I heard this shabad in the Malton Gurdwara Sahib:
“Who is our mother, and who is our father? Where did we come from?
We are formed from the fire of the womb within and the bubble of water of the sperm. For what purpose are we created?
O my Master, who can know Your Glorious Virtues?
My own demerits cannot be counted (Pause).
I took the form of so many plants and trees and so many animals.
Many times I entered the families of snakes and flying birds.
I broke into the shops of the city and well-guarded palaces; stealing from them, I snuck home again.
I looked in front of me, and I looked behind me, but where could I hide from You?
I saw the banks of sacred rivers, the nine continents, the shops and bazaars of the cities. Taking the scale, the merchant begins to weight his actions within his own heart. As the seas and the oceans are overflowing with water, so vast are my own sins.
Please shower me with Your Mercy and take pity upon me. I am a sinking stone- please carry me across!
My soul is burning like fire and the knife is cutting deep.
Prays Nanak, recognizing the Lord’s Command I am at peace, day and night.” (Ang 156, Guru Nanak Dev Ji.)
I am awe-struck at how Guru Ji explains the game of life. In this shabad, Guru Ji explains everything from our origin (God), to the 8.4 million reincarnations in which we lived as different life forms, and the paaps committed in them. Then Guru Ji explains that by coming into Hukam we clean the mind of these past deeds and fulfill our purpose. One of the Gurmukhs I met explained how Naam is the food for the mind, and just like we work to earn food for the body we do naam japna to earn food for our minds (Naam). Giani Sant Singh Maskeen Ji explains that singing God’s praises is not God’s need but ours. Unlike people who get a really inflated sense of ego from praise, God does not grow any greater or lesser from our praise. Gurbani says, “Even if everyone were to gather together and speak of Him, He would not become any greater or lesser (Ang 9)”. We sing to clean our minds, to be at peace, and to be one with God (Jeevan mukht).
“Why should I come into the world again? Coming and going is by the Hukam of His Command; realizing His Hukam, I shall merge in Him.”
Since we have forgotten our origin and we have forgotten the game, we need to remind ourselves why we are here. Last night I attended Bhai Yadvinder Singh Ji’s jatha’s final program in Canada. Veerji said that by sitting in sangat we remember and find who we are again. This is an extremely powerful statement if we reflect on it. I know for me, sitting in sat sangat over this last year and being more involved has really helped me remember my origin and the game of life. This whole process has made me comfortable in my own skin and confident to a degree that I never was before, which feels really good! Loving yourself is not really possible if we don’t understand our real origin is Waheguru. Life feels more joyful, blissful, and just “lighter” the deeper the remembrance goes. I feel like a plant that was wilting and suddenly got watered.
“If only someone would come and introduce me to Him, the Rejuvenator of my breath of life. I cannot survive without seeing my Beloved. My eyes are welling up with tears.”
Typically when we go to the Gurdwara we sit but we let our mind wander and then we go home. Some of the experiences I have had over this last week really emphasized for me how collectively speaking together and singing in sangat keeps our mind inside, from wandering away (in addition to keeping your eyes closed or focused on reading Gurbani). While we were doing simran together I think it was the first time I actually felt everyone collectively breathing in and out at the same time for saas-graas simran and I really connected to the fact that this life breath comes from Waheguru. Tears were running pretty much continuously down my face the whole time, because it was the most intensely beautiful experience of simran that I have had. We should all allow ourselves to have these experiences. Gurbani tells us over and over that the feeling that you get is indescribable in words- you have to experience it for yourself. This is what we came to this world for. The pleasures of maya cannot parallel such an experience. We should get together in our own families and at our homes and Gurdwaras to sing kirtan and do simran together and invite others to join us.
Last year, I wrote about my experience at the Sarab Rog Ka Aukhad Naam camp. Similarly, at that camp the entire sangat sings shabads together (and shares experiences about how the treasures in Gurbani changes lives). For many people who are attending, it’s a life-altering experience because it becomes a starting point to learn more about Gurbani and people experience for the first time an understanding of the power of sangat and the basics of keeping the mind focused inwards. I know for me, from the time I went to camp last year, my knowledge and love for Gurbani has increased exponentially. My appreciation for the gifts God gives us grew a thousand fold just when I was sitting in sangat those three days- my appreciation for being born into a Sikh family, for having the Guru Granth Sahib Ji as our guide, for having had the chance to listen to kathas, meet Gurmukhs, and learning (remembering) how this game is played! Some people spend their whole lives not remembering the rules of the game God sent us in, not understanding our purpose. We are so blessed that we have our Guru Ji as our guide to remind us of our path. So I think the main points that I really wanted to pass on from the beauty of my own experience is that I wish the same for all of you. I wish I could spread the love I have in my heart to each and every person. Each of us should share our knowledge about Gurbani and experiences with other people. For example I have been taking my family to simran, reading books to them, having discussions etc. It helps to ask and answer questions together. That allows us to collectively learn and grow towards our purpose. The Guru Granth Sahib Ji is for all of humanity, so let’s learn and spread the knowledge from what we learn. Let’s do simran and sing kirtan together, and most importantly remember our root at all times, Waheguru.
Here is a link to Bhai Yadvinder Singh Ji’s program from yesterday. https://www.facebook.com/yadwindersinghpmkcmoga/videos/1369016833152119/
Lastly, reminder about the Rainsbhai Kirtan at the Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara Sahib on Saturday night!
Sarah Rog Ka Aukhad Naam camp: