Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh
Sat Nam Readers!
Mediation. Sikhs are supposed to mediate on Naam everyday with every breath. We mediate by chanting the name of God – Waheguru – while focusing on the nature and greatness of God. There are many ways in which this can be done, according to the teachings. Meditation is part of simran, a continuous connection to God. There are Sikhs who go to gurdwara at 3 a.m. every morning to mediate by chanting Naam.
For me, as I cannot speak for anyone else, mediation brings me into a peaceful state to begin my day – reconnecting me with Waheguru and focusing me on my obligations as a Sikh – to be loving and kind, honest and hard working, for example. Singing Waheguru in mediation leaves me a sense of happiness and contentment. I feel lifted. Yet words fail to properly paint a picture of meditation, it’s indescribable, really.
We also are supposed to sing our bani each day as part of simran. There are three sets of bani, which together form the nitnem, that we are to sing (I read them still as I am reading them in English and not reading Gurmukhi yet). These are not time consuming but traditionally they are associated with particular times of day.
In the mornings, after bathing, we are to recite the Japji Sahib, Jaap Sahib, Tav-Prasad Savaiye, Benti Chaupai and Anand Sahib (the full forty shabads). In the evening, around 6 p.m., we recite Rehras Sahib and before sleeping, we recite the Kirtan Sohila. We are permitted to listen to them sung, which I do often, but there are a couple of issues with that. First, we are supposed to do that only occasionally. Second, I find that it is easier to become distracted when you are just listening to the bani being sung. It is easier for other thoughts to creep into your mind and it is much easier to be interrupted, even with earphones in.
I live a modern life as well. Rising before dawn to bathe and recite the morning bani is not an easy thing to do. First, dawn where I live can come as late as 10 a.m. in winter and as early as 1 or 2 a.m. in summer, so I take dawn to be 5 a.m. to make things simpler. This means getting up to bathe, dress and put on my turban by at least 4 a.m., the morning bani then takes me an hour, and then I try to eat something before I leave out the door for work. I put in a full day and often more at work, so that I am home early enough to recite Rehras Sahib in the early evening, which takes half an hour. The Kirtan Sohila takes me another half an hour. I’m not complaining that bani takes two hours of my day but it is often hard to find those two hours among all my other obligations. So I hate to admit that I often listen to bani, rather than reciting them myself and there are days when I do not perform all of the nitnem, let alone also meditate.
I also must find time outside of my work to learn Gurmukhi and Panjabi, to learn to wrap my turban correctly, to watch my WhyGuru and 12 Weeks/12 Gurus course, to read books on Sikh history and the Gurus and to attend to all the everyday tasks that one must attend to.
It is not a balancing act. I want to be spared the perpetual cycle of rebirth and I want to be connected to and merge with Waheguru. I want to be Gurmukh and to live and die for Waheguru. I must invest the time but I must also find the time to do all the other things I must do – earn a living and take care of myself. I have to confess that I am finding it very difficult to do it all. So, I have come to the conclusion that many things in my life need to change. I do not know what that looks like yet but I will trust in Guru’s grace.