If we were to define “pain” we can’t go without saying that separation is pain. Separation from desired objects, friends, relations and well wishers gives birth to such a pain that is unbearable. Separation from wealth can also make one stand on the base of pain. So if we try and trace the root of ones pain we will see separation.
There is no bigger happiness than union. The amount of pain you get when separated, is the amount of bliss you get at union. To relish the bliss of union it is crucial to overcome the agony of separation.
If separation becomes long then at some point the hope of union breaks which dulls the agony of separation.
ਭਈ ਨਿਰਾਸੀ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਦਿਨ ਲਾਗੇ ॥
She has lost hope – so many days have passed.
ਦੇਸ ਦਿਸੰਤਰ ਮੈ ਸਗਲੇ ਝਾਗੇ ॥
I have travelled through all the lands and the countries.
Sometimes the hopeless heart stands opposing the hope of union. The lovers of yesterday become sceptical. Even if you meet a friend your heart’s been yearning for, along with the happiness of the union, the peace of meeting them reduces. Meeting a son, union with a woman, and brothers uniting – the comfort you get at the time of the meeting reduces the peace you get. When a friend, brother, is far then you only see virtues. When near you see the bad.
They say to accept and feel the true bliss of union you need separation.
However there is one union that only increases in bliss, never reduces. We have forgotten to realise this distance. With Satsang we realise this separation and the earnest desire begins. The separation from the Lord is painful but there is an inexpressible pleasure. This is why Sants have called this love-sickness a king.
ਬਿਰਹਾ ਬਿਰਹਾ ਆਖੀਐ ਬਿਰਹਾ ਤੂ ਸੁਲਤਾਨੁ ॥
Many talk of the pain and suffering of separation; O pain, you are the ruler of all.
ਫਰੀਦਾ ਜਿਤੁ ਤਨਿ ਬਿਰਹੁ ਨ ਊਪਜੈ ਸੋ ਤਨੁ ਜਾਣੁ ਮਸਾਨੁ ॥੩੬॥
Fareed, that body, within which love of the Lord does not well up – look upon that body as a cremation ground. ||36||
The greater the being you are separated from the greater the pain of separation is. Fueled by this separation from the Lord, these love-sick Sants have sung such emotionally distressed, such love-sickened songs that even rocks became soft. Oceans are a sacrifice to the depth the tears of Sants have. If these songs of love did not exist then the intense longing and desire to meet Waheguru would not have been born in the common man.
ਸੁਣਿ ਨਾਹ ਪਿਆਰੇ ਇਕ ਬੇਨੰਤੀ ਮੇਰੀ ॥
Please listen, O my Beloved Husband Lord, to my one prayer.
ਤੂ ਨਿਜ ਘਰਿ ਵਸਿਅੜਾ ਹਉ ਰੁਲਿ ਭਸਮੈ ਢੇਰੀ ॥
You dwell in the home of the self deep within, while I roll around like a dust-ball.
A moment of separation creates an era of pain and conflict –
ਇਕ ਘੜੀ ਨ ਮਿਲਤੇ ਤਾ ਕਲਿਜੁਗੁ ਹੋਤਾ ॥
When I could not be with You for just one moment, the Dark Age of Kali Yuga dawned for me.
Bhai Gurdaas Ji even goes as far to write that if being engulfed in fire, pain on each and every hair, drowning, being bit by a snake, being meek, being poor, and many more pains like these were to be put together then it would be nothing in comparison to the separation from Waheguru.
ਅਗਨਿ ਜਰਤ ਜਲ ਬੂਡਤ ਸਰਪ ਗ੍ਰਸਹਿ ਸਸਤ੍ਰ ਅਨੇਕ ਰੋਮ ਰੋਮ ਕਰਿ ਘਾਤ ਹੈ ॥
Pain in the body due to burns, drowning in water, snakebite or wounds received by the strike of weapons;
ਬਿਰਥਾ ਅਨੇਕ ਅਪਦਾ ਅਧੀਨ ਦੀਨ ਗਤਿ. ਗ੍ਰੀਖਮ ਔ ਸੀਤ ਬਰਖ ਮਾਹਿ ਨਿਸ ਪ੍ਰਾਤ ਹੈ ॥
Sufferings of many distresses, spending days in summer, winter and even rainy seasons and bearing these discomforts;
ਗੋ ਦ੍ਵਿਜ ਬਧੂ ਬਿਸ੍ਵਾਸ ਬੰਧ ਬੰਿਧ ਕੋਟਿ ਹਤਯਾ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਅਨਕ ਦੁਖ ਦੋਖ ਬਸਿ ਗਾਤ ਹੈ ॥
Distresses of the body due to killing of a cow, brahmin, a woman, trust, family and many such-like sins and stigmas performed under the influence of desires.
ਅਨਿਕ ਪ੍ਰਕਾਰ ਜੋਰਿ ਸਕਲ ਸੰਸਾਰ ਸੋਧਿ ਪੀਯ ਕੇ ਬਿਛੋਹ ਪਲ ਏਕ ਨ ਪੁਜਾਤ ਹੈ ॥੫੭੨॥
All the pains of the world put together cannot reach the pain of separation of the Lord even for a moment. (All worldly distresses are trivial compared to the pangs of separation of the Lord). (572)
ਕਬਿੱਤ, ਭਾਈ ਗੁਰਦਾਸ
If something small, with no real price, was to break or get lost then then there is no real pain. But what if it was the basis of life itself? If the basis of life was to go then living would be difficult. The pain in which Sants sung their love-sick songs are the same as the sea/goblet in which Wahegurus virtuous treasures are hidden. This separation becomes continuous remembrance (simran), and this remembrance takes the form of love, and upon taking the form of love the Ruler of this world themselves embraces you.
Before Sants would sing their songs of separation and purify their souls. Like gold gets purified in a goldsmiths crucible. Separation from the beloved became the reason for the purification of the soul. And when there is union, Sants sing about the blissful congregation,
ਭਇਓ ਕ੍ਰਿਪਾਲੁ ਸਤਸੰਗਿ ਮਿਲਾਇਆ ॥
Becoming Merciful, He has united me with the Sat Sangat, the True Congregation.
ਬੂਝੀ ਤਪਤਿ ਘਰਹਿ ਪਿਰੁ ਪਾਇਆ ॥
The fire has been quenched, and I have found my Husband Lord.
Translation of Gyani Sant Singh Ji Maskeen