Jamuna’s Story

A giant in Punjabi Literature, Bhai Vir Singh (1872 – 1957) is celebrated as ‘The Sixth River of Punjab’. He was a mystic, poet, novelist, essayist, exegete, historian, editor, publisher and a journalist. He was the leading figure in the Singh Sabha Movement, the dynamic Sikh renaissance in the late 19th – early 20th century Punjab. The following is a free translation of the opening chapter of Bhai Vir Singh’s “Baba Naudh Singh.”

 

Jamuna’s Story

In a small town situated on the banks of a river, piercing shrieks resound from a house where death has grabbed a young man in the prime of his life.

 

His parents wail!

 

His young bride Jamuna, who has yet to experience the joys of marital bliss, sits motionless in a corner burning like a furnace.

 

Evening descends.

 

Near and dear ones leave.

 

The young widow occasionally breaks into sobs.

 

It is her first night of an eternal separation.

 

Sleep eventually overpowers her.

 

Before long, faces with blood-shot eyes invade her consciousness: “You sinful soul, you can hide in a corner but you cannot escape my grip. A single blow will crush your delicate frame. Don’t try to escape me. My blood-stained teeth will crush your very bones.”

 

Startled she wakes up. Thoughts of her husband flood in.

 

“Where is he? What suffering is being inflicted on him?” Absorbed in these thoughts she dozes off only to find herself standing in the world of the dead. The cries of the inhabitants are unbearable. She sees her husband in chains, waiting for the god of death to pronounce his judgment.

 

The wailing of newly arrived relatives awakens her.

 

Four days have gone by.

 

The days are long, the nights even longer.

 

The loss of nuptial bliss; the indifference of the world; the fear of death and dreams of the next world have become herconstant companions.

 

Thoughts of her own death nudge her to seek and unravel the mysteries of the next world.

 

Renunciation is the key, she decides. She confides to her grandmother.

 

“Child, let the days of mourning end. I will find a way to occupy you in meditation, service and charity. That which will bring you peace.”

Pale and haggard, Jamuna goes about her daily chores.

 

With her grandmother out-of-town, she is forlorn and desperate. Seeking solace, she wanders into a temple.

 

An old woman seeing her ghostly pallor remarks, “Dear girl, your beautiful face is shadowed. What has brought about such sadness?”

 

“Don’t ask about my plight,” cries Jamuna. “I’m an unlucky woman who is destined to live a life of misery. I don’t want to burden you with my suffering.”

 

“Child, troubles when talked about make the soul lighter. Repressed suffering is like a virus that will eventually damage every cell of your body. Lighten your soul, and tell me what is troubling you.”

 

“I am the most unfortunate woman. My husband has left this world. I burn in agony thinking about him. I’m finding it hard to live this miserable life. I don’t know what to do.”

 

“Child, to be a widow at such a young age, is no small tragedy. But it is God’s Will, which one must learn to accept. One cannot die when loved ones leave. Have patience, have courage. Time is a great healer. Your anguish will dissipate gradually.”

 

“I long for peace of mind. But having seen my husband in pain, it is driving me insane. My earnest desire is to see him happy once again. I will do anything to make that happen.”

 

“Oh! That is easy to do. You are very fortunate, a renowned swami has just gotten back from the Prayag Fair. He’ll definitely be able to ease your mind. He has helped many people communicate with their departed loved ones. He even goes into the next world and brings back messages for them. He can make the deceased souls appear in this world. He also cures people of their ailments. You should see the crowds that surround him. Tomorrow evening, meet me at the front of the garden and I will take you to him.”

 

“How lucky am I to have met you. I was drowning in my grief, but you have saved me. Is it possible to meet the swami when he is alone? He may be able to connect me with my dear husband.”

“Excellent idea! Tomorrow at 5 am meet me at the entrance of the garden. The swami will be alone and most likely will hear your story without interruptions. Child, I normally don’t get up so early, but for your sake, I am willing to bear this hardship.”

 

“God has specially sent you to me for this purpose. Thank you so much,” replied Jamuna gratefully.

 

Early next morning Jamuna stood outside the garden entrance waiting for the old woman. On her arrival, they both walked in silence towards the center of the garden. Their footsteps alerted the swami and his men. The swami immediately closed his eyes, went silent and began to breathe slowly.

 

Jamuna bowed reverently and gently placed a coconut along with a rupee coin in front of him before sitting down.

 

“Holy Swami!” said the old woman. “You are the most renowned and powerful all-knowing miracle-worker, please help this young widow. All her efforts to find peace have failed. Bare-footed she has come to worship at your holy feet. Her deepest desire is to meet her late husband. Please have mercy and fulfill her longing.”

 

One of the swami’s men gently said, “Mother, don’t worry. The swami is a great yogi and has many powers. Have faith, he fulfills all desires.”

 

“Do you want to see heaven? Do you want to meet your husband?” asked another of the swami’s men.

 

“I should be that lucky?” replied Jamuna shyly.

 

“Dear daughter, what is it that you truly seek?” asked the Swami gently.

 

“I wish to reassure myself that my husband is alright. I seek peace of mind and want to live the rest of my life in prayer and service,” answered Jamuna nervously.

 

“You will certainly have the sight of your husband. Do you wish that I also hand you the keys of heaven?” asked the Swami.

 

“Swami ji, what more could she want,” inserted the old woman quickly. “Please shower her with grace and bestow your blessings on her. You are the holder of all treasures.”

 

The Swami nodded and began chanting.

 

Jamuna and the old woman were mesmerized.

 

From that day on, they both began visiting the Swami every morning. As the days went by, Jamuna’s confidence and trust in the Swami grew stronger. She began to lean on him. She was convinced that he was the only one who could fulfill her desire to meet her husband. He appeared to be such a noble soul unlike her husband’s relatives who had revealed their greed. Day by day her trust in the Swami grew deeper.

 

One day when Jamuna was immersed in the feeling of renunciation the Swami said, “If you desire to enter heaven, you will have to go to the top of a mountain. I am going there the day after tomorrow. If you still wish to meet your husband, you can come with me.”

 

“Swami ji, I’ll go wherever you want me to. Please release me from my troubles and also grant liberation to my husband as you see best,” replied Jamuna.

 

“Alright then, we will leave the day after tomorrow. But remember, continue to free your mind of all entanglements, otherwise your mind will stray. Child, when you begin to meditate on spirits, your prayers become more powerful and amazing things happen. Tell me, are you attached to your money and jewelry?”

 

“Swami ji, I have no love for money or jewelry. If you like, I can donate everything to the temple.”

 

“I don’t think you should do that. Bring them with you. Your mind will remain secure having them in your possession.”

 

The next day, Jamuna left her home with all her worldly possessions. She got on a train with the swami heading towards the Himalayas. They reached the city of Jammu and from there, they traveled on foot through desolate mountains and hazardous valleys. Eventually, they reached a high mountain top near a waterfall.

 

“My daughter, sit on this rock and gaze continuously into the water flowing below. Do not allow your eyes to flicker. When you begin to experience a whirling sensation, close your eyes and meditate. In your meditation, you will see the path to heaven. Then you will hear the voice of your dear husband saying “come,” you must go immediately. If you hesitate for even a moment, you will lose this rare opportunity and the door of heaven will close. Chant the name of Shiva and don’t let any other thought enter your mind,” said the swami lovingly.

 

Jamuna did as she was instructed. Her desire to see her husband was overwhelming.

 

The swami kindled a small fire and threw in fragrant substances. Then with particles of sand he drew numerous charms around her and asked her to begin chanting. As her chanting increased, the Swami quietly got up and left with her money and jewels.

 

“Young lady, why are you sitting at such a dangerous spot? Stand up, otherwise you will fall into the water from dizziness. Why are you inviting death?” shouted a tall man wearing a long brown cloak.

 

Annoyed at the intrusion, Jamuna answered, “I am not sitting her to die. I’m undergoing discomfort to get real joy. Please go away and do not bother me.”

 

“I fail to understand what type of real joy you will be getting by sitting here. Please enlighten me so that I too may know what you are seeking,” persisted the man.

 

Jamuna did not want to reveal her secret. Baffled and scared she called out, “swami ji, swami ji.” But the swami was nowhere to be seen.

 

She felt alone. Terrified, she revealed everything to the newcomer.

 

“Dear lady,” said the stranger, “the swami was a thief. He cheated you and tried to kill you too. Get up! You will get nothing sitting here. Allow me to lead you to a true savior, the one who has sacrificed his life for guilty souls like us. If you take his refuge you will not need to perform any other rituals. Gentle lady, if the swami was honest, then where are your money and jewels? How can the way to heaven be downwards? Below is Hades, a breach in the earth and fire. Heaven is above the earth. Accompany me and I will show you the way to heaven, and unite you with your departed husband.”

 

With great reluctance, Jamuna accepted the fact that the swami was indeed a cheat.

 

She was now in a desolate place; without any money; without a friend; with no direction and no home. Nervously, she agreed to put herself under the protection of the stranger standing in front of her. His tender words were like a balm to her open wounds.

 

Yes! She had been robbed of her worldly possessions but she still had her chastity to guard, which she valued more than life itself. She decided to accompany the stranger; for after all he had saved her from the jaws of death. He certainly seemed better than the swami.

 

The stranger took her to a town, where she was warmly received and looked after.

 

For three months Jamuna basked in the community’s love as she listened to the stranger’s sermons.

 

One Sunday, he baptized her and renamed her Miss Dumaily. He entrusted her care to a woman who vowed to treat her as her daughter and to instruct her in Christianity.

 

Miss Dumaily’s new mother showered her with modern clothes and attention. Her confidence grew and she began to glow. Soon she started receiving marriage proposals from dark-skinned cobblers and scavengers – the lowest strata of Hindu society who had converted to Christianity. Brought up in the Brahmin tradition, she loathed their very sight.

 

Besides, fidelity to her husband’s memory was paramount to her. Therefore, the idea of remarriage was evil. Out of fear, she could not express her true feelings, nor could she uproot the ideals that were ingrained in her very being.

 

She used every trick in the book, to push off her ardent suitors. She had come here, to find the way to heaven; but instead she found men who were only interested in seeking her flesh.

 

“O God! Have mercy and release my soul from this body or grant me a peaceful life. I’m fed up with people trying to save my soul,” she prayed day and night.

 

There were no traces of the high principles with which she had been brought to this place. She saw no future and the past she had left far behind.

 

In despair, she disclosed her secret and revealed everything to an old Muslim woman who was a maid-servant at the house.

 

“Mother, please take pity on me and get me out of this hell-hole. I’d rather beg, than sell my flesh,” she pleaded.

 

“Dear daughter, I’m willing to sacrifice myself for your welfare. Don’t worry, I will free you, but you must have patience. I cannot jeopardize my respectable job in this household. Your leaving will require some planning. Have faith in me. I will definitely get you out,” replied the old woman.

 

Five days later, Jamuna/Miss Dumaily sneaked out of the house and traveled under the cover to darkness to the home of the old woman’s cousin in Lahore.

 

A devout fakir took her under his wings. He instructed her to face the Kaaba and recite the text of Ayat Karima for three hours daily along with other rituals. Sometimes the fakir would press his hands on her eyes and recite the lyrics of Bulleh Shah.

 

Jamuna began to see a glittering light; visions of her late husband danced before her eyes. Her heart leaped. At last, she had found peace.

 

One Friday Jamuna/Miss Dumaily presented herself at the mosque in Lahore for her third birth.

 

Congratulations resounded, “You are lucky to have been converted to the faith. The Holy Prophet will grant you salvation and you will rule over heaven.”

 

Her joy was boundless.

 

Although she did not know how to recite the Kalima perfectly, she uttered it as best as she could and adopted her new religion with zeal.

 

The Head Maulvi gave her a new name, Ghulam Fatima and in the congregation asked, “Can someone instruct her in the faith so that she may become a good believer.”

 

A young looking maulvi agreed to take over her religious education. He began to come daily to teach her the Kalima. After a few weeks, the maulvi thought that Ghulam Fatima should not remain single for her own welfare.

 

One day, he mentioned to her that his monthly income was fifty rupees and that he was a well-known person belonging to a very high caste. He repeated this over and over and gently insisted that she marry him.

 

“After all, it is the commandment of Allah and His Prophet that without a husband a woman’s chastity is always in jeopardy,” he said, trying his best to persuade her into marrying him.

 

The maulvi was presentable and quite gentle, but Jamuna had become wiser. She knew that for a Muslim man to have more than one wife was not a sin, but the thought of remarriage disgusted her. Her deepest desire was to have sight of her husband. Devotion to her childhood principles and fidelity to her husband was deeply rooted in her.

 

On hearing the maulvi’s marriage proposal, Jamuna faked a dizzy spell and distanced herself from him.

 

“I don’t want to commit to anything right now as I’m not feeling well. Please give me a few days to get well. When I’m better, I will ask you to come,” she said.

 

Even in this third incarnation, Jamuna/Miss Dumaily/Ghulam Fatima’s desire to see her departed husband did not bear fruit.

 

In despair, she cursed the stranger who had saved her from the mountain-top.

 

“Death would have been better than to endure these overtures,” she moaned. She abandoned her newly acquired religious rituals and suffered silently. Her torment increased day by day.

 

One evening sitting on the balcony, facing the bazar, Jamuna/Ghulam Fatima recognized a face from years gone by. She rushed downstairs.

 

“Ganga Bai?” she asked.

 

“Yes, I am Ganga Bai. But how do you know me? I don’t recognize you,” replied the woman.

 

“I will tell you everything, when we are alone,” said Ghulam Fatima. “Do you have time to talk?”

 

“Not right now. I’m on my way to the Gurdwara. I will talk to you when I return,” said Ganga Bai.

 

Ghulam Fatima nodded and anxiously awaited her friends return.

 

When Ganga Bai returned, she took Ghulam Fatima to her own home.

 

Bhain, (sister) you have recognized me, but I’m not sure who you are,” said Ganga Bai.

 

“I’m the unfortunate Jamuna, who was your playmate in school.”

 

“Jamuna, what have you done to yourself? Who has misguided you to throw away your noble faith?”

 

“There is no one to blame but myself for all that I have suffered. When one’s wits get twisted, then one falls into bad ways. I  thought I was taking a good step, but it turned out to be disastrous. My husband died, and through my own folly, I lost my property and my family.”

 

“I’m so sorry to hear your suffering. Please tell me everything.”

 

Ghulam Fatima narrated everything, “Now, I have no shelter and no place to go. I feel like jumping into the river and ending my life. Who knows what more I have to suffer for the sins of my past births?”

 

“Hush! Don’t talk about ending your life. Human birth is precious, my Guru says.”

 

“Who is your Guru?”

 

“My Guru is the Guru Granth Sahib. After my marriage, I went to live in Panjab with my husband’s family. There I studied the teachings of the Guru. My husband and I then moved to Lahore for business. Here I have been blessed to have met Upkar Kaur, who is a great devotee of the Guru. In her sangat, my love for the Guru has grown.”

 

“So you have become a Sikh? I’ve heard bad things about the Sikhs at both the places where I have been. How come you have fallen under their influence?”

 

“The Sikh faith is noble. Truth is its first principle. If you attend a Sikh congregation, you will experience this for yourself. But I’m worried about you. I don’t want you to do anything foolish like killing yourself. Let’s go and meet Upkar Kaur, I’m sure she will be able to help you,” said Ganga Bai gently.

 

“I trust you. If you think she can help me, let’s go.”

 

Upkar Kaur welcomed them warmly and listened carefully to Ghulam Fatima’s story. “The Sikh path is simple. There are no priests and no superstitious beliefs. The paramount teaching is that Ik Oankar– the One Universal Creator is the Creator of the universe and is in all. The core tenets are to remember Ik Oankar in everything that we do; lovingly serve everyone; share with the needy and recognize the divinity in all. This in a nutshell is the path of Sikhi,” said Upkar Kaur affectionately.

 

“If I follow this path, will I see my beloved husband? Will I find peace and contentment?” asked Ghulam Fatima.

 

Tenderly Upkar Kaur replied, “If your love for Ik Oankar is sincere and you live a life of truth and serve humanity, you will experience peace and contentment. Whether you will see your departed husband or not, is not for me to say.”

 

Ghulam Fatima sighed. Although Upkar Kaur’s words pleased her, the memory of her past experiences made her wary. She wasn’t willing to allow herself to trust anyone. She left saying, “I will come again.”

 

Exhausted from her emotional state of mind, Ghulam Fatima fell asleep. Voices interrupted her already disturbed sleep. News of her visit to the home of a Sikh family had reached the Maulvi. Plans seemed to be underway to prevent that from happening again.

 

That evening, the Maulvi’s colleagues – now new friends and acquaintances – came over and insisted that she join them on their holiday to Delhi. “A change of scenery will do you good,” they said excitedly.

 

Ghulam Fatima agreed knowing fully well why this gesture was being made.

 

That night, she did not sleep.

 

The world appeared dark to her and a kind of dementia gripped her.

 

She walked out of her home not knowing where she was heading.

********************************

 

Dawn was just breaking.

 

On the banks of the River Ravi, sat a young pious-looking Sikh wrapped in a shawl. From time to time, tears would roll down his handsome face as he recited the Sukhmani Sahib. His eyes at times would close in ecstasy and then re-open. His recitation created an atmosphere of serenity and sweetness.

 

The breeze was gentle as he watched the rising sun. A floating body in the river stirred him from his concentration.

Immediately, he threw off his shawl, jumped into the water and dragged the body ashore. The lifeless body of a young woman now rested on the banks of the river.

 

He quickly turned her around and pumped water out of her unconscious body. Closing his eyes, he gently removed her wet clothes and wrapped her frame with his shawl. With skill he shook her arms, rubbed the soles of her feet and her body began to breathe.

 

The sun warmed her frail frame. She opened her eyes and whispered, “Am I in the world of the living or the dead?”

 

“You are alive,” replied the man gently.

 

“I wanted to die. Why have you saved me?” she wailed.

 

The man realized that the woman he had saved had tried to commit suicide. Lovingly, he explained to her that life was a precious gift and to take one’s own life was a grievous sin.

 

His words had no effect.

 

The woman wept, but the man did not give up. His consoling words continued.

 

At last, she relented and revealed everything. The woman he had saved was none other than, Jamuna/Miss Dumaily/ Ghulam Fatima.

 

“The best thing would have been to have committed sati on my husband’s pyre. Drowning in the waterfall would have been better than to have gone through the hell that I have been. Death is my only option.”

 

“Bhain, the world is cloaked in the darkness of evil. Man’s mind has become beastly. It is wrong to blame any particular faith. The five evils have gripped the senses of the followers of all creeds. The thirst of desire has gripped man’s mind like a fever and it is driving him mad,” said the man ever so gently.

 

“You appear to be a noble soul. But I’ve been caught in this error time and time again. I’m now disgusted with life. The entire world is full of greed. Some seek wealth, other’s body pleasures. No one has real sympathy for anyone, no one wants to truly help. Please, please let me die and go where my husband is.”

 

“Yes! You are right, men have lost dignity. Swayed by greed they have turned into beasts. Evil prevails under the false guise of religion. All what you have said is true. But even in the dark night, the moon and the stars shine. Even in this world of bestial urges there are some men, who are like the rare green shoots amongst parched plants. Even though you have not come across anyone who has curbed his mind of evil tendencies, do not give up hope.

 

“Remember, diamonds are not scattered like stones. Though the world is burning in the fire of evil, yet there is also the Himalayan snow of good to quench it. Your own quest is weak. Seek and you shall find. Seek not death; for such a death is evil.”

 

“Good Sir! Who will support me? I cannot return to my parent’s home. My property, I have lost. I am destitute. Everyone I meet is like a bird of prey after my flesh. What should I live for? I am an unfortunate creature. But I have been faithful to my husband’s memory. My chastity I have protected at all costs and to save it, I am determined to die.”

 

“My daughter, your conduct is noble and pure. Your resolve to preserve your chastity is honorable, but I’m afraid you haven’t found anchor in Truth and Purity. You have gone through so much to protect your chastity, why then are you seeking support and worldly wealth? Your chastity and truth should be support enough for you.

 

“With Truth on your side, how can you be alone? Your actions are pure. Why do you consider yourself helpless? Waver not in your resolve to live truthfully. Seek not the crutch of sinful people. Truth and righteousness are imbedded in you; that is your anchor. Why are you seeking the support of those who are stimulated by desire, who despite their human birth live like animals? Get rid of this wrong notion and live fearlessly.”

 

“Holy Sir! Your words are soothing and give me hope. But I remember a couplet of Kabir’s:

 

“The burnt wood in the forest cries out to God:

 

Deliver me not to the blacksmith

 

Lest he burn it again as charcoal.”

 

“Listen, chaste lady, I’m neither a saint nor a blacksmith. I’m only sharing what I know. The animal nature, no doubt is prevalent in the world. If man, looks closely at his deeds he will see that his urges and actions are lower than even those of the animals. The animal stops after it is satisfied, but man stops nowhere. The world is under the pall of a dark night. Reformers, educators and preachers are crying themselves hoarse. Appeals are being made in the name of love.

 

“Despite all this, man’s nature remains like that of an animal. Yet, things are changing slowly. There are still a few rare souls who are devoted to the truth. Once you get out of your pessimistic thinking; you will be filled with hope. The optimist never attempts to destroy life. So, hate not mankind. Be not alienated from the whole world. Fleeing the world and living in forests will only bring in desperation and anger. Renunciation of the world will also mean renunciation of the good. Keep the company of good people.”

 

“I have not even met one good person.”

 

“Your search has not been adequate. In despair you have been seeking to destroy your body. Raise your consciousness and realize that the world is created by Ik Oankar and some good people live in it. You will find someone who has mastered the five evils and loves Truth.”

 

“I left home in search of good people, and look what happened. A woman is like grain, subject to rats in a storehouse, and pecked by crows when thrown out. How should I even search for good people? I see greedy eyes everywhere.”

 

“The One has blessed you with fidelity to your marriage, yet you lack faith. True faith is higher than Truth itself. Truth you have, but it has not inspired you. This is why men seek you in lewd ways. No one would dare cast an evil glance on a pure woman. Your doubt is wrecking you and tearing you apart. Where faith is weak; there doubt exists. You have preserved your chastity in the midst of all this suffering. Now, throw away your fear and give yourself the strength that chastity brings?”

 

“Holy, holy sir, can I a weak woman, live in this world alone?”

 

“The one, who has faith and purity within, is not alone. The One is always by their side.”

 

“I understand what you are saying, but I am not totally convinced. May be my faith is not that strong. I do not feel the protection of the Creator.”

 

“How have you kept faith in your departed husband?”

 

“My faith in my husband is there, though I cannot explain it. Your words have brought joy to my heart and have encouraged me, but I am still shaky.”

 

“As you have faith in your husband, similarly put your faith in the Creator. Faith is within you, but it lacks firmness. Truth too is within you, but the source of the Truth is not yet lodged within you. I pray that the Divine comes to abide within you, for only then will you find true life.”

 

“What can I do for that to happen?”

 

“Know that the Divine is within. As you have cherished the memory of your departed husband and your faith in him has stood unshaken, similarly cherish and contemplate the Divine within. As your contemplation gets deeper, you will become fearless. Then you will neither stand under anyone’s fear, nor impart fear to another. When your mind becomes fearless, your outlook will change. This world will no longer appear poisonous, but will emerge as the image of the Divine. You will see Divine Light permeating universally. Rise and discard your doubts and illusions, and the darkness of ignorance in which your mind now abides. Forget the pain inflicted on you by others, else its memory will make your own mind impure with the spirit of revenge. Joy and bliss are experienced when the mind is in poise. Joy lies within, look not for it outside.”

 

“I’m blessed to have met you. Tell me are you a Hindu, Muslim, Christian or an Arya Samaji?”

 

“I am not fit to be called a performer of good deeds. I’m a mere seeker of the true life from that teacher Guru Nanak and am known as a Sikh. I’m struggling to follow the teachings of my Guru. Remember, true religion leads to union with the Divine. The rest is a mere illusion. When Truth illumines the mind, one radiates with the Light of Truth.”

 

“Your discourse has brought peace to my mind. But please tell me, whose support should I seek to pass the rest of my days?”

 

With eyes full of compassion, the man replies, “I do not have an ashram; nor am I a householder living amongst relatives. I cannot offer you anything. I move from place to place, I consider all places as mine. The earth is my bed. All food and drink on earth is mine, for I belong to the Divine and the entire world belongs to the Divine. Divine Love is my only support and I’m never alone. I urge you to put yourself under the Divine’s protection.

 

“With each breath of yours keep the Divine in your mind. Do not feel discouraged. The fruit of this devotion will appear gradually. As your contemplation gets deeper, your actions will emit love, and you will radiate Divine Love. Have faith, my child, have faith. What is your name, dear child?”

 

“The unfortunate Jamuna.”

 

“That phase is now over. You are now the fortunate Jamuna.”

 

“Where am I now? Where should I go? I need not ask you what I should do, for your words have penetrated my consciousness. A new life has come to me. I shall do as you have said, for your Guru, Guru Nanak will guide me. Of that I am sure of; but please tell me where am I now? Where is my abode?”

 

“You are a Divine being. You have found life in the purity of the Divine; you are in the Divine; be absorbed in this Divine Presence and abide in it,” replied the man tenderly.

 

His words saturated the air.

 

Jamuna’s eyes closed.

 

Waves ebbed and flowed.

 

Her awareness remained.

 

She opened her eyes only to see that the man had disappeared.

 

Time seemed to be come to a standstill.

 

Her eyes closed once again.

 

The echo of Vahiguru began to resound within.

 

Divine intoxication flooded her every pore and she was totally immersed.

 

The afternoon sun was beginning to set.

 

A tall peasant woman stood in front of Jamuna with a bowl of milk. “Good lady, in the name of the Divine on whom you are meditating, please drink this and grace our simple home. Your presence will purify it.”

 

“The abode of the Divine is all-pervading. I abide in the Divine,” uttered Jamuna with love.

 

“Daughter, you radiate divine presence. Trust me and please come to bless my home.”

 

“Mother, I will come with you,” replied Jamuna.

 

[The translator serves on the Board of The Sikh Research Institute. She is also the author of a children’s book series, “Journey with the Gurus” – www.journeywiththegurus.com]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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