What kind of Yoga?
Ramkali Sovereign 10
O mind! Earn the union by this method:
Consider Truth as a horn, non-deception a necklace, and ascend ash of contemplation. Pause-reflect.
Control inner-self as holding a one-string instrument, and Nam-Identification as a support to receiving alms.
Experience the essence of Hari-1 as the sound of supreme strings; that's where melodious musical modes emerge.
Wave of color-love arises from melodic improvisations and compositions of songs of deep knowledge.
Gods, demons, and sages witness in amazement; those riding skies are in happiness.
Control inner-self as the instruction; practice self-restraint as garb; and unrecitable recitation as the recitation.
That’s how the body always remains golden; the fear of death doesn’t affect it.
Ramkali musical mode invokes mood and emotions of discipline, pain, and triumph.
Jog, yog, and yoga literally mean union. In Hinduism, Yoga is one of the six philosophical schools. Yoga has many practices where the objective is to control and still the mind. In the west, its more popular forms are Hatha or Tantric.
Essentially what method do I practice to “unite”? Do I need to attach, join, or harness as intended by yoga? Guru Gobind Singh Sahib, the Sovereign, tells me that I need to unite with the 1. I don’t need yoga, nor its paraphernalia or practice.
All I need to do is play the music of truth, i.e., voice the truth and not play the yogi’s horn called singhi. All I need to do is not be deceptive in my living and not wear the rosary-like yogi’s necklace made from rudraksha beads called kanthula. All I need to do is contemplate on the union with the 1 and not rub the yogi’s ash on my body called bibhut.
All I need to do is to control my mind and not play the yogi’s one-string instrument called kingri. All I need to do is to make my support Nam, the Identification with the 1, and not the handbag of the yogi to collect alms from the public. This is how the best vibrations of Hari strike within, how the melody is produced within to identify with the 1. Hari is All-Pervasive, Fear-Eliminator, 1Force, and much more. Nam is recitation and remembrance of the 1, qualities and attributes of the 1, and much more. Hari is the destroyer of the suffering, the panacea to end the separation. Hari’s Nam is how I identify with the 1 personally and intimately.
All I need to do is become the lover of the Beloved colored with the multiple rising waves of music, defined and undefined. The musical love will create the lyrical harmony of Nam-Identification within me. Then, I will be ready to receive the songs of deep knowledge, the infinite wisdom in Sabad. Sabad is word-sound that captures dimensions of the infinite wisdom emanating from the 1. Then, I will be ready to ride the waves of discipline and conduct towards union with the 1. Everyone is in awe of that connected being’s color-love. The gods, the demons, and the sages are listening to that music of Nam-Identification of 1, and so are the ones riding the skies like the sun, the moon, and the stars.
All I need to do is control the mind, not instruct the mind like the yogi. All I need to do is to practice self-restraint from vices and not wear garbs like the yogi. All I need to do is to recite the 1 who is not recitable naturally and not force specific recitations like the yogi. When I earn this yog-union, my body will remain golden and death-free forever, healthy and fearless to remain in union with the 1. The Sovereign is telling me to not be fixated on yoga in this world; instead, develop the love for the 1 and feel the identity of the 1. That’s the union, the yoga, that matters!
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’s composition, explores yogic symbolism as the “things” needed on a spiritual journey. The horn instrument represents truth, the necklace represents sincerity, and the ceremonial ash represents contemplation. Each “thing” is held and then discarded by one of the figures as they walk towards the ੧/IkOankar/the One. I chose a vague landscape with a wide angle to show the linear human figures, which look similar to a time-lapsed photo. They are reminiscent of how evolving humans are presented in history textbook illustrations showing the changes from animal to human. However, this is a different sort of evolution. The figures are intentionally vague. The focus is on the motion of moving towards the ੧ and the discarding of the “things.” The first figure is facing away from the ੧ entirely, the second is letting go of the ash, the third has tossed the necklace into the tree branches, the fourth is putting down the horn, and the fifth is walking, unburdened by any of the above objects, towards the ੧. The moon cycles are a nod to the mention of waves of color and to tān (creative improvisation, the calling out of the scales of musical modes that all have a time prescription), showing an almost vibrating appearance of the moon and the human figures. As the figures depart this cave and discard the “things,” the bodies turn golden.
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 ਇਹ ਬਿਧਿ ਜੋਗੁ ਕਮਾਓ॥
ਸਿੰਙੀ ਸਾਚੁ ਅਕਪਟ ਕੰਠੁਲਾ ਧਿਆਨੁ ਬਿਭੂਤਿ ਚੜ੍ਹਾਓ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ॥
ਤਾਂਤੀ ਗਹੁ ਆਤਮ ਬਸਿ ਕਰਿ ਕੀ ਭਿੱਛਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਅਧਾਰੰ॥
ਬਾਜੈ ਪਰਮ ਤਾਰ ਤਤੁ ਹਰਿ ਕੋ ਉਪਜੈ ਰਾਗੁ ਰਸਾਰੰ॥੧॥
ਉਘਟੈ ਤਾਨ ਤਰੰਗ ਰੰਗਿ ਅਤਿ ਗਿਆਨਿ ਗੀਤਿ ਬੰਧਾਨੰ॥
ਚਕਿ ਚਕਿ ਰਹੇ ਦੇਵ ਦਾਨਵ ਮੁਨਿ ਛਕਿ ਛਕਿ ਬ੍ਯੋਮ ਬਿਵਾਨੰ॥੨॥
ਆਤਮ ਉਪਦੇਸੁ ਭੇਸੁ ਸੰਜਮ ਕੋ ਜਾਪੁ ਸੁ ਅਜਪਾ ਜਾਪੈ॥
ਸਦਾ ਰਹੈ ਕੰਚਨ ਸੀ ਕਾਯਾ ਕਾਲੁ ਨ ਕਬਹੂੰ ਬ੍ਯਾਪੈ॥੩॥੨॥
rāmkalī pātisāhī 10
re man ih bidhi jogu kamāo.
siṅṅī sācu akapaṭ kanṭhulā dhiānu bibhūti caṛhāo.1. rahāu.
tāṁtī gahu ātam basi kari kī bhichchā nāmu adhāraṅ.
bājai param tār tatu hari ko upjai rāgu rasāraṅ.1.
ughṭai tān taraṅg raṅgi ati giāni gīti bandhānaṅ.
caki caki rahe dev dānav muni chaki chaki bayom bivānaṅ.2.
ātam updesu bhesu sañjam ko jāpu su ajapā jāpai.
sadā rahai kancan sī kāyā kālu na kabahūṁ bayāpai.3.2.
Bhai Balbir Singh