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Japji Sahib - 6th Pauri

Discussion in 'Jap Ji Sahib' started by japjisahib04, Feb 14, 2005.

  1. japjisahib04

    japjisahib04 Kuwait
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    Stanza VI
    Teerath navah jai tis bhava vin bhanai kai nae karii
    Pilgrimage bathing is only then useful if it pleases Him; if bathing, His favor does bestow, why at all to places of pilgrimage I go?

    Jaiti seerth upai vaikha vin karma kai milai lai
    Vast, as God’s Creation that I do perceive, nothing without His Grace that I receive.

    Mat vich rattan jawahar maanik jai eik gur ki sikh sunee
    Thou listen one instruction (iek Sbd) of the preceptor (Guru) and find in mind, pearls, jewels and gems (unbelievably precious) of patience, contentment, compassion, of many kind.

    Gura-a iek dey bhujayee
    Sabhna jeeya ka iek daata so mey visar na jaeye]6]
    Hey Guru! Bless my mind, this to imbibe, “He alone (and not Devi devtas), the Bestower of beings of all kind, that never at all, He should slip from my mind.

    This stanza analyzes different way adopted by devotees to realize God. Guru Nanak had found that religion had degenerated into superstitions, dogma and ritualism. Guru Nanak came for the redemption of the humanity. For this purpose he repeats in this stanza his faith and message to the humanity that they should always remember that there is but One God of all creation, which is a direct departure from the earlier faith of worshipping multiple deities. Hence whole humanity should be well knit in one brotherhood or fraternity. When Guru Nanak came to this world, paths to enlightenment were devoid of divinity; they were completely distorted towards unholy goals of the exploiters of people. A class of religious leaders routinely concocted religious practices to thrust on people to serve many unholy interests. These interests were mutually supportive and were successful in designing a variety of concealed tricks to fool people who were seeking salvations. The religious institutions had devised beauty shows in religious practices that were intended to attract innocent minds. For example, they invented deities and stories about them, idols with descriptions of their powers, recitations to invoke imaginary deities, and rituals that buttressed each other. They asked people to erect stunning buildings to house god and promised accessibility to gods at precise times and places opened only through expense of wealth, time, and inner energy. Altruism was *******ed so that it only benefited clerics and clergy.


    In the process of adopting a religion, which was practiced in the past century, people were overwhelmingly influenced by the power of their ancient past, which always related to an ethnic religion of their land. Whereas founders of the most religions meant to connect human beings with each other and with the Universal Divine, the innate tendencies of the followers gravitated in the opposite. This made them vulnerable to the conspiracies of the clergies who considered religion as an object of commerce. The clergy of the past found it convenient to abuse religions for their own purposes and promoted division and hatred. Guru Nanak was disturbed over this plight and he classified this type of religion as karam -dharam in contrast to a sach -dharam meaning the true religion that is a source of the true spirituality. Karam -dharam meant a religion of rituals and ethnic divisions, which ignored and subordinated the Divine Reality. According to Guru Nanak’s analysis, the whole humanity was being placed under the spell of an unholy ethnio-centric parenthesis by the religions of the time. Thus, the Guru launched a crusade in the direction of a universal religion, which rejected all rituals and prejudices. In this process, he never condemned or under estimated any one religion. The Gurus' critique of those traditions was from a much higher level than we normally understand. In the modern pluralistic world, if we want respect for our traditions, then we must equally respect the traditions of other religions. That is why Gurbani only very gently, forcefully, and in intelligent manner uncovers the veil of falsehood and lays before us the true nature of things. Just like in twilight a rope may look like a snake but sunshine clearly shows that it is infact a rope. Just like the stars are visible only when sun has not risen yet. Infact the beauty of Gurbani is the fact that it sifts truth and falsehood so magnificently and logically that it does offend anyone. The mission of Guru Nanak was to separate the genuine insight for a vision of the true reality from the inevitable errors of ritualism and materialistic selfishness that crept into the religious practices almost universally. He declared that any practice or preaching of a religion in order to promote ritualism or ethnicity is a grave hypocrisy. He said knowledge of none of the holy book is false; it is only the Custodian of so called religions or priestly class, which has hijacked the true message by bringing in maryada, rehat or shariat.


    In order to divest the devotees of ill-founded beliefs of various rituals, sermons, idol worship, in first line of this stanza he inquires about the futility of pilgrimage bathing, in a very logical manner. He said he would definitely do so if it pleased God. As it does not please Him, he won’t resort to pilgrimage bathing or ablutions. Before Guru Nanak, Sufis and Saints were so much confused about places of pilgrimages that Bhagat Kabir at the Center of Banares, a Hindu city, could not stop himself but to comment, “jaha jaeyeih teh jal pakhan - wherever I go, I find nothing but just flowing water and lifeless stones (idols).” - Guru Granth ang.1195.13. He says without the grace of ‘the Absolute’ taking bath in revered places of worship is just a mechanical act with no spiritual element in it. In a way Guru Nanak is showing us the direction to spirituality. He says the spiritual journey is an inner pilgrimage of the expansion of love and consciousness. He says, “Why go to see sacred shrines of pilgrimage, or bathe in their waters; and disturb any beings or creatures in it. When Guru has shown me the sixty-eight places of pilgrimage within my own heart, for cleansing my inner purity. If one has become transformed and graced by ‘Karta Purakh’ then it is equivalent to what common people think happens if one takes bath in the water body associated with a revered place for pilgrimage.” - Guru Granth ang.973.3 (Please note this statement even apply to the bath at the pools of Gurudwara, which was earlier clarified in stanza 1). Gurbani tells us, “teerath sabd beechar antar gian hai – Real sacred shrine of pilgrimage is spiritual wisdom within, and contemplation on the Word of the Shabad.” – Guru Granth ang.674.14. Thus he says it is the Sabd or Naam, which links us with God after cleansing our mind with it. And Gurbani tellus us, it is cleaned by 'Oh dhopey Naavey ke rang'. Guru Nanak signifies the need of innate merits or virtuous deeds of the mankind without which no fulfillment is possible.

    In next line he says that when the devotee listens to the advice of God and meditates on His Name with spiritual ecstasy, his mind becomes more precious than pearls, jewels and rubies. And once inside of the human house is lightened, all the gems shall become visible automatically. He says reading while understanding Gurbani is talking to Guruji or Akalpurkh - Baani Guru, Guru hai Baani wich Baani Amrit Saaray - Gurbani kaihe sevak jan maneh Partakh Guru Nistaray. What Gurbani teaches us and provides us knowledge we are supposed to accept those versions, because Baani is ocean of spiritual knowledge and by exploring the ocean we can pick the pearls jewels and rubys from its bottom.

    What Guru Nanak wants to say is when the person possesses virtues like patience, contentment (by surrendering to Divine Will of God), compassion etc, they are the real pearls, jewels. It is only in this background that Gurbani expressed, “jo brahmandai soey pindai jo khojai so pavai - whatever is in the universe, the same is in our body and whoever seeks Him through meditation, finds Him there.” - Guru Granth ang.695.15. I wonder whether there is a State within and a perfect Government to run it within. It is in that context that while I see externally throughout the world VIOLENCE, HATRED, CRIME, GOONDAISM, USURPATION and allied problems, the Government in my internal State is totally at peace and the responsibility for governing it is of my Guru, Guru Granth Sahib. When we meditate we create a positive energy around ourselves. People often think God is an elderly bearded man living up in the clouds, but that's not it. Guru Nanak says God is an infinite energy force and we have a little bit of Him in us. Therefore we should look inwards not outwards. It is unfortunate though the Jyot resides in us we mistakenly waste our life and seek it outside at different pilgrimages or in rituals where we get nothing but materialistic possession, which only further distances us from the reality. Guru Nanak declared all external practices are worthless and tells us, “The visible religious rites, rituals and hypocrisies, are of no avail. Those are not only waste of time but are also plundered as octroi or Tax by the Yama (minion) enroute the next world for affording some minor facilities. Thus we will be left with nothing to go further and will be consigned to the chain of rebirth.” - Guru Granth ang.747.15. Guru Nanak declared it is the spirituality and not rituality, which unites us with God. Thus he pleads that instead of wasting time on all those rituals, contemplating Him through His virtues in meditation, even for an instant, one is saved. Thus he makes it clear that dominance of rituals, contrary to many, is not a requirement for spiritual development.


    In to addition to pilgrimage, let me avail this opportunity to mentions some of the superstition, dogmas which further prevailed (and unfortunately today are prevalent) during Guru Nanak ministry. Guru Nanak says mission of mankind on Earth is to earn ‘Dharam’ by nurturing love, day and night from the core of heart while contemplating on His virtues and chanting His Name. How can a devotee by fasting, torturing, sufferings or suppressing appetite concentrate or devote to utter His Naam. All these actions are the cause of deviation, thus they are only hypocrisy and the one, who is engrossed in hypocrisy, does not see the True Essence. In relation to fasting Gurbani declared it this way, “chhodai ann karai pakhand, na suhagan na oehai randh - one who fasts and discards food, is practicing hypocrisy. He is like a rolling stone and is neither a happy soul-bride, nor a widow.” - Guru Granth ang.873.4. Besides it yields no bonus marks. It is not a mean to wash any sins, it is not a mean to fulfill any of your desires, and it is not a mean to please God or merge into God. We pose to abstain from food outwardly but from inside body suffers in pain and is disturbed with fire of desires. It is hypocrisy. If really eaten less, it stabilizes the agitation in mind. This is what Gurbani advises “Sleep little, and eat little; O Nanak, this is the essence of wisdom.” - Guru Granth ang.939.4. Thus Gursikhs are fasting everyday. The process thus described here does not overload the body and abuse the beautiful machinery/apparatus gifted to us FREE without any effort on our part. Gurbani advises instead of fasting, we earn the fruitful rewards by observing the fast of knowing your own self with a pledge not to speak lies at least that day. Gurbani proclaims, “sach vvarat santokh teerath gian dhayan esnaan, daiya devta kheema japmali tai manas pardhan - the most excellent are those who have truth as their fast, contentment as their sacred shrine of pilgrimage, spiritual wisdom and meditation as their cleansing bath, kindness as their deity, and forgiveness as their chanting beads.” – Guru Granth ang.1245.11.


    Similarly, Guru Nanak denounced superstitions such as concept of impurity on woman during certain days and worrying about omens and auspicious days. A woman suffers menstruation, pregnancy and child birth for the sake of humanity and we should be eternally grateful for that. Calling a woman unclean because of a perfectly natural phenomenon is height of ignorance. First he say, “sabho sootak bharam hai dujai lagai jaey - all impurity comes only from doubt and attachment to duality.” - Guru Granth ang.472.18. So rejects the concept of impurity. He says, “only they are pure within whose mind Waheguru abides.” – Guru Granth 472.10. Gurbani tells us Spirituality is Divine Conciousness and not Body Conciouness. Guru Nanak says,” when He kept Himself, All-in-all, unto His Own Heart, then who considered omens to be good or bad?” - Guru Granth ang.291.13. He says when the same moon rises, the same stars, the same sunshines in the sky, the earth remains the same and the same wind blows. How can it be then that some times are sacred and the others not? Gurbani tells us, “Only mentally ill and fools worry about omens and auspicious days and fall into hypocrisy of superstitions.” - Guru Granth ang.843.2. Scientists have now studied not only the sun and moon but many other planets. They do not accept them as gods. Science has thus endorsed the five-centuries-old Sikh thought referred to above. He declared there is no ‘manglik or ‘manhus’ (ill-fated). All are His creations, how could He make someone manglik or manhus and said, “saha ganai na karai beechar - this is like imposing Hippocratic practices without understanding or calculating the impact and that One Creator God is above these auspicious.” – Guru Granth ang.904.10. He consistently tries to break old traditions.


    Gurbani propagate no month or day by itself is auspicious (Question over here arises, do the murder, theft, rape, frauds etc. or natural calamities like cyclone, earthquake, outbreak of decease etc. do not take place on such month or day, if they are auspicious or do any Judge in the court acquits murderers by saying since this was done in holy day or month, thus this was a holy murder or theft?). He declared, “All the months of year, all the days of the months and all the moments are auspicious upon whom God casts His glance of Grace.” - Guru Granth ang.136.12. He says these are business like approaches to invest less for more return in the domain of religious deeds too, like take bath on particular day and 364 days are bonus (i.e. millions of people flock to pilgrimages for holy bath in the month of ‘Magh’) or pray on particular day and lacs of prayers are bonus or fast on particular month or day and hope rest of the days or months are bonus for washing the sins of the year. Guru Nanak says the true cleansing bath is selfless service to the God but with filth within the heart, even if one bathes at sacred places of pilgrimage, still, he shall be consigned to cycle of death and rebirth. The true bath is inner bath by reciting Naam. Therefore before we practice these hypocrite acts, remember “sahai upar ek-ong-kar ] - that the One Creator God is above all these actions and belief.” - Guru Granth ang.904.10. It is unfortunate “Out of millions hardly is there a true devotee of God. All other are mere trader.” - Guru Granth ang.495.10.


    Guru Nanak further warned there is no definite deed in reality by the performance of which one can achieve Him, or “God cannot be obtained by any device at all; as He only is the Architect of activities (Karma).” - Guru Granth ang.510.17. He says if He could be achieved by that definite deed then that deed will be God’s price, “whereas He is priceless.” - Guru Granth ang.9.9. God has given us intelligence. Thus Gurbani tells us, “sunn mundai harnakhie gugha vvain aapaar, pahla vvast seejaan kai ta keechai vapaar O man of beautiful intellect, wisdom and cunningness, listen the great secret of life, do not follow anybody, first raise as many as doubts and queries you would have to find out the truth about anything, see the logic behind, then follow.” - Guru Granth ang.1410.6. So though Guru Nanak calls complete surrender it not against the teachings of Gurbani to raise questions. In the language of Guru Nanak the best proclamation is: Ughar gyaa jasiey khotta dhabuaa nadr sarafaa ayiaaa which in English can be translated perhaps as: The fake gem became exposed as soon as the eyes of the expert jeweller fell upon it. “ Guru Granth ang.381.7.

    Guru Nanak message of oneness of God promotes inter-faith dialogue. One of the fundamentals of inter-faith understanding was the recognition of efficacy of other faiths and Guru Granth Sahib recognized that all religions dispensations were capable of elevating the human soul. This aspect of Sikhi that I am most proud of is the fact that we have been taught by the entire Guru's to consider all religions as legitimate paths to God. Some Christians and Muslims who believe that their path is the only way do not share this belief. This is a form of intolerance. Our religion takes a better position on this point than being TOLERENT! Which is ‘unity in diversity’. We consider all the others, the beautiful diversity around us (including religions) to be branches of the same tree. Thus the analogy/quote from Gurbani fits really well here, “tarvar eik anant dhar saakha puhap padh ras bharia, eih amrit kee baadhee hai rai tin har purai karia - There is only one tree, all diversity is its branches, leaves, and fruits of the same tree filled with juice/rass. Yes, this is the garden of Kartapurakh, created by HIMSELF!!!” – Guru Granth ang.970.10.


    Guru Nanak revered all religions of the universe, which love Truth. But condemned and challenged in clear terms, hypocrisy, showism, untruth, insincerity and other unethical traits. But his language was clear cut, smooth and usual, without harsh emphasis. Guru Nanak says, “His love cannot be obtained through hypocrisy. All these false coverings bring only ruin.” - Guru Granth ang.54.1. Guru Nanak condemns those who worship anyone other than God and says, “Those who leave their God and Master and attach themselves with ‘others’ (physical universe or inanimate elements fashioned by Him and upon whom He established His authority) shall perish.” - Guru Granth, ang.470.10. Guru Nanak further enquires, “Why worship the gods and goddesses? What can we ask of them? What can they give us? The stone gods are washes with water, but they just sink in the water.” - Guru Granth ang.637.15. They are mythological deities and cannot do anything on their own. They are all subject to His command. They are no substitute to God and it is futile to worship them. They are within their limitation. All are said to be waiting just like ordinary person at the gate of God to have a chance for His audience. Though Mool Mantar describes God as fearless, Gubani tells us, “nanak nirbhau nirankaar hor kaitai raam ravaal - God is fearless and formless. All others, whether gods, goddesses, prophets or His messengers, are subject to the Divine Fear.” - Guru Granth ang.464.17. Whatever Guru Nanak sang was in resonance with Akal Purakh and all was only Dhur ki baani. Guru Nanak was a realized soul and he never meant to hurt the feelings of anyone but his purpose was to educate the people in a logical manner. He advised direct relation with God. It is but natural that Boss is Boss and it is a pride to associate with boss. Return of dealing directly with Boss is always more rewarding and quick than with the follower. Therefore he advises instead one associate with His creation and worship, go direct to the Owner, the God and don’t waste time through the intermediaries.


    Guru Arjan Dev, the fifth Guru Nanak said explicitly that all above declarations are not made to offend, ridicule, embarrass or hurt the sentiments of other beliefs. It is the faculty of reason (bibek) that is ability to determine what is truth and what is false in this world. If one recognizes the supremacy of reason and applies it consistently, he will be free from useless rituals, confusion and superstition. All this has been explained in Gurbani. But since Sharda cannot be dismissed very lightly under the argument of LOGICAL REASONING. In Gurmat Logic and Love/shardha/faith go hand in hand? Like if you follow principles of logic and science to explain everything then it would be hard to distinguish between sister, mother and wife because biologically they are similar but generate different feelings in us due to something more that is very precious, and that is love, jazba, emotions, pure divinity, shardha, faith whatever you may want to call them. Thus in addition to logical reasoning, and in order that anyone shardha is not offended, he further makes it clear that he is not saying anything by his own but “so boley jo pekhey akhee - spoke only what he saw with his own eyes in the spiritual world of God.” - Guru Granth ang.894.8. Gurbani once again affirms by declaring, “parmeswar kai duarai jee hoey beetatai su nanak aakh sunavai – that all above testimonial Guru Nanak witnessed during the period he spent on the lotus feet of God.” - Guru Granth ang.373.9. One thing is important to understand here that Guru Nanak was not a philosopher and whatever he and the Gurus that followed him wrote was not a philosophy. The Gurbani in SGGS is a statement of truths as revealed to Gurus and others Bhagats and is recorded by them. Gurbani belongs to the realm of mysticism as Guru Nanak proclaims that he preaches what is descended upon him in his mystic dream, “as the philosophy of the kind hearted God descends on to me, I am imparting the same to all, O Lalo.” - Guru Granth ang.722.16. In another reference Guru Arjan acknowledged this in SGGS by saying “Haun aapon bol na janda, Mehn kahia sabh hukamaaey jeeo. - by myself, I do not even know how to speak; I speak all that the God commands.” - Guru Granth ang.763.6. He further proclaims, “Nanak speaks as God inspires him to speak.” - Guru Granth ang.1271.7. While glorifying this descention of baani Guru Nanak said ‘this word (Spiritual Knowledge) is a bridge between mankind and God by which all confusion and sufferings disappear.” - Guru Granth ang.627.16.


    It is my humble opinion that what matter most is personal satisfaction and belief in the written word. Consequently, we should not look at those with inferior vision or ridicule who practice above means. Guru Nanak’s concept was, “sabhai sanjhiwal sadayan - every living being share His grace and none is beyond Him irrespective of whatever he does.” - Guru Granth ang.97.8. For someone it is not always the logic but faith. He says only the ignorant who do not have faith in God, the Al-mighty are mislead and, “chairi ki seva karai thakur nahi deesai, pokhar neer veeroliye makhan nahi reesai- these ignorant serves the false guru (or His creations) and do not see their God and Master. They cannot get spirituality. Just as churning water with stirrer one cannot get butter.” - Guru Granth ang.229.7. Lack of faith creates unfaithfulness. Finally he says, “without God, all other actions are useless.” - Guru Granth ang.216.4. Gurbani again describes “One whose mind does not nurture love for the Naam shall go to hell, even though he may perform millions of ceremonial rituals.” - Guru Granth ang.240.7. Guru Gobind Singh ji wrote, ‘srawag sidh smooh sidhan ke dekh firio ghar jog jatikey...He checked all these houses for us. We need not waste time reinventing wheel. No time for these things. Gurmat is unlimited.’ Let us learn this first. Therefore leave all above aside and, “japoeh ta ekoh naama , awar nirafal kaama - chant the Name of One God only and rise up in the flood light of Gursabd. All other actions lead to hypocrisy, superstitions and confusions thus are fruitless.” - Guru Granth ang.728.5.


    Guru Nanak was so much concerned with hypocrisy, superstition and ignorance that for the betterment of world he traveled extensively for 25 years throughout the world and visited major religious centers and promoted Interfaith Dialogues. Perhaps he was only Savior who toured all the four direction, and shared his revelation and Divine message with them. He visited important holy places in India and abroad, including Mecca and Medina in the West Ceylone (Sri Lanka) in the South, and Tibet in the Himalayas to convey his Divine message. While in Banaras, a Hindu holy city, he found priests offering water to the rising sun with the belief that it will reach their dead ancestors. Guru Nanak also entered the river Ganges along with them and started throwing the water towards his hometown in Punjab in the opposite direction. When questioned the logic by the priests Guru Nanak replied. “It is long time that he left home. He was trying to irrigate his withering crops.” Hearing the reply every body laughed and asked how water would reach his five hundred miles distant fields? The reply was abrupt and crisp. “Just as water would reach your ancestors millions miles away.”


    While in Mecca, Muslim Holy City, Guru Nanak during the night slept, innocently with his feet towards Ka’aba. Noticing this Qazi rebukes him for disrespect to the Ka’aba where they believed God resided. Guru Nanak replied respectfully, “Then turn my feet towards the direction where there is no God nor the Ka’aba. Legend say that Qabba or black stone moved as per the direction of his feet. “Highly impressed with this action and reply, the Head Qazi Jeewan had a detailed dialogue with Guru Nanak on the following day. Guru Nanak never emphasized any effort to condemn others. Rather, he inculcated liberty to find one’s own destiny and realization. When he was pressed on the question of any religion superior to other, he simply responded like this. Laying emphasis on good deeds, “Shubh Amlan Bajo Dono Roee - without virtuous deeds both will regret.” So performing good deeds is the only way of ensuring that bad deeds don’t come your way. So it is the deeds, hence we must sow the seeds of good deeds to have the desired result of peace after death.


    It will be useful to mention a drama staged by Guru Nanak in a mosque at Sultanpur to drive home the lesson that true worship was a matter of the heart and not of formal ritualism. It all happened like this: The Guru’s pronouncement was that there is “no Hindu or a Muslaman and that God adjudged mankind according to their actual deeds, not by what he may swear” was challenged by the Qazi of Sultanpur. He took strong exception to such a pronouncement in a Muslim regime. The Qazi invited Guru Nanak to come to the Masjid and say the nimaz. The Nawab nodded to it, though he being a nobler man and not a fanatic was not perturbed by the pronouncement. The Guru went for the nimaz. The Qazi and the Nawab offered the nimaz with all the rituals, but the Guru remained only standing. This further enraged the Qazi, as it was a sacrilege. But the Guru hushed up the Qazi by telling him that when the Qazi was formally offering the nimaz, his heart was taking care of the foal his mare had delivered that morning. The Nawab too was told that his mind was wandering in Kabul after the horses that had being purchased by his men. This ashamed both of them.


    While in Sind, Guru Nanak enquired Sidh Sain, King of Sind who was entangled in the disease of duality, whether he meditates on God and utters Word of Naam. Sidh Sain replied why do I need to remember when I do so many donations, ‘Jap, Tap’, ‘Havan’, service and other rituals. Guru Nanak had a unique way of teaching and he asked him to write ‘O’ several time on a piece of paper and then asked what is this, he said it is nothing but zero, then he asked him to write ‘1’ on the other side of paper and enquired what is this, he said it is One, then the Guru said “without ‘1’ or without the Naam, everything is false and worthless.” - (Guru Granth ang.761.16) and whatever donations, Jap Tap, Havan, worshiping of deities we do without ‘Naam’; will be recorded as zero in the spiritual world. Buddhism is very particular that we must suffer for the sanchitt karam i.e. the accumulated actions of past lives that are supposed to sprout and bear fruit in present life. But Guru Nanak is of the view that we can escape punishment for the past bad deeds once we meditate in the holy company. Guru Nanak made it even more clear by saying, “mitai kamanai paap chiranai saadhsanghat mil mua jeejai - the sins of past lives would be erased by joining the Saadh Sanghat, Assembly of the holy and by leading a purer and nobler life and new life shall be infused in the dead.” - Guru Granth.p.683.14. I will welcome any comments so that real message of Guru Nanak is passed on to us.
    Regards Sahni Mohinder
     
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