DEATH

ਪਵਨੈ ਮਹਿ ਪਵਨੁ ਸਮਾਇਆ ॥ ਜੋਤੀ ਮਹਿ ਜੋਤਿ ਰਲਿ ਜਾਇਆ ॥ ਮਾਟੀ ਮਾਟੀ ਹੋਈ ਏਕ ॥
ਰੋਵਨਹਾਰੇ ਕੀ ਕਵਨ ਟੇਕ ॥੧॥ ਕਉਨੁ ਮੂਆ ਰੇ ਕਉਨੁ ਮੂਆ ॥
ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਮਿਲਿ ਕਰਹੁ ਬੀਚਾਰਾ ਇਹੁ ਤਉ ਚਲਤੁ ਭਇਆ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ (sggs 885).
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The literal meaning of the word "Sansaar" is "material world or Jagat, the place of repeated birth and death". Thus, by its very definition, the material world is tied to birth and death: if there is a birth, there is a death. To that end, death (Maut, Maran, Mrityu, etc.) is inevitable. "Whoever is born, will die", says the Gurbani. There is no escape from this reality. Jeeva is caught in this vicious cycle by his own doings.

  • ਜੋ ਜਨਮੈ ਸੋ ਜਾਨਹੁ ਮੂਆ ॥: Jo janamai so jaanahu mooaa: Know this well, that whoever is born, will die (sggs 375).
  • ਜੰਮਣੁ ਮਰਣਾ ਹੈ ਸੰਸਾਰੁ ॥: Jamman maranaa hai Sansaar: The world is tied to birth and death (sggs 364).

Physical death is not the end of Cosmic Drama ("Leelaa"). Our accounts (good or bad) go with us. Under the Divine Law, each Jeeva (individual being) is required to settle its own accounts. Consequently, for many death results in rebirth to reap what they have sown. This constitutes the "painful" birth-death cycle.

  • ਕੰਟਕੁ ਕਾਲੁ ਏਕੁ ਹੈ ਹੋਰੁ ਕੰਟਕੁ ਨ ਸੂਝੈ ॥: Kantak kaal ek hai hor kantak na soojhai: Only death is painful; I cannot conceive of anything else as painful (sggs 1090).
  • ਮਨਮੁਖ ਮਰਹਿ ਅਹੰਕਾਰਿ ਮਰਣੁ ਵਿਗਾੜਿਆ ॥: Manmukh marahi ahankaar maran vigaarriaa: The Manmukhs (ego-being, mind-willed, material being ...) die in egotism, even their death is ugly (ਭਾਵ, ਦੁਖੀ ਹੋ ਕੇ ਮਰਦੇ ਹਨ , they degrade even their death - they die an ignoble death) (sggs 86).
  • ਪੂਰਬ ਜਨਮ ਕੋ ਲੇਖੁ ਨ ਮਿਟਈ ਜਨਮਿ ਮਰੈ ਕਾ ਕਉ ਦੋਸੁ ਧਰੇ ॥: Poorab janam ko laekh na mittee janam marai kaa ko dos dharae: (sggs 1014).
  • ਜੈਸਾ ਕਰੇ ਸੁ ਤੈਸਾ ਪਾਵੈ ॥ ਆਪਿ ਬੀਜਿ ਆਪੇ ਹੀ ਖਾਵੈ ॥: Jaisaa kare so taisaa paavai. Aap beej aape he khavai: Man is rewarded according to his actions; as he sows, so does he eats or reaps (sggs 662).
  • ਚਉਰਾਸੀਹ ਨਰਕ ਸਾਕਤੁ ਭੋਗਾਈਐ ॥ ਜੈਸਾ ਕੀਚੈ ਤੈਸੋ ਪਾਈਐ ॥: The faithless cynic suffers the ignominy of having to undergo the "hell" of 8.4 million reincarnations — the viscious cycle of death and rebirth. As he acts, so does he suffer (sggs 1028).

That which is born must end. This inevitability of death brings horror and fear into to the hearts of those of us caught in the grip of illusion or ignorance. What is this death? Who comes and goes? Is death an end? What happens to the Soul (Aatamaan) when death occurs? Is there such thing as Soul? What is relationship between the body and the Soul? For whom is the fear of death? Whose death do we fear? How can we get freedom from birth-death cycle? All sensible men are challenged by the Gurbani (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, SGGS) to inquire into all these pertinent questions.

  • ਪਵਨੈ ਮਹਿ ਪਵਨੁ ਸਮਾਇਆ ॥ ਜੋਤੀ ਮਹਿ ਜੋਤਿ ਰਲਿ ਜਾਇਆ ॥ ਮਾਟੀ ਮਾਟੀ ਹੋਈ ਏਕ ॥ ਰੋਵਨਹਾਰੇ ਕੀ ਕਵਨ ਟੇਕ ॥੧॥ ਕਉਨੁ ਮੂਆ ਰੇ ਕਉਨੁ ਮੂਆ ॥ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਮਿਲਿ ਕਰਹੁ ਬੀਚਾਰਾ ਇਹੁ ਤਉ ਚਲਤੁ ਭਇਆ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਅਗਲੀ ਕਿਛੁ ਖਬਰਿ ਨ ਪਾਈ ॥ ਰੋਵਨਹਾਰੁ ਭਿ ਊਠਿ ਸਿਧਾਈ ॥ ਭਰਮ ਮੋਹ ਕੇ ਬਾਂਧੇ ਬੰਧ ॥ ਸੁਪਨੁ ਭਇਆ ਭਖਲਾਏ ਅੰਧ ॥੨॥ ਇਹੁ ਤਉ ਰਚਨੁ ਰਚਿਆ ਕਰਤਾਰਿ ॥ ਆਵਤ ਜਾਵਤ ਹੁਕਮਿ ਅਪਾਰਿ ॥ ਨਹ ਕੋ ਮੂਆ ਨ ਮਰਣੈ ਜੋਗੁ ॥ ਨਹ ਬਿਨਸੈ ਅਬਿਨਾਸੀ ਹੋਗੁ ॥੩॥ ਜੋ ਇਹੁ ਜਾਣਹੁ ਸੋ ਇਹੁ ਨਾਹਿ ॥ ਜਾਨਣਹਾਰੇ ਕਉ ਬਲਿ ਜਾਉ ॥ ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਗੁਰਿ ਭਰਮੁ ਚੁਕਾਇਆ ॥ ਨਾ ਕੋਈ ਮਰੈ ਨ ਆਵੈ ਜਾਇਆ ॥੪॥੧੦॥: (The element of) wind merges into the wind. The (element of) light blends into the (All-Pervading) Light. The (element of) dirt or earth becomes one with the earth. What support is there for the one who is lamenting (i.e., the one who lements does so because of doubts and attachment) ? ||1|| O, who has died, who has died (i.e., in reality, the soul - ਜੀਵਾਤਮਾ - does not die). Meeting the Brahm-Giaanee (Brahm-realized, Gurmukh), inquire (Vichaar, deep search) into this; (upon inquiry or Vichaar, you will know that) this (death) is the nature (behavior of unsteady life). ||1||Pause|| No one knows what happਕਉਨੁ ਮੂਆ ਰੇ ਕਉਨੁ ਮੂਆ ens next (after death...). The one who is lamenting (upon death) will also arise and depart (from this world). Mortal beings are bound by the bonds of doubt and attachment. (It is like) the (mentally) blind man who babbles and and grieves in vain in dream! ||2|| The Creator has created this creation. (Jeeva: an individual being) comes and goes, subject to the Infinite Hukam (the Divine Law of Nature...). (Aatmaa-Soul) does not die; because (in reality) it cannot die. (Soul) does not perish; for it is imperishable. ||3|| The Soul is not what we think it to be. Be sacrificed to the one who knows this. Says Nanak! The Gur (the Divine Wisdom of the gurbani) has dispelled my doubt - no one dies; no one comes or goes ||4||10|| (sggs 885).
  • ਕਉਣੁ ਮੂਆ ਕਉਣੁ ਮਾਰਸੀ ਕਉਣੁ ਆਵੈ ਕਉਣੁ ਜਾਇ ...: Koun mooaa koun maarasee koun aavai koun jaae ...: Who has died, and who kills? Who comes and who goes? Who is enraptured, O Nanak, and whose consciousness merges in the Divine? In egotism, he dies; possessiveness kills him, and the breath flows out like a river (sggs 1091).
  • ਮਾਈ ਸੁਨਤ ਸੋਚ ਭੈ ਡਰਤ ॥: Maaee sunat soch bhai darat: O mother, I hear of death, and think of it, and I am filled with fear (sggs 529).

Death Is Of The Body, Not The Soul

If we follow the Gurbani's instructions and inquire, "to whom is this death?", then we will come to know that which dies is not real us! What actually dies is the ego-born body which depends on the movement of the Praana or life-breadth. Untruth depends upon external things; for it is unreal. Only that which exists on its own can only be called Real and True. As the body depends on Praan, it never has its independent existence. Any thing that depends on some thing else must go. That which is born must die. With the death of the body, dies the world of names and shapes. Thus, death is a change in time and space. Since our false "I" (egoism) identifies with time and space, we are afraid of this change. Consequently, there arises the desire to prolong the life. We try to control the material nature, and become subjected to its effects in the process — lust, anger, greed, attachment, pride, enviousness and stubborn mindedness.

  • ਹਉਮੈ ਵਿਚਿ ਜਗਤੁ ਮੁਆ ਮਰਦੋ ਮਰਦਾ ਜਾਇ ॥: Houmai vich jagat muaa marado maradaa jaae: In egotism, the world is dead; it dies and dies, again and again (sggs 555).
  • ਕਿਸ ਹੀ ਵਾਧਿ ਘਾਟਿ ਕਿਸ ਹੀ ਪਹਿ ਸਗਲੇ ਲਰਿ ਲਰਿ ਮੂਆ ॥: Kis hee vaadh ghaatt kis hee pahi sagalae lar lar mooaa: By contradicting the world around, people fight with everybody and waste away their life to death (sggs 673).
  • ਦੁਖ ਸੁਖ ਕਰਤ ਜਨਮਿ ਫੁਨਿ ਮੂਆ ॥: Dukh sukh karat janam fun mooaa: Experiencing pain and pleasure, one is born, only to die again (sggs 804).
  • ਬਹੁਤਾ ਜੀਵਣੁ ਮੰਗੀਐ ਮੁਆ ਨ ਲੋੜੈ ਕੋਇ ॥: Bahutaa jeevan mangeeai muaa na lorrai koe: Everyone begs for a long life-no one wishes to die (sggs 63).

The idea that there is such a thing as the Soul (Self or Aatamaan) independent of the body is shared by almost all world religions. Although the word Soul has different meanings in different contexts. It is, however, generally agreed that the Soul is nothing material, and that it is the nucleus of our very Being. As indicated in the Gurbani, the Divine Spirit and the Soul is essentially one and the same — Eternal, Pure, Perfect, Consciousness, Life Force that sustains the body, Immortal, Unborn, Ever-existing, Primeval, Non-destructible, Unbreakable, Insoluble, Changeless, Immovable, Invisible, Inconceivable, Immutable, Imperishable, free from limitations and conditioning. Being Eternal in nature, the Soul is never born nor will it ever die. It can neither be cut nor slain by any weapon, nor burnt by fire, nor moistened by water, and nor withered by wind. It is the True Image of the Divine Light ("Joti-Svaroopa"). Unaffected by the movements of the body or mind, the Soul is not subject to our grief, despair, disease or ignorance.

  • ਆਤਮ ਮਹਿ ਰਾਮੁ ਰਾਮ ਮਹਿ ਆਤਮੁ ਚੀਨਸਿ ਗੁਰ ਬੀਚਾਰਾ ॥: Aatam mahi Raamu Raam mahi aatamu cheenasi Gur beechaaraa
  • ਜਿਨੀ ਆਤਮੁ ਚੀਨਿਆ ਪਰਮਾਤਮੁ ਸੋਈ ॥: Jinee aatam cheeniaa parmaatam soee: Those who understand their own Soul, are themselves the Supreme Soul (sgg 421).
  • ਆਤਮ ਮਹਿ ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਲਹੰਤੇ ॥: Aatam mahi paarbraham lahante: Within the Soul, find the Supreme God (sggs 276).
  • ਗੋਂਡ ॥ ਨਾ ਇਹੁ ਮਾਨਸੁ ਨਾ ਇਹੁ ਦੇਉ ॥ ਨਾ ਇਹੁ ਜਤੀ ਕਹਾਵੈ ਸੇਉ ॥ ਨਾ ਇਹੁ ਜੋਗੀ ਨਾ ਅਵਧੂਤਾ ॥ ਨਾ ਇਸੁ ਮਾਇ ਨ ਕਾਹੂ ਪੂਤਾ ॥੧॥ ਇਆ ਮੰਦਰ ਮਹਿ ਕੌਨ ਬਸਾਈ ॥ ਤਾ ਕਾ ਅੰਤੁ ਨ ਕੋਊ ਪਾਈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਨਾ ਇਹੁ ਗਿਰਹੀ ਨਾ ਓਦਾਸੀ ॥ ਨਾ ਇਹੁ ਰਾਜ ਨ ਭੀਖ ਮੰਗਾਸੀ ॥ ਨਾ ਇਸੁ ਪਿੰਡੁ ਨ ਰਕਤੂ ਰਾਤੀ ॥ ਨਾ ਇਹੁ ਬ੍ਰਹਮਨੁ ਨਾ ਇਹੁ ਖਾਤੀ ॥੨॥ ਨਾ ਇਹੁ ਤਪਾ ਕਹਾਵੈ ਸੇਖੁ ॥ ਨਾ ਇਹੁ ਜੀਵੈ ਨ ਮਰਤਾ ਦੇਖੁ ॥ ਇਸੁ ਮਰਤੇ ਕਉ ਜੇ ਕੋਊ ਰੋਵੈ ॥ ਜੋ ਰੋਵੈ ਸੋਈ ਪਤਿ ਖੋਵੈ ॥੩॥ ਗੁਰ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ ਮੈ ਡਗਰੋ ਪਾਇਆ ॥ ਜੀਵਨ ਮਰਨੁ ਦੋਊ ਮਿਟਵਾਇਆ ॥ ਕਹੁ ਕਬੀਰ ਇਹੁ ਰਾਮ ਕੀ ਅੰਸੁ ॥ ਜਸ ਕਾਗਦ ਪਰ ਮਿਟੈ ਨ ਮੰਸੁ ॥੪॥੨॥੫॥ ...: Gaund || Naa ihu maanas naa ihu deou ... (sggs 871).

However, as the body is made of five elements (space, air, fire, water and earth), it is bound in the framework of time and space. Upon its destruction, the elements go back to their respective source — the earth merges with earth, the air merges with air, the fire merges with fire, the water merges with water, and the space merges with space. Thus, in reality, death is only the five elements returning to themselves. All die but the Aatamaan lives. Thus, this material body by itself is inert. It becomes enlivened only when the Spirit Soul is infused in it; without which this body is nothing more than nine holes in the flesh and bones! Thus, the proof the Soul exists is that when it deserts the body, the body cannot act.

  • ਉਡਰਿ ਹੰਸੁ ਚਲਿਆ ਫੁਰਮਾਇਆ ਭਸਮੈ ਭਸਮ ਸਮਾਣੀ ॥: Ouddar hans chaliaa furamaaeiaa bhasamai bhasam samaanee: When the Soul flies away, by the Divine Order, dust mingles with dust (sggs 1111).
  • ਕਾਂਇਆ ਹੰਸ ਥੀਆ ਵੇਛੋੜਾ ਜਾਂ ਦਿਨ ਪੁੰਨੇ ਮੇਰੀ ਮਾਏ ॥: Kaaniaa hans theeaa vaeshorraa jaan din punne maree maaeae: The body and the Soul are separated, when one's days are past and done, O my mother (sggs 579).

That which is born is the body. It is the creation of false ego (Haume or false "I"). Thus, in reality, death is of the ego, by the ego and for the ego. Therefore, its natural for ego-beings (Manmukh, Saakat...) to be afraid of death. In ego we are born, and in ego we die. Like the incense stick, the body and mind born of false ego must also finish. Born of the symptoms of the spiritual ignorance and misapprehension, the body and mind must perish one day. That which dies with the death of the body is the "I-am-the-body" idea. The Soul does not die because It is bodiless, spaceless, timeless and beyond all material logic or philosophical speculations.

  • ਹਉ ਵਿਚਿ ਜੰਮਿਆ ਹਉ ਵਿਚਿ ਮੁਆ ॥: Hayu vich janmiaa hayu vich muaa: In ego they are born, and in ego they die (sggs 466).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਮੋਹੁ ਉਪਜੈ ਸੰਸਾਰਾ ॥: Haumai moh upjai sansaraa: Out of egotism and attachment, the Universe is born (sggs 1057).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਸਭੁ ਸਰੀਰੁ ਹੈ ਹਉਮੈ ਓਪਤਿ ਹੋਇ ...: Haumai sabh sareer hai hayumai opati hoe...: Ego is within all the bodies; and through ego the beings are born. Egotism is total darkness; in egotism, no one can understand anything. :In egotism, devotional worship cannot be performed, and the Hukam of the Lord's Command cannot be understood. In egotism, the soul is in bondage, and the Naam, the Name of the Lord, does not come to abide in the mind (sggs 560).

The fear of death is due to "I-am-the-body" idea. However, the True Giaanee (Also spelt Giani, Giyani, Janani, etc. is the Gurmukh, Spiritually Wise or Self-realized being) is not afraid of death because his state is beyond body-consciousness or time and space. It is natural for the person established in his Mool within (Source, Origin, Jot...) to be fearless, but to be afraid of death or anything is not. Since the Giaanee knows he is neither the body nor the mind, the event of death has no effect on him. He is established in the Timeless Consciousness, beyond mental limitations and conditionings. Being so situated on the platform of Immortality, he is dead to the phenomenal world of names and forms, thus, untouched by the death of the body. In other words, the loss of this world of names and forms do not affect the Giaanee; for he is aware of the fact that death does not mean non-being. Therefore, he loves death as he loves deep sleep, because in deep sleep their is no body-consciousness either. To the contrary, Agiaanee (Manmukh, ignorant or ego-being) loves sleep but not the death, because he does not perceive the world like a Giaanee. He let the egoism interpose between the Self and the non-self. So long as there is false ego, there will be fear. This is why a body-conscious person is always afraid of death.

  • ਕਾਲੁ ਬਿਕਾਲੁ ਕਹੇ ਕਹਿ ਬਪੁਰੇ ਜੀਵਤ ਮੂਆ ਮਨੁ ਮਾਰੀ ॥: Kaal bikaal kahae kahi bapurae jeevat mooaa mann maaree: What can poor death or birth say to him? Conquering his mind, he remains dead while yet alive (sggs 907).
  • ਸਾਕਤ ਜਮ ਕੀ ਕਾਣਿ ਨ ਚੂਕੈ ॥: Saakat jamm kee kaan na chookai: The ego-being is not rid of his fear of death (sggs 1030).
  • ਤਬ ਜਾਨਿਆ ਜਬ ਜੀਵਤ ਮੂਆ ॥: Tabb jaaniaa jabb jeevat mooaa: When I became dead while yet alive, only then did I come to know the Truth (sggs 327).
  • ਕਰਣੀ ਕਾਰ ਧੁਰਹੁ ਫੁਰਮਾਈ ਆਪਿ ਮੁਆ ਮਨੁ ਮਾਰੀ ॥: Karanee kaar dhurahu furmaaee aap muaa mann maaree: The Primal Being has ordained the tasks to be done; self-conceit is overcome, and the mind is subdued (sggs 689).
  • ਕਬੀਰ ਜਾ ਦਿਨ ਹਉ ਮੂਆ ਪਾਛੈ ਭਇਆ ਅਨੰਦੁ ॥: Kabeer jaa din ho mooaa paashai bhaeiaa anand: Kabeer, on the day when I die (yet alive), afterwards there will be Bliss (sggs 1364).
  • ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਸਦ ਜੀਵੈ ਨਹੀ ਮਰਤਾ ॥: Brahm Giaanee sad jeevai nahee martaa: Brahm Giaanee ever lives and never dies (sggs 273).
  • ਮਨਮੁਖੁ ਮੁਆ ਅਪੁਨਾ ਜਨਮੁ ਖੋਇ ॥: Manmukh muaa apunaa janam khoe: The self-willed Manmukh (ego-being) dies; his life is wasted (sggs 1418).

Even though the physical body of a True Giaanee and a worldly man (Agiaanee, ego-being or unwise) both come to an end, but there is a difference in the death of both entities. A Giaanee dies in Divine-consciousness and becomes one with the Timeless Principle. To the contrary, a worldly man dies in time-bound consciousness (egoism) and falls down again into the cycle of birth and death. Thus, death is natural to all beings, but the manner in which one dies is man-made. In other words, Spiritually Wise knows how to die, while the ego-being does not know how to truly die. Accordingly, death terrifies a worldly man, while a Giaanee rejoices it!

  • ਕਬੀਰ ਜਿਸੁ ਮਰਨੇ ਤੇ ਜਗੁ ਡਰੈ ਮੇਰੇ ਮਨਿ ਆਨੰਦੁ ॥ ਮਰਨੇ ਹੀ ਤੇ ਪਾਈਐ ਪੂਰਨੁ ਪਰਮਾਨੰਦੁ ॥੨੨॥: Kabeer jisu marne te jagu darai mere mani anandu. Marne hee te paaeeai pooranu parmaanandu ||22|| (sggs 1365).
  • ਕਬੀਰਾ ਮਰਤਾ ਮਰਤਾ ਜਗੁ ਮੁਆ ਮਰਿ ਭਿ ਨ ਜਾਨੈ ਕੋਇ ॥: Kabeer marataa marataa jagg muaa mar bhi na jaanai koe: Kabeer, the world is dying - dying to death, but no one knows how to truly die (sggs 555).
  • ਕਬੀਰ ਬੈਦੁ ਮੂਆ ਰੋਗੀ ਮੂਆ ਮੂਆ ਸਭੁ ਸੰਸਾਰੁ: Kabeer baid mooaa rogee mooaa mooaa sabh sansaar: Kabeer, the physician is dead, and the patient is dead; the whole world is dead (1368).
  • ਜਨਮ ਜਨਮ ਭਰਮਤ ਫਿਰਿਓ ਮਿਟਿਓ ਨ ਜਮ ਕੋ ਤ੍ਰਾਸੁ ॥: Janam janam bharamat firio mittio na jamm ko traas: Mortals wander lost and confused through countless lifetimes; their fear of death is never removed (sggs 1428).

The event of physical death itself is of no importance to a Giaanee (the Gurmukh) ; for he does not react to the events. It's not that the Giaanee has no feelings or that he has a stone-heart. In reality, he is very compassionate for the suffering beings. If someone dies, he suffers with those who suffer. But he is always aware that the birth and death is for the body only, not for the Soul.

  • ਓਹੁ ਨ ਮੂਆ ਜੋ ਦੇਖਣਹਾਰੁ ॥: Ouhu na mooaa jo daekhanahaar: But the One who sees does not die (sggs 152).
  • ਓਹੁ ਨ ਮੂਆ ਜੋ ਰਹਿਆ ਸਮਾਇ ॥: Ouhu na mooaa jo rahiaa samaae: (The Brahm) that pervades (within) does not die (sggs 152)..
  • ਹਉ ਨ ਮੂਆ ਮੇਰੀ ਮੁਈ ਬਲਾਇ ॥: I (Jot, ਜੀਵਾਤਮਾ) have not died (because) the evil or calamity (of my ignorance, doubt, ego, Maya ...) has died (sggs 152).
  • ਕਬੀਰ ਸੰਤ ਮੂਏ ਕਿਆ ਰੋਈਐ ਜੋ ਅਪੁਨੇ ਗ੍ਰਿਹਿ ਜਾਇ ॥: Kabeer sant mooay kiaa roeeai jo apunay garihi jaai: Kabeer, why cry at the death of a Realized Being? He is just going back to his Home (sggs 1425).

Birth and death are but two points in time and space - Maya's dualistic principle. Thus, life and death, joy and sorrows, pain and pleasure, and so on, are real to the man in bondage (false ego). But to the True Giaanee, they are all in the world-play ("Jagat Tamaashaa"), as unreal as the show itself! He is already dead (Mirtak) while living in the body - Jeevanmukta. What the death can do to the man who is already dead? We ignorant, on the other hand, feel sad as we grow older because we identify the Self with the finite frame of the body. So long there is this error, there will be the fear of death. But as the Giaanee grows older, he becomes more happy and peaceful. His mind becomes happy with the reel of destiny coming to its end. He knows at last he is going to the True Home ("Nij Ghar", "Sach Ghar", etc.)! He has conquered death while still alive.

  • ਮੁਇਆ ਜਿਤੁ ਘਰਿ ਜਾਈਐ ਤਿਤੁ ਜੀਵਦਿਆ ਮਰੁ ਮਾਰਿ ॥: Mueiaa jit ghar jaaeeai tit jeevadiaa mar maar: To reach your True Home after you die, you must conquer death while you are still alive (sggs 21).
  • ਸਾਰੰਗ ਮਹਲਾ ੯ ॥ ਕਹਾ ਨਰ ਅਪਨੋ ਜਨਮੁ ਗਵਾਵੈ ॥ ਮਾਇਆ ਮਦਿ ਬਿਖਿਆ ਰਸਿ ਰਚਿਓ ਰਾਮ ਸਰਨਿ ਨਹੀ ਆਵੈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਇਹੁ ਸੰਸਾਰੁ ਸਗਲ ਹੈ ਸੁਪਨੋ ਦੇਖਿ ਕਹਾ ਲੋਭਾਵੈ ॥ ਜੋ ਉਪਜੈ ਸੋ ਸਗਲ ਬਿਨਾਸੈ ਰਹਨੁ ਨ ਕੋਊ ਪਾਵੈ ॥੧॥ ਮਿਥਿਆ ਤਨੁ ਸਾਚੋ ਕਰਿ ਮਾਨਿਓ ਇਹ ਬਿਧਿ ਆਪੁ ਬੰਧਾਵੈ ॥ ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਸੋਊ ਜਨੁ ਮੁਕਤਾ ਰਾਮ ਭਜਨ ਚਿਤੁ ਲਾਵੈ ॥੨॥੩॥: Saarang Mahalaa 9 || Kahaa nar apano janam gavaavai ...:  Saarang Mahalaa 9. Why does the wastes his life? Intoxicated with Maya and its corrupt pleasures, he does not seek the Sanctuary of the Lord. ||1||Pause|| This whole world is like a dream; why does seeing it (the mortal) becomes greedy? Everything that has been created will perish; nothing will remain (here forever). ||1|| (The mortal) sees this false (perishable) body as true (permanent); in this way, he gets himself in bondage (Maya's entanglements). O servant Nanak, he is the liberated (from Maya's bondage), who applies his consciousness to God's meditation ||2||3|| (sggs 1231).
  • ਤਹ ਪਾਵਸ ਸਿੰਧੁ ਧੂਪ ਨਹੀ ਛਹੀਆ ਤਹ ਉਤਪਤਿ ਪਰਲਉ ਨਾਹੀ ॥ ਜੀਵਨ ਮਿਰਤੁ ਨ ਦੁਖੁ ਸੁਖੁ ਬਿਆਪੈ ਸੁੰਨ ਸਮਾਧਿ ਦੋਊ ਤਹ ਨਾਹੀ ॥੧॥ ਸਹਜ ਕੀ ਅਕਥ ਕਥਾ ਹੈ ਨਿਰਾਰੀ ॥ ਤੁਲਿ ਨਹੀ ਚਢੈ ਜਾਇ ਨ ਮੁਕਾਤੀ ਹਲੁਕੀ ਲਗੈ ਨ ਭਾਰੀ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Tah paavas sindhu dhoop nahee chhaheeaa tah utapat parlaou naahee: There (in the Sahaj Avasthaa-Natural State of being, ਗਿਆਨ ਅਵਸਤਾ, Awakened State, the State of Spiritual Wisdom...) is no rain, ocean, sunshine, shade, creation or destruction (in other words, there remains no Mayaic thughts, or any longing, desire, impulse or lust for places or things symbolized by all these). No birth or death (i.e., in that Sahaj Avasthaa, there is no longing for life or fear of death), no pain or pleasure is felt there (i.e., in that Sahaj Avasthaa, there is no longing for Sukha or repulsion of Dukha). There is only the Sunn Samaadhi (the state devoid of Mayaic thoughts or evil-mindedness), and no duality (i.e., in that Sahaj Avasthaa, nothing else can approach - no feeling of "I, me, you" remains there, no Mayaic thoughts arise there, etc.). ||1|| The description of the State of Sahaj is indescribable and sublime. (This state of Sahaj Avasthaa cannot be compared with any Sukha of this world, therefore, it cannot be said that) it is lower or higher (than any Sukha of the world, etc.). ||1||Pause|| (sggs 333).
  • ਜੀਵਤ ਮਰੈ ਮਰੈ ਫੁਨਿ ਜੀਵੈ ਐਸੇ ਸੁੰਨਿ ਸਮਾਇਆ ॥ ਅੰਜਨ ਮਾਹਿ ਨਿਰੰਜਨਿ ਰਹੀਐ ਬਹੁੜਿ ਨ ਭਵਜਲਿ ਪਾਇਆ ॥੧॥: Jeevat marai marai phun jeevai aise sunn samaaiaa. Anjan maahi niranjan reheeai bahurr n bhavajal paaiaa ||1||: One who remains dead while yet alive (by erading Bikaars from the mind, etc.), he lives (the real life - ਅਸਲ ਜੀਵਨ); thus he merges into Sunn (remains in the state that is devoid of Mayaic thoughts, etc.). Remaining pure in the midst of impurity (Maya), he will never again fall into the terrifying world-ocean (of Maya). ||1|| (sggs 332).

The True Giaanee, thus, leaves this world like a traveler, who reaching his destination collects his baggage and leaves the train or plane without any regrets. He knows that the death waits from the moment the body was born! So he treats death like a guest who has been patiently waiting to see him since the birth of his body. He anxiously opens the door for death and entertains it! Since the Giaanee has already left his body all along (living dead), for him there is nothing in death to regret! To the contrary, for an ignorant person, there is nothing but regrets at the time of death.

  • ਜਬ ਪਕੜੀ ਤਬ ਹੀ ਪਛੁਤਾਨੀ ॥: Jabb pakarree tabb hee pashataanee: When Death seizes you, then you will regret and repent (sggs 1275).
  • ਨਿਹਫਲੁ ਜਨਮੁ ਤਿਨ ਬ੍ਰਿਥਾ ਗਵਾਇਆ ਤੇ ਸਾਕਤ ਮੁਏ ਮਰਿ ਝੂਰੇ ॥: Nihafal janam tin brithaa gavaaeiaa te saakat mueae mar jhoorae: They have wasted away their whole lives in vain; those faithless cynics die a regretful death (sggs 574).
  • ਜਮਿ ਪਕੜਿਆ ਤਬ ਹੀ ਪਛੁਤਾਨਾ ॥: Jamm pakarriaa tabb hee pshutaanaa: Caught by the Messenger of Death (the Divine Law of Karma), you will regret and repent in the end (sggs 230).
  • ਸਚ ਘਰਿ ਬੈਸੈ ਕਾਲੁ ਨ ਜੋਹੈ ॥: Sach ghar baisai kaal na johai: Dwell in their True Home, and Death will not touch you (sggs 227).
  • ਗਿਆਨ ਹੀਣੰ ਅਗਿਆਨ ਪੂਜਾ ॥: Giaan heenam agiaan poojaa (sggs 1412).

Accordingly, a True Giaanee looks at death only a form of change, not horror. Childhood goes and makes way for youth, which again ends to bring old age. It may be painful, but Spiritually Wise bears with such change; for the death is necessary and desirable for the new beginning and new opportunities. Material body is said to be the Soul's "Cholaa" (garment or vesture); for the Soul is encased in it. As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, the Soul similarly accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless ones. To put it otherwise, the body is the "chariot" and the Soul is the "Charioteer". The "Charioteer" remains the same, but the "chariot" keeps changing! This is the relationship between the body and the Soul. Baabaa Nanak explains this as follows:

  • ਨਾਨਕ ਮੇਰੁ ਸਰੀਰ ਕਾ ਇਕੁ ਰਥੁ ਇਕੁ ਰਥਵਾਹੁ ॥ ਜੁਗੁ ਜੁਗੁ ਫੇਰਿ ਵਟਾਈਅਹਿ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਬੁਝਹਿ ਤਾਹਿ ॥: Nanak meru sareer kaa ik rath ik rathavaah. Jugg jugg feri vataaeeahi Giaanee bujhahi taahi: Nanak says: human body, the crown of the creation, is the chariot, and the Soul is its Charioteer. In age after age they change; only the Spiritually Wise understand this (sggs 470).
  • ਦਿਨ ਥੋੜੜੇ ਥਕੇ ਭਇਆ ਪੁਰਾਣਾ ਚੋਲਾ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Din thorrarre thake bhaiaa puraanaa cholaa ||1||Rahaaou||: Few are your days, you have grown weary and the body-vesture, Chaulaa, has grown old ||1||Pause|| (sggs 23).

In essence, a less intelligent man sees death as an end, but the True Giaanee sees it as an interlude, a pause before a new beginning! It is the start of a new life, a new field of experience, a new phase in the struggle a Soul makes to reach its ultimate Goal — liberation from birth-death cycle. Buddha describes death as "a great release". Death releases mortals from senility and diseases, and unites the Spiritual Beings with "Parmanand", the Supreme Bliss.

  • ਕਬੀਰ ਜਿਸੁ ਮਰਨੇ ਤੇ ਜਗੁ ਡਰੈ ਮੇਰੇ ਮਨਿ ਆਨੰਦੁ ॥ ਮਰਨੇ ਹੀ ਤੇ ਪਾਈਐ ਪੂਰਨੁ ਪਰਮਾਨੰਦੁ ॥੨੨॥ (sggs 1365).

Therefore, Spiritually Wise views change with optimism for more meaningful struggle for ending the birth-death cycle. He neither cries over things that are unavoidable, nor does he cling to passing objects. The less intelligent try to cling to passing objects and suffer in the process; because, the pleasure (and security) that objects bring leads to fear and sorrow. Spiritually Wise knows that the worldly objects were not with us before; they came in the middle; they will not be with us in future. So he does not grieve. Truth never loses; falsehood never endures. Thus, the True Giaanee sees the Changeless Truth even as everything changes.

  • ਅਕੁਲ ਨਿਰੰਜਨ ਏਕੈ ਭਾਇ ॥: Akul niranjan eaekai bhaae: The Unknowable and Immaculate Truth is Changeless (sggs 343).

On A Higher Plane, No One Goes Anywhere

For whom is the fear of death? The fear of death arises only after the ego ("I-thought") arises. Ego is nothing but identification of the Mool (Source...) with the time-bound body. So long as there is this obstinate error, there will be fear. As indicated in the Divine Teaching of the Gurbani, all changes or happenings (birth, death, etc.) are perceived at this lower plane of consciousness — ego consciousness, material consciousness, time-bound consciousness or body-consciousness. However, on a Higher Plane (Soul Consciousness, Timeless Consciousness or Spiritual Realization) no one goes anywhere! We were, we are and we will be. No one dies; no one comes or goes. We are That Spirit Soul: the Immortal Joti Svaroop, Naam Savroopa or Anand Savroopa; which neither perishes, nor comes or goes.

  • ਨਾਨਕ ਮਨ ਹੀ ਤੇ ਮਨੁ ਮਾਨਿਆ ਨਾ ਕਿਛੁ ਮਰੈ ਨ ਜਾਇ ॥: Nanak mann hee te mann maaniaa naa kish marai na jaae: O Nanak, through the mind, the mind is satisfied, nothing comes or goes (sggs 514).
  • ਆਤਮੁ ਚੀਨੈ ਸੁ ਤਤੁ ਬੀਚਾਰੇ ॥: Aatam cheenai su tatt beechaarae: One who understands his own Soul, contemplates the essence of Reality (sggs 224).
  • ਨਾਮੁ ਸੰਪਤਿ ਗੁਰਿ ਨਾਨਕ ਕਉ ਦੀਈ ਓਹ ਮਰੈ ਨ ਆਵੈ ਜਾਈ ॥: Naam sanpat guri naanak ko deeee ouh marai na aavai jaaee: The Guru has given Nanak the wealth of the Naam; it neither perishes, nor comes or goes (sggs 497).
  • If you know your Soul you know your God (Sufi Jalaluddin Rumi).

Thus, the Gurbani affirms that the death is an illusion, a foolish notion. When the Gurbani declares, "I am Joti-Svaroopa," it is affirming the unified field of Higher Plane of Consciousness that exists in, around, and through everything and everyplace. For example, when we travel from one point to another, upon reaching the destination we claim we have arrived there. But, in truth, we never left our Source; it is always in everything and everyplace. This Source is the Mool in us which is not rooted in time and space. Thus, the Mool (the Virtual Reality) being everywhere and in everything cannot be taken from place to place! The reason we do not share this Higher Plane of Consciousness, the unified field of most complete sense of Being and belonging, is the fear of death. For most of us, death represents that fetal break or change where life ends and the unknown begins. In reality, it's not like this! The Gurbani says:

  • ਮਾਧਵੇ ਕਿਆ ਕਹੀਐ ਭ੍ਰਮੁ ਐਸਾ ॥ ਜੈਸਾ ਮਾਨੀਐ ਹੋਇ ਨ ਤੈਸਾ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Maadhve kiya kaheeyai bhram aisaa. Jaisaa maaneeyai hoi na taisaa ||1||Rahaaou||: O Lord, what can I say about this illusion; what we deem a thing to be, in reality, it is not like that ||1||Pause|| (sggs 657).
  • ਏਕਾ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਜੇਤੇ ਹੈ ਜੀਅ ॥: Ekaa surati jete hai jeea: There is One Awareness among all Jeeva or beings (sggs 24).
  • ਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਦੀਸੈ ਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਸੁਣੀਐ ਏਕੁ ਏਕੁ ਵਖਾਣੀਐ ...: Brahm deesai Brahm suneeyai ek ek vakhaaneeyai. Aatam pasaaraa karan haaraa parabh binaa nahee jaaneeyai: The One Unique Reality is seen everywhere, the Unstruck Celestial Music is heard everywhere, the One Creator is present in all creation; there is none else than He Himself everywhere (sggs 846).

There is a Buddhist story about two disciples looking at a flag fluttering in the wind. One says, "Look at that moving flag". The other disciple disagrees, "No, it is the wind that is moving. The flag has no motion of its own". They continue the debate until their Master shows up, and he says, "You both are wrong. Only your consciousness is moving." What it means is that, in reality, nothing comes and goes. What comes and goes, or that which wanders around is our mind: false ego!

  • ਮਨੁ ਭੂਲਉ ਭਰਮਸਿ ਆਇ ਜਾਇ ॥: Manu bhoolau bharamasi aai jaai: Movements — coming and going — is seen in the mind deluded by doubt (sggs 1187).
  • ਜੋ ਦੀਸੈ ਸਭ ਆਵਣ ਜਾਣੀ ॥: Jo deesai sabh aavan jaanee: All that is seen is movement — coming and going — of consciousness (sggs 1021).
  • ਦ੍ਰਿਸਟਿਮਾਨ ਹੈ ਸਗਲ ਮਿਥੇਨਾ ॥: Dristimaan hai sagal mithnaa: All that is seen is an illusion (sggs 1083).

Material world is a product of our time-bound consciousness. Just as the ocean is one; but, it is the substratum for countless waves, wave-lets, foam, ripples and bubbles. These waves and wave-lets, ripples, foam and bubbles have no existence apart from the ocean. They all merge out of the ocean, exist in the ocean and ultimately sink themselves back into the ocean. So too is life. The matter ripples out of the bottomless pool of the Timeless Essence to form the universe in time and space, and ultimately all merge in this Homogeneous Oneness. In the Buddhist story, the flag stands for waves or gross objects that seem to move, the wind is the subtle force or consciousness that creates the motion, but in reality, nothing is moving. Its only the mind (intellect or ego-consciousness) that creates movement where there is none. When the mind takes refuge in its all Serene Soul Consciousness (Sahaj-Avasthaa), its all movements or wanderings cease to be.

  • ਆਸਾ ਬਾਣੀ ਸ੍ਰੀ ਨਾਮਦੇਉ ਜੀ ਕੀ     ਏਕ ਅਨੇਕ ਬਿਆਪਕ ਪੂਰਕ ਜਤ ਦੇਖਉ ਤਤ ਸੋਈ ॥ ਮਾਇਆ ਚਿਤ੍ਰ ਬਚਿਤ੍ਰ ਬਿਮੋਹਿਤ ਬਿਰਲਾ ਬੂਝੈ ਕੋਈ ॥੧॥ ਸਭੁ ਗੋਬਿੰਦੁ ਹੈ ਸਭੁ ਗੋਬਿੰਦੁ ਹੈ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਬਿਨੁ ਨਹੀ ਕੋਈ ॥ ਸੂਤੁ ਏਕੁ ਮਣਿ ਸਤ ਸਹੰਸ ਜੈਸੇ ਓਤਿ ਪੋਤਿ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਸੋਈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਜਲ ਤਰੰਗ ਅਰੁ ਫੇਨ ਬੁਦਬੁਦਾ ਜਲ ਤੇ ਭਿੰਨ ਨ ਹੋਈ ॥ ਇਹੁ ਪਰਪੰਚੁ ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਕੀ ਲੀਲਾ ਬਿਚਰਤ ਆਨ ਨ ਹੋਈ ॥੨॥ ਮਿਥਿਆ ਭਰਮੁ ਅਰੁ ਸੁਪਨ ਮਨੋਰਥ ਸਤਿ ਪਦਾਰਥੁ ਜਾਨਿਆ ॥ ਸੁਕ੍ਰਿਤ ਮਨਸਾ ਗੁਰ ਉਪਦੇਸੀ ਜਾਗਤ ਹੀ ਮਨੁ ਮਾਨਿਆ ॥੩॥ ਕਹਤ ਨਾਮਦੇਉ ਹਰਿ ਕੀ ਰਚਨਾ ਦੇਖਹੁ ਰਿਦੈ ਬੀਚਾਰੀ ॥ ਘਟ ਘਟ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਸਰਬ ਨਿਰੰਤਰਿ ਕੇਵਲ ਏਕ ਮੁਰਾਰੀ ॥੪॥੧॥: Aasaa baanee sree Naamadeou jee kee: Ek anek biaapak poorak jatt dekho tatt soee. Maya chitr bachitr bimohit biralaa boojhai koee ||1|| Sabh Gobind hai sabh Gobind hai Gobind bin nahee koyee. Soot ek man sat sahans jaise ot pot prabh soee ||1|| Rahaaou || Jal trang ar phen budbudaa jal te bhinn na hoyee. Ih parpanch paarbrahm kee leelaa bichrat aan na hoyee ||2|| Mithiya bharam ar supan manorath sat padaarath jaaniaa. Sukirat manasaa gur oupadesee jaagat hee man maaniaa ||3|| Kahat Naamadeou har kee rachanaa dekhahu ridai beechaaree. Ghat ghat antari sarab niranti keval ek muraaree ||4||1||: Aasaa baanee sree Naamadeou jee kee: In the one and in the many, God is pervading and permeating; wherever I look, there He is. (But) a rare person understands this (ਭੇਦ), because (generally the Jeeva - the individual beings) are fascinated (deluded) by the Maya's colorful imagery. ||1|| God is All (i.e., everywhere and everything), God is All (i.e., everywhere and everything); without God, there is nothing at all. As one thread holds hundreds and thousands of beads, So is (God) woven into All (i.e., everywhere and everything). ||1||Pause|| The waves of the water, the foam and bubbles, are not distinct from the water. (Similarly) this manifested world is the Play (Leelaa) of the Supreme Being; reflecting upon it, we find that it is not different from Him. ||2|| (Watching this Leelaa) the man believes worldly objects (ਪਦਾਰਥ) to be True (permanent, etc.), but they are like objects (ਪਦਾਰਥ) seen in the dream (i.e., untrue) - "ਮਿਥਿਆ ਭਰਮੁ " (Mitthiyaa Bharam). Un to whom the Guru bestows Good Understanding (ਭਲੀ ਸਮਝ), his mind stands awakened (from delusion, untruth, "ਮਿਥਿਆ ਭਰਮੁ", etc.), and his mind accepts this (that the worldly objects are Mithiya, unreal, impermanent, etc.). ||3|| Says Naam Dev, reflect upon this in your heart that this is the Creation of the Lord. In each and every heart, and deep within the very nucleus of all, is the One God (i.e., in this entire Creation, only One Lord pervades in everyone and everywhere). ||4||1|| (sggs 485).
  • ਸਾਗਰ ਮਹਿ ਬੂੰਦ ਬੂੰਦ ਮਹਿ ਸਾਗਰੁ ਕਵਣੁ ਬੁਝੈ ਬਿਧਿ ਜਾਣੈ ...: Saagar mahi boond boond mahi saagar kavan bujhai bidhi jaanai ...: The drop is in the ocean, and the ocean is in the drop. Who understands, and knows this? He Himself creates the wondrous play of the world. He Himself contemplates it, and understands its true essence (sggs 878).
  • ਅਨਹਦੁ ਵਾਜੈ ਸਹਜਿ ਸੁਹੇਲਾ ॥ ਸਬਦਿ ਅਨੰਦ ਕਰੇ ਸਦ ਕੇਲਾ ॥ ਸਹਜ ਗੁਫਾ ਮਹਿ ਤਾੜੀ ਲਾਈ ਆਸਣੁ ਊਚ ਸਵਾਰਿਆ ਜੀਉ ॥੧॥: Anahad vaajai sahaj suhelaa. sabad anand kare sadh kelaa. sahaj gufaa mahi taarree laaee aasan ooch savaariaa jeeou ||1||: The Unstruck Melody resounds and resonates in Sahaj (Natural State of Being, ਆਤਮਕ ਅਡੋਲਤਾ, etc.). I rejoice in the Eternal Bliss by engaging in the (Guru's) Shabad. (Because of this) I sit in Samadhi in the cave of Sahaj (ਆਤਮਕ ਅਡੋਲਤਾ-ਰੂਪ ਗੁਫਾ), absorbed or established (in the feet of) the Highest (Greatest, etc.) Lord. ||1|| (sggs 97).

Thus, the universe and its experience is born with the body and perish with the body. It has its beginning and end in the Infinite Consciousness, but the Infinite Consciousness knows no such beginning and end. What begins has to end; what ends has to reappear somewhere to die again. Thus, the body comes and goes, but the Soul is eternal, free of birth and death. To the man aware of this Truth, birth and death are all in the world-play, as unreal as the show itself! Such a man of immaterial intelligence, detached witness or observer, is already dead Within while living in the body - Jeevanmukta.

  • ਜਨਮ ਮਰਨ ਕਾ ਭ੍ਰਮੁ ਗਇਆ ਗੋਬਿਦ ਲਿਵ ਲਾਗੀ ॥ ਜੀਵਤ ਸੁੰਨਿ ਸਮਾਨਿਆ ਗੁਰ ਸਾਖੀ ਜਾਗੀ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Janam maran kaa bhram gaiaa Gobind liv laagee. Jeevan sunn samaaniaa gur saakhee jaagee ||1||Rahhaou||: With the Guru’s Teachings, (such intellect has) awakened (within me that my) illusion of birth and death is gone; and while living (in this world), I am absorbed in Sunn (where there are no Mayaic thoughts, noise of the Haume, etc.) ||1||Pause|| (sggs 857).
  • ਜੀਵਨ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਗਤਿ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਪਾਈ ॥: Jeevan mukati gati antari paaee: Jeevan Mukta - liberated while yet alive - find this state deep within (themselves).

In nutshell, what comes and goes (body) has no Reality. What is Real (Soul) never dies, and that which dies is unreal (body). Since the True Giaanee's mind is already dead (of egoism), he has no reaction to changes occuring at the material plane. For him it's natural for the body to die, as it is natural for the incense stick to burn out. Thus, he understands body and Soul are two separate entities. The body comes and goes, but the Soul is eternal, free of birth and death. All Jeeva (individual beings) are the Spirit Soul. The reason one identifies himself with the material body is the ignorance born egoism ( "I-thought"). Truth ever remains steady; falsehood never stops moving. Thus, as indicated in the Gurbani, all changes "are the lot of the false and the insincere".

  • ਤਤੁ ਬੀਚਾਰੁ ਕਹੈ ਜਨੁ ਸਾਚਾ ॥ ਜਨਮਿ ਮਰੈ ਸੋ ਕਾਚੋ ਕਾਚਾ ॥: Tatt beechaar kahai jan saachaa. Janami marai so kaacho kaachaa: One who Reflects (contemplates - Vichaar) the Essence of Reality, is said to be the true person (ਉਹ ਸਚ-ਮੁਚ ਮਨੁੱਖ ਹੈ). (But, the one who) takes birth (just to) die (without realizing the Essence of Reality) is totally false (ਨਿਰੋਲ ਕੱਚਾ) (sggs 288).
  • ਕੂੜੁ ਮਾਰੇ ਕਾਲੁ ਉਛਾਹਾੜਾ ॥: Koorr maarae kaal oushhaahaarraa: Death viciously kills the false beings (sggs 1025).

The True Giaanee does not cling to the body-consciousness, therefore, he is not a body, visible or invisible. He has become the Light (Giaan); for he identifies with the Soul only. For him nothing comes and goes. The scriptures repeatedly remind us not to cling anything made from the five elements and the mind. As any form made from the five elements is unreal (transient), they tell us not to depend on any material object. The Self is the only Reality, all else is a passing show. If we hold on to "all else", then we are sure to regret at the time of death. Therefore, if the vague idea associated with the form of the body is rejected, only the Supreme Reality will remain!

  • ਮਮਾ ਮੂਲ ਗਹਿਆ ਮਨੁ ਮਾਨੈ ॥ ਮਰਮੀ ਹੋਇ ਸੁ ਮਨ ਕਉ ਜਾਨੈ ॥ ਮਤ ਕੋਈ ਮਨ ਮਿਲਤਾ ਬਿਲਮਾਵੈ ॥ ਮਗਨ ਭਇਆ ਤੇ ਸੋ ਸਚੁ ਪਾਵੈ ॥: Mammaa mool gahiaa...: Mammaa: Clinging to the Source, the mind is satisfied. One who knows this mystery understands his own mind. Let no one delay in uniting his mind. Those who obtain the True Divine are immersed in delight (sggs 342).
  • ਗਿਆਨੀ ਜੀਵੈ ਸਦਾ ਸਦਾ ਸੁਰਤੀ ਹੀ ਪਤਿ ਹੋਇ ॥: Giaanee jeevai sadaa sadaa surti hee pat hoi: Only the Giaanee lives forever (the spiritual Life, ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਸੂਝ ਵਾਲਾ ਮਨੁੱਖ ਸਦਾ ਹੀ ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਜੀਊਂਦਾ ਹੈ); he is honored for his intuitive awareness (that he ever and ever keeps engaged in the Truth) (sggs 1412).

Therefore, the Giaanee is aware of the Truth that death of the physical body does not mean non-being. The Mool is never born, for that he could never die. Since the contending mind (false ego) functions in the framework of time and space, all movements pertain to the body or instinctive mind only; but they are superimposed on the Mool, giving rise to the delusion that birth and death relate to the Mool. This is the error. The Mool exists before the birth of physical body and will remain after its death. Thus the birth and death are phenomena in the Mool within, but the Mool   ever remains unbroken, untouched and unaffected.

  • ਪਿੰਡਿ ਮੂਐ ਜੀਉ ਕਿਹ ਘਰਿ ਜਾਤਾ ॥ ਸਬਦਿ ਅਤੀਤਿ ਅਨਾਹਦਿ ਰਾਤਾ ॥ : Pindi mooai jeeou kih ghari jaataa. Shabadi ateeti anaahadi raataa: When the body dies, where does the soul go? It links back to the Anaahad Shabad that is Ateet (i.e, who is free of Maya) (sggs 327).

The True Giaanee and the rest of us live in the same world. However, he sees the world as it is, while we do not. For example, we see ourselves in the world, while the Giaanee sees the world in himself; for everything exists in the Infinite Consciousness. Consequently, to us, we get born and die; while to him it is the world that appears and disappears! The Giaanee thus is a Timeless Being, and there is no birth or death in the Timelessness. He neither broods over the past, nor worries about the future. He lives in the "now". He is at Eternal Peace, for he has realized his own unassailable Being.

  • ਜਨਮ ਮਰਨ ਕਾ ਭ੍ਰਮੁ ਗਇਆ ਗੋਬਿਦ ਲਿਵ ਲਾਗੀ ॥: Janam maran kaa bharam gaya Gobind liv laagee: The illusion of birth and death is gone; I lovingly focus on God (sggs 857).
  • ਮਰਣੈ ਕੀ ਚਿੰਤਾ ਨਹੀ ਜੀਵਣ ਕੀ ਨਹੀ ਆਸ ॥: Marnai kee chintaa nahee jeevan kee nahee aas: (When mind is attuned to the meditation on the Divine) I have no worry about dying, and no craving for living (long life) (sggs 20).
  • ਸੋਇ ਅਚਿੰਤਾ ਜਾਗਿ ਅਚਿੰਤਾ ॥: Soe achintaa jaag achintaa: Sleep without worry, and awake without worry (sggs 1136).

Looking at a tree standing beside a pool of water, we will notice that the tree on the bank looks inverted, that is, it reflects upon water with its branches down and roots up. The True Giaanee takes this body or material world as only a reflection of the Reality. In other words, most of us take this world real (permanent), and live our life cycle only to find death at the end! To the contrary, the Giaanee takes the life cycle backwards; he dies first, gets the death out of the way, and then he goes on living as - Jeevanmukta (living liberated).

  • ਉਲਟ ਭਈ ਜੀਵਤ ਮਰਿ ਜਾਗਿਆ ॥: Ulatt bhaee jeevat mari jaagiaa: (When the mind) turned away (from the worldly ways), (it) became dead while yet alive and (it) has Awakened (ਆਤਮਕ ਜਾਗ). (sggs 221).
  • ਏਹਾ ਭਗਤਿ ਜਨੁ ਜੀਵਤ ਮਰੈ ॥: Ehaa bhagati jan jeevat marai: True Devotion is to remain dead while yet alive (sggs 365).
  • ਨਾਨਕ ਜੀਵਤਿਆ ਮਰਿ ਰਹੀਐ ਐਸਾ ਜੋਗੁ ਕਮਾਈਐ ॥: Nanak jeevatiaa mar raheeai aisaa jog kamaaeeai: O Nanak, remain dead while yet alive - practice such a Yoga (sggs 730).
  • ਜੀਵਤ ਮਰੈ ਬੁਝੈ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਸੋਇ ॥: Jeevat marai bujhai prabh soe: One who remains dead while yet alive understands God (sggs 741).
  • ਸਹਜਿ ਮਰਉ ਜੀਵਤ ਹੀ ਜੀਵਉ ॥: Sahaj maro jeevat hee jeevo: I have died in Sahaj, and now I am alive to live (sggs 1189).
  • ਜੀਵਤ ਮੁਕਤ ਸਦਾ ਨਿਰਬਾਨ ॥: Jeevat mukat sadaa nirabaan: Those who are Jeevan-mukta, liberated while yet alive - are forever in the state of Nirvaanaa (sggs 1167).

Therefore, instead of mourning, a true Sikh celebrates death. Why? Because a Sikh is supposed to be a True Giaanee. If he is not a True Giaanee yet, he is not a Sikh yet! This is why to be a Sikh (or Khaalsaa) is not a question of heredity, family of birth, ancestry, race, region, social status, caste, creed, education, titles, religion or any peculiar external appearance of a person; it is a question of Mool-realization! Khaalas - or khalas - simply means pure.

  • ਪੂਰਨ ਜੋਤ ਜਗੈ ਘਟ ਮੈ ਤਬ ਖਾਲਸ ਤਾਹਿ ਨਖਾਲਸ ਜਾਨੋ ॥: Pooran jot jagai ghat main tab Khaalas taahi Nakhaalas jaano: One becomes Pure (i.e, Khalsa…) only when he realizes Complete Light of the Lord within; otherwise know him to be an impure one (Guru Gobind Singh Sahib, Dasam Granth, 1350).
  • ਆਤਮ ਰਸ ਜਿ ਜਾਨਹੀ ਸੋ ਹੈ ਖਾਲਸ ਦੇਵ ॥ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਮਹਿ, ਮੋ ਮਹਿ, ਤਾਸ ਮਹਿ, ਰੰਚਕ ਨਾਹਨ ਭੇਵ ॥: Aatam ras ji jaanahee so hai khaalas dev. Prabh mahi mo mahi taas mahi ranchak naahan bhed: He who has realized the True Nature or Subtle Essence of the Soul (i.e., Joti-svaroopa, Pure Consciousness, Lord's Sublime Essence, Joy of the Soul, etc.) within is alone the godly Khalsa - Pure Being (Sarab Loh Granth).
  • ਕਹੁ ਕਬੀਰ ਜਨ ਭਏ ਖਾਲਸੇ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਭਗਤਿ ਜਿਹ ਜਾਨੀ ॥: Kahu Kabeer jan bhaye Khaalse prem bhagti jih jaanee: O Kabeer! Those persons become ਖਾਲਸੇ (Khaalse) who have realized the Prema Bhagti (Perfect Understanding of the Gur-Shabad, Gurbani, or Gur-Giaan…). (sggs 655).
  • ਕਾਲੈ ਕਵਲੁ ਨਿਰੰਜਨੁ ਜਾਣੈ ॥: Kaalai kaval niranjan jaanai: One who knows the Divine chews up death (sggs 1040).

The Gurbani declares that one who dies in the Shabad (Naam) is truly dead. A real Sikh is dead in the Shabad while incarnated. Death does not crush him, and pain does not afflict him. He remains absorbed into the Timeless Consciousness. In it nothing comes and goes; because, in it everything disappears — false ego, 'I-ness' and 'my-ness', Vaasnaas of material life he lived, and the phenomenal world of names and forms. Only Intuitive Understanding and Spiritual Silence (Sahaj) remain. His joy is Divine, and his suffering is Divine too. That's why a true Sikh celebrates both the happy as well as sad occasions — he celebrates both birth and death, without being attached to either one of them!

  • ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਸਬਦਿ ਜੀਵਤੁ ਮਰੈ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਭਵਜਲੁ ਤਰਣਾ ॥: Gur kai sabad jeevat marai gurmukh bhvajal taranaa: Through the Word of the Guru-Shabad, the Gurmukh remains dead while yet alive, and swims across the terrifying world-ocean (sggs 69).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਜੀਵੈ ਮਰੈ ਪਰਵਾਣੁ ॥: Gurmukhi jeevai marai paravaanu (sggs 125).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਜਮਕਾਲੁ ਨੇੜਿ ਨ ਆਵੈ ॥...: Gurmukh jamkaal nerhi n aavai ..: Death (Spiritual death - ਆਤਮਕ ਮੌਤ) does not even approach the one who has become the Gurmukh. Through the Shabad, he burns away his ego and duality. Attuned to the Name, he sing God's Glorious Praises (sggs 231).

Do Not Fear The Death, But Remember It

Fear of death and constant remembrance of it are two different things. Fear of death is based on our ignorance of death, while constant remembrance of it (without fear) is a spiritual practice which helps keep the seeker in the scale of morality, detachment from worldliness, physical and mental control, attachment to the Divine Name, and so on. Therefore, the seeker is urged by the Wisdom of the Gurbani not to fear the death, but always keep it in mind until Truth is realized. It forces us to look into our false conduct, so that we may mend our ways to move from time-bound consciousness to Timeless Consciousness, and avoid the vicious cycle of repeated pain and delusion.

  • ਬਾਦ ਸਾਦ ਅਹੰਕਾਰ ਮਹਿ ਮਰਣਾ ਨਹੀ ਸੂਝੈ ॥: Baad saad ahankaar mahi maranaa nahee soojhai: Entangled in conflict, pleasure and egotism, man does not remember death (sggs 809).
  • ਮਰਣਾ ਮੁਲਾ ਮਰਣਾ ॥ ਭੀ ਕਰਤਾਰਹੁ ਡਰਣਾ ॥: Maranaa mulaa maranaa. Bhee kartaarahu daranaaa: Death, O Mullah-death will come, so live in the Fear of Divine Creator (sggs 24).
  • ਬੋਲਿ ਨ ਜਾਣੈ ਮਾਇਆ ਮਦਿ ਮਾਤਾ ਮਰਣਾ ਚੀਤਿ ਨ ਆਵੈ ॥: Bol Na Janay Maya Mad Mata Marna Cheet Na Aavay: The mortal being does not know how to chant Your Name - he is intoxicated with the wine of Maya, and the thought of death does not even enter his mind (sggs 749).
  • ਕਾਲੁ ਨ ਆਵੈ ਮੂੜੇ ਚੀਤਿ ॥: Kaal Na Awe Moodhey Cheet: Death does not even come to mind for the fool (sggs 267).
  • ਦਮਿ ਦਮਿ ਸਦਾ ਸਮਾਲਦਾ ਦੰਮੁ ਨ ਬਿਰਥਾ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਜਨਮ ਮਰਨ ਕਾ ਭਉ ਗਇਆ ਜੀਵਨ ਪਦਵੀ ਪਾਇ ॥: Dami dami sdaa samaaladaa danm na birathaa jaae. Janam maran kaa bhayu gaeiaa jeevan padavee paae: With each and every breath, he constantly meditate on the Divine; not a single breath passes in vain. His fears of birth and death depart, and he obtains the honored state of eternal life (sggs 556).

A little story may help us understand the importance of remembering death. It is said that once a person paid visit and homage to the Darbaar of Sri Guru Gobind Singh. Upon seeing beautiful women in the congregation, the person question the Guru regarding the presence of women and their impact on a man's lustful propensities. After listening to his query, the Guru told the person that he had only seven days of life left and that he should go home and finish his unfinished affairs and enjoy everything he wanted to before death. The man went away to his home. On the seventh day, before death devoured him, he prayed to the Guru for his Darshan. The Guru arrived and asked the king if he had done whatever he wished to before death. The man replied that as he was constantly thinking of death, even an iota of evil passions did not dare enter his mind. It was at that time the Guru told the man that a true Sikh never forgets death, thereby, no evil notions dare enter his mind.

Those who remember death do not crave for lust, anger, greed, worldly attachment, pride, enviousness and stubborn mindedness. The more one remembers the end-result of the visible body, the more detached one feels from the ephemeral life (the world of names and shapes), and more attached to the Eternal Factor. In other words, remembering the reality of the death-bound body helps us to disconnect from the fleeting pleasure of the "gifts", and connect us to the "Giver" — the Real Source.

  • ਦਾਤਿ ਪਿਆਰੀ ਵਿਸਰਿਆ ਦਾਤਾਰਾ ॥: Daat piaaree visariaa daataaraa: Man loves gifts, but he forgets the Giver (sggs 676).
  • ਸਭੁ ਜਗੁ ਬਾਧੋ ਕਾਲ ਕੋ ਬਿਨੁ ਗੁਰ ਕਾਲੁ ਅਫਾਰੁ ॥: Sabh jagg baadho kaal ko bin gur kaal afaar: The whole world is bound by death; without the Guru (God), death cannot be avoided (sggs 55).

Overcoming the Illusion Of Death

The quest for the Mool (Soul or Aatamaan...) is a journey Within and it becomes evident to one who embarks on it that there is an Underlying Consciousness beyond the levels of the body (perceiveing of objects), mind (feeling of emotions) and the intellect (thinking of thoughts). This Pure Consciousness is very subtle and Self-luminous, and all the human faculties are able to act as instruments of knowledge because of it.

  • ਸਦਾ ਸਦਾ ਆਤਮ ਪਰਗਾਸੁ ॥: Sadaa sadaa aatam paragaas: Forever and ever, the Soul is illumined (sggs 378).
  • ਨਾਰਾਇਣ ਘਟਿ ਘਟਿ ਪਰਗਾਸ ॥: Naaraain ghatt ghatt paragaas: God illumines each and every heart (sggs 868).
  • ਨਿਜ ਘਰਿ ਵਾਸੈ ਸਾਚਿ ਸਮਾਏ ॥ ਜੰਮਣੁ ਮਰਣਾ ਠਾਕਿ ਰਹਾਏ ॥: Nij ghari vaasai saachi samaae. Jamman marnaa thaaki rahaae: They (Gurmukhs) dwell in the home of their own inner beings, and merge in the True Being. Their cycle of birth and death is ended (sggs 222).

The mind and the itellect are in the grip of Maya — illusion, duality, evil passions, evil intent, ignorance, egoism or wrong self-identity). Our Body is the play-thing of this fickle and unsteady mind and intellect. What is Maya? As defined in the Gurbani, Maya is that illusion which makes us (1) forget the Divine ("Hari Visrai"), (2) gives rise to emotional attachment ("Moh Upjai"), and (3) creates duality ("Bhaau Doojaa") where there is none. Freedom from Maya is freedom from the fear of death.

  • ਏਹ ਮਾਇਆ ਜਿਤੁ ਹਰਿ ਵਿਸਰੈ ਮੋਹੁ ਉਪਜੈ ਭਾਉ ਦੂਜਾ ਲਾਇਆ ॥: This is Maya, by which (1) "Hari" (Mool) is forgotten; (2) (worldly) attachment is born, and (3) the love of duality is set (sggs 921).
  • ਆਲਾ ਤੇ ਨਿਵਾਰਣਾ ਜਮ ਕਾਰਣਾ ॥: Aalaa te nivaaranaa jamm kaaranaa: O God, please save me from Maya, the cause of death (sggs 694).
  • ਸ੍ਰਪਨੀ ਜੀਤੀ ਕਹਾ ਕਰੈ ਜਮਰਾ ॥: srapanee jeetee kahaa karai jamaraa: When the Maya, she-serpent, is overcome, what can the Death do? (sggs 480).
  • ਮਾਇਆ ਮੁਈ ਨ ਮਨੁ ਮੁਆ ਸਰੁ ਲਹਰੀ ਮੈ ਮਤੁ ॥: Maya muee na mann muaa sar laharee mai matt: Maya is not conquered, and the mind is not subdued; the waves of desire in the world-ocean are intoxicating wine (sggs 992).
  • ਸਚੇ ਬਾਝਹੁ ਕੋ ਅਵਰੁ ਨ ਦੂਆ ॥ ਦੂਜੈ ਲਾਗਿ ਜਗੁ ਖਪਿ ਖਪਿ ਮੂਆ ॥: Sache baajhahu ko avar n dooaa. Doojai laag jag khap khap mooaa: Without the (One) Truth, there is no other (or second, etc.) at all. (But) attached to duality (due to having been caught in the love of Maya), the world is distracted and distressed to death (death of Spiritual Life - ਆਤਮਕ ਮੌਤ) (sggs 113).
  • ਨਾਨਕ ਮਾਇਆ ਕਾ ਮਾਰਣੁ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਹੈ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਪਾਇਆ ਜਾਇ ॥: Nanak Maya kaa maaranu hari naamu hai gurmukhi paaiaa jaai: O Nanak! Hari Naam (Aatam-Giaan or Divine Knowledge of the Mool...) is the antidote to Maya; it is obtained by becoming the Gurmukh. (sggs 513).

One's Mool is ever present Within, anchoring us to the Timeless Essence. Those who are fully aware of this Divine Connection Within are living liberated - Jeevanmukta - for they have overcome the body-identity, thereby they have conquered the fear and threat of death. To become "Jeevanmukta" means to come out of ourselves to selflessness. Simply put: to become a living liberated is to annihilate the false ego ("I-ness") while living, before the physical death!

  • ਜੀਵਨ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਸੋ ਆਖੀਐ ਮਰਿ ਜੀਵੈ ਮਰੀਆ ॥: Jivanmukta so aakheeye mar jeevai mariya: He who effaces his ownself and is dead in life, is said to have been liberated while alive (sggs 449).
  • ਜੀਵਨ ਮੁਕਤੁ ਮਨਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਵਸਾਏ ...: Jeevanmukta man Naam vasaye ...: By abiding the Divine Name in the mind, one is liberated while living. Becoming Gurmukh (Spiritual Being), he merges into the True God (sggs 412).
  • The mystery of "Die before death" is this: After dying come the spoils. Other than dying no other skill avails with God, oh worker of deception! (Sufi Jalaluddin Rumi).

Overtaken by the spell of deceptive Maya, however, the majority of us are not fully aware of the Mool, because we simply accept the body-mind-intellect as the Immortal Mool. Therefore, for the majority of us the inevitability of death becomes the source of fear and dread.

Thus, death is essentially an illusion, our "disconnect" from the Real Source within (Mool...). In other words, death is the result of our forgetfulness or separateness from the Divine Factor, which is Immortal (Amrit), Unborn and Undying. What it means is that Immortality is our True Identity, but we do not know it. As a result, we search it in ephemeral objects. This is our ignorance, bondage and suffering.

  • ਸੋ ਮੂਆ ਜਿਸੁ ਮਨਹੁ ਬਿਸਾਰੈ ॥: So mooaa jis manahu bisaarai: One who has forgotten the Divine, is already dead (sggs 292).
  • ਬਿਨੁ ਸਬਦੈ ਮੁਆ ਹੈ ਸਭੁ ਕੋਇ ॥: Bin sabadai muaa hai sabh koe: Without the Shabad, everyone is dead (sggs 1418).
  • ਬਿਨੁ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਸੇਵੇ ਜਗਤੁ ਮੁਆ ਬਿਰਥਾ ਜਨਮੁ ਗਵਾਇ ॥: Bin satgur saevae jagat muaa birathaa janam gavaae: Without serving the True Guru (the Divine), the people of the world are dead; they waste their lives away in vain (sggs 591).
  • ਜਮ ਵਸਿ ਕੀਆ ਅੰਧੁ ਦੁਹੇਲਾ ॥: Jamm vas keeaa andh duhaelaa: The miserable spiritually blind person is caught in the power of Death (sggs 1031).

The Gurbani says even though we are alive, but in reality we are dead because of our separation from the Immortal Reality; but nobody mourns for us! Why? Because of our ignorance of the death, what is already dead seems alive to us, and what is alive seems dead! Thus, true understanding is indicated to be the key to Life Eternal.

  • ਜੀਵਤ ਕਉ ਮੂਆ ਕਹੈ ਮੂਏ ਨਹੀ ਰੋਤਾ ॥੪॥: Jeevat ko mooaa kahai mooeae nahee rotaa: The living (spiritual Life - ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ) are said to be dead, and no one mourns for those who have died (of spiritual Life - ਆਤਮਕ ਮੌਤੇ ਮਰੇ ਹੋਏ ਨੂੰ). ||4|| (sggs 229).
  • ਮੁਆ ਜੀਵੰਦਾ ਪੇਖੁ ਜੀਵੰਦੇ ਮਰਿ ਜਾਨਿ ॥: Muaa jeevandaa pekh jeevandae mari jaan: See, that only one who has died, truly lives; one who is alive, consider him dead (sggs 1102).
  • ਜੀਵਤੇ ਕਉ ਜੀਵਤਾ ਮਿਲੈ ਮੂਏ ਕਉ ਮੂਆ ॥: Jeevnante ko jeevataa milai mooeae ko mooaa: The living mingle with the living, and the dead mingle with the dead (sggs 788).
  • ਨਾਮ ਬਿਨਾ ਧ੍ਰਿਗੁ ਜੀਵਣੁ ਮੂਆ ॥: Naam binaa dhrig jeevan mooaa: Without the Naam, both life and death are cursed (sggs 1156).

We are repeatedly warned by the Gurbani that if we do not set our vision right, that is, if do not set right our ideas of ourselves, then what gave us this present body will surely give us next one also! There is the Mool and there is the physical body. Between them is the false ego (deluded mind). As the mind gets purified, it moves toward the Mool, causing the body-consciousness to disappear! Accordingly, attaining liberation from the menacing body-consciousness or fear of death is the first teaching of the Gurbani.

  • ਕਾਇਆ ਕੁਸੁਧ ਹਉਮੈ ਮਲੁ ਲਾਈ ॥: Kaya kasudh haumai mal laayee: Body soiled with the filth of ego is impure (sggs 1045).
  • ਸੋ ਸੁਖੀਆ ਜਿਸੁ ਭ੍ਰਮੁ ਗਇਆ ॥: So sukhia jis bharam gaya: He alone is happy whose delusion is dispelled (sggs 1180).

Spiritual Wisdom (Aatam-Giaan) is the destroyer of all fear. By the negation of the false and the assertion of the Truth (Shabad-Vichaar), the mistaken superimpositions (false concepts, material conditioning, self-limitations, mistaken identity, etc.) are destroyed, and what remains over is the Pure Self. When the mental distortions cease the world-illusion also ceases, and the mind reverts back to its natural state of Being (Timeless Consciousness or Sahaj Avasthaa). As the dirt is washed with the dirt, a thorn is removed by another thorn, a poison antidotes poison, similarly, the mind is purified (conquered) by the mind!

  • ਮਨ ਕੂਟੈ ਤਉ ਜਮ ਤੇ ਛੂਟੈ ॥: Mann koottai tau jamm te shhoottai: Pounding down his mind, he escapes from Death (sggs 872).
  • ਜਹ ਮਰਨੈ ਸਭੁ ਜਗਤੁ ਤਰਾਸਿਆ ॥ ਸੋ ਮਰਨਾ ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦਿ ਪ੍ਰਗਾਸਿਆ ॥: Jih maranai sabh jagt taraasiaa. So maranaa gur sabadi pragaasiaa: That death which terrifies the entire world, the nature of that death has been revealed to me, through the Gur-Shabad (sggs 327).
  • ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਸਕਤੀ ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਸੀਉ ॥ ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਪੰਚ ਤਤ ਕੋ ਜੀਉ ॥ ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਲੇ ਜਉ ਉਨਮਨਿ ਰਹੈ ॥ ਤਉ ਤੀਨਿ ਲੋਕ ਕੀ ਬਾਤੈ ਕਹੈ ॥੩੩॥: Ih manu sakti ih manu seeou. Ih mnu panj tatt ko jeeou... (sggs 342).
  • ਨਾਨਕ ਮਨ ਹੀ ਤੇ ਮਨੁ ਮਾਨਿਆ ਨਾ ਕਿਛੁ ਮਰੈ ਨ ਜਾਇ ॥: Nanak man hee te man maaniya na kish marai na jaayi: O Nanak, through the mind, the mind is satisfied, and then, nothing comes or goes (sggs 514).

Therefore, a true seeker constantly and thoroughly trains himself for Spiritual fitness by practicing detachment to the sense objects, and thereby removing his false ego by disconnecting mind from the senses and educating the intellect. Removal of false ego means harmoniously and spontaneously reuniting it with the Mool Within. One then learns to withdraw his false ego at will from the physical body and the world-appearance and unite it with the Bliss (Anand) of the Soul Consciousness Within. At the end, he happily exits from the bodily prison or sense-slavery. Such liberated being (Jeevanmukta) does not come back to this material world again, unless so ordained by the Divine, for he has learned all the lessons that this earthly life was to teach.

  • ਧੰਧਾ ਮੁਆ ਵਿਗੂਤੀ ਮਾਇਆ ॥: Dhandaa muaa vigootee maya: Worldly entanglements are ended, when Maya is conquered (sggs 936).
  • ਵਿਚਹੁ ਆਪੁ ਮੁਆ ਤਿਥੈ ਮੋਹੁ ਨ ਮਾਇਆ ॥: Vichahu aap muaa tithai mohu na maya: When selfishness and conceit (false "I") are eradicated from within, then there is no attachment to Maya (sggs 121).
  • ਲੋਭੁ ਮੂਆ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਬੁਝਿ ਥਾਕੀ ॥: Lobh mooaa trisunaa bujh thaakee: When greed dies, your thirst (desires) will be quenched (sggs 742).

By inquiring (Shabad-Vichaar) into the nature of the Truth and falsehood, one can resolve the confusion between the body and the Mool. Just as the diamond fallen into the mud is never spoiled, just as the sky is not affected by the dust particles floating in it, similarly, the Mool is untainted by the body. Birth and death is of the mind (false ego), not the Mool. Therefore, the material expansion or growth is also of the ego-mind. And when this Truth is clearly understood, it is the mind that is liberated from its own ignorance (false ego). Upon dawning of the Knowledge of the Truth, or upon Realization of the Mool within (Source...), the man's mind settles down in Complete Peace (Sahaj), just as grains of dirt floating in water settle down when the water is absolutely steady. This is the state of the mind liberated from both birth and death.

  • ਦਦਾ ਦੇਖਿ ਜੁ ਬਿਨਸਨਹਾਰਾ ॥ ਜਸ ਅਦੇਖਿ ਤਸ ਰਾਖਿ ਬਿਚਾਰਾ ॥ ਦਸਵੈ ਦੁਆਰਿ ਕੁੰਚੀ ਜਬ ਦੀਜੈ ॥ ਤਉ ਦਇਆਲ ਕੋ ਦਰਸਨੁ ਕੀਜੈ ॥੨੪॥: Daddaa dekh ju binsanahaaraa. Jas dekh tas raakh bichaaraa. Dasvai duaar kunjee jab deejai. Taou diaal kaou darsan keejai ||24||: Daddaa (a letter of the Gurmukhi alphabet): Whatever is seen (with our physical eyes) will perish. Engage in the Vichaar (Shabad-Vichaar) of the One who is unseen (i.e., who cannot be seen with our physical eyes). When the key (of the Gur-Shabad, Gur-Giaan...) is inserted in the Tenth Gate (i.e., when we abide in the Guru-Shabad, the Mool within...), then the Blessed Vision (Darshan) of the Merciful Lord is seen ||24|| (sggs 341).
  • ਸਬਦਿ ਮਰੈ ਸੁ ਮੁਆ ਜਾਪੈ ॥: Sabade marai su muaa jaapai: One who dies in the Word of the Shabad is truly dead (sggs 111).
  • ਸਬਦਿ ਮੁਆ ਵਿਚਹੁ ਆਪੁ ਗਵਾਇ ॥: Sabadi muaa vicahu aap gavaae: One who dies in the Word of the Shabad, eradicates his self-conceit from within (sggs 361).
  • ਸਬਦਿ ਮਰੈ ਫਿਰਿ ਮਰਣੁ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਬਿਨੁ ਮੂਏ ਕਿਉ ਪੂਰਾ ਹੋਇ ॥: Sabadi marai fir maran na hoe. Bin mooeae kio pooraa hoe: One who dies in the Word of the Shabad, will never again have to die. Without such a death, how can one attain perfection? (sggs 153).
  • ਕਾਲ ਬਿਕਾਲ ਸਬਦਿ ਭਏ ਨਾਸੁ ॥: Kaal bikaal sabadi bheae naas: Through the Shabad, death and birth are ended (sggs 832).
  • ਮਾਇਆ ਨਾਮੁ ਗਰਭ ਜੋਨਿ ਕਾ ਤਿਹ ਤਜਿ ਦਰਸਨੁ ਪਾਵਉ ॥: Maya naam garabh joni kaa tih taj darsan paavo: Maya is the name of the power which causes us to be born; renouncing it, we obtain the Divine Darshan - Self-realization (sggs 693).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਨਿਰੰਜਨ ਪਾਏ ॥ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਹਉਮੈ ਸਬਦਿ ਜਲਾਏ ॥: Gurmukhi Naam Niranjan paae. Gurmukhi haumain sabadi jalaae: By becoming the Gurmukh, one obtains the Name of the Immaculate Lord. The Gurmukh burns ego through the Shabad (sggs 942).
  • ਸੇ ਮੁਕਤੁ ਸੇ ਮੁਕਤੁ ਭਏ ਜਿਨ ਹਰਿ ਧਿਆਇਆ ਜੀ ਤਿਨ ਤੂਟੀ ਜਮ ਕੀ ਫਾਸੀ ॥: Se mukat se mukat bhae jin har dhiaaeiaa jee tin toottee jamm kee faasee: They are liberated, they are liberated-those who meditate on Divine. For them, the noose of death is cut away (sggs 11).

We are of the Timeless Essence. The Gurbani urges us to hold on to this Truth and cling to nothing else. As a result, all our fears, anxieties, the feeling of coming and going, and so on, will vanish and the Bliss will remain over. Immortality downs on us when the river of our separateness (false ego) is discharged into the bottomless Ocean of Divine Consciousness. We are urged by the Gurbani to go Within; for there is no difference between us, Immortality, Mool, Divine Substance or Light (Joti-Svaroopa). By becoming Gurmukh (Spiritual Being), we can reclaim our Immortality "hear" and "now" through meditation on the Divine Name, our True Nature. Since the Divine Factor is always Within, we are never apart from It. As such, it is not the matter of realizing the Immortality, but of realizing that we never were not Immortal!

  • ਬਾਹਰਿ ਢੂਢਤ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਦੁਖੁ ਪਾਵਹਿ ਘਰਿ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਘਟ ਮਾਹੀ ਜੀਉ ॥: By searching around on the outside, you will only suffer great pain; Amrit, Immortality, is found Within the Home of your own Being (sggs 598).
  • ਨਉ ਨਿਧਿ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਕਾ ਨਾਮੁ ॥ ਦੇਹੀ ਮਹਿ ਇਸ ਕਾ ਬਿਸ੍ਰਾਮੁ ॥: The nine treasures and Amrit, Immortality, is the Divine Name. Within the human body is its place of rest (sggs 293).
  • ਮੁਆ ਕਬੀਰੁ ਰਮਤ ਸ੍ਰੀ ਰਾਮੈ ॥: Muaa Kabeer ramat sree raamai: Kabeer died chanting the Divine Name (sggs 326).
  • ਹਰਿ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਰਸੁ ਪਾਇਆ ਮੁਆ ਜੀਵਾਇਆ ਫਿਰਿ ਬਾਹੁੜਿ ਮਰਣੁ ਨ ਹੋਈ ॥: Har anmrit ras paaeiaa muaa jeevaaeiaa fir baahurr maran na hoee: Obtaining the Ambrosial Essence of the Divine, the dead are restored to life, and do not die again (sggs 447).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਮਰਹਿ ਸੁ ਹਹਿ ਪਰਵਾਣੁ ॥ ਆਵਣ ਜਾਣਾ ਸਬਦੁ ਪਛਾਣੁ ॥: Gurmukh marahi su hahi paravaan. Aavan jaanaa sabad pashaan: The Gurmukh, while remaining dead, is respected and approved. Through the Shabad, he comes to understand coming and going (sggs 1059).
  • ਜਿਹ ਕਾਲ ਕੈ ਮੁਖਿ ਜਗਤੁ ਸਭੁ ਗ੍ਰਸਿਆ ਗੁਰ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਬਚਨਿ ਹਰਿ ਹਮ ਬਾਚੇ ॥: Jih kaal kai mukh jagat sabh grasiaa gur satgur kai bachani hari ham baachae: The whole world is caught and held in the mouth of Death. Through the Teachings of the True Guru, God, I am saved (sggs 169).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਜਿੰਦੂ ਜਪਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਕਰੰਮਾ ...: Gurmukh jindoo jap Naam krammaa ...: O my Soul, by becoming Gurmukh (Spiritual Being), do this deed: chant the Divine Name. Make the Divine Teaching (Shabad-Giyan) your mother, that it may teach you to keep the God’s Name in your mouth. Let contentment be your father; and the Primal Being, who is beyond birth, be the Guru. By great good fortune, you will meet Him (sggs 172-173).
  • ਕਉਣੁ ਮੂਆ ਕਉਣੁ ਮਾਰਸੀ ਕਉਣੁ ਆਵੈ ਕਉਣੁ ਜਾਇ ...: Koun mooaa koun maarasee koun aavai koun jaae ...: Who has died, and who kills? Who comes and who goes? Who is enraptured, O Nanak, and whose consciousness merges in the Divine? In egotism, he dies; possessiveness kills him, and the breath flows out like a river. Desire is exhausted, O Nanak, only when the mind is imbued with the Divine Name. His eyes are imbued with the eyes of the Divine, and his ears ring with Divine Consciousness. His tongue drinks in the sweet nectar, dyed crimson by chanting the Divine Name. His inner being is drenched with the Divine fragrance; his worth cannot be described. In this age, the Divine Name is the treasure. Only the Divine Name goes along in the end (sggs 1091).

Thus, the only way to avoid death is to get United with he Mool within, "now". Death only takes the body, the dress made of five elements. The physical hearts die, but the Eternal Heart, the Mool, lives. But, death torments one who has become something other than the Mool, or who identifies with the non-self - "I am the body" idea. In other words, death only comes to a deluded or an active mind full of lust, anger, greed, sense attachment, self-conceit, enviousness, stubbornness, attraction and aversion, and so on. Therefore, the Gurbani asks us to know theMool by becoming Gurmukhs (Spiritual beings), and when death comes, go laughing!

  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਹੋਇ ਬਹੁਰਿ ਨਹੀ ਮਰਨਾ ॥: Gurmukh hoi bahuri nahee marnaa: Become Gurmukh, and you will never die again (sggs 872).

— T. Singh
www.gurbani.org