45. Satnaam – by Swami Swaroopananda

Satnaam His name is Sat, Ever True

A name is always given to something that exist, never to that which does not exist. And here the name itself is Sat, which means ‘the Eternal, Changeless Existence’.

But let us not be satisfied with just the literal meaning. Rather, in our inquiry let us try to understand what Sat really is, and in our meditation discover that which is indicated as Sat.

Everything in this world of naama, roopa and guna-this world of name, form and quality-is ever-changing. It therefore cannot be Sat. so what is the Reality supporting the world?

It is observed that the seer of the change is something other than the change. If you have seen all the cars that have passed by whilst you were on the road, certainly you were not in any of the moving cars. In other words, you, the observer or seer of the change, are not part of or inside the change, but outside of it a changeless vantage-point.

None of the experiences in the three states, waking, dream and deep sleep, can be the Sat. neither the waker, nor the dreamer nor deep sleeper. So what is the Reality supporting the world, and what is the Truth about myself?

We consider ourselves to be the body and think of ourselves as handsome or beautiful, tall or short, fat or lean, etc. But this body does not exist in our dream or deep sleep. Then how can we say that we are the body? Yet, in spite of the body not being available to us in the other two states, we still exist. Therefore by identifying with the body, I am identifying with the unreal.

The waker is not present in the dream or in deep sleep, nor are the dreamer or sleeper present in the waking state, and still, I, the witness, the saakshi, am aware of all the experiences in the three states. This Awareness or Consciousness, the Atma Chaitanya who is the witness of the three states and therefore of the entire world of experiences, who is the witness of the ever-changing body, mind and intellect, is the Eternal, Changeless Existence, which in philosophy we call ‘Truth’ and the religion ‘God’.

This is the real I, the Atma Chaitanya, who is the one Changeless in all the changes, which is Om and named as Sat. He who knows this has recognized the Truth. Therefore from the many names of God Shri Guru Nanakji has chosen Sat Naam.

The appellation Sat Naam can also be understood in several other ways: One, as already explained, Its name is Sat because It is the Eternal, Immutable Existence.

Two, Sat Naam also means ‘His name is true’, or, put another way, ‘He is true to His name’. Our names are not as per what we are. A man may be named Ram but his actions might be like Ravana’s! The name could be Balbeer, meaning ‘strong and courageous’, but the man might be such a weakling he could be blown away like a feather! Ishwara or the Lord is truly Sat, therefore He is called by exactly what He is, Sat.

Three, His name is ‘Truth’ because it leads us to Him and reveals the Truth.

Four, when we said earlier that the One Lord Om is Sat, that is, It is Eternal, the reader who did not inquire deeply enough could have come to the conclusion that there is no such thing as Sat, for everything in this world is changing. So the compassionate Guru Nanakji says that the Lord does have a name…. Which means that He does exist, for one does not give a name to something that does not exist.

Five, as a name also connotes status, this implies that He, the Lord, has great name and fame. He is the one with the greatest position or status. And it is certainly so, for He is Kartaa Purakh.

Satnaam – His name is Sat, Ever True