What is essential to know is what most of us do not know: Virtues, Wisdom, Gur-Giaan, Shabad-Giaan, Brahm-Giaan, Bibek-Budhi…
Unfortunately, most of the translations and interpretations of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) are based on the literal / worldly meanings. For example, in the Gurdawaaraas – after “Sukhaasan or Sukh-Aasan” (at night after reciting So Dar Rehraas, SGGS is put to rest in a special room or place) – most of us might have heard Bhais (Pujaarees), reciting “ਜਿਥੈ ਜਾਇ ਬਹੈ ਮੇਰਾ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੂ ਸੋ ਥਾਨੁ ਸੁਹਾਵਾ ਰਾਮ ਰਾਜੇ ॥: Jithai jaai bahai meraa satiguroo so thaan(u) suhaavaa Raam raaje “.
Literally, “ਸੋ – So” = That – ਉਹ,
“ਥਾਨੁ – Thaan(u)” = Place – ਥਾਂ,
“ਸੁਹਾਵਾ – Suhaavaa” = Beautiful (ਸੋਹਣਾ),
Many take it literally. The greedy and illiterate Pujaaree system (and people who follow them) really don’t want to understand and live the Wisdom of the Gur-Shabad. As a result, they take only a particular building, a particular room, a particular altar, etc., to be the most beautiful place.
The truth is (being Mayadhaaree), the greedy Pujaaress themselves don’t understand. Their only goal is to make money (ਗੋਲਕ!, greeed) and secure the return-business. Thus, in Mayaic consciousness, they are corrupting the Gurbani’s true Message, Giaan or Wisdom.
Because, first, they are not qualified themselves. Second, on account of Bikaars (lust, greed, attachment, etc.), people also want something as sublime as the Divine Realization or Aatamic-Giaan and want it cheaply in the form of a “ready-made” package, thus, putting themselves in a position to be plundered! The Gurbani asserts that the mind clinging to Maya cannot be trusted.
The Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) asserts that the Gurbani can ONLY be understood FROM the Gurban!
- ਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਬਾਣੀ ਗੁਰ ਤੇ ਜਾਤੀ ਜਿ ਸਬਦਿ ਰਤੇ ਰੰਗੁ ਲਾਇ ॥: Gurbani is understood from the “Gur” (i.e. Gurbani) by those who are lovingly attuned to the Shabad (-Vichaar). (sggs 1346).
- ਗੁਰ ਪੂਰੇ ਕੀ ਬਾਣੀ ਜਪਿ ਅਨਦੁ ਕਰਹੁ ਨਿਤ ਪ੍ਰਾਣੀ ॥੧॥: O mortal! Understanding the Bani of the Perfect Gur (Satigur), be ever in Bliss (Aatmak Aanand). ||1|| (sggs 616).
- ਪੋਥੀ ਪਰਮੇਸਰ ਕਾ ਥਾਨੁ ॥ ਸਾਧਸੰਗਿ ਗਾਵਹਿ ਗੁਣ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਪੂਰਨਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਗਿਆਨੁ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: “Pothee” (SGGS-Adi Birh) is the Abode (ਸਰੂਪ, Place, etc.) of Parmeshar (i.e., Place to Realize “Parraatam”). By understanding the Giaan (spiritual Knowledge of the “Pothee”), Aatmaa is strengthened and begins to live Virtues (Giaan). (sggs 1226). ਆਤਮਾ ਪਰਾਤਮਾ ਏਕੋ ਕਰੈ ॥ ਅੰਤਰ ਕੀ ਦੁਬਿਧਾ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਮਰੈ ॥੧॥: When Aatmaa (soul) and Praatmaa (our Chetan Mool) are turned into ONE (i.e., PooranBrahm), (then) the inner duality become extinct within (sggs 461).
Now, what is that “Beautiful” place the Gurbani or the Gurmat talks about? Is that place a particular building, a particular room in that building, a particular altar …
None of that! Why?
The Gurbani speaks from the level of the mind or Aatmaan, not from the level of Maya.
As repeatedly indicated in the Gurbani, whatever we see with our naked eyes is nothing but Maya – “Koorh”, perishable, fleeting, temporary, false, Mithiaa, etc. This is not the Gurbani’s Subject. In fact, the Gurbani time and again urges us to transcend Maya.
Clearly, the Beautiful Place (ਥਾਨੁ ਸੁਹਾਵਾ) mentioned in the gurbani cannot be a material or Mayaic place or an object!
The Gurbani is talking about the Aatmic-Giaan (spiritual Wisdom). We are here in this world to Awaken this Aatmic-Giaan within: learn and understand through the Shabad-Vichaar and then live it. In fact, to learn is to be a Sikh!
As the Giaan of the Gurbani is of the Omnipresence Brahm, the Gurbani indicates that nothing is more Beautiful then the Heart or the mind which is Awakened to its Joti-Saroop (Mool, Pure Consciousness, Essential Nature… ) – that is the most “Beautiful” Place.
- ਜਿਤੁ ਘਟਿ ਵਸੈ ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਸੋਈ ਸੁਹਾਵਾ ਥਾਉ ॥: That Heart, in which Paarbrahm abides, is the most Beautiful Place. (sggs 218).
In other words, the “Beauty” mentioned in the Gurbani is none other than the constant abidance in Aatmic-Giaan (Joti-Saroop, Mool, the Gurmukh Lifestyle, Sahaj, the state of Jeevanmukti or living liberated, Naam- or Shabad-Surti, and so on). It is through the mirror of the Divine Wisdom or Qualities (ਗੁਣ) that one is able to behold his own True Beauty. This “Beauty” alone is.
- ਹਰਿ ਕਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਜਨ ਕਾ ਰੂਪ ਰੰਗੁ ॥: Hari Naam is the Beauty and Delight of Jan (Gurmukh, Daas, Bhagat…). (sggs 264).
- ਹਰਿ ਕਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਇ ਕੈ ਹੋਹੁ ਹਰਿਆ ਭਾਈ ॥: O brother! Contemplating the Divine Naam, become fresh or healed (i.e., Virtuous, Wise…). (sggs 1193).
Whatever one perceives in the state of Pure Consciousness is Beautiful. Whereas, whatever is perceived through tarnished or conditioned consciousness is “filth” (deluded thinking or Soch…).
Thus, it is the Spiritual or Inner “Beauty” referred here in the Gurbani, not external or physical looks of a person, building or a decorated room. The Gurbani labors to make us understand the difference between the real “Beauty” and the fading beauty as follows.
- ਨਾਨਕ ਨਾਮ ਵਿਹੂਣੀਆ ਸੁੰਦਰਿ ਮਾਇਆ ਧ੍ਰੋਹੁ ॥: O Nanak! without the Divine Naam, the beauty of Maya’s illusion — the enchanting world-appearance — is fake (sggs 707).
The majority of us are unable to see the Wholesome “Beauty” of our True Nature (Joti-Saroop, Mool ) for It has become covered with the “filth” of ego or Haume. In other words, when the connecting link between Aatmaan and Parmaatam (the Source) is corroded, the inner “Beauty” becomes dimmed or obscured.
The Gurbani here speaks of how the Divine is realized by only those who are Pure in Heart – the Gurmukhs who are linked to their Mool within. Only the Gurmukhs understand the Gurbani, and thus they realize Aatam-Giaan (spiritual Wisdom). Because of Aatam-Giaan, they understand the Source (Joti-Saroop). Their Hearts are the most Beautiful Place.
- ਨਾਨਕ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਪਰਾਪਤਿ ਹੋਵੈ ਤਿਮਰ ਅਗਿਆਨੁ ਅਧੇਰੁ ਚੁਕਾਇਆ ॥: O Nanak! The Divine Wisdom is obtained by becoming the Gurmukh, and the pitch darkness of ignorance is dispelled (sggs 512).
- ਧਨੁ ਧੰਨੁ ਸੁਹਾਵਾ ਸੋ ਸਰੀਰੁ ਥਾਨੁ ਹੈ ਜਿਥੈ ਮੇਰਾ ਗੁਰੁ ਧਰੇ ਵਿਖਾ ॥੧੯॥: Blessed, blessed and Beauteous is that body-place, where my Guru places His Feet ( of Giaan or Wisdom – i.e., that body-place is Blessed in which the Gur-Giaan or Wisdom has Awakened…). ||19|| (sggs 650).
The Gurbani also calls the body “Harmandir”. The gurbani explains that deep in the cave of the Heart, the core of our personality, there resides the same Divine Factor in the body-“Harmandir” of each and everyone of us. It’s not only strange, but also tragic and unfortunate that many Sikh writers, researchers, Kathaakaars, etc., ignore this very valuable message of the Gurbani. Probably it’s by design!
- ਹਰਿ ਮੰਦਰੁ ਏਹੁ ਸਰੀਰੁ ਹੈ ਗਿਆਨਿ ਰਤਨਿ ਪਰਗਟੁ ਹੋਇ ॥: This body is the “Harmandir” (Hari’s Temple, but this secret) is revealed by the Jewel of the Divine Wisdom (Aatm-Giaan, Brahm Giaan, Divine Knowledge …). (sggs 1346).
Many think of the external religious places to be a most beautiful or Divine (i.e., temple, Gurdawaaraa, church, mosque, and so on). To the contrary, the Gurbani observes these places to be the corrupt places in this world.
Also, the Gurbani’s One Divine is said to be everywhere and in everyone, here and now — NOT separate from man. That is, the Gurbani’s Divine is within the man.
- ਜਿਹ ਧਿਰਿ ਦੇਖਾ ਤਿਹ ਧਿਰਿ ਮਉਜੂਦੁ ॥: Wherever I look, there I see (the Divine) Presence (sggs 84).
- ਅਨਿਕ ਭਾਂਤਿ ਹੋਇ ਪਸਰਿਆ ਨਾਨਕ ਏਕੰਕਾਰੁ ॥: O Nanak! The One Creator (“Ekankaar”, Universal Energy…) has expanded or spreaded in many ways. (sggs 296).
In other words, although the Divine Energy is omnipresence, but is Fully Realized or Awakened (as Aatam-Giaan) in the Hearts of the true seekers. Hence, Heart is said to be the most Beautiful Place.
- ਅੰਤਰ ਆਤਮੈ ਜੋ ਮਿਲੈ ਮਿਲਿਆ ਕਹੀਐ ਸੋਇ ॥: Who unites deep within his Soul (ਜੋ ਅੰਤਰ ਆਤਮਾ ਵਿਚ ਮਿਲੇ – “Antar aatamai“), (only he) is said to be United (sggs 791).
- ਜਹ ਚਿਤਿ ਆਵਹਿ ਸੋ ਥਾਨੁ ਸੁਹਾਵਾ ॥: Wherever You come to mind, that (mind-) place is beautiful. (sggs 563).
Again, here is the Gurbani’s edict on the real Beautiful Place (Embellished, Immaculate, Blessed, Pure, ਸੋਹਣਾ, ਧੰਨ…):
- ਜਿਥੈ ਜਾਇ ਬਹੈ ਮੇਰਾ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੂ ਸੋ ਥਾਨੁ ਸੁਹਾਵਾ ਰਾਮ ਰਾਜੇ ॥: O Lord! Where (i.e., that Heart in which) Satguru (Gur-Giaan, Shabad-Giaan…) becomes established (Awakened), that (Heart-) Place becomes Beautiful (sggs 450).
- ਗੁਣ ਗਾਵਤ ਮਨੁ ਹਰਿਆ ਹੋਵੈ ॥: By living the Divine Virtues, the mind becomes fresh or healed (i.e., Virtuous, Wise…). (sggs 104).
The Gurbani indicates that Giaan, Dharma, and Dhiaan are all interconnected and are realized with the true Understanding of the Gur-Shabad. Rest is essentially all Pakhand of the greedy and crafty Pujaarees