September – Ajooni – Guru TeghBahadur
Lets get to know the 9th Guru through his words as much as by his deeds.
Guru Tegh Bahadur was the embodiment of Ajooni. Meaning beyond the womb, not born of, or through, the womb (unborn). The yogis will refer to this as the Subtle Body from where the soul descends and returns in each incarnation. The Subtle body in itself does not incarnate.
The human body, the man or woman, is born of the womb, but the Guru is not. As the Crown of Spirituality can not be claimed by birth right but by the virtues one lives by and the depth of inward meditation. So Guru TeghBahadur prepared himself to receive the burden and privilege of Spiritual Duty.
The many years Guru Tegh Bahadur spent in meditation released him from all identification with the world of birth and death. When we read his Shabds/Bani (hymns) we find that the Guru recognises this life as a mere dream in the night, a mirage, like a wall of sand, a hill of smoke, nothing more than the shadow of a cloud. He describes the greatness of those beings that are unaffected by emotional attachment to maya, free of desire, anger, greed, possessiveness and pride, not swayed by pleasure or pain, joy or sorrow, heaven or hell, nectar or poison, wealth or poverty, praise or slander, honour and dishonour. They are wise (giaanee) and liberated (mukat).
Otherwise we become like a stone unaffected by the teachings, unable to vibrate, or absorb, the Naam and unable awaken the Inner Divine Identity.
Ajooni comes towards the end of the Mool Mantra and suggests therefore the approach towards the end of the soul’s journey. So it is also not surprising that Guru TeghBahadur’s very last offering (of his head) is what finally made his whole life make sense.
And his words that came from beyond this world came alive after he crossed the world ocean; “The greatest miracle is that you can take a man’s head but not his faith.” Because that faith is anchored to the realm of Ajooni, and therefore nothing in this world can break it.
The 9th Guru reminds us over and over that nothing in this world is really ours, that nothing shall go with us in the end. The body and all its worldly affairs (maya), all that is seen, ends when this life ends. Only loving devotion to the One will go with us.
Life is short and decreasing day by day. Yesterday is passed and today is passing. The body is melting away like a hailstone. The noose of death shall eventually be tightened around our neck, and death’s club shall fall on our head. There will be nowhere to run and there is no guarantee that we will get another human incarnation so readily. The opportunity to meditate and remember, which is given by life, is slipping away with every breath; like water from a cracked pitcher. With this thought in his consciousness then even the slightest imperfection, distraction, or immersion in maya, brings Guru TeghBahadur to despair and fear, which he considers as a motivating force turning him to love of the Guru’s feet (word and kirtan) and to call on God’s protection and mercy. And to dive deep to the inner sanctuary.
” Says Nanak, I am totally filled with faults. I have come to Your Sanctuary – please save me. M9 p1232
Ajooni is beyond the world ocean of time and space. Meditating on Ajooni we can become free of the net of desire and attachment, cross over the world ocean, and reach God’s sanctuary while alive. Ajooni is God’s sanctuary (Ram sarnaaee, Har sarn). Ajooni is beyond the ocean, therefore only Ajooni can bring us across the ocean.
The beautiful mystery is that it is within us, like the fragrance is in the flower, like the reflection is in the mirror.
But the restless mind is like a dog’s tail; not easy to keep it straight and focused, as well as always looking to the outside.
We can only call on God, who, though without form or feature, none the less can reach us through an innate Grace and bring us back to our essence.
And vibrating the Naam within us serves to awaken the God within us. This is the essence and sum totality of all dharmas (spiritual practices). And only this brings peace.
No matter how much we may have failed, due to attachments and delusions, still, even to the last moment, there is a chance to turn the situation around and the reach the inner sanctuary.
“The cynicism of countless lifetimes has been eradicated, since I obtained the jewel of the Naam.
My mind was rid of all its desires, and I was absorbed in the peace of my own inner being. ||2|| M9 p1186
The terms of the latter part of the Mul Mantra relate more to the Transcendent and formless nature of the Divine, in contrast to the active and manifest that is implied in the earlier parts.
None the less Ajooni is a definition, description, reference to and attribute of God, and therefore also defines an aspect of our own higher spiritual and divine nature.
Beyond the womb is, by its very definition, an extremely abstract realm of being. Here are a few ways to approach at least a vague sense of that which is ‘beyond the womb’.
– Being Akaal Moort, beyond time and death, inevitably implies, and refers to, a condition, and dimension, that is pre-existing and independent of the conditioning brought about by birth through a womb – Ajooni.
– Ajooni is not in a state that goes through the changes implied in birth, growth, maturity, decline and decay. Or expansion and contraction, increasing and diminishing.
To be born of a womb is to take form. The Formless One remains formless, even while being invested in all the form/creation. In Its formless nature it remains aloof and ever beyond the story of the womb.
– God is permeating and pervading all. Therefore there is no single, unique, individual incarnation through which we can say God took birth. Therefore any avatar is no more or less a part of, and containing, God than any other humble mortal.
– The womb implies a place, or a location. God is imminent, ‘sargun’ [taking all qualities of the 3 gunas]. Therefore not requiring a special location or specific place, individual womb, to manifest.
– The Creator of all the wombs, through which creation is generated, has no womb.
The Mother and Father of all has no mother or father.
– To be born would be to have a lineage. The Ajooni is the origin of all lineage while having no prior lineage of its own.
– The mystery of Ajooni can make its presence felt and known in our lives without the need of passage through a womb.
– The womb implies a place of coming and going; transmigration. This is not the nature of the Transcendent One. If we would return to the realm of Ajooni, beyond the womb, and be able to remain at peace there, then we would also be free of the cycle of coming and going, free of the need to be reborn in another womb.
We are born from the unborn domain, and we return there.
it is beyond the body, beyond the emotions and beyond the mind.
Even though we experience ourselves in a body/mind costume transiting through the realms of time and space still we are always linked to that which remains subtle and beyond this realm where birth happens.
It can be understood as a docking station between lives.
A matrix is the prior basis for things to come into manifestation but it remains non-manifest. It is hidden yet pervading. The spiritual ground and basis for all life. Therefore in the heart of everyone born!
Most references to Ajooni in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib seem to be in the context of praising the Divine attribute, giving instructions, practicing remembrance, or challenging misconceptions. Apart from its presence in the frequent repetitions of the Mool Mantra, the use of the Divine attribute of Ajooni is otherwise not so frequent. Therefore i was reluctant to edit and leave out any of those references: here they are:
PRAISE AND REMEMBRANCE:
“Akaal Moort, Ajooni Saibhang: remembering You in meditation, my mind is filled with a deep and profound peace. ||2|| p 99
“The Lord is Inaccessible and Incomprehensible. Having no master, and not born of the womb. Obtained through love of the True Guru. ||1|| p 118
“O Lord of angels and men, infinite and beyond the womb, Your True Mansion is incomparable.
Nanak merges imperceptibly into the Life of the world; shower Your mercy upon him, and save him. ||4||2|| p489
“[God] is unknowable, infinite, unapproachable and imperceptible. Not subject to death or karma. [God’s] caste is casteless; beyond the womb, self-illumined, and free of doubt and desire. ||1|| p597
“Being Akaal Moort, [God] is Ajooni (not born of the womb); He is self-existent; He is the Light in the darkness of Kali Yuga. ||18|| p916
“Blessed is the Support of the Earth; The Self that is not born of the womb; whose measure and speech are perfect and True. p930
“The Blessed Vision of [God’s] Darshan is fruitful and rewarding; Not born of the womb, [God] is self-existent. p1082
INSTRUCTION and PARADOX: (The Ajooni, though beyond the womb, is yet present in every heart:)
“The soul is not born, even though he thinks it is born; it is free from birth and death.
When the mortal gives up his ideas of birth and death, he remains constantly absorbed in the Lord’s Love. ||3|| p475
“The First Day (of Moon): The One Universal Creator is unique,
Immortal, beyond the womb, beyond social class or involvement.
Inaccessible and unfathomable, with no form or feature.
Searching, searching, I have seen (that One) in each and every heart. p838
“He is the Brahma beyond the womb; is, and shall ever be. Deep within your heart, behold the Destroyer of ego. ||2|| p597
“Singing the Praises, one dwells in intuitive poise and peace. No longer coming or going.
By Guru’s Grace remain lovingly focused on the Lord.
The Lord of the mind-sky is inaccessible, independent and beyond the womb.
The most worthy Samaadhi is to keep the consciousness stable, focused [on the One]. p932
“The Supreme Lord God, beyond the womb, Self-existent, is seated within every heart everywhere. p1212
“The Self is unattached, beyond the womb and self-existent. O Nanak, through the Guru’s Teachings, This is found. ||12|| p1042
“God is Inaccessible and Unfathomable, Unmastered and Beyond the womb; through the Guru’s Teachings, I know the One.
Filled to overflowing, my consciousness does not waver; through the Mind, my mind is pleased and appeased. ||7|| p1233
“The Name of the Lord is forever the Giver of peace. (M9 p 1008)
May these words reach you like a fragrance
May you attune to the subtle vibration
And the 9th House of the light of the Guru
And obtain the inner Peace
Of reaching the other shore within your own heart
May my head, (and all my errors) crumble to dust
And merge in the ashes of the fire
In which Guru Gobind Singh cremated the head
Of his father and Guru (Teghbahadur).
May Tolerance prevail and Calmness bring us its gifts
Just a little further reflection, and reiteration, on the question of the unborn seemingly being born, as is implied in some passages which praise the Guru. Did that which is beyond the womb take birth through the womb?
The Guru is associated with the qualities of Ajooni.
The lineage of the Guru’s was not transmitted through bloodline or birthright. rather it was earned through love, devotion, dedication and humility. So when each subsequent Guru was appointed and the light of the Guru was transferred to them, it was not happening through the womb. The crown of spirituality was passed on independent from, or outside of, the domain of birth through the womb. Like a fragrance or an infection that is carried through the air, that enters the heart and the breath. Passing on through the realm of prana rather than the physical body. Entering the Magnetic Field of the True Disciple, whose ego has died, and whose cup of the heart has fully opened, through selfless seva. Then, through the breath (Pavan Guru), entering the blood stream and bringing about a transmutation of man to Guru.
So when we read praises (svayiaa) of the Guru associating them with the Ajooni then we can remember it is a reference to ‘The Guru’ The Unborn, which has entirely taken over, and infiltrated every cell of the physical body born of the womb.
TURNING TO THE GURU IS TURNING IN THE DIRECTION OF THE AJOONI:
“Whoever the Lord has blessed with the gift of Truth is accepted; the Supremely Wise Lord is forever the Great Giver.
Known to be Immortal, Beyond the womb and Permanent; the True Mansion of Everlasting.
The day-to-day account of deeds is not recorded for that person, who manifests the radiance of the Divine Light.
O Nanak, the true person is absorbed in the True Lord; the Gurmukh crosses over to the other side. ||4||5|| p1112
“Where should I sit to chant Your Praises; which of Your Infinite Praises should I chant?
The Unknown cannot be known; Inaccessible and Beyond the womb, You are the Master of masters.
How can I compare You to anyone else I see? All are beggars – You are the Great Giver.
Lacking devotion, Nanak looks to Your Door; to be blessed with Your One Name, that it may be enshrined in the heart. ||4||3|| p1255
Praise of Guru ramdas:
“Wisdom as the mother, contentment as a father; (The Guru) is absorbed in the ocean of intuitive peace and poise.
Beyond the womb. Self-illumined, yet existing in the world, the guru’s word carries us across the world (ocean). p1397
“The Eternal, Imperishable, Unmoving and Unchanging, Unborn, Self-Existent, Primal Being of the Soul, the Infinity of the Infinite,
the Eternal All-powerful Cause of causes – all beings meditate on Him in their minds. p1405
and for guru arjun :
KALL the poet utters the Praises of the Unborn, Self-existent Lord.
Guru Nanak blessed Guru Angad, and Guru Angad blessed Guru Amar Daas with the treasure.
Guru Raam Daas blessed Guru Arjun, who touched the Philosopher’s Stone, and was certified. O Guru Arjun, You are Eternal, Invaluable, Unborn, Self-existent,
the Destroyer of fear, the Dispeller of pain, Infinite and Fearless.
You have grasped the Ungraspable, and burnt away doubt and skepticism. You bestow cooling and soothing peace.
The Self-existent, Perfect Primal Lord God Creator has taken birth.
First, Guru Nanak, then Guru Angad and Guru Amar Daas, the True Guru, have been absorbed into the Word of the Shabad.
Blessed, blessed is Guru Raam Daas, the Philosopher’s Stone, who transformed Guru Arjun unto Himself. ||5|| p 1407
And finally, in anticipation of the next chapter:
“The Profound One dwells in the sky of the mind, the Tenth Gate;
Singing the Praises, one dwells in intuitive poise and peace. No longer coming or going.
By Guru’s Grace remain lovingly focused on the Lord.
The Lord of the mind-sky is inaccessible, independent and beyond the womb.
The most worthy Samaadhi is to keep the consciousness stable, focused [on the One].
Remembering the Name of Har, one is not subject to reincarnation.
The Guru’s Teachings are the most Excellent; all other ways lack the Naam, the Name of the Lord. ||20|| p932