Excerpted with permission from
The Unknowing Sage The Life and Work of Baba Faqir Chand
INTERVIEW WITH FAQIR
Editor's Note: Professor Mark Juergensmeyer, who is currently Dean of the School of Hawaiian, Asian and Pacific Studies at the University of Hawaii, interviewed Faqir Chand in August of 1978 at Manavta Mandir. Professor Bhagat Ram Kamal of Government College, Hamir Pur, Himachal Pradesh, transcribed the interview and published it under the title, The Master Speaks to the Foreigners. The following edited version contains corrections (and explanations) which were not present in the original published interview.Mark Juergensmeyer: As I have come here, I would like to ask you something about your development in spiritual understanding. First, you were a disciple of Swami Shiv Brat Lal?
Faqir Chand: Yes, I am a disciple of Maharishi Shiv Brat Lal. You have seen His Statue there installed in the hall. He is my spiritual Father. His spiritual Father was Rai Sahib Salig Ram, who was a Post Master General. Rai Salig Ram Sahib was the disciple of Radhaswami Shiv Dayal Ji, but I have got liberal ideas. I was born in a Brahmin family. From the age of 7 years there was a craving in me for something Unknown which I used to call Rama, Krishna or God. Now I feel that the Unknown thing which I wanted or searched for was Peace, but, at that time, I used to worship Rama, Krishna, God or Goddesses.
Mark Juergensmeyer: Where was this place? What place was this?
Faqir Chand: It was at my village Bhanjal, then in District Hoshiarpur and Punjab State. I have been doing worship from my childhood according to the ideas given to me by my parents. When I was 16 years old I joined service. I passed only my middle school examination. My father was a constable in the Railway Police. He could not give me higher education. So I joined communication service. There I met permanent way inspectors and contractors of all types. I was alone in the Communication section. In the society of those inspectors and contractors I took to wrong ways. I ate meat for 6 months, drank rum three times, once even gambled and lost one rupee and a quarter and once I went to a prostitute. You understand what I am telling you? In 1905 when the Kangra Valley was ruined by an earthquake my thoughts changed. After going to the prostitute I wrote to my father that I had done such and such wrong things, so please send my wife. I was married when I was only 13 years old. At that time I was meditating on the image of Rama and Krishna, according to the Hindu philosophy. When I was at Baganwala Railway Station as Assistant Station Master Lord Krishna used to be with me, whether I was working or walking.
Mark Juergensmeyer: Did you ever go to some Krishna Temple?
Faqir Chand: No. I used to pray to him within my own mind. I never went to any place. Once I was going and Lord Krishna was going ahead of me. There was some cow dung lying on the ground. That image of Lord Krishna asked me to eat that cow dung. I took a morsel of cow dung and ate it. When I reached home I thought that in no religious book is it written that an image of Lord Krishna or Rama has ever directed any disciple to eat cow dung. So I thought that it was not the real Krishna who had asked me to eat the cow dung. Because I am a Hindu, and I had been given this idea that the Lord takes birth in the human form time to time, thus I started praying to Him. I wept continuously for 24 hours crying out to God that I wanted to see Him in the form of a human being. After 24 hours a doctor was sent for and after examining me he said that I had gone mad. But that morning at 4:00 a.m. the image of my spiritual Father [Shiv Brat Lal] appeared to me while I was asleep. It made me believe that He was the incarnation of Lord Rama. Then I wrote to him a letter every week regularly for 10 months. After 10 months he wrote to me, "Faqir, I am receiving your letters. I admire your aspirations. I have realized Reality, Truth, Bliss and Peace in the fold of Radha Swami Faith from Rai Salig Ram Sahib."
Mark Juergensmeyer: Where was Maharishi Shiv Brat Lal at that time?
Faqir Chand: He was at Lahore at that time. But now he is dead. There is only a samadh [burial tomb] of his. I went to him in Lahore and he initiated me in the Path of the Radhaswami Faith. After about 10 years I went abroad in the First Great War. I remained there alone without my family, and I did a lot of sadhana as is written in our religious books. I saw the Light within and listened to the Sound as
is written in the texts of the Radhaswami Faith. But I could not get peace, though I had happiness.
Mark Juergensmeyer: What stages or regions did you reach within according to the Radhasoami faith?
Faqir Chand: There are different stages, different colors and different sounds. I had seen all. But I was not satisfied with all this inward abhyas. So he gave me this work just to make me realize the Reality. When I came to this line as a guru or as a master my eyes were opened. Why? Because those who regard me as their guru and those who consider me as their master my image appears to them in their meditation, in their dreams and even in a state of wakefulness and guides them, whereas I remain unaware of all this. You understand me, what I am telling you? I want to be very frank with you. You have come for research. I am telling you my personal life. Daily I receive many letters. Some people write that I went there in an airplane to take a dying man; some say that I come on a horse; and others write that I come in a palanquin at the time of the death of a man, whereas I do not go anywhere. All what they see in meditation, in dreams or in wakefulness, all proves to me that all what we see inside is nothing but subtle matter or illusion. I think you are following me.
Mark Juergensmeyer: Yes, I follow.
Faqir Chand: There is a student. He says that when he went to the examination hall for a science paper he did not know that difficult paper. He prayed to me. I appeared there, sat under the desk, and dictated the answers to those difficult questions. The student got 98 marks out of 100. The truth is that I myself do not know science, nor did I go to his examination hall. About five days ago a lady sent me two packs of apples and some other fruit, along with a letter that she was having her bath in a river in Kashmir. Suddenly a wave of water came and took her away for 10 or 15 yards. She writes that when she was drowning I appeared there, caught her hand, and brought her out of the river and
said to her, "You have yet to do a lot of work." Now she writes to me in her letter to let her know as to what work
she is to do? Now neither did I go there to save her, nor did I tell her that she has yet to do a lot of work.
Now, at this age, I meditate on light and sound. And I try to find out, who is seeing the light within and who is listening to the sound within. Sometimes after two or three months when I go into deep meditation my "Self" stands separated from the Light and Sound. There I lose my own entity. I forget who am I. I know nothing about God, I know nothing about my guru and I know nothing about my own self [ego]. From all such experience I have come to this conclusion that Who am I? - I am a bubble of supermost consciousness. That is what my realization is. This is what I have gained. Now what I feel is that there is One, Infinite, Supermost Element. From it, when it moves, sound and light come out and from that light and sound this creation takes place. Cosmic rays and many other types of rays come out of this light and sound and all this gross matter is made. So it is the Will of that Supreme Power. Everything is oozing out of it and is merging back in it. There is egoism in us and it moves us to do this or to do that.
There are four kinds of egoisms in us: 1. Egoism of Physical Form; 2. Egoism of Mental Form; 3. Egoism of Light Form; and, 4. Egoism of Sound Form. I ask myself, what have I attained? Silence in the beginning and silence in the end. Whatever is happening, it is all His Will. Every philosopher or saint who came and made inward search for realization wrote his experience. But their followers in order to gain fame and name and to collect wealth kept this a secret from the general public. Though to keep the secret was necessary in those days, it is not required now. Today humanity has been divided into different sects and religions. Every day there are communal conflicts in the world. Hindus and Muslims are fighting and Arabs and Jews are fighting. Therefore, after realizing the secret, I raised the slogan of Be Man. Why? My spiritual Father had told me, "Before leaving your physical frame change the teachings." So I have changed the teachings.
You sleep and you enter the state of dream. In dream you feel angry with one. You hit him in the dream. Your hand in that state of dream is moved. You are frightened in your dream and you speak and your tongue is moved. You create a woman in your dream and you enjoy sex with her. Your semen is discharged. These are the effects of the thoughts of your dreams, which are not in your control. It proves that the thoughts of your mind are capable to have effect upon your body.
In the state of wakefulness we hate others and we keep enmity with others. All that we do in our state of wakefulness, with our own will, it must have its effect upon us. I have proven to you that if involuntary thoughts can effect our body, why not voluntary thoughts should have their effect upon us? So what I myself practice I advise others to adopt in their lives. Always be optimistic. Do not harm others for your personal benefit. Do not think ill of others. This is one thing which I preach. Secondly, if anybody wants that he should not come to this earth again in any form or in any other life, for such people I have [the exposed secret] with me.
Mark Juergensmeyer: What is that Truth?
Faqir Chand: When I am alone I ask myself, "What have you gained?" I have gained nothing and I have gained everything. I have got no desire to achieve now. Because I have realized that I am a bubble of super consciousness. That Supreme Power has created this Universe. Thoughts we take from outside and some bud out from within. Life is nothing but a dream. There is only one Truth, which is always one and only one. After this realization I have got Peace. Due to my past karmas I am still alive; I do not know how long that Power shall keep me in this body. I have a lone desire that after my death, if I get anywhere, I may be able to tell the world what happens to me after death. This is my only desire.
Mark Juergensmeyer: Where do you think you will go after death?
Faqir Chand: So far as my realization is concerned, bubble will merge in the ocean. Light will merge in the light. But whatever I have thought and whatever I have said that will remain in this Universe. Because matter is never destroyed. Whatever I am talking now, it shall remain in this room.
Mark Juergensmeyer: When you hear the purest sound and see the purest light, what color is that purest light?
Faqir Chand: That light is white. There are different colors and kinds of lights within. As the sun shines in the morning it looks red. In the evening when it sets we again see it red. It is due to clouds, dust and other particles that are in the sky which make us see the sun as red, otherwise sun is not red. It is all white. Similarly the red light of soul (atma) is white. Because we have desires they cover our souls and according to the desires of the worldly things the light is different.