In the thirty-sixth pauri,
the thirty-sixth step on the ladder, Guru Amardas imparted that the once-blinded eyes attain divine sight through the encounter with the eternal Wisdom. Moving to the thirty-seventh pauri, the thirty-seventh step, Guru Amardas shifts to sensory perception, the ears, stating, O my ears! The True One has sent you to listen to the truth.
Ears, by their very nature, hear, listen, and discern the world’s sounds. The guidance provided to the ears, these marvelous instruments of perception, the ability to listen, is that the Eternal One has granted them to hear the truth. Initially tuned to distinctions and other sounds, the ears are redirected towards their true purpose. This message is reiterated in the following line, underscoring that the ears are meant to listen to the truth. They are not mere auditory receptors; they are conduits for eternal wisdom. They are an integral part of the body and are attached for this precise purpose—to attune to the eternal Bani
(the Utterances of infinite wisdom) and to engage with the eternal truths. Those who listen to the eternal Bani experience the blossoming of their mind and body. The transformative power is so profound that even the tongue becomes immersed in the flavor. What unfolds next defies description by the eyes, the tongue, the ears, or any other body part. It’s beyond explanation. It is something wondrous, miraculous, and astonishing. The movement, the expression of the Eternal, cannot be encapsulated in words. Listening to this amrit
, the immortal Nam
, the Identification with the One, the nectarous Nam, and becoming pure, vice-free, is the source of anand
, bliss. The Eternal One sent the ears and connected them to the body to listen to the truth. Guru Amardas concludes this ladder step by affirming: Listen to the immortalizing Nam, become pure; the True One has sent you to listen to the truth.
We reflect upon the word "listen," which appears six times in this concise five-line verse. Much like witnessing acknowledges the mere existence of sound, hearing is akin to being present at a performance. On the other hand, listening is like immersing oneself in a beautiful melody, a profound experience encompassing understanding, interpretation, and emotional connection. Our ears, an integral part of our body, are finely crafted to listen to the Divine Utterances. Through this active listening and harmonious interaction with these Utterances, our mind and body experience a revitalization. Even the tongue savors this rejuvenating essence. As we journey deeper into this experience, we encounter something beyond the grasp of mere words, like trying to capture the essence of a breathtaking sunset through a photograph. We might ponder how this phenomenon unfolds, yet it’s essential not to reduce it to a mere formula or practice. Why? Because the One, the Divine, transcends description. The One is beyond sight, like the wind itself. The wonders of the One are beyond the confinement of the boundaries of language. Our mind, body, and tongue can experience it, but the experience itself cannot be conveyed or articulated. This is the essence of bliss, the bliss of the spirit. It might seem almost unbelievable that the ears listening to these Utterances set such a profound transformation in motion. It leads us to question whether we’ve truly comprehended the significance of our ears. If we aspire to speak and see the Eternal, we may also need to listen to the Eternal. These three elements are what the world often speaks of. We find ourselves on a different path in a world that often symbolizes the "see no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil" motif. In this composition of forty steps, we’re guided on what to see, what to speak, and what to listen to attain the ultimate bliss, much like a traveler following a map to discover a hidden treasure. The question that beckons us is whether we genuinely crave this extraordinary experience or whether we will let go of this incredible opportunity that stands before us.
We may ask ourselves: Have we ever considered the subtle difference between hearing and listening? Are we fully present in the moments when we choose to listen? Have we ever delved deeply into the significance of our ears and their greater purpose? Do we want our ears to listen to the Eternal? Are we ready for active listening or reflective listening?