A Lost Gurmat Tradition That Needs To Be Revived
Writing Maharaj Ji's Saroops
What can one write about the greatness of writing Gurbani? It is the business in which one gets not one but many generations across this Bhavsaagar (dark ocean). Guru Sahib has very clearly written:
ਲਿਖੁ ਨਾਮੁ ਸਾਲਾਹ ਲਿਖੁ ਲਿਖੁ ਅੰਤੁ ਨ ਪਾਰਾਵਾਰੁ ॥੧॥
(Write Naam, write Gurbani, write that He is infinite)
ਕਹਤੇ ਪਵਿਤ੍ਰ ਸੁਣਤੇ ਸਭਿ ਧੰਨੁ ਲਿਖਤੀਂ ਕੁਲੁ ਤਾਰਿਆ ਜੀਉ ॥
(Those who praise him and those who listen to his praise are blessed; ones who write his praise (Gurbani) get their family too across the Ocean of world).
ਧਨੁ ਲੇਖਾਰੀ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਪਿਆਰੇ ਸਾਚੁ ਲਿਖੈ ਉਰਿ ਧਾਰਿ ॥8॥3॥
(Blessed is the writer who writes Naam/Gurbani while residing it in the mind.)
ਸਲੋਕ ਮ: 1 ॥
ਧੰਨੁ ਸੁ ਕਾਗਦੁ ਕਲਮ ਧੰਨੁ ਧਨੁ ਭਾਂਡਾ ਧਨੁ ਮਸੁ ॥
ਧਨੁ ਲੇਖਾਰੀ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਜਿਨਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਲਿਖਾਇਆ ਸਚੁ ॥1॥
(Blessed is the paper, the pen is blessed, the vessel in which ink is kept is blessed and the ink itself is blessed. Blessed is the writer, who has written the true Naam or Sach Gurbani.)
Bhai Sahib quoting the above pankiti has greatly praised writing Gurbani. Guru Sahib has already given numerous blessings and boons to the ones who write Gurbani and as one begins to write Gurbani, one starts getting those boons.
While Gursikhs are making commendable efforts to install the true Guru – the Larivaar Saroop – on the throne of all Gurdwara Sahibaan, we should not forget that while printing Gurbani, major Be-adbi (disrespect) takes place. Bhai Sahib has written exactly that the ones who are involved in printing Gurbani have almost impossible chance of getting salvation. It is true that in the absence of handwritten saroops, we are using printed Larivaar Saroops but an effort at Panthik level should be made to bring back the tradition of handwriting Guru Sahib's saroops.
We should learn from the Children of Israel. They still maintain their scriptures in the traditional format i.e. handwritten and in form of scrolls as opposed to printing and binding. I think Shiromini Committee should make an effort to setup a department to handwrite Maharaj Ji's saroops. It will provide true Ruzgaar (means of earning) for the needy Gursikhs and it will provide utmost respect to the way Maharaj Ji's saroops are written.
Some thoughts on Maryada of Writing Maharaj Ji's Saroop
The maryada that one should follow when writing Gurbani is similar to Sehaj Paath. Here are some points to note:
1) One must do Keshi-Ishnaan (full body shower) before writing Gurbani and wear Suchay (clean) Gurmukhi (Baana) clothes.
2) The table and all other things associated e.g. ink bottle, pens should be Suchay.
3) There should be a Chandoya (Chaanani) on top of the place where Gurbani is to be written. Ideally, one should write Gurbani in the same room as Maharaj Ji's Prakash but if one does not have Maharaj Ji's prakash, then ideally a separate room should be allocated for this purpose.
4) One should write Gurbani sitting on the floor cross-legged and fully Savdhaan (alert).
5) Before beginning, one should do few Gurmantr or Moolmantr Jaaps and then beg from Waheguru for capability to write Gurbani.
6) While writing, one should also try to understand the meanings and must do Naam Abhyaas while writing. One should cover one's mouth with Hazooriya to avoid spitting on the paper where Gurbani is written.
7) One should try to complete the full Shabad before getting up. If one does one Ang a day, one would finish Maharaj Ji's saroop in 5 years.
8) Before beginning to write Maharaj Ji's saroop one should write Sri Jap Ji Sahib, Sri Anand Sahib and other baanis to clean one's handwriting.
9) When writing Gurbani, the mind has to repeat one pankiti many times in the mind. This way due to the Paaras Kala of Gurbani, the mind gets purified. Before writing a pankiti, one has to read it couple of times to remember it. Then while writing the alphabets, one has to read it again. Then when putting the line over the alphabets, one gets to read it again. Finally when the whole pankiti is written one reads it again to see if everything is fine.
10) Along with writing Gurbani, one can effortlessly chant Naam. When one is doing Paath, it is hard to do Naam Abhyaas but when one is writing Gurbani, one can constantly, without effort do Naam Abhyaas along with it. One's mind just does not get a chance to think of anything else but Gurbani Paath or Naam Abhyaas. No wonder, the Gurbani scribers of old times had such high avastha.
Great Gurbani Writers
What do Bhai Gurdaas Ji, Baba Deep Singh Ji and Bhai Mani Singh have in common? They were all great writers of Gurbani. All three wrote at least 1 Saroop of Gurbani and Baba Deep Singh Ji in fact wrote 4 Saroops of Gurbani. No wonder these Gursikhs had such high spiritual avastha (state). No wonder Baba Deep Singh Ji was able to continue fighting even after his head was severed off his body. No wonder Bhai Mani Singh Ji had himself cut into small pieces, while reciting Gurbani. This great avastha was reached by writing Gurbani.
Bhai Hardaas Ji, the hazoor scriber of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji wrote many saroops and reached high spiritual state. His handwriting was very beautiful but alas, one of the Saroop he wrote got shaheed in the 1984 holocaust.
Bhai Sahib Randhir Singh Ji's views on writing Gurbani
We all know that Bhai Sahib Randhir Singh Ji had such high spiritual state but he was shocked and astonished when he met his match.
This Singh Ji, Bhai Choor Singh Ji of Nabha attained such high state that it even astonished Bhai Sahib, by writing Gurbani. Bhai Sahib Choor Singh Ji said that he achieved this spiritual state effortlessly just by writing Gurbani. He informed that Guru Sahib has already given beant (countless) boons to the ones who write Gurbani and ones who write Gurbani effortlessly attain these boons. Here it is in Bhai Sahib Choor Singh Ji own words, recorded by Bhai Sahib Randhir Singh Ji:
ਸਾਵਧਾਨ ਹੋਇ ਪੁਛਿਆ ਗੁਰਮੁਖੇ ਤੋਂ, ਕਾਰਨ ਮੂਲ ਇਸ ਪਦ ਪ੍ਰਾਪਤੋਲਿਆਂ ਦਾ।
ਤਿਨਾਂ ਦਸਿਆ ਨਿਮਰੀਭੂਤ ਹੋ ਕੇ, ਸਭ ਪਰਤਾਪੁ ਗੁਰ ਵਰ ਲਿੱਖਣੋਲਿਆਂ ਦਾ।
ਬਖ਼ਸ਼ੀ ਦਾਤ ਵੱਡੀ ਕਰਾਮਾਤ ਵਾਲੀ, ਵਰ ਵਡਾਣ ਏਹ ਕਲਮ ਸ਼ਕਤੋਲਿਆਂ ਦਾ।
ਲਿਖਣ-ਕਲਾ ਦੀ ਕਥਾ ਵਿਸਥਾਰ ਸੁਣ ਕੇ, ਧੁਰਵਾ ਹੋਰ ਬੱਝਾ ਮੂੰ ਸਿਦਕੋਲਿਆਂ ਦਾ।173।
Translation: After getting Saavdhaan (normal avastha), I (Bhai Sahib) asked that Gurmukh, what is the reason or source of such high spiritual state of yours. At this, the Gurmukh becoming an embodiment of humility and said, "it is all because of the boons and blessings that Guru Sahib has given to the writers of Gurbani (Gur Var Likhoniliyaan da). Guru Sahib has blessed me with a very big miraculous spiritual gift i.e. Vaddi Karamaat vaali daat. The spiritual power or shakti that one receives as a result of writing Gurbani is very great." After hearing these words from the mouth of this Gurmukh, Bhai Sahib gained even more faith in writing Gurbani.
Bhai Sahib's views on Publishing Gurbani
ਰਚਨਾ ਛਡਿ ਦਿਤੀ ਲਿਖਤ ਬਾਣੀਆਂ ਦੀ, ਨਵਾਂ ਰਾਹੁ ਫੜਿਆ ਫੈਸ਼ਨੋਲਿਆਂ ਦਾ।
ਛਾਪੇ-ਖ਼ਾਨਿਆਂ ਦੀ ਭੈੜੀ ਰੀਤ ਚੱਲੀ, ਭੈੜਾ ਚਾਲੜਾ ਦੰਮ ਖਟੋਲਿਆਂ ਦਾ।
They stopped writing Gurbani and adopted the new way of fashionable people (worldly people). The evil practice of printing started and this evil way was started by the profit-seeking persons.
ਹਾਇ ਲਿਖਤ ਮਹੱਤਤਾ ਰੋੜ੍ਹ ਦਿਤੀ, ਸਿਦਕ ਤੋੜ ਕੇ ਤੱਤ ਵਣਜੋਲਿਆਂ ਦਾ।
ਤੱਤ ਸੱਤ ਸਉਦਾ ਕੋਈ ਵਣਜਦਾ ਨਾ, ਹੋਇਆ ਵਣਜੁ ਪਰਧਾਨੁ ਦਮੜੋਲਿਆਂ ਦਾ।
Here Bhai Sahib cries out "Haaye" when talking about printing Gurbani. Bhai Sahib says, Haaye, they have drowned the importance of writing Gurbani by hand and this way have broken the faith of the merchants of truth (Naam). No one wants the true merchandise anymore and only the trade of money has become most important.
We can clearly see how Bhai Sahib has condemned publishing Gurbani because while publishing the Satkaar of Guru Sahib's baani can't be kept as when writing Gurbani.
It is urged that the practice of writing Gurbani be brought back to Panth. This will protect our pristine tradition, increase respect for Guru Sahib since Saroops will not be in abundance and create many Gursikhs of high spiritual states. It is commendable that many Gursikhs at this time are writing Gurbani but we need many more. Former Jathedar of Akhand Kirtani Jatha, Bhai Sahib Raam Singh Ji wrote one saroop with his own hands. Master Naranjan Singh Ji is in the process of writing a saroop and another Singh Ji from Ludhiana – Bhai Ravinder Singh Ji has already written two saroops and is planning to write more. A Bibi Ji from California is also writing Maharaj Ji's saroop and another Bibi Ji from India has written a very beautiful Saroop. Many other Gursikhs are involved in writing Saroops. Thankfully, the tradition of writing Gurbani seems to be coming back. Hopefully, Guru Sahib will bless many more Gursikhs with the sewa of writing Maharaj Ji's Saroops.