V / (ii)
Advantages accruing from Inner Communion of the Soul with Naam
These benefits may be grouped under physical, moral, mental and spiritual aspects of the inner communion.
Naam keeps the mind and body in a state of equipoise. Peace reigns supreme in its devotee; the ramifications of mind are done away with forever. All lusts cease to have their hold on the mind. The brain gets a soothing balm. It puts an end to wasteful hurry, and with it go all nervous tensions and mental strains and stress. Naam gives one immunity from all bodily and worldly pains and troubles. By withdrawing the attention within, the mind is stilled and the soul is freed of all mental conflicts. Even the sense of egotism itself – the most ancient malady – loses itself into airy nothing and with it, the perpetual dance of coming in and going out of the world comes to an end. The process of transmigration of the soul is but the natural concomitant of the self-assertive will or egotism.
Guru Arjan says:
Whenever one asserts the little ego, 'I’, as doing things, one assumes the unending role of an ever-active agent responsible for his actions and is caught in the intricate net of transmigration.
Guru Arjan, Gauri Sukhmani M5
The elimination of egoism is, then, the only remedy for liberation from the unending cycle of births and deaths. It is a clear test of those who have realized at-one-ment with the Ever-Existing Divinity – the Spiritual Current diffused in the world. All labour undergone for total self-effacement is an effort in the right direction. It is called disimprisonment of the soul from the facts of life or disenfranchisement from all that is worldly. In a word, the secret lies in depersonalizing the soul of all that is personal in it, for then one strikes at the root of all evil. The many recipes for this losing of the I-consciousness, that floods the world today, fail to gain for us the goal of liberation. For with such methods, the ego feeds itself and grows from strength to strength and is not effaced. Unless one becomes a conscious co-worker with the Divine Plane, he cannot become selfless.
The very fact that we exist makes us want to understand the process of life. How and whence have we come into existence and what happens after death? The discovery of the theory of evolution, by modern science, does not fully satisfy us for it deals with the physical only and does not account for the higher planes of manifestation, which are the Spiritual Ones. The ancient sages realized that there could be no evolution without involution. The fact that something cannot come out of nothing proves that involution must precede evolution. To know the latter we must understand the former, just as to know the effect we must know the cause. The two are inseparable.
The gross body is not all. It has two other subtle bodies inside, the astral and the mental, which are composed of finer and less destructible materials. These bodies consist of mind or intellect and the sense of the little ego “I”. In them are stored up the impressions gathered in various lives. Only by studying the inner man, the mystery of evolution is understood. The soul is perpetually struggling to cast off the bondage of the matter and of the mind and soar upwards to God from whom it emanated. This struggle is ended only when it rises above the three regions: physical, astral and causal, and loses all sense of egoism, the cause of transmigration.
Like the doctrine of evolution itself, that of transmigration has its roots in the realm of reality; none but hasty thinkers will reject it on the ground of inherent absurdity.
Self-effacement can be achieved by no other means except communion with the Shabd – the Word, as will be evinced from the sayings of the Master.
Oh, Nanak! Through the favour of the Guru, we were saved and the ego was consumed in communion with the Shabd (Word).
Guru Amar Das, Wadhans War M3
In egoism, the peoples of the world are being consumed – they go round the endless cycle of births and deaths. The ignorant (those attached to the cringing nature of the mind), do not realize the Shabd. They will go to the other world as dishonoured.
Guru Amar Das, Sri Rag M3
The whole world is going astray in the egoistic assertion of I-ness. Without the Shabd (Word), there can be no release from the ego. Oh, Nanak, by communion with the Naam, the ego is effaced and oneness with the True Lord is achieved.
Guru Amar Das, Asa M3
In misery and pleasure, the whole world is stuck fast. All their doings are directed by assertion of egotism. Without the Shabd (Word), superstition cannot be ended, and the ego cannot be lost.
Guru Amar Das, Sri Rag M3
All desires and attachments get singed by the Shabd. A Gurumukh finds the heavenly Light within.
Guru Nanak, Ramkali M1
True renunciation within comes through communion with the Shabd alone. Nature with all her evanescent charms ceases to have attraction for the renouncer. By renouncing everything, one penetrates into the all-pervading Spirit. His attachment to the environments is done away with and his bondage to matter is ended. Thus, no more births and deaths await him. Hereafter the life of the senses and the glamour of the world fascinates him not, on his Way to the Lord.
The Master says:
By saturation with the true Shabd (Word), man truly renounces the world – and his coming and going is ended.
Guru Amar Das, Maru M3
Detachment in attachment is also attained only with the aid of Shabd. Whatever he does, he does just with a sense of duty – with no attachment to the fruit thereof. The root cause of misery lies in the fact of one’s attachment. We are caught by whatever we do – in our inability to detach ourselves from everything. We must reserve the power of remaining detached from all things, however precious they may be, or however much one may yearn for them.
Work constantly. Work, but be not attached to its fruit. Thus learn ye the secret of work
What is it that aids in acquiring the power of detaching ourselves? None else but the communion with the Shabd.
The Master speaks of this so beautifully:
Unattached is only He, who communes with the Shabd.
Guru Arjan, Majh M5
Soul comes to be filled to the brim with the flow of life from the Fountainhead of all, which makes her increasingly subtle from day to day. This enables her to rise into the higher Spiritual Planes until she reaches her Divine Goal in Sach Khand. Here, above the bounds of annihilation in Pralaya (dissolution), and Maha Pralaya (grand dissolution), she attains complete union with the Formless One.
Man is now endowed with all higher and supernatural powers. He knows the spirit of the scriptures, the secret of communion, the mystery of Self and of God, and becomes the abode of all virtues. He is overjoyed at the time of death, unlike others who are in dire agony at that time, since he has been accustomed to withdraw life-currents from the body at will. He is saved from all the misery that attends the death process.
This process of withdrawing the spirit from the physical body is what is enjoined by all the saints, and is absolutely necessary for a probationer to have access into the higher planes.
Guru Nanak stated:
The home you have to get to after death, reach there by withdrawing your spirit from the body, in your lifetime.
Guru Nanak, Sri Rag M1
Nanak, die (withdraw your spirit) while you are alive, such a Yoga you should practise.
Guru Nanak, Suhi M1
Dadu, die (withdraw your spirit) before you are dead. All men die in the usual course.
Learn to die so that you may begin to live.
Die (withdraw your spirit) before you are dead.
Maulana Rumi has well defined what this death means. He averred:
Die, oh friend, before you are dead, if you want everlasting life. Through such a death alone, Adris (a Saint) reached heaven before us. You have striven very hard, but still the veil of matter is not rent asunder, because the death which was real you could not attain. So long as you do not die, your coming and going cannot be ended.
Until you ascend to the highest rung of the ladder, you cannot get to the roof. Just as if a man ascends only 98 out of 100 rungs of a ladder, he cannot reach the roof. Or just as a man who has only 99 yards of cord, cannot get water in the bucket from a well 100 yards deep.
So long as you do not completely withdraw your spirit from the body, the cycle of deaths and births is extended. Let the flaming light of your candle (soul) lose itself into the light of the Morn.
So long as our stars are not hidden, rest assured, the sun also remains out of sight. Just the same, oh wise man! The Lord does not make His appearance unless the veil of matter is rent asunder.
Therefore, choose the death, and in this way rend asunder the veil. This death is not the death that carries you to the grave. It is only a withdrawal of the spirit – a change to give you a life upwards.
Mustafa has said to the seeker of Truth,
He wants to see you dead so that you may have everlasting life. So that while alive you may move on earth and when dead, your soul may fly into the heavens.
The soul has her home in the High Heavens. If once it is withdrawn, no transmigration awaits it. Because he has learnt to withdraw his spirit while alive, this death cannot be conceived of as a possibility.
So long as you do not die, what benefit can you derive? Go and die, so that you may reap the fruit of your earthly life.
The mystery of dying before death is this, that through such a death, the Grace of the Lord descends.
Death from which the whole world shrinks is welcome unto me, I rejoice as it is a harbinger of perfect Peace and joy.
Kabir, Shalok Kabir
Such a liberated one goes to meet death more than half way. At the time of departure from the body, He Himself joyously withdraws the spirit currents within, as He has been accustomed to do so as a matter of His daily routine. Such a death is unattended by any kind of pain or misery that awaits all others at the last moment. The Hindu scriptures describe the pain at leaving the body to be as that of a thousand scorpions stinging together at one time. The Muslims compare it to the anguish that would be felt on passing a thorny bush through the alimentary canal right from the rectum to the mouth. Of course, everybody has at one time or another been an eye witness to the death pangs at a deathbed. Lastly, one gains access to the Mansion of God. He is thus saved through communion with the Shabd and made competent to help many another to attain the highest heights of Spirituality.
The application of this practice is called the Surat Shabd Yoga – Yoga of the Sound-Current – the communion with the Divine Lord. It is the only effective means prescribed by Guru Nanak, for the liberation of the soul from the bondage of the mind and matter, and for the ultimate complete oneness with the Lord.
Live thou, uncontaminated in the world, just like a lotus flower with its head above the muddy pool, or like a sea-fowl that springs into the air with wings unaffected by the water. Oh Nanak! Surat Shabd Yoga – communion of the soul with the Word – is the only means whereby one can safely cross over the endless ocean of matter – attune ye with it. Without contact with the Shabd (Word), ye cannot meet the Lord God and thy coming into the world goes in vain. Without the Shabd none can ford over to the Divine Goal.
All efforts put in for securing communion with the Shabd – Word – are efforts in the right direction.
Guru Granth Sahib amply bears this out:
When Shabd is communed with, the Lord is met. All of man’s efforts in this direction, are crowned with success. There is no other Way, but this.