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Raj Jog - King of Yoga


On a full moon night, sitting by the healing waters that would eventually surround the Golden Temple, an historical meeting between the son of Guru Nanak, yogi Baba Siri Chand, and the fourth Guru of the Sikh tradition, Guru Ram Das, took place.


Baba Siri Chand and Guru Ram Das, with his flowing black beard, are the central figures on the canvas.


At this meeting, Baba Siri Chand is assumed to be about eighty years old, but he always looked half his age. His skin has a bluish-purple tint, as a result of practicing powerful daily breathing techniques. (Ascetics also rubbed their skin with a bluish mixture of ash, clay and herbs.


Behind Guru Ram Das is pictured Baba Buddha, one of the earliest disciples of Guru Nanak. Baba Buddha was about forty years older than Guru Ram Das.


The young boy standing closest to Guru Ram Das in the picture is his son Arjun. He is symbolically depicted as being closest to the fire, as a reminder of his tragic martyrdom.


Behind Arjun, to the right, is Hazrat Mian Mir Ji. He was thirteen years older than Guru Arjun.


Guru Ram Das had a vision of a temple being built that would serve to heal people of all religious faiths, castes, skin-colors, and gender, celebrating the principle that “We are all One”.


Baba Buddha would be appointed as the first Granthi of the Gurdwara. He would perform the coronation ceremonies of the five successors to Guru Nanak - Guru Angad, Guru Amar Das, Guru Ram Das, Guru Arjan, and Guru Hargobind. Arjun would be asked by his father to find the holiest man in India to lay the corner stone for the Gurdwara.


Guru Arjan Dev, in choosing his friend, the famous Muslim Sufi saint known as Hazrat Mian Mir Ji, to lay the corner stone of the Golden Temple, he showed the world the true message of religion - promoting interfaith dialogue and interaction.


This is why the artist depicted Mian Mir sitting behind Guru Arjun. The Sikh gurus guided each one according to their own nature, to follow the path to The Divine, regardless of faith.


The foundation of the temple was laid in December 1588. Guru Arjan demanded that the Gurdwara Temple compound be open on all four sides, in all directions, to emphasize that it was open to all people of all spiritual beliefs or practices.


Тhe artist depicts, with striking accuracy, the details and the timing of this event. It feels as though you are sitting by the fire experiencing this powerful moment. Udasis, ascetics, did not wear many clothes and had a minimum of property. The only attributes of being Udasi were spatulas to help start a fire, a container for drinking water and simple musical instruments like the ransingha (a curved trumpet), their primary possessions.


If you look closely, you will see that the fingers of those sitting by the fire are folded into various forms of powerful yogic mudras. The artist represents the power of hand mudras - the hands of each holding an innate healing ability, activating the connection to a universal stream of energy where anything is possible. These ancient mudras have been used for centuries to tap into the true essence of the human form.


Everyone sitting around the fire has a meditative smile, connecting all of them as one in the moment.


The story of the meeting of Guru Ram Das and Baba Siri Chand is one of history. Upon meeting, Baba Siri Chand commented that Guru Das had the longest beard he had ever seen. In response to this, Guru Ram Das bowed in reverence at the feet of Baba Siri Chand and replied, "My long beard is needed in order to wipe the dust in humility, from the feet of such holy people as you.”


Baba Siri Chand was deeply moved by the answer. After all, Guru Ram Das was the Guru of the Sikhs. With his yogic eyes, he saw the grace and wisdom of his father, Guru Nanak, in Guru Ram Das.


As is documented in the holiest of the Sikh scriptures, the Siri Guru Granth Sahib, Baba Siri Chand bowed in reverence to Guru Ram Das and bestowed on him the title of Raj Jog, which translates to "King of Yoga". Baba Siri Chand then poured water from his holy pot, blessing the sacred lake to never dry up, and to always be imbued with its ability to heal visitors.


The painting depicts several faiths - Sikh, Hindu, Udasi Yogis and Muslim, coming together, sharing the joy and power of connection, music, mantra, mudra, meditation, sitting around the fire by the holy waters of the Siri Hari Mandir Sahib.


To this day, there is still a small Baba Siri Chand temple, in the far corner of the Golden Temple complex.


Raj Jog