Golden Anniversary, 1972-2022.
By Paul Gould
(For more, see related Pulpit Posts: “The Master’s Voice” and “The Orient Express”).
ifty years ago I met him. I didn’t really meet him, I only saw him one time– but he saw me. Sant Kirpal Singh, (1898-1974), was on his third world tour. I was invited by my older brother Scott Gould (1948-2017), to attend this affair. I was seeking answers to life’s questions: Why am I here? Is God real? The ballroom at the Warwick Hotel in Philadelphia was filled with his admirers, devotees and guru- groupies. Near the close, the Master began panning the audience slowly from left to right. He stopped, and stared- at me. I was positive it was me, not someone near me. When I realized it, I slowly moved my head, hiding behind a person sitting in front of me. Many hoped to receive his attention, but I was hiding! Why I reacted that way I don’t know. What did he see? I wasn’t a devotee. In fact I was probably the only guest in attendance who had no clue as to who he was, or why anyone would be interested in following this old man man with a white beard and turban. Very soon, I would find out why. But not here, not just yet. That day I was also given a book, “Be Here Now,” by Ram Dass (1931-2019). aka Richard Alpert, PhD. A clinical psychologist. (see post entitled “The Trip”).
Richard Alpert is perhaps best known for being fired, along with clinical psychologist, Timothy Leary, PhD. (1920-1996) from their teaching positions at Harvard University in 1963. A research project for experimenting with psychedelics was approved. The two scientists stumbled upon the “ecstatic experience” spoken of by religious saints and sages through the ages. Theoretically, the experience itself was an eastern concept: A sort of spiritual awakening, enlightenment, knowledge of God and the soul. A quest for the illusive, the unknown- was suddenly known! Subjectively. As the project grew in popularity, naturally so did the chance for making clinical errors in protocol. The research project moved to Millbrook, New York. Concomitant, 1972 was the publication year of “Be Here Now,” by the Lama Foundation. 50 years ago. (The animated art seen above celebrates the book’s anniversary): A classic of western psychedelic yoga for the turned-on generation.
1972 was a time when many gurus came to America from India, so it wasn’t unusual. At the time I was a student at Philadelphia College of Art, where the soil was fertile for guru fans. Many students followed them, some were fanatical insisting you must follow them too! I didn’t get any of it, and I didn’t care. I was there to study art, not eastern religion.
However, this guru, Sant Kirpal Singh, was in a different class from all others: He was a Satguru, which essentially means the real thing. “Be Here Now” was the book I was reading, entranced by it while riding home from classes the next day in a Pennsylvania Railroad coach. When I came to page 105, I was hit by a bolt of terrific power, energy and love! The Master had me, I had just been initiated.
सत् Sat: (Truth). सत्गुरु Satguru: (A True Guru).
A satguru, is an extreme rarity. Free from duality, the characteristics of a satguru are much different than those of other types of guru. A satguru is one who liberates us from suffering and encourages direct contact with the Self. The proof of such competency is initiation: Giving the aspirant an awakening: Something real to believe in. So real in fact you never forget. The initial euphoria faded, just a taste, the Master called “a little bit to work with.” Scott told me that first day, when he began to teach me, “Once the master has you, you can’t escape!” Little did I realize! To meet a living satguru, as I did at a young age, happens maybe once in a lifetime- if at all.
Since then, I have been on a long, often treacherous journey, climbing out of a pit- the illusion we think is real. The only way to make it is with help. We have dug ourselves in so deep it’s just impossible to find our way out on our own, or to even realize our situation. Once you see it, you might wish you never had. It’s a shock! What do you do with this new reality? Give up trying and surrender to God, the only One who can lead you out of the stubborn allure, the thralldom of our imagined, fake prop world. You might not see him personally, but if your desire for God is sincere, guru sees you on his radar. My own generation, coming of age in the 1960’s, was searching, yearning to know the Truth. The time was right to bring his sage wisdom from the east to the west.
When a true Master accepts a disciple, that person’s status changes. We were lost wanderers whom not one befriended. Accepted by the Satguru, we were then recognized. He becomes an “accepted” soul,” under the care of the Master. God is love, but we have not seen Him. However, we can see the personification of Him manifested in some true human being, who is the Power of God working on earth in a human pole. That person is love personified. – Kirpal Singh
Third World Tour, 1972.
Sant Kirpal Singh left India for His Third World Tour on 26 August, 1972. He arrived in Germany at Köln airport, from where His European tour started, then on to America A huge crowd of people was waiting for Him. He gave countless talks and interviews during this, his last tour. (Below) The Master, (in dark overcoat), is flanked by an entourage.
What is our condition? We are under a great delusion. That delusion starts from the body, and because we are having the body, we become identified with the body. We work from the level of the body, that is a great delusion. Body is made of matter which is changing every moment of life. And the world around us is also made of matter changing at the same speed with that our body is changing. As we are identified with the body, that appears to be stationary, this is a grand delusion. So everybody is under that delusion.
So Kabir says: “Only then you consider that you have met really a Master, you followed it, if you lose all attachment; all physical ailments do not pinch you; if any heavenly disaster comes up, you are ready to go! When you find these things within you, then think that you have become a disciple, not before. Guru appears when the Chela is ready!”
There is a language spoken in the home of our Father; that language is love. Speak in love, take everything in love, weed out everything in love. That is the way back to God. – Kirpal Singh
Master departed this world in 1974, leaving his body while fully conscious. Where were his other initiates? With social media, I found I wasn’t alone! They were out there, keeping the Master in remembrance. At times I wasn’t sure of anything, and often had doubts: Did it even happen to me? Fifty years ago, who remembers? My recollection of the event in such vivid detail was the only proof I had. Thus I was greatly encouraged by this post a quote on Facebook: Sant Kirpal Singh, 12-21-21.
“This is, perhaps, the only lesson or injunction or counsel I can give you to make you successful in all ways of life, especially in your spiritual life: because you abide in the one you love. Christ said, ‘Let my words abide in you, and you abide in me.’ How can you abide in him? First, by obedience, and second, by surrender. ‘As you think, so you become.’ The fifth Guru of the Sikhs tells us that, “If the disciples remember the Master, what does the Master do? Whom does he remember? His loving souls. Never for a moment think that the God in the Master forgets you.”
I commented on this post by simply noting it had been 50 years since I was initiated. From the administrator, I received this reply. I cherish it for all the times I felt alone, wondering if Master even remembered me after he passed from this world. After all, I was only one of thousands of aspirants touched by his far reaching life.
Paul Gould, thank you for sharing your sweet remembrance about our beloved Master Sant Kirpal Singh. I think to get one look from him is sufficient for the whole life, as it bears so much in it which we cannot express in words. He is the power that exists, and so He never dies. He gave us some awakening to the real purpose of our life and yes, we have to learn and understand till the last moment of our life. Isn’t it beautiful? In this way of remembrance, we are always with Him. Master sees the condition of our heart, and we all need His grace. There is no end to our doing. And there is no end to His blessing. His work is still going on, He requires the help from His beloved children. For further information, please have a look on our website dedicated to the life and work of Kirpal Singh. https://kirpalsingh-mission.org/uom/en/welcome/index.html
In order to understand these things I had to learn a new language. In high school I was never good at doing that, failing in French, Spanish and Latin. But now it was imperative to know at least a little Sanskrit. A glossary of terms is not complete yet, I will continue updating it.
The natural yoga, called Surat Shabd Yoga, which you are following is the direct way back to God. If you just catch the ray of the sun, that will take you where? To the sun from which it emanates. So in Surat Shabd Yoga you have to catch the God-into-expression-Power, which has two phases: light and sound. When Guru Nanak was asked, who his Guru was, he replied, ‘My Guru is Shabd, which is the Creator of all.’
The Shabd, or “Cosmic Hum.“
Surat Shabd Yoga. This is the way taught by Kirpal Singh. It is a science passed down through the masters of a certain lineage to which he belonged. This way of meditation, he believed, was the easiest yoga, which is called Sant Mat. This is the attending to the sound and light current of the universe. These are vibrations which have always existed from the beginning of creation. Our brain is really a radio, capable of picking up these cosmic signals by tuning into them. Sant Mat means the Way of the Masters. Following the shabd will lead us home to God.
I don’t know exactly when I began hearing unusual tones in my inner ear. I guess it was there, but drowned out by the noise of the world and the static of my own thoughts. I have asked everyone I know if they have heard these tones, but the answer I get is always the same: No! I never heard of it! It is not a how-to subject, it must be caught, not taught. There is nothing we must do, or listening to so-called experts. It will come when you are able to receive the signal. Not until.
It comes of its own volition at unexpected moments, so I never know . When it does come it is like a homing device. Follow it! Hold on to it until it fades. It comes more often now. I stop whatever I am doing or thinking, and focus on this mysterious sound from within. The sounds cannot be conjured, invoked or manipulated so it is the only thing that can be called real. It is what Siddhartha heard sitting under the tree: This siren call, Om, Come home!
“Listen to the secret sound, the real sound, which is inside you. The one no one talks of speaks this secret sound to himself, and is the one who has made it all.” – Kabir
In the beginning was the Sound, the Word, or Naam. Name. It said let there be light! and it was good. Sant Mat is less about chanting mantras and focuses on the entire spectrum itself: God, the All-Mind is sending us radio signals, and the yoga of tuning into this audible sound current is Surat Shabd Yoga.
The Unity of Man.
Sant Kirpal Singh worked to see the unity of man, brothers and sisters in God. But sadly, man is not interested in unity: The only creature on earth who has no idea why he is here, nor is he interested in his role in the universe. “During my last foreign tour I was asked on television in the United States, “How can peace be cemented?” I told them, “Peace can be cemented only when men rise above ‘isms’ and Presidents and Kings rise above countries.” To remain in an “ism” is a blessing, if we keep in mind the ideal for which we have joined it and rise into universal-ism; but if we stick obdurately to the “ism”, the result is again narrow-mindedness and selfishness. Similarly, if Kings nourish their gardens well and keep them blooming in all respects, they should let all other countries bloom the same way and further the cause of human happiness; otherwise there will be conflicts and wars.
It has been our endeavor of late to find a common forum and meeting ground where such momentous issues could be discussed dispassionately – by separating the non-essentials from essentials and eliminating differences, in order to find unity in diverse thinking and bring abiding peace on earth: complete concord and amity in all spheres of our life. – Kirpal Singh
“There is but One God, His name is Truth, He is the Creator. He fears none, he is without hate. He never dies, He is self illuminated. He was True in the beginning and has been True ever since.” – Guru Nanak
Glossary of Terms.
SHABD – The inner Sound Current that is responsible for the creation and maintenance of the entire universe. This Sound current can be heard when a demonstration is given by a Sant Satguru.