Enjoy Grass Before it Grows on Top of You!

The Gurmat Wisdom of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) time and again reminds us to get rid of the negative impact of Bikaars (i.e., lust, anger, greed, attachment and Pride), which rot the mind.

Consider the following Shloak of Bhagat Kabeer Ji:

  • ਕਬੀਰ ਗਰਬੁ ਨ ਕੀਜੀਐ ਊਚਾ ਦੇਖਿ ਅਵਾਸੁ ॥ ਆਜੁ ਕਾਲ੍ਹ੍ਹਿ ਭੁਇ ਲੇਟਣਾ ਊਪਰਿ ਜਾਮੈ ਘਾਸੁ ॥੩੮॥: O Kabeer! Seeing one’s high palace one should not be arrogant (this is also a game of four days only: temporary). Today or tomorrow (leaving this palace when death comes) our body will mingle with dust and grass will grow on top (of our body). ||38|| (sggs 1366).
  • ਕਬੀਰ ਗਰਬੁ ਨ ਕੀਜੀਐ ਚਾਮ ਲਪੇਟੇ ਹਾਡ ॥ ਹੈਵਰ ਊਪਰਿ ਛਤ੍ਰ ਤਰ ਤੇ ਫੁਨਿ ਧਰਨੀ ਗਾਡ ॥੩੭॥: O Kabeer! Do not be proud of your (youth, beauty…), (after all it is nothing more than a bundle of) bones wrapped up in skin. (Proud of their bodies) Those who were on their horses and under their canopies (ਜੋ ਵਧੀਆ ਘੋੜਿਆਂ ਉੱਤੇ ਸਵਾਰ ਹੁੰਦੇ ਸਨ ਤੇ ਜੋ ਝੁਲਦੇ ਛਤਰਾਂ ਹੇਠ ਬੈਠਦੇ ਸਨ), were eventually buried under the ground. ||37|| (sggs 1366).

In short, once dead — regardless if cremated or buried — ultimately this body will mingle with dust, and GRASS WILL GROW ON TOP OF IT (‘ਊਪਰਿ ਜਾਮੈ ਘਾਸੁ-Oopari Jaamai Ghaas(u)‘)!!

Bhagat Kabeer Ji thus reminds us not to be proud of the body, big houses or mansions, worldly possessions, wealth etc. (ਧਨ-ਪਦਾਰਥ). Because, we will have to leave all this behind at any time!!

  • ਕਬੀਰ ਗਰਬੁ ਨ ਕੀਜੀਐ ਦੇਹੀ ਦੇਖਿ ਸੁਰੰਗ ॥ ਆਜੁ ਕਾਲ੍ਹ੍ਹਿ ਤਜਿ ਜਾਹੁਗੇ ਜਿਉ ਕਾਂਚੁਰੀ ਭੁਯੰਗ ॥੪੦॥: O Kabeer! Do not be proud looking at your beautiful body. Today or tomorrow, you will have to leave it behind, like the snake shedding its skin. ||40|| (sggs 1366).

In other words, one’s association with his/her own body is also fleeting at best!!

  • ਜੋ ਤਨੁ ਉਪਜਿਆ ਸੰਗ ਹੀ ਸੋ ਭੀ ਸੰਗਿ ਨ ਹੋਇਆ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Even that body, which you were born with, will not go along with you in the end. ||1||Pause|| (sggs 726).

death suddenly pounces on Jeeva (individual beings) just as a hawk suddenly pounces on a bird engaged in play!

  • ਕੇਲ ਕਰੇਦੇ ਹੰਝ ਨੋ ਅਚਿੰਤੇ ਬਾਜ ਪਏ ॥: While a Hans (swan, goose…) is engaged in play, a hawk suddenly pounces on it. (sggs 1383).

Baabaa Nanak sums it up as follows:

  • ਧਨੁ ਜੋਬਨੁ ਅਰੁ ਫੁਲੜਾ ਨਾਠੀਅੜੇ ਦਿਨ ਚਾਰਿ ॥: Wealth, youth and flower are guests for four days only (i.e., fleeting…). (sggs 23).

Furthermore, Bhagat Kabeer Ji advises us not to laugh at those who are poor and may lack those possessions. Because, our life-boat is still in the ocean, and no one knows what will happen next — one may loose everything instantly while still alive!!

  • ਕਬੀਰ ਗਰਬੁ ਨ ਕੀਜੀਐ ਰੰਕੁ ਨ ਹਸੀਐ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਅਜਹੁ ਸੁ ਨਾਉ ਸਮੁੰਦ੍ਰ ਮਹਿ ਕਿਆ ਜਾਨਉ ਕਿਆ ਹੋਇ ॥੩੯॥: O Kabir! Do not be proud and laugh at the poor. As yet the boat (of your life) is in the sea. Who knows what may happen? (sggs 1366).

The Gurbani talks about the learned fool (‘ਪੜਿਆ ਮੂਰਖੁ’) — a person who is under the negative impact of Bikaars (lust anger, greed, attachment and pride). The Gurbani identifies such learned or educated person as a ‘fool’:

  • ਪੜਿਆ ਮੂਰਖੁ ਆਖੀਐ ਜਿਸੁ ਲਬੁ ਲੋਭੁ ਅਹੰਕਾਰਾ ॥ ਨਾਉ ਪੜੀਐ ਨਾਉ ਬੁਝੀਐ ਗੁਰਮਤੀ ਵੀਚਾਰਾ ॥: In spite of being learned / educated, one is considered a fool if full of Trishanaa (desires…), greed and pride  (i.e. Bikaar) — because he has understood nothing! Naam (Shabad, Wisdom, Hukam: System-Rule-Law of Nature…) is to be read, Naam is to be understood and REALIZED with the Gurmat or the God-Connecting Shabad-Guru is the right way. (sggs 140).
  • ਪੁਸਤਕ ਪਾਠ ਬਿਆਕਰਣ ਵਖਾਣੈ ਸੰਧਿਆ ਕਰਮ ਤਿਕਾਲ ਕਰੈ ॥ ਬਿਨੁ ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਕਹਾ ਪ੍ਰਾਣੀ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮ ਬਿਨੁ ਉਰਝਿ ਮਰੈ ॥੨॥ : (The Pandits, religious scholar, Pujaaree, ਵਿੱਦਵਾਨ) perform the daily routine (ritual Nitnem-ਨਿਤਨੇਮ) of three times a day. He Reads (ਪਾਠ) religious books and explains them, and talks about the Grammar (ਵਿਆਕਰਣ) but do not understand (or practice) the teachings given in them so reading and listening to them is just a drama for Maya. But liberation is not possible without leading life by the ‘Gur Shabad’ (Giaan-Wisdom-Upadesh); he is entangled and trapped in useless rituals wasting precious time of life (and many other people imitating him also waste their time). ||2|| (sggs 1127).

So, essentially, the Gurbani is asking us not to let the negative impact of Bikaars run our lives. Instead, the Gurbani asks us to remember that our physical existence in this world is meant for abiding in our Mool or Jot Saroop within (‘ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਮਿਲਣ’).

  • ਭਈ ਪਰਾਪਤਿ ਮਾਨੁਖ ਦੇਹੁਰੀਆ ॥ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਮਿਲਣ ਕੀ ਇਹ ਤੇਰੀ ਬਰੀਆ ॥ ਅਵਰਿ ਕਾਜ ਤੇਰੈ ਕਿਤੈ ਨ ਕਾਮ ॥ ਮਿਲੁ ਸਾਧਸੰਗਤਿ ਭਜੁ ਕੇਵਲ ਨਾਮ ॥੧॥: (O Human being!) You have been blessed with a human body. This is your only opportunity to unite with the Creator. Other worldly deeds (e.g. Karamkaand, rituals, formalities, concocted concepts etc.) are of no use to you in realizing God. Therefore join the holy congregation (i.e. Satsangee Jan, seekers) and lovingly remember the divine Naam (Virtues / Wisdom). ||1|| (sggs 12).
  • ਜਬ ਮੁਖਿ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਮੁ ਸਾਜਨੁ ਲਾਗਾ ॥ ਸੂਖ ਸਹਜ ਮੇਰਾ ਧਨੁ ਸੋਹਾਗਾ ॥: Since I abided in my ‘Saajanu‘ (Mool…), Happiness and ‘Sahaj‘ (Natural State of Being, Giaan or Wisdom Avasthaa…) has arisen within me, my destiny is Awakened. (sggs 394).

In other words, we are reminded to utilize every day or each moment of this rare opportunity of human birth to become the Gurmukh and thus be happy and Joyous (‘ਆਨੰਦ’-Anand) by abiding in the Mool or Jot Saroop (ਪ੍ਰਾਪਤੀ) within — BEFORE DEATH OR BEFORE GRASS GROWS ON TOP OF OUR BODY (‘ਊਪਰਿ ਜਾਮੈ ਘਾਸੁ-Oopari Jaamai Ghaas(u)‘)!!

  • ਨਾਨਕ ਸਤਿਗੁਰਿ ਭੇਟਿਐ ਪੂਰੀ ਹੋਵੈ ਜੁਗਤਿ ॥ ਹਸੰਦਿਆ ਖੇਲੰਦਿਆ ਪੈਨੰਦਿਆ ਖਾਵੰਦਿਆ ਵਿਚੇ ਹੋਵੈ ਮੁਕਤਿ ॥: O Nanak! Meeting the Satigur (i.e. when True Knowledge – ਸੱਚਾ ਗਿਆਨ – is obtained) then the right Way to live life is found. (Thus) while laughing, playing, dressing and eating (i.e. doing all the work in the world), one remains liberated (i.e. Free from negative impact of Maya, Bikaar: lust, anger, greed, attachments, pride, etc.). (sggs 522).

While living in the midst of Maya, the Gurbani asserts that a Gurmukh fulfills the ultimate purpose of this human birth (ਜੀਵਨ ਦਾ ਲਾਹਾ), while a Manmukh-Saakat-Mayadhaaree (the opposite of the Gurmukh) squanders this opportunity.

In short, a Gurmukh (Bhagat, Daas, Jan…) is a person who is Wise, brave, good, virtuous, stable, fearless, blissful (Anand), pious, Joyful, positive, Happy, balanced and poised etc. (ਵਿਦਵਾਨ, ਬਹਾਦੁਰ, ਭਲਾ, ਨੇਕ, ਗੁਣੀ, ਖੁਸ਼, ਅਡੋਲ, ‘ਸਹਜਿ ਸੁਭਾਇ’, ਹਮੇਸ਼ਾ ਚੜ੍ਹਦੀ ਕਲਾ ਵਿਚ…).

  • ਮਨਮੁਖਿ ਖੋਇਆ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਲਾਧਾ ॥: Rejecting the Shabad (Manmukh-hood) is the cause of not finding (Realization), adopting the Shabad (Gurmukh-hood) is the Way to rediscover it. (sggs 939).
  • ਕਬੀਰ ਲੂਟਨਾ ਹੈ ਤ ਲੂਟਿ ਲੈ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮ ਹੈ ਲੂਟਿ ॥ ਫਿਰਿ ਪਾਛੈ ਪਛੁਤਾਹੁਗੇ ਪ੍ਰਾਨ ਜਾਹਿੰਗੇ ਛੂਟਿ ॥੪੧॥: O Kabeer! (Instead of wandering around in love with Maya or Bhav Saagar) the divine Naam is being distributed over and over again, if you want to collect, collect this Naam-Wealth. When the vital breath (from the body) is gone, one has to regret wasting time. ||41|| (sggs 1366).
  • ਲਖ ਖੁਸੀਆ ਪਾਤਿਸਾਹੀਆ ਜੇ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਨਦਰਿ ਕਰੇਇ ॥: If ‘Satguru‘ (true Wisdom-ਸੱਚ ਦਾ ਗਿਆਨ) is in my life, then (I understand that) I have got the happiness of millions of kingdoms! (sggs 44).


  1. Enjoyed reading your blog today. Thanks for bringing out the gurbani quotes and providing its meaning.

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