Due to our mind’s corruption (inner filth: greed, selfishness, desires….), the Pujaarees (the priest group) and other religious con artists are able to dupe us. So long we are willing participants (due to the corruption of our own Bikaars…), they will continue doing what they are best at. The great ones tell us to remember one thing: if we want something as sublime as God and want it cheaply in the form of a “ready-made” package (businesslike deal), we put ourselves in a position to be cheated by the religious con artists!
Also, there is a saying to the effect that where there are greedy people, a cheat (ਠਗ – Thag, trickster, swindler…) will never starve there!!
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 (for those who are not familiar with this Punjabi word “Keelee“, 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 Gurbani existed in the older days, just imagine what might be going on in this 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, Kaazi, Mullah, or Pundits not to practice such fraud, it is also urging Sikhs as well! If a Sikh practices falsehood/corruption 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 reading (of the Gurbani) has to be thoroughly understood of its true meaning, and then it must be lived.
- 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).
- 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, Poise, Giaan Avasthaa or Divine Knowledge…) is not gained therewith (i.e., Sahaj will come only with practice or implementation of what has been heard, listened and reflected upon) ||1|| (sggs 655).
- 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॥: (One may) read cart-loads of books, (one may) read heaps and heaps of them. (One may) read boat-loads of books, (one may) read and fill pits with them. (One may) read year afte year, (one may) read all the months, that there are. (One may) continue to read entire life, (one may) read with all breaths. O Nanak! Only one thing is of any account (understanding, ਸੂਝ-ਬੂਝ…), all else is but useless and idle talk in ego ||1|| (sggs 467).
Now, in nutshell, what’s the purpose of reading scriptures (Paath — ਪਾਠ ਕਰਨਾ)?
According to the Gurbani — not according to the illiterate and corrupt Pujaajee — the ONLY purpose of reading the scriptures (Paath — ਪਾਠ ਕਰਨਾ) is Awaken Bibebk Budhi within (discerning intellect, logic, commonsense, Wisdom-ਸਚਾ ਗਿਆਨ, Virtues-ਗੁਣ, etc.). Such Bibek-Budhi bestows upon us Joy, Peace, Bliss (Anand), abidance, thinking free of Bikaar, (i.e., lust, anger, greed, etc.), and so on.
- 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).