Is there any merchant of Truth?
My cargo is loaded, and now I am leaving. (sggs 346).

The knowledge and the teaching of the Gurbani or of any other true world masters is not for those who like their spirituality watered down, but for serious students who want to find powerful antidotes to conditioned consciousness: Mayaic intellect, false ego-sense or Haume...

As time and again mentioned in the Gurbani, in reality rare is the customer of Truth (merchant or seekerof the Truth-Sach). The majority of us deal in only falsehood, selfishness, greed, corruption, crookedness, perversions, deception, misinformation, frauds, sensuality, evil doings, ignorance, Mayaic efforts, and so on. Day after day our sense-blind mind chases the illusory appearance of the mirage-like world and its gross objects (Maya). This process results in further strengthening of our unawareness. Thus, instead of developing spiritual or truthful life (Aatamic-Jeevan), we temper with it and make it stubborn and ineffective.

  • ਕੋ ਬਨਜਾਰੋ ਰਾਮ ਕੋ ਮੇਰਾ ਟਾਂਡਾ ਲਾਦਿਆ ਜਾਇ ਰੇ ॥: Ko banjaaro raam ko meraa taandaa laadiaa jaai ray: Is there any merchant of Truth? My cargo is loaded, and now I am leaving (sggs 345).
  • ਤਬ ਲਗੁ ਮਹਲੁ ਨ ਪਾਈਐ ਜਬ ਲਗੁ ਸਾਚੁ ਨ ਚੀਤਿ ॥: Tab lag mahal na paaeeai jab lag saach n cheeti: As long as the Truth does not enter into the consciousness, the Divine Presence is not realized (sggs 58).
  • ਸਚਿ ਰਤੇ ਸੇ ਟੋਲਿ ਲਹੁ ਸੇ ਵਿਰਲੇ ਸੰਸਾਰਿ ॥: Sach ratay say tol lahu say virlay sansaar: Seek and find those who are imbued with Truth; they are so rare in this world (sggs 994).

What is Truth? The Truth is the Pure Consciousness devoid of objectivity. This omnipresent Principle is referred to variously as Universal Spirit, God, Mool, pure Self, Cosmic Principal, Raam, Allah, Knowledge, Sahaj, Hukam, Joti-Svaroopa, Satguru, Turiyaa or the fourth state, etc. It is not only the substratum of this dreamlike phenomenal world but also illuminates it and the One who is the knower of the body. Being self-existent, it does not depend on quantum boundary or material plane for its sustenance. Neither it arises with the phenomenal world arising, nor set with the world setting. This ever-present timeless Truth imparts reality to all, and is in the "now". It is Universal. It is Unity, not fragmentation. It cannot be formulated or contained in words. Neither does it assert itself. It remains unbroken in the waking, dream and deep sleep states. Also, it remains constant in the past, present and future. As per the Gurbani, rare is the individual who knows it.

  • ਸਭੋ ਸਚੁ ਸਚੁ ਸਚੁ ਵਰਤੈ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਕੋਈ ਜਾਣੈ ॥: Sabho sach sach sach vartai gurmukh koee jaanai: All is Truth; Truth, and Truth alone is pervading; how rare is the Gurmukh, spiritual being, who knows this (sggs 754).

This changeless Cosmic Consciousness lives within all of us as our inner psyche or inner phenomenon - Mool (Source, Origin, Jot...). But we are ignorant of it. Due to this darkness of ignorance, we are unable to see the Truth: our Natural State of Being (Sahaj...). Consequently, instead of being the Mool, our mind ends up becoming a bundle of memories, imaginations, innate tendencies, bodily inclinations, habits or a quagmire of false concepts.

From a practical standpoint, the Truth is simply seeing the false as false (Asat) through discriminating intellect (Bibek Budhi) and then detaching from it — in deeds. The forgetfulness of this Truth or separation from it is what the scriptures call false ego-sense or the realm of relativity. So long as the falsehood, duality, modalities of Maya (Gunas) or the relativist consciousness persists, one cannot become completely filled with the Truth.

  • ਕੂੜ ਗਏ ਦੁਬਿਧਾ ਨਸੀ ਪੂਰਨ ਸਚਿ ਭਰੇ ॥: Koorr gaye dubidhaa nasee pooran sach bhare: (Those who meditate on the Lord's Name, Naam, their) falsehood vanishes; their duality is erased, and they become completely filled with (ਸਦਾ-ਥਿਰ ਪ੍ਰਭੂ) Truth (sggs 136).
  • ਜੇ ਲੋੜਹਿ ਵਰੁ ਕਾਮਣੀ ਨਹ ਮਿਲੀਐ ਪਿਰ ਕੂਰਿ ॥: Je lorrahi var kaamanee nah mileeai pir koori: If you long for your Divine Beloved, O soul-bride, you must know that He is not met by falsehood (sggs 17).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਕੋਈ ਸਚੁ ਕਮਾਵੈ ॥: Gurmukh koee sach kamaavai: How rare are those who, as Gurmukh, live the Truth (sggs 1344).

How does the Truth become veiled? The biological body is the play of the five elements or Maya. The movement in this body is the vital breath. As we grow out of infancy, we start identifying this body-essence as some individual. This is the first material concept known as false ego-sense or "I-ness". This primary concept is the mother of all other subsequent concepts that appear in one's life. In the process, the Truth becomes superimposed by the relativist consciousness, giving rise to inner division or separateness (duality). This modification of the Pure Consciousness is the veil on the face of the Truth.

  • ਕਾਇਆ ਕੁਸੁਧ ਹਉਮੈ ਮਲੁ ਲਾਈ ॥: Kaayaa kasudh haumai malu laaee: That body which is stained with the filth of egotism is false and impure (sggs 1045).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਬਿਖਿਆ ਨਿਤ ਲੋਭਿ ਲੁਭਾਨੇ ਪੁਤ ਕਲਤ ਮੋਹਿ ਲੁਭਿਭਾ ॥: Haumai bikhiaa nit lobhi lubhaane put kalat mohi lubhibhaa: In egotism, people are continually lured by corruption, greed, emotional attachment to their children and spouse (sggs 1337).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਬੰਧਨ ਬੰਧਿ ਭਵਾਵੈ ॥: Houmai bandhan bandh bhavaavai: Egoism binds people in bondage, and causes them to wander around lost (sggs 227).
  • ਮਨੁ ਮੈਲਾ ਹੈ ਦੂਜੈ ਭਾਇ ॥: Manu mailaa hai doojai bhaai: The mind is polluted by the love of duality (sggs 121).

Truth never loses; falsehood never endures. But due to unawareness we trade only with falsehood. In our limited awareness, we want only the fragmentary modifications of the Truth. We see ourselves existing in time and space, and take the birth of this body as the base point. We consider this to be the Truth. But it is nothing but shear ignorance, having no basis in reality at all. Attached to this Mayaic delusion, our mind wants wanderings, activities and worldly knowledge directed towards acquiring material happiness. But the Truth in its all fullness does not interest us.

Bound by the fetters of the false ego-sense, we approach the Gurbani (or any other scriptures for that matter) and the men of true wisdom (the Gurmukhs). So what happens? We do not understand their teachings and knowledge. Because they speak from a point of view which is without such fragmentary modifications of the Truth. Caught in the vicious chain of baser desires, causative actions and material goals of life, people attend Gurdwaaraas, temples, churches, mosques, synagogues, and so on, and listen to sermons from those who are deluded themselves and yearn for more Maya: who burn in the fire of sensuousness and who do this only to set up their own house.

  • ਮੂਰਖਿ ਪੜਿ ਪੜਿ ਦੂਜਾ ਭਾਉ ਦ੍ਰਿੜਾਇਆ ॥ ਬਹੁ ਕਰਮ ਕਮਾਵੈ ਦੁਖੁ ਸਬਾਇਆ ॥: Moorkh parh parh doojaa bhaav driraayaa. Bahu karak kamaavai dukh samaayaa: The fool reads and reads, but holds tight to duality. He performs all sorts of rituals, but still suffers terrible pain (sggs 424).
  • ਸੁਨਿ ਅੰਧਾ ਕੈਸੇ ਮਾਰਗੁ ਪਾਵੈ ॥: Sun andhaa kaisay maarag paavai: By listening, how can the blind find the path? (sggs 267).
  • ਕਹਿ ਕਹਿ ਕਥਨਾ ਮਾਇਆ ਲੂਝੈ ॥: Kahi kahi kathnaa Maya loojhai: One may talk and preach and give sermons but still yearn after Maya (sggs 150).
  • ਅੰਤਰਿ ਬਿਖੁ ਮੁਖਿ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਸੁਣਾਵੈ ॥: Antar bikh mukh amrit sunaavai: Their inner beings are filled with poison, and yet with their mouths, they preach words of Ambrosial Nectar (sggs 194).
  • ਉਪਦੇਸੁ ਕਰੇ ਕਰਿ ਲੋਕ ਦ੍ਰਿੜਾਵੈ ॥ ਅਪਨਾ ਕਹਿਆ ਆਪਿ ਨ ਕਮਾਵੈ ॥: Updes karay kar lok darirhaavai. Apnaa kahiaa aap na kamaavai: You preach to others to have faith, but you do not practice what you preach (sggs 887).
  • ਬੋਲੈ ਝੂਠੁ ਕਮਾਵੈ ਅਵਰਾ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨ ਨ ਬੂਝੈ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਹਇਆ ॥: Bolai jhooth kamaavai avraa tarisan na boojhai bahut haiaa: You tell lies, and do not practice what you preach. Your desires are not satisfied - what a shame (sggs 900).

How can the Truth be realized? Or, when one knows he has discovered the Truth? Simply put, the Truth is loss of falsehood or ego (Haume). What arises is false, limited in time and space. What is false has no being. Mind being time and space, whatever is conceived by the mind is relative, limited or false; produced by some circumstances and environments. The Truth is beyond the mind, because it is timeless, spaceless and formless. It lies beyond the thinking, feeling, pulsation, concept, wanderings or beyond any action of the mind. It knows no creed, religion, dogmas, person or reasoning. It is internal and unchanging. It is only known by the knower as his own absolute, transcendent or ultimate state. Therefore it cannot be made to order or harnessed to a purpose. So long as the mind is blind of the unreality, it is not possible to know the Truth. For the Truth to dawn within, the mind must be purged of the false completely. Hence, it is totally useless to seek the Truth whilst the mind revels in falsehood; for the Truth and falsehood cannot coexist.

  • ਮਨੁ ਮੈਲਾ ਸਚੁ ਨਿਰਮਲਾ ਕਿਉ ਕਰਿ ਮਿਲਿਆ ਜਾਇ ॥: Mann mailaa sach nirmalaa kiou kar miliaa jaai: The True Lord is Pure; (so long the man's) mind is impure (with Haumai, Bikaar, etc.); he cannot meet (Truth or the Lord) (sggs 755).
  • ਮੈ ਅਵਰੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਨ ਧਿਆਨੁ ਪੂਜਾ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਵਸਿ ਰਹੇ ॥ ਭੇਖੁ ਭਵਨੀ ਹਠੁ ਨ ਜਾਨਾ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਸਚੁ ਗਹਿ ਰਹੇ ॥੧॥: Mai avar giaan n dhiaan poojaa Hari Naam antari vasi rahe. Bhekh bhavnee hath n jaanaa Nanakaa sach gahi rahe ||1||: God's Name dwells deep within me, I know no other wisdom, meditation or worship. I know nothing about religious robes, pilgrimages or stubbornness; O Nanak, I only hold tight to the Truth ||1|| (sggs 843).

The Truth is not a social status or title. It is simply the freedom from the false — time, name, space and causation. In other words, the Truth can be expressed only by detaching from the false, completely. Knowing, understanding and being this Truth then gives the correct perspective whereby the unreality of the external world is seen truly. It is one's inner growth. As such the realm of the Truth is pathless and cannot be discovered by any creed or dogmas. There may be different ways of teaching spiritual knowledge, but there is only one way to approach the Truth — seeing the false as false and rejecting it in action ("Karanee"). But, as the Gurbani says, in material consciousness we uselessly walk "along in many paths" and waste our life.

  • ਮਨਮੁਖੀ ਮਨਹਠਿ ਹਾਰਿਆ ਕੂੜੁ ਕੁਸਤੁ ਕਮਾਇ ॥: Manmukhee manahath haariaa koorr kusat kamaae: The material beings, through stubborn-mindedness and the practice of falsehood, lose the game of life (sggs 87).
  • ਬਹਲੇ ਭੇਖ ਭਵਹਿ ਦਿਨੁ ਰਾਤੀ ਹਉਮੈ ਰੋਗੁ ਨ ਜਾਈ ॥: Bahale bhekh bhavahi din raatee houmai rog n jaaee: Trying on all sorts of (religious) robes, those who wander around day and night, (this way) the disease of their egotism is not cured (sggs 1131).

Thus, the only way to know if one has discovered the changeless Truth is to be able to deny the false in action. Baabaa Nanak calls it "truthful living" or "Truth in action"; for the Truth shines in the Truth and fullness fills the fullness. Inward realization of the Truth is complete only when one is able to return back into worldly happenings or his intellectual structure, and come to assert and actually live the Truth in action he functions in this world while his consciousness is firmly established in the Truth. Without such positive assertion, the seeker may reach only the dull void which in itself is not the fulfillment of man's inward enlightenment. For instance, removing thirst is not the fulfillment of drinking water, but it must provide to the drinker the positive joy of fulness and comfort. It is considered the supreme wealth and as the source of lasting Bliss. Therefore, as indicated in the Gurbani, the stress should be laid on practice ("Karanee") rather than faith. The Gurbani also tells us that this Truth is the best religion which is above all external religions.

  • ਸਚਹੁ ਓਰੈ ਸਭੁ ਕੋ ਉਪਰਿ ਸਚੁ ਆਚਾਰ ॥੫॥: Sachahu orai sabh kayu upari sach aachaar ||5||: Everything is underneath (lower than, ਉਰ੍ਹੇ, …) Truth; the truthful living (living with Truth) is the highest (i.e., the superior form of living, ਸਭ ਤੇ ਉੱਪਰ …) ||5|| (sggs 62).
  • ਸਚੁ ਕਰਣੀ ਸਬਦੁ ਹੈ ਸਾਰੁ ॥: Sachu karnee Shabad hai saar: The practice of Truth is the essence of the Shabad (sggs 114).
  • ਅੰਤਰਿ ਸਾਚੁ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਸਾਚੁ ਵਰਤਾਏ ॥ ਸਾਚੁ ਨ ਛਪੈ ਜੇ ਕੋ ਰਖੈ ਛਪਾਏ ॥ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਬੂਝਹਿ ਸਹਜਿ ਸੁਭਾਏ ॥੫॥: Antar saach baahar saach vartaae. Saach na shapai je ko rakhai shapaae. Giaanee boojhahi sahaj subhaae||5||: (that person) who has Truth pervading within and without (ਅੰਦਰ ਬਾਹਰ ਪ੍ਰਭੂ ਦਾ ਪਰਕਾਸ), even if he tries to hide the Truth, he cannot hide it. The Giaanee understands this (Reality or Truth) intuitively (ਆਤਮਕ ਅਡੋਲਤਾ ਵਿਚ ਟਿਕ ਕੇ) ||5|| (sggs 232).
  • ਧਨੁ ਵਿਰਲੀ ਸਚੁ ਸੰਚਿਆ ਨਿਰਮਲੁ ਨਾਮੁ ਪਿਆਰਿ ॥: Dhan virlee sach sanchiaa nirmal naam piaar: How rare are those who gather the wealth of Truth, and love the pure Divine Name (sggs 934).
  • ਨਾਨਕ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਸਚੁ ਕਮਾਵੈ ਮਨਮੁਖਿ ਆਵੈ ਜਾਇ ॥: Nanak gurmukh sach kamaavai manmukh aavai jaai: O Nanak, the Spiritual beings (Gurmukhs) practice Truth, while the material beings (Manmukhs) suffer repeatedly (sggs 87).

Hence, the pursuit of Divine Knowledge (Aatam Giaan) must lead man to direct experience of the Truth of his essential nature or his godly status, "here" and "now". It cannot be achieved after the physical body is banished. Hence one cannot afford to wait. To understand the non-dual Truth and to be one with it within, Shabad-Vichaar is must. Then the knowledge of existence or "I-ness", which is in seed form, gradually grows and awakens within as a pure intelligence or a complete Divine Knowledge (Aatam Giaan). In the process, one then transcends this knowledge and becomes established in the "Sach-Khand" — the enduring realm of the Truth within.

  • ਸਚ ਖੰਡਿ ਵਸੈ ਨਿਰੰਕਾਰੁ ॥: Sach khand vasai nirankaar: In the realm of Truth, the Formless Lord abides (sggs 8).
  • ਏਕੁ ਪਛਾਣੈ ਹਉਮੈ ਮਾਰਿ ॥:  Ek pashaanai haumai maari: Recognize One Truth by erdaicating egoism—the error (sggs 1277).
  • ਸਚੁ ਕਰਣੀ ਦੇ ਪਾਈਐ ਦਰੁ ਘਰੁ ਮਹਲੁ ਪਿਆਰਿ ॥: Sach karnee de paaeeai dar ghar mahal piaari: The realm of the Divine Love is attained through truthful living (sggs 18).
  • ਸੁਣਿ ਸਾਸਤ ਸਉਦਾਗਰੀ ਸਤੁ ਘੋੜੇ ਲੈ ਚਲੁ ॥: Sun saasat saudaagree sat ghorhay lai chal: Let your trade be a deep study of scriptures, and let Truth be the horses you take to sell (sggs 595).
  • ਸਚੁ ਮਿਲੈ ਸਚੁ ਊਪਜੈ ਸਚ ਮਹਿ ਸਾਚਿ ਸਮਾਇ ॥: Sachu milai sachu oopjai sach mahi saachi smaayi: By reflecting on the Truth (Vichaar), the Truth wells up within; and those who are truthful get absorbed into the Truth (sggs 18).

— T. Singh