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Practical Nitname

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Practical Nitname

Mankind is congenitally blind and for most people the vision of the divine, ever present and around them, remains forever concealed. The problem lies in the human man , that inner faculty which commonly we call our ‘heart’ but which comprises of the heart, mind and spirit. Within the man evil exercises its vicious sway, seduced by the passions it generates, most are blind to the spiritual reality that lies within and around them. Driven by their evil impulses, they behave in a manner which, in accordance with the law of karma, earns appropriate penalties. For such people the result can only be the round of death and rebirth, the endless sequence that extends suffering through all eternity. The fundamental problem is haumai , or self-centered concern for all that attracts the proud, the sensual and selfish. As long as the man is in the grip of haumai there can be no hope of escape. The endless round continues.

What then is the solution ? The solution says Guru Nanak Dev Ji, is Naam, or ‘divine name’. The person who learns how to appropriate the naam will be free from the chains which bind that person to the wheel of transmigration. The term naam, as used by Guru Ji is an expression for the whole notion of Akal Purkh and all that constitutes. It is, to use another expression, sat, or ‘truth’ and one commonly encounters the combination sat-naam, or ‘true name’.

Naam is the sure remedy offered by Akal Purkh, the timeless One, who created the universe and lovingly watches over it. Akal Purkh the creator, the sustainer, dwells immanent in all creation, and because that exists in an expression of the divine being then his creation represents the express manifestation of naam. Naam is the ever-present and all-pervading presence of Akal Purkh, and whoever perceives this presence gains access to the means of mystical unity with Akal Purkh.

How is the divine Name to be appropriated ? Although the naam is thus revealed for all to see and accept, men and women are congenitally blind, unable to perceive the truth that lies around them and within them. Deceived by the mischievous prompting of their weak and wayward spirits, they are heal in permanent subjection to evil passions and false beliefs. Vainly they seek the elusive means of deliverance, foolishly trusting in rituals and false paths. Release can only be found by opening ones eyes to the naam and by appropriating its wonders within the mind and heart.

How then is each misguided person to perceive the naam, and how is it to be appropriated ? The knowledge of the divine name can be attained because Akal Purkh is a God of grace, speaking the word of divine understanding to all who are prepared to shed their haumai and listen in humility.

In order to secure liberation one must attune ones whole life to that harmony expressed as the divine Name. This one achieves by means of the regular, disciplined practice of naam-simran or ‘rememberance of the Name’. A simple version of this technique consists of repeating a word or expression that summarises the meaning of the divine Name and thus Akal Purkh, terms such as satnaam or waheguru. Kirtan is another form and thirdly, and most sophisticated, is a technique of meditation that inwardly reflects upon the meaning of the divine Name, with the initiation of bringing the whole being into harmony with the divine harmony of the Name.

Sikhism places a great emphasis on Naam Simran but ask most Sikhs on the practicalities of it and you get a confused message. Most do not even acknowledge the Karmic System saying it to be of Brahamin influence, also our Gurdwaras and Institutions seem to be too preoccupied with internal politics to guide us .

Simro simar simar sukh pavoh,

Kalh kalase tan mahey mitavoh.

What is the answer to life the universe and everything, well it is not 42 , the answer is simple but the philosophy behind it is immense. Naam is the answer. Without it one cannot break out of the circle of births and deaths that we are all locked into to achieve Mukhti (salvation). Sikhism places high emphasis on the simran of Naam.

Naam tull kish awar naa hoaiy,

Nanak gurmukh naam pavay jan koiay.

There is nothing greater then his name,

(Guru) Nanak says only very few godly people can obtain this name.

This is the one catalyst for all the other good things that we do, without Naam they do not register. Each and every one of us has a Karmic account. Put simply one can regard it as a bank account with credits and debits. When we come into this world we bring with us an already fully functioning account. It is credited with our past deeds and this determines the cards we are dealt with in this life. Have you ever noticed that some people can achieve great success with relatively little effort, some people can sail through school attaining top grades and everything they touch turns to gold, metaphorically speaking. Other souls find life more difficult having to struggle for the little success in their lives. This is due to the Karma that we bring with us, it gives us a springboard to launch our lives or acts like shackles holding us back. The trick is to overcome our past Karma and to sow for the future, easier said then done!

Bhai prapat mahuke dehuria, Gobind milan ke eh terri baria,

Avar kaaj terai kitai na kaam, Mil sadh sangat bhaj kewal Naam.

- You have obtained the human body, this is your opportunity to meet the Lord of the World

All other works are of no avail to you. Join the society of godly persons and meditate on the one true Name.

Naam is a difficult concept to explain. Akal Purkh has many names, Waheguru, Satkartar, Ram, Allah, Narain, Raheam, Khudaa are but a few. These act as mantras and the simran of his name has a cleansing effect on the soul. We must take little steps before we can run and remember it is by the grace of Waheguru that we step on the path in the first place.

Jis no kirpa kerhe tin naam ratan paia, Gurmukh ladha manmukh gavaia

Tudh ap vischoria ap milaia

- He, upon who You shower Your mercy obtains the Jewel of the Name, the true devotees obtain the Name and the faithless apostates lose it. You Yourself separate and You Yourself unite.

Take an activity that you repeat daily. This can be anything from walking to the bus stop, or driving to work, or even the walk from where you parked the car to your desk. Set this time for your Guru. You can either repeat the mantra of 'Waheguru' , the 'wahe-' with an inhalation of breath (or step of the left foot) and the '-guru' with the exhalation of breath (or the step of the right foot). Alternatively you can repeat the mantra of 1st Pauri (verse) of Sri Japji Sahib (majority of Sikhs should know this, if not, shame on you). Try this for a week, it is not easy as you will forget on many occasions but persevere and in a few weeks time as you get into your car or park you car , or whatever it is you do to start your mantra, you will automatically start it. Over time this will become second nature and what you will find is that it will start to creep into other parts of your life, you will find that you are reciting the 1st Pauri when you are making a cup of tea or walking along a corridor at work. This is only the start, the journey is long and arduous but please, do not be disheartened as the alternative is very bleak.

Amrit Whaila (Gurus time) is very important to a Sikh. Amrit Whaila starts at the stoke of midnight, that is the start of a new day, to 6:00 am. The 'credits' go down as the hours tick by but it is quite acceptable to get up at 4.00am but one must finish with the Ardas before the stoke of 6:00. Why so early, why early at all, why not have a long lie in?

'Udum' is a special thing, one must make an effort for your Guru and you will be rewarded. Also it is very quite and peaceful free of distractions (of which there are many).

One must cleanse ones outer self before one can start on the inner, so an 'ishnaan' or bath before one sits down is very important.

Create yourself a little space in your bedroom, maybe in a far corner, although this can be difficult with the limited space one has these days. Make this your place of worship, keep it clean put down a white sheet, do not allow any shoes near and do not allow anyone else near. This is no ritual, all you are doing is keeping a space free of clutter and keeping it clean for your simran. Guru Ji place great importance on 'suchum'.

The absolute minimum nitname of a Sikh is the 'panj banis'(prayers) - Japji Sahib, Jaap Sahib, Amrit Swayia, Bainty Chaupai and Anand Sahib Ji. By reciting these sacred banis one is just keeping ones head above water. One should ask 'what extra am I doing to build up my karma?

Upon sitting down one must address the forces within you that are in a constant state of flux over your Atma (soul). On one side we have Kaam, Krodh, Lobhe, Moh and Hunkaar (KKLMH). On the other you have Dharam, Gian, Sat, Santokh and Dhaya (DGSSD). Whenever one tries to do Naam Simran or gain access to Gurus Sangat then the five KKLMH become very active, one needs to be aware of them to counteract them. You may notice that when you sit down to do your Japji Sahib or Jaap Sahib your mind becomes very active, all manner of thoughts pass through your mind, before you know it you are on your last Pauri, or you find that suddenly your nose starts to itch or you get an itch on your forehead or tickle up your nostril, these are all ways to distract you. If one can recite the Bani from memory then the distractions are worse as you close your eyes, but try to direct your concentration between your eyes while all the time listening to what you are reciting.

In your Ardaas ask for Sawa of the Sangat and to meet a Sant or Mahapursh who can help to guide you to your Guru. Having taken Amrit and joined the Khalsa our father and mother are Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji and Mata Sahib Kaur Ji, but there is still a need for guidance and this can be obtained from a Sant Mahapursh, just by doing Darshan of a Sant Mahapursh can be very beneficial to our Karmic account.

' .......Eke painda jai chall, satguru kote painda agai hoi late hai'

Guru ji says that if you take one step towards me I will take Kote (many many) steps towards you. Guru ji is waiting with open arms to embrace you but you have to make the effort and take that first step.

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