Central to all Sikh practice is Naam. Naam is recognised as Presence, as the primal vibration experienced grossly through audible sound, progressively internalised until the experience of mergence. Naam in its gross manifestation of existence (Sargun) as well as the formless (nirgun).
Naam is considered as the Guru in Gurmat, and one's awareness is its disciple.
Shabad is the Guru, my mindful awareness is its disciple.
The practice of Naam Symran is also intoned with total cyclic breath awareness (saas garass), relaxation and mindful awareness. (SGGSJ 80)
The human body is constituted by five fundamental elements, ether, air, fire, water and earth (akash, vayu, agni, jal and prithvi). Each element has Tanmatras (vibrations) and a sense organ to receive the stimuli.
|Element||Tanmatra or sense data||Sense organ|
|Akash - Ether||Sound||Ear or attention|
|Vayu - Air||Touch||Skin|
|Agni - Fire||Form & Light||Vision|
|Jal - Water||Taste||Tongue|
|Privithi - Earth||Odour||Nose|
Sound is considered as being the subtlest form of manifestation with only one tanmatra, this has many significant roles in Gurmat, in addition to the divine or cosmic sound and impact of Mantra.
Sound is considered to exist on four levels, gross to subtle, starting with Vaikahri (audible), Madhyama-vak (sometimes seen as mental speech) is the intermediate unexpressed state of sound, whose seat is in the heart, Pashyanti-vak is the second level of sound. Pashyanti in Sanskrit means "that which can be seen or visualised". In the pashyanti stage sound possesses qualities such as colour and form and finally, Para-vak is the transcendent sound. Para means highest or farthest, and in this connection it indicates that sound which is beyond the perception of the senses, an unvibratory condition of sound beyond the reach of mind and intelligence (avyakta). At this stage of para-vak there is no distinction between the object and the sound. The sound contains within it all the qualities of the object.
|Sound manifestation||Origin||Ik Oankaar or Aum||Consciousness State|
|Vaikahri||Mouth||A - Akara||Waking state|
|Madhyama||Heart - Anahata||U - Ukara||Dream state|
|Pashyanti||Naval||M - Makara||Deep sleep|
Thus through appropriate focus on shabd, or sound enables one to achieve a mental state of Sahej or inner harmony by abiding in ones true nature.
There are two crucial differences between Gurmat and Western psychology.
Firstly, Western Psychology is based on "fixing" the ego. Gurmat, like Buddhist psychology considers the ego as the cause of suffering.
ego is a chronic disease, but it contains its own cure as well
The second difference is that Western psychology is without the sense of non-duality, Oneness, an absolute, a divine or an ultimate with which one can utterly identify and unite, merge into, while Gurmat articulates the dissolution into and union with just such a primordial state of identity through the practice of the Gurmukh life style. (SGGSJ 7).
This is something that is missing as a larger matrix of universal holding in most Freudian bases psychology.
There are a number of essential aspects of Gurmat that have not been considered within this article, such as, Rahet Maryada, (code of conduct), the importance of unshorn hair and one relationship with nature (kudrat), ethical livelihood (kirt karni), selfless service (seva), gender & race equality, the essential role of Sangat, langar (community kitchen), naming of men as Singh (lion) and women as Kaur (princess) and most importantly, the Khalsa (pure ones), those without ego and defenders against political and religious tyranny amongst other things.
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