(A translation into English by PROF JANAK RAJ PURI from `Rag Ganri Purbi ' by GURU ARJUN DEV, from Granth Sahib.)
How shall I attain the Lord, Oh Master ?
That can be only through a Saint Who has attained the bliss of Sahaj,' and will show me the path. The Unseen is within, but remains invisible because of the veil of ego.Infatuated by Maya, the whole creation is asleep. How can we ever wake up from this delusion ? Dwelling in the same house,:( by "house" is meant this physical body.) living together, we know not each other.
For lack of One Thing,( "One Thing" is the Treasure of Nam and Shabd.) the Five 'torment us. But That Thing is not easily accessible.The One Who made this house has locked it and entrusted the kev to the Guru.Try however one may, he shall never obtain the Treasure unless he takes refuge in the Guru.
Those whose shackles are to be cut by the Guru, are granted the love and company of the Holy"' ( by "the' Holy" is meant the Saints and devotees.)
I "Sahaj" means easy and natural; it also refers to the spiritual stage of having passed the transition from the stage of "becoming" into that of "being" One with the Supreme Being.
When, in Their (Saints') company, they will sing the song of rejoicing (practise Shabd), There will be no difference left between them and the Lord, says Nanak.It is thus that the Lord is attained,Sahaj is achieved, delusion has vanished, the flame° has merged in the Light !
Translation of a discourse by
Sardar Charan Singh ji Maharaj
"How shall I attain the Lord, Oh Master?"
This is an explanation of a Shabd by the fifth Guru, Shree Arjun Dev Ji
Man seeks the Lord because He is his origin. Hav-ing separated from Him, the soul has been entangled by Maya in the snare of attachment, and it has taken to the company of the mind. Further, the mind itself is not independent, but has been enslaved by the senses and the worldly desires. It thus gets still more entan-gled, and the soul has to bear the consequences of whatever thoughts and acts emanate from the mind, whether good or evil; because the mind and the soul are tied together in a knot.
(Whatever has been written in the Adi Granth Sahib by the first five Gurus and the ninth Guru has been credited to Guru Nanak Sahib by each of the succeeding Gurus; there-fore, "says Nanak" is mentioned in every Shabd in the Granth.)
( The flame merging into the Light, has the same meaning as "The drop merging in the Ocean".)
The soul has to suffer the pain sometimes of one birth, sometimes of another, and remains imprisoned in the jail of Chaurasi (the cycle of 8,400,000 births),
To whichever birth we go, we find pain and suffering. We can get deliverance from this cycle of birth and death only when our soul returns to its origin. The only outlet from this jail is through the human form. In other words, of all the forms, it is only in the human form that the soul has the privilege of uniting with the Lord. The Hindus call it the House of God, the Muslims refer to man as the Highest Form of Creation, and the Jews and the Christians hold the belief that God has created man after His own image. It is for this reason that, in the human form, man seeks the Lord according to his limited understanding. He employs various ways and means to find Him out, but all this proves in vain.
The seeker asks the Master to enlighten him as to how and where he can find the Lord. The Master says that if a seeker could meet a Saint Who had attain-ed to the stage of Sahaj ; and if the Saint would disclose the secret and the path of meeting the Lord, and if he would follow the path, only then could he unite with the Lord. What is meant is that whenever we succeed in being re-united with the Lord, it is brought about through the Saints. The stage of Sahaj can be attained only when we transcend the limitations of mind and Maya.
The Saints say that the Lord Whom man seeks is not hidden in forests and mountains, nor does He dwell in temples and mosques, in Gurdwaras and chur-ches, nor is He asleep somewhere in the skies. He dwells within Man himself. Whenever He will be found, He will be found within us; and whosoever has found Him, has found Him within. But when we close our eyes, we find nothing but darkness. Why can we not behold Him ? This is because there is the veil of our own ego between Him and us.
What is the ego? It is "I", "me" and "mine". It is the self. It is what we day in and day out express by saying "This is my son, my family, my wealth, my property, my achievement, my high position, my reli-gion, my country, my race, my nation," etc. All that exists belongs to the Lord, but we think ourselves to be separate from the Lord. We desire to possess and try to make them our own, but they never become ours nor have they ever become anyone else's.
Having become attached to them, we exist only for them, and we continue to be born and to die here. It is not the family, relatives, wealth, etc., but our own attitude of attach-ment and possessiveness which is the obstacle.
The soul is within us and so is the Lord, and this has been so for thousands of yugas; yet, how strange it is that those who live together, dwelling in the same house, never meet each other. This is the cause of the veil of ego.
How can this veil be lifted when we are fast asleep ? In this hypnotic trance of attachment, no one ever thinks of Him; taking the world to be real, they have become attached to it. They are wasting days and nights in the pursuit of pleasures. So long as we do not have a longing for the Lord, we cannot come out of this delusion. In the first place, we do not show devotion to the Lord.
Even if we sometimes think of Him, it is for our own comfort and happiness. We pray for some high position or honor, or to be saved from sorrow and pain. So long as we do not seek the Lord for His Own sake, we cannot have love for him. True longing, true reverence, true devotion, are necessary preludes to True Love for the Lord.
Nam or Shabd is the link between man and God. Without that One Thing, we are being pursued by the five enemies, and we suffer various kinds of pains and sorrows at the hands of these enemies. Who are these enemies? They are lust, anger, greed, attachment, egotism. What is that One Thing ? It is the practice of Nam. We are entrapped by these five thieves because there is no practice of Nam. To illustrate :
When the owner of the house is asleep, the thieves may take away anything they like, but when the owner is awake, the thieves dare not come near. In the same way, when we practise Nam, we wake up from this hypnotic state of numerous births and deaths.
The Lord Who created us has placed the Treasure of Nam within us, and has entrusted the key and the secret to the Master. So long as He does not impart to us the method of the practice of Nam, we cannot obtain that Treasure. The Master will not prepare something and put it within you, but will enable you to unlock the hidden Treasure. The Treasure is yours and It is within you.
The Master will show you the Path, traversing which, you can obtain It; just as the power of knowledge is within all of us, but is dormant, and when we go to schools and colleges, work diligently, burn the midnight oil, follow the instructions of the teachers, then the dormant faculty is awakened and we become graduates and scholars . Those who do not go to the teachers and do not work hard, remain uneducated. Thus, whatever devices or means we may use to get the Treasure of Nam, they will be of no avail unless we unconditionally surrender ourselves to the Master and travel the Path shown by Him.
Now the biggest question of all arises. What do the Saints mean by Nam? Where does that Nam reside? And by what means can that Treasure be obtained.? We have called the Lord by thousands and thousands of Names. We have many countries, and in each country there are many languages, and in each language we remember the Lord by various Names.
Some call Him Wahi Guru, some call Him Allah, some call Him Jehovah, some call Him Radha Swami, and some call Him God, All these Names are Varnatmak; that is, they come within the scope of writing, reading and speaking. But the Name which is described and praised by the Saints is Dhunatmak; that is, it can neither be written, nor can it be read, nor can it be seen. Huzur Maharaj Ji used to describe It as "Unwritten Law, Unspoken Language".
All the Varnatmak Names have a history behind them and had their origin in Time. They may be hund-reds of years old or thousands of years old. We have given many names to the Lord, and many have been forgotten; and many more names there will be by which we shall call Him. But the Nam of which Guru Nanak Sahib is singing praises here, has no time-limit. In the begin-ning was Nam, and everything else came through that Nam. According to the Granth Sahib, "All creation has come out of Nam." And the Bible refers to It as Word.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God" etc. All the planets and the stars and the entire universe were created by It. Again, in the Granth Sahib we find, "The earth has come out of Shabd, the sky has come out of Shabd, the entire creation has come out of Shabd." In various languages That Power has been described by different Names.
The Sikhs have called it Gurbani, Sach i Bath, Nam and Hukm; the Hindus have called it Akash Bani and Anahad Shabd (Unstruck Sound) ; the Muslims have called it Kalma, Bang-i-Asmani (Sound that comes from the skies), Kalam-i-Illahi (Speech of God), and
Isme-i-Aazam (the Greatest Name) ; Christ has de-scribed it as The Word. It is through the Varnatmak or the spoken and the written word that we have to retrace our attention inside and connect it with the Dhunatmak Nam. We should not make ourselves attached to these words and become tied with the strings of ceremonies of various religions nor get em-broiled in religious feuds between various nations and creeds. The very nature of the mind is that it must attach itself to something.
If we practise devotion to Dhunatmak Nam, we shall be freed from the bonds of nationality, race, creed, ceremonies, etc. We shall perform our duties to the best of our ability, but without attachment to anything but Nam; and so, automat-ically, we become better citizens, better husbands, better wives, etc. It is for such Nam that we go to Saints.
Now the second question arises : Where can we get that Nam ? In the religious books and the holy scriptures we find the praises of Name or Nam, and perhaps even a description of the method of Its practice. There is talk about the Holy Name or Nam in the temples, mosques, Gurdwaras, churches, tabernacles, in Satsangs, etc. When we go there, the desire to attain it is aroused. But that True and Great Treasure of Nam is within us. Whenever we shall get It, we shall get It from within ourselves.
There are prescriptions in the doctors' books, but the medicine itself lies on the shelves; the account books of the money lenders contain accounts of credits and debits, but the money itself lies in the vault; likewise, the Holy Scriptures contain only a description of Nam, but not Nam Itself. Just as a disease cannot be cured by the reading or reciting of prescriptions; just as money cannot be obtained from the money-lenders' account books; so also Nam cannot be obtained by merely read-ing or studying holy books.
Huzur Maharaj Ji used to say, "If a person goes on repeating `Laddoo' (an Indian sweet) all his life, he will not be able to taste it nor satisfy his appetite. However, if one prepares the Laddoos according to the instructions in the cook book, he will not only be able to satisfy his appetite, but will also be able to relish the taste."
By this I do not mean that we should give up the reading of sacred books.. Rather, the reading with understanding is very beneficial. Reading of the sa-cred writings will generate a longing for union with the Lord.. It also enlightens us as to the method by which we cn find Him. But if you think you can obtain Him by mere reading or studying, then you are mis-taken. Reading is like cleaning a utensil. The cleans-ing of a utensil is useful only if you wish to put something in it. We have to cleanse the mind in order to fill it with the Nectar of Nam.
What are the sacred books? The Rishis and the Munis, the Gurus and the Saints, and the Holy Men worked hard and attained God-Realization. What-ever sights they experienced within, whatever obstacles they encountered on the way, they have set them down in writing for our benefit and guidance. Now, by mere reading of these books, neither can the obstacles be removed from the way nor can the sights be seen. This is a subject for practice.
The Treasure of Nam is within us as fire is in wood, but we cannot see it nor can it be of any use to us in its present state. If we rub one piece of wood with another, in the proper way, fire will be produced and we can make use of it. In the same way, the Treasure of Nam is within us, but we can obtain it only when we give up the path of the mind and take to the Path of the Master. It is then that we shall be able to derive benefit from it.
Now this Treasure is no doubt within us, but where exactly shall we find It? There are two parts of the body one below the eyes, and the other above. the eyes. Below the eyes are only the nine apertures and the sen-sual pleasures. Our center of thinking is above the eyes. Whenever we think deeply, we usually place our hands or fingers up to the forehead.
The more we can concentrate, the better we can think. Daily our atten-tion descends from here to the nine apertures, and through them becomes scattered in the outside world. Saints tell us we have to slop our attention from going out, and that which has already spread out, has to be brought back behind the eyes. So long as our attention is not concentrated between the eyes, from whence the Shabd takes it behind the eyes and up, we cannot return Home.
When our attention has been concentrated behind the eyes, we find the sweetest and most melodious Sound resounding, attracting and call-ing us towards Itself. There is no question there of nationality, race, creed, wealth, authority, possession, etc. It is the same which the Saints call Shabd and Nam. When our attention is fixed on It, we shall reach from whence It comes. That Shabd comes from Sach Khand, where the Lord resides.
Withdrawing our attention from the nine aper-tures and connecting it with the Shabd within constitutes reaching the door of Mukti (Liberation). For, when we have reached the first rung of the ladder, there is hope of reaching the top as well. The secret of the withdrawal of the attention from the nine aper-tures, and the technique of connecting it with the Shabd, is imparted to us only by the Saints.
Those souls whom the Saints wish to liberate from the ocean of this world and unite with the Lord, They first bring them into Their company and Satsang. When we attend Their Satsang, various doubts and difficulties disappear. We come to know our origin, our Home, and then a longing for union with the Lord is awakened in us. Satsang and good company are necessary preludes for devotion to the Lord. The mind is easily influenced by the company it keeps. If we keep bad company, we become wicked; and if we keep the company of Saints and devotees, we follow their example and, like them, we become devoted to the Lord.
If, perchance, we are kept away from the Satsang of the Saints, then we should continue to read their writings so that the mind should keep detached from worldly objects and free from all desire to domi-nate anyone or to obtain power, position, wealth, etc., and we should continue with regular and daily practice of Nam. When we obtain the company of Saints, and practise Nam, we attain union with the Lord. Then there is no distance or difference left between us and the Lord.
This, then, is the method by which we can find the Lord. Having realized Him, we shall obtain the stage of Sahaj. We shall get deliverance from all our delusions, the drop will merge into the Ocean and will become the Ocean Itself. The Atma (soul) will merge with Parmatma (Highest Soul—God) and will become One with Him.