Uphill Climb

It’s relatively easy to walk downhill. But not so easy to climb a steep cliff!

The Spiritual Journey or Way of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, SGGS (Gurmati, Shabad-Upadesh, Spiritual Wisdom of the Gurbani, Brahm-Giaan…) is an uphill climb! Which demands sincere efforts, willingness, earnestness, commitments, struggle, sacrifice, Gurmukh-Hood State of the Mind (Spiritual Life)…

  • ਰਾਹੁ ਬੁਰਾ ਭੀਹਾਵਲਾ ਸਰ ਡੂਗਰ ਅਸਗਾਹ ॥: The path is difficult and scary; (this Spiritual Journey is like) impassable lake and mountain. (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).
  • ਆਪਣ ਹਥੀ ਆਪਣਾ ਆਪੇ ਹੀ ਕਾਜੁ ਸਵਾਰੀਐ ॥੨੦॥: (So long there is breathPraan) accomplish the task (of God Realization) yourself ( i.e. with self-efforts: the Shabad-Vichaar …). ||20|| (sggs 474).

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 Spiritual Life (Gurmukh-Hood stat e of the Mind)! The Gurbani compares the Spiritual path (i.e. climb of the mind to Spiritual Realization) to chewing iron with the teeth of wax — challenging and arduous!

  • 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).
  • ਵਾਲਹੁ ਨਿਕੀ ਪੁਰਸਲਾਤ ਕੰਨੀ ਨ ਸੁਣੀ ਆਇ ॥ : (This Path of Spirituality is challenging and arduous as) crossing a of a bridge that is narrower that a strand of hair. (sggs 1377).
  • ਜਿਨੀ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਇਆ ਗਏ ਮਸਕਤਿ ਘਾਲਿ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਤੇ ਮੁਖ ਉਜਲੇ ਕੇਤੀ ਛੁਟੀ ਨਾਲਿ ॥੧॥: Those who diligently and arduously Realized (acquired / practiced) Naam (spiritual Wisdom, divine Virtue), they, O Nanak, Realize God (become ‘Sachiaaraa-ਸਚਿਆਰਾ’ in their spiritual Journey) by overcoming / freeing themselves from the primary affliction (of Koorh-ਕੂੜ). ॥1॥ (sggs 8).

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

Since the path of pretense / Pakhandvaad is easy to follow, it attracts crowds of people. Consequently, the crowds of people follow this path, as sheep follow sheep. 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॥ : Kabeer, crowds are following the same path (i.e. the stale and distorted path of falsehoodPakhandKaramkaandsuperstitions…) on which the Pujaaree people are walking; but realizing God is very difficult like climbing a treacherous hill, Kabeer is treading this difficult path. ||165|| (sggs 1373).

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

As a result, the true Bhagats are always alone on the Way of Spirituality (i.e. the crowds of people don’t follow them).

  • 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 Mool-Realization: one’s mind abides in the Divine Hukam (Universal Sysytem-Rule-Law of Nature; ਕੁਦਰਤੀ ਨਿਯਮ). Those who live in harmony with the Divine Hukam remain established in Sahaj (Natural State of Being, Giaan- Wisdom Avasthaa…), Godly contentment, enduring satisfaction (from worldly desires) 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, Habits, thinking etc. 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 true alliance or connection (of nature, thinking, habits etc.) between the Bhagats (Gurmukh, Daas, Jan etc.) and the worldly people. (sggs 145).
  • ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਭਗਤਿ ਪਾਵੈ ਜਨੁ ਕੋਈ ॥੧॥: A rare ‘Janu’ (Gurmukh, Bhagat, Daas…) obtains the ‘Gurmat 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 Ji 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 …).

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…).

  • 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 ॥: Manmukhs (Unenlightened persons) do everything seeing other people do to make a show (Pakhand, ਦੇਖਾ ਦੇਖੀ, ਨਕਲ, ਦਿਖਾਵਾ…), but they themselves have no understanding of 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 this path of Spiritual Journey is uphill climb?

According to the Gurbani, without the Naam, this Path of Spiritual Journey becomes arduous, challenging, treacherous or 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 false-ego-sense, attachment, doubt, fear)…

  • ਅੰਧੁਲੈ ਭਾਰੁ ਉਠਾਇਆ ਡੂਗਰ ਵਾਟ ਬਹੁਤੁ ॥: The spiritually blind (Un-Enlightened Mind) 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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