TRUE IDENTITY

O my mind, you are the embodiment or the True Image of the Divine Light (i.e., God) - recognize
your Origin (Roots, Reality, etc.). (sggs 490).
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Cosmic Reality is not only Eternal and Bliss Absolute, but also Light. That Cosmic Light is the true structure of all beings. We are That — the embodiment, emanation or the manifestation of the same, One Omnipresent Light. To put it in simple language, in its Essential Nature, our mind (Soul - Aatmaan) is the Mind of the Light — Ageless, Unborn, Eternal, Immortal, Imperishable, Ancient, Changeless, and Homogenous Oneness. This is our True and Eternal Identity. This Truth is alsoindicated by the term Joti-Saroop or Joti-Svaroop. We are time and again reminded in the Gurbani to recognize This Truth, "hear" and "now"!

  • ਇਉ ਕਹੈ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਮਨ ਤੂੰ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਰੂਪੁ ਹੈ ਅਪਣਾ ਮੂਲੁ ਪਛਾਣੁ ॥੫॥: Iou kahai Nanaku man toon joti saroopu hai apanaa moolu pashaanu ||5||: Thus says Nanak - O mind! Your "Saroop" (your own, True State) is "Joti" (Divine Light)! Recognize your Mool (Source, Origin, Reality...) ||5|| (sggs 441).
  • ਸੋਹੰ ਆਪੁ ਪਛਾਣੀਐ ਸਬਦਿ ਭੇਦਿ ਪਤੀਆਇ ॥: Soham aapu pchhaaneeai sabadi bhedi pteeaai: (When one's mind) is pierced through by the Shabad and is confided (in the Shabad, then one) recognizes within himself that, "He is me" (i.e, then he knows that his Real Nature and God's Nature is one and the same - ਤਦੋਂ ਇਹ ਪਛਾਣ ਆਉਂਦੀ ਹੈ ਕਿ ਮੇਰਾ ਤੇ ਪ੍ਰਭੂ ਦਾ ਸੁਭਾਉ ਰਲਿਆ ਹੈ). (sggs 60).
  • ਤਤੁ ਨਿਰੰਜਨੁ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਬਾਈ ਸੋਹੰ ਭੇਦੁ ਨ ਕੋਈ ਜੀਉ ॥: Tat niranjan joti sabaaee soham bhed na koee jeeo: The essence, the immaculate Lord, the Light of all — I am He and He is me — there is no difference (sggs 599).
  • ਤੋਹੀ ਮੋਹੀ ਮੋਹੀ ਤੋਹੀ ਅੰਤਰੁ ਕੈਸਾ ॥ ਕਨਕ ਕਟਿਕ ਜਲ ਤਰੰਗ ਜੈਸਾ ॥੧॥: Tohee mohee mohee tohee antar kaisaa. Kanak katik jal trang jaisaa ||1||: You are me, and I am You—what is the difference between us? We are like gold and the bracelet, or water and the waves ||1|| (sggs 93).
  • ਆਤਮ ਮਹਿ ਰਾਮੁ ਰਾਮ ਮਹਿ ਆਤਮੁ ਚੀਨਸਿ ਗੁਰ ਬੀਚਾਰਾ ॥: Aatam mahi Raam Raam mahi aatam cheenas Gur beechaaraa: God is in the Soul, and the Soul is in God. This is realized through Reflecting (on the Teachings) of the Guru (1153).
  • ਮਨ ਮਹਿ ਜੋਤਿ ਜੋਤਿ ਮਹਿ ਮਨੂਆ ਪੰਚ ਮਿਲੇ ਗੁਰ ਭਾਈ ॥: Mann mahi joti joti mahi manooaa panch mile gur bhaaee: The Light is in the mind, and the mind is in the Light. The Divine brings the five senses together, in harmony (sggs 879).
  • God created the man in His Image" (Bible, Genesis 1:27).
  • Tat tvam asi: Thou art That (Veda). Aham Brahma Asmi: I am God (Veda).
  • Man is the goal of creation. He has come into this world to display those Attributes of God that are reflected within himselft (Sufi Giyani Jallaludin Rumi).
  • Analhaq: I am He (Sufi Giyani Shams Tabreiz).

The term Light conferred in the Gurbani is not used in the sense of grosser light of candles, electric bulbs, and so on. It denotes the Cosmic Consciousness, Cosmic Energy, Infinite Wisdom, Cosmic Knowledge — the Word, the Naam, the Hukam, the Shabad or the Transcendental Vibratory Sound that vibrates, creates, guides, controls, directs, sustains and animates every particle of the Cosmos.

  • ਆਪੇ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਰੂਪੀ ਬਾਲਾ ॥: Aape joti saroopee baalaa: (the Lord) Himself is the embodiment of Light, and the Great (ਸਭ ਦਾ ਵੱਡਾ-Exalted, Eminent, etc.) (sggs 1021).
  • ਜੋਤਿ ਸਰੂਪ ਸਦਾ ਸੁਖਦਾਤਾ ਸਚੇ ਸੋਭਾ ਪਾਇਦਾ ॥: Joti saroop sadaa sukhadaataa sache sobhaa paaidaa: The Giver of Peace is forever the Embodiment of Light; from the True Being, glory is obtained (sggs 1036).
  • ਜੋਤਿ ਸਰੂਪੀ ਸਭੁ ਜਗੁ ਮਉਲੋ ॥: Joti saroopee sabh jagg moulo: He is the Embodiment of Light; through Him, the whole world blossoms forth (sggs 1083).
  • ਜੋਤਿ ਸਰੂਪ ਜਾ ਕੀ ਸਭ ਵਥੁ ॥: Joti saroop jaa kee sabh vath: All beings belong to Him, the Embodiment of Light (sggs 1150).
  • ਜੋਤਿ ਸਰੂਪੀ ਤਤ ਅਨੂਪ ॥: Joti saroopee tatt anoop: He is the Embodiment of Light, the incomparable essence (sggs 344).
  • ਜੋਤਿ ਸਰੂਪ ਅਨਾਹਦੁ ਵਾਜਿਆ ॥: Joti saroop anaahad vaajiaa: The Embodiment of Light plays the unstruck melody of bliss (sggs 370).

On account of ignorance, man forgets about his Essential Nature as "Joti-Svaroopa", resulting in ego, illusion, body-consciousness or "I-am-the-body" idea. In this mistaken identity ("I-ness"), he then confounds the Eternal Self with the finite body-mind-intellect apparatus. Seen in such ego or illusion is the birth of the body made of the five elements and its death. Also, seen in it is the phenomenal world of names, shapes, movements and miseries. This body-consciousness, in turn, gives rise to the sense of doership and enjoyership (ego-identity).

  • ਪੰਚਮੀ ਪੰਚ ਭੂਤ ਬੇਤਾਲਾ ॥: Panchamee panch bhoot betaalaa: Panchamee: those who identify with this body of five elements are crazy (sggs 839).
  • ਪੰਚ ਧਾਤੁ ਵਿਚਿ ਪਾਈਅਨੁ ਮੋਹੁ ਝੂਠੁ ਗੁਮਾਨੁ ॥: Panch dhaat vich paaeean mohu jhooth gumaan: Into the body of the five elements are infused attachment, falsehood and self-conceit (sggs 786).
  • ਆਪਣੈ ਅਹੰਕਾਰਿ ਜਗਤੁ ਜਲਿਆ ਮਤ ਤੂੰ ਆਪਣਾ ਆਪੁ ਗਵਾਵਹੇ ॥: Aapanai ahankaar jagat jaliaa matt toon aapanaa aap gavaavahe: The world is consumed by ego-identity; see this, lest you lose your own self as well (sggs 441).

In body-consciousness, man's all worldly relationships become bondage. He then exclusively thinks about his body, spouse, children and power. Overtaken by lust, greed, anger, sense-attachment, self-conceit, enviousness and stubborn mindedness, he loses Divine Virtues. He becomes materialist or Mayadhaaree (the Manmukh), and comes down to the level of animals. In selfishness, he thus does havoc and corruption. He gives up the path of compassion and truth or righteousness, and adopts the path of obstinate error and violent destruction.Every act performed (Mayaic efforts) in such obscured consciousness becomes suffering (Dukha) in disguise for him.

  • ਜਬ ਇਹ ਜਾਨੈ ਮੈ ਕਿਛੁ ਕਰਤਾ ॥ ਤਬ ਲਗੁ ਗਰਭ ਜੋਨਿ ਮਹਿ ਫਿਰਤਾ ॥ ਜਬ ਧਾਰੈ ਕੋਊ ਬੈਰੀ ਮੀਤੁ ॥ ਤਬ ਲਗੁ ਨਿਹਚਲੁ ਨਾਹੀ ਚੀਤੁ ॥ ਜਬ ਲਗੁ ਮੋਹ ਮਗਨ ਸੰਗਿ ਮਾਇ ॥ ਤਬ ਲਗੁ ਧਰਮ ਰਾਇ ਦੇਇ ਸਜਾਇ ॥ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਕਿਰਪਾ ਤੇ ਬੰਧਨ ਤੂਟੈ ॥ ਗੁਰ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ ਨਾਨਕ ਹਉ ਛੂਟੈ ॥੪॥: Jab lag jaanai mujh te kashoo hoi ...: As long as someone thinks in ego that he is the doer, he will have no Peace. As long as this mortal thinks that he is the one who does things, he will wander in reincarnation through the womb. As long as he considers (in duality) one an enemy, and another a friend, his mind will not come to rest. As long as he is intoxicated with attachment to Maya, the Righteous Judge (The Divine Law of Karma) will punish him. By the Divine Grace, his material bonds are shattered; by the Divine Grace, O Nanak, his ego is eliminated ||4|| (sggs 278).
  • ਮ੍ਰਿਗ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਜਿਉ ਝੂਠੋ ਇਹੁ ਜਗ ਦੇਖਿ ਤਾਸਿ ਉਠਿ ਧਾਵੈ ॥੧॥: Mrig trisnaa jiyu jhootho ihu jag dekhi taasi uthi dhavai ||1||: This world is false like the deer's delusion (ਮ੍ਰਿਗ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ: ਠਗ-ਨੀਰ, mirage). (As a deer chases after mirage - ਮ੍ਰਿਗ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ, ਠਗ-ਨੀਰ - and dies chasing it), similarly, (the Maya stricken person) on beholding this world runs after it (and suffers - ਆਤਮਕ ਮੌਤ) ||1|| (sggs 219).
  • ਇਹੁ ਧਨੁ ਸੰਪੈ ਮਾਇਆ ਝੂਠੀ ਅੰਤਿ ਛੋਡਿ ਚਲਿਆ ਪਛੁਤਾਈ ॥: Ih dhan sanpai Maya jhoothee anti chhod chaliaa pachhutaaee: This wealth, property and Maya are false; (know that the mortal) in the end, departs in sorrow leaving these behind (sggs 77).
  • ਇਹੁ ਮੋਹੁ ਮਾਇਆ ਤੇਰੈ ਸੰਗਿ ਨ ਚਾਲੈ ਝੂਠੀ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਲਗਾਈ ॥: Ih moh Maya terai sang na chhallai jhoothee pareet lagaayee: This emotional attachment to Maya will not go with you; falls is to fall in love with it (sggs 78).
  • ਕਾਇਆ ਰਤਿ ਬਹੁ ਰੂਪ ਰਚਾਹੀ ॥ ਤਿਨ ਕਉ ਦਇਆ ਸੁਪਨੈ ਭੀ ਨਾਹੀ ॥: Kaaiaa ratti bahu roop rachaahee. Tin kau daiaa supanai bhee naahee: Body-conscious people try different ways to beatify their bodies; such people do not feel compassion, even in dreams (sggs 324).

The Gurbani urges each and every person of the world to unlearn or deprogram this incorrect identification of who we have become. We are asked to come out of this unenlightened existence by recognizing our True and Eternal Identity as "Joti-Svaroopa", which is Truth-Knowledge-Bliss. We are urged to engage in Shabad-Vichaar and correct our faulty vision. This will begin the quest for Spiritual Wisdom (Aatam Giaan). The Gurbani asks us to live the life of love, true compassion, truth, understanding, contentment, kindness, inner purity, harmony, oneness, selflessness, peace, Wisdom, spiritual fraternity, universal goodwill, tolerance, loving Bhagati, and so on. As the mind gets purified through the Shabad-Vichaar, it moves toward the Mool within (Source, Origin, Jot...), causing the body-consciousness ("I-ness") to disappear.

Accordingly, attaining liberation from the error of body-identity (Mayaic Budhi or intellect) is the teaching of the Gurbani. Because the true Divine Life begins where the body-consciousness ends. Where there is no attachment to the body-mind-intellect there is no time or past and future. Thus, after the cessation of the body-identity or duality, only the Pure Consciousness or "Joti-Svaroopa" remains, and the mind goes back to its Divine Source (Mool). Verily the Purity of the mind is the Supreme Bliss.

  • ਆਪੁ ਬੀਚਾਰੇ ਸੁ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਹੋਈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ Aapu beechaare su giaanee hoee ||1||Rahaaou||: Who reflects ownself (ਆਪਣੇ ਆਪ ਨੂੰ, ਆਪਣੇ ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਨੂੰ, ਆਪਣੇ ਅਸਲੇ ਨੂੰ ਵਿਚਾਰਦਾ ਹੈ - ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਦੀ ਪੜਤਾਲ) is truely Giaanee (Wise - ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਦੀ ਸੂਝ ਬੂਝ ਵਾਲਾ) ||1||Pause|| (sggs 152).
  • ਆਪ ਸੇਤੀ ਆਪੁ ਖਾਇਆ ਤਾ ਮਨੁ ਨਿਰਮਲੁ ਹੋਆ ਜੋਤੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਮਈ ॥: Aap setee aap khaaiaa taa mann niramal hoaa jotee joti samaee: When my (True) Identity consumed my (mistaken) body-identity, then my mind became immaculately Pure, and my light was blended with the Divine Light (sggs 490).
  • ਨਾਨਕ ਆਪੇ ਆਪਿ ਆਪਿ ਖੁਆਈਐ ॥: Nanak aape aapi aapi khuaaeeai: Says Nanak: Let your (True) Identity consume your (mistaken) body-identity (sggs 369).
  • ਜੋਤੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਮਿਲੀ ਮਨੁ ਮਾਨਿਆ ਹਰਿ ਦਰਿ ਸੋਭਾ ਪਾਵਣਿਆ ॥: Jotee joti milee manu maaniaa har dari sobhaa paavaniaa: My mind has surrendered (its ego illusion); now my light has merged into the Cossmic Light; and I am blessed with the Glory of the Divine Realm (sggs 124).
  • ਅਪੁਨੇ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕਉ ਸਦਾ ਬਲਿ ਜਾਈ ॥ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਜੋਤੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਮਿਲਾਈ ॥: Apune satgur kaou bali jaaee. Gumukh jotee joti milaaee: I am forever a sacrifice to my Satguru. Who becomes the Gurmukh, (the Satguru) blends his light (consciousness, ਸੁਰਤਿ, etc.) with the Divine Light (sggs 362).
  • ਘਰ ਹੀ ਪਰਚਾ ਪਾਇਆ ਜੋਤੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਮਿਲਾਇ ॥: Ghar hee parachaa paaiaa jotee joti milaai: Within the Home of his own Being, one finds the Divine Self, and his light blends with the Light (sggs 587).
  • ਗੁਣ ਰਵਹਿ ਗੁਣ ਸੰਗ੍ਰਹਹਿ ਜੋਤੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਮਿਲਾਇ ॥: Gun ravahi gun sangrahahi jotee joti milaae: One chants the Divine Praises, gathers Virtue, and his light merges into the Light (sggs 850).
  • ਜੋਤੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਮਿਲਾਈਐ ਸੁਰਤੀ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਸੰਜੋਗੁ ॥ ਹਿੰਸਾ ਹਉਮੈ ਗਤੁ ਗਏ ਨਾਹੀ ਸਹਸਾ ਸੋਗੁ ॥: Jotee joti milaaeeai surtee surti sanjog. Hinsaa hauami gatu gae naaee sahsaa sogu: When one joins his light into the Light, and one joins his consciousness with the Pure Consciousness, then one's cruel and violent instincts, egotism, skepticism and sorrow depart (sggs 21).
  • ਪ੍ਰਗਟੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਜੋਤਿ ਮਹਿ ਜਾਤਾ ਮਨਮੁਖਿ ਭਰਮਿ ਭੁਲਾਣੀ ॥: Pragattee joti joti mahi jaataa manmukh bharam bhulaanee: By awakening the Divine Light within, Realization achieved in It. But the material beings wander in doubt and confusion (sggs 1111).
  • ਜੋਤੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਮਿਲੀ ਸੁਖੁ ਪਾਇਆ ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਇਕੁ ਪਸਾਰਿਆ ਜੀਉ ॥: Jotee joti milee sukh paaiaa jan Nanak ik pasaariaa jeeu: One's light merges into the Light, and he finds Peace. O servant Nanak, this is all the Extension of the One (sggs 97).
  • ਸਚਿ ਰਤੇ ਸੇ ਨਿਰਮਲੇ ਜੋਤੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਮਿਲਾਇ ॥: Sach rate se niramale jotee joti milaai: Those who are imbued with Truth are immaculate; their light merges in the Light (sggs 645).
  • ਨਿਰਮਲ ਨਾਮੁ ਵਸੈ ਘਟ ਭੀਤਰਿ ਜੋਤੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਮਿਲਾਵਣਿਆ ॥: Nirmal naam vasai ghatt bheetar jotee joti milaavaniaa: The Immaculate Divine Name abides deep within their Hearts; their light merges into the Light (sggs 128).
  • ਚੀਨੈ ਆਪੁ ਪਛਾਣੈ ਸੋਈ ਜੋਤੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਮਿਲਾਈ ਹੇ ॥: Cheenai aap pashaanai soee jotee joti milaaee he: One who understands his own Self, realizes the Divine. His light merges into the Light (sggs 1024).
  • ਜੋਤੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਮਿਲਾਇ ਕਾਇਆ ਗੜੁ ਸੋਹਿਆ ਰਾਮ ॥: Jotee joti milaae kaaiaa garr sohiaa raam: My light has merges into the Light, and my body-fortress has become Beautiful (sggs 1114).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਰੋਗੁ ਗਇਆ ਦੁਖੁ ਲਾਥਾ ਆਪੁ ਆਪੈ ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਖਾਧਾ ॥: Houmai rog gaiaa dukh laathaa aap aapai gurmati khaadhaa: Through the Gurmat (Guru's Teaching), the sickness of my ego has been dispelled, and my pain (of ਹਉਮੈ or egotism) is over and done; the knowledge (Giaan) of my (True) Identity has consumed my identical identity(false identity, ਆਪਾ-ਭਾਵ)(sggs 78).
  • ਆਪੈ ਨੋ ਆਪੁ ਖਾਇ ਮਨੁ ਨਿਰਮਲੁ ਹੋਵੈ ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦੀ ਵੀਚਾਰੁ ॥: Aapai no aap khaai mannu niramal hovai gur sabadee veechaar: Your (True) Identity consumes your (Mistaken) body-identity, and your mind becomes Pure by contemplating the Word of the Gur-Shabad (sggs 86).
  • ਕਿਵ ਸਚਿਆਰਾ ਹੋਈਐ ਕਿਵ ਕੂੜੈ ਤੁਟੈ ਪਾਲਿ ॥ ਹੁਕਮਿ ਰਜਾਈ ਚਲਣਾ ਨਾਨਕ ਲਿਖਿਆ ਨਾਲਿ ॥: Kiv sachiyaaraa hooyeeai kiv koorhai totai paali. Hukam rajaaee chalnaa Nanak likhiyaa naali (sggs 1).
  • ਸੁਮਤਿ ਪਾਏ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਏ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਹੋਏ ਮੇਲਾ ਜੀਉ ॥ ਜਲ ਤਰੰਗੁ ਜਿਉ ਜਲਹਿ ਸਮਾਇਆ ॥ ਤਿਉ ਜੋਤੀ ਸੰਗਿ ਜੋਤਿ ਮਿਲਾਇਆ ॥ ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਭ੍ਰਮ ਕਟੇ ਕਿਵਾੜਾ ਬਹੁੜਿ ਨ ਹੋਈਐ ਜਉਲਾ ਜੀਉ ॥: Sumati paaye naam dhiyaae gurmukhi hoye melaa jeeu ...: I have obtained this sublime understanding, and I meditate on the Divine Name; becoming a Gurmukh, I have met God. As waves of water merge again with the water, so does my light merge again into the Light. Says Nanak, the veil of illusion has been cut away, and I will not go out wandering any more (sggs 102).

Thus, man's True Identity is in his inner Divine Qualities, not in outer details as to what language he speaks, what religion or philosophy he follows, what clothes he wears, what external looks or distinctive features he maintains, how he prays or worships, what color is his skin, and so on. Therefore, according to the Gurbani and other genuine scriptures, it will be a blunder to think that man's True Identity is determined by the outer details or his exclusiveness; for they do not constitute the real man. His true sense of identity is in Oneness or Sameness — that Light, Infinite Consciousness or "Joti-Svaroopa" which pervades all, equally.

— T. Singh
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