"SEE WITHOUT EYES, HEAR WITHOUT EARS...."

ਅਖੀ ਬਾਝਹੁ ਵੇਖਣਾ ਵਿਣੁ ਕੰਨਾ ਸੁਨਣਾ ॥ ਪੈਰਾ ਬਾਝਹੁ ਚਲਣਾ ਵਿਣੁ ਹਥਾ ਕਰਣਾ ॥
ਜੀਭੈ ਬਾਝਹੁ ਬੋਲਣਾ ਇਉ ਜੀਵਤ ਮਰਣਾ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਪਛਾਣਿ ਕੈ ਤਉ ਖਸਮੈ ਮਿਲਣਾ ॥੧॥:
Akhee baajhahu vekhanaa vinu kanaa sunanaa.
Pairaa baajhahu chalanaa vinu hathaa karanaa.
Jeebhai baajhahu bolanaa iou jeevat maranaa.
Nanak hukamu pachhaan kai taou khasamai milanaa ||1||
:(sggs 139).
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How can one see without years; walk without feet; work without hands; speak without a tongue? All these seem like contradictory, paradoxical or confusing statements. But they are not. Contradictions or confusions are only in our Mayaic minds (relativist and dualistic mind). In the Shabad-Guru, there is no contradiction. The problem is lack of our understanding. We think we understand, but in reality most of us don't! This lack of understanding gives rise to the sense of apparent contradictions, paradox or confusion. Thus, contradictions exist only in the limitations of our psycho-physical personality.

  • ਅਖੀ ਬਾਝਹੁ ਵੇਖਣਾ ਵਿਣੁ ਕੰਨਾ ਸੁਨਣਾ ॥ ਪੈਰਾ ਬਾਝਹੁ ਚਲਣਾ ਵਿਣੁ ਹਥਾ ਕਰਣਾ ॥ ਜੀਭੈ ਬਾਝਹੁ ਬੋਲਣਾ ਇਉ ਜੀਵਤ ਮਰਣਾ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਪਛਾਣਿ ਕੈ ਤਉ ਖਸਮੈ ਮਿਲਣਾ ॥੧॥: Akhee baajhahu vekhanaa vinu kanaa sunanaa. Pairaa baajhahu chalanaa vinu hathaa karanaa. Jeebhai baajhahu bolanaa iou jeevat maranaa. Nanak hukamu pachhaan kai taou khasamai milanaa ||1||: (The Formless, Divine Principle..., within) can be seen or heard without the (external) eyes and ears. (sggs 139). Perform (spiritual work) without (external or physical) hands. Communicate without the (external or physical) tongue - like this, remain dead while yet alive (i.e. become Jeevanmukta by internalizing the senses). O Nanak! Only then, by Recognizing the Hukam (Understanding the Gurbani, Gurmat, Giaan or Wisdom of the Gurbani, and then using the senses or physical receptors accordingly) can link to the Lord (the State beyond the external or physical faculties). ||1|| (sggs 139).

What could be the logical explanation for the statements like see without eyes; hear without years; walk without feet; work without hands; and speak without a tongue? As indicated by the Gurbani, it's the transcendental state of "Jeevanmukta" — living liberated or living dead. Also called Gurmukhs in the Gurbani, this is the state of those spiritual beings who have conquered their physical senses and mind. Simply put, it's the state that rises within upon the death of one's false ego-sense (Haume). The death of ego translates into the end of "five thieves": lust, anger, greed, attachments and pride (along with their numerous variations). Accordingly, the discipline of the Gurbani prescribes sensory and mental control as the basis of spiritual evolution. Not easy at all: it's like swimming upstream!

Out of ten physical senses, the five sense-organs are of knowledge or perception (Giaan Indriyas — eyes, years, nose, tongue and skin), and the five sense-organs of action (Kaam Indriyas — the genital, anus, mouth, hands and legs). Man engages in the world of gross objects with his sensory faculties and the pleasures they afford only make him desire for more and more. But it's not possible to satisfy desires. Accordingly, we are repeatedly asked by the Gurbani to learn to control them. By mentioning the four Indriyas in the foregoing verse, all our sense-organs of perception and action are indicated.

The mind is the center of all activities of the senses. Thus, when the senses become attracted toward their respective sense-objects, the mind becomes the source of all ideas of about sense-gratification. Thus, the mind and the senses become the repositories of desires and cravings. Upon the death of the false ego (the state of Jeevanmukti), the senses become widow! This inner transformation results in purification of the mind, necessary for linking with one's Essential Nature within — "Joti-Svaroopa". Without the complete removal of false ego-sense or complete inner surrender unto the True Self within, the linking with the Spiritual Factor is not possible; no matter how much one tries to be religious. Free to escape through the defiled senses, the deluded mind limits the Truth, and binds one to worldly bondage. Thus, defiled senses with their individual demands, coloring or covering (impurity) can never hope to gain true understanding, and, as a result, one can never hope to liberate his own false self from the delusion. Without which one cannot see the Reality as It Is. Having said this, now let's try to briefly reflect on these statements: "See without without eyes; hear without years; walk without feet; work without hands; and speak without a tongue".

See Without Eyes And Hear Without Ears: The majority of us, living in body-consciousness (sensuous life), use eyes to see things that are undesirable etc.! For example, most of us use them to see others' women, other's wealth or possessions (ਪਰ ਧਨ ਪਰ ਤਨ - Par Dhanna Par Tann), and so on. This is akin to a Manmukh (unenlightened) lifestyle. Because of his foolishness, the Manmukh does not realize that what he sees with his eyes is vanishing. Engrossed in Maya (the principle of relativity and duality) and intoxicated with the pleasures of his wealth, he is like the moth that sees fire with its eyes, but it still becomes entangled and burnt. The Gurbani urges us to become the Gurmukhs, and use the eyes to see God's wondrous Play and see Him ever-present everywhere in this Play. If we can do this, it will be as seeing without eyes. However, for this to happen, one needs the ointment of the Guru's Wisdom applied to his eyes. In nutshell, to be without eyes is to see the world the way Gur-Shabad does.

  • ਕਾਇਆ ਕੁਟੰਬੁ ਮੋਹੁ ਨ ਬੂਝੈ ॥ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਹੋਵੈ ਤ ਆਖੀ ਸੂਝੈ ॥: Kaaiaa kutumb moh na boojhai. Gurmukh hovai ta aakhee soojhai: One who is attached to his body and family, does not understand (the spiritual life). If he By becomes the Gurmukh, then he can see this with his eyes and understand (sggs 1045).
  • ਮਨਮੁਖ ਦੂਜੀ ਤਰਫ ਹੈ ਵੇਖਹੁ ਨਦਰਿ ਨਿਹਾਲਿ ॥: Manmukh doojee taraf hai vekhahu nadar nihaal: The self-willed manmukh is on the wrong side. You can see this with your own eyes (sggs 1279).
  • ਮੂਰਖੁ ਹੋਇ ਨ ਆਖੀ ਸੂਝੈ ॥ ਜਿਹਵਾ ਰਸੁ ਨਹੀ ਕਹਿਆ ਬੂਝੈ ॥ ਬਿਖੁ ਕਾ ਮਾਤਾ ਜਗ ਸਿਉ ਲੂਝੈ ॥੬॥: Moorakhu hoi n aakhee soojhai ..: That person is a fool who does not see (the All-pervading Lord...) with his eyes; whose tongue is devoid of the (Naam-) Ras (ਨਾਮ-ਰਸ, Taste of Naam...), and who does not understand (the Gurmat, Gurbani's Teaching...). Intoxicated with the poison (of Maya), he argues with the world ||6|| (sggs 414).
  • ਬੰਦੇ ਚਸਮ ਦੀਦੰ ਫਨਾਇ ॥: Bande chasam deedam fanaai: O human being, whatever you can see with your eyes, will perish (sggs 723).
  • ਨੈਨ ਦੇਖਿ ਪਤੰਗੁ ਉਰਝੈ ਪਸੁ ਨ ਦੇਖੈ ਆਗਿ ॥ ਕਾਲ ਫਾਸ ਨ ਮੁਗਧੁ ਚੇਤੈ ਕਨਿਕ ਕਾਮਿਨਿ ਲਾਗਿ ॥੨॥: Nain dekh patang urjhai pasu na dekhai aagi. Kaal phaas na mugadh chetai kanik kaamini laagi ||2||: The moth sees (fire, light of a lamp, etc.) with its eyes, but it still becomes entangled in it. Similarly, attached to gold and woman (ਧਨ-ਪਦਾਰਥ ਅਤੇ ਇਸਤ੍ਰੀ ਦੇ ਰਸਾਂ ਵਿਚ ਹੀ ਫਸਿਆ ਰਹਿਣਾ), the fool does not think of the noose of Death ||2|| (sggs 482).
  • ਲਪਟਿ ਰਹੇ ਮਾਇਆ ਰੰਗ ਮਾਤੇ ਲੋਚਨ ਕਛੂ ਨ ਸੂਝੀ ॥: Lapatt rahe Maya rang maate lochan kashhoo na soojhee: Engrossed in Maya, intoxicated with the pleasures of their wealth; their eyes see nothing else at all (sggs 672).
  • ਗੰਧਣ ਵੈਣ ਸੁਣਹਿ ਉਰਝਾਵਹਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਲੈਤ ਅਲਕਾਇਆ ॥ ਨਿੰਦ ਚਿੰਦ ਕਉ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਉਮਾਹਿਓ ਬੂਝੀ ਉਲਟਾਇਆ ॥੨॥ ਪਰ ਧਨ ਪਰ ਤਨ ਪਰ ਤੀ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਅਖਾਧਿ ਖਾਹਿ ਹਰਕਾਇਆ ॥: Gandhan vain sunahi ourajhaavahi naam lait alakaaeiaa. Nind chindhkaou bahut oumaahio boojhee oulataaiaa ||2|| Par dhan par tan par tee nindaa akhaadh khaahi harkaaiaa: (O foolish man) listening to the evil talk, you are caught up in it, but you are hesitant to chant the Naam, the Name of the Lord. You are delighted by slanderous talk; your understanding is corrupt. ||2|| You (steal) others’ wealth; You (covet) others’ wives; you slander others; and you eat the uneatable (ਤੂੰ ਹਲਕਾਇਆ ਹੋਇਆ ਪਿਆ ਹੈਂ ਤੇ ਉਹੀ ਖਾਂਦਾ ਹੈਂ ਜੋ ਤੈਨੂੰ ਨਹੀਂ ਖਾਣੀਆਂ ਚਾਹੀਦੀਆਂ), you have gone crazy (sggs 402).
  • ਨੈਨਹੁ ਪੇਖੁ ਠਾਕੁਰ ਕਾ ਰੰਗੁ ॥: Nainahu pekh thaakur kaa rang: With your eyes, see the God's wondrous play (the play of the world, Leelaa, ਜਗਤ-ਲੀਲਾ, etc.) (sggs 281).
  • ਤੁਝ ਬਿਨੁ ਅਵਰੁ ਨ ਕੋਇ ਨਦਰਿ ਨਿਹਾਰਿਆ ॥: Tujh bin avar na koi nadar nihaariaa: Without You, my eyes see no other at all (sggs 398).
  • ਗਿਆਨ ਮਹਾ ਰਸੁ ਨੇਤ੍ਰੀ ਅੰਜਨੁ ਤ੍ਰਿਭਵਣ ਰੂਪੁ ਦਿਖਾਇਆ ॥: Giaan mahaa ras netree anjan tribhavan roop dikhaaiaa: Applying the ointment, the supreme essence, of divine wisdom to my eyes, I see the Lord's form throughout the three worlds (sggs 764).
  • ਸਤਗੁਰੁ ਮਿਲੈ ਤ ਆਖੀ ਸੂਝੈ ॥: Satgur milai ta aakhee soojhai: If one meets the Satguru, then one sees with his eyes (sggs 935).

Usually, the majority of us end up using our ears to hear slander (ਪਰ ਤੀ ਨਿੰਦਾ - Nindaa), gossip, evil talks, cheap music, infamy or reproach (ਪਰ ਅਪਬਾਦ) and so on. Instead, we are asked by the Gurbani to hear the words of goodness (Shubh Bachan), the Praises of the Lord (Hari Jass or Hri Gun), Shabad-Naam-Bani, Ambrosial Sermons (Kathaa). This is the state of "He Himself hears, and He Himself sees". In other words, this is the state when an individual light merges into the Infinite Light.

  • ਪਰ ਧਨ ਪਰ ਤਨ ਪਰ ਤੀ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਪਰ ਅਪਬਾਦੁ ਨ ਛੂਟੈ ॥ ਆਵਾ ਗਵਨੁ ਹੋਤੁ ਹੈ ਫੁਨਿ ਫੁਨਿ ਇਹੁ ਪਰਸੰਗੁ ਨ ਤੂਟੈ ॥: Par dhann par tann par tee nindaa par apabaad na shootai. Aavaa gavan hotu hai fun fun ihu parasang na tootai: Others' wealth, others' bodies, others' wives, others' slander and others' infamy or reproach - (these Bikaars) do not go away. For the sake of these, repeated coming and going (birth and death) happens, and this story never ends (sggs 971).
  • ਕਾਲੁ ਜਾਲੁ ਜਿਹਵਾ ਅਰੁ ਨੈਣੀ ॥ ਕਾਨੀ ਕਾਲੁ ਸੁਣੈ ਬਿਖੁ ਬੈਣੀ ॥ ਬਿਨੁ ਸਬਦੈ ਮੂਠੇ ਦਿਨੁ ਰੈਣੀ ॥: Kaal jaal jihavaa aru naianee. Kaanee kaal sunai bikh bainee. Bin shabade moothe din rainee: Through tongue (slandering others), through eyes (seeing other women etc.), and hearing talk of evil through ears, the trap of death (Aatamic Maut) hangs over heads (of Jeevas). Without the Shabad, they are plundered, day and night (sggs 227).

Walk Without Feet And Work Without Hands: To walk without feet is not to walk in the wrong path, and work without hands is not to use hands in doing wrong things such as hurting others, stealing etc. Instead, the Gurbani demands that we should use our feet to walk in the Way of the Lord, and use our hands to do the Work of the Guru-God, Kirat Kamaaee (earning truthful living), and so on.

  • ਚਰਨ ਚਲਉ ਮਾਰਗਿ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ॥: Charan chalo maarag gobind: With your feet, walk on the God's Path (sggs 281).
  • ਚਰਨ ਪੁਨੀਤ ਪਵਿਤ੍ਰ ਚਾਲਹਿ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਪਥਾ ॥: Charan puneet pavitr chaalahi prabh pathaa: Those feet which walk on God's Path are pure and holy (sggs 709).
  • ਪੈਰੀ ਮਾਰਗਿ ਗੁਰ ਚਲਦਾ ਪਖਾ ਫੇਰੀ ਹਥਾ ॥: Pairee maarag gur chalahaa pakhaa feree hathaa: With my feet I walk on the Guru's Path; with my hands, I wave the fan over Him (sggs 1101).
  • ਕਰ ਕਰਿ ਟਹਲ ਰਸਨਾ ਗੁਣ ਗਾਵਉ ॥: Kar kar tahal rasanaa gun gaavo: With my hands I do His work; with my tongue I sing His Glorious Praises (sggs 189).
  • ਹਾਥ ਪਾਉ ਕਰਿ ਕਾਮੁ ਸਭੁ ਚੀਤੁ ਨਿਰੰਜਨ ਨਾਲਿ ॥੨੧੩॥: Haath paaou kari kaamu sabhu cheetu niranjan naali (sggs 1376).

Speak Without a Tongue: It's through speech that we hear and come to understand the Truth; and again it's through speech that we convey the same Truth to others. To speak without tongue is not to speak untruth, words of deception and insipidness; and also not to indulge tongue in tasting or speaking of relishes. Instead the Gurbani asks us to use speech to speak of the Lord or Truth.

  • ਤਿਸੁ ਬਲਿਹਾਰੀ ਜਿਨਿ ਰਸਨਾ ਭਣਿਆ ॥: Tis balihaaree jin rasanaa bhaniaa: I am a sacrifice to those whose tongues speak of You (sggs 102).
  • ਤਨੁ ਸਚਾ ਰਸਨਾ ਸਚਿ ਰਾਤੀ ਸਚੁ ਸੁਣਿ ਆਖਿ ਵਖਾਨਣਿਆ ॥: Tanu sachaa rasanaa sach raatee sach sun aakh vakhaananiaa: True are the bodies of those whose tongues are attuned to Truth. They hear the Truth, and speak it with their mouths (sggs 119).
  • ਅੰਤਰਿ ਕਪਟੁ ਮਨਮੁਖ ਅਗਿਆਨੀ ਰਸਨਾ ਝੂਠੁ ਬੋਲਾਇ ॥: Antar kapat manmukh agiaanee rasanaa jhooth bolaai: Within the ignorant self-willed manmukh is deception; with his tongue, he speaks lies (sggs 512).
  • ਰਸਨਾ ਫਿਕਾ ਬੋਲਣਾ ਨਿਤ ਨਿਤ ਹੋਇ ਖੁਆਰੁ ॥: Rasanaa fikaa bolanaa nit nit hoi khuaar: Who speaks insipid words with his tongue, is ruined, again and again (sggs 594).
  • ਰਸਨਾ ਰਮਤ ਸੁਨਤ ਸੁਖੁ ਸ੍ਰਵਨਾ ਚਿਤ ਚੇਤੇ ਸੁਖੁ ਹੋਈ ॥ ਕਹੁ ਭੀਖਨ ਦੁਇ ਨੈਨ ਸੰਤੋਖੇ ਜਹ ਦੇਖਾਂ ਤਹ ਸੋਈ ॥: Rasanaa ramat sunat sukh sravanaa chit chete sukh hoee. Kahu bheekhan dui nain santhokhe jah dekhaan tah soee: The tongue finds peace and comfort by Naam-Simran, the ears find peace and comfort by listening, and the mind finds peace and comfort by contemplating. Says Bheekhan, my eyes are ontent (by this Naam-Simran); wherever I look, there I see the Lord (sggs 659).
  • ਅਨ ਰਸ ਰਾਤੀ ਰਸਨਾ ਫੀਕੀ ਬੋਲੇ ਹਰਿ ਰਸੁ ਮੂਲਿ ਨ ਤਾਹਾ ਹੇ ॥: Ann ras raatee rasanaa feekee bole har ras mool na taahaa hey: Those who are imbued with the taste of another (i.e., Maya), their tongues speak tasteless, insipid words. They never taste the sublime essence of the Lord's Name (sggs 1058).

Clearly, here the intent of the Gurbani is not to suggest us to violently suppress our senses, and not use them at all. To the contrary, the Gurbani wants us to use them to their fullness, but in the way the Gur-Shabad does — in becoming Jeevanmukta, God-conscious or transforming ourselves from the Manmukh lifestyle to that of the Gurmukh. The factors that can help us in this quest is diligent study of the Gurbani (Vichaar), selfless service and universal love, Naam-Simran (meditation, Jap etc.), adherence to truthfulness, patience, control of the senses, control of desires, humility, and so on.

  • ਦਿਸੈ ਸੁਣੀਐ ਜਾਣੀਐ ਸਾਉ ਨ ਪਾਇਆ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਰੁਹਲਾ ਟੁੰਡਾ ਅੰਧੁਲਾ ਕਿਉ ਗਲਿ ਲਗੈ ਧਾਇ ॥ ਭੈ ਕੇ ਚਰਣ ਕਰ ਭਾਵ ਕੇ ਲੋਇਣ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਕਰੇਇ ॥ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਕਹੈ ਸਿਆਣੀਏ ਇਵ ਕੰਤ ਮਿਲਾਵਾ ਹੋਇ ॥੨॥: dhisai suneeai jaaneeai saao n paaeiaa jaae ||ruhalaa ttunddaa andhhulaa kio gal lagai dhhaae ||bhai kae charan kar bhaav kae loein surath karaee ||naanak kehai siaaneeeae eiv kanth milaavaa hoe ||2||: (In His entire Creation) God is seen, heard and known, but (still) His subtle essence is not experienced. (Why is it so? It's because) to realize Him, we don't have feet, arms and eyes. Let the Fear (respect, etc.) of God be your feet, and let His Love be your hands; let His Understanding be your eyes. Says Nanak, in this way, O wise Soul-bride, you will be united with your Husband Lord. ||2|| ((sggs 139).

— T. Singh
www.gurbani.org