Raymond Steiner has not only been instrumental in bringing
me here to Puruwala in the Derha Dun valley, he is now driving me all the way
up to Landour near Mussoorie, my home. As I thought, when I left last December,
the snow peaks of the Himalayas are now veiled in purdah, but I am happy to
be coming to the end of this strange exhilarating pilgrimage-sadhana.
There is just one last Interview I have to take, a rather personal one.
Kate Christie is a writer who has published several
novels and a book on ESP. Since 1973 she and her husband have lived mainly in
the foothills of the Himalayas away from publicity, away from their former worldly
interests. They are both disciples of Sant
Kirpal Singh, and help prepare some of his manuscripts for publication –
a labour of love.
I was born in England into a very loving family.
One of my earliest memories – I suppose I must have been two or three
years old – was of someone inside my body using the hands, walking on
the feet and looking out through the eyes. I thought grown-ups to be god-like
creatures, free to do exactly what they liked; at that time I had no conception
of the pressures, tensions and heartbreaks of the world. So at the age of six
I prayed to God to give me all the illnesses I had to have in this life while
still a child – I wanted to be perfectly fit and free to enjoy my god-like
adult life unhampered.
Now of course at this time I had no idea of
karma – how did I know I had to
have any illnesses? However, that prayer was answered because from my seventh
year on into my early teens I was more or less ill all the time. During one
illness – I was ten years old – I was given a certain drug by the
doctors to which one person in a thousand is allergic: I was the thousandth
person. It acted on my system as a poison and I went through the death process.
Death took place on three different levels. On the physical level the physical
body fought to live – it had everything to lose. On the mental level I
was perfectly calm – and very much annoyed: I am too young to die, I have
not had a chance to grow up, to develop into anybody, it’s not fair! But
there was yet another level in the very depth of me which was utterly unaffected
by death. I then blacked out.
You were aware that
there was another dimension to your being?
That was what I was aware of then. Now I feel that we should surely live our
lives so that this level, instead of being latent, is fully activated into consciousness
enabling us to transcend physical death. Whether this death experience opened
me up to certain areas of consciousness or whether I inherited the faculty of
clairvoyance from my mother I don’t know, but as I grew up my psychic
awareness increased. I was tormented by fore-knowledge of death and disaster
and also forced to suffer the death – anguish -- of those killed in war,
accident or by natural calamity. I actually saw disembodied entities who clung
to me sometimes for weeks at a time. Later it was explained to me that these
entities came to me because I was a “sensitive,” that’s to
say one of the few living persons with whom they could make contact –
some of them did not know they were dead. Sometimes I knew who they were, sometimes
I didn’t. In desperation I tried to get help.
Were they always people who had died violent deaths?
No, they weren’t. I learned that there are two types of death –
the hard death and the easy death. A typical hard death would be that of a young
man in the prime of life who had lived entirely in the physical world, giving
no thought beyond the body and sense gratifications. Then there are older people
who feel their lives to be completed and who feel the body as a burden –
they die easily. But the best deaths are those of people who have an awareness
beyond the body – who have some form of religion and spiritual expectation
beyond death. Roman Catholics and Buddhists rightly stress the need of the soul,
the spirit -- at the time of the death of the physical body -- for spiritual
help from priests, although I know that Buddhists don’t use the word “soul”.
In the case of my own Guru, Sant
Kirpal Singh, he promised to be with the initiate at this time, even to warn
him or her some days beforehand of the coming departure. Recently a devoted
Indian initiate of Sant
Kirpal Singh, whom I knew, was knocked down and fatally injured in a traffic
accident. He asked to be taken quietly home. He said: Don’t take me to
the hospital – the Master is here, I am ready to go. Another old lady
told her family that the Master had come and asked her: Are you ready? And she
left the body shortly after. These aren’t isolated cases, they are typical
– a true initiate dies smiling.
There are now many accounts – descriptions
– of people who were clinically declared dead, who came back to life.
Can you remember the experience, what was happening -- during the time you blacked
out and lay unconscious as a child?
Whatever happened during that time, the memory of it was wiped from my mind.
As I was explaining, I was later beset by psychic experiences.
Couldn’t you get
advice from anyone?
Two things did help me: the first was the books of Carl Jung, to whom I shall
be everlastingly grateful; the second was the realization that as I could get
no help from other people I should have to dig understanding out of myself.
Because I was a writer I decided to use the technique of writing for auto-analysis
– a painful process involving the unbearable probe of who am I?
You were not then aware
of the Indian mystic teaching of self-inquiry?
No. But I discovered that the deeper you dig the more everything breaks up under
your hand. In the course of writing this book, which I called Apparitions(1)
, I discovered that far from being the victim of my horrifying experiences I
was in fact attracting them! I myself was responsible for them. The book did
help me to objectify and understand my predicament to a certain extent, and
I had many interesting and even enlightening letters from readers with similar
experiences. But no one can stand still; I had to move on in one direction or
another. Two courses were plainly open to me: that of becoming a medium and
that of learning to harness and use occult forces. In both of these directions
people were waiting and willing to help me. But I had implacable blocks. To
be a medium means to open oneself to God-knows-what-or-whom while in a state
of trance – the dangers are obvious. And the occultist uses his powers
for what purpose? To have power over natural forces and over other people. He
achieves this by an aggrandizement of the will. But the mystic does just the
opposite; he submits his will to that of God. So I started looking for the third
door, the door of the mystic. But who would open it for me?
Then one winter when I was living in Rome I met someone
who suggested meditation, and taught me what she called a Zen technique. One
was simply to sit and look at a blank wall and think of nothing. I found I could
leave the body very easily. But, once out of the body, all kinds of figures
and situations are to be met with, and I quickly realized my friend was not
competent to guide or help me. One evening I left the body in this way and found
I couldn’t get back. At that moment such a cry for help went up that I
believe it was heard by Sant
Kirpal Singh, for within a year I had heard about him and he had accepted me
as a future initiate.
You are the only person
I have Interviewed to have come to the spiritual path by way of psychic experiences.
Have you come across any others?
Oh, yes. When I was at my Guru’s feet I met several. But
once under the protection of a true spiritual Master no occult or astral forces
can touch you. And the Master would not allow us to dwell on those past experiences.
He told us: Don’t dwell on the past, don’t speculate on the future,
live in the living moment. The sort of meditation I was doing in Rome was taking
me out through the heart chakra which is very easy – but
the Master makes us go out through the third eye which is exceedingly difficult
because first the mind has to be stilled. Many people coming to him from other
sorts of meditation at which they’d become proficient had to start again
from the beginning like babies! I refer to Sant
Kirpal Singh in the past tense because he left the physical body in August 1974.
I can’t ask you
how you came to the feet of the Master as if I didn’t know, for we are
husband and wife and we both came to him together. But I will ask you to describe
We had the blessing of coming to him at the same time, but we came from quite
different angles. I have already described my crying need for a Master if I
was to make any headway spiritually. In your case Malcolm, you’d had three
careers, as a musician, as a writer and lastly as a designer. All three had
been successful, but you used to say none of them gave you the deep satisfaction
you needed. When we moved from Rome to the island of Malta you had reached a
point at 40 at which it did not seem worthwhile starting yet another career,
and indeed I remember your saying it did not even seem worth while living. I
think you were at the lowest ebb it’s possible to reach and still be alive.
Your health was gone and your spirit broken. We didn’t even know why we
went to Malta – it wasn’t our scene. We’d lived for many years
in the Mediterranean but always with writers and artists; now we were moving
in among the gin-drinking retired colonels. All we wanted was some peace, so
we found an old farm house we could renovate.
Unknown to us on that tiny island was one initiate
of our future Master: his name was Leon Gurney Parrot. At that time he was writing
to the Master that he could find no one in Malta who was remotely interested
in spirituality and should he not leave and go somewhere where he could serve
the Master better? The Master replied: Stay where you are; souls will be sent
to you in Malta. At that time, while the Master was foreseeing our contact with
Leon, I began seeing the Master clairvoyantly. He appeared as a shining figure
of such spiritual power that I thought he must be Christ – the face and
features were too bright to see clearly: I wondered what Christ was doing standing
before me day after day – I was in no special anguish nor had I been praying
to him. Afterwards I realized who it had been.
At our first meeting with Leon – when he described
his own meeting with the Master in Bombay years before, and as he went on to
tell of the teachings -- it was as if the Master came straight through him.
We both left that house with no doubt in either of our minds but that the Master
had found us. It was a time of tremendous happiness. During this euphoria I
thought that since I was able to leave the body I could take flight and find
him. So I sat in what I called meditation and almost at once was in his presence.
I saw him very clearly and very far off, like looking down the wrong end of
He was sitting outside, as I saw green leaves behind
him: he was wearing his white turban and, since it was winter, his black coat
over his white cotton salvar suit. As I approached he put out his hand and said:
“Don’t do this. Wait!” I realized he meant me to wait for
initiation, when I would have his full protection. I obeyed him. Then after
a time I thought I’d just try sitting in meditation – and I found
he’d blocked it! I could no longer leave the body. I thought: “Here
indeed is a true Master! He is protecting me even before I am initiated.”
Life had taken on a new dimension. We read the Master’s books and frequently
The Master then said we should sit together in meditation.
Every time we sat, tears poured out of my eyes. And then I began to hear the
Sound Current. The Master teaches that the inner Sound and Light are the primal
manifestations of God, and that at initiation the third eye will be opened to
see that Light and the inner ear opened to hear that Sound. The sound comes
into all religions but is called by different names; in the Bible it is of course,
the Word, through which creation came into being and by which it is sustained.
Far from having to be in the Master’s physical presence for initiation,
aspirants not in India could apply for initiation and then sit in meditation
after instructions had been read to them by whoever the Master appointed to
do it – the Master Power is not bound by time and space. Indeed when we
sat for initiation in Malta both of us had the inner experiences he promised.
And within six weeks we had been allowed, with Leon, to go and visit him in
So many things happen when you are close to your
Master that it’s impossible to recount them all. The first thing I asked
him was need I suffer the psychic phenomena which had been dogging my steps?
He said no. And since then, although I am still sensitive on that level, the
experiences are rare. In being forced to share the agony and anguish of the
deaths of other people, was I rendering them some service? They were always
those without spiritual awareness or faith. Some of the worst traumatised stayed
with me for weeks.
All during that visit we experienced many things
both inwardly and outwardly, but it wasn’t until the last evening of that
visit that he opened the floodgates of love and poured it through us –
the seal on our relationship with him, the cord with which we are forever bound
to him. He told me, “I am your Father, I have you by the hand, and I shall
never let you go.”
That was in the autumn of 1969. We didn’t see
Kirpal Singh again until he came on tour in the West in 1972; we were with him
in London, and later joined him for part of his American tour. The tour ended
in Rome and there we asked him if we might visit him in India. He said we could.
Back in Malta the wish grew and grew that we might stay with him in India and
work for him there. When we wrote and asked the Master, he just said he would
see if we could stay or not when we arrived. At the last minute we were able
to rent our house in Malta to friends from Italy; we left with one small suitcase
each and have never been back. As soon as we spoke to the Master he was willing
for us to stay with him and prepare some of his manuscripts for the press. In
that first Interview, which only lasted about 20 minutes, the majority of the
literary work we did for the next six years or so had been given to us.
You, Malcolm, had already felt that important out-of-print
talks by the Master should be re-issued in book form. Some of them needed re-editing,
and many points cropped up which needed his clarification. And this gave us
the blessing of being able to go in to see him whenever we wished. Once we found
in one of his discourses he had quoted his own Master,
Baba Sawan Singh, and there was no indication where the quote ended and
the commentary continued. So, sitting on the carpet at his feet, we asked him
if he could tell us.
We became awestruck when he withdrew from the body
in front of our eyes to ask his Master in the higher planes. When, after a few
moments, he came back into the body he said to us apologetically: What was it
you wanted to know? In the bliss of that encounter he had forgotten to ask
Baba Sawan Singh. So once again we told him, he again withdrew, but this
time came back with the answer. This book was published with the title: “The
Night is a Jungle.”
On another occasion we handed the Master a note explaining
that his morning’s short darshan talk had not been recorded, and
although it would be impossible to recapture the tremendous charging of his
words, you had from memory managed to write down a remarkable passage on Silence.
We asked him to correct it. Here is that passage with the Master’s hand-written
corrections and his tick of approval.
Living close to a Master is rather like living on
top of a live volcano! As he is far more than human, his reactions cannot be
predicted as they largely can in the case of a limited human being. Expecting
fireworks you may get a benign pat on the head, and looking for praise you may
get blame. He said himself that his angle of vision was necessarily quite different
from ours. Within his radiation all perception was heightened; it was a rarefied
atmosphere in which breakthroughs into God-intoxication could be followed by
troughs of dark despair. Personality clashes (inevitable in any Ashram) appeared
to be fostered by the Master in the interests of what he called man-making.
But so all-pervading was the love emanating from the Master and enveloping all
his disciples that it was a whole element in which you lived and breathed, like
Are there any special
aspects of the teachings of Sant
Kirpal Singh you would like to stress?
There are two points which I think of special importance as I have not come
across them expressed so clearly in other teachings. One is that the Master
told us the Attention is the outer expression of the soul. This means that wherever
we put our attention the soul will go; we can either fritter it away in outward
pursuits, or we can send it inside and up on the spiritual path. He used to
point out that when our attention is absolutely engaged in what we are doing
we experience happiness.
The other point he so clearly explained was that the
sexual urge and the spiritual urge are opposite ends of the same power –
he called it the ojas power – and you can turn it which way you like.
But in sex this power is drained away. This is why everyone, in whatever religion,
who wishes for enlightenment is celibate. It’s not a question of repression,
but simply of a new direction. Sant
Kirpal Singh said that one on the Path should be celibate even within marriage,
except for the procreation of children. He wanted us to be house-holders and
wage-earners, not leaning on other people. He himself had married and had children
and a responsible government appointment – so when we approached him we
were talking to someone who could understand our problems and never spoke to
us over our heads, of states we could not comprehend – he was the loving
Father taking us up step by step. He said that his teaching was for everyone,
and that indeed children and illiterate peasants often made better progress
than people with trained and speculative minds which only stood in their way.
When we came to India our lives were completely changed.
Our attention, our work, our meditation and our love were all centered on the
Master. We wore simple white cotton clothes, we ate simple vegetarian food,
we had one room in the Ashram in which we lived, worked, meditated and slept.
We had the Master’s darshan twice a day with the visiting
Westerners, and of course attended his public satsangs
on Sundays. When we were with him he would talk to us and answer our questions.
But the most profoundly penetrating experiences were those of his silent darshans. During that winter, which proved
to be his last on this physical plane, we went with him on a tour of the Bombay
area. In February came the great Unity of Man Conference in Delhi at which he
presided. After this he took us Westerners up to Manav Kendra, the centre he
had started outside Dehra Dun. Here we were in the foothills of the Himalayas,
and every time I saw those peaks I felt I had come home. Indeed, since those
days they have become our home.
It was during our weeks at Manav Kendra that I experienced
the ultimate joy of all the time we had with him, as one sunlit day succeeded
another and his presence ( even when he was physically away) permeated the very
In April the Khumba Mela was held at Hardwar that
year, the Master had his camp there and we were allowed to accompany him. Afterwards
we all moved up to Rajpur to be near him while he was in his own house. His
health was far from good, but he drove himself day and night in what he told
us was his Master’s work. He seldom stayed in one place for more than
a few days; he still went visiting his many devotees in towns and villages –
villages which were sometimes so remote that he took no one with him, and his
car bumped for miles over dirt cart tracts in clouds of dust, and in the merciless
summer heat. He had a special love for country people who did not always have
the money to come to Delhi to see him.
But by the end of July it was known his health was
failing; he gave what was to be his last initiation session; he himself began
to prepare us to face his departure – but we simply wouldn’t listen,
we refused to think it possible. Then one morning walking down near where we
were staying in Rajpur, I had the vision of a huge glowing white sun before
my eyes. I saw it with open eyes and even more brightly with closed eyes. The
thought that came to me was that something was now complete, an unblemished
whole. This vision lasted about half an hour. I remember we sat by the roadside
in meditation. Afterwards I heard that many other disciples saw this same sun
at the passing of the Master, and we remembered that when
Baba Sawan Singh was dying in Beas, he asked if people in Jalunder could
see the sun. So it was in Rajpur that the stunning blow fell on us – our
Beloved Master had left his physical body.
He had often told us he was not the body, but we
had come to rely upon his physical presence for our sustenance. Now we had to
come to the realization that he lived within each one of us and that, as he
had promised, he would never leave us until we had reached our true Home. He
indeed is still with us to guide and protect us on the inner planes. And you,
Malcolm, have just experienced, in Agra, his continuing grace – and he
left his physical body 7 years ago!
We of course still had the work he had given us,
so it was natural for us to stay on to complete the 2 volumes of Heart to Heart
Talks, and the other books that followed. Afterwards we were drawn to the feet
of the Master’s spiritual successor, SantDarshan Singh, where we continued to
do much the same literary work. Martha Smith in her Interview has described
how the same loving, caring Master Power is now pouring out through him.
Malcolm, now that you’ve traveled all over
India and collected so many Interviews from Westerners following so many different
gurus and life-styles, I am struck by
this thought: When you and I first came on the path we thought ours was the
only path leading to enlightenment. We were as closed as fervent devotees so
often are. Since those days a mellowing and opening process has taken place
in us. I think it’s because we have gradually become aware of the depth
and richness of so many other spiritual paths round us here in India.
Our guru used to say: “Stay in whatever
religion you already belong to – just take the next step.” For us
he opened the door into another dimension, that of the mystic. Mystic paths
all lead to the same realization. It’s interesting that the teachings
of some gurus are purely traditional while others
vary according to the way in which each of them attained enlightenment: if it
was sudden enlightenment, then the devotees are taught to work towards that;
if it was through the long process of meditation or austerities, then the followers
are encouraged along that path; if it was attained through self-surrender, then
that will be advocated. Doubtless, Krishnamurti declared no guru is necessary because of his own
experience. But all teachers are saying, as the ancient Greeks said: “Know
thy Self.” They are trying to break down our self-important egos and to
release the inner awareness of the true Self which is in all of us: all seekers
are surely drawn to the path which is right for them.
Ours is the bhakti path – the path of loving
devotion to the Guru – and as we are both bhaktas,
and as you have included photographs of other Gurus for these Interviews, here is one
of our own Guru, Sant