At Gobind Sadan where I live just outside Delhi, we are urged to read a great scripture called Jaap Sahib again and again each day. Our teacher, Baba Virsa Singh, especially advises us to read it during times of trouble.
Jaap Sahib was offered to the world in classical Indian languages by the Tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh. His inspired composition is a soaring litany of praises of the Formless One whom we address by many names, such as God or Allah, the Formless One who cannot be described but yet is the Great Doer, the Great Giver of everything. Jaap Sahib includes 199 verses such as these, as translated into English:
Beyond name, caste, or creed
Beyond form or figure
The ruthless destroyer
Of all pride and evil,
The Salvation of all beings….
Within every reach
In perfect harmony
The recognition of all
The Beloved of every soul. . . .
The Eternal Light
The Sweetest Breeze
The Wondrous Figure
The Most Splendid. . . .
The most Generous
The Most Wondrous Being.
Baba Virsa Singh tells us that as we recite Jaap Sahib in devotion to God, not only does God take care of all difficulties but also we ourselves begin to develop the vast qualities of God. This is not magical thinking. The results of devotion to God are a practical reality which I have seen demonstrated again and again at Gobind Sadan. Weak and ordinary people become extraordinary in service to God, their serious diseases simply disappear, and crops flourish in what had been barren wastelands.
A year ago I was eagerly awaiting news of the birth of our first grandchild. Finally the call came from her new father, but his message was one of terrible concern. Our granddaughter Lindsay had been born through the most difficult delivery the doctor had ever performed, and at birth she showed no life signs at all. I began praying—what else could one do but turn to God? And to turn to God by affirming God’s greatness was the most compelling form of prayer. As I recited Jaap Sahib, one passage jumped forward: Sarbang pranang, Sarbang tranang—“You are the Life of all, the Strength and Protector of all.” Over and over again this phrase repeated itself, as I envisioned all the life energy and power of the universe pouring through our newborn grandchild. Her father and her other grandmother were also praying for her, harder than they had ever prayed in their lives.
Not only did Lindsay come to life—She is now extraordinarily active, healthy, bright, joyous, and fascinated with all of life.
God is the all-powerful Reality. Yet this Power remains largely hidden until we affirm its presence, until we surrender our hearts and our thoughts before God in absolute faith that all wisdom and all power reside in God, and not in ourselves. Then everyday life becomes filled with miracles. They are practical demonstrations of the Truth of God’s presence and God’s love.