UNITY OF WIFE AND HUSBAND'S SOUL

ਧਨ ਪਿਰੁ ਏਹਿ ਨ ਆਖੀਅਨਿ ਬਹਨਿ ਇਕਠੇ ਹੋਇ ॥
ਏਕ ਜੋਤਿ ਦੁਇ ਮੂਰਤੀ ਧਨ ਪਿਰੁ ਕਹੀਐ ਸੋਇ ॥ ॥੩॥:
Dhan Pir(u) Ehi na Aakheeani...(sggs 788).
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Unity between wife and husband's mind (i.e. thinking-Soch) provides constancy, faithfulness, dependability, reliability, loyalty, fidelity, firmness, true love, companionship or friendship, strength to endure, and resistance to disintegration of the entire family. Thus it provides stability for the entire family.

Having said that, when there is such oneness and harmony in life, it makes true humanness shines forth. Guru Amar Daas Jee in Raag Soohee highlights this required Unity as follows:

  • ਧਨ ਪਿਰੁ ਏਹਿ ਨ ਆਖੀਅਨਿ ਬਹਨਿ ਇਕਠੇ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਏਕ ਜੋਤਿ ਦੁਇ ਮੂਰਤੀ ਧਨ ਪਿਰੁ ਕਹੀਐ ਸੋਇ ॥ ॥੩॥: Dhan pir(u) ehi na aakheeani bahani ikathae hoi. Ek joti dui mooratee dhan pir(u) kaheeai soi: Those who (only physically) live together are not called true wife and husband. They alone are called true wife and husband who have the same Light (Soch-thinking...) in two bodies. ||3|| (sggs 788).

Greed, ignorance, power from within man, organized religions (Pujaaree-Vaad etc.), external cultural influences etc. had minimizeded the respect and value of women, particularly in Indian society. As a result, women became easy prey for exploitation.

In Gurmat Sikhi of Baabaa Nanak, there is NO distinction between man and woman, daughter and son etc. Gurbani gives both sexes an equal status — GENDER EQUALITY.

Baabaa Naanak stood by WOMEN (e.g. dowry custom, Satee Prathaa etc.) who were treated as a second class citizen. The society had robbed WOMEN of their basic rights, because a woman was considered inferior to man and an hurdle to man’s spiritual realization etc. This is more than half of humanity, denigrated! Baabaa Nanak challenged this evil practice and thunders forth the following declaration to Awaken the humanity to the need to respect woman:

  • ਭੰਡਿ ਜੰਮੀਐ ਭੰਡਿ ਨਿੰਮੀਐ ਭੰਡਿ ਮੰਗਣੁ ਵੀਆਹੁ ॥ ਭੰਡਹੁ ਹੋਵੈ ਦੋਸਤੀ ਭੰਡਹੁ ਚਲੈ ਰਾਹੁ ॥ ਭੰਡੁ ਮੁਆ ਭੰਡੁ ਭਾਲੀਐ ਭੰਡਿ ਹੋਵੈ ਬੰਧਾਨੁ ॥ ਸੋ ਕਿਉ ਮੰਦਾ ਆਖੀਐ ਜਿਤੁ ਜੰਮਹਿ ਰਾਜਾਨ ॥ ਭੰਡਹੁ ਹੀ ਭੰਡੁ ਊਪਜੈ ਭੰਡੈ ਬਾਝੁ ਨ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਭੰਡੈ ਬਾਹਰਾ ਏਕੋ ਸਚਾ ਸੋਇ ॥ : From woman, man is born; within woman, man is conceived; to woman he is engaged and married. Woman becomes his friend; Through woman, the future generations come. When woman dies, (man) seeks another woman; because of woman, (man) becomes related (to other people – ਲੈਣ-ਦੇਣ ਦੇ ਸਾਰੇ ਸੰਸਾਰਕ ਬੰਧਾਨ etc.). Why then condemn one who created every great and accomplished human being? From woman, woman is born; Without woman, there would be no one at all. Nanak, it is only the One Creator who has been there without going through the womb of a woman. (sggs 473).

Baabaa Nanak's Unique and Revolutionary Message thus helped reinforce and revive the value and respect for women in the society.

However, respect for the other beings, Creation etc. cannot be taught nor legislated. It can however be learnt by reading and listening to the Guru's spiritual Wisdom (Upadesh, advice, counsel) and then living (ਅਮਲ) it in daily life. If we are willing to take the Guru's spiritual Wisdom, it can Awaken the Consciousness.

The eyes are two but the vision is one! The Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) wants wife and husband to become one.

But the question is, which one?

The wife expects the husband to change and become like her and the husband wants his wife to change and become like him. This is not the kind of oneness the Gurbani is talking about here. Also, in life, generally husband is found begging his wife's love and attention and wife begging for her husband's love and attention. There is no sense in so becoming two beggars either!

Also, the Message of the SGGS is meant equally for both - wife and husband. Therefore, for the wife to assume this Teaching or Wisdom of the SGGS to be only meant for her husband or for the husband to assume it to be only meant for his wife would be a fallacy, thus a travesty of truth.

In the Sikh (the Way of life based on the Wisdom of the SGGS), man and woman do not enter into matrimony for merely bestial reasons, but rather for inner growth or spiritual advancement. Hence, in the Sikh thought marriage based on true Unity of the minds (i.e. thinking-Soch) of both wife and husband is considered by the SGGS an essential part of their marriage.

With the example of a worldly marriage performed on a material plane between a man and a woman, the SGGS explains in the four ' Laavaan' (sggs 773-774) as to how one can join (marry or link) with the Higher Consciousness within. Thus, marriage in the Sikh Way of life is supposed to be an unbreakable spiritual Union of two minds into one. It is a mean to learn helping each other to attain together a balanced life, self-fulfillment, spiritual Unfoldment and Self-knowledge leading to perfection in life (Jeevan Pada) or porpose of life.

In view of that, the SGGS instructs 'Bride and groom are not they who pose as one whole; bride and groom are they who are two bodies with one soul' (Soch-ਸੋਚ or thinking...). In other words, wife and husband are not those who just pose together, and then hang those portraits on walls; keep them in the photo-albums, wallets or publish them in the media, etc. The SGGS wants us to transcend this superficiality. Which is not easy at all. Very 'rare' ones chose to walk on a razor's edge!

But what other choice there is? If wife and husband fail to become 'one', the consequences could lead to a devastating instability of the entire family — divorce, separation, broken family, arguments, litigation, violence, depression, suicide and even murders. On account of the foolishness and selfishness of adults, children suffer the most. The SGGS says that when we look upon the other person as part of us, all the differences disappear. This is the High Road, of course many are unwilling to take.

  • ਸਰਬ ਭੂਤ ਏਕੈ ਕਰਿ ਜਾਨਿਆ ਚੂਕੇ ਬਾਦ ਬਿਬਾਦਾ ॥ : Sarab bhoot ekai kari jaaniaa chookae baad bibaadaa: I see ONE GOD pervading in all beings (look upon all beings alike), therefore all my conflict and arguments with other have ended. (sggs 483).

Differences or lack of oneness rise on account of the negative tendencies such as lust, anger, greed, attachment, pride and their numerous variations like selfishness (the feeling of 'mine, mine'), enviousness, stubborn mindedness, judgmental behavior, etc., which leads to resentment, conflicts, tension and disharmony. In the selfish world, generally love lasts so long one is healthy and keeps bringing in the paycheck (i.e., income). For some reason (e.g., illness, misfortune, etc.), the day the paycheck stops, love also disappear as horns from the head of a donkey!

Married life, if lived with selflessness and proper understanding, will help in realizing the goal of the SGGS of becoming "one soul". There is no chance without the selfless attitude.

The SGGS declares:

  • ਆਪੇ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਆਪੇ ਹੀ ਨਾਰੀ ॥ : Aape purakh(u) aape hee naaree: ਆਪੇ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਆਪੇ ਹੀ ਨਾਰੀ ॥: (O Creator) You yourself are (every) male and You Yourself (every) female. (sggs 1020).

Thus the Gurmat Wisdom wants us to remeber the pervasive faminine aspect of he Creation! Hence, in a nutshell, the spiritual Wisdom of the Gurbani teaches us to respect not only the woman but all of humanity and Creation. In the inner depth of every woman there is a man, and there is a woman in the inner depths of every man.

  • ਪੁਰਖ ਮਹਿ ਨਾਰਿ ਨਾਰਿ ਮਹਿ ਪੁਰਖਾ ਬੂਝਹੁ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਗਿਆਨੀ ॥ ਧੁਨਿ ਮਹਿ ਧਿਆਨੁ ਧਿਆਨ ਮਹਿ ਜਾਨਿਆ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਅਕਥ ਕਹਾਨੀ ॥੩॥ : ਪੁਰਖ ਮਹਿ ਨਾਰਿ ਨਾਰਿ ਮਹਿ ਪੁਰਖਾ ਬੂਝਹੁ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਗਿਆਨੀ ॥ ਧੁਨਿ ਮਹਿ ਧਿਆਨੁ ਧਿਆਨ ਮਹਿ ਜਾਨਿਆ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਅਕਥ ਕਹਾਨੀ ॥੩॥ : (O the contemplator of Giyan-Wisdom) understand this — women are born from male semen and it is in a woman’s womb that a man lives during pregnancy. It is by becoming the Gurmukh (Enlightened, Guru-Oriented), one focuses his/her mind on living life accordingly and realizes the Indescribable (Universal Hukam, Kudrat, Creator…). ||3|| (sggs 879).

Generally, men are mostly intellectually centered and women are emotionally centered. The gap between these two centers can be narrowed or closed by balancing the complementary powers of the feminine and masculine qualities within. In nutshell, the false 'I' (false ego-sense or Haumai) needs to vanish; for the feeling of 'I' or 'mine, mine' obstructs any possibility of inner growth and unification of Hearts. Balancing of the complementary powers and qualities, mutual respect, cooperation, and spiritual living lead to perfection in life.

Apparently, the Guru Shabad teaches us not to look for a perfect partner (wife or husband) in life, but to become one! Thus, if both partners genuinely strive to become the perfect partner they are looking for, the goal is accomplished. To create a clapping sound, cooperation from both hands is needed - no clapping sound is made with one hand alone. One hand alone can slap but not clap!

However, generally what happens is that one partner wants the other partner to change, but not him or herself. For a cart to move forward smoothly, all wheels need to move in harmony. Otherwise the ride will become bumpy, uncomfortable, unpleasant, and sometime even impossible.

If mankind as a whole wants to bring harmony, prosperity and peace to the world, then, as indicated in the SGGS, the man and woman needs to walk together on the path of replacing 'two-ness' with oneness in life. For this to happen, both will need to live fully in his or her own unique nature or respective realm in uplifting and positive spiritual vibration. In other words, to realize the Inner Growth as required by the SGGS, wife and husband need conducting themselves virtuously, respecting each other's sentiments; avoiding areas of conflict; ruthlessly shunning all their differences (duality); and treating each other with honor, dignity, selfless love, mutual respect, determination and courage.

On the other hand, if both the man and the woman are crazy, then both forget their True Nature ('Jot Saroop'), and thus get drown in the shoreless ocean of the worldliness or selfishness. But if one of them is endowed with some Divine Qualities, he or she may pull the other toward the Higher Purpose of life (Mool-Abidance).

To this end, the SGGS guides us to share in the Divine Virtues of others, not their faults or shortcomings — look for only Good in others. The reason is this: we are not here to deal with faults or weaknesses of others, but our own!

Negative thinking does no good to anybody. Since we are here to deal with only the Divine Virtues or Good, we are asked by the SGGS to shun negative mental habit patterns and conduct. For only the Divine Vrtues or Good can be conducive to the oneness or the Divine Life (Enlightened / Gurmukh Lifestyle). Accordingly, the SGGS time and again urges us to discard faults and be imbibed in Virtues instead.

In the final analysis, Baabaa Nanak coumsels that the mortal is liberated only when all his/her faults are eradicated.

  • ਗੁਣਾ ਕਾ ਹੋਵੈ ਵਾਸੁਲਾ ਕਢਿ ਵਾਸੁ ਲਈਜੈ ॥ ਜੇ ਗੁਣ ਹੋਵਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਿ ਸਾਜਨਾ ਮਿਲਿ ਸਾਝ ਕਰੀਜੈ ॥ ਸਾਝ ਕਰੀਜੈ ਗੁਣਹ ਕੇਰੀ ਛੋਡਿ ਅਵਗਣ ਚਲੀਐ ॥ ਪਹਿਰੇ ਪਟੰਬਰ ਕਰਿ ਅਡੰਬਰ ਆਪਣਾ ਪਿੜੁ ਮਲੀਐ ॥ : O Mind, you have Within your possession Divine virtues; manifest them in your Spirituality. Since you possess these Divine Virtues O Mind, adopt a Relationship with them. The adoption of this Relationship is the discarding of human vices as you walk the Journey of Spirituality. By treating everyone with love and by doing good deeds, one can win the wrestling of life (battle of life, game of life etc. – ਜੀਵਨ-ਘੋਲ) against (Vices). (sggs 765-766).
  • ਅਵਗਣ ਮਾਰੀ ਮਰੈ ਨ ਸੀਝੈ ਗੁਣਿ ਮਾਰੀ ਤਾ ਮਰਸੀ ॥ : Avagan maaree marai na seejhai guni maaree taa marasee: One who is estrangled in demerits (vices/Bikaar), spiritually deteriorates and thus can not succeed in achieving the Goal of life. But one who dies in glorious Virtue, really truly dies (i.e. escapaes from vices/Bikaar). (sggs 1109).
  • ਏ ਮਨ ਮੇਰਿਆ ਛਡਿ ਅਵਗਣ ਗੁਣੀ ਸਮਾਣਿਆ ਰਾਮ ॥ : Eae mann meriaa shadi avagan gunee samaaniaa raam: O my mind! Give up (your) demerits, and be absorbed in Raam (Source, Mool, Truth …). (sggs 1112).
  • ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਤਬ ਹੀ ਮਨ ਛੁਟੀਐ ਜਉ ਸਗਲੇ ਅਉਗਨ ਮੇਟਿ ਧਰਹਾ ॥੪॥੪॥ : Kahu Nanak tab hee mann shuteeai jo sagale aougan meti dharahaa : ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਤਬ ਹੀ ਮਨ ਛੁਟੀਐ ਜਉ ਸਗਲੇ ਅਉਗਨ ਮੇਟਿ ਧਰਹਾ ॥: Says Nanak – O mind! (You will be) emancipated (from Maya…) only when (you) eradicate all (your) demerits from within. ||4||4|| (sggs 1203).

— T. Singh
www.gurbani.org