Suniye – The Art of Listening by Rajender Krishan SignUp
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Suniye – The Art of Listening
by Rajender Krishan Bookmark and Share
 

Continued from “Longevity and God’s Grace - Japji Sahib – IV”

Guru Nanak’s Japji Sahib – V

Pauri – 8

Suniye Sidh Peer Sur Naath
Suniye Dharat Dhaval Akas
Suniye Deep Loa Paataal
Suniye Pohi Na Sakey Kaal
Nanak Bhagtan Sada Vigaas
Suniye Dukh Paap Ka Naas


By listening
one rises to become perfect and venerable
By listening, the earth and sky above revolve
By listening, the isles and nether worlds are stable
By listening, Death does not strike
Says Nanak,
Through listening
the devotee is always blissful
thus, all miseries and sins are annihilated

Guru Nanak in this Pauri reveals the art of listening and the benefits one can obtain by it.

Guru Nanak says that by listening, one can become a Siddha (person with occult powers), a Pir (saint), Sur (devta or a celestial being) and Nath (Lord like a king). Next he says that the Earth, the Sky also operate by listening (i.e. by following the Divine Order) and that the entire existence functions on this basis. By listening even death (Kaal) cannot touch. By listening, one is always in a state of bliss, thereby all miseries and sins are destroyed.

Sounds very simple! Just listen and everything is attained! To a layman this appears to be just overstated.

So a little more understanding is required on the meaning of Suniye.

Suniye distinctively involves listening or hearing (shravana) leading to “contemplation” (manana) and “imbibing” (nidhyasan); the initial steps for inculcating spiritual discipline. Suniye does not mean a chat or a dialogue. It simply means to listen.

Let us look at our everyday lives. When do we listen and what do we listen? Don’t we hear mostly what we want to hear, not what the other person is trying to convey? The moment something is communicated to us that does not synchronize with our habituated patterns, we start arguing and debating. Resultantly, we enter into conflicts by totally rejecting the other’s point of view without applying any logic. Shravana – the art of listening – is simply blown away to winds.

Suniye or shravana means to listen attentively and then reflect on it, followed by inference or contemplation leading to realization of the true meaning of what has been heard.

Suniye from spiritual and religious standpoint thus implies to visit the Guru – the Master – with an empty mind and fill it up to the brim with the holy Word and be constantly associated with it. The importance of association is well known. In fact, the word “Sangat” (association) is of extreme importance to remember. It is by our associating with things, both subjective and objective, that we tend to get influenced and these influences manifest in our actions. Repetitive actions form our habits and the sum total of our habits is our character, the gateway to our ultimate destiny.

This aspect has been well known to all our ancestors and Guru Nanak emphasizes and explains this phenomenon by using the word Suniye very logically and purposefully throughout this Pauri and the next three Pauris. Finally, the last two lines of this Pauri are repeated exactly the same way in all the four Pauris.

At the end of the Pauri, Guru Nanak simply guarantees that by listening, when one becomes constantly associated with the name of God, then the holy Word pervades the very being of that person and becomes like an armor to ward off and annihilate all miseries and sins.

Pauri - 9

Suniye Isar Barma Ind
Suniye Mukh Salahan Mand
Suniye Jog Jugat Tan Bhed
Suniye Sasat Simrat Ved
Nanak Bhagtan Sada Vigaas
Suniye Dukh Paap Ka Naas


By Listening, exists the trinity of
Shiva, Brahma and Indra
By listening
even the ignorant praise the name of God
By listening one learns
the mysteries of Yoga and the bodily humors
By listening
all the scriptural knowledge is known
Says Nanak,
Through listening
the devotee is always blissful
thus, all miseries and sins are annihilated

The famous Hindu trinity is Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, the Lords of Creation, Preservation and Destruction. However, in this Pauri, instead of Vishnu, the name used is that of Indra. If one follows Hindu mythology, Indra many a time represents the same powers as that of Vishnu.

Guru Nanak used the trinity earlier in Pauri # 5 and it is again referenced in Pauri # 30.

What exactly is this trinity?

While inferring Pauri # 5 it was stated that the Hindu trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh – the “Gods” of Creation, Operation and Destruction – are conceptual symbols and stand for the three gunas (traits or tendencies) which serve as the fundamental operating principles of Prakriti – universal nature – which are called: sattva, rajas and tamas - the forces engaged in the process of creation, preservation, and destruction respectively. These Gunas are seen to manifest in all creations at all times, though not in equal measure.

Now Guru Nanak in this Pauri declares that these gunas came into being by listening. One needs to reflect on “Ik Onkar Satnam” the mulmantra which means ‘One primordial energy’ the only Truth and the Cause of all creation. Scientifically, the first manifestation of energy is sound and all further manifestations occur later. Wouldn’t it then mean that when the first manifestation i.e. the sound is first heard and only then subsequent materializations take place? Hence, Guru Nanak proclaims here that the trinity came into being only by listening.

Next Guru Nanak says that by listening even “mand” the ignorant (some translate this as sinners) start praising God. Ignorance arises when we are connected with our ego – hence we become the doers of our actions. Actions result in reactions and an unstoppable flow of thoughts which bind or trap us. By listening, what Guru Nanak is saying is that we disconnect from our ego, the state of being a doer and instead become a witness. Once the sense of being a witness is established, then all ignorance vanishes on its own.

By listening one learns the secrets of Yoga and the mystery of bodily humors. Yoga is the art of understanding the energy within and giving it the right direction. We have to remind ourselves again and again that the “by listening” it implies the state of silence or solitude. When one is silent, one becomes automatically relaxed; and with restlessness diminished the breathing becomes peaceful. There is a different kind of glow and feeling of tranquility. In such a state, one then listens from within and acquires knowledge of yoga and the mystery of bodily humors.

Another point to note is that to see, one has to open one’s eyelids i.e. to carry out an action, but to hear one does not have to “open” one’s ears. They are always open to listen. Thus listening is a passive action. Yet can one listen in a chaotic, noisy or cacophonous environment? Hence shravana – the art of listening – warrants an undisturbed serenity – so that one may hear, contemplate and absorb.

Similarly, says Guru Nanak, the knowledge and wisdom of the scriptures (Shastras, Vedas, et al) is acquired by suniye or listening.

At the end of the Pauri, Guru Nanak simply guarantees that by listening, when one becomes constantly associated with the name of God, then the holy Word pervades the very being of that person and becomes like an armor to ward off and annihilate all miseries and sins.

Pauri – 10

Suniye Sat Santokh Gyan
Suniye Athsath Ka Ishnan
Suniye Par Par Pave Maan
Suniye Lage Sahaj Dhyan
Nanak Bhagtan Sada Vigaas
Suniye Dukh Paap Ka Naas


By listening
Truth and contentment are attained
By listening
The advantage of spiritual baths
in the sixty-eight holy places is gained
By listening and reading again and again
honor is merited
By listening
Meditation transpires spontaneously
Says Nanak,
with the Word pervading always in the devotee
All miseries and sins are annihilated.

Continuing on the glory of Suniye (Shravana – the art of listening) Guru Nanak, in this Pauri explains that just by listening, awareness of all truth and contentment is attained.

Sat again in this Pauri is used for Sat as absolute existence and Truth.

The idea of discontent or dissatisfaction occurs when we relate our material wealth or egocentric thoughts compare our material wealth with what and how much the “other” has and this concept and feeling of the “other” exists so long as the idea of “I” exists.

Santokh or contentment means to express gratitude for what one has and bear no remorse for what one does not have. Only with this kind of attitude and perspective can one be in a state of Santokh or real contentment. Only then one can remain in a blissful state.

Thus the word “gyan” (wisdom, awareness, and understanding) is the key that unlocks all confusion that is caused by the feeling of “discontent” and this “gyan” – the awareness – comes from listening.

Next is ‘Athsath ka Ishnan’ or bathing in sixty-eight holy places. The prevailing ritualistic belief amongst the Hindus is that by bathing in the 68 holy places, one will be absolved of all sins and become virtuous.

However, in Raja Yoga (Kundalini Yoga), the Yoga Sutras explain about the seven major chakras or energy centers within the body. The word chakra in Sanskrit means ‘wheel’ or ‘disk’. Each of the seven main chakras has its own distinct character and relates to a unique aspect of our being. The chakras correlate to levels of consciousness, body functions, colors, elements, sounds, and much more. The blockage or energetic dysfunction in the chakras is believed to give rise to emotional, physiological, psychological and spiritual disorders. Similarly, the body also contains sixty-eight points which in the Yogic exercises are used to channelize the energy to attain virtue.

Yoga is by and large used by common people as an exercise for body fitness, the study of the chakras and channelizing of the energy through various points from the lower chakra to the highest is done by Siddhas to acquire occult powers.

To explain, the sixty eight points within the body, to common people, various pilgrimage spots became symbols through mythological tales and as it always happens, these symbols were and are mistaken for reality.

Rituals are the by-products of this explanation and people even today believe that by taking a baths at such pilgrimages, the sins will be absolved and the person will become virtuous or even attain salvation! Millions take such bath religiously (read blind ritualism) and find themselves in the same condition as before, because, in majority of the cases, what was supposed to have been drowned – “I” the mundane ego – returns inflated manifold.

It is in this context that Guru Nanak says that whatever the virtue that one can attain through bathing in “these” sixty eight holy places can be gained simply by listening.

Now, “Suniye Lage Sahaj Dhyan” comes as a revelation. Meditation means to awaken inside and listen to the sound of silence – and it is possible to meditate only when the mind is not engaged in the debates of internal dialogues. Hence, Guru Nanak says that by simply listening, meditation happens on its own accord, naturally.

At the end of the Pauri, Guru Nanak simply guarantees that by listening, when one becomes constantly associated with the name of God, then the holy Word pervades the very being of that person and becomes like an armor to ward off and annihilate all miseries and sins.

Pauri - 11

Suniye Saran Guna Ke Gah
Suniye Sheikh Peer Patshah
Suniye Andhe Pave Rah
Suniye Hath Hove Asgah
Nanak Bhagtan Sada Vigaas
Suniye Dukh Paap Ka Naas

By listening
one becomes virtuous like deep oceans
By listening
sages, saints and Kings come into being
By listening
the blind (ignorant) finds the way
By listening
the Unfathomable is close at hand
Says Nanak,
with the Word pervading always in the devotee
All miseries and sins are annihilated.

The art of listening is further exalted in this Pauri. Guru Nanak says that by listening alone, the highest virtues can be acquired and one can fathom the depths of oceans. By listening, one can acquire the wisdom of the sages, the virtues of the saints and the sovereignty of the kings. Likewise, the blind (ignorant) discover the path by listening. What is generally known is the surface, but by listening, one can fathom the depths of boundless.

At the end of the Pauri, Guru Nanak simply guarantees that by listening, when one becomes constantly associated with the name of God, then the holy Word pervades the very being of that person and becomes like an armor to ward off and annihilate all miseries and sins.

Continued to “Contemplating Alone can Know the Self
– Guru Nanak’s Japji Sahib – VI”

Japji Sahib Links

27-Sep-2013
More by :  Rajender Krishan
 
Views: 1453
 
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