The Amrit Vela by Kamalla Rose Kaur

onw-dawn.jpg“The hours right before dawn are called ‘the Amrit Vela’, which means ‘veil of nectar’.” I explain to my new friend. “It is the best time to meditate. Then again, anytime is the best time to meditate. Lets just say, it is very easy to meditate if you are up before dawn each day. Hard to do anything else, in truth.”

“What sort of meditation do you do?” she inquires.

“I do Sikh practice.”

“How did you become a Sikh?”

“By doing Sikh practice.” I quip, then add, “Actually I should say that I am on my way to being a true Sikh. For Sikhs our scripture is our only teacher or Guru. I first encountered the Sikh scripture, in bad translation, at age 18, and it won’t let go. Can’t shake it. Don’t want to anymore.”


One morning, before dawn, Nanak rose from his bed and went down to the river to bathe. It was India and warm. I always imagine a sky overflowing with stars and a moon waxing full. Legend reports that Nanak stripped down to his kacheras, and left his clothes on the shore. He waded into the water and he sank to the bottom, and he sat on the soft wet river mud floor, in perfect meditation, for three days. Being a musician, he wrote a song.

Or it wrote him.

Facts are – I have never read them disputed – Nanak disappeared and his village thought him drowned. Nanak waded out of that river, three days after he vanished. The villagers came running to see for themselves that Nanak was alive and he sang them his song. It is called “Japji” and it is the very first hymn in the Sikh scripture, “The Siri Guru Granth Sahib” – roughly translated, “The Great Wise Book Teacher”.


“What do Sikhs believe?” she wanted to know.

“The very first words of the Sikh Holy Book, the most primal teaching of the Sikh Guru, is EkOnKaar; which means the Creation and the Creator are One.”

“The Creation and the Creator are One.” she repeated slowly.

“Yes, the very first teaching of Sikhi is that the Infinite One is not separate from Nature. Quite the opposite. Nature is not fallen, or sinful for Sikhs. You have to drop the Western mind/body split to understand.” I told her. “For Sikhs Nature IS God, and God is Nature…but also everything else. The whole Cosmos is Cosmic. It is ALIVE and AWAKE!”


Nanak was a troubadore. He walked all over Northern India, even into the Himalayas, and Nanak walked to Mecca. He made music everywhere he went, accompanied by his Muslim and Hindu musician sidekicks. He preached that there is ultimately no Hindu and no Muslim, just the EkOnKaar.


“All paths lead to the Beloved One if walked with love and humility is what Nanak preached.” I shared, “In fact, it is the walking with love and humility that is the true Way.”

“Nice!” she responded.

“Sikhs believe that the Creator is within the heart of every human; every being.” I explained, “Where is there not the Beloved One? If you wish to serve Creator, then serve the Creation, with love.”

“Serve the Creation with love.” she mused. “That is so simple. I like that.”

“Said a bit differently; for Sikhs, God is a Verb -. The Doer of Everything.” I concluded and then added, “And Sikh don’t proseltyze, so let us change the subject.”

“OK, but first tell me, what happened to Nanak next?”



Filed under Inspiring, Kamalla Rose Kaur's Writings, Multicultural, Sikhi

12 responses to “The Amrit Vela by Kamalla Rose Kaur

  1. pritam kaur

    Dear Kamalarose Kaur ji,

    I have been impressed by your way of undertanding Sikhism, and i feel it is great to expreience understanding Sikhism and especially doing our own reasearch, and being involved in forum, discourse, dialect etc it is a great life long journey and never stop till the hukam to stop comes.
    take care. 🙂

  2. Gurmit Singh

    Both of you have well understood the gist of Sikh religion established by Guru Nanak Sahib (1469-1539). Step by step we should read, recite, understand and follow the entire Gurbaani from Japp Jee Sahib to Mundavani as it will then enable us to elevate our lives towards emancipation during this very life.

    “Amrit” means Gurbaani, Baani, Divine Word / Hymns, Naam, God-like Virtue;

    “Vela” means Time;

    “Meditate” means to concentrate, attentive, contemplate, thoughtfully…..

    In Stanza Four of Japp Jee Sahib, “Amrit Vela” is mentioned. As I understand, this entire life span is meant for reciting the Divine True Naam as well as to deliberate upon God’s Virtues so that we may become one with God. Any time when one finds time to comprehend Gurbaani is Amrit Vela.

    As we Sikhs lead household life and earn our livelihood while working 8-10 hours. After 7-8 hours sleep, we get up early in the morning, take our bath, recite NitNem, take breakfast, go to our work, come in the evening, then recite Rehras and Sohila before sleeping. During Rehras, Sohila or when we read Guru Granth Sahib, we need to read and understand and as such morning time alone can’t be considered as Amrit Vela.

    About three days episode in Rivulet, Guru Nanak Sahib may have crossed to the other side and remained busy in his pursuit – God’s Devotion whereas the local people including his life-time companion Bhai Mardana thought as if drowned in rivulet. Bhai Bala supposed to be a Hindu never accompanied Guru Nanak Sahib during his Preaching Travels except Bhai Mardana, a Muslim.

    Sorry for any inaccurate statement as I am also liable to err. May God forgive me.
    Gurmit Singh (Australia)

  3. kamallarosekaur

    Thanks Pritam Kaur for your kind praise. I really appreciate it, and yes, every Sikh wires direct to the Sikh scripture/Guru and teachings. It is all self study in truth, no one can (or should) do it for us.

    And thanks so much Gurmit Singh for the gentle corrections. I will edit this piece soon to reflect your imput. But for the moment, I will leave it open for any further discussion .

    I must add that I really love how there are actually no miracle stories within Sikhi; no “stretchers”. Sikhs are not required to believe that Nanak was under water for three days. As you say, he might well have simply wandered off somewhere else. It doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t.

    What matters is that he wrote a song, “Japji”.

  4. N. Singh

    Nowhere is the word ‘Amrit’ translated or understood as “Gurbaani, Baani, Divine Word / Hymns, Naam, God-like Virtue”
    In Mahan Kosh by Bhai Kahn Singh “Amrit Vela” has been defined as the “first of the four ‘gharis’ after the last hours of the night before dawn. The other definition given is “mukti vela” i.e. time to meditate for ‘salvation’. Ms Kamalla Rose Kaur’s understanding it as “It is the best time to meditate.” is accurate in the spirit of its application.

  5. JV

    Kamalla Didi
    Its been such a long time since i read anything by you. Used to read your column on but then that closed down.
    Not sure if you remember me at all – we exchanged a few mails years ago…
    Anyway, good to know you are maintaining this blog – i’l be visiting often !

  6. kamallarosekaur

    Hi JV,

    I don’t remember our past, but I look forward to getting to know you in the future. Thanks for being here.

  7. jeetan

    hi Kamallarose Kaur
    You have understood Nanak so well, very few people understand him so well

  8. wannabe_Gurmukh

    Again, it was a pleasure to read your ‘Amrit Vela’ posting on a Saturday morning. I really like they way you write. For Sikhs, I think, underlying connection to it all is Love. Once you are stricken by this ‘love’ or have experienced it (felt it), perception of it all changes as well.
    ‘Amrit Vela’ can be referred to as a ‘veil of nectar’ in figurative since. Lingustic meaning of vela is actually ‘time’ (occasion.). For seekers and teachers any time after midnight and before sunrise is Amrit Vela. More specifically, between midnight and 4:00 am is the best time for ‘Jaap’, after which one can engage-in, listen-to, or join-in Kirtan.

  9. wannabe_Gurmukh

    Hello Kamalla Rose Kaur,
    My last post on ‘Amrit Vela’ got submitted while I was doing a spell check. I hope it was OK.

    Actually I wanted to write to you as well.
    I have been living in North America since mid-seventies. During and right after the sixties America had a great chance to raise the spiritual awareness (level) of its populous. We have to remember that this is kal.yuga and in kalyuga Dharma stands on one leg (instead of four.) Deceit made its way into the movement and we ended up all these ashrams, many (if not most) became mind-control, run-by-few-at-the-top institutions. Being a Sikh I was particulary afraid about the one run by harbhajan (kali.yogi.) I did not want to see all their dirty laundry splashed on tv screens across America. Recently, their ability to link-up with corrupt republican bush government further proves their innate purpose. I wanted to thank you for standing up to all of this. I wanted to offer words of encouragement. You know that God is Truth. Truth is powerful. Truth is power in itself. One pursuing, practicing, preaching truth, is not deprived of this power, though we may not feel it every moment of the day.
    So fight-on dear flower princes.

  10. kamallarosekaur

    Blessings wannabe Gurmukh,

    Upon investigation I found your previous note posted on the main page:

    It is nice there too. Thanks for your kind words and clear insights. Guru fateh!

  11. I was a member of the San Rafael, CA ashram my last year of high school, 1971-72. I left out of fear that YB was going to marry me off to someone I did not know at the ripe age of 16. My kundalini awakening at the time also sent me running since there was nobody at the ashram who could help me with my out of control symptoms. It would be great to connect. How are you doing these days?

  12. kamallarosekaur

    Head over to “The Wacko World of Yogi Bhajan”

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