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Naam Realization – Part 1 of 4

  1. Introduction

Naam is one of the most important word used in Gurbani and has been interpreted in various ways. This is a humble effort to dive beyond the surface meaning of Naam. We will address some fundamental questions. For example,  What is Naam Realization ? What are benefits of Naam Realization by comparing a life with and without Naam realization and ultimately discuss the process of Naam realization.

Let me lay the ground work by stating that Naam is a realization. For this reason, Naam cannot be described in words or given to others. It will become very clear why Naam cannot be described in words or given to others, once we understand meaning of realization in context of this article.  Realization is not same as knowing. When we know something, there are two entities. The first entity is “I”, the one who knows and second entity is “what I know”. For me to know something, there needs to be separation between “I” and “What I know”.

As long as I know, I am not what I know. As long as I know truth, I am not truth. As long as I give or describe Naam, I am not Naam. In absence of Naam, I am simply “Haume”. Upon realization “I” becomes same as what “I know”. The dissolution of “Haume” in “Naam” is realization of Naam. Upon realization of Naam there is only Naam. Upon realization of Naam, there is only one. Upon realization of Naam, there is no “Haume”. All efforts to know Naam is the process of dissolution of “Haume” in Naam. Haume Naam Virodh Hai resonates so well in context of realization of Naam. We can talk about the process of dissolution of Haume in Naam, but we cannot capture Naam is words. The effort we apply to implement this process in our personal life is Seva. This effort is personal. This effort is our Dharma.

Therefore, my description of Naam shall remain incomplete. No matter how much I speak of Naam, all details will simply point to Naam. ਸਾਚੇ ਨਾਮ ਕੀ ਤਿਲੁ ਵਡਿਆਈ. Yet, it makes me aware of my infinitesimal and incompleteness in context of the wholeness of Naam. Sharing my understanding of Naam motivates me to continue the process of dissolution of my Haume by grace of Shabad Guru. Let us together try to understand the process of Naam realization and manifestation of virtues of Naam in life, there upon. Let us try to break myths about Naam by seeking guidance from Guru Granth Sahib through our effort of listening, comprehension, application and inner transformation leading to Naam realization, where only Naam shall remain. Our personal effort is the enabler for grace and blessings in form of Naam realization.

  1. Naam and Ek Onkaar

Guru Granth Sahib begins with “ੴ ਸਤਿਨਾਮੁ ਕਰਤਾ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਨਿਰਭਉ ਨਿਰਵੈਰੁ ਅਕਾਲ ਮੂਰਤਿ ਅਜੂਨੀ ਸੈਭੰ ਗੁਰਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ ॥“ These lines capture essence of Guru Granth Sahib. Essence of Guru Granth Sahib is Naam leads to revelation of Ek Onkaar. Naam implies supreme wisdom or Braham Gyan. Naam encapsulating all virtues referred herein. No Fear, No Hatred, Image of The Undying, Beyond Birth, Self-Existent are virtues of Naam. All these virtues emanate from inside upon realization of eternal truth that there is only one doer of this universe. Naam is a state of realization whereby one is able to experience essence of one doer in whole of existence, including our personal self. This also makes it clear that without Naam realization one cannot experience miracle of Ek Onkaar.

Upon Naam realization, Haume fully dissolves. When Haume ceases to exist, it results in cessation of our separated self or we become zero or nothing. This state denoted by Zero or Nothing is Sunn Samadh. Thereafter comes One or Ek Onkar. We are like a leaf separated from tree. Separated from tree it is called a leaf.  The leaf is blown away by wind and becomes dirt with dirt. At some point, the leaf was one with the tree. In fact it was the tree. So, is our state. Without Naam realization we are separated and suffer, whereas upon Naam realization we are One. We are alive, blissful and free of sufferings and pain. According to Gurbani, one who believes in any other reason for their pain and sufferings, is in state of illusion and attachment.

Further elaboration of Ek Onkaar will be done under the process of Naam Realization.

  1. State of Naam realization

Guru Granth Sahib points to the process of Naam realization. As realization is an inner process that happens within our mind, it requires comprehension, application and personal experience. Be aware that without comprehension, application and personal experience, all knowledge is burden and can turn into roadblock to Naam realization. This podcast is an effort to move past all roadblocks towards realization of Naam.

ਤੁਧੁ ਆਗੈ ਅਰਦਾਸਿ ਹਮਾਰੀ ਜੀਉ ਪਿੰਡੁ ਸਭੁ ਤੇਰਾ ॥
ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਸਭ ਤੇਰੀ ਵਡਿਆਈ ਕੋਈ ਨਾਉ ਨ ਜਾਣੈ ਮੇਰਾ

I offer my prayer to You; my body and soul are all Yours
Says Nanak, this is all Your greatness; no one even knows my name

In these verses, Guru Arjan Dev ji on Ang 383, is filled with gratitude upon realization of essence of his existence.  Guru Arjan Dev in acknowledgement of gracious gift of his human existence states that his physical body and presence of jot or soul, both belong to the Universal Lord. Realization of Guru ji that his body and soul are not his is indication of dissolution of his Aapa Bhav or Haume or ego. In absence of Haume, what remains is Naam, to which Guru ji alludes in next line.

Having realized the truth about essence of his existence, Guru ji understands the credit for all his virtues, accomplishments and great work goes to the one lord of the universe, that we call Waheguru. This is because Guru ji has comprehended that all manifestations in material world are possible through gift of physical body, which is kept alive by the soul. In state of realization of the Eternal Truth that there is One Doer, Guru ji utters “ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਸਭ ਤੇਰੀ ਵਡਿਆਈ ਕੋਈ ਨਾਉ ਨ ਜਾਣੈ ਮੇਰਾ”.  Realization of One Doer, is state of Naam where there is no naam of mine, as Guru ji states. There is no naam of mine implies, I am not the doer and no credit shall go to me. On surface, it might seem humility, gratitude and simplicity are virtues of Guru ji. But, if we pay close attention to what Guru Ji is saying, it will become clear that these are virtues of Naam. Upon realization of Naam, Guru ji is one with Truth about One Doer and attributes all virtues being that of one Karta Purakh

The question is what the benefit of reading is and understanding these words of Guru ji. If I were to stop at this step of having read and claim I know now what Naam is and start singing praises of Guru ji and Naam, I have felt prey to my own Haume. The trap is the claim that I know Naam. Knowing in context of Naam implies realization as a result of Guru’s Grace, upon our personal effort of comprehension, application and personal experience. Reading Guru Granth Sahib provides a method along with roadmap or what we call Gurr. We receive Gurr from a Guru. A Guru who introduces us to Satt, is called Satguru.

At this point, I will refer to another Shabad from Gurbani that can provide insight into what Naam is. When we know what Naam is, it breaks numerous myths about Naam clearing roadblocks towards realization of Naam. It can be aptly stated, “Gurr Bin Ghor Andhar”. Without knowledge, we remain in darkness of ignorance.

At times, definition, terminologies and meanings are shadows that we borrow and cast them as if we are the shadows. We defend, protect and convince others in our falsified ownership of these shadows. These shadows have divided humanity. These shadows are dangerous for wellbeing of humanity and have caused more damage than weapons, wars and natural calamities. God, Naam and religion are examples of shadows that we cast as ourselves on others. A Guru lifts this veil of darkness from our matt maligned with ignorance. Gurbani refers to maligned matt as maleen matt. Naam is dissolution of maleen matt for fountain of realization of Ek Onkar to erupt within our mann or mind. Naam realization is not easy.

Naam Simran is Naam realization. Embodiment of virtues of Naam in thoughts and action is Naam Simran. Naam Simran is for our mind to remain imbued in realization of Oneness referred to as Ek Onkar. Naam Simran is an act of warriorship. A warrior who is not reluctant to lay his head. Head of Haume, ego or Aapa Bhav at altar of Ek Onkar. Haume, ego or Aapa Bhaav is falsified notion of self. It is an act of self-sacrifice or total surrender of falsified notion of self.   Ability of Comprehension, Application and Authentication of Eternal Truth through personal experience is a blessing and enabler for self-sacrifice.

At this point I would like to draw your attention to another Shabad by Guru Nanak Dev ji, on Ang 349 that brings further clarity about. So far, we learn importance of Naam. At this point, let us learn what is Naam Simran, what is benefit of Naam, and what does it mean to live without Naam.

Bhupinder Singh

Bhupinder Singh

I coach leaders who are striving for prosperity in form of physical and mental wellness along with spiritual growth rooted in principles of Gurbani.

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