Sheel (Right Conduct or Chastity)

Sheel is right conduct and purity of nature. Those who want to take the vow of Sheel, need to traverse this path with their thoughts, words and actions. Our mind is fond of indulgences. And how does it indulge – through the senses. Senses are the instrument of its indulgence. One who has adopted Sheel, turns the senses internally towards the Lord, away from external indulgence. One can become spiritual only by turning inwards. 

One who has adopted Sheel, has tremendous amount of patience and has tremendous level of calmness, which keeps the senses and mind under control. Gurbani says: 

Das indri jo rakhe vaas, take aatam hoye prakas  

{One who can keep control over the ten senses (five physical senses and five internal senses), sees the divine light}.  

Guru Gobind Singh Ji says: 

Sheel santosh sada dhariyo, aur hoiyo trigunateet  

{Always adopt Sheel and patience, that leads to going beyond the three Gunas.}  

A significant part of Sheel is maintaining chastity. Those who have a pure conduct, are considered very fortunate. Kindness, truth, beneficial actions and bountiful life, all arise from Sheel. Rishi Manu says that right conduct is the highest religion. Now we should know what right conduct is – it is to maintain control over one’s senses and have the highest character. Mahabharat gives a very good sign for spirituality, which is pure conduct. And what is the sign of beneficial character, that is also right conduct. One who does not have good nature, does not have pure living and does not have a good manner of speaking, who will call him a person of right conduct?  

Once a seeker went to Rishi Vyas and said that I am stuck in a huge confusion, someone gives one definition of spirituality and someone else, another. Please tell me a simple definition, so that I can do all my actions in accordance with what is spiritually correct. That all my actions follow the spiritual principles. Rishi Vyas said, listen with attention to what I say to you. When you talk to anyone or behave with them in any manner, think about how you would want them to behave with you and start behaving exactly in that manner. This is a summary of the spiritually correct conduct, which I have told you. When we go somewhere, we want people to respect us and speak politely with us. Whatever you want for yourself, start behaving with others in that manner. 

One who has the right conduct, weeds out his weaknesses. The mind is our judge, it tells us all our weaknesses. It knows all our miseries and diseases and tells us what is inside us, without hiding anything. Those who have adopted Sheel, take out all their weaknesses one by one. They start conducting themselves in a measured manner, so that they do not make a mistake or hurt anyone.  

There was a man who started getting irritated with his weaknesses and whenever he made a mistake, he used to drop a pebble in a big ditch behind his house. In a while, there was such a big heap of pebbles there that he sat there and started crying. When people asked him the reason for his crying, he said, my sins have piled up so much. We need to think about these things. When we realize our weaknesses, only then will we be able to correct them. Some people do not look at their weaknesses, they think they are very good in their conduct. Guru Arjandev has said:  

Indrajeet pancha dosh se rahit  

{A person who has mastered his senses becomes flawless.}  

A person with Sheel gives more importance to chastity than even his life and remains chaste come what may. Semen is the responsible for our physical, mental and spiritual growth and to lose it is a kind of death and protecting it is life. Rishi Manu has said that especially when the children are studying, they should maintain chastity. Only those children will be able to study well, who protect their semen.  

Dr. Lewis says that semen is much more important as compared to our blood. If we lose a little blood, we get worried. There was a man in a village who went to the jungle for his ablutions. He saw a lot of blood and thought that a wound must have bled. His legs started shaking with thought of losing so much blood and he came home. He told his wife that I have lost a lot of blood, I am going to lie down. The wife asked, did you take the red colored water she had kept for dying her clothes. When they saw, the water was missing and his hands were dyed red. So even the thought of losing the blood caused him to panic.  

We panic with even the thought of losing our blood, but our semen, which is our white blood and is much more important as compared to the red blood, we do not take any time to lose it. For a moment of pleasure, we lose it. Those who indulge in bodily pleasures and lose their chastity for the same, are sinners and of low personage.  

Those who remain chaste, the semen helps them in meeting the Lord. It helps in opening the door to the Lord, in getting spiritual experiences and reaching the heights of spiritual experiences. We should understand well what the great men want to convey to us. Ordinary people do not understand the importance of semen and waste it away. When we eat food, it forms blood, from blood flesh is made, flesh makes fat tissues, fat tissues form bones, bones form bone marrow, which finally forms semen. Semen is the best of these seven elements in our body.  

Saint Paul says, love your wife as Jesus had loved the church. People misunderstood this and started indulging in love with their wives. Then he wrote that once you have children, they should behave with each other as they have not been married at all. Swami Ramthirth has said, till couples inIndiawill not stay as brothers and sisters, not conduct a pure life, they cannot be emancipated. Those who have tasted such a pure life, have experienced great level of bliss. Those who want to be happy, it is very essential for them to follow chastity. Tulsi sahib says:  

Satya vachan aadhinta, partriya maat samaan 

Tahi te hari na mile, Tulsidas jamaan 

{If you pursue truth, speak only truth and treat other women like your mother, then it is my responsibility that you meet the Lord, says Tulsidas.}  

Maulana Rum says that if you want to increase consciousness then you should get rid of lust. Where is absolute consciousness – it is in Satlok. In Satlok, there is pure consciousness, when we come down to Parbrahm, it has three parts of consciousness and one part of Maya (illusion). When we come down to the Dasam Dwar (the tenth door), it has two parts of consciousness and two parts of Maya. In Trikuti there remains only one part of consciousness and three parts of Maya comes. When we come to our physical frame, there is only Maya.  

Maya is lack of understanding and knowledge. We might say that we are very intelligent, but we are not as we should be. What is the illusion we harbor, that we take everything to be our own, whereas everything belongs to the Lord and nothing is ours. Those who think that way are in darkness and illusion. We say for the sake of saying that everything belongs to the Lord, but do not believe that in our hearts. When you die, what or who will remain yours. Take this world to be a dream and as once a dream is over, its falsehood is exposed, understand this world to be transient and false.  

Now coming to Maulana Rum’s saying, everyone says the same thing, those who are lustful, their inner eye does not open, they remain in darkness. They cannot see the refulgence of the Lord. Their inner ears also remain deaf and they cannot hear the sound current emanating from the Lord.  

Kaam kaam sab kahe, kaam na chinhe koi 

Jeti man ki kaamna, kaam kahave soi  

{The world does not understand the meaning of lust. All the desires of the mind are called lust.}  

Like we do not have something but someone else has it. We cannot afford to buy that item but we keep thinking about it and mess up our mind, jealousy arises and we get in a rift. Such a desire should be avoided.  

Tolstoy says that human beings should remain chaste and once one has children, remain like brothers and sisters. Mahatma Buddha says, that never trouble anyone. Become desire less – this is a special teaching of his. Remain pure with your spouse. A great man fromChinahas said, I have three things, mercy, control over senses and humility. One who adopts kindness becomes brave, by controlling my senses I became a head of people, people started giving me a lot of regard and when I became humble, I bent down like a tree. The tree which is laden with fruits, bends down. I reached the higher spiritual plains and experienced the bliss.  

A girl used to come to my Satsang, she heard in the Satsang that, Neeva ho ke chal, ke neevyon ko rab milda (one should walk by lowering ourselves, i.e. be humble for the humble get the Lord). She started walking with her neck bent, I thought she must be having a neck pain but when I asked, she said she was okay. I enquired, why do you walk with a bent neck, she replied that I only had said that one can get the Lord by walking thus. But they say that, Bhole bhay, mile raghurai (the simple are liked by the Lord and meet Him). The next day her mother told him to go and clean utensils in a new house. When she started going there, she heard someone calling from behind that “don’t go there”. She looked back, but there was nobody there, so she started walking again. The voice came again and again she looked back but there was no one. The third time when she looked back, she fell unconscious. The Lord pulled her soul upwards and Sawan Singh Maharaj came there and asked her why she has not heard his voice. She said that I had heard the voice but did not see anyone. He said, that is why I made you fall unconscious. Where you are going, those people eat meat, after cleaning their utensils, you will go to clean Prabha’s utensils – there will certainly be splashes on your clothes. After this her mother left work at all places where people ate meat. By hanging her neck, she actually saw the Lord, because she did so with a sincere heart.  

Now Mahatma Charandas says, those who do not adopt Sheel, their good qualities also turn into poison. Their spiritual efforts go waste. Sheel is a quality of a very high order, whichever frame does not get it is lowly.  

Sheel badho hi yog hain, jo kar jaane koi 

Sheel vihino Charandas, kabhi na mukt hoi 

Sab shubh lakshan, sheel na aaya ek 

Jap tap nishphal jayenge, kahe Charandas vivek 

Sheel ang uuncho adhik, unteeso ke beech 

Ja ghat sheel na aaya, so ghat kahiyo neech 

Sheel bina narak pade, sheel bina dand

Sheel bina marmat phire, sat deep nau khand 

Sheel rahe to sab rahe, jet e hain shubh ang 

Jyon raja ke rahe te, rahe fauj ka sang  

{Sheel is a the greatest spiritual effort, if someone knows how to do it. Charandasji says that one without Sheel can never be free. If one has all the qualities but does not have Sheel, all the efforts will go waste, this Charandasji says after much contemplation. The attribute of Sheel is of a very high order, amongst all other attributes. The human frame which does not have Sheel, is worthy of being called lowly. Without Sheel one goes to hell and gets punished. Such a person does not find a place in the seven islands and nine sections of the entire creation. If Sheel remains, everything remains, whichever positive attributes are there, in the same manner as the army remains behind the king.}

Chastity is the biggest part of Sheel. 

Satya gaya to kya raha, sheel bin sab jaadh 

Bhakti khet kaise rahen, toot gayi jab baadh  

{One who does not search the truth and one who has not taken the vow of Sheel, how can devotion stay there. One who has broken the protection of Sheel and become lustful, his farm of devotion cannot remain safe.}  

Jawani sheel na rakhya, bigadh gayee sab deh  

{One who does not keep Sheel, their bodies suffer and they get a number of diseases.}  

What is the use of crying now. 

Sheel gaye shobha ghate, ja duniya ke mahi 

Kukar jo jhidki phire, kahin bhi aadar naahi 

Laakh yahi updesh hain, ek sheel hi raakh 

Janam sudharo hari mile, Charandas ki saakh  

If Sheel goes, one’s worth in the world reduces and one gets shooed away like a dog, whom no one regards. I give you this sermon a million times that keep the Sheel, it will make your life successful and you will meet the Lord, this Charandasji says with full confidence. 

Sheel sarovar nahaay kar, karo Ram ki sev 

Ya sam teerth aur na, kaha Shukdev  

{Bathe in the lake of Sheel and serve the Lord through that. There is no pilgrimage like this, says Guru Shukdev.}

We go to bathe during the pilgrimages, Sheel is the best place for that. There is no pilgrimage like it. 

Sheel kshama jab upje, alakh drishti tab hoye  

{When Sheel and forgiveness arise, their internal vision will open, which sees the Lord.}  

Bin sheel pahunche nahin, laakh kathe jo hoye  

{Those who have not adopted Sheel, they may say a million things but they cannot reach the higher spiritual realms.}  

Sheelvant sabse bada, sarva rattan ki khan  

{One who adopts Sheel is the highest human being, this attribute is a mine of all jewels.}  

Kabirdasji has said:  

Ram naam ke rattan ki, khan khuli ghat mahi 

Seit meit hi deit hoon, par koi grahak nahin  

{I have a mine of the jewel of Ram Nam, opened in the human frame. I give it for free, but there still get no customer.} 

Maharajji had said once that our shop is very good and the wares are also very good, but no customer comes.  

Teen lok ki sampada, rahi sheel mein aan  

{The wealth of the three worlds comes to one who has Sheel.}  

Those who take the vow of Sheel, they become one with God, the entire wealth in this creation becomes his.  

Gyani, dhyani, sayanmi, daata anek 

Japaya tapaya bahut hain, sheelvant koi ek 

Vishaya pyaare preeti se, jab lag gurumukhnaahi 

Jab antar satguru bas, vishyo se ruchi naahi  

{One with knowledge, one who meditates, is disciplined and a benefactor, are found in great numbers. People who do penances are to be found everywhere, but there are very few who have got Sheel. Till one is attached to the matters of the world, one cannot be a mouthpiece of God. When the Guru resides in our hearts, we will leave our attachment for everything.}  

We say that Satguru resides in our heart, but when the Satguru truly resides in us, we have no desires left. Guru Nanakji has said:  

Beind beind sab koi kahe, mahabeind birla gahe 

Mahabeind mein laal banaya, jin hi jan paaya  

{Everyone talks about chastity, but someone rare takes that vow. I have placed a jewel within this vow, someone who goes there will only get it.}  

When we meditate and go in spiritual realms then we will understand that what is this jewel Guru Nanak is referring to.  

Sat beind kyo mit aave, jab bandhe tab hi nit paave 

Beind indri se indri kasi, randhi ke man mein dar basi  

The Rishis ran into the jungle, fearing women, that they should not lose their chastity. But when they came back and saw beautiful women, they had the same condition. Have you ever seen a married person falling from chastity. The householder has everything available to him, but should conduct himself as per the edicts in the scriptures. When we get married, we should do our householder duties after one month. When the child is born and is drinking the milk, till then a second child should not be attempted, two and a half years is the average period for this. Nowadays, it is a full stop after two children, then we should stay as brothers and sisters. Who does this nowadays. Once the wife’s heart agrees to this, the husband cannot do anything, this was told to us by Maharaj Sawan Singhji. Maharajji said that when the man comes to you, you should close your eyes and start the holy repetitions. Your body will go numb and till when can he play with a dead body. The saints teach us many ways but they are of use only if we are willing to understand them.  

Naitra na seve beind giran te, man bandhe jo unt phiran te 

Sidhavat ye man bandha, Nanak maharaja beind se laaga  

{One does not close one’s eyes to avoid falling from chastity, but what one should do is control the mind from going to places. One who is an adept has controlled the mind, says Nanak that such a person has achieved chastity.}  

Some people do not close their eyes for the fear of losing their semen. Baba Jaimal Singh had said that there was a man who used to always be standing and never slept. Those who will maintain their chastity will get the great jewel. Those who get the bliss of the sound current, their work is done. Without attaching oneself to the sound current, even after all the efforts their work cannot be done. The sound current ties the semen and does not let it be lost.  

Beind bandhi tab jyoti prakashi, beind bandhi milya avinaashi 

Beind bandhi jab pind thir paya, beind bandhi jab amar saraya 

Beind bandhi jab aap aap jaana, beind bandhi jab tat praktana 

Beind bandhi jab braham kaur liya, Nanak beind bandhi phir garbh na galaya  

{Chastity leads to seeing the internal light, it leads to meeting the Lord. Chastity leads to centering of the body and reaching the region where there is no death. Chastity leads to self realization and God appears to such a person. Chastity leads to emancipation and one does not come back to the cycle of birth and death.}  

Jab rahasye sab jaani, jab jyoti prakatani 

Jab Vishnu gadh saadha, tab abhay pad laada  

By being chaste, our spiritual progress opens up and we reach the realm where one becomes fearless. Satlok is that place where there is no destruction, we reach there.  

Beind bandhi jab uushma tyaagi, beind bandhi tab agam dhun laagi 

Beind bandhi tab jyot mot paayi, beind bandhi tab shiv yukti aayi 

{One who becomes chaste by leaving the heat of lust hears the sound current emanating from the highest spiritual regions. Such a person sees the light and finds the key to spirituality.}  

If we see Shivji, he is always meditating. Why is Shivling revered, because he has maintained chastity and protected his semen.  

Beind bandhe je kshama man aave, beind bandhe te rattan mil pave 

Beind bandhe tab kaaya vichari, Nanak kaat maadhe koi rattan vichaari 

Ratan ki saar koi aur na jaane, ratan ki jyoti koi johri hi pahchaane  

{One who is chaste gets the quality of forgiveness; gets all the jewels of the soul; such a person contemplates on the impermanence of this body. No one but a jeweler (another enlightened person) knows the worth of a jewel.}  

There was a child, who found a diamond but he had no knowledge of diamonds. He went to a sweetshop and showed the diamond, the owner asked him to take as many sweets as he wanted. He thought, I should go somewhere else. Wherever he went, people said, take whatever you want in return for the diamond. Then he went to a jeweler, who said that the value of this diamond cannot be given even by a king and asked him to go to an emperor. When he went to the emperor, he told him to take out as much out of his treasure as he could take out in a day in lieu of the diamond. He told his friends as well and they planned to go together and take out as much of the treasure as they could. His friends partied and fed him a lot of liquor. He became so drunk that he did not wake up till the next day. So he got nothing – one who does not know the value of something, what advantage can one get out of it? One loses one’s wealth just like that.  

Ratan ke paarkhu man jaryaa, rattan ke paarkhu rattan matjadhya 

Ratan ke paarku ratan mol liye, Nanak ratan ke paarkhu ratan vrat leeya  

{One who knows worth of the jewel of Sheel, does not follow the impulses of the mind and adopts the right conduct.} 

 I have told this to you before. There was a boy, whose father on his deathbed gave him a pearl and said that our generations can eat out of this. He also told him to take the pearl to his friend, who would help to get it sold. His mother kept the pearl in safe custody. When they needed the money, she sent the pearl with the boy to his father’s friend. The friend said that this was a rare pearl, keep it with you, when a customer will come I will let you know. But you come everyday to my shop. The boy kept going to the jeweler’s shop and started learning the skills. When he learnt the work, the jeweler asked him to get the pearl. When his mother took out the pearl and gave him, he smashed it on the ground and broke it. His mother was aghast that he has broken such a valuable pearl. The son said, this was a fake. The friend had also come there by then, and said that your son is the real pearl, through his skills your generations will eat. One who has become a jeweler will only know the value of a diamond. 

Jab rattan haath chadhya to soch vichaari 

Jab rattan haath chadhya to laagi dhun ki taari  

{When one adopts the jewel of Sheel, contemplates on what one should do and after contemplation starts meditating on the sound current as that is the key to liberation.}  

Those who get this jewel, their internal light keeps on increasing and they connect with the sound current.  

Jab rattan hath chadhya to sunn samana 

Jab rattan hath chadhya to agam aana 

Jab rattan hath chadhya to vimal yukti paayi 

Jab rattan hath chadhya tab bhayi preet layee 

Jab rattan hath chadhya tab sab vidhi jaani 

Jab rattan hath chadhya tab bhaye muni dhyani 

Sunn Samadhi ka paya nij roop, Nanak jit hath chadhya rattan anoop  

{When one adopts the jewel of Sheel, merges in the region of silence; climbs through highest spiritual regions; gets the key technique to liberate oneself; loves everyone; understands all the technique to be spiritual; becomes a practitioner of meditation. Nanak says that one who gets this rare jewel, becomes one with the Lord.}  

Jin beind khoi so rattan gavaya 

 Jin beind khoi so garbh mein aaya 

Jin beind khoi so phire chaurasi 

Jin beind khoi so pare jan phansi 

Jin beind khoi tin pind dhar paayi 

Jin beind khoi so kaal sataya 

Jin beind khoi so sab kuchh gavayya  

{One who is not chaste loses the jewel; gets born again and remains in the cycle of birth and death; is not liberated; cannot rise above the body; the Kaal troubles such a person; loses everything.}

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