Why are We Here? – 11
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We started out by wondering; “Why are we here?” The answer we found from Guru Ji was that we are here in this world to evolve. We have reached the pinnacle of biological evolution in form of human body, but from this form the direction of evolution changes. Now the evolution has to start on a new plane and that plane is spiritual plane. So far, we have understood from the Guru Ji that there are five Purposes of human life and working on those Purposes leads to spiritual growth. Now a question arises that the development on the spiritual plane has to take place under any framework, covenant, or governing laws? The answer is yes, and the governing law is Law of Cause and Effect or Consequences, meaning whatever we do we have to face consequences of our actions.
Guru Nanak Dev Ji in Japji Sahib has said the following words:
“Aapae beej aapae hee khaahu.” (SGGS, Pg. No. 4)
Meaning: You shall harvest what you plant.
Here is another quote again by Guru Nanak Dev Ji with same thought:
“Jaisaa beejai so lunae jo khattae suo khaae.” (SGGS, Pg. No. 730)
Meaning: As one plants, so does he harvest; whatever he earns, he eats.
Many a times we may not literally eat what we physically plant. As one may not be involved in farming directly or may be involved in farming but give it away, sell or use it for the animals as a feed. However, Guru Ji is sharing with us a very profound thought. That is that anything we do will have its consequences and we cannot escape from the consequences. In fact, we can say that Guru Ji is talking about Law of Consequences or it can also be termed as Law of Cause and Effect. These exact words or remarkably similar words occur in Guru Granth Sahib eight (8) times.
If we carefully look at the global economic recession that is looming large today, we can see that the genesis lies in the human greed. The greed and urge to get rich has become so overwhelming that stealing, cheating, defrauding others have become steppingstones for getting rich. If this greed is being perpetuated, we are harvesting its outcome as well. This desire to consume more and more at cheaper prices in rich countries as USA have resulted in tendency to borrow and spend without producing the goods and in the process has accumulated national debt. While the poor countries which keep this economic engine humming by providing cheap goods at artificially lower prices by keeping wages down and export incentives have made their economies dependent on feeding this demand. The result is we are seeing the economic meltdown of unprecedented scale. When the credit availability is reduced because of bank failures we are seeing how its shadows are being cast worldwide. Behind the outer envelope of problem if we look deeper, we can see that the underlying cause all around is greed only.
If the words are so true, why the common human understanding and knowledge does not reflect it? Because in the daily life the common human concern is to be just get by daily, on various issues, challenges and problems of life. Additionally, in real life we will notice that we only connect events when the cause and effect occur in succession i.e., one after the other. For example, if the water was spilled on the floor and someone slipped and fell, and then we see the connection. But if the effect took long to materialize, we miss the connection. If the consequences are not felt in this life, then there is not even the remotest chance of us seeing the results of our actions. Therefore, we all do not operate in life based on the veracity of this principle. In fact, we do not see any connection therefore act in life as if everything we do is good and we can even harm others. Guru Ji has noticed as how we humans have come to understand of this principle of life, as can be seen from these words of Guru Ji:
“Beejae bikh mangai amrit vaekhahu eaehu niaao.” (SGGS, Pg. No. 474)
Meaning: He sows seeds of poison and demands Ambrosial Nectar. Behold - what justice is this?
So, we can see that Guru Ji is saying that we have not understood this basic tenet, otherwise our expectations should be in perfect alignment and tune with our own actions. Our failure to understand this principle has prompted Guru Ji to make this lamenting statement on our expectations. What are the weeds that we have grown? Guru Ji says that we have grown bad habits and traits. We have grown anger, greed, hatred, lust, cruelty etc. in form of habits. In fact, interestingly this principle is more universal in nature, and other scriptures also talk about the same principle. The words may be slightly different but the philosophy behind it is the same. The words "What you do comes back to you" are an excellent paraphrase of the Biblical truth, "You reap what you sow." You plant the seeds (sow), and then later you gather the resulting harvest (reap). Even the Koran says, “Have you considered what you sow?” [The Event 56.63]The harvest that we reap depends on the kind of seeds we sow. If we sow wheat, we will not reap rice. Similar analogy has been used by Sheikh Farid in Guru Granth Sahib in these words:
“Fareedhaa lorrai dhaakh bijoureeaaan kikar beejai jatt.” (SGGS, Pg. No.1379)
Meaning: Farid the farmer plants acacia trees and wishes for the grapes (as fruit).
We all want that our lives to be full of happiness and that we should become an oasis of virtues. Here Guru Ji is sharing with us the insight that in order for it to happen we will have to plant our crop accordingly. There will no harvest if nothing is planted, and if the field is left unattended there will be nothing but weeds only in the field.
But in order to have that transformation take place first the plant has to be planted and its roots have to be firmly put down then only the tree will grow. When the tree grows large and strong then only it provides shade. Just as bigger the tree, deeper the roots have to penetrate; same way Guru Ji says that first the roots of virtues have to be firmly planted in the mind then only it can grow into a tree and provide shade or precisely comfort and solace. Guru ji says:
“Pehilo dhae jarr andhar janmai taa oupar hovai chhaa-o.” (SGGS, Pg. No.1288)
Meaning: First, the tree puts down its roots, and then it spreads out its shade above.
Here we can see that Guru Ji is asking us to plant the trees and allow the roots to put themselves down then only we can see benefit from the shade that tree will provide. But in our real lives, many times because of the longer time span between the cause and effect, the time taken for the trees to grow and spread itself out to provide shade is long and our memory span is limited. In addition, our vision and memory are only of this life that we are living now and we have no clue of deeds from our previous lives. In fact, many a times we may be benefiting in this life because of good deeds in previous lives and we may not even realize it. The wealth, position, power and comforts that we are enjoying in this life is the harvest of the crop sowed in previous lives. Additionally, if had a memory of our previous lives then our present life will become miserable, as we will be carrying a tremendous amount of baggage in form of memory from our previous lives. Guru Ji has clarified this vital insight for us in these words:
“Dhaanan paraa poorabaen bhuchanthae maheepathae. Bipareeth budhhyan maarath lokeh Nanak chirankaal dhukh bhogathae.” (SGGS, Pg. No.1356)
Meaning: The kings, rulers, elite in the society today are enjoying the benefits of their good deeds from earlier lives. However, those who get enamored by the glitz of the perishable materialistic world and are consumed by it will suffer the consequences for ages.
In these two lines Guru Ji has clarified that comforts, status, power, position are results of good actions from previous lives. So, there is no reason for those who are enjoying them to gloat over it or let it get to their heads. In the same token there is no reason for others to feel envy or be jealous about it. However, if one gets completely consumed by their glitter, dazzle, and pomp these trappings provide, and then the consequences are very disastrous. Guru Ji has not merely cautioned against the pitfalls but has provided a road map for a bumper harvest. Guru Ji says make your mind the farmer, and plant the crop by preparing soil, sowing, proper watering, proper fencing for protection and a bumper crop will grow. Let us hear it in Guru Ji’s words:
“Mun haalee kirasaanee karanee saram paanee tan khaeth. Naam beej santokh suhaagaa rakh gareebee vaes. Bhaao karam kar janmasee sae ghar bhaagath dhaekh.” (SGGS, Pg. No. 595)
Meaning: Make your mind the farmer, good deeds the farm, modesty the water, and your body the field. Let the Lord's Name be the seed, contentment the plow, and your humble dress the fence. Doing deeds of love, the seed shall sprout, and you shall see your home flourish.
So where can one find a nursery where saplings for planting in the mind are available? Guru Ji says Guru’s words are the sapling which could be planted deep into the heart of the seeker and it is to be irrigated with love. The result will be it will grow into a huge grove of trees. In Guru Ji’s words:
“Akhar birakh baag bhue chokhee sinchith bhaao karaehee.” (SGGS, Pg. No. 354)
Meaning: The Word is the tree; the garden of the heart is the farm; tend it and irrigate it with the Lord's Love.
Once this understanding blossoms inside the seeker becomes serious and sows the seed of truth inside as Guru Amar Das Ji has said:
“Guramukh khaetee har antar beejeeai har leejai sareer jamaaae raam.” (SGGS, Pg. No. 568)
Meaning: As a Gurmukh, plant the crop of the Lord within the field of your body, and let it grow.
If we can grow this grove in our heart then there will a transformation in our understanding, and we will get the understanding of what is heaven and hell. Guru ji says:
“Hoe kirasaan eemaan ja(n)maae lai bhisath dhojak moorrae eaev jaanee.” (SGGS, Pg. No. 24)
Meaning: Become such a farmer, and faith will sprout. This brings knowledge of heaven and hell, you fool!
Once we get the understanding of heaven and hell our approach to life will change. Because then there is realization that heaven and hell are not somewhere else to be experienced after death but experienced here itself based on what we sowed. So, Guru Ji’s advice is that:
“Joe beejai so ougavai khaa(n)dhaa jaanai jeeo.” (SGGS, Pg. No.1243)
Meaning: Whatever is planted shall grow. The soul eats the fruits of its actions, and the being understands that.
So, if we sow spirituality the same will grow. What is spirituality is understanding of Truth, which never comes in birth or dies and remain same forever. It is the essence of Truth inside each of us that enables us to live and do normal human functions. The moment that departs from the body, body is dead. Guru Ji says:
“Saach beejai sach ougavai dharageh paaeeai thhaao.” (SGGS, Pg. No.1243)
Meaning: When Truth is planted, Truth grows. In the Court of the Lord, you shall find your place of honor.
We can see that Guru Jis have compared body to a farm and whatever is planted will grow as a crop. Understanding of this operating principle or law in this world should change our approach to life. So, every time we decide about choice one major consideration will be what are the consequences? Do I want those consequences in my life? These questions will change our approach to life. As a reminder let us hear again from Guru Ji about this Law of Consequences:
“Khaeth sareer jo beejeeai so a(n)th khaloaa aae.” (SGGS, Pg. No.1417)
Meaning: Whatever is planted in the farm of the body shall come and stand before them in the end.
Guru Ji wants us to become a farmer. Not a farmer who grows grains, fruit or vegetables, but a farmer whose farm is his/her mind and crop are remembrance of God. Guru Ji’s suggestion is to plant devotion and remembrance of God in the mind. The fruit of the crop will be the experience of God through the body. If Guru Jis have told us that life has purpose and we have already explored few of them earlier then the clear understanding of Purposes and the operating Laws in the universe can change our perspective in life.
Thought: Whatever I sow, I will harvest.
Quote: Jaisaa beejai so lunae jo khattae suo khaae
Meaning: As one plants, so does he harvest; whatever he earns, he eats.
Action: I will plant crop of remembrance of God in my heart. With love, devotion and reverence I will tend to this crop.
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