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Self Purification

Discussion in 'Spiritual Articles' started by Archived_Member16, Mar 9, 2010.

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  1. Archived_Member16

    Archived_Member16
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    Self Purification

    by Dr Gobind Singh

    There can be no exclusive road to spiritual evolution. Different religions offer different paths, but the goal is eventually the same. Let us try to understand the four-fold path of progress as suggested by the Sikh Gurus.

    Progress implies the purification of body, life and mind. When the mirror is cleaned up, it gives a vivid reflection. The dust of the mind has to be wiped off to see the real self. The process of purification is, therefore, a difficult and exacting task.

    Self-control

    Man is not potentially bad or wicked but on account of his surroundings, he has to bahave as he would not otherwise behave. Besides this, the five sins of lust, anger, greed, attachment and pride have to be replaced by their virtuous counterparts. Self-control is to replace passion; forgiveness must replace anger; contentment must keep greed under check; love of God must displace attachment; humility must keep pride out. Guru Nanak says, "One who conquers these evils, with the Word of the Guru, wins salvation". The concentration of the mind on virtue requires patience and perseverance. A disciplined life facilitates spiritual effort. Guru Nanak says, "Life without virtue runs to waste".

    Self Surrender

    The disciple must submit willingly to God. When the individual surrenders himself completely to God, He takes up our knowledge and our error and transforms all into His Infinite Light and the purity of the universal good. When we are emptied of our self, God takes possession of us. The true devotee, like the young ape, clings fast to the mother and is saved. Such a man, even while performing action becomes actionless. The idea is that the individual becomes a real servant of God by walking in the light of His commands. He becomes the realised self. Guru Angad says,

    "Having realised the Will of God He is accepted by the Lord. Like lotus on the water He floats on the sea of Maya, Just as a swan floats on water Without wetting its wings, He lives and yet his self lives not."

    The spirit of submission not only makes him feel humble but also gives him a sense of satisfaction and peace. Just as a devoted wife feels happy in waiting upon the pleasure of her husband, in the same way, the anchorite feels happy in surrendering to His Will.

    Service

    The true God-conscious man takes up service of his fellow-beings as a primary duty.

    "He who serves selflessly attains the Lord."

    The service of God's Creation is a way of serving God. Service of humanity is the worship of God. This service is of three kinds - physical, mental and economic. Physical service includes sweeping the place of worship or cooking or serving in the Guru's langar (free kitchen). Mental service is enlightening others on spiritual matters or interpretation of the Scriptures. Economic service is sharing one's income with others, either by feeding them or giving donations for charitable and religious purposes.

    Just as God Himself is devoted to ministering to the needs of His creation, in the same way, the true Sikh devotes himself, wholeheartedly to the service of people, without any discrimination of caste, creed or colour. The example of Bhai Kanayiha, who distributed water freely to the Muslims, in the thick of battle, is without any parallel.

    Moreover, service is instrumental in purging man of evil tendencies. Guru Arjun says,

    "The servant of God is free from the evils of pride, attachment and greed, because he finds God in all. Selfless service kills the ego."

    The Remembrance of Name (Simran)

    In the beginning, the Sikh, like a child learning the letters of the alphabet, must repeat mechanically Wahguru. This is only the first step. The benefit of lip-repetition is limited. Guru Arjun says,

    "Men repeat the name of God with their lips, But bliss comes when it fills their hearts."

    Constant repetition reminds one of God and the spiritual goal of life. Slowly and steadily, the mind of the devotee begins to concentrate on the Name. He makes a ceaseless endeavour to fix his attention on the Name. Gradually the Name percolates into the sub-conscious. Guru Nanak says,

    "His Name will percolate within the heart And give it a feeling of stability Within your own mind is the pool of immortality, Let the mind drink the nectar there."

    The object of concentration is neither an image nor a person in flesh. The mind fixes itself on the Abstract, Timeless Almighty.

    In the next stage, the Name gets near the devotee from within. Constant turning to the Name produces the bond of love and longing. Just as a lover waits patiently for a glance at his beloved, the devotee longs for the divine vision. Man is often compared to a woman waiting for the pleasure of her husband. Guru Nanak says,

    "The Lord is the spouse who on his couch Enjoyeth the love of the devotee."
    The name like the moon reflected in the water brightens the inner spirit of man.

    "O Nanak! Their faces are radiant: And in their heart is joy. Bow to the music of his word."

    Infused by God's vision, the devotee sees Him here, there and everywhere. He sees Him in animals, vegetables and even stones. Guru Ramdas says,
    "I search for the Friend, But my Friend is always with me."

    In the final stage, the sense of duality vanishes and the Sikh feels in tune with the Almighty.

    "The life is merged in the greater self; The little self is lost to new, And is merged in boundless bliss."

    The remembrance of the Name requires a Sikh to lead a disciplined life. Idleness and attachment must be cast away. The company of holy men or sat sang must be sought. He must voluntarily do good actions and maintain an exemplary character. Guru Nanak says,

    "God grants salvation through good works, And uprightness of conduct."
    And yet all man's effort without God's grace will be of no avail. Undoubtedly man's disciplined life will merit God's favour. According to Guru Nanak, the devotee must, time and again, seek God's aid in his spiritual endeavour. He says,

    "If it pleases God, man crosses the terrible ocean."

    The final stage of the devotee ends in his ultimate union with Divinity.

    "As water mingles with water, so the light merges in the Light."

    -eSikhs.com
     
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  3. charanjit

    charanjit
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    A few thoughts on the submitted article:


    1. "When the mirror is cleaned up, it gives a vivid reflection" - this refers I expect to the mind. And that when one perceives through the mind, the perception is clouded. This clouding has been caused by one's experience, and the things that we accept as given without truly challenging them and seeing them for what they are. We have our experiences, such as our religion that we have accepted without question, the mind has become clouded by this conditioning, and then we are unable to see the trees from the woods.

    Based upon this religion that we have accepted we have accepted many other things. Just because one is a Sikh, he has an automatic animosity to other religions particularly Muslim. He is also nationalistic, and devoutly defends his faith, even with violence. These are things that we have accepted purely for being Sikh. These we do not question. We are unable to clean this mirror and truly perceive, as we are conditioned far to deeply??

    2. The article refers to "self purification" - this can either therefore mean purifying the self, by oneself, autonomous from any other influencing factor, which is the true freedom. Or this can mean self purification with the instruction of the gurus. As I see this article, it appears to refer to the latter. Is this therefore really purification. Is it not purification of the self based upon the theories of the Gurus, the theories and the ideas of another.

    These techniques which we use mechanically, automatically, are they really going to purify the self. Isn't true self purification where one seeks and finds for himself, rather than following the path of another. Where he himself steps out on an uncharted journey to come across the unknown for himself, rather than according to another. For if he undertakes the journey acording to another, he will find eventually what the other has found. Is this really the truth. A second rate doctrine, the discovery of something that another has already discovered?? - The repitition of the word Vaheguru to come across this thing which is Vaheguru?? Something that has already been discovered by another and then following his path, to find that which he has experienced, is this the truth??

    3. "The concentration of the mind on virtue requires patience and perseverance. A disciplined life facilitates spiritual effort. Guru Nanak says, "Life without virtue runs to waste".

    It is quoted that the concentration of the mind on virtue requires patience and perserverance. Does this not appear to be a violence on the mind. The mind naturally appears to wander and chatter. It desires many many things. On an occasion it will want enlightenment, on others pleasures of the world, wealth and many other things. The underlying factor, that it seeks pleasure.

    It therefore seeking enlightenment is also its limited thinking, which is that of seeking pleasure. Rather than seeking pleasure in worldly goods, which it has tried and tested, it seeks pleasure in the so called bottomless fountains of joy and bliss, essentially it seeks God. Isn't its seeking God another means of it seeking pleasure??

    To force the mind to concentrate on virtue with patience and perserverance is a violence to the mind, which constantly chatters and changes the object of its attention. To force and have it concentrate on virtue, is a game, as one must realise that it is the mind itself that is forcing itself to concentrate on virtue. It is the dog chasing its own tail??

    4. The article goes on the consider "self surrender" - surrendering oneself to the will of another, the higher power God, Vaheguru. Why does one want to surrender to another?? Is it that we are bored and upset and dissillusioned by existence that we want another to take over?? Is that not so. We have travelled far, have seen hurts and upsets and despair and now want another to take over?? Surrendering oneself to another....have we not given up??

    5. "The remembrance of name" - the article states that the benefit of lip repitition is limited - this I can agree with. "Guru Arjun says,

    "Men repeat the name of God with their lips, But bliss comes when it fills their hearts." - to this I can also agree. Repitition of the name on the lips is not the key. Repitition of the name on the lips is not at all necessary. The article writer states that with repitition "Gradually the Name percolates into the sub-conscious" - this really is a cheap trick. The repitition of anything will start to percolate in the subconcsious. Repeating Coca cola, will start to percolate in the subconcsious. Repitition does not matter at all - 'bliss comes when it fills their hearts'. To get lost in repitition is a cheap trick that we play with ourselves, just to show ourselves how devoted we are.


    The mind does not wish to repeat this all the time. We make the mind dumb and dull by repitition of this words, might as well repeat hocus pocus, or abracadabra, or chant something that sounds mystical and delude ourselves that we are experiencing euphoric highs?? The mind is living and has a vitality which is being killed and dumbed down by repitition of these words, and conforming to ideas and traditions which we ourselves have not truly looked at in order to "clean this mirror, and give a true reflection".

    The article writer states that "like a child learning the letters of the alphabet, [the child] must repeat mechanically Wahguru". Is that all we are automatons.....repeating things mechanically.....without finding out for ourselves what this means.....the dumbing down of the mind......becoming dull is mechanically repeating??

    5. The article states: "God grants salvation through good works, And uprightness of conduct." And yet all man's effort without God's grace will be of no avail. Undoubtedly man's disciplined life will merit God's favour. According to Guru Nanak, the devotee must, time and again, seek God's aid in his spiritual endeavour. He says, "If it pleases God, man crosses the terrible ocean." The final stage of the devotee ends in his ultimate union with Divinity."

    It states that "undoubtedly man's discliplined life will merit God's favour"?? What does this mean. Does this mean that live the discipline according to Sikhism, the mechanical repitition of the name, seva, simran and sacrifice, do these mechanically, with a dull mind, which has been forced to do these things, and then God will favour you.

    Does this not make God sound like a trader. Where he weighs up peoples actions and thoughts, on scales, just like some trader in the bazaars of Marrakech or India, weighing up the benefits. Is that all the human is...a transaction. Are we to live life by these rules and regulations, and be bound to these in order to gain this salvation, is this not a common contract of the market place, is God not a trader, and we the goods, and our religion the scales on which we judge our merits??

    6. FINALLY. ALL THE ABOVE COMMENTS ARE ONLY INTENDED AS A MEANS FOR ONE TO QUESTION WHAT HAS BEEN WRITTEN BEFORE ME, NOT ONLY QUESTIONING FOR MYSELF BUT FOR THE OTHER ALSO.

    THE ABOVE MAY HAVE BEEN WRITTEN IN THE MOST UNENLIGHTENED STATE, AS A REACTION TO WHAT WAS WRITTEN. THE OPINIONS ARE BASED ON MY EXPERIENCES, THESE EXPERIENCES ARE LIMITED AND ARE BASED ON MY LIFE. THESE EXPERIENCES BEING LIMITED, I HAVE COME ACROSS THE ABOVE ARTICLE, AND HAVE QUESTIONED IT BASED UPON MY LIMITED EXPERIENCE.

    ANYTHING THAT IS BASED ON LIMITED EXPERIENCE, IS BOUND TO ALSO BE LIMITED. THEREFORE I SUGGEST THAT MY COMMENTS ARE ALSO LIMITED, AND BASED UPON MY EXPERIENCE.

    JUST AS THE WRITER OF THE ARTICLE HAS A LIMITED EXPERIENCE, AS A SIKH, AS A DOCTOR, AS AN INDIAN PERHAPS, AS SOMEONE WHO HAS ACCEPTED A RELIGION. ALSO THE ARTICLE SUBMITTER HAS A LIMITED EXPERIENCE....AND DO NOT KNOW THE TRUTH....THEREFORE WE PEDDLE OUR OWN VERSIONS OF IT.....OR WHAT IS PALATABLE TO US. JUST AS THEIR EXPERIENCE IS LIMITED THEIR ACTION IN WRITING AND SUBMITTING THE ARTICLE WAS LIMITED, AND I AS A FOOL HAVE DECIDED TO RESPOND TO THEIR LIMITED THINKING.....AND HENCE FURTHER ADD TO THE CONFUSION. SO AS TO LIMIT THE CONFUSION, THE COMMENTS ABOVE ARE OF THE WRITER CHARANJIT, A LIMITED PERSON.

    CHARANJIT





     
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  4. jasi

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    Gur Fateh Caharanjit Ji.

    Your comments are very much the same like it is written in Jap Ji Sahib that "MITHIA NA JAI KITA NA HOI APE AP NIRANJAN HOI"also I deeply appreciate your comments from your own thoughts.

    That is exactly what Guru Nanak Dev JI stressed upon during all Jap Ji Saheb Ji that the praise or infinite knowledge can not be described about the God or can not be explained by words or any other ways.

    Here is an ordinary or educated priest is lecturing about the God yet he is even not understood himself . Our Gurus could not explained even presented many examples of written ancient VDAS or Prophets who came and gone ,could not write a single words about God when he was born or start existing.

    Finished right here and what Guru Ji teaches us how to pass this ocean of life by praising the Creator and how to control our lives.

    Then at the end it is clearly mentioned .KARMI APO APNI KE NERE KE DOOR" It is KARMA not the GOD who reap the consequences of his deeds.The deeds bad deeds can be ratified by listening and understanding Guru's teachings.

    It is exactly had been said by many other Prophet came in the world. "WHAT YOU,SO SHALL YOU REAP"

    One reaps according to his own Karma.

    But Guru Nanak preaches us that being a good person has its own reward. "CHANGE MARG CHALDIAN ,USTAT KARE JAHAN"

    Myself I bow my head to Sikhism preachings by our Gurus which blessed us with so craystal clears understanding and guidance .

    The down fall of our religion has been long back started when we started believing in cast system and gave a control of preaching Gurbani to uneducated priests who just murmurs Gurbani without any explanations and the do not practices what they preach.. These uneducated priest to control Guadwaras and fight themselves on constant basis .practices cast system or others acts of talking about God as if the hold God in their two hands.

    So unless proper principals of "PREACH WHAT YOU PRACTICE become a real thing and then world will flocked to join Sikhism like Shri Gobind Singh Jo open the door to join his faith under oneness regardless of any cast or creed,color.


    The results the KHALSA was created with utmost dedications to serve the righteousness.Each human being was treated equal at that time when they were daily treated as low castes by our ancient Hindu's cast system practices.

    Guru Ji gave us pride to ourselves that we all are created equally. This philosophy is Flagship in Sikhism and spear head than any religion or faith being taught.

    "NANAK NAM TERE BHNE SARBAT KA BHLLA"

    BHUL CHUK MAFF FOR ANY WORD IF OFFEND ANY ONE.


    Jaspi

     
  5. charanjit

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    Dear Jaspi,

    I am glad that we agree on many points. I am all in agreement with much of what was written in the article, and agree with your points and references made from Gurbani. I also agree with the mention that you have made of the state of the Gurdwara and its administration and people failing to practice what they are preaching, or attest to be preaching.

    You quoted from Jap Ji Sahib, much of which I have tried to understand for myself. However, I often come back to "sochai soch na hovee jeh sochee lakh vaar".

    As I understand the above, it says to me that you can try to imagine as much as you wish however there will be no understanding. To me it means that the faculty of the brain and the mind is incapable of understanding and knowing the vastness of creation, God, the truth etc.

    At present the faculty that we use is the brain and the mind when we recite naam. I too have done this. And essentially as I recall in doing naam simran, one creates an environment of longing, we or I specifically create a longing in my head for the Guru (or that which is greater), there is an artificial creation of pining for the Guru.

    I have now realised that after many years of reading Gurbani and naam simran that these environments that we create in our head are artificial and are constructed by our thinking faculty - the mind, the brain. We, especially I, recite naam simran and long for something to come along....it now appears to me that with these methods and the things that we do in our minds are completely at a loss and there will be no understanding of truth through the faculties of the mind...unfortunately this is the only faculty that we use?? And Guru Nanak, to me, was spot on by stating that sochai soch na hovee jeh sochee lakh vaar. On that basis, I would then ask where do we go? What to do?

    Just as with Guru Nanak, he seemed to have lived a questioning life. He did not accept anything and challenged everything. He did not accept the janaioo (the Hindu thread, and its spirituality), and neither did he accept Hindhuism and Islam. Here was a person that was brought up in those traditions, the country was full of those traditions, his parents, villagers and families all came from those traditions. Yet at a young age he questioned, he questioned everything...for he truly was a revolutionary. It was, I believe, by him negating everything else and finding out the truth for himself, not allowing his family to dictate to him, neither his tradition, and the culture and tradition of those around him for hundreds of years. He did not allow any of them to dictate to him. He negated everything else, so that he could find the truth for himself.

    Even though we would like to say that we are good Sikh, and that we wish to be good Sikh, I feel that any realisation of the truth is not going to come from following another. I feel that a Sikh is someone who primarily learns, and that means learns for himself, he himself is the Guru and the Chela, he is the Saint and he is also the Soldier...the soldier that is not afraid to look at everything and challenge and find out for himself the truth.

    For anyone to find the truth they will have to set out on their own, otherwise the truth you find will only be according to another.

    Just a quick anecdote: The devil and a friend set out on a road together. There they pass a man, who picks up something from the ground. The devil's friend turns to the devil and asks him, "what did that man just pick up?" The devil replies, "the object he just picked up was a piece of the truth". The friend is shocked and tells him that this really is a bad business for you, that a man travels on a road and he picks up a piece of truth, what will you do, you can't have people picking up pieces of the truth. The devil turns to his friend and says that you may think that this is bad for me, "however, I for one, am going to help him organise it!!"

    I understand that I too am a second hand person and have not found things of my own accord, and have not truly set on an investigation of the truth. I also understand that when one has a half-cocked idea, and philosophy, and then one peddles this to another creates even greater confusion. Since my earlier posting it has been on my mind, that I may have been antagonistic to the first article, and may even have caused offence, or helped people to see from a different perspective, either way I wish to impress upon people as little as possible...and therefore unfortunately or fortunately shall not comment further on these posts or post anything further. It was out of idleness, and not having anything else to do that I made the first comment.

    Adieu....

    Charanjit
     
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