ਮਨ ਸਮਝਾਵਨ ਕਾਰਨੇ ਕਛੂਅਕ ਪੜੀਐ ਗਿਆਨ ॥੫॥:
Man samajhaavan kaarane kashooak parreai giaan ||5||:
To instruct the mind (ਉੱਚੇ ਜੀਵਨ ਦੀ ਸੂਝ ਦੇਣ ਵਾਸਤੇ-to raise the
Consciousness to the High Plane, one) ought to study Divine
Knowledge (ਉੱਚੀ ਵਿਚਾਰ ਵਾਲੀ ਬਾਣੀ…) to some extent. ||5|| (sggs 340).

Everything exists in the Infinite Consciousness. This Undivided Consciousness pervades all. This Pure Awareness is Unchanging, Timeless, Fathomless, Sunn (Spiritual Silence, Devoid of the noise of Haume or Mayaic thoughts, etc.), Sahaj (Natural State of Being)...

We are the True Image (Joti-Svaroopa) of this Undivided, Conscious Principle (All-Full-Nature). Those who know this Supreme Truth, the substratum of everything in the universe, know everything. Those who don't, know nothing at all even though they may be most learned.

  • 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).
  • ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਆਪਿ ਨਿਰੰਕਾਰੁ ॥: Brahm giaani aap Nirankaar: The knower of God (Brahm Giaanee) himself is the Formless Lord (sggs 274).
Just as the ocean rises up as waves, the consciousness rises up in us as the sense of "I" from the effort of false ego. The mind's defects (restlessness, ignorance and inner "filth", etc. ) create division and give rise to name and form, which hide the Reality. When this false "I" (ego mind) is removed by removing attachment to any action, thought, and object, then only the real "I" (the true Self) is realized; the substratum in which everything moves. When this Divine Knowledge (Aatam-Giaan) dawns upon us, all notions such as ignorance, knowledge, bondage, liberation, pain, joy, birth, death, action, latent tendencies, memory, mind, intelligent, ego, Jeeva (individualized consciousness), etc., cease to be. All wandering of the instinctive mind is nothing but movement of the physical ego.
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਮੇਰਾ ਭਰਮੈ ਸੰਸਾਰੁ ॥: Haumai meraa bharmai sansaar: The world wanders in ego and selfhood (sggs 841).
Mind constantly swings between the Reality (Consciousness, ਚੇਤਨ) and the illusion (inertness, ਜੜ). When the mind contemplates the inert objects for sometime, it assumes their characteristic of inertness. This mental division occurs when the Infinite Consciousness becomes the object of the mind (Haume or egotism). This is to say that all false concepts arise when the Cosmic Spirit due to self-forgetfulness viewing itself as the object of perception.
  • ਗਿਆਨ ਵਿਹੂਣੀ ਭਵੈ ਸਬਾਈ ॥: Giaan vihoonee bhavai sabaaee: Without the Divine Knowlege, the entire world wanders about (sggs 1034).
The Gurbani (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, SGGS) reminds us that the mind is made in the Image of the Divine Light (Joti-Svaroop). What it means is that the mind in its Pure state is a Cosmic Mind.

If Pure Consciousness is the Essential Nature of the mind, then how does it fall into the dark well of ignorance? The latent tendencies and memories create movement or disturbance in the individualized consciousness. In this agitated state, it views diversity and identifies objects as such. As movement in the ocean causes countless waves, similarly, the restlessness in the consciousness creates countless manifestations such as mind, intellect, ego, memory, latent tendencies, sensations, feelings, thoughts, and so on.

By moving in the wrong direction towards self-forgetfulness and deeper involvement in false fancies (Maya), the consciousness becomes conditioned. Thus, veiled by the ignorance of its Eternal Nature, which is Truth-Knowledge-Bliss, it creates confusion between reality and world-appearance called Maya (illusion). All false notions are the product of such deluded mind. They do not exist any more than water exists in the mirage!

  • ਮ੍ਰਿਗ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਜਿਉ ਜਗ ਰਚਨਾ ਯਹ ਦੇਖਹੁ ਰਿਦੈ ਬਿਚਾਰਿ ॥: Mrig trishnaa jiyu jag rachnaa yah dekhahu ridai bichaar: Reflect in your Heart and see that this world creation (Maya) is like a deer's illusion, a mirage (sggs 536).
Liquor is able to make one see all sorts of phantoms in the empty sky. Similarly, the deluded mind is able to make one see diversity in the unity. Just as a drunkard person sees objects moving, the ignorant one sees movement in this world. Thus, the mind is able to veil the All-pervading, Pure, Eternal and Infinite Consciousness, making us confuse it with this inert physical body.
  • ਮਾਧਵੇ ਕਿਆ ਕਹੀਐ ਭ੍ਰਮੁ ਐਸਾ ॥ ਜੈਸਾ ਮਾਨੀਐ ਹੋਇ ਨ ਤੈਸਾ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Maadhve kiya kaheeyai bhram aisaa. Jaisaa maaneeyai hoi na taisaa ||1||Rahaaou||: O Lord, what can I say about this illusion; what we deem a thing to be, in reality, it is not like that ||1||Pause|| (sggs 657).
It is clear that this world-appearance is nothing but the play of the mind. The deluded mind veils the real nature of our Mool (Source, Origin...) and creates an illusory appearance. For example, in the moonless night, the impure mind creates an illusory appearance of a ghost in the pole, and a snake in the rope. Scriptures reveal to us that annihilation or destruction (purification) of the false mind is must for attaining oneness with the Spirit within. This mind does not cease to be until it is burnt in the fire of the Divine Knowledge.
  • ਨਾ ਮਨੁ ਮਰੈ ਨ ਮਾਇਆ ਮਰੈ ॥: Na man marai na Maya marai: Maya can not be conquered without annihilation of the mind (sggs 1342).
  • ਨਾਨਕ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਪਰਾਪਤਿ ਹੋਵੈ ਤਿਮਰ ਅਗਿਆਨੁ ਅਧੇਰੁ ਚੁਕਾਇਆ ॥: Nanak Gurmukh giaan praapat hovai timar agiaan andher chukaaiaa: O Nanak, by becoming a Gurmukh, one attains the spiritual wisdom, and the pitch-black darkness of his ignorance is dispelled (sggs 512).
  • 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).
  • ਕੁੰਭੇ ਬਧਾ ਜਲੁ ਰਹੈ ਜਲ ਬਿਨੁ ਕੁੰਭੁ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਗਿਆਨ ਕਾ ਬਧਾ ਮਨੁ ਰਹੈ ਗੁਰ ਬਿਨੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥੫॥: Kumbhe badhaa jalu rahai jal bin kumbh n hoi. Giaan ka badhaa manu rahai gur bin giaanu n hoi ||5||: As the water remains confined in a pitcher, (just so) the mind is restrained by the Spiritual Wisdom. But (as) the pitcher cannot be shaped without the water, (just so) there can be no Spiritual Wisdom without the Guru. ||5|| (sggs 469).
Upon eradicating mind's defects (with the help of the Divine Knowledge or Aatam-Giaan), the mind again sees itself as Pure, Universal Consciousness. Upon realizing its Mool, all its false manifestations cease to be. Only the Infinite Consciousness remains. The mind of an Enlightened Man (the Gurmukh, etc.) does not move from this reality. The Gurbani roasr that such man alone is a human being, the others are just worms, and animals.
  • ਵਿਸਟਾ ਕੇ ਕੀੜੇ ਪਵਹਿ ਵਿਚਿ ਵਿਸਟਾ ਸੇ ਵਿਸਟਾ ਮਾਹਿ ਸਮਾਇ ॥੨॥: Vistaa ke keere pavahi vich vistaa se vistaa maahi samaae ||2||: They (the self-willed Manmukhs, those in the love of duality, etc.) are worms in the filth of manure (of Bikaars, passions, etc.). They fall into manure (of Bikaars, passions, etc.), and remain in the manure (like the worms of the manure) ||2|| (sggs 28).
Knowledge Defined

Ignorance or mental conditioning is the seed of this world appearance (Maya). It perverts all relationships and experiences. The moment mind becomes conscious of the Truth that the vision of division or diversity is the product of ignorance, it is known as Knowledge or Gian (pronounced as Giaan, etc.). Thus, knowledge is the rediscovery of Truth.

  • ਤਤੁ ਤੇਲੁ ਨਾਮੁ ਕੀਆ ਬਾਤੀ ਦੀਪਕੁ ਦੇਹ ਉਜ੍ਯ੍ਯਾਰਾ ॥ ਜੋਤਿ ਲਾਇ ਜਗਦੀਸ ਜਗਾਇਆ ਬੂਝੈ ਬੂਝਨਹਾਰਾ ॥੨॥: Tat tel naam keeyaa baatee deepak deh ujaaraa. Jot laai jagadees jagaaiaa boojhai boojhanahaaraa ||2|| : (Whoever understands the secret of real Aaratee) makes the knowledge about the Essence of Reality the oil, the Divine Name (Naam) the wick and the body the illluminated lamp (of the Naam). He has illumined this Lamp by linking himself with the Lord. (Only a rare person) of Knowledge (Wisdom, Giaan, ਸੂਝ-ਬੂਝ, etc.) understands this (secret). ||2|| (sggs 1350).
The term knowledge has a specific meaning as indicated by the Gurbani; which is different than the general meaning of this word as understood by many of us. Nowadays, generally the knowledge is connected to education. Upon analysis, one will find that these two words knowledge and education have specific meanings. In short, the education is the collection of data or information by sense organs, which can be imparted to a person by training. However, from a Spiritual standpoint, the knowledge is something that must be discovered. Hence, education can only be meaningful and purposeful if it leads one to the knowledge by which he can discover the Truth for himself; for he can see life in its totality and completeness and not just in part. This will become a bit more clear in the pages that lie ahead.
  • ਪਾਧਾ ਪੜਿਆ ਆਖੀਐ ਬਿਦਿਆ ਬਿਚਰੈ ਸਹਜਿ ਸੁਭਾਇ ॥ ਬਿਦਿਆ ਸੋਧੈ ਤਤੁ ਲਹੈ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮ ਲਿਵ ਲਾਇ ॥ ਮਨਮੁਖੁ ਬਿਦਿਆ ਬਿਕ੍ਰਦਾ ਬਿਖੁ ਖਟੇ ਬਿਖੁ ਖਾਇ ॥ ਮੂਰਖੁ ਸਬਦੁ ਨ ਚੀਨਈ ਸੂਝ ਬੂਝ ਨਹ ਕਾਇ ॥੫੩॥: Paadhaa parhiaa aakheeai bidiaa bichrai sahaj subhaai ...: That Pandit is said to be well-educated, if he contemplates knowledge (and lives his life) with Sahaj (Intuitive Poise, Natural State of Being, calm disposition, ਆਤਮਿਕ ਅਡੋਲਤਾ, etc.). Through his knowledge, he Reflects on the Essence of Reality (ਆਪਣੇ ਅਸਲੇ ਦੀ ਵਿਚਾਰ), and focuses his attention on the Name of the Lord. The Manmukh (mind-willed) person sells his knowledge (i.e., he only uses it to make living, to earn bread - ਆਜੀਵਕਾ), (this way) he just earns (Maya) poison (that brings him spiritual death) and this poison he eats (ਆਤਮਕ ਮੌਤ ਲਿਆਉਣ ਵਾਲੀ ਮਾਇਆ-ਜ਼ਹਿਰ).  The fool contemplates not the Name, He has no understanding and comprehension (of the Shabd). ||53|| (sggs 938).
  • ਪੜਿਆ ਮੂਰਖੁ ਆਖੀਐ ਜਿਸੁ ਲਬੁ ਲੋਭੁ ਅਹੰਕਾਰਾ ॥: Pariraa moorakh aakheeai jis lab lobh ahankaar: That educated person who is full of greed, avarice and pride, is said to be a fool (sggs 140).
  • ਕੂੜਿ ਮੁਠੀ ਚਾਲੈ ਬਹੁ ਰਾਹੀ ॥ ਮਨਮੁਖੁ ਦਾਝੈ ਪੜਿ ਪੜਿ ਭਾਹੀ ॥: Koorr muthee chaalai bahu raahee. Manmukh daajhai parr parr bhaahee: Cheated by falsehood, the material being walks along many paths; he may be highly educated, but he burns in the fire (of evil passions) (sggs 1028).
  • ਮੂਰਖੁ ਸਬਦੁ ਨ ਚੀਨਈ ਸੂਝ ਬੂਝ ਨਹ ਕਾਇ ॥੫੩॥: Moorakh Sabad na cheenayee soojg boojh nah kaayi ||53||: The fool does not think of the Shabad. He has no understanding, no comprehension ||53|| (sggs 938).
The highest knowledge is the recognition of Oneness in many-ness. That One Homogeneous whole is the Changeless in changing phenomena, like the gold in ornaments, the ocean in waves, the clay in pots, the thread in pearls, the sun in rays, the aroma in the flower, and the moon in the pools of water. This vision of Oneness is the highest Knowledge.
  • ਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਦੀਸੈ ਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਸੁਣੀਐ ਏਕੁ ਏਕੁ ਵਖਾਣੀਐ ॥ ਆਤਮ ਪਸਾਰਾ ਕਰਣਹਾਰਾ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਬਿਨਾ ਨਹੀ ਜਾਣੀਐ ॥: Brahm deesai Brahm suneeyai ek ek vakhaaneeai. Aatam pasaaraa karan haaraa parabh binaa nahee jaaneeai: The One Unique Reality is seen everywhere, the Unstruck Celestial Music is heard everywhere, the One Creator is present in all creation; there is none else than He Himself everywhere (sggs 846).
Purpose Of Knowledge

In order for man to find out what he really is, he needs to find out what he is not. The Aatam Giaan helps one to understand what he is not, and keeps him free from false concepts, precepts, ideas, desires, fear, and actions. It makes one alert and careful, by rejecting all that does not go with the Truth: "Soham" (He is me or I am That).

The purpose or use of knowledge is to bring about inner transformation. One aimlessly wanders in this world till there is the dawn of Spiritual Wisdom able to destroy the root of ignorance in which the Jagat (material world) appears real. This inner transformation can only happen with the Aatam Giaan; the rediscovery of the Truth within. When the mind is engaged in Wisdom, it sheds all mental dispositions or conditioning and returns to its Original Nature as Pure Consciousness (Mool). Such person, the knower of the Truth is called by many names as Brahm Giaanee, Enlightened person, God-conscious person, the knower of Truth or God, the man of Self-knowledge, the Gurmukh, etc. Such person of the True Knowledge renounces his Ahambudh (egotism).

  • ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਅਹੰਬੁਧਿ ਤਿਆਗਤ ॥: Brahm giaanee ahambudh tiaagat: Brahm Giaanee - the knower of Truth - renounces his Ahambudh - egotism (sggs 273).
  • ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਬੰਧਨ ਤੇ ਮੁਕਤਾ ॥: Brahm giaanee bandhan te muktaa: Brahm Giaanee - the knower of Truth - is free from worldly entanglements (sggs 273).

The knowledge results in the elimination of falsehood. Majority of us have based our lives on certain concepts, some may be right, but many are false. Our actions arising from wrong concepts are also wrong. There are many such false concepts. The main ones are: taking the self as the physical body; thinking that sense pleasures are the source of real happiness; and believing that material wealth is the source of real security in life. The purpose of knowledge is to remove all false concepts, and at the same time get established in the nature of the Truth.

The surest sign of man in Wisdom is that he is unattracted by the pleasures of the world (Maya). Knowledge helps cease the subtle tendencies or Vaasnaas in man. When the Vaasnaas are strong, there is bondage; when they have ceased, there is liberation. In other words, universes cease when Vaasnaas cease. Vaasnaas create restlessness in mind. Without restlessness, there is no mind!

  • ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਲੇ ਧਾਵਤੁ ਬੰਧਾ ॥: Brahm giaanee le dhaavat bandhaa: Brahm Giaanee - the knower of Truth - keeps his wandering mind in check (sggs 273).
The knowledge makes us aware of the unreality of mental conditioning. Just as a shadow disappears when it turns to see the light, similarly, as we turn towards the Light of knowledge, the ignorance disappears. Just as the water ceases to flow when the river dries up, in the same way the mind (material contaminations or impurities) ceases to be when it attains mastery by becoming aware of the endless stream of duality and resulting confusion of perception and experience. But such True Knowledge and Wisdom is realized by becoming the Gurmukh (the follower of Truth, spiritual being, Self-realized being, etc.)
  • ਨਾਨਕ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਪਰਾਪਤਿ ਹੋਵੈ ਤਿਮਰ ਅਗਿਆਨੁ ਅਧੇਰੁ ਚੁਕਾਇਆ ॥: Nanak Gurmukh giaan praapat hovai timar agiaan andher chukaayaa: 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).
Thus, to rid oneself of the disease of false ego or bodily-consciousness, there is no remedy other than Spiritual Wisdom. The creation exists in the Infinite Consciousness and the Infinite Consciousness exits in the creation just as the sprout in the seed, liquidity in the water, heat in the fire, coldness in the ice, and pungency in the capsicum. However, the ignorance makes it appear to be different from and independent of the Mool. Knowledge alone is the cure for such wrong perceptions.
  • ਆਤਮ ਮਹਿ ਰਾਮੁ ਰਾਮ ਮਹਿ ਆਤਮੁ ਚੀਨਸਿ ਗੁਰ ਬੀਚਾਰਾ ॥: Aatam mahi Raam Raam mahi aatam cheenas Gur beechaaraa: God is in the Soul, and the Soul is in God. This is realized through Reflecting (on the Teachings) of the Guru (1153).
In essence, to become established in Divine Knowledge is liberation (Mukti); when this is disturbed, there arise bondage and egoism (mind or Jeeva). Therefore, in the state of Self-knowledge there is no mental restlessness; for there is no distraction, mental dullness, perception of duality, and bondage. Ultimately, the Self-knowledge leads one to the state of Dhyana (pronounced Dhiaan) or meditation.
  • ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਕਾ ਭੋਜਨੁ ਗਿਆਨ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਕਾ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਧਿਆਨੁ ॥੩॥: Brahm giaani kaa bhojan giaan. Nanak brahm giaani kaa brahm dhiaan ||3||: Spiritual Wisdom (ਉੱਚੀ ਸਮਝ, etc.) is the food of the Brahm Giaanee - the knower of Truth. O Nanak, the Brahm Giaanee - the knower of Truth - is absorbed in God's Dhiaan (meditation) ||3|| (sggs 273).
  • ਗਿਆਨੁ ਭਇਆ ਤਹ ਕਰਮਹ ਨਾਸੁ ॥੩॥: Giaan bhaiaa tah karmah naas ||3||: With the Divine Knowledge (ਉੱਚ-ਜੀਵਨ ਦੀ ਸੂਝ) ends the deeds (Mayaic efforts) ||3|| (sggs 1167).
Source Of Knowledge

Craving in the mind for sense-pleasure aggravates the ignorance or mental conditioning. The Pure mind is free from such cravings, and, therefore, it attains Divine Knowledge. How one can go about cultivating such pure knowledge?

Complete Knowledge includes knowledge of the phenomenal world, the Spirit behind it, and the source of both of them. This is called Transcendental Knowledge. After gaining this Complete Knowledge, nothing remains unknown.

The treasure of such knowledge is hidden within. However, due to our mind's preoccupations, we do not see it. Intuitive Understanding of the Gurbani through Shabad-Vichaar is the key to open the lock to this treasure; the Essence of Divinity. Since we do not understand the language of the Mool, the Shabad or Naam helps connect us with It.

  • ਨਾਨਕ ਸਬਦੁ ਵੀਚਾਰੀਐ ਪਾਈਐ ਗੁਣੀ ਨਿਧਾਨੁ ॥੮॥੧੦॥: Nanak Sabad vichaareeai paaeeai gunee nidhaan ||8||10||: Nanak, by Shabad Vichaar, one obtains the treasure of the spiritual wisdom ||8||10|| (sggs 59).

Many will claim they have read the Gurbani (or any other scriptures for that matter) over and over again; but still nothing has happened. The reason nothing happens is that, even though they have repeatedly gone through the Gurbani, but the Gurbani has not gone through them, yet!

The knowledge without loving devotion gives rise to ego-sense. This Spiritual Wisdom dawns with the practice of the Shabad or Naam, and association of Sat (Truth) within and without. Then one understands that the wealth, family, friends, relatives, power, pleasure, possessions, etc., are false show of ego; nothing but the vast expanse of Maya.

  • ਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਮਤਿ ਤੂੰ ਲੇਹਿ ਇਆਨੇ ॥ ਭਗਤਿ ਬਿਨਾ ਬਹੁ ਡੂਬੇ ਸਿਆਨੇ ॥: Gur kee mati toon lehi iaane. Bhagti binaa bahu doobe siaane: You ignorant fool, take the Gurmat (Aatmic-Giaan, Gur-Giaan, Shabad-Vichaar...); without Bhagti, even many clever have drowned. (sggs 288).
  • ਸੋ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਜਿਨਿ ਸਬਦਿ ਲਿਵ ਲਾਈ ॥: So Giani jini shabdi liv laaee: He alone is a Giaanee (ਗਿਆਨ-ਵਾਨ), who has focused his consciousness on the Shabad (sggs 831).
Our true nature is Pure Awareness. If we are ignorant of this, then the Awareness turns outwards, towards manifestation. That is called "Jagat" or "Sansaar", the place of repeated "suffering". When we turn our mind inward, the reflections of our Mool falls on the mind; by which the veil of illusion gets thinner and thinner. In the end, the mind becomes dissolved in the Mool. Then the notion of "other" (duality or Doojaa Bhaav) ceases to be. Therefore, the True Wisdom is the love of theMool within.
  • ਸਲੋਕੁ ॥ ਮਨਿ ਸਾਚਾ ਮੁਖਿ ਸਾਚਾ ਸੋਇ ॥ ਅਵਰੁ ਨ ਪੇਖੈ ਏਕਸੁ ਬਿਨੁ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਇਹ ਲਛਣ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਹੋਇ ॥੧॥: Salok || Man saachaa mukh saachaa hoi. Awar na pekhai ekas bin koi. Nanak ih lashhan brahm giaanee hoi ||1||: Salok. The True (Lord) is on his mind, and the True (Lord) is upon his lips. He sees only the One (Lord). O Nanak, these are the qualities of the Brahm Gianee; God-conscious being ||1|| (sggs 272).

— T. Singh