Tao-Te-Ching 养身 (The Nourishment of the Person, s.2)

Tao-Te-Ching 养身 (The Nourishment of the Person, s.2)
Ming Dynasty painting of a White-Deer Immortal (Xian)... representing those saint/celestial beings who stay unaffected amidst this world.

Please see here for the intro and the first section before you read this section.

ੴ ਸਤਿਗੁਰਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ
This is section #2 out of 83. Lao Tsu Ji begins by explaining the dualistic perception of this world. After this, they continue to explain how the Saint/Mahapurakh is indifferent to this duality and how this detachment works in the mind. We will see what Gurbani Ji says about these points and what we can take away from them with Gurprasaad[i].

No matter where you go in the world (天下皆) [This remains true everywhere]: if you understand something to be beautiful (知美之为美), ugliness comes to be defined (斯恶矣) [in contrast].
皆知善之为善 ,斯不善矣。
Likewise wherever something is understood as good (皆知善之为善), evil comes to be defined (斯不善矣) [in contrast].
If we define something as having a material quality then we can infer that another thing does not have that same quality. This is the dualistic way we see this manifested world. However, Akaal Purakh is advait (non-dual). So when someone refers to Vaheguru as Shyaam (name of Krishna) and interprets it to mean dark-skinned then it limits Vaheguru to being known as dark. This implicitly is stating that Vaheguru cannot be light, this creates a sense of duality. This duality is not an accurate way of seeing the Truth, why? It is because resides in both light and dark. There is nothing without Vaheguru.

Bhagat Kabeer Ji tell us about the nature of Vaheguru here:

ਹਕੁ ਸਚੁ ਖਾਲਕੁ, ਖਲਕ ਮਿਆਨੇ; ਸਿਆਮ ਮੂਰਤਿ ਨਾਹਿ ॥੨॥
Hak[u] Sach[u] Khaalak[u] Khalak Miaanae; Siaam Moorat[i] Naah[i]|| (Ang 727)
Reality is that the True Creator is found in the sheath of Creation, they are not bound to the form of darkness.

Guru Gobind Singh Ji Maharaj also ask us a reflective question towards the end of Shabad Hazare Patshahi 10vi:
ਜਾਕਰ ਰੂਪ ਰੰਗ ਨਹਿ ਜਨਿਯਤ; ਸੋ ਕਿਮ ਸ਼੍ਯਾਮ ਕਹੈ ਹੈ ॥
Jaakar Roop Rang Nahi Janiyat So Kim Syaam Kahai Hai
If Vaheguru’s Form and Colour cannot be Known then how can we refer to Vaheguru as dark-skinned?

In Nirgun (without material quality/traits) form, Akaal Purakh cannot be defined using material qualities, in Sargun (manifest) they can appear in any colour, shape, form, they desire... it is all Their Maya. There is nothing without Vaheguru, this is what shapes this nonduality... anything that is perceived as separate is not actually separate. Some may refer to Sargun & Nirgun as two and that is perceived as dualistic as well. However, They are Two Sides of the Same Coin.

Lao Tsu Ji writes about the dualistic perception through two examples.

If you refer to a person as beautiful then duality forms. There's an opportunity for another person to be described as ugly. Similarly, there is duality formed when you refer to something as good. This is because you are opening up an opportunity for something to be defined as bad. Vaheguru is in all, so what can we describe as good or bad, closer or further?

Gurbani refers to this duality as Dubidha/Dooja:

ਜਿਸੁ ਨਰ ਕੀ ਦੁਬਿਧਾ ਨ ਜਾਇ; ਧਰਮਰਾਇ ਤਿਸੁ ਦੇਇ ਸਜਾਇ ॥੩॥
Jis Nar Ki, Dubidha Na Jaaie Dharamraaei Tis[u] Daei Sajaaei (Ang 491)
The being whose duality does not go away, Dharam Raj gives them a punishment
And again:
ਦੁਬਿਧਾ ਦੁਰਮਤਿ; ਅਧੁਲੀ ਕਾਰ ॥
Dubidha Durmat[i] Adhhulee Kaar
In duality and having the wrong mindset, their actions are blind.
ਮਨਮੁਖਿ ਭਰਮੈ; ਮਝਿ ਗੁਬਾਰ ॥੧॥
Manmukh[i] Bharmai; Majh[i] Gubaar ||1|| (Ang 1190).
Manmukh is lost in the darkness (of ignorance).

Why is Maharaj referring to duality in such a way?
We only see this duality as a default way of thinking because we are accustomed to look at this world as dual. Our surroundings (family, friends, media, etc) have made the mind think this way from birth. The most divisive factor -- which causes the ignorance of duality --  comes in the perception of an individual self (ego) and a separate Vaheguru.
Once this haumai/duality is removed, you are blessed.
So let us understand Maharaj’s teachings on how to remove this duality:
ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਮਿਲੈ; ਤ ਦੁਬਿਧਾ ਭਾਗੈ ॥
Satigur[u] Milai Ta Dubidhha Bhaagai
By meeting Guru Sahib, duality runs away.
ਕਮਲੁ ਬਿਗਾਸਿ; ਮਨੁ ਹਰਿ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਲਾਗੈ ॥
Kamal[u] Bigaas[i] Man[u] Har[i] Prabh Laagai
The Lotus of the Heart blossoms, and the mind is attached to Vaheguru.
ਜੀਵਤੁ ਮਰੈ; ਮਹਾ ਰਸੁ ਆਗੈ ॥੨॥
Jeevat[u] Marai; Mahaa Ras[u] Aagai ||2|| (Ang 153)
While living they remain dead to the world and they receive great bliss.

Maharaj is telling us to become Gurmukh and unlearn the misperceptions of the mind. Instead, learn and engrain Guru’s Teachings. Once you do this, the duality goes away because your mind becomes one with Guru Sahib’s Mat (thinking/mindset). In this mind’s merging, Vaheguru is realized.

ਹਿਰਦੈ ਏਕੋ ਨਾਮੁ ਵਸੈ; ਹਉਮੈ ਦੁਬਿਧਾ ਮਾਰਿ ॥੭॥
Hirdai Aeko Naam[u] Vasai Houmai Dubidhha Maar[i] (ang 429)
Keeping the One’s Name in the Heart, the Ego/Duality is killed off.

Doing Naam Simran and focussing on Guru Sahib within your mind, the ego (caused by duality) vanishes. It is like the classic example of the snake in the dark. You act scared when you think you see a snake in a room. Once you realize the snake was a rope then you are not scared anymore. Gurbani and Naam Simran shake off this misperception. We are able to see the Truth and become immersed in the Truth.

Being and non-being give birth to each other (故有无相生).
Difficult and easy complete each other (难易相成).
Long and short define each other (长短相形).
High and low oppose each other (高下相倾).
Sounds and Voices are in harmony (音声相和).
Forward and back work along with each other (前后相随).
How does someone take away this duality and see everything as one?
Lao Tsu Ji takes things commonly opposed to each other and explains that they are actually more connected than we might think. Defining anything in this world will implicitly inform you of what does not fit that definition. If I give a description of a man: saying he is 5ft2in, dark in complexion, and bald... our minds will rule out that he is not 5ft3in nor 5ft1in etc, our minds will rule out that he is light in complexion, and rule out having hair on their head. The above opposites depend on each other. In the same way where there is Truth, the falseness depends on the Truth to form it’s perception. A shadow is dependent on the object. We have to reconcile the two. Seeing all as one (Sam-Drishti) is a trait of a Saint as defined by, The Crown Jewel of Martyrs, Guru Arjan Dev Ji Maharaj in Sri Sukhmani Sahib:
ਬ੍ਰਹਮਗਿਆਨੀ; ਸਦਾ ਸਮਦਰਸੀ ॥
Brahmgiaanee Sadaa Samdarsee (Ang 272)
A Brahmgiani is always in a state of seeing everything as the same
In the next line, Lao Tsu explains the state of someone who remains indifferent in this world.

The Saintly-Person stays in (是以圣人处) non-doing (无为) whilst in their affairs (之事) and conduct their teachings (行...之教) without uttering words (不言)  
The famous Taoist concept of Wu-Wei now appears. Wu-Wei is being in a state of non-doing. Most people hear this and think very laissez-faire (leave the world to do as it pleases). However, it is not so. Non-doing is more like remaining detached in this world. Bhai Gurdas Ji beautifully explains how a Saint remains detached in this world using the example of a tree (in the 4th Pauree of Their 16th Vaar):
ਧਰਤੀ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਬਿਰਖੁ ਹੋਇ ਪਹਿਲੋਂ ਦੇ ਜੜ ਪੈਰ ਟਿਕਾਈ ।
Dharti Andar[i] Birakh[u] Hoe[i] Pahilo[n] Dae Jarrh Pair Tikaaee
Tree grows in the earth and first of all it anchors its feet (roots)
ਉਪਰਿ ਝੂਲੈ ਝਟੁਲਾ ਠੰਢੀ ਛਾਉਂ ਸੁ ਥਾਉਂ ਸੁਹਾਈ ।
Oupar[i] Jhoolai Jhatulaa TtanDhee Chhaaou[n] Su Thhaaou[n] Suhaaee
People enjoy swinging over it and it's cool shade adorns places.
ਪਵਣੁ ਪਾਣੀ ਪਾਲਾ ਸਹੈ ਸਿਰ ਤਲਵਾਇਆ ਨਿਹਚਲੁ ਜਾਈ
PavaN[u] PaaNee Paalaa Sahai Sir Talvaaeiaa Nihchal[u] Jaaee
It bears the impact of air, water and cold but still keeping its head down [in resilience], it remains steadfast at its place.
ਫਲ ਦੇ ਵਟ ਵਗਾਇਆਂ ਸਿਰਿ ਕਲਵਤੁ ਲੈ ਲੋਹੁ ਤਰਾਈ ।
Fal Dae Vat Vagaaeiaaan Sir[i] Kalvat[u] Lai Loh[u] Taraaee
When stoned, it gives fruit and even after getting cut down with a saw it takes iron (in boats) across waters.
ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਜਨਮੁ ਸਕਾਰਥਾ ਪਰਉਪਕਾਰੀ ਸਹਜਿ ਸੁਭਾਈ ।
Gurmukh[i] Janam Sakaarthhaa Paroupkaaree Sahaj[i] Subhaaee
Life of gurmukhs is useful because their temperament is benevolent and giving.
ਮਿਤ੍ਰ ਨ ਸਤ੍ਰ ਨ ਮੋਹੁ ਧ੍ਰੋਹ ਸਮਦਰਸੀ ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦ ਸਮਾਈ ।
Mitr Na Satr Na Moh[u] Dhhroh Samdarsee Gur Sabad Samaaee
They have no friend or foe. Away from infatuation and delusion they are unbiased and immersed in the word of the Guru.
ਸਾਧਸੰਗਤਿ ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਵਡਿਆਈ ॥੪॥
SaadhhSangat[i] Gurmat[i] Vadiaaee
Remaining in SaadhSangat, they adorn the Guru’s Teachings, and gain Greatness in this way.

Where (焉) thousands of things may come up [causing trouble/tension] (万物作) yet (而) [the saintly-person] does not quit (不辞);  
They still grow (生) but (而) do not exist (不有) [meaning they do not attach the ego/self... nor apply ownership/attachment].
They act (为) but (而) do not rely on their acts (不恃) [don’t keep any expectations for return on their acts]
They complete work (功成) but (而) do not dwell on (弗居) [the accomplishment],
“Since he does not dwell on it (夫唯弗居), it does leave from him (是以不去)”
Here, Lao Tsu Ji explores two different situations and how a saint responds as a result. When receiving pain, they remain tolerant/resilient and upon completing a task (often seen as favorable), they do not get attached to the pleasure of accomplishment. What we know as pleasure and pain are perceptions of the mind. If you do not place expectations, you will remain steady.
Gurbani Ji speaks to this indifference:
ਓਇ ਸਦਾ ਅਨੰਦਿ ਬਿਬੇਕ ਰਹਹਿ; ਦੁਖਿ ਸੁਖਿ ਏਕ ਸਮਾਨਿ ॥
Oei Sadaa Anand[i] Bibaek Rahah[i] Dukh[i] Sukh[i] Aek Samaan[i]
They remain in a state of constant-bliss through their non-dual perception, they see pain and pleasure as one and the same.
ਤਿਨਾ ਨਦਰੀ ਇਕੋ ਆਇਆ; ਸਭੁ ਆਤਮ ਰਾਮੁ ਪਛਾਨੁ ॥੪੪॥
Tinaa Nadree Iko Aaeiaa; Sabh[u] Aatam Raam[u] Pachhaan[u] ||44|| (Ang 1418)
Through Their Perception they see only One, They recognize Everything/Everyone as the One Immersive Aatma (Paramatma/Vaheguru)

The question about duality repeats itself but perhaps with a similar goal:
How do I see two as one? How to become indifferent to pain and pleasure, good and bad, etc?

One aspect is to see everything as Vaheguru’s Hukam (Will), as we hear in the beginning of Japji Sahib:
ਹੁਕਮੀ, ਉਤਮੁ ਨੀਚੁ; ਹੁਕਮਿ ਲਿਖਿ, ਦੁਖ ਸੁਖ ਪਾਈਅਹਿ ॥
Hukamee Outham[u] Neech[u] Hukam[i] Likh[i] Dukh Sukh Paaeeah[i] (Ang 1)
Through Vaheguru’s Hukam, people are perceived as high or low...
through Vaheguru’s Hukam, we perceive pain and pleasure.

Partaking in abhiyaas (Spiritual practice such as Naam Simran, Shabad Jaap, Kirtan, Katha, Vichaar, Seva) will help to accept Vaheguru’s Hukam:

ਸੁਖੁ ਦੁਖੁ ਸਮ ਕਰਿ; ਨਾਮੁ ਅਧਾਰਾ ॥
Sukh[u] Dukh[u] Sam Kar[i] Naam[u] Adhhaaraa
Pleasure and Pain are known to be one when you take the Naam as a Support.
ਆਪੇ ਪਾਰਿ ਉਤਾਰਣਹਾਰਾ ॥
Aapae Paar[i] OutaaraNhaaraa (Ang 943)
Vaheguru, Themselves, are the Ones who takes us and cross us over [this ignorance of duality]

At the end of the day, it is up to Vaheguru as to whether the mind will enter this state of samdrishti. We can only make an ardaas to become detached like this. When you start to see Gurbani from this point of view, then you will prioritize things differently.
The Spiritual awakening occurs and you begin to arise above this world:

ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਸਹਜੁ ਹੈ; ਮਨੁ ਚੜਿਆ ਦਸਵੈ ਆਕਾਸਿ ॥
Gurmukh[i] Antar[i] Sahaj[u] Hai Man[u] Charrhiaa Dasvai Aakaas[i]
Through facing the Guru, you develop Sehaj within, the mind ascends to the 10th sky (Dasam Duaar)
ਤਿਥੈ. ਊਂਘ ਨ ਭੁਖ ਹੈ; ਹਰਿ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਨਾਮੁ ਸੁਖਵਾਸੁ ॥
Tithai Oo[n]gh Na Bhukh Hai Har[i] A[n]mrit Naam[u] Sukhvaas[u]
In This State, there is no hunger nor sleep... the Eternal Naam of Vaheguru becomes Your Peaceful Home.
ਨਾਨਕ ਦੁਖੁ ਸੁਖੁ ਵਿਆਪਤ ਨਹੀ; ਜਿਥੈ ਆਤਮ ਰਾਮ ਪ੍ਰਗਾਸੁ ॥੧੬॥
Nanak Dukh Sukh Viaapat Nahee Jithhai Aatam Raam Pragaas[u] (Ang 1414)
3jje Paatshah Guru Amardas Ji: Pain and Pleasure do not appear here, where the One Immersive Aatma (Paramaatma/Vaheguru) has radiated.
Hearing this from Maharaj, we start to think about this state where we never imagined the human body could experience. Let this chase your spiritual journey. Daas has no knowledge but even speaking about Gurbani and these granths like Tao Te Ching provide such a spiritual awakening. Let us continue to develop our relationship with Maharaj and destroy this duality. Please forgive me for all my mistakes, I am unworthy of writing these commentaries. A Benti to all the Giani’s to please correct and bless us with your great wisdom.

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