FARMING THE BODY-FIELD

Whatever one plants in the farm of the body,
that will appear before him (ਪਰਗਟ) in the end (sggs 1417).
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To make us understand the sublime Truth, the SGGS (Sri Guru Granth Sahib) here uses the example (ਮਿਸਾਲ - Misaal) of the farmer (Kisaan or Kirsaan - the farmer).

  • ਖੇਤਿ ਸਰੀਰਿ ਜੋ ਬੀਜੀਐ ਸੋ ਅੰਤਿ ਖਲੋਆ ਆਇ ॥: Khet sareer jo beejeeai so ant khaloaa aai: Whatever one plants in the farm of the body, that will appear before him (ਪਰਗਟ) in the end (sggs 1417).

One of the common reminders in the Gur-Shabad is the evanescence of human life. Human birth is indicated to be a rare opportunity intended for realizing our Mool within (Source, Origin Jot, ਅਸਲਾ...), and thereby putting an end to the vicious cycle of the repeated suffering.

However, the majority of us (over 99.9 percent category) lose sight of this objective amidst pressures of the day-to-day life and eventually wake up to the fact only in old age when the bodily faculties fail to cooperate because of their infirmities. The Gurbani captures the human predicament graphically. That is, a good portion the life is spent in sleeping, eating, etc. The remainder of the life fritters away in childhood, disease, hunger, old age, work, and so on. Obviously, we have a little time at our disposal to earn the Laahaa of Realizing our Mool! Accordingly, the Gur-Shabad stresses the necessity to plunge headlong into Spiritual pursuit with the determination not to waste any time in furthering the goal of linking with our Source (Joti-Svaroopa, Mool... ) within.

  • ਰੈਣਿ ਗਵਾਈ ਸੋਇ ਕੈ ਦਿਵਸੁ ਗਵਾਇਆ ਖਾਇ ॥: Raini gavaaee soe kai divas gavaaeiaa khaae: The nights are wasted sleeping, and the days are wasted eating (sggs 156).
  • ਲਾਹੇ ਕਾਰਣਿ ਆਇਆ ਜਗਿ ॥: Laahae kaaran aaeiaa jag: For the sake of earning the (Spiritual) Profit, the mortal comes into the world (sggs 931).

As time and again indicated in the SGGS, mere reading, mere listening or mere talking about the Truth will not do the trick to cure us from our psychological illness (Haume). All this has to be followed by full understanding. In turn, Understanding will have to be followed by Amal (ਅਮਲ, ਕਰਣੀ, ਆਚਰਨ - Amal, Karnee, Aacharn, implementation of good deeds, etc.). Of what good is reading, listening or talking without Understanding? And, of what good is Understanding without implementation -living it?

  • ਗਿਆਨੁ ਨ ਗਲੀਈ ਢੂਢੀਐ ਕਥਨਾ ਕਰੜਾ ਸਾਰੁ ॥: Giaan na galeeyee dhoodheeai kathanaa kararraa saar ||: Divine Wisdom / Divine Knowledge (Giaan) cannot be found through mere words; to explain it is as hard as iron (sggs 465).
  • ਗਲਂ​‍ੀ ਅਸੀ ਚੰਗੀਆ  ਆਚਾਰੀ ਬੁਰੀਆਹ ॥: Galleen asee changeeaa aachaaree bureeaah. Manahu kusudhaa kaaleeaa baahar chittaveeaah: 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).
  • ਗਲੀਂ ਜੇ ਸਹੁ ਪਾਈਐ ਤੋਤਾ ਕਿਉ ਫਾਸੈ ॥: Galeen je sahu paaeeai totaa kiou faasai: If mere chatter could help meet the beloved, why should a parrot remain encaged? (Vaar Bhai Gurdaas Ji).
  • ਗਲੀ ਤ੍ਰਿਪਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਵਈ ਖੰਡੁ ਖੰਡੁ ਕਰਿ ਸਾਉ ਨ ਭੋਵੈ ॥: Galee tripat na hovaee khand khand kar saaou na bhovai: But by mere talking, none gets satisfied, as by mere uttering word sugar one cannot have his mouth sweet (Vaar Bhai Gurdaas Ji).
  • ਗੰਨਾ ਕੋਲੂ ਪੀੜੀਐ ਟਟਰਿ ਪਇਆ ਮਿਠਾਸੁ ਵਧਾਏ ॥: Gannaa koloo peerreeai tatar paiaa mithaas vadhaae: Sugarcane is first crushed in crusher and then put on fire in a cauldron where it further increases its sweetness when baking soda is put into it (Vaar Bhai Gurdaas Ji).

To help us understand how to make the human life Sublime (Gurmukh Life), Gur-Shabad uses mystical representations, allegories, metaphors, similes, etc., explaining subtle truths expressed. Unless we become familiar with such poetic style it will be hard for us to properly perceive or appreciate what is being said and correctly judge its spiritual beauty. When the subtler Truth that has not been personally experienced, one cannot grasp it directly. However, with the help of allegories, metaphors and similes, the real nature of the Supreme Truth and this material world becomes relatively easier to grasp, provided their definite purpose and intention are kept in the mind. They have extensively been used in the SGGS with a definite purpose and intention. Hence such mystical presentations, allegories, metaphors and similes should neither be taken literally, nor their significance should be stretched beyond the Gurbani's intention and purpose. With this in mind, let us try reflecting on as to how the SGGS would like us to farm the field of life. In this context, consider the following Shabad by Baabaa Nanak, which uses the simile (ਮਿਸਾਲ - Misaal) of the farmer to make us understand.

  • ਸਿਰੀਰਾਗੁ ਮਹਲਾ ੧ ਘਰੁ ੩ ॥ ਅਮਲੁ ਕਰਿ ਧਰਤੀ ਬੀਜੁ ਸਬਦੋ ਕਰਿ ਸਚ ਕੀ ਆਬ ਨਿਤ ਦੇਹਿ ਪਾਣੀ ॥ ਹੋਇ ਕਿਰਸਾਣੁ ਈਮਾਨੁ ਜੰਮਾਇ ਲੈ ਭਿਸਤੁ ਦੋਜਕੁ ਮੂੜੇ ਏਵ ਜਾਣੀ ॥੧॥ ਮਤੁ ਜਾਣ ਸਹਿ ਗਲੀ ਪਾਇਆ ॥ ਮਾਲ ਕੈ ਮਾਣੈ ਰੂਪ ਕੀ ਸੋਭਾ ਇਤੁ ਬਿਧੀ ਜਨਮੁ ਗਵਾਇਆ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਐਬ ਤਨਿ ਚਿਕੜੋ ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਮੀਡਕੋ ਕਮਲ ਕੀ ਸਾਰ ਨਹੀ ਮੂਲਿ ਪਾਈ ॥ ਭਉਰੁ ਉਸਤਾਦੁ ਨਿਤ ਭਾਖਿਆ ਬੋਲੇ ਕਿਉ ਬੂਝੈ ਜਾ ਨਹ ਬੁਝਾਈ ॥੨॥ ਆਖਣੁ ਸੁਨਣਾ ਪਉਣ ਕੀ ਬਾਣੀ ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਰਤਾ ਮਾਇਆ ॥ ਖਸਮ ਕੀ ਨਦਰਿ ਦਿਲਹਿ ਪਸਿੰਦੇ ਜਿਨੀ ਕਰਿ ਏਕੁ ਧਿਆਇਆ ॥੩॥ ਤੀਹ ਕਰਿ ਰਖੇ ਪੰਜ ਕਰਿ ਸਾਥੀ ਨਾਉ ਸੈਤਾਨੁ ਮਤੁ ਕਟਿ ਜਾਈ ॥ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਆਖੈ ਰਾਹਿ ਪੈ ਚਲਣਾ ਮਾਲੁ ਧਨੁ ਕਿਤ ਕੂ ਸੰਜਿਆਹੀ ॥੪॥੨੭॥: Sireeraag Mahalaa 1 Ghar 3 || Amal kar dharatee beej sabado kar sach kee aab nit dehi paanee ...: Sireeraag Mahalaa 1 Ghar 3. Make Amal (implementation of good deeds, etc.) the earth (soil, farm, field, etc.), and let the Shabad be the seed; irrigate it continually with the water of Truth. Become such a farmer, and faith will sprout. This brings knowledge of heaven and hell, you fool! ||1|| Do not think that (your Mool-Source...) can be obtained by mere words. You are wasting this life in the pride of wealth and the splendor of beauty (i.e., indulgence in lust etc.). ||1||Pause|| (So long) there is the mud (of Bikaars: lust, anger, greed, etc.) in the body, and this mind is the frog (that dwells in that mud), (such) mind cannot appreciate the lotus (that grows in the mud) at all (the mind cannot understand God that dwells within). (The bubble comes and sit on the flower, but the mind-frog will not appreciate the flower even though it resides near it). The bumble bee (i.e., the Guru) is the teacher who continually teaches (engaging in Naam-Simran or meditation). But the (frog-mind) does not understand the Teaching, it does not have such understand. ||2|| This speaking and listening (of religious talks and texts) is like the song of the wind, for those whose minds are colored by the love of Maya. God's is bestowed upon those who meditate on Him alone. They are pleasing to His Heart. ||3|| (O Qazi) You observe the thirty fasts (Roza), and say the five prayers (Nimaz) each day, but 'Satan' can undo them (i.e., you do all this in hope that people by seeing you do this may consider you a good Muslim). Says Nanak, walk on (right) path of (life), so why do you bother to collect (ill-gotten) wealth and property? (stricken with lust, greed,... mere talking about God: this is the path of ruin) ||4||27||(sggs 24).

First of all, the above Shabad appears to have been addressed to a Qazi. Nonetheless, it applies to all of us: including Sikhs and non-Sikhs alike. Having said that, now let's try to digest this Gur-Shabad.

Those of us who have had the opportunity to visit and or live in the rural (farming family) areas of Punjab, and have seen farmers working in their fields (Khet) can rather easily relate to the foregoing Gur-Shabad.

Farmers prepare their fields before sowing the seed, and diligently take care of them after they are sown. Some of these activities may include: ploughing fields (ਹੱਲ), leveling them (ਸੁਹਾਗਾ), removing weeds from them (ਘਾ- ਫੂਸ), applying fertilizer (ਰੂੜੀ), planting the seed (ਬੀਜ) properly, watering (ਸੇਂਜਾ) appropriately, hoeing (ਗੋਡੀ) on time, and so on.

In addition, the farmer needs to sow the right seed. For example, if he plants Kikkar (acacia trees known for sharp and long thorns, not much shade, and no fruits), then he cannot expect grapes from it! Furthermore, he needs to do the plantation in the right season and climate, and then protect his fields from predators, etc. If he does not implement all these activities properly then he cannot expect to reap a good crop. Or worse, he may not reap any crop at all!

  • ਫਰੀਦਾ ਲੋੜੈ ਦਾਖ ਬਿਜਉਰੀਆਂ ਕਿਕਰਿ ਬੀਜੈ ਜਟੁ ॥ ਹੰਢੈ ਉਂਨ ਕਤਾਇਦਾ ਪੈਧਾ ਲੋੜੈ ਪਟੁ ॥੨੩॥: Freedaa lorhai daakh bijaureeaa kikkar beejai jattu ...: O Fareed! The farmer plants acacia trees (ਕਿਕਰਾਂ), and wishes for Bijouree grapes (ਬਿਜੌਰ ਦੇ ਇਲਾਕੇ ਦਾ ਛੋਟਾ ਅੰਗੂਰ)! He is spinning wool (all his life), but he wishes to wear silk! ||23|| (sggs 1379).
  • ਕਿਰਸਾਨੀ ਜਿਉ ਰਾਖੈ ਰਖਵਾਲਾ ॥: Kirasaanee jiou raakhai rakhavaalaa ...: As the farmer protects his fields ...(sggs 914).

The Gur-Shabad urges us to follow the farmer's diligent Karnee (ਕਰਣੀ-practice...). The life or body is likened to a field (Khet). In order to sow the seed of Naam in it, and make the life of Aatamic Jeevan (Spiritual, Divine Life, or Gurmukh Life), it has to be properly prepared and cared for.

  • ਕਿਰਸਾਣੀ ਕਿਰਸਾਣੁ ਕਰੇ ਲੋਚੈ ਜੀਉ ਲਾਇ ॥ ਹਲੁ ਜੋਤੈ ਉਦਮੁ ਕਰੇ ਮੇਰਾ ਪੁਤੁ ਧੀ ਖਾਇ ॥ ਤਿਉ ਹਰਿ ਜਨੁ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਜਪੁ ਕਰੇ ਹਰਿ ਅੰਤਿ ਛਡਾਇ ॥: Kirasaanee kirasaan kare lochai jeeou laai...: Farmers love to work their farms; they plow and work the fields, so that their sons and daughters may eat. In just the same way, God's humble servants chant His Name, and in the end, God will save them (sggs 166).
  • ਖੇਤੀ ਵਣਜੁ ਨਾਵੈ ਕੀ ਓਟ ॥: Khetee vanaj naavai kee ot: My farming and my trading are by the Support of the Name (sggs 152).
  • ਇਹੁ ਤਨੁ ਧਰਤੀ ਬੀਜੁ ਕਰਮਾ ਕਰੋ ਸਲਿਲ ਆਪਾਉ ਸਾਰਿੰਗਪਾਣੀ ॥ ਮਨੁ ਕਿਰਸਾਣੁ ਹਰਿ ਰਿਦੈ ਜੰਮਾਇ ਲੈ ਇਉ ਪਾਵਸਿ ਪਦੁ ਨਿਰਬਾਣੀ ॥੧॥: Ih tann dhartee beeg karmaa karo salil aapaau saaringpaanee. Mann kirsaan Hari ridai janmaai lai iyu paavasi pad nirvaanee ||1||: Make this body the field, and make your daily Karma (actions) the seed. Water (ਸਿੰਚਨ) it with God's Name. Let your mind be the farmer; Sprout (God) in your Heart, and you will attain the state of Nirvaanaa (ਉਹ ਆਤਮਕ ਅਵਸਥਾ ਜਿਥੇ ਕੋਈ ਵਾਸਨਾ ਪੋਹ ਨਹੀਂ ਸਕਦੀ) ||1|| (sggs 23).
  • ਲਾਹਾ ਪਰਥਾਏ ਹਰਿ ਮੰਨਿ ਵਸਾਏ ਧਨੁ ਖੇਤੀ ਵਾਪਾਰਾ ॥: Laahaa parathaae har mann vasaae dhan khetee vaapaaraa: This profit is earned by enshrining the Lord within your mind; blessed is this farming and trade (sggs 568).
  • ਕਿਲਬਿਖ ਪਾਪ ਨਾਮ ਹਰਿ ਕਾਟੇ ਜਿਵ ਖੇਤ ਕ੍ਰਿਸਾਨਿ ਲੁਨੇ ॥: Kilabikh paap naam har kaate jiv khet kirasaan lune: God's Name cuts down all sins, like the farmer cutting down his crops (sggs 976).

The Gur-Shabad indicates that in order to sow the sublime seed of Naam in the body-field, we need to clear it of the weeds: inner garbage that consists of the "five" or "Panch" faults of our Haume (false ego-sense): lust, anger, greed, emotional attachments and pride (along with numerous variations of these "five").

  • ਦੇਹੀ ਗਾਵਾ ਜੀਉ ਧਰ ਮਹਤਉ ਬਸਹਿ ਪੰਚ ਕਿਰਸਾਨਾ ॥: Dehee gaavaa jeeou dhar mahataou basahi panch kirasaanaa: The body is a village, and the soul is the owner and farmer; the five farm-hands live there (sggs 1104).
  • ਸਾਵਣੁ ਰਾਤਿ ਅਹਾੜੁ ਦਿਹੁ ਕਾਮੁ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਦੁਇ ਖੇਤ ॥ ਲਬੁ ਵਤ੍ਰ ਦਰੋਗੁ ਬੀਉ ਹਾਲੀ ਰਾਹਕੁ ਹੇਤ ॥ ਹਲੁ ਬੀਚਾਰੁ ਵਿਕਾਰ ਮਣ ਹੁਕਮੀ ਖਟੇ ਖਾਇ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਲੇਖੈ ਮੰਗਿਐ ਅਉਤੁ ਜਣੇਦਾ ਜਾਇ ॥੧॥: Saavan raat ahaarr dihu kaam krodhh dui khet...: Night is the summer season, and day is the winter season; lust and anger are the two fields planted. Greed prepares the soil, and the seed of falsehood is planted; attachment and love are the farmer and hired hand. Contemplation is the plow, and corruption is the harvest; this is what one earns and eats, according to the Hukam of the Lord's Command. O Nanak, when one is called to give his account, he will be barren and infertile ||1|| (sggs 955).
  • ਕਿਆ ਖੇਤੀ ਕਿਆ ਲੇਵਾ ਦੇਈ ਪਰਪੰਚ ਝੂਠੁ ਗੁਮਾਨਾ ॥: Kiaa khetee kiaa levaa dayeee parapanch jhooth gumaanaa: What good is farming, and what good is trading? Worldly entanglements and pride are false (sggs 857).

In the following Shabads, Baabaa Nanak beautifully sums up the whole process of farming the body-field!

  • ਮਨੁ ਹਾਲੀ ਕਿਰਸਾਣੀ ਕਰਣੀ ਸਰਮੁ ਪਾਣੀ ਤਨੁ ਖੇਤੁ ॥ ਨਾਮੁ ਬੀਜੁ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ ਸੁਹਾਗਾ ਰਖੁ ਗਰੀਬੀ ਵੇਸੁ ॥ ਭਾਉ ਕਰਮ ਕਰਿ ਜੰਮਸੀ ਸੇ ਘਰ ਭਾਗਠ ਦੇਖੁ ॥: Mann haalee kirsaanee karnee saram paanee tann khet. Naam beej santokh suhaagaa rakh greebee ves. Bhaayu karm kari jamsee se ghar bhaagath dekh: The body is the field, the mind the ploughman, self-efort the irrigation channel, contentment (to protect the Naam-seed from being eaten by the birds of desires) the leveler (farmers use leveler or Suhaagaa to (1) protect the seeds sown in the field from birds by burying it beneath the ground and (2) to pulverize the crusty soil lumps, pulverization of crusty soil lumps represents pulverization of Haume), humble life the protective fence. Sow the seed of love (in the field of the body) - the seed of Bhagti - and thus it will flourish (sggs 595).
  • ਭਉ ਭੁਇ ਪਵਿਤੁ ਪਾਣੀ ਸਤੁ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ ਬਲੇਦ ॥ ਹਲੁ ਹਲੇਮੀ ਹਾਲੀ ਚਿਤੁ ਚੇਤਾ ਵਤ੍ਰ ਵਖਤ ਸੰਜੋਗੁ ॥ ਨਾਉ ਬੀਜੁ ਬਖਸੀਸ ਬੋਹਲ ਦੁਨੀਆ ਸਗਲ ਦਰੋਗ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਨਦਰੀ ਕਰਮੁ ਹੋਇ ਜਾਵਹਿ ਸਗਲ ਵਿਜੋਗ ॥੨॥: Bhaou bhui pavit paanee sat santokh bled. Hal halemee haalee chit chetaa vattar vakhat sanjog. Naau beej bakhsees bohal duniaa sagal darog. Nanak nadree karam hoi jaavahi sagal vijog ||2||: Make the Fear of God the farm, purity (pure conduct) the water, true contentment (Sat Santokh) the cows and bulls (to till the field), humility the plow, consciousness the plowman, remembrance (of Naam-Simran...) the preparation of the soil, and Union with (the Parameshar) the planting time. Let Name be the seed, and His Grace the harvest (ਬੋਹਲ: grain-heap...). Do this, and the whole world will seem false (ephemeral, temporary fleeting, etc.). O Nanak, (on account of this Uddam or self-effort, when) He (Parameshar) bestows His Merciful Glance of Grace, then all separation (from Him) will be ended ||2|| (sggs 955).

In a nutshell, the Gurbani indicates that the seed we need planting in the body-field has to be the seed of Truth, which, in turn, needs to be watered and nurtured with the water of Truth as well.

  • ਧਰਮੁ ਭੂਮਿ ਸਤੁ ਬੀਜੁ ਕਰਿ ਐਸੀ ਕਿਰਸ ਕਮਾਵਹੁ ॥: Dharam bhoom sat beej kar aisee kiras kamaavahu: Plant the seed of Truth in the soil of Dharma, and practice such farming (sggs 418).
  • ਸਚ ਕੀ ਆਬ ਨਿਤ ਦੇਹਿ ਪਾਣੀ: ...Sach kee aab nit dehi paanee: ...Irrigate it continually with the water of Truth (sggs 24).

However, as indicated by the Gurbani, only the Gurmukhs (followers of the Truth and truthful living) know such farming. Whilst the Manmukhs (deniers of the Truth and truthful living, Haume or ego being, etc.) in their Kaam, Krodh, Lobh, Moh and Ahankaar — lust, anger, greed, emotional attachments and pride — grow weary of this farming for their worldly or Mayaic hunger and thirst never cease.

  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਖੇਤੀ ਹਰਿ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਬੀਜੀਐ ਹਰਿ ਲੀਜੈ ਸਰੀਰਿ ਜਮਾਏ ਰਾਮ ॥ ਆਪਣੇ ਘਰ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਰਸੁ ਭੁੰਚੁ ਤੂ ਲਾਹਾ ਲੈ ਪਰਥਾਏ ਰਾਮ ॥ ਲਾਹਾ ਪਰਥਾਏ ਹਰਿ ਮੰਨਿ ਵਸਾਏ ਧਨੁ ਖੇਤੀ ਵਾਪਾਰਾ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਏ ਮੰਨਿ ਵਸਾਏ ਬੂਝੈ ਗੁਰ ਬੀਚਾਰਾ ॥ ਮਨਮੁਖ ਖੇਤੀ ਵਣਜੁ ਕਰਿ ਥਾਕੇ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਭੁਖ ਨ ਜਾਏ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਨਾਮੁ ਬੀਜਿ ਮਨ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਸਚੈ ਸਬਦਿ ਸੁਭਾਏ ॥੨॥: Gurmukh khetee har antar...: As Gurmukh, plant the crop of the Lord within the field of the body, and let it grow. Within the home of your own (true) being, enjoy the Lord's subtle essence, and earn (spiritual) profits in the world hereafter. This profit is earned by enshrining the Lord within your mind; blessed is this farming and trade (of the Divine Name). Who meditates on the Lord's Name, and enshrines the Name within the mind, he will come to understand (Aatamic Jeevan or spiritual Life) through contemplating the Guru's Words. The Manmukhs have grown weary of this (worldly) farming and trade; their hunger and thirst (of Maya) will not go away. O Nanak, by adorning yourself with the True Shabad, lovingly plant the seed of the Name within your mind, and adorn yourself with the True Shabad ||2|| (sggs 568).

— T. Singh
www.gurbani.org