UNITY OF WIFE AND HUSBAND'S SOUL

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).
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Unity between wife and husband's soul (or Heart) provides constancy, faithfulness, dependability, reliability, loyalty, fidelity, firmness, true love, companionship or friendship, strength to endure, and resistance to disintegration of the entire family. Thus it provides stability for the entire family. Why? Because when there is such oneness and harmony in life, it makes true humanness in us shines forth. Guru Amar Daas Jee in Raag Soohee highlights this Unity as follows:

  • ਧਨ ਪਿਰੁ ਏਹਿ ਨ ਆਖੀਅਨਿ ਬਹਨਿ ਇਕਠੇ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਏਕ ਜੋਤਿ ਦੁਇ ਮੂਰਤੀ ਧਨ ਪਿਰੁ ਕਹੀਐ ਸੋਇ ॥: Dhan pir ayhi na aakheean bahan ikthay hoyi. Ek 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).

The eyes are two but the vision is one! The SGGS wants wife and husband to become one. But the question is, which one? The wife expects the husband to change and become like her and the husband wants his wife to change and become like him. This is not the kind of oneness the Gurbani is talking about here. Also, in life, generally husband is found begging his wife's love and attention and wife begging for her husband's love and attention. There is no sense in so becoming two beggars either.

Also, the Message of the SGGS is meant equally for both - wife and husband. Therefore, for the wife to assume this Teaching of the SGGS to be only meant for her husband or for the husband to assume it to be only meant for his wife would be a fallacy, thus a travesty of truth.

In the Sikh thought, man and woman do not enter into matrimony for bestial reasons, but rather for inner growth or spiritual advancement. Hence, in the Sikh thought marriage based on true Unity of the Hearts of both wife and husband is considered by the SGGS an essential part of their marriage. With the example of a worldly marriage performed on a material plane between a man and a woman, the Gurbani (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, SGGS explains in the four "Laavaan" (sggs 773-774) as to how one 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 Pada).

In view of that, the SGGS states, "Bride and groom are not they who pose as one whole; bride and groom are they who are two bodies with one soul." In other words, wife and husband are not those who just pose together, and then hang those portraits on walls; keep them in the photo-albums, wallets or publish them in the media etc. The SGGS wants us to transcend this superficiality. Not easy at all. Very "rare" ones chose to walk on a razor's edge!

But what other choice there is? If wife and husband fail to become "one soul", the consequences could lead to a devastating instability of the entire family — divorce, separation, broken family, arguments, litigation, violence, suicide and even murders. On account of the foolishness and selfishness of adults, children suffer the most. The SGGS says that when we look upon the other person as part of us, all the differences disappear. This is the High Road, of course many are unwilling to take.

  • 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).

Differences or lack of oneness rise on account of the negative tendencies such as lust, anger, greed, attachment, pride and their numerous variations like selfishness (the feeling of "mine, mine"), enviousness, stubborn mindedness, judgmental behavior etc., which leads to resentment, conflicts, tension and disharmony. In the selfish world, generally love lasts so long one is healthy and keeps bringing in the paycheck (i.e., income). For some reason (e.g., illness, misfortune, etc.), the day the paycheck stops, love also disappear as horns from the head of a donkey!

Married life, if lived with selflessness and proper understanding, will help in realizing the goal of the SGGS of becoming "one soul". There is no chance without the selfless attitude. The SGGS states, "ਆਪੇ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਆਪੇ ਹੀ ਨਾਰੀ" (Aape purakh aape hee naaree: You Yourself are the male, and You Yourself are the female, sggs 1020). That means in the inner depth of every woman there is a man, and there is a woman in the inner depths of every man. Generally, men are mostly intellectually centered and women are emotionally centered. The gap between these two centers can be narrowed or closed by balancing the complementary powers of the feminine and masculine qualities within. In nutshell, the false "I" (false ego-sense or Haume) needs to vanish; for the feeling of "I" or "mine, mine" obstructs any possibility of inner growth and unification of Hearts. Balancing of the complementary powers and qualities, mutual respect, cooperation, and spiritual living lead to perfection in life.

Apparently, the Mahaatmaans and their timeless Teachings urge us not to look for a perfect partner (wife or husband) in life, but to become one! Thus, if both partners genuinely strive to become the perfect partner they are looking for, the goal is accomplished. To create a clapping sound, cooperation from both the hands is needed - no clapping sound is made with one hand alone. One hand alone can slap but not clap! However, generally what happens is that one partner wants the other partner to change, but not him or herself. For a cart to move forward smoothly, all wheels need to move in harmony. Otherwise the ride will become bumpy, uncomfortable, unpleasant, and sometime even impossible.

If mankind as a whole wants to bring harmony, prosperity and peace to the world, then, as indicated in the SGGS, the man and woman needs to walk together on the path of replacing "two-ness" with oneness in life. For this to happen, both will need to live fully in his or her own unique nature or respective realm in uplifting and positive spiritual vibration. In other words, to realize the inner growth suggested by the SGGS, wife and husband need conducting virtuously, respecting each other's sentiments; avoiding areas of conflict; ruthlessly shunning all their differences (duality); and treating each other with honor, dignity, selfless love, mutual respect, determination and courage. If both the man and the woman are crazy, then both forget their Soul-Nature ("Joti-Svaroopa"), and thus get drown in the shoreless ocean of the worldliness or selfishness. But if one of them is endowed with some Divine qualities, he or she may pull the other toward the Higher Purpose of life (Self-Realization).

To this end, the SGGS guides us to share in virtues of others, not their faults or shortcomings - to look for only Good in others. The reason is this: we are not here to deal with faults or weaknesses of others, but our own. Negative thinking does no good to anybody. Since we are here to deal with only virtues or Good, we are asked by the SGGS to shun negative conduct and mental habit patterns. For only divine virtues or Good can be conducive to the oneness or divine Life (Gurmukhtaa). Accordingly, the SGGS time and again urges us to leave behind our faults and be imbibed 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).
  • ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਤਬ ਹੀ ਮਨ ਛੁਟੀਐ ਜਉ ਸਗਲੇ ਅਉਗਨ ਮੇਟਿ ਧਰਹਾ ॥: Kahu Nanak tab hee mann shuteeai jo sagale aougan meti dharahaa (sggs 1203).

— T. Singh
www.gurbani.org