Sat Nam Dear Family,
My parents had a winter home in Palm Springs, CA, an hour and a half drive from L.A. I spent many glorious winters on the golf course there before becoming a Sikh. On March 16, 1978 the Siri Singh Sahib married my wife and me at the Ashram in L.A. My parents came in from Palm Springs to attend the wedding. I had sort of forced the Siri Singh Sahib to perform our wedding as by this time he had more or less retired from this job. Although he was typically not critical of me, he took this opportunity to get even with me and let me have it… all of it I might add. A transcript of our wedding can be found in the book, “Marriage on the Spiritual Path,” by Shakti Parwha Kaur Khalsa.
After the ceremony, I escorted my parents to the rear of the ashram where the Siri Singh Sahib was waiting in his living room. As we entered, my father rushed toward the chair where the Master was seated, extended his hand, and exclaimed, “I want to meet the best salesman in the world. Anyone who can get my son to look and act like he does has to be the best salesman in the world.” They both laughed, albeit somewhat forced by the Master as both knew the joke was, “kidding on the square.” My parents and I settled in on the couch opposite him. There were a few minutes of introductory talk when my father asked a question which all parents with kids in 3HO wanted to ask, “How come my son listens to you now and not to me anymore?”
The answer is still a marvel to me; it shocked me, it shocked my father, and it foretold of things to come. The Master paused for just a moment, then raised his eyes to meet my father’s and said with his glaring stare, “Because I don’t tell him what to do and I have great patience.” My father was speechless for one of the few times in his life. As time went on, The Siri Singh Sahib and my father became friends and visited one another occasionally. This question was never asked again.
The Master’s answer has always amazed me. How did he know how to deal with me so adroitly? How did he have the patience to deal with me through all the times I didn’t listen to him? He was golden and prepared on both accounts. He had, and has great patience. He knew that my nature was to be creative in getting out of requests, not following them. In addition, he also knew that I’m the toughest judge of me and if he just left me alone and just focused me in the right direction, I would judge myself rather than avoid myself. The Master kept up in focusing and waiting.
What a great teacher I had. This taught me one aspect of being a teacher which I’ve carried forward: You can make someone discipline themselves, but that’s only training (and that’s good). The process of elevation is truly a self-initiated process, and one must be motivated by him/herself only. As a teacher, it’s always better to let things be, rather than to force an issue.
Everyone advances at their own level, so it’s best not to judge, including ourselves. Just keep up.
M.S.S. Hari Jiwan Singh Khalsa
Chief of Protocol
Sikh Dharma of the West