Saturday, November 24, 2007

The comforting shawl of faith

Is it not an amazing fact that in the first embodiment the Great Guru discards the Hindu’s sacred thread (janeu) and literally reprimands the ritualistic Brahmin. Then in the ninth embodiment the Great Guru gives up his earthly life to protect the right to freedom of faith and religion. It so happened that the religion he was protecting was that of the Kashmiri Brahmins. Had it been Buddhists, Christians, Muslims, Bahais or any other faith, rest assured Guru Teghbahadur would have done exactly the same thing. He would have similarly challenged the ruling elite – “Try me! If you can force me to convert, then you have won and can go ahead and convert the others”.

The Guru’s purpose was to uphold Truth. Just like his grandfather, Nanak V, Guru Teghbahadur felt it more important to stand up and challenge oppression rather than seek favor and save his own skin. Another phenomenal fact was that the Guru’s inspired their disciples to do the same. Bhai Mati Das, Bhai Sati Das and Bhai Dayala also chose to challenge the oppressor rather than save their own skin. They did that because for the Sikh earthly life and death are inconsequential. Living life as one of the Spirit Born and laughing at physical death is only possible in the sanctuary of the Guru. Living and continuously feeling the Divine is not an easy endeavor unless we hold the Guru’s robe and let the Master lead the way. Most of us fail at it because of this feeling that it is purely our “own endeavor”. Far from it. The effort required in the process of Spirit Born life is our own. Success at it is by Grace alone.

Today we commemorate the calling of the one we know as dharam di cadar - the Comforting Shawl of Faith - Guru Teghbahadur. In very simple language he calls upon us as well to follow him in the fight against oppression and the strength to fight for freedom of religion and faith – by being Guru-inspired. The question is, shall we listen and follow?

rwgu gauVI mhlw 9 ]

swDo mn kw mwnu iqAwgau ]
kwmu k®oDu sMgiq durjn kI qw qy Aihinis Bwgau ]1] rhwau ]
suKu duKu dono sm kir jwnY Aauru mwnu Apmwnw ]
hrK sog qy rhY AqIqw iqin jig qqu pCwnw ]1]
ausqiq inMdw doaU iqAwgY KojY pdu inrbwnw ]
jn nwnk iehu Kylu kTnu hY iknhUM gurmuiK jwnw ]2]1]

In Rag Gauri by Nanak IX

Oh my dear saintly people, do away with your selfish pride.
Make sure you never go near and always run away from the frustrations of uncontrollable lust, anger, and companionship with evil minded people.

Consider both happiness or sorrow, and honorable appellations or slanderous banter to be one and the same – that is, don’t be effected by them. It is the one who remains unaffected during times of joy as well as suffering that knows the essence of how to live in the world.

Forsake the need of being showered with praise as well as the urge to slander others. Instead pursue a life which ensures that you are in a state of being spirit born.
Serf Nanak proclaims, this is a difficult game. There are only a few who know this path because they dedicate their lives by being Guru-inspired.


  1. Anonymous11:27 PM

    "The effort required in the process of Spirit Born life is our own. Success at it is by Grace alone".

    What is Grace? Somebody explained it as receiving something not deserved. Do you agree with that?

  2. I think Guru Angad Sahib, Nanak II, is the expert on Grace, not me. Here is what he says in Asa ki Var..

    mahala 2
    eh kinehi dati apas te jo paie
    nanak sa karamati sahib tuthai jo milai..1..

    Nanak II
    What kind of gift is that which is obtained through personal struggle?
    Nanak says: Grace is given when the Master is extremely pleased with you.

    That should be enough to understand Grace.

    My view: Grace is something - almost like a miracle - that cannot be invited and is not dependent on specific actions, but rather, is a gift one must be blessed with. Doesn't matter if deserving or not.

  3. Anonymous5:17 AM