We humans are living in the ‘age of information’.
There is an avalanche of information – internet, media, books,
encyclopedias, magazines, databases, newspapers, library catalog 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 utter confusion, we look outwards (the world of see, touch, smell, hear and taste) and wander around confused; focusing 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 in doubts, formalities, dogmas, religious paraphernalia, nonsense rituals (Karamkaand) etc.
- ਏਹ ਮੁਦਾਵਣੀ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੂ ਪਾਈ ਗੁਰਸਿਖਾ ਲਧੀ ਭਾਲਿ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਜਿਸੁ ਬੁਝਾਏ ਸੁ ਬੁਝਸੀ ਹਰਿ ਪਾਇਆ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਘਾਲਿ ॥੧॥: The Satiguroo has posed this riddle. By searching (Shabad-Vichaar…), the Gursikhs find it (i.e., understand or resolve the riddle…). O Nanak! He alone understands it who wants to understand; by becoming the Gurmukh, he (who wants to understand it) works hard (Shabad-Vichaar-ਘਾਲਣਾ, ਖੋਜ…) and realizes Hari (Mool…, within). ||1|| (sggs 645).
Hence, it seems as the common sense is not common anymore!
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).
The majority of us have our minds ridden with the hunger or love of Maya (restless, wandering, imagining, Bikaari, Haumai or false ego-sense, 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 greedy clerics or clergy (Pujaaree) is having pretty easy time to deceive people (ਛਲ-ਕਪਟ), mislead them away from the practical Wisdom 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॥: Telling lies (about the Sharia law etc.), the Qazi eats filth (i.e. takes bribe: ਹਰਾਮ ਦਾ ਮਾਲ). The Brahmin kills (i.e. inflicts pain on people by mistreating and misguiding them: ਆਤਮ-ਘਾਤੀ..), and then takes cleansing bath (i.e. ritual Tirath-Ishnaan: ਤੀਰਥ-ਇਸ਼ਨਾਨ). The Yogi is (mentally) blind, and does not know the way of life (ਜੀਵਨ ਦੀ ਜਾਚ). These three are the cause of destruction of spiritual life (of their own, and other people in the world by leading them astray from the Way of Truth.) ||2|| (sggs 662).
Hence, Rabb or any other outside agency 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.
- ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਮਨੁ ਜੀਤਾ ਹਉਮੈ ਮਾਰਿ ॥: The Gurmukh conquers his mind by killing his Haumai (false ego-sense). (sggs 946).
Without getting the better of the mind, abidance in common Knowledge 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 Gurbani to become Lamp unto ourselves, here and now.
- ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਸਬਦਿ ਉਜਾਰੋ ਦੀਪਾ ॥ ਬਿਨਸਿਓ ਅੰਧਕਾਰ ਤਿਹ ਮੰਦਰਿ ਰਤਨ ਕੋਠੜੀ ਖੁਲ੍ਹ੍ਹੀ ਅਨੂਪਾ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: The Satigur‘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 satigur’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. Otherwise, the Gurbani asks, what’s the use of having the lamp in hand if, despite the lamp in hand, we fall into a well (of ignorance, Maya, Bharam…)?
- ਕਬੀਰ ਮਨੁ ਜਾਨੈ ਸਭ ਬਾਤ ਜਾਨਤ ਹੀ ਅਉਗਨੁ ਕਰੈ ॥ ਕਾਹੇ ਕੀ ਕੁਸਲਾਤ ਹਾਥਿ ਦੀਪੁ ਕੂਏ ਪਰੈ ॥੨੧੬॥: O Kabir! The mind knows everything and knowingly it commits demerits. What use is it to have a Lamp (i.e., the Light of Aatam Giaan, Divine Knowledge, Spiritual Wisdom…) in his hand, if the man still falls into a well (ignorance, Maya, Bikaar, ਅਉਗਨ / ਬਿਕਾਰਾਂ ਦੇ ਖੂਹ ਵਿਚ…)? (sggs 1376).
The Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS tells us that this Shabad (Wisdom, Upadesh, Naam…) is located deep within our very Being. Of course, 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.