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Gunnaa Kaa Hovai Vaasalaa
– A Box of Fragrant Virtues –

Hari Singh Kuwait Wale

When we wish to be friends with somebody, either we become like him or make him like ourselves. In case we want to be united with Parmatama we must try to become like Him as we cannot change Him. It means we must adopt His gunn (good qualities) day by day and try to leave aside our evils, avagun. Gurbani explains:-

Gunnaa ka hovai vaasalaa kad vaas leejai
Je gunn hovan saajnaa mil saanj kreejai

[If we have a box of fragrant virtues we should extract the fragrance from it. We should inculcate the love of God in our heart and develop friendship with Him and adopt His good qualities in us.]

We should always sing in the praise of the good qualities and virtues of God and deep love for Him in order to develop a real relationship. Just saying “O dear Parmatama, we love you so much” is not sufficient. Actually we should have a strong desire to adopt His virtues and this can be seen from our daily activities. With true love for Him, all other worldly relations become false. Bhagat Ravidas Ji explains:

Sachee preet ham tum sio joree
Tum sio jor avar sang toree

[O Lord: we have developed true love for You only and imbibed Your love and devotion: we have broken off all relations with the rest of world.]

There is a great difference in obtaining the knowledge of science and Omniscient God. When any scientist after his research of many years makes a discovery, there remains no need for others to work on it. Newton discovered that earth has gravity and now there is no further need for others to work on it. Now every school going boy knows that if we throw any article up, it falls to the ground automatically. On the other hand, in order to unite with God, only one’s own sincere efforts and hard search can help. Every body has to adopt His characteristics and do His simran day and night. The pleasure a Bhagat obtains cannot be shared with others even after the best efforts. This can only be possible by training and encouragement to walk on that path.

Unfortunately, our difficulty is that we do not try to adopt the various virtues but claim that we know everything, whereas the reality is that we know nothing. We put our stamp on the person who succeeded after hard work of many years. For example, doctor studies for long years to get to that position but we also call his wife a Doctarni.
Similarly, we are under the wrong impression that we are Sikhs of our Guru just because we are born into a Sikh family. We claim that we know the meaning of religion; to do Nitnem, recite Gurbani, speak the truth, etc. We think that we have become Gursikh without having any of the qualities as mentioned by our Guru. Is it not similar to the mistake of calling wife of a doctor as doctarni? Also keep in mind that we do not become proud of the false gunn. Remember that if we attach our ahmkar with any virtue, it will become avgunn. Ego of any virtue, gunn is like burning our house with our own lamp.

After working very hard day and night, a generation becomes prosperous, but the next generation may destroy its gains and heritage. It is said that Henry Ford was the first man to design a car in the USA after hard labour for many years. In this connection, once he went to England. When he reached the airport, he enquired from the girl sitting on the counter about the cheapest hotel in the city. She recalled that the man was Henry Ford, whose photo and interview she was just reading in the newspaper. She asked if he was indeed Mr Ford. He confirmed by nodding his head. She again asked, “Why Sir, your sons always enquire about the best hotel but you are asking for a cheaper one?” He replied, “You are perfectly right; my sons can afford to live in the best hotel because they are sons of a rich father but I am son of a poor father.”

We realize the importance of a thing only when it is obtained after our hard work. Once a man was walking, wearing ordinary shoes but having a very costly shawl on his shoulders. While walking, his shoes became very dirty and he started cleaning the same with his shawl. A traveler on seeing this was rather surprised and asked, “I do not understand why you are cleaning your ordinary shoes with your costly shawl?” The man replied that these shoes were purchased from his hard earnings while the shawl was a gift from his father.

A young girl has full independence at her parents’ home. She gets love from every one in the family. Her mother tolerates all her tantrums. After her marriage she becomes a daughter-in-law in a different house where she is judged by her merits.

Similarly, when a person goes abroad and returns successful in life, he is most welcome and respected by all. He is regarded a sapoot, a worthy son. But if he fails to achieve distinction, he may not even be allowed to enter his home. There are three words sapoot, poot and kapoot. Sapoot is a son who progresses in every sphere of life and gets credit and respect for his parents. The poot does not make much progress and keeps the things as they were. Kapoot is a son who brings bad name to his parents. Like the worldly three types of sons, there are also three categories in religion – gurmukh, Sikh and manmukh. Gurmukh, like spoot brings laurels to his Guru, Sikh like the poot makes no progress in his life and the manmukh like a kapoot soils the name of his Guru. Suppose if on meeting a Sikh we remember his Guru, it means he is a true gursikh. But on the other hand, if on meeting a Sikh we do not give him any credit, it means that he has spoiled the name of his Guru.

Our Gurus and other gursikhs faced many difficulties and sacrificed their lives for the sake of their dharam and did not allow any black spot on gursikhi. Unfortunately, our youth these days are blotting gursikhi.


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