Ghost-Pret Defined

The majority of us talk about ghosts and goblin or Bhoot-Pret as heard from manufactured stories, or as seen in movies and t.v. serials, or Pakhand, etc. However we seldom talk about the  Bhoot-Pret the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) talks about!

The SGGS does not believe in the existence of any Bhoot-Pret as heard from manufactured stories, or as seen in movies and t.v. serials, etc. In fact, the SGGS does not believe in the existence of any power other than the One Rabb (Universal Energy).

  • ਸਰਬੰ ਸਾਚਾ ਏਕੁ ਹੈ ਦੂਜਾ ਨਾਹੀ ਕੋਇ ॥: There is only the One eternal Divine; there is no other at all. (sggs 660).

If there is “NO OTHER” or no second, then how can there be ghosts and goblin or Bhoot-Pret, etc.?

Then, who is the real ghost, goblin, Bhoot or Pret the Gurbani talks about? As the Gurbani asserts, we must find answer from within the Gurbani (“ਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਬਾਣੀ ਗੁਰ ਤੇ ਜਾਤੀ”). So, let’s ask the SGGS!

Medicine is for alive people, not for dead. Therefore, first off, it’s very essential to recognize that the Wisdom of the Gurbani is for the minds of the living people, not for animals, stones, or dead people.

It’s the people’s mind that has been shut up and confined, as a chick in an eggshell (of doubt, Karamkaand, ignorance, demerits, Bikaar, and so on).

Hence, the Gurbani is written for the human mind that needs to change its bad habits or bad thinking and actions, here and now, not after death. The Gurmat (Wisdom, Giaan, Upadesh or Way of the SGGS…) does not believe in the nonsense of after-death liberation (Mukti):

  • ਬੇਣੀ ਕਹੈ ਸੁਨਹੁ ਰੇ ਭਗਤਹੁ ਮਰਨ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਕਿਨਿ ਪਾਈ ॥੫॥: Says Baynee – O Bhagat! Listen (to this truth): Nobody has ever attained liberation after death. ||5|| (sggs 93).

Therefore, simply put, according to the SGGS, it’s the man’s untruthful or unvirtuous nature(Virtee-ਵਿਰਤੀ), habits, or actions talked about here in the Gur-Shabad – animal-nature (“ਪਸੂ” ਵਿਰਤੀ), or Pret- nature (“ਪਰੇਤ” ਵਿਰਤੀ), or ignorance (foolish “ਮੁਗਧ”)… 

  • ਗਾਵਤੇ ਉਧਰਹਿ ਸੁਣਤੇ ਉਧਰਹਿ ਬਿਨਸਹਿ ਪਾਪ ਘਨੇਰੇ ॥ ਪਸੂ ਪਰੇਤ ਮੁਗਧ ਕਉ ਤਾਰੇ ਪਾਹਨ ਪਾਰਿ ਉਤਾਰੈ ॥: They who live by the divine Wisdom or Virtues are revived (i.e., they get rid of their bad thinking, consequently) and all their sins are destroyed. Thus (living by the Wisdom or Virtues) men of animal-nature, Pret- nature, and stone-nature are saved (from Bhav Saagar). (sggs 802).
  • ਪਸੂ ਪਰੇਤ ਮੁਗਧ ਭਏ ਸ੍ਰੋਤੇ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮਾ ਮੁਖਿ ਗਾਇਆ ॥੧॥: Pasoo Pret Mugdh… (sggs 614).

Thus, The Gurbani asserts that any person attached to Maya or without Wisdom, Virtues, Truth (Sach), etc., is a ghost (Bhoot-Pret). Hence, minds inflicted with Bikaar (lust, anger, greed, etc.) are ugly or “Karoop” — ghosts (Bhoot-Pret), here and now!

  • ਮਾਇਆ ਮੋਹੁ ਪਰੇਤੁ ਹੈ ਕਾਮੁ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਅਹੰਕਾਰਾ ॥: Attachment to Maya, lust, anger, and egotism is the goblin (ghost, ਪ੍ਰੇਤ, ਭੂਤ…). (sggs 513).
  • ਕਲਿ ਮਹਿ ਪ੍ਰੇਤ ਜਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹੀ ਰਾਮੁ ਨ ਪਛਾਤਾ ਸਤਜੁਗਿ ਪਰਮ ਹੰਸ ਬੀਚਾਰੀ ॥: Those who have not realized Raam (Mool, Prabh, Source, ਮੂਲ…) are “Pret-ਪ੍ਰੇਤ” in “Kali” (mental state of imagination, strife, hunger for Maya…). Those who are established in “Satjugi” (the (mental state of Truth) are the supreme souls, (they) Reflect on (Raam, Hari, Mool…). (sggs 1131).
  • ਕਲੀ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਜਿੰਨਾਂ ਦਾ ਅਉਤਾਰੁ ॥ ਪੁਤੁ ਜਿਨੂਰਾ ਧੀਅ ਜਿੰਨੂਰੀ ਜੋਰੂ ਜਿੰਨਾ ਦਾ ਸਿਕਦਾਰੁ ॥੧॥: O Nanak! In “Kalee” (a mental state of imagining or Phurne, doubt, hunger for Maya…), ghosts have taken birth. (Without Wisdom, Virtues, etc.) the son, the daughter, and the wife is the chief of the demons!. ||1|| (sggs 556).
  • ਕਈ ਕੋਟਿ ਭੂਤ ਪ੍ਰੇਤ ਸੂਕਰ ਮ੍ਰਿਗਾਚ ॥: Many millions (of people who are full of Bikaar and devoid of Virtues, Wisdom…) are Pret, ghosts, swines and tigers. (sggs 276).

Hence, according to the SGGS, the man himself/herself becomes the ghost (Bhoot-Pret), or animal, or stone-hearted, etc., while still living in the human body! 

Thus, in nutshell, ghost-Bhoot-Pret-Pasoo-stone = a person’s nature (Viratee).

Accordingly, the Gurbani asserts that the day when a person’s Aatmak-Gun (pure Soul-Nature, Virtues, True Nature or Jot Saroop…), or Wisdom, or humanity – true human nature (ਇਨਸਾਨੀਅਤ), or Truth (Sach) etc. dies, at that day the person becomes ghosts and goblin or Bhoot-Pret. After that, a person is of no use to the society, his own family, or anybody else.

  • ਜਿਤੁ ਦਿਨਿ ਦੇਹ ਬਿਨਸਸੀ ਤਿਤੁ ਵੇਲੈ ਕਹਸਨਿ ਪ੍ਰੇਤੁ ॥: On that day when “Dehee” (subtle body within – Aaatmaan or Aatmak-Gun or Virtues, true human nature…) perishes, at that time (that person) is called a ghost. (sggs 134).
  • ਕਰਤੂਤਿ ਪਸੂ ਕੀ ਮਾਨਸ ਜਾਤਿ ॥ ਲੋਕ ਪਚਾਰਾ ਕਰੈ ਦਿਨੁ ਰਾਤਿ ॥ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਭੇਖ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਮਲੁ ਮਾਇਆ ॥ ਛਪਸਿ ਨਾਹਿ ਕਛੁ ਕਰੈ ਛਪਾਇਆ ॥: (Although one born from human category) belongs to the human specie, but his deeds are that of animals. (However, he) day and night humbugs or show off to people (that he is a human, ਬੰਦਾ…)! Outside (on his body) is the religious dress but in his mind is the filth of Maya. (However, the filth of the mind) cannot concealed by trying to conceal it with (outwardly wearing religious robes). (sggs 267).

In other words,the man is the biggest “Bhoot” (Pret, ghost, goblin) there is!

The implication is that if a person is attached to Maya and has no interest in acquiring Virtues such as, Truth (ਸਤ), contentment (ਸੰਤੋਖ), mercy (ਦਯਾ), patience (ਧੀਰਜ), Sahaj (ਸਹਜ), Wisdom (ਗਿਆਨ), etc.) then he is disconnected from the affectionate Bhagti, Naam, Shabd, Hukam, Virtues, Wisdom…

  • ਕਬੀਰ ਜਾ ਘਰ ਸਾਧ ਨ ਸੇਵੀਅਹਿ ਹਰਿ ਕੀ ਸੇਵਾ ਨਾਹਿ ॥ ਤੇ ਘਰ ਮਰਹਟ ਸਾਰਖੇ ਭੂਤ ਬਸਹਿ ਤਿਨ ਮਾਹਿ ॥੧੯੨॥: O Kabeer! Hearts, in which the “Saadh” (Gur-Shabad – Wisdom, Virtues, Truth…) is not served; those Hearts are like the cremation ground and demons dwell within them. (sggs 1374).
  • ਕੁਟੰਬ ਜਤਨ ਕਰਣੰ ਮਾਇਆ ਅਨੇਕ ਉਦਮਹ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਭਗਤਿ ਭਾਵ ਹੀਣੰ ਨਾਨਕ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਬਿਸਰਤ ਤੇ ਪ੍ਰੇਤਤਹ ॥੧॥: (People) make efforts for his family and puts in many endeavors for the sake of Maya. O Nanak! (But) they remain devoid of the Hari Bhagti (Giaan, Wisdom, Virtues…); and  (those who) forget Prabh (Giaan, Wisdom, Virtues…) are like ghost. ||1|| (sggs 706).

However, since we don’t want to be responsible for our own corruption, we create ghosts (Bhoot-Pret) in the sky so that we can pass on our corruption to some other entity in thin air!!

Furthermore, the Gurbani asserts that man himself is the biggest Jamm-Doot there is — a mind ridden with doubt (Bharam), Bikaar (lust, anger, greed, etc.), ignorance or absence of Naam (Wisdom, Virtues, Truth, etc.), crookedness or wickedness…

  • 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).

In other words, under the sway of Bikaar (lust, anger, greed, attachment, pride…), those who pick up strife and conflict and act crazy are just goblins and ghosts.

  • ਦੁੰਦਰ ਦੂਤ ਭੂਤ ਭੀਹਾਲੇ ॥ ਖਿੰਚੋਤਾਣਿ ਕਰਹਿ ਬੇਤਾਲੇ ॥: Argumentative and terrifying demons of Bikaar reside within (a person who is under the spell of Maya). (These argumentative demons of Bikaar) stir up conflict and strife. (sggs 1031).

Hence, one disconnected from the Truth (ਸੱਚ), or separated from Naam, or broken away from his Mool is the ghost or goblin. Baabaa Nanak stresses that this ghost within our body ruins us.

  • ਜਤੁ ਸਤੁ ਸੰਜਮੁ ਸੀਲੁ ਨ ਰਾਖਿਆ ਪ੍ਰੇਤ ਪਿੰਜਰ ਮਹਿ ਕਾਸਟੁ ਭਇਆ ॥: You do not practice truth, abstinence, self-discipline or humility; the ghost within your skeleton has become (like a) dry wood. (sggs 906).

In nutshell, man’s duality (Doojaa-Bhaav) is his worst ghost. Like darkness and light, in nature both duality and non-duality coexists. But the Mayaic mind (Haumai) sees or transacts with duality only.

  • ਪ੍ਰੇਤ ਭੂਤ ਸਭਿ ਦੂਜੈ ਲਾਏ ॥: All goblins and demons are attached to duality (wanderings in the love of Maya, ਮਾਇਆ ਦੇ ਮੋਹ ਦੀ ਭਟਕਣਾ). (sggs 841).
  • ਅੰਤਿ ਕਾਲਿ ਜੋ ਮੰਦਰ ਸਿਮਰੈ ਐਸੀ ਚਿੰਤਾ ਮਹਿ ਜੇ ਮਰੈ ॥ ਪ੍ਰੇਤ ਜੋਨਿ ਵਲਿ ਵਲਿ ਅਉਤਰੈ ॥੪॥: To the end (i.e., to the brink of spiritual or Aatmak death, mental blindness, ਸਿਰੇ-ਅੰਤ ਦੀ ਹੱਦ ਤਕ), who thinks of mansions and dies so scattered (ਵਿਲਕਦਾ ਹੋਇਆ then it indicates the state of his mind) repeatedly living as a Pret (or ghost in daily life, here and now). ||4|| (sggs 526).

Those attached to duality are also called Manmukhs in the Gurbani. Therefore, a Manmukh (a Saakat or a Mayadhaaree) = a ghost or goblin.

But the Gurmukh (who is opposite of the Manmukh), lives in non-duality, for he is established in the Divine Wisdom of the SGGS. In other words, he has become Jeevanmukta (living liberated). He has realized his non-dual Joti-Sroop.

In other words, the darkness or “Dhundh-ਧੁੰਧ” of ignorance is ghost in itself.

  • ਪ੍ਰੇਤ ਪਿੰਜਰ ਮਹਿ ਦੂਖ ਘਨੇਰੇ ॥ ਨਰਕਿ ਪਚਹਿ ਅਗਿਆਨ ਅੰਧੇਰੇ ॥: (Those who live as) ghost in the body-cage, suffer all sorts of afflictions. Those who (thus live) in the darkness of spiritual wisdom, putrefy in hellish (existence). (sggs 1029).

the SGGS wants us to live a Gurmukh Lifestyle, NOT like a ghost or an animal! However, living blind to the Wisdom (Gurmukh Lifestyle), one tends to believe false things to be true.

  • ਝੂਠੁ ਬਾਤ ਸਾ ਸਚੁ ਕਰਿ ਜਾਤੀ ॥: That which is false (we) deem it to be true. (sggs 185).

Hence, the Gurbani asserts that so long the Divine Virtues or Gun-ਗੁਣ — Truth (ਸਤ), contentment (ਸੰਤੋਖ), compassion (ਦਯਾ), Dharma (ਧਰਮ), patience (ਧੀਰਜ), Wisdom (ਗਿਆਨ), etc. — are with the mind, the mortal will be happy, peaceful, blissful…

  • ਬਿਨੁ ਗੁਣ ਕਾਮਿ ਨ ਆਵਈ ਢਹਿ ਢੇਰੀ ਤਨੁ ਖੇਹ ॥੧॥: Without the Divine Virtues, the body is of no avail; (in the end) it will (spiritually) crumble into a pile of dust. ||1|| (sggs 20).

How one can transform his animal or Pret nature? In nutshell, according to the SGGS, by bathing the mind in the pool of the Divine Wisdom of the SGGS:

  • ਸਤਿਗੁਰੂ ਚਰਨ ਜਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹ ਪਰਸਿਆ ਸੇ ਪਸੁ ਪਰੇਤ ਸੁਰਿ ਨਰ ਭਇਅ ॥੨॥੬॥: (the mind of) Whoever realizes the Giaan (the Divine Wisdom…) of the Satiguru, (that mind) is transformed from an animal (-nature) and a ghost (-nature) into an angelic being. ||2||6|| (sggs 1399).
  • ਪਸੂ ਪਰੇਤ ਅਗਿਆਨ ਉਧਾਰੇ ਇਕ ਖਣੇ ॥: In an instant, (Naam: Wisdom, Virtues, Truth…) emancipates persons, who are ignorant, beasts-nature and goblin-nature. (sggs 963).
  • ਚਰਨ ਕਮਲ ਸਿਉ ਲਾਗੋ ਹੇਤੁ ॥ ਖਿਨ ਮਹਿ ਬਿਨਸਿਓ ਮਹਾ ਪਰੇਤੁ ॥: Whosoever imbibes affection for the Giaan (the Divine Wisdom…), the great demon (of one’s demon-nature) is destroyed in an instant. (1149).
  • ਸਤਿਗੁਰਿ ਪਾਇਐ ਪੂਰਾ ਨਾਵਣੁ ਪਸੂ ਪਰੇਤਹੁ ਦੇਵ ਕਰੈ ॥੨॥: With the Satigur (True Wisdom, ਸੱਚ ਦਾ ਗਿਆਨ), the perfect cleansing bath (of the mind) is obtained (which kills) the animal-state and ghost-state (of the mind) and transforms it into divine (Wise, Virtuous, Truthful…). ||2|| (sggs 1329).

Hence, anybody in this world who is devoid of Wisdom (ਗਿਆਨ), Virtues (ਗੁਣ), Truth (ਸਚ), etc., is called in the Gurbani Bhoot (Pret, ghost, goblin, Betaalaa, demon, etc.). Also, anybody in this world who is under the adverse impact of Bikaar (lust, anger, greed, etc.) and Maya, and thus live a Manmukh-Saakat-Mayadhaaree lifestyle are called in the Gurbani Bhoot (Pret, ghost, goblin, Betaalaa, etc.).

In nutshell:
Mortal + Truth or Divine Virtues (ਗੁਣ) = Divine, god-like, ਦੇਵਤਾ…
Mortal – (minus) Truth or Divine Virtues (ਗੁਣ) = ghost, goblin, Satan, Demon, Pasoo, ਰਾਖਛਸ, ਬੇਤਾਲਾ…

  • ਸਚਿ ਕਾਲੁ ਕੂੜੁ ਵਰਤਿਆ ਕਲਿ ਕਾਲਖ ਬੇਤਾਲ ॥: There is a famine of Truth; falsehood prevails, and the blackness of the Kali (i.e., dark or wicked thinking of the mind) has turned people into demons (sggs 468).
  • ਮਨਮੁਖ ਅੰਧੇ ਫਿਰਹਿ ਬੇਤਾਲੇ ॥: The (mentally) blind Manmukh wander around like demons (sggs 117).
  • ਨਾਵਹੁ ਭੁਲਾ ਜਗੁ ਫਿਰੈ ਬੇਤਾਲਿਆ ॥: Having forgotten the Naam (Wisdom, Virtues, Truth…), the world is roaming around like a demon (sggs 149).
  • ਬਿਨੁ ਬੂਝੇ ਪਸੂ ਭਏ ਬੇਤਾਲੇ ॥੬॥: Without understanding, people become beast (-nature) and demon ||6|| (sggs 224).
  • ਨਾਮ ਬਿਹੂਣੀ ਹੋਈ ਖੇਹ ॥: Without Naam (Wisdom, Virtues, Truth…, the human body) is worse than a beast, a demon. (sggs 890).
  • ਪੰਚਮੀ ਪੰਚ ਭੂਤ ਬੇਤਾਲਾ ॥: Panchamee (the fifth day of the lunar): The mortals of five elements (devoid of the divine life) are but demons. (sggs 839).
  • ਜਰਾ ਮਰਾ ਤਾਪੁ ਸਿਰਤਿ ਸਾਪੁ ਸਭੁ ਹਰਿ ਕੈ ਵਸਿ ਹੈ ਕੋਈ ਲਾਗਿ ਨ ਸਕੈ ਬਿਨੁ ਹਰਿ ਕਾ ਲਾਇਆ ॥: Old age, death, disease, mental ailment and curse, come under a System-Rule-Law of Nature (ਨਿਯਮ), and without That, nobody can inflict these on anybody. (sggs 168).

19 comments

  1. Thank you Najot Ji for taking the time to comment. Welcome to the Gurbani Blog!

    Please consider the following verses (see the main post for English translation):
    ਮਾਇਆ ਮੋਹੁ ਪਰੇਤੁ ਹੈ ਕਾਮੁ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਅਹੰਕਾਰਾ ॥ (sggs 513).
    ਕਲਿ ਮਹਿ ਪ੍ਰੇਤ ਜਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹੀ ਰਾਮੁ ਨ ਪਛਾਤਾ ਸਤਜੁਗਿ ਪਰਮ ਹੰਸ ਬੀਚਾਰੀ ॥ (sggs 1131).

  2. Nice article but i want to know to ghosts exist..acc to guru granth sahib despitw of maya refered as ghost

  3. Thank you P. Singh Ji for your reply. Welcome to the Gurbani Blog!

    Pujaaree rules your mind by (1) creating fear in your doubt-ridden mind (2) and by making you greedy.

    Understandably, the Gurbani rejects the Pujaaree system:
    • ਪੰਡਿਤ ਮੁਲਾਂ ਜੋ ਲਿਖਿ ਦੀਆ ॥ ਛਾਡਿ ਚਲੇ ਹਮ ਕਛੂ ਨ ਲੀਆ ॥੩॥ (sggs 1159).
    • ਹਿੰਦੂ ਅੰਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਾ ਤੁਰਕੂ ਕਾਣਾ ॥ ਦੁਹਾਂ ਤੇ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਸਿਆਣਾ ॥ (sggs 875).

  4. Read your article on ghosts. First all faiths indicate existence of ghosts. Islam as one example declares Jinns. Now for Sikhism to come up theory there is no ghosts makes it extraordinary. Clearly Guru Nanak encountered sadhus, witches using magical powers. Those negative magical powers are by the use of spirits.
    I agree that one who does not pray parties and does not care is like a ghost himself.
    Today we have pictures of Buckingham palace picture of headless ghost captured by security cameras. We have Amityville New York where media aim to debunk captured camera of ghost boy peeping. We have psychic detectives solving murder cases which baffled Police. They indicated they are in touch with ghost of body killed and they describe in detail which makes any scientist scratch their head.
    The list goes on and on.
    Yes ghosts exist during the early times of man before during and after Sikhism.
    Your article really does not stick to the point. It wanders off.
    Beauty of Gurbani is that it declares existence but requests one not to indulge in ghosts matters. If it did not declare and said it is state of mind only. Then what i have written makes it superior to Gurbani and makes it false.
    I have not included bible quran hindu texts buddhist texts quotes proving the existence of ghosts. Gurbani goes on step further stating yes there are ghosts, demons spirits and one who does no simran no prayers is just like a ghost!
    This is a fact.

  5. This is your personal opinion, NOT the Gurbani’s understanding.

    Thank you Davinder Singh Ji for reading this post and responding to it. Welcome to the Gurbani Blog!

  6. Gurfateh ji, thank you for your excellent effort and articles, however, I would disagree with your full interpretation that there are no such beings. The One consciousness exists as duality, and duality has both darkness and light as its nature. My own personal experience over 40 years has demonstrated numerous cases of energies that exist in different states that those we are aware off.

    Several of these cases have impacted fully fledged amritdharis, and I am aware of at least one case right now. the real tragedy is that none of these individuals were able to get any support or help from gurdwaras, but had to resort to Deras and Muslim seers. Denying the existence of something one can not understand, does not mean it does not exist.
    Bhul Chuk Maaf

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