Uphill Climb

It’s relatively easy to walk downhill. But not so easy to climb uphill!

The Way of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (Gurmati, Shabad-Upadesh, spiritual Wisdom of the Gurbani, Brahm-Giaan…) is an uphill climb! Which demands sincere efforts, willingness, earnestness, commitments, struggle, sacrifice, Gurmukh Lifestyle (Divine Life)…

  • ਰਾਹੁ ਬੁਰਾ ਭੀਹਾਵਲਾ ਸਰ ਡੂਗਰ ਅਸਗਾਹ ॥: . The path is difficult and scary; (this is a journey of) impasable lake and mountains (sggs 936).
  • ਮਾਨ ਮੋਹ ਮੇਰ ਤੇਰ ਬਿਬਰਜਿਤ ਏਹੁ ਮਾਰਗੁ ਖੰਡੇ ਧਾਰ ॥: To forsake pride, attachment, and the sense of “mine and yours”, is the path of the double-edged sword (sggs 534).

Climb of the mind to the Realm of Truth – Sach Khand.

In nutshell, the Way of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) is the mind’s ascend to the realm of Truth.

According to the Gurbani, however, a very “rare” one dares to tread this path of Truth or Divine Life (Gurmukh Lifestyle)! The Gurbani compares the spiritual path (i.e., uphill climb of the mind to the Realm of Truth – Sach Khand) to chewing iron with the teeth of wax!

  • ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਇਹੁ ਖੇਲੁ ਕਠਨੁ ਹੈ ਕਿਨਹੂੰ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਜਾਨਾ ॥੨॥੧॥: O “Jan” Nanak! This is such a difficult game; only a rare Gurmukh understands it! ||2||1|| (sggs 219).

Since it’s easy to go downhill, the Gurbani indicates crowds and crowds of people are attracted to the path of false pretense or hypocrisy (Pakhandvaad – ਪਖੰਡਵਾਦ) in the world — the path of hypocrisy, the path of fraud or falsehood, the path of desiring name and fame and want to be worshiped by others, the path of Pandit / Brahmins, the path of Karamkaand, the path of pilgrimage, and so on.

Since the path of Pakhandvaad is easy to follow, it attracts many. Consequently, the crowds of people follow this path, as sheep follow sheep (ਦੇਖਾ ਦੇਖੀ, ਹੋਰਨਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਕਰਦਿਆਂ ਦੇਖ ਕੇ, ਦਿਖਾਵੇ ਦੀ ਖਾਤਰ, ਲੋਕ ਲਾਜ ਦੀ ਖਾਤਰ, ਲੋਕਾਂ ਵਿਚ ਚੰਗਾ ਅਖਵਾਣ ਲਈ…). Consider this Sloak of Bhagat Kabeer Sahib:

  • ਕਬੀਰ ਜਿਹ ਮਾਰਗਿ ਪੰਡਿਤ ਗਏ ਪਾਛੈ ਪਰੀ ਬਹੀਰ ॥ ਇਕ ਅਵਘਟ ਘਾਟੀ ਰਾਮ ਕੀ ਤਿਹ ਚੜਿ ਰਹਿਓ ਕਬੀਰ ॥੧੬੫॥: O Kabeer! The crowds follow the path which the Pandits have taken (the path of falsehood, Pakhand, Karamkaand…). (But) There is a rugged or precipitous cliff on the way to “Raam” (Mool, Source, Truth…); Kabeer is climbing that cliff (alone!). ||165|| (sggs 1373).

To the contrary, Bhagat Kabeer Sahib says that the Way of the Truth (the Way of SGGS…) is difficult to tread. It’s like uphill climb or like walking on the razor’s edge! Therefore, it is not that attractive!

As a result, the true Bhagats are always alone on the Way of Truth (i.e., the crowds of people don’t follow them). Because, not too many want to follow this Way – uphill climb!

  • ਭਗਤਾ ਕੀ ਚਾਲ ਨਿਰਾਲੀ ॥ ਚਾਲਾ ਨਿਰਾਲੀ ਭਗਤਾਹ ਕੇਰੀ ਬਿਖਮ ਮਾਰਗਿ ਚਲਣਾ ॥ ਲਬੁ ਲੋਭੁ ਅਹੰਕਾਰੁ ਤਜਿ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਨਾਹੀ ਬੋਲਣਾ ॥ ਖੰਨਿਅਹੁ ਤਿਖੀ ਵਾਲਹੁ ਨਿਕੀ ਏਤੁ ਮਾਰਗਿ ਜਾਣਾ ॥: The lifestyle of Bhagat (Daas, Jan , Gurmukh…) is unique (extraordinary…). The lifestyle of Bhagat is unique, for they follow the most difficult Way of life. (That is, they reform themselves by) renouncing greed, avarice, pride, desire and excessive talkativeness. This Way of life they take is sharper than a two-edged sword, and finer than a hair (i.e., very difficult). (sggs 918).
  • ਪ੍ਰਭ ਮਿਲਣੈ ਕੀ ਏਹ ਨੀਸਾਣੀ ॥ ਮਨਿ ਇਕੋ ਸਚਾ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਪਛਾਣੀ ॥ ਸਹਜਿ ਸੰਤੋਖਿ ਸਦਾ ਤ੍ਰਿਪਤਾਸੇ ਅਨਦੁ ਖਸਮ ਕੈ ਭਾਣੈ ਜੀਉ ॥੩॥: This is the sign of union with Prabh (Mool, Source, Jot…). In the mind (the man) recognizes the True Hukam. Those who live by the Divine Will, abide in Sahaj (Natural State of Being, state of Wisdom…), contentment, enduring satisfaction and bliss. ||3|| (sggs 106).

The Gurbani further explains to us as to why the true Bhagats are always alone (i.e., why the crowds of people don’t follow them or the Truth they practice). The nature of Sansaar or a Sansaaree (world or a worldly person…) is contrary to that of the Bhagti or a Bhagat. Accordingly, the Gurbani reminds us that there can never be a connection between a worldly person and a Bhagat!

  • ਭਗਤਾ ਤੈ ਸੈਸਾਰੀਆ ਜੋੜੁ ਕਦੇ ਨ ਆਇਆ ॥: There can never be any alliance (ਜੋੜ) between Bhagat (Gurmukh, Daas, Jan…) and the worldly people (ਦੁਨੀਆਦਾਰ). (sggs 145).
  • ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਭਗਤਿ ਪਾਵੈ ਜਨੁ ਕੋਈ ॥੧॥: A rare “Janu” (Gurmukh, Bhagat, Daas…) obtains the “Gurmati Bhagti” (understanding of the Gur-Shabad, Naam, Hukam…) ||1|| (sggs 879).

This is why the Gurbni asserts that the true Bhagat are very “rare”. Bhagat Ravi Daas Sahib further clarifies it:

  • ਮੈ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮ ਧਨੁ ਲਾਦਿਆ ਬਿਖੁ ਲਾਦੀ ਸੰਸਾਰਿ ॥੨॥: I have loaded the Wealth of Raam Naam; the world has loaded poison (of Maya which kills worldly people’s spiritual life). ||2|| (sggs 346).

All know the way of entrapment — “Phaasan Kee Bidhi”

As the Gurbani further eloborates, Bhagats/Gurmukhs are “rare”, because everybody in the world knows how to get trapped (in doubt, Maya, etc.) — “Phaasan Kee Bidhi” (“ਫਾਸਨ ਕੀ ਬਿਧਿ” – How to get caught, trapped; snared; subjugated by trick or fraud; entangled; ਫੰਧੇ ਵਿੱਚ ਪੈਣਾਂ, ਫਸਣ ਦਾ ਢੰਗ, ਫਸਣ ਦਾ ਤਰੀਕਾ, ਫਸਣ ਦਾ ਰਸਤਾ, ਫਸਣ ਦੀਆਂ ਕਰਤੂਤਾਂ, ਫਸਣ ਦੇ ਕਰਮਕਾਂਡ…).

However, the Gurbani says that a very rare one knows the way of Liberation — “Chhootan Kee” Bidhi (“ਛੂਟਨ ਕੀ” – how to escape Maya; how to be a living liberated, Mukati; ਛੁੱਟ ਜਾਂਣ ਦਾ ਰਸਤਾ, ਮੁਕਤੀ ਦਾ ਰਸਤਾ…).

  • ਫਾਸਨ ਕੀ ਬਿਧਿ ਸਭੁ ਕੋਊ ਜਾਨੈ ਛੂਟਨ ਕੀ ਇਕੁ ਕੋਈ ॥: (Wherever you see) everyone knows the way to be trapped, but hardly anyone knows how to be Freed. (sggs 331).
  • ਦੇਖਾ ਦੇਖੀ ਸਭ ਕਰੇ ਮਨਮੁਖਿ ਬੂਝ ਨ ਪਾਇ ॥: The Manmukh does everything seeing (other people do, ਦੇਖਾ ਦੇਖੀ, ਨਕਲ, ਦਿਖਾਵਾ…), but he (himself) has no understanding  (he does not understand the true way of living. (sggs 28).

Pakhandvaad is the “Phaasan Kee Bidhi” (“ਫਾਸਨ ਕੀ ਬਿਧਿ”) — akin to downhill walk!

  • ਪਾਖੰਡਿ ਭਗਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਵਈ ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਨ ਪਾਇਆ ਜਾਇ ॥: Through hypocrisy, Bhagti cannot be done, and Paarbrahm is not Realized (sggs 849).

Now, for whom the path of Truth is uphill climb — difficult, treacherous, and impassable? According to the Gurbani, without the Naam, the path to Hri (Mool, Source, Jot…) becomes impassable.

  • ਵਿਣੁ ਨਾਵੈ ਕੂੜਿਆਰੁ ਅਉਖਾ ਤੰਗੀਐ ॥ ਅਉਘਟ ਰੁਧੇ ਰਾਹ ਗਲੀਆਂ ਰੋਕੀਆਂ ॥: Without the Naam, (even the learned person is) false. (Because of falsehood, his) path becomes blocked and difficult (for him to pass through). (sggs 1288).

Gurmati is the Way of Liberation — “Chhootan KeeBidhi

The Gurbani — brimming with the divine Wisdom and laden with the deep insight — is the “Chhootan Kee” Bidhi (“ਛੂਟਨ ਕੀ”), a process, order, or formula of becoming living liberated — akin to uphill climb!

However, to travel along the Way of the Gurmati (Gur-Shabad, Divine Wisdom of the Gurbani), we need guidance of the Gurbani for the Gurbani knows the destination, knows all twists and turns and pitfalls along the Way. In Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS), we have the supreme guide to shine Light (spiritual Knowledge) on the spiritual path. With help and guidance of the Satigur (SGGS), we all can tread this path with relative ease, and ultimate realize the Mool (Source, Jot…).

  • ਗੁਰ ਗਿਆਨ ਦੀਪਕ ਉਜਿਆਰੀਆ ॥੧॥: The Gur-Wisdom is the Lamp that Enlightens (the mind). ||1|| (sggs 210).

In nutshell, the Gurbani’s divine Wisdom teaches us the basics of the delicate art of balancing spirituality and worldly life. It teaches people in this modern society how to cross the ocean of sense pleasures and material desires (i.e, Bhav Saggar), and how to gain liberation from the outer domination and experience Inner Peace and Joy (i.e. Sukh Saagar) while fully living in the midst of Maya.

By living the Gurbani’s Wisdom in daily life, one become a Gurmukh and can easily climb uphill. It’s easy for him to climb uphill because he has thrown off his load (of Haumai or egotism, attachment, doubt, fear)…

  • ਅੰਧੁਲੈ ਭਾਰੁ ਉਠਾਇਆ ਡੂਗਰ ਵਾਟ ਬਹੁਤੁ ॥: The (spiritually) blind man is carrying such a load, and his (onward life-) journey is very mountainous (i.e., very difficult…). (sggs 729).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਨਿਰੰਜਨੁ ਪਾਈਐ ਅਫਰਿਓ ਭਾਰੁ ਅਫਾਰੁ ਟਰੈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: The Immaculate (free of Maya) Naam is obtained by becoming the Gurmukh; (as a result, his) unbearable load (of Haumai, etc.) is removed ||1||Pause|| (sggs 1013).


  1. Think one of the best/quickest/effective ways to get an uplift if you’re feeling really down about something when you are on a spiritual path is to do more Sangat/company of the Holy People…

    That’s one of the ways where this Path becomes a lot easier, and you get an insight into how to make better spiritual progression from then on wards.

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