The Wedding: YUKTANAND SINGH
Letter & Spirit - # 6
The entire last week has been a blur. We went through shock and anguish then wonder and questions.
No one can fully feel the sorrow of those whose life was changed with the finality of death of a loved one. Strangely, the world continues the same. Somehow we all survive the emotional turmoil. Time is a great healer.
But a traumatic event, particularly the death of a loved one, forces us to ask and to look deeper. We find solace in being resigned towards the inevitable. Our questions fade away and we are back to our daily life.
There is no single correct answer. The length and depth of our search varies with the degree of understanding we seek. What we would tell a child is different from what we need to understand deep within our own heart.
Gurbani does not dwell on afterlife, but many verses speak on death. We can derive messages from these verses: We are spiritual beings. Our life in the physical world is just a short chapter. We are sent here wedded to the death of our physical body. Spiritual matters are understood only from a spiritual level. Our physical eyes and ears cannot see or hear our spirit. The time to establish relationship with our inner spirit is now, not after death.
If our innermost nature is ‘jyot saroop,’ meaning that it reflects the divine light [GGS: 441], then we are all equal and we are all the same at that level. Also, it only makes sense that the ‘jyot saroop’ must know much more than we do and thus our spirit knows more than our mind does.
Some spiritual masters claim that each one of us willingly chooses the earthly life that we have now. Gurbani does not contradict this, but gurbani prefers to call our life as ‘God’s will’ or His hukam. In God’s light, the spirit naturally acts under God’s will.
Bhagat Farid hints at it this way: When the soul was given the physical body, the number of its breaths was also assigned on that day [GGS:1377.16]. It appears that we are born when proper conditions are available for our past karam. Then we take birth, knowing ahead of time what we will be facing in this life.
Baba Farid further explains: when we voluntarily took this path, then to whom can we complain? [GGS:1377.18]
We may view all this as pure conjecture. The page containing our itinerary is open to our soul even though the entire book may be open only to Waheguru. When we are not spiritually aware, this page is not visible to us. This is because our life is an exam, but it is not an open-book exam.
We also know from gurbani that God’s will is for the greater good. It benefits everyone. Even the greatest horror and atrocity has some hidden benefit. For example, someone born with a unique illness may live only for a few weeks or months, but it came to benefit others, that we can learn about that illness and save others with the same illness in the future.
It is easy to forget but when I see someone who is poor or disabled, I try to remember that his soul accepted that role, to learn and to teach certain lessons. That person may not be aware of it. It makes no difference because his spirit is aware. The deaf or the blind are often more spiritually aware than we are.
Our friends and relatives in the gurdwara may appear to have been murdered for no apparent reason but we can be sure that they died for a purpose, willingly spilling their blood, all under His hukam, even without being aware of it.
They did not die in vain.
Similarly, a murderer is also an agent who came knowing that he will need to commit the dastardly act, perhaps suited for that act due to his past karam. But he was not spiritually aware. Had he become aware, then someone else would have had to execute those murders, under His hukam.
Judas had a role. But his heart was torn. Jesus helped him out and said, “Judas, go, and do what you have to do.” Judas did. Then he lived with anguish and guilt. Jesus probably knew all this the day he first met Judas, but he forgave him beforehand. Judas could not forgive himself. He was not spiritually aware.
Guru Gobind Singh’s Muslim bodyguard stabbed him when the Guru was resting. This ultimately led to the Guru’s departure from this world. Others may have doubts but I believe Guru Sahib knew that his bodyguard will be an agent towards the termination of his worldly journey.
Besides the Guru showing us that we must not be defenseless, I believe that Guru Sahib had mercy. Instead of letting him live with his guilt, the Guru finished him at the spot with his merciful sword and thus raised him to a higher spiritual orbit. This was Guru’s love.
God does not require blood to pay for our sins, but the world certainly does. The root of evil is weakened by its own sin. The greater the sin, the greater is the destruction of that evil, due to the spiritual consequences of its sin.
A sin of a great magnitude was needed to shake the roots of Mughals who were oppressing India. This required sacrifice of some great spiritual being. As we know from history, Guru Gobind Singh saw that only his father could fill that post. Guru Arjan, for similar reasons, willingly embraced martyrdom instead of allowing any questioning of God’s will shining perfectly through his every pore.
Perfect spiritual beings bless everyone crossing their path, be it a thief or a murderer, and they emancipate those who keep their company. We get close to our spiritual state by emulating them and by touching the dust from their feet. In fact, gurbani says that this is the only way. An absence of hunger for their sight means that we are simply not yet ready.
Grasping our spiritual reality leads to greater success in all other undertakings. It enables us to display true colors of our soul. Even when we kill the murderers, we then seek their spiritual welfare, and we pray for them also, just as we pray for our family and our friends.
Here is the shabad that we have discussed above:
The day the bride was gifted with her wedding dress, the number of its breaths was ordained on that day.
Her husband, of whom she had only heard, comes and shows its face one day.
It shakes the bones and pulls the helpless soul out from it.
The record of breaths cannot be altered; the soul is thus instructed.
The soul is the bride here, death is the groom who will marry her and take her away.
She initiated this wedding with her own hands, on whose shoulder may she cry now?
The link to the other side is narrower than a hair, not heard with these ears.
O Farid, the watchman calls out: don’t be deceived when you are awake.
August 14, 2012
Conversation about this article
1: Ravinder Singh (Mumbai, India), August 14, 2012, 9:13 AM.
As per what I have read and what I understand, the person who attacked the Guru in his sleep had joined the sangat of the Guru at Nanded. The Guru's sangat is open to people of all denominations. I have also read that Bahadur Shah honoured the son of the attacker. This proves that the Mughals had a hand in the attack on the Guru.
2: Parveen Kaur (Brampton, Ontario, Canada), August 15, 2012, 11:26 PM.
Very profound! I found many answers in this piece, thank you. Some of the themes are familiar, I read a book called "Conversations with God" and the author highlights the fact that the soul makes a pact about earthly duties before embracing the human body. Thanks!
3: Yuktanand Singh (USA), August 19, 2012, 10:22 PM.
These articles are written for young readers. The grownups are too weary to read cliches. It will be difficult for them to learn old tricks. We will notice also that translation of gurbani on the web is different. This can confuse the readers. It would be less confusing if we did not ignore the context in an entire shabad. Any terms with multiple meanings need to be translated so that their meaning agrees with the context, and with entire gurbani.
4: Yuktanand Singh (USA), August 19, 2012, 10:24 PM.
For example, the word, 'saaha' can mean a king, a predetermined day or moment, and a breath. The word 'saahay'? (plural) in the above shabad can mean only 'breaths'. In another verse, 'laykhai laidaa saahaa' [GGS:402.4], it can only mean 'breath'. In other verses, 'likhiarra saaha na ta-lai' [582.5] and in 'sambat saaha likhi-aa' [12.14], it has dual meaning, the final moment and final breath. In contrast, in 'sanjog saaha subh ga-ni-aa' [459.10], it means agreeable, that this wedding day was auspicious.
5: Yuktanand Singh (USA), August 19, 2012, 10:26 PM.
History is interpreted differently by devout Sikhs than it is by the historians. The Guru cannot be tricked. In the above episode, Guru Gobind Singh must have allowed this attack to take place by accepting the service of the imposters. Whether they met the Guru at Nanded, yesterday or last year, is not significant here. Similarly, some historians write that the Mughals tortured Guru Arjan because he welcomed and honored the rebellious prince Khusro. But the Guru is fearless, like a mirror. A prince gets the honor of a prince and an emperor is honored as an emperor. But the emperor did not come to meet the Guru. Prince Khusro did.