• Welcome to all New Sikh Philosophy Network Forums!
    Explore Sikh Sikhi Sikhism...
    Sign up Log in

Sukhmani Sahib:Shalok That Preceedes 6th Ashtapadee


Jun 11, 2004

Dear Khalsa Ji,
I share with you all, my understanding of the Shalok that precedes the 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 of the Pauri: This is the way of Guru Sahib. Guru Sahib indicates the area where correction is needed then indicate how that correction can be affected. Here in this Shalok, Guru Sahib, name the vices that afflict the worldly person and then tell how to get released from them.
1. kwm k®oD Aru loB moh ibnis jwie AhMmyv ] kaam kroDh ar lobh moh binas jaa-ay ahaNmayv.
Lust, Anger, Greed, Attachment, the causes of loss may be gone and also the Ahamkara.

My understanding:
Kama basically means desire of any sort. They all serve the senses. Sense gratification is what the desires seek for oneself. As gratification is sought by the individual, her or his ‘I-ness’ i.e. the Ahamkara, that is coming into play. Such gratification is, in general, at the expense of the object which the senses seek. The leading Kama is the desire for sex; it is needed to keep the creation of ‘The Sat’ going and in that context is natural. Excessive desire for sex is un-natural and is called lust. Any desire for sex, changes the hormonal composition of the person’s blood stream. Body can take this changed state for some time and with some periodicity that allows it to recover, without being adversely affected. Excessive fixation towards the object of sense gratification makes the person incapable of rational thinking and diverts the attention from the other tasks for which we are born as human being. It leads to destruction of the human being and converts it into an animal. We see that lust has the potential to destroy the person physically and mentally, this state of the person is called ‘Binas’.
Anger is another negative attribute that afflicts us. Anger comes when the ‘I-ness’ i.e. Ahamkara of the person is hurt. An angry man is incapable of thinking rationally. We all know in the fit of anger many wrong things are done. The hormonal composition of the blood of the angry person too changes for which the body has not evolved to endure it for long – perpetual high level of adrenaline is not acceptable to the body and this always accompany the state of anger. All of us know that the blood pressure of the angry man goes up and the person sometimes can get heart attack. We see that Anger has the potential to destroy the person physically and mentally, this state of the person is called ‘Binas’.
Greed is excessive desire for some material objects which either give gratification to the senses or feeds the ‘I-ness’ i.e. Ahamkara (ego) of the person. Motivated by greed the person keeps working to accumulate or consume more and more of it. The person looses sense of direction in the life for which Human birth is. The person goes on with this task forgetting what is right and what is wrong; the person tries to get the object by hook or crock. In the end there are good chances that the person may become mentally or physically ill or end up behind bars. All this is nothing but ‘Binas’.
Attachment is another vice that destroys. It is the mental state which makes the person clings to an object or to a relationship when there is really no need for it. Attachment ties the person down to the object or relationship. The attachment comes from dependency or a sense of superiority, in both the cases the sense of ‘I-ness’ i.e. Ahamkara plays its part – in former it is self preservation in later it is the feeling that I only can do. Attachment makes the person’s condition similar to that of an animal that is tied to a rope to an anchor; the animal can move only is small area depending on the length of the rope – we all have seen cows, goats etc. This way attachment prevents growth of the person in all areas except what is demanded by the object of attachment. The birth of such person in human form becomes a failure; this is nothing but ‘Binas’.
Note: Please remember that Involvement and Attachment are not the same.
Guru Sahib has separated Ahamkara form the other four vices, because they are in some way subordinate to the sense of ‘I-ness’ of the person. With Ahamkara dissolved they fall on there own.
Kama (lust), Krodh (Anger), Lobh (Greed), Moh (Attachment) and the mother of these ‘Ahamkara’ are the five vices which lead to the destruction of the human in us and makes us animal.
2. nwnk pRB srxwgqI kir pRswdu gurdyv ]1] naanak parabh sarnaagatee kar parsaad gurdayv. ||1||
Nanak goes to ‘The Sat’ (Sharnagatee); please bless me with Your Grace, O Divine Guru. ||1||

My understanding:
I am finding it very difficult to say in a single English word what Sharanagatee of ‘The Sat’ means. I will have to elaborate on it through example.
The word Sharnagatee is derived from the word Sharan (I have to define this) and gatee, which means movement. Sharnagatee means going into the ‘Sharan’ of some entity.
Long back, in past, as the written history tells us, when Zoroastrians (known as Parsi in India now of whom Tata is one of them) where forced to leave their native place in Persia, a group of them came to India. They sought ‘Sharan’ of the King who was ruling the coastal area where they had landed. For that, they had to ‘Adapt’ their value system to make themselves acceptable, e.g. within their society they banned cow slaughter which was not forbidden in their native place, they also pledge perpetual loyalty to this land, just to name few.
The concept of ‘Sharan’ is a two way. The one seeking has to adopt oneself and the entity from which ‘Sharan’ is sought provides protection, care, space and freedom for legitimate economic, intellectual and spiritual advancement.
Having elaborated on what I understand from the word ‘Sharan’ and ‘Sharnagatee’ (going into Sharan’), I find that the problem is not over. What I have elaborated applies to this physical world of Forms. What it means in the spiritual world of ‘The Sat’ where Guru Sahib has asked us to seek ‘Sharan’ as he has done. I know, ‘The Sat’ is every where so like Zoroastrians, I do not have to go any where, but process of seek Sharan being two way affair what is expect from me needs to be searched. Just my saying to ‘The Sat’ that I seek your ‘Sharan’, in my opinion will not be enough; I have to do more than that.
As I see, Zoroastrians had made adaptations so that they blend well with the society that already existed there. This means for my seeking ‘Sharan’ of ‘The Sat’, I must adapt my attitudes, as I know attitudes are precursors of the conditions and that is what I am seeking through ‘Sharnagatee’ of ‘The Sat’. This I do in the ways and to the extent possible for any human. I must bring changes in my frame of mind and attitudes that mirror that of the ‘The Sat’ i.e. similar to ‘The Sat’. That, in real sense means, I should become Godly. In other words, I should work in selfless, intelligent and effective manner, for the preservation and evolution of the creation of ‘The Sat’. That is to say I should become instrument of ‘The Sat’. This, in my understanding is the state where I will be in the ‘Sharan’ of ‘The Sat’ and all that I do reach this state is the process of Sharnagatee.
Now just sit back and imaging what will happen to a person who has adapted its being for seeking the Sharan of ‘The Sat’. As the person’s attitudes are similar to that of ‘The Sat’; Kama, Krodh, Lobh, Moh and Ahamkara will not be part of this person’s being. This person is freed from the affliction of these vices. Guru Sahib has shown the way.
In the first sentence, Guru Sahib, name the vices that afflict the worldly person and then in the second tell how to get released from them.
With this I close
With love and respect for all.
Amarpal Singh