AT THE GURU'S DOOR An audience with Guru Granth Sahib by Rajinder Singh ‘Arshi’ There are times when I feel quite lonely. This feeling is evident even when I am surrounded by people. On such occasions I usually find myself driven towards the Gurdwara(1). Once inside the Gurdwara, this feeling begins to fade away as I proceed towards the ‘main hall’, where Guru Grant Sahib is holding Darbar(2). Each step I take towards my Guru I can feel him taking a thousand steps towards me. I am filled with a sense of security and a warm glow within assures me the Guru is pleased to see me. My journey is completed when I lay my forehead on the lotus feet of Guru Granth Sahib. Touching the lotus feet of the Guru is an experience which is hard to relate. Through the Grace of my Guru, I feel as if I am in communion with God, such is the degree of spiritual uplift experienced in body, mind and soul. Guru Nanak, in his Mool Mantra - japji (3), asserts that God can only be realised by the Guru’s Grace. On raising my forehead it seems as if I have unburdened all my problems at my Guru’s feet, it is now up to the Guru to give me strength and guidance. For this I take my place in the sangat (congregation) facing the Guru Granth Sahib. Sitting down cross-legged on the floor generates humility of both mind and soul. Worldly status means little in the Gurus Durbar (Court). This audience with my Guru goes a long way in eliminating ego which otherwise is so difficult to harness. As I close my eyes and attune myself to the recital of the Holy Guru Granth Sahib my soul begins to focus on the Name of the True Lord. Each word casts its soothing warmth upon my troubled soul and, within moments, I find myself on a different plain. I shut myself from the outside world; suddenly it holds little meaning for me, its image begins to fade away, until it completely disappears from my mind. Only the Lord’s Name rings in the heart. The grip of the five thieves: lust anger, greed, attachment and ego, begins to loosen and, as soon as I leave the egoistic plain, my soul begins to be attuned to the Will of the Lord, and He renders me assistance in defeating the five vices. I do not claim to be completely free from the grip of the five thieves, but the ease with which I am able to exalt myself to a higher level of existence, with the blessing of Guru Granth Sahib, convinces me to be a Sikh. Notes: (1) Gurdwara - derived from ‘Guru Dwara’, literally means ‘Guru’s Door’ or ‘Guru’s Abode’. The term ‘Sikh Temple’ must be avoided, as it does not reflect the true meaning of the term Gurdwara i.e. the place where the Guru resides. “Wherever my Guru goes and holds his Court, that place is beautifll (Holy)” (2) The Gurdwara is, therefore, the Holy place where Guru Granth Sahib holds court (Guru Darbar). It is a place where one meditates and worships the True Lord, a place from which one seeks divine knowledge, spiritual guidance, bliss and peace of mind. Whenever Guru Granth Sahib is to hold court, it is ‘escorted’ from the Sachkhand (the realm of Truth, - Guru’s resting place) by Sikh devotees with the same respect and reverence as previously accorded to the Sikh Gurus in human form. Guru Granth sahib then graces the takhat (spiritual throne, adorned with costly cloth, supported by cushions underneath a canopy which symbolizes (denotes) spiritual authority and reverence. The Granthi ji (Sikh priest) unwraps the Adi Granth with utmost care and respect, and when reciting from it he holds a clean cloth a few inches away from his mouth to ensure that impurities of moth and breath do not come into contact with the Holy Guru Granth Sahib. (3) The ‘Mool Mantra (the Main Theme, the Proem) is the prelude to the Japji which delineates the Eternal Truth (God) in just fourteen words. The Japji is a deeply reflective work of Guru Nanak, composed by him in his most mystic moments of communion with God.