Monthly Archives: September 2008

Asa Di Vaar – Dawn Hymns

ASA DI VAAR – Dawn Hymns

Guru Nanak
Page 462


A hundred times a day, I surrender to my Guru
My Guru has been known to make angels out of mere humans, without delay.


If a hundred moons were to rise, and a thousand suns appeared,
even with such light, there would still be pitch darkness without the Guru.


O Nanak, those who do not think of the Guru,
and who think themselves clever in this,
shall be left abandoned in the field like scattered sesame seeds.
They are abandoned in the field, says Nanak,
and they have a hundred masters to please.
The wretches bear fruit and flower,
but within their bodies, they are filled with ashes.


The Creator created the Creator.
The Creator assumed the Naam.
Then the Creaor fashioned the Creation;
by being seated deep within the Creation.
The Creator beholds the Creation with delight.

You Yourself are the Giver and the Creator;
by Your Pleasure, You bestow Your Mercy.
You are the Knower of all.
You give life, and take it away again with a word.
Seated deep within the Creation,
You behold it with delight.


True are Your worlds,
True are Your solar systems.
True are Your realms,
True is Your creation.
True are Your actions,
and all Your deliberations.
True is Your Command,
and True is Your Court.
True is the Command of Your Will,
True is Your Order.
True is Your Mercy,
True is Your Insignia.
Hundreds of thousands and millions call You True.
In the True One is all power,
in the True One is all might.
True is Your Praise,
True is Your Adoration.
True is Your almighty creative power.
The Only True King,
O Nanak, true are those who meditate on the True One.


Great is God’s greatness,
as great is God’s Name.
Great is God’s greatness,
as great as God’s justice.
Great is God’s greatness,
as permanent as Infinity’s Throne.
Great is God’s greatness,
God knows our utterances.
Great is God’s greatness,
God understands all our affections.
Great is God’s greatness,
God gives without being asked.
Great is God greatness,
because God is the All-In-All.
O Nanak, God’s actions cannot be described.
Whatever God has done,
or will do,
is all by God’s Will.


This world is the room of the True and Infinite One.
Within this room is the dwelling of the True and Infinite One.
By Divine Command, some are merged into the True and Infinite One.
And some, also by Divine Command, are destroyed.
Some, by the Pleasure of the Divine Will, are lifted up out of Maya,
while others are made to dwell within it.
No one can say who will be rescued.
O Nanak, they alone are known as Gurmukh,
unto whom the True and Infinite One
reveals the True and Infinite One.


O Nanak, having created souls,
the True One installed the Righteous Judge of Dharma
to read and record their accounts.
Only the Truth is judged true.
The sinners are picked out and separated.
The fully false find no place there,
and they go to hell with faces blackened.

Those who are imbued with Your Name win,
while the cheaters lose.

The True One installed the Righteous Judge of Dharma
to read and record the accounts.


Wonderful is the sound of the Cosmos.
Wonderful is the knowledge of the scriptures.
Wonderful are the beings.
Wonderful are the species..
Wonderful are the forms.
Wonderful are the colors.
Wonderful are all the beings who wander around naked.
Wonderful is the wind.
Wonderful is the water.
Wonderful is fire – which works more wonders.
Wonderful is the earth.
Wonderful the Source of creation.
Wonderful are the tastes to which we mortals are attached.
Wonderful is union.
And wonderful is separation.
Wonderful is hunger.
Wonderful is satisfaction.
Wonderful is God’s Praise,
Wonderful is God’s adoration.
Wonderful is the wilderness,
Wonderful is the path.
Wonderful is closeness,
Wonderful is distance.
How wonderful to behold the Wonderful One, ever-present and here.
Beholding God’s wonders, I am wonder-struck.
O Nanak, those who understand this are blessed with a great destiny!

By Divine Power we see.
By Divive Power we hear.
By Divine Power we have fear,
and the essence of happiness.
By Divine Power the nether worlds exist,
and the ethers.
By Divine Power the entire creation exists.
By Divine Power the Vedas and the Puraanas exist,
and the Holy Scriptures of the Jewish, Christian and Islamic religions.
By Divine Power all deliberations exist.
By Divine Power we eat, drink and dress.
By Divine Power all love exists.
By Divine Power come species of all kinds and colors.
By Divine Power all the living beings of the world exist.
By Divine Power virtues exist,
and by Divine Power vices exist.
By Divine Power comes honor and dishonor.
By Divine Power wind, water and fire exist.
By Diivne Power earth and dust exist.

Everything is in Your Power,
because You are the all-powerful Creator.
Your Name is the Holiest of the Holy.
O Nanak, through the Command of the Divine Will,
the Beloved One beholds and pervades creation.
The Beloved One has no rival.


Enjoying nothing but their pleasures,
soon people get reduced to a pile of ashes,
and their souls pass away.
They may be great, but when they die,
the chain is thrown around their neck,
and they are led away.
There, good and bad deeds are added up.
Sitting there, their account is read.
They are beaten and find no rest,
and their cries of pain go unheard.
The blind people have wasted another life away.


In awe and fear of God, the wind and breezes ever blow.
In awe and fear of God thousands of rivers flow.
In awe and fear of God, fire is forced to labor.
In awe and fear of God, the earth is crushed under its burden.
In awe and fear of God, the clouds move across the sky.
In awe and fear of God, the Righteous Judge of Dharma stands at The Door.
In awe and fear of God, the sun shines,
and in the awe and fear of God, the moon reflects.
They travel millions of miles, they travel endlessly.

In the awe and fear of God, the Siddhas exist,
as do the Buddhas, the demi-gods and Yogis.
In the awe and fear of God, the ethers are stretched across the sky.
In the awe and fear of God, warriors and super-heroes exist.
In the awe and fear of God, multitudes come and go.
God has inscribed the brand of awe and fear upon the heads of all.
O Nanak, the Fearless One, the Formless One, the True One,
are All One.


O Nanak, the Infinite One is fearless and formless;
myriads of others, like Rama, are mere dust before Infinity.
There are so many stories of Krishna,
so many who reflect over the Vedas.
So many beggars dance, spinning around to the beat.
Magicians perform their magic in the market place, creating a illusions.
They sing, act the parts of kings and queens, and speak of this and that.
They wear earrings, and necklaces worth thousands of dollars.
Those bodies on which that jewelry are worn,
O Nanak, those bodies turn to ashes.

Wisdom cannot be found through mere words.
To explain it is as hard as iron.
When the Beloved One bestows Grace, then alone is wisdom received;
other tricks and decrees are useless.


If the Merciful One shows mercy,
then the True Guru is found.
Your soul wandered through countless incarnations,
until the True Guru instructed it in the Word of the Shabad.
There is no giver as great as the True Guru;
hear this, all you people.
Meeting the True Guru, the True One is found.
Guruji removes our conceit from within,
and instructs us in the Truth of Truths.


All the hours are the milk-maids,
and the quarters of the day are the Krishnas.
The wind, water and fire are the ornaments;
the sun and moon are the incarnations.
All of the earth, property, wealth and articles are all entanglements.
O Nanak, without divine knowledge,
we get plundered, and devoured by the Messenger of Death.


See the disciples play the music, and the gurus dance.
They move their feet and roll their heads.
The dust flies and falls upon their hair.
Beholding them, people laugh, and then go home.
They beat the drums for the sake of bread.
They throw themselves upon the ground.
They sing of the milk-maids, they sing of the Krishnas.
They sing of Sitas, and Ramas and kings.

Yet the Beloved One is fearless and formless,
and is named Truth.
The entire universe is Creator’s Creation.
Those servants, whose destiny is awakened, serve only this One Lord.
Night of their lives are cool with dew;
their minds are filled with love for the Beloved.

Contemplating the Guru, I have been taught these teachings,
Granting Grace, the Beloved One carries humble servants across.
The oil-press, the spinning wheel, the grinding stones, the potter’s wheel,
the countless whirlwinds in the desert,
the spinning tops, the churning sticks, the threshers,
the breathless tumblings of the birds,
and the workers moving round and round on spindles –
O Nanak, the tumblers are countless and endless.
The Creator/Creation locks us into bondage – so do we spin around.
According to their actions, so do all people dance.
Those who dance and dance and dance and laugh and laugh,
shall weep on their ultimate departure.
They will not fly to the heavens, nor do they get to act like Siddhas.
They still dance and jump around on the urgings of their minds.
O Nanak, those whose minds are filled with the awe and fear of God,
discover the love of God as well.


Your Name is Fearless One;
by calling Your Name, one does not experience hell.
Soul and body all belong to Creator/Creation.
Begging the Diivne One to give us sustenance is a waste.
If you yearn for goodness,
then perform good deeds and practice being humble.
Even if you remove the signs of old age,
old age shall still come in the guise of death.
No one remains here when the count of the breaths is completed.


The Muslims praise the Islamic law; they read and reflect upon it.
God’s bound servants are those who bind themselves
to the act of seeing God’s Vision.

The Hindus praise the Praiseworthy One.
Blessed Darshan! The Cosmic One’s form is incomparable.
They bathe at sacred shrines of pilgrimage,
making offerings of flowers, and burning incense before idols.

The Yogis meditate on the Absolute there; they call the Creator the Unseen.
But to the subtle image of the Immaculate Naam, they apply the form of a body.
In the minds of these “virtuous” people, “contentment” is produced,
by thinking about their giving.
They give and give, but ask a thousand-fold more,
and hope and pray that the world will honor them.

The thieves, adulterers, perjurers, evil-doers and sinners –
after using up what good karma they ever had, they depart.
Have they done any good deeds here at all?

There are beings and creatures in the water and on the land,
in other worlds and universes, form upon form.
Whatever anyone says, You know; You care for them all.
O Nanak, the hunger of Your devotees is to praise You;
the True Naam is their only support.
They live in eternal bliss, day and night;
because they make themsleves the dust of the feet of the virtuous.


The clay of the Muslim’s grave becomes clay for the potter’s wheel.
Pots and bricks are fashioned from it, and it cries out as it burns.
The poor clay burns, burns and weeps, as the fiery coals fall upon it.
O Nanak, the Creator created the creation;
the Creator alone knows.


Without the True Guru, no one has obtained the One;
without the True Guru, no one has obtained the One.
The Beloved One is placed within the True Guru;
revealing HerSelf/HimSelf, the Beloved One declares this openly.
Meeting the True Guru liberation is obtained.
Guruji has banished attachment from within.
This is the highest thought:
that “consciousness” is attached to the True One.
Thus the consciousness of the Source of the World, the Great Giver, is obtained.


In ego they come, and in ego they go.
In ego they are born, and in ego they die.
In ego they give, and in ego they take.
In ego they earn, and in ego they lose.
In ego they become truthful or false.
In ego they go to heaven or hell.
In ego they laugh, and in ego they weep.
In ego they become dirty, and in ego they are washed clean.
In ego they lose social status and class.
In ego they are ignorant, and in ego they are wise.
They do not know the value of liberation.
In ego they love Maya, and in ego they are kept in darkness by it.
Living in ego, mortals are created.
When one understands ego, then the Beloved’s gate is discovered.
Without spiritual wisdom, they babble and argue.
O Nanak, by Divine Command, our destiny is recorded.
As the True One sees us, so are we seen.


This is the nature of ego:
the nature of ego is that people perform their actions in ego.
This is the bondage of ego, that time and time again, we are reborn.
Where does ego come from?
How can it be removed?
This ego exists by the Divine Order;
people wander according to their past actions.
Ego is a chronic disease, but it contains its own cure as well.
If the Beloved One grants Grace,
we act according to the Teachings of the Guru’s Shabad.
Nanak says, listen people,
for in this way, troubles depart.


Those who serve are content.
They meditate on the Truest of the True.
They do not place their feet in sin,
rather they do good deeds and live righteously.
They burn away the bonds of the world,
and eat a simple diet of whole foods, and water.

You are the Great Forgiver;
You give continually, more and more each day.
By God’s greatness, the Great God is obtained.


People, trees, sacred shrines of pilgrimage,
banks of sacred rivers, clouds, fields,
islands, continents, worlds, solar systems, and universes;
the four sources of creation –
born of eggs, born of the womb, born of the earth and born of sweat;
oceans, mountains, and all beings –
O Nanak, the Supreme One alone knows their condition.
O Nanak, having created living beings, the Creator cherishes them all.
The Creator who created the creation, takes care of it as well.
The Creator who formed the world, cares for it.
Unto Creator/Creation I bow and offer my reverence;
only the Divine Royal Court is eternal.
O Nanak, without the True Naam of what use is the frontal mark of the Hindus,
or their sacred thread?


Hundreds of thousands of virtues and good actions,
and hundreds of thousands of blessed charities,
hundreds of thousands of penances at sacred shrines,
and the practice of Sehj Yoga in the wilderness,
hundreds of thousands of courageous actions
and giving up the breath of life on the field of battle,
hundreds of thousands of divine understandings,
hundreds of thousands of divine wisdoms
and meditations and readings of the Vedas and the Puraanas

– when displayed before the Creator who created the creation,
and who ordained all comings and goings, O Nanak,
all these things are false.
True is the mark of Grace.


You alone are the True One.
The Truth of Truths is pervading everywhere.
They alone receive the Truth, when You give it to them;
then, they practice Truth in the same way.
Meeting the True Guru, Truth is found.
In the Divine Heart, Truth is abiding.
Fools do not know the Truth.
The self-willed egotists, manmukhs, waste their lives away.
Why have they even come into the world?


You may read and read loads of books;
you may read and study vast multitudes of books.
You may read and read boat-loads of books;
you may read and read and fill pits with them.
You may read them year after year;
you may read them as many months are there are.
You may read them all your life;
you may read them with every breath.
O Nanak, only One thing is of any account:
everything else is just useless babbling and idle talk in ego.


The more one writes and reads, the more one can burn..
The more one wanders at sacred shrines of pilgrimage,
the more one babbles.
The more one wears religious robes,
the more pain s/he causes his/her body.
O my soul, you must endure the consequences of your own actions.
One who does not eat the corn, misses out on the taste.
One obtains great pain, being in love with duality.
One who does not wear any clothes, and suffers night and day.
Through silence, s/he is ruined.
How can the sleeping one be awakened without the Guru?
One who goes barefoot and suffers by his own actions.
One who eats filth and throws ashes on the head – the blind fool loses all honor.
Without the Naam, nothing is of any use.
One who lives in the wilderness, in cemetaries and cremation grounds –
that blind person does not know the Beloved One;
and regrets and repents in the end.
One who meets the True Guru finds peace.
S/He keeps the Naam in mind.
O Nanak, when God grants Grace, God is obtained.
We become free of hope and fear,
and we burn away our ego with the Word of the Shabad.


Your devotees are pleasing to Your Mind.
They look beautiful at Your door, singing Your Praises.
O Nanak, those who are denied Your Grace,
find no shelter at Your Door;
they continue wandering.
Some do not understand their origins,
and without an cause, they display their self-conceit.
I am God’s minstrel, of low social status;
others call themselves high caste.
I seek those who meditate on You.


False is the king, false are the subjects; false is the whole world.
False is the mansion, false are the skyscrapers; false are those who live in them.
False is gold, and false is silver; false are those who wear them.
False is the body, false are the clothes; false is glamor and beauty.
False is the false husband, false is the fa;lse wife; they grieve and waste away.
The false ones love falsehood, and forget their Creator.
With whom should I become friends, if all the world shall pass away?
False is sweetness, false is honey;
through falsehood, boat-loads of people have drowned.
Nanak says this prayer: without You, everything is totally false.


We know the Truth only when the Truth is in our heart.
The filth of falsehood departs, and the body is washed clean.
We know the Truth only when we hold love for the True One.
Hearing the Naam, the mind is enraptured; then, we attain the gate of salvation.
We know the Truth only when we know the true way of life.
Preparing the field of the body, we plant the Seed of the Creator.
We know the Truth only when we receive true instruction.
Showing mercy to other beings, we make donation to charities.
We know the Truth only when we live in the sacred shrine of pilgrimage of our own soul.
We sit and receive instruction from the True Guru,
and we live in accordance with Guruji’s Will.
Truth is the medicine for all; it removes and washes away our sins/mistakes.
Nanak send this prayer to those who have this Truth sitting in their laps.


The gift I seek is the dust of the feet of the humblest authentic Sants;
if I were to obtain it, I would apply it to my forehead.
Renounce greed, and meditate single-mindedly on the unseen One.
As are the actions we commit, so are the rewards we receive.
If it is so ordained, then one obtains the dust of the feet of the Sants.
Through small-mindedness, we forfeit the merits of selfless service.


There is a famine of Truth; falsehood prevails,
and the blackness this Dark Age has turned people into demons.
Those who planted their seed have departed with honor;
now, how can the shattered seed sprout?
If the seed is whole, and it is the proper season,
hen the seed will sprout.
O Nanak, without treatment, the raw fabric cannot be dyed.
In the awe and fear of the Supreme One it is bleached white.
if the treatment of modesty is applied to the cloth of the body.
O Nanak, if one is imbued with devotional worship,
then one’s good reputation is not a lie.


Greed and sin are the king and prime minister;
falsehood is the treasurer.
Sexual obsession, the chief advisor, is summoned and consulted;
they sit together and contemplate their plans.
Their subjects are blind,
and without wisdom, they try to please the will of the dead.

Meanwhile the spiritually “wise” dance and play their musical instruments,
dressing themselves with beautiful decorations.
They shout out loud, and sing epic poems and enact heroic stories.
The fools call themselves spiritual scholars,
and by their clever tricks, they love to gather wealth.

Even the righteous waste their righteousness,
by asking for the door of salvation.
They declare themselves celibate,
and abandon their homes,
but they do not know the true way of life.
Everyone calls himself or herself perfect;
none call themselves imperfect.
If the weight of honor is placed on the scale,
then, O Nanak,we would see their true weight.


Evil actions often become publicly known;
O Nanak, the Truthful One sees everything.
We think we make the attempt,
but that alone happens which the Creator does.
In the world hereafter, social status and power mean nothing;
hereafter, the soul is new.
Those few, whose honor is Divinely confirmed, are good.


Only those whose karma You have ordained from the very beginning,
my Beloved One, meditate on You.
Nothing is in the power of the beings;
You created the various worlds.
Some, You unite with Yourself,
and some, You lead astray.
By Guru’s Grace You are known;
through Guruji, You reveal Yourself.
We are then easily absorbed in You.


Suffering is often the medicine,
and pleasure is often the disease,
because where there is pleasure,
there is no desire for the Divine.

You are the Creator ; I can do nothing.
Even if I try, nothing happens.

I am surrendered to Your almighty creative power
which is pervading everywhere.
Your limits cannot be known.

(Pause and reflect)

Your Light is in Your creatures,
and Your creatures are in Your Light.
Your almighty power is pervading everywhere.
You are the only real Lord and Master.
Your Praise is so beautiful.
One who sings it, is carried across.
Nanak speaks the stories of the Creator;
whatever Creator/Creation is to do,
Creation/Creator does.


The Way of Yoga is to search for spiritual wisdom;
the Vedas are the Way of the Brahmins.
The Way of the Khshatriya is the Way of bravery;
the Way of the Shudras is service to others.

But the Way of all
is the Ways of the One!
Nanak is a slave to that person who knows this secret;
that person is One with the Immaculate Divine One.


If Lord Krishna is the Divine Lord of all;
then He is the Divinity of the individual soul.
Nanak is a slave to anyone who understands
this mystery of the all-pervading One;
that person is One with the Immaculate Divine One.


Water remains confined within the pitcher,
but without water, the pitcher could not have been formed; j
ust so, the mind is controlled by spiritual wisdom,
but without the Guru, there is no spiritual wisdom.


If an educated person is a sinner,
then the illiterate holy person should not to be punished.
As are the deeds done, so is the reputation one acquires.
So do not play such a game,
it will bring you to ruin at the Court of Infinity.
The accounts of the educated and the illiterate shall be judged.
People who stubbornly follows their own agendas
suffer in the world hereafter.


O Nanak, the soul of the body has one chariot and one charioteer.
In age after age they change; the spiritually wise understand this.
In the Golden Age of Sat Yuga, contentment was the chariot
and righteousness the charioteer.
In the Silver Age of Traytaa Yuga,
celibacy was the chariot and power the charioteer.
In the Brass Age of Dwaapar Yuga,
penance was the chariot and truth the charioteer.
In the Iron Age of Kali Yuga, fire is the chariot and falsehood the charioteer. |


The Sama Veda says that the Divine Master is robed in white;
in the Age of Truth, everyone desired Truth,
abided in Truth, and was merged in the Truth.

The Rig Veda says that God is permeating and pervading everywhere.
Among the deities, the Naam is the most exalted.
Chanting the Name, sins and mistakes depart,
O Nanak, and then, we obtain salvation.

In the Jujar Veda, Kaan Krishna of the Yaadva tribe seduced Chandraavali by force.
He brought the Elysian Tree for his milk-maid, and revelled in Brindaaban.

In the Dark Age of Kali Yuga, the Atharva Veda became prominent;
Allah became the Name of God.
Men began to wear blue robes and garments;
Turks and Pat’haans assumed power.

The four Vedas each claim to be true.
Reading and studying them, four doctrines are found.

But it is actually only by loving devotional worship,
abiding in humility, O Nanak,
that salvation is attained.


I am surrendered to the True Guru;
meeting Guruji, I have come to cherish the Divine Master.
Guurji has taught me and given me the healing ointment of spiritual wisdom,
and with these new eyes, I behold the world.
Those dealers who abandon the Diivne
and attach themselves to another, are drowned.
The True Guru is the boat, but few are those who realize this.
Granting Grace, Guruji carries us across.


The simmal tree is straight as an arrow; it is very tall, and very thick.
But those hopeful birds who visit it depart disappointed.
Its fruits are tasteless,
its flowers are nauseating,
and its leaves are useless.

Sweetness and humility, O Nanak,
are the essence of virtue and goodness.
People bowsdown to themselves;
no one bows down to another.
When something is placed on the balancing scale and weighed,
the side which descends is heavier.
The grossest sinners, like deer hunters,
bow down twice as much.
But what can be achieved by bowing the head,
when the heart is impure?


You read your books and say your prayers,
and then engage in debate.

You worship stones,
and/or sit like a stork,
pretending to be in Samaadhi.

With your mouth you utter falsehood,
and you decorate yourself with precious accessories.

You recite the three lines of the Gayatri three times a day.
Around your neck is a rosary,
and/or on your forehead is a sacred mark.

Upon your head is a turban,
and/or you wear two loin cloths.

Bit if you actually knew the nature of God,
you would know that all of these beliefs and rituals are in vain.

Says Nanak, meditate with deep faith.
Without the True Guru, no one finds the Way.


Abandoning the world of glamor, and beautiful clothes, we must depart.
We obtain the rewards of our good and bad deeds.
We may issue whatever commands we wish,
but we shall have to take to the narrow path hereafter.
We go to hell naked, and we look hideous there
We regret the sins/mistakes we committed here.


So make compassion the cotton,
contentment the thread,
modesty the knot
and truth the twist.

This is the sacred thread of the soul!
If you have this sort of thread, then go ahead and put it on me.
It does not break, it cannot be soiled by filth, it cannot be burnt, or lost.
Blessed are those mortal beings, O Nanak,
who wear such a thread around their necks.

You buy the thread for a few shells,
and seated in your enclosure, you put it on.
Whispering instructions into others’ ears,
the Brahmin becomes a “guru”.
But he dies,
and the sacred thread falls away,
and the soul departs without it.


This Brahmin commits thousands of robberies,
thousands of acts of adultery,
thousands of falsehoods
and thousands of abuses.
He practices thousands of deceptions
and secret evil deeds,
night and day,
against fellow beings.

The thread is spun from cotton,
and the Brahmin comes and twists it.
The goat is killed, cooked and eaten,
and everyone then says, “Put on the sacred thread.”
When it wears out, it is thrown away, and another one is put on.

O Nanak, the thread would not break, if it had any real strength.


Believing in the Naam, real honor is obtained.
Praise, is the true sacred thread.
Praise. is the sacred thread is worn in the Court of Infinity.
It shall never break.


There is no sacred thread for the sexual organ,
and no thread for woman.
The man’s beard is spat upon daily.
There is no sacred thread for the feet,
and no thread for the hands;
no thread for the tongue,
and no thread for the eyes.

The Brahmin goes to the world hereafter without a sacred thread.
Twisting the threads, he puts them on others.
He takes payment for performing marriages;
reading their horoscopes,
he shows them the way.

Hear, and see, O people, this wondrous thing!
He is mentally blind, and yet his name is wisdom!


That human upon whom the Merciful One bestows Grace,
performs service.
That servant, whom the Beloved causes
to obey the Order of Divine Will,
serves the Beloved One.
Obeying the Order of the Divine Will,
we become acceptable,
and then, we obtain the Mansion of the Beloved’s Presence.
Those who act to please only the Divine Master,
obtain the fruit of their mind’s desires.
Then, they go to the Court of Infinity wearing robes of honor.


The Muslims tax the cows and the Brahmins,
but the cow-dung they secretly apply to their kitchen
will not save them.

The Hindus wear their loin cloths,
apply ritual frontal marks to their foreheads,
and carry their rosaries,
but then they eat food with the Muslims.

My siblings, you perform Hindu devotional worship indoors,
but read the Islamic sacred texts,
and adopt the Muslim way of life in public.

Renounce your hypocrisy!

Taking on the Naam you shall swim across.


Cannibals say their prayers.
Those who wield the knife wear the sacred thread around their necks.
In their homes, the Brahmins sound the conch.
They too have the same tastes.
False is their capital, and false is their trade.
Speaking lies, they take their food.
The home of modesty and virtuous living is far from them.
O Nanak, they are permeated with falsehood.
They have sacred marks are on their foreheads,
and wear saffron loin-cloths are around their waists;
but in their hands they hold knives
– they are butchers of the world!

By wearing blue robes, they seek the approval of the Muslim rulers.
Accepting bread from the Muslim rulers, they still worship the Puraanas.
They eat the meat of the goats, killed after the Muslim prayers are read over
but they do not allow anyone else to enter their kitchen areas.
They draw lines around them, plastering the ground with cow-dung.
Then the false sit within their circle.
They cry out, “Do not touch our food, or it will be polluted!”
But with their polluted bodies, they commit evil deeds.
With their filthy minds, they try to cleanse their mouths.

Says Nanak, meditate on the True One.
If you are simply good, you will obtain the True One.


All are within Your mind.
You see and move us all under Your Glance of Grace.
You Yourself grant glory,
and You Yourself cause us to act.
The Beloved One is the greatest of the great;
great is the Beloved One’s world.
The Beloved enjoins all to their tasks.
If the Beloved should cast an angry glance,
the Beloved can transform kings into blades of grass.
The even though they may beg from door to door,
no one will give them charity.


The thief robs a house, and offers the stolen goods to his ancestors.
In the world hereafter, this is recognized,
and his ancestors are considered thieves as well.
The hands of the go-between are cut off; this is Allah’s justice.

O Nanak, in the world hereafter, that alone is received,
which one gives to the needy from his or her own earnings and labor.


As a woman has her periods, month after month,
so does falsehood dwell in the mouth of the false;
they suffer forever, again and again.
They are not called pure, who sit down after merely washing their bodies.
Only they are pure, O Nanak, within whose minds the Beloved abides.

With saddled horses, as fast as the wind,
and harems decorated in every way;
in houses and pavilions and lofty mansions,
they dwell, making ostentatious shows.
They act out their minds’ desires,
but they do not understand the Supreme,
and so they are ruined.

Asserting their authority, they eat,
and beholding their mansions, they forget about death.
But old age comes, and youth is lost.


If one accepts the concept of impurity,
then there is impurity everywhere.
In cow-dung and wood there are worms.
As many as are the grains of corn, none is without life.
First, there is life in the water, by which everything else is made green.
How can it be protected from impurity?
It touches our own kitchen.

O Nanak, impurity cannot be removed in this way.
It is washed away only by spiritual wisdom.


The impurity of the mind is greed,
and the impurity of the tongue is lies.
The impurity of the eyes is to gaze with lust and jealousy
upon the beauty of another’s mate,
or wealth.
The impurity of the ears is to listen to the slander of others.
O Nanak, this is how the poor mortal’s soul goes,
bound and gagged to the city of Death.


All impurity comes from doubt and attachment to duality.
Birth and death are subject to the Command of Divine Will.
Through the Divine Will we come and go.
Eating and drinking are pure, since the Creator gives nourishment to all.
O Nanak, the Gurmukhs, who understand the Infinite One,
are not stained by impurity.


Praise the Great True Guru; within Him is the greatest greatness.
When the Beloved One causes us to meet the Guru,
then we come to see to Beloved.
When it pleases the Beloved, the Guru come to dwell in our minds.
By Dvine Command, when the Beloved places the Dvine
hand on our foreheads,
our wickedness departs from within.
When the Beloved One is thoroughly pleased,
the nine treasures are obtained.


First, “purifying” himself, the Brahmin comes and sits in his “purified”
The pure foods, which no one else has touched, are placed before him.
Being purified, he takes his food, and begins to read his sacred verses.

Thus the pure food and sacred verses
are thrown into a filthy place – whose fault is this?

The corn is sacred,
the water is sacred;
the fire and salt are sacred as well;
but when the fifth thing, the ghee, is added,
THEN the food becomes pure and sanctified?
Coming into contact with the lowly human,
the food becomes so impure that it is spat upon!

That mouth which does not chant the Naam,
that mouth that is without the Naam,
that mouth that is so busy eating all those tasty foods;
O Nanak, know this: it is that a lowly (hypocritical) mouth
that should to be spat upon.


From woman, man is born;
within woman, man is conceived;
to woman he is engaged and married.
Woman becomes his friend;
through woman,
the future generations come.
When his woman dies,
he seeks another woman;
to woman he is bound.
So why call her bad?
From her, kings are born.
From woman, woman is born;
without woman, there would be no one at all.
O Nanak, only the Almightyu is without a woman.
Any mouth which praises the Divine One continually
is blessed and beautiful.
O Nanak, those faces shall be radiant in the Court of Infinity.


All call You their own,
anyone who does not own You,
is picked up and thrown away.
Everyone receives the rewards of his or her actions;
the account is adjusted accordingly.
Since we are not destined to remain in this world anyway,
why should we ruin ourselves in pride?
Do not call anyone bad;
read these words, and understand.
Simply don’t argue with fools.


O Nanak, speaking frivolous words, the body and mind become frivolous.
These sorts get called the most insipid of the insipid
and the most insipid of the insipid is their reputation.
The trifling person is discarded in the Court of Infinity
and the trifling one’s face is spat upon.
The clownish one is called a fool and gets beaten with shoes in punishment.


Those who are false within,
and appear honorable on the outside,
are very common in this world.
Even though they may bathe
at the sixty-eight sacred shrines of pilgrimage,
still, their inner filthiness does not depart.

Those who have silk on the inside
and rags on the outside,
are the good ones in this world.
They embrace love for the Creator/Creation,
and they contemplate
and they behold the Creator/Creation.
In Divine Love, they laugh,
and in Divine Love, they weep,
and also keep silent.
They do not care for anything else,
except their True Husband.
Sitting, waiting at the Beloved’s Door,
they beg for food,
and when the Beloved One gives to them, they eat.
There is only One Court of the Cosmos,
and the Almighty has only one pen;
there, you and I shall meet.

In the Court of the Cosmos our accounts are examined;
O Nanak, the horrible sinners are crushed there, like oil seeds in the press.


You Yourself created the creation;
You Yourself infused Your power into it.
You behold Your creation,
like the losing and winning dice of the earth.
Whoever has come, shall depart;
all shall have their turn.
The One who owns our soul,
and our very breath of life –
why should we forget that One?
With our own hands, let us resolve our own affairs.


What sort of love is this, which clings to duality?
O Nanak, s/he alone is called a lover, who remains attentive.
But one who feels good only when good is done,
and feels bad when things go badly –
do not call that person a lover.
S/He trades only for his or her own account.


One who offers both fawning greetings
and rude refusal to his or her employer,
has gone wrong from the very beginning.
O Nanak, both these actions are false;
and s/he obtains no place in the Divine Court.


Serving only God, peace is obtained;
meditate and dwell upon your real Master forever.
Why do you do such evil deeds, that you shall have to suffer so?
Do not do any evil at all; look ahead to the future with foresight.
So throw the dice in such a way, that you shall not lose with your Divine Boss.
Do those deeds which shall bring you true profit.


If a servant performs service,
while being vain and argumentative,
s/he may talk as much as s/he wants,
but s/he shall not be pleasing to the Master.
But if s/he eliminates self-conceit and then performs service,
s/he shall be honored.
O Nanak, if s/he merges with the One with whom s/he is attached,
this attachment is acceptable.


Whatever is in the mind, comes forth;
spoken words by themselves are just wind.
They sow seed of poison, and demand Ambrosial Nectar.
Behold – what justice is this?


Friendship with a fool never works out right.
As a fool knows, the fool acts;
behold, and see that it is so.
One thing can be absorbed into another thing,
but duality keeps them apart.
No one can issue commands to the Master of the Universe.
Offer instead humble prayers.
Practicing falsehood, only falsehood is obtained.
O Nanak, through Praise, we blossom forth.


Friendship with a fool, and love with a pompous person,
are like lines drawn in water, leaving no trace or mark.


If a fool does a job, he cannot do it right.
Even if he does something right, he does the next thing wrong.


If a servant, performing service,
obeys the Will of his Master, the servant’s honor increases,
and the servant receives double wages.
But if the servant claims to be equal to the Master,
then the servant earns the Master’s displeasure.
The servant loses his entire salary,
and is also beaten with shoes.

Let us all celebrate the One from whom we receive our nourishment.
O Nanak, no one can issue commands to the Master of the Universe;
let us offer prayers instead.


What sort of gift is this,
which we receive only by our own asking?
O Nanak, that is the most wonderful gift,
which is received from God,
when God is totally pleased.


What sort of service is this,
by which the awe and fear
of the Master of the Universe
does not depart?
O Nanak, s/he alone is called a servant,
who merges with the Divine Master.


O Nanak, the Infiite One’s limits cannot be known;
they have no end or limitation.
God creates, and then God destroys.
Some have chains around their necks, while some ride on many horses.
God acts, and God causes us to act.
To whom should I complain?
O Nanak, the One who created the creation – takes care of it.


The Beloved fashioned the vessel of the body,
and the Beloved fills it.
Into some, milk is poured, while others remain on the fire.
Some lie down and sleep on soft beds,
while others remain watchful.
God adorns those, O Nanak,
upon whom God casts the Glance of Grace. |

SECOND MEHL: The Creator fashions the world, and keeps it in order.
Having created the beings within it, the Creator oversees their birth and death.
Unto whom else should we speak, O Nanak, when the Beloved is all-in-all? |


A description of the greatness of the Great One
cannot be made.
The Creator, all-powerful and benevolent; gives sustenance to all beings.
We mortals do that work, which has been destined from the very beginning.
O Nanak, except for the One, there is no other place at all.
The Almighty does whatever the Alnighty wills.





Sikh Women Gain Voting Rights at Bristol Gurdwara

Wahe Guru Ji Ka Khalsa Wahe Guru Ji Fateh
This is a great story that I really enjoyed writing up, now published in The Sikh Times.
Sikh Women Gain Voting Rights at Bristol Gurdwara


The Sikh Times, Aug. 31, 2008

Photo: Bristol Gurdwara

Come join with me, my sisters,
And sing songs of joy and delight.
My true friends have arrived in my home!
–Guru Nanak, Guru Granth Sahib (Sikh scripture), p. 764

The Sikh religion preaches and promotes equal rights for women. Female subordination, the practice of taking a father’s or a husband’s last name, practicing rituals that imply dependence are all alien to Sikh principles. Yet in the last 400 years, most Sikh institutions have been run by Sikh men. In the West, it is often elderly men whose concerns and politics are back in India.
–Walayti Singh Chauhan, current President of the Bristol Gurdwara


On October 14 2007, the management committee of the Sikh gurdwara (temple) at Fishponds Road, Bristol, U.K. voted seven to one for women’s suffrage. The lone opposing vote was cast by the then General Secretary Mohinderjit Singh Bhatti.

In the following weeks and months no confirmation of the historic reform was announced to the Sikh sangat (congregation). In response to this silence, several Sikh women met with the Gurdwara President Walayti Singh Chauhan. He agreed that the decision would be announced and confirmed in a letter to the Sikh community.

‘Walayti Singh took the brave step and put the committee’s agreement of October 2007 onto paper, knowing that he may face resentment.’ Gurdip Kaur, a member and women’s rights activist in her 60s, said, ‘He is responsible for ensuring that the basic tenets of Sikhi (Sikhism) were enforced; to treat all humankind as equals. He stood up for what is right.’

Sikh women from Bristol have been demanding their right to vote in gurdwara elections for decades. According to Gurdip Kaur, ‘Over seventy-five letters were sent to gurdwara committees over the last twenty-five years regarding total equality for Sikh women. These letters have all been disregarded.’


President Walayti Singh also supported the women’s plans to celebrate their success at an upcoming event. Six female Sikh speakers were contacted and several notable non-Sikhs were asked to speak including Dave Chapple, the national chair of the U.K. National Shop Stewards Network.

However, General Secretary Mohinderjit Singh Bhatti refused to allow more than two women speakers and would not approve any non-Sikh speakers.

The president and the women activists complied with the general secretary’s wishes and only two Sikh women spoke on Sunday, May 4. The outside speakers were cancelled. The activists felt that the most important part was that Sikh women had gotten the vote.

After the women spoke, General Secretary Mohinderjit Singh Bhatti took to the podium and strongly urged against women’s suffrage. He did not acknowledge that the management committee had already approved the reform.

From the perspective of the congregation, the general secretary stood on the right side of the podium and the president stood on the left. While General Secretary Mohinderjit Singh was attempting to persuade the congregation to reverse the women’s victory, Gurudip Kaur approached President Walayti Singh and asked if she might speak. He agreed and she was handed the microphone when he concluded his own speech. Seeing this, the general secretary crossed the podium and took the microphone from Gurudip Kaur despite her resistance. The following uproar resulted in a ten-minute shouting match.

Javinder Singh, who would soon be elected the new general secretary of the committee, noted, ‘Seeing an insult against an elderly woman of this sort was unbelievable; this act was totally deplorable and extremely sad.’

In response to this incident, President Walayti Singh Chauhan suspended Mohinderjit Singh Bhatti from the role of general secretary, asking him to return gurdwara documents in his possession until the incident could be investigated. The gurdwara election, scheduled for May 11, 2008, was postponed so that women members had time to register to vote and to let things cool down.

But in the days after the incident Mohinderjit Singh Bhatti failed to return the gurdwara documents. After three formal requests, legal counsel was sought by President Walayti Singh and legal proceedings were launched to retrieve the documents. The documents contained minutes of committee meetings and records of decisions made.

Mohinderjit Singh Bhatti ceased attending gurdwara services and so did the vice president and vice treasurer of the committee. His backers now included three out of the eight members of the gurdwara’s management committee, although they had originally voted for women’s suffrage in October 2007.


Seeking a quick election before the women could register, Mohinderjit Singh’s group went to the Bristol police. They explained that Walayti Singh’s term as gurdwara president was already up and they felt he had no right to postpone the election. The police agreed to mediate the dispute using five representatives from each side. Mohinderjit Singh Bhatti’s side was composed of older men, all born in the Punjab. The women’s suffrage group included a wide range of ages, with both sexes represented, four born in the U.K. and one in India. They met with the police once.

Over two weeks, plus a few extra days’ extension, Sikh women registered. By the end of this period, 170 Sikh women were ready to vote. With suffrage established, three women, Narindar Kaur, Anita Kaur and Sheila Kaur, pursued management committee positions. They became part of the pro-suffrage team, with Walayti Singh Chauhan running for another term as gurdwara president.

On election day, Sikh voters would cast only one vote, choosing one management committee team or the other. Although Mohinderjit Singh Bhatti was not on the ballot, his brother ran for the position of general secretary. On the other side, Walayti Singh’s team offered the Sikh community a revolutionary new committee with men and women, and adults of all ages.

The pro-women’s-suffrage slate was comprised of Walayti Singh Chauhan (president), Shamsher Singh Patel (vice president), Javinder Singh (general secretary), Satchet Singh (vice general secretary), Kuldip Singh (treasurer), Narindar Kaur (vice treasurer), Anita Kaur (langar jathedar), and Sheila Kaur (vice langar jathedar).

The anti-women’s-suffrage slate was comprised of Raghir Singh Nirman (president), Baldev Singh (vice president), Mohanjit Singh Bhatti (general secretary), Jaswant Singh (vice general secretary), Mohan Singh (treasurer), Satnam Singh Amritsaria (vice treasurer), Harpal Singh (langar jathedar), and Raju Singh (vice langar jathedar).

Mohinderjit Singh hired an attorney and requested that the attorney be allowed to be present during the negotiations. When the police firmly declined this request, Mohinderjit Singh’s group decided to stop attending the meetings. Instead, they informed the police that the election would be held on July 6, 2008. They added that they were hiring a private security firm to keep the peace on election day.

However, Bhatti’s team did not inform the Sikh congregation adequately about the election. Many Sikhs worshiping that Sunday did not know that it was an election day.

Fearing an outbreak in violence the Bristol police interceded and dismissed the hired security guards. They insisted that proper voting procedures be in place prior to the election. They asked for two members from each side to meet with them immediately. Over the next few weeks the two sides successfully negotiated the details of the upcoming election and signed a contract.

Mohinderjit Singh Bhatti’s side was asked by the police to stop sending out letters to the sangat, as this was confusing the members. It was agreed that an independent voting company should be brought in. The Association of Electoral Administrators agreed to conduct the election. Voting registration was again extended to allow the traditionally-minded Sikh women, who do not believe in their right to vote, to register to vote. The voting company insisted that the registration be complete a week before the election and that the final voting list be just that, the final voting list.

For the next two weeks Sikh women were encouraged to register to vote and on the last day they extended the registration by a few hours so that the latecomers standing in line could finish registering.

Yet on July 27, 2008, two days after registration had closed and the voting list had been finalized, Mohinderjit Singh Bhatti’s team insisted that they had seventy-nine more women they needed to register. The voting company refused, citing the contracts in place.

‘The anti-women’s-suffrage side were in fear that their power would be cut off forever. So they were doing everything possible to win,’ Javinder Singh, the new general secretary, commented. ‘They knew if they lost it would be the end for their sort.’

Election Day

On Sunday morning, August 3, 2008, many Sikhs from both sides arrived at the gurdwara at 8 A.M. Voting would begin at 10 A.M. Tensions were running high. The seventy-nine Sikh women who had not made the registration deadline – women who were angry that they were denied their right to vote against their right to vote – were vocal. The police blockaded the street and the media arrived. One Sikh man was arrested but later released. Some of the seventy-nine women and their supporters surrounded the voting company manager’s car in protest.

‘The Association of Electoral Administrators was very patient during the negotiation leading up to the elections,’ reported Javinder Singh. ‘They were understanding, firm and fair throughout the election process. They ensured the elections were conducted independently and professionally.’

Fifteen minutes before the election was due to start the police called a meeting of both sides, which delayed the election for two hours. The pro-women’s-suffrage side offered to let 80% of the unregistered women register and the voting company agreed. This offer was angrily dismissed and Mohinderjit Singh and his supporters boycotted the election.

The election, although delayed, went forward. 93% of the votes went to the pro-women’s-suffrage team with Mohinderjit Singh Bhatti’s side receiving only 4% of the vote. Seemingly, even if the anti-women’s-suffrage side had voted – including all seventy-nine late registering Sikh women – Mohinderjit Singh Bhatti’s side would have lost.

‘We commend the Avon & Somerset police for their understanding of the situation that we found ourselves in,’ said newly-re-elected President Walayti Singh Chauhan. ‘It was a great job done. They were sensitive and respectful of the Sikh principles at all times.’

Javinder Singh, the new general secretary added, ‘When the women bowed to our holy Sikh scripture (Guru Granth Sahib), our Guruji, to accept their official duties, they glowed with a happiness and joy that seemed almost transcendent to me. I realized I had never seen that look on the faces of those Sikh women before and that made me determined to keep fighting for the rights of Sikh sisters and women everywhere.’

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