It's Nature and Technique

What to Ask from God

A LADY on marriage entrusts her all to her husband and gladly accepts the new mode of life whatever it be. Now nothing else appeals to her but him. It is for the husband now to provide all her needs and to look after her comforts.

Render unto Him all that belongs to Him,
And make His Will thine own.
In return He showers His blessings manifold,
0 Nanak! He is ever so merciful. 68

He who has Him as his boon companion,
He stands in need of naught? 69
                                            GURU ARJAN

Once a certain king intended to go abroad. He inquired of his queens as to what gift each of them would like him to bring for them from the foreign lands. One of them asked for costly jewels, another for rich apparel and still another for cosmetics. Some asked for fineries and others for delicacies, etc. The youngest of them, who loved the king most, requested his early return so that she would not have to languish long in his absence. The king on his return sent the various gifts to his other queens and himself went to the palace of the youngest and was highly pleased that there was someone who loved him the most, much more than his riches and wealth. The queen too thanked God for her good fortune that her husband was with her and that she needed nothing else. The rest of the queens, though each one of them had got what she wanted, had not the good fortune to claim their husband's attention. All their riches and gifts availed them not without their beloved.

In exactly the same way we, through shortsightedness, ask from God or Godman for trinkets of no consequence and not Him and His Saving Grace, and like the different queens in the parable, suffer most the pangs of separation. All the riches of the world fail to give the least satisfaction. On the contrary, these things distract us from the Truth and make us more miserable. If we could but win His Grace we would then be in want no more. All His riches come to us automatically, without asking. Even if they are denied for one reason or another, it matters not, for without Him and His love they are dirty trash.

All riches and fineries befit him who has won Him,
And even without them, what care if he were to live in poverty? 70
                                                                                                                                          GURU ARJAN
Our most elementary needs are of the body--to wit, food, clothing and shelter. For these things we strive hard, working madly and restlessly from morn till night. We sacrifice our very self to procure these comforts---if any comfort they provide. Do we not realize that when a child comes into the world his life plan is sketched out beforehand? Without this nobody would be here at all. With destiny all shaped, the mould is cast and the spirit enters therein, ready to take his life's journey in the world.
With a predestined plan one comes into the world,
0 Tulsi! with all this, the mind does not accept it.
Dame Nature now gets ready for the royal reception of the Prince of the Universe, providing milk in the mother's breast, shelter in the mother's lap, and an army of attendants to attend to his minutest needs. The Powers of Nature mobilize all their forces to claim the prince-child as their own. But as the child grows and develops into adolescence and begins to feel the life-impulse surging in him, the world, as a foster mother, claims him as her own and he fondly clings to her and her gifts forgetting his native and prenatal home in heaven.
Heaven lies about us in our infancy,
Shades of the prison-house begin to close upon the growing boy.
Earth fills her lap with pleasures of her own;
Yearning she hath in her own natural kind,
And even with something of a mother's mind,
  and no unworthy aim,
The homely nurse doth all she can,
To make her foster child, her inmate Man,
  forget the glories he hath known,
And that imperial palace whence he came.
Again, all the gifts of the world are purely ephemeral. They are always in an unstable and changing state. Nothing is permanent. Everything is subject to decay and dissolution.
Momentarily things appear and then recede back into the Fullness,
In the twinkling of an eye the world itself sinks into the great deep. 71
Midst the ever-changing phenomena of the world, there is but one unchangeable permanence and that is God and God-in-action (the Holy Spirit, Kalma, Naam or Word), responsible for the creation, sustenance and dissolution of countless universes. Why then should we not long for, ask for and pray for that imperishable life principle, so that we too may have "Life Everlasting" and come to our eternal heritage, the everlasting Godhood which is our birthright.
Listen ye to the call of the hollow man, manifest Thyself, 0 Lord,
Nanak has humbly reached Thy door, through the Grace of Thy devotee. 72
                                                                                                                                                                  GURU ARJAN
Our native home is in Sach Khand. Ages upon ages have gone by since we parted from the Father and we are still in exile in this world.
The soul that rises with us, our life's Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar.
We must then yearn for a reunion with the Beloved, separated as we are from Him for myriads of ages.
For ages upon ages have we been separated,
Unite us unto Thee, 0 Lord, through sheer compassion if Thou wilt.
We have wandered high and low in all the points of the compass,
Now keep us 0 Thou under the shadow of Thy holy wings. 73
                                                                                                                         GURU ARJAN

In countless births have I wandered away and away from Thee,
This (human) birth I have dedicated to Thee and staked on Thee,
Ravidas now lives in hope to meet Thee once again. 74

Guru Amar Das, therefore, prayeth:

Through innumerable gyres have I gone without rest,
In Thy mercy, 0 Merciful! grant me the boon of Thy manifestation. 75
Guru Arjan prayeth:
Many a birth I had in various species,
Every time I had to undergo many sufferings.
Through Thy Grace I have now a human birth,
This then is the time to manifest Thyself unto me, 0 Lord. 76

Lift me O Lord!  I have fallen at Thy door,
Accept me in compassion, tired as I am of my wanderings.
Savior of Thy devotees, save the sinners as well,
I know none besides Thee to offer my prayers,
0 ferry me safely across the ocean of living matter. 77

The soul pines in the separation of her Lord. Even if she is not worthy of the Lord, she prays for union with Him.

All are blessed in the love of their Lord,
But I alone am the unfortunate one.
So filled with spots through and through,
My consort does not like even to see my face. 78
                                                                                  GURU AMAR DAS

Meritless as I am, I intensely pray for my turn, 0 Nanak,
All the spouses had Thee in abundance, spare a night for me as well. 79

All the maidens have gone with their spouses,
Where should I, the unfortunate, turn my face?
With my parents I was the light of their eyes,
But woe unto me that my Lord looks not at me. 80
                                                                                     GURU AMAR DAS

Kill me ii Thou wilt but turn not away,
Hug me to Thy bosom, listen ye to my prayer,
Just look this way and earn my gratitude,
Why kill me by turning Thy face away. 81

Thirsty as I am for Thy sight,
My mind calls for Thee in agony,
I pray to Thee 0 Formless! and crave for Thy mercy. 82

Life is worth living with Thee before me.
Be merciful, 0 sweet Beloved,
And drive away all doubts and delusions. 83

I earnestly beseech and pray for just one thing,
I make a sacrifice of all my wealth and possessions for a union with Thee. 84
                                                                                                                                                                     GURU ARJAN

What may I ask for and repeat unto Thee except
That I hunger and thirst for Thy sight;
It is through the Word of the Master that one reaches Truth,
Nanak, therefore, prays for this alone. 85

I have just one submission and listen ye to that,
Certainly Thou art great, compassionate, and immaculate? 86
                                                                                                                         GURU NANAK

We never remember Thee and waste our life in fruitless pursuits.
Nanak sayeth, 0 God, remember Thou the pledge (of redemption),
regardless of our defaults. 87

Thou art the abode of all virtues and Lord of us all with no virtue in us,
No bondsman can praise Thee enough, when he holds even his body and life
    from Thee.
Thou saved me from the hell-fires, I have taken shelter at Thy feet,
Thou art the only stake of my life and honor, I depend on naught else. 88

Great is the Lord, boundless, infinite and ineffable,
0 Nanak! He is the Savior of all who take refuge in Him. 89

I pray to Thee, 0 Lord! of body, mind and soul,
0 Nanak! it is His greatness else none knew me before. 90
                                                                                                                  GURU ARJAN

Thou alone art the Doer of all things,
To whom then should we offer prayers. 91
                                                                         GURU NANAK

Helpless are we and Merciful art Thou,
What can we, the sinners, say unto Thee.
In spite of our broken words of no meaning,
Accept us and grant us the gift of perfection. 92

Thou art the woof and warp of my very existence,
I, therefore, pray unto Thee alone.
I have no other place to turn to for worship,
I place all my comforts and discomforts before Thee. 93

I cannot do justice to Thy greatness,
For I am an ignorant fool.
0 Lord! redeem poor Nanak,
For he has taken shelter at Thy feet. 94
                                                              GURU RAM DAS

Again, we have in the Sikh Scriptures:
We, the ignorant, insensate and devoid of all virtues,
  have taken refuge with Thee, 0 Primal Being,
Through Thy Boundless Grace, 0 Lord! save us,
  in spite of all our shortcomings. 95

0 God! have mercy and ferry us across,
Save us with the help of Thy Melodious Song.
We are bogged in the mire of infatuation,
O extend to us Thy hand and pull us out. 96
                                                                      GURU RAM DAS

Look ye not on my merits and demerits,
But forgive me my faults, 0 Merciful.
How can the clay toy be washed clean?
That indeed is the fate of all human beings.  97

0 Lord! be Thou compassionate on the orphan at Thy door,
Sustain him in the blind well of the body,
For he is imbecile both in mind and intellect. 98

We are the great defaulters and sinners with a galaxy of thefts to boot,
Now Nanak is at Thy feet, 0 Lord! save him as Thou wilt. 99
                                                                                                                      GURU ARJAN

0 Savior and Sustainer Peerless, listen ye to me,
0 Nanak! the ignorant and the foolish never think of Him,
Nor do they know the pitch dark night in which they live. 100
                                                                                                                     GURU NANAK

I have no virtues of the body or of the mind, and have come from afar,
I have neither riches nor beauty, save me the homeless one. 101

One who slips at every step cannot escape on his own account,
0 Nanak, He may forgive and pilot me across in His Divine Mercy. 102
                                                                                                                                            GURU ARJAN

We commit blunders without number, and know not their consequences,
0 Lord! forgive us in Thy Grace for we are inveterate sinners. 103
                                                                                                                            GURU AMAR DAS

Like the great deep sea, we are full of faults,
With Thy Mercy and Saving Grace,
Thou canst save the millstones from sinking down. 104
                                                                                                    GURU NANAK

The whole world is in the throes of death pangs. God alone can save it, as He may with His limitless love.

The entire world is being consumed in the invisible flames of hellfire,
Save us all with Thy loving Grace in whatever way it may be possible. 105
                                                                                                                                              GURU AMAR DAS

0 Lord! Thou art peerlessly deep and infinitely high and none reaches Thee,
We pray that we may not forget Thee, the fountain of all comforts. 106
                                                                                                                                                      GURU ARJAN

O the Great Giver and perfect Master,
I ask of Thee but one gift, the gift of Hari.
Shower Thy blessings on Nanak,
O my oldest Friend, become manifest in me.  107
                                                                               GURU RAM DAS

Good and evil intentions are both in your control, O Lord We are but instruments and You are the motor-power behind us. We only act and do as You actuate us from behind.

All our thoughts and good intentions are intentions are in Thy control,
Thou alone art the motor-power behind all ouractions,
O Nanak! He is the overruling power that works as He Wills. 108
                                                                                                                          GURU RAM DAS

We, per se, are incapable of rendering any service to God, and  cannot pride ourselves on our so-called service. It is the refulgence of God's Light that we live and have our very being. When He withdraws the life current, we become helpless:

None can serve Thee nor feel elated at anything.
When the life currents are withdrawn, how helpless we become. 109
                                                                                                                                  GURU AMAR DAS
We must ask for God from God, for all else means inviting headache. The greatest gift from Him is that of Naam or the Power of Godhead, which when granted brings with it contentment and satisfaction.
Except Thee all else is the source of trouble and misery,
Grant us the gift of Thy Word that brings in peace and satiation. 110
                                                                                                                                            GURU ARJAN
Maulana Rumi prayeth in this wise:
Ask from God nothing but God.
Except Him, all else is perishable.
Never ask God for a thing that must decay,
Ask not of God anything beside Himself.
Darken not thy mind with thoughts and cares that are chimerical.
(i) Ask for God

    One may invoke help in crucial moments of his life, from God or from a Godman, for He alone can rescue him from such slippery moments.

Full of the deadly sins and tormented by lusts of the flesh I cry,
Rescue me by Thy Grace, as best Thou may.
0 Great and Compassionate One! I am at Thy mercy,
With austerities and penances one cannot escape,
But with Thy glance of Grace, take Nanak out of the blind well. 111

0 Lord! save me,
I am incapable ofdoing anything,
In Thy mercy, grant me the gift of Naam. 112
                                                                               GURU ARJAN

I pray to the Guru, the beloved of God,
A filthy worm am I, 0 grant me the light of Naam. 113
                                                                                               GURU RAM DAS

Mind can be controlled only by the Dhunof Naamor the celestial strains of music, and it is for this that one has to pray. No other type of yoga-- Jnana, Hatha, Karma,etc.-- can be of any avail in this connection; nor has anyone been able to escape from the clutches of the mind with all his wits about him. One may tame the wild mind only through the practice of Sat-Shabdor Naam(the True Word) and one can have initiation into this practice from some adept in the line. The moment it comes into contact with Naam, the mind gets docile and instead of being an arch-traitor as hitherto, it turns into a positive ally and helps the spirit in its onward march on the Spiritual Path.

0 I have got the treasure of Hari Naam,
My mind now wanders not but is in eternal rest. 114
                                                                            GURU TEG BAHADUR

Listening to the Dhun, the mind gets stilled,
None of the myriad of ways can work this miracle.
The yogin practices yogic exercises,
The Janani is immersed in Jnana.
The hermit tires himself out in lone solitude,
The anchorite does endless austerities.
Those who meditate on the mental patterns,
They too suffer from a great delusion.
Learning and knowledge are of not much avail,
For the wise in the end have to rue their wisdom.
The Pandit engages in the recitation of the Vedas
But all his sacred lore fails to take him any nearer to God.
No other means are of any consequence whatever.
The only beneficial way is that of Shabd.
When a Master of the Sound Current appears on the scene,
The disciple too begins to feel the yearning of the new birth.
With the practice of the Surat Shabd Yoga,
The mind-stuff gradually sinks within itself till nothing remains. 115
                                                                                                        SWAMI SHIV DAYAL SINGH

When once this contact with Naam is established, the Sadhak always feels the presence of the Higher Power and the Power remains forever with him wherever he may be--on the snowy mountain tops or in the burning desert sands. Reveling in the greatness of that Power he leaves all his cares to Him and becomes indifferent to everything around him. He cheerfully accepts whatever comes his way as coming from Him for his benefit alone. He consciously sees the Divine Will at work and smilingly surrenders himself to it with words of genuine gratitude on his lips. He has no longer any wishes and desires of his own except what may be of God. Now he works as a mere instrument moving like an automaton under the influence of that Power. He sees all creatures, high and low, just as tiny specks set in an orderly harmony in the immense Universe surrounding him. He now divines a procession which is orderly, an order which is harmonious, obeying a Will infinitely above him and yet infinitesimally careful of him. In this way is established a complete harmony between the soul of man and the soul of the Universe. At every step he cries forth, Let thy Will be done:

All creatures, the highest to the lowest, are at Thy mercy,
    and Thou carest for them one and all.
Whatever pleaseth Thee, that is best;
    Nanak has no other wish but this. 116

Whatever pleaseth Thee is good,
Thou art forevermore,
0 Formless one. 117
         GURU NANAK

0 Nanak! Great is the Power of Naam,
Let there be peace unto all, through Thy Will.

The pontifical blessings generally end with the words: Urbi et Orbi (to the citizen and the world).
    In the end there comes a stage when the Sadhak feels no necessity even for prayer.
Sweet art Thy doings,
Nanak desireth only Hari Naam. 118

In whatsoever state I am, that is a Heaven unto me. 119
                                                                                                          GURU ARJAN

When God is the Knower of the secrets of all, there hardly remains anything to be told Him. With the Lord seated in each one of us and permeating our very being, what need is there to pray and to whom?

Hari is the Indweller and knoweth all,
To whom then art we to tell of us? 120
                                                              GURU ARJAN

What should the lowly urge for
When God is seated within all? 121
                                            GURU RAM DAS

Saints always live in this state. Being one with His Will and conscious co-workers with Him, prayer of itself becomes a heresy for them and savors of scepticism. Nature's forces simply wait on them. However slight a thought may arise, it must, like an immutable law, prevail. God is ever with His devotee and looks after him with more care and attention than any loving mother would give her child.

    Guru Arjan tells us:

He who asks from the Lord, whatever it be, that is granted forthwith,
0 Nanak! the words of the devotee do come true wherever he may be.
For the sake of His devotee He runs far and near,
And stands ever by his side,
Whatever the devotee asks of Him, that must happen. 122
Kabir, describing the condition of his mind, tells us that it has, like the water of Ganges, become so transparent that even God has become enamored of him:

Kabir, thy mind is now as clear as the Ganges water.
Even God Himself restlessly follows thee shouting, "Kabir, Kabir." 123

When all the desires of a devotee get automatically fulfilled, he naturally becomes desireless. The wish-yielding treasure of Naam, becoming manifest within, takes care of him at every step.

With the Lord God as a loving Father, the child has no hunger for aught, for
Thou art the treasure-house of Naam and he gets whatever he wishes. 124

The prayers of the devotee cannot go in vain. 125
                                                                                         GURU ARJAN

When the Great Donor is with the devotee, the devotee has nothing to pray for; for he is one with Him and there is nothing besides whom he may address.
    Guru Arjan draws a wonderful pen-picture of this state of perfect satiety:
Deathless is He and I have nothing to fear,
He being Immortal, I have not to wail;
He is not poor and I have no want,
He being above sorrow and pain, I too have none;
Besides Him there is no destroyer, He and I live eternally,
When He is free, there is nothing to bind me,
Both of us are above the stage of bondage;
He being Immaculate, I too have no stain,
He being within me, what taint can I have?
He has nothing to think of and nothing is left for me to think,
Neither of us has anything to gloss over;
Desireless is He and I too desire nothing,
He is spotlessly pure and so am I,
I have no existence apart from Him, for He alone is:
0 Nanak! through the Master has this delusion disappeared:
Having dipped in Him, we are dyed in one color. 126
(ii) Ask for Guru (A competent Living Master)

    The Lord is overflowing in the Guru. "Being imminent in the Guru, He distributes the Word." The Guru God personified. Pray to the Lord:

Oh Merciful Father, the Destroyer of our ills, be kind and send us
  the Satguru. He is the very support of our life. Through Him alone
  we can attain to Thee.
Thou art Merciful and the Destroyer of all our ills. Attend to our prayer.
  Please make us search for the Satguru, through whom we know Thee. 127

0 Lord, the very Soul of the Universe, grant us faith in Naam
  (the Mystic Word), and the benevolent and purifying company
  of the true men. 128

0 Lord, allow us that Satguru, remembering whom we shall be liberated.
  At his very Darshan (a sight of him) the mind feels exhilarated. We shall again
  and again lay our very life at his lotus feet. 129
                                                                                GURU RAM DAS

Beg from the Lord and the Guru their Divine Vision, complete self-surrender and the gift of Naam. Pray also to be saved from the evil tendencies of the mind and the senses. Being Omnipotent, He is capable of granting us all these boons. Besides this, the seekers may pray for the gift of happily resigning to His sweet Will. We have no good qualities in us. Being ignorant and of low mental caliber, we are not well versed in religious ceremonies, etc. Therefore, oh Beloved! have mercy on us. Bestow on us the capacity to sing Thy praises and to remain happy in whatever be Thy Will.
Virtueless, blind, ignorant and unlettered as we are,
We know not what is good for us or for society,
Be merciful, 0 Lord! that Nanak may sing of Thee,
And may ever rejoice in Thy Will and Pleasure. 130
                                                                                     GURU RAM DAS

In addition to this, pray for the grant of devotion and of Naam.

By repeatedly uttering Thy Naam, we are freed from doubt and fear,
Those who are absorbed in Thy sweet remembrance will be freed from
  the cycle of birth and death. 131
                                               GURU ARJAN

We are humble mendicants at Thy door,
Be gracious enough to bless us with Thine Amrit (Nectar) of the Word,
Satguru is my Master Friend, please grant me his contact. 132
                                                                                                                    GURU RAM DAS

Forgive me for my lack of good qualities and make me your own, my Master,
Thou art Infinite and Unknowable,
Graciously make known to me Thyself through Shabd--the Mystic Word. 133
                                                                                                                                                        GURU AMAR DAS

My Lord, the Creator, is the Ocean of all goodness,
Who can adequately praise Him?
Saints pray for the gift of the highest bliss of Naam. 134
                                                                                                              GURU ARJAN

We are but humble mendicants and beggars,
Thou art the Protector of our honor,
Be kind and give us the alms of Thy Naam,
  so that we may remain always intoxicated in Thy love. 135
                                                                                                          GURU AMAR DAS

0 Lord! take us under the shadow of Thy protecting wings,
We are unable to do anything on our own,
Graciously give us Thy Naam. 136

0 my Divine Friend, grant that I may every day make an effort
  to think only of Thee all the time,
0 give me a contact with Shabd--the Bread of life. 137

The company of Saints dyes us with His Naam and all our desires are fulfilled,
Nanak prays for Thy Mercy and Thy Grace and that we may
  remain absorbed in the sweet memory of Thy lotus feet. 138
                                                                                                                           GURU ARJAN

0 Rama! make us the servant of Thy Servants.
Grant us the boon to bask in the light ofSaints
  so long as the breath of our life lasts. 139
                                                                   GURU RAM DAS

0 Merciful Lord! Graciously grant us the radiant dust from the feet of Saints. 140
                                                                                                                                                                       GURU AMAR DAS

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