Sukhmani Sahib:6th Ashtapadee:8th Pauri:My Understanding | Sikh Philosophy Network
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Sukhmani Sahib:6th Ashtapadee:8th Pauri:My Understanding


Jun 11, 2004
Dear Khalsa Ji,

I share with you all, my understanding of the 8th Pauri of 6th Ashtapadee of Sukhmani Sahib.

Please note that the English sentence after the Transliteration is not the exact literal translation of the sentence, it is the meaning of the tuk as understood by me.

First the summary:
In this Pauri, Guru Sahib explains the nothingness of our own existence. We are what we are because of ‘The Sat’. This realization is important as it prompts dissolution of Ahamkara i.e. Ego.

1. Awip jpwey jpY so nwau ] aap japaa-ay japai so naa-o.
The Sat’ on its own makes the people enters the process of Jaap and the persons then continue with it.

My understanding:
The truth in Guru Sahib’s statement is self evident. ‘The Sat’ puts us in an environment which makes us get into Simran (remembrance of ‘The Sat’). In our own life we come across situation where we turn towards ‘The Sat’ for help. This happens because of the environment that ‘The Sat’ creates. Sometime from childhood the person has a natural inclination to spirituality or her or his care takers happen to be evolved spiritual beings, this happens because of our good Karmas from the previous births. All this happens because of ‘The Sat’. Guru Sahib in the above Tuk has pointed this to us.

2. Awip gwvwey su hir gun gwau ] aap gaavaa-ai so har gun gaa-o.
‘The Sat’ makes us sing and thus we sing the attribute of ‘The Sat’.

My understanding:
This Tuk is metaphoric.
Guru Sahib has emphasized that the life of a Sikh should be truthful in accordance with the teachings of Siri Guru Granth Sahib. ‘The Sat’ is in no need of sycophants, just vocal utterance of the praises is not what is meant in this Tuk, it is the persons being that must sing the praises of ‘The Sat’. As I understand, it should be the praises personified i.e. our life should demonstrate that our functioning brain reflects the illumination that we receive from ‘The Sat’ and we live our lives according to this illumination; our lives should be for the common good of all that we as human being can cover. Guru Sahib did the same. Here, singing to me means an exemplary expression of my living that resonates with the teachings of Siri Guru Granth Sahib. This is what I understand from this Tuk.

3. pRB ikrpw qy hoie pRgwsu ] parabh kirpaa tay ho-ay pargaas.
By the grace of ‘The Sat’, the person gets enlightened.

My understanding:
Guru Sahib draws our attention to the fact that we as human can only try and work towards some specific end, but the goal is realized only with the grace ‘The Sat’.

4. pRBU dieAw qy kml ibgwsu ] parabhoo da-i-aa tay kamal bigaas.
The lotus blossoms only with the kindness of ‘The Sat’.

My understanding:
In this Tuk, the word Lotus is metaphor for purity even in filthy environment. In India, we know the lotus grows in shallow ponds. The plant grows in this muddy (dirty) environment in which the flower i.e. Lotus blossoms. The flower always keeps itself much above the muddy waters (which symbolizes the life in material world) and never allows itself to get dirty. This manner of existence, symbolizes an unusual attribute, which we refer to as ‘Puneet’. A pure entity can become impure with the addition of impurity, but an entity that is not just pure but Puneet can never get impure though living in a dirty impure environment. Puneet is a word that is used for those entities which can never become impure; what ever comes in their contact becomes pure. Lotus, in India symbolizes this Puneet nature. For the person to become Puneet and thus become conceptually similar to lotus, the kindness, the grace, the Gurparsadee is needed from ‘The Sat’. Here, Lotus flower is metaphor for purity which it symbolizes. Guru Sahib has said that the lotus blossoms; it means that the brain function in pure manner and creates the mind that is pure. This is what Guru Sahib wants us to understand. Guru sahib says on our own we cannot achieve this, participation of ‘The Sat’ is always needed.

5. pRB supRsMn bsY min soie ] parabh suparsan basai man so-ay.
Joyful ‘Sat’ lives in the person’s mind.

My understanding:
Guru Sahib makes it clear to us that the joyful, contended ‘Sat’ is always present in us. We just have to understand this fact.
We know we are living not because of us; it is some other power which is making all the functions of the body operate. It is a fact that even with so many advances in science, we still have not fully understood how the various systems of the body function and give us an identity. We still do not understand why stem cell starts producing a specific type of tissue needed for the body. Scientists say that one day they will discover. They are truthful; they say they will discover, that means they will remove the cover from this mystery. But that only tells us that some one has created it, it is not created by we humans; the entity who created it we refer to as ‘The Sat’. This ‘Sat’ is running the show on earth and elsewhere. This ‘Sat’ is within us sustaining life in us. ‘The Sat’ is always present in us, this realization dawns on us only when our brain functions in a pure way resulting its soft output – the mind – to be pure. When our brain is formatted in accordance with the teachings of Siri Guru Granth Sahib, it functions in a ‘Sat’ like manner - for the common good of creation. Naturally, the mind that results from such functioning brain will be pure. Under this condition the person will feel the presence of ‘The Sat’ in her or him, who was, is and will be with the person all the time that the person lives. This is what Guru Sahib is telling us.

6. pRB dieAw qy miq aUqm hoie ] parabh da-i-aa tay mat ootam ho-ay.
With the mercy of ‘The Sat’, the thinking of the person evolves to the highest level.

My understanding:
In this Tuk, Guru Sahib is telling us that what ever evolution takes place in the thinking and thus the values and beliefs that the individual holds sacred and also the hierarchy of values that the person acquires is due to ‘The Sat’. As I understand, it is so because it is ‘The Sat’ is the One who puts us into an environment which makes us think in a specific way. The experiences in life give us a specific way of thinking. It is because of ‘The Sat’ that we acquire an evolved way of thinking and progressively reach the ultimate in it.

7. srb inDwn pRB qyrI mieAw ] sarab niDhaan parabh tayree ma-i-aa.
All treasures are the result of your Maya.

My understanding:
All worldly knowledge, skills and material wealth that comes to us during our life time, Guru Sahib has called it Maya. This Guru Sahib has done because they are not permanent. Even take the case of science: first it was said that the light moves in straight line, then it became to be understood as wave, then as particles and now both – particle and wave. First atom was the smallest particle, then electron, neutron and protons came and now there are many more. All this I am saying to convey that all our understanding of nature is tentative, it holds unless new understanding proves it wrong. Now take the case of skill – a person may have learnt to play a musical instrument to perfection. This skill remains with the person as long as she or he is practicing a lot. If the person stops practicing she or he loses the capability substantially. We gain material wealth during our life, which again is not our permanent companion. Even the gold has value only if one considers its monitory value; it is of no use to the person who does not value money. Here the worth of an entity is based on what our mind values and what it does not consider worthy. All this is because of the relative nature of our living. In fact all this is creation of our functioning brain that generates the output. So we see this fickle nature of worldly attribute. All this is Maya as Guru Sahib has pointed out in this Tuk.

8. Awphu kCU n iknhU lieAw ] aaphu kachhoo na kinhoo la-i-aa.
On one’s own nothing is achieved or obtained

My understanding:
Guru Sahib very clearly says that humans cannot achieve any thing on their own. The environment in which we live our life is totally out of our control; it is given to us by ‘The Sat’. Nature (genetic material which is in a way our past Karmas) and Nurture (the environment) presents to us the possibilities in life. Not all the possibilities appeal to us nor can we avail all of them; e.g. if the individual selects mathematics physics chemistry as her or his subject she or he cannot become a doctor and if the selected subjects are biology, physics and chemistry the person can opt for studies in medicine, but now she or he cannot become an engineer. Even if the person is born in a poverty ridden family, she or he may or may not be able to even go to school.
Yet some time the ‘The Sat’ itself leads the person on the path ‘The Sat’ wants. I tell you one real life example: About the time when India was partitioned, a boy was born in a poor family. His father was an honest laborer who used to carry brick loads on his head at construction sites. He did not want his son to live the life which he was living. Only thing he new that education will help this child. He admitted him to school. The boy too studied with interest and passed in the examinations. There was no electric supply in the hut this family was living in; the boy used to study by the side of the road under the street light. Finally he passed in the final examination of higher secondary. Every one in the family was happy, but none in the family new what to do next. The boy had the mark sheet in hand and was lovingly looking at the marks he had scored in the higher secondary examination. A well to do man, unknown to this boy, saw him is a very happy state and said you appear to be very happy what is the reason; the boy handed over the mark sheet to this man. The man saw the mark sheet and said it is great, whose mark sheet is this, the boy said mine. The man asked what are you going to do next, the boy said I do not know. The man said can I meet your parents and followed the boy to his hut. There he talked to the father and said this boy has the subject and marks to get admission into engineering college. The father was happy and said all that I can do I will do for my son. The man took the boy to the Engineering College did all that was necessary and the boy got admitted to the college. The boy belonged to poor Dalit family, he did not have to pay any fees to the college; being very humble and simple boy of very helping nature, the senior student persuaded the Principal to wave off the hostel fees for him, this boy only had to pay the mess charges for the food. The boy passed with good numbers to become a metallurgist, was selected by a prime Govt. research institute for the job, there while working he did M. Tech. and PhD to become specialist in the studies of corrosion. This boy, now 63 years old, retired from service three years back. Has a son who obtained degree in civil engineering and further did MBA in civil construction and a daughter, she is an Engineer, all married and settled happily in life. They took care of their elders who as an ordinary laborer supported the young boy to become what he is. This person was my colleague. The man who helped him to enter engineering college never came back in his life, even today this boy does not know who he was; to him the man was God, the boy has only faint memories of him.
See the ways of ‘The Sat’! How ‘The Sat’ helps! Here you see how ‘The Sat’ had sent the man to direct the young innocent boy and help in his admission to engineering college. The man, who helped the boy, was an instrument of ‘The Sat’. These are the ways of ‘The Sat’. I can give many real life examples like this. Experiences of my own life tells me that, what I am and will be is because of ‘The Sat’ and ‘The Sat’ only; even the efforts I make to achieve, the source of them also is ‘The Sat’, I am nothing.
The truth in Guru Sahib’s statement is self evident to me.

9. ijqu ijqu lwvhu iqqu lgih hir nwQ ] jit jit laavhu tit lageh har naath.
O’ ‘Sat’ as you position us there we apply ourselves.

My understanding:
This Tuk of Guru Sahib reflects the realization that all that one is, is because of ‘The Sat’. It is in our own interest that we apply ourselves in accordance with the wish of ‘The Sat’ else we will not succeed.

10. nwnk ien kY kCU n hwQ ]8]6] naanak in kai kachhoo na haath. ||8||6||
O’ Nanak, nothing is in our hand.

My understanding:
Guru Sahib addresses himself and says that nothing is in one’s own hand. This realization is very important; it signifies dissolution of Ahamkara i.e. Ego.

With this I close the post.

With love and respect for all.

Amarpal Singh

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