The physical ‘beauty’ is just skin-deep — temporary, fleeting, fading, vanishing, changing, or deceptive (i.e., Maya).
However, the ‘Beauty’ the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) holds is that ‘Beauty’ which is perceived in the state of the mind’s Jot Saroop, or True Nature — the state of Bliss (i.e., Anand), Wisdom, Bibek, Virtues…!
A flower does not ‘try’ to be beautiful. It is beautiful by its very nature!
The mind’s Mool (ਮੂਲ – Source, Jot Saroop, True Nature, Wisdom, Virtues…) mentioned in the SGGS is of unsurpassed Beauty — Perfection itself, not an effort at Perfection or Beauty. The Gurmat Wisdom of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) teaches us that the mind is made in this True Image of unsurpassed ‘Beauty’ (‘ਜੋਤਿ ਸਰੂਪੁ- Joti Saroop(u)); and the Blissful Nature.
- ਮੇਰਾ ਹਰਿ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਸੁੰਦਰੁ ਮੈ ਸਾਰ ਨ ਜਾਣੀ ॥: My Mool (Source, Jot, True Nature, Wisdom, Virtues, Truth…) is beautiful, (but I) do not know its essence. (sggs 561).
Bliss (Anand) is the essence of Beauty
Thus, in nutshell, the essence of ,Beauty, the SGGS refers to is the eternal Bliss (‘Anand‘). Whatever is perceived Blissfully is Beautiful. To the contrary, whatever is perceived through tarnished consciousness is ‘filth‘ (‘Mailu‘). That is, when the connecting link between Aatam and Parmaatam (i.e., between the mind and it True Nature) is corroded, the ‘Beauty’ becomes dimmed or obscured.
- ਜਪਿ ਜਪਿ ਕਰਹਿ ਅਨੰਦੁ ਜਨ ਅਚਰਜ ਆਨੂਪੁ ॥੩॥: Understanding (Prabh – Mool) the embodiment of wonder and incomparable (Beauty…), ‘Jan’ (His Bhagat, Gurmukh, Daas…) remain in bliss. ||3|| (sggs 677).
The sublime Beauty cannot be expressed by any picture
Apparently, the sublime ‘Beauty’ talked about in the SGGS cannot be captured by any camera!
Simply put, this ‘Beauty’ mentioned in the SGGS is none other than the constant abidance in one’s Mool within.
It is through the mirror of Divine Qualities that one is able to behold his own true Beauty. This ‘Beauty’ alone is — only the Mool is. Whence the phenomenal world emerges enchanting, like a mirage, a magic show or a dream due to the movement of the deluded mind.
- ਸੇਈ ਸੁੰਦਰ ਸੋਹਣੇ ॥ ਸਾਧਸੰਗਿ ਜਿਨ ਬੈਹਣੇ ॥: They alone are Beautiful (i.e., Gurmukh…) who ever abide in Holy Communion (i.e., who have accomplished complete mastery over the mind through Gur-Giaan, Wisdom, Bibek…). (sggs 132).
In other words, the sublime or lasting ‘Beauty’ talked about in the SGGS is not to be found in the beauty salons — eyeliners, nails, skin, make-up, hairdo, and so on. Although beauty found in the beauty salons is not rejected in the Gurbani, however, it is to be known as temporary, fleeting, momentary etc.
As time and again stressed in the Gurbani, the physical beauty (Maya) is fleeting. Accordingly, the bodily beauty in the Gurbani is called ‘thief’, ‘useless’, ‘false’, ‘enemy’, or simply ‘fraudulent’.
Hence, any beauty other than the ‘Beauty’ of one’s Essential Nature (Jot Saroop) is like decoration on a dead body; for one day it must finish. The Gurbani labors to make us understand the difference between the real ‘Beauty’ and the fading beauty as follows:
- ਧਨੁ ਜੋਬਨੁ ਅਰੁ ਫੁਲੜਾ ਨਾਠੀਅੜੇ ਦਿਨ ਚਾਰਿ ॥: Wealth, youth and flower are guests for four days only (i.e., fleeting…). (sggs 23).
- ਰਾਜ ਕਪਟੰ ਰੂਪ ਕਪਟੰ ਧਨ ਕਪਟੰ ਕੁਲ ਗਰਬਤਹ ॥: Pride of power, beauty, wealth, and ancestry – are all fraudulent (sggs 708).
- ਬਿਨਸੈਗੋ ਰੂਪੁ ਦੇਖੈ ਸਭ ਦੁਨੀਆ ॥: (This body or human) form will vanish, as the whole world watches (sggs 325).
External beauty (i.e., Maya) is vanishing
When the Mool (Source, Jot Saroop…) is covered with the ‘filth’ (of false ego-sense or Haumai, doubt, Maya…),the Mool gets confounded with the physical body-frame, and consequently the Mool’s wholesome ‘Beauty’ becomes obscured or dimmed.
- ਜਾਣੁ ਵਸੰਦੋ ਮੰਝਿ ਪਛਾਣੂ ਕੋ ਹੇਕੜੋ ॥: Know that (Mool) dwells within; (but) a rare one realizes this (sggs 1099).
The spirit of the entire Gurbani is to make the ‘filthy’ mind (i.e., sense-bent mind impacted with Bikaar: lust, anger, greed, etc….) trace its steps back to its unsurpassed ‘Beauty’ by applying the make-up or embellishment of the Divine Wisdom or Virtues through the Shabad-Vichaar or churning the Gurbani!
- ਮਨਿ ਭਾਵੈ ਸਬਦੁ ਸੁਹਾਇਆ ॥: (Those whose) minds are agreeable with the Shabad, (their lifestyle) becomes beautiful (sggs 591).
- ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਸਬਦਿ ਮਰੈ ਮਨੁ ਮਾਰੇ ਸੁੰਦਰਿ ਜੋਗਾਧਾਰੀ ਜੀਉ ॥੩॥: (That soul-bride who is established in Sahaj or ਆਤਮਕ ਅਡੋਲਤਾ) and draws the bow of the Divine Praise, (that soul-bride) tears down skepticism and dispel doubt. (The soul-bride) dies (eradicates her Haumai or selfhood) by engaging in the Gur-Shabad and kills the mind (conquers her mind); and that Beautiful (soul-bride) becomes sustained (sheltered, supported) by the Divine Union (Union with her Mool: ਪ੍ਰਭੂ-ਮਿਲਾਪ ਦੇ ਆਸਰੇ ਵਾਲੀ). ||3|| (sggs 993).
Everybody has this sublime Beauty within
Accordingly, the Gurbani edict is: There is nothing more Beautiful then the Heart with Intact (Saabat-ਸਾਬਤ) Consciousness.
- ਜਿਤੁ ਘਟਿ ਵਸੈ ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਸੋਈ ਸੁਹਾਵਾ ਥਾਉ ॥: That Heart, in which Paarbrahm abides, is the most Beautiful Place. (sggs 218).
- ਡਿਠੇ ਸਭੇ ਥਾਵ ਨਹੀ ਤੁਧੁ ਜੇਹਿਆ ॥ ਬਧੋਹੁ ਪੁਰਖਿ ਬਿਧਾਤੈ ਤਾਂ ਤੂ ਸੋਹਿਆ ॥: I have witnessed all places (i.e., all states of the mind dictated by Bikaar: lust, anger, greed, etc.), but none can compare to you (i.e., ‘Begam Puraa-ਬੇਗਮ ਪੁਰਾ’ — the state of the mind free of stress, worry, tension, depression, sorrow, anxiety, etc.). Rabb (i.e., System or Rule or Law of Nature, Hukam, ਕੁਦਰਤ ਦਾ ਨਿਯਮ…) has established this state of the mind; as a result (of this state of the mind impacted by the Wisdom, Virtues, Bibek, High Spirit, etc.), you look Beautiful. (sggs 1362).
- ਆਪੁ ਸਵਾਰਹਿ ਮੈ ਮਿਲਹਿ ਮੈ ਮਿਲਿਆ ਸੁਖੁ ਹੋਇ ॥: If (O man) you reform yourself, you will meet me, and meeting me, you will be at Peace. (sggs 1382).
The Gurbani tells us the moment one becomes linked to this Inner ‘Beauty’ (one’s True Essence) within, one’s body-mind-intellect apparatus blossoms forth with the Natural ‘Beauty’, which never fades.
In other words, external beauty becomes meaningful only when one realizes the Spiritual Beauty within (Gurmukh-hood).
- ਹਰਿ ਕਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਜਨ ਕਾ ਰੂਪ ਰੰਗੁ ॥: Hari Naam is the Beauty and Delight of Jan (Gurmukh, Daas, Bhagat…). (sggs 264).
- ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਲਇਆ ਸਵਾਰਿ ॥ ਹਉਮੈ ਵਿਚਹੁ ਤਜੈ ਵਿਕਾਰ ॥੩॥: One who becomes the Gurmukh, purifies his mind (eradicates his Bikaars…). (By becoming the Gurmukh, he) removes Haumai or egotism from within (sggs 665).
In nutshell, according to Gurmat (Wisdom, Giaan, Upadesh or Way of the SGGS) (1) the real Beauty is in one’s good thoughts, words, and actions (i.e., mind, Soch-ਸੋਚ), character, conduct or behavior, ਚੰਗਾ ਕਿਰਦਾਰ, etc. (2) NOT in one’s gross body-frame which is nothing but a bundle of bones, skin, blood, and filth.
- ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਸੁੰਦਰਿ ਆਪਣਾ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮਿ ਮਜੀਠੈ ਰੰਗਿ ਰੀ ॥: (Dye) this mind of yours with the Majeeth-like (strong, lasting) color of Hari Naam (Wisdom, Virtues, Truth…). (sggs 400).
- ਕਬੀਰ ਗਰਬੁ ਨ ਕੀਜੀਐ ਚਾਮ ਲਪੇਟੇ ਹਾਡ ॥: Kabeer, do not be so proud of your (body, after all it just a bundle of) bones wrapped up in skin. (sggs 1366).