The restless mind wanders in the ten directions - it needs to be
pacified and restrained. Says Nanak, whoever knows
this technique is judged to be liberated (sggs 685).
The Spiritual Wisdom expounded by the Gurbani (Sri Guru Granth Sahib) is monistic. It's primary goal is realizing one's complete identity with the Mool within (Source, origin, Jot...), in perfect union and non-differentiation. This is termed realization of the Turiyaa Avasthaa, Sunn Samaadhi, Nirvikalapa Samaadhi, Sahaj Samaadhi, Divine Vision, Dasam Duaar, Nirvana, and so on. The Gurbani indicates that this Spiritual experience of our Mool can be attained in this very life, "here" and "now", granting the so-called liberation — permanent release from Maya, unenlightened existence, etc.; final or eternal emancipation (Moksha or Mokh, Mukti, etc.).
It is sensuality, craving for prolonging the material existence, craving for wealth and power, fears, ignorance, selfishness, Mayaic efforts, having a perverted view of the reality of the world and passions — lust, greed, anger, emotional attachment, pride, enviousness and stubbornness (and their numerous variations) — that yearn for intense physical pleasures of the world is the origin of bondage and suffering (Dukha). The cycle of life, birth and death continues indefinitely until it is broken through proper living, and correct vision guided by the inner Light of True Knowledge (Aatam Giaan). In other words, the evolution continues until the Jeeva (individual being) links back to its inherent perfection, uniting in prefect Oneness with his Mool, as does river water when returning to the ocean.
As indicated in the Gurbani, liberation does not mean death. It simply means total liberation from Mayaic intellect, etc. Hence, if liberation is to be achieved, it has to be realized while living in the body. It has no value after death; for what happens after death is immaterial. The Gurbani embraces the state of Jeevanmukti, liberated while alive, in which the evolved soul unfolds its inherent perfection while alive. This state of Jeevanmukta — living dead or one who "died before he died" — indicates the total demise of the false ego. This is the state in which one is not affected by the objective conditions, good or bad.
Presently, the majority of us in this world are asleep in unenlightened existence, bonded to objective conditions. What distinguishes the Jeevanmukta from the unenlightened or the non-liberated is his total freedom from all attachments, selfishness, lust and passions; his undivided abidance in the all-pervading Divine Presence within; his lucid witnessing consciousness; and his effortless Spiritual Wisdom, revealed in his spontaneous speech. In other words, the process of becoming Jeevanmukta involves separating one's consciousness from the material bondage.
The Jeevanmukta is also often referred to as the Awakened one (the Gurmukh): awakened to all illusions of Maya and liberated from them. He knows everything in life is impermanent; including life itself, money, fame, health, power, good things and bad things. At the present we are unable to experience this state of enlightened awareness, because it is masked by the sleep of ignorance, selfishness, passions, hatred, and so on — like a diamond covered with mud. In other words, when the Inner Light is overpowered by ignorance, the delusion of bondage or Maya arises in the mind. On the other hand, when one is firmly established in the Divine Knowledge (Aatam Giaan), the Maya's delusion comes to an end. Hence, when one Awakens to the fact that all is part of the illusion of egocentricity, one is free from that ego-illusion and all that goes with it. For the Realized being, Jeevanmukta, all illusions have vanished even as he lives out his life in the physical body. If the sun becomes a ball of ice or the moon a disc of fire, he will remain balanced. Free of all attachments and feelings of "likes and dislikes", nothing effects his state of Being. To put it otherwise, he lives in the world, but not of it. His purified intuition or transcendental bliss enables him to see the Reality as his own Mool within.
As indicated in the Gurbani (SGGS), the indescribable state of complete liberation is not be found outside, other places or in other objects. It's ever present within, "here" and "now"; but veiled by our suffering arising from our intense attachment to the body. In other words, attachment to the body is bondage, and detachment from it is liberation; subjugation of the Jeeva (individual being) to pleasure and pain is bondage, and absence of such subjugation is liberation. In other words, bondage is the conditioned mind attached to craving for enjoying the sense objects, and its abandonment is liberation. In essence, liberation is the total abandonment of all Vaasnaas or mental conditionings, without the least reserve. To put it otherwise, it's the dropping of limited identification, dissolution of individuality (false "I-ness", ਆਪਾ-ਭਾਵ), eradication of duality or separateness, removal of false boundaries, surrendering of illusions, or freedom from the falsehood that each one of us has created. It's the realization that "Sabh Gobind Hai, Sabh Gobind Hai"; simply meaning, It's all One Pure Consciousness (sggs 485). A liberated man sees the Mool in him the Mool in All.
True Knowledge (Aatam Giaan) liberates man from bondage. As the pure Mool (Source, origin, Jot...) is always present within, we are ever liberated, but not aware of it; just as a person who walks over a heap of gold buried underneath his feet without knowing it. Thus, liberation is not something afresh to be gained or found and then bring home. It's a state of mind or attitude. In other words, liberation is when all the inherent Divine Virtues are Awakened within and manifest in our day-to-day living, and when all the veils which prevent our experience of them fall away.
As we can see, it is not a goal we can strive for. Because, the very act of striving will keep us trapped within the cycle of thinking. Which is why the Gurbani asserts that there is nothing to be accomplished by merely thinking. Liberation, Enlightenment or Mool-realization is already within — we are what we are looking for. This is why the Gurbani urges us to train ourselves for meditation on the Formless, knowing that we have nothing afresh to strive for, nowhere to go or wander around, nothing new to create or attain. It's all "here" and "now". The teaching, instruction and the training the Gurbani offers us is simply for systematically removing the body-consciousness, so that we can awaken our Spiritual Being within and liberate ourselves from the poison of the mind by striking down the snake of every craving with the rod of Divine Knowledge. Thus both the cultivation of Divine Knowledge and cessation of craving must proceed together, simultaneously.
Therefore, to be liberated means to dwell deeply in the present moment, to be aware of what is going on within and around us "now". Practicing to live in the "now" cultivates mental purification, true understanding, intuitive knowledge, truthful living, love, compassion, contentment, and bliss. Simply put: going beyond all contact-sensation-craving phenomenon is the culmination of enlightened liberation — detachment from causative Karma, Maya, duality, and ignorance or non-knowledge. Hence, freedom from all types of attachments or slavery to the false self and the desires of the materials world is liberation. Simply put: it is the renunciation of everything selfish.
In misunderstanding, many teach and believe if you were to give up your life, commit suicide or kill others in the name of your religion or God, you will attain liberation or heaven. Not so; for such foolishness is not the escape, it only prolongs the suffering. Nobody can hand over liberation to somebody else, or made it to order. It does not come from martyrdom, unmeaning rituals, dogmas, mechanical recitation of scriptures, sacrificial and lip worship, hundreds of fasts, pilgrimage or wandering to shrines and tombs, austerities of yogis, etc. One must experience it himself to extricate the roots of suffering through Spiritual Wisdom gained from the diligent study of the scriptures and the self-reflection that our true identity is not body-mind-intellect personality, but the Unconditioned Reality. Hence, liberation depends on self-purification, which leads to Spiritual insight. In other words, true detachment that leads to liberation follows from observation and analysis of one's own life. If someone claims, "I can grant you liberation", he is a cheat. If we are willing to shed our undue emotional attachment to the body, ultimately we are destined to realize liberation — whatever be one's religion, creed, faith, philosophy or conviction.
The Gurbani does not affirm fatalistic belief or defeatism. Accordingly, it recognizes the possibility of the modification of one's mentality in this life by awakening the Divine Knowledge (Aatam Giaan) through Shabad-Vichaar. Since the undivided Divine Presence is equally present in all of us, His Divine Grace is also ever present within everybody as the one omniscient Mool (Source, origin, Jot...). In reality, That's our essential status — ("Joti-Svaroopa"). But, due to the wrong mentality we have cultivated for ourselves, we do not know it. Therefore, Grace is not to be found outside in the worldly objects. It is within, "here" and "now". It is none other than the perfect freedom from Maya and ego-mind. In other words, knowing ourselves as "Joti-Svaroopa" is itself Divine Grace. When we liquidate all our egoism, selfishness or attachments through inner surrender, we unfurl within ourselves the Divine Grace — Spiritual Perfection or absorbing of all the power of the Spiritual Force within — which is necessary to fathom glory of the Spirit. The enlightened ones say that the Divine grace always flows like the breeze. But we sit inside our dinghies without unfurling the sails; disabling ourselves to reach the other shore of the ocean of Sansaar. By focusing on the Truth within, and practicing right vision, prayer, love, devotion, dispassion, introspection, discrimination between real and ephemeral, earnestness, selflessness and compassion we reach liberation from where there is no return to birth-death cycle.
In conclusion, the ultimate purpose of human life is realization of the Mool within (Source, origin, Jot...), the liberation from rebirth and death is the byproduct of this Spiritual Perfection. This is why a true seeker cares less for either liberation (Mukti) or materiality (Bhugti). For he is after the real thing: Realization of his Mool within. All other things such as liberation, etc., are added unto him.
Thus, liberation, freedom, deliverance or Nirvana has to be discovered within. Also, liberation does not mean an end to intelligence, duty and responsibility. Neither it means running away from the world. It simply calls an end to the enslavement of the false ego-sense and Mayaic intellect. The Spiritual practices are all meant to develop control over one's mind; for only a meditative or unconditioned mind can intuit the bliss of his Pure Being within. A man of Mool-realization continues to engage in all activities of the world at the level of the body-mind-intellect, but he is always poised in his True Being within. Thoughts continue to arise in the mind of a Realized person as they do in the minds of others, but the real difference is that with his unconditioned mind he ceases to be a slave to them and hence remains unaffected by them. To the contrary, the rest of us become slave of our thoughts. Therefore, though it is not possible to dismiss thoughts from the mind but one could with practice stop converting them from taking root as desires and fears. This is the reason realization of the Mool, liberation or Nirvaana cannot be gifted to another like sharing some gross object or an empirical knowledge. It has to be realized by each individual for himself. Thus, liberation does not come without right understanding. As the Buddha says, "right views, right decision, right speech, right action, right living, right struggling, right thoughts, and right meditation", is the key.
To realize the Unconditioned Reality, Baabaa Nanak explains the five stages of Spiritual journey, and eight-fold practice for freeing the intelligence from the cloud of false ego-sense and from the thunderstorm of intense cravings. The five stages or realms of Spiritual journey are: the realm of Moral Duty or Dharma Khand, the realm of Spiritual Knowledge or Giaan Khand, the realm of Spiritual efforts or Saram Khand, the realm of Grace or Karam khand, the realm of Truth or Sach Khand (sggs 7-8). And the eight-fold practice to realize this journey is: continence or self-discipline (Jata pahaaraa); patience or Self-mastery (Dheeraj suniyar); proper Understanding or Intuitive Wisdom (Aihran mata); Self-knowledge or Realization (Ved hathiyar); Fear of God (Bhaou khallaa); Tapa (Agan Tapa taaou); devotion or Divine Love (Bhaandaa bhaaou); Meditation on Divine Name and Prayer, leading to Purity or Immortality (Amrit tita dhaal) (sggs 8).
— T. Singh
Updated on Thursday, April 18, 2013 3:26 PM (PST)
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