Excerpt from a talk with Sant Kirpal Singh in Washington D.C., 2 September, 1963
Question: Could You tell us what we should do to promote harmony throughout all of us?
Sant Kirpal Singh: First of all, we should forgive and forget the past. That is the foremost necessity. As I told you in my talk last night, many misunderstandings creep up, and the majority of them are due to hearing through the ears of others and seeing through the eyes of others. Take it as if they had not told you; then you will be all right.
Whatever has been done – if it is at all true that it happened – cannot be mended now. We have to forget. I tell you, the man who can forget is a very strong man. The majority of men cannot forgive. Forgiveness requires a very big heart. And how can those who do not like to forgive others expect forgiveness from God?
We wish that we would be forgiven. We pray for that, is it not so? He will forgive us only if we forgive others, too. If we don't forgive the God in others, how can God, who is there in others, forgive us? Do you see?
The first thing is to forgive: not only to forgive, but to forget. Start afresh. And in the future, don't believe what others say. Others say what they have heard or seen. Unless you see something for your own selves or hear it with your own ears, don't believe it. If somebody tells you something unbecoming, know that a man has different moods; we are not perfect. If we have love for others, that very love beautifies even the worst of things. You have to see from that level. That is the only way.
This is what should be done about the past. As for the future, you have to start your slate afresh. Many little things are already embedded in your mind. When others sometimes say, "O, yes, it must be like that," you see it through the smoky glasses of the many things already lying within you.
So the first thing, I would say, is to forgive and forget. And along with that, keep your diaries. Introspect your day-to-day life, enter any infirmities on your part in your diaries, and try to weed them out. This is the outward thing. The other is to devote regular time to the meditation practices. Both these together will work wonderfully.
If you sit by fire, all cold will be gone. If you come in contact with the light and sound principle, naturally all infirmities will leave you. That is its effect. Some infirmities will go by outer self-introspection, and others will leave you by coming in contact with the Godpower within. In this way, you will grow in love. When love overflows, everything becomes new to us, and we will also have more progress from within.
One thing which is still more important than all of these is to know that we are working for one common cause. As I told you last night – we have been brought into a relationship that can never end or break, even after death. We are grateful we have the manbody, we are grateful we have some experience to start with on the way, and we are more grateful that we have been linked in such a relationship that it can never be broken. If anybody who is related to you – for instance your child – slaps you on the face, what would you do? Would you kill him? You would simply say, "All right, he is ignorant."
When all of you are working for the one common cause before you, the more one can do, the better. The more each man can do, the more he will be respected by others. But, mind that, there should not be any egoistic feeling in what you do, that you are the greater man.
Take the word "world" – w-o-r-l-d. If you eliminate the "l" from it, what remains is "Word". The Word is God. If you eliminate your self (the ego) – the thought that you are doing it – you are God's. You become the mouthpiece of God. I think, if you put this into practice for two or three months, you will find a radical change.
Sometimes there is this spirit: "Well, I know more; I am more important." We are important insofar as God works through us. And we are working all for Him. There is no need of caring whether anybody is watching you work or not. Be true to Him. He is within you. I think that in a very short time you will see for your own selves. You will grow more in love.
If another man can do more or if anybody comes up to help you, the more fortunate you are. There is no question of possession or domination.
These are very simple things that I think all of you know already. I am not telling you anything new.
First of all, we should forgive. We may have little daily dyings: "Such and such man told me that. He thinks of me like that." That prepossessed idea is already within you, and you judge everything that happens with those smoky glasses.
(If you pay attention to all this) I think this will give you progress from day to day. You will find more love. And we should have confidence and trust in all those who are on the way. You can also have trust in others, for there are good people everywhere. But, God knows, you are selected to be good people.
I remember an event in the time of the third Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Amar Das. A man who was initiated was giving his small child a bath in the river, and somebody came running up to him and said, "Master wants you." What did he do? He left the child right where it was and ran to the Master. And others asked him, "What are you doing? Your child will drown!" – "Oh, my brother is with him," he answered.
We should have such trust and confidence in one another. When we are all working for the same cause, what more is wanted? Don't look from the individual angle of vision. We have to look from the (universal) angle of vision we have been given. But this can develop only if we have no evil thought about anybody else. Even if anybody else does (think bad about you), it does not harm you. It harms you only when you take it for yourself.
It so happened that somebody came up to Lord Buddha and began to call him names, like anything. Sometimes you find such opposition comes up because there are rivals or parties. That man came in the evening, and he went on in this way into the night. When a man is in an angry mood, he forgets everything all around him. It got dark, then he thought, "O, it is getting dark; I have to go back." As he was turning away, Buddha told him, "Well, look here, dear friend." – "Yes, what do you have to say?" – "Look here, if somebody brings a present and the person for whom he has brought it does not accept it, with whom does that present remain?" – "Well, naturally, with the one who has brought it." – "Well, whatever present you have brought me, I do not accept!" These are the lessons we learn from the lives of great men. I have been very fond of reading biographies ever since I was a student. You will find there is something in each great man. We have to just follow in their footsteps.
I tell you, to reach God is not difficult, but to make a man is difficult. We are all on the way to perfection, some 10 percent, some 20 percent, some 40 percent, but we are not yet fully perfect. But we have to be "perfect as our Father is in heaven". That is our goal. And God loves all, even those who call Him names, who do not believe in Him. Is it not so? If you want to realize the God in you, you should also do the same. I think this is the way. I have told you no new thing; but we should start with a clean heart. What is past is past; it should be forgotten: first forgiven and then forgotten. Even in forgiving we say, "O, I have already forgiven you; why should I forgive you again?" This was put to Jesus. He was asked, "What should we do to forgive others? How many times should we forgive them" – "What do your scriptures say?" – "Seven times!" Jesus said, "I say, forgive him seventy times seven."
The scriptures are not only meant for reading or ruminating over. They are to be applied. Whatever you learn should become part and parcel of your life, and you will change like anything.
I think that you have put a very good question. I already gave you a hint yesterday that it is all up to us. If Mr. so and so is there, or you are there, or Mrs. so and so is there, or anybody – A, B, C or D – is there, they are working for the cause of the Master. There may be little flaws here or there. But if we look from the angle of love, we will see that everybody is doing his best in his own way.
One thing more: we should learn appreciation of others. If you learn even that much, I think that it will sweep away all the dirt. It won't add any more dirt to it. Whatever little a man does, appreciate it. If he does more, appreciate it still more. Appreciation, I think, will save you from adding more trouble, more dirt to your mind. We don't appreciate others, I tell you. We all say, "I have done the most. What I can do, nobody else can do." When that "I-hood" enters in, it spoils the whole show. A little poison added even to something sweet will kill you.
So, again, it is not difficult to reach God, but it is difficult to make a man. It takes time. The manbody is the golden opportunity we have, and we can do it; each man can change. There is hope for everybody: every Saint has his past and every sinner, a future. A man who is now reading in the M.A. class or has a Ph.D. was once reading in the primary class. And if a man who is now reading in the primary class gets the same help and guidance, he too can get the same degree. We should look at everybody from his level. If you have an M.A. or a higher degree and you think, "O, why does he not do as I am doing?" that involves some condescension. These things, little by little added up, give the mind unrest. They also drive away every iota of love within you.
Forgive and forget. Have appreciation for whatever anyone does. Do work for the sake of the common cause we have formed. Do not feel that others do less; why not do your best? Each one should do his best and have appreciation for one another.