Battle of Life is Waged Moment to Moment

The Gurmat (Wisdom of the Guru Shabad) asserts human life to be a war/battle and the Sikh a warrior, who is supposed to be driving  inspiration from the lives of the Gurus, Bhagat, and those who have trodden his path before him (Gurmukhs – enlightened beings). The defining quality of such a genuine genuine warrior (Sooraa-ਸੂਰਾ) is humbleness, forbearance etc. for the battle of human life is treacherous and fearsome. The Gurbani included in Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) counsels about this battle Within:

  • ਰਾਜਨ ਰਾਮ ਰਵੈ ਹਿਤਕਾਰਿ ॥ ਰਣ ਮਹਿ ਲੂਝੈ ਮਨੂਆ ਮਾਰਿ ॥: The warrior of the All-pervading Creator, engages in battle of life (Within) to annihilate his mind. (sggs 931).
  • ਸਤਿ ਸੂਰਉ ਸੀਲਿ ਬਲਵੰਤੁ ਸਤ ਭਾਇ ਸੰਗਤਿ ਸਘਨ ਗਰੂਅ ਮਤਿ ਨਿਰਵੈਰਿ ਲੀਣਾ ॥ ਜਿਸੁ ਧੀਰਜੁ ਧੁਰਿ ਧਵਲੁ ਧੁਜਾ ਸੇਤਿ ਬੈਕੁੰਠ ਬੀਣਾ ॥ ਪਰਸਹਿ ਸੰਤ ਪਿਆਰੁ ਜਿਹ ਕਰਤਾਰਹ ਸੰਜੋਗੁ ॥ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੂ ਸੇਵਿ ਸੁਖੁ ਪਾਇਓ ਅਮਰਿ ਗੁਰਿ ਕੀਤਉ ਜੋਗੁ ॥੭॥ : The genuine Sooraa (Braveheart) is powerful yet humble, truthful, remains in the Company of enlightened beings, has profound intellect, feels enmity towards none, and is attuned to God. He is the one who is ever patience, embodiment of peace (ਧਵਲੁ ਧੁਜਾ-white flag), which shows the way toward the bridge (over the ocean of worldly temptations and their corrupting influences — Bhav Saagar) linking with Godly Presence Within (Baikunth). The beloved seekers of truth attain this rank and become one with their Creator when thus fated. In this way, those who serve the Satguru (by imbuing the Giyan-Wisdom of truth-ਸੱਚਾ ਗਿਆਨ) attain peace for such are the actions revealed to them by Guru Amardas (the third Sikh Guru). (sggs 1393).

In other words, the subject matter of the Unique Message of the Gurmat is how to live life HERE and NOW – at this very moment! For that, we must:

  • Battle mind and senses with the Shabad Surat (Enlightened Conscience).
  • Battle vices/Bikaar with Inner Awakening.
  • Battle False ego-sense (Haumai).
  • Battle Manmukh mindset (Unenlightened)
  • Battle the corrupt thoughts of the mind with Enlightened thoughts of the Guru Shabad.
  • Battle to liberate the self from outer domination.
  • Battle fears of all sorts with Fearlessness through the Guru Shabad.
  • Battle pre-1469 beliefs, notions, concepts, traditions etc. by internalizing the Message contained in the Guru Shabad

The Wisdom of the Gurbani teaches us how to live life in the present moment so it becomes happy, joyful, Blissful, purposeful, meaningful HERE and NOW, NOT after death!

  • ਆਜੁ ਮਿਲਾਵਾ ਸੇਖ ਫਰੀਦ ਟਾਕਿਮ ਕੂੰਜੜੀਆ ਮਨਹੁ ਮਚਿੰਦੜੀਆ ॥: O Sheikh Farid! Here and now (Rabb) can be realized, (so) control the senses that stir the mind. (sggs 488).
  • ਰੇ ਮਨ ਮੈ ਤਉ ਛਿਨ ਛਿਨ ਸਮਝਾਵਾ ॥: O mind! I make you understand every moment. (sggs 340).
  • ਮਨ ਮੇਰੇ ਖਿਨੁ ਖਿਨੁ ਨਾਮੁ ਸਮ੍ਹ੍ਹਾਲਿ ॥: O my mind! Every moment, remember the Naam (Wisdom…). (sggs 1259).
  • ਕਵਨ ਕਾਜ ਸਿਰਜੇ ਜਗ ਭੀਤਰਿ ਜਨਮਿ ਕਵਨ ਫਲੁ ਪਾਇਆ ॥ : For what purpose are we born in the world? What have we gained by taking the birth? (sggs 970).

Inner struggle and the battlefield

The Gurbani asserts that it’s important to remember that my battle or competition is with my own self, within, NOT anybody else. In other words, my struggle is with my own mind, NOT with others — conquer your own mind, conquer the world!

  • ਗਿਆਨ ਖੜਗੁ ਲੈ ਮਨ ਸਿਉ ਲੂਝੈ ਮਨਸਾ ਮਨਹਿ ਸਮਾਈ ਹੇ ॥੩॥: I fight to overcome the desires of my mind with the double-edged Sword (Kharag) of Wisdom (of the Satguru). ||3|| (sggs 1022).

This battle of life consists of a constant spiritual and psychological battle going on between the two contending forces. These two forces or magnetic poles are (1) Bibek Budhi (pure discriminating intellect attuned to its Mool), and (2) the doubt-ridden or sense-infatuated mind under the delusive influence of the false ego-sense (Haumai). Haumai or false-ego-sense is like a thread. It connects or links all the senses (Indriyas) on itself.

The battlefield of these opposing forces is the human body with its physical and mental or soul faculties. The Gurbani calls this human body or life the ‘field of action’ — the field (‘ਖੇਤ’, ‘ਧਰਤੀ’) on which all activities of one’s life take place.

  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਆਪਣਾ ਮਨੁ ਮਾਰਿਆ ਸਬਦਿ ਕਸਵਟੀ ਲਾਇ ॥ ਮਨ ਹੀ ਨਾਲਿ ਝਗੜਾ ਮਨ ਹੀ ਨਾਲਿ ਸਥ ਮਨ ਹੀ ਮੰਝਿ ਸਮਾਇ ॥ : The Gurmukh (enlightened/Guru Shabad-Oriented being) kills his mind utilizing the yardstick of the Guru Shabad. He battles with his mind, he settles with his mind, it is within the mind he remains absorbed. (sggs 87).

Since the human body is also called the medium of practicing ‘Dharma‘ in the Gurbani, battle is waged between the Divine Virtues or the discriminating intellect (Bibek Budhi) and the ignoble, uncontrolled activities of the spiritually blind mind.

The Gurbani is not referring to only one particular battle. Because, life is a series of battles between Spirit and matter (Maya), mind and body, life and death, wisdom and ignorance, health and disease, form and formless, eternal and fleeting, self-control and temptations, discriminating intelligence and the blind or sense-bent mind, and so on.

Thus, from cradle to grave (from the moment of conception to death) man fights innumerable battles — many varieties of inner and outer conflicts.

  • ਮਿਥਿਆ ਮੋਹ ਬੰਧਹਿ ਨਿਤ ਪਾਰਚ ॥੧॥: (Man) constantly entangles in false attachments and conflicts. ||1|| (sggs 743).

The Wisdom or Bibek-Budhi of the Gurbani represents the power of impartial self-analysis and discerning introspection for the aspiring seeker (Sikh). The Gurbani teaches us that this power of one’s introspection can and must be invoked to review the conflicts of the daily life in one’s instinctive mind to determine the favorable or unfavorable outcome.

Therefore, the Gurbani stresses the necessity for daily debugging of the mind or introspection in life so that one may clearly discern which force — the good or the evil, positive or negative — has won the daily battle. ‘Good’ being that which expresses Truth, Virtues, and Wisdom and attracts the mind to its Mool (Source, Jot Saroop or True Nature…) within. And ‘evil’ being ignorance, delusion, doubt, and Haumai (false ego-sense), or anything which repels the mind from its Mool.

  • ਇਹੁ ਸਰੀਰੁ ਸਭੁ ਧਰਮੁ ਹੈ ਜਿਸੁ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਸਚੇ ਕੀ ਵਿਚਿ ਜੋਤਿ ॥ ਗੁਹਜ ਰਤਨ ਵਿਚਿ ਲੁਕਿ ਰਹੇ ਕੋਈ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਸੇਵਕੁ ਕਢੈ ਖੋਤਿ ॥: This body (or human life) is Hukam (System-Rule-Law of Nature); Within it is the Creator’s ‘Jot‘ (Light-Conscience) is within it. Hidden or embedded within (this ‘Jot‘ or Conscience) are the Jewels (of Godly Virtues, Wisdom etc.); a ‘rare‘ person digs them out from the depth of Conscience through the Message of the Shabad by becoming ‘Sevak’ (Sikh: learner, seeker, Gurmukh, Daas, Jan etc.). (sggs 309).

Human beings have two kinds of temperaments — some are introspective (the Gurmukh-Hood state of the Mind), and the others are extravagant (the Manmukh-Saakat-Mayadhaaree).


The mind dedicated to extravagance is a bad bargain. Attracted to the external features of the phenomenal world, such mind is practically asleep to introspection. But those who have developed introspection are as grave as the ocean! Every person is the best judge of his or her mind.

  • ਮਨ ਕੀ ਪਤ੍ਰੀ ਵਾਚਣੀ ਸੁਖੀ ਹੂ ਸੁਖੁ ਸਾਰੁ ॥: The greatest happiness comes from reading the horoscope of the mind (i.e., reading your own mind’s state or condition). (sggs 1093).

But what’s Introspection? Called in the Gurbani (SGGS) by many terms such as ‘Manu Khoji – ਮਨੁ ਖੋਜਿ’, ‘Khoju Dil – ਖੋਜੁ ਦਿਲ’, ‘Aapaa cheenai – ਆਪਾ ਚੀਨੈ’, ‘Aapu Vichaari – ਆਪੁ ਬੀਚਾਰਿ’, ‘Mann Kee Patree Vaachanee – ਮਨ ਕੀ ਪਤ੍ਰੀ ਵਾਚਣੀ’, etc., introspection is the ability to stand aside, observe, search, inquire, and review without any prejudice the conflicts of the day in one’s mind to ascertain the favorable or unfavorable outcome.

To put it otherwise, it’s the impartial intuitive self-analysis or discerning introspection by which one analyzes his / her thoughts and resulting actions and assesses the strengths of the opposing armies of his Good and evil tendencies (vices/Bikaar– lust-desires, anger, greed, etc.).

  • ਬੰਦੇ ਖੋਜੁ ਦਿਲ ਹਰ ਰੋਜ ਨਾ ਫਿਰੁ ਪਰੇਸਾਨੀ ਮਾਹਿ ॥ ਇਹ ਜੁ ਦੁਨੀਆ ਸਿਹਰੁ ਮੇਲਾ ਦਸਤਗੀਰੀ ਨਾਹਿ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ : O mortal, search your heart/mind everyday, then you would not wander around perplexed (confused, worried, distressed, anxiety-ridden etc.). This world is like a magic show; there nothing to be gained in it (through being perplexed etc.). ||1||Pause|| (sggs 727).

Only the one who does introspection with a pure discriminating intellect (Bibek Budhi), patient and vigilance can change.

When the mind is carefully studied and debugged, it reveals to us our demerits, defects, shocking crookedness, perversions, weaknesses, etc. In the beginning, all of this will not be pleasing to one’s false-ego-sense at all!

Nonetheless, since the mind is the cause of our Mayaic bondage and freedom from it, the Gurbani urges us for continuous searching of the mind, impartial introspection and analysis of the mind.

  • ਆਪੁ ਖੋਜਿ ਖੋਜਿ ਮਿਲੇ ਕਬੀਰਾ ॥੪॥੭॥: O Kabeer! Those who have realized the Divine (Nature, Wisdom, Virtues…) have done so by searching and searching their own self or self-discovery (NOT realized with the help of Karamkaand of the Pujaarees-Vaad). ||4||7|| (sggs 1155).

In a nutshell — in order to win the battle of life — the Wisdom of the Gurbani teaches to turn the outgoing or extrovert mind Inwards.

  • ਬਾਹਰਿ ਜਾਤਉ ਉਲਟਿ ਪਰਾਵੈ ॥੫॥: (Wisdom of the Gur-Shabad) turns the outgoing mind around. ||5|| (sggs 414).

Gurmukh wins and Manmukh loses

According to the Gurmat, a Gurmukh (Enlightened or Guru Shabad-Oriented) mindset is sure to win this battle whereas a Manmukh-Saakat-Mayadhaaree (Unenlightened or opposite of the Gurmukh) is sure to lose it.

  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਜਿਤਾ ਮਨਮੁਖਿ ਹਾਰਿਆ ॥੧੭॥: Becoming the Gurmukh, (one) wins (the battle of life) whereas a Manmukh loses it. ||17|| (sggs 310).
  • ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਜੋ ਨਰੁ ਖੇਲੈ ਸੋ ਜਿਣਿ ਬਾਜੀ ਘਰਿ ਆਇਆ ॥੪॥੧॥੧੯॥: Nanak, that person who become the Gurmukh (Enlightened being) plays the game of life wisely and returns Home within (realize God’s presence within). ||4||1||19|| (sggs 1185).
  • ਦਾਗੇ ਹੋਹਿ ਸੁ ਰਨ ਮਹਿ ਜੂਝਹਿ ਬਿਨੁ ਦਾਗੇ ਭਗਿ ਜਾਈ ॥ : These who have burned (their Bikaar: lust, anger, greed, etc. with Virtues /  Wisdom ) fight bravely the battle of life, and those without it run away (i.e. are taken over by Bikaar/vices and thus lose the battle of life). (sggs 970).

The term ‘ਦਾਗੇ-Daagae‘) is pretty significant in the foregoing verse. Literally, ‘Daaganaa‘ is dehorning process of removing the horns of livestock when their horn buds are burned or cut out, never to comeback. The Gurbani urges us burning (‘ਦਾਗੇ-Daagae‘) Bikaar so they don’t ever comeback! The Gurbani roars:

  • ਅਗੋ ਦੇ ਜੇ ਚੇਤੀਐ ਤਾਂ ਕਾਇਤੁ ਮਿਲੈ ਸਜਾਇ ॥ : If the mortal is conscious before hand (ਸਾਵਧਾਨ – wise, prudent or heedful etc.), then why he be punished later (i.e. then not have to face consequences later). (sggs 417).

Mukti (liberation) is NOT after death

In short, the Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS rejects the existing illogical concept of liberation (Mukti) after death as propagated by the self-serving clergy clique (Pujaaree). The Gurbani’s edict is: It’s all HERE and NOW!

  • ਬੇਣੀ ਕਹੈ ਸੁਨਹੁ ਰੇ ਭਗਤਹੁ ਮਰਨ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਕਿਨਿ ਪਾਈ ॥੫॥: Says Baynee – Listen O devotees, nobody has ever attained liberation after death. ||5|| (sggs 93).
  • ਮੂਏ ਹੂਏ ਜਉ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਦੇਹੁਗੇ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਨ ਜਾਨੈ ਕੋਇਲਾ ॥ ਏ ਪੰਡੀਆ ਮੋ ਕਉ ਢੇਢ ਕਹਤ ਤੇਰੀ ਪੈਜ ਪਿਛੰਉਡੀ ਹੋਇਲਾ ॥੨॥: (O God!) If You liberate me (from vices, outer domination etc.) after I am dead, no one would know about that liberation granted by You (i.e. that’s why I do not believe or accept such phony liberation). These pandits (i.e. clergy-Pujaaree) are calling me a person born in low caste, and in this way actually Your own honor is decreasing. ||2|| (sggs 1292)
  • ਪਾਖੰਡਿ ਕੀਨ੍ਹ੍ਹੈ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥੨॥: Practicing Pakhand (pretense), no one finds liberation ||2|| (sggs 839).

Now, how ridiculous is the notion that one will gain liberation (Mukti) after death – TOTALLY ANTI-GURMAT concept!

But, unfortunately, this anti-Gurmat propaganda is being carried out throughout the world by the self-serving clergy clique — the freeloading Deraa-Vaad Baabaas (ਵੇਹਲੜ) and their trained Granthis, Parcharaks, Ragis, Dhadees etc.

The truth according to the Gurmat is that our Mool (the Source, Jot) is already by nature Free and Liberated from the delusory thoughts of attachment or bondage at this very moment — Here and Now!

The confusion arises from ignorance of our True Nature as Jot Saroop and consequent identification with the gross body — we have taken our attachment or bondage to be real.

The Gurbani’s advice, hence, is to internalize the Message of the Shabad (Enlightenment) and become liberated (Mukat-ਮੁਕਤ) HERE and NOW, at this very moment — NOT AFTER DEATH.

The delusory thoughts of attachment or bondage being the effect of ignorance gets destroyed by the spiritual Wisdom of the Shabad.

The Gurmat Holds Sikhs (seekers, learners-ਸਿਖਿਆਰਥੀ) are not to wait for some sort of judgement day after death. For Sikhs, each moment of life is judgement time!

That said, personal choices made NOW will shape not only one’s own life, but also the society and the world. Thus goes the ceaseless BATTLE of life, every moment!

  • ਅਬਹਿ ਨ ਮਾਤਾ ਸੁ ਕਬਹੁ ਨ ਮਾਤਾ ॥: One who is not intoxicated (with the Divine Wisdom, Virtues, Truth…) NOW, will never be intoxicated. (sggs 855).

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  1. Dear Mr T Singh,
    I’m very grateful for your prompt response and wisdom.
    Kind regards Alan.

  2. Thank you Alan for your reply.

    The words of the Gurbani are abrupt, concise, direct, immensely profound but simple, terse yet potent — cutting to the core and wasting no effort on nonessentials.

    The Gurbani bluntly asks us to stay where we are. Which simply means there is nowhere to go to discover one’s Mool within (Source, Origin, Jot…). That is to say, there is no need to search for Mool in the externalities of the world because God/Rabb was never lost! He is our very Mool. We are THAT — Jot Saroop, HERE and NOW!

    However as the Gurbani tells us, it’s our wandering mind that runs around in ten directions. It jumps from one religion to another religion; it jumps from one system to another system; it jumps from one Guru to another Guru; it jumps from one Mantra to another Mantra; it jumps from one pilgrimage place to another, and so on.

    Hence, the Gurbani asks this restless mind be frozen, or be established within (‘Nij Ghar’, Jot Saroop…).

  3. Dear T Singh,
    I subscribed to Gurbani Blog many moons ago. I always read it and
    gain wisdm and blessings from it. I’m an ageing ” Seeker ” of
    truth, but so tired of my search, without so much as a glimpse. In recent times I’ve been mainly in the Advaita Vedanta world. What other subject would you pursue for decades without results. It’s insane. Please God whisper in my ear for me to stop. Alan.

  4. Thank you Gagan for taking the time to respond!
    Welcome to the Gurbani Blog Ji!

    as im getting close to mi god I mean dying spiritually….im getting away frm mi family

    What kind of god is it that’s taking you away from your family?

    That’s not the Gurbani’s god!

    God revealed in the Gurbani is within all.

    So, according to the Gurbani, to realize your god you don’t need get away from your family, children, wife, husband, parents, and so on.

    Therefore, the Gurbani tells us that god should be realized in the midst of family (husband,wife,children, etc.), in the midst of happenings of the world, in the midst of Maya…
    • ਕਹੈ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦੀ ਜਿਨਾ ਲਿਵ ਲਾਗੀ ਤਿਨੀ ਵਿਚੇ ਮਾਇਆ ਪਾਇਆ ॥: Khai Nanak(u) gur… (sggs 921).
    • ਸਭ ਕੈ ਮਧਿ ਸਗਲ ਤੇ ਉਦਾਸ ॥: Sabh(u) kai madhi sagal tae Udaas (sggs 296
    • ਅੰਜਨ ਮਾਹਿ ਨਿਰੰਜਨਿ ਰਹੀਐ ਜੋਗ ਜੁਗਤਿ ਇਵ ਪਾਈਐ ॥: Anajan maahi niranjan… (sggs 730).
    • ਪੁਤ੍ਰ ਕਲਤ੍ਰ ਵਿਚੇ ਗਤਿ ਪਾਈ ॥: Putar klatar.. (sggs 661).
    • ਸਭ ਕੈ ਮਧੇ ਅਲਿਪਤ ਨਿਰਬਾਣੇ ॥: Sabh kai madhe alipat nirabaane (sggs 102).
    • ਗ੍ਰਿਹਸਤ ਮਹਿ ਸੋਈ ਨਿਰਬਾਨੁ ॥: Grihasat mahi soee nirabaanu (sggs 281).
    • ਹਸੰਦਿਆ ਖੇਲੰਦਿਆ ਪੈਨੰਦਿਆ ਖਾਵੰਦਿਆ ਵਿਚੇ ਹੋਵੈ ਮੁਕਤਿ ॥: Hasandiaa khelandiaa painandiaa khaavandiaa viche hovai makati (sggs 522).
    • ਵਿਚਹੁ ਆਪੁ ਮੁਆ ਤਿਥੈ ਮੋਹੁ ਨ ਮਾਇਆ ॥: Vichahu aaup muaa tithai mohu na maya (sggs 121).

    The words of the Gurbani are abrupt, concise, direct, immensely profound but simple, terse yet potent — cutting to the core and wasting no effort on non-essentials.

  5. Thnx alot sir I recently started reading the articles….they gave me the ryt answers to mi many doubts ……I started reading gurbani 6 months ago…sir I experienced the same u mentioned in ur article bt as im getting close to mi god I mean dying spiritually….im getting away frm mi family ….what can I do now plz help me

  6. Dear T. Singh,

    Thank you for yet another spot on article!
    I find it very helpful not to react directly on questions/circumstances etc. (unless, of course, the situation calls for an immediate response), but to take one or two seconds to think about my reaction. This prevents an emotional, untruthful reaction and promotes a Gurbani-like reaction.

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