I tell you my position in life, you see, my official career. I thought all were equals: one is sitting in the chair, in the officer's or on the officer's table, the other is just peon, peon-like he is working over the table. What difference is there? God has equally endowed them with the same things as you, as you are endowed. Simply the position in life comes according to reaction of the past karmas, unfortunate friends working over there. If you treat them just as equal, they are after all men. If you use kind words that attracts them more than even by giving your orders; they will do, obey at times, but at heart of hearts, you cannot, you see, attract their hearts.
When I joined the (government) service in 1911, I was put on a job over personal bills (accounts owed by the government), small bills. One contractor came up. He said, "I have sent in my bill. Can you process it today?" My programme was such that whatever was received today was cleared up in a day or two. He said to me, "Would you kindly hurry up?" I said, "I will see to it. That's my job." Then he put two tips (coins) under my inkstand. I asked, "What for?" He said, "So you can hurry it up." I told him, "I am paid for that!" He took his money and did not react, and went away. And those silver coins jingled in his pockets as he walked off. So when you are already paid for that, be honest to your own Self always. If you are already paid for this, why should anyone pay more?
I was in charge of coordination and administration. Once some clerks were declared unfit, and were returned to me. They were recommended for discharge; all such cases had to come to me. So I made those people clerks in the section under me. I watched what they were doing. They had bad habits, running here, talking, not doing work. I watched them for a few days, then one day I called them together. "Well, dear friends, you know you are paid to do your job while you are here, are you not? Yes. As you have been recommended for discharge, who do you suppose will be affected? Your families whom you have brought up. Is it not your duty to work hard for that purpose?" Then they would come around. In a fortnight or a month or so, they began to work, honestly. Then again, when an established position was required by the other sections under me, I'd post them there. "We don't want this man; he's worthless." – "No, no", I said, "he's a changed man now. Give him a chance and see."
In 1921 I was posted in the Accounts Branch of an Indian Army Regiment. An army orderly used to cook my food. I had given him strict instructions not to allow anyone to enter the kitchen, and also told him to recite holy verses while preparing the food. It was my practice to sit for meditation daily in the dead of night. One night I noticed negative thoughts disturbing my meditation. I woke the orderly up and asked him if there was anyone with him in the kitchen that night. He said no; but he was telling a lie. Later he admitted it. Where the dirt is already there in tons, a little more doesn't make much difference. But even a grain of dirt will be visible on an otherwise clean surface.
I was once attached as an accounts officer to the military service unit. The regiment was ordered to proceed to a field of action. In the regiment there was a dacoit; very dreadful, I tell you. He liked me and sometimes followed me as my bodyguard. He said he was afraid of me. I told him, "Everybody is afraid of you and you say you are afraid of me?" He said, "When I look at you, I start trembling; my past sins come to life." I asked him, "Why? What happened?" He said, "I have tormented so many people. Killed them, like that. How many I killed, the exact number I don't remember. Is there any hope for me?" – "Yes, there is hope for everybody. There is hope even for the worst sinner. Repent! Pray! Do no more."
The out turn of all the office was splendidly good. All the notes coming from the government for one reason or the other, so many proposals in government offices go on. When I left the office, three officers were placed in my job: three officers to carry out the job I was doing single-handed – and of course, with cooperation of everybody. I used to mark anything to somebody whether that work belonged to him or not, he used to go to the other section and do it and submit himself. I said, "All right, this has to be done, I will leave the office and they'll do even sitting after midnight. They have completed the case, that was so much cooperation I had. When I came away, I went on leave pending retirement, I went to the Secretary Office of State at Delhi. There was one financial adviser over there, who was my friend. I went to see him, and the very moment I appeared to him, he said, "Well, look here, what has happened to the office?" He never knew that I was on leave for the last three months. "What has happened to the office?" – "Why?" – "Now all your notes, – not one of them has been returned so far in the last three months. Before they used to come back in a week or so, with the best proposals over there, suggestions over there. The out turn has gone down to one fourth as it was three months before. What has become after all of the office?" I answered, "Well, dear friend. I am here on leave, I don't know, I have gone on leave pending retirement." So that was due to the cooperation, you see, to the sweet temperament and the loving treatment with the establishment.
Any intricate cases that went to the head for orders, he sent to me. I would just open and set them in order. So this habit worked wonders in all my affairs. When I retired, the Military Attorney General came up, "Well, we had a wonderful man like you in our department." I've got it recorded in my report. Generally when officers are there, bosses are there. Sometimes those who work under an officer are not pleased and some over him are not pleased. If the bosses are pleased, those under are not pleased. In my case, both were pleased.
Sant Kirpal Singh