Nature of Joti-Svaroopa

The Gurbani tries many ways to drive away our ignorance. Furthermore, it stresses many ways the gains (Laahaa-ਲਾਹਾ) of imbibing in the True Knowledge (ਸੱਚ ਦਾ ਗਿਆਨ, Aatam-Giaan, Gur-Giaan, Shabad-Giaan, Gurmati…).

The Gurbani emphasizes there is only One “Joti “) everywhere. It is the True Base (Adhaar) or Substratum for everything visible or invisible, sentient or non-sentient. As ocean is the base of the wave, similarly, the This One Reality is the Substratum of our ego-consciousness and all subsequent manifestations. Ocean is the metaphor for the one’s True Self, and the wave is the metaphor for the false ego, individual identity or manifestation of the objective world. Our body is the food for this false ego-sense without which the manifestation or Maya is not present. When the wave subsides, only ocean remains, which was there before the wave. Similarly, when the false “I” consciousness subsides, only the “Joti-Svaroopa” remains, which was present prior to the appearance of the physical body (ਜੋਤਿ ਸਰੂਪੀ ਸਭੁ ਜਗੁ ਮਉਲੋ ॥: Joti saroopee sabhu jagu maulo, 1083).

The Gurbani tells us we are “Joti-Svaroopa” — the True Image of the Divine Light prior to the movement of the false ego-sense (Haume). Therefore, the true Dharma of the Soul (Aatmaa) is to imbibe in this Truth. The Niraakaa (Formless) Soul has no other religion or Dharma.

  • ਇਉ ਕਹੈ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਮਨ ਤੂੰ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਰੂਪੁ ਹੈ ਅਪਣਾ ਮੂਲੁ ਪਛਾਣੁ ॥੫॥: Iou kahai Nanaku man toon joti saroopu hai apanaa moolu pashaanu ||5|| (sggs 441).

It is not easy for the Jeevaatmaa to recognize this Truth (or his Mool), because it is not easy for the Jeevaatmaa to ignore the immediate reality of the enchanting world of gross objects in which he is born into.

The Truth (Mool) is hidden among the layers of attractions of this enchanting and mirage-like world. Furthermore, it is hidden among the layers of the the false ego-sense or Haumai (layers of lust, anger, greed, attachment, etc.).

That is why the Gurbani repeatedly stresses the basic truth of the Aatmaa’s True Nature as that which is Unmoving, Eternal, Unchanging (“ਅਚੁਤ ਅਬਿਨਾਸੀ”…) etc., and hence transcends the worldly existence.

  • ਆਤਮ ਮਹਿ ਰਾਮੁ ਰਾਮ ਮਹਿ ਆਤਮੁ ਚੀਨਸਿ ਗੁਰ ਬੀਚਾਰਾ ॥: : Raam is in every Soul, and each Soul is in Raam. This is realized through Reflecting on the Gur-Giaan (Divine Wisdom of the Gur-Shabad…). (sggs 1153).

Some Jeeva (individual beings) may Realize this Truth in moments. Those who do Realize, for them this is what the Gurbani has to say:

  • ਆਤਮਾ ਬਾਸੁਦੇਵਸ੍ਯ੍ਯਿ ਜੇ ਕੋ ਜਾਣੈ ਭੇਉ ॥ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਤਾ ਕਾ ਦਾਸੁ ਹੈ ਸੋਈ ਨਿਰੰਜਨ ਦੇਉ ॥੪॥: One who understands the mystery of the soul and the Omnipresent Lord; Nanak is a slave to him; (as) he himself is (like) the Immaculate Lord (ਪਰਮਾਤਮਾ ਦਾ ਰੂਪ) ||4|| (sggs 469).

But, due to our readiness to engage and associate with likes and dislikes, worldly traps, doubts, Vaasnaas (latent tendencies…), Haumai, etc., some of us may not grasp this Truth. For when we engage in this search (ਖੋਜ) while caught in the worldliness (Mayaic dealings), the effort becomes a self-defeating one.

That’s where the Gur-Giaan (Guru’s Wisdom) guides us and rescues us. The Gur-Giann urges us to Understand that the entire universe is a manifestation of the One Formless Reality. The Gurbani wants us to remember at all times who we really are: Joti-Svaroopa. For that, the Gurbani advises us to surrender and look inward and search for our True Identity – Joti-Svaroopa, which is beyond all limiting features and functions of this body.

  • ਮਨੁ ਤਨੁ ਅਰਪਿਓ ਅੰਤਰ ਗਤਿ ਕੀਨੀ ॥ ਗਤਿ ਮਿਤਿ ਪਾਈ ਆਤਮੁ ਚੀਨੀ ॥੪॥: Offering (surrendering…) mind and body, and turning inward; (I) have come to realize the value of understanding (my own) soul (sggs 227).

The Gurbani tells us the sign of a truely Wise person (Giaanee) as follows:

  • ਪ੍ਰਣਵਤਿ ਨਾਨਕ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਕੈਸਾ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਆਪੁ ਪਛਾਣੈ ਬੂਝੈ ਸੋਇ ॥: Pranvati Nanak giaanee kaisaa hoi. Aapu pashaanai boojhai soi (sggs 25).
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