Continued from "Mulmantra: The Epitome of Japji Sahib"
Guru Nanak’s Japji Sahib - II
Pauri – 1
Soche Soch Na Hovai
Je Sochi Lakh Var
Chupe Chup Na Hovai
Je Lai Raha(n) Liv Tar
Bhukhia(n) Bhukh Na Utari
Je Banna(n) Puria(n) Bhar
Sahas Sianpa Lakh Hohi
Ta Ik Na Chale Nal
Kiv Sachiara Hoiai
Kiv Kurai Tute Pal
Hukam Razai Chalna
Nanak Likhiya Nal
Thinking does not comprehend Him,
if one thinks a million times [*]
Prolonged silence and meditation
does not tranquil the mind
The hunger of the soul stops not
with loads of bread to appease
In (search of eternal truth) the end
intellectual smartness also stays behind
How can then we realize the Truth
and destroy the veils of illusion
It is so written: to live in obedience
of His Divine Will
Guru Nanak explains that God cannot be thought. Thoughts work on concepts, debates and arguments in the world of mind. God cannot be seen through thoughts even one was to think a million times. One thought will lead to another and another creating a large web comprising of several superfluous ideas, arguments, debates – each one riding the crutches of its own ego to somehow win over the other − but not towards God. Similarly forced extended silence and meditation does not tranquil the mind in absolute sense as once the “exercise” is over, the mind starts wandering around, all over again. When satiety, alas, remains a theorized sojourn − greed keeps driving the mind regardless of the amount of wealth one may amass − how can the hunger of soul be appeased with mere loads of bread. All arguments, tricks, cleverness and intellectual smartness stay behind at the time of death.
The end, besides physical death, is the eternal search of truth. This search is possible by conforming to the teachings of the preceptor, the Guru. In our work-a-day mundane life, we observe that we all claim to believe in our holy book(s) but when it comes to our actions, they are not necessarily in conformation of the book. We claim to believe “the book” but never follow it. Verily, because of our attachment and influences of the sensory perceptions, our ego − in the garb of “individuality” – tempts and misguides us. Resultantly we ignorantly violate the tenets given to us, thereby leading a life of conflict, confusion, chaos and disharmony.
Thus, with all this commotion going on in our lives, how can one realize one’s true self which is the microcosm of the eternal truth or God? The pertinent question then arises is how to destroy that veil of illusion or ignorance.
It is when we understand all the above, that Hukum Razai Chalna gets crystalized. Hukum here means the Divine Order – an order with which the entire cosmos operates. Isn’t it the Divine Order that ensures the sunrise every day, the change of seasons with precise regularity? One can write a whole book on the Divine Order. If the entire cosmos operates under the grandeur of the Divine Order, Guru Nanak teaches us that we too should also live our lives by following the Divine Order. By following the Divine Order, we learn to live in obedience of the divine will (total surrender of oneself to the Supreme), in harmony and peace.
Here I will reflect on the name of “Nanak”. My grandmother always said, simply understand the meaning of the name “Nanak” and transform your life. Na+nak = No Nose. “Badi Oonchi Nak Hai Uski” in Hindi means the person carries a lot of pride or is egoistic. The nose is the subliminal symbol of power and ego in most of the cultures. My grandmother’s advice to me was that every time I heard the name “Nanak” it should serve as a constant reminder to me and that I should consciously strive to become egoless if I aspired to lead a harmonious and peaceful life.
This may sound like a funny anecdote, but when I contemplate on this idea, the more clarity and conviction I get that only an egoless Guru Nanak could have said gracefully, lovingly and with an absolute faith, “Hukum Razai Chalna” i.e. to lead our lives in obedience of the Divine Order.
It may not be out of place to mention that majority of the succeeding Gurus in Sikhism, instead of using their own names as the byline of their verses, attributed it to “Nanak”. This shows two things – a) an absolute reverence to Guru Nanak, the First Sikh Guru; and b) a perpetual reminder to always remain egoless.
Pauri – 2
Hukami Hovan Aakar
Hukam Na Kahiya Jai
Hukami Hovan Jiv
Hukam Mile Vadiyai
Hukami Uttam Nich
Hukam Likhe Dukh Sukh Paiyeh
Ikna Hukami Bakshish
Ik Hukami Sada Bhuvaiyeh
Hukme Andar Sabh Ko
Bahar Hukam Na Koi
Nanak Hukame Je Bujhe
Te Haumae Kahe Na Koi
All forms get created
by His inexpressible divine will
Life breeds and progresses
by His divine will
Highs and lows; joys and sorrows
are His divine will
His Will gives deliverance to some;
while others grope in cycle (of birth and death)
Everything is within His Divine Order
nothing is without
whoever deciphers His will
annihilates the ego’s ills.
In this Pauri Karta Purakh from the prologue gets crystallized. God is and He is the sole doer. He is the creator and He is the enjoyer. It is His Will that all that is, occurs in multitude of forms and shapes. It is also His Divine will and order that life breeds, progresses and attains greatness. It is again His Divine will, as providence, that some get deliverance (jeevanmukta – liberated while alive) whereas many remain chained in the cycle of birth and death (suffering from the dualities of life, endlessly).
Guru Nanak proclaims that everything that we comprehend (see and hear) is due to the divine order and will of God. There is nothing that does not come under this ambit. One, who realizes this, does not then cling to the mundane “I” − the ego. Then with clarity one ceases to proclaim ‘I am the doer’ and instead accepts all that happens as the Supreme Will of God.
Pauri - 3
Gave Ko Tan Hove Kise Tan
Gave Ko Dat Jane Nisan
Gave Ko Gun Vadiyaian Chaar
Gave Ko Vidiya Vikham Vichaar
Gave Ko Saje Kare Tan Khe
Gave Ko Jiv Lae Phir De
Gave Ko Jape Dise Dur
Gave Ko Vekhe Hadra Hadur
Kathana Kathi Na Aave Tote
Kathi Kathi Kathi Koti Koti Kote
Denda De Lande Thak Pae
Juga Jugantar Khaie Khaye
Hukami Hukam Chalae Rah
Nanak Vigse Beparvah
Some sing His glory, realizing His power
Some sing His giving realizing His effulgence
Some sing His greatness philosophically
Some sing He fashions body
and reduces it to dust
Some sing He destroys and again creates
Some sing that He appears very far
Some sing He is omnipresent face-to-face
However, one may say,
There is no end to sing about Him.
He keeps giving while the recipients get weary
In all ages His creation consumes
By His cosmic law, the universe spins
Blissfully He enjoys.
God is inexpressible and remains undefinable. How can a man who himself is not complete talk about the Complete? Whatever and howsoever much man may say, his expression of God, his prayers of gratitude will still remain inadequate. No wonder, after a lot of reading, researching, experimenting and exploring, a man thinks he is somewhere but finds himself nowhere.
In this Pauri, Guru Nanak says that the multitude is worshipping and glorifying God, giving an endless expression in its diverse, yet limited understanding.
Some say, He is powerful as they feel His power. The beneficiaries say He is the benefactor. Many say He is the cause of life, living and death. He is the breath of the breath. Some say He is far, while some say He is ever-present.
Everyone is singing in his own way and there seems to be no end to His eternal song.
Through all ages (past, present and future) God only gives, while his creation simply consumes even though they get weary and tired. In other words God’s bounties are infinite and cannot be exhausted, regardless of how much they are consumed and enjoyed.
Guru Nanak ends the stanza affirming that by His command (the cosmic law), God causes his entire creation to move on the path of life, while carefree (blissful and untroubled) He enjoys. It does not mean that God is unconcerned. God is very much concerned as it is “ik Onkar” (God) that is “Satnam” (the Cosmos) – the manifested form of the formless that we call Absolute Existence. He cares but without any worries – carefree.
Let us for a moment peep in our own individual lives with an example. Every time we try to do something unbecoming, a voice from within echoes – “Don’t”. Whether we listen or even pay attention to that echo or not, that “caller” does not expect or await an answer from us. Give that “caller” any name, its voice echoes because it cares. Yet it is carefree, unattached, untroubled – the Witness.
Once again, Nanak – the one without ego – in his own inimitable way glorifies the Supremeness of the One Universal God and all modes of expressions in songs − howsoever partial or incomplete – are different paths trying to reach the same destination.
And, there is always infinitely more left to be sung!
Continued to "The Guru Solves the Riddle: Japji Sahib Part III"
* Some translations have been done to explain the first two lines of this Pauri as – One’s mind does not get purified (cleaned) even if one takes bath a million times.
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