Everyone wishes for a glimpse of the divine—love, joy and truth eternal. My wish for all the world is that this year each of us may experience it. Music, nature, art, friendship and prayer are all doors through which we enter the divinity within us beyond our mundane world. It is more important than ever that we daily enter these doors through our senses, our sensibilities and our hearts.

The vibration of the world is being stepped up now. We must tune ourselves to a higher sound. We are witnessing the separative and materialistic vibrations in their death throes. Hanging on to the old “me and mine” way of thinking not only increases the suffering, but is a cause of suffering.

Identify yourself as a child of one God, no matter what name you call this Being Who Is Being. This is the simple message of all those in love with God, not the false gods of dogma, ideology and “homelands” (as opposed to Earth, our mother). Guru Nanak, the first teacher of the Sikhs says that “God is without fear and without hate”. Think about it. When we resonate with divinity, we are also without these two mortal enemies that kill our souls as well as our bodies. The message is even more important now that negative thinking and desire for revenge can pull us into hellish places. How do we keep our spirits up? I have found the hymns from the Sikh holy book (similar in some ways to the Psalms of David which I also love to turn to) to be extraordinarily culture free and liberating.

Nitnem are the five prayers recited by Sikhs throughout the day that help us to travel to the world of sachkhand or place of truth. Guru Nanak visited there in a trance that lasted three days. When he “returned”, his first words were “There is no Hindu; there is no Musselman!” No doubt, he found that in the realm of the formless God, even religion, as we humans know it, does not exist there. His signature greeting “Sat Kartar!”, the “Creator is Truth” is without cultural bias. He traveled thousands of miles on foot, as far as China in the east and Mecca in the west, not turning people away from their religion, but turning them, tuning them, toward God. His message was simple and the same wherever he went: Worship God in your heart, with all your heart, no matter by what name you call God. And see the Light of God in every human being!

Please join me in reading just a few of the lines from each of the prayers. It was very hard to choose which ones may resonate with you personally, so you are welcome to read the entire prayers online on sikhnet.com.

Japji Sahib or the Honored Meditation by the first teacher Guru Nanak Devji portrayed in the picture above. It is recited before dawn after bathing. It is a universal prayer, a universal theological seminar, and commentary on the human condition. It begins simply:

The Mool Manter of Japji Sahib
Ek Ongkar, Sat Nam
Karta-Purakh, Nirbhau Nirvair
Akal-murat, Ajuni Saibhang
Gur Prasaad
Jap!

A beautiful translation of this core meditation found in the guide for the wonderful exhibition of early Sikh art at the Rubin Museum in New York City called I See No Stranger gave no mention of the person who translated it:

Let us meditate on
The One
The Eternal
The Creator
Beyond fear or faction
Beyond Time and Birth
Of his Own Being
Mediated through the grace of the Guru
True in the beginning
True through the ages
True in the present
Nanak, true he will ever Be!

Jaap Sahib or the Great Meditation by the tenth teacher, Guru Gobind Singh ji. It has a variety of martial rhythms and it prepares you to leave this world for higher realms by raising your consciousness away from the world of form and spiraling you higher and higher through identification with the divine attributes. A sample:

Namastang ajate Namastang apate
I salute God who is without caste. I salute God who has no dynasty.
Namastang amajbe Namastast ajbe
I salute God who is without religion. I salute God who is marvelous.
Namastang adese Namastang abhese.
I salute God who is from no country. I salute God who is without particular dress.

Anand Sahib or Song of Bliss, an ecstatic hymn by the third teacher, Guru Amar Das ji. Also a sample:

Angikar oh kare tera, karaj sabh savarna
God is always with you and will straighten out all your projects.
Subna gala samrath suami, so kio manoh visare…
God is complete in every way; so why should I forget Him….
Sacha Nam mera adharo
The True Name is my support
Sach Nam adharu mera, jin bhukha sabh gaviaai
The True Name is my support; all my hungers have disappeared.

The evening prayer Rehras, a compilation of hymns from the first teacher Guru Nanak Dev ji, the fourth, Guru Ram Das ji, and the fifth, Guru Arjan Dev ji. It begins:

Dukh daru sukh rog bhaia ja sukh tam na hoi…
Pain is the medicine, and comfort is the disease.
When engrossed in luxuries, mankind forgets God….
Bhaiy prapat manukh deharia
You are fortunate to be a human being,
Gobind milan ki eh teri baria
This is your chance to meet the Lord!
Avar kaj terai kitai na kam
All other tasks are useless.
Mil Sadh Sangat bhaj kewal Nam
Meet with the congregation of the saints and sing praises to the Name (of God) only!

The bedtime prayer, Kirtan Sohila, the Song of Praise, also by the same three teachers who wrote the hymns compiled in the Rehras. A sample:

Sabh mai jot, jot hai soe
In all of us is His light
Tis dai chanan, subh maih chanan hoi
From this Light, the light shines within all
Gur sakhi jot pargat hoe
Through the Guru’s story, the light appears.
Jo tis bhavai so arti hoe
That which appeals to God becomes a prayer.

Nanak Naam Chardi Kalaa, Tere Bhane Sarbat Da Bhala! These prayers were translated by Parmpal and Veronica Sidhu. Please forgive any errors