Being Awake and Aware Defined

The life or this world has illusory (Mayaic) quality to it.

  • ਮਨਮੁਖ ਹਉਮੈ ਮਾਇਆ ਸੂਤੇ ॥ ਅਪਣਾ ਘਰੁ ਨ ਸਮਾਲਹਿ ਅੰਤਿ ਵਿਗੂਤੇ: The self-willed Manmukhs are asleep (i.e., unaware of the ultimate purpose of life, etc.) in egotism and Maya. (From Bikaars) (sggs 1049).
  • ਆਤਮੁ ਨ ਚੀਨ੍ਹ੍ਹੈ ਭਰਮੈ ਵਿਚਿ ਸੂਤਾ ॥੧॥: People do not remember their Soul-Nature; they are asleep in doubts ||1|| (sggs 362).
  • ਸੰਸਾ ਇਹੁ ਸੰਸਾਰੁ ਹੈ ਸੁਤਿਆ ਰੈਣਿ ਵਿਹਾਇ ॥: This world is an illusion; people pass their life-nights sleeping (sggs 36).
  • ਆਸਾ ਵਿਚਿ ਸੁਤੇ ਕਈ ਲੋਈ ॥: So many are asleep in worldly desires (sggs 423).
  • ਅਗਿਆਨੀ ਜਗਤੁ ਅੰਧੁ ਹੈ ਭਾਈ ਸੂਤੇ ਗਏ ਮੁਹਾਇ ॥੨॥: O brother, (due to the love of Maya and lack of understanding of spiritual life – ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ) in ignorance the world is blind; people sleeping in this ignorance are plundered (they lose their spiritual wealth – ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਦੀ ਰਾਸਿ-ਪੂੰਜੀ ਲੁਟਾਣਾਂ) ||2|| (sggs 603).
  • ਰਸਨਾ ਸੋਈ ਲੋਭਿ ਮੀਠੈ ਸਾਦਿ ॥: The tongue is asleep, in the greed of eatning sweet flavors (sggs 182).
  • ਸ੍ਰਵਣ ਸੋਏ ਸੁਣਿ ਨਿੰਦ ਵੀਚਾਰ ॥: The ears are asleep, listening to slanderous stories (sggs 182).
  • ਨੈਨਹੁ ਨੀਦ ਪਰ ਦ੍ਰਿਸਟਿ ਵਿਕਾਰ ॥: The eyes are asleep in corruption, gazing upon the beauty of another (sggs 182).
  • ਬਿਕਾਰ ਮਾਇਆ ਮਾਦਿ ਸੋਇਓ ਸੂਝ ਬੂਝ ਨ ਆਵੈ ॥: Bikaar Maya maadi soeiou soojh boojh na aavai (sggs 408).

The Gurbani urges us to awaken from this dream.

  • ਜਾਗਹੁ ਜਾਗਹੁ ਸੂਤਿਹੋ ਚਲਿਆ ਵਣਜਾਰਾ ॥: Wake up! Wake up! O sleepers (sleeping in the love of Maya), see that the travelling merchant (i.,e., Jeeva) is to deaprt (i.e., death is coming near) (sggs 418).
  • ਜਾਗ ਲੇਹੁ ਰੇ ਮਨਾ ਜਾਗ ਲੇਹੁ ਕਹਾ ਗਾਫਲ ਸੋਇਆ ॥: Wake up, O mind! Wake up! Why are you sleeping unaware? (sggs 726).
  • ਜੋ ਜਾਗੇ ਸੇ ਉਬਰੇ ਸੂਤੇ ਗਏ ਮੁਹਾਇ ॥: Those who remain awake and aware are saved, while those who sleep are plundered (sggs 34).

What is awakening from this dream called life or the world? Aren’t we awake we get up from the bed? Aren’t we awake when we are working, doing chores, talking, transacting with the outside world, and so on? Yes, we are awake but without Awareness. We do things unaware, like a robot.

Awakening from the dream is simply being Aware.

Being Aware of what? It is being Aware of the Soul (Joti-Svaroopa…) in the midst of all our routine activities. In nutshell, it is to remain free of Maya’s stains in the midst of all our routine activities. The Gurbani puts tremendous emphasis on this.

  • ਜਿਨੀ ਆਤਮੁ ਚੀਨਿਆ ਪਰਮਾਤਮੁ ਸੋਈ ॥: Those who understand their own Soul, are themselves the Supreme Soul (sgg 421).
  • ਆਤਮ ਮਹਿ ਰਾਮੁ ਰਾਮ ਮਹਿ ਆਤਮੁ ਚੀਨਸਿ ਗੁਰ ਬੀਚਾਰਾ ॥: Aatam mahi Raamu Raam mahi aatamu cheenasi Gur beechaaraa (sggs 1153).
  • ਆਤਮ ਰਸ ਜਿ ਜਾਨਹੀ ਸੋ ਹੈ ਖਾਲਸ ਦੇਵ ॥ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਮਹਿ, ਮੋ ਮਹਿ, ਤਾਸ ਮਹਿ, ਰੰਚਕ ਨਾਹਨ ਭੇਵ ॥: He who has realized the True Nature or Subtle Essence of the Soul (i.e., Joti-svaroopa, Pure Consciousness, Lord’s Sublime Essence, Joy of the Soul, etc.) within is alone the godly Khalsa – Pure Being (Sarab Loh Granth).

If you know your Soul you know your God (Sufi Jallaluddin Rumi).

To say otherwise, it is our unbroken attunement to the Pure Consciousness (Naam, God…) within with our each breath (“ਸਾਸ ਸਾਸ…”).

  • ਹਾਥ ਪਾਉ ਕਰਿ ਕਾਮੁ ਸਭੁ ਚੀਤੁ ਨਿਰੰਜਨ ਨਾਲਿ ॥੨੧੩॥: With your hands and feet, do all your work, but let your consciousness remain with the Immaculate Lord (ਮਾਇਆ-ਰਹਿਤ ਪਰਮਾਤਮਾ, the Lord who is beyond Maya’s stains) ||213|| (sggs 1376).
  • ਸਾਸ ਸਾਸ ਸਾਸ ਹੈ ਜੇਤੇ ਮੈ ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਸਮ੍ਹ੍ਹਾਰੇ ॥: 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).

How does being Aware help? What difference does it make in one’s day-to-day life?

For one, being Aware helps control one’s Bikaars (negative tendencies, emotions, passions, Vaasnaas, and so on) – lust, anger, greed, attachment, and pride, and their countless variations.

For example, if one is Aware that he is losing handle in a given situation, he can check his temper and, thus, effectively control it. Observe – when a person angry – he cannot think properly; he cannot speak properly; as a result, he cannot act properly. Why? Because when we are angry we cannot contemplate on the state of mind. But if we are Aware, we can realize we are on the verge of losing temper, and we can do something about it.

The same can be said about all other faults of our Haumai (egotism).

Thus Awareness is very essential and important in checking and controlling our Bikaars.

Unaware, we may be acting strangely, inappropriately and making mistakes. Because in unawareness we do not think or reflect. But the moment we become Aware, we consciously stop doing it.

Thus, if we Awake from the illusory aspect of the life (called dream), the quality of our consciousness is elevated; the quality of our mind is elevated (rid the mind of these perversions or impurities); the quality of our thoughts-words-actions is elevated…

In nutshell, when we are Aware, our Soul is elevated. Persons with such elevated Soul are also called the Gurmukhs in the Gurbani.

  • ਆਤਮੁ ਚੀਨਿ ਪਰਮ ਪਦੁ ਪਾਇਆ ਸੇਵਾ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਸਮਾਈ ਹੇ ॥੧੫॥: 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||. (sggs 1070).
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