What kind of renunciation?
Ramkali Sovereign 10
O mind, adopt this kind of renunciation:
Consider all houses as the forest; remain non-attached within the mind. Pause-reflect.
Sexual restraint is matted hair, connection with the 1 is pilgrimage bathing; daily commitment is growing
Wisdom is the Guru; let it instruct the inner-self, apply the ash of Nam-Identification.
Consume less, sleep even less; consider compassion and forgiveness as the love for the body.
Always be gentle and content; transcend three prescribed Indic virtues.
Do not bring lust, anger, pride, greed, stubbornness, and attachment into the mind.
Only then can inner-self envision the essence and realize the Supreme Being.
Ramkali musical mode invokes mood and emotions of discipline, pain, and triumph.
Sannyasa in Sanskrit means “to put down everything, all of it.” In Hinduism, it is the last stage of life marked by the renunciation of material desires and prejudices, represented by a state of disinterest and detachment from material life, and has the purpose of achieving liberation. It is a form of asceticism where yogis seek to complete their yoga journey.
Essentially how can I “purify” everything? How can I work toward letting go of possessions? Guru Gobind Singh Sahib, the Sovereign, tells me I don’t need to go to the forests or the mountains. All I need to do is focus on mentally non-attaching myself to the temporary materials and transient relationships. I understand non-attachment is freedom from things and relationships, whereas detachment is distance and disinterest from them.
The Sovereign redefines everything yogic, including yoga, as the original idea of union or the connection with the 1. The Guru disrupts yogic rituals with practical things an everyday person in the family can do. The most important of which is to consider the Wisdom to be the ultimate guru (mentor or expert), for it is only the Wisdom that helps us identify with the 1. I must let the Wisdom instruct me, not the knowledges and methods of the masters or yogis. I must apply the Nam-Identification all over my body, not the sacred ashes or the holy waters. Will each pore and every part of my being and body identify with the 1?
The Sovereign is telling me that consuming less is to work towards not indulging, sleeping even less, and not wasting time to pursue this life’s purpose of union and connection with the 1. Practicing compassion towards the needy and the pained, and not just stop at my family, friends, and tribe; forgiving the one who harmed or violated me as well as the ones who genuinely repent and apologize for crimes against humanity — this is how my body and my being prepares to really renunciate instead of deceived by self-righteousness and self-love. Practicing gentleness is to remain calm amid noise and distractions around me, challenges and triumphs within me. Being content is to remain in gratitude regardless of the circumstances of my life’s trajectories. This is how I will go beyond Indic or yogic fixations on three virtues — sattva, rajas, and tamas — the prescribed pure, action, and toxic characteristics. Will I listen to my Sovereign and change my behavior?
Mind habitually gravitates towards lust, anger, pride, greed, stubbornness, and attachment. Be attentive, don’t let it get attracted to them. Remind the mind to renunciate them; that’s the Sovereign’s guidance. Stay the course so that the inner-self or the real being within may see, reflect and experience the 1-Great-Being.
Note: We are very finite; our understanding is finite too. We aspire to deepen our relationship with the Guru. In this translation and commentary, we focused more on meaning, context, and message and less on literalism and poetics. We aspire to learn and live the message to end our separation from the 1.
This artwork, inspired by Guru Gobind Singh Sahib’s composition, explores the practice of “sannyas,” the renunciation life stage. I have placed the home in an overgrown forest to show the relationship between the home’s temporal space and the forest’s spiritual space. The Guru urges us to think, is there a real difference between the two? Wanting a connection doesn’t necessitate leaving home. The connection can be found wherever we find ourselves; the circle of footprints represents this. Footsteps walking away from home show this supposed spiritual journey being attempted away from home. I chose footprints because I didn’t want to limit this journey to any particular type of person. When the awareness of ੧/IkOankar/the One enters the mind, the steps change course and walk back home, depicting the letting go of stubborn, fixated ideas and much more. I intentionally chose not to define the home's characteristics and not limit the context to any particular geographical space or way of living. The color of the sky shows that it is early morning. It represents the time in which the musical mode of this composition is to be sung. The three colors (rust, orange, and yellow) represent the “triguṇ,” the virtues listed in the last lines of the composition.
Note: Where there is greenery, there is ‘natural life.’ I situate the readers, the learners, and seekers, those engaging with the composition there. In every artwork, I have placed ੧, a reference to IkOankar, the One, without limiting it to an object-based depiction such as a sun or a moon. The colors are chosen intentionally to evoke a particular interpretation or adhere to a cohesive color palette to show the relationship between the ten compositions of Guru Gobind Singh Sahib.
ਰਾਮਕਲੀ ਪਾਤਿਸਾਹੀ ੧੦
ਰੇ ਮਨ ਐਸੋ ਕਰਿ ਸੰਨਿਆਸਾ॥
ਬਨ ਸੇ ਸਦਨ ਸਭੈ ਕਰਿ ਸਮਝਹੁ ਮਨ ਹੀ ਮਾਹਿ ਉਦਾਸਾ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ॥
ਜਤ ਕੀ ਜਟਾ ਜੋਗ ਕੋ ਮੱਜਨੁ ਨੇਮ ਕੇ ਨਖੁਨ ਬਢਾਓ॥
ਗਿਆਨੁ ਗੁਰੂ ਆਤਮ ਉਪਦੇਸਹੁ ਨਾਮ ਬਿਭੂਤਿ ਲਗਾਓ॥੧॥
ਅਲਪ ਅਹਾਰੁ ਸੁਲਪ ਸੀ ਨਿੰਦ੍ਰਾ ਦਯਾ ਛਿਮਾ ਤਨ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ॥
ਸੀਲ ਸੰਤੋਖ ਸਦਾ ਨਿਰਬਾਹਿਬੋ ਹ੍ਵੈਬੋ ਤ੍ਰਿਗੁਣ ਅਤੀਤਿ॥੨॥
ਕਾਮ ਕ੍ਰੋਧ ਹੰਕਾਰ ਲੋਭ ਹਠ ਮੋਹ ਨ ਮਨ ਸਿਉ ਲਯਾਵੈ॥
ਤਬ ਹੀ ਆਤਮਤਤ ਕੋ ਦਰਸੈ ਪਰਮ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਕਹ ਪਾਵੈ॥੩॥੧॥
rāmkalī pātisāhī 10
re man aiso kari sanniāsā.
ban se sadan sabhai kari samjhahu man hī māhi udāsā.1. rahāu.
jat kī jaṭā jog ko majjanu nem ke nakhun baḍhāo.
giānu gurū ātam updesahu nām bibhūti lagāo.1.
alap ahāru sulap sī nindrā dayā chimā tan prīti.
sīl santokh sadā nirbāhibo hvaibo triguṇ atīti.2.
kām krodh haṅkār lobh haṭh moh na man siu layāvai.
tab hī ātamtat ko darsai param purakhu kah pāvai.3.1.
Bhai Balbir Singh