Deeming Oneself Bhagat Or Giaanee

We all see and hear many self-claimed “Bhagat”, “Giaanee”, “Sant”, etc. (who either call themselves or love to be called “Bhagat”, “Giaanee”, “Sant”…). The Gurbani says:

  • ਜਉ ਜਾਨੈ ਹਉ ਭਗਤੁ ਗਿਆਨੀ ॥ ਆਗੈ ਠਾਕੁਰਿ ਤਿਲੁ ਨਹੀ ਮਾਨੀ ॥ ਜਉ ਜਾਨੈ ਮੈ ਕਥਨੀ ਕਰਤਾ ॥ ਬਿਆਪਾਰੀ ਬਸੁਧਾ ਜਿਉ ਫਿਰਤਾ ॥: When (one) deems that (he) has become a Bhagat (the Gurmukh…), a Giaanee (One who possesses Giaan, ਵਿੱਦਵਾਨ…), then, in the world hereafter, the Master will have no regard for him at all. When he believes himself to be a sermoneer (ਧਾਰਮਿਕ ਕਥਾ-ਵਖਿਆਨ ਕਰਨ ਵਾਲਾ), he is merely a peddler wandering over the earth (sggs 255).
  • ਗਲੀ ਜਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਾ ਜਪਮਾਲੀਆ ਲੋਟੇ ਹਥਿ ਨਿਬਗ ॥ ਓਇ ਹਰਿ ਕੇ ਸੰਤ ਨ ਆਖੀਅਹਿ ਬਾਨਾਰਸਿ ਕੇ ਠਗ ॥੧॥: Galee jinaah japamaaleeaa lote hathi nibag. Oi har ke sant n aakhahi baanaarasi ke thug (sggs 476).

If you compare such egoistic conduct of these people with the Gurbani’s Teaching, just imagine how unaware or ignorant of the basics of the Gurbani such people are!!!

The Gurbani boldly declares that such people are just “peddler”!

Because, as a peddler sells his stuff to others, similarly, such self-claimed “Bhagat”, “Giaanee”, “Sant”, etc. (who either call themselves or love to be called “Bhagat”, “Giaanee”, “Sant”…) sell the Gurbani and themselves to others. But, they themselves have nothing to show for (“ਆਗੈ ਠਾਕੁਰਿ ਤਿਲੁ ਨਹੀ ਮਾਨੀ”) hereafter!

The Gurbani calls them “Manmukh” (self-willed…), “fools”, Mentally blind (ignorant…), etc.! Here is the Gurbani’s edict about those who sell this Bidiya (knowledge, learning, lore, education, study, attainment, ਵਿੱਦਿਆ, ਇਲਮ…):

  • ਮਾਇਆ ਕਾਰਨ ਬਿਦਿਆ ਬੇਚਹੁ ਜਨਮੁ ਅਬਿਰਥਾ ਜਾਈ ॥੩॥: (O mentally blind! You) sell knowledge (learning, etc.) for the sake of Maya; your life is totally worthless (sggs 1103).
  • ਮਨਮੁਖੁ ਬਿਦਿਆ ਬਿਕ੍ਰਦਾ ਬਿਖੁ ਖਟੇ ਬਿਖੁ ਖਾਇ ॥ ਮੂਰਖੁ ਸਬਦੁ ਨ ਚੀਨਈ ਸੂਝ ਬੂਝ ਨਹ ਕਾਇ ॥ ॥੫੩॥: The Manmukh sells his knowledge (learning, etc.); he earns poison (of Maya), and eats this poison (that brings him spiritual death). The fool does not Reflect on the Shabad. He has no understanding, no comprehension ||53|| (sggs 938).
  • ਕੋ ਹੈ ਲਰਿਕਾ ਬੇਚਈ ਲਰਿਕੀ ਬੇਚੈ ਕੋਇ ॥: Ko hau larikaa bechaee larikee bechai koi (sggs 1366).

However — without any regard to what the Gurbani says, many (who sell Gurbani – “peddler”) are decorated with titles such as “Panth Ratan”, “Bhagat”, “Giaanee”, “Sant”, and so on. What a fraud in the name of the Gurbani, Sikhi, or Dharma!

No wonder, throughout the Gurbani, scholars (Pandit, ਵਿੱਦਵਾਨ) are decorated with the titles such as “fool” (“ਮੂਰਖ”), “ignorant”, etc.!

  • ਮੂਰਖ ਪੰਡਿਤ ਹਿਕਮਤਿ ਹੁਜਤਿ ਸੰਜੈ ਕਰਹਿ ਪਿਆਰੁ ॥: The foolish Pandit, by their clever arguments (crafty tricks…), are fond of gathering wealth (Maya…). (sggs 469).
  • ਮਾਇਆ ਕਾ ਮੁਹਤਾਜੁ ਪੰਡਿਤੁ ਕਹਾਵੈ ॥: Infatuated by (the hunger of Maya), (he) calls himself Pandit (sggs 231).
  • ਬਾਹਰਹੁ ਪੰਡਿਤ ਸਦਾਇਦੇ ਮਨਹੁ ਮੂਰਖ ਗਾਵਾਰ ॥: Outwardly, (Manmukh) call themselves Pandit, but mentally they are foolish and ignorant (sggs 1091).

Because, according to the Gurbani, what matters is not what someone has learned, but how he lives!

A donkey is just a donkey whether loaded with gold, sandalwood, or Granth!! Similarly, our knowledge or learning is useless if not lived (ਅਮਲ). This is the Gurbani’s edict.

  • ਚਉਣੇ ਸੁਇਨਾ ਪਾਈਐ ਚੁਣਿ ਚੁਣਿ ਖਾਵੈ ਘਾਸੁ ॥: Though gold may be placed before a herd of cattle, but they will pick out the grass to eat (i.e., cattle have no appreciation for gold)! (sggs 143).
  • ਚੰਦਨ ਲੇਪੁ ਉਤਾਰੈ ਧੋਇ ॥ ਗਰਧਬ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਭਸਮ ਸੰਗਿ ਹੋਇ ॥: Donkey washes off the sandalwood paste (by rolling in the ash, because), donkey loves the ash (sggs 267).
  • ਬੇਦ ਪੁਰਾਨ ਪੜੇ ਕਾ ਕਿਆ ਗੁਨੁ ਖਰ ਚੰਦਨ ਜਸ ਭਾਰਾ ॥: (O pandit!) What is the use of reading the Vedas and the Puraanas? It is like loading a donkey with sandalwood (If Mool is not understood…). (sggs 1102).

If a person lives a Mayaic life, that does not mean he is unaware of as to what is right (Satt) and what is wrong (Asatt). In spite of the fact that Jeeva (individual being) knows what’s right (Satt), he thinks himself to be too clever who can circumvent the Hukam (Shabad, Naam…). Here in the Gurbani, this condition of the humans is compared with someone who in spite of having a lamp in his hand, still falls into a well!

  • ਕਬੀਰ ਮਨੁ ਜਾਨੈ ਸਭ ਬਾਤ ਜਾਨਤ ਹੀ ਅਉਗਨੁ ਕਰੈ ॥ ਕਾਹੇ ਕੀ ਕੁਸਲਾਤ ਹਾਥਿ ਦੀਪੁ ਕੂਏ ਪਰੈ ॥੨੧੬॥:  Kabeer, the mortal knows everything (i.e., difference between right and wrong), and knowing all, he still makes mistakes (ਮੰਦੇ ਕੰਮ…). What good is a lamp in one’s hand, if, in spite of having a lamp in the hand, he falls into the well? ||216|| (sggs 1376).
  • ਨਾ ਤਨੁ ਤੇਰਾ ਨਾ ਮਨੁ ਤੋਹਿ ॥ ਮਾਇਆ ਮੋਹਿ ਬਿਆਪਿਆ ਧੋਹਿ ॥: Neither your body nor your mind belong to you. (But, for the sake of this body and mind) attached to Maya, you are entangled in fraud (sggs 899).
  • ਪੜੀਐ ਗੁਣੀਐ ਕਿਆ ਕਥੀਐ ਜਾ ਮੁੰਢਹੁ ਘੁਥਾ ਜਾਇ ॥: Parreeai guneeai kiaa katheeai jaa… (sggs 68).

In nutshell, such people are religious con men who have reduced the Gurbani, Sikhi, or Dharma to a mere mundane business (“ਰੋਟੀਆ ਕਾਰਣਿ” ਧੰਧਾ ). The Gurbani repudiates their conduct or life-style! The focus of such “Baanaaras Ke Thug” (“ਬਾਨਾਰਸਿ ਕੇ ਠਗ”) is to collect Maya. The Gurbani says such Mayadhaaree “Thug” (“ਠਗ”) have nothing to give to others.

  • ਕਰਿ ਪਰਪੰਚੁ ਜਗਤ ਕਉ ਡਹਕੈ ਅਪਨੋ ਉਦਰੁ ਭਰੈ: Practicing deception (ਵਿਖਾਵਾ, ਠੱਗੀ…), (he: who is gone insane with the intoxication of Maya) tries to cheat the world (ਠੱਗਣਾ), and so he fills his belly (with the money so swindled from others). ||1|| (sggs 536).
  • ਅਸੰਤੁ ਅਨਾੜੀ ਕਦੇ ਨ ਬੂਝੈ ॥ ਕਥਨੀ ਕਰੇ ਤੈ ਮਾਇਆ ਨਾਲਿ ਲੂਝੈ ॥: Asant anaarree… (sggs 160).

Now, the question is: Why is it that after knowing (ਜਾਣਕੇ, ਸਮਝਕੇ, ਚਿੰਤਨ ਕਰਕੇ, ਘੋਖਕੇ…) the Gur-Shabad they are still bound to fraud…? Here is the Gurbani’s diagnosis and answer — it’s because, regardless of what they say, their mind and mouth are always filled with Maya. That is, they don’t practice what they know or sermonize!!!

  • ਸਬਦੁ ਚੀਨਿ ਭੈ ਕਪਟ ਨ ਛੂਟੇ ਮਨਿ ਮੁਖਿ ਮਾਇਆ ਮਾਇਆ ॥: (They) recognize the Shabad, but (still, they) are not free from fear and fraud; (because, their) minds and mouths remain filled with Maya.
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  1. Prakash S Bagga

    The views expressed by Balwant Singh Seera ji are fully appreciable.But every one needs to
    Know the Gurmati way of Gurbaanee understanding so that everyone is able to interprate
    Gurbaanee accordingly.
    In my observations there seems to be very clear context of Gurbaanee understanding as a reference to start and this reference is missing from our views while interprating Gurbaanee.
    I feel this starting reference acquiring first the knowledge of PRABHu ABINAASEE and its FIGURE.

  2. Balwant Singh Seera

    Gurmukh piyare jeo, with all humility at my command may i appeal and request each and every Gursikh to please read Gurbani himself/herself and imbibe the true meaning of the shabad into your own heart and mind, this will , i am sure and 100 percent , automatically obviate the need of any sadh,sant, baba etc (or peddlers) to preach to us .In gurmat sidhant, there is no room for priestly class, but our negligence,indifference and running away from assumimg the panthic responsibility to be the ambassadors of our great faith, has created this class in our sikh society

    • T. Singh Post author

      Excellent message! Thank you Bhai Sahib Jio for sharing.
      • ਆਪਣ ਹਥੀ ਆਪਣਾ ਆਪੇ ਹੀ ਕਾਜੁ ਸਵਾਰੀਐ ॥੨੦॥: Aapan hathee aapanaa aape hee kaaju savaareeai ||20 (sggs 474).
      • ਸਿਖੀ ਸਿਖਿਆ ਗੁਰ ਵੀਚਾਰਿ ॥: Sikhee sikhiaa gur veechaari (sggs 465).
      • ਮਨ ਸਮਝਾਵਨ ਕਾਰਨੇ ਕਛੂਅਕ ਪੜੀਐ ਗਿਆਨ ॥੫॥: Man samajhaavan kaarane kachhooak parreeai giaan ||5 (sggs 340).

  3. Kirpal Singh

    ਬਲਿਹਾਰੀ ਗੁਰ ਆਪਣੇ ਦਿਉਹਾੜੀ ਸਦ ਵਾਰ ॥ ਜਿਨਿ ਮਾਣਸ ਤੇ ਦੇਵਤੇ ਕੀਏ ਕਰਤ ਨ ਲਾਗੀ ਵਾਰ ॥੧॥: A hundred times a day, I am a sacrifice to my Guru. He made angels out of men, without delay. ||1|| (Raag Asa M. 1, GGS, 462-19).

    On the positive side, Gurbani does give promises of transforming an ordinary human-being in to a Devta (Gurmukh, Gianee, Brahmgianee, Sadh, Sant, Bhagat, Guru….). These are promised elevations that are achievable in life provided one has lost his/her ego completely. There are are elaborate references to such terms in the Sukhmani Sahib and rest of the Bani. I do recognize the the presence of elevated souls among us.

    • T. Singh Post author

      These are promised elevations that are achievable in life provided one has lost his/her ego completely.

      Yes, of course, provided ego is completely dissolved as you stated.

      Thank you Bhai Sahib Jio.

    • Jarnail Singh

      Totally agree with you brother. ਨਾਨਕ ਸੰਤ ਸੰਤ ਹਰਿ ਏਕੋ ਜਪਿ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਸੋਹੰਦੀ ॥

  4. Prakash S Bagga

    Veer T Singh Jeo,
    You have rightly understood what I expressed as self claimed BHAGAT,GIYAEE n SANT
    I have vivid example for this as
    There is a Quote in Gurbaanee as”ANHAD BAANEE PUNJEE SANTAN HATH RAAKHEE KUNJEE”
    This Quote was being interprated by a self styled Sant as “that from Gurbaanee it is clear that
    BAANEE Di Kunjee Saddhe Jeh Santaan Kol Hae ji ….is karke Saddhe Kol AAO Te Baanee Nu Samjho.”
    Basically common men are surrounded by Such self proclaimed Sants all over and Such persons move around Sant only thru out their life without knowing how they are being deprived of the real treasure they should be deserving for.

    • T. Singh Post author

      Thank you Bhai Sahib Jio for elaborating.

      Basically common men are surrounded by Such self proclaimed Sants all over and Such persons move around Sant only thru out their life without knowing how they are being deprived of the real treasure they should be deserving for.

      • ਜਉ ਜਾਨੈ ਹਉ ਭਗਤੁ ਗਿਆਨੀ ॥ ਆਗੈ ਠਾਕੁਰਿ ਤਿਲੁ ਨਹੀ ਮਾਨੀ ॥ ਜਉ ਜਾਨੈ ਮੈ ਕਥਨੀ ਕਰਤਾ ॥ ਬਿਆਪਾਰੀ ਬਸੁਧਾ ਜਿਉ ਫਿਰਤਾ ॥ (sggs 255).
      • ਕਰਿ ਪਰਪੰਚੁ ਜਗਤ ਕਉ ਡਹਕੈ ਅਪਨੋ ਉਦਰੁ ਭਰੈ (sggs 536).
      • ਅਸੰਤੁ ਅਨਾੜੀ ਕਦੇ ਨ ਬੂਝੈ ॥ ਕਥਨੀ ਕਰੇ ਤੈ ਮਾਇਆ ਨਾਲਿ ਲੂਝੈ ॥ (sggs 160).
      • ਜੋ ਲੇਵੈ ਸੋ ਦੇਵੈ ਨਾਹੀ ਖਟੇ ਦੰਮ ਸਹੰਮੀ ॥੨੯॥ (sggs 1412).

  5. Prakash s Bagga

    There are Quotes in Gurbaanee wherin one can see that the words BHAGAT,GIYANEE and SANT seem to have been refered for persons such as
    SOYEE BHAGAT JO TUDH BHAWAE JISNU TU RANG DHARTA
    BHAGATA AN KIN TEK TU SANAAN KI OUT TU SUCHAA SIRJANHARARAA
    Howevever there are Quotes as given in this blog message that no person should claim himself of his own as BHAGAT,GIYANEE or SANT.
    Thus Gurbaanee messages are very articulate for their correct understanding of context for getting true and correct meanings as per Gurmati view.

    • T. Singh Post author

      Thank you Bhai Sahib Jio for taking the time to share!
      But, sorry, I don’t fully understand what you are trying to say.

      About the self-claimed (who call themselves or like to be called) “Bhagat”, “Giaanee”, etc. , the Gurbani’s edict is:
      • ਜਉ ਜਾਨੈ ਹਉ ਭਗਤੁ ਗਿਆਨੀ ॥ ਆਗੈ ਠਾਕੁਰਿ ਤਿਲੁ ਨਹੀ ਮਾਨੀ ॥ ਜਉ ਜਾਨੈ ਮੈ ਕਥਨੀ ਕਰਤਾ ॥ ਬਿਆਪਾਰੀ ਬਸੁਧਾ ਜਿਉ ਫਿਰਤਾ ॥ (sggs 255).
      • ਮਾਇਆ ਕਾਰਨ ਬਿਦਿਆ ਬੇਚਹੁ ਜਨਮੁ ਅਬਿਰਥਾ ਜਾਈ ॥੩॥ (sggs 1103).

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