Why Are We Here? – 8
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In our lives we always imagine that God is someone over there, far, far away and detached from us. But Guru Ji tells us that he is close, in fact closest to us. Guru Ji says:
“Thoo bharapoor jaaniaa mai doo-ar.” — (SGGS, Pg. No. 25)
Meaning: You are present everywhere. I had thought that You were far away.
In fact, He is closest to us than even the integral parts of our body, like hands. But we have not yet felt the proximity as we have not developed a relationship with God. At present our relationships is with our spouses, children, parents, friends, relatives, colleagues and bosses. Because it is human nature to look for support and that need is provided by these relationships. It is for these reasons alone man is called a social animal. Once we start walking on the road of relationship, we will find that God is closer as we choose it to be.
But what kind of relationship did the Guru have with God? If we study gurbani, we find that Guru Ji has explored this relationship in multi dimensions. Let us explore some of the relationships that Gurus have deployed to express their relationship. These are:
Type of Relationship
A. Master-Servant Relationship
B. Relationship of Friendship
C. Parent-Child Relationship
D. Husband-Wife Relationship
A. Master- Servant Relationship:
In this relationship the servant does everything at the master’s bidding. One is not privy to master’s business decisions, but only faithfully executes what the Master desires or orders.
When one has a Master-Servant relationship then one has only one choice that is to do his master’s bidding. The servant does have an opinion, option, suggestion, or a choice in the matter. Guru Ji says:
“Barkhareed hai daasaro taeraa.” — (SGGS, Pg. No. 739)
Meaning: I am your indentured slave; you own me O Lord.
Here we can see that Guru Ji is declaring this relationship openly, and has willingly given up freedom, without regret. But if we see this relationship through the history of world, we find that this practice of slavery was forced upon, and it exploitation was quite degrading. The servants have not taken jobs willingly and had a constant yearning for freedom. But in Guru Ji’s example it is willing submission, a pleasure, an honor and a privilege in serving the Master. Why is it being done by Guru Ji? Guru Ji provides the answer.
“ Too(n) jeewan too(n) praan adhhaaraa. Thujh hee paekh paekh mun saadhhaaraa.” — (SGGS, Pg. No. 739)
Meaning: You are my life; you are support of my breath of life. Beholding you, my mind is comforted.
How should the servant ask for grace and kindness from the Master? Guru Ji has shown us in these words:
“Apanae saewak ko kabahu na bisaarahu. Our laagahu suaamee prabh maerae poorab preeth gobind beechaarahu.” — (SGGS, Pg. No. 829)
Meaning: Never forget Your servant, O Lord. Hug me close in Your embrace, O God, my Lord and Master; consider my primal love for You, O Lord of the Universe.
B. Relationship of Friendship:
When the relationship is of friendship, it is not just a mere acquaintance, but that of a close bosom friend who is an intimate friend with whom we all share our joys and sorrows.
Friendship is a much-cherished relationship, because the very word is symbolic of not just casual acquaintance but of a close and trusted friendship. In the earlier past we discussed the relationship of Master-Servant, and a significant facet of that relationship is that the servant is always in attendance yet has to keep a distance; but in this relationship, one is in the inner circle and enjoys a close contact. The distance of the Master-Servant relationship then completely disappears. We turn to our trusted friends for help, guidance and advice in times of a crisis, but we have not experienced friendship of God. So let us ask Guru Ji to share the benefits of that friendship. Guru Ji says:
“Jaa kaa har swami Prabh baelee. Peerr ga-ee phir nahee dhuhaelee.” — (SGGS, Pg. No. 378)
Meaning: Those who have God as a friend, all their pains, sufferings disappear, and then one is always free of worries.
It is not for this reason alone that Guru Ji wants us to work on developing that type of relationship. Because we all have this innate desire to be free of stress and worries and we always want to be happy. Guru Ji advises us:
“Meeth Saajan Sakhaa Prabh aek.” — (SGGS, Pg. No. 197)
Meaning: God alone is my intimate, best friend and companion.
If the benefits of this relationship are to be described in a sentence, it can only best be summed up in Guru Ji’s words:
“Jaa kaa meeth saajan hai sameeaa. Tis jan ko kahu kaa kee kameeaa — (SGGS, Pg. No. 186)
Meaning: Those who have the Lord as their Friend and Companion - tell me, what else do they need?
They have the best, most dependable friend and ally on their side. With God as a friend, there will be no deficit or shortage of any kind. This relationship will be very close and a very fulfilling.
C. Parent-Child Relationship:
Guru ji has shared that God is our father and mother and we are his children in these words:
“Too(n) maeraa pita too(n) hai maeraa maataa.” (SGGS, Pg. No. 103)
Meaning: You are my father, (and) you are my mother.
Here is another quote expressing similar feelings:
“Tum maat pita hum baarik tayrae.” — (SGGS, Pg. No. 268)
Meaning: You are my mother and father; we are your children.
Now as parents take care of children, love them, provide for them, and nourish them, God also does the same and he does it for the entire humanity, without any discrimination. The reason Guru Ji considers this relationship is because we are filled with greed, lust, anger, attachment, and pride; it is because of our own ego we consider that everything we are doing is happening. But Guru Ji tells us that if that doer is somebody else. Even when He sees our vices, He does not turn His back, and still loves us. Guru Ji has expressed the feelings in these words:
“Nanak baarik kashhoo na jaanai raakhan ko prabh maaee baap.” — (SGGS, Pg. No.1341)
Meaning: Listen! Nanak, the child does not know anything (about how to conquer vices) at all. God alone can protect; He is our mother and father.
In this statement two basic facts are being shared with us for our benefit:
— We are ignorant child of God
— God can protect us from vices
The words are Guru’s, but it is not their state of affair, as they have already conquered the vices. These are being said by Guru Ji to describe our state of mind.
Now as a child what can we do? We can pray and ask for mercy so that we can be pardoned for our transgressions and learn how to overcome our vices. Guru Ji shows us how to seek mercy with these words:
“Taearai bharosai pyarae mai laadd laddaaeiaa. Bhooleh chookeh baarik too(n) har pita maa-ei-aa.” — (SGGS, Pg. No. 51)
Meaning: Oh, my beloved! With Complete faith I have indulged in a (childlike) loving relationship with You. I have made mistakes and have erred- But I am your child, O- Lord- You are my Mother and Father.
When a child goes to parents with folded hands and asks for mercy, then opens his/her arms, all that parents do is clasp them and love them. Guru Ji is inspiring us to develop that loving relationship of a child with the parent.
Here is another quote with a prayer in heart and lips by the child:
“Rameeya, hau baarik taeraa. Kaahae na khanddas avgan maeraa.” — (SGGS, Pg. No. 478)
Meaning: Oh, Beautiful Lord! I am your ignorant child; why don’t you remove my demerits.
This is a type of prayer that Guru Ji has given us to establish our relationship with our Creator and our parent. In fact, the interesting thing is that Guru Ji has used this analogy and other analogies to depict the variety of relationship with the Creator.
D. Husband-Wife Relationship:
This is the closest and most intimate of all human relationships. In this relationship the closeness of friendship is also left behind, and intimacy takes a new dimension. In fact this is the relationship that our Gurus had with God and want us to develop this relationship in which there is nothing hidden, everything is openly shared, and even in sorrows and happiness the trusting, caring, sharing, of feelings, pain is done with full confidence and complete trust. But the most salient aspect of this relationship is feeling of love, reverence, and regards. In fact, a woman’s love for her man is much higher if the two were compared on a scale, and it is for this reason Guru Ji have used this analogy to describe their love for God. Now, let us look at some quotes to see how Guru Jis have described their relationship of love.
“Mai kaaman maeraa kanth karathaar.” — (SGGS, Pg. No.1128)
Meaning: I am the bride; the Creator is my Husband Lord.
So how do we develop this relationship? Guru Ji shares with us by calling us companions, as we have same journey to undertake:
“Su-n sakheeeae prabh milan neesaanee.” — (SGGS, Pg. No. 737)
Meaning: Listen, O my companions - these are the signs on the Path to meet God.
Guru Ji provides the road map in the next line with the answer:
“Mun tan arap thaj laaj lokaanee.” — (SGGS, Pg. No. 737)
Meaning: Dedicate your mind and body to Him; stop living to please others.
Gurus had this relationship and they have made vivid portrayals of this relationship and they want us to develop this type of relationship. In their eyes even the males have that type of relationship with God. Knowing and loving God is our highest potential and a matter of privilege. Once we develop that relationship, that bonding, that trust and faith then we will always be in touch with our husband - God. Well that did not even cross our mind nor did we ever think along those lines.
If we look at our lives from childhood in terms of relationships, we will notice that during childhood the relationships with parents are the dearest. As we grow older into adolescent years, the relationship with our friends becomes our closest. Then as we move into adulthood, the center of relationship changes again and now we seek husband wife companionship. This relationship becomes the closest of all relationships, the most intimate, and lasts the longest time in the life span.
Guru Ji is talking about developing this type of relationship with our Creator- closest, very intimate, and most cherished. In absence of this relationship, Guru Ji says one is all alone in this life jungle; with a haunting feeling of loneliness in the midst of all - family and friends, Guru Ji has described it in these words:
“Sun naah prabhu jeeo eaekalrree ban maahae. Kio dheeraigee naah binaa prabh vaeparvaahae.” — (SGGS, Pg. No. 243)
Meaning: Hear me, O my Dear Husband God- I am all alone in the wilderness. How can be comforted without you, my God?
In these lines Guru Ji has not just painted a picture of a wife who has ventured in wilderness in search of her spouse but has shown how we feel in midst of everything – lonely and empty. Now in the midst of wilderness, coupled with loneliness she is longing to be comforted and is wailing, crying in agony. Why is such a feeling of emotions being expressed by Guru Ji? Guru Ji sees those merits in that Creator that makes Him appealing to Guru Ji. Guru Ji says:
“Laal bahu gun kaaain mohee Taerae gun hohae na avaree.” — (SGGS, Pg. No. 359)
Meaning: Oh, My Love! I, the bride, am fascinated by your virtues. These virtues I do not see in others.
So how does one meet this husband? Guru Ji says:
“Aap shhoad sewa karee pir sachaara milai sehaj subhaaeae.” — (SGGS, Pg. No. 583)
Meaning: If one serves Him selflessly, the True Husband meets with intuitive ease.
This thought has also been echoed by Guru Arjan Dev Ji in these words:
“Sewa karat hoae naehkaamee. Tis ko hoat paraapaht swamee.” — (SGGS, Pg. No. 286)
Meaning: One who serves without a desire, or an expectation of a reward, attains to the Lord.
Guru jis have used the analogy of relationship between husband and wife to depict the relationship of a devoted, faithful person with God. The relationship of Master-Servant has a gap in intimacy. Similarly, the relationship of parent-child undergoes changes as the child grows into adulthood. Even friendships change and sometimes friends become bitter foes. But the husband-wife relationship is most unique, beautiful, and longest lasting and it is for these reasons Guru Jis have used it as model of our relationship with God. Still, it is possible to have all four relationships with God based on the situation, mood and feeling. In the Part – B of this Chapter we will delve deeper into this relationship and also how to build this relationship with God.
Purpose No. 4 : Relationship with God
Thought : I need to develop a close personal relationship with God.
Quote: “Jaa kaa meeth saajan hai sameeaa. Tis jan ko kahu kaa kee kameeaa.”
— (SGGS, Pg. No. 186)
Meaning: Those who have the Lord as their Friend and Companion - tell me, what else do they need?
Action: I will always pray that I develop a personal and intimate relationship with God. I will share all my happiness, grief and sorrow with God in full faith.
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