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Guru Nanak's Japji ☼

Japji Sahib is a Sikh prayer composed by Guru Nanak (1469–1539). It is the first part of the Guru Granth Sahib. Guru Nanak words are found in 974 poetic hymns in the Guru Granth Sahib.

Page references are to Lahiri Mahasaya's commentary to the Japji as they appear in Hidden Wisdom (1986).

1. So many scriptures fail to describe Unthinkable Mind (Essence)

The inexplicable may be even wonderfully compared to this and that, to be repented later. [cf 191 ]

Many individual beings (jivas) enjoy the fruits of their actions on this earth. [cf 190]

The Self is not had by a show of flowery descriptions. He is Intelligence and the Sky. All the scriptures fail to describe Him. [cf 186-87]

Highest Happiness - it is the ultimate Self - can be had on a righteous and fit path. Do what is heart-righteous, then. [cf 185]

Stay with awareness of Oneness. [cf 179, 192]

Kala (Time) cannot swallow the realised one. [cf 181]

2. You may or should analyse supreme faults in order to avoid them

The supreme Lord-Self, Bhagavan. [cf 183.]

[Avoid grasping at thistles if there is something better you can do. Stay on the positive side of life and with the positive sides of things as long as you can, without being ridden by bandits.]

The end of kriya practise is something inexplicable [cf 178]. [So do not get caught in flowery descriptions of it, then, he also says.]

Since the end cannot be explained, better refrain.

3. Far and wide the Deep Sea should be from the heart

Kindness starts the righteous fare far and wide. [cf 183]

Being righteous is above most religious convictions. [cf 191] ✪ 

One makes clothes clean by washing off the dirt. [186]

The ultimate Self cannot be determined by argument. [187] (7)

Self is the essence of everything. [cf 178]

The essence of everything is felt in the heart.

To know nothing [in contemplative states] is a fruit of yoga practice. There are other fruits too. %


Many scriptures fail to analyse the Deep Sea (Deep Mind) as Guru Rinpoche has done. The Deep Sea should be from the heart. Yes, many scriptures fail to describe the Unthinkable well . . .


Lahiri's Japji

The Japji at the bottom of the Japji Commentary by Lahiri is a song by Guru Nanak (1469-1539), founder of Sikhism.

What Nanak writes differs considerably from Lahiri's commentary, also when Lahiri seems to render him. For example, Nanak says "Nanak, the devotees are always blissful," whereas kriya devotees are not just that, according to Lahiri, but are rather striving for bliss from time to time several times a day, and then holding on to it as much as can be.

As he is wont to do, Lahiri talks of kriya through books that seldom or never deal with kriya at all. He says much "in the light of kriya." That peculiarity needs to be pointed out.

Poetry may reach towards many insights that are difficult to verbalise without imagery, allusions, and the other tools of poetry. Be that as it may, here are more Lahiri thoughts as rendered and sorted:

The ultimate Self is Inexplicable. (Lahiri) ⚶ It is in vain to write and to say something about which is inexplicable . . . What else can be said? [Panchanon Bhattacharya, publisher] [179, 176]

1. Self is Ultimate Superintelligence at the speed of speedlessness

Kriya takes the person to Happiness, to the house of the Lord through inner Beauty. (181)

Nanak says, "He Himself is Himself - always Sarya (Truth), the ultimate Self." [188)

That Self is Truth and His manifestation is the Truth. (190)

Nanak says, "He is the best of all." [188)

There are countless qualities (gunas). (185)

The ultimate Self can expand to the extreme subtleties. (187)

He is Truth. ⚶ The Lord Himself is Brahma, the ultimate Self. ⚶ Brahma, the ultimate Self, lives in Superintelligence (Parabuddhi). (178, 180, 181)

One should bathe in Kutastha. (186] (2)

2. The highest attainment lies at the heart, where the Self can be lost and gained

The highest Happiness state . . . Tranquility (Sthiti) is there. (180, 188, 185] (4)

One has to imagine what a burden, or weight, rests on the atom of Brahma, or the ultimate Self. [183)

3. The realization of Self generates glories and mirth

Kindness is the root of Dharma, or righteousness. ⚶ Righteousness . . . starts from kindness. (184, 183)

The intellectual only knows how to describe in vain with flowery words. (186)

[In the ultimate Self, Brahma] there are many kinds of words and stories. (191)

By His Grace many mysterious things are seen. (188] (6)

The Mind connects the seeker with righteousness. ⚶ The mind [deep inside] is Brahma. (181, 183)

Truth (Satya), having created, observes His creation and is joyful. In Him are the solar systems and the entire universe. (191]

Kutastha [is] singing over Prakriti (Nature). (188] (7)

All the scriptures fail to describe Him. ⚶ The Lord of the universe knows Himself automatically. (187)

He is great who knows himself automatically by himself. (187)

There are many individual beings (Jivas) having a variety of qualities. (190)

To hold onto the ultimate Self is achieved in very many ways. (185)

Who can describe the glories of the ultimate Self, or Brahma? ⚶ If one tries to describe Him, one feels a headache. (186)


The deep-inside attainment is to perceive oneself deeply.


Shyama Lahiri study, Lahiri Mahasaya rendered teachings, Literature  

Fraser, George S., ed. Selections from the Sacred Writings of the Sikhs. Tercentenary paperback ed. Trs. Trilochan Singh et al. Himayatnagar, Hyderabad: Orient Longman and Unesco, 2000. ⍽▢⍽ The contents consists mainly of selections from the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, also called the Adi Granth.

Satyeswarananda, Swami, tr. The Commentaries' Series Vol. III: Hidden Wisdom. With Lahiri Mahasay's Commentaries. 2nd rev. ed. San Diego: The Sanskrit Classics, 1986.

Singh, Kirpal, tr. The Jap Ji: The Message of Guru Nanak. 3rd ed. Sanbornton, New Hampshire: Sant Bani Ashram, 1967. ⍽▢⍽ A literal translation of the original Punjabi text, with a quite long introduction and commentary.

Harvesting the hay

Symbols, brackets, signs and text icons explained: (1) Text markers(2) Digesting.

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