The 34th and 35th Paurees of Japji: Beginning the Journey Home

34th and 35th Paurees: Beginning the Journey Home

 

Back when I was in grade school, around the 5th grade, we had a really sharp nun named Sister Ann Marie who used to teach us English. She loved drilling us on the clear, crisp rules of grammar.  But she didn’t like teaching religion as much. On occasion, as a substitute, she would be pulled in to talk to us about Jesus, God, heaven, hell, and original sin. All the mandatory dogma that we Catholic school students were supposed to know by heart.

One day, she was talking about life and death. How you live. Where you go when you die.  I remember that something she said confused me. So I raised my hand very innocently and started to ask a question. “Sister, when we go back up to heaven when we die…”

She cut me short before I could finish. “What?” She asked me. “What did you say?”

“I said – when we go back to heaven when we die…”

“What do you mean ‘go back’?” she asked me.

“Well,” I said matter-of-factly. “We lived in heaven before we were born. And then we were sent down here.”

“No no no,” she said. “That’s wrong. You never existed before you were born.”

“What?” I asked.

“You never lived in heaven. You never existed before you were born. God didn’t create you until you were born. You’ve never been to heaven. You’ve never seen heaven.”

What she said was so shocking to me that I completely forgot what my original question was. To this day – I still don’t remember what I had wanted to ask her. But I do remember sitting there in my school chair, pondering her words. I had never been to heaven? I had never existed before? Somehow, that just seemed…wrong.

When I started studying the Eastern mystical traditions, I realized why I thought the way I did. It was a very deep primal memory of the soul. We begin our journey through time and space already one with the One. We start off in that bliss, in that heaven. Then the soul takes a trip into form, going through lots of different adventures and experiences. Eventually, it finds its way back to that Oneness again.

In the 34-37th paurees of Japji Sahib, Guru Nanak describes the journey home. It happens in stages, in refinements of consciousness. Guru Nanak uses the term “Khand” in these paurees. Khand often gets translated as “realm.” But the Khands are not physical places you visit – like Paris or the Grand Canyon. The Khands are a way of seeing and experiencing the Universe. The more you develop and refine your consciousness, the more you begin to perceive something that you couldn’t perceive before. Finally, at the end, your perception becomes so subtle, you merge back into the Oneness. There, you watch the play of the Universe without taking form again.

What did Guru Nanak have to say about this journey? Well, the journey begins with Dharam Khand. And even though the term Dharam Khand doesn’t come until the 35th pauree of Japji Sahib, the description of Dharam Khand begins in the 34th pauree.

Wah! has a beautiful version of Dharm Khand on her CD Japji Sahib.

Dharam Khand, or the realm of Dharma, is the beginning of the journey. It is a state of consciousness where you can see the amazing diversity of creation. You see that there are countless souls in so many forms, living so many different lives. Each soul learns by trying something out and seeing how it worked. Some people meditate and find their spirit. Their actions come from a state of grace, from being connected to the whole. This could be considered the first level of the blue ether where, Yogi Bhajan says, self-purification begins. When you are willing to work on yourself, support other people to work on themselves, and not worry if someone just wants to figure it out through time and space – you have entered the dimension of Dharam Khand.

The second stage is Gian Khand, the realm of wisdom. Even though the term “Gian Khand” doesn’t come until the 36th pauree, the description of Gian Khand begins in the 35th pauree.

 

The essence of Gian Khand is two-fold:  first – you see the tremendous and truly limitless creativity of the Creator. There is no end to what gets created. The Universe is always playing with its primal creative forces and doing something new. The second aspect to Gian Khand is the Naad. Everything has a sound, a vibration behind it. Including you. All of life, existence, and experience begins as vibration, first. By accessing the second blue ether, or Gian Khand, you viscerally experience that. It gives you vastness. It gives you wisdom. It gives you enjoyment of Infinity.

 

Both of these Khands are accessed first through the power of your meditation. It is through your sadhana that you develop your sensitivity. You clear your subconscious blocks and expand your awareness. You begin to sense things that you had never sensed before. As you continue with your daily practice, that expanded consciousness becomes more and more available to you in every day life. Like any kind of exercise– if you develop the reflexes of your consciousness through meditation, those reflexes, in turn, can be called upon throughout the day.

 

According to the teachings of Yogi Bhajan, reciting the 34th pauree of Japji Sahib at least 11 times a day brings stability. Reciting the 35th pauree gives you the capacity to do your duty and fulfill your responsibility.

 

We’ll discuss the remaining Khands in the next blog post.

 

With Divine Light.

 

Yours humbly,

 

Ek Ong Kaar Kaur

Ek Ong Kaar's translation of Japji.

 

34th Pauree of Japji Sahib by Guru Nanak

Translated by Ek Ong Kaar Kaur Khalsa

 

Nights, seasons,

Moon cycles, days.

 

Wind, water,

Fire and the underworld,

 

In the midst of this,

The Earth was established

As a place

Where Spirit could evolve

Into a Conscious Awareness of Itself

Protected.

 

For that purpose,

The souls came

Through time and space

In such a variety

Of colors.

 

Those souls

Are so many,

They are countless.

 

There are actions

Upon actions

And we reflect

On what we do.

 

Thou, oh Divine One,

Are True

And True

Is Your Royal Court

In which all

Is contained.

 

In Your Royal Court,

Your devotees,

The ones who have found themselves

Within themselves

Look beautiful.

 

Their actions

Flow from Grace

And this is

The sign of You

They carry.

 

The Not-Yet-Ripe

And the Ripe

Are both there

On the Earth.

 

Nanak,

Go and see it.

 

 

35th Pauree of Japji Sahib by Guru Nanak

Translated by Ek Ong Kaar Kaur Khalsa

 

 

In the Realm of Dharma,

Of Spiritual Law,

We come to understand

How to awaken ourselves

To ourselves.

 

In the Realm of Wisdom

We speak

Of how everything

Gets accomplished.

 

There are so many

Winds, waters and fires.

 

So many

Creative Forces.

 

So many

Creations

That the Creator

Is crafting,

Clothing the Spirit

In Form and Color.

 

So many actions

Done in so many

Lands and places,

 

So many places

That are not even

Known to us.

 

All for learning

What You want us

To learn.

 

So many Heavens,

Moons and Suns.

 

So many Galaxies

With so many peoples.

 

So many joined

In Union with Thee.

 

So many wise ones

And masters.

 

So many

Robed goddesses.

 

So many gods

And demons.

 

So many persons of Honor.

 

So many jewels of Spiritual instruction

In so many Oceans of Existences.

 

So many ways

Of thinking about things.

 

So many words

That come from Thee.

 

So many rulers

Of Spiritual Nobility.

 

So many

Living attuned to Thee,

 

So many of Your servants.

 

Nanak,

Even Your limits

Are beyond limits.

 

 

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