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Always Remember Death

Discussion in 'Sikh Sikhi Sikhism' started by Neutral Singh, Jul 3, 2004.

  1. Neutral Singh

    Neutral Singh
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    Always Remember Death

    Only a person, who always remembers death, knows how valuable and precious is the wealth of counted breaths, granted during a lifetime. It was once in the darbar of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Sahib that a Raja happened to visit and pay homage. The Raja, after some deep thoughts and musing put across a straight question to the extremely handsome warrior Guru regarding the presence of beautiful women in the congregation and their likely effect and impact on a man's lust. Guru Sahib patiently heard his query and then told the Raja that he had only seven days of life left and that he should better go and finish all his worldly tasks and enjoy whatever he wanted to, so that he could die peacefully. The Raja went away to his palace and it was on the seventh day that he started praying to the Great Guru for his darshans before his worldly departure. Guru Sahib appeared there and enquired whether the Raja had enjoyed to his heart's content all that he wished to. The Raja wept bitterly and replied that as fear of death was constantly hanging over his head, even an idea of Kaam, Krodh, Lobh, Moh, Ahankar dare not come near him. It was at that time that Sri Guru Gobind Singh Sahib told him that a true sikh never forgets death and in the congregations of the Guru, no such ideas dare enter the arena. The thought of death is the key to life eternal. It awakens in us the taste of life eternal and the bliss arising therefrom.

    This body is a mere reflection, a mere shadow of the Jot, the sustaining substance. A worldly person remains ignorant throughout and consequently ignores or neglects the sustaining power, and devotes all his energy and effort in satisfying the ego of this death-bound body, mind and name complex.

    Life is a dream, a delusion, whereas death is the Truth and naked Reality.

    Daat Piari Visriya Datara
    Janai Nahi Maran Vichara
    Sri Guru Granth Sahib (676)


    Man only loves charities and gifts and forgets the Divine Donor, the True Lord.

    Because he has conveniently forgotten the Reality of Death.

    Overtaken by spell of sensual attractions and pleasures, one seeks only material benefits and worldly luxuries. Thus, we remain deprived of the Bliss and Aura of the Divine. Remembrance of Death is the only safeguard.

    Bol Na Janay Maya Mad Mata
    Marna Cheet Na Aavay
    Sri Guru Granth Sahib (749)


    Totally intoxicated with the wine of Maya, a mortal completely forgets Death and does not know what he talks about.

    Kaal Na Awe Moodhey Cheet
    Sri Guru Granth Sahib (267)


    Only a fool does not remember Death.

    Breaths are counted and with every passing day, thousands of these valuable breaths are wasted in impermanent attachment to this body and life. Attachment to this perishable body composed of five elements is futile and in vain.

    Paanch Tat Ko Tan Rachio
    Jano Chatar Sujan
    Jeh Te Upjio Nanaka
    Leen Tahin Meh Maan
    Sri Guru Granth Sahib (1426)


    This perishable body is composed of five elements, ether, air, fire, water and earth. These five elements disintegrate and dissolve after death. Then why not remain anchored in the Immortal Jot, Atam, tuned with the Lord? A wise differentiation between matter and spirit is a must. Only then the link of the spirit/jot with the Param Jot is established and Bliss experienced.

    The blessed ones who always remember death do not crave for worldly attachments and worldly pleasures. The more one remembers death, the more detached he feels from this temporary world and more attached to the permanent Glory of the Guru and God. As the attachment and love of this death bound body, its relations and possessions decreases, attachment and love of God correspondingly increases.

    Jo Upjio So Bins Hai
    Paro Aaj Ke Kal
    Nanak Har Gun Gaaye Lai
    Chhaad Sagal Janjaal
    Sri Guru Granth Sahib (1428)

    Ram Nam Ur Mehn Gayio
    Jaan Ke Sam Nahi Koi
    Sri Guru Granth Sahib (1429)


    Every time we breathe, we should breathe Nam, which is our very support, our very goal and our real life. As we cannot live without Pranas, so we cannot also live without Nam.

    Ikas Har Ke Nam Bin Age Laiye Kho
    Sri Guru Granth Sahib (133)


    Nam is the 'Breath of Eternal Life'. Let the Immortal Nam of the Lord become an inseparable part of every breath of ours and let this most precious commodity of counted breaths be utilised in the most valuable and rewarding Remembrance of the Lord of Love.

    Every one who is born is destined to die. The only eternal companion here and hereafter is the Lord's Name. It is only through Nam that one can cross this terrible Ocean of Mortality and attain unity with the Lord.

    One comes alone in his world and departs single-handed without any company whatsoever. It is only the Immortal Name of the Lord, which comes to one's rescue and help.

    As a letter correctly addressed reaches its destination and a blank letter or an incorrectly addressed one gets lost, similarly breaths addressed and spent in the loving devotion, memory, love, worship of Sri Guru Nanak Sahib land at His Lotus Feet and those spent in the pursuit of perishable objects get perished.
    Baba Nand Singh Ji Maharaj

    Eh Anmol Swaas Lakhan Naal Vi Nahin Khareedey Ja Sakdey
    Eh Swaas Mul Nahin Bikdey
    Baba Nand Singh Ji Maharaj

    Only a person who always remembers death knows how valuable and precious is the wealth of these counted breaths granted during a lifetime. This is not a commodity which is on sale and which can be purchased with any amount of wealth.

    http://www.srigurugranthsahib.org/rosary/rememberdeath.htm
     
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  3. Amarpal

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    Dear Khalsa Jee (sikhphilosophy),

    Remembering Death has a deeper meaning for me. I think blessed are those who faced death and did not cross the thin line that exist between life and death.

    This experience, if one internalise ( keep in his or her permanent memory) and learn what it teaches, her/his way of thinking gets changed. When faced with death, one learns how insignificant one is in front of Kala (time). The ego which one had carried all the time before this exprience gets dissolved. One learn from this experience, which one cannot learn by reading or listening to lectures. It tells that in front of 'Karta Purakh' I am nothing, in front of absolute I am a perfect zero.

    It is this realisation which is reflected in my earlier postings on this forum, when I referred to God as 'The Amlighty'.

    Shedding ego, moves you closer to the natural innocence while the mental maturity keeps to in a state of 'Alert-Relaxation'.

    Gurbani, emphasises that one must shed her/his ego. Facing death and learning what it teaches, dissolves ego. One becomes a changes person.

    This is why, I remember Death, it is a great teacher and a purifier.

    With Love and Respect for all.

    Amarpal

    P.S. Following a posting by one of our member VaheguruSeekr, I have referred to God by one of the terms used in Gurbani. In this posting, I have referred to God as 'Karta Purakh'.
     
  4. Neutral Singh

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    Dear Amarpal Ji,

    Muslims convert people by enforcing by using the fear factor of death... What do you think about it ?
     
  5. Amarpal

    Amarpal
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    Dear Khalsa Jee (sikhphilosophy),

    I refrain from commenting on other religions, except where its ideology intrudes into Sikh way of life, that too to explain my understanding to my fellow Sikhs.

    With Love and Respect for all.

    Amarpal
     
  6. Admin Singh

    Admin Singh
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    Sat Sri Akal,

    Dear Amarpal Ji

    Don't you think that by refraining from commenting on other idealogies, you are denying answers to the queries by the youth of today. I think, by analysing other philosophies, rationally, a Sikh Youth would be better equipped to decide, what is right or wrong for him... I agree with you that its a personal choice but who would provide answers to the queries of Sikh Youth ?

    Practically, if we say or claim that Sikhi is the Truth or true religion to a Sikh youth, he will surely say why ? what is there in Sikhi which other paths do not have... ? Don't you think its better to discuss other philosophies as well... so that Sikh Youth can decide for themselves whether they are on right path or not ?

    A humble thought...
     
  7. Amarpal

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    Dear Khalsa Jee (Ideal Singh),



    When I study other great religions and progressively move towards their origin, I find all of them are true. They have to be true; they cannot be but true. All great religions had sprung from individuals who had evolved into divinities, they had realised the absolute; how can they be untrue. The inadequacies of ordinary individuals who followed these divinities resulted in mixing of untruth into them.



    In religions other than Sikhism, individuals who had not lived during the life span of these divinities and thus had no personal knowledge about them had recorded in the text form what these divinities stood for; this left lot of scope for distortion. In addition, in religions other than Sikhism, there is a priestly class, whose lively hood depends on the followers of the religion; this creates vested interest and adds to the possibility of distortion.



    Our Guru Sahibs have avoided both these pitfalls. (i) They themselves compiled ‘Siri Guru Granth Sahib’ which as a consequence stands fully authenticated. (2) Guru Sahibs abolished priest hood or any living Guru i.e. in blood and flesh to prevent any future distortion.



    What we notice, about other religions and seek clarifications on, may not be the real religion, but it is what our senses notice and the way our brain interprets the inputs. Biases and preconceived notions in our minds invariably create distortion in our understanding. Further, what we notice being done by followers of a religion may not really be the core aspect of it; it may be just a preparatory stage or even distortion. Should we spend time on it?



    We have to learn about our own Religion a lot – what and why of it. From the way we maintain ‘Siri Guru Granth Sahib’ in Gurdwaras and bow to it, the individuals from other religions take it as if it is another form of ‘Murti Puja’, which you know; I know is not true. We neither have any ‘Murti’ nor we do any ‘Puja’, but this is the impression the outsiders get. They do not get proper and convincing answers to suggest to the contrary from Sikhs in Gurdwaras whom they approach for clarifications to firm up their understanding. This results in a distorted impression about what Sikh Religion is. That is why I have said that we have to learn a lot about our own Religion– what and why of it -so that we can explain it to others. I feel only after that we can spend our resources in learning other religions.



    My understanding of why we maintain ‘Siri Guru Granth Sahib’ in Gurdwara the way we maintain it is given below.



    I Gurdwaras, we keep ‘Siri Guru Granth Sahib’ on a small cot like item. It is not a cot for any one to rest, but a practical way to physically elevate ‘Siri Guru Granth Sahib’ to a level, which allows one to read it conveniently sitting on the floor, with out the feet of the reader touching it. We keep small pillows under ‘Siri Guru Granth Sahib’ on either side when it is opened. This is the way I read all books because it reduces the loading on the binding of the book and helps me to prolong its life – the same applies to ‘Siri Guru Granth Sahib’. Next we cover ‘Siri Guru Granth Sahib’ with ‘Rumallas’ when it is not being read. Rumallas protect the pages of ‘Siri Guru Granth Sahib’ against damage that may result from their flying under the influence of heavy winds. Rumallas also protect ‘Siri Guru Granth Sahib’ form getting soiled by the dust that the wind brings along with it. In other words, Rumallas act as paperweights and as screen. I hold the opinion that all this is not for decoration or for clothing of ‘Siri Guru Granth Sahib’; to me all this is essential for the upkeep of ‘Siri Guru Granth Sahib’.



    Only with such explanations, we can convince the others, and ourselves that we worship the knowledge that is contained in ‘Siri Guru Granth Sahib’, which is ‘Nirakaar’, and not the book containing this knowledge, which has ‘Akaar’. Only this understanding can go well with the basic concept of Sikh Religion, which believes in ‘Formless Karta Purakh’. This explanation puts the things in proper and rational context and coveys clearly that we are not doing any idol worship.



    What is right or wrong has to come from within the religion; it cannot come from other religions; Sikh youth have to strive and learn. We have to go deep into what we are as a Sikh, and what our values and beliefs are. As Sikh we must strive to know what and why of all that Guru Sahib has included in ‘Siri Guru Granth Sahib’ and become a Gurmukh. Life is too short; incorporating ones own religion into ones live (thought, speech and action) is a task; it takes time. I think more time should be spent in going deep into our own religion than spreading oneself horizontally to cover many religion – there is no need for it; ultimately and in essence all divinities say the same thing, only when we come to details, the religions are different. Sikh religion is a very modern religion; it is self-sustaining and comprehensive. It is in tune with modern time. It has merged the spiritual and material life into one, which a common householder can follow. The religious dynamics of the Sikh Panth is imbued with synergy, which allows we Sikhs to evolve spiritually, grow intellectually and attain heights materially; this the meaning of ‘Chardi Kala’.



    Knowing about other religions gives lots of intellectual satisfaction, it boosts ones ego to be known as a learned person but it does not take the individual any further. By striving to become a ‘Gurmukh’ one will make progress on the path evolution, which leads to divinity, for which knowing about other religions is not necessary.



    It is for this reason and not to hurt the feeling of follower of other religions I refrain from commenting on other religion and wish to limit myself to my religion – Sikhism. That is the way I want to serve the Panth.



    With Love and Respect for all.



    Amarpal
     
  8. Neutral Singh

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    Fateh Amarpal Ji

    You are in a way absolutely right. But there is one more perspective of this issue. When a Sikh Youth is ready the take worldly affairs, he faced with certain questions about his own religion, Sikhism which sometimes he finds himself to be ill equipped to reply.

    These Question include such as.... Why Sikh keep Hair ? Practicability of keeping Bana i.e. 5Ks. Sikhism is just a sect of Hinduism... Sikhism is just warrior sect of Hinduism... Guru Nanak was a Muslim... He got baptised by Kabir Ji... Why are writing of Bhagat are incorporated in Gurbani ? why are you putting on Turban...

    You would realise after 9/11 attach on America, Sikhs had literally advertise in media that what are the attributes of Sikhs and How they are different from Muslims... Now these questions only reaise doubts in the minds of the Young Sikh Youth... Who is going to provide them with convincing answers ?

    Dear Amarpal Ji, In my apprehension, You have surely passed that stage of basic understanding of Sikhism... I mean you too would have been at stage where you would have posed questions on Sikh faith and but there are many people, who are always shrouded with these questions. Who will provide answers to them ?

    It is not necessary that they ask question just to satisfy there egos... but that also makes of a learning stage. Once they are passed that stage they will automatically stop askeing such questions. But if at the same time learned people like you abstain from answering such questions then non-asnwering in that would case would only raise there doubts about Sikhism. We surely need guidance.

    There are every kind of people around at differencet levels of understanding of their faiths and beliefs... some have just stepped into the realim of spiritualism and some are although into it but still not at a stage to gather what its all about... we need guidance to help/guide them out...

    Just think youself at their place and them reply.

    Best Regards
     
  9. Amarpal

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    Dear Khalsa Jee (sikhphilosophy),

    All what is asked about Sikh Religion, must be replied, that is what I am doing on this net. What I am refraining from is comparision with other religions and passing any comment on the values, beliefs and practices of those religion.

    One of our member, in a light way, has asked my views on smoking, next I am going to reply to him in the context of Sikh Religion.

    With Love and Respect for all

    Amarpal
     
  10. chazSingh

    chazSingh United Kingdom
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    i feel you are right ji,

    to give any comparison you need to be sure that what you are comparing to is the absolute truth of the other religion and not just a mere distortion of the truth created by the followers

    "Muslims convert people by enforcing by using the fear factor of death"

    is the above observation based on what the original islamic wisdom ordains or on the actions of egotistical humans that have lost touch of the underlying truth? and only care for increasing the numbers assigned to their religion.

    so you really have to be careful on how we compare.

    i read an article recently about how sikhism has evolved into a hypocritical religion...and the author based this on the actions of supposed 'sikhs' in his day to day life...

    but is it the religion that is hypocritical or the followers? you cannot make comment on a religion based on the actions of some of the fools that claim to follow it..

    the fear or onset of death is a sure catalyst to contemplation of life...what is life..why are we here...what are we to do whilst we are here....who am i...

    once the contemplation begins...once the sikh follows Guru ji's instruction of doing regular amrit vela and seva...the fear of death eventually dissolves as the realization of our true eternal divinity unfolds.

    God Bless Ji
     
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