Address by Sant Kirpal Singh to the Ninth General Session of UNESCO,
held in New Delhi India, 1956
Mr. President, Delegates, Leaders, and Friends,
It is a happy event to meet the distinguished delegates and members of the different countries of the world who have come to discuss plans and demonstrate universal brotherhood in action, in the spirit of peace and loving kindness for all the world. I have love for God and for all humanity. Fully knowing that men and women of high attainments are present here, I venture to speak to you frankly what strikes my mind on the subject which is a main objective before us: namely, Peace of the World.
Man does not live by bread alone. He has to live on the Bread of life. He is a conscious being and has to know himself to live on God consciousness. Man is a conscious entity which expresses itself through mind and physical body. Unless he is liberated from bondage of mind and matter, he cannot have knowledge of self and of God. If his mind is turned to the physical body and its needs, he becomes earthly. The inevitable result is jealousies and strifes. But if it is directed toward soul, he becomes spiritual; the result will be love and peace. The preamble to the UNESCO Constitution says that since war began in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that defences of peace must be constructed. All Masters who came in the past turned man's attention to the purification of the heart. If we want to change the outside, we should change our hearts first, because out of the abundance of the heart man speaks. What does it avail one to wash himself outside if deceitfulness is in his heart? Purity in thought, word, and deed is what is required. The world is awakening to this truth, as is apparent from the fact that religion conferences and such organizations as this one are coming into existence for the purpose of helping mankind uplift himself, but violence and hatred still dominate the word and the doctrine of inequality of men and races is preached and practised. Some like to dominate over others and exact and squeeze from others all that they can, and give little or nothing in return. All this has, as it were, formed habits that have entered into our nature. How can we change our mind and turn it to a higher purpose? Mind, like fire, is a good servant, but a bad master. Guru Nanak said, "Victory over the mind is victory over the world."
Let us consider how we can conquer our mind and change our hearts. Man is composed of body, mind (intellect) and soul. We have to develop all around. We have sufficiently developed physically, socially and politically. We have made wonderful inventions, such as telephone, telegraphy, radios, televisions, air planes, rockets, atom bombs, etc., but both physical body and intellect depend on the soul within, about which we know little or nothing.
"What does it profit a man if he gains the possessions the whole world and loses his own soul?" As we have not known ourselves, all advancements we have made on the physical and intellectual plane are going against us. In a European conference of scientists held recently, the President of the conference said that we have gained control over the forces of Nature before knowing our own selves. That is why various inventions are going to help in the destruction of mankind. Had we known ourselves before we got control over the forces of nature, all these inventions would have gone to help in our uplift. All Masters in the olden times, namely, Buddha, Nanak, Christ, Prophet Mohammed, exhort us to "Know Thyself." For knowing ourselves we have to rise above the body consciousness by practical self-analysis. The scriptures say, "Learn to die so that you may begin to live." Christ said, "Except ye be born again, you cannot enter the kingdom of God." Nicodemus was a very learned man. He came up to Christ and said to Him, "Master, how can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother's womb and be born?" You will see intellectual people fail very badly when the practical side is concerned. Christ replied, "Art thou a master of Israel and knowest not these things? Don't you know that flesh is born of flesh and spirit of spirit?" To be born anew is to rise above the body-consciousness by practical self-analysis so that one may know himself and the Overself which is called by so any names. Kabir says the same thing, "Learn to die a hundred times a day, not once." You must know how to rise above the body consciousness so as to know who you are or what you are. Intellectually we know so much about it, but practically we know little or nothing. It is a matter rising above the body consciousness and opening the inner eye or the single eye to see the Light of God by Practical self-analysis, which we have forgotten. It is an old, old science.
All Masters who came in the past were fully conversant with these facts but unfortunately we have forgotten them. Can we rise above the body consciousness? Can we leave the body and then come back? These are teachings given by almost all the Masters whether the came in one country or in the other. Maulana Rumi said, "My dear friends, learn to die so that you may have ever lasting life." So this is not a new thing, but an old, old thing which we have forgotten. So the Master says: "Yes we can have this experience as surely as two and two make four, very definitely, at the feet of a competent Master, as King Janaka had at the feet of Ashtavakra in a very short time." I need not dwell on this subject any longer. Those who may be interested in solving the mystery life can refer to the pamphlet Man! Know Thyself, which has been distributed to everyone here, for further information.
To achieve this end, man must have an ethical or moral life which is a stepping stone to spirituality. Christ said "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God." Guru Nanak said, "Be pure that truth may be realized."
While pressing for the moral and intellectual solidarity of mankind, we have not laid any stress on the spiritual aspect of man which is the most vital but a sadly ignored proposition. It is a cementing factor running throughout all humanity without which all our attempts in the intellectual and moral planes may succumb and collapse. On my tour of England, Germany and the U.S.A. last year I was asked, "How can we avoid the danger of atomic war?" I told the listeners that we can avoid this if we but live up to what the scriptures say. We know so much about the Sermon on the Mount, the Ten Commandments and the Eight-fold Path of the Buddha, for preaching to others, but we do not live up to what we preach. "Be the doers of the Word and not hearers only – deceiving your own selves." Reformers are wanted, not of others but of themselves. Learn to live just as Yudishtra, one of the five Pandos, did. It is said that the five Pandos were placed under the tuition of a teacher and the teacher gave them a book which started, "Tell the truth, don't be angry," and so on. Four of the brothers memorized the full booklet. When the turn of Yudishtra, the other brother, came, he said, "Well, Master, I have learned one sentence fully, 'to tell the truth'; and 'don't be angry,' I have learned only half of that." The master was enraged. He said, "What will I answer to the king?" In two or three months he'd learned only one sentence and another only half. He began slap the boy – once, twice, thrice. Then he said, "Why can't you tell the truth?" Yudishtra said, "I do tell the truth that I have learned one sentence – to tell the truth – and the other only half, not to get angry. And now I tell you the truth that in the beginning I was not angry, but when you went on slapping me, I got angry in my mind." So unless we learn to live as Yudishtra did, there can be no advancement in any phase of our life. Food which is digested gives strength. If we put in practice what we have learned, all danger of an atomic war will be avoided.
Now let us see what the scriptures say for our guidance. Men are all worshippers of the same power of God, called by so many names. God made man, ensouled bodies. Our soul is environed by mind and matter. God is all consciousness. When we liberate ourselves from the bondage mind and matter we find we are conscious entities – souls. We are, as it were, drops of the ocean of life. If we know ourselves by analysing ourselves from the physical body, we will meet the world from the level of the soul. So we have got a very strong background to stand on, viz., God-consciousness. But we have been living on up to the "shalts" and don'ts." We shall do this and do that or don't do this or don't do that, but really we have no strong background to stand on. "There is no Hindu, no Mohammedan (I may add no Christian or any other) by birth." That is what Guru Nanak said.
The Israelites came up to Christ and put to Him the question, "Our king demands a tribute from us, what should we do?" And He told them to bring Him a coin. And when the coin was brought He asked whose inscription was on it; when told it was Caesar's, He said, "Give unto Caesar what is Caesar's. Your souls are of God, give unto God." All Master's viewpoints have been the same. As man is a social being, social institutions of various religions were made for the uplift of soul, so that it may pass its earthly sojourn amicably and prove to helping to all humanity, as well as to aid one to know himself and know the Overself – God. God cannot known by intellect, the outgoing faculties, or prana. It only the soul that can know God – that is why all Master who came in the past enjoined "Know thyself." They further gave two most important commandments: (1) Love thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with thy strength, and (2) Love thy neighbour as thyself. For God resides in all hearts.
We are all conscious entities being of the same essence as that of God. There is one underlying unity – as such we are brothers and sisters in the true sense of the word and form the universal brotherhood which can be cemented if the much needed inner unity is realized. Now we know all things intellectually. As we have not known ourselves, our inner eye is not all pervading. When your inner eye, single eye, or latent eye is opened then only you will see the same light of God working throughout all. You will have true love for all and true regard for all scriptures left by the past Masters. All scriptures say that God resides in all creation and is immanent in every form. Guru Nanak said, "We live and have our being in God. We should treat everyone as our own flesh and blood." Prophet Mohammed said, "We are all members of the same family of God." All other Saints said the same thing. We should, therefore, love all – love of God and love of all mankind are the two great fundamentals or main commandments on which the work of all the Masters hangs. If we follow them in practice, there will be peace on earth; the kingdom of God will come on earth – and there can be left no danger of an atomic war.
There is one reality working in all. All mankind is one. The differences are man-made, arisen out of self-aggrandizement due to ignorance of one's own self. It is said of St. John that he was invited to a school. He came over and was asked to give a talk. He stood up and said, "Boys, love one another," and sat down. The secretary in charge asked him, "Haven't you got anything more to say?" He again got up and said, "Boys, love one another," and sat down. Again the secretary asked him if he didn't have anything more to say. The third time he got up and said, "Boys, love one another. Love and all things shall be added unto you." To achieve this end man must be ethical or moral. This is the gist of the teachings of all the Masters, whom we have with us. Naturally whoever loves God will love all.
Without love no lasting peace can be maintained in the world and without the spiritual aspect of man being realized you cannot have true love. God is love and our so being of the same essence as that of God, love is innately enshrined in us. Shamas Tabrez, a Mohammedan, said, "If you perform outer rituals and ceremonies of worship for a hundred years, you cannot be true worshippers. If by doing these you have not developed love for Him, ye cannot be aware of the mystery of God."
Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Guru of the Sikhs, said the same truth, "Hear ye all, I am telling you the truth-those who love, they get to God." The Bible also says the same thing. "Those who do not love cannot know God." All others spoke in the same terms. A lover of God will be a lover of all Masters who came in the past, a lover all holy scriptures, all holy places and a worshipper of all places of pilgrimage. A lover of God will never think molesting anyone in thought, word or deed. He will be:
1) A true ahimsa, which is the highest of all Dharma.
2) He will live a life of truthfulness.
3) He will hold a high character.
4) He will have love for all – hatred for none.
5) He will lead a life of selfless service for the uplift all humanity.
These are the five pillars on which mansions of peace can be built. These five pillars are cemented by developing the spiritual contact within. He looks to the whole world and the various countries as so many rooms therein.
The governments are raised as custodians for the good of the people. They are doing their best to restore peace and order in various ways in the world. The United Nations was also formed to secure this end.
The governments can control the bodies of men, but cannot do man-making – until the hearts and minds change, the world situation cannot change. Change must come from within. As I told you already, "Out of the abundance of his heart a man speaks." The very words he utters are charged with love. Whatever comes from the heart, that goes to the hearts of the people. This is the sole work of really spiritual men and not sectarian, who are to do this job, without which no government can be fully successful. Paid preaching. I am forced to mention this thing, because it has done more harm to humanity than the helping of it. Paid preaching carried on by professional and narrow-minded preachers has made matters worse in all religions. They, instead of uniting mankind, have assisted in separating man from man. Look to the olden days. Four phases of life were prescribed for man. The first twenty-five years of age were spent to learn all the scriptures and other knowledge. After that twenty-five years to attend to household affairs. After that, a man had to go into seclusion for about twenty-five years in order to realize his own self and to realize God. When he had realized himself and God, he was to go around from place to place for preaching to all mankind selflessly. Such persons were called sanyasins who were required to preach. All Masters enjoin us to love God and to love all humanity with all our soul, with all our heart, and with all strength. Masters who came in the past told us to go by the scriptures. How many of us should do this? At least those who are awakened to this truth should do that. Let them start from themselves. God wants reformers, as told you before, not of others but of themselves. So many people sitting here, say six hundred to seven hundred, if we just start doing that – there will be a change. Those who come in contact with you, they will also change. So you see it requires a very rational way of preaching by those who have universal love, who follow the true import of the holy scriptures which are fortunately with us today. Had we come, say a hundred years before or four hundred years before we would not have the scriptures or experiences of those who came within these periods, viz., Ramakrishna and others. Had we come before five hundred years we would not have the scriptures of the Sikh Gurus, which are a voluminous treasure of divinity. Had we come another fourteen or fifteen hundred years back we would not have the holy Koran with us. Further, back to two thousand years, if we happened to have come before that, we would not have even the Bible. Twenty-five hundred years back had you come you would not have even the scriptures of Buddha and Mahavira. So we are fortunate these days in the twentieth century that all those who came in the past with fine records of their personal experiences which they had with the self and with Overself are with us today. We can be benefited therefrom but unless we know the true import of the scriptures, understand the one underlying principle therein, and live up to them, we are nowhere. What do they say? They advise us to have a robust physical life, to have an ideal moral life and to know our own self and to know God.
There are two kinds of knowledge, one is called Apara Vidya and the other is called Para Vidya. Apara Vidya consists of reading scriptures and performance of rituals and other ceremonies, giving alms, etc.; these are the elementary stages required for paving the road to spirituality. The main purpose underlying this is to create in us an interest in knowing self and knowing God and also in leading an ethical life, which is the stepping stone to spirituality. For that, naturally, we have to seek the guidance of someone who has realized that spiritual life. The main draw-back is that we do not know what we are and where we stand. Our soul is under bondage of mind and matter. If you learn practically how to analyse yourself and rise above the body consciousness, you will see that you are not the body, nor the intellect, nor the outgoing faculties. We know so many things but only intellectually. Is it possible to know one's self and know God? As I told you before, yes, it is possible by following Para Vidya, the science of practical self-analysis in the natural way, which can be followed by men of all ages. Unless you know who you are and what you are, and what your relation is with God and all creation, you cannot be fully at peace.
This is no matter of feelings, emotions or inferences arrived at by intellectual wrestling, as they are all subject to error. This is a matter of seeing, which is above all of them and given out by all Masters who came in the past. This applies to all irrespective of whether you belong to one country or the other, or one religion or the other; that makes no difference. Since man is a social being, social institutions were formed just to enable him to lead a life of high morality, of chastity, and of love for all mankind and pass days of life in peace. To achieve this end, we have to see the unity underlying all creation by knowing our self and knowing God. We have wonderfully developed in the way of science but still with all the amenities it has afforded us, we are still not happy. The true happiness will come if you will know yourself.
We were talking of the governments, that they can control bodies but cannot make men. Making of men is the job of really spiritual people. Look at the kings of a like Dashratha, Ashoka and others; almost all of them had in their courts really wide-awake seers of spiritual status whom they consulted in all matters affecting humanity as a whole and from whom they received substantial help in carrying out the work of their states without having recourse to the use of physical force. If similar guidance can now be had, it would go a long way to secure peace in the world. You will see that our success in achieving self-government in India without a regular war was mainly do to the wise counsel and guidance of Gandhi Ji which were based on moral force with some spiritual background. All of us owe respect to him.
If you follow the principles as I have told you, there will be peace on earth. It is not a new thing. It is already there in the scriptures left by Masters who came in the past. They all gave out the same thing. But we know all this only intellectually. The only thing required is to just put into practice what we know. Instead of preaching to others we should start preaching to ourselves. Live up to what we say. There will be a very definite change arising. It may be there is danger of war overhead but if we at least know what we are and try to live up to what is said above, that will not make matters worse; that will help the majority of people. It is true when the house is on fire, a well cannot be dug out then and there. If we just start living up to what has been laid before us, viz., love God, and as God resides in all hearts, we should love all humanity and all creation, that will go a long way to help us. In the Hindu scriptures, you will find that they give milk to the serpents, Gugapir, as it is called, because God is immanent in all forms. A question was put to Christ as to how we should behave toward others, and he said, "Love thy neighbour as thyself." When he was asked what to do with the enemies, he said, "Love thine enemies."
The true spiritual man looks to the very God in all hearts. He works from that level. Such people, the more in number, will go to create more peace and love for one another. So, with these words let me thank you all for the patient hearing that you have given and take leave.