What does Shabd do within?
The Shabd is conscious and consciousness. It is a wave of the ocean of the Lord and man is a particle of His Being. He is related to Him as a part is related to the whole. The Lord is the ocean of super-consciousness, and Shabd is its wave. The soul is a drop of this ocean. The wave of super-consciousness or Shabd attracts the conscious soul towards it and absorbs it. Until the soul, with the help of the Shabd, rises to its Original Home, it cannot achieve salvation.
The melody of the Shabd is ringing within us. When the soul is connected with it, it becomes fit to rise from the finite towards the infinite.
The connection between the soul and the divine Sound is a natural one. There is form and melody in the Shabd and through these the mind becomes still. The soul then becomes absorbed in the Sound and merges in the Lord. The Shabd emanates from the Supreme Lord and through it the soul realizes the Lord. By practising breath control, we can reach the place of origin of the vital force in the body – the chid akash – but no further.
The Gurbani tells us that the Lord is eternal and can be realized only through the practice of listening to the Divine Sound.
My Master is eternal. He can be seen through the practice of the Sound.
Gujri Var M3, 509-5
It is only by realizing the Shabd that one meets the True Lord.
On realizing the Shabd, the Lord is realized. One's service is then fruitful.
Sri Rag M3, 27-9
Inside of man is the Shabd whereby the Lord can be met.
Sarang Var M4, 1250-3
The Shabd is the only path that leads us to our Original Home. It is the ship that ferries the soul across the ocean of Existence and takes him in the lap of the Lord. The Supreme Lord, the soul and the Shabd are a holy Trinity. The One Lord exists in all the three forms. The soul has no separate existence from the timeless Being. It is a particle of Him.
Oh Kabir, the soul is a particle of the Lord.
Kabir, Gond 871-10
In spite of this relationship – that of a particle to the whole – every soul considers itself to be a separate entity.
The Kingdom of Sach Khand is within us, but it cannot be entered without knowing the proper way. We should go within. The way to do this is the practice of listening to the Shabd. It is only by this practice that we can obtain release from the mind and Maya, pain and pleasure, duality and birth and death.
The Shabd is the conscious melody-current of the Lord. It is His form, and It creates and sustains the entire universe. The Shabd is the seed of the entire creation. Whatever is in the seed is also in the tree which springs from it. Everything is within that Eternity. Whatever is manifested in time and space merges in It, and the origin of everything is in the Shabd.
The effect is a form of the cause. The Shabd is the cause. The entire creation is Its effect. What is not in the cause cannot be found in the effect. If a ray of the sun falls on a clean mirror, the entire sun can be seen in it. If our mind is entirely clean and there is not even an iota of egotism in it, then the reflection of the Lord can be seen in it. The rays of the sun emanate from the sun and are not different from it. Cause is always present in its effect. Similarly, the attributes of the Lord are not different from those of the soul.
The true Shabd is Dhun-atmik which means that it cannot be spoken or written. It is resounding within us. It is the same Shabd through which the world was manifested. There is no other method, except the practice of listening to this Sound, of obtaining release from the woe and misery of the world and the cycle of birth and death. This method is the highest and the purest of all methods. One who practises it, also obtains the benefits that accrue from all other spiritual practices. You should seek a holy man who is an adept in the practice of the Sound Current and learn it from him. By its practice you will attain salvation and will be freed from the bondage of Maya. When the inner ground is clean, the Shabd will be heard. But where the Shabd comes from is not known.
Shamas-i-Tabriz says about it as follows:
A strange sound was heard; It was not from inside or outside. It was not from the left or right, nor from behind or front.It was not from above or below, nor from East or West. It was not from water or air, nor from fire, earth or ether. You may ask where it comes from; it comes from the direction in which you search. You may ask which direction to face. Face the way from which the King comes.
That direction where the parched fish remains alive by getting water. That direction from which the hand of Moses appeared like the moon. That direction which ripens the fruits. That direction which turns stones into pearls.
The unbeliever turns in that direction in the hour of need. When he feels pain here, he goes in that direction. It is not proper to discuss this. For even the unbelievers would give up unbelief on hearing about it.
Yes! This sound is coming from the direction towards which the soul has to go. Without It the soul wanders in the dark. Blind is the soul without the Shabd. Oh! where can it go?It finds not the door that leads to the Lord's Name. And so it wanders to and fro.
All the Saints have asserted that this Shabd, which is heard inside, is the means for gaining release from the world. It cannot be had, however, until a seeker is instructed by a holy man who is an adept, and he then withdraws his attention from the nine portals of the body and fixes it on the spot behind the two eyes. This Shabd takes the soul to its Original Home.
A man obtains a new life through the Shabd.
Jesus Christ also refers to the new life given by the Word or Holy Spirit but this has been forgotten by our Christian brothers of today.
In this very connection St. John says:
That which is born of the flesh is flesh; but it is the spirit of man which is born of the spirit.
He also clearly speaks about a new life which begins after hearing the Word.
The wind bloweth where it listeth (wisheth) and thou hearest the Sound thereof; but cannot tell whence it cometh nor whither it goeth; so is everyone that is born of the Spirit. Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of Heaven. Marvel not that I say unto you, ye must be born again.
Whenever the Saints come to the world, they emphasize the importance of being born again through the Shabd.
When the Master, at the time of initiation, connects us with the Shabd, we are born again.
Guru Nanak has hinted at this in his talk to Yogis:
By being made to be born again by the Master, my comings and goings ceased.
Ramkali M1, 940-2
The Shabd takes us out of the darkness of matter, cleans us of our accumulated dross and gives us a new life. By the practice of the Shabd, we are rid of this pot of the body and we see a wonderful universe without the use of our eyes.
By contemplating on the Guru's Word the thread of my breath was cleansed. I entered my Original Home and drank the Lord's Nectar. I saw a wonderful universe without using my eyes.
Nat M4, 983-6
Unless we realize the Shabd we cannot reach the Court of the Lord.