KNOW WHATEVER HAPPENS TO THE NEIGHBORS

ਪਾਰੋਸੀ ਕੇ ਜੋ ਹੂਆ ਤੂ ਅਪਨੇ ਭੀ ਜਾਨੁ ॥
Know whatever happens to your neighbors,
will also happen to you (sggs 1373).
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The western religion of Christianity commands to "love your neighbors". The noble reason behind such commandment seems to be that if we all can selflessly love our neighbors, this earth will be a wonderful place to live. Because, we all re somebody's neighbor, and somebody is neighbor to us. But, as we can see, it's very difficult to love one's neighbors. Let alone loving them, due to the to the humdrum of daily life (worldly or deluded consciousness), people do not even know the names of their neighbors nowadays!

The Gurbani even goes one step further. Not only selfless love is essential for God's devotion, but we all must also know and remember whatever happens to our neighbors, because the same will happen to us — old-age, disease, suffering, death etc. If we can do just that, it will help us become Gurmukhs (Spiritual Being) by awakening detachment from the worldly bondage within, an essential element needed for Self-realization. But, to the contrary, we neither practice selfless love nor seem to learn from knowing whatever happens to our neighbors. In ignorance, illusion, misunderstanding (ego or Haume), and doubts we always think that "I am immune from the same happening to me whatever has happened to my neighbors. I am an immortal and others are mortals!!" To make the point, here is an interesting ancient, little story popular among spiritual people in India.

Once a demigod asked the Creator for permission to visit the earth. Upon his returning back, he reported his observations to God. He said, to his amazement, all earthly people behave as they are going to live there forever, unconcerned with whatever happens to the other people around them. And they act as they are going to stay there permanently, and never going to die and leave the earth with their earthly possessions. Each one thinks it's only the other person who will die and depart. "Not me". He reported this is the mentality of the earthly people. He was really astonished! But the Gurbani reminds our deluded mind to wake up from this dream.

  • ਪਾਰੋਸੀ ਕੇ ਜੋ ਹੂਆ ਤੂ ਅਪਨੇ ਭੀ ਜਾਨੁ ॥: Paarosee ke jo hooya too apne bhee jaan: Know whatever happens to your neighbors, will also happen to you (sggs 1373).
  • ਕੋਠੇ ਮੰਡਪ ਮਾੜੀਆ ਲਗਿ ਪਏ ਗਾਵਾਰੀ ॥: Kothay mandap maarhee-aa lag pa-ay gaavaaree: The fools are attached to their homes, mansions and balconies (sggs 788).
  • ਫਰੀਦਾ ਕੋਠੇ ਮੰਡਪ ਮਾੜੀਆ ਉਸਾਰੇਦੇ ਭੀ ਗਏ ॥: Fareedaa kothay mandap maarhee-aa usaarayday bhee ga-ay: Fareed, those who built houses, mansions and lofty buildings, are also gone (sggs 5).
  • ਫਰੀਦਾ ਕੋਠੇ ਮੰਡਪ ਮਾੜੀਆ ਏਤੁ ਨ ਲਾਏ ਚਿਤੁ ॥: Fareedaa kothay mandap maarhee-aa ayt na laa-ay chit: Fareed, houses, mansions and balconies - do not attach your consciousness to these (sggs 1380).
  • ਜਿਉ ਸੁਪਨੈ ਨਿਸਿ ਭੁਲੀਐ ਜਬ ਲਗਿ ਨਿਦ੍ਰਾ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਇਉ ਸਰਪਨਿ ਕੈ ਵਸਿ ਜੀਅੜਾ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਹਉਮੈ ਦੋਇ ॥: Jiou supanai nisi bhuleeai jabb lagg nidaraa hoi. Iou sarapani kai vasi jeearraa antar houmai doi: In dream at night, mistakenly (we take things in the dream to be real), and this mistale lasts as long as we sleep; just so, Jeeva (the individual being) is under the power of the snake Maya, as long as their hearts are filled with ego (Haume) and duality. (sggs 63).
  • ਫਰੀਦਾ ਗਰਬੁ ਜਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਾ ਵਡਿਆਈਆ ਧਨਿ ਜੋਬਨਿ ਆਗਾਹ ॥ ਖਾਲੀ ਚਲੇ ਧਣੀ ਸਿਉ ਟਿਬੇ ਜਿਉ ਮੀਹਾਹੁ ॥੧੦੫॥: Fareedaa garab jinHaa vadi-aa-ee-aa Dhan joban aagaah. Khaalee challe dhanee siou tibbe jiou meehaahu ||105||: Fareed, those who are very proud of their greatness, wealth and youth, will return empty-handed from their Lord, like sandhills after the rain ||105|| (sggs 1383).
  • ਫਰੀਦਾ ਮੈ ਜਾਨਿਆ ਦੁਖੁ ਮੁਝ ਕੂ ਦੁਖੁ ਸਬਾਇਐ ਜਗਿ ॥ ਊਚੇ ਚੜਿ ਕੈ ਦੇਖਿਆ ਤਾਂ ਘਰਿ ਘਰਿ ਏਹਾ ਅਗਿ ॥੮੧॥: Fareedaa mai jaani-aa dukh mujh koo dukh sabaa-i-ai jagg. Oochay charh kai daykhi-aa taaN ghar ghar ayhaa agg ||81||: Fareed, I thought that I was in trouble; the whole world is in trouble! When I climbed the hill and looked around, I saw this fire (or condition) in each and every home ||81|| (sggs 1382).
  • ਬਿਨੁ ਪ੍ਰੀਤੀ ਭਗਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਵਈ ਬਿਨੁ ਸਬਦੈ ਥਾਇ ਨ ਪਾਇ ॥: Bin preetee bhagati na hovaee bin sabadai thaaye na paai: Without love, there is no devotion. Without the Shabad, no one finds acceptance (sggs 67).

Perhaps we all can attest to this. For instance, while attending someone's funeral, we seriously reflect on life there for a while. But as soon as we leave the funeral house and reach the parking lot, we immediately start talking worldly nonsense again. Not only that, some go to the extent of planning as to where and whose house to go and drink in the evening! Our minds are confused due to constant conditioning from the childhood. Our confused mind thinks it's fully awake. But, at best, it's only partially awake. We are not fully awake. Only a Grmukh (a spiritually enlightened person) is a fully awakened being; for he is free from the past and the future. Rest of us are just dreaming.

  • ਮਨਮੁਖ ਭੂਲੇ ਕਾਹੇ ਆਏ ॥: Manamukh bhoole kaahe aayi: Why have the wandering self-willed Manmukhs even come into the world? (sggs 1174).
  • ਮਨ ਕਾਹੇ ਭੂਲੇ ਮੂੜ ਮਨਾ ॥: Mann kaahe bhoole moorr manaa: O mind, why forget Him? You foolish mind! (sggs 432).
  • ਮਨਮੁਖ ਸੋਇ ਰਹੇ ਸੇ ਲੂਟੇ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਸਾਬਤੁ ਭਾਈ ਹੇ ॥: Manmukh soe rehae sae loottae gurmukh saabat bhaaee hae (sggs 1024).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਜਾਗੈ ਨੀਦ ਨ ਸੋਵੈ ॥: Gurmukh jaagai need na sovai: The Gurmukh remains awake and aware (alert); he does not fall sleep to Maya (sggs 944).
  • ਬਿਲਾਵਲੁ ਮਹਲਾ ੫ ॥ ਐਸੇ ਕਾਹੇ ਭੂਲਿ ਪਰੇ ॥ ਕਰਹਿ ਕਰਾਵਹਿ ਮੂਕਰਿ ਪਾਵਹਿ ਪੇਖਤ ਸੁਨਤ ਸਦਾ ਸੰਗਿ ਹਰੇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਕਾਚ ਬਿਹਾਝਨ ਕੰਚਨ ਛਾਡਨ ਬੈਰੀ ਸੰਗਿ ਹੇਤੁ ਸਾਜਨ ਤਿਆਗਿ ਖਰੇ ॥ ਹੋਵਨੁ ਕਉਰਾ ਅਨਹੋਵਨੁ ਮੀਠਾ ਬਿਖਿਆ ਮਹਿ ਲਪਟਾਇ ਜਰੇ ॥੧॥ ਅੰਧ ਕੂਪ ਮਹਿ ਪਰਿਓ ਪਰਾਨੀ ਭਰਮ ਗੁਬਾਰ ਮੋਹ ਬੰਧਿ ਪਰੇ ॥ ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਹੋਤ ਦਇਆਰਾ ਗੁਰੁ ਭੇਟੈ ਕਾਢੈ ਬਾਹ ਫਰੇ ॥੨॥੧੦॥੯੬॥: Bilaaval Mahalaa 5 || Aise kaahe bhool pare ...: Bilaaval Mahalaa 5. Why do you wander in delusion like this? You act, and incite others to act (evil Karma), and then deny it. The Lord is always with you; He sees and hears everything. ||1||Pause||You purchase glass (worldliness), and discard gold (Truth or Divine Name); you are in love with your enemy (Maya), while you renounce your true friend (God or HIs Name). That which exists (Truth or Divine Name), seems bitter; that which does not exist (illusion or Maya), seems sweet to you. Engrossed in corruption, you are burning away. The mortal has fallen into the deep, dark pit (of attachment), and is entangled in the darkness of doubt, and the bondage of emotional attachment. Says Nanak, when God becomes merciful (when the Divine Mercy is awakened within), one meets with the Guru, who takes him by the arm, and lifts him out ||2||10||96|| (sggs 823).

We have different roles to play in life, and while playing them, we get so much caught up in them that we forget our True Nature as Pure Consciousness ("Joti-svaroopa") in the process. Thus, the Gurbani says that the whole world is sleeping in a perpetual slumber of unawareness. We are urged to wake up from this seemingly unending dream of ours.

  • ਮਨਮੁਖ ਹਉਮੈ ਮਾਇਆ ਸੂਤੇ ॥ ਅਪਣਾ ਘਰੁ ਨ ਸਮਾਲਹਿ ਅੰਤਿ ਵਿਗੂਤੇ ॥ ਪਰ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਕਰਹਿ ਬਹੁ ਚਿੰਤਾ ਜਾਲੈ ਦੁਖੇ ਦੁਖਿ ਨਿਵਾਸੀ ਹੇ ॥੧੫॥: Manmukh haumai maya soote. Apnaa ghar na samaalahi ant vigoote. Par nindaa karahi bahu chintaa jaalai dukhe dukh nivaasee he ||15||: The self-willed Manmukhs are asleep (i.e., unaware of the ultimate purpose of life, etc.) in egotism and Maya. (From Bikaars) They do protect their own Homes (Heart etc,), and are ruined in the end. They slander others, and burn in great anxiety; they always live in pain and suffering ||15|| (sggs 1049).
  • ਕੂਰ ਕਿਰਿਆ ਉਰਝਿਉ ਸਭ ਹੀ ਜਗ ਸ੍‍ੀ ਭਗਵਾਨ ਕੋ ਭੇਦ ਨ ਪਾਇਓ ॥: Koor kriyaa urjhio sabh hee jag. Sree bhagvaan ko bhed na paaio: Entire world is entangled in false practices; people do not know God (Guru Gobind Singh Jee).
  • ਮਾਇਆ ਮੋਹਿ ਸੋਇ ਰਹੇ ਅਭਾਗੇ ॥: Maya mohi soe rehae abhaagae: In the love of Maya, the unfortunate ones remain in sleep (sggs 375).
  • ਇਕੋ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਜਾਗਤਾ ਹੋਰੁ ਜਗੁ ਸੂਤਾ ਮੋਹਿ ਪਿਆਸਿ ॥: Eiko satgur jaagataa hor jag sootaa mohi piaas: Only the True Guru (Self or God) is awake; the rest of the world is asleep in emotional attachment and desire (sggs 592).
  • ਮਤਵਾਰੋ ਮਾਇਆ ਸੋਇਆ ॥: Matavaaro Maya soeiaa: Intoxicated with Maya, the people are asleep (sggs 210).
  • ਹਉ ਸੁਤੀ ਪਿਰੁ ਜਾਗਣਾ ਕਿਸ ਕਉ ਪੂਛਉ ਜਾਇ ॥: Hau sutee pir jaaganaa kis ko pooshhau jaae: While I am (mind, ego, Haume etc.) asleep, my Husband Lord (Self, Aatma etc. within) is awake. Where can I go for advice? (sggs 54).
  • ਜਾਗ ਲੇਹੁ ਰੇ ਮਨਾ ਜਾਗ ਲੇਹੁ ਕਹਾ ਗਾਫਲ ਸੋਇਆ ॥: Jaag laehu rae manaa jaag laehu kahaa gaafal soeiaa: Wake up, O mind! Wake up! Why are you sleeping unaware? (sggs 726).

— T. Singh
www.gurbani.org