A Trip to the Source of our Light
Sharleene Sherwin shares with us, through excerpts from her diary and a transcribed tape, some highlights from her stay in India in December, 1969.
With well-meaning thoughts but complete naivete we here in New York and Long Island thought we could bring Master a gift, something needed at Sawan Ashram. After a very short period at the Ashram, the realisation dawned that Master doesn’t need or want any of the material things we in the West consider so essential to life: Master wants us, only us. He collects all the pieces and puts us together so we can go to Him whole, collected, one centred. But in the meantime there I was in the airport customs section, in pieces, registering two items for customs duty. In the outer lobby were two sweet disciples with the exact amount of the declared merchandise which Master had handed them before their departure for the airport to help if needed. Such is His constant Love, protection and awareness of our every situation, both spiritual and mundane.
It was not yet light as the car wound its way through the streets of old Delhi on the way to the Ashram. We are concerned as we see the poverty and poor housing – by our standards.
– Very clear when in Master’s physical presence was His ability to read our minds and answer our unstated questions. He was heard to say at a later date that it is the poor who have simple lives, have nothing to distract their attention from God. When they become wealthy their attention goes to making more money –
You are where your attention is. Maintain purity of life.
One of the first questions Master asked was about my family –
Especially give your husband my Love.
I saw the word Love come alive in Master’s face and become a living force. I realised then as I was to realise again and again during the next two weeks that Master is a total personification of God’s Love. You can see it and almost touch it in His presence.
We are pining for You in America and feel Your Love.
Masters come to give Love. Like the waves in a huge ocean, one never knows how far reaching the waves are.
In reply to the messages of Love from His disciples, He said,
Where is it? – The Love.
Master has such Great Love for His children; our Love is only reciprocal. One message was to give Master our Love and tell Him that we need Him.
I’m glad some people over there need me. Where there is a need, the need will be fulfilled.
The highlights of our visit in Sawan Ashram were our morning and evening Darshans. Master would meet with the small group of western disciples and with complete attention and concern, answer our questions and give short talks. Written immediately after as best as we could remember, these are some of the questions and answers:
About the degeneration and corruption in America –
Kirpal Singh: A Golden Age will arise from this Iron Age.
Question: Should we devote equal time to the Sound and Light practices at each sitting?
Kirpal Singh: Depends on your needs. Spend more time on the practice you wish to develop more. But devote attention fully to one practice only. Open only one drawer at a time. Close it, then open up the other drawer.
Listening to the Holy Sound Current –
Kirpal Singh: If you hear It when not in the posture, It keeps your mind off the world. But put in time in the prescribed posture because that Sound takes you up and then the Sound comes from above.
At one of our first Darshan talks Master talked about receptivity:
Kirpal Singh: When you are in the physical presence of the Master it is easy to become receptive to His radiation, like being close to the sun; the burning rays are very strong and penetrating. Master says that while the physical presence of the Master cannot be underrated – there is Great Blessing and Radiation from His physical presence –, receptivity can be developed so that Master’s form can manifest from any distance both inside and outside and speak to you.
– He is always with you. You only have to develop receptivity and you will see Him working – I issued a circular1 just recently on how to develop receptivity. When you become receptive you feel His presence all the time. When you develop, His form will remain with you all the time.
Master then told us the story of a young lady in India who wrote to Master saying that He should leave for some time, at least while she was busy. The Master’s form was with her all 24 hours. When the Master did withdraw at her request she came crying like anything.
Kirpal Singh: So you only have to become receptive and that power will even materialise and lead you by the hand to guide you. Just direct your attention to Him. Like a radio or TV from thousands of miles receives images – let nothing stand between you and the Master.
When one becomes truly receptive, what he says is the same as the Master would say. He simply remembers the Master and that radiates. When two become One, that is the Greatest Feat of Love – that is what is needed to become the mouthpiece of the Master.
St Paul said,
It is I, not now I, but Christ lives in me.
Master will never leave you. He is always there waiting for you. All that you have to do is go within. Master will talk to you within. He is wanting to talk to you. You do not want to talk to Him.
Question: Do the Inner Experiences have anything to do with the past karma? Is it the karma that makes the veil so heavy to lift?
Kirpal Singh: Yes. Each one comes with his own past background. The past karma, the time and effort have all to deal with experience. But even a person who puts in regular time and perseveres, with bad background, can progress further than one who has good background and doesn’t try. So it is by earnestness and perseverance that we become Saints. Every Saint has His past and every sinner a future. There is hope for everybody. Even you can become a Saint.
We should tithe our time for meditation, putting in one tenth of the 24 hours at least – the tradition has been that way for so long in all religions. Put in two to three hours at least.
Water, water everywhere, but we haven’t got a speck of it. We are digging so many pits instead of digging a well. What we need is a ruling decision in life. Decide what you want, and then live for it wholly and solely.
Go inside to sit for meditation sweetly and buoyantly, freshly, as though you are going to meet a good friend.
God is alone and He wants you to come all alone. Go alone to meet God.
Be regular, persevere, and keep your diary. Introspect your life. Be critical not of others but of yourselves. Evaluate, meditate on your past, present and future situations and attitudes.
Meditate at times you are not needed for worldly matters that have to be taken care of.
Master makes the union between married couples stronger. One soul in two bodies united by God. No one should disunite whom God unites. Give Love, more Love. When Love is perfect, there will be no problems.
Question: To say that a man has a good Spiritual Background – does this mean that he has merits that entitle him to be more in contact?
Kirpal Singh: Man is in the make. Some progress faster, others slower and others have to start afresh. Why all of this questioning, though? Leave off all questions and just attend to your meditations with heart and soul. All questions are answered as you progress. Go inside and you will see. When I sat at the feet of my Master I asked only three questions in the beginning. I learned by sitting at His feet, hearing what He said and looking into His eyes. Leave off all this questioning. If you find something good – go into it fully. If someone gives you some good candy to eat, don’t ask questions – eat it.
The more you contact the Light and Sound, all questions will go away of themselves. You will become satiated. If a man is hungry, when he takes food, the hunger goes away. Similarly, when you give food to the soul, all questions leave off.
Question: I would like to do something about my emotional nature, Master.
Kirpal Singh: Construct a house of bricks, leave no opening. Put them (emotions) in there to steam, then go to meditate.
Question: Did You say to leave an opening, Master?
Kirpal Singh: No, no opening, steam will escape.
About leaving ego and arrogance behind: He said as one becomes more and more in tune with the Divine Sound and the Master within, you realise it is not you who is the controlling power and the ego will leave slowly.
About having to prepare non-vegetarian food, under compulsion, for members of your family.
Kirpal Singh: That’s all right. Prepare it with Love, no hatred or resentment in your heart. As you love more and more, they will demand it less and less.
Question: Should we appease the very strong desires of the mind, like the desire to talk a lot here at the Ashram?
Kirpal Singh: If a man wants to see a show and he would be satisfied by seeing that one show, it would be all right. But by seeing one show, he will want to see more and more. If you appease it once it will react with double force, then it becomes habit and forms into nature. So prevention is better than cure.
Question: But if the frustration in the mind gets very strong?
Kirpal Singh: The mind is simply our attention directed to the outside. At these times put your attention on something else. Take a walk or keep the company of righteous people. Why water a plant if you want it to die? The more you feed it the stronger it will get. Sometimes you just have to start to be of resolute will. If you don’t stop now, someday you will have to face up to it.
Christmas Day 1969
Everyone has been walking around today looking more intoxicated than usual. What a shower of Love Master has been giving us for Christmas as the symbolic Santa Claus come to life.
After meditation this morning, Master came into our meditation room as usual, but after talking to us, He said,
You wait here,
After ten minutes someone called for us to go into Master’s house. There He sat, smiling, with flowers and Christmas Messages next to Him, each one of which He had personally signed. We had not been taping Master’s talks, but today a tape recorder was placed at His feet with His permission. He gave us a beautiful Christmas talk. (Published as ‘The Word Made Flesh’ in Sat Sandesh, December 1970.)
While talking, He would gesture, beautiful strong gestures. At one point in His talk while telling us to learn to die daily, bear our cross, He made a cross of His body.
Take up your cross daily – learn to rise into the beyond.
Later we were called to our meditation room which our dear brothers and sisters had transformed into a banquet room with a surprise Christmas dinner on the table. Master came in. He stood looking at the table for a while and we stood looking at Him, mute.
Whose birthday are you celebrating? Where are the candles? How many should you have?
He spoke about the symbolism of the tree of lights: body is the tree and the lights are found within. Master is in the Tree of Lights.
He then asked if He could have something. He took an orange, sat down so we could take His picture, then left for an appointed meeting.
Several times during that day He told us to go-realize the Christ Power within you-meditate-rise above body consciousness.
Question: Master, I’m in the service and in two months I will be sent to Vietnam. I wonder about what to do if I get into combat?
Kirpal Singh: Well, they are fighting less and less over there. President Nixon just announced that they will be withdrawing some troops. But there are many duties besides fighting.
Disciple: Yes, I am being trained as an engineer to build bridges. What should I do if I am told to go into combat instead?
Kirpal Singh: You are an engineer, you will build bridges.
(The future was again to show Master’s constant protection – as well as His foreknowledge – as this young man completed his military duty in Korea, using his engineering ability as a non-combatant.)
Do your duty. You have no say in the matter. Do as you are told. You should not take life where you cannot give life. Treat others as you would yourself like to be treated. Those in charge are responsible; you have nothing to say in the matter. I was once serving right on the firing line, too. Bombs were flying, machine guns going like anything. I felt no fear at all. The Master-Power working overhead extends all feasible help and protection.
Disciple: Master, I feel ashamed of being an American citizen because of the atrocities being committed.
Kirpal Singh: What can you do about it?
Disciple: I don’t know, Master, what can I do?
Kirpal Singh: It is those who are in positions that are responsible. There is nothing you can do once they are in power.
When there is something you can do, then do it; but it is quite out of your hands. There is a higher power controlling such things. Have sympathy in your hearts; that’s all right.
It is a pity that we give votes to such-like people. Unless you have full conviction about a man, it is better not to vote at all. The leaders should be first of good character, integrity. Second, he should have a history of selfless service. Third, he should know the need of the people. Further, when he takes office he should become the son of the country, not the son of the party. If after a year the man doesn’t come up to the mark, he should be recalled, not permitted to go on for four or five years. The law should be like that. Maybe someday it will. You can help by wisely using your vote. We should study a man very carefully before giving a vote; a vote is a very important thing. There are many candidates coming up from the parties in the country. These are the things that will make up good governments in the future.
Kirpal Singh: David, you have lost your wallet.
Disciple: Yes, Master.
Kirpal Singh: Well, don’t worry. If you lose your wealth, you have lost nothing; if you lose your health, you have lost something. If you lose your character, you have lost everything. I will give you some money.
And He did.
Question: Master, how can we best invoke Master’s blessing and Grace before meditation?
Kirpal Singh: Prayer. Short prayer, sincere, which comes from the heart. Sit like this. (Master closed His eyes and showed us how to sit – so sweetly.) Christ said,
Go inside your closet and pray.
A man from Lucknow came to evening Darshan and told about a lady who was very ill. She prayed to God, asking if there was anyone who could give her peace. Master appeared within and gave her initiation into the Surat Shabd Yoga. She recovered and a few weeks later went to a Satsang where she saw Master’s picture. She embraced it, saying, ‘It was He I saw inside.’ Master’s comment after the story was. ‘It is the God-Power working everywhere.’ Master has such humility. Incidents similar to this are always happening, and always Master gives all credit to His Master, Sawan Singh Ji, and God-Power or Master-Power working overhead.
Question: Master, is there any harm in wearing clothes made of dead animals, like furs, leather, etc.?
Kirpal Singh: Have you read the book ‘The Wheel of Life?’ I think this is answered there. Even breathing is sin, you see. While breathing, so many insects are killed, while walking too. Truly speaking, everything is sin so long as you remain the doer – until you become Conscious Co-worker of the Divine Plan. We wear leather shoes, but it is a comparative sin, you see. Do as little as possible, the least you can.
Question: Master, my mind is active – when I meditate I talk to You.
Kirpal Singh: Where there is Love, there is silence. Love is mute. There should be no clutching. Sit sweetly. When you go to a friend, would you like to hear what he says, or be lost in yourself?
The Law of Gratitude –
Kirpal Singh: You are having some Light, dim – but Light. Admit to it. Be thankful. Thank God.
You will get more next time. Lover gives and gives. We get tired of receiving. Master has so much to give us we think we can’t take it all. God can give His wine only according to the size of the glass. If the glass is two, three, four ounces, He can’t give the whole bottle, it would kill him.
Master’s disciples acquire a great respect for work while in the physical presence of the Master – He Himself setting an example in this area as a tireless worker for humanity. One of our basic responsibilities on this path in man making is to stand on our own two feet and earn an honest living by the sweat of our brows.
I asked Master about staying home more to meditate. ‘No,’ Master said, ‘work is worship. Meditate when you are not needed as there is worldly work to be done.’
Master seems to expand the days for working disciples as they relish every free moment for Spiritual Practices.
Question: How much sleep does the body need?
Kirpal Singh: Both sleep and diet can be brought to a very little. For a working man, at least five to six hours is required. As you live in the beyond more and more, you will require less.
The Prophet Mohammed was asked,
Do You sleep?
– No, I don’t sleep, my body sleeps.
(Master explained how attention goes up in conscious sleep and down in unconscious sleep.)
But don’t try to force the number of hours. Five to six hours minimum.
The more you contact the Light and Sound, all questions will go away of themselves. You will become satiated. If a man is hungry, when he takes food the hunger goes away. Similarly, when you give food to the soul, all questions leave off.
Master often spoke about serving others, the God in them, sharing with others rather than giving charity. He said that if you serve for the sake of service it is binding. If you serve for the sake of Master, it is not binding. If you serve any person, you serve God; God is in all. And He quoted Jesus:
If you put food in another person’s mouth who is hungry, you just put food in my mouth –
and pointed to His mouth.
This section is transcribed directly from the tape.
Kirpal Singh: What is greed? Creed comes under – you want something at the cost of others. You squeeze blood of others – it is the blood that stains the cloth. If we squeeze the blood of others by fair means or foul, then that comes under non-violence.
Disciple: Master, when we go back to the US – hate to think about it2 …
Kirpal Singh: Look here, live in the living present. There is yet two days more – be thankful you are here. When we are sitting we are always pondering over the past or the future. Two sprites take possession of our thoughts. Live in the living present – joy, joy, be thankful for it. That’s part of your devotion. When you go, then it’s all right; we’ll see. You need not think about it now; when you go we’ll talk about it. That’s the whole thing – why not make the best use of your time while you’re here two days more? Be here wholly and solely: forget your past, friends and relations, even your body.
You know you are here only for a short time. Even short time, make the best use of it. You are busy writing letters to your friend. I am here, today I saw this … In this way you are not deriving the full benefit of the time here. Short time fully devoted will give you more benefit than a year.
There were two friends; one was very fond of going to church, the other of playing in the field. They were obstinate in their own ways, so one went to the church and the other to the playground. The one in the church was all the time thinking, ‘Oh, my friend must be kicking football.’ The one in the field was thinking, ‘My friend must be sitting in prayer.’ Who is better? The one who plays football.
When you are here, you shouldn’t be writing too many letters, only the few that are unavoidable. I’m not hard. I’m simply showing you how you can make the best use of your time here. You are here. You are wholly and solely with me. Christ once said – you know what He said?
Eat me and drink me.
What did it mean? How can you eat the Master? Master is Word made flesh: you have to eat the Word and drink It – that Word within Him – by eyes are the windows of the soul; soul charged with that will give you that if you are wholly and solely there; if you keep your gaze there, soul speaks through the eyes.
People become very much learned but we don’t follow what we read.
These are small tips – these things are not given in books; they are there, but garbed in a way, just like an almond: you need to take off the shell to get the kernel.
It was inevitable for that last day of departure to come. Master said that Guru Arjan once prayed to His Master to extend the last night so long that it may never leave. And this is how we all feel when we are about to leave the physical presence of Master. Each disciple receives the same complete loving farewell. As we leave, we know that we can never really leave Master as He is so firmly embedded in us, His disciples. As Master was handing us some parshad, He said to tell them – the future recipients of this blessed candy – to take a little piece before meditation and it will become True Parshad, otherwise it is only candy.
The last words I remember Master saying on New Year’s Eve as we left to meditate in the new year:
Learn to stay longer in the beyond – it is the Highest Thing you can do in the man-body.
Footnote: 1) Circular of 5 th November, 1969; included as Part II of ‘How to develop Receptivity.’ 2) When Master comes on tour to this country some may have only a very short timeto be with Him and see Him. The comment following will be of use in helping them derive the fullest benefit from a short time with Him. Master also said that an hour with Him in deep meditation is more beneficial than travelling one year with Him with all scattered attention.