The following questions & answers occurred in Zürich, Switzerland, on 4 September, 1972, when Sant Kirpal Singh was visiting there during His Third World Tour. This exchange took place during the afternoon of the second day of His visit to Zürich.
Talk available as MP3
Sant Kirpal Singh: Before starting, I remember an event in which a divine man came to a village and called all of the villagers to tell them that, "Tomorrow there will be a hurricane." He said all of them should just evade that hurricane and sit inside their houses. Otherwise, "whomsoever that hurricane may touch, they will all go mad." Some of them did believe him and at the time spoken of hid themselves in their rooms. But most of the people were outside and were exposed to that hurricane. And all of them went mad. When those who had hidden themselves within their rooms came out, the saw that all of their poor fellows had gone mad. And all of those who had gone mad said, "These few people who are comforting us have gone mad".
Why I am telling this story to you? Do you know what I mean? What I am talking about to you is the hidden way, about which references are given in the scriptures. These references are for those who are ready. This way is not a childish play. The people who are not conversant with the way, or not really seekers after truth, they will simply say, "You are all gone mad." You see? (chuckle)
Speak of the experiences or the teachings which are being given to you to those who are seeking. Otherwise, your fate will be the same as the people in this story.
What inner experience you have got, thank God that you have had it; but only tell or mention the way to those who are really seeking and not to those who are not for the way. That is why Christ said, "Don't throw pearls before swine." (St. Matthew 7:6)
Now, do you follow? We sometimes make the way a daily talk – well, this will give you the same effect as the story I just told you about. Reserve your selves. You are on the way. Reserve the way to your selves. You may give a hint to others who are seeking.
We are not to change any outer social forms, not to lay down certain rules and regulations to go by. This is only the basic teachings of all scriptures which are written and have been given out by the Masters when they came. They saw the truth and they gave out testimony. Christ said, "I tell you the truth: we say what we know and we bear testimony to it that we have seen it." (St. John 3:11) Do you see? Do you follow me now in what I really mean?
This is a hidden way, about which we are talking, for those who are really ready. Don't make the way a table talk, or street talk. So in the old days when those who were put on the way spoke of certain inner things to one and all, the people who were not ready for it gave them all possible difficulties that they could have. They even burned them alive sometimes.
So, it (the story) is nothing to be afraid of, but it is only to be put before those who are really after it (the way). Give a hint to them. If they are then all right, then go on with the theory. If not, keep quiet.
Now it is the time, I think, for any questions you have to ask – pertaining to the path, of course (chuckle).
Translator: Master, I have some scraps of paper here with questions. The first question is: I see (within) and hear (within) relatively easily, so I should be happy. But in daily life I am not very kind, not very loving, not very merciful. So I can hardly believe my seeing and hearing because of my very insufficient human state. Others on my side are quite outstanding in daily life, but remark "No seeing, no sound, all darkness." How can this be, when I know these persons are meditating faithfully?
Sant Kirpal Singh: Man has to develop all around: physically, intellectually and spiritually. Thrice blessed is man. That does not mean that you should go on with only one aspect of life at the sacrifice of others. You should develop all around. Physically, you have to stand on your own legs: you have to earn money by honest means. You just have to lay something by for a "rainy day" and for your children and also to help others.
The fact remains that we are all of the same essence as that of God, drops of the ocean of all-consciousness. We are all brothers and sisters in God and God resides in every heart.
Everybody is blessed – divine in nature. So you will have to be kind to everybody if you think you love God and that God resides in every heart. And as we are also the same as brothers and sisters in God, we must be polite and discrete, I would say, when teaching others. If you are unkind to others, it means you are losing the way; and if you want to meet him who resides in every heart, then how can you meet him?
The fact remains – do one thing at a time. There is a table (or desk) with so many drawers. Open one drawer and attend to it fully, as work is worship. Then close that drawer and open another drawer and attend to it fully well. The point is that we are trembling in the balance and doing nothing in a definite way.
We are unkind on one side. And if you see in every heart that God resides there, then we have to respect all others. But we do not do it – and, all the same, we want to go on . . . on the way. How can you?
So all Masters have said, "If you want to meet God, don't torment anybody." There are sins, and sins, and sins – of different degrees. To drink alcohol is a sin, of course. It is the mother of all evils. But there is a greater sin than that: to burn all scriptures. That is a greater sin. But still there is a greater sin than that: to set fire to all the holy places, the places of pilgrimage and the places where Saints were born that is also a very great sin. But still there is one more, a higher sin than that: "To torment anybody." If you want to meet God (He resides in every heart) and, all the same, we are unkind to Him, then how can you find Him?
The man who is hungry is God moving on earth, and he is hungry. If he is asking for food and if you deprive him of his food and you don't share your food with him, then how will God be happy with you?
– (Break in the recording occurs here) –
If you don't return the unkind things (done to you) by unkindness, that will be done only once. Do you follow my point? This is the reply to this question.
I would suggest to you to read the biographies of the great men. You will learn many things in a practical way of how they got that way. I have read the life of Napoleon Bonaparte. He was a very self-disciplined man. He did one thing at a time, as I told you. At midnight, the night before the Battle of Waterloo was to be fought, from midnight until about one a. m., he was writing the proceedings of a primary school. You see? The next morning the battle was scheduled to begin at nine a.m. At eight a.m., his minister was going around and he saw Napoleon walking in the garden. Napoleon said to his minister, "What are you after?" The minister said, "The battle is to begin in an hour." Napoleon replied, "That is at nine o'clock. It is eight o'clock now." So these things you will learn only from biographies.
Someone came up to Lord Buddha, calling him names. The name-caller went on like a mad-man from morning until evening. It got dark and Lord Buddha was still hearing him patiently. When it got dark, the man thought of returning to his home. Then Lord Buddha said to him, "Well look here, friend, wait! If you have brought any present for me and I do not accept it, with whom does the present remain? The name-caller replied, "With the one who has brought it." Lord Buddha told him, "So, the present you have brought, I don't accept." These are things you learn from biographies.
Excuse me, if I tell you that I have read more than 300 biographies. Many things can be learned from their lives – practical lives – which cannot be learned in books. So it is better to set an example than to tell things only.
We make a mess of all things, I tell you. Start from your homes: make your home a sweet home, a happy home. God has united you (as husband and wife). Let God dis-unite you. If one of you is not of the same views, well, have culture: don't impose your views on others. Don't break that sweet connection with which God united you, but make sweet homes.
They interrupt you and they express their opinions, but we should try to develop culture: understand and induce others to understanding. If you have got children, then set an example for the children by comport – I mean self-discipline. If you (parents) fight between yourselves, the children are affected.
Masters don't want you to leave the (work-a-day) world and go into jungles, but to be living-examples set for others. You make your lives and set an example for the children who are the budding hopes of the coming generation.
So "All-knowledge" means service. "All-knowledge" means fellow feeling. "All-knowledge" means culture. And, ultimately, when you know that "All-knowledge", you become humble. This is the example you have to set for the world: to have veneration for all who are over your head, for all who are around you and veneration for all who are under you.
Is there another question?
Translator: Sometimes I can hardly believe the necessity for the living Master in all cases. In all centuries, there have been holy men hearing the voice of God – and not having a living teacher – but just through intense longing and surrender to the invisible Christ.
Sant Kirpal Singh: In all stages of life we need somebody to teach us. When born, as children we want mother and father, brother and sisters. When we grow up – in the schools, we want someone in the teaching line – in the higher educational way, we want some teachers who are adept in that way.
If we want to become wrestlers, naturally book-knowledge won't do. We will have to have the company of wrestlers and also to live by what they say (their counsel). So, in whatever line you want to make some development, you need somebody who is expert in that way.
Suppose you want to be a doctor. Then, what will you do? You will have to join some medical college where there are some people who have unravelled this physical body, who know how it works and how it is retarded and how it can be resumed in the normal way.
There they give you books from which to learn – which have been written by the past doctors. But there is one thing: that alone won't do! Those who met those past doctors operated on the bodies. Those past doctors gave demonstrations of those operations to those who met them.
But now, you also need – along with all of this literature and scriptures – you also need some-body who can give you a demonstration of how to rise above body-consciousness. Call Him by any name you like.
You know God resides throughout creation and He is the very controlling power in our body. So those who have a very intense desire for God, when He sees, "This child is after me", He makes some arrangement to bring you in contact with somewhere you can be put further on the way. Christ and all Masters said that.
Christ said to the disciples, "I have given you what I have told (through Jesus), but the comforter will come who will give you further and go on giving to you." (St. John 14:26; 15:26) This is the same thing that I am speaking of.
So, in each line, in whichever way you want to develop, you need somebody who is expert on the way. Even those who have got some background – because man is in the make – they see some light, for instance, in the spiritual way, or they hear some voice. I have seen such men going to the doctors for treatment for their eyes and ears. So, they also need somebody for further guidance. Call Him by any name you like.
If you go to a man who sells diamonds – a jeweller – and if you ask him to give you some iron pots, will he give them to you? So in each line we want something, call it by any name you like. And even if you have got the (spiritual) background, even then you want somebody to guide further on the way.
My Master (Sawan Singh Ji, 1858-1948) used to tell me – to tell us, "Well, to know a Godman: yon can only know Him when you rise up to that level of Godman. Only when the pigeon is flying in the air can he know who is flying in the air. But until then, you take me as your friend, as your elder brother, as your father." Start with that teaching and when He (the Godman) is able to give you some demonstration of rising above body-consciousness – you have some (spiritual) capital to start with: the light within you – you will say, "He is a better man." Is it not?
Then further you will see that He is helping you in all your affairs, in the inside world, too and in the outside world. Then you can say He is much more than that ("a better man").
When I went to my Master (Sawan Singh Ji), somebody asked me, "How great is your Master?" I told him, "I know He is enough and to spare, for me." You see now what I have come to. So from step to step, as you rise, you may know how great He is.
A learned man can testify to the greatness of another learned man. A real doctor will think highly of the other surgeons and other doctors who are really competent. The men of the same flock fly together.
So until then (when you see within for your self), start with the ABC (the theory), you see. If it (the theory) is according to the scriptures and He gives yon a demonstration of rising above body-consciousness and opens the inner eye to have some thing to start with, well take it that He will be able to guide you further. But you cannot take Him all at once that He is the "word-made-flesh". That realization will come in due course, as you progress.
Translator: (Reading the question -) Are the books of the holy ones not also charged with power so that they can lead mankind back to God, if one lives according to what they prescribe?
Sant Kirpal Singh: What are scriptures? They are the findings which the Masters had on their way back to God on the inner planes, the right interpretation of which can only be given by someone who has been on the way. Of the others, at the intellectual level, some will interpret the scriptures this way, some on the other way.
Now, about the charging: those who met those Masters in the physical body – naturally, "A man speaks out of the abundance of his heart". (St. Luke 6:45) The words the Master speaks – those words – are spiritually charged. That charging gives you a boost at the time. And also, by example, by giving a demonstration within, that works wonders.
The words given in the scriptures are not direct talks to you. There, in the scriptures, are given statements of the facts remaining of what you should do and what you should not do.
So we cannot under-rate the physical presence of a living Master who radiates: who speaks this teaching – one-third by the word of mouth and two-thirds by the radiation, by receptivity (of the devotee). So this is the reply to the best I know (chuckle).
Translator: (Reading the question -) The Master says that death is very painful. However, one sees men who die away very smoothly because the relatives around him receive a peaceful regard from him, without any sign of pain.
Sant Kirpal Singh: That's right. What I told you the other day is what the scriptures say and that is the fate of many people who die. There are a few exceptions. That they have a peaceful death may be due to their backgrounds, or inner higher life.
Generally, it is what is given in the scriptures. Generally, what is the fate of the people at the time of death? They are in terrible agony. That is a general statement. You see? There are exceptions of those who have got their backgrounds. We are not what we appear to be outside. If they are having inner pure-lives, simple lives, are true to God, then they have their peaceful death.
Those who "learn to die" at their own sweet will and pleasure – rise above body-consciousness – they are accustomed to rise above day by day. For them "death has no sting". (I Corinthians 15:32,55) You see? (chuckle)
About the other thing that I told you, each man has his own background and some have peaceful lives. But they are few, not all.
Translator: (reading the question -) Dear Master, since you are devoting most of your time to the building up of Manav Kendra ("man-centre") at Dehra Dun and you will do so, as we have heard, near Bombay soon. What does that mean for us and for the future of humanity?
Sant Kirpal Singh: It is the same thing (man-making) we are after now. You see all mankind is one. Those who bear the labels of different religions try to give a boost to their own labels which they are carrying, whereas the labels are put on the man-body, which God made with equal privileges for all.
That project is a returning-to-nature through the man-centre (Manav Kendra) in the spiritual aspect only. We don't touch social bodies. Each man is a social being and he has a social body to live in. If you break one social body, you will have to create another. There are already more than 700 social bodies (religions, sects, subsects, etc.). So I have not touched these things. I have taken the direct thing: man. A man is perfect now and complete in himself. So start from there and unravel the man. He is a conscious entity and he is the son of God – we are all "children of God". (Psalm 82:6) Do you follow my point? So that man-making is already before me.
In the man-centre (Manav Kendra), I have added two things: man-service and land-service, to enable them to subsist. For man-service, I opened one hospital for the poor who are needy, who cannot afford even to live. So for them there must be free hospitals. This is man-service.
Furthermore, for those who are old, indigent, with nobody to look after them, for them there is a sweet home so that they may pass the last days of their life in peace.
And that third thing! The education that we now get – everybody says it is defective. In the old days, each of the younger children used to pay respect to their parents and students became the ideal student. Now the whole trouble among the students is that they are not obedient to their parents. So, they have no morals. So I started that school at Manav Kendra on new lines, just to look after the children who are the budding hopes of our coming generation.
With that, I have added land-service. To grow a blade of grass is better than apprentice-work. For that land-service, you have the development and breeding of animals to give you milk. And for that, naturally, you need agriculture. These are two helping-factors for man-making. So man-making remains as it is now, only something is added there at Manav Kendra to help them.
I have made one tank (reservoir) there at Manav Kendra, oval shaped, 350 feet long and 200 feet wide and around it made places for meditation. Mother-earth has given a flow of water – a big flow at full strength – that fills that tank (the "mansoraovar") and the water overflows at one side for the bathing ghat. That is all before me to help the humanity. But all the same, it is man-making, with man-service and land-service. The man-making we have already started.
Now I have turned to the man-centre (Manav Kendra) because all of the labels we are carrying are meant to turn out perfect men. Why not start straight from the man? God made man, you see, with no labels on the body. These labels have been had only to enable us to become perfect. So I have respect for all "isms", you see. (chuckle)
I have been president of the World Fellowship of Religions from 1957 to date (1972). That has done very good work. Narrow-mindedness and much bigotry have been lessened. But still, one danger has arisen: that pillars (of religious separatism) are being raised up. All Christians, all Mohammedans, all Sikhs, all Jains, all Buddhists and so on, should join and cooperate together. But with big pillars how can there be real integration?
All the Saints, Masters, or Rishis who came in the old times, started from the level of man. So I have just returned to nature. That (Manav Kendra) is no new thing. So the main purpose is man-making. Those (land-service and man-service) are only to help you.
I have not raised any temple over there at Manav Kendra. The earth below and the sky overhead is the biggest temple of God. And in the miniature scale, the man-bodies are the temples of God, models of which we have got as the outside temples and churches.
Man is one who is of use to others as well; animals can help their own children, those who are connected with them. But man is also meant to help his own, those who are connected with him and also those who are not connected – all the world over, because all are the children of God.
For that purpose, you see, I have no temple or church over there at Manav Kendra, only a library having all of the scriptures of the world; and the land underneath and the sky overhead as the biggest temple; and this common thing – land-service and man-service – the same over there as it is here. I am for those as well, but the main thing is to know your self and to know God. The other things are only subsidiary to help you to live on the way in a better way. That's all.
So, at Manav Kendra there is no "ism" and now new "ism" started. It is only the "man-ism", you see (chuckle). That's all. It already exists – we have forgotten.
Manav Kendra is the same as it is now: Ruhani Satsang. Only some things are added to help with man-making, for those who are needy.
I have written one pamphlet in English entitled "What is Manav Kendra?" You might have copies of that and read what is explained there. So it is no new thing, simply some things have been added to help those who are needy: so those can be guided physically and those can be guided intellectually, but the main thing is that Manav Kendra is for the sake of spiritual advancement: knowing one's self and then knowing God.
Translator: (reading the question) Is it not necessary that the mystery of life is first put to man, or laid before men, in scientific terms or esoteric terms, before we can demand experiences therein and go on the search for God? The Surat Shabd Yoga – is it not meant for those who have conserved their faith in God? And for the people of India, or for such men or people who have gone in the esoteric way?
Sant Kirpal Singh: I tell you (chuckle) this is a question which is one for all, whether they believe in God or are atheists. It is a problem of the manbody – everybody has it! Knowing the overself controlling the manbody – controlling us in the body – will come up next. I am putting it before you in a scientific way.
You are the indweller of the manbody which you have to leave someday. You must have some demonstration of how to rise above body-consciousness. It is you who enliven the whole manbody. When you withdraw from the body, the remaining whole is only dead matter. Is this not scientific? Somebody should be there to give you the very experience with your self – which drives all of this manbody. So, I am putting this in a very natural and common-sense way.
Now, whether the scientists go to prove it or not, they are coming nearer. Science is coming nearer to finding out the truth of religion. They have not found out all the truths of religion so far, but they are coming nearer.
So, it (rising above body-consciousness) is a very practical demonstration before you. You may have the dead body before you. Before that, she was moving and talking and this and that. And now we have this same manbody, which we are working through. Who are we? What are we? How can we realize our own self? – "Know thy self!"
Knowing one's self at the level of feelings, or emotions, or drawing inferences – they are all subject to error. Seeing is above all. When you see for your self, you rise above body-consciousness for a while. And then by regular practice, from day to day, you can rise above the body and traverse into the beyond. That is the gateway to the other world, just as the sun sets at this place and rises at the other place. That's all.
This is a very practical question, you see. If, as I think, science has go to prove it, that is all right. But I just put it in a practical way – there is no imposition, only seeing. It is a very good idea, you see.
Now, Saint Plutarch (Greece, 1st Century A.D.) says, "Those who are initiated into the mystery of the beyond have the same experience of leaving the body as the soul has at the time of death." Rising above is a practical thing, you see! And by practical experience, you are experienced I tell you.
Take your own example. When you want to have an injection, you say, "All right, now inject!" If you withdraw your attention from your body, you will feel pain very much less. Otherwise, you will feel pain more. So, it is you who give life (consciousness) to the outgoing faculties – their strength to work. So, if you can completely withdraw from the body – just a common-sense result – then you can have no pain whatsoever. You will be in an "air-conditioned" room (chuckle), no heat and no cold will affect you. Is that not scientific?
So, if you withdraw your attention from outside, concentrate it within yourself, that is the scientific way. It is an "air-conditioned" room into which you will come. The world is all full of thorns. You cannot clear away all of the thorns, but you can have strong roots on your feet so that the thorns may not prick you.
So, I think this is scientific – to the best I know. If there is anyone else to prove it, they are welcome. It is for the scientists to prove it. I will let them try to prove it, you see. As I told you, science is going to prove some of the truths already existing in the spiritual way – not all of them. They are coming nearer to it. The work of science and religion is going along side by side. Science is going to give peace to the world by outward means and true religion gives you peace from the inner way.
So, science is going to prove some of the truths, as I told you. Matter is made of elements. Elements are made up of atoms. Atoms are further made up of subatomic particles, on like that. And if you expand one atom, it will cover the whole room – and give you pin-points of light: science has proved that. Science is coming to that, you see, to the best I know. So, there is light within you.
It is very scientific to give you a first-hand demonstration of that light to start with. And by going into (research) details of the atoms and subatomic particles, and on like that, we come to that light. I have read books on the point.
So you have an "air-conditioned" room that saves you from the heat and cold outside. That, in the scientific way, is demonstrated. If you withdraw your attentions from outside within your own self, no heat and no cold will affect you. That is the natural way. Also, it is a practical way, you see: you can experience it. You have satisfaction to some extent, if not more.
Sant Kirpal Singh: Any other questions? It is past ten now. One more question?
Translator: Which one?
Sant Kirpal Singh: Take any. You see all questions are no more, when you advance on the way. The Upanishads tell us, "What is that by knowing which nothing more is left to be known?" That is to come into contact with the God-into-expression-power (Word or Naam) within you. That satisfies each of the questions.
Now you are at the level of the mind. The mind will be raking up points here, there, and I feel that very few of the questions are really pertinent to our practical help. These questions come up only for the sake of curiosity. So I tell you – as I told you – I sat at the feet of my Master (Sawan Singh Ji) from 1924 to 1948: 24 years and I questioned Him with only three questions all through that period of life. I learned all by radiation, by heart-to-heart talks. So all things are answered when you come in contact within (with the Word or Naam), everything. You become the abode of all virtues. All your questions are satisfied, there are no more.
So, hie (hasten) on the way! And if there are any substantial questions, you may put them to me. There is no harm in that. But the fact remains that they should be about substantial things, which when you get (the answers) you are satisfied. Yes?
Translator: (Reading the question -) The Master says that only in the physical body can we obtain God-realization. But, on the other hand, we have to rise above this body to attain this goal. How, then, is it necessary to have the manbody if we have to transcend it?
Sant Kirpal Singh: Yes . . . It is intellectual wrestling by which you want to come to some conclusion (chuckling – along with an audience response of appreciation). All right.
The point is that the manbody is considered to be the highest in all creation. Herein we are bound to some extent and free within certain limits. Leaving the manbody aside, all other bodies of animals, birds, reptiles, are bound with no freedom in their lives. You, on the other hand, can pay off all of your action-reactions and you can lay down your road-way through life on your way back to God: this is a privilege to man alone.
Why? The angels have been asked to bow down before the manbody. Even the Rishis of old, when they returned from the higher planes, accepted the manbody to enter. So the manbody is considered to be next to God. In the manbody we are free within certain limits and that hidden way starts when you rise above body-consciousness. That option you cannot have in the animal kingdom, or in any other physical form. That is why the manbody is considered to be the highest physical form.
So, when the Masters come, they come to love all the world over – whether men, animals, birds, or reptiles. But they come to preach to the men! You see? "Well, all right, come back to your true home of your father." This is what they preach to the men. And, "There is a way within you". They demonstrate the way, give you a boost, a step inside, and they go further and guide you further also. They say, "We know what we say and we bear testimony to it that you can also – if you follow the commandments – have the same experience."
But the true criterion of a Saint is that He is able to give you some thing to start with by rising above body-consciousness, it may be little or more and guide you further.
Any more questions?
Translator: Not a question, but a statement that could be added – I have only the desire to thank the Master . . .
Sant Kirpal Singh: What for? This is my duty. (chuckle)
Translator: . . . from the depths of my heart for all His love, but also for the burden He is daily carrying on His shoulders.
Master Kirpal Singh: It is God who does all this. He sends everyone who is seeking. He also gives it (the inner way) to everyone who is after it. He resides in every heart. It is His grace that this opportunity has been afforded to me to come amongst you and to tell you what I have understood on the way, practically and theoretically. That is no obligation, you see (chuckle). That is a choice from God. I have been already on two world tours (in 1955 and in 1963-1964) and this is the third one. God knows whether it is the last; there may be another, too. But it is He who takes work from everybody.
It is a very simple way – what I have come to know. It has been laid before you in very simple words – no bombastic words and no terminology. I hope all of this talk goes to your heart, you see.
Translator: They have asked for a few minutes of silence.
Sant Kirpal Singh: All right, if you please. Silence speaks more than words if we are receptive.
– Interval of silence –
So, are we not all one? And we are all brothers and sisters in God, you see.