If we allow (big if!), the Gurbani can perform spiritual surgery on our minds diseased with the psychological ailments.
As a medical doctor performs a surgical procedure to remove or repair diseased tissues or organs, similarly the Divine Surgeon of the Gurbani performs spiritual surgery to cure subtle diseases of the mind – remove cataract of Maya; remove doubt (Bharam), false ego-sense (Haumai), negativity, ignorance, Bikaars (lust, anger, greed …).
In turn, this spiritual surgery makes the mind healthy, strong, and fit to trace its steps back to its Originality (Ture Nature as Jot Saroop …).
Only then it can imbibe in Truth, Contentment, Wisdom, Righteousness, Divine Life (Gurmukh Lifestyle) ….
Therefore, any hearing or reading of the Gurbani (or any other scriptures for that matter) has to transform the mind – stimulate and reform one’s thinking (ਸੋਚ).
In nutshell reading, listening or memorizing of the Gurbani must result in Spiritual Unfoldment (progress in Spiritual Knowledge, ਆਤਮਿਕ ਗਿਆਨ ਵਿਚ ਤਰੱਕੀ…). If it does not, then apparently we are doing something contrary to the Instructions (“ਉਪਦੇਸ”) of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib – SGGS!
In short, as we can see, much has to go under the Knife of the Divine Surgeon of the Gurbani!
Understandably, the Gurbani calls itself “Brahm Beechaar” (Inquiry into Spiritual Knowledge …). And, there is no place for rituals (Karamkaand) in Vichaar-Maarag. Those who think otherwise apparently take the Gur-Shabad to be just a song or “ਗੀਤੁ” (i.e., those who either don’t understand the Gurbani, or don’t want to understand it, or just blindly follow the Karamkaand propagated by the greedy and crafty priest-class or Pujaaree-group).
What it essentially means is that the Gurbani speaks at the level of the Aatmaa (soul), not at the level of the gross body-consciousness or Maya.
- ਲੋਗੁ ਜਾਨੈ ਇਹੁ ਗੀਤੁ ਹੈ ਇਹੁ ਤਉ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਬੀਚਾਰ ॥: People think that the (Gur-Shabad) is (an ordinary) song, but it is a “Brahm Beechaar”. (sggs 335).
- ਨਾਨਕੁ ਬੋਲੈ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਬੀਚਾਰੁ ॥੨॥੧੧॥: Nanak speaks the “Brahm Beechaaru” (sggs 1138).
Clearly, one becomes a Sikh (student or learner of the SGGS) at the level of Aatmaa, NOT at the level of the physical body-frame. That is, Sikhi is the Internal Way of life – Inner Path (“ਅੰਦਰਿ ਸਿਆਣਾ”). Therefore, the game of Sikhi has to be played in the Sahaj Maarag (“ਸਹਜ”: Natural State of Being, Giaan Avastaa, ਗਿਆਨ ਅਵਸਤਾ …).
- 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).
Clearly, the Words of the Gurbani are meant not merely to be read, listened, or memorized, but their true meanings understood, and their instructions then applied to daily life.
- ਪਢੇ ਗੁਨੇ ਨਾਹੀ ਕਛੁ ਬਉਰੇ ਜਉ ਦਿਲ ਮਹਿ ਖਬਰਿ ਨ ਹੋਈ ॥੨॥: O crazy man! (You) gain nothing by reading and studying if you do not gain the Understanding (ਆਤਮਕ ਸੂਝ-ਬੂਝ) in the Heart. ||2|| (sggs 483).
- ਪੜਿਐ ਨਾਹੀ ਭੇਦੁ ਬੁਝਿਐ ਪਾਵਣਾ ॥: Not by reading (books), but through Understanding, is the Mystery Realized. (sggs 148).
In other words, it is not meant to be wrapped up in the designers Rumaalaas and worshiped as an idle!!
- ਬਿਨੁ ਬੂਝੇ ਪਸੂ ਭਏ ਬੇਤਾਲੇ ॥੬॥: Without understanding, people become beast (-nature) and demon ||6|| (sggs 224).
- ਬਾਣੀ ਬੂਝੈ ਸਚਿ ਸਮਾਵੈ ॥: (One who) understands the Bani, gets absorbed in the Truth (sggs 412).
Hearing or reading the Gurbani is a mean, not the end! It must be followed by assimilation of what has been heard or read (thoroughly understood; “ਸੁਣਿ ਮੰਨੇ” – fully practiced, implemented, lived, ਅਮਲ, ਕਮਾਈ).
- ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਸੁਨਿ ਕਛੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਨ ਉਪਜਿਓ ਪਸੁ ਜਿਉ ਉਦਰੁ ਭਰਉ ॥: Listening to the Gurmat (Shabad-Giaan, Teaching of the Gurbani, etc.), (if) no Spiritual Wisdom (understanding of the Spiritual Life…) wells up within; (then it would be) like a beast (routinely) filling its belly (sggs 685).
In other words, instead of we going through the Gurbani, we must allow the Gurbani to go through us!!!
Thus, hearing of the Gurbani (or its reading) talked about in the SGGS is not in-one-ear-out-the-other! It is inclusive of its proper UNDERSTANDING and IMPLEMENTATION (practice, application, ਅਮਲ, ਕਮਾਈ ).
- ਜਹ ਕਰਣੀ ਤਹ ਪੂਰੀ ਮਤਿ ॥ ਕਰਣੀ ਬਾਝਹੁ ਘਟੇ ਘਟਿ ॥੩॥: When one’s ‘Karanee’ (doing, performance, practice…) is right (according to the Gur-Giaan or Wisdom, then this would indicate) there is perfect understanding (ਸੂਝ-ਬੂਝ, ਅਕਲ). Without ‘Karanee’, (Understanding) remains deficient. ||3|| (sggs 25).
- 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).
Unfortunately, ritualistic reading and superstitions (Karamkaand) are encouraged, supported, instigated, and propagated by the people who manage Gurdwara corporations, and by the greedy and crafty priest-group (Pujaaree-Group, ਪੁਜਾਰੀ ਲਾਣਾਂ: Bhais, Ragis, Paathee, Parchaarark, Deraavaad, etc.). In spite of the repeated caution in the Gurbani, today, for example, continual page to page reading of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib called Akhand-Paath is sold to the devotees in a businesslike manner in the Gurdwaras. This is the way of the Mayadhaaree (mammon worshipers).
- ਪਾਠੁ ਪੜੈ ਨਾ ਬੂਝਈ ਭੇਖੀ ਭਰਮਿ ਭੁਲਾਇ ॥: (Those who merely) read (scriptures – ਧਾਰਮਿਕ ਪੁਸਤਕਾਂ ਦਾ ਨਿਰਾ ਪਾਠ) cannot understand (this secret); the “Bhekhee” (those who thus merely read disguised in religious garbs, deceitful pretenders, sham, false, impersonator, etc.) become more deluded by doubts (sggs 66).
Clearly, the Gurbani is not the subject of ritualistic reading, memorizing, or hearing as in Akhand-Paath, Nit-Nem, etc. According to the Gurbani, all empty rituals are akin to the empty plight of the “ladles” (ਕੜਛੀਆ)!
- ਕੜਛੀਆ ਫਿਰੰਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਿ ਸੁਆਉ ਨ ਜਾਣਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਿ ਸੁਞੀਆ ॥ ਸੇਈ ਮੁਖ ਦਿਸੰਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਿ ਨਾਨਕ ਰਤੇ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਰਸਿ ॥੧॥: Ladles cruise through food, (but) they do not know the taste of it, they remain empty (ਖਾਲੀ, devoid of it). O Nanak! Those faces look (radiant, etc.) who are imbued with the relish of the Divine Love. ||1|| (sggs 521).
- ਪੜਿ ਪੜਿ ਗਡੀ ਲਦੀਅਹਿ … 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 … 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).
Thus, there is more to the Gurbani and the Sikhi than what the majority of us (if not all!) have been told or led to believe …