As shared on the Hacienda de Guru Ram Das website some years ago.

Sat Nam Dear Family,

“Once upon a time long, long ago, relationships developed. I mean lifetimes ago, thousands of lifetimes ago this dance began. You think you’re free? You’re never free. For good or not, your relationships will follow you through time. There’s only one way to rid yourself of this karma.” I couldn’t wait to hear his next sentence. How do we let go? How do we surrender? How do we get off this wheel? How do we overcome deep attachments?

We were seated around a large table in the back of the Estates in New Mexico several decades ago. It was Solstice time, so many students were seated with our beloved teacher. Some old, some new, all subject to his truth. It was a time for him to expand himself and teach both intimately and universally at the same time. It was a time for his duty and his enjoyment. It was the season of grace.

He often took these occasions to put things into another perspective, his perspective. In fact, another dimension. I was blessed to see this marvelous teaching many times. It’s creative teaching; it’s dynamic teaching; it’s direct teaching; it’s very effective teaching. I know why he’s a Doctor of Communication, both certified and qualified.

He knows that not everyone will hear him. In fact, many will disagree or dislike him for it. But, as he often said, “Quality, not quantity is what sustains this Dharma.” He was willing to suffer the ‘slings and arrows’ of many in order to support the obedience of a few. His perspective wasn’t his own. His was his Guru’s. And that’s really the only reason to follow him. That’s what made him real. That’s what garnered trust.

Just at the moment he was about to say how to get off the addiction wheel, one of the students poked in and said, “But, sir, I love the thought of being with my relatives and friends for a very long time.” This totally broke the energy of something I was fervently interested in, and it angered me. I began thinking of how to redirect the energy back to his next sentence. No, I wasn’t shy.

Before I could open my mouth, the Siri Singh Sahib, Yogi Bhajan, said, “Oh, that’s just you. You’re lucky. You and your relations are all on good terms. Do you know how fortunate you are? You’re rare, you’re one in a million, no, you’re one in five hundred million, but karma is still karma no matter what.”

This got me thinking. ‘What does he mean by a rare person? And more importantly, why doesn’t it matter whether it’s good or bad karma? Why is this experience far from a fair sample? What does this have to do with eliminating karma?’

Then it dawned on me, ‘If it’s about eliminating karma, then whether I like my friends and family or not is no longer the question. The question becomes, do I do as I like, or do I do as I must? If my teacher is telling me that the way I think is not the way everyone thinks. In fact, almost everyone has ill-fated relationships and, for them, eliminating them would be a tremendous boon.’ Therefore, all I need to focus on is eliminating this karma, not whether or not I want to?

Things became clear. My anger almost stopped me from gaining one of the great lessons in my life. Without this student’s interruption, I would have never understood the constant need to eliminate karma, all karma, good and not. We come empty handed, and we go empty handed.

Then, to my delight, our darling teacher finished, “The way to eliminate karma is entered through the gate of wanting to eliminate karma. That sounds easy, but it’s not.” No, it didn’t sound easy to me. “Wanting to” is the first step towards commitment. Commitment means going through whatever is necessary, whatever pain and discomfort in order to keep-up in doing all the things this Dharma offers in eliminating karma.

Sadhana, seva, bana, bani, obedience, discipline, japa, and deliverance, commitment means commitment, no turning back. Commitment means ‘come what may.’ Commitment becomes trust. That’s when commitment is complete. and no more is commitment necessary. Commitment becomes who you are. Past relationships turn to dust only to reappear as blessings when the dust has settled. You begin to understand that everything in your life is your blessing. This view, this perspective, allows God to lead your life. What a blessing.

He continued, “There are many ways to eliminate karma, we practice many, but Guru says the easiest way is to have him help in the process. This is done through japa, repeating His name. Do all the other ways, but don’t leave out Japa.” What else is there to say.

In the Humility of Service and Gratitude,

MSS Hari Jiwan Singh Khalsa