Bhav Saagar

The Gurbani mentions (1) Sukh Saagar (“ਸੁਖ ਸਾਗਰ”), and (2) Bhav Saagar (ਭਵ ਸਾਗਰ).

What is this Bhav Saagar (ਭਵ ਸਾਗਰ)?

Bhav – ਭਵ ” = Maya, world, material existence, birth …
Saagar – ਸਾਗਰ” = sea, ocean, ਸਮੁੰਦਰ…

Hence, Bhav Saagar (ਭਵ ਸਾਗਰ) = ocean of MayaMayaic consciousness, materiality, worldliness, material desires, material/worldly existence, Bikaar (lust, anger, greed, attachment, etc.), dread, fear, suffering, bondage, illusion, duality, doubt, “Dubidhaa – ਦੁਬਿਧਾ”, suffering (“ਦੁਖ ਸਾਗਰੁ”), etc.

It is also mentioned by many other terms in the Gurbani. A few are quoted here: Bhavsaagaru (“ਭਵਸਾਗਰੁ”), Bhav saagru (“ਭਵ ਸਾਗਰੁ”), Bhavsaagar (“ਭਵਸਾਗਰ”), Bhavsaagru (“ਭਵਸਾਗਰੁ”), Bhavjalu (“ਭਵਜਲੁ”), Bhaoujali (“ਭਉਜਲਿ”), Bhaoujalu (” ਭਉਜਲੁ”), Sansaar Saagar (“ਸੰਸਾਰ ਸਾਗਰ”), Saagaru Sansaare (“ਸਾਗਰੁ ਸੰਸਾਰੇ”), Bhav Dutaru (“ਭਵ ਦੁਤਰੁ”), Kali Ghor Samudr (“ਕਲਿ ਘੋਰ ਸਮੁਦ੍ਰ”), Samund (“ਸਮੁੰਦ”), and so on.

In nutshell, whatever we see with our physical eyes is Bhav Saagar — this enchanting world-appearance is but Maya.

Since the Gurbani speaks at the level of the mind/Aatmaa, from a spiritual standpoint, Bhav Saagar (ਭਵ ਸਾਗਰ) = Manmukhi Budhi, Mayaic intellect, ocean of ignorance,  Bikaaree mind (i.e., mind ridden with lust, anger, greed, attachment, pride…), illusioned or deluded mind, doubt-ridden mind, the gap or separation between one’s Mool (Source, Jot…) and the conditioned mind, etc.

  • ਭਵ ਸਾਗਰੁ ਸੰਸਾਰੁ ਬਿਖੁ ਸੋ ਪਾਰਿ ਉਤਰੀਐ ॥: Bhav Saagar is poisonous, (by realizing Mool) this world-ocean is crossed over (sggs 320).
  • ਦੁਤਰ ਅੰਧ ਬਿਖਮ ਇਹ ਮਾਇਆ ॥: This Maya is like an ocean, which is full of darkness and difficult to cross (sggs 377).
  • ਸੈਸਾਰ ਗਾਰ ਬਿਕਾਰ ਸਾਗਰ ਪਤਿਤ ਮੋਹ ਮਾਨ ਅੰਧ ॥: (O Prabhoo!) The world is a swamp of Bikaar, ocean of Bikaar. Blinded (by the Maya’s) attachment and pride, (people) remain (trapped in it). (sggs 1306).

The attempt or practice (“ਘਾਲਣਾ – Ghaalanaa“, “ਸਬਦੁ ਕਮਾਈ – Sabadu Kamaaee“) to reunite with the Mool (Jot Saroop, True Nature…) within is crossing the so called Bhav Saagar (Maya, Jagat, world…).

  • ਹੁਕਮੁ ਬੂਝਿ ਜਨ ਭਏ ਨਿਹਾਲਾ ਇਹ ਭਗਤਾ ਕੀ ਘਾਲਣਾ ॥੧੧॥: Realizing the Hukam (described in the Gurbani), Jan (Bhagats, Daas, Gurmukhs…) are enraptured; this is the “Ghaalanaa” of Bhagats. ||11|| sggs 1077).
  • ਜਗੁ ਕਰੜਾ ਮਨਮੁਖੁ ਗਾਵਾਰੁ ॥ ਸਬਦੁ ਕਮਾਈਐ ਖਾਈਐ ਸਾਰੁ ॥: The world is hard (like iron – full of suffering…) for the foolish Manmukh; practicing the Shabad, (one) can chew this iron (i.e., iron-like tough world). (sggs 943).

Where is this Bhav Saagar (ਭਵ ਸਾਗਰ) located?

The Gurbani reveals to us that the Bhav Saagar (“ਭਵ ਸਾਗਰ”) is within the Sukh Saagar“ਸੁਖ ਸਾਗਰ” (Sukh Saagar: a state devoid of shape-form-color-name which is beyond the three qualities of Maya, Prabhoo, Mool-abidance, Pure Awareness, True or Pure Nature (Jot-Saroop), “Sach Khandi”, Naam-Consciousness, Shabad-consciousness – “ਸੁਰਤਿ ਸਬਦਿ”…).

  • ਭਵ ਸਾਗਰ ਸੁਖ ਸਾਗਰ ਮਾਹੀ ॥: In the Sukh Saagar, there is the Bhav Saagar. (sggs 323).

Understandably, the Gurbani tells us that a Wise person sees the visible or gross in the Invisible!

  • ਬੇਦ ਪੁਰਾਨ ਸਿਮ੍ਰਿਤਿ ਬੂਝੈ ਮੂਲ ॥ ਸੂਖਮ ਮਹਿ ਜਾਨੈ ਅਸਥੂਲੁ ॥ ਚਹੁ ਵਰਨਾ ਕਉ ਦੇ ਉਪਦੇਸੁ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਉਸੁ ਪੰਡਿਤ ਕਉ ਸਦਾ ਅਦੇਸੁ ॥੪॥: (The Pandit who instructs his mind and has realized Hari within his Heart) understands (Prabhoo to be) the “Mool” of the Vedas, the Puraanas and the Simritees. In the Invisible (“Sookham-ਸੂਖਮ” – subtle…), he sees the visible (“Asathool-ਅਸਥੂਲ”-material, gross world or Jagat…). He gives instruction to people of all four social classes. O Nanak! To such a Pandit, (I) bow in salutation forever. ||4|| (sggs 274).

In other words, a Spiritually Wise person (the Gurmukh) sees the Bhav Saagar (ਭਵ ਸਾਗਰ) in the Sukh Saagar (“ਸੁਖ ਸਾਗਰ”)!

Who is caught in this Bhav Saagar (ਭਵ ਸਾਗਰ)?

This material world is sometimes regarded as an ocean of ignorance. The entanglement of this Bhav Saagar (material world or Maya) has no end. In this material world, the center of all activities are Bikaar (Lust or Kaam, etc.), which cannot be satisfied by any amount of sense enjoyment, just as fire can never be extinguished by a constant supply of fuel! Thus Bikaar are the symbol of ignorance by which the living beings get caught in the Bhav Saagar.

According to the Gurbani, caught in this Bhav Saagar are the Manmukhs (mind-willed, who do not follow the Truth, Hukam, Naam, Divine Wisdom of the Gurbani…).

  • ਮਨਮੁਖ ਭਉਜਲਿ ਪਚਿ ਮੁਏ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਤਰੇ ਅਥਾਹੁ ॥੮॥੧੬॥: Those in material consciousness (Manmukhs) putrefy and die in the “Bhaoujali”, while those in Spiritual-consciousness (Gurmukhs) cross over this bottomless ocean. ||8||16|| (sggs 64).

Who is not caught in this Bhav Saagar (ਭਵ ਸਾਗਰ)?

The Gurbani tells us that this Bhav Saagar is very treacherous; and very few realize this! Those who realize how treacherous this Bhav Saagar is are called Gurmukhs in the Gurbani.

  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਭਉਜਲੁ ਉਤਰਹੁ ਪਾਰਾ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: By becoming the Gurmukh, cross over the”Baoujalu”. ||1||Pause|| (sggs 229).
  • ਮਹਾ ਬਿਖਮੁ ਸੰਸਾਰੁ ਵਿਰਲੈ ਪੇਖਿਆ ॥ Rare (one) has realized how very treacherous is this ocean (of Maya…)!|(sggs 398).

How can this Bhav Saagar (ਭਵ ਸਾਗਰ) be crossed over?

In “Sidh Gosti” (sggs 938), Sidhas asked Baabaa Nanak as to how one crosses the Bhav Saagar?

  • ਦੁਨੀਆ ਸਾਗਰੁ ਦੁਤਰੁ ਕਹੀਐ ਕਿਉ ਕਰਿ ਪਾਈਐ ਪਾਰੋ ॥ ਚਰਪਟੁ ਬੋਲੈ ਅਉਧੂ ਨਾਨਕ ਦੇਹੁ ਸਚਾ ਬੀਚਾਰੋ ॥: Says Charpat (Yogi)! The world-ocean is difficult to cross over. O Nanak! Think it over, and tell how can it be crossed over? (sggs 938).

Shabad-Consciousness (Shabad-Memory, Shabad-Recollection…), replied Baabaa Nanak:

  • ਜੈਸੇ ਜਲ ਮਹਿ ਕਮਲੁ ਨਿਰਾਲਮੁ ਮੁਰਗਾਈ ਨੈ ਸਾਣੇ ॥ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਸਬਦਿ ਭਵ ਸਾਗਰੁ ਤਰੀਐ ਨਾਨਕ ਨਾਮੁ ਵਖਾਣੇ ॥: The lotus flower floats untouched upon the surface of the water, and the duck swims through the stream (i.e., without getting feathers wet); (similarly) O Nanak! With consciousness focused on the Shabad, one crosses over the terrifying world-ocean (of Maya). (sggs 938).

Although a man fallen in the ocean may be very expert swimmer and may struggle very hard to save himself from drowning. However, if someone comes and picks him up from the water, then he is easily rescued!

Similarly, Baabaa Nanak says that the Gur-Shabad (Spiritual Knowledge of the Gur-Shabad, Upadesh…) picks up the struggling Jeev (individual beings) from this world-ocean of Maya or material existence (Bhav Saagar).

  • ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਸਬਦਿ ਜੀਵਤੁ ਮਰੈ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਭਵਜਲੁ ਤਰਣਾ ॥੨॥: Through the Gur-Shabad, the Gurmukh remains dead while yet alive, and swims across the world-ocean (of Maya…). ||2|| (sggs 69).

The Gurbani’s edict is that without complete obliteration of one’s hunger of Maya, Mool-abidance is not possible. In other words, the mind that gives up hunger of Maya realizes its Mool:

  • ਮਾਇਆ ਮੋਹਿ ਹਰਿ ਚੇਤੈ ਨਾਹੀ ॥: Allured (fascinated, deluded…) by Maya, (one) does not think of Hari (i.e., Mool). (sggs 111).
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8 Comments On This Post Join the Shabad-Vichaar ...

  1. Gurjeet Singh

    A very Good Write up.
    The word Sukh Sagar is synonym with Sach Khand.

    • Thank you Veer Gurjeet Singh Ji for taking the time to respond to this post!

      The word Sukh Sagar is synonym with Sach Khand.

      Yes Veer Ji. Thank you for additional support!

      • Gurjeet Singh

        There are some more synonyms for Bhav -Sagar in Gurbani namely:
        ਭਵ ਸਿੰਧ
        ਭਵ ਨਿਧਿ

        It seems that the word Bhav comes from Bhawar (Whirlpool)

        ਭਵਰ = ਘੁੰਮਣਘੇਰੀ (Whirlpool)

        ਤੁਝ ਤੇ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਕਿਛੁ ਨਹੀ ਭਵ ਕਾਟਨਹਾਰੇ ॥
        There is none other than You, O Lord, Destroyer of Re-incarnations

        ਜੇਤੇ ਥਾਨ ਥਨੰਤਰਾ ਤੇਤੇ ਭਵਿ ਆਇਆ ॥
        The sentient soul have wandered through all incarnations.

        • Thank you Veer Gurjeet Singh Ji for additional support.

          Thank you for sharing. As about quotations, the Gurbani is full of many more related verses and synonyms, but all could not be given in the post from a space point of view.


    Thanks , Gurjit Singh Ji for providing informative and lahewand knowledge of Gurbani

  3. Devinder

    Thanks veer jee for sharing your thoughts and a job well done. Writing after researching takes time, effort and of course passion for gurbani.

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