September 13, 2019 | By Prof. Puran Singh
The design of the Guru’s word is as infinite and inscrutable and as simple as Creation. As the different prophets saw Creation and wondered and uttered Truth as they felt, so is the Guru’s word. All the past prophets and poets of the future come singing. Mere word- weavers, mere music-makers are of no consequence here: they are still paddling in very shallow waters on the shore. It is as the Guru’s golden temple of the human soul; no one is absent, all live in it, cannot but live in it or are driven to live in it. It is the Song of Life. As man cannot escape the sky and the earth, so in the Guru’s word, man cannot but come and find himself. It is as personal as everyone’s own self, and as impersonal as the sky and the earth. As creation defies all analysis, so the Guru’s word is more open to the eye of feeling in its original beauty than to the carping gaze of a surface-dwelling intellect.
As in creation, so in the Guru’s word, there resound that inaudible, unheard Music of the soul, (the Anhat, the unstruck) whose gamut is the infinite. Herein come the waves of the infinite and strike on the heart of man and man becomes the whole universe in his soul and breaks at the feet of the infinite in a liquid beauty of feeling for Him. Anhat is not that ghostly siren that shuts up the mind in its sweet lullaby; it is the silent storm of the spirit that makes man infinite, by wrapping him in the wonder of this great poetic creation. The music of the finite growing forever infinite and of the infinite forever becoming finite is in its full glory in the Guru and His word or soul. The form is but the fashioning of the confused surroundings of the infinite into the exquisite model of beauty.
What is the little desire of man beating in his blood, but the form of music with the potentiality of the very infinite? The little desire of man is, in fact, infinite as long as it is unfulfilled. It is a note of music quivering with the lyrical sweetness of a divine hymn. It is like a tune oozing out of the strings of a zithar singing with an infinite plaintiveness, but dead as soon as it is all-sung. The very lust of man is virtue if it has in it the largeness of the infinite: so is his anger and greed. All these much condemned things which are of soul, are beautiful when they are flowing lilts, full of a longing for the beauty of the infinite. But they are all the dark coloured vices of man, if finitised. His virtue is also but vice if it has not the music of the Infinite singing through it. On the other hand, the* music of the infinite loses all its harmony if the finite is not of the divine desire of the infinite. God is most beautiful when He is the perfected man before us, or a little child. When in the shape of man He flits before us as a flash of Beauty. He keeps us forever fascinated in a sweet memory of that happy union with Himself. In this music of the Guru both the finite form and the infinite formless are the inner meanings and sweetness of each other.
Without this music of the soul, man but lives a worm’s life on this earth. Like the ant he is carrying his own grain in his mouth for himself; each one for himself, and all his social self-sacrifices consist of a dead insect—habit, stopping on the way and talking to another ant coming from the opposite direction and both going their own way, holding secure in their mouths their separate grain, to be hoarded by each for the rainy day. This is his social civilisation. He cannot, so, far, see that all his treasures must be heaped up for all and all must have an equal morsel of the gathered grain. The selfishness of the insect is in the human laws of property and the old insect-selfishness is in all his social institutions.
The Hindu looks at the hungry and the poor and the naked and brings in religious justifications with what he calls karma; This mere physical inequality he sees with an unmoved heart- others dying for what he holds for himself. Go and see the ryots of Hindu Bihar, the Hindu Ganges valley, Hindu Bengal, where the rich Hindus have not allowed a middle class to exist. Abject squalor, hunger and nakedness, dirt and filth lies about the most magnificent palaces of the Hindu zamindars.
Karma: The most shameful justification for this insect-like cruelty ever manufactured is this doctrine of Karma. While as a thing of the soul and memory it may have some relevant meaning, it is madness when applied to the cruelties of a brother born of the same mother, with the ‘same sorrows and joys. Human ignorance rising and condemning the anger, greed, and lust of man as the causes of his physical suffering, calling it Karma, the very things which are the ingredients of his soul, shows how the music of the infinite has been buried dead in the archives of these ethics and theological concepts. The beauty of the lotus is beautiful in the face of the human child that can more articulately say “I”. This saying “I” by the child of man is the most beautiful speech: it is the word of God fully pronounced. But this “l” is the source of all inequalities and physical miseries on this earth. The beauty is not in eradication of it, as ethical systems say, but in making music of the infinite issue out of it. Moral death is going out of the song of the infinite and not in the possession of senses and faculties, The Guru calls upon man to be infinitely large, to be a song of the soul trembling out of the little body and thus, in the song’s lilt, become infinite. No other purification is necessary. In his heart, there is a little flame with which all the woods of life can be set on fire: that is love. The Guru does not condemn man; the poet condemns not the flower nor the bee. The Guru only calls upon him to be dignified, at least as much as the flower on the twig swaying freely with the winds that blow, singing the song of its fragrance inspite of everything.
And the Guru says, thus it is to be with God, with the infinite also. It is immoral for God, for the infinite, not to swing in itself with the music of the beauty of form and name. Shapelessness of the infinite i-‘ to us of no interest whatever; it is His myriad-form that constitutes His purity to us. All divinity is in the beauty of the Name and from. The infinite becomes personal only in form and name. The infinite; flings out of itself the infinity of forms and they rise and sink in Him, like a myriad summers and springs of leaves and flowers out of the perennial roots of life. Such is the song of creation: the Infinite forever becoming the plurality of finites and the finites forever rising to be blossoms on the tender twigs reaching to the musical unity of the infinite. This rhythm heard by the poet and the prophet is v endlessly fascinating and is forever new, as the soul of man is new to himself: or as Spring, that is more beautiful in its endless repetition and recurrence on this earth of ours.
And the Guru says that all the distress of man is in having cheated himself of the presence of this great soul-music. The song of life clings pathetically to evanescent forms, as the floods of music flow out of the throat of a skylark. The form is a miserable little thing, a mere dream, an illusion, but, alas, says the Guru, without it there is no song, no soul no God. We cannot name Him without this Akar-The manifested form.
So if you ask the Guru—Is man God? he makes no parley with you, only he sings on. If you ask him, where is God then, he leaves it to You to answer and to make any adjustments with the Eternal that might suit you and make you free. Freedom is your first concern as soon as you have seen the Guru, as also after having seen Him. The Hindu tries to break open the universe, and dissolve his body into the infinite, thinks of form and name as an affliction, and grown sick of Creation which he thinks is an Upadhi—an unnecessary disturbance in the Infinite, the Creation is a mere illusion of the sense, and as such must be somehow got rid of, and thinks that liberation is in not-being “this”. He is logical, but he cheats himself of truth by his too sure logic. Such a person sickens at human limitations and at the helplessness in which some tyrant of a creator has thrown him, and all his life, he thinks, is the helpless struggle of a prisoner, to get out of a prison. The Guru has no patience with this inanity. According to the Guru, man is a song, free forever, according to scale, in its own restraint, in its own limitation. The freedom is in the infinity of his own sweetness, in his own spontaneous rapture. The Guru dives deep into the music of the beauty of creation, of the bliss of the touch of the beloved in all formed shapes, into the joy of simple being, and he in his own person and soul hushes all impertinent enquiries.
Accordingly, the Guru’s ethics are based not on any mundane laws of morality based on the doctrines of Karma and Dharma, but on the harmony of the great unstruck music of life. He says, “These foolish hypocrisies of Karma and Dharma that man is undergoing in the name of religion shall be robbed at death’s door by death’s minions, and beyond death nothing but his own soul shall go with him”. Those who sing, are holy,, are good, their souls shall shine bright there. Feeling is the knowledge of God. Burnt be all the scriptures of man, burnt be all fanes and all holiness if man has not sung His name. The Name is beautiful, the Name is form, the Name is God; nothing else. All freedom is in this soul-song of the name of the infinite. The whole creation and the universe, to the Guru is the presence of that Great Songster who sings out in the heart-throbs of every being. There come to him rare thrills of the soul of Love seated everywhere. The Guru feels soothed by the very thorns. The touch of stones to him is as warm as the bosom of a mother to the babe. The flesh of creation touching the Guru’s flesh at all points and at all hours of day and night is an unending and unutterable joy to Guru Nanak. It is constant union with the Beloved in constant separation. All is love, all is beauty, all is joy, all is song. When it is so ravishing, when the soul like the bee slumbers wrapped in the petals of that Lotus, it is folly to talk of aught else. Here is life, here is freedom, hush. Sleep thou Soul of man: in the infinite rapture of being.