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Gur Panth Parkash

Gur Panth Parkash
by Rattan Singh Bhangoo
Translated by
Prof Kulwant Singh



Demystifying the Mystique communion, Liberation and Nirvana

K S Ahluwalia

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 ॥ 
 ਤੁਮ@ ਜੁ ਨਾਇਕ ਆਛਹੁ ਅੰਤਰਜਾਮੀ ॥ 
 ਪ੍ਰਭ ਤੇ ਜਨੁ ਜਾਨੀਜੈ ਜਨ ਤੇ ਸੁਆਮੀ ॥ ੨ ॥ 
 ਸਰੀਰੁ ਆਰਾਧੈ ਮੋ ਕਉ ਬੀਚਾਰੁ ਦੇਹੂ ॥ 
 ਰਵਿਦਾਸ ਸਮ ਦਲ ਸਮਝਾਵੈ ਕੋਊ ॥ ੩ ॥ 

The Lover and the Beloved become one.
The One who realizes that the past and future, it's all divine
Is liberated from the cycle of birth and death
There is no other way to liberation
The one who sees that the self pervades in all beings, and
that all beings pervade the self,
sees the Brahman, the ultimate reality.
There isn't any other way

– Guru Granth Sahib, p. 93

Above composition of Bhagat Ravi Das being recited at a social gathering transported me to a mystic feeling - one of dissolution, annihilation, not being. Yet existing. Oneness with trance, the moment simply stopped, expanded, expanded more, yet more.

After a time elapse, regaining my pseudo intellect, I was experiencing being jettisoned on an auto pilot mode, where I was an observer, things /events were unfolding all by themselves on their own.  I was in a different space - where I was being made aware of the muchness, vastness of the message being disseminated.

And something broke free, these ideas/ thoughts, observations simply came. They aren't mine, will never be mine, and cannot be mine.  I am simply a flute through which this music is playing. Savouring it, enjoying it, dancing in it, celebrating it  is all  that I am doing, in fact I am not doing, it simply is happening on its own.

An expansive experience, Nameless, Formless, Sans description. Yet there and not there, Without name, Without any characteristic, It's simply there, In the now.

Ultimate mystery has many names, yet in reality it's nameless, It is description less, It is beyond expression. Yet we search for names to better our understanding of:

Why is this constant thirst to affix a name? Let's uncover some thoughts on it

In man's heart, there is a deep thirst. There is a prayer in him for the divine- but how to invite that which is 'anaam', without name.

       "Interestingly if one wants to weep at the feet of the divine, where shall he find them?
       "One may even find a stirring arising in his being for it, yet in which direction, should this feeling be addressed.

       "Even if one's feet want to run to it, where does he reside is a million dollar question.
       "There is no address, thus no path to it, consequently no direction - as all directions, paths, belong to it, every single space is His temple."

Man is in a great difficulty, because his movement cannot happen. One can move only when one is clear about the directional, non direction movement is simply not possible. One can walk on some path, it's impossible to walk towards a place to which all paths lead, or, to which no path leads. Whenever one calls, a name is required. The name may simply be a formality, yet it's critical to be able to address.

Interestingly, the divine has no name. In fact nothing has a name in this world.  We affix names, we use these names, but the use is utilitarian, a day to day necessity. There is also a danger in using names. The names are used so much that slowly, slowly, the thing that was nameless, the person who was nameless, becomes secondary, and the name becomes the most important thing.

When a child is born, he does not come with any name, he simply is a clean slate, a divine reality, one immersed in innocence, celebration, celestial dance. Yet it's not accepted by us. Immediately we attach/affix a false name on him.  One is able to call him, talk to him or about him. To communicate and relate with him becomes easy, possible. It is interesting that relating to a nameless child is difficult, but a name, which is unreal, becomes the basis for all our relationships.

Expanding the some argument to the creation, existence itself is nameless.  But along with usefulness of the name, there is another danger: without a name it's difficult for a child to live. And living with a name, slowly, he forgets that he was born without a name and will die without one. No matter how strongly the name has been etched on to him, it cannot penetrate his inner being, there, he is still nameless. Let others call him by a name, but he himself should not fall into the illusion that he has this name.

Yet we all fall into  this illusion, and we start living and dying for the name- killing to save our name, honour from disgrace, and our prestige becomes supreme for us. Let someone mis-pronounce our name, and we start popping up like a pop corn. A slight mistake with one's name, and explosion occurs.  The name, seems to have gone very deep into us, it bothers us immensely. As a utility it was okay, but it has since assumed my very being- and I have forgotten my real identity, which will be nameless till eternity.

And interesting, even in pursuit of the real Truth I feel a deep need to name the truth; it cannot be left as it is. Till the time I cage it, I am uneasy.  So I keep searching for names that I can ascribe and one that I feel strongly related to is then affixed.  And now the problems start.

The name I affix is the name I want each one to follow, because I believe this is the best, at the top, at the pinnacle. But what can really satisfy and quench my thirst, is God ordained and every other person should follow it without questions.  And here again the ego and fanatical thinking takes over. Incidentally the whole  process is so seamlessly integrated that one simply gets immersed in it, and it's only after a while, it's one realizes that one is not driving one's belief, the beliefs'/thoughts/ judgements are driving him  instead.

Hindu ethos talks about Trimurti - Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva representing three distinct functions, and interestingly functions have no face, because existence itself is faceless. If one removes the faces from the statue having them, one is left with existence only. The three faces are three expressions of existence.  We give them names, create their images, and get entrapped in them - our creations.

Man is weak, very weak, because he simply finds it extremely difficult to create a relationship with essential Foundations.  That is why all religions have created concept of God, and their multiples. The concept of many gods is for those who cannot yet rise to the idea of one God, Oneness, Completeness and totality.

That which never perishes the ultimate energy - Wahe Guru- Wondrous Lord, which is eternally there in midst of all changes, is nameless, descriptionless, fathomless.  It's as complete as empty, as bright as dark, it's paradoxical paradox.   This energy has always been there, is there and will be there.

ਆਦਿ ਸਚੁ ਜੁਗਾਦਿ ਸਚੁ ॥ 
ਹੈ ਭੀ ਸਚੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਹੋਸੀ ਭੀ ਸਚੁ ॥
– Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1

Thus for some, the Divine descends as a vastness, they glimpse the divine wherever there is vastness, seeing the vast ocean, gazing at the infinite sky- wherever there is a boundless expanse. 

Then there is another kind of expanse in the eternal energy, and another kind of expanse in the vastness of the sky. Let's understand them both. The expanse of the eternal energy is in the dimension of time, that was, is now, and will be.  The dimension of time is stretched over an expanse of time, and the sky is here, right now, in all directions. The expanse of the sky is a dimension of space. There are people who are able to experience the expanse of time and there are those who experience the expanse of space: it simply depends on the each individual.  A thinker will thus experience the expanse of time and a meditator will here and now experience the expanse of sky, of space.

Consequently for the thinkers, the Divine has been named as vast immensity, while for the meditator the Divine ceases to exist. There is no time for him; he enters the dimension of the timelessness, thoughtlessness, formlessness. The divine is experienced as a vast immensity in this very moment.

The immensity of the sky is present now, here. The immensity of the river extends behind it, ahead of it. The longest river extends ahead of and behind itself. The sky extends here, now and everywhere. 

The wondrous Lord - Waheguru, is experienced in the vast immensity of nothingness, yet fullness. That is why he is beyond -simply beyond everything, anything. Sri Guru Gobind Singh penned Jaap sahib - the song of the warrior saint - weaving different languages into 199 verses, Jaap describes God from every side of the nirgun and the sargun, his transcendental and phenomenal aspects. In the preamble, (mangla charan) he tells us that in naming God we come to know about Him. Attributes and names appear one after the other through the entire composition, which is beyond the rational faculty of man, deep into the realm of experience.

And only one who understands this phenomenon of many names, one who understands that the vast immensity is nameless, that all names belong to it, one who does not get caught up with names, is actually free. If he is caught up within names, he is still lurking in bondages of worldliness.

The name of the divine is all that has been, all that is and all that will be. All forms that have been, are and will belong to him. All that has happened, is happening, will happen is also Divine. One who is reminded of the Divine through every experience, one who starts seeing Him in all directions, one who uses everything as a pointer towards it, will experience liberation occurring all by itself.

One begins to experience that all paths go towards the Divine, all directions belong to him, all expressions- everything - is He. Other than the deepening of this realization in us, there is no other way to liberation.

Elaborating till such time I exist, I cannot be liberated. As long as I am there, there is no liberation. When I am total emptiness, only then does liberation happen. When everything belongs to the Divine, nothing is mine, only then liberation occurs.

My liberation, how can I find my liberation, how can I reach my nirvana.  This is false, wrong. Because it's from this 'my' and ' mine' that one has to be liberated. It is this 'I' that will be transformed into nirvana; into cessation. It is the 'me' that has to disappear, it is the 'me' that has to dissolve; there can be no liberation for this 'me' and for this 'I'.

I thus have to be non-existent; hence no such thing as 'my' liberation would be there. Where there is liberation. There is no 'I'; where there is 'I', there is no liberation.

Liberation means ultimate freedom. Even if you become free of everything else, if the "I "remains, that too is bondage.

Everything thus belongs to Him, its Divine's - happiness, misery, defeat, victory, birth, death, success, failure, everything. Nothing that we can call ours remains. As long as one can say "my" about anything, one will remain in bondage because, in the ultimate sense, this' my' is the only bondage I have.

The one, who sees that the self pervades all beings. And that all beings pervade the self sees the Brahman, the ultimate reality. There is no other way.

Thus if one's self is not seen in all beings and all beings in one's self, if thou does not become I, and I thou, the distance will remain.

This is the last jump:
       "Where the lover becomes the beloved and the beloved becomes the lover.
       "Where the devoted becomes God and God becomes the devotee.
       "When it's no longer clear who is who. Who is who is no longer known?"

This is the final statement that the intellect can think about, that it can perceive. Beyond this, the world of perception ends and there is no more possibility for thinking.

Are we ready to dissolve, annihilate, extinguish, destroy ourselves, and be ready to embrace nothingness, vastness, that is indescribable - an experienceless experience, where the seeker and the sought effect a seamless integration - till eternity?

This kind of entity is what Guru Sahib exalts us to do - be that Khalsa – be that one – be an embodiment of what Divinity is. Not 'I', 'me' and 'you'. This is what this following verse means:
Jagat Jot(i) japai nis basur
ek bina man naik n anai.
Puran prem pratit sajai,
bart, gor, marhi, matt bhul n manai.
Tirath dan daya tap sanjam,
ek bina neh ek pachhanai.
Puran jot(i) jagai ghat mai(n),
tab khalas tahey nkhalas janai.

– Guru Gobind Singh, 33 Sawaiyye


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