Says Nanak


“Sikhs and Sikh studies professors share a common goal. Most agree that Sikhi is a major world religion and Sikhi should be part of the curriculum of comparative religion – elementary through graduate schools – in the West and worldwide.”

In Search of a New Understanding of Sikhs’ Responses to Academic Research

Kamalla Rose Kaur

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.
(Guru Nanak “Asa Di Vaar”, Guru Granth Sahib, 467)  1

Many Sikhs treat Sikh studies academics with open hostility, protesting with signs, writing copious articles, denouncing Sikh scholars across internet websites and forums, petitioning universities to fire Sikh studies professors, waging email attacks, calling them before high councils, and death threats have been reported. W. H. McLeod, emeritus professor at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand, warns scholars, “it must not be thought that the religious wars of such periods as the Reformation are behind us” (McLeod, “Discord in the Sikh Panth” 389).

Writing for Sikh newspapers and magazines, while participating in discussions and debates on Sikh internet forums for close to a decade, I can attest to the fact that Sikhs are quick to fight when they feel called to defend their Guru/scripture. And they will also defend their Guruji’s absolute authority to define Sikhi and what it means to be a True Sikh. McLeod reports that the cry “the Granth is in danger” can ignite a “whole-heartedly” popular cause which “ordinary members of the Panth” (ordinary members of the community) can “easily approve and support” (387). Ready to manipulate simple Sikh’s devotion for their Guruji/scripture, certain Sikhs and Sikh sects are attacking specific scholars (McLeod, “Discord”). While this is true, what W. H. McLeod and other Sikh studies academics consistently overlook is that the Sikh Guru/scripture also commands Sikhs to fight Western dualistic reality.   2 Later in this discussion, the Guru Granth’s viewpoint on duality and non-duality will be further elaborated.

Non-Sikh scholars can and should simply present Sikh teachings and beliefs without believing or practicing them. But failing to mention that the Sikh Guru Granth insists that non-dualistic consciousness is the first step to solving every problem – personal, Sikh and global – misses the most basic and primal teaching of Sikhi. The first words of the Guru Granth remain Ek On Kaar – the Creator and the Creation are One.

Arguably no religion is more devoted to its scripture than Sikhi. All Sikhs revere the Guru Granth Sahib as their living and breathing guide and teacher. Many Sikhs bow and submit to no other authority. In a 1992 article, Verne Dusenbery, an anthropologist at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota, notes that Sikhs take their scripture “to be their eternal Guru, the source of divine benefits and the central focus of Sikh worship” (386). Sikhs open the Guru Granth in the morning and put it to bed each night. It is kept wrapped in beautiful fabrics. Sikhs ask their Guruji questions and receive guidance from the Guru Granth Sahib each day. It is carried on the head, and placed on a throne/altar, and kept fanned. Sikhs keep feet bare and heads covered when around the Sikh Guru/scripture (N. Singh, 35).

“Sikhs seek its presence for all their rites and ceremonies” asserts Nikky Gurinder Kaur Singh (Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at Colby College in Maine, USA), yet she wonders that, “for whatever reasons then, be it their personal proclivities, religious ideologies, or academic methods, non-Sikh scholars have been unable to surrender themselves completely to ‘the special call’ of the Sikh text” (35). Non-Sikh scholars, particularly historians and anthropologists, often ignore scriptural studies simply because it is not their department. Yet considering the volume of attention given to the study of other scriptures, Dusenbery remarks, “it is surprising that so little attention has yet been paid to the main Sikh scripture…especially to its use in Sikh worship in India and in the diaspora” (386).

1. The Guru Granth Sahib can only fully be experienced and appreciated in Gurmukhi, the language of the Sikh Guru. All translations of the Sikh scripture are interpretations only. The Guru Granth interpretations offered here are my own, based on the Sant Singh Khalsa English translation.

2 Western dualism and the mind/body split can be traced to the Greeks, but it was René Descartes (1596-1650), French mathematician, philosopher, and physiologist, who best formulated the theory and announced, “I think therefore I am.”

Dr. Doris Jakobsh and Authority Within Sikhi

In her 2006 article, “Authority in the Virtual Sangat: Sikhism. Ritual and Identity in the Twenty-First Century”, Doris Jakobsh (Harvard trained religious studies professor at University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada) wonders where students wishing to learn about Sikhi should turn. Jakobsh explores who is an ‘authority’ on Sikhi. She artfully, quickly and accurately, maps the rough terrain of modern global Sikhi, pointing out its many places of tremendous confusion. For instance, Jakobsh briefly mentions the problems with the traditional seats of Sikh authority in India: “Sikhs in the Diaspora seem to view both the SGPC and the offices of jathedars with suspicion, given the scandals that have rocked both institutions in recent years.” Jakobsh adds, “in terms of logistics, the authority of the SGPC does not legally extend beyond Punjab.”

Jakobsh describes the generation gap, particularly among Sikhs in the west. Elderly Sikh men run most Gurdwaras and lawsuits flourish (25). Jakobsh discusses the dated ineffectiveness of the current edition of the Sikh Reht Maryada (SRM, the Sikh code of conduct). Though formulated in 1951, Jakobsh insists that the SRM is “based on the concerns and worldview of the 18th and 19th centuries” and that it fails to address modern issues, “particularly those outside of the Punjab”. Jakobsh further reports that “the Maryada is intricately intertwined with the needs and concerns of the British-inspired reform movement of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries” and thus “needs to be questioned with respect to its very presuppositions, at least in terms of today’s society.” (28).

Jakobsh particularly focuses in her article on the pros and cons of the vast global internet community known as the Sikh cyber-sangat. There are thousands of Sikh websites competing to teach True Sikhi to the English-speaking world. Obviously those with the best technicians and biggest budgets define Sikhi faster and slicker. Jakobsh observes that “it is on the WWW that questions of caste, gender, abortion, Sikh ritual identity, premarital sex, homosexuality, to name only a few, can be found almost on a daily basis. The anonymity of the Web is particularly conducive for stances taken on these often controversial issues.” (Jakobsh, 29).

As insightful and helpful as Jakobsh’s overview of these various authorities on Sikhi proves, when she considers the Guru Granth Sahib as the ultimate authority on Sikhs and Sikhi, she simply doesn’t see it: “Notwithstanding the spectacular beauty and timeless truths embodied within these hymns, it is nonetheless difficult to find specific answers to …very difficult questions.” (27).

Yet, mysteriously, many Sikhs insist that the Guru Granth is, in fact, the only authority they submit to, and no other. Sikhs seek and receive their marching orders (vak laina or hukam laina) every single day from the Guru Granth. Sikhs soldiers carry the Guru Granth into war so that they may ask questions and receive comfort and up-to-the-moment directions from their Guruji. Historically, crowds of Sikhs have presented a single question to the Sikh Guru Granth and they have, as one, agreed and acted on the Sikh Guru’s instructions regarding their query (P. Singh 271).

Jakobsh acknowledges that the writers of the Guru Granth were, “great poet-saints” who “criticized many of the evils in society” but she insists that “ they did it within the context of religious life…These poets were not attempting to reform the social order per se, but had as their focus devotional practices of the day.” (27).

Except that the Sikh Guru Granth teaches that the spiritual and the earthly are One and the same. There is no distinction between devotional practices and attempting to reform oppressive societies within Sikhi. Praying and singing and communion with the Sikh Guru/scripture, doing service, defending human rights, going to work, eating, grooming, paying your bills, fighting a battle, shopping, relaxing, are equal and harmonious daily Sikh devotional practices. Guidance from the Guru Granth is obtained by praying and opening the book at random (invoking synchronicity) to receive instructions. The Guru Granth Sahib advises some to slow down and some to speed up, some to go within and others to step out boldly this day.

Jakobsh also discusses “the great poet-saints” and the historic context of their lives and missions without acknowledging that Sikhs also experience their Guru’s Voice as timeless, and timely, profoundly relevant right now. Pashaura Singh (Chair of Sikh Studies, University of California at Riverside) notes that the Guru Granth is, “a living Guru who always speaks with truth and power on the subject at hand” (P. Singh, 275). The Sikh Guru’s concern with politics has not changed, nor have the core issues behind human politics changed. When asked about the bomb, the Guru Granth might easily speak of tyrants deploying drunk elephants as weapons of mass destruction. The political scenes the Guru Granth paints, easily and significantly remind today’s readers of modern world rulers and situations.

Jakobsh is not a Sikh nor is she required to be. Yet I suggest to all Sikh studies professors that it would prove polite, positive and politically effective to explain to each other and to  students that Sikhs claim that the dualisms between past and present, between the poet-sants who wrote the Guru Granth Sahib, and the active Voice of the living and opinionated Sikh Guruji, blur and merge for students of the Guru Granth. Dualisms between being warriors and being saints, between spiritual activities and practical ones, between mind and body, between Creator and the Creation, tend to evaporate upon engagement with the Sikh Guru – or so the Guru Granth preaches and Sikhs profess.

The Guru Granth Sahib’s Teachings on the Intellect and Intellectuals

While academics overlook the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh Guru does not ignore them back. What follows is a brief summary of the Guru Granth Sahib’s teachings on the intellect and intellectuals. The Sikh Guruji speaks a great deal about the human mind and also about scholars and teachers. Using the online search engine of the Sant Singh Khalsa translation of the Guru Granth Sahib1, I discovered the word scholar is used 115 times in the text. Intellect appears 185 times. Cynics and cynicism are discussed 155 times, and words derived from the word ego appear 1078 times.

More copious yet are the Guru Granth’s references to gurmukhs and manmukhs, the two categories into which the Sikh Guru, with characteristic humor and droll irony, bifurcates humanity. Manmukhs are people who divide people, and everything else, into categories. Gurmukhs are people who don’t.

Gurmukhs maintain constant awareness that the Creator/Creation is One Being (EkOnKaar). Gurmukhs believe that the Beloved One is awake and living among us, and through us. Gurmukhs leave the planet a better place than they found it. Gurmukhs speak and act like the Sikh Guru/scripture:

Duality dwells in the consciousness of the people of the world.
Humans destroy by sexual obsessions, rage, violence and egotism.
Whom should I call the second, when there is only the One?
The One Immaculate Reality is pervading all.

(Pause and reflect on this)

Our dual-minded evil intellect speaks of a second.
Those who harbor duality come and go and die.
In the earth and in the sky, I do not see any second.
Among all the women and the men, the Light is shining.
In the lamps of the sun and the moon, I see Light.
Dwelling among all is my ever-youthful Beloved One.
Mercifully, Creator/Creation has tuned my consciousness to One.
Guruji has led me to understand the Infinity of One.
A Gurmukh experiences only the One.
Subduing duality, we come to realize the Word of the Shabad
(we experience the true teachings).
The Divine Command prevails throughout all worlds.
From the One, all have arisen.
(Guru Nanak, Guru Granth Sahib, 223)

Manmukhs, in comparison, are at best intelligent people who act out of egotism and promote dualism. Manmukhs navigate from selfish goals and self-centeredness; they leave the planet a worse place than they found it:

The manmukhs stand there and dry up;
They do not bear any fruit,
And they do not provide any shade.
Don’t even bother to sit near them-they have no home or village.
They are cut down and burnt each day;
They have neither the Shabad (the teachings)
Nor the Naam (non-dualistic consciousness)
(Guru Amar Das, Guru Granth Sahib, 66)

The Sikh Guru Granth teaches that manmukhs become gurmukhs by union, which involves experiencing the One Reality or life-itself, as the waheguru or Wondrous Teacher. While Sikhs believe that the Wondrous Teacher is a universal force within all and accessible to all, for them, the writings of the Guru Granth Sahib are considered the very voice of that Wondrous Teacher.

The Sikh Teacher also divides intellectual pursuits into these same two categories. We can use our intellect to experience and teach non-dualistic awareness, love, integrity, tolerance, and union, or we use our intellect for ego gratification, to impress, for status and career advancement, for money, glamour, for the sake of arguing and debating, or out of the very love of dualism:

The intellect is a bird;
Depending on its actions,
It is sometimes high,
And sometimes low.
Sometimes it is perched on the sandalwood tree,
And sometimes it is on the branch of the poisonous swallow-wort.
Sometimes, it soars through the heavens.
O Nanak, our Only Master leads us on,
According to the Hukam (command) of the Creator/Creation’s Way.
(Guru Nanak, Guru Granth Sahib, 147)

The Sikh Guru Granth instructs Sikhs to shun egotism and egotists, and to denounce cynics. Sikh egotists and cynics abound, of course, but it may be easier for Sikhs to protest against the perceived greater source of cynicism, that heartless battlefield of brains, Western academia:

Turn away, O my mind, turn away.
Turn away from the cynic.
False is the love of the false.
Break the ties, O my mind, so your bondage shall be broken.
Break your ties with cynics.

(Pause and reflect)

One who enters a house filled with soot is blackened.
Run far away from such people!
When they meet the Guru
They escape the bondage of the three dispositions. 3
(Guru Arjan, Guru Granth Sahib, 535)

 3. Bondage of the three dispositions or “gunas” - tamas, rajas, sattwa.
Refers to the tendency to. 1. be lazy, 2. be constantly busy, and/or
3. the need to be high.

Making Peace

Sikhs and Sikh studies professors share a common goal. Most agree that Sikhi is a major world religion and Sikhi should be part of the curriculum of comparative religion – elementary through graduate schools – in the West and worldwide. Humans prosper and flourish through education and world citizens should understand the basic principles and teachings of Buddhism, Judaism, Humanism, Christianity, Hinduism, Secular Materialism, Shamanism, Islam, and Sikhi too.

Yet Sikhs do not want Sikh studies professors defining Sikhi and/or directly impacting Sikh politics, history and autonomy. And Sikhs studies professors do not wish to experience hate campaigns directed at them. And no one likes the Western media coverage of these unholy wars except, presumably, the Sikhs and Sikh sects who send out the press releases.

Joseph T. O’Connell (a professor of Religious studies at St. Michael’s College, University of Toronto) assures Sikhs that modern university study of Sikh religion is not a Christian missionary scheme “to undermine the faith of Sikhs” nor are Western universities “in collusion” with the Government of India to suppress Sikhs.

The thrust of such a campaign of misinformation is to encourage a climate of paranoia which tends to alienate Sikhs from the academic community.”(O’Connell, 274-75)

Mistrust of Western colonial mentality and strong resistance to having Oxford Press, or other powerful outsiders, take the role of authority on Sikhi are other concerns that Sikhs express. Thus Sikhs protest Sikh studies, and Sikhs also endow Sikh studies. Sikh studies programs need to attract students and Sikh funding. How to proceed?

Again I advise Sikh studies professors to start afresh by simply reporting and exploring how Sikhs take all questions to the Guru Granth Sahib. For instance, I asked the Sikh Guruji about how peace can be established between Western academics and Sikhs, and received this gem of a message about letting the jewel of the Sikh Guru’s teachings shine:

That which was upside-down has been set upright;
The deadly enemies and adversaries have become friends.
In the darkness, the jewel shines forth,
The impure understanding has become pure.
(Guru Arjan, Guru Granth, 402)

Dusenbery also suggests that, in the pursuit of Sikh studies, “it seems clear that one must recognize some strongly nondualistic aspects of Sikh social thought and ritual practice, especially in relation to the perceived power of the Word.” (390). Dusenbery argues that dualism of language is so entrenched in the West, that it is “commonsensical for Westerners as to make a nondualistic alternative seem like hocus-pocus.” (402). He implies that Western scholars have failed to acknowledge and discuss the importance of non-dualism within Sikhi because they can’t compute it, and/or they can’t believe it, but not because they hate Sikhs and Sikhism, like many Sikhs too quickly assume. Dusenbery advises that Sikh studies academics need to expand their analytic vocabulary “to overcome our conceptual dualisms…challenge analytic approaches growing out of the dominant Western ideology of language.” (389).

Of course, many academics may not agree with the Sikh Guru’s teachings. Sikhs can and do accept, understand, and tolerate diverse viewpoints. Also, quite reasonably, Sikh studies scholars may feel it is enough to simply observe and report that Sikhs find the ultimate authority for their religious beliefs “by turning to the Guru Granth Sahib and accepting it alone as supreme and absolute authority.” (McLeod, Sikhism, 266). McLeod also notes that non-Sikhs “may question its sufficiency” but he pushes that it must be “acknowledged that Sikhs have a better record of harmony and accord than other religious systems claim.” This is correct, and also honest, sincere and high praise.

Yet by refusing to accept the Guru Granth Sahib’s authority, or consider the Sikh Guru’s perceived “aliveness” enough to discuss Sikh teachings about dualism, the mind, human intellect, pundits and scholars, Sikh studies professors – no matter how well-educated they may be by Western standards – can expect to continue to appear ignorant, cowardly, lacking in honor, or just plain wrong, to many Sikhs.

McLeod writes that “by maintaining their trust in their Guru, which is the
Granth, the Sikh people uphold a belief that stands them in abundantly good stead.” (266). Sikhs agree, of course. The Sikh Guru Granth recommends that before we study anything, and certainly before we study Sikhi, that we all,
Sikhs and non-Sikhs, fanatic Sikhs and Sikh studies professors, pause and reflect and invoke Unity. Let us take a moment to question our motivations and agendas, lest we cause a war, or other unholy result.

Give up your pride and stubborn self-conceit;
death, yes, your death,
is always near at hand.
Resonate with the One.
Says Nanak, listen you fool:
without experiencing, and meditating, and dwelling on the One,
your life is uselessly wasting away.
(Guru Arjan, Guru Granth Sahib, 1308 )

Works Cited:

Dusenbery, Verne A. “The Word as Guru: Sikh Scripture and the Translation
Controversy”, History of Religions, 31.4, (May, 1992): 385-402

Jakobsh, Doris, “Authority in the Virtual Sangat: Sikhism. Ritual and
Identity in the Twenty-First Century” Heidelberg Journal of Religions on the
Internet 2.1 (2006) 24-40

McLeod, W. H. “Discord in the Sikh Panth “ Journal of the American Oriental
Society, 119. 3 (Jul. – Sep., 1999) 81-389

McLeod, W.H. Sikhism, Penguin Press, London (1997)

O’Connell, Joseph T. “The Fate of Sikh studies in North America,” The
Transmission of Sikh Heritage in the Diaspora, ed. Pashaura Singh and N. Gerald
Barrier (New Delhi: Manohar, 1996), 274-75.

Singh, Nikky-Guninder Kaur. “Translating Sikh scripture into English.” Sikh
Formations: 3.1: (June 2007) 33-49

Singh, Pashaura. The Guru Granth Sahib: Canon, Meaning and Authority Oxford
University Press, 2000.

Sri Guru, Search Engine



Filed under Kamalla Rose Kaur's Writings, Sikhi, THE VOICE OF THE SIKH GURU/SCRIPTURE

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.






Guru Argan

page 848 SGGS

Seek the Beloved, O fortunate ones,

and join the Saadh Sangat,

the company of honest, humble and holy people.

Sing the Glorious Praises of the Source of the Universe,

forever, imbued with Love.

Serve only the Beloved One, forever,

and you shall obtain the rewards you desire.

O Nanak, seek the Sanctuary of the Supreme One,

meditate and thus ride the many waves of the mind.

I shall not forget the Beloved One, even for an instant.

Creator/Creation has blessed me with everything.

By great good fortune, I have met the Infinite One;

as Gurmukh (someone who follows the Sikh Guru’s Teachings),

I contemplate my Divine Husband.

Holding me by the arm, the Beloved lifted me up,

and pulled me out of the darkness, and made me His own.

Reflecting on the Naam,

Nanak lives;

my mind and heart are cooled and soothed.

What virtues of Yours can I speak, O Beloved, O Searcher of hearts?

Meditating, meditating, remembering You,

I have crossed over to the other shore.

Singing Glorious Praises of the Source of the Universe,

all my desires got fulfilled.

Nanak is saved, reflecting on the Beloved One,

who is the only real Lord and Master of all.

Sublime are those eyes, which are drenched with the Love of the Beloved One.

Gazing upon Creator/Creation, my desires are fulfilled;

I have met the One and Only, the Friend of my soul.

I have obtained the Ambrosial Nectar of Divine Love,

and now the taste of corruption is insipid and distasteful to me.

O Nanak, as water mingles with water, my light has merged into the Light.

1 Comment


Walking with Guru Arjan


By Kamalla Rose Kaur
April 05, 2003

A few days ago, I asked the Siri Guru Granth what I should write about and I got an absolutely wonderful poem on page 520, sung by Guru Arjan. I copied it, edited the sexist English language out and improved the word flow a bit. Then I saved the interpretation so that I could write an article about it when I had the time.

Days later, when I had a few moments to think about writing another article about the Siri Guru Granth (Sikh scripture and only Teacher), my mood no longer seemed to fit Guruji’s earlier offering, so I decided to ask the Guru Granth for an alternate inspiration.

I sat down and prayed.

And then I opened the Siri Guru Granth Sahib to the same poem on the same page.

1430 pages to choose from and I landed on exactly the same poem, on page 520 of the Sikh scripture.

“OK, OK!” I muttered my apologies, “You want me to write an article about this specific Guru Arjan poem. I get it!”

So I dutifully reread the hymn very carefully.

And I found I didn’t have one thing to say about it.

Rather, it seemed while rereading it that I was suddenly out in nature, with the day off from all labors, including artistic, taking a walk with an ever youthful Guru Arjan – simply listening to his thoughts on life and God and love and people.

One moment I saw in my mind’s eye Guru Arjan addressing the God/Nature force of Creation all around us, and then, in the next stanza, he would seem to turn and speak to me in an intimate tone – teaching me about humanity – specifically my own humanity. Then Guru Arjan would return to his praiseful conversation with the Great God of the forests, streams, rocks and wind – back and forth, talking to me and talking to the Creator/Creation as he walked the forest trail!

What an amazing friend the Sri Guru Granth is – the kind who leaves me speechless, and smiling, refreshed with humor restored! The Sikh Guruji is, I find, the very kind of friend that Guru Arjan describes in this hymn of his.

Guru Arjan writes:

Crossing the stream, my foot does not get stuck!

I am filled with love for You, Creator/Creation!

O Infinite ONE, my heart is attached to Your Feet.

You are Nanak’s raft and boat.

There are certain people in this world – the very sight of them banishes my

They are my only real friends.

I have searched the whole world;

O Nanak, and how rare are such persons!

You come to mind, O God, when I behold Your true devotees.

The filth of my mind is removed

when I keep the the company of the honestly humble and holy.

The fear of birth and death is dispelled

while meditating on the Word of God’s humble servants everywhere.

Such sants untie the bonds, and all the demons evaporate.

They inspire people on this planet to love the One who established the entire Universe.

The seat of the inaccessible and infinite Creator/Creation is the highest of the high.

So night and day, with each and every breath, think on the Cosmic One.

When the Beloved One becomes merciful we discover the society of compassionate people.

In this wondrous forest of the world, there is chaos and confusion

shrieks emanate from the highways.

I am in love with You, O my Divine Spouse, my Beloved One.

O Nanak, I travel through this jungle in joy.

– Siri Guru Granth Sahib, page 520.

1 Comment

Filed under Kamalla Rose Kaur's Writings, Sikhi, THE VOICE OF THE SIKH GURU/SCRIPTURE



Guru Arjan SGGS page 924

Friend, my Friend – standing so near to me is my Friend!

Beloved, my Beloved – with my eyes, I have seen my Beloved!

With my eyes I see my Beloved

sleeping upon the bed within each and every heart.

My Beloved is the sweetest ambrosial nectar.

My Beloved is with all, but cannot be found;

the fool does not know this taste.

Intoxicated with the wine of Maya (worldly concerns)

mortals babble on about trivial things.

Giving into illusions, we cannot see the Beloved One.

Says Nanak, without Guruji’s help, you may not comprehend

the Friend who is standing near.


My God – the Support of the breath of life- this is my God.

Merciful One, my God is the Merciful One- the Giver of gifts.

The Giver of gifts is infinite and unlimited;

deep within each and every heart.

My Beloved is so beautiful!

My Beloved created Maya (worldly illusions; everything you can’t take with you).

Maya, so powerfully pervasive – enticer of all beings and creatures.

One whom my Beloved rescues sings praise to the True Naam,

and contemplates the Word of Guruji’s Shabad (the SGGS, the scripture we are reading).

Says Nanak, one who is pleasing to my God;

well, my God is very dear to that person.


I take pride, I take pride in my Beloved.

I take pride in my God.

Wise, my God is the source of wisdom.

Creator/Creation, our only real Master, is all-wise, and all-knowing.

All-wise and all-knowing, and forever supreme.

The Naam of my Beloved is Ambrosial Nectar.

Those who have this wondrous destiny recorded upon their foreheads;

taste it,

and are suddenly satisfied with the Source of the Universe.

They meditate and find the Beloved.

They place their pride in the Beloved One.


Says Nanak, my Beloved is seated on eternity’s throne;

which is the only True royal court.


This song of joy, my Beloved’s song of joy;

listen to this song of my joy in my God.

The wedding song, my Beloved’s wedding song;

the soundless sound of the Cosmic One’s wedding song resounds.

The soundless sound resonates,

and the Word of this Shabad (hymn) resounds.

Join me, join me, in continuous, continual rejoicing!


Meditate on MY God! Everything will be obtained.

My God does not die, or come or go.

Thirst is quenched, and hopes are fulfilled;

the Gurmukh (one who takes the SGGS as Guru/Guide/teacher)

meets with the absolute, unmanifest One.


Says Nanak, in the home of my God,

songs of joy are continuously, continually heard.


Leave a comment




The shepherd is in the field for only a short time, so it is for us in this world.

Practicing falsehood, people build their homes.

Wake up! Wake up!

O sleepers, see that the traveling merchant is leaving.

(Pause and reflect on this)

Go ahead and build your houses, if you think you will stay here forever and ever.

Yet your body shall fall, and your soul shall depart.

If you only really knew this.

Why do you cry out and mourn wildly for the dead?

Creator/Creation is, and shall always be.

You mourn for that person, but who will mourn for you?

You are engrossed in worldly entanglements, my Siblings, and you are practicing falsehood.

The dead person does not hear anything at all.

Your cries are heard only by other people.

The Infinite One causes the mortal to sleep, O Nanak.

And the Infinite One can awaken you again!

When you understand your true home, you will then become lucid, aware – awakened!

If you can take your wealth with you, then go ahead and gather wealth around yourself.

See the picture?

Reflect upon it, and understand.

Make your best deal and obtain the true merchandise, or else you shall regret it later.

Abandon your vices, and practice virtue, and you shall obtain the essence of reality.

Plant the seed of Truth in the soil of your life, and be a good farmer.

Only then will you be a true merchant, an honest business person.

These are profits that you can take with you!

If the Beloved One shows you Mercy, you will meet your True Spiritual Guide, Guru, this life.

Contemplating true teachings, you can easily come to understand.

Chant the Naam, hear the Naam, and deal only in the Naam (constant awareness of the One).

As is the profit, so is the loss – this is the way of the world.

Whatever pleases the Divine Will – this, O Nanak, is glory enough for me. ”

– Page 418, Siri Guru Granth Sahib

Leave a comment


DIRECTION by Livia Kaur



Once I was standing on the side of the road, there was total darkness.

An old sikh man was passing by dressed in white , passing so close to me that I noticed him.

I said in a loud voice “It is so dark I cannot see. Where are you going?”.

He answered, “I am going to the Gurdwara”.

“How can you see the direction to the Gurdwara, how can you see in the dark?”


The Gurmukh knows the Divine Light,

while the foolish manmukh (egotist, talking head)

gropes around in the darkness.

Sri Guru Granth Sahib Page 34

Engrossed in egotism, the world perishes.

Without the Guru (True Teacher/Teachings), there is utter darkness

Sri Guru Granth Sahib Page 39


Like a lamp lit in the darkness, the spiritual wisdom of Guruji (the SGGS) dispels ignorance.

Sri Guru Granth Sahib Page 54

One who does not fear the Fearless One shall live in fear; without the Guru (True Teacher/Teachings), there is only pitch darkness.

Sri Guru Granth Sahib Page 55

Without Guruji, there is only pitch darkness; without the Shabad (True Teachings), understanding is not obtained

Sri Guru Granth Sahib Page 78


The entire night of your life has passed away in darkness; but by serving the True Guru, the Divine Light shall dawn within.

.Sri Guru Granth Sahib Page 87


The Divine Light shines in their hearts, and like the sun which removes the darkness of night, it dispels the darkness of ignorance.

Sri Guru Granth Sahib Page 124

Without the Shabad, there is only darkness within.