In the previous conversation on Pauris 3 and 4, Guru Nanak introduced us to the concept of Amrit Vela, as the time for action, or an opportunity to commune with the True Name (Sach NauN) - the way to align with hukam, and by extension, connecting with the HukmÄ« (God) behind the hukam.
We were also reminded that individual effort - while necessary - was not sufficient, that Nadar (grace) was indispensable to find that portal or door (mokh dwar) which would lead to communion with Naam.
In this pauri, Guru Nanak again touches on themes raised in earlier stanzas, such as yogic practices and pilgrimages, but with a view to introduce us to the concept of Guru.
The Guru in Sikhi is that portal through which communication with the True Name is made possible. Here, God, addressed as Gurmukh, is introduced as the primordial Guru. Note that the term Gurmukh is also used for an ideal Sikh, literally meaning the face of the Guru or turning to the Guru - a directional goal for all Sikhs.
A Sikh has two orientations available: Gurmukh and Manmukh. A Gurmukh is centered (affixed) in the Guru through inner devotion ('liv', in gurbani) while attending to the affairs of the world. A Manmukh, on the other hand, lives a toxic, haumai based existence, driven by the external rat race (called dhaturbazi in gurbani).
We will together pause and reflect on the Guru as our guide and mentor, and in the parlance of Sikhi, our only hope for salvation.
Pauri 5 MESSAGE
We cannot manufacture and install the Truth and hope to communicate with it - a clear reference to idol worship. Guru Nanak suggests that God does not need a special idol or temple to manifest. Communion with the Truth is an inner process, which a Sikh must quicken by turning to the True Name in simple and loving devotion - reflecting on the divine qualities of that Supreme Being. Grace is obtained through the Guru who reveals the underlying unity of creation. God is "seen" as diffused in creation.
In this stanza, God is referred to as the primordial Guru, and also called Gurmukh - the One who is the Word, the Scripture, the Creator, Preserver and Destroyer of the Universe - not to mention who is also the universal goddess, the fount of all virtues.
- The concept of Guru is fundamental to Sikhi. Being a Sikh implies a Guru just as being a disciple implies a Teacher. Yet, "Guru" in the context of Guru Granth Sahib has different connotations - the Guru is God, the Guru is Shabad (Word), the Guru is also personal, as is evident by references to Guru Nanak made by Guru Arjan.
- How do we make sense of the spectrum of meanings around 'Guru'
- There are multiple terms used for 'Guru' in the Guru Granth Sahib: Guru, Satguru, Gurdev and Gurbani, e.g.. What accounts for these variations, if any?
- What explains the popularity of personal gurus even today?