ਬਿਨੁ ਸਹਜੈ ਸਭੁ ਅੰਧੁ ਹੈ ਮਾਇਆ ਮੋਹੁ ਗੁਬਾਰੁ ॥:
Binu sahajai sabhu andhu hai maya mohu gubaaru
Without Sahaj (ਆਤਮਕ ਅਡੋਲਤਾ), all are blind (in the love of Maya).
(Because of this) emotional attachment to Maya, there prevails
utter darkness (in the world - ignorance). (sggs 68).

The peacock and sparrow-hawk yearn for the thunder of rain clouds. Hearing the thunder of rain clouds, they sing their heart out in joy. The mind of the sparrow-hawk thirsts and longs for the soothing raindrops from the clouds. In separation he cries, chirps and calls his Beloved every moment. As soon the first drop of rain pours down into his mouth, his pain comes to an end, and he attains Sahaj (Natural State of Being).

  • ਬਾਬੀਹਾ ਤੂੰ ਸਹਜਿ ਬੋਲਿ ਸਚੈ ਸਬਦਿ ਸੁਭਾਇ ॥ ਸਭੁ ਕਿਛੁ ਤੇਰੈ ਨਾਲਿ ਹੈ ਸਤਿਗੁਰਿ ਦੀਆ ਦਿਖਾਇ ॥: Baabeehaa toon Sahaj bol sachai Sabad subhaai. Sabh kish terai naal hai satigur deeaa dikhaai: O rainbird (of the mind - O amorist or lover of the drop of rainwater of the Lord's Name thar bestows spiritual life - ਹੇ ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਦੇਣ ਵਾਲੀ ਨਾਮ-ਬੂੰਦ ਦੇ ਰਸੀਏ!), by being established in Sahaj (Intuitive Poise, Natural state of Being - ਆਤਮਕ ਅਡੋਲਤਾ ਵਿਚ ਟਿਕ ਕੇ), attune to the True Shabad, with love, engage in Naam-Simran. Everything (Bliss, etc., that emanates from the drop of the Lord's Name) is within you; (but only that person realizes it to whom) the Satguru has shown this (sggs 1420). (Note: a bird called Baabeehaa is said to be an amorist of the first drop of the rainwater, and cries out for it!).

Just so, the Soul-bride is separated from her Divine Beloved - her Mool within (Source, Origin, Jot...). By attaching the sparrow-hawk of the mind to the raindrop of the Divine Name (Naam: Divine Knowledge, Aatam-Giaan...), she attains the state of Sahaj (ਆਤਮਕ ਅਡੋਲਤਾ). The clouds of Divine Love mercifully burst forth, and the rain of the Amrit of Name pours down in torrents. The cries and wailing (wandering) of the Mayaic mind's sparrow-hawk ceases to be, and the Sahaj comes to abide in the mind. The soul-bride then feels completely satisfied and satiated; never again to be afflicted by the thirst for Maya. The Gurbani (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, SGGS) puts it so beautifully as follows:

  • ਨਾਨਕ ਸੰਤ ਚਾਤ੍ਰਿਕ ਕੀ ਨਿਆਈ ਹਰਿ ਬੂੰਦ ਪਾਨ ਸੁਖ ਥੀਵਨਿ ॥੨॥੬੮॥੯੧॥: Nanak sant chaatrik kee niyaayee Hari boond paan sukh theevan ||2||68||91||: Nanak, the saints are like the rainbird (as the rainbird is comforted or satiated by drinking the raindrop - ਜਿਵੇਂ ਪਪੀਹਾ ਸ੍ਵਾਂਤੀ ਨਛੱਤ੍ਰ ਦੀ ਵਰਖਾ ਦੀ ਬੂੰਦ ਪੀ ਕੇ ਤ੍ਰਿਪਤ ਹੁੰਦਾ ਹੈ); the saints (similarly) are comforted, drinking in the drops of God’s Name ||2||68||91|| (sggs 1222).
  • ਬਾਬੀਹੈ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਪਛਾਣਿਆ ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਸਹਜਿ ਸੁਭਾਇ ॥ ਮੇਘੁ ਵਰਸੈ ਦਇਆ ਕਰਿ ਗੂੜੀ ਛਹਬਰ ਲਾਇ ॥ ਬਾਬੀਹੇ ਕੂਕ ਪੁਕਾਰ ਰਹਿ ਗਈ ਸੁਖੁ ਵਸਿਆ ਮਨਿ ਆਇ ॥: Baabeehai Hukam pachhaaniaa Gur kai Sahaj subhaai ...: That rainbird (of the mind) who by being established in Sahaj (Intuitive Poise, Natural state of Being - ਆਤਮਕ ਅਡੋਲਤਾ ਵਿਚ ਟਿਕ ਕੇ), and by following the Guru, realizes the Hukam (Divine Will); (in turn) the Guru mercifully pours down in torrents the rain (of the Naam-Amrit) and the clouds (of the Naam-Amrit) burst forth. (As aresult) the cries and wailings of the rainbird cease to be, and Peace comes to abide in its mind (sggs 1284).

What does "Sahaj" mean? It is a Sanskrit word which can be translated as one's Natural State of Being (ਆਤਮਕ ਅਡੋਲਤਾ) — Simple or Spontaneous State of Being, Celestial or Intuitive Peace, Intuitive Poise, Natural or Peaceful Ease, Intuitive Wisdom, Love, True Understanding, abidance in Shabad-Naam, clarity of the mind, Inner Perfect, Inner Composure, all-round Purity, simply Being, Quiet or Spiritual Silence (Sunn Samaadhi), Egolessness, Desirelessness, Tenth Gate, Chauthaa Pada, Turiyaa Avasthaa, Realization of the Mool within (Source, Origin, Jot...), Sahaj Samaadhi, Sukh-Aasan, and so on.

  • ਬਿਨੁ ਸਹਜੈ ਸਭੁ ਅੰਧੁ ਹੈ ਮਾਇਆ ਮੋਹੁ ਗੁਬਾਰੁ ॥: Binu sahajai sabhu andhu hai maya mohu gubaaru: Without Sahaj (ਆਤਮਕ ਅਡੋਲਤਾ), all are blind (in the love of Maya). (Because of this) emotional attachment to Maya, there prevails utter darkness (in the world - ignorance). (sggs 68).

The mind in Purity ("killed" state) is the Mool within (Source, Origin, Jot...), the Divine Essence or the Joti-Svaroop. By the adherence to the Gurmat (Aatam Giaan of the Gurbani...), the mind's mundane attachments become weaker. Simultaneously, the mind develops Ekaagartaa or one-pointedness, leading to "Sunn Samaadhi" — the state of "killed" or no-mind. Simply put: The state of annihilated mind means the cessation of mental activities or fugitive thoughts (Phurne) that give place to the enduring Natural Poise (Sahaj) free from worldly distractions. When this state remains constantly unshaken it becomes Sahaj Avasthaa — one's Natural or Simple State of Being.

  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਬਿਗਸੈ ਸਹਜਿ ਸੁਭਾਇ ॥: Gurmukh bigsai Sahaj subhhaai: The Gurmukh (Spiritual Being) blossoms forth with Sahaj (sggs 1173).
  • ਇਉ ਕਹੈ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਮਨ ਤੂੰ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਰੂਪੁ ਹੈ ਅਪਣਾ ਮੂਲੁ ਪਛਾਣੁ ॥੫॥: Iou kahai Nanaku man toon joti saroopu hai apanaa moolu pashaanu ||5||: Thus says Nanak - O mind! Your "Saroop" (your own, True State) is "Joti" (Divine Light)! Recognize your Mool (Source, Origin, Reality...) ||5|| (sggs 441).
God is Sahaj. He is Natural, Subtler of the subtlest, Simpler of the simplest, and Spontaneous. He is the Pure Awareness, Love, Celestial Poise and Silence, Absolute Bliss, Truth and the Ocean of Peace. In our True Nature, we are That ("Soham"). The means to retrace our steps back to this Original State of our Pure Being is taking to the Sahaj Maarag or Natural Way. In Sahaj, the worldly or ego-mind resolves (or "killed") itself into the Mool within (Source, Origin, Jot...).
  • ਤਤੁ ਨਿਰੰਜਨੁ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਬਾਈ ਸੋਹੰ ਭੇਦੁ ਨ ਕੋਈ ਜੀਉ ॥: Tat niranjan joti sabaaee soham bhed na koee jeeou:  The essence, the immaculate Lord, the Light of all - I am He and He is me - there is no difference (sggs 599).
Abidance in the Mool within (Source, Origin, Jot...) is Sahaj. Since the Mool is unchanging, man's True Nature is always Sahaj — it is Sahaj at birth, it is Sahaj during his entire life, and it remains Sahaj even after the destruction of his physical body (death). Although Sahaj is man's Real Nature, still he is unable to experience it. Why? What did go wrong? What is it that shattered his eternal state of Sahaj?

Simply put: it is the birth of false ego-sense (psychological conditioning, etc.) that creates havoc in the forest of the body. Birth of false ego-sense is the birth of the body and the instinctive mind (thoughts). Since there was no false ego in the Sahaj state, there were no bodily or mental distractions. To illustrate, we can recall our state of deep sleep. In deep sleep, since one is disconnected from his body and mind, he enjoys it. There is no pain or suffering felt in that state. But upon awakening, one falls in the whirlpool of pair of "likes and dislikes" even though he is the same person who was happy in the deep sleep. What has transpired between the state of awakening and the state of deep sleep? It is the rise of the false ego-sense; which was absent in the deep sleep. According to the Gurbani, the birth of this egocentricity is the birth of the person as well as his phenomenal world of names, shapes, time and space.

  • ਇਹੁ ਸਰੀਰੁ ਮਾਇਆ ਕਾ ਪੁਤਲਾ ਵਿਚਿ ਹਉਮੈ ਦੁਸਟੀ ਪਾਈ ॥: Ih sareer maya kaa putlaaa vich haumai dustaee paaee: This body is the puppet of Maya. The evil of egotism is within it (sggs 31).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਮੋਹੁ ਉਪਜੈ ਸੰਸਾਰਾ ॥: Haumai moh upjai sansaraa: Out of egotistic attachment, the Universe is born (sggs 1057).
  • Chih khush guft firdauseee khush zubaan. Shitaabee bavad kaari aahramnaa ||80||: Listen to this well-said quotation of Firdausi: The hasty action (Impatience, absence of Sahaj, etc.) is the work of Satan (i.e, is the sign of evil persons, etc.). ||80|| (Guru Gobind Singh Jee, Zafarnaamaa).

Whatever is born is temporary, thus must perish. Accordingly, the Gurbani urges us "killing" the phantom of psychological ego (or worldly mind); because there is no fear of recurring death for what is once dead! The disappearance of false ego has no effects on the Mool within (Source, Origin, Jot...) - the Mool remains as it is even after the cessation of the ego-sense!

Death of ego constitutes thinning of ignorance, doubts, delusion and obstinate error. These are the obstacles to remaining in unbroken Sahaj. Ignorance is the wrong knowledge that gives rise to forgetfulness of one's True Nature as Pure Sahaj. Doubt is the byproduct of the wrong knowledge which is unable to cope with the Real. In other words, deluded intellect's inability to cope with the Truth causes mind to break down in doubt. Error also is the byproduct of the wrong knowledge which consists in the false identification of one's Mool within (Source, Origin, Jot...) with the body, mind, intellect and senses. With the rise of this error comes the notion that this Jagat (or material world) is permanent. The scriptures say these obstacles must go. But, how can they be eliminated?

The Infinite Consciousness is Subtle and Sahaj. In order to reestablish link with This Subtle Substance, one must become equally subtle by taking up means which are comparable with This Transcendental Being. Resting in This Sahaj is the entire creation. In essence, Sahaj is our mooring which we have lost and consequently we have gone astray.

  • ਸਸੈ ਸਭੁ ਜਗੁ ਸਹਜਿ ਉਪਾਇਆ ਤੀਨਿ ਭਵਨ ਇਕ ਜੋਤੀ ॥ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਵਸਤੁ ਪਰਾਪਤਿ ਹੋਵੈ ਚੁਣਿ ਲੈ ਮਾਣਕ ਮੋਤੀ ॥: Sassai sabh jag sahaj upaaiaa teen bhavan ik joti. Gurmukh vasat praapat hovai chun lai maanak motee: Sassaa (a letter of the Gurmukhi alphabet):  (God) created the entire universe with ease (efferlessly, ਸਹਜੇ ਹੀ, ਬਿਨਾ ਕਿਸੇ ਉਚੇਚੇ ਉੱਦਮ ਦੇ); His One Light pervades the three worlds. By becoming the Gurmukh, (one) obtains (the Lord's Name), the (Real) Thing; he gathers the gems and pearls (of the Lord's Name) (sggs 930).
The state of Sahaj can be regained if we only search it within the cave of our Heart, while still living in the midst of the material world and its so-called impurities. In other words, flying with both wings of matter and Spirit, we can soar to the vivid heights of subtlety. According to the Gurbani, those who search for it in the midst of mountain-peaks, secluded caves, forests, self-denial, celibacy, outer renunciation, etc.,  are in general of vague or deluded thinking. If we only attach ourselves with the Self within, and detach from the emotional attachment to the worldliness, Spiritual success will follow automatically. To put it otherwise, the adherence to detachment from the material consciousness and attachment to Intuitive practice of the Shabad or Naam is the power by which the mind's mundane attachments become weaker.
  • ਦਰਸ ਤੇਰੇ ਕੀ ਪਿਆਸ ਮਨਿ ਲਾਗੀ ॥ ਸਹਜ ਅਨੰਦ ਬਸੈ ਬੈਰਾਗੀ ॥੩॥: Daras tere kee piyaas amnn laagee. Sahaj anand vasai bairaagee ||3||: (O Lord, whose) mind thirsts for Your Vision (ਦਰਸਨ ਦੀ ਤਾਂਘ); he dwells in detachment (from Maya, etc.) and remains in the Bliss of Sahaj (Natural State of Being, Intuitive Ease, ਆਤਮਕ ਅਡੋਲਤਾ, etc.) ||3|| (sggs 389).
How can the state of subtlety or Sahaj be experienced within? To experience Sahaj, one needs to cultivate and then maintain the Spiritual fitness. Spiritual fitness comes about from proper Understanding (ਸੂਝ-ਬੂਝ) gained by Shabad-Vichaar. In Japji Sahib (sggs 8), Baabaa Nanak has laid down eight-fold path for linking with the Divine Essence as follows:
  • Continence or self-discipline (Jat pahaaraa)
  • Patience or Self-mastery (Dheeraj suniyar)
  • Proper Understanding or Intuitive Wisdom (Aihran mat)
  • Self-knowledge or Realization (Ved hathiyar)
  • Fear of God (Bhaou khallaa)
  • Tap (Agan Tap taaou)
  • Devotion or Divine Love (Bhaanda bhaaou)
  • Meditation on Divine Name and Prayer, leading to Purity or Immortality (Amrit tit dhaal)

These Divine Virtues ensure one's rapid Spiritual Unfoldment within.

  • ਘਰੈ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਕੋ ਘਰੁ ਪਾਏ ॥ ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਸਬਦੇ ਸਹਜਿ ਸੁਭਾਏ ॥ ਓਥੈ ਸੋਗੁ ਵਿਜੋਗੁ ਨ ਵਿਆਪੈ ਸਹਜੇ ਸਹਜਿ ਸਮਾਇਆ ॥੧੦॥: Gharai andar ko ghar paae. Gur kai sabad sahaj subhaae. Othai sog vijog n viaapai sahaje sahaj samaaiaa ||10||: (The person who) through the Gur-Shabad, deep within the Home of the self, finds the Home of the Lord, remains established in love, with Sahaj (Sahaj: Natural State of Being, Intuitive State, ਆਤਮਕ ਅਡੋਲਤਾ, etc.). There, he is not afflicted with sorrow or separation (from God); he remains merged into the Sahaj with ease ||10|| (sggs 1068).

What do all the foregoing terms really mean? To be desireless means not to desire anything for sense gratification. Meditation simply means to become fixed as the Mool within. For example, when thoughts arise in the mind and distract it, then the effort is made to eliminate them. That effort is generally called meditation. In other words, meditation is to merge into the Source consciously. Inner surrender is relinquishment of all mental concoctions; it is the abandonment of all concerns or worries with one's past, present, and future. In other words, total surrender means offering of the false ego, deluded mind, and corrupt intellect to God and become a "living dead". True devotion (Bhakti) is devoid of any material or celestial desires and related fear. Thus devotion simply means to selflessly love the Gurmat (Aata Giaan...). Unlike worldly desires, when the feeling (Bhaav) of pure love, service and sacrifice get fulfilled, all cravings come to an end. Virtuous conduct means living a truthful and natural life. Constant remembrance of God means to feel connected to All-pervading Presence within during every moment of all our mental or physical activities. Satsang is the association of the Truth within and without. It helps bring the mind under control spontaneously; causing it to sink into the cave of the Heart. As Sat (Divine Truth or Essence) dwells within, it also means being in-tune with the Inner-dweller. Shabad-Vichaar is to constantly Reflect on the Gur-Shabad, understand its true meaning, and then live it. As the Shabad-Vichaar relates to Giaan, the pure Divine Knowledge (Aatam-Giaan) arises with the aid and practice of the Shabad-Vichaar. Bibeka is the power of discrimination between the Real (Sat or Truth) and unreal (Asat or false). In short, Bibek is to know the Best Way. Detachment or dispassion is the absence of sensual cravings.

Self-mastery is none other than mastering the Sahaj Avasthaa by integrating one's physical, mental, and Spiritual aspects naturally, without any extremes.

Institutionalized religion is bound in the framework of name, form, causation, time and space; whereas the Spirituality is beyond all of them. To put it otherwise, the end of external religion is the beginning of the true Spirituality within. It is the Inner Purity awakened by the Shabad-Vichaar that dissolves the obstacles or coverings put up by the false ego and its negative traits. The Gurbani makes it very clear that parrot-like remembrance, mechanical reading of the scriptures, rolling beads, practice of unmeaning rituals, and wearing religious robes will not do the trick; for all such activities are empty of Spiritual vibration and thus only inflame the fire of false ego-sense. Religious rituals are fetters in that they are generally used as instruments for proving the superiority of the one religion over the other or one person over the other. Appropriately so, they are emphatically rejected by the Gurbani. Thus, a Gurmukh (Spiritual Being) discards the chaff from the grain, while a Manmukh (unwise) collects it!

  • ਤੁਹ ਕੁਟਹਿ ਮਨਮੁਖ ਕਰਮ ਕਰਹਿ ਭਾਈ ਪਲੈ ਕਿਛੂ ਨ ਪਾਇ ॥੨॥: Tuh kutahi manmukh karam karahi bhaaee pallai kishoo na paai ||2||: Actions performed by the Manmukh are like the threshing of the chaff — they obtain nothing for their efforts ||2|| (sggs 603).
  • ਨਿਜ ਘਰਿ ਮਹਲੁ ਪਾਵਹੁ ਸੁਖ ਸਹਜੇ ਬਹੁਰਿ ਨ ਹੋਇਗੋ ਫੇਰਾ ॥੩॥: Nij ghari mahalu paavahu sukh sahaje bahuri na hoigo feraa ||3|| Being established in Sahaj, realize the Lord's Presence within; then you will not be consigned to repeated birth and death ||3|| (sggs 13).

— T. Singh