Apinai aap sajio apinai rachio nau
Duyi kudrat sajiai kar asan ditha chau
Data karta aap tun tus deveh kareh pasau
Tun janoi sabhsai de laiseh jind kavau
[Asa di Var M I, pauri 1]
Nanak’s composition Asa di Var is sung in congregations, usually in the early hours of the morning. It explains how the raw nature of man, his egoism and hypocrisy tends to frustrate the pursuit of the divine by man. The initial part of the composition explains that God, self created Himself and then created Nam, His formless, material-less Reality. He then created nature, installed Himself as Nam in this manifest creation and looked, in delight, at it.
Sache tere khand, sache brahmand
Sache tere loa sache akar
Sache tere karne sarab bichar
Sacha tera amar sacha diban
Sacha tera hukam sacha phurman
sacha tera karam sacha neesan —–
sachi teri kudrat sache patshah
[Asa di Var Slok M I, 2]
Nanak believes that this creation, the nature that we see, is real. Real are the worlds, the galaxies and the universes. Real is the phenomenon of nature. Real is Your sovereignty and real the orderliness You have created this universe that works in Your will and as ordained by You.
The creation, real, orderly operating in God’s will is diverse with infinite variety:
Kai kot pankhi sarp upaye
Kai kot pathar birkh nipjaye
Kai kot pawan pani baisantar
Kai kot des bhoo mandal
Kai kot sasiyer soor nakhatar
Kai kot dev danav inder sir chhattar
Sagal smigri apney soot dharey
Nank jis jis bhave tis tis nistarey
[Gauri Sukhmani, M V, 3.10]
There are millions of birds, reptiles, plants, mountains; deities, demons, rulers; ever so many countries, continents, planets, suns, moons, galaxies of stars; variety of solids, liquids, gases, energy – all organized in Your divine way. And You liberate any that Thou will.
God not only creates. He gives away the creation to the created. He does not keep back anything exploring all possibilities of creation – Vada data til na tamaye [M I, p.5], and uninhibitedly, spontaneously expands Himself in the creation, kudrat – vigse veparvah [M I, p.2]
Kudrat does not exhaust all the potentialities of the Creator. Man can only wonder and marvel at the attributes of the Creator looking at the creation and its working. For sure – Karte ki mit kaya janey kiya – how much of the Creator can the created know?
Thus in Nanak’s teaching one conceives of God through His kudrat, creation and His creative power. Creation, even though it does not have any absolute or independent basis apart from the Creator, is eternal as God’s manifestation and witness of His power. The relation is one of extension, an emanation – Nanak sach datar sinakhat kudrati [Majh M IV p.141]
So even as man cannot fully comprehend God’s design he must understand that God, the true Giver, is revealed only through His creation. This creation is much more than means for sustenance of life and enjoyment of worldly pleasures. It is God’s sign of recognition, His visible manifestation and its care and respect is the way to get closer to His lotus feet.
[Written for the online magazine of Inter-religious Eco Justice Network, 2002]