Self-Efforts

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, and apply it do daily life, Here and Now.

It is so because the Unique spirituality of the SGGS is the spirituality of the SELF, for the SELF, by the SELF.

  • ਕਰਮਾ ਉਪਰਿ ਨਿਬੜੈ ਜੇ ਲੋਚੈ ਸਭੁ ਕੋਇ ॥ : All that is resolved, is resolved based on one’s own doings even if others yearn otherwise. (sggs 157).
  • ਜੋ ਮੈ ਕੀਆ ਸੋ ਮੈ ਪਾਇਆ ਦੋਸੁ ਨ ਦੀਜੈ ਅਵਰ ਜਨਾ ॥ : What I have done, so have I reaped, I do not blame another for the fruits (of my doings/desires). (sggs 433).

Gurbani in the SGGS holds that a man bereft of knowing own self (self-realization) remains doubt-ridden (ignorance of one’s True Nature, Reality or Hukam). We humans have the free will and has been given the intelligence to chart our own course in life. In other words, we humans can use free will to empower us to learn, to acquire guidance and progress as humans; and intellectually evolve as humans. HOWEVER, we must be aware of the outcomes of both negative and positive courses adopted by us. Because, whatsoever we strive for, that we are made recipient of according to Hukam (Universal System-Rule-Law of Nature, ਕੁਦਰਤੀ ਨਿਯਮ or law of consequences…).

  • ਆਪੇ ਬੀਜਿ ਆਪੇ ਹੀ ਖਾਹੁ ॥ : Whatever you sow, you will reap. (sggs 4).
  • ਜੇਹਾ ਬੀਜੈ ਸੋ ਲੁਣੈ ਕਰਮਾ ਸੰਦੜਾ ਖੇਤੁ ॥ : Life is the field of actions; I alone will reap all that I sow. (sggs 134).
  • ਜੋ ਮਾਗਹਿ ਠਾਕੁਰ ਅਪੁਨੇ ਤੇ ਸੋਈ ਸੋਈ ਦੇਵੈ ॥ : Whatsoever one strives for, that they are made recipient of from the Creator. (sggs 681).
  • ਖਿੰਚੋਤਾਣਿ ਵਿਗੁਚੀਐ ਬੁਰਾ ਭਲਾ ਦੁਇ ਨਾਲਿ ਜੀਉ ॥: An indecisive person, runs helter-skelter and fails to seek out and discover the truth. Various goods and bads pull at him and through inner conflict he is finished. (sggs 751).

Thus Gurmat holds there is NO concept of transfer of blessing in Sikhi or Gurmat of Baabaa Nanak. 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).
  • ਖੇਤਿ ਮਿਆਲਾ ਉਚੀਆ ਘਰੁ ਉਚਾ ਨਿਰਣਉ ॥ ਮਹਲ ਭਗਤੀ ਘਰਿ ਸਰੈ ਸਜਣ ਪਾਹੁਣਿਅਉ ॥ : (By applying self-efforts) raising the embankments of the mind’s field, I come to gaze at the lofty Divine mansion (realization of the Creator within). When the mind abides in Bhagti, the Creator is realized within by that person. (sggs 517).
  • ਫਰੀਦਾ ਜੇ ਤੂ ਅਕਲਿ ਲਤੀਫੁ ਕਾਲੇ ਲਿਖੁ ਨ ਲੇਖ ॥ ਆਪਨੜੇ ਗਿਰੀਵਾਨ ਮਹਿ ਸਿਰੁ ਨੀਵਾਂ ਕਰਿ ਦੇਖੁ ॥੬॥ : Fareed, if you consider yourself very intelligent and have a keen understanding, then why you keep pointing out faults, shortcomings of others (i.e. why do you keep judging others to be lesser than you?) Rather, you should look at your own actions, behavior, and deeds. ||6|| (sggs 1378).

The SGGS provides Wisdom (Giyan) to ALL of us. However 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’…) in the SGGS. Because the best efforts are essential in terms of achieving  spiritual development, Racialization of the Creator within; and successful 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 earnest effort and earn spiritual profit; by doing so enjoy ‘Sukh‘ (Joy, Peace…)! Nanak, by focusing on Naam, you realize God Within and your anxiety will vanish. ||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.

  • ਬਿਨੁ ਖਾਏ ਬੂਝੈ ਨਹੀ ਭੂਖ ॥ : Without eating, hunger is not satisfied. (sggs 1149).
  • ਭੁਖਿਆ ਗੰਢੁ ਪਵੈ ਜਾ ਖਾਇ ॥ : A person who is hungry establishes a connection with his body only if he eats food (otherwise death may follow). (sggs 143).

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 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.

We are also reminded by the SGGS not to waste our efforts uselessly like a rat. As counseled in the following verse, like a rat, most people work hard but use the wrong method, and waste time!

  • ਸਾਕਤ ਕੀ ਆਵਰਦਾ ਜਾਇ ਬ੍ਰਿਥਾਰੀ ॥ ਜੈਸੇ ਕਾਗਦ ਕੇ ਭਾਰ ਮੂਸਾ ਟੂਕਿ ਗਵਾਵਤ ਕਾਮਿ ਨਹੀ ਗਾਵਾਰੀ ॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ : The life of a Saakat goes in vain (in vices or Bikaar, keeping eye on other’s property etc.), just like a mouse who wastes away loads of paper by nibbling at them and none of that paper is of any use to that foolish creature. ||Pause|| (sggs 681).

The Wise ones tell us to remember one thing: If we want something as sublime as spiritual Enlightenment 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’)!

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

  • 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, Giyan-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).
  • ਸਗਲ ਉਦਮ ਮਹਿ ਉਦਮੁ ਭਲਾ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਕਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਜਪਹੁ ਜੀਅ ਸਦਾ ॥ : Of all efforts the most sublime effort is, for the mind to realize the divine Naam (Wisdom / Virtues). (sggs 266).

Divine Grace from within 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.

  • 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. Fitly, Shabad-Vichaar is said to be the most excellent action in Gurbani for it Awakens our intellect!

Therefore, our intellect’s (ਬੁਧਿ-Budhi) function is to obtain proper understand through self-efforts. 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 ॥ : With the jewel of spiritual wisdom, total understanding is obtained (sggs 364).
  • ਬਿਨੁ ਬੂਝੇ ਮਿਥਿਆ ਸਭ ਭਏ ॥ : Without understanding, all are false (sggs 269).

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 Giyan (Gur-Giyan or Spiritual Wisdom), it does not become dirty again (with Bikaar). (sggs 992).

Gurbani also reminds us that any amount of religious rituals, religious paraphernalia, religious garbs or Phakhand will not do the trick. The powerful sway of our hunger for mundane and trivial wants easily deludes and distracts our spiritual efforts. The Gurbani wants us to stay Awake and Aware.

  • 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).
  • ਪਾਖੰਡਿ ਕੀਨ੍ਹ੍ਹੈ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥੨॥ : Practicing Pakhand (hypocrisy), no one finds liberation ||2|| (sggs 839).
  • ਦੂਜੈ ਭਾਇ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਘਰ ਗਾਲੇ ॥ : The love of duality has ruined many Jeev (individual beings). (sggs 1160).
  • 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).

Instead, Gurbani wants us to focus on the effort to internalize the Message contained in the Guru Shabad, Here and Now.

  • 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 that effort through which spiritual world or life becomes successful. ||2|| (sggs 965).

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13 comments

  1. Today everything is available ready-made. Sukhmani Sahib at the cost of Rs 500/-& Akhand Path cost about Rs 5100/- to 11000/-(alongwith langer).For spiritual progress someone needs to do Path or Sewa himself not by others( Pathese). You have to do your Nitnem by yourself, you have to take bath at Amrit Vela by yourself. Your Nitnem cannot be done by other(Pathi/Bhai). You cannot Pay money for your Nitnem.
    So ਆਪਣ ਹਥੀ ਆਪਣਾ ਆਪੇ ਹੀ ਕਾਜੁ ਸਵਾਰੀਐ ॥੨੦॥: (So long there is breath-Praan) With own hands (with self-efforts, ਉੱਦਮ ਕਰ ਕੇ…), resolve your own affair yourself. ||20|| (sggs 474).

  2. I think we are more trapped by SANTDOM.

    Coincidentally, the next scheduled post is about Sant and Deraavaad! They have done tremendous damage to the Teaching of the Gurbani by misleading people away from the True Instruction (“ਸਿਖੀ ਸਿਖਿਆ”) of the Gur-Shabad and put them on the path of Karamkaand, dogmas, Bhekh (ਭੇਖ-garbs), Maya or worldly entanglements (“ਆਲ ਜਾਲ”, ਪੁੱਠੀ ਮੱਤ), etc., from which the Gurbani frees us!
    Thank you Bhai Sahib Jio.

  3. Requirements for affluent social living are different and thus achieved success is always temporary with limited shelf life. It isn’t possible without academic procurement of a professional degree, one has to work hard to achieve such status. Then how difficult and strenuous effort would it require to read Gur-Shabad, understand and achieve BRAHAM GIAN? One must make efforts to understand Gurbani, yes Shabad-Vichhar is a good way forward, and it forbid us from falling into traps of GURUDOM.

  4. My understanding is that one is being directed thru Gurbaanee to recognise the DIVINE LAW(HUKUMu) and then get to know The PRABHu (ULTIMATE LORD ) a quote as
    “Kahu NANAK Jin Hukumu Pachaataa,Prabh sahib Kaa Tin Bhed Jataa”

  5. We can understand that “divine law” (Hukam) and “wisdom” through the self-Uddam of Shabad-Vichaar!
    • ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਸਬਦਿ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਪਛਾਣੁ ॥੮॥: Through the Gur-Shabad, recognize Hukam (sggs 223).
    • ਬੂਝਹੁ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਸਬਦੁ ਬੀਚਾਰਿ ॥: O wise one, understand through Shabad-Vichaar.(sggs 840).

    Thank you Bhai Sahib Jio for incessantly sharing Shabad-Vichaar.

  6. Gurbani tells us to live life according to the divine law with wisdom and humility to attain divine grace for self realization.

  7. There is one thing very important to be observed in Gurbaanee is thatHARi NAAu & HARi NAAMu and RAAM NAAMu are same word.So RAAM NAAMu as envisaged in Gurbaanee is specifically being refered as Gurmati Raam Naamu .
    Similarly one can find RAAM NAAMAA and HARi NAAMA ..surprisingly they all are sameas
    Gurmati Raam Naamu.

  8. Thank you Bhai Sahib Jio for incessantly sharing Shabad-Vichaar.
    • ਆਠ ਪਹਰ ਆਰਾਧੀਐ ਪੂਰਨ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਗਿਆਨੁ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ (sggs 218).
    • ਰਾਜਾ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮੁ ਮੋਰਾ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਗਿਆਨੁ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ (sggs 1159).
    • ਗੁਰ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਪਦਾਰਥੁ ਨਾਮੁ ਹੈ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੋ ਦੇਇ ਦ੍ਰਿੜਾਇ ॥ (sggs 759).

  9. Since the only GIYAANu in SGGS ji is all NAAMu (RAAM NAAMu) and this can be given only by SATiGuRu. So unless one meets SatiGuRu this GIYAANu is not possible
    I should further clarify that RAAM NAAMu as envisaged in SGGS ji is GURMATi RAAM NAAMu i e RAAM NAAMu as per WISDOM OF GuRu.

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