In the English translations of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS), the term “Bhagti” is seen translated as devotion, devotional service, or devotional worship.

That’s NOT the Gurbani’s understanding or meaning of “Bhagti“!

Then — NOT according to the illiterate and crafty Pujaaree groups (Brahmins, Pandits, Bhais, Ragis, Parchaarak, Deraavaad Baabaas or Sant, etc.) — but according to the Gurbani, what is “Bhagti” in Sikhi (Sikhi => the Way of life based on the Giaan or Wisdom of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, SGGS)?

For Sikhs (learners or students of the SGGS), the SGGS = Giaan Guru.

Hence, Gurmat (Wisdom, Upadesh or Way of the SGGS) = Giaan of the SGGS.

Therefore, the Guru of the Sikhs  = Giaan (the Divine Knowledge…) or Bibek of the SGGS.

Thus, Bhagti in Sikhi is to (1) realize or awaken the Wisdom (Giaan) of the SGGS (Giaan Bhagti or Gurmat Bhagti) and Virtues (Rabbi Gun-ਗੁਣ) within, (2) and then live daily life responsibly according to that Wisdom (Giaan) of the Guru!

  • ਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਮਤਿ ਤੂੰ ਲੇਹਿ ਇਆਨੇ ॥ ਭਗਤਿ ਬਿਨਾ ਬਹੁ ਡੂਬੇ ਸਿਆਨੇ ॥: You ignorant fool, take the Gurmati (i.e., Divine Wisdom or Aatmic-Giaan of the Gur-Shabad); without (this) Bhagti, even many clever have drowned (in perplexity). (sggs 288).
  • ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਜਿਸ ਨੋ ਮਤਿ ਆਵੈ ਸੋ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਮਾਹਿ ਸਮਾਨਾ ॥ ਇਹ ਬਾਣੀ ਜੋ ਜੀਅਹੁ ਜਾਣੈ ਤਿਸੁ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਰਵੈ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮਾ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: (One who) imbibes (accepts…) the Wisdom (intellect, understanding, sense, Bibek-Budhi, Truth…), is absorbed into the Satigur (he permeates into the Satigur’s Wisdom…). Who heartily understands this Bani, (he) experiences within him the Divine Naam (Wisdom…). ||1|| Pause ॥ (sggs 797).(sggs 797).
  • ਨਿਜ ਧਨੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਭਗਤਿ ਗੁਰਿ ਦੀਨੀ ਤਾਸੁ ਸੁਮਤਿ ਮਨੁ ਲਾਗਾ ॥ : The Guru Given Giaan-Bhagti (Bhgati of spiritual Knowledge) is my personal Wealth. (Now my) mind is connected to that good understand (obtained from the Giaan Bhagti). (sggs 336).
  • ਸਚੀ ਭਗਤਿ ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦ ਪਿਆਰਿ ॥: True Bhagti consists of love for the Gur-Shabad (i.e., life of the Shabad-Giaan, Wisdom, Upadesh, Virtues…). (sggs 158).
  • ਕਹੁ ਕਬੀਰ ਜਨ ਭਏ ਖਾਲਸੇ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਭਗਤਿ ਜਿਹ ਜਾਨੀ ॥: O Kabeer! Those persons become ‘Khaalsae’ (ਖਾਲਸੇ) who have realized the Prem Bhagti (ਗੁਰਮਤ ਦਾ ਪੂਰਾ ਗਿਆਨ; Perfect Understanding of the Gur-Shabad, Gur-Giaan, or Divine Wisdom of the Gurbani…). (sggs 655).

In other words, Bhagti is to live by ones inherent Pure Nature (Jot Saroop, divine Wisdom, Virtues…); or live by the divine Hukam (Law of Nature) as do air, water, fire…

  • ਪਉਣੁ ਪਾਣੀ ਬੈਸੰਤਰੋ ਹੁਕਮਿ ਕਰਹਿ ਭਗਤੀ ॥ ਏਨਾ ਨੋ ਭਉ ਅਗਲਾ ਪੂਰੀ ਬਣਤ ਬਣਤੀ ॥: Water, air and fire, by the Hukam (Law of Nature), perform Bhagti. They are in the divine fear (Pure Fear of Hukam — reverence or respectfulness of Hukam, Love, ਹੁਕਮ ਦਾ ਅਦਬ-ਸਤਕਾਰ, ਪ੍ਰੇਮ…), such is the perfect make (of the world). (sggs 948).
  • ਪਉਣੁ ਪਾਣੀ ਬੈਸੰਤਰੋ ਮੇਰੀ ਜਿੰਦੁੜੀਏ ਨਿਤ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਜਸੁ ਗਾਵੈ ਰਾਮ ॥: O my soul! Wind, water and fire continually live by their inherent qualities (Rabbi Gun-ਗੁਣ, ਨਿਯਮ). (sggs 540).

Here in the foregoing verse the Gurbani proclaims that air, water, and fire are doing Bhagti! How so?

Have you seen air, water, and fire rosary? Have seen them sitting cross-legged in Smadhi posture? Have you seen them sitting in secluded basement? Have seen singing with Tabla and harmonium?

No? Then how are they doing Bhagti? Simply put: they follow their inherent nature, qualities (Rabbi Gun-ਗੁਣ, ਨਿਯਮ), responsibilities…

Hence, as asserted by the SGGS, there can be no Bhagti without  living by one’s inherent or Pure Nature, Wisdom or Virtues (Rabbi Gun-ਗੁਣ, ਨਿਯਮ), responsibilities…

  • ਵਿਣੁ ਗੁਣ ਕੀਤੇ ਭਗਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥: Without acquiring Virtues, Bhagti can not be performed (sggs 4).

Also, the Gurbani proclaims that a freeloader (who does not work to earn his living, ਵੇਲੜ, ਮੰਗ ਖਾਣਾਂ…) cannot perform Bhagti or be a Bhagat! In other words, there can be no Bhagti without “Kirati-ਕਿਰਤਿ” — honest work, labor, ਮਿਹਨਤ, etc. (e.g., Deraavaad Baabaa, Pujaaree groups, and so on.).

  • ਮਾਇਆ ਕੀ ਕਿਰਤਿ ਛੋਡਿ ਗਵਾਈ ਭਗਤੀ ਸਾਰ ਨ ਜਾਨੈ ॥: (A freeloader – ਵੇਲੜ, ਮੰਗ ਖਾਣਾਂ – who) renounces to work or earn his livelihood while living in the midst of Maya, he cannot know what Bhagti is! (sggs 381).

To put it in simple Punjabi:
ਸਿਖ ਵਾਸਤੇ ਗੁਰਮਤ ਲੈਕੇ ਜੀਵਨ ਵਿਚ ਰੱਬੀ ਗੁਣਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਕਮਾਉਣਾਂ ਹੀ ਭਗਤੀ ਹੈ । ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਮਾਰਗ = ਭਗਤੀ ਮਾਰਗ = ਗਿਆਨ ਮਾਰਗ

Hence, unequivocally, the Way of the Gurbani is the Way (Maarag) of Inner Searching and Understanding (i.e., Giaan Maarag – ਗਿਆਨ ਮਾਰਗ).

  • ਖੋਜਤ ਖੋਜਤ ਮਾਰਗੁ ਪਾਇਓ ਸਾਧੂ ਸੇਵ ਕਰੀਜੈ ॥: Searching and seeking, (with the help of the Gur-Giaan or Wisdom, I) have found the “Maarag” (Way). Serve the Guru (through Shabad-Vichaar). (sggs 1269).

Thorough understanding of the Gurbani helps becoming “One” with our Mool within, which is the purpose of life — to become One (Ik Mann Ik Chitt), to Unite (“ਵੀਆਹੁ”) the mind with its Mool within (Source, Jot…), “Saabat Soorati – ਸਾਬਤ ਸੂਰਤਿ”, Gurmukh-hood, etc.

  • ਪੜਿਐ ਨਾਹੀ ਭੇਦੁ ਬੁਝਿਐ ਪਾਵਣਾ ॥: Not by reading (books), but through Understanding, is the Mystery Realized. (sggs 148).

To say it otherwise, Bhagti is a Lifestyle — the Gurmukh Lifestyle, a Divine Life of Virtues, Truth, Dharma, Inner Revolution, transformation based on the Divine Wisdom (Giaan) of the SGGS, and so on. According to the Gurbani, ONLY such Bhagti is fruitful.

  • ਹਰਿ ਕੀ ਭਗਤਿ ਫਲ ਦਾਤੀ ॥: Bhagti of Hari (i.e., Mool) is what gives fruits (fulfillment, spiritual profit…). (sggs 628).

Thus, according to the Gurmat (Wisdom of the SGGS), Gurmat-Bhagti is not just repetition of some “Mantra”; or singing of the Gurbani or devotional songs (Kirtan); or sitting in some peculiar posture (“ਬਗੁਲ ਸਮਾਧਿ”) with half closed eyes staring the sky or the nose; or counting beads (ਮਾਲਾ ਫੇਰਨੀ) with the Maya infatuated mind (ਮਨ ਵਿਚ ਮਾਇਆ ਦੀ ਭੁੱਖ), and so on.

  • ਇਕਿ ਗਾਵਹਿ ਰਾਗ ਪਰੀਆ ਰਾਗਿ ਨ ਭੀਜਈ ॥: Some sing according to traditional Raag, but the Lord is not pleased by these Raag (sggs 1285).
  • ਗਾਵਹਿ ਗੀਤ ਨ ਚੀਨਹਿ ਆਪੁ ॥: You sing the songs, but you do not understand your own self (i.e., your Mool). (sggs 903).
  • ਰੋਟੀਆ ਕਾਰਣਿ ਪੂਰਹਿ ਤਾਲ ॥: For the sake of bread, they perform melodiously (sggs 465).
  • ਜਬ ਕੀ ਮਾਲਾ ਲਈ ਨਿਪੂਤੇ ਤਬ ਤੇ ਸੁਖੁ ਨ ਭਇਓ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Ever since this worthless son (i.e., mind, ਔਂਤਰਾ ਮਨ…) has taken the Maalaa (rosary), since than there has been no Sukha (Joy, ਪ੍ਰਾਪਤੀ, Gain, etc.)! ||1||Pause|| (sggs 856).

Thus, in essence, Bhagti is the way of searching within and Understanding oneself to Realize Mool within (Source, Origin, Jot, Truth, Wisdom…) through the earnest Shabad-Vichaar. In nutshell, according to the Wisdom of the SGGS, “Bhagti” in Sikhi is to die in the Shabad. As a result, one gets connected to his Mool within,  becoming the living liberated (Jeevan Mukt).

  • ਨਿਰਮਲ ਭਗਤਿ ਹੈ ਨਿਰਾਲੀ ॥ ਮਨੁ ਤਨੁ ਧੋਵਹਿ ਸਬਦਿ ਵੀਚਾਰੀ ॥: Bhagti that purifies (mind…) is “Niraalee” (unique). (Through this unique Bhagti) wash the mind, and the body (i.e., senses: eyes, ears, etc.) with Shabad-Vichaar (sggs 1059).
  • ਸਬਦਿ ਮਰੈ ਭਗਤਿ ਪਾਏ ਜਨੁ ਸੋਇ ॥੩॥: One who dies in the Shabad, obtains Bhagti ||3|| (sggs 159).
  • ਏਹਾ ਭਗਤਿ ਜਨੁ ਜੀਵਤ ਮਰੈ ॥: This is Bhagti, (by which) “Janu” (Gurmukh, Daas…) remains dead while yet alive (sggs 364).

However, for this Bhagti to be fruitful, the Gurbani says that the conditioned mind has to bathe and gets dissolved in the pool of the spiritual Knowledge (Giaan, Virtues…)!

Therefore, the real aim of Bhagti is to debug the conditioned mind and eradicate it’s “filth” or negativity (Bikaars, Durmat, crookedness, Haumai or egotism, ignorance, doubt…), and Realize the Mool (Source, Jot, Truth, Wisdom…) within by obtaining true understanding of the Gurbani’s Divine Knowledge (Aatam-Giaan…); and then persistently live it in daily life (Gurmukh Lifestyle).

  • ਮਨਿ ਮੈਲੈ ਭਗਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਵਈ ਨਾਮੁ ਨ ਪਾਇਆ ਜਾਇ ॥: With a filthy mind (filth of Haumai…), Bhagti cannot be performed, and the Naam cannot be obtained (sggs 39).
  • ਮਨ ਮਾਰੇ ਬਿਨੁ ਭਗਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਈ ॥੨॥: Without killing the mind, Bhagati  does not happen ||2|| (sggs 329).

Hence, the Gurbani’s Bhagti is to live a Divine Life (Gurmukh Lifestyle) that springs from Awareness of One’s Divine Nature (Jot Saroop), Divine Virtues (ਗੁਣ), Divine Wisdom, and so on.

In essence, as the Gurbani indicates, Bhagti is essentially to become absorbed in the Naam (Aatam-Giaan, Wisdom, Spiritual Knowledge…).

  • ਨਾਨਕ ਭਗਤੀ ਨਾਮਿ ਸਮਾਇ ॥੩॥: O Nanak! Bhagti is to get absorbed in Naam ||3|| (sggs 289).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਭਗਤੀ ਜਾਗੇ ॥: United with Bhagti, the mind of the Gurmukh remains Awakened (sggs 415).

And the Naam — as the Gurbani asserts — is no other than the Giaan-Padaarath of the entire SGGS (Divine Knowledge, Wisdom, Gurmat …). Gurbani is the mirror of the mind:

  • ਤਤੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਹਰਿ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਨਾਮ ॥: The Divine Wisdom is Amrit Naam (which bestows Spiritual Life). (sggs 1146).

Thus, the Gurbani emphasizes on Realizing and abiding in Brahm-Giaan (Aatam-Giaan, Wisdom, Virtues…) rather than dogmas, religious paraphernalia, or empty rituals. In nutshell (ਮੁੱਕਦੀ ਗਲ), we are asked by the Gurbani (SGGS) to see the world as the Gurbani sees it.

The Gurbani asserts that such true Bhagti is performed when one becomes permeated in Naam.

  • ਸਾਚੀ ਭਗਤਿ ਤਾ ਥੀਐ ਜਾ ਹਰਿ ਵਸੈ ਮਨਿ ਆਇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Then alone the true Bhagti is performed when Hari (i.e., Mool, divine Wisdom, Virtues..) comes to dwell within the mind ||1||Rahaaou|| (sggs 35).

The Gurbani indicates that such person who has Realized this true Bhagti is very “rare”. For it’s an uphill climb with challenges that need courage to surmount them.

  • ਭਗਤਿ ਬਿਨਾ ਸਹਸਾ ਨਹ ਚੂਕੈ ਗੁਰੁ ਇਹੁ ਭੇਦੁ ਬਤਾਵੈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: The Guru reveals this secret — without Bhagti, doubt does not finish ||1||Rahaaou|| (sggs 830).
  • ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਭਗਤਿ ਪਾਵੈ ਜਨੁ ਕੋਈ ॥੧॥: A rare “Janu” (Gurmukh, Bhagt, Daas…) obtains the “Gurmati Bhagti” (understanding of the Gur-Shabad, Naam, Hukam…) ||1|| (sggs 879).

The nature of Sansaar or a Sansaaree (world or a worldly person…) is contrary to that of the Bhagti or the Bhagat. Accordingly, the Gurbani reminds us that there can never be a “Jorr” (connection, link, bond, union, alliance, association…) between a Sansaaree (worldly person) and a Bhagat (who is engaged in the Gurmat-Bhagti)!

  • ਭਗਤਾ ਤੈ ਸੈਸਾਰੀਆ ਜੋੜੁ ਕਦੇ ਨ ਆਇਆ ॥: There can never be any alliance (ਜੋੜ-Jorr) between Bhagat (Gurmukh, Daas, Jan…) and the worldly people (ਦੁਨੀਆਦਾਰ). (sggs 145).


  1. Veerjee gurufateh.I am visiting this site for first time.Thanx for article&i like it ,may be due to paucity of space u have written Bhagti is not just repetition of some mantras or singing of gurbani and not elaborated on it .Sir bhagti starts when we listened divine gurbani&recite &enjoy peace and these r not empty rituals.Then devoting time it increases but gurmukh have to divide time for kirat kirni& seva which again is part of living of gursikh.

  2. Satkar jog Gurmukh T.Singh jio
    Thanks to that moment when i visited this site and my inward journey towards my mool started.
    Hirdey jin kai har vase tit ghat hai pargas…
    Hirdey kamal pargaseya laga sehaj dhyan…
    Hirdey kamal ghat brahm na china kahe bhaya sanyasi…
    Hirdey Har Har Har dhun upji Har japiye mastak bhag jio…
    Hirdey naam vasaye ho ghar baithe guru dhyaye ho…

  3. Beautiful!
    Thank you Veer Ji so much.

    ਹਿਰਦੈ ਬਸੇ ਪੂਰਨ ਗੁਰ ਮੰਤ ॥: Hiradai base pooran gur mant (sggs 290).

  4. Pyare jio
    Hirda is that void space(akaas-tat) in chest where Naam(Dhur ki bani, anhad naad,Shabad-dhun) is enlightened and listened without these eyes, and ears. It is called Dasam Dwar(Nij Ghar,Shiv Puri etc.) . It is not the Heart that pumps the blood and not mann that resides in Trikuti.
    Gurpreet Singh

  5. Dear Veer T Singh ji,
    Your Gurbani Article are very detailed and analysed many thanks.
    Can you please write about Hirda as well. Where it is? is it heart? or Man Mandir? Kind Regards Nirmal Singh

  6. Thank you Bhai Sahib Gurpreet Singh Ji.

    •ਕਹੁ ਕਬੀਰ ਚੰਚਲ ਮਤਿ ਤਿਆਗੀ ॥ ਕੇਵਲ ਰਾਮ ਭਗਤਿ ਨਿਜ ਭਾਗੀ ॥੩॥੧॥੧੯॥ (sggs 327).

  7. Satkar jog Gurmukh T.Singh Jio
    Sat bachan ji.
    ਯਾ ਜੁਗ ਮਹਿ ਏਕਹਿ ਕਉ ਆਇਆ ॥: Yaa Yug mahi ekahi kaou aaiaa (sggs 251).
    ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਬਿਨੁ ਆਪਾ ਚੀਨੈ ਮਿਟੈ ਨ ਭ੍ਰਮ ਕੀ ਕਾਈ ॥੨॥੧॥: Jan Nanak binu aapaa cheenai mitai n bhram kee kaaee ||2||1|| (sggs 684).
    ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਭਗਤਿ ਪਾਵੈ ਜਨੁ ਕੋਈ ॥੧॥: Gurmati bhagti paavai janu koee ||1|| (sggs 879).
    ਭਗਤਾ ਤੈ ਸੈਸਾਰੀਆ ਜੋੜੁ ਕਦੇ ਨ ਆਇਆ ॥: Bhagataa tai saisaareeaa jorru kde n aaiaa (sggs 145).

  8. Thank you Jagjit Ji for taking time to comment on this post.

    “I was wondering if you could write a blog post explaining ” we are asked by the Gurbani to see the world as th”e Gurbani sees it.””

    The Gurbani (i.e., the Giaan of the Gurbani – Gurmat) is meant to be applied.

    Thus, to see the world as the Gurbani does is essentially to unbrokenly live the Gurbani – after having Understood the Gurbani throughly, then apply it to daily life.

    ਸਚਹੁ ਓਰੈ ਸਭੁ ਕੋ ਉਪਰਿ ਸਚੁ ਆਚਾਰ ॥੫॥ (sggs 62).
    ਫਰੀਦਾ ਅਮਲ ਜਿ ਕੀਤੇ ਦੁਨੀ ਵਿਚਿ ਦਰਗਹ ਆਏ ਕੰਮਿ ॥੧੦੦॥ (sggs 1383).
    ਸਚੁ ਕਰਣੀ ਸਬਦੁ ਹੈ ਸਾਰੁ ॥ (sggs 114).
    ਭਾਈ ਰੇ ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਸਾਚਿ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਸਾਚੋ ਸਾਚੁ ਕਮਾਵਣਾ ਸਾਚੈ ਸਬਦਿ ਮਿਲਾਉ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ (sggs 30).
    ਇਹੀ ਅਚਾਰ ਇਹੀ ਬਿਉਹਾਰਾ ਆਗਿਆ ਮਾਨਿ ਭਗਤਿ ਹੋਇ ਤੁਮ੍ਹ੍ਹਾਰੀ ॥ ਜੋ ਇਹੁ ਮੰਤ੍ਰੁ ਕਮਾਵੈ ਨਾਨਕ ਸੋ ਭਉਜਲੁ ਪਾਰਿ ਉਤਾਰੀ ॥੩॥੨੮॥ (sggs 377).
    ਕਰਣੀ ਬਾਝਹੁ ਘਟੇ ਘਟਿ ॥ (sggs 25).
    ਗੁਰਿ ਕਹਿਆ ਸਾ ਕਾਰ ਕਮਾਵਹੁ ॥ (sggs 832).
    ਅਮਲੁ ਕਰਿ ਧਰਤੀ ਬੀਜੁ ਸਬਦੋ ਕਰਿ ਸਚ ਕੀ ਆਬ ਨਿਤ ਦੇਹਿ ਪਾਣੀ ॥ (sggs 24).

    Simply put: It is seeing through the eyes of the Shabad-Vichaar.

    ਆਖਣੁ ਵੇਖਣੁ ਬੋਲਣਾ ਸਬਦੇ ਰਹਿਆ ਸਮਾਇ ॥ (sggs 35).
    ਬਿਨੁ ਸਬਦੈ ਸੁਣੀਐ ਨ ਦੇਖੀਐ ਜਗੁ ਬੋਲਾ ਅੰਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਾ ਭਰਮਾਇ ॥ (sggs 429).
    ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦੀ ਦਰੁ ਜੋਈਐ ਮੁਕਤੇ ਭੰਡਾਰਾ ॥ (1009).
    ਅੰਤਰਿ ਦੇਖਿ ਸਬਦਿ ਮਨੁ ਮਾਨਿਆ ਅਵਰੁ ਨ ਰਾਂਗਨਹਾਰਾ ॥ (sggs 1331)

  9. Thank you for this post. I was wondering if you could write a blog post explaining ” we are asked by the Gurbani to see the world as th”e Gurbani sees it.”

    It would be a great help.

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