The subject of blindness is a very important subject in the Gurbani.
Blindness may be lunped up in two categories:
- Physical blindness: unable to see with the bodily eyes or the complete lack of form and visual light perception – the condition of lacking visual perception due to physiological or neurological factors.
- Then there is the spiritual blindness. This is a spiritual metaphor generally used to represent the spiritual inability to see Truth – being in the dark, unable to discern Reality or Truth.
A person who is physically blind, cannot see God’s visible revelation or immanent aspect (Sarguna). That is, he can’t see object around him. However, as a man is spiritually blind, he cannot see God’s Transcendent aspect or invisible revelation (Nirguna). For example, a spiritually blind cannot see the Gurbani’s Oneness, Sameness, One Light, Love, Holiness, Forgiveness, Blessing, Eternal Life, Grace, Joy, Peace, Truth, truthful living, etc.
In nutshell, a spiritually blind cannot see the difference in physical body (matter) and the Soul (Spirit). As the physical blind does not see the vast expanse of the universe, so the blind spirit (blind mind, deluded mind, Haumai, etc.) does not see the vast Holiness and Purity of Cosmic Consciousness. Spiritual Sight (as opposed to the spiritual blindness) is opening of the Inner eyes of the Soul or the Spirit to understand Light and to comprehend Divine Truth. It enables one to understand “who am I?”.
Which of these two types of blindness is more terrible?
Here is the Gurbani’s edict.
- ਅੰਧੇ ਏਹਿ ਨ ਆਖੀਅਨਿ ਜਿਨ ਮੁਖਿ ਲੋਇਣ ਨਾਹਿ ॥ ਅੰਧੇ ਸੇਈ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਖਸਮਹੁ ਘੁਥੇ ਜਾਹਿ ॥੧॥: (In spiritual life – ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਵਿਚ) Those who don’t have eyes in their face are not called blind. O Nanak! They alone are blind who wander away from their Master (Prabhoo, Mool, Source, etc.). ||1|| (sggs 954).
The majority of us choose to remain spiritually blind, as the “ostrich-head-in-sand”. Thus blindness – according to the Gurbani – may be voluntary (e.g., spiritual blindness) as well as involuntary (e.g., physical blindness). As indicated in the foregoing verse, spiritual blindness – the refusal to see Reality As Is – is even more profoundly dreadful than the physical blindness.