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Anand Sahib - Sikh Prayer

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Uploaded on Feb 13, 2007

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Anand Sahib of Guru Amardas Ji is a literary masterpiece of devotional poetry; its aesthetic and symbolic elements will please the literary critic. Its theme is of man's true goal and his spiritual illumination. The word 'Anand' means bliss, so it is a song of man's spiritual achievement, or of being in tune with the Infinite. In a metaphysical sense, this stage is known as harmony, equipoise or Sahaj.
Every man desires happiness and joy, but he tends to seek it in things either apart from himself or which pertain to his sense organs. He does not realise that these things at best can only give him temporary or unstable happiness. The Anand is both inspirational and philosophical in its content. It details the pilgrim's progress and the obstacles that lie on the way. The ultimate goal is for union with the Supreme Reality. It is called Sahaj, Nirvana, Mukti, Sangham. Sahaj is a mental state which encourages the living of a normal family-life and a concern for social commitment. The requirement is one of detachment; all that one possesses, is to be regarded a kind of trust and used for good and altruistic purposes. Similarly, one's senses directed to higher goals and not only to worldly enjoyment. Regard your body as a chariot, your mind the charioteer, your soul, the owner of the chariot, while your senses are the horses and desire is their road. The soul symbolises divinity; man cannot realise his divine element without seeing through the veil of Maya. Normally he regards himself as separate from God, it is this obvious duality or fallacy that the Guru removes. Through the Guru man may realise his divine nature, then he becomes Gurmukh or Sunmukh. Those who remain worldly-wise and follow their own ego, they are called Munmukh or Bemukh. Their senses—eyes, ears, tongue etc. lead them to mundane and evil pursuits, not towards spiritual effort (Sadhana). So self-discipline and obeying of the Guru's directions is the way to spiritual progress. The obstacles on any spiritual path are many and difficult. They include human cleverness, intellectual hair-splitting, family attachments, the taboos and rituals of traditional religion, conformity to custom and convention, the unending chain of desire, hypocrisy and 'ad hoc means' for the purpose of compromises with ideals and principles for personal gain, and the many other compulsions of expediency. The disciple in to overcome such obstacles by obeying the instructions of the Guru. The blessing of the Guru will support and enable him to progress, on his spiritual path. Any association with godly people or of doing of acts for the public good and social welfare, also help on the spiritual journey.
The pattern of the Anand projects a development of thought. Stanzas one to five mention that Bliss obtained through the Guru, after his instructions are followed. Stanzas six to twenty deal with the various obstacles and difficulties that one may face on the spiritual path. Stanzas twenty-one to twenty-five tell us about the two types of human beings: the ego-oriented and the God-oriented. Stanzas twenty-six to thirty-four mention the various desires that hold man back from his inner quest. Stanzas thirty-five to thirty-nine deal with the correct functioning of the human body and its senses. Stanza forty deals with the benefits of sincere recitation and singing in particular of the Anand. These benefits are enlightenment, a realisation of the blissful state and the ultimate union with Divinity. In short, Bliss may be attained through self-discipline and the development of one's own personality through purity, morality, contentment, poise, compassion, wisdom, a loving understanding of others and spiritual harmony. The Anand reassures every one that they can experience both joy and bliss, without sacrificing the normal comfort and pleasures of life. Bliss is the destiny of man, Pain and suffering, though unavoidable, do not disturb the inner peace of that person who leads a purposeful and pious life, by obeying the Guru's discipline.

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