Who is Greater?

There is the old adage: One should not lose sight of the forest for the trees. Sometime we may get so engrossed or focused on something, or some details, etc., that one begins to ignore the overall situation.

For example, although there are beautiful flowers and trees in a forest for the beholding, but when one becomes so engrossed in looking at the individual tree or trees immediately before him, one may forget the forest and thus lose sight of the big picture (i.e., the “forest”!).

As the the Gurbani indicates, similarly, one may become so engrossed in an individual Granth or Granths, that he may forget the Truth (the Source) and thus lose sight of the Reality of all we know or see. In this context, the Gurbani questions:

  • ਬੇਦੁ ਬਡਾ ਕਿ ਜਹਾਂ ਤੇ ਆਇਆ ॥੨॥: Is the “Bed(u)” (Giaan(u): Wisdom…) greater, or from where it came? ॥੨॥ (sggs 331).

The answer as provided by the Gurbani is that the Truth is Greater from where all the Giaan or Wisdom of  Granths have originated. The Gurbani says:

  • ਬੇਦ ਕਤੇਬ ਸੰਸਾਰ ਹਭਾ ਹੂੰ ਬਾਹਰਾ ॥: (Universal Energy) is beyond the world, Vedas, and Kateb (quran…). (sggs 397).

In other words, Giaan is not greater, but, greater is the Truth from where this Giaan has come from! Similarly, the Gurbani indicates to us that Truth is Greater from where the the “ਬਾਣੀ” (Baanee) has come.

  • ਇਹ ਬਾਣੀ ਮਹਾ ਪੁਰਖ ਕੀ ਨਿਜ ਘਰਿ ਵਾਸਾ ਹੋਇ ॥੪੦॥: Ih baanee mahaa purak kee nij ghari vaasaa hoi (sggs 935).
  • ਪਰਮੇਸਰ ਕੈ ਦੁਆਰੈ ਜਿ ਹੋਇ ਬਿਤੀਤੈ ਸੁ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਆਖਿ ਸੁਣਾਵੈ ॥: Pamesar ke duaarai ji hoyi biteetai su … (sggs 373).
  • ਧੁਰ ਕੀ ਬਾਣੀ ਆਈ ॥: Dhur ki Bani aaee (sggs 628).
  • ਹਉ ਆਪਹੁ ਬੋਲਿ ਨ ਜਾਣਦਾ ਮੈ ਕਹਿਆ ਸਭੁ ਹੁਕਮਾਉ ਜੀਉ ॥: Haou aapahu bol n jaanadaa mai kahiaa sabh hukamaaou jeeou (sggs 763).
  • ਹਰਿ ਕੈ ਦਰਿ ਵਰਤਿਆ ਸੁ ਨਾਨਕਿ ਆਖਿ ਸੁਣਾਇਆ ॥: Hari kai dari vartiaa so Nanaki aakhi sunaaiaa (sggs 316).
  • ਜੈਸੀ ਮੈ ਆਵੈ ਖਸਮ ਕੀ ਬਾਣੀ ਤੈਸੜਾ ਕਰੀ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਵੇ ਲਾਲੋ ॥: Jaisee mai aavai khasam kee Bani taisadaa karee giaanu ve Lalo (sggs 722).

To put it otherwise, the Supreme Principle is beyond the gross finite words of any language in the world. The Gurbani clarifies it further as follows:

  • ਬਾਵਨ ਅਛਰ ਲੋਕ ਤ੍ਰੈ ਸਭੁ ਕਛੁ ਇਨ ਹੀ ਮਾਹਿ ॥ ਏ ਅਖਰ ਖਿਰਿ ਜਾਹਿਗੇ ਓਇ ਅਖਰ ਇਨ ਮਹਿ ਨਾਹਿ ॥:  Through these fifty-two letters, the entire world and all things are described. (But) these letters will perish (ਨਾਸਵੰਤ); and That Unperishable (the One, Aatma…) is not in these letters (sggs 340).

As such, all the Guroos and the Bhagats never called themselves or thier Baanee “great” (“ਵਡਾ”). They always called Truth the “great”. Let alone “great”, they never even called themselves Sant. Instead, they called themselves as His “Jan“, “Chaakar”, “Daas”, “Neech“, etc.

  • ਵਡਾ ਸਾਹਿਬੁ ਵਡੀ ਨਾਈ ਕੀਤਾ ਜਾ ਕਾ ਹੋਵੈ ॥: Vadaa sahibu vadee naaee keetaa jaa kaa hovai (sggs 5).
  • ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਕਾ ਖਸਮੁ ਵਡਾ ਹੈ ਸਭਨਾ ਦਾ ਧਣੀਐ ॥੩੦॥: Jan Nanak kaa khasamu vadaa hai sabhanaa daa dhaneeai (sggs 316).
  • ਹਮ ਚਾਕਰ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਕੇ ਠਾਕੁਰੁ ਮੇਰਾ ਭਾਰਾ ॥: Ham chaakar gibind ke thaakuru meraa bhaaraa (sggs 399).
  • ਰਾਮ ਬਡੇ ਮੈ ਤਨਕ ਲਹੁਰੀਆ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Raam vade mai tanak lahureeaa ॥੧॥ Rahaaou ॥ (sggs 483).
  • ਹਰਿ ਆਪੇ ਆਪਿ ਵਰਤਦਾ ਹਰਿ ਜੇਵਡੁ ਅਵਰੁ ਨ ਕੋਇ ॥: Hari aape aapi varatadaa hari jevadu avaru n koi (sggs 1313).

Accordingly, the Gurbani tells us that one must know what he is contemplating (ਗਿਆਨ ਬਗੈਰ ਧਿਆਨ ਨਹੀ ਕੀਤਾ ਜਾ ਸਕਦਾ). Otherwise, that is, if we contemplate without the Knowledge (without Soojh-Boojh: ਗਿਆਨ ਬਗੈਰ ਧਿਆਨ), we are sure to be disappointed in the end (ਜੀਵਨ ਅਜਾਈਂ ਜਾਣਾਂ)!

  • ਜੋ ਜਨ ਜਾਨਿ ਭਜਹਿ ਅਬਿਗਤ ਕਉ ਤਿਨ ਕਾ ਕਛੂ ਨ ਨਾਸਾ ॥: Those “Jan” (Daas, Bhagat, Gurmukh…) who remember the Invisible (Prabhoo) with the Knowledge (ਸੂਝ-ਬੂਝ…) are not ruined at all (i.e., their life is not wasted). (sggs 793).

This is the reason, in the Gurbani, the Giaan (ਗਿਆਨ) always precedes the Dhiaan (ਧਿਆਨ). For example:

  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਧਿਆਨੁ ਮਨਿ ਮਾਨੁ ॥: Gurmukhi giaanu dhiaanu mani maanu (sggs 414).
  • ਨਾਮ ਬਿਨਾ ਕਿਆ ਗਿਆਨ ਧਿਆਨੁ ॥: Naam binaa kiaa giaan dhiaanu (sggs 905).
Filed Under: Gurbani, Mool, Source, Origin
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8 Comments Leave a Reply to serfalmighty

  1. serfalmighty

    This is the gist of the Gurbani which when anyone understands with the true intention, without any bias, removing his self, will understand the similar way, the way it was written, the way it was intended to. May He bring these together .
    I shall bow down to them…and above all to the Greatest( the Almighty).. to bring me closer to the Sadh Sangat !!the Sangat formed by the true Giaan of Gurbani…
    Yes, I do see a flower…
    May God keep me in the essence of his forest….
    I love you God!!!!

  2. serfalmighty

    Ik Onkar Satgur Parsad!!

    Dhan T. Singh ji… I always was looking the Sadh Sangat… May I Think I found it in the site gurbani.org and your blog…
    God Bless you!!

  3. prakash.s.bagga

    Guru Govind dou khade kake lagu pau
    Balihari guru aapne govind diyo bataye

    The above Quote is not there in SGGs ji. So it would be difficult to comment for its meanings.


  4. ravinder singh

    I feel that the mool-mantra of the Guru Granth Sahib very clearly tells us about the Guru of the Guru.He is the One God who is all pervading,the truth,the creator,without fear,inimical to none,beyond time,not in the cycle of births and deaths,self existing.

  5. Karamjeet Singh

    Sorry for the typo – I believe it’s Ka Ke Lagu Paaye …

    • ravinder singh

      To my understanding the Sukhmani Sahib tells us that a God knowing Guru is merged in the Supreme and the Supreme resides within him.The one himself he is-we need not have any doubts regarding it.

  6. Karamjeet Singh

    Enriching !!!!!

    I wonder though how would we place the following Doha by Kabir Ji in the context of this piece: Who Is Greater?

    Guru Govind dou khade kake lagu pau
    Balihari guru aapne govind diyo bataye

    Deep Regards

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