In my last post about Guru Nanak Dev Ji, talked about Naam Japo (remember God), Vand Shako (share what you earn), and Kirat Karo (earn an honest living). Let’s examine the first, Naam Japo. It seems quite simple to remember God, but not many Sikh youth nowadays take out the time to do their prayers, and keeping your mind focused is another task entirely. This is demonstrated by the following Sakhi from http://www.sikhs.nl/downloads/english/sakhi%20series.pdf
“When Guru Nanak returned home Guru ji gave away most of his possessions to needy people spent a good deal of his time in meditation and satsang. On one occasion he was asked: ‘Are you a Hindu or a Muslim?’ Guru Nanak replied, ‘With respect to my body, neither. I am no different from Hindus or from Muslims, but the divine light which is unceasingly shining within me (and in everybody) is neither Hindu nor Muslim.’
One time on a Friday, the holy day of the Muslims, the Nawab and other Muslim courtiers were going to the mosque to do their routine prayers (namaz). A Muslim cleric said that if Nanak believed in only one God, Allah, then he should join them in prayer in the mosque. So Guru Nanak went to the mosque with them and stood in the line of Muslim worshippers.
‘Deora Masit soi, Pooja namaz ohi’ --> Temple and Mosque are the same, Hindu way of prayer and the muslim method of prayer are the same
During the prayer the worshippers bent down and put their heads on the ground to show their servitude to Allah, but Guru Nanak stood in silence without taking part in the namaz. After the prayers the Muslim cleric questioned Nanak: ‘We showed our respect to God. Why did you not partake in this with us?’
Baba Nanak replied, ’I did take part in the prayer but both of you did not.’ Then he explained ‘Your mouth indeed was murmuring the prayers, but your mind was intent on your mare which today has given birth to a colt. Your mind was filled with fear lest the newborn colt might fall in the well. Now, you tell me, how can this kind of prayer be accepted by God?’ The cleric felt embarrassed and was mortified.
The Nawab, who was listening to the conversation, asked Nanak, ‘Tell me, will my prayer be accepted in the heavens?’ Baba Nanak replied, ‘Your mind also was not in the prayer. You were anticipating the arrival of the horses that you have ordered from Kandahar. Your mind was distracted by concerns about buying and selling horses.’ The Nawab responded with exasperation, declaring: ‘Nanak is a mystic, he is a prophet. But, this is my misfortune -- he was my minister but now he has become a fakir!’ Guru Nanak Dev then advised them that true worship is a matter of the heart and not of formal ritualism. According to Guru Nanak ‘There can be no worship without performing good deed.’ Both admitted the truth of Guru's statements and the Nawab cried aloud to the Qazi,’Thou seest not Khuda (God) speaking to us through Nanak?’ The Muslims perform five Namaz at five different times a day. The Guru addressed the meaning and virtue of Namaz: ‘Five prayers thou sayest five times a day, With five different names; But if Truth be thy first prayer, The second to honestly earn your daily living, The third to give in God's name, Purity of mind by thy fourth prayer, And praise and prayer to God thy fifth; If thou practiseth these five virtues, And good deeds be thine Kalma- the article of faith, Then thy can call thyself a true Muslim. By mere hypocrisy, O Nanak, A man is deemed false through and through.’ (Majh ki Var Mohalla 1, p-141)”
In Summary, I think many of us admit that even if we do attend the gurdwara, and do our prayers that our minds are elsewhere. When something good happens in our lives very few of us have the first thought as “Thank you Waheguru!” instead it would be to tell our friends, tell our family, then MAYBE we would think about what God has done for us. Let us refocus and remember God and what gifts he has given us. Even if that means consciously starting with taking out time to appreciate what we have before we go to bed. Then focusing on our prayers. Letting our minds truly concentrate. Thinking about God at our meals. Thinking about God when good and bad happens in our lives. And finally, transitioning to remembering Him at all times. I think that this is a much greater task than most people appreciate.