Sat Nam Dear Family,
China in 1979 was a very different place than it is today. It had just opened its doors to westerners five months previously. The Canton trade fair show was the newest of the new. My business partner and I were there to check out business opportunities. We were shocked when we found that eating for a vegetarian was easy as the old Buddhist restaurants provided dishes more appetizing than many in the West. As we walked the streets in full bana, literally scores of people would follow us as we were their lifetime’s entertainment. If we turned around to see who was following, the crowd would fall back like dominos tumbling each other. It was my first experience as a rock star.
On our way home we stopped in Hong Kong where my goal was to purchase a beautiful gold watch, duty free. I had saved up for months to afford a good gold watch. I shopped very little in China so as not to deplete my resources. Shopping in Hong Kong was fun, and I finally found what I was looking for; a beautiful Baume Mercier watch costing thousands of dollars. The Siri Singh Sahib wanted us to look, dress and act the part of prosperity, regality, and spirituality. The gold watch was thus a necessary adornment. How we looked and presented ourselves introduced us before we were introduced.
When we returned to Los Angeles, I couldn’t wait to show off my watch and rushed back to the ashram where the Siri Singh Sahib was waiting. I was escorted behind the Gurdwara back to his living room. He was in his chair with three secretaries nearby. “Look sir, I exclaimed,” as I approached pulling my sleeve up, showing off my new purchase. He looked at the watch on my wrist, and asked, “Are you proud of this, son?” “Very proud, sir,” I said, glancing between his eyes and my watch. “Great,” he said, “give it to her.” He pointed towards one of his secretaries. Oh, I thought to myself as I took the watch off my wrist, this is how it’s going to be. I gave my precious watch away, and thought, just relax and enjoy… this is part of the deal.
Over the next 20 years, I accumulated a watch collection of over 50 watches, and all of which were more valuable than the one I gave away. Although I didn’t know the results of my actions at the time, I now know that when a true spiritual master covers you, trust and patience pays and it’s not a 10 to 1 factor like we think. My collection was 100 to 1 over what I gave. It’s hard to see at the time, and it really doesn’t matter if ones sees it or not, but serving your teacher works for all concerned. I’m so grateful that he pushed me towards that experience.
M.S.S. Hari Jiwan Singh Khalsa
Chief of Protocol
Sikh Dharma of the West