Sargun Nirgun

Literally,
Nirgun ( ਨਿਰਗੁਨ or ਨਿਰਗੁਣ ) = without qualities or Attributeless, Absolute, Transcendent, etc.
Sargun ( ਸਰਗੁਨ or ਸਰਗੁਣ ) = with attributes or qualities, 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).

The term “Nirankaar” (ਨਿਰੰਕਾਰ) essentially means Formless. As the foregoing verse indicates, Nirankaar (Formless) is Sargun, and the same Nirankaar (Formless) is Nirgun as well.

Sargun and Nirgun are two names given to the same One, Formless Universal Energy (Rabb…). The Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) asserts that the same One “Nirankaar” (Formless Universal Energy…) pervades within all Jeev (individual beings), and everywhere in “Kudrat”.

  • ਸਰਗੁਣ ਨਿਰਗੁਣ ਥਾਪੈ ਨਾਉ ॥: Sargun and Nirgun are two given names. (sggs 387).
  • 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).

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 in 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).
  • ਅਨਿਕ ਭਾਂਤਿ ਹੋਇ ਪਸਰਿਆ ਨਾਨਕ ਏਕੰਕਾਰੁ ॥: O Nanak! The One Creator (“Ekankaar”, Universal Energy…) has expanded or spreaded in many ways. (sggs 296).
  • 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).
  • 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 of the Akaal Purakh are Formless (Nirankaar). So, to say Sargun means God in human form would be totally contrary to the Gurbani. In other words, since the Gurbani’s God does not take birth, Sargun does not mean God in human form.

It’s Also called Naam, or Hukam (Hukam-Roopa or ਹੁਕਮ-ਰੂਪ – 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).
  • 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 ॥:  (Aperson who has realized Prabhoo – Universal Energy) sees the visible (“Asathool-ਅਸਥੂਲ”-material, gross world or Jagat…) in the Invisible (“Sookham-ਸੂਖਮ” – subtle…). (sggs 274).
  • ਚਾਲਹਿ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਹੁਕਮਿ ਰਜਾਈ ॥: Those who become the Gurmukh, live according to the Hukam (Law of Nature, ਨਿਯਮ). (sggs 227).

Accordingly, the Gurbani reveals to us that the Bhav Saagar (“ਭਵ ਸਾਗਰ” – material world or Jagat…) we live in is in the Sukh Saagar (“ਸੁਖ ਸਾਗਰ” – Prabhoo, Naam…). That is, visible is in the Invisible! NOT OTHER WAY AROUND.

  • ਭਵ ਸਾਗਰ ਸੁਖ ਸਾਗਰ ਮਾਹੀ ॥: In the Sukh Saagar, there is the Bhav Saagar. (sggs 323).
Filed Under: Gurbani, Nirgun-Sagun
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5 Comments Leave a comment

  1. prince

    spot on…..phenomena is in nowmena….visible in invisible

  2. Harpreet

    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

  3. prakash.s.bagga

    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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