Dasam Duar – The Tenth Gate
ਭਨਤਿ ਨਾਨਕ ਭਰਮ ਪਟ ਖੂਲ੍ਹ੍ਹੇ ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦੀ ਜਾਨਿਆ ॥ ਸਾਚੀ ਲਿਵ ਲਾਗੀ ਹੈ ਭੀਤਰਿ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਸਿਉ ਮਨੁ ਮਾਨਿਆ ॥੩॥੧॥੯॥ ੩ ੬੬੬.
With the Guru’s grace the mask of delusion lifts and one is able to know about God; following the Guru’s instructions facilitates being absorbed in Him within the mind (M: 3, SGGS, p 666).
This verse of the third Guru refers to the delusion caused by preoccupation with oneself and one’s desires resulting in the feeling that the human soul is separate from the Creator. The verse advises how the veil thus created can be lifted with the Guru’s help. This lifting of the veil or mask enables one to see reality by by opening a hidden gate within.
The human body has nine physical openings. These comprise of two eyes, two nostrils, two ears, mouth, anus and the genital opening. There is also an unseen opening called the tenth gate, Dasam Duar which remains closed and needs to be opened for spiritual experience.
What is Dasam Duar?
ਦਸਮ ਦੁਆਰਾ ਅਗਮ ਅਪਾਰਾ ਪਰਮ ਪੁਰਖ ਕੀ ਘਾਟੀ ॥ ਊਪਰਿ ਹਾਟੁ ਹਾਟ ਪਰਿ ਆਲਾ ਆਲੇ ਭੀਤਰਿ ਥਾਤੀ ॥੪॥ ਬੇਣੀ ੯੭੪
Dasam Duar is the abode of the inaccessible, Infinite Supreme Being; in the body there is a niche where He abides (Beni, SGGS, p 974).
ਨਉ ਘਰ ਥਾਪੇ ਥਾਪਣਹਾਰੈ ॥ ਦਸਵੈ ਵਾਸਾ ਅਲਖ ਅਪਾਰੈ ॥ ੧ ੧੦੩੬
The creator established nine gates (for the body); the unfathomable Lord resides in the tenth (M: 1, SGGS, p 1036).
ਮਨਿ ਤਨਿ ਰਵਿ ਰਹਿਆ ਜਗਦੀਸੁਰ ਪੇਖਤ ਸਦਾ ਹਜੂਰੇ ॥ ੫ ੧੨੬੯
The Master of the universe abides in the mind and body (M: 5, SGGS, p 1269).
Thus the Dasam Duar is the gate that, when opened, enables vision of the Creator in the consciousness.
What is the consciousness?
The consciousness is not a physical entity and therefore cannot be seen. It has two supporting components, one physical and the other spiritual. The physical component is the brain with its function of getting information, processing and converting it into intelligence. A portion of this information exists as thoughts within the mind. But there is much, much more than the what we normally think of as the “mind.” In Gurbani, the word ਮਨਿ (man) means more than just the “thinking” mind. It means all the levels of the consciousness – superconscious, conscious, subconscious and unconscious.
We sometimes call the spiritual essence of consciousness the Supreme Soul, part of which gives life to the body through the pranas, and which we call our own soul. While the Supreme Soul does not get involved with the body, each soul is the body’s master. Based on the intelligence received from the brain, the soul directs all actions of the body and is therefore responsible for them.
The human body interacts with the environment through the nine openings. They have the specific functions of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting/speaking, excretion and procreation. The first four and the skin are also the sensory organs. The hands and feet are meant to do physical work.
The sensory organs are subjected to pulls from the environment all the time and they are constantly charmed and seduced by them. The mind acts according to the information they provide. They influence the mind both positively and negatively according to its predisposition.
When they produce a negative influence the soul feels lonely and cut off from the Supreme Soul; a sort of obstacle grows between the two (which are in essence, one.) This obstacle is sometimes called “the wall of falsehood” or “the veil of illusion.”
Guru Nanak refers to this wall and how to demolish it. He asks a question and answers it thus:
ਕਿਵ ਸਚਿਆਰਾ ਹੋਈਐ ਕਿਵ ਕੂੜੈ ਤੁਟੈ ਪਾਲਿ ॥ ਹੁਕਮਿ ਰਜਾਈ ਚਲਣਾ ਨਾਨਕ ਲਿਖਿਆ ਨਾਲਿ ॥੧॥ ੧ ੧
How can the wall of falsehood be demolished to reach the Truth?
Live in God’s will (hukam) (M: 1, SGGS, p 1).
The Creator has no form so how do we know where He resides? The answer: His presence is experienced spiritually in the sound and design of the creation. There is a celestial music that no one plays but is heard by the subtle body. It is not a function of time; it is there all the time. There is a common primal design to all things that becomes visible to the inner eye. This state of bliss is experienced by one whose sensory organs (which are part of the nine physical gates) are not constantly distracted. This allows the Dasam Duar to open. So the tenth gate is an experience, not a physical phenomenon:
ਨਉ ਦਰ ਠਾਕੇ ਧਾਵਤੁ ਰਹਾਏ ॥ ਦਸਵੈ ਨਿਜ ਘਰਿ ਵਾਸਾ ਪਾਏ ॥ ਓਥੈ ਅਨਹਦ ਸਬਦ ਵਜਹਿ ਦਿਨੁ ਰਾਤੀ ਗੁਰਮਤੀ ਸਬਦੁ ਸੁਣਾਵਣਿਆ ॥ ੬॥ ੩ ੧੨੪
One, who controls the nine organs, gets to enter the tenth, the abode of the Creator; there the unstruck celestial music continues day and night; it is heard through the Guru’s word (M: 3, SGGS, p 124).
The experience of Dasam Duar is made possible with the help of the Guru who helps the disciple to look beyond the physical organs:
ਹਰਿ ਜੀਉ ਗੁਫਾ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਰਖਿ ਕੈ ਵਾਜਾ ਪਵਣੁ ਵਜਾਇਆ ॥ ਵਜਾਇਆ ਵਾਜਾ ਪਉਣ ਨਉ ਦੁਆਰੇ ਪਰਗਟੁ ਕੀਏ ਦਸਵਾ ਗੁਪਤੁ ਰਖਾਇਆ ॥ ਗੁਰਦੁਆਰੈ ਲਾਇ ਭਾਵਨੀ ਇਕਨਾ ਦਸਵਾ ਦੁਆਰੁ ਦਿਖਾਇਆ ॥ ੩ ੯੨੨
The Creator put the soul in the body and gave it life; the body has nine manifest openings and a tenth is concealed; the tenth gate is shown to those who approach the Guru with devotion (M: 3, SGGS, p 922).
ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮੁ ਰਤਨ ਕੋਠੜੀ ਗੜ ਮੰਦਰਿ ਏਕ ਲੁਕਾਨੀ ॥ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਮਿਲੈ ਤ ਖੋਜੀਐ ਮਿਲਿ ਜੋਤੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਮਾਨੀ ॥੧॥ ੪ ੧੧੭੮
The jewel of God’s Naam remains concealed in a chamber in the body- fortress; when we find a true Guru we are motivated to search for it; once it is found the soul merges in Him (M: 4, SGGS, p 1178).
The experience of the opening of the Dasam Duar is accompanied by an indescribable feeling of total awe, utter joy and deep humility.
So where is the Dasam Duar located in the body?
Not to be confused with the Ajna or third-eye-point, which is located at the pituitary gland between the eyebrows, the tenth gate is experienced at the top of the skull at the same location as the soft spot one can feel on top of the head of an infant.
Ultimately, the experience of the opening of the tenth gate comes by Guru Ji’s kirpa. It is a state of grace.
The store of potential energy which lies coiled at the base of the spine unfolds and travels up the subtle channels of the body piercing through the six chakras and emerging at the top of the head thus opening the Dasam Duar.
The practice of Raj Yoga or Kundalini Yoga may help to release this dormant energy, but it is not a requirement for the experience.
Gurbani mentions the ten gates a number of times and describes the opening of the tenth gate as the blossoming of a many-petaled lotus flower bringing the vision of the Supreme Soul, the Creator abiding within.
In Sukhmani Sahib the fifth Guru describes how the wall of falsehood is built by the sensory organs:
ਮਿਥਿਆ ਸ੍ਰਵਨ ਪਰ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਸੁਨਹਿ ॥ ਮਿਥਿਆ ਹਸਤ ਪਰ ਦਰਬ ਕਉ ਹਿਰਹਿ ॥ ਮਿਥਿਆ ਨੇਤ੍ਰ ਪੇਖਤ ਪਰ ਤ੍ਰਿਅ ਰੂਪਾਦ ॥ ਮਿਥਿਆ ਰਸਨਾ ਭੋਜਨ ਅਨ ਸ੍ਵਾਦ ॥ ਮਿਥਿਆ ਚਰਨ ਪਰ ਬਿਕਾਰ ਕਉ ਧਾਵਹਿ ॥ ਮਿਥਿਆ ਮਨ ਪਰ ਲੋਭ ਲੁਭਾਵਹਿ ॥ ਮਿਥਿਆ ਤਨ ਨਹੀ ਪਰਉਪਕਾਰਾ ॥ ਮਿਥਿਆ ਬਾਸੁ ਲੇਤ ਬਿਕਾਰਾ ॥ ਬਿਨੁ ਬੂਝੇ ਮਿਥਿਆ ਸਭ ਭਏ ॥ ਸਫਲ ਦੇਹ ਨਾਨਕ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮ ਲਏ ॥੫॥ ੫ ੨੬੮-੬੯
The falsehood is when the ears listen to others’ slander,
the hands steal others’ wealth,
the eyes look viciously at others’ beauty,
the tongue is obsessed with taste of food and other cravings,
the feet walk to do evil to others,
the mind is possessed by greed,
the body does not work for the good of others,
the nose is enticed by vicious fragrance.
All those who do not understand this, act in falsehood.
Human birth is successful if one remembers God’s virtues and Divine commands (M: 5, SGGS, p 288-89).
One gets stoned or drunk with intoxicants that provide a kick but also leave a let-down or a hangover. Similarly the sensory organs are enchanted by the external environment and forget their original function which is to experience God. This ultimately results in the human soul forgetting the purpose for which it was sent — to give life to the body and merge back into the One. In other words the soul feels cut off from Hukam (God’s will) and becomes lost, forgetting its true identity.
Then one acts according to the ego which manifests behavior according to the three gunas, or energies, namely Tamas (ignorance, inertia), Rajas (passion, ego) and Satvas (calmness and purity.) In order to be able to experience the tenth gate one must become consciously aware of everything that passes in or out of the other nine gates, i.e. they must be controlled.
The Guru helps his Sikh by making him aware of the distractions and how to overcome them. When distractions are overcome the tenth gate can open:
ਨਗਰੀ ਏਕੈ ਨਉ ਦਰਵਾਜੇ ਧਾਵਤੁ ਬਰਜਿ ਰਹਾਈ ॥ ਤ੍ਰਿਕੁਟੀ ਛੂਟੈ ਦਸਵਾ ਦਰੁ ਖੂਲ੍ਹ੍ਹੈ ਤਾ ਮਨੁ ਖੀਵਾ ਭਾਈ ॥੩॥ ਕ ੧੧੨੩
The body has nine gates, they should be constrained from wandering;
when one comes out of the grip of the three gunas, the tenth gate opens, one gets the Vision and the mind becomes ecstatic (Kabir, SGGS, p 1123).
The Guru’s prescription for overcoming distractions is remembrance of Naam which means remembering one’s True Identity and then letting go of attachments and living each moment in God’s will. This provides peace of mind and contentment. The sensory organs are now able to overcome temptations:
ਦਸਮੀ ਦਸ ਦੁਆਰ ਬਸਿ ਕੀਨੇ ॥ ਮਨਿ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ ਨਾਮ ਜਪਿ ਲੀਨੇ ॥ ਕਰਨੀ ਸੁਨੀਐ ਜਸੁ ਗੋਪਾਲ ॥ ਨੈਨੀ ਪੇਖਤ ਸਾਧ ਦਇਆਲ ॥ ਰਸਨਾ ਗੁਨ ਗਾਵੈ ਬੇਅੰਤ ॥ ਮਨ ਮਹਿ ਚਿਤਵੈ ਪੂਰਨ ਭਗਵੰਤ ॥ ਹਸਤ ਚਰਨ ਸੰਤ ਟਹਲ ਕਮਾਈਐ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਇਹੁ ਸੰਜਮੁ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਕਿਰਪਾ ਪਾਈਐ ॥੧੦॥ ੫ ੨੯੮-੯੯
Remembering Naam gives contentment;
with the ears one listens to the Creator’s praises,
with the eyes sees the compassionate Guru;
with the tongue praises the Infinite Lord,
in the mind thinks of the perfect beloved Master;
serves the Guru using hands and feet.
All this is possible only with Divine grace,
which when received opens the tenth gate, the Dasam Duar (M: 5, SGGS, p 298-99).
A closed gate needs a code or key to open it. This key is with the Guru. The Second Guru says:
ਗੁਰੁ ਕੁੰਜੀ ਪਾਹੂ ਨਿਵਲੁ ਮਨੁ ਕੋਠਾ ਤਨੁ ਛਤਿ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਗੁਰ ਬਿਨੁ ਮਨ ਕਾ ਤਾਕੁ ਨ ਉਘੜੈ ਅਵਰ ਨ ਕੁੰਜੀ ਹਥਿ ॥੧॥ ੨ ੧੨੩੭
The body is the cover for the chamber that contains the consciousness which is locked up beyond worldly attachments; the Guru is the key to the lock; the door of the consciousness cannot be opened except by the Guru since none else has the key (M: 2, SGGS, p 1237).
ਦਸਵੈ ਦੁਆਰਿ ਕੁੰਚੀ ਜਬ ਦੀਜੈ ॥ ਤਉ ਦਇਆਲ ਕੋ ਦਰਸਨੁ ਕੀਜੈ ॥੨੪॥ ਕ ੩੪੧
When the key is applied to the Tenth gate, one is able to have vision of the compassionate Lord (Kabir, SGGS, p 341).
The experience of opening the tenth gate is that of experiencing the Infinite within oneself and within all of creation. This may be achieved by overcoming the distractions and temptations that are the causes of selfish thoughts and deeds. The Guru makes this possible.
-By Rawel Singh and Guruka Singh