Gurmati Bhagti

Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) emphasizes on how to live life — how to properly utilize the time between the birth and death.

Accordingly, the Teaching of the SGGS rather emphasizes on Awakening the Divine Wisdom (Giaan) or Virtues (“ਗੁਣ”) within. Because — according to the SGGS — the Divine cannot be realized by remaining without the Divine Wisdom or the Divine Virtues (truth, contentment, mercy,  patience, Dharma, Sahaj…).

  • ਮੁੰਧ ਇਆਣੀ ਪੇਈਅੜੈ ਕਿਉ ਕਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਦਰਸਨੁ ਪਿਖੈ ॥: While in this father’s home (i.e., in this human life), if a soul-bride remains ignorant, (then) how can she obtain the Divine Vision? (i.e., remaining ignorant, she CANNOT obtain the Divine Vision!). (sggs 78).

Removing our ignorance (doubts, attachment to Maya, foolishness..), the Divine Wisdom or Virtues of the SGGS transforms our nature into the Divine Nature (Virtuous Soul – “ਗੁਣਵੰਤੀ”).

  • ਗੁਣ ਵੀਚਾਰੇ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਸੋਇ ॥ ਗੁਣ ਮਹਿ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਪਰਾਪਤਿ ਹੋਇ ॥: (One who) reflects on the Divine Virtues is spiritually Wise. Spiritual Wisdom is realized through the Divine Virtues (sggs 931).
What’s “Bhagti” in Sikhi?

Hence, the Gurbani repeatedly reminds us to engage in “Bhagti“. But — according to the SGGS — what is “Bhagti” in Sikhi? Let’s ask the Gurbani:

  • ਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਮਤਿ ਤੂੰ ਲੇਹਿ ਇਆਨੇ ॥ ਭਗਤਿ ਬਿਨਾ ਬਹੁ ਡੂਬੇ ਸਿਆਨੇ ॥: You ignorant fool, take the Gurmati (i.e., Divine Wisdom or Aatmic-Giaan of the Gur-Shabad); without (this) Bhagti, even many clever have drowned (in perplexity). (sggs 288).
  • ਸਚੀ ਭਗਤਿ ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦ ਪਿਆਰਿ ॥: True Bhagti consists of love for the Gur-Shabad (i.e., life of the Shabad-Giaan, Wisdom, Upadesh, Virtues…). (sggs 158).
  • ਵਿਣੁ ਗੁਣ ਕੀਤੇ ਭਗਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥: Without acquiring Virtues, Bhagti can not be performed (sggs 4).

Hence, as emphasized by the SGGS, for a Sikh (learner or student of the SGGS), “Bhagti” is to thoroughly Understand the Wisdom (Giaan) of the SGGS through the Shabad-Vichaar, and then persistently live it in daily life (Sikhee Sikhiaa Gur Veechaari, SGGS 465). In other words, In Gurmat, Bhagti is a Lifestyle — Gurmukhi Jeevan, the Divine Life based on the Divine Virtues and Wisdom of the SGGS…

Now, before we go any further, let’s ask the SGGS as to why it’s essential to obtain the Divine Wisdom:

  • ਗੁਰ ਮੰਤ੍ਰ ਹੀਣਸ੍ਯ੍ਯ ਜੋ ਪ੍ਰਾਣੀ ਧ੍ਰਿਗੰਤ ਜਨਮ ਭ੍ਰਸਟਣਹ ॥ ਕੂਕਰਹ ਸੂਕਰਹ ਗਰਧਭਹ ਕਾਕਹ ਸਰਪਨਹ ਤੁਲਿ ਖਲਹ ॥੩੩॥: That mortal who lacks the Gur-mantra (Guru’s counsel, advice, Wisdom, Upadesh, ਸਲਾਹ), cursed and fallen (depraved, polluted…) is his life. That wicked person is a dog, a pig, a jackass, a crow, a snake (in this very life, here and now, not after death). ||33|| (1356).

In fact, Giaan (Divine Wisdom, Spiritual Knowledge, Bibek…) is called Dharma and Guru in the SGGS. Hence, the life-span is considered fruitful only to those who have Awakened the Spiritual Wisdom within.

  • ਕਬੀਰਾ ਜਹਾ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਤਹ ਧਰਮੁ ਹੈ ਜਹਾ ਝੂਠੁ ਤਹ ਪਾਪੁ  ॥: O Kabeer! (Within a person, if) there is Giaan (Spiritual Wisdom, Divine Knowledge, Aatm–Giaan…) there is Dharma; (if within him) there is falsehood, there is sin (corrupt thinking). (sggs 1372).
  • ਕਹੁ ਕਬੀਰ ਮੈ ਸੋ ਗੁਰੁ ਪਾਇਆ ਜਾ ਕਾ ਨਾਉ ਬਿਬੇਕੋੁ ॥੪॥੫॥: Says Kabeer, I have found that Guru, whose Name is “Bibeko(u)” (Wisdom, Discerning Intelligence…). ||4||5|| (sggs 793).

One who performs this “Bhagti” and “persistently” (“Nirantari Bhagti“) lives his daily life by it (i.e., the Wisdom or Virtues of the SGGS) is called Bhagt in the Gurbani (Gurmukh, Daas Jan…).

In essence, “Gurmati Bhagti-ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਭਗਤਿ”  =  “Gurmukhi Bhagti-ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਭਗਤਿ”…

According to the SGGS, such Bhagt  (Gurmukh, Daas, Jan…)  is the Knower of the Spiritual Essence (“Tattu Giaanee-ਤਤੁ ਗਿਆਨੀ”, Brahm-Giaanee…), immersed in Truth (Sach), Divine Virtues (ਗੁਣ)…

  • ਸੇ ਭਗਤ ਸੇ ਤਤੁ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਜਿਨ ਕਉ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਮਨਾਏ ॥: They are the Bhagt, they are the knower of the Spiritual Knowledge of the Divine, who live by the Hukam (sggs 506).

SGGS asserts that the true Bhagti and Bhagts are very “rare”. Because, the challenges in this quest (the Way of Sach-ਸਚ, Truth…) are many, which need courage to surmount them.

  • ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਭਗਤਿ ਪਾਵੈ ਜਨੁ ਕੋਈ ॥੧॥: A rare “Janu” (Gurmukh, Bhagt, Daas…) obtains the “Gurmati Bhagti” (understanding of the Gur-Shabad, Naam, Hukam…) ||1|| (sggs 879).
Gurmati Bhagti is unique (“Niraalee”). Those who engage in it are also unique!

Why “rare”? Because, the SGGS tells us that this “Gurmati Bhagti” (i.e., “Gurmukhi Bhagti” ) is “Niraalee” (unique, unparalleled…). In other words, it’s different than the ancient tradition prescribed by Brahamanic practices. Our Guru, Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) does not subscribe to the old practices prescribed or given by the crafty or illiterate or self appointed clergy (ਪੁਜਾਰੀ ਲਾਣਾਂ), Deraavaad (fraud Baabaa…), and so on.

  • ਨਿਰਮਲ ਭਗਤਿ ਹੈ ਨਿਰਾਲੀ ॥ ਮਨੁ ਤਨੁ ਧੋਵਹਿ ਸਬਦਿ ਵੀਚਾਰੀ ॥: Bhagti that purifies (mind…) is “Niraalee” (unique). (Through this unique Bhagti) wash the mind, and the body (i.e., senses: eyes, ears, etc.) with Shabad-Vichaar (sggs 1059).
  • ਭਗਤਾ ਕੀ ਚਾਲ ਨਿਰਾਲੀ ॥ ਚਾਲਾ ਨਿਰਾਲੀ ਭਗਤਾਹ ਕੇਰੀ ਬਿਖਮ ਮਾਰਗਿ ਚਲਣਾ ॥ ਲਬੁ ਲੋਭੁ ਅਹੰਕਾਰੁ ਤਜਿ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਨਾਹੀ ਬੋਲਣਾ ॥ ਖੰਨਿਅਹੁ ਤਿਖੀ ਵਾਲਹੁ ਨਿਕੀ ਏਤੁ ਮਾਰਗਿ ਜਾਣਾ ॥: The lifestyle of Bhagat (Daas, Jan , Gurmukh…) is unique (extraordinary…). The lifestyle of Bhagat is unique, for they follow the most difficult Way of life. (That is, they reform themselves by) renouncing greed, avarice, pride, desire and excessive talkativeness. This Way of life they take is sharper than a two-edged sword, and finer than a hair (i.e., very difficult). (sggs 918).
  • ਪ੍ਰਭ ਮਿਲਣੈ ਕੀ ਏਹ ਨੀਸਾਣੀ ॥ ਮਨਿ ਇਕੋ ਸਚਾ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਪਛਾਣੀ ॥ ਸਹਜਿ ਸੰਤੋਖਿ ਸਦਾ ਤ੍ਰਿਪਤਾਸੇ ਅਨਦੁ ਖਸਮ ਕੈ ਭਾਣੈ ਜੀਉ ॥੩॥: This is the sign of union with Prabh (Mool, Source, Jot…). In the mind (the man) recognizes the True Hukam. Those who live by the Divine Will, abide in Sahaj (Natural State of Being, state of Wisdom…), contentment, enduring satisfaction and bliss. ||3|| (sggs 106).

Thus, the “Gurmati Bhagti” is not just repetition of some “Mantra”, or singing of the Gurbani; or sitting in some peculiar posture (“ਬਗੁਲ ਸਮਾਧਿ”), or counting beads (ਮਾਲਾ ਫੇਰਨੀ) with Maya infatuated mind (Bikaar: lust, anger, greed, etc.)…

  • ਮਾਇਆ ਮੋਹੁ ਪਰੇਤੁ ਹੈ ਕਾਮੁ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਅਹੰਕਾਰਾ ॥: Attachment to Maya, lust, anger, and egotism is the goblin (ghost, ਪ੍ਰੇਤ, ਭੂਤ…). (sggs 513).

To the contrary, it is to thoroughly Understand the Wisdom of the SGGS through the Shabad-Vichaar, and then “persistently” live it in daily life (Gurmukh Lifestyle, Divine Life…). This is what the Gurbani calls “Gun Gaawaa Nit” (“ ਗੁਣ ਗਾਵਾ ਨਿਤ”) — Living the Divine Wisdom or Virtues in daily life (i.e., the Gurmukh Lifestyle)!

  • ਗੁਰਮਤੀ ਪਰਗਾਸੁ ਹੋਆ ਜੀ ਅਨਦਿਨੁ ਹਰਿ ਗੁਣ ਗਾਵਣਿਆ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: The Divine Light (i.e., Divine Wisdom) dawns within by the “Gurmatee” (i.e., Divine Wisdom of the SGGS), and one lives the Divine Virtues in daily life. ||1||Pause|| (sggs 110).
Bhagti in Sikhi is to die in the Shabad.

In essence, “Bhagti” is the way of searching the mind and Understanding ownself to Realize the Mool (Source…) within. So, the SGGS asks us to become the Gurmukh and thus engage in the “Gurmati Bhagti”. 

  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਭਗਤਿ ਕਰਹੁ ਸਦ ਪ੍ਰਾਣੀ ॥: O mortal, constantly engage in “Gurmukhi Bhagti” (sggs 880).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਅਨਦਿਨੁ ਸਬਦੇ ਰਾਤਾ ॥: The Gurmukh night and day remains attuned to the Shabad (sggs 125).

Thus a Gurmukh‘s whole life becomes “Bhagti“. In other words, whatever he does in daily life is “Bhagti“.

  • ਜਿ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਕਰੇ ਸਾਈ ਭਗਤਿ ਹੋਵੈ ॥: Whatever the Gurmukh does, is Bhagti (sggs 1422).

This is also called “Nirantari Bhagti” in the Gurbani — persistent Bhagti (uninterrupted, unbroken, unceasing, “ਏਕ ਲਿਵ ਤਾਰਾ”…), etc. It is said that persistence can grind a steel beam into a needle! The Gurbani urges us to apply persistence in “Bhagti” as well for here the target is to grind the crazy, iron-like stubborn mind (“ਮਨੁ ਲੋਹਟੁ”)!

Sri Guru Granth Sahib urges that this true “Bhagti” should be the target of a Sikh in life, which makes us pure ones (i.e., “Khaalsae-ਖਾਲਸੇ”):

  • ਕਹੁ ਕਬੀਰ ਜਨ ਭਏ ਖਾਲਸੇ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਭਗਤਿ ਜਿਹ ਜਾਨੀ ॥: O Kabeer! Those persons become ‘Khaalsae‘ (‘ਖਾਲਸੇ’ ==> pure: inner purity, without adulteration, ਪਵਿੱਤਰ ਜੀਵਨ ਵਾਲਾ, ਸ਼ੁੱਧ, ਬਿਨਾ ਮਿਲਾਵਟ) who have understood the Prem Bhagti (i.e. who are linked with the Hukam, the Gur-Shabad – Wisdom of the Gurbani or ਗੁਰਮਤ ਦਾ ਗਿਆਨ…). (sggs 655).
  • ਵਿਣੁ ਗੁਣ ਕੀਤੇ ਭਗਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥: Without acquiring Virtues, Bhagti can not be performed (sggs 4).

In nutshell, according to the Wisdom of the SGGS, “Gurmat Bhagti” in Sikhi is to die in the Shabad to awaken Divine Giaan or Virtues (Rabbi Gun-ਗੁਣ) within. As a result, one gets connected to his Mool (Jot Saroop…) within, becomes living liberated (Jeevan Mukt). 

  • ਸਬਦਿ ਮਰੈ ਭਗਤਿ ਪਾਏ ਜਨੁ ਸੋਇ ॥੩॥: One who dies in the Shabad, obtains Bhagti ||3|| (sggs 159).
  • ਏਹਾ ਭਗਤਿ ਜਨੁ ਜੀਵਤ ਮਰੈ ॥: This is Bhagti, (by which) “Janu” (Gurmukh, Daas…) remains dead while yet alive (sggs 364).

Bhagts of Gurmati dwell in the state of Divine Wisdom — Prachand Giaan Avastha, Sahaj, Truth, etc. They transcend Bhavsaagar (i.e., go beyond Maya, reincarnations or Joonis…) and their mind remains intuitively Stable (Thir). In this state they are essentially Joti Saroop (“Loa” = Joti or Light, Niraakaaree Saroop…). The SGGS also calls this State  “Sachkhand“. Furthermore, SGGS tells us that such Bhagts cannot remain concealed, secret, or hidden — they become public (apparent, open…).

  • ਤਿਥੈ ਭਗਤ ਵਸਹਿ ਕੇ ਲੋਅ ॥: The Bhagts dwell there (Prachand Giaan Avasthaa…) as “Loa” (Joti Saroop). (sggs 8).
  • ਹਰਿ ਕਾ ਭਗਤੁ ਪ੍ਰਗਟ ਨਹੀ ਛਪੈ ॥: Hari Bhagt becomes open (undisguised, clear… ) – does not remain concealed (secret, hidden…). (sggs 265).

The SGGS asks us in a very simple language:

  • ਏਹੜ ਤੇਹੜ ਛਡਿ ਤੂ ਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਸਬਦੁ ਪਛਾਣੁ ॥: Abandon your crooked or quarrelsome ways (nonsense this and that talk…); realize the Gur-Shabad (instead). (sggs 646).


  1. Vaheguru ji. Have only just been led to this site… am enjoying it, loving it. Dhan is our Guru that has brought you to write this and me to read this… Dhan is the One that wrote and the One that read… beautiful khel… vah

  2. Waheguru ji ka khalsa Waheguru ji ki fateh.

    Veerji i really wanted to ask you that is there any way i can meet kalgidhar pita like actually experience his presence and if so how ? How should i be focusing while doing the nitnem ?
    And i know the words of guru granth sahib ji Maharaj’s words are his words but i want to feel his presence what should i do ? Veere i have been following you for a long time you are the ocean of gurbani knowledge , so i thought of asking this from you ! Thank you
    Waheguru ji ka khalsa Waheguru ji ki fateh !

  3. Yeh it’s so important to understand the value of time in a Gurmukhs Jeevan. There’s not much left for them to merge into Mahraaj. A lot of work and effort to do.

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