By Sant Kirpal Singh
(Translation from the Urdu Sat Sandesh)
Jis jal nidh kaaran turn jag aye so amrit gur pai jeo.
These are the teachings of Guru Nanak. The competent Masters are the liberated ones. They are themselves liberated and come to liberate others.
Aap mukat, mukat kare sansar.
They are themselves liberated and liberate the world from the shackles; but the people put the shackles on again as it is the peculiarity of the sheep. When the sheep fold is on fire, the sheep is led out of the flock. But it wants to rejoin the flock and dies.
Whenever the Masters come they liberate the world from the shackles. But when they leave, we are lost again and put these shackles on again.
We tie ourselves down with rituals and rites. We forget the purpose for the attainment of which these rituals and rites were started. We became mere slaves of customs and traditions. These are petty things. The aim of the custom of going to pilgrimages was to give to those who are entangled and engrossed day and night in worldly affairs an opportunity once a year at least to spend some time in solitude and meet an enlightened person. In such good company the worldly imprints may fade away and they may regain consciousness for some time at least. We go to hill station to regain health, likewise people went on pilgrimages for the development of the soul. The purpose of going there was to regain the health of the soul.
What is our condition today?
We are all sick. Our soul is sick. Our soul is under the influence of the mind and the mind is the slave of the senses and is very much engrossed in the temptations by the senses. The old ones might have had experience of pilgrimages. People would go to the holy places full of devotion once every six months or so. They would stay there for a fortnight or a month and would forget worldly problems, feel free and sit there with concentration.
How did these holy places come into being?
The places of worship came into being in the memory of devotees of God. Where ever there lived a Saint, the place became holy. But the question is that
Tirath bare ke bar ka dass.
Who is the greater, the devotee of God or the holy place of worship? The Saints do not forbid anyone to visit holy places. They say, that you should achieve the purpose for which you go there. The same good custom corrupts itself. People forget the rationale behind customs and traditions and become mere followers of the traditions.
The holy places were at some times unpopulated. A person could achieve concentration there. Take Hardwar, once it was a very holy place of worship but there are two cinemas now. Hardwar is now a tourist resort.
The so-called followers think that one gets salvation by merely having been to a holy place. You don’t get salvation by merely touching the holy places.
Saints come to liberate the people from the bondages. There is a place called Harambha near Kashi (city near Benares). It is a common belief that he who dies in Harambha goes to hell and those who die in Kashi go to heaven.
Har ka Sant mare Harambha to bhi Sehaj pad pawe.
A devotee of God who has realised Truth easily achieves eternal life even if he dies in Harambha. Whenever Saints came they liberated the world from the shackles, they did not raise their voice against anybody. They gave the world the right angle of vision about everything. They explain its right import to the world. The same customs that were brought into being with a pious purpose became chains for us for want of right vision. The purpose of going to places of worship was to get freedom for some times from the bondages of domestic and worldly chores.
The imprints of the world on ones soul must go and one should know ones Self. This aim is not fulfilled but people come to believe that merely by bathing in holy places, salvation is achieved. Says Guru Amar Dass,
Man maeie sabh kuchh maela, tan dhoe man achha na hoe.
Body may be cleaned by bathing but not the mind. The teaching of Guru Nanak has a wide sweep. He says,
Jis jal nidh kaar an turn jag aye
You came to this world to achieve the water of life, that is the source of all happiness. »Nidhi« means happiness. There are nine types of happiness: money, wealth, health etc. Therefore He says that the water capable of giving every type of happiness you will get from the Guru.
So Amrit gur pahi jeo
There are special terms in the teaching of the Saints, you can neither understand the real meaning of the Saints nor get all benefits from them, so long as you are not fully conversant with these terms.
Law books explain the meaning of all the terms used therein. A lay man cannot understand the right import of the law books, unless he is folly conversant with their terminology.
Similarly, the teaching of the Saints cannot be understood so long as we do not know the meanings of the terms they used. The word Amrit has been mentioned here. The dictionary meaning of Amrit is something that immortalizes—something that gives life for all times to come.
Vedas call it Somras, Muslim Saints call it Aabe Hyat. Jesus calls it Water of Life.
Christ went to a spring. A Samarian lady was drawing water there. Christ asked for water. The woman hesitated. Christ (got) hold of her pitcher, drank the water and said to the Samarian lady, you gave me water to drink, I will give you water of life.
What is this Amrit (Water of Life) that gives immortal life?
The Saints have explained in detail the terms they had used. If one understands fully the import of just this one word, one would know the essence of all the teachings. Gurbani defines Amrit thus,
Amrit saacha naon hai —
kaha kachhoo na jae.
This is not a subject that can be explained through word of mouth or by writing about it. It cannot be stated in words, even if one wants to do so.
If there is a village where nobody has seen a bell, the people there would not understand what a bell is, even if they are reportedly told that the bell sounds thus. Therefore He (Guru Nanak) says that the Amrit is not a subject to be said or heard. It is a matter of Self-realisation.
Peewat hun parwan bhaya —
poore Shabad sanbhar.
The Amrit is also called Saacha Naam or Word. If you drink it or come in contact with it, you will be accepted in the court of God and get absorbed therein. Now Amrit has been defined as Saacha Naam. This means that there are false names also. One is constant and immortal and the other is mortal. There is Naam expressed by letters, then there is Naam Power whose knowledge these letters impart.
Bawan akshar !ok ire sabh kticch in he mahen
eh akshar khin jayair wo akshar in main nahen.
That Naam Power is beyond these letters and is the background of these letters. The point is to meet Him. Guru Amar Dass has further explained it,
Amrit har har Naam
he meri Jindriye-Amrit gur meet Paye Ram.
Where from do we get that which gives eternal life and is called Word, Saacha Naam, Udgit, Shruti, Naad, Akash Bani, Kalma, Shabada-Bani by the Saints. We can have it from the Guru, who has contact with Him and can bring you in contact with Him. That Naam is the remedy for all worldly ailments.
Sarb rog ko auk had Naam.
Naam is the only cure for all kinds of ailments, Naam is such a medicine as cures all kinds of ailments. They may be physical, psychic or metaphysical. Diseases of mind like passion, anger, avarice, attachment and ego vanish when one comes in contact with Naam.
When we rise above the plane of senses, the temptations offered by the senses disappear. If the soul is developed, one can bear external troubles easily, they do not pinch. As regards physical or bodily diseases according to medical principle, medicine does not cure. It only clears the way for the healing power of nature to act. Soul has got curative power. When one has contact with Naam, the soul gets strength and even the physical ailment disappear.
I have described all the qualities of Naam which gives immortality.
Where do we get that Naam from?
Amrit har ka Naam dewe dikhya.
We get that when a competent Master initiates us. Life begets life. Everybody has a link of Naam within, but we get its experience from a competent Master. That is a matter of self-realisation.
Amrit eko Shabad he Nanak Gurmukh paya.
Firstly it was described as Naam, now the same thing has been described as Shabad. He says that only a disciple can achieve it. Shabad has been further defined,
Utpat parley Shabade Howe —
Shabde hi phir aupat howe.
Naam or Shabad is that power which is the creator of the universe, of all planes and stages of the universe and sustains them. When that Power is withdrawn from the universe it dissolves and after that the universe is recreated by the same Naam.
God is nameless, when it came into being, it assumed Naam. By assuming the form of Naam, He pervades everywhere. What else is Amrit? It has an exquisite taste.
Amrit ras maha ras mitha —
gur Shabad maha ras mitha.
Naam or Shabad, the experience of which we get through the Guru has great sweetness. Other Saints say the same thing.
Adrishit agochar Naam apara —
at mitha Naam pyara.
It is not a subject of senses. A contact with it is achieved when we rise above the plane of senses and it has great sweetness. Farid says,
Shakar khand nabaat gur makhyo majha dudh
haboo wastu mithian sayan na pujan tujh.
Sugar, butter, honey, milk — all things are sweet, but o God, your Naam has a sweetness which none of these things contains. Immortalizing Naam of God has a taste where all worldly tastes fade away. Guru Arjan says,
Bikhe bin fika tyag ri Sakhye —
Naam maha ras pio.
All Saints have been praising Naam, that it contains great taste. On contact with Naam, ail troubles, all ailments disappear. Only he gets it who is a mouthpiece of God.
He who has not met a Saint cannot enjoy this taste. He now further clarifies as to where and how this Amrit is available.
Dawat thamya Satgur milye —
daswan dawar pay a.
The mind wandering outside in the world on the plane of senses will have to be prevented from wandering hither and thither. It will have to be turned within. The mind begins to stand, turns inward and finds its way through the tenth door in the presence of a competent Master.
Tithe Amrit bhojan sehaj dhun bani —
jat Shabad jagattham rahya.
Tain anaik waje Sadh anhad Hain —
Sache rahya samaye teon
Nanak Satgur milye!
Dhawat thamya nijgarh wasya.
There is Divine sound and heavenly music which sustains the entire world. That sound is going on by itself. There is sound principle in it. This is one phase of it, that is a matter of self realization. Only a competent Master will raise one above the body consciousness and bring in contact with it. When mind stops wandering outside on the plane of senses, a very sweet sound will be heard within,
Amrit bani gur ki mithi.
Immortalizing sound going on within, with which a contact is possible through the Guru has great sweetness. It has great sweetness, it has great ecstasy,
Har Amrit katha saresth uttam —
Guru bachni sehje chaakhi.
The music of the spheres going on within every being is supreme. Who can hear the immortalizing music of God? He, whom a competent Master brings into contact with it within. Therefore Paltu has defined the competent Master as,
Dhun ane gagan se, so mera Gur Dev.
The heavenly sound is my Master (the radiant form). Beyond the plane of senses, above nine apertures, and behind the eyes, there is sky. That competent Master is my Guru, who raises my soul to that sky and brings it into contact with the heavenly music within going on constantly by itself within every being.
So far only one aspect of Amrit has been stated, that it has very sweet sound, which has exquisite taste. When we have that taste all other tastes of the world fade away. This is one phase. But else is there in it.
Tain bhaya pargas mitya andhera —
jon suraj rain karakhi.
There is light by which darkness from within disappears.
Naam japat kot sur ujayara.
Meditation gives light equivalent to crores (ten millions) of suns. Firstly it was said that a very sweet sound is going on there. Its second phase is that there is light also. This has to be understood. When we close our eyes there is darkness within, the issue is that there is light in the darkness. The word Guru also means the same thing.
Guru means He who gives light in darkness. There was darkness within before we met the Guru. If there is darkness even after we have met the Guru, what is the significance of having a Guru?
Adrishit agochar alakh niranjan —
so dekheya Gurumukh aakhi.
He is invisible and indescribable and is beyond the field of senses. The disciple sees Him with his own eye by rising above the body—consciousness and physical illusions. Now there are two qualities of Amrit. Firstly there is going on a melodious divine sound.
Maulana Rumi says, if I mention a little of the music which is going on itself within every being, the dead bodies will rise from the graves. Now at present we are all dead bodies, after all we are lying in the long grave of the body.
Moh maya sabe jag soya —
koi wirla Gurmukh jage.
The whole world is asleep in attachment and illusion. Some rare disciple who has awakened within by rising above the body consciousness and is being initiated by a competent Master is awake, while the rest of the world is asleep due to attachment and illusion.
Gurbani further states:
Sat Gur wich Amrit he —
har uttam har pad soe.
That Amrit and Naam Power is manifest in the competent Master. Christ said, the Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us. That Naam is incarnate, that is the pole on which God Power acts.
He is the mouthpiece of God. He goes on raising the people above the body consciousness and bringing them into contact with Naam. This is His job.
Nanak kirpa te har dhayae —
Gurmukh pawe koe.
We come in contact with Naam when the Master is specially kind to us. That true Guru raises one above the body consciousness and brings one into contact with Naam.
How to define true Guru?
Satgur Amritsar wadhhagi naha wain aye —
tain janam janam ki malutre nirmal Naam dirrawe.
He is the »Ocean of Grace«, they are very lucky ones who bath therein. He is overflowing with intoxication. His speech is full of intoxication. The words He speaks are charged with intoxication. He gives coolness to others also.
Someone said to Maulana Rumi, »In your poetry many words do not fit in the metre.« He answered:
Shehr me goem pur az kando nabat —
man na danam phyalatun phyallat.
My words are flowing with intoxication, measure their metre yourself.
Gurbani says the same thing:
Amrit bani gur ki mithi.
There is a charging in the words of the competent Master. There is balance and there is harmony. The Saints have described in detail, from where and how to get the Amrit.
Nau darwaje nawain dar pheeke —
eh Amrit daswain chaweeje.
The nine aperture of the body, two ears, two eyes, two nostrils, mouth and two apertures below, whereby our consciousness spreads outside in the world are devoid of Amrit. When we reach the tenth door —
Where is tenth door?
Nau darwaje pargat kiye —
daswan gupat rahaya.
These nine apertures are clearly seen and the tenth door is concealed. So long as we are identified with these nine apertures our attention is wandering about outside.
Nau dar dekh jo kaman bhooli —
wastu art up na pai.
We cannot get that unique thing (Amrit) which is within, so long as we are identified with the nine apertures of the body.
How do we get that Amrit?
We get it from the competent Master.
So gur Amrit pahi jeo.
What does the competent Master say?
»Go within, so long as you are sitting
in the nine apertures you cannot taste that Amrit.«
To taste that Amrit you have to move away from the plane of senses. There is a concealed door behind the eyes. If you reach there you can taste that Amrit.
In the 6th and 8th chapter of the Gita, Lord Krishna has given the hint of this opening. Exactly between the two eyebrows, behind the eyes and in the line with the nose there is the secret path, which leads from the body (physical) to astral and to causal.
This is the way back to God. This is the way to Home Eternal. If there is a taste of Amrit, it is within, and unless the competent Master pours it, only then one can taste it.
Amrit Satgur chowaya —
daswan dawar pargat hoya.
The true Guru pours it and it starts falling.
Tain anhad Shabad waje dhun Bani —
Sehme sehaj samae.
There is sound within, and when you have contact with it you will merge with ease. From where that sound is coming? An easy way to meet God is to contact Shabd, Bani or Naam. The Saints have described in detail as to where that Amrit Shabad, Naam or Word is.
Where from it can be had?
There is a hint that Alexander’s Master Khizar took him to the spring of Aab-i-Hayat. There was great darkness.
There are two parts: Parey Marg and Sharey Marg.
Parey Marg is a very lovely path, but it goes on widening and spreading. You lose direction as you advance and die entangled and wide spread.
Sharey Marg is all darkness in the beginning, but beyond that darkness there are Sound and Light.
Tulsi (Sahib) gives the hint, to look little beyond the veil of darkness, where there is a small opening, where the entire creation lies beyond that. There is further analysis of Amrit as to where it is.
Nau nidh Amrit prabh ka Naam —
Dehi main iska bisram.
Naam of God, that gives all types of joy and immortality, is within this six feet long human body.
Is it within everybody?
Jite ghat Amrit sab hi mahain —
bhave tise piave.
That Amrit is within everybody. That is in every being, but nobody can drink it unless you do not meet a competent Master. If you do not meet a competent Master, you can neither rise above the plane of senses nor taste that Amrit.
You get it only by rising above the plane of senses.
Antar khuta Amrit bharia —
Shabad kadh pie panhari.
It is repeated again and again in Gurbani that Amrit is within Him.
Ghat hi main Amrit bhaipun hai —
man ban na aavehi.
That Amrit is within everyone. But those who are Manmukh (mouthpiece of mind) and have not met a competent Master, cannot rise above the plane of senses and can know nothing about Amrit.
Jon kasturi mirg na jane —
bharmata bharam bhulay.
Musk is within the deer, but it wanders about in search of perfume. Whenever it smells musk in the air, the deer runs after it. He wanders about hither and thither. Whatever little bit of smell he gets from outside at the plane of senses, that is his own. The Elixir is within him, but he wanders outside in search of it, sometimes here and sometimes there.
A poet says,
Yar-I-Man khana wa man gard-i-jahan mi binam
aah dan kuza wa man tishna laban mi gardam.
That, my Beloved was within me and I searched Him outside in the world. Then – how deplorable it is? That store of Amrit is within him and he is wandering about outside in the world in search of it.
The Saints direct us to look within. They say that the store of self-joy is within you. They have again and again emphasized this point.
Sabh kuchh ghar main bahar nahinn —
bahar dhundain so bharfam bhuiain.
Everything is within him but he wanders about outside in search of it and having wasted his life, he dies.
Guru Nanak says, that the Amrit that gives all types of joy and for the achievement of which you have come into this world will be available to you through the Guru.
You will get it from the Guru, who has attained the plane of Truth. By merely reading Gurbani, one does not realize the essence of Amrit. Therefore He says, that Amrit is within us, but we may know its secret and have contact with it only through a competent Master.
This Amrit gives twofold experiences. There is very sweet Sound which has great intoxication and there is Light in it. Here is a clear exposition of this subject.
Where to get this Amrit from?
So Amrit gur pahi jeo.
May we have it from somewhere else? The answer is,
Chodo wes bhekh chutrai dubda eh phai na hi jeo
Guru Nanak’s »Bani« is very free and liberal. He says,
»Abandon the ties.Whatever the society,
perform its customs and rituals.
Know their purpose and achieve it.
Do not get tied to their mere form and routine.«
— Guru Nanak