They alone are Beautiful and Attractive (i.e., of Divine Life
or Aatamic-Jeevan) who ever abide in Holy Communion.
Those who gather in this Divine Wealth (of Divine Life) -
they alone become Deep, Thoughtful and Vast (sggs 132).

God is mentioned to be All-Beautiful or All-Attractive. Whatever He does is Beautiful. That is His Nature. He is True, Good and Perfect. The man — Aatmaan or the Mool — is also mentioned to be made in the true Image of That "Beauty" ("Joti-Svaroopa"). The practical implication is this: if the Mool (Source, Origin, Jot...) is That, then it must also be of the nature of unsurpassed "Beauty". This gives rise to the following question, if the Mool is All-Beautiful then why the man becomes deeply entangled in an ordinary material consciousness ("Haume" or false ego-sense: lust, greed, etc.) and gets so tarnished?

  • ਊਚਉ ਥਾਨੁ ਸੁਹਾਵਣਾ ਊਪਰਿ ਮਹਲੁ ਮੁਰਾਰਿ ॥: Oocho thaan suhaavanaa oopar mahal muraar: Upon that Highest Plane of Sublime Beauty, stands the Divine Realm (sggs18).
  • ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਰੂਪੁ ਸਭ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਬਾਈ ਹਰਿ ਨਿਕਟਿ ਵਸੈ ਹਰਿ ਕੋਲੀ ॥: Har har roop sabh joti sabaaee har nikatt vasai har kolee: The Beauty, God's Light, is present in all; thus He dwells near by, close at hand (sggs ).

First, what is this "Beauty" the Gurbani referred to? In nutshell, the essence of "Beauty" is eternal Bliss ("Anand"). Whatever one perceives in the state of Bliss is Beautiful. To the contrary, whatever is perceived through tarnished consciousness is "Mailu" or "filth". In other words, when the connecting link between Aatman and Parmaatam is corroded, the "Beauty" becomes dimmed or obscured.

  • ਜਪਿ ਜਪਿ ਕਰਹਿ ਅਨੰਦੁ ਜਨ ਅਚਰਜ ਆਨੂਪੁ ॥: Jap jap karahi anand jan acharaj aanoop: Meditating and meditating on the embodiment of Wonder and Beauty, His humble servants are in Bliss (sggs 677).
  • ਹਮਰਾ ਚਿਤੁ ਲੁਭਤ ਮੋਹਿ ਬਿਖਿਆ ਬਹੁ ਦੁਰਮਤਿ ਮੈਲੁ ਭਰਾ ॥: Hhamaraa chit lubhat mohi bikhiaa bahu duramati mail bharaa: My consciousness is lured by emotional attachment and corruption; it is filled with evil-minded filth (sggs 799).

Simply put, this "Beauty" mentioned in the Gurbani is none other than the constant abidance in the Mool within (Source, Origin, Jot...). It is through the mirror of Divine Qualities that one is able to behold his own true Beauty. This "Beauty" alone is — only the Mool is, whence the phenomenal world emerges like a magic show due to the movement of the deluded mind.

  • ਪ੍ਰਾਤਮਾ ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਕਾ ਰੂਪੁ ॥: Soul (ਜੀਵਾਤਮਾ) is the form of Paarbrahm (sggs 868).
  • ਨਿਜ ਭਗਤੀ ਸੀਲਵੰਤੀ ਨਾਰਿ ॥ ਰੂਪਿ ਅਨੂਪ ਪੂਰੀ ਆਚਾਰਿ ॥ ਜਿਤੁ ਗ੍ਰਿਹਿ ਵਸੈ ਸੋ ਗ੍ਰਿਹੁ ਸੋਭਾਵੰਤਾ ॥ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਪਾਈ ਕਿਨੈ ਵਿਰਲੈ ਜੰਤਾ ॥੧॥: Nij bhagtee seelvantee naar. Roop anoop pooree aachaar. Jitu grihi vasai so grihi sobhaavantaa. Gurmukh paaee kinai viralai jantaa: Nij Bhagti is akin to a sweet (natured-ਮਿੱਠੇ ਸੁਭਾਵ ਵਾਲੀ...) woman; whose beauty is incomparable, and whose character is perfect (complete). The House (of the Heart) in which (this woman) dwells is such a praiseworthy House (Beautiful, ਸੋਭਾ ਵਾਲਾ). But rare are those who, by becoming the Gurmukh, attain (this woman-ਨਿਜ ਭਗਤੀ or the state of Nij Bhagti) ||1|| (sggs 370).

Thus, it is the Spiritual or Inner "Beauty" referred here in the Gurbani, not external or physical looks (Maya). In other words, the Gurbani's Beauty is not in the beauty salon — eyeliners, nails, skin, make-up, hairdo, and so on. As time and again stressed in the Gurbani, the physical beauty (Maya) is fading, vanishing, changeful, deceptive, temporary or fleeting. Accordingly, the bodily beauty in the Gurbani is called "thief", "useless", "false", "enemy", or simply "fraudulent". To put it otherwise, any beauty other than the "Beauty" of the Truth or Pure Self is like decoration on a dead body; for one day it must finish. Therefore, identification with it is like living in a grave of the dead body. The Gurbani labors to make us understand the difference between the real "Beauty" and the fading beauty as follows.

  • ਰਾਜੁ ਮਾਲੁ ਰੂਪੁ ਜਾਤਿ ਜੋਬਨੁ ਪੰਜੇ ਠਗ ॥: Raaj maal roop jaat joban panje thagg (sggs 1288).
  • ਰਾਜ ਕਪਟੰ ਰੂਪ ਕਪਟੰ ਧਨ ਕਪਟੰ ਕੁਲ ਗਰਬਤਹ ॥: Pride of power, beaut, wealth, and ancestry - are all fraudulent (sggs 708).
  • ਧਨੁ ਜੋਬਨੁ ਅਰੁ ਫੁਲੜਾ ਨਾਠੀਅੜੇ ਦਿਨ ਚਾਰਿ ॥: Wealth, youth and flower are guests for only a few days (sggs 23).
  • ਰੰਗ ਰੂਪ ਰਸ ਬਾਦਿ ਕਿ ਕਰਹਿ ਪਰਾਣੀਆ ॥: Rang roop ras baad ki karahi paraaneeaa: Plasure, beauty and delicious tastes are useless; what are you doing, O mortal? (sggs 322).
  • ਬਿਨਸੈਗੋ ਰੂਪੁ ਦੇਖੈ ਸਭ ਦੁਨੀਆ ॥: (Your) beauty will vanish, as the whole world watches (sggs 325).
  • ਕੂੜੁ ਕਾਇਆ ਕੂੜੁ ਕਪੜੁ ਕੂੜੁ ਰੂਪੁ ਅਪਾਰੁ ॥: Body, cloth, and immense beauty - are all false (vanishing, fraudulent, ਝੂਠ, ਧੋਖਾ, ਠੱਗੀ, ਨਾਸਵੰਤ, ਵਿਅਰਥ, ਮਾਇਆ ਦਾ ਮੋਹ). (sggs 468).
  • ਧਨੁ ਜੋਬਨੁ ਦੁਇ ਵੈਰੀ ਹੋਏ ਜਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹੀ ਰਖੇ ਰੰਗੁ ਲਾਇ ॥: Dhan joban duyi vairee hoye jinhee rakhe rang laai: Man's wealth and youthful beauty, which gave him so much pleasure, become his enemies (sggs 417).

The majority of us are unable to see the Wholesome "Beauty" of our True Nature for It has become covered with "filth" of ego or Haume. How it has become covered? The man is endowed with free will or free choice. The scriptural texts indicate it was not God's purpose for people to suffer or be fearful. One suffers when his ego-guided mind no longer does God's Will ("Hukam"). As we humans are endowed with free will, we have the ability to choose. We also have the ability to discriminate between good and bad or true and false or right and wrong. We are not made like machines or robots. Also, we are not made like animals, who are guided mainly by their instinct. We have the Divine Gift of free choice and discrimination to respond to evil or the unwholesome temptations of the sense-objects or the temptation of the "Beauty" of the Mool. Therefore, while we humans have this wonderful gift of free choice, we must accept the consequences of our choice.

  • ਜੈਸਾ ਕਰੇ ਸੁ ਤੈਸਾ ਪਾਵੈ ॥ ਆਪਿ ਬੀਜਿ ਆਪੇ ਹੀ ਖਾਵੈ ॥: Jaisaa kare so taisaa paavai. Aap beej aape he khavai: Man is rewarded according to his actions; as he sows, so does he eats or reaps (sggs 662).
  • ਜੇਹੀ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਤੇਹਾ ਤਿਨ ਰਾਹੁ ॥: Jehee surit tehaa tin raah: As is (beings') awareness, so is (their) way (sggs 25).

On account of the wrong choices (ego-guided actions, Mayaic efforts...), we confound the Mool with the physical frame and develop attachment towards the illusory world of the senses (Maya). Thus, in ignorance of our True Nature — which is all "Beauty" — we collect the seashell mistaking it for silver! Once the True Nature (Pure Consciousness) gets so tarnished with the body-bound ego, the miraze-like universe of names and shapes streams forth like waves from the see.

As the Gurbani repeatedly holds, we are That "Beauty" Itself — Jot-Svaroopa. Therefore, the Gurbani's advice to mankind is to become Gurmukh (Spiritual Being...), and then see one's own "Beauty" within. The more one comes closer and closer to this "Beauty", the more he will be in Love with It. In other words, the real Wisdom is the comprehension of this "Beauty", which remains ever-fresh. It is told the moment one becomes linked to this "Beauty" (one's True Essence) within — the state of Truthfulness or the state of absorption in Naam- or Shabad-Consciousness — one's body-mind-intellect apparatus blossoms forth with the Natural "Beauty", which never fades. In other words, external beauty becomes meaningful only when one realizes Spiritual Life or Spiritual Beauty within (Aatamic-Jeevan or Gurmukhtaa).

  • ਮਨੁ ਤਨੁ ਮਉਲਿਓ ਅਤਿ ਅਨੂਪ ॥ ਸੂਕੈ ਨਾਹੀ ਛਾਵ ਧੂਪ ॥ ਸਗਲੀ ਰੂਤੀ ਹਰਿਆ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਸਦ ਬਸੰਤ ਗੁਰ ਮਿਲੇ ਦੇਵ ॥: Manu tana moulio ati anoop. Sookai naahee shaav dhoop. sagalee roothee hariaa hoe. Sada basant gur mile dev: My mind and body have blossomed forth, in utter, incomparable beauty. They do not dry out in either sunshine or shade; they flourish in all seasons. It is always springtime, when I am in Divine Communion (sggs 1180).
  • ਕੀਰਤਿ ਸੂਰਤਿ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਇਕ ਨਾਈ ॥: Keerat soorat mukat ik naaee: Praise, Beauty and Liberation are in One Name (sggs 221).
  • ਰੂਪ ਰੰਗ ਦੇ ਨਾਮਿ ਸਵਾਰੀ ॥: Roop rang de naam savaaree: God has blessed me with Beauty and Love; through His Name, I am exalted (sggs 1143).
  • ਹਰਿ ਕਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਜਨ ਕਾ ਰੂਪ ਰੰਗੁ ॥: Hari Naam is the Beauty and Delight of Jan (Gurmukh, Daas, Bhagat...). (sggs 264).
  • ਨਾਨਕ ਨਾਮ ਵਿਹੂਣੀਆ ਸੁੰਦਰਿ ਮਾਇਆ ਧ੍ਰੋਹੁ ॥: Nanak naam vihooneeaa sundar maya dhrohu: O Nanak, without the Divine Name, the beauty of Maya's illusion — world-appearance — is fake (sggs 707).
  • ਸਭ ਕੈ ਮਧਿ ਸਗਲ ਤੇ ਉਦਾਸ ॥ . ..: Sabh kai madh sagal thae oudaas...: Live in the midst of all, and yet detached from all (Maya); Beauty, Intelligence, and the Realization of Reality; even-vision, and seeing all as One — says Nanak, these blessings come to one who chants and hears the Word (sgss 296).

— T. Singh