By Sant Kirpal Singh, excerpt from a lecture in Hindi, SSE March 1971

The words of a Master are expressed on that level which will help the forgetful ones to understand. He explains that we are conscious entities, called soul, and that between God and us there is no difference – that we also have His attributes, but on a smaller scale.

Through the Guru's blessing, your true self will be revealed.

A realized soul can give a demonstration of this for a while – that is the guiding criterion in finding a true Guru. The true meaning of the word Guru is "dispeller of darkness". What kind of Guru does your heart desire? Kabir Sahib put this question to himself and answered it by saying, "That kind of Satguru I like who removes the veil from my eyes and shows me the Lord." Commonly, when a person closes his eyes, he sees darkness within. So whoever is competent to remove that veil of darkness and reveal the light and the sound principle within – the two aspects of God in expression – can truly be known as a Guru.

There are those who teach outer practices, and one may be thankful to them, but in this way the attitude of doership will never leave the heart. And remember, "While he thinks he is the doer, he will continue to reap the reactions. As you sow, so shall you reap." Good actions will bear good fruit, and bad actions will have unpleasant reactions. So the coming and going continues, for both are equally binding for the soul, something like gold and iron chains. The cycle of births and deaths goes round and round; until one becomes the conscious co-worker of the divine plan and knows that God Himself is the doer. The disease of ego and possessiveness must be cured and finished before one is free from action and reaction.

There is a remedy. "Ego and attachment were both burned through the Shabd: a Gurmukh gets the everlasting light." This disease is destroyed only by the Shabd – contact with the God-into-expression Power. And who gets this realization? He who becomes a Gurmukh. Who is a Gurmukh? He who is close to the Guru.

God Absolute – nameless, formless, soundless God – this, no one can see. It is something one must become absorbed in. But when God expressed Himself, this resulted in light and sound.

When a person sees that God's light is working within him, and the whole intricate network of creation runs by its strength, the I-hood goes, and so how can the (law of) coming and going continue to apply? If he is not doing anything any more, he remains unaffected by action and the karmas will finish. This is the ultimate goal.

Lord Shiva once said, "O Lord, I know there is no difference between Thee and me; but I am Thine, Thou art not mine." Just as a wave is of the ocean – the ocean cannot be of the wave – so if you experience a ray of light, you have experienced the Lord. But remember, a ray is a ray, and the sun is the sun. Lord Rama asked his great devotee, Hanuman, "Who are you?" He replied, "Maharaj, when I am in this physical body, I am Your slave; when I rise above the body, You and I are one." Such instances are written in the holy books, and there is definite meaning behind them. We could all give this same reply, but seeing and saying is different from reading and saying. The Masters first see and then talk about what they have seen, whereas we talk on the level of mind and intellect of what we have not seen; that is the difference. A king with his army, treasury, and retinue, declares himself Emperor, but how much weight will be carried by the empty words of a man without empire and subjects?

The idea that "I am in everything because God is everywhere" is very wrong if we have not got the actual realization of it and have not become one with God. It is true we are all miniature Gods – all God-in-man and man-in-God – but we have forgotten the fact, just as in a dream where we are someone different than when we are awake. The experience of truth can only be obtained in the human form.

"The whole world has forgotten the true teaching. No one can go beyond without the Guru." It follows also that "The orders from the Beloved of the Beyond cannot be understood without the Satguru." It is a fundamental law. How can he who has not realized himself help others? Through the intellect, at the level of the senses, one can discover many things, but to know oneself is an entirely different matter.

The very first thing to learn is to keep the company of Him who has the realization. It is natural that any subject we wish to learn – even on the physical level – must be taught us by one who has mastered it himself. Even if we start with a good background, even then further guidance is very necessary. But the Guru should be a real Guru, not one merely so-called from the class that has defamed the name of "Gurudom." These days, if you pick up a stone you will find a "guru", "sadhu" or "sant" beneath. How many men can you find who are true to their declarations? Be circumspect in your search. It is also said: "While I do not see with my own eyes, I cannot believe even my Master's words."

If we do not have the third eye opened to see the inner visions – with perhaps more or slightly less experience – and be fully convinced that something exists within, then how can we have full faith in the Guru's words? Go and search for someone who is authentic and competent. You will find many to give you one practice or another, telling you to carry on doing it and eventually enlightenment will come. Such actions are good, but your I-hood will not be eradicated until, with an actual connection within, you start to see.

A true Guru is He who connects you with the Shabd;
Shabd is second to none, available only from a perfect Master,
At whose feet you will get the realization.

Someone once asked Kabir Sahib what kind of respect he had for sadhus and sants, there being so many in the world. He replied, "All sadhus are great in their own way; but I place my head at the feet of him who is the knower of the Shabd." He hears it, is one with it, and can connect others to it. And when does one get such Guru? "Through good karmas a Satguru is met." When God showers His mercy, He brings the fortunate recipient to that human form wherein He is manifested.

What kind of yoga does the Satguru teach? "He gives us the desirable service by connecting our attention with the Shabd." He does not give any practice at the level of mind, intellect or senses, but connects the attention directly to the Shabd, which is the God-into-expression Power. Philosophy deals with theory, but mysticism deals with contact with reality, because philosophy works on the intellectual level whereas mysticism works on the level of the soul. This is why Kabir Sahib said that all sadhus are respected, but a God-realized person is worthy of worship. A God-realized man will give you realization; a king would never wish his son to serve as a minister, and a true Master desires that his children should reach the stage of Mastership.

You may read all the books written by and about the self-realized people, but the right understanding of them will only enter the heart when they are explained by a self-realized person.

"Those who see have one understanding." You will find that intellectuals have different understanding, because on the level of the intellect naturally each will reason in his own way, so some say one thing and others say something else. All statements given out by past Masters on the subject of truth have been one and the same. Of course, they used whatever language and mode of expression that was suitable at the time; otherwise the facts are the same. Although it is written in those very scriptures that you cannot realize God through books, yet many people spend their whole lives searching among them. One should read and fully understand.

All Masters have indicated that God does not reside in temples made with stone. We ourselves have made these buildings – in our own image. Church steeples are nose-shaped, the merabh (niche for prayers) of the mosque is forehead-shaped, and the Hindu temple's dome is head-shaped. Within these holy places are kept the two symbols – the light is lit and the bell or other sound is heard. But, "He who made this house (human body) gave the key to the Master." When this house was made in the womb of the mother, there was no machinery in there to form it; it was formed by the hand of God, and He took up residence within. So in this temple of God – the human body – the light of truth is shimmering. Though we have respect for outer temples where the people should gather to sing the praises of the Lord, yet we should light the light within ourselves.

Many Muslim fakirs (Muslim saints) have frankly stated that for those people whose eye is not open, the mosque is that which is made of bricks and mortar. For realized souls, who are in full control of their faculties, this physical form is the true mosque. They have also said that no one should say that the Kaaba is better than a temple. Within the Kaaba, Hazrat Ibrahim's "Hajar-ul-Asyad" (the black stone) is kept as a monument, which is kissed in reverence. But suchlike images and memorials are kept in holy places in remembrance of God. The fakirs say also that where God is manifest there is the best place for worshipping Him.

Now listen attentively to the hymn of Guru Amar Das Ji Sahib:

Within this house lies everything – nothing is outside;
The inner door is opened, with the Guru's blessing.

We live in this body; it is the soul's house. On top of this, we have made houses for this house. He says, "Within this house lies everything – nothing is outside." The whole creation resides therein. "Whatever Brahmand is, so is this body; he who searches will find it." The macro­cosm is in the microcosm, and he who searches outside the body will never find it. "The thing is in one place, you search in another; how will it come to hand?" Kabir Sahib says: "You will realize it only if you take the one who knows." Keep the company of one who has mastered whatever subjects you want to learn. So, if you meet someone who truly knows spirituality, then:

By taking the Knower, he daily shows the treasure;
It was work for millions of births, but He accomplished it in one second.

With a little attention from a competent Master, you will withdraw from outer conditions and the light will appear within, however little experience it may be. I remember once Jawaharlal Nehru was discussing this science with me, and he asked the question, "How can you realize this thing?" I replied, "By giving a sitting." He said, "How much time will it take?" I said, "Half an hour." The thing itself is within, but the one to see it is wandering around outside, dancing to the tune of mind and senses. The soul sustains the latter (the outer man), but he is himself being dragged here and there. Because we have erred, this is our condition – when instead we could have made the senses work to our will, for they cannot operate without our attention.

With the Guru's blessing, the door which lies between us and God is opened. In Guru Nanak's Jap Ji Sahib, he tells us:

There is one Reality, the Unmanifest-Manifested; Ever-Existent, He is Naam, the Creator, pervading all;
Without fear, without enmity, the Timeless, the Unborn, Self-existent, complete within Itself.
Through the favour of His true servant, the Guru, He may be realized.

That which we call "the One" is something. He is not one and He is not two – this is merely a way of remembering Him, for we are finite and require finite terms. There is no way of praising Him, but there are words which attempt to describe that He is the truth, He is Naam, He is the Doer, He is the Supreme Being, beyond birth and death. He was not created, but born of Himself. And that God is (attained by) the blessing from the Guru – "Satguru shows the One." An experience of "that One" which we also call the truth is given by the Guru, for "that One" responds to the wish of the Guru. Guru Amar Das achieved this after more than seventy years of searching, and from what he has written it seems that he left no practice unexplored. When at last he reached his goal, he said that doing all those karmas he had become extremely tired – and then the gift of the Satguru came so easily. Without good karma, you cannot meet a Guru; and then it happens only with God's grace. He is waiting at the door, which He Himself will open.

I once met a man of some spiritual repute, but he did not believe that there is light within the human being; he considered it good enough to see the sun outside and that there is merely flesh, bones, blood and dirt within the body. And yet all great Masters have firmly declared that by repeating the Holy Naam, a light of the strength of millions of suns will be seen within the human form. It is also said that the Guru makes us owner of the house, like a queen, and gives us ten servants (the five gross and five subtle senses) at our call. The servants obey implicitly when the owner is in full control. The outcome is revealed within, when the sun appears in all its glory. Guru Nanak says, "The midnight sun has risen." Maulana Rumi says, "Only those who see the midnight sun should come and talk to me; otherwise, do not waste my time." When do we see it? When we withdraw from outer environments we realize it in this very temple of God, the human body. "By repeating the Naam, the light of millions of suns is apparent."

A Guru is not just a literary man but a realized soul; someone who does not live in darkness, and who can remove the dark veil from the eyes of others. It is the principle criterion for judging a Guru.

A man may be learned – a great intellectual or propagandist – but living in darkness. "How can one who does not see the light himself show it to others?" Though the light burns in each being, yet it is rather likened to a lamp upon which there are many coverings and from which not a single ray of light shines forth.

The soul has many coverings, so if you remove the first, a glimmer of light will be seen. If the second covering is removed, even more light will shine, and so on. He who has removed all coverings will radiate forth the light of God in full effulgence, and he is a true disciple. He is then a true Hindu, true Sikh, true Christian, true Muslim, etc.

Guru Teg Bahadur Sahib gave the example that if some floral design is engraved on a wall, it will remain there, come rain or shine. We, the soul, have become so much attached and a part of the world that we cannot withdraw from it. However, one who is in control of his attention can help us to withdraw by his single glance. "The Saint has given me the wealth." That wealth must be increased. A fine lecturer may instruct in the principles of running a business and becoming wealthy, but unless he also gives some capital to start with, the information is useless to a poor man. A true Saint never merely says, "Go on doing this (exercise) and you will eventually get something." A true Saint is the one who gives some capital to start with. And who is that Saint? He in whom God has manifested Himself. God is the giver – not the human form. "Through the Satguru, you will realize God, brother." It is also said: "Without a Satguru, no one has realized Him." Hundreds of moons and thousands of suns are inside, but you have not the strength to see them.

With so much brilliant light, there is dense darkness,
Without the Guru, only darkness – this is incomprehensible,
Without the Guru, attention is uncontrolled; salvation cannot be achieved.

The Guru is a great power; he is God-in-man or man-in-God. He is Word made flesh: "The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us." Also: "In the Guru He has manifested Himself and distributes the Shabd." When you get the Shabd, you will get God. The God-into-expression Power is called Shabd, and the Shabd which is manifested in a human pole is called Guru. Ice, steam and water are all basically the same substance. "The Satguru is complete in Himself." The Satguru is that Power which is complete in its own strength. The same Power, working on higher planes, is called Gurudev. On the physical level it is also called Guru, Sant, Mahatma, Sadhu, etc.

Who is competent to tell of God? "The stories and anecdotes of God can only be told by the Guru." Information about the Lord must be factual, and only the Guru can give it, for he himself is the truth; he tells what he sees. "Neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him." He does not add anything from outside, but shows what is already within; it is a subject of self-analysis. "When you meet a Satguru, the inversion starts." At present all expression is outward, but through the Guru's power the senses begin to invert within.

When Guru Amar Das Ji was asked how the senses can invert, he replied: "When you meet a Satguru, the inversion starts, but it cannot be explained."

The subject cannot be expressed in words; one must sit down and experience it. He was also asked what one gets through inversion, and he replied, "Die while living, and you will unravel it." At the time of death, the attention withdraws by leaving the senses and focusing at the point behind and between the eyes. While living here in the world you can learn to die at will and can be the one who sees the mysteries of the beyond. Learn to die so that you may begin to live. As Christ said, "You must be reborn." Also, "The kingdom of God cometh not with observation ... the kingdom of God is within you."

Man is an upside-down tree, with the roots at the top. A tree's roots are in the earth, and the branches stretch upward, but man's roots go up, and the branches down. Christ told the people to take up the cross daily, which means one should die to the body (rise above the body-consciousness) every day. St. Paul said, "I die daily." The whole world leaves at death, but it is a natural science to leave at will, the art which we have forgotten. "The Gurmukh comes and goes at will." The Gurmukh, not the manmukh (who is controlled by the mind).

Naam is already residing within,
The complete Satguru shows it.

Each one has the wealth of Naam within him; and what is that Naam? God is Nameless – Namustung Anamung – which means "I bow to Him who has no name." When God Absolute, that which is not in expression, came into expression, that was called Naam. "Naam sustains all Khand and Brahmand" (i.e. the whole universe). Also, "Through Naam all creation came into being." So he says that within us is the wealth of Naam, which is the controlling power. "O Nanak, everything is under the control of Naam; with great destiny it is received."

How can one recognize the Naam? When the Absolute Godpower was expressed, there was vibration, and that vibration has two aspects: light and sound principle. "By repetition of Naam, the light of millions of suns can be seen." Also, "God keeps the jewelled song of His Name with the Sadhu." In that song is the light and the sound; you have just to withdraw from outside and you will see and hear with the help of a perfect Master. And until you see and hear for yourself, you cannot truly believe. How many Mahatmas can you find who will give this experience by giving a sitting? A learned man will give you scholarly knowledge; a doctor will teach through anatomy and dissection; a God-realized person will give you a demonstration of  the soul's awakening, by self-analysis. After more than seventy years of hard searching, Guru Amar Das got this realization, at the feet of Guru Angad Sahib.

"The elixir of immortality is the name of the Lord. It resides in this body." Naam is the giver of all kinds of happiness, but one must withdraw the attention and rise above the body-consciousness. That Naam which is then contacted inside is delectably sweet; there is great intoxication there. "The intoxication of Naam, o Nanak, inebriates day and night." There may be a variety of words to signify, but the power is the same. "Repeat, o my mind, that one Naam, which the Satguru has given." The different names given to the Lord are merely the means of remembering Him. "I pay homage to all Thy names." But He is the form of all light, and is called Guru, Sant, Sadhu, Mahatma, etc.

The thoughts of Him who has received the Lord are like precious jewels.

Because he speaks of what he has seen, the Guru's thoughts are invaluable. The seeker who really wants the Lord will receive, for He Himself will make the arrangements for meeting that personage in whom He is manifested.

He opens the eye and shows the soul
That feast which lies beyond bondage.

There is a feast of all feasts within: a feast of jewels. Those who are familiar with the Jap Ji Sahib will remember the words: "Within is the jewel of jewels. Listen to the Guru's teaching." The Master's way of describing the truth is very clear and open. There is food for the hungry and water for the thirsty. Whoever has a sincere yearning for the Lord will most definitely get Him.

Many will say, "I want God", but they should analyse their desire and see why they want God. It will be discovered that they really want the health of their children, wealth, name and fame, the removal of their unhappiness, or peace in the hereafter, and many other things. Everyone seeks solicited favours; no one really wants God and God alone. All cry out for worldly satisfaction, and God goes on granting their wishes.

Father Kirpal (the Merciful) has ordered thus: Whatever a child wants, he shall be given (Guru Granth Sahib). And he who truly desires the Lord and the Lord alone – most definitely he will get his heart's desire. Such single-pointed devotion is the ideal condition for realizing the Lord.

I do not want Swarg (Heaven) or Vakunt (higher heaven); I only want to repose in the lotus feet of my Guru.

How can one reach God if he desires the fruits of this world or the next? Comb your heart and find out if you truly want the Lord. True desire does exist, but it is very rare.

For those who love the world, the beyond does not exist, but for those who long for the beyond, this world and heaven and even above heaven has no meaning in their lives. A devoted soul desires only the beloved's love. He wants to see Him. The very last words of the Guru Granth Sahib are:

O God, give me Thy darshan" (glance).
He who sees the Lord in everything is the beloved of the Lord.
He who returns to his true home will get all happiness;
For within he will recognize the Brahma (God) and acknowledge His Guru's greatness.

He who "taps inside" and enters his own home gets food for the soul and eternal bliss. His aimless wandering will cease. Guru Amar Das Ji has described all actions at the level of senses, as beating the husk to try and gather the non existent grain. He says also that it is like a man who worked from morn till night but received no payment and returned home tired and unhappy. All karmas and dharmas (actions and righteous actions) come under this category. Only by the Guru's grace can you realize the Brahma within. The Guru's greatness is thus demonstrated. This is not through ego that he says so, it is just a statement of fact. They do not speak through pride, but merely state, "Yes, we have seen it." When they are asked if they have got anything, they say, "Yes, we have received God's gift." He who becomes a Gurmukh will also receive. When the Lord so wishes, He Himself will show the way.

By repeating the Naam, the soul becomes glorified at the court of the Lord.
By repeating the Naam, they return to their true home;
O Nanak, their faces are radiant with freedom.

It does not matter to which religion, caste or country one belongs; he who gets the connection with the Lord will gain salvation.
He will become what the books describe through that very power of which they speak.

O my mind, repeat the Naam, this wealth which the Satguru has given.

For whom is this teaching? All Masters' words are uttered for one and all. Why is this? Because all teachings of the Masters are alike. So remain in your own religion, keep your own customs, but do the real work ahead of you. Millionaires will leave their millions behind, those who have mud huts will leave them, this body did not come with you (from inside) and will not accompany you when you return. Yes, you will take your actions with you.