Gurbani Defines True Teerath-Pilgrimage in Sikhi

Sikhi of Guru Nanak is NOT LOCATION SPECIFIC (ਸਥਾਨ)! It was the agenda of some clever people or we – lacking Gurmat Giyan-Wisdom – were so gullible that we thought that location is the most important part of Sikhi. We can learn from actions and teachings of the Gurus that location is not important in Sikhi at all. They demonstrated this truth with their own actions. For example, The second Guru left Nankana, the third Guru left Khadur, the fourth Guru left Goindwal, the sixth Guru left Amritsar, the tenth Guru left Anand Pur etc. In addition, the tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji, never went to the places established by the ancestors.

The Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) Teaches us that all locations of pilgrimage (Teerath Asthaan) are Within only if we were to Understand it!

However, the successful move of the self-serving Pujaaree clique (clergy) have connected the Sikhs with buildings, places and reservoirs instead of the Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS. Thus, defying the Gurmat of Guru Nanak, the Pujaaree have regurgitated pre-1469 belief system that has been critiqued, rejected and debunked by Guru Nanak!

But, on account of doubts, Haumai, vices/Bikaar, superstitions, ignorance of the Gurmat etc., the Sikhs visit all shrines or Takhat etc. and waste their time and money!

True Teerath in Sikhi

Based on Wisdom of the SGGS (NOT based on fool-o-sophy of the self-serving Pujaaree or the Deraa-Vaad), what’s the true Teerath Asthaan or locations of pilgrimage for the Sikhs in Sikhi? Guru Nanak’s edict (ਫੈਸਲਾ) is:

  • ਤੀਰਥਿ ਨਾਵਣ ਜਾਉ ਤੀਰਥੁ ਨਾਮੁ ਹੈ ॥ ਤੀਰਥੁ ਸਬਦ ਬੀਚਾਰੁ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਹੈ ॥: I (too) go to bathe at the Teerath (place of pilgrimage); but for me Naam (Giaan, Wisdom, Virtues…) is the Teerath. To Reflect on the Shabad (Shabad Vichaar…) is the Teerath, (because of this) Wisdom Awakens within (sggs 687).
  • ਗੁਰ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਸਾਚਾ ਥਾਨੁ ਤੀਰਥੁ ਦਸ ਪੁਰਬ ਸਦਾ ਦਸਾਹਰਾ ॥: The Gur-Wisdom is Eternal sacred shrine of pilgrimage (for me, which is equal to) the congregation of ten (Holy days or festivals for me). (sggs 687).
  • ਸਗਲੇ ਕਰਮ ਧਰਮ ਸੁਚਿ ਸੰਜਮ ਜਪ ਤਪ ਤੀਰਥ ਸਬਦਿ ਵਸੇ ॥: All Karma, Dharma, Suchi (purification…), Sanjam (austere self-discipline…), Japa, Tapa and pilgrimages – all these abide in the Shabad (i.e., in the Giaan or Updesh of the Shabad). (sggs 1332).

Now, let’s ask the Gurbani how to realize or know this Real Teerath within.

For this to happen, the Gurbani asks us to internalize the Message of the Shabad by engaging in Shabad-Vichaar or churning the Gurbani (‘ਗੁਰ ਕੋ ਸਬਦੁ ਮੇਰੈ ਹੀਅਰੈ ਬਾਸੈ’).

  • ਮਨੁ ਮੰਦਰੁ ਤਨੁ ਵੇਸ ਕਲੰਦਰੁ ਘਟ ਹੀ ਤੀਰਥਿ ਨਾਵਾ ॥ ਏਕੁ ਸਬਦੁ ਮੇਰੈ ਪ੍ਰਾਨਿ ਬਸਤੁ ਹੈ ਬਾਹੁੜਿ ਜਨਮਿ ਨ ਆਵਾ ॥੧॥ : (Now that the Enlightening spiritual Message of the Shabad has become the support of my life) my mind has become the temple, the dwelling for God, my body (i.e. all of my senses) has become mendicant (i.e. my wandering senses have returned within), now I only BATHE at this TEERATH Within. The one divine Shabad has become the support of my life (now I’m convinced my mind) will not go astray in life again. (sggs 795).

This in turn will give rise to the Virtues and Wisdom in the mind (‘ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮਾ ਮਨ ਸੰਗਿ ਧਰਹੁ’). When that Spiritual Knowledge becomes assimilated in daily life, there is the ‘Darshan‘ of the True Teerath Within. In other words, ONLY the Shabad-Vichaar can lead us to the State of Gurmukh Mindset and true Teerath, Within.

  • ਸਚਾ ਤੀਰਥੁ ਜਿਤੁ ਸਤ ਸਰਿ ਨਾਵਣੁ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਆਪਿ ਬੁਝਾਏ ॥ ਅਠਸਠਿ ਤੀਰਥ ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦਿ ਦਿਖਾਏ ਤਿਤੁ ਨਾਤੈ ਮਲੁ ਜਾਏ ॥: By becoming the Gurmukh oneself, understand as to what the True Teerath is and in which to bathe. Gur-Shabad shows the sixty-eight sacred shrines of pilgrimage (within the Gur-Shabad); bathing in (this Teerath of the Gur-Shabad or Gur-Wisdom), filth is washed away (i.e., inner filth of Bikaar…). (sggs 753).
  • ਅਠਸਠਿ ਤੀਰਥ ਨਾਮੁ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਨਾਨਕ ਜਿਸੁ ਮਸਤਕਿ ਭਾਗ ॥ ੧ ॥ : My concept of) 68 Teerath is DIVINE NAAM (Wisdom, Virtues…) through which I obtain the blessings of the Divine. ॥ 1 ॥ (sggs 990).
  • ਨਾਨਕ ਗੁਰ ਸਮਾਨਿ ਤੀਰਥੁ ਨਹੀ ਕੋਈ ਸਾਚੇ ਗੁਰ ਗੋਪਾਲਾ ॥ : NANAK, THERE IS NO TEERATH EQUIVALENT TO THE GURU (Enlightening Message embedded in Shabad) because it is the Guru who connects me to the Creator Within. (sggs 467).
  • ਗੁਰ ਸਮਾਨਿ ਤੀਰਥੁ ਨਹੀ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਸਰੁ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ ਤਾਸੁ ਗੁਰੁ ਹੋਇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ : THERE IS NO TEERATH EQUIVALENT TO THE GURU (Enlightening Message embedded in Shabad). This Guru is the Pool of Contentment. (sggs 1328).

The Gurbani says external Teerath are traps to enslave human minds

Bhagat Kabeer Ji tells us as there is a trap to catch elephants, a trap to catch monkeys, a trap to catch parrots, and so on, similarly. there are traps to catch the crazy or stupid human minds at the so called Teerath locations etc.

  • ਨਾਵਨ ਕਉ ਤੀਰਥ ਘਨੇ ਮਨ ਬਉਰਾ ਰੇ ਪੂਜਨ ਕਉ ਬਹੁ ਦੇਵ ॥ ਕਹੁ ਕਬੀਰ ਛੂਟਨੁ ਨਹੀ ਮਨ ਬਉਰਾ ਰੇ ਛੂਟਨੁ ਹਰਿ ਕੀ ਸੇਵ ॥੪॥੧॥੬॥੫੭॥: O crazy mind! There are so many places of pilgrimage in which to bathe, and so many gods to worship. Says Kabeer! O crazy mind, there is NO liberation like this; only by serving Hari (Mool, Truth, Wisdom…) will you find liberation (from doubt, Maya…). ||4||1||6||57|| (sggs 335).

The Gurbani does not promote or support or promote the ‘Frog-Philosophy’. However, our ‘frog-mind‘ always thinks in terms of ritual cleansing the external body-frame but not the mind:

  • ਜਲ ਕੈ ਮਜਨਿ ਜੇ ਗਤਿ ਹੋਵੈ ਨਿਤ ਨਿਤ ਮੇਂਡੁਕ ਨਾਵਹਿ ॥: If salvation can be obtained by bathing in water, then what about the frog, which is always bathing (always remain in water)? (sggs 484).
  • ਬਾਹਰਿ ਮਲੁ ਧੋਵੈ ਮਨ ਕੀ ਜੂਠਿ ਨ ਜਾਏ ॥: Outwardly, he (hypocrite) washes off the filth, but the impurity of his mind does not go away (sggs 88).
  • ਅੰਤਰਿ ਮੈਲੁ ਜੇ ਤੀਰਥ ਨਾਵੈ ਤਿਸੁ ਬੈਕੁੰਠ ਨ ਜਾਨਾਂ ॥: The bathing at places of pilgrimage does not remove inner impurities and does not take one to heaven. (sggs 484).

Here is the edict (ਫੈਸਲਾ) of the Gurmat:

  • ਮਨ ਕਾਮਨਾ ਤੀਰਥ ਜਾਇ ਬਸਿਓ ਸਿਰਿ ਕਰਵਤ ਧਰਾਏ ॥ ਮਨ ਕੀ ਮੈਲੁ ਨ ਉਤਰੈ ਇਹ ਬਿਧਿ ਜੇ ਲਖ ਜਤਨ ਕਰਾਏ ॥੩॥: With the mind’s desires, a person may go and dwell at sacred places of pilgrimage, and offer his head to be sawn off; but this will not cause the filth of his mind to depart, even though he may make Lakhs of efforts (1 Lakh = 100 thousands). ||3|| (sggs 642).

‘Worldly affairs’ and ‘egotistical displays’ of the ‘doubt’ ridden mind…

Therefore, the Gurbani teaches us that undertaking pilgrimage to these so called sacred shrines is nothing but ‘worldly affairs’, ‘egotistical displays’, oblivion in ‘doubt‘, mundane business, acts of imitating others, act of pleasing and appeasing other people (ਦੁਨੀਆ ਨੂੰ ਹੀ ਪਤਿਆਉਣ ਵਾਲੇ ਕੰਮ) etc.!

  • ਗੰਗਾ ਗਇਆ ਗੋਦਾਵਰੀ ਸੰਸਾਰ ਕੇ ਕਾਮਾ ॥: Pilgrimages to (Teerath Asthaan like Ganges, Gaya and Godawari (etc.) are merely worldly affairs (sggs 1195).
  • ਤੀਰਥ ਨਾਇ ਨ ਉਤਰਸਿ ਮੈਲੁ ॥ ਕਰਮ ਧਰਮ ਸਭਿ ਹਉਮੈ ਫੈਲੁ ॥: Bathing at sacred shrines of pilgrimage, filth (i.e., egotism, Bikaar…) is not washed off. Religious rituals (Karamkaand) are all just egotistical displays (sggs 890).
  • ਅਨੇਕ ਤੀਰਥ ਜੇ ਜਤਨ ਕਰੈ ਤਾ ਅੰਤਰ ਕੀ ਹਉਮੈ ਕਦੇ ਨ ਜਾਇ ॥: Although one may visit or bathe at many so called Teerath (places of pilgrimage), still, his ego (and related faults or Bikaar) never departs. (sggs 491).

According to the Gurbani (SGGS), Sikhs who visit these so called locations of pilgrimage, THEIR MINDS ARE OUT OF CONTROL, FILTHY, RIDDEN WITH MAYA, RIDDEN WITH DOUBT, and so on.

  • ਤੀਰਥ ਕਰੈ ਬ੍ਰਤ ਫੁਨਿ ਰਾਖੈ ਨਹ ਮਨੂਆ ਬਸਿ ਜਾ ਕੋ ॥ ਨਿਹਫਲ ਧਰਮੁ ਤਾਹਿ ਤੁਮ ਮਾਨਹੁ ਸਾਚੁ ਕਹਤ ਮੈ ਯਾ ਕਉ ॥੧॥: One whose mind is not under his control, goes on pilgrimage and observes many fasts. I tell you the truth – consider such religious deeds useless. ||1|| (sggs 831).
  • ਮਨ ਕਾ ਝੂਠਾ ਝੂਠੁ ਕਮਾਵੈ ॥ ਮਾਇਆ ਨੋ ਫਿਰੈ ਤਪਾ ਸਦਾਵੈ ॥ ਭਰਮੇ ਭੂਲਾ ਸਭਿ ਤੀਰਥ ਗਹੈ ॥: The man of false mind practices falsehood. He runs after Maya, and yet pretends to be Tapaa (a devotee, a hermit, a recluse, etc.). Deluded by doubt (he) visits all Teerath (external shrines of pilgrimage). (sggs 1142).
  • ਜਿਸੁ ਜੀਉ ਅੰਤਰੁ ਮੈਲਾ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਤੀਰਥ ਭਵੈ ਦਿਸੰਤਰ ਲੋਇ ॥: If one’s mind is polluted within (ਵਿਕਾਰਾਂ ਨਾਲ), he may travel to sacred shrines of pilgrimage all over the world (still he will gain nothing) (sggs 1169).
  • ਮਨਿ ਮੈਲੈ ਸਭੁ ਕਿਛੁ ਮੈਲਾ ਤਨਿ ਧੋਤੈ ਮਨੁ ਹਛਾ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥: When the mind is filthy, everything is filthy; by washing the body, the mind is not cleaned (sggs 558).
  • ਬਾਹਰੁ ਧੋਇ ਅੰਤਰੁ ਮਨੁ ਮੈਲਾ ਦੁਇ ਠਉਰ ਅਪੁਨੇ ਖੋਏ ॥: (A person who) washes outwardly (at so called Tirath locations) but remains filthy in mind (with vices/Bikaarlust, anger, greed, attachment, pride; and their countless variations), loses life’s both present and future. (sggs 381).
  • ਸੋਚ ਕਰੈ ਦਿਨਸੁ ਅਰੁ ਰਾਤਿ ॥ ਮਨ ਕੀ ਮੈਲੁ ਨ ਤਨ ਤੇ ਜਾਤਿ ॥ ਇਸੁ ਦੇਹੀ ਕਉ ਬਹੁ ਸਾਧਨਾ ਕਰੈ ॥ ਮਨ ਤੇ ਕਬਹੂ ਨ ਬਿਖਿਆ ਟਰੈ ॥ ਜਲਿ ਧੋਵੈ ਬਹੁ ਦੇਹ ਅਨੀਤਿ ॥ ਸੁਧ ਕਹਾ ਹੋਇ ਕਾਚੀ ਭੀਤਿ ॥ : One can bathe day and night, but impurities of the mind are not removed by removing dirt from the body. One undertakes many practices (e.g. bathing etc.) for the body. Yet the impurities of the mind do not get removed. One can keep cleansing the perishable body. How can a cluster of mud be purified. (sggs 265).

In the ‘JAP’ Baanee, Baabaa Nanak teaches us:

  • ਤੀਰਥਿ ਨਾਵਾ ਜੇ ਤਿਸੁ ਭਾਵਾ ਵਿਣੁ ਭਾਣੇ ਕਿ ਨਾਇ ਕਰੀ ॥ : Why undertake the spirituality of cleansing at Teeraths when its NOT within the Domain of His Hukam. (sggs 2).
  • ਸੋਚੈ ਸੋਚਿ ਨ ਹੋਵਈ ਜੇ ਸੋਚੀ ਲਖ ਵਾਰ ॥ : Creator cannot be Realized Within me through ritualistic cleansing or bating or purification at (places of pilgrimages), even if I cleanse myself a hundred thousand times. (sggs 1).

The SGGS asserts the external locations of pilgrimage (Tirath – pronounced Teerath) have become polluted with falsehood and corruption! In other words, they are nothing more than dens of the mammon worshipers.

  • ਬਗਾ ਬਗੇ ਕਪੜੇ ਤੀਰਥ ਮੰਝਿ ਵਸੰਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਿ ॥ ਘੁਟਿ ਘੁਟਿ ਜੀਆ ਖਾਵਣੇ ਬਗੇ ਨਾ ਕਹੀਅਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਿ ॥੩॥: The hypocrite people (Pakhandee-Pujaaree etc.) who wear holy garbs and dwell in places of pilgrimage (so called Teerath) like the white feathered herons on the banks of rivers. Like herons swallow the fish, these hypocritical people throttle the innocent human beings, therefore, they cannot be called pure or virtuous (i.e. they are crafty and scheming inside). ||3|| (sggs 729).

Internal cleanliness

Thus, the Gurmat has attached paramount importance to the necessity of internal cleanliness, not the external one. The Gurbani is like the Ocean, and we are asked to dive deep into this ocean of Spiritual Wisdom. Here is the Gurbani’s edict (ਫੈਸਲਾ):

  • ਨਾ ਤੂ ਆਵਹਿ ਵਸਿ ਤੀਰਥਿ ਨਾਈਐ ॥: (O Inaccessible and Imperceptible to the senses Prabhoo!) No one can bring You under control by bathing at Teerath (sggs 962).
  • ਕਬੀਰ ਸਮੁੰਦੁ ਨ ਛੋਡੀਐ ਜਉ ਅਤਿ ਖਾਰੋ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਪੋਖਰਿ ਪੋਖਰਿ ਢੂਢਤੇ ਭਲੋ ਨ ਕਹਿਹੈ ਕੋਇ ॥੫੦॥: Kabeer, fish should not leave the ocean, even if it is very saline (i.e. one should not forget the Creator in spite of the worldly difficulties and hurdles – it may seem hard to live in obedience to God, but there is destruction of spiritual life otherwise). Do not leave the Ocean (of the Guru / God), though it be very saline (i.e., difficult, bitter-truth…). No one should call fish wise who searches pond to pond, similarly a seeker wise should not be called wise who keeps seeking support from different worldly means – does not remain focused on obedience to the One Creator and runs all over pursuing other means – practice worthless rituals, taking ritual bath in various ponds or Srovars, follow fake worldly gurus, Baabaas, Deras etc. ||50|| (sggs 1367).
  • ਕਿਆ ਬਗੁ ਬਪੁੜਾ ਛਪੜੀ ਨਾਇ ॥ ਕੀਚੜਿ ਡੂਬੈ ਮੈਲੁ ਨ ਜਾਇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: What can the poor crane accomplish by bathing in a small pond? (It accomplishes nothing, instead it) sinks into the mire, and its filth is not washed away (i.e., who, instead of bathing in the Ocean of the Gurbani, visits all sorts of places of pilgrimage, end up accumulating more filth – Bikaar, etc.). ||1||Pause|| (sggs 685).
  • ਮਲੁ ਹਉਮੈ ਧੋਤੀ ਕਿਵੈ ਨ ਉਤਰੈ ਜੇ ਸਉ ਤੀਰਥ ਨਾਇ ॥ : The faults or impurities of false-ego-ego (Haumai) cannot be eliminated even if one bathes or washes oneself in one hundred locations of pilgrimage (Teerath Ishnaan). (sggs 39).

Therefore, according to the Gurbani, a Sikh is always supposed to wash off the filth of his mind through the Shabad-Vichaar and churning the Gurbani.

  • ਮਨੁ ਤਨੁ ਧੋਵਹਿ ਸਬਦਿ ਵੀਚਾਰੀ ॥: (Pure and unique Bhagti is) to wash the mind, and the body (i.e., senses: eyes, ears, etc.) with Shabad-Vichaar (sggs 1059).
  • ਕਿਆ ਭਵੀਐ ਸਚਿ ਸੂਚਾ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਸਾਚ ਸਬਦ ਬਿਨੁ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਨ ਕੋਇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: (Baabaa Nanak tells Yogis) It’s of NO use wandering around (in peculiar external appearances at places of pilgrimage, mountains, jungles etc.) — renunciation (of world, society, family etc.) is not the way to liberate from the trappings of life, world, material etc. There can be no liberation without the guidance of the God-connecting Shabad (divine Message of the God-Connected Guru). ||1||Pause|| (sggs 938).

How simple and crystal clear — the Gurbani has left no shred of doubt! Undeniably and unmistakably, Spiritual Wisdom of the SGGS is the true Teerath in Sikhi — Giaan (Wisdom) Teerath. The SGGS asks us to bathe the mind in this Teerath of Wisdom, daily.

  • ਅੰਤਰਿ ਤੀਰਥੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਹੈ ਸਤਿਗੁਰਿ ਦੀਆ ਬੁਝਾਇ ॥: Deep within is the sacred shrine (Teerath) of Giaan (Spiritual Wisdom…), which the Satigur has revealed (sggs 587).
  • ਅੰਤਰਿ ਮੈਲੁ ਲੋਭ ਬਹੁ ਝੂਠੇ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਨਾਵਹੁ ਕਾਹੀ ਜੀਉ ॥: (O man) within (you) is the filth of greed and tremendous falsehood; so what for (you) wash your body on the outside? (sggs 598).

On account of doubts (Bharam), however, the Gurbani says the Manmukhs (Unenlightened) pretend to be Dhaarmic but don’t believe or live the Message of the Shabad.

  • ਹਰਿ ਮੰਦਰੁ ਏਹੁ ਸਰੀਰੁ ਹੈ ਗਿਆਨਿ ਰਤਨਿ ਪਰਗਟੁ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਮਨਮੁਖ ਮੂਲੁ ਨ ਜਾਣਨੀ ਮਾਣਸਿ ਹਰਿ ਮੰਦਰੁ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥੨॥: This body is the ‘Hari-Mandir‘ (Hari’s Temple, but this secret) is revealed by the Jewel of the Divine Wisdom (Aatm-Giaan, Brahm Giaan, Divine Knowledge …). The Manmukhs do not know their Mool (Origin, Source, Root…); (on account of this ignorance, they) do not believe that the ‘Hari Mandir’ is within the human (body). ||2|| (sggs 1346).

What’s the result? Lets’s ask the Gurbani — according to the Gurbani, the result is that, attached to Maya, the Manmukhs-Saakat- Mayadhaaree…) wander at all of the external so called Teerath. The Gurbani stresses that the more one wanders around at them, the more one accumulates within the ‘filthof Haumai or ego, Bikaar, fear, Maya etc.!

  • ਨਾਵਣ ਚਲੇ ਤੀਰਥੀ ਮਨਿ ਖੋਟੈ ਤਨਿ ਚੋਰ ॥ ਇਕੁ ਭਾਉ ਲਥੀ ਨਾਤਿਆ ਦੁਇ ਭਾ ਚੜੀਅਸੁ ਹੋਰ ॥ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਧੋਤੀ ਤੂਮੜੀ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਵਿਸੁ ਨਿਕੋਰ ॥ ਸਾਧ ਭਲੇ ਅਣਨਾਤਿਆ ਚੋਰ ਸਿ ਚੋਰਾ ਚੋਰ ॥੨॥: (People of) evil mind and thievish bodies (body occupied with thieves like lust, anger, greed, etc.), go to bathe at the pilgrim places. The one part of their bodily filth (external filth) is washed off by bathing, but they accumulate twice as much (of mental filth – pride, ego…). (It’s like a gourd) a gourd may be washed off on the outside, but on the inside, it remains filled with poison (i.e., bitterness…). Saadh (good human beings, Bhagats, Gurmukhs, Guru’s Satsangi Jan etc.) are good without bathing (at shrines or pilgrim places), and thieves (even after bathing at the shrines) are only thieves. ||2|| (sggs 789).

As noted earlier, according to the Gurbani, the True Teerath within can only be realized through the Wisdom (Aatam-Giaan), inculcated through the Shabad-Vichaar.

  • ਤੀਰਥੁ ਹਮਰਾ ਹਰਿ ਕੋ ਨਾਮੁ ॥ ਗੁਰਿ ਉਪਦੇਸਿਆ ਤਤੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: The Hari Naam is my Teerath. The Guru has instructed me in this True Essence of spiritual Wisdom (Aatmic-Giaan – ਗਿਆਨ). ||1||Pause|| (sggs 1142).

Understandably, the Gurmat asserts NOT to visit and wander around at any external so called locations of pilgrimage (Teerath-Asthaan).

  • ਕਬੀਰ ਗੰਗਾ ਤੀਰ ਜੁ ਘਰੁ ਕਰਹਿ ਪੀਵਹਿ ਨਿਰਮਲ ਨੀਰੁ ॥ ਬਿਨੁ ਹਰਿ ਭਗਤਿ ਨ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਹੋਇ ਇਉ ਕਹਿ ਰਮੇ ਕਬੀਰ ॥੫੪॥: O Kabeer! If you make your home (to live) on the banks of the Ganges (i.e., at any and ALL Tirath places), and keep drinking its water, even then one cannot get rid of Bikaar without Bhagti. Kabeer remembers Naam saying or proclaiming this. (sggs 1367).
  • ਤੀਰਥ ਦੇਖਿ ਨ ਜਲ ਮਹਿ ਪੈਸਉ ਜੀਅ ਜੰਤ ਨ ਸਤਾਵਉਗੋ ॥ ਅਠਸਠਿ ਤੀਰਥ ਗੁਰੂ ਦਿਖਾਏ ਘਟ ਹੀ ਭੀਤਰਿ ਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਾਉਗੋ ॥੩॥: I neither go to see sacred shrines of pilgrimage (Teerath), nor bathe in their waters, nor bother any beings or creatures (living in those waters). The Guru (Gur-Shabad, Gur-Wisdom…), has shown me the sixty-eight places of pilgrimage within my Heart; so I take cleansing bath there (in my own Soul – ਆਤਮ-ਤੀਰਥ ਉੱਤੇ). ||3|| (sggs 973).
  • ਸਚੁ ਤਾਂ ਪਰੁ ਜਾਣੀਐ ਜਾ ਆਤਮ ਤੀਰਥਿ ਕਰੇ ਨਿਵਾਸੁ ॥: One knows the Truth (ਅਸਲੇ ਦੀ ਸਮਝ) only when he dwells in the sacred shrine of pilgrimage of his own soul within (sggs 468).

The Gurbani says don’t follow crowds or imitate others

Now, the question is: Why then many who call themselves Sikhs (educated and uneducated alike) YET DEFY the Gurbani’s Wisdom wandering around doing exactly that which has been time and again rejected (Khandan) by the Gurbani?

  • ਸੁਖ ਕੈ ਹੇਤਿ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਦੁਖੁ ਪਾਵਤ ਸੇਵ ਕਰਤ ਜਨ ਜਨ ਕੀ ॥ ਦੁਆਰਹਿ ਦੁਆਰਿ ਸੁਆਨ ਜਿਉ ਡੋਲਤ ਨਹ ਸੁਧ ਰਾਮ ਭਜਨ ਕੀ ॥੧॥: For the sake of Sukh or happiness, (one) attend to each and every person, (as a result, instead of Sukh he) obtains Dukh or suffering. (He) wanders from door to door like a dog, unconscious of how to Unite with Raam within (Mool, Truth, Wisdom, Virtues…). ||1|| (sggs 411).

Let’s ask the Gurbani (SGGS) again for the answer.

The Gurbani reveals that due to lack of Wisdom, the Manmukh-Saakat-Mayadhaaree people imitate others. In other words, most people behave on the basis of social proof. Social proof is a psychological process, which causes people to copy the behavior of others, in an attempt to look good!

  • ਦੇਖਾ ਦੇਖੀ ਸਭ ਕਰੇ ਮਨਮੁਖਿ ਬੂਝ ਨ ਪਾਇ ॥: Manmukhs (Unenlightened persons) do everything seeing other people do to make a show (Pakhand, ਦੇਖਾ ਦੇਖੀ, ਨਕਲ, ਦਿਖਾਵਾ…), but they themselves have no understanding of the true way of living. (sggs 28).

Put simply, the Gurbani teaches us that people do things seeing others do. Understandably, the Gurbani says crowds and crowds of people follow the path of Pakhandvaad (the path of hypocrisy, fraud, rituals or formalities, religious paraphernalia and ceremonies etc.).

  • ਕਬੀਰ ਜਿਹ ਮਾਰਗਿ ਪੰਡਿਤ ਗਏ ਪਾਛੈ ਪਰੀ ਬਹੀਰ ॥ ਇਕ ਅਵਘਟ ਘਾਟੀ ਰਾਮ ਕੀ ਤਿਹ ਚੜਿ ਰਹਿਓ ਕਬੀਰ ॥੧੬੫॥ : Kabeer, crowds are following the same path (i.e. the stale and distorted path of falsehoodPakhandKaramkaandsuperstitions…) on which the Pujaaree people are walking; but realizing God is very difficult like climbing a treacherous hill, Kabeer is treading this difficult path. ||165|| (sggs 1373).

So the Gurbani’s Wisdom demands freezing the mind. Water stops spreading around once frozen in a block of ice. Similarly, the Gurbani says the mind stops wandering around once frozen with the Spiritual Wisdom of the Shabad. Because the Gur-Shabad is like ice (‘ਹਿਵ ਸੀਤਲੁ ਸਬਦੁ’) that cools the mind.

  • ਅਸਮਾਨ ਮ੍ਯ੍ਯਿਾਨੇ ਲਹੰਗ ਦਰੀਆ ਗੁਸਲ ਕਰਦਨ ਬੂਦ ॥: In the mind, a stream flows (i.e., the stream of Virtues, Wisdom, Amrit, Truth, Universal Energy…); take your bath in it. (sggs 727).
  • ਬੇਦ ਪੁਰਾਨ ਸਭ ਦੇਖੇ ਜੋਇ ॥ ਊਹਾਂ ਤਉ ਜਾਈਐ ਜਉ ਈਹਾਂ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥੨॥ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਮੈ ਬਲਿਹਾਰੀ ਤੋਰ ॥ ਜਿਨਿ ਸਕਲ ਬਿਕਲ ਭ੍ਰਮ ਕਾਟੇ ਮੋਰ ॥ : (Bhagat Rama Nand says) I have studied and looked through all Vedas and Puranas. (My conclusion is) I would need go there (i.e. so called pilgrim or holy locations) only if God were NOT present here within me. ||2|| O Satguru, I am dedicated to you (i.e. Enlightening Message of the Shabad); who has removed all my bewildering doubts. (sggs 1195).

As evident, the Sikhi as practiced today is not a Sikhi of Baabaa Nanak or the SGGS. Instead, it’s a Sikhi of the paid clergy or Pujaaree. As Baabaa Nanak asserts brandishing religious paraphernalia on one’s ephemeral body-frame is not a Sikhi of the SGGS.

  • ਭੇਖੁ ਭਵਨੀ ਹਠੁ ਨ ਜਾਨਾ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਸਚੁ ਗਹਿ ਰਹੇ ॥੧॥: I know nothing about religious robes, pilgrimages or stubbornness; O Nanak, I only hold tight to the Truth ||1|| (sggs 843).

Ending Note

In a nutshell for a Sikh of the Guru Shabad (SGGS):

  • Gurmat is the Wisdom or Giaan-Teerath (ਗਿਆਨ ਤੀਰਥ)!
  • Teerath in Sikhi = GUR-SHABAD!
  • Shabad-Vichaar in Sikhi = the pilgrimage (Enlightened or Gurmukh Mindset).

A few related posts:


  1. Thank you Tejinder Ji for your reply and suggestion.

    To avoid repeating, we try to define SGGS as Sri Guru Granth Sahib near the beginning of a post.

    For example, in this post, it is clarified in the first few lines of this post that SGGS stands for Sri Guru Granth Sahib.

  2. Thank you Veer Jaswant Singh Aman Ji for taking the time to reply.

    You are welcome to share your thoughts in the comment section of each post in accordance with our comment policy.

    If you like to write your own articles, then my suggestion would be to write them on your own blog.

  3. Thank you Veer Ji for taking the time to respond.

    The Gurbani (SGGS) is NOT written at the level of body-consciousness, but at the level of the Aaatma, mind…

    Having said that, therefore, whenever there is a mention of Ishanaan in the Gurbani, it indicates Self-purification through the Inner Ishanaan — bathing in the Inner Pool (“Sarovar”) of the body filled with the Water of the Naam or Shabad (Aatam Giaan, Spiritual Knowledge, Virtues…). The purpose of which is to wash off the scum of false ego attached to the conditioned mind. In other words, cleansing of the mind is the perfect Ishanaan.

    • ਮਨਿ ਮੈਲੈ ਸਭੁ ਕਿਛੁ ਮੈਲਾ ਤਨਿ ਧੋਤੈ ਮਨੁ ਹਛਾ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥: Mani mailae… (sggs 558).
    • ਏਹੁ ਸਰੀਰੁ ਸਰਵਰੁ ਹੈ ਸੰਤਹੁ ਇਸਨਾਨੁ ਕਰੇ ਲਿਵ ਲਾਈ ॥੧੩॥ Ahu sareer sarvar hai… (sggs 909).

  4. Thank you Veer Ji for taking the time to respond.

    In fact there is also an another term – “Hatheean-ਹਠੀਆਂ”, which does not fit with the Gurmat Sidhaant. This term “Hatheean-ਹਠੀਆਂ”comes from “Hath-ਹਠ” (literally meaning self-will, mind’s obstinacy, stubborness of the mind, ਮਨ ਦਾ ਹਠ, ਮਨ ਦੀ ਹਠੀ ਮੱਤ, etc., which has been repeatedly repudiated in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, but some how made its way into the formal Ardas we are familiar with today (which was standardized under the Singh Sabha Lehar and rolled out after the Gurdwara act of 1925…).

    Baabaa Nanak declares:

    • ਮਨਹਠਿ ਕੀਚੈ ਅੰਤਿ ਵਿਗੋਵੈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ (sggs 356).
    • ਹਠਿ ਨ ਪਤੀਜੈ ਨਾ ਬਹੁ ਭੇਖੈ ॥ (sggs 686).
    • ਭੇਖੁ ਭਵਨੀ ਹਠੁ ਨ ਜਾਨਾ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਸਚੁ ਗਹਿ ਰਹੇ ॥੧॥ (sggs 843).

    Your point of view in context of “seeking of Amritsar de isnnan.” is worth taking note of it . But one should understand that what is actually the reference meaning of a TIRATH and the meaning of Amritsar de isnnan.can not be equated to TIRATH ISNAAN .

  6. If according to the Gurbani’s Divine Wisdom it is not advisable to wander around at any external places called Teerath-Asthaan, then will it not be wise to remove from the congregational ardas, seeking of Amritsar de isnnan.

  7. Excellent article Mr. Singh Ji.
    I have noticed that from most of the articles that are presented online, the essence of the message is missing. We all need to really get to the spiritual definition of words like Gurmukh, Shabad, Naam, Satguru, etc.
    On the Very first page after giving us the definition of Naam, (Ikk Onkaar, SattNaam, Karta Purakh, Nirbhao Nirvair, Akaal Murat, Ajuni Swaibhang. The Jiguasu naturally asks how do I get this Naam, the answer from Gurbani comes that it’s gained from Gurr Parsaad, by HIS mercy only,
    Then how can I become capable of HIS mercy? the answer came
    JUPP….Meditate, repeat HIS name
    Who’s name?
    Aad Sach, Jugaad Sach, Hai bhi Sach, Nanak, Hosii bhi Sach
    This is how the Guru Granth Sahib’s Sabad Vichaar journey is displayed. Now in order to continue the journey one must follow the instructions given by the Gurbani, which Dhurr Ki baani, and if the very first instructions is not followed, the journey can not be started, just like a new born baby can not just start to walk, baby must first learn to crawl to strengthen the hips, then slow straight line walking steps to strengthen the knees, and then the true freedom of walking is realized.
    Same way Gurbani instructs the Jiguaasu to start with Jupp, that will lead to Simran, then that will lead to 3ed stage of Dhyaana, and then the final stage of Samaadhi.
    One must start the Jupp meditation to spiritually understand the baani, then the words of Gurbaani will speak to the Jiguaasu according to the stage of jouney the jiguaasu is at and at the same time will guide to the next step of the journey to merge into the Naam by transcending the Ego.
    GurrPita Nanak DevJi said it clearly like this: Pg 795

    Mann mandar….. tann vays kalandar…… ghatt hee tirath naavaa.
    (The Mind is the temple, the body is the cloth, the heard within is the holy shrine where the soul bathes in HIS memory)

    Ayk Sabad mayrai paraan basat hai…… baahurh janam na aavaa. ||1||
    (One Word that represents the Ultimate Creative Energy (Waheguru for the Sikhs, Aum for hindu, Allah-hu for muslims and other sacred words for other religions) has become the permanent resident of the memory, of each breath thru the journey of Jupp–Simran—Dhyaaana—Samaadhi. Now Nanak is 100% sure that he is not coming back thru another birth again. Now the bondage of duality of “time&space” has vanished.)

    Mann bayDhi-aa da-i-aal saytee mayree maa-ee.
    (Now the memory of HIM thru the meditation on the WORD has gone thru the heart like an arrow that goes into the heart and gets stuck, can not be taken back out.)

    ka-un jaanai peer paraa-ee.
    (This is the kind of pain, that can not be explained to anyone, it’s a bitter sweet pain. The Ego is dies and causes the pain in the beginning but ones it’s transcended, it becomes the sweetest pain ever experienced by the soul)

    hamm naahee…….. chint paraa-ee. ||1|| rahaa-o.
    (Now the Hamm/Ego is not there, therefor duality is not there either. Now its just the WORD,HIM,The Ultimate Creative Energy. Now all is ONE, tu, tu tu sirf tu he tu.)
    Therefor the GurrMukh is the one who has started the JUPP by placing the Guru, the sabad, the word, on in his mouth just like the master did and showed. Just like Nanak DevJi showed it to Bhai Lena.

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