There is a vast contrast between the spiritual positions of Yogis (Sidhas) and that of Baabaa Nanak (i.e. Gurmat). The spiritual position of Yogis or (Yogmat) is simply that physical self is of paramount importance (i.e. physical renunciation of the family, society, world; physical nature of Asanas and breath control etc.). However, Baabaa Nanak telling them and rest of us that what’s matter in spirituality is NOT the ‘Physical’ per se, but the CONSCIENCE (the MIND) — the Conscience must remain imbued in the Creator Realization.
The Enlightenment giving spirituality of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) talks about two mentality-groups living on earth: (1) the ‘rare’ ones with the State Of Mind of Gurmukh-Hood (Daas, Bhagat, Jan...) who live Divine Life, and (2) the rest – Manmukhs, Saakat, Mayadhaaree etc. (opposite of the Gurmukh-Hood). The Gurbani asks us to Become or Realize state of the Gurmukh-Hood through Internalizing the Message of the Shabad.
While animals can follow only their natural instincts, the man is blessed with the faculty of Viveka or Bibek (the discerning intellect – power to discriminate between truth and false or right and wrong) to choose between the two paths available to him – 1) the path of embracing the world or ‘Paravirti-ਪਰਵਿਰਤਿ’, and 2) the path of Renunciation or ‘Niravirati-ਨਿਰਵਿਰਤਿ ‘.
- ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਸਰ ਅਪਸਰ ਬਿਧਿ ਜਾਣੈ ॥ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਪਰ ਵਿਰਤਿ ਨਰਵਿਰਤਿ ਪਛਾਣੈ ॥: The spirituality of the Shabad provides Enlightenment on Auspiciousness and Inauspiciousness (pertaining to the creation). The spirituality of the Shabad provides Enlightenment related to embracing and renouncing creation. (sggs 941).
The path of ‘ਪਰਵਿਰਤਿ – Paravirti‘ (from the Sanskrit word Pravrtti– प्रवृत्ति) – embracing the world – is the Gurmat’s recommended path.
The important thing to remember is not to become indiscriminately engrossed in the world. If we do, suffering is sure to follow. Therefore, instead, the Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS Teaches us to be in the world but not of it!
- ਪ੍ਰਵਿਰਤਿ ਮਾਰਗੰ ਵਰਤੰਤਿ ਬਿਨਾਸਨੰ ॥: Everything in the way of the world has an end. (sggs 1355).
- ਪਰਵਿਰਤਿ ਮਾਰਗੁ ਜੇਤਾ ਕਿਛੁ ਹੋਈਐ ਤੇਤਾ ਲੋਗ ਪਚਾਰਾ ॥ ਲਉ ਰਿਦੈ ਨਹੀ ਪਰਗਾਸਾ ਤਉ ਲਉ ਅੰਧ ਅੰਧਾਰਾ ॥: (Deluded by doubt and no understanding) the more you become engrossed in the the way of the world (ਪਰਵਿਰਤਿ ਮਾਰਗ), the more you try to please people. Until the heart (mind) is Enlightened (through the Shabad), one gropes in the darkness of ignorance (sggs 1205).
- ਨਹ ਚਿੰਤਾ ਬਨਿਤਾ ਸੁਤ ਮੀਤਹ ਪ੍ਰਵਿਰਤਿ ਮਾਇਆ ਸਨਬੰਧਨਹ ॥ ਨਹ ਚਿੰਤਾ ਬਨਿਤਾ ਸੁਤ ਮੀਤਹ ਪ੍ਰਵਿਰਤਿ ਮਾਇਆ ਸਨਬੰਧਨਹ ॥: Do not worry about mother, father, siblings, spouse, children, friends, and all those people who are related (to us) because of our embracement of the creation — the real issue in this Sloka is that every human being should be self-reliant and should not worry about others unnecessarily. Such anxiety creates idle people in the society. God gives to everyone does NOT mean that God wants us to sit idle; instead it means God has given us eyes, hands, feet and whole body, so we all should work hard (Kirat-ਕਿਰਤ) ourselves. (sggs 1355).
The other path is termed as ‘ਨਿਰਵਿਰਤਿ – Niravirati’ (or ਨਿਰਵਿਰਤਿ – from the Sanskrit word Nivritti – निवृत्ति). It literally means renunciation of the world including family, society, one’s kith and kin etc.
Clearly, it is up to us as to how we exercise our freedom of choice — to better ourselves through liberation from ignorance or wallow in the quagmire of bondage or attachments. .
- ਪਰਵਿਰਤਿ ਨਿਰਵਿਰਤਿ ਹਾਠਾ ਦੋਵੈ ਵਿਚਿ ਧਰਮੁ ਫਿਰੈ ਰੈਬਾਰਿਆ ॥ ਮਨਮੁਖ ਕਚੇ ਕੂੜਿਆਰ ਤਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹੀ ਨਿਹਚਉ ਦਰਗਹ ਹਾਰਿਆ ॥ : Embracing creation (Parvirati-ਪਰਵਿਰਤਿ) and renouncing creation (Niravirati- ਨਿਰਵਿਰਤਿ: ਦੁਨੀਆ ਤੋਂ ਉਪਰਾਮ ਰਹਿਣਾ, ਜਗਤ ਤੋਂ ਨਿਰਲੇਪ ਰਹਿਣਾ etc.) are the two sides; Dharma is the Guide between the two sides. (But the un-enlightened) Manmukhs deal only with the filth; they surely end up losing the Spiritual Life. (sggs 1280).
- ਪਰਵਿਰਤੀ ਨਰਵਿਰਤਿ ਪਛਾਣੈ ॥ ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਸੰਗਿ ਸਬਦਿ ਘਰੁ ਜਾਣੈ ॥: He who lives in the Company of the Guru (Giaan or Wisdom) and Realizes (the Creator) WITHIN through Internalization of the Guru’ Shabad (Message) Recognizes ‘Parviartee-ਪਰਵਿਰਤੀ‘ and ‘Niravirati-ਨਰਵਿਰਤਿ‘. (sggs 1027).