Kids Corner


Everything Sings:
Letters from Espanola





One of my very favorite passages in Japji Sahib is the 27th verse.

In it, Guru Nanak presents a vision of the universe where song gives rise to form, movement and consciousness. It is a vast harmonious song that the entire creation sings with the creator.

And through the song, the creator knows all, sees all, and directs the actions of all creation.

This week, I am grateful to share this humble and imperfect but heart-felt poetic interpretation of the verse - the 27th paurree -- a composition of Guru Nanak.

Where is that door,
What is that home
In which You sit
And look after everything?

There are so many
Subtle melodies
Which call the creation
Into being,
Weaving together
In harmony.

How many souls there are
That carry and express
Thy music?

How many subtle beings
And spirits there are
Who continuously practice
Your divine scales?

How many singers there are
Who sing along with Thee?

Air, water and fire
Sing to You.

In singing, Thou,
O noble ruler
Of spiritual law
Come to our door.

The beings that record
Our thoughts and deeds
Sing to You,

And, in singing, record
Our actions for all to know.

In this record,
Spiritual law
Sees clearly
What we are.

The creative forces
Of the universe,
Beautiful and
Always bejeweled,
Sing to You.

The forces
That govern the seasons
From the heavens
Sing to You,

As do the natural forces
Of the earth.

The perfected spiritual persons
Who ever remain
In divine union with Thee
Sing to You.

As do the disciplined ones
Who spend their time
In reflection and meditation.

Men and women
Of moral self-restraint,
Of truth
And of contentment
Sing to You,

As do the strong
And noble heroes.

Learned persons,
And spiritual masters
Sing to You,

As do
All the books of learning
Throughout the ages.

All the enchanting
Which attract
And enrapture the mind
In the heavens
On the earth
And below
Sing to You.

All the jewels
Created by You
Sing to You,

As do all
The sacred places.

The brave and courageous warriors
Sing to You,

As do the four treasures
Of peace, contentment,
Love and divine union.

All the universes and galaxies
Planets in the solar systems,
All the continents
In all the lands
Sing to You,

And as You continually
Make them,
You protect and support them.

Those who sing to
Are those who are
Pleasing to You.

They are
Permeated through
With surrendered love
And become
The keepers of Thy essence.

There are so many more
Who sing to You,
I can’t even
Think of them all.

How can I even
Talk about it?

Thou, O Thou
You are always
The true one,
The master of all.

Truth pervading.
True spirit in form.

You shall ever be --
Though nothing You created
Will go along
With You.

Every color,
Every unique thing
Is continually made
By You.

You who created
All the elements,
And the divine cosmic play
That comes from them,
Creating and creating,
You, Yourself,
What You have done.

And this
Is Your greatness.

You do
What pleases You.

There is nowhere
Your divine will
Doesn’t prevail.

O true emperor,
Divine king,
Noble of the noble,

Nanak lives
Surrendered to Your command.

July 4, 2013

Conversation about this article

1: Hardev Singh (Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada), July 05, 2013, 11:44 PM.

As always, Ek Ong Kaar Kaur brings delightful and fresh insight to gurbani. What a treasure trove given by our Gurus to be discovered and rediscovered.

2: Mnajeet Singh (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), July 13, 2013, 5:27 AM.

'Keha' is better translated as 'what' rather than 'where'. Most teekakars have correctly interpreted 'keha' to mean 'keho jeha' rather than 'kithay'. In pauris 16, 17 18 and 19, Guru Nanak has already said that the Lord is 'Nirankaar'. In pauri 37, Guru Sahib declares that this NIrankaar resides in 'sachkhand'. Thus the "so dar" shabad is an inquiry as to the state or nature of His gate. as it is impossible to describe His gate, Guru Sahib describes what happens around His gate. He sees all of creation singing His praises. Yet, not all of them can see Him. Guru Sahib makes that clear in pauri 30 where he says 'O vekhai ohna nadar na aavai ...' Guru Amardas expresses a similar view at page 1420 when he says, 'har hat bhi tu tu karai bolai bhal baan'. At page 1265 Guru Ramdas says, 'jo bolat hai mrig meen pankheru so bin har jaoat hai nahi hor'. In the Koran too in the second Sura, we have the Throne verse. Just as "so dar", this too speaks of His lofty Throne from whence 'He commands all'. An amazing aspect of gurbani is that it describes God as everywhere. And, wherever He is, He is 'pura'. Ashtpadi 16 of Sukhmani tells us: 'poor rahio puran sabh thaai'.

3: Harinder Pal Singh (Patiala, Punjab), July 13, 2013, 12:59 PM.

I always thought Rajneesh had done justice to Japji Sahib but this insight by Ek Ong Kaar has added a delightful dimension to it. This is the beauty of Guru Granth Sahib. You look at it from any angle: a holy scripture, piece of literature, philosophy, a trove of musical directions, it simply disarms you. Must confess reciting Japji sahib would be more fun now. Thanks, Ek Ong Kaar ji.

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Letters from Espanola"

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