I’ve often connected with shabads where Guru Sahib uses “pyaas” (thirst) as a metaphor to describe his longing for Waheguru, whether he is referring to the rainbird (Chatrik) who waits patiently and whose thirst is only quenched by the raindrop:

prabh sio man leenaa jio jal meenaa chaathrik jivai thisantheeaa
My mind is attached to the Lord, like the fish to the water, and the rainbird, thirsty for the raindrops

Or in more direct forms, where Guru Sahib expresses longing for His darshan

chir chir chir chir bhaeiaa man bahuth piaas laagee
har dharasano dhikhaavahu mohi thum bathaavahu
It has been so long, so long, so long, so very long, since my mind has felt such a great thirst.  Please, reveal to me the Blessed Vision of Your Darshan, and show Yourself to me.

I guess when it comes down to it, I don’t know how it feels to have an intense longing to be with the Guru…but I do know thirst.

If we look at it in the simplest form, we all know what it feels like to be thirsty, don’t we?

Now let me think about a time when I felt the deepest thirst ever. I think of high school and two-a-day football practices in the dead of August – running sprints back and forth to the point of exhaustion. I remember feeling a thirst so intense and so deep, that all I could think about was water. My mind was consumed by it. Instead of hours, what If I had to wait for days before that first sip of water? It would completely take over my mind and body. So if I multiply this hundreds of times over, perhaps this is a glimpse of what Guru Sahib phyiscally felt being separated from his Beloved.

The Rehat Maryada defines a Sikh, but above and beyond that, I believe each of us have a definition or image in our mind of who a Sikh is. When I hear friends and family refer to someone who is “in to Sikhi”, it’s often tied to the physical appearance. To others it might be someone who spends their time doing seva, some feel it is one who is well versed in Baani or a talented Kirtani.

All those things may be true…

But I feel something has been missing in my own personal definition…and perhaps within me.


I call myself a Sikh, but am I a really seeker? And am I seeking the truth only out of my interest and appreciation of the Guru’s way (and when it is convenient)? Or is it because of a genuine yearning to be with Him?

Do I feel that longing for his darshan? Darshan is often defined as His “presence” or “meeting”, but to me, receiving His darshan is not about “seeing him” physically – It’s about seeing like him. It’s about bridging the gap between his mind and mine…and seeing humanity through the Guru’s eyes.

Do I thirst for this? Do I feel this pyaas?
Not even close.

But I have caught glimpses.

And through His Grace, I hope those glimpses will become more frequent
That they appear in both moments of joy and sorrow
And they will become more powerful, more vivid, and string together in a way…that I don’t even know it

About RP Singh

Writer. Poet. Organizer. View all posts by RP Singh

One response to “Pyaas

  • Anonymous

    The saying goes "I can lead you to water but I cant make you drink it" ! That you have to do youself…Kam, krodh, lob, moh & hankar are the greatest thirsts of our lives, and we are driven by them. These we thirst and crave to provide the 3 basic elements of survival, food, place to sleep & sex.So, we try many different types of foods, drinks, buy many plots, kotis, houses, flats, palaces even mansions. And finally our desire & need for sex to procreate and pleasure keeps us hooked to everything we do, its a poisoned drug called Maya, that makes us do it.As long as we thirst for Maya, till then the 'pyaas burns' us inside and out.The Guru brings us Amrit to quench all the thirsts of this world and beyond, forever and ever, but hardly anyone gets that.That Amrit is Gurbani. Im repeating myself:SGGS, P982,Guru Ramdas" Bani Guru, Guru hai Bani, vich Bani Amrit sareh" !There's your Magical Water, the killer of all Thirsts… drink or not to drink, the choice is ever Yours !

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