Excerpted from the book Guru Nanak’s Call of the Soul: Japji Sahib:
Now, after climbing the 38 steps from the Mul Mantra, Guru Nanak delivers us to the final Slok. Structurally, a slok is a poetic couplet, but it also makes a statement that is a spiritual truth. Guru Nanak has taken us step by step from the Mul Mantra, which is the foundation upon which everything is based, to the Slok. Each pauree is a lesson on how one can know, through one’s own experience of consciousness, the truth of the Mul Mantra. Then in the Slok, Guru explains the fulfillment of that experience and seals the Bani.
This is a most vital passage that has profound meaning as well as practical instruction. Guru Nanak begins by telling us that “Air is the Guru.” To sustain life, we must have air, we must breathe. We can survive for days without water and even longer without food, but without air, without the breath, we can only sustain life for a matter of minutes. Siri Singh Sahib Ji used to say that the breath is the “tinder charge” of the Divine. A tinder charge is like a detonator or accelerator that initiates an explosion.
From the air, comes the prakriti, the substance of creation. Yet it is in water where it takes life, where it begins to breathe and to move. And Guru Nanak explains that water is the father. Water as the father suggests the embryonic journey, the passage of the semen to fertilize the egg of the mother. Guru tells us that the earth is the Great Mother of all beings . . . The earth contains the water and gives it form, and it is from the water that life emerges. Guru Nanak was counseling us, perhaps as a message to the future, to protect our Mother earth as all mothers are revered and cared for by their children.
Guru Nanak gives us very clear and sound advice for our life journey, Changi-aa-ee-aa buri-aa-ee-aa vaachai dharam hadoor. Karmee aapo aapannee kay nayrrai kay door. “Good deeds and bad are announced in the presence of Lord Dharma. According to their own actions, some are drawn closer and some are driven farther away” . . . He tells us that by our karma, or the actions we take in life, we are drawn closer or driven farther away from Sach Khand. Guru Nanak places the responsibility and accountability of our actions squarely on us as individuals.
Guru Nanak concludes the Japji Sahib with this encouraging inspiration, Jinee naam dhi-aa-i-aa gaay masakat ghaal. Naanak tay mukh ujalay kaytee chhuttee naal. “Those who have meditated on the Naam and have departed after doing the hard work, O Nanak, their faces are radiant in the Lord’s Court, and many are saved along with them!” In this final couplet, Guru reaffirms that we must work on ourselves, and by doing so we become radiant and elevate others. That radiance comes by doing sadhana and by reciting the Name with love and devotion daily . . . And when we are blessed with this liberation, we liberate our generations and those we love as well.
“Jinee naam dhi-aa-i-aa ga-ay masakat ghaal. Naanak tay mukh ujalay kaytee chhutee naal. ‘Those who have meditated on God and have done this hard labor. They are going with a bright beautiful face.’ When you look at somebody with no prana, all is sorrow and guilt. And you look another person beautiful and radiant, all is joy and happiness . . . Let the Light come into you, let it flow through you and allow yourself to become the Light.” – Siri Singh Sahib, Yogi Bhajan, November 17, 1985
Pavann guroo paannee pitaa maataa dharat mahat.
Divas raat du-i daa-ee daa-i-aa khaylai sagal jagat.
Changi-aa-ee-aa buri-aa-ee-aa vaachai dharam hadoor.
Karmee aapo aapannee kay nayrrai kay door.
Jinee naam dhi-aa-i-aa ga-ay masakat ghaal.
Naanak tay mukh ujalay kaytee chhuttee naal. || 1 ||
Air is the Guru, water is the Father,
and earth is the Great Mother of all.
Day and night are the two nurses,
in whose lap all the world is at play.
Good deeds and bad deeds; the record is read out
in the presence of the Lord of Dharma.
According to their own actions, some are drawn closer,
and some are driven farther away.
Those who have meditated on the Naam, the Name of the Lord,
and departed after having worked by the sweat of their brows,
O Nanak, their faces are radiant in the Court of the Lord,
and many are saved along with them!
One of the best ways to learn how to recite Japji is to listen to and read along with someone else reciting it.
To help with that, we have a FREE Japji for the Aquarian Age App for IOS and Android. Once you download it, you can use it to recite the complete Japji Sahib in your daily practice, or you can choose the “Repeat Paurees” feature and follow along with the recitation of each section of Japji Sahib.
A special 40 week practice of reciting Japji Sahib is to recite one section 11x a day for one week and then do the same for the next section and so on, until over 40 weeks, you’ve completed a practice of reciting each of the 40 sections of Japji Sahib 11x a day for a week.
In Guru Nanak’s Call of the Soul: Japji Sahib, by Gurutej Singh Khalsa with Shanti Kaur Khalsa, Based on the teachings of Siri Singh Sahib Yogi Bhajan:
In Japji Sahib, Guru Nanak touches the deepest essence of individual consciousness, elevating one to the universal consciousness. Japji is made up of 40 remarkable segments where Guru Nanak not only explains the mysteries of the cosmos, but also gives us spiritual instruction that we can follow to achieve the same experience of higher consciousness that Guru Nanak embodied. In this book the Mul Mantra and each of the 38 paurees of Japji, plus the Slok, are explained from a spiritual as well as historical perspective, enhanced by the teachings of Siri Singh Sahib Yogi Bhajan. It is our sincere prayer that this book will open up to you the miraculous wonder of Japji Sahib.
194 pages including an in-depth exploration of the 40 sections of Japji Sahib, 48 full color illustrations, 15 meditations that enhance the effects of the paurees, pronunciation guide and glossary and a foreword by Bhai Sahiba, Bibiji Inderjit Kaur Khalsa, PhD. Includes beautiful full-color paintings by Sewa Singh and Sewa Kaur.
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