In Good Company ... The Way of The Sikh: YUKTANAND SINGH
Letter & Spirit # 12
Translated from ‘Gurmukh Sikhia’ by Bhai Vir Singh
Once dedicated (to the Guru) one must stay dedicated with each breath, and must never waiver, not even for a moment. The true Guru, Guru Nanak, is the greatest. I respect the leaders and founders of other religions also, but to me, Guru Nanak is the highest.
A rich man cannot reach the God of Jesus. Why? Because he claimed that a camel can pass through the eye of a needle, but it is impossible for a rich person to reach close to God. But look at Baba Nanak’s royal court where the rich and the poor are equally emancipated, as long as they have even a drop of mindfulness of God in their heart.
As long as our mind resides in the realm of time, space and causality, it cannot know God, because our mind seeks to limit God in terms of the finite world. God cannot be limited within time and space. We need to raise our mind above time, space and causality by connecting our ‘surat’ with simran.
Through simran, seeing Waheguru as the creator while staying in gratitude, under His Will, and thus staying in the world that is beyond time and space, a gursikh reaches a state of ‘vismaad’ (awe).
One needs to regard our mind as devoid of any virtue, in other words, one needs to be detached from the mind. In this manner, by eliminating the distance created by time, space and causality, we meet with our Master. This is the practical way of finding God.
During simran, we reach a point where we start to get glimpses of the spiritual beauty that (in the beginning) may last only for a second. Rising above mere thoughts and belief then, our soul breaks its limitations and it reaches the limitless Waheguru. When we descend from such a state, then we spontaneously utter ‘waah’ (wow!)
Thus, while living as a householder, we need to stay engaged in simran during work and family obligations, even when we are, for example, busy raising our children. We need to stay ‘udaas’ (disenchanted) from the world and keep the ‘liv’ (loving attention) connected with naam: “naa ko meraa hau kis kaeraa …” [GGS:109] - meaning: “No one is mine and I am no one's, only the true Lord, the Master of the universe is mine.”
Company of the gurmukh, i.e. living satsang, is extremely important. This means living with the gurmukhs, having gurmukh discourses, singing kirtan of the verses (shabad) uttered by gurmukhs, listening to the shabad and acting on it, practicing it.
Krishna [in the Mahabharat epic-myth] had answered the questions from Arjun. Similarly, O gurmukh ji, we need someone who can answer your questions also. Today, we do not have a Krishna amongst us.
But before embarking on any path, it is important to have one’s heart free from any doubt. For this reason, satsang is a requirement for the spiritual seeker. In other words, one needs ‘living satsang’ or company of those individuals who worship naam. Without such a company, naam is not established in our heart.
Upon meeting a gurmukh, we start repeating naam in our heart. Naam then tastes sweet and we fall in love with it. Gurbani also describes this as the test of a gurmukh.
Suppose you poured dirty drain water into the sarovar (holy pool) of Darbar Sahib. Everyone would call you evil, even though it did not pollute the sarovar. But if we brought pure water from the river Ganges into the savorar, then everyone would call us good. The way we are, we are like dirty water from the sewer. We need to first become clean water. Then our master makes us meet him.
We must also not regard ourselves as divine, just as the followers of Vedanta do these days. In the presence of God our soul is just the same as a drop of water, sitting on the leaf of a tree that has grown on the shore of an ocean. Only when the ocean wants to, its tidal wave can wash us off that leaf and have us merge with it.
“tau darshan kee karau sam-aae…” [GGS:721] - meaning: “I long for your darshan. Please bless me, a beggar at your door, with your alms.”
Strive to meet those who have met Waheguru. True bliss and true sweetness reside there.
October 17, 2012
Conversation about this article
1: Sangat Singh (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), October 17, 2012, 1:27 PM.
My mainstay has always been Bhai Vir Singh ji and I am thankful to Yuktanand Singh ji for lovingly translating 'Gurumukh Sikhia'. Hope that 'Gurmukh Jeevan' will also be translated in due course, with the audio version now available, thanks to Guldeep Singh (USA). It is a quantum leap and easy on those who have no time to read in Punjabi. The voice rendering by Giani Sarbjit Singh Gobindpuri (USA) is excellent.
2: Yuktanand Singh (USA), October 19, 2012, 1:13 PM.
Sangat Singh ji, translating the audio is a pleasure as well as a learning experience. Some words in the audio are difficult to understand and thus, an important teaching tool could be easily overlooked. The act of translating forces me not to do so. But there are some incomplete words and incomplete sentences. So, everyone, if you encounter a discrepancy, please post your suggestion for a correction.
3: Aryeh Leib (Israel), October 23, 2012, 3:31 PM.
"Company of the gurmukh, i.e., living satsang, is extremely important." If this is indeed so, what are we in this orphaned generation to do? How do we even begin? We return to the necessary prerequisite of praying for the opportunity to meet a gurmukh in the flesh. Must this meeting take place within a Sikh environment? If so, it seems that this should also be the object of our prayers. If and when it's right, the Guru will arrange the circumstances.
4: Yuktanand Singh (USA), October 24, 2012, 12:34 PM.
Aryeh Leib ji, you are a learned soul. I do not need to teach you. But I will try for the sake of other seekers. No generation is ever orphaned. "har ju-g ju-g bhagat upaa-ia" - "God saves each generation by creating the bhagats / gurmukhs for us." We begin the process by letting God do His job. "jeeo pind sabh tis-daa" - "When everything we have belongs to Him." We do not carry our suitcase when we are being lifted in an elevator. Similarly, when we rely only on the one who can do this job, then he does it.
5: Yuktanand Singh (USA), October 24, 2012, 12:35 PM.
But he does so on his own terms, not our terms. It may take an entire lifetime. "Nanak hukam na chall-aee" - "We can only pray, we cannot tell God what to do." We need to have sustained hope, not despair, that he will provide food for our hungry heart, just as he provided food for the hungry body. Carrying our suitcase would mean that we did not have faith in the elevator. Similarly, continued worry and mental activity, instead of silent prayer, and certitude, that God will take care of us, shows that we lack faith.
6: Yuktanand Singh (USA), October 24, 2012, 12:37 PM.
God is always showering us with his gifts. It may take some time to feel these gifts or to realize them in our heart. One item that is more difficult to grasp is, that spiritual gifts are meant to be hidden. A seed cannot germinate as long as it is not buried deep in the dirt. It is okay to ask questions. We need to be clear about the path, but we need to reach a point where certain personal items are not discussed in public. Doing so delays the process, just as a spider freezes, each time it is touched or exposed to the elements. Gurbani calls it "aakh guva-ee-ai" [GGS:465.15] - "When we talk about it, we lose it."
7: Yuktanand Singh (USA), October 24, 2012, 12:38 PM.
For a Sikh, a gurmukh would be as another Sikh. The Gurus have made this process quite simple for the Sikhs. We are supposed to gather and sing gurbani. This keeps the sangat pure and spiritually inclined. Presence of gurmukhs in a congregation lifts the entire sangat. The sangat does not need to give special recognition or attention to such people. Those who are hungry for darshan of gurmukhs are allowed (by God) to recognize them. Others stay as they are. For the non-Sikhs, a gurmukh can be from any religion.
8: Yuktanand Singh (USA), October 24, 2012, 12:42 PM.
Let us also not be confused about the definition of a gurmukh. Being a gurmukh requires the Guru. Without the two, Guru-and-Sikh being present, there can be no gurmukh. But for the non-Sikhs, there are many spiritually evolved souls who are very close or closer to being a gurmukh than we are. In my opinion, they cannot be called a gurmukh in the strict sense. But they were born spiritually aware because of their prior life that was possibly spent in the company of a gurmukh. Dr. David Hawkins is one such person in my opinion. There are a few others. But I may be wrong because I have never met any of them.