I question myself, "Faqir, have you gone astray? Are you misleading the world? Suppose I am wrong?" I do not feel guilty, because my conscience is clear and I have no selfish motive. If at all I am wrong then the responsibility lies upon the shoulders of Hazur Baba Sawan Singh and Hazur Data Dayal Ji. Why did they ask me to do this work? They were great Saints and had a great insight. Did they not know that I would speak the Truth? You will question me, as to why I have also asked some people to do this work of Satsang. I have given this work to them so that they may realize the Truth and their doubts and whims may vanish. I put Kamalpur Wali Mai as the Guru of women. Now her form manifests itself to many women, and she says that she does not know anything about the manifestation of her form. From such instances, if she realizes the Truth, she will attain Peace. Similarly, I asked Dayal Dass to work for his own realization and not for exploiting the innocent people and for deceiving the poor disciples.

     People come to me with high hopes. I ask myself, "Why have you woven a spider's web? What good can you do to them?" The fact is that none is ready to receive the Knowledge that I wish to impart. I wish to show you that Path by following which you can attain liberation from the cycle of Transmigration. But you do not feel its necessity; you do not recognize its value. You come to me for solutions of your various social and worldly problems. Someone is unhappy with his wife; some other person is unhappy due to children. Some come for blessings to get a son, and some others come for the fulfillment of other worldly desires. Do you ever think about the reality of this world? Our existence in this world is not eternal. We are bound to leave this world, our beloved belongings and our kith and kin. Then why to clamor and weep for them? You will surely get your due. Live happily and peacefully.


     Live a happy life and do not spend more than your income. Do not make offerings beyond your capacity. Do not cut short the necessities of your children to make donations to Manavta Mandir or to any other Guru and his centre. This would be the greatest sin on your part. Another thing for having a happy life is regular meditational practice without any break. It should be a part of your daily routine like eating and sleeping. Also make daily offerings of one thing or the other. Do you know what our forefathers used to do? They used to keep separate morsels for cow, dog and the crow before taking their meals. It was their Dharma not to eat without sharing their food with cow, dog and the crow. Do we follow their traditions? If you cannot offer any money in lump sum, try to save daily one paisa or two for offering to the needy or the destitute. This will inculcate in you a habit of sharing the offerings. If a man gives one lakh rupees in charity today, but does not give anything for years together, it would not benefit him as much as a man who makes daily offerings in one form or other. So adopt this principle of making daily offerings, to have daily meditation and to entertain daily new and constructive thoughts. These will help in transforming your life. He who gives in charity, his heart and mind become liberal and generous.

     If you are economically not well off, you need not make offerings of money. Ladies, before cooking meals for the family, should keep one handful of flour or rice separately. After a week's accumulation of rice or flour, they should make chapattis of that flour or cook the rice and offer it to sparrows, dogs and the crows. I am telling these golden principles from the core of my heart. They seem to be very ordinary things. But do not consider them ordinary. These are principles for attaining a happy and prosperous life. Follow the above routine for all the 365 days of a year, and if your poverty still remains then do not offer flowers to my photograph but give any ill-treatment that you can. Our sages were very wise. They knew the root cause of everything. But today we have totally ignored the traditions laid down by them. You try to understand the importance of old ceremonies and social practices. You do one good work a day and see how many good works would be to your credit after a year.


Reflections on Unknowingness

      Honesty is a virtue that is hard to come by. Sure people claim to have it or at least aspire to it, yet very few of us can be totally frank about our lives, our motivations, our hidden desires. It is particularly difficult for those who are in positions of authority. Why? Because it is precisely when we have some social status, some social leverage, some social mobility that we run the risk of hurting another's feelings. Is a mother totally honest to her child? Does she not lie or deceive on occasion to avoid hurting the feelings of her tiny beloved? Is a teacher completely forthcoming to his student? Does he not blind himself occasionally from the obvious drawbacks of his pupil? Naturally, we would all admit to lying or deceiving at one time or another. The problematic issue in this is where we draw the line between harmless social lying and damaging personal dishonesty. It is a difficult issue, no doubt, and one which each of us faces moment to moment, day to day, year to year.

     This brings us to that most remarkable of 20th century Indian mystics, the late Baba Faqir Chand. One would be hard pressed to find a guru as disarmingly open as Faqir, who, unlike most of his colleagues in the Punjab, had repeatedly confessed to his human failings and his intellectual limitations. And it is exactly Faqir's honesty which sets him apart from other spiritual leaders; it is also Faqir's honesty which raises the question of Truth. Could it be, as Faqir would have us believe by his own life and example, that no saint or guru or mystic--however enlightened, however revered, however popular--truly knows the secret of human existence? For skeptics the answer is already self-evident: nobody does know, especially religious leaders who are more often than not caught in mythic or pre-rational modes of thinking. For believers in religious truth, Faqir's confessions may be viewed as revelatory or misguided.

      But in both camps, Faqir's honesty will most likely not be an issue. There is a certain trustworthiness about Faqir's confessional attitude which automatically endears the reader. But perhaps it is more than that, perhaps deep within our own hearts and minds we intuit that Reality is indeed greater than we can conceive; that God--and I am using the term to denote Absoluteness--is not something to be talked about, or theorized about, or even proven. God is that which begins and ends in the Unknowable, and thus agnosticism is closer to our own bone than we might wish to admit. We really don't know, do we? Maybe what makes Faqir Chand's confession of ignorance so appealing and so believable is that he is stating a universal fact--a fact which is evident to every human being who has ever lived: we simply don't know the why of our own existence, much less the reason behind the universe. And this unknowingness may not be a cultural product at all, but rather an inherent, even biological, response to the very wonder of the cosmos.

      In any case, what we have in the writings of Faqir Chand are a unique autobiographical confession about the inner workings of a well regarded mystic. What we have, in sum, is an honest guru. Although for Westerners the term "honest guru" may seem to be an oxymoron, in Faqir Chand the phrase is perfectly apt and attests to his distinctive style. How many gurus are there who say that they don't know what happens after death? Or that they may just be plain wrong in their observations? Or that they have no power whatsoever to perform miracles? Or that they suffer from the same weaknesses as other human beings? Certainly there may be some, but the number is exceptionally small. Moreover, out of this small circle very few have spoken with the clarity and conviction of Baba Faqir Chand.

      To read Faqir is to read yourself; to end up where you started in the first place: not knowing. Not knowing may be undesirable, it may even be frightening, but it does have one immeasurable advantage to those who feel it, who contemplate it, and who don't resist it: it is a truthful and honest human response to the mystery of the universe. Faqir Chand, unlike most of humankind, dove daily into the very mystery of his being, and each time he emerged he came out with the same message: "I don't know." But instead of finding that discovery to be useless, he found it, along with Socrates, Lao Tzu and others, to be the greatest wisdom of all.

     I have never seen two people fight over their "unknowingness"; however, I have seen wars fought and millions of humans exterminated over people claiming they "knew"-- whether that knowledge be cloaked in the guise of Communism, Racism, or any host of isms. True knowledge is knowing that you don't know; true wisdom is knowing that nobody else does either. Faqir Chand can be regarded as an enlightened being in the sense that he came to grips with the Unknowable. Not by superimposing order or meaning upon that Mystery, but rather by surrendering to its transformative implication: Transcendental Unknowingness creates natural humility and an inherent openness to the vagaries of Being.

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