A talk given by Sant Kirpal Singh at Manav Kendra, Dehra Dun
All creation was made to serve man; man is the highest over all.
God is supreme, but after Him, man is the highest in all creation; it is therefore the greatest good fortune to be given the human birth. When God made the human being, He ordered even the angels to bow to man. In the Upanishads is written that after enjoying their earned rewards, long sojourns in the heavenly regions, the souls of the Rishis when returned to earth were glad to live in the human form again.
What then is so praiseworthy about the man-body? The human being has a higher potential. All other species are expressing indulgence only, and although many human beings also continue this indulgence of the senses, yet there are those who, to a great extent, are above this degradation.
As ye sow, so shall ye reap. Certain karmas which have come to fruition in this present life are called the pralabdh karmas; they have shaped the course of this life, in order that certain debts and credits may be balanced. For the shape of the future, we have the opportunity now to trace the kind of pathway we will tread. Once, we were in the Lord's lap but since we left it we have, up to now, not returned there. Had we done so, we would have arrayed in some other glorious existence.
So what is the value of the human form? What can be done while living the life of man which cannot be done in any other species? We can reach the True Home - we can return to the Lord's lap. We can realize God. God made man, and He gave all men the same privileges. All are born in the same manner, they have the same outer features: hands, legs, eyes, ears, etc., and the inner construction of the body is the same: heart, brain, liver, kidneys, and so on, including the "municipality" which throws out the waste matter daily.
The great Rishis and Masters who came to the world solved the riddle of life, discovering that man is a three-part being. He has a physical body, and he has intellect, but he is a conscious entity which is called soul. The soul is a drop of the Ocean of All Consciousness. Now man should be perfect in all three parts, in the whole trichotomy. He has achieved considerable success physically, in the study of the physical form, its functions and maladies and the cure thereof, through various systems of medicine: allopathic, homoeopathic, naturopathic, vedic, and unani systems. Man has enlarged the use of his intellect to encompass a great deal of knowledge. He can travel the globe in a matter at hours; he has landed on the moon and is trying to reach other planets; he has invented television through which one sees objects and people from thousands of miles, and radio through which one can hear sound from similar distances. With all this mental and physical advancement, yet man is not happy, and why is this? Because he has not even directed his attention toward the third and most important part, and that is his true self or soul, of which he is in complete ignorance.
The machinery of the body works only as long as we, the soul, are with it. When we leave the body, no one will care to have longer proximity with it than is necessary. It is a very wonderful machine, there is no doubt, but it will work for as long as that power is within it and no longer. In the Upanishads the question is asked, Who is the Great Craftsman that created the human form? It is an amazing creation with a number of apertures: eyes, ears, nose, etc. and yet the indweller cannot run out of it, for there is something which keeps us within it We must get to know that power which is in control.
God is Nameless, Absolute, but when He wished to become from one to many, His Power came into expression. That Power is known as Naam in the terms of the Masters. It is also known as Shabd, as Kalma, as Word, and other names. That Power is the creator of all things, it is controlling all things. Just see, there are so many planets in existence, some of which have been five thousand years in orbit - one becomes dizzy considering such wonders, and yet they do not crash into each other. It is very obvious that something is controlling them, and that same power controls us in this body. You can call it God, or you can call it Naam, but all creation is the manifestation of that great Power.
On a small scale this body is the temple of God. The body is the temple of God, in which the Light of Truth is effulgent. Soul is the Lord's entity, and consists of consciousness alone. The Lord is Ever-Existent, All-Wisdom, Perfect Bliss. Soul, being a small particle of God, a drop of the ocean of All-Consciousness, also reflects these attributes. Soul is an unchangeable permanence. A man often witnesses other bodies like his own being taken to the cremation ground and consumed. Sometimes he lights the fire with his own hands. Does he not believe that his own body will never meet the same fate? The feeling of being everlasting, not subject to death, comes from the natural reflection of the Truth within us, of which we do have some awareness. As we, the soul, are an entity of the All Wise Lord, so the reflection of that wisdom is in us, and you will find that even a small child thinks there is none more clever than he. Everyone has this awareness and the feeling of greatness and knowledge in varying degrees.
When God is all bliss, all joy, all happiness, one may well ask how it is possible for man to be so full of misery when he is the very entity of the Lord. Guru Nanak declared, O Nanak, the whole world is unhappy. Most of the Masters have made similar statements. Kabir Sahib said,
I have not seen one person in the physical form who is happy; whomsoever I see is unhappy.
Soami Ji Maharaj said, Oh attention, (soul), you are unhappy, we know it. He then asks, since when has the soul been unhappy, and replies, Since the day you separated from the Shabd and developed friendship with the mind. When the soul got herself entangled with the mind, she became its very image, and under the influence of the senses she in turn became the image of the body and the world. The machinery of the body functions because the soul is present. If one is deep in thought about a particular thing and the attention is not connected to the ear, we do not hear anyone calling us or speaking to us. If they complain that we were not listening to them, we usually reply, "Oh, my attention was elsewhere." Similarly, if one is deep in thought or engaged in activity, people may pass in front of one's eyes and yet one will not see them. The sight does not register when the attention is concentrated on something else, and this is true of all five senses, which do not function without the attention being directed through them. The attention is the outward expression of the soul. After unravelling the mystery of life themselves, the Masters exhort the people to do the same: Oh man, who are you? What are you? What is your connection with the body and the world outside? What is your relationship with the Controlling Power which controls you and all creation?
A Master is he who has realized himself, and who can help others to realize themselves. A master is not a person who wears a certain type of garment to denote what he is. The true Master, although working in the human pole, can rise above the body at will whenever he so chooses. So how can the soul realize its happiness? In its attention there is a serene bliss, a little of which is experienced when that attention is attached to something and remains so attached. If the object of attachment is removed, there results a great sorrow, because of the attention being uprooted, for when the attention is focused on something it becomes the very image of that and thereby enjoys a certain amount of happiness. In spite of our nature being all bliss, yet we are miserable most of the time, and the Masters tell us that there is only one cure for this malady: He who desires perpetual happiness should go under His protection. He is the Controlling Power in everything, including the physical form. In the same company, in the same house, but the brothers do not converse. The two brothers are the soul and God, who both reside in the house of the physical body, but they never talk to each other because the soul has gone into outward expression alone, and has become the very image of the body, mind, and senses. If it would only withdraw within, it would reverse its direction and consequently start to enjoy the inner bliss.
All Masters advise: Man, know thyself. The ancient Greeks said, Gnothi Seauton. The Latin philosophers said, "Nosce Teipsum". This has been told to the world through the ages by all great teachers. One Persian saint said that although man has gained knowledge in the physical and mental phases of life, yet if he knows naught of himself then he is but a fool. Guru Nanak stated very plainly, Nanak says, without knowing one's self, the illusion will never fade. If you do not learn to analyse yourself from mind and matter and experience the Truth within you, then you remain under the control of illusion.
What is illusion? Illusion is a name given to anything which appears to be one thing and yet is in fact something else. Man's soul is the Truth, the true part of him, but because of its connection with mind, body and senses it has identified itself with the physical form and the form of the world outside. The body is made of matter, which is ever changing. The world is made of matter, and is likewise changing, at the same rate. When these two things are changing at the same rate, and we are identified with both, naturally the inclination is to accept everything as stationary, permanent. This is a vastly powerful optical illusion in the influence of which we are imprisoned. There is but one way of gaining release from this entangling situation, and that is what all the Masters have prescribed, to know oneself.
The common practice for attempting to attain this knowledge of the self is by methods involving either feelings, or inference, but such methods are subject to error. Seeing is above all. Those who know - the self-realized and the God-realized personalities - tell us that man can only know himself through a really scientific method, and that is by self-analysis. If this is my watch which I can place in front of me, and this is my handkerchief which I can remove and put here, and this is my coat which I can remove and put aside, then can I say that this is my body, and this is my mind, and these are my senses, and likewise remove them? Can we remove these coverings from the self? Can we rise above them? This can only be done by a practical self-analysis, and only then will we discover who and what we truly are.
The Gurbani says, With the Guru's blessing you unravel the mystery of life. A realized person, who has already unravelled this life's enigma, can demonstrate how to rise above body-consciousness and still the senses, mind and intellect. When these faculties are stilled the soul is able to rise above, and with the grace of the Guru it is reunited with the Oversoul. If you come to know yourself, your whole angle of vision will change, and so will your attitude to life. You will see who your lifelong Companion is, and who is the operator of the body's machinery – that same Power which controls all creation. The soul and its Companion do not converse, because man has adopted the illusory image of the world and its environments, through perpetual outgoing expression of the faculties. The soul must withdraw from this outgoing expression before it can see within itself. It is a play of the attention, and one must withdraw that attention and invert, which is what Shah Inayat meant when he told his disciple Bulleh Shah, who asked how one can meet God, What is there to meeting the Beloved. Just uproot it from here and plant it there. Masters have their own mode of expression, and Shah Inayat was a gardener by worldly occupation.
If the attention is withdrawn, we can peep into the Truth. First, one must concentrate upon oneself and one will come to know that one is truly a conscious entity – a soul – and one will start to see from the level of the soul. Without analysing soul from mind and matter we view everything from the body's level only, and that is why we remain in illusion.
The true Guru does give a demonstration of how to rise above body-consciousness. This very demonstration used to be given in the Hindu religion when small boys of five, seven, and nine years of age were made "twice born" and were given what was termed the Gyatri Mantra. They were shown practically that the first birth is in the body and the second is in the Beyond. But these days only the mantra is given without any demonstration of the science. Christ also spoke of the second birth, and said, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus, who was a man of some repute in the community, could not understand how anyone could re-enter the mother's womb and be reborn, but Christ explained, That which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. To be reborn is to rise into the Beyond. Learn to die so that you may begin to live. It is a practical, scientific self-analysis. Spirituality is not spiritism, nor spiritualism, it is not hypnotism nor mesmerism. Self-analysis means to know one's self, and know God, face to face. This is the true advancement. Saint Plutarch also mentioned the second birth and explained that the souls of those initiated into the mysteries of the Beyond have the same experience of leaving the body as at the time of death. Guru Nanak says, O Nanak, master such a yoga through which you can die whilst living.
What kind of death is experienced while living? And how can one invert the senses from the outgoing faculties? When these questions were put to Guru Amar Das Ji, he replied,
When the Satguru is met, one inverts, o brother; by dying whilst living, the mystery is solved.
So if you meet someone who is one with the Truth, who knows who and what he is and has experienced the Lord, through his help your senses will invert, you will withdraw from the outer world and will be able to see inside. At death, a soul withdraws to the "seat of the soul," a point behind and between the physical eyes, where the "window" opens into the Beyond. When you go through that window, you will be able to see who you are, and will see that Controlling Power at work. Such experience can only be had in the man-body and in no other species in all creation, and for this reason alone is the human form considered as the highest. Those who are living in the human form are greatly fortunate, whether they realize it or not.
We should be attached to something which will never die, for the soul's nature is to be attached to something, and while it is attached it enjoys a fraction of that bliss; but when the object of attachment is removed, then misery sets in. What is that which will never die? That is God, who is known by many names. But man is steeped in the forgetfulness of illusion.
The whole world is sleeping in attachment and illusion; how can one awake from this forgetfulness?
What is the cure then, for this dreadful condition? Illusion is another name for forgetfulness, and how did the forgetfulness start? This body is the beginning of illusion. We see everything from the body's level, and when we rise above the body and see things in a clarity of truth, our whole conception of life will change. This is why to rise above the body is the very ABC of spirituality. It is the first true step of all yogas. And what is above the body? In my Father's house are many mansions... There is Pind (physical), And (astral), Brahmand (causal), and many other stages.
That which is Brahmand is also this body; he who seeks it will find it.
First we must get out of the body's influence, rise above its level, to get out of the illusion of the body.
Whatsoever you desire there will you go. The soul being a conscious entity, should have rejoined the All-Consciousness, but instead it attached itself to the world and directed its desire toward worldly things. O Soul, you have the attribute of hans (mythical swan-like bird). The soul can differentiate truth from untruth, so taste the Truth within you, and make the best of the untruth. Why are people afraid of death? Because we do not know how to leave the body, and we do not know where we are going. If one learns the science of leaving the body at will, all fear of death is banished.
In past ages only those were authorized to preach who had kept 25 years brahmcharya (pure and chaste life), and who were fully conversant with the Vedic and Shastric scriptures, and who after living a normal family life with two or four children had gone into the lonely jungle ashrams to put into practice the theories they had learned in the scriptures. In this way, those who succeeded in solving the mystery of life would return to worldly existence and preach what they had experienced. This type of life was called Sanyas. This is the true renunciation. All the basic teachings are one and the same, for Truth is one, but they must be put into practice.
God is absolute – He is Nameless, formless, wordless, soundless, although when He came into expression He began to be known by different names. There is Naam, Shabd, Word, and various others. Through Naam, all Khand and Brahmand was created. In the New Testament it states, In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word was God. So all creation came into expression when the Lord expressed Himself. Through the vibration of that expression, two aspects came forth and they are Light and Sound. God is Light, God is Sound, God is Naam, God is the Music of the Spheres. By a parallel study of all religions you will find that the basic teachings are the same. Even the Greek philosophers had experience of this basic Truth. Socrates said that he had heard a voice which had taken him to another world, and Pythagoras spoke of the harmony of all harmonies. Zoroaster used the term Sarosha, which means the Unstruck Sound. When Lord Buddha was about to leave the world he asked each of his principle disciples to state how they had achieved Golden Samadhi, the state of rising above the body and entering the beyond. After each one had described his experience of Light, Sound, etc., Lord Buddha declared,
Hear ye all, Oh coming generations; the way back to Golden Samadhi is only through intrinsic hearing.
Intrinsic hearing is another term for contact with Naam, contact with the Sound Principle. All great Masters have given this teaching – the Path of Light and Sound – and these are the only two paths within, which reach the outcome or the Absolute Lord. The Absolute Lord cannot be described. He is neither this nor that, but His expression of Light and Sound is the way or path back to Him. Until I see with my own eyes, I cannot believe even the Guru's words. So, In the Guru's company the Light becomes apparent.
What will you find in the holy places and places of pilgrimage? They have built temples there, that is all. Temples, mosques, churches, all are made after the image of man dome-shaped, forehead-shaped, nose-shaped, etc. Within them you will find symbols of those two phases of the God-into-expression Power which is within man the Light and the Sound. When Guru Nanak was asked to describe the house of the Lord he described the human form: twelve bastions (joints of arms and legs) fifty-two turrets (nails and teeth) and two windows (eyes).
At this elevated palace the Lord is dispensing the baang (a sound for calling Muslims to worship).
The unfortunate are asleep, only God is awake.
Enter the foxhole of the brain and centre your attention there at the seat of the soul, where you will experience the Light and the Sound of the Lord. This is the basic teaching which lies inherent in all religions. What is a Sikh?
The form in which the Effulgent Light is manifested is pure; think of that only as the Khalsa.
A person's religion is recognized by various outer indications, but only when the Light is manifested within can he be called a Khalsa. We are the worshippers of the Living Light.
Symbols of Light and Sound can be found in all religions: bells, candles, drums, etc., but the true temple of God is the human body in which the Light of Truth is burning, and the controller of this temple is the indweller, the soul.
As long as the companion inhabits, the body flourishes; when the companion leaves, it crumples to ashes.
Who cares for the lifeless body when the soul leaves it? But what keeps us imprisoned in the body? That Power which controls everything, which is called the Naam.
O Nanak, Naam is in control of all; those with great good fortune receive it.
Within this body dwells the Lord's Naam; giver of the nine pleasures of amrit.
Great is the intoxication of the nectar of Naam. Guru Nanak refused a cup of a certain intoxicant proffered by King Babar, and told the king that the effect of it would wear off in a short space of time, whereas, I have an intoxicant the effect of which never fades. That intoxicant is the Water of Life, the Bread of Life. Christ also described it as the Living Water.
Hundreds of lovers, but the Beloved is the same; sects and religions are different, but the work is one.
To fully understand that all mankind is one, is the right understanding. Men are born with the same privileges from God: intellect, physical body, etc., and much has been achieved in these spheres, but man is ignorant of the most important part of himself. Man's knowledge is from an intellectual or literary level, and he has no knowledge from practical self-analysis and has therefore never discovered who is the controller of this physical form. You can say we are animal-driven. The outer enjoyments drag our senses around, the senses in turn rule the mind, and mind rules the intellect; the poor soul is in the midst of it all, helpless, even though the entire machinery is running on the soul's strength.
First, we are men, then we are the conscious entity which controls the machinery of body, mind and senses – the soul. The soul is a drop of the Ocean of All Consciousness, so there is only one Truth which works everywhere. The question is approached according to the individual's attitude of mind, the level of which allows him an understanding of that much only. Whatever he understands becomes all truth and finality to him. Through the different levels of approach of the various leaders, men have become separated from each other through narrow-mindedness and bigotry. But in truth, God is one and mankind is also one. Through the teaching of the Masters who come man does gain right understanding, which gives right thought, and so right speech and right action are developed.
Credit goes to the rulers of certain ages past who had the wisdom to be guided by spiritual men, the sages and seers. The kings and rulers would consult them for lawmaking etc., and would receive expert advice at the level of man. One word from the wise soul was enough for the king. I am relating these things to stress the value of a man knowing himself in truth, not at the level of feelings or emotions, or inferences, but at the level of the soul. Seeing is above all. This is accomplished by self-analysis, by rising above the body-consciousness. Maulana Rumi prayed, O Lord, send the merciful One who will take us out of this box. We can only get out of this box of the body when we rise above body-consciousness, and then we see that there is a Power working everywhere. Kabir Sahib says,
My mind rejoices in that which the whole world fears; through this death alone does one attain supreme bliss.
There are two reasons for the fear of death. One is that we do not know how to leave the body, and the other is that we do not know where we are going when we leave it. Usually those who have not solved the mystery of life and have not learned how to die, suffer difficulties at the time of death. But with the mercy and help of the Guru you can learn who and what you are and how to rise above. Some will get to know the Lord's commands. In this way you will eventually become the conscious co-worker of the Divine plan. O Nanak, one who dies this kind of death will get true life. This is life's mystery, which can only be solved while living in the human form.
The biggest temple of all is already provided, the sky above and the earth beneath. The world which you see is the form of God, in which He is seen. The other natural temple is the human form. By the Guru's grace, you will see that God's temple is within you. The mystery of life is solved in the company of those who have already solved it. Through the Guru, witness the Light, which becomes apparent. We cannot solve this riddle by ourselves, because the soul is at the sense-level, and identified with the body and the world, so whatever practice we attempt can necessarily be performed at the sense level only. How then can one rise above the senses and the body? Some people, due to a little good background, do see Light within but very often misunderstand it. They need teaching and further guidance, that they may progress into advancement instead of remaining at that stage.
The Guru, having accepted the seeker, should give a demonstration of rising above body-consciousness, to see the God-into-expression Power, by opening the spiritual or third eye. Christ said that he had come to make those see who do not see, and that those who see are really blind. Who are those that the Masters consider to be blind?
He is not blind who has no eyes; blind is he, O Nanak, who sees not the Lord's Light.
What do the Masters do in this respect?
They sing of what they see; such a song bears forth fruit.
There is great difference between seeing, hearsay, and reading. During the seventy or more years of Guru Amar Das's search for his Guru, he tried almost every form of practice and austerity, and when he finally came to the feet of Guru Angad Sahib, he said, Without seeing, it is but a blind man's earnings. So the Masters tell us that we should not believe unless we see for ourselves.
In the Upanishads it says, Awake, arise, and stop not until the Goal is reached. If you have not awakened up to now, when are you going to awaken? Awakening starts when we begin to love the Lord. Kabir Sahib says, Awaken now, and love God, but how to love God if we have not seen Him? We must awaken into ourselves, within this human form which we are so fortunate to have received, and for the knowledge of this the Masters say, Take the advice of the Satguru.
Satguru is that personality who has experienced the Truth, and is the mouthpiece of God. Satguru is the very Form of Truth. Guru Nanak Sahib says,
He who knows the Supreme Lord is called Satguru; in His company one gains salvation, O Nanak sing the Lord's praises.
And what happens in His company? By meeting the Satguru, one sees with his own eyes, because the Satguru opens the spiritual or single eye; and then, concentrate on that invisible point upon which Shiva meditates. Certain Hindus make a sign on the forehead which represents this point, and they call it the Shiv Netra, Shiva's eye. When the inner eye is opened the Light will be apparent, and in this simple statement one has the very basis of the Master's teaching.
Kabir Sahib says that a man should be true to himself – free from cunning and hypocrisy, with his heart, tongue and mind in agreement. If he has no spiritual knowledge, he should say so. He should be humble in mind and in action. All these things being so, The Guru will Himself appear. St. Augustine gave three excellent prerequisites for success on the spiritual path. He said that the first should be humility, and then the second humility, and the third also humility. A person who is truly humble will recognize his incompetence and ask someone for help, but unfortunately most men are intoxicated with their own ego. The cup which is below the vessel will be filled. Go to the Guru with the thought of learning something, for what you already know will remain with you, and if you are prepared to listen you might hear something you have not heard before. Remember, only God knows the true condition of our hearts, and whose heart is really yearning for Him. Only God can make the arrangement for His child to meet the One in whom He Himself is manifested, and then the connection is made, within man, within that form in which He already is residing.
My beloved is in each form, no place is without Him; but I rejoice in that Form wherein He has manifested.
The God Power which has manifested in the Guru, the human pole, is also in each being, but the difference is that the attention of human beings is going into outer expression perpetually, and they are identified with the body and the world. The Satguru withdraws that attention, and brings it within, and above the body-consciousness, and then gives the contact.
You will note that I have not kept any religious symbols here, which does not mean that I disapprove of religions. Religions are necessary, for without them there would be more corruption in the world, and new formations would have to be started. You should remain in your religion, but also learn that for which the religion was formed, and that is to realize God. He cannot be known by senses, mind, intellect or even the pranas (vital airs). He is experienced and known by the soul only, so first one must learn how to know oneself, and then go on to God-knowledge. This is the way taught by the Masters, it is the science of knowing the self.
From an early age, I had this single-minded purpose. I was very fond of reading, and after the study of many books, I came to the conclusion that man-making is the highest ideal. Man-service comes next, and land-service third. In the Manav Kendra, all three ideals have been incorporated. Even as a young man, I loved to serve people, particularly those sick in hospitals, who I would attend morning and evening before and after my daily work, and I would help those who could not afford to buy medicines. Here in Manav Kendra we have started a hospital for the poor who will get free treatment. For the homeless, aged people who are indigent the Father's Home has been started. In land-service there are agriculture and dairy farm sections. There is the Mansarovar, elliptical in shape with dimensions of 350 feet by 200 feet, the surrounding of which is an ideal place reserved for meditation. Nature has helped us by providing a strong spring of pure water which feeds the Mansarovar and supplies all Manav Kendra.
As is very evident nowadays, the present system of education is defective insofar as it does not cover moral education, which is the very basis of good citizenship and brotherhood. This will be included in the Manav Kendra Education Scheme which was inaugurated by the Uttar Pradesh Finance Minister who was greatly impressed with the proposed scheme. We have started with a small school, but the facilities will be enlarged to meet requirements up to university level. There is also a probability of starting a language school, that thoughts may be exchanged by people of different tongues. The library, which will hold books of all religions and philosophies, has also been started. If you study the scriptures of all religions, you will find the one basic teaching of the Masters rooted in them all. They teach that all Mankind is one and that the way back to God is also one alone, and that is by direct contact and connection with the Light and Sound Principle, innate in all beings. This connection with the God Power can only be made while the soul is in the human form, and in no other species. Remain in your own religion, but do not rest until you have been connected back to God. He Himself will then take you back to Himself.