The Gurmat Wisdom of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) Teaches us the subtle art of Awakening the Divine Virtues such as fearlessness (‘ਨਿਰਭਉ’)!

A doctor cannot effectively treat a disease unless, first, he has properly diagnosed it!

The Guru Doctor in the Gurbani (Gur-Shabad) perfectly diagnoses the subtle diseases of the human mind, and then prescribes the appropriate treatment! Which then leads to the state of ‘Sooraa'(ਸੂਰਾ)

For example, consider the subtle disease of fearfulness (ਡਰ, ਸਹਮ, ਭੈ, ਖੌਫ, etc.). Before we consider it’s treatment or cure, let’s first ask the Gurbani’s Guru Doctor to diagnose the root cause of fear.

According to the Doctor in the Gurbani (Gur Shabad), the root cause of fear is doubt (Bharam-ਭਰਮ, ignorance…).

In other words, a doubt-ridden mind will be fearful. This simply means that if the doubt (Bharam-ਭਰਮ) is eradicated, fear departs, paving the way for fearlessness:

  • ਹਮਰਾ ਭਰਮੁ ਗਇਆ ਭਉ ਭਾਗਾ ॥ ਜਬ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮ ਚਿਤੁ ਲਾਗਾ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Now that my consciousness is attached to the Naam (Wisdom, Virtues, Truth…) ||1||Pause||, my mind’s doubt got dispelled and my fear has fled away. (sggs 655).

Now, what is doubt (Bharam-ਭਰਮ)? In nutshell, doubt is essentially ignorance (Agiaantaa-ਅਗਿਆਨਤਾ) — the mind’s ignorance of its True Blissful Nature (Mool, Truth, Jot Saroop…).

  • ਅੰਤਰਿ ਅਗਿਆਨੁ ਦੁਖੁ ਭਰਮੁ ਹੈ ਗੁਰ ਗਿਆਨਿ ਗਵਾਈ ॥ : The internal suffering and doubt arising from ignorance are only dispelled through the Guru’s GiyanWisdom. (sggs 1291).

Our Mayaic mind (instinctive, deluded, or conditioned) has a way of casting shadows over the natural radiance of the Inner Light (Jot Saroop…).

Doubt (Bharam-ਭਰਮ) is the byproduct of the Mayaic intellect (Budhi) inability to cope with This Light.

When we depend on Mayaic intellect for meaningful answers, the Mayaic mind (ਮਾਇਕੀ ਮਨ) will break down in doubt (Bharam-ਭਰਮ).

Being a great trickster, the conditioned mind gives rise to false self-identification with the  body consciousness, resulting in forgetfulness of its True Nature (Jot Saroop). Due to blind attachment to the body-frame, we are continually taking care of this body that anything can knock it down; and so we are living in a constant state of fear.

Doubt (Bharam-ਭਰਮ) is also the root cause of our Haumai (false ego-sense).

Thus, doubt (Bharam-ਭਰਮ) is a crushing load on the soul or mind. This human life is an opportunity to unload ourselves. We have the choice – either we can chose to carry these loads around longer and keep suffering, or we can chose to end here and now.

  • ਹਉਮੈ ਮੋਹ ਭਰਮ ਭੈ ਭਾਰ ॥: Egotism, attachment, doubt and fear are loads. (sggs 292).

Doubt (Bharam-ਭਰਮ) fragments the mind. So, essentially it leads to negative thoughts, negative decisions, negative actions, negative tendencies, and, of course, negative reactions — the Saakat, Mayadhaaree, or Manmukh lifestyle. Fear makes our mind weak; and thus makes it yield to bad thinking (Soch)!

  • ਮਨ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਹਉਮੈ ਰੋਗੁ ਹੈ ਭ੍ਰਮਿ ਭੂਲੇ ਮਨਮੁਖ ਦੁਰਜਨਾ ॥ : The unenlightened persons (Manmukhs) of corrupt thinking are deluded by doubt because of the mental disease of false ego-sense (Haumai) within their mind. (sggs 301).

Lack of fearlessness creates attachment, anger, resentment, loss of memory, inability to face a critical moment, etc. It this creates a lifestyle of misappropriation of everything in the name of livelihood, possessiveness, Bikaar (lust, anger, greed, etc.) …

  • ਨਾਨਕ ਮੁਸੈ ਗਿਆਨ ਵਿਹੂਣੀ ਖਾਇ ਗਇਆ ਜਮਕਾਲੁ ॥੧॥: O Nanak! Without the Wisdom, one is plundered and devoured by ‘Jamkaalu’ (Bikaar: lust, anger, greed, attachment and pride and their numerous variations). ||1|| (sggs 465).
  • ਅਵਰਿ ਪੰਚ ਹਮ ਏਕ ਜਨਾ ਕਿਉ ਰਾਖਉ ਘਰ ਬਾਰੁ ਮਨਾ ॥ ਮਾਰਹਿ ਲੂਟਹਿ ਨੀਤ ਨੀਤ ਕਿਸੁ ਆਗੈ ਕਰੀ ਪੁਕਾਰ ਜਨਾ ॥੧॥ ਸ੍ਰੀ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮਾ ਉਚਰੁ ਮਨਾ ॥ ਆਗੈ ਜਮ ਦਲੁ ਬਿਖਮੁ ਘਨਾ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: O my mind! They are five (lust, anger, greed, etc.). I am but all alone. How can I protect my hearth and home (within, i.e., Virtues, Wisdom, good thoughts…). They daily kill and plunder (my Virtues, Wisdom, good thoughts…). Unto whom can I complain? (O my mind!) Utter the Naam of Raam; (because, stood) before you is (this) awful terrible, and numerous band of Jamm (i.e., lust, anger, greed, etc.). ||1||Pause|| (sggs 155).
  • ਪ੍ਰਭ ਸੁਆਮੀ ਕੰਤ ਵਿਹੂਣੀਆ ਮੀਤ ਸਜਣ ਸਭਿ ਜਾਮ ॥: Without Prabh (Sach, Truth, Mool…), all friends and companions are like the Jamm. (sggs 133).

Clearly, for the doubt-ridden mind to become Enlightened and fearless, we need to bring in the Wisdom (Aatam-Giaan)!

  • ਅੰਤਰਿ ਭਰਮੁ ਗਇਆ ਭਉ ਭਾਗਾ ॥: (By holding tight to Gur-Giaan or Gur-Wisdom) Doubt gets eliminated from within, and fear runs away (sggs 1061).

It brings us to this question: If destruction of doubt (Bharam-ਭਰਮ) results in fearlessness, then how can it be destroyed? The Gurbani teaches us precisely that.

The Gurbani assures us doubt (Bharam) can be destroyed by the Grace of the Gur-Giaan or Wisdom (‘ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦਿ’: ਗੁਰੂ ਦੇ ਗਿਆਨ ਦੀ ਕਿਰਪਾ ਨਾਲ).

  • ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦਿ ਭਰਮ ਕਾ ਨਾਸੁ ॥: By the Grace of the Gur-Giaan or Wisdom, doubt is dispelled. (sggs 294).
  • ਬਿਨੁ ਸਬਦੈ ਭਰਮੁ ਨ ਚੂਕਈ ਨਾ ਵਿਚਹੁ ਹਉਮੈ ਜਾਇ ॥੬॥: Without the Shabad, doubt is not dispelled, and egotism is not eliminated from within. ||6|| (sggs 67).

In other words, it’s only the magic of the Gur-Giaan (Divine Wisdom or Bibek-Budhi of the Gurbani…) that can lift the doubt-ridden mind into its Jot Saroop, destroying the formidable fortress of doubt (Bharam-ਭਰਮ), Maya, duality, ignorance, false ego-sense, Bikaars…

  • 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 brother, the storm of Spiritual Wisdom or Enlightenment has struck my mind. (This storm of Wisdom) has blown away my mind’s Bharam (doubts, confusion, superstition etc.) and bonds of Maya like the thatched walls of my hut. ||1||pause|| The pillar of my double-mindedness and the beam of my emotional bonds of the hut has come crashing down. The thatched roof of worldly desires (supported on the beam of attachment) has fallen to the ground and the pitcher of evil intellect has broken. ||1|| (sggs 331).

In nutshell, through the earnest search (ਖੋਜ), churning the Gurbani,  or Shabad-Vichaar, the Light of Wisdom (Aatam-Giaan) must enter in the dark corners and recesses of the doubt-ridden or ignorant mind!

As we engage in Shabad-Vichaar (Reflections on the Gurbani), we begin to reprogram the mind and mold it like a potter molds clay. We become more conscious of our lack of fearlessness.

For this to happen, the mind must rest in Truth. In other words, by becoming the Gurmukh, when the Heart is filled with the Pure Fear of the One (abidance or Love or reverence of Hukam, ਹੁਕਮ ਦਾ ਅਦਬ-ਸਤਕਾਰ, ਪ੍ਰੇਮ…), detachment (‘ਬੈਰਾਗੁ’) arises within and all fears depart! The Gurbani confirms this as follows:

  • ਡਡਾ ਡਰ ਉਪਜੇ ਡਰੁ ਜਾਈ ॥ ਤਾ ਡਰ ਮਹਿ ਡਰੁ ਰਹਿਆ ਸਮਾਈ ॥ ਜਉ ਡਰ ਡਰੈ ਤ ਫਿਰਿ ਡਰੁ ਲਾਗੈ ॥ ਨਿਡਰ ਹੂਆ ਡਰੁ ਉਰ ਹੋਇ ਭਾਗੈ ॥੧੯॥ : DADDA (a letter of the Gurmukhi alphabet): When the revered Fear of the Creator wellsin the mind, then the worldly fear departs. Thus the Worldly fear is absorbed into revered Fear. But when anyone does not have the revered Fear of the Creator, then the worldly fear again clings to him. By keeping the Creator’s revered Fear in the mind, one becomes fearless, then the worldly fear of his mind run away. ||19|| (sggs 341).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਭ੍ਰਮ ਭੈ ਮੋਹ ਮਿਟਾਇਆ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਤੇਹ ਪਰਮ ਸੁਖ ਪਾਇਆ ॥੪੦॥: By becoming the Gurmukh, who have effaced their doubt, fear and worldly attachment, O Nanak! they realize the supreme Sukh (Bliss…). (sggs 258).

Thus, proper understanding of the Gurbani (ਸੂਝ-ਬੂਝ, Giaan, Bibek…) leads to realization of the state of fearlessness (“ਨਿਰਭੈ ਪਦੁ”). Simply put: One who has realized his Mool, Blissful Nature…) within gains fearlessness, Happiness, Bliss…

  • ਨਾਨਕ ਵਿਣੁ ਨਾਵੈ ਨਿਰਭਉ ਕੋ ਨਹੀ ਜਿਚਰੁ ਸਬਦਿ ਨ ਕਰੇ ਵੀਚਾਰੁ ॥੧॥: O Nanak! Without the Naam, until one Reflects through the Shabad, one’s fear is not dispelled. ||1|| (sggs 588).


  1. Thank you J. Singh Ji for your reply and inquiry. Welcome to the Gurbani blog.

    What does gurbani mean by “fear of the one”?

    As I understand, it does not mean to be afraid of God. It simply implies Pure Love for God, Hukam, respect, reverence and veneration, etc. In essence, it is the fear of immoral, false and unrighteous conduct. Thus, in deeper sense, the “fear of God” is meant to discourage ambivalence. Such pure “fear” or respect and reverence based on Love keeps a seeker in the scale of morality and righteousness, which, in turn, encourages Spiritual Life, Spiritual discipline, meditation, inculcation of Self-knowledge through inner inquiry and one-pointed conscious love for the original Source within (Mool). With the help of such Divine Attributes, the Soul-bride develops an important element of Gurmat Bhgati called Bairaagdetachment from material temptations and their corrupting influences, and attachment to the practice of love and Bhagti of the Pure Factor within.

  2. By the Fear of One….I think you don’t mean panic, shraap etc.

    You are correct!
    Many thanks Chitranjan Dev Ji for taking the time to respond to this post!

  3. By the Fear of One….I think you don’t mean panic, shraap etc. Because our Guruji is Mith Boleraaji…He is a ocean of love. For this wat I think you mean the Fear of Wrong Deeds should be there with a love for Divine…Than a Person will be become courageous and fearless…. Bhul Chuk Maaf ji..

  4. Thanks Gurmuk Singh Ji for taking the time to respond to this post! And welcome to the Gurbani Blog Ji!

    In nutshell, the light mentioned in the Gurbani must be understood in the metaphorical sense. It is the Light of Divine Wisdom (Aatam-Giaan, ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਦਾ ਚਾਨਣ…) that dispels man’s ignorance of his Mool (Source, Origin, Jot…).
    • ਮੰਦਰਿ ਮੇਰੈ ਸਬਦਿ ਉਜਾਰਾ ॥: Mandari merai Sabadi ujaaraa (sggs 384).
    • ਭਇਓ ਪ੍ਰਗਾਸੁ ਸਰਬ ਉਜੀਆਰਾ ਗੁਰ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਮਨਹਿ ਪ੍ਰਗਟਾਇਓ ॥: Bhaio pragaasu sarab ujiaaraa Gur giaanu manhi pragataaio (sggs 209).
    • ਗੁਰਮਤੀ ਆਪੁ ਪਛਾਣਿਆ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮ ਪਰਗਾਸੁ ॥: Gurmatee aapu pachhaaniaa Raam naam paragaasu (sggs 86).
    • ਗੁਰਬਾਣੀ ਇਸੁ ਜਗ ਮਹਿ ਚਾਨਣੁ ਕਰਮਿ ਵਸੈ ਮਨਿ ਆਏ ॥੧॥: Gurbani isu jag mahi chaananu karami vasai mani aaye ||1||(sggs 67).
    • ਗੁਰ ਗਿਆਨ ਅੰਜਨੁ ਸਚੁ ਨੇਤ੍ਰੀ ਪਾਇਆ ॥ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਚਾਨਣੁ ਅਗਿਆਨੁ ਅੰਧੇਰੁ ਗਵਾਇਆ ॥: Gur giaan anjanu sachu netree paaiaa. Antari chaananu agiaanu andheru gavaaiaa (sggs 124).
    • ਗੁਰ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਪ੍ਰਚੰਡੁ ਬਲਾਇਆ ਅਗਿਆਨੁ ਅੰਧੇਰਾ ਜਾਇ ॥੨॥: Gur giaanu parchandu balaaiaa agiaanu anadheraa jaai ||2|| (sggs 29).

  5. Thank you sir , for sharing Gurbani with us.
    Keep posting. .. i ma learning many things from this blog.

  6. Thanks for sharing your knowledge of Gurubani. I have a quick question, when you mention “inner light” ” “Enlightened” do you mean it literally or figuratively ? I mean when someone is blessed by the Guru’s Knowledge does he or she actually experiences light when they go inward deed into meditation ? Thanks in advance for clarity.

  7. Gurparsad is essential to remove Bharam as you pointed out “Gurparsad bharam ka naas”:
    ਪਾਵੈ ਤ ਸੋ ਜਨੁ ਦੇਹਿ ਜਿਸ ਨੋ ਹੋਰਿ ਕਿਆ ਕਰਹਿ ਵੇਚਾਰਿਆ ॥ (Raag Raakali M. 3, GGS. 918-1).
    ਇਕਿ ਭਰਮਿ ਭੂਲੇ ਫਿਰਹਿ ਦਹ ਦਿਸਿ ਇਕਿ ਨਾਮਿ ਲਾਗਿ ਸਵਾਰਿਆ ॥
    ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦੀ ਮਨੁ ਭਇਆ ਨਿਰਮਲੁ ਜਿਨਾ ਭਾਣਾ ਭਾਵਏ ॥
    ਕਹੈ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਜਿਸੁ ਦੇਹਿ ਪਿਆਰੇ ਸੋਈ ਜਨੁ ਪਾਵਏ ॥੮॥
    ਇਕਿ ਭਰਮੇ ਇਕਿ ਭਗਤੀ ਲਾਏ ॥(Raag Raamkali M. 5, GGS. 894-7).
    ਅਪਣਾ ਕੀਆ ਆਪਿ ਜਣਾਏ ॥੩॥

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