Writing Poetry with Inni Kaur
‘Anhad’ – our discovery of the ‘unstruck melody’
In Gurbani there are many references to the term ‘anhad’ which transcribes as the experience or expression of Namas an ‘unstruck chord or melody.’ An ever constant, vibration that resides within but when elicited is described by some as experiencing 1000 symphonies in concert. Essentially, these descriptors enable us to imagine how experiencing this unstruck melody could enable us to develop just a taste of Nam - our divine essence.
In one of our sessions in Gurbani 101 led by Inni Kaur, we reflected on how Gurbani is structured, written and recited in poetic tradition. We considered the range of feelings that Gurbani evokes in us such as love, faith, devotion and conviction. These feelings elicited occurs through recitation, with the uncovering of the intentional meaning of SabadGuru in poetic form. We reflected that this process was like uncovering a series of love letters, each unfolding the ultimate expression of the Divine.
To explore this poetic genre further, to contemplate further on how our Gurujis’ communicated their love and experience of the Divine, we were asked to get in touch with our own voice, and our experience of the Divine. However, the challenge being for males to write from a female presence and for females to write from a masculine presence. And we had just 10 minutes to write!
But why you might ask?
Because this challenge inevitably led us to become attuned not only to our own voice (our divine essence) but the discovery of one universal voice, limitless and boundless commonly referred to in Gurbani as ‘Ik Oankar’. The following is a collection of poems written by the students of Gurbani 101 in their experience of ‘anhad’ their unstruck melodies in their self-expression of the divine.
We were assigned to write a poem in the gender perspective opposite of ours, and so I had to write in the female perspective. One of my passions is reading, and one thing I love about reading is that we are not confined by any boundaries when reading a book. We engross ourselves in the book and block out everything else. We are able to leave behind nagging worries and concerns and devote ourselves to exploring a new world for a few hours. Reading allows our imagination to run wild and forget any constraints we may have in our daily lives. I hope this comes through in my poem, and hope you enjoy it!
Reading is a release from the world around us
Reading is an escape from what surrounds us
Reading takes us far from where we begin
Reading makes our minds wander after the end
Reading never ceases to amaze
Reading turns you around and upside-down through a maze
Reading lets me be myself
Reading doesn’t say I need a man’s help
Reading doesn’t disappoint my father and mother
Reading doesn’t wish I was a brother
Reading doesn’t confine me to cooking and cleaning
Reading gives my life more depth and meaning
Reading gives me purpose to strive to achieve
Reading doesn’t favor Adam and blame Eve
Reading takes us out to space, through a telescope
Reading has no one telling me I can’t, no Caliph, Pandit, or Pope
Reading lets me be me, not telling me that I shouldn’t
Reading lets me be who I am, and I’m a woman
The smell of fresh roti and rajma
Up my nostrils.
Simple and comfortable
Each with its distinct voice.
What do they want now?
Door closed, don’t enter.
I’m not mad just busy.
The roar of the television sneaks into my room.
The click-clack of my Dadi’s walker down the hallway.
Dada ji urging her to move faster.
Arguments rage like fire.
The flow of the imperfect abode.
Chaos and peace.
One in the same.
This poem is about my experience at Sidak 2017 before, during and after. And the feelings described is why I came back again this year.
Nervous, hopeful, questioning
Ready for something new.
Ready to gain experience
Diving further into Sikhi
Tired, focused, determined.
One week later.
Doing new things
Building a foundation for Sikhi
Learning, Resting, Applying
Using my new experiences
Teaching what I Learned
And expanding my Sikh knowledge.
I grew as a person.
I grew as a Sikh.
Today I’m still growing
This poem depicts a revelation about the purpose of ‘sangat’ and the role it plays in establishing one’s union. This in essence was my experience of Sidak 2018.
Alive, living embodiment, our divinity.
Laughter, connection, contemplation,
Our spirit united in congregation.
Listening, listening to hear the pearls of wisdom,
Listening, reciting and chanting your perfection.
Our minds are challenged, our hearts are open,
We hear your voice which becomes one in contemplation.
Without your voice, we seek refuge within ourselves
Which can become dry, listless without expression.
In your grace we meet, we cry and laugh, free spirited.
In longing for your love, grace and divine perfection.