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Ik Onkar

The standard translation of the Shabad "Ik Oankaar" as "There is but one God" is not entirely accurate and fails to capture the true essence and spiritual knowledge that Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji imparted. With the blessings of Sri Akaal Purakh Ji, we have made an effort to provide a precise elucidation of the term "Ik Oankaar". Before delving into the interpretation of "Ik Oankaar," we recite the traditional Manglacharan Bani from the Sri Gurpartap Suraj Parkash Granth Ji:

ਸ਼੍ਰੀ ਨਾਨਕ ਪਦ ਪੰਕਜ ਬੰਦਨ । ਸਿਮਰੋਂ ਅੰਗਦ ਦੋਖ ਨਿਕੰਦਨ ।

With utmost reverence, I bow before the sacred Lotus Feet of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji, and I hold in my thoughts the compassionate healer of suffering, Sri Guru Angad Dev Ji.


ਅਮਰਦਾਸ ਗੁਰ ਹਿਰਦੇ ਧਯਾਵੌਂ । ਸ਼੍ਰੀ ਗੁਰ ਰਾਮਦਾਸ ਗੁਨ ਗਾਵੌਂ ।।੯੮।।

Within the depths of my heart, I center my devotion on Guru Amardaas, and I joyously extol the virtues of Sri Guru Ramdaas Ji.


ਸ਼੍ਰੀ ਅਰਜਨ ਬਿਘਨਨਿ ਕੇ ਨਾਸ਼ਕ । ਹਰਿਗੁਬਿੰਦ ਸ਼ੁਭ ਸੁਮਤਿ ਪ੍ਰਕਾਸ਼ਕ ।

Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji, the harbinger of liberation, dispels all obstacles, while Sri Guru Hargobind Sahib exemplifies righteousness and enlightened thinking.


ਸ਼੍ਰੀ ਹਰਿਰਾਇ ਨਮੋ ਕਰ ਜੋਰੀ । ਗੁਰੁ ਹਰਿਕ੍ਰਿਸ਼ਨ ਮਨਾਇ ਬਹੋਰੀ ।।੯੯।।

With folded hands, I offer my humble salutations to Sri Guru Harrai, and I direct my unwavering attention towards Sri Guru Harkrishan Sahib.


ਤੇਗ ਬਹਾਦਰ ਪਰਮ ਕ੍ਰਿਪਾਲਾ । ਸ਼੍ਰੀ ਗੁਰੁ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਸਿੰਘ ਬਿਸਾਲਾ ।

Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur, the epitome of compassion, bestows infinite mercy, while Sri Guru Gobind Singh stands as an eternal presence without bounds.


ਧਰੌਂ ਧਰਾ ਪਰ ਪੁਨ ਪੁਨ ਸੀਸਾ । ਬੰਦੋ ਬਾਰ ਬਾਰ ਜਗਦੀਸ਼ਾ ।।੧੦੦।।

Reverently, I bow my head repeatedly upon the ground, offering my humble salutations repeatedly to the Lord of the Universe.


ਸ੍ਰੀ ਗੁਰ ਨਾਨਕ ਪ੍ਰਕਾਸ਼, ਉਤਰਾਰਧ ਅਧਯਾਯ ੫੭, ਜਿਲਦ ੪

In Sri Gur Nanak Prakash, the first section of Gurpratap Suraj Granth, we now turn our attention to Section Two, Chapter 57.


ਜਿਸ ਮਹਿਂ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਗਯਾਨ ਹੈ ਮਾਣਿਕ ਭਗਤਿ ਵਿਰਾਗ ।
ਗੁਰੂ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਉਦਧਿ ਬੰਦੋਂ ਕਰਿ ਅਨੁਰਾਗ ।।੧।।

Sri Guru Granth Sahib is an expansive ocean, wherein the essence of wisdom flows like nectar, and the embodiment of devotion and spiritual yearning shines like a precious jewel. With profound love and reverence, I offer my heartfelt salutations to it.


ਸ੍ਰੀ ਗੁਰ ਨਾਨਕ ਪ੍ਰਕਾਸ਼, ਪੂਰਬਾਰਧ ਅਧਯਾਯ ੫੯

In Sri Gur Nanak Prakash, the first section of Gurpratap Suraj Granth, let us now delve into Section One, Chapter 59.


ਕਹਾ ਬੁੱਧਿ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਤੁੱਛ ਹਮਾਰੀ ॥ ਬਰਨ ਸਕੈ ਮਹਿਮਾ ਜੁ ਤਿਹਾਰੀ ॥

O Lord, how can my insignificant intellect even begin to describe the magnificence of your divine glory?


ਹਮ ਨ ਸਕਤ ਕਰ ਸਿਫਤ ਤੁਮਾਰੀ ॥ ਆਪ ਲੇਹੁ ਤੁਮ ਕਥਾ ਸੁਧਾਰੀ ॥੩॥

Although I earnestly desire to sing Your praises, I find myself unable to do justice. Therefore, I humbly request Your permission to amend the narrative that I am about to share. (3)


ੴ Ik Oankaar
Ik (੧)

In the sacred embodiment of Guru Granth Sahib Ji Maharaj, the divine discourse commences with the exquisite Manglacharan, the Mool Mantar Shabad, beginning with the word "Ik" (੧). It is noteworthy that Maharaj does not employ the Gurmukhi script to write 'Ik' (ਇੱਕ) but presents it in the form of a numeral (੧), emphasizing the significance of numerology. This portrayal signifies that everything emanates from the unity of the divine source, and nothing exists apart from this oneness. It becomes evident that even the world itself is constructed upon binary numbers (01011101...). Therefore, in this instance, Parmeswar is not merely indicating the presence of 'Ik' in Gurmukhi, but is also unveiling the mystical and mathematical essence encapsulated within the Shabad 'Ik'.


The question arises: "What does numerology serve as a key to?"

When we engage in the recitation of Bani, we become acquainted with the fact that Bani is recited in a specific rhythm known as "Chand-Bandi." Each type of Chand (meter) is typically accompanied by a title that defines the rhythmic pattern in which the Bani should be recited. The two vertical lines (||) at the end of Gurbani are referred to as "Dandeh" and they regulate the rhythm and frequency of the recitation. Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji states that life originated from the Shabad, which is a sonic vibration and frequency. Gurbani itself possesses the quality of a "Binaural Beat," a frequency capable of influencing life, health, and mood. Verses with titles such as "Dohra," "Svaiye," "Kabit Svaiye," are typically composed in beats ranging from 2, 4, 6, 8, 16, and so on. Therefore, when Maharaj Ji employs the term "Ik," it extends beyond the concept of comprehension and does not solely represent the notion of a singular "God." For instance, if we deconstruct the Sanskrit word "Paramatama," it adds up to 24:

•Pa -5
•Ma -4.5
•Ma -4.5

Indeed, it is not a mere coincidence that Sri Dasam Guru Granth Sahib Ji's Saroop contains the narration of the 24 Avtars (Choubis Avtar). Furthermore, it is significant to note that Sri Sukhmani Sahib comprises 24 Astpadis. The recurring presence of the number 24 throughout these sacred texts underscores its profound connection to Parmatama (the Supreme Transcendent). This consistent utilization of the number '24' reinforces its symbolic association with the divine presence.


Oankaar (ਓਅੰ)
Oora (ਓ)


When we encounter the Shabad 'Ik' in conjunction with the term 'Oankaar' in the manglacharan, it is presented as 'Ik Oankaar.' Despite 'Ik' being a single letter, we perceive it as part of the expression 'Oankaar,' which is conventionally written as ਓਅੰਕਾਰ in Gurmukhi script. The reason for reading 'Oora' as 'Oankaar' lies in the fact that 'Oora' is considered a logo rather than a literal word. It signifies a profound concept or symbol that transcends its linguistic representation. Hence, we understand 'Oora' as 'Oankaar' to capture the deeper essence and symbolism it represents.

Logos indeed often carry hidden or symbolic meanings. In ancient times, as well as in contemporary secret services and various domains such as sports or royal insignias, logos are employed to convey concealed messages. In the context of Gurbani, Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji utilized the Akhar 'Oora' when composing the phrase "Ik Oankaar" at the beginning. Some pandits questioned Guru Nanak Dev Ji, asking why the Bani did not commence with the syllable 'Om.' In response, Guru Nanak Dev Ji clarified that 'Om' is an homage and reference to the Trimurti (Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh), whereas there is no salutation required for the transcendental 'One.'


In various Sanatan and Islamic scriptures, the number 786 is used as an opening symbol. Interestingly, if the syllable 'Om' in Sanskrit is reversed, it can be read as '786'. This suggests that the Oora, or Oankaar, is a logo with hidden connotations. By closely examining the Oora symbol, one can identify the number '3' within it, which represents the three virtues of creation known as the Treh Gun. This concept is reflected in verses such as "Thaal Vich Tin Vastoo Paiyo, Sat Santok Veecharo" (Ang 1429 Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji). The plate (Thaal) symbolizes Maya or illusion, while "Sat Santok Veecharo" represents the three virtues. These three principles can be observed throughout Gurbani, such as in "Aad Sach Jugaad sach Hai Bhee Sach" (Japji Sahib), which denotes the past (1), present (2), and future (3), or the stages of sleep (1), dream (2), and wakefulness (3), as well as childhood (1), youth (2), and old age (3). Similarly, they can be found in the roles of the Creator (1), Preserver (2), and Destroyer (3) (Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh), and in the concept of the three worlds: heaven (1), earth (2), and hell (3). All these examples are connected to the Treh Gun, the three virtues.


The Treh Gun are further defined by the virtues of Satogun, Rajogun, and Tamogun. Satogun represents a pure and divine state of mind, Rajogun represents a balanced state with both Satogun and Tamogun, and Tamogun represents a dark and martial state. These three gunas exist in different degrees, similar to a pH scale, with Rajogun being the neutral point at pH level 7. Satogun is represented by a pH level of 14 (alkaline), while Tamogun is represented by a pH level of 1 (acidic). It is believed that one's diet can influence the manifestation of these gunas. Consuming dairy products and basic foods is said to promote Satogun. Consuming certain meats, such as Chatka meat, may contribute to a lighter shade of Tamogun, while consuming halal meat may contribute to a darker shade of Tamogun. On the other hand, the consumption of alcohol is believed to induce a deeper and darker state of Tamogun. In the Puratan Rehatnama of Bhai Daya Singh Ji, it is mentioned that the Kirpan (dagger) must touch the food before consumption. This practice is intended to signify the contemplation of Akaal (the immortal) or Sat, emphasizing the importance of a spiritual and mindful approach to food consumption.


The actions we perform also have an impact on our state of mind. That is why selfless service, known as Nishkam Seva, holds great significance in the Khalsa faith. The Khalsa does not attribute events to mere luck or misfortune, nor do they place excessive importance on wealth or material possessions. In the Khalsa perspective, actions and objects are not inherently good or bad, as these qualities can be found within everyone. The goal is to attain a state of balance and equipoise, known as Sehaj Avastha. This is a brief translation of the concept of 'Oang'.

Kaar (ਕਾਰ)

The line raised above the Oora in the logo signifies the 'Kaar' or action. It represents the three modes or qualities that are in play and being created. These three virtues originate from the 'One'. Therefore, when we see the translation of Ik Oankaar as 'There is but One God', it appears to be a standardized translation influenced by biblical language. However, as we observe the connection between the Oora and the Kaar, there is no sense of separation or distinction from the 'One' or 'Ik'. The translation has been standardized and substituted, possibly with the intention to mislead the Sikh community and deprive them of the true knowledge conveyed by the Guru.

It is true that in the past, the Akali Nihang Singhs, a traditional Sikh order, were known to share spiritual wisdom (Gyaan) selectively, and they would only impart this knowledge to those who demonstrated great initiative and dedication. Within Gurbani, the phrase "Ik Oangkar Satgur Parsad" is often mentioned by the Guru Sahibs. The term "Parsad" refers to the blessings or grace of the true Guru (SatGur), which is conveyed through verbal teachings. It is considered a great blessing for anyone who reads or receives this knowledge, as it contains profound wisdom and insights.

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