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Look Into the Guru’s Eyes!

Sept. 25, 2012


As you know, Guru Ram Das’ birthday is coming up on Oct. 9 when we will chant “Dhan Dhan Ram Das Guru” for 2 ½ hours!  This is the miracle mantra, so why not take advantage of this on your own or together with your family and friends for this most incredible opportunity!

Guru Ram Das became the fourth Guru at 40 years old until his passing at 47 in the year 1581.  He was known for his sweet looks, kind, polite disposition, as well as his continuous dedicated service to his father-in-law, Guru Amardas, to the whole sangat/congregation, and for writing truly inspirational shabds/hymns.  And he sustained the work of his predecessor Gurus to define this spiritual path by evolving it away from the Hindu rituals, icons and caste system to recognition of and Union with the Formless. 

Guru Ram Das built upon the organizational structure created by Guru Amardas of administrative regions where his appointed representatives taught and donations were collected to support sangat projects such as lungar, building of the Nectar Tank at Amritsar, and so on.  He also planned out the city of Amritsar and attracted trades people to set up shop there.  It became the biggest financial center in northern India.

It is said that he always had a smile on his face.  Imagine!

It seems that you can never separate Guru Ram Das’ compassion from his true humility and his endless seva.  Those are just abstract words to describe the fact that he just didn’t see any difference in himself as he actually dug the mud from either the well at Goindwal or the nectar tank at what would become known as Amritsar.  He would actually go out in the night to serve those in greatest need, yet he dressed so that he would not be recognized as the Guru.  He worked all the jobs in the lungar kitchen, and personally treated the sickness and cleaned the wounds those who needed his help. 

In his planning of the city of Amritsar where he designated districts for each kind of merchandise, he put the leather workers and shoe makers closest to the nectar tank, where they are today.  Since leather workers were traditionally from the lowest caste, putting them in this honored position was Guru Ram Das’ method of reverse discrimination.  On the other hand, he carried out the duties of the Guru with expert temporal and spiritual leadership for the sake of the sangat. 

This reminds me of Yogi Bhajan’s telling us that in himself he was not the Siri Singh Sahib, but he served the office of the Siri Singh Sahib.  That is, he held the space and performed the duties that the position required, but neither he nor Guru Ram Das got any idea that they were bigger or better than anyone else because of it.  They simply served in whatever way they could.

Now, here’s the story…

As you know, if anyone wanted to see the Guru, they were first required to sit in the lungar lines to eat lungar with the whole sangat.  Now, as you may imagine that might have ruffled the feathers of some hot shots who thought really well of themselves.  They may have been used to being given sumptuous hospitality and lots of favors, but here they had to sit shoulder to shoulder with poor and rich alike as they were served their free, simple and generously offered meal like anyone else.   And if they identified as higher caste Hindus, they would have the double whammy of having to endure even the shadow of a lower caste person falling on them—which they felt was totally impure.  There were no barriers at all between them and these “God-knows-what!”  OMG!

So, now that these “important” folks had finally endured their duty at lungar, they were at last going to be received by the most holy Guru—the one who led thousands on their spiritual path.  Now they would finally be in the company of a really important person!

Well, pretty soon someone came in to serve them—perhaps with tea, or wash their feet and see to their needs.  And he tidied up the place.  These visitors were getting a little cranky now because they had been kept waiting so long for the actual Guru!  The servant disappeared.

Then the Guru finally walked in, dressed in his fine robes.  Yikes, when they finally recognized him, they were really surprised to find that the servant had changed his clothes and now presented himself as the Guru!  Holy cats!  You can imagine their astonishment and embarrassment.  I think perhaps they learned their lesson on the spot!  That is no one is higher or lower and that we owe equal kindness and respect to each one, no matter what.  And this is the foundation of real compassion.

This story makes me wonder:  What if these guys had actually looked deeply into the eyes of their servant, would they have found the pure Light of the Guru? 

And what if we look deeply into each other’s eyes, will we find the Light of the Guru?  After all, Yogi Bhajan told us, “If you can’t see God in all, you can’t see God at all.” 

So, it seems to me that the greatest compassion that we could ever give is seeing the Light of Guru within each one’s eyes, even if that Light has been dimmed by turmoil in their life—either as a victim or a victimizer.  It would mean that I would have to respect and hold that Light in each one, no matter how hard it is to find it.  Wouldn’t that be compassion?


Copyright:  Siri-Gian Kaur Khalsa, , 2012

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