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Location: New Mexico

Publications: Japji Sahib: The Song of the Soul by Guru Nanak translated by Ek Ong Kaar Kaur Khalsa. Anand Sahib: The Song of Bliss by Guru Amar Das translated by Ek Ong Kaar Kaur Khalsa. Available through www.sikhdharma.org.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Engagement Shabads of Guru Ram Das

Wahe Guru Ji Ka Khalsa, Wahe Guru Ji Ki Fateh.

It's been a long time coming. This particular translation. Not because it took a very long time to do. But just because it took a very very very long time to find out that this even existed. Lifetimes, probably, when you get right down to it.

In the last year, there have been a few people who have asked if I had translated the Lavaan yet. Because they wanted to use the translation for their wedding. Once you've heard a request three times from three entirely different people - you begin to get the feeling that the Universe is trying to tell you something.

Whenever embarking on a new translation project, I like to discuss the subject with my Gurbani teacher, Dr. Balkar Singh. When I asked him about the Lavaan, what he told me was that I couldn't translate the Lavaan first. What he taught me was that there are four Shabads right before the Lavaan in the Siri Guru Granth Sahib. (Starting on page 772). These shabads are written by Guru Ram Das. And they are the called the Engagement Shabads.

"You have to understand the Engagement Shabads before you can translate the Lavaan," he told me.

That was almost a year ago.

Finally, this last month, at the kind and insistent request of a friend to have the Lavaan translated for her upcoming wedding, I took a deep breath and began to read through the Engagement Shabads. Even reading other translations of them brought me to tears. They brought me to tears because in four simple stanzas, Guru Ram Das outlines the consciousness we need in order to be ready to marry. Or perhaps - more profoundly - to be able to give, receive and merge into Love. And that consciousness has nothing to do with being young and sexually desireable, or being successful and clever, or being rich and famous. The consciousness to give, receive and merge into Love has to do with stability of spirit, with surrender to the Guru's teachings, and with a profound peace in knowing that the time of these events are written for us before we're even born. There's a Hand guiding our lives - and that Hand - when we let it guide us - will guide us to merge into Love. When the time is right.

For me, passages like these Engagement Shabads work on two levels at the same time. They describe the relationship between the soul and the Divine. But they also describe the relationship between a man and a woman. Because when the relationship between a man and a woman is right, it mirrors the relationship between the soul and the One. That's why we look for completion through a partner, in my humble view of it. Not that we lack anything inside of ourselves. We don't. But somewhere inside there's a spiritual knowing that when two become one - both loose an individual identity - but gain something far greater than either could have on their own - in return.

So for better or for worse, here is my humble attempt to translate the Engagement Shabads of Guru Ram Das. It's different in places than what is traditional. Especially in the translation of the line "Bal Raam Jio." But that's maybe an essay for another time.

Guru Ram Das's Engagement Shabads
Siri Guru Granth Sahib
Page 772-773

One Spirit Beyond
Moves within the Creation –

This understanding
Shall come to you
As a sweet blessing
As a gift
Through the Sound of Wisdom
That guides you
To Truth.

Coming under
The perfect protection
Of the Living Wisdom
That guides me
To Truth

All my defects
And vices
Have been sold

And You adorn me
With virtues.

Darling One,
Who embodies the Power
Of the Balance and Union
Between the Sun
And the Moon.

Meditating on
The continual creativity
Of Divinity
And Your Spirit
Within me

I constantly
Constantly speak
In the frequency
Of that
Divine Guiding Wisdom.

Darling One,
Who embodies the Power
Of the Balance and Union
Between the Sun
And the Moon.

The frequency
Of the Divine Guiding

Is always sweet.

Be attached
To that sweetness.

It destroys
The defects of the mind.

It destroys
Defects in action.

The disease
Of ego

Fear runs away.

And the state
Of balanced

Of flowing ease

Within my being.

My body
Has become
A bed

For the Sound Current
That cuts the ego

Taking me
From my Inner Darkness
To Light.

It is so
Luxuriously comfortable –

The essence
Of wisdom.

It brings me
Total pleasure.

Night and day
I constantly enjoy
In my being.

Was pre-ordained
From the beginning
Of time. (1)

With love
The Father of the bride

Bringing gifts
Of Truth
And deep contentment
To arrange His daughter’s

Darling One,
Who embodies the Power
Of the Balance and Union
Between the Sun
And the Moon.

Meeting with
The saintly people
The families sing
In the frequency
Of the Divine
Guiding Wisdom.

Darling One,
Who embodies the Power
Of the Balance and Union
Between the Sun
And the Moon.

In the frequency
Of the Divine
Guiding Wisdom

One comes into
The most exalted

Meeting with those who
In their purity
Have recognized
Their essential Union
With the Divine

One becomes
To behold.

Anger and
False identity
From the body.

Hypocrisy and
Are destroyed.

The pain of ego

Comes in.

And the body
Becomes healthy
Free of all
Sickness and

Through the sweet gift
Of the Divine Teacher

We recognize
The Transcendent Master,
Oh Naanak,
Who is a storehouse
Of virtue. (2)

Those who follow
Their own thoughts

Are separated
From Love
By such a great

In their own desires
They do not obtain
The Palace.

Darling One,
Who embodies the Power
Of the Balance and Union
Between the Sun
And the Moon.

Within them
Is the shell
Of the false self

Steeped in
Where the life is
From the soul’s reality.

Buying deception.
Taking in deception.

Darling One,
Who embodies the Power
Of the Balance and Union
Between the Sun
And the Moon.

A hypocritical existence

They suffer
So intensely.

Without the
Divine Sound of Wisdom
That leads
To the Ultimate Reality

They never find
The path.


A fool
On the
Destructive road
Of doubt
And illusion

They are pulled
One way

Then pulled

And their lives
Are completely ruined.

By Your own
Transcendent One
Who gives to all,

The Sound of Wisdom
That guides us to Truth

Brings Your perfect protection
As It intermingles
Within us.

After so many lifetimes
Of being separated
From Love

Your slave
Finally meets with You.

Then life becomes
Filled with ease
And blessed
With profound
Good fortune. (3)

According to the
Divine calculation

It is time
For Love
To come.

Blessings and
Unrestrained joy
Fill the heart.

Darling One,
Who embodies the Power
Of the Balance and Union
Between the Sun
And the Moon.

The learned ones and
The teachers
Have come forward.

They sit
And study
The time
Of the Husband’s arrival.

The time
Of the Husband’s arrival

The mind
Plays in tune
With the Divine
Of the Spirit.

And that

When she hears
That her best friend
And Lover
Has come home.

The elders
Of virtue and wisdom
Sit in council

And give their blessing
That this
Perfect Marriage
Be performed.

In alignment
With the essence
Of wisdom

She receives
Her Husband Spouse

The Perfect Protector

Whose Light
Cannot be
Chased and caught

Whose vastness
Is far beyond
The reach
Of her senses.

He is always new

This Beloved Friend
Of her childhood.

When the kindness and compassion
Of the Divine
Comes in

These Lovers
Intermingle their beings

And those who were
Once separate

Shall never separate
Again. (4)

All Love in the Divine,

Ek Ong Kaar Kaur


Blogger Amrit Singh said...

Wow - very beautiful. One possible typo:

A fool
On the
Destructive toad
Of doubt
And illusion

What's a destructive toad? :-)

9:07 AM  
Blogger Ek Ong Kaar Kaur said...

Sat Nam, Amrit.

Thanks for catching the typo!


Ek Ong Kaar Kaur

9:22 AM  
Blogger Gurvinderpal said...

waheguru... amazing Bibi Ji, simply breathe less...

4:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sat Nam Ek Ong Kaar Kaur Ji,

This is perhaps one of the most beautiful pieces of writing I have ever read!!! It reduced me to tears of joy. Thank you for this precious gift!!! =).

I do have one small(ish) request Ji. I have a few questions on Gurbani which have been brewing for some time and today they decided to emerge so I wrote them down!!! You can find them here (PDF) or here (WORD DOCUMENT). I realise you must have a very busy schedule and I'm in no rush for answers, so I don't wish to burden you too much, but if you get me some answers eventually, I would be most indebted to you. My email address is j4zzyb |at| hotmail |dot| com. I look forward to hearing from you and please never stop translating =D!!!

Thank you and All Light To You.

Sat Nam,

Jasdeep Singh.

5:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A few questions

How do practice being a sikh? Considering that you only practice being a sikh due to kundalini yoga.


How do you become a amritdhari sikh?

10:59 PM  
Blogger amar said...

bibiji , thanks for ur words of wisdom and food for good thoughts .

i got a request > While giving transalataion, please provide its punjabi version first(if possible) and then english.like the following.

punjabi –> Gur parsadi brahm pachata nanak guni gaheera
in engligh — > We recognize The transcendent Master,Oh Naanak,Who is a storehouse
Of virtue. (2)

This will help people like me who know punjabi , to learn the meanings of gurbani shabads and lessons.

ty shhho much, for i didnt know about engagement shabads earlier , and plz continue enlightening us all .

11:59 PM  
Blogger amar said...

and for more views on shabads and for more possible meanings
srigranth/dot/org also comes handy.

12:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Satnam Anonymous Ji,
I hope you do not mind me interrupting, but I believe I can give you some answers to the questions you seek:

1. How do practice being a sikh? Considering that you only practice being a sikh due to kundalini yoga.

The question is what is a Sikh? Literally it means learner or disciple. But when it boils down to it, a Sikh is a seeker of Truth and uses the Shabad Guru, as a guide to find that Truth.

Kundalini Yoga is union to the universal consciousness and inner infinity by using the Kundalini energy. Sikh is union to unverisal consciousness and inner infinity by using Shabad. In fact, Kundalini Yoga would be useless in its power without Mantra, without Shabad. So, in this way, it's quite normal to follow a Sikh lifestyle of inner and outer purity, when you connect to the Shabad. They are both complimentary tools, if not overlapping. They teach you how to become a real human being and that is what Sikhism is about, that is what all yoga is about, that is what all religion is about.

I do not think anyone practices being a Sikh just due to Kundalini Yoga, it's just that in many cases, Kundalini Yoga helped people remember their true identity, which was as a Sikh.

2. How do you become a amritdhari sikh?
It depends whether you're talking about the inner amrit or outer amrit. Anyone can become an amritdhari Sikh by taking the sweet nectar from the five beloved ones which is prepared in a special way to infuse the Godly (Naam) vibrations within the water. The person then drinks this amrit and its spinkled in the hair and eyes. Then you have to follow the Sikh Code of Conduct and wear the 5 articles of faith: Wooden comb, Uncut hair, Iron bracelet, Long shorts and single-bladed sword. You also have to follow the four noble truths: No intoxicants/cigarettes/alcohol, No meat, No cutting of hair, No committing adultery. Then you have to read the five poems of the soul everyday that are given by the five beloved ones. Then you are offically an amritdhari sikh. But to be an amritdhari on the inside is in itself a very rare feat. To open the tenth gate and allow the vibrational essence of the universal to flow through you, is the inner flow of amrit which is perhaps to sweet for words to ever describe.

Apologies for any mistakes and I hope I have answered something with my limited knowledge.

Sat Nam and God Bless,

Jasdeep Singh.

3:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Jasdeep Singh,

Thank you for your comment, on a more practical level if someone wanted to practice sikhism then where does one have to go to learn how to practice sikhism? i.e. in other religions there are courses, schools, extra-ciricular places of study etc.

On an additional note, what is the shabad guru?

Considering your comment on an Amritdhari sikh, would you acknowledge that there then people who practice the 5 compulsory articles of faith but do not have the purity of faith maybe no faith at all? i.e. hypocrites.

Finally, can you explain why someone is born again 7 times for wearing a hat in sikhism?


8:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sat Nam, Ji,

Beautiful, beautiful translation! Thank you so much for doing this --for allowing it to happen through you.

A request, please :-). How about some photos of the Japji course you taught in Colorado? And please post lots of pictures of my friend (& your co-teacher) Himat Kaur! Thank you!

Nirvair Kaur

6:05 AM  
Blogger dj-Khalsa said...

Enjoy this, Blissful Union (Anand karaj)


5:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thankyou, I have started to read up about sikhism, altough i was born into the sikh religon. I have to say i know hardly nothing.I have now made a decision to learn about it. As my children now ask questions, regretably, I can't answer.

3:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi just read this and it’s amazing, I need a bit of advice as I’m making engagement cards for my brothers engagement however have no idea what religious text if any should be on them? Any help would be much appreciated. Ideally if someone had something in Punjabi would be even better. Regards Bal Singh

2:49 PM  
Blogger Ek Ong Kaar Kaur said...

Wahe Guru Ji Ka Khalsa, Wahe Guru Ji Ki Fateh.

Dear Bal Singh ji,

The Gurmukhi original of the Engagement Shabads can be found on page 772-772 of Siri Guru Granth Sahib ji. You can go to www.sikhnet.com and there is an on-line Guru with the Gurmukhi there. I hope this helps you with your search.

Thank you for your kind words and all the best.

With Divine Light,

Ek Ong Kaar Kaur

4:47 PM  
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2:10 PM  

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