Bhao and Bhaao are two similar sounding words with vastly different meaning: fear and love. Guru Amardas says Bhao Bhao Sabh Tisda – Fear and Love are both His. This shabad is from a Vaar in Suhi raag and it shows us the path from fear to fearlessness. More importantly, it shows the importance of Fear.
I am honored to do this shabad in collaboration with Pt. Rajendra Prasanna, who is in my view the best bansuri and shehnai player from India, a living legend. Pandit ji has travelled worldwide and represented India at many music festivals at the world’s best venues. A few of his many prestigious awards include Surmani in Mumbai, Sangeet Pujari and Sangeet Saurabh in Delhi, Nadratna in Ajmer, and Sahara India’s Life Time Achievement Award. But most of all, he is an amazing down-to-earth human being. Look him up on youtube … his renditions of Raag Marwa and Raag Shri are magically ethereal and have millions of views. More on Pt. Rajendra Prasanna: http://www.rajendraprasanna.com/Profile_Rajendra_Prasanna.aspx
The path to fearlessness is through the need of a certain kind of fear. There is a certain kind of fear, the fear of the loss of unity, that grows love. Once Guru Nanak sang about this fear in the color of rain … an enlightening shower of wisdom from the true Guru in Raag Malaar (Ang 1288):
ਆਪਿ ਉਪਾਏ ਮੇਦਨੀ ਆਪੇ ਕਰਦਾ ਸਾਰ ॥
He Himself creates the world, and He himself takes care of it.
ਭੈ ਬਿਨੁ ਭਰਮੁ ਨ ਕਟੀਐ ਨਾਮਿ ਨ ਲਗੈ ਪਿਆਰੁ ॥
Without Fear doubt is not dispelled, and love for Naam is not embraced.
And in this shabad, Guru Amardas continued this rain of love … he sang about this fear in the color of love, showing the path from fear to love in Raag Suhi (Ang 788):
ਭੈ ਬਿਨੁ ਭਗਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਵਈ ਨਾਮਿ ਨ ਲਗੈ ਪਿਆਰੁ ॥
Without Fear, there is no devotion, no love for Naam.
ਸਤਿਗੁਰਿ ਮਿਲਿਐ ਭਉ ਊਪਜੈ ਭੈ ਭਾਇ ਰੰਗੁ ਸਵਾਰਿ ॥
Meeting the Satguru, this fear wells up and rides the color of love
ਤਨੁ ਮਨੁ ਰਤਾ ਰੰਗ ਸਿਉ ਹਉਮੈ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਮਾਰਿ ॥
Body and mind colored in love surrender the greed of ego
ਮਨੁ ਤਨੁ ਨਿਰਮਲੁ ਅਤਿ ਸੋਹਣਾ ਭੇਟਿਆ ਕ੍ਰਿਸਨ ਮੁਰਾਰਿ ॥
Mind and body, such purified and beautiful, meets Krishna Muraari
ਭਉ ਭਾਉ ਸਭੁ ਤਿਸ ਦਾ ਸੋ ਸਚੁ ਵਰਤੈ ਸੰਸਾਰਿ ॥੯॥
Fear and Love belong to the one that pervades everywhere.
What does this shabad really mean? How can you get the Guru to come to your aid? Jo Prabh Ko Milbau Chahai, Khoj Shabad Main Lai. If you want to find the Guru, you have to discover him within the shabad. And the discovery of the shabad is incomplete unless it resides in your heart. While I was singing this shabad I came across a tweet from Ravinder Singh ji, the founder of Khalsa Aid, who often goes to dangerous places so he can offer langar to people who are really in need. And the meaning of this shabad became clearer. This is what the tweet said:
My fear isn’t
for my life on a
given aid mission.
My fear is that
I might fail to help those
who see us as their last hope!
– Ravinder Singh
During my discourses I often talk about Ravinder Singh ji and his amazing efforts at Khalsa Aid around the world. His is an effort that reminds me that Guru Nanak is singing amidst us. For he said, “As long as I sing, I am alive. As soon as I forget, I die.” Guru Amardas’ pangat before sangat is now found in places where most fear to go … in Syria, in Iraq. And not just that. He is inspiring a new generation of Sikhs to walk the true path of Guru Nanak around the world.
Khalsa Aid (http://www.khalsaaid.org/) has been supporting refugees that most governments and agencies have ignored. They have been supporting Yezidi and Assyrian refugees in Iraq since 2014. It is beautiful to see some of the pictures and videos of their efforts … the langar provided by Khalsa Aid is often the only hope for these families who are living in these isolated locations.
It will be great if you can physically help – ask where they need help, pack up your bags and go there. But not all of us can pack up and go to Iraq, but all of us can spread the word. Spreading the word helps gain useful resources that this organization needs. I encourage you to learn about them and share their work with your hearts, friends, families and strangers.