Don’t Take Anything at Face Value

The Gurbani (SGGS) is full of arguments (ਦਲੀਲਾਂ), logic (ਤਰਕ) and questions (ਸਵਾਲ).

In general there are three approaches to discover truth: (1) scientific, (2) logical and (3) blind faith (ਅੰਧ ਵਿਸ਼ਵਾਸ਼, ਅੰਨੀ ਸ਼ਰਧਾ).

First off, the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) does NOT teach us to follow the path of blind faith (ਅੰਧ ਵਿਸ਼ਵਾਸ਼, ਅੰਨੀ ਸ਼ਰਧਾ) for irrationality or illogical thinking (ਤਰਕਹੀਣਤਾ) symbolizes mental slavery.

The Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) teaches us the Way of Bibek (discernment, logic, rationality, Tarak-ਤਰਕ, Daleel-ਦਲੀਲ…).

Using logic (Tarak-ਤਰਕ, Daleel-ਦਲੀਲ…), the logical mind evaluates pros and cons and then reasons out the truth and draws conclusions. The entire exercise is subjective and in the mind. In other words, the logical approach is pure mind work and it deals with the subjective and is of the interior.

The logical path differs from the scientific approach in that (1) scientific approach is of the material or the exterior world as oppose to the interior, hence (2) scientists will experiment and test repeatedly in the material or the exterior world until there is some sort of proof.

The well known material scientist Albert Einstein in his final days is attributed to saying that, ‘Sometimes I suspect that my life has been a waste. I inquired into the farthest of stars and forgot completely to inquire into myself—and I was the closest star!’

The Gurmat (Wisdom, Upadesh or the Way of the SGGS) teaches all its learners (i.e. Sikhs or Sikhiaarthee-ਸਿਖਿਆਰਥੀ) knowing or searching onself.

In short, the SGGS makes us Wise (ਗਿਆਨਵਾਨ, ਤਰਕਸ਼ੀਲ, ਬਿਬੇਕੀ, ਪਾਰਖੂ-Paarkhoo …), NOT arrogant or followers of the blind faith (ਅੰਧ ਵਿਸ਼ਵਾਸ਼ੀ, ਸ਼ਰਧਾਵਾਨ).

  • ਪਾਰਖੀਆ ਵਥੁ ਸਮਾਲਿ ਲਈ ਗੁਰ ਸੋਝੀ ਹੋਈ ॥: Those Appraisers or ‘PAARKHOO’ (persons of commonsense, logic, discerning intellect, Bibek Budh, Wisdom, appraiser…) of spiritual life who obtained the Understanding from the Guru, cherished the Wealth of Naam (Wisdom / Virtues). (sggs 425).
  • ਧਰਮੁ ਅਰਥੁ ਸਭੁ ਹਿਰਿ ਲੇ ਜਾਵਹਿ ਮਨਮੁਖ ਅੰਧੁਲੇ ਖਬਰਿ ਨ ਪਈਆ ॥੨॥: (The five thieves: lust, anger, greed, etc.) steal his wealth of Dharma (from within), but the mentally blind (ignorant or unwise) Manmukh does not even know it. ||2|| (sggs 833).

In nutshell, the Gurbani tells us that a person of blind faith (ਸ਼ਰਧਾਵਾਨ, ਅੰਧ ਵਿਸ਼ਵਾਸ਼ੀ) cannot be a Wise person (ਗਿਆਨਵਾਨ, ਤਰਕਸ਼ੀਲ, ਬਿਬੇਕੀ, ਪਾਰਖੂ-Paarkhoo …).

  • ਖੋਟੇ ਕਉ ਖਰਾ ਕਹੈ ਖਰੇ ਸਾਰ ਨ ਜਾਣੈ ॥ ਅੰਧੇ ਕਾ ਨਾਉ ਪਾਰਖੂ ਕਲੀ ਕਾਲ ਵਿਡਾਣੈ ॥੩॥: Ignorant people consider falsehood to be true; (unfortunately) they are not wise to recognize the true. The blind (mentally blind i.e. ignorant or foolish) man is known as an appraiser (or wise); this is the sign of Kal Yuga (i.e. Kal Yuga = corrupt state of the mind). ||3|| (sggs 229).
  • ਅੰਧੇ ਕਾ ਨਾਉ ਪਾਰਖੂ ਏਵੈ ਕਰੇ ਗੁਆਉ ॥: The blind (mentally blind-ignorant) man is known as an appraiser; this is how people talk (contrary, ਉਲਟੀਆਂ ਗੱਲਾਂ). (sggs 1288).

Hence, a true Sikh (ਸਿਖਿਆਰਥੀ, a learner, or a student) of the Wisdom (Giaan) of the SGGS is supposed to be a ‘Paarkhoo‘ (ਪਾਰਖੂ – examiner, appraiser, or assayer of Truth…) and Wise (Giani – ‘ਸਿਆਣਾ’)! This is important for creating better humans, and a better human society.

  • ਕਬੀਰ ਹਰਿ ਹੀਰਾ ਜਨ ਜਉਹਰੀ ਲੇ ਕੈ ਮਾਂਡੈ ਹਾਟ ॥ ਜਬ ਹੀ ਪਾਈਅਹਿ ਪਾਰਖੂ ਤਬ ਹੀਰਨ ਕੀ ਸਾਟ ॥੧੬੨॥: O Kabeer! The Divine Naam (Wisdom, Virtues, Truth…) is the Diamond, and the ‘Jan’ (the Gurmukh, Bhagat, Daas) is the jeweler who takes the Naam-Diamond to Beautify his inner self. As soon as a ‘Paarkhoo‘ (i.e, examiner, appraiser, or assayer of Truth…) is found, the value of the Naam-Jewel is set (or shared, sold-purchased…). ||162|| (sggs 1373).
  • ਗੁਰ ਸਿਖੀ ਗੁਰ ਸਿਖ ਸੁਣ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਸਿਆਣਾ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਭੋਲਾ।: listening to the Gur-Giaan (Wisdom, Upadesh..), Gur-Sikh become Wise within and simple (innocent) without. (Bhai Gurdaas, Vaar 17).

In this context, the Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS urges our minds to pay attention to the words of deep wisdom as follows:

  • ਸੁਣਿ ਮੁੰਧੇ ਹਰਣਾਖੀਏ ਗੂੜਾ ਵੈਣੁ ਅਪਾਰੁ ॥ ਪਹਿਲਾ ਵਸਤੁ ਸਿਞਾਣਿ ਕੈ ਤਾਂ ਕੀਚੈ ਵਾਪਾਰੁ ॥: O beautiful mind (soul)! Listen to this deepest secret (ਡੂੰਘੀ ਭੇਤ ਦੀ ਗੱਲ). First, (when we start buying something, we should first examine (verify, test or try that) thing and then trade it (then we should buy it) (sggs 1410).

Three words are very significant in the verse above:

  1. ‘Vasat-ਵਸਤ’: An item, an article, an object, a substance, stuff, material, thing, truth, ਪਦਾਰਥ, ਵਸਤੂ, ਚੀਜ, etc.
  2. Sijhaanaa-ਸਿਞਾਣਾ’: To examine, verify, test, try, ਪਰਖਣਾਂ, ਪਛਾਣਨਾ, ਵਿਚਾਰ ਕਰਨਾ, etc.
  3. Vaapaar-ਵਾਪਾਰ’: Trade, business, purchase, ਵਣਜ, ਸੌਦਾਗਰੀ, and so on.

Compositions carrying the Message of all the 35 contributors of the SGGS are based on Wisdom and Tarak (ਤਰਕ, Bibek – logic, rationale, reasoning, discerning or discriminating intellect…). They challenged Brahmins, Pandits, Mullas, Yogis, Jains etc., with Wisdom and Tarak. Therefore, understandably, without awakening (ਪਰਗਟ) Wisdom and commonsense within, NO Sikh can solve the riddle posed by the SGGS!

  • ਹਿੰਦੂ ਅੰਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਾ ਤੁਰਕੂ ਕਾਣਾ ॥ ਦੁਹਾਂ ਤੇ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਸਿਆਣਾ ॥: The Hindu is blind (mentally blind, spiritually unintelligent, etc., who has made-up phony stories and claims God is limited only to the temple…) and the Muslim is one-eyed (i.e., who has some intelligence – but claims Allah is limited only to the mosque, etc.). The Giani (the knower of Truth…) is wiser than both of them. (sggs 875).

Hence, instead of empty Karamkaand, a true Sikh always wants to develop or awaken his Bibek-Budh or discriminating intellect (‘ਦੀਜੈ ਬੁਧਿ ਬਿਬੇਕਾ – Deejai Budhi Bibekaa‘).

  • ਬਿਬੇਕ ਬੁਧਿ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਤੇ ਪਾਈ ਗੁਰ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਗੁਰੂ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਕੇਰਾ ॥: Bibek Budh is obtained from the Satigur; the Guru reveals the Divine Wisdom. (sggs 711).
  • ਸੋ ਧਨਵੰਤਾ ਜਿਸੁ ਬੁਧਿ ਬਿਬੇਕ ॥: Wealthy is that person who has Bibek Budh. (sggs 1150).

Using his Bibek Budh or Tarak (discriminating or discerning intellect, logic, commonsense, Vichaar …) he is supposed to be able to distinguish between truth and untruth, real and unreal, false and genuine, etc., and live daily life accordingly.

This is the reason Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) strongly tells Sikhs not to take anything at its face value – not to deem false to be real

This is possible only with the intellect Awakenied to the Bibek (discriminating intellect, discerning intellect, commonsense, logic, Tarak-ਤਰਕ, etc.).

The SGGS affirms: (1) Bibek or Giaan (Wisdom) is the Guru of Sikhs, (2) hence, it’s the consciousness (Surat-ਸੁਰਤ) or the mind (Soch-ਸੋਚ) that needs to become a Sikh of the Giaan or Wisdom of the Shabad-Guru.

  • ਕਹੁ ਕਬੀਰ ਮੈ ਸੋ ਗੁਰੁ ਪਾਇਆ ਜਾ ਕਾ ਨਾਉ ਬਿਬੇਕੋੁ ॥੪॥੫॥: Says Kabeer, I have found that Guru, whose Name is ‘Bibek(u)‘ (Wisdom, Discerning Intelligence…). ||4||5|| (sggs 793).
  • 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).
  • ਗੁਰ ਤੇ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਨਾਮ ਰਤਨੁ ਪਾਇਆ ॥: The Jewel of Giaan (Wisdom) is obtained from the Guru (sggs 1044).

In nutshell, Tarak or Bibek-Budh + Gurbani’s Wisdom (ਗਿਆਨ) = Sikhi of the SGGS.

Not to take anything at face value is a metaphor. For example, the face value of something is its apparent worth; but its real value may not be the same as its face value. In other words, what something might appear to mean – it’s ‘face value’ – is not exactly what it may actually mean.

  • ਮਾਧਵੇ ਕਿਆ ਕਹੀਐ ਭ੍ਰਮੁ ਐਸਾ ॥ ਜੈਸਾ ਮਾਨੀਐ ਹੋਇ ਨ ਤੈਸਾ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ : O God, what can we say, we are so deluded by doubt, that what we believe, the reality is not  like that. ||1||Pause|| (sggs 657).

Applying this expression from a worldly standpoint, for example, if someone takes something at face value, he is not questioning its apparent or true worth.

Being street smart from a worldly standpoint is good. However, to shield oneself from fraud and deception, being street smart from a Spiritual standpoint is also as important, if not more!

The Gurbani is telling this to prompt us to use commonsense to verify for ourselves that what we are being told, taught, or preached is correct, particularly the paid clergy.

If we don’t, then we put ourselves in a position to be cheated by the religious con artists, who are pullulating the world for the sake of their hunger for Maya (business in the name of Gurmat or Dharma – ਧੰਧਾ). For example, professional Pujaaree sell fake god and fake commodity. Because, they have different agenda in mind – greed, money (Golak), power, wealth, securing return business, bending backward to please the host, enslaving people’s minds, etc.! Such fake religion makes people arrogant, suspicious, distant, hostile and destructive.

  • ਰੋਟੀਆ ਕਾਰਣਿ ਪੂਰਹਿ ਤਾਲ ॥: For the sake of bread, they perform melodiously (sggs 465).
  • ਮੂਰਖ ਪੰਡਿਤ ਹਿਕਮਤਿ ਹੁਜਤਿ ਸੰਜੈ ਕਰਹਿ ਪਿਆਰੁ ॥: The greedy Learned fools (Pundit, priest, clergy, religious scholars) gathers wealth through chicanery and clever arguments. (sggs 469).

Because of our mind’s own hunger or love for Maya (ਮਾਇਆ ਦੀ ਭੁੱਖ), its pretty easy for the greedy and crafty Pujaaree groups to deceive or defraud (ਛਲ-ਕਪਟ) people, and mislead them further from the Truth of the Gurbani. The Gurbani calls them ‘ਬਾਨਾਰਸਿ ਕੇ ਠਗ – Thugs of Banaras‘.

No wonder the Gurbani urges us to renounce whatever the greedy and crafty Pujaaree- system has to say.

  • ਪੰਡਿਤ ਮੁਲਾਂ ਜੋ ਲਿਖਿ ਦੀਆ ॥ ਛਾਡਿ ਚਲੇ ਹਮ ਕਛੂ ਨ ਲੀਆ ॥੩॥: ALL that the Pandit and Mullah Clergy have prescribed or presented to us, I have DISCARDED (while walking on the Path of Spirituality). I DISCARD IT ALL and have ACCEPTED NOTHING at all. ||3|| (sggs 1159).

If we accept everything blindly (ਅੰਧ ਵਿਸ਼ਵਾਸ਼ – blind faith), our minds are sure to sink more into the mire of doubts; dogmas; rituals (Karamkaand); religious paraphernalia, Bikaar; etc., which have been rejected in the SGGS. The entire Gurbani attest to that.

  • ਮਨੁ ਅੰਧੁਲਾ ਅੰਧੁਲੀ ਮਤਿ ਲਾਗੈ ॥ ਗੁਰ ਕਰਣੀ ਬਿਨੁ ਭਰਮੁ ਨ ਭਾਗੈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: The (ignorant or mentally) blind man follows the blind counsel. Unless one takes the Gurmat (Wisdom, Upadesh or Way of the SGGS), his doubt is not dispelled. ||1||Pause|| (sggs 1190).

The Gurbani’s Giaan (Wisdom) makes one immune from deception, fraud, or trickery: Protects one from being cheated of his Wisdom and Spiritual Life (Aatmak Jeevan). The Gurbani tells us that the Gurmukhs are ever absorbed in such Tatt Giaan (ਤੱਤ ਗਿਆਨ – true Wisdom…).

  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਤਤੁ ਗਿਆਨੋ ॥: By becoming the Gurmukh, realize the Essence of the Spiritual Wisdom (Aatam Giaan-ਅਸਲੀ ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਦੀ ਸੂਝ). (sggs 1006).
  • ਗਿਆਨ ਪਦਾਰਥੁ ਖੋਇਆ ਠਗਿਆ ਮੁਠਾ ਜਾਇ ॥੧॥: (Whosoever) loses the Giaan Padaarath (Naam-Dhann, Wealth of Spiritual Wisdom…), they depart defrauded and plundered (from their Spirittual Life-ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਵਲੋਂ…). ||1|| (sggs 60).

To the contrary, due to lack or absence of the Gurbani’s Tatt Giaan or Understanding, we put ourselves in a position to be cheated. The Gurmat (Wisdom, Upadesh or Way of the SGGS) protects us from fraud, deceit and trickery.

Since the Way of Sikhi is a Giaan Maarag (ਗਿਆਨ ਮਾਰਗ – Way of Wisdom, Bibek, Tarak, commonsense…), there is no room in it for stupidity or blind faith (ਅੰਨੀ ਸ਼ਰਧਾ) as propagated by the illiterate Pujaaree groups, Deraa-Vaad, foolish scholars (ਮੂਰਖ ਵਿੱਦਵਾਨ, ਪੰਡਿਤ) etc.

A ‘rare’ person who chooses this Giaan Maarag is called the ‘Gurmukh‘. The Gurbani tells us such person is ‘rare’ for living a truthful or a Gurmukh Lifestyle is like uphill climb or walking on a double-edged sword! Accordingly, times like these, falsehood (fraud, fake-hood) draws crowds whilst the Truth or the true Teachings are neglected.

  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਕੋਈ ਸਚੁ ਕਮਾਵੈ ॥: A rare one, as Gurmukh, earns (lives…) the Truth (sggs 1344).


  1. Thank you Bhai Sahib Harvinder Singh Jio for sharing the Shabad-Vichaar.

    “Shabad” means divine knowledge/Giaan.

    Thank you!

    But people nowadays are so lost in it’s Literal meaning and only trying to obtain one particular “shabad (secret)” from fake derawaad baba ji’s…

    Very true!
    Thank you again!

  2. During my watching of Gurbani Vyakaran videos on You Tube,,,,,I have concluded that
    “aunkarr” and “sihari” are very dominant and play a vital role in understanding Gurbani’s meanings and therefore efforts must be made to understand all applications of
    “aunkarr” and “sihari”.

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