The Way Forward - Honest Living

The Way Forward

The transforming power of right action

Ultimately it is grace and mercy – the mystery of love, the Shabd – that brings a person to the spiritual path. It is our responsibility, however, to contribute whatever we can to make the journey easier. The Lord’s grace is abundant, and when he wills, he will wipe clean our debts. But our contribution to this great journey, however small, is highly significant, for it is our effort to move towards him that brings his grace. As we begin to understand how life and karma work, it becomes very clear that the structure of our daily life must be sound. This is rebuilding our ship. This is making it seaworthy. A life built on another living creature’s suffering, whether human or animal, can never be a source of long-term happiness, just as a life built on a lie cannot lead to truth.

Facing in the right direction: the positive way

The moral ideal put forward by all cultures and traditions is one of simplicity and frugality – living lightly in the world, engaged in honest work.

Be industrious and frugal, and you will be rich. Be sober and temperate, and you will be healthy. Be in general virtuous and you will be happy.
Benjamin Franklin53

Most important, however, is our focus – that it be turned always towards the positive, towards the highest good. So important is our orientation in life that in the Sikh spiritual tradition, the word often used for the spiritual adept, the master, is gurmukh, meaning simply ‘one whose face is turned to the guru’. The guru is the window, at the human level, to the formless reality of God. As Meister Eckhart observes:

A man should orient his will and all his works to God and having only God in view go forth unafraid, not thinking, am I right or am I wrong? One who worked out all the chances ere starting his first fight would never fight at all. And if, going to some place, we must think how to set the front foot down we shall never get there. It is our duty to do the next thing: go straight on, that is the right way.
Meister Eckhart54

We have to turn towards our destination – and not waver in our choice. That which takes us towards God, to our spiritual goal, is right; we are to face in that direction and go forward. Worldly riches are of little consequence. In the final analysis, all sages agree that the riches of the world can never bring lasting happiness, peace of mind or joy. Master Charan Singh says:

Worldly achievements can never give you permanent happiness. You may be a king, you may be a ruler, you may do good to the world; but your good deeds alone will never take you back to the Lord. However, you will definitely get the fruit or reward. From ‘C’ class prisoner you will become an ‘A’ class prisoner. Instead of iron chains you will be bound with golden chains. From small huts you will be taken to palaces.
Master Charan Singh55

So why do we keep looking for fulfilment in the things of the world? Sarmad gives us a vivid image of the sterility of such goals:

O Sarmad, why do you wander from place to place?
Where will you find love in this world?
A dead and dry tree provides no shade.
Greed invites only disgrace.
Without contentment there is no peace.
So, leave the world of greed with grace.
Sarmad Shaheed56

Material rewards are loveless, and without love, which is the soul’s nature, we will be always restless for something more. But in today’s world, where success is almost always measured in terms of material riches, we are persuaded to give them importance. Our consumer culture encourages us to believe that we will not survive if we are not rich. It seduces us with images of the lifestyle it wants us to lead and tempts us to compromise ourselves to achieve the positions, promotions and jobs it persuades us we cannot do without. Thus it takes courage to actually walk the spiritual path as opposed to just talking about it:

Evil deeds, deeds which are harmful to oneself,
 are easy to perform.
What is beneficial and good,
 that is very difficult to do.

To re-orient ourselves to the spirit demands constant and serious effort. We have to develop different, ‘subtle’ faculties, for the Word is subtle and can only be known with a different consciousness. The reality of spirit exists beyond the reach of intellect and senses, beyond our present grasp of the dimensions of space and time. To experience the Word or Shabd so that our faith becomes unshakeable, we have to forego our preoccupation with everything we are attached to. We have to make time for spiritual work. We have to turn within ourselves to the quiet and sometimes lonely solitude of the inner world – we have to work in, and on, ourselves. Thomas à Kempis, the fifteenth-century Christian mystic philosopher, says:

Many are found that desire contemplation, but they have no mind to practise the things that are required thereunto. ... Men rest in signs and sensible things, and take little care about the perfect mortification of themselves.
Thomas à Kempis58

To ensure that we go where we want, we must put up the sails of positive action – even though the majority of the world may drift in the opposite direction, pulled by the currents and tides of physical existence. We have to act, knowing where we are going and keeping our destination in view, and not caring what others say, think or do about our choice:

Be bold as a leopard, light as an eagle, fast as a deer and determined as a lion in doing the will of your Heavenly Father.
Ethics of the Fathers59
Then said Jesus unto his disciples,
“If any man will come after me,
 let him deny himself,
 and take up his cross, and follow me.”
Gospel of Matthew60
An honest livelihood

Central to the ideal of honest living is earning our own livelihood. Wherever possible, we should support ourselves from our own earnings and not live off the income of others. There are obvious exceptions, of course, such as a spouse who looks after the family while the other spouse earns the income, or those who, because of sickness or age, cannot support themselves. But the general principle always holds true. And while we may rightfully live off an inheritance, we should bear in mind that inherited wealth amassed by dishonest means will one day have to be paid for.

Whatever we do in life should not go against the laws of country, society or humanity, nor should we cause harm or suffering to others. We should not lie, cheat, steal or deceive, and this applies to both material and emotional interactions with others. We should be fair in all our dealings, both with our equals and with those in lesser or superior positions to ourselves. We should share profits fairly, not depriving anyone of their rightful due. We should also meet the legitimate demands of our government. Master Charan Singh gives specific guidelines on this latter issue:

In our dealings with the Government (tax department) we should always do the right thing, not caring what the government does or does not do.
Master Charan Singh61

He also advises that as far as is practical and possible we should ensure that our means of livelihood does not involve us even indirectly in negative consequences – such as businesses that at some stage lead to the suffering of people or animals. We have already discussed how being part of a chain of suffering, not just the main perpetrator, also implicates us in the resulting pain:

To handle meat items does involve a load of karmas, so followers of the Sant Mat path should always try to avoid this. Everyone is answerable for his own actions and the price has to be paid for all that we do or think. Try to avoid dealing in meat products if possible.
Master Charan Singh62

In the time of Master Sawan Singh, a seeker, Saa’in Sharif-ud-din, came to him requesting initiation. Saa’in Sharif-ud-din was a Muslim ascetic who wore the ascetic’s kafanee, a cloth wrapped round his neck for collecting alms. When he asked the master to initiate him, Master Sawan Singh refused to do so, saying, “For meditation, it is essential to earn one’s own living. What is the use of giving the Name to a person who does not earn his own bread?” The next day, the ascetic took off his kafanee and his ascetic’s robes, put on simple clothes, picked up an axe and started working as a woodcutter. The master then gave him initiation.

There are many instances of Master Charan Singh addressing the same point:

The Master can help in the spiritual progress of people, but they all have to earn their livelihood honestly to live in the world independently. Sant Mat expects everyone to live on his own honest earnings and not depend upon others. He must find some work and earn his own living. This is his duty.
Master Charan Singh63

We ought to stand on our own legs and should not depend upon the charity of others for our livelihood. Every single penny that we receive from anybody shall have to be repaid somehow in this life or in a future one.
Master Charan Singh64
We all have to have some respectable occupation in order to earn an honest livelihood and for that we have to prepare ourselves during youth. Without a stable job in hand, the mind will not have that freedom from worry and anxiety that is so essential for meditation.
Master Charan Singh65
You should try to stick to one job and not change over from one to the other so quickly. Stability can come only when we stick to a job and make a place for ourself in the organization. In service we have to be patient, loyal and faithful to the management and the organization.
Master Charan Singh66

These are very specific directives to help us achieve our goal. It is clear that if we do not have an honest livelihood, our spiritual practice will take us nowhere. The ideal the saints put forward is devotion to the Lord combined with dedication to work. Honesty will always bear fruit in time, even though its results may not be immediately apparent:

As far as you can, eat the bread of your own labour:
 a living earned honestly never goes to waste.
Endowed with devotion to God and dedication to work,
 our purpose in life is fulfilled.
Guru Ravidas67

The saint Namdev gives us a simple, three-point guideline:

With your tongue repeat the Name of God, O Trilochan.
Engage your hands and feet in work,
But give your mind to God, says Namdev.
Baba Namdev68

Work we do sincerely and honestly channels the mind’s restless nature and makes us less susceptible to negative tendencies – “an idle mind is the devil’s workshop” being a well-known proverb. Not only does such work direct the mind positively, it also makes us more appreciative of life’s gifts.

Sailing with the winds of contentment and detachment

As we build around us the atmosphere we need to support our meditation, we will find that the ups and downs of fortune do not disturb us so much.

If a man does what is good,
 let him do it again and again.
Let him set his heart on it.
Happiness is the outcome of good conduct.

As we become happier, contentment and detachment fill the sails of our ship and carry us effortlessly in the direction we want to go. In the words of Emerson and Aristotle:

That which we persist in doing becomes easier – not that the nature of the task has changed, but our ability to do has increased.
Ralph Waldo Emerson70
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

We cling to the things of the world only because we are frightened to let go. Once we let go and let our destiny take its course, we find that life immediately becomes easier and more pleasant. Since what we are to receive is already written in our destiny and we will receive neither more nor less – irrespective of what we do – the question we need to keep asking ourselves is: What is the need to compromise our principles?

True detachment from the world can only arise from attraction and attachment to something higher. Once we contact the Word within us and experience its sweetness, we will become detached without any effort and automatically will let go of what we cling to now. Then our mind will reflect the tranquil and positive qualities of the soul rather than the fickle and negative nature of the senses. It will become our constant and supportive ally, propelling us on our journey, as it wants only to be associated with its new companion, the soul, so that it can experience more bliss.

Charity supports detachment

To foster detachment from the world and encourage love for the Creator, most spiritual traditions encourage us to give away a part of our earnings. Charity expresses the love that is the Creator by providing for others whose material circumstances make life difficult for them. Charity is not about the quantity given; it is about the love with which we give. In the Bible, this point is illustrated in a well-known story:

And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, “Verily I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast more in than all they which have cast into the treasury. For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.”
Gospel of Mark72

What we find in practice is that even though we may want to give in charity, we find it difficult to do so because we are attached to whatever we possess.

We, who claim to be seeking eternal life, do not look with detachment on even the most insignificant object. ... Let us strip ourselves of everything, since our adversary stands before us stripped. Do athletes compete with their clothes on? No. ... Now we too claim to be athletes, and we are struggling against opponents far more skilful than any that are visible. Yet, instead of stripping ourselves, we try to engage in the contest while carrying countless burdens on our shoulders, thus giving our opponents many chances of getting a grip on us.
The Philokalia73

We do not see that charity brings with it its own rewards. When we give to others without any desire or expectation, when we let go of our attachments, we find ourselves relieved of the complications that worldly possessions often bring with them. In the words of the German philosopher, Martin Heidegger:

Renunciation does not take away. It gives. It gives the inexhaustible power of simple things.
Martin Heidegger74

And the words of the wise servant-teacher, Mirdad:

More possessing – more possessed.
Less possessing – less possessed.
Mikhail Naimy75

Giving away part of our hard-earned income inculcates in us an awareness that of everything we have, we actually own nothing. At moments when we find ourselves over-involved with the things of the world, when we find ourselves stressed or distressed on their account, it might be helpful to reflect: If I was told I had just one day to live, where would I put my energy? What would I do with my time?

It is so easy to forget that we are custodians, not owners, of our material wealth, and that death will separate us from it all one day. Everything we think of as ours, whether it is family, friends, possessions or other forms of wealth, is a gift that has been placed in our keeping. If we understand this, we will develop in our hearts a spirit of charity towards all life. We can then enjoy whatever we have without becoming possessed.

Our only real possession is our spiritual wealth, which we earn through worshiping the Creator. Giving away some of our material wealth is a way of reminding ourselves of this fact, and of expressing our reverence and gratitude to the Creator.

Sharing a portion of our income with those who will not use our charity for any immoral purpose supports our spiritual work – but we must always guard ourselves against pride. It is to protect us against this that Jesus, in the New Testament, advises that even the right hand should not know what the left hand is doing when we are giving something away.76

Money is dangerous for the seeker of spiritual wealth. Who of us has not seen how wealth confuses and corrupts? It is sometimes said that if one wants to ruin a person, just give him or her easy money. This is why people who are wise give away their wealth liberally. Kabir Sahib warns:

When wealth in the house increases,
When water fills a boat,
Throw them out with both hands.
This is the wise thing to do.
Kabir Sahib77

True charity is liberating and strengthening. It frees the mind and reinforces our decision to cast in our lot with a power that promises infinitely more than all the wealth of the world can bring.

Contentment, self-surrender and joy

Contentment is the antidote to greed. Contentment can never be gained through the things of the world because nothing in the physical world lasts. Real contentment comes through surrendering ourselves to the spirit, to the ocean of love that is the source of all life and that is constant and limitless. By surrendering ourselves we surrender our responsibilities – the minute drop which on its own was clouded becomes pure once its dirt is taken up by the vast ocean.

Faith and love is the very foundation of Sant Mat – faith and love in Shabd and Satguru. Then comes surrender to the will of the Satguru – not a slavish but a loving surrender. The mainspring of action then changes, and the will of the Lord or the Satguru replaces the mind as the motive power. Then the soul is in perfect harmony with the Lord, mind is dethroned, and God is enthroned. It naturally involves a struggle, even a bitter fight to the last; but think of the crowning achievement too. ... It is the Shabd that will eventually lift you above matter and maya.
Master Charan Singh78

When we put our spiritual goal first, we find that our happiness and contentment increase. When our lives are clear, harmonious and balanced, we sleep well at night because we are at peace with ourselves. We discover for ourselves, through our own experience, that it is through the natural order of the Lord’s creation and not through our efforts that we receive whatever we have:

In giving thyself over with all thy heart to the divine Will, not seeking thine own things ... so shalt thou keep one even countenance ... weighing all things with an equal balance.
Thomas à Kempis79

It is again a matter of shifting to the spiritual perspective. In the New Testament, Jesus gives us a beautiful image of the attitude we need in order to live well:

Therefore I say unto you, take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body more than raiment?

Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

Which of you, by taking thought, can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin. And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you?
Gospel of Matthew80

When we abandon our will to the will of the Creator; when we give our life into the hands of the Supreme Being knowing that we will get our exact due, not a whit less and not a whit more; when we remember that whatever comes our way, good or bad, comes because we have earned it; then we will become carefree as in childhood. Listen to the advice from two far-apart cultures, the Judeo-Christian and the Indian:

Give to God what is His, for you and all you possess are His. And thus did David express it: All things are from Thee, and we have given Thee only that which is Thine.
Ethics of the Fathers81
By surrendering to you that which is yours, what can I possibly lose?
Kabir Sahib82
The saints: the mirrors of truth

Mystic adepts or saints stand before us as examples of how to live correctly in the world. Rumi says:

Know that from head to foot the shaykh [perfect mystic]
 is nothing but God’s Attributes,
 even if you see him in human form.
In your eyes he is like foam,
 but he describes himself as the Ocean;
In the eyes of men he is standing still,
 but every instant he is travelling.
You still find it difficult to grasp the shaykh’s state,
 even though he displays a thousand
 of God’s greatest signs –
 how dull you are!
Jalaluddin Rumi 83

Because the saints are self-realized and God-realized beings, because in everything they look only to the Shabd, to the positive creative power that is God, they embody all that is positive. Their every action stands witness to that positive power.

By following their example, by moulding our lives on theirs, we too come to know ourselves. Again, Rumi expresses it beautifully:

The reflection cast from goodly Friends
is necessary until you become,
without the aid of any reflection,
a drawer of water from the Sea.
Know that the reflection first cast is only imitation,
 but when it has become continually recurrent,
 it turns into direct realization of the truth.
Until it has become realization,
 do not part from the Friend by whom you are guided;
 do not break away from the shell:
The raindrop has not yet become a pearl.
Jalaluddin Rumi84

Until we become pearls, that is, until we become realized beings, there is always the danger that our blindness will confuse us as to what is right and wrong. That is why we need the saints to emulate. They are living examples of how to live. Saints are the finest examples throughout history of the full flowering of the most excellent human qualities. Whether of royal or humble birth, they live lives of simplicity and nobility, living in the world but not letting its negative aspects impinge on who they are.

The battle of life

Our goal is the treasure of the spirit. Whether we call it God, the Word, Truth, Shabd, Wisdom or Love does not matter. We are not to be distracted from our goal. Jesus taught:

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth,
 where moth and rust doth corrupt,
 and where thieves break through and steal.
But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven,
 where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt,
 and where thieves do not break through nor steal;
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Gospel of Matthew85

The way is never easy. This is the most difficult journey of our lives. The saint, the true human being, is our mentor, and by looking to him we understand the qualities we need to imbibe. We realize, too, that we have joined battle with our mind – we are to subjugate it, win it and transform it – and it is the most powerful adversary in the creation:

If you vanquish your mind,
 you have vanquished the world.
Guru Nanak86
If a man were to conquer in battle
 a thousand times a thousand men,
 and another conquer one, himself,
 he indeed would be the greatest of conquerors.
The prophets and saints do not avoid spiritual combat.
The first spiritual combat they undertake in their quest
 is the killing of the ego, and the abandonment of
 personal wishes and sensual desires.
This is the Greater Holy War. ...
Jalaluddin Rumi88
All eyes and ears are shut,
 except for the eyes and ears of those
 who have escaped from themselves.
Jalaluddin Rumi89
The saints live among us

Throughout history, we find evidence of many highly evolved souls whose lives stand witness to the principle of honest living. The thirteenth-century saint Namdev earned his living as a dyer and printer. In the fifteenth century, the world-renowned mystic Kabir Sahib worked as a weaver and carried his loom on his wide-ranging journeys to meet disciples and seekers. Guru Ravidas earned his living as a cobbler, despite having disciples of royal blood who would have gladly supported him. Kabir Sahib’s contemporary, Guru Nanak, supported himself and his family by farming. The sixteenth-century mystic, Dadu Dayal, worked as a cotton carder. Paltu Sahib, an eighteenth-century saint, earned his livelihood as a shopkeeper.

In recent times, we have the example of the line of the Radha Soami masters. Baba Jaimal Singh served as a soldier in the army for thirty-two years and then lived on his pension for the rest of his life. Baba Ji’s disciple and successor, Master Sawan Singh, supported himself and his family as an army engineer, later purchasing farmland to provide an income for his sons and their descendants. In 1947, shortly before he died, he announced to the large crowd of his disciples gathered together for satsang:

All my life I have lived on my own income. I have never taken a single paisa of the sangat for my personal use, nor have I ever borrowed money from the satsang funds. For going out on satsang tours I have no doubt used the Dera car, and it is likely that sometimes Bibi Ralli may have taken and cooked vegetables from the Dera garden. For these two lapses I ask the sangat’s forgiveness. If anyone owes me money, I absolve him of the loan. If I owe anything to anybody, I request him to let me know and take payment from me. If I have spoken harsh words to anyone, I request him to please forgive me.
Master Sawan Singh90

Master Jagat Singh, the next master, was a chemistry professor who lived simply and abstemiously, giving the greater portion of his income to poor students who could not afford to pay for their education. His successor, Master Charan Singh, worked as a lawyer, and when he became the master he supported himself from his family farm. While meeting his private responsibilities, he also gave generous financial assistance to people in need and regularly donated produce from his farm to the rapidly growing sangat. His successor, the present living master, Baba Gurinder Singh, worked as a business executive and, through his farm and properties, continues the saints’ tradition of supporting himself and his family, accepting neither money nor gifts for his personal use.

In 1957, Master Charan Singh formed the Radha Soami Satsang Beas Trust and transferred to it the entire sangat assets, worth millions of rupees, which until then had traditionally been in the master’s name. As a result of this change, all money and property received by the Dera in donation are now credited to this Trust. The Trust administers all the funds and properties of the community and keeps accurate accounts, which the master makes available to anybody wishing to see them.

We have only to read a little about these saints to see how they led exemplary lives and spread their message of truth while supporting themselves meticulously from their own sweat and toil.

The transformation

On our journey through life, if we weigh ourselves down with a cargo of stones, we will be unable to reach our destination. If, like the mystics, we accumulate no cargo, then the winds of God’s love in the form of the Shabd will power our ship. To make the journey, we need enthusiasm, fortitude and stamina. There will be many occasions when we will fail. The Roman emperor, Marcus Aurelius, advises us to think positively, to rejoice that we are on a healing, restorative path of positive action, rather than get caught up in our failings. He says:

Do not feel qualms or despondency or discomfiture if thou dost not invariably succeed in acting from right principles; but when thou art foiled, come back to them, and rejoice if on the whole thy conduct is worthy of a man, and love the course to which thou returnest.
Marcus Aurelius91

He also advises us to cultivate an approach to life where we see everything afresh every day, as a new opportunity to be true to ourselves:

A new life lies within your grasp. You have only to see things once more in the light of your first and earlier vision, and life begins anew.
Marcus Aurelius92

It is because we carry around with us the baggage of our negative mental habits that we lose heart, lose courage and judge ourselves. We won’t let go of them and we even seem to enjoy the misery they bring. Such emotions will take us nowhere. Jesus advised his disciples to be as little children;93 when we are young we see life with open hearts and minds. Baltasar Gracian warns us against a tendency towards sadness and self-pity, pointing out that such tendencies may ultimately prove to be our downfall:

Search for the good in everything. There is nothing that does not hold some good if we but seek it. But the minds of some men are burdened with such unhappiness that, out of a thousand good points, they manage to strike upon a lone defect, and this they toss about like scavengers of men’s minds and purposes. There is in it a perverse joy so that they can feel superior. Avoid such grave diggers, for in time it is they who fall into the hollow opening. Be the man who, among a thousand evils, strikes upon the single good. Good finds good, but good that comes too late is as good as nothing.
Baltazar Gracian94

While it is good to be self-aware, judging ourselves too harshly is dangerous and counter-productive. With the same generosity of spirit and tolerance that we show to others, we need to be compassionate and charitable towards ourselves, too.

So that we never lose sight of the law of the universe, we are advised by all cultures to remember the golden rule “do as you would be done by” – to treat others as we would wish to be treated by them:

What you do not want others to do unto you,
 do not do to others.
Therefore all things whatsoever ye would
 that men should do to you,
 do ye even so to them:
For this is the law and the prophets.
Gospel of Matthew96

As we understand the importance of living by principles that are rooted in a spiritual perspective, we begin to appreciate what ‘honest living’ means. As long as our vision is limited to physical existence, there will never appear to be justice in the world. Once we realize that life is more than the physical – that we keep coming back to this same theatre of action to face the consequences of our actions – and once we accept that people can be reborn in forms below the human simply to repay the suffering they cause to others, then we begin to understand the necessity of right action today.

Our task is to bring our lives in harmony with our spiritual goal, but for this, we have to be patient. A child matures from infancy through childhood and adolescence into adulthood; likewise, for our long-term good, we need to be balanced and permit our development to take place naturally. If we strive to reach our goal by simply suppressing habitual negative tendencies, there will certainly be a reaction at some future date. Suppression and repression are not the answer. The process of putting our lives in order and transforming ourselves spiritually has to be seen as a lifelong, steady evolution towards our goal.

Life can be as simple or as complicated as we make it. Marcus Aurelius gives us a guideline of utter simplicity:

If it is not right, do not do it. If it is not true, do not say it.
Marcus Aurelius97

While we are travelling along on our journey, we need to remind ourselves constantly – through meditation, satsang, and reading and listening to the words of the saints – of who we are and where we are going.

The wisdom teachings of the world put an ideal before us to guide us in this process of spiritual transformation. They encourage us to go step by step in the direction we want, to be practical and to reason with ourselves. We are living as part of the creation and we all have our own destiny which manifests itself as responsibilities we have to fulfil.


When, before our initiation, we undertook to live by spiritual principles, we effectively committed ourselves to change our orientation away from material goals. Through this commitment we guard ourselves against wasting the precious gift we have been given. As we live by our principles, we discover that this is a two-way process: living honestly supports our growth as true and joyous human beings; this growth then further strengthens our resolve and ability to do what we know is right. Living honestly makes it easier for us to recognize and resist the negative path of the mind; as we draw nearer to the source of the Word, we find increasing delight in the spiritual way.

By applying our principles, we grow to see life in its true perspective. We compromise our values only when we cannot see the spiritual order of the creation. Master Charan Singh used to say that we would not even steal a pencil in the presence of a five-year-old child; the child’s innocence would mirror to us the dishonesty of our action and would make us feel ashamed. Saints guide us to remember that the Shabd, that power which enlivens, sustains and governs the entire creation, is present within us twenty-four hours a day, and that we are accountable for all we do. They guide us to clothe our every action with this awareness. Then we will certainly reach our goal.