ਸੂਤਕ – Sootak

The Gurbani tells us that the entire world is burning with Sootak (ਸੂਤਕ)! In fact, according to the Gurbani, all birth and death are in Sootak.

  • ਸੂਤਕੁ ਅਗਨਿ ਭਖੈ ਜਗੁ ਖਾਇ ॥ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਜਲਿ ਥਲਿ ਸਭ ਹੀ ਥਾਇ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਸੂਤਕਿ ਜਨਮਿ ਮਰੀਜੈ ॥: (Due to the illusion of Sootak) The world is being consumed in the fire of Sootak. (Where will the illusion of Sootak be done? Because) Sootak is in the sea and on the earth, everywhere. O Nanak! Falling into (the illusion) of Sootak (people) go through the cycle of birth and death. (sggs 413).

What is this Sootak? Who is stained by Sootak? How can Sootak be eradicated? Who is free of Sootak?

What is Sootak?

Literally, Sootak means impurity, defilement, pollution (ਅਪਵਿੱਤਰਤਾ, ਭ੍ਰਿਸ਼ਟਤਾ, ਪ੍ਰਸੂਤ ਸਮੇਂ ਦੀ ਅਸ਼ੁਧੀ, ਜੂਠ), etc.

The Gurbani further tells us Sootak (ਸੂਤਕ) => is the doubt of the mind (‘Bharam’-ਭਰਮ) which gives rise to attachment to Maya, duality, Bikaar (lust, anger, greed, etc.), Haumai (false ego-sense), fear, and so on.

Simply put: According to the Gurbani, Sootak is nothing but doubts of the duality-ridden or May-driven mind. In nutshell, Sootak is anything which does not let us walk on the Way of Dharma.

  • ਸਭੋ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਭਰਮੁ ਹੈ ਦੂਜੈ ਲਗੈ ਜਾਇ ॥: Sootak is entirely (ਨਿਰਾ) doubt and it attaches to those who are duality-ridden (in love with Maya). (sggs 472).
  • ਮਨ ਕਾ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਦੂਜਾ ਭਾਉ ॥: Sootak of the mind is the love of duality. (sggs 229).

According to the Gurbani, for example, Sootak of the mind is greed (i.e., all Bikaars…); Sootak of the tongue is falsehood; Sootak of the eyes is to gaze upon the beauty of another’s woman and wealth; Sootak of the ears is to listen to the slander of others, and so on.

  • ਮਨ ਕਾ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਲੋਭੁ ਹੈ ਜਿਹਵਾ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਕੂੜੁ ॥ ਅਖੀ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਵੇਖਣਾ ਪਰ ਤ੍ਰਿਅ ਪਰ ਧਨ ਰੂਪੁ ॥ ਕੰਨੀ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਕੰਨਿ ਪੈ ਲਾਇਤਬਾਰੀ ਖਾਹਿ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਹੰਸਾ ਆਦਮੀ ਬਧੇ ਜਮ ਪੁਰਿ ਜਾਹਿ ॥੨॥: Sootak of the mind is greed, and the Sootak of the tongue is falsehood. Sootak of the eyes is to gaze upon the beauty of another woman and wealth pertaining to another. The Sootak of the ears is to listen to the slander of others. O Nanak! (These kind of people, even if they look beautiful on the outside like) Hans (swans), (but still) bound they end up in the city of death (i.e., hellish existence, doubt-ridden existence…) ||2|| (sggs 472).

In short, the Gurbani tells us that if this doubt (illusion, Bharam-ਭਰਮ, etc.) of Sootak is followed in the mind, then we should also keep in the mind that in this way Sootak is everywhere in the world! For example, every grain we eat, water we consume, air we breathe, wood we use, etc. are all full of Jeev (living beings).

  • ਜੇ ਕਰਿ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਮੰਨੀਐ ਸਭ ਤੈ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਗੋਹੇ ਅਤੈ ਲਕੜੀ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਕੀੜਾ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਜੇਤੇ ਦਾਣੇ ਅੰਨ ਕੇ ਜੀਆ ਬਾਝੁ ਨ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਪਹਿਲਾ ਪਾਣੀ ਜੀਉ ਹੈ ਜਿਤੁ ਹਰਿਆ ਸਭੁ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਕਿਉ ਕਰਿ ਰਖੀਐ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਪਵੈ ਰਸੋਇ ॥:  If we accept Sootak (ie, if we assume that we should have the illusion of Sootak, then also remember that in this way) the Sootak is everywhere. In cow-dung and wood there are worms. As many as the grains of food, none is without Jeeva (i.e, life etc.). First, the water is Jeeva itself (there is life in it), by which everything else is made green. How to keep Sootak? (That is, it is very difficult to fully accept the illusion of Sootak, because in this way Sootak) remains lying in the kitchen all the time. (sggs 472).

Who is stained by Sootak?

First off, the Gurmat Giaan or Wisdom of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) tells us that Sootak is everywhere (‘ਸਭ ਹੀ ਥਾਇ’-Sabh Hee Thaai).

  • ਸਭੋ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਜੇਤਾ ਮੋਹੁ ਆਕਾਰੁ ॥ ਮਰਿ ਮਰਿ ਜੰਮੈ ਵਾਰੋ ਵਾਰ ॥੨॥ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਅਗਨਿ ਪਉਣੈ ਪਾਣੀ ਮਾਹਿ ॥ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਭੋਜਨੁ ਜੇਤਾ ਕਿਛੁ ਖਾਹਿ ॥੩॥ (For a Manmukh) the attachment of all the visible objects is all Sootak. That human being (in this spiritual death) repeatedly dies and is reborn. ||2|| (For Manmukhs) Sootak is in fire, air and water. Whatever food (Manmukhs) eat is also (for their mind) the cause of Sootak. (sggs 229).

The Gurbani tells us that so long we remain Manmukh-Saakat-Mayadhaaree in this world, Sootak will never leave us alone. Simply put: A Manmukh-Saakat-Mayadhaaree is a denier of Truth, doubt-ridden, attached to Maya, without understanding of the Shabad, separated from his Mool, etc.

  • ਮਨਮੁਖਿ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਕਬਹਿ ਨ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਜਿਚਰੁ ਸਬਦਿ ਨ ਭੀਜੈ ਹਰਿ ਕੈ ਨਾਇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: The Sootak of the Manmukhs will never go away, as long as (that Manmukh person) does not get drenched with the Shabad (Giaan, Wisdom…). ||1||Pause|| (sggs 229).

In other words, without the Naam (Wisdom, Virtues…), the Gurbani tells us that world become stained with Sootak:

  • ਬਿਨੁ ਨਾਵੈ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਜਗਿ ਛੋਤਿ ॥: Without the Naam (Wisdom, Virtues…), the world is infected with Sootak. (sggs 413).

How can Sootak be eradicated?

Although Sootak is everywhere in this Mayaic world, however, the Gurbani tells us that Sootak can be eradicated by giving up the Manmukh-Saakat-Mayadhaaree lifestyle through the Naam (Hukam, Shabad, Gurbani, Aatam Giaan, Divine Knowledge, Wisdom, Virtues…).

  • ਸੂਤਕਿ ਕਰਮ ਨ ਪੂਜਾ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਨਾਮਿ ਰਤੇ ਮਨੁ ਨਿਰਮਲੁ ਹੋਇ ॥੪॥: No Karamkaand (ritualism, formalities, etc.) can purify the (mind ridden with the doubt or Bharam of) Sootak, no devotional worship can purify. Only by being imbued with the Naam is the mind purified. ||4|| (sggs 229).

In other words, Sootak can be washed away by the Spiritual Wisdom of the Gurbani churned through the Shabad-Vichaar.

  • ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਸੇਵਿਐ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਜਾਇ ॥: By serving the Satiguru (ie., Shabad-Vichaar: living the True Wisdom-ਸੱਚਾ ਗਿਆਨ), Sootak is removed (sggs 229).
  • ਨਾਨਕ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਏਵ ਨ ਉਤਰੈ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਉਤਾਰੇ ਧੋਇ ॥੧॥: O Nanak! Sootak cannot be removed in this way (i.e., being deluded); it can only be washed away by Wisdom. ||1|| (sggs 472).

Who is not stained by Sootak?

The Gurbani tells us that those who have become the Gurmukh are free of the doubt (Bharam, illusion, etc.) of Sootak:

  • ਨਾਨਕ ਜਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹੀ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਬੁਝਿਆ ਤਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਾ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਨਾਹਿ ॥੩॥: O Nanak! By becoming the Gurmukhs, who Understand (the Truth, Reality…), are not stained by Sootak. ||3|| (sggs 472).

Now, who is the Gurmukh? In short, opposite of the Manmukh-Saakat-Mayadhaaree, a Gurmukh (Bhagat, Daas, Jan, etc.) is the follower of the Truth (‘Sach-ਸਚ’) or Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS (ਜਿਸ ਨੂੰ ਗੁਰਮਤ ਦੀ ਪੂਰੀ ਸੋਝੀ ਹੈ). A Gurmukh mind remains detached in the midst of Maya (ਮਾਇਆ ਵਿਚ ਉਦਾਸੀ); he abides in is True Nature (Jot Saroop)...

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