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God is Omnipresent

Realize and be Blissful


Dear all; The swan is a powerful symbol used in Gurbani. It refers to the soul, and in some places it refers to a saintly person.

The 8th Raag in SGGS Ji is Vadhans Raag. Although vadhans refers to the raag, the Gurus have masterfully played on the word ‘vadhans’ to mean a ‘supreme swan’ i.e. an enlightened soul. Thus you have Guru Amardas Ji telling us in the very first Slok of Vadhans Ki Vaar [pg 585] –

‘shabad ratay vadhans hai sach naam urr dhaar’. ‘The supreme swans are imbued with the Shabad; they enshrine the True Name in their hearts’.

Their conduct is such, that they gather the Truth, remain always in the Truth and cherish the True Name. ‘sach sangreh sad sach rehay sachay naal pyaar’. Such swans are pure and immaculate, they have been blessed by His grace. ‘sadaa nirmal mail na lagayee nadar kiti kartaar’.

The next Slok warns of those who masquerade as supreme swans. It contains the lament of one who has been duped by outer appearances. “mai janeya vadhans hai ta mai keeya sangh; jay janaa bagh baphraa tay janam na dendhi angh”.
“I thought he was a supreme swan; if I had known he was a wretched heron I would never for the life of me have touched[associated with] him”.

The 3rd Slok in this series speaks of those who try to emulate the supreme swans. Trying to emulate is not bad in itself, but if the imitation is based on envy and with some hidden agenda, then the results are disastrous. Hence “hansa vekh tarendeyaa baga bhi aaya chaoo ; dubh moye bagh baphray sirr tall upaar paoo “. “Seeing the supreme swans swimming [sporting in the glory of His Naam],[ an envious ] desire to swim arose in the heron ; he drowned rather ingnobly, with his head floating downwards and his feet above”.

In Gurbani the heron [bagla] is often used to potray an impostor or false sadhu, whilst the crow [kaan; kaagha] is used as a metaphor for an evil or sinful person. Gurbani speaks to us to be ever optimistic. No matter how fallen you are, if you please Him you can be saved. The doctrine of grace emphasised by the Gurus is fantastic.

At page 91 Guru Nanak Dev Ji emphasises that His grace can transform anyone, be it even a baglaa or a crow.
“Kya hans kya baglaa ja ko nadar karey ; jay tis bhavay Nanaka kagho hans karay”. ; “What does it matter if it be a swan or a heron; if He gives His glance of grace He can transform even a crow into a swan”.

At page 960 Guru Arjun Dev Ji tells us that the pretender heron or crane can be easily found out by discerning Sikhs.

“Hansa vich betha bagh na baniyee nit betha machee nu taar lavay” ; “Sitting among the swans the crane does not become one of them; his interest is only in the fish [pickings] and he gazes intently at them.”

The swans confer amongst themselves. “Ja hans sabha vichaar kar dekhan ta bagha naal jorh kaday na avay”. ; “The gathering of swans looks and ponders upon [the presence of ]the crane amongst them; they conclude that they can never form an alliance with the crane”.

Why?. Because “hansa hira moti chugnaa bagha dadda bhallan javay” ; “The swans look for [precious] diamonds and pearls [ saintly qualities] whilst the crane chases after frogs [ selfish, worldy, material gains].” .

In the final lines of this shabad Guruji clarifies that that the Satguru is the lake where the swans gather to collect pearls [of saintly wisdom]. “Satgur sarvar ratni bharpuray jis prapat so pavay” ; “The True Guru is the Lake overflowing wth pearls one who is blessed obtains them”.

Such blessed swans are never far from their beloved satguru. “sarvar hans duur na hovaye kartay evay bhavay” ; “The swan never wanders away from the lake such is the Pleasure of the Creator’s Will”.

Even if a swan [saintly person] somehow lands in a place of ill repute or is seen in any place where he would normally not be seen, his inner spirituality will never allow any blemish on his character. Baba Fareed Ji at page 1381 says –

“Hans udarr kodray paeyaa lok vidaran jayee; gehla lok na jandaa hans na kodhra khaye” ; “The swans flew away and landed in a field of grain; people went to chase them away; such thoughtless people do not realise that swans do no feed on such grain.”
Gurfateh. Manjeet Singh

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