Kids Corner


A Simple Prayer:
Letters from Espanola





I have this tendency to look deeply at the troubles of the world.

Don't ask me why. I feel compelled to spend time looking at the worst situations and imagining what is going on. The people of Syria, for instance. How their world has completely fallen apart in a few years. How much stability, prosperity and sanity has been lost? Every single soul in that conflict was given the gift of the human body, the gift of life, which is so precious. How much damage is being created each day by that will to violence and power which men exercise so ruthlessly over each other?

Regardless of the suffering it creates.

Watching TV at night, I can observe our society getting lost in a Hollywood-inspired fantasy-world. The characters and stories have nothing to do with what is actually happening. With the war, and the poverty; with the environmental degradation and the consolidation of power.

We live in very strange times.

There is a beautiful shabad in the Guru Granth Sahib composed by Guru Arjan.

Pootaa maata ki aasees …’. The prayer of the mother for her child.

This last year, at the request of a friend, I wrote a translation/poetic interpretation of this shabad. What struck me is how this prayer embodies the core ideals of living a conscious life. It does not talk about doing well in school, or making a lot of money, or being famous. The shabad talks about meditation and loving the Divine and finding the company of true people.

If this view of the purpose of human life became the foundation of our belief systems, of our economic life, of our community life -- then a lot of the sickness and imbalance in the world could be healed.

On the one hand, this shabad is something a mother can sing to pray for her children. But all of us, no matter how old we are, have a child inside. The "inner child." The place of purity and innocence that we could access so easily in our younger years. That purity never leaves us.

In that sense, this shabad is for everyone. We can all sing it to that inner child, and remember the real purpose of life.

This week, I am grateful to share this humble attempt at a poetic interpretation of that shabad with you.

Those who practice simran -

The art of establishing a dialogue

Between the soul and the personality -

Destroy all their misdeeds

And liberate their ancestors.

So call upon the creativity of the Creator -

Who is beyond limitations and boundaries.

O my children,

This is your Mother's blessing.

May you never forget, for an instant,

The Divine Essence in your heartbeat,

And may you always adore

The Master of the World.

Pay attention.

May the Teacher of Truth become compassionate to you,

And may you love to be with the company of those who practice truth.

May the Supremely Divine Husband protect the frock of your body,

And may singing sacred songs become your food.

May you forever drink the nectar

That awakens you to your immortal nature,

And may you live a long time,

Communicating with the Divine Presence

In endless delight.

Among the colors of this show,

May your wishes be completed,

And may anxiety never attach itself to you.

Let your mind be like the black bee

And let the feet of the Divine be the lotus-flower.

Servant Nanak is made to embrace the companionship of people like this,

Just like the cuckoo lives and flourishes with the rain.
  [GGS: 496]



December 19, 2013

Conversation about this article

1: Gaia Genevieve Richards (Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA), December 19, 2013, 10:28 AM.

Not only do we all have an inner child, but we have a collective inner child and the shabad, the mother's song and the songs of the grandmothers, affects us all. Thank you for this beautiful essay. Sat Nam, sister.

2: MKS (New York City, USA), December 19, 2013, 11:35 AM.

Ek Ong Kaar ji - beautifully written. Also beautiful is the picture of the mother and child.

3: Sangat Singh (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), December 20, 2013, 6:51 AM.

Ek Ong Kaar ji, how exquisitely, prayerfully written! You are blessed.

4: Baldev Singh (Bradford, United Kingdom), December 20, 2013, 7:34 AM.

We can use the power of the mind to recite or listen to beautiful and ecstatic poetry and music which gives us another level of escapism which cannot be matched by Hollywood or Bollywood.

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Letters from Espanola"

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