Guru Nanak – Beyond 550 Years


By Zile Singh

Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh faith was a Messenger of an extraordinary deep insight concerned with living an ideal life in odd circumstances. The significance of Guru Nanak’s message, to guide humanity, runs beyond his time – Five hundred and fifty years. It also extends beyond the Indian Sub-Continent, having roots in all four corners of the world at present. Most importantly, his philosophy is challenging and reassuring for people of different religious and cultural backgrounds.

In the sixteenth-century when William Shakespeare wrote plays, poems and stories about the conditions prevailing in the society, Bhai Gurdas (the St. Paul of the Sikhs) wrote about Guru Nanak thus:

He revealed that there is one Supreme God.

He regarded a King and a Beggar as equal.

He came to transform the people of the world.

It is a significant year for the Sikh community as well as the others who adhere to the guiding principles of Guru Nanak to see whether we are on the right path envisioned and lived himself by the Guru or have we gone wayward in some respects? The tallest of all messages, the Guru gave us is the Mool Mantar and its daily Simran. The origination of the Mool Mantar is related to Vein River. Nanak, who used to say himself as ‘Nanak Nirankari’ dived deep into the Vein River and appeared after three days. With his reappearance, he revealed the Mool Mantra or the Japji Saheb “There is One Being. Truth by Name. Creator. Without fear. Without hatred. Timeless in Form. Unborn. Self-existent. The Grace of the Guru.” Nanak revealed his idea of God and Life in these 23 words in English. In fact, in his original language, Gurmukhi (Punjabi) he used just twelve words plus one numeral (1). The Guru did not swim the river but dived deep into it. In swimming, you stay on the surface of the water. In diving you go deep into the water. It is important to mention here that in Gurbani, Water is equated with the Father. Nanak directed that to understand God, the father, one has to go deep inward. Strangely enough, what to talk of diving deep or even swimming on the surface, we are just touching the water with a finger sitting on the bank of the River.

Reading the Mool Mantar on the surface is not sufficient. The process of reading or listening is linear. It does not matter whether you are reading or listening to pass your examination, to praise any person, Guru or even God, you remain on the surface. Guru Nanak expected of us to Simar. Because, in Simran, the journey begins inward. You plunge in the depth of Mool Mantar. Deep Simran leads to Contemplation of Ek Omkar. He gave the mantra to be submerged into it and not to be read or listened as a ritual. Today, someone else or even a tape recorder is doing a reading of the scripture for you. How are you going to be benefited? Nobody else can make love for you towards the Supreme Being. It is not an ordinary love, but it is the Supreme Love. “ Jo tum prem khelon ko chaho, Seer dhar tali gali mori aao”- Guru Nanak. In fact, Guru Nanak was against the priests and the maulvis. The essence of Guru Nanak message could be understood in the following three stages. First, you pronounce Ek Omkar with a sound from the mouth. It is the level of speech. Second, you shut your lips and pronounce the word in your mind. Nobody hears it except you. The second level is deeper than the first. At the third level, even the mind is not used. The word is not even pronounced internally. You become silent and listen to the resonance of the sound of Omkar which is already within. This is Simran. It is beyond the mind. The moment you become silent, you become receptive to God’s Grace or Guru Kripa. The resonance of Omkar is with everyone from birth. All must have seen a child smiling and gurgling in his cradle without any reason. The Omkar is a melodious tune. The child hears it and is captivated by it and feels happy. God is at your door. But you have closed the door properly. You are afraid of God. “ Simran mera Hari kare, main paya bisram. Das Maluka keh gai, sab ke data Ram.”. God is taking care of you 24 hours; we have to feel it silently.

Nanak, in his Sidha-Gostis, has used a word, called ‘Sunya Samadhi’ means a seedless trance. Defining the Brahman and identifying Him with seedless trance, Guru Nanak says, “ O Brahman, you are ‘Sunn Samadhi, the exceedingly supreme object (Maha Parmarth) and the Lord of the three worlds. ( sunn Samadhi maha parmarathu tini bhavan pati naman. …….Guru Granth p. 634). “ You are that Yogi who sits in the sunya mandala – the total tranquil state one cannot explain whether you are female or a male. – GG p. 685. Thus, the Supreme God, according to Guru Nanak is Sunn Samadhi. Sunya Samadhi or tranquil simran takes you beyond self-conceit and greed – sunn Samadhi sahaji manu rata, taji hau lobha eko jata. GG p.904. In Guru Nanak’s own words, “Antri Sunn, bahari sunn, tribhuvan sunnam sunn. Chauthe sunn jo jane to kau pap na punn.”- Look inside and see it is sunya. See also sunya outside. He, who realizes this, becomes sunya himself.

On the basis of the above explanation, one can reach one’s own conclusion whether one is on the right or a wrong path. Instead of inner transformation, we are seeking outside ostentation and exhibition.

Mr. Zile Singh is much respected Link Columnist, writer, a Vipassana Meditator and has a Post-Graduate Diploma in Human Rights. He can be reached at [email protected]