Dying in Shabad

The Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) talks about three types of death:

(1). Death (or transformation) of the physical body-frame, which everybody has to go through, no exception.

  • ਮਰਣੁ ਲਿਖਾਇ ਮੰਡਲ ਮਹਿ ਆਏ ॥: Destined to die, (one) comes into the world (sggs 685).

(2). Death of one’s spiritual life or divine life or Gurmukh Lifestyle (i.e., Aatmak Maut – ਆਤਮਕ ਮੌਤ); or death of one’s consciousness (death of Jameer-ਜਮੀਰ); or death of one’s Wisdom and Virtues of the mind – Truth (ਸਤ), honesty (ਇਮਾਨਦਾਰੀ), contentment (ਸੰਤੋਖ), mercy (ਦਯਾ), patience (ਧੀਰਜ), Sahaj (ਸਹਜ-Natural State of Being), Wisdom (ਗਿਆਨ), humility (ਮਨ ਨਿਮਾਣਾ, ਬੁਧਿ ਗਰੀਬੀ), sweet speech (ਮਿਠ ਬੋਲੜਾ)….

  • ਆਖਾ ਜੀਵਾ ਵਿਸਰੈ ਮਰਿ ਜਾਉ ॥: I come alive (Aatmak Jeevan-ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ) as I am in a Realized State. The Un-Realized State Brings Spiritual Death (Aatmak Mout-ਆਤਮਕ ਮੌਤ). (sggs 9 – 349).
  • ਇਕਨਾ ਮਰਣੁ ਨ ਚਿਤਿ ਆਸ ਘਣੇਰਿਆ ॥ ਮਰਿ ਮਰਿ ਜੰਮਹਿ ਨਿਤ ਕਿਸੈ ਨ ਕੇਰਿਆ ॥ : There are those who are unaware of their death in their excessive desires of all kinds. (While trying to fulfill these excessive worldly desires) they die over and over again, every day (cyclic nature of mind). They are of no use to anyone. (sggs 143)..
  • ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਜਿਨੀ ਨ ਸੇਵਿਓ ਸਬਦਿ ਨ ਕੀਤੋ ਵੀਚਾਰੁ ॥ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਨ ਆਇਓ ਮਿਰਤਕੁ ਹੈ ਸੰਸਾਰਿ ॥: (Those beings) who have not served the ‘Satiguru‘ (through the Shabad-Vichaar), no Wisdom has Awakened within them, (they may appear as alive but they) are as dead in the world (spiritually dead-ਆਤਮਕ ਮੌਤ). (sggs 88).

(3). Dying in the Shabad. According to the SGGS, dying in the Shabad Awakens the Divine Wisdom (Giaan, Bibek, Truth…) and Virtues (ਗੁਣ) within, and thus annihilate the bad impact of Bikaar (i.e. lust, anger, greed, attachment, pride, etc.). With such control of mind or, one is saved from the death of his spiritual Life (i.e. Aatmic Maut – ਆਤਮਕ ਮੌਤ).

  • ਸਬਦਿ ਮਰੈ ਫਿਰਿ ਮਰਣੁ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥: One who dies in the Shabad (i.e., Wisdom, Virtues…), will never again have to die (ਫਿਰ ਆਤਮਕ ਮੌਤ ਨਹੀ ਹੋਵੇਗੀ). (sggs 153).
  • ਸਬਦਿ ਮਰੈ ਭਗਤਿ ਪਾਏ ਜਨੁ ਸੋਇ ॥੩॥: One who dies in the Shabad, obtains Bhagti ||3|| (sggs 159).
  • ਮਨੁ ਸਬਦਿ ਮਰੈ ਪਰਤੀਤਿ ਹੋਇ ਹਉਮੈ ਤਜੇ ਵਿਕਾਰ ॥: When one’s mind dies in the Shabad gains Knowledge and conviction, and (he) sheds egotism and ‘Vikaar‘ (sggs 162).

The Gurbani time and again reminds that without annihilation of the Mayaic mind, one cannot realize his Mool within (Source, Jot Saroop, Truth, True Nature…).

  • ਮਨੁ ਸਬਦਿ ਮਰੈ ਬੂਝੈ ਜਨੁ ਸੋਇ ॥: The mind is conquered through the shabad; this is known to ‘Janu’ (Daas, Gurmukh, Bhagat…). (sggs 665).

And, without the immediate Divine Knowledge, we cannot transcend Maya.

  • ਗਿਆਨ ਅੰਜਨੁ ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦਿ ਪਛਾਨਿਆ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: (The Spiritual) Collyrium of the Wisdom is recognized through the Gur-Shabad (applying it Mool is realized). ||1||Pause|| (sggs 221).

According to the Gurbani, annihilation of the relativist consciousness (Haumai – which is the product of the Mayaic or doubt-ridden mind) comes about when one dies in the Shabad.

What is dying in the Shabad, or dying through the Shabad?

In nutshell, it is the continuous abidance in Shabad-SurtGuru’s Updesh or Message of the Shabad, Naam-consciousness, the Gurmukh Mindset, Wisdom, Virtues etc.

It is to be free from the negative impact of Haumai (false ego-sense), Maya’s negative effects, duality, doubts, ignorance, vices or Bikaar, Manmukhataa; it is to be Awakened to one’s Mool or ‘Nij Ghar‘, within; it is to become living liberated or living dead while alive; it is to remain constantly (ਸਾਸ ਸਾਸ: each and every breath) hooked on to one’s Mool within; and so on.

  • ਸਬਦਿ ਮਰੈ ਤਾਂ ਏਕ ਲਿਵ ਲਾਏ ॥: (One) can embrace the Love for the One (single mindedly – ਇਕ ਮਨ ਇਕ ਚਿਤ ਹੋ ਕੇ) only when (he) dies through the Shabad ( sggs 412).
  • ਸਬਦਿ ਮਰੈ ਤਿਸੁ ਸਦਾ ਅਨੰਦ ॥: One who dies in the Shabad, is ever in Bliss. (sggs 364).
  • ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਸਬਦਿ ਜੀਵਤੁ ਮਰੈ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਵਸੈ ਮਨਿ ਆਇ ॥੧॥: Through the Gur-Shabad, who remains dead (to Bikaar: lust, anger, greed, etc.) while yet alive, Naam (Wisdom, Virtues, Truth…) comes to dwell within his mind. ||1|| (sggs 33).

Upon dying in the Shabad, one attains Perfection, becomes the embodiment of Wisdom (Aatam Giaan, Virtues) that is contained in the Shabad (SGGS), as the fragrance is boxed in the flower…

  • ਸਬਦਿ ਮਰੈ ਸੋਈ ਜਨੁ ਪੂਰਾ ॥ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਆਖਿ ਸੁਣਾਏ ਸੂਰਾ ॥: Perfect (ਪੂਰਨ) is that ‘Janu’ (Bhagat, Daas, Gurmukh) who dies through the Shabad. The brave Satiuru utters and proclaims this. (sggs 1046).

In other words, when died through the Shabad, the Inner (‘Antar’) Awakens to the Hukam, divine Naam, Spiritual Wisdom / Virtues. Such exalted State is indicated by the Gurbani to be beyond the physical instruments of tongue, ears, etc.

  • 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॥: See without eyes (i.e. if we look at the world by removing lust from the eyes etc.), hear without ears (i.e. if we keep the ears from the habit of hearing slander etc.); walk without feet (i.e. if we keep our feet from running in the wrong direction etc.), work without hands (i.e. if we use our hands without doing harm to others etc.); speak without the tongue (i.e. if we remove the habit of slandering others from the tongue etc.); this is how one dies alive. O Nanak! When one understands/recognizes Hukam (System-Rule-Law of Nature), then one realizes Truth (‘Khasam’-Master etc.). (sggs 139)..

Upon realizing Shabad-Surti (Shabad-Conscience), the old false being or Manmukh ‘dies’, and gets ‘reborn’ as a new Spiritual Being with a Gurmukh MINDSET (Enlightened).

In other words, upon transcending the relativist consciousness or false ego-sense, the mortal becomes living liberated or Jeevanmukta — realizes perfection.

  • ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਸਬਦਿ ਜੀਵਤੁ ਮਰੈ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਭਵਜਲੁ ਤਰਣਾ ॥੨॥: Through the Gur-Shabad, the Gurmukh remains dead while yet alive, and swims across the world-ocean (of Maya…). ||2|| (sggs 69).
  • ਸਬਦਿ ਮਰਹੁ ਫਿਰਿ ਜੀਵਹੁ ਸਦ ਹੀ ਤਾ ਫਿਰਿ ਮਰਣੁ ਨ ਹੋਈ ॥: sabadi marahu phiri jeevahu sad hee … (sggs 604).

Thus, the Gurbani repeatedly tells us that the wandering mind can be stabilized (annihilated, conquered, etc.) with the Shabad-Wisdom Bibek) only.

  • ਕੁੰਭੇ ਬਧਾ ਜਲੁ ਰਹੈ ਜਲ ਬਿਨੁ ਕੁੰਭੁ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਗਿਆਨ ਕਾ ਬਧਾ ਮਨੁ ਰਹੈ ਗੁਰ ਬਿਨੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥੫॥: As the water remains confined in a pitcher, (just so) the mind is restrained by the Spiritual Wisdom. But (as) the pitcher cannot be shaped without the water, (just so) there can be no Spiritual Wisdom without the Guru. ||5|| (sggs 469).

By inquiring into Truth and falsehood through churning the Gurbani we can resolve the confusion between Truth (ਸਚ) and untruth — Real and unreal, Eternal and ephemeral, fleeting, permanent, etc.

  • ਜੇ ਸਬਦੁ ਬੁਝੈ ਤਾ ਸਚੁ ਨਿਹਾਲਾ ॥: If (one) understands the Shabad, then (he) beholds the Truth (sggs 412).
  • ਸਬਦਿ ਮਰੈ ਸਹਿਲਾ ਜੀਵੈ ਸੋਇ ॥: (Who) dies through the Shabad, that (person) lives in Peace. (sggs 1344).

Hence, the spirituality of the Guru’s Shabad guides towards a lifestyle of good conduct, virtuous living, discipline etc. in one’s life (Enlightened or Gurmukh Mindset).

  • ਬਿਨੁ ਸਬਦੈ ਆਚਾਰੁ ਨ ਕਿਨ ਹੀ ਪਾਇਆ ॥: Without the (Wisdom of the Gur-) Shabad, no one achieves a lifestyle of good conduct. (sggs 1285).

When done in sincerity, the Gurbani claims that this Sevaa or service — Shabd Vichaar (ਸਬਦੁ ਵੀਚਾਰੁ) — of the Guru is meaningful (fruitful, successful, worthwhile etc.):

  • ਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਸੇਵਾ ਸਬਦੁ ਵੀਚਾਰੁ ॥ ਹਉਮੈ ਮਾਰੇ ਕਰਣੀ ਸਾਰੁ ॥੭॥: The Guru’s Sevaa or Service is Shabad Vichaar (Internalizing the Shabad – Enlightening oneself with the Upadesh or Message of the Shabad). Undertaking (this) essential Effort, control Haumai (i.e. false ego-sense and its faults – ‘Panch‘ i.e. Bikaar) ॥7॥. (sggs 223).
  • ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਮਿਲੈ ਤਾ ਤਤੁ ਪਾਏ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਕਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਮੰਨਿ ਵਸਾਏ ॥ ਸਬਦਿ ਮਰੈ ਮਨੁ ਮਾਰੈ ਅਪੁਨਾ ਮੁਕਤੀ ਕਾ ਦਰੁ ਪਾਵਣਿਆ ॥੩॥: When one meets the Satguru, then he realizes the essence of Naam. (Then he) enshrines God’s Naam in the mind. (Who) dies in the Shabad, annihilates his own mind and obtains the Door of Liberation. ||3|| (sggs 116-117).
  • ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਸੇਵਾ ਸਫਲੁ ਹੈ ਜੇ ਕੋ ਕਰੇ ਚਿਤੁ ਲਾਇ ॥ : Satgur Kee Sevaa Safal Hai (sggs 644).


  1. Yes Bhai Shaib Jio – “ABEEYAAS” is importat.
    • ਆਪਣ ਹਥੀ ਆਪਣਾ ਆਪੇ ਹੀ ਕਾਜੁ ਸਵਾਰੀਐ ॥੨੦॥ (sggs 474).
    • ਜੋ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਖੋਜਹਿ ਸੇਈ ਪਾਵਹਿ ਹੋਰਿ ਫੂਟਿ ਮੂਏ ਅਹੰਕਾਰੀ ॥੨੦॥ (sggs 911).
    • ਜਿਨੀ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਇਆ ਗਏ ਮਸਕਤਿ ਘਾਲਿ ॥: Jinee Naamu dhiaaiaa … (sggs 8).

  2. I just remember a wordly Quote in context of repeatition as
    There is great significance of the effect of repetition. Still there are
    hard nuts to crack and leave this world without being dented .

  3. Thank you Bhai Sahib Jio!
    To develop necessary Bairaag (detachment) in life, the Gurbani repeats this Message time and again:
    • ਹਰਿ ਬਿਨੁ ਕਉਨੁ ਸਹਾਈ ਮਨ ਕਾ ॥ ਮਾਤ ਪਿਤਾ ਭਾਈ ਸੁਤ ਬਨਿਤਾ ਹਿਤੁ ਲਾਗੋ ਸਭ ਫਨ ਕਾ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਆਗੇ ਕਉ ਕਿਛੁ ਤੁਲਹਾ ਬਾਂਧਹੁ ਕਿਆ ਭਰਵਾਸਾ ਧਨ ਕਾ ॥ ਕਹਾ ਬਿਸਾਸਾ ਇਸ ਭਾਂਡੇ ਕਾ ਇਤਨਕੁ ਲਾਗੈ ਠਨਕਾ ॥੧॥: Hari binu kaounu sahaaee man kaa… (sggs 153).

  4. VEER T SINGH JEO,…very relevent Quotes
    The above quotes are excellent guidelines for human beings.In fact
    this should happen in evryones life as early as can be .But is this happening so.?
    In this context the observations given by Brother Jaidka ji seems quite relevent.

  5. Good point Bhai Sahib Ji!
    The Gurbani urges us that everything in one’s life can wait, but not the search (ਖੋਜ – through the Shabad Vichaar) to know one’s True Nature as Joti Saroop — Mool Realization.
    Towards that end, the Gurbani recommends to make timely start and preparation, and not to wait for the twilight years! Here is the Gurbani’s edict:
    • ਜਬ ਲਗੁ ਜਰਾ ਰੋਗੁ ਨਹੀ ਆਇਆ ॥ ਜਬ ਲਗੁ ਕਾਲਿ ਗ੍ਰਸੀ ਨਹੀ ਕਾਇਆ ॥ ਜਬ ਲਗੁ ਬਿਕਲ ਭਈ ਨਹੀ ਬਾਨੀ ॥ ਭਜਿ ਲੇਹਿ ਰੇ ਮਨ ਸਾਰਿਗਪਾਨੀ ॥੨॥ ਅਬ ਨ ਭਜਸਿ ਭਜਸਿ ਕਬ ਭਾਈ ॥ ਆਵੈ ਅੰਤੁ ਨ ਭਜਿਆ ਜਾਈ ॥ ਜੋ ਕਿਛੁ ਕਰਹਿ ਸੋਈ ਅਬ ਸਾਰੁ ॥ ਫਿਰਿ ਪਛੁਤਾਹੁ ਨ ਪਾਵਹੁ ਪਾਰੁ ॥੩॥: Jab lagu jraa rogu ahee aaiaa … (sggs 1159)
    • ਤਰਨਾਪੋ ਇਉ ਹੀ ਗਇਓ ਲੀਓ ਜਰਾ ਤਨੁ ਜੀਤਿ ॥ ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਭਜੁ ਹਰਿ ਮਨਾ ਅਉਧ ਜਾਤੁ ਹੈ ਬੀਤਿ ॥: Taranaapo iou hee gaio leeo jaraa tanu jeet… (sggs 1426).
    • ਕਬੀਰਾ ਰਾਮੁ ਨ ਚੇਤਿਓ ਜਰਾ ਪਹੂੰਚਿਓ ਆਇ ॥ ਲਾਗੀ ਮੰਦਿਰ ਦੁਆਰ ਤੇ ਅਬ ਕਿਆ ਕਾਢਿਆ ਜਾਇ ॥: Kabeer raamu na chetio jaraa pahoonchio aai… (sggs 1371).
    • ਨੈਨਹੁ ਨੀਰੁ ਬਹੈ ਤਨੁ ਖੀਨਾ ਭਏ ਕੇਸ ਦੁਧ ਵਾਨੀ ॥ ਰੂਧਾ ਕੰਠੁ ਸਬਦੁ ਨਹੀ ਉਚਰੈ ਅਬ ਕਿਆ ਕਰਹਿ ਪਰਾਨੀ ॥੧॥: Nainahu neeru bahai tanu kheenaa bhae kes dudh vaanee… (sggs 659).
    • ਛਿਨੁ ਛਿਨੁ ਤਨੁ ਛੀਜੈ ਜਰਾ ਜਨਾਵੈ ॥ ਤਬ ਤੇਰੀ ਓਕ ਕੋਈ ਪਾਨੀਓ ਨ ਪਾਵੈ ॥: Shinu shinu tanu sheejai jaraa janaavai.. (sggs 656).
    • ਤਿਨ ਜਰੁ ਵੈਰੀ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਜਿ ਬੁਢੇ ਥੀਇ ਮਰੰਨਿ ॥: Tin jaru vairee Nanakaa ji budhe theei maranni (sggs 788).

  6. For being graced by PRABHu to get the company of TRUE GuRu
    Age/Time is never a factor. The most important is that this should happen. We have examples as our 3rd NANAK GuROO AMARDAS ji and 8th NANAK GuROO HARi KISHAN SAHIB ji.

  7. As life approaches its end man starts awakening to life’s meaning and purpose but it’s too late now. He knows that he has missed the supreme gifts of life by postponing Naam Simran…So by the time most of us wake up to Gurbani, it’s time to pack up and leave this temporary world….But we are very very lucky who have Guru Granth Sahib Ji as our eternal, living Guru..A true Sikh need not repent at the end of his life as he is guided and protected by the greatest of Living Guru..

  8. Yes Bhai Sahib Jio, the Gurbani is very clear – if we want Naam to come and abide in the mind, then we need to die through/by/in the Shabad!!
    • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਸਬਦੁ ਪਛਾਣੀਐ ਹਰਿ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਨਾਮਿ ਸਮਾਇ ॥ ਗੁਰ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਪ੍ਰਚੰਡੁ ਬਲਾਇਆ ਅਗਿਆਨੁ ਅੰਧੇਰਾ ਜਾਇ ॥੨॥: Gurmukhi sabadu pachhaaneeai hari amrit naami samaai… (sggs 29).
    Thank you Bhai Sahib jio!

  9. This Quote of the blog as
    •ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਸਬਦਿ ਜੀਵਤੁ ਮਰੈ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਵਸੈ ਮਨਿ ਆਇ ॥੧॥: Gur kai Sabadi jeevatu marai Hari … (sggs 33).

    clealry tells the condition for HARiNAAMu to stay within mind(MUN)

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