I am sitting next to “Bhagvan” as I type this blog on Valentine’s Day. Bhagvan is someone glorious, illustrious, revered, venerable, divine, or holy.
She is a 97 years old Kaur. Born in Pakistan, she married Jvala ‘Volcano’ Singh who was born in Malaysia. She raised kids and grandkids in India, and post 1984 spoiled great grandkids in United States of America. She is my paternal grandmother.
I have never seen her angry, raise her voice, or be unkind to anyone. Resting on the hospital bed, due to congestive heart failure, she still doesn’t complain about anything. Everything is well with her, for her! Is that what shukar (thankfulness) is?
Sikhi is about becoming like Ik Oankar, the One Force that radiates in all. She has achieved several milestones on this journey, for her behavior demonstrates that.
Victor Hugo remarked: “The reduction of the universe to the compass of a single being, and the extension of a single being until it reaches God - that is love.” I have been witnessing this love in Divine-incarnate in my grandmother.
For Tina Turner, the question was: “What’s Love Got to Do with It?” For me, love’s got everything to do with life. The $1.25m question is: What’s the greatest love?
Guru Granth Sahib reveals: The greatest love among loves is for the Charming Beloved (prit prit guria mohan lalna).
I ask myself:
Who is my Charming?
Am I being charmed?
Who is my Beloved?
Am I a beloved?
And those who are in love, be it in a human or divine condition, will recall Asa-ki-Var: One obsessed with “good” and “bad” classifications is not to be known as the lover, for that lifestyle is transactional (cangai canga kari manne mandai manda hoi. asaku ehu na akhiai ji lekhai vartai soi).
And those concerned with the establishment’s reactions, even then, that culture of Panjab was against the lovers. Still, the five Pirs blessed Hir-Ranjha. “Says Waris Shah the five saints urged: O children, never ever put love to shame!”
My concern is neither the Saint nor the feast of this day. Life is like a box of chocolates, which kind tempts you? Life is a bouquet of flowers too, which fragrance do you want to inhale? Life is also to love and to be loved, which color do you want to be dyed in?
This Valentine’s Day I’m not in physical proximity of my lover. Not coincidently though, I am with my living Bhagvan. Her life on this Earth is a testimony of love. Her kindness towards all is the love in action. Her incessant affinity towards me is what unknowingly sprouted the love seeds in me.
Etymology of Bhagvan is from fortunate or blessed. Its root is to adore or revere. My Bhagvan is all of the above. And she is a reminder to me to inculcate love, adoration!
Harinder Singh is an educator, thinker and activist who tweets @1Force.