The Gurbani talks about two mentality-groups living together on earth: (1) the “rare” Gurmukhs (Daas, Bhagat, Jan...) who live the Divine Life, and (2) the rest – Manmukhs, Saakat, Mayadhaaree, etc.. The Gurbani asks us to become the Gurmukh.
The Gurmukh never grows old? How is this possible? Isn’t it contradictory? If someone is born, his or her physical body with time must get old and, ultimately, die!
Then, what does the Gurbani imply or mean when it says the Gurmukh ages not ever!
In fact, life is paradoxical. It’s full of contradictions, although we may not call them as such.
Specifically, the Spiritual Unfoldment (spiritual Vision, Realization of one’s Mool within, Inner Experience, Awakened State, ਗਿਆਨ ਅਵਸਤਾ, etc.) by its very nature is paradoxical.
Who is the Gurmukh?
The Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) gives us glimpses into the Gurmukh Lifestyle. In nutshell, the Gurmukh is spiritually Wise; he transcends Maya; he is free of the false ego-sense (Haumai, ਆਪਾ ਭਾਵ, “ਮੈ ਮੈ”); he abides in the Divine Hukam (ਹੁਕਮੀ ਬੰਦਾ…); he is linked to his Mool within (ਮੂਲ: Source, Origin, Truth, Jot…); he is contented in all situations (Sach Santokhee); he is the follower of the Truth; he restrains his mind instead of following his mind; his mind remains integrated (“ਇਕ ਮਨਿ ਇਕ ਚਿਤਿ – Ik Mani Ik Chiti“); he remains detached in the midst of Maya – ਮਾਇਆ ਵਿਚ ਉਦਾਸੀ; he is established in Bibek Budhi (Discriminating Intellect, Divine Wisdom, intuitive intellect, etc.); he is established in Chauthaa Pada or Turiyaa Avasthaa (Tenth Gate, Sahaj Avasthaa – Natural State of Being; ਆਤਮਕ ਅਡੋਲਤਾ, Shabad-Surti, Highest Plane of Consciousness, etc.); he knows the “Rahat of the soul” (“ਜਾਨੈ ਆਤਮ ਕੀ ਰਹਤ”…); he is Living Liberated (i.e., he dies while still alive, or Enlightened); he is fully Awakened, and so on.
Naturally, the Gurmukh Lifestyle is likely to be paradoxical. For example – as the Gurbani asserts – the Gurmukh never grows old!
- ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਬੁਢੇ ਕਦੇ ਨਾਹੀ ਜਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਾ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਗਿਆਨੁ ॥: The Gurmukhs never grow old; within them is Intuitive Understanding and spiritual Wisdom (understanding of the real purpose of life, consciousness of Divine Knowledge…) (sggs 1418).
- ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਹੋਇ ਬਹੁਰਿ ਨਹੀ ਮਰਨਾ ॥੪॥੬॥੯॥: Become the Gurmukh, and you shall never have to die again. ||4||6||9|| (sggs 872).
The Gurmukh (Bhagat, Jan, Daas...) mind understands the Truth through the Gurbani, constantly remembers it and lives it in daily life. The Manmukh mind is totally opposite of the Gurmukh.
- ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਮਰੈ ਨ ਕਾਲੁ ਨ ਖਾਏ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਸਚਿ ਸਮਾਵਣਿਆ ॥੨॥: Who becomes the Gurmukh does not die (i.e., he escapes from the death of his Spiritual Life); (he) is not consumed by (Spiritual) death. (Because) the Gurmukh remains absorbed in the Truth. ||2|| (sggs 125).
The Truth is said not to get old in the Gurbani (i.e., remains the same in past, present, future…). Accordingly, a Gurmukh (who is the knower of Truth…) is also said to never grow old as well! However, the SGGS tells us that one cannot realize or practice Truth (ਸਚ…) until one becomes pure in Heart:
- ਸਚੁ ਪੁਰਾਣਾ ਨਾ ਥੀਐ ਨਾਮੁ ਨ ਮੈਲਾ ਹੋਇ ॥: The Truth does not grow old; the Divine Naam is never soiled (defiled, etc.). (sggs 1248).
Obviously, here the SGGS is talking about the “old” (or the young) from a spiritual point of view, the Divine Wisdom or the Divine Virtues point of view, the Divine Lifestyle point of view, and so on.
- ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਪੀਵਹੁ ਸਦਾ ਚਿਰੁ ਜੀਵਹੁ ਹਰਿ ਸਿਮਰਤ ਅਨਦ ਅਨੰਤਾ ॥: Drink in the Amrit (of Remembrance or Union of “Hari” – Mool), may you always live (spiritual life – ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ). Remembrance of “Hari” (Mool) bestows Infinite Bliss (sggs 496).
Look around and see at the old people. You will see them bleeding from cuts and bruises they have inflicted upon themselves (i.e., upon their spiritual life, ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ) in their youth (and continue to do so in their old age) — the wounds of lust, anger, greed, attachments, pride, enviousness, stubborn mindedness (ਮਨ-ਹੱਠ), and their numerous other variations. All these Bikaars or defects are the offspring of Haumai ( false ego-sense).
- ਕਾਮੁ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਜੀਅ ਮਹਿ ਚੋਟ ॥: Lust and anger (i.e. all evil passions) are the wounds of the soul (i.e. they inspire us do evil) (sggs 152).
- ਹਉਮੈ ਰੋਗੁ ਵਡਾ ਸੰਸਾਰਿ ॥: Ego is a massive disease in the world (sggs 1278).
Simply put, the majority of us just grow old.
To the contrary, the Gurmukh (a “rare” one) simply grows up!
Huge difference in growing up and growing old.
Growing up is to become the Gurmukh. Growing old is to live in bondage (Maya, a lifestyle of Manmukh, Saakat or Mayadhaaree) and let the body just wither away only to meet the painful death at the end of the life’s journey. Thus, to grow up spiritually is immateriality, Divine or Holy. In other words, growing up is to transform the thinking (Soch) through the churning the Gur-Shabad, and bring about a shift in perception, vision, experience, etc. — from worldly to the spiritual, from the external to the internal, and so on.
- ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਬਿਬੇਕ ਬੁਧਿ ਹੋਇ ॥: The Gurmukh is blessed with spiritual wisdom and discerning intellect (sggs 317).
- ਮਨਮੁਖੁ ਅਗਿਆਨੁ ਦੁਰਮਤਿ ਅਹੰਕਾਰੀ ॥: The Manmukh is ignorant, wicked and self-conceited (sggs 314).
In the lifestyle of a Gurmukh, one sees blossoming of flowers! On the other hand, in the lifestyle of the Manmukh, one sees cuts and bruises of Haumai (false ego-sense). Apparently, a Manmukh acts without Being!
Thus, the old age of a Gurmukh is more delighting, charming, and graceful. Whilst the old age of a Manmukh is ugly and painful. Hence, both the Gurmukh and Manmukh live two different life styles.
The Gurmukh lives by the Brahm-Giaan of the SGGS — a right lifestyle — hence death is an phenomenon of utter beauty to him. He smiles at death. His old age is more charming than his youth! However, to a Manmukh, old age and death are ugly.
- ਬਾਘੁ ਮਰੈ ਮਨੁ ਮਾਰੀਐ ਜਿਸੁ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਦੀਖਿਆ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਆਪੁ ਪਛਾਣੈ ਹਰਿ ਮਿਲੈ ਬਹੁੜਿ ਨ ਮਰਣਾ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਕੀਚੜਿ ਹਾਥੁ ਨ ਬੂਡਈ ਏਕਾ ਨਦਰਿ ਨਿਹਾਲਿ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਉਬਰੇ ਗੁਰੁ ਸਰਵਰੁ ਸਚੀ ਪਾਲਿ ॥੮॥: Whosoever is blessed with the Satgur’s “Deekhiaa” (Teaching of the Gur-Shabad), he slays (controls…) his mind, and thus the tiger (Kaal-Kalpanaa that devours his Spiritual Life within) also dies within. Who understands himself (i.e., Spiritual Life), unites with his Mool within and then dies not again. The One (Parmeshar) sees (him) with Grace, (accordingly, his) hand does not get muddy (with Maya, Bikaar…). O Nanak! The those who become the Gurmukh are saved (from this mud of Maya, Bikaar). Guru is the pool (of Naam, Spiritual Wisdom, Virtues…) and the True Wall (that protects from this mud). (sggs 1411).
The Gurmukh dies in the Shabad — the Gurmukh Lifestyle.
- ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਸਬਦੇ ਜੇ ਮਰੈ ਫਿਰਿ ਮਰੈ ਨ ਦੂਜੀ ਵਾਰ ॥:Who dies (death of egotism…) in the Gur-Shabad, then he does not die again (ਆਤਮਕ ਮੌਤ), a second time (sggs 1009).
The truth is when someone is no longer (spiritually) Young (i.e., when someone has not become the Gurmukh), he becomes spiritually ugly (i.e., the Manmukh). Because, that person has been deceived by his illusory desires and fears.
- ਕਿਆ ਗਭਰੂ ਕਿਆ ਬਿਰਧਿ ਹੈ ਮਨਮੁਖ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਭੁਖ ਨ ਜਾਇ ॥: Whether he is young or old, the self-willed Manmukh cannot escape thirst and hunger (of Maya, illusory desires, etc.) (sggs 649).
But, as time and again indicated in the SGGS, the Gurmukhs are very “rare” — for very rare one lives his daily life by the Gurmat or the Way of the Wisdom of the SGGS!
Hence, a Gurmukh is not a question of heredity, family of birth, ancestry, race, region, social status, caste, creed, education, titles, religion, robes, etc.; it is a question of Mool-Abidance!
Clearly, to be the Gurmukh is like chewing steel-balls or standing in a fire without getting burnt …
The Gurmukh Lifestyle teaches us that to be born is one thing but to be truly alive quite another! In other words, to look pious on the outside is one thing (i.e., fraud) but to be pious inside is another!
The Gurbani’s Counsel is not to wait for old age to take to Gurmukh Lifestyle.