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Listening is one of the traditional five senses and is the first step to become a Gurmukh, leading to belief. The inability to hear is called deafness. Guru Nanak dev described the Art of Listening in Japji Sahib. If one have listened it means he understands, if he not understands means he haven't listened.

In Gurmat, listening forms is an important activity that a Sikh must have, especially "Active Listening" which is the careful action and intent to "listen for the meaning" of a Shabad or Tuk. Active Listening is not just an automatic response to sounds; it requires the listener to understand, interpret, and evaluate what he or she has heard. Today, the ability to listen is an important skill in interpersonal communication. It improves personal relationship through reducing conflicts, strengthening cooperation, as well as fostering understanding.

Guru Nanak in, Japji Sahib, wrote about the importance of Listening. Listening is the first step of a Sikh; but what he should listen? Everything; but what should he follow? Truth. The more you read and listen and evaluate and comprehend, the more you will understand. Read further to understand more.

Types of Listening in Sikhi

There are two types of bodies one is outer body (called Dehi i.e Maya(Worldly)) and one is inner body (Kaaya ie not maya(not worldly) but Nirakaar (without form; formless; no form)). Such body have connection with God and Maya too; Gurmukh have to understand this body, have to see from this body and have to listen from this body. This body is able to hear Shabad(Anhad Naad = Dhur Ki Bani). It have connection with Chitt (heart) but not Mann (attention). This outer body never goes to Sachkhand, but that inner Subtle body can have a place in Sachkhand. Our outer body has senses but that inner body also has senses. There are of two types of Listening:

1) Listen from the Physical ears
2) Listen from Subtle Ears

Listening From Physical Ears: From these we hear outer world. we listen to Bani; i.e Madhma Bani, Such bani is not Dhur ki Bani. With Active listening that bani becomes Vaikhree Bani, which depends on person. Here Brain, Ear, Eyes and heart works together.

Listening Without Physical Ears (or Listening from Subtle Ears or Dil se Sunana (listen from the heart)): From these ears we listen to Shabad; these ears have direct contact with God. Guru Nanak heard Shabad from these ears, this is the path of truth. These ears hear "Dhur ki Bani" (bani from afar; from the root). According to Gurmat, such Bani is called "Shabad Guru", and our Surat (conciousness) is disciple of such Bani. (Shabad Guru Surat Dhun Chela)(Shabad Gur peera Gehar Gambheera). Here Ear and Heart work and then the brain works; this is the real Art of listening

Gurbani on Listening

Gurbani talks spiritually. If one have listened it means he understands(ਸ੝ਣਿਝ), if he not understands means he haven't listened. Gurbani rules are not applied to such person who do not listens. There are three pauris of (ਸ੝ਣਿਝ)

(ਸ੝ਣਿਝ) = Listen + Understand = Listening (anਸ੝ਣਿਝ) = Just Listen = hearing(Not Listening)

Listening results Contentment and Wisdom

  • Acc to Gurbani, Guru Nanak Described listening is a great and powerful thing. By listening, one can have True Contentment and Wisdom. Contentment is result of active listening. The wisdom/prayer/meditation start after Contentment. If Listener have no contentment, means he haven't listened anything.

ਸ੝ਣਿਝ ਸਤ੝ ਸੰਤੋਖ੝ ਗਿਆਨ੝ ॥
By Listening Truth, contentment and spiritual wisdom achieved.

(ਸਤ੝ ਸੰਤੋਖ੝)Satt Santokh: Satt is adjective with Santokh. Such Santokh which cannot be broken by any Greed any Fear.

ਸ੝ਣਿਝ ਸਰਾ ਗ੝ਣਾ ਕੇ ਗਾਹ ॥
By Listening one is able to know everything, knows qualities of everything.

ਸ੝ਣਿਝ ਅੰਧੇ ਪਾਵਹਿ ਰਾਹ੝ ॥
By Listening truth even the blind find the Path after wisdom

ਨਾਇ ਸ੝ਣਿਝ ਸੰਤੋਖ੝ ਹੋਇ ਕਵਲਾ ਚਰਨ ਧਿਆਵੈ ॥
Hearing the Name, contentment comes, and Maya meditates at one's feet.

Listening makes Person great

  • One have listened and understands, he is equal to Sheikh(the elder),peer and patshah(Emperor)

ਸ੝ਣਿਝ ਸੇਖ ਪੀਰ ਪਾਤਿਸਾਹ ॥
By Listening one become Shaykhs, religious scholars, spiritual teachers and emperors. Emperor are greatest of all, then peer then sheikh. By Listening and understanding one becomes Emporer

Listening controls our attentions

One who have listened the true thinkings with heart, he is able to control his mind. He will be away from wrong way. His attentions will be for truth and he will never fall in pit of wrong. He will become successful in life spiritually and worldly too.

ਸ੝ਣਿਝ ਲਾਗੈ ਸਹਜਿ ਧਿਆਨ੝ ॥
By Listening one's attention gets in God.

Bhagats are True Listeners

Bhagats have bliss forever, because Bhagats are away of transmigration. Because they have listened Shabad Guru.

ਨਾਨਕ ਭਗਤਾ ਸਦਾ ਵਿਗਾਸ੝ ॥
O Nanak, the devotees are forever in bliss.

ਸ੝ਣਿਝ ਦੂਖ ਪਾਪ ਕਾ ਨਾਸ੝ ॥੧੦॥
Listening-pain and sin are erased. ||10||

Listening vanishes Sorrows and miseries

ਸ੝ਣਿਝ ਦੂਖ ਪਾਪ ਕਾ ਨਾਸ੝ ॥੧੦॥
Listening-pain and sin are erased. ||10||

ਨਾਮ੝ ਨਿਰੰਜਨ੝ ਨਿਰਮਲਾ ਸ੝ਣਿਝ ਸ੝ਖ੝ ਹੋਈ ॥
The Naam, the Name of the Lord, is immaculate and pure; hearing it, peace is obtained.