1. The Shabad is the Guru: I am the chaylaa, the disciple

ਸਬਦੁ ਗੁਰੂ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਧੁਨਿ ਚੇਲਾ

The term Guru brings vivid images in the minds of people. Sometimes the eyes of mind catches sight of a group of people gathered in meditation around a gracious one. In recent times, the image has been distorted due to stories of commercial or sex exploitation. However, the Guru is seen as one who removes deception or duality of those who seek spiritual satisfaction, which apparently they cannot find in the materialism of the Western or the escapism of the Eastern setup.

It is in this doom situation of materialism and escapism, a Guru comes in picture with the hope or as the hope for today’s human. Guru in Indian tradition has played a pivotal role thus far. In fact Indian tradition in this sense could be named as Gurship Culture. Guru Nanak of Indian tradition had always insisted that God; the ultimate unknowable source of ‘Being’ had graciously revealed himself to humankind through His “Shabad” (Word).  Therefore, he considered God as the eternal Guru and himself as only His servant, “The Shabad is the Guru, upon whom I lovingly focus my consciousness; I am the chaylaa, the disciple” (SGGS, p. 943).[i] As a result, all his teachings are focused on God who is known as “Jagat Guru” (World Guru), “Sat Nam” (True Name) or “Whahe Guru” (The Almighty God), or the Guru of all humankind. Thus, in this sense the Word is Guru and this Guru is the Word.

Sometimes, in Hindu tradition of Guruship, Guru is regarded as more important than God. That is because without him one cannot attain enlightenment.[ii] But, this type of elements (Such as Brahamin, Mother, Teacher and the like) are absent almost from the teaching of Guru Nanak.  He came up with the concept of “Prasad” (divine grace), that is granted by Guru; hence, it is Guru-Prasada, “One Universal Creator God. The Name Is Truth. Creative Being Personified. No Fear. No Hatred. Image Of The Undying, Beyond Birth, Self-Existent. By Guru’s Grace” (SGGS, p.1).[iii] Therefore, in Sikhism, Guru has to do more with God (Akal Purakh), more with Grace (Mehar, Nadar), more with attainment (Prapti), more with bless (Param Anand) than just providing teaching to make a person fit for this worldly life.

It has been further asserted in Sikhism that, the “Supreme Being” helps a devotee (Bhakta) to know Him by acting as his Guru or the Spiritual Guide and that He can be only be realized by His grace through Guru, “Without the True Guru, no one has obtained the Lord; without the True Guru, no one has obtained the Lord” (SGGS, 466).[iv] Guru Grantha conceives that that the “Supreme Being” himself is the only True Guru (Satguru). Hence, apart from Him that is apart from the Almighty God (Wahe Guru) no other Guru exists as His rival or helper. Therefore, it is mandatory for the Sikhs to read and listen to the Shabad-Guru so to obtain the treasure of Salvation: “The Word of the Guru’s Shabad is Ambrosial Nectar; drinking it in, thirst is quenched” (SGGS, p. 35).[v]

Guru Grantha further envisions that the Lord comes near to those who accept the proposal of Satguru (True Master) about grace and receive this grace from Guru, “The Lord is mine, and I am the slave of the Lord. O Nanak, the Guru has blessed me with the True Word of the Shabad” (SGGS, p. 100).[vi] Hence, it is advised that a Devotee (Bhakta) must meet with Satguru, who alone has the power to dismiss the worldly attachment, “Meeting the True Guru, eternal liberation is obtained; He has banished attachment from within” (SGGS. p. 466).[vii] Because, unless a person meets with Satguru, he will not be captivated by the awesomeness of God, “One who accepts the wisdom of the True Guru’s Teachings, is absorbed into the True Guru” (SGGS, p. 797).[viii]

Consequently, those who are without Shabad-Guru are insane, are foolish, are dead, “The word of the Shabad is his Guru and spiritual teacher, profound and unfathomable; without the Shabad, the world is insane” (SGGS, p. 635)[ix] and the reason is that they are in such world which is full of sorrow, O Nanak, the whole world is suffering (SGGS, p. 954).[x] But, this is Word that can remove all this pains and suffering, The bani of His Word emanated from the Primal Lord. It eradicates all anxiety” (SGGS, p. 628).[xi]

In the light of above discussion, one learns that the ultimate unknowable source of ‘Being’ has revealed himself to humankind through His “Shabad” (Word). This Shabad himself is not only Supreme Being but also is Sat Guru (True Master). He provides his “Gur-Prasad” (Divine Grace) so that a Devotee (Bhakta) would achieve salvation, would achieve bliss, would be tuned with Him. The provision of divine grace is available to all who come near to Him. Those who receive they are engrossed in the majesty of His splendor.

This understanding moves us to ask few questions: where is that Satguru? How can I find Him? What I have to do to find His grace. Is the Gur-Prasad is available for me as well, who is such a wretched person, who is lost in the world of attachment. How can I come near to Him? What is the path? And many more questions. However, we find answers to these questions given explicitly in the Granth Bible.   

Granth Bible says that God is beyond human’s understanding. No one cannot understand the way He works, the way He moves, the way He conducts the affairs of this Universe, “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!” (Romans 11:33). Since a Bhakta lives within the boundaries of time and space, has been asked to accept this fact that, “Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable” (Psalm 145:3).

However, still some glimpse are given by Him to those who seek Him,

“Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance? Who has understood the mind of the LORD, or instructed him as his counselor? Whom did the LORD consult to enlighten him, and who taught him the right way? Who was it that taught him knowledge or showed him the path of understanding?”.

Isaiah 40:12-14

The saddest part is that human mind is trying to understand this very God (Wahe Guru) and His Almightiness, His Majesty, His magnificent, His splendor and God raises a question regarding it, “Can you find out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limit of the Almighty?” (Job 11:7) and one can find that the answer is : NO.

So, what is the way then? The answer again is given in Granth Bible, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). This eternity or in other words the divine element of God makes a person capable to meet with Satguru (True Guru) who comes to him as Word,

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made” .

John 1:1-3

Granth Bible says that, this Word is none other than Satguru Jesus Christ, “yet for us there is one God, the Father from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Satguru Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist” (1 Corinthians 8:6). The above verse is very much similar to a shalok of Guru Granth, “The One God is our father; we are the children of the One God. You are our Guru” (SGGS, 611).[xii] When this Word utters his voice, this divine element residing in a human’s heart recognizes, “The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice” (John 10:3-4), and accepts the proposal of following Him thereby gets the benefits of attaining the bliss,

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”.

Revelation 21:4

Meeting with Satguru Jesus Christ changes the very realm of a devotee. It is like as though a devotee (Bhakta) has got up from his deep slumber, “As for me, I will behold your face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with your likeness (Psalm 17:15).  In addition, when this Word that is Satguru Jesus Christ came down to dwell among His people, He came along with His Gur-prashad (Divine Grace), “For the law was given through Moses (human agency); grace and truth came through Satguru Jesus Christ” (John 1:17), and interestingly, this grace is granted freely. Because, no human achievement can earn this, neither one deserves nor one can find it anywhere unless a benevolent God himself shows his favour upon us, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life” (John 5:24).

Therefore, the call is given by Satguru Jesus Christ, who is Shabad to a devotee (Bhakta) to come closer to Him, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you” (James 4:8) and a very simple path that is the “Path of Faith” has been suggested, “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (Hebrews 11:6). Because bliss, salvation, emancipation comes only when one listens to the Word of Satguru, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17).

This helps us to summarize the whole discussion in the words of Guru Granth, “He [a Bhakta] centers his consciousness on the One Lord, and serves only the One Lord, who is known through the Guru” (SGGS 885)[xiii] and, “The Guru is the Giver; the Guru is the House of ice. The Guru is the Light of the three worlds. O Nanak, He is everlasting wealth. Place your mind’s faith in Him, and you shall find peace” (SGGS, p. 137)[xiv] and He is Satguru Jesus Christ himself. 

[i] ਸਬਦੁ ਗੁਰੂ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਧੁਨਿ ਚੇਲਾ ॥

[ii] गुरुर्ब्रह्मा गुरुर्विष्णुर्गुरुर्देवो महेश्वरः । गुरुः साक्षात् परब्रह्म तस्मै श्रीगुरवे नमः ॥

Guru is Brahma. Guru is Vishnu. Guru is the Maheshwara i.e. Shiva. Parbrahma considerd to be supreme god or Bhagwan, So, Guru is that Parbhrahma. We bow to that Guru

गुरू गोविन्द दोउ खड़े, काके लागूं पाय । बलिहारी गुरू आपणे, गोविन्द दियो बताय ।।

If both, Guru and God (Govind) were to appear at once, whose feet should I touch first?”

Then he says, “It has to be the Guru’s feet first, because without him, how would I have recognized (known) God?”

[iii] ੴ ਸਤਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਕਰਤਾ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਨਿਰਭਉ ਨਿਰਵੈਰੁ ਅਕਾਲ ਮੂਰਤਿ ਅਜੂਨੀ ਸੈਭੰ ਗੁਰ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ ॥

[iv]ਬਿਨੁ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕਿਨੈ ਨ ਪਾਇਓ ਬਿਨੁ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕਿਨੈ ਨ ਪਾਇਆ ॥        

[v] ਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਸਬਦੁ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਹੈ ਜਿਤੁ ਪੀਤੈ ਤਿਖ ਜਾਇ ॥

[vi] ਹਰਿ ਹਮਰਾ ਹਮ ਹਰਿ ਕੇ ਦਾਸੇ ਨਾਨਕ ਸਬਦੁ ਗੁਰੂ ਸਚੁ ਦੀਨਾ ਜੀਉ ॥੪॥੧੪॥੨੧॥

[vii] ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਮਿਲਿਐ ਸਦਾ ਮੁਕਤੁ ਹੈ ਜਿਨਿ ਵਿਚਹੁ ਮੋਹੁ ਚੁਕਾਇਆ ॥

[viii] ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਜਿਸ ਨੋ ਮਤਿ ਆਵੈ ਸੋ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਮਾਹਿ ਸਮਾਨਾ ॥

[ix] ਸਬਦੁ ਗੁਰ ਪੀਰਾ ਗਹਿਰ ਗੰਭੀਰਾ ਬਿਨੁ ਸਬਦੈ ਜਗੁ ਬਉਰਾਨੰ ॥

[x] ਨਾਨਕ ਦੁਖੀਆ ਸਭੁ ਸੰਸਾਰੁ

[xi] ਧੁਰ ਕੀ ਬਾਣੀ ਆਈ ॥ ਤਿਨਿ ਸਗਲੀ ਚਿੰਤ ਮਿਟਾਈ ॥

[xii] ਏਕੁ ਪਿਤਾ ਏਕਸ ਕੇ ਹਮ ਬਾਰਿਕ ਤੂ ਮੇਰਾ ਗੁਰ ਹਾਈ ॥

[xiii] ਏਕਾ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਏਕਾ ਹੀ ਸੇਵਾ ਏਕੋ ਗੁਰ ਤੇ ਜਾਪੈ ॥੧॥

[xiv] ਗੁਰੁ ਦਾਤਾ ਗੁਰੁ ਹਿਵੈ ਘਰੁ ਗੁਰੁ ਦੀਪਕੁ ਤਿਹ ਲੋਇ ॥ ਅਮਰ ਪਦਾਰਥੁ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਮਨਿ ਮਾਨਿਐ ਸੁਖੁ ਹੋਇ ॥੧॥

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