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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Guru Nanak Jayanti -- Light and Sound on the Path

Guru Nanak Jayanti -- Light and Sound on the Path

Happy Birthday Guru Nanak! Sunday, November 17th, 2013

"Guru Nanak Jayanti is the birthday of the first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak, and one of the most sacred festivals in Sikhism. Guru Nanak Dev Ji was born on 15 April 1469 in Rai-Bhoi-di Talwandi in the present Shekhupura District of Pakistan, now Nankana Sahib.

"Guru Nanak Gurpurab also known as Guru Nanak's Prakash Utsav, celebrates the birth of the first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak. The Nanak panthi Hindus and other followers of Guru Nanak's philosophy also celebrate this festival.

"The birthday of Guru Nanak Sahib falls on Kartik Poornima, i.e., the day of the full moon in the month of Kartik. In the Gregorian Calendar, the birthday of Guru Nanak usually falls in the month of November, but its date varies from year to year, based on the traditional dates of the Indian calendar.

"Guru Nanak Jayanti ranks among the popular festivals in India. It is celebrated with great zeal in the state of Punjab.

"Guru Nanak Jayanti Festival is usually a three day festival. Two days prior to the birthday, Akhand Path is held in the Gurudwaras. It is the practice of forty-eight-hour non-stop reading of the Guru Granth Sahib, the religious book of the Sikh religion.

"On the day of the Guru Nanak Jayanti, people get up early in the morning and sing Asa-di-Var or the morning hymns from the Sikh scriptures. Priests recite poems in praise of the Guru in the Gurudwaras. In the afternoon, Langar or special community lunch is prepared and people eat these together with family members and friends. The main objective of this lunch is to offer food as a form of seva (service) and bhakti (devotion)."

-- Above:
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By Remembering God (Simran) We Walk on a Clear Path and Find the Door to Liberation -- Guru Nanak

No words can speak of remembrance,
Attempts to explain are later regretted.
No paper, pen or scribe can describe,
Nor any philosophizing help to realize,
So wondrous is the immaculate Name,
IT is known only by those who hold IT in their mind.

Remembering, our mind and intellect awaken,
Remembering, we learn of all the worlds;
Remembering, we are safe from blows and pain;
Remembering, we part company with death.
So wondrous is the Immaculate Name,
IT is known only by those who hold IT in their mind.

Remembering, we walk on a clear path,
Remembering, we advance in honour and glory,
Remembering, we do not stray down lanes and byways,
Remembering, we keep to righteousness.
So wondrous is the immaculate Name,
IT is known only by those who hold IT in their mind.

Remembering, we find the door to liberation,
Remembering, our family is liberated too,
Remembering, we swim and lead our companions
to the shore.
Remembering, says Nanak, we need not beg
in circles for freedom.
So wondrous is the Immaculate Name,
IT is known only by those who hold IT in their mind.

-- Guru Nanak, Jap Ji (Morning Prayer),
"The Name of My Beloved, Verses of the Sikh Gurus" -- Nikky Singh Translation

"Make the transaction for which you came into this world, through the Guru, deposit the Divine in your mind. So easily will you find the joy that dwells within your own Self, and no more will you enter the circle of living and dying." (from the, Adi Granth, Kirtan Sohila, Evening Prayers, translated by Nikky-Guninder Kaur Singh, "The Name of My Beloved, Verses of the Sikh Gurus")

Definitions of Simran
by James Bean

"Simran" is a term which means "Remembrance", the spiritual practice of remembering or being mindful of God by repeating his Name. In the Sant tradition, the name (or names) of God that one repeats are taught or revealed by a living Master at the time of your initiation into the meditation practices of Sant Mat. Devotees sometimes sing or chant various names for God. Higher spiritually, and more "within you" is the practice of "Manas Jap", the mental Simran-repetition of God's name or names "with the tongue of thought" -- in other words, chanting names of God within one's mind. The Sants have always placed much greater emphasis upon mental Simran over any kind of vocal chant.

This is a spiritual exercise -- Simran -- Mantra -- Zikhr - that is practiced on the 'inner,' when we go within during meditation practice. Sant Namdev and other Masters have taught how important it is to develop the spiritual practice of repeating God's name. This can be done during meditation as a way to: relax, get centered, still the thoughts of the mind, and Above All, to invoke the Positive Power to transform one's meditation through Divine Grace into the experience of God. The answer to this prayer of God's name is God Himself-Herself-ITself.

"When doing spiritual practices, you should sit in one unflinching posture and do mental Simran only, with your inner gaze fixed. Think of nothing else except Simran. Sit in a position most comfortable to you, one in which you can sit the longest without moving; that while sitting in this position, you are to remain wide awake with your attention directed at the seat of the soul behind and between the two eyebrows; that you are to look sweetly and serenely into the middle of the darkness in front of you, repeating the Simran of five charged names slowly and at intervals. At the time of hearing the Sound Current, listen to the Sound only and do not do Simran while hearing the Sound." (Kirpal Singh)

(1) Simran or Manas Jap refers to the remembrance of God by the repetition of a name of God or combination of names.

(2) Becoming One with the Name Being Repeated: "When Simran (the repetition of a sacred name or charged words) is merged in the mind, and mind be merged in Simran, such fusion of mind and the name (mantra) is called Manas Jap (mental repetition)." ('Aranya Kand', Maanas Peeyush)

(3) Do Simran with Love. The True Spirit of Simran Practice is Bhakti: "If the person repeats the name with love, distress is destroyed and one lives in happiness." (Sant Tulsi Das) "The practitioner who does Jap [Simran] sitting in a secluded place with the right method and immense love [Bhakti], becomes the excellent devotee." (Swami Bhagirath Baba): http://www.Scribd.com/doc/118372093/Shri-Swami-Bhagirath-Baba-A-Spiritual-Discourse

There is however, more to Simran than the repeating of sacred words. Simran must be approached with the right attitude, the right spirit, for one's intent determines how successful the practice will be, and what effect it will have upon one's consciousness. Simran has never been intended to be a dry or lifeless mantra practice. The path of the Sants is a Bhakti path, a path of love and devotion for the Supreme Being. Thus, the true Masters have always instructed their students to repeat God's Name with love and devotion, as a lover calling out to one's Beloved, the Lord of Love.

Radiant Form of the Master

"My mind pines for a vision of the Guru,
It wails like the chatrik bird.
My thirst is unquenched, and I find no peace
without sight of the Beloved Saint.

May I offer myself again and again,
for a vision of the Beloved and Holy Guru.

Your face is beautiful, and the Music of Your sweet Word
brings peace within.
It has been so long since I caught a glimpse of You,
I yearn for You as a soaring bird for water.
Blessed is the land where You dwell,
my good and Beloved Friend.

May I offer myself again and again,
my Guru, my good and Beloved Friend.

A moment without sight of You passes painfully
as a long dark age.
When shall I see you now, my blessed Beloved?
My nights are a torment, I cannot sleep a wink
without a glimpse.

May I offer myself again and again,
to the True One's court.

By good fortune I have met the Holy Guru,
And I have found the Immortal in my own house.
May I always serve You,
never parting for a minute
or moment, Nanak is Your humble slave.

May I offer myself again and again,
Nanak is Your humble slave."

(From Shabad Hazare, in, "The Name of My Beloved, Verses of the Sikh Gurus", an anthology of the Adi Granth/Guru Granth/Sikh Scriptures translated by Nikky-Guninder Kaur Singh)


"They who reflect, who reflect upon You,
they live peacefully in this world.
They are freed, they are freed who remember the Divine,
their snare of death is cut.
They who remember the Fearless One, the Fearless One,
all of their fears are dispelled.
They who serve, who serve my Beloved,
they merge with the Divine Form.
Blessed, blessed are they who remember the Divine."

"I do not understand Your wonders,
nor the way You made me capable.
I am base, without virtue,
but You had compassion for me,
Compassion that showered me with boundless mercy,
and I found a friend in the Sat Guru [True Guru].
Says Nanak, I live to hear the Name
that quickens body and mind with radiant joy"

("The Name of My Beloved, Verses of the Sikh Gurus", translated by Nikky-Guninder Kaur Singh)

Vegetarianism in the Sikh Scriptures -- The Teachings of Guru Nanak and Guru Granth

Some have suggested that the Sikh Scriptures are not very clear on vegetarianism, the need to strictly adhere to a vegetarian diet for spiritual and ethical reasons. Not so. Let's have a look. There are numerous vegetarian passages preserved in the Sikh Scriptures (Adi Granth, Shri Guru Granth Sahib) and related Sikh texts -- quotes from Guru Nanak, Kabir, Guru Arjan Dev, Guru Gobind Singh and others. I've also included quotes below from Bhai Gurdaas Ji and a Persian historian who wrote about Guru Nanak and the early Sikhs -- how the original disciples were all vegetarians.

Nanak abstained from animal food and enjoined against cruelty to animals: "Having prohibited his disciples to drink wine and eat pork, he (Nanak) himself abstained from eating flesh and ordered not to hurt any living being." (Mohsin Fani, DABISTAN-E-MAZAHIB)

"Countless are the cutthroats who trade in violence. Countless are sinners who keep on sinning. Countless are liars, wandering lost in their lies. Countless are the impious who live on unwholesome food." (Guru Nanak, Jap Ji, Guru Granth Sahib Ji, 4)

"You kill living beings, and call it a righteous action. Tell me, brother, what would you call an unrighteous action? You call yourself the excellent sage; then whom would you call a butcher?" (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, 1103).

"Kabeer says, the dinner of beans and rice is excellent when flavored with salt. Who would cut throats to have meat with his bread?" (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, 1374)

"Kabeer: for those who consume marijuana, fish and wine, no matter what pilgrimages, fasts and rituals they follow, they will all be consigned to hell". (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, 1377).

"One who does not steal, commit adultery, slander anyone, gamble, eat meat or drink wine will be liberated in this very life (i.e. Jeewan Mukt)". (Guru Gobind Singh, 10th Sikh Guru, Sudharam Marag Granth)

"Living by neglect and greed, the world eats dead carcasses. Like a goblin or a beast, they kill and eat the forbidden carcasses of meat. Control your urges, or else you will be thrown into the tortures of hell." (Guru Arjan Dev, Guru Granth Sahib Ji, 723).

Bhai Gurdaas Ji said: "They eat meat by cutting throats, what will their own condition be?" (Vaar 24, Pauree 17)

"To take what rightfully belongs to another, is like a Muslim eating pork, or a Hindu eating beef. Our Guru, our Spiritual Guide, stands by us if we do not eat those carcasses. By mere talk, people do not earn Liberation. Salvation only comes from the practice of truth. By adding spices to forbidden foods, they are not made acceptable. O Nanak, from false talk, only falsehood is obtained". (Guru Nanak Dev Ji, Guru Granth Sahib Ji, 141)

"You kill living beings, and call it a righteous action. Tell me, brother, what would you call an unrighteous action? You call yourself the excellent sage; then whom would you call a butcher?" (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, 1103).

"You keep your fasts to please Allah, while you murder other beings for pleasure. You look after your own interests, and so not see the interests of others. What good is your word? O Qazi, the One Lord is within you, but you do not think or contemplation on Him. You do not care for others, you are mad about religion, this is why your life is wasting away." (Kabir, Guru Granth Sahib Ji, 483)

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"James was a vegetarian...." (Robert Eisenman, James the Brother of Jesus)

"James, the brother of the Lord, lived on seeds and plants and touched neither meat nor wine." (Epistulae ad Faustum XXII, 3)

"John never ate meat." (Church historian Hegesipp according to Eusebius, History of the Church II 2:3)

"The Apostle Matthew partook of seeds, and nuts, hard-shelled fruits, and vegetables, without flesh." (Clement of Alexandria, The Instructor, Book 2, Chapter 1)

Peter said, "I live on olives and bread, to which I rarely only add vegetables." (Clementine Homilies 12,6; also see, Recognitions 7,6)

"Now beware in yourselves that your hearts do not become heavy with the eating of flesh and with the intoxication of wine and with the anxiety of the world, and that day come up upon you suddenly; for as a snare it will come upon all them that dwell on the surface of the earth." (Jesus, Luke 21:34, from a Syriac-Aramaic manuscript of the New Testament)

"Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny."
-- Mahatma Gandhi

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