Being Awake and Aware Defined

The Gurmat Wisdom of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) Awakens our consciousness from the state of sleep paralysis, ignorance, Bikaar (lust, anger, greed, etc.), doubt, illusion (Maya), and so on.

  • ਜਾਗੁ ਸਲੋਨੜੀਏ ਬੋਲੈ ਗੁਰਬਾਣੀ ਰਾਮ ॥: O my beautiful consciousness (mind, soul, Surat-ਸੁਰਤ…) the Gurbani (i.e., Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS) tells you to Wake up (to Truth – ਅਸਲੀਅਤ, ਤੱਤ, ਸੱਚ). (sggs 844).
  • ਜਾਗਤੁ ਬਿਗਸੈ ਮੂਠੋ ਅੰਧਾ ॥ ਗਲਿ ਫਾਹੀ ਸਿਰਿ ਮਾਰੇ ਧੰਧਾ ॥ ਆਸਾ ਆਵੈ ਮਨਸਾ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਉਰਝੀ ਤਾਣੀ ਕਿਛੁ ਨ ਬਸਾਇ ॥੧॥ ਜਾਗਸਿ ਜੀਵਣ ਜਾਗਣਹਾਰਾ ॥ ਸੁਖ ਸਾਗਰ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਭੰਡਾਰਾ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ : Man is called wise, but he does foolish things. He is called Awake, but unaware he sleeps in ignorance. The noose of death has fallen around his neck, but the fool does not know. Anxiety of worldly affairs keeps hitting his head. With many hopes (desires…) he lives in the world, and then leaves this world with many thoughts in his mind. His life is tangled with the hopes and mind’s wanderings. (To keep his life or mind clear of these twists and turns or complications, he is utterly helpless. ||1|| (Mool of one’s) life is ever Awake. Man’s Mool has the ability to remain unaffected by Maya. The ocean of bliss (i.e. Mool) is the treasures of Amrit (which is capable of reviving the spiritually dead man fallen in the attachment of Maya). ||1||Pause|| (sggs 1330).

The Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS tells us that until we know the reality or truth (ਅਸਲੀਅਤ, ਤੱਤ, ਸੱਚ), the mind will remain confused and restless and continue to wander around, experiencing repeated suffering in the process.

The life or this world has illusory (Mayaic) quality to it.

  • ਮਨਮੁਖ ਹਉਮੈ ਮਾਇਆ ਸੂਤੇ ॥ ਅਪਣਾ ਘਰੁ ਨ ਸਮਾਲਹਿ ਅੰਤਿ ਵਿਗੂਤੇ: The self-willed Manmukhs are asleep (i.e., unaware of the ultimate purpose of life, etc.) in egotism and Maya. (From Bikaars) (sggs 1049).
  • ਆਤਮੁ ਨ ਚੀਨ੍ਹ੍ਹੈ ਭਰਮੈ ਵਿਚਿ ਸੂਤਾ ॥੧॥: People do not remember their Soul-Nature; they are asleep in doubts ||1|| (sggs 362).
  • ਸੰਸਾ ਇਹੁ ਸੰਸਾਰੁ ਹੈ ਸੁਤਿਆ ਰੈਣਿ ਵਿਹਾਇ ॥: Attachment to this world (i.e. Maya) is the cause of anxiety (uncertainty, doubt, fear, apprehension; suspicion etc.), people pass their life-night sleeping (in this worldly attachment). (sggs 36).
  • ਆਸਾ ਵਿਚਿ ਸੁਤੇ ਕਈ ਲੋਈ ॥: So many are asleep in worldly desires (sggs 423).
  • ਅਗਿਆਨੀ ਜਗਤੁ ਅੰਧੁ ਹੈ ਭਾਈ ਸੂਤੇ ਗਏ ਮੁਹਾਇ ॥੨॥: O brother, (due to the love of Maya and lack of understanding of spiritual life – ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ) in ignorance the world is blind; people sleeping in this ignorance are plundered (they lose their spiritual wealth – ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਦੀ ਰਾਸਿ-ਪੂੰਜੀ ਲੁਟਾਣਾਂ) ||2|| (sggs 603).
  • ਰਸਨਾ ਸੋਈ ਲੋਭਿ ਮੀਠੈ ਸਾਦਿ ॥: The tongue is asleep, in the greed of eating sweet flavors (sggs 182).
  • ਸ੍ਰਵਣ ਸੋਏ ਸੁਣਿ ਨਿੰਦ ਵੀਚਾਰ ॥: The ears are asleep, listening to slanderous stories (sggs 182).
  • ਨੈਨਹੁ ਨੀਦ ਪਰ ਦ੍ਰਿਸਟਿ ਵਿਕਾਰ ॥: The eyes are asleep in corruption, gazing upon the beauty of another (sggs 182).
  • ਬਿਕਾਰ ਮਾਇਆ ਮਾਦਿ ਸੋਇਓ ਸੂਝ ਬੂਝ ਨ ਆਵੈ ॥: Bikaar Maya maadi soeiou soojh boojh na aavai (sggs 408).

The Gurbani urges us to Awaken from this dream or a state sleep paralysis.

  • ਜਾਗਹੁ ਜਾਗਹੁ ਸੂਤਿਹੋ ਚਲਿਆ ਵਣਜਾਰਾ ॥: Wake up! Wake up! O sleepers (sleeping in the love of Maya), see that the travelling merchant (i.,e., Jeeva) is to depart (i.e., death is coming near) (sggs 418).
  • ਜਾਗ ਲੇਹੁ ਰੇ ਮਨਾ ਜਾਗ ਲੇਹੁ ਕਹਾ ਗਾਫਲ ਸੋਇਆ ॥: Wake up, O mind! Wake up! Why are you sleeping unaware? (sggs 726).
  • ਜੋ ਜਾਗੇ ਸੇ ਉਬਰੇ ਸੂਤੇ ਗਏ ਮੁਹਾਇ ॥: Those who remain awake and aware are saved, while those who sleep are plundered (sggs 34).

Aren’t we awake when we get up from the bed? Aren’t we awake when we are working, doing chores, talking, transacting with the outside world, and so on? Yes, we are awake but without Awareness. We do things unaware, like a robot.

Awakening from the dream is simply being Aware.

Being Aware of what? It is being Aware of our True Nature (Jot Saroop…) in the midst of all our routine activities. In nutshell, it is to remain free of Maya’s stains in the midst of all our routine activities. The Gurbani puts tremendous emphasis on this.

  • ਜਿਨੀ ਆਤਮੁ ਚੀਨਿਆ ਪਰਮਾਤਮੁ ਸੋਈ ॥: Those who understand their own Soul, are themselves the Supreme Soul (sgg 421).
  • ਆਤਮ ਮਹਿ ਰਾਮੁ ਰਾਮ ਮਹਿ ਆਤਮੁ ਚੀਨਸਿ ਗੁਰ ਬੀਚਾਰਾ ॥: Raam (Universal Energy…)  in every Soul, and each Soul is in Raam. This is realized through Reflecting on the Gur-Giaan (Divine Wisdom of the Gur-Shabad…). (sggs 1153).
  • If you know your Soul you know your God (Sufi Jallaluddin Rumi).

To say otherwise, it is our unbroken attunement to the Pure Consciousness (Naam…) within with our each breath (‘ਸਾਸ ਸਾਸ’).

  • ਹਾਥ ਪਾਉ ਕਰਿ ਕਾਮੁ ਸਭੁ ਚੀਤੁ ਨਿਰੰਜਨ ਨਾਲਿ ॥੨੧੩॥: Do all the work using your hands and feet, and connect your mind with the ‘Niranjan‘. ||213|| (sggs 1376).
  • ਸਾਸ ਸਾਸ ਸਾਸ ਹੈ ਜੇਤੇ ਮੈ ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਸਮ੍ਹ੍ਹਾਰੇ ॥: With (all) breaths (i.e, ਲਗਾਤਾਰ-continually…), take care of the Naam through the Gurmat (i.e., unceasingly maintain the Divine Knowledge – ਆਤਮ ਗਿਆਨ – through the Gurbani’s Instruction). (sggs 980).

How does being Aware help? What difference does it make in one’s day-to-day life?

For one, being Aware helps control one’s Bikaars (lust anger, greed etc) or negative tendencies, emotions, evil passions, Vaasnaas, and so on.

For example, if one is Aware that he is losing handle in a given situation, he can check his temper and, thus, effectively control it. Observe – when angry – one cannot think properly; cannot speak properly; as a result, he cannot act properly. Why? Because when we are angry we cannot contemplate on the state of mind. But if we are Aware, we can realize we are on the verge of losing temper, and we can do something about it.

The same can be said about all other faults of our Haumai (false ego-sense).

Thus Awareness is very essential and important in checking and controlling our Bikaars.

Being unaware, we may be acting strangely, inappropriately and making mistakes. Because in unawareness we do not think or reflect, lack the ability to differentiate between fact and fiction, and we live in fear.

But the moment our wandering mind become Aware, we truly become conscious.

Thus, if we Awake from the illusory aspect of the life (called dream), the quality of our consciousness is elevated; the quality of our mind is elevated (rid the mind of these perversions or impurities); the quality of our thoughts-words-actions is elevated…

In nutshell, when we are Aware, our mind is elevated. Persons with such elevated mind are also called the Gurmukhs in the Gurbani.

  • ਆਤਮੁ ਚੀਨਿ ਪਰਮ ਪਦੁ ਪਾਇਆ ਸੇਵਾ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਸਮਾਈ ਹੇ ॥੧੫॥: Understanding (my) own Soul (ਆਪਣੇ ਜੀਵਨ ਨੂੰ ਪੜਤਾਲ ਕੇ…), (I) have obtained the Supreme Status (ਸਭ ਤੋਂ ਉੱਚਾ ਆਤਮਕ ਦਰਜਾ); (my) awareness is immersed in selfless service ||15||. (sggs 1070).

The Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS tells us who and how one can obtain this state of ‘Awake and Aware’:

  • ਕਹੈ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਸੋ ਤਤੁ ਪਾਏ ਜਿਸ ਨੋ ਅਨਦਿਨੁ ਹਰਿ ਲਿਵ ਲਾਗੈ ਜਾਗਤ ਰੈਣਿ ਵਿਹਾਣੀ ॥੨੭॥: Says Nanak, he alone obtains the quintessence (Anand, Truth, ਅਸਲੀਅਤ, ਤੱਤ, ਸੱਚ), who ever remains attuned in Hari (Wisdom, Virtues, Truth, Mool, Jot Saroop…); and who passes his life-night Awake and Aware. ||27|| (sggs 920).