The Gurmukh Never Grows Old!

ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਬੁਢੇ ਕਦੇ ਨਾਹੀ ਜਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਾ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਗਿਆਨੁ ॥: Gurmukh budhe kade naahee jinhaa antar surat giaan:
The Gurmukhs never grow old; within them is Intuitive Understanding and spiritual Wisdom
(understanding of the real purpose of life, consciousness of Divine Knowledge,
ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਦੀ ਸੂਝ ਦਾ ਟਿਕਾਵ, ਆਤਮਕ ਅਡੋਲਤਾ, ਸਹਜ ਧਿਆਨੁ, etc.) (sggs 1418).
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The Gurmukh never grows old!

How is this possible? Isn't it contradictory? If someone is born, his or her physical body with time must get old and, ultimately, die.

What does the Gurbani imply when it says the Gurmukh ages not ever!

In fact, life is paradoxical. It's full of contradictions, although we may not call them as such.

Specifically, the Spiritual Unfoldment (spiritual Vision, Realization of one's Mool within, Inner Experience, Awakened State, ਗਿਆਨ ਅਵਸਤਾ, etc.) by its very nature is paradoxical.

Who is the Gurmukh?

In nutshell, the Gurmukh transcends Maya; he is free of the false ego-sense (Haumai, ਆਪਾ ਭਾਵ, "ਮੈ ਮੈ"); he abides in the Divine Hukam (ਹੁਕਮੀ ਬੰਦੇ-ਅਮਲੀ ਜੀਵਨ, ਹੁਕਮੀ ਜੀਵਨ...); he is linked to his Mool within (ਮੂਲ: Source, Origin, Truth, Jot...) and ever remains so; he is contented in all situations (Sach Santokhee); he is the follower of the Truth; his mind is linked to Antar-Aatmaa; he restrains his mind instead of following his mind; he remains integrated in the state of "ਇਕ ਮਨਿ ਇਕ ਚਿਤਿ " - Ik Mani Ik Chiti; he is detached in the midst of Maya - ਮਾਇਆ ਵਿਚ ਉਦਾਸੀ; he is established in Bibek Budhi - ਜਿਸ ਨੂੰ ਗੁਰਮਤ ਦੀ ਪੂਰੀ ਸੋਝੀ ਹੈ; his Akal (ਅਕਲ , wisdom, intellect, reason, etc.) follows the Gurbani (Aatam Giaan Spiritual Wisdom of the Gur-Shabad); he is Aatam Giaanee or Brahm Giaanee ; he is established in Chauthaa Pada or Turiyaa Avasthaa (Tenth Gate, Sahaj Avasthaa - Natural State of Being; Sunn Samaadhi, ਆਤਮਕ ਅਡੋਲਤਾ, Shabad-Surti, etc.); he knows all the "Way of the soul" ("ਜਾਨੈ ਆਤਮ ਕੀ ਰਹਤ", ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ...); he is Jeevan Mukat (living Liberated or Enlightened); he is the fully "Awakened" one who is established at Dasam Duaar (the Tenth-Gate, the Highest Plane of Consciousness)...

Naturally, the life of such a person (the Gurmukh) is likely to be paradoxical. For one thing, as the Gurbani asserts, he never grows old!

  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਬੁਢੇ ਕਦੇ ਨਾਹੀ ਜਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਾ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਗਿਆਨੁ ॥: Gurmukh budhe kade naahee jinhaa antar surat giaan: The Gurmukhs never grow old; within them is Intuitive Understanding and spiritual Wisdom (understanding of the real purpose of life, consciousness of Divine Knowledge, ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਦੀ ਸੂਝ ਦਾ ਟਿਕਾਵ, ਆਤਮਕ ਅਡੋਲਤਾ, ਸਹਜ ਧਿਆਨੁ, etc.) (sggs 1418).

Obviously, here the Gurbani is talking about the "old" (or the young) from a spiritual standpoint.

Look around and see at the old people. You will see them bleeding from cuts and bruises they have inflicted upon themselves (upon their spiritual life, ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ, etc.) in their youth (and continue to do so in their old age) - the wounds of lust, anger, greed, attachments, pride, enviousness, stubborn mindedness (ਮਨ-ਹੱਠ), and their numerous other variations. All these Bikaars or evil passions are the offspring of Haumai - the false ego-sense.

  • ਕਾਮੁ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਜੀਅ ਮਹਿ ਚੋਟ ॥: Kaam krodh jeea mahi chot: Lust and anger (i.e. all evil passions) are the wounds of the soul (i.e. they inspire us do evil) (sggs 152).
  • ਕਲਿ ਕਲਵਾਲੀ ਕਾਮੁ ਮਦੁ ਮਨੂਆ ਪੀਵਣਹਾਰੁ ॥ ਕ੍ਰੋਧ ਕਟੋਰੀ ਮੋਹਿ ਭਰੀ ਪੀਲਾਵਾ ਅਹੰਕਾਰੁ ॥ ਮਜਲਸ ਕੂੜੇ ਲਬ ਕੀ ਪੀ ਪੀ ਹੋਇ ਖੁਆਰੁ ॥: Kali Kalavaalee...: Kali (imagining Mayaic mind...) is the vessel, filled with the wine of lust; the mind is the drinker. Anger is the cup, filled with the worldly attachment; pride is the bartender. Drinking too much in the company of falsehood and greed, (the mind) is ruined. (sggs 553).

In other words, the majority of us suffer from the "old" age of Haumai (false ego-sense). Whatever the lifestyle we cultivate (particularly when we are young), the same will manifest in the end. This is the Gurbani's edict.

  • ਜਿਤੁ ਲਾਗੋ ਮਨੁ ਬਾਸਨਾ ਅੰਤਿ ਸਾਈ ਪ੍ਰਗਟਾਨੀ ॥: Jit laago manu baasanaa anti saaee pragattaanee: That Vaasnaa, to which the mind is attached, at the last moment, becomes manifest (sggs 242).

Simply put, the majority of us just grow old.

To the contrary the Gurmukh (a "rare" one) simply grows up!

There is a huge difference in growing up and growing old.

Growing up is to become the Gurmukh: a Giaanee or spiritually Wise. Growing old is to live in bondage (Maya, illusory dreams and desires: a Manmukh lifestyle) and let the body just wither away only to meet the painful death at the end of the life's journey. Thus, to grow up spiritually is immateriality: that which is not material. It's Divine or Holy. In other words, growing up is to mend our ways and thus bring about a shift in our perception, vision, experience, etc. — from worldly to the spiritual, from the external to the internal, and so on. As indicated in the Gurbani, the Gurmukh never grows old; for he possesses Intuitive Understanding and spiritual Wisdom. The Manmukh, on the other hand, is exactly the opposite of the Gurmukh.

  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਬਿਬੇਕ ਬੁਧਿ ਹੋਇ ॥: Gurmukh giaan bibek budh hoi: The Gurmukh is blessed with spiritual wisdom and a discerning intellect (sggs 317).
  • ਚਾਰੇ ਕੁੰਡਾ ਭਵਿ ਥਕੇ ਮਨਮੁਖ ਬੂਝ ਨ ਪਾਇ ॥: Chaare kundaa bhav thakke Manmukh boojh na paai: The Manmukhs (self-willed materialists or Mayadhaaree) grow weary of wandering around in all four directions (i.e., deteriorate or abate their spiritual life or Aatmic Jeevan), but they do not understand (the real purpose of life) (sggs 37).
  • ਮਨਮੁਖ ਕਾਲੁ ਵਿਆਪਦਾ ਮੋਹਿ ਮਾਇਆ ਲਾਗੇ ॥: Manmukh kaal viaapadaa mohi Maya laage: The Manmukhs are afflicted by death; they cling to Maya in emotional attachment (sggs 1090).

In the lifestyle of a Gurmukh, one sees blossoming of flowers! On the other hand, in the lifestyle of the Manmukh, one sees cuts and bruises of Haumai.

Thus, the old age of a Gurmukh is more delighting, charming, and graceful. Whilst the old age of a Manmukh is ugly and painful. Death is rarely beautiful!

The Gurmukh lives a right lifestyle - so death is an phenomenon of utter beauty to him. He smiles at death. His old age is more charming than his youth! However, to a Manmukh, lod age and death are ugly.

The truth is when someone is no longer young (i.e., when someone is not the Gurmukh), he becomes spiritually ugly (the Manmukh). For that person has been decieved by his illusory desires, and fears.

  • ਕਿਆ ਗਭਰੂ ਕਿਆ ਬਿਰਧਿ ਹੈ ਮਨਮੁਖ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਭੁਖ ਨ ਜਾਇ ॥: Kiaa gabharoo kiaa biradh hai Manmukh trisanaa n jaai: Wether he is young or old, the self-willed Manmukh cannot escape thirst and hunger (of Maya, illusory desires, etc.) (sggs 649).

But, as time and again indicated in the Gurbani, the Gurmukhs are very "rare" - for very rarely we really live the Shabad (to put in place the Teachings of the Shabad in our daily life)!

Thus, as indicated in the Gurbani, a Gurmukh is not a question of heredity, family of birth, ancestry, race, region, social status, caste, creed, education, titles, religion, or any peculiar external appearance of a person; it is a question of Self-realization!

To be the Gurmukh is like chewing steel-balls or standing in a fire without getting burnt!

The Gurbani tells us to bow down to such person ("ਤਿਸੁ ਨਿਵਿ ਨਿਵਿ ਲਗਾ ਪਾਇ ਜੀਉ"). For he has truly lived his life, which is very "rare" indeed!

He has become God-like: in Pure Awareness of ਸਬਦ ਸੁਰਤਿ (Shabad-Consciousness), he remains Ever-fresh and Ever-youthful.

  • ਪੂਰਨ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਨਵਤਨੁ ਨਿਤ ਬਾਲਾ ॥: The Perfect (Omnipresent, etc.) Primal Lord is Ever-fresh and Ever-young (sggs 240).

— T. Singh
www.gurbani.org