RELIGIOUS FANATICISM - PART 7
ITS CURE: SELF-INTEGRATION — ERADICATION OF EGO

Through egotism, the world is caught in conflict and strife,
and it dies (in these quarrels and suffers...). (sggs 790).
Only those humble beings are true, who conquer their ego (sggs 230).
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The foundation for organized religion was laid in the firm hope that those who practice it will lead a disciplined and balanced Spiritual Life; that they will avoid evil tendencies and solve their problems in an effective manner; ensuring peaceful coexistence of all people and, ultimately, God-realization. A wise one observes: "Religion is not the personal property of an individual or an institution. Properly understood, it is not a set of declarations made by some strange men with rare powers of vision or some bundles of mysterious rituals or some secret den of ominous conspiracies, but a complete Science of Perfect Living, whereby society can learn to live peacefully and fully."

Religion, which is thus supposed to be a science of "being and becoming", a science of inner growth, and a source of inspiration for the welfare of the entire mankind, is unfortunately being used for provoking negative sentiments, brutal hatred, quarrels between religious groups, communalism, wars, bloodshed, false dogmas, personal idiosyncrasies, destructive indoctrinations and absurd ideas about God. The men of wealth and religious regimes treat organized religions and religious institutions as their personal property, and run them in a businesslike manner similar to multinational corporations; where the bottom line is to make more money and more followers, either by "hook" or "crook".

  • ਸਾਚੁ ਧਰਮੁ ਨਹੀ ਭਾਵੈ ਡੀਠਾ ॥ ਝੂਠ ਧੋਹ ਸਿਉ ਰਚਿਓ ਮੀਠਾ ॥: Saach Dharma nahee bhaavai deethaa. Jhooth Dhoh si-o rachi-o meethaa: Man does not like to see the True Dharma (Truth and Righteousness). Because he is attached to falsehood and deception; they seem sweet to him (sggs 676).
  • ਕਾਮੁ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਲੋਭੁ ਮੋਹੁ ਨਿਤ ਝਗਰਤੇ ਝਗਰਾਇਆ ॥: Kaam krodh lobh mohu nit jhagarate jhagaraaeiaa: Lust, anger, greed and emotional attachment bring continual conflict and strife (sggs 984).
  • ਪਾਖੰਡ ਧਰਮੁ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਨਹੀ ਹਰਿ ਸਉ ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦ ਮਹਾ ਰਸੁ ਪਾਇਆ ॥: Paakhand Dharma pareet nahee har sayu gur sabad mahaa ras paa-i-aa: By empty hypocritical practices of Dharma, love for the Lord is not produced. Only through the Word of the Gur-Shabad (God's Name) is the sublime, Supreme Essence obtained (sggs 1043).
  • ਕਾਹੇ ਜਨਮੁ ਗਵਾਵਹੁ ਵੈਰਿ ਵਾਦਿ ॥: Kaahae janam gavaavahu vair vaadi: Why waste your life in hatred, vengeance and conflict? (sggs 1176).
  • ਬਾਹਰ ਭੇਖਿ ਨ ਪਾਈਐ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਅੰਤਰਜਾਮੀ ॥: Baahar bhekh na paaeeai prabh antarjaamee: By wearing religious gear or keeping religious appearance outwardly, God, the Inner-knower is not found (sggs 1099).
  • ਮਨ ਕਾ ਝੂਠਾ ਝੂਠੁ ਕਮਾਵੈ ॥:: Mann kaa jhoothaa jhooth kamaavai: False or corrupt mind practices falsehood (sggs 948).

Although religions often start with good intentions, but they become bad when they fall into the hands of corrupt people. As a result, institutionalized religions get reduced to two things namely, fear and death - fear of hell hereafter, and death to the "unbelievers" (Kafir or infidels). Practice of such religions cannot produce Freedom from unenlightened existence, because such religions in themselves become the cause of man's bondage; thereby hindrance to man's true Enlightenment. Akin to the life of a silkworm, the practice of such religion of fear and fake results in weaving the cocoon of false ego around ourselves; only to suffer in the process.

  • ਜਨਮੁ ਬਿਹਾਨੋ ਅਹੰਕਾਰਿ ਅਰੁ ਵਾਦਿ ॥: Janam bihaano ahankaar aru vaad: This human life is passing away in egotism and conflict (sggs 898).
  • ਜੇਹੀ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਤੇਹਾ ਤਿਨ ਰਾਹੁ ॥: Jehee surit tehaa tin raah: As is (beings') awareness, so is (their) way (sggs 25).

The results are in front of us! Fraud and corruption have become the resting ground for the religious institutions, organizations, and their places of worship. Materialistic society, oppressive religious regimes, as well as the socio-political-economic systems are supported on the foundation of fraud and corruption ("Kanic Kaamini"). If we sincerely look into the glorious lives of all world Masters, we will find that they all fearlessly raised their voices against such falsehood of religions, religious establishments and regimes, crafty priest-class and debased kings.

  • ਥਾਨਸਟ ਜਗ ਭਰਿਸਟ ਹੋਏ ਡੂਬਤਾ ਇਵ ਜਗੁ ॥: Thaansatt jag bhrishat hoye doobtaa iv jag: The holy places of worship in the world are polluted, and so the world is drowning (sggs 662).
  • ਕਬੀਰ ਧਰਤੀ ਸਾਧ ਕੀ ਤਸਕਰ ਬੈਸਹਿ ਗਾਹਿ ॥: Kabeer dharatee saadh kee tusakar baisahi gaahi: Kabeer, the earth belongs to the Holy, but it is being occupied by thieves (sggs 1375).
  • ਮੈਲੇ ਬ੍ਰਹਮੰਡਾਇ ਕੈ ਈਸ ॥: Mailae brahamandaae kai ees: The rulers of kingdoms are corrupt (sggs 1158).
  • ਪੰਡਿਤ ਮੁਲਾਂ ਜੋ ਲਿਖਿ ਦੀਆ ॥ ਛਾਡਿ ਚਲੇ ਹਮ ਕਛੂ ਨ ਲੀਆ ॥੩॥: Pandit mulaan jo likhi deeaa. Chhaadi cale ham kachhoo n leeaa ||3||: Whatever the Pandit and the Mullaan has written (the path of Karamkaand, Shariyat...), I have abandoned (all of that); I have not taken any of it ||3||. (sggs 1159).
  • ਹਮਰਾ ਝਗਰਾ ਰਹਾ ਨ ਕੋਊ ॥ ਪੰਡਿਤ ਮੁਲਾਂ ਛਾਡੇ ਦੋਊ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Hamaraa jhagaraa rahaa na ko-oo. Pandit mulaan shaade do-oo ||1|| Rahaaou ||: (Now) I have no quarrel with anyone anymore; because I have abandoned both the Pandit and the Mullaan (ਦੋਹਾਂ ਦੇ ਦੱਸੇ ਰਸਤੇ ਨਾਲ ਮੇਰਾ ਕੋਈ ਵਾਸਤਾ ਨਹੀਂ - the path of Karamkaand, Shariyat...). |1|| Pause || (sggs 1158).
  • ਬਿਖਿਆ ਕਾ ਸਭੁ ਧੰਧੁ ਪਸਾਰੁ ॥: Bikhiaa kaa sabh dhandh pasaar: All man's conflicts are extensions of his corruption (sggs 1145).
  • Do not do according to their (priests) deeds, for they say but do not perform (Bible, Mt 23:3). But you men (priests) have turned aside from the way, you have caused many to stumble in the law, you have ruined the covenant of Levi (Bible, Mal 2:8). You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel. (Bible, Matt 23:24).
  • O ye who believe there are indeed many among the priests and anchorites, who in falsehood devour the substance of men and hinder (them) from the way of Allah (Quran, 9:34).

With the egoism (false "I") up and active, all our handling of people is selfish. In this madness of selfishness, diversity of religion, culture and community is viewed as curses rather than gifts from Divinity. Instead of practicing pure wisdom and love as advocated by the spirit of the religion and the world Masters, our hearts and minds are filled with blind hatred, bigotry, intolerance, differences, animosity, and brutal fanaticism. The real message of True Religion left by the spiritual giants Nanak, Kabeer, Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad, Aadi Sankra, Zoroaster, Mahanvir, Vivekananada, Sufi sages, ancient sages of the Upanishads and the Shaastras, ancient Chinese sages and all other men of light is totally ignored or forgotten.

The scriptures declare that man's selfishness or greed is the root of all evils in the word. Accordingly, behind every empire or amassed wealth there disguises corruption. Man has only one mind. Either he can use it to serve God or he can use it to serve his selfishness (Maya, Mammon, materiality, evil instincts, ignorance, illusion, and so forth). He cannot serve both God and his selfishness at the same time. Therefore, the scriptures tell man so long he does not remove selflessness from his bosom, the door to non-duality and gnosis will not be opened to him.

  • ਪੁਤ੍ਰੁ ਕਲਤ੍ਰੁ ਨਿਤ ਵੇਖੈ ਵਿਗਸੈ ਮੋਹਿ ਮਾਇਆ ॥ ਦੇਸਿ ਪਰਦੇਸਿ ਧਨੁ ਚੋਰਾਇ ਆਣਿ ਮੁਹਿ ਪਾਇਆ ॥ ਅੰਤਿ ਹੋਵੈ ਵੈਰ ਵਿਰੋਧੁ ਕੋ ਸਕੈ ਨ ਛਡਾਇਆ ॥: Putru kaltru nit vekhai vigasai mohi maya. Desi prades dhann choraai aan muhi paaiaa. Anti hovai vair virodh ko sakai na shadaaiaa. : Gazing on his children and his wife, the man is pleased and attached to Maya. Stealing the wealth of his own country and other lands, he brings it home and feeds them. In the end, hatred and conflict well up, and no one can save him (sggs 1249).
  • ਮਿਥਿਆ ਮੋਹ ਬੰਧਹਿ ਨਿਤ ਪਾਰਚ ॥: Mithiaa moh bandhahi nit paarach: Man is constantly entangled in false attachments and conflicts (sggs 743).
  • ਹਉ ਠਗਵਾੜਾ ਠਗੀ ਦੇਸੁ ॥: Hayu thagwaarhaa thagge des: I am a robber; I rob the world (sggs 24).
  • ਕਰਿ ਪਰਪੰਚੁ ਜਗਤ ਕਉ ਡਹਕੈ ਅਪਨੋ ਉਦਰੁ ਭਰੈ ॥: Kar parpanch jagat kayu dahkai apno udar bharai: Practicing deception, you cheat the world, and so you fill your belly (sggs 990).
  • ਲੋਭਿ ਗ੍ਰਸਿਓ ਦਸ ਹੂ ਦਿਸ ਧਾਵਤ ਆਸਾ ਲਾਗਿਓ ਧਨ ਕੀ ॥: Lobh grasio das hoo dis dhaavat aasaa laagio dhann kee: Engrossed in greed, running around in the ten directions, you hold to your hopes of wealth (sggs 411).
  • ਰਾਜੁ ਮਾਲੁ ਰੂਪੁ ਜਾਤਿ ਜੋਬਨੁ ਪੰਜੇ ਠਗ ॥ ਏਨੀ ਠਗੀਂ ਜਗੁ ਠਗਿਆ ਕਿਨੈ ਨ ਰਖੀ ਲਜ ...: Raaj maal roop jaat joban panjay thag. aynee thageeN jag thagi-aa kinai na rakhee laj...

Robbed by the evil passions (Bikaar), the world is gone crazy. With the power of wealth wars are waged; and people are divided along the lines of religion, culture and money. Such material power is rejected by all world Masters; because so long man is attached to it he has no hope of finding God or Kingdom of Heaven Within.

  • ਕਲਿਜੁਗ ਮਹਿ ਧੜੇ ਪੰਚ ਚੋਰ ਝਗੜਾਏ ॥: Kalijuga mahi dharre panch chor jhagarraae: In Kalijuga, the five thieves (i.e., all evil passions or Bikaar) instigate alliances and conflicts (sggs 366).
  • But there is no hope of immortality through wealth (Veda, Brihadaranyaka Upanishad).
  • No servant can be a slave to two masters...You cannot serve God and Mammon [money] (Bible). Do not store up yourselves treasures on earth, where it grows rusty and moth-eaten, and thieves break in to steal it. Store treasure in heaven instead (Bible).
  • Jesus told a wealthy man: "Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God" (Bible, Matt 19:24).
  • Woe is he, also has gathered riches and counted them over. Making his riches have made him mortal (Prophet Muhammed).

The above verses taken from all the major religions of the world clearly urge us to give up material mentality if we hope to get into the Kingdom of God Within. But, in reality, it is the opposite that happens. Along these lines a story is told of Baabaa Nanak and a rich man. The simple adage, "You can’t take it with you" never came to this rich man's mind. Nanak reminded him: "So long you have love of wealth you cannot integrate Within; consequently, you will have no chance to find God." To make the point, Nanak gave him a needle and said: "Please keep this needle in your pocket; after death, I will claim it back from you up there." Surprised at the strange request, the rich man replied: "But, Sir, after death I will not be able to take anything with me". "That's right; then why are you accumulating all this wealth?" asked Nanak. "Instead, accumulate Spiritual Wealth" Nanak advised the man.

  • ਸੁਇਨਾ ਰੁਪਾ ਸੰਚੀਐ ਮਾਲੁ ਜਾਲੁ ਜੰਜਾਲੁ ॥: suinaa rupaa sancheeai maal jaal janjaal: You may gather gold and sliver, but know that wealth is just a net of entanglement (sggs 63).
  • ਬਿਨੁ ਨਾਵੈ ਝੂਠਾ ਧਨੁ ਮਾਲੁ ॥: Bin naavai jhoothaa dhann maal: Without the Name, material wealth and property are false (sggs 197).
  • ਸੁਆਦ ਬਾਦ ਈਰਖ ਮਦ ਮਾਇਆ ॥: Suaadh baad eerakh mad maaiaa: Tastes and pleasures, conflicts and jealousy, it's intoxication with Maya (sggs 741).
  • Exult not, for Allah loveth not those who exult [in riches] (Quran 28:76).
  • The wise do not call strong the fetter that is made of iron, wood or rope; much stronger is the fetter of passion for gold and jewels, for sons or for wives. Wealth destroys the fool who seeks not the beyond (Dhammapada).
  • Man makes a harness for his beasts, all the more should he make one for the beast within himself, his evil desire (Talmud).
  • ... desire for the world has deprived man of the Object of his desire. Poverty is not for the sake of hardship. No, it is there because nothing exists but God... Poverty unlocks the door -- what a blessed key! (Sufi Jalaluddin Rumi).

It should be pointed out here that it is not the material wealth that is condemned by the scriptures and the Prophets, rather, it is the emotional attachment to it that is condemned. Because emotional attachment and the love of wealth breeds selfishness, the source of all evils!

The reason people of material wealth have power over religious institutions (or politics...) is that they do not like this kind of pure message from the scriptures. It disturbs them because it undercuts their power. Therefore, when in control, they hypocritically display saintly mien but never let the Dharma and the scriptures get disseminated in their true perspective. Also, to justify their sinful and selfish activities (Adharma), they reconstruct the theology and fabricate stories regarding the Prophets. This keeps their false ego (corruption) exulting.

Man's false ego is the root-thought of all other thoughts. In its inflated condition, it displays the following faults: Lust, greed, anger, attachment, pride, enviousness and stubborn mindedness; with their numerous variations. Blinded by the temptation for corruption, the majority of us have no appetite for Truth and Righteousness (the True Dharma). Leaders, religious or otherwise, are generally corrupt. People in control of religious places are able to impose their personal agenda or will on others not by the virtue of their spiritual wisdom, credibility, ethics, or moral character but because they have behind them power (money). Apparently, such people only want power and recognition without any responsibility such as dissemination of the scriptures and Dharma in their true perspective. They seem to have no genuine interest in the aspirations of the people they represent. The unfailing outcome of such falsehood is chaos, widespread corruption, immorality, and unrighteousness. Unfortunately, these are the very people who consider themselves to be the torchbearers of righteousness, spirituality, religion, and morality; as well as the guides for other in the society! Also, such people with their instinctive and wisdom-blind mind interpret scriptural statements, and make edicts or decrees for others to follow!

  • ਹਉਮੈ ਝਗੜਾ ਪਾਇਓਨੁ ਝਗੜੈ ਜਗੁ ਮੁਇਆ ॥: Haumai jgagrhaa paaionjhagrhai jag muiaa: Through egotism, the world is caught in conflict and strife, and it dies (in these quarrels and suffers...). (sggs 790).
  • ਅੰਧਾ ਝਖਿ ਝਖਿ ਪਇਆ ਝੇਰਿ ॥: Andhaa jhakh jhakh paiaa jheri: The spiritually blind fool is caught in conflict, bothered and bewildered (sggs 1287).
  • ਕਿਨਹੀ ਕੀਆ ਪਰਵਿਰਤਿ ਪਸਾਰਾ ॥: Kinahee keeaa paravirati pasaaraa: Some make a big show of their worldly influence (sggs 912).
  • ਰਾਜੇ ਸੀਹ ਮੁਕਦਮ ਕੁਤੇ ॥...: Raaje seeh mukdam kute ...: The kings are like tigers, and their officials are dogs; they go out and harass innocent people (sggs 1288).
  • ਜਿਤਨੇ ਸਾਹ ਪਾਤਿਸਾਹ ਉਮਰਾਵ ਸਿਕਦਾਰ ਚਉਧਰੀ ਸਭਿ ਮਿਥਿਆ ਝੂਠੁ ਭਾਉ ਦੂਜਾ ਜਾਣੁ ॥: Jitne sah paatsah umraav sikdaar chaudharee sabh mithiaa jhooth bhaau doojaa jaan: All the kings, emperors, nobles, lords and chiefs are false, transitory, and engrossed in duality — know this well (sggs 861).

Of what avail is a man's religious or saintly mien, if his mind is bent on selfishness or evil? Such hypocrites who have no moral strength can be compared to an ox, which grazes in the guise of a lion, or a thief in the ochre robes of a monk. But people in ignorance start revering them as if they are true Spiritual Beings. Spiritual texts tell us an impostor who pretend sanctity may indulge in wickedness secretly, and will use his power for destruction.

  • ਓਇ ਹਰਿ ਕੇ ਸੰਤ ਨ ਆਖੀਅਹਿ ਬਾਨਾਰਸਿ ਕੇ ਠਗ ॥: Oi har ke sant na aakheeahi baanaaras ke thag: They are not called Saints of the Lord - they are thugs of Benares (sggs 476).
  • ਠਗ ਦਿਸਟਿ ਬਗਾ ਲਿਵ ਲਾਗਾ ॥: Thag disati baggaa liv laagaa: You look like a thug; pretending to meditate, you pose like a crane (sggs 1351).

Such religious con-artists thrive on people's ignorance (inner filth). If we wish to revive and spread the real message left by the Spiritual giants, we must first break free of our own inner "filth" (corruption of false ego). In other words, we must come out of self-created cocoon; for we are ever Free and Complete Within. Sustained self-effort yoked with unconditional devotion, love, selfless work, diligent study of the scriptures, meditation, inner inquiry and Satsang (Company of Truth) is crucial input for breaking the spell of ignorance and awakening the Spiritual Wisdom Within; ensuring the seeker's Freedom from religious corruption, con men, centuries of false religious dogmas and convictions, codes, rules, robes, personal idiosyncrasies, destructive indoctrinations, stupid and frightening ideas about God.

  • ਅਲਹੁ ਏਕੁ ਮਸੀਤਿ ਬਸਤੁ ਹੈ ਅਵਰੁ ਮੁਲਖੁ ਕਿਸੁ ਕੇਰਾ ॥ ਹਿੰਦੂ ਮੂਰਤਿ ਨਾਮ ਨਿਵਾਸੀ ਦੁਹ ਮਹਿ ਤਤੁ ਨ ਹੇਰਾ ॥: Alhu ek maseet basat hai avar mulakh kis kayraa. Hindoo moorat naam nivaasee duh mahi tatt na hayraa: If the Lord Allah lives only in the mosque, then to whom does the rest of the world belong? According to the Hindus, God's Name abides only in the idol, but there is no truth in either of these claims (sggs 1349).
  • ਦਖਨ ਦੇਸਿ ਹਰੀ ਕਾ ਬਾਸਾ ਪਛਿਮਿ ਅਲਹ ਮੁਕਾਮਾ ॥ ਦਿਲ ਮਹਿ ਖੋਜਿ ਦਿਲੈ ਦਿਲਿ ਖੋਜਹੁ ਏਹੀ ਠਉਰ ਮੁਕਾਮਾ ॥: Dakhan desi Hari kaa vaasaa pashimi Allah mukaamaa. Dil mahi khoji dilai dili khojahu ehee thaur mukaamaa: Hindus say their God is in the south direction, and the Muslims say their God is in the west. Search in your heart — look deep into your heart of hearts within; this is the home and the place where God lives (sggs 1349).
  • ਤਜਿ ਸਭਿ ਭਰਮ ਭਜਿਓ ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ॥ ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਅਟਲ ਇਹੁ ਧਰਮ ॥: Taji Sabhi bharam bhajio paarbrahm. Kahu Nanak attal ih dharma: Renounce all your doubts, and vibrate upon the Supreme Lord. Says Nanak, this path of Dharma is eternal and unchanging (sggs 196).
  • Everyone has turned his face toward some direction, but the saints have turned in the direction without directions (Sufi Jalaluddin Rumi).

True wisdom is Love of the Real Self (Pure Consciousness...) within. Therefore, a Spiritually wise man (called "Gurmukh" in the Gurbani) always aspires for higher values in life: Self-integration, Self-purification, Self-development, Self-unfoldment or Self-discovery Within. Thus, Self Mastery becomes the true wealth of such a person. On the other hand, a conditioned mind of a material being (an ego-being called "Manmukh" in the Gurbani) is subject to three imperfections namely "impurity", "restlessness" and "veil of ignorance". These defects translate into committing mistakes, propensity to cheat others, illusion about "who am I", and contamination of the sensory apparatus. As declared in the scriptures, without removing these deficiencies, it's impossible to reach the mind's Substratum (Aadhaar) and experience the Divinity Within.

  • ਪ੍ਰਣਵਤਿ ਨਾਨਕ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਕੈਸਾ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਆਪੁ ਪਛਾਣੈ ਬੂਝੈ ਸੋਇ ॥: Pranvati Nanak giaanee kaisaa hoi. Aapu pashaanai boojhai soi: Prays Nanak, of what nature is the Giaanee (the Wise one, the knower of the Truth...)? (A true Giaanee is he who) recognizes his (Mool-ਮੂਲ, Source, Origin, Essential Nature, etc.), such (Giaanee-ਜੋ ਆਪਣੇ ਅਸਲੇ ਨੂੰ ਪਛਾਣਦਾ ਹੈ) Understands God (sggs 25).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਝਗੜੁ ਚੁਕਾਇਓਨੁ ਇਕੋ ਰਵਿ ਰਹਿਆ ॥: Gurmukh jhagarr chukaaeion iko ravi rahiaa: The Gurmukh (Spiritual Being) is free of conflict and strife, and sees the One Lord, pervading everywhere (sggs 790).
  • ਅੰਤਰਿ ਅਗਿਆਨ ਦੁਖੁ ਭਰਮੁ ਹੈ ਵਿਚਿ ਪੜਦਾ ਦੂਰਿ ਪਈਆਸਿ ॥: There is ignorance and pain of doubt within, like a separating veil (or veil of ignorance) between the man and God (sggs 40).
  • ਮਨੁ ਮਰੈ ਧਾਤੁ ਮਰਿ ਜਾਇ॥ਬਿਨੁ ਮਨ ਮੂਏ ਕੈਸੇ ਹਰਿ ਪਾਇ ॥: Mann marai dhaat mar jaai. Bin mann mooe kaise hari paai: When the mind is conquered, its turbulent wanderings are stopped. Without annihilating (conquering) the mind, how can God be found? (sggs 665).
  • ਮਨਿ ਜੀਤੈ ਜਗੁ ਜੀਤੁ ॥: Mann jeetai jagg jeet: If you conquer the mind, you conquer the material world (sggs ).
  • If you know your Soul you know your God (Sufi Jallaluddin Rumi).

The Spiritual Masters tell us that just as a common thread runs through a garland consisting of a variety of flowers, the same thread of humanity and Divine Love prevails in all of us. Our lives, thus, are interwoven with this Divine thread; which brings peace and harmony between people. As our lives are interwoven, the influence of our daily actions and behavior spreads in ever-widening circles affecting everybody in the world.

  • ਮਾਟੀ ਏਕ ਭੇਖ ਧਰਿ ਨਾਨਾ ਤਾ ਮਹਿ ਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਪਛਾਨਾ ॥: Maatee ek bhekh dhari naanaa taa mahi Brahm pachhaanaa: The clay is one, but it has taken many forms; I recognize the One God Within them all (sggs 480).
  • The Supreme Absolute Reality is that from which everything emanates (Vedaanta-Sutra, 1.1.2).

Can one avoid actions in life? No. So long one is alive, action (or work) is inevitable; because life expresses itself in action, as death does in inaction. Also, depending upon man's thought-condition (Vaasnaas or mindset), the quality of actions varies from man to man. The worse pollution to the body is bad thoughts, which gives rise to body-consciousness. Although actions (or thoughts) are unavoidable, however, we can Spiritualize them or make them "right". And we must. The action becomes Spiritualized only if the mind has got a correct vision of life. The Gurbani explains the secret of action as follows.

  • ਸੋ ਕਿਛੁ ਕਰਿ ਜਿਤੁ ਮੈਲੁ ਨ ਲਾਗੈ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਕੀਰਤਨ ਮਹਿ ਏਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਜਾਗੈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: So kish kar jit mail na laagai. Har kirtan mahi eh manu jaagai ||1|| ||Rahaaou||: Make only those efforts by which the "filth" (fith of Bikaars: lust, anger, greed, attachment, pride and their countless variations) may not stick to your mind; and your mind remains awake (alert or aware of the pull of Bikaars) through the Lord's Kirtan (ਪਰਮਾਤਮ ਦੀ ਸਿਫਤਿ-ਸਾਲਾਹ) ||1|| ||Pause|| (sggs 199).
  • ਇਹੁ ਤਨੁ ਧਰਤੀ ਬੀਜੁ ਕਰਮਾ ਕਰੋ ਸਲਿਲ ਆਪਾਉ ਸਾਰਿੰਗਪਾਣੀ ॥ ਮਨੁ ਕਿਰਸਾਣੁ ਹਰਿ ਰਿਦੈ ਜੰਮਾਇ ਲੈ ਇਉ ਪਾਵਸਿ ਪਦੁ ਨਿਰਬਾਣੀ ॥੧॥: Ih tann dhartee beeg karmaa karo salil aapaau saaringpaanee. Mann kirsaan Hari ridai janmaai lai iyu paavasi pad nirvaanee ||1||: Make this body the field, and make your daily Karma (actions) the seed. Water (ਸਿੰਚਨ) it with God's Name. Let your mind be the farmer; Sprout (God) in your Heart, and you will attain the state of Nirvaanaa (ਉਹ ਆਤਮਕ ਅਵਸਥਾ ਜਿਥੇ ਕੋਈ ਵਾਸਨਾ ਪੋਹ ਨਹੀਂ ਸਕਦੀ) ||1|| (sggs 23).

According to the Spiritual texts and Beings, it is man's mental make-up that is the cause of all his trouble. What it means is that the seat of trouble is within man himself. Therefore, in order to set our vision right, change in thought-condition (false ego) is must. This will require complete integration of the personality Within. It's only by removing the inner "filth" of corruption, ignorance and hate from our hearts and minds we can live a Nanaklike life, or a Christlike life, or a Muhammadlike life, or a Buddhalike life, or a Raamlike life, and so forth.

Hence, every individual must change if we want to live in a world of peace and harmony. By changing yourself you have done your part in changing the world. Changing yourself means changing your thought-condition (false ego). Good thoughts translate into good actions or choices and the bad thoughts into bad actions or choices. As Emerson says: "Ancestor to every action is your thought." The irony is that most of us do not want to change ourselves, but we want the whole world to change!

  • ਹਉਮੈ ਧੰਧੁ ਛੋਡਹੁ ਲੰਪਟਾਈ ॥ : Houmai dhandh shoddahu lanpattaaee: Abandon your involvement in egotistical affairs and conflicts (sggs 1026).

The scriptures and the Masters correctly point out that the man or his contending mind is his own best friend as well as his worse enemy. Hence, man's misery is his own making. Therefore, it is a mistake to look outside for its cause and remedy — the cause is within man himself, as well as the remedy is also within man himself. Accordingly, the most urgent business at hand is how to conquer oneself. Because, as Baabaa Nanak puts it: "If you conquer the mind, you conquer the material world." In other words, the "enemy mind" or the mind that has been creating problem must collapse. Perhaps this is what Albert Einstein eluded to when he said: "You cannot solve the problem with the same mind that created it."

  • ਮਨਿ ਜੀਤੈ ਜਗੁ ਜੀਤੁ ॥: Mann jeetai jagg jeet: If you conquer the mind, you conquer the material world (sggs ).
  • ਮਨਮੁਖੀਆ ਸਿਰਿ ਮਾਰ ਵਾਦਿ ਖਪਾਈਐ ॥: Manmukheeaa siri maar vaad khapaaeeai: The problem of the Manmukh's (a material being) head is this: he is consumed by conflict (sggs 420).
  • ਫਰੀਦਾ ਜੇ ਤੂ ਅਕਲਿ ਲਤੀਫੁ ਕਾਲੇ ਲਿਖੁ ਨ ਲੇਖ ॥...: Freeda je tu akal lateef hai kaale likh na lekh. Aapanrhe gireevaan mahi sir neevaa kar dekh ||6||: Fareed, if you are so clever, (of keen understanding -ਬਰੀਕ ਅਕਲ ਵਾਲਾ, ਸਮਝਦਾਰ - etc.) then you should not do evil (e.g., ਹੋਰ ਬੰਦਿਆਂ ਦੇ ਮੰਦੇ ਕਰਮਾਂ ਦੀ ਪਛਚੋਲ ਕਰਨਾ, look for faoults in others, etc.). (instead) examine your own self. ||6|| (sggs 1378).
  • ਮਨੁ ਮਰੈ ਧਾਤੁ ਮਰਿ ਜਾਇ ॥: Mann marai dhaat mar jaae: When the mind is conquered, its turbulent wanderings stop (sggs 665).
  • Buddha says: Be a lamp unto yourself.
  • Let go of thought and bring it not into your heart, for you are naked and thought is an icy wind. You think in order to escape from torment and suffering, but your thinking is torment's fountainhead. Know that the bazaar of God's Making is outside of thought (Sufi Giyani Jallaludin Rumi).
  • The mind alone is the cause of bondage and liberation for human beings. The mind attached to sense objects leads to bondage and that which is free of sense objects sets one free! Thus it is thought! (Veda, Amrit Bindu Upanishad).

To realize inner change in this life, the Men of Light and the Gurbani (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, SGGS) urge each one of us to become a good Sikh if you call yourself a Sikh; become a good Muslim if you call yourself a Muslim; become a good Christian if you call yourself a Christian; become a good Hindu if you call yourself a Hindu; become a good Jew if you call yourself a Jew; become a good Yogi if you call yourself a Yogi; become a good Vaishnav if you call yourself a Vaishnav; become a good Pandit if you call yourself a Pandit; and so on. Simply put: They ask man to dive deep Within to discover and develop the Divine attributes of one's own True Self — purity, intuitive understanding, omniscience, freedom from attachments, unlimited grace, boundless Bliss, self-dependence, omnipotence, and so on. Here is the Gurbani's Universal Message.

  • ਮਹਰ ਮਸੀਤਿ ਸਿਦਕੁ ਮੁਸਲਾ ਹਕੁ ਹਲਾਲੁ ਕੁਰਾਣੁ ॥ ਸਰਮ ਸੁੰਨਤਿ ਸੀਲੁ ਰੋਜਾ ਹੋਹੁ ਮੁਸਲਮਾਣੁ ॥ ਕਰਣੀ ਕਾਬਾ ਸਚੁ ਪੀਰੁ ਕਲਮਾ ਕਰਮ ਨਿਵਾਜ ॥ ਤਸਬੀ ਸਾ ਤਿਸੁ ਭਾਵਸੀ ਨਾਨਕ ਰਖੈ ਲਾਜ ॥: Mihar maseet sidak muslaa hak halaal kuraan. Saram sunat seel rojaa hohu musalmaan. Karnee kaabaa sach peer kalmaa karam nivaaj. Tasbee saa tis bhaavsee naanak rakhai laaj: Let mercy be your mosque, faith your prayer-mat, and honest living your Quran. Make modesty your circumcision, and good conduct your fast. In this way, you will be a true Muslim. Let good conduct be your Kaabaa, Truth your spiritual guide, and good deeds your prayer and chant. Let your rosary be that which is pleasing to God's Will. O Nanak, He will preserve your honor (sggs 140).
  • ਮਨੁ ਕਰਿ ਮਕਾ ਕਿਬਲਾ ਕਰਿ ਦੇਹੀ ॥: Mann kar meccaa kibalaa kar dehee: Let your mind be Mecca, and your body the temple of worship (sggs 1158).
  • ਸੋ ਮੁਲਾਂ ਜੋ ਮਨ ਸਿਉ ਲਰੈ ॥ ਗੁਰ ਉਪਦੇਸਿ ਕਾਲ ਸਿਉ ਜੁਰੈ ॥ ਕਾਲ ਪੁਰਖ ਕਾ ਮਰਦੈ ਮਾਨੁ ॥ ਤਿਸੁ ਮੁਲਾ ਕਉ ਸਦਾ ਸਲਾਮੁ ॥: He alone is a Mullah, who struggles with his mind, and through the Teachings of the Giaan (Divine Knowledge...), fights with death (fear of death...). He crushes the pride of the Messenger of Death. Unto that Mullah, I ever offer my respect (sggs 1159).
  • ਪੰਜਿ ਨਿਵਾਜਾ ਵਖਤ ਪੰਜਿ ਪੰਜਾ ਪੰਜੇ ਨਾਉ ॥ ਪਹਿਲਾ ਸਚੁ ਹਲਾਲ ਦੁਇ ਤੀਜਾ ਖੈਰ ਖੁਦਾਇ ॥ ਚਉਥੀ ਨੀਅਤਿ ਰਾਸਿ ਮਨੁ ਪੰਜਵੀ ਸਿਫਤਿ ਸਨਾਇ ॥ ਕਰਣੀ ਕਲਮਾ ਆਖਿ ਕੈ ਤਾ ਮੁਸਲਮਾਣੁ ਸਦਾਇ ॥: Panje nivaajaa vakhat.....: There are five prayers and five times of day for prayer; the five have five names. Let the first be truthfulness, the second honest living, and the third charity in the Name of God. Let the fourth be good will to all, and the fifth the praise of the Lord. Repeat the prayer of good deeds, and then, you may call yourself a Muslim. O Nanak, the false obtain falsehood, and only falsehood (sggs 141).
  • ਪਾਚਹੁ ਮੁਸਿ ਮੁਸਲਾ ਬਿਛਾਵੈ ਤਬ ਤਉ ਦੀਨੁ ਪਛਾਨੈ ॥੩॥: Paachahu mus musalaa bishaavai tab taou deen pashaanai ||3||: Conquering the five (Bikaars: lust, anger, greed, attachment, and pride), one recognizes the true religion ||3|| (sggs 480).
  • ਉਰਿ ਧਾਰੈ ਜੋ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ॥ ਸਰਬ ਮੈ ਪੇਖੈ ਭਗਵਾਨੁ ॥ ਨਮਖ ਨਿਮਖ ਠਾਕੁਰ ਨਮਸਕਾਰੈ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਓਹੁ ਅਪਰਸੁ ਸਗਲ ਨਿਸਤਾਰੈ ॥: Ur Dhaarai jo antar naam. Sarab mai paykhai bhagvaan. Nimakh nimakh thaakur namaskaarai: One who enshrines God's Name within the heart, who sees God in all, who, each and every moment, bows in reverence to Him - O Nanak, such a true men of light emancipates everyone (sggs 274).
  • ਬੈਸਨੋ ਸੋ ਜਿਸੁ ਊਪਰਿ ਸੁਪ੍ਰਸੰਨ ॥ ਬਿਸਨ ਕੀ ਮਾਇਆ ਤੇ ਹੋਇ ਭਿੰਨ ॥ ਕਰਮ ਕਰਤ ਹੋਵੈ ਨਿਹਕਰਮ ॥ ਤਿਸੁ ਬੈਸਨੋ ਕਾ ਨਿਰਮਲ ਧਰਮ ॥ ਕਾਹੂ ਫਲ ਕੀ ਇਛਾ ਨਹੀ ਬਾਛੈ ॥ ਕੇਵਲ ਭਗਤਿ ਕੀਰਤਨ ਸੰਗਿ ਰਾਚੈ ॥ ਮਨ ਤਨ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਸਿਮਰਨ ਗੋਪਾਲ ॥ ਸਭ ਊਪਰਿ ਹੋਵਤ ਕਿਰਪਾਲ ॥ ਆਪਿ ਦ੍ਰਿੜੈ ਅਵਰਹ ਨਾਮੁ ਜਪਾਵੈ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਓਹੁ ਬੈਸਨੋ ਪਰਮ ਗਤਿ ਪਾਵੈ ॥੨॥: Baisno so jis oopar suparsann...: The true Vaishnava (the word "Vaishnava" literally means the one who worships Vishnu - the Supreme, All-pervading God - out of pure love, expecting nothing from Him in return) is the one with whom God is thoroughly pleased. He dwells apart from Maya. He who beholds inaction in action, spotlessly pure is the Dharma of such a Vaishnava. He has no desire for the fruits of his action. He is absorbed in the Bhagti (devotion) and Kirtan. Within his mind and body, he meditates (Naam-Simran) on God. He is kind to all. He holds fast to the Lord's Name (Naam) himself, and inspires others to chant it. Says Nanak: such a Vaishnaav obtains the Supreme Status (sggs 274).
  • ਸੋ ਪੰਡਿਤੁ ਜੋ ਮਨੁ ਪਰਬੋਧੈ ॥ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮੁ ਆਤਮ ਮਹਿ ਸੋਧੈ ॥: So panditu jo manu parbodhai. Raam naamu aatam mahi sodhai (sggs 274).
  • Say Bismillar, In the name of God, as the priest does with a knife when he offers an animal. Bismillar your old self to find your real name (Sufi Giyani Jalaluddin Rumi).

You see, there is no reason for anybody to change his religion, or convert followers of other religions into your. According to the Spiritual Men and the religious texts, there are two distinct and separate paths in life, namely, the path of the sense pleasures and the path of the Good (Truth and Righteousness). Every single moment in our lives, we are confronted with the choice of taking to one of these paths. The path of the worldly pleasures (corruption, fraud, hypocrisy, and so on) that caters to man's sense gratification provides instant but fleeting joy which, ultimately, becomes the cause of man's bondage or sorrows and suffering. To the contrary, the path of the Good is detested by our "filthy" mind (egoism) in the beginning but, later on, it leads to true Happiness or Bliss (Anand) Within — God Realization.

  • ਮੀਠੇ ਕਉ ਕਉੜਾ ਕਹੈ ਕੜੂਏ ਕਉ ਮੀਠਾ ॥: Meethae ko kourraa kahai karrooeae ko meethaa: That which is sweet (ਨਾਮ-ਰਸ, the Lord's Name) is said to be bitter, and the bitter (enjoyment of the sense-objects, which proves to be bitter in the end) is said to be sweet (sggs 229).
  • ਮੁਖਿ ਬੇਰਾਵੈ ਅੰਤਿ ਠਗਾਵੈ ॥: Mukh beraavai anti thagaavai: In the beginning Maya seems to please, but in the end, she deceives (sggs 892).
  • ਸਭੇ ਵਸਤੂ ਕਉੜੀਆ ਸਚੇ ਨਾਉ ਮਿਠਾ ॥: Sabhe vasatoo kourreeaa sache naao mithaa: All material things are bitter; the True Name alone is sweet (sggs 321).

Thus, religion and religious texts can be likened to a kindly policeman directing mankind to the Path of the Good. But the right action (Shaba-Vichaar...) is up to us to take. Religion and its texts or any other person cannot do it for us. In order to recognize the right perspective of life, therefore, inner change for Self-integration is must. Once we understand the real purpose of life and learn to establish right contacts with the outer world, we chasten and edify our subjective personality.

Not easy at all! Because our stubborn false ego (Haume) stands in the way like a formidable wall. What is this false ego? It is simply accepting the body-mind-intellect as Immortal Soul. Once this wall is smashed with the cannon of Self-knowledge, body-identified ego and its falsehood will collapse. One must be in light to know the darkness. Similarly, we must be established in Self-knowledge to know the ignorance (mental conditioning or false ego). In ignorance we have adorned our Soul and inert body with the clothing of false concepts and conditionings. Until they are removed, we will be unable to experience the Supreme Truth — our Unconditioned Nature. Accordingly, scriptures urge us to jump into the fire of Self-knowledge. This fire will burn all material bondage!

  • ਜਨਮੁ ਬਿਹਾਨੋ ਅਹੰਕਾਰਿ ਅਰੁ ਵਾਦਿ ॥: Janam bihaano ahankaar aru vaad: This human life is passing away in egotism and conflict (sggs 898).
  • ਹਉ ਹਉ ਭੀਤਿ ਭਇਓ ਹੈ ਬੀਚੋ ਸੁਨਤ ਦੇਸਿ ਨਿਕਟਾਇਓ ॥ ਭਾਂਭੀਰੀ ਕੇ ਪਾਤ ਪਰਦੋ ਬਿਨੁ ਪੇਖੇ ਦੂਰਾਇਓ ॥੩॥: Haou haou bheet bhaio hai beecho sunati desi niktaaio. Bhhanbheeree ke paat paardo bin pekhe dooraaio ||3||: (O my mother, I) hear this that the Lord dwells near (within, in my heart, etc.). (But) the wall of egotism and pride separates us. Like the wings of a butterfly, there is a veil between (Him and I); without being able to see Him (due to the curtain of egotism), He seems so far away ||3|| (sggs 624).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਹੋਵੈ ਸੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਤਤੁ ਬੀਚਾਰੈ ਹਉਮੈ ਸਬਦਿ ਜਲਾਏ ॥: Gurmukhi hovai so giaani tati beechaarai haoumai Shabadi jalaaye (sggs 946).
  • ਜਿਤੁ ਤਨਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਨ ਭਾਵਈ ਤਿਤੁ ਤਨਿ ਹਉਮੈ ਵਾਦੁ ॥: Jit tani naam na bhaavaee tit tani houmai vaad: That body which does not appreciate the Divine Naam, that body is infested with egotism and conflict (sggs 61).
  • ਮੋਹਿ ਬਾਦਿ ਅਹੰਕਾਰਿ ਸਰਪਰ ਰੁੰਨਿਆ ॥: Mohi baad ahankaar sarapar runniaa: Those who indulge in attachment, conflict and egotism will surely weep and cry (sggs 761).
  • This mention of Moses has become a shackle on men's minds - they think these stories happened long ago... Moses and Pharoah are in your own existence -- you must seek these two adversaries in yourself (Sufi Jalaluddin Rumi).

Simply put: The process of linking with the Divine Nature is undoing our egoism. This is the edict of the religious texts and the God-realized beings. It is because egoism and Divinity cannot coexist — egoism is darkness, ignorance, impurity, unreal, falsehood, worldliness and death; whilst the Divine Principle (Naam, God, Self, etc.) is Eternal Light, Knowledge, Purity, Real, Truth, Spirit and Immortal.

  • ਹਉਮੈ ਨਾਵੈ ਨਾਲਿ ਵਿਰੋਧੁ ਹੈ ਦੁਇ ਨ ਵਸਹਿ ਇਕ ਠਾਇ ॥: Houmai naavai naal virodh hai due na vasahi ik thaae: Ego is opposed to the Divine Name; the two cannot coexist (sggs 560).

Undoing egoism simply means transforming it into the Divine Self. But How? The body-assemblage constituted of the body, mind and intellect is presided over by the Spiritual Center (also called Blissful Center, Pure Consciousness, Self or Aatmaan). This Blissful Center is not realized now by us because of its identifications with the body-assemblage. The Spiritual Center, when seemingly, conditioned by these delusory matter-envelopments, is called the ego-center. The purpose of Self-integration, Self-development or Self-discovery is the ego's rediscovery that it is the Pure Self without any of its delusory identifications with its matter-envelopments. On this recognition, revisualization and reliving the Jeeva (individual being) actualizes his Oneness with the Divine Presence within him as the fully awakened Soul, and with the All-pervading Consciousness, the Self of the universe.

Consider this analogy. In a cup of water the reflected moon entirely depends upon the condition of the water in the cup. When the water is disturbed, the reflected moon gets shattered; when the water is muddy, the reflected moon becomes muddy. In this example, the moon in the sky, conditioned by the water in the cup, stands for the Self conditioned by the matter-envelopments, and the reflected Self (conditioned Consciousness or apparent soul) is called ego-center. When the cup is broken or the water is removed, in short, when the reflecting surface is destroyed, the reflection also ends, and the real moon in the sky comes to be realized as the Truth behind the reflection. Similarly, when the ego-center in us loses all its separate consciousness and comes to experience its unbroken and definite Oneness with Aatmaan (Soul or Self), it comes to live the infinite state of Spiritual Perfection in Itself. This is what it means when the Gurbani says: "Ego is a chronic disease, but it contains its own cure as well".

  • ਹਉਮੈ ਵਿਚਿ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਕੋਇ ਨ ਪਾਏ ॥: Haumai vichi prabh koi na paae: No one finds God through egotism (sggs 664).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਮਾਰੇ ਤਾ ਦਰੁ ਸੂਝੈ ॥: Haumai maare taa dar soojhai: Conquer your ego, then you will find God's Door (sggs 842).
  • ਸੋ ਜਨੁ ਸਾਚਾ ਜਿ ਹਉਮੈ ਮਾਰੈ ॥: So jan saachaa ji haumai maarai: Those humble beings are true, who conquer their ego (sggs 230).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਦੀਰਘ ਰੋਗੁ ਹੈ ਦਾਰੂ ਭੀ ਇਸੁ ਮਾਹਿ ॥: Haumai deeragh rog hai daaroo bhee is maahi. Ego is a chronic disease, but it contains its own cure as well (sggs 466).
  • Concern yourself not with the thief-like ego and its business. Whatever is not God's work is nothing, nothing! ...When you eventually see through the veils to how things really are, you will keep saying again and again, This is certainly not like we thought it was! (Sufi Jalaluddin Rumi).

To gain a complete mental integration and Self-purification, religion indicates different paths or techniques to affect a change in thought-conditions (false ego or falsehood) by reducing the quantity of thoughts, by improving the quality of thoughts and by giving different direction to the thoughts. These paths or techniques encompass various temperaments and mentalities. A harmonious and desired balance of such methods is the ideal situation for reaching the highest stage of unconditional Love of the Self (Devotion to the Divine Name); for one's experiences in life are a mix of emotions and intellect. However, the vital point scriptures and the Men of Light stress is that one's Devotion (or spiritual evolution) has to culminate in Spiritual Wisdom (the highest stage of Divine Devotion). What it means is that Devotion to God will be incomplete if it does not mature into Aatm-Giaan or intuitive Knowledge of the Truth.

  • ਜਿਨਿ ਆਤਮ ਤਤੁ ਨ ਚੀਨ੍‍ਆਿ ॥ ਸਭ ਫੋਕਟ ਧਰਮ ਅਬੀਨਿਆ ॥: Jini aatam tatu n cheenhiaa. Sabh fokat dharma abeeniaa: Whoever does not Realize the Essence or Reality of the Soul (ਆਤਮਾ ਦੀ ਅਸਲੀਅਤ...), all his religious acts are of no value - worthless (sggs 1351).
  • ਗਿਆਨ ਵਿਹੂਣੀ ਭਵੈ ਸਬਾਈ ॥: Giaan vihoonee bhavai sabaaee: Without Spiritual Wisdom, the entire world just wanders around (sggs 1034).
  • ਗੁਰਿ ਮਨੁ ਮਾਰਿਓ ਕਰਿ ਸੰਜੋਗੁ ॥ ਅਹਿਨਿਸਿ ਰਾਵੇ ਭਗਤਿ ਜੋਗੁ ॥: Gur man maariyo kari sanjog. Ahinis raave Bhagti Yoga: By uniting with the Guru (God), the mortal conquers and subdues his mind. Day and night, he savors the Devotion (sggs 1170).
  • You are a shadow in love with the sun. The sun comes, and the shadow is quickly naughted (Sufi Jalaluddin Rumi).
  • The man of spiritual wisdom (Giaanee, Giani or Jnani) is My very Self (Gita 7:18).

Attachment to mind constitutes time and space or past and future (duality). When there is no attachment to mind, there is no time and space. Divine devotion is a process, leading Jeeva (individual being) through different stages to reach this Virtual State or Godhood. According to the Spiritual Beings, the scriptural essence can be subsumed under the five stages of devotion (or spiritual evolution) as follows:

  • During the first two stages the aspirant is extroverted as he is active in life, working both for himself and for others in the society (children, spouse, relatives, and so on).
  • In the third stage of spiritual evolution the devotee begins to become introverted. He develops devotion exclusively to one particular form of God. The majority of us (over 99.9 percent!) are stuck here in these three stages; fighting over stupid claims such as "my God is better than yours", "my Prophet is the only true man of Light", "my Prophet is the last Prophet", "my Prophet is the only son of God", "my religion is better than yours", "only my holy book contains the absolute word of God, not yours", "my path is better than yours", "I am superior, you are inferior", "I am God's chosen people", "you are Kaafir or infidel", and so on.
  • The fourth level is marked by the insight that all forms are of one and the same God. Such a devotee sees God in everything and everywhere and displays the best form of devotion, as he does not impose limitations on God due to his preferences.
  • The final stage is the devotion to the Absolute Formless aspect of God born out of Intuitive Wisdom, which is the culmination of Spiritual Evolution. Until this is realized devotion remains incomplete and every individual has to progress to this level if not in this life, then in future births.

True devotion drives away all passions, hatred and enmity. Rare is he who attains the higher stage of such Divine devotion. The scriptures elaborate on the characteristics of such a man of steady Wisdom called Giaanee. He is the man who has overcome false ego — duality (pairs of likes and dislikes), conceptualization or modification of the Consciousness, possessiveness, attachment, malice, hatred, animosity, depression, worry, sorrow, desire and fear. He is endowed with qualities like Self-knowledge (Aatam-Giaan), inner perfection, exertion, forbearance, steadiness in virtue, truthful living, compassion, discrimination, humility, eternal bliss and satisfaction, mind's firm establishment in dispassion, clear perception of the Reality, friendliness and goodwill towards all, contentment, calmness, inner cleanliness, self-control, faith, enthusiasm, efficiency and equanimity of mind. He has no enemy. He loves all; irrespective of religion, community, country, or whether you are good or bad. Because loving everybody is as natural to him as breathing.

  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਝਗੜੁ ਚੁਕਾਇਓਨੁ ਇਕੋ ਰਵਿ ਰਹਿਆ ॥: Gurmukh jhagarr chukaaeion iko ravi rahiaa: The Gurmukh (Spiritual Being) is free of conflict and strife, and sees the One Lord, pervading everywhere (sggs 790).
  • ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਇਹੁ ਖੇਲੁ ਕਠਨੁ ਹੈ ਕਿਨਹੂੰ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਜਾਨਾ ॥: Jann Nanak ih khel kathan hai kinahoon gurmukh jaanaa: O servant Nanak, this is such a difficult game; only a few Spiritual Beings (Gurmukhs) understand it! (sggs 218).
  • ਆਪੁ ਬੀਚਾਰੇ ਸੁ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਹੋਈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ Aapu beechaare su giaanee hoee ||1||Rahaaou||: Who reflects ownself (ਆਪਣੇ ਆਪ ਨੂੰ, ਆਪਣੇ ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਨੂੰ, ਆਪਣੇ ਅਸਲੇ ਨੂੰ ਵਿਚਾਰਦਾ ਹੈ - ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਦੀ ਪੜਤਾਲ) is truely Giaanee (Wise - ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਦੀ ਸੂਝ ਬੂਝ ਵਾਲਾ) ||1||Pause|| (sggs 152).
  • ਵਿਣੁ ਗੁਣ ਕੀਤੇ ਭਗਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥: Vinu gun keete bhagti n hoi (sggs 4).
  • I am dear to the Giyani, and he is exceedingly dear to me (Gita 7:17).

The degree of our success in Spiritual endeavors will depend to the degree the Divine Qualifications are awakened within. Accordingly, these Divine Qualities can be used as a tool for self-analysis. No other mundane qualification matters. While a man of wisdom is naturally endowed with these traits, a spiritual seeker has to consciously cultivate them or awaken them Within. This is spiritual evolution. This is what scriptures mean when they say "Act as it pleases God".

  • ਮਨ ਜਿਉ ਅਪੁਨੇ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਭਾਵਉ ॥: Mann jio apune prabh bhaavo: O my mind, act as it pleases God (sggs 529).
  • ਆਤਮ ਮਹਿ ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਲਹੰਤੇ ॥: Aatam mahi paarbraham lahante: Within the Soul (Self), find the Supreme Lord (sggs 276).
  • ਚੇਤਿ ਸੁਚੇਤ ਚਿਤ ਹੋਇ ਰਹੁ ਤਉ ਲੈ ਪਰਗਾਸੁ ਉਜਾਰਾ ॥: Chet suchet chit hoyi rahu tayu lai pargaas ujaaraa: When you are conscious in your Consciousness, you will be enlightened and illuminated (sggs 339).
  • ਆਪੁ ਖੋਜਿ ਖੋਜਿ ਮਿਲੇ ਕਬੀਰਾ ॥੪॥੭॥: By searching and searching (his Mool within), Kabeer merged (in his Mool). ||4||7|| (sggs 1159).
  • Move outside the tangle of fear-thinking. Live in Silence. Flow down and down in always widening rings of Being (Sufi Jalaluddin Rumi).

Thus, the purpose of religion and scriptural books is to bring about a revolution in the individual's personality by integrating his mind and educating his intellect. By bringing about this change, man not only improves the state of his mind but also develops subtler discrimination, which enables him to enjoy a happier and more harmonious relationship with the ever changing phenomena of the external world of beings and happenings.

The reason for our being narrow-minded, hateful or corrupt is that we are totally disintegrated (egoist) Within. The greater the integration Within, the higher can fly the individual's mind and intellect, resulting in wider vision of the prospect. When the Self-integration has taken roots sufficiently, we come to recognize and feel a disgust with the mere life of eating, sleeping, mating, defending, acquiring, quarreling, hating, contending, growing and dying. We then thirst and seek to discover in life a greater mission and higher purpose: The Supreme Truth.

  • ਮਨੁ ਸੋਇਆ ਮਾਇਆ ਬਿਸਮਾਦਿ ॥: Mann soeiaa maaeiaa bisamaad: The mind is asleep, fascinated by Maya (sggs 182).

We are living in an age of confusion, tensions, hatred, bigotry, external threats, danger, bitterness, duplicity, misinformation, frustration and cynicism both within and without. The spiritual giants advise us to rise above our limited egocentric view of things and happenings by living in harmony and peace. If we follow their advice, after a period of time, such positive living helps develop a subjective poise giving us inner peace and tranquility (Sahaj-Avasthaa).

Man is considered the roof and crown of creation, the highest Reflection of God. Because he has the capacity to discriminate and analyze his thoughts as and when they arise and allow his actions to be guided and directed by his subtle power of discrimination instead of momentary impulses and emotions. This faculty of description — the power of judgment or the capacity to discern what is right and what is wrong — is the function of our intellect. This is the reason scriptures and the Men of Light urge us to purify our intellect. If we do not, then we simply reduce ourselves to "Animalmen" who are desire-driven, passionate and egocentric; constantly engaged in fighting, destroying, hating, threatening, killing, procuring and aggrandizing for personal enjoyment.

  • ਸੁਆਨ ਪੂਛ ਜਿਉ ਹੋਇ ਨ ਸੂਧੋ ਕਹਿਓ ਨ ਕਾਨ ਧਰੈ ॥ ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਭਜੁ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮ ਨਿਤ ਜਾ ਤੇ ਕਾਜੁ ਸਰੈ ॥੨॥੧॥: Suaan poosh jiyu hoi na soodho kahio na kaan dharai. Kahu Nanak bhaj Raam naam nit jaa te kaaj sarai ||2||1||: Like a dog’s tail, this (mind) cannot be straightened; it will not listen to what (anybody) says (any Advice, Instructions,Teaching, etc. - ਕਿਸੇ ਦੀ ਭੀ ਦਿੱਤੀ ਹੋਈ ਸਿੱਖਿਆ. Says Nanak, forever meditate on the Lord's Name and your affairs (the ultimate purpose life, etc.) will get resolved (i.e., ਨਾਮ ਦੀ ਬਰਕਤਿ ਨਾਲ ਤੇਰਾ ਜਨਮ ਮਨੋਰਥ ਹੱਲ ਹੋ ਜਾਏ) ||2||1|| (sggs 536).
  • ਦਾਦਰ ਤੂ ਕਬਹਿ ਨ ਜਾਨਸਿ ਰੇ ॥: Daadar too kabahi na jaanas ray: You frog, you can never understand (sggs 990).
  • Man is the goal of creation. He has come into this world to display those Attributes of God that are reflected within himself, or in other words, to play his own part in revealing the Hidden Treasure. At the same time he is being tested: Does he remember the Covenant of Alast? Does he understand and acknowledge that he is displaying God's Treasure, not his own? (Sufi Jalaluddin Rumi).

As God dwells Within, His home address is one's own body, the "cave" of his Heart. He is in our Aatmaan, the Self. And the Aatmaan is in Him. His Light resides Within all beings just as the fragrance resides in the flower, and one's reflection is seen in the mirror or clean steady water. Hence, man is essentially the Divine creation; there is no accident. As repeatedly declared by the scriptures and the Realized Men, the root of man's suffering is his ignorance of This Truth. Although man rightly belongs to God but in his ignorance identifies himself with the world in which he sojourns and gets bonded to it. Therefore, the greater mission and higher purpose in life is to actualize our Real Nature by inner change and development through meditation on God's Name.

  • ਠਾਕੁਰੁ ਸਰਬੇ ਸਮਾਣਾ ॥: Thaakur sarbe samanaa: The Lord is all-pervading everywhere (sggs 51).
  • ਜੋ ਦੀਸੈ ਸੋ ਤੇਰਾ ਰੂਪ ॥: Jo deesai so taeraa roop: Whatever is seen, O Lord, is Your form (sggs724).
  • ਮਨੁ ਭੂਲਉ ਸਮਝਸਿ ਸਾਚ ਨਾਇ ॥: Mann bhoolau samjhas saach naai: Deluded mind actualizes its True Nature through meditation on God's Name (sggs 1188).
  • God created the man in His Image (Bible, Genesis 1:27).
  • The One Supreme Light is in everyone's heart. (Gita 13:17-18).
  • The Self is never born, never grows up, never decays, and never dies. It is not new; that is, it is most encient, devoid of all attributes of the equipments. It is blissful, self-effulgent, all-pervading and One without a second (Adhyaatma Ramaayana).
  • Ayam Aatma Brahma: The Self is God (Atharva Veda).
  • Be still and know that I am God (Bible, Psalms 46:10).
  • Analhaq: I am He (Sufi Shams Tabreiz).
  • So man is in form a branch of the world, but in attribute the world's foundation. Know this! (Sufi Jalaluddin Rumi).
There are four things common in animals and human beings: Eating, sleeping, mating, and defending. They both use their sensory organs and natural instinct for survival in the world. Thus, human beings are no different from animals in this regard and it is only when they actualize their Spiritual potential that they become truly humans. Therefore, the religious texts and the Men of Truth urge every individual to reflect whether he is leading an animal-like existence or making efforts to progress spiritually for which he is given this human form.
  • ਬਿਨੁ ਬੂਝੇ ਪਸੂ ਭਏ ਬੇਤਾਲੇ ॥੬॥: Bin boojhe pasu bhaye betaale: Binu boojhai pasu bhaye betaale ||6||: Without understanding, people become beast (-nature) and demon ||6|| (sggs 224).
  • ਕਰਤੂਤਿ ਪਸੂ ਕੀ ਮਾਨਸ ਜਾਤਿ ॥:Kartoot pasoo kee manas jaat: Men belong to the human species, but they act like animals (sggs 267).
  • God then answers, 'As I have said, your animal soul is an enemy to you and to me: take not my enemy and your enemy for your friends.' (Quraan 60:1).
  • Man is called a rational animal; therefore, he is two things. What feeds his animality in this world is passion and desire; but the food for his essential part is knowledge, wisdom and the vision of God. Man's animal nature avoids the Real, and his human nature flies from this world. "One of you is an unbeliever, and another of you is a believer" (Quran 64:2). There are two personae in conflict in this being. "With whom shall luck be? Whom shall fortune favor?" (Sufi Jalaluddin Rumi).

The curse of leading an animal-like existence keeps man in material consciousness. Identifying with the world of sensory experience, he then attempts to find the everlasting Bliss in the evanescent sense gratification, deluding himself in the bargain. These efforts provide man temporary joy, followed by long spells of pain and disappointments! Although man is the crown of creation, but he is unaware of his Divine heritage; for he succumbs to animal instincts. The Gurbani roars:

  • ਅਕਲਿ ਏਹ ਨ ਆਖੀਐ ਅਕਲਿ ਗਵਾਈਐ ਬਾਦਿ ...: Akal ayh na aakheeai akal gavaaeeai baad...: Intelligence (or wisdom) which leads to arguments is not called intelligence. Intelligence must lead us to serve God; through intelligence, honor is obtained. One should read scriptures with intelligence, and then understand them. Also, one should give charity with intelligence. Says Nanak, this is the Path; other things lead to Satan (sggs 1245).
  • ਪੜਿਆ ਮੂਰਖੁ ਆਖੀਐ ਜਿਸੁ ਲਬੁ ਲੋਭੁ ਅਹੰਕਾਰਾ ॥: Pariraa moorakh aakheeai jis lab lobh ahankaar: That educated person who is full of greed, avarice and pride, is said to be a fool (sggs 140).

A story of deer searching for musk (Kastooree) is repeatedly told in the scriptures. In reality, the musk never left deer's body. However, in illusion, deer keeps searches it in the bushes, but not in its own body! Similarly, even though the Spirit, the source of Truth-Knowledge-Bliss, dwells Within our own body, we keep searching Him in the gross objects of the outer world! Like a deer, we also wander around in the wilderness of doubts inflicted by our deluded mind; searching for the sublime thing such as God outside, in other places and objects. In reality, it is All hidden Within!

  • ਘਰ ਹੀ ਮਹਿ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਭਰਪੂਰੁ ਹੈ ਮਨਮੁਖਾ ਸਾਦੁ ਨ ਪਾਇਆ ॥ ਜਿਉ ਕਸਤੂਰੀ ਮਿਰਗੁ ਨ ਜਾਣੈ ਭ੍ਰਮਦਾ ਭਰਮਿ ਭੁਲਾਇਆ ॥: Ghar hee mahi amrit bharbhoor hai manmukhaa saad na paaiaa. Jiou kastooree mirg na janai bharamdaa bharm bhulaaiaa: As the body-house (the Soul, Heart, etc.) is brimful with the Amrit (Naam), still, because of the deluded mind, the self-willed Manmukh (perverse, one in material consciousness, etc.) does not recognize or experience it. (He is) like the deer, who does not recognize its own musk-scent (that is located within its own body); (but to find the musk-scent) it wanders around, deluded by doubt (sggs 644).
  • ਘਰ ਹੀ ਸਉਦਾ ਪਾਈਐ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਸਭ ਵਥੁ ਹੋਇ ॥: Ghar hee saudaa paaeeai antri sabh vath hoi: Within the home of your own inner Being, the True merchandise is obtained. All commodities are within (sggs 29).

The reason we do absurd things in life is that we succumb to the pull of our sensory organs (selfishness...). In the case of man the overall effect of sensory distractions, which disturb his mind, makes him indulge in worldly engagements without concentrating on spiritual pursuit. Scriptures repeatedly draw attention to the importance of exercising control over the senses and the mind to realize the goal of human birth — realization of God. For God is not the object of our perceptions (body), emotions (mind), or thoughts (intellect). Spiritual practices for taming the sensory apparatus include:

  • ਉਸਤਤਿ ਮਨ ਮਹਿ ਕਰਿ ਨਿਰੰਕਾਰ ॥ ਕਰਿ ਮਨ ਮੇਰੇ ਸਤਿ ਬਿਉਹਾਰ ॥ ਨਿਰਮਲ ਰਸਨਾ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਪੀਉ ॥ ਸਦਾ ਸੁਹੇਲਾ ਕਰਿ ਲੇਹਿ ਜੀਉ ॥ ਸਾਧਸੰਗਿ ਬਿਨਸੈ ਸਭ ਸੰਗੁ ॥ ਚਰਨ ਚਲਉ ਮਾਰਗਿ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ॥ ਮਿਟਹਿ ਪਾਪ ਜਪੀਐ ਹਰਿ ਬਿੰਦ ॥ ਕਰ ਹਰਿ ਕਰਮ ਸ੍ਰਵਨਿ ਹਰਿ ਕਥਾ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਦਰਗਹ ਨਾਨਕ ਊਜਲ ਮਥਾ ॥੨॥: Ustat man mahi kar nirankaar ...: Praise the Formless in your mind. O my mind, make this your true occupation. Let your tongue become pure by drinking the Amrit (of Naam). (By doing so, your) soul will be forever Peaceful. With your eyes, see the God's wondrous play (the play of the world, Leelaa, ਜਗਤ-ਤਮਾਛਾ, etc.). In the Company of the Holy, all other associations (other attchments, etc.) vanish. With your feet, walk on the God's Path. Sins are washed away, chanting Naam, even for a moment. So, do God's Work with the hands, and listen to His Sermon. In the Lord's Court, O Nanak, your face will be radiant (ਸੁਰਖ-ਰੂ ਹੋਣਾਂ) ||2|| (sggs 281).
  • That speech alone is worth the name through which one sings His praises; those hands alone which do service to Him deserve to be called, hands; that mind alone is rightly so called which constantly remembers the Lord dwelling in all mobile and immobile creatures; and those ears alone deserve the title which hear the sacred stories of His sports. That head alone deserves to be styled as such which bows to all mobile and immobile creatures regarding them as the very images of God; that eye alone is the real eye, which sees God in everything (Bhaagavatam).
  • Throw a dog a bit of something. He sniffs to see if he wants it. Be that careful. Sniff with your wisdom-nose. Get clear. Then decide (Sufi Jalaluddin Rumi).

Therefore, the true goal of every human being is to realize our True Being as Unconditioned Consciousness Within; which is also known as Shabad-Surti (Total Awareness of the Truth) in the Gurbani. The Scriptures thunder that without becoming imbued in the Self (Cosmic-consciousness), no one has any chance to link back to Divinity, man's Real Nature. In other words, our Surti (Consciousness) is the only means by which we can attain the intuitive understanding of God. Therefore, it must be purified; for Pure Consciousness is God. But very rare ones attain This!

  • ਪੜਿਐ ਨਾਹੀ ਭੇਦੁ ਬੁਝਿਐ ਪਾਵਣਾ ॥: Parriai naahee bhedu bujhiai paavanaa: Not by reading (books), but through Understanding, is the Mystery Realized (that the Lord is Limitless) (sggs 148).
  • ਸਬਦ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਬਿਨੁ ਆਵੈ ਜਾਵੈ ਪਤਿ ਖੋਈ ਆਵਤ ਜਾਤਾ ਹੇ ॥: Shabad Surti bin aavai jaavai pat khoyee aavat jaataa he: Without Shabad-Surti, one comes and goes in reincarnation; he loses his honor in this coming and going (sggs 1031).

Pure Consciousness is the only source of Infinite Joy, not external objects. To realize this Truth, man is repeatedly told by the religious texts and the Spiritual Beings to give up his crooked ways (falsehood or egotism), otherwise he will continue to create hell for himself and for those around him. In other words, the only purpose of religion or spiritual pursuit is to end ego. Ending ego means becoming unselfish and annihilated while living in the body. If this state does not come about, then one is really not a religious person, instead, he is an impostor, hypocrite, despicable, evil-minded, corrupt, fraud, con artist, weak, incapable, morose, without any exit from uncertainties, and deficient in all his senses.

  • ਖਸਮੁ ਪਛਾਨਿ ਤਰਸ ਕਰਿ ਜੀਅ ਮਹਿ ਮਾਰਿ ਮਣੀ ਕਰਿ ਫੀਕੀ ॥: Khasamu pachhaani taras kari jeea mahi maari manee kari pheekee (sggs 480).
  • ...So behead your selfhood, oh warrior! Become selfless and annihilated, like a dervish! When you have become selfless, you are secure in whatever you do: Thou didst not throw when thou threwest, but God threw (Quran 8:17) (Sufi Jalaluddin Rumi).

In nutshell, Spirituality is none other than to recognize "Oneness" of all beings, and thus seeing Unity in diversity. The basic truth that is to be recognized is that there is only one "Self" in all God's creations. If this is understood, there will be no need for anyone to hate or abuse or criticize another. Despite the difference between one community and other, one individual and another, there is This basic Unity which religion preaches. But if religion is content with merely preaching this ideal, then it is self-defeating. To make this Unity a reality, it has to inspire action. For religion is not a declaration of intentions, it is action to fulfill those intentions!

  • When you are with everyone but me, you're with no one. When you are with no one but me, you're with everyone. Instead of being so bound up with everyone, be everyone. When you become that many, you're nothing. Empty...Come out of your selves quickly, or else every instant will be a shackle, every two paces snares and traps. Come out of ourselves? But to where? To selflessness! Selflessness is meaning, meaning! Self-consciousness is names, names! (Sufi Jalaluddin Rumi).

The purpose of religion is to live the "life of harmony" and gain "Intuitive Poise" of mind (Sahaj-Avasthaa); for there is no justifiable hatred, bigotry, fanaticism or resentment. Religion's advice is to go integrating Within; and lead the entire humanity to success, glory, Universal Love or Eternal Peace. Spirituality or nobility is not in being better than others, but in being better than what you used to be yesterday! In other words, true bravery lies not in suppressing or killing others, but in eradicating one's own faults and shortcomings. In true spirituality, therefore, there is no competition with "others"; only cooperation! In this regard, the Gurbani's Universal Message is as follows:

  • ਹਮ ਨਹੀ ਚੰਗੇ ਬੁਰਾ ਨਹੀ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਪ੍ਰਣਵਤਿ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਤਾਰੇ ਸੋਇ ॥੪॥੧॥੨॥: Ham nahee change buraa nahee koi. Pranavat Nanak taarae soi ||4||1||2|| (sggs 728).
  • ਬੰਦੇ ਖੋਜੁ ਦਿਲ ਹਰ ਰੋਜ ਨਾ ਫਿਰੁ ਪਰੇਸਾਨੀ ਮਾਹਿ ॥: Bande khoj dil har roj naa phir presaanee maahi: O man, search your own heart every day, and do not wander around in confusion (sggs 727).
  • ਨਾਨਕ ਪਰਖੇ ਆਪ ਕਉ ਤਾ ਪਾਰਖੁ ਜਾਣੁ ॥: Nanak parkhe aap kayu ta paarakh jaan: O Nanak, if someone judges himself, only then is he known as a real judge (sggs 148).

God is simply Love. And God wants us to be inspired by This Love. Hence, knowing that "God is Love" is not enough, we must practice This Love. Otherwise it has no meaning. Look at the glorious lives of all spiritual Masters or Prophets; they teach us to look for opportunities for giving unconditional Love. In fact that's all they had—Love! Therefore, if you truly want to honor and spread the message of all Men of God then do not look for Peace or Love, deliver It!

We must Love the things and beings for what they are, not what they ought to be! We must think good of others; be always truthful to others; do only what is beneficial to others; feel that whatever happens is due to Divine Hukam (Will or "Bhaanaa"); take whatever best in others, unmindful of who they are; and offer prayers for the welfare of the entire humanity ("Sarbat daa bhalaa") as each person himself forms part of the society, which makes for the prosperity of the family, community, country and the world. These are the chief guidelines of all Spiritual texts and World Masters which should be cherished. If a religion does not teach or inspire such action then how it can be a religion? If you do not live by such guidelines then how you can be a religious person? You do not get wet by merely saying "water"; you have to touch it to get wet!

  • ਭੋਲੇ ਭਾਇ ਮਿਲੇ ਰਘੁਰਾਇਆ ॥: Bholae bhaae milae raghuraaeiaa: Through innocent Love, God is met (sggs 324).
  • ਸਾਚ ਕਹੋਂ ਸੁਨ ਲੇਹੁ ਸਭੈ ਜਿਨ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਕੀਓ ਤਿਨ ਹੀ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਪਾਇਓ ॥: Saach kahon sun leho sabhai jin prem keeo tin hee prabh paaio: Listen all, I tell you the Truth: One who practices love attains God (Guru Gobind Singh Sahib).
  • He that does not love has not come to know God, because God is love (Bible, 1John 4:8).
  • The best type of yogi is he who feels for others, whether in grief or pleasure, even as he feels for himself (Gita 6:32).
  • A lover's food is love for God .....Love alone is worth hunting — but how can you catch it in your snare? Unless, perhpas, you become His prey: Leave aside your snare and enter His! ( Sufi Jalaluddin Rumi).
  • Zuhiri's breast is full to the brim with the love of the beloved. No place is left in my heart for hating my rivals (Sufi Sarmad).

A man's body devoid of Love and Devotion to the Divine Name becomes his enemy. It is this enemy-body which then goes on to create havoc in the society in the form of fanaticism, hatred, conflicts, animosity, differences, fundamentalism, communalism, killing, lust, greed, anger, worldliness, self-conceit, jealousy, stubborn mindedness, falsehood, and so on. This is all corruption of man's false ego. Meditation on God's Name is the sure cure for this chronicle disease of egoism. We can know God, only when there is no more false "I".

  • ਵਿਣੁ ਨਾਵੈ ਵੇਰੋਧੁ ਸਰੀਰ ॥: Vin naavai verodh sareer: Without the Name, even one's own body becomes his enemy (sggs 931).
  • ਝਗੜੁ ਚੁਕਾਵੈ ਹਰਿ ਗੁਣ ਗਾਵੈ ॥: Jhagarr chukaavai har gun gaavai: Inner conflict comes to an end, chanting the Glorious Praises of the Lord (sggs 1344).

The essence of religion can be summarized as follows: "Listen-reflect-meditate", and with patience and faith "Serve, Love, Purify, Contemplate and realize the Ultimate Truth" in this life, "here" and "now". To fulfill these intentions of religion, first one must change to improve himself, and then help others along the way; because keeping the knowledge to oneself is like a donkey carrying the gold! The state of Divinity is not merely a personal achievement, but, it must culminate in a universal resurrection. Hence, let us try to be religious in the true sense of the term, and realize Aatmaan or Pure Consciousness as our True Identity. Only then "God has become everything" will become a living reality to us.

  • ਸੋ ਜਨੁ ਸਾਚਾ ਜਿ ਹਉਮੈ ਮਾਰੈ ॥: So jan saachaa ji hayumai maarai: Only those humble beings are true, who conquer their ego (sggs 230).
  • ਆਪੁ ਗਵਾਈਐ ਤਾ ਸਹੁ ਪਾਈਐ ਅਉਰੁ ਕੈਸੀ ਚਤੁਰਾਈ ॥: Aap gavaaeeai taa sahu paaeeai ayur kaisee chaturaaee: Give up your selfhood (ego-center), and so obtain your Beloved God; what other clever tricks are of any use? (sggs 722).
  • ਸਰਬ ਭੂਤ ਏਕੈ ਕਰਿ ਜਾਨਿਆ ਚੂਕੇ ਬਾਦ ਬਿਬਾਦਾ ॥: Sarab bhoot ekai kar jaaniaa chooke baad bibaadaa: I look upon all beings alike, and my conflict and strife are ended (sggs 483).

— T. Singh
www.gurbani.org