4th Pauri: 4The Ashtapaee: Sukhmani Sahib | SIKH PHILOSOPHY NETWORK
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4th Pauri: 4The Ashtapaee: Sukhmani Sahib


Jun 11, 2004
Dear Khalsa Ji,
In my journey, with the help of ‘The Sat’, I have reached the 4th Pauri of the 4th Ashtapadee of Sukhmani Sahib. What it means to me I share with you.
1. rqnu iqAwig kaufI sMig rcY ] ratan ti-aag ka-udee sang rachai.
Leaving jewel, they are engrossed with shell (kaudee).

2. swcu Coif JUT sMig mcY ] saach chhod jhooth sang machai.
eaving the truth they are imbued with lies.

3. jo Cfnw su AsiQru kir mwnY ] jo chhadnaa so asthir kar maanai.
That which does not stay should be considered as impermanent

My Understanding:
Guru Sahib tells his audience that people are not able to discriminate falsehood from the truth, worthy from the useless, real from the false. What Guru Sahib has said apply to the objects of the world and how we perceive and thing about them.
Living a wholly worldly life, seeking the objects of sense gratification becomes our prime goal. People try to acquire these with what ever means available to them – fair and unfair. There is a good chance that the person may succeed in acquiring these objects of sense gratification, but with unfair means adopted in acquiring them one looses the purity of mind (which gives the individual her or his spiritual nature), the attachment with the worldly entities become stronger (which ties the person more and more strongly with the worldly entities and take the person away from spirituality. Guru Sahibs have emphasized in their teaching that purity of mind and non-attachment to worldly entities are of prime importance for a householder i.e. his Sikh. For this state of being Guru Sahib has used the metaphor ‘jewel’. When the person becomes greedy and gets engrosses in accumulation worldly objects of sense gratification, the spiritual life suffers; the mind becomes polluted, dirt accumulates in the being of this. What the individual has lost is of very high value – the purity of mind - that comes with considerable spiritual discipline, while what she or he achieves is worldly object the pleasure from which is short lived and in many cases brings sorrow into the life of the individual. For these Guru Sahib has used the metaphor Kaudee.
This way Guru Sahib is asking his Sikhs to develop a proper sense of discrimination - a sense which helps them to distinguish entities of lower values in human life from those of higher values - for balanced living as a spiritual householder as a true Sikh.
Guru Sahib further tells his Sikhs that all that do not stay for ever is to be considered impermanent i.e. not being ‘The Sat’. This is the acid test to be performed while choosing the real from false.
4. jo hovnu so dUir prwnY ] jo hovan so door paraanai.
Which is, is perceived to be far away.

My Understanding:
In the first line guru Sahib tells his Sikhs that ‘The Sat’ is within them. I elaborate this a little. Let us take space; it is one single entity. We construct house and then the rooms in it and then perceive each room as a separate space. Space as an entity is still one and is endless; it has not divided itself; only we perceive each room as a separate space. Similarly, ‘The Sat’ is one; it sustains all that is part of creation. ‘The Sat ‘sustains life in living beings. This entity we human perceive as Atman as if it is different from what is called Parmatma. This is our perception; as we perceive space enclosed by the walls of the room as a separate space where as, it is the same space which existed before the room was constructed. Similarly, what we perceive as Atman sustaining life in beings is the same entity which we call Parmatma. Here the physical body of the beings is giving an impression as if the body owns a separate entity referred to as Atman. Here the physical body of the being is analogous to the wall of the room. And the space enclosed in the room analogous to what is referred to as Atman. As was the case with space which has not divided itself so is the case with Parmatma. Parmatma is one and it permeates the entire creation. There is no difference between Atman and Parmatma i.e. ‘The Sat’. The Sat is One and the same ‘Sat is in each of the beings. This way it is clear that ‘The Sat’ is within and out side each entity that constitutes creation – living and non-living.
This is what Guru Sahib is telling in this sentence, that ‘The Sat’ is within you, it is so close, yet persons perceive as if ‘The Sat’ is far away. The perception that ‘The Sat’ is far away results from ignorance that is characteristic of a worldly person.
5. Coif jwie iqs kw sRmu krY ] chhod jaa-ay tis kaa saram karai.
They have to leave all for which they are exerting.

My Understanding:
We humans have a strong tendency to follow the objects that gratify the senses. All our life, we exert to earn more to acquire worldly entities and worldly pleasures. There is no end to them. Ability to pay converts our desires into perceived needs and we buy the object possession of which gives some sense of accomplishment, no matter how short lived it is. After some time the thrill of possessing it fades and then some other entity becomes the object to be acquired. There is no end to such chase. We all know needs are complimentary. One need when satisfied generates a host of many complimentary needs. A car generates the need for fuel, servicing, spares, travel just for travel sake, additional gadgets to be fitted on ------ etc. These are the entities, working for which we spend our life. None of these go with us when we leave this world. This simple fact Guru Sahib is trying to to convey to us in this sentence.
6. sMig shweI iqsu prhrY ] sang sahaa-ee tis parharai.
They move away from the one who is with them and supports them.

My Understanding:
Guru Sahib here draws the attentions of his Sikhs that ‘The Sat’ has always been with them right from the birth and even earlier. The life in them is sustained by ‘The Sat’. Yet the lure of the worldly entities drag them away from ‘The Sat’ all this just to satisfy ones ego and to gratify the ever wanting senses.
7. cMdn lypu auqwrY Doie ] chandan layp utaarai Dho-ay.
They wash away the coating of sandalwood paste.

8. grDb pRIiq Bsm sMig hoie ] garDhab pareet bhasam sang ho-ay.
Like donkeys they love the ashes.

My Understanding:
These two lines need to be taken together. Guru Sahib has used the word ‘Chandan’ i.e. Sandalwood in one and ‘Bhasam’ i.e. ash or mud. Both these words are used as metaphors. I elaborate on them
When the baby is born, it is mentally pure; it does not have any sense of I–ness does not have likes or dislikes. The metal life is as illuminated by ‘The Sat’. This is how we are born. This is our natural state. Traditionally, in India, Sandalwood paste is applied on body before doing worship in accordance with the ancient scripture of the land. This gives a feeling of purity. In fact, we are born with this purity, in a way this is already with us. That is why Guru Sahib has not talked about application of Sandalwood paste; Guru Sahib has only talked about removing it by washing.
Now I come to what is meant by this term ‘washing’, as I understand. As we grow, we learn through our senses about the physical world around us. The faculties of our brain get more and more directed towards the world that we are able to perceive. Soon I-ness and feeling of mine too develops. The conscious mind has freedom to decide. It can become worldly centered or become spiritually centered. In absence of sufficient guidance from the parent and the caretakers of the child, the inputs that the growing child gets are from the natural world around it. The child will naturally get more and more attached towards worldly entities and move away from the internal illumination it receives from ‘The Sat’. This amounts to washing away the Sandal wood paste with which we are all born. The worldly entities, which become the intent of the person’s living, Guru Sahib have collectively called them as mud. Donkeys enjoy living in it.
This fact, Guru Sahib wants his Sikhs to understand. Guru Sahib wants his Sikh to be Spiritually Centered householders, instead of being selfish, Worldly Worshipers. This is what I understand from these two lines.
9. AMD kUp mih piqq ibkrwl ] anDh koop meh patit bikraal.
The have degenerated into the dark pit of Ignorance.

My Understanding:
Seeing the condition of the society of his time, Guru Sahib says that people have degenerated, living in the dark pit of ignorance.
It is my considered opinion that parents, especially mothers have a major role to play in ensuring that there children. The values and what we call ‘Samskara’ the children learn mostly from their mothers; this is because during the initial period of her/his life the child remains attached more with the mother and it is during this period of life (up to 3) the basic networking of the neurons in the brain takes place, which forms the basis of the future life of the child.
10. nwnk kwiF lyhu pRB dieAwl ]4] naanak kaadh layho parabh da-i-aal. ||4||
Nanak appeals to ‘The Sat’ to pull these people out from the dark pit of ignorance.

My Understanding:
Guru Sahib is pained at the condition of the society and parys to ‘The Sat’ to give knowledge to people and pull them out of ignorance in which they are living.
With love and respect for all
Amarpal Singh

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