What should we ask of the Lord

When a dutiful wife goes to her all-powerful Lord full of hope, she surrenders her all to Him. Her clothes may be torn, but the Lord is pleased with her attitude. Can she then remain poor? No, never.

Give to Him what is His, and accept the will of the Lord; he is blessed fourfold; oh Nanak, the Lord is always kind.

Gauri M5, 268-11

She asks the Lord for Himself above all. When the Lord comes, what else remains?

If a man is absorbed in the Lord, what can he lack?

Gauri M5, 186-8

A king once went to a foreign country. Before he left, he asked his queens what they would like him to bring for them. One asked for clothes, another for delicious foods, yet another for useful articles, another for articles of beauty, and still others for diamonds and jewels. The youngest queen, who was generally considered a fool but who in reality was the wisest of all, said, "Oh Emperor! Come back yourself and keep me at your feet, and I will have everything I could wish for." The king came back and sent the other queens the presents they had requested and then went to the youngest queen with all he had. How fortunate was that queen! The king had the feeling that he should give all he possessed to her because she truly loved him. The queen sat at his feet, and touched the feet of her all-bountiful lord, and enjoyed his loving gaze. The other queens received a few gifts, but she had the love of her lord. Of what use were the gifts without the lord?

She did not wish for either food or water, but sighed in separation; how could she feel at rest?

Gauri M, 244-19

We, due to our short-sightedness, ask the Lord and the Master for various boons, and these may often increase our sufferings. Instead of asking for boons from the Bountiful Lord, ask for Himself. Then how can there be any lack of anything? To ask for boons is to display a feeling of inferiority and a lack of respect. The queen knows that she is the consort of the king and will have palaces, servants, food, clothing and everything else she may want without asking for them. But if her Lord does not love her, then palaces, silken clothes and every other kind of fine possession would bring her no happiness.

Burn the expensive articles of adornment; live in the dust, oh Nanak, if He is with you.

Salok M5, 1424-19

If the lord is with the queen and these other things are also there, then it is pleasing to possess them. But one who is dyed in the colour of her lord is glad to live without them, for the love of her lord is all-sufficing. Our primary needs are physical, and all the world is entangled in meeting these needs. The Lord looks after all. Every living being is provided for at birth. His fate is there before the formation of the body. The milk is there in the breast of the mother before a child is born. Our body takes shape according to our fate. All our suffering is due to short-sightedness.

Fate came into being first, and then the body; Oh Tulsi, it is strange that the mind is not at rest (For further details see the chapter on Living) The body and its requirements are perishable. If you look around you carefully, you will find that nothing is eternal.

One is born and dies, and merges in non-existence; all this passes before the eyes of the universe.

Kabir, Gauri, 325-12

Only the Lord and His Name (God in action) remain forever. All else is perishable. Ask the Lord for Himself and thirst for His sight.

I pray to the unmanifest to manifest Himself; Your servant Nanak is standing at Your door.

Gauri M5, 241-18

Our original home is the Lord's home – Sach Khand (True Region). We have remained separated from the Lord for a long time. We do not remember for how long we have been wandering. But when we become tired of wandering, we should take refuge with the Lord and pray, "Oh Lord! have mercy on us and unite us with You."

Our actions have led to our separation; have mercy, oh Lord, and unite us with Yourself. We have come to seek refuge with You, oh Lord, after becoming tired of wandering In all the four corners and ten directions of the world.

Majh M5, 133-7

Oh Lord! we have been separated from You for many ages. You know about all our births. Years have passed without our seeing You. We are now living in the hope of seeing you.

I separated from You many births ago, this birth is now dedicated to You; Ravi Das lives in the hope of seeing You, it is long since he did so.

Ravi Das, Dhanasri, 694-8

Guru Amar Das Ji prays, "Oh Lord! we are very much deluded in this world. Have mercy and grant us the boon of seeing You."

We are very much deluded, oh Benign Lord, have mercy on us; be merciful and grant us the blessing of Your sight.

Dhanasri M3, 666-13

Guru Arjan Sahib directs us to pray, "Oh Lord! we have been wandering in various bodies in various births and have had many sufferings. We now have a human body owing to Your mercy. Kindly show Yourself to us."

I wandered in various bodies and suffered much; owing to Your kindness I now have human birth; pray, show Yourself.

Gauri M, 207-11

Oh Lord! we are standing at Your door. Unite us with Yourself. Oh Savior! save us, for we are tired of wandering. Oh Lord! You are kind to the devotees. You are the redeemer of sinners. There is no one besides You. I cry to You for help in all humility and helplessness. Oh Gracious Lord! this universe is a dangerous ocean. Take me across by holding my hand.

Unite me with Yourself; I am lying at Your door; oh Savior, save me, for I am tired of wanderings; oh Lord, redeem me, for You always help Your devotees; no one can help me except Yourself; take my hand, and lead me across the ocean of the universe.

Jaitsri M, 709-12

All wives are happy when they are united with their lords. How miserable am I. I am full of sins, and the Lord does not pay any attention to me. Oh Lord, when will my turn come? Other brides are living happily. Please, I beg, give me some of Your attention and love.

The other brides are making merry; I am the unfortunate one, am full of sins, and the Lord pays no attention to me.

Suhi War M3, 790-12

Nanak, the unfortunate one prays for her turn; all other brides are happy; give me Your love as well.

War Ramkali M3, 959-15

All my friends have gone to please their Lord; but where can I, the wretched one go? Oh my friend, I am beautiful but the Lord does not love me.

Vadhans M1, 558-2

Oh Lord! it would be better to show me the gallows than to remain so indifferent to me. It is agony to live without You. Clasp me to Your breast. Accept my prayer. I am dying with longing for You. Turn Your beautiful face towards me. Why do You torment me by turning away?

Death is preferable to Your indifference; hear me and hold me close. Oh look at me, my beloved, why torment me by turning away from me.

Kabir, Asa, 484-8

I am impatient to see You. My mind is distracted, and I am passing my days in unbearable worry and anxiety. Oh Lord, give me one look of mercy. My life can be happy and fruitful only if I see You. Oh Bewitcher of the mind! Be kind to me. Remove my delusion and appear within me.

I am thirsty for a sight of You, and I am tortured with anxiety; oh transcendental Lord, have mercy on me.

Asa M5, 431-3

Life is fruitful if the Lord is seen; oh dearest Beloved, have mercy and remove my delusion.

Sarang M4, 1221-10

I pray earnestly, Oh Beloved, I am ready to sacrifice my all for union with You even for a moment. Alas! How should I plead, that I may make You hear? I am tormented with restlessness because of my hunger and thirst to see You. The Lord can be realized by the Word of the Master. Oh Lord, I beg of You to enable me to realize the truth.

I pray most earnestly and I would sacrifice my life; wealth and honour would I forego for even a moment of union.

Belawal M5, 908-12

What should I ask for or say? I am hungry and thirsty to see You. Oh Nanak! He can be known by the Word of the Master.

Suhi M1, 7621-9

Oh Thou eternal Great One! You are the faultless sustainer. I pray to You. Man lives in ignorance and does not remember the Lord, and in this way, wastes his life. Your creature always forgets. You, however, keep the honour of Your innate nature. Oh Helper of the worthless! How can I recite your virtues? What wisdom can an ignorant slave possess? This life and body are Your gifts. As we have taken refuge with You, You have saved us from the great fire of this world by taking us out of it. We rely and lean in confidence on You, and have given up all other hopes. You are unknowable and limitless and unutterable. You cannot be described in words. Oh Lord! I have taken refuge with You, and You can protect me. I surrender my life and body to You. This is all Your kindness; otherwise who would know me? Whatever I have to say, I say to You. To whom else can I pray? Oh Lord! You will not find anyone more helpless than I, and none is more merciful than Yourself. We profess to be Yours, but are so in name only. Make us perfect.

Oh Creator, pray hear my prayer, You are the great merciful Sustainer.

Tilang M1, 721-4

I remained ignorant and did not remember the Lord, and so wasted my life. Oh Nanak! He keeps the honour of His innate nature, though we always forget Him.

Sorath M5, 633-16

Oh Forgiver of the worthless, how can I sing Your virtues? What wisdom can this ignorant slave display? This life and body are Yours.

Suhi M5, 738-2

You saved us – who took refuge with You – by taking us out of the great fire. We have reliance and confidence in our hearts in You, and have no other hope.

Suhi M5, 748-7

He is the great unknowable, limitless Lord. He cannot be described in words. Nanak has taken shelter with the Lord, who can protect him.

Jaitsri M5, 704-7

I pray to Thee, all my body and soul are Yours; Glory be to the Lord; oh Nanak, nobody else knows my name.

Asa M5, 383-11

Whatever I have to do is according to Your Will; to whom else should I pray.

Bharun M1, 1125-5

Oh Merciful Lord! You are our protector. There is no one else like You.

How can we go anywhere else? I have confidence in Your words; fulfil them, I pray.

Ravi Das, Dhanasri, 694-6

Oh Lord! You are my strength and my pillar of reliance, I therefore pray to You. I have nowhere else to go and no one else to pray to. All my pleasure and pain are with You. I am foolish and lowly. I am ignorant. I have taken shelter with You. Forgive me.

I am mad; I pray to You, my Master; I have no other place to pray. My pleasure and pain are with You.

Suhi M4, 735-2

The greatness of the Lord cannot be described; I am foolish, worldly and lowly; oh Lord and Master, forgive Nanak, the ignorant one. He has taken shelter with You.

Suhi M4, 736-6

We are foolish, unwise and ignorant. Oh Lord! we are without any merit, like the stones. Give us shelter through Your kindness. Oh Lord Hari! Be merciful, make us rise above the world, and grant us salvation through the Shabd. We are sinking in the quicksand of attachment. Oh Lord! give us Your hand. Oh Merciful Lord! do not look at our evil habits. How can one wash off the dirt and make himself clean? We human beings are so made.

We are foolish, worldly and ignorant, and take shelter with You, the Unborn One; have compassion and save us, oh Lord; we, like the stones, have no merit.

Belawal M4, 799-6

Oh Lord! be merciful and redeem us; help the soul by means of the Shabd. We are sunk in the quagmire of attachment; oh Lord, give us Your hand to hold.

Asa M4, 446

Have mercy on me, a helpless one, oh Bountiful Lord. Do not judge my merits and demerits. How can clay be washed clean? So is man made.

Ramkali M5, 882-17

Oh Lord of my life! I am an orphan and have taken shelter with You. Have mercy and compassion on me. In this deep well of attachment and delusion, my reason can do nothing. Pray, give me Your hand and save me. I have committed many sins. We are evil-minded and thieves. We have taken refuge with You. Save our honour, we beg of You.

Have mercy, oh Lord. I am an orphan and seek shelter with You; let me hold Thy hand in this dark well. My reason helps me not.

Gauri M5, 208-13

We have committed many faults and sins. We are evil-doers and thieves, and have committed many thefts. Nanak has taken shelter with You. Oh Lord! Be merciful and save his honour.

Gauri M5, 172-11

Oh Lord! You are my Creator, unknowable and limitless. Hear my prayer. I am foolish. I am never awake. I am without beauty or reasoning power. I am separated from my home and have come to take shelter with You after a very long time. I have no money and no longer have the attraction of youth. I am an orphan. Protect me.

Oh Protector, unknowable and limitless! hear my prayer; Nanak is foolish and never is he awake; he can see nothing, for the night is dark.

Tukhari M1, 1110-3

I am without beauty or intellect, and come from a distant foreign land; I have no wealth or youthful attraction. Help the orphan, oh Lord.

Gauri M3, 204-2

I commit faults every moment. I cannot get free of this world because of my actions. You are the forgiver. Forgive me, and take me across this ocean. I make innumerable mistakes and am a great sinner. Oh Lord! please forgive me. We have committed as many sins as there are drops of water in the ocean. We are stones, and will be drowned. Have mercy and compassion, and save us from drowning.

We cannot escape from our actions, for we commit faults every moment; oh Forgiver! forgive us and take Nanak across the ocean.

Gauri M5, 261-1

We commit mistakes which are innumerable; oh Lord! forgive me, I am a great sinner.

Shalok M3, 1416-5

Like the drops of water in the ocean, there is no count of my sins. Have mercy and compassion, and save me from drowning like a stone.

Gauri M5, 156

All the world is burning in a deep and mysterious fire. Oh Lord! have mercy and save it. Use the methods and devices that can save it.

The world is burning; save it through Your mercy, save it by the methods by which it can be saved.

Belawal M3, 853-10

Oh Lord, You are unfathomable, limitless and beyond measure, and no one is Your equal. I pray that I may never forget You. You are the sustainer and are all-powerful. We pray for this boon, that Your feet may reside in our hearts.

You are unfathomable and limitless, oh most High. None is like you;

This is our prayer, oh Lord! that we may not forget You.

Suhi M4, 747-6

Oh all-powerful provident Lord! I ask one boon of Thee; have mercy on Nanak, and let Thy feet dwell in his heart.

Kalyan M4, 1321-6

Oh Lord! all thoughts, whether good or bad, are in Thy control. We are merely instruments, and You are the director. Oh Creator! We act as You wish, and we have no say in the matter.

Both good and bad thoughts are in Your control, oh Lord; we are instruments and You are the Director; oh Lord of Nanak! You are the Creator and we play as You wish.

Belawal M4, 800-10

Oh Lord! How can one serve Thee, and how or why can he be proud of such services! Thy light is working in us, and we do everything in Thy light. If Thou should'st withdraw Thy light, what could one say or do? How can any one serve You Or be proud of such service?

If You withdraw Your light, how can one discourse on You?

Belawal M3, 797-11

Ask for the Lord Himself of the Lord. To ask for anything else is to ask for trouble on one's head. Oh Lord! Give us Your Name, so that we may gain peace and our hunger may be removed.

To ask for anything other than Thyself is to ask for trouble on my head. Give me Thy Name, so that peace may enter into my heart and satisfy my hunger.

Ramkali War M, 957-19

A Muslim Saint has also said that we should ask the Lord for Himself alone and nothing else, since all else is perishable.

From God nothing but God should be asked; all else but Him is perishable. From God ask not for things which are going to perish; from God ask for nothing but Himself. Do not blacken your heart with false thoughts.

Maulana Rumi