JAPJI– A JOURNEY TO DIVINE GRACE
from the blog, SaadSangat and authored by Rawel Singh.
Japji is the first composition in the Sikh Holy Scripture, Sri Guru Granth Sahib (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji) whose contents are referred to as Gurbani meaning the Guru’s word. One theme that runs throughout is Divine grace.
Japji is a composition of a prologue, 38 Pauris (stanzas) and a Slok (epilogue). Guru Nanak says in Pauri 6:
ਜੇਤੀ ਸਿਰਠਿ ਉਪਾਈ ਵੇਖਾ ਵਿਣੁ ਕਰਮਾ ਕਿ ਮਿਲੈ ਲਈ ॥
In the whole universe brought into being by the Creator if any one can obtain anything without Divine grace, let him/her get it.
By this verse, Guru Nanak recognizes that any achievement in life is subject to Divine grace. This should not be taken to mean that no effort is required for achievement but that the Almighty also gives motivation for effort:
ਉਦਮ ਮਤਿ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਅੰਤਰਜਾਮੀ ਜਿਉ ਪ੍ਰੇਰੇ ਤਿਉ ਕਰਨਾ ॥ ਜਿਉ ਨਟੂਆ ਤੰਤੁ ਵਜਾਏ ਤੰਤੀ ਤਿਉ ਵਾਜਹਿ ਜੰਤ ਜਨਾ ॥੧॥ ੫ ੭੯੮-੯੯Reference:: Sikh Philosophy Network http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/jap-ji-sahib/34949-japji-a-journey-into-divine-grace.html
The Creator gives counsel for action; man/woman acts as IT motivates;
The creatures obey the the commands the way a musical instrument responds to the musician (M: 4, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, p 798-99).
Humans should therefore try to deserve this grace by living in obedience to Divine commands.
Gurbani uses seven terms to describe grace. They are Prasad, Bakhshees/Bakhshish), kirpa/kripa, Bhaag, Daat, Karam, and Nadar. Prasad as used in the Mool Mantar conveys that we can understand the Creator with Guru’s grace. Bakhsheesh means something given by pleasure and kirpa means compassion. Daat is benediction; Bhaag represents good fortune. Nadar and Karam are derived from the Persian expression Nazr–e–karam that literally means ‘glance of grace’. They are sometimes used together and some times separately but convey the meaning of the compound expression for grace. The scripture also uses karam for deeds. The two uses of karam are inter–related, as in order to receive Divine grace one has to be supported by good deeds. Karam is not the same as karma, which refers to the results of one’s deeds and has become part of English vocabulary. We shall see their use as we proceed.
Although the Mool Mantar (Seed Mantra) is strictly not part of Japji it is always read with the latter, which is the first composition in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. It describes the virtues of the Creator and ends with Gurprasadi meaning the Creator may be known with the grace of the Guru. The subject of grace runs throughout and the final Pauri 38 ends with ‘Nanak Nadri nadir nihaal’ meaning with grace one is emancipated and ever happy. It occurs as follows in Pauris shown; their translation is contained later in the texts:
ੴ ਸਤਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਕਰਤਾ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਨਿਰਭਉ ਨਿਰਵੈਰੁ ਅਕਾਲ ਮੂਰਤਿ ਅਜੂਨੀ ਸੈਭੰ ਗੁਰ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ ॥ Mool Mantar
ਇਕਨਾ ਹੁਕਮੀ ਬਖਸੀਸ ਇਕਿ ਹੁਕਮੀ ਸਦਾ ਭਵਾਈਅਹਿ ॥ Pauri 2
ਕਰਮੀ ਆਵੈ ਕਪੜਾ ਨਦਰੀ ਮੋਖੁ ਦੁਆਰੁ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਏਵੈ ਜਾਣੀਐ ਸਭੁ ਆਪੇ ਸਚਿਆਰੁ ॥੪॥ Pauri 4
ਤੀਰਥਿ ਨਾਵਾ ਜੇ ਤਿਸੁ ਭਾਵਾ ਵਿਣੁ ਭਾਣੇ ਕਿ ਨਾਇ ਕਰੀ ॥ ਜੇਤੀ ਸਿਰਠਿ ਉਪਾਈ ਵੇਖਾ ਵਿਣੁ ਕਰਮਾ ਕਿ ਮਿਲੈ ਲਈ ॥ Pauri 6
ਚੰਗਾ ਨਾਉ ਰਖਾਇ ਕੈ ਜਸੁ ਕੀਰਤਿ ਜਗਿ ਲੇਇ ॥ ਜੇ ਤਿਸੁ ਨਦਰਿ ਨ ਆਵਈ ਤ ਵਾਤ ਨ ਪੁਛੈ ਕੇ ॥ Pauri 7
ਜੇਵਡੁ ਆਪਿ ਜਾਣੈ ਆਪਿ ਆਪਿ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਨਦਰੀ ਕਰਮੀ ਦਾਤਿ ॥੨੪॥ Pauri 24
ਬਹੁਤਾ ਕਰਮੁ ਲਿਖਿਆ ਨਾ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਵਡਾ ਦਾਤਾ ਤਿਲੁ ਨ ਤਮਾਇ ॥ Pauri 25
ਅਮੁਲੁ ਬਖਸੀਸ ਅਮੁਲੁ ਨੀਸਾਣੁ ॥ ਅਮੁਲੁ ਕਰਮੁ ਅਮੁਲੁ ਫੁਰਮਾਣੁ ॥ Pauri 26
ਸੁਣਿ ਗਲਾ ਆਕਾਸ ਕੀ ਕੀਟਾ ਆਈ ਰੀਸ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਨਦਰੀ ਪਾਈਐ ਕੂੜੀ ਕੂੜੈ ਠੀਸ ॥੩੨॥ Pauri 32
ਤਿਥੈ ਸੋਹਨਿ ਪੰਚ ਪਰਵਾਣੁ ॥ ਨਦਰੀ ਕਰਮਿ ਪਵੈ ਨੀਸਾਣੁ ॥ Pauri 34
ਕਰਮ ਖੰਡ ਕੀ ਬਾਣੀ ਜੋਰੁ ॥ ਤਿਥੈ ਹੋਰੁ ਨ ਕੋਈ ਹੋਰੁ ॥ Pauri 37
ਸਚ ਖੰਡਿ ਵਸੈ ਨਿਰੰਕਾਰੁ ॥ ਕਰਿ ਕਰਿ ਵੇਖੈ ਨਦਰਿ ਨਿਹਾਲ ॥ Pauri 37
ਜਿਨ ਕਉ ਨਦਰਿ ਕਰਮੁ ਤਿਨ ਕਾਰ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਨਦਰੀ ਨਦਰਿ ਨਿਹਾਲ ॥੩੮॥ Pauri 38
The composition is really a journey to receive grace, which is experienced as we proceed with devotion and humility.
The entire process does not require performing any rituals or recitation of any mantras. Every thing depends on deeds. The purpose of human birth, in addition to doing our duties and contributing to development, is to facilitate union of the soul with the Creator. With this union, the soul is emancipated thus ending the cycles of reincarnation. This is Mukti or liberation and results in the soul entering God’s abode through the metaphorical Mokh Duaar, the gate to Mukti or freedom.
Mukti has two stages, firstly to be rid of bondage to vices and attachment to the world play in life and secondly for the soul to escape the cycles of reincarnation on death. The first is achieved by identifying – with the guru’s guidance – Divine virtues and commands within and the second by merger of the soul in the Creator. Divine commands called Hukam in Gurbani, are what the soul is told before taking birth. They really represent the purpose of human life.
The other name for Hukam, or Divine commands is ‘laws of nature’. If we obey the laws of nature by way of doing what we have been sent here for, we can hope to escape cycles of reincarnation. The Guru says in Pauri 2:
ਇਕਨਾ ਹੁਕਮੀ ਬਖਸੀਸ ਇਕਿ ਹੁਕਮੀ ਸਦਾ ਭਵਾਈਅਹਿ ॥
By Hukam some receive grace while others are made to go in cycles.
Pauri 4 says:
ਕਰਮੀ ਆਵੈ ਕਪੜਾ ਨਦਰੀ ਮੋਖੁ ਦੁਆਰੁ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਏਵੈ ਜਾਣੀਐ ਸਭੁ ਆਪੇ ਸਚਿਆਰੁ ॥੪॥
One receives human birth because of past deeds but salvation is obtained by grace.
This is how one perceives the eternal Master present every where. 4.
We commit so many transgressions in life, so how can we hope to obtain grace? Some people bathe at places of pilgrimage to wash their sins. Pauri 6 says:
ਤੀਰਥਿ ਨਾਵਾ ਜੇ ਤਿਸੁ ਭਾਵਾ ਵਿਣੁ ਭਾਣੇ ਕਿ ਨਾਇ ਕਰੀ ॥ ਜੇਤੀ ਸਿਰਠਿ ਉਪਾਈ ਵੇਖਾ ਵਿਣੁ ਕਰਮਾ ਕਿ ਮਿਲੈ ਲਈ ॥
I would have bathed at pilgrimage centers if I do what God likes; without that, ceremonial bathing is of no use;
In the whole universe brought into being by the Creator if any one can obtain anything without Divine grace, let him/her get it.
That means Divine grace does not come through rituals; it must be deserved by deeds.
Pauri 1 says:
ਸੋਚੈ ਸੋਚਿ ਨ ਹੋਵਈ ਜੇ ਸੋਚੀ ਲਖ ਵਾਰ ॥ ਚੁਪੈ ਚੁਪ ਨ ਹੋਵਈ ਜੇ ਲਾਇ ਰਹਾ ਲਿਵ ਤਾਰ ॥
ਭੁਖਿਆ ਭੁਖ ਨ ਉਤਰੀ ਜੇ ਬੰਨਾ ਪੁਰੀਆ ਭਾਰ ॥ ਸਹਸ ਸਿਆਣਪਾ ਲਖ ਹੋਹਿ ਤ ਇਕ ਨ ਚਲੈ ਨਾਲਿ ॥
The mind cannot be cleansed of evil thoughts by bathing even a million baths.
Unless causes of the mind being disturbed are removed, it cannot be at peace even if one sits quietly in continuous meditation.
A craving mind is not satiated even if one gets the wealth of all the worlds.
Thousands of clever tricks and wisdom also do not help.
All that these things can do is to impress other people and get one a good reputation:
ਕਿਵ ਸਚਿਆਰਾ ਹੋਈਐ ਕਿਵ ਕੂੜੈ ਤੁਟੈ ਪਾਲਿ ॥
ਹੁਕਮਿ ਰਜਾਈ ਚਲਣਾ ਨਾਨਕ ਲਿਖਿਆ ਨਾਲਿ ॥੧॥
Question: Then how can we break the wall of things transitory or falsehood and be truthful i.e. truly live as will be approved by the Creator?
Answer: Live by Hukam, the preordained Divine commands, the laws of nature. 1.
The Guru emphasizes this in Pauri 7:
ਚੰਗਾ ਨਾਉ ਰਖਾਇ ਕੈ ਜਸੁ ਕੀਰਤਿ ਜਗਿ ਲੇਇ ॥ ਜੇ ਤਿਸੁ ਨਦਰਿ ਨ ਆਵਈ ਤ ਵਾਤ ਨ ਪੁਛੈ ਕੇ ॥ ੧ ੨
One may earn a good name and be praised by all; ---
But without grace s/he will not be recognized/cared for (in the hereafter);
The fifth Pauri enunciates five qualities that make a person acceptable to God:
ਜਿਨਿ ਸੇਵਿਆ ਤਿਨਿ ਪਾਇਆ ਮਾਨੁ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਗਾਵੀਐ ਗੁਣੀ ਨਿਧਾਨੁ ॥
ਗਾਵੀਐ ਸੁਣੀਐ ਮਨਿ ਰਖੀਐ ਭਾਉ ॥ ਦੁਖੁ ਪਰਹਰਿ ਸੁਖੁ ਘਰਿ ਲੈ ਜਾਇ ॥
One who serves, by obeying the commands and laws of nature, receives honor;
Let us therefore praise (obey) the Almighty, the fountainhead of virtues.
We should praise, listen, accept and emulate the virtues lovingly;
This will relieve us of afflictions and lead us to our final abode of peace.
The five qualities therefore are service or complying with Hukam, praising the Creator by remembering IT’s virtues, listening to them say in congregation, accepting the commands and lovingly obeying them. Any one who thus loves the Master receives IT’s love.
Those who have these five qualities are called Panch, the selected or respected ones. Pauri 16 says:
ਪੰਚ ਪਰਵਾਣ ਪੰਚ ਪਰਧਾਨੁ ॥ ਪੰਚੇ ਪਾਵਹਿ ਦਰਗਹਿ ਮਾਨੁ ॥
The Panch obtain high status; s/he leads others;
The Panch receive honor in Divine court/presence;
The soul wishes to get back to the Creator to attain union, not to take a measure of or to evaluate IT. This is beyond human competence. Pauri 24 says the soul only wishes to be bestowed grace or Nadar Karam to understand Divine virtues:
ਜੇਵਡੁ ਆਪਿ ਜਾਣੈ ਆਪਿ ਆਪਿ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਨਦਰੀ ਕਰਮੀ ਦਾਤਿ ॥੨੪॥
The Master alone knows how great IT is;
One obtains the benediction of this understanding through Divine grace, says Nanak. 24.
There is no limit to what the Almighty can bestow and expects nothing in return. Those, to whom IT bestows the remembrance of Divine virtues, are the kings of kings; they have every thing. Pauri 25 says:
ਬਹੁਤਾ ਕਰਮੁ ਲਿਖਿਆ ਨਾ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਵਡਾ ਦਾਤਾ ਤਿਲੁ ਨ ਤਮਾਇ ॥ -----
ਜਿਸ ਨੋ ਬਖਸੇ ਸਿਫਤਿ ਸਾਲਾਹ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਪਾਤਿਸਾਹੀ ਪਾਤਿਸਾਹੁ ॥੨੫॥
Divine benedictions are beyond description;
The great benefactor keeps giving and expects nothing in return
One to whom the Master grants the understanding of Divine virtues,
is the king of kings (craves no more). 25
Divine grace is invaluable. Some people promise to make offerings if their wishes are fulfilled. No, we cannot make deals with the Creator because IT’s benedictions cannot be priced. Doing good deeds i.e. complying with Hukam is what pleases the Master. Pauri 26 says such deeds are invaluable:
ਅਮੁਲੁ ਬਖਸੀਸ ਅਮੁਲੁ ਨੀਸਾਣੁ ॥ ਅਮੁਲੁ ਕਰਮੁ ਅਮੁਲੁ ਫੁਰਮਾਣੁ ॥
Grace is priceless and so is being marked/chosen to deserve it,
Priceless are the deeds that lead to acceptability, as is God’s order of acceptance.
Pauri 32 says we need to remember Divine virtues continuously, and try to emulate them. This way one becomes like, and in fact one with, the Master. This is possible through grace:
ਇਕ ਦੂ ਜੀਭੌ ਲਖ ਹੋਹਿ ਲਖ ਹੋਵਹਿ ਲਖ ਵੀਸ ॥
ਲਖੁ ਲਖੁ ਗੇੜਾ ਆਖੀਅਹਿ ਏਕੁ ਨਾਮੁ ਜਗਦੀਸ ॥
ਏਤੁ ਰਾਹਿ ਪਤਿ ਪਵੜੀਆ ਚੜੀਐ ਹੋਇ ਇਕੀਸ ॥
ਸੁਣਿ ਗਲਾ ਆਕਾਸ ਕੀ ਕੀਟਾ ਆਈ ਰੀਸ ॥
ਨਾਨਕ ਨਦਰੀ ਪਾਈਐ ਕੂੜੀ ਕੂੜੈ ਠੀਸ ॥੩੨॥
I wish I have a million tongues and they become twenty million,
And I praise the One Master’s virtues a million times with each;
This is the way that leads to be one with the Master;
Hearing what happens up there i.e. hearing of this experience, even those who never cared are motivated.
But this is achieved through grace, otherwise it is idle talk. 32.
Pauri 34 says Grant of grace is not arbitrary but subject to evaluation of deeds.
ਕਰਮੀ ਕਰਮੀ ਹੋਇ ਵੀਚਾਰੁ ॥ ਸਚਾ ਆਪਿ ਸਚਾ ਦਰਬਾਰੁ ॥
ਤਿਥੈ ਸੋਹਨਿ ਪੰਚ ਪਰਵਾਣੁ ॥ ਨਦਰੀ ਕਰਮਿ ਪਵੈ ਨੀਸਾਣੁ ॥
ਕਚ ਪਕਾਈ ਓਥੈ ਪਾਇ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਗਇਆ ਜਾਪੈ ਜਾਇ ॥੩੪॥
Deeds, past and present are considered;
This is done fairly because the Creator is fair and delivers fair justice.
The selected ones are glorified and marked to receive grace.
Whether one has come up to the desired standard or not is known on getting there. 34.
Good deeds as used in Gurbani in any context refer to living by Laws of nature or Hukam. Japji describes five stages called Khands or realms that one goes through to obtain grace. The first is living by the laws of nature, Dharam or dutifulness and one who thus lives is in Dharam Khand the Realm of Dutifulness (Pauri 34). This leads to a higher state of knowing what these duties are. We learn this by looking at how everything like the air, water and fire - that we take for granted - carries out its task. Trying to know all this is Giaan Khand, the Realm of Knowledge (Pauri 35). Next, with the understanding so obtained, the mind and consciousness are molded. This is Saram Khand or the Realm of Effort (Pauri 36). Those who so live, are entitled to grace and enter the Realm of Grace, or Karam Khand (Pauri 37). One who enters Karam Khand overcomes distractions and directs all energy towards achieving the goal of reaching the Creator:
ਕਰਮ ਖੰਡ ਕੀ ਬਾਣੀ ਜੋਰੁ ॥ ਤਿਥੈ ਹੋਰੁ ਨ ਕੋਈ ਹੋਰੁ ॥ ------
ਨਾ ਓਹਿ ਮਰਹਿ ਨ ਠਾਗੇ ਜਾਹਿ ॥ ਜਿਨ ਕੈ ਰਾਮੁ ਵਸੈ ਮਨ ਮਾਹਿ ॥
Spiritual power or strength comes in Karam Khand.
One overcomes all distractions and recognizes none else than the Almighty.
Those who recognize the Creator’s abode in their minds do not fail or stray off track.
Those thus being entitled to grace enter Sach Khand, the Realm of Truth or the eternal abode (Pauri 37 continues). This is not a physical location but an accomplished spiritual state. In this state, one is able to have vision of the Creator within the mind in life, and accepted for union on death:
ਸਚ ਖੰਡਿ ਵਸੈ ਨਿਰੰਕਾਰੁ ॥ ਕਰਿ ਕਰਿ ਵੇਖੈ ਨਦਰਿ ਨਿਹਾਲ ॥
ਤਿਥੈ ਖੰਡ ਮੰਡਲ ਵਰਭੰਡ ॥ ਜੇ ਕੋ ਕਥੈ ਤ ਅੰਤ ਨ ਅੰਤ ॥
ਤਿਥੈ ਲੋਅ ਲੋਅ ਆਕਾਰ ॥ ਜਿਵ ਜਿਵ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਤਿਵੈ ਤਿਵ ਕਾਰ ॥
Sach Khand is the abode of the formless Creator;
IT bestows grace on all – who enter Sach Khand;
The Divine domain covers all planets, galaxies and universes;
No one can know its limits, because there is none;
This encompasses all creatures wherever they are;
They act as per Hukam, the laws of nature;
Being able to carry out Hukam is a blessing in itself and brings happiness:
ਹੁਕਮੁ ਭੀ ਤਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਾ ਮਨਾਇਸੀ ਜਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹ ਕਉ ਨਦਰਿ ਕਰੇਇ ॥ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਮੰਨਿ ਸੁਖੁ ਪਾਇਆ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਸੁਹਾਗਣਿ ਹੋਇ ॥੧॥
Only those who receive Divine grace carry out Hukam;
Accepting Hukam they become the fortunate recipients of the Master’s love and comfort there from (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, p 510).
The 38th Pauri summarizes the five Khands using the metaphor of a goldsmith’s workshop (the human body) where he melts and casts the precious metal (the mind):
ਜਤੁ ਪਾਹਾਰਾ ਧੀਰਜੁ ਸੁਨਿਆਰੁ ॥ ਅਹਰਣਿ ਮਤਿ ਵੇਦੁ ਹਥੀਆਰੁ ॥ ਭਉ ਖਲਾ ਅਗਨਿ ਤਪ ਤਾਉ ॥
ਭਾਂਡਾ ਭਾਉ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਤਿਤੁ ਢਾਲਿ ॥ ਘੜੀਐ ਸਬਦੁ ਸਚੀ ਟਕਸਾਲ ॥ ਜਿਨ ਕਉ ਨਦਰਿ ਕਰਮੁ ਤਿਨ ਕਾਰ ॥Reference:: Sikh Philosophy Network http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/showthread.php?t=34949
ਨਾਨਕ ਨਦਰੀ ਨਦਰਿ ਨਿਹਾਲ ॥੩੮॥
Let self discipline be the shop in which the goldsmith works patiently – Realm of dutifulness, Dharam Khand.
Let the mind be the anvil which receives the hammer of scriptural teachings to mold - Realm of knowledge, Gian Khand.
Make carrying out commands (bhau) the bellows, and heat, the remembrance to live by the commands; make love the crucible –the mind - in which to (melt the gold) put the nectar of Naam and understand (mold) it with the Shabad – Realm of effort, Saram Khand.
Those who receive Divine grace do this – Grace, Karam Khand.
With this grace they have vision of the Master and are emancipated with eternal grace–Karam Khand and Sach Khand.
It is significant that whereas all other Khands or Realms are described in one Pauri each, Karam Khand and Sach Khand are given in the same Pauri 38. They go together.
Japji is a journey in spiritual development. It starts with Gurparsadi (knowing through Guru’s grace) in the Moolmantar. One continues to receive grace living by Hukam and finally receiving Divine grace to be one with the Creator. http://www.sadhsangat.com/2011/03/ja...ine-grace.html