Charan Kamal – The Lotus Feet

There are a number of references to the lotus feet of the Master in the hymns of the Sikh Gurus.

Wash His feet and serve the Master.

 Todi M5, 713-14

Listen, oh my ignorant mind! Bow at the feet of the Master.

 Sri Rag M1, 57-18

Drink the water with which the feet of the Master have been washed.

Gauri M5, 239-17

Let the feet of the Master dwell in the heart, then you will get everything you desire.

 Asa M5, 95-17

What is the meaning of the Lotus Feet? What should we understand by them? To which feet are we to bow? Which feet are we to wash and then drink the water with which they have been washed? What is meant by the feet which are to dwell in our hearts and fulfil our desires? 

Some would say that in this context the second Guru meant the first Guru, Guru Nanak; the third Guru meant the second Guru; the fourth Guru meant the third Guru, and the fifth Guru meant the fourth Guru. 

But Guru Nanak, the first Sikh Guru, also used these words in His hymns. Whom did He mean? Adi Granth, the holy book of the Sikhs, has been studied from this point of view and various verses from it are given below for the consideration of the readers.

The Gurus have referred to the Lotus Feet as follows:

They advise us to bow to the feet of the Living Master. For spiritual progress a living Guru is very necessary. No one can find the Lord without a Master, even though he may go on making millions of efforts.

Maru M3, 1057-8

Guru Arjan Sahib says that one should give up cleverness and prostrate oneself at the feet of the Master.

Give up all pretentions and prostrate yourself at the feet of the Guru.

 Sri Rag M5, 44-11

Guru Arjan Sahib clearly says that prostrating oneself at the feet of the Master and standing in His presence means prostrating oneself at the feet of the living Master.

Become the dust of the Holy Men's feet, and give up egotism; give up all cleverness and prostrate yourself at the feet of the Master.

 Sri Rag M5, 45-3

Give up all cleverness; and prostrate yourself at the feet of the Saints.

 Gauri M5, 177-1

Prostrating oneself at the feet of the Master simply means meeting Him and taking shelter with Him. Similarly, one is often advised to bow at the feet of a servant of the Lord or a holy man or Master, and to think of His feet or to be a sacrifice unto them.

I bow to the feet of the devotee of the Lord.

Gauri M5, 191-7

Stay in the company of holy men and contemplate on the feet of the Master.

 Sri Rag M5, 47-16

Blessed is the time when one sees the Master; let yourself be a sacrifice at the feet of the Master.

 Vadhans M5, 562-15

I live by looking at Your face; may I be a sacrifice unto Your Lotus Feet.

Suhi M5, 743-9

The feet of the Living Master have been described as the true place of pilgrimage. By serving a Living Master one is accepted in the court of the Lord. The unprotected get protection.

Oh brother, release is gained by listening to the Name; the service of the feet of the Master is like going on a pilgrimage; you are accepted in His court and find an honoured place there.

 Sri Rag M5, 52-19

It is said that the nectar flowing from the holy feet of a Master is very sweet and it is only by great good fortune that one gets it. By seeing a Master one gains millions of benefits.

Oh mother, the feet of the Guru are sweet; one can approach them only by great good fortune. Millions of benefits are gained by seeing the Master.

Todi M5, 717-9

The Gurus also mention drinking the water with which the feet of the living Master have been washed.

Drink the water with which the feet of the Master have been washed.

 Gauri M5, 239-17

Remember the Name and your body and mind will be blessed; drink the water with which the feet of the Master have been washed. Blessed is the time when you go to the door of the Master; oh Nanak, the Lord is kind. You have met a Perfect Master.

Suhi M5, 749-8

It is only by great good fortune that one can attain the feet of the Master.

Oh Nanak, he is the most fortunate whose mind is attached to the holy feet of the Master.

 Sorath M5, 614-18

Oh Nanak, fortunate is he who gives up pride and bows at the feet of the Master.

Asa M5, 372-18

Oh Nanak, blessed am I! For I have had access to the feet of holy men.

 Gauri M5, 191-19

Access to the feet of the Master and full opportunity to serve Him are obtained by the gGace of the Lord. It is only through His mercy that love for the Master dwells in the heart.

The Lord came to my help, and wisdom dawned upon me; my mind turned to the feet of the Master.

 Asa M4, 447-1

He to whom the Lord is kind washes the feet of the Master.

Gauri M4, 309-14

The Lord had Mercy on me; the Holy Feet of the Master dwell in my heart.

Majh M5, 107-1

That day is blessed when a man bows at the feet of the Master. That forehead and beard are blessed which touch the feet of the Master.

The eyes that see them are blessed; blessed is the forehead that touches His Lotus Feet.

Gauri M5, 201-19

Blessed is the day when the mind rests on the Lotus Feet; blessed is that meeting.

Gauri M5, 254-15

Blessed are the beards that touch the feet of the Master.

Shalok M3, 1419-10

Bhai Gurdas Ji describes the taking of shelter at the feet of the Master as follows:

After many ages I obtained human birth, and made it fruitful by taking shelter at the Guru's feet. My worthless eyes saw the Master; my worthless ears heard the words of the Master; my worthless nose inhaled the deep fragrance of the Master's holy feet; my worthless tongue repeated the word of the Master; my worthless hands served the Master; my worthless feet went round Him.

Kabit 17

Taking shelter at the Master's feet is true worship; occult powers lead to birth and death. Taking shelter with the Master's Name leads to the abode of peace. Devotion and austerities do not bring release; taking shelter at the Master's Feet is of incalculable value. It leads to release and salvation.

Kabit 72

Since I have taken shelter with the Master, I have found that the whole world lies at His feet. The Master's lotus feet are the source of nectar, all the world longs to have the dust of His feet; the Lotus Feet are the natural home of peace and wealth. They lead to the stilling of the mind and to spiritual meditation. The praise of the lotus feet is unfathomable, I bow to them again and again every moment.

Kabit 17

The Gurus have mentioned various benefits that flow from taking shelter at the feet of the Master. Pains, worries and calamities are removed. Lust, anger, greed and other defects disappear. Both the body and the mind become pure, and one gains peace. All troubles are forgotten and the fear of death is banished. The devotee crosses the ocean of worldly existence. He has constant devotion for the Name. The lotus of the heart flowers into full bloom. The disciple awakens. The Lord dwells in his mind and is seen everywhere. The devotee gets peace and bliss and reaches the Supreme Abode. There are many hymns containing prayers that one may reach the feet of the Master in order to obtain these benefits.

The Gurus instruct the disciple how to make the holy feet of the inner Master dwell in the mind.

The living Master is not confined to his body. He also has access to the higher regions of the universe. Contemplation on His inner form is the second step in spiritual progress. When the soul by means of repetition, Simran, rises to higher regions, it can stay there only with the help of contemplation on the Master's inner form. The Gurus, therefore, say with great emphasis that the Feet of the Master should dwell within our 'hearts'.

Let the Feet of the Master dwell in the heart; then the deepest aspirations of the mind shall be fulfilled.

Asa M5, 395-17

Let the Feet of the Master dwell in the heart; all your sufferings will then be ended.

 Gauri M5, 190-13

Let the feet of the Master dwell in the heart; meditating on Him, cross the sea of fire.

 Gauri M5, 192-2

Are the Holy Feet distinct from the Form of the Master? No, never. Contemplation on the Form of the Master includes contemplation on the Feet also. When one sees the Feet inside, the entire Form is present before one's vision. 

Disciples have always contemplated on the Feet of the Master within. Tradition says that Bhai Gonda Ji, while sitting in meditation at Kabul, contemplated on the feet of Guru Har Rai, the seventh Sikh Guru, from dawn to dusk, and did not allow him to move. The Guru Hargobind sat immovable at Kiratpur all the time. We need the dust of the feet of such disciples, in whose minds the feet of the Master have become manifest, and who (consequently) enjoy the bliss while beholding them. We should be like bees at the Lotus Feet of the Master. May we be a sacrifice unto those in whose minds these feet are manifest!

In the inner regions the form of the Master and His feet are very radiant. Tulsi Das Ji has described the radiance of the nails of the Master's feet as follows- "The nails of the feet of the Master shine like diamonds; When their vision appears in the inner mind, one gets divine sight."

Maulana Rumi also says:

When the Guru is enthroned in your heart, you know everything from beginning to end.

When the Master manifests himself in the heart, you come to know all — from the beginning to the end of things. Disciples with such knowledge merge themselves in the inner form of the Master. 

Bhai Gurdas Ji says:

While I was meditating, a divine sight came into view, and a merciful Divine Form appeared; the soul merged in the Shabd and the Tenth Door opened. The Nectar of Love was found there as a treasure; I bowed with folded hands to Him and it was accepted; he pervaded every part of the body; the desires of the mind were stilled, and I meditated on the Lord.

Kabit 18

From the time when the lotus feet begin to dwell in the heart, the wandering mind does not go out any more. The lotus feet produce freedom-giving nectar, and one gains the immortal region and merges in it. Since I began contemplating on the feet of the Master, all other knowledge and meditation have been given up. The feet of the Master are like the honey-producing lotus, the desires of the mind have been stilled, and I have reached the original Home.

Kabit 218

The astral form of the Master appears in the forehead when the soul withdraws itself and gathers at the point behind the eyes called 'the heart' by the Saints. Unless this happens it is impossible to meet the Lord. The form of the Master appears first, and then the Lord. The form always remains with the disciple and takes him to higher regions. It takes him beyond the realm of the three attributes (gunas) to the fourth region, and seats him in the lap of the Lord.

I see the feet of the Master within my forehead, and all my troubles are therefore ended.

 Gauri M5, 187-9

The form of the Master is in my forehead; wherever I look, I see it with me.

 Dev Gandhari M5, 535-15

The body (person), in which the feet of the beloved of the Lord dwell, is sacred.

The feet of holy men dwell in my heart, and my body is purified.

Dhanasri M5, 680-3

Only those to whom the Lord is kind are able to see the astral form of the Master.

Oh Master, I saw the brilliant radiance of your Holy Feet; to whom the Lord is kind, he alone sees this.

Bilawal M5, 814-13

Saints love the Lord and worship the lotus feet of the Master.

They love the lotus feet of the Master, they love the Lord and worship His holy feet.

 Asa M5, 394-5

It is very beneficial to meet those who are the Lord personified. Their feet are wonderful. We praise them again and again and pay them constant homage.

Beauteous are Their feet; it is very helpful spiritually to see Their god-like form.

 Gauri M5, 293-11

Fruitful is your vision, oh Lord, dear to me are Your beauteous feet. I praise them again and again, and offer incense to them in my mind.

Jaitsri M5, 701-14

Let thy Lotus Feet dwell in my heart; may I sacrifice myself before thy inner vision.

M 5 Vadhans 563-9

The Gurus always advise spiritual seekers to obtain the boon of the lotus feet of the Master and of the Name of the Lord. In various hymns, the Gurus speak of bowing at the feet of the Lord and contemplating on them.

Bow before the feet of the Lord, the Word of the Master will lead you to them.

Gauri M3, 492-2

Think of the lotus feet of the Lord, and take shelter with them. Repeat the Name of the Lord, and in this way gain true wealth.

Ramkali M5, 899-9

Remember the lotus feet of the Lord, and contemplate on them in the mind.

 Todi M5, 714-11

The Gurus use the words 'lotus feet of the Lord' and 'lotus feet' almost in the same sense. 

What are the Lotus Feet? Gurus clearly state that they are the 'melodies of the Lord', by hearing which man becomes holy. He thus crosses the region of the three attributes (gunas).

Blessed is the melody of the Lord, beautiful are the feet of the Lord. Remember this and become a Saint.

Sarang M5, 1228-7

The 'lotus feet' is another name for the melody which one obtains from the company of Saints.

Peace, happiness and the celestial melody, you get from the company of Saints.

 Majh M5, 105-13

The manifestation of the lotus feet means the manifestation of the melody of the Nam or Shabd.

Those who drink the elixir of the Lord, are devoted to love of His lotus feet.

Gauri M5, 198-14

He breaks our worldly bonds, and binds us to the lotus feet; He attunes us to the Shabd.

 Ramkali M5, 915-14

The Shabd Sat Guru appears in the mind. Oh Nanak, take shelter at His feet.

Dhanasri M5, 680-14

According to the Gurus, to meditate on the Name is to meditate on the lotus feet of the Lord. Those who become intoxicated with the Name are also drunk with the nectar of the Lotus Feet.

Nanak is filled with love for the Lotus Feet; oh Lord, save the honour of Thy servant.

 Gujri M5, 500-12

Contemplate in the mind on the Lotus Feet of the Lord.

 Todi M5, 714-11

When light appears in the heart as the result of spiritual practice, it is also taken to be the manifestation of the Lord's Lotus Feet.

The Lotus Feet dwell in the heart; the light has appeared, and I see the Lord.

Asa M5, 375-10

The Gurus clearly say that repetition of the Name is remembrance of the Lord's Lotus Feet.

Walking, sitting, sleeping or waking, remember the Word of the Master. When in the company of a Saint, ask for shelter at His feet, you will then cross the ocean of this world.

 Maru M5, 1006-19

To remain at the Lotus Feet of the Lord is the beginning and end of all.

The mind in ecstasy at the Lotus Feet, doth see the beginning and end of all.

Kabir, Salok 1370-24

How can one describe the Lotus Feet? 

They are blissful beyond description, to be known only by experience.

Oh Kabir, how can I describe the Grace of the Lotus Feet? There are no adequate words for it; it has to be experienced.

Kabir, Salok 1370-27

The lotus feet dwelling in the 'heart' become our constant protection and support.

Those who rely on the Lotus Feet, are always in touch with the Name of the Lord.

 Majh M5, 107-4

Those who rely on the Lotus Feet, who have them for their capital, are honoured in the True Court. Oh Nanak, the Lord is the only true support.

 Dhanasri M5, 675-19

He is our friend, supporter and companion, He is the great, unfathomable and infinite One. Let His Lotus Feet dwell in the heart, for He is the sustainer of all.

 Asa M5, 405-15

Oh Lord, You are the treasure of virtues, I rely for support on Your Lotus Feet. Remember to sing His Name, as long as you have breath.

Bilawal M5, 818-10

The lotus feet serve as a ship that takes us across the ocean of the universe.

Oh cross the ocean; The Lotus Feet are the ship. His laws are His own; He knows them all.

 Gauri M5, 209-3

Fearful is the ocean of the world, but the Lotus Feet of the Lord serve as the ship. They will take you across.

Vadhans M5, 577-10

The Lotus Feet of the Lord are the ship, oh mind, use this ship and sail across.

Asa M5, 398-8

These lotus feet are in the 'heart' and sustain the body and the mind.

He who hears the inner music remembers the Lord. Thus he becomes a holy man, and the Lotus Feet dwell in his heart; he worships them internally, and they sustain his life.

 Sarang M5, 1222-9

The lotus feet dwell in the heart, remember them to your last breath.

Dev Gandhari M5, 534-8

Only he, for whom it is so ordained by the Lord, loves His Lotus Feet.

All are strung on the same thread. He alone, whom the Lord loves, loves the Lotus Feet.

 Majh M5, 108-16

The Lord in His Grace makes one love His beauteous and wonderful Lotus Feet.

Asa M5, 384-5

The perfect Master himself gives the boon of the treasure of the Lotus Feet and reveals them.

Love the Lotus Feet; The Master gives this boon.

Asa M5, 376-15

Praised be the Lotus Feet. Praised be the Master, who showed them to us.

Sarang M5, 1212-14

I was poor and the Master gave me the wealth of His Lotus Feet. I was homeless and He gave me shelter in them.

 Sri Rag M5, 48-16

By remaining in the company of the Saints, the Lotus Feet dwell in the mind.

I became enlightened in the company of Saints; the Lotus Feet now dwell in my mind.

Prabhati M5, 1340-12

How do these Lotus Feet dwell in the mind? 

They do so by remembrance of the Lord.

The remembrance of the Lord Removes all suffering, and the Lotus Feet appear in the mind. Repeat the Lord's Name, and do it millions of times; oh dear ones of the Lord, drink the nectar. 

 Gauri M5, 194-16

Remain in the company of the Saints, sing the virtues of the Lord; do not waste the jewel of human birth. Sing the glories of the Lord, and He will ferry you across; He will remove your sufferings, and the Lotus Feet will dwell in the heart. Remember them to your last breath. Nanak is most blessed, the Lord has given him shelter.

Dev Gandhari M5, 534-7

When, by repetition of the Name, Simran, the mind and senses are stilled, the soul leaves the body and rises higher. The Lotus Feet then appear in the heart. The soul merges in the inner melody of the Naam and the Lord is not forgotten even for a moment. The soul is linked to the inner melody, and the devotee's attention is so much absorbed in it and thereby made calm and peaceful that he forgets all other enjoyments.

The Great Sound has entranced the deer; It has pierced it with a sharp arrow. Nanak has reached the lotus feet of the Lord, and is now tied fast to them.

Kedara M5, 1121-4

These Lotus Feet are wonderfully beautiful. It is only with great good fortune that a holy man is able to become fastened to them. They appear in the minds of devotees.

The beauteous Lotus Feet of the Lord, appear in the minds of Saints. Only a holy man worships them.

 Asa M5, 380-8

The Lotus Feet appear in the minds of devotees.

 Majh M5, 109-4

Simran and austerities, pilgrimages and meritorious deeds are all included in the attainment of the lotus feet.

He who praises the Lotus Feet of the transcendental One, has achieved all the merit of prayers and austerities.

Sri Rag M5, 48-14

Meditate on the feet of the Lord in the mind; all pilgrimages, prayers and austerities are included in this meditation (or are accomplished thereby).

 Gauri M5, 195-5

Repeat the Name of the Lord, drink the nectar, praise Him day and night. You shall thus have performed yoga and charities; bow before His feet and realise them.

Ramkali M5, 925-14

Bhai Gurdas Ji also praises the Lotus Feet and beautifully describes the fruits of obtaining them:

The praise of the Lord's feet is beyond description. It is wonderful. Bow to them again and again. Tenderest of the tender, coolest of the cool, fragrant and without equal are they. They lead to the natural and easy uplift of the soul. Of superb taste and unfathomable essence are they; they are of beauteous form; they still the mind and desires. They give indescribable happiness and infinite pleasure.

Kabit 80

Praise the Lotus Feet, and the lotus of the heart will be filled with light. Keep them before your eyes in constant love, and you will gain insight into the heart of things. All sounds and the soul are absorbed in the Eternal Melody. The mind in sweet oblivion climbs the inward heights. One loses the feeling of the body, overcome by love. The fruit of being a devotee is happiness ineffable; no words are good enough to sing its praise.

Kabit 33

The nectar of release is obtained from the Lotus Feet, the soul is uplifted and one gets the wealth of true happiness; it becomes possible to cross the sea of fearful waves of the world; the nectar washes away all worries and stills the mind; when the Sound is contacted the soul loses itself in joy; constancy of love and firmness of faith find roots in the heart; life, life-in-release, and the basis of life – all becomes clear, one loses one's self and merges in the infinite.

Kabit 92