Sat Nam Dear Family,
In India, the Rotary Club is a big deal. The most respected and prosperous businessmen are members. I drove and joined the Siri Singh Sahib to my first Rotary Club lunch in 1976. It was at the Century Plaza Hotel in Century City. Coincidently, several years later the Khalsa Council meetings were held in the same room for many years. Then again, we know it’s no coincidence.
As a sidebar, The Rotary Club was then an all men’s gathering. The Siri Singh Sahib was usually driven by one of his secretaries. Unfortunately, (or fortunately for me) “she” couldn’t accompany him. I was the new kid on the block and was available. Through good fortune, I was asked to drive and accompany the Master. That’s how it all began.
I enjoyed the event. After lunch, a speaker stepped forward. The speakers were always interesting. After all, this is the L.A. market where “high powered” business is conducted. We sat at a table with other members and the Master interacted in the most interesting way. He created relationships, he learned a different perspective on Americans, and he made himself known in the most positive manner. The monthly visits to the Rotary Club lunch were always something to look forward to. There was, however, one thing I didn’t immediately understand.
Before the invited speaker began, the current chairman stepped forward and, for a few minutes, presented updates on upcoming luncheons and spoke of other relevant issues. And, here was the crazy part. Occasionally, people would yell out something to harass the chairman, all in good fun. But, still, it was different. And, here’s the funniest part, the Master would chime right in. And, I might add, even more than others. I didn’t know whether to be embarrassed or shocked! Is this how a spiritual master is supposed to act?
Thank God I made the right decision. I decided not to judge his actions (at least I knew this much), rather, I would try to figure out what he was doing. What did it mean? Why did he act this way? I decided to “go with the flow.” I remembered that from the old hippy days (even though I wasn’t one). Well, the only difference was that now he was the flow – again, thank God. After that first lunch I could see the respect he was given by others and I knew that there was no need for embarrassment or shock. Well, one issue down, but, what about the other, the meaning of his actions? That was easy. He acted in reflection of his environment so others much different than he would also have something in common and could, thus, relate to him. They did. He was “one of the good old boys” at these luncheons. His flexibility in stretching to meet this environment was the meaning and was a great lesson I still practice today.
He gave me an opportunity to make life fun, a game. Rather than judge him, I had to figure out what he was thinking and doing. I found it easier to get to the game level by just not judging him at all. It’s easier than picking out parts to judge. So, I just didn’t judge at all. That put me right into the game level of figuring out the puzzle. And, here’s the best part, just when I knew that I’d figured out his actions in a given situation, another deeper meaning would come my way which made me feel like a complete idiot for believing what I thought I knew. What a lesson. I’ll just stick with the instructions of my teacher and my Guru and keep away from following my own way of thinking. Enjoy the game, but stick with the program!
And, here’s even a better part, he taught me this lesson “right off the bat.” This is why we had lots of fun. We were actually the perfect couple: I didn’t judge him and he showed me a grand time!
M.S.S. Hari Jiwan Singh Khalsa
Chief of Protocol