ਸੁਖ ਮੈ ਬਹੁ ਸੰਗੀ ਭਏ ਦੁਖ ਮੈ ਸੰਗਿ ਨ ਕੋਇ ॥
ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਹਰਿ ਭਜੁ ਮਨਾ ਅੰਤਿ ਸਹਾਈ ਹੋਇ ॥੩੨॥
Sukh Mai Boh Sangi Bhaye Dukh Mai Sang Naa Koe |
Kaho Naanak Har Bhaj Manaa Ant Sahaai Hoe | 32 |
In thy happiness many will come to gather around,
No one will be there when death-mist will thee surround.
Says Naanak, please O mind praise Lord with delight,
In the end, It will shower on thee its graceful sight.
Guru Ji here says until we are alive and happy, many will enjoy our company, but when we are bed-ridden and about to die, very few will be there besides us. Guru Ji’s point here is that no one can accompany our soul, after our body is dead and left behind to be burnt. Even Siddhartha (Lord Buddha) began his journey of truth, when he saw the corpse engulfed by fire on the pyre, and that body’s kin leave and did not wait until the last sparks of embers. When death will be close, in those moments only God will be with us, for, in the essence, it was never separated from us. The divine is all pervasive and all knower, within and without it is all the Supreme. It is always near our heart, that’s why divine remembrance will be accompanying us, because the remembrance of God, our true treasure, is in the chest of our mind. Guru Ji, hence, is also indicating that the divine praise of God, which we sing in our lifespan, will bring peace even at the time of death. We may ask how does the remembrance of Lord will bring peace at the very moment of death? Well, the answer is clear, when our mind is continuously thinking of Lord, and not things, our mind will not worry what will happen to this or that at the moment we die.
This salok may also allude to the harsh reality of today’s world, when someone (as we know from people around us) needs truly in this moment of lapse his/her friends or family members from whom he/she might expect solace or company, he/she is ghosted drowned in the dark ocean of negativity and sadness. An America poetess, E.W. Wilcox, depicts this picture with these words in her poem “Solitude***“:
Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone;
But, Guru Ji us hope and that is the Divine never leaves us. We must keep remembering Supreme, and then It will take a human form for us and all as Guru Ji and Swami Ji and many other Divine Guru in all ages. Even Sri Raam Ji assumed the role of Guru for Lakshman Ji in Raamcharitmaanas. They become the ray of spiritual hope which guide us through that ocean and bring us back on the shore of bliss.
*Please note that ‘It’ is used to indicate God, because of its formlessness and beyond gender categorization in Sikh tradition and Upanishadic tradition. The one who is formless cannot fit in the concept of gender or color.
**Today, we see many people are burnt in the crematorium in the moment of crisis (Covid), and family members are far away from them.
*** Solitude – here means loneliness, although they assume different meaning in different context. Solitude is much more self-claimed to live by himself/herself; on the other hand, loneliness means when we want company, but everyone leaves.