ਜਿਤੁ ਲਾਗੋ ਮਨੁ ਬਾਸਨਾ ਅੰਤਿ ਸਾਈ ਪ੍ਰਗਟਾਨੀ ॥:
Jitu laago manu baasanaa anti saaee prgataanee:
That Vaasnaa, to which the mind is attached,
at the end, becomes manifest (sggs 242).

As indicated in the Gurbani (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, SGGS) as well as other Indian scriptures, one's thought-condition at the time of death or Ant Kaal - ਅੰਤਿ ਕਾਲਿ - determines his next field of experience. Hence, one's mentality or state of being at the last moment is important. Depending on a person's mindset at the last moment, either the old mentality (influence or effect - ਅਸਰ - of tendencies...) will supply the energy for a new body (reincarnation...), or it will link back to its Original Source (Supreme Consciousness, Mool... ).

  • ਜਿਤੁ ਲਾਗੋ ਮਨੁ ਬਾਸਨਾ ਅੰਤਿ ਸਾਈ ਪ੍ਰਗਟਾਨੀ ॥: Jitu laago manu baasanaa anti saaee prgataanee: That Vaasnaa, to which the mind is attached, at the end, becomes manifest (sggs 242).
  • 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).

Whatever we think at the end depends on what we practiced throughout our life. In other words, whatever we practice in our entire life will determine our consciousness at the last moment. For example, if one cultivated Divine-Consciousness (Gurmukh Lifestyle: Living Dead or Liberated...) throughout his life, he will obviously die in such Pure Consciousness (Gurmukhataa). On the contrary, if one has cultivated the mentality of a fruitive worker or sense-enjoyment throughout his life (a Manmukh lifestyle), he will naturally die in Maya-consciousness (body-consciousness or Manmukhtaaa...). Such conditioned consciousness results in supplying energy for a new body to work out the consequences of the effect of tendencies. Thus, even though a Gurmukh and a Manmhkh both die, but there is the difference in the death of both entities. (ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਲਾਹਾ ਲੈ ਗਏ ਮਨਮੁਖ ਚਲੇ ਮੂਲੁ ਗਵਾਇ ਜੀਉ ॥੧੯॥: Gurmukhi laahaa lai gaye manmukh chale mooul gavaai jeeou ||19||:, sggs 74).

For example - as indicated in the Gurbani - if one lives his entire life thinking of wealth, living such a snake-like life, he will certainly die in such thoughts only to suffer repeatedly (reincarnated over and over again); if one lives his entire life thinking of woman (lust, Kaam...), living such a prostitute-like life, he will certainly die in such thoughts only to suffer repeatedly; if one lives his entire life thinking of children, living such a pig-like life, he will certainly die in such thoughts only to suffer repeatedly; if one lives his entire life thinking of children, living such a pig-like life, he will certainly die in such thoughts only to suffer repeatedly; if one lives his entire life thinking of mansions (home, ਘਰ ਮਹਲ-ਮਾੜੀਆਂ), living such a goblin-like life, he will certainly die in such thoughts only to suffer repeatedly.

  • ਗੂਜਰੀ ॥ ਅੰਤਿ ਕਾਲਿ ਜੋ ਲਛਮੀ ਸਿਮਰੈ ਐਸੀ ਚਿੰਤਾ ਮਹਿ ਜੇ ਮਰੈ ॥ ਸਰਪ ਜੋਨਿ ਵਲਿ ਵਲਿ ਅਉਤਰੈ ॥੧॥ ਅਰੀ ਬਾਈ ਗੋਬਿਦ ਨਾਮੁ ਮਤਿ ਬੀਸਰੈ ॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਅੰਤਿ ਕਾਲਿ ਜੋ ਇਸਤ੍ਰੀ ਸਿਮਰੈ ਐਸੀ ਚਿੰਤਾ ਮਹਿ ਜੇ ਮਰੈ ॥ ਬੇਸਵਾ ਜੋਨਿ ਵਲਿ ਵਲਿ ਅਉਤਰੈ ॥੨॥ ਅੰਤਿ ਕਾਲਿ ਜੋ ਲੜਿਕੇ ਸਿਮਰੈ ਐਸੀ ਚਿੰਤਾ ਮਹਿ ਜੇ ਮਰੈ ॥ ਸੂਕਰ ਜੋਨਿ ਵਲਿ ਵਲਿ ਅਉਤਰੈ ॥੩॥ ਅੰਤਿ ਕਾਲਿ ਜੋ ਮੰਦਰ ਸਿਮਰੈ ਐਸੀ ਚਿੰਤਾ ਮਹਿ ਜੇ ਮਰੈ ॥ ਪ੍ਰੇਤ ਜੋਨਿ ਵਲਿ ਵਲਿ ਅਉਤਰੈ ॥੪॥ ਅੰਤਿ ਕਾਲਿ ਨਾਰਾਇਣੁ ਸਿਮਰੈ ਐਸੀ ਚਿੰਤਾ ਮਹਿ ਜੇ ਮਰੈ ॥ ਬਦਤਿ ਤਿਲੋਚਨੁ ਤੇ ਨਰ ਮੁਕਤਾ ਪੀਤੰਬਰੁ ਵਾ ਕੇ ਰਿਦੈ ਬਸੈ ॥੫॥੨॥: Goojaree || Ant kaal jo lashamee simarai ...: ||5||2|| (sggs 526).
In other words, just as the air carries fragrance of a flower or an incense, so a person's mentality at the time of death will carry effects.
  • ਜਿਤੁ ਲਾਗੋ ਮਨੁ ਬਾਸਨਾ ਅੰਤਿ ਸਾਈ ਪ੍ਰਗਟਾਨੀ ॥: Jit laago manu baasanaa anti saaee pragattaanee: That Vaasnaa, to which the mind is attached, at the end, becomes manifest (sggs 242).
  • ਜੈਸੇ ਹਰਹਟ ਕੀ ਮਾਲਾ ਟਿੰਡ ਲਗਤ ਹੈ ਇਕ ਸਖਨੀ ਹੋਰ ਫੇਰ ਭਰੀਅਤ ਹੈ ॥ ਤੈਸੋ ਹੀ ਇਹੁ ਖੇਲੁ ਖਸਮ ਕਾ ਜਿਉ ਉਸ ਕੀ ਵਡਿਆਈ ॥੨॥ ਸੁਰਤੀ ਕੈ ਮਾਰਗਿ ਚਲਿ ਕੈ ਉਲਟੀ ਨਦਰਿ ਪ੍ਰਗਾਸੀ ॥: Jaise harahatt kee maalaa tind lagat hai ik sakhanee hor fer bhareeat hai. Taiso hee ihu khel khasam kaa jiou ous kee vadiaaee. ||2|| Suratee kai maaragi chali kai oulatee nadari pragaasee: The buckets on the chain of the persian wheel rotate; one empties out to fill another. So is the God's Play (of this world God has created). It happens according to His (Will, Hukam, etc.) ||2|| Following the path of Intuitive Awareness, one turns away from the world (Maya), and one's vision is Enlightened (sggs 1329).
  • That thought with which a dying man leaves the body determines --through his long persistence in it--his next state of being (Gita 8.6).

The last moment of a human life is the time of final examination. Therefore, a Wise person (the Gurmukh) is he who properly prepares himself throughout his life for this final moment. And the one who does not (the Manmukh) is said to be the greatest fool. This is the edict of the Gurbani.

Body And Soul: "Who Am I"?

The world-scriptures inspire us to ask this basic question: "Who am I"? Am I this body or something else? What is the purpose of life?" Even though questions of this sort seem to be a very basic inquiry (Vichaar) into the knowledge of the True Self (Aatam-Giaan), however, the answer to such questions will largely depend upon the mentality of each individual.

A Spiritually wise (Gurmukh), for example, knows for sure that he is other than this material body. Because of his realization of the Self-knowledge (Aatam-Giaan), he may say something like this: "I am a Spiritual Soul. God has made me in His Pure Image (Joti-Svaroopa), therefore, I am part and parcel of that Timeless Being who is the cause of everything...".

However, due to ignorance of his True Nature, a Spiritually ignorance or unwise man (Manmukh) will identify himself with "I-am-the-body" idea. This ignorance of the Self becomes the root cause of our sorrows and sufferings. The Gurbani reveals to us our True Identity as follows:

  • 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).
  • ਨਾਨਕ ਸੋਹੰ ਹੰਸਾ ਜਪੁ ਜਾਪਹੁ ਤ੍ਰਿਭਵਣ ਤਿਸੈ ਸਮਾਹਿ ॥: Nanak soham hansaa jap jaapahu tribhavan tisai samaahi: O Nanak, chant the chant of "Soham hansaa" — "He is me, and I am Him." The three worlds are absorbed in Him (sggs 1093).
As indicated in the Gurbani, the gross material body is manifestation of five elements namely earth, water, fire, air, and sky. Also, we are reminded that anything made of these elements is temporary. Like other material objects, our body is also ephemeral, hence ever changing. Changes of the body go through the following stages: the body is born, it grows, it produces by-products, then it begins to decay, and finally it vanishes. Thus, by its very nature, the material body is impermanent, therefore perishable. It is just a question of time. For example, it may perish within mother's womb, immediately after birth, or it may perish after several years. One thing is sure: No one can maintain this body forever! Upon death of a material body, all the elements go back to their source - water merges with water, air merges with air, space merges with space, bones and flesh become food for the insects, and so on.
  • ਪੰਚ ਤਤੁ ਮਿਲਿ ਦੇਹੀ ਕਾ ਆਕਾਰਾ ॥ Panch tatu mil dehee kaa aakaaraa: The five elements join together, to make up the form of the human body. (sggs 1128).
  • ਕਾਹੇ ਰੇ ਨਰ ਗਰਬੁ ਕਰਤ ਹਹੁ ਬਿਨਸਿ ਜਾਇ ਝੂਠੀ ਦੇਹੀ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Kaahe re nar garab karat hahu binasi jaai jhoothee dehee ||1||Rahaaou||: O man, why are you so proud? This body is only temporary - it will pass away ||1||Pause|| (sggs 692).
  • ਕਬੀਰ ਗਰਬੁ ਨ ਕੀਜੀਐ ਦੇਹੀ ਦੇਖਿ ਸੁਰੰਗ ॥ ਆਜੁ ਕਾਲ੍ਹ੍ਹਿ ਤਜਿ ਜਾਹੁਗੇ ਜਿਉ ਕਾਂਚੁਰੀ ਭੁਯੰਗ ॥੪੦॥: Kabeer garab n keejeeai dehee dekh surang. Aaj kaal taj jaahuge jiou kaanchuree bhujang ||40||: Kabeer, do not be so proud, looking at your beautiful body. Today or tomorrow, you will have to leave it behind, like the snake shedding its skin ||40|| (sggs 1366).
  • ਨਰੂ ਮਰੈ ਨਰੁ ਕਾਮਿ ਨ ਆਵੈ ॥ ਪਸੂ ਮਰੈ ਦਸ ਕਾਜ ਸਵਾਰੈ ॥੧॥: Naroo marai naru kaami n aavai...: (sggs 870).
Material body by itself is inert. It comes to life when it is enlivened by the Spirit Soul within. Thus, a Jeeva's (individual being) body and Soul are two separate entities. The Soul is eternal, whereas the material body is temporary. Jeeva are the Spirit Soul. The reason one identifies himself with the menacing "I-am-the-body" (body-consciousness) idea is the ignorance born false ego-sense. In essence, birth and death is of the material body only, not the Spirit Soul. Upon destruction of the body, the Spirit Soul moves on to dwell in a new form and a new environment. And that new form and environment very much depend upon our Karma or activities of the "Now", for our present activities become the blueprint for our future.

The purpose of this life is to reestablish our lost relationship with our True Nature within, which is "Joti-Svaroopa". To realize this ultimate goal, it's essential to maintain the body and mind in a healthy and sound condition.

Preparation For The Final Moment

A human life is failure, hence wasted, as long as one does not make self-efforts (Uddam) to know his real Self through the Shabad-Vichaar. In ignorance of the True Nature, however, one keeps working for fruitive results for sense gratification. And so long one is engrossed in the consciousness of sense gratification, one has to experience repeated pain and delusion. Everyone of us in this human form is given the opportunity to end the vicious cycle of repeated pain and delusion, once for all. But the question is how one can go about realizing this goal? The answer lies in living a Karma-free life (Gurmukh lifestyle). "What is a Karma-free life?", one may ask. As the life is nothing but a series of actions and experiences, how one can possibly live such a life?

Karma-free life (Gurmukh lifestyle) is free of Mayaic efforts. The Gurbani asserts that the Mayaic efforts or deeds finish or cease to be upon dawning of the Divine Knowledge (Gur-Giaan, Bibek-Budhi, Gurmat, Spiritual Wisdom...).

  • ਗਿਆਨੁ ਭਇਆ ਤਹ ਕਰਮਹ ਨਾਸੁ ॥੩॥: Giaanu bhaiaa tah karmah naasu ||3||: With the Divine Knowledge (ਉੱਚ-ਜੀਵਨ ਦੀ ਸੂਝ) ends the deeds (Mayaic efforts) ||3|| (sggs 1167).
  • ਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਸਬਦੁ ਕਾਟੈ ਕੋਟਿ ਕਰਮ ॥੩॥੧॥: Gur ka Shabadu kaatai koti karam ||3||1||: The Gur-Shabad (Aatam-Giaan of the Shabad...) eradicates millions of Karma ||3||1|| (sggs 1195).

A Kaarmic person (Manmukh) is he who has surrendered himself to falsehood or the demands of the material nature (Maya). On the contrary, the surrendered Soul (Gurmukh, whose actions are in accordance with the Divine Hukam...) is he who has liberated himself from the falsehood or material (Mayaic) demands of the defiled senses. The process of surrender begins with Shabad-Vichaar (Gur-Giaan, Naam...).

  • ਊਤਮ ਕਰਣੀ ਸਬਦ ਬੀਚਾਰ ॥੩॥: Ootam karanee sabad beechaar ||3||: The ultimate action is Reflections on the Shabad - Shabad Vichaar ||3|| (sggs 158).
  • ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਸਾਚੀ ਸਾਚਾ ਵੀਚਾਰੁ ॥: Gurmati saachee saachaa veechaaru: One who adopts the true Gurmat (the Teaching of the Shabad-Guru), abides in the true Vichaar (ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਦੀ ਪੜਤਾਲ) within (sggs 666).

Being free of Karma simply means not to do anything for sense-gratification - not to act against the Hukam. It's a state of inner purity wherein one has completely surrendered his falsehood (hunger for Maya...).

A surrendered beings becomes Jeevanmukta or living liberated. Such Gurmukh welcomes death of his body with cheer. A true seeker, therefore, has no fear of death. On the contrary, he (Gurmukh) enjoys it because he knows that it is through the physical death he will be able to attain Parmaanand.

  • 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).
  • ਸਬਦ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਬਿਨੁ ਆਵੈ ਜਾਵੈ ਪਤਿ ਖੋਈ ਆਵਤ ਜਾਤਾ ਹੇ ॥: Shabad Surti bin aavai jaavai pat khoee aavat jaataa he: Without Shabad-Surti, one comes and goes; he loses his honor in this coming and going (sggs 1031).

— T. Singh