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Naam | ਨਾਮ
Naam literally means, the Name. A fuller definition of the word can only be found within the SGGS itself. Naam is God’s Word, or the Divine Essence. Etymologically, the word has a striking resemblence with the Greek neumena or the Bright Essence as opposed to phenomena. Naam is not merely the ‘Name of God’ as is commonly believed; it symbolises the Being of God filling all Creation. Naam is also referred to as Sabad in the SGGS.
Where there was no creation, there was nothing in existence – no air, light, water, earth or space. God existed alone in deep meditation and self absorption. When God willed for the manifestations of his values, He created universes, worlds and all material and other living beings by uttering a single Word. His Word is all pervasive and the sole source of all Creation; the Word created the universes and supports and sustains all things within them. The Sri Guru Granth Sahib further enlightens us that God’s Word turned into waves of light, rays of which are present in all creatures and all other parts of His creation. This is consistent with a fundamental principle of physics that sound vibrations, when increased several fold, change into waves of light.
This Essence / Naam / Sabad / Logus is formless, colourless, and featureless but, as said, is present in all creation. There is no plant, no creature, in what it is not. The Earth and other heavenly bodies exist because there is Naam in this universe and when God withdraws this Naam from this Universe, their is natural calamities (Parloh / Mahaparloh) all over the universe and this is the time that the universe perishes and all the living creatures perish. Being so, the Essence can’t be seen or visualised by the mind. We can see only the physical dimension of Reality in God’s Creation – mountains, plants, trees, creatures etc. Thus the Outer Shell of Reality holds us (the appearences delude us) and we cannot penetrate deeper to experience the all pervading Reality. The physical dimensions of Reality (the outer shell) is always in flux; it keeps changing. While birth, death, creation, destruction etc. occur in the physical dimensions of creation, the Essence, being Sat (Sat-Naam) never changes, it transcends space and time.
We cannot focus our mind or attention on God, who is Absolute, the invisible Essence. The Naam (SHABD), the Name of God is the only medium available to us for approaching Him. The Naam actually is a combination of 5 words (which actually are the name of 5 supernatural heavenly places which fall on the way when the soul is starting towards the SACHKHAND) which only a true Guru can give to it's disciples. All who get Naam from the Guru have to concentrate at one point in their mind and recite the Naam in their mind without actually uttering it. When we recite Naam, our soul starts responding to it. It actually starts to shrink and starts moving towards the the point in our body called the THIRD EYE. When a person practices it for a very long time he/she reaches the SACHKHAND. Thus, it is through the Naam that we are able to think of Him, to remember Him. In other words, the Naam is God Himself, adopted to our limited powers of perception and thought, adopted to the capacities of our body and mind. Because we are endowed with the capacity to utter and attentively listen, the continuous recitation of and attentive listening to the Naam focuses our mind on the object of invocation, resulting in a ceaseless rememberence of God (DHYAAN). This Dhyaan, in turn, results in complete absorption of our conciousness on the thought of God, who responds to our earnest invocation and reveals Himself in our inner being.
The revelation of the Essence of Reality within us is the revelation of Naam. When the revelation of Naam occurs within, the devotee sees His the Essence of God pervading throughout His Creation.
Gurus have tought that their teachings are for all the religion (varnas)and all have the right to get the teachings of the Gurus. To Initate our soul so that it starts towards the ultimate goal (SACHKHAND) a person has to repeatidly and continuously recite the Naam, and to cherish it in the heart all the time – this is the essence of prayer and devotion to God.
In Gurbani, the word Gursabad or Sabad is synonymous with Naam. Without ceaseless recitation of Naam the God cannot be realised.
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