Saturday, August 18, 2007
COURAGE AND COMPASSION- A Fine Blend

COURAGE AND COMPASSION- A Fine Blend

Fear is one of the most powerful negative emotions which brings much desolation in our lives. There are numerous fears which haunt human mind. Fear of failure, fear of losing a loved one, fear of loss of wealth or health and fear of death are a few to mention.

When faced with pain or any other unpleasant feeling we are willing to share it openly. Having physical pain is never awkward to us and we seek help. Mental pain is very difficult to share and fear is a deep down pain which is seldom surfaced. This happens because we see it as a weakness and not as a problem. Anybody afraid of something is looked down upon by others as a coward or incompetent. We are not willing to face this and we invent our own safety-kits to avoid this feeling of fear. It may be an alcoholic or a workaholic- the purpose is to forget one’s fears and run away from reality. We become so obsessed with our fears that we forget the real purpose of our lives. Guarding our fear becomes the most important task of our lives.

It is just avoidance of fear, whether it is accumulation of wealth or a struggle to gain more power or motivation to look more and more youthful. The flourishing cosmetic industry and the vast number of looks-enhancing outlets speak about the immense fear of death the present day society lives in. Going grey reminds us of the approaching end every day.

dyKu PrIdw ju QIAw dwVI hoeI BUr ] (1378-7, slok, syK PrId jI)

See, Fareed, what has happened: your beard has become grey.

Aghu nyVw AwieAw ipCw rihAw dUir ]9]

That which is coming is near, and the past is left far behind. ||9||

Guru Nanak, the greatest healer of all times, could read the fear in the minds of people of his time. He has written about the invasion of India by Babar in 1526, with much pain, mentioning the main weakness of the people, which allowed the invaders to proceed.

So scared were they to face death that they never really fought back. There was much talk about performing miracles by priests to turn the entire mogul army blind. They all preferred to depend on such illogical approaches, rather than fight back. This kind of behaviour reflects their fear of facing death.

Qwn mukwm jly ibj mMdr muiC muiC kuier rulwieAw ] (418-1, Awsw, mÚ 1)

He burned the rest-houses and the ancient temples; he cut the princes limb from limb, and cast them into the dust.

koeI muglu n hoAw AMDw iknY n prcw lwieAw ]4]

None of the Mugals went blind, and no one performed any miracle. ||4||

This was the fear Guru Nanak wanted to eliminate from the minds of people. He knew very well that if they became fearless no one could conquer them. It took almost 200 years for Guru Sahib to give a sword in these weak hands. The final test came on Baisakhi of 1699 when heads were asked for.

jau qau pRym Kylx kw cwau ] (1412-2, slok vwrW qy vDIk, mÚ 1)

If you desire to play this game of love with Me,

isru Dir qlI glI myrI Awau ]

then step onto My Path with your head in hand.

iequ mwrig pYru DrIjY ]

When you place your feet on this Path,

isru dIjY kwix n kIjY ]20]

give Me your head, and do not pay any attention to public opinion. ||20||

Guru Nanak had laid the foundation with his pen but the practical test had to be taken with the sword. Tenth Guru Nanak completed the mission and turned the weak and timid people into such fearless giants that even the enemy was stunned.

This is the story told by Gulam Zilani in his book Jangnama Multan.

When Maharaja Ranjeet Singh’s army fought the battle of Multan, one of their cannons was damaged. The wheel broke and the cannon was rendered useless. The Sikh army knew that it was almost impossible to win the battle without that cannon. It was decided jointly that a soldier would give his shoulder as a support every time the cannon was fired. Zilani who was there as a spy watched this scene with an awe. He has written that there was a long queue of soldiers desperate to stand as support for the cannon. Each time the cannon was fired a Sikh soldier was blown off to pieces. This was applauded by Bole-so-nihal - Sat Sri Akal and more soldiers joined the queue. So impressed was Zilani by this enthusiasm of the Sikh army that he himself felt like going and standing in that long queue of martyrs. He considered this as the sole reason for the victory of the Sikh Army over Multan.

Fearlessness can make us brave but we have to be careful as it can turn us ruthless. Guru Nanak never wanted his Sikhs to become so bold that they were hardhearted. Think of all the tyrants and dictators who were not afraid to kill innocent people. This kind of pseudo-heroism has no place in Guru Nanak’s Darbar.

Guru Sahib constantly warns us of this kind of fearlessness.

inrBau hoieE BieAw inhMgw ] (392-2, Awsw, mÚ 5)

Being fearless, he becomes unrestrained.

cIiq n AwieE krqw sMgw ]

He does not think of the Creator, who is ever with him.

lskr joVy kIAw sMbwhw ]

He raises armies, and collects arms.

inkisAw PUk q hoie gieE suAwhw ]2]

But when the breath leaves him, he turns to ashes. ||2||

Tyranny and injustice can never please God.

lK lskr lK vwjy nyjy lKI GoVI pwiqswh ] (1287-17, mlwr, mÚ 1)

Thousands of armies, thousands of marching bands and spearmen; the emperor of thousands of horsemen.

ijQY swieru lμGxw Agin pwxI Asgwh ]

The unfathomable ocean of fire and water must be crossed.

kMDI idis n AwveI DwhI pvY khwh ]

The other shore cannot be seen; only the roar of pitiful cries can be heard.

nwnk EQY jwxIAih swh kyeI pwiqswh ]4]

O Nanak, there, it shall be known, whether anyone is a king or an emperor. ||4||

Love and kindness are the basic values of life and world can never be a peaceful place without these virtues. It is the complete balance between courage and compassion which is required to achieve our ultimate goal of life.

BY kwhU kau dyq nih nih BY mwnq Awn ] (1427-7, slok, mÚ 9)

One who does not frighten anyone, and who is not afraid of anyone else

khu nwnk suin ry mnw igAwnI qwih bKwin ]16]

says Nanak, listen, mind: call him spiritually wise. ||16||

This is the ideal state of mind which Guru Nanak wants us to achieve.

It is not an easy task and Guru Sahib knows it all too well and guides us constantly.

inrBau jpY sgl Bau imtY ] (293-8, gauVI suKmnI, mÚ 5)

Meditating on the Fearless Lord, all fear departs.

pRB ikrpw qy pRwxI CutY ]

By God's Grace, mortals are released.

Meditating on his name and doing good deeds takes one to the road Guru wants us to tread upon.

ibnu krmw ikCU n lBeI jy iPrih sB Drxw ] (1102-7, mwrU, mÚ 5)

Without good karma, you shall obtain nothing, even if you wander across the whole world.

gur imil Bau goivMd kw BY fru dUir krxw ]

Meeting with the Guru, you shall know the Fear of God, and other fears shall be taken away.

It is the fear of God which sows the seed of good karma and eventually nurtures into the tree of love for the creator and his creation.

We have to get attached to the eternal king, only He can remove all the fears from our minds. When we are protected by the Almighty, there is no cause of any fear.

Ehu AibnwsI rwieAw ] (206-5, gauVI, mÚ 5)

He is the Eternal King.

inrBau sMig qumwrY bsqy iehu frnu khw qy AwieAw ]1] rhwau ]

The Fearless Lord abides with you. So where does this fear come from? ||1||Pause||

Firm faith in God and meditating on His name keeps our mind calm. The knowledge of truth breaks false bonds of fear. When we learn the truth about birth and death, the fear of death just leaves and we live peacefully. Then we don’t need any safety-kit to hide our fears and we live with complete freedom.

BRmu Bau kwit kIey inhkyvl jb qy haumY mwrI ] (207-2, gauVI, mÚ 5)

My doubt and fear have been taken away, and I have been made pure, since my ego was conquered.

jnm mrx ko cUko shsw swDsMgiq drswrI ]3]

My fear of birth and death has been abolished, beholding Your Blessed Vision in the Saadh Sangat, the Company of the Holy. ||3||

The most powerful fear in the world is the fear of death and once we conquer that, overcoming other fears is just a trifle job. Guru Arjan Dev Ji guides his Sikhs in this way:

pihlw mrxu kbUil jIvx kI Cif Aws ] (1102-10, mwrU, mÚ 5)

First, accept death, and give up any hope of life.

hohu sBnw kI ryxukw qau Awau hmwrY pwis ]1]

Become the dust of the feet of all, and then, you may come to me. ||1||

At last it would not be inappropriate to add that we are plundered by corruption and vice, only because we are afraid to lose what we have. This fear leads to greed and avarice, which in turn is the root cause of corruption. If only we learn from our Guru, life will be much more peaceful for us and others around us. The fear of losing power in the minds of rulers has caused much misery to people. They go to great lengths to conceal their fear( of losing power) and try to acquire more and more power in most inhumane ways to suppress those they perceive as a threat. This puts them in a vicious circle of never-ending fear. They are frightened by their sins and go further to veil this apprehension which leads to more sins.

jo kIcY so hir jwxdw myry mn hir cyqu ] (84-11, isrIrwgu, mÚ 3)

Whatever anyone does, the Lord knows. O my mind, think of the Lord.

so frY ij pwp kmwvdw DrmI ivgsyqu ]

The one who commits sins lives in fear, while the one who lives righteously rejoices.

qUM scw Awip inAwau scu qw frIAY kyqu ]

O Lord, You Yourself are True, and True is Your Justice. Why should anyone be afraid?

ijnw nwnk scu pCwixAw sy sic rlyqu ]5]

O Nanak, those who recognize the True Lord are blended with the True One. ||5||

Guru made Khalsa a complete blend of courage and compassion. Attaining this balance can bring peace to the burning world. He gave us Kirpan ( thus Courage) to fight injustice, Sewa (thus Compassion) to make us humble and Simran to blend the two together. We have to be careful to maintain this delicate balance. It is a tough task but a continuous effort will bear fruit and we will be able bring peace and harmony in the entire world and with in ourselves.

This article was published The Sikh Review - july 2007 issue

 
posted by upinder kaur at 8/18/2007 10:52:00 AM | Permalink |


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