Self-Transcendence

Linking back with the Mool (call it Realisation of God, Reality, Truth, or whatever you like) is the goal of human birth. The Gurbani time and again indicates that this is attained through a process of self-transcendence:” ਚੀਨੈ ਆਪੁ ” (Cheenai Aapu), ” ਆਪੁ ਪਛਾਣਿਆ ” (Aapu pachhaaniaa), ” ਆਤਮ ਰਾਮੁ ਪਛਾਣਿਆ ” (Aatam Raam Pachhaniaa), and so on. Hence, to know one’s own True self (“ਆਤਮ ਤਤੁ…”) is the central Message of the Gurbani.

  • ਜਿਨਿ ਆਤਮ ਤਤੁ ਨ ਚੀਨ੍‍ਆਿ ॥ ਸਭ ਫੋਕਟ ਧਰਮ ਅਬੀਨਿਆ ॥: Jini aatam tatu n cheenhiaa. Sabh fokat dharma abeeniaa: Whoever does not Realize the Essence or Reality of the Soul (ਆਤਮਾ ਦੀ ਅਸਲੀਅਤ…), all his religious acts are of no value – worthless (sggs 1351).
  • ਭਈ ਪਰਾਪਤਿ ਮਾਨੁਖ ਦੇਹੁਰੀਆ ॥ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਮਿਲਣ ਕੀ ਇਹ ਤੇਰੀ ਬਰੀਆ ॥: Bhaee praapat… (sggs 12).

In fact, the Gurbani calls that person ” ਬਉਰਾ” (Baouraa – crazy, mad, ignorant, foolish…) who does not recognize his own self. Because, without Realizing one’s own real self, one cannot know the One Truth. The Gurbani accepts the One and only One All-pervading Truth with no second or ancillary or auxiliary (ਸੋ ਬਉਰਾ ਜੋ ਆਪੁ ਨ ਪਛਾਨੈ ॥ ਆਪੁ ਪਛਾਨੈ ਤ ਏਕੈ ਜਾਨੈ ॥੪॥: So baouraa jo aapu n pachaanai. Aapu pacchaanai t ekia jaanai ||4||, sggs 855).

As we can see, the Gurbani shows the purpose of life to the whole mankind. Its Wisdom is meant to aid Spiritual evolution as it helps develop inclination for Spiritual Life (Gurmukh Lifestyle, Divine Life…). In turn, the taste for Spiritual Life gives rise to Spiritual kowledge (Aatam-Giaan); which leads man transcend the deluded or conditioned self trapped in duality (or Maya).

The attempt to search for one’s True Nature is most difficult and not easily attainable. It’s like swimming upstream! On a micro level, the Supereme Consciousness embodied in the Jeeva (individual being) becomes responsible for the thought, word and deed of the individual being. The Jeevaatmaa under the spell of Maya is unable to recognize the Truth of its own True Nature (Mool). From early on, the Jeeva (individual being) gets familiar and conditioned with certain attitudes and beliefs in this world. As a result, the Jeeva (individual being) gets attached to the body-frame; in turn, this entanglement becomes so much a reality that the fleeting nature of the body and the world is for the time being forgotten or ignored.

Only the knowledge of the nature of one’s own true self (Aatam-Giaan) can free the Jeeva from this duality, illusion…Not easy at all! As the Gurbani repeatedly indicates, to know one’s own true self is like walking on a two-edged sword! That does not mean one should shrink from pursuing it. To the contrary, as the Gurbani says, one should think of that path early on (ਵਾਟ ਹਮਾਰੀ ਖਰੀ ਉਡੀਣੀ ॥ ਖੰਨਿਅਹੁ ਤਿਖੀ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਪਿਈਣੀ ॥ ਉਸੁ ਊਪਰਿ ਹੈ ਮਾਰਗੁ ਮੇਰਾ ॥ ਸੇਖ ਫਰੀਦਾ ਪੰਥੁ ਸਮ੍ਹ੍ਹਾਰਿ ਸਵੇਰਾ ॥੪॥੧॥: Vaat hamaaree kharee udeenee. Khanniahu tikhee bahutu pieenee. Ousu oopari hai maaragu meraa. Sekh Freedaa panthu samhaari sveraa ||4||1|| (sggs 794).

As a matter of fact, according to the Gurbani, the true Giaanee (the man of Knowledge, Wisdom…) is he who has Realized his true own self (ਪ੍ਰਣਵਤਿ ਨਾਨਕ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਕੈਸਾ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਆਪੁ ਪਛਾਣੈ ਬੂਝੈ ਸੋਇ ॥: Pranvati Nanak giaanee kaisaa hoi. Aapu pashaanai boojhai soi, sggs 25).

Without Realizing our own true self, the shell of doubt will not burst. The Gurbani urges us to Realize that we are the embodiment of the Supreme Reality which is Pure Consciousness, Timeless, Joti-Svaroopa

  • ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਬਿਨੁ ਆਪਾ ਚੀਨੈ ਮਿਟੈ ਨ ਭ੍ਰਮ ਕੀ ਕਾਈ ॥: Jan Nanak binu aapaa cheenai mitai na bhram kee kaaee: O Daas Nanak! Without Realizing one’s own self (Mool, Original, or True Nature, etc. – ਆਪਣਾ ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਪਰਖਣ ਤੋਂ ਬਿਨਾ, etc.), the moss of doubt (ignorance of one’s True Nature, etc.) is not eradicated (from the mind) ||2||1|| (sggs 684).

In nutshell – through the Gur-Shabad (Gur-Giaan, Divine Knowledge…) – the Gurbani tells us to abandon the falsehood (false self – Haume…), pursue the Truth, and become the Gurmukh (follower of the Truth…). Shabad-Vichaar helps understand what is Real and what is unreal.

  • ਕੂੜੁ ਛੋਡਿ ਸਾਚੇ ਕਉ ਧਾਵਹੁ ॥: Koorr shhodd saachae ko dhhaavahu: Abandon falsehood, and pursue the Truth (sggs 1027).
  • ਸੋਹੰ ਆਪੁ ਪਛਾਣੀਐ ਸਬਦਿ ਭੇਦਿ ਪਤੀਆਇ ॥ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਆਪੁ ਪਛਾਣੀਐ ਅਵਰ ਕਿ ਕਰੇ ਕਰਾਇ ॥੯॥: Soham aapu pchhaaneeai sabadi bhedi pteeaai. Gurmukhi aapu pachhaaneeai avar ki kare karaai ||9||: (When one’s mind) is pierced through by the Shabad and is confided (in the Shabad, then one) recognizes within himself that, “He is me” (i.e, then he knows that his Real Nature and God’s Nature is one and the same – ਤਦੋਂ ਇਹ ਪਛਾਣ ਆਉਂਦੀ ਹੈ ਕਿ ਮੇਰਾ ਤੇ ਪ੍ਰਭੂ ਦਾ ਸੁਭਾਉ ਰਲਿਆ ਹੈ). By becoming the Gurmukh, (one) realizes his own self, (after one has realized his own self, for him) what more is left to do or have done. ||9||. (sggs 60).

When consciousness from the micro level reverts back to the macro level, it exhibits features of omniscience, omnipotence and omnipresence Parmaatam (ਜਿਨੀ ਆਤਮੁ ਚੀਨਿਆ ਪਰਮਾਤਮੁ ਸੋਈ ॥: Jinee aatam cheeniaa parmaatam soee, sggs 421).

Self-Transcendence was last modified: May 13th, 2014 by T. Singh
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