As is the intellect so does one understands

The Gurmat Giaan or Wisdom of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) tells us that as is the intellect (ਅਕਲ-Akal, Budhi) within one’s mind, so does one understands (ਉਹ ਉਹੀ ਕੁਝ ਸਮਝੇਗਾ).

For example, one may read loads of books to know or comprehend the Spiritual Life (ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਦਾ ਜਾਣੂ ਬਨਣ ਵਾਸਤੇ), but its not necessary that he will get to understand it. Because, as is the intellect (ਅਕਲ-Akal, Budhi) within one’s mind, so is its thinking capacity (ਸੋਚਣ ਦੀ ਯੋਗਤਾ)!

Bhagat Kabeer Jee confirms it as follows:

  • ਜਾ ਕੈ ਜੀਅ ਜੈਸੀ ਬੁਧਿ ਹੋਈ ॥ ਕਹਿ ਕਬੀਰ ਜਾਨੈਗਾ ਸੋਈ ॥੪੫॥: Says Kabeer! According to the intellect (Budhi, ਅਕਲ…) within the mind, so does one come to understand. ||45|| (sggs 343).

Accordingly, the Gurbani indicates that to gain proper understanding (ਸੂਝ-ਬੂਝ…), one’s intellect must change (‘ਬੁਧਿ ਬਦਲੀ’) or Awaken — transmutation of Mayaic intellect (Budhi) is must (transmutation of worldly intelligence or Mayaic thinking (‘Soch-ਸੋਚ’).

  • ਕਹਿ ਕਬੀਰ ਬੁਧਿ ਹਰਿ ਲਈ ਮੇਰੀ ਬੁਧਿ ਬਦਲੀ ਸਿਧਿ ਪਾਈ ॥੨॥੨੧॥੭੨॥: Says Kabeer! (Wisdom) has taken away my (worldly) intelligence (ਅਕਲ). With this altered intelligence, now I have obtained Sidhi (Spiritual Perfection…). ||2||21||72|| (sggs 339).

Implication is that as is one’s ‘Surti-ਸੁਰਤਿ’ (understanding, awareness, consciousness, etc.), so is one’s way of life! Baabaa Nanak confirms it as follows:

  • ਜੇਹੀ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਤੇਹਾ ਤਿਨ ਰਾਹੁ ॥: As is (beings’) awareness, so is (their) way (sggs 25).
  • ਜੇਹੀ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਤੇਹੈ ਰਾਹਿ ਜਾਇ ॥੩॥: As is one’s understanding, that’s the way he walks (or lives). ||3|| (sggs 662).
  • ਜੈਸਾ ਸੇਵੈ ਤੈਸੋ ਹੋਇ ॥੪॥: (It is a matter of principle that man) becomes himself as he serves (Bhagti etc.). ||4|| (sggs 223).

In other words, whatever is in the intellect that comes forth (becomes manifest, apparent, evident, ਪ੍ਰਗਟ ਹੋ ਜਾਣਾਂ, ਫਲ ਲੱਗਣਾਂ…).

In short, the bottom line is (ਮੁੱਕਦੀ ਗੱਲ): The worldly intellect (Mayaic Budhi) needs to be transmuted to the Gurbani’s Wisdom.

  • ਗਿਆਨ ਖੜਗੁ ਲੈ ਮਨ ਸਿਉ ਲੂਝੈ ਮਨਸਾ ਮਨਹਿ ਸਮਾਈ ਹੇ ॥੩॥: Taking up the Sword of the Spiritual Wisdom, struggle with the mind, and (all Mayaic desires, thoughts, ਫੁਰਨੇ, ਖੋਟੀ ਮਨਸਾ, etc., ) born of the mind are nipped within the mind. ||3|| (sggs 1022).
  • ਗਿਆਨੁ ਪ੍ਰਚੰਡੁ ਬਲਿਆ ਘਟਿ ਚਾਨਣੁ ਘਰ ਮੰਦਰ ਸੋਹਾਇਆ ॥: In the Heart or mind (of that person who loves Naam: Wisdom…) the bright light of the Wisdom shines brightly, all his senses become the possessors of beautiful spiritual life. (sggs 775).

Thus, the Gurbani is the subject of searching (ਖੋਜ) and understanding (ਬੂਝਿ). It is only with the Search (ਖੋਜ) and understanding (ਬੂਝਿ) comes the Liberation from the negative impact of Bikaar (lust, anger, greed, etc.), and Linking with the Mool (ਮੂਲ – Source, Jot Saroop…).

  • ਖੋਜ ਬੂਝਿ ਜਉ ਕਰੈ ਬੀਚਾਰਾ ॥ ਤਉ ਭਵਜਲ ਤਰਤ ਨ ਲਾਵੈ ਬਾਰਾ ॥੪੦॥: When someone understand by Searching (“Khoj”), and engages in Vichaar (reflection on the divine Virtues, Wisdom…), then (he) crosses over the “Bhavjal” (Bhav Saagar or dreadful ocean of Maya, etc.) in no time. ||40|| (sggs 342).

Clearly, the Gurbani is not the subject of idol worshiping, mere reading as in Akhand-Paaths, Nit-Nems, rosary or counting beads (ਮਾਲਾ ਫੇਰਨੀ), Karamkaand (ritualism, formalities), and so on.

  • ਪੜਿਐ ਨਾਹੀ ਭੇਦੁ ਬੁਝਿਐ ਪਾਵਣਾ ॥: Not by reading (books), but through Understanding, is the Mystery Realized. (sggs 148).
  • ਖੋਜੀ ਉਪਜੈ ਬਾਦੀ ਬਿਨਸੈ ਹਉ ਬਲਿ ਬਲਿ ਗੁਰ ਕਰਤਾਰਾ ॥: The searcher (Seeker-ਖੋਜਣ ਵਾਲਾ ਮਨੁੱਖ) grows (in Spiritual or Divine Life – ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ), and the arguer (Mayaic debater, quarrelsome, ਝਗੜਾਲੂ, etc.) annihilates (or ruins his Spiritual or Divine Life). O Gur Kartaaraa (Divine Wisdom…)! I am a sacrifice to you (sggs 1255)

Khoj (ਖੋਜ-searching, seeking…) leads to Samajh (understanding, ਸਮਝ, ਸੂਝ, ਸੁਧ, ਗੁਰ-ਸਬਦ ਨੂੰ ਪਛਾਣ ਲੈਣਾਂ/ਸਮਝ ਲੈਣਾਂ…).

Then comes Boojh (ਬੂਝ-Understanding, Comprehension, ਉੱਚੀ ਮਤਿ, ਅਪਣੇ ਮੂਲ ਨਾਲ ਡੂੰਘੀ ਸਾਂਝ, ਵਿਵੇਕ-ਬੁਧ, etc.).

The process of “Samajh” needs the support of the mind and the senses (ਗਿਆਨ-ਇੰਦ੍ਰੇ or Giaan-Indrees) to grasp. “Samajh” helps to know the truth from the untruth.

  • ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਸਬਦਿ ਮਨ ਕਉ ਸਮਝਾਵਹਿ ॥: Through the Gur-Shabad, (who by becoming the Gurmukh searches by Gurmat) instructs (his) mind. (sggs 1028).

Boojh” is the next stage, which is beyond the mind and the senses. Therefore, “Boojh” does not need the support of the mind and the senses. That is, Giaan-Indrees cease to be here. Because, only the world of the gross objects is in the purview of the senses, not the Formless (Nirankaar).

  • ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦਿ ਸਮਾਵੈ ਬੂਝੈ ਹਰਿ ਸੋਈ ॥੩॥: Who merges in the Gur-Shabad, comes to Understand the Lord. ||3|| (sggs 160).

Thus, “Boojh” is not the subject of reading, but “Khoj“. For “Khoj” leads to “Samajh“, and “Samajh” leads to “Boojh“.

Boojh” is the stage of Realization of Rabb (Universal Energy, Hukam or System-Rule-Law of Nature). Now perhaps we can appreciate as to why it is repeatedly indicated that the Formless is beyond the grasp of the senses!

For the Realization of the Nirankaar (Formless), the transmutation of Mayaic Budhi (worldly intelligence or mind, etc.) is must – the state of ‘Budhi Badalee’ (‘ਬੁਧਿ ਬਦਲੀ’).

  • ਬਾਣੀ ਬੂਝੈ ਸਚਿ ਸਮਾਵੈ ॥: (One who) understands the Bani, gets absorbed in the Truth (sggs 412).
  • ਪੜਿਐ ਨਾਹੀ ਭੇਦੁ ਬੁਝਿਐ ਪਾਵਣਾ ॥: Not by reading (books), but through Understanding, is the Mystery Realized. (sggs 148).

Mere reading loads of books leads to more egotism (Haumai), pride, deception, fraud, empty rituals (Karamkaand), love of Maya (ਮਾਇਆ ਦੀ ਭੁੱਖ), ruin (of Spiritual Life-ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਦਾ ਨਾਸ…), and so on.

  • ਪੜਣਾ ਗੁੜਣਾ ਸੰਸਾਰ ਕੀ ਕਾਰ ਹੈ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਵਿਕਾਰੁ ॥ ਹਉਮੈ ਵਿਚਿ ਸਭਿ ਪੜਿ ਥਕੇ ਦੂਜੈ ਭਾਇ ਖੁਆਰੁ ॥: Reading and studying (have become) just worldly pursuits, (but still) greed and corruption remain present within. Reading in egotism, all have grown weary; through the love of duality (Maya), they are ruined. (sggs 650).


  1. Thank you Veer Ji for taking time to respond to this post.

    “If we resort to mere reading and don’t take the next step (research:Khoj), reading itself will be purpose-less.”

    Well put! Otherwise, as the Gurbani tells us in strong words:
    • ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਸੁਨਿ ਕਛੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਨ ਉਪਜਿਓ ਪਸੁ ਜਿਉ ਉਦਰੁ ਭਰਉ ॥: Despite listening to the Gurmati (Teaching of the Gur-Shabad…), (if) no spiritual wisdom (ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਦੀ ਕੁਝ ਭੀ ਸੂਝ) wells up within (me); (then it would be) like a beast (routinely) filling its belly (sggs 685).

  2. Well reserached, adequately analyzed and eloquently articulated piece.

    Khoj leads to Samajh and Samajh leads to Boojh.

    But Khoj does generally involve (perhaps lots of) reading. So reading is of paramount importance in that sense.

    But it’s the ‘first step’ though. If we resort to mere reading and don’t take the next step (research:Khoj), reading itself will be purpose-less.

    Thanks for cintinuously sharing the pearls of wisdom.

    Deep Regards

Comments are closed.