Can’t believe I haven’t written about Vaisakhi before – its one of the most important events in Sikh history. Also known as Baisakhi, this is a harvest festival that marks the beginning of a new year as per the local calendar. More important, for Sikhism it also marks the birth of the Khalsa – the pure. In 1699, the Tenth Guru converted Sikhism which so far was just a way of life, into a more disciplined religion with rules and a code of conduct – with a democratic way of functioning.
Like every year, Vaisakhi is being celebrated by large gatherings in the Sikh temples (gurdwara). I want to encourage people to get baptized: the Guru will guide you – it’s not as difficult to follow as it seems initially. For those who have been baptized but do not follow the code of conduct on a daily basis, this is what I suggest: start with a shorter regimen, and build it at your pace. Japuji Sahib in the mornings, and Benti Chaupai in the evenings to begin with for example.
Today the religious world is divided: different religions, each disfavouring the other; various sects etc. If people understood the distinction between Prem (love) and Moh (attachment) there would be less fighting between the various groups.
- Moh is temporary, Prem is permanent. Moh is what a father feels for a son – if the son disobeys the father the weak thread of Moh breaks.
- Also, Moh is about saying “God belongs to me“. If the God belongs to me, someone else needs to invent a different God for himself. Prem is about saying “I belong to the God“. It is about giving up oneself.
Prem is like a fish in water – Only death can separate them. Indeed, Guru Tegh Bahadur wants us to love God like a fish in water:
ਗੁਨ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਗਾਇਓ ਨਹੀ ਜਨਮੁ ਅਕਾਰਥ ਕੀਨੁ ॥
ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਹਰਿ ਭਜੁ ਮਨਾ ਜਿਹ ਬਿਧਿ ਜਲ ਕਉ ਮੀਨੁ ॥੧॥
If we do not sing the praises of the Lord, we are wasting our life in vain. Says Nanak, meditate on God, like the way, the fish loves water.
A worshiper goes one step further beautifully talking about Moh and Prem:
ਜਉ ਹਮ ਬਾਂਧੇ ਮੋਹ ਫਾਸ ਹਮ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਬਧਨਿ ਤੁਮ ਬਾਧੇ ॥
You (God) sent me to this world, and bound me with attachment to treasures and people. I have, in return, bound you with the bonds of love.
ਅਪਨੇ ਛੂਟਨ ਕੋ ਜਤਨੁ ਕਰਹੁ ਹਮ ਛੂਟੇ ਤੁਮ ਆਰਾਧੇ ॥੧॥
I have broken free from the binds of attachment by meditating on You. How shall you liberate yourself now from the binds of my Love?