the morning. The awakened man's body may sleep, but he does not. Remember, the soul is a conscious entity and usually when a person sleeps, the soul withdraws to the throat and the man experiences dreams. If it withdraws to the navel, deep sleep ensues. The Masters remain awake. Unlike others, they are awake while sleeping. This is a very noble aim to aspire to. These three things will help you: to eat less, sleep less and have mercy, forgiveness and love.
A person has more pity for his family and friends than for strangers. Is this compassion? If one's neighbors are dying of starvation while one is eating one's fill, what kind of mercy is this? Should your own child be sick, yet you hear of another's that needs help, if you have true mercy you will give more attention to the strange child. When Guru Gobind Singh's children were killed in battle, his wife came crying to him - "Where are my four sons?" His words are noteworthy: "For the heads of all these sons (the followers) have I sacrificed the four." This is what you can call compassion. He sacrificed all that was his for the sons of others. Did he win any empire or property for himself? True Masters have real compassion for people. When Jesus Christ was sitting with some people, he was told that his mother and relatives were outside, desiring to speak to him. What was his reply? He said, Who is my mother? Who are my brothers? and indicating his disciples and followers, he said, Behold, my mother and my brothers!
If someone makes a mistake, forgive him. But people prefer justice to forgiveness. Remember this, that with justice, the heart is never cleansed. I will give an example from my own experience. My wife was once traveling home by train, and I went to meet her at the railway station. As soon as she stepped on the train, and before I had even approached her, a pickpocket stole her purse and ran off. As it happened, a wide-awake police constable had witnessed the incident, quickly caught the man and returned the purse to my wife. With a firm grip on the thief, the policeman turned to me and said, "You must also come along to the police station." I pointed out to him that as we had recovered the purse, we were quite satisfied, but he protested and said, "This sort of thing is happening frequently, you must come and make a charge." I went along to the police station and sat there for more than an hour without anything being done. I told the inspector, "I am not concerned with this, you can also keep the purse---I am going." He took my statement at once, and eventually I had to go to court. It was the first time I had ever stepped into a courtroom. While waiting for the proceedings to start, the inspector remarked to me, "Justice must be done." I told him, "Brother, along with justice, there should also be compassion; both should go side by side. With justice the heart remains affected, but compassion washes away all impurities." When the judge had heard the case, I said, "Your honor, if you can find a way of releasing this man, I have no objection." The judge was surprised, but he asked the police about the man's previous record, and was told that no charges were recorded against him. The judge agreed to let him go with a good warning and he was released. That man returned to his family with a happy heart; he went around telling people, "If he had not saved me, I would now be in prison."
Outwardly a person may be emphatic that he forgives; but in his heart he wants to strike out at the offender and cut the very roots of him. If you have no compassion in the mind, how can you honestly say you forgive? God is love, and as a part of Him, the soul's innate nature is also love. Guru Gobind Singh Ji has said, Hear ye all, I tell you in Truth; God is realized by one who loves. Kabir says, Love the Lord, oh mind, love the Lord. And in the Bible, He that loveth not, knoweth not God; for God is love. We pray and perform rites that the love of God may be born in us - what other purpose is there? But what results will come from the prayers that are mingled with gossip? What will it avail us to leave the place of worship without a trace of love in our hearts for our fellow beings?
[*Attributes: satva (pure), rajas (active), and tamas (inert).]
Adopt a righteous way of life and be content. You may have certain desires, but stop there; don't increase them. Then reconsider the desires and where they will take you. What lies ahead, and what will you take with you? We are hurrying, scurrying through life; we are not even conscious of what we are doing most of the time. So the Guru advises us to handle all our affairs with tranquil serenity; then you have a chance of reaching Trigun-atit (beyond the three attributes), and then going beyond. Lord Krishna, in the famous Bhagavad Gita, told Arjuna, Oh Arjuna, go beyond the three gunas. Unless you go beyond, you will continue coming and going round and round in Pind, And and Brahmand.
To go more deeply into the matter, what constitutes desire: All conceptions in the mind are desires. So, be desireless. You will have noticed that when an obstacle blocks the achievement of one's desire, anger arises. Then there is pride - "I must have this (or do this), otherwise I will be belittled in the eyes of others." One can accept pride as being the basis of all sins, for it turns into I-hood. He recommends us to leave off perversity, or stop being obstinate. Always be sure and listen to the other person's point of view - you may find that what he is saying is correct. Perversity just binds a person more; there is no room for expansion. Dogmatic knowledge of books, for instance, which might be right or wrong, should be discarded. It goes without saying that all attachments should be broken away----you must finish up the give and take - you must leave the body and all its environments. If an obstacle comes between you and your desire, it grows even stronger. Just put a large rock in the middle of a fast-flowing stream and you will create two things, froth and noise. When a man is angry he cannot speak softly, and finally he froths at the mouth. If you do get the thing you desire, it turns into attachment. There is only one cure for all this: Only after seeing your true self can you realize the Lord.
And now, we will take something for Basakh: (The Master is now taking up another hymn, this time one by Guru Arjan):
The soul's natural inclination is to return to God. If it could only withdraw from outer attractions, its automatic course would be straight toward God. Is it possible to withdraw? The Guru has put your house under control and made you the mistress. Furthermore, Ten servants did my Lord give me. Five gross and five subtle senses to come under control, through the grace of the Guru. Until now the soul has been under the control of mind and senses, and has never seen its Beloved - how can it rejoice and be content? A loved one's greatest desire is to be with his Beloved, how can one go through life separate from Him? How did we forget Him?
When the separation from God came, the illusion engulfed everything.
It seems as if the illusion left all other work to cling to us. Illusion's other name is forgetfulness. The whole world is sleeping in attachment and forgetfulness; tell me, when will this illusion go? If the One whom we have forgotten comes before us, would not the innate love within us awaken? It is a heart-rending story, for all the harvest is ready; you have got the physical form, after great struggle - but you are cut away from the Beloved and cannot enjoy the fruits of the harvest.
We have been joined to our family and relatives through God's will and the prarabdh karmas, and we should accept the conditions joyfully. Only he who truly knows, willingly pays his way through life. Who knows how many difficulties are due to our unpaid debts? How can I say who is my friend in this world? All love is a lie, and all seek their own happiness - enemies and friends. Only God will remain with you in the end - He who is the true companion of our soul. Whoever has turned his face toward Him will return to His lap. He who is in love with the world will return to the world. It might be love for this world or the hereafter, but he will go on circling around the physical, astral and causal planes.
All this illusory meaningless work takes my whole time.
It is good to work, and one should work whole-heartedly; and then forget it. To continue concerning oneself with countless petty matters will fritter away the attention. This only causes further enmeshing attachment, and wherever our thoughts are, there will you reside. Get connected to the Immortal Lord; all else is changeable and impermanent. If we have not yet been connected to Him, and are a true seeker, we should pray: "O Lord, my attention is attached to this perishable matter, how can I find contact with You who are immortal?"
Without the Naam of the Lord, the future is lost.
Without a connection with the All Sustainer, our life is wasted; nothing remains but preparation for the return to the field of action. What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul? A wise man is he who works with foresight, but unfortunately most people never give a thought to permanent things; that which is momentary becomes their god and their life.
Protect this wealth you have been given with your very life. By meeting the Saint, take and preserve the true Naam. It is a gift that will remain in both worlds - here and hereafter.
Those who live in the world, but have made their home a jungle - have become one with the Lord - even to overhear some word about them will bring happiness. Go and search until you find such a personality. Only through his guidance can we realize God; it is a natural fact.
The month of Basakh, the start of new life, can only be fulfilled if we meet the one who has realized the Lord. But there are two kinds of meeting: one is outward, and one is through the heart becoming receptive. Through a true darshan, all sins are forgiven. All one's work can be accomplished by meeting the Saint.
After getting the human form, we should ask for but one thing: that we might have a glimpse of Him. This should be our ideal and our aim in life. Today is Basakhi, but do you understand what you are doing? Be the worshipper of the Living Light - become a slave to it. Do not attach yourself to anything else, for everything is changeable. He in whom that Light is manifested gives the Light to the whole world. Truth is One, and although Truth is above all, yet true living is above Truth. Guru Arjan has laid out a wonderful program for us, and in conclusion he says that the month in which we realize the Lord will be truly blessed.
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