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Gur Panth Parkash

Gur Panth Parkash
by Rattan Singh Bhangoo
Translated by
Prof Kulwant Singh

 

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Mystique of Amrit

Sadhu Singh

Since times immemorial man has been yearning for mystique of Amrit which would make him eternally youthful and immortal. Too much in the material world, allured by its beauty and the sensuous pleasures, man harbours a deep desire for such a substance called Ab-e-Hayat, mana dew, Amrit or nectar.  Even great heroes of the world like Alexander the Great, who conquered the whole world, could not be happy without a blissful nectar.

There are legends in the popular folklore and in literature about nectar or Amrit.  The Indian mythology describes a beautiful one about the churning of ocean when fourteen rattans (jewels) were found and Amrit was one of these.  Mythology says that there was a fierce fight between the demons and the gods for the possession of Amrit, and finally Amrit came in the possession of gods while the wine (sura) fell to demons.

So, Amrit has been an important part of the psyche of mankind especially the Indians.  in the dextrous hands of Guru Gobind Singh, the Amrit which originally was with the gods, became a valuable possession in the hands of well-deserving spirtually inclined common people.

The initiates who partake Amrit become free from all the deleterious agents which cause illness of the mind and body.  They pledged their mind, body and all possessions to the Guru.  Guru Sahiban created the model of a perfect man in 239 years.

Amrit (Khande Bate Da Pahul) embodies the main objectives and principles of Sikhism.  One who partakes Amrit aspires to lead a pure and pious life, to merge the self in the Lord.  Amrit helps in cleansing of the conscience through the grace of the Guru.

Amrit is a ceremony of initiation into Sikhi which bestows immortality on the person who takes it.  Such a person is blessed with a highly elevated spiritual life towards realization of God.  The person aims at getting freedom from all worldly attachments and living a fearless life. The person is under the protection of the Guru (Ram-Kar) and is safe from afflictions of every type, i.e., physical and mental.  Thus, Amrit guarantees a highly elevated spiritual life.  Those who partake Amrit become Khalsa, the pure one and want to lead an honest,God-oriented life. Amrit is a vow to the Guru and to serve mankind.  The discipline of Amrit demands that triple edicts – Kirat Karna, Nam Japna and Vand Chhakna be observed.  Amrit ceremony is the top most important institution of Sikh faith.

ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਹਰਿ ਪੀਵਤੇ ਸਦਾ ਥਿਰੁ ਥੀਵਤੇ ਬਿਖੈ ਬਨੁ ਫੀਕਾ ਜਾਨਿਆਂ || (5-81-1)
They became immortal by drinking Amrit of the Lord (Naam Jaap) and vices lure them no more.
Taking Amrit is a vow to lead an ethical life by reciting Gurbani and to render selfless service to humanity. 

On the Vaisakhi day of 1699, the history of mankind witnessed an astounding miracle.  On that day the tenth Guru of Sikhs, Gobind Rai, had gathered a big congregation of his followers.  He demanded the head of five persons one after the other. Five persons came forward and offered themselves for sacrifice. They were adminstered Amrit by the Guru who in turn got the gift of Amrit from the five beloved ones who had offered themselves in complete surrender to the Guru. Thus, a new institution of Panj Piara came into existence, which was to play a significant role in Sikh history.  A paramount change was brought into the lives of those who took Amrit.  It is a historical fact that the persons who were initiated became saint soldiers, courageous, dedicated to the help of the weak and needy, and died for the liberation of their country.

The young Guru aroused the dormant energies of the Sikhs.  Guru Gobind Singh ji ignited the circuits of the highest potential of the Sikhs, by offering Khande Bate ka Pahul and by ordaining the obedience of edicts pertaining to Amrit.  Thus, Khalsa came into existence and the concept of the Perfect man or the whole man was realized.  The Khalsa had certain objectives.  Guru Sahib proclaimed that only those persons had the right to be called Khalsa who would pledge their all to the Guru and would worship only Akal Purukh.

Thus on the fateful day of 30th March 1699, in the lap of beautiful Shivalik Hills, Guru Gobind Singh brought into being a new Qaum (nation) which was in unison with its Creator and had a common objective of sacrificing their all for a righteous cause.  Guru Sahib instilled confidence in the minds of the centuries old down trodden people of India and encouraged them to get freedom from the rule of the Mughals and the  caste-ridden Hindu society.  This set in a political as well as a social revolution.  This went on for a long time under the able command of Guru Gobind Singh and Banda Bahadur.  Bhai Nand Lal has summed up this beautifully in the following lines:

ਕਾਦਰੇ ਹਰ ਕਾਰ ਗੁਰੂ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਸਿੰਘ, ਬੇਕਸਾਂ ਕਾ ਯਾਰ ਗੁਰੂ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਸਿੰਘ ||

Any one who partakes of Khande ki Pahul and follows the Sikh Rehat Maryada is a Khalsa.  The most outstanding quality of the Khalsa is that he/she pledges the body, mind and soul to the Guru.  The Khalsa is ever ready to sacrifice all for a righteous cause.  What is the secret of the Khalsa? What is the mystique of the Khalsa? How does this transformation or metamorphoris take place?  The answers to these questions require in-depth study.

The Khalsa created by Guru Gobind Singh is a unique phenomenon in the ever marching civilization of the world. Who is the Khalsa and of what stuff is he made of and what is his mission?   In order to understand the answers to the above mentioned questions and unique characteristic of the Khalsa, one has to delve deep into the philosophy and personality of Guru Gobind Singh.  According to Guru Sahib, the fountain head of the power of the Khalsa is Akal Purukh, the Timeless Lord.  One who is always in unison with Akal Purukh and is an ambassador of God on this earth. One can imagine how great is the Khalsa. 

ਜਾਗਤ ਜੋਤਿ ਜਪੈ ਨਿਸ ਬਾਸੁਰ ਏਕ ਬਿਨਾ ਮਨ ਨੇਕ ਨ ਆਨੈ ||
ਪੂਰਨ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਪ੍ਰਤੀਤ ਸਜੈ ਬੁਤ ਗੌਰ ਮੜੀ ਮਟ ਭੂਲ ਨਾ ਮਾਨੈ ||
ਤੀਰਥ ਦਾਨ ਦਇਆ ਤਪ ਸੰਜਮ, ਏਕ ਬਿਨਾ ਨਹਿ ਏਕ ਪਛਾਨੈ ||
ਪੂਰਨ ਜੋਤ ਜਗੈ ਘਟ ਮੈਂ, ਤਬ ਖਾਲਸ ਤਾਹਿ ਨਖਾਲਸ ਜਾਨੈ ||
Thus, special benedictions have been bestowed upon the Khalsa by Guru Gobind Singh and the Khalsa is the creation or regeneration of Amrit. Thus Amrit, Khande di Pahul derives its magical strength from Gurbani.  As per Sikh principles blissful bani (nzfwqswJh pkDh) is accorded in the status of the Guru:

ਬਾਣੀ ਗੁਰੂ ਗੁਰੂ ਹੈ ਬਾਣੀ ਵਿਚਿ ਬਾਣੀ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਸਾਰੇ ||
ਗੁਰੁ ਬਾਣੀ ਕਹੈ ਸੇਵਕ ਜਨ ਮਾਨੈ ਪਰਤਖਿ ਗੁਰੂ ਨਿਸਤਾਰੇ
The holy Word is the true Master, the Master's image the holy Word.
In the holy Word is pervasive amrita
What the Master's Word teaches, in that the devotees puts faith;
Thus manifestly the Master liberation grants. – Guru Granth Sahib, p. 982
     
ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਬਾਣੀ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਤੇਰੀ ॥ ਸੁਣਿ ਸੁਣਿ ਹੋਵੈ ਪਰਮ ਗਤਿ ਮੇਰੀ ॥
Lord! sweet as amrita is Thy utterance;
Listening to which the supreme state I enter. – Guru Granth Sahib, p. 103

So, all desirous persons should take Khande Bate Ka Amrit in order to join Sikhi and to seek the blessings of the Guru. Without contemplating on Gur-Shabad one cannot have the bliss of Amrit.
     
ਕਾਇਆ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤਿ ਰਹੀ ਭਰਪੂਰੇ ਪਾਈਐ ਸਬਦਿ ਵੀਚਾਰੀ  ॥
Such a self with amrita is filled;
This by contemplation of the holy Word is attained.– Guru Granth Sahib, p. 911

One should renounce ego, live according to the Guru’s edicts and meditate on Gur-Shabad.  This is the way to find Amrit within the self.  This Amrit is sought after by the whole mankind and the gods.  Gurmukhs quench their thirst for Amrit from within  with the help of Gur-Shabad.
     
ਕਾਇਆ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਸਰੁ ਸਾਚਾ ਮਨੁ ਪੀਵੈ ਭਾਇ ਸੁਭਾਈ ਹੇ ॥
In the body lies the True Pool of Nectar
In serene devotion does the self have taste of it. – Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1046

One should also obey the edicts in letter and spirit which are ordained at the time of initiation ceremony of Amrit.  All Sikhs endeavour to attain spiritual Amrit through the recitation of Gurbani but this is only possible with the grace of the Great Guru.

ਜਿਨ ਵਡਿਆਈ ਤੇਰੇ ਨਾਮ ਕੀ ਤੇ ਰਤੇ ਮਨ ਮਾਹਿ ||
ਨਾਨਕ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਏਕ ਹੈ ਦੂਜਾ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਨਾਹਿ ||
ਨਾਨਕ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਮਨੈ ਮਾਹਿ ਪਾਈਐ ਗੁਰ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ ||
ਤਿਨੀ ਪੀਤਾ ਰੰਗ ਸਿਉ ਜਿਨ ਕਉ ਲਿਖਿਆ ਆਦਿ || 
Those by Thy Name exalted in mind are in it suffused.
Saith Nanak: There is only one Sole amrita, no other.
Saith Nanak: By the Master's grace is amrita attained in the mind itself.
Such in joy quaff it, as have so recorded in destiny since Primal Time.– Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1238-39

In 1739 Nadir Shah invaded India in order to plunder the people and grab the land and riches of India.  He made Indians slave and took their women as the plundered booty. The Sikhs would raid them at night and free the innocent Hindu women to restore them to their respective homes.  When Nadir Shah asked Zakria Khan, the Governor of the Punjab, about the Sikhs and and how they dare to challenge him and his large army, Zakriya Khan replied, “Their Guru has given them Amrit. Drinking this they become fearless of death…. You are one King, but they are all Kings.” The above historical reference reveals to us the Mystique of Amrit or the Power of Amrit.

The Sikh Gurus awakened the social conscience of man’s obligations to society and mankind.  The Sikh charter has been to create Gurmukhs (supermen) who would face all odds in life with the strength of their character.  Character building at the core of Sikh religion.  In this way the common man underwent a change and was infused with a new spirit.  Their survival and success over all odds is indeed a miracle of the great Guru and the Sikh belief that the Guru is always there to help them.  With the Kesri Nishan held aloft, they have astonished the world.  One can say with confidence that the mystique of Amrit is an ardent faith in the benevolence of Akal Purukh, deep devotion to Gurbani and living upto the moral and ethical bench marks envisioned by the Sikh Gurus.

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