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, State of Wisdom, ਗਿਆਨ ਅਵਸਤਾ, etc.) by its very nature is paradoxical.
Who is Gurbani’s Gurmukh?
The Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) gives us glimpses into the Gurmukh Lifestyle.
In nutshell, without getting stagnated or stuck, a Gurmukh constantly keeps engaged in new Vichaar (reflections); enhancing his understanding (ਸਮਝ); gaining Knowledge from the Gurmat and live it in daily life; developing Virtues and living them; debugging and updating himself for better; etc. Since he never stops learning, he always keeps changing for better. He looks upon pain and pleasure as one and the same, and sees the same One Universal Energy in all. As a Living Liberated (i.e., he dies while still alive, or Enlightened), he is fully Awakened who lives in the world or in the midst of Maya but detached; As a result, he is ever NEW or Fresh – never grows old!
- ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਬੁਢੇ ਕਦੇ ਨਾਹੀ ਜਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਾ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਗਿਆਨੁ ॥ ਸਦਾ ਸਦਾ ਹਰਿ ਗੁਣ ਰਵਹਿ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਸਹਜ ਧਿਆਨੁ ॥: The Gurmukhs never grow old; within their Surti (consciousness) is Wisdom (understanding, Knowledge). They ever remember Virtues, and remain in the state of “Sahaj” (Natural State of Being, State of Knowledge or Giaan Avasthaa…). (sggs 1418).
Naturally, the Gurmukh Lifestyle is likely to be paradoxical. For example – as the Gurbani asserts – the Gurmukh never grows old!
To the contrary, a Manmukh (an opposite of a Gurmukh) may be young, but he is akin to an old person because his consciousness is empty of the Divine Wisdom, Virtues…
- ਮਨਮੁਖੁ ਬਾਲਕੁ ਬਿਰਧਿ ਸਮਾਨਿ ਹੈ ਜਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਾ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਨਾਹੀ ॥: A Manmukh is like a child; within whose consciousness there is no Divine (Wisdom, Virtues…). (sggs 1418).
Clearly, 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 (spiritual Knowledge, Virtues…), may you always live (spiritual life – ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ). Remembrance of “Hari” (Mool…) bestows Infinite Bliss (sggs 496).
The Gurmukh mind understands the Truth through the Gurbani, constantly remembers and lives his daily life accordingly — Gurmukh Lifestyle. His secret is he daily drinks in “Raam Rasaain” (Gur-Giaan or Wisdom, Virtues, Gurmat…). The Manmukh lifestyle 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).
- ਜੀਵਤ ਜੀਵਤ ਜੀਵਤ ਰਹਹੁ ॥ ਰਾਮ ਰਸਾਇਣੁ ਨਿਤ ਉਠਿ ਪੀਵਹੁ ॥: Live, live, live forever (ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ or Divine Life). Daily, upon getting up, drink in “Raam Rasaain” (Gur-Giaan or Wisdom, Virtues, Gurmat…). (sggs 1138).
Truth (Sach) never gets old!
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).
Since the Gurmukh is a follower of Truth, he remains EVER_FRESH, NEW…
- ਸਾਚ ਕੀ ਮਤਿ ਸਦਾ ਨਉਤਨ ਸਬਦਿ ਨੇਹੁ ਨਵੇਲਓ ॥: The intellect or understanding of Truth is Ever-Fresh or New, and the love (of Truth) nurtured through the Shabad is ever New. (sggs 242).
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).
In other words, the majority of us suffer from Haumai or ego! Whatever the lifestyle we cultivate throughout life, the same will manifest — whatever is in the mind comes forth!
- ਮਨਮੁਖੁ ਅਗਿਆਨੁ ਦੁਰਮਤਿ ਅਹੰਕਾਰੀ ॥: The Manmukh is ignorant, wicked and self-conceited (sggs 314).
Simply put, the majority of us just grow old (lifestyle a Manmukh, Saakat, Mayadhaaree…).
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 as a Manmukh (denier of Truth, a 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 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).
In the lifestyle of a Gurmukh, one sees blossoming! 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.
Since a Gurmukh dies in the Shabad — the Gurmukh Lifestyle. — a right lifestyle — physical death is an phenomenon of utter beauty to him. He smiles at death. His old age is more charming than his youth!
- 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).
On the other hand, since a Manmukh is no longer (spiritually) Young (i.e., when someone has not become the Gurmukh), he becomes spiritually ugly. Thus, to a Manmukh, both old age and death are ugly. Accordingly, the Gurbani asserts the Gurmukh Lifestyle is a right lifestyle.
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 become a Gurmukh is like chewing steel-balls or standing in a fire without getting burnt! No wonder – as time and again indicated in the SGGS – the Gurmukhs are very “rare”!
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.