Gurbani Says We Are In A State Of Sleep Paralysis

The Gurbani proclaims that the entire world is asleep — sleep of attachment or love of Maya (ਮਾਇਆ ਦੀ ਭੁਖ). The Gurbani reveals that, in this horrific state of endless slumber are “asleep” the Jeeva (individual beings) of the world!

  • ਮਾਇਆ ਮੋਹਿ ਇਹੁ ਜਗੁ ਸੁਤਾ ॥: This world is asleep in attachment to Maya (sggs 112).
  • ਮਨੁ ਸੋਇਆ ਮਾਇਆ ਬਿਸਮਾਦਿ ॥: The mind is asleep, fascinated by Maya (sggs 182).

Sleep paralysis can be lumped in two groups: (1) physical sleep paralysis, and (2) spiritual sleep paralysis.

Physical sleep paralysis

The physical sleep paralysis is a form of parasomnia. Those who have experienced an episode of sleep paralysis know that it can be a tormenting experience, which is not easy to forget. Generally, episodes of sleep paralysis are experienced when one is in the process of just falling asleep i.e., (phase pf shallow sleep before deep sleep). In this frightening experience, one feels immobilized, unable to move the body or turn the head, unable to open the mouth to make a sound, unable walk or run, one feel short of breath, one feels tremendous pressure or weight on chest or heart, weighing the body down, one feels fear or danger, etc.

However, it is the spiritual sleep paralysis (i.e., Spiritual unawareness…) the Gurbani wants to draw our attention to.

Spiritual sleep paralysis

Spiritual sleep paralysis is spiritual unawareness…

The Gurbani uses the term “Outhaarai-ਉਥਾਰੈ” for this state of sleep paralysis.

  • ਰੇ ਜਨ ਉਥਾਰੈ ਦਬਿਓਹੁ ਸੁਤਿਆ ਗਈ ਵਿਹਾਇ ॥ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਸਬਦੁ ਸੁਣਿ ਨ ਜਾਗਿਓ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਨ ਉਪਜਿਓ ਚਾਉ ॥: O man! Suppressed under the weight of “Outhaarai“, (your life) has passed in sleep (i.e., Spiritual unawareness, etc.). You have not Awaken upon listening to the Satigur’s Shabad; and no (spiritual) Inspiration has welled up within yourself (651).

Now, what’s this pressure or weight the Gurbani referring to? ACCORDING TO THE GURBANI, this weight consists of Haumai (false ego-sense), doubts, love of Maya, ignorance, demerits, trickery, Bikaar (lust, anger, greed, etc.), Manmukh lifestyle, body-consciousness, reading the Gurbani without understanding and implementation, and so on. The Gurbani confirms all this:

  • ਹਉਮੈ ਮੋਹ ਭਰਮ ਭੈ ਭਾਰ ॥: Egotism, attachment, doubt and fear are loads. (sggs 292).
  • ਲਬੁ ਲੋਭੁ ਮੁਚੁ ਕੂੜੁ ਕਮਾਵਹਿ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਉਠਾਵਹਿ ਭਾਰੋ ॥: You practice greed, avarice and great falsehood (i.e. all evil passions), and you carry such a heavy burden (sggs 154).
  • ਕਾਮੁ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਬਿਖੁ ਬਜਰੁ ਭਾਰੁ ॥: The burden of lust, anger and corruption (i.e. all evil passions) is unbearable (sggs 1187).
  • ਮਾਇਆ ਮੋਹੁ ਅਗਿਆਨੁ ਹੈ ਬਿਖਮੁ ਅਤਿ ਭਾਰੀ ॥: Attachment to Maya is ignorance; it is terrible and very heavy load (sggs 509).
  • ਗੁਣ ਛੋਡਿ ਬਿਖੁ ਲਦਿਆ ਅਵਗੁਣ ਕਾ ਵਣਜਾਰੋ ॥੩॥: Forsaking Virtues, (the wicked person) has loaded (himself) with the poison of demerits; he keeps trading with demerits (his entire life in this world). ||3|| (sggs 580).
  • ਮਨਮੁਖ ਪਾਖੰਡਿ ਭਰਮਿ ਵਿਗੂਤੇ ਲੋਭ ਲਹਰਿ ਨਾਵ ਭਾਰਿ ਬੁਡਈਆ ॥: The hypocritical Manmukhs (followers of their perplexed mind) are ruined by doubt; their heavily loaded boat (of life – loaded with Bikaar…) sinks in the waves of greed (sggs 834).
  • ਬਹੁਤੁ ਸਿਆਣਪ ਆਗਲ ਭਾਰਾ ॥: Through clever tricks (performed in the love of Maya), the weight (of Bikaar) is only piled on more and more (sggs 178).
  • ਪੰਡਿਤ ਇਸੁ ਮਨ ਕਾ ਕਰਹੁ ਬੀਚਾਰੁ ॥ ਅਵਰੁ ਕਿ ਬਹੁਤਾ ਪੜਹਿ ਉਠਾਵਹਿ ਭਾਰੁ ॥: O Pandit! Reflect on this mind (of yours). (Instead of reflecting on your mind) whatever you read is just carrying the load (of egotism on your mind). (sggs 1261).

The Gurbani tells us these loads have crippled us and, as a result, we suffer! Now, in this life, we are given the opportunity to unload ourselves. Choice is ours. Either we can chose to carry these loads around and continue suffering, or we can chose to end it, here and now.

  • ਜਉ ਲਉ ਪੋਟ ਉਠਾਈ ਚਲਿਅਉ ਤਉ ਲਉ ਡਾਨ ਭਰੇ ॥ ਪੋਟ ਡਾਰਿ ਗੁਰੁ ਪੂਰਾ ਮਿਲਿਆ ਤਉ ਨਾਨਕ ਨਿਰਭਏ ॥੪॥੧॥੧੫੯॥: As long as I walked along, carrying the load, I continued to suffer. (But) O Nanak! Meeting the Perfect Guru (i.e., Realizing Aatam-Giaan, Gur-Giaan, Shabad-Upadesh…), I unloaded myself and became fearless. ||4||1||159|| (sggs 214).

Reorienting the slumbering mind

The Gurbani urges us to Wake up and Arise from this perpetual slumber or bewitchment of Maya.

  • ਜਾਗ ਲੇਹੁ ਰੇ ਮਨਾ ਜਾਗ ਲੇਹੁ ਕਹਾ ਗਾਫਲ ਸੋਇਆ ॥: Wake up, O mind! Wake up! Why are you sleeping unaware? (sggs 726).

But, how can the slumbering mind fascinated by Maya be reoriented to the Real Purpose of human life (i.e., Mool-Abidance)? In other words, how can the mind’s doubt (i.e., deception, confusion, or delusion of Jeev) be removed?

  • ਮਾਇਆ ਮੋਹਿ ਸਭੋ ਜਗੁ ਸੋਇਆ ਇਹੁ ਭਰਮੁ ਕਹਹੁ ਕਿਉ ਜਾਈ ॥: In attachment to Maya, all the world is asleep. Tell (me), how can this doubt be dispelled? (sggs 205).

Let’s ask the Gurbani. According to the Gurbani, detachment (“Bairaag-ਬੈਰਾਗ) is the key. Attachment clouds our sense of discrimination (Bibek Budhi or discerning intellect). As a result, we cannot earnestly Reflect on the Gur-Shabad. Detachment makes us introspective and discriminative, leading to Virtues. The reflective mind with the subtle sense of discrimination helps us to know the difference between Sat and Asat (truth and falsehood, eternal and temporary….).

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

In other words, the Gurbani asks us to be in the world, but not of it! The Gurbani teaches us how to develop such detachment:

  • ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਸਬਦਿ ਅਰਾਧੀਐ ਨਾਮਿ ਰੰਗਿ ਬੈਰਾਗੁ ॥: Through the Gur-Shabad, adore the Naam (Wisdom, Virtues…); with such affection, detachment (wells up in the mind). (sggs 1425).

The Gurbani. is the Bani of the Awakened Gurmukhs. The Divine Wisdom of the Gur-Shabad is All-powerful to Awaken the slumbering mind.

  • ਅਗਿਆਨਿ ਲਾਇ ਸਵਾਲਿਆ ਗੁਰ ਗਿਆਨੈ ਲਾਇ ਜਗਾਵੈਗੋ ॥: Attached to ignorance, (people are) caused to sleep (to Maya…); attached to the Gur’s spiritual Wisdom, (they are) Awaken (sggs 1308).

Once the mind is unburdened of the “crushing load”, it becomes light (“ਹਰੂਏ-Harooay“), fit to cross over the Bhav Saagar (the ocean of Maya); while rest of us just keep chasing mirage! Consider the following Salok of Bhagat Kabeer Sahib:

  • ਕਬੀਰ ਬੇੜਾ ਜਰਜਰਾ ਫੂਟੇ ਛੇਂਕ ਹਜਾਰ ॥ ਹਰੂਏ ਹਰੂਏ ਤਿਰਿ ਗਏ ਡੂਬੇ ਜਿਨ ਸਿਰ ਭਾਰ ॥੩੫॥: O Kabeer! If the boat is old, and it has thousands of holes (it ultimately sinks in the ocean, however, from among the travelers) those who are light (“ਹਰੂਏ ਹਰੂਏ”) get across, while those who carry the (crushing) weight (of their Bikaars or egotism) on their heads are (ਭਾਰ ਹੇਠ ਦੱਬ ਕੇ) drowned. ||35|| (sggs 1366).

Who is truly Awake?

A person who is truly Awake is called a Gurmukh in the Gurbani. Hence, the Gurbani urges us to become the Gurmukh, so the mind can become fearless and leave the “Trikutee-ਤ੍ਰਿਕੁਟੀ” and come to rest into the Heart (“Hirdaa-ਹਿਰਦਾ” or “Ghat-ਘਟ” or “Dasavaa Duaaru-ਦਸਵਾ ਦੁਆਰੁ”).

  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਜਾਗੈ ਸੋਈ ਸਾਰੁ : To be awake as Gurmukh is the Essence (of Wakefulness). (sggs 1194).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਭਗਤੀ ਜਾਗੇ ॥: United with Bhagti, the mind of the Gurmukh remains Awakened (sggs 415).

In nutshell, a Gurmukh abides in Truth of the SGGS — reveling in the deep reservoir of the Gurbani’s spiritual Wisdom, his intellect is Enlightened (“Kheevaa-ਖੀਵਾ”).

  • ਭੋਰ ਭਰਮ ਕਾਟੇ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਸਿਮਰਤ ਗਿਆਨ ਅੰਜਨ ਮਿਲਿ ਸੋਵਤ ਜਾਗੀ ॥੧॥: O “Prabh” (Mool, Source, Jot, Hari…)! By remembering You applying the ointment of spiritual Wisdom, every trace of (my) doubt is effaced and (I am) awakened from my sleep (of Maya). ||1||


  1. SSA
    ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਲੇ ਜਉ ਉਨਮਨਿ ਰਹੈ ॥
    When this mind is channeled, and guided to enlightenment,

    ਤਉ ਤੀਨਿ ਲੋਕ ਕੀ ਬਾਤੈ ਕਹੈ ॥੩੩॥
    it can describe the secrets of the three worlds. ||33||

  2. SSA
    Conscious sleep
    when the mind is awake to its existence [source] the full process[[TURIYA]] the inner RAY in pineal and not to its circadian rhythms the transient illusion of Reflections…..

  3. Piaari Jio – It seems Gurmuikh is the riddle as well as the technology solution to the riddle; a process, the purpose, the essence and finally the accomplishment;

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