Mool Mantra

Following is the opening composition of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS). The Author of this composition is Baabaa Nanak.

  • ੴ ਸਤਿਨਾਮੁ ਕਰਤਾ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਨਿਰਭਉ ਨਿਰਵੈਰੁ ਅਕਾਲ ਮੂਰਤਿ ਅਜੂਨੀ ਸੈਭੰ ਗੁਰਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ ॥ (sggs 1).

Some call it “Mool Mantra” and some call it “Mangla Charan”.

Any way, in the term “Mool Mantra”, both “Mool” and “Mantra” are Sanskrit words – “Mool” simply meaning “Root” (or Source, Primordial, Base, Foundation, Origin…); and Mantra simply meaning incantation (counsel, advice, or ਸਲਾਹ…). In the term “Mangla Charan”, in Sanskrit, “Mangala” essentially means auspicious and “Charana” means good conduct, pillar, support, Budh or wisdom (Giaan), etc.

Note that neither Baabaa Nanak nor Guru Arjan Dev Jee (the compiler of the SGGS) named this opening composition of the SGGS as “Mool Mantra” or “Mangla Charan”!

Exactly who, why, and when it was attributed these names – “Mool Mantra” and “Mangla Charan” – is beyond the scope of this post.

Regardless, as per the SGGS, the bottom line in the Way of life of a Sikh (learner, student, seeker of Truth) is to keep learning, keep debugging and updating oneself, keep awakening and realizing the divinity within (Wisdom, Truth, Virtues, Shabad, Naam, Hukam…), and keep living it in daily life (Gurmukh Lifestyle).

9 staements of the opening composition of the SGGS

This opening composition of the SGGS has nine statements. The One, All-pervading Universal Energy (System or law of Nature, Hukam, Truth…) of which we are the part (“ਅੰਸੁ “) is described as:

  1. ੴ (Ik or Ek + O): The One All-pervading Universal Energy – “ਹਰਿ ਇਕੋ ਮੇਰਾ ਸਜਣੋ – Hari IKO…”, “ਏਕੋ ਹੈ ਭਾਈ ਏਕੋ ਹੈ – EKO Hai…”,
  2. ਸਤਿਨਾਮੁ [Satinaam(u)]: “Sati” or Truth + “Naam(u)” or Wisdom = Eternal Naam or Wisdom – “ਗੁਰ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਪਦਾਰਥੁ ਨਾਮੁ ਹੈ”,
  3. ਕਰਤਾ ਪੁਰਖ (Kartaa Purakh): (Universal Energy, Truth, Hukam or Law or System of Nature, ਨਿਯਮ… –”ਸਭ ਮਹਿ ਰਹਿਆ ਸਮਾਇ”,
  4. ਨਿਰਭਉ [Nirbho(u)]: Fearless (cannot be frightened),
  5. ਨਿਰਵੈਰੁ [Nirvair(u)]: Without enmity,
  6. ਅਕਾਲ ਮੂਰਤਿ (Akaal Moorati): Not bound in time,
  7. ਅਜੂਨੀ (Ajoonee): Unborn – does not take birth,
  8. ਸੈਭੰ (Saibhang): Self-illumined, self-existent… “ਆਪੀਨ੍ਹ੍ਹੈ ਆਪੁ ਸਾਜਿਓ”,
  9. ਗੁਰਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ (Gurprasaadi) – Realized with the Grace of the Gur-Giaan or Wisdom,

Just as fragrance is boxed in the flower, and the light of the sun is hidden in the colors, similarly, the Essence of the One Truth and Brahm-Giaan (Divine Knowledge) is summed up in this opening composition of the SGGS.

Although it’s the commencing or opening (first) composition of Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS), it also appears in full or short form before the commencement of most of the Raagas within the SGGS. It encapsulates the Essence of the Message (Wisdom, Virtues, Hukam, Upadesh,  Naam…) of the SGGS, thus it’s the heart of the Sikh Thought.

First 8 statements of the opening composition

In nutshell, the first eight statements indicate the Divine Qualities (ਅੱਠ ਗੁਣ, qualities, characteristics, indications, Virtues…) of the “Ik” or One — One Universal Energy or Rabb that pervades in everybody and everywhere (ਫੈਲਿਆ ਹੋਇਆ, “ਰਹਿਆ ਸਮਾਇ”) as Giaan or Wisdom, Virtues (ਗੁਣ), Hukam-Law or System of Nature.

Everything is within this One (Ik or Ek).

  • ਜੋਗੀ ਗੋਰਖੁ ਗੋਰਖੁ ਕਰੈ ॥ ਹਿੰਦੂ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮੁ ਉਚਰੈ ॥ ਮੁਸਲਮਾਨ ਕਾ ਏਕੁ ਖੁਦਾਇ ॥ ਕਬੀਰ ਕਾ ਸੁਆਮੀ ਰਹਿਆ ਸਮਾਇ ॥੪॥੩॥੧੧॥: The Yogi (forgetting the Divine) repeats Gorakh, Gorakh. The Hindu utters the Name of Raam (i.e., Hindu thinks his God is only in the idol of Raam). (Similarly) the Muslim considers only  the Khudaa (as their God, somewhere up there in 7th sky). (However) Kabeer’s Divine is that which is pervading all over (ਫੈਲਿਆ ਹੋਇਆ, ਤੇ ਸਭ ਦਾ ਸਾਂਝਾ – the same one in all beings and everywhere) ||4||3||11|| (sggs 1160).
  • ਤਮ ਸੰਸਾਰੁ ਚਰਨ ਲਗਿ ਤਰੀਐ ਸਭੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਪਸਾਰੋ ॥੧॥: O Nanak! By grasping the Wisdom (of the SGGS), the dark world ocean is crossed; and it’s realized that everything is an extension of (One) Brahm. (sggs 1429).

In fact, the greeting of the Sikhs – ‘Sat Sri Akal’ – reminds that we are all part (ਅੰਸੁ) of that One all pervasive and timeless Uiversal Energy present in every being.

9th statement of the opening composition

The last, ninth statement shows us that this One all pervasive Energy is realized through the “Gurprasaadi-ਗੁਰਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ” – the Grace of Gur-Giaan or Wisdom.

Having said that, it’s important to recognize that since Rabb of the Gurmat (Wisdom, Giaan, Upadesh or Way of the SGGS…) dwells within all beings, then the logic or commonsense dictates that the Divine Grace must also be present within all beings!

This ninth statement – Gurprasaadi – is made of two terms, “Gur” and “Prasaadi”. The term “Gur” indicates Wisdom (or Bibek, Giaan-ਗਿਆਨ…). “Prasaadi” (or Prasaad, Parsaad) translates as “Grace”, “Nadar” or “Kirpaa“.

Hence, “Gurprasaadi” implies that the One Truth is realized with the Grace of the Gur-Giaan or Wisdom (Light of the Spiritual Knowledge or the Divine Wisdom of the SGGS, ਗੁਰੁੂ ਦੇ ਗਿਆਨ ਦੀ ਰੌਸ਼ਨੀ…).

  • ਦ੍ਰਿੜ੍ਹ੍ਹਿਓ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਮੰਤ੍ਰੁ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮਾ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਜੀਉ ਮਇਆ ਕਰਾ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: (The Divine – who is within me) has shown mercy and has implanted “Giaan Mantra” (i.e., implanted Mantra of Wisdom within my mind). ||1||Pause|| (sggs 701).
  • ਗੁਰ ਤੇ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਨਾਮ ਰਤਨੁ ਪਾਇਆ ॥: The Jewel of Giaan (Wisdom) is obtained from the Guru (sggs 1044).

However, for the grant of This Grace of the Gur-Giaan (Wisdom…), we need to understand the Gurbani through an earnest Shabad-Vichaar, and then apply its Wisdom to daily life.

In other words, we need to bring our divided consciousness (duality or two-ness of the mind) in tune with the One Universal Energy through the Gurbani’s Divine Wisdom  (Brahm-Giaan).

In nutshell, without taking the Wisdom (Giaan) of the SGGS, Gurmukh Lifestyle cannot be understood and lived.

In summary, this Sikh Fundamental Creed or “Mool Mantra” revealed by Baabaa Nanak summarizes the Essence of his Message Truth (Sach). It sums up Sikh beliefs about the One Truth and encapsulates the entire Sikh theology.

Wisdom of the entire SGGS is Mantra

Sikhi is a Way of the Giaan (Wisdom), NOT foolishness or a Manmukh-Saakat-Mayadhaaree lifestyle!

Therefore, NOT few selected words, NOT few selected lines, or NOT few selected verses but the Wisdom (Giaan, Bibek, Upadesh, Shabad, Naam…) of the ENTIRE SGGS is called “Mantra” or “Rahat” in the SGGS!

  • ਬਾਣੀ ਮੰਤ੍ਰੁ ਮਹਾ ਪੁਰਖਨ ਕੀ ਮਨਹਿ ਉਤਾਰਨ ਮਾਂਨ ਕਉ ॥: Bani of the Great Men is the Mantra; it eradicates pride (i.e., all Bikaar) from the mind. (sggs 1208).
  • ਸਚੁ ਮੰਤ੍ਰੁ ਤੁਮਾਰਾ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਬਾਣੀ ॥: (O Parbhu!) True is Your Mantra, Amrit Bani is Your True Mantra. (sggs 562).
  • ਗੁਰਿ ਮੰਤ੍ਰੁ ਸਬਦੁ ਸਚੁ ਦੀਤਾ ਰਾਮ ॥: The Guru has given the Mantra of the Shabad, the True Divine (Naam: Wisdom, Virtues, Truth…). (sggs 576).
  • ਮਹਾ ਮੰਤ੍ਰੁ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਕਥੈ ਹਰਿ ਕੇ ਗੁਣ ਗਾਈ ॥੪॥੨੩॥੫੩॥: Nanak tells the Mahaa Mantra, which is remembering and applying the Divine Virtues (Truth, Wisdom…) to daily life. ||4||23||53|| (sggs 814).
  • ਹਰਿ ਕਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਦੀਓ ਗੁਰਿ ਮੰਤ੍ਰੁ ॥: The Guru has given me the Mantra of the Naam (Wisdom, Virtue, Truth, Shabad…). (sggs 190).

Clearly, just repeating, for example, “Waheguru, Waheguru…” or some other word by the tongue or rosary is NOT the GURBANI’S Naam Japnaa or Naam-Sevaa!

Instead, the Gurbani’s Naam-Jap is to (1) UNDERSTAND the GUR-GIAAN (Wisdom, Upadesh) of the entire Gurbani, (2) and then live it or apply it to the daily life, while alive, here and now! 

  • ਗੁਰ ਮੰਤ੍ਰ ਹੀਣਸ੍ਯ੍ਯ ਜੋ ਪ੍ਰਾਣੀ ਧ੍ਰਿਗੰਤ ਜਨਮ ਭ੍ਰਸਟਣਹ ॥ ਕੂਕਰਹ ਸੂਕਰਹ ਗਰਧਭਹ ਕਾਕਹ ਸਰਪਨਹ ਤੁਲਿ ਖਲਹ ॥੩੩॥: That mortal who lacks the Gur-mantra (Guru’s counsel, advice, Wisdom, Upadesh, ਸਲਾਹ), cursed and fallen (depraved, polluted…) is his life. That wicked person is a dog, a pig, a jackass, a crow, a snake (in this very life, here and now, not after death). ||33|| (1356).

In nutshell:

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