THE GURU: THE GRACE

ਗਿਆਨ ਅੰਜਨੁ ਪਾਏ ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦੀ ਨਦਰੀ ਨਦਰਿ ਮਿਲਾਇਦਾ ॥:
Giaan anjan paaye gur sabadee nadaree nadari milaaidaa:
Through the Gur-Shabad, (one who) applies the ointment of Spiritual Wisdom;
then, through his Grace, the Lord unites him in His Union (sggs 1065).
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The Gurbani's edict is that the Divine Grace ("Prasaad", "Nadar", or "Kirpaa") is essential in Spiritual Realization. But who is "Gur" or "Guru" in the Gurbani? Where can He be found? How can we ask Him to give us His Grace? Is His Grace separate from Him? Is He sitting "up there" somewhere, distributing His Grace? What is Grace? Why we need It? Is it lost? If It is, why did we lose It in the first place? Where did It go after we lose It?

As time and again we are reminded by the Gurbani, the Satgur is none other than the All-pervading Divine Presence within. In essence we are That — "Joti-Svaroopa". Also called Shabad, Raam, and so on, most importantly, this undivided Divine Principle dwells within the Heart as the Mool (Source, Origin, Jot...). Clearly, if te Lord is ever present inside the body, then His Grace must also be ever present within; for the Divine and His Grace are not separate from each other. Hence Grace is not exterior. In fact our very longing for Grace is due to the Grace that is already in us!

  • ਆਪੇ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਸਬਦੁ ਹੈ ਆਪੇ ॥: Aape Satgur Shabad hai aap: God is the Satguru as well as the Shabad (sggs 797).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਹੋਵੈ ਸੁ ਕਾਇਆ ਖੋਜੈ ਹੋਰ ਸਭ ਭਰਮਿ ਭੁਲਾਈ ॥: Gurmukh hovai su kaaiaa khojai hor sbh bharami bhulaaee: One who becomes Gurmukh (Spiritual Being) searches within his body; all others just wander around in confusion (sggs 754).
  • ਵਿਣੁ ਕਾਇਆ ਜਿ ਹੋਰ ਥੈ ਧਨੁ ਖੋਜਦੇ ਸੇ ਮੂੜ ਬੇਤਾਲੇ ॥: Vin kaaiaa ji hor thai dhanu khojade se moorr betaale (sggs 309).
  • ਹਉ ਢੂਢੇਦੀ ਸਜਣਾ ਸਜਣੁ ਮੈਡੇ ਨਾਲਿ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਅਲਖੁ ਨ ਲਖੀਐ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਦੇਇ ਦਿਖਾਲਿ ॥: Hau dhoodhedee sajjanaa sajjan maide naal: I search for my Sajjan, the Divine, outside, but He is already with me. O Nanak, the Unseen Lord cannot be seen; He is revealed only to the Gurmukh (sggs 1384).
  • ਬਾਹਰਿ ਢੂੰਢਿ ਵਿਗੁਚੀਐ ਘਰ ਮਹਿ ਵਸਤੁ ਸੁਥਾਇ ॥: Baahar dhoondh vigucheeai ghar mahi vasat suthaai: Searching outside of themselves, people are ruined (ਖੱਜਲ-ਖੁਆਰ); the object of their search is in the Home within (i.e., Heart) (sggs 63).
  • ਗੁਰ ਕਿਰਪਾ ਤੇ ਮੋਹਿ ਅਸਨਾਹਾ ॥: Gur kirapaa te mohi asanaahaa: It's also Divine Grace that I love Him (sggs 187).

In nutshell, Grace is our very Mool within (Source, Origin, Jot...). Therefore, Realization of the Mool is Realization of Grace, and vice versa. Since the Mool or Grace is all along there, It's not something to be acquired afresh. It's "here" and "now". The reason Grace is not manifest is our prevailing ignorance (Maya, illusion, ego, deluded mind, etc.). To understand it better, we can use the analogy of the sun. The sun is always present in its full brightness — it's never out of operation. However, due to rotation of the earth, the back portion of the earth experiences darkness. As the earth continues to rotate, when the sun dawns again we say the darkness is gone. But in truth the sun was always there. Similarly, the sun of Grace is always present in It's full Effulgence. Once the phantom of ignorance (Mayaic mind...) is removed, Grace is found to shine forth within. Grace, Spirit, Light, Guru, God are all synonymous with the Mool, and also eternal and immanent.

  • ਨਾਨਕ ਨਦਰੀ ਨਦਰਿ ਪਛਾਣੁ ॥: Nanak nadaree nadari pashaan: When Divine Grace is manifest, Divine is Realized (sggs 1343).
  • ਨਦਰੀ ਭਗਤਾ ਲੈਹੁ ਮਿਲਾਏ ॥: Nadaree bhagataa laihu milaaye: When Divine Grace is manifest, the devotees unite Him (sggs 1068).
  • ਤੇਰੀ ਨਦਰੀ ਸੀਝਸਿ ਦੇਹਾ ॥: Teree nadaree seejasi dehaa: When Divine Grace is manifest, one's body is blessed and sanctified (sggs 112).
  • ਕਿਰਪਾ ਕਰੇ ਸਬਦਿ ਮਿਲਾਵਾ ਹੋਈ ॥: Kirapaa kare sabadi milaavaa hoee: When Divine Grace is manifest, Shabad-Surti, God-consciousness, is obtained (sggs 158).

Grace is none other than the perfect freedom from Mayaic or ego-mind. Hence the nature of Grace is redeeming, enlightening and liberating from the repeated suffering. But when we act egocentrically (reactionary or mayaic efforts...), the flow of Divine Grace become shielded. As a result, even though Grace is always there, but we are unable to experience It fully. Just as an inverted pitcher can not be filled with liquid, similarly, a spiritually unfit mind can not receive or be filled with the Divine Grace. In other words, if we sit inside our dinghies without unfurling the sails, then we cannot expect to go to the other side. Similarly, although Divine Grace always flows everywhere like the breeze, if our efforts and consciousness are not linked to It, we cannot experience It. Without following the Divine guidance and Truth of the Gurbani, our extrovert mind becomes divided (duality or "Doojaa Bhaav") between instinctive and intellectual forces, making it very difficult to become poised or still enough to experience the Grace within.

  • ਨਾਮਿ ਸਮਾਵੈ ਜੋ ਭਾਡਾ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਊਂਧੈ ਭਾਂਡੈ ਟਿਕੈ ਨ ਕੋਇ ॥: Naam smaavai jo bhaandaa hoe. Undhai bhaandai tikai na koe: The Name can be treasured up if the mind-vessel is up-right; in the inverted vessel, nothing can be contained (sggs 158).
  • ਤੂ ਨਦਰੀ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਤੋਲਹਿ ਤੋਲ ॥: Too nadaaree andari tolahi tol: The Divine weighs us in the balance of Grace (sggs 25).
  • ਨਾਨਕ ਨਦਰੀ ਬਾਹਰੀ ਸਭ ਕਰਣ ਪਲਾਹ ਕਰੇਇ ॥: Nanak nadaree baaharee sabh karan palaah kareyi: O Nanak, all those who lack Grace, cry and weep and wail (sggs 1280).
  • ਸਾਚੌ ਸਾਹਿਬੁ ਮਨਿ ਵਸੈ ਹਉਮੈ ਬਿਖੁ ਮਾਰੀ ॥: When the Divine is realized within, the poisonous ego stands conquered (sggs 419).

It is our inner "filth" (Mall-ਮਲ) that covers our Mool and Grace. This inner "filth" is none other than the sense of separateness, wrong identity, body-consciousness, individualness, mental impurities or egoism, which conceal the Presence of Mool and His Grace. When we liquidate all our "filth" through Shabad-Vichaar, we unfurl within ourselves Divine Grace (Gur-Prasaad or ਗਿਆਨ ਦੀ ਕਿਰਪਾ...) or Spiritual Perfection, which is necessary to fathom glory of the Mool. To put it otherwise, with the destruction of the falsehood comes the total loss of duality. When duality is lost, there is Oneness. When there is Oneness, there is the linking with the Mool within (Mool-realization...), the full vision of Divine Grace within.

  • ਪ੍ਰਭ ਕਿਰਪਾ ਤੇ ਹੋਇ ਪ੍ਰਗਾਸੁ ॥: Prabh kirapaa te hoi pragaas: By Divine Grace, Enlightenment comes (sggs 271).
  • ਕੂਕ ਪੁਕਾਰ ਨ ਹੋਵਈ ਨਦਰੀ ਨਦਰਿ ਨਿਹਾਲ ॥: Kook pukaar na hovaee nadaree nadari nihaal: When the Divine Grace is manifest, the mortal no longer weeps and wails (sggs 1283).
  • ਤਉ ਕਿਰਪਾ ਤੇ ਹਉਮੈ ਤੁਟੈ ॥: Tau kirapaa te houmai tuttai: By Your Grace, egotism is eradicated (sggs 180).

We are oftentimes reminded in the Gurbani that only a very "rare" one on the path of Spiritual Realization truly yearns for Grace. Why? Because the impetus of most of us is to strive for worldly pleasures (Maya). While some are trying to awaken from this sleep of unenlightened existence, but find themselves caught in between the sensual pleasure and Truth, not knowing which way to go. One thing that need to be remembered here is that Grace can neither be made to an order nor passed on by one person to the other person as a mundane gift. It has to be earned and awakened within by the seeker himself. Nobody else can do it for him.

How then is it possible to have Grace awakened or set in within? Only sincere, unconditional and nonverbal surrender of the falsehood will make us intuitively understand Grace, which will ultimately lead us to Mool-realization. The true state of surrender is accepting that whatever happened happened by Grace of the Eternal Law (Hukam, Bhaanaa, or Will). This attitude of self-surrender helps one accept everything, including our Aatmaan, as the result of Divine Grace. Thus, although Grace is always present within, It's awaken with the earnest Shabad-Vichaar, which unfurls Gur-Prasaad (or ਗਿਆਨ ਦੀ ਕਿਰਪਾ...).

  • ਸਰਣਿ ਪਏ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਆਪਣੇ ਗੁਰੁ ਹੋਆ ਕਿਰਪਾਲੁ ॥: Saran paye prabh aapane gur hoaa kirapaal: When we surrender to our God, Gur (Giaan...) Grace is invoked (sggs 48).
  • ਗੁਰੁ ਮੇਰਾ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਗੁਰੁ ਰਿਦੈ ਧਿਆਨੁ ॥: Guru meraa giaanu Guru ridai dhiaan (sggs 864).
  • ਕਹੁ ਕਬੀਰ ਮੈ ਸੋ ਗੁਰੁ ਪਾਇਆ ਜਾ ਕਾ ਨਾਉ ਬਿਬੇਕੋੁ ॥੪॥੫॥: Kahu kabeer mai so guru paaiaa jaa kaa naaou bibeko(u) ||4||5|| (sggs 793).
  • ਗੁਰ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਪਦਾਰਥੁ ਨਾਮੁ ਹੈ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੋ ਦੇਇ ਦ੍ਰਿੜਾਇ ॥: Gur Giaan padaarath naamu hai hari naamo dei drirhaai: (sggs 759).
  • Giaan Guroo Aatam Oupdeshahu Naam Bibhoot Lagaao||1|| (Guru Gobind Singh Jee, Dasam Granth).

In short, the Divine Grace is man's enduring Wealth (Spiritual Knowledge, Mool-realization, Aatam-Giaan, etc.) which is not to be found outside; for It's ever present deep in the core of man's own Heart. It can only be merited by becoming a Spiritual Being (the Gurmukh). God has no preferences. Whether one is good or bad, His Grace equally illuminates everyone. The reason some experience His Grace more than others is the Inner Purity, refined composure or stillness of the mind — some seekers are more in tune than others. The mind in focus (ਇਕ ਮਨ ਇਕ ਚਿਤ...) becomes pointedly conscious of thought (Manna), word (Bachan), and action (Karma), and cognizes the lesson of each experience of the life. As the soul unfolds, Grace pours forth from within just as fragrance from the incense.

  • ਏਕ ਨਦਰਿ ਕਰਿ ਵੇਖੈ ਸਭ ਊਪਰਿ ਜੇਹਾ ਭਾਉ ਤੇਹਾ ਫਲੁ ਪਾਈਐ ॥: Ek nadar kar vekhai sabh oopar jehaa bhaaou tehaa phal paaeeai: (The Satguru lovingly) looks alike upon all, but we receive the fruits according to our own motives (ਭਾਵਨਾ, ਨੀਅਤ...) (sggs 602).
  • ਹੋਇ ਨਿਮਾਨਾ ਜਗਿ ਰਹਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਨਦਰੀ ਪਾਰਿ ॥: Hoi nimaanaa jagi rahahu Nanak nadaree paari: Be humble in this world, O Nanak, and Divine Grace will carry you across (sggs 259).
  • So as you begin to apply it (spiritual consciousness) in practice, your actions will become purified, your conditions (inner and outer) will become successful, your words will become perfected, blessings of divine grace will hasten toward you (Sufi Shams Tabreiz).

Divine Grace and Spiritual progress go hand-in-hand. In fact, knowing we are "Joti Svaroop" (true image of the Divine Light) is Grace in itself. Further, even to have the intense longing to know the Mool is also Grace. Additionally, to engage in Shabad-Vichaar, or to keep the company of Sat (Truth-ਸਚ) within and without, aimed at Enlightenment is Grace as well in itself.

  • ਕਰਿ ਕਿਰਪਾ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਆਪਣੀ ਜਪੀਐ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਨਾਮੁ ॥: Kari kirapaa prabh aapanee japeeai amrit naamu: When the Divine Grace is manifest, one meditates on Amrit Naam (Giaan...). (sggs 46).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਸਬਦੇ ਸਚਿ ਲਿਵ ਲਾਗੈ ਕਰਿ ਨਦਰੀ ਮੇਲਿ ਮਿਲਾਏ ॥: Gurmukhi sabade sach liv laagai kari nadaree meli milaaye: The Gurmukh, through the Shabad becomes lovingly attuned to the True Lord; then, through his Grace, the lord unites him in His Union (sggs 944).
  • ਗਿਆਨ ਅੰਜਨੁ ਪਾਏ ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦੀ ਨਦਰੀ ਨਦਰਿ ਮਿਲਾਇਦਾ ॥: Giaan anjan paaye gur sabadee nadaree nadari milaaidaa: Through the Gur-Shabad, (one who) applies the ointment of Spiritual Wisdom; then, through his Grace, the Lord unites him in His Union (sggs 1065).
  • ਗੁਰ ਕਿਰਪਾ ਤੇ ਪਰਮ ਪਦੁ ਪਾਇਆ ॥: Gur kirapaa te param padau paaiaa: With the Grace of the Gur (Giaan...), the Supreme Status is attained (sggs 1128). (sggs 1261).

— T. Singh
www.gurbani.org