Swami Rama - A Rhyming Translation of Guru Nanak's Japji Sahib,

Following is Swami Rama's translation of Japji Sahib. This is a work in progress, as Japji Sahib has 38 steps. Only 27 have been translated until now. I like this translation because of the rhyming elements. I am trying to do my own translation of the Japji Sahib and I have only started. The one thing in addition that I am trying to do is to maintain rhymes within the steps. But this will be helpful in my exercise.

First beginning was the truth
Always has it been the truth
The present time reveals the truth
Eternity shall bear the truth. ||1||

Thinking, brooding cannot yield
A glimpse of God or silence wield
His presence by the mind revolved
On God, the problem is not solved.
Hunger is not satisfied
By goods the world diversified.
A million crafts a man possesses.
But death his crafts soon dispossesses.
How to cast the veil aside
And truth within yourself abide?
Nanak says:
Obey the law as preordained,
Accept God’s will as He ordained. ||1||

By the will of God this world
And all its myriad forms unfurled.
Countless is the Maker’s will,
Through His will does life instill.
Greatness can a man attain
If the will of God ordains.
Some are high and some are not,
Some are happy with their lot,
And others suffer in their life
With miseries and endless strife.
By His Word is Grace bestowed
Yet other tread the endless road,
And everywhere His will is heard -
Every form obeys His Word.
Nanak says:
If a man His law may know,
Humbleness in him with show. ||2||

The strong sing praises of His might,
The fortunate in Grace delight.
His virtues, merits, some may sing,
His attributes to song may bring.
Some acclaim Him through debate,
And some His powers to create;
Giving life to take away,
Again from death to life relay.
Far away He seems to be
Or close to us where all can see.
Countless beings so discourse
On God, a never-ending source.
More He gives than we can gain,
Inundated, we refrain.
God the universe sustains,
Through every age He thus maintains.
According to His own command.
The beings walk as He has planned.
Nanak says:
Happy, calm, the Lord remains,
Bliss and joy he maintains. ||3||

True the Lord, true the Name,
Devoted ones His Name acclaim.
Beggars gather at His gate
And boundless alms there radiate.
What could I give to have the chance
To find His court and feel His glance?
In early morn repeat His Name,
His majesty within proclaim.
With human birth through Karma gained
And Grace, may freedom be obtained.
Nanak says:
Know that God alone is true,
Everything does God imbue. ||4||

The Lord cannot be made or spun,
Self-existent, He is One.
The Lord if by a person served,
Honor has that one deserved.
Nanak says:
Extol the Lord and sing His praise,
Let His virtues you appraise.
With love of God within your heart,
His virtues shall your song impart.
Miseries from you will fly
And happiness within shall lie.
The Word of God to man revealed
By Guru does true knowledge yield.
Shiva, Brahma, Vishnu all
The names of Guru may we call.
Saraswati, Lakshmi too,
Parvati, these names accrue.
Unknowable the Lord remains,
Unspeakable are His refrains.
From the Guru did I learn,
God bestows to each in turn.
May I always God recall,
May never from the mind Lord fall. ||5||

His pleasure would become my bath
And seek not I the pilgrim’s path,
For what be gained from holy places
If His fancy not one faces?
All creation seen around
By its destiny is bound.
Unless good deeds a man pursue,
Neither gain nor loss accrue.
Jewels and gems and ruby sealed
Within the mind can be revealed
By Guru’s guidance if you move
Upon directions He approves.
From the Guru did I learn,
God bestows to each in turn.
May I always God recall,
May never from the mind God fall. ||6||

If one should live for aeons past
And cross the lands and oceans vast,
And gather fame and wealth and name
And all the earthly riches claim -
Yet no one on the earth will care
If favor of the Lord is not there.
Counted with worms is he
And sinners blame his infamy.
Nanak says:
To rogues and knaves Lord good endows,
And saintliness to saints allows.
But no one can return in kind
To God the goodness that we find. ||7||
For those who listen to the Word,
Higher powers are conferred.
Siddhas, yogis, peers and heroes,
The sacred Name of God they follow.
The heavens, earth, the bull and world,
Are known when Name of God unfurled.
Death cannot one overtake
When the Name of God you take.
Nanak says:
In bliss the bhaktas ever stay,
Their miseries fly far away. ||8||
Then the Name of God you hear,
Shiva, Indra, Brahma near.
When the Name of God is heard
Even sinners praise the Word.
When the Name of God is hailed
Yoga science is unveiled.
When the name of God you speak
Knowledge of the scriptures keep.
Nanak says:
In bliss the bhaktas every stay,
Their miseries fly far away. ||9||
When listening unto the Name,
Truth, contentment, wisdom claim.
When the name of God his heard
Holy merit is conferred
Like holy baths of sixty-eight
When one the Name of God relates.
When you read and hear the Name,
Honor will that person claim.
When the Name of God you hear,
A meditative state is near.
Nanak says:
In bliss the bhaktas ever stay,
Their miseries fly far away. ||10||
The depth of virtues ever flows
Upon the one the Name who knows.
When on the Name your thoughts remain,
Kingly titles may you gain.
The Name of God is like a light,
When hearing, blind regain their sight.
That which beings cannot know,
The Name of God to them will show.
Nanak says:
In bliss the bhaktas ever stay,
Their miseries fly far away. ||11||
One cannot true faith portray,
Rendering leads one astray.
Pen and paper, scribe are mute,
Describing faith will they refute.
So powerful the blessed Name
One cannot describe its fame.
The bliss of faith concealed remains
Except to one who faith attains. ||12||
Wisdom of the Lord is known
To one whose faith is truly shown.
And knowledge of the spheres unveils
To one when faith in God prevails.
The Lord His own devotee spares
From blows that his face impare.
Faith in God may death prevent,
His messenger will circumvent.
And thus the holy name we find,
Pristine in its vestal kind.
The bliss of faith concealed remains
Except to one who faith attains. ||13||
Faithfulness does clear the way
Of obstacles that way stray.
One who in the Name believes,
Honor with that person leaves.
Believers may walk along the way
Where rituals cannot them sway.
Believers by their acts are known,
Righteousness by them is shown.
And thus the holy Name we find,
Pristine in its vestal kind.
The bliss of faith concealed remains
Except to one who faith attains. ||14||
Salvation does Thy servant gain,
His relatives does the same attain.
Thy servant reaches liberation
And Guru’s students find salvation.
Nanak says:
Thy servant has no need to plead,
The Name of God fulfills his need.
If faith in God within you find,
Then one may know it in the mind. ||15||
The chosen has the Lord elected,
Peerless ones the Lord selected.
Honored in the court are they,
Beautiful in every way.
The Guru is the chosen’s core,
Attentive to the Guru more.
The works of God can have no bound,
None to speak upon them found.
The bull of dharma the earth maintains,
Through understanding truth one gains.
Other worlds than this exist,
Upon what force do they subsist?
The species, dyes, and names created
By the Lord have been narrated.
Few are there this ledger keep,
How vast the scroll, how wide and deep.
How great the power of the Lord,
How great the beauty he affords.
With boundless gifts beyond account,
No one can his grandeur count.
A single word from Him the source,
Creation then began its course;
And endless river from there sprang,
Full of life the rivers rang.
Powerless am I to say,
His majesty cannot convey.
Eternal sacrifice am I,
To Him, an offering I lie.
His pleasure is the only goal,
He who is the formless soul. ||16||
Endless are the ways to say,
And endless are the ways to pray.
Beyond a measure worships be,
The ways of faith and piety.
And so the venues of narration,
Scriptures’, Vedas’ recitation.
Infinite ascetics dwell,
And intellectuals as well.
Endless yogis in their minds
Detachment from the world will find.
Ceaseless votaries pursue
His knowledge and His virtues true.
Pious men and merciful,
An endless source is plentiful.
Endless numbers meditate
And on the Master contemplate.
Boundless heroes raise the steel,
But I cannot His doctrines seal.
Eternal sacrifice am I,
To Him and offering I lie.
His pleasure is the only goal,
He who is the formless soul. ||17||
Numberless are those who walk
In darkness and unholy talk.
Thieves and robbers countless be
And those who rule by tyranny.
Vast are cutters of the throat
And sinner who on sinning gloat.
Many are the ones who lie,
And wretches who on filth rely.
Villains who on slander thrive
Bear their burdens all their lives.
Humble Nanak them portrays
Though countless are their sinful ways.
Eternal sacrifice am I ,
To Him an offering I lie.
His pleasure is the only goal,
He who is the formless soul. ||18||
Infinite His names and homes,
Unknowable His spheres and domes.
Attempting to recount His art,
Carries sin upon the heart.
His Name and praises sing through words,
And by the Word His glory is heard.
The destiny of man is described
With letters that the Lord has scribed.
The fate of man is on his brow
But fate of God is veiled somehow.
Man receives as he ordains,
His will upon His creatures reigns.
All creation does uphold,
His glory that remains untold.
Everywhere his name exists
But helpless I, His names to list.
Eternal sacrifice am I,
To Him an offering I lie.
His pleasure is the only goal,
He who is the formless soul. ||19||

The dirt from off the hands can clean
And face and feet may water glean.
When the garments have been stained,
With soap is stainlessness regained.
When sin and vice the mind may blight,
Love of Name will set it right.
A saint or sinner can’t be known
Merely by the speech he’s sown,
But language of the heart unveils
The action that a man travails.
“As you show, so shall you reap”
The fruits of action one may keep.
Nanak says:
A person comes and then he dies,
To order of the lord complies. ||20||

Sympathy and charity,
Journey and austerity,
A little honor for one earns;
But deep within the heart must burn
A love of God to hear the Name
And faithfully believe the same.
Bathing at the source within,
Liberation gains therein.
Virtues all belong to Him,
A mortal man cannot them hem.
Worship of the Lord is true
When righteousness does one pursue.
Hail oh Lord, who Brahma made,
Maya and the Word pervades;
Oh Lord the truth and joyous mind,
Endless beauty there I find.
Which the day and what the time,
Which the week and season prime
When creation first appeared?
The mystery is yet uncleared.
A pandit, qazi, yogi tries,
The answer with the Master lies.
How can one the Lord describe,
How to praise or speak or scribe?
Nanak says:
Many claim that they are wise,
Their wisdom can the next outsize.
Great is God and hallowed Name,
What exists from God became.
If self-conceit a person binds,
The realm of God so slight him finds. ||21||

Worlds above and worlds below,
Yet no one of the numbers know.
The Vedas, Muslim doctrines find
Endless are the worlds outlined.
Only One alone pervades,
Illusory the worlds are made.
To search His width, His height, His breadth,
A man will surely meet his death.
Nanak says:
The Lord unto himself is known,
The Lord is great, is One alone.||22||

The river to the sea does flow
And where it goes it doesn’t know.
And so the one who sings His praise,
His vastness one cannot appraise.
Kingly men that wealth accrue,
Cannot a pious ant subdue. ||23||

Without an end His votaries
Or those who sing His majesties;
Without an end His deeds and alms

Or those who sing his blessed psalms.
His sight and sound no limit knows,
Mysteriously His purpose shows.
This universe, its vast expanse,
Infinity does it enhance.
His limit is in darkness veiled
And many have this thought bewailed.
The more is said, the more appends,
His limit one can know its end.
Majestic Lord, how high His station,
Name the highest consecration.
To know His height you must there go,
He alone Himself does know.
Nanak says:
The Grace of God His gifts does bring,
His Grace that brings us comforting. ||24||

Limitless His gift abound,
Cupidity in God’s not found.
Heroes from their Master ask
And thinkers in His musings bask.
Some are lost in evil’s way,
Left to darkness where they stray.
God alone his blessings give,
But some refuse and still they live.
Some consume without a care
Asking not the source’s fare.
Afflictions from the Lord may come,
To these His blessings, some succumb.
Emancipation is His will,
Liberation He instills.
In one should dare to meditate
The blows on him retaliate.
Our daily needs the Lord does give,
By His grace the people live,
But few are they who know the sign
And recognize the blessings Thine.
Nanak says:
The one who on His greatness sings,
Is values more than kingly kings. ||25||

Peerless is His character,
Priceless trade and retailer,
Precious scales, and priceless treasure,
Prized the standard of the measure,
Dear are they absorbed in prayer,
Cherished love of God is there;
Priceless mandate, peerless court,
Premiums of dearest sort,
Cherished sanction, mercy priceless,
Law of Master also peerless;
His attributes cannot be named,
Cherished more than words have claimed.
If one the Name of God recalls,
Into the depths of love he falls.
Puranas, Vedas, God announce
And scholars of the Lord enounce.
Brahmas, Indras, Shivas, siddhas,
Gopis, Krishnas, demons, Buddhas,
Rishis, devils, Gods, immortals,
All proclaim Him to the mortals.
Countless lived and countless died,
Describing God they all have tried.
If God would make them all anew
Still His virtues known are few.
As according to His will,
His greatness does Himself instill.
Nanak says:
The majesty of God is known
To He, Himself and He alone.
If one to narrate God may claim,
A fool of fools that one can Name. ||26||

Which the door, what kind of hall
From whence the Lord sustains us all?
Countless instruments abound
And boundless players there resound.
So many melodies they play,
For Him their songs they place away.
Wind and water, fire may sing,
To God his praises do they bring.
Dharmaraja Him to lauds
And by His side both scribes applaud.
Adjudications both may mete
And record of the Raja keep.
Shiva, Brahma, Parvati
Beautified sing prettily.
Indras and the devas praise
The Lord at his portal stays
The siddhas sing in meditation,
Sages sing in contemplation.
The chaste, the heroes and the calm,
And votaries chant His psalm.
The scholars, priests, the seven sages,
Sing His praises through the ages.
Celestial nymphs and beauties sing
Their songs above, below, they bring.
The gems, the shrines of sixty-eight,
Holy songs of him relate.
Warriors of courage brave,
Four sources that creation gave,
The cosmos, earth and every sphere,
The wonder of His hand revere.
Sages pleasing to the Lord,
Who the name of God adored,
Ceaselessly the Lord extol
And countless more His praise unroll.
But Nanak cannot all recall
The names of those who on Him call.
The Lord is true, the Name is sooth,
Eternal God, creator, truth.
When the universe will end,
Eternally the Lord will wend.
The Lord the worlds has manifested,
Variegated hues invested.
He sees according to His pleasure,
Acts according to His leisure.
Supreme the Lord, the king of kings,
None his will on God can bring.
Nanak says:
Naught from will of God exempted,
Will of God has theirs pre-empted. ||27||