Guru Nanak: JAP JI


There is One Reality, the Unmanifest-Manifested, 
Ever-Existent, He is Naam, The Creator, pervading all, Without fear, without enmity, 
The Timeless, the Unborn and the Self-existent, Complete within itself. 
Through the favour of His true Servant, the Guru, He may be realised. 
He was when there was nothing.
He was before all ages began, he existeth now, O Nanak, and shall exist forevermore.


One cannot comprehend Him through reason, even if one reasoned for ages, 
One cannot achieve inner peace by outward silence, not though one sat dumb for ages, 
One cannot buy contentment with all the riches of the world, nor reach Him with all mental ingenuity. 
How may one know the Truth and break through the cloud of falsehood? 
There is a Way, O Nanak, to make His Will our own, His Will which is already wrought in our existence.


All things are manifestations of His Will, But His Will is beyond description. 
By His Will is matter quickened into life, 
By His Will is greatness obtained, 
By His Will some are born high and others low. 
By His Will are men's joys and sorrows ordained, 
By His Will (the pious) obtain Salvation, 
By His Will (the impious) wander in endless transmigration. 
All exist under His Will, And nothing stands outside. 
One attuned with His Will, O Nanak, is wholly freed from ego.


Some sing of His greatness, but only according to the power bestowed upon them, 
Some sing of His bounties, taking them as His signs, 
Some sing of Him as incomprehensible, 
Some sing of Him, as transmitting dust into life, and life 
into dust again:Creator and Destroyer, the Giver of life  and its Withdrawer. 
Some sing of Him as at once the nearest, and the most remote, 
There is no end to His description. 
Countless have tried to describe Him, but He still stands beyond all description. 
His recipients may tire, but His bounty is untiring, 
Ages upon ages, Man has fed upon it. 
His Will directs the world, 
And yet, O Nanak, He dwells beyond concern or care.


True is the Lord, True His Holy Word, 
His love has been described as infinite. 
Men pray to Him for gifts, which He grants untiringly. 
When all is His, 
What can we offer at His feet? 
What can we say to win His love? 
At the ambrosial hour of the early dawn, 
Be you in communion with the Divine Word 
And meditate on His Glory. 
Our birth is the fruit of our actions,
But Salvation comes only from His Grace. 
O Nanak, know the True One as immanent in all.


He can neither be established nor created, 
The Formless One is limitless, complete in Himself. 
Those who worship Him are honoured, 
Nanak, ever sing of the Treasure-house of all virtues, 
Let us sing of Him and hold communion with the Word, 
with hearts full of loving devotion, 
For then shall all sorrows end and we be led joyously Homeward. 
The Master is the Song Eternal or Word personified, 
He is the Vedas, the scriptures, 
He is saturated with the Divine. 
He is Siva , He is Vishnu, and He is Brahma
And their consorts Parvati, Lakshmi and Saraswati also. 
The greatness of the Master, even if known, 
cannot be described with mortal eloquence. 
My Master has taught me one thing, 
He is the Lord of everything, Him I may never forget.


If I may only please Him, 'tis pilgrimage enough, 
If not, nothing-no rites or toils-avails, 
Whichever way I look, I find that in His creation, 
None has won salvation without His Grace-regardless of Karmas. 
You can discover untold Spiritual riches within yourself, 
If you but abide by the teachings of your Master. 
My Master has taught me one lesson: 
He is the Lord of everything, may I never forget Him.


If one could extend one's life to four ages, 
nay make it ten times longer, 
If one were known throughout the nine planes of creation, 
And everyone therein followed him in respect, 
If every creature praised him to the sky: 
All this and more has no value if God's eye looked not kindly upon him: 
Without His goodwill, he will be reckoned as the meanest worm amongst worms, 
And sinners shall charge him with sins. 
O Nanak, He bestows virtues on those who have none, and adds to the store of the virtuous. 
But there is naught that can bestow aught upon Him.


By communion with the Word one can attain the status of a Siddha, a Pir, a Sura, or a Nath, 
By communion with the Word, one can understand the mysteries 
of the earth, the supporting bull and the heavens, 
By communion with the Word, the earthly regions, 
the heavenly plateaux and the nether worlds stand revealed, 
By communion with the Word, we can escape unscathed through the portals of Death, 
O Nanak, His devotees live in perpetual ecstasy, for the Word washes away all sin and sorrow.


By communion with the Word, one can attain the powers of Shiva, Brahma and Indra, 
By communion with the Word, one can win esteem from all irrespective of one's past, 
By communion with the Word, one can have yogic insight 
with the mysteries of life and self all revealed, 
By communion with the Word, one can acquire the true import of the Sastras, Smritis and Vedas
O Nanak, His devotees live in perpetual ecstasy, for the Word washes away all sin and sorrow.


By communion with the Word, one becomes the abode of Truth, contentment and true knowledge, 
By communion with the Word, one gets the fruit of ablution at sixty-eight pilgrimage,
By communion with the Word, one wins the honour of the learned, 
By communion with the Word, one attains the state of Sahaj, 
O Nanak, His devotees live in perpetual ecstasy, for the Word washes away all sin and sorrow.


By communion with the Word, one becomes the abode of all virtues, 
By communion with the Word, one becomes a Sheikh, a Pir and a true spiritual king, 
By communion with the Word, the spiritually blind find their way to Realisation: 
By communion with the Word, one crosses beyond the Limitless Ocean of illusionary Matter, 
O Nanak, His devotees live in perpetual ecstasy, for the Word washes away all sin and sorrow.


None can describe the condition of one who has made God's Will his own, 
Whoever tries to do so, must realise his folly. 
No supply of paper, pen or scribe can ever describe the state of such a one. 
O, great is the Power of the Word, 
But few there be that know it.


By practice of the Word, one rises into universal consciousness and develops right understanding, 
By practice of the Word, one develops clairvoyance and transvision of the whole creation, 
By practice of the Word, one is freed from sorrow and suffering, 
By practice of the Word, one shall not go to Yama  after his death. 
0, great is the Power of the Word, 
But few there be that know it.


By practice of the Word, one speeds on to the Higher Spiritual Planes unhindered, 
By practice of the Word, one gets into the spiritual plane openly and honourably, 
By practice of the Word, one escapes the by-paths of Yama, the king of Death, 
By practice of the Word, one gets in close touch with the Truth. 
O, great is the Power of the Word, 
But few there be that know it.


By practice of the Word, one finally attains salvation, 
By practice of the Word, one leads one's kith and kin as well to freedom, 
By practice of the Word, one saves not only himself 
but when he becomes an Adept, many others whom he guides, 
By practice of the Word, one freed from desires, escapes from the wheel of transmigration. 
O, great is the Power of the Word, 
But few there be that know it.


The Saint (or the Word personified), is acceptable at His Court and is the Chief Elect therein, 
The Saint adorns the threshold of God and is honoured even by kings, 
The Saint lives by and meditates on the One Word. 
Whoever discusses and expounds the mystery of His creation, realises that the works of the Creator are beyond reckoning. 
Dharm or Word born of His Grace is the proverbial bull that is harmoniously sustaining the creation, 
Whosoever realises this verily knows the Truth. 
It is nothing but the Word, that is carrying the crushing load of the entire creation, 
For were this earth upheld by a bull, that in turn must be supported by some other planet and that by another, 
and so on ad infinitum: What a tremendous load! 
What other power could support it? 
None, but the Word. 
There is no end to the creation, 
There are countless forms of life with varied names, species and colours, 
Writ on the objective world by the Everflowing Pen of the Creator.
Who can reckon His creation, and if one could, how great would be the count? 
How great is His Power and how beautiful His handiwork? 
Who can count the measure of His sweet bounty? 
With one Word of His, this vast creation blossomed into being, 
And a thousand streams (of life) sprang into existence, 
What power have I to conceive of Thy wonderful nature? 
Too poor am I to make an offering of my life to Thee, 
Whatever pleaseth thee, is good. 
Thou art forevermore, 
O Formless One !


Countless there are that remember Thee, 
and countless those that love Thee, 
Countless there are that worship Thee, 
and countless those that seek Thee in austerity and penance, 
Countless there are that recite from sacred books Thy praises, 
and Countless those that, absorbed in Yoga, stand indifferent to the world, 
Countless those Thy devotees who contemplate Thy attributes and wisdom, 
and Countless those that practice truth and charity, 
Countless are the heroes that boldly face the foeman's steel, 
and Countless those who have vowed silence, meditate on Thee with unceasing love. 
What power have I to conceive of Thy wonderful nature? 
Too poor, am I, to make an offering of my life to Thee. 
Whatever pleaseth Thee is good: 
Thou art forevermore, 
O, Formless One.


Innumerable are the fools, stark blind in ignorance, 
and Innumerable the thieves and crooks that thrive on ill-gotten gains, 
Innumerable those that exercise tyranny and oppression, 
and Innumerable the cut-throats living by heinous crimes, 
Innumerable those that revel in shameless sins, 
and Innumerable the liars that practise fraud and falsehood, 
Innumerable the impious that live on unwholesome foods, 
and Innumerable the slanderers who add to their burden by calumniating others. 
Innumerable, the many for lowly Nanak to describe. 
What power have I to conceive of Thy wonderful nature? 
Too poor, am I, to make an offering of my life to Thee. 
Whatever pleaseth Thee is good, 
Thou art forevermore, 
O Formless One ! 


Countless Thy names and countless Thy places, 
Unapproachable and inaccessible Thy innumerable heavenly plateaux, 
Even by the word countless, we fail to describe Thee, 
By words we describe Thee and by words we praise Thee. 
By words, we acquire Divine knowledge, and in words are sung 
Thy hymns and attributes, It is words we employ in speech and in writing, In them is our fate ordained, 
But He who ordains is above such writ. 
As Thou ordaineth, so do we receive. 
Thou art immanent in all, 
And nothing is where Thy Word is not. 
What power have I to conceive of Thy wonderful nature? 
Too poor, am I, to make an offering of my life to Thee. 
Whatever pleaseth Thee is good, 
Thou art forevermore, 
O Formless One !


When the hands, feet and the body are besmeared they are washed clean with water, 
When the clothes get dirty and polluted, they are cleansed by soap, 
When one's mind gets defiled by sin, it can be purified only by communion with the Word. 
Men do not become saints or sinners merely by words. 
But they carry deeds with them wherever they go. 
As one sows, so does one reap, 
O Nanak, men come and go by the wheel of birth and death as ordained by His Will.


Pilgrimages, austerities, mercy, charity and alms-giving, cease to be of any consequence, when one gets an ingress into the Til - the Inner Eye, Communion with and practice of the Holy Word, with heart full of devotion, procures admittance into the Inner Spiritual Realms, washing away the dirt of sins at the Sacred Fount  within. All virtues are Thine, O Lord, I possess not one, There can be no worship without practicing the Holy Word. From Thee has emanated the Bani or the Holy Word, which is the path to salvation, Thou art Truth, enchantingly sweet, and my mind yearns for Thee. What the occasion, what the epoch, what the week, what the day, What the season, what the hour, when Thou first came into being or expression ? The "pandits" could not discover it, else they would have recorded it in the Puranas: Nor could the qazis determine it, else it would have been in the Quran, Nor could the "yogis" or any one else divine it. The Creator alone knoweth the hour, when He came into manifestation. How shall I address Thee or praise Thee, O Lord? How shall I describe Thee or know Thee? O Nanak, one and all speak of Thee, each wiser than the rest, Great art Thou, and greater still, is Thy Holy Word, What it Wills, cometh to pass. Thy greatness Thou alone knoweth. And those, O Nanak, that claim to know the most, shall have no honour in the life beyond.


There are millions of nether regions and skies above skies, 
Man has wandered endlessly in His search: 
The Vedas also say the same. 
The Muslim books speak of eighteen thousand universes, 
but it is the same Power that sustains them all: 
If it could be accounted for, an account of it would have been recorded. 
All attempts at description are in vain, 
O Nanak, admit His greatness, 
He alone knows Himself.


His devotees praise Him, yet never attain full knowledge of the Infinite, 
Like streams tumbling into the ocean, they know not the depths therein. 
Even kings and emperors with heaps of wealth and vast dominion, 
Compare not with an ant filled with the love of God.


Endless are His praises, endless the words of commendation, 
Endless His works and endless His gifts, 
Endless His vision, and endless His inspiration, 
Endless and beyond understanding is His purpose, 
Endless His creation and endless the ends thereof. 
Endless men's search in anguish for His limits, but His limits cannot be found. 
Endless He is, and none can know His end, 
The more we say, the more He is. 
Exalted is the Lord, and exalted His abode, 
More exalted still His Holy Word. 
He who reaches His height, 
He alone may glimpse Him. 
O Nanak, He alone knows His greatness, 
And it is only His glance of Grace, can lift us to His height.


His benevolence is manifold, and none can record it, 
He is the giver of all, coveting nothing in return, 
Many are the warriors, who are beggars at His door, 
And many more, whose number is beyond reckoning, 
Many are those who, misusing His gifts, wallow in sensuality, 
Many who receiving His gifts, deny Him, 
Many the fools who only eat and enjoy, but think not of the Donor. 
And many lie afflicted by hunger, misery and pain, which too are Thy gifts, O Lord. 
Bondage and salvation both go by Thy Will, 
None else has any say therein. 
If some dare claim otherwise, he shall soon have cause to repent of his temerity. 
He knows all and bestows accordingly. 
But few there be that realise this. 
O Nanak, on whom He bestows His Gift of the Song Celestial, is the king of kings.


Peerless are His attributes and priceless the pearls therein. 
Peerless are His dealers and priceless His wares and stores. 
Peerless are the customers that come and priceless the goods  they buy. 
Peerless is His love and peerless those that lose themselves in It. 
Peerless is His Law and peerless His Court, 
Peerless His scales of justice and peerless their measure. 
Peerless is His generosity, peerless His acceptance. 
Peerless His mercy and peerless His commands. 
How peerless! How priceless! Who can describe Him? 
His devotees singing His praises have sunk in silence, 
And so have the Vedas, the Puranas and the learned. 
The Brahmas and the Indras, sing of Him, 
And the Gopis and the Govind do likewise. 
The Siva , and the holy Siddhas sing of Him, 
The mortals and the immortals all, all Sing His praises. 
Countless speak of Him, 
and Countless are about to make an attempt, 
and Countless more departed, while singing of Him, 
Still He remains and shall remain indescribable. 
Man can behold Him only as He reveals Himself unto him, 
O Nanak! Know Him as the only True One. 
And those that claim to understand Him, 
They are surely the most foolish of men.


How wonderful Thy gate: how wonderful Thy mansion, 
From whence Thou watchest Thy great creation. 
Countless the instruments and harmonies that play therein, 
Countless the measures, countless the singers, that sing Thy praises. 
The Elements - Wind, Water and Fire - sing of Thee, 
And of Thee sing the king of Death and his recording angels. 
To Thee sing the gods and goddesses whose beauty is of Thy making. 
To Thee sing Siva, Brahma and likewise Indra from his throne. 
To Thee sing the Siddhas in their meditation, and the Sadhus in their contemplation. 
To Thee sing the ascetics, the righteous, the contented, and the heroes no less. 
To Thee sing the learned pandits and the rishis from age to age reciting from the holy Vedas. 
To Thee sing the heart-enslaving nymphs in the heaven, the earth and the nether regions. 
To Thee sing thy jewels (Saints) and the sixty-eight places of pilgrimage. 
To Thee sing the mighty warriors, the heroes of great prowess, and all living creatures. 
To Thee sing the earthly regions, the heavens and the universes created and supported by Thee. 
Those that please Thee also sing Thy praises and are saturated with Thy love and devotion. 
And there are countless more that sing of Thee, whom one cannot even remember, 
All lie beyond the ken of Nanak. 
He is and is alone the ever-existent Lord. 
He is the Truth and true is His holy Naam, 
He is, and shall exist forevermore. 
He who created all creations shall never depart, though worlds be destroyed. 
He who made Nature with its many colours and many forms, looks after His own handiwork, as it behooves His own Greatness. 
He is the Supreme Master and does what He lists, 
He is the King of Kings, the Almighty Lord, 
And ours, O Nanak, is only to abide by His Will.


Let contentment be your ear-rings, 
And endeavour for the Divine and respect for the Higher Self be your wallet, 
And constant meditation on Him be your ashes. 
Let preparedness-for-death be your cloak, 
And let your body be like unto a chaste virgin. 
Let your Master's teachings be your supporting staff. 
The highest religion is to rise to Universal Brotherhood, 
Aye, to consider all creatures your equals. 
Conquer your mind, for victory over self is victory over the world. 
Hail, Hail, to Him alone, 
The Primal, Pure, Eternal, Immortal, and Immutable in all ages .


Let Divine Knowledge be your bread , 
Let Mercy be your steward. 
Let the Divine Music vibrating in all be your trumpet. 
He is the only Lord  and has strung creation according to His Will. 
Wealth and supernatural powers estrange one from the Lord. 
The world goes on the two principles of Union and Separation, 
And all receive their share, as He ordains. 
Hail, Hail to Him alone, 
The Primal, Pure, Eternal, Immortal, and Immutable in all ages.


The Great Mother, conceiving, brought forth three regents, 
The first creating, the secondsustaining, and the last destroying
What He desires, they perform, 
They work under His Will. 
But great the wonder, though He watches over them, they behold Him not. 
Hail, Hail to Him alone, 
The Primal, Pure, Eternal, Immortal, and Immutable in all ages.


He resides in all the planes of creation. And has in them His munificent stores, which were supplied only once and need no replenishing, Whatever we receive, we receive by His decree. 
It is He who has created His creation, And He who watcheth over it O Nanak! the works of the True One are genuine. Hail, Hail, to Him alone, The Primal, Pure, Eternal, Immortal and Immutable in all ages. With most of us, it is a matter of common belief that the world is a mere chimera, a dream with no realityabout it. This belief is evidently based on the transitory nature of all worldly 
phenomena. Everything appears like a meteor that flashes for a while and disappears. Hence, it is argued that man's sojourn here is no more than a dream. But, says Nanak, as the Lord is True, His words must also be true, and His creation is not mere illusion but His holy abode. Nanak elsewhere has beautifully said: "This world is the abode of the True One, and theTrue One dwells in it" 


Let one tongue grow into a hundred thousand, nay even twenty times more, And each of them endlessly chant His holy name. In this way lie the steps that lead Godwards, (l) by ascending which one becomes one with Him. On hearing of the Heavens, even worms aspire to reach them, Not knowing that salvation comes only through His Grace,  And those who say otherwise, are vain babblers and liars.


You have no power to speak or to be silent, 
No power to ask or to give. 
You have no power over life or death, 
No power over wealth or state for which you are ever restless. 
You have no power over spiritual awakening, 
No power to know the Truth, or to achieve your own salvation. 
Let him who thinks he has the power, try. 
O Nanak! none is high or low, but by His Will.


Creating the day and the night, the months and the seasons, 
The fire, the wind, the water and the nether regions, 
Amidst all these, He set up the earth as Dharm Khand or the arena of action. 
And He peopled it with creatures of many colours and many forms, 
Creatures of whom there is no count. 
All are judged according to their deeds, 
For true is the Lord and immaculate His Law. 
Those acceptable to Him are honoured in His Court, 
And it is only through His Grace that one may gain that distinction. 
The imperfect are perfected there, 
O Nanak! It is there that this mystery is revealed.


Thus much of the Realm of Dharma, 
And now Gian Khand, the Realm of Knowledge, 
Countless its elements, air, water and fire, 
And countless Krishnas and Sivas, 
And countless the Brahmas fashioning various creations 
of countless forms and countless hues. 
Countless the Fields of Action, countless the golden mountains, 
And countless the Dhrus meditating therein. 
Countless the Indras, countless the suns and moons, and countless the earthly and stellar regions,
Countless the Siddhas, the Buddhas, the Naths, and countless the gods and goddesses. 
Countless the Danus and the Sages, and countless the bejewelled oceans. 
Countless the sources of creation, countless the harmonies, countless those that listen unto them, 
And countless the devotees of the Word, Endless and unending, O Nanak! this Realm.


Divine Knowledge illumines all in the Realm of Knowledge, 
While Divine symphonies play unending music, and Joy and Bliss reign supreme, 
Next, the Realm of Ecstasy, where the Word is enrapturing. 
Everything created here is marvelously strange, and beyond description, 
Whoever tries to describe the same, must repent his folly. 
Herein the mind, reason and understanding are enherealised, the self comes to its own, and develops the penetration of the gods and the sages.


Higher still stands Karm Khand, the Realm of Grace, 
Here the Word is all in all, and nothing else prevails. 
Here dwell the bravest of the brave, the conquerors of the mind, filled with the love Divine, 
Here dwell devotees with devotion, incomparable as Sita's. 
Illumined with beauty ineffable, 
All hearts filled with God, they live beyond the reach of death and of delusion. 
Here dwell the Bhagats or Sages drawn from all regions, 
Who rejoice in the True One and live in perpetual bliss. 
Sach Khand or the Realm of Truth is the seat of the Formless One. 
Here He creates all creations, rejoicing in creating. 
Here are many regions, heavenly systems and universes, 
To count which were to count the countless, 
Here, out of the Formless, 
The heavenly plateaux and all else come into form, 
All destined to move according to His Will. 
He who is blessed with this vision, rejoices in its contemplation. 
But, O Nanak, such is its beauty that to try to describe it is to attempt the impossible. 


Make chastity your furnace, patience your smithy, 
The Master's word your anvil, and true knowledge your hammer. 
Make awe of God your bellows and with it kindle the fire of austerity, 
And in the crucible of love, melt the nectar Divine, 
Only in such a mint, can man be cast into the Word. 
But they alone who are favoured by Him, can take unto this Path, 
O Nanak, on whom He looks with Grace, He fills with 
Ever-lasting Peace.


Air is the Master, Water the father, and the Earth the mother, 
Day and Night are the two nurses in whose lap the whole world is at play. 
Our actions: good and evil, will be brought before His court, 
And by our own deeds, shall we move higher or be cast into the depths. 
Those who have communed with the Word, their toils shall end. 
And their faces shall flame with glory, Not only shall they have salvation, 
O Nanak, but many more shall find freedom with them.

Guru Nanak

Guru Nanak: "There is no Hindu, nor any Mussalman." 

Guru Nanak


Translation by Sant Kirpal Singh


Sant Kirpal Singh

volker doormann    -  2002.06.01