Spirituality is Antidote to Substance Abuse…

Experts indicate people with current substance-abuse problems (chemical dependency, drug abuse, alcoholism, hemp, opium, liquor, narcotics, cocaine etc.) tend to have lower levels of spiritual wellness, characterized by a lack of a sense of meaning or Higher Purpose in life.

Gurbani (the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, SGGS) repeatedly counsels that we humans are essentially but spiritual beings. The Wisdom of the SGGS asserts:

  • ਇਉ ਕਹੈ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਮਨ ਤੂੰ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਰੂਪੁ ਹੈ ਅਪਣਾ ਮੂਲੁ ਪਛਾਣੁ ॥੫॥: Thus says Nanak – O mind! You are embodiment of Pure Light (Pure Consciousness, Pure Nature, Original or Real Nature, Wisdom, Virtues – Jot Saroop …)! Recognize your Mool (ਅਪਣੇ ਆਪ ਦੀ ਪਛਾਣ, recognition of mind’s Original or True Nature – Jot Saroop…) ||5|| (sggs 441).
  • ਕਹੁ ਕਬੀਰ ਇਹੁ ਰਾਮ ਕੀ ਅੰਸੁ ॥ ਜਸ ਕਾਗਦ ਪਰ ਮਿਟੈ ਨ ਮੰਸੁ ॥੪॥੨॥੫॥ : Kabeer says, now I understand that this (soul / mind) is part and parcel or an offspring of the Omnipresent God (i.e. of the same Essence, Qualities as God). Both God and soul are linked together just as ink from the paper cannot be removed. ||4||2||5|| (sggs 871).
  • ਜੋਤਿ ਸਰੂਪੀ ਸਭੁ ਜਗੁ ਮਉਲੋ ॥: (The Universal Energy) is Jot Saroop (with this Jot or Light) the whole world blossoms forth. (sggs 1083).

The implication is this: if due to the lack of spiritual wellness people tend to have current substance-problem, then higher spiritual Awareness can also contribute to the recovery process! Because the spiritual fitness is associated with increased coping skills.

Not only that, spiritual fitness keeps us from becoming a substance abuser in the first place!

A spiritual person is fearless, an independent thinker who is not controlled by peer pressure. He has more self-control, social competence and positivism. He exhibits greater optimism in life, greater Joy in life, greater fulfilment in life, greater capacity for love and altruism in life; thus greater resilience to stress, worries, anxiety, etc.

All these good Qualities of a spiritual person keeps him away from substance abuse in the first place.

The Gurbani times and again urges us to re-discover our spiritual status (Jot Saroop), and become a spiritual beings (Enlightened, Gurmukh Mindset…).

We routinely hear this expression that ‘Life is short’! People who consciously use intoxicants waste what little time they have in this life chasing mirage and illusion.

The SGGS Counsels to live a spiritual life of Awareness and keep away from all types of intoxicants. Gurbani (SGGS) says:

  • ਕਾਹੂ ਬਿਹਾਵੈ ਅਮਲੀ ਹੂਆ ॥ : Some spent entire life remaining addicted to intoxicants. (sggs 914).
  • ਕਬੀਰ ਭਾਂਗ ਮਾਛੁਲੀ ਸੁਰਾ ਪਾਨਿ ਜੋ ਜੋ ਪ੍ਰਾਨੀ ਖਾਂਹਿ ॥ ਤੀਰਥ ਬਰਤ ਨੇਮ ਕੀਏ ਤੇ ਸਭੈ ਰਸਾਤਲਿ ਜਾਂਹਿ ॥੨੩੩॥ : Kabir, all those who consume marijuana, fish, and alcohol, their rituals like the pilgrimages, fasts and other deeds go in vain. ||233|| (sggs 1377).
  • ਅਮਲੀ ਅਮਲੁ ਨ ਅੰਬੜੈ ਮਛੀ ਨੀਰੁ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥ : If an addict doesn’t get the intoxicant, he feels very restless just like a fish without water. (sggs 557).

The Gurmat Wisdom of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) Guides us that we are as good as the company our minds keep — one becomes what his/her mind contemplates, loves, thinks, and associates with etc.

  • ਜੋ ਜੈਸੀ ਸੰਗਤਿ ਮਿਲੈ ਸੋ ਤੈਸੋ ਫਲੁ ਖਾਇ ॥੮੬॥: According to the company it (i.e., mind) keeps, so are the fruits it eats ||86|| (sggs 1369).
  • ਜੈ ਸਿਉ ਰਾਤਾ ਤੈਸੋ ਹੋਵੈ ॥: A person becomes like the one he falls in love with (i.e. associated or imbued with etc.). (sggs 411).
  • ਮਨ ਕਾ ਸੁਭਾਉ ਸਭੁ ਕੋਈ ਕਰੈ ॥: Every one acts according to his mind’s nature (habit, disposition, inclination…). (sggs 1167).
  • ਏ ਮਨ ਜੈਸਾ ਸੇਵਹਿ ਤੈਸਾ ਹੋਵਹਿ ਤੇਹੇ ਕਰਮ ਕਮਾਇ ॥ ਆਪਿ ਬੀਜਿ ਆਪੇ ਹੀ ਖਾਵਣਾ ਕਹਣਾ ਕਿਛੂ ਨ ਜਾਇ ॥੭॥: O (my) mind! You become what you pursue and acts accordingly. (You) reap what you sow; nothing more needs to be said about this. ||7|| (sggs 755).

In addition to intoxicating substances, the Gurbani also Awakens us about subtle intoxicants — falsehood, Haumai (false ego-sense), Maya, deception, bondage or mental tarps, vices or Bikaars: (i.e. lust, anger, greed, attachment, pride) etc. Spirituality of the Shabad is an antidote to negativity, and demonic tendencies of the mind. These subtle intoxicants can be as deadly as the gross intoxicants, if not more!

  • ਮਮਤਾ ਮੋਹ ਧ੍ਰੋਹ ਮਦਿ ਮਾਤਾ ਬੰਧਨਿ ਬਾਧਿਆ ਅਤਿ ਬਿਕਰਾਲ ॥: Intoxicated with the wine of emotional attachment, love of worldly possessions and deceit, and bound in bondage, man has become wild and hideous. (sggs 806).
  • ਮਾਇਆ ਮਦਿ ਮਾਤੇ ਤ੍ਰਿਪਤਿ ਨ ਆਵੈ ॥ : Intoxicated with Maya, one is never satiated (with his worldly possessions). (sggs 832).
  • ਕੁਹਕਤ ਕਪਟ ਖਪਟ ਖਲ ਗਰਜਤ ਮਰਜਤ ਮੀਚੁ ਅਨਿਕ ਬਰੀਆ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ਅਹੰ ਮਤ ਅਨ ਰਤ ਕੁਮਿਤ ਹਿਤ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਮ ਪੇਖਤ ਭ੍ਰਮਤ ਲਾਖ ਗਰੀਆ ॥੧॥ : Those within whom rage the hypocritical and destructive demonic tendencies, suffer humiliating spiritual deterioration many times over. ||1||Pause|| Intoxicated with Haumai (egotism), such people remain imbued with other relishes, befriend with false and evil minded people (i.e. Kusang), they see and wander in millions of places filled with vices. ||1|| (sggs 1303).

The Gurbani’s spiritual Counsel is:

  • ਸਚੁ ਮਿਲਿਆ ਤਿਨ ਸੋਫੀਆ ਰਾਖਣ ਕਉ ਦਰਵਾਰੁ ॥੧॥ : Those who abstain from intoxicating (falsehood) realize the Creator. ||1|| (sggs 15).
  • ਅਮਲਨ ਸਿਉ ਅਮਲੀ ਲਪਟਾਇਓ ਭੂਮਨ ਭੂਮਿ ਪਿਆਰੀ ॥ ਖੀਰ ਸੰਗਿ ਬਾਰਿਕੁ ਹੈ ਲੀਨਾ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਸੰਤ ਐਸੇ ਹਿਤਕਾਰੀ ॥੨॥ : Just as an addict remains obsessed with his addiction, a landlord is in love with his land, and an infant is attached to milk, similarly seekers are the lovers of God. ||2|| (sggs 613).
  • ਬਿਨੁ ਨਾਵੈ ਮਰਿ ਜਾਈਐ ਮੇਰੇ ਠਾਕੁਰ ਜਿਉ ਅਮਲੀ ਅਮਲਿ ਲੁਭਾਨਾ ॥੨॥ : O my God, just as an intoxicated addict is happy but restless without his drug, similarly I feel spiritually dead without Naam (Wisdom / Virtues). ||2|| (sggs 687).
  • ਅਮਲੀ ਜੀਵੈ ਅਮਲੁ ਖਾਇ ॥ ਤਿਉ ਹਰਿ ਜਨੁ ਜੀਵੈ ਹਰਿ ਧਿਆਇ ॥੧॥ : An addict survives by getting the stuff he is addicted to. Similarly a seeker remains spiritually alive by remembering the Divine Naam (Wisdom / Virtues). ||1|| (sggs 1180).

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