Glimpses of Paradise
Followers of many faiths have conceptualized many mystiques and appearances of God. They demarcated His abode in special worlds in the universe. But in Gurmat, He is not confined to one place. He is described as omnipresent as a universal hypothesis. ;G wX/ oftnk w/ok mke[o. (Guru Granth Sahib, p. 379). According to the distinctive rule His abode has been depicted in Suchkhand (Highest stage of meditation in Sikh philosophy, the Realm of Truth) ÒÒnkg ;fs ehnk ;G ;fsÓÓ (Guru Granth Sahib, p. 284) According to above mentioned sabad the whole world is Sachkhand. Guru Sahib has especially emphasized that Satsang (Congregation of holy persons) and serene innermost consciousness of a self-cultivated person are also known as Sachkhand.
ਸਚਿ ਖੰਡ ਵਸੈ ਨਿਰੰਕਾਰ।। ਕਰਿ ਕਰਿ ਵੈਖੈ ਨਦਰਿ ਨਿਹਾਲ।।
– Guru Granth Sahib, p. 37
ਸਹਜ ਸਿਫਤਿ ਭਗਤਿ ਤਤੁ ਗਿਆਨਾ।। ਸਦਾ ਅਨੰਦੁ ਨਿਹਚਲੁ ਥਾਨਾ।।
ਤਹਾ ਸੰਗਤਿ ਸਾਧ ਗੁਣ ਰਸੈ।। ਅਨਭਉ ਨਗਰੁ ਤਹਾ ਸਦਾ ਵਸੈ।।
– Guru Granth Sahib, p. 237
ਪੰਚ ਸਬਦ ਤਹ ਪੂਰਨ ਨਾਦ।। ਅਨਹਦ ਬਾਜੇ ਅਚਰਜ ਬਿਸਮਾਦ।।
ਕੇਲ ਕਰਹਿ ਸੰਤ ਹਰਿ ਲੋਗ ।। ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਪੂਰਨ ਨਿਰਜੋਗ।। ੧।।
ਸੂਖਸਹਜਆਨੰਦਭਵਨ।। ਸਾਧਸੰਗਿ ਬੈਸਿ ਗੁਣ ਗਾਵਹਿ ਤਹ ਰੋਗ ਸੋਗ ਨਹੀ ਜਨਮ ਮਰਨ।।
– Guru Granth Sahib, p. 888
ਧਰਮਸਾਲ ਕਰਤਾਰ ਪੁਰ ਸਾਧੁ ਸੰਗਤਿ ਸਚਖੰਡ ਵਸਾਇਆ।।
ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂ ਗੁਰੂ ਸ਼ਬਦ ਸੁਣਾਯਾ।।
ਨਿਹਚਲ ਨੀਉ ਧਰਾਈਓਨ ਸਾਧੁ ਸੰਗਤਿ ਸਚਖੰਡ ਸਮੇਉ।।
– Bhai Gurdas, Vaar 24
ਗੁਰਮੁਖ ਪੰਥ ਚਲਾਇਓਨ ਸੁਖ ਸਾਗਰ ਬੇਅੰਤ ਅਮੇਉ।।
ਆਂ ਕਿ ਅੰਦਰ ਸੁਹਬਤੇ ਮਰਦਾਨੇ ਓਸਤ।।
ਦੋਲਤੇ ਹਰ ਦੋ ਜਹਾਂ ਦਰ ਖਾਨੇ ਓਸਤ।।
- ਜਿੰਦਗੀ ਨਾਮਹ
The persons who are in the company of the devotees of God, enjoy the wealth of both the worlds.
One can have a feel (AwBws) of Paradise by having an advanced stage of perception. This can be cultivated through keen sense of observation of Nature and by viewing the panoramic view of Nature. Nature creates its own rhythms, adapts itself to each moment, which is a state of grace and exudes profound ecstasy. A sense of Paradise descends from the skies. It is a kind of awareness one often has when the magic moment has passed. The person is entirely in the present without past, without future, entirely focused on the music of the spheres, on the gentleness of the wind caressing his/her body, and on the grace of contemplating sky, earth the beauty of the valley, the dark outlines of mountains projected against the sky, the moon’s ever changing shape, the beautiful landscape and whole living creation-waterfalls, mountains and forest are all paces where the spirits of the earth roam and reveal mysteries of life to the human beings. At that time the person feels a sense of adoration and ecstasy, i.e., a glimpse of Paradise. The person prays quietly, listening to the voice of nature, and understanding that the invisible world always manifests itself in the visible world. The greatness of God always reveals itself in the simple things.
Music is the basic form of cosmic energy. You could have a glimpse of Paradise by listening to Gurmat Sangeet which is set in 31 ragas. It greatly helps the mind to concentrate on God. Guru Granth Sahib is repository of 5867 sabads. Each sabad has a particular rag. When the mind is attuned to it then it is filled with divine feelings. Thus the cosmic source of energy is experienced during the recitation or listening of keertan. There is a wonderful harmony of melody, emotion and spirituality. The sabad and Gurmat sangeet create a trance like state of mind and the Human soul is reminded about the Creator. Guru Nanak hints about the same in the following:
ਰਾਗ ਰਤਨ ਪਰੀਆ ਪਰਵਾਰ॥ ਤਿਸੁ ਵਿਚਿ ਉਪਜੈ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਸਾਰ॥
The divine music is precious like the jewel, with its family of strains, and through it is produced the essence of Thy nectar.
– Guru Granth Sahib, p. 351
Keertan sharpens the mind and attunes it to the Supreme Spirit. Guru Ram Das conveys same in the following:
ਸਭਨਾ ਰਾਗਾਂ ਵਿਚ ਸੋ ਭਲਾ ਭਾਈ ਜਿਤੁ ਵਸਿਆ ਮਨਿ ਆਇ ॥
Of all the musical measures,that one is the best through which God comes into mind.
– Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1423
Keertan is a great source of that wonderful divine experience which uplifts the soul towards the Supreme Being. While reciting or listening to Keertan one is completely cut off from the hum drum of life and one feels in the presence of a Higher Being; Divine joy spreads all around. This has a paramount effect on the well being of all.
ਜੋ ਜੋ ਕਥੈ ਸੁਨੈ ਹਰਿ ਕੀਰਤਨੁ ਤਾ ਕੀ ਦੁਰਮਤਿ ਨਾਸ॥
ਸਗਲ ਮਨੋਰਥ ਪਾਵੈ ਨਾਨਕ ਪੂਰਨ ਹੋਵੈ ਆਸ॥
He who hears and utters the Gospel of God, is rid of his evil nature, And all his wishes are fulfilled; Yea, all his hopes are fulfilled.
– Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1300
ਕਥਾ ਕੀਰਤਨੁ ਰਾਗ ਨਾਦ ਧੁਨਿ ਇਹੁ ਬਨਿਓ ਸੁਆਉ॥
ਨਾਨਕ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਸੁਪ੍ਰਸੰਨ ਭਏ ਬਾਂਛਤ ਫਲ ਪਾਉ॥
– Guru Granth Sahib, p. 818
ਨਿਰਬਾਣ ਕੀਰਤਨੁ ਗਾਵਹੁ ਕਰਤੇ ਕਾ ਨਿਮਖ ਸਿਮਰਤ ਜਿਤੁ
– Guru Granth Sahib, p.748
Hence, Keertran not only has a soothing effect on the mind but also helps in concentrating the mind on Gur Shabad.
Places of pilgrimages are always beautiful and deserve to be contemplated. One could have a glimpse of Paradise while visiting these holy places. Harimandir Sahib is a confluence of world-cultures for mankind. An early morning obeisance would certainly make you feel an out-of-this-world experience of ecstasy and enlightenment. At that moment, a sense of Paradise “Sacred” seems to descend from the heavens. A similar experience you could have in the vicinity of Hemkunt Sahib. Many Sikh saints have narrated profound mystical experiences while going on pilgrimage to Suchkhand Hazoor Sahib.
It is true that many of us think that technology is going to destroy mankind and it has already taken away humanity. But there are a few good souls still who continue to strive in awakening the conscience of men and women, the lost taste in mystery and magic, at the beginning of this new millennium, overcoming tedium and helplessness in the bosom of a mechanized and bored society. Let us remember that the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to mankind and we pray for its redemption:
ਜਗਤੁ ਜਲੰਦਾ ਰਖਿ ਲੈ ਆਪਣੀ ਕਿਰਪਾ ਧਾਰਿ||
ਜਿਤੁ ਦੁਆਰੈ ਉਬਰੈ ਤਿਤੈ ਲੈਹੁ ਉਬਾਰਿ||
World is burning, O save me which ever way it may be,
Uplift me to Light, Which ever door way it may be.
– Guru Granth Sahib, P 853
ęCopyright Institute of Sikh Studies, 2011, All