Sikh Meditation Essay, Research Paper
WHAT TO MEDITATE UPON ?
Gurbani orders that while repeating NAM one should meditate upon the Formless Lord. One should not meditate on only painting or photograph even if it is of one of the Guru’s. Gurbani also forbids to meditate upon the form of a living person. In support of the above fundamental principle quotation, from Gurbani, if all the ten Gurus are given below :
“O mortal, meditate on NAM only. In this manner you shall go with honour to your
“He, who has created the creation and who has fashioned the forms, the Guru-ward , contemplate that Infinite Lord, who has no end and limit.”
“Meditate and remain tranced in the Immaculate Lord who is Self-Dependant, being Formless does not eat anything and is Fearless.”
The devotee should not meditate on any thing else except the above mentioned entity because all others are perishable and only NAM is imperishable and ever eternal. In Sidh Gosht (Discussions with Sidhs) the Sidhs put a direct questions to Shri Guru Nanak Dev:
“Whom should one deem pervading here and there? On what one should meditate so that mind may merge in mind itself?
In answer to this question Shri Guru Nanak Dev Says:
“One should deem the one Lord pervading here and there (with in and without). O’ Nanak by obeying True Guru’s will the fire (of desire) is quenched.”
When the fire of desire is quenched the mind merges in to the ever eternal Go. In Jap-jee Sahib Shri Guru Nanak Dev says that those who have experienced the stages mentioned in the four stanzas of ‘heaving NAM’ and four stanzas of ‘obeying NAM’ they become the chosen and about them Guru Nanak Says “the chosen centre their attention on one God alone.”
There are only a few couplets of Shri Guru Angad Dev in Gurbani. He says:
“They, who meditate on NAM, they depart (from this world) after putting in toil.
O’ Nanak their faces are brightly lit (in the court of Lord) and many get emancipation along with them i.e. by living in their company and meditating on NAM.”
NAM means that All powerful world-created. All pervading, Fearless, Revenge less, Immortal entity who is unborn and Self-Illuminating. Shri Guru Arjan Dev defines NAM as under;
“NAM created and sustains all the creatures
NAM created and supports the regions of the earth and systems…
NAM created and supports all the worlds and spheres”
Shri Guru Amar Das Says:
“ O’ Silly soul, meditate on one Lord alone and you shall cross (the world-ocean) in an instant.”
The above quotation clearly implies that only meditation on one Lord would help in crossing World Ocean. Meditation on anything else would not help in crossing world-ocean and would keep the soul bound to creation. Shri Guru Amar Das further says:-
“ Meditate on NAM of the Destroyer of sins only the destroyer of sins.”
“One should meditate on NAM and deep NAM in the mind. But this understanding one obtains from the Guru.”
The True Guru tells his followers to meditate on NAM but false gurus tell their disciples to meditate on some thing else and mislead them. So one should be beware of them.
“Meditating on NAM, the destroyer of Sins, o’ my soul you shall obtain honour in the Lord’s court.
All your misdeeds and sins shall be erased and you shall be rid of self-conceit and ego (Ego is the parent body from which lust, wrath, avarice, attachment and pride spring up. By meditating on NAM even this parent body would be destroyed).”
“I am a sacrifice unto those who meditate on the Formless Lord – Destroyer of the Sins.”
Those who do not meditate on the Formless and meditate in something else, which is a part of this creation, they can never realize their self. Shri Guru Ram Das Says :
“ O’ my soul contemplate the Fearless Lord, who is true, True, and ever True. He is Revengeless Immortal entity. Unborn and Self-Illumined.
O’ my mind night and day (continuously) meditate on Form less and Self-Sustained Lord.”
The devotee has to recite and contemplate NAM and has to meditate on NAM it self cwhich has to meditate on NAM it self which has been defined above.
“ O’ Destroyer of the Sins, who meditate on you,
O’ sire the Lord, those persons live in peace in this world.
They get emancipated and liberated who meditate on You.
O’ Sire God. Their Yama’s nose is cut.
They who meditate on the Fearless, the Fearless Lord, all their fear is shaken off.
They who serve, they who serve my Sire God, They are absorbed in the personality of Lord God.
Slave Nanak is a sacrifice unto them.”
“He who calls himself a disciple of the great True Guru should rise early and meditate on God’s NAM.”
Shri Guru Arjan Dev orders:
“With in your mind meditate on the Ever-Eternal, All-mighty, Immortal entity.”
In Salok Sehskirte Shri Guru Arjan Dev explains the qualities of a saint as under:
“ His instructions is repeat Lords NAM Meditate on the All-pervading, All competent Lord. Deem pain and pleasure like and asopt an immaculate and unimic all way of life.”
“O’ Nanak, meditate on the supreme Lord, who has blessed you with life.”
Devotees should not meditate on any other entity except the Supreme Lord. Shri Guru Arjan Dev is a sacrifice unto them who meditate on the Limitless-Lord.”
“Nanak is ever a sacrifice unto those who meditate on the Limitless-Lord.”
A direct question was put to Shri Guru Arjan Dev as to what he meditated upon. In answer he says:
“ Within my mind I meditate over the imperishable entity and day and night Remember him.”
Shri Guru Teg Bahadur the ninth Guru also says the same things that meditate on God. Quotations given below :-
“ Within your mind enshrine his NAM who praises the vedas and puranas (Hindu religious scriptures) sing.”
Shri Guru Gobind Singh the tenth Guru says:
“ ‘ Narad’, fourmouthed Brahma and ‘Rumna’ Saint all sung his praises. The vedas and the katebs (Religious scripture of west i.e koran, Bible, Angeel and Toorait) could not comprehend completely and all failed to find his, limits, Indra, the husband of uma (name of a fairy) could not know his bounds and the ‘Sidhs’ and their leader( Gorakh nath) and the saints meditated on him.
Meditate on that entity in your mind whose unlimited power is pervading throughout the creation.
Some believed in Brahma (God of birth) and some say Shiva(God of death)is the Lord.
Some say Vishnu (God who feeds)is the hero of the creation, by reciting his name Crores of sins are destroyed.
O’ fool think about it thousand times that’s all (of them i.e Brahma,Visnu and Shiva) leave the soul after death.
Meditate on him and enshrine him in the Crore of your heart who existed in past, exist now and would ever exist in future.”
“ Remember the Ever-Awake, Pure-Knowledge (God) day and night and without that one’ the mind should never think of another.
The soul should have complete faith that he exists and lobe him from the core of the heart and should never believe in fasts, graves and deras (headquarters or branch headquarters) of different sects. One should not believe in Teeraths (so-called religions places on the band of the river etc where people wash their bodies to allegedly destroy their sins), giving alms, feeding animals and other methods of controlling different organs of the body and never care for any one else except that one God.
If that Almighty, Pure-bliss (God) is experienced in one’s mind then that man himself become Pure and should be accepted as the Pure-one.”
“Whatever the Lord told me personally that I say to the world.
Whosoever meditates on the Lord would go to heavens.
“Those who meditate on you daily after getting up, they are real saints. At longlast they would get emancipated and obtain God.”
“Don’t meditate on any one else. Don’t repeat the name of any one else. Meditate on the Supreme (God).
“Your countless sins would be destroyed.”
“Who so ever meditated on you NAM O’ God sufferings and sins never went near him.”
“Those who meditate on others (except God) they continue to indulge in unnecessary discussions and in this manner waste their lives.”
“ O’ God (I pray that ) I should never meditate on any on else except you. Whatever I desire I must always get that from you. O’ God.”
In the couplets starting with the words “I bow to One God who was in the beginning i.e. ever before creation, Shri Guru Gobind Singh has sung praises of the formless God and in the end says, “Who so ever has meditated on that entity with single mindedness and has never forgotten Him ever for a moment, he got emancipation from the clutches of death and would never come in to existences again.”
Those friends, who meditate on the paintings of the Gurus, say that Gurbani says that disciples should meditate on the Photo of the Guru and quote the following lines:
“Meditate in your mind on the ‘Moorat’ (Photo) of the Guru and instruct your mind with the word of the Guru. Enshrine the ‘charan’ (feet) of the Guru in your heart and always bow to God. “Those friends who preach meditation on the living Guru they quote the following lines from Gurbani:
“The best entity to meditate upon is the ‘Akal-Moorat’ (ever living personality) of the saints.
Let us consider the above two quotations. In these, the words ‘Gur’ ‘Moorat’ and ‘charan’ have been used. It is an accepted fact that in every language, one word can have name meanings and correct meaning of a word is known by examining the context in which it has been used. For example we have a word ‘Dhan’ in Punjabi. It means, ‘wealth, ‘wife’ and even extremely respected.
We will have to gibe it one of the above meaning as per the context in which it has been used. If a person knows only one meaning of a word ‘Dhan’ and uses that meaning always without caring for the context the learned would treat him as a fool and similarly the word ‘Gur’ ‘Moorat’ and ‘Charan’ have other meanings and do not always mean Guru. Photo and feet respectively. But if one know only one meaning of these words he would always use that meaning without caring for the context. For example if we say ‘God’ while talking with a kashmiri he would always think of ‘fish’ as in Kashmiri language fish is called god. Similarly, if a Kashmiri says god, meaning fish, to an English knowing person who does not know Kashmiri language he would think about ‘God’ the Creator. This confusion results from the fact that Kashmiri does not know English and the other person does not know Kashmiri language.so they take their own meanings for the word god. Similarly, our friends know only one meaning of the words i.e. Gur means Guru, Moorat means Photo and Charan means feet. Let us examine other meanings of these words as used in Gurbani, Shri Guru Arjan Dev gives the definition of Guru as under:
“Gur is Almighty, Gur is Form-less, Gur is beyond the comprehension of mind and wisdom, us unfathomable and Limitless. Ineffable are the praises of Gur. How can one say the praises (of Gur).”
“The Gur is the Gifter, Gur is Almighty and Omnipotent, Gur is All-pervading. Gur is the Supreme Lord, the Transcendent Master. Gur floats (saves) the drowning i.e. emancipates from the clutches of creation.
There is no one at par with the Gur. I have searched and all the universes.”
“The Gur is omnipresent Lord. The Gur is the Merciful Master, the Gur is the Ever-Eternal Creator,”
“The Transcenendant Lord and the Supreme Master is Himself the Gur. Meditate Day and night (continuously) on the Gur.”
“The One Supreme Lord who is pervading in all is the Gur.”
“My true Gur is Ever-Eternal and Immortal. He neither is born nor dies. He is Imperishable Almighty Lord and pervades amongst all.”
“The Gur is the Gifter, the Gur is the Home of Peace, the Gur is the light of three worlds (earth, skies and nether worlds). The Gur is the Immortal Entity O’ Nanak and by having faith in him (Gur ) from the core of the heart, place is obtained.”
“The Gur is Pure light (knowledge). The Gur is Unfathomable and Inscrutable. By serving (i.e. obeying instructions of the Gur, the knowledge of the three (earth, skies and nether-words) is obtained.”
The above quotations (at Page 137/15 and Page 1125/11) are of Shri Guru Nanak Dev. He has used the word Guru only for the Limitless, Supreme Master, Formless Lord (God) and the remaining Gurus have also used this word for God. In all the above quotations, the meaning of the word ‘Gur’ is clearly God.
Now we examine the meaning of the word ‘Moorat’. Moorat means Photo, Person, entity, existence and even word. Bhai Gurdas says, “Guru’s Photo is the word of the Guru. In Mool-Mantar (Fundamental teaching defining God) the Formless Lord ahs been defined as Timeless Entity (Akal – Moorat) Akal Moorat means Deathless timeless Reality, Entity. Shri Guru Arjand Dev says:
“His sight (experience) is fruitful. He is Unborn and self-illumined. He is immortal (Timeless/Deathless) Entity (Akal-Moorat) who never perishes.”
So the word ‘Moorat’ also means entity as mentioned in above quotations. Now we examine the meanings of word ‘Charan’.
This word has many; meanings but it is most commonly used to mean I) feet of the body and ii) to mean word, instructions, Guru’s order or Guru’s directions. These meanings are given in the encyclopaedia of Shri Guru Granth Sahib (Mahan Kosh written by Bhai Kahan Signgh Nabha). It is necessary to relate a personal incident here. Once a sikh scholar who used to meditate on the Photo (painting of Guru), sais to “Please don’t attach different meanings (to the word ‘Charan’) by inferences. Bow at the Lotus feet (charan) of the Guru clearly means at the feet of the body of the Guru. So one should meditate on the Photo and enshrine feet of the Photo (painting) of Shri Guru Nanak Dev in the mind as Gurbani orders ‘Enshrine feet (charan) of Guru in the heart, “The author replied:
If we accept that the word ‘charan has only meaning ‘feet of the body’ then according to following lines of Shri Guru Nanak Dev:
“Eradicate self conceit from within thee and remain attached to ‘Charan’ of the Guru.”
Then again, Shri Guru Nanak Dev says:
“”He enshrines the ‘moorat’ of True-Guru in his mind and attains the boons which he desires.”
According to these lines also; if we take the meaning of the word ‘moorat’ only as Photo image, Shri Guru Nanak Dev must have a Guru; in physical form.
Hearing this the sikh scholar got perplexed. The author explained that if we accept that ‘Charan’ only means feet of the body and this word has no other meaning, then we will have to accept that God has feet & so as a physical body/form which is against the fundamental principles of Gurbani, ‘God’ as defined by Shri Guru Nanak Dev is Gorm0lexx.the sikh scholar:
God, being formless can’t have feet and the word ‘Charan’ has not been used along with God in Shri Guru Granth Sahib.
The author gave following quotations from Gurbani in which the word ‘Charan’ has been used along with the word ‘God’:
“By abiding God’s ‘Charan’ in the mind, the sins of many births flee’
“Enshrine God’s ‘Charan’ in your heart and mind and you shall cross the terrible ocean (of creation).”
“Have the prop of God’s ‘Charan’ in your mind and you shall be rid of birth and death.”
“God’s ‘Charan’ he places within his mind.
O’ Nanak such a person attains to the prosperous Lord (God).
“Within you mind sing the God’s ‘Charan’ O’ man.
Ever pondering, reflecting and meditating on the Entity (moorat) which is the embodiment of bliss and peace (means Entity of God) you shall be comforted.”
“Repeating God’s ‘Charan’, I am a sacrifice un to HIM”
”Repeating God’s ‘Charan’ I got emancipated.”
“Meditating on the God’s Lotus ‘Charan’, O’ Nanak all the fellows in the company are saved.”
“Though the Guru’s Word (Gurbani) which is the mine of jewels, the God’s ‘Charan’ are meditated upon.”
“I dwell (meditate) on the God’s lotus ‘charan’ in my; ;mind.
“I have the support of God’s lotus ‘charan’.”
The author said that in all the above quotations the word ‘charan’ has been used along with the word God. Are the feet of the body; if we take this meaning of the word ‘charan’ ever sung or repeated/ recited. Then God is Formless. Only body form can have feet. How can the formless have feet. The sikh scholar got extremely perplexed and agitated and with a bit of wrath asked the author as to which meaning he attributed to the word ‘Charan’ in the above quotations. The author said, “Who am I to attribute meanings. The meanings which Satguru (True Guru) has given to this word in Shri Guru Granth Sahib I will repeat only that which I s as under:
“Enshrine the ‘Charan’ in the mind is enshrining the ‘word’ of true Guru in the mind. Nanak has clearly under stood this (principle)”.
“Bowing with respect at the lotus ‘Charan ‘ (of Guru ) is that one should deliberate on the merits of the world-creator.”
So the word ‘moorat’ means Entity (of God), and ‘Charan’ means word (of true Guru). I told that sikh scholar, with due respect, that many times one does not consider other meanings of a particular word and so understands the meaning of the word incorrectly and based on that forms a particular idea which is not correct. It is a natural principle that when one hears another thought, which is opposed, to the idea that he has formed then differences of opinion emerge. All of us have to become disciples of the True Guru (Shri Guru Nanak Dev) and not of our own self-willed or self-conceived ideas. The sikh scholar agreed with the above explanation but said that God is Formless and can’t be seen and how can one meditate on Him. The author replied that to meditate on God, we need not get help from any other source even from the system of Yoga developed by Shri Patanjal and we should get guidance only from Gurbani. We should never depend on Yoga and its different postures, systems of meditation and ‘Samadhies’ as described by Sh. Patanjal the originator of Yoga. Gurbani tells a very straight and simple method of meditation, which is as under:
“O’ mind meditate on NAM of the Destroyer of sins (God) and you shall obtain honour in God’s court. Fixing your attention of the Guru’s word (Gurbani) you shall obtain all the fruits that you desire.”
The above quotation answers the questions that how can one meditate on the Formless very clearly. The answer is that to meditate on Formless God you fix your attention on the Guru’s word (Gurbani). So we should keep our mind in the meaning of the word(s) or lines of Gurbani which we are hearing reading or singing. In this manner we should move our mind along the words/lines of Gurbani which are being repeated and the mind would remain absorbed in the word (God and word is one and so the mind would remain absorbed in God. This is the way to meditate on Formless God). By meditating on God in this manner with the help of the ‘Word’ (Gurbani) one would start realising God.
“Deliberate over the Guru’s word and in this manner meditate on HIM.”
So one should meditate on God through the Guru’s Word (Gurbani) i.e. by fixing one’s intent in the
“Through the Guru’s Word (Gurbani) great contentment wells up (in the mind) and ones ‘ attention is perfectly attuned to the Lord.”
“By hearing (NAM i.e. Gurbani) with intent in the word) one procures the meditation of the Lord.”
Now we examine the following lines which are quoted by those who meditate on the Photo or image of the living Guru:
“Akal moorat hae sidh saanten kee Thahar niki dhian ko.”
Those who say that one should meditate on the Photo/image of the Guru they place the coma, while explaining the above quotation, after the word ‘kee’ and say the quotation means “Immortal image of saints, is to be meditated upon.” So they place the coma, while interpreting this quotation, at a wrong place and derive the above meanings. These meanings go against the fundamental principle of meditation laid down by True Guru about which numerous quotation’s have already been given. If the coma is placed after the word ‘Moorat’ the meaning of this quotation is as per the fundamental principle of meditation laid down by True Guru the quotation would mean:
“Immortal Entity (moorat) i.e. God, is the sublime place and is meditated upon by the saints.”
In the end the author wants to say that the true Guru (Shri Guru Nanak Dev and other Gurus) had forbidden his followers to bow before the idols and to pay abesience to idols of different deities and we are again becoming idol worshippers and leaving the worship of the Formless God. Even in our historical Gurdwaras (Sikh religious places) paintings of the Gurus, which are not even correct/True are being displayed and many devotees first bow before such paintings; as these are many times outside the sanctum-sanctorum, and after that pay obeisance to Shri Guru Granth Sahib. To bow before the paintings, even of Gurus and to meditate on paintings/images/Photos of the Guru is against the principles of Gurbani. The Gurus never allowed any body to make their paintings during their life times. Supposing a painter, who has not ever seen your father, makes a painting of your father, brings it to you, and says that this painting is of your father, would you accept this?
Even if a photograph is a real one. Even then, to meditate on that photo is against the principles of Gurbani. If this preaching, that Photo/image of the Guru is to be meditated upon is not checked stopped it would take us back to idol worship and we would suffer due to ignorance. Gurbani says that all people see the True Guru one is not emancipated unless he understands the Guru’s word and lives according to the instructions given through the word. The relevant quotation is as under:
“All the mortal in the world see The True Guru.
But merely by seeing the True Guru on is not emancipated unless one reflects on the guru’s word (Gurbani)”.
Shri Guru Nanak Dev was seen by many people but only those were emancipated who obeyed his instructions, which are given in Gurbani. Two sons of Shri Guru Nanak Dev, who saw him day and night, were not emancipated. They refused to obey the Guru’s instructions. If by seeing the True Guru one could get emancipation then Shri Guru Nanak could not have said:
“Some say Nanak is a devil, some say he is imbalanced the some call him a helpless man.”
Shri Guru Nanak Dev is telling his personal experience & says that many people talk ill of him & even abuse him.
The principle laid down by Gurbani is that by seeing the real physical body of a true Guru one cannot get emancipation from the clutches of Creation, unless one obeys the True Guru’s instructions. If by seeing the physical body of the True Guru one cannot get emancipation, how can the paintings of the Gurus conceived by the painters, give the desired fruits.
Experience the True Guru with help of Gurbani alone.