My decade long relentless quest for a self-sustainable method of eternal happiness kept me exploring and experimenting with different, expensive, non-sustainable healing modalities, meditation techniques, spiritual practices, rituals, various teachings, until I found what I was looking for in form of Shabad-Guru. With my head bowed to Guru, I would like to share with all of you what I know of Shabad-Guru for which I remain indebted to Guru Granth Sahib forever. Kindly understand I speak from my awareness (by Guru’s grace) that stemmed from constant exploration of Shabad- Guru. Elaboration of Shabad- Guru is beyond words, very similar to describing the sweet fragrance of a rose in words to an audience. One might say a million words about that fragrance in a million different ways, yet the listener will not be able to smell the flower. Description of the sweet fragrance is supposed to inspire the listener to make an effort to find the rose and smell the fragrance by being in its presence.
Your thoughts (Mann or mind) are the epicenter that creates vibrations in form of sound energy that you dwell in, day in and day out. Your Hell or heaven, Satyug or Kalyug, love or hate, positive or negative are nothing more than your thoughts. This sound energy exists inside you even when you are not speaking. If you ever pondered who accompanies you when you walk, talk, eat, drink, sleep, work, play, etc. it is your thoughts. Your thoughts are imbued into your existence, there are no physical limitations for your thoughts to connect with you and rest of the world. You must have heard people often say, “You are your thoughts”. In most of the eastern hemisphere, “You are your Karma” would be equivalent statement. “You are your Karma or thoughts” is a very powerful statement, which needs little bit more elaboration. If you were holding a burning coal in your fist while sitting in an air-conditioned room, you will not be able to appreciate the comfort of cooled air in the room. You could be the richest or the most influential person the world ever knew, but if your thoughts are filled with anger, greed, lust, attachment, ego, in reality you are suffering which makes worldly success a mere oasis that never quenches your thirst. Most people consider impurities in thoughts as guaranteed and live in constant worry because of this reason. Living in worry is a death worse than physical death that most people have made a compromise with. If worry is integral part of your existence, and you have accepted it as a way of life, it is about time to wake up to reality of life. In addition, start digging through your thoughts, beliefs and knowing to discover the greatest treasure you hold. Furthermost, don’t be like an animal that seeks musk outside when in fact in emanates musk from the pod inside
When you connect with Shabad- Guru in your own thoughts, there is immense peace and joy, reflected as actions or Karma to the outside world. Transformation of life occurs through change in thoughts (Mann or mind). When connected with Shabad- Guru in thoughts, there is inner transforming to the wavelength of Shabad (from which whole existence was formed). This can be described as change in vibrations or purification of the Mann or mind.
If looked closely, one shall come to realization that cause of all sufferings is living without Shabad- Guru. Though most know about Shabad Guru, yet its grace does not shine in everyone’s life. You struggle and at times fail to follow the path that leads to betterment, though you are human – the so-called supreme specie. Have the thoughts of this self-destruction ever occurred to you? If not, it means Mind or Mann is truly your Guru in this moment, though it might claim to follow Shabad-Guru. This very duality, not visible to most is leading to path of pain and suffering. You might claim that your Guru is Shabad, but if you are still suffering, it is possible your Mann or mind through its intricate web of slyness has made you its slave. You listen to it, you follow it and you serve it as if Mann or mind is your King. Mann or mind is a shadow that always walks behind you; therefore, it is easy to become unware of its existence. When darkness comes face to face with light, it disappears or dies. In same way, when Mann or mind comes face to face with Shabad- Guru, it becomes no more. This is the moment of death of Mann or mind and birth of a Gur-mukh. This is what Guru Nanak has described as death while living in this body. As you approach light of Shabad- Guru, the shadow becomes longer and longer. So be aware of this truth and subtle cunningness of Mann or mind. The shadow in form of Mann or mind remains until you have not completely merged into light in the form of Shabad- Guru. Only light does not have shadow, therefore salvation is only possible when one becomes Shabad.
You have to be very aware about your pursuits, your claims and your time. Your life is a precious opportunity to seek salvation, which is the sole purpose of every human life. All other purposes are methods of the Mann or mind to save itself from facing its own death. The untamable Mann or mind is tamable by Shabad-Guru. Shabad here refers to wisdom in form of written or spoken word of an enlightened human. Wisdom could come from your favorite author, your Guru in human body or Guru Granth Sahib for a Sikh. The common factor among all the mediums is wisdom, which is formless, timeless, and infinite. If the carrier of the wisdom becomes an object of sole attention, in that moment one has drifted away from Shabad-Guru.
When one recites Gurbani, there is immense feeling of joy, perceived as change in one’s vibrations. This is very similar to placing a vibrating tuning fork on a wooden block that creates loud humming sound due to resonance. Resonance is not permanent; therefore, the wooden block returns to its natural frequency or vibrations, when the tuning fork is not in contact anymore. If recitation of Shabad is vibrating tuning fork and our mind is the wooden block that feels blissed during recitation, it lasts for a fixed duration.
For this reason, “meditation as a practice” is the first step. Meditation as practice means, feeling of joy and bliss during any form of chanting or recitation. The next step is “meditation as a way of life”, whereby our vibrations becomes self-sustainable all the times. When “Meditation becomes a way of life”, our minds vibrations are attuned to Shabad while we are awake, eating, driving, working or sleeping. Simply stated, while living and beyond death. This change happens when thoughts in our mind emanate from Shabad Guru or our mind has finally turned itself to Guru in form of Shabad.
One cannot change what has lapsed but can paint the canvas of present moment or “Now”, with colors of choice, chosen by Shabad guidance. In order to imbue the mind in Shabad Guru eternally, the following steps are the means to walk that path consciously.
Step 1: JAPP is the first step that requires one to either read or listen Guru’s Shabad at their own pace, determined by state of their awareness. Rushing through words by reading at a fast pace is similar to running through a beautiful garden without noticing flora and fauna, thus missing blooming colorful flowers and air filled with sweet fragrance. Quick recitation or non-focused listening does not reap full benefits of Shabad-Guru. For example, if you are sick due to an infection and doctor prescribes Amoxicillin antibiotic. Only listening or chanting “Amoxicillin” million times along with outlining benefits of the medicine will not cure you of infection. Knowing name of the medicine and its benefits will definitely make you a learned person in eyes of the world.
Step 2: SIMRAN. Undivided focus on meanings of heard or read words in form of Guru’s Shabad, will engage your Mann or Mind. Engagement of Mann or mind in meaning of words will slowly result in replacement or cleansing of Mann or mind of painful thoughts. This activity happens in memory or chitt. It is transformation of finite thoughts to infinite thoughts. Finite thoughts emerge from the ego, whereas infinite thoughts emanate from Shabad. Examples of finite thoughts are thoughts of being superior, successful, intelligent, rich, influential and powerful. These thoughts are like toxic false morels mushrooms. Infinite thoughts are thoughts of acceptance, gratitude, kindness, creativity, awareness. The reservoir of your memory is thus purified and start becoming infinite, from a finite state.
Step 3: Satsang through Shabad-Vichar. This is a critical step in the process. The word Satsang is made up of two words: Satt means absolute truth and sang means in company of. Shabad is absolute truth and to imbue one’s awareness in truth is Satsang.
Thus Company of truth does not imply physical presence of a Guru and/or spiritual or religious people. Satsang (company of truth) implies participating in a discussion by actively listening and asking questions to know truth for expansion of awareness to happen. Satsang is not a passive process of simply listening to words of wisdom. Satsang is an active process, where a listener soaks in Guru Shabad by trying to comprehend through pondering deeply on meaning of each word and its context.
Shabad-vichar means churning of thoughts when discussion starts with Shabad (wisdom) as the axis and all thoughts evolves from Shabad. In company of absolute truth (Shabad-Guru) everyone is equal irrespective of age, gender, status, knowledge. As one progresses on the path of Shabad Guru, a person becomes self-realized. There starts an inner Satsang between you and your mind. This is possible when you have realized you are not your mind, mind is not your master. You are limited under the command of limited mind. A realized being knows that they are neither their body or their Mind or mann
Step 4: TAPP through implementation of Shabad Guru in life: To live by making choices in alignment with Guru’s teaching and not what pleases the world around you to win applause and appreciation for worldly gains is Tapp. When worldly thoughts rub against thoughts emanating from Shabad Guru, there is a friction inside you that produces Tapp or heat in form of an indecisiveness resulting in confusion, frustration, helplessness. In that moment, when you choose to live by Guru’s Shabad at cost of worldly desires, your Sadhna has begun. Sadhna comes from word Sidh – a mind that walks the path of truth by making life choices aligned with Shabad Guru. Tapp is imminent and most challenging for which one needs to exist as part of the world to face situations, people and life changing events without faltering. The first three steps are merely preparing grounds for planting the seed of Guru-Shabad in your mind. Without Tapp the seed will not sprout and will remain a seed and slowly turn back into dirt without ripening. The seed here is Shabad Guru, that is imbued in your mind by going through the first three steps. This seed is meant to sprout into a fruitful tree of inner wisdom.
Just like for a seed to transform into a fruitful tree, water, wind and Sun are necessary. For the tree of wisdom to grow inside you, water of positive thoughts, winds of unplanned changes and fire of setbacks/failures/pain is necessary. This is possible through Tapp.
Wind: All people have abundance of changing wind in form of unplanned unexpected changes in their lives. When it seems life is running smooth, the next moment your world is turned upside down. These are the winds of change are a sign that you are alive. Any efforts to make life immune to winds of change is not the wisest thing to do.
These four steps is the true “Mantra” that can attune the mind with Shabad Guru. Once the mind is attuned to Shabad Guru, thoughts emanate from Shabad Guru that in turn led to action that manifests as our life. Attunement of mind to Shabad Guru comes by Blessings and grace of the Guru. However, one shall not sit idle, expecting a miracle, rather prepare the container (Mann or mind) by cleaning it for Guru’s Prasad, in form of blessings to fall into it.