Persistent Bhagti

It is said that persistence can grind a steel beam into a needle! The Gurbani urges us to apply persistence in Bhagti as well — ‘Nirantari Bhagti‘ (‘ਨਿਰੰਤਰਿ ਭਗਤਿ’); for here the target is to grind the iron-like stubborn mind (‘ਮਨੁ ਲੋਹਟੁ’, ‘ਕਾਇਆ ਆਰਣੁ ਮਨੁ ਵਿਚਿ ਲੋਹਾ’)!

  • ਦੁਖੀ ਦੁਹਾਗਨਿ ਦੁਇ ਪਖ ਹੀਨੀ ॥ ਜਿਨਿ ਨਾਹ ਨਿਰੰਤਰਿ ਭਗਤਿ ਨ ਕੀਨੀ ॥: That Jeev remains miserable like a discarded bribe, who is NOT engaged in persistent or ‘Nirantari Bhagti-ਨਿਰੰਤਰਿ ਭਗਤਿ’). (sggs 793).

In the above verse, the word ‘ਨਿਰੰਤਰਿ-Nirantari’ is the adjective of ‘ਭਗਤਿ- Bhagti. Hence:

Nirantari (ਨਿਰੰਤਰਿ) => persistent, continuous, uninterrupted, unbroken, unceasing (ਇਕ-ਰਸ, ਲਗਾਤਾਰ, ਸਦਾ ਹੀ, ਹਰ ਵੇਲੇ, “ਸਿਮਰਿ ਸਿਮਰਿ ਸਿਮਰਿ”, “ਸਾਸ ਸਾਸ ਸਾਸ”, “ਏਕ ਲਿਵ ਤਾਰਾ”…).

In short, the Gurbani asks us to engage in persistence or ‘Nirantari Bhagti‘. Because the Gurmat Wisdom of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) says that without such ‘Nirantari Bhagti‘ we will remain ‘Dukhee Duhaagani‘ (ਦੁਖੀ ਦੁਹਾਗਨਿ: miserable, Manmukh-Saakat-Mayadhaaree…). NOT according to the greedy and illiterate paid clergy (Pjaaree) but according to the Gurbani What is Bhagti (ਭਗਤਿ)!

But, What is Bhagti (ਭਗਤਿ)? According to the SGGS, Bhagti in Sikhi is to obtain the spiritual Knowledge of the SGGS (Giaan Bhagti or Gurmat Bhagti) and Awaken divine Virtues (Rabbi Gun-ਗੁਣ) within and live daily life accordingly!

To put it in simple Punjabi:
ਸਿਖ ਵਾਸਤੇ ਗੁਰਮਤ ਲੈਕੇ ਜੀਵਨ ਵਿਚ ਰੱਬੀ ਗੁਣਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਕਮਾਉਣਾਂ ਹੀ ਭਗਤੀ ਹੈ ।
ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਮਾਰਗ = ਭਗਤੀ ਮਾਰਗ = ਗਿਆਨ ਮਾਰਗ ।

  • ਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਮਤਿ ਤੂੰ ਲੇਹਿ ਇਆਨੇ ॥ ਭਗਤਿ ਬਿਨਾ ਬਹੁ ਡੂਬੇ ਸਿਆਨੇ ॥: You ignorant fool, take the Gurmati (i.e., Divine Wisdom or Aatmic-Giaan of the Gur-Shabad); without (this) Bhagti, even many clever have drowned (in perplexity). (sggs 288).
  • ਵਿਣੁ ਗੁਣ ਕੀਤੇ ਭਗਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥: Without acquiring Virtues, Bhagti can not be performed. (sggs 4).
  • ਕਹੁ ਕਬੀਰ ਜਨ ਭਏ ਖਾਲਸੇ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਭਗਤਿ ਜਿਹ ਜਾਨੀ ॥: O Kabeer! Those persons become ‘Khaalsae’ (ਖਾਲਸੇ) who have realized the Prem Bhagti (ਗੁਰਮਤ ਦਾ ਪੂਰਾ ਗਿਆਨ; Perfect Understanding of the Gur-Shabad, Gur-Giaan, or Divine Wisdom of the Gurbani…). (sggs 655).
  • ਨਿਜ ਧਨੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਭਗਤਿ ਗੁਰਿ ਦੀਨੀ ਤਾਸੁ ਸੁਮਤਿ ਮਨੁ ਲਾਗਾ ॥ : The Guru Given Giaan-Bhagti (Bhgati of spiritual Knowledge) is my personal Wealth. (Now my) mind is connected to that good understanding (obtained from the Giaan-Bhagti). (sggs 336).
  • ਸਚੀ ਭਗਤਿ ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦ ਪਿਆਰਿ ॥: True Bhagti consists of love for the Gur-Shabad (i.e., life of the Shabad-Giaan, Wisdom, Upadesh, Virtues…). (sggs 158).

Essentially, this is what the Gurbani indicates when urging us for Simran (Remembrance, Recollection, ਧਿਆਨ…) with every breath and every morsel of food (‘ਸਾਸ ਗਿਰਾਸਾ’); day and night (‘ਦਿਨੁ ਰੈਨਿ’) etc.:

  • ਸਾਸ ਸਾਸ ਸਾਸ ਹੈ ਜੇਤੇ ਮੈ ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਸਮ੍ਹ੍ਹਾਰੇ ॥: With (all) breaths (i.e, ਲਗਾਤਾਰ-continually…), take care of the Naam through the Gurmat (i.e., unceasingly maintain the Divine Knowledge – ਆਤਮ ਗਿਆਨ – through the Gurbani’s Instruction). (sggs 980).

A doubt is likely to arise: How am I to do my daily duties if I am to engage in Gurmat with every breath and morsel of food? The Gurbani says not to worry: Use hands and feet (i.e. the external body-frame) to do your work (Kirat-ਕਿਰਤ), but keep the mind united with the Niranjan within (the Formless Factor beyond Maya’s stain). The Gurbani indicates our struggle is not with the hands and feet, but with our deluded mind!

Thus, in nutshell, Simran suggested in Gurbani is performed at the level of the mind (ਮਨ-ਬੁਧਿ), not at the level of the hands and feet! This is the state of the Gurmukh-Hood!

  • ਹਾਥ ਪਾਉ ਕਰਿ ਕਾਮੁ ਸਭੁ ਚੀਤੁ ਨਿਰੰਜਨ ਨਾਲਿ ॥੨੧੩॥: Do all the work using your hands and feet, and connect your mind with the ‘Niranjan‘. ||213|| (sggs 1376).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਭਗਤੀ ਜਾਗੇ ॥: United with Bhagti, the mind of the Gurmukh remains Awakened (sggs 415).

An another doubt is likely to arise: How somebody can engage ‘day and night’ in Simran (remembrance), particularly while in sleep? The Gurbani indicates it is possible once the state of Shabad-Surti is obtained (abidance in the Consciousness or memory of the Shabad, Naam, Wisdom, Hukam…). The Gurbani has already revealed to us that the mind (of the Manmukh-Saakat-Mayadhaaree) is asleep in Maya; and that this world is a dream. In the Gurmukh State, however, even in the dream, only the divine Naam comes out of one’s mouth!

  • ਕਬੀਰ ਸੁਪਨੈ ਹੂ ਬਰੜਾਇ ਕੈ ਜਿਹ ਮੁਖਿ ਨਿਕਸੈ ਰਾਮੁ ॥ ਤਾ ਕੇ ਪਗ ਕੀ ਪਾਨਹੀ ਮੇਰੇ ਤਨ ਕੋ ਚਾਮੁ ॥੬੩॥: O Kabeer! If the ‘Raam‘ (-Naam comes out of a person’s mouth while sleeping or in a dream, then the skin of my body be his shoes. ||63|| (sggs 1367).
  • ਜਗਿ ਜੀਵਨੁ ਐਸਾ ਸੁਪਨੇ ਜੈਸਾ ਜੀਵਨੁ ਸੁਪਨ ਸਮਾਨੰ ॥: Life (of a human being) in the world is like a dream, life is equal to a dream. (sggs 842)
  • ਮਨਮੁਖਿ ਸੂਤਾ ਮਾਇਆ ਮੋਹਿ ਪਿਆਰਿ ॥ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਜਾਗੇ ਗੁਣ ਗਿਆਨ ਬੀਚਾਰਿ ॥: The Manmukh is asleep, in love and attachment to Maya. The one who has become the Gurmukh by contemplating Spiritual Wisdom and the Divine Virtues remains Awake. (sggs 160).

Such persistent or ‘Nirantari Bhagti‘ eventually will grind and pulverize the instinctive or Mayaic mind and give rise to the state of ‘Ik Mann Ik Chitt‘ (one-pointed consciousness: Gurmukh-hood…).

  • ਸੁਆਮੀ ਕੋ ਗ੍ਰਿਹੁ ਜਿਉ ਸਦਾ ਸੁਆਨ ਤਜਤ ਨਹੀ ਨਿਤ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਇਹ ਬਿਧਿ ਹਰਿ ਭਜਉ ਇਕ ਮਨਿ ਹੁਇ ਇਕ ਚਿਤਿ ॥੪੫॥: A dog never abandons the home of his master. O Nanak! In this way, stay united with ‘Hari’ (Mool, True Nature or Jot Saroop…) with single-mindedly — ‘Ik Mann Ik Chitt’ (one-pointed consciousness). ||45|| (sggs 1428).

Implication is that if Simran (remembrance) is not persistent, we can’t constantly live it! In other words, the Gurbani indicates the moment Bhagti ceases, the mind falls back into calamity.

  • ਇਕੁ ਤਿਲੁ ਪਿਆਰਾ ਵਿਸਰੈ ਭਗਤਿ ਕਿਨੇਹੀ ਹੋਇ ॥: What sort of Bhagti is that if someone forgets the Beloved (Mool…) even for an instant? (sggs 35).

So, the Gurbani asks remaining constantly detached even while leading an active life in the world. Not easy at all – it’s like chewing steel balls! This is why the Gurbani time and again reminds us that a person who has become the Gurmukh is very ‘rare’ is this world!

In short, a Gurmukh (Bhagat, Daas, Jan…) is a person who is Wise, brave, good, virtuous, stable, fearless, blissful (Anand), pious, Joyful, positive, Happy, balanced and poised etc. (ਵਿਦਵਾਨ, ਬਹਾਦੁਰ, ਭਲਾ, ਨੇਕ, ਗੁਣੀ, ਖੁਸ਼, ਅਡੋਲ, ‘ਸਹਜਿ ਸੁਭਾਇ’, ਹਮੇਸ਼ਾ ਚੜ੍ਹਦੀ ਕਲਾ ਵਿਚ…).

  • ਹਉਮੈ ਕਰਤ ਭੇਖੀ ਨਹੀ ਜਾਨਿਆ ॥ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਭਗਤਿ ਵਿਰਲੇ ਮਨੁ ਮਾਨਿਆ ॥੧॥: Acting in egotism (Haumai), wearing religious robes, (Mool) is not known (i.e, Realized). Rare is (the person) whose mind, by becoming the Gurmukh, becomes accustomed to Bhagti ||1||

9 comments

  1. Greetings Gurveen Singh jI! Thank you for sharing your Vichaar.

    PLEASE HELP!!!!!!

    First off, ONLY you can help yourself. The Gurbani Says:
    • ਆਪਣ ਹਥੀ ਆਪਣਾ ਆਪੇ ਹੀ ਕਾਜੁ ਸਵਾਰੀਐ ॥੨੦॥ (sggs 474).
    So, the Gurbani tells us that NOBODY else can do it for you. If somebody says he can do it for you, he is a cheater!
    The Gurbani tells us to resolve our own affairs ourselves through self-efforts (Shabad-Vichaar to Understand the Divine Hukam according to the Gurbani’s Giaan, Wisdom…).
    If somebody is honest, all he can do is explain the Way (Vidhi, Tareekaa-ਵਿਧਿ, ਤਰੀਕਾ, ਜੁਗਤਿ…).
    Fortunately for us, the Way (Vidhi, Tareekaa-ਵਿਧਿ, ਤਰੀਕਾ, ਜੁਗਤਿ…) is already explained in the Gurbani.
    Therefore, what counts only is what we do with the Instructions received from the Gurbani.
    I am learning it along with you.

    but problem is my job is MIND JOB i am a programmer and have to use my mind to think a alot alot and reaching to solutions for industries

    The problem is not that the “job is MIND JOB”. The problem is, as the Gurbani indicates, we think we are the doer.
    • ਜਬ ਲਗੁ ਜਾਨੈ ਮੁਝ ਤੇ ਕਛੁ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਤਬ ਇਸ ਕਉ ਸੁਖੁ ਨਾਹੀ ਕੋਇ ॥: Jab lag jaanai mujh te kashoo hoi … (sggs 278).
    So, instead of identifying with the body-consciousness or Maya, the Gurbani asks us to identify with the Mool (Jot…) within the body.
    Why? This Mool within the body is Formless-Timeless-Spaceless, untainted by Maya. In this Field of Pure Consciousness, everything just happens – there is no doer at all; no one has an identity…
    The Gurbani asks us to remember this each and every breath (Praan…). Then and only then, there be no problem.
    • ਸਾਸਿ ਸਾਸਿ ਸਿਮਰਹੁ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ॥: Saasi saasi simrahu gobind (sggs 295).
    Here, in the above verse, “Gobind” is none other than the Mool within. The Gurbani asks us to be stabilized in that Field of Undivided and Harmonizing Consciousness. Because, there is no doer there at all!
    In other words, the Gurbani asks us to become “Nihkarm-ਨਿਹਕਰਮ” through the Shabad-Vichaar. Becoming “Nihkarm” is simply to think “I am not the doer”…
    • ਕਰਮ ਕਰਤ ਹੋਵੈ ਨਿਹਕਰਮ ॥ ਤਿਸੁ ਬੈਸਨੋ ਕਾ ਨਿਰਮਲ ਧਰਮ ॥: (sggs 274).
    • ਸੋ ਨਿਹਕਰਮੀ ਜੋ ਸਬਦੁ ਬੀਚਾਰੇ ॥: (sggs 128).
    Once one thinks “I am not the doer” – becomes “Nihkarm” – he misses the burden of Karma!
    • ਚੂਕਾ ਭਾਰਾ ਕਰਮ ਕਾ ਹੋਏ ਨਿਹਕਰਮਾ ॥: (sggs 102).

  2. SSA Sir,

    I really appreciate the divine knowledge you have shared. I really owe you alot making me think in correct directions now my body and state of mind is so steady.

    I have a very important question here: When we say stay connected with god through your mind i can do it without problem and can think world as crap but problem is my job is MIND JOB i am a programmer and have to use my mind to think a alot alot and reaching to solutions for industries. Now If i start thinking deep I will have to loose connection from the naam inside ruuning in my mind although my conciousness still attached with god. I break the naam simran in mind and start analyzing the programs in computer and hence got dettached.

    I think so i should change my job this job keeps me away from constant naam simran and i get hurt.

    I don’t know what to do. I have dettached myself from worldly things and from younger age i have always been humble and down to earth without proud and remembering always DEATH as final stage but now I am in confusion what to do in this situation.

    I enjoy naam but i have to leave it to do job daily basis and this job takes my mind to programs and languages.

    PLEASE HELP!!!!!!

  3. Thank you Bhai Sahib Ji for sharing your Vichaar.
    • ਮਨ ਸਮਝਾਵਨ ਕਾਰਨੇ ਕਛੂਅਕ ਪੜੀਐ ਗਿਆਨ ॥੫॥: Man samajhaavan kaarane kachhooak parreeai giaan ||5|| (sggs 340).

  4. Wheguu ji ka khalsa,Waheguru ji ki fateh !!
    Many years ago one of my senior colleague in Punjab and Sind Bank very strongly and convincingly motivated me do Gurbani Sahaj Paath all by msyelf. And believe me since then every sahaj paath i finished with Wahegurujis grace. gave me a spiritual in sight in to the reality of the purpose of human life.All fears have vanished, no superstition has any value in my family life, i hv no delusions and have full faith in the authority of Guru Granth Sahibji.May we all be blessed-Balwant Singh

  5. Gurmukh piyare jeo, i really feel fortunate to have suscribed to your blog.You are always taking pains to explain the Gurmat Sidhant in a very very simple way.I had come across a quote-“Pusuit of purpose is the secret of success.” But today in the light of gurbani when i read about persistence in bhagti, i also learnt about the purpose of life.And it can be achieved only by constant Simran.

    Balwant Singh Seera

  6. Yet another highly elucidiative piece!

    Basic likely-to-crop-up doubts (viability of performing Simran while discharging the regular obligations and during sleeping hours) have been manifestly expounded.

    Terms like ‘saas-girass’ and ‘din-raen’ are often (mis)construed literally by novice devotees thus surmising nirantar bhagti as an unattainable undertaking.

    Clarifications furnished through your disserting blogs is priceless indeed.

    Sincere thanks for your ardents endeavors.

    Deep Regards

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