Thousands of us have been thronging towards our Gurudwaras over the past couple of weeks. Be it in celebratory or meditation mode, we are all in the mood to celebrate the birth of the Greatest Soul to have ever walked the Earth during this long Kalyuug.
I’m sure each of you has have had some personal story of Guru Nanak that continues to inspire you to be the Sikh that you are today.
I was introduced to Sikh history through a set of comic books chronicling the lives of our Gurus. Guru Nanak’s stories were all about equality, treating all as One, and He treated his discourses with those in his path with some version of sarcasm that still makes me smile as I recollect the lesson. It got His messages through, nevertheless.
Those legendary stories of His travels, His relationship with His travelling companions, His relationship to His family, and His life as a Householder later in life, all etched in my mind the early ideas of what humility and treating everyone we meet with love. Mind you, these ideas became the compass in my mind and heart on what a good human is supposed to be. We call it our moral compass.
There are some who argue that some of these stories or sakhees have been tampered with superficial and magical drama, and that it completely goes against the grain of Guru Nanak’s teachings of practically and logic. I agree but I would also argue that the impact of those stories on a child’s moral compass is equally powerful as well and shouldn’t be discounted as well.
These stories have been passed down the generations, and have been evolving over time with more fantastic elements of drama and mystic. That’s just natural. Evolution of stories is natural, hence the existence of legends.
Now, before anyone asserts that I think Guru Nanak is a legend, please be reasonable. My Guru is no legend. He walked the earth (literally) and millions have had their lives impacted by His teachings. No doubts here. But stories of his travels and adventures have become legendary. Which would be the true version, we will only know if we do our homework of investigating our historical accounts.
In the later stages of my life, the early day stories slowly merged into my subconscious, to be somewhat forgotten. I’m afraid I won’t be able to have the will or the energy to do my homework to validate which of these stories are truthful accounts of His Life.
However, His words and teachings are a daily reminder when reciting Japji Sahib. These teachings represent a deeper understanding of those lessons I got as a child from the stories of Guru Nanak. The wonders of His teachings never cease to impact my life. There is no doubt that His teachings through Gurbani is accurate and undiluted. We did a great job preserving these teachings, designed as such by Guru Nanak himself.
This year, during this period of commemorating His birthday, the teaching phrase “Mann Jeetai Jug Jeet” has slowly bubbled its way up into my thinking.
You see, we all go through some stress during our day, borne out of frustrations or complications that disturb us and our minds. Mostly, our thoughts drive how we react with actions towards the frustrations and complications. Job stress, office politics, family issues, rebellious children, marital problems, and more tend to bog us down as we try to maintain some level of sanity clinging to some simple pleasures in life for happiness. But in all of this, the mind and our thoughts will be running around in circles trying to get back that happiness. And this is where, Guruji’s teachings of controlling our mind, some way or another, can control the world around us.
Sometimes, when overwhelmed with the stress, I try to tell myself “Never mind, it shall pass.” I now realize that this is also a variant of Guruji’s “Mann Jeetai”. I’m trying to control my mind, by telling it to never mind. Don’t sweat the small stuff, as Americans say. It has worked so far, to a certain extent.
To celebrate Baba Nanak’s birthday today, the best way is to remember His evergreen and relevant teachings that can help us with our daily lives as householders. And for this year, His teachings that resonate the most with me is to tell my mind, “Never mind, Never mind”.
Jagdesh Singh, a Kuala Lumpur-based executive with a US multinational company, is a father of three girls who are as opinionated as their mother
* This is the opinion of the writer, organisation or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Asia Samachar.
If you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything at all (Asia Samachar, 11 Oct 2019)