Guru Tegh Bahadur ji and Consciousness

The Ninth Guru of the Sikhs and the Protector of the world, Guru Tegh Bahadur ji, was born today. The portrait of Guru ji that you see below is part of a larger painting. I have made some small improvements to this piece and have made it available to purchase just Guru ji’s portrait.

Guru Tegh Bahadur ji, Sikh Guru, Sikh Art by Artist Bhagat Singh Bedi
Guru Tegh Bahadur ji – Meditating in Bakala

Guru Tegh Bahadur ji had many great insights to share with us. I have been contemplating his teachings for quite some time. Today I want to share one of his hymns with you.

Guru ji says –

ਜਾਗ ਲੇਹੁ ਰੇ ਮਨਾ ਜਾਗ ਲੇਹੁ ਕਹਾ ਗਾਫਲ ਸੋਇਆ ॥
Wake up!
O mind, wake up!
Why are you asleep unconsciously?

ਜੋ ਤਨੁ ਉਪਜਿਆ ਸੰਗ ਹੀ ਸੋ ਭੀ ਸੰਗਿ ਨ ਹੋਇਆ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
Your body which has been with you till now, will not stay with you in the end.

ਮਾਤ ਪਿਤਾ ਸੁਤ ਬੰਧ ਜਨ ਹਿਤੁ ਜਾ ਸਿਉ ਕੀਨਾ ॥ ਜੀਉ ਛੂਟਿਓ ਜਬ ਦੇਹ ਤੇ ਡਾਰਿ ਅਗਨਿ ਮੈ ਦੀਨਾ ॥੧॥
Your mother, father, children and relatives, whom you love, will throw your body into fire, when you pass away.

ਜੀਵਤ ਲਉ ਬਿਉਹਾਰੁ ਹੈ ਜਗ ਕਉ ਤੁਮ ਜਾਨਉ ॥
These relationships are there only while you are alive, know them [as an activity of the body, which will perish].

ਨਾਨਕ ਹਰਿ ਗੁਨ ਗਾਇ ਲੈ ਸਭ ਸੁਫਨ ਸਮਾਨਉ ॥੨॥੨॥
Guru Tegh Bahadur ji says – sing the praises of Consciousness, all these things [body and its relationships] are a dream [within consciousness].

– Guru Granth Sahib, 726

Your parents, your aunts and uncles, your children, your other relatives, your teachers, your religious leaders, your employers, your governments, none of these are going to remain.

They cannot support you forever. They will either change with time or pass away.

Your body too, will pass away.

There is only one authority in the world that will support you till the end.

The only thing that will support you is Consciousness.

Consciousness is the screen where the story of your life is being played out.

If everything in your life was a lie, if all that you knew was fake, if everything you held dear turned out to be a smoke show, the only thing real in all this is Consciousness.

The experience may be false but the awareness of the experience can never be false. What you see may be fake, but the fact that you are seeing it, is not fake.

If you don’t think the world is fake, just give it some time, the world will show you its fakeness. People will reveal themselves to you in due time.

But Consciousness – This is the one thing you can rely on as 100% real in all instances of your life.

Along with the option to purchase prints, there is a longer contemplation in the link below, which you can listen to, as you watch the painting unfold.

Guru Hari Rai ji – New Painting

Guru Hari Rai ji, also known as Guru Harrai or Guru Har Rai, is the seventh Guru in the lineage of Guru Nanak Dev ji.

Guru Hari Rai ji is the liberator of all, humans and animals alike. In this painting, Bhagat has depicted Guru ji as a blissful sovereign being, whose presence uplifts all beings.

Guru Hari Rai ji, Guru Harrai, Guru Har Rai, Sikh Guru, Sikh Art by Artist Bhagat Singh Bedi
Guru Hari Rai ji – Blissful Sovereign

A revolutionary step, that Guru ji took, has been largely been ignored by the sikh tradition.

What was this step?

Celebrate Diwali with Guru Hari Gobind ji

Hundreds of years ago, today, the sikh community celebrated Diwali with Guru Hari Gobind ji, after he returned from the Gwalior Fort.

Guru Hari Gobind ji, commonly known as Guru Hargobind, is the sixth Guru in the lineage of Guru Nanak Dev ji. Guru ji was granted Gurgaddi at the young age of 11, after his father, Guru Arjun Dev ji, was unjustly executed by the Mughal ruler Jahangir.

After his father’s martyrdom, Guru ji emphasized a need for self-defense within the sikh community. However this shift soured the relationship with Jahangir further. Feeling insecure or threatened or simply suspicious, he had Guru ji imprisoned in the Gwalior Fort.

Many years later, upon Guru ji’s release, along with the 52 imprisoned kings who held the tassels of his robe, he arrived at Amritsar. The sikhs rejoiced. They had been celebrating Diwali for the victory of God over Ego, of Shri Ram over Ahankar. Today they had an additional reason for celebration, having been reunited with Guru ji after many years

Guru Hari Rai ji, Guru Harrai, Guru Har Rai, Sikh Guru, Sikh Art by Artist Bhagat Singh Bedi
Guru Hari Gobind ji – Defender of Saints

Guru Hari Gobind ji is the vanquisher of armies, and a benevolent warrior. In this painting, Bhagat has depicted Guru ji with an aura of Bir Ras, the Essence of Warriors…

Guru Angad Dev ji – The Graceful One | New Sikh Art

Guru Angad Dev ji The Graceful One Bhagat Singh Bedi Sikhi Art

“With my eyes I look, and I see none other than Hari. My eyes are lovingly fixated, and I cannot speak of anything else.”

– Guru Angad Dev ji (Guru Granth Sahib, 655)

I noticed that I hadn’t done any sketches or paintings of Guru Angad Dev ji. So I had to take some time out and paint Guru ji in a meditative state.

Guru Angad Dev ji, Second Guru of the Sikhs, Sikh Philosophy, Painting by Artist Bhagat Singh Bedi
Guru Angad Dev ji – The Graceful One

There was a sakhi of Guru ji where He went to meet Guru Nanak Dev ji. When He came to the house of Mata Sulakhini Devi ji, She said that Guru Nanak Dev ji is working in the fields.

Despite wearing His high quality, clean, white robes, He went into the fields and helped Guru Nanak Dev ji carry the crops back and was covered in dirt and the black liquid from the crops.

This painting arose from a state of devotion and surrender. I wanted to capture that feeling at its highest level but I wasn’t able to show this sakhi along with it. However I still wanted to show an iconic feature of Guru Angad Dev ji and highlight that in this painting.

Guru Angad Dev ji instituted the Gurmukhi script. He built schools for children and taught them. He promoted physical activities such as wrestling. He carried forward Guru Nanak Dev ji’s tradition of langar as well as His teachings.

Any of these sakhiyan would be iconic to show. However since this was a portrait, I decided to incorporate the Gurmukhi alphabet into the painting, by featuring the first five letters.

The way Shri Hari ji protected the honour of Dropadi ji, He protects the honour of all His Saints. The fabric came from Shri Hari ji and covered Dropadi ji up as she was being dishonoured. In a similar way, in this painting of Guru Angad Dev ji, the fabric emerges from Shri Hari ji, whose symbol is the Ek Onkar, and wraps around the turban of Guru Angad Dev ji.

The Grace of Shri Hari ji is always upon Guru Angad Dev ji and those who meditate on Him while carrying out their responsibilities.

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Meditations on the Martyrdom of Guru Arjun Dev ji – 3

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Dhan Shri Guru Arjun Dev ji Maharaj

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Guru Arjun Dev ji


Guru Arjun Dev ji devoted his life to that Being within, through whom we perceive this world.

Guru ji always listened to what this Being had to say. Going within his self, he listened to the speech of the Being. The sounds and the vibrations that play in the presence of the Being are pleasing to listen to.

Guru ji always praised this Being on whom he relied on. The senses collect sensory data, this is transmitted to the Being within, who then reveals to us the world. The Being, who is the source of everything we know, Guru ji always praised Him.

Day and night, Guru ji remembered the Being in his heart. He remembered to place his attention on that dimension within, through which we experience things.

Within his heart, Guru ji imagined the Lotus Feet of the Being. He imagined that one, who is within all men, and the ideal that all men aspire to be. Guru ji imagined himself as the dust of His Lotus Feet.

When I listen to Guru ji’s hymns, I can feel he had enshrined the Image of the Being in his heart. Within himself, he worshipped the Image of that Being, from whom we get all images.

Upon witnessing the radiant Image of the Being, Guru ji bowed down in recognition of its source.

Guru ji recognized that everything he has, comes from the Being within. He performed those actions which served this Being and no other.

The Beauty of the Being, attracted Guru ji to Him. He enjoyed his life, with this Being by his side. Sharing all his ups and downs with the vast emptiness from where those ups and downs emerge.

At all times, Guru ji was aware of the Being who was generating all of his life experiences, and creating all the events in his life. Seeing the power of the Being within, he completely surrendered to the source of his life events.

Guru Arjan Dev ji, Sikh Gurus, Sikh Art by Bhagat Singh Bedi

Guru Arjun Dev ji ki bani –
ਸਾਜਨੜਾ ਮੇਰਾ ਸਾਜਨੜਾ ਨਿਕਟਿ ਖਲੋਇਅੜਾ ਮੇਰਾ ਸਾਜਨੜਾ ॥
Friend, my Friend, is standing near me, my Friend.

ਜਾਨੀਅੜਾ ਹਰਿ ਜਾਨੀਅੜਾ ਨੈਣ ਅਲੋਇਅੜਾ ਹਰਿ ਜਾਨੀਅੜਾ ॥
Beloved, my Beloved Hari ji, I have seen Him with my eyes, my Beloved Hari ji.

ਨੈਣ ਅਲੋਇਆ ਘਟਿ ਘਟਿ ਸੋਇਆ ਅਤਿ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਪ੍ਰਿਅ ਗੂੜਾ ॥
With my eyes I have seen Him, resting within each and every heart; my Beloved is the sweetest ambrosia.
– Guru Arjun Dev ji, Ang 924

This shabad is beautifully sung by Bhai Harjinder Singh ji –

Seeing Guru ji meditating on the Being within, like this, while being tortured on the Hot-plate, it reduced me to tears. It was such a beautiful vision that it became my inspiration behind creating this painting of Guru ji’s Martyrdom.

On the tati-tavi Guru ji was immersed in the Depth of this Being.

Like a river, this Being, who is within, He Flows on His own Accord.

At all times Guru ji flowed with the Flow of the Being within, and where that Flow lead him, Guru ji followed.

Even through the suffering of the hot-plate, Guru ji flowed with the Flow of the Being. This was done out of True Love for the Being who resides within all Beings.

This is the greatness of Guru Arjun Dev ji.

ਤਖਤਿ ਬੈਠਾ ਅਰਜਨ ਗੁਰੂ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਖਿਵੈ ਚੰਦੋਆ ॥
On the Throne sits Guru Arjan Dev ji, above him flares the Canopy with the moon pattern.
– Satta ji and Balwand ji, Ang 968

Guru Arjan Dev ji, Sikh Gurus, Sikh Art by Bhagat Singh Bedi

I saw that the King of Kings was seated on the Throne of the Hot-Plate and above Him was the Canopy of the Ladle that poured the Hot Sand, that is the King’s Crown.

When this realization hit me, tears flowed.

I realized then that the meaning of the Gurgaddi, the meaning of playing the game of life at such a high level, is to carry a burden of responsibility far greater than I had ever imagined.

To be a master at spirituality was to carry all this suffering that came with the burden of responsibility, and perform Responsible Actions and Meditation gracefully without becoming jaded or cynical.

What level of Consciousness does it require to be able to bear this burden?

As I contemplate it, my eyes become wet yet again.

The Christians can understand my feeling, if they contemplate Jesus Christ on the cross, with the crown on thorns, in a state of forgiveness.

Why do Saints forgive those who torture them with irresponsible actions?

Guru ji, whatever experiences the Being gives you, you accept it as a gift, immersed in the Flow of the Being.

How can we reach this level of Consciousness?

Guru Arjan Dev ji, Spiritual Blossoming, Sikh Gurus, Sikh Art by Bhagat Singh Bedi

Guru Arjun Dev ji ki bani –
ਮਨੁ ਲੋਚੈ ਹਰਿ ਮਿਲਣ ਕਉ ਕਿਉ ਦਰਸਨੁ ਪਾਈਆ ॥
My mind yearns to meet Hari ji (the Being within), how can I get a glimpse of Him?

ਮੈ ਲਖ ਵਿੜਤੇ ਸਾਹਿਬਾ ਜੇ ਬਿੰਦ ਬੋੁਲਾਈਆ ॥
I will profit in hundreds of thousands, if my Master calls me to Him even for a second.

ਮੈ ਚਾਰੇ ਕੁੰਡਾ ਭਾਲੀਆ ਤੁਧੁ ਜੇਵਡੁ ਨ ਸਾਈਆ ॥
I have searched in all directions but I have never seen anything like You, Hari ji.

ਮੈ ਦਸਿਹੁ ਮਾਰਗੁ ਸੰਤਹੋ ਕਿਉ ਪ੍ਰਭੂ ਮਿਲਾਈਆ ॥
Hey Saints, tell me the path, on how to find Hari ji (how to find the Being within).

ਮਨੁ ਅਰਪਿਹੁ ਹਉਮੈ ਤਜਹੁ ਇਤੁ ਪੰਥਿ ਜੁਲਾਈਆ ॥
[The Saints advise -] Give the mind (and body) and let go of the Haumai (the sense that I exist as separate from others); walk on this Path.

ਨਿਤ ਸੇਵਿਹੁ ਸਾਹਿਬੁ ਆਪਣਾ ਸਤਸੰਗਿ ਮਿਲਾਈਆ ॥
[The Saints advise -] Serve your Master (the Being within) in Satsang (amongst people who are dedicated to the Being).

ਸਭੇ ਆਸਾ ਪੂਰੀਆ ਗੁਰ ਮਹਲਿ ਬੁਲਾਈਆ ॥
All desires are fulfilled when your Spiritual Teacher calls you into the Mansion (when the mind turns inward into it’s true form, that is Being).

ਤੁਧੁ ਜੇਵਡੁ ਹੋਰੁ ਨ ਸੁਝਈ ਮੇਰੇ ਮਿਤ੍ਰ ਗੋੁਸਾਈਆ ॥੧੨॥
There is nothing else like You, my Friend Gosai ji (the Being within).
– Guru Arjun Dev ji, Ang 1098

This shabad is beautifully sung by Bhai Ravinder Singh ji –

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Guru Arjun Dev ji – Spiritual Blossoming


Commission Portraits of Loved Ones

This Black and White Portrait of Aaron’s Bibi ji was inspired by the painting of Guru Arjun Dev ji – Spiritual Blossoming. Aaron was impressed by the painting and wanted me to paint Bibi ji in a similar fashion, surrounded by the garden in which she always worked in.

Bibi ji Portrait by Sikh Artist Bhagat Singh Bedi, Culture of Punjab
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