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In search of 'Naam'

"How can only reciting name of Akal Purakh be the  supreme blessing and magical panacea of all ills?"

Naam is the biggest blessing in Sikhi way of life. In our daily prayer to Waheguru we seek this as most valuable gift -

ਦਾਨਾਂ ਸਿਰ ਦਾਨ, ਨਾਮ ਦਾਨ

Naam is first introduced by Guru Nanak comes in Mool Mantar as ਸਤਿ ਨਾਮੁ as an attribute of Akal Purakh. It translates to Absolute Truth - which has always existed and will always exist, is Omnipresent and has a name - Waheguru for Sikhs.

My fascination for Naam started when I came across verses in Gurbani assuring that Naam is medicine for all diseases ਸਰਬ ਰੋਗ ਕਾ ਅਉੁਖਦੁ ਨਾਮੁ and also that Naam is the biggest wealth ਜਿਸੁ ਨਾਮੁ ਰਿਦੈ ਤਿਨਿ ਕੋਟਿ ਧਨ ਪਾਏ.

My initial enquiries about the subject led me to meditation of Naam Simran - reciting Waheguru. The first question which came to my mind was that how can only reciting  name of Akal Purakh be the  supreme blessing and magical panacea of all ills. The possible explanation was repetition of name of Waheguru and reflection on his various attributes could be the starting point of this journey to understand Naam. I started Naam Simran in a very sincere way and after initial obstacles, started seeing the benefits of mind becoming slightly restful during the time I am doing the meditation . It returned to its restless ways thereafter.

There had to be something more to this concept and my search continued. I came across an explanation that all activities which connect Atma to Paramatma are Naam. Activities listed were Simran, Kirtan, reading and reflecting on Gurbani, Katha, Sewa etc. This made sense but I was not able to get any evidence in Gurbani verifying this explanation. I was still not sure of essence of Naam. Then I came across following verse:

Guru Amardas ji explains that ‘Naam‘ is the flower of ‘Shabad’ seed. The process of metamorphosis happens with ‘Shabad Guru’ and flower that blossoms within is ‘Naam’. Through this process our being connects with Brahm ( ਮੇਲਿ ਮਿਲਾਇਆ ) - Naam is a bridge which makes this connection ( ਜੋਗ).

Another verse from Guru Nanak’s Sidh Gosht helped in making this understanding little more clearer;

Making our consciousness attuned to Shabad Guru is becoming the disciple, a Sikh. The understanding I got was that being always conscious of teachings of Shabad - SGGS in our case and staying attuned to it will result in obtaining ‘Naam’. This got reinforced when I read;

New dimension of Guru’s blessing for establishing Naam in the mind got added in this equation. New equation seemed to be;

Shabad Guru + Tuned Consciousness + Guru’s Blessing = Naam established in Mind

Following is getting clear to me about Naam;

  • It is something which is invaluable and fundamental to Sikh spirituality.

  • It is something which emerges from within.

  • It is something for which seed is Shabad.

  • It is something for which mind body has to be made ready, removed of weeds (vices) and cultivated with Amrit.

  • It’s a supreme element and is obtained through Guru’s blessing.

  • It seems to be the process which has to be worked upon regularly and after lot of efforts one gets it. Very rare individuals get Naam

  • Padarth in their Hirdey.

Many questions still remain to be explored.

  • How do we get blessings of Guru? Can I become the chosen one?

  • How do we get rid of vices?

The result of Naam getting established in mind appear to be awesome as explained in SGGS.

Following verses highlight the benefits:

Another Shabad of Guru Nanak helped in understanding the process. Guru ji uses the analogy of farmer preparing the ground before sowing the seeds with preparing the ground of ‘Mind body‘ by doing meditation ( ਸਾਧਣਾ ) and removing weeds of Haumai ( vices of lust, anger, greed, attachment and false ego ). Thereafter, sowing the seeds of Shabad results in flowering in form of Naam.

Naam, in context of Sikh spiritual practices seem to be all encompassing actions, feelings of loving devotion to Waheguru.

We will explore some more dimensions of Naam in subsequent articles.

I will close this article with a beautiful verse I enjoy reflecting;

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