Gurbani Says First Accept Death!

As far as the physicak death is concerned, the Wisdom of the Gurbani in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) teaches its Sikhs (lifelong learners…) that, since one can physically die any moment, we should let this truth guide rest of our lives.

Since the Words of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) reveals the Truth, it is a valid means of the Wisdom that provides direct Experience of abiding in one’s True Nature (Jot Saroop…) within. Having said that, before we step on the Way of the Gurbani, the Gurbani teaches us to ‘first’ accept death:

  • ਪਹਿਲਾ ਮਰਣੁ ਕਬੂਲਿ ਜੀਵਣ ਕੀ ਛਡਿ ਆਸ ॥ ਹੋਹੁ ਸਭਨਾ ਕੀ ਰੇਣੁਕਾ ਤਉ ਆਉ ਹਮਾਰੈ ਪਾਸਿ ॥੧॥ : (Message from God) O Mortal, first accept death (of your false ego-sense) and give up longing for worldly desires (selfishness etc.), become humble like the dust of the feet of all, only then come to Me. ||1|| (sggs 1102).
  • ਜੋ ਜੀਵਨ ਮਰਨਾ ਜਾਨੈ ॥ ਸੋ ਪੰਚ ਸੈਲ ਸੁਖ ਮਾਨੈ॥ : One, who knows to extinguish one’s self-centeredness whilst one still lives, can enjoy the lasting spiritual Peace (Joy, ਅਟੱਲ ਆਤਮਕ ਸੁਖ…) of the exalted ones. (sggs 655).
  • ਸਬਦਿ ਮਰੈ ਫਿਰਿ ਮਰਣੁ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥ : Whose self-conceit/egotism dies in the Shabad (i.e. Upadesh/Wisdom/Virtues…), then he does not experience spiritual death (ਆਤਮਕ ਮੌਤ). (sggs 153).
  • ਸਬਦਿ ਮਰਹੁ ਫਿਰਿ ਜੀਵਹੁ ਸਦ ਹੀ ਤਾ ਫਿਰਿ ਮਰਣੁ ਨ ਹੋਈ ॥ : If you die through the Shabad, then you will live forever, you will not spiritually die again. (sggs 604).

Thus, dying or death, in spiritual parlance, does not refer to only physical death, but also refers to:

As far as physical death is concerned, the Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS teaches us to prepare ourselves for it. Because our birth is the proof of our impending death, no escape from it.

If we don’t prepare ourselves by taking the Wisdom of the SGGS and learning from it, then one’s death certainly will be very painful! We cannot learn it at the last moment. This is how Bhai Gurdas Ji describes this truth:

  • ਜੈਸੇ ਘਰਿ ਲਾਗੈ ਆਗਿ ਜਾਗਿ ਕੂਆ ਖੋਦੀਓ ਚਾਹੈ ਕਾਰਜ ਨ ਸਿਧਿ ਹੋਇ ਰੋਇ ਪਛੁਤਾਈਐ । ਜੈਸੇ ਤਉ ਸੰਗ੍ਰਾਮ ਸਮੈ ਸੀਖਿਓ ਚਾਹੈ ਬੀਰ ਬਿਦਿਆ ਅਨਿਥਾ ਉਦਮ ਜੈਤ ਪਦਵੀ ਨ ਪਾਈਐ । ਜੈਸੇ ਨਿਸਿ ਸੋਵਤ ਸੰਘਾਤੀ ਚਲਿ ਜਾਤਿ ਪਾਛੇ ਭੋਰ ਭਏ ਭਾਰ ਬਾਧ ਚਲੇ ਕਤ ਜਾਈਐ । ਤੈਸੇ ਮਾਇਆ ਧੰਧ ਅੰਧ ਅਵਿਧ ਬਿਹਾਇ ਜਾਇ ਅੰਤਕਾਲ ਕੈਸੇ ਹਰਿਨਾਮ ਲਿਵ ਲਾਈਐ ॥੪੯੫॥ : Just as while sleeping, someone’s house catches fire and he wakes up and starts digging well, he cannot succeed in putting off the fire. Instead, he then repents and cries. Just as someone wants to learn the art of warfare when the battle in progress. It is a futile effort. Victory cannot be achieved.  Just as a traveler goes to sleep at night and his companions proceeded further leaving him behind, the where will he go with all his luggage when the dat breaks? Similarly, an ignorant man entangled in worldly love and attachments (i.e. hunger of Maya), spends his life accumulating wealth. How can he engross his mind to the divine Naam (Wisdom, Virtues, Shabad, Hukam…) when he is on his last breaths? (Kabit Bhai Gurdas Ji, 495).

But, the Gurbani says it takes courage to do this — it’s like chewing steel balls with the teeth of wax! However, the ‘rare’ ones who dare through the Shabad-Vichaar, they succeed in winning the game of life and realize their Mool. They become the liberated-in-life (living dead). Because, by accepting the Gurbani’s challenge and living daily life accordingly, they remove the fear of death out of the way. Which, according to the Gurbani, is a big hurdle!

  • ਆਪੁ ਛੋਡਿ ਜੀਵਤ ਮਰੈ ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਸਬਦਿ ਵੀਚਾਰ ॥ : Abandon your self-conceit (love of one’s own existence…), and remain dead while yet alive through the Vichaar (Reflection…) of the Gur-Shabad (sggs 34).
  • ਜੀਵਤ ਮਰੈ ਮਰੈ ਫੁਨਿ ਜੀਵੈ ਐਸੇ ਸੁੰਨਿ ਸਮਾਇਆ ॥ ਅੰਜਨ ਮਾਹਿ ਨਿਰੰਜਨਿ ਰਹੀਐ ਬਹੁੜਿ ਨ ਭਵਜਲਿ ਪਾਇਆ ॥੧॥ : A person who with repeated efforts turn his mind away (from Bikaar), he then lives (real life) again and merges in the state where the thoughts (of Bikaar) do not arise. Even while living in Maya, he abides in ‘Niranjan‘ (Rabb or Universal Energy beyond Maya) and does not fall into ‘Bhavjal‘  (whirlpool of Maya) again. ||1|| (sggs 332).

Thus, once the fear of death is taken out of the way, false ego-sense (Haumai) gets thinned out. Then, according to the Gurbani, ultimately one’s Mool within stands Realized.

  • ਰਾਮ ਰਤਨੁ ਤਬ ਪਾਈਐ ਜਉ ਪਹਿਲੇ ਤਜਹਿ ਸਰੀਰੁ ॥੩੧॥ : The Jewel of the Raam (-Naam, Essence…) is obtained when, first, the body (body-consciousness or body-attachment) is abandoned. ||31|| (sggs 1366).

The Gurbani teaches us that when we combat with own self and so die while yet alive, then we stand to Attain – ਪ੍ਰਾਪਤੀ. The noble attainment (ਪ੍ਰਾਪਤੀ) is the transformation of the deluded mind (‘ਬੁਧਿ ਬਦਲੀ ਸਿਧਿ ਪਾਈ’).

  • ਮਨੁ ਮਾਰੇ ਜੀਵਤ ਮਰਿ ਜਾਣੁ ॥ : Whoever kills his mind, knows the state of being dead while yet alive (sggs 1343).
  • ਕਹਿ ਕਬੀਰ ਬੁਧਿ ਹਰਿ ਲਈ ਮੇਰੀ ਬੁਧਿ ਬਦਲੀ ਸਿਧਿ ਪਾਈ ॥੨॥੨੧॥੭੨॥ : Says Kabeer! (Wisdom) has taken away my (worldly) intelligence (ਅਕਲ). With this altered intelligence, now I have obtained Sidhi (Spiritual Perfection…). ||2||21||72|| (sggs 339).

This is the state that follows when one has turned away from the worldly ways or Mayaic efforts (Manmukh-Saakat-Mayadhaaree Lifestyle, Unenlightened mindset).

  • ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਮਿਲਿਐ ਉਲਟੀ ਭਈ ਭਾਈ ਜੀਵਤ ਮਰੈ ਤਾ ਬੂਝ ਪਾਇ ॥ ਸੋ ਗੁਰੂ ਸੋ ਸਿਖੁ ਹੈ ਭਾਈ ਜਿਸੁ ਜੋਤੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਮਿਲਾਇ ॥ : O Mind! Submitting to the ‘Satigur (True Wisdom, ਸਚਾ ਗਿਆਨ), one understands (true Way of living – ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ), and then turns away (from Bikaar, demerits, falsehood etc.) and remains living dead. O Mind! Whose Conscience merges with the Universal Light (the One Creator) through Internalization of the Guru’s Shabad (Enlightenment) becomes a (real) Sikh. (sggs 602).

Accordingly, this is the Awakened State (ਆਤਮਕ ਜਾਗ) – the state of Perfection, Gurmat Bhagti, Pooran Brahm-Giyan or Wisdom, the Gurmukh Lifestyle (Enlightened or Guru Shabad-Oriented mindset).

  • ਉਲਟ ਭਈ ਜੀਵਤ ਮਰਿ ਜਾਗਿਆ ॥ : When turned away (from Maya – worldly temptations and their corrupting influences…) and became dead while yet alive, (I got spiritually) Awakened. (sggs 221).
  • ਭਗਤਿ ਕਰਹਿ ਮਰਜੀਵੜੇ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਭਗਤਿ ਸਦਾ ਹੋਇ ॥ : Bhagti karahi marjeevarre gurmukhi bhagti sadaa hoi (sggs 364).

The Gurbani teaches we can become living dead through ‘Gur Parasaadee (ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦੀ )’ — The Grace of the Wisdom of the Guru Shabad.

  • ਨਾਨਕ ਮਾਇਆ ਕਾ ਮਾਰਣੁ ਸਬਦੁ ਹੈ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਪਾਇਆ ਜਾਇ ॥੨॥ : Nanak, the antidote of Maya is the Shabad, which is realized by internalizing its Message – becoming the Gurmukh (Enlightened mind). ||2|| (sggs 853).
  • ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦੀ ਜੀਵਤੁ ਮਰੈ ਤਾ ਮਨ ਹੀ ਤੇ ਮਨੁ ਮਾਨੈ ॥ : (A Gurmukh – Enlightened mind) by the Grace of the Guru’s Giyan-Wisdom, remains dead (from Haumai and its faults) while yet alive, consequently his mind becomes content in itself (i.e., does not wander around). (sggs 647).

In other words, the Gurbani teaches us to live in the midst of Maya or in the midst of a lifetime, but detached (the Gurmukh Lifestyle)!

  • ਬਿਨੁ ਬੈਰਾਗ ਨ ਛੂਟਸਿ ਮਾਇਆ ॥੧॥ : Without detachment, Maya cannot be gotten rid of. ||1|| (sggs 329).

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  1. Thank you Brother Inderpal Singh Ji for taking the time reply. Welcome to the Gurbani Blog.

    considering Veg or Non-Veg. Guru;s shabd

    Please note this post has nothing to do with the subject of your comment (i.e. “Veg or Non-Veg”). Totally irrelevant.
    However, we do have a separate post on “Veg or Non-Veg”. You can see it at

  2. Very inlightening comments, considering Veg or Non-Veg. Guru;s shabd :-

    ਮਾਸੁ ਮਾਸੁ ਕਰਿ ਮੂਰਖੁ ਝਗੜੇ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਧਿਆਨੁ ਨਹੀ ਜਾਣੈ ॥ ਕਉਣੁ ਮਾਸੁ ਕਉਣੁ ਸਾਗੁ ਕਹਾਵੈ ਕਿਸੁ ਮਹਿ ਪਾਪ ਸਮਾਣੇ ॥ ਗੈਂਡਾ ਮਾਰਿ ਹੋਮ ਜਗ ਕੀਏ ਦੇਵਤਿਆ ਕੀ ਬਾਣੇ ॥ ਮਾਸੁ ਛੋਡਿ ਬੈਸਿ ਨਕੁ ਪਕੜਹਿ ਰਾਤੀ ਮਾਣਸ ਖਾਣੇ ॥ ਫੜੁ ਕਰਿ ਲੋਕਾਂ ਨੋ ਦਿਖਲਾਵਹਿ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਧਿਆਨੁ ਨਹੀ ਸੂਝੈ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਅੰਧੇ ਸਿਉ ਕਿਆ ਕਹੀਐ ਕਹੈ ਨ ਕਹਿਆ ਬੂਝੈ ॥

  3. Thanks singhsahibji. That blog on jiva is insightful. Please do write a blog on eating, drinking, dressing. etc as per your comments in that blog at the bottom.

  4. Please write a blog on veg / non veg diet as per Gurbani as there is a huge confusion over this topic. Your blog may be of great help. Thanks.

  5. A Quote from SGGS ji as
    In this Quote there is a CONCLUSION from the search .

  6. Thank you Bhai Sahib Jio.
    • ਆਪੁ ਖੋਜਿ ਖੋਜਿ ਮਿਲੇ ਕਬੀਰਾ ॥੪॥੭॥: Aapu khoji khoji milae Kabeeraa (1155).
    • ਖੋਜ ਬੂਝਿ ਜਉ ਕਰੈ ਬੀਚਾਰਾ ॥ ਤਉ ਭਵਜਲ ਤਰਤ ਨ ਲਾਵੈ ਬਾਰਾ ॥੪੦॥: Khoj boojhi jaou kare beechaaraa… (sggs 342).

  7. Yes Veer T Singh ji I would agree to your point as
    “Efforts” does no mean Karamkaand. From Gurmat standpoint, “efforts” essentially means Shabad-Vichaaar, Naam-Simran, “Khoj” (search-ਖੋਜ), “Ghaal” (ਘਾਲਣਾਂ)….

    This point is confirmed thru a Quote in BAANEE SUKHMANEE as
    Among all efforts there is ONLY ONE EFFORT accepted as

  8. Thank you Bhai Sahib Jio!

    “Efforts” does no mean Karamkaand. From Gurmat standpoint, “efforts” essentially means Shabad-Vichaaar, Naam-Simran, “Khoj” (search-ਖੋਜ), “Ghaal” (ਘਾਲਣਾਂ)….
    • ਆਪਣ ਹਥੀ ਆਪਣਾ ਆਪੇ ਹੀ ਕਾਜੁ ਸਵਾਰੀਐ ॥੨੦॥: (So long there is breath – Praan) With own hands (with self-efforts, ਉੱਦਮ ਕਰ ਕੇ: Shabad-Vichaar …), resolve your own affair yourself. ||20|| (sggs 474).
    • ਜੋ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਖੋਜਹਿ ਸੇਈ ਪਾਵਹਿ ਹੋਰਿ ਫੂਟਿ ਮੂਏ ਅਹੰਕਾਰੀ ॥੨੦॥: Those who seek Mool (within, only …), they obtain Him (within themselves); others die fragmented (i.e., without Uniting with their Mool) in their egotism. ||20|| (sggs 911).
    • ਜਿਨੀ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਇਆ ਗਏ ਮਸਕਤਿ ਘਾਲਿ ॥: Jinee Naamu dhiaaiaa … (sggs 8).

  9. Considering the Quote of the blog as
    •ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਮਿਲਿਐ ਉਲਟੀ ਭਈ ਭਾਈ ਜੀਵਤ ਮਰੈ ਤਾ ਬੂਝ ਪਾਇ ॥: Satigur Miliai Oulatee Bhaee Bhaaee Jeevat Marai Taa Paai
    Meeting Satigur is must for any change to happen. And meeting with Satigur is predestined not a subject of efforts.

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