A common requirement of all beings, irrespective of region and faith, is to have a life of Sukh (Peace, Happiness, Joy, etc.) and security. But, the question is: where to find them? As indicated by the Gurbani, the fact is, a majority of us lack proper guidance and direction in this search. This causes confusion.
In confusion, as stressed in the Gurbani, we are driven to seek these in the world outside in the form of education, titles, caste (Jaat-Paat), status, wealth, power, and so on. But the irony is that these are all perishable or ephemeral and can give only a false sense of Sukh and security. The time and again tells us that Sukha and security have to be sought only within oneself and not from any outside object, place or person. Due to our deluded consciousness, however, many of us do not understand this truth.
Man’s search for psychological security continues so long he is centered in psychological ego (“I-ness” or Haume). Egoism and its projections (i.e., all evil passions) both are illusion, the play of Maya — the corruption of the deluded consciousness. Due to mental conditionings, man takes his body as his true identity, and the gross objects of the world as the source of eternal Sukh and security. Caused by this illusion, he takes it for granted that his worldly possessions (money, education, titles, property, spouse, children, and so on) are the source of real Sukha and security in the life. The Gurbani indicates this belief is to be totally fallacious. Why?
The nature of the material world is constant change. Consequently, everything we see is constantly in the flux of change. Nothing stays the same. For example, a child is born; he then goes through youth, adulthood, old age, and ultimately death. The same is true of other worldly objects. In it, nothing is permanent. Whatever we see is changeable and perishable, thus finite and insecure. This is also the law of birth and death. Now, how an impermanent thing can provide another impermanent thing with a permanent Sukh and security? Not possible at all; for nothing is secure here. “Insecure” cannot be the source of “Secure”. However, in deluded consciousness, we become slave of our “defiled” senses and the instinctive mind.
- ਦੁਖੀ ਦੁਨੀ ਸਹੇੜੀਐ ਜਾਇ ਤ ਲਗਹਿ ਦੁਖ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਸਚੇ ਨਾਮ ਬਿਨੁ ਕਿਸੈ ਨ ਲਥੀ ਭੁਖ ॥ ਰੂਪੀ ਭੁਖ ਨ ਉਤਰੈ ਜਾਂ ਦੇਖਾਂ ਤਾਂ ਭੁਖ ॥ ਜੇਤੇ ਰਸ ਸਰੀਰ ਕੇ ਤੇਤੇ ਲਗਹਿ ਦੁਖ ॥੨॥: Dukhee dunee saherreeai jaai ta lagahi dukh …: Worldly possessions are obtained by pain and suffering; when they are gone, they leave pain and suffering. O Nanak, without the True Name, hunger (desires – ਤ੍ਰਿਸ਼ਨਾ) is never satisfied. (Seeing of) Beauty does not satisfy hunger (of seeing beauty); when the man sees ( the beauty), he hungers even more (to see the beauty). As many as are the pleasures of the body, so many are the pains which afflict it. ||2|| (sggs 1287).
- ਜੋ ਉਪਜਿਓ ਸੋ ਬਿਨਸਿ ਹੈ ਪਰੋ ਆਜੁ ਕੈ ਕਾਲਿ ॥: Jo oupajio so binas hai paro aaj kai kaal: Whatever has been created will perish, today or tomorrow (sggs 1429).
- ਮਮਤਾ ਮੋਹ ਧ੍ਰੋਹ ਮਦਿ ਮਾਤਾ ਬੰਧਨਿ ਬਾਧਿਆ ਅਤਿ ਬਿਕਰਾਲ ॥: Mamataa moh dharoh madi maataa bandhan baadhiaa ati bikaraal: Intoxicated with the wine of emotional attachment, love of worldly possessions and deceit, and bound in bondage, man has become wild and hideous (sggs 806).
- ਹਉ ਹਉ ਕਰਤੀ ਸਭ ਮੁਈ ਸੰਪਉ ਕਿਸੈ ਨ ਨਾਲਿ ॥: Hau hau karatee sabh muee sanpau kisai na naal: Acting in ego all die. Their worldly possessions will not go along with them (sggs 84).
- ਮਨਮੁਖ ਖੋਟੀ ਰਾਸਿ ਖੋਟਾ ਪਾਸਾਰਾ ॥ ਕੂੜੁ ਕਮਾਵਨਿ ਦੁਖੁ ਲਾਗੈ ਭਾਰਾ ॥ ਭਰਮੇ ਭੂਲੇ ਫਿਰਨਿ ਦਿਨ ਰਾਤੀ ਮਰਿ ਜਨਮਹਿ ਜਨਮੁ ਗਵਾਵਣਿਆ ॥੭॥: Manmukh khoteeraas khotaa paasaaraa. Koor kamaavan dukh laagai bhaaraa. Bharme bhoole phiran din raatee mar janmahi janam gavaavaniaa ||7||: The wealth of the self-willed Manmukhs (that they collect throughout their lives) is false, and false is their ostentatious display. They practice falsehood, and suffer terrible pain. Deluded by doubt, they wander day and night; through birth and death, they waste their lives ||7|| (sggs 116).
Thus, none of the worldly objects can permanently remove our sense of insecurity and lack of Sukh. But strangely enough, in material wealth and possessions we seek everlasting security, and Peace!
How does a person find the real Sukha and security in life? Apparently, the sense of true security does not come from procuring material wealth. As indicated in the Gurbani, it comes when one discovers the real Freedom or fearlessness: liberation from desires or false ego (Haume). Thus, one can find true security only in the experience of the Divine Presence within.
- ਪ੍ਰਣਵਤਿ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਪਛਾਣੈ ਸੁਖੁ ਹੋਵੈ ਦਿਨੁ ਰਾਤੀ ॥੬॥੫॥੧੭॥: Prnvat Nanak Hukamu passhaanai sukhu hovai dinu raati ||6||5||17||: Prays Nanak – (that person who) recognizes the Lord’s Hukam (Command, Will, ਭਾਣਾਂ, etc.), he remains at Sukh (Peace, ਆਤਮਕ ਆਨੰਦ, etc.), day and night (i.e., all the time). ||6||5||17|| (sggs 156).
- ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਇ ਮਹਾ ਸੁਖੁ ਪਾਇਆ ॥: Naam dhiaai mahaa sukh paaiaa: Meditating on the Naam, I have found (ਬੜਾ ਆਤਮਕ ਆਨੰਦ) great Sukh (sggs 103).
- ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਅਬਿਨਾਸੀ ਤਾ ਕਿਆ ਕਾੜਾ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਭਗਵੰਤਾ ਤਾ ਜਨੁ ਖਰਾ ਸੁਖਾਲਾ ॥ ਜੀਅ ਪ੍ਰਾਨ ਮਾਨ ਸੁਖਦਾਤਾ ਤੂੰ ਕਰਹਿ ਸੋਈ ਸੁਖੁ ਪਾਵਣਿਆ ॥੧॥: Prabh abinaasee taa kiaa kaarraa …: (One who believes – ਯਕੀਨ, ਨਿਸਚਾ) God to be Eternal and Imperishable is never anxious. (One who believes) God to be the Source of Spiritual Peace, he feels Totally Secure. (One who believes God) to be the Giver of Sukh of the soul, of life, of honor-as You ordain (ਜੋ ਕੁਝ ਤੂੰ ਕਰਦਾ ਹੈਂ ਉਹੀ ਹੁੰਦਾ ਹੈ), (he) obtains Sukh. ||1|| (sggs 113).
- ਆਪੁ ਗਇਆ ਸੁਖੁ ਪਾਇਆ ਮਿਲਿ ਸਲਲੈ ਸਲਲ ਸਮਾਇ ॥੨॥: Aap gayaa sukh paayaa mil salalai salal samaayi ||2||: Give up your selfishness, and you will find Peace; like water mingling with water, you will merge in absorption ||2|| (sggs 22).