Salutation! Salutations in Devotion!!

According to Guru Ji by salutations first ones awareness broadens and then one is blessed with divine knowledge....


Salutation is bowing to honor and recognize the higher authority whose writ runs. Salutation is done in awe and admiration. When we explore as to whom our revered Guru, and Bhagats have saluted and recognized we find that they have not saluted any worldly authority or power, but the ultimate authority whose writ runs everywhere and on everyone. This authority is Primal, without a beginning and an end, without a blemish, and not affected by age or time. Guru Nanak Dev Ji tells us in these words:


ਆਦੇਸੁ ਤਿਸੈ ਆਦੇਸੁ ॥ ਆਦਿ ਅਨੀਲੁ ਅਨਾਦਿ ਅਨਾਹਤਿ ਜੁਗੁ ਜੁਗੁ ਏਕੋ ਵੇਸੁ ॥28॥
"Aadhaes tisai aadhaes. Aadh aneel anaadh anaahath jug jug eaeko vaes." (SGGS, Pg. No. 6)

Meaning: I bow to Him, I humbly bow. The Primal One, the Pure Light, without a beginning, without end. Throughout all the ages, He is One and the Same.

Guru Nanak Dev Ji repeats these lines four times in Japji Sahib. Guru Ji says that I bow to Him in all humility. In the other lines of these four stanzas of which these lines are the concluding lines, Guru Ji gives his opinion on the yoga practices of the times, and then clarifies what true yoga is, from his perspective. Guru Ji's simple advice is to offer a salutation to the Primal One, who has no beginning, nor any end. Guru Ji suggests that He alone is worthy of our salute because He is the only One who is pure-without any stains- and the One who does not change with time. These are the qualities that make Him unique, and worthy of our salute. He is the beginning of everything, yet He is without any beginning, so bowing with reverence should always be directed at Him. When it is not directed at Him, it is of no avail.

Now, let us see other references to this devotional form, from the sayings of Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Elsewhere Guru Nanak Dev Ji Says:

"ਆਦੇਸੁ ਬਾਬਾ ਆਦੇਸੁ ॥"

"Aaadhaes baabaa aadhaes." (SGGS, Pg. No. 417)

Meaning: Hail to You, O Father Lord, Hail to You!

These words of Guru Nanak Dev Ji are from Baburvani, and they describe the devastation, decimation and massacre that were unleashed by Babur at Aimanabad (now in Pakistan). Along with the loot, plunder, the remaining survivors were taken prisoners, dishonored and sold in the slave market. Guru Ji felt their pain, and suffering, but wondered aloud, that God has just changed the costume and the landscape. He salutes in awe, as well in prayer, at the plight of the masses and reminds us to remember God even in our sufferings. Further when Guru Ji talks about lunar days, he reminds us again to salute the Creator and Protector as:

ਪ੍ਰਭ ਆਦੇਸੁ ਆਦਿ ਰਖਵਾਰਾ ॥

"Prabh aadhaes aadh rakhavaaraa." (SGGS, Pg. No. 840)

Meaning: I bow in submission to God, my Protector from the very beginning of time.

Guru Ram Das Ji also shares with us his religious practice. He says that he bows and salutes to the only One who pervades throughout the different ages.

ਜੁਗੁ ਜੁਗੁ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਏਕੋ ਵਰਤੈ ਤਿਸੁ ਆਗੈ ਹਮ ਆਦੇਸੁ ॥

"Jug jug har har eaeko varathai this aagai ham aadhaes." (SGGS, Pg. No. 368)

Meaning: The Lord, the One Lord, is pervading throughout all the ages; I humbly bow down to Him.

Now, let try us to see the significance of salutation to the Creator. In Sri Guru Granth Sahib there is reference on Page No. 71 to the nine types of devotional practices. Salutation is considered as one of type and named as "Namaskar Bhagti." Guru Arjan Dev Ji then adds that instead of debating over the merits of these nine types and selecting one, I have just adopted the method of salutations:

ਨਾਨਕੁ ਗੁਰ ਚਰਣਿ ਪਰਾਤਾ ॥

"Nanak gur charan paraathaa." (SGGS, Pg. No. 71)

Meaning: Nanak has fallen at the Feet of the Guru.

For Guru Ji the Guru is the Creator. Elsewhere, also Guru Arjan Dev has also shared about his devotional practice in these words:

ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਆਦੇਸੁ ॥

"Paarabreham satgur aadhes." (SGGS, Pg. No. 1141)

Meaning: I humbly bow to the Supreme Lord God, the True Guru.

Guru Gobind Singh Ji has a whole composition Jaap Sahib that is devoted to the salutations of the Almighty. Kabir Ji's thoughts as elaborated by Guru Arjan Dev Ji also express that his religious practice consists of only saluting God. Kabir Ji clarifies that his practice does not involve doing puja as Hindus do, or doing namaj as Muslims do. He just feels that divine presence within the self and salutes Him.

ਪੂਜਾ ਕਰਉ ਨ ਨਿਵਾਜ ਗੁਜਾਰਉ ॥ ਏਕ ਨਿਰੰਕਾਰ ਲੇ ਰਿਦੈ ਨਮਸਕਾਰਉ ॥

"Poojaa karo n nivaaj gujaaro. eaek nirankaar lae ridhai namasakaaro." (SGGS, Pg. No. 1136)

Meaning: I do not perform Hindu worship services, nor do I offer the Muslim prayers. I have taken the One Formless Lord into my heart; I humbly salute Him there.

Elsewhere Kabir Ji again talking about his devotional practices declares:

ਹੀਰਾ ਦੇਖਿ ਹੀਰੇ ਕਰਉ ਆਦੇਸੁ ॥

"Heeraa dhaekh heerae karo aadhaes." (SGGS, Pg. No. 972)

Meaning: Gazing upon the diamond, I humbly salute this diamond.

Even Bhai Gur Das Ji, the scribe of Add Bir declares about the practice in these words:

ਆਦਿ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਆਦੇਸੁ ਕਰਾਈ ॥

"Aadh purakh aadhaes karaaee." (Bhai Gur Das, Vaar 40)

Meaning: Worthy of salutation is only that primeval Lord.

The significance of this practice of salutation can be gauged from the fact that Guru Angad Dev Ji has declared that:

ਜੋ ਸਿਰੁ ਸਾਂਈ ਨਾ ਨਿਵੈ ਸੋ ਸਿਰੁ ਦੀਜੈ ਡਾਰਿ ॥

"Joe sir saa-ee naa nivai so sir deejai ddaar." (SGGS, Pg. No. 89)

Meaning: Chop off that head which does not bow to the Lord.

According to Guru Ji by salutations first ones awareness broadens and then one is blessed with divine knowledge. By repeated practice in reverence and the meditation of One emanates within. When the seeker is blessed with His grace the seeker merges with Him. So, for the followers of the Guru calling themselves as Sikhs; there is only one practice to imbibe and that is the practice of feeling the divine within and saluting that divine presence. We may not be acquainted with that divine presence within, but we still know that there is something inside that keeps us going. If that very source is not there, then we would not be alive. It is the sources of our aliveness without it even the common and basic human functions as breathing, walking, talking, eating, or drinking, etc. will not be possible. The entire complex mechanism of the body is functioning because of it. This divine presence keeps us functioning like a battery in a battery operated toy. Therefore, whenever we become aware of it, let us recognize that significant and essential part of the self and salute it again and again using the words of Guru Arjan Dev Ji from his composition of Sukhmani Sahib.

ਆਦਿ ਗੁਰਏ ਨਮਹ ॥ ਜੁਗਾਦਿ ਗੁਰਏ ਨਮਹ ॥ ਸਤਿਗੁਰਏ ਨਮਹ ॥ ਸ੍ਰੀ ਗੁਰਦੇਵਏ ਨਮਹ ॥

"Aadh gurae nameh. Jugaadh gurae nameh. Satgurae gurae nameh. Sri Gurdevae nameh." (SGGS, Pg. No. 262)

Meaning: I bow to the Primal Guru. I bow to the Guru of the ages. I bow to the True Guru. I bow to the Great, Divine Guru.

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