WHAT'S BAD INSIDE THE GURDAWAARAA IS ALSO BAD OUTSIDE

The Sikh of the Guru abstains from Bikaars (sggs 286).
The holy places of worship in the world are polluted,
and so the world is drowning (sggs 662).
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It is not uncommon to observe whenever there is a scene of rage or brawl (physical or verbal) inside the Gurdawaaraa building, the secretary or the Pardhaan grabs the microphone and makes an appeal. Which may go something like this: "Please do not fight here inside the Gurdawaaraa. If you want to continue fighting, please go outside in the parking lot and fight."

But in truth, whatever is bad inside the Gurdawaaraa building must also be bad outside (i.e., parking lot, home, family, society, country, and so on)! In other words, whatever is bad inside the Gurdawaaraa building must also be bad in one's life. Whatever is considered good, appropriate or auspicious inside the Gurdawaaraa building must be good, appropriate or auspicious at other places as well. Then why is it that we want to behave in certain ways only inside the Gurdawaaraa building but not everywhere else or all the time?

The Gurbani teaches us to remove negative feelings and defilements to cleanse and purify one's heart and mind; and filling them with an intense love for God and fellow human beings. Pure heart and mind are essential to link with the Universal Consciousness. This ascent in spiritual progress is described in the Gurbani in five Khands (Realms or Stages) — Dharma Khand, Giaan Khand, Saram Khand, Karma Khand and Sach Khand. The Gurbani also tells us that ultimate linking with God is not a matter of accident. To reach up to the Ultimate Stage, one has to prepare himself through an arduous process of spiritual practices or discipline and proceed stage by stage. Baabaa Nanak also urges us to develop humility, compassion, Sahaj (natural state of one's being), and constant remembrance of God. Also, since we are instruments in the hands of God, we are urged to act in His Will (Hukam), not in our own whims or Haume (ego, false "I" etc.), because acting in ego is not to love the Guru or God. The Gurbani also reminds us that the purpose of approaching the Guru is to surrender our Haume, not for name, fame, and prestige. It's not possible to eradicate all Bikaars (corruption of the ego-mind, evil deeds, evil passions, bad qualities, negativity, defilements, Vaasnaas, etc.) and fill the mind and heart with good thoughts while being vain or drenched in the nonessential worldliness?

The spiritual ideals and principles of the Gurdawaaraa are supposed to teach us to limit everything to the essential — no nonsense talking, no arguments or scuffles, no slandering, conducting nicely and selflessly, serving attitude, and so on. Similar restraints are also expected to curb other Bikaars of the mind such as lust, anger, etc. We try to adhere to these principles inside the Gurdawaaraa. But, as soon as the majority of us walk out of the Gurdawaaraa building (sometime even inside the Gurdawaaraa), normally it's the opposite that takes place — nonessentials become limitless. The Gurbani tells that, not a few, but all Bikaars - ਬਿਕਾਰ (corruption, negativity, faults of Haume or ego, etc.) - of the mind must be replaced with good thoughts.

  • ਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਸਿਖੁ ਬਿਕਾਰ ਤੇ ਹਾਟੈ ॥: Gur kaa sikhu bikaar te haatai: The Sikh of the Guru recoils (withdraws, ਹਟ ਜਾਂਦਾ ਹੈ...) from Bikaars (sggs 286).
  • ਬੈਰ ਬਿਰੋਧ ਕਾਮ ਕ੍ਰੋਧ ਮੋਹ ॥ ਝੂਠ ਬਿਕਾਰ ਮਹਾ ਲੋਭ ਧ੍ਰੋਹ ॥ ਇਆਹੂ ਜੁਗਤਿ ਬਿਹਾਨੇ ਕਈ ਜਨਮ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਰਾਖਿ ਲੇਹੁ ਆਪਨ ਕਰਿ ਕਰਮ ॥੭॥: Bair birodh kaam krodh moh. Jhooth bikaar mahaa lobh dhroh. Iaahoo jugat bihaane kayee janam. Nanak raakh lehu aapan kar karam ||7||: Hate, conflict, lust, anger, emotional attachment, falsehood, Bikaars, immense greed and deceit: so many lifetimes are wasted in these ways. Says Nanak: O Lord - please show Your Mercy, uplift them, and redeem them||7|| (sggs 267).

As a matter of fact, whatever is good inside the Gurdawaaraa is also good outside. It's a wrong signal to send to the people that the do's and don'ts of the ideals and Principles of the Gurdawaaraa don't apply to the outside life. Appropriate lifestyle inside the Gurdawaaraa and the same outside cannot be separated. They are meant to be intertwined. Spiritual and material life must be in harmony. To live such a life is like standing in the fire without getting burnt (Gurmukh lifestyle)! It's difficult without true discrimination (Viveka) and detachment.

  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਹਉਮੈ ਅਗਨਿ ਨਿਵਾਰੀ ॥: Gurmukh houmai agan nivaaree: By becoming the Gurmukh, put out the fire of egotism (sggs 943).

Any unnecessary action, regardless of time and place, is falsehood or unrighteousness (Adharma). Also, any required action not performed properly, regardless of time and place, is falsehood or unrighteousness (Adharma) as well. The Gurbani tells us that God is everywhere and in everyone. Therefore, all our thoughts, actions and words (Mann, Karma and Bachan) must be in full awareness of this Divine Principle. Practice of good actions, good conduct and good qualities everywhere and in all circumstances is also a part of worship. The Gurbani repeatedly urges us to surrender. What dose this surrender consist of? It includes surrendering of the mind (Antahakaran, which also include intellect the decision making aspect of the mind). To this end, listening, contemplating, and practicing the Truth is important.

  • ਨਹ ਬਿਲੰਬ ਧਰਮੰ ਬਿਲੰਬ ਪਾਪੰ ॥: Nah bilamb dharamam bilamb paapam: Do not delay in practicing Dharma; delay in committing sins (sggs 1354).
  • ਮਨੁ ਬੇਚੈ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਪਾਸਿ ॥ ਤਿਸੁ ਸੇਵਕ ਕੇ ਕਾਰਜ ਰਾਸਿ ॥: Mann baechai satgur kai paas. Tis sevak ke kaaraj raas: (One who) sell his mind (ਭਾਵ ਗੁਰੂ ਦੇ ਹਵਾਲੇ ਕਰ ਦੇਂਦਾ ਹੈ-surrenders his ego-sense, Haumai, self-will or ਮਨ ਮਤ, etc.) to the Satigur (ਜਿਸ ਦੇ ਪਾਸ ਸਚ ਦਾ ਗਿਆਨ ਹੈ: knower of Truth...), that humble servant's work (the purpose of life, etc.) becomes fitting or complete (he becomes Gurmukh, Jeevamukat, Enlightened, Realized...). (sggs 286).

The Gurdawaaraas (or other places of worship for that matter) are meant to enhance spiritual thoughts. They are meant to remove our bad vibrations, selfishness, and our slavery to bad habits. They remind us of God and the Divine Principles. Which, in turn, help people to develop good qualities in them. Simply put, these places symbolizes an Ideal. They are symbols of God — the Guru's Gate or the Doorway to God. Therefore, when we enter these places, sacred or true ideals should well up in our Hearts, and when we leave these places the same thoughts should stay with us, regardless of where we are. Do we use these places for their intended use? So the problem is not with the places of worship, but with us because the majority of us are crooked like the "dog's tail". Why become an unnecessarily burden to the family or society with our negativity, defilements, selfishness, and our slavery to bad habits? The Gurbani says that by constantly imbibing in good thoughts and remembrance of God, we can progress spiritually.

  • ਸਚੁ ਸਾਲਾਹੀ ਧੰਨੁ ਗੁਰਦੁਆਰੁ ॥: Such saalaahee dhann gurduaar: Blessed is the Guru's Door, from where the Truth is praised (ਪਰਮਾਤਮ ਦੀ ਸਿਫਤਿ-ਸਾਲਾਹ) (sggs 153).
  • ਜਬ ਲਗੁ ਸਬਦਿ ਨ ਭੇਦੀਐ ਕਿਉ ਸੋਹੈ ਗੁਰਦੁਆਰਿ ॥: Jaab lag Sabad n bhedeeai kiou sohai Gurduaar: Until (one's mind) is pierced through with the Shabad, (until then one does not) look Beautiful at the Guru's Door (Inner Beauty: state Bliss or Anand, realization of Jot Saroop...). (sggs 19).
  • ਭਾਂਡਾ ਹਛਾ ਸੋਇ ਜੋ ਤਿਸੁ ਭਾਵਸੀ ॥ ਭਾਂਡਾ ਅਤਿ ਮਲੀਣੁ ਧੋਤਾ ਹਛਾ ਨ ਹੋਇਸੀ ॥ ਗੁਰੂ ਦੁਆਰੈ ਹੋਇ ਸੋਝੀ ਪਾਇਸੀ ॥ ਏਤੁ ਦੁਆਰੈ ਧੋਇ ਹਛਾ ਹੋਇਸੀ ॥: Bhaandaa hashhaa soi jo tis bhaavasee. Bhaandaa ati maleen dhotaa hashaa ....: That Bhaandaa (ਭਾਂਡਾ: ਅੰਤਹਕਰਣ, mind-intellect, heart, etc.) alone is Good (Pure, ਪਵਿੱਤ੍ਰ, ਨਿਰਮਲ, ਸਾਫ...) which is pleasing to Him. Very filthy Bhaandaa (that has become filthy with Bikaars: lust, anger, greed, etc.) does not become Good, simply by being washed (e.g., bating at the so called sacred ponds, etc.). Through the Guroo's Door (Guroo's Teaching or Upadesh, Shabad-Giaan, Aatam-Giaan, etc.), one obtains Understanding. By being washed through this Door, (the Bhaandaa) becomes Pure (sggs 730).
  • ਜਿਉ ਬੈਸੰਤਰੁ ਕਾਸਟ ਮਝਾਰਿ ਬਿਨੁ ਸੰਜਮ ਨਹੀ ਕਾਰਜ ਸਾਰਿ ॥ ਬਿਨੁ ਗੁਰ ਨ ਪਾਵੈਗੋ ਹਰਿ ਜੀ ਕੋ ਦੁਆਰ ॥ : Jiou baisantar kaasat majhaar bin sanjam nahee kaaraj saar. Bin gur na paavaigo har jee ko duaar: As the fire in the forest, without control, cannot serve any purpose just so, without the Guru, one cannot attain the Gate of the Lord (sggs 535).

— T. Singh
www.gurbani.org