In the twenty-second pauri,
the twenty-second step of the ladder, Guru Amardas revealed that those who turn away from facing the Wisdom-Guru cannot attain liberation. Moving on to the twenty-third pauri, the twenty-third step, we encounter a warm and open invitation from Guru Amardas: Come, O beloved Sikhs of the eternal Wisdom! Sing the true Utterances.
This heartfelt call extends to all Sikhs, learners, and disciples who hold the eternal Wisdom dear. They are beckoned to gather and sing the timeless Bani
(the Utterances of the Infinite Wisdom). A potential ambiguity arises here—words, sentences, and utterances can all be sung. We pause. Which ones are meant to be sung? Guru Amardas dispels this uncertainty by emphasizing the singing of the Bani of the Wisdom-Guru. Sing the utterances, teachings, and speeches that emanate from the Wisdom-Guru, for this Bani holds the highest significance. It matters the most because it originates from the Wisdom-Guru. Those whom this Bani graces find it not only entering their ears but also permeating their very beings, embedding itself in their hearts. They drink from this wellspring of immortality, and as a result, they are immersed in the love of Hari
, the All-Pervasive, the 1-Light, remaining in perpetual remembrance.
This remembrance leads them to speak of “Sarangpani
”— the One whose hand cradles the entire earth. Guru Amardas employs this attribute to describe IkOankar
(One Universal Integrative Force, 1Force, the One) as the Cosmic Holder, the Sustainer of the cosmos. It serves as a metaphor, reflecting that the expressions of the One are like a nurturing hand that cradles the entire earth, satiating our thirst and providing us with the nectar of immortality, the elixir of life. Guru Amardas concludes this ladder step with a resounding affirmation: Forever sing the true utterance of the Wisdom-Guru.
We reflect on the significance of singing the Bani, the Utterances of the Wisdom-Guru. Singing transcends mere vocalization; it’s an act of praise, glorification, emotional connection, and elevation. It’s not just a technical exercise or a skill to be honed. When many people converse, there is often noise, but when many beings sing together, there is a collective ascent, an uplifting harmony. Even if the musical notes arent’ perfectly struck, a profound togetherness exists, akin to lyrical silence. This verse commences with an invitation to sing the eternal Bani of the Wisdom-Guru. It doesn’t suggest we should disregard other texts, wisdom, or philosophies; they, too, have their rightful place. However, the ultimate Bani, the ultimate Utterance, is that of the Wisdom-Guru, and we are urged to sing them. After all, it is the finest. It naturally leads to a question: What does this act of singing bring to us? The answer is that the Bani bestows grace from the inside out. It fosters a yearning to partake in the immortal elixir, amrit
, much like the metaphorical rainbird patiently awaits that specific raindrop to quench its thirst. The immortal elixir continuously infuses our lives with the love-color of the 1-Light, and in this love, we eagerly anticipate the
drop that will satiate our thirst. The crucial question arises: Are we actively seeking that drop? Are we yearning for it as ardently as the rainbird yearns for rain? Many utterances and songs beckon us toward various desires and pursuits, but in this verse, the emphasis is placed squarely on the utterances of the Wisdom-Guru. The term "Bani" appears five times in this concise verse, underscoring its importance. Singing the Bani doesn’t merely echo outward; it resonates within our hearts, taking residence in our very beings. We live the experience of the Bani, and through this living, the impurities within us are naturally cleansed. It implies that by perpetually singing the Bani and immersing ourselves in this living experience, we neither succumb to the condition of "vemukhs" (those who have turned away from the Wisdom-Guru) nor become mired in impurity. The question emerges: Can we sing even when we feel drained, conflicted, or isolated? The path to experiencing anand,
the joy and bliss in life, is to sing the Bani of the Wisdom-Guru and immerse ourselves fully in that living experience. The question beckons us: Do we genuinely desire this profound experience?
We may ask ourselves: In this verse, the significance of the Bani of the Wisdom-Guru is highlighted. Are there other sources of wisdom or teachings that we are currently following? Are we prepared to be candid with ourselves and confront this question? Have we genuinely felt the grace, that sense of divine favor? If not, are we open to the idea that singing the Bani can usher grace into our lives? What measures are we willing to adopt to strengthen our connection to the Bani and to taste the nectar of bliss it offers?