The Gurmat basically is path to ‘dharam’ and promotes: 1. Reciting and contemplating on Gurbani [knowledge about God (Waheguru)] and to know the thought pattern of our Gurus and 2. Nam Japana, which leads to Simran and to ‘Ajaapa Jaap’ on the name of God (Waheguru) as our Datta and Karta (- keeping in mind that He is first Datta and then Karta).
The Gurmat creates in us an awareness of our ‘Dharam’ (both in spiritual and ethical terms and on ‘Hukam-razai chalna’). There are heaps of people who just stop at this stage of awareness of Gurmat. The increasing awareness of Gurmat stirs up some persons and leads them to the realm of knowledge in which one starts enjoying ‘uchi surti’ and a taste of ‘Anand’.
Further, one become pious with a growing divine guidance. In this awastha one feels a natural sense of elevation in one’s thinking facilities coupled with unusual high degree of awareness leading to ‘Sehaj’. Slowly one qualifies to receive Waheguru’s grace/nadr and feels blessed (‘sito-sita’) with Waheguru and sees Him around and in everybody. At this stage one enjoys blissful experiences full of divine courage and strength in one’s actions, speech and writings.
According to Gurmat the Nam Japna is an important step to open/control one’s mind in order to climb to spiritual heights enjoyed by our Gurus, Bhaghats, Mahapuraks, Gurmukhs and some Gursikhs. The outcome of Naam Japna is beyond comprehension and belongs to some “Virle”. Sadhs, Sants, Brahm Gianis, and Gurumuks etc being Virle ( i.e rare only) cannot be easily recognised when they are always present and around. The riddle is fully explained in the Gurbani: Sadh ki sobha sadh ban aahie” and “Braham giani ki ghatt brahmgiani jane” (Raag Gauri M. 5)..
One needs to be a Sadh/Sant/Brahm giani to know one another. As a result common people will say that there are no such elevated souls because they cannot see them out of their own ignorance. The most positive common thread among the Gurus and the Bhaghats was that of Nam Japna and it was this link which attracted them closer to one another.
No rituals, dress or dietary codes, holdings of positions in religious institutions or related bodies help one to acquire the Gurmat. Basically one receives the Gurmat with Waheguru’s kirpa only and the stating point is daily nit-nem of Gurbani of Guru Granth Sahib and Ardas.
ਅਪਨੀ ਕ੍ਰਿਪਾ ਜਿਸੁ ਆਪਿ ਕਰੇਇ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਸੋ ਸੇਵਕੁ ਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਮਤਿ ਲੇਇ ॥੨॥ (Raag Gauri M. 5, GGS. 287).
He Himself grants His Grace; O Nanak, that selfless servant lives the Guru’s Teachings. ||2||
One can easily gauge one’s level of “Gurmat” based on some spiritual and ethical pointers prescribed in the Gurbani, particularly in Pauris on “Khands’ in Jap Ji Sahib and Lavaan.
Gurmat guides us and directs us to – ਗੁਰਮਤੀ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਨੁ ਖਟਿਆ ਭਗਤੀ ਭਰੇ ਭੰਡਾਰਾ. This indicates that ‘Naam Dhan’ and ‘Bhagati’ (Divine devotional love for Guru and Waheguru) are just responsible to fulfil one’s needs in life.
Guru Nanak Dev Ji elaborates about Gurmat (i) in the following pankties:-
ਮਾਹਾ ਰੁਤੀ ਸਭ ਤੂੰ ਘੜੀ ਮੂਰਤ ਵੀਚਾਰਾ ॥ ਤੂੰ ਗਣਤੈ ਕਿਨੈ ਨ ਪਾਇਓ ਸਚੇ ਅਲਖ ਅਪਾਰਾ ॥ (Raag Maajh M. 1, GGS. 140-14)
Through all the months and the seasons, the minutes and the hours, I dwell upon You, O Lord. No one has attained You by clever calculations, O True, Unseen and Infinite Lord.
ਪੜਿਆ ਮੂਰਖੁ ਆਖੀਐ ਜਿਸੁ ਲਬੁ ਲੋਭੁ ਅਹੰਕਾਰਾ ॥ ਨਾਉ ਪੜੀਐ ਨਾਉ ਬੁਝੀਐ ਗੁਰਮਤੀ ਵੀਚਾਰਾ ॥ (Raag Maajh M. 1, GGS. 140-15).
That scholar who is full of greed, arrogant pride and egotism, is known to be a fool. So read the Name, and realize the Name, and contemplate the Guru’s Teachings.
ਗੁਰਮਤੀ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਨੁ ਖਟਿਆ ਭਗਤੀ ਭਰੇ ਭੰਡਾਰਾ ॥ ਨਿਰਮਲੁ ਨਾਮੁ ਮੰਨਿਆ ਦਰਿ ਸਚੈ ਸਚਿਆਰਾ ॥
Through the Guru’s Teachings, I have earned the wealth of the Naam; I possess the storehouses, overflowing with devotion to the Lord. Believing in the Immaculate Naam, one is hailed as true, in the True Court of the Lord.
ਜਿਸ ਦਾ ਜੀਉ ਪਰਾਣੁ ਹੈ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਜੋਤਿ ਅਪਾਰਾ ॥ ਸਚਾ ਸਾਹੁ ਇਕੁ ਤੂੰ ਹੋਰੁ ਜਗਤੁ ਵਣਜਾਰਾ ॥੬॥
The Divine Light of the Infinite Lord, who owns the soul and the breath of life, is deep within the inner being. You alone are the True Banker, O Lord; the rest of the world is just Your petty trader. ||6||
Is this not a miraculous that Bhai Jetha an ordinary poor young boy who used to sell boiled black chickpeas eventually became the 4th Sikh Guru who not only left behind spiritual wealth but also financial/economic wealth as well? How can we explain this fete? Is this not as a result of Gurmat (i)?
On the literary side, Guru Ram Das Ji’s composition ‘Lavaan’ alone is par excellence – a story of his own Spiritual experience enumerated in four steps:- gathering of spiritual knowledge of Waheguru; seeing Him around; going into vairag on missing Him and finally staying in liv (Divine connectivity) with Waheguru. Lavaan reinforces the Spiritual Steps (Khands) prescribed by Guru Nanak Sahib in Jap Ji as well. Altogether Guru Ram Das Ji has contributed in all 638 sbds, saloks and chandds in the Guru Granth Sahib.
It is wondrous how Guru Ji without any formal education became an extra ordinary visionary scholar to do many things for the development of the Sikh Community and humanity.
Today the hustling & bustling city of Amritsar is known for ‘Ram Das Sarovar’ and Darbar Sahib (Golden Temple). Amritsar today houses Khalsa College, Guru Nanak Dev University and many other Colleges and Educational Institutions that have produced so many scholarly professors (created Chairs for study of Gurmat), lecturers and researchers and numerous literary works since hundreds of years after Guru Ram Das Ji’s spiritual legacy.
The apex body, SGPC, looking after the affairs of Gurduaras in Punjab runs from the premises of Golden Temple complex with an exponentially growing annual budget rising to Rs. 1000+ crores in; a huge real estate and employing a large task force at different levels. What a remarkable vision for human resource management that Guru Ji left for us!
The Gurmat transformation further extended and continued beyond Guru Ramdas Ji. Guru Arjan Dev Ji (a blessed son of Guru Ram Das Ji) has been a great gift to Sikhi who was instrumental in contributing the major portion of Gurbani and at the same time in compiling Adi Granth Sahib by incorporating spiritual writings of five Gurus and that of Bhagats and Mahapurakhs to create a interfaith stage for spiritual growth.
Bhatt Keerat acknowledges the Spiritual Wealth of Guru Ram Das Ji and pays a glowing tribute in the following pankti:-
ਇਕ ਅਰਦਾਸਿ ਭਾਟ ਕੀਰਤਿ ਕੀ ਗੁਰ ਰਾਮਦਾਸ ਰਾਖਹੁ ਸਰਣਾਈ ॥੪॥੫੮॥ (GGS. 1406-10)
Keerat the poet offers this one prayer: O Guru Raam Daas, save me! Take me into Your Sanctuary! ||4||58||
Yogi Harbhajan Singh named his ashram after Guru Ram Das Ji and lately the Punjab and Indian Governments befittingly re-named ‘Guru Ram Dass International Airport, Amritsar.
Guru Ramdas Ji’ s transformation is reflected in his Bani as given below:-
ਜਿਸ ਦੈ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਸਚੁ ਹੈ ਸੋ ਸਚਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਮੁਖਿ ਸਚੁ ਅਲਾਏ ॥ (Raag Maajh M. 4, GGS. 140-2).
Those, within whom the Truth dwells, obtain the True Name; they speak only the Truth.
ਓਹੁ ਹਰਿ ਮਾਰਗਿ ਆਪਿ ਚਲਦਾ ਹੋਰਨਾ ਨੋ ਹਰਿ ਮਾਰਗਿ ਪਾਏ ॥
They walk on the Lord’s Path, and inspire others to walk on the Lord’s Path as well.
ਜੇ ਅਗੈ ਤੀਰਥੁ ਹੋਇ ਤਾ ਮਲੁ ਲਹੈ ਛਪੜਿ ਨਾਤੈ ਸਗਵੀ ਮਲੁ ਲਾਏ ॥
Bathing in a pool of holy water, they are washed clean of filth. But, by bathing in a stagnant pond, they are contaminated with even more filth.
ਤੀਰਥੁ ਪੂਰਾ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੂ ਜੋ ਅਨਦਿਨੁ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਏ ॥
The True Guru is the Perfect Pool of Holy Water. Night and day, He meditates on the Name of the Lord, Har, Har.
ਓਹੁ ਆਪਿ ਛੁਟਾ ਕੁਟੰਬ ਸਿਉ ਦੇ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਸਭ ਸ੍ਰਿਸਟਿ ਛਡਾਏ ॥
He is saved, along with his family; bestowing the Name of the Lord, Har, Har, He saves the whole world.
ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਤਿਸੁ ਬਲਿਹਾਰਣੈ ਜੋ ਆਪਿ ਜਪੈ ਅਵਰਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਜਪਾਏ ॥੨॥
Servant Nanak is a sacrifice to one who himself chants the Naam, and inspires others to chant it as well. ||2||
Guru Ji exposure was restricted to Gurmat and he did not gain any professional or higher educational qualification (such as doctorate or MBA etc) from a modern day educational university/institution of the like of Harvard, Cambridge, Oxford…….
So it is evidently indicated that Gurmat – leads to Naam, and Naam leads to Budh-bebik.
It will be befitting if the sponsors of Sikh Chairs in various universities in USA, Canada, UK and India embark on research studies to explore the role of Gurmat in transforming human-beings as is demonstrated in the case of Bhai Jetha Ji who as a result moved from ‘Rags to Riches’.
Finally, it emerges that the Sikh Ardas for Naam Daan is fulfilling and includes all the necessary needs in life (including groceries).
– ਵਿਣੁ ਤੁਧੁ ਹੋਰੁ ਜਿ ਮੰਗਣਾ ਸਿਰਿ ਦੁਖਾ ਕੈ ਦੁਖ ॥ ਦੇਹਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਸੰਤੋਖੀਆ ਉਤਰੈ ਮਨ ਕੀ ਭੁਖ ॥(Raag Raamkali M. 5, GGS. 958-1).
To ask for any other than You, Lord, is the most miserable of miseries.
Please bless me with Your Name, and make me content; may the hunger of my mind be satisfied.
Personally, I find the following message of Guru Ram Dass Ji a torch bearing and very assuring in life:-
ਜਿਨ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਹੈ ਤੇ ਜਨ ਸੁਘੜ ਸਿਆਣੇ ਰਾਮ ਰਾਜੇ ॥ (Raag Asa M. 4, GGS. 450-15).
Those whose hearts are filled with the love of the Lord, Har, Har, are the wisest and most clever people, O Lord King.
ਜੇ ਬਾਹਰਹੁ ਭੁਲਿ ਚੁਕਿ ਬੋਲਦੇ ਭੀ ਖਰੇ ਹਰਿ ਭਾਣੇ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਸੰਤਾ ਨੋ ਹੋਰੁ ਥਾਉ ਨਾਹੀ ਹਰਿ ਮਾਣੁ ਨਿਮਾਣੇ ॥
Even if they misspeak outwardly, they are still very pleasing to the Lord.
The Lord’s Saints have no other place. The Lord is the honor of the dishonored.
ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਨਾਮੁ ਦੀਬਾਣੁ ਹੈ ਹਰਿ ਤਾਣੁ ਸਤਾਣੇ ॥੧॥
The Naam, the Name of the Lord, is the Royal Court for servant Nanak; the Lord’s power is his only power. ||1||
If we keep in mind the following messages: “Gurmat saachi saacha vichaar’ and ‘Gurbani eis jag mein channan’, then there is no apparent or real contradiction in Gurbani.
Wellington, New Zealand