Brahm Giyani

Tremendous importance has been given to ‘Vidya-ਵਿਦਿਆ’ in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS). ‘Vidya’ is a Sanskrit word meaning science, knowledge, study, education, act of knowing or learning, and so on. ‘Vidya’ is also of two types — worldly (Sansaaree-ਸੰਸਾਰੀ) and Spiritual (Niraakaaree – Brahm Giyan or Gian).

  • ਵਿਦਿਆ ਵੀਚਾਰੀ ਤਾਂ ਪਰਉਪਕਾਰੀ ॥ : True learning induces in the mind service to humanity. (sggs 356).
  • ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦੀ ਵਿਦਿਆ ਵੀਚਾਰੈ ਪੜਿ ਪੜਿ ਪਾਵੈ ਮਾਨੁ ॥ ਆਪਾ ਮਧੇ ਆਪੁ ਪਰਗਾਸਿਆ ਪਾਇਆ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਨਾਮੁ ॥੧॥ : Through the Grace of the Giaan-Guru, a person who reflects again and again on ‘Vidiaa‘ (Giaan, Wisdom…) obtains honor in the society. He/she realize own true self Within and you get blessed with the Amrit Naam (Wisdom / Virtues). ||1||  (sggs 1329).

The source of worldly ‘Vidya‘ is parents, schools, colleges, universities etc. With worldly education, today’s man is exploring space, flying in the sky, discovering new discoveries everyday, providing modern comforts. Science has proved that moon, sun, mars, Saturn etc. are not gods (ਦੇਵਤੇ) but different planets in the sky. Governed by an Invisible Hukam (System-Rule-Law-Order of Nature/Universe) that pervades the cosmos, all these planets move around in space. Also, as logically rejected in the SGGS, there is no such thing as ‘hell and heaven‘ or ‘Sach Khand‘ up there in the sky as concocted by the self-serving clergy systems (Pujaaree) of the organized religions (ਮਜ਼ਹਬ)! It also rejects self-serving Pujaaree‘s concocted idea of a particular building on earth or a geographical location up there in the sky where the Creator resides!

On the other hand, for a Sikh, the authentic source of Spiritual Vidya (Brahm Giyan) is the SGGS. In short, Spirituality is a sense of connection to something higher than oneself — sense of inner peace and Joy, sense of interconnectedness with others in the world, recognition of one’s meaning and purpose in life, and so on.

  • ਸੋ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਜਿਨਿ ਸਬਦਿ ਲਿਵ ਲਾਈ ॥: He alone is a Giaanee (ਗਿਆਨ-ਵਾਨ), who has focused his consciousness on the Shabad (sggs 831).
  • ਗੁਰਮਤੀ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਰਤਨੁ ਮਨਿ ਵਸੈ ਸਭੁ ਦੇਖਿਆ ਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਸੁਭਾਇ ॥ Following the Guru’s Teachings, the Jewel of Spiritual Wisdom (ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਦੀ ਸੂਝ…) abides in the mind, and then God is naturally seen in all. (sggs 1417).

One’s education (Vidiya) is seen in one’s behavior

The purpose of any type of ‘Vidiya‘ or college degrees is NOT to impress others but to improve one’s own life, behavior or conduct. The Gurbani reminds us that it is of no use being a learned person if one behaves foolishly and shamefully!

  • ਪੜਿਆ ਮੂਰਖੁ ਆਖੀਐ ਜਿਸੁ ਲਬੁ ਲੋਭੁ ਅਹੰਕਾਰਾ ॥ : Such a scholar who is mired with greed, obsession and arrogant pride, should be considered a fool (because he has understood/learnt nothing)! (sggs 140).

The SGGS urges us to become Brahm-Giyani – SACHIAARAA‘, highly Enlightened individual who has obtained the ultimate blessings, Gurmukh State of the mind, State of Godly Realization, God Conscience person etc.).

  • ਸਚਿਆਰ ਸਿਖ ਬਹਿ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਪਾਸਿ ਘਾਲਨਿ ਕੂੜਿਆਰ ਨ ਲਭਨੀ ਕਿਤੈ ਥਾਇ ਭਾਲੇ ॥ : Those Sikhs (learners, students of the Guru Shabad) who have become ‘Sachiaar‘ remain connected with the Giyan-Wisdom of the Guru Shabad in daily life, but false ones are found NOT to follow Message of the Guru Shabad. (sggs 305).

SGGS (page 272-274) devotes an entire Ashatpadi discoursing on ‘Brahm Giyani‘. The Salok preceding that Ashatpadi summarizes the signs of a ‘Brahm Giyani’:

  • ਮਨਿ ਸਾਚਾ ਮੁਖਿ ਸਾਚਾ ਸੋਇ ॥ ਅਵਰੁ ਨ ਪੇਖੈ ਏਕਸੁ ਬਿਨੁ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਇਹ ਲਛਣ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਹੋਇ ॥੧॥ : Nanak, these are the signs of a ‘Brahm Giyani‘: He/she is God-Realized in mind/word (i.e. NOT pretentious-Pakhandee); sees none other except the One Creator (i.e. sees the One Creator in everyone and everything). ॥1॥ (sggs 272).

Ruhani (ਰੂਹਾਨੀ) food of Giyan is the nourishment of the Brahm Giyani’s mind. This Ruhani nourishment is in the form of Vichaar of the Guru’s Shabad or in the form of inculcation and internalization of the Enlightening Spiritual Message of the Shabad (SGGS).

  • ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਕਾ ਭੋਜਨੁ ਗਿਆਨ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਕਾ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਧਿਆਨੁ ॥੩॥: Spiritual Wisdom (ਉੱਚੀ ਸਮਝ, etc.) is the food or nourishment of the Brahm Giyani – the knower of Truth. Nanak, the Brahm Giyani is absorbed in God’s meditation. ||3|| (sggs 273).

The Gurbani also indicates that without the real Giyan, there can be no real Dharma and no real Dhiyan (ਧਿਆਨ, meditation, contemplation, reflection, self-communication etc.).

  • ਕਬੀਰਾ ਜਹਾ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਤਹ ਧਰਮੁ ਹੈ ਜਹਾ ਝੂਠੁ ਤਹ ਪਾਪੁ ॥ : O Kabeer, where there is Giyan (Spiritual Wisdom) there is Dharma; where there is falsehood, there is sin. (sggs 1372).

What is Brahm Giyan and Brahm Giyani?

Let’s ask the Gurbani in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS): What is ‘Brahm Giyan‘?

  • ਪੰਚ ਤਸਕਰ ਧਾਵਤ ਰਾਖੇ ਚੂਕਾ ਮਨਿ ਅਭਿਮਾਨੁ ॥ ਦਿਸਟਿ ਬਿਕਾਰੀ ਦੁਰਮਤਿ ਭਾਗੀ ਐਸਾ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਗਿਆਨੁ ॥੨॥ : (With the Naam) the ‘five’ wandering thieves (i.e. vices/Bikaar) are restrained and vanity of my mind ends. Such is ‘BRAHM GIYAN‘ because of which sinful outlook and evil intellect vanishes (Divine Wisdom / Virtues, mental State of Godly Realization, Divine Awareness etc.). (sggs 1329).
  • ਜਾ ਕੈ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਬਸੈ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ॥ ਜੋ ਜੋ ਪੇਖੈ ਸੁ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਗਿਆਨੁ ॥ : That person in whose mind manifest the Divine Naam (eternal Wisdom / Virtues), finds divine Wisdom in whatever he/she sees. (sggs 1152).
  • ਪ੍ਰਾਣੀ ਏਕੋ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਵਹੁ ॥ ਅਪਨੀ ਪਤਿ ਸੇਤੀ ਘਰਿ ਜਾਵਹੁ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ : O mortal, remember One Divine Naam (eternal Wisdom / Virtues), and reach your Home Within (i.e. Nij Ghar) with honor. (sggs 1254).

A person who is ever connected with such Brahm Giyan is called Brahm Giyani. Having said that, ln a nutshell:

  • a Brahm Giyani’s mind is guided by the Spiritual Wisdom and in that state of Shabad-Surti he/she remains immune to the worldly temptations and their corrupting influences (Maya),
  • since a Brahm Giyani’s mind has transcended Maya, he/she is worry-free. Thus lives in the world but NOT of the world – remains detached as the lotus in the water,
  • the glittering world to him/her is nothing but empty show (Tamaashaa) which he/she enjoys as long as it lasts and forgets when it is over.
  • a Brahm Giyani lives in the present moment as a living liberated,
  • a Brahm Giyani is neither attached to the actors in this world-play, nor does he/she identifies with them. Whatever takes place on the stage makes him/her quiver or roll with laughter, yet all the time he/she is aware that it is just a passing show (Tamaashaa)! He/she enjoys it as it happens; without attachment, desires or fear,
  • the Brahm Giyani keeps searching ownself as to who he truly is (ਆਪਣੇ ਅਸਲੇ – ਮੂਲ – ਨੂੰ ਪਛਾਣਨਾਂ, ਸਮਝਣਾਂ …),
  • a Brahm Giyani’s ‘egg of doubt‘ is broken,
  • a Brahm Giyani is always Awake and Aware,
  • friend and foe are the same to a Brahm Giyani,
  • a Brahm Giyani is humble, kind, blissful, devoid of egotistical pride etc.,
  • a ‘Brahm Giyani‘ lives a Shabad-based householder’s life,
  • a Brahm Giyani is ever linked with the ‘Brahm Giyan‘ Within — the Divine Wisdom / Virtues, State of Godly Realization, Divine Awareness, and so on.

The Gurmat’s Brahm Giyani is not a person in a specific religious attire

The Way of the Gurbani (SGGS) is the Way of understanding. It helps us inculcate Virtues, Realization of our mind’s Jot Saroop or Original Nature and Hukam (System-Rule-Law of Nature/Universe), it Guides us as to how our mind can become free of vices / Bikaar (lust-desires, anger, greed, attachment, pride and their numerous variations), and so on.

In short, as the Gurbani in SGGS teaches us that actually a human being is considered born ONLY when he/she attains Giyan (Eternal Wisdom) otherwise do not consider him/her born. Because without Giyan-Wisdom one lives and dies drowning in vices/Bikaar.

  • ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਜਨਮੇ ਗਵਨੁ ਮਿਟਾਇਆ ॥ ਅਨਹਤਿ ਰਾਤੇ ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਲਾਇਆ ॥ : Being born into the Spirituality on account of the Satgur ends the cycle of spiritual death (‘Gavan’). (While traversing the human life towards Realization of the Creator) the mind is immersed in undivided focus and love of the Shabad. (sggs 940).

Apparently this term ‘Brahm Giyani‘ used in the SGGS is not for a specific person wearing a specific religious robes, exhibiting a specific external appearance, displaying specific outward religious signs or symbols, specific or peculiar religious attire (Bhekh-ਭੇਖ) or paraphernalia etc.

Brahm Giyani‘ is the state of mind’s ‘Biratee- ਬਿਰਤੀ’ or ‘Subha-ਸੁਭਾ’, Nature, thinking etc.

Such ‘Biratee– ਬਿਰਤੀ’ or ‘Subha-ਸੁਭਾ’ or thinking can be of any person who is good and beneficial to the humanity — a doctor, an engineer, a farmer, a home-maker, a businessmen, a laborer, a teacher, a cobbler, a weaver, a barber, a tailor, an educated or uneducated person, a person of so called high or low Jaat Paat, a rich or poor, a wife, a husband, a child, a brother, a sister, a white person, a black person, and so on.

  • ਐਸਾ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਜਪਹੁ ਮਨ ਮੇਰੇ ॥ ਹੋਵਹੁ ਚਾਕਰ ਸਾਚੇ ਕੇਰੇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ : O my mind! Internalize such divine Giaan-Wisdom so that you can Realize the Creator within (i.e. traverse spiritual Life of Wisdom / Virtues). ||1||Pause|| (sggs 728).
  • ਆਪੁ ਬੀਚਾਰੇ ਸੁ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਹੋਈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Who reflects ownself (ਆਪਣੇ ਅਸਲੇ ਨੂੰ ਵਿਚਾਰਦਾ ਹੈ – ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਦੀ ਪੜਤਾਲ…) is truly Giaanee (Wise – ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਦੀ ਸੂਝ ਬੂਝ ਵਾਲਾ). ||1||Pause|| (sggs 152).
  • ਗੁਣ ਵੀਚਾਰੇ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਸੋਇ ॥: (One who) contemplates the Divine Virtues is spiritually Wise. (sggs 931).

Hence, a Gurmat’s ‘Brahm Giyani‘ is not at the level of physical body-frame or robes (Bhekh-ਭੇਖ). In other words, one cannot become a ‘Brahm Giyani’ by wearing a peculiar robe (Bhekh-ਭੇਖ), or by giving himself the title of ‘Brahm Giyani‘, or having his deluded or brainwashed followers calling him ‘Brahm Giyani‘!

  • ਇਸੁ ਜੁਗ ਮਹਿ ਕੋ ਵਿਰਲਾ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਜਿ ਹਉਮੈ ਮੇਟਿ ਸਮਾਏ ॥ : Rare is the person in this world who is ‘Brahm Giyani‘ and who realizes God by erasing his/her false ego-sense (Haumai). (sggs 512).
  • ਐਸਾ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਬੀਚਾਰੈ ਕੋਈ ॥ ਤਿਸ ਤੇ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਪਰਮ ਗਤਿ ਹੋਈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ : A rare person Reflects on such Spiritual Wisdom, by the blessing of which one Realizes the highest Spiritual State and liberation (from vices/Bikaar etc.). ||1||Pause|| (sggs 871).

Hence as perfectly made clear by Baabaa Nanak, it is the mind or Conscience (Surat–ਸੁਰਤ) that has to become a ‘Sikh‘ (i.e. learner or student of the SGGS), NOT the physical body-frame. Similarly, its the mind that has to become Brahm Giyani, NOT the body-frame!

  • ਸਬਦੁ ਗੁਰੂ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਧੁਨਿ ਚੇਲਾ ॥: The SHABAD is my GURU, and my consciousness (Surat) is the disciple (of this SHABAD GURU). (sggs 943).
  • ਗਿਆਨੀਆ ਕਾ ਇਹੁ ਮਹਤੁ ਹੈ ਮਨ ਮਾਹਿ ਸਮਾਨਾ ॥ : This is the greatness (glory, eminence, ਵਡਿਆਈ) of the Giyani that they remain in their own mind (i.e. they have a stable mind unaffected by worldly temptations and their corrupting influences). (sggs 1089).
  • ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਅਹੰਬੁਧਿ ਤਿਆਗਤ ॥: The Brahm Giyani renounces his egoistic intellect (sggs 273).
  • ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਸੁਖ ਸਹਜ ਨਿਵਾਸ ॥: The Brahm Giyani dwells in Sahaj (Avasthaa). (sggs 273).
  • ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਕੈ ਹੋਇ ਅਚਿੰਤ ॥: The Brahm Giyani is worry-free (sggs 273).

Passing world-show is a ‘Tamaashaa‘ to a Brahm Giyani

To a ‘Brahm Giyani‘ this captivating and  mirage-like world-show is just a ‘Tamaasaa‘ – passing entertainment, spectacle…!

  • ਚਿਲਿਮਿਲਿ ਬਿਸੀਆਰ ਦੁਨੀਆ ਫਾਨੀ ॥: The (glitter or splendor) of the world is exorbitant like a thunderbolt, (but it is) transitory (i.e., a passing show). (sggs 1291).
  • ਚਚਾ ਰਚਿਤ ਚਿਤ੍ਰ ਹੈ ਭਾਰੀ ॥ ਤਜਿ ਚਿਤ੍ਰੈ ਚੇਤਹੁ ਚਿਤਕਾਰੀ ॥ ਚਿਤ੍ਰ ਬਚਿਤ੍ਰ ਇਹੈ ਅਵਝੇਰਾ ॥ ਤਜਿ ਚਿਤ੍ਰੈ ਚਿਤੁ ਰਾਖਿ ਚਿਤੇਰਾ ॥੧੨॥: CHACHA (a letter of the Gurmukhi alphabet): This universe created by the Creator is as it were a very huge painting. Forget this painting and remember the Painter (the One Creator). (Because) the problem is that this Painting is captivating to the mind. (So, to avoid the attachment to this captivating picture) forget this picture and focus your Conscience on the Painter (i.e. the Creator). ||12|| (sggs 340).

How does a Brahm Giyani stroll about in the world like this? To make it relatively easy to understand and digest it, let’s take some practical examples of TORTOISE, BUTTER, LOTUS, AIR, and SCREEN:

A TORTOISE, for example, extends his senses (four legs, head and a tail) out of the armor of his shell for a particular purpose. However, as soon as he feels harm or danger, he immediately withdraws them within the shell. Similarly, a Giyani ever remains Alert (Awake, Free of Maya-ਮਾਇਆ ਤੋਂ ਨਿਰਲੇਪ…) and withdraws his senses the moment he feels danger of worldly temptation (Maya) for a Brahm Giyani is always alert to his body-senses-mind-intellect apparatus.

  • ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਕੇ ਮਨਿ ਹੋਇ ਪ੍ਰਗਾਸ ॥: The mind of the Brahm Giyani is Enlightened. (sggs 272).
  • ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਸਦਾ ਸਦ ਜਾਗਤ ॥: The Brahm Giyani is always Awake (sggs 273).

The True Brahm Giyani is like BUTTER. Water added to milk will mix with it. However, the milk that has become butter will float on water, without going through adulteration. Similarly, the Giyani who has churned the Gurbani and has eaten the Butter of its Brahm-Giyan, finds himself impervious, inwardly and outwardly, to all attachment to sense-objects even when he lives amidst them.

  • ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਸਦਾ ਨਿਰਲੇਪ ॥ ਜੈਸੇ ਜਲ ਮਹਿ ਕਮਲ ਅਲੇਪ ॥: The Brahm Giyani is always Pure (untainted by Maya…), as the lotus in the water remains untouched (sggs 272).

In the above verse, a ‘Brahm Giyani‘ is also likened to the LOTUS. A bird flies in the sky without leaving any mark, a fish swims in the water without making any footprints, and the swan swims across the stream without getting wet. Similarly, although the LOTUS flower lives in the water of slimy scum, but it remains untouched. In the same way, a ‘Brahm Giyani‘ lives amidst the so called impurities of the material world without being affected.

Just as AIR exists in space, but, since it is not attached to space, it is free from spatial limitations. Even though a Brahm Giyani appears to have a body, but he is bodiless. It is just as the space is responsible for the growth of a tree, but the space does not arrest such growth! The True Brahm Giyani is a detached observer.

The analogy of SCREEN may aid us further appreciate the True Giyani’s state of the mind. In the cinema hall, the screen is fixed, whilst the pictures move in it (gunshots, romance, etc.). The screen, however, ever remains unaffected by the movement of these pictures. Likewise, the Spiritually Awakened Giyani is fully Aware that the true state of his mind’s Mool or Jot Saroop ever remains Unmodified (Undivided, ever in harmony with the Hukam…) and that all activities go on around him; hence, he considers only the screen and not the moving pictures!

The mind attached to Maya is tortured by the memory of the past and worries of the future. The Giyani, however, is free from past-memory and future-anticipation, he is quite happy with whatever comes. This is obeying the Divine Hukam (System-Rule-Law of Nature/Universe). However, seemingly the majority of us don’t want to improve today, instead, we worry about future and after death!

  • ਪੇਈਅੜੈ ਸਹੁ ਸੇਵਿ ਤੂੰ ਸਾਹੁਰੜੈ ਸੁਖਿ ਵਸੁ ॥ ਗੁਰ ਮਿਲਿ ਚਜੁ ਅਚਾਰੁ ਸਿਖੁ ਤੁਧੁ ਕਦੇ ਨ ਲਗੈ ਦੁਖੁ ॥੩॥ : (O Jeev) make yourself good today (live by Naam/ Giyan/Wisdom/Virtues) so there will no need to worry about tomorrow. Meeting the Gur (-Giaan, Wisdom…), learn skill (of life) and good conduct, then sorrow will never affect you. ||3|| (sggs 50).

The One Creator is Formless-Spaceless-Timeless; therefore, beyond any mundane descriptions. Since the true Giyani is linked to THAT, the state of his/her mind is also beyond any mundane description – cannot be limited to the hollowness of the words of human language.

  • ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਕੀ ਮਿਤਿ ਕਉਨੁ ਬਖਾਨੈ ॥: Who can guess the Brahm Giyani’s (highly Enlightened State of the mind). (sggs 273).
  • ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਆਪਿ ਨਿਰੰਕਾਰੁ ॥: Brahm Giyani himself is (the embodiment of) Formless God. (sggs 274).


  1. Brother T. Singh Ji, I just wanted to let you know what a massive positive role your blog is playing in motivating me to get back to doing desperately needed Shabad Vichaar on a regular basis, after an unfortunately long hiatus. Your articles are helping me so much to re-embrace Gurbani and incorporate it into my daily life in many meaningful ways. Heartfelt thanks!

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