Gursikhs Solve the Riddle

As indicated by the following verses, one who has truly become the Gursikh (i.e. a student or learner of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, SGGS), he reflects on the Gur-Giaan: Gurmat or Teaching (ਉਪਦੇਸ) of the Gurbani. He constantly bathes in the immaculate pool of the Gur-Giaan (Spiritual Wisdom). To put it otherwise, the SGGS indicates that the true Sikhs are those who have understood to live Sikhi by learning it through the Gur-Vichaar (ਗੁਰ-ਵੀਚਾਰ ਦੀ ਰਾਹੀਂ; through contemplating/reflecting on the Gur-Giaan, Gurbani’s Teaching, Wisdom of the Gurbani…):

  • ਸਿਖੀ ਸਿਖਿਆ ਗੁਰ ਵੀਚਾਰਿ ॥: Sikhi sikhiaa gur veechaari (sggs 465).
  • ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਪਰਵਾਹ ਛੁਟਕੰਤ ਸਦ ਦ੍ਵਾਰਿ ਜਿਸੁ ਗ੍ਯ੍ਯਾਨ ਗੁਰ ਬਿਮਲ ਸਰ ਸੰਤ ਸਿਖ ਨਾਈਐ ॥: Amrit paravaah chhutkant sada dvaari jisu gyaan gur bimal sar sant sikh naaeeai (sggs 1401).

Thus, one becomes a true Gursikh only when he has understood the spiritual secrets of the Gurbani or the mystery of the Gur-Shabad: When he has solved the riddle the Satguroo has posed to him.

What is this riddle (puzzle, enigma, conundrum, “ਮੁਦਾਵਣੀ”, “ਬੁਝਾਰਤ”, ਪਹੇਲੀ, ਸਮਝੌਤੀ…)? The Gurbani explains:

  • ਥਾਲੈ ਵਿਚਿ ਤੈ ਵਸਤੂ ਪਈਓ ਹਰਿ ਭੋਜਨੁ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਸਾਰੁ ॥ ਜਿਤੁ ਖਾਧੈ ਮਨੁ ਤ੍ਰਿਪਤੀਐ ਪਾਈਐ ਮੋਖ ਦੁਆਰੁ ॥ ਇਹੁ ਭੋਜਨੁ ਅਲਭੁ ਹੈ ਸੰਤਹੁ ਲਭੈ ਗੁਰ ਵੀਚਾਰਿ ॥ ਏਹ ਮੁਦਾਵਣੀ ਕਿਉ ਵਿਚਹੁ ਕਢੀਐ ਸਦਾ ਰਖੀਐ ਉਰਿ ਧਾਰਿ ॥ ਏਹ ਮੁਦਾਵਣੀ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੂ ਪਾਈ ਗੁਰਸਿਖਾ ਲਧੀ ਭਾਲਿ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਜਿਸੁ ਬੁਝਾਏ ਸੁ ਬੁਝਸੀ ਹਰਿ ਪਾਇਆ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਘਾਲਿ ॥੧॥: Upon the Plate (of the SGGS, Gurbani, ਗੁਰਬਾਣੀ ਦੇ ਅੱਖਰਾ ਰੂਪ ਥਾਲ…) You (O Divine!) have placed the sublime food of Amrit (-Naam: ਗਿਆਨ ਰੂਪ ਭੋਜਨ, ਅੰਤਰ-ਆਤਮਾ ਦਾ ਭੋਜਨ, ਬ੍ਰਹਮ-ਗਿਆਨੀ ਦਾ ਗਿਆਨ ਭੋਜਨ…). Eating this (food of Spiritual Wisdom…), the mind is satisfied, and the Door of Salvation is obtained (freedom from the hunger of Maya, Bikaar, doubt…). O Saints! This food is difficult to obtain; it is obtained only by Reflecting on the Gur (-Shabad — Spiritual Wisdom or Giaan of the Gur-Shabad or the Gurbani, ਗੁਰਬਾਣੀ ਦਾ ਉਪਦੇਸ). How can this riddle be searched within? It should be kept ever enshrined in the Heart (should not be forgotten that it is a riddle and needs to be understood through search, Shabad-Vichaar…). The Satiguroo has posed this riddle. By searching (ਖੋਜ-ਵਿਚਾਰ), the Gursikhs find it (i.e., understand or resolve the riddle…). O Nanak! He alone understands it whom the Divine inspires to understand, and by becoming the Gurmukh, he works hard (to understand the Gurbani-ਘਾਲਣਾ, ਵਿਚਾਰ, ਖੋਜ…) and find Hari (Mool…, within). ||1|| (sggs 645).
  • ਜਿਨ ਵਡਿਆਈ ਤੇਰੇ ਨਾਮ ਕੀ ਤੇ ਰਤੇ ਮਨ ਮਾਹਿ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਏਕੁ ਹੈ ਦੂਜਾ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਨਾਹਿ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਮਨੈ ਮਾਹਿ ਪਾਈਐ ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦਿ ॥: Jini vadiaaee taerae Naam kee tae ratae mann maahi... (sggs 1238).

Before we go further, let’s ask the Gurbani why the true contentment is placed on this Plate of the Gurbani.

ACCORDING TO GURBANI, it is because the Naam is obtained ONLY by those who practice true contentment:

  • ਸਤੁ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ ਕਰਿ ਭਾਉ ਤੋਸਾ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਸੇਇ ॥: Those who practice true contentment and love, obtain the supplies of the Naam (sggs 422).
  • ਰਤਨ ਜਵੇਹਰ ਨਾਮ ॥ ਸਤੁ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ ਗਿਆਨ ॥: Divine Naam is the Jewel and Ruby (i.e. very precious). The Wisdom of the true contentment (is obtained through it). (sggs 893).
  • ਸਚ ਬਿਨੁ ਸਤੁ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ ਨ ਪਾਵੈ ॥: Without the Truth, true contentment is not obtained (sggs 1040).
  • ਸਤੁ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ ਦੀਆ ਗੁਰਿ ਪੂਰੈ ਨਾਮੁ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਪੀ ਪਾਨਾਂ ਹੇ ॥੭॥: Satu santokhu deea guti poorae Naamu amritu pee paanan hae (sggs 1975).

Hence, Parameshar has placed the sublime Food (ਭੋਜਨ) of Amrit-Naam (Shabad, Aatam-Giaan, Spiritual Wisdom…) on the Plate of the Gurbani (ਗੁਰਬਾਣੀ ਦੇ ਅੱਖਰਾ ਰੂਪੀ ਥਾਲ ਵਿਚ) for us to eat. That is, our challenge is to understand the true meanings of the Gurbani As Is (understanding the Mystery of the Gur-Shabad-“ਸਬਦ ਭੇਦੁ”), and then live it (i.e. Gurmukh Lifestyle).

  • ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਕਾ ਭੋਜਨੁ ਗਿਆਨ ॥: Spiritual Wisdom (ਉੱਚੀ ਸਮਝ, etc.) is the food of the Brahm Giaanee – the knower of Truth. (sggs 273).
  • ਥਾਲ ਵਿਚਿ ਤਿੰਨਿ ਵਸਤੂ ਪਈਓ ਸਤੁ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ ਵੀਚਾਰੋ ॥ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਨਾਮੁ ਠਾਕੁਰ ਕਾ ਪਇਓ ਜਿਸ ਕਾ ਸਭਸੁ ਅਧਾਰੋ ॥ ਜੇ ਕੋ ਖਾਵੈ ਜੇ ਕੋ ਭੁੰਚੈ ਤਿਸ ਕਾ ਹੋਇ ਉਧਾਰੋ ॥: Through them (i.e., through all the contributors of the SGGS, the Divine), has placed one Thing on this Thaal (i.e., Plate of the SGGS) — contemplation or Reflection on the true contentment (i.e., ਸਤ ਸੰਤੋਖ ਦੀ ਵੀਚਾਰ — How to experience or realize through the true contentment). (This is) the Amrit Naam of the Divine that has been placed (upon the Plate of the SGGS)l; it is the Support of all. One who eats it (i.e., the spiritual food – ਆਤਮਕ ਭੋਜਨ) and enjoys it is delivered (freed from Maya, Bikaars…). (sggs 1429).

“ਸਬਦ ਭੇਦੁ” (Mystery of the Gur-Shabad) or the meanings of the Gurbani are not straightforward. However, The Gurbani tells us that a Gursikh can understand (ਸੂਝ-ਬੂਝ) them and Realize the Mystery of the Gur-Shabad through searching (ਖੋਜ) and Reflecting (Vichaar-ਵਿਚਾਰ…), and thus solve the riddle by becoming the Gurmukh (ਘਾਲਣਾ ਘਾਲ ਕੇ, by understanding the true meanings of the Gurbani-ਅਸਲੀ ਅਰਥ). Thus, the one who has become the Gursikh, he has also become the Gurmukh, the Giaanee (spiritually Wise), the Saadhoo (one who has accomlished perfect control on his mind), the Sant, etc., who is totally free of all Bikaar (lust, anger, greed, etc.).

  • ਜਬ ਲਗੁ ਸਬਦ ਭੇਦੁ ਨਹੀ ਆਇਆ ਤਬ ਲਗੁ ਕਾਲੁ ਸੰਤਾਏ ॥੩॥: Jab lag shabad bhedu nahee aaiaa… (sggs 1126).
  • ਏਨਾ ਅਖਰਾ ਮਹਿ ਜੋ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਬੂਝੈ ਤਿਸੁ ਸਿਰਿ ਲੇਖੁ ਨ ਹੋਈ ॥੨॥: Enaa akharaa mahi jo gurmukhi… (sggs 432).
  • ਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਸਿਖੁ ਬਿਕਾਰ ਤੇ ਹਾਟੈ ॥: Gur kaa siku bikaar te haatai (sggs 286).

But, the truth is that the majority of us do not even know what the riddle is, let alone its solution!

  • ਕਹਾ ਬੁਝਾਰਤਿ ਬੂਝੈ ਡੋਰਾ ॥ ਨਿਸਿ ਕਹੀਐ ਤਉ ਸਮਝੈ ਭੋਰਾ ॥: How can a riddle be understood by the deaf? (With a sign if you) Say “night”, but still he thinks (you said) “day” (i.e., even he is constantly told, but still does not understand at all). (sggs 267).

Why one does not or cannot understand the riddle? Because, as indicated in the foregoing verses, for example, if the Gurbani says “night” to one, he thinks it said “day”! In other words, it does not matter how much he is constantly told, but he still does not understand at all.

Furthermore, as indicated in the following verses, because we are so “foolish and greedy”, we don’t listen at all:

  • ਸਭੇ ਗਲਾ ਜਾਤੀਆ ਸੁਣਿ ਕੈ ਚੁਪ ਕੀਆ ॥ ਕਦ ਹੀ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਨ ਲਧੀਆ ਮਾਇਆ ਮੋਹੜਿਆ ॥੧॥ ਦੇਇ ਬੁਝਾਰਤ ਸਾਰਤਾ ਸੇ ਅਖੀ ਡਿਠੜਿਆ ॥ ਕੋਈ ਜਿ ਮੂਰਖੁ ਲੋਭੀਆ ਮੂਲਿ ਨ ਸੁਣੀ ਕਹਿਆ ॥੨॥: (The Jeeva-individial being) hears and knows everything, but still he keeps silent (i.e., he does not care or listen-ਪਰਵਾਹ ਨਹੀਂ ਕਰਦਾ) Bewitched by Maya, he never regains (spiritual) Awareness. ||1|| The riddles and hints are given (by the Gurbani, Gurmukhs…), and he sees them with his eyes. But (the Jeeva) is foolish and greedy, and he never listens to what he is told. ||2|| (sggs 217).
  • ਪੜਿਐ ਨਾਹੀ ਭੇਦੁ ਬੁਝਿਐ ਪਾਵਣਾ ॥: Not by reading (books), but through Understanding, is the Mystery Realized (sggs 148).

In nutshell, the Gurbani is the subject of searching (ਖੋਜ-Khoj), Reflecting (ਵਿਚਾਰ-Vichaar), and understanding (ਬੂਝਿ-Boojh). The Gurbani tells us that we should always remember this riddle, and try to understand it the same time through searching, reflecting, and understanding the Gurbani.

  • ਖੋਜ ਬੂਝਿ ਜਉ ਕਰੈ ਬੀਚਾਰਾ ॥ ਤਉ ਭਵਜਲ ਤਰਤ ਨ ਲਾਵੈ ਬਾਰਾ ॥੪੦॥: When someone understand by Searching (“Khoj”), and engages in Vichaar (Reflection on the Divine Virtues, Wisdom…), then (he) crosses over the “Bhavjal” (Bhav Saagar or dreadful ocean of Maya, etc.) in no time. ||40|| (sggs 342).

To understand exactly what the Gurbani says, or means, or intends, etc. is to solve the riddle. Once the Gurbani is understood (ਸੂਝ-ਬੂਝ), then the Gurbani wants us to constantly live it in daily life (“ਅਮਲ”, “ਕਰਣੀ”…).

  • ਜਹ ਕਰਣੀ ਤਹ ਪੂਰੀ ਮਤਿ ॥: Jah karanee tah pooree mati (sggs 25).
Filed Under: Gurbani, riddle, Sikhi, Sikh, Learner, Understanding
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2 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Karamjeet Singh

    Thanks Vir Jio for yet another enormously insightful piece.

    So we all need to be the puzzle / riddle solvers.

    Our Gurus could have presented Gurbani as plain demystified solution set but that could have taken away from us the satisfaction of first making efforts and then reaping rewards. Anything we accomplish by dint of our hardwork is not only better cherished but also tends to stay with us. So let us all delve ourselves into reflecting on Gurbani and solve the life riddles and retrieve the precious messages Gurbani is so replete with.

    Thansks again for your relentess endevours. Keep the guiding torch lit.

    Deep Regards

    • T. Singh Post author

      Thank you Veer Ji for taking the time to share your Vichaar. Also, thank you for the kind words and encouragement.

      …So let us all delve ourselves into reflecting on Gurbani and solve the life riddles and retrieve the precious messages Gurbani is so replete with.

      Well said!

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