Ek Onkaar. Satgur parsaad
(All in One, One in all.
enlightenment is got
with His Grace)
'Jab lag Khaalsaa rahe niyaaraa'
'Aatam ras jeh jaanhi, so hai Khaalas deo'
Sri Guru Gobind Singhji
Who is a true Khaalsaa; and
which is the path to reach it.
An humble attempt by:
Who is [true] Khaalsaa; and which is the path to reach it.
I N D E X
2. Executive Summary
4. Goal of life and path to reach it
5. God's categorisation of humans
6. Confusions in Spiritualism and its language
7. Role of a Spiritual Guide/ Text
8. Concept of Guru
9. Guru Granth Sahib is higher than the 'Rehat-naamaas/ maryaadas'
10. Concept of Truth
11. Only a pure mind can lead to divinity/ [true]Khaalsaa
12. Religious sects includes philosophy and symbols/rituals
13. Does novelty imply better?
14. Is Sikhism/Khaalsaa a new path/religion?
15. Concept of Amrit
16. Khaalsaa philosophy
17. Khaalsaa symbols/prayers and their message
18. Jab lag Khaalsaa rahe niyaaraa
The author acknowledges his gratitude to the following:
1. God's grace
'Sabh gunn tere, mein nahin koe.
Vin gunn kite, bhagat na hoe'. (GGS:4, Japuji:21)
All good qualities appearing in a person, belong to God.
Unless God is praised, there is no prayer/ saintliness.
(This is also a summary of the GGS)
God's Grace motivated the following persons to guide the author.
Without them, this research would not have been completed.
Each person has contributed in a unique and special manner.
The order of listing them is not important.
2. The author's parents
Jaswant Singh and Satnam Kaur
for encouraging independent thinking; and teaching Gurbani.
3. Various Spiritual Guides/ Texts and seekers of Truth, including:
Sri Guru Granth Sahibji
Various raagi jathaas/ kathaa-kaars
Bhai Eshar Singh, Hyderabad
Swami Chinmayananda, Mumbai
Rishi Prabhakar, Bangalore
Yogananda Premhansa, Ranchi
Swami Satyananda, Munger
Pradip P. Shah, ex-M.D., Crisil, Mumbai
D. Sundaram, V.P., Hindustan Lever Ltd., Mumbai
Prof. Sriram Kannitkar, Sangli
Sanjoy Bhattacharyyaa, Mumbai
George Soros, USA
The author accepts complete responsibility for all mistakes in this write-up.
However, all credit for any good points should be passed on to God.
2. Executive Summary
The definition of a [true]Khaalsaa is prepared from the view-point of Sri Guru Granth Sahibji and Sri Gobind Singhji, and as understood by the limited intelligence of the author.
1. A [true, complete]Khaalsaa is God-Incarnate. He is enlightened. It is the highest goal.
2. He continuously experiences all the divine qualities present in the Indwelling Soul.
3. His mind is completely purified. There is no trace of vices like ego, lust, anger, greed.
4. He continuously experiences inner happiness ('aanand').
5. His mind is equipoised and does not vacillate between virtue and vice.
6. He continuously praises God and happily accepts the Divine Will.
7. He is truthful in every thought, word and action; and honest in every relationship.
8. He treats every possession of his as belonging to God. Therefore, He uses His entire body, mind, intelligence and wealth to help the needy/downtrodden; but without any expectations.
9. He has no dependence on any worldly object/ person. He is truly independent.
10. To uphold Truth, He can sacrifice His life, because He can smilingly leave His mortal frame.
11. His behaviour matches the extremely high principles mentioned in the Guru Granth Sahib. He does not violate any aspect of this Holy Book.
12. A [true]Khaalsaa undergoes the initiation ceremony and maintains the 5-K's with full devotion. He is aware of the deeper message of these 5-K's.
13. He says His daily prayers and abstains from the offences. He meets all the requirements of the Guru Granth Sahib and of the 'Rehat-naamaas'.
14. Being a [true]Khaalsaa is a 24-hours, 365-days and a life-long commitment. Every moment and every thought is under scrutiny. There is no 'holiday' for purity/divinity.
15. Being a [true]Khaalsaa is extremely difficult. Hardly one in a crore person can succeed.
16. In this manner, He is vividly different from majority of humans who have some (or more) vices.
When viewed by an average person, a [true]Khaalsaa is a super-normal person.
17. As per the GGS, the state-of-mind of a [true]Khaalsaa is equivalent to that of a [true]Gursikh or a [true]Brahmgiani.
The path to become a [true]Khaalsaa
1. Understand and implement the fundamental message of the Guru Granth Sahib (GGS).
2. Understand and implement the requirements of the Rehat-naamaas, Dasam Granth, Bhai Gurdaas Vaaraas, Bhai Nandlal Baani.
3. Seekers following this path also term themselves as 'Khaalsaa'. But, this does not match the definition of a [true]Khaalsaa as specified by Sri Guru Gobind Singhji and the GGS.
4. Seekers exhibit a wide variation in their spiritual level. Each seeker has his own unique interpretation of various concepts. This leads to a great deal of confusion.
In the succeeding chapters, an humble attempt is made to convey the meaning of '[true]Khaalsaa'.
Who is [true]Khaalsaa and; which is the path to reach it:
I humbly present my views of this theme. I do not claim to be perfect. In fact, I am aware of my imperfection, which has driven me to find the Truth. Truth is unconventional. And experiencing Truth will surely be more unconventional.
A small background may help the reader to understand my approach to religion and Truth. I am not an accomplished saint/ philosopher. I am an ordinary person brought-up in a conventional, religiously inclined Sikh family. With the Grace of God, I received professional education in engineering and management with an excellent scholastic record. In engineering I stood first in the state of Maharashtra and received various prizes for curricular and extra-curricular activities.
After education I worked in a credit rating firm as a financial analyst for eight years. My job was to analyse and predict profitability of companies operating in different industries. This job made me unbiased, analytical, logical and critical. These skills helped me to look at various questions regarding religion, Khaalsaa, Sikhism, enlightenment etc. in an unbiased manner. In this process, I read different philosophies, met numerous people and argued with myself.
This write-up is a result of my search to find my own answers. This may help other serious and intelligent seekers of Truth. I have no intention of hurting any person, institution or system. I am attempting to understand them in a proper perspective. The write-up approaches Gurbani logically and with common-sense. An attempt is made to correlate it with real-life. There is some dependence on logical inferences. But all attempts are made to keep it simple. However, it may appear unconventional, because society imparts us incorrect/ incomplete knowledge and does not encourage us to think independently.
The mind can see only what it wants to see: In our management studies we were told of an interesting real-life case of Mr.Thomas Bata, the founder of the multi-national shoe company. Once he deputed a marketing manager to Africa to judge the prospects of selling Bata shoes. The manager gave a sceptic response 'Africans roam bare-footed. Forget selling them Bata shoes'. Another manager was sent to Africa, who enthusiastically responded 'Nobody wears shoes, the untapped market is vast.' This example shows how our mind 'projects' its own notions on any situation. We can rarely claim to be truly 'objective'. As will be explained later, this distortion occurs due to our mind.
So, while interpreting Gurbani or history, we have to be vigilant. We should reduce our internal biases/ preconceived ideas, as much as possible, otherwise we may misinterpret Gurbani. As we arrive at a better interpretation, we gain more from Gurbani. I have deliberately given ample references from Gurbani to validate my logic.
However, I realise that the true import of Gurbani is known only to its authors. We can, at best, only approximate the Truth, so that we are guided in a proper manner. Any interpretation which makes us hate others, or creates a sense of superiority should be scrupulously avoided. I am reminded of a line from the national song 'Saare jahaa se achhaa, ... mazhab nahi sikhaataa, apas mein bair rakhnaa'.
Reference lines from Gurbani, a note: Since my computer does not have the Gurmukhi script, I am forced to use English while referring to Gurbani. This may cause some inconvenience while pronouncing these words. Please excuse this. Capital letters are used only to indicate the beginning of a sentence. The Sri Guru Granth Sahib page numbers are indicated as 'GGS'. References from the Amrit Kirtan are indicated as 'AK'. Other references are also mentioned along with each line. Each Gurbani sentence is put within an apostrophe so that a reader becomes aware that he is reading an non-English language. Each Gurbani line is briefly explained in simple English.
Some guidelines for pronunciation are given below:
A single 'a' is silent as in 'sant'. While a double 'aa' is pronounced as 'Naanak, saadhu'.
A single 'ch' is pronounced as 'chaand' (moon), 'sach' (truth).
While a 'chh' is pronounced as 'chhaataa' (umbrella).
A single 'd' is pronounced as in 'dukh'. A single 'dh' is pronounced as in 'dhan' (money).
A double 'dd' is pronounced as 'ddar' (fear), 'ddolan' (falter/waver).
A 'ddh' is as in 'ddholak, ddhaddhi-jathaa, ddhakan, ddhunddhnaa, ddhoi (shelter), ddhaal' (shield).
A '(r)dd' is pronounced as in 'kuu(r)dd' (dirty).
A single 'e' is pronounced as in 'de' (give). An 'ae/ai' is pronounced as 'maelaa' (dirty).
A single 'i' is pronounced as in 'din' (day/night). While a double 'ee/ii' is as in 'meen' (fish).
A single 'g' is pronounced as in 'gayaa' (gone). While a 'gh' is as in 'Singh'.
A single 'j' is pronounced as 'jal' (water). While a 'jh' is pronounced as in 'Jhelum, jhuut'.
A single 'k' is pronounced as in 'Kashmir'. While a 'kh' is pronounced as in 'khaakhi'.
A single 'o' is pronounced as in 'Gobind'.
A single 't' is pronounced as in 'Tegbahaadur'. A 'th' is pronounced as in 'thaanaa' (police station).
A double 'tt' is pronounced as 'ttamaattar'.
A 'tth' is as in 'tthug' (robber), 'tthaakur' (God/owner), 'tthandd' (cold)
A single 'u' is pronounced as in 'dukh'. While a double 'uu' is as in 'jhuut'.
At a later date, the author intends to use the Gurmukhi type-face for Gurbani lines.
4. Goal of life and the path to reach it
The highest possible goal: Different ways of expressing the same goal are:
1. To become a [true]Khaalsaa, as defined by Guru Gobind Singhji and the GGS.
Note: Most followers term themselves as 'Khaalsaa'. But, they have not reached the goal. So we must differentiate them from a [true]Khaalsaa.
2. To achieve eternal happiness, or
3. To achieve liberation/ salvation/ immortality by completely annihilating one's ego, or
4. To purify the mind; to silence the mind's doubting nature; to transcend the mind, or
5. To transcend the effects of 'maayaa, kaam, krodh, lobh, moha, hankaar etc.,
Maayaa mamtaa tan te bhaagi, uupajiyo nirmal gian;
Lobh, moh, eh paras naa saake, gahi bhagat bhagvaan;
Janam janam ka sansa chuuka, ratan naam jab paayiaa;
Trisnaa sakal binaasi mann te, nij sukh maahe samaayaa. (GGS:1186; AK:421)
6. To be enlightened, or
7. To be totally independent of 'sansaar' (world).
Note: The word 'sansaar' includes all needs of the body/ mind. Desiring food, water, air, shelter, money, medicines, wife, children, security, comforts, praise etc. are included in worldly needs. This may sound extremely strange to a common person, but we shall elaborate this point.
8. To become divine like God.
'Har jan aisaa chaahiye, jaisaa har hi hoi' (GGS: 1372; Slok Kabir:149). Prior to this verse, Kabirji chooses different things such as a pebble, dust and water. But He finds all these comparisons to be incorrect, because they have some disadvantages. Finally, Kabirji says that a person should become like God Himself! Note: God is 'sae-bhang, beh-mouhtaj, akaam/nish-kaam'. This indicates that God does not need the world. He is sufficient-in-Himself. He is self-generating. He has no desires.
Importance of complete independence for a [true]Khaalsaa:
The level of independence of an enlightened person is indicated as:
Indicating, in the stage of 'jeevan-mukat' there is no need of food/ sleep.
vadde bhaag, har siu bann aayi' (Gurdas Vaara:1, pauri 24; AK:241)
Indicating that, while performing penance, Guru Naanak ate a grain of sand and only a poisonous fruit of 'akk'. And He slept on stones. Similarly, when Guru Tegbahaadur did continuous penance for about 27 years, he may not have depended on food or water.
Indicating that the complete diet/ food of a [true]Saint/Khaalsaa is 'naam simran'.
Indicating that 'Hari-naam' is the medicine for a [true]Saint. So, if we depend on medicines or on a doctor, we are quite far from the concept of 'independence' and of a [true]Khaalsaa/ enlightenment.
Indicating that with proper/complete 'naam simran', a [true]Saint does not even need sleep.
A [true]Khaalsaa/Saint can achieve congruence with God only when He becomes totally like Him. And God is 'Sae-bhang', He does not need the 'sansaar'. He can remain content within Himself. In fact, because God does not depend on anything He cannot be 'bribed', He is always Fair/Just and cannot be conquered. Suppose I am dependent on tasty food. Then this becomes my weakness, and I can be conquered, bribed or fooled due to this weakness.
The path suggested by the GGS, our eternal/complete Guru: Four things are emphasised:
1: Continuously praising God or 'Akaal ustat': Gurbani guides us that the ego can be eradicated by continuously praising God, with full devotion, understanding and single-pointed concentration, but without expecting any reward. Guru Naanak used the term 'Naam simran' while Guru Gobind Singh used the term 'Akaal ustat'. Each of these imply, praising attributes of God. Similarly, 'Waheguru, Mulmantar and Jaap Sahib' are all different forms of 'Akaal ustat'. Interestingly, 'Kirtan' is derived from 'keerat karo' implying 'Akaal ustat'.
Indicating that 'simran' is equivalent to praising God.
kaho naanak har bhaj mannaa, jeh bidh jal ko meen' (GGS: 1426; Slok M:IX: 1).
Implying, Praise God continuously, like a fish loves water. If you have not praised God, your life has been wasted.
Implying that 'naam' cannot be revealed in the heart, till our ego exists.
Indicating, the basis of all religions is 'Naam simran'
Indicating that in Kal-yug, 'naam simran' is needed to conquer fear and ignorance.
Continuous 'Akaal ustat': Numerous lines in Gurbani indicate that the process of 'Akaal ustat' has to be non-stop. Also, it has to be with full concentration and should be the only thought in our mind. Another important aspect is that 'Akaal ustat' is a state-of-mind, not mere outer recitation.
Other aspects of 'simran': In order to benefit more, we should perform simran with understanding, faith and concentration. Each of these are important. As each is increased, the mind is purified faster. While doing 'simran', a seeker should focus his attention inwards, rather than outwards.
2. 'Sachi kirt karo': This means to be honest in every thought, word and deed; and to be honest in every relationship. Most people erroneously believe it to be applicable to earning one's livelihood. But, I think that this advice is universally applicable to every human being. It is applicable to a bread-winner, a retired person, a student, a house-wife etc. And, it covers all activities. If we are always honest, we can praise God with concentration. 'Honesty' prevents us from committing sins. If we are 'honest' we cannot rob, bribe, cheat, copy, lie etc. Further, 'honesty' in every relationship would prevent us from an illicit relationship, or a casual approach to sex.
3. 'Wand ke chhako': This means to willingly share everything that we have with the needy but, without expecting any reward/ fame. This covers activities such as 'sevaa, daan, kurbaani etc. If this is practised, we become less greedy/ attached to 'material' possessions. By sharing we become sensitive to the problems of the needy/ poor and we learn caring. While, the 'Rehat-naamaas' mention sharing 10% of our income, the GGS mentions sharing everything - because nothing really belongs to us. Interestingly, the word 'daswand' was not found on scanning the GGS on a Computer Disc. In a story, Guru Naanak spent the entire Rs.20 on feeding saints - not just 10% of the amount.
mann tann soupe aage dhare, houmae vichu maar' (GGS:28).
Implying surrendering everything to God.
teraa tujhh kou soupte, kiyaa laagae meraa'. (GGS:1375; Slok Kabir:203).
Implying that nothing belongs to me.
4. 'Hukam manno': The universe is controlled by many laws. We should understand and obey these laws in order to attain salvation. By understanding His Hukam we can accept it and can praise Him.
Gur-parsaad aisi budh samaani; chuuk gayi phir aavan jaani. (GGS:337; AK: 176).
Implying, with God's grace, a seeker understands His Hukam and crosses the transmigration cycle.
This concept makes us alert to the 'higher' forces/ laws controlling the universe. For example, as a seeker understands the law of karma, he does not blame others for his misfortune.
A [true]Saint is aware of all these laws and always abides by them. Due to this, He does not commit a mistake/sin and hence He is out of the cycle of birth-and-death.
At this stage, we must remember that we can grasp only a fraction of the total 'Hukam' since it is infinite like God. 'Hukam na kaheyaa jaaye' (GGS:1; Japuji). Since we cannot grasp the totality of God's 'Hukam'/ Systems/ Laws - we will always fail in understanding the true answers to some of our questions. This point is important to note when we interpret Gurbani or discuss religious symbols. We can, at best, only approximate the reasons. We cannot be 100% sure that we know the correct answer.
A tough goal: A careful analysis shows that it is a near-impossible task to abide by the requirements of 'Naam japo, Sachi kirt karo, Wand ke chhako and Hukam manno' on a continuous basis. And this is true. Gurbani reminds us that hardly one person in a crore can reach this goal. If the population of Sikhs in India is 2 crores, then there are hardly 2 persons who are at this goal/status. A majority of us are quite far from this goal. This is not to sound pessimistic, but to understand the gravity of the problem. But why is it so difficult? Gurbani reveals that our mind has accumulated sins from numerous past lives and cannot be washed without severe and continuous practice.
Example: Just before forming the Khaalsaa, Guru Gobind Singhji asked if any one could offer his head. Out of a massive gathering of lakhs of devotees, only one person volunteered at a time. And that too when they were being addressed by God-Incarnate Himself. A careful perusal of history reveals that hardly a handful of people reach this level. This analysis is not to undermine any person, but only to understand the enormity of the task involved. After logically accepting that I am far from this goal, I have become more careful and humble.
Begging for God's grace: God's grace is needed for spiritual progress. We should repeatedly beg from God that, He makes us perfect. In Gurbani, there are many verses emphasising this.
Gradual transition: As a seeker devotes greater time/energy to implementing the above four-point formula, his worldly needs decline. At the highest stage, God grants Him salvation/jeevan-mukat. This process may take many lives, or it may occur in this life. The arithmetic of salvation is known only to God. Who is to be liberated and when, is decided by God. Because:
1. The highest human goal is to become a [true]Khaalsaa/ jeevan-mukat, or to achieve complete independence from all worldly objects/persons.
2. The path suggested in the GGS is that of - 'Naam simran/ Akaal ustat' with devotion, understanding and alertness on a continuous basis. All external activities performed without this internal state-of-mind are useless from a spiritual view point.
3. The activities of 'Sachi kirt karo, Wand ke chhako and Hukam manno' are also equally important.
4. A seeker can only request God to grant him salvation. While God's laws are perfect, they are beyond our comprehension. Only He knows whom to liberate and when.
A write-up on 'Loving Adoration of God' was published in the 'Sikh Review', Sept. 1998.
Another article : 'Towards Enlightenment' was published in the Dec. 1998 issue.
5. God's categorisation of humans
People can be categorised using different parameters (basis). Few examples are:
A doctor categorises people as healthy or diseased.
An educated person categorises people as learned or illiterate.
In a court, a judge categorises a person as guilty or not-guilty.
In a job selection interview, the candidate is selected or rejected.
How does God categorise people ? I believe that God categorises people in two categories.
1. A person who has obtained salvation is freed from birth-and-death; and,
2. A person who has not obtained salvation.
Such a person has to go back into the cycle of 84 lakh births, depending on his merit. It is true that within the category of people who have not achieved salvation, there exists a vast variation. But the fact remains that a person has to take birth again. And if a person has to take birth again, there is always a chance that he may slip down, spiritually. There are so many cases of very advanced spiritual seekers, who slipped downwards. As per Gurbani:
Iss pau(r)ddi te jo nar chuukae, so aae jaae dukh paaedaa' (GGS:1075)
It important to note that God does not categorise people based on caste, creed, colour, financial status, worldly education, married/unmarried, physical attributes etc.
Example: Suppose, getting 100% marks in an exam is equated to getting salvation and graduating to a higher class. Then, whether a student gets 99% or 9%, he will miss the promotion. He will have to appear again for the exam. While, there is a vast difference between both of the students, they have to face the exam again. And in the next exam, they may fail/fall sick etc. It is possible that the student who secured 99% earlier may fail again in the next exam.
A similar situation exists in the case of rebirths. Very few of us cross this cycle. Such persons are rightly termed as '[true]Niraalaa, Nirmal, Sachiar, Sant, Saadhu, Brahmgiani, Khaalsaa, Sikh' etc.:
Thaao na paaein kuu(r)ddiaar, muh kaalae dojak chaaliyaa' (GGS: 463, Aasaa-di-war:2).
Implying that in the Court of God, only the 'True' prevail.
Kahe naanak chaal bhagataa, jugo jug niraali' (GGS: 919, Anand:14).
Implying that a [true]Bhagat is different from the rest of us.
Implying that there are only two categories of people - the Saints and the rest of us! This is an important point, which is connected to the definition of 'Khaalsaa'.
The goal of a sincere spiritual aspirant is to score 100% marks as required by God. Only then can he break through the cycle of transmigration and go into the first category.
Ego, the main hurdle: The main hurdle is our ego. In spiritualism, ego has been equated with impurity and ignorance. The ego operates in many ways, some of which are explained below.
1. It generates thoughts of I, me and mine. It also creates a false sense of doer-ship or ownership. Throughout our lives we believe to be the doer, initiator or the influencer, especially when we are successful. Outwardly, we may claim that success is due to God, but mostly we are hypocritical.
2. It leads to a chain of negative impulses such as anger, jealousy, greed, delusion etc.
3. It functions by dividing, categorising/ comparing. It makes us feel superior/inferior than others.
4. It craves for attention.
5. It demands novelty so that it is able to maintain the sense of superiority. It gets bored with the same thing, person or situation after some time and creates discontentment. Due to this, people try new products and relationships. They change brands of soap, scent, food-items, vacation spots, friends and even life-partners! This is the only reason why a marketing manager is needed in all consumer product companies which sell biscuits and chocolates.
6. God, in His Infinite Wisdom created ego/ 'maayaa'. Without it, each of us would be enlightened. There would be no sinners. And the world 'drama' would end.
Effect of our ego on understanding religion: When it comes to religion, each person claims his religion to be the best, the most progressive or the latest. All these are manifestations of the subtle and mischievous ego. This point will be taken up while explaining 'Is Khaalsaa is a new religion?'.
Ego spares none: Effects of the ego are seen throughout the world. Hardly any of us is spared from it:
Maan muni munvar galae, maan sabhae ko khaae' (GGS:1372; Slok Kabir:156)
1. Even if there is a trace of ego in us, we are caught in the cycle of transmigration.
2. Only after our ego is completely dissolved by God/ Guru, we attain salvation.
3. There are only two spiritually meaningful categories - either, liberated/'jeevan-mukat' or not.
6. Confusions in Spiritualism and its language
Two reasons for causing confusion in spiritualism and its language:
Confusion caused due to a wide variety in humans:
1. Words are used to communicate ideas and concepts. But, each word is loaded with some emotions.
2. The problem arises because each person has a different interpretation of the same word.
3. This occurs because humanity exhibits a vast variety.
4. A sample of this variety can be seen from these extremes: saint-sinner, martyr-tyrant, mature-immature, moron-genius, healthy-diseased, emotional-rational, dispassionate-passionate, lazy-industrious, abject poverty-billionaire, etc.
5. Due to this variety, when each person interprets/uses the same word, he may be communicating a separate (though similar) idea/emotion. This variety causes confusion.
6. We can imagine how much the confusion gets multiplied when more words are used.
7. Further, when there is a communication from one end of the human spectrum to the other, the confusion is even more. When an expert is explaining something to a novice, each of them may attach a different interpretation to the same word.
8. Example: Consider the commonly used (and misunderstood) word 'love'. A simple sentence that 'I love you' can have widely different connotations when uttered by a child to his mother; or by a college student to his girlfriend; or by a husband to his wife; or by a person to his neighbour's wife or lastly by a saint to God. In order to understand any sentence, we need to understand in what context it is made.
9. Similarly, in order to understand any line from Gurbani, we need have a fuller grasp of Gurbani. This fuller grasp of Gurbani is obtained by reading/ contemplating/ interpreting and connecting other sentences of Gurbani and - by dispassionately forming a complete picture.
10. Words get distorted as time passes by: Yet another problem occurs with language. As time passes by, the original meaning of the word gets lost and it acquires a completely different connotation.
Example: Yoga actually means the process of a man joining God, because this word is derived from the Sanskrit word, 'yuj', meaning, to join. But now, this word implies a system of exercises to keep the body healthy. We can communicate this discrepancy in a logical manner using these notations:
“[true]” indicates the correct/complete meaning of a word, based on the GGS; while
“[false]” indicates the distorted meaning of a particular word.
1. [true]Yoga means man joining God or achieving salvation/ 'jeevan-mukat'.
2. [false]Yoga means a man who has not joined God completely, or who is not jeevan-mukat.
3. [false]Yoga means physical exercises to keep healthy.
4. [false]Yoga is not equal to [true]Yoga; this can be also written as:
5. [false]Yoga is not = [true]Yoga.
6. There is only one meaning of [true]Yoga, but
7. There are infinite meanings possible of [false]Yoga. It is these variations which create all the confusion. And these variations arise due to the variety of human-beings.
Example: The word 'religion' is derived from the Latin words: 're + ligare'; meaning 'to join back with God'. But over the years, this meaning has been forgotten. But, the distorted/false meaning of religion is rituals. Hence we can denote this logically as:
1. [true]Religion means joining back to God. (Only one meaning is possible).
2. [false]Religion means rituals. (This is one of the infinite variations possible).
3. [true]religion is not = [false]religion.
Suddenly we realise that the meaning of [true]Yoga is the same as that of [true]Religion; something which most people do not know. In our discussion we can say that:
On the other hand, the false (or incorrect/deteriorated/corrupted) meaning of the word 'Yoga', is not at all close to the false meaning of the word 'Religion'. Therefore we can say that:
Gurbani clarifies that the state-of-mind of a [true]Sikh = [true]Khaalsaa = [true]Brahmin = [true] Pundit = [true]Musalmaan = [true]Sant = [true]Yogi = [true]Brahmgiani etc. and is finally = God !!
This is an important point which the reader must convince himself about.
Congruence between God and
the state-of-mind of a [true]Khaalsaa, Sikh, Brahmgiani etc.:
GGS indicates the [true]meanings of each of these words. And each is equivalent to God.
We can prove that, the state-of-mind of a [true]Khaalsaa = [true]Sikh = Enlightened person = God.
Implying that there is no difference between God, Guru Gobind Singhji and the [true]Khaalsaa.
As per the GGS, following is the definition of the state-of-mind of a [true]Khaalsaa, Sikh, Pandit, Vaishov, Sant, Saadhu, Suura, Sevak etc.
Implying that a [true]Khaalsaa has experienced the qualities of the Indwelling Soul.
Implying that the mind of a [true]Khaalsaa is completely dyed/steeped with God's Name.
Implying that a [true]Khaalsaa is full of love and devotion to God.
Implying that a [true]Gursikh remembers God continuously, or is immersed in the Name of God.
dhan dhan so gursikh kahiye, jin har naamaa mukh raam kahiyaa'. (GGS:593).
Implying, a [true]Gursikh surrenders to God and prays.
dhan se sei naanakaa, puran soi sant'. (GGS:319; AK:302).
Implying that a [true]Saint meditates continuously.
Implying the congruence between a [true]Saint and God.
Implying the congruence between a [true]Saadhu and a [true]Bairagi. Also that a [true]Saadhu has established God's 'Naam' (Qualities) in His heart.
Implying that a [true]Saint experiences God at close proximity. Such a person is rare and, is different from the masses. Note that the word 'niraalaa' is synonymous with 'niyaaraa'.
labh, lobh hankaar taj trisnaa, bahutaa naahi bolnaa;
khaneo tikhee vaalo nikki, aet maarg jaanaa.....
kahe naanak chaal bhagataa jugo jug niraali. (GGS:918; Aanand:14).
Implying that the activities/attitude/life-style of a [true]Bhagat is different from that of the masses. This life-style is as difficult as treading on a path which is narrower than the edge of a 'khandaa' or a hair. Kindly note that a 'Bhagat' has been differentiated with the masses. This point will be taken up while explaining 'Jab lag khaalsaa rahe niyaaraa'.
raam naam saar ras peeve,...so pandat phir jon na aavae' (GGS:274, Sukhmani 9.4).
Implying, a [true]Pandit has reached his Soul or controlled his mind, and is liberated.
Implying that a [true]Pandit is only desirous of 'Naam'.
keval bhagat kirtan sang raachhe, mann tann antar simran gopaal'. (GGS:274, Sukhmani 9.2).
Implying that a [true]Vaishnov is steeped in God's praise and has no worldly desires.
Implying, a [true]Musalmaan has no dirt in his mind.
Implying, a [true]Kaazi has reached his Inner 'Truth'.
hindu saalaahi saalaahan, darsan roop apaar' (GGS:465; Asa-di-waar:6).
Implying, a [true]Musalmaan and a [true]Hindu praise God. A [true]Hindu is desirous of seeing God. Interestingly, this is the same request of Guru Naanak to the Almighty: 'sadaa sifat salaah teri, naam mann vasaave' (GGS:917, Anand-sahib, 2). Or 'Jeh simrat sankat mitey, daras tuhaaro hoi' (GGS:1429, Slok M:IX, 57).
Implying that a [true]Sanyaasi praises God and losses His ego.
Implying, a [true]Sanyaasi has no worldly desires.
aatam jiney sagal vas ta kai, jaa kaa satgur puura' (GGS:680).
Implying that a [true]Brave person is immersed in the name of God and who has reached the Soul.
Implying that a [true]Warrior has killed the ego/pride.
mann tann saoupe aage dhare, houmae vichu maar' (GGS:28).
Implying that a 'sevak' kills his ego and surrenders his body/mind to God.
naam rataa soi nirbaan...raaj lilaa tere naam banaai.' (GGS:385).
Implying, he who obeys the Will of God and is immersed in the Name of God attains salvation.
The entire confusion arises because each of these words get corrupted and lose their original essence. People attach themselves to the false meanings and have a dispute. They forget that they are holding on to something which is false, but consider it to be true. This is the central problem.
Confusion due to follower or goal ? Spiritual language suffers from another grave problem. The same term is used to indicate a follower of a path as well as the person who has reached the final destination of ' enlightenment'.
Example: Consider a student of medicine. Even before he has acquired his degree, his family and well-wishers call him 'doctor sahib'. Technically, this is incorrect. Because, only after he obtains his degree, we can address him as a doctor.
This is the same is the problem in spiritualism. A person following the path of yoga-asanas is called a yogi, while a person who attains union with God is also called a yogi. This problem occurs with other words such as sikh, khaalsaa, sant, musalmaan, hindu, pandit, vaishno etc. Mostly, when a Spiritual Guru coins/reinvents a 'new religion/term', He is indicating the goal. But, followers start addressing themselves with the same term - causing confusion.
GGS indicates the false and true meanings of each word: In order to guide us, GGS explains the false and true meanings of each word such as 'yogi, pandit, brahmin, sant etc. But we have to exercise caution and should know which interpretation is applicable and, where. Consider an example:
Jog na mundi muund mundaiye, jog na sinni vaiye.
Anjan mahe, niranjan rahiye, jog jugat eiv paiye. Galli jog na hoi.....
Naanak jivatiyaa mar rahiye, aisaa jog kamaaiye' (GGS: 730, Amrit Kirtan: 742).
In this verse, we find the [true] and the [false]meaning of the word 'Jog'.
Implying that if the sikh/student is imperfect, what can the Perfect Teacher/God do?
Here, the word sikh indicates a person who is a follower/ seeker but has not reached God.
Also, here the word sikh indicates the [false]meaning of 'sikh'.
Indicating that a [true]Brahmin contemplates on Soul. He saves Himself and His family.
Indicating, a [true]Brahmin contemplates day-and-night on the Indwelling Soul/ Brahm.
Jit dar tum hai, braahman jaanna. Tit dar, tuuhi hai pachh-taanaa.
Aisey braahman dduube bhaai...(GGS:372).
Indicating the activities/rituals of a [false]Brahmin.
This is an important discussion, and will be connected to the word 'bipran'.
It is nearly impossible to judge the level of spiritualism: Spiritualism has a treacherous area. Spiritualism depends on the purity of the mind; and the mind cannot be seen by others. Due to this it is difficult to know whether another person is spiritually advanced or not. There is no sure-fire 'thermometer' to judge the level of another person. One can only intelligently guess, based on a continuous/ careful observation.
Example: Only the keel marks of Makhanshah's sinking ship on the shoulder of Guru Tegbahaadur, could convince him that the [true]Guru/God was found. God plays such miracles to convince humanity about a particular Guru, whenever He chooses to do so.
But, generally, there is no sure-fire thermometer available to judge another person. Due to this, a seeker can designate himself in any manner. Apart from that, he often misleads his ownself - when he considers himself as a sikh/ khaalsaa/ pandit etc. Each person has his own understanding/ interpretation of the religion he is following. And in many cases, it is wrong. Take the case of Sikhism. Each person interprets differently the injunction about say, meat eating, alcohol, marriage etc.
There are no external landmarks/milestones/stages, to judge the spiritual level. This is different from the material world, where 'seeing is believing'. If I claim to be a doctor/ surgeon, then I need to prove it with a certificate/degree. This is not the case in spiritualism.
An acute shortage of Truth: We have to admit that, there is an acute shortage of people who have actually experienced 'Truth'. But this is not surprising. God is synonymous with Truth. Since, only one in a crore person can reach God, similarly, one in a crore person can reach Truth.
There are very few people who can understand/recognise ' Truth'.
Implying that in Kalyug there is an acute shortage of 'Truth'.
Hardly one person in a crore truly remembers God.
Implying that except God and a [true]Guru, every person is liable to commit errors.
1. The same word has different connotations for different people.
2. As time passes by, each word acquires a slightly different interpretation.
3. Followers of a path use the same word which is used to designate the final goal of enlightenment.
4. Due to this the original meaning of the word gets 'lost'/ misinterpreted.
5. There is an acute shortage of 'Truth'. Most people have an incorrect understanding of the words which they use, especially in spiritualism.
6. Spiritual level of another person is almost impossible to judge. There are no external signs.
7. An intelligent seeker first clarifies all the correct meanings of words which he intends to use.
8. Based on the GGS, he finds: The state-of-mind of a [true]Sant = [true]Sikh = [true] Khaalsaa = [true]Sevak = [true]Warrior = [true]Brahman = Enlightened Person = Truth = God.
7. Role of a Spiritual Guide/ Text
Whenever there is a terrible decline in the understanding of Truth, God sends a Spiritual Guru to help humans to understand/follow Truth. In order that people trust or follow such a Guru, some miracles / super-human acts are performed by these Gurus. But the Guru always obeys the command of God.
'Sargun and Nirgun' aspect of God: As per Gurbani, God is simultaneously 'Sargun and Nirgun'. The 'Sargun and Nirgun' aspects of God are like two sides of the same coin:
aapan kiyaa naanakaa, aape hi phir jaap (GGS:290; Sukhmani:21.1) and
In His 'nirgun swarup', He is formless, attributeless, beyond description ('agam'):
In His 'sargun swarup', He is all the manifested forms in the universe. This is similar to the concept that all names in the universe belong to God as stated in Jaap Sahib: 'tav sarab naam'. Further, since God is omni-present and all-pervading, He is present in each and every particle of the universe.
In His 'sargun swarup' He combines with 'Maayaa' and creates the entire universe, as stated:
A [true]Guru is different from us: Humans have two components in them, one is the Soul/ 'aatmaa' and second is the mind/ 'maayaa'. The 'maayaa' creates an illusion in us and makes us feel separate from God. 'Maayaa' is the cause of our sins/ ignorance/ errors/ birth-and-death.
The exception to the above is a [true]Guru who is 'pure', because He has only the Soul - and is not contaminated by 'maayaa'. Due to this reason, a [true]Guru is equated with God's sargun swarup as:
Similarly, a [true]Saint/Khaalsaa can be equated with God's sargun swarup.
The [true]Guru has annihilated his ego. Due to this He is able to hear the inner Consciousness purely, perfectly, without any distortion and on a continuous basis. Hence, all His acts are in accordance with the Universal consciousness. None of his acts are tainted with ego/selfishness. This is the crucial difference between him and us. Most of us have a lesser or a greater degree of ego in us. This blocks the Inner Voice from reaching us, causing spiritual ignorance/ mistakes, trapping us in trans-migration.
A Guru reinvents words: When a [true]Guru descends on earth he faces a peculiar situation. Most people have forgotten 'Truth', because the words used to communicate/ explain 'Truth' have lost their original meaning. So, a [true]Guru patiently reminds humans about the correct interpretation of these words. He is forced to indicate the incorrect meanings of the same word - so that humans understands the difference. In order to explain the deterioration of the word, he is forced to describe the incorrect practices/ rituals that are being attributed to this word.
In many cases, the [true]Spiritual Guru reinvents/ coins a new word to indicate, essentially, the eternal 'Truth'. For example, Guru Naanak popularised the word 'Sikh'. Guru Gobind Singhji popularised the word 'Khaalsaa'. Earlier, Lord Krishna popularised the word 'Yogi' etc.
Example: Consider the word 'yogi'. Since the original meaning got lost/ distorted, the GGS reminds us not to consider the following acts as those of a [true]Yogi - merely adorning a particular dress, carrying a staff, or by smearing ash on the body, or by shaving one's head and piercing one's ears. Continuing on the same lines, various other follies/rituals are denounced. Finally the verse explains that a [true]Yogi is He who, remains in the world, but is detached from it.
Jog na mundi muund mundaiye, jog na sinni vaaiye.
Anjan mahe, niranjan rahiye, jog jugat eiv paiye. Galli jog na hoi.....
Naanak jivatiyaa mar rahiye, aisaa jog kamaaiye' (GGS: 730, Amrit Kirtan: 742).
An intelligent reader will realise that a similar definition is used for a [true]Brahmgiani:
Hence, the state-of-mind of a [true]Yogi is same as that of a [true]Brahmgiani. Other lines from the GGS quoted before, show that this similarity extends to words such as [true]Sant, Sikh, Khaalsaa etc.
Formation of a 'new' religious sect: After a Spiritual Guru reinvents a new term (such as Sikh), the people following it form a new community. Many times, the Guru starts/ popularises a set of new symbols to be followed. This gives birth to a so called 'new' religion. This is elaborated later.
Spiritual Text/ Guru indicates the path and goal of human life, but to a variety of audience:
A Spiritual Text/ Guru has to play the following roles:
1. To indicate the goal of life.
2. To indicate the path, that is the positive and negative acts.
3. It has to address a very wide spectrum of humans.
An average seeker interprets as doing his business/trade in a fair manner, without cheating. But a near-saint understands that only God's Name is 'Saach'. Also, in the GGS, 'Naam' has been equated with the best 'dhan/ vaapaar'. So, a near-saint, interprets this line to mean that he should use/ exchange his time to get/ accumulate 'Naam-dhan'.
An average seeker does not think about this line seriously. But a near-saint will treat it like a Divine Command to be obeyed. He attempts to practice it.
If a seeker aims to be a [true]Khaalsaa, then his goal is enlightenment/ 'jeevan-mukat'. Therefore he has to be more stringent, carefull and logical in interpreting lines from the GGS. This is an important point while understanding the 'Offences to be avoided by a [true]Khaalsaa'.
We should avoid generalised criticism - by misinterpreting a [true]Guru/ Text:
Both, the Spiritual Guru and the Text have only one role, which is to help people evolve and reach God. No Guru intends hurting any section of society. He only patiently reminds us about the pitfalls to be avoided. If by reading a Spiritual Text, we develop hate (however, subtle) for any person/sect, then we are criticising God's creation. Gurbani strongly denounces such a criticism or 'nindaa'.
Muh kaale tin nindakaa, narake ghor pavann.' (GGS:755).
Implying that it is improper to criticise anybody.
Implying that our ego prompts us to criticise; and that this act is useless.
So while interpreting Gurbani/ philosophy, we should avoid making any generalised criticism. This point is linked to 'Who is True/ Spiritually Right'.
Does a [true]Guru criticise a wrong person? This question needs to be addressed carefully. At this juncture, I shall suggest that since a Guru is always 'true', all His acts and words are True. He is only describing incorrect practises which have crept up in any sect. But while describing these mistakes, He has no selfish interest/ sadist tendency because He has no ego. Therefore, He is not criticising.
Further, a [true]Guru = God. And, God is 'nirvair'. Hence a [true]Guru bears no acrimony. Compared to this, when we describe a mistake, it amounts to criticism; because our ego exists and distorts our intentions. This distortion may be very subtle. But, nevertheless, it exists.
1. The only aim of a Spiritual Text/ Guru is to connect man to God.
2. In this process, He is forced to discard/ discourage certain erroneous practices of the past and 'reinvent/ rediscover' a so-called 'new' religion.
3. Unfortunately, due to ignorance of the followers, this 'new' religion becomes a 'new' approach to reach God, which is not actually the case.
8. Concept of Guru
Three types of Gurus needed for an unenlightened seeker:
1. The [unseen & complete]Guru:
1. God is simultaneously 'sargun and nirgun'. In His 'nirgun-swarup', He is unseen/ 'agam' and is beyond human comprehension.
2. He is Perfect. He is above the effects of 'maayaa'. He has complete knowledge of the universe. He is 'Karta-purakh'. He is the cause of the entire universe. Since He looks after the entire universe, He is continuously guiding seekers all over the world. His grace is needed to attain enlightenment.
3. Since the Soul has all the qualities of God, it is also the [unseen & complete]Guru.
4. Therefore, in His nirgun-swarup, God/ Soul is the [Unseen & Complete]Guru.
2. The [seen & complete]Guru:
1. Whenever 'Truth' declines, God sends His incarnate as a spiritual Guru to guide humans.
2. Since humans can receive teachings from a human-being; God has to send His human-incarnate. Such a Guru can be seen/ heard. He is Complete.
3. The sayings/life of such a Guru is a tangible guide to seekers. These sayings/texts are Complete.
Gur baani kahe, sevak jan maanae, partakh guru nistaare.' (GGS:982).
Implying that Gurbani is the visible/tangible form of the [true]Guru. By understanding and following Gurbani, a seeker can reach the state of immortality.
4. Since, a [true]Guru = [true]Saint/Text. Hence a [true]Saint/Text can play the role of a Guru, provided we have the ability to benefit from Him/ It. This is elaborated as follows.
5. Firstly, a [True]Saint = God.
6. Secondly, since God exists, it implies that a [true]Saint also exists.
7. Thirdly, just as God is hidden and cannot be reached easily; similarly, a [true]Saint can not be reached easily. We meet God/ [true]Saint only when our 'karmaas' are eligible for it.
Implying that we can benefit from Gurbani only when God grants us His grace.
8. A mere physical association with a [true]Guru/Saint cannot ensure that we progress spiritually. We also need to be capable to understand/implement the teachings. Like, while some achieved salvation by meeting Guru Naanak, Pitaa Kaalu may not have achieved it.
9. Many of us read Gurbani/ Nitnem, but hardly a minuscule of us reach salvation.
10. The [seen & complete]Guru includes: All Sikh Gurus, Guru Granth Sahib and [true]Saints.
3. The [seen, but incomplete]Guru:
1. Apart from the above-mentioned, any person in the universe can act as an seen Guru.
2. However, such persons are not enlightened and still under the influence of ego. Therefore, such a Guru is incomplete, though he is seen/tangible.
3. While we regard the Guru Granth Sahib as our spiritual Guru, we need the help of another person to learn/understand Gurmukhi, Gurbani etc. Without these persons, we cannot interpret the GGS. So it is appropriate to term such persons as the [seen but incomplete]Guru.
4. There is another aspect. God is the [unseen]Guru, but He acts through his creation. For example, God provides food to every person. But He performs this activity through parents, relatives or servants. For a spiritually intelligent person, his parents are only a 'medium or an instrument' for getting food; the hidden Provider is God.
5. It is the same with our spiritual/ worldly knowledge. While the [unseen]Guru is God, He chooses a [seen]medium appropriate for us. It may be a parent, a friend, a priest or even our enemy. Many times, a heart-breaking incident teaches us many lessons about God. So the medium/ instruments keep changing. Only, our learning continues till we reach complete enlightenment.
6. We should remember that a human is a [seen, but incomplete]Guru since he is an instrument. The [true]Guru is God. Therefore, we do not get attached to the human being. We are only connected to the knowledge which is being imparted.
7. The [seen, but incomplete]Guru includes any person/book/incident which helps us to progress spiritually. It includes the entire universe.
Who was the Guru of each of the Sikh Gurus:
1. It is believed that each Sikh Guru treated the earlier Guru as His Guru. I think this is partly correct.
2. Fundamentally speaking, each Sikh Guru worshipped the Formless Almighty because God is the Enlightener (provider of spiritual knowledge).
3. But, since the earlier Guru was TRUE, and an embodiment of God, the next Guru also worshipped Him. Each Guru worshipped the knowledge, and not the body of the previous Guru.
Implying the congruence between God and a [true]Guru; or that God is the [true]Guru.
4. Similarly, since the GGS = God, Sikh Gurus also worshipped It.
5. Guru Naanak worshipped God. He clearly attributes God as the source of Gurbani:
6. Other Gurus have also addressed God as their Guru; as in following examples:
Here, Guru Arjan has named God as His Guru. But Guru Ramdas was equivalent to God.
Here again Guru Ramdas has praised God. But Guru Amardas was also equivalent to God.
1. The [unseen & complete]Guru is God/ Soul.
2. The [seen & complete]Guru is Sikh Gurus, Guru Granth Sahib, [true]Saint.
3. The [seen, but incomplete]Guru is anybody in the universe who helps our spiritual progress.
4. We can benefit from any person/ knowledge to the extent of our capability and 'karmaas'. A wise person can learn from a fool. But a fool can not learn even from the wisest person.
9. Guru Granth Sahib is higher than the 'Rehat-naamaas/ maryaadaas'
1. Only the GGS is designated as the 'eternal & complete' Guru, by Sri Guru Gobind Singhji.
2. GGS provides a know-how to reach complete enlightenment.
3. A careful understanding of the Guru Granth Sahib reveals that its requirements are higher than that of the 'Rehat-naamaas/ maryaadas'. Few examples are:
4. GGS always mentions non-stop 'Naam simran'.
5. GGS emphasises a total elimination of ego, lust, anger, greed, attachment etc.
Implying, that a person suffers for a crore days, after enjoying lust for a split-second. Now, since an enlightened person has eternal happiness, we can conclude that, He does not entertain a single thought/ deed of lust. This does not negate the 'grahast-ashram' practised by our Gurus and Saints, like Kabir. It is just that, their minds were in total communion with God, even while procreating/ begetting children. Unlike us, they did not indulge in sense-gratification. This is important. 'Kaam' also means 'kamna' or worldly desires. Even this interpretation can be considered.
6. GGS advises that a seeker should give everything that belongs to him to the needy, not just the 10%, 'daswand'. The word 'daswand' does not appear in the GGS (on a computer compact-disc). Sikh Gurus displayed this. Guru Naanak spent the entire Rs.20 on feeding saints, not just 10% of it. Guru Teg Bahaadur gave up His entire life to protect the weak, thereby donating His life/strength.
Teraa tujhh kou soup-te, kia laage meraa' (GGS:1375; Slok Kabir:203).
Man tan soupe aagae dhare, houmae vichu maar (GGS:28).
But, since most seekers cannot abide by the extremely high standards of the GGS, the 'Rehat-naamaas' were written by distinguished Sikhs. It must be noted that while there is only one version of the GGS, there are many versions of the 'Rehat-naamaas'. Due to our ignorance, we make the 'Rehat-naamaas' as our goal, rather than the GGS as our goal. We mechanically follow the 'Rehat-naamaas' and assume that we are obeying our Gurus. I think this is a grave error. We should distinguish between the teachings of the GGS and the 'Rehat-naamaas'.
1. The advice of the GGS is higher than that of the 'Rehat-naamaas'.
2. GGS is eternal & complete. It's advice is of the highest order. It's logic is beyond dispute.
3. A [true]Khaalsaa should abide by the highest standards, which are set out in the GGS.
4. The 'Rehat-naamaas' are supplementary to the GGS.
5. But since the GGS does not mention anything about the physical uniform, the [true]Khaalsaa has to also abide by the 'Rehat-naamaas'.
6. When we agree to this standard, we realise the near-impossible task of becoming a [true]Khaalsaa.
10. Concept of Truth
Since ages, who is True/ Right, or what is 'Truth' is a question which has haunted mankind.
A variety of audience: In answering the above question, the Spiritual Guru/ Text faces a challenge. Firstly, there exists a wide variety of human beings who need to be guided. This variety exists in their intellectual as well as emotional make-up. A Guru/ Text has to satisfy a cross-section of followers, including a near-saint, a mediocre follower, as well as an abject sinner. Due to this there is a wide variety of advice offered. This point needs to be assimilated while interpreting Gurbani. Even when we examine the lives of Sikh Gurus, we notice this variety. For example, Guru Naanak's gave different advice to 'Sajjan-tthug', to King Dhunichand and in 'Siddh-gosht'.
Example: Suppose a small child, asks his father 'How does a TV work ?' The father will explain suitable to the child's level. Now supposing the father is a TV maintenance engineer and his customer asks this question. Obviously, the answer will be different. In the third instance, if this engineer is also a college professor and his student asks this question, again the answer will be different. In each of the cases, the source of knowledge and the actual event is the same. But the answer changes depending on the maturity of the audience.
So the answer to the question - 'Who/ What is True' depends on the audience.
The following answer is for the most mature audience.
The question arises whether this world is True?
In Gurbani we find lines explaining both stands:
What is the hidden logic?
ihe jagat bharam bhulaayaa virlaa bujhe koi' (GGS:558).
Implying that, other than a [true]Guru/God; every person is liable to be erroneous.
On the other hand, a Saint has annihilated His ego. He is always in touch with God/ Soul/ Truth. Due to this every act performed by Him is True. Also, He always knows the Truth. This makes every act of His as holy. Due to this reason, we do not consider it as unholy, when Sri Guru Gobind Singhji killed many people in a war.
Truth is unique. There is only one Truth. Truth is changeless. But if we consider our experiences, we find them to be varying/ changing.
Example: Consider, two persons describe an accident. Unwillingly also, there will be some difference in their explanations. This difference occurs due to the presence of their mind. It is this difference, which gives rise to controversies/ debates. 'Two fools/ unenlightened persons will never agree. But a hundred wise/ enlightened persons will always agree'.
Example: A person standing on a sea-shore observes a moving ship. Since he is stationary, he can accurately judge the ship's position. But, for a sailor on the ship, the person on the sea-shore appears to be moving. Further, if the sailor observes another moving boat, he cannot correctly measure the boat's position, because he himself is moving.
We can equate the person standing on the sea-shore as being God/ [true]Saint, who is grounded/ embedded in Truth, which is eternal / unchanging/ perfect.
Conversely, the mind of an unenlightened person is always fluctuating. We can equate him with a sailor on the moving ship. All observations of such a person are false/ unreal. For him, even the stationary sea-shore appears moving. For an unenlightened person, Truth appears false; and God appears unreal.
Further, just as the sailor on the ship cannot correctly know the speed of another moving boat, an unenlightened person cannot correctly judge/ measure another unenlightened person.
There is another problem. An unenlightened person can never be sure, when he is right and when he is wrong. This complicates his entire judgement and, interaction with others, who are also unenlightened.
As the speed of the ship reduces, the extent of error/ false-hood reduces. When the ship (mind) stops, then the observations of the sailor become correct/ true. This refers to the state of enlightenment. A [true]Saint can correctly interpret God. A [true]Saint can correctly judge an unenlightened person.
1. All acts of God are true.
2. All actions/words of only a [true]Saint are true.
3. Only a [true]Saint can understand another [true]Saint or God.
4. Unenlightened persons are acting/ living in falsehood, though the extent may differ widely.
5. As the mind is purified, the extent of falsehood reduces.
6. We may display moments of 'Truth' while performing 'Naam japo, kirt karo, wand ke chakko or hukam manno', but in a selfless manner. Even in this situation, we cannot be sure that we are true.
7. Knowing this has made me tolerant to another person's views, because even I may be totally wrong.
11. Only a pure mind can lead to divinity/ Khaalsaa
Three components of the human body: We have three things in us - a body, a mind and a Soul. By understanding them, we can appreciate the role of religion, its philosophy and symbols.
Implying that the body contains the mind. And the mind contains the Soul/ Truth.
The human body: Our body is the visible and gross assemblage of organs, bones, muscles etc.
Characteristics of the mischievous mind:
1. It is invisible and subtle.
2. It continuously generates thoughts - nearly 50,000 thoughts per day.
3. The thoughts are generally not focused on a particular topic.
4. Its thoughts can easily be hidden from others - resulting in hypocrisy.
5. It has full freedom to generate any thought - either good or bad.
6. Every thought is recorded and it creates results/ fruits 'sanskaar/ praa-rabad' for future births.
Jo jaisi sangat milay, so taiso phal khaae' (GGS:1369).
Implying, the mind runs helter-skelter. It gets the fruit according to the association of thoughts. Therefore, the biggest danger is impure thoughts; and the biggest wealth is a pure mind.
7. Thoughts, speech and actions are inter-connected. Each affects the other.
8. Impure/worldly/selfish thoughts result in disease in the body/mind, as stated:
Dehi rog na lagayi, sabh kichh paaye. (GGS:1382; Slok Farid).
9. The running mind can be steadied with spiritual knowledge, which is got from a Guru.
10. For enlightenment, the seeker has to purify and focus his thoughts with devotion on God. He has to reduce and eradicate worldly thoughts, impure thoughts and selfish thoughts, as stated:
11. The process to purify thoughts is 'Akaal ustat', as explained before.
12. Purifying and steadying the mind is the biggest achievement for a person.
Roles played by the mind:
1. It stores impressions of the present life (also called memory).
2. It stores impressions of past lives (also called 'sanskaars'). These tendencies which drive our thoughts. These tendencies prevent a good person making mistakes in this life.
3. It generates emotions/ feelings/ 'bhaavnaa'.
4. It thinks, argues, judges and discriminates 'vivek budhi'.
5. Due to its impurity the mind colours every thought. The main impurity is the ego. The ego generates thoughts of I, me and mine. It leads to other impurities such as: 'kaam, krodh, lobh, moh, chintaa, nindaa, dvesh-bhaav, ddarr, vair, virodh, iirkhaa'.
Characteristics of the Soul:
1. The Soul in the human body is the life-imparting force. Without the Soul, the body dies.
2. It is also called as 'Consciousness, Spirit, 'Aatmaa, Jyoti' etc.
3. Being a part of God, the Soul contains all the infinite qualities of God. It is True, Pure, Infinite, Indestructible etc. It has all the attributes mentioned in the 'Mul-mantar and Jaap sahib'. Other attributes used to describe God are equally applicable to the Soul.
4. Every person has the same Soul , hence every person is connected to God.
5. As the mind becomes pure, focused and devoted to God, the qualities of the Soul are revealed. Conversely, as the mind becomes impure, the person displays fewer divine qualities.
mann, har ji tere naal hai, gurmati rang maann' (GGS:441).
Implying, Oh mind! recollect your origin from the Soul, which is always with you.
Implying that the body contains the mind. And the mind contains the Soul.
By reaching the Soul, a person becomes True/ Pure.
Naanak taa kaa daas hai, soi niranjan deo'. (GGS:469, Aasaa-di-waar:12).
Implying that few understand that the Soul is God's swarup and that God is Pure/ 'niranjan'.
Both these lines indicate the congruence of Soul and God.
They also explain that to reach/recognise the Soul we need 'knowledge'.
Implying that on getting established in the Soul we get eternal happiness and all qualities.
Kaahe re, ban khojan jaayi' (GGS:684; AK:437).
Implying that only on reaching the Soul, the dirt of doubts is removed.
The reason for the wide variety of humans: If every person has the same Soul, why does humanity exhibit such a wide variation in their behaviour as elaborated in:
1. 'Asankh jap, asankh salaah...' (GGS:3, Japuji, 17) and
2. 'Kai kot hoe pujaari, kai kot aachaar beuhaari' (GGS:275, Sukhmani, 10.1).
3. The mind covers the Soul. Impurities of the mind distort/block the qualities of the Soul. As the mind becomes pure, more of the divine qualities are revealed.
4. Different people have different minds, causing different types of distortion of the Soul.
5. Since the mind includes effects of past births, there is a vast 'variety' of minds among humans.
Example: Consider a lantern. The inner flame can be compared to the Soul. The glass of the lantern can be compared to the mind. Dirt/soot on the glass can be compared to the impurities in the mind. Due to this dirt, the light of the flame does not 'come out' with full force/power. Similarly, due to impurities in the mind, the divine qualities of the Soul are 'hidden'. Each person can be compared to a lantern. While the power of the inner flame is the same, there is a wide variation in the dirt on the lantern-glass. This causes variation in the behaviour of different humans.
Example: Clouds in the sky block the sunlight. Some clouds are darker, causing a darker shadow on the earth. The sun can be compared to the Soul, which is common to all. Each cloud can be compared to the state-of-mind of each person. Darker the cloud, fewer divine qualities are exhibited in that person. In the case of a [true]Saint, there is no cloud blocking/distorting the sunlight/Soul.
GGS addresses a wide audience: Gurbani is meant for every person. Since there is a wide variety in the spiritual level and intellectual/emotional make-up of humans, Gurbani uses a variety of words/examples to communicate, essentially the same message. For example: enlightenment is also termed as 'Truth', divinity, immortality, Perfect, Purity, 'aanand, chouthaa-pad, unman' etc.
A [true]Guru has a pure mind: A [true]Guru has a pure mind, hence there is no distortion. All the infinite qualities of the Soul are revealed. His mind is permanently purified, unlike ours, which oscillates between virtue and vice. A [true]Guru can perform miracles since He is completely connected to the Cosmic Consciousness. He can correctly 'read' any person/ situation and can 'see' the past/future. He enacts God's Will without any distortion/interference. This explains why Guru Arjan and Guru Tegbahaadur did not interfere with their martyrdom. Because they believed that:
Religion guides in purifying the mind: The only goal of religion is to purify the human mind so that the Indwelling qualities of the Soul are revealed. 'Naam simran/ Akaal ustat' is the path indicated in the GGS to achieve this goal. As the mind sincerely meditates on the qualities of God, it becomes pure. Gradually the inner divine qualities of the Soul are revealed. In the final stage the mind (and the ego) is totally annihilated and a person achieves complete and permanent communion with God. He then becomes a [true]Brahmgiani, Jeevanmukt or Khaalsaa.
Only a pure mind can lead to divinity: The GGS stresses that purity of the mind is important. Cleanliness of the body alone cannot lead to salvation. Nor can the cleanliness of the body result in peace-of-mind. Similarly, disciplining the mind is essential for enlightenment. Discipling the mind is more difficult than disciplining the body. This is the most important point for our further discussions, especially, in connection with 'Religious symbols - and their deeper significance'.
Example: Most American cities are cleaner than Indian villages. People in USA live in a sanitised atmosphere and drink only 'Bisleri' water. But the level of dangerous diseases like cancer and Aids is more prevalent in the 'clean' cities of USA than in the 'filthy' Indian villages. We can conclude that since the people there have more impure/ tense thoughts, they fall prey to dangerous diseases.
References from the GGS stressing the importance of a pure mind:
Implying that all acts / sins are committed by the mind.
Implying that the dirty mind is to be washed with Gurbani/gian/simran/shabad.
ihe jagat bharam bhulaayaa virlaa bujhe koi' (GGS:558).
Implying that everything is impure if the mind is impure; and that very few realise this concept.
This point is also linked to the discussion on 'Who is True/Right'.
suche saei naanaka, jin mann vaseeyaa soe' (GGS:472, Aasaa-di-waar:17).
Implying, True is He, who has experienced the presence of God in His mind. Merely cleaning the body does not make a person 'Pure'.
kuu(r)dd ki mal utre, tann karay hachhaa dhoe....
Sach taa(n) par jaaniye, jaa aatam teerath kare nivaas' (GGS:468, Aasaa-di-waar:10).
Implying that when the mind meets/ merges with the Soul, only then a person becomes True.
Implying that to conquer the mind is to conquer the universe. And a [true]Guru/Saint has done this, therefore He can control the universe. It is more difficult to control the mind than the body.
Implying that God's complete Grace leads to conquering the mind.
Implying that 'Naam' cannot reside in an impure mind. Again, the importance of a pure mind.
Implying that activities performed without the mind loving the 'naam', are spiritually redundant.
Implying that praising God sublimates the ego.
1. Only when the mind is completely/permanently purified, all qualities of the Soul are exhibited.
2. Such a person is 'jeevan-mukt' / [true]Khaalsaa.
3. Disciplining the mind is more difficult/ important than disciplining the body.
4. 'Naam simran' with understanding, devotion and concentration is a path to purify the mind.
12. Religious sects include a philosophy and symbols/rituals
Two aspects of religious sects: Every religious sect includes two aspects:
1. the inner philosophy for improving the invisible mind; and
2. the outer symbols/ rituals/ systems for the visible body.
Role of a set of new rituals/ symbols: Mostly, every community starts a system of rituals and symbols in order to create a separate identity. This separateness has only one purpose and that is to break-away from the wrong image acquired by the existing set of symbols / rituals.
Example: This can be compared to a marketing strategy used by a company to repackage an existing product and rename it. People in consumer marketing will recall that around ten years back the 'Pepsodent' brand of tooth-paste of Hindustan Lever had a negligible market share. Recently the company revamped its advertisement and has propped up this brand. It is unlikely that the chemical composition of this tooth-paste has changed much.
Example: After America was discovered and populated by Europeans, the new settlers (Americans) deliberately chose systems, which opposed British systems. By doing so, they expressed their 'break-away' image. Like, Americans drive vehicles on the right side of the road, while the British drive on the left side. In America, government control of industry is negligible, compared to that in Britain.
Example: Islamic languages write from right to left; as compared to Indian languages which write from left to right. Here too, the purpose is to display a 'different/ break-away' image. Each group/method can keep arguing which of them is better. But there will be no winner in this debate.
Visibility and tangibility of symbols: There is another reason to have a set of rituals/ symbols. God is invisible and an abstract concept, so it becomes difficult for most people and children to relate to it. Therefore, rituals/ symbols give the common man a tangible system/ object to attach their faith. Rituals/ systems create a distinct identity - so that its followers can recognise each other. Like each country has a distinct flag/ emblem - to aid recognition.
The symbols/ rituals are like a tangible brand-name of a company which convey the intangible, but more important reputation of the company. For example, the brand name of 'Mercedes' and its 'three- pointed star' reflects the high quality products made by this German automobile company. If the product's quality deteriorates, the brand name cannot increase profits of the company. Take the case of 'McKinsey' a world-class consulting firm which sells 'knowledge', an invisible product. Its brand name has a more difficult task - to communicate the quality of an intangible product. Religion is comparable to this. The goal/ end-product is peace-of-mind/ salvation, which is invisible. Therefore marketing religion is more difficult and requires the genius of a Guru.
Understanding the message conveyed by the symbols is important: When a Spiritual Guru starts a set of symbols/ procedures, He intends/ hopes that these symbols will convey a deeper message to the mind of the followers. Unfortunately over a period of time, the inner message gets lost/distorted. And the followers mechanically follow these rituals/ symbols, without the inner understanding or commitment towards them. People perform these acts outwardly out of fear of parents/ society.
Merely imitating a symbol/ ritual/ procedure is of little use - unless our mind is benefited/ guided by this outward act/ symbol. A symbol is useful to the user only if it conveys a message of his Guru.
1. Consider the ceremony of marriage. It is supposed to signify unification of two minds. But the ceremony alone cannot ensure this. Actual marital bliss can come only from a sustained effort from both sides. If this is absent, the ceremony itself cannot save the marriage. So also, every ceremony is only an initiation and needs to be followed up with sustained efforts to achieve the goal.
2. Every student purchases all the text-books, compass-box, lunch-box etc. But only a few use these tools to acquire complete education. Unfortunately, most students carry these things to school as a mechanical routine. In the exam, each student is judged based on his knowledge. Suppose a student dutifully carries all his books etc. to school but does not acquire knowledge, will he be promoted ?
3. In the Gurudwara, every person bows to the Holy Book. While the physical action is same, there is a vast difference between the inner attitude of the mind of a Saint and that of a sinner. When the Saint bows, he actually surrenders himself (and his ego) to the Higher wisdom of the Holy Book. On the other hand the sinner bows with no such feelings, (else, he would stop being a sinner).
4. While sitting in the Gurudwara, the Saint is fully attentive to the Gurbani. But most of us are attentive to our friends in the Gurudwara.
5. Both, the Saint and the sinner, utter 'Waheguru'. But, the Saint attains salvation because of his commitment behind this uttering. For the sinner, there is hardly any change. If by merely uttering a word, a person could be liberated, then even the sinner would reach heaven. Also, in that case, even a trained parrot should get salvation. Is getting salvation so easy ? Only one in a crore may reach it !
soi raam sabhe kahe, soi kautak haar' (GGS:1374; Slok Kabir:190).
Implying the vast difference in the manner in which people meditate. Most of us meditate casually/mechanically, only few meditate by truly believing in God to be the Creator.
Message is important in the symbol: Gurbani tells us:
Therefore nothing can be superior to 'Naam simran'. If only a symbol can give me credit in God's house, then the symbol becomes superior (or the deciding) factor than 'Naam simran'. This contradicts a proper understanding of Gurbani.
All symbols are destructible. Symbols and our body/mind is destructible. Only 'Naam' is invincible.
Implying that every visible thing is destructible.
Implying that everything that has been created, will perish someday. Only the spiritual merit of 'Naam simran' cannot be destroyed by any power on earth.
Eih lok-parlok, sang sahaai, jat kat mohe rakhwaale. Gur ka bachan, basae jee(a) naale.
Jal nahi dduube, taskar nahi levae, bhaae naa saake jaalae.' (GGS:679; AK:382).
Implying that 'naam simran/gian' cannot be robbed or destroyed in by fire/water. It saves the seeker in this world and the next. 'Naam', alone is indestructible.
The GGS quotes [true]Saints such as Dhru, Prahlad who attained salvation because of 'Naam simran'. Also, Ajaamal, Ganika and Draupadi were saved, because they remembered God in the right manner.
Surely, if rituals/ symbols were more important, then they would find a mention in the Guru Granth Sahib, our eternal Guru. Everybody agrees that Gurbani is Complete and Perfect.
panchaali ko raaj sabhaa mein, raam naam sudh aaiyi' (GGS:1008; AK:359)
atal bhayo dhru, jaake simran ar nirbhai pad paayaa...
ajaamal paapi jag jaane, nimakh maahe nistaaraa' (GGS:632; AK:369)
Some seniors tell me that they are obeying what the Gurus' instructions. But Guru Granth Sahib repeatedly reminds us to do continuous 'Naam simran', which we conveniently forget. And we cling on to those instructions which are easy to follow. Going back to an example. While sending the child to school, the mother tells him to study and to have his lunch on time. But alas, most children remember to have their lunch and, merrily forget to study.
Since 'Naam simran' is paramount and also most difficult to perform, our Gurus repeatedly remind us about it. It is my estimation that around 60% of the verses of GGS emphasise this point.
Take another example, as a parent what do we remind our children often about? Studies or picnics? Obviously, studies. Because they are more essential for the child and also more difficult to perform.
1. Symbols/ systems are the visible aspect of religion.
2. They convey an important message to the mind - only then they are useful to the follower.
3. Divinity occurs only when the mind is purified. So every symbol/act has to be linked to the mind.
4. Adopting a symbol without understanding its inner message, may have negligible merit.
13. Does novelty imply better ?
Does novelty matter? Suppose a heart-patient needs surgery. Will he go to a doctor who is new and fresh from college or, will he go to a doctor who is experienced and senior? When a patient takes a medicine is he concerned with getting cured or, whether he is using the latest drug? Is novelty relevant to his problem or the efficacy of cure? To equate novelty with success/ improvement is a mistake. Few examples indicate how newer technologies are more dangerous than imagined by us.
1. Allopathy, as a branch of medicine, is more recent than ayurveda. Billions of dollars are spent on allopathic research and brilliant brains are employed in these companies abroad. But even allopaths agree that they cannot cure arthritis, asthma, spondilysis, obesity, paralysis etc. Not to mention, cancer and Aids. Lancet, a prestigious British medical journal, reported that till today, Allopathy has not been able to find a satisfactory cure for common cold.
2. Newer technologies/products such as plastics have their own drawbacks. Earlier, Western countries applauded plastics; but, now they discourage it. When Dupont Co. (USA) invented nylon, it was heralded as a cheap/long-lasting clothing material. But, now everybody avoids terrylene/ nylon, because it prevents the body-skin from breathing.
3. Newer products such as the television, computer screen, microwave oven and cellular phone, radiate dangerous electro-magnetic waves, whose effects may be slow - but cannot be ignored.
4. The detrimental effects of automobile pollution are fairly well-known. But, around a hundred years ago, the automobile industry was hailed as an industrial revolution and was considered important for a country's economy.
5. In psychology there is a proverb: 'Children seldom repeat the mistakes made by their parents. But they commit newer mistakes'. This indicates that every time a new thing/technology/ religious sect is formed, the followers avoid errors of the earlier group. But alas, they commit new errors. If this was not so, then every follower of the new sect should have reached enlightenment - which we know is not the situation. Example: Since hindus believe God has a form, they worship idols. In contrast to this, many followers of Sikhism believe God is Formless. But many sikhs are unaware that, as per the GGS, God is simultaneously 'sargun and nirgun'/ 'having all forms, yet formless'.
Ego craves for superiority/ novelty: Our ego likes to create a superiority complex for ourselves. Whenever we want to use something, we convince ourselves that it is the best thing. This happens in the case of religion also. We keep finding superficial differences to convince ourselves that we are following the best/ modern religious sect. The greater is our ego, the more we highlight the superficial differences. Conversely, a [true]Saint is indifferent to variety/ novelty, since He has no ego. 'Brahmgiani ke drisht samaan, jaise raaj rank ko laage tul pavaan' (GGS:272, Sukhmani 8.1). This point will be connected to ' Is Khaalsaa is a new religion'.
1. Anything which is new, need not, necessarily be better.
2. Conversely, an ancient method need not imply that it is wrong, outdated, useless or ineffective.
3. Followers of a new sect avoid mistakes of the earlier sect. But many of them commit new mistakes. But this is not the fault of the Spiritual Guru who started the 'new' religion.
14. Is Sikhism / Khaalsaa a new path/ religion ?
The correct question to be asked by a [true]seeker is whether the path of Sikhism will take me to God. It is not important whether it is a old or a new path. Nevertheless, since most of us curious to know whether Sikhism is a new religion, I humbly submit my understanding without claiming to be perfect.
As has been elaborated before, every religion has two parts - firstly, the inner philosophy and secondly the outer system of symbols/ rituals. The philosophy is needed to purify the mind, while the system of symbols/ rituals is meant to convey this inner message. Since the mind cannot be seen, it becomes imperative to have visible symbols/ rituals - which involve the human body.
The Sikh philosophy existed before Guru Naanak:
1. The central theme of the Guru Granth Sahib is that God can be reached by praising God with full devotion, understanding and concentration. This is termed as 'Akaal ustat/ Naam simran'.
2. History before Guru Naanak's birth reveals that many Saints reached God through this route. Some of them are: Kabir, Naamdev, Dhanaa, Tirlochan, Dhru, Prahlaad, Sadnaa etc.
3. Guru Granth Sahib quotes these examples to give confidence to a spiritual aspirant that this is the correct route.
4. Verses of Saints born before Guru Naanak, such as Kabir, convey the same underlying message as is conveyed by verses of Sikh Gurus.
5. Other than Saints, the Guru Granth Sahib points out cases of Draupadi, Ajaamal, Ganika and, even an elephant, who were rescued by God. Surely, all this occurred before Sikhism commenced.
6. History records cases of other Saints such as Mirabai, Narsi Mehta, Tukaraam, Eknaath, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (Iskcon) etc. who emphasised 'Nit-kirtan'.
'Naam' is a universal concept:
1. 'Naam' is the basis of all religions: 'Sagal mataant keval har naam' (GGS:296, Sukhmani 24.7). In the Bhagvad Gita, Lord Krishna advised Arjun that in Kalyug, the method to reach God is 'Hari-kirtan'. This is the same advice given in the GGS. Every religion praises God, such as Hindus say Om Namoh. Christians say 'Praise be to the Lord'. Muslims say 'Allaah-O-Akbar'.
2. Every living and non-living part of the universe is supported by 'naam', as follows:
3. Every part of the universe is continuously performing 'naam-simran', as follows:
4. Every blade of grass and the entire forests are repeating the words - neti, neti - meaning that Oh! God you are infinite, as follows:
5. Every human is advised to do 'simran', as:
Truth and its path are eternal:
1. God's Name is Eternally True and that this has been the case ever since humanity began.
2. In the Mulmantar, Guru Naanak has used 'Satnaam'. Earlier, the Vedas addressed God as 'Sat-Chit-Anand' or 'Satyam-Shivam-Sundram'.
3. God has not changed. Nor has man changed. The hurdle between man and God is ego. This was the case before, it is the case now and will remain in future. Similarly, the five vices of 'kaama, krodh, lobh, moha and hankaar' were prevalent at the time of Ravana, Duryodhan and Aurangzeb. They are present today and will continue in future. Because man is inflicted by ego, as follows:
4. Truth can never become old/ new. God is Truth. Neither of them are affected by time since they are 'Akaal'. Therefore they cannot become old, as follows:
5. Therefore, Truth cannot be 'invented'.
6. Each religion merely rediscovers Truth/ path to reach it, since most humans have forgotten it.
Sikh symbols and ceremonies:
1. The Sikh Gurus started certain distinguishing symbols and ceremonies.
2. Some of these symbols such as unshorn hair were prevalent earlier also. Lord Raama and Lord Krishna had unshorn hair.
3. Some Sikh symbols may be considered to be new.
4. The concept of 'sevaa' was practised by Christianity before Sikhism.
5. The concept of 'Akhand path and langar' is an offshoot of the 'yagna' practised before.
6. The concept of 'sangat' is an offshoot of the Buddhist concept of 'sangha'.
7. The word 'Sikh' itself is derived from the concept of 'Guru-shishya' system prevalent in India.
8. Sikh Gurus advocated 'grahast jeevan'. But many Saints like Raama, Kabir and Namdev attained salvation while remaining married.
9. Certain Sikh ceremonies may be new. But this novelty is of little importance to a serious/ discerning spiritual aspirant. He is concerned about the underlying message and their efficacy.
(Those interested more in this aspect may refer: 'Parasara-prasana' by Sirdar Kapur Singh, published by Guru Naanak Dev University, 1989, Amritsar).
'Aagya bhayee akaal kee, tabhe chalaaio panth': There is a lot of misunderstanding about this line.
1. In the normal/ everyday usage of Punjabi language, the word 'chalaaio' means to 'put into motion', to motivate, to move. It does not mean 'to invent or to create afresh'.
2. Since each Spiritual Guru only rediscovers 'Truth/ path to reach It', this line could mean: 'Under the guidance of God, I have rediscovered/ restarted the eternal path to Truth'.
1. A 'new' religion can only 'rediscover' Truth and its philosophy. Same is the case with Sikhism.
2. However, each religion 'packages' this age-old philosophy in a set of superficially 'different or new' set of symbols, ceremonies and rituals.
3. To a serious spiritual aspirant, the correct question is: whether this path is effective and right ? And not, whether this path is new ? It is only our mischievous ego which craves for novelty, change and attention. Our ego prompts us to brand our religion as 'new/progressive/better'.
4. Even before Guru Naanak started Sikhism around 550 years back, people achieved salvation. No particular religion can claim any 'monopoly' on the path.
5. While we consider Sikhism to be founded/invented by Guru Naanak, it is interesting to note that Guru Naanak passes all the credit to God. He emphatically says: 'Dhur ki baani', implying that it is the 'Message of God'. Sikh Gurus have considered Themselves to be obedient servants of God.
15. Concept of Amrit
The search for Amrit: From time immemorial, man has tried to become immortal. This is the only route to achieve eternal happiness/ divinity. Man has always searched for something which makes him immortal. This is termed as 'amrit', nectar, elixir etc.
GGS definition of Amrit: There are numerous lines in the GGS explaining that 'Naam simran' and God's grace can confer the status of immortality to a person. As explained before, with 'Naam simran / Akaal ustat', our mind is purified allowing the Inner Soul to control our lives completely. In the GGS, the word 'Amrit' indicates two things - firstly 'Naam simran' and secondly the 'Inner Soul, which is always immortal. When the word 'Amrit' indicates 'Naam simran', then it implies a path/ process. While when it implies Soul, it indicates the goal.
Followers mix-up the definition of the path and goal. The most common question 'Have you taken amrit', generally means whether you have undergone the initiation ceremony. But if we use the GGS definition, then this question would mean 'Have you performed simran'. According to the GGS, a person who has taken amrit has become immortal/enlightened. But we all know that, the initiation ceremony does not transform us in this manner.
Naanak amrit (nectar) ek hai dujaa amrit naahe.
Naanak amrit (Soul) manne mahe, paayiye gur-parsaad,
Tinni peeta rang siu, jin kou likhiyaa aad'. (GGS: 1238).
Implying, those who are drenched/immersed in God's Name attain immortality.
Trisnaa muul na hovayi, naam vase mann aye' (GGS:1250)
Gur-parsaad kahe jan bheekhan paavo mokh duaaraa' (GGS: 659).
Bhagat Bhikhanji says that with 'Naam' I get salvation / immortality.
amrit har ka naam hai, varse kirpaa dhaar' (GGS: 1281).
jinaa paraapat tin peeyaa, houmae vicho khoye' (GGS:31).
Implying that by obeying the Will of God, we lose our ego and achieve immortality.
Implying, God's grace confers the seeker the status of immortality.
Sabade hi naao uupaje, sabade mel milaaiyaa; Bin sabade sabh jag bau-raanaa,
birthaa janam gavaaiya. Amrit eko sabad hai, naanak gurmukh paeyaa'(GGS:644; AK:433).
Here 'sabad' means 'Naam/gian'.
Gur-parsaadi jinee antar paayiaa, so antar baahar, suhelaa jio... Jhim jhim varse, amrit dhaaraa. Mann peeve sun sabad beechaaraa. (GGS:102; AK:432).
Implying, everything is present in this body. With God's grace and 'naam', we can achieve eternal happiness, both inside and outside our body. The mind has to imbibe the 'shabad/ gian/ naam'.
Effect of the mischievous ego:
Our ego manifests in many ways. It continuously searches ways to project its superiority. It does not even spare our religious activities and ceremonies. Many of us fall in this trap after we undergo the ceremony of 'amrit'. Now, this is a paradox. The concept of 'amrit' and 'naam simran' are meant to dissolve/sublimate our ego. And what happens is quite the opposite. So instead of progressing on the spiritual path, we are regressing. Suggestions to prevent getting trapped by the ego are:
1. Spiritual progress does not confer any 'authority' on a person. On the contrary, it imposes greater responsibility on the person to abide by the fundamental message of continuous 'Naam japo, Sachi kirt karo, Wand ke chako and Hukam manno'. As a seeker faithfully discharges this responsibility, God may confer power on him. But a seeker cannot demand a special status from God.
2. Whenever a seeker is able to perform any 'good/spiritual' work, he should remind himself that God is the Doer; and that there is absolutely no reason for him to take any credit for this good work. In this manner, a seeker can prevent increasing his ego.
3. A seeker should also avoid expecting to be treated 'separately/preferentially' because of his 'spiritual status'. Due to our ego, we want preferential treatment under one pretext or another.
4. A seeker must remember that he is not favouring anybody by walking on the spiritual path. It is his personal choice and decision. Others are free to reject walking on this path, or to treat it higher.
1. Guru Gobind Singhji started a ceremony initiating a person into the process of becoming immortal.
2. But along with this initiation ceremony/ symbol, we must perform 'Naam simran', because that is the 'Amrit' for our mind. 'Naam simran' can confer [true]immortality to a person.
3. Even before Guru Gobind Singhji started this ceremony/symbol, Sikh Gurus and other Saints reached the stage of Jeevan-mukt due to 'Naam japo/ kirt karo/ Wand ke chako/ Hukam manno'
4. The ceremony/ symbols instituted are a reminder to our mind of this deeper significance.
5. A seeker should not treat the ceremony as his goal. The ceremony is mentioned in the 'Rehat-naamaas'. The GGS equates 'amrit' to simran/ gian.
6. A seeker should be careful in not allowing his ego to manifest in subtle ways.
16. The Khaalsaa philosophy
The Khaalsaa philosophy: Guru Gobind Singhji has spoken about 'Khaalsaa'. However, the GGS has very few lines. Surprisingly, one line in the GGS is authored by Bhagat Kabirji, much before Guru Naanak started Sikhism. This reconfirms our stand that Truth is only 'rediscovered' and not invented.
A few lines which give a comprehensive definition of the state-of-mind of 'Khaalsaa' are:
Indicating that He who is dyed with the hue of God's love is a Khaalsaa.
Puuran jyot jage ghat meh, tab khaalas tahe na-khaalas jaanae. (Sarab Lohgranth; AK:291)
Indicating that a [true]Khaalsaa prays continuously to the Indwelling Soul. He has undivided love for God. When He experiences all the power of the Soul, He can be called a [true]Khaalsaa.
Therefore, a 'Khaalsaa' is devoted to God, liberated from the world and is immersed in the Name of God. This also indicates that his mind has no other thought, other than that of God. When such a situation exists, He will naturally keep away from ego, anger, lust, greed, delusion, criticism etc. Suddenly we realise how difficult it is to be a [true]Khaalsaa.
As explained before, the state-of-mind of a [true]Khaalsaa is the same as that of a [true]Gursikh, Sant, Saadhu, Pandit, Brahmgiani and finally God. This is an important point.
Consider the line: 'Khaalsaa mero roop hai khaas' (Sarab Lohgranth). Does this imply only a physical similarity between Guru Gobind Singhji and the Khaalsaa? If this is so, then no lady can ever hope to become a Khaalsaa. Obviously, this comparison is between the state-of-mind of Guru Gobind Singhji and another person. When I honestly compare my impure mind with the purest mind of my Tenth Guru, suddenly I realise that I am nowhere close to being a Khaalsaa. Further, if only a physical similarity was intended, then all the earlier Sikh Gurus and Bhagats such as Kabir, Tirlochan, Namdev etc. (who are revered in the Guru Granth Sahib) would not fit in the definition of Khaalsaa. But I am sure that, their state-of-mind, and not ours, is that of a [true]Khaalsaa.
Congruence between a [true]Khaalsaa and God:
1. 'Prabh meh, mo meh, taas meh, ranchak naahan bhev' (Sarab Lohgranth; AK:293).
This clearly brings out the congruence between God, Guru Gobind Singhji and the [true]Saint/ [true]Khaalsaa. Honestly, very few of us can claim this level of equality/ congruence.
2. We can compare this with lines of Slok M:IX, 56 (GGS:1429): 'Naam rahiyo, saadhu rahiyo, rahiyo gur gobind', implying the congruence between 'God, Naam, Saadhu and the Guru/ Preceptor'. This is possible because God manifests in His pure form as 'Naam, Saadhu and the Preceptor'. In this manifestation there is only God without combining with 'Maayaa' or the illusion creating force.
3. Guru Gobind Singhji sung the praise of 'Khaalsaa'. Since Guru Gobind Singhji was God-Incarnate, it is highly unlikely that, He would bow down to any normal mortal human-being. He would bow only to His equal. This implies that a [true]Khaalsaa is equivalent to God/ Guru Gobind Singhji.
4. It is likely that the 'Paanj piyaare' were already enlightened when they offered their head to Guru Gobind Singhji. The historic occasion only revealed their status. As per the GGS, and as explained before, a [true]Warrior is an enlightened person as follows:
Implying that first be prepared to give up your life, if you desire to get God's blessings.
Et maarag pair dhareejae, sir deejae kaan na keejae'. (GGS:1412; AK:301).
Implying that in giving your life you are not doing a favour. If you really love God, be prepared to sacrifice your life.
5. Guru Gobind Singhji bowed to the 'Panj piyaare'. This is possible only if they were enlightened and were equivalent to God. But this does not mean that any five humans grouped together would have the same spiritual status as the 'Panj piyaare' selected by Guru Gobind Singhji.
6. Super-humans feats may confirm 'enlightenment': We can conclude that, apart from Sikh Gurus, the following may also have been enlightened, based on their super-human feats.
1. 'Khaalsaa' philosophy implies a completely pure mind. All qualities of the Soul are revealed.
2. The state-of-mind of a [true]Khaalsaa = [true]Sikh = [true]Jeevan-mukt = Enlightened man = God.
3. When viewed from our standards, a [true]Khaalsaa is a super-normal human.
17. Khaalsaa symbols/ prayers and their message
In the year 1699, Guru Gobind Singhji instituted an initiation ceremony. At this ceremony, a seeker is told about the following three things: Firstly, the 5-K symbols. Secondly, the daily prayers and Thirdly, the offences to be avoided. It is important to note that these injunctions are not found in the GGS, but is found in 'Rehat-naamaas' written by distinguished Sikhs at that time. The standards of the GGS are higher. A [true]Khaalsaa has to abide by the GGS and the 'Rehat-naamaas'.
Section: 1: The 5-K symbols and their underlying philosophy:
1.1: 'Kesh': Unshorn hair symbolises spirituality/mysticism. It signifies our relationship with God. It conveys the message of 'Naam simran / bhakti'. Most prophets had unshorn hair.
1.2: 'Kangaa': Since it is used to maintain cleanliness of the hair, it conveys the message of 'purity / cleanliness' of the mind as well as of the body. 'Naam' can reside only in a pure heart/ mind.
1.3: 'Ka(r)ddaa': An iron bangle on the right hand signifies the need to 'obey His Hukam'. Since actions are performed by our right hand, the 'Ka(r)ddaa' reminds us not do any incorrect actions.
1.4: 'Kachheraa': Comfortably designed, these drawers cover our organs of reproduction and evacuation. The message is to use restraint in using the reproductive organ and to avoid illicit sex.
Both the 'kachheraa' and 'ka(r)ddaa' together, signify the need for a seeker to restraint/control all his organs of action and perception. The hands, feet, speech, reproductive organ and excavation organs are the five organs of action ('karam indriyaa'). The eyes, nose, ears, tongue and skin are the five organs of perception ('gian indriyaa'). All these organs are controlled by the mind; so we can include the mind also as an organ of perception. Gurbani advises a [true]seeker to win over all these organs, and abandon the five vices; though, only one in a crore person, can reach this status of purity.
GGS advises a seeker that the proper use of his organs is as follows:
1. Hands/ feet: To participate in 'sevaa/ saad sangat'. To avoid robbing/ hurting others.
2. Speech/ mind: To speak God's name and Truth. To avoid lying
3. Ears/ mind: To hear God's praise. To avoid hearing criticism of others.
4. Eyes/ mind: To see the universe as God's play. To avoid coveting another person's property/ lady.
5. Tongue: To taste God's name. To avoid getting addicted to delicious foods.
Mithiyaa netr pekhat, par-triya ruupaad. Mithiyaa rasnaa bhojan an svaad.
Mithiyaa charan par-bikaar kou dhaave. Mithiyaa mann par lobh lubhaave.
Mithiyaa tann nahi par-upkaaraa. Mithiyaa baas let bikaaraa.
Bin buujhe, mithiyaa sabh bhaye. Safal deh, naanak, har har naam lae'. (GGS:268; Sukhmani:5.5)
The 'Ka(r)ddaa and Kachheraa' signify self-restraint. They also indicate the proper use of our organs. Hence, in a broad sense, they remind us of obeying the laws of the universe and of honest living. So they indicate two points from Guru Naanak's message of 'Hukam manno and Sachi kirt karo'.
1.5: 'Kirpaan': A small curved dagger, covered in a case, and worn on the waist. It symbolises the 'shakti' aspect of God. God is Just and He protects the needy/downtrodden from tyrants/injustice. Now, as a seeker goes closer to God, he spontaneously/ naturally feels the need to protect the downtrodden. This is the true interpretation of the word 'suura/ warrior'. Gurbani also defines a 'suura' to be a person who has controlled the five inner vices.
Aatam jiney, sagal vas ta kai, jaa kaa satgur puura' (GGS:680; AK:413).
Implying that a [true]Warrior/ brave person is immersed in the name of God, and reached the Soul.
Implying that a [true]brave/ warrior has killed the ego/pride.
Implying that a [true]warrior fights for the down-trodden/weak, and not for his own property.
Implying, who is such a [true]warrior, who has defeated his inner five vices ?
An enlightened person has a multi-faceted personality:
[true]Saintliness and [true]Bravery represent two different aspects of the same enlightened person. Only a [true]Saint knows Truth and, can uphold It. Since He is fearless/ without acrimony, (like God is 'nirbhau, nirvair'), He can truly protect the downtrodden. If he is not a [true]saint and, he raises his sword, he will become a tyrant/ sadist.
So, while we often address Guru Gobind Singhji as a 'Sant-Sipaahi', each of the Sikh Gurus were 'Sant-Sipaahi's because each of them was enlightened. Consider another view. An enlightened person has all the qualities of God. Therefore He can display any aspect of God. God has infinite qualities. These include being a judge, a forgiver, an upholder of Truth, a poet, a renunciate, a giver etc. So, an enlightened person has a multi-faceted personality.
The 'kirpaan' signifies protecting the downtrodden. A warrior protecting the weak, is actually 'donating' his strength to the weak. This is linked to Guru Naanak's advice of 'Wand ke chhako'.
Section 2: Prayers to be said daily:
A Khaalsaa is advised to say the following prayers daily: Japuji Sahib, Jaap Sahib, Tavprasad Savaiye, Choupai, Aanand Sahib (40 pauries), Rehras and Sohila.
Rather than mechanically saying these prayers, it is important to understand and implement them in life. Prayers contain knowledge for our spiritual progress. The central theme of these prayers revolves around the four-point formula of: 'Naam Japo, Sachi kirt karo, Wand ke chakko and Hukam manno'.
Rituals: All Spiritual Masters, including Sikh Gurus have denounced rituals. Commonly, this word is equated with a mechanical routine of religious ceremonies/systems. But, this word has a broader meaning. Any action performed without the active involvement of the mind becomes a ritual. The act could be a simple act of eating food. The benefit of involving the mind in every action is that it prevents us from making a mistake in that act. Secondly, the mind is stopped from running into the past or future. Thirdly, it improves concentration and supports meditation. When we accept this definition of the word 'ritual', we realise that for a large part of our life, we are ritualistic, or hypocritical. Compared to this, an enlightened person performs each act with the sincerity and devotion, which we equate with praying.
Section 3: Four grave offences to be avoided by a Khaalsaa:
3.1: Not to cut his hair: Since the hair symbolises spirituality, a Khaalsaa is advised not to cut his hair. He should not attempt to shave/ mutilate/ discolour/ dye them. The advice regarding hair appears twice, firstly as a positive act to be done and secondly as a negative act to be avoided. This could be due to its significance for spiritual progress.
3.2: Not to engage in illicit sex: A Khaalsaa is not permitted to have any illicit relationship, outside the institution of marriage. Having such a relationship induces feelings of guilt in the mind and disturbs the mental/ emotional equilibrium/independence. This also implies not thinking/fantasising about sex.
But how frequently is a Khaalsaa allowed to have sex with his legitimate wife? The 'Rehat-naamaas' are silent on this. Most followers interpret it as complete freedom. My view is that a serious seeker should minimise such acts/thoughts. Sexual activity should be engaged only for the purpose of procreating a child; and not for deriving sensual pleasure. A careful interpretation of the GGS indicates that the underlying concept is to abstain from all sense-pleasures. A [true]Khaalsaa has to abide by the highest standards of the GGS, since He is totally enlightened. GGS states:
Implying that on abandoning worldly tastes, I can taste of God's nectar. Once I taste God's nectar, I do not like/prefer worldly tastes.
Implying, sexual and angry (acts/ thoughts) ruin the body, like gold is eaten away by acid.
Implying that after enjoying momentary sexual pleasure, a person suffers for a crore days.
Ayurvedic view on sex: The vital fluid lost in a sexual activity (Ojas), is the cause of human vitality. Excessive loss of this fluid results in lower immunity and body weakness. Restrained sexual activity is the key to a balanced mental/physical health. (Refer: Natural Healing, Through Ayurveda, page:82).
Meditation reduces needs: As a seeker intelligently meditates, the needs of his body/mind reduce; he does not need to externally force himself to reduce them. In this manner, an enlightened person is able to become completely independent of all needs.
3.3 Not to eat non-vegetarian food: There are controversies regarding this point. Most people interpret it to mean non-vegetarian food prepared by the muslim style/ 'halaal' killing. However a careful interpretation of the GGS shows us eating any type of non-vegetarian food is harmful. It goes against the principle of 'protecting the weak'.
Also, food affects our thoughts. Hence a purer diet supports meditation. But we should not conclude that, a seeker who eats only vegetarian food has no contamination in his mind.
A [true]Khaalsaa has achieved complete independence from worldly objects/persons. He can live without any food, water, sleep etc. as has been explained before in the section of 'Goal of life'. So this illogical controversy of 'halaal' and 'kutha' does not arise for the [true]Khaalsaa. However, for an average seeker, it is better to avoid non-vegetarian diet, alcohol and tobacco.
jit khaade tann kheen hoe, mann meh chale vikaar' (GGS:949).
Implying that one should avoid a diet which generates impure thoughts. Earlier, GGS lines were quoted to show that impure thoughts result in disease/pain in the body/mind.
Teerath barat nem kiye, te sabhe rasaatal jaae' (GGS:1377).
Implying that by consuming alcohol/ fish/ paan, a person looses spiritual merit and goes to hell.
Biological/medical reasons about the disadvantages of non-vegetarian food for spiritual progress:
1. Just before an animal, bird or fish is killed, in any manner, it has emotions of fear. These emotions release dangerous toxins in their body, which are then consumed by humans. This can cause various diseases to the human being.
2. The human intestine is nearly 30 feet long and is similar to that of herbivorous animals such as cow. While, carnivorous animals have a shorter intestine, so that the toxins come out from the intestines faster. Also, the shape of human teeth/nails, do not match those of carnivorous animals.
3. It is a misconception that more strength is derived from eating non-vegetarian food. Herbivorous animals such as horse and elephant have sufficient strength/stamina. The Sikhs who fought along with Guru Gobind Singhji could fight with 125,000 enemies. These brave Sikhs were vegetarians.
4. By the law of karma, if we kill an animal/bird/fish, then we receive the same pain/ punishment.
5. But what happens to a person who eats vegetables? It is accepted that plants have life, and they suffer 'pain', when they are plucked. But we must note an important difference. Fruits/vegetables have a much lower level of 'consciousness'; hence the extent of pain suffered by them is much lower as compared to birds/fishes/animals. Due to this a person eating vegetables commits a smaller sin, as compared to a person eating a bird/fish/animal. This is elaborated as:
3.4: Not to consume intoxicants, such as tobacco and alcohol: Scientific evidence proves the harmful effects of tobacco and alcohol. They disturb and weaken the internal functioning of the body. Due to this the body contracts various diseases. Intoxicants are habit-forming, forcing a person to increase his consumption. This causes greater damage to his body. Intoxicants also disturb the emotional equilibrium of a person. Under the influence of alcohol, a person speaks/ acts irresponsibly, which can be dangerous. Such mistakes are detrimental to his spiritual progress.
har har kade na chetiyo, jamm paka(r)dd chalaaiyaa' (GGS:726),
Implying that a person consuming tobacco forgets God.
Teerath barat nem kiye, te sabhe rasaatal jaae' (GGS:1377).
Implying that by consuming alcohol a person goes to hell.
1. A [true]Khaalsaa understands and continuously practices 'Naam simran, Sachi kirt karo, Wand ke chhako and Hukam manno'.
2. A [true]Khaalsaa does not violate any injunction of the GGS as well as the 'Rehat-naamaas'. He has annihilated all thoughts/words/ deeds of ego, lust, anger, jealousy, greed, attachment etc. He can sacrifice everything to protect the downtrodden.
3. He can give up every worldly object including food, water, sleep etc.
4. The 5-K's instituted by Guru Gobind Singhji convey this message to the seeker.
5. Adopting symbols without practising the deeper philosophy will result in little spiritual merit.
6. A seeker should say his daily prayers and should be vigilant in avoiding the four grave offences.
18. Jab lag Khaalsaa rahe niyaaraa, tab lag tej diu mein saaraa,
jab eh gahe bipran ki reet, mein na karo in ki parteet.
Let us analyse the implications of this line from the Sarab Loh Granth of Guru Gobind Singhji.
The aim is to lift us from our lower mentality and take us towards salvation.
1: A [true]Khaalsaa is totally independent of all worldly needs:
The word 'Khaalsaa' means He who has reached His Soul and is totally immersed in God. He is pure, noble and not subservient to any worldly thoughts/desires. It means that He has no need for any worldly things including food, water, sleep, medicine, praise, desires etc. This is nearly impossible. GGS lines indicate that Sikh Gurus and [true]Saint were at this position. Only when a person does not need any worldly thing can he become 100% independent, free, truthful (in the real sense), fearless, 'beh-mouthaj, nirbhai, sae-bhang (depending only on His Inner Soul), jeevan-mukat'.
All Sikh Gurus were at this stage. However, for most parts of their lives they behaved like usual humans and engaged in worldly activities. However, all these activities were optional, they were not under worldly compulsions like we are. Most of us equate being 'independent' with having our business, a fat bank-balance, a house and a Maruti car, all earned by our own effort. But we are dependent on these worldly objects for our security. Without these we will be under a terrible stress.
Secondly, all of us depend on food, water, sleep, air and shelter - which we consider as normal. But from the view of a Saint, this is not [true] independence. GGS/ Gurbani indicates:
Indicating that in the stage of 'jeevan-mukat' there is no need of food/ sleep.
vadde bhaag har siu bann aayi' (Gurdas Vaara:1, pauri 24; AK:241)
Indicating that Guru Naanak could subsist only on a grain of sand and one poisonous fruit while performing severe penance. Similarly, when Guru Tegbahaadur did continuous penance for about 27 years, he may not have depended on food or water, because He did not need them.
Indicating that the complete diet/ food of a [true]Saint is 'naam simran'.
Indicating that 'Hari-naam' is the medicine for a [true]Khaalsaa. So if we depend on medicines or on a doctor, we are quite far from the concept of 'independence' and of a [true]Saadhu / Khaalsaa.
Indicating that with proper/complete 'naam simran', a [true]Saint does not even need sleep.
chhuut gayi sansaari' (GGS:1123; AK:419).
Kabirji says that I forgot the needs of 'sansaar' once I got 'Naam dhan'. Therefore 'Naam' is opposite of 'sansaar'. Any person who is under any need of the sansaar, is not a [true] Khaalsaa.
A [true]Khaalsaa/Saint can achieve congruence with God only when He becomes totally like Him. And God is 'Sae-bhang', He does not need the 'sansaar'. He can remain content within Himself. Because God does not depend on anything, He cannot be 'bribed', He is always Fair/Just and cannot be conquered. Suppose I am dependent on tasty food. Then this becomes my weakness, and I can be conquered, bribed or fooled due to this weakness.
Therefore, a [true]Khaalsaa/ Sant is independent of all worldly things. These include physical needs such as food, air, sleep, medicines; and emotional needs such as attachment, praise etc. Merely managing a business and not taking up a job does not make oneself a [true]Khaalsaa.
2: A [true]Khaalsaa can willingly give up His mortal frame:
A [true]Khaalsaa has complete control on His mind/body. Due to this, He does not experience pain at all. He can undergo physical and mental hardships of a super-human nature. In accordance with the Will of God, He can willingly leave His mortal frame. Very few of us can claim to be able to perform these miracles. We can recollect that Gurbani states: 'Mann jite jag jeet' (GGS:6); and that 'Jo brahmande soi pinde' (GGS:695). So, a [true]Khaalsaa can control all the forces in the entire universe and enact a 'miracle'. What appears a 'miracle' to us, is a 'normal' act for them. Examples are:
1. The martyrdom of Guru Arjan and Guru Tegbahaadur. In both cases, They did not experience the slightest pain/ sorrow. They could willingly leave Their mortal frames at the appointed hour.
2. When Wali kandhaari hurled a rock at Guru Naanak, the rock was stopped mid-way after Guru Naanak gestured at it with His palm. (Gurudwara Panjaa Sahib).
3. When Guru Naanak's feet were moved by the angry kaazi, the entire mosque revolved.
4. Super-humans feats may confirm 'enlightenment'. We can conclude that, apart from Sikh Gurus, the following may also have been enlightened based on the super-human feats performed by them.
3: 'niyaaraa' from whom?
It has been my aim to explain logically that in the house of God there are only two categories. The first category comprises of very few people who reach the position of [true]Saint, Khaalsaa or Brahmgiani.
The second category comprises the vast majority of people who have not reached this exalted state of 'Jeevan-mukt'. So, here the implication of 'niyaaraa' is to distinguish a [true]Khaalsaa from the vast majority of people who are trapped in the cycle of birth-and-death. 'Niyaaraa' is a state-of-mind which is pure; and is more difficult to achieve than physical cleanliness/differentiation. In the GGS, 'Niyaaraa' is comparable to 'niraalaa'.
Surely, if all humans and all religions are created by one God, then, it does not matter which religion a person follows. What is important is whether a person follows his religion correctly.
Guru Naanak replied to the question, as to whether God prefers hindus or muslims. Guru Naanak observed that in God's court only good deeds (the highest of which is of Naam simran) will save a person. Which religion he follows on earth, is immaterial.
Therefore a [true]Khaalsaa is 'niyaaraa' or different from the vast majority of population trapped in transmigration. Merely adopting the 5-K's and becoming 'physically different', may have little spiritual merit. Nor will it confer the inner strength/wisdom/purity/divinity.
4: 'tej deu meh':
Some people interpret it that, Guru Gobind Singhji will shower all His blessings on such a 'Khaalsaa'. My submission is different. Guru Gobind Singhji has claimed himself to be a servant of the Almighty.
Jo hum ko parmesar uuchar hai, te sabh narak kund meh par hai' (Akaal ustat; AK:278).
In Jaap Sahib, He worshipped the Immortal/ 'Achal-murat' God. Similarly in the Ardaas, Guru Gobind Singhji worshipped the Primordial God/ 'pritham bhagouti'.
So Guru Gobind Singhji has acknowledged that He derived all His power from God. Therefore it is logical that He would recommend His followers to do so. Though He has used the word 'meh' meaning 'I', the underlying meaning is that 'God Almighty'. Since, a [true]Saint = God, whatever is spoken by a [true]Saint is actually spoken by God Himself. So here the word 'meh' means God/ Indwelling Soul.
Another point is that, if the concept of 'Khaalsaa' existed before Sri Guru Gobind Singhji, then the source of power to the 'Khaalsaa' can only be God.
In the GGS, Sikh Gurus have never considered to be the Doer because God is the 'Kartaa-purakh'.
kiyaa jaanou, kichh har kiyaa, bhaeyo kabir kabir'. (GGS:1367; Slok Kabir:62)
Kabirji says that while people are praising me, I am aware that God is the Doer; and not me.
Implying that whoever claims to be the doer, suffers trans-migration.
We should therefore interpret the word 'meh' as God Almighty.
5. 'saaraa': 'Saaraa' means full/ total/ complete. As has been explained before, when the mind is purified, all the qualities/power/wisdom of the Indwelling Soul are revealed.
6: 'bipran ki reet': This is the most controversial part of this line. The dictionary of GGS words by Bhai Veer Singhji says that 'bipran' means 'brahmin'. For a moment, let us assume this to be right. As I have explained before, every word/concept deteriorates with time.
The GGS gives us the [true] and [false] meanings of the word 'brahmin'. Details discussed earlier.
Indicating that a [true]Brahmin has reached His Inner Brahma/ God/ Soul'.
7: Is 'bipran' linked to 'vipreet'? I have another view.
8: 'parteet': This word means trust/ faith. A [true]Khaalsaa has no ego. He does not interfere with God's Will. So He can be trusted fully by God. But when a person looses his purity, then his mind/ego starts interfering/ distorting God's Will. In this manner, he losses God's trust.
9: Conclusion: My humble understanding of this line is that:
Caution regarding 'Dasam Granth': Gurmat Martand by Kahn Singh Nabha explains that verses in Dasam Granth cannot be completely relied upon. Firstly, it was called 'Vidya sagar' and was written by Bhai Mani Singh from his memory, after Guru Gobind Singh left this world. Secondly, it contains verses authored by other poets. Thirdly, since it is not designated as the 'eternal/complete' Guru, we need to exercise caution in using/spreading/interpreting lines from this granth.
Ardaas: 'Pichhale avgun bakhas laye, prabh aagae maarag paavae'. (GGS:624).
Oh God, please forgive all my past errors/sins/mistakes. Please guide me in future.
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