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Discussion in 'Sikh Sikhi Sikhism' started by vsgrewal48895, May 3, 2009.

  1. vsgrewal48895

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    Mar 12, 2009
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    A spiritual discipline consists of choices a person makes in life, for the purpose of entering into deeper relationship with God. Practices are specific techniques one might employ consistent with a more general discipline. Actual practices by adherents in most religions often differ from the written tenets of their faiths in their holy scriptures. Humans are mostly undisciplined by nature. So they look to God/Guru for guidance in their actions, and if these are inadequate, they look for more actions. For spiritual growth, however one has to follow the discipline prescribed in his/ her faith.

    Discipline is of two types;

    • Internal
    • External
    Internal discipline includes acceptance and submission to, God’s Will, and to go beyond meditation, prayer and reading AGGS, by living in the teachings of Sabd Guru honestly and truthfully.

    External discipline includes rituals, symbols, simplicity, selfless service, and solitude. Spiritual practices can be sound and helpful, but they can become the home of superstition and magic, too. No mechanical recitation of the Sabd in any form is effective. One must contemplate and understand the meaning of the message of the Sabd. This world, heaven or hell or anything else does not supernaturally bend to anyone's bidding. Devotional aids are there to help one direct oneself toward God. The moment one begins to believe that he has developed some special powers or merit of his own; he becomes a believer in some magic (ਸਿਧੀ). He is then idolatrous, and in breach of the teaching of the Sabd pretending to be a true worshipper.

    Body, mind and senses are very much like untrained horses. It is for us to decide whether we should yield to every impulse of our physical organism or hold it back in check. This is the first step in self-discipline. It means that we must begin to act thoughtfully and teach our body and mind to be reasonable. The purpose of self-discipline mostly, is not to gain merit but to check greed and sloth in mind and body. Excess in any direction is detrimental to our progress.

    The restless mind does not know the way of devotion. It is like a wild elephant, mad, and reprobate, wandering in the illusion of Maya. Without accepting the Will of God, human mind does not achieve poise. For this he must discard egoism, distinction, and the malady of doubt. Human mind is avaricious and forgetful. At times it is meditating, performing austerities and at other times indulging in pleasures of life. It is gripped with desire and duality. Sometimes it is king or hero in the battle and other times sheds fear and pride with the Grace of God and becomes devoted and thoughtful towards the love of fellow human beings. As it is being purified with spiritual progress, it develops the divine vision. To become disciplined one has to break the bondages of mother, father, son, daughter, wife, siblings, progeny and Maya. Until and unless worldly bondage, attachment and evil are destroyed, mind cannot become disciplined. The person who knows how to conquer lust, wrath, avarice, boasting and pride, can possess the sovereignty of the whole world.

    Self discipline and self-control enable humans to organize and unite many forces. They begin to increase their power for both thought and action. Under the influence of ego a person may do something, the very thing he knows to be destructive. He may later regret it forever.

    Endurance is one of the greatest assets in life. For him who has conquered his self is a devout. An unconquered lower self acts as an enemy. We become our own enemy when we are thrown out of balance thus becoming irrational by anger, hatred, resentment, grief or any intense emotion, despite being ritualistically religious.

    We pray, meditate, study and go through all the practices meant to give us spiritual impetus, yet we stand still, or even take a step backwards. A person may adopt morality but lack patience, forbearance and forgiveness. When anger overtakes us, all the earlier dogmas and theories go for nothing.

    There are two ways to approach self-discipline by self-exertion or self-abandonment.

    1. For those who have surrendered themselves wholly to the highest power, there is no room in their hearts for any darkness, anger or evil. Social harmony and order in our lives are also vitally important in life. When our thought, mind and heart are all focused, the messages of AGGS get engraved within us. We may find high ideals arising within us spontaneously. The lower instincts will touch us no more.
    2. With the right attitude of mind and with the right control over ourselves, we enhance our own welfare. When our mind is distorted or clouded it becomes our enemy. Similarly, when we are puffed up with vanity and are full of egotism, we turn away from our divine nature. Ego works in both ways.

    Spirituality is not a consequence of our calculations or our doctrines. When it evolves in us and we are the first to benefit. Our lives get transformed for the better. Physically we are the same and yet we are not the same. Also, only way we raise and lift our fellow beings is to help them find a higher level of consciousness. It is because what we manifest in the body and mind is the result of what we are in our spiritual consciousness.

    Unfeeling people are often self-centered and selfish due to their way of thought and living. We should not seek the self, but seek the truth. Truth is above all and above truth is truthful conduct. Truth is something we should absorb and assimilate. Truth cleaves to no self. Lower self refers itself to ego. This is the cause of selfishness and the source of evil, and it reveals itself to self. Truth is continuous, deathless, immortal, and does not get old.

    The self-adjustments and self-possessions are essential to our well being. One who has self-control is serene in the midst of all dualistic turmoil. We need individual discipline. The mind may not enjoy this, because it has formed the habit of lighter interests. The ordinary mind finds more pleasure in reading a novel, watching movie or TV, than in studying AGGS and Gurbani. Yet one who wishes to sustain his spiritual nature has no choice but to cultivate new habits -- attend religious functions for spiritual growth and not for social recognition. These new habits must becomes a second nature, and we should come to love them. It is to be obtained through prayer, selfless service, devotional love, and contemplative meditation. Conquests one seeks in the external world are insignificant in comparison with the treasures within. Until one conquers this inner kingdom, outer conquests remain fleeting and uncertain. One’s own unwise actions may at any moment cause his ruin.

    If one has dirt out side, it can be removed with a shower, more so with soap. Then one may even put on a clean, business suit to impress the others. What about the dirt inside, which cannot be seen? It can only be removed with spiritual progress and growth says Guru Nanak in Japji.


    A person is not a conqueror in the spiritual sense unless he is willing to give up any material advantage in favor of his inner life. Each of us must bring out what is best in him. When our lower nature no longer exerts itself regardless of the nature of a provocation, then self-conquest is complete. One should be concerned about internal discipline and purity rather external cleanliness. A spiritual man is calm, a vulgar one frets about. Discipline in one’s life is wonderful for both mind and body. Spiritual discipline helps to keep our relationship with God in good working order. It may help develop intimacy with Akal Purkh. Disciplines and practices are tools for evolvement of character. They are a part of our cooperation with the Spirit in the task of remaking us into what God/Guru wants us to be.


    1. Guru Amardas, Raag Basant, AGGS, Page, 1175-18
    2. Guru Arjan, Sahskirti Sloke, 60, AGGS, Page, 1359
    3. Guru Nanak, Raag Bilawal, AGGS, Page, 831
    4. Guru Nanak, Japji, AGGS, Page, 6-17
    5. Guru Nanak, Raag Bilawal, AGGS, Page, 832-6
    6. Guru Nanak, Raag Asa, AGGS, Page, 467-6
    7. Guru Arjan, Raag Suhi, AGGS, Page, 739
    8. Guru Nanak, Raag Bilawal, AGGS, Page, 832-7
    9. Guru Nanak, Raag Ram kali, AGGS, Page, 956-1
    10. Japji. Pauri 20.
    11. Guru Nanak, Raag Asa, AGGS, Page, 23-15
    12. Japji, Pauri 38

    Virinder S. Grewal
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