Soul Answer

Guru Nanak

About Soul Answer
Heart Breath!
What is Soul?
How to Tune Into Your Soul!
What are Trances?
Frequency of Forgiveness
Smashed! Soul from Personal Healing!
Kriyas & Meditations

 TheTrip to Truth!

December 4, 2012

This story is reprinted with permission.  It is from the delightful book, "Guru for the Aquarian Age: The Life and Teachings of Guru Nanak" published by Yogi Ji Press, PO Box 970, Santa Cruz, NM 87567.  Order at 505-929-0569 or , Parmatma Singh Khalsa.  $12.95 plus shipping.  From pages 56-59.  Look for the “Endnotes” at the end of this article.

After a long stay at Kartarpur[i], the Guru once again started his travels.  This time he chose to visit the Muslim lands of the Middle East.  Wearing a long yellow robe and carrying the staff of a Muslim pilgrim, he set off for Mecca[ii] accompanied by his companions Bala, a Hindu, and Mardana, a Muslim. 

He carried with him a Qur’an[iii] and a prayer mat.  Whenever the occasion arose he performed his prayers in the Muslim manner so as not to arouse the suspicions of those who might prevent him from making the sacred journey, permissible only to Muslims.

The Guru joined up with a group of fakirs[iv].  After a few days of traveling together one asked him what his religion was.

“I belong to the religion of those who follow the path of God,” replied Nanak.

They pressed him to confess that he was a Muslim but he refused to do so.  This greatly troubled them.  They were not sure whether they were right in having along a man who was in infidel.

The Guru saw this and disappeared with his two attendants.  The Fakirs noticed that a cloud that had protected them form the scorching rays of the sun also disappeared with him.

The fakirs thought that Nanak’s party traveling by themselves in the desert would never reach Mecca.  They were astonished when they found that the Guru had already arrived with his two attendants.  They were even more puzzled when they were told that the Guru had been there for several days.  They were convinced that he was some great Soul and begged him to forgive them for their suspicions about him.

The keeper of the Kaaba[v]—the sacred building in Mecca, discovered one night that the Guru was sleeping with his feet towards the Kaaba.  It was time for prayer so he informed the priest that a pilgrim was committing a great sacrilege by turning his feet towards the House of God.  The incensed priest rushed to where the Guru was sleeping.

“Wake up, you stupid fool,” he screamed, “and rub your face on the ground and beg to be forgiven for turning your feet towards the house of God.”  In the East, it is a great disrespect to turn the soles of your feet towards anyone, and especially towards this sacred building.

The Guru did not move, but quietly said, “Turn my feet towards the place where God does not dwell.”

The priest could no longer control himself and ordered the keeper to take Nanak by the feet and turn him around in the other direction.  The door keeper obeyed, but whichever direction they turned his feet, the Kaaba turned with them.  The priest stood spell-bound.  He saw that the house of God was in all directions.

The Guru rose and looked at the priest with eyes full of compassion.  “Your eyes have been opened for just a moment,” he said.  “Don’t forget what you have seen.  All space is nothing but God’s dwelling place.”

The priest bowed before the Guru, then went to tell his Chief, Rukin-ud-Din, the high Priest, what had happened.  The Chief, a seeker after Truth hastened to the Guru, hopeful of getting a glimpse of Guru Nanak’s eternal Light.  He saluted respectfully.  The Guru returned the salute, and then the priest sat down beside Guru Nanak.

“You are a godly man from all appearance,” said the High Priest, “but tell me, to what religion do you belong.”

“I believe in the religion of Him who is the master of all that is visible and invisible,” answered the Guru.

“What do you mean by Him?” asked Rukin-ud-Din.

“He who is without a second,” said the Guru, “to whom birth and death are not known.  He is beyond all change, and who pervades everywhere—lands, seas and skies.”

“So you believe in one God.  You must be a Muslim.”

“I accept no creed,” said the Guru.  “I am His slave and slaves have not even their own will.  How can they who yield unwavering obedience to the Lord accept any creed?”

“God as you have described Him is the same God of which our Kalima[vi] in the Qur’an speaks,” repeated Rukin-ud-Din.  “Why not acknowledge yourself to be a Muslim?”

“The Vedas[vii] too speak of one God, the supreme God of all,” Nanak said.  “Then why should not I declare myself a Hindu?  Truth remains Truth.  It is the colored lenses of the self that reflect it in various colors.  A servant of God, aware of His presence, cannot accept creeds, which imprison Truth and impose on it their own limitations.”

“How do you make this out?” asked Rukin-ud-Din.

“You have an example before your eyes.  You call this sacred temple a house of God.  If you were a true believer, you would find that there is no place where the house of God does not exist.  Further, you say you believe in one God.  Then why don’t you recognize men of diverse creeds to be brothers?  If this Truth dwelt in your heart, you would act in its Light.  You would not believe that kissing a black stone was the highest religious act.”

The High Priest was much impressed and said, “Come and join us tomorrow in the ceremony of sacrifice.  I will provide a camel for you.”

“Why?” the Guru laughed.

“God is pleased with sacrifices,” replied Rukin-ud-Din.  “He bestows His mercy on those who offer a sacrifice.”

“If a drop of blood pollutes your garments,” said the Guru, “how can the spilling of blood be pleasing to God?”

“I do not know,” said Rukin-ud-Din, “but sacrifice is prescribed by Shariat—the sacred law of the Muslims.  To follow the law is the best of acts.”

“The law of love ordains that one should be harmless in thought and act,” said the Guru.  “Treat others as you would have them treat you.  Righteousness is the unalterable law of living for all people.” 

“If you follow no written law, what about dealing with injustice to others?”

“If we live justly, the need for administering justice does not arise.  If we forgive those who harm us, we need invoke no man-made law.  If we live as members of one human family, every individual living for the other, then we follow the Divine Law, and if we follow the Divine Law we transform this world full of misery into a world of happiness.  In such a kingdom there is no need of any law or for any administrators of law.  It is because we fail to follow the Divine Law that we submit to man-made law to rectify the self-aggrandizement of men.”

“How are sinners to be punished if we do not follow this Shariat?” asked the High Priest.  “Tell me, what is your conception of sin?”

“We sin,” said the Guru, “when we fail to follow the Divine law of love.  We sin when we trespass on the rights of others for our own selfish ends—when we cause them injury.  In short, to do harm is to sin.”

“Such acts that do no harm to anyone and yet they have their root in self, are they not sinful?”

“God reads hearts.  He sees what passes in our minds.  Unselfish acts partake of the spirit of sacrifice and such acts are blessed, while selfish acts bring pain and suffering.”

“What do you mean by sacrifice?” asked Rukin-ud-Din.  “You refused to sacrifice when I invited you to do so.”

“My good friend, we sacrifice when we deprive the self of what it holds dear in order to serve others or serve a good cause.  To kill a sheep and feast on its flesh is no sacrifice,” answered the Guru.  “To give what one needs for one’s self to another whose need is greater is an act of sacrifice.  They who give and expect a return make no sacrifice.  “They are like a money-lender who gives in order to get a return with compound interest.  They who give and want nothing in return are the real givers.  But he who takes all he can without giving is sub-human.  The dead body of an animal and its bones are of some use, but the dead body of a man requires a plot of earth to be buried in or fuel for cremation.  He who gives in the hope of a return is human.  He who gives without any wish for a reward is Divine.”

“Instruct me in the art of true living,” begged the High Priest.

“Let your heart and mind put on the garb of pilgrim.  Every hour of the night and day, seek your Maker.  Rub out from the tables of the mind all that is written there and polish it into the brightness of a mirror.  There will then appear on it a luminous spark.  This spark will become the sun and a soundless sound will fill your heart with Divine music and draw you near to God.”

[i] Kartarpur—The farming village established by Guru Nanak which is in present-day Pakistan about 2 kilometers from the Indian boarder.   He lived there with his family and community between travels.

[ii] Mecca—The holiest city of the Muslims, which is in present-day Saudi Arabia.  This is where the Muslim’s most sacred site, the Kaaba is located.

[iii] Qur’an—Muslim holy book.

[iv] Fakir—A Muslim Sufi ascetic in the Middle East and South Asia.  The Fakirs were wandering teachers of Islam who lived on alms and were known for their austerity.  

[v] Kaaba—The Muslims’ sacred House of God that is believed to have originally been built by the prophet Abraham and his first son Ismael.  It houses the important black stone.  The tradition is that the stone fell from heaven (meteorite?).  Great numbers of Muslim pilgrims circumambulate this building as the focus of their pilgrimage to Mecca, which is called the Haj.

[vi] Kalima Tayyab--The Islamic testament of faith. "There is no god except Allah. One is He. No partners hath He. His is the Dominion, and His is the Praise. He gives life and causes death. He is Living and will not ever die. He is of Majesty and Munificence. Within His Hand is all good. And He is able to exert His Will upon everything."

[vii] Vedas--a large body of texts originating in ancient India.  They are the oldest scriptures of Hinduism.


The Law of Love!

October 2, 2012

This story is reprinted with permission.  It is from the delightful book, "Guru for the Aquarian Age: The Life and Teachings of Guru Nanak" published by Yogi Ji Press, PO Box 970, Santa Cruz, NM 87567.  Order at 505-929-0569 or , Parmatma Singh Khalsa.  $12.95 plus shipping.  From pages 13 to 15.

Guru Nanak’s mother, Matta Tripate, nursed him with loving care and soon discovered that he was not like other babies.  He never cried for his mother as other babies did, but lay calmly in his cradle gazing upward with his deep luminous eyes.  In due time he learned to walk and to talk, but he never played like other children of his age.  He would sit as if lost in contemplation.  He would give the other children his toys and persuade his mother to feed them milk and cookies, wanting nothing for himself.

Mehat Kalu, Guru Nanak’s father was a high ranking civil servant, much esteemed in his community.  He was also a landowner, and had a large herd of cattle.  Nanak had an older sister, Bibi Nanaki after whom he was named.

When he was nine years old, his father enrolled him in the small school run by the village Pandit—a learned man.

The Pandit began Nanak’s first lesson by writing out a few letters on a slate and asking the boy to repeat each letter after him.  Nanak learned the alphabet in no time as tough he had known already.  He then turned to his teacher and asked,

“What are these letters meant for?”

“Two or three letters make a word; words make sentences,” replied the Pandit, “and thus transmit knowledge and wisdom from age to age.”

Nanak took the slate and sat aside lost in thought, joined the letters and formed words.  The teacher turned to him and saw he was sitting quietly, motionless, eyes fixed on the slate as though wholly absorbed in it.

“Why are you sitting as if struck dumb?” asked the Pandit with impatience.

“I have put the letters together and formed a word,” replied the boy.

“What is it?” asked the Pandit.

“I have made HIM,” said the boy.

“My son, what are you trying to read into these simple symbols?” asked the Pandit on receiving this unexpected reply.

“He who has created this Universe,” said Nanak, “He is the One. He is the Lord of all.”

“What more is passing through your little mind?” asked the Pandit with an indulgent smile.

“Thus,” said Nanak with conviction, “all learning is in vain, except to know Him and to serve Him.”

The Pandit was astonished at the boy’s precociousness.  “What do you know about Him?” he asked.

“This—that to love Him is the end of knowledge and to forget Him is to forget the truth, even though one may carry a cartload of books,” said Nanak.

The boy seemed to have passed into a state of ecstasy and spoke as if from some far away height.  The Pandit was bewildered but wanted to test him and said, “God, of whom you speak, what is He and where is He?”

“This creation is His,” said Nanak, “and He is everywhere.”

“Why can’t we feel Him and see Him?” asked the Pandit.

A flickering smile passed over Nanak’s lips as he answered, “Do the blind see the sun?”

“No,” said the Pandit.

“Are we not blind?” asked Nanak.  “Blind to all else, but sense objects.  He is beyond all senses and it is only when the darkness of the senses is removed that He can be seen.  His love pervades all things.”

“If His love is in all things, why is there sorrow and suffering?” asked the Pandit.

“The answer is simple.  You could have found it if you had searched your heart.  When we act against the law of love, we chain ourselves to the wheel of cause and effect,” said Nanak.

“You mean we create Karma?” asked the Pandit.

“Yes,” said Nanak.

“It has been said by wise ones that with the fire of knowledge, the seed of Karma can be permanently destroyed,” remarked the Pandit.

“Yes, with realization, but not with book knowledge,” said Nanak.  “He alone is learned who knows Him.”

He then took up each letter of the alphabet and said, “As letters are symbols of speech, so various forms are manifestations of God.  He is the Enjoyer of all sense-objects.  He is within and without all beings.  He who knows that God is all and in all and consequently loses are sense of otherness, he alone escapes from the prison of I-AM-NESS.  In selfhood is bondage; in losing the self, there is freedom.”

The Pandit was not only astonished, but convinced that Nanak was an incarnation of God.  He humbly bowed before his pupil and took him to his father.

Mehta Kalu was sitting with some friends.  He was surprised to see his son and his teacher coming back to him so early.  Nanak must have done something wrong and the Pandit was bringing him back to be reprimanded, he thought.

“This son of yours is an Avatar,[i] an incarnation of God, and no ordinary mortal,” said the Pandit as he took a seat near Mehta Kalu.  “He has come to redeem the victims of the Kali Yug, this dark age.”

Mehta Kalu smiled in disbelief.  He was a worldly man and thought the Pandit was just flattering the boy.  He wanted his son to be wise in the ways of the world, to know how to gain riches and power.  So he said, “You are paying the boy a great compliment, but I trust you will continue to instruct him.”

“Instruct him!  How? Exclaimed the Pandit.  “He knows all that there is to be known.”

“What does he know?” asked Mehta Kalu.

“He knows more than I do,” answered the Pandit.  “He knows God is One, Infinite, without a second.  He is the Author of all Creation.  He knows that to transgress the law of love is to sin.  He knows that I-AM-NESS is the disease and carries its own cure.  Tell me what more is there to know?” said the Pandit.

Mehta Kalu looked at the Pandit with disbelieving eyes, but the Pandit rose and prostrated himself at the feet of the Guru and before departing again repeated, “My dear Mehta, I am not a fool,  I believe in what I have said.  Your son has all the characteristics of an Avatar.”

[i] The first lines of Yogi Bhajan’s poem “GOD’S AVATARS” says: 

“Baba Nanak is the Supreme Lord’s Avatar,

The Formless One Incarnate.”

From his book “Furmaan Khalsa,” Furmaan Khalsa Publishing Co., Columbus, OH 43201, 1987, p. 217.  Click here to buy it. 


The Well, The Wali, and the Boulder

August 4, 2015 & May 29, 2012 


This story is reprinted with permission.  It is from the delightful book, "Guru for the Aquarian Age: The Life and Teachings of Guru Nanak" published by Yogi Ji Press, PO Box 970, Santa Cruz, NM 87567.  Order at 505-929-0569 or , Parmatma Singh Khalsa.  $12.95 plus shipping.


On a hill near Hasan Abdal (originally in the Pujab, India in an area that has now become  Pakistan) lived a Muslim Fakir known as Wali Kandhari.  He had a great following of disciples and was said to possess supernatural powers.  By the side of a natural spring he had build a house and sanctuary in which he was said to hold communion with God.  The spring fed a well which he owned.  There was no other water in the immediate area.  It was at this place that the Guru and his two companions came to stop.  Mardana was feeling thirsty and the Guru told him to go to the top of the hill and quench his thirst from the well.  He climbed up and as he approached the well, saw the Wali sitting near it and respectfully bowed.

“Why have you come here?” inquired the Wali.

“I am a servant of Guru Nanak, who is a holy person,” Mardana replied.  “He is sitting below the hill.  I am thirsty.  I asked the Guru to tell me where to get water and he directed me to come to you.”

The Wali was annoyed to hear of another holy man coming to the place and not paying him homage.

“Get out,” he said.  “If your master is a holy man, why doesn’t he get water for you instead of sending you to me?  I cannot allow you to take water from my well.”

Poor Mardana returned disappointed and told the Guru what had happened.

“Never mind what the Wali said.  Go back and ask for water again with all humility,” commanded the Guru.

Mardana was tired and thirsty but he could not disobey his master, so he made another attempt and went up the hill and again begged humbly for water. 

The Wali shouted, “Go back.  Tell your master to produce water for you to drink.”

Mardana came back to the Guru tired and thirsty and almost fainting.  The Guru smiled and said, “Mardana, utter Sat Nam and dig a little hole where you are sitting.”  Mardana did as he was ordered.  Immediately water spouted up and began to flow.

The Wali who was still sitting at his well observed that it was getting drained.

Mardana quenched his thirst and sat quietly near his master.  The Wali was deeply concerned as his well began to empty.  He got up and saw the water flowing at the feet of the Guru.  His rage knew no bounds.  There was a big boulder lying near him.  He rolled it down so that it would fall on the Guru and crush him.

Bala saw the boulder thundering down and warned his master.  The Guru did not move but at the last moment raised his hand to stop it.  The boulder stopped dead and received the imprint of the Guru’s hand on it.

The Wali was frightened and humbly came down and bowed before the Guru, who received him and asked him to sit down.  The Wali sat down and asked the Guru, “Tell me how did you acquire this power?”

“My dear Wali,” said the Guru, “power belongs to the All-powerful.  Human beings are powerless.  It is only when we take shelter in Him that He extends His protecting hand.  There is no power higher than Truth.  That which is false cannot endure.  It must fail in the end. 

Listen to true advice.

Your record will be taken out

And you will be called to render an account.

Those whose account is not clear

Will have to face an urgent demand.

The angel of death will hold them.

From that narrow land there will be no escape. 

The false will fail,

Only the Truth shall prevail.


The Wali was deeply impressed.  “The Holy Prophet has said, ‘Learn to die while living.’[i]  How can this be done?  How can we realize that all is His, and which is the best name of God?”

“If the self dies when we are living, we follow the way of the Prophet.  It is only with the death of the separating self that we realize all is His.  By whatever name we remember Him it is the best.”

The Wali then asked him to come with him to the sanctuary. “It is difficult to enter the gate of His house and occupy the holy place.  I am happy where I am.”

They spent a great deal of time together talking of things of the spirit.



[i]“ Learn to die while living.”  This is a constant admonition on many spiritual paths.  It does not mean to become a ghost, to become quite morose, or not live a full human life.  That would be just more separation from the full Life of Soul—our God Self. 

On the contrary, it means to let all sense of separation between “me” and the “All in All” to die.  As we let go of separateness, however it is expressed, such as fear, hate, anger, confusion, loss, hurt, greed, judgment, and so much more, then we can allow the full awareness that All is God to be our constant condition.  This leads to the extraordinary experience of Union of the “finite self” as the Infinite, which is the Truth!  “God and me, me and God are One.”

It is very similar to the idea of “Kill the ego!”  However, we need our finite ego to protect and project our Soul’s consciousness here on Earth.   And actually Yogi Bhajan has bellowed, “Nobody has a bigger ego than me!”  He needed that well-grounded and huge structure of his ego to project all that his Soul, his God Self was moving through him. 

So, we don’t “Kill our ego.”  Instead, we fully clear, heal, transform our ego so that it can joyfully, “selflessly” serve Soul without any hesitation.  This takes absolute humility to Soul to follow Its direction (“slave of the Guru”), plus steadfast grounding in the “Center of Soul”—a real vibratory “place” or experience, which may be known as a meditative state, or shunia (cleared neutrality—not numbness) or “sahej” (ease) in our active daily life.

 Then Soul can richly and with great Light express Itself through us, as us.  This is pure partnership between our cleared ego and our Soul which erases the illusion that our finite self is separate from our Infinite Self.   This is when real joy, the tsunami of love, total connection, and pure freedom can truly flow.  No greater fun than when your separateness dies or clears to allow the full Light of your Soul to shine through you.  The Best!



The Queen of the Black Magicians

This story is reprinted with permission.  It is from the delightful book,

"Guru for the Aquarian Age: The Life and Teachings of Guru Nanak,” pp. 87-89.  Published

by Yogi Ji Press, PO Box 970, Santa Cruz, NM 87567.  Order at 505-929-0569

or , Parmatma Singh Khalsa.  $12.95 plus shipping.


The village of Kamroop was ruled by a queen who, along with all her subjects, practiced black magic and exercised supernatural powers.  The Guru and Bala made themselves comfortable under a tree while Mardana went into town to get some food.  He had not gone far when he encountered a party of three gaily dressed women, who asked, “How and why have you come to our town?”

Mardana answered in his rustic Punjabi, which they could not understand.  His manner and dress amused them.  “He bleats like a lamb,” said one of the women.

Another laughed and said, “I will make him into a lamb.”  And saying this she took out a thread, breathed something on it and threw it over Mardana’s neck and commanded, “Now become a lamb and bleat.”

Mardana instantly stood on all fours and began to bleat.  All three women clapped their hands and burst into laughter.

The Guru had seen what had happened to his companion and when the women saw him and Bala coming, they were greatly amused.  “We shall turn all of them into animals,” they said.  “I will make that young man bark like a dog.”

She approached Bala and was about to put the thread round his neck when the Guru said, “Become that on which your thoughts are fixed.”

The woman at once went on all fours and began to bark like a dog.

The Guru told Bala to remove the thread from Mardana’s neck, then utter Sat Nam and sprinkle some water on him.  Immediately Mardana stood up and wiped the beads of perspiration from his face.

The second woman attempted to throw a rope round Bala’s neck but as she lifted her arm, it remained fixed in position.  The third woman moved to her assistance but found that the jar she was carrying over her head was fixed as if by cement.  A fourth woman saw what had happened and ran to the Queen to report that a great magician had arrived and rendered their powers useless.

The Queen herself came to the spot and in all sorts of ways tried to work her magic, but to no avail.  She couldn’t cast a spell on the Guru or his companions, nor could she release the three women.  A great crowd gathered around them and all were terrified by the Guru’s power.

The Queen then bowed before the Guru, placed a pile of gold and jewels in front of him and prayed.  “Great Magician, accept me as your disciple, teach me your magic, and release my sisters.”

The Guru told her to take away her gold.  The Queen then fell at his feet and prayed for mercy.

“You ask for mercy and it will be shown to you.  You must promise to abandon your wicked practices of black magic and seek refuge in God.”  So saying the Guru uttered Sat Nam, sprinkled a little water on the three women, and they were restored to their normal condition.

“See, your goddess has given you the power of doing mischief without any power of healing suffering hearts.”

“You are great,” said the Queen.  “What you say is true.”

“God alone is great,” said the Guru.  “He creates, maintains and withdraws this universe unto Himself.  We suffer when we follow the wrong way and do evil.  When we turn to Him and follow the golden rules of life, we become virtuous and earn our reward in happiness.”

“Great one, we have been misled.  We have followed the traditions of our tribe.”

“That is why I have come—to lead you to the right ways,” said the Guru.

The Guru then told them to purify their bodies and minds by dethroning hate, covetousness and jealousy from the mind and replacing them with sympathy and love.  “Become queens of mercy.” He said:

“Man is always going astray.  You can make a paradise for him on earth and help his ascent by your own example, by holy living and the magic of self-surrender.  You can open for him the gates of Heaven by your own devotions.  You can teach him the meaning of love by your own selflessness.  You are goddesses in your own right.  Worship no ugly images, but fulfill your divine mission to sow in the hearts of boys and girls the seed of virtue and teach them by your own way of living that courage and truth are rooted in their being.  No syllable of religion is ever understood but through a virtuous deed.”


 They who see divisions do not know God. 

March 13, 2012

This story is reprinted with permission.  It is from the delightful book,"Guru for the Aquarian Age: The Life and Teachings of Guru Nanak” published by Yogi Ji Press, PO Box 970, Santa Cruz, NM 87567.  Order at 505-929-0569 or , Parmatma Singh Khalsa.  $12.95 plus shipping.  This story was originally titled “ASSAKAN AKAIKUM—PEACE BE WITH YOU”

At Pakpattan, the travelers rested under a tree outside the town.  Mardana[i] tuned the Rubab[ii] and the Guru began to sing:

You, Yourself are the writing tablet,

You the pen and You the writer.

You are also the written word,

You are the One.  There is no other.

The shrine of Sheik Farid-ud-Din, a great Muslim Sufi of the 13th century was at Pakpattan.  The custodian of the shrine was Sheik Behram, called the second Farid, and the head of a school of Sufis.  A disciple of the Sheik, who came to collect fuel for his master’s kitchen, heard the hymn, and was deeply moved by its spirit.  He came and sat near the Guru.

He was so impressed that, on his return, he reported to his master that there was a saint sitting under a tree with his two disciples.  The strange part of it was that he looked like a Hindu and sang of the Oneness of God, while he who played the Rubab looked like a Muslim.

The Sheik was interested and told his disciple, “Go and ask this question.  There is one God but there are two ways.  Which should we accept and which reject?”

The disciple returned, bowed respectfully, and repeated the question.  The Guru smiled and said, “There is only one God and there is only One way.  Stick to the One and reject the other.”

Sheik Beharm was greatly struck by the directness of the answer and decided to go and see the Guru himself.  He came and greeted Nanak with “Assalam Alaikum”—peace be with you.  The Guru answered “I salute the One and the Indescribable within you.”

“Your reply is mysterious,” said the Sheik.  “The Hindus deny the God of Islam and Muslims accuse the Hindus of worshipping many gods.  Yet you say, there is only one God and the One way.”

“There is no mystery about it,” answered the Guru.  “The ignorant impose their own darkness on the Light of Truth.  They who see divisions do not know God.  Those who know Him proclaim His Oneness.”

God is One

He is not subject to change.

His Light is the life of creation.

That which is born and dies

Cannot be the object of worship.

Worship the One God,

Who pervades water and earth.

The Sheik was very pleased.  “I am indeed blessed at the sight of you.  I feel that I could discard my robes and wrap myself in a rough blanket or wear that which would bring me near to my Lord.”

The Guru smiled sweetly and said:

Why discard clothes

And wrap yourself in a blanket?

If your heart is pure and your devotion intense,

God Himself will grace your home.

“My dear Sheik,” he continued, “know the truth.  These outer forms are of no account.  It is the inner grace that counts.  It is not necessary to dress as a beggar or to leave home.  The one thing necessary is to remove the impurities of the mind, and fill the heart with longing to receive His grace.

Just as the true desire of a woman, her faith and devotion draws the beloved to her, so does a devotee draw the Lord by his true-hearted consecration to His service.  The power of a growing love is great.  Remember, the spark of true love is never lit in the heart till it is empty of self and filled with faith, fidelity and devotion.  God Himself cannot resist the love of a devotee.  He manifests Himself to his devotee who is then aware only of the Beloved.”

The Sheik was deeply moved.  “The man who fails to realize God,” he said, “is like the woman whose desire is unquenched and who, even in her grave cries for her heart’s desire for union.”

“The Supreme Lord cares little for looks, dress or appearance,” said the Guru.  “A pure life, kindled with true devotion wins His approval.  If I were asked how I would dress myself to meet the Lord, my answer would be with sweetness of speech and cultivation of virtue.  So richly attired I would allure the Lord.  Humility in action, forgiveness in conduct and words that are like balm are true adornments of the Soul.  They win favor in the divine presence for all times.  They who are of humble behavior, without any pride of self, forebearing and helpful, overlooking the faults of others, harmless in action and speech are on the path of achievement.”

The Sheik exclaimed, “You are a true teacher, you are of God and God is in you.  May I ask you another question?”

“What need is there for a question?” answered the Guru.  “The devotees of God think and speak nothing else but of God.  As beauty of form attracts the passionate, food the hungry, wealth the greedy, bed the weary, and abuses the angry, so does a devotee dwell in silence on God.  We must remember that this Earth is not our permanent home.  In eating, drinking, laughing and sleeping we forget death.  Selfish desires and bodily comforts rob us of our power to seek the feet of the Lord.  We must remember that life here is transitory.  We must prepare for the other side.”

“It is easy to speak of God,” said the Sheik.  “It is not so easy to kindle the heart with true devotion.”

“Listen!” said the Guru.  To Sheik Farid has been said:

They indeed are true-hearted

In whose heart dwells nothing but love of God.

They who have one thing in their hearts,

Another on their lips,

Are immature and unripe.

They forget Him

And only burden this weary Earth.

They are truly imbued with the Divine

Who stand straight in His sight,

Like beggars at His gate,

With love of the Lord in their hearts.

Blessed is the mother

Who begot them,

Blessed the Earth,

For they are its ripe fruit.

The Lord is the timeless and unknowable,

He is all-forgiving.

Those who know this truth

Like Farid, receive the gift of love as alms.

I kiss their feet.

Take refuge in them.


[i] Mardana—one of two companions who accompanied Guru Nanak on his travels.  The other was Bala.

[ii] Rubab—an ancient Indian stringed instrument that is played with a bow.


When Consciousness Retires Into Itself!

 Nov. 8, 2011


This story is reprinted with permission.  It is from the delightful book, "Guru for the Aquarian Age: The Life and Teachings of Guru Nanak" published by Yogi Ji Press, PO Box 970, Santa Cruz, NM 87567.  Order at 505-929-0569 or , Parmatma Singh Khalsa.  $12.95 plus shipping.


Dreams   p. 109

The Guru returned home to Kartarpur[i].  After the morning prayers were finished, he would sit with his disciples around him and teach. 

“Spiritual Master, explain to us the mystery of dreams[ii],” asked a disciple.  “In a dream one sees without eyes.  In a dream one hears without ears.  In a dream the dead walk with the living.  In a dream, not only time, but its maker, the sun and moon, do not seem to exist.  In a dream future happenings are foreseen.  What is it that makes dreams?”

“What you say is true,” said the Guru.  “Dreams bear witness to the fact that sense organs are only vehicles used by the Soul on the physical plane, and that on a higher plane, the Soul sees, hears, acts without its physical instruments, and the barriers of time and physical death no more intervene between the living and the dead.  Past, present and future are transparent in a (more rarified) state.

“In sleep,” continued the Guru, “day turns into unreality and on awakening, dreams vanish and become unreal.  In deep sleep, both this world and the dream world cease to exist.  Consciousness is aware of itself.  We dream when consciousness is a witness to outer impressions.  We are awake when we are aware of the existence of the world. 

“When consciousness retires into itself beyond the bounds of waking and dreaming, nothing exists.  In the foregoing states, consciousness acts within the three gunas[iii]—the phenomenal universe.  But in the fourth state, which is beyond the three gunas[iv], it (consciousness) becomes One with Reality. 

“All things are within the three states (gunas).  In the fourth state, birth and death do not exist.  There the pure Light dwells, which is the Life of the world.  It is made visible through the Guru[v] by the power of soundless sound[vi].  Life and death are subject to the three gunas.  The four books of knowledge[vii] explain this.  They describe three states.  The fourth state (of aware experience—Turia), the Guru, the knower of God alone can describe.

“Remember that all those who are born and die, as long as they are subject to the three gunas, are subject to change, pleasure and pain.  It is only when consciousness reaches the fourth state, Turia, that the Soul is established in its own Self and the individual self becomes One with the Supreme Self/Soul—the Paramatman.”

“What are the three gunas?” asked another.

“Gunas are aspects of energy:  its manifestation in grosser form is Tamas; its active form is Rajas; its pure form is Sattva.  It is Rajas in its active form which works for action, for progress, for achievement.”

Then the Guru went into a state of ecstasy and sang:

This body is like and unbaked earthen vessel;

It is made and unmake subject to suffering.

This world is an endless ocean,

It cannot be crossed without favor of the Guru[viii].

There is no other besides You, my Beloved.

You are in all colors and forms:

He whom You favor sees You.

Like a bad mother-in-law,

The darkness of ignorance prevents Union with the Beloved.

I worship the feet of the Friend,

Who has favored me and removed the veil,

And I have seen my Beloved.

Having subdued the mind by meditation[ix],

I find there is no friend other than You.

Whether You send pleasure or pain,

I shall rejoice in Your will.

In surrendering to You, hope and desire have banished,

The domination of the gunas is at an end.

Having taken shelter with You, Your devotee,

With the favor of the Guru, has gained Turia state.

Knowledge, recitation, meditation and austerities,

Are all accomplished when He, the Infinite fills the heart.

Nanak says,

A mind that is imbued with the color of His Name,

Under the instructions of the Guru, learns to serve the Lord.


Endnotes by Siri-Gian Kaur

[i] Kartarpur—Guru Nanak established Kartarpur, meaning Town of God (Creator) in 1552 in the Punjab, India as his home agricultural village dedicated to working by the sweat of one’s brow while chanting God’s name.  After he had traveled far and wide teaching his message—from Iraq to Tibet to Sri Lanka, Guru Nanak returned home to his village in the Punjab in Northwest India to teach and work in the fields with his community.  The border of Pakistan has now engulfed Kartarpur, yet it is very close to the border with India, and it is near a tributary to the River Ravi.  Kartarpur is located about 30 miles NNE of Amristar, India, home of the Golden Temple.


[ii] Dreams—Yogi Bhajan instructed his students to not interpret their dreams.  In my experience, I have seen people get very mixed up by trying to live their lives according to what they thought were messages from their dreams.  Although when you dream of Yogi Bhajan, he is really there.  Please pay attention to what he tells you.


[iii] Three GunasRajas—action, movement, change, unfolding, creating.  Tamas—inactivity, sluggish, inertia, dark, destruction, ignorance.  Sattva—pure, pristine, preservation, rarified.  These 3 qualities, forces or “actions” propel or organize the tattwas into and through creation.  The Tattwas are the elemental energies, the main categories or flavors of which are earth, air, fire, water and ether.

[iv] Fourth State: Turia—The transcendental state of awareness that is beyond waking, dreaming and deep sleep, which are the first three “states”.  This “space” of pure consciousness is totally calm and is referred to as Supreme Spirit, Brahman, God, void, knowledge, etc.  Without having or leaving any mental impressions, be present at every moment. Renouncing everything inwardly, with a totally calm intellect and a thin mind (a mind having no old baggage and thus sharp), carry on outwardly with all the work before you. Live life in turia (the transcendental or fourth) state!” Quote from Sage Vasishtha.

[v] Guru—Literally, that which changes dark to Light!  Guru is the pure Consciousness of creation, whose guidance is accessible through intuition.


[vi] Soundless Sound—unfathomable vibratory rates of pure Consciousness that bring all into Creation.  “In the beginning was the Word.”


[vii] Four Books of Knowledge—The 4 Vedas are the Hindu books of revealed knowledge: Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samaveda, Atharvaveda. They contain a whole range of very practical as well as esoteric knowledge that was originally intuited by certain adepts.  They are descriptions of how the Universe and our world operate, and how to best work with this “environment” from that primal level.


[viii] The favor of the Guru—The path to Union (spiritual work, self healing, serving others, meditation, sadhana, etc.) is not sourced in or led by our individual “everyday self”.  Rather the Guru leads the “everyday self” along its spiritual path to Realization and gives the final boon of Union.


[ix] Subdued the mind through meditation—This is the gateway to the Fourth State or Turia.


Lahore[1]A Vile City

This story about Guru Nanak is reprinted with permission.  It is from the delightful book, "Guru for the Aquarian Age: The Life and Teachings of Guru Nanak" published by Yogi Ji Press, PO Box 970, Santa Cruz, NM 87567.  Order at 505-929-0569 or, Parmatma Singh Khalsa.  $12.95 plus shipping.
It was time for another journey.  With his two old companions (Mardana and Bala), Guru Nanak started for Lahore.  He found the city’s narrow and dirty streets and the large number of slaughtered animals, which provided meat for the inhabitants deeply disturbing.  The unrelieved poverty of the working classes and ostentations luxury of the rich impressed him so much that he exclaimed, “The city of Lahore seethes with poisonous oppression.”

He left the town, for he could not endure its stifling atmosphere.  But he could not forget what he had seen.  Full of pity for the people, he expressed his feelings in a song.

Sin occupies the throne,

With greed the financier,

Falsehood the commander,

Lust and desire as the judges

Who summon and examine men

And pronounce judgments.

The people in their ignorance

Are without power.

They too are eager to usurp

What others have.

Priests have forgotten their craft.

They dance, wear masks,

Beat drums and adorn their bodies.

They shout aloud, indulge in battle songs, and uphold war.

Ignorant Pandits[ii] with subtle (obtuse) reasoning

And tricks of their trade strip men and amass wealth.

Even those who perform good acts do so

In a vain hope of obtaining salvation.

The ascetics without true knowledge

Leave their hearts and homes.

Everyone considers himself perfect.

But if put to the test, says Nanak,

Not one could prove true.


The Guru left Lahore and headed for Talwandi[iii].  On his way he stood outside a village temple watching worshippers offering flowers and tinkling temple bells.

One of the worshipers, seeing the Guru standing thoughtfully as an interested spectator, accosted him.  “What are you looking at?” he said.  “Go in and worship the god inside.”

The Guru smiled and said, “Are you not aware of the God within you?”

Repeat the Name of Rama[iv]

And thus perform inner worship.

Meditate upon the Word of the True Teacher.

He is all-pervading.

How can I worship other gods in temples

When I see only the One and no other?”

“Do you come every day to worship?” inquired the Guru.

“No,” said the man, “but this is the twelfth day of the lunar month and therefore, after fasting yesterday I am worshiping God to acquire merit.”

“My dear friend,” said the Guru, “under what delusions are you laboring?  You think because you visit the temple and offer a few flowers you have done a religious duty. 

“The twelfth day would be blessed if you were to give in charity, inspired by a true feeling of compassion, and if you were to control the outgoing mind as well as restrain it within.

“Fasting from food is a mere penance.  We fast truly when we renounce the fruit of our action[v].  We pray truly when we repeat the Name of God and hear it repeated from within, and thus realize that the One pervades the three worlds. 

“True worship is rendered by knowing the Real from the unreal.”

The worshiper fell at the feet of the Guru and asked for more advice.

“My friend, know this truth. 

·       God is in every heart and every heart is His temple.  It is through His blessings[vi] that we can approach Him[vii].  Then the heart loses its hardness and it is filled with His love. 

·       By meditation one’s sense of duality is lost and an individual being becomes one with the Supreme Being. 

·       By the favor of the Guru, this way is found.  The heart is linked with God. Time no more rings down that curtain that we call death.”

[i] Lahore: An historically important city, which is in the part of the Punjab that was originally designated as India, but is now Pakistan.  It is not too far west of Amritsar, home of the Golden Temple in India.

[ii] Pandit: A scholar, a teacher, particularly one skilled in Sanskrit language, and who has mastered Vedic scriptures, Hindu law, religion, music or philosophy.

[iii] Talwandi: A town in India that is southeast of Lahore and is about half way between Lahore and New Delhi.

[iv] Rama: An aspect or attribute of the Infinite God that is described as the avatar Rama, whose life and journey is one of perfect adherence to dharma—spiritual practices, including natural and moral laws despite harsh tests of life and time.

[v] Renounce the fruit of our action:  Transform/heal out of our ever-repeating samskaras.  Samskaras are conditioned mental and emotional habits of limited consciousness that can be triggered into action, and that subconsciously control our actions and reactions (e.g. that stored memory or consciousness that ignites my anger in certain situations).  The energy or consciousness created by engaging in our samskaras draws the tattvas/the elements, which are the primal energetic stuff that makes up physical existence; and continuing to engage in samskaras builds yet more personal karma.  Karma is the law of cause and effect, which adds yet more “items” to our personal “cosmic agenda” that needs to be worked out through one’s course through lifetimes.  That length of that course extends the point in time that one finally frees him/herself from the cycle of births and deaths created by continuing karma.  As one “pays off” all their karma, they come into full and perpetual Union as Divine Consciousness.

[vi] Blessing: Devotion, humility, attention, trust, understanding, awareness, wisdom, neutrality, transformation, freedom from samskaras, paying off karmic debt without incurring more, openness to the Divine, etc. that allows the Divine Consciousness to unite with the personal consciousness.

[vii] Him: Divine Consciousness felt very personally.


This story is from the apparently out of print book called “Guru for the Aquarian Age, The Life and Teachings of Guru Nanak” by Sardarni Premka Kaur, copyright by Brotherhood of Life Books, Albuquerque, NM, 1972, p. 39-40.


True Seekers & Selfish Escapists


On the outskirts of Sialkat, away from all human habitation, the Guru rested.

Puzzled, Mardana asked, “Why do you prefer the wilderness to the comforts of the town?”

“There is no comfort in a place where there is no truth,” replied the Guru.  “The air of the town is charged with hypocrisy.  Who could safely breathe it?”

Mardana pleaded that he was hungry and could not live on the wild air that blew about him.

“Take this slip of paper,” said the Guru.  “Enter the city and show it to rich and poor alike.  He who answers the questions which I have written on it will give you food.”  The questions were—‘What is real?  What is unreal.’

Mardana walked through the town showing his slip of paper to rich and poor alike.  They refused to look at it and laughed at him, till he reached the shop of a baker who took the paper and wrote a reply, “Death is real and living is unreal.”  Then he served Mardana food.  When Mardana had satisfied his hunger, the baker asked to be taken to the person who had written the questions.  The baker, when he saw the Guru, humbly bowed before him and asked, “Show me the true way, O searcher of hearts!”

“Seek and you will find it.  It is found by search and lost by discussion,” said the Guru.

The baker was so impressed by the Guru that he accompanied him for many days, till the Guru ordered him to go back.

“I want to be a wandering ascetic—a Fakir,” pleaded the baker.  “I wish to give up the world.”

“Listen,” said the Guru.  “It is not by shirking our duty that we become saints, but by daily performance of that which is ordained.  We learn the beginning of self-denial by denying ourselves for the sake of our family, by active sympathy with suffering, and forbearance for all.”

“Then why is it that people leave their homes in search of God?” asked the baker.

“There are true seekers and selfish escapists,” said the Guru, “but my way lies in living in the world and rising step by step steadily and surely, by purification of the mind by daily conflict with the force that darkens the Light of the Soul.  This is only possible if we do our day-to-day duties with the Name of God on our lips, so that all our actions are performed in the service of Him who is the Lord of all that exists.”

The Guru then repeated the opening passage of Jap-ji and said, “Meditate on this, try to reach the inner meaning, then the true desire in your heart will gain strength and you will become a devotee.  The light of the Beloved will illumine your innermost being.  Remember, renunciation of outward things does not make for inner righteousness.  Words are meaningless till translated into action.”

The baker repeated the opening passage of the Jap-ji after the Guru and understood its meaning.  He then returned to his shop, lived the life of a householder with the Name of God on his lips, animated by a spirit of service which made life a blessing for all.  A friend of Hindus and Muslims alike, he saw God in the temple and in the mosque and found service of his fellow man the truest method of worship.


This first passage of Japji is called the "Mool Mantra."  Read more at


Ik ong kaar, sat naam

We are One with God, This is our True Identity


Kartaa purkh, nirbhao, nirvair

Doer of everything, beyond fear, beyond revenge.


Akal moorat ajoonee saibhang, gur prasaad

Beyond Death, Image of the Infinite, Unborn, full of Light.  This is the Guru’s gift—





Aad sach, jugaad sach, hai bhee sach

It is the Primal Truth, True for all time, True at this instant.


Nanaak hose Bhee sach.

O Nanak, True forever.


The prayer of “Japji” was written by Guru Nanak in the 1500s, and this translation is by Guruka Singh at  .



The Mind is Like a Fish

Aug. 9, 2011

This story is from the apparently out-of-print book “Guru for the Aquarian Age,” by Sardarni Premka Kaur, copyright 1972 by Brotherhood of Life Books, Albuquerque, NM 87106, page 63. This delightful book contains a series of wonderful stories about Guru Nanak’s very personal teachings.

The explanatory endnotes are by Siri-Gian Kaur


The Guru visited Dayalpur and stayed with a poor peasant who was his disciple.  He had not been there long when he was disturbed by the sound of loud crying coming from a neighboring house.  The heart-rending cries touched his heart and he asked why the neighbor was so grief-stricken.

“She is a poor woman,” said his host.  “Her only son, who is her sole support was run over by a wheel of a bullock cart and broke his leg.  He has been in great pain ever since and unable to work.”

The Guru, move with pity, got up and walked to the adjoining hut.

The old woman, seeing the Guru entering, fell at his feet.  “Maharaj, save my son,” she pleaded.  “We have been staying alive by dissolving ashes in water and drinking the mixture.  No one has come to our help.  See my son, the prop of my old age.  He is huddled up with a broken leg and a fever that never leaves him.”  She again broke into sobs.

The Guru, compassion incarnate, approached the sick man and looked at him with eyes full of the nectar of healing.  He took a little water, uttered Sat Nam and sprinkled it on the man and commanded, “You are healed now, rise.”

The man threw off his rages nervously, straightened himself and stood up.  He could hardly believe that he was healed.

The mother was overjoyed to see her son completely recovered.  She passed her hand over his broken leg and then she clasped the feet of the Guru, full of deep gratitude.  “You have saved my life, you have saved my son.”

“God is all-merciful,” said the Guru, “and His grace is always with those who in full faith seek His grace and turn to Him for protection.”

The Guru turned to the young man and asked, “How do you earn your living?”

“I am a fisherman,” replied the young man.  “I catch fish and then sell them in the bazaar, and with the money that I get I purchase our daily needs.  I earn just enough to keep body and soul together and to serve the meager needs of my mother.”

The Guru said, “This mind is like a fish, led by attachment/desire[i] into the net of the fisherman—Death[ii].  The mind, unconscious of Truth[iii], falls into the whirlpool of unending cares.  The mind urged on by hunger[iv] does not realize the danger and walks into the net.  He[v] himself shows the way of Union to whom He accepts.”

The well-to-do neighbor of the fisherman walked in and asked, “What should a man do to obtain salvation?”

“My brother, one must love all beings, but to reach that stage one has to make a beginning.  If you cannot love your neighbor, how can you love those who are strangers?  When your neighbor was in pain, how could you eat bread quietly and sleep comfortably?”

In the meantime, news of the miracle spread and the whole village came to receive the Guru’s blessing.

[i] Attachment/desire—We create through desire.  In this case, these desires and attachments are our old patterns of thinking, needing, wanting, desire for security, the “way I think things should be,” my everyday self’s confined identity, and so on.  They are based in embedded or learned reactions to old pains or preconceived ways to avert insecurity.  In ancient yogic literature, these are called “samskaras,” and continually living from these old programs simply creates yet more karma which must eventually be “paid off” in pure neutrality and surrender.

[ii] Death—as opposed to a purely free Life of Union, partnering your freed-up “everyday self” with your God Self, your Soul.  This “Death” is what holds us to our repeatedly hurtful and hurting existence here on Earth.  The goal of the spiritual path is to let go the bonds of attachment and desire as described above to move into a pure and conscious partnership with our God Self here on Earth, so that we can live in the unbounded energy of Love as described by Guru Nanak in every circumstance.

[iii] Truth—that which is right in front of your face, that which is really happening without stressing that something else should be happening.  When one recognizes that naked reality as the action or flow of Soul, God or Guru—without judging it as either good or bad, and realizes that all is actually perfect—no matter what, then one can relax their breath, mind and body to call on their own Soul.  They can then ask for Soul’s real wisdom on how to handle the situation from Soul’s/their own God Self’s infinitely greater perspective.  Then one has the opportunity to follow that guidance, even though the transformation out of that sucking “whirlpool” of mind’s tangle can be truly difficult.  (Use your tools to free of the grip of rampaging mind, emotions and energy!)  This untangling of “my-ness” or the “illusion” inherent in not realizing the simple Truth at hand, brings pure freedom and peace.  And it allows “space” for the vibration of love to flow.

[iv] Hunger—Unsatisfiable compulsions of thinking, emotions, desires, energy, etc.

[v] Guru or Soul—Yogi Bhajan said that the Soul is the Divine Guru within, and its voice or visceral wisdom can be accessed through intuition.  Yogi Bhajan said that everyone has intuition.  Intuition is primarily a matter of deeply listening or feeling Soul’s direction, then accepting that “small, still voice” of Soul, and acting on it with courage and surrender.  Then, when the time is right, Soul pulls the “everyday self” into infinite, conscious Union with It.


"Not Prolonging the Agony!"

A Story from Guru Nanak 

July 18, 2011

Today, we have a treat!  This is a story about Guru Nanak who lived, traveled extensively and taught the most simple yet profound Truth of Ek Ong Kaar, which is that the Unfathomable God of All is the essential you.  Your Soul, or your Atman is the total God expressing Itself as you.  Yogi Bhajan said that your “Soul is the Infinite Guru within.”  “Yoga” means “Union” of the everyday self with the Infinite Self, or the “small self” yoked to the Infinite Self.

This story is from the apparently out-of-print book “Guru for the Aquarian Age,” by Sardarni Premka Kaur, copyright 1972 by Brotherhood of Life Books, Albuquerque, NM 87106, page 75. This delightful book contains a series of wonderful stories about Guru Nanak’s very personal teachings.



The Guru next traveled from Lake Mansarowar and Mt. Kailas (very ancient sacred places, sites of pilgrimage in the Himalayas) towards the region of Almora.  Somewhere in the lap of the glaciers they met a party of yogis who were disciples of their guru, Gorakh Nath (an extremely important and influential teacher of yogis from the 11th and 12th centuries in India).  The yogis were said to possess great power over nature and to know the secret of prolonging life, retaining vigor of both body and mind.

They received Guru Nanak with courtesy and invited him to stay with them.

“Why don’t you join us?” said one of the yogis.  “We will show you how to live through the ages and never grow old.  We will teach you to become a true yogi.”

“Can you show me nothing better than to prolong agony by living a long time?  I thought a yogi sought freedom from bondage and was One with God.  Know that yoga is a spiritual Union and can be achieved by abiding by His (Soul’s) will and remaining unaffected by the impurities of the world.  It is good to be in the world and not to be soiled by the evils[i] of the world.  You will admit, the Guru continued, “that the object of yoga is Union.  This Union cannot be accomplished by wandering in the forests or by physical austerities but by submerging the individualized ego (separate consciousness) in its divine Source.

“You,” said one of the yogis, “profess to be a teacher of religion, yet you wear neither the clothes of a saint nor those of a yogi.  To what denomination do you belong?”

“My name is Nanak,” said the Guru, “and I belong to the denomination of God.”

“A householder must act for the self and thus make karma, which must bring him back to earth to go through the cycle of birth and death.  How can anyone destroy the seed of action without renouncing the world?  Without its destruction, there is no freedom,” said another yogi.

“There is a great distinction between an assertive action and performance of an act without any desire for its fruit,” said the Guru.  “The former binds, the latter frees.  He whose mind is charged with the Divine Presence, he is in perpetual solitude in this world of desire.  His thirst for things has been quenched.  He who has realized the Unknowable and enabled others to realize Him, he commands respect.  He is like a lotus that rises to the surface of a lake or like a swan that floats over the water and is untouched by the water.  So does a yogi remain unaffected by his surroundings.   He whose consciousness becomes One with the Universal Consciousness, even when performing material acts, is never moved from the stability which he has attained.

“Please do not be annoyed by our questionings,” said the yogi.  We only seek to find the truth.  We want to know if you have found a better way than ours.”

“When this wandering mind is brought to the abode of Truth and His Name becomes its life-breath, then God Himself guides and shows the way of unity.  He who is sinless[ii], even though leading the life of a householder, whose spirit is awake, the thirst of whose mind is quenched with the nectar of the Name[iii], the Guru shows him how to serve the True One and realize Him.”

“Without proper preparation, how can anyone attain the unattainable?” asked another.

“I never said that,” answered the Guru.  “The seeker after Truth must prepare himself. He should not indulge in overeating or waste his day in sleep, but with singleness of purpose concentrate on the True One, permeated with the sound of the true Word, freed from attachment and egoism, having banished (healed) passion, wrath, and pride, and with perfect (natural) self-control follow the Guru’s instruction.”

“You have said nothing about the ancient system of practicing yoga,” said another.  “Don’t you believe in its effectiveness?”

“I have heard of the system, but I do not believe that merely by outer restraints can yoga be attained.  What is needed is inner change.  Let the Soul draw Itself into Itself.  Close the nine doors (apertures of the body).  No longer run after sense objects.   Allow the Soul to take Its seat in the tenth (10th gate is the chakra at the top of the head that connects directly to the Universal).  And hear the soundless sound.  Absorbed in the True One, see the True One in every heart.  Then the ‘secret’ becomes manifest and Reality is realized.”  (Our time and space existence is actually an illusion, not the True Reality.)

The Guru continued, “Evil thinking is destroyed only by dwelling on the Word of the Guru, who alone can show the gate to salvation.  He who remains unaware of Reality, continues to burn in the fire of desire.  Separated by evil inclination, he suffers.  Total submission to the Divine Will is more important than all the knowledge and virtues, and complete self-surrender is the way to secure Divine Grace.”

“What do you mean by total submission?”

“Total submission is entire freedom from subjection to the three Gunas[iv] and becoming an instrument of the Divine Will with a heart full to the brim with God.  Then the sense of I-am-ness[v] vanishes along with the sense of separation.”

“By what means does the mind remain stable.  By what food is hunger satisfied forever?” asked another.

“He who is the same in pleasure and pain has attained stability of mind.[vi] He hungers no more.  By God’s grace death has no terror for him”

“How was the world created and and how can its misery be removed? Asked another yogi.

“The world exists in I-am-ness, in forgetting Him is the suffering.  By the Guru’s instructions, control of the mind is obtained, and the sense of I-am-ness is removed.  Righteous aspirations gradually gather the aspiration of Truth.”

These explanatory notes are by Siri-Gian Kaur:

[i]  Evil” is not judged by outside dictums.  “Evil” in this case means that which is not in alignment with your Soul’s direction.  But don’t become guilty if you are not always in alignment with Soul because this gradual switchover to Soul, this healing and discipline of the mind is the course of the spiritual path over lifetimes.

[ii]  Sinless—meaning not turning away from the pure Presence within yourself to act from the “small me”.

[iii]  Name—a condition of Consciousness that is fully Present with the Infinite, while at the same time is integrated with being fully in an everyday sense.  Practicing the sound current of mantra/holy name, banis, meditation, etc. can take you to this expanded state of Consciousness.

[iv]  The Gunas are the 3 classic descriptions of the action of energy, or of creation in the making: Rajas—frenetic, tumultuous; Tamas—dull, dark, unmoving; Sattva—light, clear, transformed.

[v]  I-am-ness” implies that I see, feel and experience myself separate from other hearts, the world, and creation.  “I” am a separate entity from Soul, my God Source.  God is “out-there” and is not me.  This ongoing experience of separateness is true duality.  The remedy is the full experience of Union between the everyday self and the Soul, or the Universe—true “Yoga”!  In that condition, there is no longer any small “self-consciousness.”   Although we do interact with the world with even more awareness and participation because we are present with the created world as an expression of the All in All—which we are experiencing/knowing/simply are—just as Guru Nanak was doing in this story.

[vi]  Stability of Mind—This does not mean that you are numb to pleasure or pain, but that you are not moved off your “center” by either pleasure or pain.  Rather you are in the profound and all-experiencing neutrality of Soul.