Having made night and day, the seasons, and the dates;
And air, water, fire and the underworlds;
Having made all of this, he established the earth as a dharmshala.
In it He created countless creatures of many colors and forms.
Their names are infinite.
Each is considered according to his own deeds.
God is true, and all His court is true.
Only before the Lord is each one tested;
Each is ranked by His glance.
There the raw is sifted from the ripe.
Nanak says, One who is raw will dissolve away.
Some things have to be understood before going into these sutras.
He who takes life to be the goal wanders. Life is only an opportunity and not the goal. It is not the destination but a path; we have to reach somewhere by way of it. Do not assume that the very fact that you are alive means you have arrived. Life is not an accomplishment but only a process. If you pass through it well you arrive; if not, you go astray.
He is an atheist who takes life to be everything. He is a theist whose goal lies beyond life; for him life is a transient camp. Nanak calls the world a dharmshala, a traveler’s bungalow. It is like an inn or rest place where you have to stop for a while before you proceed onward, but you shouldn’t make your home in it. He who makes it his home denies himself the authentic home. You had set out to attain something, but if you took a way station as your abode how would you reach the destination? Who will continue to travel once he has made a home?
Sansara is not a home. Those who make a home of it we call householders. A sannyasin is one for whom samaras is a waiting room, not a house. Both stay in the same world – where else can they go? They stay in the same house, but their attitude towards the house is different. The worldly man thinks his home to be his haven; the sannyasin takes it to be a resting place. He has somewhere else to go, and he never forgets his destination – this is surati, remembrance.
One who keeps this remembrance alive, who does not lose the thread of remembrance, will stay in dharmshalas, but will keep moving on. No inn will lure him to stay on. He will stay in the world and out of it. You are what your destination is; where you go, that itself is you. You are not where you physically are, you are where your mind is. This has to be understood.
The majority of people – barring very few – take what they have obtained as the ultimate. Actually, it is not even the beginning, it is not even the door or even the steps leading to the door of your destination. You are still on the path; the steps are yet to come. When the steps begin to appear, know that religion has arrived within you. Those on the path are the worldly people. Those in whose lives the steps have appeared are the seekers; and he who has already entered the mansion of the Lord is an enlightened being. You are still on the path; the steps are far away, for you have not even begun your spiritual practice.