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Prayer (Ardaas) in Nanak’s house

Prayer ( Ardaas ) holds a very important position in the life of a Sikh.

Prayer ( Ardaas ) holds a very important position in the life of a Sikh. When I was a child I was initiated into saying a daily prayer by my mother in front of Guru Nanak’s picture and was told about following shabad :

ਧਨਾਸਰੀ ਮਹਲਾ ੫ 

ਚਤੁਰ ਦਿਸਾ ਕੀਨੋ ਬਲੁ ਅਪਨਾ ਸਿਰ ਊਪਰਿ ਕਰੁ ਧਾਰਿਓ 

ਕ੍ਰਿਪਾ ਕਟਾਖ੍ਯ੍ਯ ਅਵਲੋਕਨੁ ਕੀਨੋ ਦਾਸ ਕਾ ਦੂਖੁ ਬਿਦਾਰਿਓ ॥੧

ਹਰਿ ਜਨ ਰਾਖੇ ਗੁਰ ਗੋਵਿੰਦ 

ਕੰਠਿ ਲਾਇ ਅਵਗੁਣ ਸਭਿ ਮੇਟੇ ਦਇਆਲ ਪੁਰਖ ਬਖਸੰਦ ॥ ਰਹਾਉ 

ਜੋ ਮਾਗਹਿ ਠਾਕੁਰ ਅਪੁਨੇ ਤੇ ਸੋਈ ਸੋਈ ਦੇਵੈ 

ਨਾਨਕ ਦਾਸੁ ਮੁਖ ਤੇ ਜੋ ਬੋਲੈ ਈਹਾ ਊਹਾ ਸਚੁ ਹੋਵੈ ॥੨॥੧੪॥੪

God has spared no Grace in granting me Mercy, hugging me close and erasing me errors, 
Whatever I ask, that is given. Whatever the true servant says is proven to be true. 

As a young child, I would ask for good marks in school , good health for a relative who was not well. This was an innocent prayer and always got answered. I was trained to close my prayer with line ਨਾਨਕ ਨਾਮ ਚੜਦੀ ਕਲਾ ਤੇਰੇ ਭਾਣੇ ਸਰਬੱਤ ਦਾ ਭਲਾ , seeking well being of all.

As I grew into an adult , my daily prayers continued but became more material - career, marriage, children, wealth, status. Sincere prayers for good health of friends and relatives along with well being of others continued.

I was abundantly rewarded by Waheguru with everything I prayed for and led a very happy and comfortable life. I was hit by mid life crisis in my forties when I got everything which I had ever hoped ( & prayed ) for, but yet felt unfulfilled. There was a vacuum inside and I was not able to put my finger on exact reason for this discontentment as everything was alright in my worldly life. I was not able to understand my real purpose  and there was high degree of anxiety and restlessness. I tried addressing this by doing reading on various subjects, lot of physical exercise, indulgence with alcohol but things just didn’t seem right.

I sought answers from various sources which included reading many spiritual books, doing several courses, learnt various meditation techniques, listening to spiritual masters but yet remained as dry as I was earlier. I learnt few concepts and could talk intelligently about them, felt good for some time but went back to feelings of haziness after short periods.

Five years back I was introduced to Guru Granth Sahib by my aunt in Chandigarh. They had Baba ji’s Swaroop at their home. I told her that I bow to Guru Sahib as I have been trained to do it since my childhood but there is no relationship of a teacher and a disciple. I also told her that I don’t understand Gurbani and find it difficult to read. She reinitiated me in the tradition and I grew by hair, started reading/listening to elementary Gurbani.. I saw some changes coming in me, though feelings of haziness stayed.

Three years back I felt encouraged and started doing my Nitnem Paaths regularly and also attempted understanding the meanings of these Paaths. I experienced real happiness reflecting on my learnings and this joy lasted for several days continuously. I felt that this is my way and wanted to move forward in this journey .

A conversation with my Uncle in Jalandhar in August 2018 made me understand that Baani, if done correctly has a power to transform one’s life. I felt more encouraged to continue on this journey though couldn’t imagine how my life could transform. I had tried many methods earlier but never succeeded. Few more conversations with Uncle and some understanding of Gurbani concepts was paving the path for me.

I was introduced by a common friend in December 2018 to another person in USA , who had transformational experience in life through Gurbani. Series of weekly conversations with him on different topics of Gurbani made me determined that I am on a beautiful journey and have got great tool in form of my Guru to make it enjoyable and blissful. I was so impressed with transformation of my Gurubhai that I wanted to understand and assimilate every element of his journey. This acted as catalyst in my transformation from a seeker of the Light to follower of the Lighthouse, SGGS. He introduced me to Shabad Guru and made me understand different concepts of Gurbani.

My prayers have changed since and following two Shabads describe my ask from Waheguru:

ਪ੍ਰਭਾਤੀ ਮਹਲਾ ੧ 

ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦੀ ਵਿਦਿਆ ਵੀਚਾਰੈ ਪੜਿ ਪੜਿ ਪਾਵੈ ਮਾਨੁ ॥

ਆਪਾ ਮਧੇ ਆਪੁ ਪਰਗਾਸਿਆ ਪਾਇਆ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਨਾਮੁ ॥੧॥

ਕਰਤਾ ਤੂ ਮੇਰਾ ਜਜਮਾਨੁ ॥

ਇਕ ਦਖਿਣਾ ਹਉ ਤੈ ਪਹਿ ਮਾਗਉ ਦੇਹਿ ਆਪਣਾ ਨਾਮੁ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥

ਪੰਚ ਤਸਕਰ ਧਾਵਤ ਰਾਖੇ ਚੂਕਾ ਮਨਿ ਅਭਿਮਾਨੁ ॥

ਦਿਸਟਿ ਬਿਕਾਰੀ ਦੁਰਮਤਿ ਭਾਗੀ ਐਸਾ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਗਿਆਨੁ ॥੨॥|

ਜਤੁ ਸਤੁ ਚਾਵਲ ਦਇਆ ਕਣਕ ਕਰਿ ਪ੍ਰਾਪਤਿ ਪਾਤੀ ਧਾਨੁ ॥

ਦੂਧੁ ਕਰਮੁ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ ਘੀਉ ਕਰਿ ਐਸਾ ਮਾਂਗਉ ਦਾਨੁ ॥੩॥

ਖਿਮਾ ਧੀਰਜੁ ਕਰਿ ਗਊ ਲਵੇਰੀ ਸਹਜੇ ਬਛਰਾ ਖੀਰੁ ਪੀਐ ॥

ਸਿਫਤਿ ਸਰਮ ਕਾ ਕਪੜਾ ਮਾਂਗਉ ਹਰਿ ਗੁਣ ਨਾਨਕ ਰਵਤੁ ਰਹੈ ॥੪॥੭॥

ਮਾਗਨਾ ਮਾਗਨੁ ਨੀਕਾ ਹਰਿ ਜਸੁ ਗੁਰ ਤੇ ਮਾਗਨਾ ॥੪॥

ਜਾਗਨਾ ਜਾਗਨੁ ਨੀਕਾ ਹਰਿ ਕੀਰਤਨ ਮਹਿ ਜਾਗਨਾ ॥੫॥

I can ask for comforts and foods so I will ask for the rice or chastity, the wheat of compassion, the salad of Your meditation. 
May I have the ghee of good deeds, the milk of forgiveness. 
Of all the prayers the best prayer is for Guru to grant me to praise God. 

I have experienced some seemingly impossible developments in my life since Dec 2018 which include big improvement in my:

Physical health - reduction of body weight ( 20 Kgs from 100 to 80 ), good regimen of exercise, very good diet, am in great shape.

Mental health - significantly reduced stress level, more joyful and contented,  clarity of thinking, better quality of sleep, abstinence of substances.

Material world - settlement of an old investment, financial security, got a stable job, elder daughter blessed with wonderful assignment, younger daughter got into top college of India - progressing very well, wife also feeling more at ease and joyful.

My prayers now include acquiring virtues of  contentment, peace, bliss ,fearlessness, equipoise and deeper understanding of Gurbani. I am told by my spiritual guides that following elements are required in your personal Ardaas:

  • Genuine and reasonable ask. Sincerity in prayer.
  • Belief in Waheguru and the power to make it come true.
  • Humble state of mind - full of love and complete surrender to Hukam.
  • Regular Naam Simran

They also say that after a stage in spiritual life, you don’t even need to say a prayer. Waheguru, who is inside you knows what is best for you and keeps on showering all blessings.

My sincere thanks to all my spiritual buddies who have helped in my journey and blessed me with their insights. I bow to Waheguru who is within all of us, all around us and is source of everything.

Maninder Sood
30th June 2020--

Maninder Sood

Maninder is a working professional and a senior executive in Indian Financial Services industry. He is currently based in Gurgaon.

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