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Deep Singh

Divan-I-Goya, Bhai Nand Lal Ji

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Sat Sri Akal.....

I am forwarding a mail i got from Dr. Kanwar Ranvir Singh (co-moderator of sikhspirit.com) about Diwan-Eh-Goya written by Bhai Nand Lal ji.....

NB: i am not an agent or supporter of Dr. Singh....just like to share the info about this Book...and if my fellow brothers/sisters have any questions then you may contact Dr. Singh here: Dakhalsa@aol.com or if there is anything to discuss please share ur views....

[this was missionary material. one interpretation of 'dasam granth' was


it was largely aimed at a hindu mission, in the same way as this diwan


aimed at muslim mission.]


Bhai Nand Lal Goya was the chief of the fifty-two poets at the court

of Guru Gobind Singh. In the Gurdwara, revelation from Guru Granth

Sahib Ji is sung. However, revelation and writings from Dasam Granth

as well as writings of Bhai Gurdas and Bhai Nand Lal Goya are also

approved for hymn singing. His famous writings include a Rehitnama,

Code of Conduct for the Order of the Khalsa, which forms the basis

for the current Sikh Reht Maryada approved in 1945. It also includes

a poem in praise of Guru Gobind Singh; but also his Divan-i-Goya

which is a Sikh reply to the Divan-i-Hafez which was third most

important text for Muslim mystics, called sufis, living in the huge

area from Afghanistan and Iran to Bangladesh. Bhai Nand Lal wrote his

Divan in Persian so that his audience, the sufis, could understand

him. Although Bhai Nand Lal is famous for the conversion of many

thousands of Muslims, the missionary aspect of the poetry has not

always been brought out. Howev

er, recent research by Lou Fenech

teases out this element. My intention is to bring out the link

between different spiritual beliefs and different approaches to


"From the Friend (WaheGuru) we have no unfriendly expectation."

This difference is shown clearly in the attitude to Khizar. Khizar is

mentioned in Surah 18 of the Holy Qu'ran. An important character in

the story is Moses, the major Prophet of the Jewish religion, who is

also accepted by the Christians and Muslims. Moses is remembered as

the lawgiver who brought down the Ten Commandments from God. But in

this story Moses seeks enlightenment where the "two seas" meet. The

two seas may represent heaven and earth or right and wrong. He finds

someone described as "one of Our servants, who We have endowed with

Our Grace and Our Wisdom."

Moses is told that he does not have the patience to experience things

he does not understand. But Moses will not be brushed off and

eventually Khizar accepts him as a student. However, Khizar does

three things in violation of the law. Moses is upset and complains

each time. The first two times Khizar reminds Moses of his promise,

but the final time Khizar explains the wisdom of his "crimes" and

dismisses Moses from his service. So according to the story,

spiritual transformation (Khizar) requires leaving conventional

morality (Moses) behind. But Goya rejects the need for Khizar (verse

2). Why?

This is because he has not accepted the two seas theory in the first

place. Where there is no gentile, heathen, or kafir (rebel), there is

no celebration of religious law (Moses), and therefore, no need to

try to transcend that law (Khizar). In verse 1 Goya writes, "From the

Friend (WaheGuru) we have no unfriendly expectations." Wahe-Guru

means Wah = Amazing, Gur = Grace, Amazing Grace. Universal Grace is a

uniquely Sikh teaching. If Go

d loves and saves all, there is nothing

to repress, no "other" to fear or hate, no tribal law code to obey,

no shadow haunting the ego consciousness.

There is no need for the shadow to forget its repression of desire as

it escapes from and to the world. There is no abstraction for it to

escape to, just a Reality to face, and this is a Face of Love, a Face

of Beauty, Narcissus. "We look for nothing else but the beauty of the

Beloved." (verse 3).

The myth of Narcissus is a Greek myth. Narcissus was a beautiful

youth who could not find anyone to love till he gazed in a pool.

Falling in love with his own reflection he dived in and drowned. The

Gurus taught that God dwells within you, like fragrance in a flower,

fire in wood, and reflection in a mirror. The pool of water gives the

same effect as a mirror.

Being a slave to Narcissus then is really following the path of

looking at your own true face, of self-knowledge. This inward journey

of self-knowledge leads to the Face of Love. This Face then becomes

visible in All. "The eye does not open to look at anyone else."

(verse 4)

By approving the story of Narcissus, Goya shows that Sikhs may

approve all religious philosophies, even those usually dismissed as

native traditions or mythical, whether Greek, Norse, Druid, African,

American, Pacific, or whatever. Another aspect of Goya's rejection of

the Qu'ranic two seas image is the rejection of the alleged division

between modern "religions" and ancient "mythologies."

"Like the moth I flutter myself to nothingness around the flame."

Desire or Naam is the Vital Force of Life. There is no need to deny

or repress desire. Desire or Love is celebrated in the Sikh tradition

in many ways. "Only those who Love know God." Love does not permit

hatred. We might say that there are four types of love - love for

self, other,

nature, and God, but in truth this is One Love. Love

does not contain any hatred, any discrimination.

Love for others such as family and friends is celebrated through the

importance given to family life and the sadh sangat, collective

worship. Family life requires sex and sexual desire is not repressed

but channeled through the emphasis given to marriage and widow re-

marriage. Moreover, great respect is shown for the self-bathing of

the menstrual cycle. The Gurus rightly identified the fear and hatred

of women as coming from superstitions about this Divine and natural

occurrence and negative labels such as "curse" given to it in

mainstream religions. Several hymns contradict this widespread belief.

Love for self is shown by approval for enjoyment of the pleasures of

the world, which is compared to a garden. Enjoymen without

attachment. "Outside a prince/ss, inside a hermit." The Gurus did not

teach abandoning the world, but slavery and attachment to the world.

Love for Nature is natural, for All is One. We are all interlinked in

the matrix of Mother Earth (Mata Dharat Mahat). Many hymns celebrate

the seasons and months, the cycles of life and death, linking Spirit

and nature, for the Spirit of Nature is God.

Love for God is the lover's quest. It is the thirst for annihilation

(of ego), the longing for death of the ego and the union as two

become One. Oneness can only be with the One and thus the Real Love

is the Divine Lover. Other loves cannot reach that Reality and,

therefore, are fantasies and attachments, which as they break down,

become frustrations, fear-full and full of anger, directed at the

self (depression) as much as the other. By enjoying them in their

natural pitch we can relish the companionship and shed natural tears.

But we do not strain them with a load they cannot carry. It is

fitting then that "God" becomes conceived not only using the name

s of

different faiths, Ram (Hindu), Allah (Muslim), and Sunya (the

Buddhist Void), but in terms such as Force of Life, Lover, Friend,

Mother, Father, Brother, Nature, and Great Death.

The Khalsa, the personal property of God, the Army of the Eternal

Spirit, challenges the repression of desire carried out by national

tribal laws and/or religious laws. Sehaj – spontaneous harmony – is

the natural state, and it is a world dancing to the unstruck melody

of Desire or Love that the Truth-Full person, the sachiara, gives

birth to in the garden of their soul and blossoms forth as a fragrant

rose in the garden of the world. Goya writes that, "All those who

capture the kingdom of the hearts become kings. There is no greater

warrior (sipahi) than that person who finds You." Love does not

include, nor exclude hatred. By its nature It must allow it, even as

by Its nature It must oppose it.

The Gurus taught that God dwells within you, like fragrance in a

flower, fire in wood, and reflection in a mirror.

Regaining our Real Sight when we remove the fingers of ego from

poking our eyes involves linking the repressed shadow back to the

self, and then this united self back to the Whole through archetypes.

The first stage may be achieved through simran, meditation recalling

that the Sikh does not repress, but channels the Naam-Energy-Desire

and also keertan, singing, understanding and living the mystical

hymns of Guru Granth Sahib Ji, a mirror of Infinity, a crown of 31

stars reflected in a still pool.

The Khalsa itself is an "archetype", a window on Eternity. An

archetype is linked to the alchemy of the soul, the symbolic

transformation from human-beast to human-angel, from base metal to

gold. There is the same basic material but different forms through

different processes acting on them. Archetypal images carry messages

of self-consciousness in the moment of transformation. Carl J

ung, the

famous psychologist, looked at alchemy and archetypes. A Sikh

contribution to modern psychology would be useful, particularly since

the Gurus called themselves the Philosopher's Stone – that which

enables the alchemy, which transforms lead to gold.

The insight of oneness of creation, and spiritual potential of

creation mean that there is little point day-dreaming about the Real

while you cut yourself off from Nature and Life and Death and Sex.

Hence, Goya says, "I do not raise hue and cry wailing like the

nightingale." (verse 5)

Through the rites of Khande-de-Pahul (amrit) the Khalsa willingly

offers her/his head. "Like the moth, I flutter myself to nothingness

around the flame." (verse 5)

Like Khizar, the Khalsa manifests in a wet place, not the meeting of

two seas, but from the alchemical elixir of life - amrit. Again,

unlike the story of Khizar, this is not hidden for the select few

like the Prophet Moses, but open mysticism for the world. Linked to

this, it is not world-denying mysticism, but world-transforming

spirituality. It is not based on dualism, but Unity of the One.

For it is not merely death and sexuality which are repressed by

traditional religion, but it is the whole Nature which is repressed.

In the dualism of two seas, Creator and creation are seen as

completely separate, yet the Guru compares them to a dancer and

dance. They are separate, yet linked. Hence, the Khalsa will not cut

the hair, but rather celebrate the Natural and take part as part of

the Natural Divine Dynamic Order. Moreover, if the Nature of God is a

universal grace then that Nature will reach out to people in all

times and in places, whatever they might call themselves. Missionary

work need not, indeed, must not insult anyone or break their heart,

the Real Home of God.

We look for nothing else but the beauty of the Beloved.

Mysticism is the eternal faith a

s evidenced by the inclusion of

writings of 36 Buddhist, Hindu, and Muslim mystics in the Guru Granth

Sahib Ji. The uniqueness and universality of the Sikh vision is the

insistence that the mystic must be a revolutionary. If God dwells in

every heart, social justice and spirituality must march together.

"Behold this sword Excalibur, which rose from the lake of still

meditation and was returned to it again. The sword of Spirit, of

light and truth, is always sharp and always with us, if our lake be

stilled." The cauldron played a major part in all rites. (Philip Carr-

Gomm, The Elements of the Druid Tradition, Element Books Ltd, 1991:

62-3.) Across thousands of years and miles, a similar rite is evoked.

Through the double-edged sword – Khanda – in the cauldron – batta –

the sweetened water for initiation is prepared. Degh Tegh Fateh!!

Victory to the Cauldron and the Sword!!

"Utter not a word, O Goya, the madness of love for the Beloved will

last as long as the head lasts." (verse 6). The five heads of 1699

have become the 25 million heads of 1999. On the face of Narcissus a

smile may be detected. When words and understanding fail, the living

art and experience of a smile…Parmatam ki mauj…a rainbow smile across

the blue sky of the Eternal is the Reality to be Lived, a dance

between the pain and joy, separating and uniting, which "only those

who Love Knows".

Kanwar Ranvir Singh

(from Spiritual Breeze, issue 1 - SINCERE APOLOGIES TO THE



Edited by Deep Singh

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