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

The Guru Is The Ladder, The Guru Is The Boat... Question

Simranjit

Writer
SPNer
I'm reading a transation of the SGGS and this morning I read something that brought me questions. I would be very grateful f someone could answer them.

I'm sorry I don't know how to quote properly the SGGS so I'm putting here the link to the page in which the lines I'm referring to are:https://www.sikhnet.com/oldsikhnet/sggs/translation/0017.html :

"The Palace of the Lord God is so beautiful. Within it, there are gems, rubies, pearls and flawless diamonds. A fortress of gold surrounds this Source of Nectar.

How can I climb up to the Fortress without a ladder? By meditating on the Lord, through the Guru, I am blessed and exalted. ||2||


The Guru is the Ladder, the Guru is the Boat, and the Guru is the Raft to take me to the Lord's Name.


The Guru is the Boat to carry me across the world-ocean; the Guru is the Sacred Shrine of Pilgrimage, the Guru is the Holy River."


So, as I understand it, only by meditating I might be able to "climb up the fortress" that would take me into "The palace of the Lord God". But , why do I need to meditate "through the Guru". What does "Guru" mean here? : Guru Nanak?


Regarding "The Guru is the Boat to carry me across the world-ocean..." I have the same questions.. "Guru" refers here to Guru Nanak? Did Guru Nanak (or any other of the Gurus) say/think/teach that nobody can reach Waheguru otherwise than meditating through them?


I'm aware that the translation is poor but for now this is the only way I can access the SGGS :(



Thanks,
 

Ishna

Enthusiast
Writer
SPNer
Sat Sri Akaal, bhainji :)

It's a fascinating question, but I doubt my answer will be very satisfying.

The Guru is God, and God is the Guru. (ang 442)
 

Sikhilove

Writer
SPNer
I'm reading a transation of the SGGS and this morning I read something that brought me questions. I would be very grateful f someone could answer them.

I'm sorry I don't know how to quote properly the SGGS so I'm putting here the link to the page in which the lines I'm referring to are:https://www.sikhnet.com/oldsikhnet/sggs/translation/0017.html :

"The Palace of the Lord God is so beautiful. Within it, there are gems, rubies, pearls and flawless diamonds. A fortress of gold surrounds this Source of Nectar.

How can I climb up to the Fortress without a ladder? By meditating on the Lord, through the Guru, I am blessed and exalted. ||2||


The Guru is the Ladder, the Guru is the Boat, and the Guru is the Raft to take me to the Lord's Name.


The Guru is the Boat to carry me across the world-ocean; the Guru is the Sacred Shrine of Pilgrimage, the Guru is the Holy River."


So, as I understand it, only by meditating I might be able to "climb up the fortress" that would take me into "The palace of the Lord God". But , why do I need to meditate "through the Guru". What does "Guru" mean here? : Guru Nanak?


Regarding "The Guru is the Boat to carry me across the world-ocean..." I have the same questions.. "Guru" refers here to Guru Nanak? Did Guru Nanak (or any other of the Gurus) say/think/teach that nobody can reach Waheguru otherwise than meditating through them?


I'm aware that the translation is poor but for now this is the only way I can access the SGGS :(



Thanks,
Bani is the Guru and the Guru is Bani.

The Guru is the Gyan.
 

Logical Sikh

Writer
SPNer
I'm reading a transation of the SGGS and this morning I read something that brought me questions. I would be very grateful f someone could answer them.

I'm sorry I don't know how to quote properly the SGGS so I'm putting here the link to the page in which the lines I'm referring to are:https://www.sikhnet.com/oldsikhnet/sggs/translation/0017.html :

"The Palace of the Lord God is so beautiful. Within it, there are gems, rubies, pearls and flawless diamonds. A fortress of gold surrounds this Source of Nectar.

How can I climb up to the Fortress without a ladder? By meditating on the Lord, through the Guru, I am blessed and exalted. ||2||


The Guru is the Ladder, the Guru is the Boat, and the Guru is the Raft to take me to the Lord's Name.


The Guru is the Boat to carry me across the world-ocean; the Guru is the Sacred Shrine of Pilgrimage, the Guru is the Holy River."


So, as I understand it, only by meditating I might be able to "climb up the fortress" that would take me into "The palace of the Lord God". But , why do I need to meditate "through the Guru". What does "Guru" mean here? : Guru Nanak?


Regarding "The Guru is the Boat to carry me across the world-ocean..." I have the same questions.. "Guru" refers here to Guru Nanak? Did Guru Nanak (or any other of the Gurus) say/think/teach that nobody can reach Waheguru otherwise than meditating through them?


I'm aware that the translation is poor but for now this is the only way I can access the SGGS :(



Thanks,
How do you define meditating ?
 

A_seeker

Writer
SPNer
How do you define meditating ?
My understanding of meditation as per SGGS is
Meditation is understanding !!
Understanding the process of our own existence to realize our own Mool .
ਇਉ ਕਹੈ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਮਨ ਤੂੰ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਰੂਪੁ ਹੈ ਅਪਣਾ ਮੂਲੁ ਪਛਾਣੁ ॥੫॥

Why understanding is important because without understanding our self mind cannot be freed from bharam jhall
ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਬਿਨੁ ਆਪਾ ਚੀਨੈ ਮਿਟੈ ਨ ਭ੍ਰਮ ਕੀ ਕਾਈ (page 684)
O Nanak without realizing one own self we cannot get rid off the darkness of the curtain (coweb) between us and lord.
 

Sikhilove

Writer
SPNer
My understanding of meditation as per SGGS is
Meditation is understanding !!
Understanding the process of our own existence to realize our own Mool .
ਇਉ ਕਹੈ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਮਨ ਤੂੰ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਰੂਪੁ ਹੈ ਅਪਣਾ ਮੂਲੁ ਪਛਾਣੁ ॥੫॥

Why understanding is important because without understanding our self mind cannot be freed from bharam jhall
ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਬਿਨੁ ਆਪਾ ਚੀਨੈ ਮਿਟੈ ਨ ਭ੍ਰਮ ਕੀ ਕਾਈ (page 684)
O Nanak without realizing one own self we cannot get rid off the darkness of the curtain (coweb) between us and lord.
It's understanding and remembrance, its application of the Gyan.... Truth in action
 

Simranjit

Writer
SPNer
Thanks for all the answers :)

As I understand them you all mean that we don't need to meditate through any human guru. This is my feeling too. But still I have a doubt: Does the quote I quoted mean that we need to meditate through a huan guru? For me it is important to understand that. I started my Sikhi pah less than two years ago and I'm approaching such a new and beautiful path with some caution. I want to make sure that if I embark myself in this enterprise, it fully resonates with my understanding of spiritual growth.

For me meditating has the ultimate goal to understand. To know. To experience beyond uncertainty the unity of everything. As I understand it this is the goal of meditation in Sikhi. Is it?

I cannot imagine that to reach this goal I absolutely need to meditate "through" any person. Even through an enlighted human guru. And I cannot understand why a human guru might say that we need to meditate through them. This is why this quote from the SGGS makes me so uncomfortable.

I used to do zazen (zen meditation) a few years ago and through it I had interesting experiences like "knowing in a flash" that "I am" not my neither body nor my mind. Zazen consistis in sitting dettaching yourself from your thoughts, as they will come for certain. With time and practice thoughts come not so often during meditations without doing any effort to push them away. With it I gained some small understanding of who I am, more inner peace and some more sense of unity with the Universe.

I alternate zazen (which really works for me) with meditating by innerly repeating "Waheguru" or "Satnam" which I find honesty difficult. I tend to ending up losing mysef in other thoughts while my brain repeats"Waheguru" in an automatic mode. While doing zazen I am able not to lose myself in any thoughs, or at least, not so easiy. Tips, comments, ideas and observations about it will be very very welcome.

Cheers,
 

Ishna

Enthusiast
Writer
SPNer
Thanks for all the answers :)

As I understand them you all mean that we don't need to meditate through any human guru. This is my feeling too. But still I have a doubt: Does the quote I quoted mean that we need to meditate through a huan guru? For me it is important to understand that. I started my Sikhi pah less than two years ago and I'm approaching such a new and beautiful path with some caution. I want to make sure that if I embark myself in this enterprise, it fully resonates with my understanding of spiritual growth.

For me meditating has the ultimate goal to understand. To know. To experience beyond uncertainty the unity of everything. As I understand it this is the goal of meditation in Sikhi. Is it?

I cannot imagine that to reach this goal I absolutely need to meditate "through" any person. Even through an enlighted human guru. And I cannot understand why a human guru might say that we need to meditate through them. This is why this quote from the SGGS makes me so uncomfortable.

I used to do zazen (zen meditation) a few years ago and through it I had interesting experiences like "knowing in a flash" that "I am" not my neither body nor my mind. Zazen consistis in sitting dettaching yourself from your thoughts, as they will come for certain. With time and practice thoughts come not so often during meditations without doing any effort to push them away. With it I gained some small understanding of who I am, more inner peace and some more sense of unity with the Universe.

I alternate zazen (which really works for me) with meditating by innerly repeating "Waheguru" or "Satnam" which I find honesty difficult. I tend to ending up losing mysef in other thoughts while my brain repeats"Waheguru" in an automatic mode. While doing zazen I am able not to lose myself in any thoughs, or at least, not so easiy. Tips, comments, ideas and observations about it will be very very welcome.

Cheers,
Bhainji, there is a lot here to unpack. Caution on a new path is very wise, and questioning and understanding as you go makes a good student. :)

In Gurbani, more often than not the word "Guru" is used to mean "God". It's right there in the word "Waheguru". "Waheguru" is not a noun or a name - it is an exclamation - "Wow! Guru!" "Guru" in Panjabi means "teacher" and so the Guru in Sikhi is God-as-teacher. The human Guru Sahiban, Guru Nanak Sahib Ji to Guru Gobind Singh Ji understood and tried to explain it to us, as teachers, too. They put what they understood into Gurbani - and yet technically all the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is, is pages and text. It is not even the pages and text that are important - what is taught in the text is the Gurbani. It's not the words, it's what the words move within you - the understanding it brings, the lightbulb moment when suddenly everything makes sense.

A couple of questions for you: 1. Who was Guru Nanak Sahib Ji's guru? The shabad you referenced in the OP from ang 17 was written by Guru Nanak Sahib Ji. Do you think he was singing about himself? 2. If this was the case, don't you think it would be a focus of Sikhi in the beginning or throughout the hundreds of years following its creation?

Meditating in Sikhi using a chant is what some people do but I'm not sure where they get it from since as far as I know, it's not instructed in Gurbani. As far as I know, none of the Guru Sahiban sat around chanting forever. This is not the meditation, the "simran" that Gurbani talks about. "Simran" means remembrance - the task is not to sit in silence and chant! Chanting might help some people cultivate the actual state of mind of simran. But it's not required. The actual simran you're going for is a constant awareness of God in everything at all times. This is so much more subtle than a chanted hollow word. "Waheguru!" might be breathed in awe when you grasp that God is right now in the nucleus of your cells, that God *is* your cells, that you are looking with God's eyes *at* God and there is nothing else, not even your own self, it's all just God. Wow! This is the state of mind you need to cultivate, this is the meditation, 24/7. If chanting "Waheguru" for x minutes a day helps you realise and live the reality of this Whole (the Satnam, the truth/true reality), that everything happening is God moving in Its Hukam, then go for it! But if it hinders you, use something else.
 

A_seeker

Writer
SPNer
Thanks for all the answers :)

As I understand them you all mean that we don't need to meditate through any human guru. This is my feeling too. But still I have a doubt: Does the quote I quoted mean that we need to meditate through a huan guru? For me it is important to understand that. I started my Sikhi pah less than two years ago and I'm approaching such a new and beautiful path with some caution. I want to make sure that if I embark myself in this enterprise, it fully resonates with my understanding of spiritual growth.

For me meditating has the ultimate goal to understand. To know. To experience beyond uncertainty the unity of everything. As I understand it this is the goal of meditation in Sikhi. Is it?

I cannot imagine that to reach this goal I absolutely need to meditate "through" any person. Even through an enlighted human guru. And I cannot understand why a human guru might say that we need to meditate through them. This is why this quote from the SGGS makes me so uncomfortable.

I used to do zazen (zen meditation) a few years ago and through it I had interesting experiences like "knowing in a flash" that "I am" not my neither body nor my mind. Zazen consistis in sitting dettaching yourself from your thoughts, as they will come for certain. With time and practice thoughts come not so often during meditations without doing any effort to push them away. With it I gained some small understanding of who I am, more inner peace and some more sense of unity with the Universe.

I alternate zazen (which really works for me) with meditating by innerly repeating "Waheguru" or "Satnam" which I find honesty difficult. I tend to ending up losing mysef in other thoughts while my brain repeats"Waheguru" in an automatic mode. While doing zazen I am able not to lose myself in any thoughs, or at least, not so easiy. Tips, comments, ideas and observations about it will be very very welcome.

Cheers,

To clarify your query it is important to understand - Who is a Guru ?

Guru Nanak says "Shabad Guru Surat Dhun Chela" it clearly means shabad is the Guru so the Surat (consciousness) is the Disciple.
So the physical body is out of equation

Gurū Nānak has described the relationship between Guru and his philosophy as:
1. ਗੁਰੂ ਸਮੁੰਦੁ ਨਦੀ ਸਭਿ ਸਿਖੀ ਨਾਤੈ ਜਿਤੁ ਵਡਿਆਈ (Page 149)
The Guru is the ocean, and all His Teachings are the river. Bathing within it, glorious greatness is obtained


2. ਕੁੰਭੇ ਬਧਾ ਜਲੁ ਰਹੈ ਜਲ ਬਿਨੁ ਕੁੰਭੁ ਹੋਇ
Kumbẖe baḏẖā jal rahai jal bin kumbẖ na ho▫e.
Water remains confined within the pitcher, but without water, the pitcher could not have been formed;
ਗਿਆਨ ਕਾ ਬਧਾ ਮਨੁ ਰਹੈ ਗੁਰ ਬਿਨੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਹੋਇ ॥੫॥
Gi▫ān kā baḏẖā man rahai gur bin gi▫ān na ho▫e. ||5||
just so, the mind is restrained by spiritual wisdom, but without the Guru, there is no spiritual wisdom. ||5||

3. ਗੁਰ ਬਿਨੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਨ ਪਾਈਐ

It is clear from above verses that without the guru the knowledge of truth cannot be attained.
 
Last edited:

Logical Sikh

Writer
SPNer
I think for a starter in Sikhi, SIDH GHOST ( SGGS page - 938 to 946 ) bani is really helpful. As it gives complete introduction to Guru Nanak and his philosophy in a very simplified Q&A way.....
 

Ishna

Enthusiast
Writer
SPNer
Oh! @Simranjit it might be useful to imagine the Guru as your Higher Self. Your soul. Which isn't actually a self, it is God within you. But that's metaphysics. On the practical level it helps to use words and ideas like 'soul' or 'higher self'.

God within you is the bridge between the material, transient, impermanent, moral you and the reality that you're actually part and parcel of the Holy Soup that is the Oneness of God :D
 

Sikhilove

Writer
SPNer
Oh! @Simranjit it might be useful to imagine the Guru as your Higher Self. Your soul. Which isn't actually a self, it is God within you. But that's metaphysics. On the practical level it helps to use words and ideas like 'soul' or 'higher self'.

God within you is the bridge between the material, transient, impermanent, moral you and the reality that you're actually part and parcel of the Holy Soup that is the Oneness of God :D
It's Truth. We are all Truth.
 
Top