What is the Tenth Guru to You?

Guru Gobind Singh did not just bring a light to the world, he emanated the most bright and pure light....

What will a diamond look like if two people stare at it? Both people will describe what they see from their perspective and they will both be right. Neither will have the whole picture.

The Perfect Guru is a diamond. Rest assured, whatever our station in life, there is a more complete picture of him waiting on the path of our destiny. 

Is Guru Gobind Singh a son, a poet, a husband, a leader, an inventor, a visionary, a brother, a warrior, a general, a musician, a father, a teacher, a linguist, a servant, a lover, a master or a friend? One virtuous disciple, Bhai Nand Lal, who was very pleasing to the master, described him as “The Complete Man." The Complete Man is a shining example for the ultimate destiny of a soul. That soul who attains mastery in all fields, who is not just perfect, but perfect on all sides. Guru Gobind Singh did not just bring a light to the world, he emanated the most bright and pure light.

This year, in remembrance of Guru ji's birthday, let us go deeper. Let us engage in an intimate conversation and perhaps we will find there is a more complete picture yet to be seen. Let us call upon him to be with us right now. Dhan Siri Guru Gobind Singh ji!

Below are excerpts of a divine dialogue between Guru Gobind Rai and Bhai Nand Lal (this happened a few years before 1699 when he became ‘Guru Gobind Singh’). Bhai Nand Lal was a favorite in the court of the Guru and was known as the 'Jewel of the Guru’s Court'. This conversation is called ‘Prashan-Uttar’: “Questions and Answers." I like to think of this as a rare treasure from Guru Gobind Rai, a very intimate and special teaching for the merging of our souls with the Divine.

This conversation took place in two sections. One was about the specific actions and disciplines the Sikhs should take. The second was the meaning behind it. It is very telling that the first section is 8 couplets and the second is 32 couplets. For every rule and discipline the Guru gave, there is far more love, meaning, devotion and depth behind it.

For the evening routine, he instructed his devotee to do rehiraas, listen to kirtan and katha, and if these are earnestly done, he will have bliss. For the morning routine, the True Guru instructed his divine disciple to get up early in the morning, bathe, chant Wahiguru, recite Jap ji and Jaap Sahib. Listen to the Guru’s words with complete attention “Then come and have the darshan of mine.”


At this Bhai Nand Lal asked, “My master, you have said to have your darshan. How can I have your presence?”

The fact that Bhai ji asked this is a profound statement on its own. The implication is that the Guru is more than his physical form. The seemingly simple act of having his darshan is no ordinary endeavor. In the presence of the Guru, talking face to face, Bhai Nand Lal didn’t assume that he already knew what is to be in the presence of the Guru! Guru ji answered by explaining that he has three forms,

“Listen astutely Nand. I am known by three aspects: Nirgun (unmanifest), Sargun (manifest) and GurShabad (Guru’s word). I will explain it to you.

This aspect (Nirgun) is beyond all material things. As the Vedas many times say, ‘Neither this, nor that.’ It is the Lord in every heart, is pervasive like water in a pitcher."

History has seen many poets that echo similar sentiments. The Divine is in the scent of every flower. Yet this is still one side of the diamond. We are supremely blessed to have a Guru who revealed more forms for us, and he spends more time on the following aspects.

“The second form of mine is the written teaching. Accept this as part of me. Treat its letters as the hairs of my body, for this is truly so.

Sikhs who wish to have the Guru’s darshan will do so when they come to the Granth. The wise one will bathe in the early morning and circle the Guru three times.

Come in reverence and sit in my presence. Humbly bow and hear the words of the Guru Granth. Hear the word with devout affection for the Guru. Hear the Guru’s Word of wisdom and read it that others may hear.

The person who wishes to converse with me should read the Granth and recite it’s Words. The person who wishes to hear me should devoutly listen to and contemplate the words of the Granth.

Agree to nothing else but this: The Granth is my embodiment.”

Now we move to the third aspect which is a profound revelation. Let us understand this and create paradise on earth.

“My Sikh is my third embodiment, that Sikh who day and night is immersed in the Words of Gurbani.

The Sikh who loves and trusts the word of the Guru, is an ever-present manifestation of the Guru.

Such a Sikh hears the Guru’s words and reads them so others can hear. Attentively they read Jap Ji and Jaap, visit places the Gurus have blessed and strictly avoid adulterous acts.

The Gursikh who is faithful in service, will find themself cleansed from all sense of self absorption. They who earnestly do these, they are my manifestation.

Worthy is the Sikh who serves with devotion, expressing their obedience to me in the generous offerings which they make.

Such is the service which I receive from a Gursikh. Hear me O’ Nand. Giving up the self they are saved and secure the Heavens.”


Bhai Nand Lal then asked,

“You told me of three forms. The Unmanifest, the Manifest and the Guru’s Word. The Unmanifest we cannot see, the Manifest is the obedient Sikh.

How can we comprehend the infinity of your unmanifest form? You are the master, the universe is your form, and your presence mystically pervades every heart. So how can we perceive you?”

Guru ji answered,
“My obedient Sikh Nand Lal, listen to the message I just gave you. One who reads or hears it, and carefully enacts it, will find themself the object of much admiration. I tell you, their spirit will merge with my spirit.”



Videos on the Tenth Guru


Guru Gobind Singh and His Banis - Part 1
In this four part series Shanti Kaur Khalsa Ji explains about the writings of Guru Gobind Singh. Her words always bring a sense of culture and are always a joy to hear.

Guru Gobind Singh And The Goldsmith
Jugat Guru Singh Khalsa tells a story with a very powerful moral and relayes a teaching from Guru Gobind Singh.

Guru Gobind Singh Banis
Sadasat Singh Singh Khalsa explains the significance of Dasam Bani (Guru Gobind Singh Banis) in the Sikh lifestyle.


Audio Stories on the Tenth Guru:

When Gobind Rai was born his presence was felt by a beloved Muslim mystic named Bhikan Shah. Bhikan Shah devised a way of asking the baby, who he felt was a prophet, "Will you favor Muslims, or will you favor Hindus?" Listen to The Birth of Gobind Rai

A great warrior was proud of his professional soldiers. After he offered Guru Gobind Singh a new gun he learned a lesson about what is more valuable: Soldiers of profession or soldiers of love. Listen to Guru Gobind Singh And The New Musket

Bhai Nand Lal (mentioned above) was a beloved Sikh of the Tenth Guru. One time Guru ji decided to test his devotees to see if they remember how a Sikh household treats guests. Listen to why Bhai Nand Lal was known as the Jewel of the Guru's Court in The Langar Disguise.
Prashan Uttar translation from: http://www.bhainandlal.com/katha.html
The full text of Prashan Uttar (complete two sections) with alternate translation: http://www.sikhiwiki.org/index.php/Bhai_Nand_Lal_Rahitnama

A hearty thanks to the team behind the Bhai Nand Lal webpage and facebook page. May these resources continue to enlighten us about the Jewel of the Guru’s court.


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