Before a beaded string of musical melodies lies a riddle. This riddle, composed by Guru Arjan Dev Ji, provides much clarity and purpose when revealed.

Mundavani, one of the final hymns of the Guru Granth Sahib, is sometimes translated as “riddle.” It precedes Raagmala, “the beaded string of musical melodies.” Mundavani is also described as Guru Ji’s “closing seal” of the Guru Granth Sahib as this composition served to authenticate and preclude any apocryphal additions to the bani (sikhiwiki.org). Like most of you, I have been in touch with these six lines since I was a wee little Sikh. And yet for years I only listened. It was only recently that the riddle of light shined within my mind, heart and spirit.

ਮੁੰਦਾਵਣੀ ਮਹਲਾ ੫ ॥
Mundavani, Fifth Mehl:

ਥਾਲ ਵਿਚਿ ਤਿੰਨਿ ਵਸਤੂ ਪਈਓ ਸਤੁ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ ਵੀਚਾਰੋ
Upon this Plate, three things have been placed: Truth, Contentment and Contemplation.

ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਨਾਮੁ ਠਾਕੁਰ ਕਾ ਪਇਓ ਜਿਸ ਕਾ ਸਭਸੁ ਅਧਾਰੋ ॥
The Ambrosial Nectar of the Naam, the Name of our Lord and Master, has been placed upon it as well; it is the Support of all.

ਜੇ ਕੋ ਖਾਵੈ ਜੇ ਕੋ ਭੁੰਚੈ ਤਿਸ ਕਾ ਹੋਇ ਉਧਾਰੋ ॥
One who eats it and enjoys it shall be saved.

ਏਹ ਵਸਤੁ ਤਜੀ ਨਹ ਜਾਈ ਨਿਤ ਨਿਤ ਰਖੁ ਉਰਿ ਧਾਰੋ ॥
This thing can never be forsaken; keep this always and forever in your mind.

ਤਮ ਸੰਸਾਰੁ ਚਰਨ ਲਗਿ ਤਰੀਐ ਸਭੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਪਸਾਰੋ ॥੧॥
The dark world-ocean is crossed over, by grasping the Feet of the Lord; O Nanak, it is all the extension of God. ||1||

The ਥਾਲ or plate that nourishes us consists of three items: ਸਤੁ or truth or Naam, ਸੰਤੋਖੁ or contentment, ਵੀਚਾਰੋ or contemplation. The three items can be found in the plate of Gurbani. Mindful thinking and critical analysis of His creation and wonder sustains our being. This food for our soul must not just be eaten; let us savor them and allow our palates to absorb each of its distinct flavors.

Naam is an essential ingredient of this plate because it is through Naam that the items are uncovered. The riddle is only unraveled through understanding of the bani and with Waheguru’s kirpa. Once the riddle is grasped it should never be ignored. Rather, it should be enshrined in our heart at all times. Through our devotion and love for Waheguru we are given the strength and fortitude to to swim across the dark world ocean, the sea of fear and ignorance, and the sea of endless cycles of birth and death.

May we always remember the origin and key to this riddle. May I always remain humble when I reflect on this revealed knowledge. May I always be grateful to those who have taught me these lessons. May we swim through our personal obstacles and hurdles with Waheguru’s guidance. May we swim together through the dark sea of hate and intolerance as an enlightened sangat and panth in tune with the melody of the shabad.

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