Dasam Duar – The Tenth Gate
ਭਨਤਿ ਨਾਨਕ ਭਰਮ ਪਟ ਖੂਲ੍ਹ੍ਹੇ ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦੀ ਜਾਨਿਆ ॥ ਸਾਚੀ ਲਿਵ ਲਾਗੀ ਹੈ ਭੀਤਰਿ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਸਿਉ ਮਨੁ ਮਾਨਿਆ ॥੩॥੧॥੯॥ ੩ ੬੬੬.
With the guru’s grace the mask of delusion lifts and one is able to know about God; following the guru’s instructions facilitates being absorbed in Him within the mind (M: 3, SGGS, p 666).
This verse of the third Guru refers to the phenomenon of delusions caused by temptations resulting in the human soul being separated from the Creator within the mind. The verse advises how the veil thus created can be lifted with the guru’s help. This lifting of the veil or mask enables one to see within the mind by opening a hidden gate.
The human body has nine physical openings. These comprise of two eyes, two nostrils, two ears, mouth, anus and the genital. There is also an unseen metaphoric tenth gate, Dasam Duar which remains closed and needs to be opened for spiritual experience.
What is Dasam Duar?
ਦਸਮ ਦੁਆਰਾ ਅਗਮ ਅਪਾਰਾ ਪਰਮ ਪੁਰਖ ਕੀ ਘਾਟੀ ॥ ਊਪਰਿ ਹਾਟੁ ਹਾਟ ਪਰਿ ਆਲਾ ਆਲੇ ਭੀਤਰਿ ਥਾਤੀ ॥੪॥ ਬੇਣੀ ੯੭੪
Dasam Duar is the abode of the inaccessible, Infinite Supreme Being; in the body there is a niche where He abides (Beni, SGGS, p 974).
ਨਉ ਘਰ ਥਾਪੇ ਥਾਪਣਹਾਰੈ ॥ ਦਸਵੈ ਵਾਸਾ ਅਲਖ ਅਪਾਰੈ ॥ ੧ ੧੦੩੬
The creator established nine gates (for the body); the unfathomable Lord resides in the tenth (M: 1, SGGS, p 1036).
ਮਨਿ ਤਨਿ ਰਵਿ ਰਹਿਆ ਜਗਦੀਸੁਰ ਪੇਖਤ ਸਦਾ ਹਜੂਰੇ ॥ ੫ ੧੨੬੯
The Master of the universe abides in the mind and body (M: 5, SGGS, p 1269).
Thus the Dasam Duar is the gate that when opened enables vision of the Creator in the mind.
What is the mind?
The mind is not a physical entity and therefore cannot be seen. It has two supporting components, one physical and the other spiritual. The physical component is the brain with its function of getting information, processing and converting it into intelligence. The spiritual component comprises of the Supreme Soul, part of which gives life to the body, and is called the soul. While the Supreme Soul does not get involved with the body, the soul is the body’s master. Based on the intelligence received from the brain, the soul directs all actions of the body and is therefore responsible for them.
The human body interacts with the environment through the nine openings. They have specific functions of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting/speaking, excretion and procreation. The first four and the skin are also the sensory organs. The hands and feet are meant to do physical work.
The sensory organs are subjected to temptations all the time and often fall prey to them. The brain, and therefore the mind, acts according to the information they provide. They influence the mind both positively and negatively.
When they produce negative influence the soul loses its pristine character and is defiled. This causes it to drift away from the Supreme Soul; a sort of obstacle develops between the two within the mind. This obstacle is called the wall of falsehood.
Guru Nanak refers to this wall and how to demolish it. He asks a question and answers it thus:
ਕਿਵ ਸਚਿਆਰਾ ਹੋਈਐ ਕਿਵ ਕੂੜੈ ਤੁਟੈ ਪਾਲਿ ॥ ਹੁਕਮਿ ਰਜਾਈ ਚਲਣਾ ਨਾਨਕ ਲਿਖਿਆ ਨਾਲਿ ॥੧॥ ੧ ੧
How can the wall of falsehood be demolished to reach the Truth?
Live by the preordained commands (M: 1, SGGS, p 1).
The Creator has no form so how do we know if He resides at a given place? The answer: His presence is experienced spiritually. This is in the form of celestial music that no one plays but is heard by the soul. It is not a function of time; it is there all the time. This state of bliss is experienced by one whose sensory organs (which are part of the nine physical gates) overcome the temptations. This is the sign of entry to the Dasam Duar. So the tenth gate is an experience, not a physical phenomenon:
ਨਉ ਦਰ ਠਾਕੇ ਧਾਵਤੁ ਰਹਾਏ ॥ ਦਸਵੈ ਨਿਜ ਘਰਿ ਵਾਸਾ ਪਾਏ ॥ ਓਥੈ ਅਨਹਦ ਸਬਦ ਵਜਹਿ ਦਿਨੁ ਰਾਤੀ ਗੁਰਮਤੀ ਸਬਦੁ ਸੁਣਾਵਣਿਆ ॥ ੬॥ ੩ ੧੨੪
One, who controls the nine organs, gets to enter the tenth, the abode of the Creator; there the unstruck celestial music continues day and night; it is heard through the Guru’s word (M: 3, SGGS, p 124).
The experience of Dasam Duar is made possible with the help of the guru who helps the disciple to look beyond the physical organs:
ਹਰਿ ਜੀਉ ਗੁਫਾ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਰਖਿ ਕੈ ਵਾਜਾ ਪਵਣੁ ਵਜਾਇਆ ॥ ਵਜਾਇਆ ਵਾਜਾ ਪਉਣ ਨਉ ਦੁਆਰੇ ਪਰਗਟੁ ਕੀਏ ਦਸਵਾ ਗੁਪਤੁ ਰਖਾਇਆ ॥ ਗੁਰਦੁਆਰੈ ਲਾਇ ਭਾਵਨੀ ਇਕਨਾ ਦਸਵਾ ਦੁਆਰੁ ਦਿਖਾਇਆ ॥ ੩ ੯੨੨
The Creator put the soul in the body and gave it life; the body has nine manifest openings and a tenth is concealed; the tenth gate is shown to those who approach the Guru with devotion (M: 3, SGGS, p 922).
ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮੁ ਰਤਨ ਕੋਠੜੀ ਗੜ ਮੰਦਰਿ ਏਕ ਲੁਕਾਨੀ ॥ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਮਿਲੈ ਤ ਖੋਜੀਐ ਮਿਲਿ ਜੋਤੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਮਾਨੀ ॥੧॥ ੪ ੧੧੭੮
The jewel of God’s Naam remains concealed in a chamber in the body- fortress; when we find a true guru we are motivated to search for it; once it is found the soul merges in Him (M: 4, SGGS, p 1178).
Where is the Dasam Duar located in the body?
Some say it is in the head above the eyes. Some people say it is indicated by the soft spot one can feel on top of the head of an infant.
The practice of Kundalini Yoga is based on the belief that after awakening of Kundalini, energy travels up the body piercing through the six chakras and emerging at the top of the head thus opening the Dasam Duar. This manifests in the form of a feeling of coolness.
Gurbani mentions the nine and the tenth gates a number of times. This description does not support the idea of a physical location of the tenth gate. Instead it is a metaphorical gate that opens in the mind and enables vision of the Supreme Soul, the Creator abiding within.
In Sukhmani Sahib the fifth Guru describes how the wall of falsehood is built by the sensory organs:
ਮਿਥਿਆ ਸ੍ਰਵਨ ਪਰ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਸੁਨਹਿ ॥ ਮਿਥਿਆ ਹਸਤ ਪਰ ਦਰਬ ਕਉ ਹਿਰਹਿ ॥ ਮਿਥਿਆ ਨੇਤ੍ਰ ਪੇਖਤ ਪਰ ਤ੍ਰਿਅ ਰੂਪਾਦ ॥ ਮਿਥਿਆ ਰਸਨਾ ਭੋਜਨ ਅਨ ਸ੍ਵਾਦ ॥ ਮਿਥਿਆ ਚਰਨ ਪਰ ਬਿਕਾਰ ਕਉ ਧਾਵਹਿ ॥ ਮਿਥਿਆ ਮਨ ਪਰ ਲੋਭ ਲੁਭਾਵਹਿ ॥ ਮਿਥਿਆ ਤਨ ਨਹੀ ਪਰਉਪਕਾਰਾ ॥ ਮਿਥਿਆ ਬਾਸੁ ਲੇਤ ਬਿਕਾਰਾ ॥ ਬਿਨੁ ਬੂਝੇ ਮਿਥਿਆ ਸਭ ਭਏ ॥ ਸਫਲ ਦੇਹ ਨਾਨਕ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮ ਲਏ ॥੫॥ ੫ ੨੬੮-੬੯
The falsehood is when the ears listen to others’ slander,
the hands steal others’ wealth,
the eyes look viciously at others’ beauty,
the tongue is obsessed with taste of food and other cravings,
the feet walk to do evil to others,
the mind is possessed by greed,
the body does not work for the good of others,
the nose is enticed by vicious fragrance.
All those who do not understand this, act in falsehood.
Human birth is successful if one remembers God’s virtues and Divine commands (M: 5, SGGS, p 288-89).
One gets physically inebriated with intoxicants that provide a kick but also give a hangover. Similarly the sensory organs are inebriated by the temptations and forget their original functions. This ultimately results in the human soul forgetting the purpose for which it was sent to give life to the body. In other words it disobeys the preordained Divine commands and goes its own way.
This is ego which causes one to act according to the three gunas, or modes of behavior, namely Tamas (ignorance, inertia), Rajas (passion, ego) and Satva (things thought to be good like rituals, austerities and pilgrimages). In order to be able to get to the tenth gate the other nine must overcome temptations i.e. must be controlled. If they are controlled the tenth will open at our bidding.
The guru helps the disciple by making him aware of the distractions and how to overcome them. When distractions are overcome the tenth gate opens:
ਨਗਰੀ ਏਕੈ ਨਉ ਦਰਵਾਜੇ ਧਾਵਤੁ ਬਰਜਿ ਰਹਾਈ ॥ ਤ੍ਰਿਕੁਟੀ ਛੂਟੈ ਦਸਵਾ ਦਰੁ ਖੂਲ੍ਹ੍ਹੈ ਤਾ ਮਨੁ ਖੀਵਾ ਭਾਈ ॥੩॥ ਕ ੧੧੨੩
The body has nine gates, they should be constrained from wandering;
when one comes out of the grip of the three gunas, the tenth gate opens, one gets the Vision and the mind becomes ecstatic (Kabir, SGGS, p 1123).
The Guru’s prescription for overcoming distractions is remembrance of Naam which means remembering the Divine commands and carrying them out as also dwelling on Divine virtues. This provides peace of mind and contentment. The sensory organs are now able to overcome temptations:
ਦਸਮੀ ਦਸ ਦੁਆਰ ਬਸਿ ਕੀਨੇ ॥ ਮਨਿ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ ਨਾਮ ਜਪਿ ਲੀਨੇ ॥ ਕਰਨੀ ਸੁਨੀਐ ਜਸੁ ਗੋਪਾਲ ॥ ਨੈਨੀ ਪੇਖਤ ਸਾਧ ਦਇਆਲ ॥ ਰਸਨਾ ਗੁਨ ਗਾਵੈ ਬੇਅੰਤ ॥ ਮਨ ਮਹਿ ਚਿਤਵੈ ਪੂਰਨ ਭਗਵੰਤ ॥ ਹਸਤ ਚਰਨ ਸੰਤ ਟਹਲ ਕਮਾਈਐ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਇਹੁ ਸੰਜਮੁ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਕਿਰਪਾ ਪਾਈਐ ॥੧੦॥ ੫ ੨੯੮-੯੯
Remembering Naam gives contentment;
with the ears one listens to the Creator’s praises,
with the eyes sees the compassionate Guru;
with the tongue praises the Infinite Lord,
in the mind thinks of the perfect beloved Master;
serves the Guru using hands and feet.
All this is possible only with Divine grace,
which when received opens the tenth gate, the Dasam Duar (M: 5, SGGS, p 298-99).
A closed gate needs a code or key to open it. This key is with the Guru. The Second Guru says:
ਗੁਰੁ ਕੁੰਜੀ ਪਾਹੂ ਨਿਵਲੁ ਮਨੁ ਕੋਠਾ ਤਨੁ ਛਤਿ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਗੁਰ ਬਿਨੁ ਮਨ ਕਾ ਤਾਕੁ ਨ ਉਘੜੈ ਅਵਰ ਨ ਕੁੰਜੀ ਹਥਿ ॥੧॥ ੨ ੧੨੩੭
The body is the cover for the chamber that contains the mind which is locked up behind worldly attachments; the Guru is the key to the lock; the door of the mind cannot be opened except by the Guru since none else has the key (M: 2, SGGS, p 1237).
ਦਸਵੈ ਦੁਆਰਿ ਕੁੰਚੀ ਜਬ ਦੀਜੈ ॥ ਤਉ ਦਇਆਲ ਕੋ ਦਰਸਨੁ ਕੀਜੈ ॥੨੪॥ ਕ ੩੪੧
When the key is applied to the Tenth gate, one is able to have vision of the compassionate Lord (Kabir, SGGS, p 341).
The concept of opening the tenth gate is to see the Infinite within the mind. This may be achieved by overcoming temptations that are the causes of evil thoughts and deeds. The guru makes this possible.