In this article Bhai Dharam Singh Ji presented the realm of these five khands based on Gurbani and Bhai Sahib's explanation in contrast with science which is a great combination and many science students will find interesting how the science of Gurbani is greater than all sciences of this earth.
Japji Sahib Gurbani refers to the five regions, namely: Dharam Khand, Gian Khand, Saram Khand, Karam Khand and Sach Khand. There is a detailed explication of the different Khands. Yet the question remains about how and where these are constituted. The scholars differ in their opinions. The final word can come only from Guru Nanak Sahib Ji or a graced and perfect sage; otherwise it is only an individual guess work.
We are prone to interpret Gurbani in the light of our own inadequate intellect for self-satisfaction when we do not find the right meaning. So, also in the case of named five regions, we employ the flight of imagination to argue that Gurbani being a spiritual field, the Khands under reference can only be the five stages of spiritual journey. Self imagined reasoning is substantiated by our interpretation of Gurbani as authentic. The right approach would have been to give credence to Gurbani, whereas we make Gurbani follow our own whim in our interpretation. Thus we loose sight even of the basic Gurbani principles.
Some scholars feel that the Five Khands are the five milestones en route the progressive journey of the Gurmukh Naam practitioner. It would be helpful if it is explained how and when, what stage is reached during Naam-practice (Naam Abhiyaas Kamayee), but the scholars have emphasized more on their mind's thinking rather than Naam-practice. Here are presented some examples of the interpretations by a prominent scholar for Jap Ji Sahib:
"The mortal-being divinely graced, first he comes to understand…In the light of aforesaid thought, the first stage for the person is the perception of self-duty. This spiritual stage is Dharam Khand…and he thinks of his life objective…At this stage, the person perceives that a mortal is born on earth to perform duty…As the person gets engrossed with these thoughts…comprehending the duty, he tries to increase his knowledge. With the force of education and contemplation, he proceeds to envision the map of limitless creation. He is flooded with knowledge that wipes away all doubts and illusion. This is the stage of Gian Khand."
Similar explanation follows for the remaining Khands. It is not our purpose to criticize, but to arrive at the reality of Five Khands. By critically observing the above given example, we find that the learned scholar has named both Dharam and Gian Khands as stages, without any mention of Naam-practice. He goes to say, "it is understood; according to thinking; perception of self-duty; thinks; perceives gets engrossed in these thoughts, on comprehending, increasing our knowledge; with the force of education and contemplation; he proceeds to envision the map; flooded with knowledge that wipes all doubt and illusion," all the words relate to the mind's thinking. This gives the impression that Gurmat, like Vedant, is another subject of mind's thought. Naam-practice is totally missing, as if it does not relate to Gurmat.
As explained, scholars in explicating Gurbani, sometimes lose track of Gurmat's basic principle. This is very much the case here. Guru Nanak Sahib Ji, at the very beginning of Jap Ji Sahib, has rejected the philosophy of Vedant by saying "ਸੋਚੈ ਸੋਚਿ ਨ ਹੋਵਈ ਜੇ ਸੋਚੀ ਲਖ ਵਾਰ Timeless being is beyond comprehension, no matter how much one tries to comprehend." And the concept of thought of Vedant is rejected by Guru Sahib. This is discussed under earlier article "Vedant". The scholar has termed the force of intellect and mind's contemplation as the spiritual stage. The doctrinal difference here is that Vedantic philosophy is based on mind's contemplation, whereas Gurmat relies on Naam-practice:
ਨਾਨਕ ਬਿਨੁ ਨਾਵੈ ਜੋਗੁ ਕਦੇ ਨ ਹੋਵੈ ਦੇਖਹੁ ਰਿਦੈ ਬੀਚਾਰੇ ॥੬੮॥ (Ang 946)
O Nanak! There is no Divine realization, Yog without Naam. Search your own heart to find this truth.
Presenting the next Part, this part may need re-reading due to understanding of Gurbani in relation to the topic...
Had the writer mentioned Naam-practice to link with Khands as spirtual stage, this could have made some sense. However, ‘thinking' can only lead to ‘stages of Thought', but it is not proper to call these Khands as spirtual stages. Let us now study stages of Naam-practice according to Gurbani. During Naam-recitation, first there is an ecstatic taste on the tongue of practitionar that is the sweetest in experience:
ਅਵਰਿ ਸਾਦ ਚਖਿ ਸਗਲੇ ਦੇਖੇ ਮਨ ਹਰਿ ਰਸੁ ਸਭ ਤੇ ਮੀਠਾ ਜੀਉ ॥੧॥(Ang 100)
All other flavours have been tasted, O mind, Divine flavour is the sweetest of all.
Next, fragrance and coolness and some supernatural powers come to abide within the being:
ਜਨੁ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਮੁਸਕਿ ਝਕੋਲਿਆ ਸਭੁ ਜਨਮੁ ਧਨੁ ਧੰਨਾ ॥੧॥ (Ang 448-49)
Slave Nanak has become fragrant and blessed is all the life.
ਚੰਦਨ ਚੰਦੁ ਨ ਸਰਦ ਰੁਤਿ ਮੂਲਿ ਨ ਮਿਟਈ ਘਾਂਮ ॥ ਸੀਤਲੁ ਥੀਵੈ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਜਪੰਦੜੋ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ॥੨॥ (Ang 709)
Sandalwood nor moon nor winter season provide relief from heat, O' Nank! Coolness lies in Naam-recitation.
Every pore of a Gurmukh's being recites Naam:
ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਰੋਮਿ ਰੋਮਿ ਹਰਿ ਧਿਆਵੈ ॥ (Ang 941)
God-oriented being's very pore produces the Naam sound. The sound of Naam-recitation can be heard from every particle of creation:
ਧਰਤਿ ਪਾਤਾਲੁ ਆਕਾਸੁ ਹੈ ਮੇਰੀ ਜਿੰਦੁੜੀਏ ਸਭ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਵੈ ਰਾਮ ॥ (Ang 540)
World, underworld, sky, all are engaged in Naam recitation, O' my being!
A Gurmukh being is engaged in Naam-practice day and night. A stage is reached when breath stops at navel. The down-cast lotus straightens up in flourishment and becomes effulgent. This is the effulgence of our soul that is equivalent to light from few suns. This stage is called ‘Revelation of the Soul-Being'.
ਮੀਨ ਕੀ ਚਪਲ ਸਿਉ ਜੁਗਤਿ ਮਨੁ ਰਾਖੀਐ ਉਡੈ ਨਹ ਹੰਸੁ ਨਹ ਕੰਧੁ ਛੀਜੈ ॥੧॥ (Ang 991-92)
Like the steep plunge of a fish in water, With ardent Naam-Simran, breath along with mind crosses all to access the inaccessible Dasam Duar and comes to abide there.
Naam-practice is going on in full earnest, like the steep dive of a fish when in one stroke the fish goes to touch great depths in the ocean then produces a ‘Chapal' sound in water with tail. As an example, Satguru has explained that forceful flow of breath from navel in recitation-practice, with one thurst, accesses the Dasam Duar. The strong, stone-like door is otherwise closed. Only Shabad-devotion is efficacious to open this door, not otherwise. Opened with the Shabad-key, at the Dasam Duar the compassionate Lord is envisioned in the form of Effulgent Being. Thus, the Timeless Being is also known as Embodiment of Light. Where as at Jot Parkaash of navel the light intensity was of few suns, now the intensity of Light is equivlent to millions of suns, yes millions of suns.
ਜਿਉ ਜਲ ਮਹਿ ਜਲੁ ਆਇ ਖਟਾਨਾ ॥ ਤਿਉ ਜੋਤੀ ਸੰਗਿ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਮਾਨਾ ॥ (Ang 278)
Just as water mixes with water, so also the soul being merges with the Light of the Supreme soul.
A drop of water mixing with water of ocean becomes one with the ocean. Similarly soul-effulgence merges with the Effulgence of Supreme Soul in Oneness as Supreme Soul.
ਮਿਟਿ ਗਏ ਗਵਨ ਪਾਏ ਬਿਸ੍ਰਾਮ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਕੈ ਸਦ ਕੁਰਬਾਨ ॥੮॥੧੧॥ (Ang 278)
Ended is the journey of transmigration and soul being abides in rest. Nank is sacrifice unto the supreme Being.
Ended is the cycle of endless rebirths of transmigration. Now it is only resing in peace. life's journey is complete.
It is quite apparent that in the Gurmat ordained path, there is no reference to a ‘stage' or ‘mind's thinking.' The experiences of the nectar flavor, flourishment of the lotus at navel and its effulgence, cannot be mere imaginations. Thinking cannot bring about realization of Dasam Duar and envisioning the beloved Lord immanent in the efffulgent glory. It is by the blessing of Naam-practice that is ceaseless. Gurbani says as follows:
ਊਠਤ ਬੈਠਤ ਸੋਵਤ ਨਾਮ ॥ (Sukhmani -17)
Naam-recitation while getting up or sitting.
ਜਿਨਾ ਸਾਸਿ ਗਿਰਾਸਿ ਨ ਵਿਸਰੈ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮਾਂ ਮਨਿ ਮੰਤੁ ॥ (Ang 319)
hose who forsake not Naam in mind, even for a single breath.
It is passing through this hard practice that one comes to merge with the Supreme Spirit. There is no realization through mere talk nor can it be through intellectual force or mind's thinking. Therefore the subject of Five Khands cannot be reduced to a play of imagination. Then question remains if Five Khands are not subject to stages of mind's thinking then could it stages of Naam Abhiyaas Kamayee? Now with the foregoing conclusion, let us also analyze the Khands as stages of Naam-practice. For such a co-relation, we have to think what stage of Naam-prcatice can be co-relate to which Khand and on what basis. Can the description of individual Khand mention in Gurbani suits to our reasoning?
In the case of Dharam Khand: "ਧਰਮ ਖੰਡ ਕਾ ਏਹੋ ਧਰਮੁ ॥ Such is righteous duty in Dharam Khand." What Dharam?
"ਕਰਮੀ ਕਰਮੀ ਹੋਇ ਵੀਚਾਰੁ ॥ Every deed is subjected to analysis."
"…ਕਚ ਪਕਾਈ ਓਥੈ ਪਾਇ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਗਇਆ ਜਾਪੈ ਜਾਇ whether a deed fails or passes the test of Divine acceptance is determined there. Says, Nank, the final decision can only be known there."
There Divine justice is based on the performed deeds by the mortals. Can this be a description of Dharam Khand on the basis of a 'stage' of Gurmat spirtual journey?
"ਗਿਆਨ ਖੰਡ ਕਾ ਆਖਹੁ ਕਰਮੁ ॥" The functioning in Gian Khand is "ਕੇਤੇ ਪਵਣ ਪਾਣੀ ਵੈਸੰਤਰ ਕੇਤੇ ਕਾਨ ਮਹੇਸ ॥ Many types of winds, waters, and many types of fires and many are Krishnas and shiv Jis…"
This whole stanza goes on to describe limitless creations in nature. How can such a description yield to the defination of a stage? Similarly about Saram Khand, Karam Khand and Sach Khand:
"ਸਰਮ ਖੰਡ ਕੀ ਬਾਣੀ ਰੂਪੁ ॥ Beauty is constituted in Saram Khand."
"ਤਿਥੈ ਘਾੜਤਿ ਘੜੀਐ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਅਨੂਪੁ ॥ the objects there reflect unparalleled beauty."
"ਤਿਥੈ ਜੋਧ ਮਹਾਬਲ ਸੂਰ ॥ There abide warriors of limitless strength and bravery.
"ਤਿਨ ਮਹਿ ਰਾਮੁ ਰਹਿਆ ਭਰਪੂਰ ॥ There abide the ones given only to divine Glory."
"ਤਿਥੈ ਭਗਤ ਵਸਹਿ ਕੇ ਲੋਅ ॥ There abide devotees from many different worlds."
"ਤਿਥੈ ਖੰਡ ਮੰਡਲ ਵਰਭੰਡ ॥ There are many are the regions, spheres and cosmos."
"ਤਿਥੈ ਲੋਅ ਲੋਅ ਆਕਾਰ ॥ There are many worlds and their inhabitants."
All this given description is connected to what stage of our thinking or reasoning? In above Gurbani facts use of words ਤਿਥੈ, ਓਥੈ (there, where) points to a specific place in creation not related to the mind and Naam-practice. It can safely be concluded that a description can not possibly be related to any state whether of thought or spirtual.
Presenting the final part of this article...
Continuing our search for the answer to know the reality of Khands we now come to the writings of Bhai Sahib Randhir Singh Ji, a highly prominent Naam-devotee, who acquired super-natural vision and had real experiences in his spiritual pursuits and Divine grace: "ਸਤਿਗੁਰਿ ਮਿਲਿਐ ਦਿਬ ਦ੍ਰਿਸਟਿ ਹੋਈ". He verified his experiences through deep study of Gurbani, before undertaking to write about these. Thus what he says is not based on mental or intellectual exercise, but only what he practically envisioned and experienced, the Five Khands are discussed in his book ‘Sach Khand Darshan' (Visioning the Abode-Divine). While only brief essence is given here, the full description may be read in the book itself. Bhai Sahib narrates that the Khands are regions or spheres of Real existence in Natural creation. They are inhabited with people like our world, even more densely. Scientists are still struggling to discover the full extent of our own world, what to talk of other worldly regions. Bhai Sahib says Dharam Khand surrounds our world all around, thus enclosing our world completely. Like wise on the outside of Dharam Khand and around is Gian Khand, surrounded in turn by Saram Khand. Enveloping Saram Khand is Karam Khand. The entire creation is enveloped by the outermost Sach Khand. The inhabitation of Khands in reality is just as described in Jap Ji Sahib, there is no scope of any doubt in this Divine revelation.
In the book, ‘Anhad Shabad-Dasam Duar' he writes: "In this visible spectrum of Sky there are countless visible regions, planets, galaxies, moons, suns and stars. There are also countless invisible bodies(secret creations) that remain unseen to the human eye. Their real existence even at the very closest distance cannot be detected by the eye organ. This calls for super-natural sight to envision the invisible reality." In the book, ‘Undithi Duniya', he gives a glimpse of the hereafter. Some extracts are reproduced below for general interest:
"The graced, great beings (Mahapurakhs) disclosed their vision of meditational soul experience in the Enlightened Spectrum that, Today envisioned is the habitation of Dharam Rai, including Dharam Rai, also envisioned were the bands after bands of his most powerful Yamdoots (couriers of death). They were severely punishing the sinners under the command of Dharam Rai. None can resist them. Their horrid appearance induces intense fear and difficult to behold … there are places of Hell and Heaven, as also Shiv Puri, Brahm Puri, Inder Puri etc. These facts are undeniable. However, all these inhabitations have no relevance for Naam-devotee Gursikhs. Gur Puri and Yam Puri are at considerable distance from each other. The Yam Puri is at a much lower, nearer sphere, whereas Gur Puri is close to the Divine Court at a higher sphere. Only the Redeemed GurSikhs, Naam-practitioners have access there. These Celestial regions are existing separately. There are countless spheres that are invisible and fully inhabited. … In every court and Divine Court, countless devotees abide. They are ever close companions of the formless Being. This inaccessible world is inaccessible and invisible to the mortals of this world, but populated the same way and even denser."
The above quotes are quite clear and need no further explanation. Regarding the Five Khands, one point demands careful study. How are the Khands enclosing one another? Gurbani states:
ਤੂੰ ਦਰੀਆਉ ਸਭ ਤੁਝ ਹੀ ਮਾਹਿ ॥ਤੁਝ ਬਿਨੁ ਦੂਜਾ ਕੋਈ ਨਾਹਿ ॥ (Ang 11)
Your river-like Being O'Lord, contains all, There is none else besides Your Supreme Being.
Just as countless beings abide in a river, yet the river is not distant from them. Similarly the whole universe abides in Sachkhand. Let us try to grasp this through another example. Geography scholars tell us that like the rivulets and rivers flowing over land, there are water currents flowing in an ocean that are river-like. Some of these currents have hot water flow, some others have cold water and yet others normal water. At some places these currents come together, resulting in fog. Near the American coast in Atlantic Ocean, at the island of New Foundland, there is maximum fog in the world because of hot and cold currents coming together. Those who are not familiar with this geographic knowledge of currents may be surprised. However, this is a fact and the currents flowing in the world are even mapped.
There are countless currents in an ocean and each current has creatures abiding in it. The creatures of one current may be considering creatures of another current to be living in a different place. Yet the currents flow within the same ocean and the creatures live in the currents. There must be many more germs within the creatures. Thus we have germs, creatures and currents all living in the ocean. Such is the vast panorama of natural creation, all within Sach Khand.
The above statements of Bhai Sahib Randhir Singh Ji are also backed by scientific truth. However, those without any scientific background may not be able to assimilate this knowledge. To make it easier, let us view this: ‘Everybody knows that there are countless radio and television stations in the world. All are relaying their programs at different wavelengths and frequencies. The relayed sounds and pictures are many, in thousands, going around in space, even in our room. We can neither hear nor see these, unless we tune our radio or television. As soon as we tune to the frequency, sounds are heard and pictures are seen'.
The wavelengths and frequencies responsible for relaying sounds and pictures from radio and television stations to our radio or television are all vibrations set up in the Electro-Magnetic spectrum. We have discussed about Electro-Magnetic spectrum earlier. We have seen how our world has came into being due to this spectrum, as also the light, electron, proton, neutron, atom, molecule, element, compound and subsequently the whole universe. The same Electro-magnetic spectrum produces sound and pictures for radio and television. All the Khands are products of the spectrum, with their own wavelength unknown to us. It is possible that all the other worlds are floating around in our room, like the sound and picture waves of radio and television stations in the mixed up form, jumbled together. We can envision that world alone, which gets tuned to our consciousness, ignoring the rest. Guru Nanak Sahib Ji's consciousness thus got tuned to visioning the five Khands and the description in Jap Ji Sahib is exactly what was experienced by him. In our times Bhai Sahib Randhir Singh too had similar experience, reaffirming the Revealed truth in his books.
However, it does not end there, the American scientist Robert A. Monroe, who could leave his visible body at his will and go on a visit of other worlds in the astral invisible body. There he would meet some known people, who died earlier. He happened to meet a murdered friend, whose murder had remained unsolved by the police. He learnt about the murder story from his friend and narrated the same to police on his return. The murderer was nabbed and the admitted details of murder, which were exact reproduction of Mr. Monroe's narration. Our objective here is to establish that Mr. Monroe certainly visited other worlds many a times, without giving all the details. He mentions our world in his writings, as ‘Locale I' and other worlds as ‘Locale II'. He writes in his book, ‘Journeys Out of the Body', the following words:
"All of the experimental visits to this area have helped little to formulate a more acceptable theory. The most acceptable is the wave, vibration concept, which presumes the existence of infinity of worlds, all operating on different frequencies in the Electromagnetic spectrum, can simultaneously occupy space with minimum interaction, so might the world or worlds of Locale II be interspersed in our physical material world."
This brings us to the conclusion that the different waves of different frequencies have indeed generated countless worlds in the Electromagnetic spectrum, including our own world. Just as different radio and television frequencies co-exist without interaction within the space of our room, at the same time and space, similarly worlds of Locale II are also jumbled together.
Mrs. Betty Shine of England also reaffirms the above view in her book, ‘Mind to Mind'. She has expressed about previous births theory in the words: "…It is not necessary that after death people may return to this very planet, because there are many other planets that can become their habitation. Many of these planets are not visible to us, as their vibration frequency is different. The universe is infinite, with worlds inside the worlds and so on limitlessly. Some of the worlds operate at much higher vibration frequency compared to our world. We have to return to this world merely because we have not progressed adequately, so as to be born at those higher level worlds".
So, Jap Ji sahib's described Five Khands, in the light of foregoing discussion, are in reality Regions, spheres or worlds like our own. These are certainly not the subject of mind's imagination or flight, nor can these be construed as spiritual stages of Naam-practice. They are indeed part of the universal creation and fully inhabited.
Guru Piyario from this informative article it is very clear that the Arths of these Khands explained commonly are mere imaginary created Arths.
Gurmat Gyan (Knowledge)
Other Gurbani Contributors