SUPERFICIAL PURITY

They draw lines around their kitchen areas, plastering the ground with cow-dung.
The false come and sit within them. They cry out, "Do not touch our food, or it
will be polluted!" But with their polluted bodies, they commit evil deeds. With
filthy minds, they try to cleanse their mouths. Says Nanak, meditate on
True Being. If you are Pure Within, only then you will obtain God (sggs 472). <><><><>

The word "Such" ("ਸੁਚਿ") used in the Gurbani (Sri Guru Granth sahib, SGGS) denotes pure or clean (Pavitra or Savash; ਪਵਿੱਤਰ, ਸਵੱਛ, etc.). Therefore, "Suchataa" (ਸੁੱਚਤਾ) means purity or cleanliness. Purity is of two types: internal and external. It's the keeping of the external or superficial purity (ignoring the inner purity) that's categorically rejected in the Gurbani. In fact during his time, Baabaa Nanak had many discussions with the members of the priest class (Pujaaree group) who fanatically practiced superficial Suchataa, while totally ignoring the inner impurities of their minds.

  • ਸਲੋਕੁ ਮਃ ੧ ॥ ਪਹਿਲਾ ਸੁਚਾ ਆਪਿ ਹੋਇ ਸੁਚੈ ਬੈਠਾ ਆਇ ॥ ਸੁਚੇ ਅਗੈ ਰਖਿਓਨੁ ਕੋਇ ਨ ਭਿਟਿਓ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਸੁਚਾ ਹੋਇ ਕੈ ਜੇਵਿਆ ਲਗਾ ਪੜਣਿ ਸਲੋਕੁ॥ ਕੁਹਥੀ ਜਾਈ ਸਟਿਆ ਕਿਸੁ ਏਹੁ ਲਗਾ ਦੋਖੁ ॥ ਅੰਨੁ ਦੇਵਤਾ ਪਾਣੀ ਦੇਵਤਾ ਬੈਸੰਤਰੁ ਦੇਵਤਾ ਲੂਣੁ ਪੰਜਵਾ ਪਾਇਆ ਘਿਰਤੁ ॥ ਤਾ ਹੋਆ ਪਾਕੁ ਪਵਿਤੁ ॥ ਪਾਪੀ ਸਿਉ ਤਨੁ ਗਡਿਆ ਥੁਕਾ ਪਈਆ ਤਿਤੁ ॥ ਜਿਤੁ ਮੁਖਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਨ ਊਚਰਹਿ ਬਿਨੁ ਨਾਵੈ ਰਸ ਖਾਹਿ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਏਵੈ ਜਾਣੀਐ ਤਿਤੁ ਮੁਖਿ ਥੁਕਾ ਪਾਹਿ ॥੧॥: Saloka Ma. 1|| Pahilaa suchaa aap hoi suchai baithaa aai ...: Saloka Ma. 1. First, purifying himself, (the Brahmin) comes and sits in his purified enclosure. The pure foods, which no one else has touched, are placed before him (by the host). Being purified, he takes his food (which is untouched), and begins to read his sacred verses. But it is then thrown into a filthy place (i.e. stomach). Whose fault is this (that the food is thrown into a dirty place)? The corn is sacred, the water is sacred; the fire and salt are sacred (according to the ancient Indian traditions, these four are called Devtaas) as well; when the fifth thing, the ghee (which is also considered pure), is added, then the food is considered to have become become pure and sanctified. (This sanctified food, the body of Devta) Coming into contact with the sinful human body, the (sanctified) food becomes so impure that is is spat upon. Similarly, says Nanak, that mouth which does not chant the Naam, and without the Name eats tasty foods - know this: such a mouth is to be spat upon ||1|| (sggs 473).
  • ਬਾਹਰਿ ਮਲੁ ਧੋਵੈ ਮਨ ਕੀ ਜੂਠਿ ਨ ਜਾਏ ॥: Baahar mal dhovai man kee jooth na jaaye: Outwardly, he (hypocrite) washes off the filth, but the impurity of his mind does not go away (sggs 88).

Surprisingly, similar empty practice of superficial purity or cleanliness is performed even today by many Sikhs and non- Sikhs alike. For example, before and during the time of Baabaa Nanak, Brahmins or Pundits in their stubborn mindedness or fanaticism (thoughtlessness or imprudence) used to cook their own food separately. They also used their on utensils and kitchens. Many still do! It seems like nowadays their is a new class of Sikhs as well: the Brahamins Sikhs, who also cook their separate food!

For example, many fanatics will refuse to partake in the Langar (common kitchen) and eat with rest of the Sangat (congregation). Instead, they cook their own food in their separate utensils and kitchens. This is one of the burning examples of a stubborn minded (or unwise) person's display of ignorance and inflated ego (Haume).

The Gurbani thunders that no one would be helped along with one's nonsense rituals stemming from his mental concoctions, doubts, superstitions and fear. Accordingly, the God of the Gurbani condemns such useless practices, because they will not help anybody find Him.

It's not that the Gurbani is only telling Brahmins not to practice such worthless rituals, it is also urging the Sikhs as well! If  a Sikh does than why wouldn't a Brahmin be helped along with his rituals, or a Muslim or a Christian or a Yogi with his? How ridiculous and illogical! The fact of the matter is that the Gurbani's instructions are for the good of all mankind; including Sikhs also!

Yet, many self-appointed saints and/or Baabaas (and their followers), Sikhs and non-Sikhs alike, fanatically cook their own food; using their separate utensils and kitchens! Although they preach and attend the congregations at religious gatherings, but refuse to eat food from the Langar, or share their own cooking with rest of the Sangat. Apparently, when it comes to God and Spiritual matters, such Manmukhs do not know the difference between the ear and the elbow! According to the Gurbani's God, whosoever practices such empty ritual is a fanatic, ignorant or Manmukh; because he does not understand the true meaning of the God's Word, although they read and listen to it again and again (Nit-Nem, Akhand-Paths, Kirtan, Kathaa etc.)! Clearly, reading and listening of the Gurbani (or any other Granth or scripture for that matter) is of no use without actually living it in day-to-day life (Amlee Jeevan). The Gurbani says impurity (Jooth) comes from ungodly life.

  • ਉਦਮੁ ਕਰਿ ਲਾਗੇ ਬਹੁ ਭਾਤੀ ਬਿਚਰਹਿ ਅਨਿਕ ਸਾਸਤ੍ਰ ਬਹੁ ਖਟੂਆ ॥ ਭਸਮ ਲਗਾਇ ਤੀਰਥ ਬਹੁ ਭ੍ਰਮਤੇ ਸੂਖਮ ਦੇਹ ਬੰਧਹਿ ਬਹੁ ਜਟੂਆ ॥ ਬਿਨੁ ਹਰਿ ਭਜਨ ਸਗਲ ਦੁਖ ਪਾਵਤ ਜਿਉ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਬਢਾਇ ਸੂਤ ਕੇ ਹਟੂਆ ॥ ਪੂਜਾ ਚਕ੍ਰ ਕਰਤ ਸੋਮਪਾਕਾ ਅਨਿਕ ਭਾਂਤਿ ਥਾਟਹਿ ਕਰਿ ਥਟੂਆ ॥੨॥੧੧॥੨੦॥: Uddam kar laage bahu bhantee ...: (Many Men) are engaged in making efforts many ways. They reflect upon the various aspects of the six Shaastras. Rubbing ashes all over their bodies, many wander around at the various sacred shrines of pilgrimage; they fast until their bodies are emaciated, and braid their hair into tangled messes. Many perform worship ceremonies, draw ritual marks on their bodies, cook their own food fanatically (ਸੁੱਚ ਦੀ ਖਾਤਰ), and make pompous shows of themselves in all sorts of ways. Without devotional worship of the Lord, they all suffer in pain, caught in the tangled web of their love (of all their pompous shows - ਅਡੰਬਰ). ||2||11||20|| (sggs 1389).
  • ਮੁਹਿ ਫੇਰਿਐ ਮੁਹੁ ਜੂਠਾ ਹੋਇ ॥: Muhi feriai muhu joothaa hoi: Impurity comes from turning one's face away from God (sggs 1240).
  • ਮਃ ੧ ॥ ਮਾਣਸ ਖਾਣੇ ਕਰਹਿ ਨਿਵਾਜ ॥ ਛੁਰੀ ਵਗਾਇਨਿ ਤਿਨ ਗਲਿ ਤਾਗ ॥ ਤਿਨ ਘਰਿ ਬ੍ਰਹਮਣ ਪੂਰਹਿ ਨਾਦ ॥ ਉਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਾ ਭਿ ਆਵਹਿ ਓਈ ਸਾਦ ॥ ਕੂੜੀ ਰਾਸਿ ਕੂੜਾ ਵਾਪਾਰੁ ॥ ਕੂੜੁ ਬੋਲਿ ਕਰਹਿ ਆਹਾਰੁ ॥ ਸਰਮ ਧਰਮ ਕਾ ਡੇਰਾ ਦੂਰਿ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਕੂੜੁ ਰਹਿਆ ਭਰਪੂਰਿ ॥ ਮਥੈ ਟਿਕਾ ਤੇੜਿ ਧੋਤੀ ਕਖਾਈ ॥ ਹਥਿ ਛੁਰੀ ਜਗਤ ਕਾਸਾਈ ॥ ਨੀਲ ਵਸਤ੍ਰ ਪਹਿਰਿ ਹੋਵਹਿ ਪਰਵਾਣੁ ॥ ਮਲੇਛ ਧਾਨੁ ਲੇ ਪੂਜਹਿ ਪੁਰਾਣੁ ॥ ਅਭਾਖਿਆ ਕਾ ਕੁਠਾ ਬਕਰਾ ਖਾਣਾ ॥ ਚਉਕੇ ਉਪਰਿ ਕਿਸੈ ਨ ਜਾਣਾ ॥ ਦੇ ਕੈ ਚਉਕਾ ਕਢੀ ਕਾਰ ॥ ਉਪਰਿ ਆਇ ਬੈਠੇ ਕੂੜਿਆਰ ॥ ਮਤੁ ਭਿਟੈ ਵੇ ਮਤੁ ਭਿਟੈ ॥ ਇਹੁ ਅੰਨੁ ਅਸਾਡਾ ਫਿਟੈ ॥ ਤਨਿ ਫਿਟੈ ਫੇੜ ਕਰੇਨਿ ॥ ਮਨਿ ਜੂਠੈ ਚੁਲੀ ਭਰੇਨਿ ॥ ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਸਚੁ ਧਿਆਈਐ ॥ ਸੁਚਿ ਹੋਵੈ ਤਾ ਸਚੁ ਪਾਈਐ ॥੨॥: Ma:1 || Maanas khaane karahi nivaaj... (sggs 471-472).
  • ਸਲੋਕੁ ਮਃ ੧ ॥ ਜੇ ਕਰਿ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਮੰਨੀਐ ਸਭ ਤੈ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਗੋਹੇ ਅਤੈ ਲਕੜੀ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਕੀੜਾ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਜੇਤੇ ਦਾਣੇ ਅੰਨ ਕੇ ਜੀਆ ਬਾਝੁ ਨ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਪਹਿਲਾ ਪਾਣੀ ਜੀਉ ਹੈ ਜਿਤੁ ਹਰਿਆ ਸਭੁ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਕਿਉ ਕਰਿ ਰਖੀਐ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਪਵੈ ਰਸੋਇ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਏਵ ਨ ਉਤਰੈ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਉਤਾਰੇ ਧੋਇ ॥੧॥: Saloka Ma. 1 || Je kar sootak manneeai sabh tai sootak hoi....: Saloka, Ma: 1: If one accepts the concept of impurity, then there is impurity everywhere. In cow-dung and wood there are worms. As many as the grains of food, none is without Jeeva (i.e, life etc.). First, there is life in the water, by which everything else is made green. How can it be protected from impurity? It touches our own kitchen. O Nanak, impurity (from the mind) cannot be removed in this way; it is washed away only by spiritual wisdom or Giaan ||1|| (sggs 472).
  • ਜਿਉ ਜੋਰੂ ਸਿਰਨਾਵਣੀ ਆਵੈ ਵਾਰੋ ਵਾਰ ॥ ਜੂਠੇ ਜੂਠਾ ਮੁਖਿ ਵਸੈ ਨਿਤ ਨਿਤ ਹੋਇ ਖੁਆਰੁ ॥ ਸੂਚੇ ਏਹਿ ਨ ਆਖੀਅਹਿ ਬਹਨਿ ਜਿ ਪਿੰਡਾ ਧੋਇ ॥ ਸੂਚੇ ਸੇਈ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਜਿਨ ਮਨਿ ਵਸਿਆ ਸੋਇ ॥੨॥: Jiou joroo siranaavanee aavai vaaro vaar. Joothe joothaa mukh vasai nit nit hoi khuaar. Sooche ehi na aakheeahi bahan ji pindaa dhoi ||2||. Sooche saeee Nanakaa jin mani vasiaa soi: As a woman has her periods, month after month (which comes from within her own body), so does falsehood (impuritiy) dwell in the mouth of the false; they suffer forever, again and again. They are not called pure, who sit down after merely washing their bodies (and think by washing body they have become pure!). Only they are pure, O Nanak, within whose minds the Lord abides ||2|| (sggs 472).
  • ਮਃ ੧ ॥ ਅੰਦਰਹੁ ਝੂਠੇ ਪੈਜ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਦੁਨੀਆ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਫੈਲੁ ॥ ਅਠਸਠਿ ਤੀਰਥ ਜੇ ਨਾਵਹਿ ਉਤਰੈ ਨਾਹੀ ਮੈਲੁ ॥ ਜਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹ ਪਟੁ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਗੁਦੜੁ ਤੇ ਭਲੇ ਸੰਸਾਰਿ ॥ ਤਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹ ਨੇਹੁ ਲਗਾ ਰਬ ਸੇਤੀ ਦੇਖਨ੍ਹ੍ਹੇ ਵੀਚਾਰਿ ॥ ਰੰਗਿ ਹਸਹਿ ਰੰਗਿ ਰੋਵਹਿ ਚੁਪ ਭੀ ਕਰਿ ਜਾਹਿ ॥ ਪਰਵਾਹ ਨਾਹੀ ਕਿਸੈ ਕੇਰੀ ਬਾਝੁ ਸਚੇ ਨਾਹ ॥ ਦਰਿ ਵਾਟ ਉਪਰਿ ਖਰਚੁ ਮੰਗਾ ਜਬੈ ਦੇਇ ਤ ਖਾਹਿ ॥ ਦੀਬਾਨੁ ਏਕੋ ਕਲਮ ਏਕਾ ਹਮਾ ਤੁਮ੍ਹ੍ਹਾ ਮੇਲੁ ॥ ਦਰਿ ਲਏ ਲੇਖਾ ਪੀੜਿ ਛੁਟੈ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਜਿਉ ਤੇਲੁ ॥ ੨॥: Ma: 1 || Andarahu jhoothe paij baahar duneeaa andar fail.....: Ma: 1: Those who are false within, and (make themselves look) honorable on the outside, are very common in this world. Even though they may bathe at the sixty-eight sacred shrines of pilgrimage, still, their (inner or mental) filth does not depart. Those who have silk (love, compassion, kindness, humility etc.) on the inside and rags (tough) on the outside, are the good ones in this world. They embrace love for the Lord, and contemplate (reflect) beholding Him. In the Lord's Love, they laugh, and in the Lord's Love, they weep, and in the Lord's Love also keep silent. They do not care for anything else, except their True Husband Lord. Sitting, waiting at the Lord's Door, they beg for food (of the Naam, the Lord's Name), and when He gives to them, they eat. (They believe that) One God himself is the Court and He Himself writes everybody's accounts; there, all (good or bad) meet. In the Court of the Lord, the accounts (of everybody's Karma) are examined ; O Nanak, the sinners suffer (the consequences of their Karma so that they can refine themselves by eliminating evil tendencies), just like oil seeds (suffer) in the press ||2|| (sggs 473).

Purity means transparency to truth, and the purified Vision means pure Heart. In the purified Vision, there is no Haume (false ego-sense, false self or false "I-ness"). On the contrary, in the impure vision there is division in consciousness (duality, Dooja Bhaav). When the mind turns towards the Truth, it abandons its identification with the false body and experiences the Divine Nature devoid of delusion. Thus, true purity — which stems from truthful living — is the absence of the false self. With the purification of the body (or senses), one's perception of the gross objects of the world stands changed. With the purification of the mind, one's feelings of emotions do not torture him. With the purification of the intellect, one thinks right thoughts. With the purification of the speech, one acts humble. All this results in right management of the worldly life. Hence, in truthfulness manifest the inner purity, contentment, compassion, faith etc. For example,  Self-effort based on Spiritual Wisdom brings an inner awakening in the intelligence, which leads mind to make pure decisions, resulting in pure physical action, pure speech, and pure thought.

  • ਵਿਣੁ ਸਚ ਸੋਚ ਨ ਪਾਈਐ ਭਾਈ ਸਾਚਾ ਅਗਮ ਧਣੀ ॥ ਆਵਣ ਜਾਣੁ ਨ ਚੁਕਈ ਭਾਈ ਝੂਠੀ ਦੁਨੀ ਮਣੀ ॥ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਕੋਟਿ ਉਧਾਰਦਾ ਭਾਈ ਦੇ ਨਾਵੈ ਏਕ ਕਣੀ ॥੨॥: Vin sach soch na paaeeai bhaaee sachaa agam dhanee...: O brother! Without the Truth (the Lord's Name, etc.), Purity (inner purity, ਆਤਮਕ ਪਵਿਤ੍ਰਤਾ, etc.) cannot be achieved; the Lord is True and Unfathomable. (Without the Truth) coming and going do not end, O brother; pride in worldly valuables is false. The one who becomes the Gurmukh, saves millions of people, brother, blessing them with even a particle of the Name ||2|| (sggs 608).
  • ਬਿਨੁ ਸਬਦੈ ਸੁਧੁ ਨ ਹੋਵਈ ਜੇ ਅਨੇਕ ਕਰੈ ਸੀਗਾਰ ॥: Bin shabde sudh na hovayee je anek kare seegaar: Without the Shabad, purity is not obtained, even though the soul-bride may adorn herself with all sorts of decorations (sggs 651).
  • ਜਤੁ ਸਤੁ ਸੰਜਮੁ ਰਿਦੈ ਸਮਾਏ ॥: Jat tat sanjam ridai samaae. Chouthe pad kayu je mann pateeaaee: Chastity, purity and self-restraint are infused into the heart, when one centers his mind in the fourth state  (sggs 686).
  • ਨਿਜ ਘਰਿ ਧਾਰ ਚੁਐ ਅਤਿ ਨਿਰਮਲ ਜਿਨਿ ਪੀਆ ਤਿਨ ਹੀ ਸੁਖੁ ਲਹੀਆ ॥: Nij ghari dhaar chuai ati nirmal jini peeaa tinhee sukh laheeaa: The stream of immaculate purity flows through the home of the self within; one who drinks it in, finds peace (sggs 835).
  • ਕਿਆ ਭਵੀਐ ਸਚਿ ਸੂਚਾ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਸਾਚ ਸਬਦ ਬਿਨੁ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਨ ਕੋਇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Kiaa bhaveeai sachi soochaa hoi. Saach sabad bin mukti na koi ||1||Rahaaou||: What is the use of wandering around? Purity comes only through Truth. Without the True Shabad, no one finds liberation ||1||Pause|| (sggs 938).

"Who am I" really? As the stubborn minded (impure minded) cannot come to grips with this profound Self- or inner-inquiry (which leads one to Spiritual Wisdom or Giaan), their unmeaning rituals remain empty of this ultimate spiritual query. Most of us are only vaguely aware that we have a burdensome Haume (along with its inner garbage of mental-impurities — lust, anger greed, attachments, self-conceit, enviousness, stubborn mindedness, selfishness, untruthfulness, foolishness etc.). It's really rarely we glimpse our obsession with self-importance. Naam-Simran (meditation) coupled with prayers (Ardaas) is one way to weaken this age-old Haume. Thoughts of God (Shabad-Surti or God-Consciousness) and loving surrender (of the false ego-sense) to God makes the false self ("I-ness") subside. In other words, we undo Haume in us when we surrender and submit to God's Hukam (Will). The past thoughts, words and deeds (Mann, Bachan and Karma) have created and nurtured this false "I". Prayers and meditation are all in that very sphere of Mann, Bachan and Karma. The Haume and related impurities are weakened and subjugated by these practices. As a result, good actions and arise from the pure mind. Consequently, our own self-importance is weakened and lessen. This is inner purification, which sets the stage for true Freedom form all mental impurities, enlightening all the gates of the body. The person of inner purity is a righteous or truthful who spots only merits in others and a man with wicked thoughts (stubborn minded), looks only into the bad aspects of others.

The True Self can only be experienced in Pure Consciousness. Thus, inner purity is essential for God-realization. In other words, the Self reveals itself, by the Satguru's unique's Grace, to a mind that has annihilated (conquered, killed or eliminated) itself — the mind that has restored its original state ("Joti-Svaroopa"). The Gurbani says: "remain dead while yet alive". This is to say that like the fire that devours everything, we must remain unaffected by the impurities of the material world. If we have awareness, purity of the mind and intellect (Gurmukh state), the body will benefit us otherwise it will become detrimental.

  • ਮਨੁ ਮਾਰੇ ਜੀਵਤ ਮਰਿ ਜਾਣੁ ॥: Man maarae jeevath mar jaan: Whoever kills his mind, knows the state of being dead while yet alive (sggs 1343).
  • ਸਾਧੂ ਕੈ ਸੰਗਿ ਮਹਾ ਪੁਨੀਤ ॥: Saadhoo kai sang mahaa puneet: In the Company of the Holy, there is great purity (sggs 271).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਸਾਂਤਿ ਊਤਮ ਕਰਾਮੰ ॥: Gurmukh saant ootam karaamam: As the Gurmukh live in peace and tranquility, doing deeds of sublime purity (sggs 831).
  • ਆਪੁ ਛੋਡਿ ਜੀਵਤ ਮਰੈ ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਸਬਦਿ ਵੀਚਾਰ ॥: Aapu shodi jeevat marai gur kai sabadi veechaar (sggs 34).

— T. Singh
www.gurbani.org