My mind and body are imbued with love for the Lord.
I sacrifice everything for Him (sggs 108).

Spiritual path is difficult to tread in the sense that it demands annihilation of the mind, which requires constant discipline, commitments, sacrifice, and so on. What kind of sacrifice? Currently, our actions, thoughts, and words are done with self-interest and self-comfort (Haume or ego). But when all our actions, thoughts, and words are performed without regard for personal interest or comfort is a sacrifice. In other words, anything done as an offering to God for the benefit of the Creation without the sense of "I, me, mine, you" is a sacrifice. Normally we forget that the practice of good actions, good conduct or good qualities is also an integral part of worship or devotion!

So sacrifice (ਤਿਆਗ - Tiyaag) does not mean to sacrifice innocent animals etc. as an offering to God. Since it's difficult to act without regard for one's own interest or comfort, people in many religions opt to sacrifice animals etc. instead. This is not the sacrifice scriptures and Mahaatamaas (Great Souls) talk about. The noble sacrifice involves giving up one's false ego-sense or Haume, along with all its negativity such as lust, anger, greed, attachment, pride, enviousness, stubborn mindedness, and so on.

  • ਮਨੁ ਤਨੁ ਰਤਾ ਰਾਮ ਪਿਆਰੇ ॥ ਸਰਬਸੁ ਦੀਜੈ ਅਪਨਾ ਵਾਰੇ ॥: Manu tanu rattaa raam piaare. Sarabas deejai apanaa vaare: My mind and body are imbued with love for the Lord. I sacrifice everything for Him (sggs 108).
  • ਤਿਆਗਨਾ ਤਿਆਗਨੁ ਨੀਕਾ ਕਾਮੁ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਲੋਭੁ ਤਿਆਗਨਾ ॥੩॥: Tiaaganaa tiaagan neekaa kaam krodh lobh tiaaganaa ||3||: Renunciation, renunciation (i.e, out of all renunciations) - noble is the renunciation of lust, anger and greed (i.e, renunciation of all Bikaars). ||3|| (sggs 1018).
  • ਤਨੁ ਮਨੁ ਧਨੁ ਅਰਪੀ ਸਭੋ ਸਗਲ ਵਾਰੀਐ ਇਹ ਜਿੰਦੁ ॥: Tanu manu dhan arapee sabho sagal vaareeai ih jind: I dedicate my body, mind, wealth and all to Him. I totally sacrifice my soul to Him (sggs 47).

But our minds do not want to do that; for as the Gurbani says, our minds are asleep fascinated by Maya (illusion of the worldliness, relativist consciousness,duality etc.). Although we think our minds to be in our full control, but nothing could be farther from the truth — the majority of us have been completely defeated by our minds and we are unaware of it! The false ego-sense is very subtle and it can even creep in while doing pious things or sitting in the "Saadh-Sangat" (Holy Company).

  • ਮਨੁ ਸੋਇਆ ਮਾਇਆ ਬਿਸਮਾਦਿ ॥: Mann soiaa Maya bisamaad: The mind is asleep, fascinated by Maya (sggs 182).

Spiritual life is the life of selflessness. When we surrender the ego-mind to God, then comes the power to selflessly serve others (Nishakaam Sevaa). Such spiritual lifestyle (Gurmukhtaa) comes when we are able to see our self in others and see their pain, suffering and sorrow as our own. This is why the path of spirituality is likened to walking on a "double-edged sword" or a "razor's edge". It's easy to talk about it but difficult to live. Our egoistic minds are the hurdle. It's difficult for us to come to the aid of another person unless we see some personal benefit. It's difficult for us to forgo our own convenience for a benevolent purpose. Giving selflessly is thorny. It's easier said than done. Chances are even one's own family will not approve of it. If you were to give selflessly, they would think you are gone crazy and good for nothing. This is what happened when once Baabaa Nanak's father gave him some money to buy some goods for his shop, and on his way, instead, he selflessly spent that money to feed some hungry Saadhoos. Just imagine the mood of his father when he heard that! The actions of Mahaatamaas (great soul) remind us that sacrifice alone is not enough, selfless love and compassion are also necessary.

  • ਮਾਨ ਮੋਹ ਮੇਰ ਤੇਰ ਬਿਬਰਜਿਤ ਏਹੁ ਮਾਰਗੁ ਖੰਡੇ ਧਾਰ ॥: Maan moh mer ter biburajit ehu maarag khande dhaar: To forsake pride, emotional attachment, and the sense of "mine and yours" (ego-sense), is the path of the double-edged sword (sggs 534).
  • "Ardous is the path, as difficult as treading the sharp edge of a razor. So say the wise" (Vedas).

If there is no selfless love, the attitude of sacrifice will not be automatic. With selfless love comes the true spirit of sacrifice automatically. The merit of sacrificing one's comforts and self-interest for the welfare of others has been hailed in the spiritual tradition. It's through such selfless actions one enters the realm of God (Sach Khand). Other actions done with the attitude of "mine and yours" lead only to repeated suffering. So the spiritual practice is not meant to be performed for one's own sake, it's to work to ease the suffering of others (Nishakaam Sevaa). One's mind and faith in God is strengthened in the process. A person devoid of true love and compassion for the sufferings of others cannot be a true spiritual being.

False ego (Haume) is death. It's of the nature of limitedness and self-centeredness. Thus, naturally anything done in ego ought to be limited, selfish or self-centered. Our giving is generally limited to "Langar" or Gurdawaaraa buildings funds. Even for that we usually have a long list of things we want from God, and we like that list to be read aloud by a Bhai (priest) during Ardaas (prayer)! As if God is limited and unable to hear or know what's cooking inside our deluded minds! If donation is made for a buildings fund, we want to make sure our name is published, announced, engraved in the building stone, and that we are made a permanent member of the board (although the Gurbani reminds us that there is nothing permanent in this world)!

In addition to giving for "Langar" or Gurdawaaraa buildings funds, sacrifice also include renouncing and abandoning the ego (Haume), bad qualities (negativity, Bikaars etc.), company of wicked people, worldly attachments or bondage, evil passions (lust, anger, greed, attachment, pride, enviousness, stubborn mindedness and numerous variations of all these such as slandering, selfishness, animosity, hatred etc.), love of Maya, ignorance, desires (of this world and the next), restlessness, selfishness, sense-slaver, too much of sleep and food and talk, falsehood, evil habits, intellectualizations of the mind, desiring other's women, conflicts, cleverness and trickery, etc. But the ego-mind does not like to sacrifice these and other negative habits or tendencies!

  • ਹਉਮੈ ਤਿਆਗੀ ਅਨਹਦਿ ਰਾਤਾ ॥: Houmai tiaagee anahad raataa: Renouncing egotism, he is imbued with the unstruck sound current (sggs 1040).
  • ਸਗਲ ਤਿਆਗੈ ਦੁਸਟ ਕਾ ਸੰਗੁ ॥: Sagal tiaagai dusat kaa sang: He forsakes the company of all wicked people (sgg 274).
  • ਮਾਨੁਖ ਕੀ ਤੂ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਤਿਆਗੁ ॥: Manukh kee too preet tiaag: Renounce your love of attachment to people (sggs 283).
  • ਆਸ ਅਨਿਤ ਤਿਆਗਹੁ ਤਰੰਗ ॥: Aas anit tiaagahu tarang: Abandon the waves of fleeting desire (sggs 295).
  • ਕਹੁ ਕਬੀਰ ਚੰਚਲ ਮਤਿ ਤਿਆਗੀ ॥: Kahu Kabeer chanchal mati tiaagee: Says Kabeer! I have renounced my restless intellect. (sggs 327).
  • ਪ੍ਰਥਮੇ ਤਿਆਗੀ ਹਉਮੈ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ॥ ਦੁਤੀਆ ਤਿਆਗੀ ਲੋਗਾ ਰੀਤਿ ॥ ਤ੍ਰੈ ਗੁਣ ਤਿਆਗਿ ਦੁਰਜਨ ਮੀਤ ਸਮਾਨੇ ॥ ਤੁਰੀਆ ਗੁਣੁ ਮਿਲਿ ਸਾਧ ਪਛਾਨੇ ॥੨॥: Prathme tiyaagee hayumai preet ...: (After having tasted the Prema-Rasa or Prema-Bhagati: Shabad-Vichhar, Aatam-Giaan, Gurmat...) first, I renounced my love of egotism (ਹਉਮੈ). Second, I renounced the ways of the world. (Then) I renounce the three qualities of Maya and I recognize friend and enemy alike. And then, (renenouncing the three qualities of Maya) the Turiyaa Avasthaa (which is above the three qualities of Maya - the Fourth State of Bliss) was realized. ||2|| (sggs 370).
  • ਨੀਦ ਭੂਖ ਸਭ ਪਰਹਰਿ ਤਿਆਗੀ ਸੁੰਨੇ ਸੁੰਨਿ ਸਮਾਵੈ ॥: Need bhookh sabh parahar tiaagee sunne sunn samaavai: I have totally renounced sleep and hunger, and through deep meditation, I am absorbed into the Absolute Lord (sggs 442).
  • ਪਰਹਰਿ ਲੋਭੁ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਕੂੜੁ ਤਿਆਗਹੁ ਸਚੁ ਗੁਰ ਬਚਨੀ ਫਲੁ ਪਾਹੀ ਜੀਉ ॥: Parahar lobh nindaa koorr tiaagahu sach gur bachanee fal paahee jeeou: Let greed and slander be far away from you, and renounce falsehood; through the Gur-Shabad, you will obtain the true fruit (sggs 598).
  • ਪ੍ਰਿਅ ਰੰਗਿ ਰਾਤੀ ਸਹਜ ਮਾਤੀ ਮਹਾ ਦੁਰਮਤਿ ਤਿਆਗਨੀ ॥: Priya rang raatee sahaj maatee mahaa duramat tiaaganee: I am imbued with the Love of my Beloved, and I am naturally intoxicated with it; I have forsaken my awful evil-mindedness (sggs 544).
  • ਆਸਾ ਮਨਸਾ ਸਗਲ ਤਿਆਗੈ ਜਗ ਤੇ ਰਹੈ ਨਿਰਾਸਾ ॥: Aasaa manasaa sagal tiaagai jag te rahai niraasaa: Who renounces all hopes and desires and remains desireless in the world (sggs 633).
  • ਤਆਗੰਤ ਕਪਟ ਰੂਪ ਮਾਇਆ ਨਾਨਕ ਆਨੰਦ ਰੂਪ ਸਾਧ ਸੰਗਮਹ ॥: Tiyaagant kapat roop Maya Nanak aanand roop saadhh sangamah: Renounce the deceptive illusion of Maya, and joins the blissful form of the Saadh Sangat, the Company of the Holy (sggs 707).
  • ਤਿਆਗੇਂ ਮਨ ਕੀ ਮਤੜੀ ਵਿਸਾਰੇਂ ਦੂਜਾ ਭਾਉ ਜੀਉ ॥: Tiaagaen mann kee matarree visaaren doojaa bhaaou jeeou: Abandon the intellectual pursuits of the mind, and forget the love of duality (sggs 763).
  • ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਹਰਿ ਰਸੁ ਪਾਈਐ ਹੋਰਿ ਤਿਆਗਹੁ ਨਿਹਫਲ ਕਾਮਾ ॥: Guramat har ras paaeeai hor tiaagahu nihafal kaamaa: Throuh Gurmat (Divine knowledge of the Gurbani), obtain the sublime, subtle essence of the Lord; renounce other fruitless actions (sggs 799).
  • ਛੋਡਿ ਸਿਆਨਪ ਚਾਤੁਰੀ ਦੁਰਮਤਿ ਬੁਧਿ ਤਿਆਗੋ ਰਾਮ ॥: Shod siaanap chaaturee duramat budh tiaago raam: Renounce cleverness and trickery (of the mind), and forsake your evil-minded intellect (sggs 848).
  • ਮੁਕਤਿ ਬਪੁੜੀ ਭੀ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਤਿਆਗੇ ॥: Mukati bapurree bhee giaanee tiaagae: The spiritually wise forsake even liberation (sggs 1078).
  • ਸਰਬ ਦੋਖ ਪਰੰਤਿਆਗੀ ਸਰਬ ਧਰਮ ਦ੍ਰਿੜੰਤਣਃ ॥ : Sarab dokh parantiaagee sarab dharam drirrantanah: Abandon all your evil habits, and implant all Dharmic faith within (sggs 1361).
  • ਜੋ ਦੀਸੈ ਸੋ ਵਿਣਸਣਾ ਮਨ ਕੀ ਮਤਿ ਤਿਆਗੁ ॥: Jo deesai so vinasanaa man kee mati tiaag: Whatever is seen, will pass away. Abandon the intellectualizations of your mind (sggs 50).
  • ਪਰ ਤ੍ਰਿਅ ਤਿਆਗੁ ਕਰੀ ਬ੍ਰਹਮਚਾਰੀ ॥: Par triya tiaag karee brahamachaaree: Renouncing other men's women, he practices celibacy (sggs 164).
  • ਮਨੁ ਅਰਪਉ ਧਨੁ ਰਾਖਉ ਆਗੈ ਮਨ ਕੀ ਮਤਿ ਮੋਹਿ ਸਗਲ ਤਿਆਗੀ ॥: Manu arapo dhann raakhou aagai mann kee mati mohi sagal tiaagee: I surrender my mind to Him; I place my wealth before Him. I totally renounce my selfish ways (sggs 204).
  • ਉਸਤਤਿ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਦੋਊ ਤਿਆਗੈ ਖੋਜੈ ਪਦੁ ਨਿਰਬਾਨਾ ॥: Usatat nindaa do-oo tiaagai khojai padu nirabaanaa: Renounce both praise and blame (duality); seek instead the state of Nirvaana (sggs 218).
  • ਪਰਪੰਚ ਬਿਆਧਿ ਤਿਆਗੈ ਕਵਰੇ ॥: Parapanch biaadh tiaagai kavare: Abandon the bitter worldly conflicts (sggs 225).
  • ਚੰਚਲ ਮਤਿ ਤਿਆਗੈ ਪੰਚ ਸੰਘਾਰੈ ॥: Chanchal mati tiaagai panch sanghaarai: One who restrains his fickle mind subdues the five passions i.e. all evil inclinations (sggs 22).

Thus, Tiyaag does not mean to renounce family or world and then go dwell in the forest or mountain-tops. It's to live the spiritual principles (Gurmukh Lifestyle), not just in talk but in action (Karnee). One automatically drives joy (Anand) and contentment (Santokh) from acts performed with the spirit of sacrifice. His life benefits others. As indicated in the Gurbani, such selfless (Gurmukh) beings are very "rare" in this world. The life of such selfless beings is in itself a form of Satsang others can emulate. They are one with God. They act with their mind completely surrendered to God. Needless to say it requires immense inner strength.

  • ਸਿਮਰਹੁ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮੁ ਅਤਿ ਨਿਰਮਲੁ ਅਵਰ ਤਿਆਗਹੁ ਹਉਮੈ ਕਉਰਾ ॥: Simarahu raam naam ati niramal avar tiaagahu houmai kouraa: Remember in meditation the Lord's Name, the most pure and sublime; renounce your bitter egotism (sggs 415).
  • ਨਾਮ ਉਦਕੁ ਪੀਵਤ ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਤਿਆਗੇ ਸਭਿ ਅਨੁਰਾਗਾ ॥: Naam oudak peevat jan Nanak tiaage sabh anuraagaa: Drinking in the water of the Naam, servant Nanak has renounced all other loves (sggs 682).
  • ਏਕੋ ਸਬਦੁ ਵੀਚਾਰੀਐ ਅਵਰ ਤਿਆਗੈ ਆਸ ॥: Eko sabad veechaareeai avar tiaagai aas: Contemplate the One Shabad, and abandon other hopes (sggs 18).
  • ਭੈਰਉ ਮਹਲਾ ੫ ॥ ਪ੍ਰਥਮੇ ਛੋਡੀ ਪਰਾਈ ਨਿੰਦਾ ॥ ਉਤਰਿ ਗਈ ਸਭ ਮਨ ਕੀ ਚਿੰਦਾ ॥ ਲੋਭੁ ਮੋਹੁ ਸਭੁ ਕੀਨੋ ਦੂਰਿ ॥ ਪਰਮ ਬੈਸਨੋ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਪੇਖਿ ਹਜੂਰਿ ॥੧॥ ਐਸੋ ਤਿਆਗੀ ਵਿਰਲਾ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਜਪੈ ਜਨੁ ਸੋਇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਅਹੰਬੁਧਿ ਕਾ ਛੋਡਿਆ ਸੰਗੁ ॥ ਕਾਮ ਕ੍ਰੋਧ ਕਾ ਉਤਰਿਆ ਰੰਗੁ ॥ ਨਾਮ ਧਿਆਏ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਹਰੇ ॥ ਸਾਧ ਜਨਾ ਕੈ ਸੰਗਿ ਨਿਸਤਰੇ ॥੨॥ ਬੈਰੀ ਮੀਤ ਹੋਏ ਸੰਮਾਨ ॥ ਸਰਬ ਮਹਿ ਪੂਰਨ ਭਗਵਾਨ ॥ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਕੀ ਆਗਿਆ ਮਾਨਿ ਸੁਖੁ ਪਾਇਆ ॥ ਗੁਰਿ ਪੂਰੈ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਦ੍ਰਿੜਾਇਆ ॥੩॥ ਕਰਿ ਕਿਰਪਾ ਜਿਸੁ ਰਾਖੈ ਆਪਿ ॥ ਸੋਈ ਭਗਤੁ ਜਪੈ ਨਾਮ ਜਾਪ ॥ ਮਨਿ ਪ੍ਰਗਾਸੁ ਗੁਰ ਤੇ ਮਤਿ ਲਈ ॥ ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਤਾ ਕੀ ਪੂਰੀ ਪਈ ॥੪॥੨੭॥੪੦॥: Bhairaou Mahalaa 5 || Prathame shoddee paraaee nindaa ...: Bhairaou Mahalaa 5. First, I gave up slandering others. All the anxiety of my mind was dispelled. Greed and attachment were totally banished. I see God ever-present, close at hand; I have become a great devotee. ||1|| Such a renunciate is very rare. Such a humble servant chants God's Name. ||1||Pause|| I have forsaken my egotistical intellect. The love of lust and anger has vanished. I meditate on God's Name. In the Company of the Holy, I am emancipated. ||2|| Enemy and friend are all the same to me. The Perfect Lord s permeating all. Accepting the Will of God, I have found peace. The Perfect Guru has implanted the Divine Name within me. ||3|| That person, whom the Lord, in His Mercy, saves, that devotee chants and meditates on the Name. That person, whose mind is illumined, and who obtains understanding through the Guru - says Nanak, he is totally fulfilled. ||4||27||40|| (sggs 1147).

— T. Singh