Sunday, 26 April 2009

Only human, after all

Sometimes I feel as though I live in a state of permanent tug-of-war between Mind and Heart. They both want different things; they tease me and cajole me and pull me in different directions, they try to convince me that I should think with one, rather than feel with the other. I do not think one is good and the other not, I am only lamenting at this perpetual struggle that I sometimes find distressing.
How does one decide what is right? Sometimes I am able to summon Soul into the debate to settle the matter. Soul is neutral and guided by a greater wisdom which serves a higher purpose; hence She presides over them both. But She takes her time, and meanwhile I have to think of ways to amuse them until the intervention arrives :)
All this would not really be of any concern, except that sometimes I find myself caught in the middle of a spiritual tussle, such as the one detailed below.
To my Mind, the most appealing argument for Sikhi is the concept of Shabad as Guru.
I will not deny that the reason for this is perhaps rather egoistic: I do not think I have it in me to surrender to another human. I believe myself to be capable of devotion, of love, of compassion. But for me to surrender to a Teacher, it needs to be pure and unwaveringly constant, I need to be able to place it on a pedestal, and make it a standard to live up to. I need to know that it will always, always, always command my high opinion and respect, I need to have faith that it will never disappoint my conscience. I need to believe that I will never need to question it, as every message I receive will be completely in sync with my Inner Voice, which naturally will be none other than that very same Teacher. These are high expectations indeed, but I think perfectly justified in view that I am planning a full and unquestionable surrender.
And if there is anything I know to be true, it is that all things physical are ephemeral. I may love them, learn from them, and have an experience, but all at a detached distance. I may welcome them into my space, but release them just as easily. My understanding of Sikhi tells me that I will be blessed by the presence of many great souls in my lifetime. I may call them Saints, Rishis, Yogis, and even Gurus. I may bow to them, seek their guidance, revere them, be healed by their energy. But I must remember that they too are transient, their time too will come.
There is only one constant: Shabad. The wisdom of the Great Soul. The true Gu-Ru. My Light in Darkness.
But that is a sophisticated ideology for a simple being, and this vexes my Heart. While it recognises Shabad as the ultimate teacher, it struggles to let go of the 10 physical Gurus that provided the space for Shabad to come to be. The attachment I refer to is not only attachment to their messages, but also an attachment to them as beings of the 5 elements just like you and me, as real as the presence of any mortal being.
It is an attachment to the stories of their lives and those around them, to the places they were born in and fields they slept in, to the rivers they crossed and forts they built, to their names and that of their children, to their swords and locks of hair.

There is no defence here; I confess that the attachment is physical. And it is difficult to imagine it otherwise, because if I truly believe them to be my father, mother, brother, sister and friend, which I do, then as a human being I should also be allowed to long for the physical space that I would expect to share with those people.

There are times when I want nothing more then to be a grandchild sleeping in Nanak's lap, or a daughter resting my head against Ram Das's knee, or a servant with my arms curled around Gobind's feet. I want to be blessed by a hand on my head. To be humbled by touching my forehead on the Marble Floor. To be warmed by the glow of joyful Harkrishan.

Is it a justification to say that although these are physical attachments, they exist to pursue a spiritual experience?

I am only human, after all.


Jasdeep Hari Bhajan said...

Wow! You write so eloquently! I loved this post Harkiren! I haven't heard from you in ages! How are things? You going Solstice this year?

Personally I feel the answer to your question is yes, it is justifiable to love the physical lives of the Gurus and to want to meet them physically. For how they lived is a reflection of the devotion of their message. Their lives are an example of service, kindness, compassion, courage and fearlessness. That's what we really fall in love with under the guise of the physical, we fall in love with their being. And being is beyond the physical.

But I share your pain, that you want to meet them physically. I've been blessed enough to come across Saints in life who are filled with such light and love for God that by merely looking at their glowing face, you just melt with love and devotion and to be at their feet is a privilege which cannot be described in words. At the same time though, even by visualising in your mind that you are at the feet of the Gurus, that is also a physical existence, for we create things into being from consciousness. If that's too airy fairy, then perhaps by looking deeply into the eyes of another human being, you can see the God-potential within them. That God-potential is the Guru. And if this is too airy fairy then perhaps I should recommend going to see some of the Saints I've met in this life to quench your thirst, or perhaps there’s nothing to do but to just sit in the Society of Saints in the presence of the Shri Guru Granth and allow the Shabad to soothe the pain of separation =)?

Jasdeep Hari Bhajan Singh Khalsa

tarsem said...

I absolutely loved this. Its eloquent, its heartfelt.

I have a brief idea of what the 'answer' may be for me, but each person's spiritual journey is their own to make, so I shall leave it for you to discover your own.

Balvinder Singh said...

physical is as physical does...the Shabad is needed to raise one's conscienceness above the physical...easier said than done. Very very illuminating Harkiren.

Preet said...

Oi you!
Lovin the blog.
We absolutely must meet up...emphasis on the 'must'!
Hope the rest of the durian lovers back home are well ;o)