KARAM - PART 1
Here's a few sakhis that may help explain Dukh and sukh
Two shopkeepers had their shops next to one another. The Gurmukh (follower of the Guru's (Gur) words (mukh)) used to go to sadh sangat every day and have darshan of Guru Nanak Sahib Ji do seva and come home. The manmukh (follower of his mind's (man) mukh (words) ) used to go to meet a prostitute. One day the GurMukh said come with me to the sadh sangat, after some persuasion the manmukh agreed, on the way the manmukh remembered his prostitute and backed out of going to the sadh sangat. He said I'm going to go to my normal activities but I'll meet you at the tree across the road tonight. The manmukh went to see the prostitute but she wasn't there so he arrived at the tree much earlier than expected. While waiting for the Gurmukh he started poking a twig into the ground. He found a gold coin, he quickly dug more and more but he only found a pile of ashes. When the Gurmukh returned he was limping along he'd stepped on a thorn. The manmukh said I do my dirty deeds and get good luck you do good deeds but get bad luck. The Gurmukh said lets ask Guru Ji to explain. Guru Ji told the manmukh, in your previous life you donated one gold piece to a Sant, for doing such a virtuous deed you were to recieve the rewards in this life of many gold coins. But because of your sinful deeds you burned your reward away and were left with your original gold coin. The Gurmukh was told, in your previous life you killed someone with a wooden spear, in this life you were to be killed in the same way, but because of your seva to the Guru you bad deed has been reduced to being pricked with a thorn.
MORAL: The Pains and pleasures one gets in this life are heavily influenced by past actions, not just in this life but in countless previous lives. When people suffer at the hands of others its because they made that person suffer in a previous life. Most people will take revenge and so the cycle of making each other suffer continues life after life. A mythical story to explain this is of a goat and a butcher. The butcher would kill the goat in one life ,the goat' soul would be reborn as a butcher and the butcher's soul would be reborn as a goat. In the next life the butcher would kill the goat and so the cycle continued. Then in one life the butcher received a customer who only wanted a goat's leg. The butcher thought if I kill the goat and sell the leg the rest of the goat will rot away. So what he thought was I'll just chop the goat' leg off and bandage the wound, that way the goat will stay alive until the next customer. Just as he was about to cut the leg, the goat spoke 'O Butcher, what's this new bad action you're starting? Life after life we keep swapping roles to cancel our actions, but if you chop my leg now and make me suffer in the next life I'll do the same to you and you'll suffer too!'
If this sounds too unrealistic then heres a true incident that happened to a very holy Sikh in the 1920's. He was Bhai Randhir Singh and he had reached the highest spiritual state - he was one with Waheguru Ji. He was a freedom fighter and locked up in jail. The guards used to abuse the prisoners. but they left Bhai Randhir Singh Ji alone because they feared his spiritual powers. One night he had a vision of his past life. He saw he was a prince in a hermits' cave. The hermit was in a trance and as frozen as a rock. The prince didn't understand the trance and thought he should wake him up and feed him, so he ordered his servant to wake him up. The servant shook him and called out to him but with out success. Bhai Randhir Singh Ji then ordered the servant to force open the hermits mouth so they could pour the food in, perhaps that would revive him. The servant couldn't open the locked teeth so he got a rock and smashed some of the teeth - this woke the hermit up - he was as mad as hell, he picked up his spear like weapon and threw it at the servant, the servant got hit in the leg and later had it amputated. Bhai Randhir Singh Ji had the vision and realised Guru Ji was warning him that he had to suffer in the same way as he had made the hermit suffer. Next morning a new prison warden came to Bhai Randhir Singh Ji's cell with his guards. Guess what? The warden had only 1 leg! Bhai Randhir Singh Ji immediately recognised that this warden was the hermit in his last life and because he had thrown his spear and caused the loss of the princes's servant leg he too had reaped his reward and lost his leg in this life. Now what remained was that the warden had to somehow cause Bhai Randhir Singh Ji's teeth to be broken like the prince had done to the hermit. The warden wanted to humiliate Bhai Randhir Singh Ji and ordered his servants to feed him beef soup (he was a strict vegetarian). Bhai Sahib refused to eat it, the guards grabbed him, so Bhai Sahib went into a trance and all his body was frozen as hard as a rock and his jaws were locked. The Warden then ordered the servants to smash his teeth and to pour the soup in, so they did. The Warden had no idea that he was just clearing a bad action from a previous life. Bhai Randhir Singh Ji was warned so that he wouldn't attack the servants or warden. If he had caused them sufferening then he would have to be reborn so they could cause him suffering.
People ask why do religious people get suffering? They haven't done anything wrong, they haven't hurt an animal or even a fly so why do they get dukh? They get dukh because they caused dukh in previous lifes. All these bad actions have to be cleared. When a holy persons actions and re-actions are all cleared then and only then will they not be reborn and find a place at SatGuru Ji's lotus feet in Sach Khand.
I was told that Baba Nand Singh Ji, one of the most spiritually high people other than the Guru's died from a leg infection. He used to take pain of other people on his own body so they would survive and he would do simran and ardas to get rid of the pain from his own body. He could have easily cured himself of the infection , he could even have taken medicine. But he recognised that he was reaping the re-action of an action from a previous life and it had to be cleared. When it was cleared then he would not be reborn and find his place at SatGuru Ji's lotus feet in Sach Khand.
Bhai Harbans Singh told this sakhi on one of his kirtan tapes. A holy man was blind. When he got to the spiritual state that he could see his previous lives he tried to find out why he was blind. He searched back through 50 lives and there was no reason for his blindness. He went to see a Sant. The sant told him to look back even further, he looked back to 100 previous lives and still no reason for his blindness. The sant told him to look back one more life. He saw that 101 previous lives ago he was a child tormenting a locust. He had a little twig with which he poked out it's eyes. He was now blind because of that action.
Guru Ji's have told us clearly, time and time again, that after death when we go infront of the Diviine judge we will be judged by our actions. Some people will be called close to God some will be sent far away (Karmee apo apanee, Ke neray ke door (Japji Sahib)). Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. The reaction can only be reduced and eventually erased by obeying Guru Ji's instructions like the shopkeeper. I.e do as much Naam Jap (Waheguru repition) as possible, its like an eraser grinding the spear into a tiny thorn. Do it for yourself and do it for other people.
All of the martyrs suffered terrible tortures -chopped joint by joint, sawn in half, scalped alive, boiled alive but they remained in chard-ee-a-kala because they never lost their love for SatGuru Ji's lotus feet (i.e. carried on doing Waheguru repition). When a Sikh gets Dukh it's acceptable as good because it's wiping away bad actions. If a Sikh loses love for Guru Ji because of dukh then the Sikh has lost every thing.
KARAM - PART 2
Bhai Ishar Singh Ji said everyone plans for the future. You study hard because you want a good job when you get older. You put money away in a pension scheme so you have a good retirement. One step beyond that we need to plan for our next life. What happens to us depends on our actions now. Do good actions (karam) now and reap the fruits in the next life. (apeh beej apeh hee kao JapJi).
Their are many types of good deeds : give money in charity, help people etc but Guru Nanak Ji says that these aren't even worth a sesame seed when your accounts are read. (Tirath tap daya dat dan je ko bhavai til ka man - JapJi).
The real karam is listening and obeying the Gurus's teachings, loving SatGuru Ji in your mind and bathing in the temple of the heart (Sunnia mannia man keeta bhao, antargat teerath mal nao - Japji).
KARAM - PART 3
Baba Maan Singh Ji said the steps to earning good karam are :
SHARAM ⇒ DHARAM ⇒ KARAM.
First you need a sense of sharam (shame). If you can't even tell what is wrong and what is right then you have no chance. A sex/nude scene comes on TV the youngsters sit and watch it, they dont get embarrased even though their parents are watching too. Worse still the parents don't say anything either - no-one has a sense of shame. If you have a sense of Sharam then you need to follow Dharam (religion/righteous deeds) by following the Guru's path you earn Karam good actions like seva, simran, paat. These karams wipe away your negative karams and will cause you to go closer to God. Ultimately if you do enough good karam your negative karam is wiped out while you are alive and you merge with God while still alive (Jivan Mukat),
Our actions decide what happens to us (karmee apo apanee ke neray ke door - JapJi) . Our actions are our own - some will be called close to God some will be pushed away.
KARAM - PART 4
karam dharam paakhand jo deesai,
tin jam jagaatee looteh||
nirbaaN keertan gavau karteh kaa,
nimukh simrat jit schooteh||
All the hypocritical 'karam' religion I see,
are robbed by Death while they are awake!
Sing the immaculate praises (keertan) of the Creator,
you are saved by even a moment's remembrance.
Does this mean that we shouldn't get into the plus/minus of paap/pun? or, that even if you have a big negative, simran will erase all of that?
Veer Ji, I think you're right, I never worry about all the insects I've probably stepped on in the day........I dont want to end up like a Jain monk sweeping the floor infront of me and a mouth mask to stop me breathing them in. Guru Ji is saying don't get caught up in karam...better to be as pure as practical and do kirtan and naam and always ardas for forgiveness. Even if we lived the perfect life of generating no negative actions…never stepped on insects, never hurt anyone etc, we still wouldn't reach the Supreme Waheguru Ji until we sung his praises and repeated his naam. Any religion that focuses on good and bad karam to the extent they have forgotten about praising Waheguru, is hypocrisy says Guru Ji.
Here are some of the things Guru Granth Sahib Ji says about actions:
• You shall reap what you sow. This body is the result of your actions. (Guru V, Jaitsri Raag)
• I have been separated from You due to my own actions, why should I blame others?(Guru V, Majh Raag)
• Why blame other people? I have to blame my own actions; As I have acted so are the fruits. (Guru I, Asa Raag)
• On the soil of your mind sow the seed of good actions; Water this field with His Nam. (Guru I, Sri Raag)
• Ignoramus, why do you blaspheme God, when you will receive according to your actions? (Trilochanji, Dhanasri Raag)
• All people are under One Sovereign who holds them responsible for their actions. (Guru I, Basant Raag)
• Our acts, right and wrong, at Your Court shall come to judgement. Some will be seated near Your seat, Some will forever be kept away. The toils have ended for those that have worshipped You. Nanak says, their faces are lit with joyful radiance and they will set free many others. (Guru I, Japji)
• If you sing God's glory, all your undertakings will bear fruit.(Guru V, Kalyan Raag)