Birth is the Proof of Impending Death

The Gurmat Wisdom of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) reinforces the age old fact that from Nature (Kudrat) we come and to Nature we will return, meaning Rabb (Universal Energy, Hukam: System-Rule-Law of Nature etc.).

As sunrise is the proof of immanent sunset or as the morning is the proof of approaching night, similarly, birth of an entity is the proof of it’s impending death.

In short, death is a part of life — if there is birth, there is death!

  • ਆਇਆ ਮਰਣੁ ਧੁਰਾਹੁ ਹਉਮੈ ਰੋਈਐ ॥ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਇ ਅਸਥਿਰੁ ਹੋਈਐ ॥੧॥ : Death is pre-ordained and everyone who is born has to die (i.e. BIRTH IS THE PROOF OF IMPENDING DEATH) but people cry (at the death of someone) only because of false ego-sense. (On the other hand) remembering the Naam, the mind becomes unshakable and unaffected (when death comes — it remains steadfast in moments of joy and grief). ||1|| (sggs 369).
  • ਸਭਨਾ ਮਰਣਾ ਆਇਆ ਵੇਛੋੜਾ ਸਭਨਾਹ ॥ : All have to die and all have to be separated. (sggs 595).
  • ਜੋ ਉਪਜਿਓ ਸੋ ਬਿਨਸਿ ਹੈ ਪਰੋ ਆਜੁ ਕੈ ਕਾਲਿ ॥: Whatever is born will perish, today or tomorrow (sggs 1429).

The Gurbani calls the human body ‘Jajaree-ਜਜਰੀ’ (meaning perishable, frail, weak, ਨਾਸਵੰਤ, etc.). The time eats it away, bit by bit! It dissolves slowly and steadily into the very elements from which it had come!

  • ਇਹੁ ਸਰੀਰੁ ਜਜਰੀ ਹੈ ਇਸ ਨੋ ਜਰੁ ਪਹੁਚੈ ਆਏ ॥: This body is perishable; old age overtakes it (sggs 584).
  • ਨ ਦੇਵ ਦਾਨਵਾ ਨਰਾ ॥ ਨ ਸਿਧ ਸਾਧਿਕਾ ਧਰਾ ॥ ਅਸਤਿ ਏਕ ਦਿਗਰਿ ਕੁਈ ॥ ਏਕ ਤੁਈ ਏਕ ਤੁਈ ॥੨॥: No (imaginary) demigods live forever. Neither the demons (i.e. bad or corrupt people) nor human beings live forever. No Sidhas or seekers (Yogis etc.) remained here on earth. (These are all perishable, then) who else is everlasting? (O Rabb: Universal Energy, Hukam: System-Rule-Law of Nature…) You alone are forever. (sggs 143).

Once the measure of breath is full, interview with death is certain!

  • ਮਰਣੁ ਲਿਖਾਇ ਮੰਡਲ ਮਹਿ ਆਏ ॥: Destined to die, (one) comes into the world (sggs 685).
  • ਕੋ ਰਹੈ ਨ ਭਰੀਐ ਪਾਈਐ ॥੫॥: No one remains here when the count of the breaths is full ||5|| (sggs 465).
  • ਮਲਕਲ ਮਉਤ ਜਾਂ ਆਵਸੀ ਸਭ ਦਰਵਾਜੇ ਭੰਨਿ ॥: Crushing death comes breaking open all doors (destroying all bodily senses or faculties, etc.). (sggs 1383).

However, on account of mind’s illusion, mortals think they are important and this will not happen to them!

Recently I read these beautiful lines inscribed on someone’s tombstone:

میں اہم تھا۔ = Mai Aham Thaa = I was important,
یہی وہم تھا = Yehi Veham Thaa = This was (my) illusion!

The Gurmat Wisdom of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) time and again reminds us: Anything that appears will soon disappear.

Use whatever euphemism you want to use for death, it cannot be avoided. In all directions, wherever we go, we will find it waiting — waiting from the moment one is born. Simply put, anything born must finish one day.

Between birth and death is ‘Jeevan-ਜੀਵਨ‘ (life). At the most, the body-frame can live through the three stages — childhood, youth, and old age (ਬੁਢੇਪਾ). After the third stage — old age (‘Jaru-ਜਰੁ’, senility) — there is the death of the body-frame!

  • ਬਾਲ ਜੁਆਨੀ ਅਰੁ ਬਿਰਧਿ ਫੁਨਿ ਤੀਨਿ ਅਵਸਥਾ ਜਾਨਿ ॥: Childhood, youth and old age – know these as the three stages of life (sggs 1428).
  • ਜਨਨੀ ਜਾਨਤ ਸੁਤੁ ਬਡਾ ਹੋਤੁ ਹੈ ਇਤਨਾ ਕੁ ਨ ਜਾਨੈ ਜਿ ਦਿਨ ਦਿਨ ਅਵਧ ਘਟਤੁ ਹੈ ॥: The mother thinks that her son is growing up; (but) she does not understand that, day by day, his life is diminishing (sggs 91).

The Gurbani equates human life with a night, which could be of a few days, few months, few years. some may live up to 100 years or more. Regardless, everybody’s life-night must end, sooner or later.

  • ਰਾਤਿ ਕਾਰਣਿ ਧਨੁ ਸੰਚੀਐ ਭਲਕੇ ਚਲਣੁ ਹੋਇ ॥: (The mortal) accumulates wealth for a night of his life, but in the morning, (he) must depart. (sggs 787).

One can color his or her hair to hide old age (ਬੁਢੇਪਾ), or get plastic surgery done to hide the signs of old age, but death ‘suddenly pounces’ just as a hawk suddenly pounces on an unsuspecting bird engaged in play!

  • ਕੇਲ ਕਰੇਦੇ ਹੰਝ ਨੋ ਅਚਿੰਤੇ ਬਾਜ ਪਏ ॥: While a Hans (swan, goose…) is engaged in play, a hawk suddenly pounces on it. (sggs 1383).

The Gurbani also compares this human body with a clay-built pitcher. In a cracked clay-built pitcher, water will slowly and steadily leak out. Similarly, this pitcher of the human body — which also got cracked as soon as it took the first breath — will perish as well!

  • ਛਿਨੁ ਛਿਨੁ ਅਉਧ ਬਿਹਾਤੁ ਹੈ ਫੂਟੈ ਘਟ ਜਿਉ ਪਾਨੀ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Each and every moment, your life is passing away, like water from a cracked pitcher. ||1||Pause|| (sggs 726).
  • ਪਵਨਿ ਅਫਾਰ ਤੋਰ ਚਾਮਰੋ ਅਤਿ ਜਜਰੀ ਤੇਰੀ ਰੇ ਮਾਟੁਲੀ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: (O man!) Your skin is puffed up by air, and your body-pitcher has grown old (frail, etc.). ||1||Pause|| (sggs 1246).

That which is Real never ends, and that which ends is unreal (i.e., false, impermanent, ‘ਸੋ ਕਾਚੋ ਕਾਚਾ’). Thus, the Gurbani’s edict is what comes and goes is not Real.

Anything that is time-bound cannot be Eternal (ਸਦੀਵੀ, forever, permanent…), hence unreal. To be Real means to be free of beginning, middle and end. Whatever comes and goes is bound and limited by beginning, middle and end, therefore unreal.

  • ਜੋ ਦੀਸੈ ਸੋ ਚਾਲਨਹਾਰੁ ॥: Whatever is seen (entire material world) is perishable (sggs 268).

Then what is Eternal (ਸਦੀਵੀ-Sadeevee, forever, permanent…)?

The Gurbani time and again reminds us — since the body is not forever and ever —  its seeing (‘Deedaar‘ or ‘Darshan’) cannot be forever either, ONLY the Shabad (Wisdom or Giaan, Naam, Upadesh, Hukam: System-Rule-Law of Nature…) is forever (ਸਦੀਵੀ-Sadeevee)!

Accordingly, a real Sikh (a true learner) wants to Realize the Gur-Shabad through Shabad-Vichaar (churning the Gurbani). Thus, known as a Gurmukh in the Gurbani, the whole life of such an Awakened Being becomes a celebration itself! He understands the human life’s target and the purpose. There is no fear of old age or death to him.

  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਜੀਵੈ ਮਰੈ ਪਰਵਾਣੁ ॥ ਆਰਜਾ ਨ ਛੀਜੈ ਸਬਦੁ ਪਛਾਣੁ ॥: (Who ) becomes the Gurmukh, (his) life and death is of avail (ਸਫਲ, ਕਬੂਲ). (His) life does not waste away; (because he) realizes the ‘Sabadu‘ (sggs 125).

The Gurbani tells us that the Truth (‘ਸਚੁ’) never gets old or invalid — does not age, remains the same in past, present and future. However, as asserted by the Gurbani the Truth cannot be Realized until one is pure in mind.

  • ਸਚੁ ਪੁਰਾਣਾ ਹੋਵੈ ਨਾਹੀ ਸੀਤਾ ਕਦੇ ਨ ਪਾਟੈ ॥: The Truth does not grow old; and once stitched, it is never torn again (sggs 956).
  • ਸਚੁ ਤਾ ਪਰੁ ਜਾਣੀਐ ਜਾ ਰਿਦੈ ਸਚਾ ਹੋਇ ॥: Truth is known then when the Truth is in the Heart (sggs 468).
  • ਨਾਨਕ ਬਧਾ ਘਰੁ ਤਹਾਂ ਜਿਥੈ ਮਿਰਤੁ ਨ ਜਨਮੁ ਜਰਾ ॥੪॥੬॥੭੬॥: O Nanak! This is how the house (state of the mind) is built where there is neither death nor birth nor old age (i.e. the state of the mind free of repeated suffering. ||4||6||76|| (sggs 44).

4 comments

  1. Based on my little understanding of the Gurbani, here are my two cents.

    Anhad Naad (“ਅਨਹਦ” “ਨਾਦ”) is also called Anhad Baajae (“ਅਨਹਦ ਬਾਜੇ”), Panch Shabad (“ਪੰਚ ਸਬਦ”), Anhat Dhuni (“ਅਨਹਤ ਧੁਨਿ”), Anhat Naad (“ਅਨਹਤ” “ਨਾਦ”), Anhat Baanee (“ਅਨਹਤ ਬਾਣੀ”), Neesaanu bajaeeya (“ਨੀਸਾਨੁ ਬਜਈਆ”), Anhat Aakhaarae (“ਅਨਹਤ ਆਖਾਰੇ “), Hari Hari Dhuni (“ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਧੁਨਿ”), etc. (1) It’s not heard by the biological ears, (2) it’s self-created — not created by striking material objects, (3) it’s beyond Maya, (4) This is a subtle Naad or Dhuni, (5) heard within by becoming the Gurmukh or by abiding in one’s Mool (Raam, Hari, Prabh, Gopal, Allah Jot….), (6) it’s limitless, (7) it’s realized by becoming the Gurmukh (Bhagat, Daas, Jan), and so on.
    • ਅਖੀ ਬਾਝਹੁ ਵੇਖਣਾ ਵਿਣੁ ਕੰਨਾ ਸੁਨਣਾ ॥ ਪੈਰਾ ਬਾਝਹੁ ਚਲਣਾ ਵਿਣੁ ਹਥਾ ਕਰਣਾ ॥ ਜੀਭੈ ਬਾਝਹੁ ਬੋਲਣਾ ਇਉ ਜੀਵਤ ਮਰਣਾ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਪਛਾਣਿ ਕੈ ਤਉ ਖਸਮੈ ਮਿਲਣਾ ॥੧॥: (The Formless, Divine Principle…, within) can be seen or heard without the (external) eyes and ears… (sggs 139).
    • ਪੰਚ ਸਬਦ ਤਹ ਪੂਰਨ ਨਾਦ ॥ ਅਨਹਦ ਬਾਜੇ ਅਚਰਜ ਬਿਸਮਾਦ ॥: There (in the state of Mool-abidance) heard the Panch Shabad (Supreme Transcendental Sound). (This State of) “Anhad Baajae” is wondrous and amazing (sggs 888).

    How it’s Experienced: Once the mind is annihilated of its imaginations (become Sunn-ਸੁੰਨ or free of Phurne-ਫੁਰਨੇ…), it unites with it’s Mool within, and then the Anhat Naad is heard:
    • ਸੁੰਨ ਸਮਾਧਿ ਅਨਹਤ ਤਹ ਨਾਦ ॥: (When the mind becomes) “Sunn”, it becomes equal (ਸਮ) to its half (ਆਧਿ, i.e., it unites with its Mool within) then there heard the Anhat Naad (sggs 293).
    • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਮਨੂਆ ਇਕਤੁ ਘਰਿ ਆਵੈ ਮਿਲਉ ਗੋੁਪਾਲ ਨੀਸਾਨੁ ਬਜਈਆ ॥੫॥: The mind of the Gurmukh returns to its own Home (within); it meets it unites its Mool (Gopal…), and hears the “Neesaanu bajaeeya” (Anhat Naad). ||5|| (sggs 833).
    • ਤਹ ਸਦਾ ਅਨੰਦ ਅਨਹਤ ਆਖਾਰੇ ॥: There (the state free of fear, doubt, anxiety — Mool-abidance) is eternal Bliss, and the “Anhat Aakhaarae” (Anhat Naad) is heard there (sggs 237).

    So, the process to realize the Grace of one’s Mool within is through Shabad-Vichaar:
    • ਇਉ ਕਹੈ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਮਨ ਤੂੰ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਰੂਪੁ ਹੈ ਅਪਣਾ ਮੂਲੁ ਪਛਾਣੁ ॥੫॥: Thus says Nanak – O mind! Your “Saroop” (form, nature, identity…) is “Joti” (Divine Light). (O mind!) Recognize your Mool (Source, Jot, Origin, Reality…) ||5|| (sggs 441).
    • ਸਬਦੁ ਵੀਚਾਰਿ ਮਿਲਣੁ ਨਹੀ ਭ੍ਰਾਤਿ ॥੭॥: Through the Shabad Vichaar, Union (with the Mool) is Realized; there is no doubt in it (sggs 413).
    • ਅਨਹਤ ਬਾਣੀ ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦਿ ਜਾਣੀ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਹਰਿ ਰਸੁ ਭੋਗੋ ॥: Through the Gur-Shabad, Anhat Baanee (Naad) is realized; the Divine Naam and Bliss enjoyed (sggs 921).
    • ਅਨਹਦ ਸੁਣਿ ਮਾਨਿਆ ਸਬਦੁ ਵੀਚਾਰੀ ॥: Through Shabad-Vichhar, by listening to Anhad (Naad),

    Hence, the SGGS tells us:
    • ਸਭਿ ਨਾਦ ਬੇਦ ਗੁਰਬਾਣੀ ॥ ਮਨੁ ਰਾਤਾ ਸਾਰਿਗਪਾਣੀ ॥: All Naad and Bed (Giaan, spiritual Knowledge) is in the Gurbani. The mind imbued (in the Giaan or spiritual Knowledge) unites with “Saarigpaanee” (Mool) (sggs 879).

    In nutshell, the SGGS says only the Gurmukh-Budhi (Mool-realized) can hear this Naad:
    • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਨਾਦੰ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਵੇਦੰ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਰਹਿਆ ਸਮਾਈ ॥: The Gurmukh manifest Naad and Giaan (spiritual Knowledge); (Because) the Gurmukh remains permeated (in his Mool). (sggs 2).

    SGGS’s Condition to hear or experience the Anhat Naad – Understand the Raam of the Gurmat within (“ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਰਾਮੁ” – Mool):
    • ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਰਾਮੁ ਜਪੈ ਜਨੁ ਪੂਰਾ ॥ ਤਿਤੁ ਘਟ ਅਨਹਤ ਬਾਜੇ ਤੂਰਾ ॥੨॥: Who understand Raam through the Gurmat (i.e., “Gurmati-Raamu”), becomes Complete (i.e., he he unites with his Mool within). Anhat plays in his Heart (sggs 228).

    Why we do not hear it? The SGGS says it’s because of the noise, tumult, attraction or hunger of Maya. Eventhough the sound (Call, Upadesh -“ਕਿੜੀ ਪਵੰਦੀ”) constantly comes from within, but the power or our love of Maya ignores it. The SGGS says:
    • ਏਤੁ ਜਨਮਿ ਹਰਿ ਨ ਚੇਤਿਓ ਭਾਈ ਕਿਆ ਮੁਹੁ ਦੇਸੀ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਕਿੜੀ ਪਵੰਦੀ ਮੁਹਾਇਓਨੁ ਭਾਈ ਬਿਖਿਆ ਨੋ ਲੋਭਾਇ ॥੭॥: O brother! Who (i.e., Manmukh) does not remember Hari (his Mool) in this life, what face will he show going hereafter? O brother! Inspite of the calls being sounded (Upadesh from within-“ਕਿੜੀ ਪਵੰਦੀ”…), he is plundered by his fascination with Maya (sggs 639).
    • ਵਾਲਹੁ ਨਿਕੀ ਪੁਰਸਲਾਤ ਕੰਨੀ ਨ ਸੁਣੀ ਆਇ ॥ ਫਰੀਦਾ ਕਿੜੀ ਪਵੰਦੀਈ ਖੜਾ ਨ ਆਪੁ ਮੁਹਾਇ ॥੧॥: Vaalahu nikee… (sggs 1377).

  2. In gurbaanee we can see two words as
    ਸਬਦੁ And
    ਅਖਰ
    Can we get any understanding about these two.

  3. Considering a line ਆਰਜਾ ਨ ਛੀਜੈ ਸਬਦੁ ਪਛਾਣੁ here the direction is for realising /recognising of ਸਬਦੁ.

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