The Gurbani instructs the path of Bhagti (devotion) as the basis of spiritual life (ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ). Listening (hearing) to the Truth is one of the forms of devotional discipline. Listening indicates developing a taste for listening to the Truth by which the mind is encouraged to think more often about God and His Glories so that it becomes a continuous process of thinking/meditating on Him.
With an open mind filled with devotion, the Gurbani encourages us to develop listening skills. Because, it is easier to understand the Gur-Shabad through listening with rapt attention.
But, how to develop true listening skills? Listening is an art. Volumes have been written on developing effective listening skills, and volumes have been written on as to how to become a good listner.
The Gurbani guides us in a few words as follows:
- ਇੰਦ੍ਰੀ ਬਸਿ ਕਰਿ ਸੁਣਹੁ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ॥: Indaree basi kari sunahu hari Naamu: By subdue the sensory organs (ਇੰਦ੍ਰਿਆਂ ਨੂੰ ਕਾਬੂ ਵਿਚ ਰੱਖ ਕੇ), listen to the Lord’s Name. (sggs 299) .
- ਪਾਚਉ ਇੰਦ੍ਰੀ ਬਸਿ ਕਰਿ ਰਾਖੈ ॥: Paachaou indaree basi kar raakhai: (The Gurmukh, the Awaken one …) keeps the five sensory organs under his control (sggs 974).
The Gurbani clearly indicates here that true listening is not just through ears; it is with one’s whole being (Saabat). When one listens with the complete involvement of his whole being, one then listens to the whole!
Listening then helps one understand what is being said beyond the words that are uttered.
The mind – the flow of thoughts – free to escape the senses carries stress, restlessness, illusory realm, desire for sense-gratification, etc. In turn, all this prevent the mind from true listening.
In nutshell, the Gurbani urges us to empty or free our mind of demands of our senses.
In other words, when the mind is free of the push and pull of the senses, listening then just happens!