January 25, 2019
It is Nanakshahi 550.
And I ask myself a question:
“What are you doing
to honor the Guru
who transformed you
from a dry twig into a blossoming tree?”
There is silence.
There is an emptiness.
So, I ask myself another question:
“If you could ask Guru Nanak Sahib
for anything, what would it be?”
Instantly words roll out: “May I walk with you?”
And there is my answer.
So, I pick up the book titled
“Bhai Mardana” penned by Bhai Vir Singh.
Chapter one, paragraph one captivates me.
“O’ Mind! Where does the water in the well come from?”
“O’ Mind! This is not the water that falls like rain from the sky,
that walks on the earth without caring and fills the well.”
Nay, this is not that water.
This well-water lies deep within the ground,
visible only when dug with a shovel
or when there is an upheaval in the earth.
This water flows silently.
Silent like the love-water that flows
deep within the human heart.
One does not even realize that this love-water exists,
penetrating deeper and deeper within.
It is only when the separation hits the heart
when this love-water rises.
I sat with him.
I sang with him.
I laughed with him.
It felt good to be with him.
I met him every day and suffered the days
I did not meet him. But it never occurred to me
that I had developed such a deep love for him.
But now, that this separation has occurred,
it has revealed the depth of my love.
This is that type of love that Rai has for him.
“O’ Mind! Let’s go! Let’s go to him!”
“O’ Mind! I can no longer bear to be away from him.”
“O’ Mind! Will he happy to see me?”
“O’ Mind! Does it even matter? I am going for my happiness.”
“O’ Mind! Can it be that I am burning for him
yet he has forgotten me?
No, that cannot be. He loves me.”
For days, Bhai Mardana debates the pros
and cons of leaving Talwandi.
When does love weigh pros and cons?
If it does, it is not love, it is a transaction.
So, is my love a transaction?
I cannot read anymore.
Tears are flowing.
The heart is breaking.
Yet, I am compelled to pick up my pen
to write what I am hearing:
Sleepless nights, sunken eyes,
And unspoken grief are now my companions.
I had a companion once.
But then he left.
I wonder why I did not go with him.
We would laugh, talk and sing for hours.
My rabab strummed his Song,
while he strummed the love-strings of my heart.
His love silently entering the deep recesses of my heart,
permeating me unbeknownst to me.
What did I know of love?
For I was dead.
His love revived me, and is now flowing from my eyes.
This separation is agony.
My being is on fire.
I am plummeting into the black hole.
I need to see him.
I need to be with him.
But wait! Will he remember me?
I hear he is singing in Sultanpur.
I wonder, who is strumming with him?
Has he found someone else?
Does it even matter?
I long for him.
I need him.
I need to go to him.
I need to be with him.
Exhausted and emotionally drained, I continue to read...
“O’ Mind! Now that you have discovered this love in you,
know that it is because of him. It was his rain of love
that kept dripping and permeating through you without your knowledge.
You had no love within you. This love that you are now able to feel,
to see, is because of this separation.”
“O’ Mind! Don’t get confused
and think that this love
that has arisen within you is
because you had something to do with it.
This is his Grace.”
With a heart immersed in love
and a Song on his lips
Bhai Mardana leaves for Sultanpur.
He walks the land.
He crosses the rivers.
His love has become his pilgrimage.
He reaches Sultanpur.
Waiting for him is his Love.
Embraced, his longing is fulfilled.
The fire within him dissipates.
He is home.
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