Mantra: An Ingrained Feature In Hinduism

By Promod Puri

Peace in all the cosmic environments influences

peace in humankind as well

An ingrained feature in Hinduism is the mantra. It is a productive tool that effectively generates tranquil and energetic feelings.

A mantra inherently is the delivery of sacred word(s) or a sound with literal meaning or without meaning, but capable of inducing an ambiance of divinity.

Moreover, despite their antiquated origin since the Vedic period of Hindu history, contemporary interpretations of mantras offer intellectual spirituality and mystic expressions. Melodic compositions in musical and metrical formation draw out coherent and thematic features in mantras’ verses.

Mantra’s numinous and sacred integrity lies in its literate depths, pervasiveness, and absorption in the conscious mind. 

In scriptural usage, mantras are ritualistic incantations and chanting for ceremonial occasions, prayers, and worship.

Mantra is a combination of two-syllables, “man” and “tra.” The former pronounced “mon” like Monday, means mind, or it can also mean a thought. “Tra” means a dedicated instrument. It is a tool producing a sound or vibration. In tandem with “man,” “tra” completes the word mantra to mean the voice of mind or thought.

From this simple structure, the mantra has attained the revered status of devotional expression and as a meditative channel.

Recitation of mantra, termed Japa, is the key to invoke its spiritual presence. The latter comes when it is calmly heard repeatedly in our minds and connects with our cognitive or mental faculties. It is in this frame a mantra resonates in human consciousness with its numinous and sacred nature.

In principle, mantras are not rituals.

But mantras offer a ritualistic tool in most religious and even Hindu-guided non-religious social ceremonies and functions. Chanting of mantras is a ritual that sanctifies and formalizes an event, regardless of the fact whether the congregation or listeners apprehend their meanings.

Mantras do not carry any magical and healing powers or potency in their complete rendering or any of their verbal constituents.

However, mantras do create an environment of positive energy, a feeling of a relaxed body and mind. It is in this development that according to the “biology of belief,” our psychological behavior changes more towards positive thinking. Positive thoughts are a biological mandate for a healthy life.

In its most plain presentation, a mantra can be just one single word like Om. Or it could be several words long in verse composition while carrying philosophical and meaningful themes of universal values.

A mantra can also be an elementary and straightforward composition. For example, the recitation of God’s name, Parmatma, is a mantra in itself. Here the duality of the word ‘parm’ meaning supreme, and ‘Atma’ meaning an individual soul becomes a single sound of His realization. The Japa of this mantra is perhaps the most uncomplicated and most informal connection between the self and Him for the ultimate feel of Oneness.

GALLERY OF MANTRAS

A selection from the gallery of Hindu mantras, besides their religiosity, has secular attributes and universal appeal in them. The nature of their constituents affirms the depth, the vision, the philosophy, and the universality engrossed in the Hindu faith.

OM PURNAM MANTRA

पूर्णमदः पूर्णमिदं पूर्णात्पुर्णमुदच्यते

पूर्णश्य पूर्णमादाय पूर्णमेवावशिष्यते

“ Om purnam adah purnam idam 

purnat purnam udachyate 

purnasya purnam adaya 

purnam evavashishyate”.

An ideological and free translation of the mantra begins with the word Om (ॐ), which is personified here as God. The term ‘Purnam’ and its related derivates in the mantra mean complete and signify His completeness.

He is Complete; everything emanating from Him is complete. From the Complete Wholeness, only the entirety manifests. And even when a single complete comes out from the whole Complete, what is left is still a Complete. The products produced through Him may look small or big, but in core and quality, all are complete units. 

The mantra assures complete balance in all His universal creations from the elements of nature to humankind. For humanity, the mantra conveys a message that every human being is equal in his or her completeness as manifested by Him.

Atma or a single soul is a complete manifestation of the Supreme-Atma.  This duality of the Atma-Parmatm is called the Cause and effect association. Supreme-Atma is the Cause or the reason to produce an effect, meaning Atma. 

The result cannot be less than the Cause. The Cause changes to the consequence but continues to remain Cause also. In essence, the mantra reinforces that in every living being, there dwells the Supreme Atma as well. Equality and divinity are the themes of the mantra concerning humanity.

The mantra also stands out in making us realize how inter-related we are in this universe.

Rajneesh (Osho), a great thinker, philosopher, and an explicit interpreter of Hinduism in modern times, explains this universal Cause-effect bond.

His explanation of the mantra:

“[Om Purnam] is one of the most significant statements ever made anywhere on the earth at any time. It contains the whole secret of the mystic approach towards life. This small sutra includes the essence of the Upanishadic vision. The concept transcends from the past and goes into the future. It remains the Everest of human consciousness. And there seems to be no possibility of going beyond it.

“The Upanishadic vision is that the universe is a totality, indivisible; it is an organic whole. The parts are not separate; we are all existing in a togetherness: the trees, the mountains, the people, the birds, the stars, howsoever far away they may appear – don’t be deceived by the appearance – they are all interlinked, all bridged. Even the smallest blade of grass connects to the farthest star, and it is as significant as the most incredible sun.

Nothing is insignificant; nothing is smaller than anything else. The part represents the whole just as the seed contains the whole”.

GAYATRI MANTRA

ॐ भूर्भुवस्व: | तत्सवितुर्वरेण्यम् | भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि | धियो यो न: प्रचोदयात्

Aum bhur bhuvah swah, tat savitur varenvam.

Bhargo devasya dhimahi, dhiyo yo nah prochodayay.

This Gayatri Mantra from the Rig Veda, attributed to goddess Gayatri, is one of the most recited and highly revered mantras.  

In its unique composition, the Gayatri mantra has three approaches.

First, the mantra evokes the nature of God and praises His attributions.

Second, it is a mantra for meditation and contemplation.

And third, it expresses sentiments of divine prayer seeking an illuminated path of goodness and ethics guided by His energetic light. 

The mantra is a submission to God (Om).

The translation goes like this: Oh God; You are the giver of life, You can free us from all the pains, You are present all over, You give happiness, You are the creator of this universe and beyond. We humbly submit to You, and concentrate on your pious, sin-quelling, and pervading Energy.

That very Energy produced and released by You illuminates our mental faculties. We seek from You that this Energy dwells in all our thinking processes. As of result, our thoughts always are inspired to undertake only those actions that can lead us to be on the path of righteousness.

SHANTI (PEACE) MANTRA

There is a profusion of peace mantras in the Hindu scriptures. From seeking harmony and tranquility in an individual’s life, peace mantras’ appeal is universal in all aspects of His vast creation. Recitation of peace mantra is a meditation to experience the serenity and seeking its residency in mind.

ॐ द्यौ: शान्ति रन्तरिक्षँ शान्ति: पृथिवी शान्ति राप: शान्तिरोषधय: शान्ति:। वनस्पतय: शान्ति र्विश्वे देवा: शान्ति र्ब्रह्म शान्ति: सर्वँशान्ति: शान्तिरेव शान्ति: सा मा शान्तिरेधि॥ ॐ शान्ति: शान्ति: शान्ति:॥

Aum dyauḥ śāntirantarikṣaṁ śāntiḥ pṛthivī śāntirāpaḥ śāntiroṣadhayaḥ śāntiḥ vanaspatayaḥ śāntirviśvedevāḥ śāntirbrahma śāntiḥ sarvaṁ śāntiḥ śāntireva śāntiḥ sā mā śāntiredhi Aum śāntiḥ, śāntiḥ, śāntiḥ.

Following is a translated version of the peace mantra:

“May peace radiate there in the whole sky as well as in the vast ethereal space everywhere. 

May peace reigns all over this earth, in water and all herbs, trees, and creepers.

May peace flows over the whole universe. 

May peace be in the Supreme Being Brahman. 

And may there always exist in all peace and peace alone. 

Aum peace, peace, and peace to us and all beings!”

(Translation by Swami Abhedananda, Ramakrishna Vedanta Math, India).

The absolute mantra reinforces our affiliation with everything of His creation in this universe. Peace in all the cosmic environments influences peacefulness in humankind as well. A notable element in this known mantra is that it seeks peace for the Supreme Being, Brahman, as well.

MANTRA IN ANY LANGUAGE

Mantra, as a meditative tool, has attained significant importance in contemporary society worldwide. And for that reason, it has adapted itself to change. No longer, Sanskrit is the base in its composition. It can be in any language.

Meditation practitioners are discovering mantras in their languages instead of the classic versions. A recitation of a mantra, after all, is a repetitive, prolonged verbal utterance.

The most famous “modern mantra,” perhaps introduced by a Buddhist monk, is in English. The repetitive wordings are: “Right now, it’s like this.” The phrase just resonates, acknowledging the present, and the contemplation leads into the situation of calmness.

In a recent study, the word “Echad,” meaning one in Hebrew, is catching attention for repetitive utterance as a mantra. The result showed that the one-word non-Sanskrit mantra had the same calming effect in a meditative stage.

SATNAM WAHEGURU

Simplicity, adaptability, and pragmaticism are the features in a mantra that appeal the contemporary society. For these reasons, the familiar and habitual Sikh chanting, “Satnam Waheguru,” is a mantra too that carries all these elements while creating a warming and alleviating relationship with the Lord in its recitation.

“Satnam Waheguru,” are the two simple words that have profound spiritual significance.

Accepted with utmost reverence, Satnam Waheguru is the universal Truth of His wonders. And that adoration becomes a prayer, Satnam Waheguru, Satnam Waheguru….

‘Sat’ stands for Truth, ‘Nam’ identifies that Truth.

‘Wahe’ is a feel of ‘wow’ moment, an exclamation of the divine Wonder.

Guru is interpreted here as the path that leads us from darkness to light. It is the journey towards Truth and enlightenment.

Satnam Waheguru is a pragmatic or logical approach towards the understanding of God, rather than worshipping Him as a divine image.

Satnam Waheguru is meditative in its spirit, installing harmony in our conscious mind.

For that reason, Satnam Waheguru is a repetitive mantra that flows well with our inhaling and exhaling breathing. Here the mantra breaks down into four steps: Sat-Nam-Wahe-Guru; repeat: Sat-Nam-Wahe-Guru….

Again there is no healing, a therapeutic or miracle value in the mantra, but it does initiate a conscientious mind of spiritual significance.

Satnam Waheguru, in all its elements, is a mantra, a prayer, and a divine companion in solitary moments.

HUMANIZING EVERYTHING FROM MOON TO VIRUS

“We find human faces in the moon, armies in the clouds; and… ascribe malice or good-will to everything, that hurts or pleases us.”-18th-century philosopher David Hume

We’re humanizing Coronavirus too as “sneaky, “tricky,” “merciless,” “cruel” and “invisible enemy.”

Equality And Duality are Themes In Hindu Mantra:

ॐ पूर्णमदः पूर्णमिदं पूर्णात्पुर्णमुदच्यते
पूर्णश्य पूर्णमादाय पूर्णमेवावशिष्यते ॥

“ Om purnam adah purnam idam
purnat purnam udachyate
purnasya purnam adaya
purnam evavashishyate".

An ideological and free translation of the mantra begins with the word Om (ॐ), which is personified here as God. The term ‘Purnam’ and its related derivates in the mantra mean complete and signify His completeness.

He is Complete; everything emanating from Him is complete. From the Complete Wholeness, only the entirety manifests. And even when a single complete comes out from the whole Complete, what is left is still a Complete. The products produced through Him may look small or big, but in core and quality, all are complete units.

The mantra assures complete balance in all of His universal creations from the elements of nature to humankind. For humanity, the mantra conveys a message that every human being is equal in his or her completeness as manifested by Him.

Atma or a single soul is a complete manifestation of the Supreme-Atma.  This duality of the Atma-Parmatma is called the Cause and effect association. Supreme-Atma is the Cause or the reason to produce an effect, meaning Atma.

The result cannot be less than the Cause. The Cause changes to the consequence, but continues to remain Cause also. In essence, the mantra reinforces that in every living being, there dwells the Supreme Atma as well.

Equality and divinity are the themes of the mantra concerning humanity.

-Promod Puri
progressivehindudialogue.com

Sikhism Dwells In Its Saint-soldier Philosophy

By Promod Puri

Guru-Nanak-Dev-Ji-230x300
Guru Nanak Dev

Guru Nanak Dev and Guru Gobind Singh represent two distinct aspects of Sikhism. In the evolution of Sikhism, together, these significant facets symbolize the Khalsa, a saint-soldier designation that is pure, clean, and free.

Guru Nanak initiated the saint-soldier image of the Khalsa, and it got concluded by Guru Gobind Singh, according to historian Gokul Chand Narang in his book “Transformation of Sikhism.”

GuruGobindSingh
Guru Gobind Singh

He writes: Guru Gobind Singh undoubtedly forged the sword which carved the Khalsa way to glory. But the steel had been provided by Guru Nanak, who had obtained it by smelting the Hindu ore and burning out the dross of indifference and superstition of the masses, and hypocrisy and pharisaism (rigid observation of external forms of religion) of the priests.”

It is in the saint-soldier context that if we view serenity and warrior aspects in the Sikh psyche, then we can learn Sikhism in a more discerning manner.

Sikh historian and popular columnist late Khushwant Singh wrote in one of his columns:

“Perhaps the most important issue to be considered by scholars of Sikh theology will be to convince people that there is a continuous and unbroken line between the teachings of Guru Nanak and the first five gurus enshrined in the Adi Granth. And the militant tradition began by the sixth Guru and brought to culmination by the 10th and the last Guru Gobind Singh with the establishment of the Khalsa Panth.”

Whereas, the widespread belief that Guru Nanak was a pure saint and Guru Gobind Singh more as a combating fighter, the fact is that both were saints, and both were soldiers. It is a matter of ascertaining them in their different circumstances, and respective periods, that had a gap of 200 years.

Guru Nanak’s teachings based on the belief in one God, concisely and prudently described in the Mool-mantra: He who is undefinable, unborn, immortal, omniscient, all-pervading, and the epitome of truth.

Guru Nanak also spoke against the division of humanity in terms of caste and class. He ridiculed meaningless rituals and customs. In seeking equality, he established the sanctity of the Sangat, a religious meet of devotees. And for the same reason, Guru Nanak instituted the tradition of langar, community eating together without distinction of religion, caste, gender, economic status, or ethnicity.

An outstanding feature of Guru Nanak’s philosophy is to realize God while fulfilling domestic obligations. He emphasized work as a moral duty.

His message is simple: “kirt karo, vand chhako, naam japo.” Translation: work, share what one earns, and take the name of God.

When Guru Nanak emphasized that God’s realization can be obtained not by running away from worldly and domestic problems, instead of facing and tackling them in righteous and honest ways, then that is the real challenge and real struggle.

In this battle, a soldier is born within.

Guru Nanak certainly sowed the seed to fightback life’s continuous hardships, struggles, injustices, immoral rituals, inequality, and racism. Sikhism upholds the dignity of man and labor.

Guru Nanak believed in practical religion that involves work and spirituality going not at separate times, but together all the time.

Sikhism does not believe in the practice of religion in isolation from worldly pursuits.

Ninth Guru Teg Bahadur says:

Kahe re ban khojan jayee,

Sarab niwasi sada alaipa

Tahi sang samayie

Pope madh jyo baas bast hai

Mukr main jaisse chayee

Taise hi har basse nirantar

Ghut hi khojo bhai.

(Oh man why go to the forest

In search of God,

A family man is always pure,

And the God dwells in him

Just like fragrance stays in flower,

Reflections appear in the mirror.

Similarly, God prevails in the heart

of a family man.

Therefore, find God within yourself.)

In the confronting history of Sikhism, its followers and subsequent Gurus faced extreme challenges not only to survive but upkeep the spirit and message of their founder, Guru Nanak Dev.

Khushwant Singh writes:

“There can be little doubt that the martyrdom of Guru Arjun in 1606 resulted in a radical change in the community outlook. Though its creed remained wedded to the Adi Granth, it was ready to defend itself by use of arms. Guru Arjun’s son, the sixth Guru, Har Gobind, raised a cavalry of horse riders. He built the Akal Takht facing the Harmandir as the seat of temporal power and came to be designated Miri Piri Da Malik (Lord of temporal and spiritual power). For some years he was imprisoned in Gwalior fort. The final transition came after the execution of the ninth Guru, Tegh Bahadur, in 1675. His son, Guru Gobind, justified the transition in a letter, Zafarnamah, said to have been addressed to Emperor Aurangzeb: When all other means have failed, it is righteous to draw the sword’. Guru Gobind’s concept of God underwent a martial metamorphosis.”

When Guru Gobind Singh came on the horizon, which was in the climax of the militant struggles of the preceding Gurus, including the martyrdom of Guru Arjun Dev and execution of Guru Teg Bahadur, it was a noticeable emergence of the saint-soldier ideology in Sikhism.

The 10th Guru Gobind Singh inherited this ideology from Guru Nanak’s emancipation from superstition and hypocrisy. Guru Angad’s campaign against drifting into asceticism and aimlessness in life. Guru Ram Das’ extension of the power and influence of the sect. Guru Arjan’s transformation of the community into a theocratic society by giving it a code, a capital, a treasury, and a chief in the person of the Guru. Guru Har Gobind gave it an organized army, finally the traumatic sacrifice in the execution of Guru Teg Bahadur.

All these phases fall into a continuous line to create the image of saint-soldier Khalsa in Sikhism.

(Promod Puri is a journalist, writer, and author of Hinduism beyond rituals, customs, and traditions. Websites: promodpuri.com, progressivehindudialogue.com, and promodpuri.blogspot.com)

 

MY MEMORIES WITH “PEEPEWALE” BISCUITS

Every time I notice these in the Indian grocery stores, even at Walmart, my recurring memories fly me back to those teenage days in India.

We did not call them “Peepaewale” biscuits. These were just plain cookies custom-made from a local bakery shop.

Also referred to as Punjabi biscuits, these non-smooth and little grooved on the top is triple the size of 22-karat gold biscuits.thumbnail (4)

Since these crunchy cookies were contained in a ‘pipa,’ that is the reason they are called ‘Peepaewale’ biscuits here in Canada. Perhaps, it is a marketing approach by the manufacturers to draw the nostalgic feel and taste of the sweet goodies.

I remember enjoying the crispy delicacies with the spread of home-made butter on top and a glass of lassi as our breakfast during summer days before heading off to school.

The most blissful part of those childhood memories was when my mother assigned me the job of getting them made from our neighborhood friendly baker.

The ingredients were few. Whole wheat flour, ghee, sugar, and one or two more items, that I don’t recollect. And there was an empty ‘pipa,’ a rectangular tin container with lid and provision of locking it, to pack the baked product.

My reward for the volunteering service was that I could eat as many cookies as I could in the 10-minute walk back home. But once at home, the pipa was locked, and the key-control was with my mother.

However, a few times, I managed to slide my slim and tender hands into the locked pipa and steal some cookies. My mother knew about it but pretended she did not. And I kept enjoying my “peepaewale” biscuits, now a part of sweet memories.

By Promod Puri

A CASE FOR FULL AUTONOMY TO STATES TO KEEP INDIA UNITED

By Promod Puri

Because of its vast linguistic and cultural plurality, as represented by most of its states, suggesting India’s division into individual autonomous regions may sound a Utopian or even an insensible concept.

But the divisive motion would reflect and meet more effectively the political and social aspirations of its peoples than the current restrained setup.

The unity and stability of the region, called India, lie in granting more independence to its diverse provinces.

From north to south, east to the west, and in between, India is a country of countries.

What Ladakh has in common with Kerala, or Manipur sharing any similarity with Maharashtra? And that goes for every state in the Republic of India. Each one of them has their separate identities.

In its present political formation, India has always been a grudging union of 28 states and eight Union Territories. Even people belonging to the same faith have different religious rituals, customs, and traditions influenced by local collective identities.

A loose federation of autonomous states would release the subdued regional urges of its peoples. The social and political aspirations of people based on their cultural and local needs are often ignored or repressed by the authoritative regime at the Centre.

It is a case of granting complete autonomy to the states that would help realize the territorial sentiments of people. Less interference from the Center in local affairs means peace and political stability to the nation as a whole. Moreover, regional sovereignty would help in resolving the perennial Kashmir problem.

The slogan “unity in diversity” is meaningless unless that very diversity gets politically recognized and becomes part of the system by granting complete autonomy to the states. And that would indeed strengthen and revolutionize the democratic traditions of India.

THE CAKE MY MOTHER USED TO MAKE

Our kitchen was very elementary but a conspicuous place in the house. Prominently featured was the built-in wall cabinet that was a designated space for all the plates, bowls, etc.  There were no china dishes or even the glass highballs, a few spoons, but no forks or knives, no sink, and no running water either. All the utensils were of brass that needed an occasional coating of some shining metal, named Kli, done by hawking street vendors referred to as Kli-walas.

Complete with the very basic needs, our kitchen, also called Rasoi, had an orderly and clean look. Besides, it was quite spacious. The place was our dining room as well, but there were no dining table or chairs. Neither there was room for those affluent items. All the activities in our Rasoi, from cooking to eating, were on one level, that is on the floor. Straw mats furnished the flooring for comfortable dining. Still, it was always a cross-leg sitting.

A wood-log clay stove, aka Chula, with two burning outlets, occupied one corner of the kitchen. My mother architected the Chula as per her needs and aesthetics. And she diligently built it herself from the few raw materials needed for her project. Once a while, she used to renovate her Chula with a fresh coat of mud.

Mother was always a busy person with plenty of household chores, but creativity was her forte, and cooking was the passion she enjoyed the most in the domain of her Rosai.

On several occasions, my mother used to make cakes, yes, the real egg cakes. And her little wood-burning Chula was the gadget for baking cakes. It was a simple procedure that she simulated. The thickened cake mix was poured into a bowl, covered by a brass plate, and then placed at the bottom of the Chula, where the hot ashes would fully wrap the cake pot. Within 20 or 30 minutes, the cake was ready, fresh from her multi-purpose oven.

Sweet memories are taking me back to the soft and spongy ash-baked cakes she used to make for the love of her culinary interests while, in her motherly spirit, creating delights with limited resources for all of us in the family.

Happy Mothers’ Day.

Happy Mothers’ Day.

-Promod Puri

Guru Nanak’s Message of Divine Order

Hukam Razai Chalna, Nanak Likhyea Naal.

 Hukmae Andhar Sabh, Bahar Hukme Na Koe

These are the two separate edicts from Guru Nanak Dev. But discussing them together initiates an integrated understanding of the messages while building the desired impact of their practicality in our lives.

Hukam Razai ChalnaNanak likhyea naal in its simple meaning, implies that it is inevitably written, according to Nanak, that we conduct ourselves acceding to the will of God.

Hukam means order or command, razai stands for acceptance, chalna meaning walk, and likhyea naal means written down. To follow (razai), the walk (chalna) guided by the hukam of God as inevitably written (likhyea naal) creates our fundamental realization of the divine message from Guru Nanak Dev.

The keyword in the proclamation is Hukam, and this is where our razai or acceptance is based.

Does it mean that we dispel all our reasons and accept every situation or event as the will of God? In other words, that is our fate, good or bad? Is this the way God wants us to accept His will without any dissent and action on our part?

If our answer is yes, then we are stereotypically and ritualistically wrong. And we miscarriage the Hukam.

Hukam does not mean fate or something unavoidable. It does not mean that we accept every situation as a creation of God, whether we like it or not, and we surrender to it.

Passive acceptance is the path for those who seek escape or renunciation. Nanak was against surrender, and so were all other Sikh Gurus, including Guru Gobind Singh.

The history of Sikhism is full of actions to seek righteousness and reject injustice. And that has been the Supreme Command which Nanak is professing.

Hukum razai chalna is the enlightened message that was followed by the rest of all the Sikh Gurus. Rather than acceding, they fought against oppression and tyranny and sought equality for humanity.

It is in this crusade and commitment that Hukam gets its legitimate and revered meaning.

Hukum is not rigid and a closed commandment, instead it encourages informed and logical thinking followed by action. That is the entirety of Hukam. Here the word chalna (to walk) is very crucial. Our crusade begins with the Hukam-inspired plans until we reach our goal.

Hukum is the beginning, and it is the end. In between are our related thinking and actions.

Hukum is the cause of generating an effect or consequence. The latter is the result of our actions, where God gives us the freedom to act according to our inner consciousness.

In our commitments, Hukam is the discipline or conduct we create in the execution of resolutions we make.

The reality is when we are facing an unjust or grave situation that conflicts with our conscious mind; then, it is not the will of God. Instead, it is created and imposed on us by diverse temporal factors. Our earnest response to tackle or fightback the intolerable circumstance is our pragmatic and intelligent understanding of the Hukam.

In our personal lives, when we face problems, that could be health issues, harm and ill-will inflicted on us, hatred based on race or caste reasons, etc., etc. then the divine Hukam demands to tackle the obstacle or crisis we encounter.

Hukam-razai does not mean we accept the situation and do nothing or expecting “god-willing” it would go away.

Life is an entanglement of suffering. Through Hukam-inspired ethical actions, blissful emancipation is achievable.

A reader of mine has very prudently, and concisely writes:

“Hukam is, in fact, a dynamic process, not a fixed endpoint, that we can use our free will to exercise using our conscious mind. It also feels different when I hear hukam-nama now. It is not a command or a mandate from a patriarchal God but our relatedness to the Divine.”

We often deal with a situation created by our self. And when this situation is ill-conceived or morally and ethically wrong, it goes against the will of God.

Hukmae Andhar Sabh, Bahar Hukme Na Koe

In Japji, Guru Nanak says: “Hukmae andhar sabh, bahar hukme na koe.” A simple translation of the mandate is that everybody (sabh) under(andhar) His command (hukam), nobody (na koe) is beyond (bahar) His command.

The question is, what is that divine command or Hukam, signed and delivered by Nanak, from which we do not deviate or stray.

Indeed, it is a path that refers to the divine order. The moment we disregard this order, it is a violation of God’s Hukam.

Divine order is the system established by His Hukam, where we do not create chaos and misery for ourselves or fellow human beings, animals, plants, and our living environment.

It is an order of ethical and moral conduct of our lives where our conscious mind generates virtuous thinking to execute virtuous actions. This way, we are neither damaging our conscious mind nor hurting others. And we are staying hukmae andhar or within His order.

The divine order is a disciplined and conscientious undertaking to get into the spirit of the Hukum.

In this order, resides our religiosity of being honest, humble, and sincere, be considerate and helpful to others, be merciful, forget and forgive, love fellow beings and care for the environments, including animals, plants, and nature.

And everything else which is pious, pure, and morally firm to bring us in alignment with Guru Nanak’s universal dictum: Hukum Razai Chalna, Nanak Likhyea Naal.

-Promod Puri

 

 

WHEN LORD SHIVA CURSED FARMERS

It may be related to the current lockdown environment, but the story goes like this:

Once Lord Shiva, for some reason, got angry with farmers. As punishment to them, he declared there would be no rain for the next 12 years. The farmers pleaded for mercy, but Lord Shiva was adamant.

The Farmers then approached the Lord of Rains, Inder Devta. While sympathizing with the farmers’ predicament, his response was, rains would only come when after 12 years, Lord Shiva would play on his small drum instrument, called Damru.

All the farmers were feeling heartbroken and disappointed.

However, there was one farmer, who despite knowing there would be no rain, kept working on his farm. He regularly tilled the soil, watering it, and sowing the seeds. But there was no crop.

Other farmers asked him why he was doing all this. The farmer’s response was, “I know there will not be any product, but I must keep working on the farm so that I keep my tools sharp, and I do not forget my trade.”

Lord Shiva’s wife, Parvati, overheard the farmer’s answer. His reasoning to keep working struck her mind. Parvati immediately approached the Lord and, in a smart move, told him, “if you don’t play your Damru for the next 12 years, you will surely forget to play it.”

Lord Shiva, who is also called “Bhole-Nath,” the innocent one, got worried that he would not be able to play on his favorite instrument. He immediately picked up the Damru to see that he had not already forgotten to strike the beats.

As it was expected, instantly, with the first sound of the drum, rains started pouring in. And the farmers were back to work with jubilation.

-by Promod Puri