August ~ Akaal Moort ~ Guru HarKrishan: Suffering of Separation and Purifying Compassion
This reading of Akaal Moort cannot justifiably be called an exposition or explanation or expanded definition. Rather it can only be approached as a meditation; a reflective gazing into the Infinite Unfathomable depths of the Indescribable Divine. Yet when linked to the story of Guru HarKrishan the intangible becomes something we can breath and feel.
Meaning of Akaal Moort: The very Image of the Infinite
Kaal refers to time and death. in the sense that anything existing in time, as we know it, has also a time limit. In other words it shall die. Time outlives all things. In time all things, people included, will die. Akaal implies a transcendent state – beyond time and beyond death; timeless, eternal, infinite and therefore also undying or immortal. We are born from and through the Akaal and into the cycles of time.
When we exist in the conscious state of Akaal then time has no meaning, no relevance and no power. Time has no effect on Akaal.
Like the emptiness, or formlessness of the mirror. There is only and image when we appear before it. otherwise the mirror remains ever in the same state, and does not even change when we are busy with our reflection in it, and again remains the same even after we walk away from the mirror. Only the mirror knows its own nature. Likewise the true nature of time can only be known from the state of Akaal.
Moort (linked to ‘Murti): representation, form, image. Any ultimately true representation of the Divine/Spirit would have to be Akaal. Something which does not change through time. Neither disintegrating, diminishing, nor expanding, growing and also not needing to mutate or transform into something more or different; since it is already eternal and timeless.
As an attribute of the Divine, Akaal Moort is therefore also an attribute of the original Vibration of Naam/Shabd/Sound that subtly pervades the entire creation and cosmos even now. Undying and therefore unchanged.
The personal meditation is to purify ourselves from all temporary, and therefore false, visions and ideas about who we are. And, in that way, to reach the consciousness of self that is the reflection and representation of the Infinite, Timeless, Undying One.
Akaal Moort comes after Nirbhau Nirvair. Nirbhau is without fear and therefore a free and open relation to the future. Nirvair is without enmity and therefore a state free of the past. Akaal Moort is beyond future or past and therefore a state of timelessness; the eternal moment. And having passed beyond the boundaries of time the expression Akaal Moort points towards the next implications known as Ajuni Saibhang (see next instalments).
Take for example ‘a thousand are your eyes, yet you have no eye’ though each eye is different, and not one of them is the exclusive representation of the Divine/Creator, yet in every case we recognise an eye. Therefore there is a over-arching quality in the design of the form that ensures we always can identify an eye. this non-manifest, non-specific, design is the undying representation of the Divine.
A child with it’s innocence, purity, harmlessness, openness, trust, natural tendency for joy…etc.
Is a common representation in various traditions, of the soul having come full circle through the journey of my life-times (stages and hurdles) Therefore it could be said that the sense of the child in us, the eternal youth, is an Akaal Moort – undying representation. This is reflected in the fact that the 8th Guru was also a child. Before meditating on the short yet eternal life of Guru HarKrishan lets hear from the Shabd Guru about Akaal Moort: Akaal Moort is both a name for the Supreme Being as well as a description for one of It’s many qualities.
For the bride-like soul this means: ‘Akaal Moort is a name for the Husband, and also the nature of the ultimate beloved. p 78
It is natural to name someone, or something, including The One, by reference to their qualities. Even though the nature of Akaal Moort is somewhat transparent, elusive and transcendent, none the less turning our attention towards It is worthwhile: The Akaal Moort has many other great qualities, as described in the full Mool Mantra, when Akaal Moort is remembered together with these qualities then the mind is filled with a deep peace. p 99
Akaal Moort is a Being that protects and holds close those who express their love for It. p 609
Akaal Moort is equated with Gurdev, which gives it again a sense of focus and makes it easier to hold Akaal Moort in the mind and direct our worship, dedication and service. In return Akaal Moort ensures that these efforts will not be in vain. p 614
What is beyond Kaal, (death and time) is greater than death and time.
Being of imortal nature, being beyond Kaal, the Akaal Moort shines its light into the darkness of the kali yug (current dark age) p 916
Being undying then it is also indestructible. All is rooted/attached to Akaal Moort while Akaal Moort is not rooted to anything. p 1082
The Guru is Akaal Moort. The Guru is timeless and undying. Meditating on the one to which all is rooted, frees us from being rooted in the maya. we lose our sense of possessiveness. p 1101
Meditating on the Akaal Moort in your heart then death, which waits over head, cannot trap the soul. p 1121
The description of the Supreme Oneness as Nirbhau Nirvair Akaal Moort Ajooni Saibhang, is to give us a way to focus and meditate on the Divine, and to realize these qualities in our self. p 1201
The Saadh Sangat (Holy Company) is the most sublime and perfect place in which to remember and meditate on Akaal Moort.Chanting the Naam together we will find the bliss, the peace and the satisfaction of drinking in the ambrosial nectar. p 1208
Anyone who is moved to serve the upliftment of others, to improve the quality of life and state of well-being of those who suffer, even if they do not know it, will be guided by the divine principle and angelic force that was embodied in the Young Sikh Guru known to us as Guru HarKrishan.
The story, as we know it, is that when he was 8 years old he intentionally drunk infected water from a well. And by taking on the disease, present in the water, the well was then found to be pure and the sick people in the city started to heal and become well. Gur Harkrishan died soon after from the disease.
To reflect on the events of Guru Harkrishan departure from this world inevitably includes reflection on human suffering and our response to it. Without hesitation, immediate empathy to the suffering of others is a natural instinct and a sign of purity in our body/heart/mind. A quality we may associate with the innocence and purity of a child. People do suffer as a result of their own karma/actions, but not only.
We are all part of a wider field and subject to forces of nature, man-made influences as well as collective karma.
So when there is a tragedy, that involves a mass group of people, it is not something we can overlook, and pass-by, leaving people to their own karma, and their own limited sources. There is an instinctive inner call to step forward without thought of who the people are, or what caused their suffering, or what may happen to us.
When our own consciousness and identity is aligned with the sense of humanity as a whole, then the suffering of others is also my suffering. there is no differentiation.
It is impossible to be conscious and at peace so long as we are sensitively aware of suffering and do not respond.
The alleviation of extreme suffering could not take place without a price. Some kind of sacrifice and exchange. Guru HarKrishan, at such a young age, felt that the price was his own life. This is the expression of the infinite, untainted and unrestricted nature of his compassion.
Guru Gobind Singh wrote the first part of the Ardaas prayer in which he said meditate on Guru HarKrishan and all suffering will depart. This suggests that the unlimited (Akaal Moort) nature of his compassion flows on through time. And is present today for us to bathe in and find healing from our own suffering.
The ultimate suffering is the sense of separation. Guru HarKrishan was not busy with any separation between his self and the Divine. For him the notion of here and there, death or life, was a differentiation that he did not experience or need to concern himself with. Drinking from that poisonous well was actually drinking from the pool of heavenly nectar and a way to be ever closer to God.
Children feel a natural, though naive and instinctive, tendency for empathy. Yet they are not usually so aware of it. The attractions and abuses of Maya, market place, machines, etc. and the culture of personalities soon steers us into self-interest and self-protectionism. All which distracts us from, and desensitizes us to, the suffering of others.
But life has it’s own intelligence and most people, with age and experience, do move towards a re-awakening and ever expanding conscious compassion accompanied by a deep and pure wisdom.
Compassion is cleansing, healing and purifying like water. It is not surprising therefore that one interpretation of the name of the 8th Guru is ‘Kar – Ishnaan’, the action of cleansing. The next section considers the relation between water and compassion.
Extra: For Extreme Compassion Be Like Water
Time flows like water. and the life-force, also known as prana, operates much like water.
When our time runs out, then our prana runs out, hence our life is over. The river has reached the ocean.
The body contains 60-70 % water. So our watery nature is quite dominant in life.
Reflecting on the virtues of water can teach us about the nature of compassion. Water has always been a special element in the history of the Sikhs and the Gurus. There are accounts of wells being found in dry lands and of the healing properties of tanks of water surrounding places of worship; where the divine name has been praised night and day. The baptism, initiation, ceremony is also centred on the transformation of water to Divine Amrit.
Water has an instinctive and sympathetic resonance to the vibration, frequency and quality of its environment. It is like a conductor of the surrounding frequency, but it also keeps the memory of what it has conducted.
So the water in your body, which is a lot, will get filled with great vibrations when you spend time at sacred places, and even more when in the company of spiritual gatherings and most of all when singing God’s praises. When water has been in these environments then it becomes more healing and gives life to the soul.
Bhai Gurdas, whose writings are considered the key to the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, gives several accounts of how water sets an example to those who want to serve in the world:
Water keeps wood afloat. Even if we put nails in the wood, the water will still carry it. Fire is the enemy (antithesis) of water, yet water will still carry the wood even though it contains fire.
Water, given the opportunity, will descend without hesitation, it even sinks below the earths own humility. As Naanak describes himself ‘The lowest of the low’.
Without water there would be no life; water nourishes life.
At the birth water is present to wash the baby.
Throughout our life water quenches our thirst.
And at the end of life water soothes the brow of the dying person.
The purity of water is shown by the fact that it is used wash off the dirt.
Even if the water becomes impure still the pure water can be extracted again.
Hence the purity of water is never lost, or we may say that water never abandons its innate purity.
While water can separate the dirt from the cloth, the impure from the pure, water can also becomes separated from it self, its source. Innate in the water is a suffering that can be defined as a longing to return to the ocean, to unite and bond with all water. This is instinctive wisdom – to moves towards unity.
With water Guru Amardas (amongst other great beings) washed the feet of the untouchables.
Where there is water there is the abundance of nature, and the oasis for the traveller.
May you have the blessing to realise how water is a teacher of compassion.
May it flow freely in your life, and in the world, bonding each finite existence with its infinite source.
In the same way as we cleanse our body with water,
May compassion cleanse our hearts and minds.
May we each become like an oasis
Prosperous with compassion
to serve the world, through the heart’s cup.