The Gurbani puts tremendous emphasis on Vichaar (e.g., Shabad-Vichaar, Reflections…). What is Vichaar? The Gurbani time and again indicates that “everything” is within (i.e., The Divine, Satgur, Mool...). The Divine Teaching of the Gurbani reveals how we all are One with this Truth. Vichaar enables one to experience and realize this. Therefore, the spiritual practice of Vichaar, the quest of one’s True Self (Self-inquiry, Inner Inquiry, Self-Reflection, Contemplation, etc.: ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਦੀ ਪੜਤਾਲ) is the introspective meditation that yields Self-knowledge (Aatam-Giaan: ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਦੀ ਸੂਝ).
- ਊਤਮ ਕਰਣੀ ਸਬਦ ਬੀਚਾਰ ॥੩॥: Ootam karanee sabad beechaar ||3||: The ultimate action is Reflections on the Shabad – Shabad Vichaar ||3|| (sggs 158).
- ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਸਾਚੀ ਸਾਚਾ ਵੀਚਾਰੁ ॥: Gurmati saachee saachaa veechaaru: One who adopts the true Gurmat (the Teaching of the Shabad-Guru), abides in the true Vichaar (ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਦੀ ਪੜਤਾਲ) within (sggs 666).
Vichaar is to constantly inquire, reflect, contemplate, investigate, or directly look into: “Who am I? How can I know where I came from? Where did I originate, and where will I go and merge? How am I bound, and how do I free myself? How do I attain Sahaj and link back to Eternal Factor with Sahaj? What is this world: the place of repeated suffering? How I have come into being in this temporal and transient state? What is the mind? Who is the sufferer? What is the Truth?”, and so on. As the spiritual Vichaar relates to Giaan (or Giyan).
Thus, the practice of Vichaar in particular relates to Giaan or knowledge — not knowledge in the intellectual sense — but the knowledge of Aatamaa and Parmaatam and the realization of their Oneness. Therefore, Vichaar, then, is the search for Self-knowledge, Truth, Aatam-Giaan...
Vichaar (Shabad-Vichaar, Aatam-Vichaar, etc.), hence, leads to Realization of one’s own True self.
To drive the nail of Gur-Giaan (Divine Knowledge, Spiritual Wisdom, Aatam-Giaan, Shabad-Giaan, Gurmat...) deep into our tainted / conditioned heads, the Gurbani uses the metaphor of riding / mounting the horse.
Why the metaphor of horse? Perhaps because no other animal commands as much admiration as the horse. Its grace, spirit, and sheer beauty is, for many horse lovers, reason enough to admire and care for it.
The horse-riding tips include this most important rule: to keep the heels down. Because not only does it make the rider more secure, but it also stops his foot from being caught in the stirrup should the horse spook.
The Gurbani urges us to make Self-reflection the mount (on the horse of the Divine Knowledge, Aatam-Giaan…), and make Sahaj (Natural state of Being, Intuitive Poise…) the stirrup (ਰਕਾਬ) to place the feet (of the mind, Budhi, ਅਕਲ, ਮਤਿ…), so that the mind remains secure (stable, balanced, unwavering, not wandering, etc.), and remains attuned to its Mool (Source, True Nature, Originality…).
- ਅਪਨੈ ਬੀਚਾਰਿ ਅਸਵਾਰੀ ਕੀਜੈ ॥ ਸਹਜ ਕੈ ਪਾਵੜੈ ਪਗੁ ਧਰਿ ਲੀਜੈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Apanai beechaari asavaaree keejai. Sahaj kai pavarrai pagu dhari leejai ||1||Rahaaou||: Make self-reflection the mount (on the horse of the Self-Knowledge, Aatam-Giaan…), and in the stirrups of Sahaj, place the feet (of the mind, Budhi, ਅਕਲ, ਮਤਿ…). ||1||Pause|| (sggs 329).