29 October 2011

Naked Eyes

Sikhi was never of any importance to me. I was still young, and always believed it was something that people did in their fifty's to pass time. I wanted to "live life to the fullest," and that wasn't possible if I was living the lifestyle of a Sikh. I didn't care to understand the concept of God, or why people had so much faith in Him. All I cared about was looking good, and having as much fun as I could before I got married (I knew my parents would marry me off to a Sikh). If I was to get into Sikhi it would be a lot later in my life.

I had just turned 22, and because I had finished my degree and was able to support myself, I thought it was time that I went my own way. I had been under the control of my parents all of my life and although I respected that they were devoted to Sikhi, I knew that it wasn't what I wanted in my life.

I had been thinking about getting my hair trimmed for a while. I was getting sick of putting my hair up in a bun. My eyebrows took after my Pita Ji, bushy as can be, and I couldn't wait to get those plucked.

I didn't tell my parents since I felt I was old enough to make my own decisions. I knew it was a bit selfish of me to go behind their backs, but I didn't think too much of it.

I went into the shop and got my hair trimmed a couple of centimeters and had my eyebrows shaped. There was a look of accomplishment when I looked at myself in the mirror for the first time. The reflection showed a new person, it was the person I always wanted to be.

"Freedom!" I remember thinking to myself.

I drove up into the garage of the house I had lived in for the last ten years of my life, and hoped that it would recognize me. As I walked into the house, I could feel my heart beating rapidly. My parents were in the kitchen so I walked in hastily, said my hello's and headed into my room.

I didn't stay long enough in the kitchen to see my parents' reactions. Mata Ji had just looked up at me when I left and Pita Ji was too absorbed reading the Punjabi newspaper.

I could hear murmurs coming from the living room. And then for a couple of minutes they stopped. My heart was beating so fast.

"Simran?" I could hear my mom calling for me.

At first I didn't want to answer.

"Hunji Mata Ji?" I whispered back hoping she wouldn't hear me.

"Can you come outside please?"

"Okay, I'll be there in a minute."

I started feeling guilty for cutting my hair but kept my composure and walked down the hall towards the living room.

My parents were sitting cross legged on the rug, holding gutkay in their hands. My mom looked up at me and handed me a gutka and then nodded her head downwards (her way of telling me to sit down).

It was the first time since I can remember that my parents called me to do paat with them. At first I wanted to get up and tell them I had work to do but then I just felt relieved that they weren't yelling at me, so I sat down beside my mom and read along with Rehraas.

Rehraas was finally over, and by this time I was yawning and just wanted to go to bed. We all got up to do ardaas. Pita Ji did it. Although I didn't care for Sikhi, ardaas was the one aspect of Sikhi that meant something to me so I actually listened to the ardaas.

Pita Ji came to the end of the ardaas. He did ardaas for Rehraas and then in a calm loving tone he asked, "Guru Sahib Ji, please bless our daughter with a Gursikhi life."

Mata Ji was sobbing. I wanted to cry as well, not because I felt guilty but because I was hurt. Why would they do that to me? They could have done ardaas on their own time.

I didn't sleep that whole night. Pita Ji's words kept running through my head no matter how high I turned up the radio.

Two months had gone by. I kept my distance from my parents and even when Mata Ji tried to talk to me I gave her one word answers. Although two months had passed, I could still hear Pita Ji's voice from that night. His ardaas was straight from his heart and I was afraid that it would come true. I had even done ardaas to undo the ardaas he did.

That night my good friend was having a keertan at the Gurudwara. I never liked going to anyone's programs, especially if they were at the Gurudwara, but that day I kept getting this push from inside to go.

I arrived at the Gurudwara early and after failing to find someone I knew I proceeded towards the main darbar hall. I took a glance at Guru Granth Sahib Ji to make sure I was walking in the right direction. As I looked down at the ground I felt warmth take over my body. I felt calm. The vision of Guru Granth Sahib Ji covered with royal blue ramalay was grounded in my mind. I stood still for a moment and embraced the vision in my heart. Everything around me slowly disappeared.

I took a step forward and then another, until I had reached the end. I looked up at the Guru. My mind was silenced in admiration of the beauty that was in front of me. I once again remembered Pita Ji's ardaas and started to shed tears. Kneeling down to matha taake I could hear Pita Ji's words so clearly, "Guru Sahib Ji please bless our daughter with a Gursikhi life."

The moment my forehead touched the Guru's Charan I could hear whispers in my ear. I was trying to listen to what was being said but I couldn't make out the words. I concentrated and tried again to listen to the sounds.

"Wahe-Guru, Wahe-Guru, Wahe-Guru."

At that time I didn't know what to think of the moment. But, with the energy I had left I got up and sat in the Sangat. Time had vanished. My eyes were tightly fastened together and my mind was still. A soft white filled the room and I could hear more voices repeating "Wahe-Guru." I absorbed myself in the moment.

Some time had gone by and I could see two figures appear in the distance. They were too far away for me to see if they were male or female but I could see that one was shorter than the other. I couldn't see any details because the colours were meshed into one blur consisting of black, red and a pale brown. I tried to focus on the two figures hoping that I could piece together who they were.

The two figures had vanished and then for a split second materialized again and this time I could see them clearly.

That was the day that my Pita Ji's ardaas had been answered. I took Amrit a week later. Every night in my ardaas I ask that everyone be blessed with a Gursikhi life.

There are still days that go by when I feel distant from Sikhi. But, when those days come, I think back to the day when Guru Sahib Ji, with my naked eyes, showed me the Pyaar in the face of Bhai Taru Singh Ji as his scalp was being cut away from his body.

Mool Mantar Basic Creed Of The Sikhs

The basic creed of the Sikhs - the Mool Mantra - gives the idea of Reality in a few telling words. The creed is:

ਸਤਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਕਰਤਾ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਨਿਰਭਉ ਨਿਰਵੈਰੁ ਅਕਾਲ ਮੂਰਤਿ ਅਜੂਨੀ ਸੈਭੰ ਗੁਰ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ
Ik­oaʼnkār saṯ nām karṯā purakẖ nirbẖa­o nirvair akāl mūraṯ ajūnī saibẖaʼn gur parsāḏ.
"One Universal Creator God. The Name Is Truth. Creative Being Personified. No Fear. No Hatred. Image Of The Undying, Beyond Birth, Self-Existent. By Guru's Grace" (Ang 1)

The meaning of each word:

- Ik

1. He is the only God and his shape is one which has no limits. He is all-pervading.
2. He is God having a real shape. By writing one the Guru showed the real traits of God.
3. He has no caste or creed and is free from such things.
4. He who is immortal. He is one.
5. He is the only conscious object and has the shape of oneness.

When Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji went on pilgrimage he visited Kanshi. At Kanshi there were differences in opinion on the word Onkar. 63 sects of different people where having different opinions on it, Sri Guru Nanak Dev resolved these differences by putting One before Onkar. Guru Nanak Dev Ji pronounced it as Ik Onkar and everybody was convinced. Among the Christian religion this is a belief that heavenly light is three- pronged – one pertaining to soul; two, regarding God, and three, Prophet Jesus. The Muslims have faith in two- one is God (Allah) while the second is prophet (Nabi, Rasool). But Guru Nanak Dev Ji put the figure one in front of Onkar and convinced all the sects that one means we believe in One God, who is merciful to everybody and has enmity towards none. We write one name (of God). We recite his (God’s) name. We worship One God. We are servants of One God and our advice is that everybody should believe in one god only,

ਓਅੰਕਾਰ - Oaʼnkaar

1. He who is creator of everybody and everything, who has given celestial light to everybody.
2. With his own will, from one he has taken the shape of every human being. He has no shape, but he has taken shape.
3. According to Muslims, the God (Allah) said Kun and with it the whole universe including men, animal and vegetarian were created. According to the tenth master, first of all he uttered the word Onkar.
4. Whole of the universe took its shape with the sound of Onkar.
5. Oaʼnkaar means he possesses all the virtues.
6. Oaʼnkaar means he is without a virtue.
7. According to Vedic philosophy, from one, he has taken the shape of ‘many’ or innumerable.
8. Ik Oaʼnkaar is made up of the words ekohan.
9. From ‘One’ I have taken shape of many.
10. Meaning according to Yog: in the Yogic parlance, one who goes to Dasam Duar by means of pranayam, is said to have achieved Ik Onakar.
11. According to bhagats (devotes): One who accepts his devotes is called Oaʼnkaar.
Acceptance means the one who recited Oaʼnkaar, his word is accepted by the God as well.

ਸਤਿ - Sat

1. Indestructible
2. A thing which remains in all the three periods (i.e. past, present, future) is called truthful of indestructible.
3. Whose power is in everybody and who gives power and alertness to everybody.
4. Whose consciousness pervades everybody.
5. In everyone, his true shape is to be found.

ਨਾਮੁ - Naam

1. It is very important. Everybody in this world, all the Vedas and Shastras are full of the name of the God, which is not a secret or hidden from anybody.
2. Who does not contain Naam, but is an embodiment of love and affection.
3. (N+am) who does not contain ant formality, which is not ordinary and at the same time is not extra-ordinary too.
4. (Aam) name of a disease, which is without any disease.
5. Relative meaning: a thing which is heavenly is called Naam. Sat (truth or indestructible) makes a person recite His name.

Satnaam: his name is embodiment of truth.

ਕਰਤਾ - Kartaa

1. He who is the creator of the universe. He (God) has created everything.
2. He who has got the power of command, sustenance, intellect etc. in his hand. He may keep us living or order the hounds of fate to take life out of us. He is called the creator.
3. He has created everything and everybody and it is with his orders that the world is seen to be busy in different tasks.
His benevolent hand protects us. He also gives us salvation.
4. (Ka+rta) he is in deep love with everybody. He is present in everybody in the form of love.
5. He who has made everything that can be seen or perceived.

ਪੁਰਖੁ - Purkh

1. He is complete in every place.
2. He is the only man. Rest of the world is like a woman.
3. He saves us from the cruel hands of hell.
4. (Pur+kh) – (Pur) which has the shape of the universe. He is in Puris. In our bodies (which are like Puris), he is present like (kh) i.e. like the sky. The meaning of the whole world Purkh is, God is in everyone.
5. All the bodies have the shape of Puris (Kh); can destroy these bodies or Puris.
6. He sustains us.
7. He gives us thought.
8. He gives us mental and physical alertness.
9. Man is called Purkh also.
10. Purkh is a symbol of husband
11. It is indicative of male also.
12. A Mahatma (sage or recluse) is also called Purkh.
13. Purkh also stands for Satguru.
14. God is also called Purkh
15. Soul and all Souls (human beings) found the true soul (God) and they get perfect salvation.
16. It is also indicated as Brahm.
17. It also stands for Great God (Akal Purkh).

ਨਿਰਭਉ - Nirbhau

1. Without fear. He is always without fear. Truthful Lord Himself.
2. (Nir) – One who keeps everybody under his command.
3. He keeps under his command even the most horrible and terrible person. He can finish and destroy all these obnoxious people.
4. (Bhau) Bhau is the name of emancipation. (Nir) is especially (fear) and thus Nirbhau means one who is without fear.
5. Bhau is also the name of the creation. He cannot be created because he has created himself.
6. This universe is also called Bhau. He is away from the sins and ignoble acts of this world. Nirbhau also indicates One God.

Nirbhau means unique also. The air blows under his fear. Satguru Ji has used the word Nirbhau for God (Akal Purkh) only. Therefore our Satgurus have used the word Nirbhau wherever it is indicative of God (Akal Purkh).

ਨਿਰਵੈਰੁ - Nirvair

1. He is without enmity or he is with malice towards none. He is not at loggershead with anybody because he is like a soul inside everybody.
2. (Nir-vair – Bad habits) he is above bad habits. He is not addict to opium, bhang, poppy, alcohol etc. meaning thereby: he has not fallen prey to any bad habit.
3. He finishes up the devils like harnaksh by taking the form of Narsingh. Thus he does away with all these evil forces. He is such a Lord who has no enmity with anybody.
He lord is a single force of this type.

ਅਕਾਲ - Akaal

1. He is above deaf. He can not be destroyed.
2. Kal means a thing which is away from imagination. Moorat means a personality which is perpetual.
3. Kal means one who is away from ignorance.
4. Kal means who is free from all blemishes.
5. Kal means who is ever free from taking alms.
6. A+Kal means he has been found in all the three periods (past, present, future). He (God) is always present.
7. Kal is the name of time also, meaning thereby he is not bound in present, past or future.
8. (A) Vishnu, (Ka) Brahma, (La) Lord Shiv, are from Him.
9. Akal (Ak) to the troubles, (La) destroyer meaning thereby, he does away with all the troubles.

ਮੂਰਤਿ - Moorat

1. Identity
2. Presence
3. Picture
4. Personality

Meaning thereby he was in the past or is in present and will be in the future. He is always in the same state.

ਅਜੂਨੀ - Ajooni

1. He has such a form which does not come into birth. He is away from birth and death.
2. (Aj-uni) – (Aj) Brahma etc. are also much less than God. None can compete him.
3. Jooni is the name of Maya; (A) means that he is away from Maya Jal also
4. That God may be perceived in this vicious circle of birth and death. Though he is above birth and death.
5. He can be seen in everybody; though he is away from birth and death.

ਸੈਭੰ - Saibhun

1. He gives his celestial light.
2. Moon, sun, stars etc. give light to the world. These sources of eternal light are said to be six. Some people regard Gurbani as a source of heavenly light. Others regard moth also as a source of heavenly light because it emits light at night.
3. But the Almighty God is a source of hundreds of luminations. Every luminary object gets light from him. Even the sun gives light with the grace of God.
4. (Sai) Sainkre meaning thereby hundreds (bhau) one who breaks or destroys. He destroys hundreds of objects every moment. Everything laminates with his eternal light.
5. He is the source of light.
6. All the live things have his eternal light inside themselves. Everybody has life (light) because of his blessing. He is omnipresent and he destroys everything after giving them survival for a certain period of time.

ਗੁਰ - Gur

1. It has a conscious form. He is worth worshipping for everybody.
2. Gur destroys ignorance and bestows his celestial light on everybody and object.
3. Gur is the name of the elder. According to Sanskrit word Gur has been coined from Gir.
4. Gur means to devour. He who devours ignorance etc.
5. Gur is the name of Bani. Bani is a form.
6. Gur also means heavy.
7. They also call immovable Gur.
8. Gur means light. Guru has his light of every Sikh.
9. A mountain is also called Gur.

ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ - Prasaad

1. He has the form of perpetual benediction.
2. It means away from all the tastes as well.
3. Prasadan is also the name of a Mandir. This Mandir or temple is inside everybody.
4. He is merciful.
5. He has the form of contentment.
6. Gurprasad means- He can be found with the grace of God.

Guru Nanak Dev Ji finishes the Mool Mantar here after putting full stop (""). The Mool Mantar appears in this form 33 times. The whole sikh scripture is one. The whole scripture describes the true form of God.

The short form of the creed is "Ekoaʼnkaar Satgur Prasaad" as used in the Guru Granth Sahib.

Naamdev At The Temple

Once a king in India went to Guru Nanak Dev Ji and asked, “O Guru! As you told us that God Himself supports His true worshiper, but God has so many apostles, why does He support Himself? Why does not He send His apostles to help the worshiper?”

As he said this, his own son who was playing at the bank of a river nearby slipped in the river. The king did not wait for a second and jumped in the river as well to save his child. After saving his child he returned to the Guru.

The Guru asked, “My dear friend, you were sitting here with me a minute ago and why did u jump in the river?” King explained that his son had slipped in the river and he went to save him.

Then the Guru asked, “Dear friend, you have so many servants then why did you jumped in the river by yourself? Why did not you send you servants to save him?”

The King said, “By the time I would have asked my servants, he would have drowned. I love my child very much and does not want to lose him at any cost.”

Then Guru said, “My dear friend, God loves His worshipers the same way as you love your son. That is why he Himself to saves His true worshiper.”

Such a worshipper was Naamdev. For all of his life, Naamdev had worshipped God and had faith in Him for each and every moment. He did not worship anyone else but the one immortal God. He says,

asa(n)kh kott an poojaa karee ||
The performance of countless millions of other devotions
eaek n poojas naamai haree ||3||
is not equal to even one devotion to the Name of the Lord. ||3||
The materialistic things would not deter Naamdev’s spiritual path to meet God. He considered iron and gold alike. Once while sewing he wrote,
sueinae kee sooee rupae kaa dhhaagaa ||
My needle is gold, and my thread is silver.
naamae kaa chith har so laagaa ||4||3||
Naam Dev's mind is attached to the Lord. ||4||3||

He cared neither for gold nor silver, he was in love with God. Even though as a result of his true worship he had became a highly spiritual person, he was still completely devoid of pride. Naamdev knew that God does care for the person who recites His name and remembers Him all the time.

Once Naamdev went to Avandanagnath Temple situated in Maharashtra, India. The Hindu priests of that temple believed in the caste system. After reaching the temple Naamdev sat and started worshipping God but the Hindu priests grabbed his arm and drove him out of the temple. The priests said that Naamdev couldn’t visit the temple because he is of a low class. Naamdev was deeply hurt so he went to the back of the temple and started worshipping God.

In his prayer he said,
hasath khaelath thaerae dhaehurae aaeiaa ||
Laughing and playing, I came to Your Temple, O Lord.
bhagath karath naamaa pakar out(h)aaeiaa ||1||
While Naam Dev was worshipping, he was grabbed and driven out. ||1||
heenarree jaath maeree jaadhim raaeiaa ||
I am of a low social class, O Lord;
shheepae kae janam kaahae ko aaeiaa ||1|| rehaao ||
why was I born into a family of fabric dyers? ||1||Pause||
lai kamalee chaliou palattaae ||
I picked up my blanket and went back,
dhaehurai paashhai bait(h)aa jaae ||2||
to sit behind the temple. ||2||
jio jio naamaa har gun oucharai ||
As Naam Dev uttered the Glorious Praises of the Lord,
bhagath janaa(n) ko dhaehuraa firai ||3||6||
the temple turned around to face the Lord's humble devotee. ||3||6||
He further prayed,
mo ko thoo(n) n bisaar thoo n bisaar ||
Please do not forget me; please do not forget me,
thoo n bisaarae raameeaa ||1|| rehaao ||
please do not forget me, O Lord. ||1||Pause||
aalaava(n)thee eihu bhram jo hai mujh oopar sabh kopilaa ||
The temple priests have doubts about this, and everyone is furious with me.
soodh soodh kar maar out(h)aaeiou kehaa karo baap beet(h)ulaa ||1||
Calling me low-caste and untouchable, they beat me and drove me out; what should I do now, O Beloved Father Lord? ||1||
mooeae hooeae jo mukath dhaehugae mukath n jaanai koeilaa ||
If You liberate me after I am dead, no one will know that I am liberated.
eae pa(n)ddeeaa mo ko dtaedt kehath thaeree paij pishha(n)ouddee hoeilaa ||2||
These Pandits, these religious scholars, call me low-born; when they say this, they tarnish Your honor as well. ||2||
thoo j dhaeiaal kirapaal keheeath hai(n) athibhuj bhaeiou apaaralaa ||
You are called kind and compassionate; the power of Your Arm is absolutely unrivalled.
faer dheeaa dhaehuraa naamae ko pa(n)ddeean ko pishhavaaralaa ||3||2||
The Lord turned the temple around to face Naam Dev; He turned His back on the Brahmins. ||3||2||

That temple is still rotated. This is the symbol of the true love of God towards His true worshiper.

Moola Khatree And Guru Nanak Dev Ji Mahraaj

Moola Khatree lived in a village visited by Guru Nanak Dev Ji.

Guru Ji wrote on a piece of paper, ‘Is living true or is death true?”

Bhai Mardana Ji took it around the village to get and answer only a trader called Moola wrote an answer, he said that only dying was true.

Guru Nanak Ji came and asked him if he would live by what he wrote but he said he had only written it for fun. Gradually he became a devout follower always by the side of Guru Nanak Ji, he wouldn’t even go home to his wife.

She became ill and Guru Nanak Ji told Moola to go home. Next time Guru Ji came to their house, he knocked on the door. Moola’s wife told Moola to hide in the store room, she was afraid she’d lose him again. She lied to the Guru by sayin Moola had gone out.

Moola had turned his back on his Guru and uffered a fatal bite by a snake in the storeroom where he was hiding.

His wife repented, and Guru Ji in his mercy said, “I will save him in my tenth form.”

At the place where the Gurdwara Shikaar Ghat now stands, Guru Gobind Singh Ji shot an arrow into a passing rabbit, when questioned by his Siksh why he’d killed an innocent animal, Guru Ji explained that it was Moola and he had liberated his soul.

Miracle During World War II

From abstracts of Sikh Studies, published by Institute of Sikh Studies, Chandigarh The Khalsa Samachar New Delhi, Translation by Colonel Amrik Singh.

In 1964, when some of the holy weapons of Guru Gobind Singh Ji were brought back from England, an Englishman, in complete Sikh form accompanied the weapons. The Englishman was asked by someone the reason for his adopting the Sikh form. Was it due to respect for the weapons or was there any other reason? The explanation given by him at Gurudwara Bangla Sahib is being reproduced for the benefit of the readers.

“My name was A. David. I happened to be commanding a Sikh Regiment during World War II. My Regiment suffered very heavy losses fighting the Germans. Most of the soldiers of my Battalion were killed. Only a few survived and we were all surrounded by the Germans. As there were very remote chances of our survival, I called the Subedar major of the Battalion and informed him about our precarious situation. Death was facing us and there was no chance of our survival. I suggested to him that the soldiers should individually attempt to escape from the enemy encirclement and save their lives.

The Subedar Major replied, “We cannot bring ignominy to the Sikh Regiment by running away from the battlefield.” However, he had a suggestion that they should perform “Akhand-Path” ceremony and take action as per the Divine Hukam (Holy-Command). Accordingly, necessary security arrangements were made and the “Akhand-Path” ceremony was completed without interruption. After the supplicatory Ardas (Prayer), the Divine Hukam from the Holly Book was explained to me by Subedar Major and the Granthi (Religious Teacher). As per the divine Hukam, we should not abandon the battlefield, victory will be ours.

“Then I conveyed to them the miracle that I had witnessed during the supplicatory prayer. While standing with my eyes closed during the Ardas, a fully armed Sikh on a horseback with a unique grandeur appeared in front of me and ordered “Follow me”. I pointed out the direction in which the fully armed Sikh went after giving the order and asked them about the identity of the warrior. The Subedar Major said that as per my description, he was none other than Guru Gobind Singh Ji Mahraaj.

“So, we got ready and launched an attack in the direction pointed out by the Guru. After a short while, we were able to break through the German encirclement and save ourselves. We then got in touch with the Brigade Commander on wireless and requested for additional help.

“After the war, I reflected upon the incident and the divine personality who had saved me and my men’s lives from an impregnable enemy encirclement in a desperate situation by ordering me to follow him. I made up my mind to follow him for the rest of my life. I resigned from the Army and along with my daughter, embraced Sikhism with the initiation ceremony of the Khalsa.

Now my name is Devinder Singh and my daughter’s name is Surjit Kaur. This is due to the blessings of Guru Gobind Singh Ji that he took pity on us and made us his disciples.”