Why are we Sikhs?


Siri Singh Sahib Bhai Sahib Harbhajan Singh Khalsa Yogi Ji


There’s a one word in Sikh religion which is understood and misunderstood most of the time. But in case of need, it is very well understood. In case of difficulty when we are in the climax of sure difficulty, it is very well understood. And sometimes it works. But in normal life we have no relationship with it and we do it as a formality. It is called ‘Ardas.’ It is a Persian word. It came to us as a substitute of pratanaa. Pratanaa… Para-naath. Para-naath means the master. “Naath” means who has total absolute control. Para-naath means who has naath, who has absolute control. Paranath means that Para Par Braham which is the part of the Pavan of the prana… that who has perfect control on life. Paramatma means that Para Par Braham who has control of the atma, the soul. These are few words you should understand just for reference.

I’ll bring home to you the Sikh way of life where it started. Why we are Sikhs? That’s one simple thing which I’ll like to conclude today. And what is to be a Sikh? Two. Number three, what are the pros and cons? And I’ll conclude in a very short time because I feel I should leave behind for you certain of my sixty years experience so that you can refer to it when you’ll be sixty or beyond that. You’ll understand what actually God means to a person.

So if you read Jaap Sahib it is: “Namo Namo Namastang Namastang,” and this is also a part of prayer. It’s not something…. You bow… You bow in a baby pose. If you know a little bit of yoga, you come and touch your forehead. That is actually baby posture. And baby posture means you come to your neutral innocence. And the body postures are pre-supposed to preceed to your mental activity. That’s the reality of life which people don’t understand. They say, “What is in a body?” All right, agreed, there is nothing in the body. Then when you have a heavy fever, then you come and read Siri Guru Granth. You can’t even get out of the bed. Body is a vehicle. Body is a temple in which Hari lives… God lives… and the way we want to pray.

So the word comes, ‘Ardas.’ Ardas means folded hands. Supplication. Sublimation to a higher authority. It is the ‘arz.’ Arz means hands. Daas means servants, hands folded. It means we subject ourself to that namaskar, to that namastang, to that namo, to that namastai. Whatever you want to call it. Rest is a philosopher’s fight which I will not like to touch ever because “anek mateekay”… as many saints there are, same number of interpretations are there… it is their problem. So everybody has to speak from their experience. Nobody can speak from somebody else’s experience.

But to interpret ardas… it is when a person comes to a very neutral self, when you fold your two hands like this, and you concentrate, it is a very neutral concentration. It is beyond you. It should calm down to you in a while and for a while.

Now if you look at the religious aspect, where was the necessity of a religion? Religion was not needed to progressively ask man what he wants. Actually religion was needed to make man happy. Man’s happiness is based on his religious strength, his reality. His strength is not what his strength is. Sometimes you do feel that monetary arrangements and political arrangements and social arrangements and physical arrangements are a source of happiness. No. That’s not true. Real happiness is only based when you are you, and you are powerful within you. It is your power within you which is useful. Powerful. And it understood by others. You have to understand, all rich people have one projection… powerful… to which other people trust them.

In America if you just see… there is a Trump Tower… this is a Trump Tower. What is a “Trump?” Is he worth those billions of dollars? No. The banks lend him money, people lend him money, it is a kind of an aura he has created, a kind of a mental power he has created through which he is gaining people’s trust and he is expanding. Because he is the leader, so he puts his name on the building, “Trump this, Trump that.” And we say,”Oh, Trump is great.” No. Great Trump has great problems because great height has a great fall. So he knows it and you know it, too.

But what is in a man which is strong? It is one’s own mind. And Guru Nanak in his very pure aspect, flawless aspect, said: “Amrit vela sach nao, vadeeaaee veechaar. Karamee aavai kaparaa nadaree moakh duaar. Naanak ayvai jaaneeai.” I know, I’m warning you as Sikhs of the Nanak, that Nanak’s words are going to be misinterpreted. In Sikh religion, communists have intervened not only to the depth but to the authoritative level. They have effectively affected our theologians and they are trying to change Guru Nanak’s words. This truth must be kept in mind. Because the interpretations of certain words are not thoroughly understood. Naanak ayvai jaaneeai… Nanak… that is the way I know. “Ayvai jaaneeai” means, it is my total experience. This is what Nanak says. How come this is Nanak’s experience and we don’t understand what is the necessity of it. I’m just explaining that.

In the beginning, in the primal beginning, men used to collect once a year at the moment of Baisakhi, when spring comes. That was the man’s biggest gathering time. And they used to come and they used to fill up a mountain base and hundreds and thousands of tribes would come, and people would come and they would worship the Infinity. Then a woman with white robes would go up and it used to be a virgin, or whatever you want to call it, and she would stand there and pray to God and they would pray to God and they would look to heavens and there was a relationship created between earth and heavens. And it used to be for two weeks from the beginning of the moon to the full of the moon. And that was man’s way of prayer. And then man would go and they would… on every full moon and every arc moon… they would do the same prayer (or whatever you want to call it). They would do the same prayer individually or tribally. But every morning they would do certain prayers towards the sun. So you will
see Soorya Namaskar, Soorya Pranaam. In yoga it is a set of exercises. Most of those exercises are in the prayer of the Islam. Islam does five times a day the prayers. If you see those prayers, those postures, they are from Soorya Namaskar. They took it from there. There’s no big deal.

However, what I am trying to make you understand, the comparative study, how religion progressed. There was Judaism which was a small tribal religion. It developed into Christianity and Christianity developed into Islam. And Islam developed into Sufism. When it comes to Sufism they said: “Nothing. God is just Bhagatee, forget everything else and ultimately you will find when you do everything. In the end when you will reach, you will say: ‘God is God’, not only you will say: ‘God is devotion'”. Because ultimately when love is established, (I am putting it), when love is established, question does not rise. So long there is a question there is a duality. So long there is a question, there is a search. So long there is a question, there is a desire. And when love is established, then one becomes one with the One. Then there’s no question and no answer… nobody questions anybody.

Agiaantaa…. Agiaantaa means when you don’t have light. When you don’t have light, you can’t see. So you search. Search is when you don’t have light and you search. When there is light, it is lit. You see everything. You stop searching. There’s no search. Guru Nanak’s words are very simple: “Karamee aavai kaparaa.” On your actions there shall be a cover.

Now, right here we are sitting in the gurdwara and karah prashad has come. Deg has come. It is covered. It is covered with a cloth. That means to keep a sacredness. Symbolically what Guru Nanak said: “Your actions will be covered by sacredness.” Your secret love of God, when which you will practice at the ambrosial hours… through your sadhana, through your discipline, through your strength… will give you sacredness. And it is the sacredness which brings worship. It is the sacredness which is very powerful. Sacredness is what is totality. Sacredness is what truth is. Sacredness is what love is. It is the purity. It is the piety. That is why Nanak turned himself from Gobind Rai to Guru Gobind Singh. Guru Gobind Rai was a full-fledged Guru. Nine years old, Gobind Rai was installed as the Guru of the Sikhs. Guru Gobind Rai has to transform himself for the likes of us to pave the way for us to Guru Gobind Singh and establish the order of the Khalsa. It means ‘pure.’ It comes to the same thing. Sacred. Whatever is sacred is pure. Piety, purity comes with sacredness. Without sacredness there is a duality. I have seen a one movie, how these people with a hard hard labor go to Kailash, (Mount Everest, you call it), and how they worship the Mansarovar Lake, which is a very beautiful lake, very pure water is there. Ganges starts from there. And if you look at Mount Everest, when it is totally in snow-covered and you look on one aspect, they call it, ‘face,’ you will see Lord Shiva’s face, totally in it, natural. Rest is all snow and there are big eyes and there’s a big mouth and big nose and if you see it, it’s an amazingly astonishing idea. So man thought that Kailash, the Lord Shiva, lives in this mountain and that’s the image.

Why we worship image? Imagery is very powerful. Imagery is a base to establish to fight your mind. Imagery fights the mind and brings the reality. That’s why romance proceeds love.

What is a romance? Imagery. Imagery of happiness is romance. Reality of love is trouble. Imagery is very beautiful because it doesn’t cost anything. It is all mental. So romance is mental. Romance is not love. Love is very powerful. Love means total sacrifice. Love means total merger. Love means no questions. Love is infinite. Love is ultimate. Love is the highest. There’s no duality in love. When there’s a duality in love, there’s no reality in love. Then it’s exploitation. Then it’s a sin. Then it’s a trouble.

So basically love is forever and so God is forever, and then Infinity is forever. But when you see that, when going to Kailash, seeing that most beautiful image in the Mount Everest, and seeing that beautiful lake, that most marvelous lake… but that’s not true. There’s one thing on the way. There’s a big stone. Nobody knows what it is. Nobody knows why it is. Nobody knows what it means to anybody, but everybody who goes questions that stone. Now, this is something to be investigated. Why? I think they get tired up to that point and they need rest. And that’s why that stone is there. It’s actually a mark of respect that man must rest there. But in old days, everything was made religion. Only in the time of Nanak… ONLY in the time of Nanak… man was made independent. Man was not supposed to worship a man. Man was supposed to worship the shabad.

“Pavan Guru.” These are the words of Nanak which were completed by Guru Gobind Singh by giving the Guru gaddee to Siri Guru Granth. Siri Guru Granth represents Pavan Guru, and so long you have prana… so long the circulation of prana in you is Siri Guru Granth is… you are recognized Guru. Moment you don’t have prana, you are gone. From your consciousness, from your reality, that romance of Siri Guru Granth is gone.

So within lifetime the Guru says: “Read Five Banis.” Those five banis are the most divine combination, or permutation and combination, to stimulate your higher consciousness. Those five banis correct a sadhana in you. Those five banis clean your mind and reset it for every moment of the day. It’s very fantastic to understand. You read three banis in the morning and you read one in the evening and you read one before bedtime. The banis clean your mind and at the bedtime Kirtan Sohila, if you very calmly read…

I tell you my own experience. There was a girl, she said it is nine months ago she has slept. Nine months! And I asked her, “Did you go to a doctor?” She said, “Yeah.” “What he prescribed?” She told all the sleeping things and Tylenol and what not. It started with the Tylenol, it started with everything. And finally it has become now so painful that whole night she was exercising, jumping, doing any kind of thing, perhaps out of tiredness she can get sleep. And after working out 5 or 6 hours (her body’s very healthy), she sleeps about an hour or so, and then gets up again. I told her, I said: “Why not you read Kirtan Sohila?” It just came to me. I said, “Why don’t you read Kirtan Sohila?” She said, “I don’t know. Which is that? Is that the name of a medicine? Can I write it down?” I said, “No, it’s not a medicine. You go to somebody and ask them to let you know what a Kirtan Sohila is. And then just read it.”

Now, she went to take that Nitnem, which our, those Sindhis have given us, and in that Kirtan Sohila is also in the Roman. Luckily she got it, and she could pronounce it and she started reading it, day after day, day after day, day after day. She was more sleepy, she was more calm, she was more quiet. And now she enjoys it. Now we can call it a matter of fate, we can call it a miracle, we can call it anything…. but I don’t call it a miracle. I don’t call it a matter of faith. I am calling it a desperate effort to reach reality. “Ch-ea gh-ar ch-ea gur ch-ea up-des.” (Reads syllable by syllable.) Read that way. I bet who cannot sleep on that. Pronounce those sounds. It is such a marvelous combination that it will give you the inside strength to go inside and give you solid infinite feeling. Next morning you get up early in the morning, you will be fresh, young and powerful. That’s what Gurbani is.

Gurbani is a spirit… undying spirit… which brings you the strength, reaches you to the light, takes you to the love, asks you to come to me in the strength and love to merge. That’s why Gurbani says: “Come to me, come in me, and take me in you and recite me. Respond to me. Recite me in that response and I’ll give you what I gave to Nanak. Come to me. Be within me. I’ll be within you.” And when you recite it, you’ll recite it from you and it will be as Nanak recited it. As I came through Nanak, I’ll come through you. I don’t differentiate. I don’t make any condition. I’m not asking you. If you do this, I’ll do that. What an Infinite pure love it is. Come and say: ‘Ik On Kar Sat Gur Prasad.’ Come and show me your love. Walk out. Break the barrier. Break the sacredness. Break your Infinity. Break your Infinity… sacred Infinity which you are totally holding out for fear, for the earth love, you want to be here successful. I am making you here successful and hereafter successful.

I am asking you to grow with me as Guru Nanak became the Guru. From Nanak he became Guru Nanak. As Angad became Guru Angad. From that very Gurbani. It’s telling you, the same Gurbani is telling you, as Jetha became Guru Ram Das. The same Gurbani told you for every aspect. But Gurbani, as it came, it can come in you, too. It doesn’t need a barrier. It doesn’t have any aspect in which there is a condition. Because you have an infinite Infinity which you have holed away because of your insecurity… because of your non- reality… because of your duality. Your love is here! Come, heart to heart. That’s what Gurbani says: “Come and recite me, as Guru Nanak recited.”

By reciting it, Guru Nanak became Guru Nanak. Otherwise there was nothing. Nanak would have remained just Nanak. He became Guru Nanak by reciting Gurbani, and that is why Gurbani says: “Bani Guru, Guru Hei Bani, Vich Bani Amrit Saaray.” All the nectars are in it. Why not to recite something which gives you the totality and the infinity? And when you say: “Ik Ong Kar Sat Gur Prasad. Ik Ong Kar Sat Nam Karta Purakh Nirbhao Nirvair Akal Moorat Ajoonee Saibhang Gur Prasaad Jap Aad Sach Jugaad Sach Heibhee Sach Naanak Hosee Bhee Sach.” It is a typewriter. It is a permutation and combination between the upper palate and the tongue. And as you start reciting Gurbani, with that aspect, watching your conscious movements of your tongue (“lingam” they call it) and the upper palate (the “akasha”) once that meets, and permutation and combination starts happening, there’s nothing.

Some people say they want instant effect. The very instant effect is, you sit down calmly for few minutes. That’s instant. It’s right away. And then some people say: “It is in Gurmukhi. We do not know.” Well, it is a challenge. It is a challenge which you must meet. Somebody asked me, “Why I have to read in Gurmukhi?” I said, “Why you have to learn typewriter? Don’t. Write with your hand.” You have to learn piano, you have to press the keys. You have to play harmonium, you have to press the keys. You have to bring harmony, and that eternal spiritual harmony is secreted — sacredly secreted in Gurbani.

It’s very unfortunate, extremely unfortunate, when one is a Sikh and one doesn’t know. I have seen Sikhs asking for help. They need help. I laugh. Those who are supposed to give help… those who were kings, those who were supposed to give… they become beggars. Once a Sikh wanted psychoanalysis. God, it freaked me out! Now professionally I can’t say it. I had to do the psychoanalysis. Person wanted it. I sat down. “Yes, yes, this question A, question B.” “My mother is wrong, my father is wrong, my this is wrong… this happened. Life is this.” That whole thing, after hearing all that, I said, “What is your name?” His name was so spiritual. I got out of my chair, I bowed. Shocked him. I knew the shock treatment would work, nothing else. And he said, “What is this?” I said, “I bow to your identity name which you have never recognized. Your name is very great. Your identity is very great. This identity is given to you by Siri Guru Granth. It was not given to you by
me. I just computed it for you. But this is your destiny and this is your identity. And you have not recognized your identity. But as you have spoken your identity, I bow to the identity and that is my reality. Now you want me to advise you?” He said, “No, no, I don’t need your advice. Now I know who am I. And now I’ll work it out.” And he said, “Siri Singh Sahib, believe me or not, from today onward, never ever again this person who is alive before you will ever need help.” I said, “What are you going to do?” He said, “I am going to help others. I am going to create a fountain by this. This is me, this is myself.”

In spite of the fact we have been given identity… we are called by that identity, we are known by that identity… we do not become that identity. “This is me! This is myself!” We do not value that identity.

In my own personal life… a question came in my life. There was a situation in my service in which it was difficult to do in the morning my prayers. I was accommodated and I didn’t want myself to be accommodated. I realized the time has come when I should not be accommodated, but that’s all I should do. But I remember from the Siri Guru Granth when I was young, my name was: Har Bhajan Singh. It is a very simple three words: “Har” means the Infinite God. “Hari” means the Creative God. “Haray” means the prevailing God. “Har” is a sound. 8,444 times in Siri Guru Granth it is a dictate to meditate… chant on Har. Calculated. Those who bow to Siri Guru Granth should know this. 8,444 times Siri Guru Granth asks you, speaks to you, suggests you, persuades you, communicates with you to meditate on “Har,” chant “Har” and do that.

Our mantra is “Wahe Guru.” “Wahe Guru” is three words. It’s a trikurtee mantra. It is Shivastang mantra. It is agia chakra mantra. And once you say: “Waa Hey Guroo,” it creates the symbol sound of 1,100 times chanting “Har.” It is a simple combination. It has nothing to do with me, you and us. So our mantra is Wahe Guru. But what I was explaining to you, my name was Har Bhajan. “Bhajan” is a very typical word. “Bhajan” means “Spiritual Song.” It cannot be sung. “Bhajan” means spiritual song. “Singh” means a lion. A lion who recites a spiritual song of “Har.” That was the literary meaning. And people say at forty life changes. I was thirty-nine. I said, “Forget it. Let’s change it. Let’s get going. A year earlier doesn’t make any difference.” An opportunity came. A challenge came. I walked in the Guru’s grace and the challenge was not small. I am very grateful that challenge was. You had minus 45 degrees temperature outside and you have no clothes. You live in a
country and you have no friend. You have to move and seek your livelihood and you have no money, and you have to look for your own existence and you have no opportunity. Finally the Canadian government asked me to come and discuss with them. “All right,” they said. “Everything is gone. Agreed. We’ll give you $150.00 a week as subsidy.” I said, “No, I don’t need subsidy.” They said, “You have to have it.” The guy said my job will be gone. I said, “Stamp my passport, give me the check.” He gave me the check. I tore it in two, put it in the envelope and gave it back.” He said, “I don’t understand you, man.” I said, “Now you speak my language. I don’t understand you, man.” And I said, “Man, I have come here for a purpose. I’ll deny myself everything. Let purpose solve my proposal and my projection.” He said, “You speak different language.” I said, “That’s the way I speak.”

I said, “Have you seen my passport? Do you see the name on it? This name brought me here, not Canada, not your parapsychology and hydrotherapy and supreme health investigation program. That was a tool. That was a tool. Now all that is gone but one thing remains. Har Bhajan remains to do Har Bhajan. That’s my identity. There’s no other reality.” And Guru came through.

And there was another miracle in my life, when your prayer could extend my pranic life. It’s not mine, I knew it. There’s no denial of it. And today as Sikhs we are… as auspicious Sikhs of the Guru we are. We do not understand our reality. Our reality has to be established. West has to acknowledge Guru Nanak as its Guru and west has to bring the East sun to its own circle of completion. This law nobody can change. Nobody will understand but nobody can change reality. And Guru came through.

That is what the strength of Nanak’s word is.

Nanak gave you the most positive, computerized combination. Through that recitation you can always clean your spirit and be the purity and piety so that your love can be real. Your romance can reach to the practical strength of it, so that it’s not just an imagination and you are left only in the trench in a wet cold weather of pain in life. And when you leave this earth you do not know where you are going, you do not know why you are going, you do not know who’s taking you, you do not know who’s your companion.

Somebody said to me that day: “I need a companion in my life.” I said, “I found it. You can find it too.” And the person said, “What is your companion? Your life is full of misery. Your life is full of questioning. Your life is full of this.” I said, “All right, have you finished that long list? But still I am smiling, I am talking to you. Don’t you feel there is a calmness in my sound?” “Oh, yes. How you do that?” I said, “I do it because I have a companion, and my companion is a companion with miracles. I have no explanation with my companion.” And I said: “Just remember, there is a one line: ‘Dhan Dhan Ram Das Gur Jin Siriaa Tinai Savaariaa. Pooree Hoee Karaamaat Aap Sirajaana Hare Dhaariaa.'” And she said, “Read further.” I said, “That’s enough.”

Miracle is a miracle. Life is a miracle. Life is a gift. Those who cannot value the gift of life have already created rift with God. And that’s the most foolish thing an egocentric man can do. Life is a gift. There’s no something God or no God. There’s no problem with this. You are not going to find God. God is in you, around you, in everything of you. You have thirty trillion Gods in you. If you want to understand, every cell of the body and the three parts of it, is a God. There’s nothing without God!

But those who have not understood the gift of God… the prana, the “Pavan Guru pani pitaa maataa dharat mahat, Divas raat du-eh daa-ee daaiaa khelai sagal jagat. Changiaaeeaa buriaaeeaa vaachai dharam hadoor. Karamee aapo aapanee ke nerai ke door. Jinee naam dhiaaiaa ga-e masak ghaal. Naanak te mukh ujale ketee chhutee naal.” You read this twenty times, you’ll sweat.

You talk Gurbani, you don’t recite Gurbani. That’s the difference. That’s why we sing Gurbani, that’s why bani is in music, that’s why bani cleanses us. Through that cleanliness… through that cleanliness, God is cleaning us. We find out own reality. In this life, not to find one’s own reality is a very harsh experience. It is a self-denial. That’s why Guru said: “Homai vadaa rog hei, daaru vis maaeh.” Ego is the biggest problem, biggest disease. Ego has solution in it, because if you apply your ego to find your reality, you will find it.

It is my prayer and wish that you will understand what Guru Nanak has said: “Amrit velaa sach nao vadeeaaee veechaar. Karamee aavai kaparaa naderee moak duaar. Naanak ayvai jaaneeai sabh aape sacheeaar.” The God, the knower of all truth, knower of all knowledge knows it, and Naanak knows if he rises in the ambrosial hour, recites the Gurbani, the sacredness will cover secretly all the totality of the man and his affairs.

Transcript by Tej Kaur Khalsa, Los Angeles, CA

Copyright: Yogi Bhajan Teachings

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