That which is Real never ends, and that which ends is not Real!
What rises must set. What comes and goes is time-bound, thus unreal or temporary. So, we are urged by the Gurbani not to get attached to anything fleeting!
- ਦ੍ਰਿਸਟਿਮਾਨ ਹੈ ਸਗਲ ਮਿਥੇਨਾ ॥: All that is seen is an illusion (sggs 1083).
- ਤਿਸੁ ਸਿਉ ਨੇਹੁ ਨ ਕੀਜਈ ਜੋ ਦੀਸੈ ਚਲਣਹਾਰੁ ॥: Don’t carry affection for which is just fleeting (perishable). (sggs 21).
- ਜੋ ਉਪਜਿਓ ਸੋ ਬਿਨਸਿ ਹੈ ਪਰੋ ਆਜੁ ਕੈ ਕਾਲਿ ॥: Whatever is born will perish, today or tomorrow (sggs 1429).
To be Real or Timeless means to be free of beginning, middle, and end. Whatever comes and goes is bound and limited by beginning, middle, and end. Therefore unreal — false, changeful, temporary, impermanent, perishable, illusion, or simply ‘Mithiya‘.
- ਮ੍ਰਿਗ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਜਿਉ ਜਗ ਰਚਨਾ ਯਹ ਦੇਖਹੁ ਰਿਦੈ ਬਿਚਾਰਿ ॥: Reflect in your Heart and see that this world creation (Maya) is like a deer’s illusion, a mirage (sggs 537).
In addition to a ‘mirage‘, this material world is also likened to a ‘safflower’ in the Gurbani. It’s deceptively enchanting. The Gurbani warns us that the color (the look, appearance…) of this ‘safflower’ like world and its objects (Maya…) will fade away (i.e., these worldly objects will perish).
- ਜੈਸਾ ਰੰਗੁ ਕਸੁੰਭ ਕਾ ਤੈਸਾ ਇਹੁ ਸੰਸਾਰੁ ॥: This world is like the (pale, temporary…) color of the safflower (sggs 346).
- ਹਥੁ ਨ ਲਾਇ ਕਸੁੰਭੜੈ ਜਲਿ ਜਾਸੀ ਢੋਲਾ ॥: O friend! Do not touch the safflower (i.e., Maya); if you do, you will get ‘burnt‘ (i.e., your love for this deceptive Maya will lead you to sufferings) (sggs 794).
In addition, the Gurbani also tells us that the world is as unsubstantial as a ‘dream‘.
- ਨਾਨਕ ਕਹਤ ਜਗਤ ਸਭ ਮਿਥਿਆ ਜਿਉ ਸੁਪਨਾ ਰੈਨਾਈ ॥੨॥੧॥: Nanak says, the entire material world is illusion like the nightly dream ||2||1|| (sggs 1231).
To instill detachment (Bairaag) in us, the Gurbani uses various examples, allegories, metaphors, illustrations, similes, etc. With their help, the Gurbani cautions us about this massive world-picture which looks very real, wondrous, and hypnotizing. But it’s all fleeting!
- ਚਚਾ ਰਚਿਤ ਚਿਤ੍ਰ ਹੈ ਭਾਰੀ ॥ ਤਜਿ ਚਿਤ੍ਰੈ ਚੇਤਹੁ ਚਿਤਕਾਰੀ ॥ ਚਿਤ੍ਰ ਬਚਿਤ੍ਰ ਇਹੈ ਅਵਝੇਰਾ ॥ ਤਜਿ ਚਿਤ੍ਰੈ ਚਿਤੁ ਰਾਖਿ ਚਿਤੇਰਾ ॥੧੨॥: CHACHA (a letter of the Gurmukhi alphabet): This created world (of the Rabb orUniversal Energy…) is (as it were) a very big picture. Forgetting (the love or attachment of this) picture, remember the Artist (Rabb or the Universal Energy…). (Because) the problem is that this (world-form) picture is captivating to the mind. (So, to avoid this attachment) leave the picture (thought) and keep your mind in the picture maker. ||12|| (sggs 340).
So, to escape unburnt from this world, the Gurbani urges us to focus the consciousness on the Painter of this world-picture, not the world itself.
The Gurbani indicates Such discerning intellect (Vivek-Budh) can be Awakened by constantly probing the nature of one’s Mool (Source, Jot Saroop…) through the Shabad-Vichaar. The Wisdom obtained by churning the Gurbani helps us learn to dissociate affinities to the body-senses and the material world. In other words, the real nature of this world is realized only when we Wake up to the Wisdom.
- ਹਰਿ ਜਪਤੇ ਮਨੁ ਮਨ ਤੇ ਧੀਰਾ ॥: Understanding (one’s own) Mool (Hari… through the Gurbani), the (extrovert) mind is comforted by the (Introvert) Mind (Hari…)..(sggs 1042).
The Gurbani asks us to look within to where there is no name or form. The Gurbani Teaches us to remove the form from the mind by removing attachment to any object, thought or action. In nutshell, the Gurbani asks us to become the Gurmukh (Awakened Being…). Because, only the Gurmukh understands the real nature of this world. Thus only he knows how to handle it without getting ‘burnt’ in the process!
A Gurmukh is convinced that the Wisdom is worth sacrificing anything for, because everything else is just a ‘mirage’ rising out of Consciousness. Hence, guided by the Wisdom, he remains open to everything but detached from everything!
Waves come and go … the ocean is. Similarly all that’s seen comes and goes … our Mool is (Jot Saroop).
- ਮਮਾ ਮੂਲ ਗਹਿਆ ਮਨੁ ਮਾਨੈ ॥: MAMAA: Clinging to the Mool, the mind is satisfied (ਮੰਨੇ, ਸਮਝੇ, comply…). (sggs 342).