What is the Ruler?
Kalyan Sovereign 10
Do not accept anyone else created as the Creator.
Consider the First, the Unborn, the Unconquerable, and the Imperishable as the Supreme Ruler. Pause-reflect.
So what if many came as incarnations in this world, so what if Hari-Vishnu-Krishna killed ten or so demons?
Proclaimed himself to be brahma-creator after showing many plays.
The Divine is ever capable of destroying and carving; how can that 1 be shown and measured?
This is why no one can save themselves from the strike of the sword of All-Death.
O ignorant! Listen, how can the one who is drowned in the world-ocean ferry you across?
When you take refuge in World-Source, only then will you be free from the noose of death.
Kalyan musical mode invokes mood and emotions of blessings and goodness.
Paramesvar (or parameshwara) in Hindu tradition refers to Shiva, the destroyer. Param is supreme, foremost, or highest, whereas Esvar is ruler, owner, or chief. For Shiva's followers, he is paramesvar; the ultimate and highest reality eternally rules everything. For Shaivites, Shiva is understood as the creator, preserver, and destroyer.
Guru Gobind Singh Sahib, the Sovereign, emphatically declares that anyone created or formed by the 1 cannot be confused with the 1 and must not be accepted as the 1-Creator. To my Sovereign, no one else can be termed as the Creator except the 1. To my Sovereign, only the 1 is Paramesvar, the Supreme Ruler. Only that 1 has been present before the universe was created. Only that 1 is beyond the cycle of birth and death. Only that 1 is almighty who cannot be defeated by anyone. Only that 1 is not perishable who will remain eternally. And only that 1 can be termed as the Supreme Ruler!
My Sovereign explains to me so what if many came as gods on this earth? And so what if those gods killed ten or so demons referring to Krishna, the incarnation of Vishnu and is known as Hari? Though incarnations are primarily of Vishnu, several texts also mention the incarnations of Shiva. In Hindu traditions, they are 33 kinds to a total of 330 million incarnations. So what if those incarnations, through pretense and drama, convinced many on this earth? And so what if they, through their power and magic, self-proclaimed themselves as brahma, creator, in the eyes of everyday people? I better not get taken in by the stories and the drama laced with fascination and power plays. Because if I do, I will also mistakenly start calling those extraordinary human beings, mythological heroes, or sheroes a creator and supreme ruler. I must listen to my Sovereign; I must accept the 1 as the Creator and the Supreme Ruler.
My Sovereign explains to me that the 1 whose perfect capability and capacity is operating between creating and destroying is not visible to my senses; how can that 1 be shown and described? I must accept my Sovereign's explanation. I must develop my senses to envision and perceive that 1. My Sovereign further explains that the All-Death is an attribute of the 1, and everyone as the target of the 1 is inevitable. All of us mortals’ death is marked by the 1. The 1 as the All-Death strikes, and there is no way anyone can escape that eventual strike; death to all is certain on this earth. How can I accept any incarnate or character as creator or supreme ruler who eventually dies? I can not. I will not.
My Sovereign then asks the ignorant me: listen, see, and tell me how can anyone drowning in the world ocean save you from drowning? How can those caught up in their own games, real or imaginative, who are not free themselves on this earth, free you? My Sovereign then advises me: You can, and you will escape the fear of death and death itself. You need to enter the sanctuary of the World-Source. The 1 is the World-Source from the beginning, don't think any earthly or mythical authority can ever be the creator or supreme ruler in your visible reality and invisible abstraction. Your safe space, your protection starts and ends with the 1. My Sovereign is too gracious; he guides me to be under the sanctuary of the 1 in whose sanctuary he himself entered. And in that 1’s sanctuary and mentorship, I will understand, and I will accept, only the 1 as the Creator and the Supreme Ruler.
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, uses the story of Vishnu’s death to depict the concept of illusion or mirage in the world. The composition begins by saying without an authentic relationship with or an understanding of the Creator, don’t accept fabrications or reductive explanations of the One. The word used is “prapañc” or play, display, hypocrisy: seeing something that isn’t what it truly is. The story of Vishnu's death is complex and exciting, but one that can die cannot be the ੧/IkOankar/the One. The one who has drowned cannot be the ੧ to ferry you across. This imagery of being ferried across a difficult journey reminded me of film depictions of crossing a large desert; they show travelers walking endlessly and not finding water. Sometimes they are so dehydrated and exhausted that they hallucinate about an oasis in the middle of the desert. Seeing palm trees and water, they think their thirst will be quenched, but upon getting close enough, they see it is an illusion. The desert can be deceiving with its wisps of wind and sand, obscuring the landscape and altering our perception. We may see lush trees and bodies of water, and the moon may be mistaken for the sun. However, the ੧ remains around and above, shining brightly in the constellation, illuminating the sky's vastness; it's limitless, indicating the truth of the night scene.
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.
ਕਲਿਆਨ ਪਾਤਿਸਾਹੀ ੧੦
ਬਿਨੁ ਕਰਤਾਰਿ ਨ ਕਿਰਤਮ ਮਾਨੋ॥
ਆਦਿ ਅਜੋਨਿ ਅਜੈ ਅਬਿਨਾਸੀ ਤਿਹ ਪਰਮੇਸੁਰ ਜਾਨੋ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ॥
ਕਹਾ ਭਯੋ ਜੋ ਆਨਿ ਜਗਤ ਮੈ ਦਸਕੁ ਅਸੁਰ ਹਰਿ ਘਾਏ॥
ਅਧਿਕ ਪ੍ਰਪੰਚ ਦਿਖਾਇ ਸਭਨ ਕਹ ਆਪਹਿ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਕਹਾਏ॥੧॥
ਭੰਜਨ ਗੜ੍ਹਨ ਸਮਰਥ ਸਦਾ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਸੋ ਕਿਮਿ ਜਾਤਿ ਗਿਨਾਯੋ॥
ਤਾ ਤੇ ਸਰਬ ਕਾਲ ਕੇ ਅਸਿ ਕੋ ਘਾਇ ਬਚਾਇ ਨ ਆਯੋ॥੨॥
ਕੈਸੇ ਤੋਹਿ ਤਾਰਿ ਹੈ ਸੁਨਿ ਜੜ੍ਹ ਆਪਿ ਡੁਬ੍ਯੋ ਭਵ ਸਾਗਰਿ॥
ਛੁਟਿਹੋ ਕਾਲਫਾਂਸ ਤੇ ਤਬ ਹੀ ਗਹੋ ਸਰਨਿ ਜਗਤਾਗਰ॥੩॥੧॥੫॥
kaliān pātisāhī 10
binu kartāri na kirtam māno.
ādi ajoni ajai abināsī tih parmesur jāno.1. rahāu.
kahā bhayo jo āni jagat mai dasaku asur hari ghāe.
adhik prapañc dikhāi sabhan kah āpahi braham kahāe.1.
bhañjan gaṛhan samrath sadā prabh so kimi jāti gināyo.
tā te sarab kāl ke asi ko ghāi bacāi na āyo.2.
kaise tohi tāri hai suni jaṛha āpi ḍubyo bhav sāgari.
chuṭiho kālphāṁs te tab hī gaho sarani jagtāgar.3.1.5.