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8th Pauri:2nd Ashtapadee:Sukhmani Sahib


Jun 11, 2004
Dear Khalsa Ji,
Today, I share my understanding of 8th Pauri of 2nd Ashtapadee of Sukhmani Sahib with you all.
1. pwrjwqu iehu hir ko nwm ] paarjaat ih har ko naam.
Parijaat is ‘Naam’ of ‘The Sat’

My understanding:
Parijaat is the name of a flower, native to this country (India). It is small in size and has a very sweet smell. The bush on which it blooms is also known by the same name. I had this plant flowering in my garden when I was in living in Tamil Nadu. I have not seen it in northern India. This flower opens late in the night and shed the flowers in hundreds just when the day is about to break. The devotees collect this flower as it falls from the branches on its own. This way the devotees do not have to pluck the flower from the branches and can avoid terminating its life and from implied sin. The devotees have very nice flowers, in good numbers as offering to the deity. It was priced by the devotees of the ancient religion of our land. It suited the Brahmin Dharma very well. From usage of this word by Guru Sahib, I infer, that the audience of Guru Sahib knew about the importance of this flower in ritualistic worship.
Guru Sahib in this sentence says that the ‘Naam’ is like Parijaat. In other word it is the Sikhs’ offering to ‘The Sat’. We – Sikhs – do not need this specific flower as in is Akaar. ‘The Sat’ is Nirakaar and so is ‘Naam’. Offering of ‘Naam’ is thus appropriate This way Guru Sahib told his audience of his time the importance of Jaap and Simran of ‘Naam’; the same is the message for we all, now and in future, the only difference is that many among us have not come across this flower – Parijaat and might not have got the chance to know its significance for devotees of the ancient religion of this land in their Puja. This way Guru Sahib tells his disciples – ‘The Sikhs’ - that ritualistic Puja is not for them, Jaap and Simran of ‘Naam’with pure mind are what they must do.
2. kwmDyn hir hir gux gwm ] kaamDhayn har har gun gaam.
Godly Kamadhainu is singing the attribute of ‘The Sat’.

My understanding:
Kamadhainu is another entity of ancient mythology of our land (India). It is said to have the ability to gives all what the owner desires. Guru Sahib tells his Sikhs that for them it is the singing the attributes of ‘The Sat’ is what will help them to fulfill their desires. This way Guru Sahib enlighten his audience, and without making it very explicit, move them from the myth oriented beliefs to the rational understanding that can provide for fulfillment of their desires. I elaborate of this rationality below.
Guru Sahib has asked us, so many times in Gurbani, to purify our minds. This singing of attributes of ‘The Sat’ also has to be done with purity of mind. It is not just the vocal singing of these attributes, ‘The Sikh’ is to live them also to the extent a human can. The being of ‘The Sikh’ should resonate with such attributes.
As ‘The Sat’ is ‘Karta Purakh’ at the highest level. ‘The Sikh’ has to evolve accordingly to become ‘Karta Purakh at her or his own level. This means that ‘The Sikh’ will put in honest efforts to achieve what she or he desires. ‘The Sikh will build the necessary competence to achieve this end. This Sikh with pure mind i.e. Gurmukh – will then resonate with the attributes of ‘The Sat’. The grace or blessing of ‘The Sat’ i.e. Gurparsadi, will always be with this Sikh. This effort with pure mind Guru Sahib has termed it as ‘Kirt’.
This is what Guru Sahib mean by ‘singing the attribute of ‘The Sat’. Guru Sahib in this way asks us not to depend on the mythological entity i.e. ‘Kamadhainu’ to come and give us what we desire, but to evolve to a level where we naturally obtain what we want. This shift in mental make-up is demanded by the teachings of this sentence. That makes the difference between the person she or he was before this teaching of Guru Sahib’ and what the person is as a Sikh with this teaching incorporated into her or his being.
3. sB qy aUqm hir kI kQw ] sabh tay ootam har kee kathaa.
Above all, the highest is the story of ‘The Sat’.

My understanding:
This sentence needs to be understood carefully. I do not get it first; I had to ponder over it. ‘The Sat’ itself is an abstract entity; I do not know what ‘The Sat’ is? I have not experienced ‘The Sat’? How can I know its story?
Sikh religion does not believe in the mythology of other religions. Our religion has history, all recorded; it has not created any mythology. There is no Katha of ‘The Sat’. Katha can be only for those who have form and lived in time-space. The Katha is a series of events of some formed entity. ‘The Sat’ is always the same it never changes. ‘The Sat’ is eternity; The Sat is timeless; ‘The Sat’ is Nirakaar (formless). ‘The Sat’ is above and independent of the bounds of time and space. Then which Katha Guru Sahib is asking us to know, which the Guru Sahib says is the highest. This makes me ponder and as I search for answer, it leads me to the clue’ and the answer which I write below.
I know that ‘Black Hole’ in the galaxies cannot be seen directly by any instrument, their presence is detected by the effect they have on other celestial bodies. I also know that any Katha describes what the individual did. ‘The Sat’, I cannot comprehend, but can I know the Katha of ‘The Sat’ by the effects? The answer that comes to my mind is ‘Yes; a robust Yes’.
This creation which we call cosmos, the evolution of life, the evolution of different species, colours, capabilities and forms, the life sustaining systems, the food chain, the chemicals, the planets, the suns, the nature, the mountains, the rivers, the winds, the fire the rains and snow, the climate and seasons, all these have come about due to ‘The Sat’. This evolution of life from a very primitive organism to what we are today would not have come about, if it was not willed by ‘The Sat’. These evolutions are the Katha of ‘The Sat’. It gives us the reason why we refer ‘The Sat’ as ‘Karta Purakh’. Realizing this Katha is important because from it we can deduce the will of ‘The Sat’. The implied will of ‘The Sat’ in this Katha is ‘all round evolution to the higher level in harmony with the environment’. As I understand this is the will of ‘The Sat’ and Guru Sahib wants his Sikhs to realize this truth from the Katha of ‘The Sat’ and them become an instrument of the will of ‘The Sat’. This way Guru Sahib expect each Sikh, with pure mind, to keep striving to evolve more and more to higher and higher level and help the society in this process in both the domains – material and spiritual. Guru Sahib has termed this state as ‘Chardi Kala’.
When we understand the will of ‘The Sat’ and harmonize our efforts in accordance with this will, we resonate with it and become the instrument of the will of ‘The Sat’ in the world of ‘Akaars’ i.e. forms without burning the spiritual link with ‘The Sat’. The way ‘The Sikh’ moves closer and closer to ‘The Sat’, which is the intent of being born in this human form. As I understand for this reason Guru Sahib has said in this sentence that the Katha (story) of ‘The Sat’ is highest; it can lead us to divinity in this material world.
4. nwmu sunq drd duK lQw ] naam sunat darad dukh lathaa.
Hearing ‘Naam’ pain and sorrow depart.

My understanding:
One has to distinguish between the two wards (i) Dard i.e. Pain – It is biological in origin and is part of all lives. Our Guru Sahib too were afflicted by ailments; and (ii) Dukh i.e. Sorrow – it is a state of mind, it is a product of thought process. Guru Sahib says that by hearing ‘Naam’ both of these depart.
The person who is imbued with ‘Naam’ and is pure in mind and living, for such Godly person the dualities in life stand fully dissolved. The person lives a pure life which diminish visitation by different affliction. If at all, the person falls sick, it is accepted by this Godly person as part of living which affects the body and not her or his mind. The person living in ‘Naam’ does not feel the pain. The visitations to his Akaar i.e. form or body does not disturb him at all. History tells us; when the time came for our Guru Sahibs to leave this world, none of them felt any pain. Even when Guru Sahib i.e. Guru Arjan Dev Ji, was made to site over heated plate kept on a kiln and hot sand poured on his head, there was no expression on his face showing any pain felt by him. Guru Sahib has risen above, much above the body centered living. For him the pain has departed. This is what Guru Sahib conveys in this sentence.
The suffering or sorrow i.e. Dukh, is what is felt mentally; it results from the thought process; it results from the feeling of some form of loss; this loss is the result of ‘I-ness’ i.e. Ahamkara in the person. The person who from the depth of soul and heart is with ‘Naam’ is free from Ahamkara. Happiness and sorrow are two sides on one coin – world centered living. These afflict the person living a worldly life devoid of spirituality. The person imbued with ‘Naam’ lives a pure life doing her or his Dharma as a householder with full involvement, in accordance with where the person is place in life but does not get attached to what she or he is doing. This person i.e. Gurmukh is an instrument of the will of ‘The Sat’; she or he is living in accordance with ‘Hukam’. The dualities in life get fully dissolved for such Godly person. This person does not feel sorrow, she or he is always in bliss. This person owns nothing; the Ahamkara has left her or him. When there is no ‘I’ in this person, there cannot be any my also. All what is with this Gurmukh, including her or his life, belongs to ‘The Sat’. Gurmukh lives the life as meant by our slogan ‘Siri Waheguru Ji ka Khalsa, Siri Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh’ which means that the Sikh belongs to ‘The Sat’ and her or his accomplishments and achievements also belong to ‘The Sat’. This person owns nothing; all belongs to ‘The Sat’. This person has nothing to loose. There is no feeling of sorrow for this person.The Gurmukh has evolved to the ultimate level of spirituality.
This is how for the person living with Naam, Dukh i.e. sorrow and Dard i.e. pain departs. This is what Guru Sahib coveys to us through this sentence.
5. nwm kI mihmw sMq ird vsY ] naam kee mahimaa sant rid vasai.
The glories of ‘Naam’ reside in the heart of the saint.

My understanding:
Guru Sahib has mentioned ‘Saint’ in whose heart the glory of ‘Naam’ resides. It is natural, because the Saint is aware of it and not the worldly individual. A householder who lives a pure life fulfilling the dharma specific to her or his position is also a saint as our Guru Sahibs were.
Guru Sahib always used the terms that were current with the audience of his time and some are so in even in today’s parlance e.g. the word ‘heart’ used in this sentence. This ‘heart’ is not the heart that we learn in Anatomy, but means the deeper layers of our brain, which are beyond the control of cortex or conscious part of the brain. The functioning of this part of the brain creates what we call ‘The Mind’. Our intrinsic nature is, what is in these deeper layers of our brain. It is this part of our brain, which holds the glory of ‘The Sat’, making the person Godly; we call such person Saint. The Godly nature of the Saint is not pretence; it is not a cultivated behavior; it is the real nature of that person. As Saint’s deeper layers of the brain are filled with the glory of ‘The Sat’, the commands that the brain gives to this person to do something with be Godly only. The thought process, speech or action of the Saint will always be Godly. This is what Guru Sahib coveys in this sentence.
6. sMq pRqwip durqu sBu nsY ] sant partaap durat sabh nasai.
By the Prataap of the saint, the guilt is destroyed.

My understanding:
I am not able to find an English word which can covey what this word Prataap means. Prataap is composed of two words. Pra and Taap. Taap is also used to suggest heat. Pra means outwards. To explain what I perceive in words I say that Prataap is some sort of field which cannot be seen but can be felt. It results from in individual’s inner achievements. The inner source of this field is so strong that it influences the environment outside the body of the saint. The person, who comes within the range of this field coming from a saint, feels the impact of it and her or his past guilt get destroyed. This happens because the Ahamkara in this person gets dissolved and the person gets purified.
7. sMq kw sMgu vfBwgI pweIAY ] sant kaa sang vadbhaagee paa-ee-ai.
Very fortunate individuals get the company of a Saint.

My understanding:
There is a lot to be learned from this sentence. The Godly persons i.e. saints are not many in numbers. These Saints do not commercialize their Godly nature. It is for the seekers to find them out. This means that the probability of coming across a Saint is small. One comes across Godly person if one is fortunate. This allows physical proximity.
The term ‘Sang’ i.e. company means much more that just physical proximity. It means becoming one with the Saint. The seeker has to become one with the Saint in the same way, as the small child is one with the mother. The small child tries to imitate what the mother does. Small words that mother utters the child tries to utter too. In this process the child learns to speak on its own profiting from the mothers. It is by the same process the child learns to sit, stand walk and run. It all starts with attempt to imitate what the child sees; in due course the child assimilates it. This way one can say that in child’s learning, imitation is the precursor of assimilation. There is another factor, in child’s ability to assimilate what it imitates - the child’s mental resistance is zero. The child does not question the environment to which it is being exposed. This happens at that tender age, when the child still does not have any ‘I-ness’ and does not have any substantial memory and knowledge base. All these attributes develop as one grows. These attribute develop mental resistance to any new learning. It for this reason, total surrender to the Guru is demanded in Indian scriptures. Grown-ups with practice can bring their own mental resistance to zero; this require training of one’s own mind. When the mental resistance is brought to zero with respect to the Saint in whose physical proximity the seeker is, then the term ‘Sang’ company becomes true. This is the condition for spirituality of Guru to get passed on to the seeker.
All these positive happenings to occur concurrently is not very common, in fact it is rare. It is for this reason Guru Sahib has said in this sentence that ‘only the fortunate persons get the company of Saints’.
Knowing this well and not to let Sikhs getting handicapped by rarity of Saints, Guru Sahibs have given us ‘Siri Guru Granth Sahib’ from which, we can learn the way to spirituality. This Guru does not hold discourses, but tells every thing to the seekers who reads it. This is the Wisdom of our Ten Guru Sahibs.
8. sMq kI syvw nwmu iDAweIAY ] sant kee sayvaa naam Dhi-aa-ee-ai.
Service of the saint enshrines Naam in the server.

My understanding:
The rational behind what is said by Guru Sahib in this sentence needs to be understood. The Saint and her or his environment is saturated with Naam. The source of what the Saint does is ‘Naam’. When the seeker serves the Saint, the physical proximity is natural. In addition, if this person serves the Saint with zero mental resistance, the knowledge and the wisdom transfer from the Saint to this seeker will get maximized. What the Saint does the seeker will imitate and with time will assimilate. The verbal teachings of the Saint too will find way to the deeper layer of the mind. The object of all that is around the Saint is ‘Naam’, the entire environment around the Saint is teeming with Naam; it is resonating with ‘The Sat’. In this natural process by which the ‘Naam’ will fully get enshrined in the being of the seeker. This is what Guru Sahib has said in this sentence?
9. nwm quil kCu Avru n hoie ] naam tul kachh avar na ho-ay.
There is none equal to ‘Naam’

My understanding:
In this sentence Guru Sahib tells very clearly to Sikhs that any other way of revering or worshiping ‘The Sat’ is not equal to the way of ‘Naam’. Jaap and Simran of ‘Naam’ is the best way no other way is equal to it. In other words, through this sentence, Guru Sahib asks the Sikhs not to indulge in the practices of other religions. The best way to evolve in spirituality is through ‘Jaap’ or ‘Simran’ of ‘Naam’.
10. nwnk gurmuiK nwmu pwvY jnu koie ]8]2] naanak gurmukh naam paavai jan ko-ay. ||8||2||
O’Nanak, Gurmukh are those whole receive ‘Naam’.

My understanding:
Guru Sahib says the individual whose being is soaked with ‘Naam’ is Gurmukh.
Guru Sahib has said all this in the Pauri to impress on us the value of ‘Naam’ in spirituality
With this I close my post.
With love and respect for all.
Amarpal Singh



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