Gurbani’s Sooraa – Braveheart

Literally — in a worldly sense  —”Sooraa” (ਸੂਰਾ) means a brave person (hero, mighty warrior, fearless fighter, ਸੂਰਮਾ, ਬਹਾਦਰ, ਬਲੀ, ਯੋਧਾ, ਮਹਾਬਲੀ…).

However, in material life, depending on one’s perspective, a person who appears to be a Sooraa to one may be a murderer to another! Thus, the term “Sooraa” could have different meanings in different contexts.

Some call themselves SOORAA based on their physical strength, blowing themselves up, killing innocents, oppressing the destitute, terrorizing the weak, enslaving and ruling others, dying in the battle field, and so on. They are also falsely called Sooraa who are falsely pumped up and hyped up by the stupid and crafty Pujaaree groups and the Pujaaree system in order to kill others and then get themselves killed in the process, all in the name of their religion and god.

None of the above is the Gurbani’s Sooraa!
  • ਨ ਭੀਜੈ ਭੇੜਿ ਮਰਹਿ ਭਿੜਿ ਸੂਰ ॥: (God) is not won over by fighting and dying as a warrior in battle i.e., by becoming a martyr or Shaheed (sggs 1237).
  • 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॥: They are not called heroes, who die of egotism, suffering in pain. The (egotist, ignorant) blind ones do not realize their own selves (i.e., True Nature, Joti-Svaroopa, etc.); in the love of duality, they rot. They struggle with (others in) great anger; they suffered in the past and will suffer in the future. The Divine ( Wisdom or Virtues, Truth, Mool…),  is not pleased by egotism; the Vedas proclaim this clearly. Those who die in egotism are ruined. (Their minds) die and are reborn, repeatedly ||9|| (sggs 1089).

Nonetheless, The “Sooraa” of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) is a spiritual warrior or Hero who is brave enough to fearlessly fight or struggle with his own depraved mind corrupted with Bikaar (i.e., lust, anger, greed…). Eradicating Haume (egotism) from within, he conquers his mind in the process.

  • ਨਾਨਕ ਸੋ ਸੂਰਾ ਵਰੀਆਮੁ ਜਿਨਿ ਵਿਚਹੁ ਦੁਸਟੁ ਅਹੰਕਰਣੁ ਮਾਰਿਆ ॥: O Nanak! He is a brave warrior, who kills (conquers, annihilates…) his vicious ego from within (sggs 86).
  • ਸੋ ਸੂਰਾ ਕੁਲਵੰਤੁ ਸੋਇ ਜਿਨਿ ਭਜਿਆ ਭਗਵੰਤੁ ॥ ਖਤ੍ਰੀ ਬ੍ਰਾਹਮਣੁ ਸੂਦੁ ਬੈਸੁ ਉਧਰੈ ਸਿਮਰਿ ਚੰਡਾਲ ॥ ਜਿਨਿ ਜਾਨਿਓ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਆਪਨਾ ਨਾਨਕ ਤਿਸਹਿ ਰਵਾਲ ॥੧੭॥: He is Soora (Spiritual Hero…), of noble birth, who is united with the Divine (wisdom, Virtues…). (That person may be a) Kh’shatriya, Brahmin, Shoodras, Vaisha and outcast pariahs (Chandaal), (they) are all saved by remembering (the Divine). Nanak is the dust of the feet of him who knows Prabh (Mool, Truth, Jot Saroop, Brahm-Giaan…) ||17|| (sggs 300).

The deluded or wandering mind is Maya, and Maya is the deluded or wandering mind. Simply put: that which dwells on duality and thus has separated from its True Nature (Mool, Unconditioned Consciousness, Joti-Svaroopa, Truth, etc.) is mind. Also called veil, wall or curtain, it is that mountain of smoke which stands between an individual (Jeeva) and his Essential Nature. The Gurbani’s “Sooraa” brings this mighty wall of the duality-ridden mind down.

  • ਜੋ ਇਸੁ ਮਾਰੇ ਸੋਈ ਸੂਰਾ ॥: One who kills this (i.e., duality) is a Sooraa — Spiritual Hero (sggs 238).

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.

  • ਜਾ ਕਉ ਹਰਿ ਰੰਗੁ ਲਾਗੋ ਇਸੁ ਜੁਗ ਮਹਿ ਸੋ ਕਹੀਅਤ ਹੈ ਸੂਰਾ ॥ ਆਤਮ ਜਿਣੈ ਸਗਲ ਵਸਿ ਤਾ ਕੈ ਜਾ ਕਾ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਪੂਰਾ ॥੧॥: He alone is called a “Sooraa” (hero, warrior…), who is elated with the Divine (Virtues, Wisdom…) in this age. Through the Perfect Satiguru  (Wisdom of Truth), he conquers his soul (mind), and (his mind) overpowers all (his bodily senses). ||1|| (sggs 679).

Mere Knowing of the mind’s enemies is not enough. Because, to know them is one thing, however, to overpower them is another. Then, how can they be subdued? By becoming a Gurmukh, says the Gurbani. It is the Gurmukh who can continuously keep 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॥: But those who become Gurmukh understand everything (ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਦੇ ਹਰੇਕ ਭੇਤ ਨੂੰ). O Nanak, (the one who) becomes the Gurmukh struggles with own mind (ਆਪਣੇ ਮਨ ਨਾਲ ਟਾਕਰਾ ਕਰਦਾ ਰਹਿੰਦਾ ਹੈ) ||46|| (sggs 1418).

As time and again indicated in the Gurbani, by practicing the Shabad with concentration, love, feelings and faith, one can become the Gurmukhs. It is the Shabad-Surti (Naam Consciousness, Untainted Awarenessthe state of Wisdom, Virtues…) 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.

  • 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).
  • ਸਬਦਿ ਮਿਲਾਏ ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਸੂਰਾ ॥: Practice teaching of the Gurbani (Gurmati), become spiritual hero and emerge in the Shabad (sggs 1043).

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!

  • 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॥: The battle-drum beats (in the sky of the mind – i.e., one soars height of Spiritual Consciousness); strike the aim (Dasam Duaar or Tenth Gate – Bibek Budh, discriminating intellect, understanding…). The spiritual warrior enters this (life’s) field of battle; (he knows that) now is the time to fight (with evil passions or Bikaar…)! ||1|| He alone is known as a spiritual hero, who fights (with evil passions or Bikaar…) for the sake of Dharma (i.e., in the defense of righteousness, Virtues, Truth…). He may be cut apart, piece by piece, but he never leaves (life’s) battle-field (i.e., never stops fighting with his own Bikaar…). ||2||2|| (sggs 1105).

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