CELEBRATING KHOJ GURBANI: Pitfalls & Pleasures of Translating

The Internet is abuzz these days with a sea of initiatives in translating the Guru Granth.  I hope to capture some of the complexity of this never ending task today. In the process I want to take note of a new portal Khoj Gurbani– an effort embarked upon by mostly young tech savvy minds; I am the lone exception on both counts,

Khoj Gurbani was unveiled last week on Vaisakhi 2014.  A group of Sikhs: men and women, based around the world in India and the diaspora aim to meet via a connected, wired platform once a week.  Starting from page one of the Guru Granth, and moderated in turn by one of the small group, the participants, who can log in from the world over, will raise questions and exchange insights and ideas on how to translate the verses being read, how to frame the ideas of the weekly reading assignment in user friendly terms and how to present the proceedings in easily searched and researched platform.

I, of course, celebrate the initiative most heartily.  I also see that in a single hour the group would be sorely limited in how much material from the Guru Granth it can pursue – perhaps no more than a page or two.  Clearly reaching the last line (page 1430) would take us far into the foreseeable future; it would surely be a lifetime project.

Inner-Sanctum-Celebrating-Khoj-Gurban-1On the other hand, one could argue that several English translations and search engines of the complete Guru Granth already exist; I possess four of them.  Some are easily accessible on the computer with appropriate search engines.  Do we need another time consuming initiative.

My answer is an unequivocal yes.  So, let me build a meandering and convoluted case for it.

Today, there is perhaps no continent or country where Sikhs are not.  Wherever we have ventured, we have taken our lifestyle, family values, seductive cuisine, song and dance, and our incomparably enterprising spirit.  And we have taken along Sikhi – a unique, universal and timeless message — a way of life that makes us what we are.

Now we have a globally connected existence of a nation without walls.

Historically ours has always been a polyglot reality, but now more than ever. Now Sikhs are growing up outside the comfortable cultural cocoon of Punjab and India. Their norma loquendi is no longer Punjabi or any Indic language; the cultural context, too, has dramatically shifted.

The mythological antecedents of India shaped many of us, not because they were essential to core values of Sikhi, but because Indian mythology was the overarching cultural context of India. This lore is now alien to a new generation of Sikhs.  Many diaspora Sikhs may be more conversant with Greek folktales than with the Indian.  This is not unexpected or unwelcome; technology merely hastens the process.

Much as any immigrants, Sikhs in the diaspora remain in an increasingly complex bind. We dearly value, what is for many of us our mother tongue, Punjabi, but within our lifespan it has already diminished to a transactional presence, effectively limited to social banter, music and humor. We are not comfortable enough to pick up a book of poetry, history or philosophy in it, and so we usually don’t.

Then there is English, but in that, too, our command of the language is frequently transactional.  We master it to the extent demanded by our work that puts food on the table, but rarely, if at all, for the pleasure of ideas on history, poetry or philosophy in it.

So, the education of the mind is often effectively stalled in both Punjabi and English.

Inner-Sanctum-Celebrating-Khoj-Gurban-2Now consider this: The repository of our spiritual heritage — Guru Granth – is traditionally penned in the Gurmukhi (Punjabi) script, but contains little of present-day conversational Punjabi vocabulary. In fact, Gurbani showcases the lexicon of many Indic and Middle Eastern languages extant when it was composed 300 to 500 years ago.  It is written in the vernacular of the times with copious references to Indian mythology.  Gurbani does not endorse mythic legends but frames the teaching such that it would resonate with the average Indian of that time.


Clearly, no matter the topic, teaching is best couched in the culture, context and language of the student or else the lesson is lost.  I can vouch for this, having taught a very different discipline for umpteen years in the North American university setting.

Most Sikhs in India, but even more, those who have spent lives outside it, are not quite so adept in the Indian languages, and absolutely at sea in much of Indian mythology.  Plus, those legends have little or no relevance to our present day lives.

In brief, I submit that many of us are equipped to handle neither any Indian language nor English with much finesse or fluency beyond a rudimentary transactional level. We are equipped to peruse history, philosophy or poetry in neither English nor Punjabi. And the mythology only distracts us.  Hence, the dire need for translations; they connect us to the eternal and essential message of Gurbani without disconnecting us from the modern world in which we live.

Moreover, our sacred writings are largely cast in inspired poetry that, to us, is divine.  And I don’t need to tell you the difficulty in deciphering the mind of a poet when he plays with words, language and meter in the cause of poesy.

Ergo, good faith efforts to translate the poetry of Guru Granth and capture its lofty message are critically essential; how else can we understand or adopt it as a blueprint for our life?

Why translate?

Inner-Sanctum-Celebrating-Khoj-Gurban-3Think of a moment in any conversation, no matter how simple, no matter if it is with an arch enemy or a soul mate.  Isn’t it accompanied by some thought about what the other person really meant or understood? Isn’t that, in effect, a translation of the simplest communication? Understanding the other person demands tuning into (translating) his or her moods, gestures, body language, words and frame of reference and mining them for meaning.

Translation then is the only effective way to delve into what another mind has to offer.  War and peace stem from translating or mis-translating each other before framing responses. I aim today to plough a path between the pitfalls and rewards, the bouquets and the brickbats whenever we dive into translation.

The literary output of human civilizations of yore often comes to us via translations.  That’s how we know of Homer, the greatest poet of ancient Greece, and of Virgil and Ovid, of similar standing in Rome of a bygone era.  We celebrate Kalidasa as the preeminent playwright and poet of ancient India and we access his work through modern translations of it.

Since a translation and the original text can never be equal to one another, translation is, by definition, an essentially impossible task. So the relevant question becomes: how accurately does a translation capture the mind and insights, even the beauty of the poet’s meter and language?  Such questions are rarely laid to rest, but they give birth to new scholars of the original language and also the one in which a translation is done. Countless academicians earn doctoral degrees from such effort. By starting from every translator’s premise: “I am going to attempt the impossible,” there is an essential courage implied by taking on the task.

Times and cultures change, as do languages.  Over time, the vernacular becomes opaque, literary language even more so. For instance today, only a few hundred years after Chaucer, his Canterbury Tales defy comprehension without translation into modern English. Similar hurdles abound in engaging with classics of Western civilization, such as the writings of Plato, or German and Latin Masters.

How good is any translation?  This is not so easily answered, but it deserves an exploration.  As examples, let’s revisit two classics:  the poetry of Omar Khayyam and the King James New Testament.

And then we will segue into the matter of translation of Guru Granth.

Inner-Sanctum-Celebrating-Khoj-Gurban-4Omar Khayyam was a Persian poet and astronomer who lived from around 1048 to 1131. Some of his quatrains (Rubaiyat) have seen at least 15 translations in English and also in German, French and even Indic languages, including Hindi and Bangla.

Why so many English versions?  Obviously, scholars differed on fidelity or its lack in the available renderings.  In fact, some critics derisively labeled the immensely popular version by Edward FitzGerald as the “The Rubaiyat of FitzOmar.”  FitzGerald himself published five editions in 30 years that show significant variations among them.

A translation depends on how the translator interprets the philosophy and context of the original message. My second example, even more instructive, comes from Christianity.

Many versions of the New Testament exist. The earliest was in the Koine Greek language; some chapters were possibly in Aramaic.  Some Hebraic scholars deem the label “New” Testament to be a misnomer open to misinterpretation; they reason that “Christian Bible” would be a more accurate title.

The first English translation of the Christian Bible was by followers of John Wycliffe but it was banned in 1409. King Henry VIII authorized an English translation, The Great Bible; its version (The Bishop’s Bible) followed in 1568.

The puritans, a part of the Church of England, were upset by these versions.  In 1604, King James convened the Hampton Court Conference.  It proposed a new translation that became the Authorized Version of the Bible in English, and was prepared between 1604 and 1611by 47 scholars, all members of the Church of England.

Inner-Sanctum-Celebrating-Khoj-Gurban-5Opposition to this Bible surfaced early. Hugh Broughton, a Hebraist scholar, condemned it in 1611; Broughton said that “he would rather be torn in pieces by wild horses than that this abominable translation should ever be foisted upon the English people.”

But a hundred years later, it became the Bible in all Anglican and Protestant denominations and remains unchallenged today.  Nevertheless, The Roman Catholic Church continues to follow its own Bible that has seven more books than the King James Version.

The history of scriptures in most religions is equally convoluted, except that the Guru Granth Sahib of the Sikhs was compiled by the Founder-Gurus themselves and its authenticity remains unchallenged.

My purpose is not to judge any scripture but to explore problems inherent in translation and transmission of a heritage.  A plethora of Sikh sites on the Internet host translation projects these days; I welcome them and I also wonder.

When my interest in the Guru Granth awakened, my intimacy with its language and grammar was minimal.  My stumbling eased when I discovered the 1966 UNESCO publication — an English translation of selections from Guru Granth and related writings by five iconic masters of the grammar and lexicon of Sikh scriptures – Trilochan Singh, Jodh Singh, Kapur Singh, Bawa Harkishen Singh and Khushwant Singh, and edited by a poet, George Fraser.  I still find this by far the best translation, way above any that I have seen.  It captures the magic, even though now the language seems a little archaic, and the book remains incomplete.

In the early 1970’s the first complete translation of Guru Granth in English by Manmohan Singh appeared.  (Ernst Trump’s translation was way earlier, but it was incomplete.)  Manmohan Singh’s phraseology was often awkward; sometimes he left me wondering exactly what he meant.  As translations by Gopal Singh, Trilochan Singh, Sant Singh Khalsa, Pritam Singh Chahil, and Kartar Singh Duggal appeared I eagerly pounced on them, but was left flailing at sea by the language, style or lack of clarity.

In time, I graduated to exegesis in Punjabi by Bhai Vir Singh, Professor Sahib Singh or others.  Sometimes they, too, left me untouched and baffled when they appeared to mix unquestioned traditional or mythological lore with the pristine purity of the Guru’s message.

Inner-Sanctum-Celebrating-Khoj-Gurban-6All our existing translations bar two are solo efforts – one person’s endeavor.  The exceptions are the UNICEF publication and the four-volume Shabdarth in Punjabi which is not a complete translation, but a guide to difficult words and concepts throughout the Guru Granth; it is published by the SGPC and no single author is identified.

Of many that are possible, I offer you brief examples where the traditional translations often leave me stranded.

Should one literally interpret Farid’s recommendation to kiss the feet of the enemy? Or, for that matter, what to make of the traditional take on the cycle of birth and death; or that even our smallest action is controlled and prewritten by God, which would then leave us no free will and no option to act otherwise.

I don’t quite see that a Creator — that Gurbani assures us repeatedly cannot be measured, has no form, shape, color, caste or gender — sits out there somewhere micromanaging my puny existence, keeping track of all my sins committed or contemplated, and yet all of my actions are in accord with God’s prewritten dossier on me.

Such matters often leave one wondering what exactly the Guru meant.

As I see it, living a life in Hukum, like walking in the shadow of God, transcends our literal rendering of Gurbani.  To me it becomes to live in the present – in the moment – to have the courage to change the things we can change, to accept with serenity (as Hukum) what we cannot change, and the wisdom to know the difference.

After all Gurbani is mystical poetry – full of allegories, analogies and metaphors, seldom to be literally rendered.  Ultimately, the follower of a faith has to interpret what the teaching and the doctrine or traditions mean to him or her.

A translator’s lot is never easy. He has to know two cultures intimately: their languages, idioms and traditions, the land and the people, the history and mythology that have shaped them.  And then the translator has to navigate between the two realities seamlessly. In the process of translation an early obvious loss is the inability to capture the rhythmic flow and cadence of inspired poetry that transcends the literal rendition.

Inner-Sanctum-Celebrating-Khoj-Gurban-7Given the richness of the original language, grammar and mythology, any translation project promises to be a life-long unfinished quest.  Remember that a translator needs to merge the cold-blooded mind of an analyst and grammarian with the warm joyous heart of a poet in an existence of faith.  Not only that, but the translator himself is growing and changing and therefore his insights into the original text are bound to change over time. Any translation is but a snapshot in the moment of committing pen to paper. Translation is a daunting task but surely, many dedicated translators who are steeped in Sikhi will come out of making the effort to translate.

Even when the language is not so alien or abstruse, differences in interpretation between equally brilliant minds are not uncommon.  Look at the laws of any country.  Without plausible and differing interpretations of the same law a society would not need thousands of lawyers and so many different levels of judiciary, and the courts would never be so busy ferreting out the truth.

For example: What exactly did the framers of our Constitution really mean – Is ours a Christian nation?  How is the line between Church and State to be interpreted?  Do differences in interpretation of civil rights exist or don’t they?  And many more questions like these.

This says to me that I, or any Sikh, will always have to struggle to make sense, from an inadequate translation, of what the Guru likely meant, no matter how good it appears to be.  And that becomes the lifelong path of a Sikh.

Do I still get lost?  Often!  But I am reassured by Gurbani that my smallest, hesitant step towards the Guru will be reciprocated by the Guru covering miles towards me.  In other words, grace will pervade and prevail. And that with further analysis, cogitation and reading, a sense of the poetry will emerge.

When I realized this, I knew that I was on my way home.

I love all translations; particularly the ones that don’t seem so good or easy.  Essentially, they place the onus on me.  I then stop and wonder if the Guru could have meant what the translator implies. If the translations had been excellent, I might never have made the struggle my own.

No person and no interpretation may be guaranteed to be totally true today and forever. The best scholar or translator, like a lawyer, can only guarantee honesty of effort, not purity of result.

Inner-Sanctum-Celebrating-Khoj-Gurban-8That and a hefty dose of grace make my relationship with the Guru Granth semipiternal.  Guru Granth tells us (p. 594) “Dithay mukt na hoveyee jichhar sabd na karay vichhaar,” it is not the sight of the Guru Granth but thoughtful engagement with the Word that will liberate one.

The translations are necessary and the road ahead is rocky. I celebrate Khoj Gurbani and point out that what we translate today is not for ever; it will need retranslating and tweaking by every new generation.

Explore the translations, old and new, and keep on hand the original text of Gurbani.

Access the site by clicking on: www.khojgurbani.org.  More than a translation, it makes the opportunity for conversation by the cyber-sangat.

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About I. J Singh

Dr. I. J. Singh has written a thoughtful series of essays on issues and problems confronting Sikhs at the turn of the millennium. He has published five books. I. J. Singh was born in Gujranwala, and educated in India at Simla and Amritsar and in the United States at the University of Oregon Medical School and Columbia University. At present he is Professor Emeritus of Anatomy at New York University.

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  • Kirpal Singh

    It is interesting to read Dr. IJ Singh’s view points on the subject.

    This is just another attempt to capture the depth of vast ocean of Gurbani.

    It will not lead to any useful purpose by inviting a heterogeneous group of people who differ in the basics of Gurmat.

    Any meaningful goal (but still of limited value) will be achieved by involving Gurmukhs (Anbhavi Gursikhs) only.

    Guru Nanak Sahib’s Mool Mantar is explained very well in Jap Ji Sahib; and Jap Ji Sahib is exhaustively explored by Guru Nanak Sahib himself and by the 2nd, 3rd, 4th , 5th and 9th Guru with full support of various Bhagats in their compositions alongwith other Mahapurakhs (they were all anbhavis).

    Gurbani can be studied/interpreted only by Gurbani. So those involved must have lived the life (enjoying nadr/kirpa/grace/gurparsad of Waheguru) according to Gurbani to be able to give a somewhat true and meaningful glimpse of Gurbani.

    With Waheguru’s blessings.

    Kirpal Singh
    Wellington, New Zealand

  • Roma Kaur Rajpal

    It was surprising to read Kirpal Singh ji’s feelings about the new Khoj Gurbani website. I am as usual awed by I.J. Singh’s writing, and was actually overjoyed to know about this wonderful new way to learn Gurbani – I immediately forwarded the email to my family and checked out the website. The website allows us to learn the perspective/understanding of many people from all over the world. It would undoubtedly be great to have a team of learned scholars who could translate Gurbani (in an official way). Many people will love that and benefit from it, but that is just one approach to learning Gurbani. It is possible that some people won’t connect to the translation since they are looking for something else, something more interactive, where their questions can be answered and they can read a variety of explanations to help them analyze Gurbani for themselves? And, this website presents this unique different way to learn – a quest, a dialogue/discussion with many other learned people around the world. There are many knowledgeable people out there who we don’t know and this is a way to hear their thoughts and their analysis. By the way, we have a few different translations at home including from Bhai saab Bhai Veer Singh Ji but sadly I don’t understand them as well as I should. His books are the best so far in my experience. Online apps such as “Gurbani Anywhere” and “Dhur Ki Baani” are great and I do enjoy those, and now this new website’s new format is most welcome! The opportunity to start learning Gurbani right from the beginning, in an interactive format, where one can ask questions and read other people’s questions, and then read the answers – this entire process will enrich us as we come to an understanding. I believe there are countless Gurmukhs all around us, all over the world, people who try to live by following the ways of the gur, people who are interested in Gurbani, who have a love for Gurbani, who yearn for the truth, who are trying hard to live a good life! Today, in the the very self centered world we live in – living our own busy lives, it becomes crucial to explore Gurbani to fill our spiritual needs – it is important to read, think, question, and discuss Gurbani to develop a better understanding of life – who we are, why we are here, and what for? It is terrific to get a chance to know different viewpoints, insights, explanations of Gurbani. Through knowledge gained by reading all perspectives we are able to conclude what makes sense to us and what keeps us inspired to walk on Guru’s path. There are many learned scholars, knowledgeable souls with a passion for Gurbani who get a chance to contribute which we will all benefit from.
    The website may not be for all – people who feel they know Gurbani well enough and are content with their understanding, or some people who might feel it is a waste of time to engage in purposeless discussions with strangers, or some who just do not have the interest or time. And, that is totally fine. It is of course up to the individual to decide what works best for them. I personally do believe this has a lot of potential, and it is ideal for people of all ages, people who have an interest, a thirst for learning Gurbani, whose learning style matches this format. For the youth in the diaspora looking for answers, this is an outstanding Gurbani resource!

    • Kirpal Singh

      Dear Roma Rajpal Ji,

      We need to start first and foremost with the exercise of understanding and acceptance of Basics of Gurmat before embarking on translating/interpreting Gurbani. For evolving or developing a Methodology, I give here under a brief for consideration:-

      Gurbani is Divine poetry and to comprehend it one needs to bring oneself to a wave length as close as possible to the composer. So there is need to evolve a methodology for translating/interpreting Gurbani with a clear guideline out of Gurbani by embracing acceptance of some Basics of Gurmat in order to stay in a well defined boundary:-

      1. Ik Oankaar – there is one and only one Waheguru (God). “IK Tuhee” – though known by various names.
      2. Acceptance of Concept of “Dhur ki Bani”.
      3. “Nanak ke ghar kewal naam”. (Tera ek naam tare sansar, mei aiha aas eiha aadhaar and Houmai naave naal virodh hei doe na vase ik thaine).
      4. “Bani Guru Guru hei bani, vich bani amrit sare”. (Sabd Guru as the guiding vehicle in life).
      5. “Gur sikh sikh guru hei, eko gur updesh chalaie”. (Gurus have one Jot).
      6. Bani of Bhagats, Bhatts and other Mahapurakhs is at par with Gurbani in quest for spiritual path.
      6. “Toon ghat ghat antar sarab niranthar, Har eiko purak samana”.
      7. Experience of Importance of “Naam Japna” (Waheguru Jaap) and Simran (Prab ka simran sab te oocha).
      8. Significance of Gurparsad/Nadr/Kirpa/Bakhshish/Grace in Gurbani.
      9. Need and hunger for “Gobind Milan” through Naam.
      10 To rise to a state of blind faith in Gurus and Waheguru accepting that Gurbani is collection of guiding Divine Truths for shaping/leading a purposeful life of a Gurmukh.

      I was able to watch one session of this group. Though S. Ravinder Singh (Moderator) and S. Charan Singh were trying to keep Gurmat close to their chests, a university scholar was promoting a thesis of his supervisor and was out of tune. Others were speaking just ad hock giving reference to others’ writings.

      With Waheguru’s blessings.

      Kirpal Singh
      Wellington, New Zealand

  • Roma Kaur Rajpal

    I understand and agree with your thoughts Kirpal Singh Ji. I was raised in a religious family, with a mom whose has love and passion for Gurbani. She used to sing 4-5 shabads each month at kirtan diwans for over a decade when we lived in Connecticut, and we three sisters sat beside her all of our teenage years singing along. She would always try to teach us meanings of shabads she sang since she was so passionate and excited about the meaning and what the guru is saying. We sometimes would get annoyed thinking all she does is talk about Gurbani 24/7. Only after I got married and moved away, I realized what she had given me. A love and an admiration for Gurbani. So, I hear you.

    To fully understand Gurbani and to live it is a life long process. Anyone who is born lives with limitations. We all lack many qualities and have to make an effort to improve ourselves, to learn, to live selfless lives and get close to the Guru (God). But, this does not mean that an average person who is trying to walk this path of truth can’t have any insight or should not be allowed to speak or share his/her thoughts on Gurbani. Gurbani I feel is best learned through vichaar – a dialogue, a discussion – it is a quest for truth.

    Exactly like a classroom – Learning happens best in a highly interactive classroom setting – lots of discussions, questions, and answers, where students are encouraged to ask questions and share their viewpoints. ( I have a poster in my classroom – “Even Einstein asked questions” ) A student might pose amazing questions or provide insight thereby increasing learning in all students. Students can be a source of inspiration for a teacher in a classroom!
    The point is to keep on learning life long from who ever comes along in life to teach you, as long as it is taking you in the right direction – the path of Truth.

  • I,J, Singh

    Thank you, Kirpal Singh, for your note.

    If the questions is who should translate Guru Granth, my response is a bit convoluted.

    For an officially sanctioned, community-accepted version certainly a team of scholars-gurmukhs is necessary. How to identify these individuals and create one “Commission” is a very different matter that I’ll touch another day but well after a fair discussion on this essay has opened some doors.

    It is not a matter that I alone or with a couple of others can or should attempt to decide, execute and impose on the community. We have to change the sentiment in the community towards such a need. In the meantime, perhaps readers would identify a procedure for a Commission.

    In the meantime much individual and collective effort will continue towards a generally accepted translation, however imperfect it is.

    As I pointed out in the essay, any dialogue between any people, no matter if they are arch enemies or soul-mates, requires an element of translation where each individual weighs the nuances of words, their meanings, inflections, body language, including eye-contact to arrive at a meaning — and even then not always correctly. And I pointed out where experts over time disagreed on the meaning and substances of historical texts such as the Bible and other literature.

    Why would it be different for arriving at an individual understanding of the Sikh message and teaching?

    The onus then, finally, is on the individual Sikh. They will keep working with the imperfect models that exist and keep thinking of better outputs. That’s why I take note of individual efforts and sites that are proliferating.

    The good ones will attract more notice and get better, the poorer ones would surely wither and fail sooner or later.

    My idea here is to foster a conversation on the topic, not to rush to judgment.

    Your note is much appreciated

  • http://www.unitedstarminds.com/ Mandip Kaur Sandher

    Amazing article and so timely.

    Guru Granth tells us (p. 594) “Dithay mukt na hoveyee jichhar sabd na karay vichhaar,” it is not the sight of the Guru Granth but thoughtful engagement with the Word that will liberate one.

    In the Bible it is written:

    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1

    The Greek word for Word is Logos, the Divine animating principal underlying the Universe.

    So we have the Word, Shabad, or Logo’s meaning the same thing. Shabad Guru (teacher) i.e. learn from the Word which will liberate us or “connect us back with our Inner Teacher/Intelligence” pervading all things.

    Every image in creation is Word, Logos, manifested principal of the Creative Spirit. What lies beyond the form is where the “pointer” is encouraging the reader to reflect. That formless energy that speaks at the intuitive level in unique and fresh ways for each individual that reads Gurbani.

    My mental programming was given a shock effect last week while at a wedding the mother of the girl bride announced “she wanted to recite a Shabad … immediately my ignorance was dispelled when the mother began reciting poetic WORDS for her daughter or no religious content. I then understood Shabad in her context meant WORDS and not a holy hymn!

    We learn by the experience and then we share. Truly see watch catches your eyes attention and see in physical creation the Creator IN the Creation Playing through word play and patterned images.

    See attached image notice word Liv it is in Gurbani has many meanings but in laymen terms means LIVE life but also in Gurbani someone told me it means Connection. Notice how the image is the “sound” icon used in telecom. The words are ALIVE and Speaking intuitively … Logo’s means Speech, Thought.

    Happy reading and understanding whichever way Guru/Universe desires to “reveal” to each of our hearts.

  • http://www.unitedstarminds.com/ Mandip Kaur Sandher

    When the Universal “attunes us” (makes us receptive and aware) to the Universal Arena of our Inner Truth we SEE with our eyes the underlying rumblings occurring within events. The words/shabad are guiding us. Example the number 777 resonated through direct experiential that 777 could also be read as Sat, Sat, Sat. This realization did not come until someone on Facebook wrote 22ji. I asked what it meant and the individual responded Brother Ji. This unfolded to my in-law’s house address 2232 as 22 (brother) 32 (light.) This is experiential first hand direct knowing. New fresh way of comprehending the Word/Logos. The poem of the Acrostic Poem of the Black Slate Ang 432 is the biggest clue to reading the words and alphabet to attune us to the Universal. Received this “riddle gift” at a store called Sacha Sauda in Toronto when someone suggested I read Nanak’s alphabet poem and eluding that mandavaani (seal) means riddle.

    The genuine merchandise is found only in one shop-it is obtained from the Perfect Guru. ||17||
    ਸਉਦਾ ਇਕਤੁ ਹਟਿ ਪੂਰੈ ਗੁਰਿ ਪਾਈਐ ॥੧੭॥
    Soudhaa Eikath Hatt Poorai Gur Paaeeai ||17||
    सउदा इकतु हटि पूरै गुरि पाईऐ ॥१७॥
    Ang 146 – Guru Angad Dev

    True is Your Court. It is proclaimed and revealed through the Word of the Shabad.
    ਸਚੁ ਤੇਰਾ ਦਰਬਾਰੁ ਸਬਦੁ ਨੀਸਾਣਿਆ ॥
    Sach Thaeraa Dharabaar Sabadh Neesaaniaa ||
    सचु तेरा दरबारु सबदु नीसाणिआ ॥
    Ang 144 – Guru Nanak

    Truly, truly, truly, Nanak speaks; look within your own heart, and realize this. ||4||3||42||
    ਸਤਿ ਸਤਿ ਸਤਿ ਨਾਨਕਿ ਕਹਿਆ ਅਪਨੈ ਹਿਰਦੈ ਦੇਖੁ ਸਮਾਲੇ ॥੪॥੩॥੪੨॥
    Sath Sath Sath Naanak Kehiaa Apanai Hiradhai Dhaekh Samaalae ||4||3||42||
    सति सति सति नानकि कहिआ अपनै हिरदै देखु समाले ॥४॥३॥४२॥
    Ang 381 – Guru Arjan Dev

    When number 381 kept catching my eyes attention (Canadian Tire ad car with helicopter pouring water the license plate read ABC 381F – I looked up ang 381 and found 777 or Sat, Sat, Sat. The movie Unstoppable with Denzel Washington had the number 777. As I watched the movie I noticed the airline hostess pass by with a food trolley and the number 777 was on it. I got off the plane a pipe lying on the floor at Sacramento had the number 777. Guru teaches the Creator is diffused in ALL things. Rihanna song Diamonds in the Sky used the 777 number all pointing to one thing, Sat, Sat, Sat.

    Now to bring things forward we have the missing Malaysia Plane Boeing 777-200-ER. One day before the plane went missing someone emails me from Malaysia (small chit chat about his daughters.) My husband brings home a bag of sausages next day and remarks it was for charity offered by his Chinese co-worker. I flip the bag and it reads Suicide. Then the epiphany. The Names. Captain Zaharie (hari) the pilot. The missing links begin to connect. 14 Nationalities on board (14 worlds Guru Govind Singh.) Calligraphy artists and painters on board. Husband tells me to visit Hamilton Gurdwara. Meet old friend ask him where he works he mentions Star Navigation (company building black boxes involved in airline sector and quoted in Malaysia missing plane event.) TV program Black Box launches within month of Malaysia missing plane. Black Box is metaphor for the Brain in Psychology (mind.) Conquer Your Mind, Conquer The Universe – Nanak. What was 200? Jaap finishes at 199 … a few years ago I received intuitive inkling on 200 – the words “Let The Games Begin.” The words on the child’s T-Shirt following the Haiti Earthquake were experienced. When we ponder on a line of Gurbani or any word, the WORD begins to appear IN creation. We begin to SEE the inner intuitive nudges. I pondered line 199 of Jaap and thought what an odd number to end a poem at. Then the idea of 200 came to mind, meaning Change was on the Horizon. Nothing stays the same. The Creative Spirit is always fresh and new if we allow it to bloom from within.

    I could go on an on. But that is not my work. My work is to share the experiential because the Guru’s (inner teachers) Door is open for all of humanity. No special rituals, simply read, contemplate and then resonate. The inner activation happens easily. We must all take a leap of faith on our own. Then the mystery is no longer but a Divine Plan unfolding for each of us to partake in and share the experiential journey. Is this not what Anand Sahib states: “Akath Karo Khahanee” (Share your Story/Journey) – the Christians call this Give Your Testament (learned this when I allowed the greater reality of my truth to merge/blend” with the Oneness of the Universe.

    Self realization comes in many ways through the Word. 40 Christian Martyrs, 40 Sikh Martyrs and 40 Catholic Martyrs … not rocket science when one month after this epiphany I receive phone call from Hamilton Gurdwara to come give talk to 40 Christians. You may read, how I asked Guru Nanak a question and how he replied through the below link. When we ask he always replies!

    What can the poor Vedas and bibles do? People do not understand the One and Only One. ||6||
    ਬੇਦ ਕਤੇਬ ਕਰਹਿ ਕਹ ਬਪੁਰੇ ਨਹ ਬੂਝਹਿ ਇਕ ਏਕਾ ॥੬॥
    Baedh Kathaeb Karehi Keh Bapurae Neh Boojhehi Eik Eaekaa ||6||
    बेद कतेब करहि कह बपुरे नह बूझहि इक एका ॥६॥
    Ang 1153 – Guru Nanak Dev

    The way to vibrate and meditate on the Lord of the Universe is different.
    ਗੋਵਿੰਦ ਭਜਨ ਕੀ ਮਤਿ ਹੈ ਹੋਰਾ ॥
    Govindh Bhajan Kee Math Hai Horaa ||
    गोविंद भजन की मति है होरा ॥
    Ang 381 – Guru Arjan Dev

    Peace and blessings to all and may your eyes now see that which has been blending and fusing into all things and people IN all the Creation.