Thursday, 19 November 2009

Guru Ladho Rey

I cannot count the number of times I have been told that sakhi about Makhan Syah Lubhana and his ship in troubled waters. The One Where He Finds The Guru.
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When I was younger, that sakhi was just another one of those feel good stories I heard, about how our beloved Makhan Syah the merchant was losing hope in stormy waters, and turned to the Guru with a prayer and a promise of 500 gold coins, the Guru saved him, and then Makhan Syah went round Baba Bekala dropping gold coins at the feet of holy men until he was caught out by the real Guru, and the story ends with him running to the rooftops, jumping with joy, and singing “I’ve found the Guru! I’ve found the Guru!”
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And the Sikhs were overjoyed, and we joined him, and we threw a big party. It may not say that in the history books, but I bet you we did – this was as good a cause for celebration as any. If in doubt, keep reading.
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Back to the point. It used to just be another feel good story. Another one of Guru’s wonderful miracles. We don’t think of it as much more than that.
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Historical accounts don’t press the point either. When Chapter 8 on Guru Har Krishan ends, with Him being overwhelmed by the disease He took upon Himself to save a city from the clutches of Yama, we just turn the page, and there is Makhan Syah, waiting for us in Chapter 9, so that he can get going on his merchant ship.
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Just like that. Turn the page, and the story continues.
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Not for me, not anymore. I heard the story again today, just as I wrote it above. The page turned quickly when he told it too. But today, for some reason today, my heart stopped. I couldn’t bring myself to listen to the next chapter, because my ears were drowned out by the silence my spirit felt.
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There was a time, one excruciating time, when we didn’t know who our Guru was.
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Suddenly the strings were cut, and there was nothing to hold on to. Who did we turn to with our hopes and prayers? Who blessed and held us? Whose home did we flock to at all hours of day and night, just to sit in His aura?
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We were lost, fatherless, guideless, lost, lost.
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I thought I knew the meaning of loneliness. But then in that one instant I was so alone that the earth vanished and I was alone in an empty galaxy, floating, drifting, unanchored.
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Where was my Guru? I could not see Him, and I was lost.
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So rewind. Before the dancing on the rooftops, before the storm settled, before Makhan Syah even set sail. Rewind, rewind.
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Go back to that place, kneeling by Har Krishan’s side, clutching his tiny robes, helplessly lost as His last breath leaves His lips. Feel that despair. Who do you turn to now? Which way to look? Where to seek solace?
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Remember. This was a time before our Holy Guru Granth, Light of the Universe. It was a time when the only Guru we knew was in physical form. Today I would have gone to a Gurdwara and crumbled at the feet on my Guru, hands raised, pleading for my Perfect Jyot to carry me home. But on that day, all I could do was to let a wave of loneliness flood into my being.
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Gu-Ru. My Light in darkness. But I cannot see it anywhere, and no one can guide me to it. I feel the burden of a thousand empty souls, wandering, aimless, directionless, wandering, wandering.
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And I ask this: Why are there no pages in between Chapters 8 and 9? If I were the author I would leave 5, no 10, no 1 lakh empty pages in between. Blank, without a single word in them. For there is nothing to say when all that exists around you is emptiness.
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How many days lay in between? How silent was the wind? Did the trees know that on the earth wandered a homeless people? Did the rivers echo the sorrowful murmurs of our hearts? Where was my North Star on those nights?
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My soul roams, helpless, unanchored. In agony, in anguish, searching for that Light. Where is it? How do I keep my faith without You there to guide me?
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How many days must I walk, like a lost boy in a children’s fairy tale?
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A flower does not comfort, a child’s laugh does not comfort, a full harvest does not comfort. Emptiness.
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Spare me this separation, for it tears at me so unforgivingly.
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My 1 lakh pages do not seem to end. They stretch on into oblivion. When there is no Light, I cannot see the end of the tunnel. Darkness envelopes me and pulls me into a black hole.
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Oh, but what is that sweet, sweet sound? Who is that I hear?
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Guru Ladho Rey, Guru Ladho Rey.
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I have found Him, I have found our Guru.
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A hundred glowing moons. A thousand splendid suns. Blinding Light, North Star, Rainbow.
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And there is the sound of us chaining ourselves to our Guru, never to be unbound again.
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And there is the sound of our anchor sinking in the Guru’s vast ocean of Light, never to drift again.
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May that knot never fray. May that anchor never be unmoored.
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Are you still wondering if we threw a party on that fateful day?
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I only wish I had been there.

6 comments:

Gurdeep Singh said...

Fantastic piece of writing ....

Himmat Singh said...

Hey hi there. Read ur post and found it exceptional. So much emotions infused in ur writing...will keep on coming back once in a while to check the stuff out here...take care.

Rishi said...

Vaheguru ji. This is amazing. I was thinking a very similar thing about the sakhi and what it truly means but am in total awe out of how you have explained it and it's significance through the beauty of your experience. Thank you.

pervinder said...

i've bee told of this sakhi..but nt like this..nt in this way..so much beauty in ur writing..love this one..thxxx,penji..

Harkiren Kaur said...

I just had another thought about the symbolism in that sakhi - the Guru is our ship in troubled waters - just as He guided Makhan Shah out of of the storm, so does Guru lead us out of the challenges in the ocean of life. All we have to do is ask!

Satnam

Guru's Grace said...

Sat Nam, Harkiren

You are an amazing writer. I was totally blown away
by this post.

Please continue to post!

Wahe Guru.