MUSIC OF THE SOUL
In the following pages I try to incite what I, as a Sikh, a disciple of the glorious Gurus, have in a dim
way felt to be the rhythm of their life-giving hymns. As to its authenticity, it is what I imbibed with
my mother’s milk. Most of what I took into my subliminal mind by my association with Sikh song
and Life for the last forty-five years has now come out in a day or two, as fast as I could write. This
writing is like a nestful of birds coming in one swarm out of their eggs I feel this is the condensed
translation of a small portion of the Guru’s writings that has so impressed me. They are all flowers
of the Guru’s garden; I have only gathered some out of them in this particular mind-born
configuration of colour.
I know I am dealing with the untranslatable beauty of music of the soul, and yet I dare to put in
prose the poetry which is understood only when it is sung, and that, too, when sung by angels in the
soul of man, when it is heard chanted by him who is lost in it.
Guru Nanak could not live without inspirational music, as he always said, coming to him from
Heaven. And he said again, when they asked him about God, God lives upon music and wears
His hymns were to be heard from his lips or from the lips of his devotees. Brother Lehna2 heard his
name Guru Nanak–as being sung by a devotee on the riverbank, and there was a tempest of passion
in his soul. Thenceforward he loved the Name and he went and saw the Name and was forever lost
His hymns were sung–to sinner and saint alike. It will be sad if the worldly sense ever reduces his
healing message, like the Brahmans of old, to be heard by the saints only: Guru’s Word is for all; it
is the secret friend of a sinful Woman, no less than of the noblest purest womanhood. All human
beings, men and women, need comfort in this hard struggling life of sorrow and pain, and the
Guru’s Word has for them the deep solace of the soul. It fills those who are empty. It is pure
gladness. It is of the substance of joy.
To the Guru, the stars are the little pearls offered to God in the salver of sky held in his hands for
His worship, and the sun and moon are as lamps place in the this salver.3 This is Guru Nanak
standing in this sky-roofed Temple of God. All these are the stately mansions of his God. Winds
and waters sing to him of that Glorious Being. For the Guru, the leaves of the forest have the
eternal melody of the soul. In them is the eternity of joy. All space is filled with beautiful celestial
dancers, those maidens of the silver feet, and there is still deeper musk of the invisible. The unheard
is heard by him. The light, the mind, the earth, the sea, the rock excite him. His passion is rich, deep
and infinite. Nothing suffices. Life and death are merged into one in the fire of his passion. All
differences die in that one Glory, as waves die in the sea. And he is silent in his infinite wonder. His
pleasure is only of the unutterable, infinite pain of separation from the Divine Beloved.
He is the Guru, Enlightenment incarnate, fulfilled and completed. Incomparable, peerless. Bhai
Santokh Singh the Sikh poet, sends forth paean after paean of passionate praise and exhausts the
entire vocabulary of Braji poetry and still cries like a helpless child for the Guru. To him “He is the
Lord of all the Lords of creation.”
This Guru Nanak comes to us like a father, sweetly and simply, loving us as no one has ever loved
us. He sits by us like the teacher in a child-school and pours into us silently when we are asleep on
his knee as school children the whole mystery of the universe and love of God. He smiles at
robbers and thugs and they salute the eternal verity. He touches the sinner and the sinner rises,
realizing the God in himself.
The Guru teaches us through arousing in us our humanity and divinity. He makes large divinities of
our small sweet humanities, as affirmed at the opening of Var Asa. To him, the love of man and
woman is the most beautiful symbol of his own great love. He is glad when we, maddened by our
passion for the Beautiful Divine Beloved, embrace man and rock and river as one and live the life of
a willing death-in-love.
In these days of incessant desire for the pleasures of flesh, of wine, and of neglect of all that might
lift up man to a higher union to everlasting friendships, to infinite passions, to deeper thoughts than
those creeping on the “body consciousness”, to the vision that might still make of the physical
unions of man and woman also a holy of holies, a religion by itself, a prayer and a song as of old, let
me hope that these small sparks may yet fall on some inflammable material and set up a blaze. This
may turn inward the eyes of the modern world, so that we may yet come to the simple divine union
of man and woman in mutual surrender, to the noble unselfishness of the man who bears his cross
for others, and we may yet realize that this world is but a flickering shadow of the Higher Worlds
where all is love, peace, and music of union. True Religion is an after-effect of the joy of meeting
Him; character is self-realisation on seeing His vision.
Perfection comes by itself in the love of God. And love is always spontaneous. All systems try in
vain to create love by different methods of religious discipline. These have only led man into mazes
of inanity and spiritual atrophy. Love is the essential function of the soul–it is the soul.
The Guru’s Word, like God’s creation, is open to innumerable interpretations according to man’s
own soul-development. I can but give one, as I feel it in my soul. The message is of simple Truth.
Live and love! First of all it calls for a clean, simple life for good men, aye, for clean, good animals,
strong and healthy’ with a God-ward tendency. As the field of crops waits for wind, sunshine and
rain, so have we to open all the windows of our soul to the powers of inspiration and live as fearless
and as patient as the earth. Such inebriation is true life. The beauty of man and nature is enough to
keep us inebriated, and whatever we do when selfishness is lost in joy of the Beautiful, is service
both of God and Man, Too much knowledge might become heavy to bear, but one can never
exhaust the simple joy of being.
The body of man is the temple of God.5 We touch Heaven when we touch man. But the Guru says
man is a rare being, very rare indeed.
All nature waits with panted breath for him; she is in travail with him, He is the Guru, the Saviour.6
Love on this earth is jealous, so is the Love of God, jealous in its anxiety to protect the seeds of the
spiritual life. His name is written on the Face of Creation. Live uttering His Name, says the Guru.
Remembrance, Simrin is true holiness of love and we cannot live without clinging to the names of
those we love.
Between the Unseen World, and world of visible appearances is unity and harmony. There are
higher realms than this, says the Guru, where love reigns; there pervades the love of God truly is!
His presence is made manifest by the Guru and in the Guru. Without the Guru, all is dark. Love
needs a centre to revolve round, as energy needs a nucleus, even if it be a fictitious point made of its
own positive and negative balances. Without a Centre, there can be no moral life. Mere talking
about things great or small is not living; fancying oneself anything is not being. Thinking is
vaporous; the real need is for living what one thinks in one’s higher moments.
The realms of the spirit are lighted only for those in whose eyes lives the figure of the Guru. In the
Guru all the Immortals come and meet the disciple. In the Guru are resumed many universes of
life. To live for Him is real life; to live for oneself is “but a mere physical burning.”7
Idle are ideas of all-pervading unity if you have not realized His great love, in this beautiful diversity.
And to see the “other” in this universe of God, is sin.
If your eyes are full of Him and your heart is full of Him, vain is all talk of me and thee; the veil lifts
and there is no me, no thee, no one and no many.
Therefore, say not He is “one” or “many”, only look within if you have really Seen Him, if you have
touched His garments and if you have really felt blessed. Enough, if you are blessed.
What the Buddha and Christ thought, you too can think, but what the Buddha and Christ were, you
will need aeons to be and even after aeons perhaps may not be.
Emancipate yourself from the tyranny of lust, anger, greed and the vain sense of judgment of all
things. Secure your emancipation by any means you can. Good and evil do not touch you in the
passage through darkness, if your face is towards God and your direction is right. You are heated by
the feverish excitement of your little self–this is a veritable hell within you.
The Man who too remains long an individual becomes sour, bitter and poisonous. Seek the
company of men of God who will cure you of your sick self. Go and jostle in the joyous crowds
and your poison of mere individuality will be shed.
The Guru’s8 keeping a shop is symbolical of the Sikh life. It is the life of the Giver. It is to weigh
out store as the Guru did, and weighing away and giving away everything; but not knowing that one
is giving. The true throb of life is ripe intoxication.
The disciple, like the Guru, is rapturously saying all the time, “Thine, O Lord. Thine! Thine! Thine!
Thine! “Tera! Tera! Tera! Tera!9
While weighing and giving, both the self and the world is forgotten, entirely lost in the Song of
“Thine! Thine! Thine!” “Tera! Tera! Tera!”
The sense of “I” is lost in Thee. ‘Thee! Thee! Thine! Thine! Thine!’ Such is Guru’s intense dyna-
The Guru there yonder, Guru Gobind Singh the Liberator, is riding a charger and wearing a sword,
and there he is, dying as cheerfully as he lived; this time giving away not only stores, in his Tenth
Appearance, but life itself, not only the whole of his own, but all those whom the man holds dearer
than himself, and this too is the very same act of giving away.10
The Sikh is to fight for God and the Guru.
In the noble excitement of the idea that what he is doing is for love, whether in lyrical self-sacrifice
of his daily life or the impassioned fighting and death of a soldier, he only sings, “Thine! O Lord!
Thine! Thine! Thine!” “Tera! Tera! Tera!” He is lost in the Guru. When one is lost in this
beautiful infinity of love, what are acts? All acts are but acts of self-sacrifice, oblations at the altar of
God. It is dedication, incessant and complete to the highest. Such acts are pure.
Weighing stores, and giving away, and fighting and dying do become of equal value, in Guru
Nanak’s Song of “Thine O Lord; Thine! Tera.”
No act of the Sikh arises out of self-interest, for he is the mere vehicle of the Guru’s song, for he is
absorbed beyond his knowing in the Song of “Tera! Tern!”
No act of the Sikh arises out of self-interest, he is the mere vehicle of the Guru’s song, for he is
absorbed beyond his knowing in the Song of “Tera! Tera!”
Physical labour is the only way to transcend physical. Labour is true knowledge that resides in
human limbs, it is brought out by work. Work worship. Transcending the physical is to rise above
the physical in rest, in sleep, in ecstasy, in rapture the spiritual infinite by incessant labour. Bird
beast, man and tree are in physical labour to great end.
The Guru exalts all kinds of labour,11 he abhors indolence. There is indolence of body, there
indolence of mental life, of mere conceptions, both are not of the true spiritual activity. Service
through work is the best of thoughts–it is thought, personalized. Mere thinking is impersonal. Labour
is the worship both of man and God. Labour is perfume of life. In the Guru’s system, Labour is
the only right knowledge. Ecstasy that is not the fruit labour is superstition. Sweating is true
praying. Tolling bells and telling of beads is the mockery eternal truth.
Perception of beauty, and feeling an irresistible, spontaneous attracting towards it; realizing beauty
not so much physical as moral, not so much moral a intellectual as spiritual, realizing beauty is
Beauty is the song of self-sacrifice as it flowers in the human flesh, when blood and bone sing in
sweet union: “Thine, Tera, Tera.”
The Guru’s Tera! Tera! Tera! (Thine! Thin! Thine!) is the tune of the Infinite. It is the cry of
joyful dedication. This exuberance or spontaneous self-sacrifice is the life of the spirit. It is love of
Him. It sweetens life with a word, with a name. The Guru calls that irresistible, spontaneous,
untaught and untutored simple love of beauty, the Name, “Naming Him.” Beauty lies in the Name
of that Beloved.
Rapture felt within, sensation realized within as a subjective experience is true knowledge. True
freedom and true love is one. It is Simrin, “Remembrance of Him.” It is a state of higher, inspired
life–the spiritual state, the “fourth”12 as the Guru calls it. It comes to those who have been elevated
to the friendship of the higher unseen worlds of the soul. There are innumerable worlds beyond;
there is an infinite number of spirits and even ghosts there; there are saints and adepts and saviours
of men, gods and angels, just as there are thousands of species of living men and animals, birds,
trees and things here. To form friendships there, one has but to call upon Guru Nanak, to practise
Simrin or Remembrance of Him. This is the person of the Guru that saves one from a hundred
torments in the lower regions of the Unseen, and from the despair of dreary loneliness of the
Nam, the Guru says, “spreads the cool shade over the heads of the disciples in yonder realms where
there is so much heat and oppression.”13 And Nam is the passage to the best worlds beyond death.
“Nam is, therefore, the highest spiritual culture. Nam is the highest love. The highest realms beyond
are where the great lovers of God, these constantly uttering His Name, dwell and they are powerful
and they save men by the sheer might of their spirit.”14 They are kind, gentle, and merciful, and
oceans are not so powerful as they. Nam is literally “name” but we all live by names–our life and
history is sweetened by names. As here, so there.
Physical union takes place just for a moment, but the sweet memory of it lasts through both time
and space. Remembrance is true love and God melts to us in our remembrance, of Him. As here,
so there; He is ecstasy and spontaneous elevation come to our soul. This greatness to which the
Guru calls us is of the soul. It consists not in physical size or- mental calibre; nor in the expanse of
worldly wisdom and experience. It is not of the aristocratic art and refinement and the sick
aestheticism of the finite, or of the military arts of an Alexander or a Napoleon; nor is it of the
ghostly magic of acquaintances with mere spirits beyond these eyes of the lower death-worlds of
desire. Magic and miracle, power of any kind that subordinates others are attainments (‘tastes’) of a
very low level.15
This greatness that the Guru contemplates is of perfected humanity, of its love, beauty. It is of
freedom from desire, and of freedom from the inglorious self-aggrandisement of all kinds: it is of
the greatness of pure song, pure joy, pure goodness, singing “Glory, Glory to God.”16 The Guru
sings of the good, the pure, the beautiful; it is the Song of Love: “Thine! Thine! Thine!”
And peal after peal rises from the Guru’s heart for the man who has risen above the ego to the
Vision of such glory of God, and for the man, who, at every turn, is filled with the spiritual gladness
that says, Thy will be done.”17 It is moral perfection. It is selflessness of man in his noblest
manifestation. It is the victorious opposite of “Nature red in tooth and claw.”18
The Guru loves man and animal. To him they are great manifestations of the spirit, and he, with his
boundless sympathy, works them into the soul of a whole people as great truths.
When a thousand of us gathered together chant “Anand Sahib”19 of the third Guru, it seems we, men
and women are singing some eternal wedding song.
The Guru speaks of the land and the state where love reigns supreme, where angels gather in holy
songs; where beauty is all the music and truth and life; where service is gladness of soul as
intoxicating as drinking of wine, as exhilarating as love come to a beautiful maiden for the first time,
as her pure divine, budding, rosy youth; where there is no oppression, no compulsion, where each
has an unlimited kingdom, whose sovereignty is eternal.
Guru Nanak is our King of Heaven, and we can reach Him only through His love. “The Way,” says
the Guru, “is Nam and there is no other way.” Nam breaks the chains of the ego which make the
soul a prisoner in eternal loneliness. Nam liberates. In its solitude is society and in its society a
throbbing solitude. There is no liberty except in and with the company of the celestials who gather
in the magic garden of Nam. All life is an effort for this soul-fusion. Nam is union.
Nam is that by which our very flesh becomes a wind and a memory, by which our limbs are struck
dumb with the maddening relish of the touch of the flesh of God.20 Or is it body become soul,
meeting the Pure Soul?
Nam is a phenomenon of the soul which comes as the after-effect of the inner reaction that takes
place, under certain undetermined conditions, between the Guru and the Disciple. Guru Nanak
calls this reaction “Guru Prashadi!” 21 This reaction transmutes the metal to man, as the philosophers
store does. All merits and virtues, till this inner illumination comes, are but weariness of flesh. And
so are all vices. But after the soul-reaction, “Guru Prashadi” all is truly vindicated, all is truly re-
evaluated. The Guru is for giving a spiritual direction to humanity. Once directed God-ward, Guru-
ward, he leaves man alone to a free and unhampered development. Religiosity has been the curse of
the world and the worst bondage for the mind of man. He puts his disciples to farming, to wood-
cutting, to building cities, to raising new commerce-centres; and all the activity of men so directed,
the Guru calls religious. And he insists that the toilers on land or on sea should be holy as priests,
informed of God’s Beauty, who is love. Religion is the greatest freedom. The Guru does not say
“do this,” “don’t do that.” He only raises your face up to the Beauty of God and says repeatedly,
“Grow, little flower. Grow for ever. I work in your veins and arteries. I work in your soul. You be
what your vision shall be. I shall make you a man. I am determined to make you a god. This
invested man, transmuted man and God-directed Man is the embodiment of Nam!”
Remember, you are His. And knowing as a fact that He is and stands by you, in the field, on the
river bank, in your bed; and comforts you when you are distressed, live by the sweat of your brow.
Earn and distribute; this is the way of the good man.22
Be man, full of charity for all. Let there be no frontiers to your human sympathy. You are as much
of God as you have sympathy. Let mercy be your law of religion; He loves your law of life.
Men and women ! labour ye together on the fields singing the Guru’s hymns. Create the wheat
grains which are the sustenance of man; clothe him, feed him, give him comfort and rest when he
This is the first and most exquisite fragrance of the Guru. Praise the Creator. Be this your vocation.
Freely distribute your bread and song on the roadside of life. Hoard not. Trust the Guru. Call
upon Him who sustains the smallest insect in the stray crevices of rocks.23
Your share has been bestowed upon you. Fear not, be not anxious for yourself. The Guru looks
after you. Be such the renunciation of your selfishness. In difficulties, in times of need, call upon
me, I shall stand by you, says the Guru. And help will surely come to you from unexpected quarters.
Suffer death, hunger, nakedness with equal joy, for you have seen Truth when you have seen the
Guru, and for them who know Truth, the bread that sustains them is different.
You know how all inflict pain here to live themselves with ease. Such is the inertia of material life;
and when you suffer and refuse to inflict pain as others do, the whole Creation rejoices at sight of
you. In a holy man’s suffering there, is no meaning for people of little faith holy men suffer because
of a mandate from their God!
Sorrow is the share of the living saints. Know, there is no difference between God and His saints,
as the wave is not different from the sea. They live as a divine event in the chain of events whose
beginning and end is not visible ; live trusting yourselves to the Guru.
They call this. way the way of resignation to His will, but it is not so; it is the way of love that trusts
and doubts not. You live for Him, dedicated to Him; and it pleases you, since all that happens to
you is but His will and of His will.
To live with the Beloved One, and be His joy is the great desire of lovers.
Behold the Glory of Kartar, the Creator; all is well as it happens. All shall be well. God is the Guru
makes God manifest.
Let the blessed state of peace and repose be inspired by your full passion for the Guru, so that it
may cause you intense delight to live in Him, in His beauty; for love consists in drinking His beauty
under all outward conditions of life.
All outward conditions of life are passing; but love abides for ever and your realization of His Love
is thus everlasting.
And in the march of events, wait the coming of the Beloved to you in a real, vivid, personal
manner,, as a woman waits for her spouse who is gone away on his travels. And like her, be excited
inwardly with the joy and pain of love, yet outwardly be self-controlled, modest and self-possessed,
quivering with the eternal desire for union.
Like her, let your lips be sealed with the immensity of love. Let your eyes burn like hers, with the
light that calls with star-like mystery on the Divine Spouse.
When you have seen the Guru, conceal your passion like Nature itself, and let your beauty be seen
and felt in the whole of the silent you. Be your love-lit labour such! Without His Love, without
being wedded to Him, all labour is a curse.
All vital and creative rapture must be concealed; is so concealed by the very nature of things. For do
not men conceal the source of their transient pleasure? Conceal your raptures of spirit, soul, for it is
the music of the soul that is disturbed by descriptions, expositions and explanations, as well as by
vain and idle curiosity.
Talk not of your love; still less of your highest love, religion, for by talking of it you will waste it
Talk freely only of things which are unravelled by talking. Be gay and happy over matters of wit and
reason, and over matters which give you the understanding of each other.
What use is bandying words and wasting of breath on things and themes of which no one can tell
the meaning or the answer ?
What use describing the indescribable to those who have neither the ear to hear the Ineffable, nor
eyes to see the Unseeable, not that feeling with which a blind mother can feel the presence of her
son and thus see the Unseen and know the Unknowable?
Not these the markets for that jewel for these the buyers thereof. When there comes one, then
unlock the doors of your treasure–house and show your heaps of gems burning within.
Beware when you talk. There is power in you which makes a whole unreal universe of things look
so real. Later, this unreal assumes shapes of the real and you are flung away from the great realities
of your soul for the sake of very small things, by these petty delusions of your mind, by your vain
words. You are then separated from your Beloved.
So be quiet. Look up to Me, name Me, says the Guru. Call upon Me as children call on the mother,
for the cup of rapture and knowledge is in the hands of the Divine Spouse and He gives as He
Everything your soul needs by way of grace, beauty, knowledge, everything of My side of your life
goes from here; you must look up and be passive, wholly passive.
No help can be for you if you break not the barriers of the “ego”. Do not shut yourself through
pride of knowledge of the Not-self, against Me. This shutting up of your soul to Me turns all virtues
My religion is of naming Him; and those alone know of that Name, who have drunk of the cup of
My religion is His love and that love, too, is a thing of the soul, a light from the heart of that work of
God. It is the inebriation that is in the cup of the master. This love of God is the state of
fearlessness and the very immortality-in-flesh.24
This wine is of the inspiration of God arid they know of it who have drunk from the cup of the
Know, when man and woman think they are united, they are not. When the mother meets the son,
they meet not. Union of which I tell you is different, it is very rare. When the adamantine walls of
the ego fall, when the soul’s utter isolation is destroyed, when its chains drop, when the soul is free,
with God’s love and by His favour, the disciple fuses into the Guru, the Guru into the disciple.26 Of
this union that union is but a symbol when on rare occasions, man melts into woman, woman into
man. The intervals for the disciple are filled with the memory thereof as the veritable inspiration,
while for man and woman the interval is filled up by vain desire for this union again, which is
As two birds, male and female, shut in strong iron cages might flutter in vain within their cages to
meet each other, so do men and women try to be united to each other, but only the cages clash.
The cages break not, the souls fly not and there is no true union. In the disciple, it is submission to
that great ecstasy of union and the disciple is as a virgin still waiting for the Bridegroom to come and
meet her. The disciple has become a passionate song and a lyric, and the desire of union a vibration
of memory, a holy remembrance.
Lo! the moment has come and you have toiled up to this Grace of God. And the time is ripe, there
is the Husband raising to your lips the Cup. Drink, O Disciple! Behold the Sun, its falling from the
folds of the Sun-Turbaned Guru.
You have met Him. Henceforth no breath shall go in vain, even if you try to waste it in affairs of
darkness, for it would be as difficult for you to darken the Sun you have not seen, as it was for you
to make the Sun you had not seen, rise in the sky.
No step shall go astray, all steps shall go forward on the path in the direction from where your Sun
rises in your heart.
Sleep well, for you might meet him to whom you can send no message, from whom no message
comes to you.27
Sleep, for you way see that Beautiful one and your sleep shell be full of sweet dreams of Him.
Remember, I have no surface-name that all men and things have. I am he who sings love and sweet-
ness in your heart and soul, and this love and this sweetness never had a name. The honey of the
Divine Presence is its name. When I say, “Name Him” you know what is meant. Be not ignorant
and merely tell not beads!
Listen, thou disciple! Be so full of the nectar of God’s Name that you be like a living fountain,
where men and women may come to drink His Praise!
In the deep recesses of your soul let there be love, that is the sacred Name of God, dwelling in you.
If that be there, the life on earth, as you then might live it is all love, a living sing of Divine love.
Says the Lord: Those living in the lower worlds of desire, and ignorant of this soul-fusion, the Nam
shall know Me only through you, and from the beams of holiness that they may see on your face.
For to them who have not seen Me, I can be nothing more than a vague shadow of the past, unless
they come and see Me in you. The philosophers, I shall only be a ghost made up of vaporous
So, O disciple, you must be on earth as both you and Me. And this union of you and Me shall be
the figure of Nam, the Name of God, for those who are yet too deep in the valleys to have a glimpse
of the far off snows.
And I promise my company always to you, in the Name of God that you alone of others have heard
from my own lips. You have seen its colour, and it has the same shape, the same glow, the same
beauty. You are satisfied that the word is God. I am but a Song.
My song is Me. When you are singing My songs, I am with you. But all singing, all vain naming, I
tell you, has not and cannot have that meaning which it has after you have seen Me, touched Me,
and have drunk the wine of the cup of the Spouse. Without drinking of the cup, without fusing into
Me, even my song cannot have its true meaning clear to you. You will degrade it into superstition
and degenerate. I am as passionate for you as you are for the woman you love, and the woman
towards you; but you know the joy of true union is beyond both of you. Yet the joy rarely felt
provides you the union of remembrance through all days and nights. So shall it be with you and Me
and My word, through eternity. The soul-fusion where “I” and “You” are transcended is the true
song of Love. Know, therefore, O disciple that they shall sense me in your labours. They shall not
know Me from you by word of mouth, even as you never knew me by any word of mouth.
You have taken long to come to me; remember, how much you toiled and longed for and sought
and worked and laboured and cried for Me! Seeing you for your sake they shall now be spared all
that agony of love you have gone through. Their way is easier, for one amongst them has found the
way. But they shall find it only in the infinite gladness of your being, and their not knowing is but
Conceal, therefore, my name from all who do not yet know me, and publish the nameless spirit that
is human love become divine in your presence, and by your presence, and in you manifested.
Do not confine God in names that have no meaning. Confine not God who is Love, in the lines of
colour and creed. He is beyond form and feature and colour!28
Those who did not know Me, divided man into groups and sects to be separate and alone by them-
selves; it was the sowing of hatred. Religion thus become the curse of man, his worst bondage.
And all hatred is due to their having preached their names and sowed not the name of God, the
great name of love, in the soul of man.
Therefore, O disciple, beware lest you preach empty names, Preach if you can, but union is un-
preachable; it can only be effected. You cannot preach, you can only be it !
Let your love and labour and your aching silence publish the Name of God like the stars that shine
and yet are silent. Their silence imparts eternity to their message!
Till they have seen Me, their surface vices and virtues are of’ little worth; their reading of scriptures
on the river banks, in yellow, pure silk,29 is as good as the singing of the dancing-girls in the theatre
halls; centres of religion are as much the cause of death of the soul as gambling dens; the
humanitarian is on the same earth, on the same plane of existence as that in which the depraved
Street woman lives; her physical compulsions are exactly those of a great scholar or of a pious man.
A new spiritual life opens before them only when the dawn of soul breaks upon them. Guru
Parshad30 and the sun of Love rises without reckoning the deeds of men; we may say the Sun knows
not the names and deeds of darkness. It only knows its own light and the flowers that blow in the
blithe morning. As the Sun is born for you, out of the gloom of night, so who knows–a man, a
woman may shine out of the dark depths of what you call vice? Therefore, judge not I Sometimes
the highest powers are born in a vicious environment and are bred there, as a tree growing in filthy
land may bud with all its canopy and spread its shades over a temple of God. The secret of Truth of
life is in the Guru’s love of you, not in your love of Him: in the Guru’s acceptance of you, not of
your acceptance of Him.
I, many times, love to accept the flowers offered to me by even a harlot; I love to accept the acute
prayer in the faint groans of a dying doe, in the last cry of a sinner; but the eloquent words of priests
offering prayers, and burning incense at their altars offends me.
There are times when antelopes in distress; aye, snakes in pain–know Me more than men.
The sparrow that fills her beak with water from the running river and looks up to the empty sky
finds Me in her allayed thirst more than men in their acute thirst for knowledge of Me.
Hence, be not proud that you are more than birds of the air and beasts of the forest and trees.
At times the birds’ vain flying and rushing upwards reaches Me more than the glistening, lofty spires
of your temples.
The shade of trees is a city to Me and your cities but heaps of burning desire, that are falling to
ashes. Animals in their dumb longing for Me are hymns of silence and their music delights my
heart. The music of your harps and citharas and guitars is heaviness that drives Me out into the
wilderness of pines, where the passing winds strike the music of God and I feel refreshed.
The little ant has silver anklets on her feet, you have not seen them; I hear her lyrics of prayer
sooner than the trumpetings of wild, strong elephants.31
O disciples, be not proud and vain of your piety and worship of Me; nor of your moral elevation
over others. Do not judge alt from your own knowledge of the absolute; there are many ways of
knowledge of the Absolute. Many are the mere accidents of life through which men find the way to
Me. At times accidents open the royal roads to Me.
Idol worship! I kiss the maiden come for the first time to bathe that shapeless stone with milk and
water with her hands, but she has come unconsciously naming Me in her soul. No one has heard
her utterance; neither you nor she herself and she knows not that I have met her; only she feels
supremely happy. The moment of this supreme happiness comes to all, even those wrapped in
many-coloured rags of superstitions. As in the cloud, the lightning spark is hidden and burns it not.
So in frail superstitions of wind-blown hair, the half-closed eyes of joy, the unsteady steps of a
devotee, the insane melting away, melting away into some one not yet seen, I live and meet all. You
have not found me yet.
If some think they meet Me on the heights, they are mistaken, for I live in small huts in the valleys
below, and they climb the heights in vain.
I am both the soil–tiller who looks up to the Sun, the stars, kisses his wife and child; and anon is
naked and starved; and I am the jewel-wearer, the king, who is locked in the embrace of pleasures. I,
too, love pleasures and that is why I will make you, though ground down by misery, happy.
But if you seek Me in pleasure, I am the lonely anchorite, despising the rotten, putrid odours of flesh
that you love to kiss, thinking to kiss me. You have not found me yet.
Deny your natural charity of heart and mind to no one. Enquire no one’s claims to your gifts of
kindness and forgiveness. Give! Give! Give! God is the Giver. To be like God, you must give.
And you cannot be yourself till you have given the whole of yourself to the Guru, and still you make
ready to hold yourself in perpetual joy of His service. No self-sacrifice or self-surrender shall be
enough for your joy in Me. Are you so happy? Then know you have met me. Be as the clouds of
mercy, fly as rainless vapour or when so hidden, break like a rain of mercy; wait for the signal of the
Guru and obey.
Be as the tree, send your roots into the being of the Guru, slowly absorbing His essence in the dark,
unknown infinite soil of life; and go on absorbing for aeons the pleasure of Me, without ever getting
weary. For every breath will be new to you because of Me. Only will they be tired and fatigued, who
have not tasted Me in the Infinite.
Remember, I am the sweetness of all things.
Spread your leaves, breathing Me as the Light of Heaven, and thus naming Me forever, be as full
blown flowers, with your veins full of the warmth of eternal spring!
So grow in yourself the Guru, and give shade, give fruits and flowers and simple welcome of your
full-grown branches to those who come weary of their travels of life, to whom life is still a torment.
Under your shade, for a while, let them have the comfort of God that they find nowhere else; let
them have, under your shade, the quiet solace that is found nowhere in the excitement of senses or
the intellect or art or even in the loves of men with women, that pass as the excitement of Spring.
And let them have the quiet solace of the Guru’s bosom, who in autumn and dreary winter have
come to know that all relations, the lovers of the wayside were too self-engrossed were mere
shadows of a far-off memory. Let them know all were too poor to give that gift to love that holds
its votaries in its arms beyond death and through all the storms that rage over the head of man, and
clings to him to save him despite all his faults and imperfections.
Let also those, who find at last that these relations of the waking illusions are not of love, but of
passing likes and dislikes of a transient and unreliable self, have from you the glimpse of the Guru’s
grace. And let it be also the share of those who loved and lost, having seen the Beloved from their
own angle, and once strayed from that angle, were rendered incapable of loving Him. Give it to the
wife cast out when she turned her heart away from her husband, and to the husband left by the wife
when a lovelier person was found. Give to all such weary travellers the foretaste of the GURU’s
great love that, like the sunlight, embraces all and asks neither name nor deed nor even that
faithfulness of conventional mores that man needs by way of requited love.
Man always longs to be faithful to the highest in him and that is why you find him so often faithless
to his own ill-made choices. But the Guru’s love goes on for aeons, following those who turn their
back on Him, and goes gathering the wanderers as the shepherd searches the strayed sheep and
brings all home and comforts them.
Great is God’s love; no mother can love her child more. God runs bare-footed from Heaven to
save a crying elephant from the teeth of death, and there He flings His shining disc to save the living
from the jaws of death.32
His shining spear33 are flung into the empty gulfs, into the gaping mouths of dead darkness of
And night flies before the dawn that breaks from the brow of the Guru.
Death is conquered! Rejoice!
Think not of miracles, for in no sense can you reach the significance of the Guru as the miracle–
worker. If He choose not, you will never know Him by miracles.
But you have seen all miracles when you have seen the Guru. The Guru is the greatest miracle-
worker. He pours love into your soul and makes you see what you had never seen before.
If the birth of the sun in the morning, the moon at night, and the wonder of the stars shining in the
heart of black night give you not enough of the wonder of “Whence? O Whither?”, then the shock
-to your reason given by the little stirring of the Infinite in the consciousness of man would not
impart to you the true knowledge of that great wonder.
Your curiosity is as a simple rustic that never needs any real knowledge; it always judges in its own
way and passes. Know you, that healing the sick, raising the dead, walking on waters, flying in the
air, reading the minds of man, insect, or animal, subjugating beasts by the magic wand–all this can
create no greater faith in hidden things than all that you do kindles wonder in you. After a while,
you pay no heed to such miracles, for you love your little humanities more than those wonders that
are in the touch of the dust of the men come from the higher worlds you yet know not of.
The true miracle is when the Guru sends a man down from His realms; all that he does is miracle He
himself is a miracle. He is always, in all ages, whenever. He appears amongst you, more than all that
you had seen or heard or done before; and yet He is a man like you. Only, whatever He says comes
to pass, whatever He touches is made whole with the ease with which you wink your eyes You
remember his wonderworking humanity for centuries and yet you can never do what He did and in
the way in which He did. Seek you therefore, the wonder of Creation and if you truly see and wait,
there can be no end to the wonder of our unknown destiny.
Wonder fills the mind of man with the light that no one has yet seen, with the sound that no one has
yet heard. You hear names that no one has yet pronounced. The thrill of love comes to your soul
that no one has ever before yet sensed. And new meanings of yourself and life and death dawn in
your heart, such as no one had ever read to you. You read yourself! You have no need to read what
others read for you.
Know you, that believing is always blind, but it is the blindness that can feel its way onward by an
omniscient touch; it can grope! The blindness that steps forward is better than the idle wish to see
the path that winds beyond a million stars with the broken lamps of the mind’s eyes, of the reason
that dies at night.
Long is the journey and far away the Mansion of the King of Love. Blind or lame, man or woman,
up! You have to travel the path on your own feet, on hands or heads; the light of the way shines on
your blind going on!
Therefore, you disciples, believe when I tell you, there is a world beyond this world; there is a Sun
beyond the Sun, a life beyond life. Your present toy-realities here will be as faint illusions beyond
recall there, and what here are the illusions of the dreams of the prophets and the faithful, the mere
chimeras of the fancies of God’s devotees, will be mighty realities there.
What is day here is night there; the night there is day here.
Here the miracles seem to you so ordinary, and many of you toil so hard all your lives to gain the
power of subjugating and overwhelming all by some stray uncommonness; there every waving of an
arm is as the shower of blessing, every glance full of the enchantment of love, and no one shall have
the leisure from the deep raptures of union with Him even to think. What need then has one for
power or for authority? In that slumber of joy, are not prince and pauper alike?
With God, all are happy and free. Poverty is not easy anywhere. We need be poor to be truly noble
here to show what misery is the happiness of the rich; but we shall be happy and all-sufficient unto
ourselves. Here the rich are miserable and small of soul; heaps of gold do not make men rich; they
are poor wretches, more miserable than the poor and all are self-deceived. But up there none is
poor; the joy of heaven makes kings of all. There each one has a kingdom so infinite that no one
else can assail it with the violence of might.
God is a lord, an absolute monarch, who makes many like Himself joy in His absolute monarchy.
Poor indeed, is the vision of those miserable levellers of things high and low who think Him as poor
and miserable as those that are made to grovel in abject squalor here on earth.
Those of you who seek by being poor to reach God, and those of you who seek to rob others to be
rich and comfortable also to reach God–both do not know what is in Heaven. That lustre of the
soul is yet unknown to you!
The rich are dead to it, and the poor have not reached it. Your asking alt to be poor contains not
yet the visions of the reality beyond; for it is all different from what you think.
As mere dying and living is of no consequence, mere arranging and rearranging of the heaps of
wealth can have but idle intent.
Be poor, if you feel you are thereby nearer the Guru, and with equal reason, be rich if you feel you
are thus nearer Him.
But oppress no one, injure no one, hurt no one, break no one’s heart, rob no one of his or her
beauty of soul, for no one is nearer to His God who is not kind. Freedom given first to others and
through their joy to oneself, is the essential condition of being men. All angelic goodness is the
after-effect of self-realisation. Love comes first and all else is added thereto.
In Heaven all is compassion; justice is forgiveness and absolute freedom is the law of love.
Rapture alone is the true service of God. Faith is no faith if you keep it by argument and by saying
this is that, and that is this, and so it is, and so must it be, and thus it ought to be.
If you have to sustain it forever by an effort of will or a vow or a vigil, then it has not the spontane-
ous sweetness of the love of God.
Religion which is to be bought or achieved at great cost is not worth having, for what is not of me
can never be of me.
When a man sees the Sun, he has no more those strange fears that over-powered him at night. Faith
is direct knowledge of the Guru, just as in your travels you have the knowledge of your city, home
and friends left behind.
It is no personal and private knowledge that no one of these different journeys you thus undertake,
knows of the contents of your memory. Spiritual realities are the contents of your inner memory.
How vain is life poor or rich or sick or healthy, wretched or happy, if you have not your memory full
of the love of the Guru.
You see the sun, and you see the moon rising in the sky, the stars shine and you press your breast
and say, it is “I”; but you see not that within, without, behind, beyond is He alone.
If you have not filled your memory with Me, I tell you faith is a wax toy. You are not yet a little
child who is full of the name and presence of its mother. Toil for the ripening of your youth; then,
and at the bend of the road yonder, far, far away, I promise, I will surprise you.
When your eyes meet Mine and receive the flame of love, then will burn the lamp of faith in the
shrine of your heart.
You may be asleep or awake, you may be in dust or lounging in languid ease, you may be poor or
rich, king or peasant–you will know what you can never know me by any other means, after you
have truly met me.
Only then will you know that riches and poverty are as clothes and ornaments, things of the choice
of your own joy. Better some day to be rich, another day to be poor.
I will be by your side arranging your tresses when you are wild, and bear with you; for you never
know when I will lie with you at night and warm your sleep.
There shall be no difference in the sweet slumber of love in your eyes, whether you be on a throne
or in the dust.
When you have known Me thus, your every hair will name Me. Every hair shall be a tongue full of
praise and thankfulness, and to you, it would then be nothing short of cutting off tongues if you let
cut a tiny hair of your body. Every hair breathes the rapture of love, as do the petals of the flower.
As leaves are to the trees, as wings to the birds, you will then find, in every hair, a breath that sends
forth a peal of “Naming Him.” Till then even your whole body means little to you. Sometimes you
get tired of it out of fear, or distress, or ennui, even so tired as to destroy it, not knowing that such
cannot be the speedy end of human life. And all your sorrow or ennui or weariness was of the soul,
not of the body, as you so listlessly cut your hair. “The body was your greatest opportunity and you
gladly lost it. Strange, you are losing it all your life. What joy is in wasting your body in vain
pursuits? Your pleasures bile you and yet you know not. The body makes the soul so invisible to
you, while the body is but a vehicle of the splendour of the soul.
The only cure for the utter futility of physical life towards which your outgoing senses drive you, and
finally uproot you out of the infinite as trees are uprooted by a storm, is your living deep down in
the dignity of the divine and the beautiful and breathing the sympathetic spirit of the great mystery
of life and death.
Plough the earthen soil for wheat and plough the soil of the heart for love, the soil of the soul for
This world is Kartarpur, City of the Creator. These are mansions of the King.
Work to awaken men to their destiny of this gladness of soul. Gather no taxes and go and give away
all wealth that gathers round you in taxes of love. Live and let others live. Desire not anyone’s
woman or wealth. And suffer in self-poignancy of soul if you think they must come to you. Resign
to others what you covet in secret renunciation of everything.
Renunciation of all pleasures is the highest pleasure to the truly cultured; renunciation of all
possessions is the highest possession of the truly cultured. How much subtle selfishness still sways
you, how far away are you from the delectable atmosphere of those great moral heights of true
Discard greed and lust and desire, for if you know not the freedom of the soul, know that today it
may be in your power to oppress and rob others, tomorrow it will be in their power to ruin you.
And there will be no end to savagery and blindness.
Somewhere it must end, let it end in you. There can be no freedom for you if you do not free
yourself from your blind fury or desire.
There is nowhere, at no time, any comfort for you in the outer universe, if your inner is tossed on
the tempests of anger and lust, greed of possession of things and women.
Know that all jealousy that comes to you is due to your own inner fever and illness; it is sickness of
possession to call all things yours and wishing to have all for yourself. This is the great violence to
your soul by the ignorance of Desire.
If God sends you a wife, welcome her, labour for her, feed her, clothe her and sustain her with your
love as a river sustains the birds that come to it. If God send you children, welcome them, serve
them, feed them and sustain them with your love as the sun feeds the earth with light.
All human faces are the happy faces of the flowers of God’s great garden of creation, and all gather
like the trees in the garden. They gather in God; only they come and just group by you. Look at
them and be happy and be at peace with the universe. Do not think they group round your shape
and form, for your shape and form by itself has no charm.
Be kind to them and gather the laughter of children and their smiles and their slumbers in your soul,
for they are the vital emanations of God.
But if the wife goes away and if the children turn away from you, let Them; for they are as free as
you when you were a new-born babe. The babe had no such things when he came to this world;
they were added to it and it can again be as happy without them as once it was. Surely, man is truly
dignified in his own moral stature. Not how much faithful others are to you, but how much of it
you are to your God and to your love, is what matters.
The woman and child of man are free, no slaves. The laws of man are wrong and they offend the
law of God if they establish any right of man over woman or of woman over man or man over man,
All relations and ties are of sweet pleasure that wanders; it is free to wander and be happy where it
can be. The best of man has to come out and be free to choose and be happy and faithful.
And He surely wills not if they separate and love to live outside that particular group of bushes that
once grew together in His garden of Eden.
Delight not in any love forced out of slaves of vows, of custom or of compulsion or ignorance. Such
love is a curse. To first enslave humanity and then to call for its faithfulness to the will of the tyrant
is the ancient brutality of mere physical power.
Service received from such miserable ones is itself wretchedness; love is then a chronic sickness of
the soul, and you are not a man yet, if you receive forced loves tainted with even the least
Like a man, never interfere with the choice of souls. Freedom is eternally theirs. Wait, All is well, for
God indwells everyone of us–An woman no less than man, and in animal no less than in both; and
in trees no less than in all other forms of life. In lands and waters is He, and the forest is beautiful
because of Him; the very blades of grass have the exquisite pride of Him, they know He is with
I declare woman is free; she is the architect of love on this earth, and she must be free. By slavery
man has degraded her. How ridiculous for her to adorn her hair and face and form and figure for
the mere animal pleasure of man!
Shame on society, where she is to find her pleasure in man’s vague sense of himself. Long have you
used her thus, and woman is all unwomaned by man. Harbour no jealousy of her and possess no
woman unless in the simple and sweet trembling of the lyrics of Nam.
Without Nam, the flashes of love of a mere man light the human heart for a moment. Man, like a
child, delights in the flesh; then all his life mistakes man for God. He ruins both woman and child.
The bliss of life lies in Nam where all are kind; no one is cruel or jealous or unjust–nay, where they
are more than just, they are forgiveness itself.34
The moments come from Heaven and pass and those moments are divine; and the next instant all
are as clouds devoid of the glow of the trembling red of the setting sun or the silver white of the soft
moon of the night.
They who truly know, forgive. Justice is a property of the lower realms and is forever blind and
unjust, for it knows not the time, the moment when God comes and when He goes away from us.
So all justice is in being kind in the Nami35 society. Where the law of love operates, there is only
Justice None is to be deprived of freedom, no one is to be deprived of the benefits of His mercy.
Go, woman, you have your life, to hold it on your palm and you are to come alone free and self-
possessed to the door of the Guru. Here alone is freedom of soul for you; even though you be a
sinner, you are free–the Guru acquits you.
The rapture of your being so realized in the Guru, recognises no husbands, no children, no masters,
no slaves. All are the Guru’s servitors. All is His. Nothing is ours! We surrender for ever.
All those distinctions are of the common moments when the mind is not dead in God, when labour
of limbs, for bread calls man and woman and child to the field, where the golden corn ripens and
the woman harvests and the man husbands and the children gather the ears and the bullocks tread
and make wheat and straw. And when the waters flow and grind the corn and the fire burns and
bread is baked and all–“Angel, ox and ass” sit together and dine and remember their God and give
to the Guru and love each other as they laugh and talk and live. And this empty expanse of life on
earth is just lighted by those bright flashes of God when all is God. The Nam-mood of man and
woman is the sun that lights their path.
To keep woman heavily laden with ornaments behind the veil, away from field and farm, to conceal
her like your gems in sandalwood boxes, in the golden chest, behind heavy screens of false honour
and false shame and impure virtue, is a barbarity that poisons hearth and home, denies God and
makes the human soul a toy, life an oppression, a suffocation, death; and of love, self-respect,
honour and virtue a dead mockery! Shame on such society, down with it!
This sword–forced order is chaos, if the soul is not abounding in freedom in God.
Make a new society of freed souls, and have no law except the law of the Love of God. Burn all
scriptures that enslave you as do the kings of the earth. What is religion, if man, to be man, needs
centuries and so much struggle?
Come, let the women distribute bread and water and milk of human kindness; you be men.
There is no distress in this world but hunger, no greater misery than slavery, no greater pang and
agony than love when suffering pain of separation from the Beloved.
Those who broadcast their cheap prayers and wishes are hypocrites. Better hoard your prayers, but
hoard not at all what might go ever so little a way to quench the thirst and appease the hunger, aye,
even of one more by your side. Behold, God comes first to man’s door as a man and is hungry.
God needs a loaf of bread and a cup of water and a roof to shelter his head.36
But remember, bread is blood, it poisons if it is not offered to the God in man with love. Better be
misers of bread, give not at all if you have no gladness of giving to God, and weight your noble
intentions when you are in the lowest and meanest moments of your spirit. And see if you have the
utmost gladness in the least of your moments. What is that little least in you today, the Guru asks to
be the all in you.
Giving alms is a curse, if given in the spirit of arrogance. Never give alms if you feel the giving of it
decreases the substance of the soul in you. Do not think of man in distress–who are you to think of
him? First think if you are not in worse distress yourself, when in the ebb-time of your soul you are
not in the highest tide of giving all you have.
Doing good is poison that sometimes kills the doer–have you ever known this? Let men do as they
choose, but all your doing must be only of “Naming Him and for Naming Him”. Without Naming
Him, life is but a process of burning37, your very breathing is a kind of sin, and all is vanity.
You have not come here to give or take or to gain virtue or vice; these are empty names. Your acts
and idle views and thoughts about men and things are as the vain rising of the waves on the surface
of the sea. Such things have no meaning in spite of your thinking much about them, and about
Help, if you can, the manifestation of God and the Guru in your gifts and your song. You have
come here as a revelation of the soul. What are you if you reveal not Him?
Life without sympathy is as the rotting of a fruit inside a fine-looking skin.
Without Him, life is horror as the stabs of the butcher’s knife, places are as graves, the wine cups as
the cutting of sharp poniards. Paradise is the dustfloor with the Beloved38. What are thrones
The mothers of bird, beast and man love without an effort; they have not to learn the art of loving
from any one, it is the wisdom God gave them. How foolish it is for you to think you can get love
by any effort.
Some men are born kind, and some are cruel– great is the blessing of one and great the curse of the
other. Mothers of the race desire the birth of God as man; no other fruit of the labour of
motherhood do they desire.
Alas! in the human bodies, the man is not yet born. A true man is the beloved of God, who has His
love in his heart without even knowing it. To such a man, who has the love of God in his heart, I
speak as the Guru’s disciple. Such love cannot be born of effort and what is produced by effort is
not simple. What is not simple, shall be dissolved.
Renunciation, asceticism, training in arts of concentration, Yoga long silence, vows of celibacy and
all such things, beyond what is forever comprehended and resumed in living a simple good, sincere
human life of honest ignorance39, honest labour like the bees of the hive and like the birds of the
forest is merely a mechanical perfection–truly an accomplishment which by itself can have no value
in the true progress of man. Like a gem, it can adorn good ear, a sparkling forehead, otherwise it is
all dead accomplishment, buried in a box of lead.
Love is always His Creation, His favour, His handicraft as the stars in their lustre or as the little
blades of grass feel the delight of waving their heads in the air.
Love is not a thing of attainment or training!
And still greater is the mystery that is all comes about by the merest chance. By the merest chance
we meet God. By the merest chance, we meet our best friends. So unknowable is the perfection of
God’s cosmic process of making men out of stubble.
And such is the scheme of revelation here that you cannot meet Him, except in an infinite
scattering– almost haphazard scattering–of events.
In human life, too, we do not meet by meeting, we do not separate by separating. We just meet for
a far-off happy moment, in star-scattered silver points of souls. We meet even when separated from
each other; and we do not meet even if we meet in a physical or mental sense In a merest point, we
meet and the rest is memory of that union, and we continue to live in but sweet remembrance of
that silver-point meeting.
A lamp of the heart shines here and there. After centuries, appears a prophet and then all is dark;
again a prophet, a man of God and then despair. The cities which invite us are also scattered and
the homes, too, one here and one there. The disciple whose face is towards the Guru, Guru-mukh, 40
is one in a million.
Diamonds are rare, objects are rare, men are rarer still.
Aye, union with Him is the largest, noblest, truest love in the timeless, spaceless moment. Once
now, then after aeons. Aeons and aeons should pass before a traveller attains his Love, and aeons
and aeons ere one night of union can return to the lover.
And to the disciples who have come to know Him by that far-off event of union, all is different.
Love is a continuous lyric of remembering Him. For love is remembrance; then, after the union they
cannot but remember–they die when they forget Him. This is ‘Naming him’, says Guru Nanak.
What is not seen now and actually felt in one’s embrace of soul, as once it was, is remembered and
they live in a continuous sense of Him. This is Simrin, Nam.
Remembrance (Simrin) is love made continuous in space and in time. It is inspiration made to flow
in a perennial stream into little heartbeats; it is losing oneself through the intensity of inspiration in
the Name of the Beloved.
Their heads rest on the pillow of His knee. They have the full comfort of His touch in their
Naming Him. To them, the vague sense of these depths Of affectionate childlike dependence, trust,
abandon, leaning on Him forever in walking, in sleep, in action and in life activity is enough
knowledge, and solace of soul.
And this perpetual union in Nam is their courage. It is the self-reliance of the whole universe come
to their little “I”. It is self—respect of the ’Creator. Death has no terror for them. Fear is
destroyed, for it is the light of God in which they live and breathe. They are more souls than bodies.
Their bodies are borne as mere shadows of the soul by them, as the unenlightened bear the soul as
the shadow of the body.
Eternal loneliness and its blank despair vanish in the hearing of the sweet speech of angels that
come and whisper cherubic love in their ears. All is so gay and cheerful; the void is peopled with
beautiful people. There is society in all spheres. Man is assuredly not alone in his soul; he is alone
only in his crimes against this beautiful infinite.
I was a beggar girl; He came. and caught me by the wrist; and in a moment He made me His
queen.41 In a moment, I felt, I am the queen. In a moment, came to me the joy of being what I
never was before. A forlorn beggar girl sees mighty kingdoms laid at her feet. In a moment of His
favour all this perfection came to me, in its perfect cosmic suddenness. I am not beautiful, as other
maidens are. What has He seen in me that He has chosen Me? Me, my husband the King42 knows;
I could not say why. And who else knows? Who can tell of the infinite meaning of His intention?
In a moment, I am what I could never have been by myself.
In this sudden union with Him in an instant, I am grown what I could not grow to be in the fullness
of time. Many have I seen who have been toiling to be beautiful. Others there were who thought
themselves very very beautiful. They were beautiful and clever indeed,- but in my poor rags He
made me the loveliest of all.
My clay sparkled, my shapeless stone43 awoke in loveliest features. How can I say what is beauty, for
me it has all been His favour. His touch made me a song. I am bewildered with his suddenness of
the raptures of my wedded life and I know not how to say, what it all is? I am astonished with joy to
see how great things come about in small ways when His favour descends, softly as a bird alights on
the flower-sprayed twig of a tree.
I look at him and I melt in love, and He favours me; I look up again and He favours me; this is my
endless life. I repeat this fascination of loving and being loved, and in its repetition is that blessing
which no variation can ever give. Variety is a surface ruggedness, but the sameness, the
changelessness of the love of my Beloved is of strange deeps in the oceans of the Infinite, the
bottom of which no one has seen. He needs nothing more and my happiness is complete. So I live
and love from day to day ever since He has favoured me.
The disciples are as the wedded women and the Guru the Spouse.44
The universe is a tree of life, on the topmost branches out of the new shoots, come the flowers.
The leaves need not be restless, and shall come by and by. Yet they are restless; the winds make
them so. I call for rest in all the restlessness of the leaves.
I may come as a guest to give you a sudden delight. If you have not lived in the folly of lavishing
hospitality of guests who were strangers to you, you will never recognize Me without thinking, and I
shall have then, no time to wait till your thoughts are quite formed about Me.
I may stand one day as a beggar at your doorstep, and if you have not cultivated the folly to be kind
to beggars at your door you will not recognise me, and I shall have no time to announce Myself to
you. For by the time your door-keepers go to tell you about it, and you rise and come out, I shall be
nowhere to be seen.
I may come to you as a beautiful peri, and if you have not know how to love women and how to be
kind to them, all austerities you would have done to find Me will be gone in a moment for nothing.
You must wait for Me in the surprises of love, none else shall know when and where you have Me
In moments of union, which are rare and scattered like the stars, like the visits of angels, like the
visits of friends and strangers–in those supreme moments, men and women–aye the fowls of air and
the flowers of the deserts and the animals pass beyond what you all know as earthly relations and
ties. Wife becomes no wife, friend no friend, husband no husband.
Try to forge as many fetters as you like; the soul escapes from all cages and all prisons of clay of
stone or gold. I do not say, love not your children or wife or mother; I only wait for those moments
when you know God And Man and the Self are one. I do not call to the sinners to halt; nor do I call
on the saints to stay; all go the way they are going, and they must go, and no one can alter the
directions in which they are led. I only say, wait for the moments when God and man and the self
I do not condemn thrones. I do not prefer poverty, nor the abjectness of squalor and dirt–for both
have the same significance when the Master is gracious. I only say, wait for the moment when all
I have seen thrones become begging bowls and begging bowls turn into strange spheres from where
a thousand suns take their rise. Only gleams of His Nam are scattered for men from chance. In
those rare moments of union with the ineffable, what are mere beams here, mere passing visions, are
the great kingdoms of light there. Men, be men and gather the rays of love and light.
You say you have not understood Me, but what else have you really understood? The song of the
stream, of the twinkle of the star, or the sunrise and sunset, the winds, or the hills, birth and death,
sorrow and joy, man and woman, union and separation–all have been ever since all began, as a mere
letter of the alphabet before a mind just born. What an endless effort you make to learn one letter!
You learn and yet learn again! So is the universe. But I tell you, this universe that swings in your eye
is for you to Name Me, to feel the mystery of the very first letter, the very first sound that falls on
Child of Time!45 Still you know not and have not been able to learn the very first letter of this
alphabet. How can I change the page of the Universe? How can you have yet a new universe? You
are tired, but you are ignorant: The primer is in your hand and there is no way out but to learn this
Ages have gone by; you are not yet kind to yourself. Your senses need you, O man! there is nothing
outside of you. Whither are you running in haste ?
You have not understood yet, you shut yourself from Me behind a thousand iron-bolted doors; but
when you see Me not, I stand by you and I burst upon your view and bathe you in a new holiness to
learn of Me again.
You still say you see Me not. Understand me or not, I am pursuing you, I shall catch you as the
teacher catches a truant child.
You are charmed by toys made of wet rags. Mere dolls fascinate your mind, I know. But doll-
playing is just to give you the leisure to grow into a full, ripe soul. You can never shut yourself away
from Me, nor fly anywhere any time from My embrace of that love, which is yet unknown to you.
Enough are my mercies for man. In the dark sea of faithlessness and lies and treachery and
falsehood, there is one boat for you too, thou afflicted man! that will take you safe across.
And a little skiff of dead wood is enough to console you in your distress at last; for the dead wood
has learnt before you how to float on the waters.
To find a little skiff is enough.
And thus 11 meet the bulbul in the blushes of the rose and man in the warm embraces of his love.
But I am always on the earth–a flash, a moment, a glimpse, and a dream–just that much–yet that is
All books of knowledge are right. All knowledge, in all sacred books, is for man. All that is wrong
about all these things is that men have no key to the contents of these books of knowledge, and so
all such books are of no avail when you are not endowed with life for them. What can food do, if it
cannot be swallowed down the throat?
I do not say, this system of thought is right or that is wrong. I tell you all are right up to a point, and
all get wrong an inch beyond that point where Truth shines in that particular system of thought.
Therefore, know, O disciple! there is nothing in systems or in books. The only thing is whether
your soul has already been lighted by the lamp of love. Men are led to God by God Himself They
go the way He has started them on; no one is to be blamed for being one thing and not another.
True knowledge of the soul of things is a small shining point. It is just a shining point here and a
point there, beyond that point it has an expanse of blackness. They tear all the scriptures by pulling
them asunder to make of that little point a whole extension in space.
Know, therefore, that beyond a certain bend of the horizon your thoughts on God and man can no
more breathe Truth; they sink forever in the sand and die. All philosophies are wrong, all
philosophies are right–if you live them and live your natural life.
Thoughts are as beautiful as glow-worms, but they never can be pole–stars, nor save the life of the
mariner whose boat is on the dark sea. Those stars impart direction to the upspread soils; there is
more in those than in our thought.
Intellectual brilliance excites, it spends life and makes brilliant fire-works; thinking or the products of
thinking, thoughts, consume life. All such sparks are the result of friction of the soul.
The lure is very charming, but souls are lost through intellectual excitement and all expanses of
intellectual abstraction and its subtle peace are covered with blank darkness. True progress is not in
all these “flarings up”, but living and devouring these golden gleams of Heaven’s light, as the bird
So know, ye disciples,46 thoughts are good rush-lights, they are pleasures of the night of
understanding; but the great visions of the disciples are like comets that sweep centuries in their
shining tails, where poor thoughts of this man or that die of their frailness.
The disciples are so large of heart that all views of life taken from different angles have some truth
One infinite is comprehended, yet another infinite remains to be understood, and there is yet a new
infinite. There are myriads of skies, there are myriads of stars and myriads of Nether Regions.47
There is no end to vastness.
So take up a view and give the seeing of it as you see, to others if you can; but be charitable and
forgive them if they do not see as you see. For they, too, are led on the way by Him who leads you.
This is the spirit of reverence for knowledge. Never talk lightly of efforts that others are making to
know God. All are moving on to Him. All progress of soul is towards God. Those of you who are
educated should be still more humble, for who can be educated when there is so much knowledge,
so much art still before you ungained, and when at your back and around there are so many like you,
who live without knowing as many things as you know?
Ponder, if what you call your knowing may not after all, be as good as that ignorance in which so
many live better lives and are, even in ignorance, better men than you, with all your redundant
knowing of so many stars.
If a little man feels wonder at the flame of his evening lamp, and in awe of the great mystery bows
down to it, and does so when he looks at the new moon, is not his life better than yours–you who
see whole skies with the telescope and declare with so much of “right” insistence and gusto that
belongs to the educated, that there is no God.
If there is no God, after all what is? Whence? Whither? You may not call it God, you may call it
anything, by any name, but is it not greater ignorance to be irreverent to mystery than that old
worship of wonder and blind faith?
You disciples! be humble in this matter of knowledge, He reveals to the unlearned and to children
what He conceals from the wise.
Revelation of knowledge too, is His. He vouchsafes it unto us; of ourselves we can do naught.
How wonderful that in a little skull, in a tiny heart, in a small eye, He reveals so much! A mere
nothing of a man says, “I am God.” How wonderful! Even the Ego, how beautiful. The bleatings
of a lambkin and the running of a stag is, indeed, miraculous. The falling of a leaf is as momentous
as the mighty shooting of a star in space.
Above all, be it in religion, or in the domain of your knowledge, you be men, natural men. Be
simple as the animals, as unsophisticated and as innocent.
Lambs in glad innocence frisk about, fawns gambol, and calves roam gleaning innocence and
gladness at a mouthful of grass. You have a whole kingdom to yourself; how much more should be
the brightness about you! But-you kill the lambs, and death garners you. Beautiful is all while it lasts
here; but it is all everlasting there.
It is no good binding yourself to the superstitions of a past ancestry, and putting your faith in the
musty theories and half-burnt truths of a bygone age. Move on, see with the wisdom of animals
what will make you strong and what is good for you.
Shame on you if you have not the instinct even of animals to live your own life. Make your own
nest and choose your own grass and herbs. While even the beasts live for more than the merely
physical, strange that you should live for less. If there be no other way to live but by difference,
differ and live, rather than agree and die. If it is not yet open to you to be great rather than be small,
be yourselves; genuine, with the ring of manhood about you.
Let no false shames of consistency or outer pressures of great ideas coerce you into compasses and
moulds. that are not those of your own shapes and souls.
To ape great men with a vain wish to be as they were is a curse, if by false courtesies and ceremonies
you ate constrained to grow ‘under pressure. Be animals, be men, if you are not yet to be gods!
The roots of a tree unerringly find their way to moisture in the soil; no blade of grass ever makes a
mistake, no pigeon, no sparrow is seen going the wrong way. Every fledgling knows with certainty
the time of the break of dawn more than man in his little wisdom. No bee but finds its way to the
flower, no child that fails to grip his mother’s breast for milk. No true lover but finds at last his way
to the woman he loves. How could man not reach his God?
I was just by Him catching Him by the arm, when he thought I was far away from Him. And I was
with Him. One was what they call a handsome, vicious man and the other a plain-looking man of
goodness. The surprises of God’s blessing, unawares, upon both the vicious and the virtuous are so
infinite in kind and colour that no calculations can find Him.
Therefore, obey nature and deliver yourselves up to the instincts of pleasure and the dumb suffering
of pain, as the birds do.
I put no restraint on your pleasures, save that you should thereby grow more and more beautiful to
yourselves. Beauty is all the revelation of that Truth here in you.
Mind not what others say; nothing outside you can put real value into your inner modes of living.
The lotus rises out of the mud in such great surprise of beauty, the flower spreads its glory amid
thorns; the dull grey ass is so beautiful in his little frisking colt stage, the canary emerges straight
from the egg as a song; so, O man! come out of your mud and slime and clay like a song, a hymn of
beauty, a flower of’ friendship, a glory of feeling.
Prisons of thought, of pleasure, of superstition, of habits of cruelty and murder and plunder are as
dark as prisons of brick and mortar.
The tyrant’s tortures do not travel beyond the death of his victims, but the tyrants who inflict
sorrow and injury on the weaker writhe with agony yonder, for they have violated the beauty and
holiness of their own humanity and are in distress for it for centuries. There is no release from the
subtler prisons of thought and the violence of one’s own memory, and for centuries men who have
wounded their humanity move in the same grooves. You need not go to see this in other worlds;
here before you, are races that have not moved from the four walls of the mind in which they were
born centuries ago. And yet they feel contented in their bondage! This joy is their misery; how great
is the distress of this moral death which makes them so insensible to sorrow! Rise and break the
prison walls! The healthiest thought becomes a torture when it moves not like the birds flying out
of their nest. Create ever a new past and a new future for yourself. Even such despised things as
the pleasures of the senses, when they are firstborn, are as prayers. Youth, new and just hit out of
its bud is like a holy revelation. Your association with such nascent pleasures should make you as
angels, yet they forge new chains for you and shut you in worse prisons than ghosts and sprites.
How your eyes prowl like those of thieves! You grow ugly like the gamblers who lose their all and
pass in stark naked brutality of temper to the hells in which souls are on fire and cry in
Therefore, to be beautiful is the reward of all pleasure and pain, and the value of freedom consists in
how much kindness, love and sympathy travels from you to all sentient things.
Worship is formal and tedious, but what about your worship of yourself? Is it not the greatest
superstition to eat, drink and be merry–for nothing?
The futility of pleasures such as yours, in its reaction, is more sickening than the tragedy of human
woe. The one ends in utter exhaustion and death of the soul, the other in its possible escape as a
prayer, as a hope, as a man remade and recast.
Indifference and neglect, snapping of fingers at all but yourself, is fatal. The victims have
compensations after death, but what have you? Complete loss of your soul.
Truths that anyone else would declare to you would not be so acceptable to you; therefore you,
declare the truth of your own beauty to yourself and be free from the dungeons both of pleasures
and pains that you have made for yourself.
No one else has made these prisons for you, and even if I, your creator, come and shatter them for
you, unless you know the joys of open-air freedom, you would, like the worm, again make your own
dungeons. Therefore, choose to be free. And toil to gathering the goodness of the Guru.
As I desire not that pleasure that makes you a slave, so am I not for pain that tends not to make you
I am dualistic. Monism and all such things are mental cant if, inspite of them, you have not yet been
able to wash yourself clean of your passions, your selfishness and your intolerance of the will of
God, the Creator; if you have not felt in your very blood and bone your kinship with man, bird and
There are forces that make for man, for God, for freedom; and there are forces of inertia - that
damn the soul and both are contending for supremacy, one to form and the other to annihilate the
soul. One is for life, the other for death; one is for harmony in the diversity of beauty, the other for
ugliness or shapelessness. I am for the physics of the soul which is the physics of the beauty of the
body too. I love the myriad forms divine.
Rise against the forces that damn, you disciples, and be armed as soldiers and fight for God, for
freedom, for beauty. I will sell my idealism for a word, if the child God could be saved. I sell my
realism for a dream if the cadence of a dream can pour into the soul of a people the simple humanity
of feeling of the pain and pleasure of it all. If the picture of the ideal God, the beautiful man, cannot
be complete without the manifest dualism of light and shade, of virtue and vice, then away with the
apparatus of self-realization of a philosophic oneness of it all. Let that oneness be: I am concerned
with making things here more beautiful. My attitude is not one of pure philosophy, but are you sure
that life is governed by your philosophy?
Nothing by itself is good or bad for me; it is the orientation, configuration of the lines and colours
and contents and conditions that determine the inner beauty of both good and bad. I would bless
the sword at one time, and curse it the next. All is virtue which makes me move towards God,
Beauty, Humanity, and all is vice which makes me move away from them. I tell you, the gods pine
for the simple humanity of man. This simple humanity is most to be coveted; its pleasures and pains
are precious in the treasure-house of God. Only feeling is beautiful; it makes the plastic clay alive;
the dead stone ripples with living peace.
But remember what need the stray leaf has to impose its little will on a Himalayan blizzard, that
rushes on as it lists; and I tell you the storm is moving with haste to carry the little leaf to the door of
Who can really discern the great direction, right or wrong, when a hundred storms of soul rage?
Enough, if we see more beauty gathers in ourselves or not. Have we justified our day by an
untarnished memory? Have we in no way violated its holiness or its simple humanity? Have we
defended God on earth? Are we nearer Him? Have our thoughts and actions made configuration
of our acts creative or recollective of beauty, or have we merely added to the noise of brute chaos?
Have we seen more of Him? Has the night ended? Is the dawn come closer? Every step, every
breath, in war, in peace, in storm, or in calm is a bead of the great rosary. Have we told it? Have we
really prayed for light?
God lives in the voice of the man of God. He lives in His world as light in the lamp, as the perfume
in the petals of the rose. It is as the touch of the dawn on the wings of birds that burst into song
and know not what has happened.
The Word–Shabda, Logos–has a form; it is not merely sound, or voice; it has hands and feet and is a
living man. The living man moves all over. The word as God is enough for you here, and greater
things about Him you will know there. Know His Name, therefore, and fill your memory with it
and wait. All shall be opened unto you after a little while, and you will know much greater loves
than yet you know of or even shall know here.
Did I tell you–“Repeat His name and the tongue that sings not His name, better be cut into little
shreds.” And you obeyed me and began “Hari! Hari!” by a river bank, wrapt in a lonely calmness
and dressed in yellow silk. You did wrong, you did not understand Me. For behold, another man,
there unknown to Me, killed an aggressive brute with his sword and saved a woman from being
dishonoured, and now himself also lies dead. I tell you, he has found God in death as you have not,
in all your life of repeating “Hari! Hari!” on the river bank.48
I tell you, God’s is a strange dispensation. Thieves are acquitted there for noble sins, and saints are
bound for their apparently dead pieties.
Repeat God’s name, but it is no use repeating it unless you have learnt from the Guru His love,
which alone is God’s name on this earth. Love is God’s name, it will light all your actions, you need
carry no dead codes with you. If it were a matter for the physical tongue or speech, how do the little
birds name Him? For the whole creation sings of Him. Man is but a fraction of the created world.
Nam is dumb feeling: its outbursts are lyrics of love and devotion.
Simrin is the aching attraction for Him, just as you have the aching memory of your kith and kin and
of those you lose on this earth. All your loves are miserable compared with that madness of His joy.
Simrin is a planetary system of life. The footsteps of the pilgrims are counted by the Guru and He
protects the man of simrin from all harm. No hot winds dare touch him when his lips open to name
Him, the lips of a host of angels sing His Nam. It is the universal song of Glory! Glory!49 to Him.
All sing and through His great love you, too, are admitted to the Presence. It is the company of
emancipated souls in the background of your holy remembrance.
Wherever the hosts of God are, they congregate when you repeat the Nam, that universal melody of
His glory. And it is the angels in your voice that give the true meaning to your simrin, and the true
sweetness of yourself to yourself. The meaning of the ultimate you–the spiritual you–is outside you.
Soar, O Bird, with your shining silver wings into the infinite blue, flapping these with the joy of that
Simrin, thus, is the spiritual song whose melody starts in the higher unseen worlds and whose echoes
ring in our soul here. As the attraction of planets for each other, so of souls. There are grand
constellations of souls; It is the possession of your human frame by the gods who come and sing,
“Glory”, “Glory” with You made into their harp.
God is both the congregation and the central figure lighting the whole congregation. It is the
heavens in you, above desire; it is living here drawn up to there; or is it drawn inwards, with your eyes
half closed with that bliss of love that fills all heavenly spaces ?
He alone has seen God and truly known Him, who has met the Guru and has joined the holy choir
of the songsters of his name. Do not desire any higher God than the Guru, who makes your breath
burn with love, who quickens your steps with the imagination of the truly beautiful, truly good and
truly true. I call you to no flights beyond your wings; I come and attach the skies to your wings, and
in your own flapping there is the whole Heaven of delight for you.
Be full of peace, and gladness. All is well, and there is God whose heart beats in you. He is like a
little child that comes again and again to you and he knows not that you bearhate in your heart.
For the little violet a single drop of dew is enough. For the bird the nest of straw is all: for man the
Word of God. And you touch Him, the Guru, God, when you touch the Word-in-the-flesh,50 the
Man of God, the Guru.
Remember, you cast your soul into cast-iron shapes by identifying yourself too engrossingly with
your pursuits of the evil of the day.
A lawyer carries his law-cases everywhere he goes; a judge reproduces everywhere the atmosphere of
the court and law; the shopkeeper carries his shop everywhere. So does the ordinary religious man
carry his theology and religious routine concepts. Each man carries thus foreign matter and sheer
heaviness; he thus pollutes the atmosphere, radiant with sunshine and fragrant with the odour of
flowers and dream and silent joy. But what is worse, each casts his own soul into those shapes
which impress him and he cannot break them open. I call you therefore, to the inner non-
attachment which is of the bird that goes everywhere picking grain, that responds to the gross
appetites as much as is absolutely necessary, but remembers nothing–only his song, his uprushing on
his wings in the Golden Dawn.
As an infant you thought not who would clothe you and feed you; as a young man you need not
think of many things. After centuries now you, woman born, are the same old man and the same
child. You really know nothing more than your ancestors and you feel nothing more than your
He who brought you here will take you away from here. He who looked after you so long, will also
look after you now.
As birth did not concern you, death too need be of no concern to you. Things come and go, as
decreed by Him. He knows more. We are vouchsafed but a fraction of His purposes, as the insects
and the birds, too, share that divine knowledge. All this creation is beautiful and true, made by Him
whose name is Truth.51 His touch makes the form eternal–the beauty of features immortal. As it is
here, so it is there, the rock has a birth and a setting as well as bird or man. There are trees in the
Kingdom of God here as well as there. You cannot know objects as they are in Truth and in God,
and you as man, are but an object.
To a man in union with Him what is this discussion of coming and going and birth and death? All,
as it happens, is glorious, all is beautiful; this Creation, the whole of it, is perfect. Why such
thoughts of here and the hereafter?
When one is truly glad of creation, in vain are the discussion of karma and the differences due to
karma, and of “how”, “when”, and “why”. Only open your eyes and see it is all His manifestation.
This creation is His mansion.52 He lives in it. If the door opens to you and you see Him, then you
will forget all your questionings, for who ever can question Beauty? One only surrenders to it, and
dies with the sheer death-joy of it. When all is so joyous because of Him why are you so thoughtful?
To a man of knowledge, what higher knowledge is there beyond union?53 Union is the highest
wisdom. In union, all is reconciled, all is vindicated.
O disciples, rise up, therefore, take your ploughs and lead your team of bullocks to the fields, and
forget metaphysics and theology. Forget all else and look to the sun and the moon and the rain-
clouds, and talk with birds. Behold angels flying over your fields, filling the ears of your barley and
maize with grain. There they are hanging the bunches of grapes on your vines. All Heaven and
earth are at work in creating beauty, in making love, in making you.
And starve not, fast not, nor covet for more. Rise, O disciples, and be natural, simple men of
delicate, fine appetites and beautiful tendencies. And forget not your direction; forget not Him. His
Name is the whole entity.
And rejoice that He is. The woods rise green with Him, and in my ear the streams sing His Name.
Why do you not yet hear? The leaves of the forest ring with His glory. Rise, O disciples, and sing
with the whole of creation His glory.
The whole creation is one paean of praise. The sky has all the stars as tiny lamps of worship. The
sun sings Him and the winds and waters sing Him. The myriad beautiful dancers of mid-air sing His
name. Have you not heard that dance of silence?54
If you think I am Hindu, I am; if you think I am Muslim, Jew or Christian, I am; for all knowledge,
all culture, all riches and all poverties of the spirit of man, are but to awaken man to be ready for Me.
Much is needed by way of self-equipment, by way of toil and travel, before He can reach Me. The
Guru is near but very far yet. I have the apparel of light for all in my hands, and they are getting
ready for a new day. Those who turn away from Me imagine they die great deaths, but those who
labour, looking up to Me, live great lives and have but very small burials.
I am by my disciples; I love to watch them labouring as farmers, as masons, as architects, as carpen-
ters; but know, labour without faith is as stupid and wearisome as vain telling of beads in churches
where no more burn the tapers of His love. I therefore am for lighting all paths, illuminating all
And I go out of sheer joy, bestowing sovereign-ties on the toilers on land and sea, who plough, who
row, and conquer the sea and the sky with their little hands and great hearts; for in them, deep faith
is as spontaneous as is the desire of plants to seek the sunlight.
Who has told men there is more purity in the cave than in the arms of the beloved? Who has said
there is holiness in besmearing the limbs with ashes? Purity lies in joy of Him. In either case
without Him, human love is as impure as counting the beads in solitude.
Man, you have not yet found real love after all that longing, labour and thought. I stand and see the
carpenter making pegs and I find the raising of his arms up and down are prayers, those beads that
flow from the brow of the old farmer’s rugged forehead are the thoughts of man that germinate and
grow. Those tears are thoughts. But what carpenter? One whose soul is sweet with God.
And the mason’s building a roof is verily, verily a religion. How many heads lie under it safe from
storm and rain and mud! But what mason? He whose soul is in sympathy with man, and who has
the inner glow of the beautiful sustaining him. This labourer is mine whose work is worship; whose
labour is love’s service. Each stroke of the hammer fills him with ecstasy, each straining enriches
him with the reserved joy of His fall. My art is not what pleases the onlookers and drains the soul of
the artist empty. My art fills the artist with God and the whole world is blessed when the beauty of
his soul overflows and imparts joy to others. Labour becomes artistic and moral only when the
labourer’s eyes glow with Me. I am not with those who perform the mechanical theological routine
of the priest-life admire the spontaneous humanity of the toilers on land and sea.
This world is as the world of clouds, and the life of those within it as making ropes of wet sand on
the sea-shore. All is perishable in this illusory transience of bodies of clay and fragile glass. Are they
not the toys of porcelain, that fall from our hands and break into pieces?
in such melting away of all things, rise, O disciples, and name Him who has no such body.
Men and women are full of their own distress. They come together and vow to be each other’s to
draw some comfort for themselves, and when they find it not, they seek other places of rest. No
one is faithful to another, but all are faithful to one who lightens the burden of their souls. Man is
true to his source, his longing is for union with Him. Put not your faith in men and things, for what
can they do for you, when they themselves need what you want to do for them?
Rise, O disciple! Name Him and pass from here with a bright face aglow with the song of His glory.
Renounce the self, not by going to the forests, for the renunciation of space and time that you
attempt is impossible while living still in space and time, and God is in your soul. The outer world is
a shadow of what is within you. Find Him and all else worth renouncing is renounced without
renouncing so much as you wish to.
Rise, O disciple, and name Him and pass from here with a bright face, singing Glory! Glory!
Believe not that there is nothing behind this world of bodies. All life continues from illusion to
illusion, from death to death, from reality to reality. Behind, there is one on whose hand rests the
sun, and in whose mouth shine all the stars.
Let us, for all our common human helplessness, be kind to one another; let us love and serve to
make by helpful work our memory holy, and fill it with Glory. Rise, O disciple, and name Him and
pass singing, Glory! Glory! Salute the beginningless beginning, salute death, cosmic death55, salute
life and rise and wake, O disciple, and name Him, and pass singing Glory! Glory!
Laugh not at ignorance, boast not of knowledge; what indeed to you know of that mystery?
Remember, if you be a king you are clothed in the same body that a poor man has, just one little
clay-cover; the same one shroud have the learned that the ignorant have, except perhaps the self-
given exalted names of the former. The latter go naked and wild and nameless, but none of us is
nearer that greatest of profoundities.
Salute the great mystery in the rich and the poor, the educated and the refined and the rustic folk
alike. And remember, your life is oozing out like water from a broken, pitcher of clay.56
Pleasure is your distress, for it induces forgetfulness. And pain is your cure of the distress of
pleasure, for it, revives your holy memory of God.
Rise, O disciple, and address yourself to the service of saints to get rid of the selfishness that makes
you blind. Awake and see; the sun is rising in the heart of the truly great ‘namers’ of God, and in
their company, with your eyes lit with love, and your face bathed in the holiness of man; rise and
name Him, and pass from here singing His Glory! Glory! Glory! Holiness of man is the greatest
truth and the rarest. Find the Man57 and leave all else.
Maya of the senses, its illusions, impose upon you at every step; the glimmering shadows hold you
captive. Seek His grace now and for the hereafter.
Night shall pass and dawn break and you will see those golden mansions of God, which unlike all
other things, stand forever.
Rise, O disciple, and Name Him, and singing Glory! Glory! Glory! pass on to the yonder golden
land of truth, the land of beauty and God.
The evening falls, the night descends and the soft sadness of the passing away of the day afflicts so
much the heart of time and space, the city and the town, the man, the woman and the child.
Laugh not when the day is dying, for such is everybody’s fate. Be calm, and contemplate. The birds
are flying back to their nests, the cattle are slowly wending their way to their stalls, the stars are
shining above, high up, as hopes of love; all is calm; the streams halt at the solemn event. O
disciple, rise and name Him and say softly, quietly, Glory! Glory! Glory! The evening’s eye is red
with thought; sing quietly, Glory! Glory!
Tragic is the fate of the pilgrims of life. They are glad when they meet their loved ones and sad
when they part. The joy of birth and the sorrow of death, the rapture of union and the pang of
separation are the acts of a strange tragedy of human life which afflicts king and peasant alike.
Give balm to the heart of those afflicted Such are surely nearer God than those who are
circumscribed by the mad raillery of their five senses, and are dead in their indifference to all else
besides. This selfish happiness is mad futility, frivolity in which men and women seem as a forest
uprooted and withering on the roadside of sickness and selfishness.
Remember, if you live, live to lighten someone’s sorrow, lift some weight off someone’s head, help
those whose destiny in life is to lose. Be man of sorrow58 first; lest indifference degrade your beauty
of being a man; be an angel of God’s cheerfulness after being first kind and sweet and mild to all
sentient things. Such renunciation in kindness is of the truly beautiful, the truly cultured.
Sustain yourself for this God-like work by filling yourself with God; rise and Name Him and pass on
to every human door singing Glory! Glory! Glory!
O disciple, the emptiness in the passionate embraces of lovers cannot be filled, and poison-cups are
but small relief for those with mighty pains; mere words of wisdom do not fill those terrible love-
torn spaces. Rise, therefore, and name Him and sing Glory! Glory! For this song will rain beauties
and loves from Heaven on all those who of love are bereft. King and peasant are in need of it and if
you have the substance Simrin–the holy memory of love of Him, of Nam, animals and men will flock
to you and find comfort.
But before you go to meet others, be sure you have met Him, be sure Heaven is at your back. Till
then, all true culture is nurture of soul towards it in privacy, in silence. He who spends his energy
according to his capacity, can recoup himself spontaneously to that extent: imparting the spark of
life is not so much of one’s own wish as of His will, true preaching is always done by angels, with
men as mere vehicles.
When your touch bestows whole kingdoms for a song, when your word blesses and cools self-tossed
men when meeting you, souls heave a sigh of relief; when hearts fill up with thankfulness on seeing
you–it is then that your song of Nam has been struck, you have found your God, and God has
There is solace in your eye not so much for yourself, as for others; there is comfort in your touch,
not so much for you, but for others. So, rise and name Him Nam is doing good to all sentient
beings as the mere vehicles of God: its inspiration fills all empty spaces of the mind and heart and
makes men alive with love. You must pass by all doors singing Glory! Glory! Glory! It was not I
who did. He did it all for me. I do not know. I cannot say how things happen. They happen as He
Do not be impatient with ignorant sinners. For the Guru saves millions by a small shining particle
of Nam. He puts His hands on the forehead of ignorant sinners and in a moment washes their souls
clean of the filth gathered in ages. In his favour all their sins are washed. And the sinner shines like
the first-born man, first-born in God, in Nature, in the light of that great mercy.
Sin is but heaviness that petrifies the soul–no advice of the moralist or his codes avails; the Saviour’s
glance alone makes life pulsate in the stone and the very stones rise and sing. The metal is changed
and the brute creation is made into men.
Man, after this favour of the Saviour, knows what makes him “heavy” again, and on a slight loss of
that brimming happiness of faith, he weeps and cries; whenever again the pores of his body close
and breathe not that joy and the pleasure of that touch of His mercy, he weeps and cries; he no
more can live without that virtue which he obtained from the Guru as His Gift.
As the opium-eater cannot live without the dope, as a drunkard needs wine and the amorous one
needs dalliance, so the sinner saved by the Guru cannot live without the intoxication of Nam.
There is no greater distress than to be cast by our own choice away from Him. There is no greater
pain than to be thrown away from the temple of love.
Beware therefore, lest for any reason, however clever and convincing, you desert the presence of
God, or violate your memory of Him. This is what I call Simrin.
The human body is sacred for this great remembrance; it must be fed, clothed and decorated, it must
be worshipped and loved. Behold, it is the workmanship of the great Craftsman and the song
resounds in its domes of exquisite beauty. The Songster lives in his own song. And if you desert
His presence and violate the memory of love, you are but a corpse.
The body of disciples is holy. The milkmaids59 cleanse their pots to treasure the milk therein; you O
disciples, keep your bodies inviolate for filling with the song of the Guru.
If you love the Maker of the Temple, you have His handicraft also. All other temples are of brick
and mortar, but this Temple is of God is made of His song and joy, and in touching man, you touch
But make no fetish of it; men are rare: whenever you see a man, how down to Him.
Better severed be the head of him that bows not to the Guru.60 The gods all pine to adore the
temple of the human body blessed by the Guru. The heavens are at the Guru’s beck and call. His
mercy is the highest friendship in this dark loneliness of space which knows not itself.
Therefore, I tell you, O disciples, that in your passionate love of God, the Guru, you shall not
commit violence to His holy memory of love against yourselves or against others.
As liberated men feel kingly over all things, you may so feel in your spiritual glory over fowls of the
forest and fishes of the sea; for as liberated souls you are verily, verily, each one of you, a king of the
whole universe. But your kingship is in the light of a little lamp, that must forever burn in the shrine
of your heart day and night and all objects shall melt and come and be the oil of that little lamp of
love. Your kingship is of the divine lustre of love and compassion for God in all things, and your
majesty of kindly sympathy.
And gather the twigs of the forest to keep your hearth-fire burning for the hatred-bitten pilgrims
that will come and be comforted. Eat and drink, for food and drink is sanctified for you, for the
light of Nam burns in you and the whole creation feels comforted when you pass. The tree needs its
food for giving of fruits, you for comforting those who are in distress.
No food is holy, no food unholy by itself; only watch your feelings day and night. Physical life,
when it tends to overpower the soul, becomes a poison, and all things you have, become poisoned.
Beware then! shame on that eating by which the mind wanders away from love61 and the cup of the
heart-lamp is shattered on the rocks and all is dark. Shame on that wearing and decorating by which
the mind wanders away from love and the cup of the heart’s lamp is shattered on the rocks and all is
Be as free as a blossom, here; be as a bird in the sky raining down hymns, be as a living fountain.
The universe shall adjust itself in perfect righteousness to you, when with your face towards the sun
of love, the Guru, you are marching on. Do not be over-fastidious here, for much of the clogging is
only incidental; it stains the skin in the passage, it cannot hurt you.
While you make attempts to found a home, a country, a state, and a society for yourself and exhaust
all your energy in securing the comfort of friendship of fellowship here, you wish to destroy others
to secure it for yourself exclusively. But remember, life does not end here; there is as much
loveliness of country and fellowship beyond the grave. And as loneliness is hell, here, so loneliness
will be hell there. You must devote some intention to striking friendships there, where you have to
pass more time than here, so that little you do here for others, will there be magnified a thousand
times to your advantage, and there will be welcome for you in those Shining Realms of Love.
And therefore, I say, while making countries here and friends, think of your journey from here also
and make provision that shall be of use to you after death there. Nothing of this world will go with
you, but your mind full of His Nam, and if you fill it not with that great glory, you will, alas! fill it
with the wounds of violence done here. So stop and ponder and be self-restrained and calm and
serene. Judge not. Revenge not. Kill not. Injure not. Bless all and love all. You can do all this if
you fill your memory with the Guru’s Nam and leave all ends to Him, and also leave all thinking to
Many are the bye-lanes of distress, the homes of darkness beyond death. The squalor and
wretchedness of hatred and passion, there too, in those dark regions, are like the festering sores of
space and time; those dark regions are peopled with spirits of desire and vengeance;
Be sure, therefore, that your path beyond the grave is lighted by the lamp of Nam; and guided by it
you shall go straight where the Guru waits for you.
Rejoice, O man, that the choice of making friends is eternally yours. You are not the slave even of
gods if you so choose. Rise therefore, invoke the Guru and choose aright. Seek the company of
great liberated souls. No one is freed from his desire; no one in great that is not full of the nectar of
His love, Nam. I, therefore, call you away from the path of vice. Come up to the Guru and see that
darkness of hatred is but emptiness, the lowness of mere physical space. Freedom is there, on the
heights that could never be dreamt of in those dark dungeons of desire and dirt.
Nam like the advent of new youth in you, shall make the world new for you; Nam will purify the
atmosphere. Nam purifies whole regions; Nam sends forth emanations that will sanctify all you
touch; that will make the spaces you occupy, full of holy influences. Your presence will carry
blessing and peace for all. Nam will make you fearless; Nam will make your body entirely of that
light which is more effulgent than the sun. Remember, you are a soul, all creation is a soul. All is of
the soul and not of the body–though the body, too, is beautiful when lighted by the soul.
Fear not, enter the path whoever you be, stand and rise and look up to the Sun.
And in all attitudes and postures of your soul consciousness. He will support your soul and lead it
on. Hesitate not, delay not; rise and call upon Him.
Say not you are impure, say not you are pure. All these appellations are of vain pride. Rise and
simply name Him, glorify the Guru and say, Glory!62 and again Glory!62 So full of joy be you,
thereby, that this world become a vision of His glory.
In sleep, in waking, be you a sinner or saint, rich or poor, rise and behold the Guru and say, “Glory
to Him! Glory to Him!”62
If the stones wake up and utter Glory to the Guru,62 how wonderful would be the miracle thereof!
And if man or woman, whether ugly or beautiful, narrow-minded or liberal, selfish or unselfish, utter
“Glory to the Guru”, why do you not stand wonder-bound at this miracle? The stone is not an
angel yet, the man is not truly religious yet, not as generous as the sun–all that will come by the
miracle of naming Him. Nam will transmute all in their slow growth. This slow growth is as
miraculous as the flash of a new star. Wait, therefore, with patience and wonder. O Man! Behold
the wonder of creation, the great Creator, Kartar.
The road is clear, follow the Guru. Every breath filled with His-name will light your way. Choose
Him for friend.
Assemble your present and future in the Guru. There is no distance between you and the Guru.
I am nearer to you than you are to yourself I am the soul, the ear of your ear.
O disciple, be not afraid of death.
Live as long as you can, for your breaths are as purses and His Nam the gems.
Fill your purses with these as much as you can, for they are the provisions of the way and provisions
of love for the bourne from where no traveller returns.
And when you die, there will be welcome from the celestials waiting on the other side.
Rise and choose the Guru as your Friend.
I call you to become greatest, noblest, broad hearted individuals; be perfect as gods and as full of
love and light and song as the angels. And first of all, be individuals strong and powerful, free and
beautiful like the pole-star, that you may shine with the name of the Guru, and make your memory
holy with His Name.
Let your lips utter the songs of His glory, your feet be creative of the beauty of journeying to the
Guru, your hands be of service of Him, your heart full of love for Him, and may your city, country
and world be filled with the glory of Nam.
And be you song-strung, name-strung, passion-strung as the harps of God, striking the music that
may awaken the memory of the Beautiful.
And then I call you to form the Sangat, the whole humanity of the saints of Simrin, of the Guru’s
May the galaxy of the saints of God on this earth, from among you, shine as soul-stars in the inner
firmament of the soul-consciousness of man for ever, pulling him upward, Guru-ward, God-ward.
I call you to form the Saviour-people, the Khalsa, the Guru’s own, the fragrant companionship of
the Knights of Heaven.
One disciple thus may become armies, multitudes, shining and burning with Nam, brimming over
with love this is my Khalsa. This is my Akali armies, the host of my Knights of Heaven.
And let the Heavens march you in firm step with the whole infinite system of the Guru’s great
And all shall stand on the roadside and with parted lips look up to you and say, this is the Guru’s
Rise then, you disciples, one in the multitude, and the multitude in one, as the hope of all humanity.
Rise as a host of messiahs and overwhelm the hosts of darkness, hatred and revenge; and free man
from the misery of his little self both here and the hereafter.
I love groups of lights. Burn you disciples, as the million torches of the night. Go gathering men, in
processions of brothers.
I announce Nam, Dan, Snan.63
I announce Deg, Teg, Fateh.
I announce Wah-Guru, Glory! Glory! Glory! to Him.
Nam is the Guru. Dan is loving all and giving all in His love, for His Love, and as gladness of His
Love. Snan is the holiness of memory, lightness of soul, and brightness of body.
Nam, Dan, Snan, together is soul, is man unpolluted by desire, lust, anger, greed. and selfishness.
Deg (Pot), your bread shall be inexhaustible, the more you give in My Name, the more it shall be. A
loaf of bread and a piece of salt shall be as many loaves as your guests and one more.
Teg (Sword): And you shall be fully armed men. And your sword shall be kind. Your sword is
knowledge: Your Sword is the mind, your sword is the soul, your sword is light of life, for if the
sword flashes not, all grows dark and eyes grow blind.64 The Sword is the cleaving light that puts all
the ghosts to flight. The Sword flashes for the good of humanity. The Sword is God.65 The Sword
is the Guru, the Saviour. The Sword is the death of death. The sword is life-conferring.
Fateh (Victory): Victory is of God,66 and yet are of God and victory be forever yours. There is no
joy anywhere but in victory, and victory is always of the hosts of God, and the ghosts of darkness
shall take flight. Victory is of Truth and the lie forever is routed. In victory, the angles flap their
wings and rejoice. All rejoicings of groups is in victory. All creation is a battle-field, and many a
time God seems to lose. Truth is defeated they say, and the Guru has no chance, so it seems.
But remember, the Lie ends, Truth alone continues forever,67 and the Victory is always of Truth and
yet are of Truth. This is what I call Fateh.
The Khalsa waits for His will to manifest itself through his body and mind; the Khalsa burns day and
night with His Love. The Khalsa on this earth is only a vehicle of the Khalsa in Heaven.
Sat Sri Akal: Victorious always is God, He who transcends time and space.
All shall pass away, but not the word of God. I may seem defeated, but Truth is forever victorious
and if you are ever for Truth, victory is yours. The Khalsa, the galaxy of my saints of Simrin,68 on
the vehicles of the galaxy of the liberated souls in the higher unseen worlds, are and shall be always
of God, of Truth. Such is my Khalsa.
I do not believe in priests. I believe in soldiers. In this world, the self-sacrifice of the soldier who
knows God is the highest. Unless the greatest saint of God turn soldier in the War of life, like a
King sharing the death of the commons, he is not quite pure.
Peace of the soul, unless it respond to my call, as the sea swells before the moon, and rises in great
typhoons and tempests, is only stupor.
In the name of the rarest, the highest, the noblest. One descending on earth, as the Saviour of man,
I do not allow anyone of my disciples to pretend as if anyone of them is He.
Rise, you nation of disciples, with a sword in your mind to strike at selfishness; and to cleave the
darkness that surrounds the inane ages of futile human history. Make new history, forget the past,
start afresh as gods with human limbs.
So be not bewildered by the desire to be extraordinary. Love to be simple human beings,
unsophisticated and unadulterated.
Be as the shining angels God made you, living in the white tents on the roadsides of life and
entertaining guests. And looking up whenever there is a tear in your eyes to the stars and filling your
souls with that beautiful mystery and the wonder thereof.
Great and infinite are the small sweet humanities that nestle in the heart, that make you the very kith
and kin of all.
The dog wags his tail when you fondle and caress him; it is a miracle that suggests the Infinite both
in you and him.
Where are you seeking God when He calls you in your own offspring to Himself? The laughing
faces of your children that feed on your flesh and blood–are they not sweeter than your own souls as
if portions of them have been thrown apart in space out of you? Hear in them the call of God to
His Love. It is His mercy that you love your children more than yourself. How God has civilised
the brute in you and has made you an incarnation of love and self-sacrifice!
And His process, the cosmic process of making you the very image of Himself is in operation in the
domain of bird and beast and man, in this world. And He is making you unselfish and divine, free
of carnality, in your very assertion of selfishness and carnality. This humanity in you is sweet and in
it God manifests Himself to you–me and him and her.
Is not this the occasion, therefore, of thanksgiving, that the highest religion is fulfilled in your love
of children, trees, animals and birds?
When you know each other intellectually, know that you but find each other’s limits and in the
puerile finalities thus found in each other, you find naught but disgust. You light on bodies only; the
souls became invisible to your eyes, blinded by too much knowing. Our intellect is not all interested
in the finite: it is seeking in you and me and her and him the Infinite. The very prophets as men,
mere men, are objects of not much interest to the intellectual man; so you can be of not much
interest to each other in such aspects of your nature as can be analysed and classified.
What is that in you, then, that transcends knowledge of this kind ? It is your small sweet humanities
which are as the silver points in this intellectual black space, and which suggest even in their
littleness the unfathomable depths and unattainable heights in you.
Man is spontaneously great in his little deep feelings. Feelings overwhelm intellect and will. A flood
of soul comes and sweeps away the visible humanity in you, which enshrines the innate pride of
King and peasant are equal in their tears and smiles. For joy man need have no thrones; the grief of
man finds no comfort in pearls and bejewelled diadems. Sentiments of the ever-dying humanity are
the only verities of life that command your homage if you be a man. How great is the moral value
of the words and wishes of your dying mother and sister! It seems then, sentiments have the
greatest value; life is made worth living as we give the highest respect to sentiments.
Graves contain only naked men and women, all reduced to the same little heap of dust. Kings lie on
the same earth and eat the same dust that the poor worms eat. The blood and bone of everyone is
of the same materials. There is no cure for hunger except a handful of grain. This great democracy
of man on this earth where intrinsically and essentially there is no difference between high and low,
between the clever and the stupid, between the powerful and the weak, between the vicious and the
virtuous–gives man the true longing for the unknown aristocracy and its richness of the Infinite.
True Aristocracy is of the soul, Democracy of the body. Aristocracy is of the fashioning spirit and
democracy is of mere materials. The greatest thing in you is something hidden, over which you can
have no control, that overwhelms you and your systems of thought, and works and asserts itself
inspite of you.
Bread and clothes and the comforts of physical difficulties and distresses must be equally provided
for all and there the highest ideals of democracy of equal feeling and sympathy for all are satisfied.
But aristocracy of the creative mind is wholly subjective.
The driest and coldest logic of men like John Stuart Mill is as kitchen rubbish compared to his ill–
conceived passion for Mrs. Taylor.
Poor man! you are at your greatest in your weakness.69 Your logic is for others, not for yourself.
There is the well-dressed, formal, awe-inspiring individual in you that keeps everybody else at arm’s
length and sneers and turns its stately nose in disgust at others, and reasons and argues most
abstrusely and learnedly, and is so vehement in announcing abstract principles; but this disgust is all
for those who live outside your own clothes. Under you own clothes, the monkey is as jolly with its
follies as if the follies were all the truths. So it is. The greatest soldier and statesman and the
hardest, cruellest, politician, the very Napoleon is a small pigeon when cooing for love to a
Josephine. When Napoleon meets Mary of Luxemburg in the midst of pomp, the crude, poor
human lust lurks in those glances from under the corners of the eyes of poor human animal, the
great Napoleon! How all greatness resolves into its elements!
This poor, naked, slum child, lust, is the master of man. This only shows that on this earth, man is,
in his feelings and passion, just as other animals; neither a Lenin nor a Shakespeare can resist the
charm of God when so manifested.
Such is man’s instinct. Know ye men, in this passion of yours is concealed by God, Kartar, His own
presence and down this way is the lane to His mansion, the Infinite. This irridescent beauty of the
vanishing cheeks of a transient phantom of a woman, a passing woman, that will–of-the-wispish
woman who, do what you will, will not stay with you for ever in that supreme first moment of her
love and charm, is assuredly of God. In this sense, all temptation is tempting because of His
presence, the Truth that so entices and bewilders. God alone is the prime attraction in everything.
In all beautiful fascinations He it is who calls. Therefore, men of real understanding seek Him in
man, aye in all these vanishing shows, these entrancing passions and those everlasting feelings of
man that make the history of the world so sweet and painful.
All our pleasure-seeking is His worship, if our memory is made alive with naming Him. God like an
intrepid lover and with the seductive beauty of the beloved calls out our souls to Himself.
The events giving you pain and pleasure, union and separation, hope and despair, are the finger-
touches of that hidden musician on the strings of your being; and when you laugh or weep, it is He
striking His infinite symphonies out of these frail instruments.
Great is the mystery and meaning of human pain and pleasure and great the tragic details of our
loves and hatreds of each other. A cosmic process is in operation to make gods out of dead rocks
and selfish ferocious beasts. And all is a part of this operation, our wars and our vices. But when
man is made God, there shines in him the world of God, quite another world, surely not the world
as we find it in our bitter experiences.
I, therefore, justify all your pleasures as no one before me has so done, because you have so many
pains to feel and to undergo so much of self-purification. I only say, be cognisant of all this
yourself, and in the realization of the ever–vanishing transience of ourselves, of both the seen and
the unseen, let your pleasures be pregnant with the great tragedy of it all, and let your pleasures be
light and evanescent and innocent.
Be you ever a freedom-giver, never a curtailer of freedom. Be friendly, humane, simple and kind,
and this for your own sake; for realizing the pure beauty of things and that mysterious God in you is
your highest destiny and the noblest goal of life.
Forget those with whom you might seem to come in mental clash. Leave them and go away from
what might oppress you. Wide is the world here and also hereafter; there is an infinitude of things
to choose for your self–perfection.
And therefore, I say, choose your own companions and if you please, let such choice be a flying one,
for often you die in your attempts to be consistent. Choose your own company and be at peace
with all, and happy within yourself Avoid friendships that cause irritation. Irritation is a disease both
of the individual and society. Avoid familiarity that breeds contempt, for contempt is but the
reduction of the infinite of truth and God to our personal little misery of a vanishing, meaningless
experience. Contempt is the disgust of your soul in not finding God where you went out to seek
Him. And the soul, when thus once thrown out of balance, throws both mind and body out of the
centre. Disease results, death follows. Death of the mere body were indeed negligible, but here
follows death of the soul sometimes. The created soul disintegrates and turns into matter; the
cosmic labour of making a soul or fashioning beauty out of matter is thus lost.
Great wars are caused by these microscopic irritations, contempts and teeth-clenchings of ours
against men and things. Peace of nations is disturbed in the soul-disturbance of a few. The more
responsible a man is to God and society, the more peaceful he needs to be by his very nature. And
there are happily all kinds of mechanical and spiritual means to maintain one’s balance. When God
is in us, we shall be happy within ourselves and at peace with all, and when we are fully happy within
ourselves we can have no ill-will, no jealousy. Let your happiness like the sap of the tree flow
within, flow inward. To clutch at men and things and embrace all in mad abundance of one’s
happiness and in that flowing virtue of the soul, except when one is so created and so authorized as
an inexhaustible fountain or a river to flow, will surely exhaust your happiness, your virtue, your
Get all physical aids by all means that you might need to maintain your virtue at the requisite level,
and in the requisite balance, not wholly unspent like the wealth of a miser, not wholly squandered as
the youth of the Prodigal Son; but so spent, as shall flow perennially from you to all, as sweet
goodwill for all and yourself. It would grow as a veritable God by being so maintained and
conserved. This is the great economics of the soul and its substance of joy.
Your pleasures and pains are mere mechanical aids. Both are as poison and nectar in one; poison
when they exhaust your virtue, your goodwill, and nectar when they add to it and make it perennial.
Friendships, relations, loves and hatreds, social and civic calls to duty and service, scholarship,
pursuit of wealth and renunciation thereof, aesthetics and ascetic choices, religions and worships and
the denial thereof, all are but as mechanical aids to the maintenance of your virtue at its high
And in the very nature of things, all pursuit of life here is both poison and nectar–poison when it
drains your virtue to the bleeding point and nectar when it nourishes your roots to grow into
perennial fountains of life.
Know therefore, you disciples, how to preserve your lyrical balance.
The prophet Mohammad wept on the grave of his slave Sayeed70 and the daughter of Sayeed, the
disciple of the Prophet, is astonished to see the Prophet weeping like a man, a mere man; and the
Prophet wipes his own tears and says to her, it is a matter of no astonishment, for a friend weeps
over the grave of his friend.
Here in this little act is the infinity of God in the Prophet so manifested; here is God more revealed
to us than all the other revelations of Al-Quran; for poor as we are, these revelations have fallen flat
on us, their miracle exhausted by a reverent repetition; and few amongst us are true Muslims, but all
are men, if like the Prophet, we can weep.
The ignorant people crucify their best soul in Jesus of Nazareth. How sweetly he talked to the
woman at the well, how he forgive sinners–this human touch of his is surely more to us than his
raising the dead, and healing the sick which latter miracles he undoubtedly performed, for he was
created extraordinary and all such things were ordinary effects of his spiritual radiations, but all this
latter excites neither our intellect nor our soul. It is in the nature of The intellect that unless it can
be continuously fed on ever-increasing excitement, and thus kept red hot, it cannot glow of itself in
appreciation for truth for long. So, O you disciples, you need not seek the vain excitements of the
mere intellect for the sake of appraising Truth, for all the intellectual values are like the fireworks
even of most intricate designs that but burn in flares and drop dead as ashes.
And you, O disciples, know that when you are in the midst of pleasure or in the intensest act of love
or passion or self-sacrifice, in the noblest volition of patriotism, or religious martyrdom, or any deep
feeling, your intellect does not keep pace with you. Either you ignore it and leave it behind yourself
or it suspends its breath like a Hindu Yogi and lies drying on the outskirts of the soul. Or as hidden
by you, it stands at the outer gates like an armed sentinel in your livery and dares not intrude on the
secret sacred privacy of your pains and pleasures. It is not, therefore, strange that in such deep vital
concerns as the destiny of your soul and love and life–the act of that wondrous, dumb gazing at your
God, and in your humble and poor approaches to Him who provides you with all this plenty of
pleasures and pain–this impertinent servant of yours should forthwith come upon you with the
authority of a tyrant and make you a victim.
Seek to be a sweet, good, common, rustic man of genuine humanity. I do not say intellect is to be
suppressed, I say intellect should form its columns and drill its cohorts and it should be your trained
military force, but you in your divine right should be the king of your own castle. The armies are
trained to maintain an empire, not to destroy it. The intellect should be the minister of the soul, as
other faculties of the imagination should be.
Know, therefore, you can only find God in your own sweet humanity, the very infinite goodness of
God in each other’s human touches. In human pleasures and pains, in hopes and despairs, the tragic
beginnings and tragic ends, you shall find all that is worth finding and knowing. God is behind these
little straw screens and not above those high stone-walls of intellect and its gathered knowledge. Or
look up and see, God shines in the Ideal men, the stars of your imagination, or the great moral
Let therefore, the empire of the intellect be illumined by radiations from your throne of the heart,
which is the throne of the creator of the starry worlds also.
Let the Guru be your King; the vistas of whose infinite humanity should be like the infinite expanse
of that small sweet sympathy in your own soul. The kings of the world enslave you, kill your pride,
destroy your soul, and shower their favours only on slaves, on souls reduced to dust For others, they
have swords and scaffolds But the Guru frees you, pouring infinite pride into you, elevates your
soul-consciousness, and when you are rich with self-esteem and joy and love in yourself. He
showers His favours only then–when you are the highest, the noblest, the freest, the purest you.
So you have met Him. You are different, having been reborn of the Spirit.
You know Him now, without much of the so called knowledge. Knowledge? The babe in the
womb knows all about the mother; behold; a little life-string unites their souls. So the whole
knowledge of God for you, the pure you, is just being united with Him by a little life-string, and the
whole of you, your very soul tending for ever upwards! This state of living in rich elevation of soul,
in sweet exhilaration, is your knowledge of Him.
Impossible, unknown to you, you grown up men and women, is your mother-soul, God. It encom-
passeth you. You live in it in spite of your so-called ignorance, in spite of your so-called knowledge.
That feeding of your soul by Him through the fine life-string is what the Guru calls Remembrance
Your consciousness is, then, spun into fine threads! These hair71 you have, the long fine threads
coming out of your head, indicate how you are being drawn into fine threads which flow out of you
and unite you with Him, who is your beloved and lover in one. They ask you, what is God? You do
not know: What does a bird know but flying upwards, rushing upwards? Your sweet diffusion into
the infinite and the diffusion of the infinite into you is all. No one else, therefore, knows so much
about God as you know.
The spinning wheel is revolving, the breath of man is full of His Name. “Glory! Glory!” rises of
itself from your very flesh. Vital emanations of joy flow out of you. You radiate. They say you are
an entity, but you feel at last, you are but a reed-pipe in which His breath flows.
When the rain falls and the trees are washed, you feel you have been washed. No crevices scar your
soul. No plots, no plans, no thoughts divide your mind. There no more remain any mounds or
depression, any caverns or holes in your consciousness. The sun shines in full splendour over all
equally. All space is fully illuminated. You have grown transparent and God shines in you.
Now the flowing streams flow through you as much as they flow through the land. They wash the
valleys as much as they wash your mind. The winds pass through the forests and they pass equally
The outer and the inner spaces have become one and the sky spreads itself in you. The stars shine
in you. You are so overwhelmed with the largeness of yourself that your gladness knows no end.
Your happiness clothes the universe with the glory of the vision of love.
So you have been thus informed.
To such as you then, naming Him, repeating His Name, singing Him, is no task. And yet it is that
noble work which you have come by, which never leaves you any leisure. You cannot do enough.
“I was an utter fool, the Guru has put me to work. I have found my work.” 72
Guru Amardas,73 an old man of eighty years and more, passed night after night, day after day, saying
“Glory to Him! Glory to Him.” This naming Him had to him become a person, it was His dearest
companion; it had grown both human and divine. It was the presence of God to him. He could not
live without Him. Guru Amardas had a peg driven into the wall; he caught hold of it and stood
listening to His voice, His name, in wondrous delight of love. The wood of the peg he held in his
hands was half worn through. It can still be seen at Goindwal.
I tell you now, for you have travelled much, this incessant practice of Nam, this endless infinite
repetition of His name, this sublime immensity of the vigil of love, this grandeur of the soul’s deep
concentration in faith, this vibrant inspiration of calling upon God and the Guru, is the whole of
spirituality. There is no spirituality other than this. The living God is this intense love which knows
no sleep, no rest, no self-excusing, no justification for going away from this presence.
Taking dinner or sipping a cup of tea with heavy souls will burn you. These shall deplete you and
this depletion will be as poisonous as the exhaustion of the soul caused by an immoral act. For
some time, you may suffer to be courteous, but you cannot suffer for all time. Renunciation must
follow eventually. People who are not in tune with your inner rhythm cannot be
your companions for long any more.
You will also find, at times preaching a sermon to heavy souls will be like purchasing a disease of the
soul. You will of yourself learn to be silent. When speech will cause pain as if your bones are being
broken and your flesh it being torn asunder, know you have been blessed. This supreme
sensitiveness is in the nature of what they vaguely call omniscience.
When suddenly your best moments of soul will be thus robbed of you by a chance meeting with
some man or woman, you will know that it is not safe spiritually to exchange your intimacies with
anyone. Men and women are not men and women; you will be afraid of them. And yet when you
will be so inspired, you will flow like a river and all shall bathe in you and feel blessed.
Spiritual isolation is to be sought from all in your incessant labour, both physical and mental.
You have entered the world of the soul. You have gone beyond and above your body. To them
who are still confined to the body, as it is an endless struggle to win bodily pleasures, to win
sustenance, so to you, who are in the soul, it will also be clear that the very shining of the soul, like
the sun, is, in the nature of things, an infinite struggle.
You are journeying to the Infinite, in the Infinite, and, in the nature of things, there cannot but be
journeying on and on. There can be no rest for you anywhere; there can be no slackness, neglect for
you. Want of watchfulness, want of omniscient care of maintaining your beauty is of death,
constant wakefulness is of life, of the spirit. It is verily, verily incessant work; it is endless marching
on and on.
I do not point to the grace, I point to the living soul. The grave has to be discarded, the struggle for
life has to be made endless and by its endlessness a veritable ecstasy.
Therefore, you cannot but keep on a constant war to maintain your spiritual breath.
Love is the greatest state of spiritual wakefulness and to keep that state in its attitude of ever scaling
new heights, you have to work and to toil.
The day’s dust is to be brushed off your shoes, the day’s dirt is to be washed off your mind, that the
heaviness of soul may be burnt up by intensity of feeling. You have to wash your soul with the
physical labour of chanting. In its chant, in its sound are hidden great worlds of wonder.
You must allow no decay of fervour. Mechanical repetition is meaningless. Yes, I said so and I say
again. But for you, I tell you, you who are informed of Him, mechanical repetition is the greatest
wheel of flint that in its sheer revolutions will create sparks of life for you and a chance spark will
burn up all your heaviness and will make you light as if you had no body.
Therefore, I call you to ever-wakefulness, ever-watchfulness. I call you to a jump in cold water, I
call you to take a ride, I call you to the battlefield to die as a soldier, only to get rid of your stupor,
Chant the Guru’s Word. You say it is like the old priests who told beads, and these I have
condemned. I condemn them still, but to you I say, to tell beads is all, for you will find that while
naming Him, your lips will kiss themselves and your arms will vibrate and gather in their embrace
what they see not. As you will gather up your knot of tresses
And in mechanical chanting of the Guru’s Word, you will feel you are a king of the spiritual realms
You will feel as if you have bathed in a thousand rivers. I will condemn the priests and you will
defend them in your soul. The time when this will happen, you will truly understand me that what I
condemn in religion is not religion, but its false forms.
Live therefore, in the pure sound of the Guru’s Word. It is immortality in flesh. It is the concourse
of angels in your soul.
If you know Him, how can you forget Him? Keep the flame alive. I leave it to you what shall be
the needs of the moment–within you. You alone shall know how to keep the light of Nam burning
your heart is the shrine; the lamp of Nam is lit and it burns therein. And in the background He
stands. You are the priest of that sacred shrine. There is silence lit by Nam. There is the song lit by
silence. You have to pour oil, you have to trim the wick and you have to keep it burning.
Now you shall see that where the lamp has not been lit, how idle is the effort to trim the wick, to
pour the oil. What is the meaning of idle professions of keeping the lamp of the shrine burning?
What is the meaning of the shrine, when God who lights the lamp is not standing by, forming the
And for you when the Lamp is lit, is it not equally foolish not to be in incessant watchfulness to
keep it burning?
1. This is an impressionistic summing-up of the Guru’s vision. - Editor.
2. The disciple who later on succeeded him with the name of Guru Angad. - Editor.
3. Reference of Arati in Dhanasari: Gagan mai thal. - Editor.
4. Such expressions are found in Guru Nanak’s Bani. - Editor.
5. Here the thoughts of Novalis and Sir Oliver Lodge are forestalled by four hundred years by the
6. The ideas embodied in this paragraph and some that follow, present only the ‘interpreted’
essence of holy teaching, and are by no means literal transcripts from Gurubani except here and
there. - Editor.
7. Todi, Guru Arjan Dev, page 712. - Editor.
8. Guru Nanak has a shop and there sold provisions both for man’s body and soul.
9. The constant word hummed by Guru Nanak at Sultanpur Lodhi, when he was Khan’s
weighman and store-keeper.
10. Guru Gobind Singh fought for the liberties of the people and gave away his all to the people.
11. Here implies seva, kirat. - Editor.
12. Chautha-pad (the fourth state) of absorption in Par-Brahm. - Editor.
13. Sukhmani. Ashtpadi 2 - Editor.
14. Reflection of Japuji, Sloka. - Editor.
15. Cf. Japuji 29 - Editor.
16. This is a beautiful transcription of Wahguru. - Editor.
17. Echoes Guru Arjan’s Tera kiya mitha lage. - Editor.
18. This line occurs in Tennyson’s In Memoriam. - Editor.
19. In Ramkali, in the Granth Sahib. - Editor.
20. This is an echo of Christianity. - Editor.
21. Lit. By the holy master’s grace. - Editor.
22. Echo of Guru Nanak’s teachings, Ghal khai kichh hathaun deh, and in Var Asa. - Editor.
23. Cf. Rahiras - Editor.
24. This state is of the jivan-mukta—one liberated whole living or in the flesh. - Editor.
25. These are symbols for God, as in Gurubani. - Editor.
26. The identity of the Master and the Disciple is an accepted doctrine of Sikhism. - Editor.
27. Echo of Guru Nanak’s beautiful hymn in Wadhans: “Morin run jhun laiya” in which the sight
of the Divine Beloved comes to the devotee in dream. - Editor.
28. Echoes the opening lines of Guru Gobind Singh’s Jap. - Editor.
29. This colour is the Buddhist monk’s wear. - Editor.
30. Divine grace. - Editor.
31. Echo of one of Guru Gobind Singh’s prayers. - Editor.
32. These figures are redolent of Puranic legends of Vishnu-Bhakti in India. - Editor.
33. The image of the spear may have been derived from Blake, the English poet of mysticism. -
34. Cf. Ravi Das’s hymn in Guru Granth: Beghampura shahar ko naun. (Gauri, page 345) - Editor.
35. Where the Nam reigns. - Editor.
36. Cf. The New Testament. - Editor.
37. Echo of Gurbani in Todi V (p. 712).
38. Echoes Guru Gobind Singh’s hymn, Mittar piyare nan hul muridan da kehna. - Editor.
39. Here reference is to Sahj, the process of ‘simple’, faith. - Editor.
40. The God-directed, believing man. - Editor.
41. Echo of hymn of Guru Arjan: Mohe anath gharb nimani; Banh pakar ham kini rani. - Editor.
42. The imagery of husband and wife in the relationship of devotion is ubiquitous in Sikh sacred
writings. - Editor.
43. Image taken from Bhai Vir Singh’s poetry. - Editor.
44. Imagery usual in devotional portions of Gurubani. - Editor.
45. Kal or time in Sikh spiritual thought is the basis of all matter that is perishable. - Editor.
46. Literal parallel of Sikh, a devotee. - Editor.
47. An echo of Japuji, 22. - Editor.
48. This voices the Sikhs ideal of the dedicated man of action, the saint-soldier. - Editor.
49. Such wonder is integral to Sikh mysticism. - Editor.
50. The touch redolent of Christian mysticism as also of the Sikhs doctrine of Shabda, embodying
Divine Reality. - Editor.
51. Echo of Gurubani. - Editor.
52. This is an echo of Gurubani. - Editor.
53. Union with the Infinite is meant. - Editor.
54. This is inspired by the hymn of cosmic laudation in Japuji, entitled So Daru. - Editor.
55. An attribute of the Eternal. Cf. Guru Gobind Singh’s Akal Ustati. - Editor.
56. Echo of Guru Teg Bahadur’s hymn. - Editor.
57. The man of God, the Jana of Gurubani. - Editor.
58. A Christian touch: - Editor.
59. Echoes the Krishna-legend, as also an affirmation in Gurubani (Sihi Mahalla I. 1., page 728). -
60. Echo of a Sloka of Farid from the holy Granth. - Editor.
61. Echo of Guru Nanak’s affirmation in Sri Raga. - Editor.
62. This is Wah, Wah-Guru, the Sikh name of God. - Editor.
63. Nam=holy Name; Dan=charity; Snan=holy bathing. Deg=cauldron, symbol of sharing food
with one’s fellow-men; Teg=the sword; Fateh=victory: - Editor.
64. Herein is philosophy of militancy in the way of God, as expressed by Guru Gobind Singh. -
65. Bhagauti, in the Sikh tradition. - Editor.
66. The Sikh’s salutation to each other, is inspiration in a call to the Guru.
67. Cf. Guru Nanak’s affirmation, Kur nikhuttei Nanaka orak sach rahi (Var Ramkali, Mahalla III.
13). - Editor.
68. Remembrance, contemplation of God. - Editor.
69. Reference to Mill’s passion fro Mrs. Taylor above.
70. His name is said to be Saad ben Maaz. - Editor.
71. Reference is to keshas, one of the five sacred symbols of a believing Sikh (Khalsa). - Editor.
72. An echo of Gurubani. - Editor.
73. The third Apostle in Guru Nanak’s holy line. - Editor.
74. Centre of Guru Amardas’s mission in the district of Amritsar. - Editor.
75. To wear the hair unshorn is enjoined upon a Sikh. - Editor.
EDITOR’S NOTE ON READINGS FROM
GURU GRANTH SAHIB
In the renderings that follow, it may be pointed out that as usual with Puran Singh in his
presentation of the Sikh sacred texts, these do not maintain a close literal affinity with the original.
The author, in his ecstasy of devotion throws out appealing parallels to the original, without
however, the scrupulous care for a near-reproduction. His are ‘transcreations’ in a very wide sense,
and have to be accepted as such. The spirit, devotional fervour and insight of the original are quite
often there, along with a good deal of embellishment of imagery from the poet’s inspiration of the
In these excerpts the context has been indicated, though the identification of passages would present
difficulties because of the prevalence of the characteristic just mentioned. Furthermore, Puran
Singh did not take whole hymns, but often selected verses out of these, and that too not in a running
sequence. All this adds to the difficulty of identification
In Gurubani, in the compositions of all the Gurus, it is one single vision and an identical philosophy,
along with recurring imagery that is reiterated. So, unless some structure in the original be carefully
reproduced in the rendering, it is possible to mix up passages and make fumbling identifications.
Nevertheless, Puran Singh’s renderings are soulful, as by one who is deeply imbued with the spirit of
devotion. They amply serve to convey to the reader the fervour that belongs to the texts of the
READINGS FROM THE GURU GRANTH
The sound of winds, of fires, of waters are the instruments for the music of Nam.
All the Voices of creation Name Him.
And those who are not of this Great Adoration are sprites, ghosts of darkness, mere apparitions.
He who hath no limbs meets (me) in the Word.
Those who have risen up to this soul-union, for them all struggle is ended; for them there are no
duties to be done, no religious rites to be performed, no “clean” rosaries, no beads to be told, no
vows, no laws, no disciplines.
In the union, the soul has met the pure Spirit.1
That Pure Spirit shines resplendent and perfect in all imperfections.
The darkness of “pride”, “self” and “I,’ vanishes before His light as black night flees before the
The Sat-Guru has bestowed (upon me) the Immortality of “Being with Him”–his Nam.
They who are inspired by the Higher Realms of the Immortals (Durgah) are the accepted offerings.
They pass on (after this physical death) to that home which naught that we can say can even
Nanak! burnt be all this describing and speaking about those, the forever indescribable.
The teachings of the Guru are beautiful be as crystals, diamonds and rubies,
O disciples, dig, seek, and find the precious gems.
The Guru is like a flowing river;
Meeting with Him washes away the soil gathered by life in its upward march.
Know ye in the being of the Sat-Guru is true cleansing; by plunging into its flowing waters of life, the
materiality encasing the soul is washed away and animals are sublimated into angels and gods.
We should seek His feet by whose breath the plant–life breathes gladness.
By the touch of the “Gurmukh” –“Whose Face is towards God” –the soul of life revives bird and
beast and man are glad,
And in his company, there is a passage to the world of souls beyond.
And there is in him the inspiration to love-death in that gladness of God.
In the favour of the Gurmukh is the pilgrim’s eternal home.2
O Pure Spirit, Thou art my Yajman3 I ask of Thee but One Dakshina, –Give me the Gladness of
The wandering five thieves have come home, the flaming pride of “I”. “I” is over now (for me.)
Beholding “others” than Thyself is ended.
The desire of following the footsteps of any but Thee is extinguished.
Such is Brahmagnan. The nectar of Thy beauty flows in limpid crystals though my being and I need
not any more knowing.
The love and its satiation be mine, O Lord; this be the rice for me,
Thy forgiveness for all may come to me, this be the wheat for me.
Thy mercy–this be the milk for me,
And the simple gladness of Thee–no more needing aught–this be the ghee for me.
O Yajman, I seek these gifts (the talents of the spirit) from thee.
The kindness of Thy great love for all sentient beings, together with an eternal waiting for Thy com-
ing, such be the much-cow for me.
That my mind may slowly and sweetly, and languorously, and leisurely keep drinking thy milk.
Ah gently, sweetly, lightly, softly, playfully may the calf drink of the cow.
The music of Thy Name be my new vestures.
Thou art my Yajman.4
None could hold back the coming of man on this earth.
Who could hold him back when departing?
He who sends him here, takes him there,
And on His direct protection subsists all life.
Glory be to Thee, O Spirit.
It is all of Thy inscrutable consent.
It is as thou wishest;
All cometh about as thou biddest;
None, none can alter Thy decrees.
As the garland of pitchers bound with hemp-strings on the revolving water-life of the Persian wheel
comes up and goes down (into the well), so do the filled ones come up to be emptied, and the
emptied ones filled.
Such is the great coming and going of life in the universe.
Rise and sing of Him whose name is verity.
At once, O soul do Thy fetters fall by naming Him.5
Guidance only is needed if anyone has lost his way.
All go the way on which He has put them.6
Singing like birds His Name at the break of Dawn,
And filling our being with pure glory of gladness.
As birds shed water from their wings, let us shed the blind pursuits of the matter-bound world.
Nanak, I salute the glad ones,
The defeated ones here are the victorious there–Maya is the wandering broken mind of man.
When the Guru pours into it, mind becomes whole (maya vanishes).
I pray such be my reason and that I may seek again and yet again His shining Feet and their great
shelter and still greater solace.
In every heart-beat is the self-same throb of the pure spirit.
And yet nowhere can it be seen as such.
Men talk of the base and the noble together, the talkers lose their self-respect.
Only when Thou so pleasest does struggling life shed its material things.
Union with thee is in Thy love of us.
In Thy mansions of truth,
No one asketh the caste or colour,
Liberation is through Thy Grace.
He lives in Truth as Truth who aches with thirst for the delight of His Presence.
O men, brothers, repeat the delights of Naming Him, “Glory”! “Glory”! “Glory”!7
This wandering, desiring self finds its rest in the rapture of Nam.
O brothers, the profit of life is the gathering of the inner silent aches of “feeling”.
The Guru has given me the eternal comfort of His beauty.
“Glory”! “Glory”! is the very Remembrance of Him. O Brothers, His treasures are inexhaustible,
the fountains of His Bounty flow;
Serve Him with the gladness of His inspiration.
O Lord, come and meet me,
Live with me in my imperfections.
I cannot find Thee, find Thou me!
Live in me as the River of Remembrance, come!
In joy of Thy gracious beauty, I die of sheer gladness.
I am a sacrifice forever and ever; my mind, my body, all at They feet.
Take me unto Thy shelter from all fears.
O Master, of Thy will may my will-impulse be, And may I have the gift of the greatness of the song
of Thy Name,
And seeing whatever happeneth is of Thy consent understandable, let me struggle towards Thee till
my service is acceptable to Thee.
My God! bless me by Thy large forgiveness and come and live with me in my imperfections.
The Guru has extinguished the fire of vain desire in me.
And in Thy commands, I have found the peace of action.
What thou biddest me, so I do,
And I can do nothing else,
The Perfect One told me,
There is no other like Thee,
who gives without asking, who forgives the imperfections of all our efforts.
Only they know His Name,8
who have learnt it from the Gurmukh (those who have obtained the leaven of the life of the spirit
from an emancipated man).
The “other” – the “Matter” –has vanished for them, they. through the favour of Gurrnukh, see the
spirit so manifest.
If thought, like a bee is immersed in the fragrance of the Guru-presence, it knows how sweet is
love–never brackish, never insipid.
I know no other who is so great as Thee.
Thou sustainest all,
Those who have known Thy mercy, death dare not touch them,
In Thee there is never a dimness, nor decadence of Thy love.
Only those who have found Thy presence, and live in Thy sunshine, have really transcended both
the human hunger and distress.
Saith Nanak: disciple! leave others severely alone, what they think and what they do; thou shouldst
rise and appreciate this shining Presence of the pure spirit in this overwhelming darkness,
As long as the breath lasts in thy lungs,
“Name Him” “Name Him; ache in love of Him as revealed to Thee by the Guru.
By this aching for Him and by “Naming Him”, my mind is cleansed, my soul is washed of impurity
and ended is the blind pride of the little “I”.
O disciple; drink this Ambrosia of His glory with the spontaneous ease of the soul in love, slowly,
sweetly, languorously, joyfully, calmly–and wait.
By the genial warmth of the Mother-bosom of the Guru, the lotus of the life of the spirit shall
bloom in thy being;
And in the glory of this great scenting of Him in thee, the ugly, material, mental, illusion of “I” is
Beauty is Truth, few have this super-sense of beauty.
The union with beauty is ravishing.
I fain would die of sheer gladness of this knowledge.
I am at His feet, who kindly came and of his own accord made my soul his own mansion.
Nanak! In Nam is the union with the Guru,
True genius is of this union, and in this union;
But such lucky event of being a genius is so inscrutably immediate and so inscrutably remote.
The Ambrosia of naming Him is the sustenance of gods on high.
And it is God’s grace that bestows this great inspiration of love on thee, O disciple;
But in a hundred millions, and a hundred millions more, some rare one rises up to the reception of
this spiritual sustenance of the soul.
Feeling fountaining up in thee is the sign of His Mercy.
O disciple: kiss the vision of the Guru’s feet with thy eyes, bathe it with the tears of love, enthrone
the vision in the Temple of thy heart
FROM PHUNEHAS9 BY GURU AR JAN DEV,
MAJH AND OTHER BANIS
Thy Hand holds the pen that writes these destinies of souls.
Thy beauty still more beautiful grows, in its disentangled entanglement with the shapes of these
I cannot utter adequate praise of Thy glory;
I offer all my decorations, my body, my mind,
I offer my soul, offer wholly to Thee, O most Beautiful Person,
I am dead with the gladness of this vision of Thee.
May I be eternally singing Thy Name in the assembly of saints; repeating the holy sound of “You!”
I thirst with desire for Thee,
I fondly prepare the bed of union,
And wait if I may but meet Thee, O beautiful Beloved!
O sister of my soul!10
The tracing of blackness11 in my eyes,
The decoration of flower-garlands hanging around my neck,
And making my lips passion-red with the betel-dye.
And putting on musk anointing, and the sixteen other known decorations of powders and paints,
All do set off my loveliness, and I love to decorate myself, if that Beautiful One were to come home
and meet me.
And if He come not, all this preparation to meet Him is but a sad despair.
Blessed is her self-decoration, for she is the wedded woman;
Her waiting has been accepted and she sleeps fearless and unanxious in His Arms.
The wedded woman has found everything else, when she has found Him.
I have this much desire,
That the lover’s thirst for union with the Beloved be quenched,
If the Sat-Guru be kind, he can put my band on the hands of the Perfect Ones,
I have strayed away from Him, my strayings have created a gulf of darkness between Him and me,
But one ray-spear from the Guru, piercing the heart of this Darkness would strike it dead.
Nanak saith–My love shines beyond, there yonder.
This sea of darkness is between, these surging gulfs impossible.
The Guru has now brought me across,
I have met the perfect ones,
My revolvings in birth and death are over;
Nectar is His Nam, it gushes now within my soul, it flows, flows.
I have found that Charmed Gem (Padam)–
It is in my hands, there.
It is the comfort of my soul,
There is the peerless song that sits in my throat, it dispels sorrow and sadness,
I live for Him in whose hands are all gifts,
The sky spreads above,
The Earth glows with the Highest,
And in the clouds His lightning plays.
And I wander out in all the alien lands in search of Him.
How can I find Him and where?
It is but my merest chance that He is found.
The lover need be as the Chatrik12 that longs for the raindrop.
Seeking Him, like the bird whose breath burns for the raindrop,
Roaming as the Chatrik12 wanders, sad for all waters around, seeking but the raindrops,
Nanak, like the Chatrik12, pants for the Nam.
The caprice of that Beautiful One is so infinite,
The poor seeker cannot rise to the infinite charm of the beauteous variance of His caprice;
The seeker must be patient; a moment of perfection comes,
When the Disciple and the Guru in deep union create an infinite rapture.
In a dream, I saw Him.
He vanished, the fatal beauteous One.
I fain would have caught the edge of His garment.
But he was gone.13
Ah my very bones now ache with the vision of His beauty.
Oh, where to find Him?
O sister of my soul!
Find Him for me that I might lay my head at His Feet.
Why talk of anything else pray?
O the union with Him–to find Him whom I have seen in my dream and who has gone.
Eyes that turn not from all other eights to gaze at the Sadh (the Guru, the inspirer of Nam).
Better that such eyes were blind.
Ears that turn not from all other sounds to listen to the lyrics of Nam,
Better that such ears were deaf.
Tongues that repeat not “Glory to Him ! Glory to Him!”
Better such tongues were cut, bit by bit.
If the Gobind is14 forgotten, there comes acute despair to the lover of Nam, which reduces his very
Where I can tell you about it all, and make it clear, there you cannot accompany me.
Without Him, all is impure,
Au this wearing of clothes and this dressing up of festive boards.
If I forget Him for a little distance, short as the breadth of the sesame seed,
I feel a malady come over me; the remembrance of Him is gone (leaving me blank and void and
How shall such face the Great Ones, in the realms beyond, in whose voice the sweetness of God’s
Name dwelleth not.
Nanak, cultivate the friendship of the Sat-Guru.
He shall acquaint with perfection that is in the Durgah16 (the realms beyond).
The light that is He, the Beautiful, flashes into a thousand beauteous shapes, the splendour of the
Spirit manifests itself in a myriad different objects.
The lustre of beauty is His, the shape a vehicle,
Love is He, the thousand names of it a passing glory, objects are the names of the One Great Love
And so saith Guru Nanak:
The fisherman and his net,
The fish and the water all are radiant figures of Him,
The book and the bait are transfigured shapes of Light that is He.
O comrade mine, that light of my heart has a myriad colours and shapes.
There is no death, I am the ever-wedded woman; how can one die in this supremely effulgent spirit?
Nanak’s salutations to the pure spirit whose radiance impinging on an object makes it Himself.
Thou art the Lake,
And thou the swan,
The lotus in the waters of Creation Thou,
Thou the Lily, Thou the sun.
He is the Lord,
who has made this whole cosmos alive with his light, by whose gracious touch, all is green with life.
He is ghani,17 (the Seer, the Knower)
Who has the authority of the Durgah18 (the Realm of Perfect Ones).
Which of us should be proud of our supposed gifts when all gifts are in His Hands–the only Giver.
Whether He gives or He gives not
it is His.
Which of us should be proud of our givings to others then ?
Life is the kindling of the lamp of the soul;
Without oil (love) how can the lamp burn?
The learning of books is just for setting up the lamp.
the Body, in hard labour, is turned into a Wick,
(Love is the oil)
And the kindling flame is the sympathy with Truth.
Then this lamp of mind burns,
And in this taper-light burning within, man meets his master.
If love burns the soul,
And aching love finds its solace in service of Him who thus giveth life and light and love.
Worldly, things are ever-passing pageant.
In these affairs, to labour for Him, seeing the Lord with eyes bent down and fixed on that one task,
is all: ‘Through service of Him are given seats of honour to the devotees at the Durgah19 (the Realms
beyond Death) Nanak, rejoice then and pass yonder full of abiding cheer:
(from Sri Rag).
Sooner than the trumpeting of elephants, He hears the cries of little ants.
As the fragrance of the flowers of Malti goes forth, Thy praise emanates from this Creation.
They of France and England and of Persia sing the hymns of Thy praise.
(From Akal Ustati by Guru Gobind Singh)
This spirit beautiful is honey in everything–the forest leaves of grass are all with it overflowing. The
luckless partake not of this means;
Without the Sat-Guru, it cometh not to their share, the Manmukhas scramble for it in vain (in
pursuits and struggles, when it is all in His Grace).
o Brother, my friend, my comrade is my Sat-Guru,
The relationships of friends and sons of this earth generate poison by preying on each other; none
strikes his roots into the verity that decays not; they have not in them the companions in beyond
(Sri Rag, Guru Ram Das)
You have forgotten Him who made you and me:
Without His Name in our shrines of clay, all is impure.
(Mahalla V, Guru Arjan Dev)
Be ever awake, my soul; be ever awake and watching thy growing crops; or the birds of passage will
alight and peck at the ears thereof.
In every direction, the Manmukhs (those who are with their backs to the Pure Spirit and face turned
outward) go wandering, searching love,
But they cannot find Him;
Those who find the Guru find Him, they are truly lost in the Living Word.
I made many friendships, expecting thus to cool my burning, but in vain,
Only when I met Him, the Guru, was I cooled, (my soul was comforted).
In His Word, I met my God.
Those who have met the Guru have met Him forever, there is no more pain of separation from
(Mahalla III, Guru Amar Das)
How can a fish know what the River is?
For the fish, the River is everywhere, all time;
Only, taken out of the river, the fish dies.
I, a mere fish in Thy great waters of life, know Thee and Thee alone, my Beloved, I know not the
fisherman fishing, nor his net, nor the angler’s bait, nor his hook.
When pain comes upon me, I know Thee still more, I seek thy shelter, O Beloved.
(Guru Nanak, Sri Rag)
That is true Naming Thee which is of Thy pleasure and Thy acceptance O Beloved.
That is the true Gnan and Dhyan which delights Thy Heart,
And that alone is True Jap20 which comes from Thee.
In submission to Thy will is the perfection of knowledge.
And he whom thou favourest so, inspirest so can sing Thy Name.
Thou art of the saints
And the saints are Thine, O Lord,
And they are Thy saints who thrill Thy Heart with joy;
Thou nourishest Thy saints;
And the saints are as Thy little children playing with Thee (Thou their indulgent Father watching
Thou truly lovest Thy saints;
Thou art the very life-breath of Thy saints.
I fain be a sacrifice at the feet of those saints of Thine, who know Thee and are the delight of Thy
Nanak, with them my soul has always been truly comforted; I drink with them of the beauty of God
and I feel forever satiated and nourished.
(Majh, Guru Arjan Dev)
Thou art the sea Beloved!
And I the sea-fish;
Thy love is the holy drop of Heaven,
And I the Chatrik thirst for it.
I feel desire for Thee,
I am athirst for Thee,
My very being is because of Thee;
As the infant is satisfied by its mother’s, milk,
As the poor man is cooled by drinking from the fountain;
So am I comforted by losing myself is love of Thee, Beloved,
As the lamp lights up the dark rooms.
As the woman thinks of her man and as she meets him, she becomes a figure of ecstasy.
So I am tinged in the colours of Thy Life, O Beloved.
The saints have put me on this Path of Love,
And the Guru Being kind to me, I am a friend with God,
He is now mine,
I am His.
Nanak, my Guru has bestowed upon me the Live Word, the “Truth as Logos”. (Logos embodied is
(Majh, Mahalla 2)
Thou art the tree.
All this is Thy branching, Thy blossoming.
Thou art the subtle Spirit Pure,
and Thou hast become this gross matter.
Thou art the sea,
The wave the foam, and the bubble;
I know none other than Thee.
Thou art these beads (the objects)
Thou the in-running thread thereof.
Thou art the beginning, Thou the middle,
Thou the End.
Thou the bodiless pure, thou the embodied soul,
Thou the true comforter.
Thou art Nirvana,
Thou the joy-coloured One;
Thou knowest what happeneth here,
Thou seest the end thereof.
Thou art the Master,
And the Servant Thou:
Both manifest and unmanifest Thou,
Nanak, Thy servant forever sings of The glory.
Bestow upon me the small shining particle of Thy love.
This mind Thine,
This body Thine;
This wealth Thine.
Thou art my Lord, my God;
The soul and the body,
The strength of muscles
All is Thine.
Thou art my comforter forever and ever,
Fain would fall again and again at Thy Feet.
To serve Thee with what thou givest me,
As Thou biddest me, and when thou art kind.
O Lord, Thou art my creditor,
Thou art my ornament,
Whatever Thou givest me,
I am driven to bear with joy.
Wherever thou keepest me, that is my Paradise,
Thou nourishest my life,
I have found comfort in Simrin, in continuous “singing Thy Nam”, in continuous aching for Thee.
I get forever more than I need or wish for, can think of; I never weary of life or grow sorry over it.
I bless the time when I met my Sat-Guru,
Seeing Him with these eyes, my whole life has borne its full fruit.
I am liberated in the vision of Him,
Blessed be that Figure!
Blessed be the hour, the moment, the second I behold Him,
Blessed, blessed be this happy meeting with Him. My mind has mounted to that great transparency,
I know now that pressing, struggling on was good, climbing upwards was to some purpose.
And by going along the Path of God, all doubts and delusion are now gone.
The Sat Guru has told me of that great cure, Nam, and all my sickness is healed by its touch.
I hear Thy Word within the temple of my heart;
I hear Thy Word ringing in the sky and on the earth.
The word thou didst tell me about, the word Thou didst speak unto me.
The Guru told me, there is but One, but One–Thou.
Thou, my Beloved.
Naught else is, nor ever shall be.
I have drunk this cup of ambrosia from the hands of my Sat-Guru.
Hari! Hari21! is my vesture now.
Nanak, for me all the colour of love is Narn, in Nam all my sport and gaiety;
In Nam all the mirth of life.
In Nam the passionate indulgence of my quickened senses.
Of all the saints, I beg one gift,
And I pray for it, forgoing all pride.
May I be sacrifice a million times, a hundred million times, in the gladness of Thy Beauty, O God.
And in that gladness, I beg from Thee the dust
from the feet of those saints who are Thine; I crave for such Love-anointings.
Thou art the Giver, Thou art the Purusha (Supreme Being);
Thou art the Samrath (one who can) forever comforting my soul. All gifts fall in showers from Thee.
Pray give me this gladness of those who give news of Thee. By one glimpse of Thee, each whole
becomes holy. And by one glimpse of Thee men win the Kingdom of the soul (self).
Thou art the Being Supreme, none other is heroic as Thou,
My mouth is touched with the dust from the feet of Thy saints, (my lips are kindled with the flame
The darkness of pettiness and little understanding is over;
The lie has ended,
I am settled comfortable in my home of Truth,
And I sing of Thee, O Hari!
(Majh Mahalla V, Guru Arjan Dev)
Nanak! Blind of soul is “love” of the Man-mukh, (he who has turned his back on the Guru and God,
and lives in his own little reason).
As a child he blindly clutched at the breasts of his mother for milk, (he desired milk);
Then he loved his father and mother and brothers and sister,
Then he “loved” his own sport more than he “loved” aught else.
Then he loved “the substance”, good food and good apparel.
Then he “loved” the woman and clung to her, without determining her caste.
And then he lived in a home so made by him and her,
And he then became so worn and exhausted and irritable that anger devoured his very bones, his
black hair turned grey,
And then was he dead and gone and lost, his name also dead and gone.
And the survivors made feasts and beckoned the crows to come and eat of their charity.
Without the light of the Guru,
The self-dissipated man is thus drowned in the sea of darkness.
Seeing without eyes,
Hearing without ears,
Moving without feet,
Working without hands,
Speaking without the tongue,—
Such is the death into life of the spirit, or resurrection into the desired life.
Nanak. learning of the pleasure of the husband, by subtle gesture, and abiding by it, is the way to
(Sloka Mahalla II, Guru Angad Dev)22
He who has Nam–Truth in his soul, bathes his mouth and lips with it as it flows out of Him, in a
stream of nobleness;
Such a one goes the way of God and puts others on that way,
If the leader is like a fountain, a holy river, a Tirath, only then is the follower cleansed; if he is but a
filthy pond, dirt will cling to the bather therein.
The Tirath is the perfect One, the Guru who flows like a singing stream, who chants continuously
the “Glory, the Glory” of Him, the most Beautiful.
The Sat-Guru alone is the true Tirath (the holy place of pilgrimage).
He Himself is sublimated out of all material relationships and he makes others sublime.
Nanak, may I be a sacrifice to him who recites His Glory. loves God and makes others love Him.
There are those who pick roots and bulbs and are satisfied,
They live in forests and are content.
Others wear ochre-coloured robes and roam about as Yogis and Sanyasis, but within them is hunger
and thirst and desire, and they long inwardly that bread should come of itself from somewhere; they
have wasted themselves, neither are they good householders, nor good forest-dwellers.
And such are ever afraid of death.
But if they seek the Guru and find love in His service and in the service of his servants, no death can
touch them. They shall cross the darkness of fear.
(Pauri or Stanza 5)
They who have obtained the Word, live in Truth; their homes to them are as forests. The love of
Him isolates them from all the squalor and filth of a blind world.
Nanak, in the dedicated service to the Guru, they are sad amid the world’s so-called happiness and
happy with the Word-Song amid the so–called sorrow of the world.
(Mahalla IV, Guru Ram Das).
If blood stains a piece of cloth, they say the cloth has become impure (for rendering prayers to
But how can their consciousness be pure and transparent (for prayer) who drink human blood?
Nanak, only if thy heart be good, if thy face be bright, name Him. The men of the world only
pretend to have faith, and false are their doings.
To speak about the Infinite
When I am not there,
What can I say:
What is my being, and my not being;
What am I to relate of the Infinite to others;
And what can I say of what have I done and
what am I to do?
I am busy in cleansing myself, I am soiled,
I bathe again; get soiled and I bathe yet again,
When I do not understand aught
Why go I to I make others understand ?
Why should I be such a leader?
Thou art as months and seasons,
Our thoughts concerning Thee are but fragments, as seconds and minutes are of Time,
By thought no one could find Thee,
O incomprehensible, shoreless Being!
Of the learned, he is a fool who has lust, greed and selfishness still in Him.
What learning is that which does not carry with it an infinite reverence and infinite self-denial in the
Presence of that awful Truth that it can comprehend not?
True culture is Nam, let us learn of it;
True knowledge is Nam.
Let us know about it:
And let us be guided by the soul-guidance of the Guru.
I have won the lyrical wealth of Nam by making the mind of the Guru my own,
And my treasuries now are full of His Love;
I have believed in His Nam the pure transparency.
I have found His door,
I have met Him in the live Word,
Teeming creation moves in that self-effulgent Spirit and that Spirit sheds its pure light in my soul.
O Lord, Thou art the True lender,
All the world is the borrower.
Let mercy be the true mosque (for a true Moslem), and faith his mat of prayer;
His Quran is his right share (of meat and drink) earned by labouring for it;
His circumcision is his manly honour,
And continence the Fast of Ramzan.
Only such a one is a true Moslem.
His own deeds be His Kaaba,
Truth his Pir and Kalima,
Charity his Namaz,
His rosary be what moments may be counted of His Pleasant Consent,
Nanak, only may God help such a Moslem (to remain true to his faith)
Saith Nanak! “Covet not another’s property, (live by your own labour, drawing your own right share
here). To the Hindus, let the share robbed from others be as cow-killing,
To the Moslems, let it be unclean as pig’s flesh;
The saints of each would only then have followers who do not rob others of their rightful shares,
None go to Paradise by empty words and vain professions;
Liberation is in the practice of Truth.
On the banks of the river, on the green swards,
The herds of much-cows are grazing;
If they be mine,
And if the earth itself were sweet to sweeten that abundance of milk,
And all sweetness of life were thus to surround me;
If mountains of gold begemmed with jewels,
And all such happiness of beauty be mine,
Nothing can quench my thirst for Thee;
Nothing could allay my aching for Thee.
Nothing can dim my passion for Thee, O Beloved!
O beloved (singing of Thee alone cures forever, forever, my pang of Love).
If Fire be my garment against all cold,
If air be my sustenance,
And round me be the Nymphs of Paradise-All this is futile.
Nothing can quench my thirst for Thee, nothing can allay my aching for Thee.
Nothing such can dim my passion for Thee, O Beloved, O Beloved.
(Singing of Thee alone cures forever, forever my pang of Love.)
Such be the place that may not pass away, the position of permanence be mine.
Where the wandering sun and moon may come and stay;
Where camels laden with fruits are arriving from all lands,
And all-shimmering be the festive colour of life:
Nothing can quench my thirst for Thee, nothing can allay my aching for Thee.
Nothing such can dim my passion for Thee,
O Beloved, O Beloved!
(Singing of Thee alone cures my pang of Love.)
And if ills come to my flesh,
And if Sin come on both sides and obstruct my path,
And over me be ravenous kings;
In such surroundings, if ever it might appear to be Thy wish to keep me, (ill, sin-besmeared,
subjected to cruel kings)
Naught of this can quench my thirst for Thee, nothing can allay my aching for Thee.
Nothing such can dim my passion for Thee, O Beloved, O Beloved!
(Singing of Thee alone cures forever my pang of Love).
The Evil-doer knows not the all-vanished Master (that surprises by His sudden coming out from
The world is lost in empty discussions,
Without Naming Him, all is this way worthless,
He would come by it who would know the ways that lead to Truth.
Those who call other Kafirs shall be counted as Kafirs and burn in that very difference.
Subhan (God be praised!) this whole creation is worth our thanksgiving to Him.
To live is to be lost in this Glory of Truth (in this wondrous beauty).
On the door of Him, in those Realms of the sovereign, one who has already lost himself in His
Beauty shall be bathed in molten glory.
He lives whose mind is His Palace;
No one else, no one else is alive.
Others exist, they exist without the honour of the Beyond.
All is Haram24–whatever they eat, drink and consume here on earth,
The pleasures of sense-indulgence, wealth, property, infatuation, glow of the life of wine and of
woman, are pleasant, but the soul is rendered bankrupt thereby.
The ignorant man is thus cheated of his reserves, Without contact with His Glory, without the relish
of His Beauty, without Nam he goes to the realms of falsehood.
What availeth it after all to devour and to dress– (there is no real pleasure, only restlessness and
When the soul is not inhabited by God, the True Beauteous One,
What availeth it after all,
To consume fruits?
What are butter, and bread ?
What sugar and starch and meat?
What avail after all clothes and their colours?
What after all the luxuriant beds of love between men and women ?
What avail after all the armies, the livened servants and officers, and what the luxurious living in gay
Without filling Thyself with the Gladness of His Beauty
All this substance of mere pleasure is perdition.
Iron and gold break
But the smith binds them again in the fire:
Beautiful man and woman break,
And are united in their offspring.
Kings beg, the subjects give,
And the begging, and giving bind them together.
The hungry ones get bound to those who feed them,
The rivers and the douds are bound by rain,
Man to man is bound by speech and sympathy,
And in the Vedas they congregate (after death) who are of moral vows, who speak no lies.
The dead are bound with the living by their goodness, and by the name and fame thus won by self-
restraint, (and mental eminence).
All these are ties that bind men to the wheel of Samsara,
(Thought-worlds and Action;-worlds)
And the fool is bound (in vows of mental renunciations in having given up all these ties and
attachments to the Samsara.) Nanak declareth to all:
By filling oneself with the gladness of His glory, By praising, by wondering and worshipping His
beauty, in men who are in union with the Perfect Ones of the Celestial Realms of soul.
(Without love’s highest culture of feeling, all are prisoners of their own virtue and vice (beyond
He makes and He judges:
Some are counterfeit, some genuine;
The genuine He treasures up in His Treasury, The counterfeit are thrown away.
The sovereign Truth25 and His court supreme has thrown them away, to whom should they tell their
tale of woe?
Ah, they should run and seek the shelter of the Sat-Guru, the only refuge for the cast-off.
The Sat- Guru transmutes the counterfeit into the genuine, the great transmuter is the Word of the
Their love they give to the Sat-Guru.
Their adorations and devotions to the Sat-Guru are accepted in the Beyond.
They thus pass beyond their own imperfections through the Grace of the Perfect ones.
We are here below,
We live on this earth, in this lower world,
Thou art our Prophet, our sovereign of love,
Thou goest above us, Our King,
Thou art our God,
The One Thou, O Beloved,
The One Thou, the One Thou!
Neither the moon,
Nor the sun or the stars,
Nor the seven Continents nor the Seven Seas.
Nor shall winds be,
Nor shall the mind be
Where Thou art,
The One Thou, the One Thou,
O Beloved, O Beloved.
(Var Majh, Guru Nanak)
My Guru has told me,
The Love of Him is the True Bread of man,
The Perfect One has convinced me, in a glance,
The perfect one has delighted that I understand it.
All cities and towns and huts have become truth, when He dwells therein.
The Sat-Guru has overwhelmed me with His Favour.
He has revealed to me the secret of Naming Him, Nothing but this song of Nam can have access to
His inaccessible mansions,
And by falling first within, that very instant, they fall from the windows of His high mansions down,
down to the depth.
And the Word Love is the passage to these heights again.
Those who know Love,
Those who imbibe the word, the Song of His Praise, are called to those Divine Palaces.
Women in love adorned with their own passion of Love are beautiful.
Day and night they are devoted to their Beloved–they are all sacrifice.
Those dwelling in His mansions are beautiful; they have been nurtured on the continuous Hymns of
They attain to His Presence and shine there with rare beauty, so bidden they find Him at last,
And whatever they wish, those of Him–it cometh to pass; for these beautiful Brides Divine are
beloved of Him.
Shame on those who live without a hidden aching for His Beauty.
Cursed is their existence,
Those who are refined by the practice of His love, they, the Word-cultured women, truly drink
Ambrosia of a great joy, of that Infinite Beauty.
(Guru Arjan Dev)
Speaking about such things is merely empty frothing;
Let us give up the misery of all this discussing and seek the delight of His Love,
Pain and pleasure are the transient garments of man, he wears them, and passes,
Where one is to be defeated in the end, better, is silence there.
Having looked for Him above and below,
I found Him within the temple of my heart:
The true One has given me the sign of the signless,
I had lost my way, the Guru pointed it out to me,
Glory be to the True Guru,
The Guru that has confirmed me in this Beauteous Truth,
There is no sadness any more.
(Stanza 24, Sloka)
If the Guru be kind,
There is no pain and misery and distress,
If the Guru be kind, one is wedded to God,
If the Guru be kind, meaningless is the fear of death.
If the Guru be kind,
Everlasting is the joy, the body of man itself is all-joy;
If the Guru be kind,
All prosperity of body and mind and soul waits for him;
If the Guru be kind,
Man is lost in Truth and Truth in man;
If the Guru be kind,
I have found the Gem within the four walls of my own home.
And in my home burns the little lamp that He has lighted;
I am happy and contented in the aura of that luminous comet tract of his singing Glory, and
I am happy that “I own Him, the True Being.”
The sensation of cold vanishes by going near the fire.
Night vanishes in the sun,
The shades of darkness in the bright moon light,
And the winds and waters have no caste;
So the true self-respect of man is found at last in Love of Him,
(The Guru says, all honours won outside those spiritual Realms are false, mere chimeras).
Stanza 26, Sloka
By telling the teachings of Him one simply speaks of them.
The disciple truly understands when he is lost in Truth (nothing in the disciple remains outside
What use is even speaking of these teachings to those whose Guru is Guru Nanak, Divinely
Guru Angad, Stanza 27, Sloka
He alone understands, whom he Himself tells
He alone sees, to whom He himself make all manifest.
By vain discussion
We get entangled in still greater illusions.
Bidden by Him, all appearances come forth.
He Himself knows all-thought.
Nanak, He is the Word Immortal;
Only those fill their bags whom He giveth. (Sloka)
I am His bard appointed now,
I am one who had no work allotted to him,
He has put me to work (singing His Nam)
I have no leisure from love of Him, neither day nor night.
I am the bard of His palace.
I am appointed by Him, the true Being.
He has covered me by the gift of His song,
The Naming Him is my vesture,
And from His palace descend to me my daily bread, of the ambrosia of His glory–His Beauty.
All who have partaken of this dish have attained true happiness of soul.
The bard finds his expansion in the expanse of his song.
I strike the music of the Word, Nam, on all my instruments.
In my song of Him I meet Him, the Perfect One–
The Pandit, after cramming himself with learning, cries aloud, but maya of lust, greed, and selfishness
clutches firm the silence of his soul;
He has not thought of Brahman in those inmost recesses;
He is a clown and a fool within, though Pandit outside, Nanak.
He alone is the hero, the mighty one who has killed his own ego.
He has truly appreciated the gift of Nam from the Gurmukh.
He has won the war of life and death.
He is liberated thereby and he liberates his clan.
Now all such emancipated souls shine in rare splendour at the door of God.
Var Sri Rag, Sloka Mahalla 3,
(Guru Amar Das)
INTRODUCTORY NOTE ON ASA-KI-VAR
This Var or disuisitional composition is inscribed in Guru Granth Sahib under the measure Asa. Its
Pauris (Stanzas) and the majority of SLOKAS (couplets) are of the authorship of Guru Nanak Dev,
with a few of Guru Angad Dev’s composition. Its theme, to put it briefly, is Truth and Falsehood–
truth and falsehood in worship, in society and in the ideas of purity and impurity. It takes up false
beliefs in these various spheres of human experience, and with a vision that penetrates to the core of
Truth, tears asunder the veils of falsehood. It has thus the effect of removing from the human
understanding the cobwebs of false faith, hypocrisy and superstition. With this negativing approach,
it affirms, as all over Gurubani, belief in the supremacy of the sole formless Supreme Being
(Nirankar), for devotion and seeking grace. From the level of relentless logic it rises time and again
to the beautiful lyricism of devotion.
In Puran Singh’s rendering, as is usual with him, the author has assumed wide freedom of treatment.
While all the vital matter from the original is incorporated, he at the same time adds theme-headings,
and elucidatory notes. While the general reader will find it a somewhat painstaking task to unravel
the original matter from these additions, he should find no difficulty in entering into the ecstasy with
which the whole has been presented.
(by the author)
THE MORNING CHANT OF THE SIKH
This music is struck in all Sikh temples and in all Sikh hearts every morning. It is, as it were, the
sacred bequest of Guru Nanak to his disciples. All the Gurus listened to it; Guru Gobind Singh was
so enamoured of it, he listened to it every morning. Once when. chased by the Moghul hordes, he
had quit the fortress of Anandpur, and the enemy was coming on him in hot pursuit, he made his
Sikhs settle down to sing it. The enemy fell upon them during the singing of the Song; all was lost
but the Song still remains. Asa-ki-Var is the victor of a thousand battle-fields of death. This Song is
a holy chant. Its tremendous vibration reduces Time to a point; and it rings in the Sikh heart like a
hundred bells. Its sound scares the apparitions and ghosts of darkness from the pasture lands, and
the Sikh spirit rises supreme and lofty, imbued with the glory of the dawn.
I have seen Sikh soldiers in British Cantonments singing the Guru’s Song. Their faces glow, their
eyes sparkle, the blue veins of their foreheads swell with fervent joy and spontaneous concentration
in the soul, and all-abstracted and all-flying, they strike cymbals and dholkis27 and sing in chorus,
adding their rustic odes, extemporised by themselves to the divine chant of Asa-ki-Var. For
example, rustic snatches such as these:
“There comes Baba! the great
The physician that heals the sick.
Baba Nanak!, Baba Nanak!
Oh the lion-hearted Guru comes
to heal us all.”
And thus inspired they sing, and uttering his Name, they go out to fight and die. Such is the simple
life of the Sikh peasantry of the Punjab. It is the Guru’s Song that has made them so light and so
affectionate, so soft and yet so brave.
In Asa-ki-Var, Guru Nanak is seen busy destroying the strongholds of Brahmanical superstition,
with a persistent determination. And lo! he has cleared the ruins away, and has built on their site a
towered and thousand-pillared temple of song for all peoples and nations of the earth to gather in
and worship. Guru Nanak offers to the simple folk the cup of nectar to taste. He puts a live song
in the throats of those who sing it to the wild tilts of prairie and jungle, gathered in great
THE MORNING CHANT OF A SONG FOR DAY-BREAK
BY GURU NANAK
(It is sung as the rays’ of the dawn stir the hearts of men with the holiness of the celestial.)
The symbol of Eternal Unity is Om-kar, (the-Omin-form, the Om that has assumed the Creation-Body).
“The Name” is Song-in-flesh.28 It is the symbol and sign of the Being of Truth.
It is a creative Divine Personality, (Karta Purusha) who hath no sense of the other, (no hatred), who
hath no fear (there is none mightier then He.)
He is beyond time and space, self-born, (Spirit born, the Spirit-Being.)
His shape is Akal (Timeless, Deathless.)
And His personality is Unborn (or Spirit–Born).
This Being of Truth,
This Great Person,
This Transcendental Cosmic Spirit-Personality is made manifest by Favour of the Guru.29
THE MIRACLE OF HIS TOUCH
A hundred times a day I fain would be a sacrifice to the “Guru”,
Who changes men into angels30 with the miracle of his Touch.
ALL IS DARK WITHOUT HIM
If a hundred moons come up in the sky,
If a thousand suns rise, With all that light, it is dark, very dark, the “Guru”.
THE MAN WHO HATH NO LOVE IS LIKE A BLIGHTED PLANT
When the harvest of Sesame is gathered the buar31 plant is left in the fields ungathered; it dies
unowned in the field, as it hath no grain, only black rust within the ears.
Like the deserted buar are men, clever withal, who do not open themselves to be informed by the
THE COLOUR OF THE SUPREME MELODY OF INNER RAPTURE
He created Himself,
And he is the Author of Love (Nam).
He made this all, the created worlds,
And seated in His Soul,
He drinks the beauty of his own creation.
HIS BREATH IS LIFE
O Lord, Thou art the giver of life,
And the life expandeth as Thou lendest it Thy breath.
THE UNIVERSE IS REAL NOT AN ILLUSION
(Vedanta philosophy calls this universe an illusion. The Guru calls it “Truth in-body.”)32
Real are these continents,
Real is this rolling globe,
Real are these forms and these material objects.
Thy doings are real, O Lord;
Thy thoughts are real,
Thy law eternal is real,
And Thy court Royal.
Thy Biddings are true and real,
And Thy speech is all-truth;
Thy actions are Truth,
And Thy signs are eternal.
Millions know Thee as the One Reality,
And Thy Power is real.
Truth is Thy adoration,
Truth is Thy song, Thy word.
O True King! the dispositions of Thy will (Qudrat, the mysterious Creations) are all Truths.
Immortal Truths are they–who are lost in Thee.
MATERIAL FORMS CHANGE AND BREAK
The material forms that change, that came and go, that are “born” and are “dead’ are the fragile
glass, breakable, transient. (Truth takes bodies eternally.)
Great is His Glory;
Great is Thy Glory;
The whole song of Creation is Naming Thee.
Great is Thy Glory;
There Truth reigns.
Great is Thy Glory,
Thou bestowest there Thy abundance and Thou consultest no one else.
Great is Thy Glory,
There are comprehended all feelings,
Great is Thy Glory.
There are Thou the Pure by Thyself, in Thyself,
Indescribable in the news of there.
All things and deeds must be comprehended as of Thy inscrutable will, O Lord of Life.
THE UNIVERSE IS HIS MANSION
This moving universe is the Divine Mansion of the Being of Truth,
And the Lord Truth lives therein.
Inscrutable is His Power; in His bidding some are ordained to live with Him, and some are thrown
away and destroyed; He sublimates some out of things material into His Pure Being, and some are
made to wallow in the mire of things material.
And this too, none can say–how and when and whom He chooses and saves.
He of all men is the Gurmukh, whom He Himself doth illuminate with His Being of Light.
HIGHER WORLDS OF SOULS LIFT UP MAN AND HELP HIM IN HIS SPIRITUAL STRUGGLE
The soul has to struggle to the kingdom of righteousness.
There is the lifting up by the Powerful ones from the Wheel of birth and death;
Those informed of Truth find the way out and are lifted up, and those not informed never rise to
There is no place in the shining worlds of light for those bound in dark desire, and the dark hells
created by them are the regions where they pass after physical death.
O Lord Truth! Those who have dyed their souls with the colour of Thy glory, Thy love, Thy Name,
have won the struggle of life and have passed above it, beyond it.
And the Lovers of darkness are in struggle forever.
ALL THINGS ARE MADE OF WONDER
The beauty of the following poem can be realised only when the mind of man is in a particular
attitude towards the mystery of creation. Carlyle emphatically reminds us that when men were
ignorant and primitive, they had unconsciously a right attitude towards this forever inexplicable,
forever indescribable, forever unknowable mystery, even though their wonder was so ignorant.
With the increase of knowledge of natural objects there must come a proportionately increased
wonder in the human mind in its attitude towards the Mystery of Being, which is beyond all
knowledge. He reminds the modern world, in his own characteristic way, of the great merit of
wonder, when he says, “The man who cannot wonder, who does not habitually wonder (and
worship), were he President of Innumerable Royal Societies and carried the whole Mecanique Celeste,
and Hegel’s philosophy and the Epitome of all laboratories and observatories with their results in a
single head–is but a pair of spectacles behind which there is no eye.’ –Guru Nanak impresses the
ancient wonder on the modern mind in the following exquisite Hymn whose true rhythm lies in the
eyes of vision.
Sound is Vismad33
The essential mystery of sound in this universe–fills me with worshipful wonder.
The love-creative wonder; wonder that makes me superconscious, the wonder that makes me
infinite, wonder that is at once Absolute knowledge and Absolute ignorance.
Knowledge is Vismad
When I contemplate what man knows, my mind rises into the state of ecstatic wonder.
The Soul is Vismad
The Soul is wonder.
Beauty is Vismad
When I gaze at the inner secret of life intently, the only description that can be given of it is
wonder–that it is not passive; wonder that is all-love, all-attraction, wonder that rings passionately in
the music of being.
The colour (of life) is inebriating wonder, it is Vismad.
The Spirit World is Vismad
When I contemplate the naked souls that roam, I am filled with His Mystery, it is Vismad.
The winds–they fill me with Vismad.
The waters –They fill me with Vismad.
The Fires playing and their sports–they fill me with Vismad
The round earth is Vismad.
All the teeming created life, fills me with transpors of wonder.
Sensuous Pleasures, too, are Vismad.
When I contemplate these pleasures, how the world of man and animal seeks them, the thrills of
soul they experience through them, they fill me with the unending intoxication of the same mystery
of life; nothing is common, all such are extraordinary.
Love-union–they are Vismad.
Love-separations–they are Vismad.
The essential nature of that natural process fills me with wonder.
The satisfying of all hungers is Vismad.
Man singing His praise fills me with Vismad.
Man adoring Beauty fills me with Vismad.
The road is Vismad (the open road and how it takes travellers to their destinations without a
And the pathless wilderness (those who are benighted and go to no destination by following the
pathless wilderness, however tragic their struggle, too fills me with Vismad.)
The Near is Vismad
How beings comes close to God–their being near–how wondrously wonderful.
The Far is Vismad
And this Eternal Presence–this ever-present Appearance of His, this feeling–He is here–is Vismad.
And the embodied Vismad sees both the disembodied and embodied Vismad.
And this wonder is full of the secrets of self.
It is a chance if a man cross the border and attain to this Region of live feeling of Vismad.
Nature’s mystery is all worshipful
Creation is Truth embodied before us:
We see it, touch it, hear it,
Creation has in it the meaning of pain and pleasure.
In the nether regions, the meaning of creation pervades.
In the higher skies the essential nature of creation dominates.
All forms (Akar, the Embodiment of Mystery) is Qudrat (Creation)34
Vedas and Puranas are an aspect of Creation,34
Human thought and history is of the mystery of creation,
What we eat and drink is a miracle of creation.
We wear clothes, it is the choice of creation.
All love, all affections are of its miracle.
All teeming life and its colours are of creation s wonder,
The soul, the Cosmos, all manifestations are in the self-effulgence of creation.
Vices and virtues, pride and vanities are comprehended in the miracle of creation.
The winds share the eternal mystery and the nature of Being.
The waters, the fires, the earth, the dust are enclosed along with its functions.
All is, O Lord, of Thy creation, of Thy mystery. Thou art the Creator, Thou art Absolute Purity–
free of the inherent functions and properties of creation.
And Nanak says, when Thy Law is viewed, there is no plurality in Thee; it is but One forever,
(The “many” are in Creation when we see it from our position, but if we were to look at the created,
objective worlds from the position of the Creator’s self, the “Many” vanish.)
THE CONDITION OF MAN AFTER PHYSICAL DEATH
Have they realised what happens after death?
The man who gives himself to physical pleasures, finally drops down dead, his body is burnt to
But the soul, as it emerges out of his body, is found fettered in heavy chains;
Beyond death lies the grace and disgrace of one’s own mind, self-inflicted; bondage and freedom is
of the mind and it is meted out to man by the violence inflicted by himself on himself.
The inner man finds no protection anywhere, no one in his later affliction comes to his help,
And the soul weeps and cries;
The blind of heart thus lose the opportunity of physical life that comes for attaining freedom.
THE AWFUL UNNAMEABLE
Afraid of Him, the Winds blow,
Afraid of Him a million rivers flow,
The fires serve His errands,
The earth is weighted down firm.
The clouds revolve with burden on their heads in awe of Him.
And the Judge of Actions35 is in awe of Him.
The sky arches under His compulsion,
And all the warriors of supreme power are under the same terrible law.
And they come and go under the impress of His supremacy.
The adepts, Buddhas, and the hosts of Gods and Yogis are in the same Supreme submission to Him.
Sun and moon revolve in the same submission, and they go on millions upon millions of miles
On the forehead of all moving objects is written, “In Awe of Him”.
And He, the Being of Verity, is beyond Awe.
Fearless, His magnetic effulgence is above all confines of colour and line.
Unawed of aught is but One, the Supreme Being of Verity.
All others are objects, of the objective Creation, even the highest gods.
A thousand men like Ram Chandras36 are as dust;
Untold are the empty fables that are poured in man’s ears.
LIGHT COMES FROM THE HIGHER SPIRITUAL WORLDS AS INSPIRATION
The beggars dance foolishly and think they are perfecting measures of music;
These professional actors come and display their dramatic shows, and the “kings” and “queens”
come on the stage and sing to the audience; and they indulge in empty-hearted laughter and sensual
They wear earrings worth thousands, and garlands worth hundred of thousands,
But the bodies over which they wear these jewels are empty and one day will be mere dust.
The knowledge of God cometh not to man by these fables, and this theatrical mummery that begins
and ends, is empty talk.
When the Higher Ones favour, then is man illumined; all other intellectual plans and processes to
get those rays of light within his soul end in dismal failure.
If He bends upon man His look of Favour, then one finds his Sat-Guru.
Through a thousand revolvings in matter cometh the soul of man up, made capable of hearing the
Word of the Guru.
THE GURU IS GIVER OF THE LIFE-SPARK
Listen, all ye people, all nations of earth!
Peerless is the Guru, the Giver of life.
It is only by meeting the Sat-Guru37 that one meets with the being of verity, and is washed clean of
selfishness and finds the glory-self of Truth, truly understands.
The pageant of Time passes by in vain,
The hours, like Gopikas, dance with the day as Krishna.
Winds, waters and fires decorate the dancers of Time,
Suns and moons are the Avtaras of God,
And the whole earth scatters gems and pearls.
But all pageants pass by in vain.
The realms of the mind of man are engrossed in darkness and are enveloped in death without the
light of the realms of souls.
Krishna-worshippers and their gurus go about dancing, moving their feet and tossing their heads,
And the dust settles on their hair.
The people who come to see the spectacle of Krishna-sport go home amused.
All this pageantry fulfils a routine for the provision of bread to the actors, (all their compositions of
music rhyme merely with Bread.)
And how they strike their bodies against the floor;
Here are their Gopikas and Krishna, singing to them, and they pretend they are their Ramas and Sitas.
And they come and sing to the crowds,
(By such follies freedom beyond fear is not obtained). Fearless is alone the Supreme Being,
formless, the supreme verity.
He created all these worlds,
His servants serve Him and obey Him,
And on them descends the streaming light of His favour.
The night of His lovers is full of honeyed union, in their breasts is the intoxicating sweetness of an
aching longing for Him.
Enough if the disciple has learnt the practice of His presence from the Simrin–Inspirer.
The ferrying across is done only by the ferry-man38 if He be kind,
Not by dancing and singing in these shows of religion can one attain to freedom (from. the duality
(Guru Nanak says:) That way many things revolve and dance:
The spinning wheel revolves in round measures,
The mills, the potter’s-wheel turn briskly;
And the oil-man’s bullock goes round the oil mill.
In the deserts, the whirlwinds dance madly in a circle with dust particles.
On the fields of the farmers, the bullocks tread the corn, separate grain from chaff, by going round
Love is soundless and calm; it hath no theatricality or show with it.
The spindles revolve,
And the women churn butter.
And the trained birds perched upon a rod whirl round.
And as these actors giddily wheel around, countless things wheel like them breathlessly.
Men enchained to these revolving wheels of opportunity go round and round.
All things revolve endlessly,
They dance and laugh, but when the time comes to depart, they wail.
By these theatricalities, they attain no kind of perfection or Siddhi– spiritual success.
All this theatrical capering and dancing is perturbation of mind,
The minds of those who cherish that spark of love are balanced, trembling in the self-restraint of
reverence due to the immensity of truth.
O Lord, the sense of Thy presence is Thy Name.
And in Thy Nam, one is safe from hell.
And is His, body, soul is His,
Give thyself away, thy labour and they bread,
O Disciple, for go thyself,
And if, O Disciple, Thou longest for the good, let thy deeds be silent and shining, and count thyself
amongst the lowly and the poor.
And if thou, O Disciple, shouldst wish to escape the terror of Death.
Ponder on thy self: thy youth has gone, old age is still with thee,
Not a grain of corn will be left in the measure when the measurer has filled it up.
All Moslems have their book of Divine laudation and the Law of Conduct, they read them and
contemplate their contents,
But not so the servants of the Lord.
The servants of the Lord would fain bear the bondage of life and its pain to have the rare pleasure
of a glimpse of Him.
In vain do Hindus admire the Most Admirable Creator and long vainly for the vision of the Unsee-
able Beauty; they bathe in sacred rivers to attain it; they worship idols with flowers and burn incense
and do many such acts of worship.
Yogis meditate on the dead silence of the Impersonal Infinite.
But the Name of the Creator is beyond all such efforts at mere comprehension.
His figure is a vision of the universe of life;
His Name is without hands and feet,
And yet all-form is His body.
The devotees wedded to God are full of modest peace, they say naught, but they think always of
And as- they give themselves away, a thousand fold is added unto them,
And the soul of humanity, receiving from them the gifts of the soul, adores them.
Thieves and lechers longing for other people’s riches and beauty, liars and hypocrites, wrong them-
selves by the filth that thus comes and clings to their souls; such virtue as they have gathered for
themselves in bygone ages they squander in wanton neglect, and think they have had pleasure here.
THE WHOLE CREATION HAS A SENSE OF HIS SPIRITUAL BEINGS
The teeming life-in-form that is on land and water, that forms and unforms in countless spheres and
countries and climes, speaks to Thee and Thou dost understand its innermost prayers, and they too,
Beloved, have a sense of Thy Being.
They devotees, O Lord, have an insatiable hunger for praising Thee;
And they are satiated by the sense of Thy Presence (Nam) alone.
And thus they are ever full of bliss unbroken throughout day and night, and they love to roll in the
dust of those who are imbued with the Spirit of Thy Glory, O Love.
CREMATION AND BURIAL ARE VAIN DISCUSSIONS
In vain do the Moslems think of burial to save their soul.
The clay of the Mussalrnan’s body falls into the potter’s lump like other earth, and is fashioned into
pots; and as are the pots baked, the Mussalman’s clay is in fire; and while burning, bemoans its fate.
It burns and weeps; its tears are the’ sparks that fly all about.
Vain and foolish are these discussions of burial and cremation.
Who knows the secret of such things? The Creator who made all this, alone knows about it.
FREEDOM OF SOUL LIES IN GRACE
No one has attained to the realisation of the Pure Spirit without the inspiration of the Sat-Guru.
In the Sat-Guru,39 God has enshrined Himself, and in the speech of the Sat-Guru He speaks to all.
Those who have met the Sat–Guru have found everlasting freedom, for by meeting Him they have
cut The fetters of desire.
This is the supreme conclusion, for it creates in the being of man an everlasting love for the soul of
And by meeting the Sat-Guru has man found Him, who gives breath to the Universe–that Great
The “I” identified with material forms is the disease and the “I” identified with the Pure Spirit in ifs cure.40
In the sense of “I”, “I am”, “I am”,
The wheel of creation and Karma revolves.
They come and go on a wheel of birth and death;
They give charity in the sense of “I”;
They take charity in the sense of “I”;
They earn and lose wealth in the sense of “I”;
They understand both virtue and vice in this little ‘‘I”.
In this little “I” revolve all their thoughts;
Their ideas of Hell, and Heaven and God are from the view-point of this little “I”.
They weep and laugh in “I”;
They think they are soiled and they think they are washed in the self-delusion of “I”.
They gain caste and lose caste under the same delusion.
They consider themselves both foolish and wise under the spell of the illusion of the little “I’.
Truly have they no sense of true liberty or beatitude.
The idea of Maya and the Darkness of life are born of the “I”.
And yet is life a multitude of these little “I’s”.
Life clings to the nuclei of “I’s”.
One who understands this riddle of “I”, both its reality and its illusion, finds the Portal of God.
Without inner illumination Pandits talk and foam at the mouth in the snare of words which needs
Nanak thus declares:
Inscrutable is the will of Him who has written these letters of objects and their destinies;
It is as it is, it is as it seems, as one sees.
“I” is both a disease and a cure.
The Essence of life is “I”;
Round this “I” man acts,
“I” is a mere nucleus.
And this “I” is what binds the soul to itself.
How revolves the wheel of birth and death in this nucleus of life, “I”?
How is its illusion-knot destroyed?
Why ? This “I” is the eternal individuality of man round which it asserts and denies itself;
It is of the Will of God;
It is a deep-seated disease and the cure of this disease lies is in itself,41 when life sheds matter and is
And if He favours the man, he practises the Word of the Guru to perfection,
Saith Nanak: “Listen, O men,
By such self-culture, freedom from the pain of conflict is won.
SIMPLE LIFE-PLEASURES FEEL THOSE WHO HAVE RECEIVED HIS LOVE
They have truly seen Him who throb with Truth, breathe Truth, think Truth, who do not go astray
Who stand fast by the ordained function of their existence, forever struggling upwards towards the
light of righteousness.
They break their links with mammon and live simple lives, with just enough provision to live.
O Lord, to such earnest ones Thou forgivest all, and thou bestowest a great future on them, and
givest them more and more of Thy grace everyday, and everyday they rise higher and higher and
their greatness is that they have found Thee.
HE WHO MADE ALL THIS LOOKS AFTER WHAT CONCERNS HIS
He who creates it, cares for all life. The countless living ones He counts as His–men, trees, rivers
and their banks; clouds, birds, countries, cities, spheres, solar systems and their satellites.
O Disciple! Why trouble ‘concerning plans of living? the Creator who made all these wondrous
worlds must take the burden of its upon Himself.
Salutation to Him!
Without losing one’s life in His life, are all religions vanity.
The King whose court is Eternal, the Court of mercy that passeth not.
Saith Nanak: Without filling yourself with glory of “Naming Him” both the tilaks and sacred
threads are vanities.
Your myriad goodnesses and virtues are false superstitions,
And your actions of merit as defined by the holy scriptures of the world.
Vain are your hundred penances performed on the holy rivers and waters,
And vain the slow and gradual fulfilment of yogas in the loneliness of the deserts.
And vain a myriad deeds of heroism in war and on the battle–fields and in vain the glory of death if
thou art killed in the forefront of such action and if thou expirest on thy sword.
Mere self-deceptions are the gathering-in of intentions and the intensification of memories and the I
awakening of self-consciousness. Self-delusions are the Gnana (divine knowledge or Brahma jnana),
Dhayana (Yogis’ fixing of mind on empty space and silence), recitals of scriptures, (the most popular
methods of being religious).
Vain, vain are such creeds and religions.
He who created us all has ordained the struggle for life, life must pass through the mills he has set in
Birth and death is by His will; in vain the desire of man to escape the wheel.
Nanak declares–all mental conventions and formalities fixed for himself by man, all final
suppositions about such things are false.
Emancipation comes when He so favours him,
And His favour is the flag of eternity under which we should gather.
MAN FINDS GOD IN THE GURU
Only Thou art Truth, the supreme, the whole Truth,
And Thou dispensest Truth.
Those attain to the Realisation of Thy Truth on whom Thou art pleased to bestow it Thyself.
Only then they find Truth of life, only then they find it–there is no other way.
And they practise Thy Presence to perfection, whom Thou of Thy will thus inspirest.
Man finds God when he meets the Guru, in whose heart is encompassed the incomprehensible; in
him lives the Truth-in-flesh.42
Fools not realising Him, lose their lives by turning their souls away from the Guru to the guidance
of their own unillumined, blind minds.
One thing is truly needful, all else by way of learning is fretting;
If we read as many books as might make huge loads for creaking carts, as might burden the camels
of whole caravans,
If we read ship-loads of them, and make still more libraries of books;
If we read everyday of every month of the year, and every year of every cycle,
If we read as long as life itself, as long as we breathe–
Only one thing is truly needful, all else is the fretting and foaming and blowing of empty winds of
the little “I”.
One who writes and writes and reads and reads only scorches his soul;
The more such a one wanders to holy places, the more he patties of piety;
And the more he resorts to these ascetic garbs and orders of “holiness”, the more he “denies”
The more suffering he gives to himself in vain. And he must needs endure much suffering of his
own ignorant choice of it.
PENANCES LEAD BUT TO SELF-TORTURE
If a man abstains from bread,
He only denies himself the joy of it.
Man undergoes much suffering, for he runs after Not-Truth, or some glittering show of it.
If he denies decent wear to himself, he must needs suffer the inconvenience day and night.
And when he takes to silence, he rots within.
WITHOUT THE INSPIRATION FROM ON HIGH ALL IS IN VAIN
How can the soul be awakened without the Guru’s inspiration?
He who hangs himself upside down must suffer as he inflicts the pain of it on himself;
And if he takes to eating dust, he himself pours dirt on his head.
The fool, purblind, has lost all self-respect,
And nothing that he does is of avail when inspiration from on high is denied to him;
If he takes his residence in burial grounds, sepulchres, and tombs,
The blind one knows not what he does and he at last feels the despair of it all.
Man finds true joy when he meets the Guru, and when he chooses to enshrine the word of the Guru
in the Temple of his heart.
Saith Nanak: He alone finds it, on whom God casts His favour, and who then transcends the
mortal group of hopes, worries, fears and anxieties, and burns away his “I” in the pure flame of an
THE ADORATION OF HIS DEVOTEES
Glorious, glorious is the sight of Thy devotees singing at Thy door;
They are truly the devotees whom thou Thyself lovest first,
Without Thy forgiveness, none can even reach Thy door of love.
Some turn their back on their own source, and are vainly proud of the petty views of their “I”,
which is full of ignorance.
Lord! I am Thy lowly minstrel; others count themselves of high caste, with them have I no concern.
ALL HUMAN AFFAIRS ARE OF DARKNESS WITHOUT HIS LOVE CHERISHED IN THE HEART
Without Thee, O Lord,
Without Thy Love burning in human hearts,
Without the spark of Thy inspiration,
Without the glow of Thy Eternal verity,
Without the threads of human consciousness joined to the sources of Thy light and love,
Without the lyrics of Thy Name, ringing in the human blood,
Without the self-gathering-in of-men in Thee, I Lord, I find
The king is a lie;
His subjects a lie,
The whole world of affairs a lie.
Gay tents a lie,
Palaces a lie,
The dwellers therein all lies,
Their gold a lie,
The wearers thereof all lies,
The body a lie,
The clothes a lie,
And Beauty itself a lie;
The husband a lie,
The wife a lie,
They, the loving husband and wife burn and mingle with dust.
Lies are tied to lies in an illusory attachment, And they have forgotten their Creator.
What are the friendships of this world ? When none has immortal feeling for God in him, all these
shows and pageants shall pass away,
All the sweetness and honey here is a lie,
And all these lies the Ferryman, Death takes and sinks in mid-sea.
O Lord, Saith Nanak, without Thee, all else is a lie.
TRUTH IS WHERE HIS LOVE IS
Truth is where the hearts are pure,
Where sincerity washes a man, his body too becomes pure,
Truth is in men who fix their souls in love of the Being of Truth,
Having “heard”43 His Nam, man’s consciousness gets imbued with the Nam’s life-giving secrets, and
men find the door to freedom.
Truth is where the soul finds its balance, neither patient nor impatient, and avoiding all extremes,
attains naturally to its blossom of life.
Truth is when this human body is cultivated as soil and in it is sown the Name and mystery of the
Truth is where the disciples learn from the Guru,
Where the man imbued with the limitless forgiveness of the Creator learns to sympathize with all
that lives and shares his labour and love with them;
Truth is where man lives in his own soul-centres, the holy of holies, and having learnt of his Guru
the secret of life, plants himself there in God and makes God his dwelling-place on earth.
Truth so realized is the cure of all sin, a stream of life flows and all sin is washed away naturally in
the flow of song and inspiration.
Such is the self-washed daily life and spiritual condition of those who have truth in their coffers.44
LET THE DUST FROM UNDER THY FEET BE MY ANOINTING
What gift do I desire?
Just the dust from under Thy Feet, with which blessing I might anoint my forehead.
To let go of the hold of false desires, that gathered in myself,
I might gaze at Thee, the Incomprehensible.
The final fruit of freedom of Thy love falls to who fits himself for it.
The gift of the dust from under Thy feet is the share of those who have this great destiny written on
WITHOUT THE IMMENSITY OF SYMPATHY SELF-SACRIFICE IS A VANITY
Without largeness of understanding, men toil fruitlessly through hundreds of self-sacrifices in the
service of man and God, and all is in vain.
REFLECTIONS OF GURU NANAK ON HIS OWN TIMES
There is little Truth at present in the world,
The lie is spread everywhere,
And the darkness of this black age is roaming (as an apparition) like a broken tune,
Of the times gone by, those who tilled and sowed have gone, having harvested all they had sown.
How can the burnt seeds now germinate?
It needs a whole seed, and the season, and the climate before virtue can grow and harvests come up
None can have the colours of a fast dye unless the cloth is soaked.
Saith Nanak: The garment of this body and mind needs to be washed snow-white with the spirit of
reverence for the ever-inscrutable awe-inspiring mystery of life (the spirit of a solemn attitude
towards life and death and love and God), and it must be laboured for to attain. Thus Nanak
If man is thus imbued with the spirit of love, he is freed from the entanglement of the Lie of this
In this age,
Greed is the Ruler.
Sin of chief Counsellor.
The Lie is the great Baron,
And they call their Executive Officer (naib) Lust to confer together on the dark deeds to be
committed in the realms of sinful administration entrusted to them.
The fact, however, is that the subjects are blind, ignorant, (they know not what cruelties their rulers
And those who are jnanis (the knowers of Brahm) dance only ritually, tune their musical instruments
and sing, and decorate themselves and wear robes and ornaments.
They sing aloud the ballads of past heroes.
These Pandits of the nation are stupid, they wish to win the fruits of life and struggle by mere
argumentation and clever talk, and think they defeat others by their clever logic, while inwardly they
set their heart upon the gathering of lucre.
And there are others who follow silently the path of righteousness, but all their efforts go in vain,
because their spirituality is a traffic with gods; so much love for so much paradise, their virtue is for
show, their ideas of liberty false.
And others who count themselves celibate and self-controlled, only label themselves with a high
sounding name; they are ignorant of the subtle ways of balancing one’s personality in Truth of
things, and in vain they give up their hearths and homes to seek virtue.
And all consider themselves, by themselves, as Perfect Ones; none thinks lie does not know the
The Supreme Truth is searching the hearts of men; in His acceptance lies the whole worth.
Each and all have striven to excel,
But what the Creator wills comes to pass.
Beyond death, the assumed powers of high caste, and positions and colours shall not avail, nor shall
the powers of material self-aggrandizement be of any use, there one will meet with aliens’ strange
and new; there are unknown souls, those who are accepted there and welcomed, are truly good and
great–no others, no others, O Lord, than those on whom thou has bestowed the genius of love and
vision can think of Thee as their husband and Master. These creatures that move about on’ this
earth are helpless even in their blind struggle. This variety is the function of the creation. I blame
no one, it is Thy Creation, Thou Thyself takest some to Thy bosom, and thou Thyself forsakest
And the favour of Thy inspiration has taken me where I understand all this,
And I am living in Thee, OTruth, effortlessly, with the natural ease of my being.
SUFFERING IS THE CURE WHEN PLEASURE BECOMES A MALADY FOR MAN
Suffering is the cure of spiritual ailments of the soul when too much pleasure of sense-indulgence
causes sickness of the soul.
Sunk in sense-indulgence, man has left in him no Higher Longings, (he comes blind of soul).
The pure spirit is the Transcendent God.
Thou art the Creator, transcending Thy creation;
And if I identify Thee with the Creation, it cannot be.
I am a glad-hearted sacrifice to Thee, O Indweller of all created nature.
Thou canst not be in the confines of the human kind.
In the essence of Thy being is the Light of life,
And in the Light of life is Thy Being.
Indescribable is how Thou, in Thy transcendental art,d ost invest all Thy creation with Thyself.
Thou art the true master,
And they have attained the freedom of song who have sung of Thee.
What could one say of the truth of the Creator’s mind. (Indescribable is all, only feeling
comprehends the incomprehensible.)
It goes on as He does,
All that happens is of His consent inscrutable.
THE WORD IS BREATHING THE VERY BREATH OF GOD
Yogis also say a Shabad–word (i.e. say that the Word is to be repeated).
Jnanis (the Knowers of Brahman as they call themselves) too, talk of the Word.
Brahmans think Vedas is the Word;
Kshatriyas too think they harbour the Word,
The Sudras, too, have been taught some Word of their own.
But all these words are in vain,
For the truth of it all is the Guru-inspired Word, the All-Word.
Only He who knows the Word from the Bosom of God, the Guru, truly knows;
The Gurmukh’s word–the attitude of the inspired soul breathes the breath of God,
And that all is comprehended in the inspiration of His Nam.
Saith Nanak: One that is so imbued With Nam is the embodiment of God.
FORM IS INSEPARABLE FROM THE BEAUTY SHINING THROUGH IT
The water stays in the Kumbha.
But without water in it the pitcher is not the Kumbha,
So the mind of man stays confined in the light of self-illumination.
But without the Guru, the light of self-illumination is not there.
You are what you do, not what you think;
Why curse the illiterate, uninformed ascetics,
When the learned go and sin so much in this world?
We should count men by their deeds and practice, not by their professions.
O men, beware!
We should not indulge in self-deception,
Which would defeat us at the Durgah46 (the Higher Realms of Shining Souls of emancipated Beings.)
It behoves both the illiterate and the learned to ponder over their fates beyond death.
One thing is plain–
Those whose tongues wag (discussing learnedly here and hereafter) shall be defeated in the yonder
The human body is like a chariot,
And there is a charioteer that drives it.
Both the chariot and the charioteer come driving through the cycles of time, constantly changing
their covering. In the Time-Realm of Innocence (Infancy)47 the chariot is made of satisfaction of all
desires, and the charioteer is the Justice of God, (His Righteousness).
In the time–Realm of self-restraint, (Youth)48 the chariot in made of power-conserved, and the
charioteer is the power of the well-husbanded will at work.
In the time-Realm of austerity49 the chariot is made of austerity (endurance) and the charioteer is
In the time cycle of ignorance50, the chariot is made of restless life, and the charioteer is the Lie.
Saith Guru Nanak:
Recounting in a condensed snatch of a thought, the History of Religion in India and finding that the essence is not the
“dead deed” of history but the true feeling that ever informed Humanity.)
Sam Veda51 says, the Lord wears the white robe of light, and He is self-sustained, self-existent,
nothing “other” can enter His Being. All things come out of Him and return into Him.
Rig Veda speaks of His immanence in nature. And in another Time-cycle of gods, Rama is the name
which is most powerful.52
And liberation is attained by utterance of the Name of God.
In another cycle the Yajur Veda becomes a lyric, Kahn-Krishna of the Jadvas came and eloped with
Chadraval, a milkmaid;
The wish-fulfilling tree he brought to Vrindavana and played with Gopikas, in the colours of youth
And in the Dark Age,
Atharva is the Veda;
The name of God is now Allah,
And instead of the white, the blue apparel is donned by the Muslims and the rule of Turks and
Pathans is established.
And let us say that all the four Vedas were fulfilled (in the religious history of man)–
But it is not by recounting the glories of the past,
But by being, that one attains to Truth,
Those who in humility counted themselves with those of the lowest caste find true liberation in deep
sincerity of their soul,
I FEEL BLESSED I HAVE MET HIM
I would be glad-hearted sacrifice at His Feet, at the feet of my Sat-Guru, meeting with whom has
inspired me with His Love.
He who has granted to my eyes the light of knowledge and vision,
I am happy I have seen Him and His Glory with these mortal eyes.
They who go away from their divine Lord and are absorbed in pursuing others are as merchants
who have lost their fully-laden ship at sea.
There are few who can decide that Sat-Guru is the ship that would take them safe across.
By His favour they cross the sea of blind struggle.
WITHOUT SYMPATHY A LOFTY STATURE IS IN VAIN
The simbul tree!
How fine, straight, high and large-bodied,
Its fruitlessness belies the fond hopes of birds that seeing it come thither to its spreading branches,
And they fly back with all their expectations disappointed;
For the fruits of the Simbul are tasteless and the flowers insipid.
Better to be a low shrub bearing sweet berries, than such a tall tree,
And in a lowly stature may be concentrated all goodness, all worth.
BEING POOR AND LOW WITHOUT SYMPATHY AND SUBMISSION IS ALSO A CURSE
And if we take the balance, and weigh, the, pan with more in it that falls low.
But this spirit of submission and being lowly is in itself no virtue.
All bend before their own self, none knee to another.
All the hunter bows in pursuit of the kills the deer by crouching low.
What use bending the body when the cleansed of impurity?
THE GURU’S CRITICISM OF HYPOCRISY, AS A UNIVERSAL SYMBOL
The Brahmans recite scriptures,
And mutter Sandhyas53
And sit with eyes closed as the Kingfisher watches the fish.
Lies are on their tongues, they eloquently prove that iron itself is gold and gems.
Thrice a day do they meditate on Veda Mantras.
They wear beads round their necks,
And on their foreheads bear the holy Tilak.54
They have a pair of Dhotis (to have clean cloth to touch their holy limbs)
And veil themselves with a cloth when praying.
If they but knew what the illumination of a Brahman is, what true culture is,
They themselves would call their Karma and their
faith worthless empty shells.
Man lives if he but breathe the spirit of God; but he cannot find the way to that blessed state of life
without the inspiration of the Sat-Guru.
The body of man is a fine garment,
Its beauty of form entrancing,
But the soul shall pass out of it,
And with it shall pass its own choice (of thoughts) and things and persons and habits and
oppressions and obsessions and plights and delights.
Man forgets while in the body that he had the pleasures of life and also commanded the services of
men according to his sweet but ignorant will, and took no cognisance of the self-enthrallment that
followed the supposed freedom of “doing what the liked”.
And the uninformed man knows not the path beyond death is narrow and sharp.
And those who could see the naked soul (weighed down with the darkness of its blind choice) going
alone to hell, would see how dreadful is the effect of blindness on the soul.
And it is only then, beyond death, that man trembles with acute repentance.
THE SACRED THREAD
Oh the sacred thread! There is no need for conventional lies, the Guru says:
Let forgiveness be the cotton,
Let restfulness from desire be the thread spun out of it.
Let restraint on one’s own liberty be the knots given to it,
Let sincerity be the twist to it–
O Pandit, if such a sacred thread you can bestow, then come and bestow one on me.
Such a thread shall neither break, nor be soiled,
No fire can burn it, nor can it be lost,
Blessed are those who wear this sacred thread.
And as to the thread, the Brahmans invest men with, they buy it from the market,
And they sit formally in a sacred square.
Into the ears of those whom they initiate they whisper some secret rigmarole of formula,
And the Brahman, by whispering it into their ears and investing them with sacred thread, becomes
The guru who gives it55 dies,
The thread falls away and drops,
And the poor wretch passes threadless to realms beyond death.
A thousand thefts cling to man, despite this sacred thread;
A thousand stolen indulgences on unbridled passions stain the mind,
A thousand lies and a thousand abuses cling to him as dirt,
A thousand treacheries waylay his soul.
As the Brahman comes twisting a thread out of cotton,
Sometimes the followers of the Brahman kill a goat and feast themselves in joy of the ceremony of
the sacred thread (celebrating the spiritual second birth of a Hindu).
And all invite the Brahman and say, “Invest us with the sacred thread.”
And they change it for a new one when it is worn out. Saith Nanak:
The thread would break not, if it had any substance in it.
If the word we honour and acclaim as our sovereign be the word of the Gurmukh.
The feelings of self-sovereignty flow naturally from within,
And such spin the thread of songs to the Great Verity. (But this initiation is different.)
Those of the spiritual Realms of emancipated beings (Durgah) invest one with this sacred thread,
And so initated, O son, the thread of devotion breaks not.
(And if they justify it by offering an explanation that their sacred thread is a symbol of self-control,
what a self-deception is this.)
They put no thread on their sensual desires,
Regenerate weaklings, who wallow in the mire!
No thread on their hands and feet,
No thread on their tongues, nor eyes,
And the Brahman-Guru himself passes his life threadless, and yet pretends to bestow the thread on
He takes his fee and reads scriptures at weddings.
And he takes scrolls from under his arm and shows the astrological ways out of an imagined
Behold O people–such novel tricks of these Brahmans! Ignorant themselves, they call themselves
knowers of Brahma.
TAKING THE RIGHT PATH ALSO IS BY HEAVEN’S FAVOUR
If the Lord be pleased,
And bestow on us His Favour,
Then only can we do what is true and right;
We can only render true service when He enables us to understand His rule.
Those who submit to His inscrutable bidding are saved and the saved ones enter the glorious
mansion of the Lord.
If they do what shall delight Him, whatever they wish and desire shall be fulfilled.
Only then, only then, the pilgrim dressed in glory shall find entrance into the hidden Realms celestial
They tax the “Cow” and the “Brahman”.
Surely cow-dung cannot liberate them here nor beyond.
Shame on the sacred Dhoti, Tilak56 and the rosaries when they serve the malchhas57 and earn their
bread by abject slavery.
In hidden privacy, they read Hindu scriptures, but in public they read the Mohammedan books and
do as their Muslims rulers do.
O Brothers! Purify your lives and shed these abject hypocrisies:
Only those attain freedom, who praise the Lord.
(In this Sloka, Guru Nanak reflects on the Hindus who as servants of the Muslim state taxed both
cow and Brahman and yet plastered the floor with cow-dung to make their cooking squares holy.
They flattered their employers by adopting their modes of life and worship and read their books to
SOCIAL HYPOCRISY IN GURU NANAK’S TIMES
These man-eaters, Muslim rulers and their Quazis58 pretend to render Namuz to God,
And their tools, the Hindus, who stab the people with daggers to please their rulers, still wear the
And at the doors of these Hindu dignitaries, the degraded priests go and chant their Vedas, and blow
And the Brahman priests relish the lies of it all.
Lies are their stock-in-trade, lies their commerce,
Lies they speak, lies they eat; lies they love;
Far from them are the abodes of Righteousness, of purity and modesty.
Falsity of life pervades public affairs.
Fie on the Tilaks, on the forehead.
And the orchre-coloured Dhotis over the knees.
When they hold the dagger in their hands to bleed the people like butchers,
And curry favour with the Muslims by wearing indigo-coloured garments as the Muslims wear (in
making mean imitation and sycophancy).
And living on the contaminated wages from the hands of the Melechhas59, they pretend to worship
They eat meat which the Muslims have killed to propitiate their God by means of their Arabic
And yet they scare away human beings from their “sacred” cooking square. “Come not, come not
this way, enter not here; my food will be contaminated by your touch”, which he protects by
drawing partitioning lines on the floor.
The cooking square is held sacred, on which sit these hypocrites, crying, “Touch me not, touch me
not, I shall be defiled!”
Yet their own bodies are festering and rotting with vice and corruption:
Their minds are defiled, degraded already.
They rinse their mouths with water.
O man, Think of the Awful, the Immense, the Verity.
If man gathers truth, in himself, only then can be attain to the Truth.
THE ALL-MOVER OF THINGS AND MEN, IS THE COSMIC PERSON
In the cosmic Person, in the Conscious self of the Universe is guidance for these objects,
And the creation moves at His beck and call.
He bestows greatness,
And He moves men to noble and heroic action,
The greatest of the great is He,
And great is His creation.
And He puts all things into motion,
And a little change in His look makes crowned kings eat grass.
And so poor He makes them, that as they go begging for bread from door to door, not a morsel
falls to their hands.
THOU GETTEST WHAT THOU GIVEST OF THY OWN LABOUR
If thieves break into a house and bring wealth, and if with this stolen wealth they propitiate their
In the realms of spirits, this wealth will surely be known as stolen property,
And thus these thieves make their dead ancestors also thieves, and the middle men too, and all are
This is a false way of propitiating ancestors.
In the world beyond all get the fruit of their own labour and sweat.
PURITY AND IMPURITY
Referring to the custom of calling women impure, the Guru says:
They call the women impure, but the so-called Impurity visits them periodically.
But these men with their mouths for ever full of lies and dirt and the filth of their hypocritical lives
are degraded and impure everyday of every month.
Wrong notions have they of impurity of Spirit.
Purity doth not come by rubbing the body with water everyday.
The truly pure are those in the temples of whose hearts ring the music of the love of God.
The fleet-footed mares caprisoned with golden trappings,
The harems full of beautiful women, decked with colours of joy and desire,
Palaces gay, high-towered mansions–
Having all these, those who spread themselves at ease, fully pleased with this abundance of pleasure
The pleasure-seeking tyrants, take the fill of pleasures by way of a thousand caprices of theirs,
And in their vain glory realize not God.
They issue orders and bid the slaves hurry to serve them.
But they have forgotten death and what beyond death is coming fast, so close on their heels; they
have already gambled away and lost their youth, and old age already has got them in its grip.
SUPERSTITION PETRIFIES FEELING
The Hindus, superstitiously observe Sutak or impurity of woman during confinement
They have petrified all feeling into a barren doctrine of “Do not eat this, and eat that” and so on,
and all is reduced to a kitchen religion. The Guru refers to these lies in the following passages:
If the Sutak (Impurity) on occasions like this and in eating and drinking, be considered a principle of
Then human life cannot be without Sutak:
In fuel and cow-dung are there worms and insects,
All grain is full of living seeds;
Water itself is full of life.
How can Sutak be observed,
When to provide one meal to you there are so many deaths in your kitchen?
Sutak impurity cannot then be washed out of human life.
It is cleansed by the light of realization, when the mind of man is illumined with God’s own wisdom.
The Sutak of the mind is greed,
Of the tongue false speech,
Of the eyes lust for another’s wife, wealth and beauty.
The impurity of the ears is to lend them to another’s back-biting.
Those who have not purified their minds, tongues, eyes and ears of these impurities are the real
offenders against the doctrine of Sutak impurity, and they go straight to the realm of death.
In all affairs of man and everywhere, Sutak is but a superstition of one’s mind.
And the Darkness–enveloped minds desire not Truth;
They understand not.
Birth and death are at the will of Divine Command.
They come and go at He will.
Eating and drinking (as functions of life) are pure.
He has bestowed on life not only the power to eat, but all that is to be eaten.
The sustainer thus sustains life;
All are provided by Him,
Those who have understood that one Truth of the Gurmukh, and have gained a God-facing attitude,
and have turned their soul’s expectancy in the direction whence comes His mercy, have no need to
take heed of these formal conventions of purity and impurity.
FILL YOURSELF WITH THE GLORY OF THE HOLY GURU
Fill yourself, O disciple, with the glory of Sat-Guru and let the paeans of His Praise rise from your
The Sat-Guru who is All-Glorious, All-Great, All-High.
This vision of Beauty bursts on your view when He so favours,
When He loves you, His love fills your being deep with song and comes out of it gushing like a
And know, O Disciple!
That when He so wishes, He lays His Hand on thy forehead and with one touch drives out the evil
ones that infested your being for long. Your rise in His love out of the grossness and filth that you
gathered in your arduous journey through matter.
Thus, when the Lord is pleased with you, you attain the glories of life.
The Guru returns again to the Brahmanical false dualism of life and the constant attempts to live in an unnatural or
sub-natural way in the empty name of the supernatural way.
These thoughtless people, says the Guru,
They just bathe and think they are quite pure.
And they come and squat in a sacred cooking square declared “pure”.
And the purified cook brings their food and places it before these “holy” ones,
And the diners cry, “Let no one touch it, lest it be made impure”.
So the “pure” eat “pure” food, and read the Slokas of Gita to complete the ceremony of the “pure”
eating the “pure”.
But who amongst these would endure the pain of having defiled the food “so pure” by gulping it
down into surely not a very pure place? For the food was also a Brahman God, water was also a
Brahman God, Fire was also a Brahman God, and Butter was also a Brahman God, and the
combination of all the gods was certainly a divine article, and this divine article was swallowed down
with human saliva!
The mouth that utters (not the Hymns of Glory of God, the soul of a man that throbs (not with His
Love) and without Naming Him devours food so provided, is already defiled and impure.
WOMAN IS NOBLE
Referring to the general hypocritical condemnation in theory, of woman in Indian thinking, the
Of woman, is man born.
In her womb the child of man is nourished and cast,
And man seeks woman for his marriage which he celebrates with so much joy.
Woman is the nucleus of society, from her the network of relationships spreads,
And all codes of society revolve found woman as centre.
If the woman dies, man seeks another woman,
And the human social system depends wholly upon woman.
Why then blame Woman, out of whom comes the sovereign genius of man?
Out of woman come women from whom the future generations take their start again.
No one is born without woman;
(Woman is the highest and noblest substance of human imagination and feeling)
Saith Nanak: There is but One, the Infinite, the Self-existent, who is truly above woman.
Nanak thus declares:
Those lips are the Rubies of Fortune that pipe like birds forever the song of Truth,
And the faces of such songsters shall forever be bright in the Court of the Shining Ones.
Man and Woman are equal in this Song of Nam.
(There is no one here that does not call upon God and call him the One. Go, seek and find any that
has not in his soul some trust in Him and dependence upon Him. (Call it by any name and yet it is
there, as an eternal human longing for him.)
Yet despite this longing, each of us has but measured out of Him what he deserves.
When this world is but a passing one, why be so stupid as to be selfish, and vain and proud (instead
of being in sympathy with the seeming tragedy of passing on and the sorrow of man.)
Learn the Word, and enter in it to see the fulfilment of this eternal longing of humanity in thy soul.
Say naught, good or ill, to anyone and avoid discussion with these learned fools who have no spark
EMPTY TALKERS AND HYPOCRITES
Idle speculative discussions, empty and tasteless (without the live feeling for beauty, for God, for
love, for life) bleed the living mind white, and their body and mind lose all inner relish that they had
gathered (by being thus drained by contact with the dry logicians).
And thus, self-exhausted man drives himself out of his residence into the inner Paradise of feeling,
out of touch with the Realms of Spirits (Durgah)61.
Know, O Disciple! idle talkers are fools, who deserve the disgrace they get in this world.
If such bathe at the sixty-eight Tirihas, the impurity still shall cleave to them; they cannot be cleansed
by such rites and rituals.
In this world, the truly good are those who wear silk in their hearts (Within) and cover their silken
interior with tattered rags.
THE ELEVATED SPIRITS
The truly good have fallen in love with God, and their souls have been lifted up to Him.
If they laugh, it is in joy of God;
And if they become silent, this too is in the same divine poignancy.
And they are independent, they reck not of kings and men and things; they have put their reliance
once for all in their Beloved and they seek no “other”.
They stand at His Portal.
And beg of him provisions for the passage out of this earth to the Divine Realms of Shining Souls,
And when he gives, they partake of His gifts.
To them there is no other King, no other Court but that of their Sovereign.
They see but one, they see His pen that writes all this.
But in that Court of the Great Judge, those who live in duality, crying, “this is mine”, “this is thine”,
shall feel a crushing pain, as the oil-seeds suffer when they are milled for oil. (There would be
suffocation of the dualist in those Regions of Pure Love.)
THE CONSCIOUS SPIRIT OF ALL THINGS
O Lord, Thou hast made all this,
And Thou art the Conscious Spirit in all material things.
Thou seest both the unfulfilled and the fulfilled.
All that is here is passing on, turn by turn; as they come, so they pass on.
Why forget Him, who is the Soul of our soul and the breath of our breath?
Rise and make your destiny bright by toiling with your own hands.
LOVERS TURN NOR THEIR BACK
How could the lover turn away from the Beloved?
What love is that which turns its back?
The lover forever lives in the Being of the Beloved.
He thinks not if the beloved has dealt well or ill with him–all that the Beloved does is truly sweet.
Lovers do not traffic with God;
They live at one with Him.
They calculate not, they love and desire no reward.
BONDSLAVES OF LOVE HAVE NO CHOICE; THEY HAVE CHOSEN LOVE
It is taking a wrong direction at the very start,
If we accept His Sovereignty, and then rebel against it:
Neither in this world nor in the next can such find shelter.
WATCH HOW EVENTS, MEN AND THINGS AND ARTS ACT ON YOUR OWN SOUL
We should forever keep our memory alive with the sense of the presence of that Master in whose
service our soul is comforted.
Why should man do a thing as would rebound to the harm of his soul?
Abstain from wrong, though it be pleasant, we should see the effects of all our actions on the soul
by stretching our sight to its utmost distance, and we should throw the dice of opportunity in such a
way that we may not lose in our love-game with the Lord.
We should toil on in pursuits which would yield us the merit of that eternal union with Him.
THE DEVOTEE IS HE WHO HAS PARTED WITH HIS OWN EGO
The bond-slaves of Love,
His devotees must love, they cannot do else.
Loving Him as well as vain boasting is unbecoming,
The boastful talk; they do not enjoy the sweet fragrance of His pleasure.
If man should drop his puny self
And love Him selflessly, then does he attain to the delight of divine intimacy.
He who has submitted himself must persevere till his submission is accepted by Him; Love needs
Do not boast! Action is the end of life!
The soul can put forth its best, and it does put forth what it has within,
To say “I will be this”, “I will be that,” is all vain.
He who sows seeds of poison cannot reap a harvest of nectar.
The soul is made as much of justice as of forgiveness.
THE RESTLESS MIND OFFERS NO TRUE RIENDSHIP TO MAN
Friendship with the ignorant never proves of any avail.
Nor does following up the wanderings of a restless mind end in anything of worth.
When man’s mind is not at peace, how can he ,receive the inspiration of knowledge?
Unless the space occupied by the substance of wondering desires be vacated, how can the substance
of God enter?
THE SONG OF ADORATION MAKES MAN
Rise and pray to the Master for His Favour.
It is but by an all-quivering, all-passionate, yet receptive attitude that the disciple finds inspiration
from the Guru.
Those who practice falsehood, get falsehood meted out to them.
The Adoration of the Master expands the flowers of one’s soul to full blossom.
To worship with this wandering child (restless mind) is like loving a bird of passage, like drawing a
line on running waters, and as fruitless as the bye of an immature person.
If perchance these friendships work.
They work perhaps once,
And the next time all goes wrong,
So all alliances with the world of matter end in disaster.
If we be but His bond-slaves,
And bury ourselves in His Love and feel delight in His pleasure and sorrow in his indifference,
Such bond-slaves–His devotees–get honour in yonder shining realms of the soul,
And all is added unto them, nothing lacking.
But the slaves that rebel in the sense of cutting themselves away from His pleasure,
Are worsted in spite of their labours.
We must submit,
And we must glorify Him who gives us our daily bread.62
Submission (self-denial) is the only relation proper between Him and us.
TRUE MIRACLE IS HIS FAVOUR, TRUE ACCOMPLISHMENT IS HIS GIFT
(Referring to the Yogis’ efforts to attain to something and to become something.
How puerile is the accomplishment of what one attains by one’s own efforts.
All that man gains by his Karma, is but the natural fulfilment of cause and effect, however extra—
ordinary be the effects; they are simple earnings of man’s own Karma).
The true miracle is what the Husband (God) out of the goodness of His heart bestoweth on his
(Here is a suggestion that there is a state of human life and some point therein, where so to say,
actual intervention takes place and this intervention partakes of the nature of a true miracle.)
That service is not genuine by which one does not attain to the elevation of the spirit, and freedom
from fear (born of dualism).
The devotee is he who is lost in the Master.
There is no difference between the True Servant and the Lord.
None can judge Him, for He transcends our measures of judgement. He creates these and those He
guides to dust.
Some carry chains round their necks, others ever ride steeds.
It is He who does all this:
To whom shall I take my lament against the misery of man?
He who has created all this, it is He alone who cares for his Creation.
THE GREAT POTTER
He is the Potter.
He makes the shapes of clay and perfects the figures.
Some pots are always for cooking on the fire and others hold milk in them.
These men are all pots of the Potter.
Some sleep on couches wrapped in warm quilts;
And other stand by, to serve their pleasure.
He selects those for higher things whom he so favours.
He moulds and forms,
(He holds the earth hung in air.
Out of the earth springs life.)
And the Creator casts His gaze upon his own creation,
To whom is one to turn for an answer to the riddle of the Creator and the Creation,
When as He sees it, all is naught but Himself?
Beyond all our description are the glories of that All-Glorious, the greatness of that All-highest.
That Creator is all creative, and is a Bounteous Giver of the whole of Himself to His Creatures.
He provides for life to subsist on.
We do as He bids us.
There is no other place of shelter But Him.
Whatever He does must be of His great will inscrutable (Reza)63
1. This has some echoes of Parbhati M.I. 4. (page 1328).
2. Based on Parbhati I. 6 (page 1329). - Editor.
3. The Yajna performer. He is to feed the Brahmans and give some gold or silver or estate as
offering to the Brahmans thus fed; these offerings are called Dakshina.
4. Based on Parbhati M.I. 7. - Editor.
5. Based on Parbhati M.I. 8. (Page 1329). - Editor.
6. Based on Parbhati M.I. 9. (Page 1329-30). - Editor.
7. Based on Parbhati M.I. 10. (page 1330) - Editor.
8. From this point on, the renderings are based on hymns from parbhati M. III and M.V.
9. Phunahe (Verse with reiteration) is a Bani recorded towards the close of the holy Granth Sahib
(page 1361-1363). It follows after the last raga, Jai-jaiwanti and Slokas Sahaskriti and Gatha. -
10. Sakhi is a female friend, confidante, traditionally the interlocutor with the heroine (nayaka) in
Indian romantic poetry. - Editor.
11. Collyrium to impart beauty and depth to he eyes. - Editor.
12. A tiny bird, thirsting for a particular drop of rain symbol of yearning in love. - Editor.
13. An echo of Guru Nanak’s hymn in Wadhans, Morin run jhun laiya. - Editor.
14. Lord of the Universe. - Editor.
15. Here end free renderings of extracts from Phunahe (up to that numbered 14). - Editor.
16. The Divine Portal. - Editor.
17. Ghani (Ar) – One above need. - Editor.
18. Portal, Divine Portal. - Editor.
19. Divine Portal (already explicated). - Editor.
20. In the Hindu religion Jap means a muttering of God’s names which is more in the nature of
discipline. But Guru Nanak says: By the Guru’s grace sing the Name as in Japuji and in Guru
Granth and it is in the nature of love’s rapture. Japa, without the inspiration of God’s love, is
dead muttering. In the system of the Guru’s culture, Japa is continuous remembrance of the
Beloved and is the effect of the inspiration of His grace, while in Yoga system, Japa is an
abstraction into the Infinite is greedily sought.
21. The Lord. - Editor.
22. From Var Majh. Most of the pieces following are also from this Var. - Editor.
23. Almost all extracts are from Var Majh. - Editor.
24. Haram (forbidden) is of Moslem origin. The Prophet forbade certain things as Haram to his
followers. If they eat or consume or use things that are Haram, they cease to be faithful. Haram,
therefore, means in popular parlance, a deed by doing of which one gets excommunicated.
25. An expression implying the Supreme Being, God. - Editor.
26. Var Majh, 25. - Editor.
27. Small drums. - Editor.
28. A Christian touch, not Sikh-based. - Editor.
29. This is one way of understanding this root-aphorism of the Guru. The other which to me is
more truthful and so more beautiful is: The Guru Says: “ I start with creation. I define God as
the highest human personality become divine. The Name of that Personality is truth, He is
logos-embodied-The Guru. The Guru is creative Personality or Karta Purusha. The Guru is
Fearless, with no hatred for anyone and the shape of the Guru is Deathless. The Guru is
unborn or spirit-born and the Guru has the might to bestow life of the spirit. When that inner
reaction Guru Parshad has taken place, the man is put on the road to realization.
Editor’s Note: The above is the author’s presentation of Mul Mantra. The Sikh fundamental
30. Original, gods (devote). - Editor.
31. Burnt-out plants without the grain. - Editor.
32. This note is added by the author. So are the theme-headings. - Editor.
Footnote by the Author
Compare Carlyle’s writings, about three hundred years after the Guru, on this theme, for
example the following from Sartor Resartus. “Not only all common speech, but Science, poetry
itself, is no other, if thou consider it, than a right Naming…
We speak of the volume of Nature and truly a volume it is – whose author and writer is
God. To read it thou, does man, so much as well know the alphabet thereof? With its words,
sentences, and grand descriptive pages, poetical and philosophical, spread out through solar
system and thousands of years, we shall not try thee. It is a volume written in celestial
hieroglyphs in the true, sacred writing of which even prophets are happy that they can read here
a line and there a line-
Speak away the Illusion of Time-glance if thou hast eyes, from the near moving cause to its
far-distant mover. The stroke that came transmitted through a whole galaxy of elastic balls, was
it less a stroke than if the last ball only had been struck and sent flying? O, could I (with the
time-annihilating Hat) transport thee direct from the Beginnings to the Endings, how were the
eyesight unsealed, thy heart set flaming in the Light-Sea of celestial wonder. Then sawest thou
that this fair Universe, were it in the meanest Province thereof, is in very deed the star-domed
City of God; and through every star, through every blade and most though every living soul, the
Glory of a Present God still beams. But nature which is the Time-Vesture of God and reveals
Him to the wise, hides him from the foolish. So it has been from the beginning, so will it be to
the end. Generation after generation takes to itself the Form of a Body; and forth issuing from
Cimmerian Night, on Heaven’s mission appears. What Force and Fire is in each he expands, on
grinding in the mill of industry, one hunter-like climbing giddy Alpine heights of Science, one
madly dashed in pieces on the rocks of strife, in was with his fellow; and then the Heaven-sent is
recalled; his earthly Vesture falls away and soon even to sense becomes a Shadow. Thus, like
some wild-flaming, wild-thundering train of Heaven’s artillery, does this mysterious manhood
thunder and flame in long-drawn, quick-succeeding grandeur, through the Un-known Deep.
Thus like a God-created, fire-breathing Spirit-Host, we emerge from the inane, haste stormfully
across the astonished earth; then plunge into the inane. Earth’s mountains are levelled and her
seas filled up in our passage; can the earth which is but dead and a vision, resist Spirits which
have reality and are alive? On the hardest admant some foot print of us is stamped-in, the last
Rear of the host will read traces of the Earliest Van. But whence? Haven, whither? Sense
knows not. Faith knows not; only that it is through mystery to mystery, from God to God.
33. Vismad (Skt) Wonder. - Editor.
Editor’s Note: In the passage on Vismad, the author has added much elucidatory matter.
34. Qudrat (Ar.) is correctly might, Divine might. - Editor.
35. Dharmaraja, the celestial judge. - Editor.
36. The Supreme Indian God, hero of the epic Ramayana. - Editor.
37. The holy Precept. - Editor.
38. Symbol for the Guru, the Saviour. - Editor.
39. The holy Preceptor. - Editor.
40. Another rendering would be: Egoism is a malignant disease, but is not without cure. - Editor.
41. This line is also interpreted as suggested in footnote to the thematic heading above. - Editor.
42. A Christian touch. - Editor.
43. This is a mystical phrase, meaning , ‘being inspired by’ (Based on author’s parenthesis). - Editor.
44. The original implies ‘Have tied truth to their sash in a knot’. - Editor.
45. Kumbha connotes not an empty earthen pitcher, a pitcher full of water.
46. The Portal. - Editor.
47. Sati-Yuga. - Editor.
48. Treta. - Editor.
49. Dwapar. - Editor.
50. Kali Yuga. - Editor.
51. Vedas to all Eastern thought are the symbol of religious knowledge as Eddas are to the Norse
52. May also imply ‘Sun among the gods’. - Editor.
53. The Hindu evening Service. - Editor.
54. The paste-mark. - Editor.
55. The original would imply, The wearer dies. - Editor.
56. Paste-mark. - Editor.
57. Term of disparagement for the Muslims in those times. - Editor.
58. Judges. - Editor.
59. Already explicated. - Editor.
60. Hindu mythological scriptures. - Editor.
61. As already explicated this stands for the Divine Portal. - Editor.
62. A Christian touch. - Editor.
63. Will (Ar.). - Editor.
INTRODUCTORY NOTE ON READINGS FROM SIDDHA-GOSHTI
In this composition Puran Singh, in his usual mode, takes the original text as his starting–point,
developing his own exposition on lines which are creative, though largely in consonance with it.
One who has studied the Siddha-Goshti in Guru Granth Sahib will be able to recognize the fact
of this being a reported dialogue between the Siddha-Yogis and Guru Nanak, on esoteric issues
concerning Hatha-Yoga, sponsored by the Yogis and Guru Nanak’s resolution of the spiritual
life around tile practice of Nam and entering into the stage of enlightenment called Sahj. As a
matter of fact, Puran Singh’s piece reflects with imagination and fervour the themes of the
original. In every line we are in touch with the characteristic ecstatic expression of the poet who
is, in his own phrase, inebriated with Divine love. Along with Guru Nanak, in Siddha–Goshti
are introduced touches of the associated memory of Bhai Gurudas’s. First Var wherein the
dialogue between the holy Guru and the Yogis is narrated.
Puran Singh’s piece scintillates with flashes of spiritual insight and frequently rises to sublimity of
expression and vision. From this it would appear that in adumbrating the themes of the ecstasy
of spiritual experience, of devotion to the Guru and the miracle of Nam he was on a subject to
which his mind was especially attuned. In studying this piece the reader will not only be in touch
with something that will draw him on by its sheer magic, but will also get insights into the
meaning of Siddha-Goshti which not all commentators on that text may be able to furnish with
Puran Singh’s vision. –Editor.
READINGS FROM THE SIDDHA-GHOSHTI1
(THE DISCOURSE WITH THE SIDDHAS BY GURU NANAK)
(The Word, the Live Word, the Name of God, One without a second, whose written symbol is
Onkar Om-in-form, the Word-in-flesh2–the One unique man who becomes the vehicle of God
The Spirit of God descends on the disciple through the favour of the Guru. The Word-in-flesh,
God comes into man.
Guru Nanak with his disciple was at Batala, when the Siddhas came to him and saluted him,
saying, “Glory be to the Saintly Assembly,” (Sant Sabha.)
And they asked Guru Nanak: Whom do you salute, Sir?
Said Guru Nanak, “I salute the Spirit of Life, the Being of Truth, that transcends all speech and
“I would fain offer to my Beloved, my very life for a glimpse of Him. And if I meet a servant of
His I meet my God in him.
“And by a sight of such a man, I realise the pure Spirit, the Truth, and divine feelings arise in me
so that in their natural music I find the song of His Glory.”
BATHING IN SACRED RIVERS AVAILETH NOT
The Siddhas: Have you purified yourself by bathing at the Tirthas?3
Guru Nanak: What avails it to go about wander-ring? Truth of being is alone pure and realised
Truth alone purifies, No one can attain to freedom of soul without the spirit of God (the Word)
LOVE IS MY RELIGION
The Siddhas: Who are you? What is your name? What is your Path (creed)? And on what
object do, you meditate?
Guru Nanak: All this for me is comprehended in my love of His Saints.
The Siddhas: Where is your seat? Where your dwelling?
Whence are you? Whither? What is your way?
Guru Nanak–In every heart He dwells, And I go the way of the Will of the Lord. I came hither as I had to.
And I go from here as called by Him. I live as bidden by His will. My seat is fixed in the being of God. Such
is my understanding inspired by my teacher, And this is the way. This secret is in the bosom of the Guru. And
with this light received from there, man may find himself and live in joy of union of this life with the life beyond.
NO ANSWER TO METAPHYSICAL “WAYS”
Charpat Yogi: Tell, Nanak, whose mind, is fixed on the Eternal Truth. They say this world of
illusion is like a dark ocean; bow is one to swim across this sea of ignorance?
Guru Nanak: What answer can there be to such questions when there, in the Realm of Real
knowledge, one who questions is also the one who answers and the soul feels.
LIFE IS LIKE A RIVER FLOWING
He knows both this and that, what reply can I give?
But the life of man is as that of the Lotus on the lake and as of the duck on the river, living in
them and still unstained by their waters.
The mind subliminal or Consciousness of man is filled with the live Word, filled with it, and life is
flowing like a river of feeling.
And so Naming Him, intoxicated, all-gathered-within, man crosses this sea of effort.
He should seek the true inner solitude, attained by making the mind the mansion of that One
Beloved. Those that are such, live desireless amid the struggles of desire; they comprehend the
incomprehensible; they realize Him and by their realization make others also realize Him. Fain
would I be the servant of such Informed Ones.
THE GURU IS MET WHEN HE SO WILLS
The Siddhas: Master! pray, be not offended at our inquiry; how shall we get to the door of the
Guru Nanak: The mind of man is restless, but when it begins to breathe and live on the living
Word, it finds its peace. But man finds the Guru or the living Word when the Lord so wills.
(We do not attain the Guru by our seeking after Him).
And Man thenceforward, after meeting the Guru, loves the Truth in spite of himself.
CITY AND DESERT MAKES NO DIFFERENCE TO ONE WHO LIVES IN SIMRIN
Loharipa Siddha (disciple of Gorakhnath Yogi):
Is not the true way to Truth and Self-Realisation, the one that we know? To live under trees in
deep solitude away from cities and populations. An Avadhut4 Yogi says–live on roots and fruits,
bathe in sacred rivers to be pure, and the washed ones will find peace. And no impurity shall
ever again defile them. Such is the way of Yoga.
Guru Nanak: It is true, one should not fall into the death-trap of neglect and indifference; one
should not covet.
But without incessant occupation of “Naming Him” the mind finds no peace, its hunger is not
When the mind is deeply imbued with His inspiration,
It matters not if one is in the city or in the wilderness.
The Guru showeth the Mansion of God everywhere,
And man lives the divine life effortlessly, in the Pure Spirit of Being, in the new spiritual vistas
that are opened before Him.
He sleeps while waking and wakes while asleep.
His eating light, he is light and buoyant.
Such is the Truth as to the conduct of man.
I HAVE MET MY GOD, I NEED NO YOGA
One of the Siddha Yogis proposed that Guru Nanak join their cult, as he would be an illustrious
leader of the Yoga fraternity. So he said:
“O Guru Nanak!
Pray, adopt the garb of Yoga, the earrings and the wallet.
Thou shalt be crowned King of Yogis,
Of all the six Shastras, Yoga is supreme:
Follow Yoga, and be strong to avoid the blow of death.
I am the one inspired by the Guru,
And such is our teaching learnt from the Guru.”
Said Guru Nanak: The Live Word in me resounds; the Song Divine is my earrings,
And I am freed of “mine and “thine.”
I live in the Word that washes away lust and anger.
I have learnt the living Word direct from His lips.
I meet Him everywhere.
This meeting with Him is my Robe and Wallet,
His Love is my liberation.
My Master is the pure spirit that shines everywhere;
I have experimented with the Living Word,
And the Word, the Guru, has stood my test.
I say, treasure up the word Divine in thy consciousness, O man.
Turn the direction of thy desires inward;
Open the bud of thy heart to receive the inspiration of God.
The awakening of the mind to Truth is my kingly crown,
And my spontaneous self-control is my absorption in the thought of Him.
ALL CREATION IS A SONG5
The Siddhas: who is hidden? What is behind the veil? Who is freed of this Illusion-Bondage?
Who is within and who without? Who comes into life and who passes away? Who subsists
sustaining all the three worlds?
Guru Nanak: That One is hidden in every heart. The Gurmukh (the man who is the vehicle of
God) is freed from the illusion-bondage,
And within is His Word singing,
And without is His Word singing.
All creation is His Song.
The one fettered in Illusion of Desire is chained forever to the whirling wheel of birth and death.
And the Gurmukh finds his freedom in the Truth of Realisation of the Pure Spirit of God,
Bondage is self-imposed,
Freedom is through His Grace.
The Yogis: How does the self get bound? And what snakes bite it?
How is it-lost?
And how regained ?
How does darkness envelope it?
And how does the light shine on it?
He who has this knowledge,
He shall be our Guru.
Guru Nanak: Bondage is self-imposed, due to the ill-lighted consciousness,
The snake of desire bites it when it is bound in the little self.
The egoists6 have lost the self.
When the Guru meets the Disciple, dispelled; his mind is lighted and he no more utters “I”.
And the soul is gathered in the infinite silence of feeling.
No more the bird of the self flies;
No more it enters the prison of flesh,
The self finds its home and lives at itself,
He finds Him, who seeks Him.
The Siddhas: Why hast thou left thy home?
And why this garb of poverty and renunciation ?
What substance is that of which thou art the dealer?
And how dost thou think of saving thy following?
Guru Nanak: I am aching with love for Him; I am seeking the Gurmukh.7
And I dwell in this guise to catch but a glimpse of Him, while hiding myself in this cover.
I deal in the substance truth, the substance of feeling,
And all shall be ferried across by the Gurmukh.
THE LIVE WORD IS IN ME
The Siddhas: By whose touch hast thou thus risen from man to God; how hast thou transmuted
And why lovest thou this supreme search?
How hast thou eschewed thy desire for worldly objects and thy ambitions of self?
How hast thou found the Light within?
How can one eat ‘iron’ without teeth?8
Guru Nanak: I am born of the True Guru, coloured with the Infinite, imbued with it, my mind
is fixed on Him and in Him.
The Living Word singing in me has burnt all desires and the ego by its superb glow;
And I have found the light of the Gurmukh within myself.
Risen above the material nature of my Being, I crush iron in my teeth.
He who ferries everyone across shall also ferry me across this sea of Ignorance.
THE GURU MAKES NO REPLY TO METAPHYSICAL QUESTIONS
The Siddhas: What argument hast thou as to the origin of this world?
When there was nought, where dwelt all this?
What are the rings9 of knowledge?
Who dwells in every heart?
How can one burn the bolt of death?
How can one attain to that house where there is no more fear?
How know of that holy state of unforced patience, unforced peace, effortless effort,
disciplineless discipline that thou speakest of?
How conquer the self?
Guru Nanak: If by lucky chance one meets the Guru, and if, through that strange and unique
cosmic process of inspiration, one receives luckily the Live Word that burns and lives in His
And by this action of grace, his self is transmuted, his “I” is destroyed, then one enters the
mansion of pure Spirit-Realisation.
I am the servant of him who thus inspired by God, realizes God in the Live Word.
IT COMETH AS BIDDEN AND IT GOETH AS COMMANDED
Whence comes it?
Whither goes it ?
Where doth it subsist?
He who knows this is the Guru above Desire?
How can the manifested know of the Un-manifested?
How can one love the Gurmukh?
For it is said, He is the Creator and He is the knower, no one else knows of Him.
Guru Nanak: It comes as bidden,
It goes as commanded.
It lives in his Supreme will (Hukam)
When the perfect Guru touches the clay-bound soul, it attains to freedom with spontaneous ease
into the Being of Eternal Truth.
With the Word received from the Guru comes the Infinite, as a little spark.
O Yogis, only the wonder of the human mind can contemplate the beginning of creation.
Only human consciousness imbued with the worshipful spirit of wonder can approach the
Realms of the Spirit;
There is no other form of speculation that can address itself rightly to it,
And the human mind is lost in the music of the Eternal Silence.
The knowledge of the Earrings10 pertains to the Glory of Infinite Spirit.
It is of the Guru, not of the Disciple.
TRUTH THROBS EVERYWHERE
Truth throbs everywhere; it pulsates in rocks, it beats in birds and beasts;
The manifested passes through the Word-in-flesh11, on to the pure Spirit who, despite all this
manifestation, is still all unmanifested.
The World of objects is only a suggestion of Him.
And the blessed man realizes the Unborn Infinite in a natural supernaturalness.
There is no other way, the disciple that seeks, finds.
That incomprehensible Hukam12 is known in the Trance of wonder, that is itself a wonder.
SYMPATHY WITH THE UNIVERSAL WILL IS LOVE OF GOD
He who realizes this Hukam, gets into sympathy with the secret of life, and of the soul.
He who erases his “I” mingles with the Infinite.
He has the whole Truth in him;
He is the True Yogi.
From the Unmanifested comes the manifested,
From the Absolute comes the Relative,
If the Guru so wills, man attains the blessed spiritual condition of a Yogi and lives in the Song of
the Word–Nam; he truly feels merged in the One and he has destroyed the apparatus of duality.
Such a Yogi has learned the Word of the Guru, and the Lotus of the Heart has truly blossomed
But only if he die to matter and rise to the spirit– life of the Realms of souls13, only then can he
comprehend the incomprehensible, and see God.
He is of the Great Truth;
Out of the Truth he comes;
Unto the Truth he returns,
He and God are One.
The matter-clogged prisoners of this illusion come and go endlessly on the wheel of birth and
Their own desires are their undoing.
This “coming and going” on the wheel ends when the self is kindled by the life-spark of the
Word received from the Guru, the life of the Spirit starts, one realizes Him as Self. Such ones
are so blessed by God.
There is but one disease, the only source of suffering, the thought that “He is other than” and in
this delusion one loses the virtue of Naming Him.”
But only that blessed one can comprehend this Truth whom He so informs through the Word of
Such an informed one has truly become free; the sense that “this is I and this is he” is
transcended; the saviour of man comes and saves him.
Those who turn their back on the sun of truth, who shut themselves against the light of
inspiration, suffer death;
Those who seek Him in outer objects, not in the soul, suffer defeat and disappointment;
Those who are seeking Him in forests and deserts have lost the way; they are deluding
Those who follow Tantra and Mantra14 in graveyards to control sprites and ghosts have lost their
way. They shall be robbed by those who infest the highways beyond death.
Those who seek not the spirit of God in the Word of God, are but chattering like magpies.
Only such as are imbued with the colour Divine, have found the eternal peace15–none else, none
The Gurmukh lives in the spirit of earnest yearning, in the Awe of the Majesty of the True One16,
(so eternally sublime and great beyond measure is the True One).
The Gurmukh17 chisels his. flesh into the image of God by the unceasing practice of the Word of
Thus made- transparent and pure, he sings the hymns of His praise.
He attains to the immaculate Divinity of God.
Every hair of the Gurmukh thinks of Him.
The Gurmukh sinks into the Being of Truth,
The Gurmukh finds joy in pondering over the inspired Word.
The Gurmukh finds joy in swimming across the sea of ignorance and making at the same time,
others swim through his help.
He who seeks the pleasure of the Gurmukh, finds in his favour, the knowledge absolute of the
He who seeks pleasure of the Gurmukh, finds in his favour the inner secret of soul-
The presence of the Gurmukh is the presence of the Infinite, the shoreless, unfathomable Being
The Gurmukh is the door to beatitude.
The Gurmukh soars to the throne of God with all his friends borne on his sturdy wings (he is not
one who seeks peace of the soul for himself alone).
By favour of the Gurmukh, the fountains of love spring forth within, and one can sing the word
of God in the dream-tunes of such liquid love.
By favour of the Gurmukh one understands the personality that is created by the practice of the
Word of God.
He knows the subtle ways of the Divine Path, for he has burnt away his little “I”.
The Being of Truth has set this earth revolving–I know it from the Gurmukh.
Birth and death are just His play.
The man who imbues his soul with the colour of His glory that is spread everywhere, returns to
his home in the other worlds with laurels on his brows.
But there is no welcome there for those who have not opened their soul to the Glory of Love
(because they are incapable of receiving it.)
Prisoners of the “I” cannot find a way out to the freedom of the Being of Truth.
The Gurmukh is owner of eight great powers of the mind.
He is the owner of All-Mind.
By his favour, having learnt of the Being of Truth, one crosses the dark ocean of fear.
The Gurmukh truly knows the spirit of difference between vice and virtue, between self-denial
He ferries the pilgrims across.
He gives liberation from the bondage of ignorance when he initiates man into the Word of God.
The Word dyes18 the soul.
The animal selfishness of man leaves him only when he is inebriated with the lyrics of the Word
The Word-dyed man shines in the Being of Truth,
The Word-dyed disciple knows the right Yoga, right thought, and right conduct.
The Word-dyed pilgrim reaches the door beyond which is the Freedom of soul.
He is informed by the descent of the spirit of God in the Word unto him; he is illuminated and
reads clear the messages of the Cosmos.
Immersed in Nam, one is ever at peace with the Being of Truth.
Imbued with the True culture of love for the Being of Truth, the culture of “Naming Him,”
“Praising Him,”19 I am enabled to utter this discourse to you, O Siddhas.
Let me tell you, to seek the glory of this culture is everlasting Tapa (penance).
In this culture is all the Truth of the right deed. And in the culture of “Naming” Him, “Praising
Him” is the right virtue, the right contemplation, the right thought,
All other utterance outside this illumined sphere of mind and all other activities that are devoid
of this great sympathy are entirely vicious.
I salute those who are inebriated with the love of the Being of Truth.
NAM IS INSPIRATION
This “Naming Him”20, this love of the Being of Truth is inspired in man by the Perfect One, the
And those who are thus informed know the True Yoga,
They truly live and have their Being in Truth.
The so-called Yogis are wandering aimlessly in their hundreds of sects and their formalities.
And the Sannyasis are losing their soul in their ten sects.21
But only he who loses his life in the Word of the Guru gains everlasting emancipation from the
grossness of this matter’s great travail.
Without the culture of Nam,
Without personal contact with the perfect one, the Guru, all go the way of dual differences.
Seek your own heart and see, without divine illumination what is life but selfishness struggling to
be free of itself?
Those are lucky, fortune smiles on their foreheads, who have enthroned the Song within the
temple of their hearts.
This precious jewel of Nam is the intense aching, poignant longing for Him.
One knows its value by contact with the Gurmukh, One practises the Truth, breathes the Truth
inspired by the Guru, by the Gurmukh’s favour.
The Gurmukh’s very presence convinces others of the Being of Truth.
These favoured by the Gurmukh are safe under his protection from injury here and hereafter.
THE EFFECTS OF THE LOVE OF GURMUKH
By the love of the Gurmukh, man is effortlessly22 in the unceasing effort of singing His Name,
Man is effortlessly in the unceasing effort of giving himself away, wholly to those who need him.
Man is effortlessly in the unceasing effort of bathing clean of all impurity–mental, moral,
Man realizes his spiritual genius, and what is supernatural to others, is to him but natural.
Under the protecting shade of the Gurmukh, man is effortlessly in the unceasing effort of
maintaining his joyful state of life in perfect concord with the Being of Truth.
By favour of the Gurmukh, the disciple is honoured in the higher spiritual worlds of emancipated
The Gurmukh is the destroyer of Fear,
And he is the presiding deity of the Disciple’s thought.
He inspires truth in the action, thought and speech of man,
And he unites him to God.
The Gurmukh is all the Shastros, Smritis, and Vedas; in him are all scriptures and Vedas present in
The Gurmukh knows the inmost state of all hearts.
The Gurmukh cleanses the hatred and enmity out of human consciousness by his touch and by
The Gurmukh obliterates the habit of calculation of this and that, of me and thee, from human
The Gurmukh has the colour of God,
He knows “The Husband”23,
I tell you, without the inspired contact of the Guru, one comes and goes revolving on the
I tell you25, without the favour of the Guru, all our struggles for the divine, all our longings for
the Divine, all our search for the Being of Truth, all our virtues and sacrifices are void.
There is no satisfaction without the Guru’s feeding man with his own flesh and blood26, and
devoid of His inspiration one eats poison, the, snake of ignorance bites and brings on death.
Without the initiation of the Guru, life is loss upon loss,
He who has found his Guru has forthwith found a way to the yonder shores.
The Guru turns the imperfections of man into perfections.
Man finds deliverance in the Word inspired of the Guru.
Anyone favoured by the Guru never loses his life.
The body thenceforward is as a shop,
And the mind is the Trader, imbued with the verity and peace of the Eternal.
He deals in the “goodness” of God which no relative dealer’s measures can measure out for our
Bibhikan27, a Disciple of Shri Ramchandra, is an Illustration of Gurmukh
Ramchandra was a Gurmukh;
He bridged the sea with stones.
He destroyed the fort of the evil-doers,
He succoured God’s saints.
Ramchandra destroyed Ravana, and saved the secret of discipleship that burnt in the bosom of
The Gurmukh made the very stones swim on the waters.
And saved thirty-three crores.
Ended is all birth and death for the Gurmukh.
He is honoured of the gods of the higher worlds of emancipated beings.
He is free, nothing can hold him back.
In the world of these shining gods he is suffused with divine glory.
The Gurmukh receives the immaculate word.
The Gurmukh burns the sense of the little I and you by the glow of his song of love.
The Gurmukh sings hymns to the glory of the Being of Truth.
The Gurmukh lives in Him.
The Gurmukh is the Name of the Being of Truth; his glory is ever more and more immaculate.
The Gurmukh has cognisance of the whole Cosmos.
He is of Cosmic Consciousness.
THE SIDDHAS ASK GURU NANAK WHO IS HIS GURU AND HIS REPLY
The Siddhas: What is the beginning of this world?
What religion is for these days?
Who is your Guru ?
Of whom are you the disciple?
Why do you live outside the sects? What has made you untainted by maya?
Guru Nanak: Just a breath is the beginning. The religion of to-day is the True Guru. (The True
Guru is the new religion henceforward.)
The Word is the Guru, the inspired Name of God is the Guru, and concentrated
contemplation28 the disciple.
I am maya-emancipated because in me is the unique description of Him who is beyond all
descriptions. (I am the Word).
Throughout the ages, the Guru has been as now;
the Word of the Guru is but one large letter written on the Face of Creation in which man is
destined to think of Him.
The Gurmukh has extinguished all fires in this singing Peace.
How can one crush iron with one’s teeth?29
Then spoke the leader Gorakhnath: How can one crush iron with the teeth?
Pray tell, which food destroys the little “I” and the differences created by it?
How can one receive the guest made of Fire in a house of snow?30
Where is the cave in which one could live immaculate?
What is the knowledge of here and hereafter, by which man finds God?
Guru Nanak: Drop utterly “I am”, “I am” “I”,
Rise above dual differences and attain the harmony of the completed whole.
This social world is “Iron” that the God-bereft wish to devour by crushing it with their teeth.
A man can crush iron by these teeth, if he makes himself powerful by the practice of Nam.
What is within, the very same is outside man, only if he realize it.
The fire of desire dies if the True Guru so favours.
In reverence to Truth, man is to forego the ego.
With the sense of Unity, one should seek Truth in Song-union with the word.
If the word glows in one’s heart, the Truth is manifested in man.
Both the mind and body of such a great man are at peace with the creation.
All passion and poisons generated within are destroyed.
And this happens only when one’s eyes are caught in the eyes of grace of the Beloved.
(When life thus becomes one continuous lyric by love of the personal God, the Guru, the Word-
in-flesh is surely not man, yet always he is met within the simple shape of Man.)
THE GURU’S ONE REPLY REPEATED TO ALL QUESTIONS
Gorakhnath How does the Moon31 come to shine in one’s heart?
How doth Peace Eternal light the heart?
How does the Sun come to illumine the soul?
How is one to avoid perpetual death.
What is the thought that leads the way to the discipleship of the Gurmukh?
Which is the hero who conquers death?
O Nanak, Tell us about all these.
Guru Nanak: The moon of Peace shines in the heart where throb the lyrics of Nam.
The darkness of Ignorance passes off when the sun of Divine Presence shines over all the
mansions of the self.
Passing both through pain and pleasure, the peace of the Disciple under all conditions emanates
from the Spirit of God manifest in him as word-in-flesh.
He thus lives a charmed life, but his liberation lies in the hands of His Saviour.
He who loves the Guru, absorbs the Truth.
Such a one has no fear of death.
Another Yogi: What is the Absolute?
Guru Nanak: The essence of the Song of Love, the process of “Naming Him”, “Singing Him”
that I see pervades all life.
And those who are broken away from it, suffer and burn in diverse pains.
When the inner music of being mingles with the music of the Universe (a vision of God by itself)
one experiences the Truth of Unity.
The winds find their speech, the skies their thunder.
And this concord is the very nature of Being; it comes about by itself.
The music32 of active silence within,
The music32 of active silence without–
All music32 is silence of all this manifested creation,
And he who through this music of active silence attains to “the fourth”33 and there, freed both
from the relative sins and virtues, gets to a suggestion of the Absolute,
He grows with God there.
Those who are immersed in the Being of Truth are themselves Truth. Man is God when he
becomes but His Nam, a song, a glory.
The Gurmukh does not make empty boasts, he continuously trains his mind to the Divine.
THE NINE POOLS WITHIN
On the Nine Pools of senses, man seeks to satisfy himself,
But there is no fullness here.
He is filled when he reaches the Tenth Pool34 on whose edge he hears the inner music of being.
There he sees the Being of Truth face to face; he experiences the unity through Trance and
To him inspiration makes manifest the Word of God that was no far hidden.
It is there the disciple says from direct sight.
THIS IS TRUTH
And this is reached through an effortless effort,35 otherwise there is no real peace.
The Gurmukh has been awakened to Divine Love, he no more sleeps, (in sleep too his soul
He “hears” the Word, the Infinite Spirit informs him and he enshrines the Spirit in himself.
His speech intoxicates, His Word saves.
Initiated by the Guru, man realizes Truth, forgoes self and all doubts are dispelled.
CONSTANT FRICTION GENERATES LIGHT AN LIFE
The Yogis: In what realm can this difficult thing become natural to man’s mind?
How is it man here does not understand it and consequently suffers from ignorance?
No one can save him from death without this inspiration; there seems no worth in him, no
friends who could bear witness to him.
How is one to get access to this Truth?
How are common men to get this information?
Guru Nanak: The dim intellects are lighted by a constant friction with the Word received from
the Guru. The Liberation from ignorance lies in meeting with the Guru.
Those who have turned their faces away from this Truth burn themselves to death; the ill-
informed ones thus fall away from God (Truth) and suffer on account of their perverse
Those who bow down to Hukam, the Divine will inscrutable, are the recipients of all virtue, all
knowledge, all light.
They are honoured in the Divine Courts of the Higher world of souls.
Those who have this true wealth of inspiration-soul in contact with soul of the Realms of
Liberated Ones have the true power to illumine others.
They who commune with the inspired ones, become as the natural fountains of out-gushing
They understand life and they are the truly honoured ones (They are the saviours of man.)
Whenever I see, I see Him in glory.
Union with Him is in this simple feeling. Yogis Where is the dwelling of that Word-in-flesh,
union with whom is to cross this sea of illusion?
The wind of breath of which it is said, is in length as short as ten fingers put breadth-wise
Pray, who is the sustainer of this wind of breadth?
It speaks, it plays, it thinks, it stirs, and stirs not.
How can we know its secret?
O true Swami Nanak! I am not curious, I only wish my inner self to learn of all this from you.
Guru Nanak ; True feeling is born of the Word inspired in one’s bosom by the Guru.
And it is the singing glance of the Guru that unfetters the self and one meets God (Truth).
It is the fulfilment of destiny if the disciple meets His Master.
The Guru-inspired man knows, knows; he sees, sees.
By the merest chance he has melted away into the Being of Truth.
The word is God,
And God is the word.
It lives within Unseen, Untaught, Unreached, Unsought.
I see it, I feel it.
The Wind of breath rests in it, the Ever-silent.36
And the Glance of the Silent meets me in my soul.
If He casts his eye of kindness, these visions rise before every eye.
The darkness of delusion is lost.
Both the body and mind grow translucent, pure, bright.
Speech flows sweet and clear,
And the joy of “Naming Him” becomes the simple habit of the illumined heart (flesh grows to
be a hymn, a song, a feeling.)
It is thus that the great ones cross the Sea of Fear,
And know this and that as one in the superb sweet richness of the Song of their heart.
O Yogi, that ten–finger breadth of life is a knot in the Being of Truth.
The Word of the Gurmukh cleaves the darkness and makes the Truth manifest.
He washes all grossness of matter,
And plants the Word in the disciple’s Being.
And only after that, does man forget the ego.
And when man experiences the sweet presence, he loves His Nam, and of himself, he knows all
Yoga of Sukhmana, Ida, Pingala37 and he sees what was so long the Unseeable.
Above all Yogas, Sadhana of Pingala is the spontaneous living in Being of Truth,38 in pure Union with Him,
And upon these great heights when once scaled, man absorbs the Word into his being, and
becomes the Word of God.
The Yogis: O Nanak! how is this suffering world born? And why does it suffer?
Guru Nanak: It is born of the little “I” and it suffers in forgetting His Name.
No True Yoga (Union) between man and God can be without the Name.
Few are those who receive the inspiration of the Word from the Gurmukh and realize it.
And the Song Divine descends on those who are in spiritual assonance with the Gurmukh.
No Yoga can be without service of the Guru.
Without serving the True Guru there is no Yoga; without Him no fullness is there.
Without Him, the spirit of Nam forever remains a sealed book.
Without him, one has to undergo great tribulations. Without Him, the dust–storms of “I” and
this “doing”39 keeps the self ego-bound.
Without guidance of the Gurmukh; man dies in utter defeat (life and its substance is spilled in
Without the soul-touch of the Guru devotion to Nam cannot be.
All think of Nam and the Word,
But know that the Word Divine, the symbol of the Being of Truth is revealed to man by the
Gurmukh not otherwise, not otherwise.
Few understand that it is the inspiration of the Gurmukh that kindles the self.
Through Him, man attains to the kingdom within:
Through Him, true Yoga is learnt;
Through Him, the Disciple realizes the great Unity of the Spirit of God.
Without serving the Sat-Guru, there can be no Union, no Yoga.
No one attains to liberation without the soul-touch of the Sat Guru.
Nam is not received in the soul without contact with the Sat-Guru.
All distress of man is till such time as he has not discovered his Sat-Guru.
Till then, all are being swung in the storms an d tempests of vain glorious pride; till then all is
Without inspiration of the Sat-Guru, man dissipates his life to utter inconsequence.
WITHOUT THE GURMUKH THERE CAN BE NO KNOWLEDGE OF REALITY FOR MAN
Blessed is this earth on which the unborn40 spirit moves, whose promise is ever fulfilled.
The will of that spiritual Being is known either to himself or to the Guru.
He truly understands, he truly feels,
And all knowledge gathered by man truly teaches him what is in his soul.
The Gurmukh sees, and bears witness to the Being of Truth.
And without Him, there can be no true knowledge of reality for man,
Inform your mind of the Being of Truth, and be as God.
The restful freedom of mind is conducive to Truth-Realization.
If the dust of the feet of His saints anoints the disciple’s forehead and face, verily the blackness
of very death on it will shine forth with the golden sparkle of life.
THERE IS NO FREEDOM FROM THE ILLUSION OF THE FALSE
WITHOUT INSPIRATION FROM HIM
In conclusion, I reveal to you the secret of the doctrine of the Word of God.
O Audhoo41! without the inspiration of the Word of God, all Yogas are futile.
Imbued with the spirit of the Word, one lives inebriated in the Being of Truth.
And there is peace in this inspiration of Nam.
All is illumined by Nam.
Through Nam is one informed of the mystery of life.
Without it, there is much wearing of garbs and much endeavouring by man, but all is spilling,
spilling, of life on the sands.
Audhoo! The true way of Yoga is learnt from the True Guru.
There is no freedom from illusion of the False without the Love of Nam.
DHAN GURU NANAK.
THE SIDDHAS SEE THE LIGHT
All the Siddhas, the Yogis, finally realized that they were talking to the Guru, to the Gurumukh.
The history of this discourse is given in one song at the end of Siddha-Ghosti, in which it is
pointed out how they all begged for the secret of the Word from the Guru:42
Thou, O Lord, art forever more than our knowledge and our description.
Thou knowest Thyself, none else can know Thee.
Thou art both the manifested and the unmanifested,
And all colours of life and death are Thine.
Thy habit is Thy creation and in thy creation art thou so manifest.
THE SIDDHAS BEG THE GIFT OF NAM FROM GURU NANAK
The struggling men and those who had supposed themselves to be men of perfection, these
siddha gurus and their countless disciples are wandering everywhere, as bidden by Thee, seeking
They now ask for the inspiration of Thy Word and ask for the alms of Thy Nam.
And they rejoice and say they are a sacrifice to the vision of his Beauty.43
They now seek the Bread of Thy Love.44
The Creation stirs with beauty in the Creator’s mind,
And the soul of man is illumined from on High, through the Gurmukh.
The Creator is in His Creation,
And there is no one else, no one else. Verily, verily, it is the One–He above.
DHAN GURU NANAK.