Shabad in Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) means the Creator (God), Truth, Guru’s teachings and the Guru’s Giaan (Spiritual Wisdom, Knowledge). So it is the understanding of the Creator that is needed for the understanding of Hukam (Cosmic Law, System-Rule-Law of Kudrat, ਨਿਯਮ). The one, who understands the Hukam and conducts himself/herself, accordingly, is called a ‘Sachiaaraa’ in the SGGS – Gurmukh, Daas, Bhagat, Jan, Braham Giaanee, etc. All these words are used interchangeably in the SGGS. In short, to become Sachiaaraa is to become Enlightened or God-Realized being.
- ਕਿਵ ਸਚਿਆਰਾ ਹੋਈਐ ਕਿਵ ਕੂੜੈ ਤੁਟੈ ਪਾਲਿ ॥ ਹੁਕਮਿ ਰਜਾਈ ਚਲਣਾ ਨਾਨਕ ਲਿਖਿਆ ਨਾਲਿ ॥੧॥: How then can I become God-Realized being within (‘Sachiaaraa‘)? How can I remove the obstacle of my non-realized state within? O Nanak! (The way to realize Creator within is to) remain within the confines of His Hukam (the System or Law of Nature…) and abide in Sahaj , as (Creator and His Hukam) is contained with us. ||1|| (sggs 1).
Hence strength of the mind is true Understanding or Wisdom and divine Virtues such as Godly contentment etc. The awakening of this strength within takes place when the ignorance driven emotional roller-coaster and the instinctive mind’s negative influences are properly understood and conquered through internalization of the Shabad — false ego-sense (or Haumai), vices or Bikaar (i.e. lust, anger, greed, attachment, pride etc.), selfishness, enviousness, stubborn mindedness etc.
Simply put: realization of the Message contained in the Shabad = realization of the Creator within:
- ਸਬਦਿ ਮਿਲੈ ਸੋ ਮਿਲਿ ਰਹੈ ਜਿਸ ਨਉ ਆਪੇ ਲਏ ਮਿਲਾਇ ॥ ਦੂਜੈ ਭਾਇ ਕੋ ਨਾ ਮਿਲੈ ਫਿਰਿ ਫਿਰਿ ਆਵੈ ਜਾਇ ॥ : Realizing the Enlightening Message Within the Shabad is to become realized of the Creator; for which one’s Self must bring about this realization. None who subscribe to a Principle other than this have realized; they suffer the cycles of spiritual life and death (i.e. the one’s Self must bring about realization). (sggs 27).
Baabaa Nanak Guides us that the mind or Conscience (Surat – ਸੁਰਤ) is the disciple (‘Sikh‘, learner, seeker), NOT the physical body-frame.
- ਸਬਦੁ ਗੁਰੂ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਧੁਨਿ ਚੇਲਾ ॥: The Shabad (i.e. Giaan or Wisdom is my) Guru. (Not the body, but) abidance of the Consciousness (i.e., my mind or Soch-ਸੋਚ) is the disciple (of this Shabad-Guru). (sggs 943).
- ਜਬ ਲਗੁ ਸਬਦ ਭੇਦੁ ਨਹੀ ਆਇਆ ਤਬ ਲਗੁ ਕਾਲੁ ਸੰਤਾਏ ॥੩॥: As long as (the mortal) does not come to Realize the Message embedded within the Shabad, the fear of death continues to torture him. ||3|| (sggs 1126).
- ਏਨਾ ਅਖਰਾ ਮਹਿ ਜੋ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਬੂਝੈ ਤਿਸੁ ਸਿਰਿ ਲੇਖੁ ਨ ਹੋਈ ॥੨॥: (Only that person is the learned: scholar-ਵਿਦਵਾਨ) who by becoming the Gurmukh and through his education understands (his Mool, Giaan or Wisdom etc.). Debt (of Bikaar: lust, anger, greed etc.) does not accumulate on the head of that person (i.e. that person does not transgress and does not deviate from the path of life). ||2|| (sggs 432).
- ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਜਿਸ ਨੋ ਮਤਿ ਆਵੈ ਸੋ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਮਾਹਿ ਸਮਾਨਾ ॥ ਇਹ ਬਾਣੀ ਜੋ ਜੀਅਹੁ ਜਾਣੈ ਤਿਸੁ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਰਵੈ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮਾ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: One who Internalizes the Enlightening Message of the Satgur’s Shabad, remains absorbed in it (i.e. Wisdom / Virtues). Divine Naam (Wisdom / Virtues) always remains enshrined in a person’s mind who understands and follows the Gurbani (SGGS) from the core of his being. ||1||Pause|| (sggs 797).
- ਜਿਨਾ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਨ ਸੇਵਿਓ ਸਬਦਿ ਨ ਕੀਤੋ ਵੀਚਾਰੁ ॥ ਓਇ ਮਾਣਸ ਜੂਨਿ ਨ ਆਖੀਅਨਿ ਪਸੂ ਢੋਰ ਗਾਵਾਰ ॥ ਓਨਾ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਨ ਧਿਆਨੁ ਹੈ ਹਰਿ ਸਉ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਨ ਪਿਆਰੁ ॥: Those who have not Internalized the Message of the Guru‘s Shabad; do not call them human beings; they are as dead animals and stupid. They have neither spiritual Giaan–Wisdom of spiritual Life nor Contemplation (Giaan Dhiaan); they have no love and affection for the Creator Within. (sggs 1418).
The impact of the self-serving Pujaaree’s concocted narratives and the Pujaaree’s spirituality of dogma, religious paraphernalia, religious garbs, useless formalities (Karamkaand) etc. is a barrier in understanding and realizing the real spiritual meanings and Message contained in the Guru’s Shabad (SGGS). This is the bitter truth:
- ਫਰੀਦਾ ਕੰਨਿ ਮੁਸਲਾ ਸੂਫੁ ਗਲਿ ਦਿਲਿ ਕਾਤੀ ਗੁੜੁ ਵਾਤਿ ॥ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਦਿਸੈ ਚਾਨਣਾ ਦਿਲਿ ਅੰਧਿਆਰੀ ਰਾਤਿ ॥੫੦॥ : O Farid! on your shoulder is the prayer mat, around your neck is the black scarf (Sufi robe), candy in your mouth (i.e. deceptively sweet words), but a dagger in your heart (you have disguised yourself as a pious person, you speak sweet words but your heart is deceitful). outwardly you appear as spiritually wise but in your heart is pitch darkness of spiritual ignorance. ||50|| (sggs 1380).
- ਜੇ ਜਾਣਸਿ ਬ੍ਰਹਮੰ ਕਰਮੰ ॥ ਸਭਿ ਫੋਕਟ ਨਿਸਚਉ ਕਰਮੰ ॥: If (you) know the Way of the Brahm, (then you would) definitely know that all rituals are of no value. (sggs 470).
- ਅਨਿਕ ਭੇਖ ਅਰੁ ਙਿਆਨ ਧਿਆਨ ਮਨਹਠਿ ਮਿਲਿਅਉ ਨ ਕੋਇ ॥: No one can realize (divine Union) by all sorts of religious robes, religious-debates (ਧਰਮ-ਚਰਚਾ) and meditation with stubborn mindedly. (sggs 251).
- ਕਬੀਰ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਇਕ ਸਿਉ ਕੀਏ ਆਨ ਦੁਬਿਧਾ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਭਾਵੈ ਲਾਂਬੇ ਕੇਸ ਕਰੁ ਭਾਵੈ ਘਰਰਿ ਮੁਡਾਇ ॥੨੫॥: Kabir, the sense of duality and other doubts of the mind vanish only by developing love for the ONE Creator. It makes no difference to the Creator whether we keep long hair or a bald head. ||25|| (sggs 1365).
- ਸਬਦਿ ਭੇਦਿ ਜਾਣੈ ਜਾਣਾਈ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਹਉਮੈ ਜਾਲਿ ਸਮਾਈ ॥੨੯॥: The Message embedded within the Shabad causes Realization (of the Creator) to come about. Nanak, (the Message embedded within the Shabad) removes false ego-sense from the Journey of Realization of the Creator Within. ॥29॥ (sggs 941).
If truthfully searched through Shabad-Vichaar and churning the Gurbani, we will find that although we repeatedly go through the Gurbani (SGGS), but our deluded and confused mind seldom let the Gurbani go through us!
- ਮੈ ਮੂਰਖ ਕੀ ਕੇਤਕ ਬਾਤ ਹੈ ਕੋਟਿ ਪਰਾਧੀ ਤਰਿਆ ਰੇ ॥ ਗੁਰੁ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਜਿਨ ਸੁਣਿਆ ਪੇਖਿਆ ਸੇ ਫਿਰਿ ਗਰਭਾਸਿ ਨ ਪਰਿਆ ਰੇ ॥੪॥੨॥੧੩॥ : What to talk of a foolish person like, (in refuge of Guru’s Giaan-Wisdom, Guidance) even millions of wrongdoers have have gone across (Bhav Saagar – the ocean of unenlightened life). Those people who have listened to the Guru Nanak’s Teaching have realized the Enlightening Message (i.e. Upadesh embedded in the Guru’s Shabad); their minds never again go through repeated suffering (repeated birth and death of the mind). ||4||2||13|| (sggs 613).
The reason Mayaic mind seldom let the Gurbani go through us is our habitual or ritualistic reading of the Gurbani, which is undertaken in stubborn mindedness and in a businesslike manner (calculated) and in an endless hunger for Maya; without hand-in-hand intense subjective discipline and without Reflecting on the Gurbani’s sublime Essence (Giaan-Wisdom).
In other words, our reading or listening of the Gurbani is undertaken with the help of the pick ax of the Mayaic or superficial meanings to either gratify our false ego-sense (Haumai), or make a mere academic acquaintance with the Gurbani. Such reading results in very bad spiritual indigestion.
In short, it seems we are merely satisfied with just ritualistic reading of the Gurbani, as well as superficial or worldly meanings of the Gurbani as promoted by the freeloading Deraa-Vaad Baabaas (ਵੇਹਲੜ, ਨਿਕੰਮੇ) and their own trained self-serving Pujaaree (clergy: Granthis, Parcharaks, Ragis, Dhadees etc.).
The result of all this is that Sikhi as it is seen or practiced today is no longer the Sikhi that was taught to us by our Gurus. Instead, it is a Sikhi or spirituality that stands distorted, corrupted and tainted by the freeloading Deraa-Vaad Baabaas and their trained Pujaaree.
Self-serving Pujaaree’s stale spirituality is totally opposite of Baabaa Nanak’s UNIQUE and REVOLUTIONARY spirituality:
- Spirituality of the self-serving Pujaaree (clergy trained by the Deraa-Vaad Baabaas) is the spirituality of FEAR and GREED. However the Unique spirituality of the SGGS is of Godly contentment and Ananad (Bliss, Joy).
- The spirituality of the self-serving Pujaaree is of ‘asking’ or ‘constantly reminding the Creator to give us this or that’. However, such spirituality of BEGGING (Mayaic Ardaas-prayers) does not fit into the spirituality of Sikhi which is of Godly contentment and Ananad.
- Spirituality of the self-serving Pujaaree is the spirituality of MIDDLE-MAN (ਵਿਚੋਲਾ). However the Unique spirituality of the SGGS is the spirituality of the SELF, for the SELF, by the SELF.
- Spirituality of the self-serving Pujaaree is the spirituality of LIFE AFTER DEATH. However the Unique spirituality of the SGGS is of HERE and NOW.
- Spirituality of the self-serving Pujaaree is the spirituality of KARAMKAAND (worthless RITUALS, formalities etc.). However the practical spirituality of the SGGS is of spiritual Wisdom (Enlightenment, divine Virtues).
- Spirituality of the self-serving Pujaaree is the spirituality of MIRACLES (karaamaat). However the Unique spirituality of the SGGS is of HUKAM.
- Spirituality of the self-serving Pujaaree is the stale pre-1469 spirituality of concocted narratives, made-up tales, manufactured God separate from man and rest of the Creation etc. However this nonsense of the Bipar-Vaad is debunked in the SGGS. Instead, the Unique and Revolutionary spirituality of Sikhi is of BECOMING THE GURBANI and realizing the divinity that is within all of us, Here and Now.
- ਪੜਿਐ ਨਾਹੀ ਭੇਦੁ ਬੁਝਿਐ ਪਾਵਣਾ ॥ ਖਟੁ ਦਰਸਨ ਕੈ ਭੇਖਿ ਕਿਸੈ ਸਚਿ ਸਮਾਵਣਾ ॥ ਸਚਾ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਅਲਖੁ ਸਬਦਿ ਸੁਹਾਵਣਾ ॥ : Not by just reading (scriptures), but it is through spiritual Wisdom one Understands this fact (that God is infinite). No one can merge in the eternal God by merely adopting the garbs mentioned in the six Shastras (the Hindu holy books). The eternal God is unfathomable, but revealed through the Guru’s Shabad, He (i.e. Creation, Hukam) looks beautiful. (sggs 148).
- ਬਿਨੁ ਬੂਝੇ ਪਸੂ ਭਏ ਬੇਤਾਲੇ ॥੬॥: Without Understanding, people become beasts and demons (nature-ਸੁਭਾਵ). ||6|| (sggs 224).
That being said, clearly the Guru’s Shabad is also beyond physical and ritual reading (e.g. Akhand Paath, Hired Paathee, ritual Nitnem, paid reading, deal making reading, forced reading etc.).
- ਬਿਨੁ ਬੂਝੇ ਸਭ ਹੋਇ ਖੁਆਰ ॥: Without understanding, ALL are troubled (afflicted, distressed, perplexed…). (sggs 791).
If we allow our relativist consciousness to take the Gurbani’s (SGGS) worldly or superficial meanings, it would read strange and even incongruous. Hence, in order to understand and appreciate the true gist of the Gur-Shabad, its embedded Message needs to be Internalized and then lived in daily life (Gurmukh-Mindset).
In short, Gurmukh (Bhagat, Daas, Jan…) is a State of the Mind characterized by Enlightenment, divine Virtues such as Godly contentment, truthfulness, compassion, fearlessness, bliss (Anand), braveheart, piousness, Joy, positivity, Happiness, Living Liberation, Mool-Abidance etc.
- ਵਾਹੁ ਵਾਹੁ ਬਾਣੀ ਸਤਿ ਹੈ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਬੂਝੈ ਕੋਇ ॥: Waahu! Waahu! The Baanee (‘ਬਾਣੀ’) is True; only a rare person by becoming a Gurmukh understands it. (sggs 1276).
- ਬਿਨੁ ਸਬਦੈ ਸਭੁ ਅੰਧ ਅੰਧੇਰਾ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਕਿਸਹਿ ਬੁਝਾਇਦਾ ॥੫॥: A person who has become a Gurmukh understands that without the Shabad (Wisdom, Giaan, Upadesh…) there is total darkness everywhere (for the human being in the journey of life). ||5|| (sggs 1065).
- ਗੁਹਜ ਰਤਨ ਵਿਚਿ ਲੁਕਿ ਰਹੇ ਕੋਈ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਸੇਵਕੁ ਕਢੈ ਖੋਤਿ ॥: Hidden within it are the Jewels (of the Divine Virtues…); a rare ‘Sevak‘ digs them out (through Shabad-Vichaar) by becoming the Gurmukh (sggs 309).
- ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਬਾਣੀ ਸਤਿ ਸਰੂਪੁ ਹੈ ਗੁਰਬਾਣੀ ਬਣੀਐ ॥: The Satgur’s Bani (the God-Connecting Shabad-Guru) is the embodiment of the Creator; (therefore) BECOME THE GURBANI (to Realize the Creator). (sggs 304).
- ਬਾਣੀ ਬਿਰਲਉ ਬੀਚਾਰਸੀ ਜੇ ਕੋ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਇਹ ਬਾਣੀ ਮਹਾ ਪੁਰਖ ਕੀ ਨਿਜ ਘਰਿ ਵਾਸਾ ਹੋਇ ॥੪੦॥ : Only a RARE Gurmukh (Enlighted State of the Mind) Reflects on Gurbani. This Bani is of the Satguru and through it, one abides in his own True Self within. ||40|| (sggs 935).
- ਖੀਰ ਅਧਾਰਿ ਬਾਰਿਕੁ ਜਬ ਹੋਤਾ ਬਿਨੁ ਖੀਰੈ ਰਹਨੁ ਨ ਜਾਈ ॥ : When the baby is dependent only on milk, it cannot remain/live without milk (similarly, a Sikh cannot not remain/live without the Message/Upadesh of the Shabad-Guru). (sggs 1266).
- ਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਬਾਣੀ ਗੁਰ ਤੇ ਜਾਤੀ ਜਿ ਸਬਦਿ ਰਤੇ ਰੰਗੁ ਲਾਇ ॥ ਪਵਿਤੁ ਪਾਵਨ ਸੇ ਜਨ ਨਿਰਮਲ ਹਰਿ ਕੈ ਨਾਮਿ ਸਮਾਇ ॥੮॥: The Gurbani is understood from the Gurbani itself by those who with love remain imbued with the Gur-Shabad (Vichaar, Upadesh, Naam, Giaan or Wisdom…). Such people are of clean conduct and pure consciousness for they live by Naam (Wisdom, Virtues, Hukam...). ||8|| (sggs 1346).
- ਮੈ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਸੇਤੀ ਪਿਰਹੜੀ ਕਿਉ ਗੁਰ ਬਿਨੁ ਜੀਵਾ ਮਾਉ ॥ ਮੈ ਗੁਰਬਾਣੀ ਆਧਾਰੁ ਹੈ ਗੁਰਬਾਣੀ ਲਾਗਿ ਰਹਾਉ ॥੮॥: I have deep love for the ‘Satigur‘ (True Wisdom-ਸੱਚਾ ਗਿਆਨ), O my mother how can I live without Gur (Giaan-Wisdom). The Gurbani (i.e. the Gurbani’s Wisdom) is my life-support. I can live only by joining in the Gurbani (i.e. to live with the Gur-Wisdom as a life-support is to live in Association with the One Rabb, Hukam, god, Universal Energy…). ||8|| (sggs 759).
- ਬਾਣੀ ਗੁਰੂ ਗੁਰੂ ਹੈ ਬਾਣੀ ਵਿਚਿ ਬਾਣੀ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਸਾਰੇ ॥: (Guru’s) Bani is the Guru (of Sikhs i.e. Shabad-Guru or Wisdom or Giaan-Guru) and the Guru is present (as Giaan or Wisdom) in the Bani. The Amrit (of the Guru’s Giaan or Wisdom…) is contained in the whole of Bani. (sggs 982).
Therefore, while Interpreting the Gurbani (SGGS), it will be useful to keep in mind:
- Use the Gurbani as PRIMARY SOURCE (NOT secondary source) to understand the Gurbani (i.e. 1430 pages of the SGGS).
- Use the Gurbani to explain the Gurbani.
- Interpretation should have internal validity and reliability.
- Gurbani grammar is useful for coherent interpretation.
- The Gurbani is the sole indicator of original intent of the Gurus.
- The Guru’s intent lies in the Gurbani.
- Answers lie within the Gurbani.
- The Message of the Gurbani (SGGS) is Universal, Unique, Revolutionary, timeless, wholesome etc. What it means is that the Gurbani is never specific to location, occasion, person, incident etc.
- The obsessions with the nonsense such as AFTERLIFE, or after death rituals (Karamkaand) etc. in pre-1469 belief systems are removed from Gurbani (SGGS).
The Guru’s Shabad (SGGS) bestows upon us ‘Sojhee-ਸੋਝੀ’ ( Wisdom, Understanding, comprehension, ਸਮਝ. ਗਿਆਨ etc.), which teaches us the proper Way of living life. BUT, one who is willingly wants to take this ‘Sojhee-ਸੋਝੀ’ will obtain it, which, in turn, will change one’s mindset, habits, thinking (Soch), conduct, character etc.
- ਗੁਰੂ ਦੁਆਰੈ ਹੋਇ ਸੋਝੀ ਪਾਇਸੀ ॥ ਏਤੁ ਦੁਆਰੈ ਧੋਇ ਹਛਾ ਹੋਇਸੀ ॥ : One is Blessed with the true Wisdom of the Guru only by internalizing the Message contained in the Guru’s Shabad. By getting the mind cleansed this way alone one Realizes the Creator within. (sggs 730).
- ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਬਚਨ ਤੁਮ੍ਹ੍ਹਾਰੇ ॥ ਨਿਰਗੁਣ ਨਿਸਤਾਰੇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਮਹਾ ਬਿਖਾਦੀ ਦੁਸਟ ਅਪਵਾਦੀ ਤੇ ਪੁਨੀਤ ਸੰਗਾਰੇ ॥੧॥ ਜਨਮ ਭਵੰਤੇ ਨਰਕਿ ਪੜੰਤੇ ਤਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹ ਕੇ ਕੁਲ ਉਧਾਰੇ ॥੨॥ : O Satguru (ਸਚਾ ਗਿਆਨ-true Wisdom), countless people with no virtues have crossed over the worldly ocean of vices by following your divine words (Shabad). ||1||Pause|| Even the most argumentative, vicious and indecent people have become (mentally) immaculate by Internalizing Your Shabad. ||1|| (O Satguru), you have redeemed the entire lineages of those who had been wandering and suffering like hell through myriad of (mental) births. ||2|| (sggs 406).
- ਤਵ ਗੁਨ ਕਹਾ ਜਗਤ ਗੁਰਾ ਜਉ ਕਰਮੁ ਨ ਨਾਸੈ ॥ : O Guru of the world, what is the use of coming to Your refuge, if (by taking refuse in your Wisdom) because of the effect of my misdeeds (bad habits, bad thoughts etc.), even if now I continue to do misdeeds. (sggs 858).
- ਗਿਆਨੁ ਭਇਆ ਤਹ ਕਰਮਹ ਨਾਸੁ ॥੩॥: When the spiritual Wisdom wells up within, then the (love of Mayaic efforts or) deeds end. ||3|| (sggs 1167).
- ਯਾ ਜੁਗ ਮਹਿ ਏਕਹਿ ਕਉ ਆਇਆ ॥ : (Man) is born in this life only to become ONE (with God, Prabh, Mool, etc. – through Naam…). (sggs 251).
- ਬੀਉ ਬੀਜਿ ਪਤਿ ਲੈ ਗਏ ਅਬ ਕਿਉ ਉਗਵੈ ਦਾਲਿ ॥ ਜੇ ਇਕੁ ਹੋਇ ਤ ਉਗਵੈ ਰੁਤੀ ਹੂ ਰੁਤਿ ਹੋਇ ॥: Those who planted the seed (of Divine Naam) within have departed with honor; (but) those whose mind is split in duality (fragmented-ਦਾਲ ਵਾਂਗ ਦੋ-ਫਾੜ), how can the seed (of Naam: Wisdom / Virtues) sprout in their mind? The seed sprouts only if the seed is whole (undivided-Saabat…) and if the season is proper (the seed of Naam will sprout only if the mind is not split in duality: Unfragmented, Whole-Saabat…). (sggs 468).