Self-Efforts

The Gurmat Wisdom of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) can be explained, but cannot be given as a readymade package, or made to an order. One must be willing to TAKE it, digest it, apply it do daily life, Here and Now.

It is so because there is NO concept of transfer of blessing in Sikhi of Baabaa Nanak or Gurbani contained in the SGGS. Instead the principle of Baabaa Nanak’s Sikhi or Gurmat is:

  • ਆਪਣ ਹਥੀ ਆਪਣਾ ਆਪੇ ਹੀ ਕਾਜੁ ਸਵਾਰੀਐ ॥੨੦॥: (So long there is breathPraan) accomplish the task (of God Realization) yourself ( i.e. with self-efforts: Shabad-Vichaar …). ||20|| (sggs 474).
  • ਆਪਣਾ ਕਾਰਜੁ ਆਪਿ ਸਵਾਰੇ ਹੋਰਨਿ ਕਾਰਜੁ ਨ ਹੋਈ ॥ : (One) resolves his own affair himself (i.e. the ultimate Purpose of life of God Realization); anyone else cannot do this work (for him). (sggs 351).
  • ਆਪੇ ਬੀਜਿ ਆਪੇ ਹੀ ਖਾਹੁ ॥ : Whatever you sow, you will reap. (sggs 4).

SGGS provides Wisdom (Giaan) to ALL. So, it’s up to each learner (i.e. Sikh: ਸਿਖਿਆਰਥੀ) whether to take-accept-understand-assimilate-believe-remember, and apply it to daily life or not!

Tremendous emphasis is put on self-efforts (‘ਉਦਮ-Uddam’…) by the Gurbani. For the best efforts are essential in terms of spiritual progress, Racialization of the Creator within, successful, peaceful and Happy life etc.

  • ਜਿਨੀ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਇਆ ਗਏ ਮਸਕਤਿ ਘਾਲਿ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਤੇ ਮੁਖ ਉਜਲੇ ਕੇਤੀ ਛੁਟੀ ਨਾਲਿ ॥੧॥: Those who diligently and arduously Realized (acquired / practiced) Naam (spiritual Wisdom, divine Virtue), they, O Nanak, Realize God (become ‘Sachiaaraa-ਸਚਿਆਰਾ’ in their spiritual Journey) by overcoming / freeing themselves from the primary affliction (of Koorh-ਕੂੜ). ॥1॥ (sggs 8).
  • ਉਦਮੁ ਕਰੇਦਿਆ ਜੀਉ ਤੂੰ ਕਮਾਵਦਿਆ ਸੁਖ ਭੁੰਚੁ ॥ ਧਿਆਇਦਿਆ ਤੂੰ ਪ੍ਰਭੂ ਮਿਲੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਉਤਰੀ ਚਿੰਤ ॥੧॥ : Make the effort and live (spiritual life); by so performing ‘Sukh‘ (Joy, Peace, Happiness…) is enjoyed. O Nanak! By remembering the Naam one realizes Prabhu (Hukam: System-Rule-Law of Nature…) and the anxiety vanishes. ||1|| (sggs 522).

As we know it, efforts are even necessary in worldly pursuits (ਦੁਨਿਆਈ ਕਿਰਤ) let alone, spiritual Realization!

  • ਦਿਨੁ ਰਾਤਿ ਕਮਾਇਅੜੋ ਸੋ ਆਇਓ ਮਾਥੈ ॥: Day and night what you have done (good and bad) becomes a fortune on your forehead or mind (i.e. ‘Kismat’, luck, ਭਾਗ etc.). (sggs 461).
  • ਕਿਰਸਾਣੀ ਕਿਰਸਾਣੁ ਕਰੇ ਲੋਚੈ ਜੀਉ ਲਾਇ ॥ ਹਲੁ ਜੋਤੈ ਉਦਮੁ ਕਰੇ ਮੇਰਾ ਪੁਤੁ ਧੀ ਖਾਇ ॥: The farmer does the farming work diligently (with full effort),plows, strives and longs (for the harvest to be good, so that) my son and daughter may eat. (sggs 166).

For example, if someone is hungry, he cannot ‘substitute’ anybody for himself: he must eat himself to appease his hunger. Also, if someone wants to get married, he cannot ‘substitute’ anybody for himself to take ‘Phere‘ in his place: he must take ‘Phere‘ himself.

Similarly, if someone wants to realize his Mool (Source, Jot Saroop…) and become happy and prosperous in life, he cannot ‘substitute’ anybody for himself: he must strive with full self-efforts for it.

The wise ones tell us to remember one thing: If we want something as sublime as spiritual Realization etc. and want it cheaply in the form of a ‘readymade’ package, we put ourselves in a position to be cheated by the religious con-artists (those who use the Gurbani and Dharma as business (‘ਰੋਟੀਆ ਕਾਰਣਿ’ ਧੰਧਾ; ‘ਬਾਨਾਰਸਿ ਕੇ ਠਗ’)!

Accordingly, the Gurbani urges us to resolve our own affairs ourselves through intense efforts or ‘Uddam’ (Shabad-Vichaar and so on). Nobody else can do it for us.

  • ਸਗਲ ਉਦਮ ਮਹਿ ਉਦਮੁ ਭਲਾ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਕਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਜਪਹੁ ਜੀਅ ਸਦਾ ॥: Of all self-efforts, the best self-effort is to persistently engage in Naam-Jap (Understanding the Gurbani’s Giaan…). (sggs 266).
  • ਕਰਿ ਕਰਿ ਕਰਣਾ ਲਿਖਿ ਲੈ ਜਾਹੁ ॥ ਆਪੇ ਬੀਜਿ ਆਪੇ ਹੀ ਖਾਹੁ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਹੁਕਮੀ ਆਵਹੁ ਜਾਹੁ ॥੨੦॥ : (The Internal cleansing is by a spirituality of) Internalizing (the Naam: Shabad, Hukam, Virtues, Giaan-Wisdom) through sustained deeds. Whatever you sow, you will reap. Nanak, (to reap as one saw) is the Hukam of the Creator pertaining to my cycle (of spirituality at the mind’s level). ॥20॥ (sggs 4).
  • ਜੇਹਾ ਬੀਜੈ ਸੋ ਲੁਣੈ ਕਰਮਾ ਸੰਦੜਾ ਖੇਤੁ ॥: (Life is the) field (of man’s actions); whatever (he) sows or does in life so does (he) reap the consequences. (sggs 134).

Divine Grace is directly proportional to the intensity of one’s self-efforts (i.e. Uddam). In other words, as is the aspiration, so is the reward.

  • ਜੋ ਮੈ ਕੀਆ ਸੋ ਮੈ ਪਾਇਆ ਦੋਸੁ ਨ ਦੀਜੈ ਅਵਰ ਜਨਾ ॥: Whatever I do, the similar fruit I get (rewards, result etc.), don’t blame others! (sggs 433).
  • ਜੇਹੀ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਤੇਹਾ ਤਿਨ ਰਾਹੁ ॥: As is (beings’) awareness, so is (their) way (sggs 25).
  • ਜੇਹੀ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਤੇਹੈ ਰਾਹਿ ਜਾਇ ॥੩॥: As is one’s understanding, that’s the way he walks (or lives). ||3|| (sggs 662).
  • ਜੈਸਾ ਸੇਵੈ ਤੈਸੋ ਹੋਇ ॥੪॥: (It is a matter of principle that man) becomes himself as he serves (Bhagti etc.). ||4|| (sggs 223).

Man is not the creature of his circumstances – through self-efforts, we can change our thinking (ਸੋਚ-Soch) if we want to. Thereby, we can change our actions and their results. Accordingly, for example Shabad-Vichaar is said to be the most excellent action in the Gurbani for it Awakens our intellect to Wisdom!

Therefore, our intellect’s (ਬੁਧਿ-Budhi) function or job is to obtain proper understand through the self efforts or Uddam. This human life is said to be the opportunity to do just that!

  • ਮਨ ਸਮਝਾਵਨ ਕਾਰਨੇ ਕਛੂਅਕ ਪੜੀਐ ਗਿਆਨ ॥੫॥: To instruct the mind one ought to study Knowledge to some extent. ||5|| (sggs 340).
  • ਮਾਨਸ ਦੇਹ ਬਹੁਰਿ ਨਹ ਪਾਵੈ ਕਛੂ ਉਪਾਉ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਕਾ ਕਰੁ ਰੇ ॥: (You) will not obtain this human body again; make plan (take measure) for liberation (sggs 220).
  • ਗਿਆਨ ਰਤਨਿ ਸਭ ਸੋਝੀ ਹੋਇ ॥: Giaan ratani sabh sojhee hoi (sggs 364).

As the Gurbani reminds us, Wisdom of the Gur-Shabad is must to reconcile the Mayaic mind, and to keep it stabilized within (ਅਡੋਲ).

  • ਜਿਉ ਮੰਦਰ ਕਉ ਥਾਮੈ ਥੰਮਨੁ ॥ ਤਿਉ ਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਸਬਦੁ ਮਨਹਿ ਅਸਥੰਮਨੁ ॥: As a pillar supports a building, similarly, the Gur-Shabad is the mind’s support. (sggs 282).
  • ਕੁੰਭੇ ਬਧਾ ਜਲੁ ਰਹੈ ਜਲ ਬਿਨੁ ਕੁੰਭੁ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਗਿਆਨ ਕਾ ਬਧਾ ਮਨੁ ਰਹੈ ਗੁਰ ਬਿਨੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥੫॥: As the water remains confined in a pitcher, (just so) the mind is restrained by the Spiritual Wisdom. But (as) the pitcher cannot be shaped without the water, (just so) there can be no Spiritual Wisdom without the Guru. ||5|| (sggs 469).
  • ਗਿਆਨ ਰਤਨਿ ਮਨੁ ਮਾਜੀਐ ਬਹੁੜਿ ਨ ਮੈਲਾ ਹੋਇ ॥: When the mind is cleaned (scrub, polish, scour-ਸੁਧ ਜਾਂ ਸਾਫ ਕਰਨਾ…) with the Jewel of the Giaan (Gur-Giaan or Spiritual Wisdom), it does not become dirty again (with Bikaar). (sggs 992).

The Gurbani also reminds us that any amount of religious rituals and formalities will not do the trick. The powerful sway of our hunger for Maya (‘ਦੂਜੈ ਭਾਇ’) easily deludes and distracts our spiritual efforts. The Gurbani wants us to keep away from rituals:

  • ਮੈ ਸਭੁ ਕਿਛੁ ਛੋਡਿ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਤੁਹੀ ਧਿਆਇਆ ॥੧॥ : (But) O Prabh (Mool, Source, Jot Saroop…)! Apart from all other efforts, I only remembered you (within). ||1|| (sggs 371).
  • ਕਰਮ ਕਾਂਡ ਬਹੁ ਕਰਹਿ ਅਚਾਰ ॥ ਬਿਨੁ ਨਾਵੈ ਧ੍ਰਿਗੁ ਧ੍ਰਿਗੁ ਅਹੰਕਾਰ ॥੩॥: (Those who) perform all sorts of (religious) rituals and formalities, (but remain) devoid of the Naam, (such Karamkaand or rituals only give rise to) egotism (in them and their lives just remain) disdainful. ||3|| (sggs 162).
  • ਦੂਜੈ ਭਾਇ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਘਰ ਗਾਲੇ ॥: The love of duality has ruined many Jeev (individual beings). (sggs 1160).
  • ਆਹਰ ਸਭਿ ਕਰਦਾ ਫਿਰੈ ਆਹਰੁ ਇਕੁ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਜਿਤੁ ਆਹਰਿ ਜਗੁ ਉਧਰੈ ਵਿਰਲਾ ਬੂਝੈ ਕੋਇ ॥੨॥: Man goes about making all sorts of efforts (multiple task, job, activity etc.), but he does not make one effort (i.e. to Understand and live by Naam). Nanak, rare is that person who Realizes the effort by doing which our spiritual world or life becomes successful. ||2|| (sggs 965).

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