How to fall in love with God
we usually associate the term love with loving another person; usually of the opposite sex. That is the kind of love that we nurture with another person of flesh and blood. However, here Guru Ji is talking about another dimension of love. This love is neither for a person; nor of a romantic type, as is immortalized in the legions of books like Romeo and Juliet, or Heer and Ranja etc. Instead, it is love for God and that, too, is steeped in a deep sense of reverence. The love that Guru Ji is referring to is not for a person, but a personal nature and a trait. Let us see if we can find out about this expression of love in the Guru Granth Sahib. Let us first start with Guru Nanak Dev Ji.
"Mohee prem pirae prabh abinaasee raam." (SGGS, Pg. No. 843) Meaning: I am enticed by the love of my Husband Lord, the Eternal, Imperishable Lord God.
Here Guru Nanak Dev Ji is sharing his excitement and the enthusiasm that has welled up in him for God. In fact Guru Nanak Dev finds this love so intoxicating that he expresses that feeling in these words:
"Bhao tera bhaang khalrree mera cheeth. Mai daevaanaa bhaeiaa atheeth." (SGGS, Pg. No. 721) Meaning: Your Reverence, O Lord God, is my marijuana; my consciousness is the pouch which holds it. I have become an intoxicated hermit.
Thus, we can see that Guru Nanak Dev Ji is not just declaring his adoration and reverence for God, but also declaring that he has become a crazy hermit in love. This strong bonding of love that Guru Nanak Dev Ji experienced and shared with us through his writings is different from our experience. However, the pangs of separation, besides springing forth feelings of emptiness, anxiousness, and anxiety, are like those experienced in the worldly love. However, there is an added new dimension here - a keen desire for reunion. Such is the heart and feelings of the truly intoxicated in the divine love.
Let us explore the similar feelings of Guru Ram Das Ji.
"Merai mun tan prem lagaa har baan jeeo." (SGGS, Pg. No. 175) Meaning: The arrow of the Lord's Love has pierced by mind and body.
We have known about the piercing arrow effect of love that has been immortalized with an image of Cupid, but what about that experience for God? Well it is not one of our experiences. Next let us explore the similar feelings of Guru Arjan Dev Ji the complier of Guru Granth Sahib.
"Aisee preet govind sio laagee. Mael la-ae pooran vaddabhaagee." (SGGS, Pg. No. 198) Meaning: Such is my love for the Lord of the Universe has blossomed; through perfect good destiny, I have been united with Him.
Elsewhere, Guru Arjan Dev Ji has shared his emotions of being deeply in love in the following words:
"mUlwlnisaupRIiqbnI]rhwau]qorInqUtYCorInCUtYAYsImwDoiKMcqnI]" "Moo laalan sio preet banee. Rahao. Toree n toottai chhoree n chuttai aisee maadho khinch tanee."
(SGGS, Pg. No. 827) Meaning: I have fallen in love with my Beloved Lord. Pause. Cutting it, it does not break, and releasing it, it does not let go. Such is the string the Lord has tied me with.
The quotations above express love as a state of mind as experienced by Guru Ji, and how he stays in that state of mind. That day and night Guru Ji is thankful from his heart, because that bonding has grown in him. Further, he prays to God please bless him, so that this feeling may be continuously nurtured. He says that every attempt to disengage from it or snap from it fails. This is not falling in love but is rising in love and ascending higher. Now, let us explore; if we can taste the same steep love for God from the Banis of Bhagats in Guru Granth Sahib. Bhagat Ravidas has expressed his true love with God in these words:
"Saachee preet hum tum sio joree. Tum siyo jor avar sang toree." (SGGS, Pg. No. 659) Meaning: I am joined in true love with You, Lord. I am joined with You, and I have broken with all others.
In this line we can see the true expressions of love for God, while having disconnected from others. In fact all the above quotes share with us the emotions of special bond of love with the divine. In elsewhere Ravi Das says on page 487 that because of this love I will not come back in incarnations. We all have this same yearning that we try to fulfill in our worldly relationships with our beloved, spouse, parents, and children. But our experiences have not been so fulfilling nor have they been nurturing. So, where should we turn for help? Guru Ji advises how to seek help:
"ik®pwiniDbshuirdYhirnIq]qYsIbuiDkrhuprgwswlwgYpRBsMigpRIiq]" "Kirpa nidh basaho ridhai har neet. Taisee budh karhao pargaassa laagai Prabh sang preet."
(SGGS, Pg. No. 712) Meaning: O Lord, ocean of mercy, please abide forever in my heart. Please awaken such understanding within me, that I may be in love with You, God.
Guru Ji puts a precondition before that understanding can develop with these words:
"Jao tau prem khelan ka chaao. Sir dhar tale galee maeree aao." (SGGS, Pg. No.1412) Meaning: If you desire to play this game of love with Me, then step onto My Path with your head in hand.
The condition imposed by Guru Ji is only to come with your head in your hand. The expression is an analogy for a person who is ready to die. But here Guru Ji is not talking about the death of the body, but is talking about the death of the ego. In the next line Guru Ji says that when going on this path there should not be any hesitation nor any concerns for the opinions or the viewpoints of others. Guru Ji provides the guidance to those who give up ego:
"Vin sathagur gun n jaapanee jichar shabad n karae beechaar" (SGGS, Pg. No. 936) Meaning: Without the True Guru, one does not see God's Virtues; one does not chant the Glorious Virtues of God.
So, Guru Ji is asking us to seek guidance of Guru to develop virtues. How do we develop the virtues within and how can we meet them to learn from them? Before developing virtues the first step is to have understanding of virtues, seeing the virtues, and then appreciating them. Thus the Guru Ji will become the conduit and the coach for the entire process. A Sikh, who is a seeker, will experience the loving nature emanating within. A Sikh can only pray to Guru Ji and seek help, to nurture in him/her this tender sapling that it grows into a giant flowering tree. Let us pray that Guru Ji may provide us with such a blessing that a giant tree of loving with flowers of beauty and fragrance grows within us. Guru Arjan Dev Ji's these words may become our reality of life:
"Aisee preet govind sio laagee. Mail laae pooran vaddabhaagee." (SGGS, Pg. No. 198) Meaning: Such is my love for the Lord of the Universe; through perfect good destiny, I have been united with Him.
Gurus have extorted us repeatedly to love God wholeheartedly; without expectations of any returns. Guru Ji has given us many similes of the type of love that he is talking about. These include references to water lily (lotus), and fish regarding their love for water. Guru has given more examples to emphasize the point by referring to a song bird's yearning for rain drop and so on. In conclusion; Guru Ji says that without the Guru this love does not emanate within. Still, the tricky mind will always be looking for excuses to get out of this emotional bonding. Every time it makes that excuse, we will have to be vigilant enough to steer it back with the following suggestion:
"Aisee preet karahu mun maerae, aath pehar prabh jaanahu naerae". (SGGS, Pg. No. 807) Meaning: Enshrine such love, O my mind, that twenty-four hours a day, God feels near to you.
Then only we can share what we will experience within. In fact Guru Arjan Dev Ji has expressed that feeling in these words:
"Sunahu lokaa mai prem rus paaeiaa." (SGGS, Pg. No. 370) Meaning: Listen, O people: I have tasted the elixir of love.
Let us pray, hope, aspire that we get to taste this divine love or Prem Rus in our lives. The words referred to above serve as an inspiration for us that we need to develop and nurture such a relationship. Let these words fuel our desire for this divine love. Our singing of these words may not just be repeating the Guru Ji words on a musical scale, but a true heart rendering. The Guru Ji's blessing is all that we need and aspire for, and may we be blessed to experience the feeling of divine love within. May we literally feel the experience, the rising up in True Love.
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