Even as there is expression of regret at today’s man having strayed from godliness, we also see a proliferation of buildings said to be houses of God. Indeed, with every passing day, attempts are made at building bigger and more expensive abodes for Him, with more and more elaborate ceremonies of prayer.

Guru Nanak has left his house and he adorns the robes of an ascetic. When people ask him about God, he says all religions are the same. This happening is causing concern to some persons, and they complain to
the local king that Nanak is derisive of God.

The king was himself fond of the Guru, but under pressure from his courtiers, requests Nanak to address the concerns of some his courtiers. When Nanak sits down, the gathering asks that since for him all religions are the same, and God is everywhere, will he be part of the namaz prayer? The Guru immediately agrees, and stands in readiness to offer namaz. After the prayer, the chief courtier asks Nanak why he did not pray, but Nanak wants to know with whom he should have prayed. When the chief courtier says, “with me”, the Guru smiles. “You were not here, but in your house, where you have a new foal, and you were worried she will fall into the well!”

“In that case, you could have prayed with me,” said the king. And Nanak says, “For some time you were in your stables, but most of the time you were trading horses in Kabul! I waited to pray, but none of you were with Him. I was with Him even as I sat motionless.”

The scriptures have a very simple guidance:

Sing the Praises of God, O Saints, O friends,

Focused on Him, and with calmness of mind.

This column first appeared on 26 February, 2012. ­Davinder P.S. Sandhu could not write this week due to unavoidable circumstances. His latest column will appear next week.

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