Who Am I?

The Sri Guroo Granth Sahib (SGGS) is a true Guroo with thousands of ways to annihilate our mind, to help us inquire (Spiritual Inquiry) into “Who, or what, am I?”; to turn our awareness directly toward our Mool (Source, Jot…) within; to bring us into the infinity of this moment.

We are so fortunate to have such essential Divine Wisdom readily available to us!

Those who are sincere in their inquiry turn the mind within upon itself and become tuned to their True Nature (Jot-Saroop…).

However, the Gurbani indicates that in the case of the majority our condition is similar to that of a grieving and agonizing king who saw himself become a beggar in his dream!

  • ਨਰਪਤਿ ਏਕੁ ਸਿੰਘਾਸਨਿ ਸੋਇਆ ਸੁਪਨੇ ਭਇਆ ਭਿਖਾਰੀ ॥ ਅਛਤ ਰਾਜ ਬਿਛੁਰਤ ਦੁਖੁ ਪਾਇਆ ਸੋ ਗਤਿ ਭਈ ਹਮਾਰੀ ॥੨॥: It is like a king, who falls asleep upon his throne, and dreams (that he has become a) beggar. (Although) his kingdom is intact, but separated from it (in his dream), he suffers pain. Such is our condition. ||2|| (sggs 657).

The Gurbani reminds us that owing to our own ignorance of our Spiritual Nature, we identify ourselves wrongly with the body-mind-intellect apparatus and see the world outside, as a result its suffering becomes apparent to us.

However, instead, the Gurbani urges us to identify with the Ageless soul (Aatmaa). Because, we are not the body-mind-intellect personality but Aatmaa, which lies within at the very core of our being and beyond our brain-consciousness (Trikuti).

In essence Aatmaa is said to be the Spiritual Center within, Spiritual Spark, Spiritual Power, Spiritual Energy, the real Self, Center of Spiritual Wisdom, Treasure of Virtues, Treasure of the Divine Knowledge, Primeval, Eternal, Jot, and so on.

  • ਕਹੁ ਕਬੀਰ ਇਹੁ ਰਾਮ ਕੀ ਅੰਸੁ ॥ ਜਸ ਕਾਗਦ ਪਰ ਮਿਟੈ ਨ ਮੰਸੁ ॥੪॥੨॥੫॥: Says Kabeer! This (i.e., soul that dwells within) is Raam’s Ansh (part…). It is like the ink on the paper which cannot be annulled or expunged (i.e., both the soul and Parmeshar are linked to each other as the paper and the ink on it). ||4||2||5|| (sggs 871).

Beyond birth and death (i.e., Immortal or Amar), this Divine Dynamic Energy is One (Unity). Because it’s the part-and-parcel of the same Immortal, Supreme Essence.

  • ਮਰਣਹਾਰੁ ਇਹੁ ਜੀਅਰਾ ਨਾਹੀ ॥੩॥: This soul is not perishable (sggs 188).

The Gurbani indicates that the only fact we can be sure of is that we are Jot Saroop (true Image of the Divine). Therefore, the Gurbani wants us to hold on to this Reality. For we are That!

  • ਇਉ ਕਹੈ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਮਨ ਤੂੰ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਰੂਪੁ ਹੈ ਅਪਣਾ ਮੂਲੁ ਪਛਾਣੁ ॥੫॥: Thus says Nanak – O mind! You are “Joti Saroop(u)” (Pure Light or Consciousness, Pure Nature, Original or Real Nature …)! Recognize your Mool (Source, Origin, Base, Reality, Divine Nature…) ||5|| (sggs 441).
If we have to think, the Gurbani says think “I am Jot-Saroop” (Pure Consciousness…)

From a practical standpoint, if Permeshar (the Divine…) gave the man His true image what it means is that He has given man his Divine Qualities — truth, harmony, fearlessness, Immortality, patience, forgiveness, purity, selflessness, love, goodwill, compassion, kindness, contentment, knowledge, mercy, humility, peace, joy, discerning intellect (Bibek-Budhi), and so on. But our Jot-Saroop, the Original state of our True Being, is not clearly seen all the times. It is not clearly seen when we let the wall of our false ego stand in the way. The Gurbani reveals to us that when we overcome this false ego-sense, we become one with ourJot-Saroop again.

However, instead, the Gurbani says the man thinks himself as ego-center (Haumai). That is, the majority of us mistakenly confound our Mool with the body-mind-intellect personality. The fire of this ego-center (lust, anger, greed, attachment, pride, stubbornness, enviousness, etc.) burns within and keeps our doubt-ridden and Maya-driven mind separated from its Mool (Source, Jot…).

  • ਕਬੀਰ ਪਰਦੇਸੀ ਕੈ ਘਾਘਰੈ ਚਹੁ ਦਿਸਿ ਲਾਗੀ ਆਗਿ ॥: O Kabeer! The kilt (of sense-organs) of this alien (i.e., mind-“ਮਨੁ ਪਰਦੇਸੀ”) has caught fire on all four sides (i.e., fire of Bikaar – lust, anger, greed, etc.). (sggs 1366).
  • ਮੂਲੁ ਨ ਬੂਝੈ ਆਪੁ ਨ ਸੂਝੈ ਭਰਮਿ ਬਿਆਪੀ ਅਹੰ ਮਨੀ ॥੧॥:Engrossed in doubt and egotism, (the mortal does) not know the Mool; he does not understand his ownself. ||1|| (sggs 1186).
We are what we think.

Clearly, the Gurbani wants us to bring about complete transformation in our outlook or thinking (ਸੋਚ). When we think we are the embodiment of the Divine Light and live as such, our thinking (ਸੋਚ) gets transformed from body-consciousness to the Soul-Consciousness (Divine Wisdom, Divine Virtues, Naam-consciousness, Gurmukh Lifestyle…). Then, we start seeing the same One Spiritual Factor in everybody.

  • ਜੇਹੀ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਤੇਹਾ ਤਿਨ ਰਾਹੁ ॥: As is (beings’) awareness, so is (their) way (sggs 25).

Without such real shift in thinking (ਸੋਚ), and without truly aiming at Mool-realization, the Gurbani indicates all religious acts are Pakhand (pretending, show, Karamkaand, fraud…).

  • ਮੂਲੁ ਨ ਬੂਝਹਿ ਆਪਣਾ ਸੇ ਪਸੂਆ ਸੇ ਢੋਰ ਜੀਉ ॥: Those who do not understand their own Mool (Source, Origin, Jot…); they are beasts and they are cattle (i.e., great fools of animal intellect-ਡੰਗਰ ਬੁਧੀ ਵਾਲੇ ਮਹਾਂ ਮੂਰਖ)! (sggs 751).

With real shift in thinking (ਸੋਚ), all Pakhand cease to be. We are then saved from Spiritual death (ਆਤਮਕ ਮੌਤ-death of spiritual life). And, we are saved from our exploitation in the name of the Gurbani and Dharma by the Pujaaree-Group (Bhais, Ragi, so called sant, etc.).

In nutshell, the Gurbani of uncompromising Truth urges us to go within. Since our Joti-Saroop is ever present within, we are never apart from it.

The Gurbani tells us that the mean to accomplish this task is the Shabad-Vichaar (Reflections on the Shabad).

  • ਆਤਮ ਰਾਮੁ ਰਾਮੁ ਹੈ ਆਤਮ ਹਰਿ ਪਾਈਐ ਸਬਦਿ ਵੀਚਾਰਾ ਹੇ ॥੭॥: By engaging in the Shabad Vichaar, one obtains this understanding that) the soul and “Raam” are one and the same (ਇਕ-ਰੂਪ). ||7|| (sggs 1030).
Mind without understanding is perplexed.

Simply put: If there is hunger for understanding the Divine Wisdom (Aatam-Giaan) of the Gurbani through the Gurbani-Vicchar, then Aatam-Giaan will awaken, within; leading to Spiritual Awakening or Realization of one’s Mool, within. Sipmly put: Shabad-Vichaar is finding out who am I?.

  • ਬਿਨੁ ਬੂਝੇ ਸਭ ਹੋਇ ਖੁਆਰ ॥: Without understanding, ALL are troubled (afflicted, distressed, perplexed…). (sggs 791).
  • ਭਗਤਿ ਭਾਇ ਆਤਮ ਪਰਗਾਸ ॥: Bhagti bhaai Aatam Pargaas (sggs 288).

Now, the question is: What does happen upon becoming Mool-realized or Spiritually Awakened (a person of higher consciousness, the Gurmukh…)? Does it mean one’s problems and strives will disappear? Does it mean that one retires from all activities of life and meditate twenty-four hours? No!

As doubt (Bharam) is removed with the Divine Wisdom, illusoriness flees like the night at dawn.

Upon experiencing Spiritual Awakening (Enlightenment…), one’s problems still will be there, one’s duties still will be there, life’s strife and situations still will be there, body’s diseases and sickness and death still will be there. What changes is the perception or angle of vision of approaching life. One simply becomes witness to his life, without any trace of emotional attachment. According to the Gurbani, he accepts everything he undergoes as the Divine Hukam (Bhaanaa, Divine Will…) with equanimity of the mind. He is like the water drops which do not adhere to the lotus leaf! His mind becomes open to everything, but remains detached from everything!

In nutshell, as the Gurbani indicates, Enlightenment is to know one’s own True Nature (Jot-Saroop...). To say it otherwise, Enlightenment is one’s own Fundamental Ultimate Mool (Source, Jot…). Simply put: This is a Still mind. This Stillness of the mind is the greatest achievement.
Filed Under: Gurbani, inquery, search, ਖੋਜ, Mool, Source, Origin, Vichaar, Read, Listen, Who Am I
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36 Comments Leave a Reply to Peter Jansen

  1. Harpreet

    My question, how can we Search our own mind?? Because being human our focus is more towards materialistic world and not towards our inner self. Is it like sitting quietly and chanting Waheguru directing ourselves inner side or being focused on void (without thought).

  2. Paramjit Singh Rana

    Parkash Singh Veer ji:

    Thank you for your comment; I notice you made this point earlier in this post as well — we are created as a result of ANHAD NAAD or EKANKAARu (as you put it). Please help me understand in ਇਉ ਕਹੈ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਮਨ ਤੂੰ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਰੂਪੁ ਹੈ ਅਪਣਾ ਮੂਲੁ ਪਛਾਣੁ, is there an implication that ਮਨ has its own brian to follow Guru Nanak Sahib’s instruction OR Guru Nanak Sahib is just giving a divine message without telling us how ਮਨ has to recognize its Mool? If it is the later, then the question is WHO is going to direct ਮਨ to its Mool/Jot?

    Paramjit Singh Rana

    • Thank you Veer Ji!

      OR Guru Nanak Sahib is just giving a divine message without telling us how ਮਨ has to recognize its Mool

      My two cents – the Gurbani tells us:
      • ਮਨ ਸਮਝਾਵਨ ਕਾਰਨੇ ਕਛੂਅਕ ਪੜੀਐ ਗਿਆਨ ॥੫॥: To instruct the mind (ਉੱਚੇ ਜੀਵਨ ਦੀ ਸੂਝ ਦੇਣ ਵਾਸਤੇ-to raise the Consciousness to the High Plane, one) ought to study Divine Knowledge (ਉੱਚੀ ਵਿਚਾਰ ਵਾਲੀ ਬਾਣੀ…) to some extent. ||5|| (sggs 340).

      The Gurbani also tells us:
      • ਆਪਣ ਹਥੀ ਆਪਣਾ ਆਪੇ ਹੀ ਕਾਜੁ ਸਵਾਰੀਐ ॥੨੦॥: (So long there is breath-Praan) With own hands (with self-efforts, ਉੱਦਮ ਕਰ ਕੇ…), resolve your own affair yourself. ||20|| (sggs 474).
      • ਜੋ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਖੋਜਹਿ ਸੇਈ ਪਾਵਹਿ ਹੋਰਿ ਫੂਟਿ ਮੂਏ ਅਹੰਕਾਰੀ ॥੨੦॥: Those who seek Prabhu (i.e., Mool …), they obtain (i.e., realize their Mool within ); others die fragmented in their egotism (i.e., die without realizing their Mool). ||20|| (sggs 911).

      In other words, Mool-realization cannot be made to an order or given to somebody as a mundane gift wrapped up as a ready-made package! It’s a personal experience. This is essentially what the Gurbani is telling us in a reasoning way. To look at it from an another angle, to know if it is sugar (not something else!) and to know if it is sweet, one must taste it. Because the proof of the sweetness is in the mouth not in the sugar! Of course one can begin by asking around, but, it is only by tasting it one’s all doubts will dissolve and his knowledge will become first hand and unshakable.

  3. Prakash S Bagga

    The whole universe is created from a SINGLE WAVE OF SOUND to be known as EKANKAARu.
    So the true nature or form of everything is just a part of this wave only.
    “ਇਉ ਕਹੈ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਮਨ ਤੂੰ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਰੂਪੁ ਹੈ ਅਪਣਾ ਮੂਲੁ ਪਛਾਣੁ ..this quote confirms this only.

  4. Paramjit Singh Rana

    Dear Mr. T Singh Ji:

    Thank you for sharing your Gurubani wisdom through your GuruBani blog which I find to be one of the best among the few I enjoy reading. I admire your dedication, depth and effort in putting together these very informative write ups along with Gurubani references.

    I am particularly impressed by your views in this post: Who am I?

    In my own pursuit to understand Gurubani, the elusive nature of “I” has intrigued me for some time and has become focus of my intense interest. I often participate in an on-going spiritual/Gurubani discourse with a group of insightful individuals via internet and other tools that the electronic medium provides us these days. Even in these informative sessions, I often draw attention of the group that to fully comprehend the nature and influence of Gurubani discourse and its social manifestations, the centrality of “I’ (who is the key player to whom the Gurubani message is directed) must be recognized and therefore, by implication, understood. Unfortunately, I could not make any progress. It appears that perhaps I was not able to articulate the importance of understanding “Who am I?” with these some very informed individuals.

    Since you have raised the same issue that is of key interest to me and since your readership includes some very informed individuals like Dr. Harbans Lal, Mr. Parkash Singh Begga and many others, I look forward to some informed exchange with their participation to seek answer to the question that you have posed and expounded in detail in the blog. I have some clarifying questions on what you have written in the post. It is my sincere hope that you do not view me as being disruptive, I am asking these questions with a very honest and genuine interest in understanding Gurubani.

    You posed the question Who am I? Would you agree that perhaps it is more appropriate to ask: Who am “I”? Both statements mean the same to some; however, my intent of placing quotes around I, is to underscore unambiguously what we need to focus on and that is “I” ( or “we”, “us”, “our” etc., when collective reference is made in Gurubani) . It is my personal belief that unless “I” in us is recognized and the tangible conscious controls through which “I” can be affected identified, any form of spiritual discourse that we have or have been having in academic and non-academic settings for years will remain short of its true understanding with concomitant lack in its intended application. May be it is this elusiveness of “I” in us which is the primary culprit that is keeping us disjoint from the “true”/”pure” essence (Jot) that is inherent in all human beings where profound joy, happiness, love and bliss can be experienced that is unmatched by what we, as individuals or groups, have ever experienced in our temporal life. This centrality of this “true essence” is exactly what Gurubani asserts as you have very nicely articulated: “The Gurbani indicates that the only fact we can be sure of is that we are Jot Saroop (true Image of the Divine). Therefore, the Gurbani wants us to hold on to this Reality. For we are That!”

    May be it is this state of “pure”, sublime and serene state of human existence implicit within us for which many seekers in the East renounce the world and go into seclusion in retreats on mountain tops to search for this ultimate fountain of love and bliss within. But then our Gurubani underscores that this internal state can be achieved while remaining engaged in the secular life. The question remains can we experience these emotions of love, joy, happiness and serenity in its true and “pure” sense while carrying on with our “normal” business and worldly life; the answer to me seems to reside in identify “I” within us as human beings and HOW this “I” can be influenced by Gurubani wisdom and directed towards “true/pure” essence that is inherent in all of us!

    Who is this “I” (or “We”) that is being referred/addressed when these terms are used in Gurubani discourse. From reading Gurubani, it is very clear Gurubani wisdom/message is directed at “Manh” (the English equivalent being the Mind). For example, as you quoted: “ਇਉ ਕਹੈ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਮਨ ਤੂੰ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਰੂਪੁ ਹੈ ਅਪਣਾ ਮੂਲੁ ਪਛਾਣੁ ॥੫॥. And then there are numerous other references from where it is very clear that the Gurubani message is directed towards “Manh”!

    If the gurubani message is directed towards “Manh/Mind” then WHO has the conscious control of mind, to lead it on right path. And if the answer is, it is our Buddi (Intellect), then the question is what are the precursors or WHO has the conscious control to tell Buddi to direct mind to connect with its Mool/Jot/Atman.

    Here are some selective excerpts from your blog. Can you please help me understand who is being addressed by the words that I have underscored [capatalized] in the following statements from your blog. I don’t think we can get away by providing an evasive answer that it is the man or human being that is being addressed – it will put us back to ground zero.

    The answer in identifying who is being addressed will help answer the key question that you posed at the outset “Who am I” in some empirical sense to allow transformation that you alluded to in your blog.

    1. “ONE simply becomes witness to HIS life, without any trace of emotional attachment. According to the Gurbani, HE accepts everything HE undergoes as the Divine Hukam (Bhaanaa,Divine Will…) with equanimity of the mind. HE is like the water drops which do not adhere to the lotus leaf! HIS MIND becomes open to everything, but remains detached from everything!”

    2. “THOSE WHO are sincere in their inquiry turn the mind within upon itself and become tuned to THEIR True Nature (Jot-Saroop…).

    3. “Because, WE are not the body-mind-intellect personality but Aatmaa, which lies within at the very core of OUR being and beyond OUR brain-consciousness (Trikuti).”

    4. “The Gurbani indicates that the only fact WE can be sure of is that WE are Jot Saroop (true Image of the Divine). Therefore, the Gurbani wants US to hold on to this Reality. For we are That!”

    5. “In nutshell, the Gurbani of uncompromising Truth urges US to go within. Since our Joti-Svaroop is ever present within, WE are never apart from it.”

    6. “Clearly, the Gurbani wants US to bring about complete transformation in OUR outlook or thinking (ਸੋਚ). When WE think WE are the embodiment of the Divine Light and live as such, OUR thinking (ਸੋਚ) gets transformed…”

    Guru Fetah and warm regards! Sincerely hoping to hear some thing different than “Thank you Veer Ji for taking the time to respond”.

    Paramjit Singh Rana

  5. Prakash S Bagga

    The word PONDER in English can be considered as equivalent to The word “ਸੋਧੇ


    verb: ponder; 3rd person present: ponders; past tense: pondered; past participle: pondered; gerund or present participle: pondering

    think about (something) carefully, especially before making a decision or reaching a conclusion.
    “I pondered the question of what clothes to wear for the occasion”

    synonyms: think about, give thought to, consider, review, reflect on, mull over, contemplate, study, meditate on, muse on, deliberate about, cogitate on, dwell on, brood on/over, ruminate about/on, chew over, puzzle over, speculate about, weigh up, turn over in one’s mind; More

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