Gurbani Defines Itself

Beauty of the Gurbani is that it distinctly defines itself in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) as the “Light” in this world!

  • ਗੁਰਬਾਣੀ ਇਸੁ ਜਗ ਮਹਿ ਚਾਨਣੁ ਕਰਮਿ ਵਸੈ ਮਨਿ ਆਏ ॥੧॥: The Gurbani is the Light (of Divine Wisdom, Brahm-Giaan…) to illuminate this world (it shows people the right way of life); by the Grace (of Divine Wisdom of the Gur-Shabad…) it comes to abide within the mind. ||1|| (sggs 67).
“Light” mentioned in the Gurbani must be understood in the metaphorical sense.

But what does it mean by “Light”? The term “Light” symbolizes the Divine Wisdom (Brahm-Giaan, Aatam-Giaan, Bibek-Budhi, Shabad-Giaan…) that dispels man’s ignorance of his own Mool within (Source, Jot…). Being extremely subtle and Transcendent in nature, this “Light” can not be perceived by the material senses — our eyes blinded by the cataract of Maya, for example.

  • ਮੰਦਰਿ ਮੇਰੈ ਸਬਦਿ ਉਜਾਰਾ ॥: In the temple of my Heart, shines the Light of the Shabad (i.e., the Divine Knowledge of the Shabad…). (sggs 384).
  • ਗੁਰ ਗਿਆਨ ਦੀਪਕ ਉਜਿਆਰੀਆ ॥੧॥: The Gur-Wisdom is the Lamp that Enlightens (the mind). ||1|| (sggs 210).
  • ਅਗਿਆਨੁ ਅੰਧੇਰਾ ਮਿਟਿ ਗਇਆ ਗੁਰ ਚਾਨਣੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਚਰਾਗੁ ॥: The Gur-Wisdom is (akin to) the kindled lamp that dispels darkness of ignorance (from within) (sggs 849).
The Gurbani is the “Light” of the Divine Wisdom.

“Lead me from darkness to Light”, is an oft-repeated prayer in the spiritual tradition. Darkness (spiritual ignorance, ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਵਲੋਂ ਬੇ-ਸਮਝੀ ਦਾ ਹਨੇਰਾ…) is the opposite of the Light (the Divine Wisdom). Just as the tree exists in the seed, heat in the fire, liquidity in the water, butter in the milk, and pungency in capsicum, everything exists in the Infinite Consciousness. However, in the darkness of ignorance it appears to be different and independent of the Infinite Consciousness. Hence, “darkness” mentioned in the Gurbani is none other than the ignorance of this Truth. To the contrary, the Light is the Divine Knowledge or Awareness of this Truth.

  • ਗੁਰ ਗਿਆਨ ਅੰਜਨੁ ਸਚੁ ਨੇਤ੍ਰੀ ਪਾਇਆ ॥ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਚਾਨਣੁ ਅਗਿਆਨੁ ਅੰਧੇਰੁ ਗਵਾਇਆ ॥: Gur giaan anjanu sachu netree paaiaa. Antari chaananu agiaanu andheru gavaaiaa (sggs 124).

Defining itself further, the Gurbani tells us that realization of the Divine Knowledge within is essential to remove the veil of ignorance of Truth of our true Being.

In essence, the Gurbani is telling us that without understanding and living the Divine Wisdom, there can be no transformation in our thinking (ਸੋਚ). Consequently, there can be no Mool-realization, Inner Peace, Bliss, Joy (ਆਤਮਕ ਅਨੰਦ, ਖੇੜਾ…)!

  • ਜੇ ਸਉ ਚੰਦਾ ਉਗਵਹਿ ਸੂਰਜ ਚੜਹਿ ਹਜਾਰ ॥ ਏਤੇ ਚਾਨਣ ਹੋਦਿਆਂ ਗੁਰ ਬਿਨੁ ਘੋਰ ਅੰਧਾਰ ॥੨॥: If hundred moons were to rise, and thousand suns were to rise, even with such light, there would still be pitch darkness (i.e., ignorance) without the “Gur” (the Divine Wisdom of the Gurbani…). ||2|| (sggs 463).

Although this “Light” shines within, we are still unable to realize it. Why? Because this Inner Light remains covered with the cloud of doubt (Bharam), false ego-sense (Haumai), and the thunderstorm of sense cravings and fear. Consequently, we search it in the external objects of the world (Maya). It is like the deer who searches for the musk in the bushes — the deer does not know the secret that the musk is within its own body, but due to ignorance, it searches for it outside.

  • ਨਾਨਕ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਪਰਾਪਤਿ ਹੋਵੈ ਤਿਮਰ ਅਗਿਆਨੁ ਅਧੇਰੁ ਚੁਕਾਇਆ ॥: O Nanak! The Divine Wisdom is obtained by becoming the Gurmukh, and the pitch darkness of ignorance is dispelled (sggs 512).

So, in nutshell, the Gurbani wants us to become like the Gurbani itself (the Gurmukh…) — assimilate the Gurbani’s Divine Wisdom, imbibe in the Divine Virtues revealed in the Gurbani, live it in daily life…

  • ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਬਾਣੀ ਸਤਿ ਸਰੂਪੁ ਹੈ ਗੁਰਬਾਣੀ ਬਣੀਐ ॥: The Satgur’s Bani is the embodiment of Truth; through the Gurbani, become (the embodiment of Truth). (sggs 304).

In nutshell, the Gurbani is the Light of Brahm-Giaan (the Divine Knowledge). Therefore, after listening/reading it if the “Light” of the Divine Wisdom does not well up within then the Gurbani itself declares:

  • ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਸੁਨਿ ਕਛੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਨ ਉਪਜਿਓ ਪਸੁ ਜਿਉ ਉਦਰੁ ਭਰਉ ॥: Listening to the Gurmat (Shabad-Giaan, Teaching of the Gurbani, etc.), (if) no Spiritual Wisdom (understanding of the Spiritual Life…) wells up within; (then it would be) like a beast (routinely) filling its belly (sggs 685).


  1. Yes.
    Since the Gurbani is “Brahm Beechaar” (“ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਬੀਚਾਰ”), it essential means Brahm-Giaan, Divine Wisdom, Divine Virtues, Divine Hukam…
    • ਲੋਗੁ ਜਾਨੈ ਇਹੁ ਗੀਤੁ ਹੈ ਇਹੁ ਤਉ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਬੀਚਾਰ ॥ (sggs 335).
    • ਗੁਰ ਦੀਪਕੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਸਦਾ ਮਨਿ ਬਲੀਆ ਜੀਉ ॥ (sggs 173)
    • ਅਗਿਆਨ ਅੰਧੇਰਾ ਮਿਟਿ ਗਇਆ ਗੁਰ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਦੀਪਾਇਓ ॥੨॥
    • ਗੁਰ ਗਿਆਨ ਦੀਪਕ ਉਜਿਆਰੀਆ ॥੧॥: (sggs 210).
    • ਅਗਿਆਨੁ ਅੰਧੇਰਾ ਮਿਟਿ ਗਇਆ ਗੁਰ ਚਾਨਣੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਚਰਾਗੁ ॥: (sggs 849).

    Thank you Bhai Sahib Jio for sharing Shabad-Vichaar. Also, welcome to the Gurbani Blog Jio.

  2. In my observations it is equally important to understand the meanings of
    1…………..GuRu Baanee {ਗੁਰ with matra of Aukad under R} and

    2…………..GuR Baanee {•ਗੁਰਬਾਣੀ}

  3. Baanee is GuRu as is clear from a quote as
    “GuRu Baanee Kahe Sewak jun maane pratakh GuROO Nistaare”
    Here relationship between GuRu and GuROO is worth knowing for
    further clarity in knowing the correct reference meaning of GuRu
    in SGGS ji.

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