Death is supposed to be a morbid affair.
Sadness, grief and despondency is usually felt all around.
Hushed voices, heaviness in the heart and a general sense of melancholy fills the air. This seems to be the norm.
But not always, if you are a Sikh.
Recently I was at a Bhog gathering for a very special woman who had been a close family friend. She had lived a full fruitful life; loved Kirtan and Gurbani; showered love to all those around her and gently slipped away. And I dare to write, that she was a Gurmukh.
The gathering was large; the grief was modest. There was sadness, but despondency, melancholy were not there.
This was a celebration of a Gursikh’s life. And to celebrate her life, a special request was made by her daughter to Giani ji, to sing the Fourth Lav in a different melody.
And he did. Surprising many who were there.
I too paused…for according to my thinking, the bani of the Lavans was to be sung at weddings.
But Giani ji explained that the Lavans refer to the mystical marriage of the soul with the “Parmatama” – Oversoul.
The second line of the Fourth Lav “Gurmukh milia subhai, har man tan meetha laaia bal ram jio” was very appropriate here. “Subhai” means “with ease,” or gracefully, almost like a merger.
One wishes for such a transition after a fruitful journey on this earth.
At the end of her time here, she had “……har paaiya prabh avinasi jio” (found the Eternal One).
In Sikhi, this Life is the chance to discover, appreciate, and live life fully, whilst yearning to merge with Parmatama.
The bani of the Lavans sweetly shows us a way of reaching this stage.
Beginning with “karm dirrhaiya” in the first Lav – of performing ones daily duties, while keeping the presence of the Divine close within.
In the Second Lav, we work on ourselves by eradicating Haumai – ego, while allowing Love to grow within us in the Third Lav.
Therefore, the singing of the Fourth Lav made perfect sense to me for this woman was in “Sahaj” – equipoise. And according to me, had “crossed over” to the other side and met with her Divine.
The Fourth Lav beautifully illustrated her life.
I now look at the bani of the Lavans in a new light.
Dr. Gurpal Singh Bhuller is a retired doctor who lives in Vienna, VA. He serves as Board Emeritus at the Sikh Research Institute.