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Summary of Question:Salvation
Category:General Sikhism
Date Posted:Friday, 4/23/1999 7:28 AM MDT

I know that our religion believes in reincarnation, and that our ultimat goal in this life is to break that cycle of reincarnation. Other religions say different things. Some of my Islamic friends have told that me that the Koran says that heaven consists of virgins, honey, milk, and green grass. I have also heard and read references made to heaven and hell in our religion, but nothing like this. I understand that through practicing our religion we are supposed to break the reincarnation cycle, but what I want to know is that does Guru Grant Sahib tell us what happens after you break the reincarnation cycle?

My Dear Friend,
You have asked a wonderful question. Siri Guru Granth Sahib tells us so much about what happens when we break the cycle of birth and death that it is beyond our poor powers to summarize it adequately. Any piece of it we might describe in our own words would be like the five blind men attempting to understand the elephant, one thought it was like a rope, another a tree trunk, another a snake, etc. We shall only see and understand what we are capable of seeing and understanding, even after we leave this life. What we experience will be in accordance with our development and experiential capacity. One container will get a teaspoonful and say, "O my God, I am Full!" Another will receive a quart, a gallon, or the amount that would fill a lake or an ocean. But still the reality will not be exhuasted! If someone thinks that "honey, milk, and green grass" are the measures of wonder, then perhaps that's what they'll find. Others would find that very limited.

What the Guru does teach is that realities upon realities extend infinitely. And, at the very beginning of Siri Guru Granth Sahib, in Jaapji Sahib, Guru Nanak speaks at length about how vast, complex and profoundly pristine the higher levels of being can become. I'm going to include here Pauris #31 through #37, just to offer a taste of the richness of Guru's own words. None could say it better than He. (That's why we read it over and over again):

<On world after world are His Seats of Authority and His Storehouses.
Whatever was put into them, was put there once and for all.
Having created the creation, the Creator Lord watches over it.
O Nanak, True is the Creation of the True Lord.
I bow to Him, I humbly bow. The Primal One,
the Pure Light, without beginning, without end.
Throughout all the ages, He is One and the Same. || 31 ||

<If I had 100,000 tongues, and these were then multiplied twenty times more,
with each tongue, I would repeat, hundreds of thousands of times,
the Name of the One, the Lord of the Universe.
Along this path to our Husband Lord, we climb the steps of the ladder,
and come to merge with Him.
Hearing of the etheric realms, even worms long to come back home.
O Nanak, by His Grace He is obtained.
False are the boastings of the false. || 32 ||

<No power to speak, no power to keep silent.
No power to beg, no power to give.
No power to live, no power to die.
No power to rule, with wealth and occult mental powers.
No power to gain intuitive understanding,
spiritual wisdom and meditation.
No power to find the way to escape from the world.
He alone has the Power in His Hands.
He watches over all. O Nanak, no one is high or low. || 33 ||

<Nights, days, weeks and seasons; wind, water,
fire and the nether regions?in the midst of these,
He established the earth as a home for Dharma.
Upon it, He placed the various species of beings.
Their names are uncounted and endless.
By their deeds and their actions, they shall be judged.
God Himself is True, and True is His Court.
There, in perfect grace and ease, sit the self-elect,
the self-realized Saints.
They receive the Mark of Grace from the Merciful Lord.
The ripe and the unripe, the good and the bad, shall there be judged.
O Nanak, when you go home, you will see this. || 34 ||

<This is righteous living in the realm of Dharma.
And now we speak of the realm of spiritual wisdom.
So many winds, waters and fires; so many Krishnas and Shivas.
So many Brahmas, fashioning forms of great beauty,
adorned and dressed in many colors.
So many worlds and lands for working out karma.
So very many lessons to be learned!
So many Indras, so many moons and suns, so many worlds and lands.
So many Siddhas and Buddhas, so many Yogic masters.
So many goddesses of various kinds.
So many demi-gods and demons, so many silent sages.
So many oceans of jewels.
So many ways of life, so many languages.
So many dynasties of rulers.
So many intuitive people, so many selfless servants.
O Nanak, His limit has no limit! || 35 ||

<In the realm of wisdom, spiritual wisdom reigns supreme.
The Sound-current of the Naad vibrates there,
amidst the sounds and the sights of bliss.
In the realm of humility, the Word is Beauty.
Forms of incomparable beauty are fashioned there.
These things cannot be described.
One who tries to speak of these shall regret the attempt.
The intuitive consciousness, intellect and understanding
of the mind are shaped there.
The consciousness of the spiritual warriors and the Siddhas,
the beings of spiritual perfection, are shaped there. || 36 ||

<In the realm of karma, the Word is Power.
No one else dwells there, except the warriors of great power,
the spiritual heroes. They are totally fulfilled,
imbued with the Lord?s Essence.
Myriads of Sitas are there, cool and calm in their majestic glory.
Their beauty cannot be described.
Neither death nor deception comes to those,
within whose minds the Lord abides.
The devotees of many worlds dwell there.
They celebrate; their minds are imbued with the True Lord.
In the realm of Truth, the Formless Lord abides.
Having created the creation, He watches over it.
By His Glance of Grace, He bestows happiness.
There are planets, solar systems and galaxies.
If one speaks of them, there is no limit, no end.
There are worlds upon worlds of His Creation.
As He commands, so they exist. He watches over all,
and contemplating the creation, He rejoices.
O Nanak, to describe this is as hard as steel! || 37 ||

You can download the entire Siri Guru Granth Sahib onto your computer, read it with respect and inspiration, and begin a lifelong pursuit of Guru's Wisdom.
See the following website (if you are ready to treat what you receive with the highest respect):

May your journey into the heart and mind of the Guru be richly blessed.
Krishna Singh Khalsa

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