Saturday, November 18, 2006

"What is Naam?" - Midlands Sikhi Week

Midlands Sikhi Week started on Wednesday 8th November and finished last Wednesday. I had opportunity to attend the first event, which was titled "WHAT IS NAAM?" at UCE (University Central England) in Perry Barr. The train I was going to get to go to Birmingham was late so I took the train to Snow Hill. I didn't have a clue where I was but realised the Birmingham New Street train station was nearby (a 5 minute walk). I was in rush and knew I was getting LATE. My mind kept saying to Vaheguru, "Please Vaheguru may I get there on time. Don't want to miss a good talk by Bhaji Kuljeet Singh :)"

I arrived at Perry Barr and eventually found the building. Sadly I couldn't see any signs or boards. Felt like being a HEADLESS CHICKEN (obviously not literally!). Another person was trying to find the room as well however eventually got there. Although 30 minutes late the programme had just started. Bhaji Kuljeet Singh had dividedaa everyone into four groups to discuss different aspects of Naam - "WHAT is Naam?" "WHERE is Naam?" "HOW to get Naam?" and "DIFFICULTIES of Naam".

Daas joined the group who discussed and shared thoughts on "What is Naam?" Some really good points were made. Really, no one can define Naam and Naam is beyond description. Naam is something one has to experience like eating a sweet dish one cannot explain the sweetness. We looked at the GURMANTAR ("VaahiGuroo") and general reflections on Naam.

Some points that were made - Just as WATER has different forms (LIQUID, VAPOUR and ICE) but yet it's still water. Similarly there is NO difference between Vaheguru and Naam. Vaheguru's presence is everywhere, supporting all things at all times – in today’s language we could say the energy structure or power of the whole Universe. The Indian mystics and Sikh Gurus call that presence of Vaheguru, of the Supreme Light Power Energy Being – 'NAAM'. Other people call it by different names and don’t always associate it with Vaheguru. Essentially it is the presence of Vaheguru, which is inside us, and supporting absolutely everything.
ਜਲਿ ਥਲਿ ਸਭ ਮਹਿ ਨਾਮੋ ਡੀਠਾ ॥੨॥
jal thal sabh mehi naamo deethaa. ||2||
In the water, on the land, and everywhere, I see Naam. ||2||
(Ang 863)

The Power of Naam holds the whole creation together, including the elements of Nature. All the universes stand projected and are held together by the Power of Naam. Naam is the support of all beings; Naam is the support of the whole universe. Naam unites the devotee with the Lord. Naam cements the bond, the true relationship of the worshipper with the Worshipped. In Sukhmani Sahib it says:
ਨਾਮ ਕੇ ਧਾਰੇ ਪੁਰੀਆ ਸਭ ਭਵਨ ॥
naam kay Dhaaray puree-aa sabh bhavan.
Naam is the Support of all worlds and realms.

ਨਾਮ ਕੈ ਸੰਗਿ ਉਧਰੇ ਸੁਨਿ ਸ੍ਰਵਨ ॥
naam kai sang uDhray sun sravan.
Associating with Naam, listening to it with the ears, one is saved.

ਕਰਿ ਕਿਰਪਾ ਜਿਸੁ ਆਪਨੈ ਨਾਮਿ ਲਾਏ ॥
kar kirpaa jis aapnai naam laa-ay.
Those whom the Lord mercifully attaches to His Naam -

ਨਾਨਕ ਚਉਥੇ ਪਦ ਮਹਿ ਸੋ ਜਨੁ ਗਤਿ ਪਾਏ ॥੫॥
naanak cha-uthay pad mehi so jan gat paa-ay. ||5||
O Nanak! (Rising above Maya, the illusionary world,) in the fourth state, those humble servants attain salvation. ||5||
(Ang 284)

Naam is manifested in the form of the GurMantar, which Guru Nanak Sahib jee blessed his Sikhs.
ਅਖਰੀ ਨਾਮੁ ਅਖਰੀ ਸਾਲਾਹ ॥
akhree naam akhree saalaah.
From the Word, comes Naam; from the Word, comes Your Praise.
(Japji Sahib, 19th PauRee - Ang 4)

Gurmat Naam, is bestowed to the Sikh when one receives Amrit from the Panj Piyaare and Naam is instilled within the devotee through the Panj Piyaare making the devotee repeat Naam and the Guru placing his Hand over the Sikh.
ਮਹਾ ਮੰਤ੍ਰੁ ਗੁਰ ਹਿਰਦੈ ਬਸਿਓ ਅਚਰਜ ਨਾਮੁ ਸੁਨਿਓ ਰੀ ॥੩॥
mahaa mantr gur hirdai basi-o achraj naam suni-o ree. ||3||
The Guru has implanted the Maha Mantra, the Great Mantra, within my heart, and I have heard the wondrous Naam. ||3||
(Ang 384)

Naam is something to Jap (chant), reflect and contemplate through which Naam becomes woven in the heart of the devotee and Vaheguru becomes imprinted on the heart of the devotee. There is nothing in this world, which equals the value of the Divine Name. The Lord and His Name are identical. They are one.
ਤੁਧੁ ਬਿਨੁ ਦੂਜਾ ਅਵਰੁ ਨ ਕੋਈ ॥
tuDh bin doojaa avar na ko-ee.
Without You, there is no other at all.

ਗੁਰੁ ਪਰਸਾਦੁ ਕਰੇ ਨਾਮੁ ਦੇਵੈ ਨਾਮੇ ਨਾਮਿ ਸਮਾਵਣਿਆ ॥੨॥
gur parsaad karay naam dayvai naamay naam samaavaNi-aa. ||2||
When the Guru showers His Grace upon us, He blesses us with Naam; through Naam, we merge in Naam. ||2||
(Ang 130)

Bhaji Amandeep Singh made a really nice contribution. He said that he heard Katha by a Giani jee which analysed the word "Naam" (ਨਾਮ). In Gurmukhi the two syllables, which make up the word are "N" (ਨ) and "M" (ਮ). Giani jee said that this comes from "Naa Mai" (ਨਾ ਮੈ). Naam in essence helps the devotee lose their ego and achieve a state of "Naa Mai" (when ""I" does not exist"). Other points made use the analogy of the FORCE in Star Wars to be bit like Naam :)

Here's some photos taken from by Bhenji:

Discussing difficulties faced when trying to Naam Jap

Discussing how to Naam Jap.

Discussing what is Naam.

Discussing where is Naam.

Here's some photos of the presentations:

I must say that the Samosay and Spring rolls were very tasty! (Quick note: just to clarify they were from an Amritdhari shop). Probably had one two many. Chalo, all in the name of Sikhi Week.


Midlands Cab said...

How comes there is no pics of the don! Maha-Push Dhadi Master Jio 108

Manvir Singh Khalsa said...

Sorry there are no pictures of Dhadi Master jee as the jyot on his face was too bright for the flash :)

Guru Rakha

Anonymous said...


Thankyou for sharing what you learnt, i like the 'na mai' idea. (oops, just noticed the 'I like the..' in the sentence.)

mandeep singh said...


If you have time could you share your "Difficulties of Naam" and how you overcome them.


Manvir Singh Khalsa said...

Mandeep Singh jee - Daas will try to sum up what the "Difficulties with Naam" group said during the week.

babbar! said...

Naam can only be recived through panj not any baba. When one recives amrit whith Guroo Sahib Baksheesh then the panj pyarie give you naam and at only a small number of amrit sanchaars will they give you naam dridh a tchnique of how to jaap naam with your breaths. Swaas swaas naam jaap.

babbar! said...

link didnt come out copy and past the below:

Anonymous said...

Quick note: just to clarify they were from an Amritdhari shop

Quick note: just to clarify I'm NOT writing this from an Amritdhari internet cafe...