Listening to the Guru’s Word

  • ਖੇਮ ਸਾਂਤਿ ਰਿਧਿ ਨਵ ਨਿਧਿ ॥ ਬੁਧਿ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਸਰਬ ਤਹ ਸਿਧਿ ॥ ਬਿਦਿਆ ਤਪੁ ਜੋਗੁ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਧਿਆਨੁ ॥ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਸ੍ਰੇਸਟ ਊਤਮ ਇਸਨਾਨੁ ॥ ਚਾਰਿ ਪਦਾਰਥ ਕਮਲ ਪ੍ਰਗਾਸ ॥ ਸਭ ਕੈ ਮਧਿ ਸਗਲ ਤੇ ਉਦਾਸ ॥ ਸੁੰਦਰੁ ਚਤੁਰੁ ਤਤ ਕਾ ਬੇਤਾ ॥ ਸਮਦਰਸੀ ਏਕ ਦ੍ਰਿਸਟੇਤਾ ॥ ਇਹ ਫਲ ਤਿਸੁ ਜਨ ਕੈ ਮੁਖਿ ਭਨੇ ॥ ਗੁਰ ਨਾਨਕ ਨਾਮ ਬਚਨ ਮਨਿ ਸੁਨੇ ॥੬॥: Khem saantiridhi nav nidhi… (sggs 295). 

The process of Shabad Realization (God Realization, Spiritual Realization, and so on) starts with diligent listening.

The Gurbani stresses the importance of listening for the spiritual student – listening to the Word or Shabad and contemplating on what is heard and learnt. This, in turn, helps us look inwards (within) and contemplate on the Word, which can help to assimilate the Truth contained in It. The ultimate goal is to detach oneself from worldly attractions and cultivate Bhagti (devotion) to God who is said to be the true power which lies behind the functioning of our faculties — speech, mind, sight, hearing and breath.

Listening to what? As stressed in the Gurbani, it is listening to the Divine Truth through the Guru’s Word.

Diligent listening helps in cultivating Spiritual Knowledge (Aatam-Giyan). The Gurbani asserts that the listening process should be coupled with deep attention, concentration, singular mindedness, full faith, willingness, earnestness, right vision, etc. Thus, listening to the Shabad is an art that will take the disciple to the Supreme Goal. This is the reason some seekers seem to make better spiritual progress than others, because, they know how to listen! Thus, we all can transform our lives by simply listening and living by the Shabad. Listening to Divine Truth is so important that Baabaa Nanak devoted four stanzas of Japji Sahib to this process (stanzas 8 through 11).

  • ਸੁਣਿਐ ਸਿਧ ਪੀਰ ਸੁਰਿ ਨਾਥ ॥: By listening the Naam mortal becomes a perfect person, religious guide, spiritual hero and a great yogi (sggs 2).
  • ਸੁਣਿਐ ਸਤੁ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ॥: By listening the Naam truth, contentment and Divine knowledge are abtained (sggs 3).
  • ਸੁਣਿ ਸੁਣਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਤੁਮਾਰਾ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਮ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਪੇਖਨ ਕਾ ਚਾਉ ॥: Suni suni Naam tumaaraa Preetam Prabh pekhan ka chaaou: Listening continually to Your Name, O Beloved God, I yearn to behold You (sggs 405).
  • ਪਿਰੁ ਰੀਸਾਲੂ ਤਾ ਮਿਲੈ ਜਾ ਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਸਬਦੁ ਸੁਣੀ ॥੨॥: We meet our Beloved, the Source of Joy, when we listen to the Gur-Shabad ||2|| (sggs 17).
  • ਕੰਨੀ ਸੁਣਿ ਸੁਣਿ ਸਬਦਿ ਸਲਾਹੀ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਰਿਦੈ ਵਸਾਈ ॥: With my ears, I continually listen to the Word of the Shabad, and I praise Him; His Ambrosial Name abides within my heart (sggs 596). 

What prevents us from listening to the Spiritual Wisdom with one-pointedness as suggested by the Gurbani is the stony core of ignorance-born egotism in our hearts, our love for the Maya, and so on. Any reading or listening of the scriptures without gaining Intuitive Understanding is totally unavailing. The purpose of listening to the scriptures is to develop Divine Understanding, and then act upon it. If that does not happen, then, the Gurbani thunders there is no difference between a human being engaged in reading or listening to scriptures and a beast engaged in filling his belly.

  • ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਸੁਨਿ ਕਛੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਨ ਉਪਜਿਓ ਪਸੁ ਜਿਉ ਉਦਰੁ ਭਰਉ ॥: Despite listening to the Gurmati (Shabad-Giaan, Divine Teaching of the Gur-Shabad, etc.), (if) no spiritual wisdom (ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਦੀ ਕੁਝ ਭੀ ਸੂਝ) wells up within (me); (then it would be) like a beast (routinely) filling its belly (sggs 685).
  • ਮਾਇਆਧਾਰੀ ਅਤਿ ਅੰਨਾ ਬੋਲਾ ॥ ਸਬਦੁ ਨ ਸੁਣਈ ਬਹੁ ਰੋਲ ਘਚੋਲਾ ॥: Maaiadhaaree ati annaa bolaa. Sabadu n sunaee bahu rol ghacholaa (sggs 313).
  • ਪੜੀਐ ਗੁਨੀਐ ਨਾਮੁ ਸਭੁ ਸੁਨੀਐ ਅਨਭਉ ਭਾਉ ਨ ਦਰਸੈ ॥ ਲੋਹਾ ਕੰਚਨੁ ਹਿਰਨ ਹੋਇ ਕੈਸੇ ਜਉ ਪਾਰਸਹਿ ਨ ਪਰਸੈ ॥੧॥ ਦੇਵ ਸੰਸੈ ਗਾਂਠਿ ਨ ਛੂਟੈ ॥ ਕਾਮ ਕ੍ਰੋਧ ਮਾਇਆ ਮਦ ਮਤਸਰ ਇਨ ਪੰਚਹੁ ਮਿਲਿ ਲੂਟੇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Parheeai guneeai naam sabh suneeai anabhaou bhaaou n darsai. Lohaa kanchan hiran hoi kaisae jaou paarasahi n parasai ||1|| Dev sansai gaanth n shootai. Kaam krodhh Maya mada matasar in panchahu mil loote ||1|| Rahaaou (sggs 973-974).
  • ਬਿਨੁ ਬੂਝੇ ਪਸੂ ਭਏ ਬੇਤਾਲੇ ॥੬॥: Without understanding, people become beast (-nature) and demon ||6|| (sggs 224). 

By joining the Awareness with the Shabad, our Consciousness becomes purified as well as strong. This intensity of Divine Strength, in turn, helps us burn the seeds of our deep-rooted spiritual ignorance and Vaasnaas.

Listening to the Guru’s Word was last modified: January 24th, 2014 by T. Singh
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Filed Under: Gurbani, Naam, Shabad, Hukam, One, Truth, Sach, Reality, Vichaar, Read, Listen
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T. Singh

T. Singh

He's not a "Giani", "Sant", "Baba", "Priest", "Parcharak", "Swami", "Teacher", “scholar”, "writer", "Mahatama", etc. He was neither born in such a family, nor lived with any, nor wants to be one of them. More about T. Singh »