As is the intellect so does one understands

Bhagat Kabeer Sahib says:

  • ਜਾ ਕੈ ਜੀਅ ਜੈਸੀ ਬੁਧਿ ਹੋਈ ॥ ਕਹਿ ਕਬੀਰ ਜਾਨੈਗਾ ਸੋਈ ॥੪੫॥: Jaa kai jea jaisee budhi hoee. Kahi Kabeer jaanegaa soee: Says Kabeer! As is the intellect within (one’s) mind, so does (he) come to understand. ||45|| (sggs 343).

In nutshell, as is the intellect (ਅਕਲ-Akal, Budhi) within the mind, so does one understands (ਸਮਝਣਾ, ਜਾਨਣਾ…). 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 Giaan (Wisdom…) of the mind, so is its thinking power (ਸੋਚਣ ਦੀ ਯੋਗਤਾ)!

Accordingly, the Gurbani indicates that to gain proper understanding (ਸੂਝ-ਬੂਝ…), one’s intellect must change (“ਬੁਧਿ ਬਦਲੀ”) – transmutation of Mayaic Budhi is must (transmutation of worldly intelligence or Mayaic mind, etc.).

  • ਕਹਿ ਕਬੀਰ ਬੁਧਿ ਹਰਿ ਲਈ ਮੇਰੀ ਬੁਧਿ ਬਦਲੀ ਸਿਧਿ ਪਾਈ ॥੨॥੨੧॥੭੨॥: Kahi Kabeer budhi hari laee meree budhi badalee sidhi paaee ||2||21||72||: Says Kabeer (O Lord)! You have taken away my (worldly) wisdom (ਹਉਮੈ ਵਾਲੀ ਅਕਲ), (now that worldly) Budhi has transmuted, I have attained Spiritual Perfection. ||2||21||72|| (sggs 339).

In short, the bottom line is (ਮੁੱਕਦੀ ਗੱਲ) that the Mayaic Budhi needs to be transmuted to the Gurbani’s Divine Knowledge (Prachand Giaan of the Gurbani…).

  • ਗਿਆਨੁ ਪ੍ਰਚੰਡੁ ਬਲਿਆ ਘਟਿ ਚਾਨਣੁ ਘਰ ਮੰਦਰ ਸੋਹਾਇਆ ॥: Giaanu prachandu baliaa ghati chaananu ghar mandar sohaaiaa (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, and Linking with the Mool (ਮੂਲ – Source, Jot…).

  • 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 mere reading as in Akhand-Paaths, Nit-Nems, counting beads (ਮਾਲਾ ਫੇਰਨੀ), and so on.

  • ਪੜਿਐ ਨਾਹੀ ਭੇਦੁ ਬੁਝਿਐ ਪਾਵਣਾ ॥: Parriai naahee bhedu bujhiai paavanaa: Not by reading (books), but through Understanding, is the Mystery Realized. (sggs 148).
  • ਖੋਜੀ ਉਪਜੈ ਬਾਦੀ ਬਿਨਸੈ ਹਉ ਬਲਿ ਬਲਿ ਗੁਰ ਕਰਤਾਰਾ ॥: Kojee oupajai baadee binasai haou bali bali gur kartaaraa: The searcer (Seeker-ਖੋਜਣ ਵਾਲਾ ਮਨੁੱਖ) grows (in Spirtual or Divine Life – ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ), and the arguer (debater, disputant, etc.) annihilates (or ruins his Spiritual or Divine Life – ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ). O (my) Gur! O (my) Creator Lord! 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 ॥: Gur kai sabadi mann kaou samajhaavahi: Through the Gur-Shabad, (who by becoming the Gurmukh searches Him 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॥: Gur sabadi samaavai boojhai hari soee ||3||: 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 Nirankaar (Formless). 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 stage of “Budhi Badalee” (“ਬੁਧਿ ਬਦਲੀ”).

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 ॥: Parhnaa gunanaa sansaar kee kaar hai andari trisnaa vikaaru …: 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. 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

    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).

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