6. Staying On The Path – Passing The Tests

(“Bandgi”) Progressing on the Spiritual Path is walking on the edge of the sword (“Khandey Di Dhaar”):
To forsake pride, emotional attachment, and the sense of ‘mine and yours’,
is the path of the double-edged sword. ||3||
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If you desire to play this game of love with Me,
then step onto My Path with your head in hand.
When you place your feet on this Path,
give Me your head, and do not pay any attention to public opinion. ||20||
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The True Lord’s true devotee’s (“Bhagat’s”) actions and deeds are in the Divine will (“Hukam”) of Timeless eternal Love Lord (“Akal Purakh”), all his five senses are under Complete (“Puran”)divine will (“ Hukam”) of Great great supreme transcendental beyond universal limits Supreme Lord (“ Dhan Dhan Paar Braham Parmesar”).  He is always completely absorbed in the Almighty.  He is beyond the three attributes (“TreGuns”) of mammon (“Maya”) (“Rajo, Tamo and Sato”):
The greatness of the Holy people is beyond the three qualities.
The greatness of the Holy people is all pervading.
The glory of the Holy people has no limit.
The glory of the Holy people is infinite and eternal.
SGGS 272
The entire word is being run under the deep influence of the three qualities of  Mammon (“Maya”)
1.       (“ Tamo”) – Sexual Lust , Anger, Greed , attachment ,Pride/Ego, Slander, Gossip mongering & Back Biting, Mocking (“Kaam Krodh Lobh Moh Ahankaar, Nindya Chugli Bakhili”);
2.        (“Rajo”) – (“Asa Trishna Mansha”) means all kinds of desires;
3.        (“Sato”) – (“Daan”) Philanthropy, (“Dharam”) religious deeds, (“Santokh”) Contentment, (“Sanjam”) Patience.
Most people are under the deep influence of   mammon (“Maya”) and can’t understand the actions and deeds of a Saint.  They should not question the deeds of a Saint.  Nor should they make the mistake of judging a Saint.  For that matter no one should ever pass any negative judgment or criticism about anybody else but themselves.  We should never involve ourselves with describing the (Awguns) misdeeds, bad character, and bad behavior of anybody.  Any kind of a negative criticism is defined as slandering (Nindya) in the Guru’s wisdom (“Gurbani”).  And nowhere in Guru’s wisdom (“Gurbani”) has such criticism been accepted.  Any kind of negative criticism has been totally forbidden in Guru’s word wisdom (“Gurbani”).
Whenever we involve ourselves in negative criticism of anybody, we don’t do any good to ourselves.  Instead the person who is being criticized is benefited.  By doing slander we lose our spirituality.  Our loss of spirituality goes as a gain of spirituality to the person being criticized.
What makes Devotional, Loving worship (“Bandgi”) like walking on the edge of a sword?
The path of Devotional, loving worship (“bandagi”) leads us to the attainment or achievement of all the divine qualities as we move through the Realm Of religion (“Dharam Khand”),Realm of Wisdom (“ Gyan Khand”), Realm Of efforts (“Saram Khand”), Realm of Grace (“Karam Khand”) and finally realm of Truth (“Sach Khand”) stages of Complete Devotional loving worship (“Puran Bandgi”) of ultimate, unlimited, always graceful, blissful Lord of All .
However, during the course of our devotional worship (“Bandgi”) we have to go through a series of tough examinations to prove our commitment, belief, trust and unconditional love for the Almighty:
Kharey Parakh Khaney Paaye,
Khotey Bharam Bhulaye. 
During our course of Devotional worship (“Bandgi”) we do go through failures and successes like as in learning any other subject or while going through education at school and college.
The examinations or tests of devotional loving worship (“Bandgi”) pertain to our following the Guru’s word wisdom (“Gurbani”) in our daily life and the extent to which we practice the divine laws in our daily life. 
What do we do to stay awake spiritually and mentally?
What do we do to avoid getting involved in any kind of bad deeds under the influence of Maya?
How much learning of Guru’s love wisdom (“Gurbani”) and putting it into practice do we do every day?
Whatever little bit of it we do learn every day we need to put into practice to pass the tests.  The ultimate stage is to become a completely truthful person.  To develop all the divine qualities of head and heart as described in the Guru’s word wisdom (“Gurbani”).  And then bring these divine qualities inside us by putting them in to physical actions in our daily deeds.
As we progress through the devotional worship (“Bandgi”), we will see and have numerous obstacles in the form of distractions of our own mind due to illusions, delusions, doubts, superstitions, world wisdom and evil wisdom (“dubidha, bharams, munnmat, durmat, sansarik mat).
These distractions along with life’s problems lead to situations that at times become unbearable for a person.   They become unstable on the path of eternal devotion  (“Bandgi Marg”).   These distractions can be due to many things eg:
·         Financial difficulties; 
·         Job or business problems; 
·         Family ties
·         Unfriendly behavior of family members; 
·         Negative behavior of society; 
·         Slandering by the society and your own family members;
·         Poverty;
·         Other family issues,
·         Sick family member,
·         Your own health issues,
·         Strained relationships between your family members and other relatives.
There are so many obstacles on the path of eternal devotion (“bandagi”) that right from the first step on this path you need to be prepared to face the ENTIRE WORLD if need be.  All such issues will try to take away your commitment, belief and trust in the Supreme Guru Almighty (“Gur”), Guru and Guru’s word wisdom (“Gurbani”) and most importantly your loving devotional worship (“Bandgi”).
Having such issues around you make your truthful devotional worship (“Bandgi”) tougher and tougher.   It will make you feel that you are walking on the edge of the sword.    Sometimes you might experience a number of such issues all at once.  This will take a heavy toll on you.
It is worth mentioning here that many people do get very easily distracted by life issues.  Others have a better resistance and they can pull on for longer.  But ultimately there are very few which will walk all the way over the edge of the sword.  That is why Guru’s word wisdom (“Gurbani”) says:
(“Kottan Meh Nanak Kou Narayan Jeh Cheet”),
Nanak: only one in millions will make it through.
However, this doesn’t mean that you should get discouraged and not even try.  It means that you should be very insistent and consistent in your efforts.   If you don’t give up and follow the divine wisdom in a very
·         Consistent manner,
·         With full belief,
·         Commitment and
·         Trust
Then you are bound to win over mammon (“Maya”) and make it through Realm Of Truth (“Sach Khand”).
As we said earlier it is basically a test of
·         Your loyalty to the Creator,
·         Your commitment to the Doer,
·         Your belief in the Almighty,
·         Your trust in Timeless eternal Love Lord (“ Akal Purakh”),
·         Your unconditional love for   Supreme Lord  beyond of universal limits (“Paar Braham Parmesar”) and
·         Your thirst for absorbing His Divine lovable feet (“ Charans”) in your Heart (“ Hirda”)
That will determine your success in this process.
The Almighty will judge your state by seeing how much the following divine qualities have become a part of your soul: 
·         (“Ek Drisht”) – Single Vision every body is equal in the eyes as a Saint, there is no duality in his vision and thought,
·         (“Nirbhao”) – no fear of delivering the truth to the masses, no fear of   serving the truth to the masses,
·         (“Nirvair”) – no enmity with anybody, every one is a friend, nobody is enemy, means he loves all the creations of the Creator as much as much he loves the Creator,
·         Win over Mammon (“Maya”) completely,
·         Control over the Five Thiefs/vices (“Panj Doots”),
·         Win over all the desires,
·         (“Parupkari”) Philanthropy – always doing good to others, become very kind hearted
·         (“Maha Parupkari”) Farther Philantrophy – helping others to move on this path to ultimate freedom Salvation (“Jivan Mukti”),
·         Completely forgiving others for their misdeeds,
·         Humblest of the humblest,
·         Lowest of the lowest,
·         (“Dassan Dass”) – slave of the slaves,
·         Always soft and sweet spoken – (“Mith Bolra Ji Har Sajjan Swami Mora”),
·         Doesn’t look and criticize others for their misdeeds,
·         Completely forgiving hearted,
·         Always completely silent from inside, no bad thoughts, for that matter only thoughts that will help others to move on the path of Salvation (“ Jivan Mukti”),
·         Always absorbed in the Almighty, become one with Almighty, always enjoying inner Soul nectar (“Atam Rus”), completely enlightened with supreme blissful Light of God (“Param Jyot Puran Parkash”) from inside, At Supreme indefinable Stage (“Param Padvi”), Opened Tenth Divine door
(“ Dassm Duaar “)and opening of all the closed divine doors (“Bajjar Kapaats “)& channels of communication with cosmic energy – (“Brahmandi Shakti”) ,enjoying the  God’s Unending Praises (“Akhand Kirtan”) in form of unlimited sound forms (“ Anhad Shabad Naad”) on a continuous basis:   (“Dassam Duaraa Agam Aparaa Param Purakh Ki Ghatee”),
·         Every bit of body – (“Rom Rom”) reciting God’s Lovable Name (“Naam”) on a continuous basis,
·         All the seven seas of spiritual energy– (“Sat Sarovar”) inside the body are activated and giving blissful ambrosial nectar (“ Amrit”) on a continuous basis, overflowing ambrosial nectar (“Amrit”) from the body and so giving others ambrosial love nectar (“ Amrit”), become custodian/Giver of ambrosial love nectar (“Amrit Ka Data”) Himself – a Complete saint (“ Puran Sant”), a Complete knower of Universal wisdom (“Puran Braham Gyani”).
Slave of slaves (“Dassan Das”)