We humans are living in the ‘age of information’.
There is an avalanche of information – internet, media, books,
encyclopedias, magazines, databases, newspapers, library catalogs etc.
However, ironically – although humanity has always been confused – we humans never have been this confused with existence and our life in general. Life seems to have become insanely complicated and we know not why!
We seem to have so much and yet we feel so empty, miserable, hollow, unstable, crazy, stressful and agitated inside. In confusion, we look outwards (the world of see, touch, smell, hear and taste) and wander around focused primarily on family, relationships, wealth, power, influence etc. We thus struggle to make sense of our lives and to find answers.
- ਐਸੀ ਠਗਉਰੀ ਪਾਇ ਭੁਲਾਵੈ ਮਨਿ ਸਭ ਕੈ ਲਾਗੈ ਮੀਠੀ ॥੨॥: (Maya) confuses (misleads etc.) a person by administering such intoxicant that (Maya) seems sweet to everyone’s mind. ||2|| (sggs 673).
As the Gurbani is cognizant of the importance of the human birth, its views about the human life are based on practical and a sound common sense (prudence, practical knowledge, judgment, Wisdom, facts, Bibek etc.) to improving the lives of all people providing the practical spirituality.
Accordingly, the Gurbani is neither mystic nor dogmatic. For it does not want us to waste our precious and ‘rare’ human birth.
We are urged by the SGGS to become riddle solvers. But, instead of being the riddle solvers, we Sikhs seem to be back to square one — Pre-1469 belief system which is critiqued, debunked and rejected in Sikhi or Gurmat of Baabaa Nanak!
- ਏਹ ਮੁਦਾਵਣੀ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੂ ਪਾਈ ਗੁਰਸਿਖਾ ਲਧੀ ਭਾਲਿ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਜਿਸੁ ਬੁਝਾਏ ਸੁ ਬੁਝਸੀ ਹਰਿ ਪਾਇਆ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਘਾਲਿ ॥੧॥: The Satguru has put this riddle. (By Internalizing the Shabad), the GurSikhs have found its solution. Nanak, he alone solves this riddle, who puts in efforts to understand and realizes God through the Guru’s Instructions. ||1|| (sggs 645).
However, the self-serving Pujaaree (clergy) has reduced Baabaa Nanak’s Unique (‘Nirmal‘) and Revolutionary spirituality to rituals (Karamkaand), fake stories (ਗੱਪ ਕਹਾਣੀਆਂ), religious paraphernalia, religious robes, pilgrim (Teerath Yatra), Pakhand, ritual bathing (Ishnaan), chanting etc. that have been rejected and discarded by Baabaa Nanak.
- ਮਾਰਿਆ ਸਿਕਾ ਜਗਤ੍ਰਿ ਵਿਚਿ ਨਾਨਕ ਨਿਰਮਲ ਪੰਥ ਚਲਾਇਆ ।: In the world of spirituality, the Panth of Baabaa Nanak has its Trademark in its Uniqueness as being ‘Nirmal‘-uncontaminated (by existing pre-1469 beliefs). (Bhai Gurdas Ji, Vaar1, Pauree 45).
Hence, it seems as common sense is no longer all that common!
For example, if we look into a basic question of why does the man suffers, we will understand from the Gurbani that the man’s own Mayaic mind is the seat of his troubles (Dukha-ਦੁਖ) for the mind knowingly commits demerits.
- ਕਬੀਰ ਮਨੁ ਜਾਨੈ ਸਭ ਬਾਤ ਜਾਨਤ ਹੀ ਅਉਗਨੁ ਕਰੈ ॥: O Kabir! The mind knows everything and knowingly it commits demerits. (sggs 1376).
- ਮਨ ਰੇ ਕਹਾ ਭਇਓ ਤੈ ਬਉਰਾ ॥: O mind, why have you gone crazy? (sggs 220).
human minds are ridden with hunger or love of Maya (worldly temptations and their corrupting influences, vices/Bikaar, and so on). As a result, common sense — which is at our disposal that can be freely used — is laying dormant within.
- ਮਨੁ ਮਾਇਆ ਮੈ ਫਧਿ ਰਹਿਓ ਬਿਸਰਿਓ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਨਾਮੁ ॥: The mind is entangled in Maya; it has forgotten the Divine Naam (Wisdom, Virtues, Truth… (sggs 1428).
Because of our mind’s hunger or love of Maya (ਮਾਇਆ ਦੀ ਭੁੱਖ), the self-serving clergy (Pujaaree) is having pretty easy time to deceive people (ਛਲ-ਕਪਟ), mislead them away from the practical Spiritual Message of the Gurbani just as the corrupt Pandits, Mullahs, Yogis etc. have been misleading people for centuries. The Gurbani attest to this as follows:
- ਕਾਦੀ ਕੂੜੁ ਬੋਲਿ ਮਲੁ ਖਾਇ ॥ ਬ੍ਰਾਹਮਣੁ ਨਾਵੈ ਜੀਆ ਘਾਇ ॥ ਜੋਗੀ ਜੁਗਤਿ ਨ ਜਾਣੈ ਅੰਧੁ ॥ ਤੀਨੇ ਓਜਾੜੇ ਕਾ ਬੰਧੁ ॥੨॥: The clergy of the Muslim faith was corrupt, the Brahmin was murderous and the Yogi Un-Enlightened. These three (clergy) had become the root cause for the spiritual wreckage and desolation that mankind had
come to endure. (sggs 662).
Hence, the Creator or anybody else cannot be blamed for our troubles. Therefore, as time and again emphasized in the Gurbani, the urgent task at hand is to ‘kill’ one’s own deluded mind, Here and Now.
To this end, the Gurbani asks us to Internalize the Enlightening Message of the Shabad (the Gurmukh mindset) — BECOME the Gurbani and conquer the mind.
- ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਮਨੁ ਜੀਤਾ ਹਉਮੈ ਮਾਰਿ ॥: The spirituality of the Shabad — the Message/Enlightenment of the Shabad (Gurmukh-Hood State of the Mind) enables the mind to overcome inflictions of the false ego-sense. (sggs 946).
Without getting the better of the mind, abidance in common sense or divine Life (Gurmukh Lifestyle) is not possible.
Although for the majority of us, this is like racing along the razor’s edge or chewing steel balls, but what other option do we have? Therefore, through churning the Gurbani, we are urged by the SGGS to become Lamp unto ourselves, Here and Now.
- ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਸਬਦਿ ਉਜਾਰੋ ਦੀਪਾ ॥ ਬਿਨਸਿਓ ਅੰਧਕਾਰ ਤਿਹ ਮੰਦਰਿ ਰਤਨ ਕੋਠੜੀ ਖੁਲ੍ਹ੍ਹੀ ਅਨੂਪਾ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: The Satgur‘s Shabad is like the light of the lamp (through which the Light of Giaan or Wisdom emanates – ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਦਾ ਚਾਨਣ). (When the Giaan-Light from this Lamp of the Satgur’s Shabad enters in the body-temple) It dispels the darkness of ignorance from the body, and opens the beautiful chamber of Jewels (Wisdom, Virtues, ਆਤਮਕ ਗੁਣ). ||1||Pause|| (sggs 821).
The important thing is to use that Lamp (ਅਮਲ, implementation…) to tread the Way in life of the Shabad. Otherwise, the SGGS asks us what’s the use of having the lamp in hand if, despite the lamp in hand, we fall into a well (of ignorance, Maya, doubt or Bharam…)?
- ਕਬੀਰ ਮਨੁ ਜਾਨੈ ਸਭ ਬਾਤ ਜਾਨਤ ਹੀ ਅਉਗਨੁ ਕਰੈ ॥ ਕਾਹੇ ਕੀ ਕੁਸਲਾਤ ਹਾਥਿ ਦੀਪੁ ਕੂਏ ਪਰੈ ॥੨੧੬॥: Kabeer, the mind knows everything and knowingly it commits demerits. What is the use of that lamp (Giaan-Wisdom) if we fall into the well (of ignorance, Maya, vices or Bikaar) even with that lamp in our hands? (sggs 1376).
We all have the Treasure of Naam (Wisdom / Virtues) Within. The Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS tells us that to cultivate Shabad-Surti (Shabad-Consciousness) or to Awaken it from its dormancy will require ਘਾਲਣਾਂ / ਕਮਾਈ (Uddam, practice, self-efforts, willingness, earnestness etc.).
- ਅੰਤਰਿ ਸਬਦੁ ਨਿਧਾਨੁ ਹੈ ਮਿਲਿ ਆਪੁ ਗਵਾਈਐ ॥੭॥: Within is the Treasure of the Shabad; (but) it is obtained by eradicating self-conceit (ਪਰੰਤੂ ਆਪਾ-ਭਾਵ ਤਿਆਗ ਕੇ ਮਿਲਦਾ ਹੈ) ||7|| (sggs 228).
The Universal Teaching of the SGGS can be appreciated only if we are cool-headedly open to its true understanding. Common sense must prevail.
Gurdwaras are supposed to be the school of Gurmat. However, because of ‘Golak-ਗੋਲਕ’ (money, greed, hunger of Maya, business, ਧੰਧਾ…), we cannot expect helping hand from the self-serving Pujaaree, and as well from the Gurdwara committees who are equally in love with Golak in addition to chieftainship (ਝੂਠੀ ਚੌਧਰ), power etc. instead of propagating the true meanings of the Gurbani.
The glorious lives of all the Gurus and Bhagat inspires us to use our common sense. For example, Bhagat Kabeer Ji did exactly that when he decided to leave ‘Banaras’ (note: Kashi, Varanasi and Banaras refer to the same city) at once upon realizing that he wasted his life following others and following the Karamkaand propagated by the corruption of the Pujaaaree System there. In fact Bhagat Kabeer Ji (including Baabaa Nanak and all other writers of the Bani) hit hard on the corruption of the Pujaaaree System everywhere.
- ਤਜੀ ਲੇ ਬਨਾਰਸ ਮਤਿ ਭਈ ਥੋਰੀ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਸਗਲ ਜਨਮੁ ਸਿਵ ਪੁਰੀ ਗਵਾਇਆ ॥ ਮਰਤੀ ਬਾਰ ਮਗਹਰਿ ਉਠਿ ਆਇਆ ॥੨॥: (O Kabeer! People think) I have lost my common sense, to have left ‘Banaras’ (note: Kashi, Varanasi and Banaras refer to the same city). People tell me I wasted the benefit of living the whole life in ‘Banaras’. Because I left ‘Banaras‘ and have come to ‘Magahar‘ at the time of (near) death. ||2|| (sggs 326).
The Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS teaches us, if earnestly willing, we all have the same common sense at our disposal that can be freely used. The Gurbani in SGGS teaches commons should not be forgotten even for a moment.