Thursday, 21 February 2013

Wake up

Wake up / ਜਾਗ ਲੇਹੁ ਰੇ

Let us start by putting a question to the reader of this note, which is ‘YOU’. Whom do you think is reading and understanding these lines? Is it the muscles of your eyes, retina and some neurons in the brain? Or, do you think there is something ‘higher’ and ‘separated’ from the physical body, which has this capability to actively understand.
If your answer is the latter, that is, you believe ‘yourself’ to be a sentient being rather than a tissue machine; you are in the company of Gurmat. Because the message of Gurbani is for the sentient being, and not the body which it has assumed for the very purpose of enhancing its understanding. It will be rather absurd to believe that the cells and neurons in our brain are the ones who want to ‘know’ and ‘understand’.
Once you are successful in accepting this, even as a premise if not a firm belief or a realization, you have taken the first step on your journey of self-discovery.Gurbani notes this fact in the following verse, where our ‘man’ i.e. our perception is expressed as ‘joṯ sarūp, or subset of the sentient being, rather than ‘jarh’, or a material object.

ਮਨ ਤੂੰ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਰੂਪੁ ਹੈ ਆਪਣਾ ਮੂਲੁ ਪਛਾਣੁ ॥ (੪੪੧)
Man ṯūʼn joṯ sarūp hai āpṇā mūl pacẖẖāṇ  (441)

In other words, each one of us is a primal living being, with or without the body. Our current situation merely happens to be such that we ‘have’ the body. Having the body means that a subset of consciousness of this sentient primal being is associated with the body through sense organs.
The problem however, is that the sentient being gets into the illusion that the body it has assumed is its sole identity. Consequently, all its endeavors in life revolve around the body, and the actual purpose of enhancing its understanding is lost. Gurbani tries to wake the being through the following verse.

ਜਾਗ ਲੇਹੁ ਰੇ ਮਨਾ ਜਾਗ ਲੇਹੁ ਕਹਾ ਗਾਫਲ ਸੋਇਆ  ਜੋ ਤਨੁ ਉਪਜਿਆ ਸੰਗ ਹੀ ਸੋ ਭੀ ਸੰਗਿ  ਹੋਇਆ ॥ (੭੨੬)
Jāg leho re manā jāg leho kahā gāfal so▫i▫ā.  Jo ṯan upji▫ā sang hī so bẖī sang na ho▫i▫ā॥ (726)
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