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Guru Nanak on Listening

April 5, 2017


The first Sikh Guru, founder of the Sikh way of life, spoke 36 stanzas when he came out of his samhadi, or submersion in the infinite. Four of those stanzas he wrote about listening, or perhaps it could be called “hearing truthfully”, or as I prefer, “Tuning In”.  The word he used is Suniai. One thing about the grammar of these stanzas: Guru Nanak is very vague about what is happening by whom; he is speaking in very general terms.



Suniai                 Sidh                            Pir                     Sur                   Nath

Listening             A yogi with powers        Sufi saints           Heroes              Masters of yoga


This is a very strong statement. He is basically saying that through the faculty of listening one can become a realized being.  It is a complete yoga practice in and of itself. He mentions heroes… if one is submerged in the oneness of the unending sound current then how can one be afraid? We are a part of the unending whole. That is a state of deathlessness.  



Suniai                       Dharat                   Dhaval                              akash

By tuning in                The earth                The supporting bull             The ethers


Here Guru Nanak is referring to the very structure of the universe. Dhaval refers to the Hindu scriptures called the Puranas that imagine the earth is held in the horns of a bull, perhaps similar to the Greek mythology of Atlas. By tuning in and hearing the sound current, one can understand the vibrational field that supports all matter. Guru Nanak is urging us to reach a quantum physics understanding within our own self. To go beyond superstition, mythology and blind belief to the experience of reality within ourselves. 




Suniai                            Deep                        loa                            patal

By tuning in                      light                            realms                        underworlds


Here Guru Nanak is saying that, by listening, one becomes aware of inner light, the other hells and heavens, and underworlds. Basically, the concept is that we create hells and heavens for ourselves right here on earth. We don't have to wait till death, although there are other realms and heavens to dwell in according to the karma created. To become subtle through listening is to become aware of that existence of these parallel universes that exist all the time. Through listening, one can transcend everything and merge in the light, the source of all that pervades all the realms. 



Suniai                      Poheh                  na                    sakai                      kaal

By tuning in               touch                     not                     can                          time


Again we see the concept of being beyond time or deathlessness. When one is tuned into that sound current, one is beyond time and space. Therefore death cannot touch that part of you that is merged in it. It is interesting that the actual title in Tibetan of the famous Buddhist scripture we know as “The Tibetan Book of the Dead” is actually the words, Bardo Thodal which literally means “Liberation by hearing in the intermediate state”.



Nanak                          Bhagata                            sada                            vigas

Nanak                            a devotee                             always                           blooming


Nanak speaks to his own mind saying “Nanak! Wake up! Listen! A lover of God, a devotee, is always blooming.” A devotee always has energy, and is always being renewed. When one has touched on the underlying energy of the universe and vibrates in the same frequency, how can one then be depressed, closed down, bored or frightened? He is saying that someone who is in love with that, doesn't bloom, and it is done with like a flower, but yet stays in the constant state of being renewed, rejuvenated and reborn.



Sunia                        dukh                         pap                   ka                      nas

By tuning in                pain/suffering              sins                    of                        destruction


It is interesting to combine pain with sin. What is a sin? When we do something that is against our own higher consciousness. By doing that we cause ourselves pain. By tuning in, we no longer identify with those thoughts that can cause pain.


Yogi Bhajan has said that our crown chakra releases one thousand thoughts per wink of the eye. It is the thoughts we latch onto that become desires, which then must be fulfilled. We become restless and unhappy from these thoughts.


If you see a man with a gold watch, you may think, “I want that watch.” Your mind may latch onto that thought. If your brain chemistry is of a certain pattern, you may decide that you must have that watch. You may begin to plot how to get his watch. Beat him up and take it from him? Or sneak into his house at night when he is sleeping and steal it? It can become an obsession. The thought took hold, became a desire, and you may have entered into a hellish state to obtain that desired object. If you are in a neutral state, of the meditative mind, then the thought would never have become a desire; therefore, no act, no sin, and no pain.


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