Inside and Outside.

Amandeep Singh examines the correlation between our internal and external environments.

The Almighty has created this entire universe and then he has taken a place in every particle of it. He is present in everything and is also beyond it. The perfect natural engineering carried out is prevalent everywhere, and His existence can be realized everywhere in the entire universe. But then He alienates Himself from all His creations. The difference between His existence in everything and then in nothing is the beauty of the diversity of nature.

This small, yet a big difference is expressed in the Sikh prayer of Asa Di Var.

The ability to see the presence of the Almighty in all His creations makes the physical world a truth, while the inability to do the same makes this world a myth or a lie. For example, when we see the presence of God in the air, we see the life-imparting constituent in it. We realize its importance more than food. Its warmth and coolness bring the different swings that sweeten our experience.

The environment contained both within the air and with the air is a complete universe in itself. It has the fragrance of flowers, ringing church bells, the freshness of nature and it contains the very breath of life. It has been rightly acknowledged as "the fan of Almighty" by Guru Nanak.

On the other hand when we see air as a mixture of different gases and then try to understand the chemical composition in it we are only making a partial attempt to realize the beauty of air. We take out the subtlety of life from Air and then study its physical matter. It is like trying to understand a human being on a dissection table of a laboratory, without life in the corpse. When the pranas are gone the life is gone.

There are always two types on environments that exist in this universe. The first one is easily visible, it is the external environment. This includes different elements like air, water, climate, trees, birds and most importantly human beings.  But there is also an internal environment which includes truth, love, compassion, sacrifice, empathyy and pride. When we perform our prayers, when we remember the Almighty with our soul dipped in His love, we are cleansing our internal environment. The life of this environment starts from the point where we have no wish except to sacrifice our self entirety to the Almighty.

When we exercise care towards the downtrodden, it is our prayer that we bring into practice. As human beings we have to try to bring a correlation between both these outer and inner environments. Living life just to earn more money, is living like a corpse. If we have a strong love inside then this has to radiate in each moment of our life.  Love-filled men and women emit a sweet fragrance. They are like a tree that offers its sweet fruits to all, even to one who tries to take the axe to it. These fruits are always full of sweetness inside and always ready to be harvested.

Guru Hargobind taking Painde Khan in his lap just after giving a him a death blow, shows a state where the love is purely spiritual. He explains that his love goes far beyond physical hatred.  How spiritual is the physical existence lying in the Guru's lap?

As human beings we experience different swings in evolution, in growth and in the pattern of our thinking. Sometimes we try to inculcate compassion for humanity in our selves, while other times we try to calm our spirits by inculcating the best values of religion. We try to cure our spiritual wounds, gotten from the materialistic life, by remembering God for a short period. This is generally a temporary phase that is used for soothing and then getting back on track in our race for materialistic achievements. This emotional comforting and spiritual pacification gets evaporated faster than alcohol in the sun during our day-to-day activities.

This is the main reason is that a common person is not able to make an ongoing correlation between the external and the internal environment. Guru Nanak correlated both these environments when He saw the hunger and Thy soul could not resist the business deal. How many times do we remove our coats and expensive jackets to comfort a rickshaw driver? We all know the answer. When we act more responsible towards our fellow humans bring our inner prayers into the outer world in our words and actions.

Human beings know how to be polite and soft in their feelings while they practice their religion, but they become uncompromising and abrasive when they behave practically. The purity and wholesomeness of prayers becomes difficult to put into practice. As Puran Singh says, "Our disease is not wars and crimes, and sins; but the selfishness of man, a disease more of the soul than of the flesh".

Spiritual flight involves knowledge, wisdom, emotional concentration and passionate love for the Almighty both in the atmosphere and in all His creations. The creativity of the universe lies within every human being. The world's best writings, paintings, poems and other forms of art are created when consciousness is dedicated in pure love. The euphoric world created around such a person is no less than a state in which a person is inebriated. The intoxication is so intense that one experiences heaven on earth.

Our physical existence is not worth anything if it is unable to bring about spiritual enlightenment in life. The God intoxicated men are the ones who have spiritual enlightenment and are able to live simultaneously on the physical plane and beyond it. The martyrdom of Bhai Mani Singh, when he tells his slaughterer to start cutting him piece by piece from his first joint, which starts from the first part of index finger and not his wrist, explains the strength of his spirit. He was highly comfortable in correlating his spirit with his external environment of governmental conspiracy.

Religion in daily experience is a step towards the spiritual maturity of person. As human beings our body grows from an infant to a child and then a mature person. But the spiritual life goes the reverse way. We are more mature in our infancy and become a child as we grow to a point that we are living only in our physical body. The human element in a person dies while learning the maturities of physical life. Its only body mass that continues to live.

A spiritually oriented person is more like a child in his spirit. The simplicity of his or her thoughts is pure filled with innocence. The life of such a person is more like a poem in itself and they live the poems of love. Our Guru Granth Sahib is the living poetry of life. The Sikh lives the poetry. The Guru's Sikh lives the Guru Granth. He identifies One in everybody and all is seen as the one Almighty (Ek Ongkar). Then he sings the Hymns. His love is extremely passionate. His blood is unable to stay in his veins. Its all One. It's all Him. There is nothing but ONE. The state into which the Guru's Sikh enters is wondrous and then he is ready to be Khalsa. He is like a ripe fruit full of sweet juice and ready to be plucked, and the Guru takes him into himself, into the Khalsa, ready to live without life. Such a Sikh lives a life beyond simply physical living. The great martyrs in Sikhi have shown us this fragrance.  They long to see His Grace, feel His Grace and live His Grace.  Their life is a living hymn.

This is the experience of congruence between inner and outer worlds that was experienced by Guru Nanak while he was weighing the grain for the needy and stopped at "Terah" (Thirteen) when he heard "Terah" as "Tera" (Thine)

Thyself and Only the One is what I see. Only Thyself is what I wear. Only the One is what I am. This is the hymn of the man or woman of God. This is the pure correlation of body and spirit. This is the moment-to-moment correlation of the external and internal environment.

Guru Fateh!

Amandeep Singh, MI, USA

[email protected]


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