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).
Drawing out the Mighty Sword of the (ਗੁਰ ਗਿਆਨ) Gur's Spiritual Wisdom, cut (ਵੱਢ ਵੱਢ ਕੇ) the
poisonous (snake of Maya); and (thus one can) drink in the (Spiritual)
Essence (ਆਤਮ ਰਸ, ਨਾਮ ਰਸ, ਗਿਆਨ ਰਸ ...). ||3|| (sggs 1324).

The very style of Baabaa Nanak's teaching is couched in variety of similes, allegories, metaphors, figurative or mystic representations. He takes a convenient worldly object and describes it in such a poetic style so as to express some of the subtler philosophical truths and thereby convey some deeper spiritual message. For example, in the Gurbani, sword (Kirpaan) is used as a metaphor of Spiritual Wisdom (Divine Knwledge, or Giaan; also spelt Gian, Giyan, Janan, etc.); because the darkness of ignorance (false ego, Maya, delusion, false identity, doubts, etc.) can only be dispelled in the Light of the Spiritual Wisdom. In other words, the All-pervading Divine Presence within (Mool) is experienced only with Spiritual Wisdom.

It's really tragic, strange, infelicitous and regrettable that many writers, researchers or Kathaakaars ignore or shun this very valuable message of the Gurbani (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, SGGS)! Without applying the Truth of the Gurbani in our daily life, Spiritual Progress or Unfoldment is unlikely.

  • ਗਿਆਨ ਵਿਹੂਣੀ ਭਵੈ ਸਬਾਈ ॥: Giaan vihoonee bhavai sabaaee: Without the Divine Knowlege, the entire world wanders about (sggs 1034).
  • ਗੁਰ ਤੇ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਪਾਇਆ ਅਤਿ ਖੜਗੁ ਕਰਾਰਾ ॥: Gur te giaan paaiaa ati kharrag karaaraa: From the Guru, I have obtained the supremely powerful sword of spiritual wisdom (sggs 1087).
  • ਗਿਆਨ ਹੀਣੰ ਅਗਿਆਨ ਪੂਜਾ ॥ ਅੰਧ ਵਰਤਾਵਾ ਭਾਉ ਦੂਜਾ ॥: Giaan heenan agiaan poojaa. Andh vrtaavaa bhaayu doojaa (sggs 1412).
  • ਙੰਙਾ ਙਿਆਨੁ ਨਹੀ ਮੁਖ ਬਾਤਉ ॥ ਅਨਿਕ ਜੁਗਤਿ ਸਾਸਤ੍ਰ ਕਰਿ ਭਾਤਉ ॥ ਙਆਨੀ ਸੋਇ ਜਾ ਕੈ ਦ੍ਰਿੜ ਸੋਊ ॥ ਕਹਤ ਸੁਨਤ ਕਛੁ ਜੋਗੁ ਨ ਹੋਊ ॥: Nangaa giaan nahee mukh baatayu. Anik jugat sastar kari bhaatayu. Giaanee soyi jaakai drir soyoo. Kahat sunat kashoo yog na hoyoo: Nangaa: spiritual wisdom is not obtained by mere words of mouth. It is not obtained through the various debates of the Shaastras and scriptures. They alone are spiritually wise, whose minds are firmly fixed on the Self. By just hearing and telling stories, no one attains Yoga (sggs 251).
  • ਨਾਨਕ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਪਰਾਪਤਿ ਹੋਵੈ ਤਿਮਰ ਅਗਿਆਨੁ ਅਧੇਰੁ ਚੁਕਾਇਆ ॥: Nanak Gurmukh giaan praapat hovai timar agiaan andher chukaaiaa: O Nanak, the spiritual wisdom (ਉੱਚੀ ਸਮਝ, etc.) is attained by becoming the Gurmukh, and the pitch-black darkness of ignorance is dispelled (sggs 512).
  • ਗਿਆਨ ਵਿਹੂਣੀ ਪਿਰ ਮੁਤੀਆ ਪਿਰਮੁ ਨ ਪਾਇਆ ਜਾਇ ॥: Giaan vihoonee pir muteeaa piram na paaiaa jaai: Those who are utterly lacking in spiritual wisdom are separated from the Divine; they cannot obtain Divine Love (sggs 38).

Our Soul-consciousness (Joti-Svaroopa) is the fountainhead of Spiritual Wisdom. This may lead to the following question: then what is it that makes it diluted or obscured? Although the Soul-consciousness is untainted, however, due to one's Mayaic intellect , it behaves as the deluded mind or false ego-sense. On account of such ignorant self-limitations, it behaves as if tainted by the worldly objects. Our birth is the result of this deluded condition. But the same mind awakened to its True Nature, free of worldly desires and fears, abandons its ignorant delusion (subject-object division) and regains its Divine Knowledge (Aatam-Giaan, Spiritual Wisdom). The Mool (Source, Origin, Jot...) is Infinite, Unlimited and Unconditioned. So is the Light of the Spiritual Wisdom. When the Divine Knowledge is overpowered by ignorance, the delusion of Maya arises in the mind. On the other hand, when one is firmly established in the Aatam Giaan, the Maya's trickery comes to an end. The Light of this intuitive wisdom turns even the worst worldly poison into immortalizing nectar.

  • ਕਾਢਿ ਖੜਗੁ ਗੁਰ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਕਰਾਰਾ ਬਿਖੁ ਛੇਦਿ ਛੇਦਿ ਰਸੁ ਪੀਜੈ ॥੩॥: Kaadhi kharrg gur giaan karaaraa bikhu chhedi achhedi rasu peejai ||3||: Drawing out the Mighty Sword of the (ਗੁਰ ਗਿਆਨ) Gur's Spiritual Wisdom, cut (ਵੱਢ ਵੱਢ ਕੇ) the poisonous (snake of Maya); and (thus one can) drink in the (Spiritual) Essence (ਆਤਮ ਰਸ, ਨਾਮ ਰਸ, ਗਿਆਨ ਰਸ ...). ||3|| (sggs 1324).

When armed with the sword of Giaan (Divine Knowledge or Spiritual Wisdom), one constantly struggles with his mind and becomes invincible to the passions or emotions connected with his Mayaic tendeencies and their dispositions. Just as a warrior taking up the sword slays the heads of his enemies, similarly, the Gurbani urges us arming ourselves with the sword of Spiritual Wisdom to eradicate the formidable enemy called false ego (Haumai) along with its faults: lust, anger, greed, attachment, self-conceit, envy, and stubborn mindedness (and their numerous variations).

  • 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).
  • ਗਿਆਨ ਖੜਗ ਪੰਚ ਦੂਤ ਸੰਘਾਰੇ ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਜਾਗੈ ਸੋਇ ॥: Giaan kharrag panch doot sanghaare gurmati jaagai soi: (The person who) With the sword of the Spiritual Wisdom kill the five demons (i.e., ego and all its faults - lust, anger,greed, etc.), (he) remains Awake and Aware because of the Gurmat (Teaching of the Gurbani...). (sggs 1414).
  • ਗਿਆਨ ਖੜਗੁ ਕਰਿ ਕਿਰਪਾ ਦੀਨਾ ਦੂਤ ਮਾਰੇ ਕਰਿ ਧਾਈ ਹੇ ॥: Giaan kharragu kari kirapaa deenaa doot maare kari dhaaee hae: With the Divine Grace I am blessed with the sword of spiritual wisdom; I have attacked and killed the demons (i.e., ego and all its faults - lust, anger,greed, etc.). (sggs 1072).

Thus, the contact of the Spiritual Spark (Soul) with material elements creates a knot (egoism) which must be cut asunder if we want freedom from the actions and reactions of fruitive work (causative Karma). Here freedom means liberation from the cycle of reactionary work or birth-and-death repetition. With the sword of Spiritual Wisdom in hand, wise men (the Gurmukhs) cut through the binding knots of reactionary work (Kaarmic actions or Mayaic efforts) by reflecting on the Gur-Shabad (Shabad-Vichaar). Hence the Gurbani urges us giving up attraction to the sense objects and take up the sword of Spiritual Wisdom sharpened by the Bhagati. Then we will be able to cut the hard knot of illusory energy and cross to the other side of the ocean of ignorance.

  • ਸਤਿਗੁਰੂ ਕਾ ਖੜਗੁ ਸੰਜੋਉ ਹਰਿ ਭਗਤਿ ਹੈ ਜਿਤੁ ਕਾਲੁ ਕੰਟਕੁ ਮਾਰਿ ਵਿਡਾਰਿਆ ॥: Satiguroo kaa kharragu sanjoaou hari bhagati hai jitu kaalu kantaku maari vidaariaa (sggs 312).

Mool (Source, Origin, Jot...) is pure Wisdom. Therefore, the true Wisdom is in becoming no other than a Spiritual Being called Gurmukh in the Gurbani. In nutshell, a Gurmukh is All Divine, armed with the sword of Spiritual Wisdom. Opposite of the Gurmukh is called Manmukh (ignorant or materialistic being) who represents the essence of animal propensities; who is not really interesrted in the word of Spiritual Wisdom.

  • ਙਿਆਨੀ ਤਤੁ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਬੀਚਾਰੀ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਜਾ ਕਉ ਕਿਰਪਾ ਧਾਰੀ ॥੫॥: Giaanee tatu gurmukh beechaaree. Nanak Jaa Kaou kirapaa dhaaree ||5||: Unto whom God bestows His Grace, he, by becoming the Gurmukh, contemplates the essence of Reality ||5|| (sggs 251).
  • ਗੁਰ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਖੜਗੁ ਹਥਿ ਧਾਰਿਆ ਜਮੁ ਮਾਰਿਅੜਾ ਜਮਕਾਲਿ ॥: Gur giaan kharrag hathi dhaariaa jamu maariarraa jamakaali: You hold in your hands the sword of the Guru's spiritual wisdom; with this destroyer of death, kill the Death (sggs 235).

According to the Gurbani, Baabaa Nanak always wore a sword; but his sword was none other than the Absolute Truth, and he secured this sword in a scabbard made of Noble Virtues, and sharpened it on the grindstone of Divine Name!

Furthermore, Baabaa Nanak also wore a Janeyu; but his Janeyu was the Spiritual Wisdom!

Additionally, his ring and the rosary were the meditation on the Divine Name, and true contentment was his Camarbandh (waistband)! As stated in his Bani, the Fifth Mahal too wore a dagger; but his dagger was "to be the dust of all men's feet"! Again, one cannot become so humble without Spiritual Wisdom. In conclusion, the entire Gurbani urges us to take up the sword of Spiritual Wisdom and conquer the Mayaic mind and associated death.

  • ਤਰਕਸ ਤੀਰ ਕਮਾਣ ਸਾਂਗ ਤੇਗਬੰਦ ਗੁਣ ਧਾਤੁ ॥: Tarakas teer kamaan saang tegaband gun dhaatu: The pursuit of virtue is my bow and arrow, my quiver, sword and scabbard (sggs 16).
  • ਸਚ ਕੀ ਕਾਤੀ ਸਚੁ ਸਭੁ ਸਾਰੁ ॥ ਘਾੜਤ ਤਿਸ ਕੀ ਅਪਰ ਅਪਾਰ ॥ ਸਬਦੇ ਸਾਣ ਰਖਾਈ ਲਾਇ ॥ ਗੁਣ ਕੀ ਥੇਕੈ ਵਿਚਿ ਸਮਾਇ ॥ ਤਿਸ ਦਾ ਕੁਠਾ ਹੋਵੈ ਸੇਖੁ ॥ ਲੋਹੂ ਲਬੁ ਨਿਕਥਾ ਵੇਖੁ ॥ ਹੋਇ ਹਲਾਲੁ ਲਗੈ ਹਕਿ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਦਰਿ ਦੀਦਾਰਿ ਸਮਾਇ ॥: Sach kee kaatee sach sabh saar. Ghaarrat tis kee apar apaar. Sabade saan rakhaaee laai. Gun kee thekai vichi samaai. Tis daa kuthaa hovai sekh. Lohoo labu nikathaa vekh. Hoi halaal lagai haki jaai. Nanak dari deedaar samaai: If the knife is of Truth, and the Truth is its steel iall steel, that knife's workmanship is incomparably beautiful. (That knife) is sharpened on the grindstone of the Shabad. (consequently) it remains in the scabbard of Virtue. If the Shaykh is killed with that (knife of Truth), then the blood of greed will spill out (from within him). One who is slaughtered in this way, will be attached to the Divine. O Nanak, at the Divine Realm, he is absorbed into His Blessed Vision (sggs 956).
  • ਗਰੀਬੀ ਗਦਾ ਹਮਾਰੀ ॥ ਖੰਨਾ ਸਗਲ ਰੇਨੁ ਛਾਰੀ ॥ ਇਸੁ ਆਗੈ ਕੋ ਨ ਟਿਕੈ ਵੇਕਾਰੀ ॥ ਗੁਰ ਪੂਰੇ ਏਹ ਗਲ ਸਾਰੀ ॥੧॥: Gareebee gadaa hamaaree. Khanna sagal ren saaree. Is aagai ko na tikai vekaaree. Gur poorai ih gal saaree ||1||: Humility is my spiked club. My dagger is to be the dust of all men's feet. No evil-doer can withstand these weapons. The Perfect Guru has given me this understanding ||1|| (sggs 628).
  • ਸਤਿਗੁਰਿ ਗਿਆਨ ਖੜਗੁ ਹਥਿ ਦੀਨਾ ਜਮਕੰਕਰ ਮਾਰਿ ਬਿਦਾਰੇ ॥: Satiguri giaan kharragu hathi deenaa jamakankar maari bidaare (sggs 574).
  • ਮਤਿ ਗੁਰ ਆਤਮ ਦੇਵ ਦੀ ਖੜਗਿ ਜੋਰਿ ਪਰਾਕੁਇ ਜੀਅ ਦੈ ॥: Mati gur aatam dev dee kharrag jori paraakui jeea dai: The Guru implanted the Almighty Sword of the Teachings (ਸਿੱਖਿਆ...) to illuminate the Divine Soul (ਆਤਮ ਦੇਵ...). (sggs 966).

Therefore, the Gurbani asks us to orient life to the Spiritual Wisdom through the Shabad-Vichaar. But, what is the real proof of Spiritual Wisdom in a person? The only way to know if a person is Spiritually Wise (i.e., the Gurmukh) is to watch his actions; for the Wisdom shows its true face in actions. Therefore, it is not what we say, but what we do that matters. To put it otherwise, the real proof of Spiritual Wisdom is the absence of desire for sense gratification (hunger of Maya-ਮਾਇਆ ਦੀ ਭੁੱਖ). Realization of true Spiritual Wisdom is the realization of the Mool within (Source, Origin, Jot...).

The Gurbani elaborates on the characteristics of such a man of Wisdom (Brahm Giaan). In nutshell, he has overcome the false ego-sense and all its faults (i.e., Bikaar).

Such Gurmukh transcends Maya; he is free of duality (Doojaa-Bhaav); he abides in the Divine Hukam (ਹੁਕਮੀ ਬੰਦੇ-ਅਮਲੀ ਜੀਵਨ, ਹੁਕਮੀ ਜੀਵਨ...); he is linked to his Mool within (ਮੂਲ: Source, Origin, Truth, Jot...) and ever remains so; he is contented in all situations (Sach Santokhee); he is the follower of the Truth; his mind is linked to Antar-Aatmaa; he restrains his mind instead of following his mind; he remains integrated in the state of "ਇਕ ਮਨਿ ਇਕ ਚਿਤਿ " - Ik Mani Ik Chiti; he is detached in the midst of Maya - ਮਾਇਆ ਵਿਚ ਉਦਾਸੀ; he is established in Bibek Budhi - ਜਿਸ ਨੂੰ ਗੁਰਮਤ ਦੀ ਪੂਰੀ ਸੋਝੀ ਹੈ; his Akal (ਅਕਲ , wisdom, intellect, reason, etc.) follows the Gurbani (Aatam Giaan Spiritual Wisdom of the Gur-Shabad); he is Aatam Giaanee or Brahm Giaanee ; he is established in Chauthaa Pada or Turiyaa Avasthaa (Tenth Gate, Sahaj Avasthaa - Natural State of Being; Sunn Samaadhi, ਆਤਮਕ ਅਡੋਲਤਾ, Shabad-Surti, etc.); he knows all the "Way of the soul" ("ਜਾਨੈ ਆਤਮ ਕੀ ਰਹਤ", ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ...); he is Jeevan Mukat (living Liberated or Enlightened); he is the fully "Awakened" one who is established at Dasam Duaar (the Tenth-Gate, the Highest Plane of Consciousness)...

While a man of wisdom (Gurmukh) is naturally endowed with these Divine Virtues, a spiritual seeker has to consciously cultivate them.

— T. Singh