The Romance of GurbaniRAVIN KAUR
Gurbani is romantic.
I got your attention?
Great. Before I go on, I would like to say that I have no intention to offend anyone. I am merely trying to explore the poetic and literary beauty that I have come across in gurbani.
I was reading the posting from the site called AWAT (’A Word A Thought), “How deep is your love?” Could not help humming the song. But it got my attention. What kind of love is this?
As I read on, I found revealing insights on love … even romanticized love.
“We all cherish deep love for our families, our race, religion and nation, and ultimately those who are religious claim deep love for the Divine. Can the depths of love for something be measured in any way?”
How does one measure love? What are the variables? What are the tools?
In gurbani there are examples from nature which show us “a way to nurture steady and profound love for the Divine and strengthen it day by day until we find our destination – spiritual elevation to a state of inner stability and fulfilment.”
The first example that I read moved me. It was a humbling moment, to realize that this is the way we need to love, be it the Divine, our family, or anything for that matter.
re man aisee har seo preet kar jaisee jal kamlehi
'O mind, love the Divine as a lotus does water.' [GGS:59]
Fancy a beautiful lotus growing in the stagnant waters of a shallow pool. Even while it is tossed about by the ripples of water, it still blossoms with love. How bout us humans? We too need to cherish such love. The Creator supports the lotus by nurturing and giving it a place in the dirty water.
Likewise, we humans are supported by earth’s natural resources provided by the Creator. Those who love Him, or long for His wisdom and virtues, are blessed with the divine bliss of liberation from earthly attachments – just like the lotus that doesn’t let its beautiful being and flowers be soiled or stained by the filth around it.
Beautiful. Simple yet strong message. Love should be such where the desire, need, and longing are pure, steady, and unconditional.
Do we do that? Or do we put so many demands and conditions that it is less of a love but more of a transaction?
One other example that struck a chord deep within me:
re man aisee har seo preet kar jaisee machhulee neer
'O mind, love the Divine as a fish surrenders to water.' [GGS:59]
For fish, water is life. They feel intense pleasure and inner satisfaction while frolicking in the deep depths of a river or an ocean that gives them ultimate freedom to swim wherever they want. Without water, they cannot survive, even for an instant. That is why fish loyally is loyally rooted to water.
If only we can cultivate such love and loyalty as that of the fish to water, we would be forever connected to the Divine. We would trust and love our Creator for our very existence and would not be able to live without The One even for an instant.
Love our Creator for our very existence? Not be able to live without The One?
We know how life feels worthless when we lose loved ones or a relationship. These emotions and feelings we all go through and are well-acquainted with them. But have we ever loved the Divine in that way - wholeheartedly and unconditionally? We need to ask ourselves this. Or does love for the Divine only arise in our moment of need, pain or adversity?
Gurbani’s messages gently nudge us that we need to cultivate an unconditional and faithful love for the Divine. The following verse further shows us how:
re man aisee har seo preet kar jaisee chakvi soor
'O mind, long for the Divine as a duck dotes on the sun.' [GGS:59]
The legendary love-birds ‘chakva’ and ‘chakvi’ – are male and female orange-brown ducks. They are known for their love for the sun. In poetic references, when the sun sets, they feel that they have been separated from their partner who might be right next to them. All night long, they pine for the sun to rise. Only after the appearance of their beloved sun are their lives filled with joy once again.
The love and longing of the chakvi for the sun is exemplified through this verse. She does not sleep for an instant because she is unable to bear the separation from her beloved which has gone away from her sight during the night.
This made me think of how much I myself abhor the dark. I cannot wait for light in the morning. Most may agree with me that the absence of light has immense effect on us. We do not have the same confidence, energy, and positivity during the night. Winter days without much sunlight are depressing.
Sunshine is so empowering for the spirit.
Is that why the chakvi yearns for the sun? It makes so much sense! Imagine how the love of the Divine can similarly illuminate our lives.
This reminded me of a short story by Ray Bradbury, “All Summer in A Day”. In it, the children who were raised on a planet where they lived in the absence of the sun, were portrayed as pale in their appearances and personalities. They displayed vicious tendencies, only to be restored by the two hour presence of the sun.
Though a piece of science-fiction, the author craftily depicts the importance of the sun in our lives.
In conclusion, verses above focus on love through examples of nature in gurbani and raise our awareness of how endearing love is presented therein. There are many more such verses which not only touch us but also chart our way on how to love deeply.
There is so much to learn.
A beautiful take away from this discussion would be “Yes, human relationships are frail and limited. But if we soak ourselves in the love of the Divine and the rest of creation, then we can improve and strengthen our weak human relationships.”
Let’s fill our hearts with such pure love throughout our lives. Not merely revel in it when we are young, and lose sight of it in the rat race of life. Let those feelings of deep love be evergreen in our lives through our intense love for the Divine and Creation.
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August 26, 2016
Conversation about this article
1: Ajit Singh Batra (Pennsville, New Jersey, USA), August 26, 2016, 7:07 PM.
Gurbani is 'Naam' through the Guru's Word. Divine Love is nourished by the practice of the Guru's Word to attain reunion with Waheguru. Naam and the Word give an expression of Waheguru in concrete form.
2: Mohan Singh (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), August 27, 2016, 8:18 AM.
Gurbani enriches, inspires and transforms.