Do you believe yourself to be a man or don't you? That is the question. Can you be questioned by the whole world and have an answer for it? And is your answer, “I am a man of Infinity.”
These kriyas*, which you are going to go through, are the most beautiful things I could ever have done in my life; there is no claim to them except they will cleanse the serum system in the body. It absolutely gives you a stress-free experience. You will go through these meditations and you can go through it and you will be very happy.
It's my belief that it doesn't matter how strong or virtuous a man may be, there comes a time in life where you will have to face a twist in yourself; and we do not have the strength to take care of our own twist. Man is a marvelous machine, a seeder, he has the capacity to implant the future of his own self; it is the seeding capacity of God. Man has never valued his virtue, he has always valued his paraphernalia and his victories and his conquering nature and his territory and his possessions, but he has never valued his principles.
What is a man? Man is a living experience, which can confront every temptation and still resurrect itself. Giving in is not a man; getting out is not a man. Man is an infinite fountain and source of that courage which has no end in itself. It is an endless seed; it lives to seed. Its faculty, its quality, its generality, its temperament, its achievement is not mortal.
I will share with you the story of a man called Nanak, who lives today as powerfully, as youthfully, as he lived then. When he lived in his body, it was to question him. Today, there is no question. Each one of you has that capacity to live beyond question. In life, men are questioned, challenged, and tested. Do you believe yourself to be a man or don't you? That is the question. Can you be questioned by the whole world and have an answer for it? And is your answer, “I am a man of Infinity.” If you don't want to call yourself a man of God, then call yourself a man of Infinity. Then your love is with Infinity and nothing else.
You inspire people to love, like a big ship takes all its cargo in its hull and carries it to its destination, but it doesn't get attached to the cargo. Taking people to their destination is the destiny of the man; it is the dignity of the man; it is the divinity of the man. Man is not what you think man is; man is an institution of grace, not reaction.
Remember this: When as a man you react—it doesn't matter what the temptation is or how hard the button is being pressed—then you are not a man. The difference between man and animal is so little; there is such a fine line you can't believe it. If you react or provoke to react or ask to react or make to react, you are not a man. Man never reacts to environments, circumstances or pressures. Man accepts the challenge and makes his own way. I hardly believe that you understand what I am saying, because what I am saying is that people look like men, they even try to act like men, they even talk like men, and they believe and feel they are men, but the reality is they are not. Take it upon faith—that doesn't mean he is real.
The first faculty of a man is that he must not react, by all provocations of the Universe, and he must not react to any and all the temptations of the universal Self, including God. God, through His nature, also makes man to react. Therefore, where you will be tested you never know. What you think is gold may be only glitter; every temptation has a very charming glitter to it that can make you blind, but that does not mean it's gold.
Silver and platinum are very different but the only way you can tell is by weight and gravity. They look alike most of the time. Zirconium, the man-made diamond, has all the faculty of diamonds, it's just that nature has proper laws of deflection and man cannot produce those. Otherwise, a $10 zirconium is sometimes clearer, better than a diamond; but it does not have the flaws, the reflections, that the natural diamond has. Even in hardness, a zirconium can now be proven to be just like a diamond, it is made just like a diamond.
Therefore, man can be a man. Man with this man, that man, God man, president man, noble man, holy man, call it anything, I have no objection. Man is only a man when he can experience everything going on and he does not react or attract. Then what does he do? He accepts the challenge. Accepting the challenge of good and bad is the first act to be a man.
Accepting the challenge is the first act of the man and converting any adversity into prosperity is the second challenge of the man, which he accepts. Nurturing and caring is the third challenge of the man. Kindness and compassion is the fourth challenge of the man. Being noble and honorable is the fifth challenge of the man. These are the five challenges, which every man has to accept in his life whenever they come head on. Otherwise, you can call yourself a man but you are not. For that, you require character, instinct, intuition, intelligence and knowledge.
I understand that poverty is a curse and richness is a way of life. What makes you rich is not what you are. What makes you rich is your richness in proportion to your intelligence and your happiness in proportion to your consciousness. You can be intelligent and be very rich, but you may be very unhappy, if you are not conscious. There is no other way around it.
A lot of people feel they can goof around and then have their lives make sense. Everybody wants to take; nobody wants to give; so sometimes you take the mistake. The problem is that whatever you take you can drop; but when you take the mistake, you cannot drop it, you have to pay for it. Therefore, in every man there is no place for mistakes. You can turn yourself into anything, but there is no chance for a man to have a wrong turn. Any wrong turn will change your direction in life. Any change of direction will always pollute you, make you impure. And any pollution will make you weak and no weak man enjoys the experience of being a man. Impotency in action, in challenge, in creativity, and in success are torture—a slow death to every man. Dying is not difficult for a man, suffering is. Every man suffers by the glory of his weaknesses; every man enjoys by the glory of painless living.
As a man you can limit yourself or you can expand yourself. The basic strength in you is the reality of the religion. Religion is nothing but the science of reality, which gives you a practical experience to understand whether you are getting into something that doesn't belong to you. If it belongs to you, does it accept you? If it accepts you, is it with you? If it is with you, then is it within you? If it is within you, it is around you. It has taken your character and faculties to the extent that it becomes you. If that is not possible, get out of it as fast as possible, otherwise you will not have even a chance to live in peace.
Without harmony, without peace, without grace, and without dignity, please don't call yourself a man. Assessment is virtuous. God gave its own face to a man, that's why we look saintly. By age and maturity we become gray or silver, which only symbolizes our purity, our piety and our projection. It gives us the strength of character that belongs to a man by right. But there is a yo-yo in a man. He fights his own brain with the strength of his balls and he loses his balls because he has no strength—that's the bottom line of this [xxx] called man.
Man has to draw himself from this pit, and pit against it, walk away from it, spitting at it, and try to release himself and relate to his own higher consciousness—that is called the beginning of the man. In that beginning, we need a meditative strength. To that end, I am grateful to God and Guru that I could sit down and give you these two hours, which you are going to face very soon and go through these kriyas*.
Your excellence does not depend on who you are, but on how much you love your excellence. Whatever else you love is minus your excellence because excellence does not tolerate any second-rate love. Every man has to love his excellence, and, therefore, fall in love with his consciousness and subject his intelligence to that consciousness to exceed, so that he can succeed in excellence. There is no secret about it.
Love for the material world and love for the Earth—as much as you do and as long as you live—is confinement. Living on the Earth and loving everything and looking toward the heavenly abode, called resurrection, is an excellent way of subtlety, in which you can radiantly shine.
It is not you and your heart that matters; it is the opening of your heart, in whose fragrance the virtues will come. You can't attract one person, but if your heart opens and the fragrance of the heart blossoms and releases, whosoever will touch it, feel it, smell it, shall be yours. It is the values and the virtues of men that matter.
© The Teachings of Yogi Bhajan