Darkness and Light

If there is light, darkness departs immediately. But, if there is no light, darkness appears instantly.

However, if there is no darkness, we will not know the greatness of the light!

From a Spiritual standpoint, what is this ‘darkness’, and ‘light’ talked about in the Gurmat Wisdom of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS)?


In a nutshell, from a Spiritual standpoint, darkness symbolizes ignorance, Raajas and Taamas qualities, Manmukh-Saakat-Mayadhaaree mindset, body-consciousness, doubt-ridden mind, rule of Haumai (false ego-sense), Mayaic conscience etc.

  • ਅੰਤਰਿ ਅਗਿਆਨੁ ਅੰਧੇਰੁ ਹੈ ਸੁਧਿ ਨ ਕਾਈ ਪਾਇ ॥: (Manmukh) is filled with the darkness of ignorance, (since a Manmukh is un-enlightened, he) is unable to search and find (understand). (sggs 667).
  • ਮਨਮੁਖ ਕੋਠੀ ਅਗਿਆਨੁ ਅੰਧੇਰਾ ਤਿਨ ਘਰਿ ਰਤਨੁ ਨ ਲਾਖਾ ॥: In the mind of the Manmukh (un-enlightened…) is the darkness of ignorance; (this is the reason, they have never) found the Jewel of Realization in their mind. (sggs 696).

In this darkness of ignorance (‘ਅਗਿਆਨੁ – Agiaan‘) we function with an arrogant sense of false ego-sense (Haumai) – the un-enlightened or Manmukh lifestyle. Which sinks us in the ocean (Bhav Saagar) of suffering (Dukh).

  • ਮਨਮੁਖ ਅਗਿਆਨੀ ਮਹਾ ਦੁਖੁ ਪਾਇਦੇ ਡੁਬੇ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਵਿਸਾਰਿ ॥: Forgetting the Naam (Wisdom, Virtues…), the ignorant Manmukh persons are drowned (in ignorance, Bhav Saagar…) and suffer greatly. (sggs 89).

In the darkness of ignorance, we identify with the body-conscience instead of our Mool (Source, Jot Saroop or Original Nature…).

Thus, our identification with the physical body-frame creates non-apprehension of the Reality, which in turn, creates in us the misapprehension (ignorance) that we are the finite beings as opposed to Jot Saroop. Doubt (Bharam) and duality (Doojaa Bhaav) thus created become wall between us and our Mool within. This is the blind well of Spiritual ignorance the Gurbani so much talk about.

  • ਮਾਇਆ ਮਾਇਆ ਕੇ ਜੋ ਅਧਿਕਾਈ ਵਿਚਿ ਮਾਇਆ ਪਚੈ ਪਚੀਜੈ ॥ ਅਗਿਆਨੁ ਅੰਧੇਰੁ ਮਹਾ ਪੰਥੁ ਬਿਖੜਾ ਅਹੰਕਾਰਿ ਭਾਰਿ ਲਦਿ ਲੀਜੈ ॥: Those who are entirely in love with Maya, rot away in Maya (consumed by the hunger or desires of Maya…). (For such person) the Spiritual ignorance becomes darkness and (in that darkness, he) remains strayed on the path (of his life, because he ever remains) loaded with the load of egotism (sggs 1326).

In a nutshell, if we live ignorantly, we must suffer!

If the ignorance does not make us suffer, then there will be no need or use of GIAAN or Knowledge, or MOOL-ABIDANCE, or KNOWING, or ENLIGHTENMENT, or BIBEK-BUDH (discerning intellect), or UNDERSTANDING, or REALIZATION, or BECOMING the Gurbani etc.

If one can live Happily and Blissfully with ignorance, then what’s the point of all this?

In short, if one lives ignorantly, then he must suffer! This is the edict (ਫੈਸਲਾ) of the Gurmat Wisdom of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS).

  • ਅੰਤਰਿ ਅਗਿਆਨੁ ਦੁਖੁ ਭਰਮੁ ਹੈ ਗੁਰ ਗਿਆਨਿ ਗਵਾਈ ॥: The ignorance (causes) suffering and doubt within the human being and are removed through the Gur-Giaan or Wisdom. (sggs 1291).

Hence, ignorance can NOT enhance or heightened one’s bodily energies and faculties.


On the other hand, from a Spiritual standpoint, light symbolizes Wisdom, Aatam-Giaan, Gur-Giaan etc.(ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਦੀ ਸੂਝ ਦਾ ਚਾਨਣ).

  • ਗੁਰ ਗਿਆਨ ਦੀਪਕ ਉਜਿਆਰੀਆ ॥੧॥: The Gur-Wisdom is the Lamp that Enlightens (the mind). ||1|| (sggs 210).
  • ਗੁਰਮਤੀ ਆਪੁ ਪਛਾਣਿਆ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮ ਪਰਗਾਸੁ ॥: By the Gurmat (Giaan or Wisdom, Sikhiaa, Upadesh or Way of the SGGS), recognize your ownself; the Divine Light of the Divine Naam comes to shine within (sggs 86).
  • ਭਇਓ ਪ੍ਰਗਾਸੁ ਸਰਬ ਉਜੀਆਰਾ ਗੁਰ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਮਨਹਿ ਪ੍ਰਗਟਾਇਓ ॥ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਨਾਮੁ ਪੀਓ ਮਨੁ ਤ੍ਰਿਪਤਿਆ ਅਨਭੈ ਠਹਰਾਇਓ ॥੨॥: When the Guru’s Spiritual Wisdom awakened in my mind , then the Divine Light illuminated within me, and I see that Divine Light everywhere. By quaffing the Amrit (Giaan) my mind is satisfied and my fears are stilled. ||2|| (sggs 209).
  • ਮੰਦਰਿ ਮੇਰੈ ਸਬਦਿ ਉਜਾਰਾ ॥: In the temple of my Heart, shines the Light of the Shabad (i.e., the Divine Knowledge of the Shabad…). (sggs 384).

Just as when the dirt is removed, the real substance is made manifest; just as when the darkness of the night is dispelled by the light of the sun, the objects that were shrouded by the darkness are clearly seen; similarly, when darkness of ignorance of the Mool within is dispelled with the Light of the Giaan-Wisdom, the mind Realizes its Source or Original Nature, within.

This Gur-Giaan (Wisdom) annihilates the darkness of ignorance and helps the doubt-ridden mind realize its Mool within. In other words, Aatm-Giaan (Wisdom) is the mean for liberation from the darkness of ignorance of our True Nature (Jot Saroop). With the dawn of the Aatm-Giaan obtained through churning the Gurbani via Shabad-Vichaar, we can realize that our Jot Saroop alone is Real and all else is fleeting (Koorh).

Couple of examples may help us further understand this. In the darkness, a rope laying on the ground may be mistaken for a snake. We know that the rope alone is real, not a snake. However, the non-apprehension of the rope gives rise to the misapprehension of a snake. Once the darkness is removed, the rope alone remains; its misapprehension as a snake disappears. Similarly, for a gold-bracelet to think it is separate from the gold shows nothing but ignorance of its own nature, which is but gold. The Gurbani explains all this:

  • ਰਾਜ ਭੁਇਅੰਗ ਪ੍ਰਸੰਗ ਜੈਸੇ ਹਹਿ ਅਬ ਕਛੁ ਮਰਮੁ ਜਨਾਇਆ ॥ ਅਨਿਕ ਕਟਕ ਜੈਸੇ ਭੂਲਿ ਪਰੇ ਅਬ ਕਹਤੇ ਕਹਨੁ ਨ ਆਇਆ ॥੩॥: As is the story of the rope and the snake (i.e., rope mistaken for a snake in darkness), some mystery has now been explained (to me). Like the many bracelets (made of gold), which were mistakenly thought (of separate or different from the gold); now, (I) do not say that (sggs 658).
  • ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਬਾਣਿ ਬਜਰ ਕਲ ਛੇਦੀ ਪ੍ਰਗਟਿਆ ਪਦੁ ਪਰਗਾਸਾ ॥ ਸਕਤਿ ਅਧੇਰ ਜੇਵੜੀ ਭ੍ਰਮੁ ਚੂਕਾ ਨਿਹਚਲੁ ਸਿਵ ਘਰਿ ਬਾਸਾ ॥: The Gur-arrow (of Wisdom or Giaan) has pierced the dark state (of my mind -imaginations, ਫੁਰਨੇ…) and the state of illumination (light of Wisdom) has dawned upon me. In the darkness of Maya, I mistook the rope for the snake, but that is over, and now I dwell in the Home (within – state of ever Bliss, Jot Saroop…). (sggs 332).

Light removes darkness

To say it otherwise, the darkness or ignorance signifies man’s bonds (of Maya), or trapped state etc. The Light or Knowledge refers to liberation from these bonds (‘Bandhan-ਬੰਧਨ’) and mental traps. In other words, the contrast between Light and darkness is symbolical of the Giaan or Knowledge (Enlightenment or Gurmukh Mindset), and ignorance is symbolical of degradation of the mind or lack of Spiritual Unfoldment (Manmukh-Saakat-Mayadhaaree mindset).

  • ਕਾਮਿ ਕ੍ਰੋਧਿ ਲੋਭਿ ਮੋਹਿ ਮਨੁ ਲੀਨਾ ॥ ਬੰਧਨ ਕਾਟਿ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਗੁਰਿ ਕੀਨਾ ॥੨॥: (O my mind! the human) mind remains engrossed in lust, anger, greed, attachment (i.e. all Bikaar). Breaking my bonds (of these Bikaar), the Guru (the Gur-Giaan or Wisdom)has liberated me. ||2|| (sggs 804).
  • ਬੰਧਨਿ ਬਾਧਿਓ ਮਾਇਆ ਫਾਸ ॥ ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਛੂਟੈ ਗੁਰ ਪਰਗਾਸ ॥੪॥੧੪॥੩੪॥ : (Mortal) remains entrapped in Maya’s bond and noose. O Jan Nanak! he is released becoming enlightened by the Gur-Giaan (Wisdom). (sggs 162).

The SGGS is the Giaan-Guru (Giaan = Knowledge), the darkness of ignorance can be removed with the Light of the Giaan of Guru’s Shabad. The SGGS tells us this is the purpose of the human birth!

  • ਅਗਿਆਨੁ ਅੰਧੇਰਾ ਮਿਟਿ ਗਇਆ ਗੁਰ ਚਾਨਣੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਚਰਾਗੁ ॥: The Gur-Wisdom is (akin to) the kindled lamp that dispels darkness of ignorance (from within) (sggs 849).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਸਬਦੁ ਪਛਾਣੀਐ ਹਰਿ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਨਾਮਿ ਸਮਾਇ ॥ ਗੁਰ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਪ੍ਰਚੰਡੁ ਬਲਾਇਆ ਅਗਿਆਨੁ ਅੰਧੇਰਾ ਜਾਇ ॥੨॥: By becoming the Gurmukh Shabad is realized; (and who realizes becomes) immersed in the Amrit-Naam. (Whosoever within) has lit the bright (Light or Lamp of) Gur-Giaan or Spiritual Wisdom, (from within him) the darkness of ignorance gets dispelled ||2|| (sggs 29).
  • ਗਿਆਨ ਅੰਜਨੁ ਗੁਰਿ ਦੀਆ ਅਗਿਆਨ ਅੰਧੇਰ ਬਿਨਾਸੁ ॥: The Guru has given the collyrium of Spiritual Wisdom, (by which) the darkness of ignorance is destroyed (sggs 293).

Also, with the Grace of the Wisdom of the SGGS…), doubt is annihilated.

  • ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦਿ ਭਰਮ ਕਾ ਨਾਸੁ ॥: By the Grace of the Gur-Giaan or Wisdom, doubt is dispelled. (sggs 294).

Simply put: The Gurmukh-hood is Light; and the Manmukh-hood (Saakat-Mayadhaaree mindset) is darkness. The Gurbani wants us to become the Gurmukh! Not easy at all, it’s an uphill climb — it needs sincere efforts!

  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਚਾਨਣੁ ਜਾਣੀਐ ਮਨਮੁਖਿ ਮੁਗਧੁ ਗੁਬਾਰੁ ॥: The Gurmukh Knows the Divine Light, while the foolish Manmukh gropes around in the darkness of ignorance (sggs 20).
  • ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦਿ ਅਕਲਿ ਭਈ ਅਵਰੈ ਨਾਤਰੁ ਥਾ ਬੇਗਾਨਾ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: By the Grace of the Gur-Giaan (i.e., by the Grace of the Wisdom of the Gur-Shabad, now my), intellect has changed or become different, otherwise (i.e., before this shift, I) was quite ignorant (sggs 333).

Hence, the Gurbani urges us to bring about a storm of Wisdom in the mind. For this storm of Wisdom will lead the mind to Mool-abidance by destroying the ignorance (Durmat or evil mindedness, Bharam or doubt, Abidiaa or false knowledge/Maya etc.).

  • ਦੇਖੌ ਭਾਈ ਗ੍ਹਾਨ ਕੀ ਆਈ ਆਂਧੀ ॥ ਸਭੈ ਉਡਾਨੀ ਭ੍ਰਮ ਕੀ ਟਾਟੀ ਰਹੈ ਨ ਮਾਇਆ ਬਾਂਧੀ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਦੁਚਿਤੇ ਕੀ ਦੁਇ ਥੂਨਿ ਗਿਰਾਨੀ ਮੋਹ ਬਲੇਡਾ ਟੂਟਾ ॥ ਤਿਸਨਾ ਛਾਨਿ ਪਰੀ ਧਰ ਊਪਰਿ ਦੁਰਮਤਿ ਭਾਂਡਾ ਫੂਟਾ ॥੧॥: O mind, the storm of Spiritual Wisdom or Enlightenment has come. It has blown away my shackles of doubt and confusion; supported by bonds of Maya (shackles of doubt) cannot continue to remain. ||1||Pause|| (As a result) the foundation of double-mindedness (ਮਨ ਦੀ ਇਹ ਡਾਵਾਂ-ਡੋਲ ਹਾਲਤ) and the cross beam of attachment has come crashing down. My shackles of desires (supported on the beam of attachment) caves in, and the pitcher of wicked intellect breaks down. ||1|| (sggs 331).
  • ਗੁਰ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਪ੍ਰਚੰਡੁ ਬਲਾਇਆ ਅਗਿਆਨੁ ਅੰਧੇਰਾ ਜਾਇ ॥੨॥: (Whosoever within) has lit the bright (Light or Lamp of) Gur-Giaan or Spiritual Wisdom, (from within him) the darkness of ignorance gets dispelled ||2|| (sggs 29).


  1. SSA
    3D reflections is darkness and the over coating of 3D is pure RAY[[[LIGHT]]]…..our eyes are tuned to detect the 3D reflections not the ray with in us illuminating all imagery including us.

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