Chapter 3: Birds Don’t Go to College
Sit in the silence of the night and listen to it. This sound of stillness is very close to the ego. When Omkar begins to sound within you, at first you will hear only the sound of stillness: its echo is like the chirping of a cricket in the silent night. You can hear it all day long, anywhere - in the market, at the office, in the shop. The resonance is everywhere. It may be faint or seem to get lost in the noise of the marketplace, but it is very much there. Once you grasp it you will recognize it more and more often. All day long there is a festival of melodies at his door.
Whoever has known him has called him satchitanand - truth, consciousness and bliss. When a person is filled with joy he is filled with song. Joy and song are so close. Except in films no one sings in sorrow; tears flow, not song. Whatever you do in moments of happiness will be filled with song; even if tears flow it will have the tinkle of music in it. In your sitting and standing, in your gait, in your very breath, music will play; your heartbeats will lend rhythm to your song. Truly music is his door, for within resides the supreme bliss.
Ultimately the music stops, for it is only a door; once you pass through it the music stops. A moment comes when your music becomes a hindrance. Then only his music sounds. Infinite melodies play within you, but you have no music of your own; you are like an empty house.
Our temples are designed for sound to reverberate inside, their construction based on it. The temple is always absolutely empty. This signifies the ultimate state of a seeker; it is a symbol. When the Omkar sounds, we shall be empty within - absolutely empty. A bell is hung at the temple door; whoever comes first rings the bell, for the nada is at the door.
These are all symbols. No one should enter the temple through that door of doors without ringing the bell, for only through the sound itself can you enter. The uniqueness of a bell is that it keeps resounding long after you ring it, so the resonance keeps sounding as you enter the main entrance. In that sound alone is the key to your entry into the temple.
Through the sound, as it were, you enter into God’s abode. The temple is a symbol of God’s dwelling. When it is sounding constantly you need not ring the bell, but we have formulated a method with the symbol. When you return from the temple ring the bell again. You have to journey back amidst the reverberating sound. All worship, all prayers start with the ringing of the bell.
Nanak says infinite nadas are ringing and infinite are the players. He does not speak as an observer. He describes it as one standing at the door; therefore, his words are straightforward and simple. As if this is happening before his eyes he says:
Where is that door? What mansion is it
Where You sit and overlook Your creation?
Infinite sounds are ringing, and infinite are the players;
Infinite the singers, and infinite the melodies they sing.
Water, fire and wind sing Your glory,
And the God of death sings at Your door.
Chitragupta, Shiva, Brahma, Devi - all sing your glory;