Friday, October 26, 2007



UNDERSTANDING SABD GURU


ABSTRACT


AGGS is the Eternal Guru for Sikhs. Since this holy book is a compilation of Sabds of Sikh Gurus, Bhagats, Sikh Bards, and Bhatts, it is in order to refer it as “Sabd Guru”. In the pre-scientific days knowledge was sought principally in the sayings of saints/philosophers. At present science and reason can trump in most cases, the unrealistic meanings/translations as well as meaningless arguments based on inherited and preconceived wrong understandings etched in to the gray matter of brain in certain individuals about the hymns of Sabd Guru. Such ingrained wrong impressions from oral traditions are very difficult to erase except by an honest attempt of the individual through their discerning intellect (ਬਿਬੇਕ ਬੁੱਧੀ) to understand the message in the hymns of Sabd Guru;
ਕੇਤੇ ਕਹਹਿ ਵਖਾਣ ਕਹਿ ਕਹਿ ਜਾਵਣਾ
ਵੇਦ ਕਹਹਿ ਵਖਿਆਣ ਅੰਤੁ ਨ ਪਾਵਣਾ
ਪੜਿਐ ਨਾਹੀ ਭੇਦੁ ਬੁਝਿਐ ਪਾਵਣਾ
ਖਟੁ ਦਰਸਨ ਕੈ ਭੇਖਿ ਕਿਸੈ ਸਚਿ ਸਮਾਵਣਾ
Keṯe kahėh vakẖāṇ kahi kahi jāvṇā. veḏ kahėh vakẖi▫āṇ anṯ na pāvṇā. Paṛi▫ai nāhī bẖeḏ bujẖi▫ai pāvṇā. Kẖat ḏarsan kai bẖekẖ kisai sacẖ samāvṇā.

Some speak and expound, and while speaking and lecturing, they pass away. The Vedas speak and expound on God, but they do not know Its limits. Not by studying, but through understanding, is the It's Mystery revealed. There are six pathways in the Shaastras, but how rare are those who merge in the True God through them.-----Guru Nanak, Raag Majh, AGGS, Page, 148

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It is the reflection (ਵੀਚਾਰ) on the teachings, which is required for gaining spiritual wisdom otherwise there, is no magic or miracle per se in the words written in AGGS. Mechanical reading of the hymns of Sabd Guru with out understanding has no beneficial purpose except an egotistical ritual of self satisfaction. Spiritual wisdom is not granted or conferred upon but evolved by active effort in thought, spirit and deed of the individual through working on the teachings in Sabd Guru. Repeated recitation of the word Satinam (ਸਤਿਨਾਮ/True Name) etc has no spiritual or magic value until this word or Truth has been lived in, and this has never made God respond any better, nor made heaven or earth or hell or anything else and supernaturally bend to anyone's bidding. These deceitful situations are not a check that you can draw on the bank of God, whenever you are hard put to meet your needs. It is the sincerity, absolute honesty, and truthful living, which are of prime importance to progress in spirituality. The moment you believe that these ritualistic practices have any powers or merit of their own, you believe in magic, you are being idolatrous, and you are breaking the teachings of your faith. All the false values in life due to closed minds are really the cause of stress in life causing diseases in the organism leading to loose their hold on the mind, which otherwise can become free to dwell in bliss, health and peace as expressed by Guru Nanak in Raag Sarang:

ਮਨਹੁ ਜਿ ਅੰਧੇ ਕੂਪ ਕਹਿਆ ਬਿਰਦੁ ਨ ਜਾਣਨ੍ਹ੍ਹੀ
ਮਨਿ ਅੰਧੈ ਊਂਧੈ ਕਵਲਿ ਦਿਸਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਿ ਖਰੇ ਕਰੂਪ
ਇਕਿ ਕਹਿ ਜਾਣਹਿ ਕਹਿਆ ਬੁਝਹਿ ਤੇ ਨਰ ਸੁਘੜ ਸਰੂਪ
ਇਕਨਾ ਨਾਦ ਨ ਬੇਦ ਨ ਗੀਅ ਰਸੁ ਰਸ ਕਸ ਨ ਜਾਣੰਤਿ
ਇਕਨਾ ਸੁਧਿ ਨ ਬੁਧਿ ਨ ਅਕਲਿ ਸਰ ਅਖਰ ਕਾ ਭੇਉ ਨ ਲਹੰਤਿ
ਨਾਨਕ ਸੇ ਨਰ ਅਸਲਿ ਖਰ ਜਿ ਬਿਨੁ ਗੁਣ ਗਰਬੁ ਕਰੰਤਿ
Manhu je anḏẖė kūp kahi­ā biraḏ na jāṇanĥī. Man anḏẖai ūʼnḏẖai kaval ḏisniĥ kẖarė karūp. Ik kahi jāṇeh kahi­ā bujẖeh ṯė nar sugẖaṛ sarūp. Iknā nāḏ na bėḏ na gī­a ras ras kas na jāṇanṯ. Iknā suḏẖ na buḏẖ na akal sar akẖar kā bẖė­o na lāhanṯ. Nānak sė nar asal kẖar je bin guṇ garab karanṯ.

Those mortals whose minds are like deep dark pits do not understand the purpose of life, even when it is explained to them. Their minds are blind, and their heart-lotuses are upside-down; they look totally ugly. Some know how to speak, and understand what they are told. They are wise and beautiful. Some do not understand about the Sound-current of the Naad or the Vedas, music, virtue or vice. Some are not blessed with understanding, intelligence, or sublime intellect; they do not grasp the mystery of God's Word. O, Nanak, they are donkeys; they are very proud of themselves, but they have no virtues at all.  -----Guru Nanak, Raag Sarang, AGGS, Page, 1246

Gurus Nanak, Amar Das, Arjan and Kabir further stresses on the understanding of the message incorporated in their hymns:
ਪੰਡਿਤ ਵਾਚਹਿ ਪੋਥੀਆ ਨਾ ਬੂਝਹਿ ਵੀਚਾਰੁ
ਅਨ ਕਉ ਮਤੀ ਦੇ ਚਲਹਿ ਮਾਇਆ ਕਾ ਵਾਪਾਰੁ
ਕਥਨੀ ਝੂਠੀ ਜਗੁ ਭਵੈ ਰਹਣੀ ਸਬਦੁ ਸੁ ਸਾਰੁ
Pandiṯ vācẖeh pothī­ā nā būjẖeh vīcẖār . An ka▫o maṯī ḏe cẖalėh mā▫i▫ā kā vāpār. Kathnī jẖūṯẖī jag bẖavai rahṇī sabaḏ so sār.

The Pundits’, the religious scholars, read their books, but they do not understand the real meaning. They give instructions to others, and then walk away, but they deal in Maya themselves. Speaking falsehood, they wander around the world, while those who remain true to the Sabd are excellent and exalted.-----Guru Nanak, Siri Raag, AGGS, Page, 56-8

ਰੋਗੀ ਖਟ ਦਰਸਨ ਭੇਖਧਾਰੀ ਨਾਨਾ ਹਠੀ ਅਨੇਕਾ
ਬੇਦ ਕਤੇਬ ਕਰਹਿ ਕਹ ਬਪੁਰੇ ਨਹ ਬੂਝਹਿ ਇਕ ਏਕਾ
Rogī kẖat ḏarsan bẖekẖ▫ḏẖārī nānā haṯẖī anekā. Bėḏ kaṯėb karahi kah bapurė nah būjẖeh ik ėkā.

The six Shaastras are diseased, as are the many who follow the different religious orders. What can the poor Vedas and other scriptures do, when people do not understand One God?-----Guru Nanak, Raag Bhairo, AGGS, Page, 1153-15

ਫੜੁ ਕਰਿ ਲੋਕਾਂ ਨੋ ਦਿਖਲਾਵਹਿ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਧਿਆਨੁ ਨਹੀ ਸੂਝੈ
ਨਾਨਕ ਅੰਧੇ ਸਿਉ ਕਿਆ ਕਹੀਐ ਕਹੈ ਨ ਕਹਿਆ ਬੂਝੈ
Faṛ kar lokāʼn no ḏikẖlāvahi gi­ān ḏẖi­ān nahī sūjẖai. Nānak anḏẖe si▫o ki▫ā kahī▫ai kahai na kahi▫ā būjẖai.

They practice hypocrisy, and make a show before other people, but they do not understand anything about meditation or spiritual wisdom. O Nanak, what can be said to the blind people? They cannot answer, or even understand what is said.-----Guru Nanak, Raag Malar, AGGS, Page, 1289-17

ਦੇਂਦਾ ਨਰਕਿ ਸੁਰਗਿ ਲੈਦੇ ਦੇਖਹੁ ਏਹੁ ਧਿਙਾਣਾ
ਆਪਿ ਨ ਬੂਝੈ ਲੋਕ ਬੁਝਾਏ ਪਾਂਡੇ ਖਰਾ ਸਿਆਣਾ
Ḏeʼnḏā narak surag laiḏe ḏekẖhu ehu ḏẖińāṇā. Āp na būjẖai lok bujẖā­ė pāʼndė kẖarā si­āṇā.

The giver goes to hell, while the receiver goes to heaven - look at this injustice. You do not understand your own self, but you preach to other people. O Pundit, you are very wise indeed.-----Guru Nanak, Raag Malar, AGGS, Page, 1290-7

ਸਿਮ੍ਰਿਤਿ ਸਾਸਤ ਬੇਦ ਵਖਾਣੈ
ਭਰਮੇ ਭੂਲਾ ਤਤੁ ਨ ਜਾਣੈ
ਬਿਨੁ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਸੇਵੇ ਸੁਖੁ ਨ ਪਾਏ ਦੁਖੋ ਦੁਖੁ ਕਮਾਵਣਿਆ
Simriṯ sāsaṯ bėḏ vakẖāṇai. Bẖarmė bẖūlā ṯaṯ na jāṇai. Bin saṯgur sėvė sukẖ na pā­ė ḏukẖo ḏukẖ kamāvaṇi­ā.

They recite the Simritees, the Shaastras and the Vedas (Hindu Scriptures), but deluded by doubt, they do not understand the essence of reality. Without serving the True Guru, they find no peace; they earn only pain and misery.-----Guru Amar Das, Raag Majh, AGGS, Page, 114-3

ਆਪਣਾ ਆਪੁ ਨ ਪਛਾਣੈ ਮੂੜਾ ਅਵਰਾ ਆਖਿ ਦੁਖਾਏ
ਮੁੰਢੈ ਦੀ ਖਸਲਤਿ ਨ ਗਈਆ ਅੰਧੇ ਵਿਛੁੜਿ ਚੋਟਾ ਖਾਏ
ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਭੈ ਭੰਨਿ ਨ ਘੜਿਓ ਰਹੈ ਅੰਕਿ ਸਮਾਏ
Āpṇā āp na pacẖẖāṇai mūṛā avrā ākẖ ḏukẖā¬ė. Mundẖai ḏī kẖaslaṯ na ga▫ī▫ā anḏẖe vicẖẖuṛ cẖotā kẖā▫e. Saṯgur kai bẖai bẖann na gẖaṛi▫o rahai ank samā▫e.

The fool does not understand his own self; he annoys others with his speech. His underlying nature does not leave him; separated from God, he suffers cruel blows. Through the fear of the True Guru, he has not changed and reformed himself, so that he might merge in the lap of God.-----Guru Amar Das, Raag Bihagrha,  AGGS, Page, 549-18

ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਚਿਤੁ ਨ ਲਾਇਓ ਅੰਤਿ ਦੁਖੁ ਪਹੁਤਾ ਆਇ
ਅੰਦਰਹੁ ਬਾਹਰਹੁ ਅੰਧਿਆਂ ਸੁਧਿ ਨ ਕਾਈ ਪਾਇ
Gurmukẖ cẖiṯ na lā­i­o anṯ ḏukẖ pahuṯā ā­ė. Anḏrahu bāhrahu anḏẖi­āʼn suḏẖ na kā­ī pā­ė.

Those who do not focus their consciousness on God, as Guru oriented, suffer pain and grief in the end. They are blind, inwardly and outwardly, and they do not understand anything.-----Guru Amar Das, Raag Sorath, AGGS, Page, 647-14
ਆਪਿ ਨ ਬੂਝੈ ਲੋਕ ਬੁਝਾਵੈ
ਮਨ ਕਾ ਅੰਧਾ ਅੰਧੁ ਕਮਾਵੈ
ਦਰੁ ਘਰੁ ਮਹਲੁ ਠਉਰੁ ਕੈਸੇ ਪਾਵੈ
Āp na būjẖai lok bujẖāvai. Man kā anḏẖā anḏẖ kamāvai. Ḏar gẖar mahal ṯẖa­ur kaisė pāvai.

One who does not understand his own self, but still tries to instruct others, is mentally blind, and acts in blindness. How can he ever find a home and a place of rest, in the Mansion of the God's Presence?-----Guru Amar Das, Raag Bilawal, AGGS, Page, 832-17

ਪੰਡਿਤ ਪੜਹਿ ਪੜਿ ਵਾਦੁ ਵਖਾਣਹਿ ਤਿੰਨਾ ਬੂਝ ਨ ਪਾਈ
ਬਿਖਿਆ ਮਾਤੇ ਭਰਮਿ ਭੁਲਾਏ ਉਪਦੇਸੁ ਕਹਹਿ ਕਿਸੁ ਭਾਈ
ਭਗਤ ਜਨਾ ਕੀ ਊਤਮ ਬਾਣੀ ਜੁਗਿ ਜੁਗਿ ਰਹੀ ਸਮਾਈ
ਬਾਣੀ ਲਾਗੈ ਸੋ ਗਤਿ ਪਾਏ ਸਬਦੇ ਸਚਿ ਸਮਾਈ
Pandiṯ paṛeh paṛ vāḏ vakāṇeh ṯinnā būjẖ na pā­ī. Bikẖi▫ā māṯe bẖaram bẖulā▫e upḏes kahėh kis bẖā▫ī. Bẖagaṯ janā kī ūṯam baṇī jug jug rahī samā▫ī. Baṇī lāgai so gaṯ pā▫e sabḏe sacẖ samā▫ī.

The Pundits’, the religious scholars, read study and discuss the arguments; they do not understand. Engrossed in corruption, they wander in confusion; who can they possibly instruct, O Siblings of Destiny? The Sabd, the Word of the humble devotee is the most sublime and exalted; it prevails throughout the ages. One who is committed to this Sabd is emancipated, and through the Sabd, merges in Truth.-----Guru Amar Das, Raag Ramkali, AGGS, Page, 909-18, 19, 20, 21

All the bodies of living beings created in the world speak about God according to their understanding.

ਮਨ ਬਚ ਕ੍ਰਮ ਜਿਹ ਆਪਿ ਜਨਾਈ
ਨਾਨਕ ਤਿਹ ਮਤਿ ਪ੍ਰਗਟੀ ਆਈ
Man bacẖ karam jih āp janā­ī. Nānak ṯih maṯ pargatī ā­ī.

Those whom God It self instructs in thought, word and deed - O Nanak, their intellect are enlightened.-----Guru Arjan, Raag Gauri, AGGS, Page, 259-8

ਚਤੁਰ ਬੇਦ ਮੁਖ ਬਚਨੀ ਉਚਰੈ ਆਗੈ ਮਹਲੁ ਨ ਪਾਈਐ
ਬੂਝੈ ਨਾਹੀ ਏਕੁ ਸੁਧਾਖਰੁ ਓਹੁ ਸਗਲੀ ਝਾਖ ਝਖਾਈਐ
Cẖaṯur bėḏ mukẖ bacẖnī ucẖrai āgai mahal na pā­ī­ai. Būjẖai nāhī ėk suḏẖākẖar oh saglī jẖākẖ jẖakẖā­ī­ai.

Reciting the four Vedas from memory, individuals do not obtain the Mansion of  God's Presence hereafter. Those who do not understand the One Pure Word utter total nonsense.-----Guru Arjan, Raag Gauri Mala, AGGS, Page, 216-8

ਨਹ ਜਾਪੈ ਨਹ ਬੂਝੀਐ ਨਹ ਕਛੁ ਕਰਤ ਬੀਚਾਰੁ
ਸੁਆਦ ਮੋਹ ਰਸ ਬੇਧਿਓ ਅਗਿਆਨਿ ਰਚਿਓ ਸੰਸਾਰੁ
Nah jāpai nah būjẖī­ai nah kacẖẖ karaṯ bīcẖār. Su­āḏ moh ras bėḏẖi­o agi­ān racẖi­o sansār.

People do not see, and they do not understand; they do not reflect upon anything. The world is pierced through with attachment to tastes and pleasures, engrossed in ignorance.-----Guru Arjan, Raag Thiti Gauri, AGGS, Page, 297-15

ਬਾਹਰਿ ਭੇਖ ਕਰਹਿ ਘਨੇਰੇ
ਅੰਤਰਿ ਬਿਖਿਆ ਉਤਰੀ ਘੇਰੇ
ਅਵਰ ਉਪਦੇਸੈ ਆਪਿ ਨ ਬੂਝੈ
ਐਸਾ ਬ੍ਰਾਹਮਣੁ ਕਹੀ ਨ ਸੀਝੈ
Bāhar bẖėkẖ karahi gẖanėrė. Anṯar bikẖi­ā uṯrī gẖėrė. Avar upḏėsai āp na būjẖai. Aisā barāhmaṇ kahī na sījẖai.

Outwardly, they wear various religious robes, but within, they are enveloped by poison. They instruct others, but do not understand themselves. Such Brahmins will never be emancipated.-----Guru Arjan, Raag Asa, AGGS, Page, 372-17

ਮਨ ਬਚ ਕ੍ਰਮ ਹਰਿ ਗੁਨ ਨਹੀ ਗਾਏ ਯਹ ਜੀਅ ਸੋਚ ਧਰਉ
ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਸੁਨਿ ਕਛੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਨ ਉਪਜਿਓ ਪਸੁ ਜਿਉ ਉਦਰੁ ਭਰਉ
Man bacẖ karam har gun nahī gā­ė yeh jī­a socẖ ḏẖara­o. Gurmaṯ sun kacẖẖ gi­ān na upji­o pas ji­o uḏar bẖara­o.

In thought, word and deed, I have not sung the God's Praises; this thought worries my mind. I listened to the Guru's Teachings, but spiritual wisdom did not well up within me; like a beast, I fill my belly.-----Guru Tegh Bahadur, Raag Dhanasari, AGGS, Page, 685-8

ਜਾ ਕੈ ਜੀਅ ਜੈਸੀ ਬੁਧਿ ਹੋਈ  
ਕਹਿ ਕਬੀਰ ਜਾਨੈਗਾ ਸੋਈ
Jā kai jī¬a jaisī buḏẖ ho¬ī, Kahi Kabīr jānaigā so¬ī.

According to the wisdom within the mind, says Kabir, so does one come to understand?-----Kabir, Gauri Poorbi, AGGS, Page, 343-3

ਜੋਗੀ ਜਤੀ ਤਪੀ ਸੰਨਿਆਸੀ ਬਹੁ ਤੀਰਥ ਭ੍ਰਮਨਾ
ਲੁੰਜਿਤ ਮੁੰਜਿਤ ਮੋਨਿ ਜਟਾਧਰ ਅੰਤਿ ਤਊ ਮਰਨਾ
ਤਾ ਤੇ ਸੇਵੀਅਲੇ ਰਾਮਨਾ
ਰਸਨਾ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮ ਹਿਤੁ ਜਾ ਕੈ ਕਹਾ ਕਰੈ ਜਮਨਾ
Jogī jaṯī ṯapī sani¬āsī baho ṯirath bẖarmanā. Luʼnjiṯ muʼnjiṯ mon jatāḏẖar anṯ ṯa¬ū marnā. Ŧā ṯė sėvī¬alė rāmnā. Rasnā rām nām hiṯ jā kai kahā karai jamnā.

All the activities of Yogis, celibates, penitents, Sannyaasees (Ascetic) or persons with heads plucked of hairs, or with shaven heads, or ones observing silence, or ones with long hairs wandering to places of worship as pilgrims, will not lead them any where as finally all are going to face death. Therefore, one should meditate on the God, and those who love and recite the name of God, the messenger of death cannot harm them.-----Kabir, Raag Asa, AGGS, Page, 476-18

ਕਥਨੀ ਬਦਨੀ ਕਹਨੁ ਕਹਾਵਨੁ
ਸਮਝਿ ਪਰੀ ਤਉ ਬਿਸਰਿਓ ਗਾਵਨੁ
ਕਹਤ ਕਬੀਰ ਪੰਚ ਜੋ ਚੂਰੇ
ਤਿਨ ਤੇ ਨਾਹਿ ਪਰਮ ਪਦੁ ਦੂਰੇ
Kathnī baḏnī kahan kahāvan. Samajẖ parī ṯa¬o bisri¬o gāvan. Kahaṯ Kabīr pancẖ jo cẖūrė. Ŧin ṯė nāhi param paḏ ḏūrė.

All preaching, ranting and raving, and arguing, is forgotten when one comes to understand. Says Kabir, who conquer the five demons of the body passions, for them the state of supreme dignity is never far.-----Kabir, Raag Rasa, AGGS, Page, 478-12

Conclusion:

The approach to spiritual growth is different between blind believers and the student of truth, who is trying to find the real essence (ਤਤ) and being more objective and intellectually respectable---seeming to the former as less religious and may be blasphemous. The former IMHO are enemies of the true Sikh Faith having a pious credibility of a closed mind. Some students of the truth with inherited oral traditional information etched in the cortex of their brains do not want some features of their faith to be coldly dissected as they think untruthfully that their faith is being reduced in some way. Traditions evolve and change over time is an important fact of life. Sikh traditions have emerged from medieval Hinduism and still are being dictated by Brahminical rituals carried on in daily practice of Sikh faith. Brahminical practice has all this time influenced these traditions, there by superstitiously coloring the Sikh way of life. Sikh hierarchy over time either deliberately or unconsciously made decisions as to what should be emphasized or ignored. The only way to learn is by understanding the message given by the Guru.
ਗੁਰੁ ਸਮਝਾਵੈ ਸੋਝੀ ਹੋਈ
ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਵਿਰਲਾ ਬੂਝੈ ਕੋਈ
Gur Samjhaavai Sojhee Ho-ee, Gurmukh Virlaa Boojhai Koee.

When the Guru instructs, understanding is obtained. How rare is that Guru oriented who understands.-----Guru Nanak, Raag Gauri, AGGS, Page, 224-8

ਲੇਖੈ ਗਣਤ ਨ ਛੂਟੀਐ ਕਾਚੀ ਭੀਤਿ ਨ ਸੁਧਿ
ਜਿਸਹਿ ਬੁਝਾਏ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਤਿਹ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਨਿਰਮਲ ਬੁਧਿ
Lekẖai gaṇaṯ na cẖẖūtī▫ai kācẖī bẖīṯ na suḏẖ. Jisahi bujẖā­ė nānkā ṯih gurmukẖ nirmal buḏẖ.

When their accounts are called for, they shall not be released; their wall of mud cannot be washed clean. One who is made to understand - O Nanak, that Guru oriented obtains immaculate understanding.-----Guru Arjan, Raag Gauri, AGGS, Page, 252-4

Emphasis has to be placed on earning spiritual knowledge as a prerequisite to spiritual elevation through understanding the message contained in and following it honestly, truthfully by selfless service of the humanity. There will always be some tension between those committed to finding the truth in a reasonably understanding scholarly way and those with inherited understanding, who wants to preserve their blind religious way. This challenge has to be dealt with human maturity in a constructive and creative way. 

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