Fatima: What you say is true. I understand it and believe it, but can't I do something more so that it becomes my very nature?
Satwant Kaur: Yes, this is possible. A person who learns to be detached from earthly pleasures and relationships can truly experience the joys of being alive. But detachment must be learnt. And the way has been shown to us. As we continue to recite Gurbani, our mind becomes purer. All desires and wishes lose their keen edge. Slowly, we begin to accept that the world around us is like a sandcastle. It can be swept away by the next wave. This, however, does not mean that we should withdraw from the world. We live in it, so we must enjoy all that it offers. We must be like a bee, which sips the nectar of a flower and flies off, and not e like the common housefly, which gets stuck inside the jar of honey.
Another thing we must do is to search for that true happiness which is eternal; which, when experienced radiates the soul and removes all fears and doubts. For this, we do not have to go out, for it is right here in our hearts.
You must have heard of the musk deer. It carries the source of its rare fragrance inside it, and yet, not being aware of this, wanders from place to place in search of it. Gurbani says:
Bahar dhoodhan tey chhoot parray,
Gur ghar hi mahe dikhaya thaa.
Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ang 1002
(The Guru has saves us from needless wandering by revealing the source of eternal bliss inside us.)
Fatima: (Having listened with rapt attention and heaving a deep sigh) Dear sister, I love listening to you. I can feel my run-away mind slowing down and my thoughts becoming centered on what you say. I know that if I can only break the bonds of the outer world, which are constantly pulling me away from myself, I can achieve immense happiness and peace. But all this is too new, and my mind is still untrained. So help me, as you have done upto now. You have been extremely generous in giving so much time to set me on the right path. I can never repay you neither in this life nor in the next. Stay a little longer with me and help me to clear the doubts which continue to cloud my mind.
Satwant Kaur: I have not done you any favour. The Guru is the inspiration and he tells us that while travelling on the road of life we must do whatever good we can.
The Guru has also instructed us that we must first prepare the person if he wants to move on a spiritual path otherwise it's like asking a blind person to evaluate the price of pearls.
To illustrate this point, I'll tell you a story. Once, there was a king who was a good man but completely illiterate. A learned pandit was his chief advisor. He wielded a great deal of power in the court. There came a time when he had to go away. He wanted to keep his position secure at the court, so he told the king, "While I am away, you must be careful that no one tries to make a fool of you. I'll teach you a Sanskrit sloka, which means The goddess sits on a stool eating corn. Whenever a man comes posing as a learned man, you can test him by asking him the meaning. If he tells this correctly you can trust him, but if he doesn't, you will know he is a fraud.
Thus it happened that many wise men came to meet the king, but went away humiliated because the king had been taught the wrong meaning of the sloka.
One day Pandit Kalidas happened to come there. He saw that the king was upsetting all the wise people of his kingdom through his ignorance. He decided to enlighten him.
When the king asked him the meaning of the sloka, Kalidas replied, "To give the exact meaning will take at least six months. You must spend a couple of hours with me every day, Your Majesty, otherwise it will not be possible."
The king agreed to do this, and in the six months, Kalidas managed to teach the king the basics of the Sanskrit language. At the end of this time, he requested the king to work out the meaning of the sloka himself. To his consternation, the king found that the meaning was exactly the same as given by the other wise men earlier.
In this way Kalidas trained the king to understand and appreciate the language so that he could interpret the meaning for himself.
It is written in Sri Guru Granth Sahib:
Kabir Ram rattan mukh kothri parakh aagaiy khole
Koi aye milaiygo gahaki leigo mehgay mole.
Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ang 1376
(Kabir says when you have received the name of Ram, do not reveal it to one and all, but to the one who knows its worth, for only he will value it.)
Jis jan kau prabh daras pyasaa,
Nanak takaiy bal bal jasaa.
Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ang 266
(He, who seeks to see the sight of the Lord, Nanak is a sacrifice unto him.)
To illustrate what happens when one offers a gift to someone who is not ready for it, I will relate another story. A pair of birds had built their nest on the top of a tall tree. When the rains came, they sat snug and safe from the storm. Two fireflies hovered there, casting light all round. Just then a monkey appeared. He was shivering with cold and jumping from branch to branch trying to find shelter. One bird spoke, 'O brother monkey! You resemble a human being and have two hands and feet. You should have built a home for yourself in fair weather, then you would not be suffering now!' The monkey was furious at this advice coming from a mere bird and promptly destroyed the nest.
So, Bibi, the need is for us to learn to be good, to give up wrong-doing, and control evil passions. Reciting Gurbani cleans our minds and hearts, and fills them with love. It is of vital importance, and that is why I have helped you first of all to recite and memorize Gurbani.
There is one other things you can do to get spiritual strength, but I must discuss this first with a saintly person, who is my guide and mentor. I shall be gone for one or two days only.
Fatima: Bibiji, my heart is full of fear. What if you don't come back?
Satwant Kaur: A Sikh does not tell lies. Whenever I leave for my motherland, I shall tell you before going, so please trust me. The santji I referred to has come from Punjab, and all these days I have been talking and discussing all points with him. The words I have spoken to you are those which he has told me. On this last point, I must clear my doubts before talking to you So I will leave now, but I shall come back soon.
Saying her farewell to Fatima, Satwant Kaur changed back into the men's clothing and slipped out of the tunnel. True to her promise, she returned after two days, to a delighted welcome from Fatima.
Early next morning after completing the Gurbani nitnem, Satwant Kaur spoke to Fatima and said:
Our Guru established a spiritual path, that of satsang where people meet and interact for their spiritual upliftment. Yours and mine is such a relationship. The Guru has taught the Sikhs how to remember God all the time, by repeating His name (naam japna). The effect of this is like drinking the cook, sparkling water of a deep well. It refreshes and satisfies all who drink it, and it never runs dry:
Khaweh kharcheech ral mil bhai
Tote na awaiy vadho jayee.
Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ang 186
(Expend as much as I may with all my company.
(but) it diminishes not and is ever on the increase.)
Satwant Kaur then went on to tell Fatima about amrit and its significance for the Sikhs, "This will be difficult for you, I know, so for the present concentrate on naam japna.
After a pause, she continued, "Our minds are always teaming with thoughts and ideas. If we think of good things, our minds too become good. So our aim should be to remember the Almighty at all times, for He is the Creator and Protector of all living creatures. Our Guru has taught us:
Guru ik deh bujhaee
Sabhna jeeya ka ik Daata
So main visar na jayee
Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ang 2
(This the Guru, my mentor taught: There is one protector and provider of all creation. Forget him not.)
If we find it difficult to concentrate on the Lord's name, in silence, then we can recite it aloud. In this way Waheguru Naam slowly seeps into our subconscious and becomes part of our psyche. Remembering becomes an effortless act, and at this stage of mind becomes restful and focused It is not pulled in different directions by the temptations and attractions of this world. Slowly a sense of purity will permeate yourself and you will enjoy a lightness and beauty of spirit.
My prayers are with you. May Waheguru grant you the joy of His presence. I have a strong feeling that in this way, a day will come when you will be ready to take amrit and become a Singhni.
So my dear Bibi, cherish these words. A seed lying in the dirt is worthless, but when thrown into a fertile field and watered, it grows into a fruit-bearing tree. Similarly, Guru Nanak's gift is rejected by non-believers, but in the hearts of eager devotees, it takes root and grows, bringing fulfillment and joy.
Guru Nanak has not concealed anything from his Sikhs. Everything is freely available in his satsang. However, if it human nature to shut one's eyes in the face of a strong flash of light. The non-believers use this as an excuse to deny the Almighty's presence, and thereby expose their own ignorance.
(to be continued...)