GURBANI, THE DUALITY-BREAKER

Duality and evil-mindedness are
destroyed through the Shabad (sggs 1051).
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Duality — Doojaa Bhaav, Doojaa Bharam, or Dubidhaa, etc. — is the principle of plurality, relativism, two-ness, the notion of 'I, you, me', ਦੁਚਿੱਤਾ, etc. As such, it gives rise to divisions, friction, separateness, and so on. It's the ignorance of the Haume mind (ego-mind), thus a fiction, a non-reality, mirage, Bharam (doubts), illusion (Maya) or deception (ਛੱਲ).

The Webster's Dictionary defines the dualism (Dvait) as "a theory that considers reality to consist of two irreducible elements or modes...the quality or state of being dual or of having a dual nature ...a doctrine that the universe is under the dominion of two opposing principles one of which is good and the other evil ." The pluralism is defined as " a theory that there are more than one or more than two kinds of ultimate reality b: a theory that reality is composed of a plurality of entities." This is opposite of the monism (Advait), which is defined by the same as "a view that there is only one kind of ultimate substance...the view that reality is one unitary organic whole with no independent parts."

These are subtle differences, which may not seem to relate to our daily religious experience. As a result, we may be likely, prone or willing to dismiss these subtle distinctions as of concern only to religious Teachers, theologians, philosophers, etc. However, these subtle distinctions are the very crux of religion, therefore, cannot be considered or regarded as unimportant and thus cannot be dismissed as of concern only to Gurus, philosophers, and theologians. To be able to appreciate as to why the Gurbani urges us to break the notion of duality, it's essential to appreciate these subtle distinctions. Second, if we do not understand these subtle distinctions, then we put ourselves to be cheated, fooled and misled by the religious con-artists. And we essentially become imprisoned in Maya (illusion), bondage of false beliefs, lies, and deceptions.

The Gur-Shabad, Gurbani or Bani contains the infinite Divine Wisdom (Gurmat). According to the Gurbani, there is only One Reality everywhere. There is no second. What it means is that it's only the concoction of the conditioned or deluded (Haume) mind that sees second where there is none.

The SGGS (Sri Guru Granth Sahib) Teaches us about the One, Formless, Absolute Reality [Ik Oankar.. Ajoonee Saibhang..(sggs1)]. This is monism in its purest form. Theism is very compatible with our Haume mind (ego-mind); for the Haume mind is duality itself! Monism, on the other hand, is beyond the mind itself. In other words, the Mool within (Source, Origin, Jot...) being of the nature of Timeless, Formless, and Spaceless (monism) cannot be conceived by the Haume mind. This is the reason, time and again, the All-pervading Eternal Essence in the SGGS is indicated to be Transcendent or Unmanifest (Niraguna), Undying (Akaal), Unborn (Ajoonee), Changeless (Nihachall), Formless (Nirankaar), Inaccessible (Agmaa), Unreachable or Unapproachable (Agamm), Unrivaled or Incomparable (Apaaraa), Incomprehensible (Agochar), Invisible (Alakh ), Inscrutable (Abhevaa), Infinite (Beant), Unfathomable (Athaahaa or Agaadh or Agaah), Immaculate (Niranjan), etc.

  • ਅਕਲ ਕਲਾ ਨਹ ਪਾਈਐ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਅਲਖ ਅਲੇਖੰ ॥: Akal kalaa nah paaeeai prabh alakh alekham: God is not found by intellectual or clever devices; He is Unseeable and Incalculable (sggs 1098).
  • ਪਰਮ ਤੰਤ ਮਹਿ ਰੇਖ ਨ ਰੂਪੁ ॥: Param tant mahi rekh na roop: The Supreme Essence of the Reality has no shape or form (sggs 952).

In short, duality implies ignorance or identification with the body-consciousness. Created by the Haume mind (ego-mind), duality is the characteristic or function of the Haume mind: the subject-object relationship (two-ness based on time-bound relationship). When thoughts (Phurne) arise or when the Haume mind wanders around, it means duality (or Haume) or Maya (the law of opposites or the dualistic principle of delusion) and her triple qualities of Raajas,Taamas, and Saatav are present. Duality is not the Reality. The non-dual Reality is One and alone. Also, God is not a dominator or dictator. He does not want to enslave us. As time and again indicated in the SGGS, we are Him and He is us.

  • 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).

As soon as our mind brings in the second (Doojaa), it creates subject-object relationship: duality (two-ness, division, the notion of "he and me", "You and I", and so on). Now perhaps we can appreciate why the Gurbani urges us not to adopt Dehadhaaree (embodied) Gurus; not to worship or serve images, idols, symbols; etc. For they all create duality. Simply put, serving Dehadhaaree Gurus, worship of Idols or symbols, etc., falsifies the Timeless Truth. So the Gurbani does not support them.

These are forms of slavery, a subtle slavery. It's so because by becoming an idolatrous one surrenders his thought, reason or Bibek Budhi to Idols, symbols, etc. As a result, they end up acting as deterrent to the individual's Inner Growth. On account of this deterrent, it's not possible for an individual to Grow freely. The Gurbani does not create enslavement or imprisonment of anybody. For it is the liberator for the whole of humanity. So the SGGS suggests here that there is no need to be slave or prisoner of all these, instead, we are urged to find our own Original Perfect state of life (Sahaj) or Joti-Svaroopa. This Pure Awareness of Truth carries its own Beauty, Freedom, Peace, Sanjam (inner discipline, etc.), intuitive Balance, and so on, like a shadow.

The Gurbani's Guru/God is Absolute (i.e., non-dual...). To say it otherwise, ego or Haume consciousness is limited by the threefold relativity of time — past, present, and future. However, Divine, Infinite, or Eternal Consciousness (Joti-Svaroopa, Mool... ) is Timeless and Changeless: the ever present (Haajraa Hajoor). As we can see from the following verses (and many more in the SGGS), the Gurbani is very clear and consistent on this. The SGGS urges us to become the Gurmukh (the Mool-realized being). For the Gurmukh's only Insignia is to ever remain attuned to the Shabad-Surti (Pure Consciousness...) within.

  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਮਹਲੀ ਮਹਲੁ ਪਛਾਨੁ ॥ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਸਬਦੁ ਨੀਸਾਨੁ ॥: Gurmukh mahalee mahal pachhaan. Gurmukh Surti Sabad neesaan: The Gurmukh (God-centered) realizes the Mansion of the Lord’s Presence (i.e., he realizes the Pure Consciousness, within). The Gurmukh is attuned to the Shabad-Surti, as his Insignia (sggs 414).
  • ਅਵਰੁ ਦੂਜਾ ਕਿਉ ਸੇਵੀਐ ਜੰਮੈ ਤੈ ਮਰਿ ਜਾਇ ॥: Avar doojaa kiou seveeai janmai tai mar jaai: Why serve another who is born, and then dies? (sggs 509).
  • ਬੁਤ ਪੂਜਿ ਪੂਜਿ ਹਿੰਦੂ ਮੂਏ ਤੁਰਕ ਮੂਏ ਸਿਰੁ ਨਾ ਈ ॥ ..: Butt pooj pooj hindu mooe turak mooe sir naaee...: Worshipping their idols, the Hindus die; the Muslims die bowing their heads. The Hindus cremate their dead, while the Muslims bury theirs; neither finds Your true state, Lord. O mind, the world is a deep, dark pit (of ignorance) (sggs 654).
  • ਅਲਖ ਰੂਪ ਅਛੈ ਅਨਭੇਖਾ ॥ ਰਾਗ ਰੰਗ ਜਿਹ ਰੂਪ ਨ ਰੇਖਾ ॥ ਬਰਨ ਚਿਹਨ ਸਭਹੂੰ ਤੇ ਨਿਆਰਾ ॥ ਆਦਿ ਪੁਰਖ ਅਦ੍ਵੈ ਅਬਿਕਾਰਾ ॥: Alakh roop ashhai anabhekhaa...: (God's) Form is Invisible, Imperishable and without a Distinctive costume. He is without attachment, without color, without complexion and without outline. He is not associated with the caste and symbols. He is the Primal Being, Unequalled and Changeless (Guru Gobind Singh, Dasam Granth 29).
  • ਕਾਹੂ ਲੈ ਪਾਹਨ ਪੂਜ ਧਰਯੋ ਸਿਰ ਕਾਹੂ ਲੈ ਲਿੰਗ ਗਰੇ ਲਟਕਾਇਓ ॥ ਕਾਹੂ ਲਖਿਓ ਹਰਿ ਅਵਾਚੀ ਦਿਸਾ ਮਹਿ ਕਾਹੂ ਪਛਾਹ ਕੋ ਸੀਸੁ ਨਿਵਾਇਓ ॥ ਕੋਊ ਬੁਤਾਨ ਕੋ ਪੂਜਤ ਹੈ ਪਸੁ ਕੋਊ ਮ੍ਰਿਤਾਨ ਕੋ ਪੂਜਨ ਧਾਇਓ ॥ ਕੂਰ ਕ੍ਰਿਆ ਉਰਝਿਓ ਸਭ ਹੀ ਜਗ ਸ੍ਰੀ ਭਗਵਾਨ ਕੋ ਭੇਦੁ ਨ ਪਾਇਓ ॥: Kaahoo lai paahan pooj dharayo sir kaahoo lai ling gare lattakaaiou...: Some worship idols by putting those on their heads; some dangle lingam (Phallic symbol of Shiva) from their necks. Some believe Hari (God) to be stationed south direction others prostrate to the west, (Considering Allah's presence there). Many fools worship images in the temples whereas others dash to worship graves or cemeteries. All human beings in the world are entangled in false and ungodly ceremonies and none has found God's secret (Guru Gobind Singh, Dasam Granth 37 ).

Since the source of the duality is our Haume (false ego-sense) or Mayaic consciousness, the Gurbani urges us to root it out. As a matter of fact, the relative terms of monism and dualism are also based on the same relativism or duality! In the Absolute (non-dual) Truth there is no monism and dualism. The SGGS also indicates God to be ever present within, and that God is not going to come from the outside and someday enter our body! In that sense, man is indicated to be the embodiment of the Divine Light (Joti-Svaroopa... ).

  • ਇਉ ਕਹੈ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਮਨ ਤੂੰ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਰੂਪੁ ਹੈ ਅਪਣਾ ਮੂਲੁ ਪਛਾਣੁ ॥੫॥: Iou kahai Nanaku man toon joti saroopu hai apanaa moolu pashaanu ||5||: Thus says Nanak - O mind! Your "Saroop" (your own, True State) is "Joti" (Divine Light)! Recognize your Mool (Source, Origin, Reality...) ||5|| (sggs 441).
  • ਗੁਰੁ ਪਰਮੇਸਰੁ ਏਕੁ ਹੈ ਸਭ ਮਹਿ ਰਹਿਆ ਸਮਾਇ ॥: Gur purmesur ek hai sabh mahi rahiaa samaai: The Guru and Transcendent God are one and the same, pervading and permeating amongst all (sggs 53).

Unless duality of the conditioned mind is broken or destroyed (eradicated, removed, etc.), it cannot experience or realize the non-dual Truth. We can speculate or philosophize as much we want, but, as indicated by the SGGS, that's the bottom line.

  • ਨਾਨਕ ਸਚ ਘਰੁ ਸਬਦਿ ਸਿਞਾਪੈ ਦੁਬਿਧਾ ਮਹਲੁ ਕਿ ਜਾਣੈ ॥: Nanak sach ghar sabad sinjaapai dubidhaa mahal ki jaanai: O Nanak, the home of the Truth is attained through the Shabad. How can the Mansion of His Presence be known through duality? (sggs 243).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਵਿਚਿ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਕੋਇ ਨ ਪਾਏ ॥: Houmai vich prabh koi na paaye: No one finds God through egotism (sggs 664).

In other words, adding more false to the life will not make it less illusory. Hunting Haume consciousness requires awareness of the false (Asat or Koorh) in our life. The ending of Haume is a vertical jump, while all mentation is horizontal. Our duality avoids the Real. Now the question is: how does this characteristic of Haume arises in us in the first place? We have one mind. Either we can attach it to the Truth (by becoming a Gurmukh) or to falsehood (Manmukhtaa). On account of duality, we are generally both.

  • ਦੂਜੀ ਮਾਇਆ ਜਗਤ ਚਿਤ ਵਾਸੁ ॥: Doojee maya jagat chit vaas: The duality of Maya dwells in the consciousness of the people of this material world (sggs 223).
  • ਮੂਰਖ ਦੁਬਿਧਾ ਪੜ੍ਹਹਿ ਮੂਲੁ ਨ ਪਛਾਣਹਿ ਬਿਰਥਾ ਜਨਮੁ ਗਵਾਇਆ ॥: Moorakh dhubidhaa parrhahi Mool n pashhaanahi birathaa janamu gavaaiaa: Fools read in duality, (as a result, they) do not recognize their Mool (Jot...); (thus, they) waste their lives uselessly. (sggs 1133).

According to the SGGS, if we do not savor the taste of the Shabad-Surti, we will be attached to the love of duality. Here are a few verses (and many more in the SGGS) that provide us instructions to deal with our conditioned consciousness (Mayaic Budhi).

  • ਸਬਦਿ ਲਗੇ ਤਿਨ ਬੁਝਿਆ ਦੂਜੈ ਪਰਜ ਵਿਗੋਈ ॥: Sabad lage tin bujhiaa doojai paraj vigoee: Those who are attached to the Shabad understand; duality has ruined the people (sggs 559).
  • ਸਬਦੈ ਸਾਦੁ ਨ ਆਇਓ ਲਾਗੇ ਦੂਜੈ ਭਾਇ ॥: Sabadai saad na aaiou laage doojai bhaai: They do not savor the Taste of the Shabad; they are attached to the love of duality (sggs 28).
  • ਬਿਨੁ ਸਬਦੈ ਸਭਿ ਦੂਜੈ ਲਾਗੇ ਦੇਖਹੁ ਰਿਦੈ ਬੀਚਾਰਿ ॥: Bin sabadai sabh doojai laage dekhahu ridai beechaar: Without the Shabad, all are attached to duality. Contemplate this in your heart and see (sggs 942).
  • ਬਿਨੁ ਸਬਦੈ ਭਰਮਾਈਐ ਦੁਬਿਧਾ ਡੋਬੇ ਪੂਰੁ ॥: Bin sabadai bharamaaeeai dubidhaa dobe poor: Without the Shabad, one wanders around. His family (all faculties of knowledge) are drowned (sggs 19).
  • ਦੂਜੀ ਦੁਰਮਤਿ ਸਬਦੇ ਖੋਈ ॥: Doojee duramat sabade khoee: Duality and evil-mindedness are destroyed through the Shabad (sggs 1051).
  • ਅਉਗੁਣ ਸਬਦਿ ਜਲਾਏ ਦੂਜਾ ਭਾਉ ਗਵਾਏ ਸਚੇ ਹੀ ਸਚਿ ਰਾਤੀ ॥: Aougun sabad jalaaye doojaa bhaaou gavaaye sache hee sach raatee: Burning away her demerits through the Shabad, the soul-bride eradicates her love of duality, and remains absorbed in the Eternal Truth (sggs 583).
  • ਅਨਦਿਨੁ ਭਗਤਿ ਕਰਹਿ ਦਿਨ ਰਾਤੀ ਦੁਬਿਧਾ ਸਬਦੇ ਖੋਈ ॥: Anadhin bhagat karahi din raatee dubidhaa sabade khoee: Night and day and everyday, who practices Bhagti (devotion), through the Shabad, their duality gets eradicated (sggs 1133).
  • ਬਹੁ ਬਿਧਿ ਕਰਮ ਕਰਹਿ ਭਾਇ ਦੂਜੈ ਬਿਨੁ ਸਬਦੈ ਬਉਰਾਨਿਆ ॥: Bahu bidh karam karahi bhaai doojai bin sabadai bouraaniaa: In duality, those who do deeds in all sorts of ways; without the Shabad they are insane (sggs 1234).
  • ਸਚੀ ਬਾਣੀ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਆਖੈ ਹਉਮੈ ਵਿਚਹੁ ਜਾਏ ॥: Sachee baanee gurmukh aakhai houmai vichahu jaaye: As the Gurmukh who utters the True Gurbani, his egotism departs from within (sggs 753).
  • ਨਾਨਕ ਮਨਮੁਖਿ ਬੰਧੁ ਹੈ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਕਰਾਏ ॥੪॥੩॥: Nanak manmukh bandh hai gurmukh mukati karaae ||4||3||: O Nanak, the Manmukhs remain in bondage (with hopes, desires, etc.); the Gurmukhs are liberated (From these) ||4||3|| (sggs 559)..

The Gur-Shabad, Gurbani, Bani or Gurmat is the duality-breaker. It not only tells us what the duality is but also how to break it.

Thus, the recognition of duality extends beyond the limits of the Haume regime ((false ego-sense or conditioned existence). As clearly indicated by the SGGS, we can know the non-dual Truth only when we are completely free of Haume. With Haume up and active, all our doings will be in duality. Conditioning is based on the Phurne (Mayaic thoughts and notions or sensual and psychological experiences). But the Truth (Joti-Svaroopa, Mool) is beyond such experiences. The SGGS indicates that with the departure of the mind's conditioning, only the Pure Consciousness remains (Joti-Svaroopa, Mool).

  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਨਿਰੰਜਨ ਪਾਏ ॥ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਹਉਮੈ ਸਬਦਿ ਜਲਾਏ ॥: Gurmukhi Naam Niranjan paae. Gurmukhi haumain sabadi jalaae: By becoming the Gurmukh, one obtains the Name of the Immaculate Lord. The Gurmukh burns ego through the Shabad (sggs 942).

— T. Singh
www.gurbani.org