Saturday, April 11, 2020

Who am I?

Main points:
  1. Who is a human being? Who am I? This is a fundamental question that many people ponder. This post would present a perspective shared by Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, and my understanding of the concepts.
  2. Difference between a person and God, is similar to difference between a ripple and water. Ripple has its own existence which is an extension or projection of water. Within context of this analogy, assuming water is eternal, ripple is ephemeral while water is permanent.
  3. Second analogy describing relationship between a person and God, is that of a gold ornament and gold. Same material, gold, is used to fashion many different ornaments. Ornaments could be melted multiple times to make new ornaments, while the essential quality of underlying material, gold, remains the same.
  4. A ripple attached to its own form of an ephemeral ripple will be troubled by realizing that its existence is for a finite time. A ripple which identifies itself as part of water, will find rest even if it merges back in water.
  5. A person is separated from God by own previous actions. Union with God is the only option to provide a stable state to a person.
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Following verses from Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji present different perspectives to understand self. One important aspect while reading scripture is that the mind has to deal with multiple perspectives and analogies which sometimes are not always comprehensible or may appear contradictory. I find it is a good practice to read scripture with an open mind, take in the ideas without judging them immediately, and letting mind work on them. As time passes and mind gets a chance to think through the concepts, the ideas become clearer.
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Reference verses with commentary:
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ਤੋਹੀ ਮੋਹੀ ਮੋਹੀ ਤੋਹੀ ਅੰਤਰੁ ਕੈਸਾ ॥
ਕਨਕ ਕਟਿਕ ਜਲ ਤਰੰਗ ਜੈਸਾ ॥੧॥
ਜਉ ਪੈ ਹਮ ਨ ਪਾਪ ਕਰੰਤਾ ਅਹੇ ਅਨੰਤਾ ॥
ਪਤਿਤ ਪਾਵਨ ਨਾਮੁ ਕੈਸੇ ਹੁੰਤਾ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
ਤੁਮ੍ਹ੍ਹ ਜੁ ਨਾਇਕ ਆਛਹੁ ਅੰਤਰਜਾਮੀ ॥
ਪ੍ਰਭ ਤੇ ਜਨੁ ਜਾਨੀਜੈ ਜਨ ਤੇ ਸੁਆਮੀ ॥੨॥
ਸਰੀਰੁ ਆਰਾਧੈ ਮੋ ਕਉ ਬੀਚਾਰੁ ਦੇਹੂ ॥
ਰਵਿਦਾਸ ਸਮ ਦਲ ਸਮਝਾਵੈ ਕੋਊ ॥੩॥
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Translation:

You, me, me, You, what is the difference,
Like gold and bangle, water and ripple.1.
If I do not sin, O limitless Lord,
How would You be called Redeemer of fallen.1.pause.
You who are Master, are All-knowing,
Devotee is known by God, Master by His devotee.2.
Body contemplates, give me this wisdom,
Ravidas, parts are same, some rare one instructs.3.

[Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Page 93:27-34]
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Commentary:

This verse tells the difference between God and a person (and soul). The soul is the entity which has the ego, and is aware of its separate existence as a person or being. God is the Supreme God, the Creator of the world. The difference between God and a person (soul) is like difference between water and a ripple on the water surface, or like a gold ornament and gold.

In a way the ripple and the ornament are definitely water and gold respectively, but the form and life of ripple and ornament is short-lived. A ripple merges back in water, while an ornament gets melted to create new ornaments.

The verse tells of unique relationship between a Devotee and God. God is revealed by His devotees, while a devotee's power rests in God. Whatever a devotee seems to accomplish and becomes famous for, is the work of God. If a devotee worships a powerless god, the accomplishments would have more talk than substance.

At the end of the verse, Bhagat Ravidaas asks for this wisdom, and points out that few can impart this wisdom, that the parts are same as the whole.

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ਜਬ ਹਮ ਹੋਤੇ ਤਬ ਤੂ ਨਾਹੀ ਅਬ ਤੂਹੀ ਮੈ ਨਾਹੀ ॥
ਅਨਲ ਅਗਮ ਜੈਸੇ ਲਹਰਿ ਮਇ ਓਦਧਿ ਜਲ ਕੇਵਲ ਜਲ ਮਾਂਹੀ ॥੧॥
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Translation:

When we are, then You are not, now only You, I am not,
Intense gust, like wave in ocean, only water in water.1.

[Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Page 657:43-44]
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Commentary:

When a person focuses on its form of a limited and temporary wave, it misses to see itself as part of the larger eternal ocean. When the soul focuses on its form being part of the ocean, then existence and limitations of a small wave lose significance and disappear. This is an easy concept to explain and understand, but difficult to experience and internalize.

The veil which keeps a soul separated from God, is its own ego. A soul finds it very difficult to see something larger which is based on dissolving its own existence first. It can happen in an instant, or it can take a lot of time.

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ਬਹੁਰਿ ਹਮ ਕਾਹੇ ਆਵਹਿਗੇ ॥
ਆਵਨ ਜਾਨਾ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਤਿਸੈ ਕਾ ਹੁਕਮੈ ਬੁਝਿ ਸਮਾਵਹਿਗੇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
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Translation:

Why we shall come again,
Come, go by command, merge on understanding His command.1.pause.

[Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Page 1103:30-31]
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Commentary:

The verse explains that people come and go as per God's command. Coming and going also refer to birth and death. By command I understand a set of natural and physical laws which govern this world. And it is by understanding these laws that people can act such that they are free from transmigration. The laws have been created by God, and are referred as God's commands in the verse.

One of the laws is that people will reap what they harvest. Another law is that salvation depends on whether a human being believes in the power of the Name of God, well enough to be able to remember the Name when it matters. It is only by understanding these laws that a ripple can happily merge back in water, transcending the life of the humble ripple.

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ਕਾਟੇ ਅਗਿਆਨ ਤਿਮਰ ਨਿਰਮਲੀਆ ਬੁਧਿ ਬਿਗਾਸ ਬਿਬੇਕਾ ॥
ਜਿਉ ਜਲ ਤਰੰਗ ਫੇਨੁ ਜਲ ਹੋਈ ਹੈ ਸੇਵਕ ਠਾਕੁਰ ਭਏ ਏਕਾ ॥੧॥
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Translation:

Cutting ignorance, darkness cleansed, discerning wisdom blossoms,
Like water ripple, foam, become water, the servant and Master become one.1.

[Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Page 1209:25-26]
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 Commentary:

This verse tells that darkness of ignorance can be removed by cultivating discerning wisdom. I believe wisdom can be cultivated by understanding words of wisdom, and ignorance cannot be removed by rituals. Discerning wisdom causes the humble ripple to identify itself as part of water.

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ਘਟਿ ਘਟਿ ਪੂਰਨ ਹੈ ਅਲਿਪਾਤਾ ॥
ਘਟਿ ਘਟਿ ਪੂਰਨੁ ਕਰਿ ਬਿਸਥੀਰਨੁ ਜਲ ਤਰੰਗ ਜਿਉ ਰਚਨੁ ਕੀਆ ॥
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Translation:

The Detached One is perfect in each and every place,
 Perfect expanse in each and every place, created like a water ripple.

[Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Page 1236:44-45]
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Commentary:

Water is present in all water ripples. Gold is present in all gold ornaments. Similarly God is present in all creation, and all expanse.

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ਕਬੀਰੁ ਪੂੰਗਰਾ ਰਾਮ ਅਲਹ ਕਾ ਸਭ ਗੁਰ ਪੀਰ ਹਮਾਰੇ ॥੫॥
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Translation:

Kabir is child of Ram, Allah, all teachers and prophets are our.5.

[Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Page 1349:40]
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Commentary:

In this verse Bhagat Kabir calls himself as a child of God. The Names used to identify God are popularly used by different religions. This verse highlights that The Monotheistic Diety is One by definition, irrespective of number of Names used by different religions and denominations to identify The Supreme Diety.

Another aspect presented in this verse is that all saints and prophets of The Monotheistic Deity deserve our respect and admiration, irrespective of religion or denomination. We can learn from all of them.

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ਨਾਨਕੁ ਬਾਰਿਕੁ ਕਛੂ ਨ ਜਾਨੈ ਰਾਖਨ ਕਉ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਮਾਈ ਬਾਪ ॥੨॥੧॥੧੪॥
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Translation:

O Nanak, child does not know anything, God cares like mother, father.2.1.14.

[Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Page 1341:30]
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Commentary:

This verse tells that like an ignorant child is protected by parents, similarly God acts as our mother and father, and protects us. You might ask, why then does God allow His child, a human being, to suffer - for more details regarding this question please refer first verse of a previous post, https://cloudverse.blogspot.com/2019/12/on-action-destiny-and-free-will.html.

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ਹਮ ਬਾਰਿਕ ਹਰਿ ਪਿਤਾ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਮੇਰੇ ਮੋ ਕਉ ਦੇਹੁ ਮਤੀ ਜਿਤੁ ਹਰਿ ਪਾਵੀਐ ਰੇ ॥
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Translation:

We children, my God, Lord, Father, give me understanding, by which I may find God.

[Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Page 1118:10]
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Commentary:

This verse again tells that we are like children of God. The verse goes on to ask God for understanding, so that a person might find God. This is an important message in this verse. If we do not ask for understanding, do not seek it, then it is unlikely that we will get understanding. If we do not want to find God, then it is unlikely he will reveal Himself. We need to seek God with the mind of a child, and not like a proud adult.

Few people with a rational bend of mind might scoff at the idea of humbling self before an imaginary entity like God, to seek understanding. A rational mind would rather seek to find concrete steps, which can be replicated at will in a controlled environment, to find and understand God (and prove His existence or non-existence). I personally believe if there are concrete steps that can be replicated at will to find and understand God, then the concrete steps and the laws that govern these steps become more powerful than God - these steps and laws control God. God becomes bound by such natural laws, which does not conform to the definition of a monotheistic God. Personally I have no need for a god who is bound by natural laws, and would argue that such an entity is not even God. Some more thoughts related to these points can be found in my free ebook published earlier on Smashwords, Irrational, https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/918120.

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ਬਾਲ ਸਖਾਈ ਭਗਤਨ ਕੋ ਮੀਤ ॥
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Translation:

Childhood helper, friend of devotee.

[Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Page 863:5]
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Commentary:

This verse tells that God was our first friend, like a childhood friend. When a person becomes a devotee of God, God again becomes a friend to the person. This is a unique statement. God does not become an overlord to a devotee, which probably God could, but God establishes a relationship of companionship with His devotees. This is one of the ways by which a person could find his or her first friend, by becoming a devotee.

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ਅਪਨੀ ਉਕਤਿ ਖਲਾਵੈ ਭੋਜਨ ਅਪਨੀ ਉਕਤਿ ਖੇਲਾਵੈ ॥
ਸਰਬ ਸੂਖ ਭੋਗ ਰਸ ਦੇਵੈ ਮਨ ਹੀ ਨਾਲਿ ਸਮਾਵੈ ॥੧॥
ਹਮਰੇ ਪਿਤਾ ਗੋਪਾਲ ਦਇਆਲ ॥
ਜਿਉ ਰਾਖੈ ਮਹਤਾਰੀ ਬਾਰਿਕ ਕਉ ਤੈਸੇ ਹੀ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਪਾਲ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
ਮੀਤ ਸਾਜਨ ਸਰਬ ਗੁਣ ਨਾਇਕ ਸਦਾ ਸਲਾਮਤਿ ਦੇਵਾ ॥
ਈਤ ਊਤ ਜਤ ਕਤ ਤਤ ਤੁਮ ਹੀ ਮਿਲੈ ਨਾਨਕ ਸੰਤ ਸੇਵਾ ॥੨॥੮॥੩੯॥
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Translation:

In Own way feeds food, in own way plays,
Gives all comfort, pleasure, taste, merges with mind alone.1.
Our Father, Sustainer, Compassionate,
Like mother preserves a child, similarly God nurtures.1.pause.
Friend, Companion, Lord of all qualities, always permanent God,
Here, there, wherever, anywhere, You are the reality, bless Nanak with service of saints.2.8.39.

[Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Page 680:27-32]
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Commentary:

This verse tells more on the relationship between God and a human being. God is like a parent to human beings, and feeds and sustains them in His own different ways.

You might ask, why then do people die of hunger? I don't know. God has taken care of me well, that is all I can say. Probably people die of hunger because some people have been given free will to hoard agricultural land parcels, and hoard food produce for trade and profit; and such people exercise their free will to hoard and keep food away from others.

Probably the people who die of hunger did not preserve the harvest, to sustain them during winter when there will be no harvest. Earth and human life has its seasons, and a harvest in one season has to sustain people until the next harvest. I believe this is how this world works. Everybody understands this, but few act on it, because they have the free will to ignore the laws and ways of this world. But the laws of this world do not bend to accommodate human trespass.

Whatever be the reason for hunger and suffering in this world, my primary concern has been understanding my position in the larger scheme of things, and not exactly understanding the larger scheme of things themselves. So there is not much that I can say on matters concerning larger humanity in general.

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ਅਸਥਾਵਰ ਜੰਗਮ ਕੀਟ ਪਤੰਗਾ ॥
ਅਨਿਕ ਜਨਮ ਕੀਏ ਬਹੁ ਰੰਗਾ ॥੧॥
ਐਸੇ ਘਰ ਹਮ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਬਸਾਏ ॥
ਜਬ ਹਮ ਰਾਮ ਗਰਭ ਹੋਇ ਆਏ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
ਜੋਗੀ ਜਤੀ ਤਪੀ ਬ੍ਰਹਮਚਾਰੀ ॥
ਕਬਹੂ ਰਾਜਾ ਛਤ੍ਰਪਤਿ ਕਬਹੂ ਭੇਖਾਰੀ ॥੨॥
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Translation:

Stationary, mobile, insect, moth,
Many births, made many colors.1.
Such houses we built many,
When we came to womb, O God.1.pause.
Yogi, abstinent, ascetic, celibate,
Sometime sovereign king, sometimes beggar.2.

[Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Page 325:56-58 and 326:1-3]
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Commentary:

This verse tells of the various births that a being takes before and while appearing as a human. To use the above analogies. A gold ornament, a human being, has been melted and recast into multiple ornaments since eternity. A ripple dies to re-emerge as another ripple on the surface of water. And this game continues eternally.

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ਭ੍ਰਮਤ ਫਿਰਤ ਬਹੁ ਜਨਮ ਬਿਲਾਨੇ ਤਨੁ ਮਨੁ ਧਨੁ ਨਹੀ ਧੀਰੇ ॥
ਲਾਲਚ ਬਿਖੁ ਕਾਮ ਲੁਬਧ ਰਾਤਾ ਮਨਿ ਬਿਸਰੇ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਹੀਰੇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
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Translation:

Wandering, roaming, many births passed, body, mind, wealth did not become steady,
Greed, vice, lust, avarice dyed, mind has forgotten the precious God.1.pause.

[Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Page 487:22-23]
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 Commentary:

This verse describes the eternal journey of a soul. Most of us have made this journey, but here too in this life we are unable to find stability. Sometimes wondering when it will be time to leave this life too.

During this journey we forget God, and mind has been dyed by various vices that we are attracted to.

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ਜਿਉ ਜਲ ਛੋਡਿ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਭਇਓ ਮੀਨਾ ॥
ਪੂਰਬ ਜਨਮ ਹਉ ਤਪ ਕਾ ਹੀਨਾ ॥੧॥
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Translation:

Like leaving water, fish is outside,
Previous birth was devoid of devotion.1.

[Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Page 326:20-21]
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Commentary:

I believe these are very important lines concerning our lives. It tells that the primary reason why a human feels miserable is that one did not practice devotion in previous lives. This verse tells about the seasons of the soul. A soul eats the harvest in this life, that was planted in a previous season or life. If nothing useful was sown, then there will be no particularly useful harvest in this life.

A fish outside water feels suffocated, and unable to move freely. Many people feel trapped in their current lives also, much like a fish out of water. Trapped in places, jobs, family, financial and social obligations, unable to spend their days freely.

An indirect teaching of this verse is that in the season of this life, it will be wise for a person to sow devotion. Practice devotion to One God, which gives eternal harvest, enough to sustain a soul till eternity.

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ਹਮ ਕੂਕਰ ਤੇਰੇ ਦਰਬਾਰਿ ॥
ਭਉਕਹਿ ਆਗੈ ਬਦਨੁ ਪਸਾਰਿ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
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Translation:

We are dog of your court,
Bark in front, stretching face.1.pause.

[Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Page 969:34-35]
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Commentary:

The verses here explain different perspectives which are sometimes difficult to understand when taken together. The complexity of concepts related to human existence make use of analogies essential, and each analogy describe one aspect of existence, but seldom describe all aspects.

Present verse gives an analogy of being of the nature of a dog. A dog guards, is faithful and alert. These are qualities which are essential for practicing devotion also. A person has to guard one's mind from unnecessary thoughts of greed, anger, lust, attachment and pride. A person has to be faithful to the idea of being devoted to God, and not be swayed by other shallow promises. Finally a person needs to be alert to new developments which might shake a person's faith, and protect one's mind from constant attack of frivolous thoughts.

Please refer the last verse in the post, to get a different and more concrete perspective of the basic idea presented in this verse. Why exactly do we need to be alert when God controls everything in this world? Will not God take care? Please refer the last verse.

A more literal interpretation of this verse would be that a devotee also guards the intellectual concepts of a theological system. Presenting the ideas, giving clarifications, and answering questions about a system.

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ਅਬ ਤਉ ਜਾਇ ਚਢੇ ਸਿੰਘਾਸਨਿ ਮਿਲੇ ਹੈ ਸਾਰਿੰਗਪਾਨੀ ॥
ਰਾਮ ਕਬੀਰਾ ਏਕ ਭਏ ਹੈ ਕੋਇ ਨ ਸਕੈ ਪਛਾਨੀ ॥੬॥੩॥
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Translation:

Now go and climb the throne, meeting the Lord of the world,
God, Kabir, have become one, nobody is able to recognize.6.3.

[Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Page 969:30-31]
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Commentary:

This verse tells of final state of a devotee. A state in which a ripple realizes that it is just part of a larger water body. A state in which a gold ornament realizes that it's essential nature is gold, irrespective of the form of the ornament. It is in this state that the devotee becomes one with God, and it is difficult to tell the difference between God and a devotee.

Many religious and spiritual systems describe different final states of a spiritual practice. Some promise heaven, some promise nirvana (freedom from transmigration), while others promise spiritual powers. All the possible states may not be mutually exclusive. As per my understanding the final stable state is union with God, a state where a person becomes indistinguishable from the Supreme Entity.

Using the previous analogies, a ripple will never be stable until it realizes that it is all of water, and it leaves its attachment to being a ripple. A gold ornament will never realize it is gold, same as in all other gold ornaments, unless it leaves its attachment to its present form. This form of spiritual practice is essentially about developing a percipient perspective and realization, rather than practicing rituals or discipline. Rituals and discipline can help develop discernment, but they are never the final goal.

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ਮਾਟੀ ਕੋ ਪੁਤਰਾ ਕੈਸੇ ਨਚਤੁ ਹੈ ॥
ਦੇਖੈ ਦੇਖੈ ਸੁਨੈ ਬੋਲੈ ਦਉਰਿਓ ਫਿਰਤੁ ਹੈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
ਜਬ ਕਛੁ ਪਾਵੈ ਤਬ ਗਰਬੁ ਕਰਤੁ ਹੈ ॥
ਮਾਇਆ ਗਈ ਤਬ ਰੋਵਨੁ ਲਗਤੁ ਹੈ ॥੧॥
ਮਨ ਬਚ ਕ੍ਰਮ ਰਸ ਕਸਹਿ ਲੁਭਾਨਾ ॥
ਬਿਨਸਿ ਗਇਆ ਜਾਇ ਕਹੂੰ ਸਮਾਨਾ ॥੨॥
ਕਹਿ ਰਵਿਦਾਸ ਬਾਜੀ ਜਗੁ ਭਾਈ ॥
ਬਾਜੀਗਰ ਸਉ ਮੋੁਹਿ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਬਨਿ ਆਈ ॥੩॥੬॥
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Translation:

Puppet of clay, how it dances,
Sees, sees, hears, speaks, runs and roams.1.pause.
When it obtains something, then it is proud,
When illusion goes, then it starts to weep.1.
Mind, word, deed, trapped in sweet pleasures,
On death, where it goes and merges.2.
Ravidas speaks, world is a wager, brother,
The Architect of the wager, I have come to love.3.6.

[Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Page 487:13-20]
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Commentary:

This verse compares a human body to a clay puppet, and describes the normal state of a human being. Human body is made up of clay for most part, and after death the body merges back to Earth. Like a puppet show, the human body does all the actions like a puppet. As in a puppet show the human body displays pleasure on receiving good things, while it displays grief when it suffers a loss or when an illusion is broken.

The verse further speaks of the pleasures of mind, deed and words, that a person experiences during life, and asks the reader to ponder where does the person go at the time of death. Bhagat Ravidas finally tells that the world is a wager, a place where people place bets, bets with eternal consequence. He further tells that he is in love with the Architect of this world, God.

In this verse, the world is called a sport, a drama, a game, a wager, and God as someone who has set the game. It is difficult to know or understand why this would be so, but that is how it is. Of all the synonyms for word game, I believe the word wager is the closest translation.

Human civilization has progressed for hundreds of years, and made excellent progress, but the very basic questions of theology and spirituality still remain unanswered. I mean these questions have been answered, but there is no way to confirm whether the answer is correct or not. Some of the basic questions on purpose of human life, nature of human soul, and nature of God. People can spend their entire life pondering them, without making any progress on these questions, humanity has spent many centuries.

Many religions proclaim that human actions and choices in this life would affect a person's eternal destiny. And whatever choice a human being makes regarding spirituality or religious matters in this life, it is likely to be a function of faith, and not science. And this choice will have an eternal consequence. From this perspective, this life and world does look like a gamble, making a choice without enough information. The only certain way to win this gamble is to be friends with the One who owns the gambling house and is the Creator of the game. Be in love with the Creator, not because that is the only way to transcend this wager, but also because He has countless other qualities and is our only constant companion.

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 ਕਿਰਤਿ ਕਰਮ ਕੇ ਵੀਛੁੜੇ ਕਰਿ ਕਿਰਪਾ ਮੇਲਹੁ ਰਾਮ ॥
ਚਾਰਿ ਕੁੰਟ ਦਹ ਦਿਸ ਭ੍ਰਮੇ ਥਕਿ ਆਏ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਕੀ ਸਾਮ ॥
ਧੇਨੁ ਦੁਧੈ ਤੇ ਬਾਹਰੀ ਕਿਤੈ ਨ ਆਵੈ ਕਾਮ ॥
ਜਲ ਬਿਨੁ ਸਾਖ ਕੁਮਲਾਵਤੀ ਉਪਜਹਿ ਨਾਹੀ ਦਾਮ ॥
ਹਰਿ ਨਾਹ ਨ ਮਿਲੀਐ ਸਾਜਨੈ ਕਤ ਪਾਈਐ ਬਿਸਰਾਮ ॥
ਜਿਤੁ ਘਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਕੰਤੁ ਨ ਪ੍ਰਗਟਈ ਭਠਿ ਨਗਰ ਸੇ ਗ੍ਰਾਮ ॥
ਸ੍ਰਬ ਸੀਗਾਰ ਤੰਬੋਲ ਰਸ ਸਣੁ ਦੇਹੀ ਸਭ ਖਾਮ ॥
ਪ੍ਰਭ ਸੁਆਮੀ ਕੰਤ ਵਿਹੂਣੀਆ ਮੀਤ ਸਜਣ ਸਭਿ ਜਾਮ ॥
ਨਾਨਕ ਕੀ ਬੇਨੰਤੀਆ ਕਰਿ ਕਿਰਪਾ ਦੀਜੈ ਨਾਮੁ ॥
ਹਰਿ ਮੇਲਹੁ ਸੁਆਮੀ ਸੰਗਿ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਜਿਸ ਕਾ ਨਿਹਚਲ ਧਾਮ ॥੧॥
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Translation:

Separated by deeds, actions, have mercy, unite us God,
Wandering four corners, all ten directions, tired, came to refuge of God,
Cow without milk, is not useful anywhere,
Without water, crop withers, value is not created,
Not meeting Husband Lord, how can we find rest,
The house in which Husband God does not appear, such towns, villages are furnace,
All make-up, betel juice, along with body, are all incomplete,
Without God, Lord, Husband, All friends, beloved, are like Jaam,
Request of Nanak, be merciful and give Name,
Lord, God, unite us, God whose home is steady.1.

[Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Page 133:9-18]
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Commentary:

This verse give many different details about our existence. We have been separated from God due to our deeds and actions. Only God and God's home is steady in this world. And when a soul is tired of its eternal journey, or its eternal unsteady existence, it has to turn to God to find stability.

God has been described using many different words like Parent, Friend, Master and others depending on the context of the verse. In this verse God has been described primarily as a Husband. From a spiritual perspective a soul is considered to be a feminine entity (irrespective of the type of body that it resides in), while God is the only spiritual masculine entity**. So in this sense the union of God and a soul is much like a union between spouses, the only thing which will make the soul steady. Without God, all interactions of soul with others only bring it closer to death and transmigration (Jaam, sometimes pronounced yum, is the messenger of death).

The verse finally end with a prayer by Guru Sahib, requesting God to be merciful and grant His Name, and eventually unite us with Himself.

**Note: Verse: "ਇਸੁ ਜਗ ਮਹਿ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਏਕੁ ਹੈ ਹੋਰ ਸਗਲੀ ਨਾਰਿ ਸਬਾਈ ॥ Translation: In this world, is One Man (Lord), other all are women (wife). Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Page 591:39" - As I understand this verse is that in essence God has no gender. But when souls manifest in non-physical plane, God is the only masculine principle, while all souls are feminine. While in physical plane souls inhabit bodies of both genders. This is just my understanding, and I hope I am accurate.
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ਹਉ ਗੋਸਾਈ ਦਾ ਪਹਿਲਵਾਨੜਾ ॥
ਮੈ ਗੁਰ ਮਿਲਿ ਉਚ ਦੁਮਾਲੜਾ ॥
ਸਭ ਹੋਈ ਛਿੰਝ ਇਕਠੀਆ ਦਯੁ ਬੈਠਾ ਵੇਖੈ ਆਪਿ ਜੀਉ ॥੧੭॥
ਵਾਤ ਵਜਨਿ ਟੰਮਕ ਭੇਰੀਆ ॥
ਮਲ ਲਥੇ ਲੈਦੇ ਫੇਰੀਆ ॥
ਨਿਹਤੇ ਪੰਜਿ ਜੁਆਨ ਮੈ ਗੁਰ ਥਾਪੀ ਦਿਤੀ ਕੰਡਿ ਜੀਉ ॥੧੮॥
ਸਭ ਇਕਠੇ ਹੋਇ ਆਇਆ ॥
ਘਰਿ ਜਾਸਨਿ ਵਾਟ ਵਟਾਇਆ ॥
ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਲਾਹਾ ਲੈ ਗਏ ਮਨਮੁਖ ਚਲੇ ਮੂਲੁ ਗਵਾਇ ਜੀਉ ॥੧੯॥
-----------------
Translation:

Am a wrestler of Master,
I met Guru, have High plume,
All have gathered in arena, God sits, sees Himself, Sir.17.
Instruments play, drums, trumpets,
Wrestlers came, circle around,
I floored five strong men, Guru gave pat on back, Sir.18.
All came and gathered,
Go home, changing paths,
Gurmukh go, taking profit, Manmukh go, losing capital, Sir.19.

[Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Page 74:19-27]
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Commentary:

This is a fascinating verse, and I believe very important to understand our position in this life. Shakespeare wrote, "All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players;", but it reduces role of people to actors, with no real consequences and make-believe problems.

I believe, as the above scripture tells us, "All the world's a wrestling arena, And all of us are wrestlers. Not fighting each other, but fighting five primal vices." The five vices, or temptations, are Kam, Krodh, Lobh, Moh, and Ahankar (Lust, Anger, Greed, Attachment and Ego/Pride).

This is a metaphor describing a particular aspect of human existence, a constant struggle within and without, starting from birth and possibly ending at death. A human being is a wrestler who belongs to God, the Master. This life is a spiritual wrestling arena where victory or defeat could have eternal consequences. The five challengers are the fundamental vices who tempt a human being to commit sins, and eventually lose the match. The vices are the root of most of the sins that a human being commits, and not succumbing to their temptations is the primary spiritual battle each of us have to go through in this life. Also in this wrestling match the vices outnumber each one of us, so keeping like-minded good company helps in our battles.

As per my understanding, in traditional wrestling matches in India, the prominent wrestlers arrived on the arenas dressed in turbans and plumes, with accompanying flourish of trumpets and drums. Every person takes pride in following teachings of a Mentor, a Guru, and a high plume signifies the confidence and pride of the wrestler in the teachings of his or her Guru.

As with every wrestling match, there are consequences. There is victory or loss. There is hurt, and bleeding. And most importantly there are adversaries. Presence of a spiritual struggle is a common concept in many spiritual systems, and here we find that more specific details of the struggle have been described.

People ask why is there struggle and suffering in this life? One possible answer is that human life on Earth is a setup for a spiritual wrestling match, the parameters and conditions for which no player remembers till the time of the match. With full and proper knowledge there will be no real match, as people would know the consequences. The prize is eternal destiny of individual soul. Scriptures tell us that during our eternal journey, a soul rarely gets a chance to enter this human life, which is not unsurprising considering the eternal prize at stake.

In this spiritual arena on Earth, people accept teachings of one of the many available mentors, a Guru. And based on the teachings and understanding try to live their life in best way possible, keep vices at bay. Everybody watches the competition, including God Himself. A wrestler goes about life struggling with different vices and temptations, taking action, suffering the consequences of these actions and choices. Sometimes turning out victorious, and sometimes not.

When this wrestling match ends (when individual life ends), our future paths are reset depending on how each one of us perform in the match. Best way to win this match is to be a Gurmukh. Gurmukh is one who has face turned towards Guru, and follows the instructions of the Guru. Guru is a word for a mentor, and implicitly means that the Guru knows the correct path and gives correct instructions. Onus of finding a real Guru, or Teacher, is on each person. I try to follow the teachings of Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, although I need to be a much better student.

Best way to lose the match is to be a Manmukh. Manmukh is one who has face turned towards self, towards own ego, and does what a person feels right. Implication being that human life is short, and a human being is unlikely to find real useful knowledge without finding a proper mentor, a teacher who could equip a person with useful knowledge and teaching to live this life, and defeat its various temptations.

The capital with which we enter this arena of human life is number of breaths for this life. For simplicity, I sometimes refer to this concept incorrectly as amount of time we have in this life, or moments in life. Scriptures tell us that when number of breaths are exhausted for an individual, the individual departs from this life (or arena). A Gurmukh is most likely to win something valuable in return for this life, while a Manmukh is most likely to lose the capital (spend life without getting anything in return). So human life is a spiritual wrestling match, with an accompanying wager!
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-x-

Saturday, December 7, 2019

On action, destiny and free-will...


Main points:
  1. A person’s (soul’s) domain of action, where a person can actually do any work, is in the mind, thoughts, prayers. The karmabhumi of the soul (ground where soul can work), is in the mind alone.
  2. A belief that the soul can do anything in the physical world is a myth, which is an illusion created by the actions of the body. We need to remember that most of the functions of the body are involuntary, outside the control of a person.
  3. A soul (or a person) can only direct the body, similar to a driver driving a vehicle.
  4. So for the soul a thought, feeling or a prayer are more important than an actual action.
  5. Soul living in a body is similar to a driver sitting inside a vehicle. Soul moving a body is similar to a driver moving a vehicle. The soul or the driver only convey intentions, while the construction of body or vehicle obey the natural laws to move.
  6. A soul or driver really have no control over most of the internal functions of the body or a vehicle, but the construction of the body/vehicle along with conditions of the environment govern where the body or vehicle actually goes.
  7. So anything that happens in the physical world is actually out of control of a person (soul), but a soul can only perform actions in its karmabhumi (mind), while these mental intentions are mirrored in the world around us sometimes, within the context of applicable natural laws.
  8. A lot of suffering in this world is because of ego and free-will (both are mental faculties, and central characteristics of human existence). Ego is self-deification, while free-will is freedom to choose from an infinite possible options. The collective desires of conceited people, which run contrary to each other’s intentions, cause clashes. Much like children fight when parents leave them alone, or a city can go into chaos if all police personnel go on leave. It is not that parents or police become powerless, but it is that the children and citizens have been given free-will to choose, and they abuse this power.
  9. Similarly God is not powerless nor has evil intentions, but it is just that the collective desires of free-willed self-centered people cause clashes and creates suffering in the world. This line-of-thinking, with appropriate modification, can also be used to explain natural disasters, although the natural actors/forces and their controlling forces are not apparent, and cannot be rationally explained.
  10. As per my understanding, most things are definitely predestined, but it is like seeds planted in the past, when a person exercised free-will. Future destiny will be created by planting seeds in our present. Cause of destiny could be God's Will, or our past wishes or actions. In general we could say most of the important things in life are predestined, how happy or grumpy we are traveling this predestined path is all up to us, and there is always a choice to pray (change our thoughts) and change our future destination (and destiny). Prayer first and change next, and not the other way round. (Note: During casual debates on this topic a person could hit another person playfully, and say that it was predestined; but this action is more like exercise of free-will, with possible future consequences, for example, a retaliatory playful punch.) It could be said “Free-will creates future destiny. Free-will gives choice to plant new seeds, while the previously planted seeds will still bear fruit.”.
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Reference verses with commentary:
=1================================================================
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ਬਾਰਿ ਵਿਡਾਨੜੈ ਹੁੰਮਸ ਧੁੰਮਸ ਕੂਕਾ ਪਈਆ ਰਾਹੀ ॥
ਤਉ ਸਹ ਸੇਤੀ ਲਗੜੀ ਡੋਰੀ ਨਾਨਕ ਅਨਦ ਸੇਤੀ ਬਨੁ ਗਾਹੀ ॥੧॥
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Translation:

Strange forest of chaos and confusion, highways echo with screams,
Attached with You Lord, Nanak, traverse forest with tranquility.1.

[Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Page 520:32-33]
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Commentary:

This verse gives a very important perspective on the state of the world, which is said to be like a chaotic forest. Any person who follows politics and news would realize that the world, for the most part, is indeed in a state of chaos, with a lot of suffering. Many would believe if God is in control then God is ultimately responsible and creator of this chaos. Maybe the reality is more nuanced than a simple cause-and-effect statement.

I understand the above verse and the chaos in this world with following analogies.

The chaos in this world is not directly God's Will, but because of human free-will to think, plan and choose a personal destination or collective destination of people (region, country, etc). Clash and confusion happen when different people try to achieve different goals. When a class-teacher leaves a class-room full of young children, all to themselves, then after sometime fights could start between children. When parents leave their young children all by themselves, then too sometime there is chaos and children fight. If all police personnel in a city go for a long vacation, then a city could slowly descend into chaos and rioting, as people want to achieve different things in life and are ready to fight without a visible authority to restrain them. The above example does not show lack of authority of teachers, parents or police, but it does show how free-will works. Authority figures in the above example have delegated choice of our actions to each individual separately. Free-will, freedom to choose, unhindered by fear of law or rules, can cause rise of chaos.

As I understand it, the primary reason for this chaos is presence of individual ego. Ego defined in a single word would mean "self-deification". When a person chooses to elevate oneself to a level of a god, maybe not using the word god, but use another word to denote supreme power like king, queen, etc. It is important to note, that the person does not become a god, but starts thinking of oneself as some kind of god. And a god or a king does not follow the rules, but makes own rules, and chooses to fight for them. In animals the sense of self-deification also exists, as they fight for maintaining their position for alpha males and females. When everyone in the world starts self-deifying oneself, and acting as per own choosing then slowly the world spirals into chaos, because different people want different things, sometimes at cost of other people's choices, and will fight for them without considering other person's feelings or ambitions. If we think about it, self-deification is quite a silly phenomena, but could ultimately be one of the causes of most of the chaos and suffering in the world.

It is like if drivers on the road do not follow traffic rules (do not fear authority), the state of traffic could be chaotic. Human soul is like the driver sitting inside a vehicle, body, driving it to achieve different goals. But soul is really just sitting and driving (giving attainable or unattainable directions), while all the movement is only done by the vehicle. If a vehicle moves at 50mph, then is the soul moving at the same speed. Yes and no, maybe.

Is the vehicle moving, or the soul is moving? Is the soul doing actions, or the body doing actions? I believe the answers are, the soul sits within the body, but appears to move and do while the body moves and does. The actions that an intangible soul performs are limited to giving directions to the body only, using intangible thoughts and words, while whatever is achieved in the physical world is achieved by the physical body (for present discussion we could consider this as true, but as per verse 17 below this too could be a simplified description). In a way the soul does not control the body, but only expresses commands or desires, while the body achieves if the desires conform to the natural laws.

The actions of the body are limited by the natural laws that control the body and the environment, which can seldom be broken (physical and spiritual laws), and in this sense God's laws are in complete control of what happens in this world. These laws are sometimes called God's Commands, Will, or by other similar names. But the direction that each individual body takes can be the choosing of individual people, while whatever is actually achieved is the result of destiny or God's Will. So from this perspective I believe that God's Laws, or God, are in complete control of whatever happens in this world, while each individual has the capacity to choose a direction for the body, which ultimately becomes a person's destiny. Whether the body would achieve the aspiration would depend on the laws.

In the above analogies, complete order could be restored if people recognize, respect and recall the authority figures. Failure to do these would not belittle the authority, or make authority incompetent, but it would lengthen the period in which the people have to live in chaos. I believe the above verse conveys this thought. If we forget God, and His authority and teachings, then our world descends into chaos. God does not become powerless if we remove God from our lives, but own lives do turn chaotic, because we choose to forge our own ideals and direction. A saint is a person who remembers God, invites God and His authority into one's life, and so brings order and tranquility into one's own world, while the world around could be descending into chaos. World around could also restore order by accepting God's authority and teachings. Different religions have claimed to know the teachings of God, The One God, who is the Creator of all there is. Each person could choose, and hope the choice leads in the correct direction.

=2================================================================
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ਅਖਰਾ ਸਿਰਿ ਸੰਜੋਗੁ ਵਖਾਣਿ ॥
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Translation:

Words describe destiny on each head.

[Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Page 4:27]
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Commentary:

This verse specifies that words define destiny of a person. This verse does not say that the words which describe someone's destiny are immutable, or whether destiny is immutable, nor anything has been said about the origin of these words. As I understand, origin of words is a sentient being. Discussion of sentient beings is a topic for another article, but any being capable of thinking and speaking words as a form of prayer or command is a sentient being. For all practical and rational purposes, God and human beings are the only sentient beings that we know of, and I believe (and understand) that a person's destiny is created by God's commands, or human words, thoughts and prayers. Many religious cultures describe of sentient beings beyond the above two, and each person needs to decide for oneself based on beliefs or personal experience.

God's words and commands are mutable by God alone, but not directly discernible to a human being, while we have some control on our words, thoughts and prayers, and also on words of others. I believe we also have the power to change our destiny by changing our words, thoughts and prayers (a change in our actions is most likely a result of a change in our thoughts and intentions first), and to some extent we can also influence other person's destiny using the same process. Changing our prayers, thoughts and words are how a person could change the course of one's destiny to some extent. What actually happens would depend not only on our efforts, but also on natural laws, while God's Will remains final.

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ਜਿਉ ਜਿਉ ਤੇਰਾ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਤਿਵੈ ਤਿਉ ਹੋਵਣਾ ॥
ਜਹ ਜਹ ਰਖਹਿ ਆਪਿ ਤਹ ਜਾਇ ਖੜੋਵਣਾ ॥
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Translation:

As is Your Will, so is it done,
Wherever when He Himself keeps, there then I go stand.

[Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Page 523:9-10]
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Commentary:

As is God's command, so does it happen. This is probably a controversial aspect, as people can associate bad things to the Will of God. Reality is much more complicated that a simple cause-effect statement, because it is difficult to understand God’s command. Please refer commentary of the first verse above for a perspective on why some of the bad things happen. To recap briefly, God's Will is indirectly expressed by the natural and physical laws of this world, and based on individual and collective desires of people the individual and collective destiny is created. Desires are like seeds which take different time-frame to sprout and bear fruit, so some seemingly unexplained incidents could possibly be results of seeds planted a long time ago.

As I understand it, the second statement of this verse states that everything that actually happens is in God's control, under the control of the physical and natural laws created by God that govern this world. Human free-will is limited to thoughts, feelings, plans, and other mental actions. So like a driver driving a vehicle, a driver is free to "try to do" whatever the driver wants with the vehicle, but what the vehicle does is limited by the vehicle's construction, characteristics and its environment (which are governed by physical and natural laws). Similarly, the driver could be happy, or sad, or frustrated with the results of his or her efforts, but it is best to simply accept whatever the vehicle is able to do, while trying to improve things in the future. The driver could plan, hope, and pray for improving the condition in the future, but has really no other option but to accept the present condition and achievements. Also, the driver has no control on the physical movement of the vehicle apart from giving steering directions, while the actual movement is a result of vehicle’s condition, environmental conditions/challenges on which a person does not have much control.

The key to understanding the second statement is realizing that body, soul and mind are three different things. Body is the actual physical body which soul occupies from birth to death, and soul and mind have limited control on the actions of a body. Soul is the actual entity aware of its own existence, trying to achieve something in life, as a result of ego, or self-deification, which drives the soul to fulfill various desires. Mind is the reasoning faculty which enables the soul to evaluate various situations and concepts (sometimes I refer to mind and soul interchangeably to simplify discussion). The actions on which each of the three entities have control on is the physical, spiritual and mental, respectively.

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ਰੂੜੋ ਠਾਕੁਰੁ ਕਿਤੈ ਵਸਿ ਨ ਆਵੈ ॥
ਹਰਿ ਸੋ ਕਿਛੁ ਕਰੇ ਜਿ ਹਰਿ ਕਿਆ ਸੰਤਾ ਭਾਵੈ ॥
ਕੀਤਾ ਲੋੜਨਿ ਸੋਈ ਕਰਾਇਨਿ ਦਰਿ ਫੇਰੁ ਨ ਕੋਈ ਪਾਇਦਾ ॥੧੦॥
ਜਿਥੈ ਅਉਘਟੁ ਆਇ ਬਨਤੁ ਹੈ ਪ੍ਰਾਣੀ ॥
ਤਿਥੈ ਹਰਿ ਧਿਆਈਐ ਸਾਰਿੰਗਪਾਣੀ ॥
ਜਿਥੈ ਪੁਤ੍ਰੁ ਕਲਤ੍ਰੁ ਨ ਬੇਲੀ ਕੋਈ ਤਿਥੈ ਹਰਿ ਆਪਿ ਛਡਾਇਦਾ ॥੧੧॥
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Translation:

Beautiful Master cannot be controlled anyhow,
God does that which the saints of God like,
Does as they like, so is it done, none can hinder them at His door.10.
O people where trouble comes,
There remember God, the Lord of the world,
Where son, wife nor friend is, there God Himself releases.11.

[Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Page 1076:11-13]
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Commentary:

This verse tells us that God is not under anyone’s control, but would generally do as the saints of God like things to be done. It is important to note that the saints do not do, but God does whatever the saints like.

An advice given in this verse is to remember God in time of need; for help, in prayer, whenever there is trouble. This is a practical advice, which a person could use in daily life, and evaluate for oneself. I believe that we cannot and should not test God, trying to see whether an instruction works or not, because it could back-fire, for God cannot be controlled and ordered around, but whenever there is a genuine need and help required then a person should remember God, pray for help.

Many godmen exist in cults who could help, when people pray to them, using their influence and network and could ask for something in return. This verse does not refer to godmen or non-monotheistic gods. This verse suggests to remember the monotheistic God, for whom a prayer and belief is sufficient. The way help would come, or a problem get resolved, will generally defy explanation or rationale, and most likely would appear to be a string of coincidences.

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ਜੋ ਸੂਰਾ ਤਿਸ ਹੀ ਹੋਇ ਮਰਣਾ ॥
ਜੋ ਭਾਗੈ ਤਿਸੁ ਜੋਨੀ ਫਿਰਣਾ ॥
ਜੋ ਵਰਤਾਏ ਸੋਈ ਭਲ ਮਾਨੈ ਬੁਝਿ ਹੁਕਮੈ ਦੁਰਮਤਿ ਜਾਲੀਐ ॥੭॥
ਜਿਤੁ ਜਿਤੁ ਲਾਵਹਿ ਤਿਤੁ ਤਿਤੁ ਲਗਨਾ ॥
ਕਰਿ ਕਰਿ ਵੇਖੈ ਅਪਣੇ ਜਚਨਾ ॥
ਨਾਨਕ ਕੇ ਪੂਰਨ ਸੁਖਦਾਤੇ ਤੂ ਦੇਹਿ ਤ ਨਾਮੁ ਸਮਾਲੀਐ ॥੮॥੧॥੭॥
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Translation:

Whoever is brave, only such a one shall die,
Whoever runs away, such a one wanders in transmigration,
Whatever manifests, accept that as good, understand command, burn folly.7.
Wherever one is put, there one associates,
Doing watching Own wonders,
Perfect Patron of Nanak, You give, then remember Name.8.1.7.

[Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Page 1019:31-36]
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Commentary:

For understanding the first sentence of this verse, we need to realize that our reality is shaped by our deepest desires, some may even be consciously hidden from us. A person who is brave, and ready to take a stand could eventually face a premature death, as a person puts life at a lower priority than some other thing or belief. In a fight, where people take opposing stands, it is the nature of a fight to end after one of the sides perish, and when a person chooses to take a stand and fight, such a person increases his or her chance of facing death. On the other hand, a person who chooses to run away from a fight has a deep desire to experience more of life, and this desire would eventually lead a person to transmigrate.

The final point in the first statement is that whatever manifests is a result of our deepest desires (or result of past actions), and we should accept that as our fate because it is a manifestation of our deepest desires which manifest as per the natural and physical laws of the world (God’s commands). Once we understand this we remove our foolishness. This statement could also have another meaning as per my understanding. When faced with a vexing situation, to fight or to run away are two popular options, but the third option is to just be a spectator in the drama of this world, as it unfolds, and accept the things that happen around us as a collective manifestation of desires of people in the world around us (or alternatively called God’s commands). There may be a situation where being a spectator may be difficult or unnatural, when a person could be an unwilling participant, and there a person needs to use best judgement to decide the course of actions. Prayer for answer and direction at times of confusion or indecision would help (another verse in this essay would cover the details).

Next sentence of the verse continues the above statements. Based on a person’s previous aspirations, desires or actions, a person is put in an environment, on which a person has a limited control (environment created by birth, nationality, etc), and wherever a person is put the person automatically creates associations. Next part of the verse reiterates the fact that ultimately whatever happens is done by God alone (please refer other verses for more explanation), while God Himself watches Own wonders. Last statement of the verse specifies an important point, that a person receives the Name of God only when God gives the Name (gets to know about the importance of the Name of God, and accepts the Name of God). If God does not give the Name, a person would continue being skeptical about the importance of the Name of God.

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ਆਪਿ ਕਰੇ ਕਿਸੁ ਆਖੈ ਕੋਈ ॥
ਆਖਣਿ ਜਾਈਐ ਜੇ ਭੂਲਾ ਹੋਈ ॥
ਨਾਨਕ ਆਪੇ ਕਰੇ ਕਰਾਏ ਨਾਮੇ ਨਾਮਿ ਸਮਾਵਣਿਆ ॥੮॥੭॥੮॥
-----------------
Translation:

Himself does, whom to tell,
Go and tell if He is mistaken,
Nanak, He himself does and is the cause, by Name, absorbed in Name.8.7.8.

[Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Page 114:8-10]
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Commentary:

This verse reiterates, more directly what had been highlighted earlier. God is ultimately responsible for whatever happens in the world, and if we feel God has made a mistake then we could tell or complain to Him. People would believe that so many bad things happen in this world, so God must have made a mistake, or that God does not have power over the world, or that God’s intentions are bad. Reality is that misfortune is more a manifestation of collective free-will of society, specially when free-will is exercised chaotically and irresponsibly, without concern for its repercussions.

Anything done without considering the consequences may result in unexpected or undesirable consequences, that is all. But whatever happens is a consequence of our collective conscious and unconscious hopes, desires, and intent for action (intangible actions). As I understand, God has set up laws in this world which work like clock-work, giving to people as per people’s wishes and desires, doing as per people’s plans and thoughts. The laws and their Creator do not make a mistake, and an undesirable fruit may come from undesirable seeds like hate, greed, and fear. Similarly, a desirable fruit comes from desirable seeds like integrity, honesty and faith. God personally enters a situation only if we invite God into our world and lives, and do not remove God from our thoughts and world, while laws are always active. Only God can override the natural laws, which have been created by Him.

Last statement repeats the fact that God Himself does everything, or is the cause of everything that happens in this world. And final recommendation is that a person is absorbed in the Name of God using God’s Name alone. Being absorbed in the Name of God would mean having strong belief in the Name of God, remembering and chanting the Name at all possible times, which will be a step towards a person’s final union with God, and will pave the way to one’s salvation. Also, if we remember God during our normal day, we would find that our days are smoother, as wherever God is remembered order is restored and chaos recedes.

=7================================================================
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ਆਪਿ ਕਰੇ ਕਿਸੁ ਆਖੀਐ ਹੋਰੁ ਕਰੇ ਨ ਕੋਈ ॥
ਆਖਣ ਤਾ ਕਉ ਜਾਈਐ ਜੇ ਭੂਲੜਾ ਹੋਈ ॥
ਜੇ ਹੋਇ ਭੂਲਾ ਜਾਇ ਕਹੀਐ ਆਪਿ ਕਰਤਾ ਕਿਉ ਭੁਲੈ ॥
ਸੁਣੇ ਦੇਖੇ ਬਾਝੁ ਕਹਿਐ ਦਾਨੁ ਅਣਮੰਗਿਆ ਦਿਵੈ ॥
ਦਾਨੁ ਦੇਇ ਦਾਤਾ ਜਗਿ ਬਿਧਾਤਾ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਸਚੁ ਸੋਈ ॥
ਆਪਿ ਕਰੇ ਕਿਸੁ ਆਖੀਐ ਹੋਰੁ ਕਰੇ ਨ ਕੋਈ ॥੪॥੧॥੪॥

-----------------
Translation:

Himself does, who else to tell, none else does,
Go to tell Him, if He is mistaken,
If He is mistaken, go tell, How can Creator Himself be mistaken,
Hears, watches, without telling, gives gifts unasked,
God gives gifts, Lord of the World, Nanak, He is true,
Himself does, whom to tell, None else does.4.1.4.

[Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Page 766:5-10]
=======================================
Commentary:

This verse repeats some of the facts discussed in the previous verse. God is in control of this world, and nothing happens by mistake. Everything that happens is as per the conscious and unconscious desires of the people, operating within natural laws set up by God. If we need to change the things around us, in the world around us, we need to change our explicit desires, without letting our subconscious desires negate them. If society desires to change itself, the collective aspirations of the majority need to change first.

Our actions are directed by our deepest desires, and we receive that which we believe we can and are willing to work to achieve them; all the while the natural law orchestrating and directing the conditions for fulfillment of our desires (for example, two people may desire the same things, and one would be willing to work for it, while another would think about stealing it. The natural laws would lead them as per their desires for work or stealing, while the deed once accomplished would bear appropriate fruits in their own time; the mental deed of “deciding a course of action” produces mental peace or misery, and physical deed produces physical peace or misery). If one is unsure of what to aspire for, one could pray to God to show the way, or better still pray to God to show His Will for our life.

=8================================================================
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ਤੇਰਾ ਭਾਣਾ ਮੰਨੇ ਸੁ ਮਿਲੈ ਤੁਧੁ ਆਏ ॥
ਜਿਸੁ ਭਾਣਾ ਭਾਵੈ ਸੋ ਤੁਝਹਿ ਸਮਾਏ ॥
ਭਾਣੇ ਵਿਚਿ ਵਡੀ ਵਡਿਆਈ ਭਾਣਾ ਕਿਸਹਿ ਕਰਾਇਦਾ ॥੩॥
-----------------
Translation:

One who accepts Your Will, comes to meet You,
Whoever likes Your Will, merges in You,
In His Will is great greatness, few submit to His Will.3.

[Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Page 1063:47-1064:1-2]
=======================================
Commentary:

This verse recommends accepting God’s Will. It is not that we have a choice, the actual events don’t change by our acceptance or not acceptance, but we find peace within by accepting God’s Will. As per God’s Will (natural laws setup in this world), the collective desires of people manifest as reality in the world around us, and there is little that a person can do about collective desires of people around. With this realization a person (soul) understands reality, lets go of rage or despair, and is more likely to merge in God, the source of its creation, like a wave merges back in the ocean, and a ripple merges back in the quiet water, after a brief play.

A ripple needs to quieten till,
It merges back in the water still.

=9================================================================
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ਜੀਅ ਕੀ ਬਿਰਥਾ ਹੋਇ ਸੁ ਗੁਰ ਪਹਿ ਅਰਦਾਸਿ ਕਰਿ ॥
ਛੋਡਿ ਸਿਆਣਪ ਸਗਲ ਮਨੁ ਤਨੁ ਅਰਪਿ ਧਰਿ ॥
ਪੂਜਹੁ ਗੁਰ ਕੇ ਪੈਰ ਦੁਰਮਤਿ ਜਾਇ ਜਰਿ ॥
ਸਾਧ ਜਨਾ ਕੈ ਸੰਗਿ ਭਵਜਲੁ ਬਿਖਮੁ ਤਰਿ ॥
ਸੇਵਹੁ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਦੇਵ ਅਗੈ ਨ ਮਰਹੁ ਡਰਿ ॥
ਖਿਨ ਮਹਿ ਕਰੇ ਨਿਹਾਲੁ ਊਣੇ ਸੁਭਰ ਭਰਿ ॥
ਮਨ ਕਉ ਹੋਇ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ ਧਿਆਈਐ ਸਦਾ ਹਰਿ ॥
ਸੋ ਲਗਾ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਸੇਵ ਜਾ ਕਉ ਕਰਮੁ ਧੁਰਿ ॥੬॥
-----------------
Translation:

If mind is anxious, then pray to Guru,
Leave all prudence, dedicate mind, body,
Worship feet of Guru, folly is burned,
With holy people swim the terrible world of illusions,
Serve the divine true Guru, do not die of fear in future,
Will exalt in an instant, emptiness filled brimful,
Mind will be content, always remembering God,
Such a one serves true Guru, who has primal good fortune.6.

[Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Page 519:28-35]
=======================================
Commentary:

This verse begins with a very important instruction. Whenever a person is anxious, pray to God. Pray for guidance, solace, a solution, or whatever it is that is troubling you. Pray to God, or a True Mentor, who is the same as God, an aspect of God who instructs. The way I understand prayer is something that a small child would say to his or her parents, when faced with some anxiety. A parent may or may not give, or do everything that a child asks, but still would pacify the child. Prayers, I believe, have the power to mould a person’s destiny.

A person’s relationship with God is not very different from a child’s relation to parents. Thinking of God as a parent does not mean that parents are God. This mindset does not come easy to grown people, who think of themselves as very mature, grown up, and are filled with feelings of self-importance. So depending on God is difficult, but realizing that God has provided mind and body for this life, a person should use them to practice devotion to God. This helps in removing foolishness from mind.

This verse further tells that this world, which is like a magic show of illusions, where everything turns into a memory sooner or later, can be crossed by associating with holy people. Inability to cross-over would be like getting trapped in the world of illusions, or a worse destiny. By serving God, which I believe is remembering God, chanting the Name of God, and pondering over the Word of God, one does not have anxiety. This also rids a person of feelings of loneliness and emptiness. Remembrance of God, like a person remembers another person, without any strings or expectations, makes the mind content, and brings solace.

=10===============================================================
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ਨਾਨਕ ਜੋ ਬੀਜੈ ਸੋ ਖਾਵਣਾ ਕਰਤੈ ਲਿਖਿ ਪਾਇਆ ॥੧੫॥
-----------------
Translation:

Nanak, eat what is sowed, Creator has put in writing.15.

[Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Page 1243:38]
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Commentary:

This verse specifies one of the natural laws which govern this world, a very popular maxim. This law has been written by God, and specifies that one reaps and eats whatever one sows. The reaping, and eating does not refer to food alone, but is a metaphor for any action (physical or intangible) which will result in an appropriate fruit, and that alone will become a person’s destiny.

=11===============================================================
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ਏ ਮਨ ਜੈਸਾ ਸੇਵਹਿ ਤੈਸਾ ਹੋਵਹਿ ਤੇਹੇ ਕਰਮ ਕਮਾਇ ॥
ਆਪਿ ਬੀਜਿ ਆਪੇ ਹੀ ਖਾਵਣਾ ਕਹਣਾ ਕਿਛੂ ਨ ਜਾਇ ॥੭॥
-----------------
Translation:

O mind, as you serve, so you become, perform similar actions,
Oneself sow, oneself eat, nothing else could be said.7.

[Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Page 755:16-17]
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Commentary:

Impalpable mind serves something by giving space to something in mind, pondering over it, accepting and agreeing to it. Whatever the mind serves, the mind is moulded by it, and becomes like it. So we think, use our mind, causing it to become what it is today. Again the concept of reaping and sowing has been referred. If we want a specific type of harvest, then we need to sow similar thoughts and actions (mentally first).

If we want peace, we cannot go about sowing war in our or other people’s minds. If we want love, we cannot go about sowing hatred.

The roads paved with war,
Will only lead to more war.
Peace will always stay afar,
From the roads paved in war.

=12===============================================================
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ਜੈਸਾ ਕਰੇ ਸੁ ਤੈਸਾ ਪਾਵੈ ॥
ਆਪਿ ਬੀਜਿ ਆਪੇ ਹੀ ਖਾਵੈ ॥
ਜੇ ਵਡਿਆਈਆ ਆਪੇ ਖਾਇ ॥
ਜੇਹੀ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਤੇਹੈ ਰਾਹਿ ਜਾਇ ॥੩॥

-----------------
Translation:

As one does, so one receives,
Oneself sows, so one eats,
Even if one partakes own praise,
As is one's understanding, that path one goes.3.

[Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Page 662:22-25]
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Commentary:

This verse also tells about the concept of sowing and reaping, followed by another important concept. A person decides to go down a particular path based on one’s understanding. A person is right in one’s own eyes. So it is important to work on improving our understanding. Understand the things as they truly are. Understand the fruits of the seeds that we sow. Understand the nature of the path that one follows, understand the destination that a path will lead to. Our level of understanding can affect our destiny, by causing us to go down a particular path.

Understand the fruit of seeds that you sow,
Know the nature of the paths that you go.

=13===============================================================
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ਦਦੈ ਦੋਸੁ ਨ ਦੇਊ ਕਿਸੈ ਦੋਸੁ ਕਰੰਮਾ ਆਪਣਿਆ ॥
ਜੋ ਮੈ ਕੀਆ ਸੋ ਮੈ ਪਾਇਆ ਦੋਸੁ ਨ ਦੀਜੈ ਅਵਰ ਜਨਾ ॥੨੧॥
-----------------
Translation:

Dd, do not blame others, blame own actions,
Whatever I did, that I received, do not blame other people.21.

[Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Page 433:23-24]
=======================================
Commentary:

This verse again reminds us to be mindful of our actions, mental actions. I believe that the actions of a body follow the actions of the mind (thoughts and decisions). A person (soul) has control only on the thoughts and decisions of the mind; and the mind, not the body, is the domain of a soul’s actions. Mind controls the actions of a body, as much as a driver controls the actions of a vehicle, which is about controlling the direction and destination, but not exactly every nitty-gritty of the vehicle’s functions. More or less, a vehicle arrives where the driver takes it, and a body would achieve what the mind sets out to achieve, within the context of its environment and natural laws (constraints and past actions).

=14===============================================================
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ਤੂ ਆਪੇ ਆਪਿ ਵਰਤਦਾ ਤੂ ਆਪੇ ਕਰਹਿ ਸੁ ਹੋਗੀਆ ॥
-----------------
Translation:

You Yourself God utilize, You Yourself do, that happens.

[Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Page 1313:6]
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Commentary:

God Himself utilizes the creation for His own purposes. Ultimately whatever happens is done by God. Repeating some of the concepts already discussed above, as I understand this statement is that God manifests reality based on the collective and individual desires of the people, conscious and unconscious desires and aspirations.

=15===============================================================
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ਕੀਤਾ ਕਰਣਾ ਸਰਬ ਰਜਾਈ ਕਿਛੁ ਕੀਚੈ ਜੇ ਕਰਿ ਸਕੀਐ ॥
ਆਪਣਾ ਕੀਤਾ ਕਿਛੂ ਨ ਹੋਵੈ ਜਿਉ ਹਰਿ ਭਾਵੈ ਤਿਉ ਰਖੀਐ ॥੧॥
ਮੇਰੇ ਹਰਿ ਜੀਉ ਸਭੁ ਕੋ ਤੇਰੈ ਵਸਿ ॥
ਅਸਾ ਜੋਰੁ ਨਾਹੀ ਜੇ ਕਿਛੁ ਕਰਿ ਹਮ ਸਾਕਹ ਜਿਉ ਭਾਵੈ ਤਿਵੈ ਬਖਸਿ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
ਸਭੁ ਜੀਉ ਪਿੰਡੁ ਦੀਆ ਤੁਧੁ ਆਪੇ ਤੁਧੁ ਆਪੇ ਕਾਰੈ ਲਾਇਆ ॥
ਜੇਹਾ ਤੂੰ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਕਰਹਿ ਤੇਹੇ ਕੋ ਕਰਮ ਕਮਾਵੈ ਜੇਹਾ ਤੁਧੁ ਧੁਰਿ ਲਿਖਿ ਪਾਇਆ ॥੨॥
ਪੰਚ ਤਤੁ ਕਰਿ ਤੁਧੁ ਸ੍ਰਿਸਟਿ ਸਭ ਸਾਜੀ ਕੋਈ ਛੇਵਾ ਕਰਿਉ ਜੇ ਕਿਛੁ ਕੀਤਾ ਹੋਵੈ ॥
ਇਕਨਾ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਮੇਲਿ ਤੂੰ ਬੁਝਾਵਹਿ ਇਕਿ ਮਨਮੁਖਿ ਕਰਹਿ ਸਿ ਰੋਵੈ ॥੩॥
ਹਰਿ ਕੀ ਵਡਿਆਈ ਹਉ ਆਖਿ ਨ ਸਾਕਾ ਹਉ ਮੂਰਖੁ ਮੁਗਧੁ ਨੀਚਾਣੁ ॥
ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਕਉ ਹਰਿ ਬਖਸਿ ਲੈ ਮੇਰੇ ਸੁਆਮੀ ਸਰਣਾਗਤਿ ਪਇਆ ਅਜਾਣੁ ॥੪॥੪॥੧੫॥੨੪॥
-----------------
Translation:

Accomplished action all His Will, Do something if it can be done,
Own actions nothing happens, as it pleases Him, God keeps.1.
My dear God all is in Your control,
We do not have power to do anything, as it pleases You, forgive us.1.pause.
You give all life, body, You Yourself, You Yourself put us to work,
As is Your command, so does one earn actions, like You have put in primal writing.2.
Making five elements, You decorated all nature, someone could make sixth, if one could do something,
Understand meeting one True Guru, an apostate acts and weeps.3.
Glory of God, one cannot say, one is a fool, idiot, lowly,
God forgive person Nanak, my Master, the ignorant takes Your shelter.4.4.15.24.

[Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Page 736:5-14]
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Commentary:

This verse again emphasizes that God is ultimately in control of everything. In addition the verse specifies that God puts each of us to work; so if we are not sure of the work that we are destined to do, then a person should pray for awareness and understanding of the work that one is destined to do. A fortunate person understands this after meeting a true mentor; while an unfortunate person, an apostate, acts without understanding the basic principles, tries to perform various actions, struggles and cries on failure (imagine a driver trying to make a vehicle do something that it is not designed to do, e.g. trying to fly a car or trying to drive a jeep above the maximum speed that it is designed for.)

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ਹਰਿ ਆਪੇ ਆਪਿ ਦਇਆਲੁ ਹਰਿ ਆਪੇ ਕਰੇ ਸੁ ਹੋਇ ॥
ਹਰਿ ਆਪੇ ਆਪਿ ਵਰਤਦਾ ਹਰਿ ਜੇਵਡੁ ਅਵਰੁ ਨ ਕੋਇ ॥
ਜੋ ਹਰਿ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਭਾਵੈ ਸੋ ਥੀਐ ਜੋ ਹਰਿ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਕਰੇ ਸੁ ਹੋਇ ॥
ਕੀਮਤਿ ਕਿਨੈ ਨ ਪਾਈਆ ਬੇਅੰਤੁ ਪ੍ਰਭੂ ਹਰਿ ਸੋਇ ॥
ਨਾਨਕ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਹਰਿ ਸਾਲਾਹਿਆ ਤਨੁ ਮਨੁ ਸੀਤਲੁ ਹੋਇ ॥੨॥
-----------------
Translation:

God Himself is compassionate, God Himself does, that happens,
God Himself utilizes, none is as great as God,
Whatever Lord God likes, that happens, whatever Lord God does, that happens,
No one can find value, that Lord God is endless,
Nanak, devotee praises God, mind, body are cooled.2.

[Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Page 1313:14-18]
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Commentary:

This verse again emphasizes that God is in control. If we have a question about God’s Will, then we just need to realize that whatever has happened is God’s Will. A difficult fact to accept considering all suffering in this world. But seeing from the viewpoint of our limited knowledge and understanding, we need to realize that we do not understand everything perfectly. An easier way to reconcile yourself to this fact, without bitterness, is to refer to the parent-children or police-city metaphor referred above.

Free-will exercised irresponsibly creates suffering in this world! So it is very important that we choose our environment and friends wisely, so as not to share results of their deliberate and undesirable choices. If we want to bring about a change, we need to change our desires, aspirations and prayers first. The above verse ends with a statement that by praising God, in song or words, cools the mind and body. As I understand, praise of God are powerful words, and free the mind of various other parasitic thoughts and feeling, leaving the mind cool and peaceful.

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ਕਬੀਰ ਨਾ ਹਮ ਕੀਆ ਨ ਕਰਹਿਗੇ ਨਾ ਕਰਿ ਸਕੈ ਸਰੀਰੁ ॥
ਕਿਆ ਜਾਨਉ ਕਿਛੁ ਹਰਿ ਕੀਆ ਭਇਓ ਕਬੀਰੁ ਕਬੀਰੁ ॥੬੨॥
-----------------
Translation:

Kabir, neither have I done, nor will I do, nor can the body do,
Don't know, something God did, occurred, Kabir, Kabir.62.

[Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Page 1367:27-28]
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Commentary:

In this verse Bhagat Kabir describes that a human body and soul are unable to accomplish anything in this world, and whatever happens is ultimately result of God’s Will, and grand orchestration. People see the works accomplished and say that Bhagat Kabir has accomplished them, but in reality only God does actions in this world. A person is still free to be happy or sad with the occurrences, or be indifferent to them, or could plan for, or wish, or pray for things to change in the future (for oneself or collectively); and these are all that a soul could do. But these mental actions are like seeds, which will eventually manifest at some point.

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ਆਪੇ ਕਰੇ ਕਰਾਏ ਕਰਤਾ ਕਿਸ ਨੋ ਆਖਿ ਸੁਣਾਈਐ ॥
ਦੁਖੁ ਸੁਖੁ ਤੇਰੈ ਭਾਣੈ ਹੋਵੈ ਕਿਸ ਥੈ ਜਾਇ ਰੂਆਈਐ ॥
ਹੁਕਮੀ ਹੁਕਮਿ ਚਲਾਏ ਵਿਗਸੈ ਨਾਨਕ ਲਿਖਿਆ ਪਾਈਐ ॥੭॥੧੨॥
-----------------
Translation:

Himself does, Doer actualizes, whom to speak and tell,
Sorrow, pleasure, happen by Your Will, which place to go and complain,
Commander commands, moves, delights, O Nanak, receive what is written.7.12.

[Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Page 418:9-11]
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Commentary:

This verse speaks of God as the ultimate cause of everything that happens in this world. Whatever sorrow or suffering manifests in this world is as per the natural laws governing this world, and the collective seeds planted by people in this world.

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ਜੇਹਾ ਲਿਖਿਆ ਤੇਹਾ ਪਾਇਆ ਜੇਹਾ ਪੁਰਬਿ ਕਮਾਇਆ ॥
ਧੰਨੁ ਸਿਰੰਦਾ ਸਚਾ ਪਾਤਿਸਾਹੁ ਜਿਨਿ ਜਗੁ ਧੰਧੈ ਲਾਇਆ ॥੧॥
-----------------
Translation:

As it is written, so it is received, what was previously earned,
Blessed Creator, True King, who put world to work.1.

[Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Page 579:3-4]
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Commentary:

This verse very clearly specifies that a person receives whatever the person has previously earned. A person could earn desirable or undesirable results. Another word for earn would be the seeds that a person plants. Whatever a person plants today, is what a person reaps or earns tomorrow. God has put everything to work in their respective works.

=20===============================================================
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ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮਿ ਫੁਰਮਾਇਆ ਮੀਹੁ ਵੁਠਾ ਸਹਜਿ ਸੁਭਾਇ ॥
ਅੰਨੁ ਧੰਨੁ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਉਪਜਿਆ ਪ੍ਰਿਥਮੀ ਰਜੀ ਤਿਪਤਿ ਅਘਾਇ ॥
ਸਦਾ ਸਦਾ ਗੁਣ ਉਚਰੈ ਦੁਖੁ ਦਾਲਦੁ ਗਇਆ ਬਿਲਾਇ ॥
ਪੂਰਬਿ ਲਿਖਿਆ ਪਾਇਆ ਮਿਲਿਆ ਤਿਸੈ ਰਜਾਇ ॥
ਪਰਮੇਸਰਿ ਜੀਵਾਲਿਆ ਨਾਨਕ ਤਿਸੈ ਧਿਆਇ ॥੧॥
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Translation:

Supreme God willed, rain rained, easily, naturally,
Lot of grain, wealth grew, Earth sated, satisfied to the full,
Always, always, speak praise, pain, poverty will be removed and dispelled,
Previously written is received, he receives as per God’s Command,
God keeps us alive, O Nanak, remember Him.1.

[Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Page 321:44-48]
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Commentary:

This verse recommends a person should sing praise of God, which will cause a person to be free from pain and poverty. This is a practical advice which a person could try out, and again how much time it takes, what is the process in which good fortune will manifest will be subjective. I would believe it will first change the mindset of a person, and finally change actions which will eventually manifest as good fortune. The verse specifies that whatever is written for a person previously, is received by the person now; this is God’s Will or Command, and the way this world works. Previously written could be our past wishes or prayers, God’s Wishes, or result of our past actions.
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-x-

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Purpose and benefits of chanting

Main points:
  1. Chanting includes repeating words which include Name of God, or words praising God, either repeating mentally or repeating aloud.
  2. God referred here is the Creator of all there is, and One who has no equal. I do not refer to other deities.
  3. An intangible mind, over time, gets infected by intangible parasitic thoughts. Thoughts of negative feelings, like fear, greed, and others. Intangible words are clean, as no dust or dirt sticks to a spoken word, except possibly its negative meaning. So repeating powerful clean words are best way to clean parasitic thoughts of the mind.
  4. Best and most powerful words are the words that refer to God, either the Name of God, or words praising God. I am not sure of the results of chanting words which have some other meaning, or which do not relate to One God. I would believe words with negative or lukewarm meaning, will have negative or lukewarm results respectively.
  5. Chanting also helps revealing the reality, beauty, and sharpness of the mind. Chanting has power to transform mind for the better. Like polishing a stone to reveal a diamond, or churning cream to transform it into butter, chanting causes similar transformation of mind.
  6. Chanting Name of God in a healthy state of mind, also helps a person receive the proverbial elixir (Amrit) for everlasting life of the soul (not the body). Soul is already eternal, and lack of everlasting life leads to transmigration or other undesirable consequences. The Name of God is the Elixir.
  7. A person should spent normal life doing work and actions which are healthy, and which do not create a feeling of unnecessary pride or guilt. This puts mind in a healthy condition conducive for effective chanting.
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=1=======================================================================
ਕਰਮੀ ਸਹਜੁ ਨ ਊਪਜੈ ਵਿਣੁ ਸਹਜੈ ਸਹਸਾ ਨ ਜਾਇ ॥
ਨਹ ਜਾਇ ਸਹਸਾ ਕਿਤੈ ਸੰਜਮਿ ਰਹੇ ਕਰਮ ਕਮਾਏ ॥
ਸਹਸੈ ਜੀਉ ਮਲੀਣੁ ਹੈ ਕਿਤੁ ਸੰਜਮਿ ਧੋਤਾ ਜਾਏ ॥
ਮੰਨੁ ਧੋਵਹੁ ਸਬਦਿ ਲਾਗਹੁ ਹਰਿ ਸਿਉ ਰਹਹੁ ਚਿਤੁ ਲਾਇ ॥
ਕਹੈ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦੀ ਸਹਜੁ ਉਪਜੈ ਇਹੁ ਸਹਸਾ ਇਵ ਜਾਇ ॥੧੮॥
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Translation:
Knowledge does not come from rituals, without knowledge doubt does not go.
Doubt does not go by any discipline, kept practicing rituals,
Soul is stained by doubt, what discipline can wash it,
Wash mind, attach to word, keep consciousness attached to God,
Nanak speaks, by Guru's grace, knowledge dawns, so this doubt goes.18.
[Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Page 919:18-22]
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Commentary:

Different types of ritual and discipline do not bring knowledge. Without knowledge it is difficult to get rid of doubt. A primary hindrance to spiritual progress of a person is a doubting mind, which cannot be removed by practicing either rituals or disciplines. This verse recommends washing doubts of mind by attaching to words of a True Guru (ponder words of scripture which record the wisdom of a True Guru), and keep mind attached to remembrance of God. True knowledge dawns only by grace of True Guru (an aspect of God, which teaches and gives knowledge), and only with true knowledge can doubt in mind be removed.
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=2=======================================================================

ਮਨ ਕੇ ਬਿਕਾਰ ਮਿਟਹਿ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਸਿਮਰਤ ਜਨਮ ਜਨਮ ਕੀ ਮੈਲੁ ਹਰੀ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
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Translation:

Disease of mind are washed away by contemplating God, dirt of many births is effaced.1.pause.

[Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Page 1152:19]
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Commentary:

Contemplating and remembering God removes sickness of the mind, and it also removes accumulated sins of many births. This verse gives two effects of remembering God either during chanting, or in prayer, or otherwise. Remembrance of God brings order to the mind, removing unwanted clutter, and is good for well-being and health of the mind. It also cleans the sin that mind (soul) has accumulated. As people seldom become a saint overnight, but keep sinning and accumulating unwanted thoughts, so regular chanting helps avoid the affects of accumulated dirt.
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=3=======================================================================
ਮਨੁ ਤਨੁ ਧੋਵਹਿ ਸਬਦਿ ਵੀਚਾਰੀ ॥
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Translation:

Wash mind and body by contemplating the word.
[Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Page 1059:48]
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Commentary:

The verse recommends cleaning mind and body by contemplating words of wisdom (words of a True Guru). The words to be contemplated are the words of a mentor, the teachings and speech of a spiritual mentor. Simplest way to contemplate a speech is to repeat a verse or word or teaching, all the while pondering on its meaning. Chanting is an easy way to repeat and also contemplate.
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=4=======================================================================
ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮਾ ਆਰਾਧਿ ਮਨ ਸਭਿ ਕਿਲਵਿਖ ਜਾਹਿ ਵਿਕਾਰ ॥
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Translation:
O Mind, worship God's Name, the defects of sin will go.
[Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Page 959:39]
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Commentary:

Simplest and surest way to get rid of sins is to remember and worship the Name of God. Sins are transgressions of the mind and soul. Why would this method work? The power is in the Name of God, that if we believe in the Name, and repeat the Name with reverence, the Name of God has power to wipe clean all our sins.

I understand sin as an incorporeal account of our actions, which will in time result in undesirable fruit and suffering. Sin could also be understood as an act of disobedience to a scripture. I believe scripture teach us to avoid sin, because it will have a undesirable consequence for us, considering the natural laws that govern this world. From this perspective, sins to avoid are like rules of thumb for quick reference, so we know what to avoid. With either meaning of sin, the final effect of indulging in sin is an undesirable result.
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=5=======================================================================
ਦੁਰਮਤਿ ਮੈਲੁ ਗਈ ਹਰਿ ਭਜਿਆ ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਪਾਰਿ ਪਰਾ ॥੪॥੩॥
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Translation:
Dirt of foolishness goes by Chanting God, O Nanak, people cross over.4.3.
[Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Page 799:30]
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Commentary:

The verse tells that Chanting the Name of God removes foolishness. It also helps people cross over successfully from this life to the life hereafter. An important aspect of foolishness is inability to understand things and concepts around us, probably because of lack of capacity to think, or presence of simplistic preconceived notions in mind. Cleaning the mind with chanting will help in clearing the incorrect preconceived notions, and improve acuity.
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=6=======================================================================

ਭਾਂਡਾ ਧੋਇ ਬੈਸਿ ਧੂਪੁ ਦੇਵਹੁ ਤਉ ਦੂਧੈ ਕਉ ਜਾਵਹੁ ॥
ਦੂਧੁ ਕਰਮ ਫੁਨਿ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਸਮਾਇਣੁ ਹੋਇ ਨਿਰਾਸ ਜਮਾਵਹੁ ॥੧॥
ਜਪਹੁ ਤ ਏਕੋ ਨਾਮਾ ॥
ਅਵਰਿ ਨਿਰਾਫਲ ਕਾਮਾ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਈਟੀ ਹਾਥਿ ਕਰਹੁ ਫੁਨਿ ਨੇਤ੍ਰਉ ਨੀਦ ਨ ਆਵੈ ॥
ਰਸਨਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਜਪਹੁ ਤਬ ਮਥੀਐ ਇਨ ਬਿਧਿ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਪਾਵਹੁ ॥੨॥
ਮਨੁ ਸੰਪਟੁ ਜਿਤੁ ਸਤ ਸਰਿ ਨਾਵਣੁ ਭਾਵਨ ਪਾਤੀ ਤ੍ਰਿਪਤਿ ਕਰੇ ॥ 
ਪੂਜਾ ਪ੍ਰਾਣ ਸੇਵਕੁ ਜੇ ਸੇਵੇ ਇਨ੍ਹ੍ਹ ਬਿਧਿ ਸਾਹਿਬੁ ਰਵਤੁ ਰਹੈ ॥੩॥
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Translation:
Wash vessel, anoint with fragrance, then go get milk,
Milk of actions, then rennet of consciousness, without hope let it curdle.1.
Chant the one Name,
Other actions are unfruitful.1.pause.
Make mind churning-stick handle, then churning-cord is not getting sleep,
Tongue chants Name, then churn, this way obtain elixir.2.
Make mind a container, where bathe in pool of truth, gives affection, honor, satisfaction,
Worships with breath, servant who serves, this way stay absorbed in God.3.
[Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Page 728:2-9]
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Commentary:

This verse describes a method for chanting. This verse has a few difficult to understand metaphors, so I hope the interpretation is accurate. First recommendation is to wash vessel, anoint it with fragrance, get milk, add rennet and then wait.

Vessel stands for the vessel of body and mind, which contains our soul and thoughts. Fragrance stands for fragrance of good words. What flowers are to the physical world, words are to the spiritual world. Best and the most fragrant words are the Name of God, and words of God's praise. Milk of actions are actions which nourish our body, mind and soul. Milk is a nourishing, life-giving food, and a very nutritious food. Similarly milk of actions are actions which leave us feeling better about ourselves, without giving a tainted sense of pride, self-contempt or a lingering sense of guilt. Milk of actions would be healthy actions, not directed by our ego, which are constructive and nourishing for us and others. A clear, conscious and focused mind while doing an action is like a rennet, which helps in turning actions truly fruitful, help actions transform, like milk is transformed by rennet. And once an action is complete, it is time to move on, rather than hoping and waiting for results. Curdling is like giving time for actions to bear fruit. We don't need to forget or be careless about them, but give actions time to bear fruit. Results are important, but they come in their own time and an action is like a planted seed, which will bear results in proper time, much like farming.

So as per my understanding the first sentence of the verse, recommends a method to perform any action, spiritual or otherwise, or generally a recommendation of living our daily lives. Start with a clear mind and a bath, spend some time in remembering God (chant), and then go about the day doing healthy, fruitful actions, making effort to focus mind and consciousness on the action being performed (don't let the mind wander or hope of doing something else). And once an action is performed don't wait for results, but give time for results to appear in their own time (results will come in their own time, and we could be mindful when they come). This is also a recommended method to perform any action, including spiritual actions like worship, prayer, and others. And most important, if our actions are healthy, without invoking pride or guilt, nourishing like milk, then it will be easy to perform spiritual actions like chanting and prayer later, with a clear conscience.

The verse further recommends that chanting Name of God is the most fruitful action. I understand the word fruitful is applicable on an eternal time-frame. All actions bear some fruit, but most fruits would only last for a lifetime, and would disappear for a person when the person dies, making these actions ultimately unfruitful. But chanting Name of God is an action which will result in fruits which have an eternal value.

Next sentence continues with specifics of process of chanting. The milk of good actions has turned to curd, which is a person with a clear conscience, a healthy, satisfied, content mind and body, ready to practice chanting. Consider mind to be the churning stick, which is thinking over concepts being studied, remembered, and chanted. Churning-cord, which is used to move the churning stick, is not falling asleep. People sometimes fall asleep when performing activities of the mind, and falling asleep cuts the action of chanting or meditation mid-way, as if the churning cord is cut. So it is advised to make an effort to stay awake while chanting. Finally chant the Name of God with tongue, completing the process of churning to create butter, which spiritually is equivalent to creating elixir for the soul. This completes the metaphor of transforming milk to curd, and then churning to create butter, the elixir of God's Name.

Finally the mind itself is the container which will hold the elixir of chanted Name of God, and it is like a true pool, giving a person affection, honor, satisfaction here and hereafter. Chanting is a method of worship, in which a person offers breath for remembrance of God. Scriptures tell us that people have a limited number of breaths in a lifetime, and when a person uses few of the breaths to chant the Name of God then it is like making an offering to God, which helps a person stay absorbed in God's remembrance. Being in remembrance of God has many positive effects on a person, and some would be covered as part of other posts.
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=7=======================================================================
ਸਿਮਰਉ ਨਾਮੁ ਨਿਰੰਜਨ ਕਰਤੇ ਮਨ ਤਨ ਤੇ ਸਭਿ ਕਿਲਵਿਖ ਨਾਸ ॥
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Translation:
Remembering pristine Name of Creator, all sins of mind and body are destroyed.
[Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Page 716:33]
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Commentary:

This is perhaps one of the most important affects of chanting God's Name, because we all have sinned and continue to do so. Sin and transgression of mind and soul are the corrupted negative thoughts and feelings that we continue to harbor in our hearts and mind. People sin under the influence of five basic qualities: anger, lust, greed, attachment and ego. Our fears, hate, envy, scheming and other lusts or weakness of the mind, the load of countless sins that we have accumulated since lifetime of the soul (since the beginning of time), they are all removed by remembering Name of God.

Spoken words have a purity, that a physical thing lacks, and no dust or dirt can stick to a word. This makes the Name of God, one of the purest things that we have, and like clean water washes the physical body, the Name of God washes the mind, body and soul. This is also one of the reasons why spiritual healing works. Disease of the mind affects health of body, and opposite is also true, so fixing one helps in healing the other.

Think about it, there is no cloth that could clean the mind, and if anything could clean the mind it had to be as intangible and as subtle as the mind itself. And pure words and the wisdom contained in the words is the pure water that cleans the mind. A person, mind, soul and body frequently cleaned by the holy water of the remembrance of God's Name is fit and healthy to be at peace, to be happy, and to achieve what it is destined to achieve.

And as with everything, cleaning lasts as long as we do not spoil it again, and this is the reason of taking care of our thoughts, keep the mind uncluttered. Do not harbor ill-will or bad feelings, to keep mind healthy. Chant often to remove the undesirable condition of our mind and thoughts.
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=8=======================================================================
ਨਾਮ ਤੇਰੈ ਕੈ ਰੰਗਿ ਦੁਰਮਤਿ ਧੋਵਣਾ ॥
ਜਪਿ ਜਪਿ ਤੁਧੁ ਨਿਰੰਕਾਰ ਭਰਮੁ ਭਉ ਖੋਵਣਾ ॥
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Translation:
Color of Your Name washes my folly,
Repeatedly chanting you God, removes my ignorance and fear.
[Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Page 523:11-12]
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Commentary:

As we saw in the last verse, chanting cleans the mind, making it healthier. A healthy mind is sharper and less likely to be ignorant or act foolishly (as mind will be more aware and perceptive). Chanting also helps in removing fear from the mind (fear is also an undesirable condition of the mind, and is generally caused by attachment or lack of faith).
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=9=======================================================================
ਹਰਿ ਗੁਣ ਗੁੰਫਹੁ ਮਨਿ ਮਾਲ ਹਰਿ ਸਭ ਮਲੁ ਪਰਹਰੀਐ ॥
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Translation:
Weave garland of qualities of God in mind, God removes all dirt.
[Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Page 320:42]
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Commentary:

Many of the Names of God tell of the different qualities of God. Chanting the Names, singing praise of God is like weaving a garland in the mind. It too helps in cleaning the mind.
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=10======================================================================
ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਹੈ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਪਾਵੈ ਕੋਇ ॥
ਹਉਮੈ ਮਮਤਾ ਨਾਸੁ ਹੋਇ ਦੁਰਮਤਿ ਕਢੈ ਧੋਇ ॥
ਨਾਨਕ ਅਨਦਿਨੁ ਗੁਣ ਉਚਰੈ ਜਿਨ ਕਉ ਧੁਰਿ ਲਿਖਿਆ ਹੋਇ ॥੧॥
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Translation:
God, God, God, Name of God some blessed believer receives,
Ego and attachment ends, folly is washed away by Name,
O Nanak, they speak the Name always, for whom it is destined.1.
[Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Page 1313:10-12]
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Commentary:

Not many people would believe and chant the Name of God, and those who do, believing in the power of the Name are very lucky. Destiny is topic for another post, but people who receive the Name are destined for it. But anyone could pray to receive the same.

Destiny is a difficult topic to understand and explain, but what I have understood is that it is a combination of multiple variable factors. Destiny is more like a system of natural laws (physical and spiritual laws) which govern this world, combined with result of our actions (actions, thoughts and prayers). A lot of it is based on our past actions (mental and physical), which are responsible for our current position in life; and future destiny would continue in same trajectory unless we deliberately change the course.

Sudden luck and fortune is generally a result of some past seed planted by someone. It could be said that a person could be destined to plant the seed in the past, and continuing this line of thinking is recursive and does not explain how it started. Only consolation is that this not the only thing that the human mind does not understand, but I believe we have enough information to move forward. Just plant the right seeds now (seeds of prayer, thoughts and actions), that is the important thing.
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ਸਤਸੰਗਤਿ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਧੰਨੁ ਧਨੋੁ ਧੰਨ ਧੰਨ ਧਨੋ ਜਿਤੁ ਮਿਲਿ ਹਰਿ ਬੁਲਗ ਬੁਲੋਗੀਆ ॥
ਸਭਿ ਕਹਹੁ ਮੁਖਹੁ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਹਰੇ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਹਰੇ ਹਰਿ ਬੋਲਤ ਸਭਿ ਪਾਪ ਲਹੋਗੀਆ ॥੧॥
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Translation:
True congregation, of True Guru, blessed wealth, blessed, blessed wealth, meeting which, recite words of God,
All chant with mouth, Har, Har, Haray, Har, Har, Haray, speaking Har, all sins are removed.1.
[Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Page 1313:7-8]
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Commentary:

The company of true congregation, a gathering of people, who are gathered in Name of True Guru (True Guru is an aspect of God who instructs), to praise and remember God, is a wealth that a person should actively seek. Being part of such a congregation is same as being in possession of an intangible wealth (non-materialistic wealth). Characteristics of gathering of holy people is a topic of another article.

The verse instructs that on meeting such a congregation chant Name of God, recite words of God (scripture), and sing praise of God. Doing such actions will rid a person of all sins. Intangible sins are primarily a corruption of the intangible mind, and only way to clean them is by use of clean and powerful words, which are themselves as subtle and intangible as the mind, and are effective in getting rid of corruption in mind (sins).
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ਮਲੁ ਕੂੜੀ ਨਾਮਿ ਉਤਾਰੀਅਨੁ ਜਪਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਹੋਆ ਸਚਿਆਰੁ ॥
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Translation:
Name removes muck of lies, Chant Name become truthful.
[Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Page 951:1]
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Commentary:

A lie is something that is false and does not exist. On an eternal timeline, a lie is also something that will eventually cease to exist, a temporary thing. A truth is an eternally permanent thing. A human mind is enchanted by lies, promise of temporary things and experiences, and only way to remove the illusion of lies is to view with a clear mind. Chanting the Name of God helps clear the mind. A truthful person could be understood as a person who not only speaks truth, but also perceives truthfully (perceives truth).
-
Mist of promising lies cloud the mind,
Chanting Name of God clears the mind.
A clear mind is truthful,
It appreciates the truth,
Not only speaks the truth,
But also perceives the truth.
Only that which is truly perceived,
Can then be truly explained.
A truthful person may still lie,
If the person fails to perceive the truth,
True mind sees though lies and their futility.
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=13======================================================================
ਬਸੰਤੁ ਚੜਿਆ ਫੂਲੀ ਬਨਰਾਇ ॥
ਏਹਿ ਜੀਅ ਜੰਤ ਫੂਲਹਿ ਹਰਿ ਚਿਤੁ ਲਾਇ ॥੧॥
ਇਨ ਬਿਧਿ ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਹਰਿਆ ਹੋਇ ॥
ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਜਪੈ ਦਿਨੁ ਰਾਤੀ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਹਉਮੈ ਕਢੈ ਧੋਇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
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Translation:
Spring comes, forests blossom,
This living being blossoms by remembering God in mind.1.
By this method, this mind enlivens,
God, Chanting Name of God, day and night, the blessed washes and removes ego.1.pause.
[Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Page 1176:53-54, 1177:1-2]
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Commentary:

By remembering God, and chanting the Name of God, a living being enlivens and blossoms. Chanting the Name of God also removes ego and washes oneself clean.
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ਹਰਿ ਕਾ ਬਿਲੋਵਨਾ ਬਿਲੋਵਹੁ ਮੇਰੇ ਭਾਈ ॥
ਸਹਜਿ ਬਿਲੋਵਹੁ ਜੈਸੇ ਤਤੁ ਨ ਜਾਈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
ਤਨੁ ਕਰਿ ਮਟੁਕੀ ਮਨ ਮਾਹਿ ਬਿਲੋਈ ॥
ਇਸੁ ਮਟੁਕੀ ਮਹਿ ਸਬਦੁ ਸੰਜੋਈ ॥੨॥
ਹਰਿ ਕਾ ਬਿਲੋਵਨਾ ਮਨ ਕਾ ਬੀਚਾਰਾ ॥
ਗੁਰ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ ਪਾਵੈ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਧਾਰਾ ॥੩॥
ਕਹੁ ਕਬੀਰ ਨਦਰਿ ਕਰੇ ਜੇ ਮੀਰਾ ॥
ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮ ਲਗਿ ਉਤਰੇ ਤੀਰਾ ॥੪॥੧॥੧੦॥
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Translation:
Churn the Churn of God, my brother,
Spontaneously churn, so essence does not go.1.pause.
Make body the pot, churning stick in mind,
In this pot assimilate the word.2.
Churn of God is thinking of the mind,
Guru's grace gives stream of elixir.3.
Kabir says, when King gives grace,
Hold to God's Name, alight on shore.4.1.10.
[Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Page 478:14-21]
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Commentary:

Deliberately thinking over concepts, pondering over words is a divine method of churning, which will produce knowledge, awareness, and higher consciousness. Words and concepts to be pondered need to relate to a scripture, or God, and not just be any word.

Body is like a churning pot which we use to collect words of knowledge by hearing, reading and discussing. Deliberate thinking is the churning stick in mind, which we use to assimilate meaning, shuffle thoughts, and extract knowledge contained in the words. We should make it a habit to spontaneously think over concepts and words of divine knowledge when we encounter them.

When we practice churning words of scripture, by God's grace we will receive elixir which will give soul everlasting life (everlasting life is one without transmigration). Soul holding fast to the Name of God will find salvation, which is referred to as alighting on a shore.
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ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਰਤਨੁ ਜਵਾਹਰ ਮਾਣਕੁ ਤਿਸ ਕਾ ਮੋਲੁ ਅਫਾਰਾ ॥
ਮੋਲਿ ਕਿਤ ਹੀ ਨਾਮੁ ਪਾਈਐ ਨਾਹੀ ਨਾਮੁ ਪਾਈਐ ਗੁਰ ਬੀਚਾਰਾ ॥੫॥
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Translation:
This mind is a precious gem, it is of great value,
Any price will not buy Name, Obtain Name by pondering over teachings of Guru.5.

[Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Page 754:25-26] 
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Commentary:

Mind is like a precious gem, and like any precious gem it needs work to make it shine. Its true value can be estimated, by evaluating what happens when one loses one's mind. The verse goes on to tell that person can receive (and accept) the Name of God only by thinking over the teachings of a Mentor. Thinking over teaching helps people convince themselves of the true nature of teaching, and make acceptance of teachings more permanent.
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One who loses one's mind,
Loses almost everything else.
Children of unfulfilled promises,
Asylum tell their silent stories.
So do take care of your mind,
Do not feed it garbage,
Keep it in good company,
Of worthy words and worthy thoughts.
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Additional Comments: 

Declutter the mind

Repetitive speaking of words or verses is the simplest form of chanting. The words which comprise a chant could mean just about anything, like name of a deity, verse praising a deity, a prayer or an invocation, and specific words denoting a feeling or quality.
I do not know the science behind the chants, but present a layman's perspective. Everything in this world needs tidying up. Garden weeds need to be pulled, rust from iron needs to be scrapped, houses need to be dusted frequently, we need to bathe and brush our teeth frequently. All these actions clear the physical layers of unwanted stuff which keep the underlying object from being healthy. It is in the nature of things in this world to become messed up, if periodic cleaning and maintenance is not done.
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Everything is slowly dying,
Person begins moving closer to death,
Immediately after being born,
And some do die very young.

Dust starts to gather,
Immediately after it has been cleaned,
Cloths start getting crumpled,
Immediately after they have been ironed.

It is in the nature of things of this world,
To deteriorate with time,
To keep things healthy,
Regular maintenance is needed.

Weed your gardens occasionally,
Brush your teeth daily,
Bathe your body often,
Do not leave them as they are.

Civilization slowly descends into chaos,
If it is not cared for,
And so it is with the human mind too,
It takes regular effort to keep it from chaos.
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Similarly, during our day, words that we hear and speak, emotions that we feel during the day, good or bad, linger on in the mind. Cluttering the mind's capability to see, think and feel clearly. Much like a layer of dust covering our boots, or car, or furniture. Without cleaning the mental and emotional clutter, the mind becomes dull, and mental capabilities have difficulty in functioning at best possible level.

Chanting is like dusting the mental and emotional clutter from the mind. Specially the parasitic and negatives thoughts and words can stick to mind, and adversely affect mood and functioning of the mind.

Not much cleaning can be done by using a soiled cloth. Words and verses that we use for chanting are the dusting cloth for the mind, and the quality of cloth will affect the results. The most pristine and powerful words available to a human being are words that denote the Name of God, or words of praise of God (which many times are same words, as Names of God are actually praise of the various qualities of God).

Words with a negative connotation, if used, will be like a dusty cloth which soils the furniture or mind, rather than cleaning it. Words which express weak emotions or thoughts will be inefficient in de-cluttering the mind. Frivolous words may cause more problems than help.

We need to take bath regularly to keep the body clean, using repetitive almost ritualistic actions. Chanting does the same thing for the mind, cleaning any dirty parasitic thoughts that may be sticking to the mind. In a way chanting helps in maintaining good mental hygiene. If we apply attention while dusting furniture, it ensures quality of the resulting shiny furniture, similarly applying attention to the meaning of words, rather than mindless repetition, makes chanting more effective. Like a daily bath helps in keeping the body fresh and healthy, similarly few minutes of daily chanting of a positive verse will help to keep the mind fresh and healthy, by dislodging any unhealthy words or thoughts perched in our mind. To attain a proper mental state of mind for effective chanting, we need to perform healthy actions in our daily life, actions which do not create sense of pride or guilt in our mind.

Reveal the nature of mind 

Apart from maintaining mental hygiene, chanting also helps in revealing the quality of mind and spirit. It will not happen overnight, and will not be easily noticeable, but slowly and surely it will reveal the sparkle of the mind.
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Polishing a stone reveals the diamond within,
Churning cream turns it into butter,
Chanting will reveal the sparkle of the mind,
Words are like chisel to an open mind,
Morphing mind to reveal its true nature. 
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