Excerpted from the book Guru Nanak’s Call of the Soul: Japji Sahib:
During medieval times in India, yogis made a great show of themselves as renunciates and celibate beggars. Yoga was a demanding path, seeking union with God and gaining occult powers through arduous and austere practices. But for many, it was also a way to avoid working for a living. The local culture had evolved from a predominantly Hindu tradition where yogis were respected and sometimes feared for their powers. So, it was customary to give food, clothing, blankets, and money to a wandering yogi as it was considered to bring blessings and good fortune to do so. Many became yogis only to benefit from the generosity of the common people.
Guru Nanak begins the 28th pauree by showing us a higher path of yoga. Instead of wearing heavy earrings that distend the earlobes, make your earrings out of internal contentment. Instead of carrying a begging bowl from town to town, replace that with honest work. And instead of covering the body with holy ash, cover yourself with the glow of meditation. Always remember that you will return one day to God, and wear this constant remembrance of death instead of a patched coat. Live with moral grace, respecting both men and women, instead of living as a wanderer. Let your deep faith in the Will of God be your walking staff. Live with the faith that, as Guru Nanak said in the Sodar, “Having created the creation, He watches over it Himself.”
The Guru then [asks] the yogis to control their ego and to not feel superior to other people in their spiritual practice. The yogis at the time of Nanak were divided into twelve panths, or congregations, and each one had strict practices and their own leader. All except the Ayi Panth, which was loosely formed and open to all traditions and practices. By declaring Aa-ee panthee sagal jamaatee, Guru Nanak tells us to recognize the universality of spirituality and join the panth of mankind where all people are included. He ends this line by saying man jeetai jag jeet, conquer your mind and you will conquer the world.
“Guru Nanak says to the yogis that you are doing all these rituals and you think you are in control of it. It’s not true. If you have not conquered your mind, you have not conquered the world. And if you have not conquered the world then what you are talking about?” – Siri Singh Sahib, Yogi Bhajan, January 4, 1989
Mundaa santokh saram pat jholee dhi-aan kee kareh bebhoot.
Khinthaa kaal ku-aaree kaa-i-aa jugat ddanddaa parteet.
Aa-ee panthee sagal jamaatee man jeetai jag jeet.
Aadays tisai aadays.
Aad aneel anaad anaahat jug jug ayko vays. II 28 II
Make contentment your ear-rings, humility your begging bowl,
and meditation the ashes you apply to your body.
Let the remembrance of death be the patched coat you wear,
let the purity of virginity be your way in the world,
and let faith in the Lord be your walking stick.
See the brotherhood of all mankind as the highest order of yogis;
conquer your own mind and conquer the world.
I bow to Him, I humbly bow.
The Primal One, the Pure Light, without beginning, without end.
Throughout all the ages, He is one and the same.
Enjoy these beautiful musical recitations of the 28th Pauree, courtesy of the SikhNet Gurbani Media Center:
Chardi Kala Jatha
Need to practice your pronunciation of Japji Sahib?
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 pauris, 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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