Literally “Sooraa” – ਸੂਰਾ – means a brave person. The word Sooraa has a variety of different meanings in different contexts. In material life, depending on one’s perspective, a person who appears to be a Sooraa to one may be a murderer to another!
The true Sooraa of the Gurbani (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, SGGS) is a Spiritual Hero, who is brave enough to struggle with his instinctive mind and subjugate it, eradicating his Haume (egotism) in the process.
- ਸੂਰੇ ਏਹਿ ਨ ਆਖੀਅਹਿ ਅਹੰਕਾਰਿ ਮਰਹਿ ਦੁਖੁ ਪਾਵਹਿ ॥ ਅੰਧੇ ਆਪੁ ਨ ਪਛਾਣਨੀ ਦੂਜੈ ਪਚਿ ਜਾਵਹਿ ॥ ਅਤਿ ਕਰੋਧ ਸਿਉ ਲੂਝਦੇ ਅਗੈ ਪਿਛੈ ਦੁਖੁ ਪਾਵਹਿ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਜੀਉ ਅਹੰਕਾਰੁ ਨ ਭਾਵਈ ਵੇਦ ਕੂਕਿ ਸੁਣਾਵਹਿ ॥ ਅਹੰਕਾਰਿ ਮੁਏ ਸੇ ਵਿਗਤੀ ਗਏ ਮਰਿ ਜਨਮਹਿ ਫਿਰਿ ਆਵਹਿ ॥੯॥: Soore eh na aakheeahi ahankaar marahi dukh paavahi …: They are not called heroes, who die of egotism, suffering in pain. The (egotist) blind ones do not realize their own selves (their True Nature, Joti-Svaroopa, etc.); in the love of duality, they rot. They struggle with (others in) great anger; here and hereafter, they suffer in pain. The Dear Lord is not pleased by egotism; the Vedas proclaim this clearly. Those who die of egotism, will not find salvation. They die and are reborn, repeatedly ||9|| (sggs 1089).
The illusioned or conditioned mind is Maya, and Maya is the illusioned mind. Simply put: that which dwells on duality and thus separates us from our Essential Nature (Supreme Nature, Pure Being, Unconditioned Consciousness, Joti-Svaroopa, etc.) is mind. Also called veil, wall or curtain, it is that mountain of smoke which stands between an individual (Jeeva) and his Real Being.
Whosoever can bring this mighty wall of the ego-mind down is the Gurbani’s Sooraa. The edict of the Gurbani is:
- ਜੋ ਇਸੁ ਮਾਰੇ ਸੋਈ ਸੂਰਾ ॥: One who kills this (i.e., duality) is a Sooraa — Spiritual Hero (sggs 238).
- ਮਨਸਾ ਮਾਰਿ ਮਨੈ ਸਿਉ ਲੂਝੈ ॥: Subdue your desires, and struggle with your mind (sggs 1021).
In this context, the word “Loojhe” is very significant in the foregoing verse. It simply means to struggle, control, subdue, subjugate, gain mastery over, conquer, wrestle or annihilate. To put it otherwise, the Gurbani urges us to eradicate this dysfunction. In the very outset of the SGGS, Baabaa Nanak gives us this very popular verse:
- ਮਨਿ ਜੀਤੈ ਜਗੁ ਜੀਤੁ ॥: If you conquer the mind, you conquer the material world (sggs 6).
Mere Knowing of the mind’s enemies is not enough. Because to know them is one thing, however, to establish an unshakable alliance with them is another. Then, how can we establish a strong alliance with our mind’s foes? By becoming a Gurmukh (Spiritual Being), says the Gurbani. It is the Gurmukh who can continuously keeps his mind in check. Like the snake-charmer, he never lets the snake of his mind act loosely or independently.
- ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਹੋਇ ਤਿਸੁ ਸਭ ਕਿਛੁ ਸੁਝੈ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਮਨ ਸਿਉ ਲੁਝੈ ॥੪੬॥: Gurmukh hoyi tis sabh kish sujahi. Nanak Gurmukh mann siou lujhai ||46||: But those who become Gurmukh understand everything (ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਦੇ ਹਰੇਕ ਭੇਤ ਨੂੰ). O Nanak, (the one who) becomes the Gurmukh struggles with your own mind (ਆਪਣੇ ਮਨ ਨਾਲ ਟਾਕਰਾ ਕਰਦਾ ਰਹਿੰਦਾ ਹੈ) ||46|| (sggs 1418).
The next question is: how can we become the Gurmukh (the Spiritual Being, the follower of the Truth and truthful living, etc.)? As time and again indicated in the Gurbani, by practicing the Shabad with concentration, love, feelings and faith, we can become Gurmukhs. It is the Shabad-Surti (Naam Consciousness, Untainted Awareness…) that can roast and fry the ego-mind, reducing it to ashes! By removing delusions, it sends the mind back to its Spiritual Nature, which is its Original Home. ਸਬਦੁ ਸੂਝੈ ਤਾ ਮਨ ਸਿਉ ਲੂਝੈ ਮਨਸਾ ਮਾਰਿ ਮਾਵਣਿਆ ॥: When someone understands the Shabad, then he wrestles with his own mind; subduing his desires, he merges with the Lord (sggs 113).
- ਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਸਬਦੁ ਮਨੇ ਸੋ ਸੂਰਾ ॥: He alone is a spiritual hero, who believes in the Gur-Shabad (sggs 1023).
- ਸਚੈ ਸਬਦਿ ਮਹਾਬਲ ਸੂਰਾ ॥: Through the Shabad, one becomes brave spiritual hero (sggs 1060).
Thus, to become a Spiritual Hero and fight with the sense-bent mind simply means not to let the mind become extroverted. To realize this goal, we are urged by the Gurbani to live rightly the Divine Values to ensure a nobler pattern for our life. Second, by honest introspection, we are asked to detect our mind’s wrong tendencies and eliminate them through constant and deliberate self-effort. Hence to become a brave Spiritual Hero is not a question of physical strength or outer appearance of a person, it’s a question of defeating the ego-mind (Haumai) and becoming the Gurmukh!
- ਸਲੋਕ ਕਬੀਰ ॥ ਗਗਨ ਦਮਾਮਾ ਬਾਜਿਓ ਪਰਿਓ ਨੀਸਾਨੈ ਘਾਉ ॥ ਖੇਤੁ ਜੁ ਮਾਂਡਿਓ ਸੂਰਮਾ ਅਬ ਜੂਝਨ ਕੋ ਦਾਉ ॥੧॥ ਸੂਰਾ ਸੋ ਪਹਿਚਾਨੀਐ ਜੁ ਲਰੈ ਦੀਨ ਕੇ ਹੇਤ ॥ ਪੁਰਜਾ ਪੁਰਜਾ ਕਟਿ ਮਰੈ ਕਬਹੂ ਨ ਛਾਡੈ ਖੇਤੁ ॥੨॥੨॥: Salok Kabeer || Gagan damaamaa baajio pario nisaanai ghaaou. Khet ju maandio soormaa ab joojhan ko daaou ||1|| Sooraa so pehchaaneeai jo larai deen ke het. Purajaa purajaa kat marai kabahoo n shhaadai khet ||2||2||: Salok Kabeer. The battle-drum beats (in the sky of the mind – i.e., one soars height of Spiritual Consciousness); aim strike the aim (Dasam Duaar – Tenth Gate). The spiritual warrior enters this field of battle; (he knows that) now is the time to fight (with the evil passions)! ||1|| He alone is known as a spiritual hero, who fights (with his evil passions) for the sake of Dharma (i.e., in the defense of righteousness). He may be cut apart, piece by piece, but he never leaves this battle-field (of worldliness) ||2||2|| (sggs 1105).
- ਸਬਦਿ ਮਿਲਾਏ ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਸੂਰਾ ॥: Practice teaching of the Gurbani (Gurmati), become spiritual hero and emerge in the Shabad (sggs 1043).