A Heart’s Journey.
Its vibrant spark breathes vitality within dying hearts to soar upwards towards infinity and down the sensuous twist of the Beloved’s lips. It is the dew, clinging onto the gentle curve of a tulip petal on a midsummer morning. Some are intoxicated by the beauty of a wine-cup, spilling red-hot heartache onto a pristine rug. Poetry spills from the wounded and thus, they pass on, enchanted by the sentiment of it all.
As I began walking on the path of Nanak so many years ago, I found tendrils of beauty growing in every crevice along the road eons old. Those small seedlings of hope came in the form of language and words found in the poetry-cloaked guidance of the Nanaks. Those words, blanketed in music, punctuated by metaphor, were awe-inspiring. As I read, the words birthed a new universe within my mind and being. A Universe that teared up in joy, in awe, in surrender to a well of love found within. Its stories of divine-love, expressions of supreme bliss in union with the Charmer-Divine (Ram) captivated and electrified me.
The poetry invited me to dance in joy with it. My being grasped Nanak’s hand and began to sway, twisting and turning with the Bani. Dancing its waltz, embracing the melodies, enveloped in feeling. Emotions never felt before came alive – every Sabad, contemplated in concentration, was vibrant with color in my mind’s eye and my heart’s palace.
While dancing, I did not know when I learned how to understand the language of the five-rivers, or the language of Mohammed uttered by Kabir or the language of Nath Yogis conversing with Nanak. All I knew was that I thirsted for the life I found within the comfort of the Guru’s wise words.
Yet, as I walked hand in hand with Guru, I did not understand the purity of such joy. The dance had left me silent and shaken, as if waking up from a distant dream. Now, devoid of beauty and dazzling colors of inspiration, life greyed; dulled by constant directionless thought and forced servitude of a master unknown.
I kept walking, seeking beauty in other ways – perhaps through discipline, through discussions, through empty words and false praise… but my heart remained caught in the memories of the distant past. I could not shake the feeling that the Word was where my heart lay.
When I arose to walk again one day, I came face to face with a burning question posed within: how much of your path is hearsay? Your legs are weary with the strain of the journey we have embarked on. Do not forget, O beloved, where your heart is lest you spend your precious jewel of a life traveling only to realize you have not moved at all.
So, I paused. I returned to my heart, returned to the words and utterances of my Beloved. As a vigil to honor the homecoming and the lessons learned, my hands went to pick up a pen in hopes of etching the pangs of love incited by the beauty of Guru’s words into paper and into memory. Never forgotten.
So, the journey towards Beauty continues, heart and head in hand.
I share with you today my heart and its intimacies.
Rag Bilaval. Nanak V.
Body-pasture is beautiful. Heart-place thrives. Matters are complete.
Fear retreats. Doubt-deception erased. The Charmer-Divine pervades perpetually.1.
In the company of the Sadh-Individuals: comfort, flow, and repose!
Charmed is that time when All-Pervasive’s Nature is remembered. Reflect.
Living in obscurity, they rise to prominence.
Nanak chases the refuge of the Heart-Knower!
They, too, resemble You!
By word. By action.
– in them, there is a glimpse of You!
Where does the ocean end?
Where does the river begin?
I am on the shores
I stop not! I fear not!
On the banks of this River,
my heart-flower blossomed
for the whole world to see.
ਹਉ ਜਾਇ ਪੁਛਾ ਸੋਹਾਗ ਸੁਹਾਗਣਿ ਤੁਸੀ ਕਿਉ ਪਿਰੁ ਪਾਇਅੜਾ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਮੇਰਾ ॥
I went, asking about lasting union to the wedded bride:
How did you find the Divine-Partner, my Sovereign?
“The Eternal Lover-Divine looked me with Grace! I let go of ‘Mine’ and ‘Thine’.”
Surrender everything: mind, body, and life are of the All-Pervasive Sovereign.
This is the Path of Union, O sister!
Our Sovereign looks upon with Love-Glance.
O Nanak! Light merges with Light.3.
I wring my hands, nervously, anxiously.
My words come out all funny,
rushing out like a long-held sigh:
“How did you find the Beloved, dearest?”
her eyes drop down.
She looks up,
her eyes are filled with mysteries, untold.
“Love has found me.
I did not seek the arrow.
The arrow found me.
It pierced my heart thus
that I could do nothing but surrender.”
“The Lover came closer than I had ever imagined.
He took me in and filled me with himself.
I can no longer discern
which is me and what is not.”
“It is all the Beloved, dearest sister.
Embark on this path
Where each step is like melting,
like sun rays meeting the sun!”
Balpreet Kaur (@balihaaree) is an educator, activist, and an aspiring organizational psychologist who loves all things that prompt deeper reflection of the paradoxes of life be it language, community development, or psychology. She has been a two-time participant in Sikh Research Institute’s leadership program: Sidak.