July, Mul Mantra, Nirvair, Guru HarRai ~ No Animosity
Lets meditate on Nirvair, which translates as ‘without revenge, vengeance or animosity’
It comes after Nirbhau showing us that we need to reach the fearless state before we can let go of the past.
Nirvair, no enemy, implies that we are clear with our past. That there is no unfinished story that we are carrying forward. No crutches, no excuses, no blaming or shaming; no guilt.
Nirvair is a quality associated with God or Godliness. As Godliness it means it is a quality both received from the Transcendent God as well as unlocked from within our own being; our dormant Divine nature.
Having no enemy means not to be against the one that is against you. Therefore it would not be true to say that God attacks or takes revenge on anyone, even those who are atheists or in other ways question or deny the Divine. And the Godliness in ourselves would also not feel animosity towards those who may reject our choice of faith, or how we choose to express it.
An enemy is one who can threaten us. But if we first cultivate Nirbhau then there is no fear of being harmed. Thanks to the grace and breath of the Nirbhau state it is possible to be free of protective prejudices, free of judgemental labeling, and therefore to be, not only forgiving, but also pre-forgiving; this is Nirvair. Ready to overlook any apparent shortcoming or fault of others before they are even noticed. Ready to tear up the records/files/accounts that our subconscious want to keep on others. Ready to un-see and see beyond. In this way there is no accumulating bitterness that will tighten around our heart as we get old. Revenge/animosity is a deception of the mind through which we lose the true purpose and true treasure of life. p 1220
Only one who is Nirvair can truly provide the genuine and eternal sense of forgiveness that every consciousness hopes for. With all the injustices of life it is easy to slip into justifying revenge. And it is not easy to draw the line between justice and revenge. Many myths and legends as well as popular movies are based on stories about revenge. The hero gets payback, but is this justice.
Seeking the enemy is to always look through the eyes of suspicion. Always looking for someone to blame, someone to shame, someone to punish (including oneself). It is feeding the burning fire (greed) of the ever-active and ever-hungry mind. Staying on the surface of life the mind has not yet found the infinitely deep well of immortal nectar. Therefore it seeks an unending revengeful compensation for the assumed wrongs it pretends to be the victim of.
The pain of injustices experienced or witnessed, or even just heard about, naturally moves us to address what feels like an imbalance, a disharmony. And with the state of Nirbhau we are not afraid to confront and fight if we must. But any engagement is done in freedom, and freely released at the earliest opportunity; there is no holding on.
Law of karma – action and its reaction, cause and effect, sowing the seeds and reaping the harvest, serves to balance things out. This could be called natural justice. It does not have to be confused with revenge. The consequences that come back to us a result of our actions, word or thoughts have nothing to do with God being angry or punishing. Rather it is an integral part of practical life and natural law that serves our learning.
Only when we are free of our own attachments, avoidances, or other reactions to pleasure and pain. When these things are felt as equal and we do not rush to one, as if it were a friend, or run from the other, as if it were an enemy. Then we can enter the state of Nirvair and see the relation of sequences and consequences – past, present and future. p 1357
With no animosity the eyes are clean and clear. We see the world as God sees it.
We cherish, protect and honour the creation.
We see God in all. We see all creation as the Body of God.
Guru Arjun addresses God saying:
” You have no hatred or vengeance; Your Saints are immaculate and pure.” p 108
Releasing oneself from all unfinished historical business is a purification process.
Guru Ramdas describes the consequences of being Nirvair and the consequences for those that bear animosity to such a being: “The True Guru is the Compassionate Giver; always compassionate. The True Guru is Nirvair within; (and so) beholds the One God/Brahm everywhere. Directing hate against One who is Nirvair, shall never give one inner satisfaction. The True Guru wishes everyone well; how can anything bad happen (to the True Guru) ?
As one feels towards the True Guru, so are the fruits [rewards] received. O Nanak, the Creator is the knower of all/everything from which nothing can be hidden. ||2|| p 302.
Bearing animosity towards one who has no animosity subjects us to the dharma of self-destruct (it would be like setting our own home on fire) – this is the natural justice. This point is strongly emphasized many times by the Guru; p 306, 317, 869, 1099, 1145, 1205, 1217, 1415.
The purity of the Guru leads to the Guru being a mirror that just reflects back the projection of the other. So, for example, slander towards a person that cultivates Nirvair will come back and hit the slanderer in their own face.
Bearing animosity makes us blind. And being blind we may miss out on some great opportunities and significant, even life-changing, moments and meetings. We will be blind to the presence of the Guru in our lives. And blind to the hand and light of the Creator behind all.
Seeing the world, as the Guru see it, through the eyes of Nirvair, brings us into the domain/court of the Guru. p 314 The realm of Naam and where light eliminates the shadow of every doubt. p 596
Nirvair makes it possible to see the unseen.
In Gurbani the quality of Nirvair is often mentioned in conjunction with Nirankar – The Formless One. Our past stories are shapes in our own mind. To be free of the past is to have a transparency and therefore a window into the Formless realm. Meditating on the Formless frees us of the bonds of form. p 292
Such transparency means on the one hand that the Divine (Har) is known to be near at hand, while on the other hand, being Formless, it remains invisible. Therefore contemplation, reflection and meditation, to calibrate to the Guru’s wisdom, is the way to bring about a direct perception of the Truth. p 720
Nirvair is not a temporary state. It has been a quality of the Divine throughout the ages. For it to be true in our lives it needs to have continuity. This is what paves the way for Entry into the timeless state (Akaal Moort) and therefore liberation from the cycle of transmigration (reincarnation). The pure mind state of Nirvair makes it possible to see that everything is God, everything is the Self (Aap). It makes it possible to relax into our heart and know the presence of the soul (God’s presence) within; consciousness of one’s True Identity (Naam). p 931, p 1415
Being Nirvair means to be unaffected by slander or praise (p 1421). To see the Divine play of light and therefore seeing all beings as equal in that light. When a great soul, the True Guru, sees our soul, rather than our errors or faults, it is a chance for those karmic patterns to be cleansed out of our system. (p 960). Being seen in this way is to be forgiven. To see in this way is to forgive the others. p 1141
This is what every soul really seeks. To be truly seen and accepted beyond our limitations and mistakes. To be confirmed in our essence so that we might stand more truly in who we really are.
On several occasions the Guru associates the Divine quality of Nirvair along with the absence of the need for food. p 98, 287, 855, 1082. As if the food of the world is feeding the ego-mind more than the body. When there is no past story to sustain then the need for food may also be reduced by itself.
Nirvair destroys the limits and becomes the window into the infinite – Akaal Moort.
The undying self does not live on the food of the world. We continue with Akaal Moort next month.
Guru Har Rai is the 7th Guru and Nirvair represents the 7th stage of Guru Naanak’s description of the Divine in the Mul Mantra, which also provides the roadmap for liberation.
In saying ‘Nirvair’ Guru Naanak revealed the qualities that would be embodied by the 7th living Guru.
There are several ways in which Guru Har Rai manifested Nirvair. For example having no enemy suggests an attitude of friendship, caring, and protection towards the world; God’s creation. Guru Har Rai showed this in his respect for the plants of nature and in keeping and caring for animals in a zoo rather than killing them in the hunt.
This caring attitude also led the Guru to develop research in the healing properties of plants and to cultivate important and rare herbs.
As described earlier forgiveness is the natural perspective that serves to maintain the state of Nirvair. Given the struggles, conflicts and attacks the Sikhs had previously suffered it could be said that the Guru had every reason to seek compensation through revenge. Yet not only did the Guru choose forgiveness, but even, extended blessings towards the aggressor.
Guru Har Rai offered the medicine needed to cure the emperor’s son, even though he came from a ruling family that had persecuted the Sikhs. Later, when that boy had become a prince, the Guru also gave him protection from the future emperor who had started to show his tyrannical nature.
An attitude of animosity brings with it the tendency to get caught up in argument, always trying to prove who is right and who is wrong. Guru Har Rai described how the result of that could be reincarnation as a snake. A lot of hissing, inclined to bite others, poison in the teeth and the tongue more out than in (and up). The Guru’s concern on this matter was shown in how he worked to improve the quality of the standard bearers of Sikh Dharma (known as masands).
To guide the Sikh in how to deal with attack the Guru gave several examples. The hand may break the flower, but still the flower perfumes the hand. The axe may cut down the sandal tree but still the sandal will perfume the axe. In this same line of understanding Guru Har Rai described how the fragrance of Gurbani could still benefit the reader even if the reader is ignorant of its meaning. To have the consciousness of Guru Har Rai is to not see the block (enemy) but to see the way through the block.
The link between Nirvair and forgiveness. p1141
For multiple apparent reasons we have the tendency to make countless mistakes, in action, word or thought. This is reacted upon through our further tendency to feel guilt or shame. And then followed up by excuses and/or punishment, which then produces and feeds the victim mentality. This whole structure is crowned by the victims cry for revenge.
Deep within we seek redemption from this set of traps, and our informed intuition suggests that forgiveness may be a key.
However forgiveness from someone who themselves bears anger or animosity, to themselves or others, cannot be taken seriously nor assumed to be lasting.
Therefore we recognise, seek, and cultivate, the Divine quality of forgiveness; Infinitely Deep and Eternal (Everlasting).
We may describe, and ask for forgiveness, as if it is a quality coming from the seemingly exterior (Transcendent) God; and this need not be denied or rejected. But it is also a quality within each of us. And it awakens, simultaneously, as we activate the Divine quality of Nirvair. As we cleanse our vision and see the world as God sees it then our eyes become Gods eyes. Hence it is said that the Glance of a great spiritual being will serve to cleanse our karmas. The eyes of such a being will be filled with nothing but the kindness of forgiveness.
In our own life every step we take to cleanse our vision and our perception of ourselves and others will serve to reduce the vibration of animosity, and war, on the planet.
May our eyes look upon the creation with kindness.
May an inner smile release us from the burden of the past
May those around us feel safe and protected
Through the understanding that shines through our gaze
May we cease to generate or feed the fires of animosity
May our souls find the light of Truth that we really seek
So the warmth of Caring may spread into our environments