COUNTING BEADS

All accounting is in egotism. In this accounting, there is no
Peace (sggs 36). God cannot be obtained by counting; the
mortal wanders in doubt — Maya, duality etc. (sggs 510).
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All religious symbols and unmeaning rituals are openly, incisively and emphatically rejected by the Gurbani — Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS). But still, as seen everyday, the emphasis of most of the clergy, clerics, Bhais, Raagees, Kathaakaars, Giaanees, Parchaaraks, Sants, Baabaas, etc., is to promote religious symbols and rituals. Which is totally against the divine teaching of the Gurbani.

In this Gurbani Reflection, for example, let us consider rosary or Mala (pronounced Maalaa). Rosary reminds us of the truth that we should constantly remember God, thus it symbolizes complete surrender (of the ego-mind) to our Mool (Source, Origin, Jot...).

The point is to collect the scattered mind and focus it on the Mool, so that it can become one-pointed and, ultimately, rosary itself. Rosary also reminds us of the truth that many beads are held by the one thread, similarly, each of us is like a bead strung on the same One Thread of the Mool. Now just think what's the use of loading the body with Maalaas without keeping these principles in the mind. It is this ignorant practice of ours that's repudiated in the Gurbani. For example, many hang rosary around their neck, or wear a smaller version on their wrist. The beads and the string on which they are strung come in many designs, shapes, colors and materials — Rudraksh, Tulsi, Chandan, stainless steel, pearls, precious stones, gold, etc. Some wear them for showoff spirituality, or to impress upon simpletons, or to indulge in gimmickry and histrionics. Yet others count a fix number of rounds of beads while reciting prayers, and so on. Counting is totally meaningless when it comes to matters like God and His Grace. The Gurbani holds that this sort of display of the stubborn ego-mind (Haume) or Mayaic Budhi brings no benefit; thus useless.

  • ਤੂੰ ਗਣਤੈ ਕਿਨੈ ਨ ਪਾਇਓ ਸਚੇ ਅਲਖ ਅਪਾਰਾ ॥: Toon ganatai kinai na paaio sache alakh apaaraa: No one has attained You by clever calculations, O True, Unseen and Infinite Being (sggs 140).
  • ਆਸਾ ਬਾਣੀ ਸ੍ਰੀ ਨਾਮਦੇਉ ਜੀ ਕੀ     ਏਕ ਅਨੇਕ ਬਿਆਪਕ ਪੂਰਕ ਜਤ ਦੇਖਉ ਤਤ ਸੋਈ ॥ ਮਾਇਆ ਚਿਤ੍ਰ ਬਚਿਤ੍ਰ ਬਿਮੋਹਿਤ ਬਿਰਲਾ ਬੂਝੈ ਕੋਈ ॥੧॥ ਸਭੁ ਗੋਬਿੰਦੁ ਹੈ ਸਭੁ ਗੋਬਿੰਦੁ ਹੈ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਬਿਨੁ ਨਹੀ ਕੋਈ ॥ ਸੂਤੁ ਏਕੁ ਮਣਿ ਸਤ ਸਹੰਸ ਜੈਸੇ ਓਤਿ ਪੋਤਿ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਸੋਈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਜਲ ਤਰੰਗ ਅਰੁ ਫੇਨ ਬੁਦਬੁਦਾ ਜਲ ਤੇ ਭਿੰਨ ਨ ਹੋਈ ॥ ਇਹੁ ਪਰਪੰਚੁ ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਕੀ ਲੀਲਾ ਬਿਚਰਤ ਆਨ ਨ ਹੋਈ ॥੨॥ ਮਿਥਿਆ ਭਰਮੁ ਅਰੁ ਸੁਪਨ ਮਨੋਰਥ ਸਤਿ ਪਦਾਰਥੁ ਜਾਨਿਆ ॥ ਸੁਕ੍ਰਿਤ ਮਨਸਾ ਗੁਰ ਉਪਦੇਸੀ ਜਾਗਤ ਹੀ ਮਨੁ ਮਾਨਿਆ ॥੩॥ ਕਹਤ ਨਾਮਦੇਉ ਹਰਿ ਕੀ ਰਚਨਾ ਦੇਖਹੁ ਰਿਦੈ ਬੀਚਾਰੀ ॥ ਘਟ ਘਟ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਸਰਬ ਨਿਰੰਤਰਿ ਕੇਵਲ ਏਕ ਮੁਰਾਰੀ ॥੪॥੧॥: Aasaa baanee sree Naamadeou jee kee: Ek anek biaapak poorak jatt dekho tatt soee. Maya chitr bachitr bimohit biralaa boojhai koee ||1|| Sabh Gobind hai sabh Gobind hai Gobind bin nahee koyee. Soot ek man sat sahans jaise ot pot prabh soee ||1|| Rahaaou || Jal trang ar phen budbudaa jal te bhinn na hoyee. Ih parpanch paarbrahm kee leelaa bichrat aan na hoyee ||2|| Mithiya bharam ar supan manorath sat padaarath jaaniaa. Sukirat manasaa gur oupadesee jaagat hee man maaniaa ||3|| Kahat Naamadeou har kee rachanaa dekhahu ridai beechaaree. Ghat ghat antari sarab niranti keval ek muraaree ||4||1||: Aasaa baanee sree Naamadeou jee kee: In the one and in the many, God is pervading and permeating; wherever I look, there He is. (But) a rare person understands this (ਭੇਦ), because (generally the Jeeva - the individual beings) are fascinated (deluded) by the Maya's colorful imagery. ||1|| God is All (i.e., everywhere and everything), God is All (i.e., everywhere and everything); without God, there is nothing at all. As one thread holds hundreds and thousands of beads, So is (God) woven into All (i.e., everywhere and everything). ||1||Pause|| The waves of the water, the foam and bubbles, are not distinct from the water. (Similarly) this manifested world is the Play (Leelaa) of the Supreme Being; reflecting upon it, we find that it is not different from Him. ||2|| (Watching this Leelaa) the man believes worldly objects (ਪਦਾਰਥ) to be True (permanent, etc.), but they are like objects (ਪਦਾਰਥ) seen in the dream (i.e., untrue) - "ਮਿਥਿਆ ਭਰਮੁ " (Mitthiyaa Bharam). Un to whom the Guru bestows Good Understanding (ਭਲੀ ਸਮਝ), his mind stands awakened (from delusion, untruth, "ਮਿਥਿਆ ਭਰਮੁ", etc.), and his mind accepts this (that the worldly objects are Mithiya, unreal, impermanent, etc.). ||3|| Says Naam Dev, reflect upon this in your heart that this is the Creation of the Lord. In each and every heart, and deep within the very nucleus of all, is the One God (i.e., in this entire Creation, only One Lord pervades in everyone and everywhere). ||4||1|| (sggs 485).
  • ਕਬੀਰ ਜਪਨੀ ਕਾਠ ਕੀ ਕਿਆ ਦਿਖਲਾਵਹਿ ਲੋਇ ॥ ਹਿਰਦੈ ਰਾਮੁ ਨ ਚੇਤਹੀ ਇਹ ਜਪਨੀ ਕਿਆ ਹੋਇ ॥੭੫॥: Kabeer japnee kaath kee kiaa dikhlaavahi loi. Hirdai Naam n chetahee ih japnee kiaa hoi ||75||: Kabeer, why do you show other people your rosary beads? You do not remember God in your heart, so what use is this rosary (ਹੱਥ ਵਿਚ ਫੜੀ ਹੋਈ) to you? ||75|| (sggs 1368).
  • ਸੁਖੁ ਨਾਹੀ ਫੁਨਿ ਦੂਐ ਤੀਐ ॥: Sukh naahee fun dhooai theeai: There will be no peace then, from counting out by twos and threes (sggs 111).
  • ਙਣਤੀ ਙਣੀ ਨਹੀ ਕੋਊ ਛੂਟੈ ॥: Ganatee ganee nahee koou shootai: No one is emancipated by counting and calculating (sggs 254).
  • ਗਣਤੈ ਪ੍ਰਭੂ ਨ ਪਾਈਐ ਦੂਜੈ ਭਰਮੀਤਾ ॥: Ganatai prabhoo na paaeeai doojai bharameetaa: God cannot be obtained by counting; the mortal wanders in doubt — Maya, duality etc. (sggs 510).
  • ਪੜੀਐ ਗੁਨੀਐ ਨਾਮੁ ਸਭੁ ਸੁਨੀਐ ਅਨਭਉ ਭਾਉ ਨ ਦਰਸੈ ॥: Pareeyai guneeyai Naam sabh suneeyai anabhayu bhaayu na darsai: People everywhere read, hear and reflect upon God's Name; but (due to desires and fear, doubts, etc.) they cannot develop true Divine Love, and they cannot experience God within (sggs 973).

It is the scattered mind free to escape through the uncontrolled senses that wanders hither and thither, acting strangely on countless wavelengths. The Gurbani thunders forth the declaration that all calculations are of the differentiated consciousness — ego, Maya, Haume or Manmukhtaa — and that no one can realize Parameshar by such mechanical process that feeds on conceptualization of the instinctive mind sunk in relativist consciousness. Simply put, counting is the nature of the deluded or selfish ("filthy") mind. It is the way of the false ego or modified consciousness. Since Maya is false, all such calculations are false as well. Thus of no use.

  • ਹਉਮੈ ਸਭਾ ਗਣਤ ਹੈ ਗਣਤੈ ਨਉ ਸੁਖੁ ਨਾਹਿ ॥: All accounting is in egotism. In this accounting, there is no Peace (sggs 36).
  • ਰਿਦੈ ਕੂੜੁ ਕੰਠਿ ਰੁਦ੍ਰਾਖੰ ॥: Ridai koorr kanth rudraakham: O man, you wear the rosary beads of Shiva around your neck, but your heart is filled with falsehood (sggs 1351).
  • ਮਾਥੇ ਤਿਲਕੁ ਹਥਿ ਮਾਲਾ ਬਾਨਾਂ ॥ ਲੋਗਨ ਰਾਮੁ ਖਿਲਉਨਾ ਜਾਨਾਂ ॥: Maathe tilk hath maalaa baanaa. Logan Raam khilonaa jaanaa: People apply ceremonial marks to their foreheads, hold Maalaa or rosary in their hands, and wear religious robes. People think that the Lord is a toy or a play-thing (sggs1158)!
  • ਕਬੀਰ ਬੈਸਨੋ ਹੂਆ ਤ ਕਿਆ ਭਇਆ ਮਾਲਾ ਮੇਲੀਂ ਚਾਰਿ ॥ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਕੰਚਨੁ ਬਾਰਹਾ ਭੀਤਰਿ ਭਰੀ ਭੰਗਾਰ ॥: Kabeer baisano hooaa ta kiaa bhaiaa maalaa meleen chaar. Baahar kanchan baarahaa bheetar bharee bhangaar: Kabeer, what good is it to become a God's devotee, and wear four Maalaas? On the outside, you (pretend to) look like pure gold; but on the inside, you is stuffed with filth or inner-garbage (sggs 1372).

According to the Gurbani, as God cannot be calculated, any businesslike conduct of the ego-mind is rejected by the Gurbani. Because any amount of symbols hung on the perishable body or any amount of empty rituals performed under the spell of lust, greed, selfishness, etc., can never transform one's fickle mind enchanted with reactionary spirituality and unproductive thought-wanderings. Just a few short prayers (Ardaas), some calculated chanting, some counted Mantra recitation with rosary are totally insufficient. For this sort of unsustained meditation or Jap cannot change one. Man's psychological ego is so stubborn and powerful that unbroken inwardly efforts are needed. It is only with such intact inwardly practice negative emotions of the conditioned mind will disappear.

  • ਤੂ ਕਰਤਾ ਆਪਿ ਅਗਣਤੁ ਹੈ ਸਭੁ ਜਗੁ ਵਿਚਿ ਗਣਤੈ ॥: Too karata aapi aganat hai sabh jagg vichi ganatai: You Yourself, O Creator, are incalculable, while the entire world is within the realm of calculation (sggs 314).
  • ਗਣਤੈ ਸੇਵ ਨ ਹੋਵਈ ਕੀਤਾ ਥਾਇ ਨ ਪਾਇ ॥ ਸਬਦੈ ਸਾਦੁ ਨ ਆਇਓ ਸਚਿ ਨ ਲਗੋ ਭਾਉ ॥ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਪਿਆਰਾ ਨ ਲਗਈ ਮਨਹਠਿ ਆਵੈ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਜੇ ਇਕ ਵਿਖ ਅਗਾਹਾ ਭਰੇ ਤਾਂ ਦਸ ਵਿਖਾਂ ਪਿਛਾਹਾ ਜਾਇ ॥: Gantai sev n hovaee keetaa thaai n paai ...: Calculated service is not service at all, and what is done is not approved (ਸਫਲ, ਕਬੂਲ). The flavor of the Shabad is not tasted if the mortal is not in love with God. The stubborn-minded person does not even like the Satguru; he comes and goes (in his stubborness). (But by doing so - coming and going in stubborness - he does experience any any spiritual progress because) he takes one step forward, and ten steps back (sggs 1246).
  • ਕਿਆ ਪੜੀਐ ਕਿਆ ਗੁਨੀਐ ॥ ਕਿਆ ਬੇਦ ਪੁਰਾਨਾਂ ਸੁਨੀਐ ॥ ਪੜੇ ਸੁਨੇ ਕਿਆ ਹੋਈ ॥ ਜਉ ਸਹਜ ਨ ਮਿਲਿਓ ਸੋਈ ॥੧॥: Kiaa parheeai kiaa guneeai ...: What use is it to read, and what use is it to study? What use is it to listen to the scriptures? What use is reading and listening, if (Truth ) is not naturally (spontaneously, Sahaj ਤੌਰ ਤੇ, ਕੁਦਰਤੀ ਨਤੀਜੇ ਦੇ ਤੌਰ ਤੇ, ਆਤਮਕ ਅਡੋਲਤਾ ਦੇ ਤੌਰ ਤੇ, etc.,) realized? ||1|| (sggs 655).
  • ਊਠਤ ਬੈਠਤ ਸੋਵਤ ਜਾਗਤ ਹਰਿ ਧਿਆਈਐ ਸਗਲ ਅਵਰਦਾ ਜੀਉ ॥੧॥: Oothat baithat sovat jaagat hari dhiaaeeai sagal avardaa jeeou ||1||: While standing and sitting, while sleeping and while awake, meditate on God, all your life ||1|| (sggs 101).
  • ਇਸੁ ਗੜ ਮਹਿ ਹਰਿ ਰਾਮ ਰਾਇ ਹੈ ਕਿਛੁ ਸਾਦੁ ਨ ਪਾਵੈ ਧੀਠਾ ॥: Is garh mahi Hari Raam raai hai kish saad na paavai dheethaa: Within (body-) fortress is the Lord King, but the stubborn-minded do not find the taste (becaues he has become stubborn tasting Bikaar - evil inclinations, etc.) (sggs 171).

To release one's personality from its misapprehensions, the Gurbani's advice to all mankind is to become Spiritual Being (Gurmukh). All counting is for the conditioned or material being (Manmukh) for his world is in the realm of calculations — egoism or Maya. There is no counting or calculations for the Gurmukh; because he knows he is not separate from God. He thus relieves himself of all egoistic or mental calculations through constant abidance in Shabad-Surti.

  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਸਗਲੀ ਗਣਤ ਮਿਟਾਵੈ ॥: Gurmukh sagalee ganath mittaavai: The Gurmukh erases all calculations (sggs 942).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਗਣਤ ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦਿ ਨਿਵਾਰੇ ॥: Houmai ganat gur sabadi nivaare: Egotistic or mental calculations are relieved through the Divine Shabad (sggs 1065).
  • ਮੂਰਖਿ ਪੜਿ ਪੜਿ ਦੂਜਾ ਭਾਉ ਦ੍ਰਿੜਾਇਆ॥ ਬਹੁ ਕਰਮ ਕਮਾਵੈ ਦੁਖੁ ਸਬਾਇਆ ॥: Parh parh doojaa bhaav drirraaiaa. Bahu karak kamaavai dukh sabaaiaa: The fool reads and reads, but holds tight to duality. He performs all sorts of rituals, but still suffers terrible pain (sggs 424).

What sort of rosary are we urged by the Gurbani to carry? Sublime rosary!

The beads of such sublime rosary are not made of Rudraksh, Tulsi, Chandan, etc. According to the Gurbani, this rosary and its beads is none other than one's undivided Shabd-Vichaar; one's good deeds; one's tongue upon which the Divine Name is strung; one's subjugation of the ten senses; one's good conduct; one's noble virtues such as kindness and forgiveness; and so on. This is the rosary of the True Being (Gurmukh or a Spiritual person). Meditation and spiritual Wisdom is not possible without such wholesome inwardly concentration. Therefore, to awaken the Divine Grace within, we are time and again reminded by the Gurbani to enshrine such a sublime rosary in the Heart, and to discard the outer rosary. In other words, Gurmukhtaa (Spiritual Life) cannot be tasted unless we are spontaneously and infinitely in love with the Mool within (Source, Origin, Jot...).

  • ਕਬੀਰ ਮੇਰੀ ਸਿਮਰਨੀ ਰਸਨਾ ਉਪਰਿ ਰਾਮੁ ॥: Kabeer meree simaranee rasanaa oopar raam: Kabeer, my rosary is my tongue, upon which the Divine Name is strung (sggs 1364).
  • ਰਾਮੁ ਰਿਦੈ ਜਪਮਾਲੀ ॥: Raam ridhai japamaalee: Let your rosary be the chanting of Divine Name in your Heart (sggs 503).
  • ਸੁਕ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਕਰਣੀ ਸਾਰੁ ਜਪਮਾਲੀ ॥: Sukirat karanee saar japamaalee: To do good deeds is the best rosary (sggs 1134).
  • ਕਬੀਰ ਮੇਰੀ ਸਿਮਰਨੀ ਰਸਨਾ ਊਪਰਿ ਰਾਮੁ ॥: Kabeer meree simaranee rasanaa oopar raam: Kabeer, my rosary is my tongue, upon which the Divine Name is strung (sggs 1364).
  • ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਈਐ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਮਨਿ ਜਪੀਐ ਹਰਿ ਜਪਮਾਲਾ ॥: Gurmat naam dhiaaeeai har har mani japeeai har japamaalaa: Follow the Divine Teachings, and meditate on the Naam. Make this your rosary and Meditate on its beads (sggs 985).
  • ਤਸਬੀ ਯਾਦਿ ਕਰਹੁ ਦਸ ਮਰਦਨੁ ਸੁੰਨਤਿ ਸੀਲੁ ਬੰਧਾਨਿ ਬਰਾ ॥: Tasabee yaad karahu das maradan sunnat seel bandhaan baraa: Let your meditation beads be the subjugation of the ten senses. Let good conduct and self-restraint be your circumcision (sggs 1084).
  • ਹਿਰਦੈ ਫੇਰਿ ਚਲੈ ਤੁਧੁ ਨਾਲੀ ॥: Hiradai feri chalai tudh naalee: Chant on the beads of your Heart within, and it will go along with you (sggs 1134).
  • ਦਇਆ ਦੇਵਤਾ ਖਿਮਾ ਜਪਮਾਲੀ ਤੇ ਮਾਣਸ ਪਰਧਾਨ ॥: Daiaa devataa khimaa japamaalee te maanas paradhaan: Those who have kindness as their deity, and forgiveness as their chanting beads - they are the most excellent people (sggs 1245).
  • ਹਰਿ ਮਾਲਾ ਉਰ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਧਾਰੈ ॥ ਜਨਮ ਮਰਣ ਕਾ ਦੂਖੁ ਨਿਵਾਰੈ ॥੨॥: Har maalaa our antar dhaarai || Janam maran kaa dookh nivaarai ||2||: (That person who) enshrines the rosary of God's Name within the heart, is freed of the pains of birth and death cycle ||2|| (sggs 388).

Thus is the sublime rosary prescribed for us in the Gurbani, which is to spontaneously and naturally be imbued in Divine Essence — Mool (Source, Origin, Jot...) within while sitting, standing, walking, eating, working, and so on. In other words, by becoming a Spiritual Being (Gurmukh), the seeker must plunge headlong into his Pure Self Within; without calculating and counting his devotion or meditation. A Spiritual Being is always fearless. Because he knows the Self — one's Spiritual Nature — is not a bundle of fears and temptations; it's instead a Blissful-Conscious-Existence. Only upon realizing this realm of Truth, the moss of doubt (Bharam) will leave us alone. Until then, it's all babbling in the false ego-sense.

The truth is that the majority of us do not really bother to diligently read the Gurbani and understand the message it was meant to convey. The most of us are selfish (Mayadhaaree...). On account of this selfishness, we neither comprehend nor realize when we read the Gurbani.

  • ਸਾਚੁ ਕਤੇਬ ਬਖਾਨੈ ਅਲਹੁ ਨਾਰਿ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਨਹੀ ਕੋਈ ॥ ਪਢੇ ਗੁਨੇ ਨਾਹੀ ਕਛੁ ਬਉਰੇ ਜਉ ਦਿਲ ਮਹਿ ਖਬਰਿ ਨ ਹੋਈ ॥੨॥: Saach kateb bkhaanai Allah naar na purakh nahee koee. Parhe gune naahee kashoo baoure jaou dil mahi khabari n hoee ||2||: (O Qazi) your holy scriptures say that Allah is True (Truth, eternal, ਸਦਾ ਕਾਇਮ ਰਹਿਣ ਵਾਲਾ, etc.), and that he is neither male nor female (ਜਿਸ ਵਿਚ ਕੋਈ ਜਨਾਨੀ ਮਰਦ ਦਾ ਭਾਵ ਨਹੀ ਹੈ). You gain nothing by reading and studying, O mad (Qazi), if you don't gain (this) Understanding (ਸੂਝ) in your heart ||2|| (sggs 483).
  • ਅਕਲੀ ਪੜ੍ਹ੍ਹਿ ਕੈ ਬੁਝੀਐ ਅਕਲੀ ਕੀਚੈ ਦਾਨੁ ॥ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਆਖੈ ਰਾਹੁ ਏਹੁ ਹੋਰਿ ਗਲਾਂ ਸੈਤਾਨੁ ॥੧॥: Aklee parh kai bujheeyai aklee keejai daan. Nanak aakhai raah eho hor gallan saitaan ||1||: One should read scriptures with intelligence, and then understand them. Also, one should give charity with intelligence. Says Nanak, this is the true Path; other things lead to Satanic life ||1|| (sggs 1245).
  • ਕੁਬੁਧਿ ਚਵਾਵੈ ਸੋ ਕਿਤੁ ਠਾਇ ॥... ਕੁਬੁਧਿ ਮਿਟੈ ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦੁ ਬੀਚਾਰਿ ॥: Kabudh chavaavai so kitu thaai... Kubudhi mitai gur sabadu beechaar: Where is that place, where evil tmindedness is destroyed? ...Evil mindedness is erased by Reflecting on the Shabad (Shabad-Vichaar). (sggs 944).

— T. Singh
www.gurbani.org