Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Love for Singhs

Daas read a topic with the above title. It was written by a Veer who has cut hair, it deeply affected my heart and told me what the state of the Panth is in. In Praatan times (olden times) Singhs would shower their love and affection on everyone regardless of there avasthaa. A smile makes a big difference, a very big difference - do not underestimate the value of a genuine smile.

Gursikhs that are constantly Japping Naam already develop such a natural smile on their cherai (faces). Gursikhs that are always smiling create a beautiful aura around themselves and everyones soul feels attracted to theirs. The Gursikhs soul becomes almost like a magnet. When Daas was also not on the Sikhi Path, but starting to tread on it, Daas had many encounters with Gursikhs, but only very few will make the effort to smile. This is the difference between Naam ABHIYAASEES and Naam RASEEYAI Gursikhs. Naam Abhiyaasees will always be reciting Naam, rather vigorously and will not speak to anyone - always with their head down doing Abhiyaas. [Note: This is not a bad thing, Daas is the Charan Dhoor of anyone who Japs Naam in whatever way they may do it]

Whereas, Naam Raseeyai Gursikhs are something else! Naam Raseeyai will be Japping Naam in Sehaj avastha all the time with their head up smiling. One will always notice a golden hue on their faces, because they shower the Prem Ras (Love) on everyone they meet affectionately. It does not matter whether one is black or white, Sikh or Muslim, Hindu or Christian or Jewish etc etc - the point is everyone has a soul.

The best present a Gursikh can give to someone is a smile. Inner tranquilty also dawns upon us when we smile because it is an emotion which triggers certain chemicals in our body. Daas must point out, it is a genuine smile we are talking about and not a counterfeit one. One can always notice a genuine smile on the faces of those Gursikhs that Jap Naam.

peeou amrith naam amolak jio chaakh goongaa musakaavath 1
I drink in the Invaluable Nectar of the Naam, the Name of the Lord. Like the mute, I can only smile - I cannot speak of its flavor. 1

- taken from an e-mail

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Reading Bani Without Understanding

Gurbani and Sri Guru Har Rai Sahib Ji

One day Satguru Sri Guru Har Rai Maharaj’s Sikhs inquired whether those who read the Guru’s hymns without understanding them derived any spiritual advantage there from. Guru Ji gave no reply at the time, and the next morning whilst travelling, on a level plain on his way he saw pieces of a pot, which had held butter. The sun was melting the butter on the potsherds. Guru Ji took one of them in his hand and said, ‘You see, my Sikhs, these are old potsherds, but when they are heated, the butter that has adhered to them rapidly melt. As the grease adheres to the potsherds, so do the Guru’s hymns to the heart of his Sikhs. At the hour of death the Guru’s instruction shall assuredly bare fruit. Whether understood or not, it has within it the seed of salvation. Perfume clings to the broken vase.

The meaning of this parable is, that whoever daily reads the Guru’s hymns shall assuredly obtain peace. And even though he does not fully understand them Waheguru will undoubtedly assist him.
Satguru Sri Guru Ram Das Ji Maharaj said, ‘The word is the Guru, and the Guru is the Word, and in the word is the essence of ambrosia’.

Satguru Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji Maharaj also said, ‘Waheguru will not destroy your labour’.
‘That is, even though you understand not. God will accept your prayers. God never in the slightest degree spoils a good act, so why daily repetition of our hymns should be wasted?’
The Guru’s questioners were satisfied and their devotion increased.

There will always be benefits if one recites without understanding. But there will be greater benefit if one contemplates the advice/meanings of Gurbani, and the biggest benefit is following the advice of Gurbani. That being said I think its important to make an effort to understand the meanings of Gurbani. We live in the age of information. There are so many dictionries, encyclopedias, discussion forums, where we can inquire about the meanings of Gurbani so there is really no excuse we can make. So we should take advantage of all these resources. When I first started to learn Gurbani there were so many words I did not understand. So I would look up each unknown word in a dictionary. Knowing the words in Gurbani helped me in my concentration. Even today I have a hard time concentrating when reciting Jaap Sahib because I dont know the meanings, but I have no doubts that Im still benefiting for following GUru Jis Hukum in reciting Nitnem. Guru Ji tells us to recite Gurbani so if we do so we well get benefits even if we dont understand.

I have also noticed that when I dont do much Naam Abhyiaas then the meanings and concentration of Gurbani become much harder. Our minds our pitch black due to the deeds of many life times. Naam Abyiaas helps remove this blackness , and when the blackness is removed the mind more easily soaks the meanings of Gurbani which is pure light . I think when we recite Bani and we dont do Naam Abhyiaas along with Bani then the ego kicks in which makes it impossible to connect to the illuminated essence of Gurbani.

Gurbani has two-fold mission. It is Guru-roop and it is Mantra-roop. Being our Guru, it shows us the way to Vaheguru. In order to fully understand Gurmat, it is imperative that Gurbani be understood but as per Gurbani, there are very rare ones who do vichaar on Gurbani:

ਬਾਣੀ ਬਿਰਲਉ ਬੀਚਾਰਸੀ ਜੇ ਕੋ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਹੋਇ ਇਹ ਬਾਣੀ ਮਹਾ ਪੁਰਖ ਕੀ ਨਿਜ ਘਰਿ ਵਾਸਾ ਹੋਇ ੪੦
(Only a rare person contemplates on Gurbani and such person can do so only if he is a Gurmukh. This Baani of great Purakh is such that who ever contemplates on it, finds residence in real personal abode.)

The above reference from Gurbani leaves no doubt that an effort should be made to understand Gurbani. Another important thing is that this understanding should come directly from Gurbani and not from translations. In the beginning and even at later stages one has to refer to translations done by Gurmukhs but as one progresses spiritually, one finds that Gurbani itself reveals itself to the one who serves it (does paath with shardha). Effort should be made to understand words used in Gurbani and also an attempt should be made to understand the basic grammar of Gurbani. It greatly assists one in understanding Gurbani.

If one understands Gurbani, it greatly enhances the Vismaad one gets from listening to Kirtan or Paath. Without understanding, this Vismaad is hard to get.

The second function of Gurbani is that it is Mantra-roop. Mantra is such word or combination of words that if spoken with a certain maryada, yield results. It does not matter if one understands the meaning of Mantra or not; it still has effect. It does not matter whether one knows the nature of fire or not. If one brings one's hand near fire it will burn. Same way, whether one knows that water cleans one's body or not, it still cleans it. Similarly, Gurbani cleans one's inside. When one does paath of Gurbani and listens attentively to the sound of Gurbani, it has an enchanting and life-changing effect on the seeker. Just by listening to Gurbani one's sorrows and pains are removed. One becomes close to Vaheguru. Amritdhari Gursikhs know that when one does paath of Gurbani with maryada, automatically and effortlessly, the Naam Abhyaas from within starts. One's mind wants to japp Naam. This is the Paaras Kala of Gurbani.

Does water understand the meaning of Gurbani? No. But still it turns into Amrit when Gurbani Paath is done in its vicinity. What else is the Khande di Pahul? If we take away Gurbani from it, what is left behind? Just sweet water. So it is proven beyond doubt that it is the paath of 5 Amrit Baanis that turn the sweet water into Amrit. Water does not understand Gurbani but it still turns into Amrit. Our body too is 75% water. Would it not turn into Amrit, if Gurbani paath is done with maryada. In other words, the whole body would turn into Amrit, if paath would be done with Maryada. Can any disease remain in the body then?

The four pauris of Suniai in Siri Jap jee Sahib teach us the greatness of listening to Naam and Gurbani. Just by hearing it, one's sorrows are removed but the condition is that one MUST HEAR GURBANI. If we do paath and our concentration is not in Gurbani, then too the benefit is there but at a very low level. The full effect comes with listening to Gurbani, while doing paath of it.

May Guru Sahib enable us to do vichaar of Gurbani and listen to Gurbani with full maryada.

- taken from an e-mail

Siri Jap jee Sahib – Importance of Amritvela

In the 4th pauri of Siri Jap jee Sahib, the following 4 pankitis are of great significance as far as Amritvela is concerned:

ਫੇਰਿ, ਕਿ ਅਗੈ ਰਖੀਐ, ਜਿਤੁ ਦਿਸੈ ਦਰਬਾਰੁ

From the first two pankitis (of this pauri) we find out that all that we have is from Vaheguru. Since, everything is from Vaheguru, then, what is it that we can present to Vaheguru so that we may be able to behold his Darbar (court)?

ਮੁਹੌ, ਕਿ ਬੋਲਣੁ ਬੋਲੀਐ, ਜਿਤੁ ਸੁਣਿ ਧਰੇ ਪਿਆਰੁ

Continuing on from the previous pankiti, Siri Guru jee asks second question, “what should be uttered from the mouth, hearing which, he may shower his love on us.”

This pankiti proves that there is such a word, by the uttering of which, he showers us with love. We all know that this word is Naam-Gurmantra.

ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਵੇਲਾ, ਸਚੁ ਨਾਉ, ਵਡਿਆਈ ਵੀਚਾਰੁ

The response to the questions in the 2 previous pankitis is most magnificent. Siri Guru jee says that in order to view his darbaar and to get his love, one must have Amritvela, Sacha Naam (true Naam) and contemplation of his qualities (through Gurbani).

In other words, one must possess Amritvela i.e. get up early in the morning and do chanting of Sach Naam and do contemplation of his qualities through Gurbani

ਕਰਮੀ ਆਵੈ ਕਪੜਾ, ਨਦਰੀ ਮੋਖੁ ਦੁਆਰੁ

When one does what is mentioned in the previous pankiti, then through his grace (karmi, kirpa naal) one receives the cloth or robe of honour (siropa) and by his kirpa (nadree) one receives Mokh-duaar (doorway of salvation).

Some scholars have interpreted the word “ਕਪੜਾ” as the human form but the problem in doing these meanings is that the flow that is continuing from previous pankitis is lost. Bhai Sahib Randhir Singh jee, Giani Bachan Singh Faridkoti, Professor Sahib Singh and many other scholars have interpreted this word as robe of honour (siropa).

From the above vichaar, it is clear that the way to achieve salvation and grace of Vaheguru is to have Amritvela Naam Abhyaas.

What is Amritvela?

Amritvela is the last pehar (3 hours or so) of the night, which is highly productive time for Naam Japna. The whole world is sleeping and Gursikhs find this time very peaceful to concentrate on Naam and contemplate on the qualities of Vaheguru listed in Gurbani. Gurmukhs who have reached high spiritual states say that at this time there is a shower or rainfall of Amrit. For this reason, one can effortlessly concentrate on Naam and achieve the spiritual aim much faster.

The nights become long and short at different times of the year. For this reason many Gursikhs stick to one time to get up year around. If a Gursikh gets up around 2am, it is the most suitable time. Some Gursikhs get up even at 11:30 pm and get ready at 12 am to japp Naam. While one must commend this effort of these Gursikhs but reading history we find out that most Gursikhs used to get up around 2am or be ready for Simran at 2am.

More References from Gurbani

The effort of getting up at Amritvela has been ordained by Guru Sahib in Gurbani. Presented below are some pankitis that give us hukam to get up early morning:

ਚਉਥੈ ਪਹਰਿ ਸਬਾਹ ਕੈ, ਸੁਰਤਿਆ ਉਪਜੈ ਚਾਉ
ਤਿਨਾ ਦਰੀਆਵਾ ਸਿਉ ਦੋਸਤੀ, ਮਨਿ ਮੁਖਿ ਸਚਾ ਨਾਉ

The alert ones who are seekers of Vaheguru, with great enthusiasm get up by the 4th part of the night. Their friendship is with rivers (where they take shower i.e. do ishnaan) and in their mouth and mind is the true Naam.

ਫਰੀਦਾ ਪਿਛਲ ਰਾਤਿ ਜਾਗਿਓਹਿ ਜੀਵਦੜੋ ਮੁਇਓਹਿ
ਜੇ ਤੈ ਰਬੁ ਵਿਸਾਰਿਆ ਰਬਿ ਵਿਸਰਿਓਹਿ

Baba Farid jee in his baani stated above, is making it clear that ones who don’t get up at the last part of the night are spiritually dead people.

ਪਰਭਾਤੇ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਨਾਮੁ ਜਪਿ ਗੁਰ ਕੇ ਚਰਣ ਧਿਆਇ
ਜਨਮ ਮਰਣ ਮਲੁ ਉਤਰੈ ਸਚੇ ਕੇ ਗੁਣ ਗਾਇ

Siri Guru Arjun Dev jee Maharaj in Maaroo Dakhne (above) state that O Gursikh, if you chant the Naam at early morning and this way contemplate on the Charan of Guru, and sing the praises of Vaheguru, your dirt of birth and death (many life forms) will be erased.

ਇਕਿ ਪੜਹਿ ਸੁਣਹਿ ਗਾਵਹਿ ਪਰਭਾਤਿਹਿ ਕਰਹਿ ਇਸਨਾਨੁ
ਇਸਨਾਨੁ ਕਰਹਿ ਪਰਭਾਤਿ ਸੁਧ ਮਨਿ ਗੁਰ ਪੂਜਾ ਬਿਧਿ ਸਹਿਤ ਕਰੰ
ਕੰਚਨੁ ਤਨੁ ਹੋਇ ਪਰਸਿ ਪਾਰਸ ਕਉ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਰੂਪੀ ਧ੍ਹਾਨੁ ਧਰੰ ॥॥

Translation: There are fortunate ones, who at the time of early morning take shower (do Ishnaan) and then read, hear and sing Gurbani and Naam. After taking shower at early morning with pure heart they do worshipping of Vaheguru with full methodology. The body becomes gold like by touching the Paaras of Naam and by concentrating on Jyot Roopi (spirit form) Vaheguru.

ਬਾਬੀਹਾ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਵੇਲੈ ਬੋਲਿਆ ਤਾਂ ਦਰਿ ਸੁਣੀ ਪੁਕਾਰ
ਮੇਘੈ ਨੋ ਫੁਰਮਾਨੁ ਹੋਆ ਵਰਸਹੁ ਕਿਰਪਾ ਧਾਰਿ

Babeeha is a bird that can drink water only from rainfall. Even if there is ocean full of water, this bird cannot use this water to quench its thirst. It has to rely on rain water. When this bird gets thirsty, it cries in such mercy-invoking way that it melts the heart of who ever hears it. Vaheguru too is prompted to send rainfall to quench the thirst of this bird.

When the Gursikh roopi Babeeha cries out (chants Naam with love) at amritvela, only then his cries or requests are heard by Vaheguru. This pankiti makes it clear that unless we do Amritvela, our cries and requests are not heard by Vaheguru.

Amritvela is important for a Gursikh because it is the hukam of Guru Sahib to get up early and engage in Naam Abhyaas. Gurbani goes as far as saying that those who don’t get up early morning are spiritually dead. Please refer to the aforementioned Gurbani Pankitis for detail on this.

What to do at Amritvela?

: 4
ਗੁਰ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਜੋ ਸਿਖੁ ਅਖਾਏ ਸੁ ਭਲਕੇ ਉਠਿ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਵੈ
ਉਦਮੁ ਕਰੇ ਭਲਕੇ ਪਰਭਾਤੀ ਇਸਨਾਨੁ ਕਰੇ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਸਰਿ ਨਾਵੈ
ਉਪਦੇਸਿ ਗੁਰੂ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਜਪੁ ਜਾਪੈ ਸਭਿ ਕਿਲਵਿਖ ਪਾਪ ਦੋਖ ਲਹਿ ਜਾਵੈ
ਫਿਰਿ ਚੜੈ ਦਿਵਸੁ ਗੁਰਬਾਣੀ ਗਾਵੈ ਬਹਦਿਆ ਉਠਦਿਆ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਵੈ
ਜੋ ਸਾਸਿ ਗਿਰਾਸਿ ਧਿਆਏ ਮੇਰਾ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਸੋ ਗੁਰਸਿਖੁ ਗੁਰੂ ਮਨਿ ਭਾਵੈ
ਜਿਸ ਨੋ ਦਇਆਲੁ ਹੋਵੈ ਮੇਰਾ ਸੁਆਮੀ ਤਿਸੁ ਗੁਰਸਿਖ ਗੁਰੂ ਉਪਦੇਸੁ ਸੁਣਾਵੈ
ਜਨੁ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਧੂੜਿ ਮੰਗੈ ਤਿਸੁ ਗੁਰਸਿਖ ਕੀ ਜੋ ਆਪਿ ਜਪੈ ਅਵਰਹ ਨਾਮੁ ਜਪਾਵੈ 2

As per the famous salok of Siri Guru Ramdaas jee Maharaj, listed above, the following should be done at Amritvela:

1) Recitation of Naam as soon as one gets up.

2) Gurmat Ishnaan of whole of the body including the hair. While doing Ishnaan one must do paath of Gurbani, Mool Mantra or Naam Abhyaas.

3) Nitnem of 5 Baanis should begin after Ishnaan is done and not while doing Ishnaan.

4) Nitnem of 5 baanis is of utmost importance and should be done at amritvela.

5) Naam Abhyaas can be done alone too but to have maximum benefit, it should be done along with Siri Sukhmani Sahib (reference from Bhai Sahib’s writing coming later in this article).

6) After concluding Naam Abhyaas, one should go to Gurdwara Sahib or where ever one can have darshan of Siri Guru Granth Sahib jee and do kirtan of Siri Asa kee Vaar. The amritvela should conclude with Siri Asa kee Vaar and if possible with Karah Parshad.

7) Then during the day, doing all tasks, one should continue doing Naam Abhyaas.

8) Such Gursikh who does Naam Abhyaas all the time through every breath is very dear to Guru Sahib.

Bhai Sahib Randhir Singh jee's views on Amritvela

With reference to the above Salok, Bhai Sahib has written the following:

ਵਿਆਖਿਆ ਭਾਵ: ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਦੇ ਸਚੇ ਸਿਖ ਦੀ ਬਸੇਖ ਕਿਰਿਆ ਸੰਜਮੀ ਕਾਰ ਦਾ ਨਿਤਾ ਪ੍ਰਤੀ ਬਿਬੇਕ ਕਰਮ ਨੇਮ (ਧਾਰਨਾ) ਏਹ ਹੈ ਕਿ ਨਿਤ ਸਵੇਰੇ ਉਠ ਕੇ ਬਿਧੀ ਪੂਰਬਕ ਨਾਮ ਧਿਆਵੈ ਦੂਜੀ ਪੰਗਤੀ (ਤੁਕ) ਤੋਂ ਨਾਮ ਧਿਆਵਨ ਦੀ ਸੰਜਮ ਬਿਧੀ ਅਰੰਭ ਹੁੰਦੀ ਹੈ ਉਦਮ ਕਰਕੇ ਵਡੇ ਤੜਕੇ ਉਠੇ (ਸਾਵਧਾਨ ਹੋਵੇ) ਅਤੇ ਇਸ਼ਨਾਨ ਕਰੇ ਅਤੇ ਇਸ਼ਨਾਨ ਸਮੇਂ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਬਾਣੀ ਦਾ ਪਾਠ ਕਰਦਾ ਹੋਇਆ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਸਰੋਵਰ ਦਾ ਮਜਨ ਕਰਨ ਹਾਰਾ ਬਣੇ ਫੇਰ ਗੁਰੂ ਉਪਦੇਸ਼ੀ ਨਿਤਨੇਮ ਬਾਣੀ ਦਾ ਪਾਠ ਕਰਦਾ ਹੋਇਆ ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਨਾਮ ਦਾ ਜਾਪ ਕਰੇ ਜਿਸ ਦੇ ਕਰਨ ਕਰਕੇ ਕਮਾਤੇ ਪਾਪ ਦੋਖ ਸਭ ਲਹਿ ਜਾਂਦੇ ਹਨ ਫੇਰ ਦਿਨ ਚੜ੍ਹੇ (ਸੂਰਜ ਉਦੇ ਹੋਣ ਸਾਰ) “ਗੁਰੂ ਦੁਆਰੈ ਹੋਇ ਕੈ ਸਾਹਿਬੁ ਸੰਮਾਲੇਹੁਗੁਰਵਾਕ ਦੇ ਭਾਵ ਅਨੁਸਾਰ ਸ੍ਰੀ ਗੁਰੂ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਜੀ ਦੇ ਦਰਸ਼ਨ ਦਿਦਾਰੇ ਕਰਦਾ ਹੋਇਆ ਮਧੁਰ ਸੁਰ ਨਾਲ ਗੁਰਬਾਣੀ ਦਾ ਕੀਰਤਨ ਪਾਠ ਕਰੇ ਫੇਰ ਕਾਰ ਬਿਹਾਰ ਕਰਦਿਆਂ ਹੋਇਆਂ ਭੀ ਉਠਦਿਆਂ ਬਹਿੰਦਆਂ ਤੁਰਦਿਆਂ ਫਿਰਦਿਆਂ ਸਾਸਿ ਗਿਰਾਸਿ ਨਾਮ ਅਭਿਆਸ ਵਿਚ ਹਰਦਮ ਜੁਟਿਆ ਰਹੇ

Loose Translation: The everyday activity of a true Bibeki Sikh of Satguru is get up in the morning and meditate on Naam according to the Gurmat methodology (Vidhi Poorbak). From the second verse of this Salok, the starting of the methodology of Naam Abhyaas is described. A Gursikh should get up very early in the morning and take shower and while taking shower, he should chant the Amrit Baani and this way do Ishnaan in the Sarovar (pond) of Amritsar. Then while doing the paath of Nitnem (prescribed 5 baanis), he should do Naam Abhyaas and as a result of this doing, all sins get washed away. Then at sunrise, as per the hukam “ਗੁਰੂ ਦੁਆਰੈ ਹੋਇ ਕੈ ਸਾਹਿਬੁ ਸੰਮਾਲੇਹੁ”, while doing darshan of Siri Guru Granth Sahib jee, he should recite or sing Gurbani with sweet voice. Then while doing all works during the day, he should continue to recite Naam with every breath.

Bhai Sahib writes that there comes an avastha while reciting Naam, when one’s concentration just becomes dull and one cannot derive pleasure or rass from Naam Abhyaas. To avoid this Bhai Sahib has written that, it is a good idea to do Naam Abhyaas and Gurbani Paath together. Bhai Sahib has written the following with respect to this:

ਇਸ ਤੋਂ ਬਚਣ ਦਾ ਸਭ ਤੋਂ ਵਧੀਆ ਉਪਾਉ ਏਹ ਹੈ ਕਿ ਪਹਿਲੀ ਅਵਸਥਾ ਤੋਂ ਹੀ ਨਾਮ ਬਾਣੀ ਦਾ ਅਭਿਆਸ ਇਕੱਠਾ ਹੀ ਕੀਤਾ ਜਾਵੇ ਅਤੇ ਬਾਣੀ ਖਾਸ ਕਰਿ ਸੁਖਮਨੀ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਦੀ ਬਾਣੀ ਦਾ ਅਭਿਆਸ, ਨਾਮ ਅਭਿਆਸ ਦੇ ਨਾਲ ਅਤਿ ਗੁਣਕਾਰੀ ਹੈ ਬਾਣੀ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਮ (ਨਾਮੀ ਜਿਸ ਦਾ ਕਿ ਨਾਮ ਜਪੀਦਾ ਹੈ) ਦੇ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਚਾਬਕ ਮਾਰ ਕੇ ਪ੍ਰੇਮੀ (ਅਭਿਆਸੀ ਜਨ) ਨੂੰ ਨਾਮ ਅਭਿਆਸ ਵਲ ਸਾਵਧਾਨ ਰਖਦੀ ਹੈ ਅਤੇ ਨਾਮ ਦੀ ਮਹਿਮਾ ਦੇ ਗੁਣਾਨਵਾਦ ਕਹਿ ਕਹਿ ਕੇ ਨਾਮ ਦਾ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਪਿਆਰ ਉਪਜਾਉਂਦੀ ਹੈ, ਏਹ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਹੀ ਸਾਵਧਾਨਤਾ ਦਾ ਸੰਜਮ ਹੈ ਏਹ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਹੀ ਸੁਰਤੀ ਬਿਰਤੀ ਦੇ ਉਚੇਰਾ ਰੱਖਣ ਦੀ ਔਖਧੀ ਹੈ!! ਅਤੇ ਏਹ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਹੀ ਸਰਬਤਰ ਫੁਰਨਿਆਂ ਕੁਫੁਰਨਿਆਂ ਦੇ ਮਾਰਨ ਦਾ ਮਾਰਣ (ਦਾਰੂ) ਹੈ ਗਲ ਕੀ! ਏਹ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਹੀ ਨਾਮ ਅਭਿਆਸ ਦੀ ਜੁਗਤੀਆਂ ਸਿਰ ਮੁਖ ਜੁਗਤੀ ਹੈ

Loose Translation: The best way to be saved from this (avoid dull concentration) is to do Naam Abhyaas and Gurbani Paath together. And especially to do Abhyaas (recitation with love) of Siri Sukhmani Sahib along with Naam Abhyaas is extremely beneficial. Using the whip or lash of love of the beloved one (whose Naam we chant), Gurbani keeps one alert towards Naam Abhyaas and by praising the greatness of Naam again and again, it increases the love of Naam in the mind of the seeker. This love is the way to get concentration. This love alone is the medicine that takes one’s concentration high. And this love alone is the medicine to kill thoughts or bad thoughts (that keep coming in mind when one tries to concentrate). What else to say, this love alone is the greatest way to do Naam Abhyaas.

Some Inspirational Stories or Sayings by Mahapurakhs

Baba Sham Singh jee at a very early age of 5 years started living with a Baba Raam Singh jee. His father had died and his mother could not feed him. For this reason she came to Baba Raam Singh jee and urged him to accept Baba Sham Singh jee. Baba Sham Singh had a remarkable inclination towards doing Bhagti, at such early age. He developed so much love for sangat that he refused to go back with his mother. Once when Baba Sham Singh was only 6 or 7 years old, he became a little relaxed in getting up at Amritvela and missed Amritvela for 2 days in a row. At this Baba Raam Singh told one of his sewadaar to take Baba Sham Singh and drop him off to his mother. When Baba Sham Singh heard this, he was horrified. He could not imagine going away from sangat and this way, lose spirituality. He started crying. The sewadar lovingly told him to seek forgiveness from Sant jee. Baba Sham Singh prostrated before Sant jee and earnestly sought forgiveness for not getting up early morning. At this Sant jee forgave him and told him that if a person loses Amritvela, then there is nothing left in that person. He said if he (Baba Sham Singh) was not going to keep Amritvela in his sangat, he (Baba Raam Singh) too will have some burden of the sin incurred with this, since he is responsible for him. After this, Baba Sham Singh jee never lost Amritvela. He lived for 115 more years, after this incident.

Another Singh while describing the importance of Amritvela used to say that Siri Guru Kalgidhar jee himself takes attendance of who get up at Amritvela. If a person misses Amritvela, he marks them absent but if a person regularly misses Amritvela, Guru Sahib just strikes off his name from the list. This is a very scary thought. If Guru Sahib was to strike off our name from his list of Gursikhs he monitors, what would happen of us? We would just die.

Some Tips for getting up at Amritvela

1) Let’s face it. We are not Brahmgyanis. So we should not try to imitate them either. Brahmgyanis may sleep (in so called sleep too they japp Naam) at midnight and still get up an hour or two hours later. But we are mortal beings. We must sleep early if we want to get up early.

2) One may sleep late and still get up early for 1 day, 2 days, 3 days or even a week but eventually he will be fatigued and sooner or later will lose or miss Amritvela.

3) A normal person needs at least 5-6 hours of sleep. If one wants to get up at 2am, then one must strive to sleep at 8pm.

4) Another thing to note is that if we sleep well at night, there is much more energy to japp Naam at Amritvela and concentration is much deeper.

5) If one is to sleep at 8pm, one must eat dinner by 6pm and then walk a little after eating. If one takes dinner at 9pm and sleep at 10-11, it is much harder to get up at Amritvela. As per experience of many Gursikhs heavy dinner, late at night, is an impediment in getting up early.

6) Do Kirtan Sohila with full concentration and do ardaas before Guru Sahib for Amritvela.

7) Before sleeping, one should try to concentrate on Naam Abhyaas or repeatedly do short Gurbani paaths like Ramkali kee Vaar and Basant kee Vaar.

8) At Amritvela, one should strive to do Ishnaan with cold water. This helps in concentration.

Despite all the efforts and tricks, we must realize that Amritvela after all is a gift of Vaheguru. For this reason, the foremost thing to do is to supplicate and beg before Guru Sahib for this gift. If Guru Sahib beholds us with the eye of grace, then Amritvela is done effortlessly.

Kulbir Singh

- from www.gurmatbibek.com