Naam or Word

Book Ten

Charan Kamal

The Lotus Feet of the Master

I. The Lotus Feet

    Very frequently, we come across the term  Charan Kamal in the scriptures of various religions.

Listen, O simpleton! Learn to fall at the feet of a Guru. 1
                                                                                  GURU NANAK

If your thoughts be centered on the feet of the Guru,
You will get all your desires fulfilled. 2
                                               GURU ARJAN

In the Gospels also we find references to anointing and kissing the feet of Christ. Among the Hindus and Muslims there is still the custom of doing obeisance by touching the feet of divines and holy men. Let us try to understand the significance or import of injunctions and practices like these.

    A living Master is a great necessity in the science of spirituality. He is the central figure around which the entire system revolves. He is the human pole through which the divine power works in this world. Without his guidance and help, one can do nothing and achieve nothing. No wonder then that one has to surrender oneself at the holy feet of the Master. As Kamal or the lotus flower is considered to be something sublime and sacred, the feet of the Master are generally spoken of as Charan Kamal or the Lotus Feet, fit to be worshiped and adored in all sincerity and humility.

Without the munificence of a Guru one gets naught,
Though one may engage in millions of meritorious deeds. 3
                                                                            GURU AMAR DAS

Set aside all thy wisdom and fall at the feet of a Guru. 4

Be thou the dust of sadhus' feet and forget thyself altogether,
Leave all thy cunning and learning and fall at the feet of the Guru. 5

Leave aside all thy wisdom and knowledge,
And fall at the feet of the Saints. 6
                                        GURU ARJAN

Listen, thou ignorant self, learn to fall at the feet of the Master,
Be thou devoted to the Word and then thou shalt have no fear of death.
The unfortunate ones have a heavy load on their heads
  and can never be happy. 7
                    GURU NANAK

It is with a writ in the forehead that one communes
  with the precious Word,
And thy works shall be fashioned out by devotion to the holy feet
  of the Master. 8

Think of the King of Kings--the Lord of Creation,
Depend on Him alone who is immanent in all;
Cast aside all thy artifices and get hold of the Master's feet. 9
                                                                                               GURU ARJAN

O dear self! Thou wouldst be blessed by devotion
  to the all-pervading Power,
Serve day and night at the feet of the Master, for that
  is the true devotion to the Lord. 10
                                      GURU NANAK

From exhortations like the following of Guru Arjan, it is clear that he wants us to find a living Master and surrender ourselves to him, to profit from his company and close association by molding our life and conduct according to his pattern, for in this lies the secret of spiritual success. "To contact the feet of a Guru" in this context means to meet a Master and enter his fold.

Bow at the feet of His devotees. 11

Remain always in the company of the Saints,
And be devoted to the feet of the Master. 12

Blessed is the moment when I see the Master,
Let me be a holocaust at the feet of the Master. 13

I live simply to see you
And to do obeisance at your feet. 14

I get constantly enlivened by seeing the Master,
And quench my thirst with the washings of his feet. 15

May I always live in the sweet remembrance of the Word
  and be blessed in body and mind;
Let me drink the washings of thy feet, O merciful Master divine.
Blessed indeed was the time when I reached thy door, 0 Lord;
O Nanak, God in His utmost mercy led me to the door
  of the Perfect Master. 16
                    GURU ARJAN

The feet of the Master are often spoken of as a pool of sacred nectar that grants salvation to the world-weary pilgrims on the Path.
Listen ye to the Saints: Salvation lies in the true Word,
Service at the feet of the Master and devotion to his Word
  is the true pilgrimage.
Such a one is acceptable at His Court and obtains a seat of honor. 17
                                                                                                       GURU ARJAN
Again there is abundant sweetness, strange and peculiar, in the feet of the Master, and untold blessings flow there-from.
Sweet are the lotus feet of the Master,
With God's writ one sees them;
Myriad are the merits that follow such a blessed vision. 18
                                                                                   GURU ARJAN
The washings of their feet are taken to be an Elixir of Life, by taking which one gets Life Eternal. To meet a living Master is no easy task. Really blessed is a person who has the good fortune to come across one and recognize him.
O Nanak! It is extreme good fortune of one
To cast aside pride and fall at the Master's feet. 19

O Nanak, it is through fullness of karma that one gets devoted
  to the feet of the Master. 20

Nanak says: Blessed am I,
That I serve the feet of a Sadh. 21
                                     GURU ARJAN

It is with the grace of God that one gets an opportunity to meet a living Master and have loving devotion for his feet:
God linked me with a Saint,
And I found a boon companion,
And acquired love for His feet. 22

He on whom God showers His mercy
Begins washing the feet of a Satguru. 23
                                          GURU RAM DAS

God has graced me with His mercy,
The feet of the Master are now implanted in me. 24
                                                                      GURU ARJAN

Blessed is the day when a person engages in the service of the Master's feet and bows in all humility before him and touches his lotus feet with his forehead and beard.
Blessed are the eyes that see the Master's Form,
Blessed is the forehead that touches his feet. 25

Blessed is the day that I met the Master,
And did obeisance at his feet. 26
                               GURU ARJAN

Blessed are the beards that touch his feet. 27
                                                  GURU AMAR DAS

Bhai Gurdas says in this context:
Through ages one has had a human birth,
But blessed is the life wherein one takes refuge at the Master's feet,
Blessed are the eyes that behold the Master,
Blessed the ears that hear the Master,
Blessed the nose that smells the fragrance of his feet,
Blessed the tongue that repeats the words of the Master,
Blessed the hands that serve the Master,
Blessed the feet that circumambulate the Master. 28

Refuge at the feet of the Master includes the merit of millions of pilgrimages,
Even the gods and goddesses are eagerly engaged in the service of the Master;
Refuge at the feet of the Master brings about fruition of all desires.
All supernatural powers flow from him and so doth immortality;
Refuge at the feet of the Master takes one to the region of desirelessness.
Devotion as enjoined by him works out salvation from bondage;
Refuge at the feet of the Master has a merit that is inconceivable,
He works without any thought and is the potential cause (material and efficient)
  of all that exists. 29

Since the time I took refuge at the feet of the Master
All the world seems engaged in worshiping at his feet;
His lotus feet constitute a pool of the Water of Life (Charan-Amrit );
I wish and long for the dust of his feet--the dust that has created the Universe.
His lotus feet are the true wealth and a true haven of peace,
They grant ineffable vision and lead to the Path Godward:
His lotus feet have a glory that is indescribable and incomprehensible,
Not this, not this, I bow to thee again and again, O Lord. 30
                                                                                   BHAI GURDAS

It is really a great blessing to have a living Master. We have in the scriptures countless merits that accrue from the lotus feet of the Master. He dispels all our sorrows and afflictions. One is rid of the deadly sins of lusts and passions, attachments and desires. The body and mind both get purified. Freed from all bondage, one takes life as it flows by, unfettered and unaffected, fearless of what may come including death itself, which he knows how to meet. With the Power of the Word, he leads a life of perfect contentment and ecstasy and rises into Universal Consciousness and hereafter lives at all times at the level of the soul. This is Jivan Mukti or liberation while living.

Blessed is the time I see the Master,
And make an offering of myself at his feet. 31

A true Satguru is a great Donor,
When I see him all my ills vanish;
His lotus feet are worthy of adoration. 32
                                                  GURU ARJAN

I adore the feet of the Satguru,
Guru is the helmsman
And his Word the barque by which we cross over. 33
                                                                     GURU NANAK

A glance of grace from the Satguru is more than millions of kingships;
The moment he manifests the Word, my body and mind feel exhilarated;
But it is with the writ of God that one gets devoted to the feet of the Satguru. 34

Whatever the condition, sitting or standing, I sing the virtues of the Lord
  and my sorrows and afflictions disappear.
Nanak says: It is with the fullness of Karma that the mind gets attached
  to the feet of the Master. 35

All things are added unto him who casts a loving look at the Master;
Those whose minds are fixed in the feet of the Master are truly blessed. 36

Nanak says: If it be so ordained,
Leave all pride and be engaged in the feet of the Master. 37
                                                                                      GURU ARJAN

Blessed are those whom the Satguru has accepted,
Nanak is ever attached to the feet of the Master. 38
                                                                        GURU NANAK

As ye sow, so shall ye reap, and reap the seeds sown in ages past,
On whomsoever He showers His mercy, he washes the feet of the Satguru. 39
                                                                                                                      GURU RAM DAS

Inner vision of the Master's feet

    A living Master is not a physical entity alone. He is an active live principle that transcends at will the physical plane and traverses into higher spiritual regions. The Radiant Form of the Master, called Guru Dev, guides and helps the human soul to extricate itself from the trammels of the flesh, by means of Simran or repetition of the charged words given by the Master. In subtle regions the spirit is enabled to stay by the magnetic influence of the Radiant Divine Form of the Guru (Divya-rup). Hence the necessity for devotion at the sacred feet of the inner Radiant Form as well.

Keep the feet of the Master ever engraven in thy heart;
Thou shalt have all thy wishes fulfilled. 40

Let the remembrance of the Master's feet abide in thy mind,
All thy sufferings shall vanish and thine enemies be destroyed. 41

Let the remembrance of the Master's feet abide in thy mind
And thou shalt be saved from the hell fires. 42

The feet of the Master are manifest in my forehead,
This is why all my trials and tribulations have now ended. 43

The blessed form of the Master is manifest in my forehead;
Whenever I peep within, I find him there;
His lotus feet are the source of my very life. 44
                                                              GURU ARJAN

The entire Radiant Form of the Master as it appears within is blessed indeed. The Divine Light emanating from the feet of the Master is resplendent and is the first to dawn; with it comes the entire form. As a harbinger of the Divine Presence, it is fit to be worshiped and loved. From stage to stage this Holy Light grows in luster. Swami Tulsi Das, the famous author of the Hindi Ramayana, spoke of it as follows:
The nails of the Master's feet are more lustrous than the shining crest jewel. A concentration on them opens the inner vision and one becomes all-knowing. 45
Maulana Rumi also speaks of it:
When the Pir (Master) appears within, you become knower of the past, present and future.
This is tantamount to what is technically called "Fana-fil-Sheikh" or merging one's identity in, or becoming one with, the Sheikh or Master. Hereafter the duality between the disciple and the Master ceases and they become one in spirit. The disciple truly becomes a Guru-man. The Astral Form of the Master appears when one rises above body consciousness. When the sensory currents (or consciousness) through the process of Simran collect at the center between the two eyebrows, the light sprouts forth and when one goes further this Radiant Form manifests itself. So long as this Divine Form of the Master does not come to guide, one cannot march on the spiritual path and gain the Kingdom of Heaven; for Guru precedes God and leads us Godward. This Radiant Form remains ever with the disciple, no matter where he may be, and helps the pilgrim spirit on the Path; leads her beyond the Trigun-atmak regions (physical, astral, causal) and takes
her to the Fourth Grand Division called Sat Lok, which is a purely spiritual realm.
The feet (Light) of the Master shine in my forehead,
No more am I a prey to trials and tribulations. 46

The Blessed Form of the Master is ever present in my forehead;
Every moment as I look up, I do behold the Divine Form;
And now I live and breathe by the grace of the Master's lotus feet. 47

Blessed indeed is the human body in which dwell the feet of the beloved. 48
                                                                                                                      GURU ARJAN

The manifestation of the Guru Dev, or the Astral Form of the Master, is purely a gift of God. By Divine grace alone, initiates are blessed with this precious gift.
I am enraptured with seeing the lotus feet of the Radiant Form
  of the Master,
It is by the grace of the Master that one comes to serve the Lord. 49
                                                                                                          GURU ARJAN

The Lotus Feet of God (Naam)

    We have pertinent allusions in the scriptures to God's Feet as well, for example:

Contact thou the feet of Hari through the Guru's Shabd. 50
                                                                              GURU AMAR DAS

Meditate on the Lotus Feet of the Lord. 51
                                                     GURU ARJAN

There is in fact no difference whatever between the Lotus Feet of the Lord and of the Master. But what do the words "Lotus Feet" stand for and what do they signify? These words mean nothing more nor less than the Sound Principle called Naam, Kalma or Word, which, emanating from the Highest Region and passing through various grades of density, reverberates at the lowest level of the subtle plane at the center between the two eyebrows; and this is what the Master links the spirit with at the time of initiation.
Wonderful is the Harmony of God,
By devotion to the Lotus Feet of the wondrous Lord
  one becomes a Sadhu. 52
                  GURU ARJAN
Here the term is synonymous with the Sound Current, which manifests Itself through the grace of some Master, and by attuning with which one becomes a Sadh (disciplined soul).
Should you live with a Saint for some time,
A melodious strain of soft music appears of itself. 53

Cutting asunder all bonds, one gets established in the Lotus Feet,
And remains absorbed in the Sound Current. 54
                                                            GURU ARJAN

In the terminology of Saints, devotion to the Word is devotion to the Lotus Feet of the Master, and those who get absorbed in the Harmony of the Word drink the Water of Life proceeding from the Lotus Feet of the Lord. In fact, the reference here is to the Sonorous Light which, emanating from the Feet of the Master, welcomes the pilgrim soul as it proceeds on its journey Homeward through the astral and subtle regions.
Nanak prays: Make me a slave of such votaries
  who are absorbed in Thy Lotus Feet. 55
                                               GURU ARJAN
Again, when through spiritual sadhna the Kindly Light of God dawns within, that too is described as the Lotus Feet of the Lord, since it emanates from His Feet and is the dust of His Feet (Charan Dhur).
The moment His Feet are firmly established within,
A Light dawns and one meets the Lord. 56
                                                 GURU ARJAN
Naam or Word is the fountainhead of Heaven's Light. Devotion to the Naam is nothing but devotion to His Feet.
While walking or sitting, waking or asleep,
Be in tune with the Word (Guru-Mantra),
Be devoted to His Feet in the company of a Saint
  and thus cross over the sea of life. 57
                                            GURU ARJAN
The greatness of the Lotus Feet is the be-all and end-all. It is the summum bonum of life.
In the bliss of His holy feet, I remain absorbed from end to end. 58
One cannot describe the beatitude of His Feet. But one can experience and feel something of the bliss arising therefrom:
O Kabir! With what should I compare the bliss of the Lotus Feet?
Words fail to do any justice, but one can be convinced
  by having some experience of it. 59
By remaining in constant touch with the Light and Sound Current, one can always be devoted to the Lotus Feet and derive untold benefits therefrom.
Those who depend on the Lotus Feet of the Master,
Are all the time absorbed in the Word. 60

They that live by the Lotus Feet depend on One alone,
God is their only refuge, the woof and warp of their existence. 61

My comrade, friend and guide is the Most High,
His Lotus Feet within me are my very life. 62

His Lotus Feet are my support,
He is the treasure-house of all Bliss,
Let me be engaged in His Kirtan,
So long as the life-breath lasts. 63

Thy Feet are helmsmen to ferry us across the sea of life. 64

With Thy Feet, Thou hast ferried many across the world. 65

The mind rides in safety in the ship of Hari Charan. 66
                                                                         GURU ARJAN

The Lotus Feet appear in the depths of the mind:
To listen to the Kirtan (Word) is the daily routine of a Sadh,
When the Lotus Feet become fully manifest within,
  one lives by constant devotion to them. 67

With the Lotus Feet within, I meditate on them all the time. 68
                                                                                           GURU ARJAN

He alone engages in the worship of the Lotus Feet to whom God may grant it.
All are strung like beads on one string;
He alone takes shelter in the Feet who is so destined. 69

By Thy glance of grace attract us to Thy feet. 70
                                                                 GURU ARJAN

The wealth of the Lotus Feet comes as a gift from the Satguru and he himself makes them manifest:
One engages in the devotion of the Lotus Feet,
If one gets the gift of the Feet from a Satguru. 71

I offer myself a sacrifice at the Holy Feet,
And a sacrifice unto the Master for showing them to me. 72

The Master has given me the wealth of the Lotus Feet,
And the unmoored has found a sheet-anchor. 73
                                                             GURU ARJAN

It is through association with Sadhus and Saints that the Lotus Feet appear within:
The Sadhus and Saints manifest the Heaven's Light,
And the Lotus Feet do manifest within. 74
                                                  GURU ARJAN
How do the Lotus Feet come to abide in the mind ? It is through Simran that the Lotus Feet appear.
The Simran of God drives away all afflictions,
And the Lotus Feet do appear in the mind;
Meditate on the all-pervading Word all the time,
And drink the Water of Life, O loved of the Lord. 75

Sing of the virtues of the Lord with the Saints
  and waste not the precious life;
By singing the praises of the Lord, one not only saves himself
  (from the wilderness of life) but even those who are his kith and kin;
The Lotus Feet have now come to abide in my mind
  and I meditate on them all the time,
Nanak hath taken his shelter with God
  and hath offered his all unto Him. 76
                                         GURU ARJAN

When the all-pervading consciousness in man which is operating through sensory currents gets collected and concentrated through spiritual sadhna at one center, the seat of the soul, just behind and between the two eyebrows, the Lotus Feet or Naam becomes manifest. The spirit gets so much absorbed in the beautiful music that one is lost to himself and an indissoluble union between the soul and the Oversoul is effected. Face to face with Reality, he gets so much established therein that thereafter the world loses all its charms and cannot move him from his purpose.
    The lotus feet of the Master are wondrously luminous. A rare Sadhu with great good fortune may be able to cast his eyes on them. These do appear in the heart of the devotee, behind the two eyebrows.
A rare Sadhu may fall in love with the Lotus Feet of the Lord. 77

The Lotus Feet do appear within the mind of a devotee. 78
                                                                                   GURU ARJAN

If one gets in touch with the Lotus Feet, he attracts to himself the merit of all austerities, pilgrimages and acts of charity and devotion.
A meditation on the Lotus Feet of the Lord grants the merits
  of all devotional exercises and disciplines. 79
Meditate on the Lotus Feet of the Lord;
This is the greatest pilgrimage and an act of ablution. 80

Meditate day and night on the Word and drink Its ambrosia,
It shall give thee the benefit of all virtuous deeds and yogic exercises. 81

The whole world is in the throes of lusts, passions, and egotism,
The shelter of a Saint and devotion at his feet will dispel
  all troubles born of ignorance. 82

A whole-hearted devotion to the feet of the Master saves one
  from all pangs and sorrows. 83

Leave off all worldly comforts and embellishments of no consequence,
All passions and all delights take to their heels once you get to the feet
  of the Satguru. 84

By killing egotism the mind gets subdued,
And one loves the Master's feet forever;
By the Master's grace, the body and mind are purified,
And one communes with the Holy Word. 85

Let my body and soul be a sacrifice unto the all-absorbing feet of the Master;
Satguru is a veritable Pool of Nectar, and His Word
  rids the mind of all imperfections. 86
                                  GURU AMAR DAS

The mind linked with the feet of the Master
Leaves the path of death far behind. 87
                                            GURU NANAK

As ballast in the boat moves across the river,
So does a devotee of the Master safely cross the sea of life. 88

By devotion to the feet of the Master, I live by remembering Hari;
By meditation on the Par Brahm, I drink the Amrit. 89
                                                                         GURU ARJAN

The devotion to the True One is ever wonderful,
By meditating on the Master's feet one gains the highest merit. 90
                                                                                                  GURU NANAK

continued in part II

Next Chapter   Contents