Asa- Di- Var Sahib
- What is meaning of Asa- di- Var?
In this theme of the eternal what is miscalled ‘religion’ from time immemorial is cast aside. The sacred- thread folly is mercilessly exposed. The hypocritical readings of scriptures and the wearing of loose garments and the painting of foreheads and the reservation of cooking squares, the wrong emphasis on diet and human secretions are thrown away forever as unworthy of any serious notice as religion or as religious. The old impertinent rocks of all such ignorance are shattered by the Guru’s bolt and made to form the bed of his river of peace to flow through. This is Asa- di- var the freedom of mind attained by imbibing the glory of truth, new with every new sunrise.
It is for us to drink with both our palms cupped up, the peace of the dawn that breaks for us in the hymns of Asa- di- Var. You remember how Bhai Nand Lal saw the face of Guru Gobind Singh and then could not find anything more beautiful. In his presence, for Bhai Nand Lal, the Sun, that great orb that lights the physical universe, was dark. It was all dark without the Guru. Once when the Guru was organizing the militia of his saint soldiers of the Punjab, Bhai Nand Lal came placed before the Guru a sword and a belt and begged that he too may be enlisted as the Guru’s soldier in the Guru’s armies of saints.
It was a pathetic scene when the Guru went in with the sword and the belt and returned to Bhai Nand Lal with a pen, saying,” Nand Lal, you take this pen, I will wear your sword for you”. And with this golden pen the poet got from Him, he wrote songs about the Ineffable Beauty. He, so to say, sang out his soul in shining streams of that liquid fire of love. Asa- di – Var sings of such sensitive souls, such personal love of the Great. Asa- di- Var kindles, like the sun, the gloom of centuries. The Guru has given us great lyrics, to sing them with full throat in the wild tunes of our Manjha and Malwa prairies, which is our greatest privilege of life.
To let their holy sound dissolve in our blood and in the blood of our children and our children’s children is simple and spontaneous gratitude to him, the Giver. We were in the darkness, the Guru lighted our homes with lamps of joy. The Guru made us vihangams, eagles; he gave us wings. The Guru truly freed us in His love of us. If we leave now without the great majestic spirit of freedom. He gave us, we are wretched with all our wealth and our political doctrines. The Guru told us, better death than a life of slavery, better death than a life of compromise with Satan.
They gave up their lives and the lives of their children and their disciples and even the truth they came to free man with and for which the greatest of men make compromised with the world to spread it amongst the people, even that personal truth, they shattered into a million atoms like a ball of snow, of a strange divine aflorescence, only to tell you that freedom of the human soul was above all things. All must go, and the human soul must find its freedom. God’s message can well go back to Heaven and return, but there shall be no compromise with falsehood on matters of the absolute freedom of the human soul.
Now to the Asa- di- Var. The Guru transmutes has Sikh, makes a man into an angel. This transmutation of the metal of man is at the basis of this great inspiration to which possibly merely out of social convention we now belong. Truly, only the inspired ones belongs to it, whatever their name, colour or creed. No spiritual outlook comes to the blinded man till in the firmament of his soul rises the Guru- Sun and dispels the gloom. All is dark without him. It is just like Dante’s picture of Paradise, without Beatrice all is dark. If Beatrice is not seen by him in the shining comets, he finds his soul is being destroyed. Heaven shines if she shines. This is the secret of Dhyanam of him. When you do not feel you are in glowing passion for Him, knows that you are going away from God to Satan.
Your soul- consciousness is being petrified like Ahalya of the Ramayana, or like that of the heroine of Gul- I- Bukaoli. And the mineral kind of purity as of as of the diamond and the sun to which the Yogis and the Brahmans aspire is lifeless compared with the Guru’s love and living impulse of the spirit of comradeship the Guru planted thick in the goodness. They, the Brahmanical ascetics, had denounced woman to transcend sex. A Woman, says the Guru, is the centre of life here on earth and in Heaven. Man is born of woman, he is seeded to woman.
How can Woman go out of the spiritual courts who gives birth to all the spiritual geniuses of the world? All are so constituted in sex. Only the Great Unborn Cosmic Spirit is above sex. They who speak ill make only themselves ill. The dirt that sticks to one’s soul is not washed by bathing in a thousand sacred rivers. The good ones do not emphasize the outer wear. If the soul is rich, the body may be howsoever poor, what reck? What is that gift which we earn by our own efforts? Accomplishments cannot be in the nature of spiritual gifts, they are achievable. What is truly miraculous is the gathering of those harvests, which we have never sown?
All others take refuge in their own karma and are proud of what they become thereby, good or bad. The Guru imparts faith. There is a higher universe with which we are knitted. And not by our own Karma, but by his Karma. The miracle is to strike friendship with the Higher Ones of heaven, not with ourselves. The miracle is to get love from them. Loving, according to the Guru, is only the unfulfilled half, the fulfilled whole is being loved.
The Guru’s saying cannot be exhausted by any amount of interpretations. A million new and varied interpretations leave them as fresh as ever. They are truly creations of art and any one of us can look at them and have his heart cup full of meaning and direction and love and miracle and whatever he may desire. And by saying what I have said in this way, of Asa- di- Var, I have only indicated the wealth we have, and we know not.