Nanak meets Buddha

Nanak meets Buddha

Borobudur Temple at Yogyakarta is a magnificent architecture from the era when Buddhism flourished in Indonesia. The three tiered temple design represents man’s internal progression from worldly to blissful state of formless, as taught by Buddha.  


Kamadhatu represents engagement in worldly desires. It displays intricate stone carvings depicting lust and progressively moving towards statues of Buddha sitting in postures.


Rudhaputa represents a progressed person who has eradicated desires but is still bound by forms of life.  It displays lesser ornate statues of Buddha, more than 500 in number, in variety of sitting postures, inside inverted bell shaped stupas. The inverted bells signify reduction in desires but the windows in them show that connection with outer world still remains.


Arupadhatu represents a person liberated from worldly desires. It contains a gigantic inverted bell shaped stupa as crown of the temple. The inverted bell has no opening, implying all channels with outer world have become satisfied.


As a follower of Nanak’s philosophy, while photographing the temple, my mind immediately saw a parallel in teaching of Nanak in his composition titled, Jap. He called these stages of progression as Khands.


Dharam Khand represents Karmic life of humans, involved in daily chores of existence. As are one’s thoughts so become life’s circumstances. The way out is in shifting minds thought patterns, which results in Grace, moving one to the next stage.


Gyan Khand represents unfurling of an understanding to anchor on formless, which happens through arousal of amazement caused by an appreciation for the vastness of creation.


Saram Khand represents emergence of humility through an effort to annihilate self identity. Intuition now starts providing glimpses of Singularity.


Karam Khand represents emergence of fruit of effort to live in oneness – HIS presence is seen within and outside.


Sach Khand represents the merger with the abode of Truth. Nothing is permanent. Even time is an illusion. Only the Supreme existence is the ultimate permanent Truth. The formless is to be found through observing and living in unison with his Will.


The sun was setting rapidly and I had to put my thoughts to rest, in order to capture the few silhouetted shots of the temple.


Click first photo below and scroll to view series in slide show.


  1. Dhruv Jolly


    What can I say … Sublime and Surreal … Bless You …

  2. Ghansham Singh Ahluwalia

    Very well expressed,I think Budha ,Guru Nanak,or Krishna or Ramchander,all these spiritually Blessed personalities had the same messages for the humanity, to do : MEDITATION,NAAM JAPNA,TRUTHFULNESS,TO SPREAD LOVE AND HUMILITY,FORGIVENESS,TO BE GENEROUS TO POOR,AND TO STAND AGAINST OPRESSION.

  3. Manpreet Singh

    Why is that such simple things are so difficult to practice !

  4. chitturvijayan

    within depth of our heart our Dharma is there

  5. As great and as good as ever!

  6. Ravinderpal Kaur

    As usual the photo shoot was superb. I was entralled by the pictures. It is beautiful.

  7. pratap sjb rana

    the photography and philosophy are extremely inspiring…. this impression will remain imbedded and I believe manifest itself in some work of mine.

  8. swaran singh

    Truth will always be the same anywhere ….

  9. Ravinder Singh

    Text and snaps are very interesting and the comparison between two philosophies is also very valuable. Congratulations.

  10. Mohindra Chadha

    Dear Amardeep,
    Your photographs are always superb but your knowledge of faiths and religions is outstanding. You give such a philosophical angle to the images which you make through your camera, that one is left spell bound!You are quite unique and I am fortunate to have been introduced to you by Vikram.
    You brought back memories of our visit to Borobudur Temple nearly 30 years back. Indeed, the architecture is superb. Recently, the Volcanic eruptions in the area left their signature on the beautiful Budha statues!
    Mohindra Uncle

  11. Barathan N

    Hi Amardeep,

    Love your images and essays. Keep them coming.

    I came across thsi article and would like to share with you.

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