Persistent Bhagti

It is said that persistence can grind a steel beam into a needle! The Gurbani urges us to apply persistence in Bhagti as well – “Nirantari Bhagti” (ਨਿਰੰਤਰਿ ਭਗਤਿ); for here the target is to grind the iron-like stubborn mind (“ਮਨੁ ਲੋਹਟੁ”, “ਕਾਇਆ ਆਰਣੁ ਮਨੁ ਵਿਚਿ ਲੋਹਾ”)!

  • ਦੁਖੀ ਦੁਹਾਗਨਿ ਦੁਇ ਪਖ ਹੀਨੀ ॥ ਜਿਨਿ ਨਾਹ ਨਿਰੰਤਰਿ ਭਗਤਿ ਨ ਕੀਨੀ ॥: Dukhee duhaagani dui pakh heenee. Jini naah nirantari bhagti n keenee (sggs 793).

In the above verse, the Gurbani asks us to engage in “Nirantari Bhagti” (ਨਿਰੰਤਰਿ ਭਗਤਿ). Without such “Nirantari Bhagti“, we will remain “Dukhee Duhaagani” (ਦੁਖੀ ਦੁਹਾਗਨਿ: miserable Manmukh: self-willed, duality-stricken, Mayadhaaree…).

Here the words (1) “ਨਿਰੰਤਰਿ” or Nirantari is the adjective of (2) “ਭਗਤਿ” or Bhagti: Nirantari (ਨਿਰੰਤਰਿ) => persistent, continuous, uninterrupted, unbroken, unceasing, ਇਕ-ਰਸ, ਲਗਾਤਾਰ, ਸਦਾ ਹੀ, ਹਰ ਵੇਲੇ, “ਸਿਮਰਿ ਸਿਮਰਿ ਸਿਮਰਿ”, “ਸਾਸ ਸਾਸ ਸਾਸ”, “ਏਕ ਲਿਵ ਤਾਰਾ”…

The questions is: What is Bhagti (ਭਗਤਿ) according to the Gurbani? NOT according to the greedy Brahmins, Pandits, Bhais, Ragis, Parchaarak, Sant (“ਬਾਨਾਰਸਿ ਕੇ ਠਗ”), etc., but according to the Gurbani!

According to the Gurbani, Bhagti (ਭਗਤਿ) for a Sikh is to realize, understand, or obtain the Gurmat (Aatam Giaan - ਆਤਮ ਗਿਆਨ – Divine Knowledge, Spiritual Wisdom of the Gurbani, ਗੁਰਬਾਣੀ ਦੀ ਸਹੀ ਸੂਝ-ਬੂਝ…) through the unbroken Shabad-Vichaar (ਭਾਵ, ਸਿਖ ਵਾਸਤੇ ਗੁਰਮਤ ਲੈਣਾ ਹੀ ਭਗਤੀ ਹੈ – “ਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਮਤਿ ਤੂੰ ਲੇਹਿ”). Without this Gurmat Bhagati, we are sure to waste this rare and precious human birth in Bharam (doubts), Karamkaand (useless rituals)…

  • ਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਮਤਿ ਤੂੰ ਲੇਹਿ ਇਆਨੇ ॥ ਭਗਤਿ ਬਿਨਾ ਬਹੁ ਡੂਬੇ ਸਿਆਨੇ ॥: Gur kee mati toon lehi iaane. Bhagti binaa bahu doobe siaane: You ignorant fool, take the Gurmat (Aatmic-Giaan, Gur-Giaan, Shabad-Vichaar…); without Bhagti, even many clever have drowned. (sggs 288).
  • ਸੋ ਛੂਟੈ ਮਹਾ ਜਾਲ ਤੇ ਜਿਸੁ ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦੁ ਨਿਰੰਤਰਿ ॥: So chhootai mahaa jaal te jisu gur sabadu nirantari: Who continually abide in the Guru-Shabad within (Oupadesh or Giaan of the Gurbani…), they alone escape from the vast bubble or snare (of Maya) ||2|| (sggs 397).

Essentially, this is what the Gurbani indicates when urging us for Simran (Remembrance, Recollection, ਧਿਆਨ…) with every breath and every morsel of food (“ਸਾਸ ਗਿਰਾਸਾ”), day and night (“ਦਿਨੁ ਰੈਨਿ”):

  • ਸਾਸ ਸਾਸ ਸਾਸ ਹੈ ਜੇਤੇ ਮੈ ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਸਮ੍ਹ੍ਹਾਰੇ ॥: Saa saas saas hai jete mai gurmati naamu samhaare: With (all) breaths (i.e, ਲਗਾਤਾਰ-continually…), take care of the Naam through the Gurmat (i.e., unceasingly maintain the Divine Knowledge – ਆਤਮ ਗਿਆਨ – through the Gurbani’s Instruction). (sggs 980).
  • ਸਿਮਰਉ ਦਿਨੁ ਰੈਨਿ ਸਾਸ ਗਿਰਾਸਾ ॥੩॥: Simraou dinu raini saas giraasaa (sggs 177).
  • ਸਬਦੁ ਵੀਚਾਰੇ ਏਕ ਲਿਵ ਤਾਰਾ ॥: Sabad veechaare ek liv taaraa (sggs 1291).

A doubt is likely to arise: How am I to do my daily duties if I am to engage in Gurmat with every breath and morsel of food? The Gurbani says not to worry: Use hands and feet (i.e, the external body-frame) to do your work (Kirat-ਕਿਰਤ), but keep the mind united with the Niranjan within (the Formless Factor beyond Maya’s stain). The Gurbani indicates our struggle is not with the hands and feet, but with the deluded mind within! Thus, in nutshell, Simran suggested in Gurbani is performed at the level of the mind (ਮਨ-ਬੁਧਿ), not at the level of the hands and feet! This is the Gurmukh State!

  • ਹਾਥ ਪਾਉ ਕਰਿ ਕਾਮੁ ਸਭੁ ਚੀਤੁ ਨਿਰੰਜਨ ਨਾਲਿ ॥੨੧੩॥: Haath paaou kari kaamu sabhu cheetu niranjan naali: Use hands and feet to do all the work, and keep the mind with the Immaculate Lord (who is beyond Maya’s stains: ਮਾਇਆ-ਰਹਿਤ) ||213|| (sggs 1376).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਭਗਤੀ ਜਾਗੇ ॥: Gurmukhi ihu manu bhagatee jaage (sggs 415).

An another doubt is likely to arise: How somebody can engage constantly in Simran (remembrance) while in sleep? The Gurbani indicates it is possible once the state of Shabad-Surti is obtained (abidance in the Consciousness or memory of the Shabad, Naam, Hukam, Aatam Giaan: Gurmukh-hood…). The Gurbani has already revealed to us that the mind (of the Manmukh) is asleep in Maya; and that this Sansaar (world) is a dream. In the Gurmukh State, however, even in the dream, only “Raam” comes out of one’s mouth! Bhagat Kabeer Sahib says “I would make the skin of my body into shoes for his feet!”:

  • ਕਬੀਰ ਸੁਪਨੈ ਹੂ ਬਰੜਾਇ ਕੈ ਜਿਹ ਮੁਖਿ ਨਿਕਸੈ ਰਾਮੁ ॥ ਤਾ ਕੇ ਪਗ ਕੀ ਪਾਨਹੀ ਮੇਰੇ ਤਨ ਕੋ ਚਾਮੁ ॥੬੩॥ (sggs 1367).
  • ਜਗਿ ਜੀਵਨੁ ਐਸਾ ਸੁਪਨੇ ਜੈਸਾ ਜੀਵਨੁ ਸੁਪਨ ਸਮਾਨੰ ॥ (sggs 842)
  • ਮਨਮੁਖਿ ਸੂਤਾ ਮਾਇਆ ਮੋਹਿ ਪਿਆਰਿ ॥ (sggs 160).

Such persistent or “Nirantari Bhagti” (ਨਿਰੰਤਰਿ ਭਗਤਿ) eventually will grind and pulverize the instinctive or Mayaic mind – the state of “Ik Mann Ik Chitt” (one-pointed consciousness: the State of Gurmukh-hood…).

  • ਸੁਆਮੀ ਕੋ ਗ੍ਰਿਹੁ ਜਿਉ ਸਦਾ ਸੁਆਨ ਤਜਤ ਨਹੀ ਨਿਤ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਇਹ ਬਿਧਿ ਹਰਿ ਭਜਉ ਇਕ ਮਨਿ ਹੁਇ ਇਕ ਚਿਤਿ ॥੪੫॥: Suaamee ko grih jiou sadaa suaan tajat nahee nit. Nanak ih bidhi Hari bhajau ik mani hui ik chiti ||45||: As a dog never abandons the home of his master, O Nanak! similarly, stay united with Hari within (Mool…) by becoming “Ik Mann Ik Chitt” (single-mindedly…) ||45|| (sggs 1428).

Implication is if we constantly don’t remember, we constantly can’t live it! In other words, the Gurbani indicates the moment Bhagti ceases, the mind falls back into calamity.

  • ਇਕੁ ਤਿਲੁ ਪਿਆਰਾ ਵੀਸਰੈ ਰੋਗੁ ਵਡਾ ਮਨ ਮਾਹਿ ॥: Iku tilu piaaraa veesarai rogu vadaa man maahi: (If the mind) Forgets the Beloved (Mool…) even for an instant, (i.e., even if one breath gets wasted, it feels like) the mind is afflicted with a great disease! (sggs 21).
  • ਇਕੁ ਤਿਲੁ ਪਿਆਰਾ ਵਿਸਰੈ ਭਗਤਿ ਕਿਨੇਹੀ ਹੋਇ ॥: Iku tilu piaaraa visarai bhagati kinehee hoi: What sort of Bhagti is that if someone forgets the Beloved (Mool…) even for an instant? (sggs 35).

So, the Gurbani asks remaining constantly detached even while leading an active life in the world. Not easy at all – it’s like chewing steel balls! This is why the Gurbani time and again reminds us that a Gurmukh (one who lives the Gurmat: Aatam-Giaan or Spiritual Wisdom of the Gurbani) is very “rare” is this world!

  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਭਗਤਿ ਵਿਰਲੇ ਮਨੁ ਮਾਨਿਆ ॥੧॥: Gurmukhi bhagati virale manu maaniaa (sggs 226).
Bhul Chuk Maaf
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9 Comments

  1. Karamjeet Singh says:

    Yet another highly elucidiative piece!

    Basic likely-to-crop-up doubts (viability of performing Simran while discharging the regular obligations and during sleeping hours) have been manifestly expounded.

    Terms like ‘saas-girass’ and ‘din-raen’ are often (mis)construed literally by novice devotees thus surmising nirantar bhagti as an unattainable undertaking.

    Clarifications furnished through your disserting blogs is priceless indeed.

    Sincere thanks for your ardents endeavors.

    Deep Regards

  2. Balwant says:

    Gurmukh piyare jeo, i really feel fortunate to have suscribed to your blog.You are always taking pains to explain the Gurmat Sidhant in a very very simple way.I had come across a quote-”Pusuit of purpose is the secret of success.” But today in the light of gurbani when i read about persistence in bhagti, i also learnt about the purpose of life.And it can be achieved only by constant Simran.

    Balwant Singh Seera

  3. Balwant Singh Seera says:

    Wheguu ji ka khalsa,Waheguru ji ki fateh !!
    Many years ago one of my senior colleague in Punjab and Sind Bank very strongly and convincingly motivated me do Gurbani Sahaj Paath all by msyelf. And believe me since then every sahaj paath i finished with Wahegurujis grace. gave me a spiritual in sight in to the reality of the purpose of human life.All fears have vanished, no superstition has any value in my family life, i hv no delusions and have full faith in the authority of Guru Granth Sahibji.May we all be blessed-Balwant Singh

    • T. Singh (post author) says:

      Thank you Bhai Sahib Ji for sharing your Vichaar.
      • ਮਨ ਸਮਝਾਵਨ ਕਾਰਨੇ ਕਛੂਅਕ ਪੜੀਐ ਗਿਆਨ ॥੫॥: Man samajhaavan kaarane kachhooak parreeai giaan ||5|| (sggs 340).

  4. Gurveen Singh says:

    SSA Sir,

    I really appreciate the divine knowledge you have shared. I really owe you alot making me think in correct directions now my body and state of mind is so steady.

    I have a very important question here: When we say stay connected with god through your mind i can do it without problem and can think world as crap but problem is my job is MIND JOB i am a programmer and have to use my mind to think a alot alot and reaching to solutions for industries. Now If i start thinking deep I will have to loose connection from the naam inside ruuning in my mind although my conciousness still attached with god. I break the naam simran in mind and start analyzing the programs in computer and hence got dettached.

    I think so i should change my job this job keeps me away from constant naam simran and i get hurt.

    I don’t know what to do. I have dettached myself from worldly things and from younger age i have always been humble and down to earth without proud and remembering always DEATH as final stage but now I am in confusion what to do in this situation.

    I enjoy naam but i have to leave it to do job daily basis and this job takes my mind to programs and languages.

    PLEASE HELP!!!!!!

    • T. Singh (post author) says:

      Greetings Gurveen Singh jI! Thank you for sharing your Vichaar.

      PLEASE HELP!!!!!!

      First off, ONLY you can help yourself. The Gurbani Says:
      • ਆਪਣ ਹਥੀ ਆਪਣਾ ਆਪੇ ਹੀ ਕਾਜੁ ਸਵਾਰੀਐ ॥੨੦॥: Aapan hathee aapanaa aape hee kaaju savaareeai ||20||: (So long there is breath-Praan) With own hands (with self-efforts, ਉੱਦਮ ਕਰ ਕੇ…), resolve your own affair yourself. ||20|| (sggs 474).
      So, the Gurbani tells us that NOBODY else can do it for you. If somebody says he can do it for you, he is a cheater!
      The Gurbani tells us to resolve our own affairs ourselves through self-efforts (Shabad-Vichaar to Understand the Divine Hukam according to the Gurbani’s Giaan, Wisdom…).
      If somebody is honest, all he can do is explain the Way (Vidhi, Tareekaa-ਵਿਧਿ, ਤਰੀਕਾ, ਜੁਗਤਿ…).
      Fortunately for us, the Way (Vidhi, Tareekaa-ਵਿਧਿ, ਤਰੀਕਾ, ਜੁਗਤਿ…) is already explained in the Gurbani.
      Therefore, what counts only is what we do with the Instructions received from the Gurbani.
      I am learning it along with you.

      but problem is my job is MIND JOB i am a programmer and have to use my mind to think a alot alot and reaching to solutions for industries

      The problem is not that the “job is MIND JOB”. The problem is, as the Gurbani indicates, we think we are the doer.
      • ਜਬ ਲਗੁ ਜਾਨੈ ਮੁਝ ਤੇ ਕਛੁ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਤਬ ਇਸ ਕਉ ਸੁਖੁ ਨਾਹੀ ਕੋਇ ॥: Jab lag jaanai mujh te kashoo hoi …: As long as (a person) thinks that he is the doer, he will have no Peace. (sggs 278).
      So, instead of identifying with the body-consciousness or Maya, the Gurbani asks us to identify with the Mool (Jot…) within the body.
      Why? This Mool within the body is Formless-Timeless-Spaceless, untainted by Maya. In this Field of Pure Consciousness, everything just happens – there is no doer at all; no one has an identity…
      The Gurbani asks us to remember this each and every breath (Praan…). Then and only then, there be no problem.
      • ਸਾਸਿ ਸਾਸਿ ਸਿਮਰਹੁ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ॥: Saasi saasi simrahu gobind (sggs 295).
      Here, in the above verse, “Gobind” is none other than the Mool within. The Gurbani asks us to be stabilized in that Field of Undivided and Harmonizing Consciousness. Because, there is no doer there at all!
      In other words, the Gurbani asks us to become “Nihkarm-ਨਿਹਕਰਮ” through the Shabad-Vichaar. Becoming “Nihkarm” is simply to think “I am not the doer”…
      • ਕਰਮ ਕਰਤ ਹੋਵੈ ਨਿਹਕਰਮ ॥ ਤਿਸੁ ਬੈਸਨੋ ਕਾ ਨਿਰਮਲ ਧਰਮ ॥: (sggs 274).
      • ਸੋ ਨਿਹਕਰਮੀ ਜੋ ਸਬਦੁ ਬੀਚਾਰੇ ॥: (sggs 128).
      Once one thinks “I am not the doer” – becomes “Nihkarm” – he misses the burden of Karma!
      • ਚੂਕਾ ਭਾਰਾ ਕਰਮ ਕਾ ਹੋਏ ਨਿਹਕਰਮਾ ॥: (sggs 102).

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