Householder or Bairaagee

Householder = ਗ੍ਰਹੀ, ਘਰ-ਗ੍ਰਿਹਸਤੀ ਵਾਲਾ, ਘਰ-ਬਾਰੀ, one who lives the householder’s life, the head of a household…

Bairaagee (ਬੈਰਾਗੀ) = Recluse, a hermit, anchorite, renunciate, retired from the society, detached from the world, ਤਿਆਗੀ, ਉਪਰਾਮੀ, ਉਦਾਸੀ, ਜਿਸ ਦਾ ਜਗਤ ਦੇ ਪਦਾਰਥਾਂ ਨਾਲ ਪਿਆਰ ਨਹੀਂ…

We all hear this assertion that the Gurbani encourages family-life (ਘਰ-ਗ੍ਰਿਹਸਤੀ…). But that’s only half the story. That is, to live as a householder, the Gurbani has specified a very specific and strict condition that needs be satisfied. For example:

  • ਕਬੀਰ ਜਉ ਗ੍ਰਿਹੁ ਕਰਹਿ ਤ ਧਰਮੁ ਕਰੁ ਨਾਹੀ ਤ ਕਰੁ ਬੈਰਾਗੁ ॥: Kabeer jaou grihu karahi ta dharamu karu naahee ta karu bairaagu: Kabeer, if you embrace or live the householder’s life, then practice Dharma; otherwise, (i.e., if you are going to stay engrossed in Mayaic efforts instead…) you might as well retire from the world (i.e., do Bairaag-ਇਸ ਨੂੰ ਤਿਆਗਣਾ ਹੀ ਭਲਾ ਹੈ). (sggs 1377).

As indicated in the foregoing verse, if one chooses the life of a householder, he must practice Dharma, Understand the Gurbani, and live the Gurmat (Aatam Giaan-ਆਤਮ ਗਿਆਨ) in all situations.

  • ਸਾਚ ਧਰਮ ਕੀ ਕਰਿ ਦੀਨੀ ਵਾਰਿ ॥ ਫਰਹੇ ਮੁਹਕਮ ਗੁਰ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਬੀਚਾਰਿ ॥੨॥: Saach Dharam kee kari deenee vaari. Farahe muhkam gur giaanu beechaari. ||2|| (sggs 430).
  • ਕਬੀਰਾ ਜਹਾ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਤਹ ਧਰਮੁ ਹੈ ਜਹਾ ਝੂਠੁ ਤਹ ਪਾਪੁ ॥: Kabeeraa jahaa giaanu tah dharamu hai jahaa jhoothu tah paapu (sggs 1372).
  • ਸੋ ਗਿਰਹੀ ਜੋ ਨਿਗ੍ਰਹੁ ਕਰੈ ॥ ਜਪੁ ਤਪੁ ਸੰਜਮੁ ਭੀਖਿਆ ਕਰੈ ॥ So girahee jo nigrah karai. Japu tapu sanjamu bheekhiaa karai: He alone is a householder, who restrains his passions (ਇੰਦ੍ਰਿਆਂ ਨੂੰ ਵਿਕਾਰਾਂ ਵਲੋਂ ਰੋਕਣਾ); and begs for Jap (to Understand the Gurbani or Gurmat…), Tapa (to make the mind live the Gurmat…), and Sanjam (self-discipline, to restrain the mind from Bikaar, ਮਨ ਨੂੰ ਬਿਕਾਰਾਂ ਵਲੋਂ ਰੋਕਣਾਂ…). (sggs 952).

Now, what’s practicing Dharma? in nutshell, it’s to live by the Divine Hukam (Bhaanaa Mannanaa, ਭਾਣੇ ਵਿਚਹ ਰਹਣਾਂ). In other words, it’s to live the Divine Life (the Gurmukh Lifestyle) – walking in the Way of the Lord, or Truth (ਸਚ); remaining firmly attuned to the Joti-Svaroopa within (Mool, Source, etc.)…

If one cannot commit himself to Dharma, instead, if one is going to remain submerged in the Mayaic efforts, then, the Gurbani says, that person should consider Baiaaraag instead.

However, there is also a condition attached to the life of a Bairaagee. That is, if one chooses to live a life of a Bairaagee, that person must not get get involved in worldly entanglements (Mayaic efforts, ਮਾਇਆ ਦਾ ਜੰਜਾਲ, ਬੰਧਨ…). If he does, then, the Gurbani says, he will be the most unfortunate person (a person of great misfortune – ਮੰਦ ਭਾਗੀ – ਬੜੀ ਬਦ-ਕਿਸਮਤੀ ਵਾਲਾ; ਉਹ ਕਿਸੇ ਥਾਂ ਜੋਗਾ ਨਹੀ…).

  • ਬੈਰਾਗੀ ਬੰਧਨੁ ਕਰੈ ਤਾ ਕੋ ਬਡੋ ਅਭਾਗੁ ॥੨੪੩॥: Bairaagee bandhan karai taa ko bado abhaagu: If a Bairaagee (someone who has renounced the world) gets involved in worldly entanglements (Mayaic efforts, ਮਾਇਆ ਦਾ ਜੰਜਾਲ, ਬੰਧਨ…), he is very unfortunate (great is his misfortune, ਮੰਦ ਭਾਗੀ – ਉਸ ਦੀ ਬੜੀ ਬਦ-ਕਿਸਮਤੀ ਸਮਝੋ; ਉਹ ਕਿਸੇ ਥਾਂ ਜੋਗਾ ਨਾ ਰਿਹਾ…). ||243|| (1377).

He is said to be person of great misfortune, because – by being a Bairaagee if he still messes with Mayaic efforts or worldly entanglements – then, he misses out both Maya and Raam!

Clearly, such person, on account of duality and doubts (Dubidha, ਭਰਮ…) has no real understanding (ਸੂਝ-ਬੂਝ) of both Bairaag and household. Consequently, as the proverbial expression goes, his condition is comparable to the launderer’s dog, etc.: “ਧੋਬੀ ਦਾ ਕੁੱਤਾ ਨ ਘਰ ਦਾ ਨ ਘਾਟ ਦਾ”; “ਮਾਇਆ ਮਿਲੀ ਨਾ ਰਾਮ”; “ਨਾ ਇੱਧਰ ਦਾ ਨਾ ਉੱਧਰ ਦਾ”…

  • ਮਮਤਾ ਮੋਹੁ ਕਾਮਣਿ ਹਿਤਕਾਰੀ ॥ ਨਾ ਅਉਧੂਤੀ ਨਾ ਸੰਸਾਰੀ ॥੧॥: Mamataa Mohu Kaamani Hitakaaree. Naa aoudhootee naa sansaaree: (If one is) attached to the affection (of Maya…) and the love of woman (lust…). You are neither a renunciate (anchoret, ਤਿਆਗੀ…), nor a family man (ਗ੍ਰਿਹਸਤੀ). ||1|| (sggs 903).

The Gurbani tells the hypocrites (ਪਖੰਡੀ) to shed hypocrisy (ਪਖੰਡ).

  • ਕਰਿ ਬੈਰਾਗੁ ਤੂੰ ਛੋਡਿ ਪਾਖੰਡੁ ਸੋ ਸਹੁ ਸਭੁ ਕਿਛੁ ਜਾਣਏ ॥: Kari bairaagu toon chhodi paakhandu so sahu sabhu kicch jaanae: (O mind!) Become detached, and renounce hypocrisy (of your superficial Bairaag or Pakhand); the Divine knows everything (from within you). (sggs 440).
Filed Under: Gurbani, householder, Renunciation, Detachment
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3 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Simran Kaur

    thank you so much be like gurbani!

  2. Bj Randhawa

    is it really possible to lead a life of Bairaaga. Some people say that desire is natural and inescapable. is it possible to run from Nature??

    • Thank you Bj Randhawa ji for taking time to comment on this post.

      is it really possible to lead a life of Bairaaga…

      According to the Gurbani, yes: though difficult(“Kathan”), but it is possible for the “Gurmukh”:
      •ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਇਹੁ ਖੇਲੁ ਕਠਨੁ ਹੈ ਕਿਨਹੂੰ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਜਾਨਾ ॥੨॥੧॥: Jan Nanak ihu khelu kathanu hai kinahoon gurmukhi jaanaa ||2||1|| (sggs 219).

      Also, the Gurbani asserts that without Bairaag, Maya cannot be gotten rid of (cannot be liberated from Mayaic efforts, Mayaic Trishanaa, Mayaic desires, etc.) :
      •ਬਿਨੁ ਬੈਰਾਗ ਨ ਛੂਟਸਿ ਮਾਇਆ ॥੧॥: Binu bairaag n shootasi maya ||1|| (sggs 329).

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