Circular letter by Sant Kirpal Singh, dated 1 July 1967
Dear ones: On this auspicious day of the Birth Anniversary of Hazur Maharaj Baba Sawan Singh Ji, I send you, one and all, my heartiest wishes for your progress on the spiritual way back to the home of our Father – through the natural yoga of light and life and love – the Surat Shabd Yoga.
In my previous years' messages, I have been mostly dwelling on rising above body-consciousness, to be reborn, and to learn to die while alive, etc., so as to enable one to enter the Kingdom of God, which is within us, as prescribed by all the past Masters who come to us through His benign grace. There are many aspects of His divine life, but I will now dwell on the two most important ones, viz., humility and simplicity – the most needed at this hour, which, if followed, will set our lives in the right direction and enable us to achieve perfection.
All Masters, such as Jesus, Mahavira, Buddha, Kabir and Nanak, etc., of the past, and Ramakrishna, Hazur Baba Sawan Singh, Sadhu Vaswani, and others, of recent days, radiated this divine lustre from their personalities.
Man knows so many things, but he does not know himself. A man has so many sheaths in himself, covering the depths of his heart. Man learns and unlearns all through life. It is wiser to remain a student than to be a teacher – a student of the mystery of life.
A parable narrates that a seeker of God, in the quest for heaven, wandering here and there, found himself per chance at the gate of heaven. The gatekeeper asked him, "Who are you?". The seeker answered, "A teacher." The gatekeeper asked him to wait, and went in to report. After a while he returned and said that he could not let him in, as there was no place for teachers in the heaven-world. He was told to go back and wash off, in the waters of silence, the dust of dead words clinging to him.
So many teachers are vain; they parade their learning. How can there be a place in heaven for him who lives in a world of vanity? Every day he sat in silence and listened to the words of Saints, and his self-consciousness began to develop, and he became humble and prayed to become the servant of all men, lonely and lowly as well as animals – a servant of God's creation. Then the portals of heaven were opened and he entered and beheld Master's face: pure and fair beyond compare.
All the Masters of the past and the present say, "The Kingdom of God is for the humble of heart." So many of us, alas, are proud, vain, lost in ego, and blind to the wisdom; we do but wander from darkness to darkness.
The God that rules millions is the ego. Enthrone on your heart the God of love, and cease to wander – and what should be done to do that? Become as humble as ashes and dust.
The world is full of the proud of purse or power or learning, whereas we should be humble and simple and empty ourselves of all "self" that the Lord might do with us what He would.
The life worth living is life in the spirit. Its basis is humility. We should be reduced to a cipher and God becomes all. "Let us be perfect as our Father is in heaven."
The truly humble are the truly happy. For want of humility, men and women are leading an unbearable, miserable life. All this misery is from within. It is not a change in our circumstances, but deliverance from the thraldom of the self, the petty ego that sits as a tyrant, robbing us of the bliss that is our heritage as children of God.
We are, as it were, in a cage of self-centredness, and until this prison is opened by the key of humility, the swan bird of the soul is not free and cannot fly to the regions of radiance and joy.
The way to true blessedness is the way of humility and love. He who is humble has no problems. He has God as his guide. Significant are the words of the shepherd boy singing in John Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress":
He that is down need fear no fall,
He that is low, no pride;
He that is humble ever shall
Have God to be his guide.
I am content with what I have,
Little be it, or much;
And Lord, contentment still I crave,
Because Thou savest such.
Rightly has it been said that if there were no humility in the world, everyone would long ago have committed suicide.
When the light of humility dawns on the soul, the darkness of selfishness disappears and the soul no longer lives for itself, but for God. The soul loses itself in God, lives in God, and is transformed into Him. This is the alchemy of humility. It transforms the lowest into the highest. The great Chinese sage, Laotse, expressed the thought in beautiful words:
How does the sea become the king
of all rivers and streams?
Because it lies lower than them.
St. Augustine said the way to God is, "First, humility; second, humility; and third, humility." He who is proud of possessions or of learning or of authority will not go to any Saint unless he is humble. Even if he goes to a Saint, but considers himself superior to Him, he will not listen to Him. A glass which is kept above a jug of water will remain empty – until it is put below the jug. You know what you know; just listen to what the other says. Perhaps we can learn something from him.
Yes, the branches of a fruit-laden tree bend of their own accord. Even so, the man who, losing himself, finds God – finds Him everywhere and in everyone – bends before all, offers homage of his heart to all. This is true humility. It is not a forced sense of lowliness. Such a one lives in unity with all. He is in others and others are in him.
It is the fake ego-self that gives rise to the sense of discord and separation. When the illusion of ego is broken, one feels, "I am not apart from others, but others are parts of the One, God, the Master, and all of us are engaged in the same service of God."
Each one of us is unique in his own way. There is a divine purpose behind the life of everyone who comes into the world; no one has been created for nothing. We have something to learn from everyone. This is the mystery of humility.
The truly humble person does not compare himself with others. He knows that none of us, however evolved, is perfect; none of us is complete in himself. The humble person does not regard one as better than the other; he believes in the divinity of each. If one says and asserts that he is better than others, then he is not perfect yet.
It is only when one realizes his own nothingness that God comes and fills him with Himself. Where man is, God is not; where man is not, God is! God cannot enter the heart of the self-seeking person. He who is full of himself considers himself as above others and so puts a limit on himself. God is without limit. How can the limitless enter the limited?
O Ye who seek God: see that you do not set yourself above others. Give up all that you are and all that you have, empty yourself of all "self", cast the ego out, and you stand face to face with God.
Wondrous are the words of the Sufi saint, Abu Hassan:
Brothers! This is the law:
He who cometh nigh to God
Loseth what he hath,
Aye, he loseth himself,
But gains instead the gift supreme,
The gift of humility.
A man may strive to be humble, but for all his efforts, may become all the more proud. There is such a thing as the pride of humility; it is a very dangerous thing, for it is too subtle to be discerned by the inexperienced. There are some who will take great pains to be humble; they make humility impossible. How can a man be humble who is all the time thinking of how best he can be humble?
Such a man is all the time occupied with himself; but true humility is freedom from all consciousness of self, which includes freedom from the consciousness of humility. The truly humble man never knows that he is humble.
The truly humble man accepts everything as coming from the hands of God. He knows that in himself there is nothing praiseworthy. All the good that is in him is from God, and the praise that men give him belongs to God. When the young man called Jesus "good teacher", Jesus quietly said, "Why call me good? There is no one good but God."
"Humility," says Lacordaire, "does not consist in hiding our talents and virtues, in thinking ourselves worse and more ordinary than we are, but in possessing a clear knowledge of all that is lacking in us, and not exalting ourselves for that which we have, seeing that God has freely given it to us, for with all His gifts, we are still of infinitely little importance."
So the truly humble man may accept sometimes the praise which men give him, and quietly passes it on to God, keeping nothing for himself.
The man who is not truly humble behaves in a very unnatural manner when he is not praised by men. He becomes upset, loses his patience and even becomes angry. He repulses them with his irritation and creates for them an awkward situation. Sometimes he suppresses his feelings and remains silent, but he cannot forget the things that are said about him; they haunt him again and again, and do not give him peace of mind.
The humble man makes no fuss. He is at harmony with himself and others. He is gifted with a wondrous feeling of peace. He feels safe and secure, like a ship in the harbour, unaffected by howling storms and lashing waves. He has found refuge at the Lotus Feet of the Lord, and the storms of changing circumstances have no power over him. He feels light as air. The burdens which we carry all our life – the burden of the self (ego) and its desires – he has laid aside, and he is ever calm and serene. Having given up everything, he has nothing to lose, and yet everything belongs to him, for he is of God, and God is in him. Having broken the bondage of desire, he is as happy with a piece of dry bread as with a sumptuous meal. In every situation and circumstance of life, he blesses the name of God.
He who would be humble regards himself as a student. He learns many new things, but what is more difficult, he unlearns many things he has learned. A scholar came to a Saint and said, "O seer of the secret, tell me what I may do to live the life divine." And the Saint said to him, "Go, unlearn what thou hast learnt and then return and sit before me."
He who would walk the way of humility must renounce his earlier ways of living. He must give up the opinions he has formed, the standards to which he is accustomed. He must have a new outlook on life. The things the world would worship are to him of no value. His values are so different from those of other men. Rich food, fine houses, costly dresses, positions of power and authority, the applause of men, honours and titles, no longer attract him. He feels drawn to a life of simplicity. He is happy in living a hidden life in the hidden Lord. He is dead to the world; he is alive in God. At times he actually behaves like one dead.
Yes, the truly humble man is, in that sense, the "dead" man. He has "died". God alone lives in him. His self (ego) has been annihilated, has vanished into God, and only God remains. God works in him and through him, emits radiance through his eyes, and speaks in his words. On his feet, God walks the earth; and through his hands gives His benedictions to all.
Such men are the real strength of the world – its illumination and inspiration. To see them is to commune with God, for God dwells in them. They are the living, moving temples of the Lord. They are the ones who keep the world intact, though they do not know it themselves. The whole earth depends on them without anyone being aware of it. Their hearts and minds are in tune with the great heart and mind of humanity. They are in complete accord with all that lives. They give their love to all living beings, as though they were the sons of the one sweet mother. They have broken all fetters and entered into the freedom of the children of God. God does their will, because they have merged their will in His. God fulfils their least desire, for it is He who desires all their desires. They are the little saviours of humanity.
I wish each one of you to follow the lesson of humility, born of love and simplicity.