Gurbani Requires Mind to Focus on the Message

The unique and revolutionary spirituality of the Guru‘s Shabad is Sikhi. And Awakening from the consciousness of duality is at the root of the ‘Gurbani‘.

The spiritual Message (Upadesh, Advice, Instructions…) of the Gurbani perfectly fits the present day because It propagates values such as humanity, gender equality, serving mankind, virtuous or honest living, Bibek (discernment), Wisdom (Giaan, query or questioning, reason (logic) etc.

On the other hand, the spiritual Message of the Gurbani rejects blind faith — that faith which is devoid of spiritual Wisdom or that path and journey which takes a seeker away from the Way of the Gurbani etc.

The Gurmat Giaan or spiritual Wisdom of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) requires to focus the mind or consciousness on the Message (Upadesh, Advice, Instructions…) and Awaken.

  • ਮਨ ਰੇ ਸਬਦਿ ਤਰਹੁ ਚਿਤੁ ਲਾਇ ॥: O mind! Focus Consciousness on the Shabad (Upadesh, Message, spiritual Wisdom…) and thus swim across (Bhav Saagar). (sggs 19).
  • ਨਾਨਕ ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਸਾਚਿ ਸਮਾਵਹੁ ॥੨੭॥: O Nanak! Merge in the Truth through the Gurmat (Gur-Giaan or Wisdom). ||27|| (sggs 933).

Spiritual Journey

It’s a Journey towards the Gurbani!

  • ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਬਾਣੀ ਸਤਿ ਸਰੂਪੁ ਹੈ ਗੁਰਬਾਣੀ ਬਣੀਐ ॥: The Satgur’s Bani (the God-Connecting Shabad-Guru) is the embodiment of the Creator; (therefore) BECOME THE GURBANI (to Realize the Creator). (sggs 304).
  • ਤੀਰਥੁ ਤਪੁ ਦਇਆ ਦਤੁ ਦਾਨੁ ॥ ਜੇ ਕੋ ਪਾਵੈ ਤਿਲ ਕਾ ਮਾਨੁ ॥ ਸੁਣਿਆ ਮੰਨਿਆ ਮਨਿ ਕੀਤਾ ਭਾਉ ॥ ਅੰਤਰਗਤਿ ਤੀਰਥਿ ਮਲਿ ਨਾਉ ॥ : The performance of rituals (Karamkaand) of pilgrimage (Teerath), penances, offerings and giving of alms (in the conduct of spirituality); earns one nothing beyond temporal praise. Lovingly Internalize and BECOME (the Naam). I cleanse my mind Within (of vices) with the divine Naam (Shabad, Virtues, spiritual Giaan-Wisdom etc.). (sggs 4).
  • ਕਹਿ ਕਬੀਰ ਅਬ ਜਾਨਿਆ ॥ ਜਬ ਜਾਨਿਆ ਤਉ ਮਨੁ ਮਾਨਿਆ ॥ : Kabir says — now I have understood (the Divine Naam: spiritual Wisdom, Virtues etc.). Once I understood, then the mind accepted it. (sggs 656).

Thus the Gurbani instructs the mind to understand its MESSAGE and then live it in daily life.

  • ਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਕਾਰ ਕਮਾਇ ਮਹਲੁ ਪਛਾਣੀਐ ॥: By doing the Gur’s Kaar (Naam Simran: remembering and living by the Gur-Giaan or Wisdom), one realizes (All-pervading) Presence within. (sggs 420).
  • ਸਰੀਰੁ ਜਲਉ ਗੁਣ ਬਾਹਰਾ ਜੋ ਗੁਰ ਕਾਰ ਨ ਕਮਾਇ ॥: The body deprived of Virtues burns which does not do the (stated) Gur-Kaar (Naam Simran: remembering and living by the Gur-Giaan or Wisdom). (sggs 651).
  • ਮਤਿ ਵਿਚਿ ਰਤਨ ਜਵਾਹਰ ਮਾਣਿਕ ਜੇ ਇਕ ਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਸਿਖ ਸੁਣੀ ॥: The Internalization of (this) one Priceless Message of my Guru (i.e. Shabad) makes my spirituality Shabad Based (i.e. Virtues-ਗੁਣ, Wisdom). (sggs 2).

To do ‘Gur kee Kaar‘ essentially is to live in accordance with the Gurmat (Wisdom, Upadesh or Way of the SGGS), whereby we allow the Gur-Shabad to guide our day-to-day life.

Simply put: our reading and understanding of the Gur-Shabad will be deficient without allowing the Gur-Shabad to guide our daily life.

  • ਜਹ ਕਰਣੀ ਤਹ ਪੂਰੀ ਮਤਿ ॥ ਕਰਣੀ ਬਾਝਹੁ ਘਟੇ ਘਟਿ ॥੩॥: When one’s ‘Karanee‘ (doing, performance, practice…) is right (according to the Gur-Giaan or Wisdom, then this would indicate) there is perfect understanding (ਸੂਝ-ਬੂਝ, ਅਕਲ). Without ‘Karanee‘, (Understanding) remains deficient. ||3|| (sggs 25).

The Message is subtle, NOT physical

In a nutshell, the Message (Upadesh, Advice, Instructions…) of the Gurbani is subtle, NOT PHYSICAL because neither the Guru is physical nor the Shabad in the Gurbani is physical..

NOT PHYSICAL means it’s beyond the slavery of the outer domination, idol worshipping, formalities, rituals or Karamkaand, religious paraphernalia, paid reading and recitation or chanting, mere seeing and bowing etc.).

Hence, the Message is for the mind to take and BECOME Elevated — Enlightened, Heightened Consciousness.

  • ਸਬਦੁ ਗੁਰੂ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਧੁਨਿ ਚੇਲਾ ॥: The Shabad (i.e. Giaan or Wisdom is my) Guru. (Not the body, but) abidance of the Consciousness (i.e., my mind or Soch-ਸੋਚ) is the disciple (of this Shabad-Guru). (sggs 943).

That being said, the Gur-Shabad is also beyond physical reading (e.g. Akhand Paath, Hired Paathee, ritual Nitnem, paid reading, deal making reading, forced reading etc.).

  • ਗੁਰੁ ਬਾਣੀ ਕਹੈ ਸੇਵਕੁ ਜਨੁ ਮਾਨੈ ਪਰਤਖਿ ਗੁਰੂ ਨਿਸਤਾਰੇ ॥੫॥: What the Guru says (i.e., the guidance we get through the Guru’s Wisdom) we should apply in our daily life, then the Guru’s Jot or Wisdom will stay inside us and certainly liberate us (i.e., we will become embodiment of Wisdom…). (sggs 982).
  • ਉਪਦੇਸਿ ਗੁਰੂ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਜਪੁ ਜਾਪੈ ਸਭਿ ਕਿਲਵਿਖ ਪਾਪ ਦੋਖ ਲਹਿ ਜਾਵੈ ॥: (A Sikh – seeker or learner – of the Guru) through the Guru’s Upadesh (Message, Advice, Instructions) realizes the divine or spiritual Virtues and all his negativity (Bikaar) gets erased from the mind. (sggs 305).
  • ਪੂਰੇ ਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਸੁਨਿ ਉਪਦੇਸੁ ॥ ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਨਿਕਟਿ ਕਰਿ ਪੇਖੁ ॥: (O mind!) Listen to the Upadesh (Message, Advice, Instructions) of the Complete or the Perfect Guru (i.e. and become complete within — perfection of Consciousness etc.). Then you will be able to see god or Rabb within everybody, everywhere. (sggs 205).

In short, to focus or live the Message (Upadesh, Advice, Instructions etc.) of the Guru or SGGS is a spiritual Journey, which is for the mind to undertake.

Simply put: The Gurbani wants each Sikh’s mind to witness its own spiritual Evolution, which boiled down to the mind witnessing itself reach its own Jot Saroop within (Original Nature, Source, Mool…) — ‘ਮਨ ਤੂੰ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਰੂਪੁ ਹੈ-Mann Toon Jot Saroop Hai‘.

In other words, the Message of the Gurbani-Shabad-Guru is not to be worshipped as an physical object or idol, it is for the mind to understand fully and then live it in daily life (practice -ਅਮਲ).

As a carpenter makes objects out of rough-hewn wood, similarly, the Guru shapes the mind of a Sikh (seeker or learner) into a sterling Gurmukh, provided one is willing to seek and learn from the Guru. Because, mere seeing the SGGS or ritualistically reading the Gurbani will NOT do the trick.

  • ਡਿਠੈ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਵਈ ਜਿਚਰੁ ਸਬਦਿ ਨ ਕਰੇ ਵੀਚਾਰੁ ॥ : (One is) NOT liberated by merely seeing (the Satigur), unless the Shabad is Reflected upon. (sggs 594).
  • ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਮਾਨਿਆ ਕਰਣੀ ਸਾਰੁ ॥: Following the Gurmat (living daily life according to the Giaan or Wisdom of the SGGS), one’s conduct (ਆਚਰਨ…) becomes excellent. (sggs 832).
  • ਕਬੀਰ ਗੁਰੁ ਲਾਗਾ ਤਬ ਜਾਨੀਐ ਮਿਟੈ ਮੋਹੁ ਤਨ ਤਾਪ ॥: O Kabir! One is known to have been united with the Guru (i.e., Giaan or Wisdom, Virtues…), if your mind’s affliction or illness of worldly attachment is eradicated. (sggs 1374).

Seeing all the Karamkaand that goes on out there, one may question: Why the majority of us (over 99.9 percent category) don’t focus on the Message?

The Gurbani answers as follows:

  • ਜਿਨ ਕੇ ਚਿਤ ਕਠੋਰ ਹਹਿ ਸੇ ਬਹਹਿ ਨ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਪਾਸਿ ॥ ਓਥੈ ਸਚੁ ਵਰਤਦਾ ਕੂੜਿਆਰਾ ਚਿਤ ਉਦਾਸਿ ॥ ਓਇ ਵਲੁ ਛਲੁ ਕਰਿ ਝਤਿ ਕਢਦੇ ਫਿਰਿ ਜਾਇ ਬਹਹਿ ਕੂੜਿਆਰਾ ਪਾਸਿ ॥ ਵਿਚਿ ਸਚੇ ਕੂੜੁ ਨ ਗਡਈ ਮਨਿ ਵੇਖਹੁ ਕੋ ਨਿਰਜਾਸਿ ॥ ਕੂੜਿਆਰ ਕੂੜਿਆਰੀ ਜਾਇ ਰਲੇ ਸਚਿਆਰ ਸਿਖ ਬੈਠੇ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਪਾਸਿ ॥ ੨੬॥: Those who are stony hearted (i.e. unkind, full of Bikaar: lust, anger, greed, attachment, pride etc.) cannot sit near Satiguru (True Wisdom-ਸੱਚਾ ਗਿਆਨ) because the truth is spoken there. Liars or false do not digest the truth, consequently they always feel depressed there. They waste their time by deception and then get up and go to the liars or false. Check it out and see in your mind — falsehood does not mix in Truth. Liars or false mingle with liars or false and true Sikhs sit with Satiguru. ||26|| (sggs 314).

Therefore, it is highly emphasized in the Gurbani to constantly stay attuned to the Message of the Gur-Shabad.

  • ਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਕਹਿਆ ਅੰਕਿ ਸਮਾਵੈ ॥ ਨਿਰਮਲ ਸੂਚੇ ਸਾਚੋ ਭਾਵੈ ॥: (Those human beings) in whose mind abides the Gur (-Giaan or Wisdom), those human beings become immaculate within, they love the truth. (sggs 933).
  • ਗੁਰ ਕਿਰਪਾ ਤੇ ਸੇ ਜਨ ਜਾਗੇ ਜਿਨਾ ਹਰਿ ਮਨਿ ਵਸਿਆ ਬੋਲਹਿ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਬਾਣੀ ॥: (Out of the slumber of Maya) by the grace of the Gur (-Giaan or spiritual Wisdom, only) those human beings Awake in whom Naam abides and who live (remember, practice-ਅਮਲ) the Amrit Bani (-Naam). (sggs 920).
  • ਜਿਨੀ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਇਆ ਗਏ ਮਸਕਤਿ ਘਾਲਿ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਤੇ ਮੁਖ ਉਜਲੇ ਕੇਤੀ ਛੁਟੀ ਨਾਲਿ ॥੧॥: Those who diligently and arduously Realized (acquired / practiced) Naam (spiritual Wisdom, divine Virtue), they, O Nanak, Realize God (become ‘Sachiaaraa-ਸਚਿਆਰਾ’ in their spiritual Journey) by overcoming / freeing themselves from the primary affliction (of Koorh-ਕੂੜ). ॥1॥ (sggs 8).
  • ਨਾਨਕੁ ਵਖਾਣੈ ਬੇਨਤੀ ਤੁਧੁ ਬਾਝੁ ਕੂੜੋ ਕੂੜੁ ॥੧॥: Nanak pleads (to You, O Lord) that without You (i.e. if you are not part of whatever I do in my life) is all ‘Koorh-ਕੂੜੁ’ (affliction, ailment, disorder etc.). (sggs 468).

Practical spirituality

Hence, unequivocally, the Way of the Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS is the Way of UNDERSTANDING and BECOMING — It’s a Way of practical spirituality.

Baabaa Nanak further reminds us that without UNDERSTANDING, we all become perplexed. A perplexed person being a Manmukh-Saakat-Mayadhaaree cannot BECOME a Gurmukh and continue on spiritual Journey.

  • ਬਿਨੁ ਬੂਝੇ ਸਭ ਹੋਇ ਖੁਆਰ ॥: Without understanding, ALL are troubled (afflicted, distressed, perplexed…). (sggs 791).
  • ਕਬੀਰ ਸਾਧੂ ਕਉ ਮਿਲਨੇ ਜਾਈਐ ਸਾਥਿ ਨ ਲੀਜੈ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਪਾਛੈ ਪਾਉ ਨ ਦੀਜੀਐ ਆਗੈ ਹੋਇ ਸੁ ਹੋਇ ॥੧੧੬॥ : O Kabeer! When you go to visit Guru, you should not take anyone with you (you should not wait for a companion, you should not look for any help to go, etc.). Never turn back, (never be lazy);on the other hand, if there is any difficulty while going there, let it be. (sggs 1370).

In a nutshell, to climb the ladder of the Gurbani’s spirituality, the rungs of the ladder are (1) reading listening the Message, (2) understanding the Message, (3) believing and accepting the Message, (4) implementing the Message (practice – ਅਮਲ), (5) BECOMING the Message — becoming Gurmukh, god or Rabb-like.

  • ਏਤੁ ਰਾਹਿ ਪਤਿ ਪਵੜੀਆ ਚੜੀਐ ਹੋਇ ਇਕੀਸ ॥: In this Way of spiritual Journey one can climb the spiritual ladder (i.e. Elevate his Consciousness) to BECOME one with Rabb within. (sggs 7).
  • ਪੜੀਐ ਜੇਤੀ ਆਰਜਾ ਪੜੀਅਹਿ ਜੇਤੇ ਸਾਸ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਲੇਖੈ ਇਕ ਗਲ ਹੋਰੁ ਹਉਮੈ ਝਖਣਾ ਝਾਖ ॥੧॥: (One may) continue to read entire life, (one may) read with all breaths. O Nanak! Only one thing is of any account (i.e. understanding, ਸੂਝ-ਬੂਝ…), all else is but useless and idle talk in ego. ||1|| (sggs 467).
  • ਆਪਣ ਹਥੀ ਆਪਣਾ ਆਪੇ ਹੀ ਕਾਜੁ ਸਵਾਰੀਐ ॥੨੦॥: (So long there is breathPraan) accomplish the task (of God Realization) yourself ( i.e. with self-efforts: Shabad-Vichaar …). ||20|| (sggs 474).

2 comments

  1. dear sir your udham and selfless service in propagating the word of the Guru through this site is the most outstanding and extraordinary.May the Guru bless you and and guide you in spreading his word.

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