REALIZATION OF THE SHABAD OR NAAM

ਜਬ ਲਗੁ ਸਬਦ ਭੇਦੁ ਨਹੀ ਆਇਆ ਤਬ ਲਗੁ ਕਾਲੁ ਸੰਤਾਏ ॥੩॥:
Jab lagu Sabad bhedu nahee aaiaa tab lagu kaalu santaae ||3||:
As long as (the mortal) does not come to understand the mystery of the
Shabad (secret, ਰਾਜ, ਸਬਦ ਦੀ ਡੂੰਘਾਈ, deeper Understanding of the Shabad …),
he will continue to be tormented by Kaal (thoughts, imaginations,
fear of death, ਕਲਪਨਾ, ਫੁਰਨੇ, ਮੌਤ ਦਾ ਡਰ, etc.) ||3||. (sggs 1126).
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Based on the Gurbani (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, SGGS), it has been established in the companion article — "Shabad-Naam-Bani-Gurbani: What Is It?" — that the expressions such as Shabad, Naam, Bani (pronounced Baanee), Hukam, Divine Word, God, Truth, and so on, are virtually synonymous. Therefore, for the ease of writing and as well as reading, the word "Shabad" will be frequently used in the pages that lie ahead.

In essence, the Shabad is of the nature of the Lord. Since Parameshar cannot be understood with material nature, likewise, the Shabad cannot be understood with our material inclinations.

  • ਆਪੇ ਸਬਦੁ ਆਪੇ ਨੀਸਾਨੁ ॥: Aape Sabadu aape nisaanu: God Himself is the Shabad and He Himself is the Insignia (sggs 795).
  • ਜਬ ਲਗੁ ਸਬਦ ਭੇਦੁ ਨਹੀ ਆਇਆ ਤਬ ਲਗੁ ਕਾਲੁ ਸੰਤਾਏ ॥੩॥: Jab lagu Sabad bhedu nahee aaiaa tab lagu kaalu santaae ||3||: As long as (the mortal) does not come to understand the mystery of the Shabad (secret, ਰਾਜ, ਸਬਦ ਦੀ ਡੂੰਘਾਈ, deeper Understanding of the Shabad …), he will continue to be tormented by Kaal (thoughts, imaginations, fear of death, ਕਲਪਨਾ, ਫੁਰਨੇ, ਮੌਤ ਦਾ ਡਰ, etc.) ||3||. (sggs 1126).
Two Aspects Of The Shabad

It is clear from the above verse that the Shabad is the Essence of Divinity. Thus, the Shabad has two aspects: (1) the gross aspect, and (2) the subtle aspect.

The gross aspect of the Shabad or God includes the visible material creation of names, color, forms, planets, moon, sun, water, beings, vegetation, fire, scriptural texts, etc. This aspect of the Shabad can be experienced through our mind, intellect and bodily senses. For example, the letters (ਅੱਖਰ) of the Gurbani: eyes can see it, ears can hear it...

However, the subtle aspect of the Shabad, as indicated by its gross aspect, is beyond the reach of our material senses. For that reason, eyes can not see it, ears can not hear it, the skin can not feel it, the tongue can not taste it, and the nose cannot smell it. This is why the Gurbani has asserted that the Transcendental Spirit is not a subject of our worldly knowledge, cleverness, philosophical speculations, or logic, or our physical senses...

The gross or letter-form of the Shabad can be seen and heard by our eyes and ears, respectively. However, its subtle, deep, inner spiritual form and true meanings are beyond the grab of our limited material senses and intellect. As a result, majority of us end up confusing others and ourselves. The Gurbani says:

  • ਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਸਬਦੁ ਕੋ ਵਿਰਲਾ ਬੂਝੈ ॥: Gur kaa sabadu ko virlaa boojhai.Those who understand the Gur-Shabad are very rare (sggs 120).
  • ਮਾਇਆਧਾਰੀ ਅਤਿ ਅੰਨਾ ਬੋਲਾ ॥ ਸਬਦੁ ਨ ਸੁਣਈ ਬਹੁ ਰੋਲ ਘਚੋਲਾ ॥: Mayadhaaree ati annaa bolaa. Sabad n sunaee bahu rol ghacholaa: One who is attached to Maya is totally (spiritually) blind and deaf (to the Gur-Shabad). In such condition, he is unable to listen (don't pay attention, ਧਿਆਨ ਨਾ ਦੇਂਣਾ, etc.) to the Shabad; (but, in Mayaic consciousness) he makes a great (ਰੌਲਾ-ਗੌਲਾ) uproar and tumult (sggs 313).
  • ਮਨਮੁਖੁ ਬਿਦਿਆ ਬਿਕ੍ਰਦਾ ਬਿਖੁ ਖਟੇ ਬਿਖੁ ਖਾਇ ॥ ਮੂਰਖੁ ਸਬਦੁ ਨ ਚੀਨਈ ਸੂਝ ਬੂਝ ਨਹ ਕਾਇ ॥ ॥੫੩॥: Manmukh bidiaa bikradaa bikh khate bikh khaai. Moorakh sabad na cheenayee soojh boojh nah kaai ||53||: The Manmukh (unenlightened being) sells his knowledge; he earns poison, and eats poison (Maya). The fool does not think of the Shabad. He has no Understanding, no Comprehension ||53|| (sggs 938).
  • ਸਬਦੁ ਨ ਚੀਨੈ ਕਥਨੀ ਬਦਨੀ ਕਰੇ ਬਿਖਿਆ ਮਾਹਿ ਸਮਾਨੁ ॥੩॥: Sabad na cheenai kathanee badanee kare bikhiaa maahi smaan ||3||: (Manmukh) do not contemplate the (Gur-) Shabad; engrossed in corruption (hunger for Maya), they utter only empty words ||3|| (sggs 39).
The Shabad (or Naam) can be thought of as a subtle interpreter or bridge between the Supreme Factor and the creation. Because the Giaan (Divine Knoeledge) of the Supreme Self is hidden in the Shabad as a tree is hidden in the seed, or as a man is hidden in the embryo, or as a butter is hidden in the milk, or as a fire is hidden in the wood. Thus, the Shabad is mystique. The Gurbani reminds us that without realizing its mystery, no one can ever hope to free himself from the material contamination, and link with the Mool within Mool (Source, Origin...).
  • ਸੁ ਸਬਦੁ ਨਿਰੰਤਰਿ ਨਿਜ ਘਰਿ ਆਛੈ ਤ੍ਰਿਭਵਣ ਜੋਤਿ ਸੁ ਸਬਦਿ ਲਹੈ ॥: Su sabadu nirantar nij ghar aashai tribhavan jot su sabad lahai: This Shabad ipermeates in its Own Home (ਨਿਜ ਘਰਿ); (it is) through this Shabad (one) seeks (the Lord's) Light that pervades the three worlds (sggs 945).
  • ਬਿਨੁ ਸਬਦੈ ਪਿਰੁ ਨ ਪਾਈਐ ਬਿਰਥਾ ਜਨਮੁ ਗਵਾਇ ॥੨॥: Binu Shabdai Piru n paaeeai birathaa janamu gavaai ||2||: Without the Shabad (Shabad-Vichaar, Giaan...), one does not find her Divine Beloved, and her life wastes away in vain ||2|| (sggs 31).
  • ਹਰਿ ਜੀਉ ਸਾਚਾ ਸਾਚੀ ਬਾਣੀ ਸਬਦਿ ਮਿਲਾਵਾ ਹੋਈ ॥੧॥: Hari jeeou saachaa saachee Bani Sabadi milaavaa hoi ||1||: The Lord is True, and True is His Bani. Through the Shabad (Shabad-Vichaar, Giaan...), we meet Him ||1|| (sggs 32)
  • ਕਿਆ ਭਵੀਐ ਸਚਿ ਸੂਚਾ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਸਾਚ ਸਬਦ ਬਿਨੁ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਨ ਕੋਇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Kiaa bhaveeai sachi soochaa hoi. Saach sabad binu mukti n koi ||1||Rahaaou||: What is the use of wandering around? Purity comes only through Truth (ਸਚ ਵਿਚ ਜੁੜਿਆਂ). Without the True Shabad (Shabad-Vichaar, Giaan...), no one finds Liberation ||1||Pause|| (sggs 938).
  • ਸਾਚ ਸਬਦ ਬਿਨੁ ਕਬਹੁ ਨ ਛੂਟਸਿ ਬਿਰਥਾ ਜਨਮੁ ਭਇਓ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Saach Sabad binu kabahu n shootasi birathaa janamu bhaio ||1||Rahaaou||: Without realizing the True Shabad, one will never be released (from Maya, fear of death...), and his life will be totally useless ||1||Pause|| (sggs 1126).
  • Jo prabh kaou milbo chahe khoj Sabad mai le: Whoever wishes to meet the Lord, he should search Him in the Shabad (Sikh Prayer - Ardaas).
Shabad-Surti Or Shabad-Consciousness

The Divine goal of human life is to link back to the Mool within (Source, Origin...). It is clear from the foregoing verses that it's not possible without the realization of the True Shabad. Therefore, the Gurbani urges us that the true way of living life is no other than attaining full Understanding (ਸੂਝ-ਬੂਝ) of the Shabad. This leads us to a big question: How one can one go about achieving it? With the help of the Divine Guide of the Gurbani, this Reflection will attempt to seek answer to this question.

Before we go any further, it is important to recognize that the terms such as Realization of the Shabad, Realization of the Naam, Realization of the Self, Realization the Lord, Realization of Truth, Linking with Mool or Satguru or Saadh or Sajjan, Becoming One with the Spirit, Attainment of Divine Vision, opening of the Tenth Gate, Attainment of Chauthaa Pad or Turiya Avasthaa, Spiritual Awakening, Spiritual Enlightenment, Attainment of Sahaj or Nirvaana, Awakening of Kundilini, and so on, are virtually synonymous. Similarly, terms such as Shabad-Maarag or Shabad-Path, Naam-Maarag, Atam-Maarag, Bhagti-Maarag, Sahaj-Maarag, etc., are also essentially one and the same.

To search for a gross object, one needs the help of an another gross object. For example, if we need to find some material object in a dark room, we need help of a lamp, eyes, etc. However, if we need to find a subtle object such as our Mool within (Source, Origin...), the help of another subtle object is must. Otherwise our mission will be unsuccessful. That subtle Searchlight is Shabad-Awareness or Shabad-Surti (Aatam-Giaan, Bibek-Budhi...).

Attaining Shabad-Consciousness, thus, is the same as attaining Pure Awareness, Intact Consciousness, God-Consciousness, Divine-Consciousness, Cosmic-Consciousness, and so on. Therefore, the true goal of every human being is to become Shabad-Conscious. The Gurbani boldly declares that without becoming imbued in the Shabad-Consciouness, no one has any chance to know the real Self within. In other words, our Surti (Consciousness) is the only means by which we can attain the Intuitive Understanding of the gross form of the Shabad (written Word or Gurbani), which, in turn, will lead us to link with the subtle form of the Shabad (Mool -Source, Origin...) within.

  • 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 ... (sggs 938).
  • ਮਨੁ ਕਰਿ ਬੈਲੁ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਕਰਿ ਪੈਡਾ ਗਿਆਨ ਗੋਨਿ ਭਰਿ ਡਾਰੀ ॥: Man kar bail Surti kar paindaa giaan goni bhar daaree: My mind is the bull, and awareness is the road; I have filled my packs with Giaan (Spiritual Wisdom), and loaded them on the (mind) bull (sggs 1123).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਮਹਲੀ ਮਹਲੁ ਪਛਾਨੁ ॥ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਸਬਦੁ ਨੀਸਾਨੁ ॥: Gurmukh mahalee mahal pachhaan. Gurmukh Surti Sabad neesaan: By becoming the Gurmukh (Spiritual Being...), Realizes the Mansion of the Lord’s Presence (i.e., he realizes the Mool, within). As the Gurmukh, stay attuned to the Shabad-Surti, as Insignia (sggs 414).
Shabad-Kamaaee Or Practice

From the foregoing verses, now we know that in order to connect with our Ture Nature (Joti-Svaroop), we must become imbued in Shabad-Consciousness (Shabad-Surti). How can we go about cultivating this Undivided Awareness? As said in the Gurbani, it is not an easy task! To walk on this path one has to continually read (or hear), Reflect (Shabad-Vichaar), digest, and live by the Gur-Shabad. This is Shabad-Kamaaee or Shabad-Ghaalnaa or Spiritual Practice.

  • ਨਾਨਕ ਨਾਮਿ ਰਤੇ ਸਹਜੇ ਮਿਲੇ ਸਬਦਿ ਗੁਰੂ ਕੈ ਘਾਲ ॥੧॥: Nanak naam rate sehaje mile sabadi guroo kai ghaal ||1||: O Nanak, those who are imbued with the Naam (Giaan of the Gur-Shabad...) practice the Guroo's Shabad, Intuitively (ਆਤਮਕ ਅਡੋਲਤਾ ਵਿਚ ਟਿਕੇ ਰਹਿ ਕੇ) merge with the Lord ||1|| (sggs 1283).
  • ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਸੇਵਿ ਪਦਾਰਥੁ ਪਾਵਹਿ ਛੂਟਹਿ ਸਬਦੁ ਕਮਾਈ ॥੪॥: Satgiuru sevi padaarath paavahi shootahi Sabadu Kammaaee ||4||: Serving the Satguru (those who live by the Giaan of the Gur-Shabad) obtain the Naam (or Giaan) Padaarath; (thus) practicing the Shabad, (they) get Liberated (from Maya...) ||4|| (sggs 597).
  • ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਭੀਜੈ ਸਬਦਿ ਪਤੀਜੈ ॥ ਬਿਨੁ ਨਾਵੈ ਕਿਆ ਟੇਕ ਟਿਕੀਜੈ ॥: Ihu manu bheejai Sabad pateejai. Bin naavai kiaa tek tikeejai ||: (Whose) mind is drenched with the Shabad, (attuned to the Shabad) he is satisfied (Joyous). Without the Naam (Giaan of the Gur-Shabad...), he does not seek any other sopport. (sggs 1031).
The Process Of Shabad-Kamaayee

For attaining Shabad-Consciousness, the Gurbani strongly emphasizes on Shabad-Kamaayee or Naam-Kamaayee. The limbs of this process of Shabad-Kamaayee can be summarized as follows:

Listening and reading about the Divine Truth

  • Diligent listening and study of the scriptures
  • Bhagti
  • Fear of God
  • Associating with Sat (Truth)

Perceiving of the truth

  • Reasoning of what has been listened or read
  • Remembering and repeating what has been reasoned out
  • Understanding true meanings of the Gurbani ( Aatam-Giaan, Bibek-Budhi...)
  • Simran (constantly remembering it)

Becoming one with what has been perceived

  • Living truthfully and righteously
  • Searching of the mind
  • Introspection
  • Sharing the Shabad-Vichaar (Giaan...) with others
Listening And Reading About The Divine Truth

The process starts with diligent listening and reading about the Divine Truth in the Gurbani; which essentially means learning or acquiring Spiritual Knowledge through the Shabad-Vichaar. The Gurbani asserts that the listening process should be coupled with deep attention, concentration, singular mindedness, full faith, willingness, earnestness, right vision, etc. Thus, listening to the Shabad is an art that will take the seeker to the Supreme Goal. This is the reason some seekers seem to make better spiritual progress than others, because, they know how to listen! We all can transform our lives by simply listening and living by the Gur-Shabad (Aatam-Giaan...). What prevents us from listening to the Spiritual Wisdom (Aatam-Giaan) is the stony core of ignorance-born egotism in our minds. Listening to Divine Truth is so important that Baabaa Nanak devoted four stanzas of Japji Sahib to this process (stanzas 8 through 11).

Joining the mind with the Gur-Shabad, our Consciousness becomes purified as well as strong. This intensity of Divine Strength, in turn, helps us burn the seeds of our deep-rooted spiritual ignorance and Mayaic inclinations.

  • ਸੁਣਿਐ ਸਤੁ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ॥: Suniai satu santokhu giaanu: By listening (the Naam, ਅਕਾਲ ਪੁਰਖ ਦੀ ਸਿਫਤਿ-ਸਾਲਾਹ) True Contentment and Giaan (Divine knowledge) are attained (sggs 3).
  • ਕੰਨੀ ਸੁਣਿ ਸੁਣਿ ਸਬਦਿ ਸਲਾਹੀ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਰਿਦੈ ਵਸਾਈ ॥: Kannee suni suni sabad salaahee amrit ridhai vasaaee: Continually listening with ears, through the Shabad I praise Him; His Amrit (Naam-Aatam Giaan...) abides within my Heart (sggs 596).

Bhagti, In nut shell, is to recieve the Gur-Giaan (Gurmat....).

  • ਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਮਤਿ ਤੂੰ ਲੇਹਿ ਇਆਨੇ ॥ ਭਗਤਿ ਬਿਨਾ ਬਹੁ ਡੂਬੇ ਸਿਆਨੇ ॥: Gur kee mati toon lehi iaane. Bhagti binaa bahu doobe siaane: You ignorant fool, take the Gurmat (Aatmic-Giaan, Gur-Giaan, Shabad-Vichaar...); without Bhagti, even many clever have drowned. (sggs 288).

To reach the perfectional stage of Prema-Bhagti, both mind and body need to be integrated. This sought after integration can be achieved by training the mind and the body in accordance with the Divine Knowledge (Aatam-Giaan...) contained in the Gurbani.

  • ਭਗਤਿ ਹੇਤਿ ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦਿ ਤਰੰਗਾ ॥: Bhagti het gur Sabad trangaa: Through the Shabad, inspiration (ਉਤਸਾਹ) for Bhagti wells up (sggs 1042).
  • ਕਹੁ ਕਬੀਰ ਜਨ ਭਏ ਖਾਲਸੇ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਭਗਤਿ ਜਿਹ ਜਾਨੀ ॥: Kahu Kabeer jan bhaye Khaalse prem bhagti jih jaanee: Says Kabeer: O Kabeer! Those persons become ਖਾਲਸੇ (Khaalse) who have realized the Prema Bhagti (Perfect Understanding of the Gur-Shabad, Gurbani, or Gur-Giaan…). (sggs 655).
Fear of God keeps a seeker aware of the Divine Hukam; keeps the seeker in the scale of morality, righteousness, self-discipline, contemplation, single-pointed Bhagti, Spirituality, etc.
  • ਭੈ ਬਿਨੁ ਭਗਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਵਈ ਨਾਮਿ ਨ ਲਗੈ ਪਿਆਰੁ ॥: Bhai bin bhagati na hovayee naam na lagai piaar: Without the Lord's Fear, Bhagti cannot be performed; and Love for the Naam (Giaan...) cannot be developed (sggs 788).
  • ਭੈ ਤੇ ਬੈਰਾਗੁ ਊਪਜੈ ਹਰਿ ਖੋਜਤ ਫਿਰਣਾ ॥: Bhai te bairaag oopjai Hari khojat phirnaa: Through the Fear of God, the attitude of detachment (Bairaag) wells up, and one sets out in search of God (sggs 1102).
Becoming Shabad-Conscious is likened to chewing steel balls. However, in the company of Truth (within and without), these steel balls become like cotton candy, and our Bhagti gets stronger and unwavering.
  • ਸਾਧਸੰਗਤਿ ਬਿਨਾ ਭਾਉ ਨਹੀ ਊਪਜੈ ਭਾਵ ਬਿਨੁ ਭਗਤਿ ਨਹੀ ਹੋਇ ਤੇਰੀ ॥: Saadhsangati binaa bhaaou nahee oopjai bhaav binu bhagati nahee hoi teree (sggs 694).

Perceiving Of The Truth

After listening, reading, studying, learning or acquiring of the Divine Truth, the next step in attaining Shabad-Awareness is to reason out what has been listened, read, learnt, studied or acquired; followed by perceiving of the Truth.

Everything we hear is not Truth. We need to separate Truth from all that enters our years, eyes, and other physical senses. Example given in the Gurbani is that of a Hans (swan), who is said to eat only the real pearls from the lake, and is also said to possess a unique quality of separating milk from the water. Similarly, the Gurbani indicates we need to learn separating Truth from the rubbish by utilizing the reasoning and discrimination power of the Gurbani (Bibek-Budhi). This material universe is likened to a lake, and we are like Hans living in this lake. While there are present the real pearls (Truth or Sat) in this lake, there are also fake pearls and other rubbish in it (Asat or falsehood). The Gurbani urges us to find and eat the Real Pearls only, leaving the filth for crows and cranes (i.e., the false)!

  • ਹਰਿ ਸਰੁ ਸਾਗਰੁ ਨਿਰਮਲੁ ਸੋਈ ॥ ਸੰਤ ਚੁਗਹਿ ਨਿਤ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਹੋਈ ॥: Har sar saagar niramal soee. Sant chugahi nit Gurmukh hoee: The Lord is the most pure and sublime Ocean. By becoming Gurmukhs, saints always peck at the Naam-pearl (like swans pecking at pearls in the ocean) (sggs 128).
  • ਸਬਦਿ ਰਤੇ ਵਡ ਹੰਸ ਹੈ ਸਚੁ ਨਾਮੁ ਉਰਿ ਧਾਰਿ ॥: Sabad rate vad hans hai sach Naam uri dhaari: The great swan-souls are imbued with the Shabad; they enshrine the True Name within their Hearts (sggs 585).
  • ਸਰਵਰ ਹੰਸ ਧੁਰੇ ਹੀ ਮੇਲਾ ਖਸਮੈ ਏਵੈ ਭਾਣਾ ॥ ਸਰਵਰ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਹੀਰਾ ਮੋਤੀ ਸੋ ਹੰਸਾ ਕਾ ਖਾਣਾ ॥ ਬਗੁਲਾ ਕਾਗੁ ਨ ਰਹਈ ਸਰਵਰਿ ਜੇ ਹੋਵੈ ਅਤਿ ਸਿਆਣਾ ॥ ਓਨਾ ਰਿਜਕੁ ਨ ਪਇਓ ਓਥੈ ਓਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਾ ਹੋਰੋ ਖਾਣਾ ॥ ਸਚਿ ਕਮਾਣੈ ਸਚੋ ਪਾਈਐ ਕੂੜੈ ਕੂੜਾ ਮਾਣਾ ॥: Saravar hans dhure hee melaa khasamai evai bhaanaa. Saravar andar heeraa motee so hansaa kaa khaanaa. Bagulaa kagu n rahaee saravari je hovai ati siaanaa. Sach kamaanai sacho paaeeai koorrai koorraa maanaa: The Union between the Lake (of the True Guru...) and the Swan (of the Gurmukh) was pre-ordained from the very beginning, by the Hukam (Lord's Will). The diamonds (of Aatam-Giaan, Bibek-Budhi...) are in this Lake; they are the food of the (the Gurmukh) Swans. The cranes and the ravens (the false one, the Manmukh...) may be very smart, but they do not remain in this Lake (ਸਰੋਵਰ). They do not find their food there; their food is different (i.e., Mayaic, falsehood...). Practicing Truth, the True Lord is found. False is the pride of the false one (sggs 956).
After reasoning out what has been listened, the next step involves truly believing, obeying, remembering, contemplating and repeating the Divine Truth. In his Japji Sahib, Baabaa Nanak has also devoted four stanzas to this process as well (stanzas 12 through 15).
  • ਮੰਨੈ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਹੋਵੈ ਮਨਿ ਬੁਧਿ ॥: Mannai surti hovai mani budhi: By accepting (consenting, complying, ਮੰਨਣ ਕਰਕੇ), one attains Surti (Higher Awareness) and Budhi (Higher Intelligence, Bibek-Budhi, etc.; i.e., their minds awaken from the slumber of Maya...) (sggs 3).
Understanding true gist of the Gurbani is crucial in perceiving the Truth, because, without understanding true meanings, its Intuitional Realization is impossible. Therefore, to feel satisfied with mere superficial or worldly meanings will be absolutely suicidal. Hence, the Intuitive Apprehension of Inner most meanings should be the ultimate aim of any listening or reading of the Gurbani (or any other scripture for that matter). If one is satisfied by mere mechanical process, then he is grossly mistaken.
  • ਪੜਿਐ ਨਾਹੀ ਭੇਦੁ ਬੁਝਿਐ ਪਾਵਣਾ ॥: Parriai naahee bhedu bujhiai paavanaa: Not by reading (books), but through Understanding, is the Mystery Realized (that the Lord is Limitless...) (sggs 148).
  • ਸਬਦਿ ਭੇਦਿ ਜਾਣੈ ਜਾਣਾਈ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਹਉਮੈ ਜਾਲਿ ਸਮਾਈ ॥੨੯॥: (The Gurmukh) knows the mystery through the Shabad, and inspires others to know it. O Nanak! Burning away (his) ego, (the Gurmukh) merges (in his Mool, Source ...). ||29|| (sggs 941).
In the Gurbani, considerable importance and emphasis has been given to the Spiritual practice of Shabad-Vichaar (i.e., Inner Reflection, Spiritual inquiry...). Intuitive Shabad-Vichaar cleanses one's mind by removing doubts, thereby, making it fit for receiving Spiritual Wisdom and Intuitive Understanding of the Gurbani.
  • ਊਤਮ ਕਰਣੀ ਸਬਦ ਬੀਚਾਰ ॥: Ootam karanee sabad beechaar: The ultimate action is Reflections on the Shabad - Shabad Vichaar (sggs 158).
The Gurbani urges us that the realization of the Shabad-Surti comes to that mind which is Intuitively balanced. The spiritual qualities that constitute such mind include intuitive Understanding, Inner Perfection (Sahaj), Wisdom, Apprehension of the Reality, Bibek-Budhi, etc. In the absence of such intuitive and discerning mind, true love and devotion for God can not manifest within. Hence the Gurbani reminds us that, without a Intuitively balanced mind, we will render ourselves spiritually blind in this world.

The Grace of the Satguru is essential in gaining Intuitive balance of the mind. What is this Grace? Is it some super mundane remote reality? Is it far away from us? Absolutely not. The Divine Grace is always "here" and "now", within (Haajaa Hajoor)! However, unfortunately, we are always absent to receive it! The secret of awakening God's Grace is unconditional surrender of our false ego unto our Mool within (Source, Origin...). The state of partial surrender, occasional surrender, or surrender induced by some selfish and material motives will not do the trick.

  • ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦੀ ਜਾਣੀਐ ਤਉ ਅਨਭਉ ਪਾਵੈ ॥੮॥: Gurparsaadee jaaneeai taou annabhaou paavai ||8||: By the Guru's Grace, one attains Understanding, followed by Intuitional Realization ||8|| (sggs 725).

Jap, simply means to understand the Gurbani (to attain Brahm Giaan, Divine Knowledge, Spiritual Wisdom, ਗੁਰਬਾਣੀ ਦਾ ਪ੍ਰਚੰਡ ਗਿਆਨ ਪ੍ਰਾਪਤ ਕਰਨਾ…), and constant remembrance of that Understanding (ਸੂਝ-ਬੂਝ…) when transacting with the outside world of objects, sphere of emotions, and the realm of thoughts (ਫੁਰਨੇ, desires…). The Gurbani asks us to practice the Giaan-Jap (“ਗਿਆਨੁ ਜਪਹੁ”). And the Giaan (Wisdom, Knowledge, Aatm-Giaan, Brahm-Giaan…) is the subject of the Budhi, not the gross external body-frame. The Gurbani:

  • ਐਸਾ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਜਪਹੁ ਮਨ ਮੇਰੇ ॥ ਹੋਵਹੁ ਚਾਕਰ ਸਾਚੇ ਕੇਰੇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Aisaa giaanu japahu mann mere. Hovahu chaakar saache kere ||Rahaaou|| (sggs 728).

The Gurbani declares that, without such Simran, one is a self-murderer; his life is like that of a snake, a mad dog, a donkey, a crow whose beak is always in ordure, a Saakat or evildoer, etc. Thus, a strong emphasis has been laid on Simran in the Gurbani.

  • ਪ੍ਰਭ ਕਾ ਸਿਮਰਨੁ ਸਭ ਤੇ ਊਚਾ ॥: Prabh kaa simran sabh tee oochaa: God's Simran is the most exalted of all (sggs 263).
  • ਬਿਨੁ ਸਿਮਰਨ ਹੈ ਆਤਮ ਘਾਤੀ ॥: Bin simran hai aatam ghaatee: Without Simran, the man is a self-murderer (sggs 239).
Becoming One With What Has Been Perceived

The ultimate goal of Spiritual practices is to perceive the Supreme Truth, and then live by It. Becoming one with the Truth is the same as attaining Union with God, merging with God, realizing God, knowing God, seeing God, linking with the Mool, attaining Shabad-Consciousness, attaining Absorption or Dhyana, Opening of Tenth Gate, attaining Chauthaa Pada, living Truthfully and Righteously, becoming Living Liberated, Realizing the Self or Pure Being, and so on.

The physical or material life is extrovert. On the contrary, the Spirituality is the subject of being totally introvert. The Gurbani reveals to us that the True Shabad resides within; hence, we need to search it in the core of our Inner Being (Spiritual Heart). Spiritual practices such as mind-searching and introspection can help tread the path of unbroken Spiritual Journey.

  • ਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਸਬਦੁ ਰਿਦੇ ਮਹਿ ਚੀਨਾ ॥: Gur kaa sabadu ridai mahi cheenaa: I contemplate the the Gur-Shabad within my Heart (sggs 804).

Mind is the cause of our bondage to timebound-consciousness and related sufferings; also, the same mind can be shaped to make it the cause of our freedom from this bondage and suffering. Accordingly, The Gurbani asks us about continually searching of the mind, analysis of the mind, and intuitive balancing of the mind. Which, in turn, will cause the mind's false identifications with the body-consciousness (egoism) to cease.

  • ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਸਬਦਿ ਮਰੈ ਮਨੁ ਮਾਰੇ ਹਉਮੈ ਜਾਇ ਸਮਾਇਆ ॥੫॥: Gur kai sabadi marai manu maare haumai jaai samiaa ||5||: Who dies in the the Gur-Shabad (Naam-Giaan...), conquers his mind; his egotism departs; and he merges (in his Mool-Source...) ||5|| (sggs 1068).
God has given us the power of impartial intuitive self-analysis, discerning introspection. To maintain the Pure Awareness, The Gurbani has recommended daily introspection of the blind sense-mind. To be successful, this introspection has to be impartial, accurate, and without any prejudice. If we let this introspection become marred with the wicked impulsive mental and sense tendencies, then it will be totally meaningless.

Every moment, there is a Spiritual and psychological battle going on between the Soul and the blind sense-infatuated mind under the delusive influence of the false ego-sense (Haumai). We can invoke this introspection to review the battle of the day in our mind in order to determine who won the battle — the good or the evil. As scriptures tell us, "good" being that which expresses truth and virtue and attracts the consciousness to upward; and "evil" being ignorance and delusion, repels the consciousness from Truth. Thus, we can realize the Eternal Bliss (Anand) only if we side with "goodness" and win the battle between the good and evil inclinations that guide our activities on the external bodily field of action.

  • ਬੰਦੇ ਖੋਜੁ ਦਿਲ ਹਰ ਰੋਜ ਨਾ ਫਿਰੁ ਪਰੇਸਾਨੀ ਮਾਹਿ ॥: Bande khoj dil har roj naa phir presaanee maahi: O man, search your own Heart every day, and do not wander around in confusion (sggs 727).
  • ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਬਿਨੁ ਆਪਾ ਚੀਨੈ ਮਿਟੈ ਨ ਭ੍ਰਮ ਕੀ ਕਾਈ ॥੨॥੧॥: Jan Nanak binu aapaa cheenai mitai n bhram kee kaaee ||2||1||: 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). 
From a Spiritual standpoint, we are here to help each other Spiritually advance, so that ultimately we all can be situated on the platform of the Shabad-Surti or Transcendental Consciousness. The best way to achieve it is through selfless sharing the Shabad-Vichaar with others. By doing so, we strengthen our confidence, convictions and faith.
  • ਆਪਿ ਜਪਹੁ ਅਵਰਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਜਪਾਵਹੁ ॥ ਸੁਨਤ ਕਹਤ ਰਹਤ ਗਤਿ ਪਾਵਹੁ ॥: Aapi japahu awaraa Naamu jappaawahu. Sunat kahat rahat gati paawahu: Understand the Naam yourself, and make others Understand it. By hearing, uttering, and abiding by it, one attains emancipation (ਉੱਚੀ ਅਵਸਥਾ) (sggs 289).
Thus, as revealed in the Gurbani, with sincere, faithful and continual Shabad-Kamaaee, we can become one with the Truth within — the ultimate stage of Devotion or Dhyana (Absorption). Those who attain this stage become "Panch", Chosen ones, Elect, or the highest among mankind.
  • ਪੰਚ ਪਰਵਾਣ ਪੰਚ ਪਰਧਾਨੁ ॥ ਪੰਚੇ ਪਾਵਹਿ ਦਰਗਹਿ ਮਾਨੁ ॥ ਪੰਚੇ ਸੋਹਹਿ ਦਰਿ ਰਾਜਾਨੁ ॥ ਪੰਚਾ ਕਾ ਗੁਰੁ ਏਕੁ ਧਿਆਨੁ ॥: Panch paravaan panch pardhaanu. Panche paavahi daragahi maanu. Panche sohahi dari raajaanu. Panchaa kaa guru eku dhiaanu (sggs 3).

— T. Singh
www.gurbani.org