There are infinite paths open to the seeker. Which one should he choose? And on what basis?
Is there some criterion because choice? Not only are there infinite paths to truth, but there are equally infinite paths to non-truth. What protection is there from taking wrong paths, to escape futile wanderings? The greatest problem because a seeker is how to choose the right path and distinguish the wrong ones. Once we recognize that a path is wrong, we begin to steer away from it, because how can one continue along a road which is known to go in the wrong direction? You are bound to shun it. The knowledge of non-truth is in itself freedom from it. But how is one to decide among such infinite choices?
The moment of recognition of truth is also the first leap into experiencing it. No sooner is it recognized than it imparts its color to you and you develop wings and the flight begins. But again - there are innumerable truths. Infinite paths have been discovered in the course of centuries - so numerous, so very complex and involved as to defy any solution. So Nanak asks what is the seeker to do? These verses deal with this problem.
What is the seeker to do? How is he to choose his path? "Which path is right because me? Since I am truly ignorant, therefore I seek; and in my ignorance I have no way to test what is gold, what is dust. What can my best be worth when I am so ignorant and uninformed?" A person who has never seen gold, though he possess a touchstone will never know the value of gold. He who has known only mind all his life, will also take gold to be an aspect of mind. We can only recognize what is within our field of experience. We have not known God; we have not reached that far. Which way will lead up to Him?
There seems to be only one way, what scientists call trial and error. Seek, experience, wander again and again, and with constant trial and error you will find the right path.
But if we follow this trial and error method we may never arrive, because life is so short and the paths so numerous; we can barely complete a simple path in the course of one lifetime. How is one to gather experience? Who is the guru? How is one to know and recognize him so that we may follow him?
The problem gets more and more intricate. Were it only a question of choosing one among many right paths, it would not be so hazardous, because whichever one we chose would ultimately lead to reality. But there are so many false paths for every right path, that only one in a million attains truth.
The rest wander about blindly creating their own paths, writing their own scriptures.
Things were easier in ancient times when the Vedas were the only texts on spiritual science; then there were no Mohammedans or Christians or Buddhists. Whenever there was a question the Vedas provided the answer. It was so convenient to have only one single book of scripture offering the gospel truth. Now there are infinite Vedas, infinite scriptures. It is impossible to thread your way through them. Which scripture will you consult? The Jains have their own scripture, so also the Mohammedans and the Hindus, the Catholics, the Jews. And they do not have one but many. The Gurugranth Sahib is a scripture that has been added to many times. As the number increased, so also our problem of deciding on a path.
Perhaps this is why mankind has turned atheist. It is well nigh impossible to choose a path, or even to believe in God, under the influence of so many philosophies running at cross purposes, each trying to disprove the others.
Ask the Jains, they say Vedas have nothing in them. Ask a Buddhist, he will say Vedas are meaningless. Ask the Vedantist and he proclaims that everything besides the Vedas is useless and trivial and leads a person astray. Ask the Hindu and he says: Buddhists and Jains are atheists.
If a single word from them enters your ears, you are lost. The Hindu says the Vedas are the oldest scriptures and hence worthy of our trust. Ask a Mohammedan and he says: the Koran is the latest scripture and therefore the most authentic, because when a new order comes from above, all old orders are automatically superseded.
The Hindu says that once only did God send down the Vedas. There is no need for any new scripture since God is not a human being who errs or needs to improve upon His work. He is the ultimate knowledge, the Vedas are His only true words, and therefore all else is false. God, having once made His order known, all else that follows is merely a device of man. The Christians and the Mohammedans however say that the universe undergoes perpetual change; since man changes, God must change too. Orders change because situations change. Therefore believe in what is new, not in what is old and outdated.
Whom will you heed? Whom will you believe? You are ultimately left with your own understanding.
You stand with legs trembling in the midst of this vast entanglement.
Man has turned to atheism because it is becoming infinitely harder to have faith in something. Some way has to be found by which a simple, innocent human being can believe, can again become a theist. While the greatest of philosophers have failed to decide on the choices, what is a simple human being to do? He has neither the means nor the time nor the armour of reasoning and logic.
Which path is he to choose and how?
Nanak's suggestion is priceless: It is futile to wander in these infinite paths. I know of only one solution and that is:
Therefore I leave myself entirely to your pleasure. I cannot choose for myself for I am ignorant and stand in darkness; I am blind. I have nothing on the strength of which I can set out to seek. I have no means to test the authenticity of my path. What shall I do? I surrender myself at thy feet - thy will be done.
Thy will be done: I sit at Your command, I stand at Your command; whatever I do is Your command.
I do not bring myself into it at all. If You make me wander I shall wander; if You make me reach the destination, it is Your will. I shall not complain if I wander, nor shall I pride myself if I arrive, because all is Your will. I shall not be the decider. This is exactly what Krishna means when he says to Arjuna in the Gita: "Leave all religious duties aside and surrender unto me." These are words spoken on behalf of God.
What Nanak says are the words of the devotee: What pleases You is best for me. The path You choose is the path for me. In Your will lies my salvation. I shall not care to choose, lead me where You please. If it is Your will that I should wander, then that is the path for me. If it is Your will to leave me in darkness then I shall take it to be the light for me. If You make the day into night, I shall accept it as night. Thy way, not mine, O Lord!
This is very very difficult, because your ego will keep interfering time and time again. Your mind will keep asking what is all this? Could it be that God has made a mistake? Am I wrong in placing my faith completely in Him? When things are going well, you will put your trust in Him, but when things do not go as you wish, trouble starts; and that is the true time of test, that is the time for your practice.
For instance when there are flowers spread everywhere before you, you will say with Nanak: Your will is my will. But when you are caught in the midst of suffering, when there is nothing but insult and failure all around, then is the real time to test your faith, your practice. In sorrow and pain also, you should be able to say with Nanak: Thy way, not mine O Lord! I am happy in whatever you choose for me! In sorrow and suffering you must also accept what He gives.
But this acceptance must not be a pretended show of contentment. Keep in mind that sometimes we assume a false sense of contentment when we find ourselves helpless. When there is suffering and unhappiness with no way out, then the easiest thing is to say, Thy will be done. But our dissatisfaction lies hidden behind our words. Outwardly we accept but inwardly we feel that it should not have been!
What we wished for did not come to pass, we could not do anything about it either. We are helpless, powerless, impotent - so the best thing is to accept His will.
Had you uttered these words of Nanak in a state of helplessness and resignation you would not have understood the real meaning of these words. Contentment is not a pitiful state; it is the state of the highest blessedness. These are not words spoken for consolation when nothing else can be done, but as the manifestation of truth. Understand well that it should not be an act of deceiving and consoling one's own self.
Generally this feeling comes about after a person has tried his very best to get out of some trying circumstances. Having made full use of his sense of doing, he finds himself defeated on all sides, and then he turns to Him in desperation, leaving everything to Him; but this is no real surrendering.
From the very beginning you should not make any effort to change your circumstances, but leave everything in His hands.
Nanak's concept of supreme surrender is the ultimate spiritual path, the highest practice of a devotee. Then you needn't worry about choosing a path or method or scripture. You needn't worry about logic or proof of any philosophy; you have no use for any of these. The devotee rids himself of all these in the one stroke of surrender. He leaves everything at one time and cries out: "Thy way, not mine, O Lord! Thy will be done!"
Experiment a little and you will understand. Nanak is no philosopher. He has not written a scripture, his words are the expression of his inner feelings. He is giving voice to his own experience. You will have difficulty at every step because of the ego, whose very cry is: I know what is right and what should be.
There is a short story by Tolstoy: The god of death sent his angel to earth as an emissary to bring back the soul of a woman who had just died. The angel found himself in a dilemma because the woman had given birth to triplets. All three were girls: one was still sucking milk from the dead mother, another was crying and the third was so exhausted that it had fallen asleep. Such was the state - three little babies, the mother lying dead and no one to look after them, since the father was already dead and there was no one else in the family.
The angel returned without the woman's soul and told the god of death: "Forgive me, I did not bring back the woman's soul. You can't be aware of what I have just witnessed: there are three little babies that this woman has given birth to, one still suckling at her breast. There is no one to care for them.
Can't you allow a little time to the mother so that the girls are big enough to look after themselves?"
"So you have become very clever and wise, it seems," said the god of death, "perhaps wiser than he who wills both death and life to all mortal beings. You have committed the first sin for which you shall be punished. You will have to return to earth and, until such time as you laugh three times at your own foolishness, you shall not return."
Understand this: laugh three times at your foolishness. The ego always laughs at the nonsense of others. When you can laugh at you own absurdity, the ego breaks. The angel readily agreed to undergo the punishment. He was quite certain he was right under the circumstances, and wondered how he would find an opportunity to laugh at himself. He was ejected from heaven.
It was almost winter. A cobbler, who was on his way to buy warm clothes for his children, came upon a poor man, bare to the bones and trembling in the cold. It was none other than our friend the angel.
The cobbler felt sorry for him. Instead of buying the children's clothes with his hard-earned money, he went and bought clothes and a blanket for the naked man. When he also came to know that he had nothing to eat and nowhere to go, he offered him the shelter of his own house. However, he warned him that his wife was bound to get angry but he should not be upset, everything would be all right later on.
The cobbler arrived home with the angel. Neither the cobbler nor the wife had any idea who he really was. As soon as they entered the door the wife fired off a volley of abuse at her husband for what he had done.
The angel laughed for the first time.
The cobbler asked him why he laughed. "When I have laughed again I shall tell you," he answered, knowing that the cobbler's wife was unaware that the very presence of an angel who was her unwanted guest would confer a thousand benefits.
But how far can the human mind see? For the wife it was a loss of warm clothing for the kids. She can only see the loss, but not what had been found - and free of cost, at that. So he laughed, because she didn't know what was happening around her.
Within seven days he learned the shoemaker's trade, and within a few months the cobbler's fame had spread far and wide. Even kings and noblemen ordered their shoes here, and money began to flow in an endless stream.
One day the king's servant came to the shop, bringing special leather in order to have a pair of shoes made for the king. "Take care you make no mistakes, for this is the only piece of leather of its kind,"
said the servant. "Also, remember, the king wants shoes and not slippers." In Russia, slippers are worn by a dead person on his last journey. The cobbler gave special instructions to the angel to be extra careful with the king's orders, or else they would be in trouble.
In spite of this the angel made slippers for the king. The cobbler was beside himself with rage. He was certain now he would be hanged. He ran to beat the angel with his stick. The angel laughed out loud at the very moment that a man came running from the king's court, saying, "The king is dead.
Please change the shoes into slippers."
The future is unknown; only He knows what is to be. Man's decisions are all based on the past.
When the king was alive he needed shoes, when he died he required slippers. The cobbler fell at the angel's feet and begged forgiveness. The angel replied, "Don't worry. I am undergoing my own punishment." And he laughed again.
The cobbler said, "What makes you laugh?"
The angel said, "I laughed for the second time because we do not know the future and we still persist in desires which are never fulfilled, because fate'has different plans. The cosmic law works, destiny is set out, and we have no say in the matter. Yet we raise a hue and cry about things as if we are the makers of our destiny. The king is about to die, but he orders shoes for himself! Life is drawing to a close and we keep planning for the future."
Suddenly the angel thought of the triplets: I did not know what their future was going to be. Then why did I intervene unnecessarily in their affairs?
Soon the third event took place. Three young girls, accompanied by an old rich woman, came into the shop to order shoes. The angel recognized the girls as the daughters of the dead woman who had been the cause of his punishment. All three girls were happy and beautiful. The angel asked the old woman about the girls, and she said, "These are the three daughters of my neighbor. The mother was very poor, and died while nursing her new-born babies. I felt pity for such helpless babies and, since I had no children of my own, I adopted them."
Had the mother been alive, the girls would have grown up in poverty and suffering. Because the mother died the girls grew up in riches and comfort, and now they were heirs to the old woman's fortune. They were also to be married into the royal family.
The angel laughed for the third time.
He told the cobbler, "My third laugh is because of these girls. I was wrong. Destiny is great, while our vision is limited to what we can see. What we cannot see is so vast. We cannot imagine the enormity of that which we cannot see and of that which is to be. Having laughed at my foolishness three times, my penalty is completed and now I must leave."
What Nanak says is that if you stop putting yourself in the middle, and stop getting in your own way, you will find the Path of Paths. Then you needn't worry about other paths. Leave all to Him and be thankful for whatever He has caused to happen for you, for whatever He is making you do this moment, for whatever He will cause you to perform. All praise unto Him! Give Him a blank check of gratitude. Whatever He has chosen for you and through you, whether you liked it or not, whether you were praised or blamed, whether people called it your good fortune or misfortune, let there not be even a trace of difference in your thankfulness.
Nanak sees only one path and that is: You are the formless, the almighty, You who abide forever.
I am too small, like a wave in the ocean. I leave everything to You. You have given me so much.
Your bounteous grace pours all the time everywhere; so much so that if I were to give myself as an offering a thousand times, it would be too insignificant. He knows only one path: Whatever pleases You is best for me.
On the one hand is the congregation of saints and philosophers who have with great deliberation devised untold methods for finding truth; but unfortunately, just because of the countless methods, truth was lost.
On the other hand, there is the crowd of the wicked, the sinners, the murderers and the lustful. They too, with all the skill of their egos, have found countless paths to circumvent truth. They are creative innovators of lies. They are great discoverers who have uncovered delightful untruths, created beautiful tantalizing dreams. Anybody can be caught by their hypnosis and led astray.
One can go astray either by choosing a wrong path or by remaining undecided about which right path to follow; in both cases you will fall into error. Says Nanak: I care for neither. Whatever You choose is best for me. I care not what the virtuous say, I care not what the sinners say. I choose neither sin nor virtue, neither the right path nor the wrong. I choose nothing; I leave all to You.
Whatever You make me do is auspicious. Wherever You take me is favorable for me. Whichever path You indicate is the path for me. It matters not whether the goal is reached or not reached.
Understand this: if the desire for attainment lurks within, you will not be able to leave everything to Him. Then all your attention will remain on the goal and you will always be anxious about your progress. Your surrender will be incomplete and half-hearted, which is worse than no surrender at all.
No! There is no question of either reaching or not reaching the destination, because there is no longer any destination. To abandon all thought of destination is the destination itself. Surrender is the ultimate quality for the devotee. Nothing remains after this. Then if He makes the devotee sink to the lowest depths, the seeker feels himself raised higher and higher. If He throws him in the darkest pit, the devotee feels the sun rising from a thousand directions. The question is not where you are going, nor what you are attaining, but what is your innermost feeling?
Nanak's method is totally a method of surrender.
His name! There have been almost as many discovered as there are people in the world. Each makes his choice. There is a Hindu scripture, Vishnu Sahastranam, which is nothing but the names of God. Mohammedans have their own names. It is both a Hindu and Mohammedan tradition to name their children after some name of God: we find Rehman, Rahim, Abdulla, which are all Islamic names of God, and Ram, Krishna, Hari, which are Hindu names of God.
If we were to consider all the various names, we would find them to be as varied as there are people in the world. And yet there is a way out: no matter how many names we coin, they are all the product of the human mind. He is without name. Therefore, whatever name we give Him, that will do.
So Nanak says: Which name of Yours shall I repeat? Which name shall I call you by? Which name should I take that will reach You. The seeker is always worried about which name would be best. It is common knowledge that when we write a letter you have to write the address and so we pay the utmost attention to the name and address.
It happened once that Mulla Nasruddin was working for a man who had a weakness for writing anonymous letters. He sent them to ministers, newspaper editors, and also to the intellectuals of the town. One day he wrote a letter and gave it to Nasruddin, who promptly went and posted it.
"Where is the letter? Have you posted it?" he asked Nasruddin.
"Yes", said Nasruddin.
"But I hadn't yet addressed the envelope. Couldn't you see that?"
"I did notice it," said the Mulla, "but I thought this time you wanted to keep the address anonymous as well."
If you keep the address secret how can the letter be delivered? How will you address a letter so that it reaches Him? Thus His name is essential. There is a constant search for a name befitting Him, which would evoke a response from Him. Says Nanak: Either all names are His or no name is His. The akshara, the letter, is His name. Akshara means the letter and also that which cannot be erased. A, B, C, D can be rubbed out after they are written. And the reason for calling the letters akshara is very meaningful. It implies that which is meaningful, that which is authentic and inexpressible; what is written is only the reflection thereof.
It is like this: there is the moon in the sky, and there is a lake below in which the moon is reflected.
Disturb the water and the reflected moon breaks in a thousand pieces, because it is perishable. But no matter how much you try to stir things up, it has no effect on the moon, which is indestructible.
Our language is only an echo of the language of God. Whatever we write in books and on boards is mere reflection which can be erased at any moment. But the source from which the words come is beyond extinction. You who are speaking are destructible, but that which speaks through you is beyond extinction.
So Nanak says akshara is His name, and the letter can be neither written nor erased. Other than akshara, all is man's creation. What is this akshara, this letter, the word?
We do have a very close echo of akshara in Omkar. The whole philosophical system of Nanak is based on this one focal point, ek omkar satnam - that is all. Know these three words and you will know the whole japuji; you will then understand Nanak in his fullness, because that is the essence of his verse. Akshara, according to Nanak, is Omkar - there is one resonance that vibrates even without being expressed or written. And this resonance is beyond annihilation, it is the very music of existence; therefore there is no way of destroying it. When everything else is destroyed, it will still go on.
It is said in the Bible, what is invariably repeated in all scriptures: IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE WORD. What is referred to as the word, the logos in the West, is Omkar. In the beginning was the word; all the rest followed later, and when all else is no more the word will still resonate; everything will be absorbed in it.
India has developed various methods of shabd yoga, the yoga of the word. The practice consists only of the word. Its significance is to make oneself wordless so that the speaker is silenced, and then what is heard is the voice of God. This is what the yoga claims.
Nanak says: COUNTLESS ARE YOUR NAMES AND THE PLACES WHERE YOU DWELL, and countless the realms where no one has yet been. What is the sense in saying countless when it only increases the burden on your mind? In truth, to speak about God is only to increase the load of words; because whatever you say only magnifies the burden on your mind, because whatever you say will be basically wrong.
Suppose a man stands at the shore of an ocean and pronounces: "This ocean is boundless." If he has not tried to measure the ocean and is only making a statement, what is the use of it? The Pacific Ocean is said to be five miles deep, yet you cannot say it is boundless, because that means that which is truly without a boundary.
If we ask him what he meant, he may say, "I was just standing at the shore and made the statement."
Then he has used the wrong words. If he says, "I dived down but could not find the bottom," then too it would have been incorrect, because only as far below as he dived was there no ground. Perhaps if he had gone a little deeper he might have reached the ocean bed. In that case what he should have said is, "I went five miles below the surface but did not find the bottom of the ocean." If he had said he went all the way down and still there was no ground, it is a lie. When you go the whole distance you are bound to hit the sea bed because then nothing is left of the sea.
What can you say with regard to God? For you to say He is boundless you must know Him in his entirety. But at that point all words become meaningless, for the depth has been reached, the ultimate attained. Or you might say you went very far but you did not reach the depth. There, too, you should not use the word boundless. For who knows? - Had you traveled a little more you might have reached the destination.
How can you say innumerable? Is your counting over? If so, no matter how imposing the figure, it is still not beyond counting. If you say that you are still counting, then wait; don't be in a hurry to make statements because, who knows, your calculations still may be completed.
So to call God innumerable is to call the innumerable by its own name; you merely add to the weight of your thoughts. Whatever you call Him - fathomless, infinite, boundless - makes no difference. It is useless and meaningless to say anything about God. Whatever you say is only a statement about yourself. The man who says God is fathomless is only admitting that God is beyond his capacity for measuring.
Different people have different measures of determining the innumerable. There is an African tribe whose counting does not go beyond three. When there is no numeral beyond three, all things after three become countless. In fact this tribe only counts up to two. Three became too many, too much.
Beyond three - which is already too much - comes infinity.
Is God really countless or does our counting come to a stop? Is He immeasurable or do our measuring devices run out? Is He boundless or do our legs give way so we can go no further?
Whatever we say, we are saying about ourselves; we cannot say a single thing about Him. It would be better to limit our talk to speaking about ourselves, because that can be the truth.
We become absolutely incapable and incompetent before Him; none of our methods or approaches work. We fail, having been vanquished completely; in our complete defeat we call out: "Thou art boundless, infinite, fathomless!" Then we are speaking of our inability to fathom Him; if we feel we have said something about Him, we only increase the load of our thoughts.
You cannot - just cannot - say anything about God. You can only remain silent with regard to Him. Complete silence alone gives an inkling of God. Therefore, says Nanak, even calling Him countless, unfathomable is only increasing your load of words. Say nothing - absolutely nothing!
Become something. Do not say a word. When your personality undergoes a transformation, you come nearer to God. A labyrinth of words merely adds to your confusion and you are nowhere near God.
When Nanak was admitted into the school the first question he asked of his teacher was, "Will your teaching help me to know God?" The teacher was taken aback because he never expected such questions from children. He replied, "By learning you shall come to know a great deal, but this learning will not enable you to know God."
"Then show me the method through which I can know God. What shall I do with knowing so many things? If I know the One I shall know all. Have you known this One, teacher?"
The tutor must have been an honest person. He took Nanak back to his house and told his father, "Forgive me, but there is nothing I can teach this child. He already knows so much that he asks questions to which I have no answer. This boy is superhuman and is destined to be great. We cannot teach him anything. It would be better for us to learn something from him."
How do we explain this? In India we have a specific philosophical explanation for just such occurrences: Nanak's body is that of a child, but the consciousness within the body is ancient.
Through innumerable births his consciousness searched and struggled until he came to understand that He cannot be known by knowing. You cannot establish contact with Him through words. Only through silence can you hope to communicate with Him. What the child Nanak says is the outcome of knowledge attained by his consciousness over infinite births.
No child is completely a child, for no child is born with a blank slate. He brings along with him the impressions of all he has gathered through infinite births. So give the child his due respect; who knows, he may know more than you! Your body may be older than his, but the age of his experiences can be greater than yours. Many times we find children asking questions that baffle us, and we have no answer; but because we are older and stronger, we think we should know, and therefore we smother their curiosity with a heavy hand.
Nanak was fortunate that his tutor was an honest person, so they went back to Nanak's house, because it became absolutely clear to him that what the child said was true. He realized that if all the scriptures had not made him wise, what was the sense in teaching the same useless things to this child? It would only increase his burden.
In knowing the One all burdens drop. To know everything is only to overload the mind; to say countless is only to load the mind. The word, the letter, is the name.
The word is His name. Omkar is His name and that alone is His praise and the prayer. Say nothing - just nothing. Just fill yourself with the resonance of Omkar and the prayer has begun! Do not say anything. Do not say: I am a sinner, I am lowly; You are the redeemer! There is also no sense in kneeling, falling to the ground, crying and wailing - that is no sign of prayer.
Man has devised such prayers for God as he would use to praise and flatter an egotistic person. Go to a king, fall at his feet, join your hands and call him your redeemer, call him your savior and he is very pleased with you. So you have made up prayers for God accordingly.
Nanak says: This is not prayer. God is no egotist. Then whom are you trying to flatter? Whom are you trying to deceive? You must be trying to get something out of Him by singing his praises, or else what reason lies behind all this praise? No, prayer does not mean praise. What value has praise?
Therefore Nanak says again and again: What is one to say of creation or nature? How is one to express the wonder that is? There are no words to describe it.
What else can be meant by prayer? The only meaning is to be filled with Omkar. There is no prayer, no worship besides the resonance of Omkar. Temples have been so designed that the cupola reechoes with the resonance of Om and throws the vibrations back to you. Special attention was given whenever a temple was built so that if you pronounce Om in the correct manner a single resonance bounds back to you a thousandfold.
The West has recently introduced a new scientific technique, biofeedback, which may prove very useful in the future. It is a training method that can help calm the mind by showing it what is happening inside. When the mind is very very busy and excited, electrical currents are produced that reflect the level of activity. By means of small wires this current can be transmitted to a biofeedback machine, whose job is to show you how busy the mind is by measuring the current and turning it into a sound that you can hear. When the mind is filled with thoughts and the body is tense a high pitched tone is repeated very rapidly. When the mind becomes more quiet, the sound slows down and drops in pitch. Slowly, slowly, it helps you to become more and more aware of the changes that are happening within, until eventually you are able to control the sounds, and thereby you produce a state of total relaxation and quietness within. Finally, when the body is trained to hear itself you don't need the machine any more. This biofeedback technique can also be used for training in meditation.
The East was well versed in biofeedback techniques for ages. The vault of the temple is one proof of it. It collects the resonance of Om and sends it back to the center of its origin. The sound is created by you and it showers on you. Then as the resonance of Omkar begins to approach nearer and nearer to the actual Omkar, the speed of the feedback will increase as well as its intensity. As you become more advanced, you will feel the resonance forming within you; then your Omkar will be more from the heart than the throat. Simultaneously there will be a change of tone of the echo resounding in the temple. You will find its quality to be more tranquil.
As the resonance of Omkar sinks deeper into your heart you will feel more pleasure in the echo of the temple. When the sound comes only from the mouth it will seem like so much noise at first. When the utterance begins to come from the heart you will begin to sense the music in the resonance.
When it becomes absolutely perfect you will find the resonance taking place by itself; you are no longer producing it. Then will every atom of the temple shower its bliss on you.
The temple is like a small pool for you to practice. It is just like learning to swim in shallow waters.
When you have completely mastered the art of uttering Omkar, step out into the vast ocean of space.
The whole world becomes one big temple for you, with the cupola of the blue skies above. Wherever you stand and pronounce the Omkar, the vast vault of the skies will respond to your utterance and bliss will shower from all sides.
Says Nanak: From the letter, from the word alone can He be praised. From akshara alone all knowledge is attained. From akshara is all writing and speaking. From akshara all destiny takes place.
This is a very subtle point to understand. Nanak says through the letter alone are all events destined.
As the word opens within you, your destiny changes. The key to changing your life lies within in the form of Omkar. The further away from Omkar you go, the deeper you plunge your life into misery. As your coalition with the sound, the word, the name develops, good fortune comes your way accordingly.
To be removed from Omkar is to be in the seventh hell; to come nearer to Omkar is to approach closer to heaven, and to be one with Omkar is to realize salvation. These are the three directions your destiny can take, and there is no other way to change your fortune. No matter how much wealth you attain, if you are in hell you remain in hell - only your hell will be the hell of the wealthy. If sorrow is your lot it will remain so even if you build a palace for yourself; you succeeded in changing the hut into a palace, but not your misery into happiness. Your suffering remains the same. Your destiny does not change because the wavelength of the vibrations that determine your destiny have not changed.
There are two types of people in this world. There are some who constantly strive to change the conditions of their lives: a poor man strives to get rich, a small-time clerk struggles to become the head of his firm, a man living in a tenement wants his own house, another wishes for a more beautiful wife - and so on. They try to change the situation, but the wavelength of their life currents remains the same; there is no change in them whatsoever.
The other class of people are the seekers. They do not care to change the conditions around them, but get down to changing the wavelength of their life vibration. No sooner does the wavelength change, whether in a shack or a palace, the person finds himself in the highest kingdom.
Throw him into hell, he experiences only heaven. The resonance of Omkar fills him with bliss and celebration. You could not take his happiness from him even if you throw him into the fire!
There was a woman who was a Zen fakir. Before she died she told her disciples: "I want to sit on my pyre while I am still alive. What way is it to go on other people's shoulders? I don't want it said of me that I had to be carried by others. All my life I have never taken anybody's help. The One alone is my only help. To whom else should I now turn, and why?" She would not listen to reason. Her disciples had to construct the pyre. She sat on it and ordered that it be lighted. People ran away, the heat was so unbearable; but she sat unperturbed. "How do you feel?" someone called out from the crowd. She opened her eyes and said, "Only such as you can ask such a foolish question."
The expression on her face never changed. Whether a bed of flowers or a bed of flames, it was all the same to her.
Once the inner wavelength is adjusted, no fire can burn it, no flowers can increase it. It is this inner current that Nanak calls destiny. Your fate is not written on your forehead; rather it is written in the wavelength of your life current, your vibration. And the pursuit of this life current is possible through Omkar alone.
There is no destiny, no fate for God. God has no desires, no motives. He is beyond destiny. He has nowhere to go. He is in no search of a destination. Therefore the Hindus speak of God's leela, which means God's play. God plays with His creation as a child plays with his toys; a child has no other motive than to play for the sake of play. He is happy and cheerful always.
Flowers bloom - what for? The moon shines and the stars twinkle - what for? What reason is there to love? Why do rivers and streams flow?
God is. He goes nowhere. The day your life current gets adjusted to the right wavelength, you will find all purpose disappearing from your life. This is why we refer to the lives of Rama and Krishna as leela and not as biography. Their lives are a play, a sport, a frolic, a festival!
He who writes is beyond destiny. We receive only what He orders. All creations are His name.
Therefore why search for His name? In the trees, in the plants, in stones and pebbles, is His signature. Jesus used to say pick up a stone and you will find me pressed under it. Break the branch and you will find me hidden within it. Everywhere is His name; He vibrates in every sound, and all vibrations are forms of the One - Omkar. Its intensity and subtlety give birth to all sounds.
The One is hidden in the many. All creation is His name. There is no place where His name is not...
in what way shall I praise Him, the creator of creation? Nanak is overflowing with wonder. Again and again he is filled with gratitude and awe - how should he express nature?
Leave all to Him. The only grip you have to loosen is the grip on yourself, and everything is solved.
Your only trouble is that you listen to your own advice. You have accepted yourself as your guru. The solution is also only one: make Him your guru and stop meddling in your own affairs; step aside, let Him take over the reins of your destiny. Then whatever happens, do not judge or draw conclusions, because nothing happens against His will. Whatever happens, happens for the best. What pleases Him is the most auspicious. THY WILL BE DONE!