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The Fragrance of Bhai Vir Singh - Rana Surat Singh

Canto 31: Satsang Method


The Fragrance of Bhai Vir Singh - Rana Surat Singh

Canto 31: Satsang Method

Bhai Vir Singh
Sikh History
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The Fragrance of Bhai Vir Singh - Rana Surat Singh

Canto 31: Satsang Method


Love does not emerge through dedicated practice or method. Remembrance is one form of love. Contemplating remembrance develops love. Contemplating virtues, contemplating Nam (Divine-Identification, ਨਾਮ), is also a form of love.

Love does not emerge through dedicated practice or method. Remembrance is one form of love. Contemplating remembrance develops love. Contemplating virtues, contemplating Nam (Divine-Identification, ਨਾਮ) is also a form of love. Love has the power to unite.

The love-forlorn Rani quietens.
She is nervous and scared.
She has understood the way.

She knows she will need to work hard, but that does not deter her. With folded hands, she humbly requests, “O’ Guru-inspired being; you have enlightened me on the process of satsang (the company of truth-oriented beings, ਸਤਿਸੰਗ); now please guide me to serve according to my capacity so that I may be worthy to enter the ‘country’ of my beloved. Use your strength to take me there. Hold my arm and take me so I can reach and sit at his feet.”

The Guru-inspired being says, “O’ Loving Raj ji, I have already elaborated the method that will take you there. Dedicated practice will empower you to experience sach khand (eternal realm, ਸਚ ਖੰਡਿ) for yourself, just as Surat Singh did. Follow the practice, and you will become his eternal companion, never to part again.

“However, I hesitate to call this a method. Vahiguru (Awesome Wisdom, ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂ) is spirit (ruh, ਰੂਹ), complete atma (Essence, Life-Force, Being, ਆਤਮਾ). We, too, are spirit, not body. How does spirit connect to spirit? There is only one avenue to connect the two—love.

“Love does not emerge through dedicated practice or method. Remembrance is one form of love. Contemplating remembrance develops love. Contemplating virtues, contemplating Nam (Divine-Identification, ਨਾਮ), is also a form of love. Rani ji, this is what I have called ‘process’ or ‘practice’ for understanding. Love has the power to unite. This practice, if perfected while one is alive, is powerful and connects the two spirits.”

“Amazing, astonishing, wonderous is this revelation. It is embracing me. Though I am not worthy to receive it, the longing to meet is uncontrollable. I neither have the ability, discipline, nor skill to follow your directions. You have said that without following the discipline, the meeting is not possible. So, I implore you as a little girl would her father, please help me get there with your strength,” says the Rani, barely able to stand.

The members of the congregation rush to steady and calm her.

The Guru-inspired being gently reminds her of her deep faith and clarifies her doubts.

“Rani ji, the key steps that you need to follow are:

  1. “Service (seva, ਸੇਵਾ) is the basic principle of Sikhi. The foundation of love sits in service, which you have already earned in the company of your Guru-oriented husband. Service of the congregation is what you are undertaking now. Service is the initial step on the pathway of Sikhi and the ending. Service has to be detached from any thoughts of gain. No transaction must enter into service. So, the first step is earning service with love as the foundation.

ਵਿਚਿ ਦੁਨੀਆ ਸੇਵ ਕਮਾਈਐ ॥
ਤਾ ਦਰਗਹ ਬੈਸਣੁ ਪਾਈਐ ॥
Inside the world, earn seva.
Then attain the dargah (Divine portal) seat.
     Guru Granth Sahib 25
  1. “Raj ji, now learn about the second service. Where the Creator bestows grace; where the Principles and the thinking become right, reside there but stay aloof. Don’t allow yourself to become over-joyous or sad. Stay continuously stable like the mountain. Undertake your responsibilities truthfully. The Creator has graced you to rule the kingdom. Think of your citizens as children of the Creator. The Creator has made you their protector. Serve them consciously, with love and justice. This is your divine service. You have been graced to serve the citizens of your kingdom in a royal capacity. Rani ji, never treat your citizens as slaves. They have been entrusted to you; protect them. Wealth is generated for the well-being of the people and the state. Treat the state’s wealth as a sacred trust to be spent on the people’s well-being. Use this wealth sparingly for your needs. Those who use this hard-earned wealth to support their luxurious lifestyle are going against the principles of Sikhi. It is a transgression.

“Rani ji, in the winter, the sun shines. The sun warms the air and pulls it up. Why does the sun lift the air? It does not need to do that. The sun does this as a favor to the world. In the atmosphere, the sun churns the air, warms it, and creates dust storms and rain clouds. In summer, these rain clouds cool the earth.

“Similarly, the ruler who collects taxes must spend it like the rainclouds for the comfort of his citizens—making roads, resthouses, gardens, ponds, and wells. Ensuring the care of the sick, poor, and widowed, so they don’t suffer. It is also the ruler’s role to provide security and protection for all: maintain an army, uphold law and justice as well as ethical business practices, and appoint honest, intelligent, and virtuous officers who are just and don’t line their pockets. A ruler must not hate any religion and must look after everyone. Like the raincloud showers over all equally, so should the ruler look after all citizens equally.

“The ruler needs to sleep and rest in moderation for the well-being of the body. The ruler takes time out for prayer and meditation while being a hands-on ruler.

“A ruler also assumes responsibility for their citizens’ comfort, finds time to listen to their concerns, enjoys watching them grow, and ensures rightful rewards are given. A ruler’s intolerance for trespassing on others’ rights or resorting to bribery is the foundation of governing.

ਰਾਜੇ ਚੁਲੀ ਨਿਆਵ ਕੀ ਪੜਿਆ ਸਚੁ ਧਿਆਨੁ ॥
For the king, cleansing is justice; for the Pandit (scholar),  
true contemplation.
     Guru Granth Sahib 1240

“The ruler carries out the responsibilities without self-importance, inwardly remaining rooted to the Creator. This way, the ruler rules from a place of love. The ruler’s consciousness is attached to the Creator. Shirking responsibility is unacceptable on this path. The Guru does not like the Sikh who shrinks this responsibility.

“Rani ji, now recall how your beloved husband, Rana Surat Singh, carried out his duties. He maintained the rule of justice, bore no enmity, and, even while absorbed in his responsibilities, did not forget his divine-principle (dharma, ਧਰਮ) for a moment even though he was immersed in ruling his kingdom. He did not do anything wrong to himself or others. The Rana’s simran was continuously linked in his consciousness, like pearls strung on a necklace. Goodness came naturally to him. That is why he evolved into a virtuous being and, in his heart, lived the Creator.

“Emulate his example in the same way. In your heart, string the necklace of the Creator’s remembrance so tight that you never forget the Creator for even a moment. He was the embodiment of goodness and from him flowed goodness. You also become an embodiment of goodness like him. Follow your husband’s paradigm, and you will blossom like a detached, blossoming rose.  

“Rani ji, recall how the Rana himself made you aware of how he spent his nights. He used to be immersed in simran (remembrance, ਸਿਮਰਨ). Every pore of his body would emit the name of the Creator. You also know that he willingly served everyone effortlessly and lovingly. He was intuitively connected with Sabad (Infinite-Wisdom). Being ‘intuitively connected,’ everything flowed in natural serenity from him. He fulfilled all his duties as the ruler with love and grace. Raj ji, witness his greatness. Immersed in simran, he fought bravely on the battlefield and sacrificed his life serving the Panth (Sikh Commonwealth, ਪੰਥ), fighting against tyranny, and departed on horseback to the next world in spiritual ecstasy without a tremor.

  1. “O’ Rani of the wise, loving husband, listen!
    The Sikhi path is beautiful. It is not about leaving home and becoming a recluse. It is not about making the body go through physical hardships or getting lost in worldly comforts. It is about remaining detached while living in a world deeply connected to Nam. This is the love-path that we need to earn. Living in the home, fulfilling every responsibility as the Rana did.

  1. “Remain unblemished, living in a blemished world.
    Remain in Divine Will; remain joyous.
    Remain radiant in your atma (essence, life-force, self, spirit, ਆਤਮ); remain immersed in Nam.
    Whatever transpires, accept joyously.
    Don’t accept emotional excitement as joyous.

  1. “Rise above the entanglement of worldly desires.
    Rise above ‘I’ and ‘mine.’
    Rise and perform moral duties righteously.

  1. “Keep the meeting of Sabad and consciousness (surat, ਸੁਰਤ) tuned in such a way that the roots of Nam get established within, and a continuous stream begins to flow as one continues with life. Reside in the sanctuary of the Creator and live life.  

“Raj ji, this is the essence,
Listen carefully; I am going to repeat it:
This is the way the ocean resides in the cup.
When the body performs goodness,
When the mouth utters goodness,
When the heart desires goodness,
When the mind contemplates goodness,
When every arising thought is goodness,
When the spirit inside sits in goodness.
For its form is goodness, for it is eternal.
When goodness resides within,
When goodness never leaves,
When goodness becomes permanent,
Within that being, sach khand resides.

“As the sun is inseparable from its axis, sach khand is inseparable from the heart-throne of such a being. So, when the body perishes, the being proceeds to sach khand. There is where your noble husband has gone. If you desire to go there, consciously align your mind completely, follow his way, and you will reach. ”

The Rani listens to the advice of the Guru-inspired being: Connect your consciousness to the Creator; die first to live truly. She is awestruck. The entire life of her husband flashes before her eyes. Before this revelation, she did know that he practiced in totality what had just been revealed to her. His practice was hidden. He never revealed it to anyone. At times, she would witness strange happenings beyond her comprehension, but she never articulated them to him. Now, at the right time, she has understood the way. With this new understanding, she looks at her husband’s life and realizes this is the real Surat Singh, her beloved husband.

The words of the Guru-inspired being echo within her. She realizes that without walking the path exemplified by her husband, it will not be possible to live in the same place as him.

Doubt intervenes.
She shudders.

She thinks:
“I am in love with my husband; I am absorbed in him.
I cannot leave him.
Who will do this work that the Guru-inspired being has revealed?
If I do not do this, I will not meet my husband.
There seems to be no other way.
If I do not meet him, then what is the meaning of my existence?
How can I leave you, my beloved?
How can I keep you with me and do this?
What I have heard is difficult to do?”

Her eyes moisten.
His face appears before her eyes.
She embraces him within.
Clinging onto him, she pleads:
“O’ My beloved, I am a slave of my mind.
How can I cross this mighty ocean?
Today, I realized the distance that lies between us.
I am in the middle.
I don’t know how to sail or row.
I have no boat to ferry me across.
How can I reach your shore without a boat or a boatman?
Without an oar, without my strength, how will I reach?
If I were a fish, I could swim and come to you.
Alas! My body is not that of a fish.
Please, can you find a beautiful way to take me across?
Consider this as your task, and find a way.
O’ Wise husband! Find a pleasing way to meet.
Flawed as I am, I am longing to meet you.
I am far away from you.
I have no wings to fly across.
If only I could acquire wings of the mind.
If I had wings, I would search for the ‘country’ where you are.
I would fly to rest at your feet.
O’ Beloved husband! Please find a solution.
You are complete.
You don’t have the need; the need is mine.
You are vast; have compassion.
I am lowly; you keep me at your feet.
If you do this, I will be able to meet you.
May this longing never cease within me.
You are gracious; it is your noble nature,
Grace me.”

Saying this, she falls.

The Guru-inspired being bowed before the Guru Granth Sahib. He then gently and lovingly puts his hand on her head and carefully makes her sit up.

“Rani ji, don’t worry now. You got scared listening to the virtues that I have told you. You think that they are difficult. They are not; they are easy. Just concentrate a little more on what I have said. The difficulties will vanish, and comfort will arise. The steps, the practices, and the process that I have detailed are attainable. Don’t be defeated by doubt; be firm in your faith. The virtues that you seem to think are difficult are immersed in you. You have not allowed them to surface, nor have you recognized them. When you recognize your virtues, they will appear. Eliminate your doubts, and just start practicing. The congregation is with you and will assist you in your practice. Now let’s see how many virtues are already in you and which ones you need to attain.

  1. Sikhs never lie. You have not lied.

  1. Sikhs never hurt anyone by breaking their heart. You have not broken anyone’s heart by thought, word, or deed.

  1. Sikhs need to lead a family life. You have done that. You have lived a virtuous family life and completely received your husband’s love. No one else has had this experience.

  1. The Giver has given you wealth. You have used that wealth for the care of your public.

  1. Sikhs never take what is not rightly theirs. You have not taken what is not rightly yours.

  1. Sikhs never keep any prayer offerings. You have never done that.

  1. You have never indulged in stealing or deception. The ruler’s right is to dispel justice so that the citizens can live comfortably.

  1. Your heart is above greed.

  1. Your heart has been anger free from the beginning. You have looked after the well-being of your consciousness and also looked after the well-being of others. The deep, sweet humility that Satguru (Eternal-Guru, ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ) has blessed you with, may all be blessed with that humility.

  1. You have never resorted to the arrogance of being a Rani. The mystery and deep understanding of cardhi kala (ever-ascending spirit, ਚੜ੍ਹਦਿਕਲਾਂ) will unfold.

  1. Continuous contentment resides in your heart.

  1. Your mind must rule your sense organs. Your mind needs to be under the sagacious guide of your intellect. Recognize that the Creator is the protector of your intellect. All these virtues must reside intuitively, naturally within you. When your mind deviated and became restless, it went into remembrance of your husband. You have undergone considerable pain and sorrow because of your intense love. But this intense love was wise; it held you within its bounds. It did not let you cross into the world of the insane. Because of this, the mind stayed straight, moved in the right direction, and was washed with love. It became unilinear and unblemished.

  1. Your attention towards the duties of your State was less. So, now recognize the divine-principle and perform your duties.

  1. Worshipping a commemorative statue is not a good thing. Even though you made it in love, this type of worship is inappropriate.

  1. You have often gone astray, searching for your husband. However, many things have now become evident to you in this congregation.

  1. “You were given the gift of amrit (immortal nectar, ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ). Raj ji, this amrit is from that fountain of perennial Source, the eternal-amrit.

“The fountain of eternal-amrit is called Nam. Raj ji, you received the gift of eternal-amrit when you committed to the Sikhi path. From that moment, the fountain of Nam began to flow, forming knots with the Creator and the ‘connection’ with the Creator began to form. Your husband was wise and Guru-oriented and proficiently practiced this. It was your husband’s ardent wish that you, too, attain this state of continuous contemplation. However, you were deeply immersed in your husband’s love and ignored what he desired for you.

“Suddenly, Divine-play transpired, and the Creator called Rana ji. Everyone was shocked. Your great love intensified the separation, and your deep love got challenged. The love for your husband was true and intense, triggering extremely sharp, penetrating pain. Wounds of grief and worry became amplified within you. However, that true love prepared your heart. Your full attention became focused on one point, which enabled you to get fleeting glimpses of him now and then. But doubt surrounded you and broke that link. From now on, Rani ji, you must focus your attention single-mindedly on the Creator as your husband did. If you diligently practice the guidance that the congregation has gifted you today, you can grow to be as complete as your Guru-oriented husband and become his companion.

“Your husband was a beautiful saintly being filled with love. There was no separation in him. When a deep and continuous connection with the Creator is established, how can there remain any gap between you and your husband? Your hearts are already joined together with love. At one level, they are in a union. In these hearts, when the Creator graces to reside, the spirits merge. So how can there be separation since your husband is joined with the Creator?

“The eternal gracious Guru has graced you and made you competent. We firmly believe that you will complete this undertaking. So, don’t allow a shadow of a doubt to interfere with your focus.”

To be continued…


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Inni Kaur is Creative Director at the Sikh Research Institute (SikhRI). She has served SikhRI in several capacities since 2010, including Chair of the Board, and most recently as CEO. 

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