It’s like racing along the razor’s edge!!
- ਭਗਤਾ ਕੀ ਚਾਲ ਨਿਰਾਲੀ ॥ ਚਾਲਾ ਨਿਰਾਲੀ ਭਗਤਾਹ ਕੇਰੀ ਬਿਖਮ ਮਾਰਗਿ ਚਲਣਾ ॥ ਲਬੁ ਲੋਭੁ ਅਹੰਕਾਰੁ ਤਜਿ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਨਾਹੀ ਬੋਲਣਾ ॥ ਖੰਨਿਅਹੁ ਤਿਖੀ ਵਾਲਹੁ ਨਿਕੀ ਏਤੁ ਮਾਰਗਿ ਜਾਣਾ ॥: The lifestyle of Bhagat (Daas, Jan , Gurmukh…) is unique (extraordinary…). The lifestyle of Bhagat is unique, for they follow the most difficult Way of life. (That is, they reform themselves by) renouncing greed, avarice, pride, desire and excessive talkativeness. This Way of life they take is sharper than a two-edged sword, and finer than a hair (i.e., very difficult). (sggs 918).
- ਪ੍ਰਭ ਮਿਲਣੈ ਕੀ ਏਹ ਨੀਸਾਣੀ ॥ ਮਨਿ ਇਕੋ ਸਚਾ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਪਛਾਣੀ ॥ ਸਹਜਿ ਸੰਤੋਖਿ ਸਦਾ ਤ੍ਰਿਪਤਾਸੇ ਅਨਦੁ ਖਸਮ ਕੈ ਭਾਣੈ ਜੀਉ ॥੩॥: This is the sign of union with Prabh (Mool, Source, Jot…). In the mind (the man) recognizes the True Hukam. Those who live by the Divine Will, abide in Sahaj (Natural State of Being, state of Wisdom…), contentment, enduring satisfaction and bliss. ||3|| (sggs 106).
- ਉਸੁ ਊਪਰਿ ਹੈ ਮਾਰਗੁ ਮੇਰਾ ॥ ਸੇਖ ਫਰੀਦਾ ਪੰਥੁ ਸਮ੍ਹ੍ਹਾਰਿ ਸਵੇਰਾ ॥੪॥੧॥: My Way lies on top (of the path which is sharper than a two-edged sword and very narrow). (Therefore) O Shaykh Fareed! Keep watch on that path early on (i.e., understand it and protect it…). ||4||1|| (sggs 794).
True spirituality is simplicity, humility, humbleness, childlike innocence, renouncing of Bikaar, etc. For our Mool (Source, Reality…) is indicated to be very simple. Therefore, genuine peace and happiness can only be found in simplicity.
But, to be wise and simple is not as straightforward as it sounds. Because our stubborn Mayaic-mind is accustomed to novelty and constant wanderings (activity, ਫੁਰਨੇ), resulting in contamination of our natural state of Being (Sahaj, Giaan Avasthaa…)…
In general, it’s not easy to be modest. For power of any sort (e.g., the power of Knowledge or otherwise) can corrupt, and an absolute power corrupts absolutely!
However, the Gurbani teaches us to be “Iaanaa-ਇਆਣਾ” when one is wise or intelligent (modest, simple, unshowy, unpretentious, innocence, child-like, ਅੰਞਾਣਾ, etc.). Furthermore, the Gurbani teaches to be “Nitaanaa-ਨਿਤਾਣਾ” when one is powerful (to be without power, to be without strength, ਤਾਣ ਹੀਨ, etc.)!
- ਮਤਿ ਹੋਦੀ ਹੋਇ ਇਆਣਾ ॥ ਤਾਣ ਹੋਦੇ ਹੋਇ ਨਿਤਾਣਾ ॥ ਅਣਹੋਦੇ ਆਪੁ ਵੰਡਾਏ ॥ ਕੋ ਐਸਾ ਭਗਤੁ ਸਦਾਏ ॥੧੨੮॥: Be simple (even when you are) wise. Be as (you are) without power (even when you are) powerful. Share, even when almost nothing to share. Only a rare one (with such virtues) is called Bhagat (Gurmukh, Daas, Jana…). (sggs 1384).
- ਹਰਿ ਕੇ ਲੋਗਾ ਮੈ ਤਉ ਮਤਿ ਕਾ ਭੋਰਾ ॥: (Bhagat Kabeer says) O people of Hari, I am just a simpleton (foolish…). (sggs 692).
- ਮਿਠਤੁ ਨੀਵੀ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਗੁਣ ਚੰਗਿਆਈਆ ਤਤੁ ॥: Mithatu neevee Nanakaa… (sggs 470).
But, what sort of simplicity the Gurbani is asking us to practice?
Inner simplicity: The absence of psychological construct self-image (Haumai or false ego-sense).
- ਨਾਨਕ ਹਉਮੈ ਮਾਰਿ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਮਿਲਾਇਆ ॥੮॥੪॥: O Nanak, subduing egotism, one is absorbed into Brahm. ||8||4|| (sggs 231).
From within it expands outwardly. With inner simplicity comes a natural integration of emotional, intellectual and physical layers of one’s personality. The Gurbani tells us that by consistently cultivating good thoughts, we can change the character-formation in us. By aligning our thinking with our true Being (Jot-Saroop) within, we can avoid sowing any seeds of ignorance. In other words, by constantly identifying with the real Being within, one can manifest his spiritual nature in which there is no phenomena.
- ਕਵਣੁ ਸੁ ਅਖਰੁ ਕਵਣੁ ਗੁਣੁ ਕਵਣੁ ਸੁ ਮਣੀਆ ਮੰਤੁ ॥ ਕਵਣੁ ਸੁ ਵੇਸੋ ਹਉ ਕਰੀ ਜਿਤੁ ਵਸਿ ਆਵੈ ਕੰਤੁ ॥੧੨੬॥ ਨਿਵਣੁ ਸੁ ਅਖਰੁ ਖਵਣੁ ਗੁਣੁ ਜਿਹਬਾ ਮਣੀਆ ਮੰਤੁ ॥ ਏ ਤ੍ਰੈ ਭੈਣੇ ਵੇਸ ਕਰਿ ਤਾਂ ਵਸਿ ਆਵੀ ਕੰਤੁ ॥੧੨੭॥: What is that permanent letter; what is that virtue; and what is that jewel-like spell? What are those clothes, which I can wear to overbear the “Kant” (Truth-ਸਚ)? ||126|| Humility is the word, tolerance is the virtue, and sweet speech is the jewel-like spell. O sister (soul)! Wear these three robes, then you will come to overbear the “Kant”. ||127|| (sggs 1384).
According to the Gurbani, such a shift in focus can be brought about only when the body-consciousness (false “I”, Haumai, Maya…) is transcended through Shabad-Vichaar.
- ਬਿਨੁ ਸਬਦੈ ਭਰਮੁ ਨ ਚੂਕਈ ਨਾ ਵਿਚਹੁ ਹਉਮੈ ਜਾਇ ॥੬॥: Without the Shabad, neither the doubt (wandering of Maya, etc.) is dispelled, and nor the egotism is eliminated from within. ||6|| (sggs 67).
Thus, according to the Gurbani, the spirituous “medicine” to conquer or annihilate the mind is the Shabad (Shabad-Vichaar, Shabad-Giaan, Wisdom of the Gur-Shabad…).
False ego-sense or Haumai makes forget simplicity, Sahaj, or humility. Our Haumai– or ego-mind being complex like the onion peels, does not like simplicity. It looks for cause for everything; thus making simple things complicated because it will read complex and far-fetched meanings in simple Truth. The ego-mind wants complexity because it’s not contented with simplicity. For it’s pastime is to look for cause for everything. This is how it makes life un-simple. Living an egoistic life we forget that in reality we all are unconditioned consciousness (Jot-Saroop).
Therefore, the Gurbani tells us that the way to manage one’s life free of difficulties and related anxieties or worries is through the psychological simplicity. Not external simplicity, but the simplicity of the mind (Sahaj) within. A truly Simple mind is free of negativity (Bikaar), doubts, etc. To achieve this simplicity requires mending of the body-mind-speech-intellect personality. The Gurbani guides us:
- ਵਿਚਿ ਸਚੇ ਕੂੜੁ ਨ ਗਡਈ ਮਨਿ ਵੇਖਹੁ ਕੋ ਨਿਰਜਾਸਿ ॥: Check it out and see in your mind — falsehood does not mix in Truth. (sggs 313).
- ਧਨ ਬਾਲੀ ਭੋਲੀ ਪਿਰੁ ਸਹਜਿ ਰਾਵੈ ਮਿਲਿਆ ਕਰਮ ਬਿਧਾਤਾ ॥: The soul-bride who enjoys (remembers) her Husband in Sahaj (natural state of Being, state of Wisdom…) with a childlike innocence, meets the Creator (sggs 568).
The Gurbani emphasizes cultivating the quality of humility. Because humility allows us to Grow (Inner Growth). A lifestyle void of humility exhibits undesirable qualities (Bikaars or negativity) such as lust, anger, greed, etc. (Manmukh lifestyle). It will gain us much more than we sacrifice. Proudly contemptuous words inflame prejudice and hatred, but humble speech spells “magic” for it soothes. Words make or break human relationships. Words can make war or make peace, within and without. The words we say or write have tremendous power for good or evil. So the SGGS indicates we should be as careful with our words. In a way, words are like any other weapon!
Since man’s True Nature or his True Being is simplicity (Sahaj), we already are That, here and now! But due to confusion, doubts, selfishness, superstitions, worthless worldly entanglements (Karamkaand), etc. we end up being complicated (un-simple).
Regardless of material wealth or sophisticated lifestyle, anybody can have a childlike simplicity, which is truly the key to much happiness in daily life. The Gurbani indicates that when the mind is simple, it easily recognizes the Truth. However, a multifaceted mind and its thoughts often creates complications in the way of living. It then pretends and invites undue difficulties and and related anxieties. Inner simplicity, which is absence of such self-created, psychological friction, is just what’s needed. A simple mind is able to live in the eternity of the Now. It bring about a natural integration of one’s personality.
In nutshell, a simple mind is childlike innocent (Baal Budhi), doubt-free, modest, virtuous, truly content, truthful, service oriented (selfless Sevaa), wise, unselfish, compassionate, etc.
- ਬਾਲ ਸੁਭਾਇ ਅਤੀਤ ਉਦਾਸੀ ॥: With a childlike, innocent nature, remain detached, turning away from the world (sggs 1076).
- ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਮਿਲਿਓ ਸੁਖ ਬਾਲੇ ਭੋਲੇ ॥: Prabhu milio sukh baale bhol (sggs 1307).
Thank you Spandan Ji for taking the time to respond to this post. Welcome to the Gurbani Blog!
Great read! Been following your blog for quite sometime. Great insight into the Sikh Philosophy. It helps me immensely in getting deeper into Gurbani since I come from a Hindu family.
Thank you !
Thank you brother Peter Jansen Ji for taking the time to respond to this post!
Dear Devinder Singh,
Thank you for your kind words!
I wish to elaborate a bit on the mentioned family issues. I did not mean that people who deny God should be ignored, neglected or negated in any way. For this kind of action would be a negation of God by us.
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