Says Nanak: whosoever has these six Qualities is the Perfect Being;
he is called the Holy Friend. (sggs 1357).
Call that person by whatever name you may (Saadhoo, Sant, Gurmukh, Mahaatamaans, etc.), the SGGS (Sri Guru Granth Sahib) mentions the Holy person or the person of Perfection to have Six Qualities. What is this Holiness or Perfection? These qualities are as follows:
  1. To engage in meditation on the All-pervading Lord through His Name Mantra (Instructions of the Gurmat, Brahm Giaan, Aatam-Giaan...).
  2. To have the Spiritual Wisdom (Aatam Giaan...) to look alike upon pleasure and pain (i.e. to become free of duality, the pair of opposites such as "likes and dislikes"...); to live the Pure Lifestyle (Divine Life, Gurmukh Lifestyle...), free of vengeance or generosity.
  3. To be kind to all beings; overpower the five thieves (lust, anger, greed, attachment, and pride. All other evils tendencies in the world are a function of these five. They overtake us like a disease, spreading their filth until they control us).
  4. To take the Lord's Praise (Rabb Dee Sifat-Slaah) as their food; and remain untouched by Maya, like the lotus in the water.
  5. To share the Teachings (Giaan of the Gurbani...) with friend and enemy alike (i.e., they adopt Teaching in which the friend and the enemy look alike to them); and to love the devotion of God.
  6. Not to listen to slander; renouncing self-conceit, (eradicating false ego-sense or Aapaa-Bhaav) to become the dust of all (i.e., to develop humility).

As we can see, there are all other Divine Qualities packed in these "six". In other words, these six Qualities include all Universal Values. In nutshell, that Being is Holy or Perfect (Pooran or Pooraa) who, through Naam-Simran (meditation), adopts such a Pure Lifestyle (Aatamic-Jeevan, Gurmukh Lifestyle...) that he eradicates the sense of "I, me, mine, you" (false ego-sense or Haume) from within and thus becomes free of evil doing (Bikaars) and the influence (attachments) of the enchanting worldly objects (Maya). He is situated in true spirituality and omniscience Awareness. He knows the mystery of life. Accordingly, he genuinely smiles at all situations in life, including death. He understands that all that happens around him is the play of consciousness. He can penetrate the past, present and future (i.e. time) and behold Truth.

  • ਮੰਤ੍ਰੰ ਰਾਮ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮੰ ਧ੍ਯ੍ਯਾਨੰ ਸਰਬਤ੍ਰ ਪੂਰਨਹ ॥ ਗ੍ਯ੍ਯਾਨੰ ਸਮ ਦੁਖ ਸੁਖੰ ਜੁਗਤਿ ਨਿਰਮਲ ਨਿਰਵੈਰਣਹ ॥ ਦਯਾਲੰ ਸਰਬਤ੍ਰ ਜੀਆ ਪੰਚ ਦੋਖ ਬਿਵਰਜਿਤਹ ॥ ਭੋਜਨੰ ਗੋਪਾਲ ਕੀਰਤਨੰ ਅਲਪ ਮਾਯਾ ਜਲ ਕਮਲ ਰਹਤਹ ॥ ਉਪਦੇਸੰ ਸਮ ਮਿਤ੍ਰ ਸਤ੍ਰਹ ਭਗਵੰਤ ਭਗਤਿ ਭਾਵਨੀ ॥ ਪਰ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਨਹ ਸ੍ਰੋਤਿ ਸ੍ਰਵਣੰ ਆਪੁ ਤ੍ਯ੍ਯਿਾਗਿ ਸਗਲ ਰੇਣੁਕਹ ॥ ਖਟ ਲਖ੍ਯ੍ਯਣ ਪੂਰਨੰ ਪੁਰਖਹ ਨਾਨਕ ਨਾਮ ਸਾਧ ਸ੍ਵਜਨਹ ॥੪੦॥: Mantram Raam Raam naamam dhyaanam sarabatr pooranah...: (A Sant) engages in Reflection on the All-pervading Lord's Name Mantra (Gurmat...). He has the Wisdom (Giaan) to look alike upon pleasure and pain (i.e. to become free of duality, the pair of opposites such as "likes and dislikes"...) and to live the Pure Lifestyle, free of ill-will. He is kind to all beings and he has overpowered the five thieves (lust, anger, greed, attachment, and pride and their countless variations). He takes the the Lord's Praise (Rabb Dee Sifat-Slaah) as his food; and remains untouched by Maya, like the lotus in the water. He shares (Divine) Teachings with friend and enemy alike (i.e., he adopts Teaching in which the friend and the enemy look alike to him); and he loves the Lord's Bhagti. He listens not to slander; and he renounces self-conceit (eradicates false ego-sense or Aapaa-Bhaav) to become the dust of all (i.e., to cultivate humility). Says Nanak: whosoever has these six Qualities is the Perfect Being; he is called the Holy Friend. (sggs 1357).

The SGGS is talking about these six qualities not to just make us aware of them, but to cultivate them and live them. We are invited and challenged by the SGGS here. These are indicative of how one should live. They look small on the surface, but they are very deep. And once we go into the depth of them, then we will see they are not so easy to live. That's why the SGGS says that those who accept this challenge and invitation are "few and far between"!

Baabaa Nanak was epitome of all Divine Virtues (ਗੁਣ). Throughout the SGGS, we are urged to cultivate good Qualities and live a Virtuous life. In other words, to live a meaningful life based on Virtues through the Shabad-Vichaar. The marks of one who has a diabolic disposition — five thieves (lust, anger etc.), and their numerous variations such as hypocrisy, arrogance, stubborn mindedness, ignorance, selfishness, jealousy, and so on — is called the Manmukh (as oppose to the Gurmukh) in the SGGS.

  • ਗੁਣ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਨਾਹੀ ਕਿਉ ਸੁਖੁ ਪਾਵੈ ਮਨਮੁਖ ਆਵਣ ਜਾਣਾ ॥: Gun antar naahee kiou sukh paavai Manmukh aavan jaanaa: With no virtues within, how can you find Sukha? The self-willed Manmukh comes and goes in reincarnation (sggs 76).
  • ਨਾਨਕ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਹਰਿ ਗੁਣ ਰਵਹਿ ਗੁਣ ਮਹਿ ਰਹੈ ਸਮਾਇ ॥: Nanak Gurmukh har gun ravahi gun mahi rahai samaai: O Nanak, the Gurmukhs chant the Glorious Praises of the Lord; they are absorbed in His Glorious Virtues (sggs 646).
  • ਗੁਣ ਵੀਚਾਰੇ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਸੋਇ ॥ ਗੁਣ ਮਹਿ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਪਰਾਪਤਿ ਹੋਇ॥: Gun veechare giaanee soi. Gun mahi (giaan paraapat hoi. (sggs 931).

The eternal war between the forces of the evil tendencies (Mayaic lifestyle) and the Virtues within each one of us is nonstop. Thus, it also seems to be a fundamental theme in the Teachings of the Gurbani. In fact, the SGGS time and again asks us to make this our business — leave behind our faults (negativity, evil tendencies, Bikaars etc.) and be absorbed in Virtues. The SGGS says that we are here to deal with Virtues. Because only Virtues can be conducive to Divine Life (Gurmukh lifestyle, Giaan...). This is possible when we develop a mind that seeks only the Good in everything. In the final analysis: "Says Nanak, the mortal is emancipated only when all his faults are eradicated."

  • ਨਾਉ ਕਰਤਾ ਕਾਦਰੁ ਕਰੇ ਕਿਉ ਬੋਲੁ ਹੋਵੈ ਜੋਖੀਵਦੈ ॥ ਦੇ ਗੁਨਾ ਸਤਿ ਭੈਣ ਭਰਾਵ ਹੈ ਪਾਰੰਗਤਿ ਦਾਨੁ ਪੜੀਵਦੈ ॥: Naaou karataa kaadar kare kiou bol hovai jokheevadai. De gunaa sati bhain bharaav hai paarangat daan parreevadai: One who chants the Lord's Name, Naam, how can his words be judged? His divine Virtues are the true sisters and brothers; through them, the gift of supreme status is obtained (sggs 966).
  • ਸਾਝ ਕਰੀਜੈ ਗੁਣਹ ਕੇਰੀ ਛੋਡਿ ਅਵਗਣ ਚਲੀਐ ॥: Saanjh kreejai hunah keree shodi avagan challeai: Share Virtues; (in this way, one can) walk (on the Path of Spiritual Life by) abandoning faults (from within himself). (sggs 766).
  • ਅਵਗਣ ਮਾਰੀ ਮਰੈ ਨ ਸੀਝੈ ਗੁਣਿ ਮਾਰੀ ਤਾ ਮਰਸੀ ॥: Avagan maaree marai na seejhai gun maaree taa marasee: One who dies in faults - his death is not successful. But one who dies in glorious Virtue, really truly dies (sggs 1109).
  • ਏ ਮਨ ਮੇਰਿਆ ਛਡਿ ਅਵਗਣ ਗੁਣੀ ਸਮਾਣਿਆ ਰਾਮ ॥: Eae mann meriaa shadi avagan gunee samaaniaa raam (sggs 1112).
  • ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਤਬ ਹੀ ਮਨ ਛੁਟੀਐ ਜਉ ਸਗਲੇ ਅਉਗਨ ਮੇਟਿ ਧਰਹਾ ॥: Kahu Nanak tab hee mann shuteeai jo sagale aougan meti dharahaa (sggs 1203).

It is also shown in the SGGS (and other religious texts for that matter) that tremendous effort, tact and determination are necessary to quell negative or evil tendencies from within. The co-existence of evil tendencies (Maya) and Virtues is the basis of the conflict within and without. At the individual level too every effort to transcend evil tendencies becomes a symbolic inner war. Evil thus is both outside and within.

  • ਮਾਇਆ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਰਮੈ ਸਭ ਸੰਗ ॥: Maya Brahm ramai sabh sang (sggs 343).

Although evil tendencies (Adharma...) has been an aspect of Mayaic life. But the Gurbani tells us that the Virtue always triumphs. The evil tendencies apparently flourish unbridled in the bosom of every mind that fails to apply Bibek Budhi and fails to perceive right from wrong (Sat from Asat). It is for this reason the SGGS advocates that all should adhere to Virtuous Life (or Dharma). In other words, the Law of Virtue is inviolable.

  • ਰਤਨਾ ਸਾਰ ਨ ਜਾਣਨੀ ਅੰਧੇ ਵਤਹਿ ਲੋਇ ॥੨॥: Ratanaa saar n jaananee andhe vatahi loi: Those who do not appreciate the value of Jewels (of the Divine Vitues), wander like blind men in the world ||2|| (sggs 954).

Cultivation of Virtues is undoubtedly an arduous process and requires self-effort (Shabad-Vichaar), courage, proper guidance and association throughout one's life. As indicated in the SGGS, Divine Qualities are necessary if one is to seek the Ultimate Truth. The majority of us evince interest in pursuing the spiritual path but, because of our worldly preoccupations (Mayaic efforts), the majority of us are unable to put it into action. All of us value a life of Virtue and look down at bad conduct or vice of others. We have numerous ideas of how we should be. However, there is a gap between how we should be and how we are! Therefore there is conflict — within and without. Afraid of being judged by others, we hasten about some Virtues. We build and protect an image of ours.

This explains as to why there is so much emphasis in the SGGS on controlling the mind. As the mind has the quality of acquiring the nature of whatever it is engaged in. The sensory engagement becomes a deterrent to spiritual progress. The SGGS time and again reminds us that by disengaging the mind from sensuousness and redirecting it inward, the mind will instead reflect the nature of one's True Nature (Joti-Svaroopa, Mool... ), which is eternal and blissful (Anand). Virtues blossom when we see — in its entirety — the vulgarity of our living (Manmukh lifestyle), when we suffer our inadequacy in quiet observation (introspection etc.). The SGGS tells us that if the mind can be trained to dwell on the Mool (Source, Origin, Jot...) through Shabad-Vichaar, Virtues will accrue to us effortlessly (Sahaj). The mind that is established in the Mool will remain untouched, like a lotus floating on water — we float on the evil tendencies of the world and meet with our Mool within.

Sublime heights are thus reached by a person who travels on the path of Virtue. According to the SGGS, devotion or Bhagti is not possible without cultivation of Virtues. The Gur-Shabad helps one's Virtues to shine forth. However, for this help to uninterruptedly flow through us, we constantly need to contemplate on the Gur-Shabad.

  • ਗੁਣ ਵੀਚਾਰੀ ਗੁਣ ਸੰਗ੍ਰਹਾ ਅਵਗੁਣ ਕਢਾ ਧੋਇ ॥: Gun veechaaree gun sangrahaa avagun kadhaa dhoi: Contemplating His Virtues, I accumulate Virtues; (and this is how) I wash myself clean of demerits (sggs 37).
  • ਬਿਨੁ ਗੁਰ ਗੁਣ ਨ ਜਾਪਨੀ ਬਿਨੁ ਗੁਣ ਭਗਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥: Bin gur gun na jaapanee bin gun bhagati na hoi: Without the Guru, one's Virtues do not shine forth; and without Virtues, there is no devotional worship (sggs 67).
  • ਵਿਣੁ ਸਤਗੁਰ ਗੁਣ ਨ ਜਾਪਨੀ ਜਿਚਰੁ ਸਬਦਿ ਨ ਕਰੇ ਬੀਚਾਰੁ ॥: Vin Satgur gun na jaapanee jichar sabad na kare beechaar: Without the Satguru and so long (one) does not reflect on the Shabad; he does not see (i.e, until then he cannot cultivate) the Virtues (sggs 936).

The SGGS indicates that the Awareness of Perfection is attained by meditating and arriving at the state of expanded Cosmic or Universal Consciousness. It's within to be discovered. One may take as long as one likes, but the fact remains that deep inside the core of our very Being is the Perfection or Holiness. In other words, we are as Perfect and Holy we can be at this very moment. But due to the rise of the faulty consciousness (false ego-sense or Haume), we just don't know it!

Hence, as indicated by the SGGS, Perfection or Holiness is not a question of heredity, family of birth, ancestry, race, region, social status, caste, creed, education, titles, religion, religious garbs, religious Karamkaand, or any peculiar external appearance of a person; it is a question of living a meaningful life based on Universal Values or Gurmat (Aatam Giaan...) living in harmony with the Whole (Saabat). Of course, this requires one to eradicate his or her self (Aapaa, Haume, ego etc.), and realize his or her Mool (Source, Origin, Jot...) within.

Therefore, the SGGS stresses on need to uphold Dharma by becoming the Gurmukh (the enlightened person). Simply put, obliteration of false ego-sense (Haume, Mayaic Budhi ) makes one Complete (Infinite, Pooran or Pooraa Pada etc.) or Holy. The SGGS has also made it clear that it is a difficult task! In nutshell, it's an unbroken contemplative lifestyle; clarity of cognition (Wisdom, Giaan, Gurmat... ).

  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਗੁਣ ਵੇਹਾਝੀਅਹਿ ਮਲੁ ਹਉਮੈ ਕਢੈ ਧੋਇ ॥: Gurmukh gun vehaajheeahi mal houmai kadhai dhoi: The Gurmukh cultivates Virtues, which wash off the filth of his egotism: Haaume (sggs 311).
  • ਗਾਹਕ ਗੁਨੀ ਅਪਾਰ ਸੁ ਤਤੁ ਪਛਾਨੀਐ ॥: Gaahak gunee apaar su tatt pashaaneeai: One who cultivates the priceless Virtues realizes the Essence of Reality (sggs 1362).
  • ਬਿਨੁ ਮੂਏ ਕਿਉ ਪੂਰਾ ਹੋਇ ॥: Bin mooye kiou pooraa hoi: Without such a death (to die in the Word or Shabad), how can one attain Perfection? (sggs 153).
  • ਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਸਬਦੁ ਮਹਾ ਰਸੁ ਮੀਠਾ ॥ ਐਸਾ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਡੀਠਾ ॥ ਜਿਨਿ ਚਾਖਿਆ ਪੂਰਾ ਪਦੁ ਹੋਇ ॥: Gur kaa sabad mahaa ras meethaa. A isaa amrit antar deethaa. Jin chaakhiaa pooraa pada hoi: The Word of the Gur-Shabad is utterly sweet and sublime. Such is the Amrit I see deep within. Those who taste this (deep within), attain the state of Perfection (sggs 1331).

To summarize in few words, "Holy" means the one who has become the Whole (Saabat). He does not exist as himself (individual) but he exists as the entire creation or the Universe, as the Whole. His ego (Haume) is completely lost. This is where the Indian word of "Sant" or "Saadhoo" differs from the western word of "saint". The word "saint" comes from the root "sanctus", meaning sanctioned by the church (Pope!). How anybody can sanction or certify a saint? Either one has become a saint or he has not. Nobody can issue certificates for saints. So the word "Sant" or "Saadhoo" does not mean a saint in that way — the western way . A Sant or Saadhoo is not certified by any government or an institution. He is a person who has lost himself in the Whole.

  • ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਕਾ ਸਗਲ ਅਕਾਰੁ ॥: Brahm giaanee kaa sagal akaar: Tthe entire creation is of the God-conscious: Brahm-giaanee or Knower of God (sggs 273).
  • ਹੈਨਿ ਵਿਰਲੇ ਨਾਹੀ ਘਣੇ ਫੈਲ ਫਕੜੁ ਸੰਸਾਰੁ ॥੧੨॥: Hain virale naahee ghanae fail fakarru sansaar ||12||: (Saintly beings - ਪਰਮਾਤਮਾ ਦੀ ਸਿਫਤਿ-ਸਾਲਾਹ ਕਰਨ ਵਾਲੇ ਮਨੁੱਖ) are few and far between; everything else is but a pompous show and wrangling in this world (ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਨੂੰ ਨੀਵਾਂ ਕਰਨ ਵਾਲਾ ਫਜੂਲ ਦਾ ਦਿਖਾਵਾ, ਕੰਮ, ਕੁਬੋਲ, ਬਕਵਾਸ, ਖਰਾਬੀਆਂ ਫੈਲਾਣੀਆਂ...). ||12|| (sggs 1411).

Thus, to be a Sant (or saint, for lack of better word in English) is tolive in a totally different dimension — the dimension of authentic Spirituality, living with the Mool (Source, Origin, Jot...) within...

But as the SGGS points out, it is rare to be a Sant in the true sense of the word. A Sant has moved from the biological dimension (Manmukhtaa) to the Spiritual dimension (Gurmukhtaa). In other words, he is the person who has taken the quantum leap from Manmukhtaa to Gurmukhtaa, from materiality to immateriality, from falsehood (Asat) to Truth ( Sat), from outer to Inner, from visible (Drisht) to Invisible (Adrisht), from time to Timelessness (Akaal), from fleeting or temporary to Permanent or Eternal, from ego (Haume) to egolessness, from conditioned state to Unconditioned state (Uncorrupted, Uncontaminated), and so on. He is the Jeevanmukta (living liberated, twice born, reborn, or truly alive person). He has cleansed his heart of dross of evil passions (Kaam, Krodh, Lobh etc.), and thus made his conduct Immaculate.

— T. Singh