Great Britain and Ireland have a tradition of holy men which goes back into the distant annals of the past. Jeremiah the Prophet reputedly came to Ireland with the Milesian conquerors, many centuries before the birth of Jesus, according to ancient records still extant in that country and in many European countries. Saint Patrick and Saint David, together with a host of lesser saints, have proved popular themes for the stories of religious authors, folklorists and others. The "isles of the sea" and their mystic past—and future destiny—have been chronicled in the religious books of Judaism and the West. In 1955, a Master-Saint of the highest order visited Britain for the first time. He came again on August 13, 1963, and then, at the conclusion of his visit, went across the Irish Sea to visit the ancient isle of destiny: Eire.
Several years before the Master's visit to England, the author had a mystical vision in which he was conducted across a great lake by a bearded holy man in a turban. They entered a towering cavern, and the holy man directed the author's gaze upwards. As he looked upward, the author saw the roof of the cave open and a supernal ray of light shone downwards and illumined the whole cave. He experienced this tremendous ray of light as color and sound—the Audible Life Stream. He later described this Inner Force as the 'Sounding Light of Creation." This was before he had heard of the Living Master.
In several magazine articles and a book, the author was to refer to this "Sounding Light" many times. But it was not until 1955, when he was invited to meet Sant Kirpal Singh Ji from India, that the author met the "bearded man with the turban" face to face. The author and his wife, Margaret Arnsby Jones, knew that this was a turning point in their lives. They had studied many metaphysical and esoteric systems, and had investigated many societies and movements. Even the inner astral worlds and the lesser "masters" were no mystery to them. But they had not accepted membership—or the offers to be representatives—of any of these organizations. When they met Sant Kirpal Singh on that fateful day in October, 1955, they knew that here was the "Well of Living Waters," their true spiritual preceptor. They were initiated into the holy science and received the greatest treasure of all: the living experience of the "Word."
On his second visit to England, Kirpal Singh arrived at London Airport
on August 13. He was welcomed by the author, his wife, and many Indian,
Ghanan, Nigerian, English and Welsh disciples. Margaret Arnsby Jones presented
the Master with a huge bouquet of flowers, and the Tour party was escorted
to the waiting cars and taken to their hotel in the center of London's
West End. From the moment of his arrival in the United Kingdom until the
time he left, the Master was surrounded by devoted disciples, friends,
inquirers and seekers. He was visited by
eminent people in the social, religious, and political spheres, and his talks upon the pure science of spirituality evoked a tremendous interest.
Wide advertising and announcements in nation-wide journals, together with the release of thousands of circular-letters, brought overflow audiences to the public meetings, despite the fact that it is not considered a suitable time of the year for organizing religious or spiritual functions in the city. Kirpal Singh and Baron W. F. Blomberg held a meeting with the British Council of Churches at which the World Fellowship of Religions was discussed. What particularly appealed to the Council was the W.F.R. plan to bring all religious leaders together for the benefit of humanity and the furtherance of peace on earth.
At his first public meeting in North London, Kirpal Singh touched upon the lack of happiness in the world and man's search for freedom. It was shown, to the large audience which had gathered there, that freedom in the truest sense can only be expressed on this earth when man has become proficient in the practice of the highest spiritual science. Through the Grace of a Living Master the aspirant to true freedom can be initiated into the Science of the Soul, and is thus consciously raised beyond the limitations of the physical, astral and mental planes. Thus true soul-consciousness in the higher worlds can be obtained. This is the Goal of freedom for humanity.
Kirpal Singh was received by the High Commissioner of India and discussed many aspects of his tour, and its relationship to the W.F.R. and Indian affairs. Mr. George Harrison, the Northern Region Director of the World Fellowship of Faiths, conferred with Kirpal Singh, Baron von Blomberg and the author, and applauded the fact that the World Fellowship of Religions was bringing a new dynamism into interfaith affairs. Colonel Watson, British representative of Moral Rearmament, also discussed a positive spiritual approach to modern man's conflicts. During this discussion it was agreed that for an individual to seek to serve his fellow men, it was necessary for him to aspire to the higher consciousness of his own self. Separativeness in individual and collective living must cease before it will be possible to inaugurate a new order of civilization. Man must view everything that is taking place in the world with the clarified vision of brotherhood and a realization of spiritual unity.
To understand the concept of unity in its widest sense, we must first demonstrate the essential oneness of the human family in our own lives. Humanity as a global whole is the builder of its own destiny for weal or woe. It depends upon the present efforts of humanity whether it finds itself, Biblically speaking, in the "Land of Canaan" or again in the "Bondage of Egypt." The choice lies with man, individually and collectively.
The Reverend James McWhirter, Editor of the leading Protestant magazine "Everyman," made a spontaneous and inspiring speech of welcome to Kirpal Singh at one of the public meetings held in London's beautiful Caxton Hall. The Reverend McWhirter, whom Kirpal Singh had met previously in Germany, entertained the Master, Princess Devinder Kaur Narendra, Madame Hardevi and Baron von Blomberg to afternoon tea at the Junior Carlton Club. The Dean of Westminster was amongst the guests present. At this meeting, the Reverend McWhirter agreed to become an Advisor to the World Fellowship of Religions.
Meetings were held with representatives of the Caravan of East and West; the Royal Society for International Affairs; Amnesty International; the British Vegetarian Centre; the Order of the Cross; the Creative Association; and with Mr. Allen, a director of the British Broadcasting Corporation; Mrs. Heyes, President of the British Hospitals Association; and Mr. Gambadela, head of the British Restaurants Association.
The universal spirit of Ruhani Satsang, the Science of the Soul, was truly demonstrated in the catholicity of the public meetings in London. Three crowded meetings were held at the Sikh Cultural Society in North London. Kirpal Singh addressed these meetings in Punjabi for the benefit of the vast majority of the Sikh community. Mr. Baura, the President of the Society, introduced the Master, and at the final meeting requested a talk from the Guru Granth Sahib, the sacred scriptures of the Sikhs. During his discourse, Kirpal Singh explained that although the Holy Granth Sahib is a great treasure among the scriptures, this sacred book itself declares that salvation cannot be achieved without the aid of a Living Master. The Master unfolded the inner meaning of the holy words, stanza by stanza. Many people said that they were truly understanding these scriptures for the first time.
The mission of the World Fellowship of Religions was discussed with Professor Norman Bentwich, eminent authority on Middle East affairs and the former Attorney General of Israel; and Lady Dowding, widow of the late Air Marshal Lord Dowding, leader of Fighter Command during the "Battle of Britain." Conferences were also held with various labor leaders and members of Parliament. The Iman of the Shah Jehan Mosque in Woking, Surrey, a noted Islamic leader, averred that the W.F.R. would be an immense power of good in the world. The continuing support of the Islamic world was expressed in a discussion with the Syrian Charge d'Affaires in London, who stated that all cooperation would be extended to Kirpal Singh on his future visit to Damascus. Further Christian encouragement for the W.F.R. was given by the Archbishop of the Serbian Orthodox Church in London.
Nine meetings, dealing with the Science of the Soul, were held in England. In addition to the three meetings at the Sikh Cultural Center, a meeting was held at the headquarters of a Yoga-Vedanta Group in North London and at an Esoteric Christian Group in South-East London. At the invitation of the Editor of the "Voice Universal," Mr. Joseph Busby, two meetings were given at "Voice Headquarters" in Sussex, where Kirpal Singh had stayed on his previous Western visit in 1955. Kirpal Singh was received at the home of Mrs. Victoria Rosser, one of his senior English disciples and mother of Margaret Arnsby Jones, and further aspects of the tour were discussed with the author in the beautiful surroundings of the English South Coast. Two meetings at Caxton Hall in Central London were crowded to overflowing, and the author was constantly concerned with the problem of not contravening the London County Council's seating arrangements.
At his English meetings Kirpal Singh explained the simple and direct technique of spirituality. He explained to his listeners that every soul has acquired a tendency to flow downward and outward through the outgoing faculties through its constant association with the mind. It is because of this outgoing tendency that the soul cannot receive the Sound-Current—the Elixir of Life—within. An inverted cup may remain in the rain for a long time, but it will not receive one drop of water. If the cup is placed aright it will be filled within one or two showers. This is exactly the same with the soul. As soon as a Master-Soul gives the soul of the aspirant a contact with the life giving Sound Current, by showing the technique of withdrawal of the sensory current, the cup of the spirit receives more and more of the Waters of Immortality until the soul is permeated with the God-power and is saved forever.
Dr. Leslie Jelfs, a medical advisor to members of the Royal Family, received Kirpal Singh, Baron von Blomberg and the Tour party at his residence. The World Fellowship of Religions and the Science of the Soul were discussed, and the Master consented to making a tape recording for the benefit of future visitors to Dr. Jelfs' residence. Because of the tremendous public enthusiasm evoked by the Master's visit to London, the schedule in that great city was extended by four days. Further informal meetings and personal interviews were arranged in the Master's hotel suite, and until the last moment on August 25, when Kirpal Singh departed for Dublin, Ireland, Eileen Wigg, the Tour Secretary, was kept constantly working throughout the day and into the hours of the night, adding to and amending the Tour Engagement book. The Master held meditation sittings every morning at his hotel suite, and two initiation sittings were given during the London visit.
Many of Kirpal Singh's Indian devotees, living throughout Britain, were constantly with their Master during his stay in London. And so, on August 25, when Kirpal Singh left for Dublin, there were heartrending scenes of distress and sadness when these loving disciples bade farewell to their beloved spiritual Father. John Rowlands, the new representative of Ruhani Satsang, wished the Master a stoic "Well, goodbye, Master!" The Master gazed at his disciple from South Wales with a quizzical and affectionate expression. "Why do you say 'goodbye,' Rowlands?" he queried. "Do you think that I am ever going to leave you?" He turned to Miss Clarice Watkinson, the "Dean" of his English disciples, and wished her a loving farewell.
Baron von Blomberg, who had traveled to Ireland a few days previously, was at Dublin Airport to greet the Master when he arrived. Baron von Blomberg was accompanied by Mrs. Una Byrne, representative of the W.F.R. in Ireland, and the Tour party posed for pictures before the assembled television and press photographers. A press conference was held in the airport lounge, and on the following day the arrival of Kirpal Singh and a report on his mission was given wide and enthusiastic coverage in the major Dublin newspapers.
Kirpal Singh, the Princess, the Baron and Madame Hardevi were later received by President de Valera at the Presidential Palace. The "Grand Old Man" of Irish politics showed an incisive interest in the spiritual work and inter-faith mission of the Master. They discussed the World Fellowship of Religions and then stepped outside onto the steps of the Palace, and, before the multicolored floral scene of the magnificent gardens, were photographed together by representatives of the Irish press. A further reception given by Prime Minister Lemass showed that the eminent political leaders of Ireland fully realized the need for such a world mission of unity, goodwill and spirituality. The Master was also welcomed at the Mansion House, Dublin, by the Lord Mayor, and after further consultation upon the purpose and message of his visit, another statement was issued to the press. It was evident that the Irish press wanted as full a coverage of Kirpal Singh's mission as possible. Seldom was such all-sided enthusiasm witnessed on this scale during other parts of the Tour. Ireland is a small country, with a tragic past history, but with a tremendous will-to-knowledge and a dynamic purpose which foreshadows a brighter future.
The Master was accompanied in Ireland by his Tour party and Frau Hildegarde Zschau and Fraulein Hilda Georg, two disciples from Germany, and the author and his wife Margaret. Kirpal Singh was invited to a tea given in his honor at the Indian Embassy in Dublin. He discussed the World Fellowship of Religions and the promising response to his tour with the Charge d'Affaires, who was extremely pleased to hear that such a significant world movement had had its inception in India.
Kirpal Singh visited the Catholic Workers College in Dublin and was received by the Very Reverend Edmond Kent, S.J., Prefect of Studies. The College was founded in 1948 by the late Father Edward J. Coyne, S.J., with the laudable aim of peace for all—in family life and in industrial life—based on the dignity of every human being. Kirpal Singh commented on the laudable work of the College and said that its purpose was reflected in the aims of the W.F.R. working through all faiths. The Master was received by Dr. Park, Provost of Trinity College, Dublin, and introduced to the members of the faculty. He explained his purpose in introducing the aims of the World Fellowship of Religions to religious leaders in the West, and the keen interest which had been evoked by the Tour.
On August 27, Kirpal Singh and his party visited the headquarters of the Medical Missionaries of Mary at Drogheda, several miles from Dublin. The Congregation of the Medical Missionaries of Mary was founded in 1937 by Reverend Mother Mary Martin. This noble sister of the Church had founded a hospital and medical training college which is "rooted and founded in charity"—a truly meritorious and salutary service to God's creation. The Foundress graciously welcomed Kirpal Singh to the headquarters and escorted him and his party through the hospital and training college. Nursing sisters from every part of the world are trained there, and free medical treatment is dispensed to the sick and needy.
From this great center of spirituality and healing, Kirpal Singh, Baron von Blomberg, Mrs. Byrne and other members of the family traveled on to the World Headquarters of the Columban Fathers. The Vicar-General of the Columban Fathers, welcoming Kirpal Singh and his party, said that it was the first time a non-Christian dignitary had been received at the Headquarters. He went on to state that he had studied the views of the President of the World Fellowship of Religions and recognized that they embraced all religions. After a long discussion on the principles of the W.F.R., the Vicar-General said that he would be very happy to be an advisor to the Fellowship. As Kirpal Singh was leaving the Columban Headquarters, the Vicar-General turned to him and said: "I am proud to have met you, for you are a son of all religions." The Master and his party left the beautiful environs of Navan, where the Columban Headquarters is located, and returned to Dublin.
Kirpal Singh spoke upon the Science of Soul and inter-religious concepts at a Quaker residence in Dublin, where about sixty people received these ideas in the spirit of goodwill which so exemplifies the Quaker philosophy. Tolerance and keen interest in the World Fellowship of Religions was also exemplified at a reception given by Mrs. Byrne at her home, where several politicians had gathered to hear a discourse given by Kirpal Singh and Baron von Blomberg.
Young people of Asian, African and West Indian nationalities listened to the words of Kirpal Singh at the Overseas Club, Dublin. Mainly students, these young people showed a dynamic awareness and knowledge of the basic problems of our time. They required truthful and lucid answers to their questions; Kirpal Singh did not disappoint them. They questioned the responsibilities of both East and West for the present global impasse in human affairs. The Master told them that as individuals we share in the collective responsibility of planetary welfare. We should become reformers of ourselves before we start to change the world, The totality of planetary welfare includes all kingdoms of nature. If we strive for true brotherhood under the Fatherhood of God, we must help all those who are weaker than ourselves. Through our present efforts to raise our vision to greater heights, children yet unborn will benefit from the heritage of enlightenment and peace which we will leave them. They will thus be assisted onto the Path of spirituality in the furtherance of human liberation.
Baron von Blomberg outlined the happenings of the Tour to the German Ambassador in Dublin. The Ambassador listened to an account of the World Fellowship of Religions with great interest. He wished Kirpal Singh every success in all phases of his mission. Many distinguished personalities of all faiths called on Kirpal Singh in order to discuss the W.F.R., amongst them being Mr. Aloney, the Chief Rabbi; Monsignor O'Halloran, Vicar-General of Ireland; and Monsignor Cassidy, Papal Representative in Ireland.
Thus, in a predominantly Roman Catholic country, Kirpal Singh was accorded high deference and respect from governmental leaders and religious heads. It was the first time that a Master from the Far East had been received in this ancient country. Protestants, Quakers, Jews and Roman Catholics met him to discuss the single solution to mankind's dilemma: God, and the truths of God as expounded by all past Masters of spirituality and written into the world's scriptures.
Kirpal Singh affirmed that the living Truth of God was a practical and dynamic power which could be used in all spheres of human endeavor. God's Way was both livable and demonstrable. God's Truth was inherent in man, and man's social organism could be a manifestation of God's Purpose. Living Truth was eternal, irrespective of localized rites and the different formulations of outer social religions.
That localized strife and limited conflict had been averted by the presence of the Sat Guru, in such focal centers as Innsbruck and Athens, was demonstrated by the lessening of tension his words to political and diplomatic leaders brought to those cities. Seeds of unity were sown, and, subsequently, the world witnessed the meeting of Pope and Patriarch, Catholic Prelate and Protestant, Rabbi and Iman. Throughout Europe the Master had been received with welcome and listened to by those who held the fate of millions in their hands.
The Tour of Europe was over. Kirpal Singh and his party left Dublin Airport for New York on August 31, 1963.