Kartaa Purakh - The Only Doer, the One Creator
4. Kartaa Purakh The Only Doer, the One Creator
Cause-hunting is the constant preoccupation of the intellect. Every intelligent seeker is bound to ask the question," What is the cause of this universe? From where has the universe come?”
All our science are nothing but an inquiry into the cause (or causes) of things. The search in chemistry is for that fundamental particle from which all elements are formed. Physics is the inquiry into the source of all energy and biology is the desperate search for the cause of life. All the branches of science are ultimately searching for the cause of this universe, but each time they seem to have discovered it, they soon find that something else is the cause of it. Not very long ago the molecule was considered to be the smallest particle of a substance. Soon it was discovered that molecules are made up of atoms, and later it was found that even atoms consists of smaller particles called electrons and protons. And the search goes on, each time throwing up something else.
Science has not yet found the answers. It has only formulated some theories such as the"Big Bang Theory", which proposes that there once was a gigantic mass of gasses which exploded to form millions of galaxies and zillions of stars along with their planets and satellites, out of which, one blue planet with a rich atmosphere, some lightning and rain caused the elements to combine and create amino acids like DNA and RNA... and mysteriously enough, out come some unicellular organisms such as amoeba and protozoa which, according to Darwin, over millions of years slowly evolved into apes, before some mutation suddenly produced the two-legged, intelligent creature, man!
Although this theory of Creation has now been modified a great deal by modern scientists, its basic proposition-and the implications of this proposition-remains the same: namely, that the Creation came forth from inert mass or energy, and life was created from the interplay of these; in order words, that there is no living, intelligent cause behind this universe, and that the universe is one big accident.
However, unlike any accident, this beautiful universe as we know it functions with precision and under specific laws. For me to say that there is no all-knowing, all-powerful Creator of the universe is like telling you that the beautiful watch on your wrist was not made by any person, that it just evolved from some inert, lifeless metals which turned into the wheels, hands, and screws, etc, which then set themselves into a case with a pretty dial to become the watch that gives you calculated, precise ticks to mark the minutes and the seconds! Fascinating, no doubt, but highly imaginary!
By saying Kartaa Purakh Shri Guru Nanakji points out that the cause of the universe is Consciousness and not inert prakarti or 'matter'. Kartaa in simple words means 'doer', and Purakh, which in Sanskrit is Purusha, means 'conscious entity'.
Now let us see how ordinary things are created... For every effect there must be a cause. Take the example of a pot. To make a pot, three causes are necessary: first, there must be the potter who is the efficient or intelligent cause; second, there must be some mud or clay, which is the material cause; and third, there must be the spinning wheel, the instrumental cause. So, if a simple object such as a pot requires an intelligent potter, just as ornaments require a goldsmith, certainly this wonderful universe with all its scientific laws have an intelligent maker! And that maker is God.
The next question naturally is: From what material and with what instruments, did God create this universe? As far as the creation of the pot is concerned, the potter is something other than the mud and the instruments. But does this fact equally apply to God? Let us see...
It is commonly believed in most religions that there is a God up in heaven who created the universe. But the question is"from what?”If we say that there was some material, say the five basic elements, space, air, fire, water and earth, then again the question arises," from where did these come?”If we say they were always existing then God cannot be infinite, or the ultimate cause of the universe! And, by the way, who created the heaven He lives in?
The Rishis, in Their logical deduction, and finally through Their direct realization, came to a definitive conclusion. They said there is one ultimate cause of the universe, and if we see this Creation, then the material as well as the instruments with which God created everything must have come from Him alone.
Hence God must have created the universe out of Himself, just as we create our dreams. Indeed, He alone is the One efficient, material and instrumental cause of this universe. For that matter, God is not only the Creator but also, like the mud present in all the pots created out of it, He is intrinsically present in each and every being in the universe. Thus Shri Guru Nanakji has invoked Him as Kartaa Purakh.
Now let us see the deeper meaning of this term. As we said earlier, Kartaa means 'Creator' or 'Doer'. Purakh or Purusha is called as such because: one, He is complete, or 'full' unto Himself, and therefore fills up everything, which means He is all-pervasive; and two, He resides in the puri or the 'city' of the body.
In the Upanishads, the body with its eleven apertures or openings- seven in the head, three in the trunk, plus the subtle aperture called the Brahma-randra at the crown of the head-is likened to a city with eleven gates through which all transactions of perception and response take place. The"Guru Granth"echoes the same point: "PURI PURI BASANTAA SAA PURUKHA.”
So what are the implications of the term Kartaa Purakh?
First, that the cause, the kartaa, of the universe is not jaad prakarti or 'inert, lifeless matter'; rather, it is Kartaa Purakh, the 'Primeval, Conscious, Dynamic Principle'.
Second, while He is the Kartaa, the Creator, His Creation is not separate from Him because He is Purakh, that is to say, He is All- pervasive, present in all the things and beings in the universe.
Third, the Purusha which resides in everything must necessarily reside in each and very one of us well. Indeed, He is that Consciousness which gives life to our inert body, mind and intellect. Without It, neither can the eyes see, nor the nose smell, nor the mouth speak, nor any of the other senses perceive or any of the organs of action act. Without Its vitalizing presence, neither can the mind feel nor the intellect think. He is that one Kartaa without Whose presence nothing is possible.
Fourth, He is the one Lord of the universe, Ishwara, who is the Creator, Sustainer and Destroyer, without Whose presence and will, not even a leaf can flutter. He is the one sole Doer. Truly, if we understood this, where would there be any place for the ego, which constantly arrogates to itself the sense of doer-ship? ("I did this... I did that... I am going to do so much!") Without His presence, could 'I' do anything? Thus are we encouraged to get rid of this 'I', 'I', the ego.
Last but not least, by Kartaa we may wrongly understand that He is incomplete and full of desires. Therefore the word Purakh is added to point out that He is complete or Purna, and so has no desires whatsoever.
There is no selfish motive or purpose to Creation either. At best we can describe it as joyous, spontaneous, glorious expression of the Infinite One, playing by Himself just as the ocean expresses itself as he waves and dances ever so jubilantly.
Upon hearing this, one may ask the age-old question," Why did God create the world and throw us into it to suffer?”If we understand that He alone is the Kartaa, the one Lord of the universe functioning as Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh, and He alone is that one Consciousness, the one witness of the walking, dream and deep sleep states, because of Whom all the experiences in the three states are possible, then we can become one with Him by removing our sense of doer-ship and enjoyer-ship, the ego.
We suffer because of our own false identification with this limited ego, which is full of false expectations and desires, divisiveness and selfishness, passions and greed, likes and dislikes. Our fears, hatred and sorrows are self-made, not God-made.
The God-created world of the blazing sun and shimmering moon, the twinkling stars and the flashing comets, the magnificent sunrise and the graceful sunset, the deep blue ocean and the vast sky above, the cooling rain and the thundering clouds, the blossoming bud, the colorful butterflies, the trees laden with sweet fruit, the chirping birds, the flowing river and the many fishes swimming within, is indeed very beautiful.
Give up your sense of doer-ship and become a flute in His hands. Let Him play His music through you. Whatever He does will be for the best. Let His will be fulfilled through you. He is the all-loving Creator, the Father and Mother of the universe. At the same time He is the Self in all beings. All are strung to Him like pearls in a necklace. He is the source of all happiness. Surrender to Him in love. Let His will be done.
He is the one Protector, so why fear? Become nirbhau-'fearless'. He alone is playing in all different forms around us, so become nirvair- 'without enmity'.
Kartaa Purakh - The Only Doer, the One Creator
Guru Granth Sahib: 1. Mool Mantra - Fundamental Meanings
Guru Granth Sahib: 2. Ik Onkaar - The One God, the Absolute Reality
Guru Granth Sahib: 3. Satnaam - His name is Sat, Ever True
Guru Granth Sahib: 4. Kartaa Purakh - The Only Doer, the One Creator
Guru Granth Sahib: 5. Nirbhau Nirvair - Fearless and All-loving is He
Guru Granth Sahib: 6. Akaal Moorat - His Form (Existence) Transcends Time
Guru Granth Sahib: 7. Ajuni - He is Without Birth or Beginning
Guru Granth Sahib: 8. Saibangh - He is Self-existent and Self-illuminating
Guru Granth Sahib: 9. Gurparsaad - The Grace of the Guru
Guru Granth Sahib: 10. Jap - Chant
Disclaimer: Our material may be copied, printed and distributed by referring to this site. This site also contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the education and research provisions of "fair use" in an effort to advance freedom of inquiry for a better understanding of religious, spiritual and inter-faith issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than "fair use" you must request permission from the copyright owner.