Listen to the above audio narration “Abstract and conclusion” if you are pressed for time. This will give you a gist of the article.
by Harnaak Singh (170221)
Gur Sikh Jio. Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh.
In this article we address an audio preaching by Karminder Singh on stanza “Gur Satgur Ka Jo Sikh Akhaee…”.
We analyse the audio and show that his explanation is creating a big predicament for one who wants to follow this preaching. We show that this predicament is due to Karminder subscribing to GURMAT DEVIANT IDEOLOGY.
Our analysis provides an easily understandable explanation consistent with the teaching of Gurmat as well as with the accepted credible explanation.
In this article we continue to look at how misguided elements interpret Gurbani to meet with their hidden agenda. There is an audio by Karminder Singh (see attached audio file “170218 Karminder Audio on Amrit Vela”) explaining the meaning of amrit vela using the first three verses of the shabad “Gur Satgur Ka Jo Sikh Akhaee …” by Guru Ramdas Ji SGGS 305 (Lines 16 to 18) M4: Slok No 11.
Karminder, based on these three verses supported by verses from other shabads concludes that amrit vela refers to the first phase i.e. early stages of one’s life before childhood (note childhood is second phase; manhood the third and old age the fourth phase).
In this article we analyse this claim by Karminder. We begin by presenting the background information. This is followed by our interpretation of the shabad. We then perform an analysis of the interpretation by Karminder and end with the conclusion.
Note that we have performed a detailed analysis of Amrit Vela in another article at Gur Vichar. See LINK A.
Before commencing on the analysis we highlight four key points.
Firstly, in the study of Gurbani, one extremely important point to remember is that the teaching of Gurbani is meant for our MIND which is part of our INNER-SELF. Gurbani teaches us through the Shabad, and uses broadly “our interaction with the creation” as illustration to explain what is required of us. This means episodes for human normal living as well of other members (flora and fauna) of the creation, which we UNDERSTAND very well and CAN RELATE TO, are copiously used to make us understand the concepts and hence the virtuous actions required of our MIND. Essentially Gurbani teaches us to control our MIND to be virtuous, using examples we generally experience in our daily interaction with the world at large.
Secondly it is important to appreciate that when analysing a shabad from first principles, i.e. without reference to available credible translations/explanations, it is necessary to analyse the complete shabad and first get the “big picture” message from Gurbani. The reason is to ensure that we do not miss the core concept when interpreting single verses. However it is acceptable to interpret one verse if we source the meaning from available credible translations/explanations. This is because the authors whose translations/explanations we are using have already studied the entire shabad to prepare their translation/explanation.
Thirdly Vaars ਵਾਰ (ballads) – Vaar means a long poem in which the praises of a hero are sung. The religious Vaars included in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, are made up of Chakkay which contain a slok, a small verse complete in itself which is mostly subjective, before each paurdi. The slok clarifies the idea in the paurdi. The paurdi captures the main message of the Chakka.
Fourthly to the point related to a bath. There is abundance of material related to a cold bath.
General material related to cold bath: A cold bath enhances self-awareness, improves mental clarity, removes negativity and improves physical well-being. One feels fresh and invigorated after a cold bath.
(Ref: A Mooventhan, L Nivethitha, “Scientific Evidence-Based Effects of Hydrotherapy on Various Systems of the Body”, North American Journal of Medical Sciences, May 2014)
In conclusion the article says that “hydrotherapy has a scientific evidence-based effect on various systems of the body” and adds that “that hydrotherapy was widely used to improve immunity and for the management of pain, CHF, MI, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, asthma, PD, AS, RA, OAK, FMS, anorectal disorders, fatigue, anxiety, obesity, hypercholesterolemia, hyperthermia, labor, etc”.
Some specific health benefits of cold bath on the respiratory system, nervous system, immune system and hormonal system. These are listed below.
Respiratory system – “Repeated cold water stimulations reduced frequency of infections; increased peak expiratory flow, lymphocyte counts, and expression of gamma-interferon; modulated interleukin expression; and improved quality of life (QOL) in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease”
Nervous system – “cold shower might have antipsychotic effect” + “Antidepressive effect of cold shower attributed to presence of high density of cold receptors in skin”
Haematology/immunology – “A hypothesis describes, daily brief cold-water stress over many months could enhance antitumor immunity and improve nonlymphoid cancer survival rate.”
Endocryne/hormonal system – “The sustained/longer-term effects of cold stress repeated daily produced increase in ACTH, corticosterone, and decrease in α-1- antitrypsin and testosterone. Cold stress reduces level of serotonin in most regions of brain (except brainstem). Cold stress-induced analgesia might be mediated by increased production of opioid peptide beta-endorphin (an endogenous pain-killer)”
We can conclude from the above that a cold bath is generally beneficial both from the metaphysical as well as medical perspective. The removal of negativity, enhanced self-awareness, and feeling invigorated is conducive to spiritual activity.
OUR INTERPRETATION OF THE SHABAD
We will analyse the shabad in its entirety to get the big picture perspective so we do not miss out the main concept being taught by Guru Ji (see the second and third points in the Background Knowledge). The shabad (actually a stanza in a slok) in question is stanza 2 of the slok in chakka 11 of Gaurdi Ki Vaar Mehla 4, which starts on SGGS 300 and ends on SGGS 318. The vaar consists of 33 chakkay. The paurdi of each chakka contains the main theme and the corresponding slok clarifies the main theme.
We will first get an overview of the paurdi. Paurdi 11 essentially talks about gurmukh and manmukh
The essence of paurdi is, RARE are those who meditate on you (God), and those who don’t are relegated to REINCARNATION. This chakka is also a follow up from the previous one which talks about ATTACHMENT ਮੋਹ those who are attached to family and everything they see (Maya).
The two stanzas in the slok clarify this further. The first stanza talks about the traits of the manmukh and the second the traits of the gurmukh. In the first stanza, the traits ATTACHMENT of the manmukh (a follow up from the previous chakka), and the attachment to Maya is so strong that the manmukh tends to stray from respect to or love of the Guru. The manmukh practices falsehood and pays the price of “no peace”. Without doubt, Gurbani is talking about the external actions of the manmukh as a result of the “attachment” imbued mind set of the manmukh. Clarifying further, one driven by one of the five evils (vices) attachment, becomes obsessed with Maya externally in one’s actions, to his/her own peril, getting no contentment ਸੰਤੋਖ in the life and so being subject to rebirth. This stanza further adds that through the Grace of God, one realises, that the Shabad of Gurbani will eliminate this peril. So clearly Gurbani is relating activities of both the inner-self as well as external actions; the mindset in the inner-self manifests as external actions (see first point in Background Knowledge). The inner-self and external actions are intricately linked. Implementation of the teachings of Gurbani has to be in our inner-self and the result will manifest in our external actions.
Within this setting, we look at the second stanza which is of interest in this article.
ਗੁਰ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਜੋ ਸਿਖ ਅਖਾਏ, ਸੋ ਭਲਕੇ ਉਠ ਹਰ ਨਾਮ ਧਿਆਵੈ।
One who calls himself a Sikh of the Guru, the True Guru, shall rise in the early morning hours and meditate on the Lord’s Name.
ਉਦਮ ਕਰੇ ਭਲਕੇ ਪਰਭਾਤੀ, ਇਸਨਾਨ ਕਰੇ ਅਮ੍ਰਿੰਤ ਸਰ ਨਾਵੈ।
Upon arising early in the morning, he is to bathe, and cleanse himself in the pool of nectar.
ਉਪਦੇਸਿ ਗੁਰੂ ਹਰ ਹਰ ਜਪ ਜਾਪੈ, ਸਭ ਕਿਲਵਿਖ ਪਾਪ ਦੋਖ ਲਹਿ ਜਾਵੈ।
Following the Instructions of the Guru, he is to chant the Name of the Lord, Har, Har. All sins, misdeeds and negativity shall be erased.
ਫਿਰ ਚੜੈ ਦਿਵਸੁ ਗੁਰਬਾਣੀ ਗਾਵੈ ਬਹਿਦਆ ਉਠਿਦਆ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਵੈ ॥
Then, at the rising of the sun, he is to sing Gurbani; whether sitting down or standing up, he is to meditate on the Lord’s Name.
ਜੋ ਸਾਸਿ ਗਿਰਾਸਿ ਧਿਆਏ ਮਰੇਾ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਸੋ ਗੁਰਿਸਖੁ ਗੁਰੂ ਮਨਿ ਭਾਵੈ ॥
One who meditates on my Lord, Har, Har, with every breath and every morsel of food – that GurSikh becomes pleasing to the Guru’s Mind.
ਜਿਸ ਨੋ ਦਇਆਲੁ ਹੋਵੈ ਮੇਰਾ ਸੁਆਮੀ ਤਿਸੁ ਗੁਰਿਸਖ ਗੁਰੂ ਉਪਦਸੇੁ ਸੁਣਾਵੈ ॥
That person, unto whom my Lord and Master is kind and compassionate – upon that GurSikh, the Guru’s Teachings are bestowed.
ਜਨੁ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਧੂੜਿ ਮੰਗੈ ਤਿਸੁ ਗੁਰਿਸਖ ਕੀ ਜੋ ਆਿਪ ਜਪੈ ਅਵਰਹ ਨਾਮੁ ਜਪਾਵੈ ॥੨॥
Servant Nanak begs for the dust of the feet of that GurSikh, who himself chants the Naam, and inspires others to chant it. ||2||
The stanza outlines the practices of a TRUE Sikh (a Gurmukh) and starts with a summary statement (the first verse) outlining the trait of a Sikh of Guru (ਗੁਰ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਜੋ ਸਿਖ ਅਖਾਏ). This Sikh will arise tomorrow (ਸੋ ਭਲਕੇ ਉਠ) and meditate on NAAM (ਹਰ ਨਾਮ ਧਿਆਵੈ). Clearly this first verse is stating what the Sikh is to do tomorrow. This verse is talking about what should be the daily practice of a Sikh and states two key points i.e.
- • get up or arise tomorrow (note this does not specify any time) and
- • meditate on NAAM.
The next verse goes on to state the process. It explains details of the “arise tomorrow” i.e. make effort to arise tomorrow before dawn (ਉਦਮ ਕਰੇ ਭਲਕੇ ਪਰਭਾਤੀ). What happens next? Look at personal hygiene and cleanliness with a bath (ਇਸਨਾਨ ਕਰੇ). The benefits of bath have been pointed out in “Background Knowledge” point four. This will put us in good stead for the next step. Now that the external actions are completed, the inner self is cleaned. How? By bathing we clean our inner-self in the pool of nectar (ਅਮ੍ਰਿੰਤ ਸਰ ਨਾਵੈ). What does this “pool of nectar” mean? The next verse gives the answer. The pool of nectar is the instructions of Guru (ਉਪਦੇਸਿ ਗੁਰੂ) to recite the NAAM (ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਜਪੁ ਜਾਪੈ). What is cleaned by bathing (the action of bathing here is metaphorically meant to clean or get rid of)? Our misdeeds and sins will be cleaned (ਸਭ ਕਿਲਵਿਖ ਪਾਪ ਦੋਖ ਲਹਿ ਜਾਵੈ।) in the sense that our mindset will change moving from action associated with the 5 evils to those associated with 5 virtues. So up to this point we have cleaned our outer or physical self as well as our inner-self. What happens next. We continue reciting NAAM and then when the sun rises we sing Gurbani (ਫਿਰ ਚੜੈ ਦਿਵਸੁ ਗੁਰਬਾਣੀ ਗਾਵੈ). Is that all? No. We have to meditate on God (ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਵੈ) at all times (ਬਹਿਦਆ ਉਠਿਦਆ). How do we do this? Don’t we have to go to work? Yes we go to work but we must remember God (ਧਿਆਏ ਮਰੇਾ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ) at every breath (ਸਾਸਿ) and piece of food we eat (ਗਿਰਾਸਿ). So even while at work we keep the presence of God in our mind and inner self. What is the result of doing this to the Gur Sikh (ਤਿਸੁ ਗੁਰਿਸਖ)? He or She will be pleasing to Guru’s Mind (ਗੁਰੂ ਮਨਿ ਭਾਵੈ). And God will be compassionate to this Gur Sikh (ਜਿਸ ਨੋ ਦਇਆਲੁ ਹੋਵੈ ਮੇਰਾ ਸੁਆਮੀ) and the Gur Sikh will be endowed with the teachings of our Guru (ਤਿਸੁ ਗੁਰਿਸਖ ਗੁਰੂ ਉਪਦੇਸੁ ਸੁਣਾਵੈ). What then? The Gur Sikh (ਜੋ) should keep meditating (as we have seen above – daily) (ਆਪਿ ਜਪੈ) and also teach others to do the same (ਅਵਰਹ ਨਾਮੁ ਜਪਾਵੈ) AND Guru Nanak says one should beg for the “dust of the feet” (ਜਨੁ ਧੂੜਿ ਮੰਗੈ) of this Gur Sikh (ਤਿਸੁ ਗੁਰਿਸਖ ਕੀ). Here begging for the “dust of the feet” is metaphorically used to mean that one should hold such a Gur Sikh in high esteem.
So we see how easily the meaning and Guru’s teaching is understood. The chakka talks about the traits of a manmukh and a gurmukh and the second stanza of the slok outlines the responsibility of one who wants to be as well as the result of one who becomes a Gur Sikh.
Summary: A True Sikh will arise every morning before dawn, take a bath and recite NAAM. Then sing Gurbani as dawn breaks and goes on to daily duties all the time keeping God’s presence in the mind.
(Note: The above interpretation matches with that given by Professor Sahib Singh).
ANALYSIS OF KARMINDER’s EXPLANATION
We continue now to analyse Karminder’s explanation of Amrit Vela using three verses from “Guru Satgur Ka Jo Sikh Akhaee…”. His audio and the textual narrative of this audio with English translation is included as attachments to this article (see links below).
Karminder points out that there are two problems with the interpretation.
The first, he points out is that there is a sequencing problem between the first two verses. We quote him
“This is because Patshah (Guru Ram Das) is saying GET UP TOMORROW AND RECITE NAAM (ਭਲਕੇ ਉਠ ਹਰ ਨਾਮ ਧਿਆਵੈ). Taking it PHYSICALLY this means get up early hours of the morning before sunrise and FIRST recite Naam; the question of a bath only comes up next.”
He goes on to explain that one has to look at a deeper meaning to understand this. To explain he says wake (ਉਠ) means awakening of the mind. Tomorrow (ਭਲਕੇ) means the first phase (ਪਿਹਲੇ ਪਿਹਰ) or early stages of life (referring to verses from SGGS 74 Line 16). In this shabad the first phase is from conception up to about 1year of age when one is still considered a baby (the second phase being the child phase ਬਚਪਣਾ). It is in this first phase or early stages of life that Karminder states is meant for the awakening of the mind. One has to meditate on NAAM in this phase of life (conception to about 1 year of age).
The second problem is about Amrit Sar (ਅਮ੍ਰਿੰਤ ਸਰ), if interpret as the town of Amritsar or Amrit in the form of water in the sarovar at Harmandir Sahib. For this Karminder cites that many of our Gurus were not able to go to the town of Amritsar or the sarovar at Harmandir Sahib.
Karminder explains Amrit Sar to mean “tank” of Guru’s utterances i.e. Gur Shabad (Gurbani). He follows with the third verse explaining that it means cleansing of the dirt of our misdeeds and sins.
He stresses that Amrit Vela is not the morning before dawn but amrit vela of the mind when one should be engrossed in NAAM, and this is the first phase of life (conception to about 1 year of age).
We look at Karminder’s explanation of the first problem. He creates the first problem by himself. He does not understand that the first verse is a summary verse as pointed out in section “Our Interpretation of the Shabad”. If interpret correctly there is no sequencing problem which he created. We feel by his explanation of the meaning, Karminder has created a bigger sequencing problem. HOW DO YOU EXPECT A BABY FROM CONCEPTION STAGE TO ABOUT ONE YEAR TO BE ENGROSSED IN NAAM?
I am at a loss to understand this, and will definitely fail in this endeavour. Please Sangat Ji try to see if you can succeed. We rest our case.
Now to the second problem that Karminder has created as regards the meaning of Amrit Sar. This is not a problem because we have explained above “the answer to Amrti Sar Navay ਅਮ੍ਰਿੰਤ ਸਰ ਨਾਵੈ” lies in the next verse of the stanza.
Karminder has made a simple explanation into a convoluted thesis, creating dreamt up problems, drumming up confusion and more questions rather than an understanding of the stanza.
Why does he take this approach? THE ANSWER IS THAT THE IDEOLOGY HE SUBSCRIBES TO DOES NOT BELIEVE IN AMRIT VELA BEING “THE TIME BEFORE SUNRISE” and so he has INTERPRET OTHERWISE and LANDS IN A MESS WHEREBY THERE IS A NEED FOR A BABY TO BE ENGROSSED IN NAAM if his preaching (not what Gurbani teaches us) is to be followed.
This is the predicament one puts oneself into when one does not accept the long-time accepted teachings of Gurbani interpreted by experts like Professor Sahib Singh (who had spent a life time studying our scriptures), but follows Gurmat deviant ideology.
THIS IS A CLEAR CASE OF MISINTERPRETATION OF THE SHABAD, NO DIFFERENT FROM WHAT DR CHAHAL HAS DONE IN PART 1 OF THIS SERIES OF ARTICLES.
They both follow GURMAT DEVIANT IDEOLOGIES.
We have simply and easily interpret the meaning of the stanza “Guru Satgur Ka Jo Sikh Akhaee…” to mean
A True Sikh will arise every morning before dawn, take a bath and recite NAAM. Then sing Gurbani as dawn breaks and goes on to daily duties all the time keeping God’s presence in the mind.
The Gurmat deviant ideology Karminder adheres to results in a convoluted explanation of the stanza meaning that
One should be engrossed in NAAM from conception to the age of one year
creating a big predicament for the one who has to be engrossed in NAAM at such a tender age.
WE HAVE TO BE AWARE AND BEWARE OF THESE ELEMENTS
WHO, USING LOGIC/REASONING AND CRITICAL THINKING AND
GURMAT DEVIANT IDEOLOGY, ARE MISINTERPRETING GURBANI
Thank You for listening and reading. ਗਲਤੀਆਂ ਦੀ ਖਿਮਾ.
Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh.
Please click link to dowload PDF of article.
1. Audio preching of “Gur Satgur Ka Jo Sikh….” file: 170218 Karminder Audio on Amrit Vela
2. Textual version of the audio preaching. Click link to download PDF