n this article of the Barah Maha series, we will delve into the message that Guru Arjan Dev Ji shares with us for the month of Vaisaakh.

Composed by Guru Arjan Dev Ji, The Barah Maha Baani takes us on a journey throughout the year, allowing us to focus on a different aspect of spirituality each month. 

The Pain of Separation

ਵੈਸਾਖਿ ਧੀਰਨਿ ਕਿਉ ਵਾਢੀਆ ਜਿਨਾ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਬਿਛੋਹੁ ॥
In the month of Vaisaakh, how can the bride be patient? She is separated from her Beloved.

Guru Arjan Dev Ji begins by asking how a soul bride can remain patient when separated from her beloved Parmatma. In Sikhi, we are all referred to as soul brides to our Husband, Parmatma. Just like in the harvest season, crops are harvested from their roots and just like parents long for union with their children when separated, Guru Sahib Ji illustrates the soul bride's longing for union with Vaheguru.

The Deceit of Illusion

ਹਰਿ ਸਾਜਨੁ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਵਿਸਾਰਿ ਕੈ ਲਗੀ ਮਾਇਆ ਧੋਹੁ ॥

She has forgotten the Lord, her Life-companion, her Master; she has become attached to Maya, the deceitful one.

Now, the question arises: why are we separated from Vaheguru? Guru Sahib Ji says that we have forgotten our Saajan, our Beloved Friend, and instead become attached to the deceitful Maya, the illusionary aspects of the world. These are the things we mistakenly perceive as permanent, but in reality, they are temporary. In this forgetfulness, we have overlooked the one true permanent being, Vaheguru.

Gurbani talks about the nature of Maaya.

ਮਾਇਆ ਮਮਤਾ ਮੋਹਣੀ ਜਿਨਿ ਵਿਣੁ ਦੰਤਾ ਜਗੁ ਖਾਇਆ ॥

The love of Maya is enticing; without teeth, it has eaten up the world.

Maya slowly eats away at us without us realising it, trapping us in its illusion. One of the ways Maya works is through the Panj Chor (Five Thieves: Lust, Anger, Greed, Attachment and Ego). In this Pauree, Guru Arjan Dev Ji explains how Maya operates through attachment (Moh).

The Falsehood of Attachment 

ਪੁਤ੍ਰ ਕਲਤ੍ਰ ਨ ਸੰਗਿ ਧਨਾ ਹਰਿ ਅਵਿਨਾਸੀ ਓਹੁ ॥

Neither son, nor spouse, nor wealth shall go along with you-only the Eternal Lord.

ਪਲਚਿ ਪਲਚਿ ਸਗਲੀ ਮੁਈ ਝੂਠੈ ਧੰਧੈ ਮੋਹੁ ॥

Entangled and enmeshed in the love of false occupations, the whole world is perishing.

Guru Sahib Ji address the attachment we hold towards our family and possessions. When our time of death arrives, these relationships will not be of any assistance to us. They will be unable to support us as we transition from this world to the afterlife. Gurbani says that the connections we have in this world are based on our past and present actions, known as our Karam, spanning across our previous and current lifetimes.

ਮਾਤ ਪਿਤਾ ਬਨਿਤਾ ਸੁਤ ਬੰਧਪ ਇਸਟ ਮੀਤ ਅਰੁ ਭਾਈ ॥ ਪੂਰਬ ਜਨਮ ਕੇ ਮਿਲੇ ਸੰਜੋਗੀ ਅੰਤਹਿ ਕੋ ਨ ਸਹਾਈ ॥੧॥

Mother, father, spouse, children, relatives, lovers, friends and siblings meet, having been associated in previous lives; but none of them will be your companion and support in the end. ||1||

Who, then, will be there to support us as we leave this world? Guru Sahib Ji says that the Abinaasi Har, the indestructible Parmatma, is the true source of support. This realisation is crucial, for many squander their precious lives in pursuits of falsehood and attachment.

Without Naam, there is Nothing

ਇਕਸੁ ਹਰਿ ਕੇ ਨਾਮ ਬਿਨੁ ਅਗੈ ਲਈਅਹਿ ਖੋਹਿ ॥

Without the Naam, the Name of the One Lord, they lose their lives in the hereafter.

Guru Sahib Ji then goes on to speak about the truth. They say that without the Naam of That Ik (the One Vaheguru), as we journey to the afterworld, we will endure suffering without any support.

Gurbani tells us,

ਹੁਣਿ ਵਤੈ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਨ ਬੀਜਿਓ ਅਗੈ ਭੁਖਾ ਕਿਆ ਖਾਏ ॥

Now, in this most fortunate season, he does not plant the seed of the Lord's Name; what will the hungry soul eat, in the world hereafter?

If we neglect to plant the seed of Naam, engage in Simran, or gather the wealth of Naam now, when will we do it? Once the end approaches, we will no longer have the opportunity to collect it.

Gurbani also tells us that where no one will be of our support, Naam will be there for us.

ਜਹ ਮਾਤ ਪਿਤਾ ਸੁਤ ਮੀਤ ਨ ਭਾਈ ॥

Where there is no mother, father, children, friends or siblings

ਮਨ ਊਹਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਤੇਰੈ ਸੰਗਿ ਸਹਾਈ ॥

O my mind, there, only the Naam, the Name of the Lord, shall be with you as your help and support.

Recognize Who You Are

ਦਯੁ ਵਿਸਾਰਿ ਵਿਗੁਚਣਾ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਬਿਨੁ ਅਵਰੁ ਨ ਕੋਇ ॥

Forgetting the Merciful Lord, they are ruined. Without God, there is no other at all.

Guru Sahib Ji says that we ruin ourselves by separating from Vaheguru Ji. They encourage us to realise our true self, that we are the Aatma (soul) and our aim is to unite with Parmaatma (the supreme soul).

ਮਨ ਤੂੰ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਰੂਪੁ ਹੈ ਆਪਣਾ ਮੂਲੁ ਪਛਾਣੁ ॥

O my mind, you are the embodiment of the Divine Light - recognize your own origin.

Once we have this realisation, we attain the following state of being.

ਪ੍ਰੀਤਮ ਚਰਣੀ ਜੋ ਲਗੇ ਤਿਨ ਕੀ ਨਿਰਮਲ ਸੋਇ ॥

Pure is the reputation of those who are attached to the Feet of the Beloved Lord.

When we come to the sanctuary of our beloved, realising that we have wasted our life away in the pursuit of falsehood, we become free of all Avguns (demerits). This is the same idea that stands behind a Khalsa - someone who is pure and above the five vices, someone who works for the victory of Vaheguru and serves the world with compassion.

Unite Me with You

ਨਾਨਕ ਕੀ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਬੇਨਤੀ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਮਿਲਹੁ ਪਰਾਪਤਿ ਹੋਇ ॥

Nanak makes this prayer to God: "Please, come and unite me with Yourself."

ਵੈਸਾਖੁ ਸੁਹਾਵਾ ਤਾਂ ਲਗੈ ਜਾ ਸੰਤੁ ਭੇਟੈ ਹਰਿ ਸੋਇ ॥੩॥

The month of Vaisaakh is beautiful and pleasant, when the Saint causes me to meet the Lord. ||3||

Guru Sahib Ji then ends with a plea, saying, 'Make this request to Vaheguru, that please come and meet me so that I can find peace in feeling your presence.' The month of Vaisaakh is deemed successful if we associate (do Sangat) with those Gursikhs who have forsaken attachment and are in complete love with Vaheguru.

This Month’s Goal 

The first inspiration to take for this month is to check: 'Which vice is controlling me? Is it desire, greed, anger, attachment, or ego?' This can be done by observing what affects us on a daily basis and then making efforts to overcome that vice through Sangat and Simran. The second goal is to ask, 'Have I started planting the seed of Naam this month?' This serves as a reminder to overcome our vices and plant the true name!

This article is a transcribed version of the video Why are we separated from God? by Bibi Gurprit Kaur Ji. 

You can help spread the message of Sikhi to people around you by using the leaflet created by the Basics of Sikhi team.
You can also check out our other leaflets on the Downloads page.

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