THE GURU: SERVING THE SATGURU

ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਸੇਵੀ ਸਬਦਿ ਸਾਲਾਹੀ ॥: Satiguru sevee Sabadi saalaahee:
  I serve the Satguru by praising the Shabad (sggs 1048).
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The Gurbani (SGGS) reveals to us that our Satguru is none other than the All-pervading, Formless Principle. He only is fit to be served. As discussed in the previous parts of this series, once Realized within, with the torch of Divine Knowledge (Aatam-Giaan...), we are relieved from the darkness of the Spiritual ignorance (Avidiya). This "Purakh Ajanmaa" is the only One fit to be served or worshipped. The Gurbani warns us not to serve anyone else, because serving others is nothing but cultivating more ignorance (Dubidha, duality...).

  • ਕਿਸੁ ਸੇਵੀ ਤੈ ਕਿਸੁ ਸਾਲਾਹੀ ॥ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਸੇਵੀ ਸਬਦਿ ਸਾਲਾਹੀ ॥: Kis sevee tai kis saalaahee || Satiguru sevee Sabadi saalaahee ||: Whom should I serve, and whom should I praise? I serve the Satguru by praising the Shabad (sggs 1048).
  • ਦੂਜਾ ਸੇਵਨਿ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਸੇ ਪਚਿ ਪਚਿ ਮੁਏ ਅਜਾਣ ॥: doojaa sevan Naanakaa sae pachi pachi mueae ajaan: Those ignorant ones who serve duality, O Nanak, rot, waste away and die (sggs 315).
The Infinite Consciousness is always in tune with His True Sikh (spiritual seeker). It is so because He is present within all of us as the Mool (Source, Origin, etc.). Once this Eternal Guru is awakened (Pragat) within through the subjugation of the psychic nature (egoism or Haume), the Soul-bride becomes linked to her Beloved, the Satguru.
  • ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਪੂਰਾ ਮੇਰੈ ਨਾਲਿ ॥: Satgur pooraa merai naal: The Perfect Satguru is always with me (sggs 618).
  • ਭੂਲੀ ਭੂਲੀ ਮੈ ਫਿਰੀ ਪਾਧਰੁ ਕਹੈ ਨ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਪੂਛਹੁ ਜਾਇ ਸਿਆਣਿਆ ਦੁਖੁ ਕਾਟੈ ਮੇਰਾ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਸਾਚਾ ਮਨਿ ਵਸੈ ਸਾਜਨੁ ਉਤ ਹੀ ਠਾਇ ॥: Bhoolee bhoolee mai phiree paadharu kahai n koi. Pooshahu jaai siaaniaa dukhu kaatai meraa koi. Satgur saachaa mani vasai saajan ut hee thaai: Confused and deluded (for a long time - ਬਹੁਤ ਚਿਰ ਤੋਂ ਖੁੰਝੀ ਹੋਈ), I wander around, but no one shows me the straight Way (right or clear Path - ਪੱਧਰਾ ਰਾਹ). (I keep wandering and) asking the wise people, if anyone can rid me of my suffering (confusion and delusion). When the Satgur (Sach Daa Giaan, Brahm-Giaan, Shabad-Giaan, etc.) abides within the mind, then God is (also) seen at the same place (that is, within - ਭਾਵ, ਪ੍ਰਭੂ ਭੀ ਓਸੇ ਥਾਂ ਹਿਰਦੇ ਵਿਚ ਹੀ ਮਿਲ ਪੈਂਦਾ ਹੈ) (sggs 1087).
  • ਨਾਨਕ ਸਾਹਿਬੁ ਮਨਿ ਵਸੈ ਸਚੀ ਵਡਿਆਈ ॥: Nanak saahibu mani vasai sachee vadiaaee: O Nanak, the Ture Saahib dwells within the mind, and true is His glory (sggs 420).
  • ਸਚਾ ਸਾਹਿਬੁ ਮਨਿ ਵਸੈ ਵਸਿਆ ਮਨਿ ਸੋਈ ॥: Sachaa saahib mani vasai vasiaa mani soi: The True Saahib (God) dwells within the mind; the mind that realizes this blends into Him (sggs 420).
  • ਗੁਰਸਿਖਾਂ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੂ ਵਰਤੈ ਜੋ ਸਿਖਾਂ ਨੋ ਲੋਚੈ ਸੋ ਗੁਰ ਖੁਸੀ ਆਵੈ ॥: Gursikhaa andar satguru vartai jo sikhaan no lochai so gur khusee aavai: The True Guru pervades inside (in the Hearts of) His Gur-Sikhs; the Guru is pleased with those who long (ਚਾਹੈ, ਤਾਂਘ ਕਰੇ...) for His Sikhs. (sggs 317).
  • ਦੇਖਹੁ ਅਚਰਜੁ ਭਇਆ ॥ ਜਿਹ ਠਾਕੁਰ ਕਉ ਸੁਨਤ ਅਗਾਧਿ ਬੋਧਿ ਸੋ ਰਿਦੈ ਗੁਰਿ ਦਇਆ ॥: Dekhahu acharaj bhaiaa. Jih thaakur kayu sunat agaadhi bodhi so ridai guri daya: Behold, a wondrous miracle has happened! That Lord, whose wisdom is said to be unfathomable, has been enshrined within my heart (sggs 612).

So far these aspects have been reflected upon - who is the Satguru; He only is fit to be served; where is He located, and so on. Before exploring further as to how can one serve the Formless Satguru, let's ascertain how one cannot serve Him. As indicated in the Gurbani, without eradicating Haume, one cannot possibly serve the Satguru.

  • ਹਉਮੈ ਮਾਰਿ ਕਰਹੁ ਗੁਰ ਸੇਵਾ ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਹਰਿ ਰੰਗਿ ਭੀਨਾ ਹੇ ॥: Houmai maari karahu gur sevaa jan Naanak har rang bheenaa he: Subdue your egotism, and serve the Guru; O servant Nanak, you will be drenched with God's Love (sggs 1028).
  • ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਸੇਵਾ ਸੋ ਕਰੇ ਜਿਸੁ ਬਿਨਸੈ ਹਉਮੈ ਤਾਪੁ ॥: Satgur kee sevaa so kare jis binsai houmai taapu: People serve the True Guru only when the fever of egotism has been eradicated (sggs 45).

How can one serve a Formless Satguru?

The best way to serve Him is to live life in accordance with the Gurmat (Divine Teaching of the Gurbani or Shabad-Giaan). For a sincere seeker, the Divine Knowledge contained in the Gurbani (sggs) is the manifestation of the Divine Will (Hukam), which resides within each one of us. Since the Gur-Shabad is the expression of the Supreme Being, a true seeker serves Him by praising His Shabad, or Naam (Aatam-Giaan...) .

  • ਨਾਮੁ ਹਮਾਰੈ ਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਸੇਵ ॥੧॥: Naamu hamaarai Gur kee sev ||1||: Naam-Sevaa for me is the Gur-Sevaa (sggs 1145).
  • ਹਰਿ ਕੀ ਟਹਲ ਕਮਾਵਣੀ ਜਪੀਐ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਕਾ ਨਾਮੁ ॥: Har ki tahal kamaavanee japeeyai prabh kaa Naam: Serve God, chant His Name (sggs 300).
  • ਕਾਟਿ ਸਿਲਕ ਪ੍ਰਭਿ ਸੇਵਾ ਲਾਇਆ ॥ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਕਾ ਸੇਵਕ ਮਨਿ ਭਾਇਆ ॥ ਸੋਈ ਕਮਾਵੈ ਜੋ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਭਾਵੈ ਸੇਵਕੁ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਮਾਹਰੁ ਜੀਉ ॥੨॥: Kaat silk prabh sevaa laaiaa. Hukam sahib kaa sevak mann bhaaiaa. Soee kamaavai jo saahib bhaavai sevak antar baahar maahar jeeou : God has cut my noose (of the love of Maya, etc.); He has placed me in His Service. His Hukam, or Command, is pleasing to the mind of His servant. He does that which pleases his God ||2|| (sggs 101).
  • ਸਾ ਸੇਵਾ ਕੀਤੀ ਸਫਲ ਹੈ ਜਿਤੁ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਮਨੁ ਮੰਨੇ ॥: Saa sevaa keetee safal hai jitu satigur kaa manu manne: Successful (fruitful, of avail ...) is that Sevaa, which is pleasing to the Satigur's Mind. (sggs 314).
Who is qualified to serve the Satguru? According to the Gurbani, those who are truly content within (Sat Santokhee) can only perform the true service. The implication is that if we are not fully content within, then our service will be in greed, selfishness and corruption. Those who are truly contented abide in Dharma. They burn away the bonds of the bewitching worldliness (Maya), and live simple and Gurmukh Life.
  • Sev keetee santhokheeean jinhee sacho sach dhiaaeiaa. Ounhee mandai pair n rakhio kar sukirat dharam kamaaiaa: Those who are contented contemlate the Truth; only they serve. They do not take wicked steps (faulty conduct, bad or ill behavior, ਬੁਰਾ, ਝੂਠ ...); by doing good (pious, virtuous, ਭਲਾ ...) they practice Dharma. (sggs 466-467).

If one serves the Satguru with arrogance, mental speculations, material logic, and clever cunningness, then he will neither understand the Naam (Shabad-Giaan) nor the Lord. Therefore, one must serve with the feeling of utmost humbleness and Love. Such service to the Satguru is fruitful and rewarding.

  • ਸਾਕਤ ਜਾਇ ਨਿਵਹਿ ਗੁਰ ਆਗੈ ਮਨਿ ਖੋਟੇ ਕੂੜਿ ਕੂੜਿਆਰੇ ॥: Saakat jaai nivahi gur aagai man khote koor kooiaare: The faithless cynics go and bow before the Guru, but their minds are corrupt and utterly false (sggs 312).
  • ਮਨਮੁਖ ਸੇਵਾ ਜੋ ਕਰੇ ਦੂਜੈ ਭਾਇ ਚਿਤੁ ਲਾਇ ॥ ਪੁਤੁ ਕਲਤੁ ਕੁਟੰਬੁ ਹੈ ਮਾਇਆ ਮੋਹੁ ਵਧਾਇ ॥: Manmukh sevaa jo karae doojai bhaai chit laai. Putt kalat kattamb hai Maya mohu vadhaai: The Manmukh may perform service (ਸੇਵਾ), (but while doing so, he) keeps his consciousness attached to the love of duality (not One God). Through Maya, his attachment to children, spouse and relatives increases (sggs 1422).
  • ਸੋ ਬੂਝੈ ਜਿਸੁ ਆਪਿ ਬੁਝਾਏ ॥ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਸੇਵਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਦ੍ਰਿੜ੍ਹ੍ਹਾਏ ॥: So boojhai jis aap bujhaae. Satgur sevaa naam drirhaae (sggs 1175).
  • ਸਾਹਿਬੁ ਸੇਵਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਿ ਆਪਣਾ ਪੂਰੈ ਸਬਦਿ ਵੀਚਾਰਿ ॥: Sahib sevanih aapanaa poorai sabad vichaar: Serve God, and Reflect upon the Perfect Shabad (sggs 512).
  • ਨਾਮੋ ਸੇਵੇ ਨਾਮਿ ਸਹਜਿ ਸਮਾਵੈ ॥: Naamo seve naam sahaj samaavai: They serve the Name, and through the Name, they are absorbed in Sahaj (sggs 232).
  • ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਸੇਵਾ ਸਫਲੁ ਹੈ ਜੇ ਕੋ ਕਰੇ ਚਿਤੁ ਲਾਇ ॥: Satgur kee sevaa safal hai jae ko karae chit laae: Service to the True Guru is fruitful and rewarding, if one performs it with his mind focused on it (sggs 644).
  • ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਸਾਹੁ ਸਿਖ ਵਣਜਾਰੇ ॥ ਪੂੰਜੀ ਨਾਮੁ ਲੇਖਾ ਸਾਚੁ ਸਮ੍ਹਾਰੇ ॥੭॥: Satgur saah sikh vanajaare. Poonjee Naam lekhaa saach samhaare ||7||: The Satguru is the Banker, and His Sikhs are the traders. Their merchandise is the Naam, and meditation on God is their account ||7|| (sggs 430).

On the physical plane, The Sat Guru is represented by His Divine Essence, Gur-Shabad, Naam, Mantra or Bani. Thus, the Gur-Shabad is the confidential representative, the embodiment of Truth, the agent of salvation appointed for releasing man from the bondage of Maya. Its written form (Akhar form) is the Gurbani, which helps lost souls recognize their True Nature (Joti-Svaroop). Accordingly, a sincere seeker approaches and treats the Divine Knowledge contained in the Gurbani with respect and reverence — he lives by it.

  • ਗੁਰਮਤੀ ਆਪੁ ਪਛਾਣਿਆ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮ ਪਰਗਾਸੁ ॥: Gurmatee aap pachhaaniaa Raam naam paragaas: Follow the Guru’s Teachings (i.e., Gurmat or Shabad-Giaan), and recognize your own Self; the Divine Light of the Lord’s Name will shine Within (sggs 86).

In fact there are many guidelines contained in the Gurbani as to how one should sit while Reflecting, remembering or Glorifying the Truth — one's sole focus should not be on the designer's Rumaalaas, fancy Manjee Sahib, Langar (food), rituals or ceremonies, lip worship and habitual reading of the Gurbani. Rather, the emphasis should be on attaining Intuitive Understanding of the Shabad-Giaan. This can only be realized by single-minded Bhagt, and loving focus of the consciousness on the Divine Name (Aatam-Giaan...).

  • ਹੋਹੁ ਸਾਵਧਾਨ ਅਪੁਨੇ ਗੁਰ ਸਿਉ ॥: Hohu saavadhaan apune gur siou: Be attentive (alert) to your Guru, i.e., Shabad (sggs 895).
  • ਪ੍ਰਭ ਕੀ ਉਸਤਤਿ ਕਰਹੁ ਸੰਤ ਮੀਤ ॥ ਸਾਵਧਾਨ ਏਕਾਗਰ ਚੀਤ ॥: Prabh kee ustat karaou sant meet. Saavadhaan ekaagar cheet: Praises othe Lord, O Saints, friends. (Praise the Lord) with total concentration and one-pointedness of mind (sggs 295).
  • ਸਾਕਤ ਜਾਇ ਨਿਵਹਿ ਗੁਰ ਆਗੈ ਮਨਿ ਖੋਟੇ ਕੂੜਿ ਕੂੜਿਆਰੇ ॥: Saakat jaai nivahi gur aagai man khote koor kooiaare: The faithless cynics go and bow before the Guru, but their minds are corrupt and utterly false (sggs 312).

The Spiritual Wisdom of the Gurbani reveals to us very important concepts. The first is that the man in made in the True Image of God, hence, the man's real nature is Divine. Second, the only aim of human life is to realize the Essence of this Divinity Within. Third, the Soul is Immortal, and the experience of the Oneness of the Soul with the Universal Spirit is to Realize God. Accordingly, the Gurbani tells us that if by reading scriptures this understanding does not arise in our bosom, then we are worse than beasts, worms and insects.

  • ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਸੁਨਿ ਕਛੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਨ ਉਪਜਿਓ ਪਸੁ ਜਿਉ ਉਦਰੁ ਭਰਉ ॥: Gurmati suni kashu giaan n upjio pasu jiou udar bharaou: Despite listening to the Gurmati (Shabad-Giaan, Divine Teaching of the Gur-Shabad, etc.), (if) no spiritual wisdom (ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਦੀ ਕੁਝ ਭੀ ਸੂਝ) wells up within (me); (then it would be) like a beast (routinely) filling its belly (sggs 685).

In order to link with the Infinite, one has to dissolve forever his finitude. An average person's will is whim guided, and his judgment is influenced by habits, company he keeps, and the environment he lives in. By tuning in our whim guided will and habits with the Wisdom guided Will (Hukam) of the Shabad-Giaan, we can dissolve our finitude once and forever. Thereafter, one will always be guided by the True Dharma from within.

  • ਸਤਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਭਾਣਾ ਮੰਨਿ ਲਈ ਵਿਚਹੁ ਆਪੁ ਗਵਾਇ ॥ ਏਹਾ ਸੇਵਾ ਚਾਕਰੀ ਨਾਮੁ ਵਸੈ ਮਨਿ ਆਇ ॥: Satgur kaa bhaanaa mann layee vichahu aap gavvayi. Ehaa sevaa chaakree Naam vasai mann aayi: I will accept the Will of the True Guru, and eradicate selfishness from within. By this work and service, the Naam will come to dwell within my mind (sggs 34).

By focusing the consciousness on the Divine Teachings of the Gurbani, we can awaken the Sat Guru's Grace within. The Shabad-Giaan is the Divine Door (Gurdawara) leading to the Infinite Consciousness. When the Light of the Akaal Purukh (Timeless Being) flows into the seeker through the Shabad-Giaan, it becomes the cause of his liberation from the worldliness (Maya or false ego). It's not that the Light of the Akaal Purukh isn't flowing in us at the present moment. In truth, It is; but due to the covering of our false ego (Haumai) we are unaware of it.

  • ਅਨੰਦੁ ਭਇਆ ਮੇਰੀ ਮਾਏ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੂ ਮੈ ਪਾਇਆ ॥ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਤ ਪਾਇਆ ਸਹਜ ਸੇਤੀ ਮਨਿ ਵਜੀਆ ਵਾਧਾਈਆ ॥: Anandu bhaiaa meree maae stigur mai paaiaa. Satigur ta paaiaa sahaj setee mani vajeeaa vaadhaaiaa (sggs 917).
  • ਆਤਮੁ ਚੀਨਿ ਪਰਮ ਪਦੁ ਪਾਇਆ ਸੇਵਾ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਸਮਾਈ ਹੇ ॥੧੫॥: Aatam cheen param pad paaeiaa sevaa surati samaaee he ||15||: Understanding (my) own Soul (ਆਪਣੇ ਜੀਵਨ ਨੂੰ ਪੜਤਾਲ ਕੇ...), (I) have obtained the Supreme Status (ਸਭ ਤੋਂ ਉੱਚਾ ਆਤਮਕ ਦਰਜਾ); (my) awareness is immersed in selfless service ||15||.
  • ਗੁਰੁ ਸੇਵੀਜੈ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਪੀਜੈ ਜਿਸੁ ਲਾਵਹਿ ਸਹਜਿ ਧਿਆਨੋ ॥: Gur seveejai Amrit peejai jis laavahi sahaji dhiaano: (O Lord, only that person) Serves the Guru and drinks in the Amrit (Amrit of Your Naam) whom You causes to meditate intuitively (ਜਿਸ ਦੀ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਤੂੰ ਆਤਮਕ ਅਡੋਲਤਾ ਵਿਚ ਟਿਕਾਂਦਾ ਹੈਂ - "ਸਹਜਿ ਧਿਆਨੋ") (sggs 777).
  • ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਸਦਾ ਦਇਆਲੁ ਹੈ ਅਵਗੁਣ ਸਬਦਿ ਜਲਾਏ ॥ ਅਉਗੁਣ ਸਬਦਿ ਜਲਾਏ ਦੂਜਾ ਭਾਉ ਗਵਾਏ ਸਚੇ ਹੀ ਸਚਿ ਰਾਤੀ ॥ ਸਚੈ ਸਬਦਿ ਸਦਾ ਸੁਖੁ ਪਾਇਆ ਹਉਮੈ ਗਈ ਭਰਾਤੀ ॥: Satgur sadaa daiaal hai avagun sabad jalaae ...: The True Guru is forever merciful; through (those who surrender to Him) His Shabad burns away their demerits. Thereby, the Soul-bride eradicates her love of duality; she is attuned to the True Being. Through the True Shabad, everlasting peace is obtained, and egotism and doubt are dispelled (sggs 583).
In summary, to link with the Lord, one needs to awaken the Grace of the Satguru within, which results from one's own sincere self-efforts (Shabad-Vichaar) or practice of the Divine Name (Shabad-Kamaaee or Ghaalanaa). Shabad-Giaan is the well which is full of the Immaculate water of Spiritual Wisdom to the brim. If we chose to, we can daily drink of its living waters.
  • ਪੂਰੈ ਸਤਿਗੁਰਿ ਸਬਦੁ ਸੁਣਾਇਆ ॥ ਤ੍ਰੈ ਗੁਣ ਮੇਟੇ ਚਉਥੈ ਚਿਤੁ ਲਾਇਆ ॥: Poorai Satgur Sabad sunaaiaa. Trai gun mete chauthe chit laaiaa: The Perfect Satguru has revealed the Shabad; it eradicates the three qualitied Maya, and attunes the consciousness to the Fourth State, Chauthaa Pad (sggs 231).
  • ਨਾਮੋ ਸੇਵੇ ਨਾਮਿ ਸਹਜਿ ਸਮਾਵੈ ॥: Naamo seve naam sahaj samaavai: They serve the Name, and through the Name, they are absorbed in Sahaj (sggs 232).
  • ਹਰਿ ਜੀਉ ਸਾਚਾ ਸਾਚੀ ਬਾਣੀ ਸਬਦਿ ਮਿਲਾਵਾ ਹੋਈ ॥੧॥: Hari jeeou saachaa saachee Bani Sabad milaavaa hoi ||1||: God is True, and True is His Bani. Through the Shabad, we merge with Him ||1|| (sggs 32)

— T. Singh
www.gurbani.org