A talk given by Sant Kirpal Singh at Harmony Grove, Escondido, CA December 1963
We are fortunate that we have the man-body. the man-body is the highest rung in all creation, and in the man-body only can we know God.
The God Whom we want to approach is already in this man-body. It is considered to be the true temple of God. God resides in every heart, and we also reside in the same temple. Both of us – our own self and God – reside in this very same man-body, which is the true temple of God, but the pity is that we cannot speak to God. To see God or to find God or to converse with God, we have to enter this laboratory of the man-body.
This is a wonderful house in which we live. The macrocosm is in the microcosm of the man-body. We have great possibilities awaiting us in this man-body; and that is, when we know ourselves, we know God, too. When we can traverse into the different planes of the macrocosm, we can reach the True Home of our Father.
So these are the possibilities that are awaiting us. But unfortunately, we have never paid any attention to our own selves. Man has three aspects: he has the physical body; he has intellect and he is spirit-in-man – a drop of the Ocean of All-Consciousness or a conscious entity. We have given food to the body, and we have become intellectually strong; we have made wonderful inventions. But all the same, what food have we given to our own selves? Until we give food to our own self, which is a conscious entity, we have no spiritual health. And on spiritual health depends the health of both the mind and the body. So we have to consider what that Bread of Life is with which we can become spiritually strong.
As I told you, we have given ourselves the food of reading and writing, drawing inferences at the intellectual level, and thinking in so many ways: that has given us intellectual health, and we can think things out in much better ways. We have given solid food to the solid physical body, and we are physically strong. When we come to know what is the true Bread of Life or Water of Life, which is the food given to the soul, we can become spiritually strong. The scriptures that we have with us today have references to these things, but we have simply ruminated over them and never gone into them to understand what they mean. I will give you some instances from the different scriptures.
Christ went to a well to have a draught of water. There He met a Samaritan lady who was carrying a pitcher full of water on her head, and He asked her to give Him some water. On account of an inferiority complex, she said, "Well, we are Samaritans. You people have no connection with us. Why are You asking for water from us?" And the Christ said, "Had she known who it was who had asked for water, she would have given it to him. If you drink the water which she carries, it will quench the thirst for a while. But man thirsts again and again. Had she come to me, I would have given her the Water of Life."
There is some Water of Life that can be given only by Christ-like people. The scriptures of the religions we have joined refer to these things. We have simply considered the very elementary or preparatory steps of how to have certain forms, to carry certain badges of a certain religion, to say prayers or to perform certain rites and rituals. And it ends there. But we have to read the scriptures carefully and try to understand what they say. What are the scriptures? They are the fine records of the experiences that the Masters had in Their life with God and in knowing Themselves. What They said, They saw. They experienced it, and then They spoke. If we now want to understand the true import of the teachings They gave or the reference to what They said that is in the scriptures, we must sit at the feet of Someone Who has had that experience and that way of living.
You will find that we simply interpret these things at the level of the intellect, and that is why we are not able to do full justice to the work. In other scriptures, as well, you will find reference to the same Water of Life. In the Mohammedan literature it is called a Water which gives the life of Heaven. Of course, this is expressed in some different language. In the Vedas you find it as soma, such a Water that gives life to everything. And what is that Water of Life? Guru Amardas tells us that "Only if your soul comes in contact with the God-pervading Power, which is the cause of creation and is controlling all creation (the God-in-Action Power is conscious, and your soul is conscious), can you have that Water of Life, which will give you life. If you drink that Water, then you will be accepted at the door of God; and you will become one with it."
The Masters further say that this is a Water of Life that is the panacea for all ills. But it can be had only at the feet of the Master. As Christ said, "Had she come to me, I would have given her the Water of Life, by drinking which her thirst would have been quenched forever."
So this is the Water that is to be given by the Masters. Again and again They referred to it. Guru Nanak said that "The Water of Life or the Elixir of Life can give us everlasting life. By drinking It, you can have everlasting life." These are the same words, I tell you, but expressed in different languages, of course. Again, you will find in the Bible: Christ said, "I am the Bread of Life. This Bread of Life has come down from Heaven. Whoever partaketh of it shall have everlasting life. " And you will find the same thing in other scriptures. I am quoting these things to you only to show you that you can have everlasting life only by coming in contact with God.
Who has to come in contact with God? It is our own self, our real self. We are conscious entities; we are embodied souls. But our souls are under the control of mind, and mind is under the control of the outgoing faculties; and we are so much identified with the outside things, that we have forgotten ourselves. Our attention, which is the expression of our soul, is engrossed in outside things and diffused in them. Only when we liberate our souls from mind and the outgoing faculties – that is, when our attention is withdrawn from them and we rise up from the outgoing faculties or senses – can we come in contact with that Water of Life or Bread of Life. This is the food that is given to our souls so that we can become spiritually strong.
You will find similar references in other Masters' scriptures. "If you shut the doors of the temple of the body, you will see the Light of Heaven. " The body has nine doors or apertures. If you withdraw your attention from the nine doors – the two eyes, the two nostrils, the two ears, the mouth, the rectal and genital organs – and you withdraw within, you will find a tenth door as well: this is the door that leads you from the body to enter into the Kingdom of God. This is called the tenth door, and it lies at the seat of the soul, which is at the back of the eyes between the two eyebrows. When your soul withdraws, it commences in darkness, of course; but when that door is opened, you enter in: you have an access into the Kingdom of God. And here you get contact with the Light of God and the Sound Principle of God. This is the Bread of Life. What is within? The Masters say that there is Light and there is very sweet Music of the Spheres continually going on. This is the true Water of Life or the true Bread of Life, by eating which your thirst is quenched forever. This is the Bread and Water of Life that is within us, but we cannot come in contact with it until we withdraw from outside and rise above body consciousness. How to withdraw from outside and how to rise above body-consciousness is a practical subject.
All Masters tell us that Someone is needed Who is competent to help us to withdraw from outside and draw the spirit currents of the body up to the seat of the soul in the body. They say, "Rise above senses!" or They say, "Learn to die so that you may begin to live." These are the words we find in the scriptures, but the pity is that we have only ruminated over them and never gone into the true import of what they really mean. And the true import can only be given by Those Who have an access to the Beyond, who have had the same experience, or Who are on the Way. Intellectual people simply define the Bread of Life as "intellect," and the Light of God as "intellectua1 light." But that is a substantial Something that can be experienced at the feet of a Master. Unless we come across a Master, we cannot have that experience, even though it is already within us. That is why it is said, "The Kingdom of God cannot be had by observation." So long as your attention is diffused into the world through these outgoing faculties, you have no access to it. You must withdraw your attention from outside, enter this laboratory of the man-body, and rise up to the level of the eyes, at the back of which is the true seat of the soul. Then you will find this Bread of Life and have this Water of Life. This is the gift of a Master.
Guru Nanak said, "0 man, the Water of Life, for which you have come into the world and got the man-body, is the source of All-Happiness, All-Joy, and All-Bliss. You can have it only at the feet of a Master You have joined various religions for that very purpose." In my evening talk I laid before you the meaning of Spirituality. Spirituality means knowing oneself, liberating oneself from the tentacles of the mind and outgoing faculties, by withdrawing from the body at the back of the eyes and having a look into the Beyond; that is, to come in contact with the God- into-Expression Power, which is Light and Sound Principle. So He said, "Remain in whatever religion you are; but unless you rise above body-consciousness, you cannot have that gift, even though it is within you." It requires the help of some Master to bring you above the body-level, up to the eye-level. He said, "Remain in some religion, because the outer, social bodies of religions have to do only with our physical bodies."
We bear the badges of the different schools, psychologies, or religions we have joined. We read their scriptures, and we also say their prayers and perform certain rites and rituals. These all relate to the man-body – to the physical body. You may be very regular in saying prayers daily; you may be performing rites and rituals without a break, day after day; you may be reading only scriptures; you may even understand what is written to be able to sit at the feet of Someone Who knows the Way; still, only by reading or performing these things, you will have nothing to boast of until you rise above body-consciousness and have this gift of the Water of Life and the Bread of Life.
Remain in some religion: to remain there is a blessing. If you don't remain there, there will be corruption; or you will have to start another religion, and they have already multiplied into so many. We should remain in those religions that have already withstood the test of time. But just rise above body-consciousness, according to the teachings given in the different religions by the Masters Who came from time to time. And They said that the Water of Life and the Bread of Life are already there, and that you will have Them when you rise above the body-consciousness They say, "Religions end with your physical body. But while remaining in your own religions, rise above the physical body. You are conscious entities; you are conscious beings. You are drops of the Ocean of All-Consciousness. You are of the same essence, of the same religion, as that of God. Remain where you are, but rise above the body where you are already one. We are all children of God, brothers and sisters in God."
All Masters tell us that this is the gift of a Master. I just opened the Bible, and on the very page, in John, Chapter 15, it tells us what connection we should have with the Master. Christ said, "If you love me, keep my commandments." That everybody knows. "Keep my commandments" means to live by the words that the Master says. All scriptures have references to this; we simply read them and pass on. Here Christ says, "I am the true vine, and my Father is the husband-man. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit He taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. " This means that so long as the branches are embedded in the vines, they bear fruit. When they are cut off from the vines, they cannot bear fruit. Christ said, "I am the true vine." How can you be embedded in the vine? By en-grafting. Even if you cut out a branch and put it on some other tree, the two will become one. Similarly, He says, "Abide in me." How can you abide in Him? Whomever you remember at heart, a reaction naturally takes place in him whom you remember. This is how you can abide in the Master.
Christ goes on further to say, "Now ye are clean through the Word which I have spoken unto you. " ("I have spoken the Word to you which is the cleansing power, which can burn away all sins, all iniquities, all infirmities, which is the Bread of Life or the Water of Life.") "Abide in me and I in you." What do these words mean? When you remember someone, that reacts in him; and when that reacts in him, he again reacts in you. And that becomes receptivity. Such a disciple becomes one with the Master: you are in Him, and He is in you. First, we have to obey and live up to the commandments He gives. And second, abide in Him, just as a branch abides in the vine. "As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me." Do you follow now? Who can have that Bread of Life and Water of Life? One who not only lives up to what He says, but also abides in Him. And how can you have the sweet remembrance of the Master at heart? The sweet remembrance will react in the Master; and when it reacts there, He remembers, and again it reacts in you.
Guru Arjan put a question: "If a disciple remembers his Master all the time, what does the Master do?" A Master is not a man. He has a man-body; but within Him, He is conscious: He sees that "I and my Father are one." He does not exert Himself to remember anyone, but He is conscious that he is there. What does He do? He remembers the disciples: those disciples who remember Him react in Him. And in this way, they develop receptivity. And with receptivity, what happens? You may ask the Master a question. He may be living hundreds of miles away from a disciple; but if you go to the disciple and ask him the same question, you will see that they will speak the same words. This is because he has developed: the disciple has become the mouthpiece of the Master; the Master is speaking through him. This is how you have that Bread of Life.
Christ said, "I am the Bread of Life"; and all Masters said, "We are the Bread of Life". And what was that Bread of Life that was defined as, "The Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us?"
"The Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us." What is the Word? In St. John's gospel you find: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." And the whole creation came into being after the Word. So, what is the Word? God is Wordless, Nameless, Absolute. When He came into being, into expression, into action, that God-into-Action Power or God-into-Expression Power was the Word. That God-into-Action Power manifested at some human pole, and that was called the Master. So the true Master is God Himself, Who resides in every heart. When He manifests Himself at any human pole, the manifested God in Him is the true Master. Of course, we have regard for the human pole at which that God Power manifests. Do you see what He says? "I am the true vine." As a man He feels that God is in Him. He and the Father are One. He is a conscious co-worker of the Divine Plan. He knows it is He speaking; it is He working all the time. So, we can have that Water of Life, by drinking which we can thirst no more; and the Bread of Life, by eating which we can hunger no more.
Christ goes on to repeat: "I am the vine." When you want to press some point further, then sometimes you use repetition. "I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing." This Water or Bread of Life is a gift of the God-in-Man, Who gives it to you free. All gifts of God are free. This is a gift from Master, from the God-in-Him to the disciple; and it has the power to enliven the life in him. Guru Nanak defines one who is a dead man and one who is really alive: He says, "Only he is alive, 0 Nanak, in whom God has become the enlivening power of his soul." The soul that has become the mouthpiece of God is like the switch that is contacted with the powerhouse. The electricity or the powerhouse is working through him. He is in tune, in contact with them. Unless we have that contact by receptivity, we cannot bear forth much fruit.
You can remain a religious man. You can know all the scriptures by heart. You can have all the worldly literature stuffed in your brain, just as if there were many libraries up there. But this thing you can have only by living up to what the Masters say, first; and second, by developing receptivity. His words should abide in you, and you should abide in Him. Only then will you have this gift of the Bread of Life and the Water of Life.
"If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch and is withered " That is, he is dead. These are the same words that Guru Nanak said in His day: "When the branch is cut off from the tree, it naturally withers and dries up and is used for firewood. And men gather them and cast them into the fire, and they are burned." This is what is meant in the biblical literature by, "the soul dies." Actually, it does not die, but it has become withered; that is, cut off from the Lord, from the God in him. Christ says, "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you." Ask anything, and you will have it. With all things, ask, and they shall be given unto you. If you knock, it shall be opened unto you. First of all, there will be no desire left. The Upanishads ask us, "What is that, by knowing which, nothing more is left to be known?" (So He says, "First of all, you will never have any desire whatsoever. If any at all does strike you or arise in you, it will be fulfilled then and there.") "Herein is my Father glorified, and ye bear much fruit; so ye shall be my disciples." Suchlike disciples can have the Water of Life and Bread of Life.
Now, Christ goes on further and tells us how to develop this receptivity. He says, "As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love." In love only, you remember someone. What is love? The one for whom you have love is constantly in your heart. Always. You may not be expressing it in words, but something is dragging you from within. That constant remembrance is in the heart in which such a state has developed. How can anyone other than him whom he loves abide in that heart? If anyone at all is remembered, it is only for the sake of the one whom he loves. So if we love God, we love others for the sake of God in them, not at the level of forgetting Him and loving someone else.
Christ says, "If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love." How can we abide in His love? By keeping the commandments you have been given. What does the Master say? He says, "Don't think evil of others, even in mind, word, and deed. You must be truthful; never tell lies; never conceal. Don't usurp others' rights. Don't say sarcasms; don't have something in your mind and something else in your mouth: you say something now and behind the person's back you say something else. Be true to your own selves. You can deceive others, but not the God in you." What I always impress is to be true to one's own self. This is what love requires. What are other of the Master's commandments? Be chaste in word, thought, and deed. Live up to what the scriptures say: "Marriage means taking a companion in life to be with you in weal or woe, and both should help each other to know God." This is the highest aim of a man's life. Be-getting children might be one duty, but it is not one hundred percent of our duties. About this, the Bible says, "Love thy wives as Christ loved the church".
So, He wants all of us to keep His commandments and live as He says: 'Love God with all thy heart, with all thy strength, with all thy mind; and love thy neighbour." Other Masters said, "Love thy God and love all creation. There is no place where God is not. "
So love is the thing through which you can have the sweet remembrance and the constant remembrance. You'll dream of Him. And when you go into a fast sleep, you will reverberate: without knowing it, the same things will be coming out of your mouth. Christ says, 'If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love." That will give you more love from day to day. "Even as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in His love." (He says, "Follow me. I have lived up to the commandments of my Father; and similarly, you abide by the commandments of the God in me, of the Father in me. ")
Reading further: "These things I have spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full." This is how you can have the pleasure of the Master. Take the example of a man who has three or four sons. One son lives according to the commandments of the father, he never disobeys; he simply follows what the father's intentions are. Some other sons obey only when they are told, and even then, only willy-nilly; and some sons do not obey. Which son would be the best of all? The one who reads the intentions of the father and, without saying, lives up to them. After all, every son knows what his father wants. Every disciple knows what his Master wants. Should we repeat that very same lesson all the time every day? A wise man is one who hears the word of the Master and keeps it in his heart of hearts and lives up to it. If you do that, you will win the pleasure of the Master.
And what does the Master do? When the father – excuse me – leaves the body, what does he do? He gives the keys of the whole thing to the son who is obedient, who lives up to his commandments. This is what Guru Nanak said: "We have come into this world for the purpose of having the Water of Life or the Bread of Life. It is in the hands of the Master. Go to Him. Remain where you are by living a religious way of life. That will prepare the ground for when you surrender your whole self to the Master." That is why Christ and all other Masters said, "Leave all and follow me." What did He mean? By following Him does not mean that you should leave your homes, that everybody should physically leave and follow Him. Excuse me, but how would you provide everyone with accommodations in which to live? To follow Him means to surrender your will to His wishes; not as a slave, mind that, but as a friend. Further, you'll find this where I opened the Bible: "This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you." And what does He further say? Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." Love knows service and sacrifice. "Ye are my friends, if you do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants, for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known to you."
So whenever Masters come, They do not want to make slaves of you; They address you as friends, so that you may know what They are saying. A slave cannot know a friend; a friend can know a friend better. So Masters do not make slaves of you, but They give you equal rights. They say, "I am a man like you. Here are my words; abide in them. Abide in them, and you abide in me." Receptivity is developed by living up the what the Masters say and by abiding in the Master. He takes you as an equal, as a friend.
You know what is meant by the Water of Life or the Bread of Life? And how can you partake of it? Only by developing receptivity: "As you think, so you become." When He is Word made flesh, then the Word will come in you. You will eat that Word in Him, not the flesh of the body.
These are some things that are given in the form of parables to make you understand what is what. Pure lives are required. Unless you live up to what He says, unless you abide by the words He utters, you cannot have the first step. And you can have the second step only when you learn to abide in Him.
The Master shows that the whole curtain between us and God is the mind. The soul is of the same nature as that of God; but the soul is under the control of mind, and mind is led away through the outgoing faculties to the outside things; and we are given up to the pleasures of the outside. So, unless the mind is stilled, you cannot have this Bread of Life. You will find it said in the scriptures: "Be still, physically and in mind – and intellectually." If you do that and "know that ye are God," you will find that the mind is the curtain between us and God. One Saint says, "If you have a mind to know God – if you have made a resolute will to know God – then just put one step on your mind, and that will still it. And, with the next step that you take, you will enter the house of your Father." So, mind is the curtain or the impediment lying between man and God.
How can we withdraw the mind from the outside? The outgoing faculties of eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and skin are the five organs of sense through which the five senses work: sight, audition, smell, taste, and touch. We are always getting impressions through them from the outside. The subconscious reservoir of our mind is overflowing with these impressions. Even in dreams we see them. We unknowingly reverberate the very same things that are overflowing within us. So, how are we to withdraw the mind from the outgoing faculties? If we know that, we can do it only by stilling it.
To still the mind, there are ways and ways and many ways. So far, we have been seeking God in outside things. But "the Kingdom of God cannot be had by observation; it is within you." So long as you are engaged in the pursuits that relate to the outgoing faculties, you cannot find Him. Only by liberating the soul, or analysing the soul from mind, and withdrawing the mind from the outgoing faculties, can you know who you are and what you are. You can come in contact with it. The Elixir of Life or the Water of Life is already within us; and the retarding factor is only the mind. If the mind is directed to the outgoing faculties, we become worldly; if it is directed to the soul above, we become spiritual.
This is what we have to learn on the way to God. God is the very Soul of our souls. God is the very Power that is controlling us in the body. This is the natural way, according to the character of the mind. If you are sitting in an absorbed state and your attention, which is the expression of the soul in the body, is absorbed or engrossed in something, your outgoing faculties do not work. So these faculties take their strength from the attention when it is attached with the senses. Similarly, the mind also gains its strength from the soul. When you are absorbed, you will find that even you mind does not work: you go into a reverie.
So the mind is the only thing standing in our way back to God. And the Master says, "0 mind, be still! You would like to have a drop of the Water of Life, the Light and Sound Principle of God. You can come in contact with it when you are still, mentally and physically." It is already within us. The mind is like a parasitical plant that has covered a certain part of a tree, and that portion over which it has spread has become dry. That parasitical plant derives all its life from the branches of the tree on which it has spread. Similarly, the mind takes strength from the soul and has the soul covered up. We are not able to see God.
What are we to do? The Masters tell us just to control our mind. And what will help us on the way to doing this? The Masters say, "Leave off all infirmities, whatever shortcomings you have in the way of violence, hatred, lies, and other passions." Instead of that, do what is good: for hatred, have the virtue of love; for anger, have the virtue of forgiveness; and if you are impure or have lusty thoughts, have the virtue of chastity. Adopt the good things and leave off the harmful ones. When Zoroaster was asked, "What should we do?" He said, "Join the army of God." And He was asked, "What qualification is required?" And He said, "Righteousness." And they asked, "What is righteousness?" And He defined it: "Good thoughts, good words, and good deeds."
An ethical life is a stepping-stone to Spirituality. "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." Live up to the virtues, and leave off all vices. That will help you to control your mind for a while. And whatever wrong you have done, repent. Wash it away with the tears of your eyes of repentance. This is the way prescribed by all Masters Who came in the past, and we should live up to it.
Generally you will find that we are full of passions: greed, lies, deceptions, usurping others' rights, unchaste thoughts, and thinking evil of others. All the time, all these things are filling up this cabin of the man-body with all their filth and dirt. How can you expect a king to enter a place – a cabin – that is full of dirt and filth? That is why all Masters tell us to have pure hearts. You do clean your bodies and wash them on the outside. That is all right: "Cleanliness is next to godliness". But if all this filth and bad odour lies within you, you should also cleanse the body within. This is what all Masters say. Sant Kabir said, "Even if a fish enters the most sacred river, the Ganges, it cannot lose its bad odour. " What is essential is not the cleanliness of the body outside, but the cleanliness of the heart within. How to get this inner cleanliness, I have now laid before you. We use toiletries that cost millions of dollars every year for our bodies. But it is not the outer purity that will draw the attention of God; it is the inner one. God is after finding any holy place – any heart– full of love, full of His thought; but our hearts are full of worldly thoughts. We are thinking evil of others and doing evil by usurping others rights, by squeezing others' blood, by having lusty thoughts, and by feeling hatred. We must keep our hearts pure.
What you have to do is what I just read out from the Bible. You should become gurumukh. The word gurumukh means: keeping your Master before you. When He initiates you, He gives you a little experience of the Water of Life and the Bread of Life. From that very moment, He resides with you and never leaves you. That is the Christ Power in Him, the God power or the Guru Power that never dies. He never leaves you. Christ said, "I shall never leave you till the end of the world." And all Masters said, "It is God in that son of man that is the true Master." When He takes care of someone, He never leaves him until He takes him to the feet of the Father.
Come in contact with God, and always be directed toward Him, like the needle of a compass toward the north. Always be thinking of the Grace of the Master. "As you think, so you become." A Master is the God in Him made manifest. We have regard for the human pole at which that Power works. But, all the same, you will find that all Masters differentiated between these two things: the son of man and the Christ in man.
Live up to what He says and you will find the Truth, the Truth that is clothed in Light, the Truth that is the symphonies of the Music of All-Harmonies, which is the outer aspect of the God-in-Action Power that is called Word. "And the Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us." This is the way, and whether you live in one religion or the other makes no difference. Remain there. Man is social, and he must remain in some social body. You are performing good actions there, and you will have the reactions of the good. But to know God is to have the Water of Life and the Bread of Life that will quench your thirst forever and appease your hunger forever. That is coming in contact with the God Power, which is Light and Sound Principle. That you have as a gift from the Master.
This is today's subject. I think that will do, if you live up to it. Masters never come to break one religion or to start a new one. They say, "Truth is already there. Just live up to it. If you live up to it, everything will be all right."