"SOORAA"

ਨਾਨਕ ਸੋ ਸੂਰਾ ਵਰੀਆਮੁ ਜਿਨਿ ਵਿਚਹੁ ਦੁਸਟੁ ਅਹੰਕਰਣੁ ਮਾਰਿਆ ॥: Nanak so sooraa vareeaamu
jini vichahu dusatu ahankaranu maariaa: O Nanak, he is a brave warrior,
who kills (conquers, aanihilates...) his vicious ego from within (sggs 86).
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Literally "Sooraa" (ਸੂਰਾ) means a brave person. Depending on one's perspective, for example, those who conquer other countries may be Sooraa to some. Warriors who display extraordinary courage and heroism in wars are decorated as Sooraa by their governments (often times after their death!). Some call those persons Sooraa who make others lick the dirt in arenas. Highwaymen and street-fighters (Goondaas) are also Sooraa to some. Cold-blooded murderers who kill innocent people in the name of their religion and God are also Sooraa to others, and so on. As we can see, in the worldly or material life, depending on one's perspective, a person who appears to be a Sooraa to one may be a murderer to another!

These are not the Gurbani's Sooraa! The Sooraa of the Gurbani (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, SGGS) is a Spiritual Hero, who is brave enough to struggle with his own instinctive mind and subjugate it, eradicating his Haume (false ego-sense) in the process .

  • ਸੂਰੇ ਏਹਿ ਨ ਆਖੀਅਹਿ ਅਹੰਕਾਰਿ ਮਰਹਿ ਦੁਖੁ ਪਾਵਹਿ ॥ ਅੰਧੇ ਆਪੁ ਨ ਪਛਾਣਨੀ ਦੂਜੈ ਪਚਿ ਜਾਵਹਿ ॥ ਅਤਿ ਕਰੋਧ ਸਿਉ ਲੂਝਦੇ ਅਗੈ ਪਿਛੈ ਦੁਖੁ ਪਾਵਹਿ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਜੀਉ ਅਹੰਕਾਰੁ ਨ ਭਾਵਈ ਵੇਦ ਕੂਕਿ ਸੁਣਾਵਹਿ ॥ ਅਹੰਕਾਰਿ ਮੁਏ ਸੇ ਵਿਗਤੀ ਗਏ ਮਰਿ ਜਨਮਹਿ ਫਿਰਿ ਆਵਹਿ ॥੯॥: Soore eh na aakheeahi ahankaar marahi dukh paavahi ...: They are not called heroes, who die of egotism, suffering in pain. The (egotist) blind ones do not realize their own selves (their True Nature, Joti-Svaroopa, etc.); in the love of duality, they rot. They struggle with (others in) great anger; here and hereafter, they suffer in pain. The Dear Lord is not pleased by egotism; the Vedas proclaim this clearly. Those who die of egotism, will not find salvation. They die and are reborn, repeatedly ||9|| (sggs 1089).

simply put, the conditioned mind is Maya, and Maya is the illusioned mind: false ego-ssense, Haume, Ahankaar, ignorance, delusion, wrong identity, and so on. Simply put: that which separates us from our Essential Nature (Pure Being, Unconditioned Consciousness, Joti-Svaroopa, Mool, etc.) is mind. Also called veil, wall or curtain, it is that mountain of smoke which stands between an individual (Jeeva) and his Mool with (Source, origin...). Whosoever can bring this mighty wall of the ego-mind down is the Gurbani's Sooraa. The edict of the Gurbani is:

  • ਜੋ ਇਸੁ ਮਾਰੇ ਸੋਈ ਸੂਰਾ ॥: One who kills this (i.e., duality...) is a Sooraa — Spiritual Hero (sggs 238).
  • ਮਨਸਾ ਮਾਰਿ ਮਨੈ ਸਿਉ ਲੂਝੈ ॥: Subdue your desires, and struggle with your mind (sggs 1021).
  • ਰਾਜਨ ਰਾਮ ਰਵੈ ਹਿਤਕਾਰਿ ॥ ਰਣ ਮਹਿ ਲੂਝੈ ਮਨੂਆ ਮਾਰਿ ॥: (One) who lovingly remembers the King Lord's Name, fights the battle, conquers his own mind (sggs 931).
  • ਸੋ ਮੁਲਾਂ ਜੋ ਮਨ ਸਿਉ ਲਰੈ ॥ ਗੁਰ ਉਪਦੇਸਿ ਕਾਲ ਸਿਉ ਜੁਰੈ ॥ ਕਾਲ ਪੁਰਖ ਕਾ ਮਰਦੈ ਮਾਨੁ ॥ ਤਿਸੁ ਮੁਲਾ ਕਉ ਸਦਾ ਸਲਾਮੁ ॥: He alone is a Mullah, who struggles with his mind, and through the Teachings of the Giaan (Divine Knowledge...), fights with death (fear of death...). He crushes the pride of the Messenger of Death. Unto that Mullah, I ever offer my respect (sggs 1159).
In this context, the word "Loojhe" is very significant in the foregoing verses. It simply means to struggle, control, subdue, subjugate, gain mastery over, conquer, wrestle and annihilate. To put it otherwise, the Gurbani urges us to eradicate this dysfunction. In the very outset of the SGGS, Baabaa Nanak gave us this very popular verse:
  • ਮਨਿ ਜੀਤੈ ਜਗੁ ਜੀਤੁ ॥: If you conquer the mind, you conquer the material world (sggs 6).

Conquering the "material world" (Jagat or Sansaar) simply means to go beyond one's own material nature or mental conditionings (Maya, false ego-sense or Haume...). In other words, when the Pure mind sees itself as "Joti-Svaroopa", the material world (maya) is said to have been conquered! This victory brings and end to man's delusion, doubt, and repeated sufferings.

Why is it so difficult to conquer the Jagat? Why only one out of millions actually become a Spiritual Hero succeeding in conquering his mind? Why not all of us? What is it that hold us back? . Becauset it cannot be done on the intellectual level. As indicated in the Gurbani, the reason we are unable to conquer the Jagat is our unwillingness to struggle with the instinctive mind. Consequently, we end up struggling with the Jagat instead. Struggling with the Jagat means attachment to "Kanik Kaamini" — "lust and greed" or Maya.
  • ਮੂਰਖੁ ਹੋਇ ਨ ਆਖੀ ਸੂਝੈ ॥ ਜਿਹਵਾ ਰਸੁ ਨਹੀ ਕਹਿਆ ਬੂਝੈ ॥ ਬਿਖੁ ਕਾ ਮਾਤਾ ਜਗ ਸਿਉ ਲੂਝੈ ॥੬॥: Moorakhu hoi n aakhee soojhai ..: That person is a fool who does not see (the All-pervading Lord...) with his eyes; whose tongue is devoid of the (Naam-) Ras (ਨਾਮ-ਰਸ, Taste of Naam...), and who does not understand (the Gurmat, Gurbani's Teaching...). Intoxicated with the poison (of Maya), he argues with the world ||6|| (sggs 414).
  • ਮਨਮੁਖਿ ਕਮਲਾ ਰਗੜੈ ਲੁਝੈ ॥:The Manmukh (material being) drives himself crazy struggling with worries and stubbornness (sggs 1418).
  • ਦੂਜੈ ਭਾਇ ਪੜੈ ਨਹੀ ਬੂਝੈ ॥ ਤ੍ਰਿਬਿਧਿ ਮਾਇਆ ਕਾਰਣਿ ਲੂਝੈ ॥: One who reads, while attached to duality, does not understand. He struggles for the three-qualitied Maya (sggs 127).

In other words, for us to begin to function at a Higher dimension of Consciousness, first, proper Understanding of the Gur-Shabad is needed. Second, after gaining proper Understanding, we should be willing to implement that Understanding. Without proper Understanding and its implementation, we will die just struggling with the world (Maya)!

Left unchecked, the comditioned or Mayaic mind is likened to a poisonous tree, whose seed is unripe ego (Haume), thoughts (Phurne) are branches, and Kaarmic actions (Mayaic efforts) are fruits. Through the self-enhancing and self-arrogating Haume, it then indulges in sensory pursuits, making man stroll in ten directions like a street-dog, causing his Spiritual downfall in the process.

Religions exist because there exists this phantom called the mind. When the mind is conquered, it becomes "no-mind" — the state of Egolessness or Desirelessness. In that state, there is no phantom to torture us. Thus, to reach the state of "no-mind", one has to transcend Maya and this ghost called mind.

Not so easy! Because the ego-mind has a very formidable army which consists of no less Sooraas! The mind's army include mighty fighters like lust, anger, greed, attachment, and pride with their numerous variations such as hypocrisy, cunningness, corruption, crookedness, arrogance, deceit, selfishness, jealousy, stubbornness, delusion, and so on. These are the fast friend of our mind, and will go out of their way to defend it! As follows, the Gurbani has provided us with a wonderful description of this invisible army of the mind and its fortress:

  • ਕਿਉ ਲੀਜੈ ਗਢੁ ਬੰਕਾ ਭਾਈ ॥ ਦੋਵਰ ਕੋਟ ਅਰੁ ਤੇਵਰ ਖਾਈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਪਾਂਚ ਪਚੀਸ ਮੋਹ ਮਦ ਮਤਸਰ ਆਡੀ ਪਰਬਲ ਮਾਇਆ ॥ ਜਨ ਗਰੀਬ ਕੋ ਜੋਰੁ ਨ ਪਹੁਚੈ ਕਹਾ ਕਰਉ ਰਘੁਰਾਇਆ ॥੧॥ ਕਾਮੁ ਕਿਵਾਰੀ ਦੁਖੁ ਸੁਖੁ ਦਰਵਾਨੀ ਪਾਪੁ ਪੁੰਨੁ ਦਰਵਾਜਾ ॥ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਪ੍ਰਧਾਨੁ ਮਹਾ ਬਡ ਦੁੰਦਰ ਤਹ ਮਨੁ ਮਾਵਾਸੀ ਰਾਜਾ ॥੨॥ ਸ੍ਵਾਦ ਸਨਾਹ ਟੋਪੁ ਮਮਤਾ ਕੋ ਕੁਬੁਧਿ ਕਮਾਨ ਚਢਾਈ ॥ ਤਿਸਨਾ ਤੀਰ ਰਹੇ ਘਟ ਭੀਤਰਿ ਇਉ ਗਢੁ ਲੀਓ ਨ ਜਾਈ ॥੩॥ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਪਲੀਤਾ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਹਵਾਈ ਗੋਲਾ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਚਲਾਇਆ ॥ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਅਗਨਿ ਸਹਜੇ ਪਰਜਾਲੀ ਏਕਹਿ ਚੋਟ ਸਿਝਾਇਆ ॥੪॥ ਸਤੁ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ ਲੈ ਲਰਨੇ ਲਾਗਾ ਤੋਰੇ ਦੁਇ ਦਰਵਾਜਾ ॥ ਸਾਧਸੰਗਤਿ ਅਰੁ ਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਕ੍ਰਿਪਾ ਤੇ ਪਕਰਿਓ ਗਢ ਕੋ ਰਾਜਾ ॥੫॥ ਭਗਵਤ ਭੀਰਿ ਸਕਤਿ ਸਿਮਰਨ ਕੀ ਕਟੀ ਕਾਲ ਭੈ ਫਾਸੀ ॥ ਦਾਸੁ ਕਮੀਰੁ ਚੜ੍ਹ੍ਹਿਓ ਗੜ੍ਹ੍ਹ ਊਪਰਿ ਰਾਜੁ ਲੀਓ ਅਬਿਨਾਸੀ ॥੬॥੯॥੧੭॥: Kiou leejI gadhu bankaa bhaaee... (sggs 1161-1162).
Only a Spiritual Hero, with a sword of Intuitive Wisdom (Aatam-Giaan, Divine Knowledge) can cut the mind's roots. But, how can one go about becoming such Sooraa? By making permanent alliance with the mind's enemies, indicates the Gurbani. Who are mind's enemies? They are Spiritual practices like meditation (Naam-Simran), Spiritual Company within and without (Satsang), true contentment (Sat Santokh), kindness, Bairaag (dispassion), Viveka Budhi (discriminating intellect), Shabad-Vichaar , love, and so on.
  • ਗਿਆਨ ਖੜਗੁ ਲੈ ਮਨ ਸਿਉ ਲੂਝੈ ਮਨਸਾ ਮਨਹਿ ਸਮਾਈ ਹੇ ॥੩॥: Giaan kharragu lai mann siou loojhai manasaa manahi samaaee hae ||3||: Taking up the Sword of the Spiritual Wisdom, struggle with the mind, and (all Mayaic desires, thoughts, ਫੁਰਨੇ, etc., ) born of the mind are contained in the mind (ਮਨ ਦੇ ਵਿਚ ਹੀ ਮੁੱਕ ਜਾਂਦੇ ਹਨ). ||3|| (sggs 1022).
  • ਅੰਤਰਿ ਸਬਦੁ ਸਾਚਿ ਲਿਵ ਲਾਇ ॥: Lovingly center your attention deep within upon the Shabad (sggs 931).
Mere Knowing of the mind's enemies is not enough. Because to know them is one thing, however, to establish an unshakable alliance with them is another. Then, how can we establish a strong alliance with our mind's foes? By becoming a Gurmukh (Spiritual Being...), says the Gurbani. It is the Gurmukh who can continuously keeps his mind in check. Like the snake-charmer, he never lets the snake of his mind act loosely or independently.
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਹੋਇ ਤਿਸੁ ਸਭ ਕਿਛੁ ਸੁਝੈ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਮਨ ਸਿਉ ਲੁਝੈ ॥੪੬॥: Gurmukh hoyi tis sabh kish sujahi. Nanak Gurmukh mann siou lujhai ||46||: But those who become Gurmukh understand everything (ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਦੇ ਹਰੇਕ ਭੇਤ ਨੂੰ). O Nanak, (the one who) becomes the Gurmukh struggles with your own mind (ਆਪਣੇ ਮਨ ਨਾਲ ਟਾਕਰਾ ਕਰਦਾ ਰਹਿੰਦਾ ਹੈ) ||46|| (sggs 1418).
The next question is: how can we become the Gurmukh? As time and again indicated in the Gurbani, by practicing the Shabad we can become Gurmukhs. It is the Shabad-Surti (Naam Consciousness, Aatam Giaan....) that can roast and fry the ego-mind, reducing it to ashes! By removing delusions, it sends the mind back to its Spiritual Nature, which is its Original Home.
  • ਸਬਦੁ ਸੂਝੈ ਤਾ ਮਨ ਸਿਉ ਲੂਝੈ ਮਨਸਾ ਮਾਰਿ ਮਾਵਣਿਆ ॥: When someone understands the Shabad, then he wrestles with his own mind; subduing his desires, he merges with the Lord (sggs 113).
  • ਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਸਬਦੁ ਮਨੇ ਸੋ ਸੂਰਾ ॥: He alone is a spiritual hero, who believes in the Gur-Shabad (sggs 1023).
  • ਸਚੈ ਸਬਦਿ ਮਹਾਬਲ ਸੂਰਾ ॥: Through the Shabad, one becomes brave spiritual hero (sggs 1060).
  • ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਵਸਤੁ ਮਾਇਆ ਗੜ੍ਹ੍ਹਿ ਵੇੜ੍ਹ੍ਹੀ ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਸਬਦਿ ਲੀਓ ਗੜੁ ਜੀਤਿ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: The commodity of the Lord is locked in the fortress of Maya; through the Gur-Shabad, I have conquered the fortress ||1|| Pause || (sggs 1295).
Thus, to become a Spiritual Hero and fight with the sense-blind mind simply means not to let the mind become extroverted (the Manmukh). To realize this goal, we are urged to live rightly the Divine Values to ensure a nobler pattern for our life. Second, by honest introspection, we are urged to detect our mind's wrong tendencies and eliminate them through constant and deliberate self-effort. Hence to become a brave Spiritual Hero is not a question of physical strength or outer appearance of a person, it's a question defeating the ego-mind and becoming the Gurmukh!
  • ਸਲੋਕ ਕਬੀਰ ॥ ਗਗਨ ਦਮਾਮਾ ਬਾਜਿਓ ਪਰਿਓ ਨੀਸਾਨੈ ਘਾਉ ॥ ਖੇਤੁ ਜੁ ਮਾਂਡਿਓ ਸੂਰਮਾ ਅਬ ਜੂਝਨ ਕੋ ਦਾਉ ॥੧॥ ਸੂਰਾ ਸੋ ਪਹਿਚਾਨੀਐ ਜੁ ਲਰੈ ਦੀਨ ਕੇ ਹੇਤ ॥ ਪੁਰਜਾ ਪੁਰਜਾ ਕਟਿ ਮਰੈ ਕਬਹੂ ਨ ਛਾਡੈ ਖੇਤੁ ॥੨॥੨॥: Salok Kabeer || Gagan damaamaa baajio pario nisaanai ghaaou. Khet ju maandio soormaa ab joojhan ko daaou ||1|| Sooraa so pehchaaneeai jo larai deen ke het. Purajaa purajaa kat marai kabahoo n shhaadai khet ||2||2||: Salok Kabeer. The battle-drum beats (in the sky of the mind - i.e., one soars height of Spiritual Consciousness); strike the aim (Dasam Duaar - Tenth Gate). The spiritual warrior enters this field of battle; (he knows that) now is the time to fight (with the evil passions)! ||1|| He alone is known as a spiritual hero, who fights (with his evil passions) for the sake of Dharma. He may be cut apart, piece by piece, but he never leaves this battle-field (of worldliness) ||2||2|| (sggs 1105).
  • ਸਬਦਿ ਮਿਲਾਏ ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਸੂਰਾ ॥: Practice teaching of the Gurbani (Gurmati), become spiritual hero and emerge in the Shabad (sggs 1043).

— T. Singh
www.gurbani.org