Book Review: Soul Search By Swarn Singh Bains

Dalvinder Singh Grewal

Book Review

Soul Search, By Swarn Singh Bains
Self-published, Pages 369

A Review by Dr Dalvinder Singh Grewal

Before me, is the recently published book ‘Soul Search’ of Sardar Swaran Singh Bains who sent me a set of e-books a fortnight back. A deeply devoted Gursikh, Sardar Swaran Singh Bains is an active participant in discussions on ‘Sikh philosophy.Net’ where we got acquainted with each other during discussions. Later, he sent me his books ‘Soul Search’ (English Poems), ‘Prem Piasi’ and Chinag (Punjabi Poems) and English Translation of ‘Sri Gur Granth Sahib’ through email requesting for the review of the books. It is a massive work on Sikhism by this dedicated and committed person whose soul appears totally tuned to Him as is apparent from his renderings. Here the review of the English book ‘Soul Search’ is presented for the benefit of the readers.

Most of the poems of ‘Soul Search’ are the translated version of his originally written in Punjabi his mother tongue and contain his pure thought. None the less the poems written in English are the result of his later experiences gained in the western world where he perfected the language through a dialogue process with the original speakers of English. Almost all poems are expressions of his spiritual experiences. Spiritually tuned to Him, he puts his feelings from the innermost aesthetically. These spiritual experiences are a guide for a true seeker which will certainly help one understand the unknown world which raises the first question for everyone ‘Who Am I?’ ‘What is the purpose of my life?” “How do I find my Goal and attain it?” “How do I self- realize?’ “How do I realize God?” “Who is my real guide for realizing of self and God?” ‘What all impediments I have to cross through to reach my goal? “How do I cross these impediments?” etc.

From the preface and the list of contents listing 363 pages of poetry out of the 369 pages of the book, one has oversight into the topics covered which include ‘Self Realization’ ‘God-Realization with the guidance of the Guru’, ‘God and His Creation’; ‘his deep love and devotion towards God’ ‘Ways and Methods to meet Him’, ‘Obstacles in meeting Him and how to overcome these obstacles’ etc., for which he provides answers by searching answers from his soul.

His poetic journey starts with the bounden relationship of body and soul; body being protector of the soul has its importance:

Life is a journey, time plays a role,
The body is a train, carrying the soul.
The life is a journey, birth a station,
Healthy! You live, die, sick patient
This is indeed a brief but strange way of describing the journey of life as he explains it further:
‘There is no cure; you better endure.
You are born to die. Don’t you know why?”
He then asks us to self-realize this pointer to which is given in the preface itself from his experiences, “I learnt from my Guru and from Sri Guru Granth Sahib’ and “God is selfless love, humility and dedication mentioned in SGGS’ and warns against ‘duality and slander.’ He writes, “If one can maintain understand to control and guide his mind, Path to Divinity becomes easy. First, find a Guru and fall in love with Him and learn how to console with Him.” And “If you have longings for finding a Guru and God, you will find Him through a perfect Guru.” He finds Sri Guru Granth Sahib as the ultimate Guru to guide him to God.

For self-realisation, his poems “Realisation’, “Self-Realisation” and ‘Soul Search” are valuable guides.

Pray to almighty, through guru’s blessing
Enshrine guru in mind, recite his lesson
Recite with each breath, true meditation
See with the inner eye, and obtain realization
Deeds are examined, not your possession
Results pointed to you, after examination
You make your fate, next life expectation
Credits are written in fate, after explanation
O Bains meet the guru; learn the godly lesson

Search for the Guru is explained in the Poems” “Guru”, “Guru’s Image” and “Guru’s Blessings” ‘Spiritual Guru’ etc.

God’s worship straightens the mind;
True guru puts it in the mind
Guru’s blessing is the lesson for the mind,
One cannot reach destiny without a guru.
Reciting guru; guru; the devotee merges with the guru,
Guru is the treasure of God’s name
Have respect for the guru in your mind,
When you are in search of a guru
Do not turn back, keep moving forward
And follow the instinct
He who satisfies your mind by meeting
And talking to, call him the guru
He who longs to find a guru,
The guru comes and meets him.

Keep saying God: God all the time with guru’s blessing
God sends the guru to recite His Name
And guide others to do so
God came into existence reciting the inner guru
God made the guru a middle man
And sent him in the world to guide other beings

His poems on God started with explaining the “Guru the God”, ‘Origin’, “Creation’, Divided God’ etc from various aspects

Straighten your mind, eliminate the temptation
Worship Him humbly, with love and passion
Humility cleanses soul, loving and devotion
Recite God, with devotion and determination
O Bains, you realize God, eternal destination

Pray single-minded, God will listen to your call
It is God’s inherent quality to care for his devotees
And the guru unites with God
To recite God is to console with mind
But it is difficult to do.

When the mind has faith; God’s name enshrines in the mind
God’s devotees try many ways and means
to guide their mind on Godly path
Some worship in Mosque, others in the temple;
but the mind does not come under control
Doing good deeds and following a faith is a worldly affair
But the mind does not go towards God
What happens in God’s court, the same happens in the world
People start different faiths to copy
what happens in God’s court
Even saints do not know the process; they
get tangled in customs and rituals

The Guru and the God are the most important at tandem to self-realize and realize God. Recitation of the Name of God as per Guru’s teachings straightens and cleanses the mind

Recite God and straighten your mind, it cleanses the soul
Guru’s teaching cleanses the soul,
Following guru’s teaching straightens the mind
Contemplating in mind is worship by the mind
And the cleansed soul is accepted in God’s court
The mind cleanses by thinking right,
The filthy mind cannot go across the world ocean
Guru’s teaching is soap to cleanse mind and
to search guru’s teaching is the essence
Guru’s teaching is the guru’s blessing, guru’s
Teaching is divine wisdom
Work with hands and listen to God’s name
and tune your mind to God’s name
Recite God’s name following guru’s teaching
And sing God; God in the mind
It is like darkness disappears at sunrise;
Humbly put your mind to guru’s
As the moon disappears at dawn, the same way
The darkness of mind disappears obeying
And following guru’s teaching and reciting God
It is dark under the lamp, but second
Lamp eliminates the darkness
He explains this further: “God created the world in love. God blessed all with love at birth and he is realised in Love.” He shows his intensity of love for God in his poem in very simple words:
You are my love; You are my lover
You are my separation; You are my union
You are my pleasure; You are my pain
You are my contentment; You are my greed
You are my creator; You are my caretaker
You are my life; You make me survive
You are my promise and fulfiller of it
You are my lover; You are my love
You are my lover: You are my beloved
You are my heart: You are my soul
You are my principle and interest
You are my end: You are my origin

This love for God reverberates in his poems describing its various aspects: ‘Love’ “Beloved”, “Love of the Beloved” “Aura of Love” “ Design of Love”, Test of Love” “Come O Beloved” “Joy of Love” etc.

He also shows the importance of Sangat in removing duality:
Devotee’s congregation is the second lamp;
It cleanses the mirror of the mind
Duality gets eliminated and mind enlightens
Through divine knowledge
Clothes are washed with soap, clean clothes entice others.

There are so many other aspects like ‘separation’, ‘unification’, ‘Death’ ‘Salvation, etc., which the reader must enjoy by acquiring the compendium of Realisation of self and God were written by the author with extreme devotion, commitment and love since space restricts from further writing.

swarn bains

O my God! you are great my younger brother. I am not worth that much appreciation. but thank for your effort and understanding. I am honestly obliged and sacrifice to you sir.

Dalvinder Singh Grewal

Respected Bains Sahib,
I have written what I found. It was really appreciable work. Your work deserves more. I will find time for your two other works and do the needful.
With regards
Dr Dalvider Singh Grewal

swarn bains

i went through You appreciation of soul search thank u. i translated sggs years back but i cannot find a publisher. is it possible to get your help. It is my own interpretation not copying like most other scholars do. I am not highly educated like phds or iqds or any other designation. That is one reason the publishers want an acclaimed name , I do not have one and i left punjab about 60 years back. no one knows me. Is it possible to get it published. it is completely different than others. much obliged. for example rag mala. i will send it in the next message if required.