The whole of Guru Granth Sahib, the sacred Sikh scripture, is a great outpouring of love for God. For example, the Gurus say,
Thou art the River, All-knowing and All-seeing.
How can I, a fish, find Thy limit?
Wherever I look, there Thou art.
Getting out of Thee I burst and die.
The Lord is stitched into my heart,
and never goes out of it even for a moment.
When Thou art mine, O Lord what more do I require then? . . .
You are dearer to me than my body, mind, and wealth.
In the Sikh-based community where I live in India, Gobind Sadan, this great love for God is no secret. When I sit tending our sacred fire, our reminder of God’s Light which pervades all things and shines within each one of us, I am privileged to see people come to offer their private devotions to God. As they stand before the fire with their hands together in prayer and their eyes closed, the radiance of profound love glows in their faces.
Under the inspiration of Baba Virsa Singh, the great teacher of Gobind Sadan, we once built huge sacred fire pits in a field, and ten thousand people came to express their devotion to God for three days and three nights, praying for peace and harmony in the world of humans. Young men stood all night in rapture singing Nam—a prayer asserting God’s all-pervading presence. “Ik Onkar Sat Nam Siri Wahe Guru,” they sang. “There is One Ceaselessly Creating God, the True Reality, Supreme, Wondrous beyond words, Bringer of Light, Dispeller of darkness.” Men and women, young and old, also sat through the hot days and cold nights reciting Jaap Sahib, Guru Gobind Singh’s powerful hymn of praise for God, Who is beyond human comprehension.
It is so clear to us that this unseen Reality—which people of different religions know by many different names—is very real. Even though we cannot see it, we can see its tracks. How else could nature be so perfectly formed? How else could we mothers give birth to the miracles whom we call our children? How else could our prayers be answered? When we surrender everything to God, to be used for whatever good cause God chooses, God meets all our personal needs and continually opens doors and arranges meetings with people for our voluntary service. Wherever I go, to talk with people about practicing the truths within all religions, I am continually given whatever help is needed, be it the words to speak to audiences of people far more educated than I, or a place to stay, or help in carrying my heavy bags of books and slide projector and such. On a recent trip to Ontario, Canada, I had to ride a trolley car to a bus station with more bags than I could handle, but I knew that God would make it possible. To my great surprise, it was a very old woman who came over to me and said, “I saw how many bags you have and I wondered how you would manage. I can carry one of them.” That dear old woman graciously got down at my stop at considerable inconvenience to herself, carried the bag, and stayed with me until I was settled in the next place.
I could not make such things happen; I could never plan or orchestrate things so well. As Guru Nanak says,
We have no power to speak, nor to keep silence. Nor do we have any power to beg or to give. We have no power to live nor to die. Nor do we have power to collect wealth and rule, nor the power to control the raving mind. We have no power to awaken the soul to reflect on the Divine Wisdom, nor the power to find the way to be freed from bondage. The One who has the power exercises it and watches.
It is God who gives us each breath, whose wisdom and mercy is always at work in our lives, who feeds us again and again. We cannot always understand the ways of the One who loves us; it is enough to know that our lives are cradled in love so great that we can never repay it or comprehend it. Baba Virsa Singh tells us:
There is so much love in God that all the rivers—the whole universe—can be filled with it. The moment you touch God, you become filled with love.
That Light will not be found in any worldly religious show or building. That Light lives in our mind, in the mind filled with love. Wherever we are sitting—in the forests, fields, or mountains—God gives light to the loving mind.
God is waiting at the gate, but all the gates are empty. No one is there to enter. So let us pass through that gate where love dwells, and only love.
[for BBC Words of Faith, 7 October, 1993]