JAT, SAT, TAP ...

(One who serves the Satguru) He obtains Jat, Sat
and Tap, (by serving the Satguru) his body is purified and
the Lord's Name comes to dwell in his mind (sggs 31).
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These are ennobling and enlightening virtues. Along with many others, these three terms appear repeatedly in the SGGS (Sri Guru Granth Sahib). They are interconnected and are spoken of as the essential foundation and key to achievement whether in secular (temporal) or spiritual life. Simply put, the commitment to become Spiritually Awake (the Gurmukh) is the purpose of all these. However, for this to happen, a tremendous amount of patience is needed.

  • ਜਤੁ ਸਤੁ ਤਪੁ ਪਵਿਤੁ ਸਰੀਰਾ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਮੰਨਿ ਵਸਾਏ ॥: Jat sat tap pavit sareeraa har har mann vasaaye: (One who serves the Satguru) He obtains Jat, Sat and Tap; (by serving the Satguru) his body is purified and the Lord's Name comes to dwell in his mind (sggs 31).
  • ਗੁਰਮਤ ਮਾਤਾ ਮੱਤ ਹੈ ਪਿਤਾ ਸੰਤੋਖ ਮੋਖ ਪਦ ਪਾਯਾ ॥ ਧੀਰਜ ਧਰਮ ਭਰਾਵ ਦੁਇ ਜਪਤਪ ਜਤਸਤ ਪੁਤ ਜਣਾਯਾ ॥: Gurmat maataa matt hai pitaa santokh mokh pada paayaa. Dheeraj dharam bharaav dui japtap jatsat put janaayaa: The mother (of the Gurmukhs) is the wisdom of the Guru and their father is the contentment, through whom they attain deliverance. Forbearance and the Dharma are their brothers. Jap, Tap, Jat, and Sat the sons (Vaar Bhai Gurdaas, 6).
  • ਜਤੀ ਸਤੀ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਨਿਰਮਲਾ ਮੇਰੇ ਹਰਿ ਭਗਵੰਤਾ ॥: Jatee Satee prabh niramalaa merae har bhagavantaa: The Immaculate Lord is Jatee and Satee Himself (sggs 1095).
  • ਕਿਆ ਜਪੁ ਕਿਆ ਤਪੁ ਸੰਜਮੋ ਕਿਆ ਬਰਤੁ ਕਿਆ ਇਸਨਾਨੁ ॥ ਜਬ ਲਗੁ ਜੁਗਤਿ ਨ ਜਾਨੀਐ ਭਾਉ ਭਗਤਿ ਭਗਵਾਨ ॥੨॥: Kiaa japu kiaa tapu sanjmo kiaa barat kiaa isnaanu || Jab lagu jugti n jaaneeai bhaaou bhagti bhagwaan ||2||: Jap, Tap, Sanjam, fasting, and cleansing bath are of no use until the Way of the Lord's Loving Bhagti is known (or understood). ||2|| (sggs 337).

Jat (also spelt Jata, Yat, etc.) is generally translated into English as, self-control, celibacy, Brahmcharya, etc. Sat (also spelt Sata, Satya, etc.) is generally translated as Truth. Tap (also spelt Tapa, is normally translated as penance, austerity etc. The aim of this Gurbani Reflection is to try to reflect on these terms in the overall spirit of the SGGS.

Broadly Jat indicates control, reining in or restraint of the mind and the senses. It includes but not limited to truthfulness, non-injury or not hurting others through thought-word-and-deed, neither stealing nor coveting, controlling lust by remaining celibate when single and remaining faithful to one's mate in marriage, patience, tolerance, forgiveness, steadfastness, intense compassion (mercy, love, etc.), straightforwardness (renunciation of deception and wrong doing), moderation (in eating, sleeping, etc.), inner purity, remorse, humility, contentment, giving or sharing, unshakable faith, devotion, listening to Truth, perennial knowledge or cognition, Naam-Simran (Jap), Shabad-Vichaar, practice of Gurmat (Guru's Teaching), and so on. Thus, Jat is an important limb of the "Raaj Yoga" (achievement in secular and spiritual life). In other words, a Jatee or Yatee is he who is putting forth sincere effort to realize the Truth in his life. The practice of Jat brings virtuous and moral living, refinement of one's nature, qualities of Higher Nature, eradication of impurities of the mind or Bikaars (i.e., doubts, duality, negative tendencies of the ego or Haume such as Kaam, Krodh, Lobh etc.), concentration or one-pointedness, and so on. Only a "rare" Gurmukh (spiritual being) lives such a Divine Life.

  • ਦਇਆ ਕਪਾਹ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ ਸੂਤੁ ਜਤੁ ਗੰਢੀ ਸਤੁ ਵਟੁ ॥ ਏਹੁ ਜਨੇਊ ਜੀਅ ਕਾ ਹਈ ਤ ਪਾਡੇ ਘਤੁ ॥ ਨਾ ਏਹੁ ਤੁਟੈ ਨ ਮਲੁ ਲਗੈ ਨਾ ਏਹੁ ਜਲੈ ਨ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਧੰਨੁ ਸੁ ਮਾਣਸ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਜੋ ਗਲਿ ਚਲੇ ਪਾਇ ॥: Daya kapaah santhokh soot gandhee sat vattu || Ehu janeooo jeea kaa haee taa paade ghat || Naa ehu tutai naa mal lagai naa ehu jalai n jaai || Dhann su maanas Nanakaa jo gal chale paai ||: (During the sacred thread ceremony, Baabaa Nanak asked Pandit Haridayal to make the thread as follows) Make compassion the cotton, Santokh (contentment) the thread, Jat (self-control, etc.) the knot and Sat (Truth) the twist. This is the sacred thread of the soul; if you have it, then go ahead and put it on me. It does not break, it cannot be soiled by filth, it cannot be burnt or lost. Blessed are those mortal beings, O Nanak, who wear such a thread around their necks (sggs 471).
  • ਜੋ ਇਸੁ ਮਾਰੇ ਸੋਈ ਜਤੀ ॥: Jo is maare soee jatee: One who kills this (the mind's Dubdhaa: duality or doubts) is truly a Jatee (sggs 238).
  • ਹਰਿ ਸਿਮਰਨਿ ਭਏ ਸਿਧ ਜਤੀ ਦਾਤੇ ॥: Har simaran bhaye sidh jatee daate: Remembering the Lord, become Siddhas, Jatee and givers (sggs 263).
  • ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਬਚਨਿ ਕੀਨੋ ਰਾਜੁ ਜੋਗੁ ॥: Gur kai bachan keeno raaj jog: Through the Guru's Word, I practice Raaj Yoga: achievement in secular and spiritual life (sggs 239).
  • ਸੁਣਿਐ ਸਤੁ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ॥: Suniai satu santokhu giaanu: By listening (the Naam, ਅਕਾਲ ਪੁਰਖ ਦੀ ਸਿਫਤਿ-ਸਾਲਾਹ) True Contentment and Giaan (Divine knowledge) are attained (sggs 3).
  • ਜਤੁ ਪਾਹਾਰਾ ਧੀਰਜੁ ਸੁਨਿਆਰੁ ॥: Jat paahaaraa dheeraj suniaar: Let Jat be the furnace, and patience the goldsmith (sggs 8).
  • ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਕੈ ਧੀਰਜੁ ਏਕ ॥: Braham giaanee kai dheeraj ek: The Braham Giaanee has a steady patience (sggs 272).
  • ਸਿਦਕੁ ਸਬੂਰੀ ਸਾਦਿਕਾ ਸਬਰੁ ਤੋਸਾ ਮਲਾਇਕਾਂ॥ ਦੀਦਾਰੁ ਪੂਰੇ ਪਾਇਸਾ ਥਾਉ ਨਾਹੀ ਖਾਇਕਾ ॥: Sidak sabooree saadikaa sabar tosaa malaaikaan. Deedaar pooray paaisaa thaaou naahee khaaikaa: Faith, contentment and tolerance are the wealth and provisions of the godly beings. Because of this, they attain the Divine Visions, while those who just talk find no place of Peace (sggs 83).
  • ਮਸਟਿ ਕਰਉ ਮੂਰਖੁ ਜਗਿ ਕਹੀਆ ॥ ਅਧਿਕ ਬਕਉ ਤੇਰੀ ਲਿਵ ਰਹੀਆ ॥: Masat karo moorakh jag kaheeaa. Adhil bakaou teree liv raheeaa: If I remain silent, the world calls me a fool. If I talk too much, I miss out on Your Love (sggs 1330).
  • ਅਲਪ ਅਹਾਰ ਸੁਲਾਪ ਸੀ ਨਿੰਦ੍ਰਾ ਦਯਾ ਛਿਮਾ ਤਨ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ॥: Alap ahaar sulaap see nindraa dayaa chhimaa tann preeti: Eat less and sleep less, cherish mercy and forgiveness (Guru Gobind Singh Jee).
  • ਨਾਨਕ ਰਾਮ ਭਗਤਿ ਸੁਖੁ ਪਾਵੈ ॥: Nanak raam bhagati sukh paavai: O Nanak, Sukh is obtained through Bhgati (sggs 227).
  • ਅਣਹੋਦੇ ਆਪੁ ਵੰਡਾਏ ॥ ਕੋ ਐਸਾ ਭਗਤੁ ਸਦਾਏ ॥: Anhode aap vandaaye. Ko aisaa bhagat sadaaye: Share with others, even when there is almost nothing to share. Only such a rare one is called a true devotee (sggs 1384).
  • ਮਨ ਬਚ ਕ੍ਰਮਿ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮੁ ਚਿਤਾਰੀ ॥: Mann bach kram raam naam chitaaree: In thought, word and deed, contemplate the Lord's Name (sggs 760).
  • ਕਾਹੂ ਬਿਹਾਵੈ ਪਰ ਦਰਬ ਚੋੁਰਾਏ ॥: Kaahoo bihaavai par darab chuoraaye: Some pass their lives stealing the property of others (sggs 914).
  • ਮਿਥਿਆ ਧ੍ਰੋਹ ਮੋਹ ਅਭਿਮਾਨੁ ॥: Mithiaa dhroh moh abhimaan: False are deception, emotional attachment and pride (sggs 268).
  • ਮਿਠਤੁ ਨੀਵੀ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਗੁਣ ਚੰਗਿਆਈਆ ਤਤੁ ॥: Mithat neevee Naanakaa gun changiaaeeaa tatt: Sweetness of humility, O Nanak, is the essence of all good virtues (sggs 470).

From Sat (or Satya) comes Satee (or Sati). Sat being Truth, Satee means the one who has realized the Truth. In other words, without Truth, nobody can become Satee. Baabaa Nanak says that beyond Truth is the truthful living. In other words, truthful living is superior to Truth. Baabaa Nanak's emphasis here of course is on Karnee (practice, application, implementation etc.). For example, for a sick person, mere looking at the medicine bottle or it's label will do no good. If he intends to get well than he must stop mere looking at the medicine bottle or it's label but administer the medicine. To say it otherwise, Truth is not a path, but actual day-to-day living. Hence, Truth is called pathless. Inward Self-realization is complete only when we come to assert and actually live the Truth. Living so righteously (as a Gurmukh) is said to be the true Dharma. It bestows upon one contentment, satisfaction, wisdom and God-realization.

  • ਸਚਹੁ ਓਰੈ ਸਭੁ ਕੋ ਉਪਰਿ ਸਚੁ ਆਚਾਰ ॥੫॥: Sachahu orai sabh kayu upari sach aachaar ||5||: Everything is underneath (lower than, ਉਰ੍ਹੇ, …) Truth; the truthful living (living with Truth) is the highest (i.e., the superior form of living, ਸਭ ਤੇ ਉੱਪਰ …) ||5|| (sggs 62).
  • ਤਬ ਲਗੁ ਮਹਲੁ ਨ ਪਾਈਐ ਜਬ ਲਗੁ ਸਾਚੁ ਨ ਚੀਤਿ ॥: Tab lag mahal na paaeeai jab lag saach n cheeti: As long as the Truth does not enter into the consciousness, the Divine Presence is not realized (sggs 58).
  • ਸਤੁ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ ਸਭੁ ਸਚੁ ਹੈ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਪਵਿਤਾ ॥: Sat santokh sabh sach hai gurmukh pavitaa: The one who has become Gurmukh (abides in) Sat, Santokh and sees Truth (God) everywhere, (because of these qualties, his life becomes) pure (sggs 512).
  • ਕੂੜਹੁ ਕਰੇ ਵਿਣਾਸੁ ਧਰਮੇ ਤਗੀਐ ॥: Koorhahu karae vinaas dharamae tageeai: Spiritually, one is destroyed through falsehood; through Dharma, one prospers (sggs 518).

Tap (also Tapas) literally means "burning, heat, ardor" etc. To achieve any goal concentration, focus or one-pointedness of the mind is essential to achieve an end. It helps one set aside his other preoccupations to concentrate on the task at hand till the end is realized. Also it provides a positive direction and orientation to all actions of the person undertaking it. This quality has to be cultivated to even greater extent if one desires to realize the spiritual goal (God-realization: the real purpose of human life). Tap must then be understood as the quality an individual develops and practices when he orients his actions towards realizing certain objectives in his life. Contrary to the general notion that Tap involves self-mortification by adopting certain austerities to realize the spiritual goal, it is not so. The term "Tap" (or "Penance") widely used in the scriptural guidelines is also often mistaken to mean that a person should retire to seclusion and escape from the worldly life, it is not so either.

Broadly Tap indicates the steps to be adopted to remain ever in communion with God through various practices such as meditation (Naam-Simran or Jap), limiting one's desires, carrying out one's daily duties with detachment, constantly thinking of God, abiding to the moral code, being frugal in food and sleep, seeking and keeping Holy Company, following the words of the Satguru with an intense feeling of love, and so on, even while living amidst the normal surroundings and discharging family obligations. Sikh Gurus and even ancient sages were married but they pursued the path which led to the Divine Union. Thus, Tap is an ennobling virtue which when practiced right has the capacity to bring out the best in a person. To achieve the spiritual goal, Tap is the state of accelerated inner Unfoldment, humble submission to the Divine forces within, and complete surrender (of Haume) to the process of inner purification through spiritual practices that brings about the inner transformation (or spiritual healing) as a "fiery process", which "burns up" the false ego-sense (Haume), Bikaars (all mental impurities), Maya (illusion, duality or relativist consciousness) and the negative effects of the past actions that obstruct God-realization. Thus, with the heat produced by Tap, the mind along with all its restlessness (Bikaars or impurities) is left annihilated. Tapasya is the practice of Tap, and Tapee is the one who performs this practice.

  • ਕਵਨ ਤਪੁ ਜਿਤੁ ਤਪੀਆ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਕਵਨੁ ਸੁ ਨਾਮੁ ਹਉਮੈ ਮਲੁ ਖੋਇ ॥3॥ ਗੁਣ ਪੂਜਾ ਗਿਆਨ ਧਿਆਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਸਗਲ ਘਾਲ ॥ ਜਿਸੁ ਕਰਿ ਕਿਰਪਾ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਮਿਲੈ ਦਇਆਲ ॥4॥ ਤਿਸ ਹੀ ਗੁਨੁ ਤਿਨ ਹੀ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਜਾਤਾ ॥ ਜਿਸ ਕੀ ਮਾਨਿ ਲੇਇ ਸੁਖਦਾਤਾ ॥: Kavan tap jit tapeeaa hoi. Kavan su naam houmai mal khoi. Gun poojaa giaan dhiaan Nanak sagal ghaal. Jis kar kirapaa satgur milai daiaal. ||4|| Tis hee gun tin hee prabh jaataa. Jis kee maan layi sukhadaataa ||1|| rehaao dhoojaa: What is that Tap, by which I may become a Tapee? What is that Name, by which the filth of egotism may be washed away? ||3|| Virtue, worship, spiritual wisdom, meditation and all service, O Nanak, are obtained from the Saturu, when, in His Mercy and Kindness, He meets us. ||4|| They alone receive this merit, and they alone know God, who are approved by the Sukhadaataa: Giver of peace i.e. God (sggs 187).
  • ਸੋ ਜਪੁ ਸੋ ਤਪੁ ਸਾ ਬ੍ਰਤ ਪੂਜਾ ਜਿਤੁ ਹਰਿ ਸਿਉ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਲਗਾਇ ॥: So jap so tap saa brat poojaa jit har siou preet lagaai: That is Jap, Tap, fasting and worship, which inspires love for the Lord (sggs 720).
  • ਜਪ ਤਪ ਸੰਜਮ ਗਿਆਨ ਤਤ ਬੇਤਾ ਜਿਸੁ ਮਨਿ ਵਸੈ ਗੁੋਪਾਲਾ ॥: Jap tap sanjam giaan tata betaa jis mani vasai gupaalaa: He, within whose mind the Lord abides, is a man of Jap, Tap, Sanjam and spiritual wisdom (Giaan); and he is the knower of Reality (sggs 615).
  • ਜਿਉ ਜਲ ਮਹਿ ਕਮਲੁ ਅਲਿਪਤੋ ਵਰਤੈ ਤਿਉ ਵਿਚੇ ਗਿਰਹ ਉਦਾਸੁ ॥: Jiyu jal mahi kamal alipte vartai tiyu viche girah udaas: As the lotus flower floats unaffected in the water, so does one must remain detached in his own household (sggs 949).
  • ਬਿਨੁ ਬੈਰਾਗ ਨ ਛੂਟਸਿ ਮਾਇਆ ॥੧॥: Bin bairaag na shootas maya ||1||: Without detachment, Maya cannot be gotten rid of (cannot be liberated from Maya, etc.) ||1|| (sggs 329).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਮੂਲਿ ਨ ਛੁਟਈ ਵਿਣੁ ਸਾਧੂ ਸਤਸੰਗੈ ॥: Houmai mool na shhutayee vin saadhoo satasangai: Ego is never eradicated without the Saadhoo's Satsangat (sggs 1098).

There are some other terms that are often seen appearing along with the foregoing three terms. Jap (repetition of the Naam or Name of the Lord) is one of them. It's a mean for purifying the mind. Sanjam (self-discipline, self-restraint, self-check, continence, abstinence, sobriety, to control passions, and so on) is another one. Santokh (contentment) is another one. Sanjamee and Santokhee is the one who practices Sanjam and Santokh. Yet Dheeraj (patience) is one more.

  • ਜਤੁ ਸਤੁ ਸੰਜਮੁ ਨਾਮੁ ਹੈ ਵਿਣੁ ਨਾਵੈ ਨਿਰਮਲੁ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥: Jat sat sanjam Naam hai vin naavai nirmal na hoi: The Name of God is abstinence, truthfulness, and self-restraint. Without the Name, no one becomes pure (sggs 33).

Apparently, these terms are interrelated and are means to achieving secular and spiritual sovereignty in life. Also, it's pretty clear that one dose not become Jatee, Satee, Tapee, Japee, Sanjamee or Santokhee just by abandoning one's family and worldly duties and by becoming forest-dweller. As indicated in the SGGS, Jat, Sat, Tap, Jap, Sanjam or Santokh is neither in making pilgrimages to all the sacred places, wandering as renunciates, wandering with matted hair and religious robes, making various speeches and ablutions, and so on.

  • ਜਤੀ ਸਤੀ ਕੇਤੇ ਬਨਵਾਸੀ ਅੰਤੁ ਨ ਕੋਈ ਪਾਇਦਾ ॥: Jatee satee kete banavaasee ant na koee paaidaa: Jatee, Satee and the many forest-dwellers have not found the Lord's limits (sggs 1034).
  • ਜੋਗੀ ਜਤੀ ਤਪੀ ਸੰਨਿਆਸੀ ਬਹੁ ਤੀਰਥ ਭ੍ਰਮਨਾ ॥ ਲੁੰਜਿਤ ਮੁੰਜਿਤ ਮੋਨਿ ਜਟਾਧਰ ਅੰਤਿ ਤਊ ਮਰਨਾ ॥ ਤਾ ਤੇ ਸੇਵੀਅਲੇ ਰਾਮਨਾ॥ ਰਸਨਾ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮ ਹਿਤੁ ਜਾ ਕੈ ਕਹਾ ਕਰੈ ਜਮਨਾ ॥: Jogee jatee tapee sanniaasee bahu teerath bhramanaa. Lunjit munjit moni jataadhar ant taou maranaa...: (Many are) Yogis, Jatees, Tapees and Sannyaasees (renunciates), pilgrims making pilgrimages to all the sacred places. (Many) pluck hair from their heads (ਲੁੰਜਿਤ), many are the shaved (ਮੁੰਜਿਤ also indicates those wearing ਮੁੰਜ ਦੀ ਤੜਾਗੀ : strand, string or line made of the fiber from a certain plant, generally worn around the waistline), the silent ones, and the matted hair ones - in the end, they all will die (i.e., in spite of doing all this, they can transcend death). Therefore, meditate on the Lord (i.e., this is the best thing to do). What can the Yama (messenger of death) do to one whose tongue loves the Name of the Lord? (i.e., nothing, because that person transcends death) (sggs 476).
  • ਜਤੀ ਸਤੀ ਕੇਤੇ ਬਨਵਾਸੀ ਅੰਤੁ ਨ ਕੋਈ ਪਾਇਦਾ ॥: Jatee satee kete banavaasee ant na koee paaidaa: Jatees, Satees and the many forest-wellers have not found the Lord's limits (sggs 1034).
  • ਜਤੀ ਸਤੀ ਸੰਤੋਖੀਆਂ ਜਤ ਸਤ ਜੁਗਤਿ ਸੰਤੋਖ ਨ ਜਾਤੀ ॥: Jatee satee santhokheeaaan jat sat jugat santokh na jaatee: So called Jatees, Satees and Santokhee have also not understood contentment, the actual technique of Jat and Sat (Vaars Bhai Gurdaas, 12).
  • ਜਤਨ ਭਾਂਤਨ ਤਪਨ ਭ੍ਰਮਨ ਅਨਿਕ ਕਥਨ ਕਥਤੇ ਨਹੀ ਥਾਹ ਪਾਈ ਠਾਉ ॥: Jatan bhaantan tapan bhraman anik kathan kathate nahee thaah paaee thaaou: All sorts of efforts, Tapan, wanderings and various speeches - none of these will lead you to find the Lord's Place i.e., God-realization (sggs 1306).

A being who can be called a true Jatee, Satee, Tapee and Japee is called the Gurmukh in the SGGS. In nutshell, the Gurmukh is the man of the highest spiritual order. The SGGS also calls him Aoudhoo (or Avadhoota) — an Avadhoota is a Self-realized being who cares not for criticism of others (Lok Laaj). The SGGS questions as to where can such virtuous being be found in this Kali Yuga (ਜਤੀ ਸਤੀ ਕਹ ਰਾਖਹਿ ਪਾਉ: Jatee Satee Kah raakhahi paaou, sggs 349)? Very "rare" indeed!

  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਜੋਗੁ ਕਮਾਵੈ ਅਉਧੂ ਜਤੁ ਸਤੁ ਸਬਦਿ ਵੀਚਾਰੀ ॥: Gurmukh jog kamaavai aoudhoo jat sat sabad veechaaree: The Gurmukh practices Yoga - he is the true Avadhoot; he practices Jat and Sat, and contemplates the Shabad (sggs 908).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਕੋਈ ਸਚੁ ਕਮਾਵੈ ॥: Gurmukh koee sach kamaavai: How rare are those who, as Gurmukh, live the Truth (sggs 1344).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਜਪ ਤਪ ਸੰਜਮੀ ਹਰਿ ਕੈ ਨਾਮਿ ਪਿਆਰੁ ॥: Gurmukh jap tap sanjamee har kai naam piaar: For the Gurmukh, the love of the Name of the Lord is Jap, Tap and Sanjam (sggs 29).

— T. Singh
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