Jo Mange Posts

O mind, why do you plot and plan? – Guru Arjan Dev

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Every evening in the Sodar paath we read a shabad by Guru Arjan Dev: Kahe re man chitvai uddam? Why, O mind, do you plot and plan when Waheguru, the Pritpaala, the Deen Dayaala, is there to care for you.  Even those living beings that are created in the rocks, they get nourishment. Its not the fathers, mothers, children or spouses; its God that provides for every single one.  Why is there any need to be afraid. Flamingoes fly hundreds of miles, leaving their young ones behind. Who feeds them, and who teaches them to feed themselves? Have you ever thought of this, dear mind? The one without any end takes care of everyone, the omnipotent one. Slave Nanak endlessly loves the one who holds all power in the palm of His hand. 

ਰਾਗੁ ਗੂਜਰੀ ਮਹਲਾ ੫ ॥
Raag Goojaree Mehalaa 5 ||
Raag Goojaree, Fifth Mehl:


ਕਾਹੇ ਰੇ ਮਨ ਚਿਤਵਹਿ ਉਦਮੁ ਜਾ ਆਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਜੀਉ ਪਰਿਆ ॥
ਸੈਲ ਪਥਰ ਮਹਿ ਜੰਤ ਉਪਾਏ ਤਾ ਕਾ ਰਿਜਕੁ ਆਗੈ ਕਰਿ ਧਰਿਆ ॥੧॥
Kaahae Rae Man Chithavehi Oudham Jaa Aahar Har Jeeo Pariaa ||
Sail Pathhar Mehi Janth Oupaaeae Thaa Kaa Rijak Aagai Kar Dhhariaa ||1||

Why, O mind, do you plot and plan, when the Dear Lord Himself provides for your care?
Within rocks and stones he creates living beings and places their nourishment before them. ||1||


ਮੇਰੇ ਮਾਧਉ ਜੀ ਸਤਸੰਗਤਿ ਮਿਲੇ ਸੁ ਤਰਿਆ ॥
ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦਿ ਪਰਮ ਪਦੁ ਪਾਇਆ ਸੂਕੇ ਕਾਸਟ ਹਰਿਆ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥

Maerae Maadhho Jee Sathasangath Milae S Thariaa ||
Gur Parasaadh Param Padh Paaeiaa Sookae Kaasatt Hariaa ||1|| Rehaao ||
O my Dear Lord of souls, one who joins the Sat Sangat, the True Congregation, is saved.
By Guru's Grace, the supreme status is obtained, and the dry wood blossoms forth again in lush greenery. ||1||Pause||

Interesting that the aim of Gur Prasad (which is the last phrase in Guru Nanak's Mool Mantra


ਜਨਨਿ ਪਿਤਾ ਲੋਕ ਸੁਤ ਬਨਿਤਾ ਕੋਇ ਨ ਕਿਸ ਕੀ ਧਰਿਆ ॥
ਸਿਰਿ ਸਿਰਿ ਰਿਜਕੁ ਸੰਬਾਹੇ ਠਾਕੁਰੁ ਕਾਹੇ ਮਨ ਭਉ ਕਰਿਆ ॥੨॥

Janan Pithaa Lok Suth Banithaa Koe N Kis Kee Dhhariaa ||
Sir Sir Rijak Sanbaahae Thaakur Kaahae Man Bho Kariaa ||2||
Mothers, fathers, friends, children and spouses-no one is the support of anyone else.
For each and every person, our Lord and Master provides sustenance. Why are you so afraid, O mind? ||2||

ਊਡੇ ਊਡਿ ਆਵੈ ਸੈ ਕੋਸਾ ਤਿਸੁ ਪਾਛੈ ਬਚਰੇ ਛਰਿਆ ॥
ਤਿਨ ਕਵਣੁ ਖਲਾਵੈ ਕਵਣੁ ਚੁਗਾਵੈ ਮਨ ਮਹਿ ਸਿਮਰਨੁ ਕਰਿਆ ॥੩॥
Ooddae Oodd Aavai Sai Kosaa This Paashhai Bacharae Shhariaa ||
Thin Kavan Khalaavai Kavan Chugaavai Man Mehi Simaran Kariaa ||3||
Flamingoes fly hundreds of miles, leaving their young ones behind.
Who feeds them, and who teaches them to feed themselves? Have you ever thought of this, dear mind? ||3||


ਸਭਿ ਨਿਧਾਨ ਦਸ ਅਸਟ ਸਿਧਾਨ ਠਾਕੁਰ ਕਰ ਤਲ ਧਰਿਆ ॥
ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਬਲਿ ਬਲਿ ਸਦ ਬਲਿ ਜਾਈਐ ਤੇਰਾ ਅੰਤੁ ਨ ਪਾਰਾਵਰਿਆ ॥੪॥੫॥
Sabh Nidhhaan Dhas Asatt Sidhhaan Thaakur Kar Thal Dhhariaa ||
Jan Naanak Bal Bal Sadh Bal Jaaeeai Thaeraa Anth N Paaraavariaa ||4||5||
All the nine treasures, and the eighteen supernatural powers are held by our Lord and Master in the Palm of His Hand.
Servant Nanak is devoted, dedicated, forever a sacrifice to You, Lord. Your Expanse has no limit, no boundary. ||4||5||

O mind, why do you plot and plan? – Guru Arjan Dev

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Every evening in the Sodar paath we read a shabad by Guru Arjan Dev: Kahe re man chitvai uddam? Why, O mind, do you plot and plan when Waheguru, the Pritpaala, the Deen Dayaala, is there to care for you.  Even those living beings that are created in the rocks, they get nourishment. Its not the fathers, mothers, children or spouses; its God that provides for every single one.  Why is there any need to be afraid. Flamingoes fly hundreds of miles, leaving their young ones behind. Who feeds them, and who teaches them to feed themselves? Have you ever thought of this, dear mind? The one without any end takes care of everyone, the omnipotent one. Slave Nanak endlessly loves the one who holds all power in the palm of His hand. 

ਰਾਗੁ ਗੂਜਰੀ ਮਹਲਾ ੫ ॥
Raag Goojaree Mehalaa 5 ||
Raag Goojaree, Fifth Mehl:


ਕਾਹੇ ਰੇ ਮਨ ਚਿਤਵਹਿ ਉਦਮੁ ਜਾ ਆਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਜੀਉ ਪਰਿਆ ॥
ਸੈਲ ਪਥਰ ਮਹਿ ਜੰਤ ਉਪਾਏ ਤਾ ਕਾ ਰਿਜਕੁ ਆਗੈ ਕਰਿ ਧਰਿਆ ॥੧॥
Kaahae Rae Man Chithavehi Oudham Jaa Aahar Har Jeeo Pariaa ||
Sail Pathhar Mehi Janth Oupaaeae Thaa Kaa Rijak Aagai Kar Dhhariaa ||1||

Why, O mind, do you plot and plan, when the Dear Lord Himself provides for your care?
Within rocks and stones he creates living beings and places their nourishment before them. ||1||


ਮੇਰੇ ਮਾਧਉ ਜੀ ਸਤਸੰਗਤਿ ਮਿਲੇ ਸੁ ਤਰਿਆ ॥
ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦਿ ਪਰਮ ਪਦੁ ਪਾਇਆ ਸੂਕੇ ਕਾਸਟ ਹਰਿਆ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥

Maerae Maadhho Jee Sathasangath Milae S Thariaa ||
Gur Parasaadh Param Padh Paaeiaa Sookae Kaasatt Hariaa ||1|| Rehaao ||
O my Dear Lord of souls, one who joins the Sat Sangat, the True Congregation, is saved.
By Guru's Grace, the supreme status is obtained, and the dry wood blossoms forth again in lush greenery. ||1||Pause||

Interesting that the aim of Gur Prasad (which is the last phrase in Guru Nanak's Mool Mantra


ਜਨਨਿ ਪਿਤਾ ਲੋਕ ਸੁਤ ਬਨਿਤਾ ਕੋਇ ਨ ਕਿਸ ਕੀ ਧਰਿਆ ॥
ਸਿਰਿ ਸਿਰਿ ਰਿਜਕੁ ਸੰਬਾਹੇ ਠਾਕੁਰੁ ਕਾਹੇ ਮਨ ਭਉ ਕਰਿਆ ॥੨॥

Janan Pithaa Lok Suth Banithaa Koe N Kis Kee Dhhariaa ||
Sir Sir Rijak Sanbaahae Thaakur Kaahae Man Bho Kariaa ||2||
Mothers, fathers, friends, children and spouses-no one is the support of anyone else.
For each and every person, our Lord and Master provides sustenance. Why are you so afraid, O mind? ||2||

ਊਡੇ ਊਡਿ ਆਵੈ ਸੈ ਕੋਸਾ ਤਿਸੁ ਪਾਛੈ ਬਚਰੇ ਛਰਿਆ ॥
ਤਿਨ ਕਵਣੁ ਖਲਾਵੈ ਕਵਣੁ ਚੁਗਾਵੈ ਮਨ ਮਹਿ ਸਿਮਰਨੁ ਕਰਿਆ ॥੩॥
Ooddae Oodd Aavai Sai Kosaa This Paashhai Bacharae Shhariaa ||
Thin Kavan Khalaavai Kavan Chugaavai Man Mehi Simaran Kariaa ||3||
Flamingoes fly hundreds of miles, leaving their young ones behind.
Who feeds them, and who teaches them to feed themselves? Have you ever thought of this, dear mind? ||3||


ਸਭਿ ਨਿਧਾਨ ਦਸ ਅਸਟ ਸਿਧਾਨ ਠਾਕੁਰ ਕਰ ਤਲ ਧਰਿਆ ॥
ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਬਲਿ ਬਲਿ ਸਦ ਬਲਿ ਜਾਈਐ ਤੇਰਾ ਅੰਤੁ ਨ ਪਾਰਾਵਰਿਆ ॥੪॥੫॥
Sabh Nidhhaan Dhas Asatt Sidhhaan Thaakur Kar Thal Dhhariaa ||
Jan Naanak Bal Bal Sadh Bal Jaaeeai Thaeraa Anth N Paaraavariaa ||4||5||
All the nine treasures, and the eighteen supernatural powers are held by our Lord and Master in the Palm of His Hand.
Servant Nanak is devoted, dedicated, forever a sacrifice to You, Lord. Your Expanse has no limit, no boundary. ||4||5||

O survivors of the fire of the womb …

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Image result for fire of the womb

Human birth is a wonder.  There are so many improbabilities that are to be overcome for everything to happen smoothly.  It is a miracle how smoothly things have gone for so many of us on earth. 

Father's seed and mother's blood came together in the fire of the womb to conceive a baby.  And while everything else gets digested in this abdominal firepit, this baby is nourished in the womb for several months. Can you imagine living in a slimy, dark firepit with your head turned upside down. The baby not only survives but thrives in this treacherous place. How?

The baby gets saved because it remembers Satnam, the essence of the truth.  The baby does not have an ego. The baby does not think that he is the doer. The baby acquiesces. The baby completely surrenders to the will of God. In that sense, the baby does not forget God for an instant.

Every birth is a victory among a terrible fire.  Every life has the same opportunity ... the opportunity to win in battle in this burning world.  Those who forget oneness, lose the battle of life. There is no peace for the forgetful.  Peace is found in the remembrance of oneness. Peace is found in the singing of oneness.

O survivors of the fire of the womb, remember that the human birth was a wonder to start with. This life can also become a wonder if you remember to sing the song of oneness.

(From Jaitsri ki vaar by Guru Arjan Dev)

pauVI ] (706-6)pa-orhee.Pauree:

rkqu ibMdu kir inMimAw Agin audr mJwir ] (706-6)rakat bind kar nimmi-aa agan udar majhaar.From egg and sperm, you were conceived, and placed in the fire of the womb.

(nimeya:  nee rakhna, laying a foundation, foundation of birth = conception, like in bhand jamiyeh bhand nimiyeh in Asa ki vaar)

aurD muKu kucIl ibklu nrik Goir gubwir ] (706-7)uraDh mukh kucheel bikal narak ghor gubaar.Head downwards, you abided restlessly in that dark, dismal, terrible hell.

(bikal -from vyakul, confused)

hir ismrq qU nw jlih min qin aur Dwir ] (706-7)har simrat too naa jaleh man tan ur Dhaar.Remembering the Lord in meditation, you were not burnt; enshrine Him in your heart, mind and body.

ibKm Qwnhu ijin riKAw iqsu iqlu n ivswir ] (706-8)bikham thaanahu jin rakhi-aa tis til na visaar.In that treacherous place, He protected and preserved you; do not forget Him, even for an instant.

pRB ibsrq suKu kdy nwih jwsih jnmu hwir ]2] (706-8)parabh bisrat sukh kaday naahi jaaseh janam haar. ||2||Forgetting God, you shall never find peace; you shall forfeit your life, and depart. ||2||



Alternative meaning for "Saranjaam Laag Bhavjal Taran Kai"

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I'm researching "Sar-anjaam" which is used by Guru Arjan Dev in a poem, "Sar-anjaam Laag Bhavjal Taran Kai." While most translations say it means "getting ready," based on its classical usage the meaning is closer to end result/complete.  So the meaning of the line goes from "Get ready to cross the ocean of life" to "Complete Ocean Swim to" -- and so in addition with the first meaning, an alternative meaning of the line is "Complete yourself to swim the ocean of life."  And then "Saranjaam Laag" - "complete yourself" becomes a mantra by itself that can be meditated upon. This makes sense because it rhymes with several other phrases in the poem.  

What tennis champion Arthur Ashe said when he got infected with AIDS

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I received this story on Whatsapp today. Inspiring ...



Arthur Ashe, The Legendary Wimbledon Player was dying of AIDS which he got due to Infected Blood he received during a Heart Surgery in 1983.

He received letters from his fans, one of which conveyed:

"Why did God have to select you for such a bad disease?

To this Arthur Ashe replied:

50 Million children started playing Tennis,

5 Million learnt to play Tennis,

500 000 learnt Professional Tennis,

50 Thousand came to Circuit,

5 Thousand reached Grandslam,

50 reached Wimbledon,

4 reached the Semifinals,

2 reached the Finals and when I was holding the cup in my hand, I never asked God "Why Me?"


So now that I'm in pain how can I ask God "Why Me?"

Happiness keeps you Sweet!
Trials keeps you Strong!
Sorrows keeps you Human!
Failure keeps you Humble!
Success keeps you Glowing!
But only, Faith keeps you Going.

Sometimes you are unsatisfied with your life, while many people in this world are dreaming of living your life.

A child on a farm sees a plane fly overhead dreams of flying. But, a pilot on the plane sees the farmhouse dreams of returning home. That's life. Enjoy yours...

If wealth is the secret to happiness, then the rich should be dancing on the streets. But only poor kids do that.

Live simply. Walk humbly. Love genuinely.

Those eyes are different that see my love …

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ਸਲੋਕੁ ॥
Shlok 
Couplet

ਲੋਇਣ ਲੋਈ ਡਿਠ ਪਿਆਸ ਬੁਝੈ ਮੂ ਘਣੀ
लोइण लोई डिठ पिआस न बुझै मू घणी ॥
Loiṇ loī diṯẖ piās na bujẖai mū gẖaṇī.
I have seen, but my thirst is not quenched

ਨਾਨਕ ਸੇ ਅਖੜੀਆਂ ਬਿਅੰਨਿ ਜਿਨੀ ਡਿਸੰਦੋ ਮਾ ਪਿਰੀ ॥੧॥
नानक से अखड़ीआं बिअंनि जिनी डिसंदो मा पिरी ॥१॥
Nānak se akẖṛīāʼn biann jinī disanḏo mā pirī. ||1||
O Nanak, those eyes are different, that see my love.

Saas Saas Simro Gobind – Translation #SaasSaas

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Saas Saas Simro Gobind - Translation

Listening to the complete Guru
I come in the vicinity of oneness 

Remembering oneness in every breath
I erase all the pain inside 

Asking for the dust of Saints' feet
I abandon fleeting waves of desire

Renouncing my ego, praying with Saints
I cross life's ocean of fire 

Bowing down to the complete Guru
I fill my coffers with divine wealth


#SaasSaas Links: iTunes Amazon Google Play Spotify

The martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev changed the path of progress of the Sikh religion – K.S. Bains

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This is the week of the martyrdom of Guru Arjan.  I found the following article by K.S. Bains very interesting: it talks about the achievements of Guru Arjan that are often overlooked ... 

Seed of the faith
K.S. Bains on the first Sikh martyr, who changed the course of Sikhism



The martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev changed the path of progress of the Sikh religion. While paying homage to him on his martyrdom day, we generally highlight the compilation of the Adi Granth and the construction of the Golden Temple as his main contributions. No doubt, these are two very concrete statements of crystallisation of the Sikh religion, the former becoming the seat and the latter the holy book, the two bases of any religion. However, we generally overlook his other very significant contributions.

Hari Ram Gupta, in his book, History of Sikh, observes:

"Guru Arjan, Fifth in succession, was the first Guru born as a Sikh. He proved himself an original thinker, illustrious poet, practical philosopher, great organiser, eminent statesman, shining sage, saint and seer, composer of music, scholar, founder of tanks and towns, embodiment of love, humility and service, and the first martyr to faith. He was a dutiful son, conciliatory brother, loving husband, inspiring father, beloved master and devoted servant of God. He possessed a tender heart but resolute will. He was forgiving but fearless, firm in his faith like a rock, but never a fanatic. He completely changed the external aspect of Sikh religion."

There are enough occurrences in his life to write about each of the qualities mentioned. That will require volumes. I will dwell only on two aspects, namely, putting finances on a sound footing and encouraging trade and commerce.

The fourth Guru, Guru Ramdas, had started the institution of angtias to accept offerings from the Sikhs from their allotted areas and pass on the same to the guru. Another similar category was asand, a slightly higher position than that of a sangtia. Taking a cue from the Muslim system of zakat, he called upon his followers to contribute daswandh, or 10 per cent of their income, to the Guru. Sangtias/masands were asked to encourage the Sikhs to contribute and make collections on behalf of the Guru. To strengthen the system and make it workable on a long-term basis, he laid down that the sangtias/masands could keep tith, or 33 per cent of the offerings with them as their service fees and pass on the remaining two-thirds to the Guru. This system worked well and helped the Guru in taking various measures in the expansion of Sikhism. We all know about his great work in constructing gurdwaras, townships and the like. With the regular flow of finances, the entire system of collecting funds was streamlined, thus helping the Guru with his plans.

He encouraged his followers to take to trade and commerce. There were three reasons behind this. First, most of the followers at that time were subsistence farmers and did not enjoy proper social status. Trading increased the income of the farmers. Alongside, it encouraged the coming up of a stronger agricultural class who started enjoying higher social status and got some surplus to spend and live well.

Secondly, another section of society, the traders, became his followers. His followers not only traded in the adjoining areas but went right up to Kabul and beyond for trading in dry fruits and more importantly, horses. Initially, they brought horses for the purpose of trading and earning a profit. However, gradually, they started keeping the animals for their own use, too. Owning a horse was a symbol of great social status and superiority.

Gupta observes that this made them fearless and free from caste prejudices. There is, however, another aspect that is of greater significance. Slowly, with the owning of horses Sikhs started acquiring proficiency in riding and tent-pegging. They also started going for shikar and became adept in the use of various arms that are normally a part of cavalry.

Thirdly, these owners of horses and their attendants became ready raw material for forming an army, should such a need arise. It did happen in the time of the sixth Guru. Now, the question arises whether such a development was something which happened on its own or the Guru could foresee the shape of things to come. He was aware of the fact that as the religion expanded and the organisation became well-ordered and well-knit the finances and social status of the followers improved and they started living in style, they were bound to come into conflict with the state. The author of Dabistan observes, "Some of the Sikh Gurus took to agriculture and others to trading. They became good horsemen, created their own identity and acquired the position of a separate state within the Moghul State."

A few days before his martyrdom, the Guru sent to his 11-year-old son a bel fruit with five copper pieces as a token of nominating him as the next Guru. He also sent an injunction through the Sikh who carried the bel: Let him sit fully armed on his throne and maintain his army to the best of his ability. The rest, as they say, is history.

Guru Arjan Dev gave the Sikhs their church and their holy book. With these, the Sikh became a separate identity as distinct from Hindus and Muslims. The Faith acquired a strong spiritual, doctrinal and organisational base and became a potential force in encouraging a social revolution in Punjab. Khushwant Singh has observed Arjan Devji "became the seed of the Sikh church as well as Punjabi nation."

The best religion according to Guru Arjan …

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[From Sukhmani Sahib]

sarab Dharam meh saraysat Dharam.
Of all religions, the best religion
har ko naam jap nirmal karam.
is to chant the Name of the Lord and do good deeds.

sagal kir-aa meh ootam kiri-aa.Of all religious rituals, the most sublime ritual
saaDhsang durmat mal hiri-aa.
is to erase the filth of your dirty mind in good company.

sagal udam meh udam bhalaa.Of all efforts, the best effort
har kaa naam japahu jee-a sadaa.is to chant the Name of the Lord in the heart, forever.

sagal baanee meh amrit baanee.Of all speech, the most ambrosial speech
har ko jas sun rasan bakhaanee.is the one spoken after hearing praises of the Lord.

sagal thaan tay oh ootam thaan.Of all places, the most sublime place,

naanak jih ghat vasai har naam. ||8||3||O Nanak, is that heart in which the Name of the Lord abides. ||8||3||

Charan Kamal Prabh Kay – Music Video/Translation

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The Words

Charan Kamal Prabh Kay Nit Dhiayaon
Kavan sumat jit preetam paon

Kavan Sanjog milaon prabh apnay
Pal pal nimakh sadaa har japnay

Aisi kirpa kart parch mercy
Har Nanak bisar na kahoo beray

Translation 

I meditate continually on the lotus feet of love.
What wisdom will lead me to attain my love?

What blessed destiny will lead me to meet my love?
Each and every moment meditate on love.

Bless me with such mercy my love
that I may never ever forget you.

Mith Bolra Ji Har Sajjan – Translation and Rendition in Raag Suhi

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The Sweet Master

My master speaks sweetly
I have grown weary of testing him,
but still, he never speaks harshly.

He doesn't know bitter words
He overlooks my shortfalls
and remembers every iota of service
His inherent nature is to purify

He dwells in every heart
He's nearer than the nearest
I seek the sanctuary of this master,
the sweet one, my dear friend.

- Guru Arjan
Mith Bolra Ji Har Sajjan Swami Mora


More on Raag Suhi and this shabad: http://shabadkirtan.blogspot.com/2016/01/imbued-in-love-with-sweet-words-raag.html

Suhi Mahalla 5 Chhanth

Mith Bolara Ji Har Sajjan Swami Mora
Hau Sammal Thakki Ji
Oh Kade Na Bolai Kaura

Kaura Bol Na Jaane Pooran Bhagwane
Avgun Ko Na Chitare
Patit Paavan Har Birad Sadaye
Ik til nahi Bhanne Ghale

Ghat Ghat Vasi Sarab Nivasi
Nerai Hi Te Neraa
Nanak Daas Sadaa Sarnaagat
Har Amrit Sajjan Mera


The Mool Mantra is responsible for my success – Gen Ayub Khan

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A story of faith from Sant Sipahi (April, 2003)


Meharban Singh is a prominent Sikh living in Singapore. In the decade of 1970′s, I was also living there and Meharban Singh narrated to me a very interesting (more…)

An Irish blessing of complete faith

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May the shine all day long
     Everything go right 
          And nothing go wrong
May those you love
     Bring love back to you
      (more…)

Khushwant Singh on life, death and happiness!

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In the following essay Khuswant Sngh talks on how to live and die, and be happy.




Death is rarely spoken about in our homes. I wonder why. Especially when each one of us knows that death has to come, has to strike. It’s inevitable. This line from Yas Yagana Changezi says it best: Khuda mein shak ho to ho, maut mein nahin koi shak (You may or may not doubt the existence of God, you can’t doubt the certainty of death). And one must prepare oneself to face it.

At 95, I do think of death. I think of death very often but I don’t lose sleep over it. I think of those gone; keep wondering where they are. Where have they gone? Where will they be? I don’t know the answers: where you go, what happens next. To quote Omar Khayyam,

Into this Universe, and Why not knowing
Nor Whence, like Water willy-nilly flowing...
and,

“There was a Door to which I found no Key
There was a Veil through which I could not see
Some little Talk awhile of Me and Thee
There seemed—and then no more of Thee and Me.”

I once asked the Dalai Lama how one should face death and he had advised meditation. I’m not scared of death; I do not fear it. Death is inevitable. While I have thought about it a lot, I don’t brood about it. I’m prepared for it. As Asadullah Khan Ghalib has so aptly put it,

“Rau mein hai raksh-e-umar kahaan dekhiye thhamey
Nai haath baag par hai na pa hai rakaab mein

(Age travels at galloping pace; who knows where it will stop
We do not have the reins in our hands nor our feet in the stirrups).”

All my contemporaries—whether here or in England or in Pakistan—they’re all gone. I don’t know where I’ll be in a year or two. I don’t fear death. What I dread is the day I go blind or am incapacitated because of old age—that’s what I fear—I’d rather die than live in that condition. I’m a burden enough on my daughter Mala and don’t want to be an extra burden on her.

All that I hope for is that when death comes to me, it comes swiftly, without much pain, like fading away in sound slumber. Till then I’ll keep working and living each day as it comes. There’s so much left to do. I have to content myself by saying these lines of Iqbal:

“Baagh-e-bahisht se mujhe hukm-e-safar diya tha kyon?
Kaar-e-Jahaan daraaz hai, ab mera intezaar kar

(Why did you order me out of the garden of paradise? 
I have a lot left to do; now you wait for me).”

So I often tell Bade Mian, as I refer to him, from time to time, that he’s got to wait for me as I still have work to complete.

I believe in these lines of Tennyson:

“Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea...
Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness or farewell,
When I embark.”

I believe in the Jain philosophy that death ought to be celebrated. Earlier, whenever I was upset or low, I used to go to the cremation grounds. It has a cleansing effect, and worked like a therapy for me. In fact, I’d written my own epitaph years ago:

“Here lies one who spared neither man nor God
Waste not your tears on him, he was a sod
Writing nasty things he regarded as great fun
Thank the Lord he is dead, this son of a gun.”

‘We regret to announce the sudden death of Sardar Khushwant Singh at 6 pm last evening. He leaves behind a young widow, two infant children and a large number of friends and admirers. Amongst those who called at the late sardar’s residence were the PA to the chief justice, several ministers, and judges of the high court.’I had even written my own obit in 1943 when I was still in my twenties. It later appeared in a collection of short stories, titled ‘Posthumous’. In the piece, I had imagined The Tribune announcing the news of my death on its front page with a small photograph. The headline would read: ‘Sardar Khushwant Singh Dead’. And then, in somewhat smaller print:

I had to cope with death when I lost my wife. Being an agnostic, I could not find solace in religious rituals. Being essentially a loner, I discouraged friends and relatives from coming to condole with me. I spent the first night alone sitting in my chair in the dark. At times, I broke down, but soon recovered my composure. A couple of days later, I resumed my usual routine, working from dawn to dusk. That took my mind off the stark reality of having to live alone in an empty home for the rest of my days. When friends persisted in calling and upsetting my equilibrium, I packed myself off to Goa to be by myself.

I used to be keen on a burial because with a burial you give back to the earth what you have taken. Now, it will be the electric crematorium. I had requested the management of the Bahai faith if I could be buried. Initially, they had agreed, but then they came up with all sorts of conditions and rules. I had wanted to be buried in one corner with just a peepal tree next to my grave. After okaying this, the management later said that that wouldn’t be possible and that my grave would be in the middle of a row and not in a corner. I wasn’t okay with that—even though I know that once you are dead it makes no difference. But I was keen to be buried in one corner. They also told me later that they would chant some prayers, which again I couldn’t agree with, because I don’t believe in religion or in religious rituals of any kind.

Though I’m quite fit, I know I don’t have much time left. I’m coming to terms with death, preparing myself. And since I have no faith in God, nor in the day of judgement, nor in the theory of reincarnation, I have to come to terms with the complete full stop. I have been criticised for not sparing even the dead, but then death does not sanctify a person, and if I find the person had been corrupt, I write about it even when he’s gone.

I don’t believe in rebirth or in reincarnation, in the day of judgement or in heaven or hell. I accept the finality of death. We do not know what happens to us after we die but one should help a person go in peace—at peace with himself and with the world.

I’ve lived a reasonably contented life. I’ve often thought about what it is that makes people happy—what one has to do in order to achieve happiness.

First and foremost is good health. If you do not enjoy good health, you can never be happy. Any ailment, however trivial, will deduct something from your happiness.

Second, a healthy bank balance. It need not run into crores, but it should be enough to provide for comforts, and there should be something to spare for recreation—eating out, going to the movies, travel and holidays in the hills or by the sea. Shortage of money can be demoralising. Living on credit or borrowing is demeaning and lowers one in one’s own eyes.

Third, your own home. Rented places can never give you the comfort or security of a home that is yours for keeps. If it has garden space, all the better. Plant your own trees and flowers, see them grow and blossom, and cultivate a sense of kinship with them.

Fourth, an understanding companion, be it your spouse or a friend. If you have too many misunderstandings, it robs you of your peace of mind. It is better to be divorced than to be quarrelling all the time.
Fifth, stop envying those who have done better than you in life—risen higher, made more money, or earned more fame. Envy can be corroding; avoid comparing yourself with others.

Sixth, do not allow people to descend on you for gup-shup. By the time you get rid of them, you will feel exhausted and poisoned by their gossip-mongering.

Seventh, cultivate a hobby or two that will fulfil you—gardening, reading, writing, painting, playing or listening to music. Going to clubs or parties to get free drinks, or to meet celebrities, is a criminal waste of time. It’s important to concentrate on something that keeps you occupied meaningfully. I have family members and friends who spend their entire day caring for stray dogs, giving them food and medicines. There are others who run mobile clinics, treating sick people and animals free of charge.

Eighth, every morning and evening devote 15 minutes to introspection. In the mornings, 10 minutes should be spent in keeping the mind absolutely still, and five listing the things you have to do that day. In the evenings, five minutes should be set aside to keep the mind still and 10 to go over the tasks you had intended to do.

Ninth, don’t lose your temper. Try not to be short-tempered, or vengeful. Even when a friend has been rude, just move on.

Above all, when the time comes to go, one should go like a man without any regret or grievance against anyone. Iqbal said it beautifully in a couplet in Persian: “You ask me about the signs of a man of faith? When death comes to him, he has a smile on his lips.”

Lost Time – a Tagore poem translated to English

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Lost Time 
-Rabindranath Tagore


On many an idle day have I grieved over lost time.
But it is never lost, my lord!
You have taken every moment of my life in your own hands.

Hidden in the heart of things (more…)

Like fragrance in flower, the supreme lives in you -Guru Nanak

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What Guru Nanak Dev taught

By Ram Lingam 


This small piece of writing is simply inadequate to do any justice to the standing of Shri SatGuru Nanak Devji or his teachings. To get to know the life story (more…)

Spiritual Wake-Up for Non-Morning People – Rabbi Joseph Meszler

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Spiritual Wake-Up for Non-Morning People (from http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/4687348?utm_hp_ref=religion&ir=Religion)

-Rabbi Joseph Meszler
I

am not a morning person. I have trouble getting out of bed. (more…)

What we are drawn to is Illusion

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“Are you the new person drawn toward me?”

BY WALT WHITMAN

Are you the new person drawn toward me?
To begin with, take warning, I am surely far different from what you suppose;
Do you suppose you will (more…)

Gratitude is scientifically proven to increase happiness

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An essay by Bridget Fonger
Sep 26, 2013
I was at a big boisterous dinner party last weekend. On my corner of the long table, two friends were having a bit of a serious exchange about trying to be okay (more…)

A story from Sheikh Saadi

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‘When I was a child, I used to pray with my father, my uncles and my cousins. Every night we would gather together to listen to a passage from the Qur’an.

On one such night, while my uncle was reading (more…)

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