The Speaking Tree : The Extraordinary Gift Of Japji

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Speaking Tree is a column that appears in the Times Of India and covers topics varied and wide.  Almost all of them are commentaries by contemporary figures on the universal teachings of the great masters and their eternally relevant message to mankind.  I feel lucky to read the column some days as I did today with this one : “THE SPEAKING TREE: Story of Nanak’s Death And Birth of Japji Sahib (the very first words uttered by Guru Nanak after self-realisation)” by Osho.

Nanak sat on the bank of the river in total darkness with his friend and follower, Mardana.  Suddenly, he removed his clothes and walked into the river. Mardana called after him, “Where are you going?  The night is so dark and cold!”  Nanak went further and further, he plunged into the depths of the river.  Mardana waited… but Nanak did not return… Mardana ran back to the village and woke up everyone.  It was midnight, but a crowd collected at the riverside because everyone loved Nanak… They ran back and forth the whole length of the river bank but to no avail.  Three days passed.  By now it was certain that Nanak had drowned.  The people imagined that his body must have been carried away by the swift current and perhaps eaten by wild animals.  The village was in mourning.  On the third night Nanak appeared from the river.  The first words he spoke became the Japji Sahib…..And it is evident that the more profound the subject matter, the greater the need for symbols.  When Nanak disappeared in the river, the story goes that he stood before the gate of God.  He experienced God… God spoke to him, “Now go back and give unto others what I have given unto you”.  The Japji is Nanak’s first offering after his God-experience.  Unless you lose yourself completely, until you die, you cannot hope to meet God.  Your annihilation becomes his being.  As long as you are, he cannot be.  This is the symbolic meaning of drowning in the river.  You too will have to lose yourself; you too will have to drown.  Death is only completed after three days, because the ego does not give up easily.  The three days in Nanak’s story represent the time required for his ego to dissolve completely.  Since the people could only see the ego and not the soul, they thought Nanak was dead. 

The one who is lost invariably returns, but he returns as new.  He who treads the path most certainly returns.  While he was on the path he was thirsty, but when he returns he is a benefactor; he has left a beggar, he returns a king.  Whoever follows the path carries his begging bowl; when he comes back he possesses infinite treasures.  To appear before God, to attain the beloved, are purely symbolic terms and not to be taken literally.  There is no God sitting somewhere on high before whom you appear.  But to speak of it, how else can it be expressed?  When the ego is eradicated, when you disappear, whatever is before your eyes, is God Himself.  God is not a person — God is an energy beyond form.  To stand before this formless energy means to see Him wherever you look, whatever you see.  When the eyes open, everything is He.  Ego is like the mote in your eye; the minute it is removed, God stands revealed before you.  And no sooner does God manifest, than you also become God, because there is nothing besides Him.  Nanak returned, but the Nanak who returned was also God himself.  Then each word uttered became so invaluable as to be beyond price, each word equal to the words of the Vedas.

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