Ritualistic Reading of the Gurbani

The unique and new Message of the Gurbani or Gurmat (Giaan or Wisdom of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, SGGS) is NOT meant to regurgitate the ritualism or Karamkaand that was already existing in the society before the Gurus and the Bhagats.

However, due to our ignorance of the Gurbani and the resulting corruption (inner filth of Bikaar: lust, anger, greed, etc.) of our minds, the Pujaaree-Vaad and other religious con artists are able to dupe us.

On account of our greed, fear and ignorance, so long we are willing participants they will continue duping us.

The great ones tell us to remember one thing: If we want something as sublime as Rabb and want it cheaply in the form of a ‘ready-made’ package (businesslike deal, ਧੰਧਾ), we put ourselves in a position to be cheated by the religious con artists (ਠਗ – Thugg)!

Also, there is a saying to the effect that where there are greedy people, a cheat (ਠਗ – Thugg, trickster, swindler…) will never starve there!

When the Gurus and Bhagats condemned the then Pujaaree system for reading Granths (Paath-ਪਾਠ) for the sake of making money (businesslike-ਧੰਧਾ), perhaps they had no idea that many in Sikhs masks would do the same with their Bani (ਬਾਣੀ) — make it a source of income, INSTEAD of a source of learning Giaan or Wisdom!

  • ਮੂਰਖ ਅੰਧੇ ਤ੍ਰੈ ਗੁਣ ਸੇਵਹਿ ਮਾਇਆ ਕੈ ਬਿਉਹਾਰੀ ॥ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਕਪਟੁ ਉਦਰੁ ਭਰਣ ਕੈ ਤਾਈ ਪਾਠ ਪੜਹਿ ਗਾਵਾਰੀ ॥: Dealing with Maya alone, the blind fools remain subservient to the three qualities of material nature (i.e., Rajo, Tamo, Sato). With deception within, the fools do Paath (reading of sacred texts) to fill their bellies (sggs 1246).
  • ਪਾਠੁ ਪੜਿਓ ਅਰੁ ਬੇਦੁ ਬੀਚਾਰਿਓ ਨਿਵਲਿ ਭੁਅੰਗਮ ਸਾਧੇ ॥ ਪੰਚ ਜਨਾ ਸਿਉ ਸੰਗੁ ਨ ਛੁਟਕਿਓ ਅਧਿਕ ਅਹੰਬੁਧਿ ਬਾਧੇ ॥੧॥ ਪਿਆਰੇ ਇਨ ਬਿਧਿ ਮਿਲਣੁ ਨ ਜਾਈ ਮੈ ਕੀਏ ਕਰਮ ਅਨੇਕਾ ॥ ਹਾਰਿ ਪਰਿਓ ਸੁਆਮੀ ਕੈ ਦੁਆਰੈ ਦੀਜੈ ਬੁਧਿ ਬਿਬੇਕਾ ॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: (Some) read holy texts (Paath — ਪਾਠ ਕਰਨਾ), and contemplate the Veda. (Some) practice the inner cleansing techniques of Yoga, and control of the breath. (But, with these practices, one) cannot escape from the five (i.e., lust, anger, greed, attachment, pride…), and is all the more tied to ego-intellect. ||1|| My dear! I have performed many such rituals, but the Divine (Wisdom, Virtues…) is not realized by these methods (ਤਰੀਕੇ). (Forsaking the ritualistic practices or methods) I have dropped down weary at the Divine-door (Giaan-Guru, True Wisdom) and pray for the grant of Bibek-Budhi (discerning intellect…). ||Pause|| (sggs 641).

Keelee-Tang-Paath (ਕੀਲੀ-ਟੰਗ-ਪਾਠ)

The author remembers this story from his childhood. He heard it directly from his father. It may sound like a joke, but it’s a true story. In his village in India, there lived a Paathee (also spelt Pathi – a professional reader of the SGGS).

One day a man from the neighboring village visited him and said, ‘Someone has died in our family. We would like to hire you to do a Sahaj Paath in his memory (also called Sadhaaran Paath)’.

‘Sure, I am available’, said the Paathee.

‘How long it would take you to complete the Sahaj Paath?’, inquired the potential client.

‘About couple of weeks’, replied the Paathee.

‘But, unfortunately, we do not have that much time. We have only couple of days’, said the potential client.

‘In that case, I can sell you a Keelee-Tang-Paath (ਕੀਲੀ-ਟੰਗ-ਪਾਠ)’, said the Paathee.

‘What is the Keelee-Tang-Paath’, inquired the customer.

‘You see, in my spare time, I do Paath (also spelt Path) at my home. When done, I tie a knot in a towel and hang it on a Keelee. In nutshell, it’s a Keetaa Kraaiaa Paath (ਕੀਤਾ ਕਰਾਇਆ ਪਾਠ, ready-made)’, explained the Paathee

Those who are not familiar with this Punjabi word ‘Keele’, it’s a peg driven into the wall for hanging clothes, etc.

If this sort of fraud (‘Koorh-Kriya‘, false practices, corruption, falsehood, Pakhand…) in the name of the Gurbani existed few decades earlier, just imagine what might be going on in the present Internet, digital and wireless information age!!

Although many of us read the Gurbani (Akhand paaths, Sahaj-Paaths, Nitnem, etc.), but we rarely allow the Gurbani to read us (go through us…).

Until and unless we allow the Gurbani to read us, our reading or hearing it is of no avail. This is the edict of the Gurbani. It’s not that the Gurbani is only telling Brahmins, Pandits, Yogi, Qazi, Mullah, etc. not to practice such fraud, it is also urging Sikhs as well!

If a Sikh practices falsehood than why wouldn’t a Brahmin be helped along with his falsehood/corruption, or a Muslim or a Christian or a Yogi with his?

  • ਪੜਿਐ ਮੈਲੁ ਨ ਉਤਰੈ ਪੂਛਹੁ ਗਿਆਨੀਆ ਜਾਇ ॥੧॥: The filth is not removed by reading. Go ahead, and ask the Wise ones ||1||. (sggs 39).
  • ਪੜਣਾ ਗੁੜਣਾ ਸੰਸਾਰ ਕੀ ਕਾਰ ਹੈ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਵਿਕਾਰੁ ॥ ਹਉਮੈ ਵਿਚਿ ਸਭਿ ਪੜਿ ਥਕੇ ਦੂਜੈ ਭਾਇ ਖੁਆਰੁ ॥:  Reading and studying (have become) just worldly pursuits, (but still) greed and corruption remain present within. Reading in egotism, all have grown weary; through the love of duality (Maya), they are ruined. (sggs 650).

The Gurbani says that any listening/reading (of the Gurbani) has to be thoroughly understood of its true meaning, and then it must be lived in daily life.

  • ਪੜਿਐ ਨਾਹੀ ਭੇਦੁ ਬੁਝਿਐ ਪਾਵਣਾ ॥: Not by reading (books), but through Understanding, is the Mystery Realized. (sggs 148).
  • ਬਿਨੁ ਬੂਝੇ ਪਸੂ ਭਏ ਬੇਤਾਲੇ ॥੬॥: Without understanding, people become beast (-nature) and demon ||6|| (sggs 224).
  • ਪੜੇ ਸੁਨੇ ਕਿਆ ਹੋਈ ॥ ਜਉ ਸਹਜ ਨ ਮਿਲਿਓ ਸੋਈ ॥੧॥: Parhae sunae kiaa hoee… (sggs 655).
  • ਪੜਿ ਪੜਿ ਗਡੀ ਲਦੀਅਹਿ ਪੜਿ ਪੜਿ ਭਰੀਅਹਿ ਸਾਥ ॥: Parhi parhi gadee ladeeai... (sggs 467).

Hence, according to the Gurbani — not according to the illiterate and corrupt Pujaajee — the ONLY purpose of reading the scriptures (Paath — ਪਾਠ ਕਰਨਾ, Nitnem, Akhand Paath, etc.) is to Awaken Bibebk Budhi within (discerning intellect, logic, commonsense, Wisdom-ਸਚਾ ਗਿਆਨ, Virtues-ਗੁਣ, etc.). Such Bibek-Budhi bestows upon us Joy, Peace, Anand (Bliss), Mool-abidance, untainted thinking, and so on.

  • ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਸੇਵੇ ਸੋ ਸੁਖੁ ਪਾਏ ਜਿਨ ਹਉਮੈ ਵਿਚਹੁ ਮਾਰੀ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਪੜਣਾ ਗੁਨਣਾ ਇਕੁ ਨਾਉ ਹੈ ਬੂਝੈ ਕੋ ਬੀਚਾਰੀ ॥: (A person who) who walks on the WAY given by the Satiguru (True Wisdom-ਸਚਾ ਗਿਆਨ) finds happiness (because the human beings who walk on the path of the True Wisdom or Giaan) get rid of false ego-sense from the mind. O Nanak! Only one Naam (Giaan, Wisdom, Virtues…) is worth reading and contemplating; but a rare thoughtful (ਵਿਚਾਰਵਾਨ) person understands it. (sggs 1246).

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