Laughing & Playing: Convenor: AMRIT KAUR
The Talking Stick Colloquium # 89
The daily news reports from the Olympics Games being held in London, England, have reminded me of a beautiful verse from Guru Granth Sahib. Guru Arjan writes:
“Guided by the True Lord, one perfects life’s journey:
Amidst the laughing and playing,
Adorning and feasting,
One seeks and finds salvation.” 
These lines speak volumes for me and, at the same time, set us apart as a unique religious and spiritual path.
It is in the midst of the joys of the world - blessings, all, of the Creator - that we can, that we are to, find our salvation. Hence, this life is a gift, an opportunity, a reward … it is up to us to turn it into the very pinnacle of existence.
That’s markedly different from all other religious approaches that I know of.
This life is not a punishment, nor is it meant to be a path of pain and suffering. We are not here to atone for the sins of our fathers, to wash away age-old wrongs or failures. Nor can we rely on others to cleanse us of our own mistakes.
This is our journey and it is ours to live to the fullest. And we take full responsibility for it.
This life and journey is not to be wasted in punishing ourselves. No fasting or penance, no silence or ritual, is needed.
All we need to do is connect with the One and live life to the fullest, in prayer, in endeavour, in service.
I like that.
I like the fact that though young Gobind Rai, while still a child, lost his father under tragic circumstances, but was brought up and grew up in chardi kala. He delved in the arts, in music and poetry, learnt horsemanship and the arts of self-defence. He wrote, he composed, he guided and led his flock and spent his life transforming them into saint-soldiers.
He never succumbed to the negative. Instead, he lived like a prince and he taught each of his Sikhs to live regally. He taught them to laugh and play, to dress well, to eat well.
This is my path and there is no other path that offers me this celebration of life.
Please share with me your thoughts on what these words mean to you, and how you think Sikhi is meant to be lived.
August 1, 2012
Conversation about this article
1: Prakash Singh Bagga (Indore, MP, India), August 01, 2012, 8:28 AM.
This is an excellent message from gurbani as to how gloriously one should lead life in Sikhi. The trick is in surrendering to the Sat Guru.
2: Ajit Singh Batra (Pennsville, New Jersey, U.S.A..), August 01, 2012, 4:44 PM.
The fact remains that when a person indulges in sensual pleasures, he/she forgets the Lord. Separation from God is the basis of all suffering.
3: Prakash Singh Bagga (Indore, MP, India), August 02, 2012, 2:40 AM.
I think that the reference here to "Laughing and Playing" relates to sensual pleasure only. The emphasis is to remain in union with the remembrance of Waheguru while being in sensual pleasure.
4: Aryeh Leib (Israel), August 02, 2012, 4:17 AM.
Ajit ji, the goal is, as I understand it, to be able to "indulge in sensual pleasures", while still maintaining a mindful connection with God. Conversely, many are those who live an austere lifestyle - entirely governed by their own overweening haumai! Unless I'm mistaken, the Guru means for us to enjoy this earthly existence, while never losing sight of the One who enables this enjoyment.
5: Aryeh Leib (Israel), August 02, 2012, 4:23 AM.
I invite you to peruse Yuktanand Singh's column, "Letter and Spirit", where this concept is explained at length, so much better than my own meager efforts.
6: R. Singh (Canada), August 02, 2012, 3:40 PM.
It is simply the message of Sikhi: use moderation and live your life in sehaj. The main point, in my opinion, is that the other, popular practices of the day, such as the yogic model, lead society towards ascetic tendencies and adopting extremely tilted lifestyles, shunning a lot of things and venues. Sikhi does not shun any aspect of life, but asks one to live it meaningfully, not loosing sight of the goal, enjoying and embracing life to its fullest.
7: Ajit Singh Batra (Pennsville, New Jersey, U.S.A..), August 03, 2012, 1:11 PM.
Reference to "Guided by the True Lord, one perfects life's journey", in the message. It means an individual at some stage in his/her life must make a commitment that the soul needs to be reunited with the Universal Soul if it is to fulfill itself. This realization is the first step when an individual attains wisdom. Otherwise all that happens in this world is His Will. Sensual pleasures, they originate in childhood and continue lifelong.
8: Prakash Singh Bagga (India), August 24, 2012, 10:26 AM.
Central to understanding gurbani is the message: "sabh khel tumaate" - "life is a play ..."