If our efforts do not carry us to God, then what is the point in Guru Ji asking us to do things?

On the one hand, the Gurus hold that whatever happens in the world is under Divine dispensation and that His will is supreme.

karan karavan ape ap
sada sada Nanak hari jap
“He is the cause and sole author, Nanak says repeat God’s name again and again.”
Guru Arjan – Gauri.

It would thus appear that the doer of the act and the prompter, or inspirer, of the act is one and the same – God. God does what He wills Humans act as He wills.

marai rakhai ekai ap
manukh kai kichh nahi hath
Guru Arjan – Gauri.

Thus things happen as God wills and humans do what God inspires them to do jo hari lorhe so kare

soi jia karan
Guru Arjan – Majh.

Helpless and impotent is the wooden marionette, He who pulls the strings knows its moves. The actor assumes the guise. As the director of the play directs.

kath ki putli kaha karai bapri
khelavanharo janai
jaisa bhekh karavai bajigar
oh taisa hi saj anai
Guru Arjan – Gauri.

The Author of the drama of the universe gets the actors to play their different roles according to His own design and plan. The actors do as they are prompted and inspired to do. At the same time, stress has been laid on the need for us to exert ourselves. We have to be up and doing, to be good, to read the Gurbani to resort to Simran to realize God, to earn our bread by the sweat of our brow and to share it with the needy, to serve our fellowmen. Life is another name for toil and sweat. In it there is no place for lotus-eaters.

udam karedia jio tu
kamavadia sukh bhunch
dhiaidia tu prabhumul
Nanak utri chint
“0 thou Man, thou must seek thy happiness
In exertion, in earning thy living by
the sweat of thy brow.
Through unceasing remembrance of God
Thou wouldst meet Him and thy worries
would end.”
Guru Arjan – Gujri Var.

sun sakhie mil udam kareha
manai laihe hari kante
“Up, up, Sister mine, let us be up and doing,
To win our Spouse, the Lord God.”
Guru Arjan – Gauri.

uthat baithat sovat nam
kaho Nanak jan kai sad kam
“Those who live and move and have their being in God, Reap the fruit of their labours and are one with Him.”
Guru Arjan – Gauri.

ghal khait kichhi hathoh deh
Nanak raho pachhanah se
“Earn thy Thing with toil
And Share it with others
This is the true path to God.”
Guru Nanak.

Both the viewpoints have been emphasized in Guru Granth Sahib Ji, and at the outset, the seeker will
find it difficult to reconcile the two seemingly contradictory ideas. For instance, there is the thought embodied in the following verse:

ghal na milio sev na milio
milio ai achinta
“Thou wilt not
and God through austerities
Nor through worship,
He will visit you unawares.”
Guru Arjan – Dhanasri.

Now, mark another verse:

sun sakhiye mil udam kareha
manae laihe hari kante
“Up, up, Sister mine, let us be up and doing
To win our Spouse, our Lord God.”
Guru Arjan – Gauri.

If our labours do not carry us to God, then where is the point in asking us to exert ourselves to toil hard, make supplications, share our wealth with others and to serve and make sacrifices?

But we must remember that the two types of instructions are intended for two di
fferent types of people, who are at two different stages of spiritual growth; those who are in the preliminary stage and those who are at the peak.

Sit by a physician for a while, and you will
find something amazing. For some patients he prescribes a constipation drug, for others a purgative. To some he suggests fomentation, to others an ice bag on the head. He is dealing with different maladies in di
fferent cases. As the disease, so the remedy. Similarly, the mind suff
ers from diverse diseases, and hence the treatment cannot be alike.

If there seem to be contradictions in the teachings of great souls, we must not be too impatient, or over-hasty in criticising them. We must pause and ponder, and get at the core of things. Those who are not conversant with all types of mental and spiritual conditions of Man would do well to
rst ponder those precepts of the Gurus that make a special appeal to them and watch and wait for a clear understanding of things, which are yet beyond their experience or comprehension. To be impatient to understand the latter would be tantamount to saying that the infant should be anxious to understand the M.A. course.

How can a beginner who has yet to master the preliminary steps be in a position to understand the crowning mysteries of the spirit? For instance, the crown and climax of spiritual realisation is

nah kichh janmai nah kich marai
apan chalit ap hi karai
“Nothing is born, naught doth die;
His the play and He the Actor.”
Guru Arjan – Gauri.

hari jan hari hari hoia
Nanak hari ike
“God’s devotee is united with God
He and God are now One.”
Guru Ramdas – Asa.

How can the seeker grasp this subtle truth in the preliminary stage? We receive our thought-waves through cosmic intelligence according to certain laws. Since we cannot see the other side of the picture we fancy that we are the authors of such thought-waves. These thought-waves govern our whole life; our actions are impelled by these thought-waves, but these thought-waves emanate from an unknown and an unseen source. Whatever we do is done in pursuance of and in obedience to these thought-waves, but since we know not, and understand not, the unknown, unseen Source, we subjectively feel that we are doing and shaping and moulding our course.

In water, bubbles are formed by the injection of air, though seemingly the bubbles and waves arise of themselves out of water. Similarly, we imagine that thought currents, which emanate from our brains, are of our own creation though in fact they come from an unknown, invisible source. What is
the genesis, the psychology of Thought? What mental phenomena arise and operate in the brain when we ponder an abstruse, subtle problem?

As we ponder, we receive a ash of light, a glimmer of an idea front an unknown Source, and this ash is interpreted by the brain, and we joyously blurt out, “Oh! I have solved and resolved the tangle, I have unravelled the riddle.” In fact, thought currents come from an unknown Source into our brain and the brain only interprets them. The central point worth remembering is that the human brain interprets the thought waves emanating from Brahm or God, according to its own development. It cannot create them. Just as a typewriter – a mere machine cannot type anything of itself but whenever we so desire, we can remove the lid and type what we wish, and similarly, the human brain cannot work of itself. It is a machine, which receives, like a radio receiver, thought waves transmitted by Brahm, or the In
nite Soul.

The brain is only a medium to receive and transmit ideas. If and when we understand the working and nature of the brain, we begin to understand the Guru’s dictum:

jo hari lorhe so kare soi jia karan
“Living things, humans and all.
Do what God impels and prompts them to do.”
Guru Arjan – Rag Majh.

And when we are God-intuned and realize the reality, the inner working of the brain, we understand the Guru’s dictum. But it is by no means easy to develop this frame of mind. It takes years of exercise in concentration to be introspective and God-centred. Therefore, all beginners, instead of 1eveting their attention on profound and intricate problems of the spirit, would do better to act on the fundamentals of gurmat. Instead of aspiring to be philosophers, they would do well to perform Simran, and patiently wait for the stage when they can grasp the subtlest, profoundest, and sublime truths of the Spirit effortlessly.

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