In this pauri, it has been advised that wisdom cannot be attained through rituals; rather they lead to delusion. This delusion corrupts the mind. Only the Wisdom (Guru) can remove this delusion and cleanse the mind. True bliss lies in connecting with the Wisdom.
karmī sahaju na ūpjai   viṇu sahjai sahsā na jāi.
nah jāi sahsā kitai   sanjami rahe karam kamāe.
sahsai jīu malīṇu hai   kitu sanjami dhotā jāe.
mannu dhovahu sabadi lāgahu   hari siu rahahu citu lāi.
kahai nānaku gur parsādī sahaju upjai   ihu sahsā iv jāi.18.
-Guru Granth Sahib 919
Literal Translation
Interpretive Transcreation
Poetical Dimension
In the seventeenth pauri, the seventeenth step of the ladder, Guru Amardas revealed that purity can be attained through the guidance of the Wisdom-Guru. Moving on to the eighteenth pauri, the eighteenth step of the ladder, Guru Amardas proclaims deep knowledge does not arise through rituals; without deep knowledge, delusion does not go away. Guru Amardas invokes the term “sahaj.” We understand “sahaj” to be synonymous with intuitive bliss. It signifies a mental state devoid of ripples. The tumultuous waves of excitement and non-excitement cease to exist in this state. The mind becomes immune to the fluctuations of life. It is a realm of love and awareness transcending earthly attachments and influences. There is no distinction between the individual being and the universal Being; the being has become one with the Being. As we pause to reflect, Guru Amardas’s emphasis is clear: "Sahaj" cannot be achieved through exertion, methodologies, or actions. Without "sahaj," doubts linger, ensnaring and confusing the mind. It’s these doubts that obstruct its clarity. Without “sahaj,” doubts cannot be dispelled by any deeds or ritualistic practices. A natural question arises: How can we cleanse ourselves of these doubts? The answer lies in purifying the mind. How? By nurturing the love for Sabad (the hymn-like stanza that exemplifies the word-sound of the Infinite Wisdom), by aligning our consciousness with Hari—the All-Pervasive, the 1-Light. "Sahaj" emerges when one feels the grace of the Wisdom-Guru. This grace dissolves doubts, confusion, and dichotomies. Attaining "sahaj" isn’t the outcome of personal endeavor; it’s the fruit of grace. The effort required for the emergence of "sahaj" involves cleansing the mind’s impurities by connecting with the Sabad and having the 1-Light in our consciousness. Guru Amardas concludes this ladder step affirming wisdom arises through the grace of the Wisdom-Guru; thus, delusion dissipates.

We reflect on the irony that no matter how much meditation, yoga, or mindfulness we engage in, the state of “sahaj”—the presence of the eternal One in our lives—remains elusive. It’s as if no amount of such practices can evoke the intuitive bliss we seek. This notion challenges the prevailing emphasis on awareness and meditation today. Let’s pause and consider: if all our actions stem from the belief that we are the doers, how can we cleanse our minds of impurities and doubts? The state of “sahaj” might appear distant and unattainable given these circumstances. Even our efforts to control anger, greed, and ego won’t dispel the fog of delusion. The sole path to shedding doubts lies in cultivating the love for the Sabad, embracing its wisdom, and merging our consciousness with the 1-Light. It is through the grace of the Wisdom-Guru, not through our effort. The aspiration for “sahaj,” for intuitive bliss, isn’t a modern phenomenon; it’s a timeless quest. People have pursued it through various methods and endeavors throughout history, yet their doubts persisted. Cleansing the mind, embracing the Sabad, and inviting the 1-Light into our consciousness is where the genesis of “sahaj” lies. Just as a gardener tends to each delicate blossom, cultivating the right conditions for its growth and bloom, nurturing the presence of the 1-Light in our awareness is essential for the flourishing of “sahaj.” Just as a sculptor chips away at the excess to reveal the masterpiece within the block of marble, in the same way, embracing the Sabad chips away at doubts and impurities to reveal the inherent state of intuitive bliss. 

We may ask ourselves: Are we solely focused on attaining intellectual knowledge from literature and religious texts? Do we recognize that the mind’s purification discussed in this verse extends beyond external cleansing? Are we prepared to cleanse and chisel our minds actively? Is there a genuine yearning to establish a connection between our consciousness and the 1-Light? Can the pursuit of “sahaj” influence our approach to life’s challenges and experiences?