Blog Archive

Veil of Illusion

By Amar Prakash

As I have delved further into the meanings of Gurmat and tried to understand what the Guru's were actually talking about, I began to have doubts about what Sikhism was telling us what Gurmat was. The two articles: "Losing My Religion" and "Break on Through to the Other Side" were written in response to these doubts.

Recently I read an article in the NY Times that brought to mind something that Guru Arjan taught on p. 138.

This world is an illusion; it dies and it is re-born-it comes and it goes in reincarnation.

The NY Times article stated: "Roger Penrose, the eminent British mathematician, is arguing that there is physical evidence that may predate the Big Bang. ... [He and physicist V.G. Gurzadyan] go even further, claiming that the evidence also suggests that our universe may 'be but one aeon in a (perhaps unending) succession of such aeons.' What we think of as our 'universe' may simply be one link in a chain of universes, each beginning with a big bang and ending in a way that sends detectable gravitational waves into the next universe."

This was amazing, in that this was exactly what Guru Arjan was talking about. This world is just an illusion and this is where Sikhism and all the other religions totally misunderstand this concept and believe that this world of illusion actually exists. Yes, it's actually there and everything is real but in the spiritual sense it's just an illusion (maya.) And this spiritual sense is what the Guru's were talking about. To the Guru's there are two planes of existence: the earthly or material plane and the spiritual or transcendental plane. The spiritual plane is what Gurmat is all about.

Our purpose in life is to lose our religion and break on through to the spiritual plane. This is what Guru Arjan was telling us in Kirtan Sohila:

jw kau Awey soeI ibhwJhu hir gur qy mnih bsyrw ] inj Gir mhlu pwvhu suK shjy bhuir n hoiego Pyrw ]3]

Use this life to achieve that purpose for which it was given, and through the Guru, the Lord shall dwell within your mind. Within the home of your own inner being, you shall obtain the Mansion of the Lord's Presence with intuitive ease. You shall not be consigned again to the wheel of reincarnation. ||3||

Kabir was telling us the same thing on page 1366:

kbIr mwns jnmu dul┬ÁBu hY hoie n bwrY bwr ] ijau bn Pl pwky Buie igrih bhuir n lwgih fwr ]30]

Kabeer, it is so difficult to obtain this human body; it does not just come over and over again. 
It is like the ripe fruit on the tree; when it falls to the ground, it cannot be re-attached to the branch. ||30||

What both Kabir and Guru Arjan are saying is that we have this one chance to understand and break on through the veil of illusion that is this worldly existence.

There has been much discussion if the protocols used in gurdwara are rituals or not. According to Gurmat not only are they meaningless rituals but they are also just illusions. Even gurdwara is an illusion and we are just fooling ourselves into believing that these are real. Everything exists only on the spiritual plane.

Even Ek Ong Kaar exists only on the spiritual plane. It is a mistake to believe that what Guru Nanak is speaking about is the religious God of this material plane but to Guru Nanak this meant "There is the One."

jy hau jwxw AwKw nwhI khxw kQnu n jweI ] gurw iek dyih buJweI ] sBnw jIAw kw ieku dwqw so mY ivsir n jweI ]5]

Even knowing the One, I cannot describe Him; He cannot be described in words.
Guru Nanak p. 2

But how are we to live on both of these planes? Guru Amar Das told us on page 28:

so jnu rlwieAw nw rlY ijsu AMqir ibbyk bIcwru ]2]

Those humble beings who are filled with keen understanding and meditative contemplation-even though they intermingle with others, they remain distinct.

When we are able to exist on both of these planes, then and only then do we finally join the Sadh Sangat. On this material plane we are only fooling ourselves that we are more than just part of the mob.

This is what Guru Ram Das is telling us on page 10:

hir hir nwmu imlY iqRpqwsih imil sMgiq gux prgwis ]2]

Obtaining the Name of the Lord, Har, Har, they are satisfied; joining the Sangat, the Blessed Congregation, their virtues shine forth. ||2||

But how do we break through this veil of illusion and become One with the One? The first step is to understand that this material plane is an illusion and that much of what we have learned or thought about Sikhi, including the idea that we are even Sikhs, has been a huge misunderstanding of Gurmat.

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