26. His Philosophy (Part-2)

6. Sacred Name/Kirtan

Guru Amardas affirms that the Holy Name is within man himself, but its secret is imparted to him by the Guru. Kirtan or the singing of the glories of God disassociated man from his physical environment and takes him to the inner consciousness. Since Kirtan is nothing but the Holy Name, man feels the presence of the Guru. Then the Guru takes him to the Shabad and thus the meditation of the Holy Name produces a inner joy, which is called Amrit rasa or Har rasa.

"Imbued with the Lord's nectar, I now easily sing His praise and my tongue utters the Lord's Name". (Page or Ang. 1049)

"The tongue tastes the Lord's nectar; the mind is drenched with the Lord's love, and the mortal medicines on the True Name. The inner well is brimful with the Lord's ambrosia. Through the Name's meditation, the tongue draws and drinks it". (Page or Ang. 570)

Guru Amardas realised that bliss is obtained by singing the Lord's praise and His glory:

"Within the minds of devotees is bliss. They are imbued with the love of the True Lord. Night and day, they ever sing the praises of the Pure One and are easily absorbed in the Praiseworthy Lord". (Page or Ang. 122)

"In the minds of such friends of God is bliss. They reflect over the Guru's hymns, They enshrine the Name of their minds, their pain is dispelled and the Creator blesses them with Divine Light".  (Page or Ang. 549)

God's Name is the sweetest delicacy. It removes all sorrows. It is the surest way to salvation:

"O my Soul, supremely sweet is God's Name. It is the destroyer of sins and fears of millions of births. By the Guru's grace, the Unique Lord is seen". (Page or Ang. 1233)

"Let some one see and study the Shastras and Simiritis, Without the Name, none is emancipated". (Page or Ang. 229)

But one must understand the Shabad and reflect on it and put it into practice:

"Within this body are the nine treasures of the Name and they are attained by reflecting on the Guru's word". (Page or Ang. 754)

"Man melodies of joy play for one in whose mind the Lord's Name abides".

(Page or Ang. 917)

The benefits of meditation on the Holy Name or the singing of hymns are significant. Firstly, just as soap removes dirt, in the same way, the Holy Name washes clean the inner consciousness of man. Secondly, it smoothens the path of Sadhana and helps in the life of service, piety and noble action. The disciple carries out his daily chores with a sense of peace and joy.

7. Devotion and Humility

Devotion is nothing but love and respect for the Guru and the Holy Name. The devotion finds expression in conduct and action. Look at Guru Amardas' love of Guru Angad. Even while accidentally stumbling on a stormy wintry night, he minded the pail of water meant for the bath of his Guru. He thought of his beloved Guru then, instead of his own fall or injury.

"If one forgets the Beloved for a moment, what kind of devotional service is it; One whose body and soul are soothed by the True Name never allows his breath to go to waste". 

(Page or Ang. 35)

The disciple surrenders his all - body, mind and soul - to the Guru and the Lord:

"Surrender your body, soul and wealth to the Guru and submit to his Will to win the Lord"  (Page or Ang. 918)

8. Divine Grace

Without God's grace, the devotee's efforts may not succeed. Man does his best to please the Lord and yet not get near Him. Sikhism is essentially a religion of grace. Sadhana or spiritual effort or what is called Kamaee has to be blessed by the Lord in order to bear fruit. Man may sow the seed, water the plant and supervise the crop, but what harvest can he reap if there is flood or snow:

"If an account is called for, by God, who could satisfy Him ? Accounting cannot bring any satisfactory result The True Lord Himself grants pardon and having forgiven blends Himself". (Page or Ang. 111)

"By God's grace, the mortal serves the Guru and through God's grace, the service is performed. By God's grace, the mind is controlled, and by His grace the mind becomes pure".  (Page or Ang. 558)

God in His grace can awaken a sleeping mortal and give him enlightenment and wisdom:

"He who has made the mortal sleep shall awaken him. By the Guru's instructions he obtains understanding". (Page or Ang. 112)

When the disciple serves the perfect Lord, he gradually imbibes His virtues and walks in His Way:

"If you walk according to His Will, you shall be like Him whom you serve". 

(Page or Ang.549)

9. Final Stage : Bliss/Union  

In Anand Sahab, Guru Amardas has given in detail the gospel of bliss and the means to achieve it. Firstly, he has pointed to the hurdles that lie in the way and which have to be crossed. These hurdles are: argumentation, worldly wisdom, neglect of higher values, ritual, false-hood, hypocrisy, duality, greed, avarice, ego - in short the manifestations of maya. The responsibility of the family and professional career and commitment to the community are real challenges to test the mettle of man. Secondly, the Guru has mentioned certain positive steps which the disciple has to take in order to develop his spiritual side. The association with the Guru, the sincerity of Sadhana, selfless service the company of the holy, the performance of, or listening to Kirtan or Gurbani, the relish of Nam rasa, the direction of organs of perception and organs of action like eyes, ears, the tongue and others to higher goals, and finally the acceptance of God's Will are some of the necessary steps towards the earning of God's grace. When the Sahaj stage or Dasam duaror Tunya is attained, all sorrows and maladies vanish, the fear of death is overcome and divine melody is heard within, and ineffable joy is experienced. The devotee shines with an inner radiance and wisdom which make him feel the presence of God within himself.

He is Jiwan-mukt - liberated while alive - and he merges in the Ocean of Bliss:

"Some rare Guru - ward becomes emancipated in life He easily blends with Him, the True God".  (Page or Ang. 232)

Merger in the Infinite is the final goal of human life. It is difficult to describe this condition. Like a dumb man who cannot tell the taste of a sweet fruit after eating it, the devotee - intoxicated with the divine nectar - cannot depict the state of bliss, because it is beyond the experience of the physical senses.

"He who soars above the nine gates (organs) and hears the playing of the celestial melody in the Tenth gate is liberated".  (Page or Ang. 110)

"Their hearts remain saturated with God's elixir and their mental pride is destroyed; Their mind-lotus blooms and their meditation is dissolved in the Lord".  (Page or Ang. 26)

Guru Amardas relates his own experience of the state of beatitude in the following words:

"There, one neither sleeps nor hungers; he lives in peace in the true Nectar - Name of God; Nanak says, pain and pleasure cling not to man; there is the illumination of the All-Pervading Soul".  (Page or Ang. 1414)