Mistaking Rope for a Snake

Like a person in the dark of night mistakes a rope for a snake, we get mixed up about the true nature of things in this world (including our own True Nature, which is Joti-Svaroopa). We end up being confused about what is fleeting and what is not. We think that the gross body we have in this birth is all that matters, and we never spare a thought for the Eternal Joti-Svaroopa within.

Aatm-Giaan (Wisdom) is the mean for liberation from the darkness of ignorance of our True Identity (Joti-Svaroopa). With the dawn of the Pure Knowledge (Aatm-Giaan) through the Shabad-Vichaar, we can realize that “Joti-Svaroopa” (Pure Awareness, etc.) alone is Real and all else is fleeting, perishable or false (Koorh).

On account of the ignorance, we are unable to see our Joti-Svaroopa. Darkness of ignorance is nothing but the non-apprehension of greater Reality. This non-apprehension of Reality causes the misapprehension in our life. For example, in darkness when we do not have the true knowledge of a rope, we may misunderstand it to be either a snake, or a piece of stick, or a streak of water, or a crack in the ground, and so on. Thus, due to initial non-apprehension of the rope, we could have misapprehensions of the various other objects superimposed on the rope.

  • ਰਾਜ ਭੁਇਅੰਗ ਪ੍ਰਸੰਗ ਜੈਸੇ ਹਹਿ ਅਬ ਕਛੁ ਮਰਮੁ ਜਨਾਇਆ ॥ ਅਨਿਕ ਕਟਕ ਜੈਸੇ ਭੂਲਿ ਪਰੇ ਅਬ ਕਹਤੇ ਕਹਨੁ ਨ ਆਇਆ ॥੩॥: Raaj bhuiang prasangi jaise hahi ab kashu maramu janaaiaa || Anik katak jaiase bhooli pare kahate kahanu n aaiaa ||3|| (sggs 658).

It was our conditioned mind that mistook the rope to be the snake. In other words, it was our non-apprehension of the rope that gave rise to the misapprehension of the snake. When the misapprehension is removed, the snake disappears, and only the rope remains.

Similarly, when the darkness of ignorance (Avidiaa) is removed, Joti-Svaroopa stands Realized as the Mool (ਮੂਲ); Just as once the darkness is removed, the rope alone remains, and the snake disappears.

  • ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਬਾਣਿ ਬਜਰ ਕਲ ਛੇਦੀ ਪ੍ਰਗਟਿਆ ਪਦੁ ਪਰਗਾਸਾ ॥ ਸਕਤਿ ਅਧੇਰ ਜੇਵੜੀ ਭ੍ਰਮੁ ਚੂਕਾ ਨਿਹਚਲੁ ਸਿਵ ਘਰਿ ਬਾਸਾ ॥੨॥: Gur kai baani bajar kal chhedee pragatiaa padu paragasaa. Sakti adher jevarhee bhramu chookaa nihchalu siv ghari vaasaa ||2|| (sggs 332).

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