Saturday, August 29, 2009

Sakhi Series :- 138 ( village of children )

Village of children

This sakhi is an adaption of one of Baba Isher Singh jee's audio tape saakhis.

Something about the village graveyard set it apart. During my travels I had seen literally hundreds of graveyards. Usually graveyards are somber and somewhat resigned under the weight of death. But this one was different: besides been well-kept - which in itself was not unusual - it was designed more like a garden of life than a cradle of death. What set it truly apart was the cheerfulness of its structure. Its' shady trees and sunny flowers seductively invited me in. Graveyards were my favourite resting places. It seemed that as soon as one exited a womb, Maya (worldy attractions) became a human's sole companion until the gates of a graveyard. Perhaps it was the absence of Maya in such places that kept my hopes of enlightenment alive.

I had left home when I had turned twenty. Although I didn't know it then, I had set out to find a place free of illusions. I had travelled to majestic temples, sober ashrams, holy rivers, renowned sadhus and any other religious place I had been told about, yet my mind was as restless as it was when I had first started. The holy places and the holy people at these places were among the most devout followers of

Maya. After more than twelve years of searching, I had given up hope and had reluctantly decided to return home and begin a worldly life. It was on my journey home that I came upon this unusual village graveyard.

Although it was only mid-morning, I gave in to the cry of my aching muscles and entered the graveyard through a small wooden door. I put down my knapsack and looked at some of the tombstones. The tombstones entries always reminded me of my transitory place on earth. But this graveyard was full of surprises. There were three entries on each stone: name of the deceased person, the year of birth and

instead of the usual 'death of year' the third entry was 'years of life'. Even more peculiar was that the 'years of life' entries were usually well under twenty. Although it took me all morning, I visited each and every tombstone; and to my utter astonishment, I could not find any 'years of life' over thirty. The most common entry was between ten and twelve. And there were quite a few with zero years of life. I

was a curious person by nature (otherwise I would not have been here) and I had seen my share of amazing places. But this place truly mystified me. I decided to look up this "village of children". I walked about a mile to the village gate. I was surprised to see people of all ages in the village courtyard. The villagers were extremely friendly. They came and not unlike children, touched and greeted me, and offered me all sorts of refreshments and foods. I was quite overwhelmed by their attention and love. Almost all of the villager's manners resembled the innocent nature of children. Even their faces were quite smooth and somewhat glowed with purity.

There was a group of elders sitting around an old banyan tree. I decided to ask them about this heavenly place. I approached the men. They greeted me warmly and at an appropriate time I asked: "Respected sirs, I have seen many places and many people. But even at the most holiest of these places I could not find the life and love that pervades this place. Perhaps I am in a dream...", I trailed off. They all smiled. I hurriedly continued, "I would very much like it if you would kindly explain this rather peculiar place. I was also very intrigued by the graveyard at the entrance of the village. Is it where you bury your young ones?"

After a short pause, the most elderly man spoke: "Traveller, you look like a man who would benefit much from the story I will tell you. Listen carefully and it will change your life." All the men around sat attentively. All the villagers within earshot came and sat to hear the old man speak. He began, "My grandfather was the Kazi of this village. Each morning, well before sunrise, he would call out to the people and to the heavens with his namaaz (muslim call to prayer). One such morning he was in midst of his prayer when he heard music from the outskirts of the village. He was a devout

muslim and was quite horrified to hear music at such a holy hour. He immediately sent some of his followers to put an end to this paganism. But to his surprise, none of them came back. The music meanwhile continued. After a long wait he himself decided to put an end to this unholy activity. So, quite angrily, he strode towards the music. But the closer he got, the more he realized that it wasn't his anger that was responsible for his hurried strides, rather it was the exquisite beauty in the music.

Finally when he got close enough to see the music makers, not only did his body lose the ability to move, his mind too stopped the madman's dance it had been doing since his birth. He literally stood rooted to a spot for the duration of the recital. The music cast a spell on him. He travelled inwards to subtle places he had read about only in the scriptures. He would often look back at that moment and dreamily acclaimed, "I drank life to the fullest during those hours". There was a long pause during which the story teller and the story listeners let the stillness of the story

enter the depths of their beings. The elderly man continued: "The music makers were the great Guru Nanak and his companion Mardana jee. I am sure you have heard of him." I meekly nodded and mumbled, "I have, but haven't had the grace of meeting any of his followers".

"That is perhaps why, my friend, you are here," the man prophetically said. "At the end of the recital, my grandfather and all the others present simply surrendered themselves to the Guru. This was largely just a symbolic act because the moment each of them had seen the Guru they had lost themselves to him. Guru Nanak graced this village for three days and three nights. My grandfather named those days

the "stillness days" because he said it was during those days that he and others learnt about the One found only within the stillness of the mind. We observe those days like others observe their birthdays.

Indeed those days were the birthday of the village's inner life." He chuckled, "If you are impressed with the village now, you should see the love of the villagers in those fine days."  "But, as is the nature of the human mind," the elder soberly continued, "it wasn't long after Guru Nanak's departure that the village started returning to its normal numb and dark existence. This greatly troubled my grandfather and others like him who become Guru Nanak's and Guru Nanak's only. They tried very hard, through teaching and preaching, to keep the message of the Guru alive. Finally, after

all normal means failed they came up with the following village tradition: Each villager keeps a diary. It is mandatory that each night before sleep, each person make an entry in the diary. Even children and people who cannot read or write have to get this entry made. The entry is simply the amount of time during the day that was spent in simran or in seva. At the end of the person's life, the entries are

accumulated and that, my dear traveller, is the 'years of life' entry you see on the tombstones." The story teller paused to let the magnitude of what he had told me to sink into me. He continued, "It is perhaps that which allows us to be free with our love. We are reminded each and every day what real life is. The time spent in simran or seva is the only life we consider as been worthy of been called life."

I travelled and searched no more. This indeed was the illusion-less place I was seeking


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sakhi Series :- 137 ( Baba jawala singh harkowahal’s updesh about dyhaan )

Baba jawala singh harkowahal's updesh about dyhaan to janak singh ji. 

Balee ji became amritdhari and was renamed Janak singh. He would do his seva diligently and recite gurbani and do simran. Unlike others, he didn't talk needlessly about gurmat, electing to keep in guruji's bhaana instead. One day he overheard Baba Jawala singh say "one's mind can't be controlled or stabilized without focusing on the guru". (Meaning one should focus on their guru when meditating).

From that day on, Janak singh started focusing on Baba Jawala singh as his gurdev. Once as he was doing this, he fell to the ground, and Baba Jawala singh came running out of his kutya and brought Janak Singh back to consciousness. As he brought him to consciousness he said "don't ever, for any reason, focus on my body".

Janak singh replied back humbly, "I overheard you discussing that one can't stabilize their mind unless they take their guru's body/form into their concentration, and that is why I started doing this".

At that point, Baba jawala singh harkowahal gathered all the other sevaks and singhs together and gave the following updesh:

"by focusing on dhyan, and going down that route alone, one will not achieve moksh (Salvation). There are 4 types that you will get to though. They are

1)salok muktee: the form (vyagtheegat) you focus on, you can get to their realm. Ie. Shivji-shivlok, brahmaji-brahmlok

2)smeep muktee: that form that you focus on, you can get close to it, but never fully become part of it

3)saroop muktee: you will become like the form that you worship, but you won't be the form.

By following these routes you are not at a stable state (atal avastha), because a time will come that no form of maya whether it be asthool (tangible, body, gun) or sooksham (astral, spiritual) will remain. All will devour. That is why Guru Gobind Singh ji's singh doesn't want any of these muktee's. These muktee's will not allow one to dissolve into akal purakh.

The following question was then asked: How does one get to that point where we become one with god?

Baba jawala singh ji answered:

Hey pyaray gurmukho, the shabad, which is the emanation and form of guruji's heart, that shabad is brahm. Get absorbed in that shabad and you will find that you no longer exist and that is the way that you will get muktee. Guruji has used the following lines in gurbani to explain this……

1)sabad gur peera, gaher gambeera, bin shabadai jag baugaanang.

2)Satgur bachan, bachan hai satgur paadhur mukat janavago

3)Etc etc (more bani was said to reinforce the point)

It is for this reason that gurmat is focusing on god through shabad ( gurmat hai shabad brahm dee upaashna) because shabad has 3 forms according to wise mahapurakhs:

1)asthool: when your eyes gaze on a granth and you read those letters out loud

2)misrat: when one's birti (focus/attention) becomes attuned to the shabad, the shabad is both suksham and asthool because the mind is made of the (tatta da sato ansh)….the sat (virtue/true/purest) form of the qualities.

3)Sukham= sookham (astral/spiritual)

When the shabad abhyaas (meditation on the shabad) surpasses the consciousness(surat) of the mind, and gets absorbed in the paar baani (the celestial emanations of the primal sound)..(this is also called, naabhi di baani (sounds of the naval chakra). That baani has the ability to take the jeev's surti (the consciousness of the being) to the pinnacle point of brahm (the point from which creation was started).

For this reason, you should all focus on the shabad.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Sakhi Series :- 136 (Guru Nanak Dev ji and fake saadhu)

Guru Nanak Dev ji and fake saadhu

Guru Nanak Dev Ji once came upon a holy man sitting with eyes closed, surrounded by many people.  A pot sat in front of him containing money people had donated.

Guru Ji inquired as to what was going on and was told that the saadhu was a divine sage who could see the whole world and tell the future.

This was quite powerful stuff, and people were offering money to be blessed by this holy saint.

Guru Ji smiled His sly smile, went to the front, picked up the pot of money and put it behind the holy man.  Then He waited.

A few moments later the holy man opened his eyes and a look of devastation came upon him.  His pot of money was missing.  Immediately, he started asking those standing around him, Guru Ji was right there, where his pot of money went.

Guru Ji wasn't going to let him off the hook that easily.  He asked the holy man to use his powers to find the pot of money.  This the man could not do.  He was a fake!

Guru Ji then told him that the money was behind him.  Guru Ji lovingly taught the man to be truthful, to be detached from material world and this would lead him to eternal bliss. 

To those surrounding the man in hopes of blessings, Guru Ji said to practice true faith themselves and not be fooled by the holy look.  It is the practice of Truth that is the ultimate of all human beings.

Totally exposed, the man was ashamed.  He begged for Guru Ji's forgiveness.  He spent the rest of his years truthfully sharing the message of Guru Nanak.

=> More sakhis :

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Sakhi Series :- 135 ( Ajaamal paapi )

(The great sinner Ajaamal, whom was notorious in the whole world, was delivered by Vaheguru in one instance)

(Ajaamal, the elephant and Ganika did many bad Karma but by taking Naam, they swam across this ocean of world)

(Ajaamal realised the Naam the greatness of Naam in his last moments. He received such honour in few moments that great Yogis attained in many years of penance)

When we do paath of Sri Guru Granth Sahib jee, we read about Ajaamal Paapi at quite a few places. Here is a brief story of his life. Hopefully this will help us understand baani better. 

Ajaamal was born to a Raaj Purohit and a high caste within already high caste of Hindus i.e. Brahmins. Raaj Purohit means the main pujaari of a kingdom. A Raaj Purohit is like the head priest of a kingdom and the kings refer to their raaj purohits for any questions on religion. 

Ajaamal was brought up in a very religious atmosphere and was provided with Sanskrit education from early age. By the time he reached the age of maturity, he became well-versed in all 4 Vedas, 18 Puraanas and other important religious books of those times. His father was a man of high probity and integrity. He used to admonish him against doing paap karams (sins). He further told him to never go in the southern part of the city because that part of the city was full of scoundrels and prostitutes. Innocent Ajaamal who had not been exposed to any evil in his life felt his curiosity getting aroused at the mention of the Southern part of the city but he continued abstain from going that route. 

He got married to a beautiful and good-hearted woman. They had a couple of children and led an uneventful life till his father died. He was then appointed to the post of Raaj Purohit. His life continued in normal fashion until that fateful day when he had to go to the southern part of the city. It was probably his destiny to go to that part of the city. 

He was on horseback and as he approached the inner city, he came off his horse and parked it by the tree. He started walking on foot and reached that part of the city where there are brothels and pubs. He had never been exposed to such scenes. There were women standing outside the brothels luring customers in. He was taken aback at such open display of Kaam. 

Then one woman, who knew all the wiles of seduction, looked at Ajaamal with such a look that Ajaamal got stuck right there. His feet won't move any further. Then she without speaking, just with a hand gesture, asked him to follow her. She was a young and promiscuous woman in her early twenties. He resisted but could not resist for too long. Finally he gave in to the temptation and started walking behind her.

That day changed his life forever. He became a regular visitor to this Ganika (prostitute, bad woman). Soon others found out about his double life. His wife pleaded with him to stop seeing the prostitute but he would not listen. Everyone was wondering why he could not leave this prostitute and what wrong did he see in his beautiful, homely and good-natured wife. 

When the king found out, he was quite upset at Ajaamal but wanted to give him a second chance out of his respect for Ajaamal's father. He tried to persuade Ajaamal but soon found out that Ajaamal was not going to stop seeing the new woman. Ajaamal was spending his money very recklessly and in order to protect his legitimate children and wife, the king decided to banish him from his kingdom. He confiscated all his property and gave it to his wife and children. Thereafter he banished Ajaamal and the prostitute from his kingdom. 

Great calamities befell on both Ajaamal and the prostitute. They moved out of the kingdom and starting leading a very destitute life. Ajaamal was left with no money, and now had to work very hard to earn his living. He used to cut wood from jungle all day and sell it in the city. He started gambling, drinking and doing other bad things. He and his mistress used to fight endlessly.

The poverty took its toll on Ajaamal and he became old before his age. He got infected with many diseases and suffered a lot. He and his mistress had several children together. Ajaamal had to work very hard to feed his new family. When Ajaamal hit old-age, his body became very weak but he had to work to feed his family. He sometimes used to regret his decision but it was too late to go back now. He knew that no one would accept him back. 

Anyway, later in his life he had a son and the day his son was born, some saadhu jan (holy men) came to his house to seek refuge from bad weather. Ajaamal out of his past good Karma, did sewa of those Sadhoos. The Saadhoos had ridhi-sidhi and sensed that Ajaamal had led a very terrible life and that in the next world he would suffer badly in the hands of Jammdoots. 

Before leaving they had mercy on Ajaamal. They noticed that Ajaamal was totally entangled in the attachment of his family and because of his bad Karma, he could not do any bhagti. They knew that if he did not do bhagtee i.e. Naam jaap, he would suffer in the hands of Jammdoots. They finally came up with an idea. They told him to name his latest born son "Narayan". Obeying what the saadhoo said, Ajaamal named his son - Narayan. We should remember that Narayan is one of the qualitative names of God. 

Ajaamal became very fond of his son and lovingly called him "Naraayan Naraayan" all day. By this time, his diseases overpowered him and he lay at deathbed. As he lay in his bed, waiting for death, he still had moh for his youngest son and kept calling him lovingly "Naraayan, Naraayan". Saying "Naraayan" seemed very good to him and said more and more of "Naraayan". He felt good saying "Narayan Narayan" and repeating the name of Narayan he went into a trance and remembered the one akaal purakh ….

Jammdoots could not get close to him for he was then meditating on one lord. In the end jammdoots could not reach him and he was saved.