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3rd Pauri: 3rd Astapadee: Sukhmani Sahib


Dear Khalsa,

‘The Sat’ willing, I will share my understanding of the 3rd Pauri of 3rd Ashtapadee of Sukhmani Sahib.

In this Pauri too, Guru Sahib has emphasized the path of ‘Naam’ and also explained why other paths that are practiced are not of any use. Guru Sahib has again emphasized the need to cleanse the mind. Why Guru Sahib has said this, needs to be understood; my understanding I elaborate below..

What we repeatedly think, we give expression to it, either through speech or physical action;
What we repeatedly do becomes our habit;
A set of habits give us a character;
The character leads us to the destiny.

This way one can see that in the roots of one’s destiny is thought. We become what we think.
Guru Sahibs knew this very well. It is for this reason they have repeatedly emphasized the purity of mind. It is a basic requirement of any spiritual person.

Now we come to the Pauri proper.

mn kwmnw qIrQ dyh CutY ] man kaamnaa tirath dayh chhutai.
One may give up desires, attachments to body and places of pilgrimage.

2. grbu gumwnu n mn qy hutY ] garab gumaan na man tay hutai.
But the Pride and Ego does not leave the mind.

My understanding:
The ancient scripture of the land prescribes procedures to curb desires, bodily pleasures and attachment to places, including those of pilgrimage. This ancient scripture asks individuals to remain unmarried, leave their places and go forest and meditate there in search of Salvation. They should not stay at one place; else they will develop attachment with the place. From this one can see that all these measures are to avoid the object of attachment, they do not help in purifying the mind and thus release the being from unwanted attachment.
Further proof that the practices recommended in the ancient scripture of the land do not cleanse the mind comes from this ancient scripture itself. There are large numbers of incidents stated in the scripture where the Rishis and Munis have given curses to individuals and even some times to Gods.
Curses result from the feeling of revenge. This feeling comes from the hurt ego and pride. This tells that those who give curses have pride and ego in them; the practices followed by these are the ones that the ancient scripture of our land recommends; there minds have not been cleansed by the practices, they are still impure. This is exactly what Guru Sahib has said in the second sentence that all the practices coming from ancient times through the scripture of the land do not dissolve the pride and ego. The arrogant and revengeful behavior of many ancient Rishis and Munis substantiates what guru sahib has said. These impurities remain in the mind. With these impurities the individual can not become divine in real sense. The person remains a worldly person having ego and pride.
In my view, Divine individuals are embodiment of love and compassion, they do not think of ill of any one. Why should any divine curse any one? Those people who are full of pride and ego alone can do it; such people are not divine; they still have to evolve spiritually; they are worldly people in the dresses of Sanyasis.
When Guru Arjan Dev Ji was tortured, he did not curse the evil doers. When Guru Tegbahadur Ji was beheaded, he did not curse any one. They did not have any feeling of revenge; they did not show annoyance towards any one. This is what purity of mind gives. Guru Sahibs had pure minds, they had achieved divinity; they were above the calculation of profit and loss; they had no pride and no ego; they were servants of ‘The Sat’ obeying the ‘Hukam’. This state of pure mind, Guru Sahibs had achieved by the way of ‘Naam’; the same tested, proven and validated path Guru Sahibs have prescribed for his Sikhs; nothing can be better than it.

3. soc krY idnsu Aru rwiq ] soch karai dinas ar raat.
One may keep doing the procedures (recommended in the ancient scripture of our land) for cleansing day and night.
4. mn kI mYlu n qn qy jwiq ] man kee mail na tan tay jaat.
The dirt of mind does not go from body.

My understanding:
Guru Sahib knew all. The procedures recommended in the ancient of our land are the ones who cleanse the physical dirt. I know many of them are effective in this domain. Physical dirt is in the domain of tangibles. This dirt is matter; it can be collected; it can be weighed.

The dirt of mind is not matter; it is composed of thoughts and the thought process. It is intangible; it cannot be perceived by any of our senses. This mental dirt cannot be converted into matter and so the procedures recommended in the ancient scripture of our land cannot used to cleanse the mind of this dirt. This way the procedures recommended by ancient scripture of our land are totally ineffective. This is the reason, why many of our ancient Rishis and Munis had ego and pride in them.
A new way was to be found. Guru Sahibs discovered this way, tested on their own lives and after validating it recommended it to their Sikhs. It is the path of ‘Naam’.

iesu dyhI kau bhu swDnw krY ] is dayhee ka-o baho saaDhnaa karai.
This body may undergo all the stringent practices for attuning

6. mn qy kbhU n ibiKAw trY ] man tay kabhoo na bikhi-aa tarai.
The mind will never float free from polluting traits.

My understanding:
In Yoga and in Tantras there are strict and demanding procedures and practices which the Sadhak (disciple) has to observe. Following these practices is called Sadhana. Sadhana again touch only the physical aspect. They do not modify the mind and the thought process to eradicate ego and pride. Many Tantrics (individual perfect in Tantrics practices) are known for their anger and intense desire and acts to harm others who are not on their side.
This way Guru Sahib asks his Sikhs not to follow the paths suggested by Tantras and Yoga as the way to spirituality. The validated path of ‘Naam’ is the path for spiritual evolution.

jil DovY bhu dyh AnIiq ] jal Dhovai baho dayh aneet.
One may wash the body intensely which is temporary entity.

8. suD khw hoie kwcI BIiq ] suDh kahaa ho-ay kaachee bheet.
how the inner will be purified

My understanding:
In India it was, and still is, a practice of visiting the place of pilgrimage and take bath in the near by river which is believed to be holy. The scripture says that with this done the sins will be washed away.

Guru Sahib in plain language has pointed out to his Sikhs that the water will touch only the outer surface of the body. It can only wash away the dirt on it. This water does not come in contact with the mind. Water cannot come in contact with mind, water is material mind; it is in the domain of tangibles. Mind is an abstract entity, it is intangible. The water of the river presumed to be holy cannot cleanse the mind of its dirt. This dirt is the real barrier between a worldly person and a spiritually evolved person – ‘Gurmukh’. This way, gently, Guru Sahib has negated this path of ablution in presumed holy river or water bodies as the way to purity or spiritual evolution. Guru Sahib’s way of purity – the way of ‘Naam’ is what is recommended for his Sikhs.

9. mn hir ky nwm kI mihmw aUc ] man har kay naam kee mahimaa ooch.
O’ my mind, the glory of ‘Naam’ of ‘The Sat’ is the highest.

My understanding:
Guru Sahib speaks to his mind and says that the contemplation on the glories and infiniteness of the ‘Naam’ of the one, who can absorb (take within it i.e. har) the entire creation, is the highest. This way Guru Sahib asks his Sikhs to follow the path of ‘Naam’, which he himself had followed. All the other ways that are practiced cannot purify the mind as is needed for spiritual evolution.

nwnk nwim auDry piqq bhu mUc ]3] naanak naam uDhray patit baho mooch. ||3||
O’Nanak, ‘Naam’ has helped many sinners and degraded persons.
My understanding:
Guru Sahib tells to his Sikhs that following the path of ‘Naam’ many degraded persons and sinner have evolved in spirituality. The path of ‘Naam’ is the real path to evolve in spirituality.

With this I close the post,

With love and respect for all.
Amarpal Singh