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Amritvella

Discussion in 'Gurmat Vichaar' started by Sikh80, Dec 3, 2007.

  1. Sikh80

    Sikh80
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    Amritwehla - Guru's Time

    Early morning is called Amritwehla, which means that it is the time to worship God. Great importance has been put on this Godly hour. Amritwehla starts after midnight and ends around six in the morning, although during the summer months it is accepted that it ends at sunrise which can be as early as 3.00am.

    The Gurus, starting with Guru Nanak Dev Ji and culminating in Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s rehat (code of conduct for a Sikh) stress the need to rise at Amritwehla and perform your nitname. A Sikh is instructed to rise early in the morning and bathe. During this time it is advisable to recite Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s Benti Chaupai continually and one can notch up at least three by the time one settles down cross legged on the floor ready for the daily panj baniies (five proscribed prayers) followed by recitation of various other baniies as one feels.

    In the Japji Sahib, the first prayer of the morning Guru Nanak Dev Ji expressly tells us to rise at amritwehla.


    True is the Master, True is His Name-speak it with infinite love.
    People beg and pray, ""Give to us, give to us"", and the Great Giver gives His Gifts.
    So what offering can we place before Him, by which we might see the Darbar of His Court?
    What words can we speak to evoke His Love?
    In the Amrit Vaylaa, the ambrosial hours before dawn, chant the True Name, and contemplate His Glorious Greatness.
    By the karma of past actions, the robe of this physical body is obtained. By His Grace, the Gate of Liberation is found.
    O Nanak, know this well: the True One Himself is All. ||4|| Japji Sahib


    It is the fourth in the series of hukams – express orders – of Guru Gobind Singh Ji that we awake at amritwehla.

    1) Dharam di Kirat karni - Earn by honest means.
    2) Daswand dena - Give one tenth of your salary.
    3) Gurbani kantth karni - Memorize Gurbani.
    4) Amrit Vaelae utthna - Wake up Amrit Vela (before dawn).
    5) Sikh sewak di sewa ruchi naal karni - Serve a Sikh Servant with devotion. . . .
    (Reference: Sikh Virsa, December 2000, Vol. 6, No. 61, Pg. 29).

    One falls asleep after a long day and it is a blessed person who through some inner strength can arise at such an hour out of ones cosy bed for the sake of remembrance of the Almighty, for which he or she is duly rewarded. At this time most people are in deep sleep and disturbances are at a minimum. The atmosphere is sacred because the vibrations of the mind involved in world matters are not emitted from the masses since they are in deep sleep. At this hour worldly thoughts, worries, anxieties, although not completely eliminated, are at a minimum.

    The mind is also a form of energy, the mind disappears in deep sleep. The atmosphere is not polluted by the radiations of worldly feelings and desires. At this time the disciple of the one true Lord will make an effort and arise. Their pure mental rays pervade all over the world and make this time sacred. Thus it becomes a congenial and encouraging atmosphere for the remembrance of God.

    Guru Ram Das Ji the fourth Guru tells us :

    Suhi, Fourth Mehl:
    Wherever the Lord is worshipped in adoration, there the Lord becomes one's friend and helper.
    By Guru's Grace, the Lord comes to dwell in the mind; He cannot be obtained in any other way. ||1||
    So gather in the wealth of the Lord, O Siblings of Destiny,
    so that in this world and the next, the Lord shall be your friend and companion. ||1||Pause||
    In the company of the Sat Sangat, the True Congregation, you shall earn the wealth of the Lord; this wealth of the Lord is not obtained anywhere else, by any other means, at all.
    The dealer in the Lord's Jewels purchases the wealth of the Lord's jewels; the dealer in cheap glass jewels cannot acquire the Lord's wealth by empty words. ||2||
    The Lord's wealth is like jewels, gems and rubies. At the appointed time in the Amrit Vaylaa, the ambrosial hours of the morning, the Lord's devotees lovingly center their attention on the Lord, and the wealth of the Lord.
    The devotees of the Lord plant the seed of the Lord's wealth in the ambrosial hours of the Amrit Vaylaa; they eat it, and spend it, but it is never exhausted.
    In this world and the next, the devotees are blessed with glorious greatness, the wealth of the Lord. ||3||

    After sunrise the masses awake and the materialistic mental radiations are emitted through their physical senses. The atmosphere once again becomes polluted. People will disturb you dragging you to materialistic discussions. Even by seeing faces you will be affected. The mind and body are inter-related. Since mind is energy and energy is matter, even if you see the body, the mind in that body emits thoughts and feelings that will affect you. Therefore, in this most sacred hours of Amritwehla avoid even the vision of materialistic people, not to say about their touch and conversation as all this will have an effect on your connection with AkalPurkh. It is however true that one must remain as a lotus flowers in the sea of maya or illusion. That is, to remain pure within impurity for God pervades in all. As the journey goes on, it is important to remain pure in any company, good or bad, but to begin with the control of the mind is difficult and the five thieves are at their most strongest. They will use any means necessary to distract the mind. Hence, one must be aware of this and one must avoid all things that will cause a distraction of the mind, one must not give it any excuse to wonder off.

    The Vaars of Bhai Gurdas Ji repeatedly tell us the importance of awaking at Amritwehla.

    Even if Shastras, Smritis, Lakhs of Vedas, Mahabharat, Ramayan etc. are joined together;
    Thousands of gist’s of the Gita, Bhagvats, books of astronomy and acrobats of physicians are joined;
    Fourteen branches of education, musicology and Brahma, Visnu, Mahesa are put together;
    if Lakhs of ses, serpent, Sukr, Vyas, Narad, Sanal et al. are all collected there;
    Myriad's of knowledge's, meditations, recitations, philosophies, varnas and guru-disciples are there; they all are nothing.
    The perfect Guru (Lord) is the Guru of the gurus and the holy discourse of the Guru is the basis of all the mantras.
    The tale of the Word of the Guru is ineffable; it is neti neti (not this not this). One should always bow before him.
    This pleasure fruit of the gurmukhs is attained in the early ambrosial hours.

    And again:

    Getting up at the ambrosial hour of morning the Sikhs bathe in the river.
    By putting their mind in the unfathomable God through deep concentration, they remember Guru, the God by reciting Japu (Ji).
    Getting fully activated then they go to join the holy congregation of the saints.
    Becoming absorbed in remembering and loving the sabad they sing and hear the Guru's hymns.
    They love to spend their time in meditation, service and fear of God and they serve the Gum by observing his anniversaries.
    They sing the Sodar in the evening and heartily associate with one another.
    Having recited the Sohila and made supplication at night they distribute sacred food (prasad).
    Thus gurmukhs gladly taste the fruit of happiness.

    If in your laziness you wake after sunrise and wish to worship God, you will close your eyes to avoid such people. But, their mental radiations spread all around you and are inevitable. You wish to shut out the noises and the general humdrum of life but they will invade your sacred space and distract you. So, it is better to wake in the early morning and sing devotional kirtan as part of your Naam Simran routine.
    In addition, there is importance placed on repeating Naam at all times, throughout the day, with every breath

    I am sacrifice unto those Gursikhs who get up in the last quarter of night.
    I am sacrifice unto those Gursikhs who getting up in the ambrosial hours, and bathe in the holy tank.
    I am sacrifice unto those Gursikhs who remember the Lord with single devotion.
    I am sacrifice unto those Gursikhs also who go to the holy congregation and sit there.
    I am sacrifice unto those Gursikhs who sing and listen to Gurbani daily.
    I am sacrifice unto those Gursikhs who meet others whole-heartedly.
    I am sacrifice unto those Gursikhs who celebrate Guru’s anniversaries with full devotion.
    Such Sikhs become blest by the service of the Guru and progress further successfully.



    Source
    http://www.info-sikh.com/PageAmrit1.html
     
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  3. Sherab

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    great post, thank you so much!
     
  4. drkhalsa

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    I will try to wake up early in the morning !

    Thanks for the post but I dont think that Amritwela can be directly translated into early morning it just does not make sense in any language I know
     
  5. Sikh80

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    It is always good to get up in the morning.It helps even otherwise. However, I have tried but have failed miserably. I cannot make it before 6 a.m.
    Best of luck in your endeavors.
     
  6. Sherab

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    I am very pleased today to have gotten up around 3:40 am (going to bed at 9 pm) and waking for ishnaan and my bani...

    i will try to do so again tomorrow
     
  7. clarkejoey

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    Some advice pleez: i often have to work late... sometimes i'm not done till after 1:30am. Is it okay if i pray before retiring? And should i pray Sohela or japji?
     
  8. Archived_Member1

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    if i'm going to bed after midnight, i try to do sohila AND my morning banis. :) i know a lot of sikhs (especially in india) who work late and do their nitnem before sleep. especially in today's era of high tech, 24 hour jobs, i think we have to try to make it work by reciting our nitnem when we can. i feel that it's more important not to miss it than to do it at a specific hour.

    i think the point of reciting prayers BEFORE dawn is that we don't get confused with sun worshipers who pray TO the dawn. :) (or at least that's my understanding)

    but the original post is right, there is something magical about amrit vela. :)
     
  9. clarkejoey

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    no argument there... whether you come to meet it, or wake up in it.
     
  10. Archived_Member1

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    i agree completely with this. a few months back i attended my first rensabai (all night kirtan darbar, non-stop kirtan from 6pm to 6am.) and it was INCREDIBLE. something happens around midnight-1am, i just woke right up, stopped being tired at all, my mind cleared completely. the rest of the morning was simply magical.

    then, as if on cue, at 6 am, the kirtan came to a close and i realized i was completely exhausted and no longer able to think. made for an interesting 3 hour drive home! :)
     
  11. spnadmin

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    The quality of nitnem and meditation is always better in amritvela. I do not know why. It seems to be on a clear channel, and satisfying.

    But because I also work later into the evening most days, I too have to make adjustments during the week. I will do Rehras at the dinner hour, earlier than normal, at work. And then Ardaas and sohila in the wee hours of the morning like kelly_kaur, before going to sleep. Then morning banis mid-morning. But even in mid-morning the benefit is there.

    Cannot wait for Jan 1 when my schedule changes to a 9-6 schedule! Then I can for the first time ever get Nitnem organized properly.
     
  12. Tejwant Singh

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    Amritvela is anytime we can breed goodness within and link it to our everyday life. Amrit is Guru Shabad put into practice after having reflected upon.

    Does a flower have a particular hour to emit its scent? Just a thought!

    Tejwant
     
  13. drkhalsa

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    Quite right as far as my understanding goes .


    Anyways Cheers and thanks to Seeker as I woke up Early today at 4.45 am
    it was all due to this post

    Jatinder Singh
     
  14. Sikh80

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    Dr. Sahib,SSA

    Its good to know that you got up at 4.45 a.m. .But I could make it at 5.50a.m. Pl. make an ardas that I may also get up at 5 a.m. and do my Nitnem .

    Thanks in anticipation.
     
  15. Sikh80

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    "quote"
    These passages are some of the most difficult to translate. Since no one else has volunteered, I will try to present what I understand from these words. Of course, our understanding of Gurbani keeps changing as we grow spiritually.

    The First Master has a habit of saying several things with same set of words. It seems that in the first passage, Guru Nanak Dev Ji mentions the importance of meditation and bath during the early hours of the morning, while also indicating futility of an empty ritual of just taking a bath without prayer, at that hour. He has done this at the same time as he emphasizes how a man spends his day in futile activity, not realizing how close death is lurking. He has divided the daily activity into four major portions.

    Because of the way Guru Nanak worded this salok, it was not clear what he meant by the word "Sabah". Apparently, this question was raised in his time also. Therefore, in the Salok after the next Pauri, Guru Angad Dev Ji explains what Guru Nanak meant by this word, meaning, "early hours." However, it is also interesting that Guru Angad does not discuss all the eight watches of the day either. Rather, he emphasizes the real purpose of the observation of Amrit Vela.

    *****
    Salok Mehla 1:

    "Wise ones praise the Lord in the early hours and meditate on Him single-mindedly, only they are the real kings who would rather die, fighting to use this precious time properly.

    In the second watch, the mind is scattered in different ways. Those (who missed the early hours), now face an endless sinking in and out of the deep waters of thoughts, and they cannot escape that.

    In the third watch, both hunger and thirst bark for their attention, and people are busy nurturing the body. Everything eaten keeps turning into ashes, nevertheless, people stay attached to the material food!

    In the fourth watch, people are tired and sleepy. So many times, in their sleep, they are accidentally taken by the death and secretly returned. Unaware of this, rising up, they engage in strife and fight with others again, as if they will live for 100 years!

    All times, each and every moment, is acceptable if they would live in the fear of God - O Nanak, real bath is only when the Lord dwells within their minds. (SGGS p.145-6)

    *****
    Salok Mehla 2:

    If we equate eight watches of the day with eight continents of the earth, the human body represents the ninth section (the ocean). Deep within the body is the Name of the Lord, precious as the nine treasures - the virtuous search the depths to find it. Those who are blessed with His Mercy, praise the Lord. O Nanak, they affirm the Guru their spiritual teacher.

    Starting the day from the fourth watch of the night as the "early morning" hour, a spiritual yearning arises within their higher consciousness. They have a friendship with rivers (observe Ishnan). True Name is in their heart and on their lips.

    At that hour The Ambrosial Nectar is distributed, and Lord's Mercy is being spread. The Seekers progress and their body purified like the beautiful gold. If the Jeweler casts His Glance of Grace, they are not placed in the fire again.

    During the other seven watches of the day, it is virtuous to live the Truth, and keep company of the truly learned (Saints). In that place (In the company of such Saints), vice and virtue are distinguished, and the falsehood is made weak. There, the fakes are cast aside, and the genuine are given honor.

    Talking about it is vain and useless. O Nanak, look at the Lord Master, in pleasure as well as in pain. (SGGS p.146)

    *****
    Here are a couple other Shabads, to further show that Amrit Vela is a special time of the day (night), and that, it is the last part of the night:

    Raga Suhi, Mehla 4:

    (The time of the Amrit Vela is regarded as the time when the spiritual land has proper humidity for sowing the seed of God's Naam.)

    The Lord's wealth is like jewels gems and rubies. In the ambrosial hours of the morning, the Lord's devotees lovingly center their attention on the Lord, and the wealth of the Lord, for it is the proper time for sowing.

    The seed of the Lord's wealth that was planted in the proper time of ambrosial hours of the Amrit Vela is consumed and spent by the devotees through the day. Its harvest is never exhausted.

    In this world and the next, the devotees are blessed with glorious greatness, the wealth of the Lord's Name. || 3 || (SGGS p.734)

    *****
    Fareed, if you do not awaken in the last portion of the night, you are dead while yet alive. Although you have forgotten God, God has not forgotten you. || 107 || (SGGS p.1383)

    *****
    Lastly, I submit that the most popular Shabad, "Gur Satgur Ka Jo Sikh Akhaay" (AK p.626) says the same thing. Most people translate it as singing Gurbani "at sunrise" however the words are "Charrhe Divuss" (not "Chare Sooraj"). So the correct meaning is "upon daybreak" or "at dawn". This means that the prior lines refer to time before dawn:

    "Whoever calls himself a Sikh of the True Guru, will wake up in the ambrosial hours and meditate on God's Name. He gets rid of sloth and practices Ishnan, to immerse himself in the Waters of Immortality. By obeying the Guru's teaching he learns how to meditate on God's Name. This results in cleansing of poison from iniquity, sins, and faults. Upon daybreak, he sings Gurbani, and holds God's Name in heart during all activity. A Gursikh, who worships my God with each breath and bite, is really liked by the Guru. Whenever my Master has mercy, the Guru conveys His spiritual teaching to that Gursikh. Nanak begs for the enlightening dust, from that Gursikh' feet, who practices Nam and helps others do the same."(SGGS, p.305-16)"
    unquote"
     
  16. Sikh80

    Sikh80
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    Source:Sikhnet..discussion extracts: My contribution: NIl
    These passages are some of the most difficult to translate. Since no one else has volunteered, I will try to present what I understand from these words. Of course, our understanding of Gurbani keeps changing as we grow spiritually.

    The First Master has a habit of saying several things with same set of words. It seems that in the first passage, Guru Nanak Dev Ji mentions the importance of meditation and bath during the early hours of the morning, while also indicating futility of an empty ritual of just taking a bath without prayer, at that hour. He has done this at the same time as he emphasizes how a man spends his day in futile activity, not realizing how close death is lurking. He has divided the daily activity into four major portions.

    Because of the way Guru Nanak worded this salok, it was not clear what he meant by the word "Sabah". Apparently, this question was raised in his time also. Therefore, in the Salok after the next Pauri, Guru Angad Dev Ji explains what Guru Nanak meant by this word, meaning, "early hours." However, it is also interesting that Guru Angad does not discuss all the eight watches of the day either. Rather, he emphasizes the real purpose of the observation of Amrit Vela.

    *****
    Salok Mehla 1:

    "Wise ones praise the Lord in the early hours and meditate on Him single-mindedly, only they are the real kings who would rather die, fighting to use this precious time properly.

    In the second watch, the mind is scattered in different ways. Those (who missed the early hours), now face an endless sinking in and out of the deep waters of thoughts, and they cannot escape that.

    In the third watch, both hunger and thirst bark for their attention, and people are busy nurturing the body. Everything eaten keeps turning into ashes, nevertheless, people stay attached to the material food!

    In the fourth watch, people are tired and sleepy. So many times, in their sleep, they are accidentally taken by the death and secretly returned. Unaware of this, rising up, they engage in strife and fight with others again, as if they will live for 100 years!

    All times, each and every moment, is acceptable if they would live in the fear of God - O Nanak, real bath is only when the Lord dwells within their minds. (SGGS p.145-6)

    *****
    Salok Mehla 2:

    If we equate eight watches of the day with eight continents of the earth, the human body represents the ninth section (the ocean). Deep within the body is the Name of the Lord, precious as the nine treasures - the virtuous search the depths to find it. Those who are blessed with His Mercy, praise the Lord. O Nanak, they affirm the Guru their spiritual teacher.

    Starting the day from the fourth watch of the night as the "early morning" hour, a spiritual yearning arises within their higher consciousness. They have a friendship with rivers (observe Ishnan). True Name is in their heart and on their lips.

    At that hour The Ambrosial Nectar is distributed, and Lord's Mercy is being spread. The Seekers progress and their body purified like the beautiful gold. If the Jeweler casts His Glance of Grace, they are not placed in the fire again.

    During the other seven watches of the day, it is virtuous to live the Truth, and keep company of the truly learned (Saints). In that place (In the company of such Saints), vice and virtue are distinguished, and the falsehood is made weak. There, the fakes are cast aside, and the genuine are given honor.

    Talking about it is vain and useless. O Nanak, look at the Lord Master, in pleasure as well as in pain. (SGGS p.146)

    *****
    Here are a couple other Shabads, to further show that Amrit Vela is a special time of the day (night), and that, it is the last part of the night:

    Raga Suhi, Mehla 4:

    (The time of the Amrit Vela is regarded as the time when the spiritual land has proper humidity for sowing the seed of God's Naam.)

    The Lord's wealth is like jewels gems and rubies. In the ambrosial hours of the morning, the Lord's devotees lovingly center their attention on the Lord, and the wealth of the Lord, for it is the proper time for sowing.

    The seed of the Lord's wealth that was planted in the proper time of ambrosial hours of the Amrit Vela is consumed and spent by the devotees through the day. Its harvest is never exhausted.

    In this world and the next, the devotees are blessed with glorious greatness, the wealth of the Lord's Name. || 3 || (SGGS p.734)

    *****
    Fareed, if you do not awaken in the last portion of the night, you are dead while yet alive. Although you have forgotten God, God has not forgotten you. || 107 || (SGGS p.1383)

    *****
    Lastly, I submit that the most popular Shabad, "Gur Satgur Ka Jo Sikh Akhaay" (AK p.626) says the same thing. Most people translate it as singing Gurbani "at sunrise" however the words are "Charrhe Divuss" (not "Chare Sooraj"). So the correct meaning is "upon daybreak" or "at dawn". This means that the prior lines refer to time before dawn:

    "Whoever calls himself a Sikh of the True Guru, will wake up in the ambrosial hours and meditate on God's Name. He gets rid of sloth and practices Ishnan, to immerse himself in the Waters of Immortality. By obeying the Guru's teaching he learns how to meditate on God's Name. This results in cleansing of poison from iniquity, sins, and faults. Upon daybreak, he sings Gurbani, and holds God's Name in heart during all activity. A Gursikh, who worships my God with each breath and bite, is really liked by the Guru. Whenever my Master has mercy, the Guru conveys His spiritual teaching to that Gursikh. Nanak begs for the enlightening dust, from that Gursikh' feet, who practices Nam and helps others do the same."(SGGS, p.305-16)

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