Dyeing the Body Fabric: YUKTANAND SINGH
Letter & Spirit # 5
We skipped on purpose, the beginning of the shabad last week: “One who covets not the wealth or spouse of another, the Lord abides near that person” [GGS:1163.14].
There is a version of ‘heaven’ which promises many sexual delights and unlimited wealth. I would guess we would have no need to covet another’s wealth or spouse then and we would naturally avoid this vice. Would God be close to us then?
Sorry to say this but gurbani does not endorse that version of a heaven. Let us see why. But to do so we need to revisit the colors or emotions of our soul.
Our emotions are our life's driving force.
First, let us get one item out of the way: the purpose of life.
Gurbani says that the entire creation is God’s play. Each one of us is a part of this same play, and thus we do not need to avoid the world and avoid the play. Our life’s purpose is to manifest His hukam, or naam, from within us into the world. This is how we meet our Lord who is hiding inside everyone and in the world.
Waheguru feels our pleasure and our pain. Hurting others or taking what does not belong to us creates distance from God. Conversely, living with God results in true health and a greater success in everything else we do.
Thus not only do we create a better world, but with naam we are able to truly enjoy the world. When our spiritual colors, love compassion and forgiveness, shine through us and when we are detached from the base (fickle) colors of the world, we get closer to Waheguru. But He desires our complete union with Him, becoming from two to one.
Gurmat revolves primarily around this truth: Waheguru is almighty, and the almighty is here with us. But he cannot be seen with our physical eyes or be touched with these hands. What is the most appropriate course of action then?
“If God is with us then why does he not enlighten us and open our spiritual eyes?” we should ask. Gurbani answers this question in various ways.
To put it simply, we are not ready.
The first hurdle is that in our heart we do not believe that God is with us. If we did, then we would naturally manifest His presence in our ‘achaar’ [GGS:62.11] or our conduct, which is also described as ‘munn-bach-karam’ or thought, word and deed. [GGS: 760.6]
Compassionate gurbani does not spell this out, but we get only what we can endure. We need to develop the inner strength or our spiritual muscle. We do so by overcoming the worldly traits of greed, lust, sloth, etc. The world is thus our gym or our ‘dharamsal’ and we are here to practice correction of our errors.
Naam or the state of awareness of God’s presence is an emotionally charged state. If our emotions are not aligned with the reality, the reality escapes our awareness. We can be sure that if the God-emotion is missing, naam is also missing from our heart. Colors or emotions of the world keep the God-emotion out of our heart, just as a cloth cannot hold two colors simultaneously.
Then: "Take what thou wilt but pay the price". We are not willing to pay the price of naam. We resist sacrificing our heart and our mind (and body) at the feet of the Guru and at the feet of those who have this wealth. It is much easier to just teach about it. Thus we see that teachers are abundant, but a Sikh is an extremely rare sight.
Some people use ‘God’s Will’ or ‘bhaana’ as an excuse for their inaction and failure. As we know, success is in God’s hands, but attempts to overcome the worldly emotions (‘maya’) indicate that we are sincere in seeking God instead of the world.
Each time we reject the base colors of the world we show God that we are ready to take another step towards him. No attempt is too small. Waheguru takes into account and remembers even the smallest effort [GGS:784.13]. This is why simran or mindfulness of Waheguru’s presence is important. Just as adding small amounts into savings. We need to accumulate this wealth.
Our emotions influence our hormones and thus our body is also transformed, but that is a separate topic. Transformation of our body is a true test of the naam dwelling in us.
The God-emotion, or divine love, prevents absorption of all other colors into the fabric. Thus, color of naam, divine love, or ‘bhau-bhagat' is the beacon that we follow. As we know, gurbani teaches us how to find and how to absorb the God-emotion.
Let us examine this shabad: “e-oh tan maa-i-aa paahi-aa pi-aaray leet-rhaa lab rangaa-ay” [GGS:721.16].
O my beloved, this body’s fabric is conditioned by maya and it is dyed in the color of greed. My husband lord does not like this robe, how can the bride meet him in the bed?
I offer myself, O merciful Lord, I offer myself in service to those who dwell on your naam. Those who repeat your naam, I am always a sacrifice to them.
If we were to dye our body in the proper color, we introduce the fast color of naam. When the master-dyer himself dyes it, then it's a color never seen before!
Those whose robes are so dyed their husband Lord is always with them. Bless me with the dust from those beings. This is my prayer, says Nanak.
He himself creates, and he himself imbues us. He himself bestows his glance of grace. O Nanak, if the bride becomes pleasing to her husband Lord, he himself enjoys her.
Conversation about this article
1: Baldev Singh (Bradford, United Kingdom), July 31, 2012, 7:52 AM.
"Thus we see teachers are abundant but a Sikh is an extremely rare sight" ... yes, and they all seem to wear robes of piety. But a true Sikh sees beyond pretence and sham and remembers Waheyguru constantly and this constant remembrance is the dye for the body fabric.
2: Pritam Singh Grewal (Canada), July 31, 2012, 11:32 PM.
What a telling definition of Naam! "Naam or the state of awareness of God's presence is an emotionally charged state." My own take on Naam is that whatever has been created is Naam - "jaita keeta taita naa-o(n)" [Japji].