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Sabd Guru On Mind Altering Substances

Discussion in 'Spiritual' started by vsgrewal48895, Mar 24, 2009.

  1. vsgrewal48895

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    Mar 12, 2009
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    Drug abuse is a disease that affects many people in the world. This includes, Punjab as well the rest of India or where ever one lives today. It not only affects the individuals, but also their families, friends, co-workers, and eventually strangers. Its symptoms, effects, and spiritual remedy are discussed here with references from AGGS. Lack of spirituality is the core issue underlying any addiction. Guru Nanak compares the present Dark Age to the intoxication of wine;

    ਕਲਿ ਕਲਵਾਲੀ ਮਾਇਆ ਮਦੁ ਮੀਠਾ ਮਨੁ ਮਤਵਾਲਾ ਪੀਵਤੁ ਰਹੈ ॥

    Kal Kalvaalee Maya Mud Meetha Man Matwaalaa Peevat Rahai.

    The Dark Age of Kali Yuga is the bottle of wine; Maya is the sweet wine, and the intoxicated mind continues to drink it. -----Guru Nanak, Raag Asa, AGGS, Page, 350-7

    ਪਾਨ ਸੁਪਾਰੀ ਖਾਤੀਆ ਮੁਖਿ ਬੀੜੀਆ ਲਾਈਆ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਕਦੇ ਨ ਚੇਤਿਓ ਜਮਿ ਪਕੜਿ ਚਲਾਈਆ ॥

    Pān supārī kẖāṯī▫ā mukẖ bīṛī▫ā lā▫ī▫ā. Har har kaḏe na cẖeṯi▫o jam pakaṛ cẖalā▫ī▫ā.

    Those who eat betel nuts and betel leaf thus applying its color on lips (indicating luxurious and voluptuous way of life), and never contemplate on the Eternal Akal Purkh - the Messenger of Death will march them in bondage.
    -----Guru Ramdas, Raag Tilang, AGGS, Page, 726-4

    Substance abuse is defined as a pattern of use in which harmful consequences result for the user, yet, they continue to use the substance or to drink alcohol. There are two types of drinkers, the casual or social drinker. He may drink for pleasure and only occasionally. The other type, the compulsive drinker, drinks because of an obsession, despite the adverse effects that drinking has on his life. Lack of spirituality is the core issue underlying any addiction. The major symptoms associated with spiritual bankruptcy are: feeling lost, confused, empty, and out of control. Associated with this cluster of feelings is a state of consciousness, experienced as an unbearable deflation of personal power. The common description of this state of consciousness is “hitting the bottom,” or falling from the top. For Sikhism the ‘top’ is consciousness. Thus the core issue underlying alcoholism is a falling away from God consciousness, a lack of meaningful connectedness with spirituality. A basic problem of addiction is a defiance of God instead of reliance on It. Because of addiction, one strays away from God’s Will. Hence major symptoms of the problem are a lack of faith, hope, trust, and love of God. Guru Amardas compares the user to Manmukh in Raag Gauri;

    ਸਚੁ ਸਚਾ ਜਿਨੀ ਨ ਸੇਵਿਆ ਸੇ ਮਨਮੁਖ ਮੂੜ ਬੇਤਾਲੇ ॥ ਓਹ ਆਲੁ ਪਤਾਲੁ ਮੁਹਹੁ ਬੋਲਦੇ ਜਿਉ ਪੀਤੈ ਮਦਿ ਮਤਵਾਲੇ ॥

    Sach Sachaa Jinee Na Sayvi-aa Say Manmukh Moorh Baytaalay, Oh Aal Pataal Muhhu Bolday Ji-o Peetai Mad Matvaalay.

    Those who do not serve the Truest of the True, those self-willed are foolish demons. With their mouths, they babble on about this and that, like the drunkard who has drunk wine. -----Guru Amardas, Raag Gauri, AGGS, Page, 311-10 & 11

    The symptoms of addiction are changes in emotional state, stability, behavior, and personality. Alcoholics or drug users may become angry and argumentive, or quiet and withdrawn or depressed. They may also feel more anxious, sad, tense, and confused. They then seek relief by drinking more. Because the time and the amount of drinking are uncontrollable, the addict is likely to engage in behaviors as: -

    a) Breaking family commitments, both major and minor.
    b) Spending more money than planned.
    c) Drinking while intoxicated and committing unlawful acts.
    d) Making inappropriate remarks to friends, family, and co-workers.
    e) Arguing, fighting and other anti-social actions.

    The addicted is suffering from a type of spiritual or psychological “disease.” The core symptom associated with this hybrid illness is a chronic state of frustration. A confluence of “negative attitudes” results in a lack of self-discipline. This further depresses the already depressed alcoholic. The user would probably neither do such things, nor approve of them in others, if he were sober.

    The cause of addiction is a combination of biological, psychological, and cultural factors. Alcoholism seems to run in families. Studies show that 50 to 80 percent of all alcoholics have had a close alcoholic relative. Some researchers have suggested that alcoholics have an inherited, predisposition to alcohol addiction. Additionally, alcoholics often drink hoping to "drown” anxiety or depression. Some alcoholics drink to reduce strong inhibition or guilt about expressing negative feelings. Social and cultural factors play a role in the development of alcoholism and drinking patterns.

    The prolonged use of large amounts of alcohol/drugs without adequate diet may cause serious liver damage and diseases such as cirrhosis of the liver, loss of muscular control, delirium tremens, causing hallucinations. Withdrawal may cause agitation, tremors and seizures. Alcoholics may suffer lack of concentration "blackouts," memory lapses, complete memory loss and brain damage. A person having a problem-drinker parent often is at a greater risk of becoming a problem drinker himself. This leads to family conflict, job insecurity, divorce, and social stigma.

    Alcohol abuse costs $40 to $60 billion in the U. S. annually. This includes the lost production, health and medical care, motor vehicle accidents and violent crimes. One half of all the traffic fatalities and injuries are related to the abuse of alcohol. Accidents and suicides that are associated with alcohol problems are especially prominent in the teen years. It is estimated that over 3 million teens between the ages of 14 and 17 in the United States today are problem drinkers. Education and an understanding of the effects of alcoholism can influence different aspects of a person's life.

    Sabd Guru categorically forbids the use of mind altering substances. The consequences of this immoral breach are referred to by Guru Nanak in Siri Raag:

    ਬਾਬਾ ਹੋਰੁ ਖਾਣਾ ਖੁਸੀ ਖੁਆਰੁ ॥ ਜਿਤੁ ਖਾਧੈ ਤਨੁ ਪੀੜੀਐ ਮਨ ਮਹਿ ਚਲਹਿ ਵਿਕਾਰ ॥

    Baabaa Hor Khaanaa Khusee Khu-aar, Jit Khadhai Tan Peerhai Man Meh Chaleh Vikaar.

    O Baba, the pleasures of other foods are false. Eating them, the body is ruined, and wickedness and corruption enter into the mind.-----Guru Nanak, Siri Raag, AGGS, Page, 16-14

    The use of mind altering substances is on the increase especially among the young people both in Punjab and in the west. It affects the mind and the thinking processes. Since thoughts lead to words, words lead to actions and repeated actions form habits and character. Since character is the pre-requisite in spiritual growth and this situation takes one away from spirituality. The evolvement of the character was the theme of Guru Nanak’s japji. It may be possible to change the world through a change in thoughts through word. Kipling once said that words are “the most powerful drug used by mankind” to brainwash individuals.

    Addiction may require a two-fold intervention. One which is spiritual, the other is psychological. The spiritual antidote is to motivate the user to realign himself with God’s Will. The psychological intervention is to teach the user or alcoholic to learn the habit of self-restraint. Mardana in Raag Bihaagrha likens this Dark Age as the bottle of wine leading to the misuse of the lower instincts that one is born with;

    ਕਲਿ ਕਲਵਾਲੀ ਕਾਮੁ ਮਦੁ ਮਨੂਆ ਪੀਵਣਹਾਰੁ ॥ ਕ੍ਰੋਧ ਕਟੋਰੀ ਮੋਹਿ ਭਰੀ ਪੀਲਾਵਾ ਅਹੰਕਾਰੁ ॥ ਮਜਲਸ ਕੂੜੇ ਲਬ ਕੀ ਪੀ ਪੀ ਹੋਇ ਖੁਆਰੁ ॥ ਕਰਣੀ ਲਾਹਣਿ ਸਤੁ ਗੁੜੁ ਸਚੁ ਸਰਾ ਕਰਿ ਸਾਰੁ ॥

    Kal Kalvaalee Kam Mud Manoo-aa Peevanhaar, KroDh Katoree Mohi Bharee Peelaavaa AhaNkaar, Majlas Koorhay Lab Kee Pee Pee Ho-ay Khu-aar, Karnee Laahan Sat Gurh Sach Saraa Kar Saar.

    The Dark Age of Kali Yuga is the vessel, filled with the wine of sexual desire; the mind is the drunkard. Anger is the cup, filled with emotional attachment, and egotism is the server. Drinking too much in the company of falsehood and greed, one is ruined. -----Mardana 1, Raag Bihaagrha, AGGS, Page, 553-2

    In the present times, peer pressure in school age adolescents may lead to substance-abuse. Adults too have to face pressures of life -- depression, financial failure, marriage problem etc. that can lead to substance abuse. Over-use of the lower instincts can land one in legal, sexual, and medical problems which can also drive one to drink. Guru Amardas contrasts intoxication to the bliss obtained through God’s Grace in Raag Bihagrha:

    ਮਾਣਸੁ ਭਰਿਆ ਆਣਿਆ ਮਾਣਸੁ ਭਰਿਆ ਆਇ ॥ ਜਿਤੁ ਪੀਤੈ ਮਤਿ ਦੂਰਿ ਹੋਇ ਬਰਲੁ ਪਵੈ ਵਿਚਿ ਆਇ ॥ ਆਪਣਾ ਪਰਾਇਆ ਨ ਪਛਾਣਈ ਖਸਮਹੁ ਧਕੇ ਖਾਇ ॥ ਜਿਤੁ ਪੀਤੈ ਖਸਮੁ ਵਿਸਰੈ ਦਰਗਹ ਮਿਲੈ ਸਜਾਇ ॥ ਝੂਠਾ ਮਦੁ ਮੂਲਿ ਨ ਪੀਚਈ ਜੇ ਕਾ ਪਾਰਿ ਵਸਾਇ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਨਦਰੀ ਸਚੁ ਮਦੁ ਪਾਈਐ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਮਿਲੈ ਜਿਸੁ ਆਇ ॥

    Maanas Bhariaa AaNiaa Manas Bhariaa Aaey, Jit Peetai Mat Door Hoey Baral Pavai Vich Aaey, Aapnaa Paraae-aa Na PachaanNaee Khasmoh Dhakay Khaaey, Jit Peetai Khasam Visarai Dargah Milai Sjaaey, Jhoothaa Mad Mool Na Peech-ee Jay Kaa Paar Vasaa-ay, Nanak Nadree Sach Mad Paa-ee-ai Satgur Milai Jis Aa-ay.

    One person brings a full bottle, and another fills his cup. Drinking the wine, his intelligence departs, and madness enters his mind. He cannot distinguish between his own and others and he is struck down by his Creator and Master. Drinking it, he forgets his God and Master, and he is punished in Its court. Do not drink the false wine at all, if it is in your power. O Nanak, the True Guru comes and meets the mortal; by Akal Purkh’s Grace, one obtains the True Wine. -----Guru Amardas, Raag Bihaagrha, AGGS, Page, 554- 13 & 14

    Since the use of these substances affects every cell in the human organism, there is virtually no part of you that won’t suffer if you over indulge in their use. The sensual pleasure of this intoxication makes the person corrupt in character says Kabir in Raag Gauri’

    ਸੁਆਦ ਲੁਭਤ ਇੰਦ੍ਰੀ ਰਸ ਪ੍ਰੇਰਿਓ ਮਦ ਰਸ ਲੈਤ ਬਿਕਾਰਿਓ ਰੇ ॥

    Su­āḏ lubẖaṯ inḏrī ras parėri­o maḏ ras laiṯ bikāri­o rė.

    Those who are deluded by sensual pleasures, who are tempted by sexual delights and enjoy wine, are corrupt. -----Kabir, Raag Gauri, AGGS, Page, 335-15

    Chemicals of abuse don’t play favorites; addiction is the great equalizer. Individuals in every walk of life from intellectuals to school drop outs will end up on the slabs at the morgue years ahead of the school mates if they don’t stop drinking and drugging.

    Guru Arjan comments on the waste of human life by users in Raag Maru:

    ਹੋਛਾ ਮਦੁ ਚਾਖਿ ਹੋਏ ਤੁਮ ਬਾਵਰ ਦੁਲਭ ਜਨਮੁ ਅਕਾਰਥ ॥ ਰੇ ਨਰ ਐਸੀ ਕਰਹਿ ਇਆਨਥ ॥

    Hoachaa Mud Chaakh Hoey Tum Baavar Dulabh Janam Akaarath, Ray Nar Aisee Kareh Iaanath, Ray Nar Aisee Karahi I-aanath.

    You taste the weak, insipid wine, and you have gone insane. You have uselessly wasted this precious human life. O man, such is the foolishness you practice. O man, such is the foolishness you practice. -----Guru Arjan, Raag Maru, AGGS, Page, 1001- 8 & 9

    The above hymn describes it as a foolish thing to use or drink due to the dilemma of Denial. It is not that most of the individuals are stupid or just plain pig-headed but they deny their ills -- to themselves as well as to everyone else, in order to protect themselves from facing a fearsome reality and being branded with the stigma and the fear of giving up his or her drug of choice. Denial is a mechanism of self-defense useful for a short time but destructive over the long term.

    The best treatment for an addiction to these substances is through spiritual progress. God helps those who help themselves by an active action on their part through spiritual inspiration. AGGS is filled with this kind of inspiration that one should get intoxicated with the love of God in the same way as the chemical addicts and abusers are addicted to their drug of choice. When these teachings are acted upon, they will not only put the addicted person on the right path towards spiritual growth but also towards keeping him sober and sustaining him as a better human being.

    The following selected hymns from AGGS directs all to develop the same kind of love with the Akal Purkh as the addicted individual has with his or her addiction, so they can be ready to receive God’s Grace. The latter is absolutely necessary for the success in this endeavor.

    ਦੁਰਮਤਿ ਮਦੁ ਜੋ ਪੀਵਤੇ ਬਿਖਲੀ ਪਤਿ ਕਮਲੀ ॥ਰਾਮ ਰਸਾਇਣਿ ਜੋ ਰਤੇ ਨਾਨਕ ਸਚ ਅਮਲੀ ॥

    Durmat Mad Jo Peevtay Bikhlee Pat Kamlee, Ram RasaaiaN Jo Ratay Nanak Such Amlee.

    Those who are imbued with the sublime essence of the Akal Purkh, O Nanak, are intoxicated with the Truth. -----Guru Arjan, Raag Asa, AGGS, Page, 399-11

    ਅਮਲੀ ਅਮਲੁ ਨ ਅੰਬੜੈ ਮਛੀ ਨੀਰੁ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਜੋ ਰਤੇ ਸਹਿ ਆਪਣੈ ਤਿਨ ਭਾਵੈ ਸਭੁ ਕੋਇ ॥

    Amlee Amal Na Anbrhai Machee Neer Na Hoey, Jo Ratay Seh Aapnai Tin Bhaavai Sabh Ko-ay.

    To the addict, there is nothing like the drug; to the fish, there is nothing else like the water. To those who are attuned to their Akal Purkh, everyone is pleasing.
    -----Guru Nanak, Raag Vadhans, AGGS, Page, 557-4

    ਬਿਨੁ ਨਾਵੈ ਮਰਿ ਜਾਈਐ ਮੇਰੇ ਠਾਕੁਰ ਜਿਉ ਅਮਲੀ ਅਮਲਿ ਲੁਭਾਨਾ ॥

    Bin Naavai Mar Jaa-eeai Mayray Thaakur Jeo Amlee Amal Lubhaanaa.

    Without the Name, I would die; the Name of my Creator and Master is to me like the drug to the addict. -----Guru Amardas, Raag Jaitsari, AGGS, Page, 697-4

    ਹਉ ਖਿਨੁ ਪਲੁ ਰਹਿ ਨ ਸਕਉ ਬਿਨੁ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਮ ਜਿਉ ਬਿਨੁ ਅਮਲੈ ਅਮਲੀ ਮਰਿ ਗਈਆ ॥ ਹਉ ਖਿਨੁ ਪਲੁ ਰਹਿ ਨ ਸਕਉ ਬਿਨੁ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਮ ਜਿਉ ਬਿਨੁ ਅਮਲੈ ਅਮਲੀ ਮਰਿ ਗਈਆ ॥

    Haou Khin Pal Reh Na Sakou Bin Preetam Jeo Bin Amalai Amlee Mar Gaee-aa, Ha-o Khin Pal Reh Na Saka-o Bin Pareetam Ji-o Bin Amlai Amlee Mar Ga-ee-aa.

    I cannot live for a moment, for even an instant, without my Beloved, like the opium addict who cannot live without opium.-----Guru Amardas, Raag Bilawal, AGGS, Page, 836-17

    ਕਾਹੂ ਬਿਹਾਵੈ ਖੇਲਤ ਜੂਆ ॥ ਕਾਹੂ ਬਿਹਾਵੈ ਅਮਲੀ ਹੂਆ ॥ ਕਾਹੂ ਬਿਹਾਵੈ ਪਰ ਦਰਬ ਚੋੁਰਾਏ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਜਨ ਬਿਹਾਵੈ ਨਾਮ ਧਿਆਏ ॥

    Kaahoo Bihaavai Khaylat Joo-aa, Kaahoo Bihaavai Amlee Hoo-aa, Kaahoo Bihaavai Par Darab Choraa-ay, Har Jan Bihaavai Naam Dhi-aa-ay.

    Some pass their lives gambling. Some pass their lives getting drunk. Some pass their lives stealing the property of the others. The humble servants of the Akal Purkh pass their lives meditating on the Naam. -----Guru Arjan, Raag Ramkali, AGGS, Page, 914-4

    ਅਮਲੀ ਜੀਵੈ ਅਮਲੁ ਖਾਇ ॥ ਤਿਉ ਹਰਿ ਜਨੁ ਜੀਵੈ ਹਰਿ ਧਿਆਇ ॥

    Amlee Jeevai Amal Khaaey, Teo Har Jan Jeevai Har Dhiaaey.

    The opium addict lives by consuming opium. In the same way, the humble servant of the God lives by meditating on It. -----Guru Arjan, Raag Basant, AGGS, Page, 1180-8

    ਹਰਿ ਬਿਨੁ ਰਹਿ ਨ ਸਕਉ ਇਕ ਰਾਤੀ॥ਜਿਉ ਬਿਨੁ ਅਮਲੈ ਅਮਲੀ ਮਰਿ ਜਾਈ ਹੈ ਤਿਉ ਹਰਿ ਬਿਨੁ ਹਮ ਮਰਿ ਜਾਤੀ ॥

    Har Bin Reh Na Sakou Ik Raatee, Jeo Bin Amlai Amlee Mar Jaaee Hai Teo Har Bin Ham Mar Jaatee.

    Without God, I cannot live for even a second, like the addict who dies without his drug, I die without Akal Purkh. -----Guru Ramdas, Raag Dhanasari, AGGS, Page, 668-3

    ਕਬੀਰ ਭਾਂਗ ਮਾਛੁਲੀ ਸੁਰਾ ਪਾਨਿ ਜੋ ਜੋ ਪ੍ਰਾਨੀ ਖਾਂਹਿ ॥ ਤੀਰਥ ਬਰਤ ਨੇਮ ਕੀਏ ਤੇ ਸਭੈ ਰਸਾਤਲਿ ਜਾਂਹਿ ॥

    Kabir Bhaang Maachulee Sura Paan Jo Jo Praanee Khaaneh, Teerath Barat Naym Keeay Tay Sabhay Rasaatal Jaaneh.

    Kabir, those mortals who consume marijuana, fish and wine no matter what pilgrimages, fasts and rituals they follow, they will all go to hell.-----Kabir Slokes # 233, AGGS, Page, 1377-2 & 3

    The progress in spirituality only occurs when the individual involved admits and surrenders himself to the “Akal Purkh” and supplicates for Its grace. This should be followed by the intense loving attitude of gratitude with prayer, meditation, and singing Its praises. By surrendering wholly and willingly to the highest power will leave no room in the hearts for any darkness, anger or evil. Spiritual growth helps us maintain social order and keep harmony. When our thoughts, mind and heart are focused in this new way of life according to the guidance incorporated in AGGS, we shall find higher ideals arising within us spontaneously. The lower instincts will touch us no more. The spiritual program opens one up so that one’s Higher Power can flow into oneself. It is fruitful to consider the logic behind this concept of transformation.


    With the right attitude of mind, self-control, one can achieve his own welfare. But when the mind is distorted or clouded it becomes our enemy. Likewise when we are puffed up with vanity or are full of egotism, we turn away from our divine nature.

    Spirituality is not a question of calculations or doctrines. It evolves in us and benefits us. Our lives get transformed. We are the same and yet we are not the same. The only way we raise and lift our fellow beings is to find a higher level of consciousness. What we manifest in the body and mind is the result of what we are in our spiritual consciousness. Deferred gratification is the ability to control the immediate satisfaction of one’s desires, and to wait and work for greater rewards at a later time. This requires great strength of character. It represents a spiritual triumph over materiality, the angel over the ape. If we get spirituality fit, the rest will follow. Spirituality is what animates the soul, illumines the mind and sensitizes the heart of the individual. It is coming closer to God in a Personal relationship with God. It implies abandoning the use of mind altering substances.

    ਅਮਲੁ ਗਲੋਲਾ ਕੂੜ ਕਾ ਦਿਤਾ ਦੇਵਣਹਾਰਿ ॥ ਮਤੀ ਮਰਣੁ ਵਿਸਾਰਿਆ ਖੁਸੀ ਕੀਤੀ ਦਿਨ ਚਾਰਿ ॥ ਸਚੁ ਮਿਲਿਆ ਤਿਨ ਸੋਫੀਆ ਰਾਖਣ ਕਉ ਦਰਵਾਰੁ ॥

    Amal Galolaa Koorh Kaa Ditaa Dayvanhaar, Matee MaraN Visaari-aa Khusee Keetee Din Chaar, Sach Miliaa Tin Soafia RaakhaN Kou Darvaar.

    The people are intoxicated; they have forgotten death, and they have fun for a few days. The Great Giver has given the intoxicating drug of falsehood. Those who do not use intoxicants are true; they dwell in the Court of Akal Purkh.-----Guru Nanak, Siri Raag, AGGS, Page, 15-18

    Virinder S. Grewal
    Williamston, MI
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