Sat Nam Dear Family,
Want to hear about some magic? Listen to this story. Sometimes it’s called transformation; but when it happens in such a dramatic manner, I like to call it magic. Beginning in the 1970s, the Siri Singh Sahib would spend a week or so in Spain every year with his students and staff at a beach about an hour north of Barcelona. He would see many from the European communities, teach, and enjoy the environment.
The Costa Brava area was well known in Europe as a nice and affordable vacation spot with many French and German visitors. For an American from the Midwest like me, venturing out to the beach was always jarring. Finding topless women all around, unabashedly displaying themselves was definitely a culture shock.
We always stayed at the Park Hotel. The hotel itself was nice. It was not luxurious, but it was very, very clean. The floors were terrazzo, and every day a lady on her hands and knees would rigorously scrub them with a damp rag. This made me very secure. The environment was unique and cozy. Overlooking the ocean was a beautiful balcony where we would sing spiritual songs every night (see picture).
Unfortunately, the owner's rude and prejudiced behavior outweighed everything and made us never want to return. He was a scowling German man who didn't like us or understand our needs. Check in was always a challenge as he watched over the process like a hawk looking for its prey, hoping to find excuses to refuse us service. He demanded we pay the whole amount in advance. Even though meals were included in the hotel price, he never consented to serving us vegetarian meals, and showed no leniency to our needs whatsoever.
I was curious as to why we stayed there, over the objections of so many and was informed that the Siri Singh Sahib so commanded. I didn’t understand his reasons, but after several years I found out why. The owner of the hotel became the most solicitous gentleman and host. He accommodated our every need down to our vegetarian meals, and would go out of his way to see that we were comfortable and satisfied. In fact, he enjoyed the Siri Singh Sahib so much, that he became somewhat of a student asking him for guidance. He proved that there was much more to him than the rough exterior.
What an experience. If you saw the transformation in this man, you would understand. That was the Siri Singh Sahib's caliber and confidence in his consciousness. He saw beyond the circumstances, even when no one else could. He created his own environment rather than letting his environment affect him. This became a great motivating factor in my life as Siri Singh Sahib often talked about the life of living in grace. Here I was actually experiencing it with him.
Then the real awareness hit me. I was no different in the eyes of the Siri Singh Sahib. I came with many ill traits. He never gave up on me; he never gave up on this gentleman; he never gave up on us – thank God we have such a teacher.
M.S.S. Hari Jiwan Singh Khalsa
Chief of Protocol