First, the Gurbani is meant to be thoroughly understood through the sincere Shabad-Vichaar.
- ਏਨਾ ਅਖਰਾ ਮਹਿ ਜੋ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਬੂਝੈ ਤਿਸੁ ਸਿਰਿ ਲੇਖੁ ਨ ਹੋਈ ॥੨॥: Enaa akharaa mahi jo gurmukhi boojhai tisu siri lekhu n hoee ||2|| (sggs 432).
In other words, it is not meant to be wrapped up in the designers Rumaalaas and worshipped as an idle!!
- ਬਿਨੁ ਬੂਝੇ ਪਸੂ ਭਏ ਬੇਤਾਲੇ ॥੬॥: Binu boojhai pasu bhaye betaale ||6|| (sggs 224).
After understanding the Gurbani (Gurmat, Gurbani’s Giaan-ਸੂਝ ਬੂਝ…), it is emphasized in the Gurbani that the Giaan (Divine Knowledge, Spiritual Wisdom, Aatam-Giaan, Shabad-Giaan, Gur-Giaan...) obtained from the Gurbani be constantly remembered, believed, and lived – applied to daily life.
Thus, Amal or Karanee (ਅਮਲ, ਕਰਣੀ, application, implementation, administration, conduct…) is very important to the Gurbani. For without Amal or Karanee, understanding is “deficient”.
- ਕਰਣੀ ਬਾਝਹੁ ਘਟੇ ਘਟਿ ॥: Karanee baajhahu ghate ghat (sggs 25).
If a person is ill, his mere reading of the medicine’s label without administering 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 of its label. Similarly, the Gurbani is only meant to be applied. Mere reading of it or listening to its recitations will not cure us from our psychological illness.
- ਕਰਣੀ ਬਾਝਹੁ ਤਰੈ ਨ ਕੋਇ ॥: Karanee baajhahu tarai na koi (sggs 952).
More or less, we are all sick. The false ego-sense (Haumai) is our chronic disease. Instructions of the Gurbani are like a medicine. Until it is diligently applied to the mind, its mere reading will not have much effect on the healing process.
One may be able to gain all sorts of knowledge by reading the Gurbani (or any other scriptures for that matter), however, the knowledge without applying (Amal, Karanee-ਅਮਲ, ਕਰਣੀ) it to one’s daily life 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), The Gurbani urges we must apply the Divine Teaching of the Gurbani (Gurmat, Aatam-Giaan…).
- ਜਿਨ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਨ ਚੇਤਿਓ ਮੇਰੀ ਜਿੰਦੁੜੀਏ ਤੇ ਮਨਮੁਖ ਮੂੜ ਇਆਣੇ ਰਾਮ ॥: Jin hari hari naamu na chetio meree jindurreeae te manmukh moorr iaane raam (sggs 540).