Room of Light – Part II

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How is the mind to be controlled? Even when a Sikh offers his head to the Guru, he is not totally free from temptation. A Sikh is ever to remain under the instruction of the Guru. The mind is one such errant entity of our being that is ever rearing its ugly head to go against the discipline of the Guru. Not only is the mind tough to control for a Sikh, but is also equally challenging to keep it under control for a GurSikh, an Amritdhari.

Amrit is important for a Sikh of the Guru. It is the perimeter fence that is created around the mind of the Sikh and restrains it from wandering. There is constant reminder through the visible 5Ks that the Sikh is now under the complete watch of the Guru. The sanctity of the 5Ks will ensure the power behind them keeps the Sikh connected to his Guru. The moment the Sikh’s mind begins to wander and is touched by the whiffs of Kaam, Krodh, Lobh, Moh and Ahankaar, the Guru’s Amrit protects him and reminds of the Guru’s instruction to keep those vices at bay. The moment the Sikh ignores or forgets those instructions, he will fall.

Control of the mind can only be achieved through pure love for the Guru. If that love is lacking, the manmukh will not be free from the vices even if he is Amritdhari. Being Amritdhari is not an end to the Sikh’s struggles with the mind – it only marks the beginning. When a soldier dons his uniform, he is expected to ever be alert and be ready to confront and fight the enemy and keep him at bay. It is of no use for a soldier to play down his guard and invite the quiet approach of the enemy. The soldier cannot be loyal to the one who he fights for if he sleeps with the enemy. If that happens, he become a traitor and is court-martialed, expelled and loses all honour. Forgotten will be all that he fought for in the past for the crime of compromising with his loyalty and commitment.

Likewise, a Sikh of the Guru (the Amritdhari) is also a soldier who is bestowed a uniform which identifies him to be part of the Guru’s army. Not only is the Khalsa a warrior of the outer world, but of the inner one, too. His battle begins inside. Inside the mind is a vast battlefield where a Sikh fights his battles and wars every single day. His weapon of defence is Gurbani – the Word of the Guru. A soldier cannot fight and win if he lays down his arms. When the Word of the Guru is ignored and not contemplated upon, the Sikh will be felled in the battleground. If he remembers his mistake when he falls and gets himself up and raise his weapon of defence, he will not fall again. Falling once may not necessarily mean the end of the soldier. If he is lucky, depending on the fall he takes, he lives to fight another day.

When a Sikh errs, the Guru is ready to forgive, no matter what the gravity of the error. The only condition of the Guru’s pardon is the sincere acknowledgement of the manmukh’s mistake and commits himself once again to the Guru that he will not allow his mind to take another fall. Being Amritdhari means the beginning of a Sikh’s journey into becoming Akaal Purakh Di Fauj. By simply receiving Amrit does not mean that the Sikh has not work to do. Of what use is the uniform when the loyalty will be lacking and does not remind the soldier who he is fighting for. The Khalsa uniform consists of not just Bana, but Bani as well. That is what makes the Sikh a unique spiritual soldier, which has no parallel in the world. The Bana is the sign of the Sikh’s outer uniform, while the Bani is the uniform of the mind. The two cannot exist on their own. The Bana is the ‘soldier’ of the Guru, the Bani is the ‘saint’ of the Guru. For those who lay emphasis on just either is an incomplete Sikh of the Guru. Emphasis must be on both that is why the Sikhs have been bestoweed the gift of Miri Piri. There was a reason why Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji created the discipline of Miri-Piri – it was the founding stone of the concept of the Saint-Soldier. When these disciplines and schools of principle are compromised with, even an Amritdhari Sikh will not be able to save himself from a fall.

Amrit is the mind’s soldier. When the soldier is sidelined, the mind will become vulnerable to the dogs of vice. That is what it means to offer the head to the Guru – to completely trust Him in instructing the mind and tranform it from a manmukh one to a gurmukh one. If one desires to control the mind, it must be offered to the Guru and follow in humility, love and discipline all that the Guru instructs. A soldier never argues with his superior and will always remain under instruction, only then will he return victorious from the battlefield. If the soldier follows his own thinking which he mistakenly believes to be better than his superior’s, he will be fighting his own war and will put his whole army in disarray. He will be the odd one out and will suffer defeat and rejection from his own. That is how thin the line of discipline is. Similarly, the Sikh of the Guru also walks a hair-thin line. There simply is no room for even the slightest mistake, otherwise he will not remain pure and complete, khalis. Purity is absolute. Even a fraction of the lack of it will not be called purity. If a Khalsa Sikh has even the slightest speck of error in him, he ceases be a Khalsa. If that is engrained in the mind, the Sikh’s mind will never wander and will not be touched by the ill winds of vice. He is to maintain his purity in every single breath of his life. That is the ultimate challenge of the Amritdhari Sikh and if he succeeds in completely surrendering his mind to the Guru, his life here and hereafter becomes fruitful. Maintaining the discipline of the Bana means a successful earthly existence, while maintaning the discipline and instruction of the Bani means the soul’s passage into the next world is successful. One needs to to win both. No one can win just one, both must be won.

For those who find the battle overwhelming, it can only mean that the Sikh has not completely offered his head to the Guru. The Guru created a timeless system for fighting the mind’s maladies and in eradicating them from his mind’s midst. Amrit is that system. For as long as we wear clothes, we will remain warm from the cold that is around us. Amrit is that robe of the Guru that protects the mind from the influences of the world. This robe is so pure that even the smallest smudge on it will make the mind vulnerable to the vices. The only way to maintain the purity of the robe is to constantly take care of it by remembering the instruction of the Guru through meditation and constant self instrospection. Bani is the teacher of the mind and the mind will always be a student, and never the teacher. No matter how high one’s spiritual state, he never becomes the master over himself. Bani is even the Guru’s Guru, which means that even the Guru is a student of the Word of God. The Sikh of the Guru who becomes an Amritdhari earns the potential to be the Guru’s equal, that is how great Amrit is. That means if the Guru is also ever under instruction, so are we. The importance of Bani and Bana must never be underestimated. They are the doors to Union with our Beloved, our Husband Lord. It all begins with the surrender of the mind to the Guru. When the mind becomes the property of the Guru, we have no say in it. Unless the clay is in the hands of the potter, it cannot be transformed into a beautiful piece of creation. The mind, too, is the clay that needs to be moulded by the potter Guru who will transform it into a pure soul that will be worthy of merging back with it’s source of existence and end it’s never-ceasing wanderings in the cycles of transmigration.

In conclusion, the mind can be controlled, but not by ourselves. It can only be controlled through instruction of the Guru. If one aspires to be free from the ills of the mind, then he must seek inspiration from the Guru. Futile is that Sikh’s attempts to control his mind who follows the fickle wisdom of his self. He may succeed for a moment but he will eventually break under the pressure of the vices. Only the Guru’s Amrit can save the mind from the tortures of this world and protect the soul from the clutches of the Messenger of Death. A Sikh must aspire to become a Khalsa, only then will he win the battles of the mind that is ever hounded by the enemy which is hell-bent on dragging the poor soul into the deep dens of darkess and doom. When he becomes a Khalsa, he must realise that the battles will only intensify but once the enemy realises just how relentless he is in protecting himself, he will recede and will not approach even close . . . until the time when he drops his guard even for a fraction of a moment. A Sikh of the Guru must ever be awake, for a soldier cannot be excused to let down his watch when he is on duty. The Khalsa, the Amritdhari, is ever on duty and never sleeps, because neither do the vices.

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