Engagement Shabads of Guru Ram Das

 by Ek Ong Kaar Kaur Khalsa * ekongkaar.blogspot.com

Wahe Guru Ji Ka Khalsa, Wahe Guru Ji Ki Fateh.
 
It’s been a long time coming. This particular translation. Not because it took a very long time to do. But just because it took a very very very long time to find out that this even existed. Lifetimes, probably, when you get right down to it.
 
In the last year, there have been a few people who have asked if I had translated the Lavaan yet. Because they wanted to use the translation for their wedding. Once you’ve heard a request three times from three entirely different people – you begin to get the feeling that the Universe is trying to tell you something.
 
Whenever embarking on a new translation project, I like to discuss the subject with my Gurbani instructor, Dr. Balkar Singh. When I asked him about the Lavaan, what he told me was that I couldn’t translate the Lavaan first. What he taught me was that there are four Shabads right before the Lavaan in the Siri Guru Granth Sahib. (Starting on page 772). These shabads are written by Guru Ram Das. And they are the called the Engagement Shabads.
 
"You have to understand the Engagement Shabads before you can translate the Lavaan," he told me.
 

 

That was almost a year ago.
 
Finally, this last month, at the kind and insistent request of a friend to have the Lavaan translated for her upcoming wedding, I took a deep breath and began to read through the Engagement Shabads. Even reading other translations of them brought me to tears. They brought me to tears because in four simple stanzas, Guru Ram Das outlines the consciousness we need in order to be ready to marry. Or perhaps – more profoundly – to be able to give, receive and merge into Love. And that consciousness has nothing to do with being young and sexually desireable, or being successful and clever, or being rich and famous. The consciousness to give, receive and merge into Love has to do with stability of spirit, with surrender to the Guru’s teachings, and with a profound peace in knowing that the time of these events are written for us before we’re even born. There’s a Hand guiding our lives – and that Hand – when we let it guide us – will guide us to merge into Love. When the time is right.
 
For me, passages like these Engagement Shabads work on two levels at the same time. They describe the relationship between the soul and the Divine. But they also describe the relationship between a man and a woman. Because when the relationship between a man and a woman is right, it mirrors the relationship between the soul and the One. That’s why we look for completion through a partner, in my humble view of it. Not that we lack anything inside of ourselves. We don’t. But somewhere inside there’s a spiritual knowing that when two become one – both loose an individual identity – but gain something far greater than either could have on their own – in return.
 
So for better or for worse, here is my humble attempt to translate the Engagement Shabads of Guru Ram Das. It’s different in places than what is traditional. Especially in the translation of the line "Bal Raam Jio." But that’s maybe an essay for another time.
 

Guru Ram Das’s Engagement Shabads
Siri Guru Granth Sahib
Page 772-773

 

One Spirit Beyond
Moves within the Creation –
Coordinating
Consolidating
Continually
Creating.

This understanding
Shall come to you
As a sweet blessing
As a gift
Through the Sound of Wisdom
That guides you
To Truth.

Coming under
The perfect protection
Of the Living Wisdom
That guides me
To Truth

All my defects
And vices
Have been sold

And You adorn me
With virtues.

Darling One,
Who embodies the Power
Of the Balance and Union
Between the Sun
And the Moon.

Meditating on
The continual creativity
Of Divinity
And Your Spirit
Within me

I constantly
Constantly speak
In the frequency
Of that
Divine Guiding Wisdom.

Darling One,
Who embodies the Power
Of the Balance and Union
Between the Sun
And the Moon.

The frequency
Of the Divine Guiding
Wisdom

Is always sweet.

Be attached
To that sweetness.

It destroys
The defects of the mind.

It destroys
Defects in action.

The disease
Of ego
Goes.

Fear runs away.

And the state
Of balanced
Equipoise

Of flowing ease

Mingles
Within my being.

My body
Has become
A bed

For the Sound Current
That cuts the ego

Taking me
From my Inner Darkness
To Light.

It is so
Luxuriously comfortable –

The essence
Of wisdom.

It brings me
Total pleasure.

Night and day
I constantly enjoy
Peace
Intermixing
In my being.

Naanak,
Union
Was pre-ordained
From the beginning
Of time. (1)

With love
The Father of the bride
Comes

Bringing gifts
Of Truth
And deep contentment
To arrange His daughter’s
Engagement.

Darling One,
Who embodies the Power
Of the Balance and Union
Between the Sun
And the Moon.

Meeting with
The saintly people
The families sing
In the frequency
Of the Divine
Guiding Wisdom.

Darling One,
Who embodies the Power
Of the Balance and Union
Between the Sun
And the Moon.

Singing
In the frequency
Of the Divine
Guiding Wisdom

One comes into
The most exalted
State.

Meeting with those who
In their purity
Have recognized
Their essential Union
With the Divine

One becomes
Beautiful
To behold.

Anger and
False identity
Flee
From the body.

Hypocrisy and
Doubt
Are destroyed.

The pain of ego
Departs.

Peace
Comes in.

And the body
Becomes healthy
Free of all
Sickness and
Pain.

Through the sweet gift
Of the Divine Teacher

We recognize
The Transcendent Master,
Oh Naanak,
Who is a storehouse
Of virtue. (2)

Those who follow
Their own thoughts

Are separated
From Love
By such a great
Distance.

Burning
In their own desires
They do not obtain
The Palace.

Darling One,
Who embodies the Power
Of the Balance and Union
Between the Sun
And the Moon.

Within them
Is the shell
Of the false self

Steeped in
Deception
Where the life is
Disconnected
From the soul’s reality.

Buying deception.
Taking in deception.

Darling One,
Who embodies the Power
Of the Balance and Union
Between the Sun
And the Moon.

Earning
A hypocritical existence

They suffer
So intensely.

Without the
Divine Sound of Wisdom
That leads
To the Ultimate Reality

They never find
The path.

Scattered
Dispersed

A fool
On the
Destructive road
Of doubt
And illusion

They are pulled
One way

Then pulled
Another

And their lives
Are completely ruined.

By Your own
Kindness,
Transcendent One
Who gives to all,

The Sound of Wisdom
That guides us to Truth

Brings Your perfect protection
As It intermingles
Within us.

After so many lifetimes
Of being separated
From Love

Your slave
Finally meets with You.

Naanak,
Then life becomes
Filled with ease
And blessed
With profound
Good fortune. (3)

According to the
Divine calculation

It is time
For Love
To come.

Abundance
Blessings and
Unrestrained joy
Fill the heart.

Darling One,
Who embodies the Power
Of the Balance and Union
Between the Sun
And the Moon.

The learned ones and
The teachers
Have come forward.

They sit
And study
The time
Of the Husband’s arrival.

Studying
The time
Of the Husband’s arrival

The mind
Plays in tune
With the Divine
Frequency
Of the Spirit.

And that
Song
Grows

When she hears
That her best friend
And Lover
Has come home.

The elders
Of virtue and wisdom
Sit in council

And give their blessing
That this
Perfect Marriage
Be performed.

In alignment
With the essence
Of wisdom

She receives
Her Husband Spouse

The Perfect Protector

Whose Light
Cannot be
Chased and caught

Whose vastness
Is far beyond
The reach
Of her senses.

He is always new

This Beloved Friend
Of her childhood.

Naanak,
When the kindness and compassion
Of the Divine
Comes in

These Lovers
Intermingle their beings

And those who were
Once separate

Shall never separate
Again. (4)