LOCK-AND-KEY

ਗੁਰੁ ਕੁੰਜੀ ਪਾਹੂ ਨਿਵਲੁ ਮਨੁ ਕੋਠਾ ਤਨੁ ਛਤਿ ॥
ਨਾਨਕ ਗੁਰ ਬਿਨੁ ਮਨ ਕਾ ਤਾਕੁ ਨ ਉਘੜੈ ਅਵਰ ਨ ਕੁੰਜੀ ਹਥਿ ॥੧॥ (sggs 1237).
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The Gurbani tells us that the human mind is locked; and that this lock is none other than the mind's attachment to Maya (ਮਾਇਆ ਦੀ ਭੁਖ, false ego-sense, corrupt intellect,delusion, duality ...). The only key that can open this lock is the Spiritual Knowledge of the Gurbani (ਗੁਰਬਾਣੀ ਦੀ ਗਿਆਨ ਕੁੰਜੀ - Divine Wisdom of the Gur-Shabad). In other words, only the Spiritual Knowledge of the Gurbani can rid the mind of Maya's spell.

  • ਗੁਰੁ ਕੁੰਜੀ ਪਾਹੂ ਨਿਵਲੁ ਮਨੁ ਕੋਠਾ ਤਨੁ ਛਤਿ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਗੁਰ ਬਿਨੁ ਮਨ ਕਾ ਤਾਕੁ ਨ ਉਘੜੈ ਅਵਰ ਨ ਕੁੰਜੀ ਹਥਿ ॥੧॥: (One's) mind is (like a) house, the body is (like its) roof, and the attachment of Maya is lock (on this house of the mind - like the chain locked on the animal legs). Guru (Divine Wisdom of the Gur-Shabad, Gur-Shabad-Giaan, ਗੁਰਬਾਣੀ ਦਾ ਗਿਆਨ ...) is the key (that open this lock - this is only key that can remove the spell of Maya from the mind...). O Nanak! Without the Guru (Divine Wisdom of the Gur-Shabad, Gur-Shabad-Giaan, ਗੁਰਬਾਣੀ ਦਾ ਗਿਆਨ ...), the door of the mind cannot be opened. No one else holds the key in hand (to open this lock) ||1|| (sggs 1237).

Essentially, the Gurbani makes us aware of the nature of the "lock" and the nature of the "'key" that can open the mind's lock. Both "lock" and the "'key" are sublime in nature.

Why do we need to open the mind's lock in the first place? The Gurbani indicates all starts with childhood — the five elemental play. The childhood makes one aware of his existence (i.e., the self-awareness, “I”-ness, Haumai, “I”-consciousness…). Prior to that, one has no experience of the “I”-consciousness. When this “I”-ness appears, the love for existence is the result of this primary illusion (i.e., Maya). Once a person comes to know that he exists, then, he feels like enduring eternally — always wants to exist, always wants to survive, always wants to prolong the life, never thins of death, etc. Bbecause Maya, thus the struggle begins! In other words, in the state of “I”-ness, one loves the state of being alive and wants to perpetuate it as long as possible! In nutshell, bound by Maya, man considers himself to be immortal!

  • ਜਨਮਤ ਮੋਹਿਓ ਮੋਹਨੀ ਮਾਇਆ ॥: (But) ever since (man’s) birth, (he) has been enticed by the fascination of Maya (ਠਗਣੀ ਮਾਇਆ). (sggs 251).
  • ਜਾ ਤਿਸੁ ਭਾਣਾ ਤਾ ਜੰਮਿਆ ਪਰਵਾਰਿ ਭਲਾ ਭਾਇਆ ॥ ਲਿਵ ਛੁੜਕੀ ਲਗੀ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਮਾਇਆ ਅਮਰੁ ਵਰਤਾਇਆ ॥: Jaa tisu bhaanaa taa jammiaa… (sggs 921).

Thus, from the very childhood, Maya is always giving us trouble in the form of threefold miseries. It is constituted of three qualities - Taamas, Raajas, and Saatav. Maya causes attachment that leads to bondage. When in bondage (Maya), we deride the Shabad-Vichaar (Spiritual Wisdom, Aatam Giaan...); we deride the search of Truth; we deride the "Gurmati Bhagti" (understanding the Gur-Shabad, Naam, Hukam...); although, the body-chamber is infused with the Divine Light (Jot), no sooner we step into  this material world, we forget the Jot (our True Nature, Mool...). This is essentially the 'lock' (ਮਾਇਆ ਦੀ ਭੁੱਖ, ਮਾਇਆ ਦੀ ਲਗਨ - "ਪਾਹੂ").

  • ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਭਗਤਿ ਪਾਵੈ ਜਨੁ ਕੋਈ ॥੧॥: A rare "Janu" (Gurmukh, Bhagat, Daas...) obtains the "Gurmati Bhagti" (understanding the Gur-Shabad, Naam, Hukam...) ||1|| (sggs 879).
  • ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਵਸਤੁ ਮਾਇਆ ਗੜ੍ਹ੍ਹਿ ਵੇੜ੍ਹ੍ਹੀ ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਸਬਦਿ ਲੀਓ ਗੜੁ ਜੀਤਿ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: The commodity of the Lord is locked in the fortress of Maya; through the Gur-Shabad, I have conquered the fortress ||1|| Pause || (sggs 1295).

Our mind or heart is likened to a house; and our body made of five elements (space, air, fire, water, and earth) is the roof on this house. Under the spell of ignorance, we have allowed the poisonous snake called Maya to install the doors of sense pleasures, cravings and pains of material slavery. In addition, we have appointed our corrupt and untrustworthy senses to guard this house. The Divine Jot (Light) placed within this body house (Heart, Nij Ghar...) is beyond the reach of anybody's gross senses for it's veiled by Maya, duality, false ego-sense, etc. (lock).

  • ਖਟ ਨੇਮ ਕਰਿ ਕੋਠੜੀ ਬਾਂਧੀ ਬਸਤੁ ਅਨੂਪੁ ਬੀਚ ਪਾਈ ॥ ਕੁੰਜੀ ਕੁਲਫੁ ਪ੍ਰਾਨ ਕਰਿ ਰਾਖੇ ਕਰਤੇ ਬਾਰ ਨ ਲਾਈ ॥੧॥: By fashioning six chakra (five elemens plus the mind...) this (human body like a small) house is created, and an incomparable thing (Jot, Light...) is placed within. The vital life-force is made the lock and key (of this house); in doing so, the Creator takes no time. ||1|| (sggs 339).
Our body-house has nine openings or 9 holes or gates: two eyes, two years, two nostrils, one mouth, urinary aperture, and one anus. Due to lack of Shabad-Surti (Aatam-Giaan, Spiritual Knowledge of the Gur-Shabad...), this body-house guarded by corrupt senses constantly gets plundered through these openings by thieves such as lust, anger, greed, attachment, pride, (and their numerous variations like enviousness, stubborn mindedness, etc. ). The Mayaic mind free to escape through these defiled openings is led astray. Consequently, it is unable to realize its own True Nature (Jot Saroop). Beyond these Maya-stricken openings (or 'lock') is the mysterious Tenth Gate. The Gurbani challenge us to rise up to this Mystic Gate (the state of Spiritual Realizationl, Realization of one's Jot Saroop or Mool within...).
  • ਦਦਾ ਦੇਖਿ ਜੁ ਬਿਨਸਨਹਾਰਾ ॥ ਜਸ ਅਦੇਖਿ ਤਸ ਰਾਖਿ ਬਿਚਾਰਾ ॥ ਦਸਵੈ ਦੁਆਰਿ ਕੁੰਚੀ ਜਬ ਦੀਜੈ ॥ ਤਉ ਦਇਆਲ ਕੋ ਦਰਸਨੁ ਕੀਜੈ ॥੨੪॥: Daddaa dekh ju binsanahaaraa. Jas dekh tas raakh bichaaraa. Dasvai duaar kunjee jab deejai. Taou diaal kaou darsan keejai ||24||: Daddaa (a letter of the Gurmukhi alphabet): Whatever is seen (with our physical eyes) will perish. Engage in the Vichaar (Shabad-Vichaar) of the One who is unseen (i.e., who cannot be seen with our physical eyes). When the key (of the Spiritual Knowledge of the Gur-Shabad) is inserted in the Tenth Gate (i.e., when we abide in the Guru-Shabad, Mool within...), then the Blessed Vision (Divine Darshan) is done ||24|| (sggs 341).

Essentially, opening of the mysterious 'lock' is the same as opening of the Tenth Gate (or Tenth Door), closing off the nine gates, absorption in the Gur-Shabad (Aatam-Giaan, Spiritual Knowledge ...), liberation from bondage of Maya, and so on.

  • ਜਿਸ ਕਾ ਗ੍ਰਿਹੁ ਤਿਨਿ ਦੀਆ ਤਾਲਾ ਕੁੰਜੀ ਗੁਰ ਸਉਪਾਈ ॥ ਅਨਿਕ ਉਪਾਵ ਕਰੇ ਨਹੀ ਪਾਵੈ ਬਿਨੁ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਸਰਣਾਈ ॥੩॥: The one who fashioned this (body) Home, has locked it up (with the lock of attachment, Maya...), and given the key to the Gur (-Giaan, Spiritual Knowledge of Gur-Shabad). (One) may make all sorts of efforts, but without surrendering to the Satigur (Spiritual Knowledge of Truth, ਸਚ ਦਾ ਗਿਆਨ...), (Parmaatam) cannot be realized (or the lock cannot be opened) . ||3|| (sggs 205).

The Gurbani asserts that the Shabad ('key') is the killer of Maya ('lock'). The Spiritual Knowledge obtained through sincere Shabad-Vichaar leads the senses and the mind to become established in the Mool within (Source, Origin, Jot...). Hence, those who close off the nine gates, and restrain the wandering mind, come to dwell in the Home of the Tenth Gate. There, the unstruck melody of the Shabad vibrates day and night. The way to realize this Shabad-Surti is through the Intuitive Understanding of the Gurbani through the Shabad-Vichaar.

Without the Spiritual Wisdom there is only darkness ('lock') Within. The Light of Spiritual Knowledge of the Gurbani is the mysterious 'key' to realize Truth. Accordingly, the Gurbani reminds us to strike down the serpent of Maya with the sword of the Divine Wisdom, whether its poisonous hallucination has already arisen, or is about to rise in the mind.

  • ਅਨਹਦ ਬਾਣੀ ਪੂੰਜੀ ॥ ਸੰਤਨ ਹਥਿ ਰਾਖੀ ਕੂੰਜੀ ॥੨॥: Unstruck sound current of the Bani is the (Spiritual) Wealth. Sant (Guru, Shabad...) in his hand holds the key to it. ||2|| (sggs 893).
  • ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਹਥਿ ਕੁੰਜੀ ਹੋਰਤੁ ਦਰੁ ਖੁਲੈ ਨਾਹੀ ਗੁਰੁ ਪੂਰੈ ਭਾਗਿ ਮਿਲਾਵਣਿਆ ॥੭॥: The key is in the hands of the Satigur (Spiritual Knowledge of Truth, ਸਚ ਦਾ ਗਿਆਨ...); no other means can open this door. By great fortune, (Satigur) is united. ||7|| (sggs 124).

According to the Gurbani, very rare is that "Janu" (Gurmukh, Bhagat, Daas...) who succeeds in getting their mind's door unlocked.

"Why not all of us?", one may ask. If one is sincere, he can churn the Divine Knowledge (Aatam-Giaan...) from the Gurbani as the bumblebee sucks honey from the flower. If not, then the reading and listening of the Gurbani will be like planting a seed in the salt; nothing will grow.

Clearly, the 'key' is not meant for those who have silenced their Spiritual Knowledge of the Gurbani with their firm attachment to this Mithiyaa Jagat (ephemeral world). Such individuals are described in the Gurbani as blind, beast, drunkard, dead, and so on (i.e., Manmukh). Can one show a garden of beautiful flowers to a blind? Can a drunkard be instructed in the subtleties of Spirituality? Can a person behaving like a beast be instructed, for he is being led like an animal by the rope of his own deluded mind? Can hair grow on a tortoise's shell? Can a dead get up and engage himself in right self-exertion? Can a lotus grow on a rock? A deluded person thus immersed in Maya will not find the 'key'.

Maya and bondage proceed hand in hand, which is none other than the craving for acquisition of desirables and rejection or anxiety to avoid what one may consider undesirables. Maya arises in the ignorance of the Mool within, and the Divine Knowledge liberates from it. Once the 'lock' of bondage is opened by the 'key' of the Spiritual Freedom, the twin urges of acquisition and rejection come to an end. With the elimination of these two impulses, the mind becomes established in equanimity, and experiences the utter state of Peace and Equilibrium (Sahaj Avasthaa, Giaan Avasthaa, the state of Spiritual Knowledge). At this point, the deluded mind (false ego-sense) folds its tent and declares defeat, and the one self perceives itself Within itself as Infinite Consciousness, which alone exists.
  • ਪੰਚ ਪਹਰੂਆ ਦਰ ਮਹਿ ਰਹਤੇ ਤਿਨ ਕਾ ਨਹੀ ਪਤੀਆਰਾ ॥ ਚੇਤਿ ਸੁਚੇਤ ਚਿਤ ਹੋਇ ਰਹੁ ਤਉ ਲੈ ਪਰਗਾਸੁ ਉਜਾਰਾ ॥: The five senses (of cognition) stand as guards at the gates (of this body), but they cannot be trusted. Remain watchful and conscious (of your Mool within), then the Light (of Spiritual Knowledge, Giaan) will shine forth (within you). (sggs 339).
  • ਕੁੰਜੀ ਜਿਨ ਕਉ ਦਿਤੀਆ ਤਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਾ ਮਿਲੇ ਭੰਡਾਰ ॥ ਜਹ ਭੰਡਾਰੀ ਹੂ ਗੁਣ ਨਿਕਲਹਿ ਤੇ ਕੀਅਹਿ ਪਰਵਾਣੁ ॥: Those who are blessed with the key (of the Naam, Spiritual Knowledge - ਗਿਆਨ ਕੁੰਜੀ), they alone receive the treasure (of the Naam, Spiritual Knowledge - ਗਿਆਨ ਦਾ ਭੰਡਾਰ ). (As aresult of the Naam, Spiritual Knowledge - ਗਿਆਨ) Virtues well up within that treasure - (within whome Virtues well up) are approved (sggs 1239).

— T. Singh
www.gurbani.org