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Hearing allows one to Remember by Kenneth Strickland

Kenneth Strickland

Japi Hw 3

12-15th Pauris (stanzas)


Hearing enables one to remember. To remember is to agree with the God inside of yourself; remembrance is beyond definition. Nevertheless remembrance is encoded in our DNA, and experienced in our whole being.


No words can speak of remembrance, Attempts to explain are later regretted. No paper, pen or scribe can describe, Nor any philosophizing help to realize, So wondrous is the immaculate Name. It is known only by those who hold It in their mind.


For me, any attempts to remembrance conjure up past failures, historical oppression, and hurt. Remembrance of this world brought me nothing but pain, restless meditations, disjointed movements, and shallow breathe. Beyond worldly remembrance is a remembrance that comes from holding the Name in the mind.  In this remembering, “we find the door to liberation.” According Nikki Guninder Kaur Sing translation of fourteen stanza states:


Remembering, we walk on a clear path, Remembering, we advance in honour and glory, Remembering, we do not stray down lanes and byways, Remembering, we keep to righteousness.

The clear path is righteousness–the good within you, the love within your heart, the peaceful moments in life. Thus, by remembering righteousness the ruminations of my mind were bypassed and slowly(almost 3 years and counting) clear awareness peeled away the layers of trauma. Or, as Guruka Singh beautiful translates:

Such is the Nam. It makes you pure. If you agree to agree,Your mind becomes sure

This is the mantra of breaking the psychological chains of slavery, oppression, and victimhood because “you agree to agree.” By letting go and surrendering all the limitations my mind now has the power to climb out of this cycle of abuse. A clear mind not only illuminated my life but the way in which I saw the world. Once I saw a world of hurt now I see a world that is healing. This healing takes lifetime and is not without setbacks; but if I hold healing in my mind God will guide me through the ups and downs.

Nikky Guninder Kaur Singh “Sensuous Metaphysics of the Japji”

This is a paper delivered by Nikky Guninder Kaur Singh for the Music and Poetics of Devotion in the Jain and Sikh Traditions Conference at Loyola Marymount University.

Religion and aesthetics are demarcated as two different avenues
with “God” and “Beauty” as their respective goals. Opposite of
anesthetic, aesthetics is clearly the heightening of the senses.
But religion with its focus on God dwelling in a world beyond
ours mandates a negation of those very senses. Sikh scripture overturns such an antithesis. In my paper I will focus on the Japji, the foremost devotional hymn in the Guru Granth Sahib, to explore the way in which
aesthetics and religion merge together in the unitary experience of a sensuous metaphysics.

Nikky-Guninder Kaur Singh is Professor at Colby College, where she holds the Crawford Family Chair
in Religious Studies. She has published extensively in the field of Sikhism, including books entitled
Of Sacred and Secular Desire: An Anthology of Lyrical Writings from Punjab (IB Tauris 2012),
Sikhism: An Introduction (IB Tauris 2011), Cosmic Symphony (Sahitya Akademy, 2008), and The
Birth of the Khalsa (SUNY 2005). She has received many honors from the Sikh community for her
distinguished scholarship including the Outstanding Accomplishments Award (presented by Sikh
Association of Fresno, California), Sewa Award by the Sikh-Canadian Centennial Foundation for
Scholarship on Sikhism (Toronto), and Guru Gobind Singh Foundation Lecture and Award
(Chandigarh, India). She serves as a trustee for the American Institute for Indian Studies and is on
the editorial board of the History of Religions and the Journal of the American Academy of Religion.