11. Thou know not the worth of the water, therefore thou wail Water – The Life

Water obviously plays such an important role in our day-to-days life. It fertilizes agriculture and produces life and food and is the source of livelihood of the people; but at same time water has a very specific significance in one’s spiritual life as well. Sikhism was surrounded by the theme of water at the time of its rise, hence, it is enriched by the narratives related to water. In Sikh ideology, one finds a rich history surrounded by the discourse on water. There are lots of imaginations especially found in the realm of poetry related to water.

Therefore, it is well depicted in the teachings and doctrines of Sikhism which, in turn, have given basic roots for the formation of poetry, music and other art forms of literatures within Sikhism. One finds no surprise that the inner sanctum of the Golden Temple, the holiest Sikh shrine in Amritsar, India, is situated in the middle of the spreading pool called the Sarovar (pool). One can find at these Sarovars or Tirath Asthaan (pilgrim places) or even at local Gurdawars, ignorant people sometime dipping themselves or taking a Chully that is a fist filled with water from filthy ponds and put it in their mouth, throw on their eyes, sprinkled on top of their head, wash their feet and arms, all these acts are done thinking it gives life to inner being and cleanses one’s soul from their bad karmas that are sinful.

Therefore, to explain the Bibek or Wisdom (Divine Knowledge, Aatam-Giaan) to the seekers of Truth, Guru Granth has spoken a lot about water. According to Guru Granth, water is considered to be the most important for the origin of life, “Water is the first source of life. The entire life originated from it (SGGS, p. 472).[1] It is conceived that God has created the world by combining air, water and fire “The Guru controls the air, water and fire; He has staged the drama of the world” (SGGS, p.1113).[2] Further, importance is given to such extent that since life cannot exist without water so it has been called as father of the world in, “Water is the Father” (SGGS, p. 8),[3] and “Water is the father of the world; in the end, water destroys it all” (SGGS, p. 1240).[4]  In this sense God is equated with water who is the giver of life and with clarity it is seen he is described as the originator of life.

Whatever, the above reading makes it clear that God first created air then the water. The entire universe was then created from water and light of the Lord exists in everybody,

“From the True Lord came the air, and from the air came water. From water, He created the three worlds; in each and every heart He has infused His Light” [5]

SGGS p. 19

As a result, water is present everywhere and there is no place which is not covered without water, “In the water and on the land, it rains down in the ten directions. No place is left dry” (SGGS, p. 1282).[6] In this sense the world is the spread of water hence it is always called ocean-world (bhavsagar). But, it is said that the ocean-world has been corrupted and therefore a seeker seeks helps to go to the other side of it where he sees the Realm of Truth (Sach-khand),“In the terrifying world-ocean of poison, people are drowning-please lift them up and save them! This is servant Nanak’s humble prayer”.[7]  SGGS, p. 40

A Sikh has been called to make every effort to cross this filthy ocean, “Make every effort to cross over this terrifying world-ocean” (SGGS, p. 12).[8] He has been told that he should love the Lord thinking about Him in the language of water, “O mind, love the Lord, as the lotus loves the water” (SGGS, p. 59).[9] Because, if he lives away from the water he will have no life in him, “In the water, the creatures are created; outside of the water they die” (SGGS p. 59).[10] It is the “Water” that can only dismiss a Jiva’s (a bhakta) suffering, “Without water, she cannot live, even for an instant. God knows the suffering of her mind” (SGGS, p. 60).[11] If he tries to live without water, he will die like a fish without water as his very life is depended on water, “as the lotus does not exist without water, and as the fish dies without water” (SGGS, p. 63).[12] So, the call is given to find the life in the water of the Lord, “O dear beloved mind, my friend, the fish of the mind lives only when it is immersed in the Water of the Lord” (SGGS, p. 80).[13]

The basic reason for this is that, the Lord has the water of life, “The Lord is the Treasure of Water; I am just a fish in that water. Without this Water, servant Nanak would die” (SGGS, p. 95).[14] He himself is not only the water, “Over all the world, He is the Life of the World, O Nanak, like water mingled with water” (SGGS, p. 41),[15] and not only the Ocean, “You are the Ocean of Water, and I am Your fish” (SGGS p. 100),[16] but also the giver of water of life, “The lotus blossoms deep within the heart, and filled with Ambrosial Nectar, one is satisfied” (SGGS, p. 22).[17] Hence, whoever drinks of this water becomes stable, “they drink in the Lord’s Ambrosial Nectar, and become eternally stable” (SGGS, p.81),[18] and so a Bhakta says, “I continue to drink it in, but this Water is never exhausted” (SGGS, p. 323).[19]

 Although, this water of life can only be obtained till a Bhakta meets with his Lord, “As the rainbird thirsts longingly for the drop of rain, and as the fish delights in the water, Nanak is satisfied by the sublime essence of the Lord” (SGGS, p. 226).[20] His very heart blossoms once the meeting takes place with the Guru, “the Guru, the Perfect True Guru, is my Mother and Father. Obtaining the Water of the Guru, the lotus of my heart blossoms forth” (SGGS, p. 94).[21] At the same time a Bhakta marvels of the grace shown to him, “the beings in the water, on the land and in the sky are all satisfied; I wash the Feet of the Holy” (SGGS 106),[22] because, he has become Jivan-mukta (liberated one) hereafter, “I shall never again have to cross over the terrifying world-ocean” (SGGS p. 175).[23] Yet, to obtain this Water of Life, a Bhakta still needs to get the supports of Guru, Please, God, lift me up and out of the terrifying world-ocean. Nanak seeks Your Support” (SGGS, p. 261).[24]

To sum up, one finds that water is the origin of life. Human life cannot exist without water so it is equated with God who is father of all humankind. He is not only considered as water, but he is the Living Water himself and also the giver of it. A Bhakta’s heart blossoms after the finding of this Living Water. He can obtain this water, but only after the meeting with the True Guru (Satguru). However, this leads us to ask few questions, so to find emancipation, liberation, joy and bliss. Where is the Living Water? Who can give me the Living Water? How can I find the Living Water? What should, I do to have this Living Water? Where should I go to find it? Whom should I ask and so on? The answers to these questions are explicitly given in Granth Bible.

 God in Granth Bible said to be the very fountain of life, “For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light” (Psalm 36:9). The Lord God is known as “the fountain of living water” (Jeremiah 17:13). But the saddest part of it is that, humankind has rejected the very fountain of life,

“My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns [to say their own ways and means to find God], broken cisterns [to say helpless methods and rituals] that cannot hold water”

Jeremiah 2:13

Therefore, just like Guru Granth, Granth Bible also says something similar that,

“Lord, you are the hope of humankind; all who forsake you will be put to shame. Those who turn away from you will be written in the dust because they have forsaken the Lord, the spring of living water”

Jeremiah 17:13

As a result, a pathetic doom is waiting for them, “These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved” (2 Peter 2:17). The gloomy doom is nothing but the lifelessness for forever, keep wandering for forever, having no hope for forever.  

However, with the coming of Satguru Jesus Christ, the issue of lifelessness, thirst, and gloom is been resolved, for he gave the call, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them” (John 7:37-38). For he himself is the Water of Life, “I am the Water of Life” (Abbeye Hayat Ka Chasma, Zindagi ke pani, and Jivan Jal) (John 4:10). Therefore, Satguru Jesus Christ said, “whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:13-14). Further, “the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb [Satguru Jesus Christ]” (Rev 22:1) gives clear indication that Satguru Jesus Christ himself is the only source of Living Water.

Now, to obtain this Water of Life, one need not perform any rituals or religious rites, “To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment” (Revelation 21:6). As no one can with any efforts, any means, any earnings, any ways of their own can obtain this Water of Life, else one would boast, “For it is by grace (nadar, kirpa, nadri) you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9) and this is further confirmed in the wordings of Satguru Jesus Christ, “If you knew the “gift of God” and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he[Satguru Jesus Christ] would have given you living water” (John 4:10). Therefore, neither one has to go to pay homage to any pilgrim place, nor take a ritual bath (Isnaana) and so forth, “those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean” (John 13:9-10).

Hence, those who draw near to Satguru Jesus Christ, to them, he says, “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses” (Ezekiel 36:25). Therefore, the call is given to obtain this water for one’s own liberation, “With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation” (Isaiah 12:3). This brings us closer to an age old question that, how can one have this Water of Life and the answer is given in Granth Bible as the Path of faith, “let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water” (Hebrew 10:22).

Accordingly, when a Bhakta puts his trust in Satguru Jesus Christ and receives Him as the Water of Life, he becomes Jivan-mukta. Because, this Water of Life is nothing but getting an everlasting life that a Bhakta enjoys in Satguru Jesus Christ. That’s why Granth Bible says, “He that hath the Son [Satguru Jesus Christ] hath life; and he that hath not the [Satguru Jesus Christ] Son of God hath not life” (1 John 5:12). Just as one cannot have life without water: Without Satguru Jesus Christ there cannot be eternal life.

Therefore, one repeatedly sees the occurrence in Granth Bible to receive this Water of Life for free, “HO, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy sweet water and milk without grape and without price” (Isaiah 55:1). In fact, Granth Bible gives an invitation to everyone who thirsts by saying, Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life” (Revelation 22:17). Consequently, it is clear now that a Bhakta who makes decision of obtaining the Water of Life will surely come near to Satguru Jesus Christ and will put his trust in Him, and for him Guru Granth aptly says that he/she is a wise person in this world, because Satguru Jesus Christ is the only way that can detach a person from this ocean-world, “this is the true mark of wisdom: that one remains detached, like the water-lily, or the lotus upon the water” (SGGS, p.152).[25]

[1] ਪਹਿਲਾ ਪਾਣੀ ਜੀਓ ਹੈ ਜਿਤ ਹਰਿਆ ਸਭ ਕੋਇ ।।

[2] ਪਉਣੁ ਪਾਣੀ ਅਗਨਿ ਬਾਧੇ ਗੁਰਿ ਖੇਲੁ ਜਗਤਿ ਦਿਖਾਇਆ ॥

[3] ਪਵਣੁ ਗੁਰੂ ਪਾਣੀ ਪਿਤਾ ਮਾਤਾ ਧਰਤਿ ਮਹਤੁ ॥

[4] ਪਾਣੀ ਪਿਤਾ ਜਗਤ ਕਾ ਫਿਰਿ ਪਾਣੀ ਸਭੁ ਖਾਇ ॥੨॥

[5] ਸਾਚੇ ਤੇ ਪਵਨਾ ਭਇਆ ਪਵਨੈ ਤੇ ਜਲੁ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਜਲ ਤੇ ਤ੍ਰਿਭਵਣੁ ਸਾਜਿਆ ਘਟਿ ਘਟਿ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਮੋਇ ॥

[6] ਜਲ ਥਲ ਚਹੁ ਦਿਸਿ ਵਰਸਦਾ ਖਾਲੀ ਕੋ ਥਾਉ ਨਾਹਿ ॥

[7]  ਬਿਖੁ ਭਉਜਲ ਡੁਬਦੇ ਕਢਿ ਲੈ ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਕੀ ਅਰਦਾਸਿ ॥੪॥੧॥੬੫॥

[8] ਸਰੰਜਾਮਿ ਲਾਗੁ ਭਵਜਲ ਤਰਨ ਕੈ ॥

[9] ਰੇ ਮਨ ਐਸੀ ਹਰਿ ਸਿਉ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਕਰਿ ਜੈਸੀ ਜਲ ਕਮਲੇਹਿ ॥

[10] ਜਲ ਮਹਿ ਜੀਅ ਉਪਾਇ ਕੈ ਬਿਨੁ ਜਲ ਮਰਣੁ ਤਿਨੇਹਿ ॥੧॥

[11] ਬਿਨੁ ਜਲ ਘੜੀ ਨ ਜੀਵਈ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਜਾਣੈ ਅਭ ਪੀਰ ॥੨॥

[12] ਬਿਨੁ ਜਲ ਕਮਲ ਸੁ ਨਾ ਥੀਐ ਬਿਨੁ ਜਲ ਮੀਨੁ ਮਰਾਇ ॥

[13] ਮਨ ਪਿਆਰਿਆ ਜੀਉ ਮਿਤ੍ਰਾ ਹਰਿ ਜਲ ਮਿਲਿ ਜੀਵੇ ਮੀਨਾ ॥

[14] ਹਰਿ ਜਲਨਿਧਿ ਹਮ ਜਲ ਕੇ ਮੀਨੇ ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਜਲ ਬਿਨੁ ਮਰੀਐ ਜੀਉ ॥੪॥੩॥

[15] ਸਭੁ ਜਗਜੀਵਨੁ ਜਗਿ ਆਪਿ ਹੈ ਨਾਨਕ ਜਲੁ ਜਲਹਿ ਸਮਾਇ ॥੪॥੪॥੬੮॥

[16] ਤੂੰ ਜਲਨਿਧਿ ਹਮ ਮੀਨ ਤੁਮਾਰੇ ॥

[17] ਅੰਤਰਿ ਕਮਲੁ ਪ੍ਰਗਾਸਿਆ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਭਰਿਆ ਅਘਾਇ ॥

[18] ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਹਰਿ ਪੀਵਤੇ ਸਦਾ ਥਿਰੁ ਥੀਵਤੇ ਬਿਖੈ ਬਨੁ ਫੀਕਾ ਜਾਨਿਆ ॥

[19] ਪੀਵਿ ਰਹੇ ਜਲ ਨਿਖੁਟਤ ਨਾਹੀ ॥੩॥

[20] ਜਿਉ ਚਾਤ੍ਰਿਕ ਜਲ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਪਿਆਸਾ ॥ ਜਿਉ ਮੀਨਾ ਜਲ ਮਾਹਿ ਉਲਾਸਾ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਹਰਿ ਰਸੁ ਪੀ ਤ੍ਰਿਪਤਾਸਾ ॥੮॥੧੧॥

[21] ਮੇਰਾ ਮਾਤ ਪਿਤਾ ਗੁਰੁ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਪੂਰਾ ਗੁਰ ਜਲ ਮਿਲਿ ਕਮਲੁ ਵਿਗਸੈ ਜੀਉ ॥੩॥

[22] ਜਲ ਥਲ ਮਹੀਅਲ ਸਭਿ ਤ੍ਰਿਪਤਾਣੇ ਸਾਧੂ ਚਰਨ ਪਖਾਲੀ ਜੀਉ ॥੩॥

[23] ਫਿਰਿ ਬਹੁੜਿ ਨ ਭਵਜਲ ਫੇਰੇ ਜੀਉ ॥੨॥

[24] ਭਵਜਲ ਤੇ ਕਾਢਹੁ ਪ੍ਰਭੂ ਨਾਨਕ ਤੇਰੀ ਟੇਕ ॥੧॥

[25] ਜਲ ਪੁਰਾਇਨਿ ਰਸ ਕਮਲ ਪਰੀਖ ॥