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Gurbani Nirgun-Sagun

Sargun Nirgun

There is nothing in the Universe which Baabaa Nanak did not call Rabb.

Call by whatever name you like (e.g., Rabb, Universal Energy, god, Parmaatam, Truth, Allah, System or Law of Nature, Kudrat, Hukam, etc.), the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) classifies “Rabb” as Sargun and Nirgun. 

  • ਨਿਰਗੁਣੁ ਸਰਗੁਣੁ ਆਪੇ ਸੋਈ ॥: (Rabb) Himself is Nirgun and Sargun. (sggs 128).
  • ਨਿਰਗੁਨ ਤੇ ਸਰਗੁਨ ਦ੍ਰਿਸਟਾਰੰ ॥: From Nirgun appears Sargun. (sggs 250).
  • ਅਵਿਗਤੋ ਨਿਰਮਾਇਲੁ ਉਪਜੇ ਨਿਰਗੁਣ ਤੇ ਸਰਗੁਣੁ ਥੀਆ ॥: From Avigat (imperishable, eternal, indescribable…) — the untainted Nirgun from — became the Sargun. (sggs 940).
  • ਨਿਰਗੁਨੁ ਆਪਿ ਸਰਗੁਨੁ ਭੀ ਓਹੀ ॥ ਕਲਾ ਧਾਰਿ ਜਿਨਿ ਸਗਲੀ ਮੋਹੀ ॥: He Himself is Nirgun and Sargun. This Universal Energy has fascinated the entire universe. (sggs 287).
  • ਹਰਿ ਬਿਨੁ ਦੂਜਾ ਨਾਹੀ ਕੋਇ ॥: There is no other than Hari (Mool, Source, Jot…). (sggs 287).

Literally:
Nirgun ( ਨਿਰਗੁਨ or ਨਿਰਗੁਣ ) = without qualities or Attributeless, Absolute, Transcendent, all that’s unseen, all that’s invisible to our physical eyes, etc.
Sargun ( ਸਰਗੁਨ or ਸਰਗੁਣ ) = with attributes or qualities, all that’s seen, visible to our physical eyes, etc.

  • ਸਰਗੁਨ ਨਿਰਗੁਨ ਨਿਰੰਕਾਰ ਸੁੰਨ ਸਮਾਧੀ ਆਪਿ ॥: Nirankaar (Formless Universal Energy) Himself is Sargun, Nirankaar (Formless Universal Energy) Himself is Nirgun, and Himself abides in Sunn Samaadhi (beyond the influence of the three qualities of Maya, ਅਫੁਰ ਅਵਸਥਾ …). (sggs 290).

Hence, there are two names — Sargun and Nirgun — given to the same One, Universal Energy.

  • ਸਰਗੁਣ ਨਿਰਗੁਣ ਥਾਪੈ ਨਾਉ ॥: Sargun and Nirgun are two given names. (sggs 387).
  • ਨਿਰਗੁਨ ਕਰਤਾ ਸਰਗੁਨ ਕਰਤਾ ॥: The Creator (Universal Energy) is Nirgun and Sargun. (sggs 862).

Thus, the aggregated System of the Universal Energy = Sargun (seen) + Nirgun (unseen or formless).

  • ਬਲਿਹਾਰੀ ਕੁਦਰਤਿ ਵਸਿਆ ॥: Sacrifice unto (the Formless Universal Energy, Hukam…), who abides in “Kudrat” (Nature…). (sggs 469).
  •  ਹਿੰਦੂ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮੁ ਉਚਰੈ ॥ ਮੁਸਲਮਾਨ ਕਾ ਏਕੁ ਖੁਦਾਇ ॥ ਕਬੀਰ ਕਾ ਸੁਆਮੀ ਰਹਿਆ ਸਮਾਇ ॥੪॥੩॥੧੧॥: 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).

Sargun aspect includes all that which we can see with our physical eyes – jungles, mountains, ocean, rivers, land, humans, animals, etc.

  • ਆਪੇ ਖਾਣੀ ਆਪੇ ਬਾਣੀ ਆਪੇ ਖੰਡ ਵਰਭੰਡ ਕਰੇ ॥ ਆਪਿ ਸਮੁੰਦੁ ਆਪਿ ਹੈ ਸਾਗਰੁ ਆਪੇ ਹੀ ਵਿਚਿ ਰਤਨ ਧਰੇ ॥: Aapae khaanee… (552).
  • ਆਪੇ ਧਰਤੀ ਆਪਿ ਜਲੁ ਪਿਆਰਾ ਆਪੇ ਕਰੇ ਕਰਾਇਆ ॥: Aapae Dhartee… (605).
  • ਆਪੇ ਮਾਛੀ ਮਛੁਲੀ ਆਪੇ ਪਾਣੀ ਜਾਲੁ ॥: Aapae maachhee… (23).
  • ਆਪੇ ਸਾਹਿਬੁ ਆਪਿ ਵਜੀਰ ॥: Aapi sahib aapi vazir (sggs 159).
  • ਆਪੇ ਰਾਜਨੁ ਆਪੇ ਲੋਗਾ ॥: Aapae raajan… (97).

Nirgun aspect is that which we cannot see with our physical eyes. This includes all the invisible Formless forces of the Nature. The Fundamental Forces are gravitational force, elctro-magnetic force, and nuclear forces. Included in it are the laws of motion, heat, air, etc. Hence, the Gurbani has also repeatedly used the term “Nirankaar” (ਨਿਰੰਕਾਰ), which essentially means “Formless”. In fact, all the basic Fundamental Forces described above are Formless — without form-shape-color (without “Roopu-ਰੂਪੁ”, “Raekh-ਰੇਖ”, and “Rangu-ਰੰਗੁ”), which are invisible to our physical eyes.  

  • ਰੂਪੁ ਨ ਰੇਖ ਨ ਰੰਗੁ ਕਿਛੁ ਤ੍ਰਿਹੁ ਗੁਣ ਤੇ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਭਿੰਨ ॥: (“Prabh”) has no form, no shape, no color; “Prabh” is beyond these three worldly qualities.  (sggs 283).
  • ਅਨਿਕ ਭਾਂਤਿ ਹੋਇ ਪਸਰਿਆ ਨਾਨਕ ਏਕੰਕਾਰੁ ॥: O Nanak! The One Creator (“Ekankaar”, Universal Energy…) has expanded or spreaded in many ways. (sggs 296).

In other words, the Universal Energy that functions in the Brahmand also functions within the body.

  • ਜੋ ਬ੍ਰਹਮੰਡੇ ਸੋਈ ਪਿੰਡੇ ਜੋ ਖੋਜੈ ਸੋ ਪਾਵੈ ॥: That (Universal Energy), which functions outside in Brahmand, the same also functions within the body; whoever seeks, obtains (understands…). (sggs 695).
  • ਅੰਤਰਿ ਬਸੇ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਭੀ ਓਹੀ ॥: Antari basae baahari bhee ohee (sggs 294).
  • ਸੋ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਸੋ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਅਨੰਤ ॥: So antari so baahari aanant (sggs 293).

Just as a coin has two sides, but that does not mean there are two coins. Coin is just one, but it has two sides. Similarly, Nirgun and Sargun are two sides or aspects of the same One Formless Universal Energy which is wide-spread, everywhere. That Universal Energy is Kudrat (Nature), and the Kudrat is in the Universal Energy. One seed has spreaded as the entire tree!

  • ਨਾਨਕ ਏਕੋ ਪਸਰਿਆ ਦੂਜਾ ਕਹ ਦ੍ਰਿਸਟਾਰ ॥੧॥: O Nanak!  One (Universal Energy) is wide-spreaded (ਫੈਲਿਆ ਹੋਇਆ), where can there be another seen? (sggs 292).
  • ਫਰੀਦਾ ਖਾਲਕੁ ਖਲਕ ਮਹਿ ਖਲਕ ਵਸੈ ਰਬ ਮਾਹਿ ॥: O Fareed! The “Khaalak” (Creator, Universal Energy…) is in the Creation, and the Creation is in “Rabb” (“Khaalak”, Universal Energy…. (sggs 1381).
  • ਆਪੀਨ੍ਹ੍ਹੈ ਆਪੁ ਸਾਜਿਓ ਆਪੀਨ੍ਹ੍ਹੈ ਰਚਿਓ ਨਾਉ ॥: Aapeenhai aapu saajio… (sggs 463).

This means that – according to the Gurbani – both Sargun and Nirgun aspects are of the same Rabb (the Universal Energy).

It’s Also called Naam, or Hukam (Naam-Roop, Hukam-Roopa – System or Law of Nature…), etc, the Universe and all its parts come from this One Hukam. Therefore, this Hukam has all the potentialities and Power.

  • ਹੁਕਮੈ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਸਭੁ ਕੋ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਹੁਕਮ ਨ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਹੁਕਮੈ ਜੇ ਬੁਝੈ ਤ ਹਉਮੈ ਕਹੈ ਨ ਕੋਇ ॥: Everyone is subject to Hukam; no one is beyond (exempt or outside of) Hukam. O Nanak! One who understands Hukam, does not speak in ego (i.e., that person does not live in Haumai or ego) (sggs 1).
  • ਨਾਮ ਕੇ ਧਾਰੇ ਸਗਲੇ ਜੰਤ ॥ ਨਾਮ ਕੇ ਧਾਰੇ ਖੰਡ ਬ੍ਰਹਮੰਡ ॥ ਨਾਮ ਕੇ ਧਾਰੇ ਸਿਮ੍ਰਿਤਿ ਬੇਦ ਪੁਰਾਨ ॥ ਨਾਮ ਕੇ ਧਾਰੇ ਸੁਨਨ ਗਿਆਨ ਧਿਆਨ ॥ ਨਾਮ ਕੇ ਧਾਰੇ ਆਗਾਸ ਪਾਤਾਲ ॥ ਨਾਮ ਕੇ ਧਾਰੇ ਸਗਲ ਆਕਾਰ ॥ ਨਾਮ ਕੇ ਧਾਰੇ ਪੁਰੀਆ ਸਭ ਭਵਨ ॥ ਨਾਮ ਕੈ ਸੰਗਿ ਉਧਰੇ ਸੁਨਿ ਸ੍ਰਵਨ ॥: All creatures are held or sustained by Naam. The Naam is the Support of all parts of the Universe…  (sggs 284).
  • ਜੇਤਾ ਕੀਤਾ ਤੇਤਾ ਨਾਉ ॥ ਵਿਣੁ ਨਾਵੈ ਨਾਹੀ ਕੋ ਥਾਉ ॥: The entire (Universe, Kudrat, Nature…) is manifestation of Naam. There is no place without Naam. (sggs 167).
  • ਏਕੋ ਸਬਦੁ ਏਕੋ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਵਰਤੈ ਸਭ ਏਕਸੁ ਤੇ ਉਤਪਤਿ ਚਲੈ ॥: The One Shabad, One Prabh (Universal Energy), prevails everywhere. All the creation comes from this One. (sggs 1334).

Understandably, the Gurbani tells us that a Wise person (the Gurmukh) sees the visible or gross (“Asathool-ਸਥੂਲ” – material, visible Jagat or world…) in the Invisible (“ਸੂਖਮ”, subtle…)! NOT OTHER WAY AROUND.

  • ਸੂਖਮ ਮਹਿ ਜਾਨੈ ਅਸਥੂਲੁ ॥:  (A person who has realized Prabhoo – Universal Energy) sees the visible (“Asathool-ਅਸਥੂਲ”-material, gross world or Jagat…) in the Invisible (“Sookham-ਸੂਖਮ” – subtle…). (sggs 274).
  • ਭਵ ਸਾਗਰ ਸੁਖ ਸਾਗਰ ਮਾਹੀ ॥: In the Sukh Saagar, there is the Bhav Saagar. (sggs 323).

Last, but not least, this Universal Energy is the Creator, Unblemished (ਦੋਛਰਹਤ, ਮੈਲਰਹਤ, ਨਿਸ਼ਕਲੰਕ… ), Impartial (ਨਿਰਵੈਰ), All-powerful (ਸੈਭੰ), and so on.

Those who live by the Law of Nature are awarded (with Joy, Bliss…) in life, and those who defy it suffer the consequences. In other words, we all are responsible for our own Soch or thinking and the resulting Karma or actions. The Universal Energy (the whole system or Law of Nature…) is not to be blamed.

  • ਸੋ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਨਿਰੰਜਨੁ ਹਰਿ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਨਿਰੰਜਨੁ ਹਰਿ ਅਗਮਾ ਅਗਮ ਅਪਾਰਾ ॥: That Universal Energy is Unblemished, Unapproachable, Unfathomable and Incomparable.
  • ਕਿਸੁ ਦੋਸੁ ਨ ਦੀਜੈ ਕਿਰਤੁ ਭਵਾਈ ॥੪॥: Don’t blame (Rabb); your own actions lead you astray. ||4|| (sggs 745).

However, for the sake of Golak (money, bread, ਰੋਟੀਆਂ…), the illiterate and self-serving Sikh Pujaaree groups want people to remain tied to some fake or imaginary god and Sachkhand “up there” somewhere! There aim is to keep people confused, ignorant, and tied to ueless Karamkaand from which Baabaa Nanak freed us. Fittingly, the SGGS commands all Sikhs to discard the corrupt Pujaaree system from Sikhi.

5 replies on “Sargun Nirgun”

I still believe God is only Nirgun not Sargun – he is beyond his creation so him (God) pervading everywhere is cannot be true he is beyond his creation he can show his blessings or not but him being inside of something is not true

I have tried to understand the meaning of the word NIRANKAAR which I find is very crucial for the understanding of whole of Gurbanee,
It appears that it would be wrong to take the meaning of the word NIRANKAAR as FORMLESS.
On the contrary the word NIRANKAAR is the reference for specific Form of The CREATOR
as envisaged in Gurbanee. This should be further clear from a Quote in Gurbanee as
Wahu Wahu Banee Nirankaar Hae…. Now the point of consideration ..Is Banee FORMLESS.
There is no doubt that FORM of The Creator in Gurbanee is entirely different from Wordly Forms but it does not mean the CREATOR is FORMLESS.
I may point out that from Gurbanee it can be clearly understood that the FORM of the Creator is that of WAVES. In this context it would be important to understand the meanings of the words EKANKAAR and ONKAAR to get the true meaning of NIRANKAAR.
Prakash.S.Bagga

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