ਸੂਤਕ – Sootak

The Gurbani tells us that the entire world is burning with Sootak (ਸੂਤਕ)! In fact, according to the Gurbani, all birth and death are in Sootak.

  • ਸੂਤਕੁ ਅਗਨਿ ਭਖੈ ਜਗੁ ਖਾਇ ॥: The fire of Sootak consumes the world. (sggs 413).
  • ਨਾਨਕ ਸੂਤਕਿ ਜਨਮਿ ਮਰੀਜੈ ॥: O Nanak! In Sootak, the mortals are born and die (sggs 413).

What is this Sootak? Who is stained by Sootak? How can Sootak be eradicated? Who is free of Sootak?

What is Sootak?

Sootak (ਸੂਤਕ) => is the doubt of the mind (ਭਰਮ) which gives rise to impurity or defilement, attachment to Maya, duality, Bikaar (lust, anger, greed,etc.), Haumai (false ego-sense), fear

In nutshell Sootak is anything which does not let you walk on the Way of Dharma.

  • ਸਭੋ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਭਰਮੁ ਹੈ ਦੂਜੈ ਲਗੈ ਜਾਇ ॥ : Sootak is entirely (ਨਿਰਾ) doubt and it attaches to those who are duality-ridden (in love with Maya). (sggs 472).
  • ਮਨ ਕਾ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਦੂਜਾ ਭਾਉ ॥: Sootak of the mind is the love of duality (sggs 229).
  • ਸਭੋ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਜੇਤਾ ਮੋਹੁ ਆਕਾਰੁ ॥: Sabho sootaku jetaa mohu aakaar (sggs 29).

According to the Gurbani, for example, Sootak of the mind is greed (i.e., Bikaars, hunger for Maya…); Sootak of the tongue is falsehood; Sootak of the eyes is to gaze upon the beauty of another’s woman and wealth; Sootak of the ears is to listen to the slander of others, and so on.

  • ਮਨ ਕਾ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਲੋਭੁ ਹੈ ਜਿਹਵਾ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਕੂੜੁ ॥ ਅਖੀ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਵੇਖਣਾ ਪਰ ਤ੍ਰਿਅ ਪਰ ਧਨ ਰੂਪੁ ॥ ਕੰਨੀ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਕੰਨਿ ਪੈ ਲਾਇਤਬਾਰੀ ਖਾਹਿ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਹੰਸਾ ਆਦਮੀ ਬਧੇ ਜਮ ਪੁਰਿ ਜਾਹਿ ॥੨॥: Sootak of the mind is greed, and the Sootak of the tongue is falsehood. Sootak of the eyes is to gaze upon the beauty of another woman and wealth pertaining to another. The Sootak of the ears is to listen to the slander of others. O Nanak! (These kind of people, even if they look beutiful on the outside like) Hans (swans), (but still) bound they end up in the city of death (i.e., hellish existence, doubt-ridden existence…) ||2|| (sggs 472).

Who is stained by Sootak?

First off, the Gurbani tells us that Sootak is everywhere (“ਸਭ ਹੀ ਥਾਇ”-Sabh Hee Thaai ).

  • ਸੂਤਕੁ ਜਲਿ ਥਲਿ ਸਭ ਹੀ ਥਾਇ ॥: Sootak is in water, land and all the places (i.e., ਸੂਤਕ ਦਾ ਭਰਮ ਕਿਥੇ ਕਿਥੇ ਕੀਤਾ ਜਾਵੇਗਾ?). (sggs 413).
  • ਜੇ ਕਰਿ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਮੰਨੀਐ ਸਭ ਤੈ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਹੋਇ ॥: If one accepts the concept of Sootak, then there is Sootak everywhere. (sggs 472).
  • ਸੂਤਕੁ ਭੋਜਨੁ ਜੇਤਾ ਕਿਛੁ ਖਾਹਿ ॥੩॥: Sootak bhojanu jetaa kichhu khaahi (sggs 229).
  • ਜਨਮੇ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਮੂਏ ਫੁਨਿ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਸੂਤਕ ਪਰਜ ਬਿਗੋਈ ॥੧॥: Janame sootaku mooe phuni sootaku … (sggs 331).

The Gurbani tells us that so long we remain Manmukh in this world, Sootak will never leave us alone. Simply put: A Manmukh is a self-willed, doubt-ridden, attached to Maya, separated from his Mool, has no true understanding of the Gurbani

  • ਮਨਮੁਖਿ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਕਬਹਿ ਨ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਜਿਚਰੁ ਸਬਦਿ ਨ ਭੀਜੈ ਹਰਿ ਕੈ ਨਾਇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: The Sootak (impurity) of the Manmukhs will never go away, as long as (that Manmukh person) does not get drenched with the Shabad (Giaan, Wisdom…). ||1||Pause|| (sggs 229).

In other words, without the Naam, the Gurbani tells us that world become stained with Sootak:

  • ਬਿਨੁ ਨਾਵੈ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਜਗਿ ਛੋਤਿ ॥: Without the Naam, Sootak (clings upon) touching the world (i.e., without Naam, all transactions in the world are Sootak). (sggs 413).

How can Sootak be eradicated?

Although Sootak is everywhere in this Mayaic world, however, the Gurbani tells us that Sootak can be eradicated by giving up the Manmukh lifestyle through the Naam (Hukam, Shabad, Gurbani, Aatam Giaan, Divine Knowledge…).

In other words, Sootak can be washed away by the Spiritual Wisdom (Aatam Giaan or Divine Knowledge of the Gurbani – Gurmat) of the Gurbani churned through the Shabad-Vichaar.

  • ਨਾਨਕ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਏਵ ਨ ਉਤਰੈ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਉਤਾਰੇ ਧੋਇ ॥੧॥: O Nanak! Sootak cannot be removed in this way; it is washed away only by the Spiritual Wisdom. ||1|| (sggs 472).
  • ਕਹਿ ਕਬੀਰ ਰਾਮੁ ਰਿਦੈ ਬਿਚਾਰੈ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਤਿਨੈ ਨ ਹੋਈ ॥੩॥੪੧॥: Kahi Kabeer Raamu ridai bichaarai sootaku tinai n hoee (sggs 331).

Who is free of Sootak?

The Gurbani tells us that those who have become the Gurmukh are free of Sootak:

  • ਨਾਨਕ ਜਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹੀ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਬੁਝਿਆ ਤਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਾ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਨਾਹਿ ॥੩॥: O Nanak! By becoming the Gurmukhs, who Understand (the Truth, Reality…), are not stained by Sootak. ||3|| (sggs 472).

Now, who is the Gurmukh? In nutshell, opposite of the Manmukh, a Gurmukh is the follower of the Truth (“Sach-ਸਚ”) or Gurmat (Wisdom, Upadesh or Way of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, SGGS, ਜਿਸ ਨੂੰ ਗੁਰਮਤ ਦੀ ਪੂਰੀ ਸੋਝੀ ਹੈ…); he remains detached in the midst of Maya (ਮਾਇਆ ਵਿਚ ਉਦਾਸੀ); he abides in is True Nature (Jot Saroop)...

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