"SAABAT SOORAT": INTACT CONSCIOUSNESS

ਨਾਪਾਕ ਪਾਕੁ ਕਰਿ ਹਦੂਰਿ ਹਦੀਸਾ ਸਾਬਤ ਸੂਰਤਿ ਦਸਤਾਰ ਸਿਰਾ ॥:
Nanak paaku kari hudoori hadeesaa saabat
soorati dastaar siraa (sggs 1084).
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The content of the Gurbani is esoteric knowledge recorded for the purpose of reflection and contemplation; to be followed by the Realization of the Mool within (Source, Origin, Jot...). However, in ignorance and selfishness, the educated members of the sly priest-class, clergy, clerics and religious scholars (ਵਿੱਦਵਾਨ) learn to misinterpret the contents of their scriptures and then arrogate themselves a monopoly of this knowledge, and then viciously trade upon it in a businesslike manner.

Misunderstanding of the true message of the Gurbani (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, SGGS) results in confusion and misguiding the generation. This confusion arises from our incapacity to understand what exactly is the connotation meant by the Spiritual Teachers when they used certain terms in their poetic expressions of the inexpressible Infinite Truth. One of such expressions in the Gurbani is "ਸਾਬਤ ਸੂਰਤਿ" (Saabat Soorat). The Word of the Gurbani is Spiritual; thus, beyond body-consciousness (false ego-sense, Mayaic intellect...). However, in the menacing body-consciousness when we stand confused and lost, we may take a direct literal meaning of this expression to suggest something like "a complete face", "an unaltered face", "an unaltered body", and so on! But, such worldly interpretation based on superficial dictionary meaning would be an insult not only to the Divine Word of the Gurbani but also to the Great Teachers who uttered these words in extreme ecstasy of their own Spiritual Experiences.

When we get more and more acquainted with the true Spirit of the entire Gurbani (or other Spiritual literature for that matter), the scriptural connotation in which the expression such as "Saabat Soorat " is used becomes crystal clear. "Saabat" (also spelt Sabat ) means intact, complete, total, undivided, unconditioned, unadulterated, unalloyed, unbroken, timeless, uncontaminated, immutable or pure. "Soorat" (or "Soorati") means Awareness or Consciousness. Integrating both terms, "Saabat Soorat " constitutes that state of Pure Awareness or Unconditioned Consciousness where there is no time and space or past and future (Doojaa Bhaav or duality-Maya). Such a state of Pure "Being" (the Gurmukh) exists when there is no attachment to the mind (egoism).

  • ਨਾਪਾਕ ਪਾਕੁ ਕਰਿ ਹਦੂਰਿ ਹਦੀਸਾ ਸਾਬਤ ਸੂਰਤਿ ਦਸਤਾਰ ਸਿਰਾ ॥: Nanak paaku kari hudoori hadeesaa saabat soorati dastaar siraa: Purify what is impure, and let the Lord's Presence be your religious tradition. Let your Intact Consciousness ("Saabat Soorat") be the turban on your head (sggs 1084).
  • ਨਦਰਿ ਤਿਨਾ ਕਉ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਜਿ ਸਾਬਤੁ ਲਾਏ ਰਾਸਿ ॥: Nadari tinaa kau Nankaa ji saabatu laaeae raasi (sggs 1238).

Thus, "Saabat Soorat " is our Real Being (Mool, Joti-Svaroopa...). However, false ego-sense (Haumai) has made us separate from This Source. The state of "Saabat Soorat" is synonymous with many other terms such as such as "Saabat Vasatu" (ਸਾਬਤੁ ਵਸਤੁ), Saabat Dill ("ਦਿਲ ਸਾਬਤਿ" - Intactness or Wholesomeness or Purity of the Heart-subtle, Inner Kaaiaa...), "Saabat Poonjee" (ਸਾਬਤੁ ਪੂੰਜੀ-Intact Naam-Wealth), "Saabat Jaage" (ਸਾਬਤੁ ਜਾਗੇ), "Saabat Hovai Raasi" (ਸਾਬਤੁ ਹੋਵੈ ਰਾਸਿ), "Poonjee Sabat Raasi" (ਪੂੰਜੀ ਸਾਬਤੁ ਰਾਸਿ), "Ih Poonjee Saabatu Dhannu Maalu" (ਇਹ ਪੂੰਜੀ ਸਾਬਤੁ ਧਨੁ ਮਾਲੁ), Truth, Shabad-Surti, State of complete detachment from Maya, egolessness, Soul-Nature, Soul-Consciousness, True Nature, Inner Purity, State of Spiritual Enlightenment or Spiritual Consciousness, Intact Consciousness, Total or Undivided Consciousness, State of being Liberated while incarnated (Jeevan Mukti), Chauthaa Pada or Turiyaa Avasthaa (Transcendental Sate), Sahaj Avasthaa, being established in Dasam Duaar (Tenth Gate), Amrit Dhaaraa, Brahm Giaan (intuitive Wisdom, Divine Knowledge, Aatam Giaan...), and so on.

  • ਇਸੁ ਗ੍ਰਿਹ ਮਹਿ ਕੋਈ ਜਾਗਤੁ ਰਹੈ ॥ ਸਾਬਤੁ ਵਸਤੁ ਓਹੁ ਅਪਨੀ ਲਹੈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Who remains Awake (Aware, Alert, Conscious-ਗਿਆਨ ਅਵਸਤਾ) in this (Inner) House are rare. (Whosoever remains Awake within) receives the Whole Thing (Intact, ਅਸਲੀ ਸਰੂਪ...). ||1||Pause|| (182 sggs).
  • ਕਬੀਰ ਕਾਇਆ ਕਾਚੀ ਕਾਰਵੀ ਕੇਵਲ ਕਾਚੀ ਧਾਤੁ ॥ ਸਾਬਤੁ ਰਖਹਿ ਤ ਰਾਮ ਭਜੁ ਨਾਹਿ ਤ ਬਿਨਠੀ ਬਾਤ ॥੨੨੨॥: Kabeer kaaiaa kaachee kaaravee keval kaachee dhaatu. Saabatu rakhahi taa raam bhaju naahi t binathee baat ॥੨੨੨॥: O Kabeer! The Kaaiaa is (like) a raw (ਕਾਚੀ: ਕੱਚੀ, unripe, crude, clay-built) pot (i.e., the racing mind attached to Maya is Kachaa-ਕੱਚਾ...). If you wish to keep it Intact (Total, Whole - free of Bikaars, Maya...), then Unite (Join...) the Raam (the Inner, "Aatam Raam"); otherwise, it will break (ਵਿਅਰਥ ਹੀ ਬਿਨਸ ਜਾਏਗੀ) ॥੨੨੨॥. (sggs 1376).
  • ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਖੋਜ ਪਰੇ ਤਬ ਪਕਰੇ ਧਨੁ ਸਾਬਤੁ ਰਾਸਿ ਉਬਰਿਆ ॥: Gurmati khoj pare tab pakare dhanu saabatu raasu oubariaa: Through the Gurmati (Gur-Giaan...), the (the "five": lust, anger, greed, etc.) get caught, and the Sipiritual Wealth (Naam Dhann... of that person) is recovered Intact (ਉਸ ਮਨੁੱਖ ਦਾ ਨਾਮ-ਧਨ ਨਾਮ-ਸਰਮਾਇਆ ਸਾਰੇ ਦਾ ਸਾਰਾ ਬਚ ਜਾਂਦਾ ਹੈ). ॥੨॥ (sggs 1178).
  • ਕਬੀਰ ਜਾ ਕੀ ਦਿਲ ਸਾਬਤਿ ਨਹੀ ਤਾ ਕਉ ਕਹਾਂ ਖੁਦਾਇ ॥: Kabeer jaakee dil saabati nahee taa kaou kahaan khudaai: O Shaikh! If you are without contentment, then there is no (spiritual benefit) of going to Mecca. (Because) O Kabee! Without the Intact or Pure Heart one cannot realize Mool (sggs 1374).

In fact this state of "Saabat Soorat" (Undivided Consciousness) is none other than our Essential Nature. This leads to the following question: If It never left us then how we lost track of It? Our false ego-sense (Haume) has intervened. That's all! False ego sense is nothing but disturbance on the surface of the Undivided Consciousness ("Saabat Soorat"); resulting in subject-object relationship (duality, Maya) where the world of names, shapes, cause, effect, time and space is seen.

Simply put: "Saabat Soorat" is a state of Pure Mind (or Heart) free of imprisonment from false ego - conditioning, attachment, delusion, jealousy, lust, selfishness, fear, desires, stubborn mindedness, pride, confusion, conflict, fear, grief, repression, anger, hatred, vengeance, fanaticism, ignorance, differences, corruption, death, doubt (Bharam), Mayaic Budhi, and so forth. In short, the state of "Saabat Soorat" is God's Mind.

After birth, while growing, we are trained and programmed to identify with the body-consciousness of "I, me, mine, your". In the process, side by side, there arises false ego — divided or conditioned consciousness — as one grows from infancy to adolescence. It then gets firmly rooted after we marry and entangle in the achievement of various worldly desires. The moment false ego becomes stronger in us, we become prisoner of cravings, fears, and delusions. Consequently, the world of gross objects looks real to us! Such divided or conditioned consciousness results in false self-identifications with the time-bound consciousness, resulting in contamination of the state of Pure Being.

  • ਜੈਸੀ ਅਗਨਿ ਉਦਰ ਮਹਿ ਤੈਸੀ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਮਾਇਆ ॥ ਮਾਇਆ ਅਗਨਿ ਸਭ ਇਕੋ ਜੇਹੀ ਕਰਤੈ ਖੇਲੁ ਰਚਾਇਆ ॥ ਜਾ ਤਿਸੁ ਭਾਣਾ ਤਾ ਜੰਮਿਆ ਪਰਵਾਰਿ ਭਲਾ ਭਾਇਆ ॥ ਲਿਵ ਛੁੜਕੀ ਲਗੀ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਮਾਇਆ ਅਮਰੁ ਵਰਤਾਇਆ ॥: As is the fire within the womb, so is Maya outside. The fire of Maya is one and the same; the C Jaisee agni udar mahi taisee baahari maya .... reator has staged this play. According to His Will, the child is born, and the family is very pleased. (After birth) Connection (absorption, ਲੀਨਤਾ, etc., from the Mool) snaps, and (the child) becomes attached to desires; (thereafter) the script of Maya runs its course (ਮਾਇਆ ਉਸ ਉਤੇ ਆਪਣਾ ਜੋਰ ਪਾ ਲੈਂਦੀ ਹੈ). (sggs 921).
  • ਦਸ ਮਾਸ ਮਾਤਾ ਉਦਰਿ ਰਾਖਿਆ ਬਹੁਰਿ ਲਾਗੀ ਮਾਇਆ ॥: Das maas maataa oudhar raakhiaa bahuri laagee maaeiaa: For ten months God preserved you in your mother's womb, and then afterward you became attached to Maya (sggs 481).
  • ਏਹ ਮਾਇਆ ਜਿਤੁ ਹਰਿ ਵਿਸਰੈ ਮੋਹੁ ਉਪਜੈ ਭਾਉ ਦੂਜਾ ਲਾਇਆ ॥ : Eh Maya jit Har visrai moh upjai bhaau dooja laya: This is Maya, by which the Lord is forgotten; emotional attachment and love of duality is born (sggs 921).
  • ਮਾਇਆ ਮੋਹਿ ਵਿਸਾਰਿਆ ਜਗਤ ਪਿਤਾ ਪ੍ਰਤਿਪਾਲਿ ॥: Maya moh visaariaa jagat pitaa pritipaal: In attachment to Maya, one forgets the Father, the Cherisher of the World (sggs 30).

How can Undivided become divided? It does not! In reality, Undivided ever remains Intact ("Saabat"), because Absolute cannot be "cause" and "effect". If you take something out of Infinite, It still remains Infinite! The opposite of "Saabat Soorat" is "ego-center" or the feeling of "mine, mine". With this "ego-center" arises the confusion (doubts...), in which we keep making one error: We take ourselves to be finite, and the inner for the outer and the outer for the inner. That Conscious Principle which is ever present in us, we take to be outside us, and what is outside (the world of gross objects) we take to be in us. Although the mind and its projections are external, but due to our faulty vision (egoism or Haume) we take them to be intimate. Consequently, we believe the world to be objective, while its entirely a projection of our psyche.

  • ਮੇਰੀ ਮੇਰੀ ਕਰਿ ਕਰਿ ਡੂਬੇ ਖਪਿ ਖਪਿ ਮੁਏ ਗਵਾਰਾ ॥: Meree meree kari kari doobe khapi khapi muye gavaaraa: Continually claiming,  "Mine, mine", the mortals are drowned; the fools waste away and die (sggs 380).
  • ਮਾਧਵੇ ਕਿਆ ਕਹੀਐ ਭ੍ਰਮੁ ਐਸਾ ॥ ਜੈਸਾ ਮਾਨੀਐ ਹੋਇ ਨ ਤੈਸਾ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Maadhve kiya kaheeyai bhram aisaa. Jaisaa maaneeyai hoi na taisaa ||1||Rahaaou||: O Lord, what can I say about this illusion; what we deem a thing to be, in reality, it is not like that ||1||Pause|| (sggs 657).
  • ਹੋਵਨੁ ਕਉਰਾ ਅਨਹੋਵਨੁ ਮੀਠਾ ਬਿਖਿਆ ਮਹਿ ਲਪਟਾਇ ਜਰੇ ॥: Hovun kouraa anehovun meethaa bikhiaa mahi lapataae jare: That which exists (Truth or Divine Name), seems bitter; that which does not exist (illusion or Maya), seems sweet to you. Engrossed in corruption, you are burning away (sggs 823).
  • ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਕਉਰਾ ਬਿਖਿਆ ਮੀਠੀ ...: Amrit kouraa bikhiaa meethee...: Amrit (Naam) seems bitter, and poison sweet. Such is the Saakat's condition, which I have seen with my own eyes. He is fond of falsehood, fraud and egotism. If he hears Naam, he feels like he has been stung by a scorpion. He continually yearns for Maya, and he never chants God's Praises in his mind (and/or) with his mouth (sggs 892).

Thus, although we all were born as "Saabat Soorat", however, with the expression of Vaasnaas — the undigested desires, psychological conditionings, latent memories, innate tendencies, inherent inclinations, self-limitations, dispositions, obstinate clinging to a fancy, deluded imagination, memories or subtle impressions of the past existing in our bosom — we ended up being a limited body-mind-intellect. Then, from this deluded personality arose the perceiver of objects, the feeler of emotions, and the thinker of thoughts. This is duality or separateness from the "Saabat Soorat ".

  • ਪਰਮੇਸਰ ਤੇ ਭੁਲਿਆਂ ਵਿਆਪਨਿ ਸਭੇ ਰੋਗ ॥ ਵੇਮੁਖ ਹੋਏ ਰਾਮ ਤੇ ਲਗਨਿ ਜਨਮ ਵਿਜੋਗ ॥: Paramesar te bhulliaan viaapan sabhe rog. Vemukh hoi Raam te lagan janam vijog: Forgetting the Transcendent Lord, all sorts of illnesses (of this material world) are contracted. Those who turn their backs on the Lord (in this life) will be separated from Him for many lives (sggs 135).

How can we retrace our steps back to our True Nature — "Saabat Soorat "?Identification with the finite apparatus of body-mind-intellect constitutes divided or time-bound awareness, while identification with the Infinite and Eternal Mool is "Saabat Soorat" or Pure Awareness. If we wish to rediscover This Truth, the Gurbani urges us to abandon the error of mistaken self-identification with the time-bound consciousness (body-identity).

The Gurbani indicates that he who considers himself free becomes free and he who thinks he is bound remains bound. To put it otherwise: "As one thinks, so one becomes''. The mind is the instrument for receiving Divine-knowledge (Aatam Giaan...). Due to ignorance it identifies with the body which is transient. One who wants to abide in the Mool ("Saabat Soorat" or Soul Nature...) has to get over this mistaken identification by rooting out everything that falls in the category of the non-Self. By constantly identifying with the Self the seeker manifests his Spiritual Nature called "Saabat Soorat" or "Joti-Svaroopa".

One of the distinguishing qualities by which it will be possible to identify a man of "Saabat Soorat" is the detached attitude by which he will be behaving even amidst worldly activities. While discharging his worldly duties, such person will not get himself emotionally involved in them. For this, practice of Shabad-Vichaar and living by the it from an early age will ensure that as a person grows, he will develop a deep affection to Truth only, ensuring intactness of "Saabat Soorat". Without "Saabat Soorat" or "Saabat Dill", as the Gurbani says, there is no attainment of God.

  • ਸਚੁ ਸਾਬਤੁ ਕੂੜਿ ਫਿਰਦਾ ਫਾਵਾ ॥: Sach saabat koorh firadaa faavaa: The Truth is Undivided (Saabat), whilst the falsehood moves around addled (Vaar of Bhai Gurdaas Ji).
  • ਸਾਂਗੈ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਸਾਬਤੇ ਸੇ ਵਿਰਲੇ ਬੰਦੇ ॥: Saangai andar saabate se virale bande: Those individuals are rare who can endure pain and remain Saabat (Intact...). (Vaar of Bhai Gurdaas Ji).

Such Spiritual Being is called "Gurmukh" in the Gurbani. The opposite of Gurmukh is Manmukh (material being...). In other words, a Gurmukh is a person situated at the platform of Undivided Consciousness called "Saabat Soorat". On the contrary, a Manmukh is a person infected with divided consciousness - false ego, Hayume, Mayaic Budhi, or unenlightened existence. Mental condition of the enlightened ones who have awakened themselves from the material or body-consciousness (Maya) and who have their "ego-center" Spiritualized is described in the Gurbani as follows as Gurmukhs.

The Gurbani speaks at the level of the Aatma (Soul, Mool, Jot - Niraakaar...) not at the level of the body-consciousness. In fact, the Gurbani does not promote body-consciousness (Maya, falsehood...). To the contrary, the Gurbani wants us to transcend or go beyond the body-consciousness (Maya, falsehood...). In fact, According to the Gurbani, a person in body-consciousness or Maya (i.e., the Manmukh) cannot remain Saabat (Intact Consciousness...). Only the Gurmukh (who understands and lives the Aatam Giaan of the Gurbani, who has transcended the body-consciousness or Maya, who has Realized his Mool...) can remain Saabat!

  • ਮਨਮੁਖ ਸੋਇ ਰਹੇ ਸੇ ਲੂਟੇ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਸਾਬਤੁ ਭਾਈ ਹੇ ॥੪॥: Manmukh soi rahe te loote gurmukhi saabatu bhaaee hae: O Brother! The Mnmukhs remain asleep (in Maya consciousness), and are plundered. Who have become Gurmukhs remain Intact (Undivided Consciousness...). (sggs 1024).
  • ਸਾਚਿ ਸਮਾਨੀ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਮਨਿ ਭਾਨੀ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਸਾਬਤੁ ਜਾਗੇ ॥: Saach samaanee gurmukh mann bhaanee gurmukh saabat jaagae: The Gurmukhs are merged in God; they are pleasing to His Mind. The Gurmukhs have their Consciousness Intact, safe and sound, awake and awake (sggs 1111).
  • ਪੂੰਜੀ ਸਾਬਤੁ ਰਾਸਿ ਸਲਾਮਤਿ ਚੂਕਾ ਜਮ ਕਾ ਫਾਹਾ ਹੇ ॥: Poonjee saabat raas salaamat chookaa jam kaa faahaa hae: His Spiritual stock capital is safe and sound. The noose of Death is cut away when one has Consciousness Intact (sggs 1032).

In order to realize the state of "Saabat Soorat", the Gurbani urges us to go back to that state of "Baal-Budhi" (infant-like Consciousness). That infant - which we are even at this very moment - is our Real Self (Joti-Svaroopa). We must retrace our steps back to That state of Intact Consciousness, where the real "I" is still in its Totality (Saabat). It was later, on account of the rise of false ego, that it became temporarily confused as "I am this or I am that". Simply put: Once the burden of false self-identifications is abandoned, the state of "Saabat Soorat" shines forth from the behind!

  • ਪਾਇਓ ਬਾਲ ਬੁਧਿ ਸੁਖੁ ਰੇ ॥: Paaeiou baal budhi sukh rae: Adopting the innocent mind of a child, I have found Peace (sggs 214).
  • Truly I say to you, unless you turn around and become as young children, you will by no means enter into the Kingdom of Heaven (Bible, Mt 18:3).

— T. Singh
www.gurbani.org