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The Covid virus in the beginning of 2020 forced many amongst us to make drastic changes in lifestyle. The loneliness, suffering, death, depression brought about by this pandemic on a worldwide scale had been unprecedented. Despite all the trailblazing technological advancement in the last 75 years after the conclusion of World War II, it could not shield us from this pandemic. Strangely, till date the source of this pandemic has not yet been conclusively established. One word can sum the impact of Covid-19, which is devastating. Devastation of the unprecedented scale that made cities with beautiful mansions look like deserted forests. Besides that, currently we are seeing two wars being fought in Ukraine and Israel. Even if we are not in the war zone we can feel the impact with supply chain disruptions and see the ghastly scenes on our news media. 

The picture of our life’s priorities can be gaged from the goals that we have set for our lives. The goals today are focused on economic wellbeing alone and securing name and fame. The portrait that emerges is of an individualistic approach with a materialistic outlook. The outcome is nurturing along with ascendency of egoistic tendencies. Even the children and teenagers are becoming proficient in it, who will unhesitatingly ask their parents to leave them alone and to mind their own business. Their claim is that it is their life, and they know what to do with their lives.  Where such outlook flourishes all around, there will be total lack of:

Obedience

Compassion

Respect

Kindness

These overwriting human passions give birth to its antithesis of:

Defiance and Anger

Callousness and Competition

Disregards

Cruelty

How can the society lacking in obedience, compassion, respect, and kindness be termed as advanced, or beautiful? What we see all around is the absence of these traits; then how can we call ourselves civilized? Our Guru’s teachings can transform us to evolve to higher levels which can be termed as civilized:

“ਜਿਨਿ ਮਾਣਸ ਤੇ ਦੇਵਤੇ ਕੀ ਏ ਕਰਤ ਨ ਲਾਗੀ ਵਾਰ ॥੧॥”

“Jin maanas to devatae keeai karat na laagee vaar.” (SGGS, Page No. 462)

Translation: He made angels out of men, without any delay whatsoever. ||1||

The Sikhs were to be molded by the philosophy of our Gurus. All the ten Gurus carried the same light, and their words are consistent as SGGS tells us:

“ਇਕਾ ਬਾਣੀ ਇਕੁ ਗੁਰੁ ਇਕੋ ਸਬਦੁ ਵੀਚਾਰਿ ॥”

“Aaika banee, iko Gur, iko shabad vichar.” (SGGS, Page No. 646)

Translation: There is one Word, one Guru and one thought process.

On the occasion of Parkash Purab of Guru Gobind Singh Ji, let us look for some inspiration from his bani, that reflects his mental fortitude that he displayed in his life despite the formidable challenges. May be his words can provide some solace, encouragement, hope plus mental strength during the challenging times.

Rae Mun Aaiso Kar.jpg

“ਰੇ ਮਨ ਐਸੋ ਕਰ ਸੰਨਿਆਸਾ ॥ 

ਬਨ ਸੇ ਸਦਨ ਸਬੈ ਕਰ ਸਮਝਹੁ ਮਨ ਹੀ ਮਾਹਿ ਉਦਾਸਾ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ 

ਜਤ ਕੀ ਜਟਾ ਜੋਗ ਕੋ ਮੰਜਨੁ ਨੇਮ ਕੇ ਨਖਨ ਬਢਾਓ ॥ 

ਗਿਆਨ ਗੁਰੂ ਆਤਮ ਉਪਦੇਸਹੁ ਨਾਮ ਬਿਭੂਤ ਲਗਾਓ ॥੧॥ 

ਅਲਪ ਅਹਾਰ ਸੁਲਪ ਸੀ ਨਿੰਦ੍ਰਾ ਦਯਾ ਛਿਮਾ ਤਨ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ॥ 

ਸੀਲ ਸੰਤੋਖ ਸਦਾ ਨਿਰਬਾਹਿਬੋ ਹ੍ਵੈਬੋ ਤ੍ਰਿਗੁਣ ਅਤੀਤ ॥੨॥ 

ਕਾਮ ਕ੍ਰੋਧ ਹੰਕਾਰ ਲੋਭ ਹਠ ਮੋਹ ਨ ਮਨ ਸਿਉ ਲ੍ਯਾਵੈ ॥ 

ਤਬ ਹੀ ਆਤਮ ਤਤ ਕੋ ਦਰਸੇ ਪਰਮ ਪੁਰਖ ਕਹ ਪਾਵੈ ॥੩॥੧॥”

“Rae man aaiso kar sa(n)niaasaa. 

Bun sae sadhan sabai kar samajhahu mun hee maaeh udhaasaa. 1. Rahaau. 

Jut kee jaTaa jog ko majan nem ke nakhan baddaao. 

Gyan guroo aatam upadhesahu naam bibhoot lagaao. 1.

Alap ahaar sulap see ni(n)dhraa dhayaa chhimaa tan preet. 

Seel santokh sadhaa nirabaahibo havaibo tiragun ateet. 2.

Kaam krodh hunkaar lobh haTh moh na mun siau layaavai. 

Tub hee aatam tat ko dharase param purakh keh Paavai. 3.1.” (Ramkali, Patshhi 10)

Translation: O (my) mind! practice asceticism in this way: Think of your house as the forest abode and like a hermit remain unattached in your heart. Pause.

Consider continence as the (hermit’s) matted hair, Communion (with God) as the daily ablution and daily practices of remembrance as growing your nails,

Consider the divine wisdom as the Guru (the preceptor), apply the lessons to enlighten your own soul, and remembrance of Naam be the ashes applied on the body.1.

Eat less and sleep less, practice compassion and forgiveness.

Practice gentleness and contentment and remain free from three states (of material world defined as Rajos, Taamos, and Saatos; translated as worldly energy, desire, and goodness).2.

Keep your mind away from lust, anger, pride, greed, obstinacy, and infatuation,

Then you will visualize the supreme essence and realize the supreme Purakh (Waheguru).3.1.

  Message of the Gurus, and other enlightened beings are consistent, but with our multiple understanding of the underlying message gets muddled. The result is society is riddled with broken families, alcoholism, drugs, and crime problems. Apparently, we have failed to understand what Guru Nanak Dev Ji advise on Guru’s message: 

“ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦੀ ਵਿਦਿਆ ਵੀਚਾਰੈ”

“Gur parshadee vidya Veechareh.”

(SGGS, Page No. 1329)

Translation: It is only by Guru’s grace, man dwells on the Lord’s knowledge.

The underlying problem is that we have failed to realize that Guru’s teachings are for our spiritual upliftment alone. So, we go to places of worship, seek blessings without embracing its educational aspect. We have compartmentalized education, which is only gained from institutions like schools, colleges, and universities, etc. As a result, the holy places, house of worship are solely for our reaffirmation of our affiliations, socialization, and centers to our wishes fulfilled. The result is they are not viewed or visited for purposes of listening with the express intention of learning and implementing teachings in life.  

When we enroll in a school or a university, we are aware of the duration and scope of the programs being enrolled in. During that period, our progress is evaluated, feedback received, and we implement corrective measures as necessary. If we are found lacking in our progress, it can result in our being thrown out of that program. The tragedy is that we are not aware of the duration of Guru’s program, nor the education aspect of it. So, we keep coming to Guru over and over again, but fail to examine where we stand, or our progress. Even when someone comes to understand what Guru Ji is trying to say, he or she starts thinking that it is a tall order, impossible to implement in this life.  However, Gurbani says in the words of Sheikh Farid:

“ਆਜੁ ਮਿਲਾਵਾ ਸੇਖ ਫਰੀਦ” 

 “Aaj milavan Sheikh Farid.” (SGGS, Page No. 488)

Translation: Sheikh Farid says that the union with God is possible today itself (i.e., in this human life).

This may sound overtly rosy, but no; the delay is because we think otherwise. So, if the delay is there, it is because of us. Strangely the one who should be in pursuit has himself become the stumbling block. Even Guru Arjan Dev Ji has expressed the same viewpoint in these words:

“ਆਗਾਹਾ ਕੂ ਤ੍ਰਾਘਿ ਪਿਛਾ ਫੇਰਿ ਨ ਮੁਹਡੜਾ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਸਿਝਿ ਇਵੇਹਾ ਵਾਰ ਬਹੁੜਿ ਨ ਹੋਵੀ ਜਨਮੜਾ ॥੧॥”

“Aagaaha ku trangh, picha pher na mohdahra. Nanak sijah aheha war, bahur na hoovee janamrah.” (SGGS, Page No. 1096)

Translation: Become enthusiastic about progressing and evolving, don’t let you slide downwards. Nanak says make use of this human life and become successful, so that you don’t have to take birth again to accomplish this mission.

We have evolved outwardly at the physical level, materialistic level, technological level, but now we need to evolve inwardly. Starting our journey as rocks, progressed to become plants, and further evolved into animal form and finally to became human beings. Now we are at the peak of physical and mental evolution, and this human life is an opportunity to evolve at the awareness level. The tragedy is, instead of evolving at the awareness level our focus has been directed at the material accumulation. The failure to evolve at the awareness level renders our life meaningless. Thus, the essential teachings of Guru Jis are evolution, development, and expansion of our awareness. Which will change our perspective as we will start admiring the Creator through glasses of awareness. That admiration is meditation and with Guru’s grace can result in merger in the Creator.  

The keen awareness of our inventors and scientists resulted in inventions and discoveries that have contributed to improvements in our lives today.  Even the famous Newton’s Laws of Gravity are results of the keen awareness and observation by Isaac Newton of a falling apple.  The saints, the enlightened souls, philosophers, painters, scientists, inventors, artists, musicians all had their sense of awareness fully developed. That gulf in awareness is the difference between them and us. For example, let us look at the cellular phone.  Even an illiterate person can master the techniques of using the device, yet the huge science working behind it may be beyond his comprehension. Similar is the gap between us and aware persons. 

The essential teaching of the Gurus can be summed up in one line, which is evolution of our awareness. But our conditioned mind becomes the barrier. The mind has to become open. As a scientist approaches his work with an open mind, he is open to all possibilities and will only come to a conclusive conclusion after all the data collected and results of his experiments are analyzed and confirmed. In the same manner the approach to religion also has to be open. When the awareness expands then it will be observing many things to which we are blind now.  Once we start expanding our awareness, we will become like a scientist working on his project with an open mind. The scientist in you wants to see things with your own eyes and to be the one deriving the results. The scientist in you is not ready to accept some pre-cooked data. Therefore, Guru Ji’s advice is:

“ਖਖਾ ਖੋਜਿ ਪਰੈ ਜਉ ਕੋਈ ॥ ਜੋ ਖੋਜੈ ਸੋ ਬਹੁਰਿ ਨ ਹੋਈ ॥ ਖੋਜ ਬੂਝਿ ਜਉ ਕਰੈ ਬੀਚਾਰਾ ॥ ਤਉ ਭਵਜਲ ਤਰਤ ਨ ਲਾਵੈ ਬਾਰਾ ॥੪੦॥”

“Khakha khoj parai jae kooyee.  Joe khojeh so bhaur na hoayee.  Khoj bujh jo karai beechara. Tau bhavjal tarat na lavai baaraa. 40.”

                                                                                            (SGGS, Page No. 342)

Translation: If someone becomes an explorer, then because of his explorations he will not have to take birth again (in other words he will come out of cycles of birth and death).

The one who researches, explores in order to understand, will rise above pains, miseries, suffering, problems, and ups and downs of life, without being shackled by them. If we fail to become an explorer, then we are just like a robot which has been programmed to work the way society expects it to act. The inspiration of the Gurus for us is to become the explorer and like a scientist develop our sense of awareness. When awareness is developed then one becomes highly evolved, with an unparalleled growth, who can be called by any name like Saint, Braham, Gyani, etc.

The advancement of human society has given us an array of toys, gadgets, cell phones, and devices. Each year we see slew of newer products hitting the shelves of stores with little modification or enhancement over the earlier products, trying to entice us to buy the upgrades. The result of all these developments and the marketing behind it has resulted in the creation of very greedy, materialistically inclined, and egoistic individuals. These individuals are in such a disharmony that it reflects in their relationships with their parents, spouses, children, siblings, and friends. The person of fragmented, scattered, and dim awareness will easily fall in the trap and go with the flow. Once awareness is elevated then these stumbling blocks that create disharmony in our relations will become crystal clear to us and not exploitable. Guru Ji explained it as:

“ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦੀ ਵਿਦਿਆ ਵੀਚਾਰੈ ਪੜਿ ਪੜਿ ਪਾਵੈ ਮਾਨੁ ॥”

“Gur parsadee vidiya veecharai par par pavah maan” 

(SGGS, Page No. 1329)

Translation: The one who by Guru’s graces dwells on the knowledge of the Creator, he gains glory by reading and studying about it.

For every Sikh the prerequisite is to first understand this education of the Guru then implement it. Until that is done even the claim being a Sikh, a follower of Sikhism faith is simply a false perception.  It simply implies that the individual has an affiliation to an organization, an organized religion, but nothing beyond that. Let us strive to become awakened with our Guru’s education, and to evolve higher with angel like disposition who can merge in “Param Purakh”. 

 

References:

  1. https://www.srigranth.org
  2. https://www.sikhitothemax.org

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