Sant and Asant

ਸੋਈ ਸੰਤੁ ਜਿ ਭਾਵੈ ਰਾਮ ॥: Soee santu ji bhaavai Raam (sggs 867).
ਅਸੰਤੁ ਅਨਾੜੀ ਕਦੇ ਨ ਬੂਝੈ ॥ ਕਥਨੀ ਕਰੇ ਤੈ ਮਾਇਆ ਨਾਲਿ ਲੂਝੈ ॥ ਅੰਧੁ ਅਗਿਆਨੀ ਕਦੇ ਨ ਸੀਝੈ ॥੨॥:
Asantu anaarree kade n boojhai. Kathanee kare tai maya loojhai.
Andh agiaanee kade n seejhai
||2|| (sggs 160).

Sant (ਸੰਤ-Saint):

The Gurbani tells us as to who the real "Sant" is in the Gurmat (Wisdom of the Gurbani, SGGS):

  • ਹਮਰੋ ਭਰਤਾ ਬਡੋ ਬਿਬੇਕੀ ਆਪੇ ਸੰਤੁ ਕਹਾਵੈ ॥: Hamro bhartaa bado bibekee aape santu kahaavai: My Husband (i.e., the Lord, Parmeshar) is the Great One of discerning intellect; He alone is called the Sant (sggs 476).
  • ਨਾਨਕ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਸਦਾ ਸੁਹਾਗਣੀ ਜਿਸੁ ਅਵਿਨਾਸੀ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਭਰਤਾਰੁ ॥੧॥: O Nanak! The soul-bride who has become the Gurmukh, (that soul-bride) is foreve with the Imperishable Lord as her Husband. ||1|| (sggs 786).
  • ਨਾਨਕ ਸੰਤੁ ਮਿਲੈ ਸਚੁ ਪਾਈਐ ਸਹਜ ਭਾਇ ਜਸੁ ਲੇਉ ॥੧॥: O Nanak! When the Sant is United with, then the Truth is Realized and one is spontaneously blessed with the Divine Glory (sggs 938).

Hence, primarily, the term "Sant" indicates our "Bhartaa" (Mool, Parmeshar, Parmaatam, Hari, Gobind, Prabh...) in the SGGS.

Second, this term also appears as "plural", suggesting who have become God-like, Hari-like, Gobind-like, Prabh-like or whose mind has become one with the Mool (Parmeshar, Parmaatam, Hari, Gobind, Prabh...) — Divine Beings (e.g., Gur-Sahibaan or Bhagat etc., although they never called themeselves "Sant"). Simply put,: a sainty Being is the one who has become the Whole (One, Saabat, Pooraa or PooranBrahm). Such a being does not exist as himself but he exists as the entire Creation or the Universe, as the Whole. His false ego-sense (Haume) is completely lost. He is the Complete, Perfect Being. A Sant has only Sach (ਸਚ), and he can give only Sach (ਸਚ).

In nutshell, the Gurbani's Sant is at the level of Aatmaa (Soul), not at the level of physical body or robes (Bhekh-ਭੇਖ). In other words, one cannot become a Sant by wearing robe (Bhekh-ਭੇਖ), or by calling himself a Sant, or having his deluded or stupid followers calling him a Sant!

  • ਏਕ ਨਾਮ ਸੰਤਨ ਆਧਾਰ ॥ ਹੋਇ ਰਹੇ ਸਭ ਕੀ ਪਗ ਛਾਰ ॥੧॥ ਸੰਤ ਰਹਿਤ ਸੁਨਹੁ ਮੇਰੇ ਭਾਈ ॥ ਉਆ ਕੀ ਮਹਿਮਾ ਕਥਨੁ ਨ ਜਾ ਈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਵਰਤਣਿ ਜਾ ਕੈ ਕੇਵਲ ਨਾਮ ॥ ਅਨਦ ਰੂਪ ਕੀਰਤਨੁ ਬਿਸ੍ਰਾਮ ॥ ਮਿਤ੍ਰ ਸਤ੍ਰ੍ਰੁ ਜਾਕੈ ਏਕ ਸਮਾਨੈ ॥ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਅਪਨੇ ਬਿਨ ਅਵਰ ਨ ਜਾਨੈ ॥੨॥: Aath pahar nikat kar jaanai ...:The Divine Naam (Brahm-Giaan, Wisdom...) alone is the Support of the saintly beings and they live in humility as the dust of the feet of all ||1||. O brother! Listen, to the Way of life of the saintly Beings. Their greatness cannot be described. ||1||Pause||. Their conduct is only Naam (Brahm-Giaan, Aatam-Giaan, Wisdom...). Kirtan (to homor or celebrate the Divine Virtues, Shabad-Vichaar...) the embodiment of Bliss, is their Rest. Friends and foes are alike to them. They see (within all beings) no one other than the "Prabh" (Mool...). ||2|| (sggs 392).
  • ਸੋਈ ਸੰਤੁ ਜਿ ਭਾਵੈ ਰਾਮ ॥ ਸੰਤ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਕੈ ਏਕੈ ਕਾਮ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Soee santu ji bhaavai Raam. Sant Gobind kai ekai kaam ||1||Rahaaou||: He alone is a Sant, who is pleasing to Raam (Mool). The work of the Sant and Gobind (Mool) is one and the same ||1||Pause|| (sggs 867).
  • ਞਾਣਤ ਸੋਈ ਸੰਤੁ ਸੁਇ ਭ੍ਰਮ ਤੇ ਕੀਚਿਤ ਭਿੰਨ ॥: He alone understands, and he alone is a Sant, who has made (his mind) free of doubt. (sggs 255).
  • ਸਾਧੂ ਸੰਤੁ ਸੁਜਾਣੁ ਸੋਈ ਜਿਸਹਿ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਜੀ ਮਾਨਈ ॥: He alone is Saadhoo, a Wise Sant, who has realized Prabh (Mool).. (sggs 925).
  • ਜਿਨਾ ਸਾਸਿ ਗਿਰਾਸਿ ਨ ਵਿਸਰੈ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮਾਂ ਮਨਿ ਮੰਤੁ ॥ ਧੰਨੁ ਸਿ ਸੇਈ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਪੂਰਨੁ ਸੋਈ ਸੰਤੁ ॥: Jinaa Saas Giraas na visarai...: Those who do not forget the Divine Naam (Braham Giaan, Wisdom...) even for the duration of a breath and eating a morsel, are praiseworthy. Says Nanak! He is the perfect Sant (sggs 319).

Thus, to be Divine Being is to be living in a totally different dimension. Clearly, it is not easy to become Divine Being. It's like walking on a two-edged sword!

  • ਸੰਤ ਕਾ ਮਾਰਗੁ ਧਰਮ ਕੀ ਪਉੜੀ ਕੋ ਵਡਭਾਗੀ ਪਾਏ ॥: Sant kaa maaragu dharma kee paourree ko badabhaagee paaye: The Way of the Sant is the ladder of Dharma (by which one can reach his Mool...), but only a fortunate obtains (this ladder). (sggs 622).
  • ਹੈਨਿ ਵਿਰਲੇ ਨਾਹੀ ਘਣੇ ਫੈਲ ਫਕੜੁ ਸੰਸਾਰੁ ॥੧੨॥: (Gurmukh, Daas, Bhagat, Jan…) are few and far between; everything else is but a pompous show and wrangling in this world ||12|| (sggs 1411).

But still there is a huge crowd of self-proclaimed Sant (fraud, thugs) in the Sikh community now-a-days! Not only in India, they are also pullulating Gurdawaras all over the world, specially in the West. It is easy money, tax free! Additionally, when western currency is converted to Indian, it multiplies! Also, when one is presented as a Sant in the media, one's nefarious activities become obscured. They are Sant at the physical body or robes (Bhekh-ਭੇਖ) only, not at the level of the Aatmaa (Soul...). The Gurbani calls them "ਬਾਨਾਰਸਿ ਕੇ ਠਗ-Thugs of Baabaaras":

  • ਗਲੀ ਜਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਾ ਜਪਮਾਲੀਆ ਲੋਟੇ ਹਥਿ ਨਿਬਗ ॥ ਓਇ ਹਰਿ ਕੇ ਸੰਤ ਨ ਆਖੀਅਹਿ ਬਾਨਾਰਸਿ ਕੇ ਠਗ ॥੧॥: Galee jinnaah japamaaleeaa lote hathi nibag. Oi hari ke sant n aakhahi baanaarasi ke thug (sggs 476).

As Sikhism is a way of life, Sikhs are to remember and emphasize three practices in their individual and corporate life: (1) Kirat Karnee, (2) Vand Shaknaa, and (3) Naam Japnaa. First, "Kirat Karnee" is the righteous way of thinking, which includes honest or truthful way of work (to righteously work for what you eat) side by side with the search of the Truth (Sach). Second, "Vand Shaknaa" is giving or sharing. And third is "Naam Japnaa", which is to engage in serious Reflections ( or Understanding the Gur-Giaan, Gurmat, Gurbani...).

If one so lives a Spiritual Life (ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ), Baabaa Nanak says, "he knows the path".

Now let's pause for a moment and analyze. If a so-called Sant (or saint) does not engage in earning honest living, he is simply a freeloader, a thief (i.e., a fake or counterfeit Sant). Furthermore, if he does not truthfully work to earn his living then their is no question of him sharing with others!!! In other words, if one is devoid of "Kirat Kamaaee", he will remain devoid of the practice of "Vand Shaknaa"! In turn, in the absence of both "Kirat Kamaaee" and "Vand Shaknaa", he cannot honestly practice "Naam Japnaa"! Now perhaps we can appreciate as to why Baabaa Nanak thunders forth the following declaration:

  • ਗਿਆਨ ਵਿਹੂਣਾ ਗਾਵੈ ਗੀਤ ॥ ਭੁਖੇ ਮੁਲਾਂ ਘਰੇ ਮਸੀਤਿ ॥ ਮਖਟੂ ਹੋਇ ਕੈ ਕੰਨ ਪੜਾਏ ॥ ਫਕਰੁ ਕਰੇ ਹੋਰੁ ਜਾਤਿ ਗਵਾਏ ॥ ਗੁਰੁ ਪੀਰੁ ਸਦਾਏ ਮੰਗਣ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਤਾ ਕੈ ਮੂਲਿ ਨ ਲਗੀਐ ਪਾਇ ॥ ਘਾਲਿ ਖਾਇ ਕਿਛੁ ਹਥਹੁ ਦੇਇ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਰਾਹੁ ਪਛਾਣਹਿ ਸੇਇ ॥੧॥: Giaan vihoonaa gaavai geet...: The one who lacks spiritual wisdom sings religious songs (for the sake of earning bread). The hungry Mullah turns his home into a mosque (or he also goes to mosque for the sake of bread!). The lazy bum has his ears pierced to look like a Yogi. Someone else becomes a panhandler, and thus loses his self-respect. Someone calls himself a guru or a spiritual teacher, while he goes around begging for bread - don't ever touch their feet. One who truthfully works for what he eats, and gives some of what he has - O Nanak, he knows the path ||1|| (sggs 1245).

This is where the Indian word of "Sant" differs from the western word of "saint". The western word "saint" comes from the root "sanctus", meaning sanctioned by the church (Pope!). To put it mildly, this is not only ridiculous but also meaningless. How anybody can sanction or certify a saint? Nobody can issue certificates for saints. Either one has become a saint or he has not. So the word "Sant" or "Saadh" does not mean a saint in that way — the western way. A Sant or Saadh is not certified by any government or an institution. He is a person who has lost himself in the Whole (Saabat...). Therefore, according to the Gurbani, the glory of a true Sant cannot be fully described.

Asant (ਅਸੰਤ-ungodly person):

Essentially, a part of the mind connected to Maya and disconnected from its Mool is Asant.

Thus, literally, Asant (ਅਸੰਤ) is an undivine person — a vicious person, ਦੁਰਾਚਾਰੀ, ਦੁਰਚਰਿਤਰ, evil, wicked, roguish, Manmukh, ungodly, religious con artist, devoid of Vivek-Budhi, greedy, Manmukh, Mayadhaaree, Saakat, Paapee (resistang or opposer of the Hukam, whose thoughts-speech-actions counter the Hukam, separated from its Mool, etc.), etc.

In other words, Asant (ਅਸੰਤ) is the opposite of the Sant (ਸੰਤ). The Gurbani further calles "Asant " as "Asant Anaarree" (Anaaree-ਅਨਾੜੀ = blockhead, stupid, silly, novice, bungler, ਵਿਕਾਰਾਂ ਵਲੋਂ ਨਾ ਹਟਣ ਵਾਲਾ, ਮੂਰਖ...).

  • ਅਸੰਤੁ ਅਨਾੜੀ ਕਦੇ ਨ ਬੂਝੈ ॥ ਕਥਨੀ ਕਰੇ ਤੈ ਮਾਇਆ ਨਾਲਿ ਲੂਝੈ ॥ ਅੰਧੁ ਅਗਿਆਨੀ ਕਦੇ ਨ ਸੀਝੈ ॥੨॥: Asantu anaarree kade n boojhai. Kathanee kare tai maya loojhai. Andh agiaanee kade n seejhai ||2||: The unsaintly blockhead never Understands (Spiritual Life, saintly or Gurmukh Lifestyle, ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਦੀ ਸਮਝ...). He babbles on and on (ਗਿਆਨ ਦੀਆਂ ਗੱਲਾਂ...), but he is infatuated with Maya. (A person who is so) blind and ignorant (mentaly blind: ਗਿਆਨ-ਹੀਨ...) never reforms. ||2|| (sggs 160).
The power of observation is the first faculty to appear in the Awakening of the intuitive regions. This is why Divine Beings (the Gurmukhs, Bhagat, Daas, Jan...) do not talk nonsense; for their intuition works through discerning intellect (Viveka Budhi). The Gurbani's instruction is to abstain from talking to Asant (spiritually fools...). On the other hand, the Gurbani encourages us to talk to the Saintly or Divine Beings.
  • ਸੰਤੁ ਮਿਲੈ ਕਿਛੁ ਸੁਨੀਐ ਕਹੀਐ ॥ ਮਿਲੈ ਅਸੰਤੁ ਮਸਟਿ ਕਰਿ ਰਹੀਐ ॥੧॥: Sant milai kish suneeai kaheeai. Milai asant masat kar raheeai ||1||: When you meet a Sant, talk to him and listen (Shabad-Vichaar...). Meeting with an Asant, just remain silent ||1|| (sggs 870).
  • ਕਬੀਰ ਸੰਤੁ ਨ ਛਾਡੈ ਸੰਤਈ ਜਉ ਕੋਟਿਕ ਮਿਲਹਿ ਅਸੰਤ ॥ ਮਲਿਆਗਰੁ ਭੁਯੰਗਮ ਬੇਢਿਓ ਤ ਸੀਤਲਤਾ ਨ ਤਜੰਤ ॥੧੭੪॥: Kabeer santu n chhadai santayee jaou kotic milai asant. Maliaagaru bhuyangam bedhiyo t seetalataa n tajant ||174||: Kabeer, the saintly being does not forsake his saintly nature, even though he meets with millions of evil-doers. Even when sandalwood is surrounded by snakes, it does not give up its cooling fragrance ||174|| (sggs 1373). #several
In fact, the Gurbani urges to pray to the Lord NOT to give us Darshan of an Asant, for he is a "Paapee" (resistang or opposer of the Hukam, whose thoughts-speech-actions counter the Hukam, con artist...)!
  • ਜਣੀ ਲਖਾਵਹੁ ਅਸੰਤ ਪਾਪੀ ਸਣਿ ॥੩॥: ||3|| janee lkhaavahu asant paapee sani ||3||: (O Lord!) do not show (Darshan) me the Paapee Asant. ||3|| (sggs 486).


Our deluded or Mayaic mind has split and separated from its Mool (ਮੂਲ, Source, Base-ਅਧਾਰ...), and has thus become divided (i.e., two). This Mayaic, ego or Haumai ridden Jeev or mind (i.e., conditioned, modified, ਮਨਮੁਖਿ, ਸਾਕਤ...) essentially conducts itself as Asant, and the other Intact part (Mool, Saabat-ਸਾਬਤ, Whole, Pure, Unconditioned, Untainted, Unmodified, Vivek-Budhi, ਅੰਤਰ ਆਤਮਾ, ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ...) is the Sant.

Thus, from One (Saabat, Joti, or the Divine Light…), we have became two (divided, fragmented, two like a split grain or seed-ਦਲੀ ਹੋਈ ਦਾਲ ਵਾਂਗ ਦੋ ਫਾੜ…):

  • ਬੀਉ ਬੀਜਿ ਪਤਿ ਲੈ ਗਏ ਅਬ ਕਿਉ ਉਗਵੈ ਦਾਲਿ ॥ ਜੇ ਇਕੁ ਹੋਇ ਤ ਉਗਵੈ ਰੁਤੀ ਹੂ ਰੁਤਿ ਹੋਇ ॥: Beeou beeji pati lai gaye ab kiou ougavai daali. Je iku hoi t ougavai ruti hoo ruti hoi: Those who planted the seed (of Hari Naam-ਹਰੀ ਦਾ ਨਾਮ ਬੀਜ) have departed with honor; (but) for now the seed cannot sprout (because of duality, fragmentation-ਦਾਲ ਵਾਂਗ ਦੋ-ਫਾੜ ਹੋ ਰਹੇ, ਭਾਵ ਦੁਚਿੱਤਾ-ਪਨ, ਦੁਬਿਧਾ ਦੇ ਕਾਰਨ ਜੀਵਾਂ ਦਾ ਮਨ ਨਾਮ ਵਿਚ ਨਹੀਂ ਜੁੜਦਾ…). The seed srouts only if the seed is whole (undivided, Saabat-ਸਾਬਤ…), and if the season is proper (similarly, the Naam-seed sprouts within only if the mind and Consciousness – ਮੱਨ ਅਤੇ ਚਿੱਤ – are one: whole, complete, unfragmented, total, Saabat-ਸਾਬਤ…). (sggs 468).
  • ਆਉ ਕਲੰਦਰ ਕੇਸਵਾ ॥ ਕਰਿ ਅਬਦਾਲੀ ਭੇਸਵਾ ॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Aaou kalandar kesavaa. Kai Abdaalee bhesavaa (sggs 1167).

The Gurbani tells us that this human life is the opportunity given to us to become One again – “ਸਾਬਤ ਸੂਰਤਿ” through understanding the Gurbani and living it, and link back with our Mool within. If we miss this opportunity, repeated suffering is certain.

  • ਯਾ ਜੁਗ ਮਹਿ ਏਕਹਿ ਕਉ ਆਇਆ ॥: Yaa Yug mahi ekahi kaou aaiaa: (Man) has come into this world to become One (ਇਕ ਹੋਣ ਵਾਸਤੇ ). (sggs 251).
  • ਇਸੁ ਪਉੜੀ ਤੇ ਜੋ ਨਰੁ ਚੂਕੈ ਸੋ ਆਇ ਜਾਇ ਦੁਖੁ ਪਾਇਦਾ ॥੨॥: Isu paourree te jo naru chookai so aai jaai dukhu paidaa: That human who misses this chance, will suffer through coming and going. ||2|| (sggs 1075).
  • ਆਵਣ ਜਾਣਾ ਕਦੇ ਨ ਚੂਕੈ ਮਾਇਆ ਮੋਹ ਪਿਆਰਾ ॥: (sgg570).

— T. Singh