Bani Guru Guru Hai Bani, Vich Bani Amrit Sare. Gurbani Kahe sevak jan mane partake Guru nistare.
“The Word, the Bani is Guru, and Guru is the Bani. Within the Bani, the Ambrosial Nectar is contained. If His humble servant believes, and acts according to the Words of the Guru’s Bani, then the Guru, in person, saves him.”
This weekend, I had the chance to go with my family to meet some Gurmukhs to do simran and listen to katha. It really helps to be able to spend time with Gurmukhs who can answer your questions and guide you. I have written quite a few posts about simran and the game of life, including the role of maya. As a quick review, maya is not just physical but also our thought patterns. These are the three thought patterns that Gurbani tells us about: satogun (“good” thoughts like compassion, empathy) associated with akash lok (birds) and sukh sagar (ocean of happiness), rajogun thoughts (neutral thoughts like thinking about work) associated with bhoom lok (things that live on land) and agan sagar (ocean of fire), and lastly tamogun thoughts (lust, anger, pride, gossiping, etc.) associated with patal lok (underwater) and bik sagar (ocean of poison). Our goal is to move out of maya (above the thought patterns) and into the state of meeting Waheguru. I’m going to build on this and write a bit about what I learned in katha this weekend.
We often hear the words sant, sadhu, bhagat and brahm gyani. These terms are actually explained at length in Sukhmani Sahib. In katha, Bhenji explained that a sant is someone who hears Anhad Shabads. These shabads are also known as Naam, God’s voice, and have various other names in Gurbani. Individuals who keep doing simran and focusing on the shabds will taste amrit ras in their mouths. I have met many Gurmukhs who have experienced this. Then when the shabads are heard at all times, no matter if there are large crowds and lots of distractions, those individuals are known as Bhagats. Bhenji said that it is a great sewa to the world to be able to keep the mind connected to God at all times and live in Hukam. Those who are one with God and see jot are Brahm Gyani. It’s helpful to know about these spiritual stages.
Waheguru speaks to all of us. Because of the “curtain of doubt” (param da pardah)/maya, we are unable to hear it and see the jot. In our first stages of simran, we try to get into really finding a comfortable position and focusing on our voice out loud. In each session we should end by moving into a whisper and then doing the simran inside our mind (antargat), in silence, so that we can practice trying to hear the shabads. Many times people will fall into a dream-less "sleep" when doing the simran, and that's actually a good thing because you have joined your mind to Waheguru. Anhad bani is a sound and not words that are written. I had a lot guidance from Gurmukhs in my initial stages of simran to guide me to being able to hear them, which is why sangat is important. Once we hear that bani we should try to listen to it as much as we can. After Bhenji explained, I’ve really made it a goal for myself to try to listen as much as possible. It’s also a moment of relaxation and a break for our minds, and a reminder that Waheguru is present at all times caring for us.
Most of us know that giving time and attention is a bigger gift than anything physical we could give someone. A well-wishing thought or prayer for someone is worth more than money could buy. This also translates into our spirituality and I think it can be harder for people to grasp that concept. To work on our relationship with God we need to give it time and attention. It's not just about having an Akand paath, or donating food. It is about the devotion that comes from our heart that pulls us to sit there and listen to the paath, to do sewa, to follow the instruction of Guru Ji. I think we “chase” maya a lot and it helps to realize that there is one clear direction from Gurbani towards God and Guru Ji helps to save us from wandering around aimlessly.
One of the hukamnamas I read this week:
geI bhoVu bMdI CoVu inrMkwru duKdwrI ]
The Restorer of what was taken away, the Liberator from captivity; the Formless Lord, the Destroyer of pain.
krmu n jwxw Drmu n jwxw loBI mwieAwDwrI ]
I do not know about karma and good deeds; I do not know about Dharma and righteous living. I am so greedy, chasing after Maya.
nwmu pirE Bgqu goivMd kw ieh rwKhu pYj qumwrI ]1]
I go by the name of God's devotee; please, save this honor of Yours. ||1||
hir jIau inmwixAw qU mwxu ]
O Dear Lord, You are the honor of the dishonored.
incIijAw cIj kry myrw goivMdu qyrI kudriq kau kurbwxu ] rhwau ]
You make the unworthy ones worthy, O my Lord of the Universe; I am a sacrifice to Your almighty creative power. ||Pause||
jYsw bwlku Bwie suBweI lK AprwD kmwvY ]
Like the child, innocently making thousands of mistakes
kir aupdysu iJVky bhu BwqI bhuiV ipqw gil lwvY ]
his father teaches him, and scolds him so many times, but still, he hugs him close in his embrace.
ipCly Aaugux bKis ley pRBu AwgY mwrig pwvY ]2]
Please forgive my past actions, God, and place me on Your path for the future. ||2||
hir AMqrjwmI sB ibiD jwxY qw iksu pih AwiK suxweIAY ]
The Lord, the Inner-knower, the Searcher of hearts, knows all about my state of mind; so who else should I go to and speak to?
khxY kQin n BIjY goibMdu hir BwvY pYj rKweIAY ]
The Lord, the Lord of the Universe, is not pleased by mere recitation of words; if it is pleasing to His Will, He preserves our honor.
Avr Et mY sglI dyKI iek qyrI Et rhweIAY ]3]
I have seen all other shelters, but Yours alone remains for me. ||3||
hoie dieAwlu ikrpwlu pRBu Twkuru Awpy suxY bynµqI ]
Becoming kind and compassionate, God the Lord and Master Himself listens to my prayer.
pUrw sqguru myil imlwvY sB cUkY mn kI icMqI ]
He unites me in Union with the Perfect True Guru, and all the cares and anxieties of my mind are dispelled.
hir hir nwmu AvKdu muiK pwieAw jn nwnk suiK vsMqI ]4]12]62]
The Lord, Har, Har, has placed the medicine of the Naam into my mouth; servant Nanak abides in peace. ||4||12||62||