Antidote for Ignorance

There are antidotes for poisons and snake-bites.

What is the antidote for ignorance (known variously as Agiaanataa or ਅਗਿਆਨਤਾ, Avidiaa, etc.) or the for the bite of the Maya-snake?

Mundane or formal education of today gives little or no importance to spiritual Wisdom. It’s main focus is on getting degrees and then finding a well paying job to attain material prosperity. But to ignore the education that provides one spiritual Wisdom leads to ignorance so much talked about in the Gurbani (and scriptures of other religions). Man’s repeated suffering in this Sansaar or world is said to be caused by ignorance.

  • ਬਨਿਤਾ ਬਿਨੋਦ ਅਨੰਦ ਮਾਇਆ ਅਗਿਆਨਤਾ ਲਪਟਾਵਏ ॥ ਖਿਸੈ ਜੋਬਨੁ ਬਧੈ ਜਰੂਆ ਦਿਨ ਨਿਹਾਰੇ ਸੰਗਿ ਮੀਚੁ ॥: (O Lord!) in ignorance, I cling to the pleasures of woman and the joys of Maya (ਮਾਇਆ ਦੇ ਮੌਜ-ਮੇਲਿਆਂ ਵਿਚ ਗਰਕ ਹਾਂ). My youth is wasting away, old age is approaching, and Death, my companion, is counting days (of my life). (sggs 458).

On account of ignorance, misunderstanding the unreal (Asat, false, unreal, or untrue) as real (Sat, true, or real) is guaranteed. This ignorance is stubborn. It’s not a casual happening and thus will not disappear easily. It has to be countered only with an unshakable commitment.

The Awareness of our Mool (Joti-Svaroopa, ਸਚ, Truth …) arises when ignorance is eradicated with the Light of Aatm-Giaan (the Divine Knowledge, spiritual Wisdom…).

Therefore, the only way to avoid falling into the dark pit of ignorance, is to cultivate Aatm-Giaan through the unbroken Vichaar of the Shabad (Aatam-Giaan…), and keeping the company of the Gurmukhs (true Giaanees).

  • ਕੁੰਭੇ ਬਧਾ ਜਲੁ ਰਹੈ ਜਲ ਬਿਨੁ ਕੁੰਭੁ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਗਿਆਨ ਕਾ ਬਧਾ ਮਨੁ ਰਹੈ ਗੁਰ ਬਿਨੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥੫॥: As the water remains confined in a pitcher, (just so) the mind is restrained by the Spiritual Wisdom. But (as) the pitcher cannot be shaped without the water, (just so) there can be no Spiritual Wisdom without the Guru. ||5|| (sggs 469).

Thoughts of the true Giaanees (the Gurmukhs…) are never about mundane pursuits, but are always on a Higher Plane. This helps one imbibe in Divine Virtues (ਗੁਣ), and thus cultivate the Gurmukh Lifestyle (the Divine Life). Aatm-Giaan liberates us from repeated suffering -“ਗੁਰ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਪਦਾਰਥੁ ਨਾਮੁ ਹੈ…” (sggs 759);  “ਗਿਆਨ ਕਾ ਬਧਾ ਮਨੁ ਰਹੈ…” (sggs 469)..

  • 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).

Therefore, the Gurbani’s edict is:

  • ਮਨ ਸਮਝਾਵਨ ਕਾਰਨੇ ਕਛੂਅਕ ਪੜੀਐ ਗਿਆਨ ॥੫॥: To instruct the mind one ought to study Knowledge to some extent. ||5|| (sggs 340).

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