A few days ago, I came across a shabad that gave me pause. Guru Arjan Patshah shares in his experience:
In the simplest of translations, Guru Sahib says, “Many will follow Him…but few will connect.”
I immediately had this image of the hundreds of thousands of Sikhs I’ve seen at nagar kirtans, the throngs of Sikhs elbowing their way in to the Harmandir Sahib, and all the Sikhs past and present who have bowed before the Guru, all displaying so many external forms of respect.
Amongst all of them…few will truly meet Him.
It is not because the Divine is elusive; it’s because of the wall we create that separates ourselves from Him. For me, it’s a wall constructed of kaam, krodh, lobh, moh, and ahankar. Despite my efforts to chip away at it, I sometimes wonder if I will ever be one of the lucky ones…or will I just be a follower?
But with every challenge Guru Sahib puts before us, he gives us the tools to overcome it, he says:
In discussing this shabad with the family, I very matter-of-factly explained to the kids that it is through naam simran and reflection that brings us closer to Waheguru. Our 7 year old was skeptical, she asked, how does reciting Waheguru’s name bring you closer to Him? It occurred to me that I sometimes give these knee-jerk responses without truly understanding what it means myself. Perhaps it’s been hard-wired in to my brain to a point where I regurgitate what I’ve been taught without even thinking about it anymore. Luckily, children see right through that So I needed to give a better explanation….and needed to reflect on it more.
Another image came to mind.
I thought about a time on vacation once when I plugged in my earphones, kicked-off my playlist and went for a run. It was new territory for me, so I tried not to stray too far, but at one point the path split and I had to make a decision which way to go.
I believe many of us hit that proverbial “fork in the road” in our lives too, where we have a choice to follow the guru’s path or our own. And although it may seem obvious, sometimes the guru’s path is uphill and the weather looks bleak. And our own path is a downhill coast and can appear much more scenic. Some of us reach this crossroads at a major turning point in our life, while others face it several times a day. But the question is, when you hit that fork in the road on your own personal run, what’s on your playlist?
What are you listening to?
What soundtrack is going on in your mind?
Is it filled with doubts, fears, worries, greed, and anger?
Are there tracks of jealousy, one-upmanship, revenge, or ego?
Or does it sound like this…Waheguru, Waheguru, Waheguru, Waheguru…
Does your playlist encapsulate virtues of the Divine?
Do your tracks inspire you to embrace qualities that are pleasing to Him:
Waheguru, Waheguru, Waheguru…
There are no guarantees that the soundtrack itself will ensure I take the right path, but it sure does increase my odds
So I’m putting my faith in simran
And my ardaas is that the simran becomes more than just tracks on a playlist and keeps playing in my head, long after I remove my earphones
I pray that it no longer becomes a recitation
But instead a state of mind
A state of being
Carrying me across
Leading me to Him