POSITIVE LIVING AND HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS

O man, how have you changed the course of your life? (sggs 939).
Actions (of humble beings) are pure, and their lifestyle is true (sggs 184).
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The life in one's hands is supposed to be like a brush in the hands of a great painter! For a peaceful and harmonious life, it's essential to maintain positive outlook and healthy relationships in the world. Negative qualities that cause great harm to one's life and relationships include lust, anger, greed, attachment, pride, enviousness, stubborn mindedness (and their numerous variations such as selfishness, arrogance, impatient, worries, corruption, foolishness, falsehood, and so on). When negative qualities increase in us, then our actions become damaging to the harmony. Some of the positive qualities are mutual respect, sharing, truthfulness, accountability, contentment, non-threatening or nonjudgmental behavior, fairness, trust, sacrifice, selflessness (selfless love, compassion, service or Nishakaam Sevaa, sacrifice etc.), humility, friendliness, mercy, tolerance, forgiveness, spiritual wisdom, faith, clarity of vision, right attitude, right understanding, etc. Usually, we conceal our negative qualities and behave well outwardly to present good image to the outside world (various masks of ego or Haume)! - "We are good at talking, but our actions are bad. Mentally, we are impure and filthy, but outwardly, we appear pure and clean" (sggs 85).

By and large, the focus of our attention is the outside world of illusory sense pleasures, power and prestige, ignoring the divine inside world. As a result, we end up hurting ourselves and others in the process. Life expresses out in the outside world through three aspects of our being: physical (body), emotional (mind), and intellectual. The limited ego (Jeeva or Haume), in turn, through this body-mind-intellect personality, gives rise to the perceiver of objects, the feeler of emotions and the thinker of thoughts. We deal with the inside world primarily through the spiritual aspect of our being, which, due to our neglect, generally remains in a dormant state. As long as we neglect our inside world, the outside problems (conflicts, differences, hatred, divisions, wars, etc.) and related suffering will not come to an end. Therefore, it's essential to pay attention to both the inside and the outside world, and integrate them. In other words, along with the outside world, the inner world also needs to be explored.

The reason we have lost touch with our inner world is that we have lost touch with the values of true spirituality - they are not applied in a practical way. We cannot experience inner peace as long as we have excessive fascination with the external world. In reality, the majority of us follow religion blindly. The great ones tell us that the religion is like the finger pointing at the fruit (i.e., spirituality, essence etc.), saying that if you eat that fruit you will experience eternal Bliss (Anand). But instead of going for the fruit, we are holding onto the finger and we miss out spirituality - value or the essence! The Gurbani tells us that the spiritual path is difficult like walking on a "two-edged sword" (sggs 918). Therefore, to succeed at this, we need to awaken within the guidance and the grace of the Guru-God by becoming fit. This needs right efforts made at the right time. It's an arduous journey of selflessness, commitment and sacrifice. The Gurbani provides us with beneficial spiritual principles, and are summarized in the pages to follow. For as long we do not apply these spiritual guidelines (Wisdom) in our lives, we will end up treading toward a hellish existence.

(1) The spiritual guidelines of the Gurbani (SGGS) are meant to be applied or lived — these principles are not to be crammed into the brain or confined to the tongue and the lips. When we grasp these principles, there will be a real change in our character and attitude. Therefore, we should not leave these spiritual principles confined to the pages of SGGS, we need to live them, letting the divine teachings (Gurmat) shine forth in all of our actions. Spirituality without practice is like trying to eat fruits shown in a painting or a picture! Spirituality is the practical (not theoretical) science of life. Therefore, if we practice these spiritual principles in our daily living, we will not be overwhelmed by crises in our life. Because, these spiritual principles teach us the real nature of the world (Sansaar), and live life in the best way possible. Thus, the Gurbani or Gurmat is not a load to be carried around, it is a principle to be brought into the heart and constantly practiced by the mind. Due to spiritual ignorance, however, the majority of us, have a completely materialistic view of the life. As a result, we give more importance to the material wealth than the spiritual Wealth. Hence, the importance of proper understanding is stressed in the Gurbani.

  • ਸਚੁ ਕਰਣੀ ਸਬਦੁ ਹੈ ਸਾਰੁ ॥ : Sachu karnee Shabad hai saar: The practice of Truth is the essence of the Shabad (sggs 114).
  • ਸਚਹੁ ਓਰੈ ਸਭੁ ਕੋ ਉਪਰਿ ਸਚੁ ਆਚਾਰ ॥੫॥: Sachahu orai sabh kayu upari sach aachaar ||5||: Everything is underneath (lower than, ਉਰ੍ਹੇ, …) Truth; the truthful living (living with Truth) is the highest (i.e., the superior form of living, ਸਭ ਤੇ ਉੱਪਰ …) ||5|| (sggs 62).
  • ਬੂਝਹੁ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਸਬਦੁ ਬੀਚਾਰਿ ॥: Boojhahu giyani Shabad beechaari: O wise one, understand by reflecting on the Shabad (sggs 840).
  • 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).
  • 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).
  • ਪੜਿਐ ਨਾਹੀ ਭੇਦੁ ਬੁਝਿਐ ਪਾਵਣਾ ॥: Parriai naahee bhed bujhiai paavanaa: Not by studying, but through understanding, is the Divine Mystery revealed (sggs 148).

(2) Judge yourself, not others. Judgmental behavior is threatening and leads to anger, conflicts, tension, other negative qualities and disharmony. Therefore, the Gurbani's advice to each one of us is to become a "real judge" by only judging yourself, not others. Judging others is a symptom of the faulty mind inflicted with Haume (false ego). Also called Manmukh, the daily life of such a person is full of its natural contentions, contradictions, jealousy, usual competitions, selfishness, corruption, falsehood of baser desires and fears. Consequently, he ends up living a wrong life in all his worldly contacts and experiences; wasting useful time and energy by undergoing tensions, strains, and creating chaos within for himself and confusion without for others. Judging oneself means to know "Who Am I?" by improving oneself through self-observations and self-purification. To know oneself as the Source ("Joti-Svaroopa") is being the "real judge". This only is Self-realization - to know one's essential nature as Pure Awareness. Unfortunately, however, the majority of us do not want to know ourselves. But we want to know everything about others! We want to find faults in others, but not in ourselves. We want to see divine virtues in others, but not in ourselves! We want others to forgive and forget our demerits, but we don't want to forgive and forget theirs. Hence, on account of false ego-sense, instead of investigating and judging our own conduct, we commit the error of judging others. In other words, we are unaware of our own house being on fire, but we go out of our way to see if someone else's house is burning out there! According to the Gurbani, such behavior only tantamounts to madness. Spirituality is meant to starve the ego (Haume), not to feed it.

  • ਨਾਨਕ ਪਰਖੇ ਆਪ ਕਉ ਤਾ ਪਾਰਖੁ ਜਾਣੁ ॥: Nanak parkhe aap kayu ta paarakh jaan: O Nanak, if someone judges himself, only then is he known as a real judge (sggs 148).
  • ਪੜਿ ਪੰਡਿਤੁ ਅਵਰਾ ਸਮਝਾਏ ॥ ਘਰ ਜਲਤੇ ਕੀ ਖਬਰਿ ਨ ਪਾਏ ॥: Parh Pandit avraa samjhaae. Ghar jalte kee khabar na paae: The Pandit reads (religious books) and instructs others, but he does not realize that his own home is on fire (fire of Bikaars, Maya, desires, etc.) (sggs 1046).
  • ਪ੍ਰਣਵਤਿ ਨਾਨਕ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਕੈਸਾ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਆਪੁ ਪਛਾਣੈ ਬੂਝੈ ਸੋਇ ॥: Pranvati Nanak giaanee kaisaa hoi. Aapu pashaanai boojhai soi: Prays Nanak, of what nature is the Giaanee (the Wise one, the knower of the Truth...)? (A true Giaanee is he who) recognizes his (Mool-ਮੂਲ, Source, Origin, Essential Nature, etc.), such (Giaanee-ਜੋ ਆਪਣੇ ਅਸਲੇ ਨੂੰ ਪਛਾਣਦਾ ਹੈ) Understands God (sggs 25).
  • ਸੋ ਬਉਰਾ ਜੋ ਆਪੁ ਨ ਪਛਾਨੈ ॥ ਆਪੁ ਪਛਾਨੈ ਤ ਏਕੈ ਜਾਨੈ ॥੪॥: So baouraa jo aap na pachaanai. Aap pacchaanai ta eko jaanai ||4||: Man is crazy without Self-realization. When he knows himself (ਆਪਣੇ ਅਸਲੇ ਦੀ ਪਛਾਣ, the Reality of his Being, his True Nature, etc.), only then he comes to know the One (All-pervading Truth). ||4|| (sggs 855).
  • ਮਨਮੁਖ ਬੋਲਿ ਨ ਜਾਣਨ੍ਹ੍ਹੀ ਓਨਾ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਕਾਮੁ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਅਹੰਕਾਰੁ ॥...: Manmukh boli na jaananeeh onaa andari kaam krodh ahankaar ..: The Manmukhs (material beings) do not even know how to speak. They are filled with lust, anger and false pride (i.e. all evil passions, which are the faults of the same false ego-sense or Haume). They do not know the difference between good and bad; they constantly think of corruption. In God's Court, they are called to account, and they are judged to be false (sggs 1248).

(3) Do not think yourself good and others bad. Baabaa Kabeer says that "whoever understands this is a friend of mine". In other words, if one does not think this way is not a friend of the Shabad-Guru. Good and bad is a product of Mayaic consciousness (Doojaa Bhaav or duality). The evil that the world contains is the result of the Karma of individuals for whom Divine Law (Hukam) is the discipliner. When one is able to conquer evil nature, godly nature is near at hand. Only grit and great strength of the mind can help in this effort to counter evil tendencies. Practicing right conduct helps to clean the mind of "filth" that obstructs Self-knowledge (Aatam-Giaan) of good. Spiritual peace and harmony can be attained only when the evil nature of ignorance and misconception (illusion, doubts etc.) are washed away. The Gurbani stresses the importance of purifying the mind through Viveka-Budhi (sense of discrimination or discerning intellect) and Bairaag (spirit of non-attachment). Pure mind alone can lead one towards spiritual Life.

  • ਕਬੀਰ ਸਭ ਤੇ ਹਮ ਬੁਰੇ ਹਮ ਤਜਿ ਭਲੋ ਸਭੁ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਜਿਨਿ ਐਸਾ ਕਰਿ ਬੂਝਿਆ ਮੀਤੁ ਹਮਾਰਾ ਸੋਇ ॥੭॥: Kabeer sabh te ham bure ham taji bhalo sabh koi. Jin aisaa kari boojhiaa meet hamaaraa soi ||7||: O Kabeer! (Through the Naam-Simran, since my ego has been eradicated, now I think) I am the worst of all. Everyone else is good. Whosoever understands this is a friend of mine ||7|| (sggs 1364).
  • ਹਮ ਨਹੀ ਚੰਗੇ ਬੁਰਾ ਨਹੀ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਪ੍ਰਣਵਤਿ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਤਾਰੇ ਸੋਇ ॥੪॥੧॥੨॥: Ham nahee change buraa nahee koi. Pranavat Nanak taarae soi ||4||1||2|| (sggs 728).
  • ਬੁਰਾ ਭਲਾ ਤਿਚਰੁ ਆਖਦਾ ਜਿਚਰੁ ਹੈ ਦੁਹੁ ਮਾਹਿ ॥: Buraa bhalaa tichar aakhadaa jichar hai duhu maahi: One calls others bad and good, as long as he himself is in the control of duality (sggs 757).
  • ਦੁਕ੍ਰਿਤ ਸੁਕ੍ਰਿਤ ਮੰਧੇ ਸੰਸਾਰੁ ਸਗਲਾਣਾ ॥ ਦੁਹਹੂੰ ਤੇ ਰਹਤ ਭਗਤੁ ਹੈ ਕੋਈ ਵਿਰਲਾ ਜਾਣਾ ॥: Dukarit sukarit mandhay sansaar saglaanaa. Duhahoon tay rahat bhagat hai ko-ee virlaa jaanaa: The whole world is engrossed in bad and good. God's devotee is above both, but those who understand this are very rare (sggs 51).
  • ਖਿੰਚੋਤਾਣਿ ਵਿਗੁਚੀਐ ਬੁਰਾ ਭਲਾ ਦੁਇ ਨਾਲਿ ਜੀਉ ॥: Khinchotaan vigucheeai buraa bhalaa dui naali jeeo: By indecision and inner conflict, you will come to ruin. Good and bad both pull at you (sggs 751).

(4) Use the power of discrimination (Viveka-Budhi) and Dispassion (detachment or Bairaag). The subtle sense of discrimination helps one to know the difference between Sat and Asat (truth and falsehood). Thus, a person of true discrimination knows that the Absolute Reality alone is eternal (Sat) and that everything else in this material world being in the framework of time and space is temporary (Asat). The Gurbani says that without Viveka, this precious human life is a total waste. Because without it, we will be unable to discern between right and wrong. Dispassion or detachment is the absence of sensual attachment to accepting things for one's own sense gratification. In other words, detachment towards that which is temporary in life (unreal) and attachment to God (Real) only constitute Bairaag. Such detachment must be the consequent to developing the quality of discrimination; otherwise detachment will result because of frustration in life and not out of conviction! Detachment does not mean that one should become inactive or idle. It is the state of being able to discriminate between the Self and ever changing body and external world. One who has developed the most intense Bairaag is not influenced adversely by the inherent charm of the mundane objects. In nutshell, Bairaag is a complete attachment to Spirit, and complete detachment from matter. Therefore, in order to develop intense Bairaag, one's activities must be Guru- or God-centered. The Gurbani declares that without Bairaag, Maya (corruption of conditioned consciousness etc.) cannot be transcended. So that we can remain detached, the Gurbani tells us this world to be Mithiya, dream, unreal, temporary, fleeting, mirage-like etc. We need to discharge our duties and responsibilities without attachment or aversion.

  • ਸੋ ਧਨਵੰਤਾ ਜਿਸੁ ਬੁਧਿ ਬਿਬੇਕ ॥: So dhanvanta jis budh bibek: He alone is wealthy who possesses discriminating intellect (sggs 1150).
  • ਦੁਲਭ ਜਨਮੁ ਪੁੰਨ ਫਲ ਪਾਇਓ ਬਿਰਥਾ ਜਾਤ ਅਬਿਬੇਕੈ ॥: Dulabh janam punn phal paaio birathaa jaat abibekai: This precious human birth is obtained as a reward for (past) good actions, but without discriminating intellect, it is wasted in vain (sggs 658).
  • ਬਿਬੇਕ ਬੁਧੀ ਸੁਖਿ ਰੈਣਿ ਵਿਹਾਣੀ ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਨਾਮਿ ਪ੍ਰਗਾਸਾ ॥: Bibek budhi sukh rain vihani gurmat nam pargas: Through the discriminating intellect, the life night passes in Peace and by the Guru's instructions, through the Name (one is) enlightened (ਅੰਦਰ ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਦਾ ਪ੍ਰਗਾਸ ਹੋਂਣਾ) (sggs 772).
  • ਬੂਝੈ ਬੂਝਨਹਾਰੁ ਬਿਬੇਕ॥ਬੂਝੈ ਬੂਝਨਹਾਰੁ ਸਭਾਗਾ ॥: Boojhai boojhanhaar bibek. Boojhai boojhanhaar sabhaagaa: Only one with discriminating intellect understands it. Very fortunate is the one who knows this (sggs 285).
  • ਅੰਤਰਿ ਲੋਭ ਹਲਕੁ ਦੁਖੁ ਭਾਰੀ ਬਿਨੁ ਬਿਬੇਕ ਭਰਮਾਇ ॥੧॥: Antar lobh halak dukh bhareei bin bibek bharmaai ||1||: (The man with Haume attaches to Maya) the great ailment of the rabid disease of greed is within him. Without Bibek (discriminating intellect), he wanders around (like a rabid dog) ||1|| (sggs 1132).
  • ਸੋ ਜਨੁ ਰਲਾਇਆ ਨਾ ਰਲੈ ਜਿਸੁ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਬਿਬੇਕ ਬੀਚਾਰੁ ॥: So jan ralaaeiaa naa ralai jis anthar bibaek beechaar: Those humble beings who are filled with keen iscriminating wisdom and Self-inquiry - even though they intermingle with others, they remain distinct (sggs 28).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਬਿਬੇਕ ਬੁਧਿ ਹੋਇ ॥: Gurmukh giaan bibaek budh hoi: The Gurmukh is blessed with spiritual wisdom and a discerning intellect (sggs 317).
  • ਦੁਬਿਧਾ ਵਿਚਿ ਬੈਰਾਗੁ ਨ ਹੋਵੀ ਜਬ ਲਗੁ ਦੂਜੀ ਰਾਈ ॥: Dubidhaa vichi bairaagu na hovee jabb lagu doojee raaee: There cannot be detachment in delusion, as long as there is even a particle of duality (sggs 634).
  • ਬੂਝਿ ਬੈਰਾਗੁ ਕਰੇ ਜੇ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਜਨਮ ਮਰਣ ਫਿਰਿ ਸੋਗੁ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥: Boojh bairaagu kare je koi. janam maran fir sog na hoi: Only if someone becomes detached through understanding, he will not have to suffer in birth and death again (sggs 1145).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਕਰਮ ਕਮਾਵੈ ਬਿਗਸੈ ਹਰਿ ਬੈਰਾਗੁ ਅਨੰਦੁ ॥: Gurmukh karma kamaavai bigasai har bairaag anand: By becoming spiritual beings (Gurmukhs) do good deeds and blossom forth within; balanced and detached in the Lord, they are in bliss (sggs 29).
  • ਮਨਮੁਖੁ ਮੋਹਿ ਵਿਆਪਿਆ ਬੈਰਾਗੁ ਉਦਾਸੀ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥: Manmukh mohi viaapiaa bairaagu udaasee na hoi: The materialists (Manmukhs) are engrossed in emotional attachment; they are not balanced and detached (sggs 29).
  • ਬਿਨੁ ਬੈਰਾਗ ਨ ਛੂਟਸਿ ਮਾਇਆ ॥੧॥: Bin bairaag na shootas maya ||1||: Without detachment, Maya cannot be gotten rid of (cannot be liberated from Maya, etc.) ||1|| (sggs 329).
  • ਮੈ ਮਨਿ ਤਨਿ ਪ੍ਰੇਮੁ ਮਹਾ ਬੈਰਾਗੁ ॥: Mai mani tani prem mahaa bairaag: My mind and body are filled with divine love, and great detachment (sggs 366).

(5) Forgive and forget. To experience lasting happiness in life, we must discover the joy of harmony with the Universe, and live in tune with with the symphony of Creation. One who has so mastered the life will have no anxiety, fear or conflicts while living his life. To feel this closeness between the Universe and the Jeeva (individual being) we must eradicate all our intolerance, hate, animosity, discord or antagonisms with the external world. We must learn to forgive the mistakes of others. With the attitude of "love for all and malice for none", we can end brutality and conquer even the most cruel and evil forces around us. To live such a life of perfection (Jeevan Padvee) and joy is the goal of human life. This is God-Realization — the state beyond distress, tensions, conflicts, discords, vengeance, differences, disharmony, frustration, and suffering. This is the joyous fulfillment that life can ever offer us. We like or love an object due to our delusion and emotional attachment, and we hate or dislike an object due to our enviousness and other such negative traits. Egoism (Haume) is at the root of all negative qualities.

  • ਖਿਮਾ ਵਿਹੂਣੇ ਖਪਿ ਗਏ ਖੂਹਣਿ ਲਖ ਅਸੰਖ ॥: Khimaa vihoonae khap geae khoohan lakh asankh: Without patience and forgiveness, countless hundreds of thousands have perished (sggs 937).
  • ਜਹਾ ਲੋਭੁ ਤਹ ਕਾਲੁ ਹੈ ਜਹਾ ਖਿਮਾ ਤਹ ਆਪਿ ॥: jehaa lobh theh kaal hai jehaa khimaa theh aap ||155||: Where there is greed, there is death. Where there is forgiveness, there is God Himself. ||155|| (sggs 1372 ).
  • ਖਿਮਾ ਗਹੀ ਬ੍ਰਤੁ ਸੀਲ ਸੰਤੋਖੰ ॥: Khimaa gahee brat seel santokh: To practice forgiveness is the true fast, good conduct and contentment (sggs 223).
  • ਸਚੁ ਵਰਤੁ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ ਤੀਰਥੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਧਿਆਨੁ ਇਸਨਾਨੁ ॥ ਦਇਆ ਦੇਵਤਾ ਖਿਮਾ ਜਪਮਾਲੀ ਤੇ ਮਾਣਸ ਪਰਧਾਨ ॥: Sach varat santokh teerath giaan dhian isnaan. Daya devta khimaa japmaalee te manas pardhaan: The most excellent people (Pardhaan) are those persons who make truth their fasting, contentment their pilgrim-station, cognition and meditation their ablution, compassion their deity, and forgiveness their rosary (sggs 1245).
  • ਖਿਮਾ ਗਹੀ ਸਚੁ ਸੰਚਿਓ ਖਾਇਓ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਨਾਮ ॥ ਖਰੀ ਕ੍ਰਿਪਾ ਠਾਕੁਰ ਭਈ ਅਨਦ ਸੂਖ ਬਿਸ੍ਰਾਮ ॥: Khimaa gahee sach sanchio khaaio anmrit naam. Kharee kirapaa thaakur bhee anad sookh bisraam: (One who) Adops an attitude of forgiveness, gathers truth, and partake of the Amrit of the Name (spiritual food - ਆਤਮਕ ਖੁਰਾਕ); the Lord bestows upon him His Great Mercy, and he finds Peace, Happiness and Bliss (i.e., spiritual Joy - ਆਤਮਕ ਆਨੰਦ-ਸੁਖ) (sggs 261).
  • ਸਿਦਕੁ ਸਬੂਰੀ ਸਾਦਿਕਾ ਸਬਰੁ ਤੋਸਾ ਮਲਾਇਕਾਂ ॥ ਦੀਦਾਰੁ ਪੂਰੇ ਪਾਇਸਾ ਥਾਉ ਨਾਹੀ ਖਾਇਕਾ ॥: Sidak sabooree saadikaa sabar tosaa malaaikaan. Deedaar pooray paaisaa thaaou naahee khaaikaa: Faith, contentment and tolerance are the wealth and provisions of the godly beings. Because of this, they attain the Divine Visions, while those who just talk find no place of Peace (sggs 83).

(6) Conquer (control, discipline, purify or annihilate) the ego-mind - shatter the hard shell of false ego-sense (Haume). Ego is the notion of "mine, mine". We re asked to give it up and surrender it to God. Very subtle and clever, the ego-mind is the outsider and the impostor. It is nothing but thoughts-stuff or memories of the past (Vaasnaas) and worries of the future. Each present moment becomes the past the next moment. The mind that lives in the cumulative memories of the past and worries of the future is one's enemy, and the mind that is free from both is one's good friend. Thus, it is said that the mind can be one's good friend as well as one's worse enemy. Since all suffering and sorrows are of the mind, the Gurbani tells us that all the knowledge is in annihilating one's mind (false ego-sense, Haume, relativist consciousness etc.). One can then resist sensory distractions and negative tendencies. So long we identify with the negative emotions (lust, anger, greed etc.), we will never be able to bring the mind under control. Negative emotions (faults of false ego or Haume) supply the mind with necessary food for its thoughts and identity. The majority of us have a faulty mind: full of negative emotions. Along with negative qualities, our minds also have positive qualities. The idea is to work hard to remove negative qualities of the mind (lower mind), and replace them with positive qualities (Higher mind). Thus, the Gurbani says, "through the mind itself, the mind is killed." Hence, the mind needs to be closely watched for it's the big liar and trickster. Memories of the past and worries of the future are the heart's snare. The mind in bondage cannot function well. Although to control the mind is very difficult, but with constant practice it can be trained. Just as eating bitter gourd is very difficult, but with practice one can develop taste for it. The "conquered" mind will think only what we want to think. Just as the moon is reflected in the calm waters of a pond, the real Self is reveled when the mind is absolutely calm and quiet. The ego-mind is extrovert (sense-bent). It needs to be controlled by turning it toward the real goal of the life (God-Realization).

  • ਮਨ ਚੂਰੇ ਖਟੁ ਦਰਸਨ ਜਾਣੁ ॥: Man choore khatu darasan jaanu: To conquer the mind (destroying it by cutting it into pieces or pulverizing it's evils) is the knowledge of the six Shaastras (sggs 352).
  • ਦੁਬਿਧਾ ਬਉਰੀ ਮਨੁ ਬਉਰਾਇਆ ॥: dubidhaa bouree manu bouraaiaa: The delusion of duality has deluded the mind (sggs 1342).
  • ਮਨਮੁਖਿ ਕਮਲਾ ਰਗੜੈ ਲੁਝੈ ॥ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਹੋਇ ਤਿਸੁ ਸਭ ਕਿਛੁ ਸੁਝੈ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਮਨ ਸਿਉ ਲੁਝੈ ॥੪੬॥: Manmukh kamlaa ragarhai lujhai. Gurmukh hoyi tis sabh kish sujahi. Nanak Gurmukh mann siou lujhai ||46||: The Manmukh (material being) drives himself crazy struggling with worries and stubbornness. But those who become Gurmukh understand everything (ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਦੇ ਹਰੇਕ ਭੇਤ ਨੂੰ). O Nanak, (the one who) becomes the Gurmukh struggles with your own mind (ਆਪਣੇ ਮਨ ਨਾਲ ਟਾਕਰਾ ਕਰਦਾ ਰਹਿੰਦਾ ਹੈ) ||46|| (sggs 1418).
  • ਜੋ ਇਸੁ ਮਾਰੇ ਸੋਈ ਸੂਰਾ ॥: Jo is maare soee soorss: One who kills this is a Sooraa - spiritual Hero (sggs 238).
  • ਮਨੁ ਵਸਿ ਦੂਤਾ ਦੁਰਮਤਿ ਦੋਇ ॥: Mann vas dootaa durmati doi: The mind is in the control of evil passions, evil intent, and duality (sggs 222).
  • ਮਨੁ ਮਰੈ ਧਾਤੁ ਮਰਿ ਜਾਇ ॥: Mann marai dhaat mar jaai: When the mind is conquered, its turbulent wanderings stop (sggs 665).
  • ਸੋ ਮੁਨਿ ਜਿ ਮਨ ਕੀ ਦੁਬਿਧਾ ਮਾਰੇ ॥ ਦੁਬਿਧਾ ਮਾਰਿ ਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਬੀਚਾਰੇ ॥੧॥: So muni ji mann kee dubidhaa maare. Dubidhaa maar braham beechaare ||1||: He alone is a Sage, who annihilates his mind's duality. Killing his duality, he contemplates God ||1|| (sggs 1129).
  • ਬਿਨੁ ਮਨ ਮੂਏ ਕੈਸੇ ਹਰਿ ਪਾਇ ॥: Binu mann mooye kaise hari paai: Without annihilating (conquering) the mind, how can God be found? (sggs 665).
  • ਮਨਿ ਬਾਸਨਾ ਰਚਿ ਬਿਖੈ ਬਿਆਧਿ ॥: Mani baasanaa rachi bikhai biaadh: The mind is engrossed in Vaasnaa, and the disease of corruption (sggs 675).
  • ਮਨ ਮਹਿ ਮਨੁ ਉਲਟੋ ਮਰੈ ਜੇ ਗੁਣ ਹੋਵਹਿ ਨਾਲਿ ॥: Man mahi man ulto marai je gun hovahi naal: The (lower) mind turns inward, and merges with the (Higher) mind, when it is with virtue (sggs 935).

(7) Live in the NOW; for the life is in the NOW. It's the present that needs to be worked out by surrendering our body and mind (ego) to God, not the past. Past is like a void check. By brooding over the past no one can taste and enjoy the present. By not living in the NOW we inflict more wounds on ourselves, increasing the pain of our past experiences. Instead of solving the present, we thus allow ourselves to be robbed. "Don't let yourself be robbed", says the Gurbani. The majority of us generally live in the past or the future. Memories of the past (past is dead and over) and anxieties of the future (future is unknown) both poison life by creating tension and disharmony. Meditation (Naam-Simran, Jap) helps us to live in the NOW. It helps us cope with all situations of one's life positively - we become able to responding (positivism) to life's situations instead of reacting (negativism) to them. Past is ugly. It's a shackle. Living in the past is like digging the dead or decorating a dead body. Therefore, to think and grieve about the past is foolishness (Moorakhataa). It is unimportant to a seeker to live in time other than the present. When we do not live in the NOW, the time seems to go really fast or it seems as there is not enough time. When we live in and taste the NOW, we somehow find enough time. That's why the Wise ones (Gurmukhs) tell us to live in the NOW instead of the past, as well as the future. To experience NOW, the pendulum of the mind must cease swinging. It must become absolutely still.

  • ਫਰੀਦਾ ਕਿੜੀ ਪਵੰਦੀਈ ਖੜਾ ਨ ਆਪੁ ਮੁਹਾਇ ॥: Fareedaa kirhee pavandeeyee kharhaa na aap muhaae: Fareed, the call (from Granths, scriptures, Masters etc.) has come; be careful now - don't let yourself be robbed (sggs 1377).
  • ਸਲੋਕ ਕਬੀਰ ॥ ਗਗਨ ਦਮਾਮਾ ਬਾਜਿਓ ਪਰਿਓ ਨੀਸਾਨੈ ਘਾਉ ॥ ਖੇਤੁ ਜੁ ਮਾਂਡਿਓ ਸੂਰਮਾ ਅਬ ਜੂਝਨ ਕੋ ਦਾਉ ॥੧॥ ਸੂਰਾ ਸੋ ਪਹਿਚਾਨੀਐ ਜੁ ਲਰੈ ਦੀਨ ਕੇ ਹੇਤ ॥ ਪੁਰਜਾ ਪੁਰਜਾ ਕਟਿ ਮਰੈ ਕਬਹੂ ਨ ਛਾਡੈ ਖੇਤੁ ॥੨॥੨॥: Salok Kabeer || Gagan damaamaa baajio pario nisaanai ghaaou. Khet ju maandio soormaa ab joojhan ko daaou ||1|| Sooraa so pehchaaneeai jo larai deen ke het. Purajaa purajaa kat marai kabahoo n shhaadai khet ||2||2||: Salok Kabeer. The battle-drum beats (in the sky of the mind - i.e., one soars height of Spiritual Consciousness); aim strike the aim (Dasam Duaar - Tenth Gate). The spiritual warrior enters this field of battle; (he knows that) now is the time to fight (with the evil passions)! ||1|| He alone is known as a spiritual hero, who fights (with his evil passions) for the sake of Dharma (i.e., in the defense of righteousness). He may be cut apart, piece by piece, but he never leaves this battle-field (of worldliness) ||2||2|| (sggs 1105).
  • ਸੁਣਿ ਮਨ ਮਿਤ੍ਰ ਪਿਆਰਿਆ ਮਿਲੁ ਵੇਲਾ ਹੈ ਏਹ ॥: Sunni mann mitar piaariaa mil velaa hai ih: Listen, O my mind, my friend and darling: Now is the time to meet God (sggs 20).
  • ਕਬੀਰ ਕਾਲਿ ਕਰੰਤਾ ਅਬਹਿ ਕਰੁ ਅਬ ਕਰਤਾ ਸੁਇ ਤਾਲ ॥: Kabeer kaal karantaa abahi kar ab kartaa suyi taal: Kabeer, that which you have to do tomorrow - do it today instead; and that which you have to do today - do it Now! (sggs 1371).
  • ਖਰਚੁ ਬੰਨੁ ਚੰਗਿਆਈਆ ਮਤੁ ਮਨ ਜਾਣਹਿ ਕਲੁ ॥: Kharach bann changaaeeaa matu mann jaanahi kal: Gather up noble virtues for your travelling expenses, and do not think of tomorrow in your mind (sggs 595).
  • ਜੋ ਕਿਛੁ ਕਰਹਿ ਸੋਈ ਅਬ ਸਾਰੁ ॥: Jo kish karahi soee abb saar: Whatever you have to do - now is the best time to do it (sggs 1159).
  • ਖਰਚੁ ਬੰਨੁ ਚੰਗਿਆਈਆ ਮਤੁ ਮਨ ਜਾਣਹਿ ਕਲੁ ॥: Kharach bann changaaeeaa matu mann jaanahi kal: Gather up noble virtues for your travelling expenses, and do not think of tomorrow in your mind (sggs 595).
  • ਵਿਸਮਾਦੁ ਦੇਖੈ ਹਾਜਰਾ ਹਜੂਰਿ ॥: Visamaad dekhai haajaraa hjoori: How wonderful to behold the Divine ever-present "Here" and "Now" (sggs 464).

(8) We are responsible for our own actions (Karma). Therefore, we have to accept the consequences of our actions. When one bites a chili can there be any escape from its sharp tang? This life is likened to a field (Khet) in which our Karma is the seed. We harvest exactly what we sow. No less, no more. This infallible law of Karma holds everyone responsible for what he is or going to be. Based on the total sum of past Karma, some are close to their Pure Being in this life, and others are separated or far apart. This is the Gurbani's (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, SGGS) law of Karma. The law of physics states that the action and reaction are equal and act in the opposite direction. This is a universal fact. Similarly, the law of Karma is also a universal fact. If there is a cause, there is an effect. If there is a Karma or activity (cause), there is a reaction or result (effect). This is the underlying principle. This is the law that brings back the "earned" results of one's actions to him as long as one has the ego (Haume). Also, one person's Karma can affect others as well. For example, if someone in the family goes to jail, others members of the family suffer too. With right attitude, actions can be converted into worship by remembering God in every action and breath. While each one is expected to do the allotted work, the emphasis of the scriptures is on the performance of action without attachment. The sense of "I" or (mine, mine) has to be totally absent. In other words, all work is to be done in a spirit of selflessness, and for the sake of the Guru or God. What is the difference between the action of a person of wisdom (Giaanee) and that of an unwise person? An unwise person acts with attachment while the Giaanee engages in action without attachment, firmly rooted in Dharma.

  • ਨਾਰਾਇਣ ਨਿੰਦਸਿ ਕਾਇ ਭੂਲੀ ਗਵਾਰੀ ॥ ਦੁਕ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਸੁਕ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਥਾਰੋ ਕਰਮੁ ਰੀ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Naaraain Nindas kaai bhoolee gavaaree. Dukrit sukrit thaaro karam ree ||1||Rahaaou||: Why do you slander God, O deluded and ignorant. Pain and pleasure are the result of your own actions ||1||Pause|| (sggs 695).
  • ਦਦੈ ਦੋਸੁ ਨ ਦੇਊ ਕਿਸੈ ਦੋਸੁ ਕਰੰਮਾ ਆਪਣਿਆ ॥ ਜੋ ਮੈ ਕੀਆ ਸੋ ਮੈ ਪਾਇਆ ਦੋਸੁ ਨ ਦੀਜੈ ਅਵਰ ਜਨਾ ॥: Daddai dos na deooo kisai dos krammaa aapaniaa. Jo mai keeaa so mai paaiaa dos na deejai avar janaa: Dadda (a letter of the Gurmukhi alphabet), I should not blame anyone else (for my suffering); I blame instead my own actions. Whatever I did, for that I have suffered; I don't blame anyone else (sggs 433).
  • 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).
  • ਚਉਰਾਸੀਹ ਨਰਕ ਸਾਕਤੁ ਭੋਗਾਈਐ ॥ ਜੈਸਾ ਕੀਚੈ ਤੈਸੋ ਪਾਈਐ ॥: The faithless cynic suffers the ignominy of having to undergo the "hell" of 8.4 million reincarnations — the viscious cycle of death and rebirth. As he acts, so does he suffer (sggs 1028).
  • ਅਹਿ ਕਰੁ ਕਰੇ ਸੁ ਅਹਿ ਕਰੁ ਪਾਏ ਕੋਈ ਨ ਪਕੜੀਐ ਕਿਸੈ ਥਾਇ ॥੩॥: Ahi karu kare su ahi karu paaye koee na pakarreeai kisai thaai ||3||: As we act, so are the rewards we receive; no one can take the place of another ||3|| (sggs 406).
  • ਕਰਮਾ ਉਪਰਿ ਨਿਬੜੈ ਜੇ ਲੋਚੈ ਸਭੁ ਕੋਇ ॥: Karma upper nibrai je lochai sabh koyi: According to one's actions, his destiny unfolds, even though everyone wants to be so lucky (sggs 157).
  • ਆਪ ਕਮਾਣੈ ਵਿਛੁੜੀ ਦੋਸੁ ਨ ਕਾਹੂ ਦੇਣ ॥: App akaamnai vishuree dos na kaahoo den: Based on the results of my own actions, I have been separated from God; why should I accuse anyone else? (sggs 136).
  • ਬੀਜੁ ਬੋਵਸਿ ਭੋਗ ਭੋਗਹਿ ਕੀਆ ਅਪਣਾ ਪਾਵਏ ॥: Beej bovas bhog bhogahi keeyaa appnaa pavaye: As are the seeds one plants, so are the fruits; he receives the consequences of his own efforts (sggs 705).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਕਰੈ ਨਿਹਕਰਮੀ ਨ ਹੋਵੈ ॥: Haumai karai nihakarmee na hovai: Those who act in ego do not go beyond Karma (sggs 128).
  • ਗਿਆਨੁ ਭਇਆ ਤਹ ਕਰਮਹ ਨਾਸੁ ॥੩॥: Giaan bhaiaa tah karmah naas ||3||: With the Divine Knowledge (ਉੱਚ-ਜੀਵਨ ਦੀ ਸੂਝ) ends the deeds (Mayaic efforts) ||3|| (sggs 1167).
  • ਫਰੀਦਾ ਜਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹੀ ਕੰਮੀ ਨਾਹਿ ਗੁਣ ਤੇ ਕੰਮੜੇ ਵਿਸਾਰਿ ॥: Fareedaa jinhee kammee naahi gun te kammrhay visaar: Fareed, those deeds which do not bring merit - forget about those deeds (sggs 1381).

(9) Remember death (without fearing it). We often hear people say, "life is very short". This is only half the story. The other half is that this shortness of one's life is hidden from us — thus, unpredictable. It can end any moment. Therefore, each breath is in a way a new life, and each day is a new birth. Death sits and waits at the door-step from the day one a person is born. Therefore, the Gurbani says the life should not be wasted in frivolous pursuits. Furthermore, the human life is said to be very rare and precious gift. Because devotion is possible only in human form. The ultimate purpose of human life is to realize Mool within, here and now. Therefore, it is vital that this rare privilege of human birth is not frittered away in the love of Maya.

  • ਜੈਸੇ ਜਲ ਤੇ ਬੁਦਬੁਦਾ ਉਪਜੈ ਬਿਨਸੈ ਨੀਤ ॥ ਜਗ ਰਚਨਾ ਤੈਸੇ ਰਚੀ ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਸੁਨਿ ਮੀਤ ॥੨੫॥ ਪ੍ਰਾਨੀ ਕਛੂ ਨ ਚੇਤਈ ਮਦਿ ਮਾਇਆ ਕੈ ਅੰਧੁ ॥ ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਬਿਨੁ ਹਰਿ ਭਜਨ ਪਰਤ ਤਾਹਿ ਜਮ ਫੰਧ ॥੨੬॥: As the bubble in water wells up and disappears again, so is the (play of the) universe is created (by Parmeshar). ||25|| But, blinded by the intoxication of Maya (blinded from spiritual Life - ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਵਲੋਂ), the mortal does not think at all (about the spiritual Life - ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਬਾਰੇ). Says Nanak - without the uniting with Mool, (such mortal) is caught by the noose of Death. ||26|| (sggs 1427).

(10) Get along with everyone. Be kind even to your enemies - "No one is my enemy, and no one is a stranger to me. I get along with everyone" - teaches the Gurbani. People consumed with conflict (Rosay-Gilay), resentment, hatred etc. are called Manmukh (material or unenlightened beings) in the Gurbani. The Gurbani tells us that the One Creator (Kartaa Purukh) is the Support of the entire Universe. It simply means that Creation and Creator are not different. But our body and mind (false ego-sense, Haume, corrupt consciousness etc.) create the barrier, which is the cause of apparent differences. When this barrier is transcended, the notion of differences disappear. In other words, if we are one with the Supreme Consciousness (Gurmukh state), there is the sense of "Sabh gobind hai sabh gobind hai" (which simply means One God has become everything), and we see the whole Universe as our own Self. As the flower is composed of many petals, but is one flower. Similarly, the world consists of many regions, countries, cultures, religions, languages, races, and people, but there is just the One.

  • ਨਾ ਕੋ ਬੈਰੀ ਨਹੀ ਬਿਗਾਨਾ ਸਗਲ ਸੰਗਿ ਹਮ ਕਉ ਬਨਿ ਆਈ ॥: Naa ko bairee nahee bigaanaa sagal sang ham kayu ban aaee: No one is my enemy, and no one is a stranger to me. I get along with everyone (sggs 1299).
  • ਸਰਬ ਭੂਤ ਏਕੈ ਕਰਿ ਜਾਨਿਆ ਚੂਕੇ ਬਾਦ ਬਿਬਾਦਾ ॥: Sarab bhoot ekai kar jaaniaa chooke baad bibaadaa: I look upon all beings alike, and my conflict and strife are ended (sggs 483).
  • ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਕੇ ਭਗਤ ਨਿਰਵੈਰ ॥: Paarbraham kae bhgat nirvair: The devotees of the Supreme God are beyond hate and vengeance (sggs 1145).
  • ਵਵਾ ਵੈਰੁ ਨ ਕਰੀਐ ਕਾਹੂ ॥ ਘਟ ਘਟ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਸਮਾਹੂ ॥: Vavaa vair na kareeai kaahoo. Ghat ghat antari brahm samaahoo: Do not create enmity with anyone as God is within everyone (sggs 259).
  • ਮਨਮੁਖੀਆ ਸਿਰਿ ਮਾਰ ਵਾਦਿ ਖਪਾਈਐ ॥: Manmukheeaa siri maar vaad khapaaeeai: The problem of the materialistic's head is this: he is consumed by conflict (sggs 420).
  • ਨਾ ਕੋ ਮੇਰਾ ਦੁਸਮਨੁ ਰਹਿਆ ਨਾ ਹਮ ਕਿਸ ਕੇ ਬੈਰਾਈ ॥: Naa ko maeraa dusaman rehiaa naa ham kis kae bairaaee: No one is my enemy, and I am no one's enemy (sggs 671).
  • ਇਕੁ ਸਜਣੁ ਸਭਿ ਸਜਣਾ ਇਕੁ ਵੈਰੀ ਸਭਿ ਵਾਦਿ ॥: Ik sajan sabh sajanaa ik vairee sabhi vaadi: When I take One God as Friend, then I look upon all as my friends. But when I take One God as enemy, then conflicts with all ensue (sgg 957).
  • ਬੈਰੀ ਮੀਤ ਹੋਏ ਸੰਮਾਨ ॥: Bairee meet hoe sanmaan: Enemy and friend are all the same to me (sggs 1147).
  • ਹਰਖੁ ਸੋਗੁ ਜਾ ਕੈ ਨਹੀ ਬੈਰੀ ਮੀਤ ਸਮਾਨਿ ॥ ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਸੁਨਿ ਰੇ ਮਨਾ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਤਾਹਿ ਤੈ ਜਾਨਿ ॥: Harakh sog jaa kai nahee bairee meet smaan. Kahu Nanak sun rae manaa mukat taahi tai jaan: One who is not affected by pleasure or pain, who looks upon friend and enemy alike. Says Nanak, listen, mind: know that such a person is liberated (sggs 1427).

(11) Cultivate humility. It is the way to remove ego (Haume). The Gurbani tells us that humility is the essence of all good virtues. Therefore, to become humble is the purpose of spiritual practices - we can rise through humility and good conduct. While we cultivate humility, other divine qualities such as truth, charitable attitude (Sevaa-Bhaav), pure conduct, contentment in all situations, compassion or mercy, intuitive Knowledge (Aatam-Giaan) etc., will also become natural. Humility puts us in a right relation to God and the Creation. A humble person is a godly being, modest, kind, and contented. His actions are not abominable. Accordingly, humility abides in the heart of those fortunate ones who have divinized their inner-self: the mind, intelligence, consciousness, and ego. Hence the importance of this Divine Virtue of "humility" is underscored in the Gurbani. True humility is the recognition of one's imperfections. Further, humility is to consider others better than yourself. The material conception of life makes us finding faults in others by ignoring our own; because we are lacking. Due to this lack, we are unable to recognize our own imperfections. The humble and modest feeling of being meek and lowly comes when we attain humility. For example, all God-realized persons are embodiment of true humility; for they always think themselves meek and lowly. Their pattern of humility is unblemished. Humility is a habit of mind and heart corresponding to our comparative meanness, unworthiness and vileness before God (Self or Soul-Nature). A truly humble person is sensible of the small extent of his knowledge, and the great extent of his ignorance, and of the limited extent of his understanding as compared with the understanding of God. He is sensible of his weakness, limited strength, and limited ability. Accordingly, the Gurbani calls humility a formidable weapon. The true spirit of humility and surrender can put us in proper frame of mind to receive the grace and guidance of the Guru or God.

  • ਮਿਠਤੁ ਨੀਵੀ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਗੁਣ ਚੰਗਿਆਈਆ ਤਤੁ ॥: Mithat neevee Naanakaa gun changiaaeeaa tatt: Sweetness of humility, O Nanak, is the essence of all good virtues (sggs 470).
  • ਗਰੀਬੀ ਗਦਾ ਹਮਾਰੀ ॥ਖੰਨਾ ਸਗਲ ਰੇਨੁ ਛਾਰੀ ॥ ਇਸੁ ਆਗੈ ਕੋ ਨ ਟਿਕੈ ਵੇਕਾਰੀ ॥ ਗੁਰ ਪੂਰੇ ਏਹ ਗਲ ਸਾਰੀ ॥: Gareebee gadaa hamaaree. Khanna sagal ren saaree. Is aagai ko na tikai vekaaree. Gur poorai ih gal saaree: Humility is my spiked club. My dagger is to be the dust of all men's feet. No evil-doer can withstand these weapons. The Perfect Guru has given me this understanding (sggs 628).
  • ਸਰਮ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਦੁਇ ਸਸੁਰ ਭਏ ॥ਕਰਣੀ ਕਾਮਣਿ ਕਰਿ ਮਨ ਲਏ ॥: Saram surti dui sasur bhae. Karnee kaaman kar man laye: Modesty and intuitive understanding are my parents-in-law; I have made good deeds as my spouse (sggs 152).
  • ਰਤਨ ਜਵੇਹਰ ਨਾਮ ॥ਸਤੁ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ ਗਿਆਨ ॥ ਸੂਖ ਸਹਜ ਦਇਆ ਕਾ ਪੋਤਾ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਭਗਤਾ ਹਵਾਲੈ ਹੋਤਾ ॥: Ratan javehar naam. Sat santhokh giaan. Sookh sahaj daiaa kaa potaa. Har bhagataa havaalai hotaa: The Divine Naam is a Jewel, a Ruby. It brings Sat (truth, charitable attitude or Sevaa-Bhaav, pure conduct etc.), Santokh (contentment) and Giaan (spiritual wisdom). God entrusts this treasure of Sukh (peace, happiness etc.), Sahaj (intuition, natural state of being etc.) and Daiaa (mercy, kindness etc.) to His devotees (sggs 893).

(12) Abandon the falsehood of baser desires and expectations (lust, cravings, Vaasnaas, mind's wanderings etc.). Act without them for it's not possible to satisfy them. If everyone gets his desires and expectations satisfied, there will be chaos and disharmony in the world. For example, the people who runs cemeteries and those who manufacture coffins want more and more people to die so they can make more profit, but people do not want to die!

The Gurbani does not suggest that we should no partake of any sense enjoyments, but that we should not become slaves of our habits, mind and senses. It simply reminds us there is higher meaning and purpose of life. Traffic rules are necessary for everyone's safety on the road. Similarly, spiritual rules or principles are also necessary to enjoy peace and Bliss (Anand) in life.

Unfulfilled desires and expectations beget disappointments, leading to anger, fear, frustrations and even depression. Anger is like a knife without handle, it hurts both the giver and the receiver of anger. When fulfilled, more desires spring up and they gain strength - they rejuvenate themselves, and thus don't let us rest. In this way our greed is nurtured. Thus, anger and greed are the two children of the desire. The amount of suffering one experiences is directly proportionate with the strength of his desires and expectations. Therefore, they are the root of bondage to the world. Bondage is diametrically opposite to selflessness, wisdom, love, peace and harmony. We also need to exercise control over impulses and temptations. The glitter of sense objects continues to attract those who live in worldly consciousness (Manmukhs). As smoke and fire go together, similarly if there is desire there is sorrow. Therefore it is said that desires are one's worst enemy, accordingly, there is the need to put conscious effort to overcome them. A person of wisdom is free of desires. Having no desire of his own, without a personal agenda at all, such person moves about in the world in utter freedom like a dry leaf in the wind. The highlight of the Gurbani's teaching is the urgent need for us to realize that the pursuit of worldly desires is self-destructive, a truth well illustrated in examples such as the fish falling for the bait, the moth seeking the light, capture of the monkey or deer or elephant, etc. We can reduce the number of desires by learning to understand that the true locus of real happiness is within, not in outside objects and circumstances. Knowing that desires cause suffering, if one still associates with them, then it would be like living with a rabid dog at home.

  • ਆਸਾ ਮਨਸਾ ਜਲਾਇ ਤੂ ਹੋਇ ਰਹੁ ਮਿਹਮਾਣੁ ॥: aasaa manasaa jalaae thoo hoe rahu mihamaan: Burn away your desires and wanderings of the mind, and live like a guest in this world (sggs 646).
  • ਅਗਿਆਨੁ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਇਸੁ ਤਨਹਿ ਜਲਾਏ ॥: Agiaan trisanaa is tanahi jalaaye: Spiritual ignorance and desire burn this human body (sggs 1067).
  • ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਜਾਲੇ ਸੁਧਿ ਨ ਕਾਈ ॥: Trisanaa jaalae sudhh n kaaee: Consumed by desire, people have no understanding at all (sggs 120).
  • ਦਿਤੈ ਕਿਤੈ ਨ ਸੰਤੋਖੀਅਹਿ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਤਿਸਨਾ ਬਹੁ ਅਗਿਆਨੁ ਅੰਧ੍ਹਾਰੁ ॥: Ditai kitai na santokheeahi antar tisanaa bahu agiaan andhyaar: Those filled with desire and darkness of ignorance, no matter what they are given, they are not satisfied (sggs 316).
  • ਮਨਸਾ ਮਾਰਿ ਮਨੈ ਸਿਉ ਲੂਝੈ ॥: Manasaa maar manai siou loojhai: Annihilte your desires, and struggle with your mind (sggs 1021).
  • ਤਿਆਗਹੁ ਮਨ ਕੇ ਸਗਲ ਕਾਮ ॥: Tiaagahu man kae sagal kaam: Abandon all the desires of your mind (sggs1182).

(13) Look at the bigger and the brighter picture. The ultimate purpose of this rare and precious human life is God-Realization (Pure Consciousness or Joti-Svaroopa). Therefore, life needs to to be oriented to this spiritual goal, and there must be a perceptible progress towards the goal in an individual's life. One of the common pitfalls that need to be overcome by us is said to be the tendency to postpone the pursuit of this spiritual goal to some other time or old age. As per the Gurbani, this concept is incorrect. In old age it might be too difficult to do anything. Spiritual life cannot be divorced from the worldly life we lead. Actions must be oriented to the spiritual goal so that there is a gradual withdrawal from engaging in sense pleasure and material pursuits as one advances in age. Eventually by the time a person discharges his worldly duties he will develop the right frame of mind and detachment to devote the rest of his life to realize God (Joti-Svaroopa), which is the rationale of human birth. The Gurbani tells us that the human body is the temple of God and should be maintained well (without pampering it). Development of indomitable faith (not mundane intellect) is necessary to practice spiritual principles. Seeing the One God in all and knowing others to be the extension of our own Self is Realization. Thus what is essential is a real change in one's perspective altogether. What matters is the genuine detachment from worldly objects and achievements and sincere longing to know the Truth.

  • ਭਈ ਪਰਾਪਤਿ ਮਾਨੁਖ ਦੇਹੁਰੀਆ ॥ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਮਿਲਣ ਕੀ ਇਹ ਤੇਰੀ ਬਰੀਆ ॥ ਅਵਰਿ ਕਾਜ ਤੇਰੈ ਕਿਤੈ ਨ ਕਾਮ ॥ ਮਿਲੁ ਸਾਧਸੰਗਤਿ ਭਜੁ ਕੇਵਲ ਨਾਮ ॥੧॥: Bhaee praapat maanukh dehureeaa. Gobind milan kee ih teree bareeaa. Avar kaaj terai kitai n kaam. Mil saadh sangat bhaj keval Naam ||1||: (You) have obtained (this) human body. This is your chance (time, opportunity...) to meet God. (If no effort is put forward to Realize God, then) all other efforts (work, ਉੱਦਮ) will be of no use (to your Soul). (Therefore) merge with the Saadhsangt and contemplate the Naam (Gur- or Aatm-Giaan...) alone ||1|| (sggs 12).
  • ਇਸ ਦੇਹੀ ਕਉ ਸਿਮਰਹਿ ਦੇਵ ॥ ਸੋ ਦੇਹੀ ਭਜੁ ਹਰਿ ਕੀ ਸੇਵ ॥੧॥: Is dehee kaou simrahi Dev. So dehee bhaj Hari kee sev ||1||: Even the demigods long for this human body. (You have obtained this humsn body, so) through this body, think of serving the Lord ||1|| (sggs 1159).

(14) Unburden yourself of stagnant negativity and defilement. Clear the consciousness of worries, fear, hurt, and attachments. Gain true spiritual understanding. To move forward in life one has to let go the big burden of the past and future, otherwise life spins in endless circle! In negative relationships, usually there is no major issue other than "I said - you said" talk and some imagination fabricated over the past in one's doubting or faulty mind. False ego-sense (Haume) is the great crushing burden. We are crippled carrying it around for too long! Now, in this present life, we are given an another chance to unburden ourselves of this great load. Choice is ours. Either we can chose to carry it around longer and keep suffering, or we can chose to end it now. To end it right now will need inner awakening, courage, vigilant, watchfulness, determination and constant spiritual discipline. For the ego-mind is a great trickster and a liar.

  • ਲਬੁ ਲੋਭੁ ਮੁਚੁ ਕੂੜੁ ਕਮਾਵਹਿ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਉਠਾਵਹਿ ਭਾਰੋ ॥: Labu lobh much koorr kamaavahi bahut outhaavahi bhaaro: You practice greed, avarice and great falsehood (i.e. all evil passions), and you carry such a heavy burden (sggs 154).
  • ਅਗਿਆਨੁ ਅੰਧੇਰੁ ਮਹਾ ਪੰਥੁ ਬਿਖੜਾ ਅਹੰਕਾਰਿ ਭਾਰਿ ਲਦਿ ਲੀਜੈ ॥: Agiaanu andheru mahaa panthu bikharhaa ahankaari bhaari ladi leejai (sggs 1326).
  • ਹਉ ਹਉ ਕਰਤੇ ਕਰਮ ਰਤ ਤਾ ਕੋ ਭਾਰੁ ਅਫਾਰ ॥: Hou hou karate karma ratt taa ko bhaar afaar: Acting in egotism, people carry the unbearable load (252).
  • ਮਨੁ ਭੂਲੋ ਸਿਰਿ ਆਵੈ ਭਾਰੁ ॥: Man bhoolo sir aavai bhaar: When the mind is deluded, the load of wickedness falls on the head (sggs 222).
  • ਰੇ ਮਨ ਤੇਰੋ ਕੋਇ ਨਹੀ ਖਿੰਚਿ ਲੇਇ ਜਿਨਿ ਭਾਰੁ ॥: Re mann tero koi nahee khi(n)ch lei jin bhaar: O my mind, no one will carry your burden (of misdeeds) (sggs 337).
  • ਮਨ ਰੇ ਹਉਮੈ ਮੋਹੁ ਦੁਖੁ ਭਾਰੀ ॥: Mann re houmai mohu dukh bhaaree: O my mind, ego-attachment is such heavy load of pain (sggs 1260).
  • ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਨਿਰਮਲੁ ਹਉਮੈ ਮਾਰੀ ॥: Ih mann nirmal hayumai maaree: The mind becomes pure when ego is killed (sggs 1049).

(15) Marry and live a productive household life (Grahasta Jeevan). But what kind of household life? Two types of householders are indicated by the two Sanskrit words: "Grahamada" and "Grahasta". "Grahamada" is he who selfishly only cares about himself and his wife and children — this selfish attitude constitutes worldliness. In other words, he cares less for the happiness of others ("Sarbat Daa Bhalaa") or sharing his fortune with others ("Vand Shaknaa"). On the other hand, a "Grahasta" is a spiritual person who selflessly not only cares about his wife and children, but he also selflessly cares about others in the society ("Sarbat Daa Bhalaa" and "Vand Shaknaa"), without expecting anything in return! The Grahastaashrama of the Gurmat is a spiritually oriented family life, while at the same time carrying out one's responsibilities and duties truthfully. Living the householder's life is a way of removing hurdles (all bonds, the attitude of "mine, mine" etc.) on the path to realize God. Therefore, a householder's life should not end where it began! Unfortunately, this institution of Grahasta is becoming weaker with the time. It's not the fault of God or His Word. It's because of our selfishness. The result is the rise in divorces and domestic violence.

  • ਸੋ ਗਿਰਹੀ ਜੋ ਨਿਗ੍ਰਹੁ ਕਰੈ ॥ ਜਪੁ ਤਪੁ ਸੰਜਮੁ ਭੀਖਿਆ ਕਰੈ ॥ ਪੁੰਨ ਦਾਨ ਕਾ ਕਰੇ ਸਰੀਰੁ ॥ ਸੋ ਗਿਰਹੀ ਗੰਗਾ ਕਾ ਨੀਰੁ ॥: So girahee jo nigrah karai ...: He alone is a householder, who restrains his passions (demands of his senses) and begs (from God) for Jap, Tap and Sanjam. He makes his body a charity (i.e., he makes his nature that of a selfless service to the entire mankind etc.) ; such a householder is pure as the Ganges' water - that is, he posses Pure Awareness (sggs 952).
  • ਸੋ ਗਿਰਹੀ ਸੋ ਦਾਸੁ ਉਦਾਸੀ ਜਿਨਿ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਆਪੁ ਪਛਾਨਿਆ ॥: So girahee so daas oudaasee jin gurmukh aap pashaaniaa: By becoming a Gurmukh, the one who has realized his own Self is a householder, and a God's renunciate slave (sggs 1332).

The household life, thus, is the ultimate test. Just as the potter rolls, pats, and then places his pottery in the oven in order to harden it, similarly, the journey of the household life helps us become mentally strong and mature. Thus, completeness is obtained through the unity of the masculine and the feminine, though not on a physical level but on a spiritual level. In Sikh thought, therefore, man and woman do not enter into matrimony for bestial reasons, but rather for spiritual advancement. In Sikh thought marriage based on selfless love, compassion, mutual respect, good understanding, trust, fidelity, chastity, loyalty and friendship is considered an essential part of physical life. With the example of a worldly marriage performed on a material plane between a man and a woman, the Gurbani explains in the four "Laavaan" as to how we can join (marry or link) with the Higher Consciousness within. Thus, marriage in the Sikh Way of life is supposed to be an unbreakable spiritual union of two souls into one. It is a mean to learn helping each other and attain together a balanced life, self-fulfillment, spiritual Unfoldment and Self-knowledge leading to perfection in life ("Jeevan Padvee") or spiritual Realization.

The Gurbani regards the woman as "Ardhaaganee" — man's other half, to the doorway to spiritual Liberation (Mukti). It goes without saying that the man is the other half. In other words, one half cannot claim to superior to the other half. In other words, they both are but a complementary force. One incomplete without the other. Thus, both husband and wife are to be considered equal. The difference between the two is mainly at the body (physical) level. They both have their unique roles in the society. When both live in harmony, they can reach the goal (Self Realization). Disharmony sets in when one tries to dominate the other. When both man and woman do not live in harmony, it causes discontentment and lack of peace in individuals thereby in the society.

  • ਧਨ ਪਿਰੁ ਏਹਿ ਨ ਆਖੀਅਨਿ ਬਹਨਿ ਇਕਠੇ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਏਕ ਜੋਤਿ ਦੁਇ ਮੂਰਤੀ ਧਨ ਪਿਰੁ ਕਹੀਐ ਸੋਇ ॥: Dhan pir ayhi na aakheean bahan ikthay hoyi. Ayk jot dui mooratee dhan pir kaheeai soyi: Bride and groom are not they who pose as one whole; bride and groom are they who are two bodies with one soul (sggs 788).
  • ਲੋਕ ਵੇਦ ਗੁਣ ਗਿਆਨ ਵਿਚ ਅਰਧ ਸਰੀਰੀ ਮੋਖ ਦੁਆਰੀ ॥: Lok ved gun giaan vich aradh sareeree mokh duaaree: From a temporal and spiritual point of view, women is half man's body and assists to the door to final liberation (Bhai Gurdaas, Vaar 5, Pauri 16).

As indicated in the verse above, a spouse should not "leave" the other. Especially in golden years (old age) when they need the help of each other the most. Unfortunately, after living together for several years and making children together, many feel tired of each other and then seek separation or divorce in their old age. Which indicates that, instead of becoming wiser with age, many become nuttier and unwise! Such stupor tantamount to family's devastation (including children) physically, economically, mentally and spiritually. Many go on and remarry to a new person. After a while, however, the same troubles resurface again, because although the "wrapper" is new, the "content" is still the same! You have not changed. Marriage is a compromise. We must be willing to accept change. But we want only others to change but not ourselves! Instead of justifying one's failures and mistakes, it's wise to admit them instead of blaming other people or situations for them. Because difficulties and problems are to be found within one's own mind. But the nature of the stubborn ego is never to admit it. Thus, it is the unripe ego (I-ness) that gives rise to one's all problems. In this world, there isn't a perfect spouse or marriage (only Gurmukhs or Enlightened Souls are perfect).

Children are one of the worldly responsibilities of both parents. They are gift to us from God. So they need to be loved and taken care of properly. Although the Gurbani does not want us to become emotionally attached to them, both mother and father need to shape their children to make them good human beings. Therefore, we need to help and guide them to experience a holistic development. Children are the future of this world.

Because we lack basic understanding of human nature and are unwilling to change, sometimes there is a serious misunderstanding between the wife and the husband. As a result, often some do not even try to understand each other, and thus live in two separate worlds without any real connection between them. Generally, men are mostly intellectually centered and women are emotionally (selfless love, sacrifice, compassion, service, caring, tolerance, patience, etc.). Therefore, both woman and man need to know what the other is really like, and how to bridge this gap.

(16) Balance motherly and fatherly qualities. The Gurbani refers to One God as our "Mother" and "Father". The Gurbani also states that the same One God has made us in His True Image. This means He must have endowed us with both the motherly and fatherly qualities. Everything God does is perfect and beautiful. Both the man and the woman need to awaken these complementary powers within themselves. Of course, the true Self transcends both (duality). As indicated before, generally, men are mostly intellectually centered and women are emotionally centered. The gap between these two centers can be closed with the unifying factor of true spirituality. Usually the spirituality practiced by the majority of us is reactionary. Dry intellect and knowledge is seriousness (false pride, arrogance, etc.). And seriousness is devoid of real joy. Therefore, to awaken joy in life, it's essential to strike a balance. One must move from dry intellect to intuitive intellect (Sahaj). Intuitive intellect denotes pure Wisdom — a mind that is intuitively balanced. The Heart must also expand along with it. Therefore, to awaken selfless love and harmony in life, it is essential to understand spiritual principles and their implications in daily life. With better spiritual understanding, we can learn to respect feelings of each other and learn to listen to each other's problems with selfless love, care and forgiveness, compassion and affection. It will soothe and heal feelings of hurt and guilt. The reason "no one is free of conflict and strife" in the world is that we are out of balance.

  • ਨਾਨਕ ਪਿਤਾ ਮਾਤਾ ਹੈ ਹਰਿ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਹਮ ਬਾਰਿਕ ਹਰਿ ਪ੍ਰਤਿਪਾਰੇ ॥: Nanak pitaa maataa hai har prabh ham baarik har pratipaarae: O Nanak, God is our father and mother. we are His children; the Lord cherishes us (sggs 882).

(17) Become a Gurmukh, live truthfully, earn living by honest means, and share with others (Vand Shaknaa), keeping focus on One God within. The Gurbani does not assign special importance to any particular hour, day or month as holy. The Gurmukh is the person who lives the Divine Lifestyle (Realization of the Self or Dasam Duaar) in accordance with the spiritual principles. He is the person with intuitively balanced mind. Manmukh (who symbolizes bondage) is the opposite of the Gurmukh. So the idea is to shift consciousness from the Manmukh state to the Gurmukh state. Otherwise, the Gurbani warns us we will end up losing all in this life! A Gurmukh bears no malice or ill feelings towards any being (including his enemies), and is able to rejoice in the welfare of all creatures ("Sarbat Daa Bhalaa"). He expresses noble virtues such as humility, infinite wisdom, friendliness, compassion, love, contentment in all situations, mercy, even mindedness (equanimity) etc. He earns his living honestly and righteously (Kirat Kamaaee). He is able to evaluate the worldly associations that are derived through his embodied state as merely temporary. He is thus able to rise above the feeling of "mine, mine", which is the greatest barrier in the path of spiritual Realization. He is forgiving by nature, and is constantly part of an infinite unbroken whole continuity. Such a devotee would have automatically subdued negativity of his body-mind-intellect-senses personality, and surrendered it (or false ego-sense or Haume) to God within. A true Gurmukh knows that it is not what we gain or receive, but what we are able to give, that determines the value of our life. He is at Peace within and works to make the difference outside.

  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਲਇਆ ਸਵਾਰਿ ॥ ਹਉਮੈ ਵਿਚਹੁ ਤਜੈ ਵਿਕਾਰ ॥੩॥: Gurmukhi ihu manu laiaa savaari. Haumai vichahu tajai vikaar ||3||: One who becomes the Gurmukh, purifies his mind (eradicates his Vikaars, passions, etc.). (By becoming the Gurmukh, he) removes Haumai or egotism from within (sggs 665).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਝਗੜੁ ਚੁਕਾਇਓਨੁ ਇਕੋ ਰਵਿ ਰਹਿਆ ॥: Gurmukh jhagarr chukaaeion iko ravi rahiaa: The Gurmukh (spiritual Being) is free of conflict and strife, and sees the One Lord, pervading everywhere (sggs 790).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਧਿਆਨੁ ਆਪਾਰੁ ॥: Gurmukh giaan dhiaan aapaar: By becoming Gurmukh attain infinite spiritual wisdom and meditation (sggs 1058).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਈਐ ਬੂਝੈ ਵੀਚਾਰਾ ॥: Gurmukh naam dhiaaeeai boojhai veechaaraa: As Gurmukh meditates on the Naam; and achieves reflective meditation and understanding (sggs 424).
  • ਮਨਮੁਖਿ ਭੁਲਾ ਜਨਮੁ ਗਵਾਇ ॥: Manamukh bhulaa janam gavaai: The mistaken Manmukh (one in material consciousness) wastes away his life (sggs 363).
  • ਮਨਮੁਖ ਸੋਇ ਰਹੇ ਸੇ ਲੂਟੇ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਸਾਬਤੁ ਭਾਈ ਹੇ ॥: Manmukh soe rehae sae loottae gurmukh saabat bhaaee hae (sggs 1024).
  • ਧਨੁ ਧਨੁ ਭਾਗ ਤਿਨਾ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਾ ਜੋ ਗੁਰਸਿਖ ਲੈ ਮਨੁ ਜਿਣਤਿਆ ॥: Dhann dhann bhaag tinaa gurmukhaa jo gurasikh lai man jinathiaa: Blessed, blessed is the good fortune of those who have become Gurmukhs and who live as Gursikhs by conquering their minds (sggs 649).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਹੋਵੈ ਸੋ ਨਾਮੁ ਬੂਝੈ ਕਾਟੇ ਦੁਰਮਤਿ ਫਾਹਾ ਹੇ ॥: Gurmukh hovai so naam boojhai kaate duramat faahaa hey: One who becomes Gurmukh recognizes the Naam, and the noose of evil-mindedness is snapped (sggs 1055).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਬਾਧਾ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਛੂਟਾ ॥: Houmai baadhaa garmukhi shootaa: Egotism is bondage; by becoming a Gurmukh, one is emancipated (sggs 131).
  • ਸਰਬ ਰਸਾਇਣੁ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਜਾਤਾ ॥: Sarab rasaaein gurmukh jaathaa: By becoming the Gurmukh realize the essence of Totality (sggs 415).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਹੋਵੈ ਸੋ ਮੁਕਤੁ ਕਹੀਐ ਮਨਮੁਖ ਬੰਧ ਵਿਚਾਰੇ ॥: Gurmukh hovai so mukat kaheeai manmukh bandh vichaare: Who becomes Gurmukh is said to be liberated, while the poor materialists (Manmukhs) are in bondage (sggs 796).

Hence, according to the Gurbani, to become a Gurmukh is not a question of heredity, family of birth, ancestry, race, region, social status, caste, creed, education, titles, religion, or any peculiar external appearance of a person; it is a question of Self-Realization (to be established in Intact Consciousness, going beyond everything etc.)! Similarly, a Manmukh symbolizes an unenlightened existence, falsehood, cynicism, egoism, ignorance, hypocrisy, bondage, mental delusion, body-consciousness, and so on!

(18) Engage in Meditation, Bhagti (devotion) and God's Praises with faith (Sharadhaa). The purpose of meditation (Naam-Simran or Jap) is not to become somebody, but to become integrated, humble and free of the negativity of the mind. As mentioned earlier, humility is the essence of all good virtues. The Gurbani highlights the effectiveness of selfless Bhagti (devotion) as a sure path to God Realization. It reinforces the reciprocal love between God and His devotees. True devotion does not ask anything from the God but Him and service to Him (through selflessly serving the Creation). Besides being a mean to liberation from bondage, it is an end by itself. Thus it is a unique spiritual practice which changes the outlook of the devotee, eventually devotion maturing into loving meditation of God for His own sake. This type of devotion is termed as "Prema" or "Love". Thus devotional practice such as chanting Praises is a worthwhile pursuit. For the practice of Bhagti, cultivation of faith and sincerity is fundamental. A joyful existence totally free of difficulties is certainly not what one can expect from life on earth. What the Gurbani teaches us and the Great ones have shown by example is that the challenges of life have to be faced courageously and resolutely without getting disheartened. The Gurbani extols the value of maintaining equanimity of mind towards both joy and sorrow (i.e. duality). Bhagti is completely surrendering of one's body and mind (ego or Haume) to the Infinite. In essence, Bhagti is the way of knowing yourself. Therefore, its main objective is helping sincere seekers to attain concentration or Purity of the mind; for behind the mansion of the mind stands the Lord! Simply put: Bhagti means acting spiritually in accordance with the God's Hukam (Divine Will). It is the science for Self-realization, which brings about divine Union, in love, between the unit consciousness, Jeeva, and the Infinite Consciousness. In essence, perfect Bhagti is the absolute love for God. Thus, Bhagti is not just repetition of "Mantra" or singing of devotional songs. It is to discriminate between the right and wrong or eternal and transitory. Therefore, real progress can be made if devotion is rooted in the real understanding of the essential spiritual principles. In such Pure form, it is God Realization - Immortality or Eternality (Amrit). Chanting God's praises with devotion is a purifying process. Thus, Meditation, Bhagti and God's Praises are interrelated and complementary.

  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਧਿਆਨੁ ਆਪਾਰੁ ॥: Gurmukh giaan dhiaan aapaar: By becoming Gurmukh attain infinite spiritual wisdom and meditation (sggs 1058).
  • ਬਿਨਵੰਤਿ ਨਾਨਕ ਸੁਖੁ ਨਾਮਿ ਭਗਤੀ ਦਰਿ ਵਜਹਿ ਅਨਹਦ ਵਾਜੇ ॥: Binavant Nanak sukh naam bhagatee dar vajahi anahad vaaje: Prays Nanak, happiness comes from devotional worship of the Divine Name; and then in the Heart the unstruck melody resounds (sggs 578).
  • ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਨਿਹਚਉ ਧਿਆਵੈ ॥: Kahu naanak nihacho dhhiaavai: Says Nanak, meditate with deep faith (sggs 470).
  • ਕਿਤੁ ਬਿਧਿ ਪੁਰਖਾ ਜਨਮੁ ਵਟਾਇਆ ... ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਜਨਮੇ ਗਵਨੁ ਮਿਟਾਇਆ ॥: Kit bidh purkhaa janam vataaiaa...Satgur kai janame gavan mitaaiaa: O man, how have you changed the course of your life?...(This is how I have changed the course of my life) by awakening the True Guru (realization of God, Self, Shabad-Surti, Pure-consciousness, Joti-svaroop etc.) within, my mind's wandering has ended (sggs 939).

(19) Develop holistic spiritual understanding. Such understanding or awareness of life and the physical body liberates one from bondage. Without it, as the Gurbani says, one essentially lives in an animal-consciousness. Accordingly, we are urged by the Gurbani about the need to conduct ourselves in life with much care and good understanding. Off course, the practice of spiritual understanding begins at home - we must know where we are in consciousness all the times. It deepens or unfolds within with meditation. Lack of mature understanding of life or physical body makes us live in anger and frustration, thus not progressing spiritually (the Gurmukh Lifestyle). Many a time, our understanding of the purpose of life or physical body is superficial, but our reactions are emotionally strong. This leads to a lot of conflict within and without. Control (of the body-mind-intellect apparatus) is at its best when we change through proper understanding and not through reactions, frustration, fear or anger. Just as all counting has to begin with the number one, right understanding of life has to start with the NOW, not some other time or place. Time and again we will meet with delicate situations in life, which will test our equanimity, vigilant, and concentration in all our actions. With proper understanding born of concentration, attention, desires and fears do not take root in the mind.

  • ਬਿਨੁ ਬੂਝੇ ਝਗਰਤ ਜਗੁ ਕਾਚਾ ॥: Bin boojhe jhagarat jag kaachaa: Without understanding, the world argues in falsehood (sggs 224).
  • ਬਿਨੁ ਬੂਝੇ ਮਿਥਿਆ ਸਭ ਭਏ ॥: Bin boojhe mithiaa sabh bhaye: Without understanding, all are false (sggs 269).
  • ਬਿਨੁ ਬੂਝੇ ਤਨੁ ਮਨੁ ਫੀਕਾ ਹੋਇ ॥: Bin boojhe tanu manu feekaa hoi: Without understanding, the body and mind become tasteless and insipid (sggs 158).
  • ਬਿਨੁ ਬੂਝੇ ਕੈਸੇ ਪਾਵਹਿ ਪਾਰੁ ॥: Bin boojhae kaisae paavehi paar: But without understanding, how can they cross over to the other side? (sggs 84).
  • ਬਿਨੁ ਬੂਝੇ ਪਸੂ ਕੀ ਨਿਆਈ ਭ੍ਰਮਿ ਮੋਹਿ ਬਿਆਪਿਓ ਮਾਇਆ ॥: Bin boojhe pasoo kee niaaee bhram mohi biaapiou Maya: Without understanding, one is like a beast engrossed in doubt, emotional attachment and Maya (sggs 1300).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਬੂਝੈ ਆਪੁ ਪਛਾਣੈ ਸਚੇ ਸਚਿ ਸਮਾਏ ॥: Gurmukh boojhai aap pashaanai sache sach samaaye: As Gurmukh, I have come to understand and realize the Self; I have merged in the Truest of the True (sggs 938).

Although we all have understanding in some way, but whether it's based on right knowledge is a different story. Understanding which cannot distinguish between right and wrong, truth and falsehood, Dharma and Adharma, eternal and temporary (for example, body is temporary and the Soul is eternal, etc.) is just in the mode of ignorance and passion. Such faulty and shallow understanding works in the opposite of the way it should — always strives in wrong direction or wrong action. The understanding by which one knows what ought to be done and feared, and what ought not to be done and feared, what is binding and what is liberating, is in the mode of goodness.

The Gurbani says there are two paths available to man. The first is to perform actions that deserve to be performed in accordance with the Gurmat (Divine teachings of the Gurbani, SGGS). The other path is to perform actions that do not deserve to be performed in accordance with the Gurmat. Faulty understanding steers us in the erroneous path. Regardless of how much our emotions are upset and our body is suffering, there is something in us that never changes - the Self, Soul-Nature, Joti-Svaroopa. Further, it also remains ever calm, peaceful, dynamic, vibrant, and watching. We need to hold onto this Center. Then build on it.

(20) The Gurbani says this world is on fire, and we are all suffering in this fire (of worldly existence). With the exception of those who have become Gurmukhs (spiritual Beings), rest of us are all suffering. So if one is having problems in life, don't think you are the only one suffering or God has singled you out. If we look around from a hilltop view, we will notice the majority of the mankind is burning in the same fire. But that does not mean we should be satisfied with that and keep suffering. Because the ultimate purpose of this human life is to transcend material suffering by realizing one's True Nature, which is free of suffering!

  • ਕਾਮਿ ਕ੍ਰੋਧਿ ਡੂਬੇ ਅਭਿਮਾਨੀ ਹਉਮੈ ਵਿਚਿ ਜਲਿ ਜਾਈ : Kaam krodh doobe abhimaanee houmai vich jal jaaee: In lust and anger, the proud ones are drowned (i.e., in all evil passions). They are burnt in their egotism (sggs 1265).
  • ਕਲਜੁਗਿ ਰਥੁ ਅਗਨਿ ਕਾ ਕੂੜੁ ਅਗੈ ਰਥਵਾਹੁ ॥੧॥: Kaljug rath agan kaa koorr aggi rathavaah ||1||: This age of Kali Yuga is the chariot of fire, and falsehood is the charioteer ||1|| (sggs 470).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਵਿਚਿ ਸਦ ਜਲੈ ਸਰੀਰਾ ॥: Haumai vichi sada jalai sareeraa: In egotism, the body is forever burning (sggs 1068).
  • ਮਾਇਆ ਅਗਨਿ ਜਲੈ ਸੰਸਾਰੇ ॥: Maya Agni Jalai sansaaraa: The world is burning in the fire of Maya--illusion (sggs 1049).
  • ਫਰੀਦਾ ਮੈ ਜਾਨਿਆ ਦੁਖੁ ਮੁਝ ਕੂ ਦੁਖੁ ਸਬਾਇਐ ਜਗਿ ॥ ਊਚੇ ਚੜਿ ਕੈ ਦੇਖਿਆ ਤਾਂ ਘਰਿ ਘਰਿ ਏਹਾ ਅਗਿ ॥: Fareedaa mai jaani-aa dukh mujh koo dukh sabaa-i-ai jagg. Oochay charh kai daykhi-aa taaN ghar ghar ayhaa agg: 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 (sggs 1382).

(21) Consume the mistaken identity. Without letting go of our mistaken identity (body consciousness), we cannot rise to the level of our true Being. Sorrows arise when we entertain "I am the body" idea. In error we identify ourselves with the mortal body-frame. Instead, as the Gurbani time and again reminds us we are the "Joti-Svaroopa". Thus, due to our mistaken identity, we create our own prison and our own imprisonment. Nobody else is responsible or involved. On account of ignorance, man forgets about his Essential Nature as "Joti-Svaroopa" or Pure Consciousness. In this mistaken identity (false ego or Haume regime, "mine, mine"), he then confounds the Immortal Self with the finite body-mind-intellect apparatus. Seen in this blunder is the phenomenal world of names, shapes, movements and miseries. So long we identify with the body-consciousness, there will be differences or divisions. Because this mistaken identity makes us aware of time-space consciousness, which gives rise to differences or divisions. In turn, these differences or divisions make everything appear to be separate from us. Realization of this mistaken identity is what we call Self-Realization, perception of One Universal Consciousness.

  • ਇਉ ਕਹੈ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਮਨ ਤੂੰ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਰੂਪੁ ਹੈ ਅਪਣਾ ਮੂਲੁ ਪਛਾਣੁ ॥੫॥: Iou kahai Nanaku man toon joti saroopu hai apanaa moolu pashaanu ||5|| (sggs 441).
  • ਤਤੁ ਨਿਰੰਜਨੁ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਬਾਈ ਸੋਹੰ ਭੇਦੁ ਨ ਕੋਈ ਜੀਉ ॥: Tat niranjan joti sabaaee soham bhed na koee jeeo: The essence, the immaculate Lord, the Light of all - I am He and He is me - there is no difference (sggs 599).
  • ਤੋਹੀ ਮੋਹੀ ਮੋਹੀ ਤੋਹੀ ਅੰਤਰੁ ਕੈਸਾ ॥ ਕਨਕ ਕਟਿਕ ਜਲ ਤਰੰਗ ਜੈਸਾ ॥੧॥: Tohee mohee mohee tohee antar kaisaa. Kanak katik jal trang jaisaa ||1||: You are me, and I am You—what is the difference between us? We are like gold and the bracelet, or water and the waves ||1|| (sggs 93).
  • ਆਤਮ ਮਹਿ ਰਾਮੁ ਰਾਮ ਮਹਿ ਆਤਮੁ ਚੀਨਸਿ ਗੁਰ ਬੀਚਾਰਾ ॥: Aatam mahi Raamu Raam mahi aatamu cheenasi Gur beechaaraa (sggs 1153).
  • ਆਪ ਸੇਤੀ ਆਪੁ ਖਾਇਆ ਤਾ ਮਨੁ ਨਿਰਮਲੁ ਹੋਆ ਜੋਤੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਮਈ ॥: Aap setee aap khaaiaa taa mann niramal hoaa jotee joti samaee: When my (True) Identity consumed my (mistaken) body-identity, then my mind became immaculately Pure, and my light was blended with the Divine Light (sggs 490).
  • ਨਾਨਕ ਆਪੇ ਆਪਿ ਆਪਿ ਖੁਆਈਐ ॥: Nanak aape aapi aapi khuaaeeai: Says Nanak: Let your (True) Identity consume your (mistaken) body-identity (sggs 369).
  • ਅਪੁਨੇ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕਉ ਸਦਾ ਬਲਿ ਜਾਈ ॥ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਜੋਤੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਮਿਲਾਈ ॥: Apune satgur kaou bali jaaee. Gumukh jotee joti milaaee: I am forever a sacrifice to my Satguru. Who becomes the Gurmukh, (the Satguru) blends his light (consciousness, ਸੁਰਤਿ, etc.) with the Divine Light (sggs 362).

(22) Engage in Shabad-Vichaar - the SGGS also indicates that the true Sikhs are those who have understood to live Sikhi by learning it through the Gur-Vichaar (contemplating or reflecting on the Guru's Teaching or Words): ਸਿਖੀ ਸਿਖਿਆ ਗੁਰ ਵੀਚਾਰਿ — Sikhee (or Sikhi) sikhiaa gur veechaar (sggs 465). It helps us unburden our negativity and defilement (bondage) by unlearning and rising above dogma, preconceived notions, delusion, etc. Spiritual- or Self-Inquiry (Shabad-Vichaar) is a gradual process. Curiosity to know the cause of our existence and the relationship to the world (beings, objects, things, places etc.) is the starting point of this quest. It opens our minds. But there should also be a willingness to know and understand the complex of this Universe. Each individual's quest is a personal search and becomes meaningful with every sincere effort taken (i.e., self-purification and self-observation). In the Gurbani's teachings, the accent is on the individual's honest endeavor to develop sincere devotion coupled with Shabad-Vichaar, love and self-sacrifice which leads one to detachment and loss of the sense of the false ego (Haume) in the process.

  • ਊਤਮ ਕਰਣੀ ਸਬਦ ਬੀਚਾਰ ॥੩॥: Ootam karanee sabad beechaar ||3||: The ultimate action is Reflections on the Shabad - Shabad Vichaar ||3|| (sggs 158).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਪੀਵਣਾ ਨਾਨਕ ਸਬਦੁ ਵੀਚਾਰਿ ॥: Gurmukhi amritu peevanaa Nanak sabadu veechaari: O Nanak! By becoming the Gurmukhs, drink the Amrit through the Shabad-Vichaar (sggs 646).
  • ਆਪੁ ਬੀਚਾਰੇ ਸੁ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਹੋਈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ Aap beechaare su giaanee hoee ||1||Rahaaou||: One who engages in Vichaar (ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਦੀ ਪੜਤਾਲ) becomes truely Wise or Giaanee (ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਦੀ ਸੂਝ ਵਾਲਾ) ||1||Pause|| (sggs 152).

(23) Share in virtues of others, not their faults or shortcomings. The Gurbani roars from the top of its voice that we have no business to share in faults of others. The reason is this: we are not here to deal with faults or weaknesses. Because, such negative thinking does no good to anybody. The Gurbani calls such dealings "false trade". Therefore, we are asked for shunning such negative conduct and mental habit patterns. We are here to deal with only virtues or good. Because only virtues or good can be conducive to the divine Life (Gurmukhtaa). Accordingly, the Gurbani time and again urges us to make this our real business - leave behind our faults and be absorbed in virtues. In the final analysis, says Baabaa Nanak, "the mortal is emancipated only when all his faults are eradicated."

  • ਸਾਝ ਕਰੀਜੈ ਗੁਣਹ ਕੇਰੀ ਛੋਡਿ ਅਵਗਣ ਚਲੀਐ ॥ : Saanjh kreejai hunah keree shodi avagan challeai: Share Virtues; (in this way, one can) walk (on the Path of Spiritual Life by) abandoning faults (from within himself). (sggs 766).
  • ਅਵਗਣ ਮਾਰੀ ਮਰੈ ਨ ਸੀਝੈ ਗੁਣਿ ਮਾਰੀ ਤਾ ਮਰਸੀ ॥: Avagan maaree marai na seejhai gun maaree taa marasee: One who dies in faults - his death is not successful. But one who dies in glorious virtue, really truly dies (sggs 1109).
  • ਏ ਮਨ ਮੇਰਿਆ ਛਡਿ ਅਵਗਣ ਗੁਣੀ ਸਮਾਣਿਆ ਰਾਮ ॥: Eae mann meriaa shadi avagan gunee samaaniaa raam (sggs 1112).

(24) Be patient (Sahaj, Dheeraj etc.). Also, at the same time be enthusiastic and optimistic. Ego is always impatient. That's why ego always demands instant gratification. Impatience can only destroy. And thus can only produce negativity, disharmony, faulty vision, evil mindedness, and imperfection. No wonder the world seems to have been fallen into the grip of an octopus of fear and destruction — individuals clashing with individuals, families clashing with families, nations clashing with nations, religions clashing with religions, and so on. The way of nature, spirituality or God is evolutionary — Sahaj. Accordingly, the spiritual Path is not a straight one in which the spiritual aspirant can progress easily. There are ups and downs, which may not be discernible because spiritual evolution is gradual. The quality of patient helps the mind become calm and peaceful. Such mind, in turn, can lead one to spiritual expedience in life.

  • ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਕੈ ਧੀਰਜੁ ਏਕ ॥: breham giaanee kai dhheeraj eaek: The God-conscious being has a steady patience (sggs 272).
  • ਮਨੁ ਤਨੁ ਸੀਤਲੁ ਧੀਰਜੁ ਪਾਇਆ ॥: man tan seetal dheeraj paaiaa: My mind and body have been cooled; I have been blessed with patience (sggs 98).
  • ਧੀਰਜੁ ਧਰਮੁ ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਹਰਿ ਪਾਇਆ ਨਿਤ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੈ ਹਰਿ ਸਿਉ ਚਿਤੁ ਲਾਵੈ ॥ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਬਚਨ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਬਾਣੀ ਜੋ ਬੋਲੈ ਸੋ ਮੁਖਿ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਪਾਵੈ ॥: Dheeraj dharma gurmat har paaiaa nit har naamai har siou chit laavai. Amrit bachan satgur kee bani jo bolai so mukh amrit paavai : Through the Guru's Teachings (Gurmat), I have obtained patient and Dharma. By focusing mind (through Gurmat) continually on the Divine Name, I have realized God. The Words of the True Guru's Teachings (Bani)are Ambrosial Nectar; this Amrit trickles into the mouth of the one who chants them (sggs 494).
  • ਖਿਮਾ ਧੀਰਜੁ ਕਰਿ ਗਊ ਲਵੇਰੀ ਸਹਜੇ ਬਛਰਾ ਖੀਰੁ ਪੀਐ ॥: Khimaa dheeraj kar gayu lavaeree sahaje basharaa kheer peeai: Let forgiveness and patience be my milk-cows, and let the calf of my mind drink this milk in Sahaj Avasthaa (natural state of being) (sggs 1329).
  • ਧਰਮ ਧੀਰਜ ਸਹਜ ਸੁਖੀਏ ਸਾਧਸੰਗਤਿ ਹਰਿ ਭਜੇ ॥: Dharma dheeraj sahaj sukheeeye saadhasangat har bhaje: Dharma, patience, and Sahaj are obtained by meditating upon God in the Saadh Sangat, the Company of the Holy (sggs 460).
  • ਅੰਤਰਿ ਪੰਚ ਅਗਨਿ ਕਿਉ ਧੀਰਜੁ ਧੀਜੈ ॥: antari panch agani kio dhheeraju dheejai: The five fires (i.e., evil passions: lust, anger, greed, etc., and their countless variations) burns within; how can patience (composure, solace, tranquility, ਮਨ ਦਾ ਟਿਕਾਉ...) be held (kept or sustained in the mind so lond these fires of Bikaar are burning within)? (sggs 905).

(25) Go within. The greatest challenge for human beings is to understand the true Self ("Joti-Svaroopa"), the inner essence of one's existence. This awareness is totally experiential and not conceptual. So long we neglect our inside world, the outside problems will remain, and we will not be able to understand the true Self. The human life has an ultimate purpose - to change it for better and make it something worth when incarnated in human body. If one wants to see a noble world outside, then he himself needs be that change first within. The Gurbani's simple message is this: there is One God and He is within and without - He is our own Self. The purpose of human life is to know and understand this realm of Truth inside the body while alive ("here" and "now") through self-purification and self-observation. Then we can take off from the levels of ignorance, falsehood and selfishness (i.e., eradicate all negativity and defilement) into the heights of selflessness (the state of no false ego), spontaneity ("Sahaj") and perfection in life ("Jeevan Padvee"). To Realize one's real Self ("Joti-Svaroopa") is the end of all searching; for the Self is the only Truth, all else is inference. To create the right conditions needed for rediscovery of this Supreme Truth, therefore, we are urged to look inside. When we realize who we are within, all outside problems cease. Although God lives inside the "cave" of our heart, but we are unable to see Him for our mind is not inside - it's wandering outside in all directions.

  • ਸਭ ਕਿਛੁ ਘਰ ਮਹਿ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਨਾਹੀ ॥ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਟੋਲੈ ਸੋ ਭਰਮਿ ਭੁਲਾਹੀ ॥ ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦੀ ਜਿਨੀ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਪਾਇਆ ਸੋ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਸੁਹੇਲਾ ਜੀਉ ॥੧॥: (The Divine Virtues, Wisdom, Spiritual tranquility, Naam, Shabad, Amrit, Prabh, ਆਤਮਕ ਸੁਖ...) all that is within the Heart-Home; not outside. Who searches outside is deluded by doubts. By "Gur Parasaadee" (i.e., by the Grace of the Gur-Giaan, the Divine Wisdom of the Gurbani ...), those who have Realized within are Happy (tranquil) inwardly and outwardly. ||1|| (sggs 102).
  • ਹੈ ਹਜੂਰਿ ਕਤ ਦੂਰਿ ਬਤਾਵਹੁ ॥ ਦੁੰਦਰ ਬਾਧਹੁ ਸੁੰਦਰ ਪਾਵਹੁ ॥: Hai hajoori kat doori batavahu. Dundar baadhahu sundar paavahu: God is present, right here at hand; why do you say He is far away? Tie up your disturbing passions, and find the Beauteous God (sggs 1160).
  • ਇਹੁ ਧਨੁ ਸਰਬ ਰਹਿਆ ਭਰਪੂਰਿ ॥ ਮਨਮੁਖ ਫਿਰਹਿ ਸਿ ਜਾਣਹਿ ਦੂਰਿ ॥: Ihu dhanu sarab rahiaa bharapoori. Manmukh firahi si jaanahi door: This True Wealth is all-pervading, permeating all within. The materialist wanders around, thinking that it is far away (sggs 991).
  • ਪ੍ਰੀਤਮ ਬਸਤ ਰਿਦ ਮਹਿ ਖੋਰ ॥: Pritam basat rid mahi khor: My Beloved lives in the cave of my heart (sggs 1121).

(26) Attain Freedom (Mukti) in the midst of Maya. There is nowhere else to go. To make the point, the Gurbani gives us several examples including the lotus flower that lives in slimy water but remains unblemished and serves others by fragrance and beauty, and an actor who plays many roles but remains the person he is. Freedom in the midst of Maya means to be free from negativity and defilement (bondage) while incarnated in the body - to become Jeevanmukta or living liberated (the state when one is permeated with One Pure and Undivided Consciousness). The majority of us are in bondage and not free at the present moment. If we were free we would not be suffering. Because we are in bondage, more often we feel unhappy in spite of all our efforts to avoid pain and sorrows. So what can we do? One thing is for sure, running away from the world or life is not the answer. Given the circumstances or conditions, what we can do is free ourselves to the extent that we will not be adversely affected by the happenings of the external world and the phenomena of the conditioned mind. In other words, we must realize the Truth-Knowledge-Bliss of the Self and its indivisibility so that we are unaffected by the objective conditions - "likes and dislikes" or preferences, which are mighty disruptions to one's inner peace for they make the mind agitated and restless, thus weak. In other words, we can attain freedom in the midst of Maya by being in the world but not of it! The Gurbani time and again reminds us that everything that appears must disappear. Nothing lasts forever in life, as life itself is impermanent. All things are short-lived, both good and bad. Wealth, possessions, kith and kin, name, fame, titles, and so on, in these nothing is permanent. The true freedom is working selflessly for others. Working selflessly for others is working selflessly for God through serving others. Working selfishly for oneself is bondage. Therefore, selfishness must disappear. In other words, the real freedom is inner renunciation: living in the world but not of it. This is the state of truthful living or "Truth in action", in which one is free of all Bikaars (evil passions) of the mind. The Gurbani does not want us to run away from responsibilities of the life. It teaches us how to succeed in life while remaining in the midst of worldly happenings and obstacles. Whatever role an "actor" plays, he always knows who he really is.

  • ਸਭ ਕੈ ਮਧਿ ਸਗਲ ਤੇ ਉਦਾਸ ॥: Sabh kai madhh sagal te udaas: Live in the midst of all, and yet detached from all (sggs 296).
  • ਨਾਨਕ ਜੀਵਤਿਆ ਮਰਿ ਰਹੀਐ ਐਸਾ ਜੋਗੁ ਕਮਾਈਐ ॥: Nanak jeevatiaa mar raheeai aisaa jogu kamaaeeai: Says Nanak, remain dead while yet alive - practice such a Yoga (sggs 730).
  • ਵਿਚਹੁ ਆਪੁ ਮੁਆ ਤਿਥੈ ਮੋਹੁ ਨ ਮਾਇਆ ॥: Vichahu aap muaa tithai mohu na maya: When selfishness and conceit (false "I") are eradicated from within, then there is no attachment to Maya (sggs 121).
  • 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 must 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 ... (sggs 938).

(27) As you think so you become. In other words, as is the perceiver, so is the perception. Since our life is shaped by our minds, what we think, is what we become. As the mind is nothing but thoughts-stuff (Phurne), whatever is in one's mind will reflect in his words. In turn, words manifest as actions (Karnee or Karma). In turn, actions form habits; and habits solidify in character. Simply put: what we consistently cultivate in our minds determines our character-formation, and our destiny. For that reason, if a person wants to change the character-formation in him, he can do so by consistently changing his thoughts. Thus goes the proverbial expression: "Man is the architect of his destiny". Clearly, our thoughts have great power over our life. This statement - as you think, so you become - which all the wise ones agree on, is at the core of true understanding as to how our thinking affects who we are. It also highlights the connection between what we think and what we ultimately become. As we exist in the ego-mind, the majority of us have entire life of wrong thinking. On the unsteady base of conditioned mind we perform all our activities. Due to inattention to the core of our true Being within, we are only aware of thinking, feeling and doing. But we are not aware of our true Self. Whatever is happening in life is a direct result of the mentality we have cultivated and the choices we have made in the past. Therefore, we are advised by the Gurbani to use the freedom of choice wisely.

  • ਜੈਸਾ ਸੇਵੈ ਤੈਸੋ ਹੋਇ ॥੪॥: Jaisaa sevai taiso hoi ||4||: one becomes just like the One he serves (as one thinks, so he becomes). ||4|| (sggs 223).
  • ਜੇਹੀ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਤੇਹਾ ਤਿਨ ਰਾਹੁ ॥: Jehee surit tehaa tin raah: As is (beings') awareness, so is (their) way (sggs 25).
  • ਕਰਮਾ ਉਪਰਿ ਨਿਬੜੈ ਜੇ ਲੋਚੈ ਸਭੁ ਕੋਇ ॥: Karma upper nibrai je lochai sabh koyi: According to one's actions, his destiny unfolds, even though everyone wants to be so lucky (sggs 157).
  • ਤੇਹਾ ਹੋਵੈ ਜੇਹੇ ਕਰਮ ਕਮਾਇ ॥: Tehaa hovai jehe kaarm kamaai: As are the deeds done here, so does one become (sggs 363).
  • ਸੋ ਕਿਛੁ ਕਰਿ ਜਿਤੁ ਮੈਲੁ ਨ ਲਾਗੈ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਕੀਰਤਨ ਮਹਿ ਏਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਜਾਗੈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: So kish kar jit mail na laagai. Har kirtan mahi eh manu jaagai ||1|| ||Rahaaou||: Make only those efforts by which the "filth" (fith of Bikaars: lust, anger, greed, attachment, pride and their countless variations) may not stick to your mind; and your mind remains awake (alert or aware of the pull of Bikaars) through the Lord's Kirtan (ਪਰਮਾਤਮ ਦੀ ਸਿਫਤਿ-ਸਾਲਾਹ) ||1|| ||Pause|| (sggs 199).

(28) Let's not look for happiness in the wrong things and conditions. All human efforts and activities are aimed at two things: (a) gaining happiness (inner peace); and (b) attaining freedom from all sorrows (Dukha). Accordingly, all our endeavors are motivated by the impulse to seek out joy-giving things and circumstances, and avoid any sorrow-giving things and situations. In other words, we want happiness that is unlimited and unconditional, regardless of people, objects, time, circumstances, and places. But, strangely enough, we search for happiness in the very same people, objects, time, circumstances, and places, which are ever changing and fleeting by their very nature because the happiness we get from these is incidental not intrinsic! Seeking unchanging happiness from changing things is like expecting snow on the sun! To make the point, the Gurmukhs (Great Souls) in India tell this little story. One day while walking around his capital, a king stubbed his toe against a small piece of sharp rock protruding out of the ground. His toe started bleeding. In anger he ordered his ministers and guards to carpet all the roads in the city. Upon hearing this strange command, a wise minister politely said, "My King, instead of carpeting all the roads in the city, would it not be wiser if you wear a pair of good shoes?" The moral of the story is that instead of trying to adjust everything for our own expediency, we should try to adjust ourselves to the external situations. This is possible through spiritual Life based on clear understanding.

  • ਜਉ ਸੁਖ ਕਉ ਚਾਹੈ ਸਦਾ ਸਰਨਿ ਰਾਮ ਕੀ ਲੇਹ ॥: Jo sukh kayu chaahai sadaa saran Raam kee leh: If we desire eternal happiness, then seek God's refuge (sggs 1427).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਜਪਹੁ ਮਨ ਮੇਰੇ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਪਾਵਹੁ ਸੂਖ ਘਨੇਰੇ ॥੧॥: Gurmukhi Naamu japahu man mere. Nanak pavahu sookh ghanere: O my mind, by becoming a Gurmukh, engage in Naam Jap (understanding of the Gurbani...). O Nanak, (as a result of the Naam Jap) you will obtain manifold Happiness (sggs 264).
  • ਗੁਰਿ ਸਬਦੁ ਦ੍ਰਿੜਾਇਆ ਪਰਮ ਪਦੁ ਪਾਇਆ ਦੁਤੀਅ ਗਏ ਸੁਖ ਹੋਊ ॥: Gur Shabad driraya parm pad paya dutiyaa gaye sukh hoyu: By implanting Gur-Shabad (God's Word) within, one attains supreme status; his duality is dispelled, and he procures peace (sggs 535).
  • ਸੋ ਸੁਖੀਆ ਜਿਸੁ ਭ੍ਰਮੁ ਗਇਆ ॥: So sukhia jis bharam gaya: He alone is happy whose doubt or delusion of mind is dispelled (sggs 1180).
  • ਸਾਚਿ ਰਤੇ ਸੁਖ ਸਹਜਿ ਸਮਾਏ ॥ ਸਾਚੇ ਕਾ ਗਾਹਕੁ ਵਿਰਲਾ ਕੋ ਜਾਣੁ ॥: Saach rate sukh sahaj samaaye. Saache kaa gaahak viralaa ko jaan: Who is tinctured with the Truth is absorbed in the celestial peace. (but) Know that one who purchases the Trth is very rare (sggs 664).
  • ਪਾਇਓ ਬਾਲ ਬੁਧਿ ਸੁਖੁ ਰੇ ॥: Paaio baal budhi sukhu re: Adopting the innocent mind of a child, I have found Peace (sggs 214).

(29) Understand the inner significance of spiritual practices, and thereby transcend them to experience the Ultimate Truth within. If we do not understand their inner significance and thereby do not strive to go beyond them, then they become empty rituals. There is no point of practicing them if they do not lead one to realize that there is no God existing separately from our own innermost Self ("Joti-Svaroopa"). The experience of Oneness with the inner Truth is the goal of all religions. Spiritual practices are meant to attain a certain amount of mental purification, provided we have the right attitude. Attachment to empty rituals become a stumbling block in one's spiritual growth.

  • ਪੜਿਐ ਨਾਹੀ ਭੇਦੁ ਬੁਝਿਐ ਪਾਵਣਾ ॥: Not by studying scriptures, but through understanding, is the God's Mystery revealed (sggs 148).
  • ਬਿਨੁ ਬੂਝੇ ਪਸੂ ਭਏ ਬੇਤਾਲੇ ॥੬॥: Bin boojhe pasu bhaye betaale: Binu boojhai pasu bhaye betaale ||6||: Without understanding, people become beast (-nature) and demon ||6|| (sggs 224).
  • ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਸੁਨਿ ਕਛੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਨ ਉਪਜਿਓ ਪਸੁ ਜਿਉ ਉਦਰੁ ਭਰਉ ॥: Gurmati suni kashu giaan n upjio pasu jiou udar bharaou: Despite listening to the Gurmati (Shabad-Giaan, Divine Teaching of the Gur-Shabad, etc.), (if) no spiritual wisdom (ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਦੀ ਕੁਝ ਭੀ ਸੂਝ) wells up within (me); (then it would be) like a beast (routinely) filling its belly (sggs 685).
  • ਸਮਝੈ ਸੂਝੈ ਪੜਿ ਪੜਿ ਬੂਝੈ ਅੰਤਿ ਨਿਰੰਤਰਿ ਸਾਚਾ ॥: If one understands, realizes and comprehends what he reads and studies, in the end he will realize that the True God dwells deep Within his nucleus (sggs 930).
  • ਵਰਤੁ ਨੇਮੁ ਨਿਤਾਪ੍ਰਤਿ ਪੂਜਾ ॥ ਬਿਨੁ ਬੂਝੇ ਸਭੁ ਭਾਉ ਹੈ ਦੂਜਾ ॥: Varat nem nitaaprat poojaa. Bin boojhe sabh bhaaou hai doojaa: Without genuine understanding, all fasts, religious rituals and daily worship services lead only to the love of duality (sggs 841).
  • ਤੀਰਥ ਵਰਤ ਸੁਚਿ ਸੰਜਮੁ ਨਾਹੀ ਕਰਮੁ ਧਰਮੁ ਨਹੀ ਪੂਜਾ ॥: Teerath varath such sanjam naahee karma dharma nahee poojaa: Pilgrimages, fasts, purification and self-discipline are of no use, nor are rituals, religious ceremonies or empty worship (sggs 75).
  • ਇਕਿ ਗਾਵਤ ਰਹੇ ਮਨਿ ਸਾਦੁ ਨ ਪਾਇ ॥ ਹਉਮੈ ਵਿਚਿ ਗਾਵਹਿ ਬਿਰਥਾ ਜਾਇ ॥: Ik gaavat rahe mann saad na paaye. Hayumai vich gaavahi birathaa jaaye: Some sing on and on, but their minds do not find happiness. In egotism, they sing, but it is all wasted uselessly (sggs 158).

(30) See the same One God in everything. God is both immanent and transcendent, All-pervading Consciousness. Therefore, real Self-realization is seeing One God in all things and knowing all beings as the extension of one's own Self. This is said to be the true Wisdom. In this Wisdom, there is no room for our foolishness and selfishness. Selfishness is the "taker" not the "giver". So long we are selfish, we would not know how to give, share (Vand Shaknaa) and care for others, without expecting anything in return.

  • ਏਕੁ ਪਿਤਾ ਏਕਸ ਕੇ ਹਮ ਬਾਰਿਕ ਤੂ ਮੇਰਾ ਗੁਰ ਹਾਈ ॥: The One God is our Father; we all are the children of the One God (sggs 611).
  • ਸਗਲੀ ਜਾਨਿ ਕਰਹੁ ਮਉਦੀਫਾ ॥: Saglee jaan karo mauleephaa: Let your daily worship be the knowledge that God is everywhere (sggs 1084).
  • ਜੋ ਦੀਸੈ ਸੋ ਤੇਰਾ ਰੂਪੁ ॥: Jo deesai so taeraa roop: Whatever is seen, O God is Your form (sggs724).
  • ਏਕਾ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਜੇਤੇ ਹੈ ਜੀਅ ॥: Ekaa surati jete hai jeea: There is One Awareness among all Jeeva or beings (sggs 24).
  • ਸਭੁ ਜਗੁ ਫਿਰਿ ਮੈ ਦੇਖਿਆ ਹਰਿ ਇਕੋ ਦਾਤਾ ॥: Sabh jag fir mai dekhiaa har iko daataa: Roaming over the entire world, I have seen the One God is the only Giver (sggs 510).

(31) Moderation. Eat less and sleep less —"this is the Essence of Wisdom", says the Gurbani. Therefore, there comes the importance of a simple diet. Simple diet helps gain Freedom from sense-slavery, greed etc.). Now-a days even health experts suggest light and simple diet! Simple diet also makes us sleep less. While a heavy and unnatural diet will make us lazy and sleep more. The Gurbani simply reminds us to avoid all excesses, and not to become slaves of the senses, mind and habits. Instead, we should become their master. Therefore, we are reminded to limit food, sleep, talk, thoughts, etc., to what is essential, and to avoid what is inessential.

  • ਖੰਡਿਤ ਨਿਦ੍ਰਾ ਅਲਪ ਅਹਾਰੰ ਨਾਨਕ ਤਤੁ ਬੀਚਾਰੋ ॥: Khandit nidraa alap ahaaram Nanak tatt beechaao: Sleep little, and eat little; O Nanak, this is the Essence of Wisdom (sggs 939).
  • ਓਨ੍ਹ੍ਹੀ ਦੁਨੀਆ ਤੋੜੇ ਬੰਧਨਾ ਅੰਨੁ ਪਾਣੀ ਥੋੜਾ ਖਾਇਆ ॥: Onhee duniyaa torre bandhanaa annu paanee thorraa khaaiyaa: (Who are content and contemplate the Truth) burn away (i.e., break) the worldly bonds, and eat little food and (drink) little water (sggs 467).
  • ਗਾਲ੍ਹ੍ਹੀ ਅਲ ਪਲਾਲੀਆ ਕੰਮਿ ਨ ਆਵਹਿ ਮਿਤ ॥੧॥: Gaalhee al palaaleeaa kamm na aavahi mit ||1||: Useless talk and babbling is useless, my friend ||1|| (sggs 320).
  • ਸੁਭ ਚਿੰਤਨ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਰਮਣ ਨਿਰਮਲ ਸਾਧੂ ਸੰਗ ॥: Subh chintan gobind raman niramal saadhoo sang: O God, bless me with sublime thoughts, and contemplation in the immaculate Saadh Sangat (sggs 522).

(32) Know that everyone is subject to the One "Hukam" (Divine Order, Command, Will, Eternal Law...). Everything takes place according to this sweet divine "Hukam". Therefore, the Gurbani tells us to accept life as it presents itself to us, as God's Prasaad. In other words, accept all situations and experiences, seemingly negative or otherwise, and learn from them. There is a Divine message hidden in each one of them. If we penetrate beneath the surface of a situation or an experience, it will be revealed to us. Inner peace and lasting happiness follows in the wake of pain and suffering.

  • 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).
  • ਤੇਰਾ ਕੀਤਾ ਜਿਸੁ ਲਾਗੈ ਮੀਠਾ ॥ ਘਟਿ ਘਟਿ ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਤਿਨਿ ਜਨਿ ਡੀਠਾ ॥ ਥਾਨਿ ਥਨੰਤਰਿ ਤੂੰਹੈ ਤੂੰਹੈ ਇਕੋ ਇਕੁ ਵਰਤਾਵਣਿਆ ॥੨॥: Teraa keetaa jis laagai meethaa. Ghati ghati paarabraham tin jan deethaa. Thaan thanantar toonhai toonhai iko ik varataavaniaa ||2||: That person, unto whom Your Bhaanaa (Your Eternal Law, Hukam, Will, Commad...) seems sweet, he comes to see You in each and every heart. You exist in all places and interspaces. You are the One and Only One, pervading everywhere ||2|| (sggs 131).

(33) The Gurbani wants us to know that in this material world "all are concerned only with their own happiness". Here the Gurbani neither seeks to discourage us nor tries to scare us away from forming worldly relationships. Instead, the Gurbani is simply making us aware of the real nature of these worldly relationships so that later we do not become stunned, disappointed, frustrated, or dejected.

  • ਦੇਵਗੰਧਾਰੀ ਮਹਲਾ ੯ ॥ ਜਗਤ ਮੈ ਝੂਠੀ ਦੇਖੀ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ॥ ਅਪਨੇ ਹੀ ਸੁਖ ਸਿਉ ਸਭ ਲਾਗੇ ਕਿਆ ਦਾਰਾ ਕਿਆ ਮੀਤ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਮੇਰਉ ਮੇਰਉ ਸਭੈ ਕਹਤ ਹੈ ਹਿਤ ਸਿਉ ਬਾਧਿਓ ਚੀਤ ॥ ਅੰਤਿ ਕਾਲਿ ਸੰਗੀ ਨਹ ਕੋਊ ਇਹ ਅਚਰਜ ਹੈ ਰੀਤਿ ॥੧॥ ਮਨ ਮੂਰਖ ਅਜਹੂ ਨਹ ਸਮਝਤ ਸਿਖ ਦੈ ਹਾਰਿਓ ਨੀਤ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਭਉਜਲੁ ਪਾਰਿ ਪਰੈ ਜਉ ਗਾਵੈ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਕੇ ਗੀਤ ॥੨॥੩॥੬॥੩੮॥੪੭॥: Devgandhaaree Mahalaa 9 || Jagat mai jhoothee dekhee preet. Apane hee sukh siou sabh laage kiaa daaraa kiaa meet. ||1|| rehaao || Mero mero sabhai kahat hai hit siou baadhiou cheet. Ant kaal sa(n)gee nah kouoo ih acharaj hai reet ||1|| Mann moorakh ajahoo nah samajhat sikh dai haariou neet. Nanak bhoujal paar parai jo gaavai prabh kae geet ||2||3||6||38||47||: Devgandhaaree Mahalaa 9. In this world, I have seen love to be false. Whether they are spouses or friends, all are concerned only with their own happiness. ||1||Pause|| All say, ""Mine, mine"", and attach their consciousness to you with love. But at the very last moment, none will go along with you. How strange are the ways of the world! ||1|| The foolish mind has not yet reformed itself, although I have grown weary of continually instructing it. O Nanak, one crosses over the terrifying world-ocean, singing the Songs of God ||2||3||6||38||47|| (sggs 536).

(34) Reject the madness of believing in caste (Jaat-Paat), race, lineage, ethnicity, occupation, social status, power, name, titles, and so on. In Sikh thought, God is beyond all physical attributes. Kingdom of the One God or heaven is within each one of us, which is equally available to all. The essence of spiritual practices is attaining the state of experiencing the absolute state of Bliss (Anand). Birth, social status, religion or caste cannot stand in the way of a Soul engaged in this quest for Self-Realization.

  • ਮਾਨਸ ਕੀ ਜਾਤ ਸਬੈ ਏਕੈ ਪਹਚਾਨਬੋ ॥: Maanas kee jaat sabai ekai pahchaanabo: Recognize the entire mankind as one family (Guru Gobind Singh Jee).

(35) Seek, join and keep the spiritual or Holy Company (Saadh-Sangat, Satsangat etc.). The value of sandalwood lies in its fragrance that spreads out far and wide. The philosopher's touch stone (Paaras) has the same good quality: Any lowly metal that comes in contact with it is transformed into gold. In other words, whatever comes into contact with both sandalwood and Paaras is uplifted. The Gurbani compares the nature of Saadh-Sangat with that of sandalwood and Paaras. Because in Saadh-Sangat, a lowly conditioned Soul is purified, thus uplifted and transformed into Divine Consciousness! In the presence of such Holy Company, one finds the energy, integrity, understanding, and persistence to liberate himself from the domain of the false ego sense (Haume). The Gurbani has specified a strict criteria for a Saadh-Sangat: the Gurbani tells us, "Satsangat kaisee jaaneeyai. Jithai eko naam vakhaaneeyai, sggs 71". In other words, although congregational worship is important, but not every congregation is necessarily a Saadh-Sangat, for as per the Gurbani it must meet the specified criteria before it can be called a Saadh-Sangat. The association of real Gurmukhs is the true Saadh-Sangat. Search such Spiritual Company ("spiritual Friend"), who can sweep our "filthy" minds clean and remove our doubts. But they are very rare. Also, they are not easily decipherable from the imitation because such souls have risen above any worldly labels or dogmas. Their ways are unique and distinct (Bhagataa kee chaal niraalee, sggs 981). Their greatness get camouflaged by their simplicity and humility. Such true and wise ones ravel constantly in the Universal Consciousness, radiating selfless love, compassion, service (Nishakaam Sevaa), sacrifice, and deep peace to all. To recognize a true Saadh-Sangat, one needs the basic understanding of spirituality (power of discrimination, intuition etc.). Although some may chose to live in seclusion dissolved in the Totality, but others may chose (as suggested by the Gurbani) to become an offering to the world to selflessly help rest of us groping in the darkness of ignorance. Our minds are closed, but the Holy Presence opens them up thus changing our behavior. In Satsang faith — an important element of Bhagti (devotion) — is developed and strengthened.

  • ਮਹਾ ਪਵਿਤ੍ਰ ਸਾਧ ਕਾ ਸੰਗੁ ॥: Mahaa pavitr saadh kaa sang: The Saadh Sangat is so very pure and sacred (sggs 392).
  • ਸਾਧਸੰਗਤਿ ਉਪਜੈ ਬਿਸ੍ਵਾਸ ॥: Saadhasangat oupajai bisvaas: In the Saadh Sangat, the Company of the Holy, faith wells up (sggs 343).
  • ਸਾਧ ਕੈ ਸੰਗਿ ਤਜੈ ਸਭੁ ਆਪੁ ॥: Saadh kai sang tajai sabh aap: In the Company of the Holy, one renounces all selfishness (sggs 271).
  • ਸਾਧਸੰਗਤਿ ਮਿਲਿ ਬੁਧਿ ਬਿਬੇਕ ॥੩॥: Sadh sangat mil budh bibek ||3||: Joining the Saadh Sangat, the Company of the Holy, the discriminating intellect is attained ||3|| (sggs 377).
  • ਕਾਮੁ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਲੋਭੁ ਮੋਹੁ ਜਣ ਜਣ ਸਿਉ ਛਾਡੁ ਧੋਹੁ ਹਉਮੈ ਕਾ ਫੰਧੁ ਕਾਟੁ ਸਾਧਸੰਗਿ ਰਤਿ ਜੀਉ ॥: Kaam krodh lobh mohu jan jan siou shaad dhohu houmai kaa fandh kaat saadhasang rati jeeou: Renounce lust, anger, greed and attachment (i.e. all evil passions); give up your games of deception. Snap the noose of egotism, and let yourself be at home in the Saadh Sangat, the Company of the Holy (sggs 1403).
  • ਨਾਵ ਰੂਪ ਸਾਧਸੰਗ ਨਾਨਕ ਪਾਰਗਰਾਮੀ ॥: Naav roop saadhasang Nanak paaragaraamee: The Saadh Sangat is the boat, O Nanak, to carry us across to the other side (sggs 1230).
  • ਕਬੀਰ ਸੰਗਤਿ ਕਰੀਐ ਸਾਧ ਕੀ ਅੰਤਿ ਕਰੈ ਨਿਰਬਾਹੁ ॥ ਸਾਕਤ ਸੰਗੁ ਨ ਕੀਜੀਐ ਜਾ ਤੇ ਹੋਇ ਬਿਨਾਹੁ ॥੯੩॥: Kabeer sangati kareeai saadh kee anti karai nirabaahu. Saakat sa(n)g na keejeeai jaa te hoi binaahu ||93||: Kabeer, associate with the Holy, who will take you to Nirvaana in the end. Do not associate with the faithless cynics ( i.e. Kusang); they would ruin (your spiritual life and peace) ||93|| (sggs 1369).
  • ਬਿਸਰਿ ਗਈ ਸਭ ਤਾਤਿ ਪਰਾਈ ॥ਜਬ ਤੇ ਸਾਧਸੰਗਤਿ ਮੋਹਿ ਪਾਈ ॥: Bisar gayee sabh taat paraaee. Jabb te saadhasanngat mohi paaee: I have totally forgotten my jealousy of others, since I found the Saadh Sangat, the Company of the Holy (sggs 1299).
  • ਸਾਧਸੰਗਤਿ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਭਇਓ ਮੁਕਤਾ ਦਰਸਨੁ ਪੇਖਤ ਭੋਰੀ ॥: Saadhsangat Nanak bhaiou mukataa darasan pekhat bhoree: In the Saadh Sangat, the Holy Company, Nanak has been liberated, gazing upon the Divine Vision, even for an instant (sggs 1216).
  • ਗਤਿ ਸੰਗਿ ਮੀਤਾ ਸੰਤਸੰਗਤਿ ਕਰਿ ਨਦਰਿ ਮੇਲਿ ਮਿਲਾਇਆ ॥੩॥: Gat sang meetaa santsangat kar nadar mel milaaiaa ||3||: Salvation is attained by associating with the Society of the Saints, O friend; granting His Grace, God unites us in His Union ||3|| (sggs 688).
  • ਸਾਧਸੰਗਤਿ ਸਚੁ ਖੰਡ ਹੈ ਵਾਸਾ ਨਿਰੰਕਾਰੇ ॥: Saadhasangat sach khand hai vaasaa nirankaare: Saadh Sangat is the abode of Truth, the formless Lord abides there (Vaar Bhai Gurdaas Jee 34).
  • ਨਾਨਕੁ ਸਿਖ ਦੇਇ ਮਨ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਮ ਸਾਧਸੰਗਿ ਭ੍ਰਮੁ ਜਾਲੇ ॥: Nanak sikh dayi mann preetam saadhasang bhram jaale: Nanak gives this advice: O dear mind, in the Saadh-Sangat, burn away your doubts (sggs 79).

(36) Be innocent like infants. Like little children, we should keep the heart filled with love, spirit of self-sacrifice, wonder, joy, imagination, faith and surrender (to mother), selflessness, intact consciousness (unconditioned awareness), simplicity, humbleness, and so on. Also, like infants, keep the heart empty of negativity and defilement. An infant's mind is unconditioned for it is not influenced by the world. Such Pure mind is free of imprisonment from false ego. As an infant, we all were born with such an unconditioned mind! However, afterwards, while growing up, we get programmed and trained to identify with the feeling of "mine, mine!". In the process, side by side, false ego gets developed as we grow from infancy to adolescence. It then gets firmly-rooted after we marry and entangle in the achievement of various worldly desires. The moment physical ego becomes stronger in us, we become prisoner of desires, fears, expectations and delusions. Consequently, the mirage of the world-appearance looks real to us. And we take this body-frame to be our true Self.

  • ਪਾਇਓ ਬਾਲ ਬੁਧਿ ਸੁਖੁ ਰੇ ॥: Paaeiou baal budhi sukh rae: Adopting the innocent mind of a child, I have found Peace (sggs 214).

(37) Perform regular introspection. Introspection is the ability to stand aside and observe, search, inquire and review without any prejudice the conflicts of the day in one's mind to determine the favorable or unfavorable outcome. It's the impartial intuitive or discerning self-analysis by which one analyzes his thoughts, words and actions and assesses the strengths of the opposing forces of his good and evil tendencies.

  • ਬੰਦੇ ਖੋਜੁ ਦਿਲ ਹਰ ਰੋਜ ਨਾ ਫਿਰੁ ਪਰੇਸਾਨੀ ਮਾਹਿ ॥: Bande khoj dil har roj naa phir paresaanee mahi: O human being, search your own heart every day, and do not wander around in confusion (sggs 727).
  • ਮਨ ਕੀ ਪਤ੍ਰੀ ਵਾਚਣੀ ਸੁਖੀ ਹੂ ਸੁਖੁ ਸਾਰੁ ॥: Mann kee patree vaachanee sukhee hoo saar: To read the horoscope of the mind is the most Sublime Joyful Peace. (sggs 1093).
  • 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). 
  • ਨਾਨਕ ਖੋਜਿ ਲਹਹੁ ਘਰੁ ਅਪਨਾ ਹਰਿ ਆਤਮ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮੁ ਪਾਇਆ ॥੫॥: Nanak khoji lahau ghar apnaa hari aatam raam naam paya ||5||: O Nanak, search and examine your own inner being, and attain the Supreme Soul (i.e., see the All-pervading Lord within), and the Lord's Name ||5|| (sggs 1039).

(38) The Guru and God are one and the same. For God speaks through the Great Souls. The Teachings and the Teacher are really not different. Have sincere faith in Guru (Gur-Shabad), and fully surrender ego to Him. So the person who has fully surrendered to the Guru need not go in search of any holy waters and holy places. If someone goes in search of so called holy waters and sacred places, it means that the person's faith and surrender is limited and not firm. Everything is contained in the Guru. Therefore, there will be no spiritual advancement if we just keep wandering around visiting holy places and holy waters. Awaken the inner Guru. The veil of or our false ego-sense (Haume) hides the inner Guru in dormancy. Everything and Avery experience in life teaches us something. Accordingly, the Gurbani asks us to perceive Guru-God in everything in the universe.

  • ਗੁਰੁ ਪਰਮੇਸਰੁ ਏਕੋ ਜਾਣੁ ॥: Gur Parmesur eko jaan: The Guru and the Transcendent Lord are one and the same (sggs 864).
  • ਗੁਰੁ ਪਰਮੇਸਰੁ ਹੈ ਭੀ ਹੋਗੁ ॥ gur paramaesar hai bhee hog. The Guru is the Transcendent Lord; He is, and always will be (sggs 864).
  • ਭਰਮੇ ਭੂਲਾ ਸਭਿ ਤੀਰਥ ਗਹੈ ॥: Bharme bhoolaa sabh tirath gahai: Deluded by doubt, he visits all the sacred shrines of pilgrimage (sggs 948).
  • ਤੀਰਥਿ ਨਾਵਣ ਜਾਉ ਤੀਰਥੁ ਨਾਮੁ ਹੈ ॥ ਤੀਰਥੁ ਸਬਦ ਬੀਚਾਰੁ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਹੈ ॥: Teerath naavan jaaou teerathu naamu hai ...: (I also) go to bathe (ਤੀਰਥ ਉਤੇ ਇਸਨਾਨ) at sacred shrines of pilgrimage (but, for me) the Lord's Name is the pilgrimage. To Reflect on the Shabad (contemplation, Shabad-Vichaar: ਸਬਦ ਨੂੰ ਵਿਚਾਰ-ਮੰਡਲ ਵਿਚ ਟਿਕਾਣਾ, etc.) is the pilgrimage (for me, because of this) Spiritual Wisdom (Aatamic-Giaan) arises within me (sggs 687).
  • ਤੀਰਥੁ ਹਮਰਾ ਹਰਿ ਕੋ ਨਾਮੁ ॥ ਗੁਰਿ ਉਪਦੇਸਿਆ ਤਤੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Tirath hamraa Hari ko Naam. Gur updesiaa tatt giaan ||1||Rahaaou||: God's Name is my sacred shrine of pilgrimage. The Guru has instructed me in this True Essence of spiritual Wisdom (Aatmic-Giaan; ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਦੀ ਸੂਝ ਦਾ ਇਹ ਨਿਚੋੜ - ਗਿਆਨ). ||1||Pause|| (sggs 1142).
  • ਸਾਹਿਬੁ ਮੇਰਾ ਸਦਾ ਹੈ ਦਿਸੈ ਸਬਦੁ ਕਮਾਇ ॥ ਓਹੁ ਅਉਹਾਣੀ ਕਦੇ ਨਾਹਿ ਨਾ ਆਵੈ ਨਾ ਜਾਇ ॥: Sahib meraa sadaa hai disai Shabad kamaai. Oh aouhaanee kade naahi n aavai n jaai: My master is eternal. He is seen by practicing the Shabad. He never perishes, He does not come and go - He neither takes birth nor does he die (sggs 509).

(39) Last, but not least, be constantly watchful and awake. Such attitude leads to internal alertness. Time and again we will face situations in life, which will test our mind's equanimity. We can remain unaffected and insulated from the illusion of Maya by keeping ourselves awake, aware, alert, attentive, vigilant, concentrated, detached, discriminating (Viveka-Budhi) etc. By constantly remaining so, our understanding will become clear and our conduct in life will become positive.

  • ਗਿਆਨੀ ਹੋਇ ਸੁ ਚੇਤੰਨੁ ਹੋਇ ਅਗਿਆਨੀ ਅੰਧੁ ਕਮਾਇ ॥: Giaanee so chetann hoi agiaanee andh kamaai: One who is Giaanee (ਗਿਆਨਵਾਨ, etc.), remains Awake (spiritually Aware, Alert, etc.); and the ignorant act blindly (ignorantly - ਅਗਿਆਨੀ ਮਨੁੱਖ ਅਗਿਆਨਤਾ ਦਾ ਕੰਮ ਹੀ ਕਰਦਾ ਹੈ) (sggs 556).
  • ਸਾਵਧਾਨ ਏਕਾਗਰ ਚੀਤ ॥: Saavadhhaan eaekaagar cheeth: (Praise the Lord) with total concentration and one-pointedness of mind (sggs 295).
  • ਮਨ ਮੇਰੇ ਅਨਦਿਨੁ ਜਾਗੁ ਹਰਿ ਚੇਤਿ ॥: Mann mere anadin jaag har chaet: O my mind, remain awake and aware night and day, and think of the Lord (sggs 34).
  • ਜੋ ਜਾਗੇ ਸੇ ਉਬਰੇ ਸੂਤੇ ਗਏ ਮੁਹਾਇ ॥: Jo jaage se oubare soote gaye muhaai: Those who remain awake and aware are saved, those who sleep are plundered (sggs 34).
  • ਮਨੁ ਸੋਇਆ ਮਾਇਆ ਬਿਸਮਾਦਿ ॥: Mann soiaa Maya bisamaad: The mind is asleep, fascinated by Maya (sggs 182).

— T. Singh
www.gurbani.org