Chully – Handful Of Water

Literally, Chullee (ਚੁੱਲੀ) is to take a handful of water to rinse and wash the mouth by moving the water around inside the mouth, specifically after every meal (also called Kurlee – ਕੁਰਲੀ ਕਰਨਾ: gargling…). Using this worldly example of Chullee (ਚੁੱਲੀ), Baabaa Nanak in the Gurbani expounds the Spiritual Wisdom (Divine Knowledge, Aatam-Giaan, Gurmat…) to the seekers of Truth.

First off, keeping the external body clean is a good practice in personal hygiene — a common sense. The Gurbani does not advocate not to keep the body clean. However, on account of an utter ignorance of the Gurmat (The Teaching of the Gurbani…), many have turned the external cleanliness into a religious ritual – equating the outer neatness and cleanliness with the mental Purity or Spiritual Life!

Although one can wash the external body (Ishnaan), or rinse the inside of his mouth with Chullee (ਚੁੱਲੀ) or handful of water; however,  Baabaa Nanak says water cannot wash the mind (“ਪਾਣੀ ਚਿਤੁ ਨ ਧੋਪਈ”)!

  • ਪਾਣੀ ਚਿਤੁ ਨ ਧੋਪਈ ਮੁਖਿ ਪੀਤੈ ਤਿਖ ਜਾਇ ॥: Paanee chitu na dhopaee mukhi peetai tikh jaai (sggs 1240).
  • ਬਾਹਰਿ ਮਲੁ ਧੋਵੈ ਮਨ ਕੀ ਜੂਠਿ ਨ ਜਾਏ ॥: Baahar mal dhovai man kee jooth na jaaye (sggs 88).
  • ਮਨਿ ਮੈਲੈ ਸਭੁ ਕਿਛੁ ਮੈਲਾ ਤਨਿ ਧੋਤੈ ਮਨੁ ਹਛਾ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥: Mani mailai sabh kish mailaa tani dhotai manu hashaa na hoe (sggs 558).

For example, mouth rinsing (including washing of feet, arms, etc.) is one of the actions carried out for performing Wudu (partial ablution) by Muslims. Off course, the idea was to make intention (Niyyah) in the heart (i.e., to purify the heart…); for it is an action of the pure heart and not of the tongue that matters!

Also, there is a ritual called ” Panj Ishsanaanaa ” or ” Panj Ishnan ” pretty common in Sikhs (” five washings ” – washing of two hands, two feet, and the face before entering a Gurdwara building, before reciting Paath, etc.).

There is nothing wrong with cleaning hands, feet, mouth, etc. But, to equate the outer neatness and cleanliness with Inner Purity or Spiritual Life is trickery of the mind ridden with illusion, doubt (ਭਰਮ), deception, falsehood, utter ignorance of the Gurbani…

  • ਜਿਨ ਕੈ ਹਿਰਦੈ ਮੈਲੁ ਕਪਟੁ ਹੈ ਬਾਹਰੁ ਧੋਵਾਇਆ ॥ ਕੂੜੁ ਕਪਟੁ ਕਮਾਵਦੇ ਕੂੜੁ ਪਰਗਟੀ ਆਇਆ ॥: Jin kai hirdai mailu kapatu hai baaharu dhovaaiaa. Koorhu kapatu kamaavade koorh paragatee aaiaa (sggs 1243).
  • ਅੰਤਰਿ ਮੈਲੁ ਲਗੀ ਨਹੀ ਜਾਣੈ ਬਾਹਰਹੁ ਮਲਿ ਮਲਿ ਧੋਵੈ ॥: Antari mailu lagee nahee jaanai baaharahu mali mali dhovai (sggs 139).

Such trickery of the Mayaic mind is out-rightly rejected by Baabaa Nanak in the outset of the SGGS.

  • ਭਰੀਐ ਹਥੁ ਪੈਰੁ ਤਨੁ ਦੇਹ ॥ ਪਾਣੀ ਧੋਤੈ ਉਤਰਸੁ ਖੇਹ ॥ ਮੂਤ ਪਲੀਤੀ ਕਪੜੁ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਦੇ ਸਾਬੂਣੁ ਲਈਐ ਓਹੁ ਧੋਇ ॥ ਭਰੀਐ ਮਤਿ ਪਾਪਾ ਕੈ ਸੰਗਿ ॥ ਓਹੁ ਧੋਪੈ ਨਾਵੈ ਕੈ ਰੰਗਿ ॥: Bhareeai hath pair tanu deh…: When the hands, feet and the body are dirty, water can wash away the dirt. When the clothes are soiled and stained by urine, soap can wash them clean. But when the intellect is stained and polluted by sin (acting opposite to the Hukam, living devoid of Gur-Giaan…), it can only be cleansed by the Love of the Divine Naam (to live in Hukam, Gur-Giaan, Divine Virtues…) (sggs 4).

The Gurbani is “Brahm Beechaar” (“ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਬੀਚਾਰ”). There is no place for Karamkaand in Brahm-Vichaar (Reflections on the Ultimate Formless Reality or Niraakaar – ਪਰਮਾਤਮ ਦੇ ਮਿਲਾਪ ਦੀ ਵਿਚਾਰ). Those who think otherwise apparently take the Gur-Shabad to be just a song or “ਗੀਤੁ” (i.e., those who either don’t understand the Gurbani, or don’t want to understand it, or just blindly follow the Karamkaand propagated by the greedy Pujaaree-group or the priest-group rejected by all the Gurus and the Bhagats centuries ago…). But, according to the Gurbani, it is not to be taken as a song (“ਗੀਤੁ”); for it is the “Brahm Beechaar“!!

  • ਲੋਗੁ ਜਾਨੈ ਇਹੁ ਗੀਤੁ ਹੈ ਇਹੁ ਤਉ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਬੀਚਾਰ ॥: Logu jaanai ihu geetu hai ihu taou Brahm Beechaar (sggs 335).

Therefore, for example, Baabaa Nanak says that Chullee (ਚੁੱਲੀ) of a Wise person consists of Aatam-Giaan (Spiritual Wisdom, Divine Knowledge, Gurmat, Brahm Vichaar…); Chullee (ਚੁੱਲੀ) for a Yogi is Jatt (complete annihilation of the evil passions…); Chullee (ਚੁੱਲੀ) of a Brahman is contentment; Chullee (ਚੁੱਲੀ) for a householder is remaining truthful – to be truthful is his performing of charity; Chullee (ਚੁੱਲੀ) of a ruler (king, leader…) is justice for all (following Dharma-justice); and Chullee (ਚੁੱਲੀ) for an educated or a learned person is to Reflect on the Truth.

  • ਸੁਰਤੇ ਚੁਲੀ ਗਿਆਨ ਕੀ ਜੋਗੀ ਕਾ ਜਤੁ ਹੋਇ ॥: Surate chulii giaan kee jogi kaa jatu hoi (sggs 1240).
  • ਬ੍ਰਹਮਣ ਚੁਲੀ ਸੰਤੋਖ ਕੀ ਗਿਰਹੀ ਕਾ ਸਤੁ ਦਾਨੁ ॥: Brahman chulee santokh kee girahee kaa satu daanu (sggs 1240).
  • ਰਾਜੇ ਚੁਲੀ ਨਿਆਵ ਕੀ ਪੜਿਆ ਸਚੁ ਧਿਆਨੁ ॥: Raaje chulee niaav kee parhiaa sachu dhiaan (sggs 1240).

Thus, in nutshell, washing, Ishanaan, Chullee, etc., as recommended in the Gurbani is of the mind, for the mind, and by the mind – that brings inner purity (Spiritual Life, Divine Life – ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਵਿਚ ਸੁੱਚ …)!

  • ਹਰਿ ਜਲੁ ਨਿਰਮਲੁ ਮਨੁ ਇਸਨਾਨੀ ਮਜਨੁ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਭਾਈ ॥: Hari (Naam) is the immaculate Water; the mind that has bathed (in this immaculate Water of Hari Naam, such Ishnan) bath  is pleasing to the Satigur. (sggs 505).
  • ਨਾਨਕ ਚੁਲੀਆ ਸੁਚੀਆ ਜੇ ਭਰਿ ਜਾਣੈ ਕੋਇ ॥: Nanak chuleeaa sucheeaa je bhari jaanai koi (sggs 1240).

Therefore, the Gurbani has painstakingly explained the need to understand the difference between one’s external body (“ਬਿਦੇਹੀ”-Bidehee; Pindaa-ਪਿੰਡਾ…), and one’s Soul that is Formless, Immortal, and Undying (“ਦੇਹੀ ਗੁਪਤ”-Gupat Dehee; Inner Kaaiaa, subtle body…). The external body has a temporary existence, and is visible to the physical eyes (“ਬਿਦੇਹੀ ਦੀਸੈ”). To the contrary, the Gupat Dehee or Kaaiaa (“ਦੇਹੀ ਗੁਪਤ”) cannot be seen with the physical eyes.

  • ਦੇਹੀ ਗੁਪਤ ਬਿਦੇਹੀ ਦੀਸੈ ॥: Dehee gupat bidehee deesai (sggs 900).
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Filed Under: Gurbani, Ishnan, bath, wash, Chulle, Purity, Inpurity, Rituals, Karamkaand
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6 Comments On This Post Join the Shabad-Vichaar ...

  1. Karamjeet Singh

    Thanks for elaborating on the concept of Chulli as used in Gurbani.

    I agree completely with you that the importance of external cleanliness can’t be denied ( common sense dictates that), but the real problem is that these external cleansing actions, for most of us, tend to be misconstrued as ‘necessary and sufficient’; thus presenting a slippery slope decending us down to a point where the need for internal cleanliness is deemed completely obliterate.

    You are one hundred percent correct that Gurbani has attached paramount importance to the necessity of internal cleanliness. In fact the very first line of the very first pauri of the very first bani (Japji Sahib) in SGGS proclaims – Sochai Soch na hovaee, jay sochee lakh vaar (umpteen bathings will not make you clean). Similarly Sukhmani Sahib educates us by a similar advice – Soch karae dinas ur raat; Mann ki mael na tann te jaat (One may bathe day and night; the impurity of ‘mann’ can’t be eradicated merely by cleansing ‘tann’). Only if we could implement on us these teachings, we could truly understand the shallowness of the karamkands we so igorantly keep on executing day in and day out.

    Bhul Chuk Maaf

    With deep regards for your awakening endevour.

  2. KSingh

    Thanks for sharing such nice vichaars….With waheguru kirpa, I am doing paath and daily going to gurudwara for last 15 years. I am an engineer by profession and yet to marry…

    Since last 4 months, I started suffering from this OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder)…lots of hand washing, lots of mouth washing..using so much soap.. repeating gurbani hymns again & again thinking that i missed the last line or pronounced it wrong….and its really taking a toll at my life, my mental peace… with god’s grace, even then somehow waheguru is making me do morning and evening nitnem and visit gurudwra sahib daily….but this ocd is ruining my life…

    And my issue is i don’t have that much ocd in my normal life…almost all of ocd starts with paath and gurudwara sahib…in my mind, always, there is a feeling now, that mere kolon guru and gurbani ch kitte koi galti na ho jaye….

    Now i am so fearing that i start from home by properly washing hands and mouth (kurla) 10-15 times….and after going to gurudwara sahib, i am again doing it…once, i almost cried…as others went straight to darbar sahib without any hand or mouth washing….and here i am, washing and washing hands & mouth for many minutes…am getting tortured daily…5 min di ardass karan nun kayi vaar 20 min lag rahe ne…my normal life, my job, my family all is suffering… and i know what i am doing is wrong….maybe your blog above will help me…

    • Many Thanks Bhai Sahib K. Singh Ji for taking the time to respond! Welcome to the Gurbani Blog Ji!

      Since water cannot wash the mind (“ਪਾਣੀ ਚਿਤੁ ਨ ਧੋਪਈ”), the Gurbani wants us to remember this:
      • ਬਾਹਰਿ ਮਲੁ ਧੋਵੈ ਮਨ ਕੀ ਜੂਠਿ ਨ ਜਾਏ ॥: Outwardly, he (hypocrite) washes off the filth, but the impurity of his mind does not go away (sggs 88).
      • ਮਨਿ ਮੈਲੈ ਸਭੁ ਕਿਛੁ ਮੈਲਾ ਤਨਿ ਧੋਤੈ ਮਨੁ ਹਛਾ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥: When the mind is filthy, everything is filthy; by washing the body, the mind is not cleaned (sggs 558).
      • ਸਹਸੈ ਜੀਉ ਮਲੀਣੁ ਹੈ ਕਿਤੁ ਸੰਜਮਿ ਧੋਤਾ ਜਾਏ ॥ ਮੰਨੁ ਧੋਵਹੁ ਸਬਦਿ ਲਾਗਹੁ ਹਰਿ ਸਿਉ ਰਹਹੁ ਚਿਤੁ ਲਾਇ: So long the mind is in the grip of ਸਹਿਮ (doubt, worry, skepticism, etc., born of from our love for Maya), it is rendered filthy. By no ਸੰਜਮਿ (Jugati – external tact, skill, device, knack, etc.) this filth of the mind can be cleansed. Attach yourself to the Shabad (Gur-Giaan…), continue to fix your consciousness on God, and (like this), wash your mind (sggs 919).

    • karamjeet Arneja

      K Singh Ji, I feel your pain. Someone close to me suffered from paath-related OCD for a long time. Something that worked for her was this info I shared – Bhai Vir Singh Ji (the leading Sikh researcher and writer) was once asked as to how much ‘paath’ in a day did he recite. His answer: “Sometimes I don’t even get past Mool Mantar. I get so deeply engrossed in its veechaar that I lose track of time.” Point is Gurbani recitation is important but more important is its comprehension. After lots of persuasions, I could convince our monthly Sukhmani Sahib group to discuss the meaning of even one Ashtpadi rather than rapidly reciting entire paath in order to conclude it within an hour or so. Believe me when you dwell in Gurbani Veechaar, so many misgivings are automatically dispelled. Now the person with an OCD impact believes in discussing other paaths too – Like Japji Sahib, Rehraas Sahib etc.) My suggestion is – try discussing Gurbani Meanings .. even maybe with just one partner. Gurbani repeatedly stresses on getting rid of rituals and rather indulging in its comprehension- and as amply explained by Bhai T Singh Ji, Gurbani stresses on the importance of internal cleanliness and not the external one. I am sure with personal Indulgence in Gurbani Veechaar, your OCD will simply be eradicated. May Waheguru bless you.

      Bhul Chuk Maaf.

      • Many thanks Veer Karamjeet Ji for taking the time to respond!

        Bhai Vir Singh Ji (the leading Sikh researcher and writer) was once asked as to how much ‘paath’ in a day did he recite. His answer: “Sometimes I don’t even get past Mool Mantar. I get so deeply engrossed in its veechaar that I lose track of time.”

        Thank you for sharing this!

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