When I was a kid, my father used to tell me saakhis of Shaheed Singhs, Shaheedis attained by our Gurus – Guru Arjun Dev Ji Maharaj, Guru Tegh Bahadur Maharaj, the massacres (shaheedi saake) but unfortunately, I never used to find any beauty in them. Little did I know what it truly meant. I used to find pleasure and satisfaction hearing about the stories of kings and queens totally fictional because they always had happy endings. Whenever my dad used to share the saakhis based on the actual historic events like Bhangani da Yudh, 1984 events, holocausts of 1746, I used to find them very unpleasant and dreadful. As a kid, all those tortures, starvation, battles, blood, family separations, genocides were very horrifying.
As I grew up, I saw my great grandmother on her deathbed. She was old, had trouble getting up, followed by her paralysis. Every day she was getting worse. Watching her fight death each day was very painful and then one day she died. For me, death was now ugly too. Years passed, and with Guru Maharaj’s grace, I found Sangat. I was blessed with Amrit di daat, which helped me appreciate life a bit more. I could see the Love inside me flourishing and now I could understand the world how Guru Maharaj wants his Khalsa to understand. Guru Maharaj’s baani taught me how we are not just bodies and instead we are full of bright souls, which are a part of Akal Purakh himself. How coming and going from this world is like changing clothes for our soul.
Yes! I learned the concept but it’s always tough to accept it in your heart. Taking another perspective, we as humans love dreams, we chase them, we follow them and we even live in them. Whereas, Guru Maharaj tells us to open our eyes and witness the reality.
ਜਿਉ ਸੁਪਨਾ ਅਰੁ ਪੇਖਨਾ ਐਸੇ ਜਗ ਕਉ ਜਾਨਿ ।।
(Like a dream and a show, so is this world you must know)
ਇਨ ਮੈ ਕਛੁ ਸਾਚੋ ਨਹੀ ਨਾਨਕ ਬਿਨੁ ਭਗਵਾਨ ।।
(None of this is true, O Nanak, without God.)
Death is a big reality of all times. Reality is beautiful and true whereas dreams are untrue and temporary. So if death is real, it is indeed beautiful. Just as beautiful as birth. So I realized, all those saakhis that my dad used to share, the stories of tortures and battles were all part of life. Instead, death is just a gateway for us to leave this world and merge back in Maharaj. This certainly does not indicate any harshness towards life. Life is indeed beautiful. This life being our only chance to meditate upon his name (naam),
ਭਈ ਪਰਾਪਤਿ ਮਾਨੁਖ ਦੇਹੁਰੀਆ ।।
(This human body has been given to you)
ਗੋਥਿੰਦ ਮਿਲਣ ਕੀ ਇਹ ਤੇਰੀ ਬਰੀਆ ।।
(This is your chance to meet the Lord)
So that when death comes, we are ready to merge with our Beloved. Think of Bhai Mohan Ji taking his last breaths in Guru Hargobind Sahib’s lap in the battlefield, think of the last one of 40 mukte taking his last breaths in the lap of Guru Gobind Singh Ji and Guru Pita tearing the disclaimer they signed to leave Guru Maharaj.
Our life should be an amazing effort towards a beautiful death. Working towards living our life like a true khalsa, being our ambition. As for Khalsa, Death is getting married to the Beloved.
And marriages are beautiful and full of love. So when a Khalsa dies or attains shaheedi- Cherish in his Bhanna (acceptance), for he is going to Rest In Peace and Power.
ਕਬੀਰ ਮੁਹਿ ਮਰਨੇ ਕਾ ਚਾਉ ਹੈ ਮਰਉ ਤ ਹਰਿ ਕੈ ਦੁਆਰ ।।
(Kabeer, I long to die, let me die at Lord’s door)
ਮਤ ਹਰਿ ਪੂਛੈ ਕਉਨੁ ਹੈ ਪਰਾ ਹਮਾਰੈ ਬਾਰ ।।
(I hope that the Lord does not ask, “Who is this lying at my door?”)
The concept of death might seem a bit horrifying because we just see the end of this world, rather than seeing it as a phase that our soul goes through. So don’t wait there to witness a happy ending as this is not the ending. Our brothers, Chaar sahibzade, so many shaheed singhs, and singhnis had Dharm in their hearts. When our faith is strong, we live a warrior’s life.
For those who have Faith, have no Fear.
Don’t fear death, or be horrified with it, for death is an honor and is indeed beautiful. Become Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, who always live ready to die, and work every single day towards Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh, so that Death will bring honor to your life.
The Sikh Initiative is grateful to have Manveet Kaur contributing to “Sikh Laekh”