Stubborn Mindedness – Reading or Listening Gurbani

Today, in the Gurdawaras, the page to page reading of Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) called Akhand-Paath is sold to the public in a businesslike manner. It is an example of ‘blind leads blind‘ – that is, one Mayadhaaree cheating the other Mayadhaaree!

In stubborn mindedness (ਮਨ ਹਠ), many go and pay Pujaarees (Bhais, Raagees, etc.) dearly, or hire Paathees (professional Gurbani readers) to perform Akhand-Paath in their homes.

Now, people can also buy Akhand Paath over the Internet!

Also, many read scriptures themselves in ritualistic manner, over and over again. However, the Gurbani never gets tired of reminding us that this type of practice has nothing to do with the Gurmat Bhagti or Naam-Simran.

  • ਅਖਰ ਪੜਿ ਪੜਿ ਭੁਲੀਐ ਭੇਖੀ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਅਭਿਮਾਨੁ ॥: Reading their books over and over again, people continue making mistakes; and by wearing religious robes they take great pride (sggs 61).
  • ਕਿਆ ਪੜੀਐ ਕਿਆ ਗੁਨੀਐ ॥ ਕਿਆ ਬੇਦ ਪੁਰਾਨਾਂ ਸੁਨੀਐ ॥ ਪੜੇ ਸੁਨੇ ਕਿਆ ਹੋਈ ॥ ਜਉ ਸਹਜ ਨ ਮਿਲਿਓ ਸੋਈ ॥੧॥: What use is it to read, and what use is it to study (Vichaar, reflecting)? What use is it to listen to the Vedas and Puraans? What use is reading and listening, if Sahaj (Natural State of Being, Giyan-Wisdom Avasthaa, State of Enlightened Conscience, Bliss etc.) is not realized therewith (i.e. Sahaj will come only with practice or implementation of what has been heard, listened and reflected upon) ||1|| (sggs 655).

As revealed in the Gurbani, a mind that is bound by the stubbornness or three dispositions – three modes of Maya: Taamas, Raajas, and Saatav – goes weary by reading and reciting religious books. But, as indicated in the Gurbani, we can never realize the Supreme Essence by doing so.

Thus, mere reading of countless Paath or Akhand-Paath in duality are of no avail, for the Truth cannot be reached by such empty practices of ignorance, greed, and so on.

  • ਮੂਰਖਿ ਪੜਿ ਪੜਿ ਦੂਜਾ ਭਾਉ ਦ੍ਰਿੜਾਇਆ॥ ਬਹੁ ਕਰਮ ਕਮਾਵੈ ਦੁਖੁ ਸਬਾਇਆ ॥: The fool reads and reads, but holds tight to duality. He performs all sorts of rituals, but still suffers terrible pain (sggs 424).
  • ਸਲੋਕੁ ਮਃ ੧ ॥ ਪੜਿ ਪੜਿ ਗਡੀ ਲਦੀਅਹਿ ਪੜਿ ਪੜਿ ਭਰੀਅਹਿ ਸਾਥ ॥ ਪੜਿ ਪੜਿ ਬੇੜੀ ਪਾਈਐ ਪੜਿ ਪੜਿ ਗਡੀਅਹਿ ਖਾਤ ॥ ਪੜੀਅਹਿ ਜੇਤੇ ਬਰਸ ਬਰਸ ਪੜੀਅਹਿ ਜੇਤੇ ਮਾਸ ॥ ਪੜੀਐ ਜੇਤੀ ਆਰਜਾ ਪੜੀਅਹਿ ਜੇਤੇ ਸਾਸ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਲੇਖੈ ਇਕ ਗਲ ਹੋਰੁ ਹਉਮੈ ਝਖਣਾ ਝਾਖ ॥੧॥: Slok M: 1 || Parri parri gaddee laddeeahi parri parri bhareeahi saath … (sggs 467).

However, the Pujaaree is making a good return business out of all this Karamkaand (Jhoothaa Sodaa)! Why are they so successful in cheating people?

Because people want something as Sublime as God and want it cheaply, in a ready-made package. As a result, they put themselves in a position to be easily cheated. In other words, a stubborn person has no sense of consequences of his actions!

  • ਪਢੇ ਗੁਨੇ ਨਾਹੀ ਕਛੁ ਬਉਰੇ ਜਉ ਦਿਲ ਮਹਿ ਖਬਰਿ ਨ ਹੋਈ ॥੨॥: You gain nothing by reading and studying, O mad (Qazi), if you don’t gain (this) Understanding (ਸੂਝ) in your heart ||2|| (sggs 483).
  • ਸਲੋਕੁ ਮਃ ੩ ॥ ਪੜਣਾ ਗੁੜਣਾ ਸੰਸਾਰ ਕੀ ਕਾਰ ਹੈ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਵਿਕਾਰੁ ॥ ਹਉਮੈ ਵਿਚਿ ਸਭਿ ਪੜਿ ਥਕੇ ਦੂਜੈ ਭਾਇ ਖੁਆਰੁ ॥ ਸੋ ਪੜਿਆ ਸੋ ਪੰਡਿਤੁ ਬੀਨਾ ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦਿ ਕਰੇ ਵੀਚਾਰੁ ॥ ਅੰਦਰੁ ਖੋਜੈ ਤਤੁ ਲਹੈ ਪਾਏ ਮੋਖ ਦੁਆਰੁ ॥ ਗੁਣ ਨਿਧਾਨੁ ਹਰਿ ਪਾਇਆ ਸਹਜਿ ਕਰੇ ਵੀਚਾਰੁ ॥ ਧੰਨੁ ਵਾਪਾਰੀ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਜਿਸੁ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਅਧਾਰੁ ॥੧॥: Slok M: 3|| Parhnaa gunanaa sansaar kee karr hai andar trisnaa vikaar … (sggs 650).

The Gurbani makes it very clear that by reading religious books without real understanding and followed by living that understanding, one cannot realize Rabb; also, by speaking and talking, His limits cannot be found.

The purpose of reading or listening scriptures is to develop Divine Understanding (Aatam-Giaan), and then act upon it (the Gurmukh Life Style). If that does not happen, then, there is no difference between a human being engaged in reading or listening to scriptures and a beast engaged in filling his belly. The Gurbani says:

  • ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਸੁਨਿ ਕਛੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਨ ਉਪਜਿਓ ਪਸੁ ਜਿਉ ਉਦਰੁ ਭਰਉ ॥: Listening to the Gurmat (Shabad-Giaan, Teaching of the Gurbani, etc.), (if) no Spiritual Wisdom (understanding of the Spiritual Life…) wells up within; (then it would be) like a beast (routinely) filling its belly (sggs 685).
  • ਪੜੀਐ ਗੁਨੀਐ ਨਾਮੁ ਸਭੁ ਸੁਨੀਐ ਅਨਭਉ ਭਾਉ ਨ ਦਰਸੈ: The Naam is read, pondered and heard (meaning, all beings read the Naam, think, listen, but because of Bikaar the knot of fear remains in the mind, consequently) the divine love does not arise in them, the divine vision does not appear (i.e., understanding, Soojh-Boojh). (sggs 973).

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