GURBANI IS MEANT TO BE APPLIED

By becoming the Gurmukh (Spiritual Being...), practice the Shabad
(Divine Name, Gurmat, Aatam Giaan, to live according to the Shabad-Giaan, ਸਬਦ ਕਮਾਣਾ, etc.),
and the Lord will come to dwell within the mind
(i.e., the mind becomes Stable in its Mool within, ਅੰਤਰ ਆਤਮੇ ਟਿਕ ਜਾਂਣਾਂ, etc.) (sggs 67).
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If a person is disease-stricken, his mere reading of the medicine's label without taking the medicine will not cure him. In order to be cured of the disease and related pain and suffering, one has to take the medicine and stop mere reading its label.

Similarly, the Gurbani (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, SGGS) is only meant to be applied, otherwise it has no meaning. Mere reading of it or listening to its recitations will not cure us from our psychological illness.

Therefore, the Gurbani emphasizes on "Karanee" (implementation, application, practice, performance, living the Gurmat, Good Deeds, ਅਮਲ, ਕਰਣੀ, ਗੁਰੂ ਦਾ ਦੱਸਿਆ ਹੋਇਆ ਆਚਰਨ, ਕਰਨ-ਜੋਗ ਕੰਮ, ਸੁਚੱਜਾ ਜੀਵਨ, etc.).

  • ਕਰਣੀ ਬਾਝਹੁ ਤਰੈ ਨ ਕੋਇ ॥: Karanee baajhahu tarai na koi: Without "Karanee", no one crosses over ("terrifying world-ocean" or Sansaar) (sggs 952).
  • 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).
More or less, we are all sick. Our disease is false ego (Haume). The instructions of the Gurbani is like a medicine. Until it is diligently applied to the mind, its mere reading will not have any effect on the healing process. One may be able to gain all sorts of knowledge by reading the scriptures, however, the knowledge without pure Bhagti or Shabad-Surti (Understanding of the Gurmat) is empty as married life to an eunuch! One can appease his hunger only by taking food. If he does not make effort to take food, or if he just sits there on account of his fate, he is sure to die of starvation! Similarly, if we desire to rid of our chronic disease of false ego (Haume), we must apply the Divine Teaching of the Gurbani or Shabad-Giaan.
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਮੈਲੁ ਲਾਗੀ ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦੀ ਖੋਵੈ ॥: Haumai mail laagee gur sabdee khovai:The filth of ego (ਹਉਮੈ) stuck to the (mind) is removed through the Shabad (sggs 123).
  • ਕਰਣੀ ਬਾਝਹੁ ਘਟੇ ਘਟਿ ॥: Karanee baajhahu ghate ghati: Without "Karanee", (Understanding, ਸੂਝ ਬੂਝ...) remains deficient (ਨੀਵੀਂ , ਥੋੜੀ...). (sggs 25).
Just as we can get rid of a disease with medicine under the instructions of a competent doctor, in the same way, with the stick of collyrium of the Divine Knowledge (Aatam-Giaan), the Gurbani helps us remove from our eyes the cataract of Maya (illusion, false ego, delusion, mental conditionings, ignorance, wrong identity, etc.). It is this medicine which cures all diseases of the Mayaic mind . Hence the Gurbani is the Perfect Doctor of the Soul; for it relieves the Jeeva from its conditionings so that it can Realize its Mool within (Source, Origin, Jot...). However, it will not do the trick if we simply verbalize it. Only when one fully assimilates it will all be well with him!
  • ਆਪੇ ਵੈਦੁ ਆਪਿ ਨਾਰਾਇਣੁ ॥ ਏਹਿ ਵੈਦ ਜੀਅ ਕਾ ਦੁਖੁ ਲਾਇਣ ॥ ਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਸਬਦੁ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਰਸੁ ਖਾਇਣ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਜਿਸੁ ਮਨਿ ਵਸੈ ਤਿਸ ਕੇ ਸਭਿ ਦੂਖ ਮਿਟਾਇਣ ॥੧॥: Aapi vaid aapi Naaraain ...: God Himself is the true physician (who removes the desease of the soul - ego or Haumai). These physicians of the world only burden the Soul with pain (of more ego or Haumai). The Gur-Shabad is Amrit - Ambrosial Nectar - eat it (Naam-Amrit). O Nanak! Whose mind is filled with this (Naam) Amrit — all his pains are dispelled ||1|| (sggs 962).
In reality, the Unconditioned Consciousness (Shabad, Naam, Mool, Light, Knowledge, Satguru, etc.) is our True Nature; for it resides deep in the nucleus of our personality. However, in ignorance we have confounded our Mool within (Source, Origin, Jot...) with the apparatus of the body-mind-intellect, thereby we have forgotten the state of our True Being. By persistently applying the Touchstone of the Gurbani to our life the egoism is quieted, and we become Aware of our Essential Nature (ਗਿਆਨ ਅਵਸਤਾ), which is Eternal Blissful Existence.
  • ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਦੇਹੀ ਸੋਧਿ ਤੂੰ ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦਿ ਵੀਚਾਰਿ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਇਸੁ ਦੇਹੀ ਵਿਚਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਨਿਧਾਨੁ ਹੈ ਪਾਈਐ ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਹੇਤਿ ਅਪਾਰਿ ॥੮॥੧੦॥੩੨॥: Ihu manu dehee sodhi toon gur sabadi veechaari. Nanak isu dehee vichi naami nidhaani hai paaeeai gur kai heti apaari ||8||10||32||: Search this mind and body, by the Gur-Shabad-Vichaar (by reflecting on the Gur-Shabad...). O Nanak! Within this body is the Treasure of the Naam; it is attained through the unbounded love for the Gur (Gur-Giaan...) ||8||10||32|| (sggs 427).
The body is the field (Khet) of actions, and through actions we attain experiences. The Gurbani tells us to perform certain actions and to refrain from others. It further tells us to perform actions without attachment. Thus, to live by the Gurbani requires disciplining every fiber of our nerve system. Application of the Touchstone of the Shabad-Giaan (Divine Knowledge) to our daily activities supersedes all other philosophy, logic, advice, psychology and all speculations of the intellect. It keeps the awareness in the eternity of the "now".
  • ਫਰੀਦਾ ਅਮਲ ਜਿ ਕੀਤੇ ਦੁਨੀ ਵਿਚਿ ਦਰਗਹ ਆਏ ਕੰਮਿ ॥੧੦੦॥: Freedaa amal ji keetai dunee vich Dargah aaye Kammi ||100||: Fareed, only good actions done in the world will be of any use in the Divine Court ||100|| (sggs 1383).
Applying the Gurbani means to live earnestly by its instructions. Thinking of One Reality alone, speaking of This One alone, conversing of This One alone with others, and serving This One alone with the Divine Naam (Divine Knowledge, Aatam Giaan...) is the practice of the spiritually Wise (Giaanee, the Gurmukh) who has applied the Gurbani to their day-to-day living. The intellect of such seeker is filled with Beauty and Bliss, his Vision is right, and his mind is free of the passion for sensual enjoyment. Firmly established in the conviction that this world and its objects are illusion (transient) like the blueness of the sky, he is free of attraction and repulsion.
  • ਸਚਹੁ ਓਰੈ ਸਭੁ ਕੋ ਉਪਰਿ ਸਚੁ ਆਚਾਰ ॥੫॥: Sachahu orai sabh kayu upari sach aachaar ||5||: Everything is underneath (lower than, ਉਰ੍ਹੇ, …) Truth; the truthful living (living with Truth) is the highest (i.e., the superior form of living, ਸਭ ਤੇ ਉੱਪਰ …) ||5|| (sggs 62).
  • ਪੂਰਾ ਸੇਵਕੁ ਸਬਦਿ ਸਿਞਾਪੈ ॥ ਸਦਾ ਸਬਦੁ ਰਵੈ ਘਟ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਰਸਨਾ ਰਸੁ ਚਾਖੈ ਸਚੁ ਸੋਈ ਹੇ ॥੧੩॥: Pooraa sewak Shabad sinjhaapai ...: His perfect servant attains Realization through the Shabad. (That Sevak alone) dwells forever upon the Shabad in his Heart within; and he tastes the sublime essence of the Truth with his tongue ||13|| (sggs 1046).
The ornament of such an earnest seeker who lives by the Gur-Shabad is Gurmat (Aatam Giaan), and has consciousness of non-duality (absence of Doojaa Bhaav, Maya ). He is full of Spiritual Wisdom and lives it. Such perfect and taintless being lives in the shoreless ocean of Bliss (Anand); for he is free of those practices that breed miseries, anxiety, anguish and self-limitations.

However, as the Gurbani points out to us, instead of applying the Spiritual Wisdom of the Gurbani to our daily living, we adorn it with evil passions, religious paraphernalia, ritual marks, ornaments, scented oils, perfumes, ashes, rosaries, make-up, and so on.  Also, we adorn our inner subtle equipment with poisonous fume of discord, which leads us into a self-created state of fretfulness.

  • ਮਹਲਾ ੧ ॥ ਨ ਭੀਜੈ ਰਾਗੀ ਨਾਦੀ ਬੇਦਿ ॥ ਨ ਭੀਜੈ ਸੁਰਤੀ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਜੋਗਿ ॥ ਨ ਭੀਜੈ ਸੋਗੀ ਕੀਤੈ ਰੋਜਿ ॥ ਨ ਭੀਜੈ ...॥ ਨ ਭੀਜੈ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਬੈਠਿਆ ਸੁੰਨਿ ॥ ਨ ਭੀਜੈ ਭੇੜਿ ਮਰਹਿ ਭਿੜਿ ਸੂਰ ॥ ਨ ਭੀਜੈ ਕੇਤੇ ਹੋਵਹਿ ਧੂੜ ॥ ਲੇਖਾ ਲਿਖੀਐ ਮਨ ਕੈ ਭਾਇ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਭੀਜੈ ਸਾਚੈ ਨਾਇ ॥੨॥ : Mahalaa 1 || Na Bheejai raagee naadee Bedi ...: Mahalaa 1. (the lord) is not won over by playing music, singing songs or reading (scriptures such as) the Vedas (etc.). He is not won over by Giaan (knowledge-debates, Giaan Charchaa - ਗਿਆਨ-ਚਰਚਾ, etc.), meditation or practicing Yoga. He is not won over by feeling sad and depressed forever. He is not won over by beauty, wealth and pleasures (ਰੰਗ-ਤਮਾਛੇ ਵਿਚ ਰੁੱਝਿਆਂ). He is not won over by wandering naked or (visiting) sacred shrines. He is not won over by giving donations in charity. He is not won over by living alone in the wilderness. (God) is not won over by fighting and dying as a warrior in battle i.e., by becoming a martyr or Shaheed. He is not won over by rubbing dust (to the body - some Yogi rub ashes to the body). (one is) judged by the state of his mind. O Nanak, the Lord is won over only by His Name ||2|| (sggs 1237).
We have today more people who talk on the Gurbani than those who learn it; and more who read the Gurbani than those who understand its real meaning. But, very few are trying to live the Gurbani. Especially many among the so-called educated class who generally reason to themselves that the SGGS is the greatest Granth in the world explaining a wondrous Spiritual Teaching to read, sing and appreciate rather than to live by it!

Consequently, what we are now witnessing is a miserable travesty of the Truth of the Gurbani, obscured and distorted by self-seeking Bhais, Raagees, Kathaakaars, Giaanees, Paathees, Pujaarees, Parchaaraks, Sants, and the scheming intellects who have their own selfish purpose and plans to swindle the unsuspecting people. The cheap practices of ignoring the Truth now seems to be the accepted routine in the houses-of-god. This is religious corruption which does not bless anyone except the temple institutions and their trustees. As far as the devotion (Bhagti: Understanding Gurmat-Aatam Giaan) is concerned, such negative practices can only bring a destruction of the very ethical and moral integrity of the followers.

  • ਕਾਲੁ ਨਾਹੀ ਜੋਗੁ ਨਾਹੀ ਨਾਹੀ ਸਤ ਕਾ ਢਬੁ ॥ ਥਾਨਸਟ ਜਗ ਭਰਿਸਟ ਹੋਏ ਡੂਬਤਾ ਇਵ ਜਗੁ ॥: Kaal naahee jog naahee naahee sat kaa dhab. Thaanasatt jag bharisat hoy doobahaaiv jag: No, no, this is not the time, when people know the way to Yoga and Truth. The holy places of worship in the world are polluted, and so the world is drowning. (sggs 662).
  • ਦੇਖਾ ਦੇਖੀ ਸ੍ਵਾਂਗੁ ਧਰਿ ਭੂਲੇ ਭਟਕਾ ਖਾਹਿ ॥੧੩੫॥: Dekhaa dekhee swaang dhar bhoole bhatakaa khaahi: (People) look at one another (ਸਾਂਗ ਬਣਾ ਕੇ, ਨਕਲ ਕਰ ਕੇ...), and wear religious robes, but they are deluded and lost (from the true Way of life-ਸਹੀ ਰਾਹ ਤੋਂ ਖੁੰਝੇ ਹੋਏ ਇਹ ਲੋਕ ਭਟਕਦੇ ਹਨ). ||135|| (sggs 1371).
The Gurbani is a very simple and basic human document which outlines man's Lord-ward journey and his charter of duties. It takes into account the entire spectrum of human life. Therefore, its Teaching has relevance to day-to-day life in the world. In essence, it asks us to live Truthfully, while constantly remaining in Divine Communion, and Share. This is Dharma.

Although we know deep inside that we must live by the Gurbani's Instructions (Gurmat-Aatam Giaan), but we are unable to live it in action. Why? Because, although we do go through the Gurbani (or any holy texts for that matter) again and again, but we never allow the Gurbani to go through us! In other words, any reading or listening of the Gurbani without gaining Intuitive Understanding is totally unavailing. As a result, our minds are not at this moment tuned into the Gur-Shabad, and therefore not fully prepared or willing for cultivating Shabad-Surti (Aatam Giaan...). Our daily life is full of its natural contentions and usual competitions. The result is that we end up living a wrong life in all our worldly contacts and experiences, undergoing tensions, strains, creating chaos within for ourselves, and confusion outside for others around us. The Gurbani questions us:

  • ਬਿਲਾਵਲੁ ਮਹਲਾ ੫ ॥ ਐਸੇ ਕਾਹੇ ਭੂਲਿ ਪਰੇ ॥ ਕਰਹਿ ਕਰਾਵਹਿ ਮੂਕਰਿ ਪਾਵਹਿ ਪੇਖਤ ਸੁਨਤ ਸਦਾ ਸੰਗਿ ਹਰੇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਕਾਚ ਬਿਹਾਝਨ ਕੰਚਨ ਛਾਡਨ ਬੈਰੀ ਸੰਗਿ ਹੇਤੁ ਸਾਜਨ ਤਿਆਗਿ ਖਰੇ ॥ ਹੋਵਨੁ ਕਉਰਾ ਅਨਹੋਵਨੁ ਮੀਠਾ ਬਿਖਿਆ ਮਹਿ ਲਪਟਾਇ ਜਰੇ ॥੧॥ ਅੰਧ ਕੂਪ ਮਹਿ ਪਰਿਓ ਪਰਾਨੀ ਭਰਮ ਗੁਬਾਰ ਮੋਹ ਬੰਧਿ ਪਰੇ ॥ ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਹੋਤ ਦਇਆਰਾ ਗੁਰੁ ਭੇਟੈ ਕਾਢੈ ਬਾਹ ਫਰੇ ॥੨॥੧੦॥੯੬॥: Bilaaval Mahalaa 5 || Aise kaahe bhool pare ...: Bilaaval Mahalaa 5. Why do you wander in delusion like this? You act, and incite others to act (evil Karma), and then deny it. The Lord is always with you; He sees and hears everything. ||1||Pause||You purchase glass (worldliness), and discard gold (Truth or Divine Name); you are in love with your enemy (Maya), while you renounce your true friend (God or HIs Name). That which exists (Truth or Divine Name), seems bitter; that which does not exist (illusion or Maya), seems sweet to you. Engrossed in corruption, you are burning away. The mortal has fallen into the deep, dark pit (of attachment), and is entangled in the darkness of doubt, and the bondage of emotional attachment. Says Nanak, when God becomes merciful (when the Divine Mercy is awakened within), one meets with the Guru, who takes him by the arm, and lifts him out ||2||10||96|| (sggs 823).
In the desire of acquiring scriptural knowledge, many scholars (Vidavaan-ਵਿੱਦਵਾਨ) resort to endless study of scriptural texts, giving very little or no consideration to living by them. Caught in this race of acquiring mere book-knowledge they may even resort to a system, path or a sect of their own. This is nothing but a state of Spiritual stagnation which may be encountered in even evolved beings. With such book-knowledge one may impress upon simpletons, gain name and wealth, make followers, get appreciation from others, build a little empire, and so on, but he will not find himself or the Lord.
  • ਸਾਸਤ ਸਿੰਮ੍ਰਿਤਿ ਬੇਦ ਚਾਰਿ ਮੁਖਾਗਰ ਬਿਚਰੇ ॥ ਤਪੇ ਤਪੀਸਰ ਜੋਗੀਆ ਤੀਰਥਿ ਗਵਨੁ ਕਰੇ ॥ ਖਟੁ ਕਰਮਾ ਤੇ ਦੁਗੁਣੇ ਪੂਜਾ ਕਰਤਾ ਨਾਇ ॥ ਰੰਗੁ ਨ ਲਗੀ ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਤਾ ਸਰਪਰ ਨਰਕੇ ਜਾਇ ॥੫॥: Saasat Simrit bed chaar mukhaabar bichaare ...: People may recite by heart the Shaastras, the Simritees and the four Vedas; they may be ascetics, great, self-disciplined Yogis; they may visit sacred shrines of pilgrimage and perform the six ceremonial rituals, over and over again, performing worship services and ritual bathings. Even so, if they have not embraced love for the Supreme Lord, then they will surely go to hell || 5|| (sggs 70).
The Lord cannot be Realized through scholarship or speculations. As the light from even millions of burning lamps is of no avail to a blind person, so too, the repeated reading (Nitnems, Paaths, etc.) or study of numerous scriptures is of no use to a person who does not live by the character of the Gur-Shabad. Mool-realization comes with lining the Gurmat (Aatam Giaan), not with mere words.
  • ਗਲੀ ਜੋਗੁ ਨ ਹੋਈ ॥: Gallee yoga na hoyee: Yoga is not obtained by mere words (sggs 730).
  • ਕਿਆ ਪੜੀਐ ਕਿਆ ਗੁਨੀਐ ॥ ਕਿਆ ਬੇਦ ਪੁਰਾਨਾਂ ਸੁਨੀਐ ॥ ਪੜੇ ਸੁਨੇ ਕਿਆ ਹੋਈ ॥ ਜਉ ਸਹਜ ਨ ਮਿਲਿਓ ਸੋਈ ॥੧॥: Kiaa parheeai kiaa guneeai ...: What use is it to read, and what use is it to study? What use is it to listen to the scriptures? What use is reading and listening, if (Truth ) is not naturally (spontaneously, Sahaj ਤੌਰ ਤੇ, ਕੁਦਰਤੀ ਨਤੀਜੇ ਦੇ ਤੌਰ ਤੇ, ਆਤਮਕ ਅਡੋਲਤਾ ਦੇ ਤੌਰ ਤੇ, etc.,) realized? ||1|| (sggs 655).
The Gurbani is a way of teaching and practice. Therefore, the Gurbani is only meant to be lived in actions. For example, if we want to know the sweetness of honey, we must taste it ourselves. Similarly, if we want to attain the tatse of the Spiritual Wisdom (Aatam-Giaan), we must apply the Gurbani to our daily lives. Without it, we will remain nothing but learned "fools"! One may know all the right verses, quote them effectively, be brilliant in discourses and discussions, but so long he is not intensely mindful of its true teaching, and than live by it, obstacles to Self-knowledge are bound to be there. The Gurbani says:
  • ਮੂਰਖੁ ਸਬਦੁ ਨ ਚੀਨਈ ਸੂਝ ਬੂਝ ਨਹ ਕਾਇ ॥੫੩॥: Moorakh Sabad na cheenaee soojg boojh nah kaai ||53||: The fool does not think of the Shabad. He has no understanding, no comprehension ||53|| (sggs 938).
  • ਪੜਿਆ ਮੂਰਖੁ ਆਖੀਐ ਜਿਸੁ ਲਬੁ ਲੋਭੁ ਅਹੰਕਾਰਾ ॥: Parhiaa moorakh aakheeai jis lab lobh ahankaar: That educated person who is full of greed, avarice and pride, is said to be a fool (sggs 140).

The feeling of "ups" and "downs" of our life merely shows that the Gurbani has not been taken to the Heart and translated into practice. In order for us to link with the Divine Essence - the Mool within (Source, Origin, Jot...), the Gurbani thus emphasizes on Spiritual practice of Shabad-Kamaaee (earnest Shabad-Vichaar, followed by living it!) which, in turn, gives rise to Shabad-Surti (God-consciousness). By repeatedly reflecting on the Gurbani the mind acquires the power to return to its Mool within (Source, Origin, Jot...).

Merely identifying with a particular religion, path, system, caste or social class will not change us. Because most of us use the religion in the pretext of serving our bodies and minds only. Instead of acting on the teaching, we just play with it. Also, giving oneself a particular name will not bring about the inner change either. Further, learning mere words is not sufficient; for mere verbal knowledge is ineffective. Words are play of the mind and are meaningful only at the level of the mind. For example, if one is thirsty, he cannot drink the word "water", nor he can satisfy his thirst. It acquires meaning only with the actual drinking.  Similarly, the Timeless Reality is beyond words; its experience comes through living the Gur-Shabad in actions.

  • ਸਚੁ ਕਰਣੀ ਸਬਦੁ ਹੈ ਸਾਰੁ ॥: Sachu karanee Sabad hai saar: The practice of Truth is the essence of the Shabad (sggs 114).
  • Outhe amlaan te hone ne niberhe kise naheen teri jaat pushnee: There, you will be judged by what you practice, not by your caste or social class (Sufi Bulle Shah).
Spiritual Wisdom in action is religion. The only way to know if a person is really religious is to watch his actions; for the religion shows its true face in action. Therefore, it is not what we say, but what how we conduct ourselves that matters. The person who is truly religious manifests signs such as discriminating intellect (Viveka Budhi), non-attachment (Bairaag), love and compassion for all living beings (Daya),Divine Knowledge (Aatam-Giaan), selfless service, Jap or Naam-Simran, righteous living, goodness, fearlessness, mental steadfastness, tranquility, magnanimity, true humility, contentment, sweet speech, unselfishness, relinquishment, pure vision, intuitively balanced consciousness, immutability, freedom from craving (Vaasnaas or latent tendencies) for sense gratification, and so on. These are the natural, non-intentional, and spontaneous qualities of a person who is established in Truth; for he is free of those practices that breed miseries, anxiety, anguish and self-limitations.
  • ਸਚਾ ਸਾਹਿਬੁ ਸਚੁ ਪਰਖੈ ਸਾਚੈ ਹੁਕਮਿ ਚਲਾਈ ਹੇ ॥੩॥: Sachaa saahib sach parkhai saachai hukami chalaaee he ||3||: The True God appraises the mortals (on the Touchstone of) Truth, and issues His True Command ||3|| (sggs 1023).
The role of the Gurbani is to equip us so that we can dispel our false ego; for ignorance lasts as long as one is in the control of this obstinate error. However, we cannot act correctly without the proper understanding of the Gurbani (or any other scriptural text for that matter). Once it is properly understood and realized, the confirming action is up to us. Nobody can act for another, just as nobody can eat for another. The Gurbani shows us the goal. However,  the obstacles are discovered and overcome by us, the seekers, through earnestly living by its Teaching (Gurmat or Shabad-Giaan). If we do not apply the Gurbani rightly, it only means that we have not understood it rightly. The Gur-Shabad never fails, but, in bondage, we fail the Gur-Shabad!
  • ਅੰਦਰਿ ਹੀਰਾ ਲਾਲੁ ਬਣਾਇਆ ॥ ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਸਬਦਿ ਪਰਖਿ ਪਰਖਾਇਆ ॥ ਜਿਨ ਸਚੁ ਪਲੈ ਸਚੁ ਵਖਾਣਹਿ ਸਚੁ ਕਸਵਟੀ ਲਾਵਣਿਆ ॥੧॥: Andari heeraa laal banaiaa. Gur kai shabadi parakhi parkhaaiaa ...: Diamond and ruby (of Joti-Svaroopa) are made deep within. They are assayed (ਉਸ ਹੀਰੇ ਲਾਲ ਦੀ ਪਰਖ) and valued through the Gur-Shabad. Those who have gathered Truth, speak Truth; they apply the Touch-stone of Truth (to examine their spiritual life - ਆਪਣੇ ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਦੀ ਪਰਖ). ||1|| (sggs 112).
The Gurbani's message is that there is no purpose in merely rolling the beads nor the tongue singing the praise of God without the Bhagti. There is also no need for empty rituals or peculiar robes because the Lord has nothing to do with them. Also, there is no need of shouting during worship or prayers as God is not deaf. Further, mere listening or memorizing the Gurbani is not enough. To make real Spiritual Progress, we must struggle hard with our mind to live it in our daily life.
  • ਮੈ ਅਵਰੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਨ ਧਿਆਨੁ ਪੂਜਾ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਵਸਿ ਰਹੇ ॥ ਭੇਖੁ ਭਵਨੀ ਹਠੁ ਨ ਜਾਨਾ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਸਚੁ ਗਹਿ ਰਹੇ ॥੧॥: Mai avar giaan n dhiaan poojaa Hari Naam antari vasi rahe. Bhekh bhavnee hath n jaanaa Nanakaa sach gahi rahe ||1||: God's Name dwells deep within me, I know no other wisdom, meditation or worship. I know nothing about religious robes, pilgrimages or stubbornness; O Nanak, I only hold tight to the Truth ||1|| (sggs 843).
  • ਕਬੀਰ ਮੁਲਾਂ ਮੁਨਾਰੇ ਕਿਆ ਚਢਹਿ ਸਾਂਈ ਨ ਬਹਰਾ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਜਾ ਕਾਰਨਿ ਤੂੰ ਬਾਂਗ ਦੇਹਿ ਦਿਲ ਹੀ ਭੀਤਰਿ ਜੋਇ ॥੧੮੪॥: Kabeer Mullan munaare kiya charhe saanyee na bahraa hoi. Jaa kaaran tu baang de dil hee bheetar joi ||154||: Kabeer says: O Mullah, why do you climb to the top of the minaret? God is not deaf. Look within (your) own, for whose sake you shout (your) Baang (ਬਾਂਗ: call of Muslim priest for worship) ||184|| (sggs 1374).
The Shabad, Naam or Hukam is the Truth, the foundation stone of the universe. The practice of Truth, therefore, is the prerequisite to other Spiritual Virtues. Mere reading or listening about the truthful living will not remove the contaminated ego; for the Truth is only meant to be applied. In other words, one can express Truth only by the denial of the false — in action.  The voice of the Divinity speaks as vibrations of Truth in our Soul. The Gurbani therefore exhorts all of us to practice it.
  • ਸਚ ਖੰਡਿ ਵਸੈ ਨਿਰੰਕਾਰੁ ॥: Sach khand vasai nirankaar: In the Realm of Truth, the Formless Lord abides (sggs 8).
The instructions to find the Truth are given in the Gurbani. It is up to us to act and use the directions provided in such instructions. Because, nobody else can make the Mool-realization to order or purpose. One must earn it himself. Man must find out himself through Shabad-Surti what he truly is and then remain in his real state of Being.

The only difference between a Gurmukh (Spiritual Being...) and a Manmukh (material being in unenlightened existence...) is that the Gurmukh practices Gur-Shabad (Gurmat-Aatam Giaan, Spiritual Wisdom...), while the Manmukh practices worldliness (Maya). If an opportunity is given to both the Manmukh and the Gurmukh to choose between material gains and Spiritual Benefits, the general tendency of the Manmukh will be to favor the former. But the Spiritually inclined characters (Gurmukhs) will prefer the latter because their goal is to avoid worldly pleasures and serve Mool within (Source, Origin, Jot...).

How can we become Gurmukh? As indicated in Gurbani, we can become Gurmukh by smoldering the Gur-Shabad into us, "here" and "now". Mere mechanical or dry reading of the scriptures shows nothing but ego's stubbornness. In all earnestness, once the Gurmat is applied to one's life, it will take him within, the Home of the his Mool within (Source, Origin, Jot...). How a Gurmukh acts is summarized as follows:

  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਆਪਣਾ ਮਨੁ ਮਾਰਿਆ ਸਬਦਿ ਕਸਵਟੀ ਲਾਇ ॥ ਮਨ ਹੀ ਨਾਲਿ ਝਗੜਾ ਮਨ ਹੀ ਨਾਲਿ ਸਥ ਮਨ ਹੀ ਮੰਝਿ ਸਮਾਇ ॥: Guramukh aapanaa manu maariaa sabad kasavatee laai. Mann hee naal jhagarraa mann hee naal sath mann hee manjh samaai: Applying the Touchstone of the Shabad, by becoming the Gurmukh, the Gurmukh conqueres his mind (prevents it from falling in love with Maya, etc.). He fights with his mind (its evil inclinations: ਬਿਕਾਰ-ਬਿਰਤੀ), he settles with his mind (make his mind understand), and he becomes immersed (in the auspicious nature of) his mind (sggs 87).
Before applying the Gurbani, first we must learn the Divine knowledge contained in it through Shabad-Vichaar. In other words, one must know what he is trying to apply. Once we know the Teaching, then through practice we realize the Goal. Otherwise, without knowing the Teaching we may not know what we are trying to apply, thus, creating more disturbance, frustration, conflict, and disconcerting feelings. The Gurbani is the source of true Teaching.
  • ਬੂਝਹੁ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਸਬਦੁ ਬੀਚਾਰਿ ॥: Boojhahu giyani Shabad beechaari: O wise one, understand by reflecting on the Shabad (sggs 840).
The reason all religions, paths or systems exist is the perverted ego. Its thinning is impossible so long as there are deep rooted Vaasnaas in our subconsciousness. By sincerely applying the Gur-Shabad to our daily life, we can make the mind concentrate and calm (purified). With the Shabad-Surti (Unconditioned Consciousness) comes the dispassion, the state where all diffused thoughts are absent. When the Shabad-Surti remains unshaken or unbroken, it becomes Sahaj-Avasthaa (natural state of Being, ਗਿਆਨ ਅਵਸਤਾ).

Thus, the practice of the Gur-Shabad or living with the Truth is power in itself. By removing all predispositions, it makes the mind single-pointed where all mental activities cease to be. Ultimately, this focussed concentration leads to Shabad-Vichaar. How quickly one realizes the Sahaj Avasthaa depends on the intensity of the practice or self-effort (Shabad-Vichaar).

Therefore, the Gurbani is not given to us for mere ritualistic and mechanical reading or singing, nor for parrot-like memorization or showoff ceremonies. It is given to us for a very specific reason, that is, to understand the proper Spiritual Teaching and then act upon it. If that does not happen, then the Gurbani declares that there is no difference between a human being engaged in reading or listening to Gurbani and a beast engaged in filling his belly. Once the Gurbani is properly understood, we then come to possess all the essentials of right lifestyle — right thought, right speech, right action, and so on — which makes the proper conduct. From that point on, one does not only know the Truth, but he also lives by It.

  • 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).
  • ਇਹੀ ਅਚਾਰ ਇਹੀ ਬਿਉਹਾਰਾ ਆਗਿਆ ਮਾਨਿ ਭਗਤਿ ਹੋਇ ਤੁਮ੍ਹ੍ਹਾਰੀ ॥ ਜੋ ਇਹੁ ਮੰਤ੍ਰੁ ਕਮਾਵੈ ਨਾਨਕ ਸੋ ਭਉਜਲੁ ਪਾਰਿ ਉਤਾਰੀ ॥੩॥੨੮॥: Ihee achaar ihee biuhaaraa aagiaa maan bhagat hoi tumhaaree. Jo ih mantra kamaavai Nanak so bhavjal paar utaaree ||3||28||: This is right conduct, and this is the correct lifestyle to obey the Divine Will; this is your Bhagti - devotional worship. One who practices this Mantra, O Nanak, swims across the ocean (of the worldliness)||3||28|| (sggs 377).
When a wooden log is on fire, it makes crackling noise and flames. But when the log is completely burnt, then no more noise is heard! Our deluded mind (false ego) is the log; attached to the worldliness it makes noise (restlessness) and the flames of desire and fear are seen. By applying the Gur-Shabad, when the burning is over, it becomes quite (Sahaj). Such Pure Mind (Mool, Pure Aatmaan, or Pure Budhi) is the voice of the Lord. The more one advances towards the Shabad-Surti, the more he becomes detached from the worldliness (Maya).
  • ਭਾਈ ਰੇ ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਸਾਚਿ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਸਾਚੋ ਸਾਚੁ ਕਮਾਵਣਾ ਸਾਚੈ ਸਬਦਿ ਮਿਲਾਉ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Bhaaee re gurmati saach rahaaou. Saache saach kamavaanaa saachai shabad kamaaou ||1||Rahaaou||: O brother, follow the Gurmat (Teaching of the Shabad-Guru) and dwell in Truth. Practice only truth (Naam-Simran, etc.), and remain merged in the Shabad ||1||Pause|| (sggs 30).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਸਬਦੁ ਕਮਾਈਐ ਹਰਿ ਵਸੈ ਮਨਿ ਆਇ ॥ Gurmukhi sabadu kamaaeeai Hari vasia mani aai: By becoming the Gurmukh (Spiritual Being...), practice the Shabad (Divine Name, Gurmat, Aatam Giaan, to live according to the Shabad-Giaan, ਸਬਦ ਕਮਾਣਾ, etc.), and the Lord will come to dwell within the mind (i.e., the mind becomes Stable in its Mool within, ਅੰਤਰ ਆਤਮੇ ਟਿਕ ਜਾਂਣਾਂ, etc.) (sggs 67).
  • ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦੀ ਸਭੁ ਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਪਛਾਨਿਆ ॥: Gur Sabadee sabh Brahm pachhaaniaa: Through the Shabad, I have realized that all is God (sggs 1043).

— T. Singh
www.gurbani.org