Guru Nanak described Guru as a spiritual teacher who transforms humans into angels/gods. By god, I mean a tinier replica of God, a human god with all god-like characters from an angel. Such a transformation is a metamorphosis.
The dictionary describes metamorphosis as a change in the form or the nature of a living entity, transforming that entity into an entirely distinct entity by a natural or a supernatural means. When its done right, it is like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly. The transformation of a human into a god-like entity indeed will be such a change, and we call it a metamorphosis promised by Guru Nanak.
Guru Nanak wrote,
ਬਲਿਹਾਰੀ ਗੁਰ ਆਪਣੇ ਦਿਉਹਾੜੀ ਸਦ ਵਾਰ ॥ ਜਿਨਿ ਮਾਣਸ ਤੇ ਦੇਵਤੇ ਕੀਏ ਕਰਤ ਨ ਲਾਗੀ ਵਾਰ ॥ SGGS, p. 462.
I am a sacrifice to my Guru (enlightener) a hundred times a day as my Guru makes angels out of humans bypassing all delaying ploys.
To further illustrate the heightened image of metamorphosis, Guru Granth gives the example of a goldsmith making a jewel out of an ordinary metal.
ਲੋਹਉ ਹੋਯਉ ਲਾਲੁ ਨਦਰਿ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਜਦਿ ਧਾਰੈ ॥ SGGS, p. 1399.
Iron is transformed into a gemstone when the True Guru bestows His Vision of Spirituality on the seeker.
Icon for Divine to Invoke Metamorphosis
To ease into the spiritual metamorphosis, Nanak prescribed a meditation on an icon. The icon he devised is Ek Onkar to define Divine. We may describe Nanak’s Icon literary to mean the One Virtual Reality manifested in numerous ways throughout all creations. Nanak described this icon as:
ਅਨਿਕ ਭਾਂਤਿ ਹੋਇ ਪਸਰਿਆ ਨਾਨਕ ਏਕੰਕਾਰੁ ॥ SGGS, p. 296.
Ek Onkar manifests in the creations in so many ways, says Nanak.
Guru Nanak further said that only the Ek Onkar remains to realize when one wishes to resolve doubts. And, when all doubts extinguish, one attains the intended metamorphosis.
ਭ੍ਰਮ ਛੂਟੇ ਤੇ ਏਕੰਕਾਰ ॥੩॥ SGGS, p. 736.
When we get rid of all impeding doubts, what remains is the spirituality of Ek Onkaar.
The meme oriented person will fail to realize the Devine
A person imprisoned by the commercial and material inputs, such as criminal behaviors and profit-oriented minds, fails to realize Divine virtues.
ਮਨਮੁਖੁ ਮੁਗਧੁ ਬੂਝੈ ਨਾਹੀ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਭਾਲਣਿ ਜਾਈ ॥ SGGS, p.754
The foolish self-willed manmukh does not comprehend the essence; she/he goes out searching for the Divine.
ਅੰਤਰਿ ਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਨ ਚੀਨਈ ਮਨਿ ਮੂਰਖੁ ਗਾਵਾਰੁ ॥ SGGS p. 86
Those who do not recognize God within themselves- are wasteful and foolish!
The purpose of realizing the Divine
Relevant to human life, its inter-relationships, and its practices, Guru Nanak further highlighted that Ek Onkar dwells within each heart and for a purpose. The purpose is twofold. The first one is to learn from Guru the Divine Virtus that lead the wisdom-oriented person towards inculcating the divine virtues within the human mind and human consciousness.
ਕਾਇਆ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਆਪੇ ਵਸੈ ਅਲਖੁ ਨ ਲਖਿਆ ਜਾਈ ॥ SGGS,p.754
The Divine itself dwells within the body; It is invisible and may not be so realized.
ਕਾਇਆ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਜਗਜੀਵਨ ਦਾਤਾ ਵਸੈ ਸਭਨਾ ਕਰੇ ਪ੍ਰਤਿਪਾਲਾ ॥ SGGS, p.754
The Life of the World, the Great Giver Divine, dwells within the body; It is the custodian of all.
Guru Nanak’s purpose of stressing the Divine within the above-described way was to lead his followers towards human life’s real goal. The purpose was to Realize and instill the Divine within.
ਮਨ ਤੂੰ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਰੂਪੁ ਹੈ ਆਪਣਾ ਮੂਲੁ ਪਛਾਣੁ ॥ SGGS, p. 440
O my mind, you are the embodiment of the Divine Light – recognize your bases.
Then, the purpose was to emulate God by living a life that actively expresses divine attributes in everyday expressions, resulting in the desired human actions. Towards this end, Guru wrote.
ਗੁਣ ਸੰਗ੍ਰਹਿ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਰਿਦੈ ਨਿਵਾਸੀ ਭਗਤਿ ਰਤੀ ਹਰਖਾਈ ॥੫॥ SGGS p. 1273
The seeker enshrines God within her heart and thereby gathers divine virtues imbued with devotion and achieves contentment.
Should a person not understand such a purpose of life, such a person would be a fool.
ਪ੍ਰਭ ਅਵਿਨਾਸੀ ਮਨ ਮਹਿ ਲੇਖੁ ॥੨॥ SGGS, p. 190.
You may realize the immortal Divine within your consciousness.
Such is the greatness of a true Guru that one realizes the Divine within one’s heart through the Guru’s teachings.
ਅੰਤਰਿ ਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਪਛਾਣਿਆ ਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਵਡਿਆਈ ॥੭॥ SGGS, p 425.
They realize God within their hearts through the glorious greatness of the Guru.
Emulating the Divine Characteristics – A Conclusion
The Divine characteristics that Guru Nanak identified for emulation within the human mind are a topic by itself that I will discuss in future blogs. Here I may only list those that Guru Nanak included in the commencing verse of Guru Granth.
- Become Like The Creator!
- Recognize Your Eternal Identity!
- Cultivate Creative Personality!
- Emit Fearless Behaviors!
- Consider No One As Enemy!
- Engage In Timeless Actions!
- Let No Impact Of Consequences!
- Cultivate The Eternal Self!
- Be Thankful To The Eternal Wisdom!
This article is the courtesy of Dr. Harbans Lal.
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