15th Sept, Sihala: A grand gathering took place in Village Sihala when many disciples of the tradition gathered to be with Maharaj Ji. On the occasion, Maharaj Ji elaborated on a beautiful hymn of the fourth Sikh Guru, Guru Ram Das Ji. Salient points from the discourse are presented below:
- There are two ways of knowledge: para and apara. The castle of the later rests on one’s ego. This is true of all our usual works, and includes within it even the reading and contemplation of religious texts, if that is based on the ego. What is being talked of here is para vidya. This is only understood when it is heard with faith, and not only that, but when it is thought over in the mind and most importantly when it is continuously practiced, assimilated and awakened in every cell of the body.
- These things are possible only when we make ourselves the disciples of the Guru. Who is a disciple? Who is the Guru? In the Gurbani there is the following shabad:
Gur satgur kaa jo sikh akhaaye so palke uth har naam dhiyae
One who calls himself the Sikh of the Guru, the Satguru, he is to rise early and meditate on the Name of Hari.
Udham kare palke parbhaati issnaan kare amrit sar nhaave
In earnest in the early morning, he is to bathe and immerse himself in the pool of nectar.
Gur upadesh har har jap jape sabh kilvikh paap dokh leh jaave
Following the instructions of the Guru he is to chant Har Har, with this all his entanglements, sins, and faults are removed.
Phir divas chare gurbani gave behendiyan uthdiyaan har naam dhayave
Then when the day has risen, he is to sing gurbani, and while sitting and standing up he is to meditate on Hari.
Jo saas giraas dhiyae mera har har so gursikh guru man bhaave
One who through the course of every breath and deepening it, meditates on Hari, that disciple is pleasing to the Guru’s mind.
Jis no dyaal hoye meraa swami so gursikh guru updaesh sunaave
On whom the Lord showers his mercy, to that disciple the Guru bestows the teaching.
Jann Nanak dhur mange tis gursikh ki jo aap jape avare naam japaave
The being Nanak asks for the dust of the feet of that Guru’s Sikh (disciple), who himself chants and also helps others to chant it.
- This verse tells us about the ways of a disciple; who is a disciple; how does a disciple become pleasing to the Guru – i.e. how he comes to identify the Will of the Guru. These are the following five points for it:
The first thing is to meditate upon waking up. The word “Dhiyae” or “to meditate” is important and to be noted here.
The second thing is to chant or recite the Name of the Lord, as taught by the Guru. Note, there is a difference between dhayan and japa or meditation and chanting.
The third thing is the singing of Gurbani.
The fourth point is “remembrance of the Lord’s Name” while carrying out all one’s activities in the world.
The fifth thing is to chant oneself and inspire others to chant as well.
There is a sixth thing as well, but it is subtle, it is hidden – to bathe in the pool of nectar.
Let us contemplate on this verse:
- We start with “gur satguru kaa” (gur sitgur ka) – why have two words been used: guru and satguru? Guru is the one Lord, who resides everywhere and in each being. Those beings who have become united with the Guru, and through whom the Guru descends to impart the gift of Name to the various people, he is called a saint or a brahmjnani. The saint is a door for anyone to meet the Guru. It is also said in the Gurbani: satpurakh jini janyaa satguru tis kaa naon i.e. One who has known the Supreme is satguru. Hence, this shabad uses both guru and satguru. But it should be remembered that only by receiving the Name from Satguru, one does not become a disciple. More is to be done. Those are the five things already mentioned.
- So what are we to do from morning to night? The best time to meditate is when one has just waken up from sleep. Note, instructions to take a bath came afterwards; first it is meditation. When the darkness is receding, but the sun is not yet out, that is the time to meditate. When our consciousness becomes active in the body, that is the time to chant or recite the mantra or the Name. “Bathing” has been given a place in-between mediation and chanting in the morning routine. When the morning is well advanced then that is the time to sing gurbani. To play loudspeakers early in the morning – that is not the Hukum of the Guru. Yes, those who just can’t mediate, they may sing gurbani even after getting up. The correct routine is to mediate, bathe (both inner and outer), and then once the consciousness if fully active in the senses and the body, to chant.
- This verse, in a great depth tells us how to go about our usual chores. Normally, working to earn our bread and comforts of life, our mind becomes depressed, stressed and fatigued. It also loses its calm. But a way has been told here, which, when followed, makes us a disciple even though we may be engaged with our routine chores. That secret is saas-giraas.
- All works are to be done with remembrance. In fact it is to be done “shvaas-giraas”. This is a very important word. (With a smile) This is normally understood to mean that we are to remember the Lord with every breath (shvaas), and with every morsel of food (graas). But it is not about eating food. Instead, it is about the eating of the breath itself: digesting the breath within. When we are doing external activities, say talking to someone, then we can’t chant, we can’t do deep meditation, not even keertan, but still, even while doing any external activity we can meditate if our breath becomes deep. When we are too outward drawn owing to any circumstance, then our breath also becomes shallow. If someone rebukes us, still a disciple’s breath is to remain deep. This should be true of all occasions.
- One is to meditate upon just waking up from sleep. It is a small instant: when the awareness has left the deep realms of sleep but has still not come out. The senses are still within, have not become active outside. That is the best time to meditate. In such an inward state, if one can awaken himself in the pool of nectar within, which really exists within the tenth door, then that is the real bath, such a bath makes the body extremely fresh, so much so that even disease etc. can be eradicated in the process. If one can bathe thus, then one can go on meditating. If not so, then one should take a bath and begin with japa in the prescribed way. All this is to be done with enthusiasm. The focus of all this activity is to go within.
- The difference between dhyana and japa should be noted. Dhyana means that the consciousness is gushing towards the sushumna, rising from every sense organ in the process. But this is a rare state. In japa, required vibrations are filled in all the sense organs, so that the consciousness begins to turn within. In the tradition of the saints and the Upanishads, great importance is attached to chanting, and that too chanting with the breath. The important thing to note is that the base of the tongue should vibrate with chanting. This entire process is explained during deeksha. The important thing is to chant with the breath, keeping the lips unmoved but giving full motion to the tongue and keeping the goal inside. When the vibrations rise from the base of the tongue, then they also become more and more powerful. Then when nada rises in the entire body, that is the state of meditation. In that state, one does not have to do practice, it happens by itself. Even in such a state it is not that the motions of the tongue would stop. They will be increased. Even the eyes will go on motioning to the inside. This is true of all the senses. In such a state one bathes in the pool of nectar.
- But if upon waking up, one does not get to bathe in the pool of nectar, then practice japa in the prescribed way. It is possible that the inner door might get opened. In this way, when 2 odd hours have passed in japa and the day is grown, then gurbani is to be sung. But how? In the Gurbani it is said, “gaaviye, suniye, mann rakhiye bhao”. It is not said, “gaaviye, sunaaeye”. One is to sing and hear it oneself, not to sing it so that the other may hear. The goal is to hear it oneself, not to make the others hear. What is the result of all this? All hassles, sins, misery is washed away. The mind will become purified. When such a state dawns, then even while working, walking, talking our breath will remain within and connected within. In that state our work will also be meditation.
- And until this happens, one should atleast try to keep his dealing pure. But we ordinarily think, external work is something different, and meditation is something different. Only he will keep his dealings pure, whose goal is the attainment of the Supreme.
- Then in the last it is said, that the even the dust of such a disciple is holy who himself chants and inspires others to chant. But this does not mean that we are to try to attract or lure others by merely talking. It means, that one’s life has been transformed and permeated by the Name to such an extent that its vibration emanate from one’s body and whosoever comes into their contact with love and receptivity, invariably starts the process of transformation in himself. The main thing in inspiring the other to walk the path, is our own transformation and consequent behavior.
- One who fulfills the five things, also becomes eligible for the sixth: access to the pool of the nectar. In fact this is the measure of one’s success in other five avenues.