When the Truth that has not been personally experienced, one can not grasp it directly. However, with the help of analogies, similes, allegories, metaphors, figurative or mystic representations and illustrations, the Truth becomes relatively easier to grasp. Such methods have extensively been used in the Gurbani SGGS.
One of the examples used in the Gurbani is that of “ladles” (ਕੜਛੀਆ). Although ladles (ਕੜਛੀਆ) cruise through all sorts of food, but they do not know the relish of food – they just remain empty of it!!
- ਕੜਛੀਆ ਫਿਰੰਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਿ ਸੁਆਉ ਨ ਜਾਣਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਿ ਸੁਞੀਆ ॥ ਸੇਈ ਮੁਖ ਦਿਸੰਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਿ ਨਾਨਕ ਰਤੇ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਰਸਿ ॥੧॥: Ladles cruise through food, (but) they do not know the taste of it, they remain empty (ਖਾਲੀ, devoid of it). O Nanak! Thos faces look (radiant, etc.) who are imbued with the relish of the Divine Love. ||1|| (sggs 521).
The purpose of such illustration is to drive the Divine Wisdom (Brahm Giaan) into our heads. By using “ladles” (ਕੜਛੀਆ) as an example, the Gurbani helps us understand the Gurbani’s Sidhaant (in the English language, there is no equivalent to Sidhaant-ਸਿਧਾਂਤ).
There are so many empty rituals and superstitions (Karamkaand) being carried out in Sikhi these days that are akin to the empty (ਖਾਲੀ) plight of the “ladles” (ਕੜਛੀਆ)! Unfortunately, they are encouraged, supported, instigated, and propagated by the people who run Gurdwara corporations, and by the crafty priest-group (Pujaaree-Group, ਪੁਜਾਰੀ ਲਾਣਾਂ: Bhais, Ragis, Paathee, Parchaarark, phony Sant, etc.).
To keep this post within reasonable length, we will cover only couple of points.
For example, the SGGS does not ask us to cruise and wander around at the so called Teerath Asthaan (places of pilgrimage, holy shrines or spots….)! Since such activity is empty (ਖਾਲੀ) akin to the “ladles” (ਕੜਛੀਆ), it is repudiated in the Gurmat (Teaching of the SGGS). But still many (educated and uneducated alike) cruise and wander around at these places. The Gurbani calls these people Manmukh, deluded by doubt (ਭਰਮਾ ਦੇ ਪੱਟੇ ਹੋਏ), Mayadhaaree (mammon worshipers), Haumai ridden (egoistic), greedy, etc., who are ignorant of the Gurbani’s true Teaching and have no clue as to what the Gur-Shabad is saying.
- ਮਨ ਕਾ ਝੂਠਾ ਝੂਠੁ ਕਮਾਵੈ ॥ ਮਾਇਆ ਨੋ ਫਿਰੈ ਤਪਾ ਸਦਾਵੈ ॥ ਭਰਮੇ ਭੂਲਾ ਸਭਿ ਤੀਰਥ ਗਹੈ ॥: The man of false mind practices falsehood. He runs after Maya, and yet pretends to be Tapaa (a devotee, a hermit, a recluse, etc.). Deluded by doubt (he) visits all Teerath (external shrines of pilgrimage). (sggs 1142).
- ਜਿਸੁ ਜੀਉ ਅੰਤਰੁ ਮੈਲਾ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਤੀਰਥ ਭਵੈ ਦਿਸੰਤਰ ਲੋਇ ॥: Jisu jiou antaru mailaa hoi… (sggs 1169).
While at these places, people take ritual bath in the so-called holy rivers and ponds (Srovars). Again, according to the Gurbani, such undertaking is nothing but sheer ignorance — empty (ਖਾਲੀ) akin to the “ladles” (ਕੜਛੀਆ)! Listen to what the Gurbani has to say in this context:
- ਨਾਵਣ ਚਲੇ ਤੀਰਥੀ ਮਨਿ ਖੋਟੈ ਤਨਿ ਚੋਰ ॥ ਇਕੁ ਭਾਉ ਲਥੀ ਨਾਤਿਆ ਦੁਇ ਭਾ ਚੜੀਅਸੁ ਹੋਰ ॥ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਧੋਤੀ ਤੂਮੜੀ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਵਿਸੁ ਨਿਕੋਰ ॥ ਸਾਧ ਭਲੇ ਅਣਨਾਤਿਆ ਚੋਰ ਸਿ ਚੋਰਾ ਚੋਰ ॥੨॥: (Men of) evil mind and thievish bodies (body occupied with thieves like lust, anger, greed, etc.), go to bathe at the pilgrim places. The one part of their body filth (external filth) is washed off by bathing, but they accumulate twice as much of mental filth (pride, etc.). Like a gourd, they may be washed off on the outside, but on the inside, they are still filled with poison (of egoism). A saintly being is blessed, even without such bathing (at pilgrim places – ਤੀਰਥਾਂ ਤੇ), while a thief is a thief, no matter how much he bathes (at pilgrim places – ਤੀਰਥਾਂ ਤੇ) ||2|| (sggs 789).
On top of that, many load their bodies with religious robes! Again, listen to what the Gurbani has to say in this context:
- ਬਹੁ ਤੀਰਥ ਭਵਿਆ ॥ ਤੇਤੋ ਲਵਿਆ ॥ ਬਹੁ ਭੇਖ ਕੀਆ ਦੇਹੀ ਦੁਖੁ ਦੀਆ ॥…: The more one wanders at Teerath the more one talks uselessly (in ego, he goes around telling others that he has visited this Teerath or that Teerath). The more one wears religious robes, the more pain he causes his body. (sggs 467).
It’s not that the Gurbani does not tell us what the real Teerath is, but we don’t want to listen to the Gurbani:
- ਤੀਰਥੁ ਹਮਰਾ ਹਰਿ ਕੋ ਨਾਮੁ ॥ ਗੁਰਿ ਉਪਦੇਸਿਆ ਤਤੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: The Hari Naam is my Teerath. The Guru has instructed me in this True Essence of spiritual Wisdom (Aatmic-Giaan; ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਦੀ ਸੂਝ ਦਾ ਇਹ ਨਿਚੋੜ – ਗਿਆਨ). ||1||Pause|| (sggs 1142).
Let’s take a look at another popular ritual — ritualistic reading of the SGGS (Akhand Paaths, Nitnems…). The Gurbani is not meant to be merely robotically read, listened, or memorized. After reading, listening, or memorizing it is meant to be Understood through the diligent Shabad-Vichaar, and ultimately applied to the daily life (i.e., live it-ਅਮਲ). Otherwise, such exercise is empty (ਖਾਲੀ) akin to “ladles” (ਕੜਛੀਆ)!Again, listen to what the Gurbani has to say in this context:
- ਪੜਿਐ ਮੈਲੁ ਨ ਉਤਰੈ ਪੂਛਹੁ ਗਿਆਨੀਆ ਜਾਇ ॥੧॥: The filth is not removed by reading. Go ahead, and ask the Wise ones ||1||. (sggs 39).
- ਚਿਤੁ ਜਿਨ ਕਾ ਹਿਰਿ ਲਇਆ ਮਾਇਆ ਬੋਲਨਿ ਪਏ ਰਵਾਣੀ ॥: Those whose consciousness has been lured by Maya keep reciting mechanically (ਫਰ ਫਰ, ਉਪਰੋਂ ਉਪਰੋਂ, ਤੇਜੀ ਨਾਲ…). (sggs 920).
- ਪੜਿਐ ਨਾਹੀ ਭੇਦੁ ਬੁਝਿਐ ਪਾਵਣਾ ॥:Not by reading (books), but through Understanding, is the Mystery Realized. (sggs 148).
- ਬਿਨੁ ਬੂਝੇ ਪਸੂ ਭਏ ਬੇਤਾਲੇ ॥੬॥: Bin boojhe pasu bhaye betaale (sggs 224).
- ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਸੁਨਿ ਕਛੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਨ ਉਪਜਿਓ ਪਸੁ ਜਿਉ ਉਦਰੁ ਭਰਉ ॥: Gurmati suni kashu giaan n upjio… (sggs 685).