On hearing this, Rani Raj pulls in her breath and raises her eyes high. Her gaze turns inwards. Her eyelids close partially. In this state, she sees in her heart the seated image of her Rana. He smiles and says, “the path the Guru-inspired being has told you is correct. Walk on it, Raj; it will make me happy.” Seeing Rana makes the Rani’s heart so joyful that she opens her eyes.
The Guru-inspired being intently watching the Rani in silence whispers, “He was your Guru-oriented husband. You become Guru-oriented, like him. Then you will become one with your beloved. You are attaining the understanding of Sikhi. I have described the way to you. Now you need to attain the Guru-oriented state. This state is not far from your grasp. You need to get there. Now listen to the description:
ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਦਾਨੁ ਇਸਨਾਨੁ ॥
The Guru-oriented is blessed with Nam, dan, isnan.
Guru Granth Sahib 938
“Guru ji has outlined these pointers of a Guru-oriented being. I am now going to tell you the secret of this.
Isnan - (bathing-cleansing-reflection, ਇਸਨਾਨੁ )
“The first pointer is isnan. This is the way it has to be accepted:
- Body (dehi, ਦੇਹੀ)
Keep the body clean (shudh, ਸ਼ੁਧ) by bathing. Wear clean and appropriate clothes. Eat adequately, and sleep adequately. Make those efforts to keep the body healthy so you can carry out your responsibilities. This is the ‘body-isnan’ of a Guru-oriented being.
- Mind (mun, ਮਨ)
Keep the mind clean and protect it from inferior thoughts. Like the clean, pure water that emerges from a spring and collects in a pond, keep the mind pure and clean. Continuously keep cleaning the mind. Keep the mind low and humble. Don’t keep the mind high, like the mountaintop, for the water cannot collect there. This is ‘mind-isnan,’ Raj ji.
- Intellect (mat, ਮਤ)
Rani ji, this is how to keep the intellect clean from unethical thoughts. Keep good thoughts in mind, and keep the mind away from bad thoughts. Don’t allow bad thoughts to affect the intellect. Keep the intellect firmly in command over the mind. It will elevate the mind. A clean and strong intellect can discern whether what the mind is thinking is beneficial. A weak intellect cannot differentiate whether arising thoughts are good or bad. Keep your intellect under the Creator’s protection so that it remains clean and elevated. This way, your intellect will get clean. This is ‘intellect-isnan,’ Raj ji.
- Consciousness (chit, ਚਿੰਤ)
Keeping consciousness clean is ‘consciousness-isnan.’ Numerous thoughts enter consciousness. Consciously guard your consciousness. Get rid of harmful thoughts. Protect consciousness so that virtues dominate. This is ‘consciousness-isnan,’ as revealed by Guru-oriented beings.
- Atam (essence, life-force, self, spirit, ਆਤਮ)
Then, ‘atam-isnan’ happens this way. Through objective observation, recognize the different and separate entities within yourself. Then, realize that you are separate from the body. You are spirit. You are distinct from the body, mind, intellect, and consciousness. And all the entities within are as if a spinning wheel has been fitted, but the spinning master is different.
I am not dead.
I am not the body.
I am not an illusion.
I am distinct from matter and nature.
I am an inseparable part of the Creator.
This is ‘atam-isnan’: the realization that one is not the body but a living spark of the Creator, say the Guru-oriented beings.
As Kabir says:
ਕਹੁ ਕਬੀਰ ਇਹੁ ਰਾਮ ਕੀ ਅੰਸੁ ॥
ਜਸ ਕਾਗਦ ਪਰ ਮਿਟੈ ਨ ਮੰਸੁ ॥੪॥੨॥੫॥
Says Kabir: This spirit within is an element of the spirit of the Charmer-Divine.
As the ink is on paper, yet it cannot be erased. 4.2.5
Guru Granth Sahib 871
Dan - (giving-philanthropy, ਦਾਨ)
“Then, the Guru-oriented being practice dan.
- The first dan is of food. Then, medicine, water, and clothing to those in pain. Then, it is to provide aid to the widows, orphans, and the destitute. Then, to anyone helpless. Sweet
words flowing from one’s mouth are dan too. These are termed as ‘body-dan’ by everyone.
- Then there is dan of the mind. Dan resides in the mind of the Guru-oriented being like this: Within their heart, they desire to do good deeds. Their heart’s excitement makes their body walk on the path of dan, enabling dan to transpire. This is termed as ‘mind-dan.’
- Then, in the intelligence (budhi, ਬੁੱਧੀ), dan begins to reside in this manner: Guru-oriented beings can distinguish the genuinely needy ones and provide them with true comfort. They recognize power and entitlement. They recognize their ‘giving-power.’ However, if ego enters the mind by giving, the discerning intelligence tells the mind:
‘Having given dan, don’t get self-inflated. Don’t seek compensation.’
If in mind there is selfishness, intelligence guides the mind to wash itself. Serve selflessly, and leave selfishness. Serve without expectation. When the expectation is left behind, Gurmat (Guru’s way) insight emerges. The Guru-oriented then shares this insight, illuminating the world. With their intelligence, they elucidate others’ intellect like a lit lamp lights other lamps. They share the method of attaining Nam, knowledge, and love of the Creator with the world.
- “Then dan becomes part of consciousness (chit, ਚਿੰਤ). Dan of the mind and intellect is beyond the dan of the tongue and body. Raj ji, the ones I have spoken to you about do not recognize dan as theirs to give. I would say that they consider it a play within Divine Command (Hukam, ਹੁਕਮ). When difficulties arise from giving dan, they accept that too as dan. They treat dishonest beings as honest, bearing, and forgiving everyone. The Guru-oriented don’t consider dan as an obligation. Nor do they keep an account of their good deeds in their consciousness. This is ‘consciousness-dan,’ Raj Kaur ji.
- “The ones who get rejuvenated in their atma know that nothing is theirs. They know that neither wealth nor property, neither children nor friends are theirs. These relationships are there because of the body and the senses. Dan, of Guru-oriented beings, is spontaneous. It arises from their natural intuitive nature as a rose intuitively emits its fragrance in dan to all.
“Listen: Taking is the nature of Maya (illusions of temporary material and transient relationships); giving is the nature of the Creator. Atma is an inseparable part of the Creator. Whatever dan the Creator has given, gracefully accept it. The giving nature of the Creator is an inseparable part present within us. When the atma rejuvenates, the giving nature awakens.
“Worldly-oriented beings who have not bathed in Guru-oriented isnan are forever the takers and the seekers of sensual and physical indulgence. The worldly-oriented beings do not know how to give. Their giving is a transaction. They expect a ten-fold return for their giving. Their desires increase with this giving.
“However, for those who have risen above their ego, above their physical awareness to atma, their giving-nature urge awakens. At first, they practice dan as a duty; then, they practice it as service; then, they practice it without expectation. The focus is still on service rather than dan, as I have already shared with you. Dan of a Sikh becomes elevated when they learn of atma dan, which is described below:
ਕਬੀਰ ਮੇਰਾ ਮੁਝ ਮਹਿ ਕਿਛੁ ਨਹੀ ਜੋ ਕਿਛੁ ਹੈ ਸੋ ਤੇਰਾ ॥
ਤੇਰਾ ਤੁਝ ਕਉ ਸਉਪਤੇ ਕਿਆ ਲਾਗੈ ਮੇਰਾ ॥੨੦੩॥
Kabir, nothing is mine in me. Whatever there is, it is Yours.
I surrender what is Yours to You; what does it cost me? 203
Guru Granth Sahib 1375
“As the seeker rises above body-consciousness, their dan becomes even more splendid. Until ego merges in dan, the Creator remains distant. When consciousness resides in the illusion of filth, it resides in selfishness. It remains broken, and one remains a taker. However, when one wins over Maya through practice, the ‘atma-dan’ nature awakens and becomes ever-increasing.
“Reaching the state of a Guru-oriented being (Gurmukh, ਗੁਰਮੁਖ), one realizes they are not giving dan, for nothing is theirs. Everything is dan and is happening on its own. When the beloved Guru-oriented being performs such a dan, then the bright light of Sikhi radiates beautifully.
“Pain and comfort become alike.
Treating all equally without malice.
Forgiving is dan, ever-flowing naturally.
Remaining forever joyful, never wavering.
Recognizing and receiving whatever comes as Divine Will.
Recognizing and relinquishing whatever goes as Divine Will.
Distributing this temperament spontaneously with all.
“The Guru-oriented being who practices dan of oneself, of one’s deeds, of one’s action till the end, takes those separated to the eternal union of the Timeless as revealed by Bhagat Farid ji in the Guru Granth Sahib:
ਗੁਰਮੁਖ ਕੋਟਿ ਉਧਾਰਦਾ ਭਾਈ ਦੇ ਨਾਵੈ ਏਕ ਕਣੀ ॥
O’ Brother! The Guru-oriented saves millions even by sharing with them a tiny bit of IkOankar’s Identification (Nam).
Guru Granth Sahib 608
ਗੁਰਮੁਖ ਤਾਰੇ ਪਾਰਿ ਉਤਾਰੇ॥
The Guru-oriented liberates and takes others across the world-ocean.
Guru Granth Sahib 941
“Remaining in one’s intuitive, natural nature, consciousness permeates.
Intuitively giving one’s temperament lives higher.
Giving and then not identifying with the giving.
Interacting with the creation with the giving nature.
Consciously not identifying with what has been given and is being given.
This way, the Guru-oriented practices atma-dan.”
Nam - (Divine-Identification, ਨਾਮੁ)
“The third is Nam, Rani ji. It is the crown of ‘isnan’ and ‘dan.’ Nam aids both realities (isnan and dan) to reach the destination.
“Nam (Divine-Identification, ਨਾਮੁ) knows the Divine, the Creator. Nam is a form of the Divine, as sunlight is the form of the sun. When we experience sunlight, we feel we have attained the sun. Similarly, when we attain Nam, it is as if we have attained the Nami (Giver, ਨਾਮੀ). That is why Guru-oriented beings yearn to attain Nam. Nam is the third principle practice Guru-oriented beings adopt.
“Raj ji, you need to understand that:
The Creator has no form, shape, or color.
The Creator is beyond the three gunas (qualities: rajas, activity; tamas, darkness; sattva, purity).
The Creator is the eternal Truth.
The Creator cannot be seen.
“However, the Creator is watching and revealing not. We cannot see the Creator. We love things that we can see. How can we love what we cannot see? Without love, how can we meet the Creator? How can we love the Creator?
“I will explain some of this, but before I do that, think about one thing, Raj ji: If the one we love is out of our sight, is in another country, then in what way, in what form, would we remember that love within us?”
Smilingly Raj ji answers: “O’ Guru-inspired being! That ‘remembrance’ would be continuous and with every breath. One would never forget that ‘remembrance,’ that love from within.”
Happy with the response, the Guru-inspired being says: “That is why ‘remembrance’ is one form of love. When the beloved is near, the heart desires that the eyes never leave sight of the beloved for even a moment. When the beloved moves away from sight, the heart continuously remembers, never forgetting for a moment. That is why this ‘remembrance’ is a form of love when the beloved goes far or is out of sight.
“The Creator is gracing us with this form of ‘remembrance,’ as we cannot see the Creator. However, if we always keep this ‘remembrance’ with faith in the heart that ‘Beloved is there,’ this ‘remembrance’ is the ‘presence’ of the Beloved.”
Startled and excited, Raj exclaims: “You have told the truth. The easy truth.”
On hearing this, the Guru-inspired being intuitively says: “Satguru (Eternal-Guru, ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ) has called this continuous flow of ‘remembrance’ Nam. Starting with utterance and culminating in a perennial ‘remembrance’ is Nam. ‘Remembrance’ is love. If this form of love for the loving Creator enters the heart easily, then one attains this state quickly. But if love does not enter the heart quickly and the heart wavers, then:
- Nam Jap (utter-contemplate, ਜਪ): The real form of the Creator we cannot see. However, we know the Name. We need to establish that Name in our consciousness. We need to root this practice in the body. Nam begins from the body in this way: Begin reciting the Name from your tongue. When your tongue starts reciting the Name, and when you begin remembering the Creator in the heart, you will gradually and naturally turn inwards. Nam moves from the tongue to abide in mind.
- Nam Simran (remembrance, ਸਿਮਰਨ): When Nam begins to reside in the heart, it is called simran. When stray thoughts invade the mind, simran slows them down. Determining to keep stray thoughts out also helps slow down these thoughts; this pattern gets established over time. When simran gets fully established in the mind, Raj ji, it is called ‘Nam of the mind’ (mun da Nam - ਮਨ ਦਾ ਨਾਮ).
- Nam Nivas (the dwelling of Nam in the heart and mind, ਨਿਵਾਸ): As feelings for the beloved Creator intensify, keep remembering Nam continuously, Rani Raj ji. Stray thoughts begin to subside. As Nam goes deeper within, it reaches the place where the subtle mind and your innate nature reside. Nam starts to live there too. No one knows how this happens. Intellect gets cleansed, and shadows disappear. The effect within spreads like this as if one’s whole inner being is cleansed and has become clear and beautiful. With Nam, intellect rises above the mind. One form of this elevation spreading within is that one’s self rises. This is not arrogance; this is a higher awareness. If you like, you can call this the most elevated spiritual stage (unmun, ਉਨਮਨ). The atma experiences comfort from this illuminating experience. Raj ji, the tree within, begins to spread.
- True, eternal (sat, ਸਤਿ): Consciousness (cit, ਚਿਤ) now becomes calm, illusion-free, and births in the pristine home-waters. The feeling of ‘the Creator, the One,’ enters–this is Nam. This clear reflection radiates Nam as the moonlight reflects in clear waters. In the clean vessel-consciousness, the true, the eternal form of Akal-Timeless resides and reflects as Light. This continuous flow of the presence of ‘the Creator, the One’ becomes the reality of the consciousness.
- Nam distances ego:
Ego distances and diminishes.
Existence of ego within us disappears.
‘I’ becomes distant.
ਹਉਮੈ ਨਾਵੈ ਨਾਲਿ ਵਿਰੋਧੁ ਹੈ ਦੁਇ ਨ ਵਸਹਿ ਇਕ ਠਾਇ ॥
Ego is opposed to Nam; both cannot reside in one place.
Guru Granth Sahib 560
- Union (mel, ਮੇਲ): When Nam begins to reside within the atma, one gets connected to the Nami, the Giver.
ਨਾਨਕ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਏ ਨਾਮੇ ਨਾਮਿ ਸਮਾਵਣਿਆ ॥
Nanak: Guru-oriented being contemplates Nam, through Nam, merges in Nam.
Guru Granth Sahib 116
“Rani ji, the meaning, the understanding of this is that only through contemplation of Nam can union with the Nami be realized. It is the meeting of atma with Parmatama (Supreme Being,ਪ੍ਰਸਾਤਮਾ). This is that connection.
ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮਾ ਜਸੁ ਜਾਚਉ ਨਾਉ ॥
ਗੁਰਪਰਸਾਦੀ ਬ੍ਰਹਮਿ ਸਮਾਉ ॥
I seek Nam and Praise of the All-Pervasive.
By the Guru’s Grace, I am absorbed in the Supreme Being.
Guru Granth Sahib 355
“As long as there is breath in the body, in every moment, this connection will continuously exist, as a branch is connected to a tree inseparably. However, this is only an example. The real experience of the ‘union’ is beyond expression and cannot be relayed. When a Gurmukh leaves the body, this ‘union’ does not end; it does not break.
“Nam, as I have explained earlier, does four things:
Firstly, it cleans the dirt from the mind and makes it crystal clear.
Secondly, it unites the mind, enabling deep concentration, steadiness, and insights.
Thirdly, it gives the sweet taste of amrit, the eternal nectar.
Fourthly, it connects you to the Nami, the Giver.
“Meeting with the Nami is the purpose of Nam.
ਬਦਤਿ ਜੈਦੇਉ ਜੈਦੇਵ ਕਉ ਰੰਮਿਆ ਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਨਿਰਬਾਣੁ ਲਿਵ ਲੀਣੁ ਪਾਇਆ ॥
Says Jaidev: Absorbed in the Epitome of victory, the Supreme Being was met engrossed in that absorption of the Unsullied.
Guru Granth Sahib 1106
“The meaning of this Raj ji is: By continuously remembering Nam, devotion enters, and one connects to the one called Supreme Cosmic (Braham, ਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ). I have called this stage detoxification (nirban pad, ਨਿਰਾਬਣ ਪਦ). It begins with the tongue reciting Nam and ends with the meeting of the Timeless Being (Akal Purakh, ਅਕਾਲ ਪੁਰਖ). Rani ji, this is the Guru’s way (Gurmat, ਗੁਰਮਤ).
“I will summarize the three so that you can understand them completely. When the Guru-oriented being attains all three—Nam, dan, isnan—this is what happens. Realization dawns, and the being recognizes the self as the observer. This is the Guru-oriented stage, where the being realizes that the I is not separate from the Supreme Being. The Guru-oriented being then becomes aware that everything within me is already dan. What we call ‘mine, mine,’ whether it is one’s body or the body of the beloved; whether it is wealth or whatever else, our senses, our mind are all instinctively performing dan. The I that once was considered ego is now viewed as dan. The I, my own self, is unblemished and clean. My own clean self is connected with the Creator and is inseparable.”
The Rani, attentively listening, lets out a sigh of relief.
“O’ Gracious being! I have listened carefully to the forms of Nam and have understood the Guru-oriented way as well. However, my simple intelligence could not understand certain subtleties. May I ask for clarification to guide this foolish one? If the entire self has become dan and nothing of the self remains, and the self is experiencing no thought, understanding, or belief, is it not lifeless? Unable to sense anything, what will the being accomplish?”
The Guru-inspired being, smiling, says: “How can what is not seen be described? The ones who have seen it also say it cannot be described; it has to be experienced. However, I can clarify what I have heard and read with an example. A tightly spinning top, while spinning, appears still but is not. It is spinning at a considerable speed, which is visible only when one’s concentration focuses on it.
“Similarly, extremely bright light does not let you see, but one cannot say that bright light equates to darkness. So too, is the state of Nam when graced. Consciousness then becomes unblemished; energy is unlimited; it is intense, to the extent that our limited intellect cannot fathom it.
“Consciousness becomes elevated, brilliant, clear, and clean, making the being beautiful, worthy of becoming a good child of the Creator and singing in harmony with the Creator. Just as a spark of coal buried in ash glistens like fire and does not stop glowing when taken out; just as a drop of water is free of dirt, is pure, and retains its form; similarly, this element within us gets cleansed and, connects with the Creator, attains energy and begins to speak the same language as the Creator.
“These are just examples that I have shared for your understanding. Sach khand is a realm. It is one state about which nothing can be said. We have to reside in that realm, and the realm has to reside within us. The two states becoming one. Words cannot express this state. Those who become complete experience it. They become inseparable, blending, rejoicing, and merging in that ocean. Taking the form of the ocean and residing in it.
“All that I have imbibed by reading and studying the Infinite Wisdom of the Guru Granth Sahib (Gurbani, ਗੁਰਬਾਣੀ), I have shared it with you, Raj ji. Satguru alone knows the way. My limited intelligence cannot take you any further.”
The Guru-inspired being then calls for a letter written by the Rana and reads it to Raj Kaur to help her understand:
“Rani ji, the question in the letter is:
“What happens after one has gone through the dimensional levels of body, mind, intellect, and consciousness? When all these stages are complete, what is left?
“This is the question you were asking me. However, this question needs to be asked of a giani (wise one, ਗਯਾਨੀ). What comes to my intellect is that one must walk the path of love in constant contemplation, in simran. What else can I say?
“The answer to the question is also in the letter:
When we love continuously, we meet the Beloved. Or when we become immersed in Nam, our life-essence becomes eternal, and we unite with the Nami. The self and the intellect do not get destroyed. It is not like an ant getting crushed in a heap of sugar and disappearing. Such a belief would be a mistake. The self and the intellect are now living in the Source.”
ਕਹਿ ਕਬੀਰ ਬੁਧਿ ਹਰਿ ਲਈ ਮੇਰੀ ਬੁਧਿ ਬਦਲੀ ਸਿਧਿ ਪਾਈ ॥
Says Kabir, my intellect has been seized; now that the intellect has been transformed, I have received awareness-liberation.
Guru Granth Sahib 339
“Rani ji, we cannot articulate the exact experience. However, we can grasp some understanding of the experience through examples.
“In the night, beautiful stars shine. Their light is beautiful. But when the night passes, this light merges with the sun’s light. Do we say that the light is no more? That the light of the stars is destroyed?
“When we reflect on this, we realize that the light of the stars is still present; it is in the light of the sun. The rays of the sun do not destroy the light of the stars. If we light a lamp and put it out in the sun, will the sunlight destroy the light of the lamp? No, its light remains the same and merges with the sunlight.
“Similarly, when we play a musical instrument, its strings produce different sounds. Each note is different, yet they unite harmoniously and resonate to create one tune. Do the single notes perish? No, they live merging with the other notes creating the melody.
“Or, when a magnet connects to iron, does it die or stop attracting?
“Similarly, those who connect with the Creator become complete in that Completeness. They become one, like a single note in the melody. They meet the Creator and resonate with the same tune.
“These analogies are limited by time and space and are colored by our mind. However, the Creator is not colored by time and space; hence these analogies are limiting.”
The Guru-inspired being puts away the letter and continues:
“Raj ji, one more thing: The Creator is the personification of compassion and loves unconditionally. Those who never feel the separation connect with the Creator. Once connected, they never part. Seeing the earth burning, the ‘lovers’ come to help and then leave. They come from the Creator’s abode, help, and then leave. There is no other reason for them to come. They only come to serve. We cannot say whether they will come again to meet Rani ji. Where the Creator resides, there resides our gracious Satguru. And at the feet of Satguru in humility reside those who have become Guru-oriented and your husband, Surat Singh.
“Raj ji, it is my wish that you, too, become steadfast at the Guru-oriented level. When you reach that stage, you will only realize what it is. Experiences cannot be described; they are to be experienced.”
ਕਬੀਰ ਚਰਨ ਕਮਲ ਕੀ ਮਉਜ ਕੋ ਕਹਿ ਕੈਸੇ ਉਨਮਾਨ ॥
ਕਹਿਬੇ ਕਉ ਸੋਭਾ ਨਹੀ ਦੇਖਾ ਹੀ ਪਰਵਾਨੁ ॥੧੨੧॥
Kabir, how can the joy of being at Your lotus feet be estimated?
There is no honor to the describer; only witnessing-experiencing is acceptable. 121
Guru Granth Sahib 1370
The Rani’s consciousness is wholly absorbed in the advice, just as the sand absorbs the water. Her wonder is ever-increasing, and she experiences a moment of profound ecstasy. In that state of supreme bliss, she swoons and falls in front of the Guru Granth Sahib and remains in that ecstatic wave.
On regaining consciousness, she utters joyously, “What was this bliss?” Then she remembered everything the Guru-inspired being had said like a dream, like a gentle drizzle of rain, including what he had just shared.
Infused with gratitude, she gets up and, in humility, says: “I have heard everything you have shared; I was not worthy of receiving it. You have explained everything about a beautiful rose flower, but I am a foolish, insignificant insect. It looks impossible for me to reach that state. I am unworthy of that beautiful realm. I am not even a devotee yet. How will I learn the Sikhi path? How will I become a Guru-oriented being and carry out those actions? How will I do this isnan? How will I practice the beautiful dan? How will I deepen my experience of Nam with love? How will I understand this deep secret as I am deeply in love and attached to my husband?
“O’ Guru-inspired being, please give me the wings so I can fly and reach him. When you give me wings, could you give me strength as well? You are my beautiful, graceful congregation, carry me in your boat and take me to where my beloved is. I don’t have the strength to reach him by myself.”
ਸੁਨਿ ਅੰਧਾ ਕੈਸੋ ਮਾਰਗ ਪਾਵੈ ॥
ਕਰੁ ਗਹਿ ਲੇਹੁ ੳੜਿ ਨਿਬਹਾਵੈ ॥
By listening, how can the blind find the path?
Take hold of the hand till the destination is reached.
Guru Granth Sahib 267
On hearing these extremely humble words, the Guru-inspired being continues...