Saturday, November 29, 2008


Says Nanak: whosoever has these six Qualities is the Perfect Person;
he is called the Holy (Saadh), the Friend (sggs 1357).

Call that person by whatever name you may (Saadhoo, Sant, Gurmukh, Mahaatamaans, etc.), the SGGS (Sri Guru Granth Sahib) mentions the Holy person or the person of Perfection to have Six Qualities. What is this Holiness or Perfection? These qualities are as follows:

1. To engage in meditation on the All-pervading Lord through the Mantra of His Name.
2. To have the Wisdom to look alike upon pleasure and pain (i.e. to become free of duality, the pair of opposites or "likes and dislikes"); to live the pure lifestyle, free of vengeance or generosity.
3. To be kind to all beings; overpower the five thieves (lust, anger, greed, attachment, and pride. All other evils tendencies in the world are a function of these five. They overtake us like a disease, spreading their filth until they control us).
4. To take the Kirtan of the Lord's Praise (Rabb Dee Sifat-Slaah) as their food; and remain untouched by Maya, like the lotus in the water.
5. They share the Teachings with friend and enemy alike (i.e., they adopt Teaching in which the friend and the enemy look alike to them); and to love the devotion of God.
6. Not to listen to slander; renouncing self-conceit, (eradicating false ego-sense or Aapaa) to become the dust of all (i.e., to develop humility).

As we can see, there are many Qualities packed in these "six". In other words, these six Qualities include all Universal Values. Says Baabaa Nanak, "Whoever has these six Qualities, O Nanak, is called the Holy and the Person of Perfection." In nutshell, that person is Holy or Perfect (Pooran or Pooraa) who, through Naam-Simran (meditation), adopts such a Pure Lifestyle (Aatamic-Jeevan) that he eradicates the sense of "I, me, mine, you" (false ego-sense or Haume) from within and thus becomes free of evil doing (Bikaars) and the influence (attachments) of the enchanting worldly objects (Maya). He is situated in true spirituality and omniscience Awareness. He knows the mystery of life. Accordingly, he genuinely smiles at all situations in life, including death. He understands that all that happens around him is the play of consciousness. He can penetrate the past, present and future (i.e. time) and behold Truth.

* mMqRM rwm rwm nwmM D´wnµ srbqR pUrnh ] g´wnµ sm duK suKM jugiq inrml inrvYrxh ] dXwlµ srbqR jIAw pMc doK ibvrijqh ] Bojnµ gopwl kIrqnµ Alp mwXw jl kml rhqh ] aupdysM sm imqR sqRh BgvMq Bgiq BwvnI ] pr inMdw nh sRoiq sRvxM Awpu iq´wig sgl ryxukh ] Kt lK´x pUrnµ purKh nwnk nwm swD sÍjnh ]40]: mantram Raam Raam naamam dhyaanam sarabatr pooranah. Gyaanam sam dukh sukham jugati niramal niravairanah. Dayaalam sarabatr jeeaa panch dokh bivarajitah. Bhojanam gopaal keeratanam alap Maya jal kamal rahatah. Oupadesam sam mitr satrah bhagavant bhagati bhaavanee. Par nindaa nah sroti sravanam aap tiyaag sagal renukah. Khatt lakhyan pooranam purakhqh Nanak naam saadh svajanah ||40||: To engage in meditation on the All-pervading Lord through the Mantra of His Name. To have the Wisdom to look alike upon pleasure and pain (i.e. to become free of duality, the pair of opposites or "likes and dislikes"); to live the pure lifestyle, free of vengeance or generosity. To be kind to all beings; overpower the five thieves (lust, anger, greed, attachment, and pride. All other evils tendencies in the world are a function of these five. They overtake us like a disease, spreading their filth until they control us). To take the Kirtan of the Lord's Praise (Rabb Dee Sifat-Slaah) as their food; and remain untouched by Maya, like the lotus in the water. They share the Teachings with friend and enemy alike (i.e., they adopt Teaching in which the friend and the enemy look alike to them); and to love the devotion of God. Not to listen to slander; renouncing self-conceit, (eradicating false ego-sense or Aapaa) to become the dust of all (i.e., to develop humility). Says Nanak: whosoever has these six Qualities is the Perfect Person; he is called the Holy (Saadh), the Friend (sggs 1357).

The SGGS is talking about these six qualities not to just make us aware of them, but to cultivate them and live them. We are invited and challenged by the SGGS here. These are indicative of how one should live his life. They look small on the surface, but they are very deep. And once we go into the depth of them, then we will see they are difficult. That's why the SGGS says that those who accept this challenge and invitation are "few and far between"!

Baabaa Nanak was epitome of all Divine Virtues. Throughout the SGGS, we are urged to cultivate good Qualities and live a Virtuous life. In other words, to live a meaningful life based on Virtues, the SGGS urges us to cultivate Virtues such as absolute fearlessness, purity of heart, steadfastness in knowledge and devotion, benevolence, control of the senses, worship, study of scriptures, austerity, uprightness, non-violence, truthfulness, freedom from the five thieves (lust, anger etc.), inner renunciation, tranquility, aversion to slander, compassion to living beings, faith, freedom from sensuality, gentleness, modesty, abstaining from frivolous pursuits, vigor, forbearance, courage, discerning intellect (Viveka), fortitude, purity, harmlessness and freedom from vanity. The marks of one who has a diabolic disposition — five thieves (lust, anger etc.), and their numerous variations such as hypocrisy, arrogance, stubborn mindedness, ignorance, selfishness, jealousy, and so on — is called the Manmukh (as oppose to the Gurmukh) in the SGGS.

* gux AMqir nwhI ikau suKu pwvY mnmuK Awvx jwxw: Gun antar naahee kiou sukh paavai Manmukh aavan jaanaa: With no virtues within, how can you find Sukha? The self-willed Manmukh comes and goes in reincarnation (sggs 76).
* nwnk gurmuiK hir gux rvih gux mih rhY smwie: Nanak Gurmukh har gun ravahi gun mahi rahai samaai: O Nanak, the Gurmukhs chant the Glorious Praises of the Lord; they are absorbed in His Glorious Virtues (sggs 646).

The eternal war between the forces of the evil tendencies and the good Qualities within each one of us is nonstop. Thus, it also seems to be a fundamental theme in the Granths and Teachings of the Holy people. In fact, the SGGS time and again asks us to make this our business — leave behind our faults (negativity, evil tendencies, Bikaars etc.) and be absorbed in Virtues. The SGGS says that we are here to deal with Virtues or Good. Because only Virtues or Good can be conducive to Divine Life (Gurmukh lifestyle). This is possible when we develop a mind that seeks only the Good in everything. In the final analysis: "Says Nanak, the mortal is emancipated only when all his faults are eradicated."

* nwau krqw kwdru kry ikau bolu hovY joKIvdY ]dy gunw siq BYx Brwv hY pwrMgiq dwnu pVIvdY: Naaou karataa kaadar kare kiou bol hovai jokheevadai. De gunaa sati bhain bharaav hai paarangat daan parreevadai: One who chants the Lord's Name, Naam, how can his words be judged? His divine Virtues are the true sisters and brothers; through them, the gift of supreme status is obtained (sggs 966).
* swJ krIjY guxh kyrI Coif Avgx clIAY: Saanjh kreejai hunah keree shodi avagan challeai: (So) Share in virtues, and abandon faults (765).
* Avgx mwrI mrY n sIJY guix mwrI qw mrsI: Avagan maaree marai na seejhai gun maaree taa marasee: One who dies in faults - his death is not successful. But one who dies in glorious virtue, really truly dies (sggs 1109).
* ey mn myirAw Cif Avgx guxI smwixAw rwm: Eae mann meriaa shadi avagan gunee samaaniaa raam: O my mind, leave behind your faults, and be absorbed in virtue (sggs 1112).
* khu nwnk qb hI mn CutIAY jau sgly Aaugn myit Drhw: Kahu Nanak tab hee mann shuteeai jo sagale aougan meti dharahaa: Says Nanak, the mortal is emancipated only when all his faults are eradicated (sggs 1203).

It is also shown in the SGGS (and other religious texts for that matter) that tremendous effort, tact and determination are necessary to quell negative or evil tendencies from within. The co-existence of evil tendencies and good Qualities is the basis of the conflict since there is nothing wholly good or wholly evil. At the individual level too there are both good and evil tendencies in every human being whose every effort to transcend evil tendencies becomes a symbolic inner war. Evil thus is both outside and within.

Although evil tendencies (unrighteousness, Adharma etc.) has been an aspect of life from time immemorial. But the Holy people tell us that the Virtue always triumphs. The evil tendencies apparently flourish unbridled in the bosom of every mind that fails to perceive right from wrong (Sat from Asat). It is for this reason the SGGS advocates that all should adhere to Virtuous Life (or Dharma). In other words, the Law of Virtue is inviolable.

* rqnw kyrI guQlI rqnI KolI Awie ] vKr qY vxjwirAw duhw rhI smwie ] ijn guxu plY nwnkw mwxk vxjih syie ] rqnw swr n jwxnI AMDy vqih loie ]2]: Ratanaa keree guthalee ratanee kholee aai..: The Jeweller (the Satguru, the Holy or the Man of Perfection) has come, and opened up the bag of jewels (of the Divine Vitues). (In this bag of jeweles) are merged both the merchant (the Satguru and the Gurmukhs, i.e., both like the Virtues). They alone purchase this gem, O Nanak, who have Virtue (of the Lord's Name or God's Sifat-Slaah) in their purse. Those who do not appreciate the value of these jewels, wander like blind men in the world ||2|| (sggs 954).

Cultivation of Virtues is undoubtedly an arduous process and requires effort, courage, proper guidance and Good Association (Saadh-Sangat) throughout one's life. As indicated in the SGGS, Divine Qualities are necessary if one is to seek the Ultimate Truth. The majority of us evince interest in pursuing the spiritual path but, because of our worldly preoccupations, the majority of us are unable to put it into action. All of us value a life of Virtue and look down at bad conduct or vice of others. We have numerous ideas of how we should be. However, there is a gap between how we should be and how we are! Therefore there is conflict — within and without. Afraid of being judged by others, we hasten about some Virtues. We build and protect an image of ours.

This explains as to why there is so much emphasis in the SGGS on controlling the mind. As the mind has the quality of acquiring the nature of whatever it is engaged in, sensory engagement becomes a deterrent to spiritual progress. The SGGS time and again reminds us that by disengaging the mind from sensuousness and redirecting it inward, the mind will instead reflect the nature of one's True Self (Joti-Svaroopa), which is eternal and blissful (Anand). Virtues blossom when we see — in its entirety — the vulgarity of our living (Manmukh lifestyle), when we suffer our inadequacy in quiet observation (introspection etc.). The SGGS tells us that if the mind can be trained to dwell on the True Self through meditation (Naam-Simran), Virtues will accrue to us effortlessly (Sahaj). The mind that is established in the True Self will remain untouched, like a lotus floating on water — we float on the evil tendencies of the world and meet with our True Being within.

Sublime heights are thus reached by a person who travels on the path of Virtue. According to the SGGS, devotion or Bhagti is not possible without cultivation of Virtues. The Guru helps one's Virtues to shine forth. However, for His help to uninterruptedly flow through us, we constantly need to contemplate on His Words.

* gux vIcwrI gux sMgRhw Avgux kFw Doie: Gun veechaaree gun sangrahaa avagun kadhaa dhoi: Contemplating His Virtues, I accumulate Virtues; (and this is how) I wash myself clean of demerits (sggs 37).
* ibnu gur gux n jwpnI ibnu gux Bgiq n hoie: Bin gur gun na jaapanee bin gun bhagati na hoi: Without the Guru, one's Virtues do not shine forth; and without Virtues, there is no devotional worship (sggs 67).
* ivxu sqgur gux n jwpnI ijcru sbid n kry bIcwru: Vin Satgur gun na jaapanee jichar sabad na kare beechaar: Without the Satguru and so long (one) does not reflect on the Shabad; he does not see (i.e, until then he cannot cultivate) the Virtues (sggs 936).
* nwnk inguirAw guxu nwhI koie: Nanak niguriaa gun naahee koi: O Nanak, the one who has no Guru, has no Virtues at all (sggs 1240).

The SGGS indicates that the Awareness of Perfection is attained by meditating and arriving at the state of expanded Cosmic or Universal Consciousness. It's within to be discovered. One may take as long as one likes, but the fact remains that deep inside the core of our very Being is the Perfection or Holiness. In other words, we are as Perfect and Holy we can be at this very moment. But due to the rise of the faulty consciousness (false ego-sense or Haume), we just don't know it!

Hence, as indicated by the SGGS, Perfection or Holiness is not a question of heredity, family of birth, ancestry, race, region, social status, caste, creed, education, titles, religion, religious garbs, religious Karamkaand, or any peculiar external appearance of a person; it is a question of living a meaningful life based on Universal Values or living in harmony with the Whole (Saabat). Of course, this requires one to eradicate his or her self (Aapaa, Haume, ego etc.), and realize his or her True Being (Pure Consciousness, Joti-Svaroopa etc.) within. Therefore, the SGGS stresses on need to uphold Dharma by becoming the Gurmukh (the enlightened person). Simply put, obliteration of false ego-sense (Haume) makes one Complete (Infinite, Pooran or Pooraa Pada etc.) or Holy. The SGGS has also made it clear that it is a difficult task! In nutshell, it's contemplative lifestyle; clarity of cognition (Wisdom or Giaan); selfless love, compassion, willingness to selflessly serve all, etc.; oneness and openness; loving the Guru by following and mastering His Word; being responsible and courageous to walk the spiritual path without loosing continuity; mind-control (eradication of Haume); and so on.

* gurmuiK gux vyhwJIAih mlu haumY kFY Doie: Gurmukh gun vehaajheeahi mal houmai kadhai dhoi: The Gurmukh cultivates Virtues, which wash off the filth of his egotism: Haaume (sggs 311).
* gwhk gunI Apwr su qqu pCwnIAY: Gaahak gunee apaar su tatt pashaaneeai: One who cultivates the priceless Virtues realizes the Essence of Reality (sggs 1362).
* ibnu mUey ikau pUrw hoie: Bin mooye kiou pooraa hoi: Without such a death (to die in the Word or Shabad), how can one attain Perfection? (sggs 153).
* mmw mn isau kwju hY mn swDy isiD hoie: Mamaa man sio kaaj hai man saadhhae sidhh hoe: MAMMA: The mortal's business is with his own mind; one who disciplines his mind attains Perfection (sggs 342).
* gur kw sbdu mhw rsu mITw ] AYsw AMimRqu AMqir fITw ] ijin cwiKAw pUrw pdu hoie: Gur kaa sabad mahaa ras meethaa. A isaa amrit antar deethaa. Jin chaakhiaa pooraa pada hoi: The Word of the Gur-Shabad is utterly sweet and sublime. Such is the Amrit I see deep within. Those who taste this (deep within), attain the state of Perfection (sggs 1331).
* gux vIcwry igAwnI soie: Gun veechaarae giaanee soe: One who contemplates God's Virtues is Giaanee (sggs 931).

To summarize in few words, "Holy" means the one who has become the Whole (Saabat). He does not exist as himself (individual) but he exists as the entire creation or the Universe, as the Whole. His ego (Haume) is completely lost. This is where the Indian word of "Sant" or "Saadhoo" differs from the western word of "saint". The word "saint" comes from the root "sanctus", meaning sanctioned by the church (Pope!). How anybody can sanction or certify a saint? Either one has become a saint or he has not. Nobody can issue certificates for saints. So the word "Sant" or "Saadhoo" does not mean a saint in that way — the western way . A Sant or Saadhoo is not certified by any government or an institution. He is a person who has lost himself in the Whole.

* bRhm igAwnI kw sgl Akwru: Brahm giaanee kaa sagal akaar: Tthe entire creation is of the God-conscious: Brahm-giaanee or Knower of God (sggs 273).
* hYin ivrly nwhI Gxy PYl PkVu sMswru: Hain virale naahee ghanae fail fakarr sansaar: The Saints are few and far between; everything else in the world is just a pompous show (sggs 1411).

Thus, to be a Sant or a Holy person (or saint, for lack of better word in English) is to be living in a totally different dimension — the dimension of authentic Spirituality. But as the SGGS points out, it is rare to be a Sant in the true sense of the word. A Sant has moved from the biological dimension (Manmukhtaa) to the Spiritual dimension (Gurmukhtaa). In other words, he is the person who has taken the quantum leap from Manmukhtaa to Gurmukhtaa, from materiality to immateriality, from falsehood (Asat) to Truth ( Sat), from outer to Inner, from visible (Drisht) to Invisible (Adrisht), from time to Timelessness (Akaal), from fleeting or temporary to Permanent or Eternal, from ego (Haume) to egolessness, from conditioned state to Unconditioned state (Uncorrupted, Uncontaminated), and so on. He is the Jeevanmukta (living liberated, twice born, reborn, or truly alive person). He has cleansed his heart of dross of evil passions (Kaam, Krodh, Lobh etc.), and thus made his conduct Immaculate.

Significance and Purpose of Human Life.....

(By always keeping the Company of the Holy, and focusing consciousness on the Guru)
The soul, Praan (Vital Life-force), mind and body blossom forth (i.e.; Inner Growth);
this is the true purpose of life (sggs 47).

As highlighted in the SGGS (Sri Guru Granth Sahib), there is a profound meaning to life, a profound purpose for being here. However, the SGGS indicates that a "rare" few find this purpose consciously and begin to pursue life as a great spiritual adventure, a journey within. It also indicates that living Consciously as Joti-Svaroopa (ego or Haume free state etc.) is a spiritual lifestyle (Gurmukhtaa) and living unconsciously (ego or Haume regime etc.) is an unspiritual lifestyle (Manmukhtaa). And that being wrapped in ignorance of the True Nature of its Self, the Jeeva (individual being) loses its moorings and is unable to identify its goal in life, namely seeking God. The SGGS enlightens us about how to live in this world so that we can realize the life's Ultimate purpose.

* BeI prwpiq mwnuK dyhurIAw]goibMd imlx kI ieh qyrI brIAw]Avir kwj qyrY ikqY n kwm]imlu swDsMgiq Bju kyvl nwm...: Bhayee praapat maanukh dehuriyaa. Gobind milan kee ih teree bariyaa. Avar kaaj terai kitai na kaam. Mil saadhsangati bhaj keval Naam...: This human body has been given to you. This is your chance to meet God. Nothing else will work. Join the Saadh Sangat; contemplate on the Naam alone. Make every effort to cross over this terrifying worldly ocean. Life goes uselessly in the love of Maya (sggs 12).
* gurmuiK lwhw lY gey mnmuK cly mUlu gvwie jIau: Gurmukh laahaa lai geae manmukh chalae mool gavaae jeeo: The Gurmukhs reap their Spiritual Profits and leave, while the manmukhs lose all and depart (sggs 74).

Tree is hidden in the seed. But in itself the seed is not enough. First, in proper season and climate, it has to go under the earth. Subsequently, it has to be cared for, protected, watered, fertilized, and so on, before it becomes a tree and comes to bloom and fruit. In other words, we have to put efforts so the seed sprouts and becomes a tree.

Similarly, the life in itself is not enough. In other words, life in itself is not the goal. The purpose or goal of life is — God-realization, realization of one's True Nature as Pure Consciousness or Awareness (Joti-svaroopa), Universal Unity or Oneness of the existence (true Nature of the Self that pervades everything and everywhere equally), to Realize what's beyond this physical existence, and so on — hidden deep in it. Thus life is not an end by itself but very significant means to the end. It is the opportunity given to us to realize the goal, which surpasses it. Since the purpose or goal is hidden deep in life, it cannot be found if we were to stay on the surface or periphery of it. we need to dive deep within — go within, seek within, etc. If we are to stay at the surface, we are bound to miss the goal. To say it otherwise, if man becomes overly attached or obsessed with life, then naturally he will never be able to transcend it. And, in the process, he will be lost in the means and miss out the opportunity to understand something deeper, far significant and superior.

For example, high school is generally to educate us and prepare us for something greater: to get admission in college, university etc. But if one becomes too obsessed or attached to the high school and refuses to leave it, then obviously he will never be able to transcend it. In other words, if the preparation becomes without end, then the goal is lost, rendering the preparation meaningless, pointless and a total waste, thus a burden.

As repeatedly indicated in the SGGS, this is exactly what the majority of us (over 99.9 percent) have been doing for time immemorial. The SGGS wants us to peek into our past to know what has been happening to us again and again and again, because we keep repeating same mistakes from time immemorial. Gurbani wants us to go into it, and learn some lessons from our experience up to now. Otherwise we will be back to square one.

* keI jnm Bey kIt pqMgw ] keI jnm gj mIn kurMgw ] keI jnm pMKI srp hoieE ] keI jnm hYvr ibRK joieE ]1] imlu jgdIs imln kI brIAw ] icrMkwl ieh dyh sMjrIAw ]1] rhwau ] keI jnm sYl igir kirAw ] keI jnm grB ihir KirAw ] keI jnm swK kir aupwieAw ] lK caurwsIh join BRmwieAw ]2]: Kayee janam bhaye keet patangaa...: In so many births, you were a worm and an insect; in so many incarnations, you were an elephant, a fish and a deer. In so many incarnations, you were a bird and a snake. In so many incarnations, you were yoked as an ox and a horse. ||1|| Meet the Lord of the Universe - now is the time to meet Him. After so very long, this human body was fashioned for you. ||1||Pause|| In so many incarnations, you were rocks and mountains; in so many incarnations, you were aborted in the womb; in so many incarnations, you developed branches and leaves; you wandered through 8.4 million incarnations ||2|| (sggs 176).
* jnm mrx Anyk bIqy ipRA sMg ibnu kCu nh gqy: Janam maran anek beete pria sang bin kash nah gatay: (I) passed through so many births and deaths; without Union with the Beloved (God), there is no salvation (sggs 462).

Hence, nothing is new! We have been everything in our past, not once but countless times. In other words, what we are now and what we are doing in this life is not for the first time. By reminding us of our past, the SGGS apparently wants us to understand and see the complete nonsense of our repetition — the wheel or the cycle of coming and going (Aavaa Gaman, birth and death, repetition etc.). Nonetheless, the Hub or the Center (Truth) remains the same.

Perhaps the SGGS is hoping that if we can understand and see the total nonsense of our mistakes we have been repeating for time immemorial, maybe then we can learn from them. For the learning makes one wise. If one does not learn from mistakes, then one cannot hope to Grow, and thus one remains stagnant, stupid or ignorant. If we learn from past experiences, then we will say, "Enough is enough. I am not going to repeat the same mistake again and again and again". However, without understanding it, we cannot reason and inquire (Vichaar) in a sensible, meaningful or significant way as to how to get out of it. Not only our past repetitions, but if we impartially examine our present life, we will notice constant repetition, obliviousness and forgetfulness. Then how can there be an end to the vicious cycle, and how can there be any chance of encounter with the goal, which is beyond the physical existence? Our general feeling about life that it is an end in itself, gives rise to trouble — existential suffering. Such feeling keeps us closed minded, and then we don't apply proper reasoning, contemplation and receptivity, thereby we lack understanding about the ultimate purpose of life.

* mnhu ij AMDy kUp kihAw ibrdu n jwxn@I: Manahu ji andhe koop kahiaa birad na jaananhee: Those (people) whose minds are like deep dark pits (i.e., closed, ignorant, stupid etc.) do not understand the purpose of life, even when it is explained to them (sggs 1246).

The SGGS time and again reminds us of the evanescence of life, and wonders that even when the fleeting nature of human existence is perceived in everyday life, human beings tend to forget it easily and get immersed in worldly affairs (clinging, worries, frustrations etc.) instead of pursuing the ultimate goal of life. Just passing through life and learning are two different things: True Wisdom cannot be gained by just passing through life but by looking at experiences.

Life is perceived and interpreted differently (e.g., riddle, mystery, opportunity etc.) according to each individual’s faith, beliefs, wisdom, likes, dislikes, and so on. The SGGS has grouped human beings into two different categories from the spiritual perspective to assess what their status will be after this birth. This knowledge is crucial for a spiritual seeker to know his level of evolution so that he can make appropriate efforts to realize the objective of life. These two groups are: (1) Gurmukhs (true spiritual beings, wise and enlightened), and (2) Manmukhs (material or unenlightened beings). As indicated in the SGGS, the majority of us (over 99.9 percent) belong to the second category (i.e., Manmukhs). The Gurmukhs follow the spiritual life faithfully, and hence there is no more sorrow for them here in this world or after. They are the persons of wisdom (Giaanee) who live principled life. On the other hand, amongst Manmukhs, some of us maintain some religious and spiritual activities so long they fulfill our selfish desires, and there are some who even though blessed with human birth waste this rare opportunity without doing anything to better their lot.

Apparently, there is a wide chasm between worldly people (Manmukhs) and Gurmukhs about their perspective of life. While the majority (Manmukhs) have a hedonistic outlook of life, those who are spiritually inclined (Gurmukhs) have the conviction that freedom from existential suffering is the end to be attained, and orient all their activities towards this goal. The SGGS teaches all of us the art of living at the micro, fundamental level. It essentially indicates that human life can be lived in two ways: with full control and knowledge of how life is to be lived (the Gurmukh Lifestyle) or living as one without any direction (the Manmukh Lifestyle). The SGGS emphasizes that one should choose how to live and become a Gurmukh instead of allowing it to drift on its own course (the Manmukh Lifestyle). The SGGS urges us using discrimination (Viveka) and analyze what is right and wrong, and follow what is ultimately good for one's spiritual evolution. But to the contrary, highlighting the objective of life, the SGGS indicates that human beings spend their entire lifetime pursuing only worldly goals little realizing that all attainments will be of no avail when the end comes except the Divine Name.

* mnmuiK KoieAw gurmuiK lwDw: Manmukh khoiaa gurnukhi laadhaa: The Manmukh (one in matrial consciousness) loses; the Gurmukh (Self-realized person) gains (sggs 939).
* mnmuK KotI rwis Kotw pwswrw]kUVu kmwvin duKu lwgY Bwrw]Brmy BUly iPrin idn rwqI mir jnmih jnmu gvwvixAw: Manmukh khoteeraas khotaa paasaaraa. Koor kamaavan dukh laagai bhaaraa. Bharme bhoole phiran din raatee mar janmahi janam gavaavaniaa: The wealth of Manmukhs is false, and false is their ostentatious display. They practice falsehood, and suffer terrible pain. Deluded by doubt, they wander day and night; through birth and death, they lose their lives (sggs 116).
* jIvn pdvI hir kw nwau]mnu qnu inrmlu swcu suAwau: Jeevan padavee har kaa naaou. Manu tanu nirmal saach suaaou: The Immortal status is the Name of the Lord. (Due to the Naam) the mind and body become pure, and the Eternal Lord (realizing Him) becomes the purpose of life (sggs 744).

Thus the SGGS urges us to understand and appreciate the ephemeral nature of worldly existence and then proceed Consciously to strive for Immortality or Eternal Happiness (Anand). It wants us to understand the significance, purpose, objective or goal of life, and then live intelligently to realize it. In other words, this human life affords a unique opportunity to keep our appointment with God! So the SGGS would like us to inquire: who am I, why I am here in this world, and so on?

* kvn kwj isrjy jg BIqir jnim kvn Plu pwieAw: Kavan kaaj siraje jag bheetar janam kavan fal paaiaa: For what purpose (I have been) created and brought into the world? What benefit (I have) have reaped from this birth? (sggs 970).
* jIau pRwx mnu qnu hry swcw eyhu suAwau: Jeeou praan manu tanu hare saachaa ehu suaaou: (By keeping the Holy Company, and focusing consciousness on the Guru) The soul, Praan (Vital Life-force), mind and body blossom forth (i.e.; Inner Growth); this is the true purpose of life (sggs 47).

The SGGS is a fountainhead of knowledge (Giaan) and deals with the knowledge of the Absolute, One Primal Energy or Force. Its Teachings (Gurmat) serve as a user manual to the individual (Jeeva) engaged in a constant effort to cope with the challenges of worldly life. By reinforcing the evanescent quality of life, these Teachings enable humankind to rise above the worldly glitter, and strive for Higher Purpose. It enables human beings experience Eternal Happiness in worldly life by realizing material ends and the ultimate aim of human life: spiritual realization. It points out that human birth is a blessing for it offers one a passage to Ultimate Freedom. The Gurus and the Bhagats have exemplified the truth that one can realize God even when living in the midst of Maya, and have pointed out the importance of a life of ethical value.

In other words, the SGGS sheds light on various subjects which are important to both spiritual and temporal life. It provides us with infallible guidelines for human life (the art of proper, virtuous living), which can lead us to realizing the ultimate goal of Absolute Freedom (Mukti) from bondage. It shows us the way out of repetition (Aavaa Gaman).

We can exit repetition (Aavaa Gaman) only if we chose to do so. This life provides us the opportunity to do so. The SGGS adopts many means and methods to give expression to the esoteric nature of the Absolute Reality. From simple analogies (similes, etc.) to mystic statements, the teaching focuses on righteous living, the nature of the Self, the search for Truth, etc. The real nature of the Self is indicated as the essence of Truth, Pure Consciousness and Bliss. It shows us the way as to how we can become Sunn or empty (of the false ego-sense or Haume).

The SGGS indicates that without emptying ourselves of Haume, Truth will not happen. The way of Haume (Manmukh) is crooked, zigzag, deceptive, monopolizing, and full of conflicts. The way of the pure-hearted (Gurmukh) is very simple, straight, harmonious and direct. Once Haume is eradicated, all other Bikaars (negativity) such as doubts, lust, anger, greed, etc. will also lose their grip. As Haume binds us to the repeated Cycle, no-Haume will Free us.

* haumY rogu BRmu ktIAY nw AwvY nw jwgu: Houmai rog bhram kateeai naa aavai naa jaag: (By always keeping the Company of the Holy, and focusing consciousness on the Guru) The diseases of ego and doubt are cast out; bringing an end to the cycle of coming and going (birth and death: Aavaa Gaman) (sggs 47).
* AwT phr hir ky gux gwau ] jIA pRwn ko iehY suAwau ] qij AiBmwnu jwnu pRBu sMig ] swD pRswid hir isau mnu rMig: Aath Pahar har ke gun gaaou...: Twenty-four hours a day, sing the Glorious Praises of the Lord. This is the purpose of human life. Renounce your pride, and know that God is with you. By the Grace of the Holy, let your mind be imbued with God's Love (sggs 295).
* kQw kIrqnu rwg nwd Duin iehu binE suAwau: Kathaa keeratan raag naad dhun ihu baniou suaaou: (with the Guru's Grace) Tto sing the Kirtan of the Lord's Praises, and listen to the Kathaa has become (my life's) purpose (sggs 818).
* hovY soeI Bl mwnu ] Awpnw qij AiBmwnu ] idnu rYin sdw gun gwau ] pUrn eyhI suAwau ]1]: Hovai soee bhal maan..: Whatever happens, accept that as good. Leave your pride behind. Day and night, continually sing God's Glorious Praises. This is the perfect purpose of human life ||1|| (sggs 895).
* aupdysu suxhu qum gurisKhu scw iehY suAwau: Oupades sunahu tum gursikhahu sachaa ihai suaaou: Listen to (the Guru's) Teachings, O Sikhs of the Guru. This is the true purpose of life (sggs 963).
* scu Qwnu scu bYTkw scu suAwau bxwieAw: Sach thaan sach baithakaa sach suaaou banaaiaa: (With the Guru's Blessing) the eternal (True Name of the Lord) has become my place and seat (for Aatmic-Jeevan); I have made this my life's purpose (sggs 1002).
* Awn ibBUq imiQAw kir mwnhu swcw iehY suAwa: Aan bibhoot mithiaa kar maanahu saachaa ihai suaaou: You must realize that (except the Wealth of the Lord's Name), all other wealth is false; (the eternal Wealth of the Name) alone is the true purpose of life (sggs 1219).
* sbru eyhu suAwau jy qUM bMdw idVu krih]viD QIvih drIAwau tuit n QIvih vwhVw: Sabar ehu suaaou je toon bandaa dirr karahi...: Let patience be your purpose in life; implant this within your being. In this way, you will grow into a great river; you will not break off into a tiny stream (sggs 1384).

By: Subedar Shangara Singh Ji

Practical ****SPIRITUALITY****

Who lives a Spiritual Lifestyle (i.e., practical Spirituality) -
he alone is a true (Yogi) (sggs 223).

Often we hear the term "Spirituality" and other related terms such as Aatamic-Jeevan, Adhiaatamic-Jeevan , and so on. These perplexing terms give rise to several challenges such as: What do these terms really intend? What is Spirituality? What is Aatamic- or Adhiaatamic-Jeevan? What are nuts and bolts of such a lifestyle? What's the distinction between Spirituality and religion?


Spirituality is difficult to define. It is all about how a human conducts himself with all other beings. It brings about the best in a person, hence it is what a person can be, given the burning or intense longing, determination and commitment for Inner Growth. Once enlightened, he cannot help being what he is (Joti-Svaroopa). Come worldly temptation or any danger, nothing can change his nature from what he is. Throughout history of the world there have been such men and women who have set example for others through the Perfect Life (Pooran Pada) they lived. To mention a few names, consider the martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev Jee, beheading of Guru Tegh Bahadur Jee, and great sacrifices of Guru Gobind Singh Jee No circumstances could unbalance their equanimity. Nothing could push them, pull them or split them. They handled every threat and situation with sangfroid. Their Spiritual eminence made it possible for them to retain the Vision of Pure Awareness at all times and yet relate to the ordinary world. Their's is the Real Spirituality! Difficult to define indeed! But, clearly, it represents the Essence of the human personality, the core of one's true Being.

Although difficult to define, however, the great Mahaatamaans, Bhagats, Gurmukhs and the Gurus out of compassion for us (Sansaaree Jeeva) have given insights into this State that are invaluable for Spiritual seekers. For example, consider some of the following pointers:

* Spirituality is immateriality. It pertains to Spirit — thus beyond flesh.
* The Essence of real Spirituality is the quest to know and discover one's True Nature (Joti-Svaroopa, etc.).
* Real Spirituality means to be fully and continually Conscious, Aware or Awake. Spiritual State is beyond time, space and causation.
* The true Spirituality (the Gurmukh lifestyle) is to have constant Awareness and alertness in thoughts, words and actions.
* Spirituality is living one's life from the Realization that the limited body-mind-intellect personality we have been taught to identify with is not real us.
* Spirituality is Inner Path. Its Divine or Holy. Thus it's the God-centered life (lived experience of God) of Truthful living; contemplative life of Naam-Simran and prayers, kindness, etc. It's Pure Experience that transforms one's life.
* It's the body of Ultimate Truth. Therefore, it teaches us the art of living right.
* Spirituality is to get rid of Haume (egoism).
* Spirituality is the deep Inner Silence — the silent Stillness (the state of self-surrender and Sunn).
* Spirituality teaches us how to maintain equanimity of the mind in all ups and downs of life.
* In Spiritual Vision, there is no division (duality). There is only Unity, Oneness and Love. In other words, where there is division, there cannot be any real Spiritual Experience. Thus, the real Spirituality is see everyone as the Self or as different images of God Himself.
* It's the linking of the individual consciousness with the Universal Consciousness.
* To become humble is the very purpose of Spiritual life (e.g., Baabaa Nanak was the epitome of Humility). For humility alone is the way to God.
* Spirituality forms the path that helps transform lust, anger, greed, attachments, pride, enviousness etc. into Divine Qualities like compassion, love, humility, inner devotion, unselfishness, friendship, contentment, fearlessness, harmony, equipoise, dedicated life of service, and so on.
* Spirituality teaches us how to overcome desires, cravings, Vaasnaas (latent tendencies) and Bikaars (negativity). It makes us go beyond Maya.
* Spirituality is the science of conquering, annihilating or mastering the mind by understanding its Source.
* Spirituality bestows mental strength to smile at any situation in life.
* It creates hearts full of love and compassion; for God can shine within such hearts only. A Spiritual person can never think of harming others.
* Spirituality helps us see everything as Rabb Dee Leelaa (God's Divine Play) so that even the moment of death becomes a Blissful experience.
* Spirituality is to become living dead (Jeevanmukti).
* Spirituality is becoming like a childlike: innocent (no ego).
* Spirituality is becoming centered in the center or core of our real Being, letting the Awareness penetrate us, being mindful etc.
* Spirituality is not conscious display or exhibition of miracles for personal gains.....


As indicated in the SGGS, the real purpose of life is to Realize Truth, "here" and "now". It is not a future event. Therefore, the real purpose of life is to experience what is beyond one's mere physical existence while living in the body, not after death.

But, just as in the story of the "blind men and the elephant" each blind man feels and describes the elephant differently, similarly, the each one of us looks at life differently. On account of our desires, life becomes that whatever meaning we give to it. The normal way of living is considered, for example, getting a college degree, married, a job, a car, children, a house, and a plenty of money and other worldly possessions. Thus, for various reasons — financial, cultural, social, economic, political etc. — we end up superimposing (or enforcing) a certain character upon ourselves.

However, as indicated in the SGGS (and other holy texts for that matter) there is more to life, a Higher Purpose, which is to know and Realize one's True Essence within while living in the body. By knowing who we truly are, we gain everything. This Spiritual Realization makes life Perfect (Pooran). One feels Full, Complete, and well-grounded in the Real Center of Being. Just as for the seed to sprout and grow upward, first it has to go beneath the soil, similarly, each individual (Jeeva) has to follow the Spiritual Lifestyle to grow Spiritually and raise one's consciousness to the highest plane, the plane of Truth. In other words, Spirituality is one's character or quality that makes one go beyond Maya: worldliness, relativism (duality), illusion, sense-gratification, and so on; and Realize one's connection with the Universal Spirit or Truth within.

* AiDAwqm krm kir Awqm pRvys: Adhiaatm karam kar aatam pravesa: Lead a Spiritual Life to Experience the Self (Vaar Bhai Gurdaas Ji)
* AiDAwqm krm prmwqm prm pd: Adhiaatm karam paramaatam param pada: Spiritual Life bestows Transcendental State of Godhood (Vaar Bhai Gurdaas Ji).
* BeI prwpiq mwnuK dyhurIAw]goibMd imlx kI ieh qyrI brIAw]Avir kwj qyrY ikqY n kwm]imlu swDsMgiq Bju kyvl nwm: Bhayee praapat maanukh dehuriyaa. Gobind milan kee ih teree bariyaa. Avar kaaj terai kitai na kaam. Mil saadhsangati bhaj keval Naam: This human body has been given to you. This is your chance to meet God. Nothing else will work. Join the Holy Company; contemplate on the Naam alone (sggs 12).

Spiritual journey is an exploration that each individual undertakes not out of compulsion from outside but from Inner prompting. As indicated in the SGGS, the Path to Spiritual Realization is anything but smooth. That is, it's not a straight one in which the Spiritual aspirant can progress easily. It's a bumpy road! Authentic self-efforts are needed to succeed.

* mwn moh myr qyr ibbrijq eyhu mwrgu KMfy Dwr: Maan moh mer ter biburajit ehu maarag khande dhaar: To forsake pride, emotional attachment, and the sense of "mine and yours" (ego-sense), is the path of the double-edged sword (sggs 534).

The non-dual, logical and rational Teaching of the SGGS posits that there is no fundamental difference between the Absolute Reality (Parmaatamaan, Akaal Purakh or God) and the individual Self (Aatmaan). It is this essential identity that is the crux of the Teaching in SGGS for its objective is to enable the Spiritual seeker to experience His Spiritual Nature (Joti-Svaroopa) within "here" and "now". The essential identity of Parmaatamaan and Aatmaan is indicated in the SGGS to show that the Reality behind the entire creation is the same as the Self within the each one of us.

* qqu inrMjnu joiq sbweI sohM Bydu n koeI jIau: Tat niranjan joti sabaaee soham bhed na koee jeeo: The essence, the immaculate Lord, the Light of all — I am He and He is me — there is no difference (sggs 599).
* mn qUM joiq srUpu hY Apxw mUlu pCwxu: Mann tu jot saroop hai apnaa mool pashaan: O my mind, you are That — the true image of the Divine Light — know your Reality (sggs 441).
* Awqm mih pwrbRhmu lhMqy: Aatam mahi paarbraham lahante: Within the Soul, find the Supreme Lord (sggs 276).
* Awqm mih rwmu rwm mih Awqmu: Aatam mahi Ram ram mahi aatam: God is in the Soul, and the Soul is in God (1153).
* Awqmu cInY su qqu bIcwry: Aatam cheenai su tatt beechaarae: One who understands his own Soul, contemplates the essence of Reality (sggs 224).


Knowledge can be grouped in two types. The first kind of knowledge pertains to the materiality of this world and thus is empirical and perceptible (Drishti) to the senses and the mind. Generally we easily accept such knowledge as it can be directly experienced by our senses. Such knowledge can also be passed on to others. The second kind of knowledge — Spiritual knowledge — pertains to the Unseen (Alakh, Adeeth, Adrisht, Gupt etc.). It is different from the empirical knowledge in that it cannot be fully gained from books or fully passed on to others. Till Spiritual Knowledge results whatever one learns by study will only remain at the conceptual level. Knowledge about the state of Mukti (liberation from the state of bondage) or Spiritual Vision (Self-realization etc.) is example of the latter. Such Experience or Knowledge of the Unseen cannot be given to others as a gift or made to an order.

* jau lau Awn igAwn qau lau nhI AiDAwqm igAwn: Jaou laou aan giaan taou laou nahee adhiaatm giaana: So long one has non-spiritual knowledge (empirical or pertaining to materiality), until then Spiritual Knowledge does not dawn (Vaar Bhai Gurdaas Ji).
* Git Git hir pRBu eyko suAwmI gurmuiK AlKu lKwieAw: Ghatt ghatt har prabh eko suaamee gurmukh alakh lakhaaiaa: The One God is in each and every heart. By becoming the Gurmukh, see the unseen (sggs 772).
* gurmuiK bolY qqu ibrolY cInY AlK Apwro: Gurmukh bolai tatu birolai cheenai alakh apaaro: The Gurmukh speaks and churns the Essence of Reality, and realizes the unseen, infinite Lord (sggs 944).

Therefore, the ecstatic state of Spiritual Vision is indicated something to be experienced for oneself and cannot be fully understood from second-hand sources. For the Bliss of Spiritual Experience is difficult to express and mystics who have reveled in this Experience (Union with God or the Universal Spirit) speak about it metaphorically. Any amount of objective knowledge and personal assets that a person gains will not bestow on him universal qualities like compassion, love, humility, selflessness etc.


Proper Understanding and Viveka (discrimination) are need to differentiate between religion and Spirituality. Mahaatamaans use various similes to help us grasp the differential as follows.

(a) Consider a tree with fruits. Religion is the finger pointing at the fruit (i.e., Spirituality) urging us that if we eat that fruit (Spirituality) we will gain Spiritual Realization (Immortality, God or Spiritual Realization etc.). But Unfortunately, the majority of us (over 99.9 percent category) keep holding on the finger and just keep looking at the fruit (Spirituality) from a distance, instead of eating it. What's the result? We miss out Spirituality, which is the Essence of religion. (b) An another simile given by Mahaatamaans to explain the difference between religion and Spirituality is that of the coconut. If we want to eat the flesh (Guddaa, kernel) of the coconut and drink the liquid from inside of it, then we need to open the outer shell (brown fiber) of the coconut and reach the inside — the essence. If we keep holding on the outer hard shell and keep biting on it, then we will miss out the liquid and the kernel (Guddaa) inside — it's essence. If religion is compared to the outside of the coconut, Spirituality is then the inside of it (Guddaa or kernel): its Essence. In Spiritual ignorance, the majority of us mistake the inside for the outside! Just imagine, if one keeps chewing the husk and the outer skin of the coconut, he will only make his mouth bleed! Implication is that, if we do not go beyond the body-consciousness, we will never taste our Real Being. (c) An another simile includes surface of the ocean and pearls that lie beneath its surface. If religion is compared to the surface of the ocean, Spirituality is like the priceless pearls that lie hidden deep beneath the surface. Now, if we just stand at the bank and keep counting waves, we will never attain pearls. To get to pearls, we will have to jump into the water and dive deep in it, beneath the surface (as the swan or Hans). The bank is static and stagnant. Thus if we just stand at the bank, we will go nowhere: we will have no Inner Growth; we will have no Inner Development; we will have no Inner Transformation; and we will have no change in our vision. We will remain worldly or material persons (Manmukhs or unenlightened persons); and we will not comprehend the immaterialality (the Gurmukhtaa or the enlightened state).

* qU swgru hm hMs qumwry qum mih mwxk lwlw: Too saagar ham hans tumaarae tum mahi maanak laalaa: (O God) You are the ocean, and I am Your swan (living in Your ocean); the pearls and rubies are in You (sggs 884).
* hMsw hIrw moqI cugxw bgu ffw Bwlx jwvY: Hansaa heeraa motee chuganaa bagu dadaa bhaalan jaavai: The swans peck at the diamonds and pearls, while the crane chases after frogs (sggs 960).
* hir sru swgru inrmlu soeI ] sMq cugih inq gurmuiK hoeI: Har sar saagar niramal soee. Sant chugahi nit Gurmukh hoee: The Lord is the most pure and sublime Ocean. By becoming Gurmukhs, saints always peck at the Naam-pearl (like swans pecking at pearls in the ocean) (sggs 128).

Hence, to differentiate between religion and Spirituality, one needs proper Understanding and Viveka (discrimination) to penetrate the outer skin of religion to dive deep into the True Essence. In other words, if religion is the science of Inner growth or development, and Being and Becoming, then Spirituality is its accomplishment. Thus the true Essence of religion is Spirituality. Or we may say Spirituality begins where religion ends (its not saying they are separable).

As clearly indicated in the following verse, mere engaging and limiting oneself to religious rituals (Karamkaand) is not Spirituality. Obviously, the SGGS extols the spirit behind acts of devotion and not the external ostentation that may accompany them.

* kWieAw swDY aurD qpu krY ivchu haumY n jwie ]AiDAwqm krm jy kry nwmu n kb hI pwie: Kaaniaa saadhai ouradh tapu karai vichahu houmai na jaai. Adhiaatm karam je kare naam na kab hee paai: One may torment his body with extremes of self-discipline, practice intensive Tapa and hang pside-down, but (in this way) his ego cannot be eliminated from within. To progress spiritually, if one performs (such religious rituals), he can never obtain the Naam, the Name of the Lord (sggs 33).

All humans are Spiritual Beings first. The Spirit being All-pervading, Unchanging, Eternal and Timeless, Spirituality is to Realize Oneness with this Universal Spirit. Because of being born or converted to a particular religion, people may practice their Spirituality a certain way. But our Spiritual Self (Joti-Svaroopa or Pure Awareness) is a part of who we all are. In that sense, Spirituality is listening to one's Inner Self. It's a personal Inner Path that transcends all worldly barriers. And so, religious leaders of all world-religions can guide their followers back to the true Essence of religion (Spirituality) if they dare cast aside their own ignorance, stupidity, narrow-mindedness, selfishness and wickedness.


Human birth has an edge over all other creation because human beings are endowed with the ability to think, reflect, probe, question and understand Truth and the ultimate purpose of life. This rational power of cognition is an additional asset, a God-given gift, which, as repeated pointed out to us by the SGGS, should not be wasted. So the Gurbani's call to all of us is to become engaged in Spiritual quest. When we respond with self-effort to this calling of the SGGS from deep within, the call sooner or later will certainly awaken the slumbering True Nature within us. In Bhai Gurdaas Jee's words:

* crn srin gur eyk pYfw jwie cl]siq gur koit pYfw Awgy hoie lyq hY: Charan saran gur ek paidaa jaai chala. Sat gur koti paidaa aage hoi leta hai: If we move one step towards the Guru, the Satguru advances a hundred steps to receive us (Vaar Bhai Gurdaas jee).

Spiritual Life is not the privilege of a chosen few — it is for everyone. Because liberation (Mukti) from bondage is the birthright of every human being. As indicated in the SGGS, we all have the capacity to know Truth, "here" and "now". Then, why the majority of us live as Manmukhs (unenlightened persons, the one opposite of Gurmukhs or enlightened persons)? According to the SGGS, it's because only a "rare" one develops the taste for Spirituality. Therefore, it seems to our advantage to develop such taste and approach the Guru with unshakable faith in His Word (Gurbani: SGGS) to the last letter, a burning longing for Spiritual Vision and searching questions such as: "Who am I?" What is worldly bondage? How does it arise? How does it continue to exist? How is one to get rid of it? What is non-Self? Who is the Supreme Self? How is one to distinguish between the two? Probing such basic questions is necessary for a logical and reflective understanding of the individual self in relation to the universe. The Gur-Shabad would reveal answers to such questions, thus enlightening us about the nature of the universe and the mechanics of the human body and mind and awaken the Divinity within us.

* ijin mwxs qy dyvqy kIey krq n lwgI vwr: Jin maanas te devte keeye..: He (the Guru), without delay, made angles out of men (sggs 462).

The SGGS also indicates that both worldly and Spiritual Life can be led side by side successfully provided we shun lust, anger, greed, attachments, pride, expectations, jealousy, stubbornness, selfishness, unrighteousness, and so on. Thus the Gurbani's approach is very practical, logical and free of dogmatism and life-denial. In other words, the SGGS does not Teach us a theoretical or reactionary spirituality that would further bind us to the state of bondage stemming from attachments, running after sense-gratification etc. It teaches us Spirituality in action — practical Spirituality — and provides all that's needed in aid of those of us struggling to resolve the tangles which plague us in the course of our day-to-day-life. Of course we must be determined, committed, earnest and willing to self-surrender and put forward the best self-effort to become Spiritually fit.

* sB kY miD sgl qy audws: Sabh kai madhi sagal te udaas: Remain in the midst of all, and yet detached from all (sggs 296).

As to how a person can lead both worldly and Spiritual Life side by side successfully has been beautifully described in many Shabads in the SGGS. For example, consider the following verses of Bhagat Naam Dev Jee (in which he is addressing Bhagat Trilochan Jee's inquiry):

* AwnIly kwgdu kwtIly gUfI Awkws mDy BrmIAly...: Aaaneelae kaagadh kaatteelae gooddee aakaas madhhae bharameealae...: (O Trilochan, the boy) takes paper, cuts it and makes a kite, and flies it in the sky. (While flying the kite he) talks with his friends, but he still keeps his attention on the kite string. ||1|| Like the goldsmith, (while talking to others) whose attention is held by his work, similarly, my mind has been pierced by the Name of the Lord. ||1||Pause (Rahaaou)|| The young girls from town take pitchers (go out to get water), and fill them with water. They laugh, make merry, and talk with each other, but they keep their attention focused on the pitcher of water. ||2|| (O Trilochan) there is the house with ten gates, from this house (the cowherd person) take cows out to graze in the field. Cows (could be) grazing five miles away (from the house), but they keep their attention focused on their calf (similarly, this body is the house with "ten gates" or ten organs of perception and action — five organs of perception + five organs of action — these senses (like cows) go out and transect with the world, but, in spite of all that, as the Bhagat Jee indicates in the Rahaaou verse, his mind ever remains imbued in God's Name). ||3|| Says Naam Dev, listen, O Trilochan: the (mother) lays her child down in the cradle. (Although) she is busy working inside and outside (the house), but she (always) holds her child in her thoughts ||4||1|| (sggs 972).
* nwmw khY iqlocnw muK qy rwmu sMm@wil ]hwQ pwau kir kwmu sBu cIqu inrMjn nwil: Naamaa kahai Tilochanaa mukh te raam sanmhaal. Haath paayu kar kaam sabh cheet niranjan naal: Naamdev says, O Trilochan, chant the Lord's Name with your mouth. With your hands and feet, do all your work, but let your consciousness remain with the Immaculate Being (sggs 1376).

Thus, the sure way to progress Spiritually seems to be to remain detached even while leading an active life in the world. True detachment is to live without likes (Raaga or Bhaaou) and dislikes (Dvesha or Abhaaou). If we pause to analyze, it will become clear that attachment arises from "likes" and, frustrations and anger from "dislikes", and both become the cause for further bondage.

* jau lau Bwau ABwau iehu mwnY qau lau imlxu dUrweI: Jaou laou bhaaou abhaaou ihu maanai taou laou milan dooraaee: As long as this (mind) believes in likes and dislikes, it is difficult for him to meet the Lord (sggs 609).

The principle of Naam or Naam-Simran (meditation or remembrance of God) is central to one's Spiritual evolution in Sikhism. The potency of the Divine Name has been highlighted in the SGGS. If the mind can be trained to dwell on the Real Self within through meditation (Naam-Simran), Divine Virtues will accrue to the person naturally, allowing the Grace and Pure Consciousness to flow in us, making us calm, quiet and Immortal. Thus it is indicated to be the saving principle, the ultimate medicine!

* AiDAwqmI hir gux qwsu min jpih eyku murwir: Adhiaatmee har gun taas mani japqhi ek muraar: The Spiritual being chants and meditates within his mind on the One Lord (sggs 38).
* AiDAwqm krm kry idnu rwqI ] inrml joiq inrMqir jwqI: Adhiaatm karam kare din raatee. Nirmal jot nirantar jaatee: Day and night he (the one who is blessed with the jewel of the Lord's Name) does only those spiritual deeds (that keep him united with God within). He recognizes the immaculate Divine Light that constantly pervades (everywhere) (sggs 1039).

The basic requirement for attaining Spiritual Vision is indicated to fully comprehend the Truth about God, the universe, and the Aatmaan, and the interrelatedness of these. The SGGS outlines the important guidelines that would facilitate Spiritual progress — chanting of the Divine Name (Naam-Simran, meditation), cultivation of the Holy Company (Satsang, Saadh-Sangat), developing Divine Values, engaging in Vichaar (Self-inquiry, Reflections etc.), guarding against worldly influences, moral growth, and so on.

The Gurbani (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, SGGS) sheds light on the nature of creation and of man's quest to attain the purpose of existence. Thus, to truly live Spiritually and enjoy the true Spiritual Experience within, the SGGS urges that we must shun negativity (Bikaars) and develop Divine Virtues or Qualities. Simply put, living a Spiritual Life essentially means leading a normal life with a Spiritual Attitude. Hence, Spirituality as indicated in the SGGS seems to bring about a shift in our perception (inner Transformation) by mending our evil ways, adapt to any circumstances and situations without being disturbed and becoming harmonious with the Eternal Law (Hukam).

* gurmuiK inbhY sprvwir: Gurmukh nibahai saparavaar: In the midst of his family, the Gurmukh lives a spiritual life (sggs 941).
* srw srIAiq ly kMmwvhu: Saraa sareeat le kammaavahu: Practice (Naam-Simran) and (religious) conduct — make this your real spiritual life (sggs 1083).
* ey mn myirAw Cif Avgx guxI smwixAw rwm: Eae mann meriaa shadi avagan gunee samaaniaa raam: O my mind, leave behind your faults, and be absorbed in God's Virtue (sggs 1112).
* hukmu n jwxY bhuqw rovY: Hukam na jaanai bahutaa rovai: One who does not know Hukam or Eternal Law cries out in terrible pain and suffering (sggs 85).

Spiritual Way is indicated to be a constant churning and turning within: churning the True Essence of Reality, and turning the Light of the Pure Consciousness and True Knowledge in veils of the mind to dispel darkness. It is being That which is Unchanging, Eternal, and Timeless. It is on this Path a person reveals his Real Self to himself. In other words, Spirituality is becoming the Spiritual body: becoming the body of the Soul and grasping the Infinite Wisdom, and then merging that body with the physical body. Spiritual body matures by Good deeds or Spiritual Lifestyle. Therefore, the SGGS teaches us the practical Spirituality — Spirituality in action. Meditation is not just sitting in a secluded place for a extended period of time with closed eyes; leading the Divine Life (Gurmukh Lifestyle) of Universal Values (love, compassion, selflessness, humility, truthfulness etc.) is also a meditation in itself — Spirituality in action!

* AiDAwqm krm kry qw swcw: Adhiaatm karam kare taa saachaa: Who lives a Spiritual Lifestyle (i.e., practical Spirituality) - he alone is a true (Yogi) (ggs 223).

Spiritual Way is Eternal and All-inclusive, thus cannot be cribbed or walled by caste, color, race, creed, religion, nationality, gender etc. Irrespective of one's level of Inner development and all our skepticism, it accepts and encourages all. It welcomes all and rejects none. Whatever religion we may espouse, whatsoever we may believe or deny, whether we know it or not, we all are on the Path to Truth.

The Self (Aatmaan) is Unseen (Adrisht) as it is beyond sensory perception. How then is one supposed to gain Self-knowledge? Through the Divine Grace, says the SGGS. By Inner devotion and development and by cultivating the Divine Values within we become eligible to receive Divine Grace.

* so jogI jo jugiq pCwxY ] gur prswdI eyko jwxY: So Yogi jo jugat pashaanai. Gur parasaadee eko jaanai: He alone is a Yogi, who understands the Way (to live life properly to Realize God). By the Guru's Grace, he Realizes the One Lord (sggs 662).

Where does Grace come from? The Gurbani is very logical and rational: scientific. According to the Gurbani, everything, including God is within. Thinking logically and rationally, if God is within, then His Grace also ought to be within. Once our mind becomes free from passions, restlessness, doubts, anxiety etc. (i.e., becomes Purified or Mature), then we become full and calm (Sunn) within. Then the Divine Grace starts happenings from our own center within. Thus it is not a gift from somebody else. It is the Inner Development. In other words, Grace is not something to be found outside, it is something to be Realized within. So the SGGS says go in and see.

* sB ikCu Gr mih bwhir nwhI]bwhir tolY so Brim BulwhI: Sabh kish ghar mahi baahari naahee. Baahari tolai so bharam bhulaahee: Everything is within the Home of the Self; there is nothing beyond. One who searches outside is deluded by doubts (sggs 102).

There is huge emphasis on Vichaar in the SGGS (isKI isiKAw gur vIcwir, sggs 465). Clearly, Spiritual quest significantly rests on Vichaar, which goes beyond dogma, empty rituals, tradition and religion. Vichaar is not just collecting information. Neither it is reading and memorizing scriptures nor philosophies, etc. It is Spiritual surgery. It is real learning that has to change us, transform us, and make us Grow.

An important component of Vichaar is the freedom to question, which helps remove doubts and confusions of the mind. Unfortunately, in Gurdawaaraa, question and answer format is generally not found. As a result, we do not get to Realize the full Spiritual Benefit (Laahaa) of the Gurbani. As there is no mechanism or system in place whereby members of the congregation (Sangat) are afforded and encouraged to ask questions to those conducting sermons (professional preachers, Raagees, Bhais etc.), Gurdawaaraa all over the world, to some extent, appear to be pullulated with foolish and selfish preachers (Parchaaraks), Kirtan singers (Raagees), Bhais etc.

Mahaatamaas, philosophers and thinkers have unanimously claimed that the Inner Growth or progress depends on an individual's ability to gain control over his mind and knowing the tremendous effort required to do so. In one way the mind is the root enemy. The commonly used analogies of the camel (Karhalaa, Tukhaar), the monkey (Markat, Kapik etc.) and the drunken elephant (Gaja, Kunchar etc.) illustrate the mind's fickleness, restlessness and its wandering and uncontrollable nature. The mind creates desires and always wanders in the past or in future. However, the life always exists in the present moment (NOW).

* mnu mY mqu mYgl imkdwrw: Manu mai matu maigal mikadaaraa: The mind is like an elephant, drunk with wine (sggs 159).

As taming, annihilating or tempering the mind as well as controlling the senses is the aim of Spirituality — thus the crux of Spiritual discipline — there is tremendous emphasis in the SGGS on controlling the mind and the senses through proper understanding. For proper understanding brings discipline; it follows understanding as a shadow to it. Conquering the mind is called conquering the materiality. This is indicated to be the highest state: one who has soared into pure space by transcending all the materiality.

* min jIqY jgu jIqu: Mani jeetai jag jeet: If you conquer the mind, you conquer the material world (sggs 6).
* ibnu bUJy psU Bey byqwly: Without Divine understanding, people become beasts and demons (sggs 224).

The mind drives an individual's personality. It is the mind which remembers the enjoyment the senses derive from their respective objects of perception. The mind craves for pleasures that it had earlier tasted and it is this craving that is the root of desire. When the mind is unable to fulfil its desires it results in anger, and enviousness about others who enjoy such pleasures. When its desire is fulfilled the mind derives only temporary joy and soon there is greed for more and more of the same. The more a person enjoys lust, wealth, position, fame, power etc., the more he gathers frustrations and disappointments because the mind is quenchless and cannot find fulfillment in pursuit of worldly objects, power and money. As the mind has the quality of acquiring the nature of whatever it is preoccupied with, sense-gratification is said to become a hurdle to Spiritual progress. By removing the mind from frivolous pursuits and by understanding their detrimental nature of becoming habituated, we are urged to diverting the mind inward. Then the mind will instead reflect the nature of the Real Self, which is Eternal and Blissful (Joti-Svaroopa). The mind that is established in the True Self is indicated to remain untouched by vicissitudes of life. In other words, when this happens (achieving the state of mind that does not succumb to the external organs and remaining unperturbed in all circumstances), it is possible to enjoy pleasure, Peace, Anand (Bliss) and Happiness independent of the sense-organs and their objects and the surrounding or circumstances.

In addition to controlling the mind, the other Divine Qualities that a spiritual seeker is urged to develop are indicated to be: developing truthful living, sharing, humility, total detachment, contentment, compassion, selflessness, moral courage, self-surrender, Knowledge; controlling the sensory organs and that of action; reposing total faith in the Guru's Word, and cultivating fellow feeling towards all in creation; by which one gains the eligibility to receive Divine Grace. Thus they are medicinal. They prepare us for the Truth to awaken, arise or enter in us.

Thus, Spirituality can be best expressed in terms of Divine Virtues or Qualities. In other words, Spirituality is not merely material prosperity, physical and intellectual growth. It is to try to realize the best in man. It expresses itself in Divine Values or Qualities when one is saturated with Naam Consciousness. When we don't do evil deeds and are harmonious with the Eternal Law (Hukam), then all our deeds will be good. In other words, when we are centered in our true Being, then out of this centering whatever we do will be Virtuous, whatever we do will be good, whatever we do will be Dharma, whatever we do will be right.

In addition to meditation, the importance of cultivating the company of God-realized Beings (Satsang or Saadh-Sangat) for spiritual evolution has been repeatedly highlighted in the SGGS as their influence can be understood only practically. Meditation and the company of the pious can help to enrich one's Spiritual Life. Just as only an expert doctor can cure illness, a Guru is said to be essential to guide a Spiritual seeker to alleviate his (disease of the) worldliness and steer him towards liberation (Mukti) from his multi-layered ego (Haume) that has obscured his True Nature, the Realization of which will give him lasting Anand (Bliss). A patient who follows the instructions given by the physician gets well; similarly a seeker can benefit from the Guru/Satsang only if he practices whatever directions he gets from those who have realized Pure Awareness.

It is indicated that as one progresses on Spiritual Way, his Haume (egoism) thins out and he becomes humble. Baabaa Nanak was the epitome of humility. Thus, Spirituality is the inner richness, acquired through a long and arduous efforts and gives one the real Peace, which nothing else can give – no wealth, no scholarship, no title, no fame, no possession, and so on; richness in the sense that one has attained Perfection (Pooran Pda, Jeevan Pada etc.) and that all the dimensions of life are complete (Gurmukhtaa) in him: his existence becomes perfectly Aware.

* krm krY AiDAwqmI horsu iksY n Ajr lKwvY: Karam karai adhiaatmee horas kisai na ajar lakhaavai: The Spiritual Being performs Spiritual activities and in humbleness would never tell anyone (Vaar Bhai Gurdaas Ji).

Spiritual Beings (the Gurmukhs) do not engage in the worldly life like the generality of men. Their pious and Virtuous behavior streams through all the portals of their human frame. Like an eternal flame, they simply continuously function from their "Joti-Svaroopa" (Pure Awareness). They exemplify how ordinary human beings can strive towards enlightened existence. They show how one can be very much in the world and still remain detached. They embody the Universal Values that lift human beings to higher planes. These Universal Values stand out from the many happenings in their Virtuous lives.

A general misconception that is prevalent about Spiritual Life is that it can be postponed to old age when all worldly responsibilities are over. Although Spirituality can be practiced irrespective of age, time and place, the SGGS indicates that Spirituality must be pursued from young age and should not be relegated to the evening of one's life. The reason being is as follows. First, in twilight years of one's life the infirmities of the body will not allow him to sustain Spiritual efforts. Second, there is no guarantee about an individual's life span — human life has been compared to bubbles that arise in the water and drift along in the current for a while and burst at any moment. Third, man is a creature of habit and what he does not cultivate in his early age cannot be acquired in his old age especially when his faculties start weakening and failing. Fourth, as we know it, moment by moment, owing to the all-powerful Time, truthfulness, righteousness, purity, forgiveness, love, compassion, longevity, bodily strength and sharpness of memory will decline. Accordingly, the SGGS indicates that the taste for Spiritual Life must be acquired early in life as it is difficult to change one's habits and lifestyle in old age. Thereupon, Spiritual Life cannot be divorced from day-to-day life in the world — it is essential to become engaged in Spiritual quest in all urgency and earnestness.

* kbIrw rwmu n cyiqE jrw phUMicE Awie ] lwgI mMidr duAwr qy Ab ikAw kwiFAw jwie: Kabeeraa raam na chetio jaraa pahoonchio aai...: Kabeer, you have not contemplated God, and old age has overtaken you. Now that the door of your house is on fire, what can you take out? (sggs 1371).
* Kyiq srIir jo bIjIAY so AMiq KloAw Awie: Khet sareer jo beejeeai so ant khaloaa aai: Whatever one plants (i.e., Karma) in the farm of the body, will appear before him in the end (sggs 1417).

So the SGGS repeatedly reminds us to wake up from the sleep-walk, and not to be oblivious to how utterly brief life really is. Time is so precious, once spent, cannot be regained. Even our very next breath is no guarantee. So the SGGS urges us we should stop delaying our true purpose in life of pursuing Spiritual Values, and try to be seriously and intently focused on the true goal of life – realizing God or our true Self (Joti-Svaroopa).

In nutshell, the Essence of real Spirituality is the quest to know one's real Being (one's true Nature, Joti-Svaroopa, etc.) within. Apparently, this fundamental appears to be the crux of all the nobel Spiritual Teachings.