NATURE IS A GREAT TEACHER IN SPIRITUAL LIFE

O Nanak, the True One is the Giver of all; He is revealed through
His All-powerful Creative Nature (sggs 141).
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The spiritual quest, which every individual undertakes whether consciously or unconsciously, is the urge to know his Essential Being, which is Divine ("Joti-Svaroopa"). Nowadays due to rat race in day-to-day living, human beings are alienated from nature. It teaches us real selflessness, true renunciation and sacrifice etc. We can thus learn a great deal from nature: very often it's a great teacher in spiritual life because it enables the spiritual seeker to be in touch with Reality. God is revealed through His All-powerful Creative nature. As indicated in the Gurbani, everything seen is God in action. The world-scriptures are replete with examples from nature to illustrate abstract concepts.

  • ਨਾਨਕ ਸਚ ਦਾਤਾਰੁ ਸਿਨਾਖਤੁ ਕੁਦਰਤੀ ॥: Nanak sach daataar sinaakhat kudaratee: O Nanak, the True One is the Giver of all; He is revealed through His All-powerful Creative Nature (sggs141).
  • ਉਤਭੁਜੁ ਚਲਤੁ ਕੀਆ ਸਿਰਿ ਕਰਤੈ ਬਿਸਮਾਦੁ ਸਬਦਿ ਦੇਖਾਇਦਾ ॥: Outabhuj chalat keeaa sir karatai bisamaad sabad dhekhaaidaa: The Supreme Creator created the play of Nature; through the Word of His Shabad, He stages His Wondrous Show (sggs 1037).
  • ਕੁਦਰਤ ਇਕ ਅਤੋਲਵੀਂ ਲੇਖਾ ਨਾਂ ਲਿਖਾਯਾ ॥: Kudarat ik atolaveen lekhaa naan likhaayaa: A fraction of their grandeur cannot be explained. Only nature is infinite whose expanse cannot be counted (Bhai Gurdaas Jee, Vaar 13).
  • ਕੁਦਰਤ ਕੀਮ ਨ ਜਾਣੀਐ ਕਾਦਰ ਕਿਨਿ ਪਾਯਾ ॥: Kudarat keem na jaaneeai kaadar kin paayaa: When nature is unknowable how could its creator be known? (Bhai Gurdaas Jee, Vaar 13).

Here are a few examples in this context. First consider flowers. Flowers are very short lived, compared with the human life. But yet flowers smile, even they live a few days. Not only that , they selflessly give their nectar to bees. However, we the humans due to the humdrum of daily life (ego or Haume — lust anger, greed, attachment, self-conceit, enviousness, stubborn mindedness etc.), whose life-span is significantly longer than flowers, do not know how to genuinely smile and selflessly love others! Also, as Baabaa Nanak observes, as flowers are short lived, so is one's youth and material wealth. But the layperson due to attachment and the feelings of "mine mine" (ego or Haume) are so fearful that he thinks it's all permanent! The Gurbani says, we all can blossom forth like flowers (the state of egolessness), if we can imbibe in the Divine Name.

  • ਧਨੁ ਜੋਬਨੁ ਅਰੁ ਫੁਲੜਾ ਨਾਠੀਅੜੇ ਦਿਨ ਚਾਰਿ ॥: Wealth, youth and flower are guests for only a few days (sggs 23).
  • ਕਾਪੜੁ ਪਹਿਰਸਿ ਅਧਿਕੁ ਸੀਗਾਰੁ ॥ ਮਾਟੀ ਫੂਲੀ ਰੂਪੁ ਬਿਕਾਰੁ ॥ ਆਸਾ ਮਨਸਾ ਬਾਂਧੋ ਬਾਰੁ ॥ ਨਾਮ ਬਿਨਾ ਸੂਨਾ ਘਰੁ ਬਾਰੁ ॥: One wears beautiful clothes with all sorts of decorations. The flowers turn to dust, and beauty leads into evil. Hope and desire have blocked the doorway. Without the Naam, one's hearth and home are deserted (sggs 1187).
  • ਨਾਮੁ ਤੇਰਾ ਆਧਾਰੁ ਮੇਰਾ ਜਿਉ ਫੂਲੁ ਜਈ ਹੈ ਨਾਰਿ ॥: Naam teraa aadhaar meraa ji-o fool ja-ee hai naar: Your Name is my Support, like the flower blossoming in the water (sggs 338).

Wonderful fragrance is boxed in flowers. The Gurbani says that as the fragrance which remains in the flower, and like the reflection in the mirror, God dwells within us. But, owing to our ignorance and illusion, we do not know this Truth. The Gurbani says that by conquering the outgoing mind, we must find God within while incarnated in this life.

  • ਧਨਾਸਰੀ ਮਹਲਾ ੯ ॥ ਕਾਹੇ ਰੇ ਬਨ ਖੋਜਨ ਜਾਈ ॥ ਸਰਬ ਨਿਵਾਸੀ ਸਦਾ ਅਲੇਪਾ ਤੋਹੀ ਸੰਗਿ ਸਮਾਈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਪੁਹਪ ਮਧਿ ਜਿਉ ਬਾਸੁ ਬਸਤੁ ਹੈ ਮੁਕਰ ਮਾਹਿ ਜੈਸੇ ਛਾਈ ॥ ਤੈਸੇ ਹੀ ਹਰਿ ਬਸੇ ਨਿਰੰਤਰਿ ਘਟ ਹੀ ਖੋਜਹੁ ਭਾਈ ॥੧॥ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਭੀਤਰਿ ਏਕੋ ਜਾਨਹੁ ਇਹੁ ਗੁਰ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਬਤਾਈ ॥ ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਬਿਨੁ ਆਪਾ ਚੀਨੈ ਮਿਟੈ ਨ ਭ੍ਰਮ ਕੀ ਕਾਈ ॥੨॥੧॥: Kaahe re ban khojan jaaee ...: Dhanaasaree Mahalaa 9. Why do you go looking (for God) in the forest? Although he is ever detached, he dwells everywhere. He even abides with you. ||1||Pause|| Like the fragrance which remains in the flower, and like the reflection in the mirror, the Lord dwells deep within (all). (Therefore) search for Him within your own heart, O brother. ||1|| the Guru has imparted this wisdom: outside (the body) and inside (the body), know that there is only the One Lord (pervading everywhere).O Daas Nanak! Without Realizing one’s own self (Original, Essential, or True Nature, etc. – ਆਪਣਾ ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਪਰਖਣ ਤੋਂ ਬਿਨਾ, etc.), the moss of doubt (ignorance of one’s True Nature, etc.) is not eradicated (from the mind) ||2||1|| (sggs 684). 

Before a flower is fully blossomed, it is a bud. One cannot forced open the petals of a bud to make it blossom into a flower. Petals must open themselves, spontaneously (Sahaj). If one applies external force to open petals, the bud will be destroyed. Similarly, the Gurbani says that we must blossom forth in Sahaj. Man's fully blossomed form is "Gurmukh" or one in Divine Consciousness, and his bud form is "Manmukh" or ego-being who, like a closed bud, has a closed heart.

  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਬਿਗਸੈ ਸਹਜਿ ਸੁਭਾਇ ॥: Gurmukh vigsai sahaj subhaai: The Gurmukh blossoms forth, with Sahaj (sggs 1173).
  • ਜਿਨੀ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਚਾਖਿਆ ਸਹਜੇ ਰਹੇ ਸਮਾਇ ॥: Jinee gurmukh chaakhi-aa sahjay rahay samaai: Those Gurmukhs who have tasted it (the nectar of Naam) remain intuitively (Sahaj) absorbed in the Lord (sggs 26).
  • ਚਉਥੇ ਪਦ ਮਹਿ ਸਹਜੁ ਹੈ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਪਲੈ ਪਾਇ ॥੬॥ chouthhae padh mehi sehaj hai guramukh palai paae ||6|| (Transcending Maya) in the Fourth State, there is the Sahaj Avasthaa (Intuitive Balance, Natural State of Being, ਆਤਮਕ ਅਵਸਥਾ, etc.); and (this Sahaj Avasthaa) is realized by becoming the Gurmukhs. ||6|| (sggs 68).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਨਾਮਿ ਰਤੇ ਸੁਖੁ ਪਾਇਆ ਸਹਜੇ ਸਾਚਿ ਸਮਾਈ ਹੇ ॥: Gurmukh naam ratay sukh paa-i-aa sehjay saach samaa-ee hay: The Gurmukh is imbued with the Naam, the Name of the Lord; he find peace, and is intuitively immersed in the True Lord (sggs 1047).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਸਹਜੁ ਹੈ ਮਨੁ ਚੜਿਆ ਦਸਵੈ ਆਕਾਸਿ ॥: Gurmukhi antar sahaj hai manu charriaa dasavai aakaas: Upon becoming Gurmukh (Spiritual Being), Intuitive Poise (Sahaj) awakens within; then his mind ascends to the Tenth Plane - Dasam Duaar (sggs 1414).
  • ਮਨਮੁਖ ਕਰਮ ਕਮਾਵਣੇ ਹਉਮੈ ਜਲੈ ਜਲਾਇ ॥: Manmukh karam kamaavane haumai jalai jalaai: By engaging in Manmukh activities (materiallistic, self-centered, ਮਨਮੁਖਤਾ ਵਾਲੇ ਕਰਮ, etc.), (one) only burns in Haumai (egotism) (sggs 68).

In the Gurbani, this Sansaar — material world, the place of repeated suffering — is likened to the safflower. As the safflower, the Sansaar is deceptively enchanting, full of repeated pain, and surely ephemeral. Only the true Spiritual Beings (Gurmukhs or Self-realized) know its real nature. Therefore, they are the only ones who know how to handle it, without getting entangled or hurt in the process! However, it's the ignorant and illusioned one who gets fooled by its mirage-like deceptive appearance. He then becomes attached to it, and suffers the consequences! Through the example of this safflower and its deceptive nature, the Gurbani tirelessly tries explaining the real nature of the material world and its gross objects (Sansaar) or Maya. We are warned by the Gurbani not to get emotionally attached to it (i.e. Sansaar) and its objects; for worldly attachment is the root cause of man's sorrows (Dukha). Accordingly, he who attaches to the safflower-like Maya or Sansaar is declared by the Gurbani to be a "madman", a "crazy" person or a "Manmukh".

  • ਜੈਸਾ ਰੰਗੁ ਕਸੁੰਭ ਕਾ ਤੈਸਾ ਇਹੁ ਸੰਸਾਰੁ ॥: Jaisaa rang kasunbh kaa taisaa ihu sansaar: This world is like the (pale, temporary...) color of the safflower (sggs 346).
  • ਕਚਾ ਰੰਗੁ ਕਸੁੰਭ ਕਾ ਥੋੜੜਿਆ ਦਿਨ ਚਾਰਿ ਜੀਉ ॥ ਵਿਣੁ ਨਾਵੈ ਭ੍ਰਮਿ ਭੁਲੀਆ ਠਗਿ ਮੁਠੀ ਕੂੜਿਆਰਿ ਜੀਉੁ ॥: Kachaa rangu kasunbh kaa thorrarriaa din chaar jeeo. Bin naavai bhrami bhooleeaa thagi muthee koorriaari jeeu: The color of safflower (i.e., deceptive Maya or world-appearance) is transitory; it lasts for only a few days. (Attached to Maya) The Jeeva (being) becomes devoid of the Divine Name, and gets deluded by doubt and plundered by evil passions (sggs 751).
  • ਹਥੁ ਨ ਲਾਇ ਕਸੁੰਭੜੈ ਜਲਿ ਜਾਸੀ ਢੋਲਾ ॥: Hath na laae kasunbharrai jail jaasee dholaa: O friend! Do not touch the safflower (i.e., Maya); if you do, you will get "burnt" (i.e., your love for this deceptive Maya will lead you to sufferings) (sggs 794).
  • ਜਿਤਨੇ ਧਨਵੰਤ ਕੁਲਵੰਤ ਮਿਲਖਵੰਤ ਦੀਸਹਿ ਮਨ ਮੇਰੇ ਸਭਿ ਬਿਨਸਿ ਜਾਹਿ ਜਿਉ ਰੰਗੁ ਕਸੁੰਭ ਕਚਾਣੁ ॥: Jitane dhanavant kulavant milakhuvant deesahi mann mere sabh binas jaahi jio rangu kasunbh kachaan: All the wealthy, high class property owners which you see, O my mind, will vanish, like the fading color of the safflower (sggs 861).
  • ਏਹੁ ਮਾਇਆ ਰੰਗੁ ਕਸੁੰਭ ਖਿਨ ਮਹਿ ਲਹਿ ਜਾਵਣਾ ॥: Ehu Maya rangu kasunbh khin mahi lahi jaavanaa: The pleasures of Maya are like the color of the safflower, which wears off in a moment (sggs 645).
  • ਮਿਤ੍ਰੁ ਪਿਆਰਾ ਨਾਨਕ ਜੀ ਮੈ ਛਡਿ ਗਵਾਇਆ ਰੰਗਿ ਕਸੁੰਭੈ ਭੁਲੀ ॥: Mitru piaaraa Nanak jee mai shad gavaaiaa rangi kasunbhai bhulee: I abandoned and lost my Frioend, the Divine Beloved, O Nanak; I was fooled by the transitory color of the safflower-- deceptive Maya or world-appearance (sggs 963).
  • ਸੁਣਿ ਬਾਵਰੇ ਨੇਹੁ ਕੂੜਾ ਲਾਇਓ ਕੁਸੰਭ ਰੰਗਾਨਾ ॥: Sun baavare nehu koorraa laaio kusanbh rangaanaa: Listen, madman: you have been trapped by false love (of deceptive Maya), which is transitory, like the fading color of the safflower (sggs 777).
  • ਮਨਮੁਖੁ ਰੰਗੁ ਕਸੁੰਭੁ ਹੈ ਕਚੂਆ ਜਿਉ ਕੁਸਮ ਚਾਰਿ ਦਿਨ ਚਾਗਾ ॥ ਖਿਨ ਮਹਿ ਬਿਨਸਿ ਜਾਇ ਪਰਤਾਪੈ ਡੰਡੁ ਧਰਮ ਰਾਇ ਕਾ ਲਾਗਾ ॥: Manmukh rangu kasunbh hai kachooaa jio kusam chaar din chaagaa. Khin mahi binasi jaai partaapai dand dharm raai kaa laagaa: The nature of Manmukhs (material beings) is like the false color of the safflower, which fades away; its color lasts for only a few days. His sense-plaesures fade away in an instant, he then suffers; the fear of death always hovers on his head (sggs 985).

The Gurbani says that a bird flies in the sky without leaving any mark, a fish swims in the water without making any footprints, and the swan swims across the stream without getting wet. Similarly, although the lotus flower lives in the water of slimy scum, but it remains untouched. In the same way, the Gurbani urges us to live amidst the so called impurities of the material world without being affected by them. In other words, we should remain unaffected by any amount of sensory inputs entering our mind and retains our equipoise.

  • ਮਾਰੂ ਮਹਲਾ ੧ ॥ ਬਿਮਲ ਮਝਾਰਿ ਬਸਸਿ ਨਿਰਮਲ ਜਲ ਪਦਮਨਿ ਜਾਵਲ ਰੇ ॥ ਪਦਮਨਿ ਜਾਵਲ ਜਲ ਰਸ ਸੰਗਤਿ ਸੰਗਿ ਦੋਖ ਨਹੀ ਰੇ ॥੧॥ ਦਾਦਰ ਤੂ ਕਬਹਿ ਨ ਜਾਨਸਿ ਰੇ ॥ ਭਖਸਿ ਸਿਬਾਲੁ ਬਸਸਿ ਨਿਰਮਲ ਜਲ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਨ ਲਖਸਿ ਰੇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਬਸੁ ਜਲ ਨਿਤ ਨ ਵਸਤ ਅਲੀਅਲ ਮੇਰ ਚਚਾ ਗੁਨ ਰੇ ॥ ਚੰਦ ਕੁਮੁਦਨੀ ਦੂਰਹੁ ਨਿਵਸਸਿ ਅਨਭਉ ਕਾਰਨਿ ਰੇ ॥੨॥ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਖੰਡੁ ਦੂਧਿ ਮਧੁ ਸੰਚਸਿ ਤੂ ਬਨ ਚਾਤੁਰ ਰੇ ॥ ਅਪਨਾ ਆਪੁ ਤੂ ਕਬਹੁ ਨ ਛੋਡਸਿ ਪਿਸਨ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਜਿਉ ਰੇ ॥੩॥ ਪੰਡਿਤ ਸੰਗਿ ਵਸਹਿ ਜਨ ਮੂਰਖ ਆਗਮ ਸਾਸ ਸੁਨੇ ॥ ਅਪਨਾ ਆਪੁ ਤੂ ਕਬਹੁ ਨ ਛੋਡਸਿ ਸੁਆਨ ਪੂਛਿ ਜਿਉ ਰੇ ॥੪॥ ਇਕਿ ਪਾਖੰਡੀ ਨਾਮਿ ਨ ਰਾਚਹਿ ਇਕਿ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਚਰਣੀ ਰੇ ॥ ਪੂਰਬਿ ਲਿਖਿਆ ਪਾਵਸਿ ਨਾਨਕ ਰਸਨਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਜਪਿ ਰੇ ॥੫॥੪॥: Maaroo mahalaa 1 || Bimal majhaar basas niramal jal padaman jaaval re. Padaman jaaval jal ras sangat sang dokh nehee re ||1|| Daadar too kabahi na jaanat re. Bhakhas sibaal basas niramal jal Amrithn lakhas rae ||1|| Rahaaou || Bas jal nit n vasat aleeal mer chachaa gun re. Chand kumudanee doorahu nivasas anabhaou kaaran re ||2|| Amrit khandd doodh madh sanchas too ban chaatur re. Apna aap too kabahu na shodas pisan preet jiou re. ||3|| Pandit sang vasahi jan moorakh aagam saas sune. Apnaa aap too kabahoo na shodas suaan poonsh jiyu re. ||4|| Ik paakhanddee naam n raachahi ik har har charanee re. poorab likhiaa paavas naanak rasanaa naam jap rae ||5||4||: Maaroo mahalaa 1. In a pond's (Sarovar, etc.) clean water, both the lotus and the slimy scum (pellicle like stuff that grows in the water) are found. (Although) the lotus flower lives with the slimy scum and the water, but, in their association, it remains untouched (i.e., ਉਸ ਨੂੰ ਕੋਈ ਦਾਗ ਨਹੀਂ ਲੱਗਦਾ). ||1|| O frog, you can never understand. (O fog!) While you dwell in the clean water, but you do not appreciate it (ਸਾਫ-ਸੁਥਰੇ ਪਾਣੀ ਦੀ ਕਦਰ ਨਹੀਂ ਜਾਣਦਾ). (Instead) you eat (only) the slimy scum (in that clean water). ||1||Pause|| (O frog) you dwell continually in the water; (but) the bumble bee does not dwell there, (but stile) it is intoxicated with (the flower's) fragrance from afar (it sucks flower from the top and enjoysthe essence). ||2|| In the (udder's) milk, (sweetness like) sugar and honey Amrit is gathered, (but) like the love of the tick (attached to the udder) for blood, (o frog) you can never escape your own inner tendencies (you do not see how the lotus lives in the water, but you happily eat the slimy scum!). ||3|| The foolish people live with the Pandit, the religious scholar, and listen to the Vedas and the Shaastras (but still remains fool, and do not give up their nature of foolishness). [Similarly, O frog (here the hint is towards our ignorant and crooked mind)] You can never escape your own inner tendencies, like the tail of the dog (that always remains crooked). Some are hypocrites ( ਪਾਖੰਡੀ) ; they do not absorbed with the Naam (Shabad-Vichaar...). Some (fortunate) are absorbed in the Feet of the Lord (i.e. Naam). Says Nanak! chant the Naam with your tongue, you have received this predestined (Daat or gift of the Naam). ||5||4|| (sggs 990).
  • ਜਿਉ ਜਲ ਮਹਿ ਕਮਲੁ ਅਲਿਪਤੋ ਵਰਤੈ ਤਿਉ ਵਿਚੇ ਗਿਰਹ ਉਦਾਸੁ ॥: Jiyu jal mahi kamal alipte vartai tiyu viche girah udaas: As the lotus flower floats unaffected in the water, so does one remain detached in his own household (sggs 949).
  • ਜੈਸੇ ਜਲ ਮਹਿ ਕਮਲੁ ਨਿਰਾਲਮੁ ਮੁਰਗਾਈ ਨੈ ਸਾਣੇ ॥ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਸਬਦਿ ਭਵ ਸਾਗਰੁ ਤਰੀਐ ਨਾਨਕ ਨਾਮੁ ਵਖਾਣੇ ॥ ਰਹਹਿ ਇਕਾਂਤਿ ਏਕੋ ਮਨਿ ਵਸਿਆ ਆਸਾ ਮਾਹਿ ਨਿਰਾਸੋ ॥ ਅਗਮੁ ਅਗੋਚਰੁ ਦੇਖਿ ਦਿਖਾਏ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਤਾ ਕਾ ਦਾਸੋ ॥੫॥: Jaise jal mahi kamal niraalam muragaaee nai saane... (sggs 938).
  • ਜਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹ ਕਉ ਆਪਿ ਲਏ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਮੇਲਿ ॥ ਤਿਨ ਕਉ ਕਾਲੁ ਨ ਸਾਕੈ ਪੇਲਿ ॥ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਨਿਰਮਲ ਰਹਹਿ ਪਿਆਰੇ ॥ ਜਿਉ ਜਲ ਅੰਭ ਊਪਰਿ ਕਮਲ ਨਿਰਾਰੇ ॥੨॥: Jinh kaou aapi lae prabhu meli. Tin kaou kaalu n saakai peli. Gurmukhi nirmal rahahi piaare. Jiou jal ambh ooperi kamal niraare ||2||: Those, whom God unites with Himself, cannot be crushed by (the fear of) Kaal. (Those) beloved, by becoming the Gurmukhs, remain pure (in the midst of Maya) like the lotus in the water remains untouched ||2|| (sggs 353).
  • ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਸੇਵਹਿ ਸਦਾ ਮਨਿ ਦਾਸਾ ॥ ਹਉਮੈ ਮਾਰਿ ਕਮਲੁ ਪਰਗਾਸਾ ॥ ਅਨਹਦੁ ਵਾਜੈ ਨਿਜ ਘਰਿ ਵਾਸਾ ॥ ਨਾਮਿ ਰਤੇ ਘਰ ਮਾਹਿ ਉਦਾਸਾ ॥੩॥: Satiguru sevahi sadaa mani daasaa. Haumai maari kamalu pargaasaa. Anhadu vaajai nij ghari vaasaa. Naami ratae ghar maahi udaasaa ||3|| (sggs 161).

We see the vast ocean and its waves, but we do not the see the invisible ground that underlies it — its Substratum. We also see trees, but do not see the invisible roots that underlie them — their Substratum. Similarly, we see the body, but do not see the invisible Self or Aatamaan — its Substratum. In this error, man generally identifies himself with his body-mind-intellect personality without knowing his True Nature, which is Divine ("Joti-Svaroopa"). It is this wrong identification, which is the root of his sorrows. Due to this mistaken identity, we think that the body is the real thing! This is ego or Haume that is called in the Gurbani the "great disease" the man is afflicted with.On account of ignorance and illusion, man forgets about his Essential Nature as "Joti-Svaroopa" or Soul-consciousness, resulting in false ego-sense, illusion, body-consciousness or "I-am-the-body" idea. In this mistaken identity ("I-ness"), he then confounds the Eternal Self with the finite body-mind-intellect apparatus. Seen in such ego or illusion is the birth of the body made of the five elements and its death. Also, seen in it is the phenomenal world of names, shapes, movements and miseries. This body-consciousness, in turn, gives rise to the sense of doership and enjoyership (ego-identity).

  • ਪੰਚਮੀ ਪੰਚ ਭੂਤ ਬੇਤਾਲਾ ॥: Panchamee panch bhoot betaalaa: Panchamee: Those who identify with this body of five elements are crazy (sggs 839).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਵਡਾ ਰੋਗੁ ਹੈ ਸਿਰਿ ਮਾਰੇ ਜਮਕਾਲਿ ॥: Ha-umai vadaa rog hai sir maaray jamkaal: People are stricken with the great disease of egotism; they are hit on the head by the fear of Death (sggs 1258).
  • ਹੋਹੁ ਨਿਮਾਣਾ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੂ ਅਗੈ ਮਤ ਕਿਛੁ ਆਪੁ ਲਖਾਵਹੇ ॥: Hohu nimaanaa satguroo agai mat kichh aap lakhaavhay: So be humble, and surrender (ego) to the True Guru; do not attach your identity to your ego (sggs 1258).
  • ਆਪਣੈ ਅਹੰਕਾਰਿ ਜਗਤੁ ਜਲਿਆ ਮਤ ਤੂੰ ਆਪਣਾ ਆਪੁ ਗਵਾਵਹੇ ॥: Aapnai ahankaar jagat jali-aa mat toon aapnaa aap gavaavhay: The world is consumed by ego and self-identity; see this, lest you lose your own self as well (sggs 441).
  • ਜਬ ਲਗੁ ਜਾਨੈ ਮੁਝ ਤੇ ਕਛੁ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਤਬ ਇਸ ਕਉ ਸੁਖੁ ਨਾਹੀ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਜਬ ਇਹ ਜਾਨੈ ਮੈ ਕਿਛੁ ਕਰਤਾ ॥ ਤਬ ਲਗੁ ਗਰਭ ਜੋਨਿ ਮਹਿ ਫਿਰਤਾ ॥ ਜਬ ਧਾਰੈ ਕੋਊ ਬੈਰੀ ਮੀਤੁ ॥ ਤਬ ਲਗੁ ਨਿਹਚਲੁ ਨਾਹੀ ਚੀਤੁ ॥ ਜਬ ਲਗੁ ਮੋਹ ਮਗਨ ਸੰਗਿ ਮਾਇ ॥ ਤਬ ਲਗੁ ਧਰਮ ਰਾਇ ਦੇਇ ਸਜਾਇ ॥ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਕਿਰਪਾ ਤੇ ਬੰਧਨ ਤੂਟੈ ॥ ਗੁਰ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ ਨਾਨਕ ਹਉ ਛੂਟੈ ॥੪॥: Jab lag jaanai mujh te kashoo hoi ...: As long as (a person) thinks that he is the doer, he will have no Peace. As long as he thinks that he is the one who does things, he will wander in the womb of reincarnation (ਜੂਨਾਂ ਵਿਚ). As long as he considers (in duality) one an enemy, and another a friend, his mind will not come to Rest (ਮਨ ਟਿਕਾਣੇ ਨਹੀਂ ਆਉਂਦਾ). As long as he is intoxicated with attachment to Maya, the Righteous Judge (the Divine Law of Karma) will punish him. By God's Grace, his material bonds (Maya's attachment) are shattered. O Nanak! By the Guru's Grace, his ego is eliminated ||4|| (sggs 278).

There are countless galaxies, earths, and stars. There are countless suns and moons or solar systems. But they all move in an orderly fashion because, as indicated in the Gurbani, every thing functions through the Hukam (Divine Order, Command, Will, Eternal Law...). No one is immune from it. The orderly movement of them reminds us of the Divine Order called "Hukam" in the Gurbani. The Gurbani says, whosoever understands this Divine Hukam, do away with his menacing egoism (Haume).

  • ਅਨਿਕ ਸੂਰ ਸਸੀਅਰ ਨਖਿਆਤਿ ॥: Anik soor suseear nakhiaati: There are contless suns, moons and stars (sggs 1236).
  • ਸੂਰਜੁ ਚੰਦੁ ਸਿਰਜਿਅਨੁ ਅਹਿਨਿਸਿ ਚਲਤੁ ਵੀਚਾਰੋ ॥: Sooraj chand sirajian ahinis chalat veechaaro: He created the sun and the moon; night and day, they move according to His Thought. (sggs 580).
  • ਹੁਕਮੈ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਸਭੁ ਕੋ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਹੁਕਮ ਨ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਹੁਕਮੈ ਜੇ ਬੁਝੈ ਤ ਹਉਮੈ ਕਹੈ ਨ ਕੋਇ ॥: Hukamai andar sabhu ko baahar hukam na koi. Nanak hukamai je bujhai ta houmai kehai na koi: Everyone is subject to Hukam; no one is beyond (exempt or outside of) Hukam. O Nanak! One who understands Hukam, does not speak in ego (i.e., that person does not live in Haumai or ego) (sggs 1).
  • ਚੁ ਸਚਾ ਕੁਦਰਤਿ ਜਾਣੀਐ ਦਿਨੁ ਰਾਤੀ ਜਿਨਿ ਬਣਾਈਆ ॥: Sach sachaa kudarat jaaneeai dhin raathee jin banaaeeaa: The True Lord is truly known for His all-powerful creative nature; He fashioned the days and the nights (sggs 313).

In some religions, as a religious ritual, Aartee (lamp-lit worship service) is performed in front of deities several times a day. Sometime Aartee is also performed in front of a holy man. Many times, Aartee of this sort being performed in front of SGGS can also be witnessed at the conclusion of the so called "Akhand Paath" (uninterrupted page to page recitation of the SGGS). Generally, the ingredients of the Aartee include lamps (Deepak or Deeve), bowl (Thaal), incense, flowers, fan (Chavar), jingle bells, and so on. Such is not Baabaa Nanak's Aartee. He did not perform Aartee in front of any religious text, deity or mortals. His Aartee is by the Infinite, of the Infinite and for the Infinite. The lamps of his Aartee are the sun and the moon, placed on the Thaal (bowl) of the sky. The stars in the constellations are the pearls placed on this Thaal. The fragrance of sandalwood is the incense, the wind is the fan, and all the vegetation are flowers in offering. Transcendental vibratory sound current of the Shabad is the sounding of the bells. Then, Baabaa Nanak exclaims, "What a beautiful lamp-lit worship service this is! O Destroyer of fear, this is Your Aartee, Your worship service."

  • ਗਗਨ ਮੈ ਥਾਲੁ ਰਵਿ ਚੰਦੁ ਦੀਪਕ ਬਨੇ ਤਾਰਿਕਾ ਮੰਡਲ ਜਨਕ ਮੋਤੀ ॥...: Gagan mai thaal ravi chand deepak bane taarikaa mandal janak motee ...: In the bowl of the sky, the sun and moon are the lamps; the stars in the constellations are the pearls. The fragrance of sandalwood is the incense, the wind is the fan, and all the vegetation are flowers in offering to You, O Luminous Being. || 1 || What a beautiful lamp-lit worship service this is! O Destroyer of fear, this is Your Aartee, Your worship service. The Transcendental vibratory sound current of the Shabad is the sounding of the temple drums. || 1 || Pause || (For you pervade all beings) Thousands are Your eyes, and yet You have no eyes (Because your are Transcendent). Thousands are Your forms, and yet You have not even one form. Thousands are Your lotus feet, and yet You have no feet. Thousands are Your noses, yet you are without a nose. I am enchanted with Your play! || 2 || You are that One Divine Light which pervades within everyone. Yours is that Light which shines within everyone (as consciousness). By the Divine Teachings, this Divine Light is revealed. To accept the Divine Will (Bhaanaa) and live accordingly is the true Aartee. || 3 || O Divine, my soul is enticed by Your honey-sweet lotus feet (i.e., Divine Name); night and day, I thirst for them. Bless Nanak, the thirsty song-bird, with the water of Your Mercy, that he may come to dwell in Your Name (sggs 663).

Wind constantly blows around us like a fan. The flow of the wind (or wind-storm) is a metaphor for one's fire of greed and a dust-storm of doubts within. It is also the metaphor for treacherous Maya, the deluded youth, and the awakening of spiritual wisdom within.

  • ਅੰਤਰਿ ਲੋਭੁ ਭਰਮੁ ਅਨਲ ਵਾਉ ॥: Antar lobh bharam anal vaaou: Deep within is the fire of greed, and the dust-storm of doubt (sggs364).
  • ਮਹਾ ਦੁਤਰੁ ਮਾਇਆ ॥ ਜੈਸੇ ਪਵਨੁ ਝੁਲਾਇਆ ॥: Maaa dutar Maya: Jaisae pavan jhulaaeiaa: Maya is very treacherous and difficult to pass through. It is like a violent wind-storm (sggs 746).
  • ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਦੂਜੈ ਪਹਰੈ ਪ੍ਰਾਣੀ ਭਰਿ ਜੋਬਨੁ ਲਹਰੀ ਦੇਇ ॥: Kahu Naanak doojai pharai praanee bhar joban laharee deyi: Says Nanak, in the second watch of the night, O mortal, the fullness of youth tosses you about like waves in the storm (sggs 77).
  • ਦੇਖੌ ਭਾਈ ਗ੍ਹਾਨ ਕੀ ਆਈ ਆਂਧੀ ॥: Dekhau bhaaee giaan kee aaee aandhee: Behold, O brother, the storm of spiritual wisdom has come (sggs 331).

Birds like nightingale (song-bird) or the rain bird sing so melodiously, without taking any music lessons. The Infinite Cosmic Kirtan or the Transcendental Vibratory Sound - Cosmic Vibration, Cosmic Music, Cosmic Sound, Cosmic Orchestra, etc. - is the movement of the entire creation, preservation and dissolution. It is God's Endless Impulse or Unstruck Sound-current (Anhata Shabad, Panch-Shabad or Dhuni) which is taking place within each of us; and within every atom of the universe, at this very moment. Hence we are all singing with this Divine Orchestra at this very moment, and the Divine is with us. But we do not know about it, because of the intervention of false ego-sense (Haume). Thus, we have lost our connection with this Cosmic Vibratory Sound, from which the entire creation is born. The Gurbani urges us sing the Divine's Kirtan, ourselves. The purpose of the Kirtan is to eliminate the mind's ego consciousness (delusion or the ceaseless flow of thought currents) by quieting it, so that we can link back to the Endless Divine Pulse - Pure Awareness; our Essential Nature.

  • ਜੋ ਬੋਲਤ ਹੈ ਮ੍ਰਿਗ ਮੀਨ ਪੰਖੇਰੂ ਸੁ ਬਿਨੁ ਹਰਿ ਜਾਪਤ ਹੈ ਨਹੀ ਹੋਰ ॥: Jo bolat hai mrig meen pankheroo su bin har jaapat hai nahee hor: Whatever the deer, the fish and the birds sing, they chant to the Lord, and no other (sggs1265).
  • ਚਾਤ੍ਰਿਕ ਮੋਰ ਬੋਲਤ ਦਿਨੁ ਰਾਤੀ ਸੁਨਿ ਘਨਿਹਰ ਕੀ ਘੋਰ ॥: Chaatrik mor bolat dhin raatee sun ghanihar kee ghor: The rainbirds and the peacocks sing day and night, hearing the thunder in the clouds (sggs 1265).
  • ਬਾਬੀਹਾ ਪ੍ਰਿਉ ਬੋਲੇ ਕੋਕਿਲ ਬਾਣੀਆ ॥: Baabeehaa priou bole kokil baaneeaa ...: The rainbird cries out, ""Pri-o! Beloved!"", and the song-bird sings sweetly, similarly, the the soul-bride who sings the Divine Name in detachment enjoys all the pleasures, and merges in the Being of her Beloved. She merges into the Being of her Beloved, when she becomes pleasing to God; she is the happy, blessed soul-bride (sggs 1107).
  • ਸੀਤਲ ਭਏ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਜਸੁ ਜਾਪਿਆ ॥: Seetal bhaye har har jas jaapiaa: mind becomes cool, chanting the Praises of the Lord (sggs 804).
  • ਨਾਮੁ ਲੈਤ ਅਨਹਦ ਪੂਰੇ ਨਾਦ ॥: Naam lait anhad poore naad: Chanting the Divine Naam, the Unstruck Sound-current of the Naad resounds (sggs1144).
  • ਅਖੰਡ ਮੰਡਲ ਨਿਰੰਕਾਰ ਮਹਿ ਅਨਹਦ ਬੇਨੁ ਬਜਾਵਉਗੋ ॥੧॥ ਬੈਰਾਗੀ ਰਾਮਹਿ ਗਾਵਉਗੋ ॥ ਸਬਦਿ ਅਤੀਤ ਅਨਾਹਦਿ ਰਾਤਾ ਆਕੁਲ ਕੈ ਘਰਿ ਜਾਉਗੋ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Akhand mandall nirankaar mahi anahd ben bajaavougo ||1||. Bairaagee raamahi gaavougo. Sabad ateet anaahad raataa aakul kai ghar jaaougo ||1||Rahaaou||: In the imperishable realm of the Formless Being, I play the flute of the unstruck sound current ||1||. Becoming detached, I sing the Divine Praises. Imbued with the unattached, unstruck Word of the Shabad (Divine Name), I will establish in God's Home within, who is All-pervading ||1||Pause|| (sggs 973).

One's spiritual evolution may be estimated from how one responds to nature. In other words, one's spiritual level is proportional to the influence of nature upon him. For example, if one is spiritually inclined, a leaf or a human body is will inspired him and he will see God's hand in them and everything else. On the other hand, to the layman, skeptic, or the one who is not so spiritually inclined, even a most spectacular scene may not inspire him. This explains as to why the spiritual beings, and thinkers are generally influenced by nature.

The Gurbani says that the human birth is a great opportunity for individuals (Jeevas) to strive for liberation from the cycle of repeated suffering by knowing our own True Nature, which is Pure Consciosness (Joti-Svaroopa) — linking with the Source as so many rivers merge with the ocean.

  • ਕੀਤਾ ਪਸਾਉ ਏਕੋ ਕਵਾਉ ॥ ਤਿਸ ਤੇ ਹੋਏ ਲਖ ਦਰੀਆਉ ॥: Keetaa pasaao eko kavaaou. tis te hoe lakh dareeaaou: You created the vast expanse of the Universe with One Word - Sound, Bang, Resonance, Oder, etc.! Hundreds of thousands of rivers began to flow (sggs 3).
  • ਗੰਗਾ ਸਾਗਰੁ ਬੇਣੀ ਸੰਗਮੁ ਅਠਸਠਿ ਅੰਕਿ ਸਮਾਈ ਹੇ ॥: Gangaa saagar baenee sangam athasath ank samaaee hey: Ganga Saagar where the Ganges empties into the ocean, Trivaynee where the three rivers come together, and the sixty-eight sacred shrines of pilgrimage, are all merged in the Lord's Being (sggs 1022).
  • ਨਦੀਆਂ ਨਾਲੇ ਗੰਗ ਸੰਗ ਸਾਗਰ ਸੰਜਮ ਖਾਰਾ ਸੋਈ ॥: Nadeeaaan naale gang sang saagar sanjam khaaraa soee: Rivers, streams and even the Ganges become brackish in the company of ocean (Bhai Gurdaas Jee, Vaar 11).

— T. Singh
www.gurbani.org