Be Compassionate Like Water

Article by Shiv Charan Singh

Lets reflect on the virtues of water and what it can teach us about compassion. Water has always been a special element in the history of the Sikhs and the Gurus. There are accounts of wells being found in dry lands and of the healing properties of tanks of water surrounding places of worship; where the divine name has been praised night and day. Water carries the vibrations of its environment so when around sacred places and spiritual gatherings, when singing God’s praises, the water in your body, which is a lot, gets filled with these great vibrations. When water has been in these environments then it becomes more healing and gives life to the soul.

Bhai Gurdas gives several accounts of how water sets an example to those who want to serve in the world:

  • Water keeps wood afloat. Even if we put nails in the wood, the water will still carry it. The enemy of water is fire, which is contained in the wood. Yet still the water will carry the wood.
  • Water descends without hesitation, it even sinks below the earths own humility. It also nourishes life. It is there at the birth to wash the baby, and it is there to quench our thirst throughout life and at the end it soothes the brow of the dying person.
  • In itself water is pure and therefore is used to wash off the dirt. Even if the water becomes impure still the pure water can be extracted again. Hence the purity is never lost, or we may say that water never abandons its innate purity.
  • Water suffers the pain of separation while within its longing is contained the instinctive wisdom that leads it to unite and bond.

This article is inspired and informed by the writings and poetry of Bhai Gurdas, a scribe who lived during the times of the first 5 Gurus. His writings are considered as a key to the Sri Guru Granth Sahib.

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