Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Guru Nanak: Singing Ekonkar!

My dear Guru Nanak has taught me that the purpose of life is to sing Ekonkar. And I am not talking about singing with a guitar. I am talking about celebrating our oneness with the universe, because it is this celebration that brings peace and bliss.

I am talking about singing ONENESS in thoughts, words and actions -- believing that everyone around, including self, belongs to One entity, the supreme mystery, the universe, and one may even call it "God".

I am reminded almost every moment of the Oneness by angels who sing. This blog mentions just some of those angels I encounter who are singing. This blog also tries to illustrate the different ways and colors of singing Ekonkar. Enjoy, and if you have any questions feel free to email me: shivpreetsingh at live dot com.

Why should we sing Ekonkar?
When we sing Ekonkar we are in perennial bliss. Because we realize that the purpose of life is to sing ... the purpose of life is to sing the positives in lives so loud that noise of negatives are not audible. In Kathy Vajda's words, "If you can take the negatives in your life and play them in a more positive note, then you can hear and see the beauty in everything." Yes, those who sing Ekonkar, are surrounded by beauty.

Where does "Ekonkar" come from?
The most repeated phrase in the the holy book containing my dear Guru Nanak's teachings, my dear Guru Granth Sahib, is "Ekonkar Gurprasad". Ek means One. Om comes from the unit energy of the universe that resides in everything. Kaar is shape. The simplistic meaning of the phrase is "One In the shape of Om, Gift from the Master."

Is Om God?
While Ekonkar is sometime loosely translated as "One God," we have to be careful with that translation. First, most cultures do not believe that God is something you can receive as a gift. And then, in most cultures God is the Father who lives in heaven. But that is not what my Guru Nanak meant. Guru Nanak's Ekonkar is omnipresent, all pervading, present everywhere. The knowledge and remembrance of Ekonkar is the gift from the master.

So I think a better way to translate Ekonkar Gurprasad is "Oneness of all learned from the master."

The Mool Mantra
The Guru Granth Sahib starts by defining Ekonkar in the Mool Mantra with just 8 words. Following those 8 words are more than 1300 pages of songs celebrating Ekonkar Gurprasad. Singing of Ekonkar Gurprasad leads to bliss. Therefore I sing. That is in fact the purpose of life. The purpose of life is to sing Ekonkar Gurprasad.

Through this blog I am trying to document on a periodic basis, angels that help me remember Ekonkar Gurprasad. They are angels because they help me sing. Because they remind me of what my dear Guru Nanak says, they are in spirit my dear Guru Nanak. They help me understand how to celebrate life. They are the masters. They give me the gift of the knowledge and remembrance of Oneness of all.

This is one way of fulfilling the purpose of life (to sing Ekonkar Gurprasad): finding angels who are singing of the oneness in all and remind me of the oneness of all.

This blog is about my life fulfilled by angels.

More Ramblings ...
Every poem I read and every song I sing from my dear Guru Granth Sahib is a song celebrating this phrase in a different meter and color. I have and continue to read several religious and philosophical books (What I love to read) and find it amazing the entire philosphy that removes all doubts from my minds boils down to "the singing that one phrase.

What is not in the phrase and what is, makes this the most elegant phrase of philosophy, the most glorious truth, I have ever read. It has helped my understanding of the mysteries of our universe. Now I understand other philosophical ideas better.

Because Ekonkar is a very bright truth, that is impossible to see with the naked eye, you have to say it slanted so people can understand and not get blinded by the glare; Emily Dickinson correctly says, Tell all the truth but tell it slant ( 

There is no brighter truth; so it is impossible to translate this phrase.  The literal translation does not do justice to the meaning of Ek Omkaar, but it can provide a start: "One Om Shape, True Guru's Gift." Or perhaps this: "Identified as the shape of Om, the primordial sound of the universe, there is only ONE.  The understanding of this unity comes as a gift from someone who is enlightened."  I also sometimes say it means, "

Because most of Gurbani is written in first person, I love the first person alternative definitions of Ek Omkaar.  They seem to strike a personal chord in my heart:
"My Guru blessed me with the knowledge that we are all ONE."
"I know I am One with my Guru's grace"
"I know we are One with my Guru's grace"
"I know One with Guru's grace"
or simply
"One with Guru's grace"

However, because there is no difference between Guru and God (because the true Guru is One with God), an alternative, liberative definition of "Ek Omkaar, Gur Prasaad" is:
"In God's will One with all"
and because it rhymes better:
"In the Will of God, I am One with all"
and subtracting for elegance:
"Will of God, One with all"

Knowledge and remembrance of the concept of Ekonkar is the primary philosophy of my dear Guru Nanak. Those who believe in Ekonkar love everything in this universe exactly the same, because everything has the same source. The balance of justice and equality in the principle of Ekonkar leads to inner peace.