This is a book which has been made of a set of talks by Osho Rajneesh on Japji Sahib. Alot of what is said is amazing, however i tell the reader to be cautious. As some parts are not gurmat/Sikhi eg: Osho belives its Ik Omkar where we know it is Ik Onkaar not Om. There are other various parts that may seem false in according to gurmat so beaware and just take the good parts. If theres any question as to what is correct and not correct in accordance to Sikhi please feel free to leave a comment.
Talks given from 21/11/74 to 30/11/74
21 November 1974 am in Chuang Tzu Auditorium
HE IS ONE, HE IS OMKAR, THE SUPREME TRUTH.
HE IS THE CREATOR, BEYOND FEAR, BEYOND RANCOR. HIS IS THE TIMELESS FORM.
NEVER BORN, SELF-CREATING.
HE IS ATTAINED BY THE GURU’S GRACE.
HE WAS TRUTH BEFORE THE AGES AND AS TIME RAN ITS COURSE. NANAK SAYS, NOW IS HE TRUTH ETERNAL, AND FOREVER WILL HE BE. WE CANNOT COMPREHEND HIM THOUGH WE THINK A MILLION TIMES; NOR QUIET THE MIND BY SILENCE, HOWEVER LONG WE SIT;
NOR A MOUNTAIN OF BREAD APPEASE THE HUNGER OF THE SOUL;
NOR ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND FEATS OF MIND ACHIEVE UNITY WITH HIM. HOW CAN TRUTH BE ATTAINED AND THE VEIL OF FALSEHOOD TORN?
NANAK SAYS, BY SUBMISSION TO THE DIVINE ORDER WHICH IS PREORDAINED.
It was a dark moonless night; the clouds were heavy with rain because it was the monsoon season. Suddenly thunder sounded and lightning flashed as a few rain drops started to fall. The village was asleep. Only Nanak was awake and the echo of his song filled the air.
Nanak’s mother was worried because the night was more than half over and the lamp in his room was still burning. She could hear his voice as he sang. She could restrain herself no longer and knocked at his door, ”Go to sleep now, my son. Soon it will be dawn.” Nanak became silent. From the darkness sounded the call of the sparrowhawk. ”Piyu, piyu, piyu!” it called.
”Listen, mother!” Nanak called out. ”The sparrowhawk is calling to his beloved; how can I be silent, because I am competing with him? I will call my beloved as long as he calls his – even longer, because his beloved is nearby, perhaps in the next tree! My beloved is so far away. I will have to sing for lives upon lives before my voice reaches him.” Nanak resumed his song.
Nanak attained God by singing to him; Nanak’s quest is very unusual – his path was decorated with songs. The first thing to be realized is that Nanak practiced no austerities or meditation or yoga; he only sang, and singing, he arrived. He sang with all his heart and soul, so much so that his singing became meditation; his singing became his purification and his yoga.
Whenever a person performs any act with all his heart and soul, that act becomes the path. Endless meditation, if halfhearted, will take you nowhere; whereas just singing a simple song with all your being merged in it, or dance a dance with the same total absorption and you will reach God. The question is not what you do, but how much of yourself you involved in the act.
Nanak’s path to supreme realization, to godliness is scattered with song and flowers. Whatever he has said was said in verse. His path was full of melody and soft, filled with the flavor of ambrosia.
Kabir says: ”My enchanted mind was so intoxicated that it drained the filled cup without caring to measure the quantity.” So it was with Nanak: he drank without caring how much he drank; then he sang, and sang, and sang. And his songs are not those of an ordinary singer. They have sprung from within one who had known. There is the ring of truth, the reflection of God within them.
Now another thing about the japuji. The moonless night described at the beginning was an incident from Nanak’s life when he was about sixteen or seventeen years of age. When the Japuji was conceived, Nanak was thirty years, six months and fifteen days old. The first incident refers to the days when he was still a seeker in quest of the beloved. The call to the beloved, the refrain, ”Piyu, Piyu, Piyu ...” was still the sparrowhawk calling; he had not yet met the beloved.
The Japuji was his first proclamation after the union with the beloved. The sparrowhawk had found his beloved; the call of ”Piyu, Piyu,” was now over. The Japuji are the very first words uttered by Nanak after self-realization; therefore they hold a very special place in the sayings of Nanak. They are the latest news brought back from the kingdom of heaven.
The incident preceding the birth of the Japuji needs to be understood also. Nanak sat on the bank of the river in total darkness with his friend and follower, Mardana. Suddenly, without saying a word,
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, thinking he would be out soon, but Nanak did not return.
Mardana waited for five minutes; when ten minutes had passed he became anxious. Where could he be? There was no sign of him. Mardana began to run along the shore calling to him, ”Where are you? Answer me! Where are you?” He felt he heard a voice saying, ”Be patient, be patient!” but there was no sign of Nanak.
Mardana ran back to the village and woke up everyone. It was the middle of the night, but a crowd collected at the riverside because everyone in the village loved Nanak. They all had some sense, a glimpse, of what Nanak was going to be. They had felt the fragrance of his presence, just as the bud gives off its fragrance before the flower has opened. All the village wept. 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 drowned in sorrow. Though everyone thought him dead, on the third night Nanak appeared from the river. The first words he spoke became the Japuji.
So goes the story – and a story means that which is true and yet not true. It is true because it gives the essential truth; it is false in the sense that it is only symbolic. 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. There before his eyes stood the beloved he pined for, for whom he sang night and day. He who had become the thirst of his every heartbeat stood revealed before Nanak! All his desires were fulfilled. Then God spoke to him, ”Now go back and give unto others what I have given unto you.” The Japuji is Nanak’s first offering after he returned from God.
Now, this is a story; what it symbolizes must be understood. First, unless you lose yourself completely, until you die, you cannot hope to meet God. Whether you lose yourself in a river or on a mountaintop is of little consequence; but you must die. Your annihilation becomes his being. As long as you are, he cannot be. You are the obstacle, the wall that separates you. 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.
Whenever a person becomes a sannyasin and sets out on the quest for God, the family members understand and give him up for dead. Now he is no longer the same person; the old links are broken, the past is no more, and the new has dawned. Between the old and the new is a vast gap; hence this symbol of three days before Nanak’s reappearance.
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.
The Japuji is the first gift from Nanak to the world.
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. It only requires that you should cease to be and that your eyes be opened. 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.
Now let us try to understand the Japuji:
EK OMKAR SATNAM HE IS ONE. HE IS OMKAR, THE SUPREME TRUTH.
EK OMKAR SATNAM HE IS ONE. HE IS OMKAR, THE SUPREME TRUTH.
HE IS THE CREATOR, BEYOND FEAR, BEYOND RANCOR.HIS IS THE TIMELESS FORM.NEVER BORN, SELF-CREATING. HE IS ATTAINED BY THE GURU’S GRACE. He is one: Ek Omkar Satnam.
In order to be visible to us, things must have many levels, many forms. That’s why whenever we see, we see multiplicity. At the seashore we see only the waves, we never see the ocean. The fact is, however, only the ocean is, the waves are only superficial.
But we can see only the superficial because we have only external eyes. To see within requires internal eyes. As the eyes, so the sight. You cannot see deeper than your eyes. With your external eyes you see the waves and think you have seen the ocean. To know the ocean, you must leave the surface and dive below. So in the story Nanak did not remain on the surface, but dived deep into the river. Only then can you know.
Waves alone are not the ocean, and the ocean is much more than a mere collection of waves. The basic fact is that the wave that is now, after a moment no longer will be; nor did it exist a moment ago.
There was a Sufi fakir by the name of Junaid. His son, whom he loved dearly, was killed suddenly in an accident. Junaid went and buried him. His wife was astonished at his behavior. She expected him to go mad with grief at the death of the son he loved so dearly. And here was Junaid acting as if nothing had happened, as if the son had not died! When everyone had left, his wife asked him,
”Aren’t you sad at all? I was so worried you would break down, you loved him so much.”
Junaid replied, ”For a moment I was shocked but then I remembered that before, when this son was not born, I already was and I was quite happy. Now when the son is not, what is the reason for sorrow? I became as I was before. In between, the son came and went. When I was not unhappy before his birth, why should I be unhappy now to be without a son? What is the difference? In between was only a dream that is no longer.”
What was formed and then destroyed, is now no more than a dream. Everything that comes and goes is a dream. Each wave is but a dream; the ocean is the reality. The waves are many, the ocean only one, but we see it as so many waves. Until we see the unity, the oneness of the ocean, we shall continue wandering.
There is one reality, truth is only one: Ek Omkar Satnam. And, says Nanak, the name of this one, is Omkar. All other names are given by man: Ram, Krishna, Allah. These are all symbols, and all created by man. There is only one name that is not given by man and that is Omkar, and Omkar means the sound of Om..
Why Omkar? – because when words are lost and the mind becomes void, when the individual is immersed in the ocean, even then the strain of Omkar remains audible within him. It is not a man- made tune but the melody of existence. Omkar is the very being of existence; therefore Om has no meaning. Om is not a word but a resonance that is unique, having no source, no creation by anyone. It is the resonance of the being of existence. It is like a waterfall: you sit beside a waterfall and you hear its song but the sound is created by the water hitting against the rocks. Sit by a river and listen to its sound; it is caused by the river striking against the banks.
We need to go deeper to understand things. Science tries to break down the whole of existence. What it first discovered was energy in the form of electricity, and then charged particles like the electron of which all of existence is made. Electricity is only a form of energy. If we ask a scientist what sound is made of, he will say that it is nothing but waves of electricity, waves of energy. So energy is at the root of everything. The sages say the same thing; they are in agreement with the scientists except for a slight difference of language. Sages have come to know that all existence is created out of sound, and sound is only an expression of energy. Existence, sound, energy – all are one.
The approach of science is to analyze and break things down, to reach the conclusion. The sage’s approach is absolutely different: through synthesis they have discovered the indivisibility of the self.
The wind rises creating a murmur in the branches of the tree, a collision of air against the leaves. When the musician plays a chord on an instrument, the sound is produced by a blow. All sound is produced by an impact, and an impact requires two – the strings of the instrument and the fingers of the musician. Two are necessary to form any sound.
But God’s name is beyond all separateness. His name is the resonance that remains when all dualities have faded and cease to exist. Within this indivisible whole you come across this resonance. When a person reaches the state of samadhi, Omkar resounds within him. He hears it resounding inside him and all around him; all creation seems to be vibrating with it.
He is struck with wonder when it first happens knowing that he is not creating the sound. He is doing nothing and yet this resonance is coming – from where? Then he realizes that this sound is not created by any impact, any friction; it is the anahat nad, the frictionless sound, the unstruck sound.
Nanak says: Omkar alone is God’s name. Nanak refers to name a great deal. Whenever Nanak speaks of His name – ”His name is the path,” or ”He who remembers his name attains” – he is referring to Omkar, because Omkar is the only name that is not given to Him by man, but is His very own. None of the names given by man can carry you very far. If they do go some distance towards Him, it is only because of some slight shadow of Omkar within them.
For instance the word ram. When Ram is repeated over and over it begins to transport you a little, since the sound ”m” in Ram is also the consonant in Om. Now if you keep repeating it for a long time, you will suddenly discover that the sound of Ram subtly changes into the resonance of Om, because as the repetition begins to quieten the mind, Omkar intrudes and penetrates Ram; Ram gradually fades and Om steps in. It is the experience of all the wise men that no matter with what name they started their journey, at the end it is always Om. As soon as you start to become quiet, Om steps in. Om is always there waiting; it only requires your becoming tranquil.
Says Nanak: ”Ek Omkar Satnam.”
The word sat needs to be understood. In Sanskrit there are two words: ”sat” means beingness, existence, and satya means truth, validity. There is a great difference between the two, though both contain the same original root. Let us see the difference between them.
Satya is the quest of the philosopher. He seeks truth. What is the truth? It lies in the rules whereby two plus two always equals four, and never five or three. So satya is a mathematical formula, a man-made calculation, but it is not sat. It is logical truth but not existential reality.
You dream in the night. Dreams exist. They are sat/reality, but not satya/truth. Dreams are – or else how would you see them? Their being is there but you cannot say they are true, because in the morning you find they have evaporated into nothingness. So there are happenings in life which are true but not existential. Then there are other occurrences that are existent but are not logically true. All mathematics is true but not existential; it is satya but not sat. Dreams are; they are existential, but they are not true.
God is both. He is sat as well as satya, existence as well as truth. Being both, He can neither be fully attained through science, which probes truth, nor through the arts, which explores existence. Both are incomplete in their search, because they are directed only towards one half of Him.
The quest of religion is entirely different from all other quests. It combines both sat and satya: it is in quest of that which is more authentic and true than any mathematical formula. It is in quest of
that which is more existential, more empirical, than any poetic imagery. What religion seeks is both. Looking from any one angle, you will fail; from both directions, then only shall you attain.
So when Nanak says: ”Ek Omkar Satnam,” both sat and satya are contained in his expression. The name of that supreme existence is as true as a mathematical formula and as real as any work of art; it is as beautiful as a dream and as correct as a scientific formula; it contains the emotions of the heart, and the knowledge and experience of the mind.
Where the mind and the heart meet, religion begins. If the mind overpowers the heart, science is born. If the heart overpowers the head, the realm of art is entered: poetry, music, song, painting, sculpture. But if head and heart are united, you enter into Omkar.
A religious person stands above the greatest scientist; he looks down on the greatest artist, because his search contains the essentials of both. Science and art are dualities; religion is the synthesis.
”Ek Omkar Satnam. He is one.He is Omkar, the supreme truth. He is the creator...”
To take them literally limits your understanding of Nanak’s words. It will be a mistake.
One difficulty of the sage lies in the need to use words in general usage. He has to talk to you and so he must speak your language, but what he means to say is beyond words. Your language cannot contain it; it is very limited, whereas truth is very vast. It is just as if someone were trying to compress all the sky into his house, or to gather all the light within his palm. Yet he has to use your language.
It is because of words, because of language, that there are so many sects. For instance, Buddha was born two thousand years before Nanak and used the language of his time. Krishna was born yet another two thousand years before Buddha. His was quite a different kind of language because he belonged to a different country, a different climate, a different culture, and so it was with Mahavira and Jesus. The difference is one of language alone, and languages differ because of people; otherwise there is no real point of difference between the enlightened ones. Nanak made use of the language prevailing during his lifetime.
Nanak says, ”He is the creator.” But at once the thought arises: ”If He is the creator, and we are the created, that establishes a difference between the two,” but Nanak has denied duality in the very beginning, saying that ”God is one.” It is language that is responsible for all the obstacles, and these will increase as we proceed further into Nanak’s words.
The first words uttered by Nanak after samadhi were: ”Ek Omkar Satnam.”
Now the fact is that the entire Sikh religion is contained in those three words. Everything else is merely an effort to teach you, to help you understand. Nanak’s message was complete in these three words. Because it was not possible for ordinary people to understand the message directly, an effort had to be made to expand on it. Explanations are given out of your inability to understand; otherwise Nanak had said all he wanted to convey: ”Ek Omkar Satnam.” The mantra was complete. But for you it has no meaning yet. These three words alone cannot solve the mystery for you; then language must be used.
God is the creator. But realize that He does not stand apart from his creation. He is absorbed and one with all that He has created. This is why Nanak never separated the sannyasin from the householder. If the creator was separate from his creation, then you would drop all worldly activities in order to seek Him, abandoning the shop, the office, the marketplace. Nanak did not give up his worldly duties till the very end. As soon as he returned from his travels he would go to work in the fields. All his life he ploughed the fields. He named the village in which he settled, Kartarpur, which means the village of the creator.
God is the creator, but do not think He is separated form His creation. When man sculpts an idol and the idol is completed, the sculptor and the sculpture are no longer one; they are separate. And the sculpture will remain long after the sculptor is dead. If the image fractures, the sculptor is not also broken, because the two are separate. But there is no such distance between God and His creation.
What kind of relationship exists between God and His creation? It is like a dancer with his dance. When man dances can you separate him from his dance? Can he return home leaving the dance behind? If the dancer dies, the dance dies with him. When the dance stops, he is no longer the dancer. They are united. This is why since ancient times, Hindus have looked upon God as the dancer, ”Nataraj.” In this symbol the dancer and the dance are one.
The poet is no longer related to his poem, once it is finished. The sculptor is separated from his sculpture as soon as it is completed. A mother gives birth to a child, and they are separate; the father is always distinct from the child. But God is not distinct from His creation; He is contained in it. It would be more accurate to say: the creator is the creation, or the creator is nothing but creativity.
Discarding all idea of separateness Nanak says there is no need to renounce or run away from the world. Wherever you are, He is. Nanak has given birth to a unique religion in which householder and sannyasin are one. He alone is entitled to call himself a Sikh who, being a householder is yet a sannyasin; who, being a sannyasin is still a householder.
You cannot become a Sikh merely by growing your hair or wearing a turban. It is difficult to be a Sikh. It is easy to be a householder or to be a sannyasin, but to be a Sikh you have to be both. You have to remain in the house – but as if you are not there, as if you are in the Himalayas. Keep running the shop, but maintain the remembrance of His name ever throbbing within; you can count your cash but take His name along with it.
Before attaining samadhi, Nanak had many small glimpses of God – what we call satori. The first occurred when Nanak was working in a grain shop where his job was to weigh wheat and other grains for the customers. One day as he measured, ”One, two, three...” he reached the number