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Naam, dan, ishnan/ਨਾਮੁ ਦਾਨੁ ਇਸਨਾਨੁ

Discussion in 'Spiritual Articles' started by vsgrewal48895, Mar 24, 2009.

  1. vsgrewal48895

    vsgrewal48895
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    NAAM, DAN, ISHNAN/ਨਾਮੁ ਦਾਨੁ ਇਸਨਾਨੁ

    ABSTRACT

    Sikh Gurus emphasized three religious practices as a way of life in Sikh congregational gatherings of the time, Naam (remembering God's Name for internal purity), Dan (contributing to the community), and Ishnan (bathing in a sacred tank/sarovar for external purity and in the Gurbani/Sabd for internal purefication). Among these three, external bath (Ishnan) was regarded as a means to an end, not an end in itself, which erroneously has taken priority over the internal bath due to spiritual ignorance. Guru Nanak comments on the subject in Raag, Asa;

    ਇਕਿ ਗਿਰਹੀ ਸੇਵਕ ਸਾਧਿਕਾ ਗੁਰਮਤੀ ਲਾਗੇ ॥ ਨਾਮੁ ਦਾਨੁ ਇਸਨਾਨੁ ਦ੍ਰਿੜੁ ਹਰਿ ਭਗਤਿ ਸੁ ਜਾਗੇ ॥

    Ik girhī sėvak sāḏẖikā gurmaṯī lāgė. Nām ḏān isnān ḏariṛ har bẖagaṯ so jāgė.

    Some are householders, servants, and seekers, attached to the Guru's Teachings. They hold fast to the Naam, to charity, to cleansing and purification; they remain awake in devotion to God. -----Guru Nanak, Raag Asa, AGGS, Page, 419-5
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Naam (ਨਾਮ);

    Naam is much more than recitation of the word says Guru Nanak in Raag Asa and Guru Arjan in Raag Gond;

    ਨਾਮੇ ਸੁਚਿ ਨਾਮੋ ਪੜਉ ਨਾਮੇ ਚਜੁ ਆਚਾਰੁ ॥

    Nāmė sucẖ nāmo paṛa­o nāmė cẖaj ācẖār.

    Naam is inner cleanliness, Name is your study, and Akal Purkh's Name is your wisdom and way of life. -----Guru Nanak, Raag Asa, AGGS, Page, 355-3


    ਨਾਮੁ ਹਮਾਰੇ ਜੀਅ ਕੀ ਰਾਸਿ ॥ ਨਾਮੋ ਸੰਗੀ ਜਤ ਕਤ ਜਾਤ ॥ ਨਾਮੋ ਹੀ ਮਨਿ ਲਾਗਾ ਮੀਠਾ ॥ ਜਲਿ ਥਲਿ ਸਭ ਮਹਿ ਨਾਮੋ ਡੀਠਾ ॥

    Nām hamāre jī▫a kī rās. Nāmo sangī jaṯ kaṯ jāṯ. Nāmo hī man lāgā mīṯẖā. Jal thal sabẖ mėh nāmo dīṯẖā.

    The Naam is the wealth of my conscience. Wherever I go, the Naam is with me. The Naam is sweet to my mind. I see the Naam in the water, land, and everywhere,
    -----Guru Arjan, Raag Gond, AGGS, Page, 863

    The way of life of a Sikh is altruism, which actually is devotional worship of the Akal Purkh says Guru Nanak in japji and Raag Asa;

    ਵਿਣੁ ਗੁਣ ਕੀਤੇ ਭਗਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥

    Vin Goun Keetay Bhagat Na Ho-ay.

    Without virtue, there is no devotional worship.-----Guru Nanak, Japji, AGGS, Page, 4-16

    ਕਰਮ ਕਰਤੂਤਿ ਬੇਲਿ ਬਿਸਥਾਰੀ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮੁ ਫਲੁ ਹੂਆ॥ਤਿਸੁ ਰੂਪੁ ਨ ਰੇਖ ਅਨਾਹਦੁ ਵਾਜੈ ਸਬਦੁ ਨਿਰੰਜਨਿ ਕੀਆ॥

    Karam karṯūṯ bėl bisthārī rām nām fal hū¬ā, Ŧis rūp na rėkẖ anāhaḏ vājai sabaḏ niranjan kī¬ā.

    The vine of good actions and character has spread out, and it bears the fruit of the Akal Purkh's Name. The Name has no form or outline; it vibrates with the unstruck Sound Current; through the Word of the Sabd, the Immaculate Akal Purkh is revealed. -----Guru Nanak, Raag Asa, AGGS, Page, 351-2

    Naam is every where and It self is Akal Purkh in lay terms says Guru Arjan in Raag Gond;

    ਜਲਿ ਥਲਿ ਸਭ ਮਹਿ ਨਾਮੋ ਡੀਠਾ ॥

    Jal thal sabẖ mėh nāmo dīṯẖā.

    I see the Naam, everywhere, in the water, and on the land. -----Guru Arjan, Raag Gond, AGGS, Page, 863-6

    Caution; Mechanical recitation of Word with out mental focus, may be the first step on the path towards spirituality. But there is hardly any progress until one starts understanding, reflecting, and relishing the Sabd thus being lost in to it in devotional love. Guru Ramdas in Raag Sarang and Guru Arjan in Mundawani ponder on it;

    ਗਣਤੈ ਸੇਵ ਨ ਹੋਵਈ ਕੀਤਾ ਥਾਇ ਨ ਪਾਇ ॥ ਸਬਦੈ ਸਾਦੁ ਨ ਆਇਓ ਸਚਿ ਨ ਲਗੋ ਭਾਉ ॥

    Gaṇṯai sev na hova▫ī kīṯā thā▫e na pā▫e. Sabḏai sāḏ na ā¬i¬o sacẖ na lago bẖā¬o.

    Service to the Akal Purkh is not performed by calculations, the deeds of such are not approved, who find no joy, neither attached, nor in love with the True Akal Purkh.-----Guru Ramdas, Raag Sarang Ki Vaar, AGGS, Page, 1246-8

    ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਨਾਮੁ ਠਾਕੁਰ ਕਾ ਪਇਓ ਜਿਸ ਕਾ ਸਭਸੁ ਅਧਾਰੋ ॥ਜੇ ਕੋ ਖਾਵੈ ਜੇ ਕੋ ਭੁੰਚੈ ਤਿਸ ਕਾ ਹੋਇ ਉਧਾਰੋ ॥

    Amriṯ nām ṯẖākur kā pa¬i¬o jis kā sabẖas aḏẖāro. Jė ko kẖāvai jė ko bẖuncẖai ṯis kā ho¬ė uḏẖāro.

    The Ambrosial Nectar of the Naam of Akal Purkh and Master has been placed upon it as well; it is the Support of all. One who eats it and relishes it shall be saved.
    -----Guru Arjan, Mundawani, AGGS, Page, 1429

    Charity (ਦਾਨ)

    It is defined as a benevolent goodwill toward others or love of humanity. The charity that hastens to proclaim its good deeds, ceases to be charity, and is only pride and ostentation. One should be charitable before wealth makes him greedy. Charity begins at home. If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else. In giving, a man receives more than he gives, and the more is in proportion to the worth of the thing given.

    Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness. -----Martin Luther King Jr.

    Charity is one’s generosity and helpfulness especially toward the needy or suffering with out asking or even thinking of a reward (Quid pro quo). God cannot be reached through charity and does not equal to Naam says Guru Nanak;

    ਨ ਭੀਜੈ ਦਾਤਂੀ ਕੀਤੈ ਪੁੰਨਿ ॥

    Na bẖījai ḏāṯīʼn kīṯai punn.

    God is not won over by giving donations in charity. -----Guru Nanak, Raag Sarang AGGS, Page, 1237-13

    ਕਿਛੁ ਪੁੰਨ ਦਾਨ ਅਨੇਕ ਕਰਣੀ ਨਾਮ ਤੁਲਿ ਨ ਸਮਸਰੇ ॥

    Kicẖẖ punn ḏān anėk karṇī nām ṯul na samasrė.

    Giving donations to charity, and performing various religious rituals are not equal to the contemplation of the Naam. -----Guru Nanak, Raag Vadhans, AGGS, Page, 566-9

    The place of charity in Sikh Thought is explained by Guru Nanak in Raag Sarang to a spiritual teacher;

    ਘਾਲਿ ਖਾਇ ਕਿਛੁ ਹਥਹੁ ਦੇਇ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਰਾਹੁ ਪਛਾਣਹਿ ਸੇਇ ॥

    Gẖāl kẖā­ė kicẖẖ hathahu ḏė­ė. Nānak rāhu pacẖẖāṇeh sė­ė.

    Those that eat the bread of their labor and give some in charity, says Nanak, truly recognize the way. -----Guru Nanak, Raag Sarang, AGGS, Page, 1245-9

    Ishnan/Bath (ਇਸਨਾਨ)

    It is of two types;

    1. Hygienic to remove the outer filth.
    2. Spiritual to remove the internal filth.

    Hygeinic bath- Early morning cold bath or shower is recommended in Sikh Philosophy. It per se has no spiritual value but it promotes the body and mental conditions for a set up for meditation as it removes the night’s slumber as well external filth. The mind and body is freshened and become ready to be focused on the Word, followed by delibration, contemplation, and reflection on the message in the day ahead. This sets up a path for spiritual growth and a positive step for a wonderful day ahead for daily activities. The timing of taking of external bath depends on the individual’s need to cleanse the outer filth and his working shift in the western countries.

    Spiritual bath- It is to clean the inner filth caused by the five lower instincts, through the teachings of Sabd Guru. Gurus Nanak in Japji and Guru Amardas in Raag Ramkali ponders on these baths;

    ਭਰੀਐ ਹਥੁ ਪੈਰੁ ਤਨੁ ਦੇਹ ॥ ਪਾਣੀ ਧੋਤੈ ਉਤਰਸੁ ਖੇਹ ॥ ਮੂਤ ਪਲੀਤੀ ਕਪੜੁ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਦੇ ਸਾਬੂਣੁ ਲਈਐ ਓਹੁ ਧੋਇ ॥ ਭਰੀਐ ਮਤਿ ਪਾਪਾ ਕੈ ਸੰਗਿ ॥ ਓਹੁ ਧੋਪੈ ਨਾਵੈ ਕੈ ਰੰਗਿ ॥

    Bẖarī­ai hath pair ṯan ḏėh. Pāṇī ḏẖoṯai uṯras kẖėh. Mūṯ palīṯī kapaṛ ho­ė. Ḏė sābūṇ la­ī­ai oh ḏẖo­ė. Bẖarī­ai maṯ pāpā kai sang. Oh ḏẖopai nāvai kai rang.

    When the hands and the feet and the body are dirty, water can wash away the dirt. When the clothes are soiled and stained by urine, soap can wash them clean. But when the intellect is stained and polluted by sin, it can only be cleansed by the Love of the Name. -----Guru Nanak, Japji, AGGS, Page, 4-11 & 12

    ਏਹੁ ਸਰੀਰੁ ਸਰਵਰੁ ਹੈ ਸੰਤਹੁ ਇਸਨਾਨੁ ਕਰੇ ਲਿਵ ਲਾਈ ॥ ਨਾਮਿ ਇਸਨਾਨੁ ਕਰਹਿ ਸੇ ਜਨ ਨਿਰਮਲ ਸਬਦੇ ਮੈਲੁ ਗਵਾਈ ॥

    Ėhu sarīr sarvar hai sanṯahu isnān kare liv lā▫ī. Nām isnān karahi se jan nirmal sabḏe mail gavā▫ī.

    This body is a pool, O holy strivers; bathe in it, and enshrine love for the Akal Purkh. Those who cleanse themselves through the Naam are the most immaculate people; through the Sabd, they wash off their filth. -----Guru Amardas, Raag Ramkali, AGGS, Page, 909-3

    Guru Nanak and Guru Arjan differentiate in Raag Asa and in Raag Parbhati on both baths;

    ਸੂਚੇ ਏਹਿ ਨ ਆਖੀਅਹਿ ਬਹਨਿ ਜਿ ਪਿੰਡਾ ਧੋਇ ॥ਸੂਚੇ ਸੇਈ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਜਿਨ ਮਨਿ ਵਸਿਆ ਸੋਇ ॥

    Soochay Ayh Na Aakheah Behn Jo Pinda Dhoey, Soochay Sayee Nanaka Jin Man Vasiaa Soey.

    They are not called pure, who sit down after merely washing their bodies. Only they are pure, O Nanak, within whose minds the Akal Purkh abides.-----Guru Nanak, Raag Asa, AGGS, Page, 472-9 & 10

    ਪਾਪ ਕਰਹਿ ਪੰਚਾਂ ਕੇ ਬਸਿ ਰੇ ॥ ਤੀਰਥਿ ਨਾਇ ਕਹਹਿ ਸਭਿ ਉਤਰੇ ॥

    Paap Karahi PanchaaN Kay Bas Ray, Tirath Naa-ay Kaheh Sabh Utray.

    They commit sins, under the influence of the five thieves. They bathe at sacred shrines, and claim that everything has been washed off. -----Guru Arjan, Raag Parbhati, AGGS, Page, 1348

    Outer cleanliness has to be associated with inner cleanliness carried out daily to progress in spirituality and not one day in a year or on some special occasion or bathing parts of the body such as Panj Isanan (ਪੰਜ ਇਸਨਾਨ).

    Internal bath consists of contemplation of the Naam 24 hours (8 Pahars) is the teaching of Guru Arjan in Siri Raag and Gauri;

    ਮਨ ਮੇਰੇ ਸੁਖ ਸਹਜ ਸੇਤੀ ਜਪਿ ਨਾਉ ॥ਆਠ ਪਹਰ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਧਿਆਇ ਤੂੰ ਗੁਣ ਗੋਇੰਦ ਨਿਤ ਗਾਉ ॥

    Man mėrė sukẖ sahj sėṯī jap nā¬o, Āṯẖ pahar parabẖ ḏẖi¬ā¬ė ṯūʼn guṇ go¬inḏ niṯ gā¬o.

    O my mind, chant the Name with intuitive peace and poise. Twenty-four hours a day, meditate on God. Constantly sing the Glories of the Creator of the Universe.
    -----Guru Arjan, Siri Raag, AGGS, Page, 44-13

    ਸਿਮਰਉ ਦਿਨੁ ਰੈਨਿ ਸਾਸ ਗਿਰਾਸਾ ॥

    Simra¬o ḏin rain sās girāsā.

    Remember the God in meditation, day and night, with every breath and every morsel of food. -----Guru Arjan, Raag Gauri, AGGS, Page, 177-15

    It does not mean that one should not pay attention to his livelihood work as there can only be one thought in the mind at a time. It means one should make an honest attempt to remember God in 24 hours as much he can.

    Kabir says in Raag Asa that here is no pilgrimage bath like service to the Guru:

    ਪੂਜਹੁ ਰਾਮੁ ਏਕੁ ਹੀ ਦੇਵਾ ॥ ਸਾਚਾ ਨਾਵਣੁ ਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਸੇਵਾ ॥

    Pūjahu rām ėk hī ḏėvā, Sācẖā nāvaṇ gur kī sėvā.

    Worship the One Divine Creator. The true cleansing bath is service to the Guru. -----Kabir, Raag Asa, AGGS, Page, 484-14 &15

    In support of this tradition, a verse of the fifth Guru, under whom the work on the sacred sarovar at Amritsar continued, apparently condones belief in the purificatory powers of the sarovar:

    ਰਾਮਦਾਸ ਸਰੋਵਰਿ ਨਾਤੇ ॥ਸਭਿ ਉਤਰੇ ਪਾਪ ਕਮਾਤੇ ॥ਨਿਰਮਲ ਹੋਏ ਕਰਿ ਇਸਨਾਨਾ ॥ਗੁਰਿ ਪੂਰੈ ਕੀਨੇ ਦਾਨਾ ॥ਸਭਿ ਕੁਸਲ ਖੇਮ ਪ੍ਰਭਿ ਧਾਰੇ ॥ਸਹੀ ਸਲਾਮਤਿ ਸਭਿ ਥੋਕ ਉਬਾਰੇ ਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਸਬਦੁ ਵੀਚਾਰੇ ॥ -----ਸਾਧਸੰਗਿ ਮਲੁ ਲਾਥੀ ॥

    Rāmḏās sarovar nāṯė, Sabẖ uṯrė pāp kamāṯė, Nirmal ho¬ė kar isnānā. Gur pūrai kīnė ḏānā, Sabẖ kusal kẖėm parabẖ ḏẖārė, Sahī salāmaṯ sabẖ thok ubārė gur kā sabaḏ vīcẖārė, ---- Sāḏẖsang mal lāthī.

    Bathing in the nectar tank of Ramdas (his composed Gurbani and not the tank of Golden Temple IMHO) the residues of all sins are erased. One becomes immaculately pure, taking this cleansing bath. The Perfect Guru has bestowed this gift -- everything is safe and sound, as we contemplate the Word of the Guru's Sabd...In the Sadh Sangat, the Company of the holy, filth is washed off.-----Guru Arjan, Raag Sorath, AGGS, Page, 625-16

    The reference to the filth being washed off in the company of the holy is obviously metaphorical. It does not mean that all the bad acts of the past are removed and one can resume the old ways again. It also does not mean that one can do the Ishnan once a year and be all set for the remainder of the year. Guru Nanak clarifies in Siri Raag;

    ਗੁਰੁ ਸਰੁ ਸਾਗਰੁ ਬੋਹਿਥੋ ਗੁਰੁ ਤੀਰਥੁ ਦਰੀਆਉ ॥ਜੇ ਤਿਸੁ ਭਾਵੈ ਊਜਲੀ ਸਤ ਸਰਿ ਨਾਵਣ ਜਾਉ ॥

    Gur sar sāgar bohitho gur ṯirath ḏarī¬ā¬o, Jė ṯis bẖāvai ūjlī saṯ sar nāvaṇ jā¬o.

    The Guru is the Boat to carry me across the world-ocean; the Guru is the Sacred Shrine of Pilgrimage, the Guru is the Holy River. If it pleases Him, I bathe in the Pool of Truth, and become radiant and pure. -----Guru Nanak, Siri Raag, AGGS, Page, 17-14

    But, because pilgrims were expected to wash themselves in the water of a sarovar before approaching the Guru, bathing became one step towards meeting the Guru; the external bath became a prerequisite for the internal bath.

    ਕਰਿ ਇਸਨਾਨੁ ਸਿਮਰਿ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਅਪਨਾ ਮਨ ਤਨ ਭਏ ਅਰੋਗਾ ॥ ਕੋਟਿ ਬਿਘਨ ਲਾਥੇ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਸਰਣਾ ਪ੍ਰਗਟੇ ਭਲੇ ਸੰਜੋਗਾ ॥

    Kar isnān simar parabẖ apnā man ṯan bẖa­ė arogā. Kot bigẖan lāthė parabẖ sarṇā pargatė bẖalė sanjogā.

    After taking your cleansing bath, remember your God in meditation, and your mind and body shall be free of disease. Millions of obstacles are removed, in the Sanctuary of God, and good fortune dawns. -----Guru Arjan, Raag Sorath, AGGS, Page, 611-11

    Over time, ishnan came to have both mundane and sacred connotations, implying both physical and spiritual purity. Both are mentioned in the Sikh scriptures. Real bath is the bath in the pool of the truth as referred to by Guru Amardas in Raag Suhi;

    ਸਚਾ ਤੀਰਥੁ ਜਿਤੁ ਸਤ ਸਰਿ ਨਾਵਣੁ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਆਪਿ ਬੁਝਾਏ ॥

    Sacẖā ṯirath jiṯ saṯ sar nāvaṇ gurmukẖ āp bujẖā¬ė.

    True is that place of pilgrimage, where one bathes in the pool of Truth, and achieves self-realization as a Guru willed. The Guru willed understands his own self.
    -----Guru Amar Das, Raag Suhi, AGGS, Page, 753-15

    The following hymns make it clear that the references to bathing in water are metaphorical:

    ਗੁਰੂ ਸਮੁੰਦੁ ਨਦੀ ਸਭਿ ਸਿਖੀ ਨਾਤੈ ਜਿਤੁ ਵਡਿਆਈ ॥

    Gurū samunḏ naḏī sabẖ sikẖī nāṯai jiṯ vadi¬ā¬ī.

    The Guru is the ocean, and all Its teachings are the river. Bathing within it, glorious greatness is obtained. -----Guru Nanak, Raag Majh, AGGS, Page, 150-6

    ਕਾਇਆ ਕੂੜਿ ਵਿਗਾੜਿ ਕਾਹੇ ਨਾਈਐ ॥ਨਾਤਾ ਸੋ ਪਰਵਾਣੁ ਸਚੁ ਕਮਾਈਐ ॥

    Kā¬i¬ā kūṛ vigāṛ kāhė nā¬ī¬ai. Nāṯā so parvāṇ sacẖ kamā¬ī¬ai.

    Why bother to wash the body, polluted by falsehood? One's cleansing bath is only approved, if he practices Truth. -----Guru Nanak, Raag Vadhans, AGGS, Page, 565-19

    Naam (Internal Bath) is all inclusive and takes precedence over charity and external bath;

    ਮਜਨੁ ਦਾਨੁ ਚੰਗਿਆਈਆ ਭਾਈ ਦਰਗਹ ਨਾਮੁ ਵਿਸੇਖੁ ॥

    Majan ḏān cẖang¬ā¬ī¬ā bẖā¬ī ḏargeh nām visėkẖ.

    In the Court of the Akal Purkh, the Naam is far superior to ritualistic cleansing baths, charity and good deeds, O Siblings of Destiny. -----Guru Nanak, Raag Sorath, AGGS, Page, 635-19

    Conclusion;

    ਇਸਨਾਨ ਦਾਨ ਤਾਪਨ ਸੁਚਿ ਕਿਰਿਆ ਚਰਣ ਕਮਲ ਹਿਰਦੈ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਧਾਰੀ ॥

    Isnān ḏān ṯāpan sucẖ kiri¬ā cẖaraṇ kamal hirḏai parabẖ ḏẖārī.

    The merits of cleansing baths, charity, penance, purity and good deeds, are obtained by enshrining to the Lotus Feet of God (Hymns of Sabd Guru) within the heart.
    -----Guru Arjan, Sawaee-a, AGGS, Page, 1389-2

    virindergrewal@cablespeed.com
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