Sat Nam Dear Family,
It was 6:00 pm on a balmy L.A. evening in October, 1978, when I received a call. “Hari Jiwan,” the other voice said. There was no mistaking who it was. The Siri Singh Sahib continued, “I’m sorry to have to tell you this, son, but you are to go on a celery fast for 90 days. Eat nothing but celery.” “Raw or cooked sir,” I responded. “Whatever you choose, that’s not my affair. I want you to lose some weight and strengthen your nervous system. You’ll need a strong nervous system when time is upon you.”
I’d only become a vegetarian several years before and my system hadn’t adjusted so cheese, pizza, etc. were the foods which I needed to feel satisfied. Naturally, added weight followed. I needed to lose this weight, but, the nervous system deal was a bit iffy. I felt I was stronger than most (what a mistake that was). Any excuse to get out of this diet would have been acceptable, but I knew I had to just follow his direction, no matter what I wanted. I knew this was more than a diet but didn’t know the full ramifications. I just did it.
I kept a list of everything I wished to eat while on this fast. My wife was great support, and every time we’d pass a restaurant or see a billboard with some delicious dish; she’d write it down and put it in the glove compartment. And, when it was over, we managed to eat everything on the list.
After about 70 days on this fast he took pity on me and occasionally he would take me out to eat. After 90 days, I had lost 45 pounds. As for my nervous system strengthening, the effect was not immediately noticeable, but as time passed and new challenges came, the effect became evident. I saw how weak and reactive I used to be, and noticed a drastic change in my ability to handle the pressure when the tests of time and space were/are upon me.
He was right, as usual. Our relationship changed again, and, naturally, for the better. Years later he confided in me that I had passed the test. He said that I proved to be obedient and trustworthy (no cheating on the fast), so, further tests would follow. That was life with my teacher: a trial at every turn, and like a movie, constant entertainment.
M.S.S. Hari Jiwan Singh Khalsa
Chief of Protocol