Supermoon and Gurpurab

Guru Nanak Dev ji was the founder of Sikhism. Sikhs believe Him to be God in a Human form. His teachings are embodied in Scripture form: Guru Granth Sahib ji.

Traditionally, Guru Nanak Dev ji’s prakash purab (the day He spread forth His light on this earth) is celebrated on the full moon night of a specific lunar month. This year, this day coincided with the Supermoon. Here is a photo of the Golden Temple with the supermoon visible in the background:

Supermoon and the Golden Temple
Supermoon and the Golden Temple

My message sent out for this year’s Gurpurab greeting:

Kot karam karai hao dhare || Sram pavai sagle birthare || (278)

Hao vich maya, Hao vich chhaya || (466)

Kirpa kare je aapni, tan Gur ka Shabad kamahe || Nanak kahai sunho jano, eet sanjam dukh jai || (466)

Kaho Nanak nihchou dhyave || Vin Satgur vaat na pavai || (470)

By engaging in good deeds alone we cannot lose our egoistical pride. This pride causes to remain attached to Maya, and deprives us from appreciating Divine Bounties. Even millions of good deeds, done under the false influence of Maya – go waste. While we may have laboured, we do not receive Divine Respect. Reciting the Lord’s Name under the True Guru’s instructions, this veil of ego is removed and we are enraptured in Divine Love. Such a path is obtained by great fortune, and through the Lotus Feet of the Guru. Dhan Guru Nanak.

One of the central teachings of Guru Nanak was to see God as embodied in His Creation and recitation of His Greatness with loving devotion.

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United States: Protest against changes to Rule 41

We stand in protest on June 21st 2016, against proposed changes to Rule 41. We are with EFF on this.

Rule 41 Protest
Rule 41 Protest



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Basant Panchami

Today is Basant Panchami, an Indian festival of spring. The flowers are in full bloom – an image below, shot and edited completely on my Sony Xperia Z2. There are lots of colours all around.

Spring Flower
Spring Flower, India

Sikhism believes only in worship of One God, Who is Unborn and all pervading. He is the Creator, the Preserver and the Destroyer. The following is a translation of Basant Ki Vaar (Ode of Basant) by the Fifth Guru, Guru Arjan Dev ji. While spring is one of the four seasons, here Guru ji speaks of everlasting spring within our heart and mind which is the culmination of worship and surrender to God.

ਬਸੰਤ ਕੀ ਵਾਰ ਮਹਲੁ ੫
बसंत की वार महलु ५
Basanṯ kī vār mahal 5
Basant Kee Vaar, Fifth Mehl:
ੴ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ ॥
ੴ सतिगुर प्रसादि ॥
Ik▫oaʼnkār saṯgur parsāḏ.
One Universal Creator God. By The Grace Of The True Guru:
ਹਰਿ ਕਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਇ ਕੈ ਹੋਹੁ ਹਰਿਆ ਭਾਈ ॥
हरि का नामु धिआइ कै होहु हरिआ भाई ॥
Har kā nām ḏẖi▫ā▫e kai hohu hari▫ā bẖā▫ī.
Meditate on the Lord’s Name, and blossom forth in green abundance.
ਕਰਮਿ ਲਿਖੰਤੈ ਪਾਈਐ ਇਹ ਰੁਤਿ ਸੁਹਾਈ ॥
करमि लिखंतै पाईऐ इह रुति सुहाई ॥
Karam likẖanṯai pā▫ī▫ai ih ruṯ suhā▫ī.
By your high destiny, you have been blessed with this wondrous spring of the soul.
ਵਣੁ ਤ੍ਰਿਣੁ ਤ੍ਰਿਭਵਣੁ ਮਉਲਿਆ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਫਲੁ ਪਾਈ ॥
वणु त्रिणु त्रिभवणु मउलिआ अम्रित फलु पाई ॥
vaṇ ṯariṇ ṯaribẖavaṇ ma▫oli▫ā amriṯ fal pā▫ī.
The whole universe has blossomed forth, obtaining the Fruit of Ambrosial Nectar.
ਮਿਲਿ ਸਾਧੂ ਸੁਖੁ ਊਪਜੈ ਲਥੀ ਸਭ ਛਾਈ ॥
मिलि साधू सुखु ऊपजै लथी सभ छाई ॥
Mil sāḏẖū sukẖ ūpjai lathī sabẖ cẖẖā▫ī.
Meeting with the Holy Saints, peace wells up, and all sins are erased.
ਨਾਨਕੁ ਸਿਮਰੈ ਏਕੁ ਨਾਮੁ ਫਿਰਿ ਬਹੁੜਿ ਨ ਧਾਈ ॥੧॥
नानकु सिमरै एकु नामु फिरि बहुड़ि न धाई ॥१॥
Nānak simrai ek nām fir bahuṛ na ḏẖā▫ī. ||1||
O Nanak, remember in meditation the One Name, and you shall never again be consigned to the womb of reincarnation.. ||1||
ਪੰਜੇ ਬਧੇ ਮਹਾਬਲੀ ਕਰਿ ਸਚਾ ਢੋਆ ॥
पंजे बधे महाबली करि सचा ढोआ ॥
Panje baḏẖe mahābalī kar sacẖā dẖo▫ā.
The five powerful desires are bound down, when you lean on the True Lord.
ਆਪਣੇ ਚਰਣ ਜਪਾਇਅਨੁ ਵਿਚਿ ਦਯੁ ਖੜੋਆ ॥
आपणे चरण जपाइअनु विचि दयु खड़ोआ ॥
Āpṇe cẖaraṇ japā▫i▫an vicẖ ḏa▫yu kẖaṛo▫ā.
The Lord Himself leads us to dwell at His Feet. He stands right in our midst.
ਰੋਗ ਸੋਗ ਸਭਿ ਮਿਟਿ ਗਏ ਨਿਤ ਨਵਾ ਨਿਰੋਆ ॥
रोग सोग सभि मिटि गए नित नवा निरोआ ॥
Rog sog sabẖ mit ga▫e niṯ navā niro▫ā.
All sorrows and sicknesses are eradicated, and you become ever-fresh and rejuvenated.
ਦਿਨੁ ਰੈਣਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਇਦਾ ਫਿਰਿ ਪਾਇ ਨ ਮੋਆ ॥
दिनु रैणि नामु धिआइदा फिरि पाइ न मोआ ॥
Ḏin raiṇ nām ḏẖi▫ā▫iḏā fir pā▫e na mo▫ā.
Night and day, meditate on the Naam, the Name of the Lord. You shall never again die.
ਜਿਸ ਤੇ ਉਪਜਿਆ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਸੋਈ ਫਿਰਿ ਹੋਆ ॥੨॥
जिस ते उपजिआ नानका सोई फिरि होआ ॥२॥
Jis ṯe upji▫ā nānkā so▫ī fir ho▫ā. ||2||
And the One, from whom we came, O Nanak, into Him we merge once again. ||2||
ਕਿਥਹੁ ਉਪਜੈ ਕਹ ਰਹੈ ਕਹ ਮਾਹਿ ਸਮਾਵੈ ॥
किथहु उपजै कह रहै कह माहि समावै ॥
Kithhu upjai kah rahai kah māhi samāvai.
Where do we come from? Where do we live? Where do we go in the end?
ਜੀਅ ਜੰਤ ਸਭਿ ਖਸਮ ਕੇ ਕਉਣੁ ਕੀਮਤਿ ਪਾਵੈ ॥
जीअ जंत सभि खसम के कउणु कीमति पावै ॥
Jī▫a janṯ sabẖ kẖasam ke ka▫uṇ kīmaṯ pāvai.
All creatures belong to God, our Lord and Master. Who can place a value on Him?
ਕਹਨਿ ਧਿਆਇਨਿ ਸੁਣਨਿ ਨਿਤ ਸੇ ਭਗਤ ਸੁਹਾਵੈ ॥
कहनि धिआइनि सुणनि नित से भगत सुहावै ॥
Kahan ḏẖi▫ā▫in suṇan niṯ se bẖagaṯ suhāvai.
Those who meditate, listen and chant, those devotees are blessed and beautified.
ਅਗਮੁ ਅਗੋਚਰੁ ਸਾਹਿਬੋ ਦੂਸਰੁ ਲਵੈ ਨ ਲਾਵੈ ॥
अगमु अगोचरु साहिबो दूसरु लवै न लावै ॥
Agam agocẖar sāhibo ḏūsar lavai na lāvai.
The Lord God is Inaccessible and Unfathomable; there is no other equal to Him.
ਸਚੁ ਪੂਰੈ ਗੁਰਿ ਉਪਦੇਸਿਆ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਸੁਣਾਵੈ ॥੩॥੧॥
सचु पूरै गुरि उपदेसिआ नानकु सुणावै ॥३॥१॥
Sacẖ pūrai gur upḏesi▫ā Nānak suṇāvai. ||3||1||
The Perfect Guru has taught this Truth. Nanak proclaims it to the world. ||3||1||

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Guru Nanak gurpurab greetings

November 17th is being celebrated this year as the day Guru Nanak came to this earth. The foremost of His teachings was to stay detached from Maya (worldly pleasures) and always thank the Creator for his bounties. Simple living and serving to other beings were advocated.

Sharing below a greeting card which can be used to spread His Divine Message. (Click on the image to see bigger, two versions)

Message of Guru Nanak

Gurpurab Guru Nanak Dev ji

This first quote about Guru Nanak’s coming to this earth is from a ballad by Bhai Gurdas (Vaar 1, Pauri 24). The second quote, Guru Nanak’s message about devotion and humility is from Guru Nanak’s primary writing “Asa ki vaar“, and appears within Sri Guru Granth Sahib at Ang 470. Recital of God’s name under Guru’s guidance is important towards separating oneself from Maya (worldly pleasures) which then leads you to God.

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Holi

Holi
Holi

I have written about many Indian festivals, but never about Holi. It is the Hindu festival of colours, much like Diwali being the festival of lights.

For Sikhism, colours are strong depictions of mental state. There is no physical relevance to colours. A Sikh is expected to wear ordinary clothes that do not attract attention. Neither is playing with colours encouraged.

A key ingredient used during holi is called Gulal. Its a deep red coloured powder which is used to colour others. The Guru says this about Gulal:

ਚੀਤਿ ਆਵੈ ਤਾਂ ਰੰਗਿ ਗੁਲਾਲ ॥
When my mind is attached to Him, I am dyed in the deep crimson of His Love.

In the daily Sikh prayer, the first reference to the word colour appears in Japuji Sahib.

ਭਰੀਐ ਮਤਿ ਪਾਪਾ ਕੈ ਸੰਗਿ ॥
But when the intellect is stained and polluted by sins committed by us,

ਓਹੁ ਧੋਪੈ ਨਾਵੈ ਕੈ ਰੰਗਿ ॥
it can only be cleansed by the colour (Love) of His Name.

Sri Guru Granth Sahib recognises two colours: Kusumbh and Majith. Kusumbh is light orange in colour, while Majith is dark red, even crimson. Kusumbh is the color of a flower (Butea monosperma) called “flame of the forest” (called FF henceforth in this post). When its immersed in water for a few hours, the flower looses its colour, and the water becomes coloured.

When Guru Nanak was visiting Mecca, he was asked whether Hinduism was the greater religion or Islam. His reply was as under:

ਕਚਾ ਰੰਗੁ ਕਸੁੰਭ ਦਾ ਪਾਣੀ ਧੋਤੈ ਥਿਰ ਨ ਰਹੋਈ।
As the colour of FF flower is impermanent and is washed away in water, likewise the colours of religiosity are also temporary.

To the contrary, majith is permanent. Its effects are not physical, rather its colouring is for the soul:

ਮਨਮੁਖੁ ਰੰਗੁ ਕਸੁੰਭੁ ਹੈ ਕਚੂਆ ਜਿਉ ਕੁਸਮ ਚਾਰਿ ਦਿਨ ਚਾਗਾ ॥
The self-willed manmukh is like the false color of the FF flower, which fades away; its color lasts for only a few days.

ਖਿਨ ਮਹਿ ਬਿਨਸਿ ਜਾਇ ਪਰਤਾਪੈ ਡੰਡੁ ਧਰਮ ਰਾਇ ਕਾ ਲਾਗਾ ॥੨॥
He perishes in an instant; he is tormented, and punished by the Righteous Judge of Dharma. ||2||

ਸਤਸੰਗਤਿ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਸਾਧ ਅਤਿ ਗੂੜੀ ਜਿਉ ਰੰਗੁ ਮਜੀਠ ਬਹੁ ਲਾਗਾ ॥
The Lord’s Love, found in the Sat Sangat, the True Congregation, is absolutely permanent, and colorfast.

ਕਾਇਆ ਕਾਪਰੁ ਚੀਰ ਬਹੁ ਫਾਰੇ ਹਰਿ ਰੰਗੁ ਨ ਲਹੈ ਸਭਾਗਾ ॥੩॥
The cloth of the body may be torn to shreds, but still, this beautiful color of the Lord’s Love does not fade away. ||3||

ਹਰਿ ਚਾਰ੍ਹਿਓ ਰੰਗੁ ਮਿਲੈ ਗੁਰੁ ਸੋਭਾ ਹਰਿ ਰੰਗਿ ਚਲੂਲੈ ਰਾਂਗਾ ॥
Meeting with the Blessed Guru, one is dyed in the color of the Lord’s Love, imbued with this deep crimson color.

So how does the Guru celebrate Holi. The answer is obvious:

ਹੋਲੀ ਕੀਨੀ ਸੰਤ ਸੇਵ ॥
Holī kīnī sanṯ sev.
I celebrate the festival of Holi by serving the Saints.

ਰੰਗੁ ਲਾਗਾ ਅਤਿ ਲਾਲ ਦੇਵ ॥੨॥
Rang lāgā aṯ lāl ḏev. ||2||
I am imbued with the deep crimson color of the Lord’s Divine Love. ||2|

Finally I want to share another related hymn:

ਲਾਲ ਰੰਗੁ ਤਿਸ ਕਉ ਲਗਾ ਜਿਸ ਕੇ ਵਡਭਾਗਾ ॥
One is dyed in the (red) color of the Lord’s Love, by great good fortune.

ਮੈਲਾ ਕਦੇ ਨ ਹੋਵਈ ਨਹ ਲਾਗੈ ਦਾਗਾ ॥੧॥
This color is never muddied; no stain ever sticks to it. ||1||

ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਪਾਇਆ ਸੁਖਦਾਈਆ ਮਿਲਿਆ ਸੁਖ ਭਾਇ ॥
He finds God, the Giver of peace, with feelings of joy.

ਸਹਜਿ ਸਮਾਨਾ ਭੀਤਰੇ ਛੋਡਿਆ ਨਹ ਜਾਇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
The Celestial Lord blends into his soul, and he can never leave Him. ||1||Pause||

ਜਰਾ ਮਰਾ ਨਹ ਵਿਆਪਈ ਫਿਰਿ ਦੂਖੁ ਨ ਪਾਇਆ ॥
Old age and death cannot touch him, and he shall not suffer pain again.

ਪੀ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਆਘਾਨਿਆ ਗੁਰਿ ਅਮਰੁ ਕਰਾਇਆ ॥੨॥
Drinking in the Ambrosial Nectar, he is satisfied; the Guru makes him immortal. ||2||

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