That which is Real never ends, and that which ends is not Real!
The Gurbani Teaches us that anything seen is ephemeral — it will soon disappear.
What rises must set. What comes and goes is time-bound, thus unreal. So, we are urged by the Gurbani not to get attached to anything!
- ਦ੍ਰਿਸਟਿਮਾਨ ਹੈ ਸਗਲ ਮਿਥੇਨਾ ॥: All that is seen is an illusion (sggs 1083).
- ਤਿਸੁ ਸਿਉ ਨੇਹੁ ਨ ਕੀਜਈ ਜੋ ਦੀਸੈ ਚਲਣਹਾਰੁ ॥: Don’t carry affection for which is just fleeting (perishable). (sggs 21).
Simply put, anything born must finish one day. For example, the physical body is born, and it is also continuously disappearing!
- ਜੋ ਉਪਜਿਓ ਸੋ ਬਿਨਸਿ ਹੈ ਪਰੋ ਆਜੁ ਕੈ ਕਾਲਿ ॥: Whatever is born will perish, today or tomorrow (sggs 1429).
To be Real or Timeless means to be free of beginning, middle, and end. Whatever comes and goes is bound and limited by beginning, middle, and end. Therefore unreal — false, changeful, temporary, impermanent, perishable, illusion, or simply “Mithiya“.
So the Gurbani asks us not to get attached and run after this world.
- ਮ੍ਰਿਗ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਜਿਉ ਜਗ ਰਚਨਾ ਯਹ ਦੇਖਹੁ ਰਿਦੈ ਬਿਚਾਰਿ ॥: Reflect in your Heart and see that this world creation (Maya) is like a deer’s illusion, a mirage (sggs 537).
In addition to a “mirage”, this material world is also likened to a “safflower” in the Gurbani. It’s deceptively enchanting. The Gurbani warns us that the color (the look, existence…) of this “safflower” like world and its objects (Maya…) will fade away (i.e., these worldly objects will disappear).
- ਜੈਸਾ ਰੰਗੁ ਕਸੁੰਭ ਕਾ ਤੈਸਾ ਇਹੁ ਸੰਸਾਰੁ ॥: This world is like the (pale, temporary…) color of the safflower (sggs 346).
- ਹਥੁ ਨ ਲਾਇ ਕਸੁੰਭੜੈ ਜਲਿ ਜਾਸੀ ਢੋਲਾ ॥: O friend! Do not touch the safflower (i.e., Maya); if you do, you will get “burnt” (i.e., your love for this deceptive Maya will lead you to sufferings) (sggs 794).
In addition, the Gurbani also tells us that the world is as unsubstantial as a “dream”.
- ਨਾਨਕ ਕਹਤ ਜਗਤ ਸਭ ਮਿਥਿਆ ਜਿਉ ਸੁਪਨਾ ਰੈਨਾਈ ॥੨॥੧॥: Nanak says, the entire material world is illusion like the nightly dream ||2||1|| (sggs 1231).
To instill detachment (Bairaag) in us, the Gurbani uses various examples, allegories, metaphors, illustrations, similes, etc. With their help, the Gurbani cautions us about this massive world-picture which looks very real, wondrous, and hypnotizing. But it’s all fleeting!
- ਚਚਾ ਰਚਿਤ ਚਿਤ੍ਰ ਹੈ ਭਾਰੀ ॥ ਤਜਿ ਚਿਤ੍ਰੈ ਚੇਤਹੁ ਚਿਤਕਾਰੀ ॥ ਚਿਤ੍ਰ ਬਚਿਤ੍ਰ ਇਹੈ ਅਵਝੇਰਾ ॥ ਤਜਿ ਚਿਤ੍ਰੈ ਚਿਤੁ ਰਾਖਿ ਚਿਤੇਰਾ ॥੧੨॥: CHACHA (a letter of the Gurmukhi alphabet): He made the unwieldy world-picture. Forget (the love, attachment or ਮੋਹ of this) picture, and remember the Artist (Painter, Creator…). (Because) The problem is that this ( world-) picture is very enchanting (ਮਨ ਨੂੰ ਮੋਹ ਲੈਣ ਵਾਲੀ). (So, to escape from this enchantment) Forget this picture and focus your consciousness on the Artist (God, Hukam…). ||12|| (sggs 340).
So, to escape unburnt from this world, the Gurbani urges us to focus the consciousness on the Painter of this world-picture, not the world itself.
The Gurbani indicates Such discerning intellect (Vivek-Budh) can be Awakened by constantly probing the nature of one’s Mool (Source, Jot…) through the Shabad-Vichaar. The Divine Wisdom obtained by churning the Shabad helps us learn to dissociate affinities to the body-senses and the material world. In other words, the real nature of this world is realized only when we Wake up to the Divine Wisdom.
- ਹਰਿ ਜਪਤੇ ਮਨੁ ਮਨ ਤੇ ਧੀਰਾ ॥: Understanding (one’s own) Mool (Hari… through the Gurbani), the (extrovert) mind is comforted by the (Introvert) Mind (Hari…)..(sggs 1042).
The Gurbani asks us to look within to where there is no name or form. The Gurbani Teaches us to remove the form from the mind by removing attachment to any object, thought, or action. In nutshell, the Gurbani asks us to become the Gurmukh (Awakened Being…). Because, only the Gurmukh understands the real nature of this world. Thus only he knows how to handle it without getting “burnt” in the process!
A Gurmukh (Awakened Being) is convinced that the Divine Wisdom is worth sacrificing anything for, because everything else is just a “mirage” rising out of Consciousness. Guided by the Divine Wisdom, he remains open to everything but detached from everything!