The Gurmat (Wisdom, Upadesh or Way of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, SGGS) talks about two mentality-groups living together on earth: (1) the ‘rare’ Gurmukhs (Daas, Bhagat, Jan...) who live the Divine Life, and (2) the rest – Manmukhs, Saakat, Mayadhaaree, etc.. The Gurbani asks us to become the Gurmukh.
In short, a Gurmukh (Bhagat, Daas, Jan…) is a Wise person, brave person, good person, virtuous person, fearless, blissful (Anand), pious person, Joyful, etc. (ਵਿਦਵਾਨ, ਬਹਾਦੁਰ, ਭਲਾ, ਨੇਕ, ਗੁਣੀ, ਖੁਸ਼ ਇਨਸਾਨ…).
The Gurmukh never grows old? How is this possible? Isn’t it contradictory?
Then, what does the Gurbani imply or mean when it says the Gurmukh ages not ever!
In fact, life is paradoxical. It’s full of contradictions, although we may not call them as such.
Specifically, the Inner Growth — mind’s Awakened State, the spiritual Unfoldment, spiritual Vision, realization of one’s Mool or Jot Saroop within, state of Wisdom (ਗਿਆਨ ਅਵਸਤਾ), etc. — by its very nature is paradoxical. Inner Growth helps us escape the slavery of the outer domination, fear of death, and usher us to abide in our Jot Saroop (True Nature…).
The Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS provides us with the Reservoir of Wisdom for our Inner Growth. One gets old the moment he stops Growing or gaining a fresh Giaan or Wisdom! If we keep growing in this Reservoir of Wisdom, we don’t get old!
A Gurmukh constantly acquires new Giaan (Wisdom, knowledge…). Thus, he never grows old!
- ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਰੰਗੁ ਚਲੂਲਾ ਪਾਵੈ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਨਵ ਰੰਗੜੀਆ ॥: He who becomes the Gurmukh and thus acquires the deep color of Har Naam (i.e. Wisdom…), his (mind) gets dyed with the NEW color of Har Naam (i.e. Wisdom). (sggs 575).
Who is Gurbani’s Gurmukh?
The SGGS gives us glimpses into the Gurmukh Lifestyle.
In nutshell, without getting stagnated or stuck, a Gurmukh constantly keeps engaged in new Giaan or Vichaar (reflections); enhancing his understanding (ਸਮਝ); gaining new Knowledge in life; developing divine Virtues and living them; debugging and updating himself for better; etc.
Since a Gurmukh never stops learning, he always keeps updating himself for better.
He looks upon pain and pleasure as one and the same, and sees the same One Rabb (Universal Energy) in all. As a Living Liberated (i.e., he dies while still alive), he is fully Awakened who lives in the world or in the midst of Maya but detached; As a result, he is ever NEW or Fresh – never grows old!
- ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਬੁਢੇ ਕਦੇ ਨਾਹੀ ਜਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਾ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਗਿਆਨੁ ॥ ਸਦਾ ਸਦਾ ਹਰਿ ਗੁਣ ਰਵਹਿ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਸਹਜ ਧਿਆਨੁ ॥: The Gurmukhs never grow old; within their Surti (consciousness) is Wisdom (understanding, Knowledge). They ever remember Virtues, and remain in the state of ‘Sahaj’ (Natural State of Being, State of Knowledge or Giaan Avasthaa…). (sggs 1418).
Naturally, the Gurmukh Lifestyle is likely to be paradoxical!
- ਮਨਮੁਖੁ ਬਾਲਕੁ ਬਿਰਧਿ ਸਮਾਨਿ ਹੈ ਜਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਾ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਨਾਹੀ ॥: A Manmukh is like a child; within whose consciousness there is no Divine (Wisdom, Virtues…). (sggs 1418).
Clearly, here the SGGS is talking about the ‘old’ (or the young) from a point of view of Spirituality, Wisdom, Virtues, the Divine Lifestyle, etc.
- ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਪੀਵਹੁ ਸਦਾ ਚਿਰੁ ਜੀਵਹੁ ਹਰਿ ਸਿਮਰਤ ਅਨਦ ਅਨੰਤਾ ॥: Drink in the Amrit (-Naam, spiritual Knowledge, Virtues…), may you always live (spiritual life – ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ). Remembrance of ‘Hari’ (Mool…) bestows Infinite Bliss (sggs 496).
The Gurmukh mind understands the Truth (Sach) through the Gurbani, constantly remembers and lives his daily life accordingly — the Gurmukh Lifestyle.
He daily drinks in ‘Raam Rasaain’ (Gur-Giaan or Wisdom, Virtues…).
- ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਮਰੈ ਨ ਕਾਲੁ ਨ ਖਾਏ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਸਚਿ ਸਮਾਵਣਿਆ ॥੨॥: Who becomes the Gurmukh does not die (i.e., he escapes from the death of his Spiritual Life); (he) is not consumed by (Spiritual) death. (Because) the Gurmukh remains absorbed in the Truth. ||2|| (sggs 125).
- ਜੀਵਤ ਜੀਵਤ ਜੀਵਤ ਰਹਹੁ ॥ ਰਾਮ ਰਸਾਇਣੁ ਨਿਤ ਉਠਿ ਪੀਵਹੁ ॥: Live, live, live forever (ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ or Divine Life). Daily, upon getting up, drink in ‘Raam Rasaain’ (Gur-Giaan or Wisdom, Virtues, Gurmat…). (sggs 1138).
Truth (Sach) never gets old!
The Truth (Sach) is said not to get old in the Gurbani (i.e. remains the same in past, present, future…). Accordingly, a Gurmukh (who is the knower of Truth…) is also said to never grow old as well! However, the SGGS tells us that one cannot realize or practice Truth (ਸਚ…) until one becomes pure in Heart:
- ਸਚੁ ਪੁਰਾਣਾ ਨਾ ਥੀਐ ਨਾਮੁ ਨ ਮੈਲਾ ਹੋਇ ॥: The Truth does not grow old; the Divine Naam is never soiled (defiled, etc.). (sggs 1248).
Since the Gurmukh is a follower of Truth, he remains EVER_FRESH, NEW…
- ਸਾਚ ਕੀ ਮਤਿ ਸਦਾ ਨਉਤਨ ਸਬਦਿ ਨੇਹੁ ਨਵੇਲਓ ॥: The intellect or understanding of Truth is Ever-Fresh or New, and the love (of Truth) nurtured through the Shabad is ever New. (sggs 242).
Look around and see at the old people. You will see them bleeding from cuts and bruises they have inflicted upon themselves (i.e. upon their spiritual life, ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ) in their youth and continue to do so in their old age — the wounds of lust, anger, greed, attachments, pride, enviousness, stubborn mindedness (ਮਨ-ਹੱਠ), and their numerous other variations.
- ਕਾਮੁ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਜੀਅ ਮਹਿ ਚੋਟ ॥: Lust and anger (i.e. all evil passions) are the wounds of the soul (i.e. they inspire us do evil) (sggs 152).
In other words, the majority of us suffer from Haumai or false ego-sense! Whatever the lifestyle we cultivate throughout life, the same will manifest — whatever is in the mind comes forth!
- ਮਨਮੁਖੁ ਅਗਿਆਨੁ ਦੁਰਮਤਿ ਅਹੰਕਾਰੀ ॥: The Manmukh is ignorant, wicked and self-conceited (sggs 314).
Simply put, the majority of us just grow old (lifestyle of a Manmukh, Saakat, Mayadhaaree…).
To the contrary, the Gurmukh (‘rare’ one) simply grows up!
Huge difference in growing up and growing old.
Growing up is to become the Gurmukh. Growing old is to live as a Manmukh-Saakat-Mayadhaaree and let the body just wither away only to meet the painful death at the end of the life’s journey.
Thus, to grow up spiritually is immateriality, Divine or Holy. In other words, growing up is to transform thinking (Soch) through churning the Gurbani by Shabad Vichaar, and bring about a shift in perception, vision, experience, etc. — from worldly to the spiritual, from the external to the internal, and so on.
- ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਬਿਬੇਕ ਬੁਧਿ ਹੋਇ ॥: The Gurmukh is blessed with spiritual wisdom and discerning intellect (sggs 317).
In the lifestyle of a Gurmukh, one sees blossoming! On the other hand, in the lifestyle of the Manmukh-Saakat-Mayadhaaree, one sees cuts and bruises of Haumai (false ego-sense) for a Manmukh-Saakat-Mayadhaaree acts without Being!
Thus, the old age of a Gurmukh is more delighting, charming, and graceful. Whilst the old age of a Manmukh-Saakat-Mayadhaaree is ugly and painful. Hence, both the Gurmukh and Manmukh-Saakat-Mayadhaaree live two different life styles.
- ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਸਬਦੇ ਜੇ ਮਰੈ ਫਿਰਿ ਮਰੈ ਨ ਦੂਜੀ ਵਾਰ ॥:Who dies (death of egotism…) in the Gur-Shabad, then he does not die again (ਆਤਮਕ ਮੌਤ), a second time (sggs 1009).
On the other hand, since a Manmukh-Saakat-Mayadhaaree does not stay spiritually Young, his life and death becomes spiritually ugly.
Hence, a Gurmukh is not a question of heredity, family of birth, ancestry, race, region, social status, caste or Jaat Paat, creed, education, titles, religion, religious paraphernalia, robes, etc.; it is a question of Mool-Abidance!
Clearly, to become a Gurmukh is like chewing steel-balls or standing in a fire without getting burnt!
No wonder – as time and again indicated in the SGGS – the Gurmukhs are very ‘rare’ in the world!
- ਮਾਨ ਮੋਹ ਮੇਰ ਤੇਰ ਬਿਬਰਜਿਤ ਏਹੁ ਮਾਰਗੁ ਖੰਡੇ ਧਾਰ ॥: To forsake pride, emotional attachment, and the sense of ‘mine and yours’ (ego-sense), is the path of the double-edged sword (sggs 534).
The Gurmukh Lifestyle teaches us that to be born is one thing but to be truly alive quite another! In other words, to look pious on the outside is one thing (i.e., fraud) but to be pious inside is another!
The Gurbani’s Counsel is not to wait for old age to take to the Gurmukh Lifestyle.
Bhagat Kabeer Jee in the following Salok suggests that if a house catches fire from the door, then not much (from the house) can be saved (from burning), similarly, if youth is consumed in Bikaar (i.e., lust, anger, greed, etc.), then life cannot be improved or changed in old age due to limited number of days of life.
- ਕਬੀਰਾ ਰਾਮੁ ਨ ਚੇਤਿਓ ਜਰਾ ਪਹੂੰਚਿਓ ਆਇ ॥ ਲਾਗੀ ਮੰਦਿਰ ਦੁਆਰ ਤੇ ਅਬ ਕਿਆ ਕਾਢਿਆ ਜਾਇ ॥੧੩੨॥: O Kabeer! If Raam is not remembered (in youth, and top of that now) the old age has come upon (till this old age, being trapped in the attachment of Maya, numerous Bikaar got accumulated within, how will they now let you return to remembering Raam?). Now when the door of your mansion is on fire; what can be saved (from burning? In the same way, if youth is swallowed up in disorder, then the way of life cannot be much improved due to the number of days in old age). ||132|| (sggs 1371).