Decide your Aim in Life
This talk was given on 1 July, 1974 in Rajpur, India and published in the May 1975 Sat Sandesh magazine.
Kirpal Singh: How do you find things? All right? Any questions? Yes, please, anything, any question.
Question: Master, it seems that it is not only difficult, but almost impossible to make a decision until you get onto the third plane where you have a view, because we are so limited here in our early stages.
Kirpal Singh: Then?
Question: Earlier, it was easy to make decisions because you were thinking mostly on the terrestrial level, but now you realise that that is so limited.
Kirpal Singh: Not impossible, though.
Question: No, not impossible but, just …
Kirpal Singh: The word ‘impossible’ is found in the dictionary of fools. It is possible; reach there, then decide. Or decide now based on whatever you know in the worldly experience of the past and using common sense. Decide. At least that much is sure; all scriptures say the Highest Aim man has got before him in the human body is to know God. That much you know, I think. Don’t you?
Question: Assume that which you know.
Kirpal Singh: Not assumption; it is given in the scriptures, you see. God sent people and uttered through His mouthpiece. I think we will have to take this for granted, until we see for our own selves. They – scriptures – have also prescribed ways which are parallel to the Saints. Either way, but try to reach there first and then decide. Even then you will come to that realisation – to make the best use of the time we have been allotted, the golden opportunity. All say the Highest Aim before us is to solve the mystery of life: who we are, what we are; our connection with all around us, or those below us; and some Higher Power controlling us. Take that way; now see how far you have done it. This is the highest. How far have you developed? You have developed physically, of course, and enough intellectually. What have you done spiritually? Only that much you know from the scriptures or read. Now we have to verify those very statements made by those scriptures.
And the great motto of all Saints is,
Don’t believe until you see for your own self.
Maybe little or more. If somebody says: ‘All right, you will have it after death’ – It is your will and pleasure. Who knows what happens after death? Or they say, ‘Do it, and you will have it after four years, six years.’ Suppose you die tonight! So they must give you some demonstration to start with. They come to make people see who do not see. Is it not so? All Masters say the same thing. We are not in the know of Them because we have not read these scriptures thoroughly.
So whatever is there – in the scriptures – take for granted. Start from there, then do it. If we wait till our death-bed, and if we have not reached the third plane…? Why not start from here! Now, we have to see how far we have proceeded that way.
The ABC starts when you rise above body consciousness, at will!
Guru Nanak says,
How many times?
Hundred times a day.
If you are competent there, you can mock death. Yes. This is the ABC for which we have been given something to start with.
Procrastination is the thief of time. This is what all the scriptures say. We always postpone, always postpone. We will do that after such and such. We will do this when we retire. We will do this … That time never comes, you see. We may be cut off before! We should not be aimlessly adrift. And most of us are aimlessly adrift. If you decide that you have to do this thing, then you do everything to have that thing.
So I always say,
Decide what is your aim in life!
When I was reading in the ninth class, one retired missionary came and gave a talk. One, two, three days, four days. After that, he questioned everybody.
What aim have you decided upon?
Everyone said in his own way,
I want to become an advocate;
some said a doctor, some said a businessman, and so on. I was sitting in the back row.
When I stood up, I said,
I read for knowledge’s sake.
He gave a one-hour talk about that. So that decision sometimes comes naturally; otherwise, we have, by discrimination, to come to that decision sooner or later. Why not start from the experience had by others and start all at once with it? This will save you time. Make the best use of the time you are here.
Have you decided any aim before you? I tell you, it took me more than ten days to decide that. And in the evening when I returned, returned from the office, I used to go all alone to a lonely place. That question crossed my own self. Two hours, three hours, four hours deciding my mission in life. I was very fond of books, libraries of books. So it took me about ten days or so to decide: God first, world next. When once you decide something, you are to do little, little for that. Others come up to help.
You have to do these things. Man is only perfect when he develops all around, all three: physically, intellectually, spiritually. When I was reading in the ninth class, I read one full library. That was my hobby. And at that time there was a book, in about four, five volumes, Saints of the World. Most of my subjects were only ethical, not novels, with a few exceptions: Westward Ho, Last Days of Pompeii, and Ivanhoe. Those are all the novels I read.
So, decide something before you, then it will become easy. It may take time to decide, but that time will come. Then once you have decided, there is no problem. Every step that you will take will go in the right direction. This does not mean that you should not develop physically and intellectually. We should be perfect all around, physically, intellectually, and spiritually. Spiritually only when we see. You may have any labels on your body; that makes no difference.
The other day, a man came here for me and asked, Is there a God? I said, Do you exist? – Yes. – I said, Do you know who you are? You have to leave this body someday. Now, in the body you cannot run away, out through the eyes or open mouth. There is something which is controlling you. As you exist, He also exists. But he has not seen it. So we must become Conscious Co-Workers of the Divine Plan. See and then say. See and then praise. If you have got some experience, then there may be more after.
All Masters say,
What does it profit a man if he gains the possessions of the whole world and loses one’s own soul?
Reading, writing, all books are only helping factors. You may know all scriptures by rote, at your command, intellectually. But that will give you nothing. You must try to understand what they say, whether those who say have got the experience. Have you got the same experience? We should only believe when we see for our own self. At the start, we have just to take up certain practices.
Really, if we are after it, it is not difficult. If you do only half-heartedly, sometimes digging a pit here, then another pit there, then another pit there, some five feet deep, eight feet, some seven feet, you will find water nowhere.
Everything is within you.
Guru Arjan says,
Those who seek Him outside are going amiss.
Archimedes, poor fellow, was in search of the centre of the world to find out that which makes the whole world move. He could not.
One Saint says,
When I went to Mecca, they showed me one place; they thought it was the centre of the world.
The centre is within you.
Great is man, you see. Even the angels cherish to be man, to have man-body first. They are enjoying their appointments, but they have to take up the man-body to go on further. Differences are only man-made, our own make. The criterion of all men, whether they are bearing this label or that, is one.
Be ye perfect as your Father is in Heaven,
Tenth Guru says,
Be a Khalsa.
“Khalsa” means ‘pure’. And the criterion He gives is One Who sees the full effulgent Light of God. Hindus also say the same thing. Mohammedans also say the same. And Christians also see the Light of God. So, the ideal is the same. That school is better which turns out many students who stand first. There is a competition, I would say. Run on in the race yourself; reach first. Don’t look to the right or left. Then you will reach God. When you begin to judge others, that takes time, stands in your way. When you reach the top of the hill, you see all around. It is only until then that so many things are not clear. When in a plane, you see big mountains as only mounds; rivers appear like rivulets, gutters. Trains run like creeping insects. All greatness of the world is put into shape. It appears so much now.
So Guru Nanak says,
If you prolong your life for forty yugas long, and all people know you, everybody respects you, even in your presence and even at your back; when you meet them, they follow you for a few steps to see you off. But if you are not accepted at His court, you are nowhere.
Those who are, who are acceptable, own Him while in the man-body. All these other things are reactions: As we have sown, we reap. Some rich, some poor, some high, some low. You all have equal privileges from God. Don’t sow more seeds. That only comes when you become a Conscious Co-Worker of the Divine Plan.
In the human body you have already got so many loads of seeds to be reaped here. One load lasts so many yugas, you see. It is in the human body in which all the burden can be taken off, to reap no more seeds – only when you become a Conscious Co-Worker of the Divine Plan. This has not been done in the past. We may have had the man-body so many times, but we did not make the best use of it.
So, Master says,
Well, here is the time.
Once you have missed this golden opportunity, well, God knows what happens. This man is like a tree when fruitless. You are here only for that purpose. So this is a most important phase of our life, and unfortunately, most needed now. We also say, ‘We have got no time now; we will find out these things later.’ That time never comes; and when we have to leave the world, we leave repenting. Those who have access into the beyond at will, go jolly while smiling. That is only when you can rise, leave the body at your will, not before. You have to learn to leave by yourself. Succeed in that and do it.
At least that much if nothing more. All the greatnesses of this world will fade away, having no importance. Then you won’t return. You will work on higher planes. In the man-body man can work wonders, with proper guidance. The most important work – pity it is we don’t find time for that work. And all scriptures say the best time for this work is in the morning, when the people lie asleep.
When examination time nears, what does a student do? He cuts short all time which he has been utilising in playing. Even when he goes to the bathroom, he takes a book with him, you see. As the time nears, very much nearer, he awakens at night. This examination is fixed, destined; but we do not know when. So we must be ready, more ready! There was one competition in our line of service, an Indian competition. I had to put in five, six hours of meditation, too, as ordered. I had no time. Five, six hours while in life is very difficult.
Someone told my Master;
His examination is coming nearer.
Master asked me,
Well, is it so?
– Yes, it is so; I do have an examination in two months. –
All right. You have two months. Put in more time.
It took me one month to correct my books to date, by reading through government orders, Indian orders. A full month. Nobody loaned those books to me for fear they would be lost. This is but natural. So after I corrected my books, there was only one month remaining! I counted and figured that if I read five hundred pages daily, then I could go through all the books once, but by reading five hundred pages daily! The examination came on. All papers were based on common sense and other information and were all done very well. One paper remained to be written in bookkeeping. I had no time to touch bookkeeping; it was a new subject. So from the time I left the examination hall until nine o’clock the next day was all the time I had at my disposal. I took the primer of bookkeeping by Pitman, you see. That is a very practical book. So in a hurry, I went through the book. That night I had one hour’s sleep, naturally, because before I could do anything I had to go through that book. There were one or two questions which were not in the book so I asked somebody. He told me the answers. It so happened, the one whom I asked, would not loan his books to me for fear they would be lost. He was right. Those very questions came at the examination; he did not reply and I replied; so out of 150, I got 125 marks. I put my whole time in study and did not go to sleep because I had to finish that examination. Are we ready like that? We will succeed if we are ready, and this work is still more important: although the time is destined for that, we do not know until we reach the third plane. So decide and stick to it, that’s all.
Guru Nanak says,
If you have done all the penances of the world, you have read all the scriptures, you have been to all the various places of pilgrimage, and developed all good virtues, but you have not had access inside in the Til, the Third Eye, that is of no avail.
To enter the Third Eye is the first thing. In the Third Eye, all things are the fruit of all other works.
Spirituality words are very brief but very pregnant with meaning. It is all clear to you, not words given in parrot-like repetition. Read one page of the Bible and you will find something in it. Read one hymn and dwell on it.
We simply ruminate! Now what I am telling you are no new things, you know. He who works up to it, derives the full benefit. He who does not, only delays. Procrastination again comes; that stands in the way. So try to finish something completely. Go to bed quite free. Your purpose of coming here, only that works. Some people do come here who do not put in full time in the right way. They do not derive full benefit. If there are any difficulties, there is some Power to guide you, always at hand. This morning that Sadhu came here. He was offered to some Sadhu as a child – offered. This he said to me. – He is now about 25 years old. – He came to me; I heard of You. I have been everywhere. I’ve got nothing. I heard about You in Hardwar, but could not meet You there; so I have come today. He was crying. So that time does come, you see. You get solace, inspiration from somewhere, some Inner Guidance, too. The only thing is to decide what you want, that’s all.
Our Master used to tell us to do two sittings on our feet. Three hours each. Three hours. Then He made me meditate while standing, too. I had to work, you see. So God helps everybody. When I was at Lahore, I was fond, very fond of rivers and ponds, you see. It has been a hobby from my very childhood. I used to go to see the river at night. There was one man who could not speak. He was dumb. But his father turned him out with only knickers on, even on very cold nights. He passed the whole night exercising until he turned out to be a wrestler who would defy everybody in India, and abroad also. The man had to work. So a wrestler is not made in one day. You cannot get any degree in one day. Pompeii was not made in one day. Naturally, every Saint has His past, and every sinner a future. It is His choice, of course. You cannot claim this as a right. Thank God we are chosen persons. We should do the work He asks us to do. As group leaders, you have got a very great responsibility. If we realise for what cause we serve, we will be purer. We will guide others to the best we can in outer things, not for Spiritual Matters – unless you get well adept in that. It is God’s Grace if you have got anything.
These are general things about which I am talking. They have helped me and, I think, can be equally helpful to you. What a man has done, the other also can do, with proper guidance and help. We cannot boast we know everything. Thank God working with His Grace!
When I was initiated, you see, people asked me,
How great is your Master?
I told them,
I do not know. But that much is sure; He is far, far above and more than I needed.
Our Master was once asked by a missionary from Beas, Well, tell me, Who is greater, Your Master or Christ? He told him, Dear friend, I have seen my Master; I have not seen Christ. If you bring Them both before me, I will decide. You see? That’s right! They are the same. But I have not seen Them together. How can I compare? So They are all one, you see. They do Their allotted work and go.
Moreover, They have a very strong hand. No power can take anyone away from Their hands. Christ and all other Masters said this also; otherwise, we have not understood what Spirituality is, to be very frank. Being a learned man is not Spirituality. It is a garland of flowers around the neck of a practical man Who can explain the same thing in so many ways from the vocabulary at His command from the references He has come to know. Even if He’s not literary, unlearned, He gives you very direct, practical things to bring home to you what is what.
Bulleh Shah went to His Guru Shah Inayat, Who was a gardener, just transplanting saplings from here to there. He asked Him, Well, how can You know God? What is there involved to reach Him? – Oh, what is there to it? It is just like taking this sapling from here and putting it there! It is all the matter of your attention. Direct it from here to here, that’s all. It is a very clear reply. That’s all you have to do, if you learn it … So this counts at His door, not learning. In learning, we develop our heads, not hearts. Both things should be developed.
So the only thing before you is to advance. See where you are. You know better; others cannot tell you. Others who have been on the Way can guide you, Those Who have gone higher on the Way – not others.
That is why Maulana Rumi says,
If you want to pay a visit to Mecca (a place of pilgrimage of the Mohammedans), take somebody Who has already paid a visit to Mecca.
That’s all. Now you are a student – for what? Only for this. Is it not so? And also, any guidance required is given straight off here. You also enjoy the radiation. ‘Master is great, greater than God’ (Master imitating what we say) – Go on, don’t compare! If we know how great He is, then we become Masters! Is it not so? And moreover, other people do not like to hear superlatives, I tell you. Common sense will enable them to know. He is great, of course; He has got the wealth of Naam and can also give you contact with It.
Our Master used to say,
All right, you take me as your brother, as your friend, you see – as your father; just start from what I say sincerely. When you come up and see the greatness of the Master, then you may tell me anything you like. Not before.
How can we accept God working through the eyes? We cannot. The more you see of Him, you can see that nothing on earth can compare to Him. That’s all right. Talk from your own level, and others will believe also. In my talks, I say everything; with all that, I speak at the level of man. You see, no superlatives. You must avoid superlatives in talk. Of course, He is the God in man. The more we rise, the more we know He is still greater, still greater.
How can one who has not been given That give you contact with It? One man who was a philosopher, a blind man, a very great intellectual wrestler, came to the Master. I was there. Master gave a talk. After the talk the man said, Well look here, in all previous discussions I have defied men of all religions; but today is the first day I sit like a child before You. So this is something practical. You are fortunate you have got this Way back to God within you. More fortunate you will become if you advance on the Way.
(To an Indian Satsangi who has just arrived) Well, Sahib, have you anything to say, come on!
Disciple: There is a meeting going on discussing how these buildings can be raised.
Kirpal Singh: There is a meeting going on discussing how these buildings can be raised?
Disciple: Yes Sir, yes.
Kirpal Singh: Here they hear how man can be raised!
Disciple: Yes. This is much more important. What is the value of houses?
Kirpal Singh: Is each one of you going strong in your meditation? Don’t feel reserved. If there is any shortcoming or something standing in your way, please open your mind, here or alone as you like; but don’t feel reserved. Sometimes we simply are shy, feel reserved. Are all of you putting in at least three to four hours?
Disciple: I had a lot of responsibilities today, and I only put in 3 - ½.
Kirpal Singh: That’s all right. The day is still here, till night. I don’t mean that you should ignore your other responsibilities. Do them, but this is foremost! You please?
Disciple: 6 to 6 - ½.
Kirpal Singh: You?
Disciple: Four hours today. Four.
Kirpal Singh: That’s all right. All others are improving, then it’s all right. If there is something standing in your way, please open your mind.
Disciple: Master, I find that my meditations are improving, but …
Kirpal Singh: But!
Disciple: My ethical life is not improving, or it’s getting worse; and I would rather have it the other way around. Like, I can’t seem to follow Your commandments; it seems to get harder and harder, even though I …
Kirpal Singh: What is there? I tell you, there are five headings: one is non-violence; the other is truthfulness; third is chastity; fourth is veneration for all because God resides in every heart; fifth is service. Take one, and learn it completely. Not to injure anybody’s feelings even in your thought, word, or deed. Take time; take one week. Leave all others. The other, take another week. Third one, another week. In four or five weeks you can do it, if you are really after it. Then the time you will put in will be fruitful.
Perhaps you have heard about the Pandavas, five brothers in the Mahabharata. The Guru gave them one lesson: Stick to truthfulness; tell the truth. Go and learn. They went to Him the next morning; only four came up. One, Yudisthra, did not turn up. Look, Guru Ji, how pigheaded he is; he cannot learn even a little lesson, 'To tell the Truth.' This is how we judge, you see! After some time, he came up; Well, Master, I have learned; I have learned to tell the truth. And he stuck to truthfulness all through his life. One way this is had is through your diary. If your diary is all right, you can work wonders. Do you follow my point, all others? Make it a point, you see.
Disciple: Yes, I will.
Kirpal Singh: Then your little time given will be fruitful. You are improving, that’s all right. Thank God. As a result of radiation or some repentance, now and then. But that’s not real progress, you see. When you go all alone, again you will become a victim of that. Here you have got some compensation by radiation. Weed out how many points are there. And all these can be had only if you are true to your own Self – the one thing that helps you with all others.
If we are sincere, we can learn early.
He was painting a wall of natural scenery and other things.
I do not know painting; how can I? – All right, follow what some painter says, then work it on the wall. If you are not able to have the full painting, you will at least have something.
You see? Do your best.
So there is hope, you see; we must do our best and then leave the rest to God. We leave everything to God and do practically nothing. Two students were late for school. One prays: Oh God, I am late by five or ten minutes; he began to run. The other sat on the road: Oh God, help me to reach school in time. Now decide for your own self. Do your best and go on. That is why I say you are running a race; try to reach first. That’s all. Don’t look right or left. When you reach higher, everybody will look to you. Sometimes we are after ‘What will people say about me?’ Naturally, their progress is retarded. Ego stands in the way. Why should you say? Let others say, you see. Even then do not feel elated. It is His Grace; He Helps is wanted. When you reach first, everybody will applaud you. Is it not so? Keep a goal before you, you see. Decide the aim you have to follow. If you have decided just to have some worldly aim, all right; do it. You will work wonders there. And perfection in every line is God’s Grace. You will find like that. When you dip inside, many inventions are there which will go to help humanity at large. We must develop the heart along with this; otherwise, there will be bombs.
Do you follow? I have put very clear things before you. It is for you to decide and see, and stick to it. Perseverance and chastity in thought, word, and deed will help you. All right. God bless you all. Go jolly!