Haraamkhor (ਹਰਾਮਖੋਰ) is made of two words: Haraam (ਹਰਾਮ) + Khor (ਖੋਰ).

Haraam (ਹਰਾਮ) => It has multiple meanings such as forbidden, prohibited, wrong, unlawful, improper, acquired by dishonesty or illegally, and so on.

Khor (ਖੋਰ) => Also has multiple meanings such as eater, cove, estuary, creek, inlet, canyon, persistence on something (e.g. stealing, cheating, corruption, bribery, untruthfulness etc.).

Hence, to put it mildly, Haraamkhor (ਹਰਾਮਖੋਰ) => Eater of Haraam; one who lives life in the cove or estuary of Haraamkhoree; who persists on unrighteous living (unlawful, wrong, improper…); who steals and takes from others; who exploit others; who consumes sin and thrives on breaking the law; who earns his kicks by doing what he is not supposed to be doing; who obtrudes himself on another for bed and board; who resorts to illegitimate means or underhand dealings to make a living etc.

To put it otherwise, a Haraamkhor is a scoundrel, thief, embezzler, lazy bum, expletive, wicked, rascal, bastard, transgressor, rogue, exploiter, burglar, corrupt, false, crook, crafty, fraud, Thugg, traitor, ungrateful, predator, freeloader etc.

The Gurmat Wisdom of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) asserts there are countless such ‘Haraamkhor‘ in the world.

  • ਅਸੰਖ ਚੋਰ ਹਰਾਮਖੋਰ ॥: There are countless thieves and ‘Haraamkhor’. (sggs 3).
  • ਚੋਰ ਕੀ ਹਾਮਾ ਭਰੇ ਨ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਚੋਰੁ ਕੀਆ ਚੰਗਾ ਕਿਉ ਹੋਇ ॥੧॥: (Upon a thief being captured) no one would want to be the guarantor of a thief. A person who is known to be a thief commits fraud, and hence cannot be a good person. (sggs 662).

To say it in simple Punjabi: ਕਿਰਤ ਕਮਾਈ ਨਹੀ ਕਰਨਾ ਹਰਾਮਖੋਰੀ ਹੈ — ਪਰਾਇਆ ਹੱਕ ਖਾਣ ਵਾਲਾ, ਚੋਰੀਆਂ ਠੱਗੀਆਂ ਕਰਨ ਵਾਲਾ; ਪਰਾਇਆ ਖੋਹਣ ਵਾਲਾ; ਹਰਾਮ ਦੀ ਕਮਾਈ ਖਾਣਾ, ਮੁਫਤਖੋਰੀ, ਲੂਣਹਰਾਮੀ; ਪਾਪ ਦੀ ਕਮਾਈ ਖਾਣ ਵਾਲਾ…

Since Sikhi is a way of life, Sikhs (learners) are to remember and emphasize in their individual and corporate life: (1) Kirat Karnee (ਕਿਰਤ ਕਮਾਈ), (2) Vand Shaknaa (ਵੰਡ ਛਕਣਾ), and (3) Naam Japnaa (ਨਾਮ ਜਪਣਾ).

First, ‘Kirat Karnee‘ (ਕਿਰਤ ਕਮਾਈ) is the right way of living which includes honest or truthful way of labor or earning and work side by side with the search of ownself (i.e. the Gurmukh Lifestyle).

In other words, a ‘Haraamkhor’ is the one who keeps eye on others’ pocket (ਪਰਾਇਆ ਹੱਕ ਖਾਣ ਵਾਲਾ, ਪਰਾਇਆ ਖੋਹਣ ਵਾਲਾ…)!

  • ਹਕੁ ਪਰਾਇਆ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਉਸੁ ਸੂਅਰ ਉਸੁ ਗਾਇ ॥: To take what rightfully belongs to another, is like a Muslim eating pork, or a Hindu eating beef (sggs 141).

In short, a ‘Haraamkhor‘ expects food, shelter, clothing etc. from others — a freeloader who deceptively takes advantage of others’ generosity without giving anything in return!

  • ਫਾਹੀ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਮਲੂਕੀ ਵੇਸੁ ॥ ਹਉ ਠਗਵਾੜਾ ਠਗੀ ਦੇਸੁ ॥ ਖਰਾ ਸਿਆਣਾ ਬਹੁਤਾ ਭਾਰੁ ॥ ਧਾਣਕ ਰੂਪਿ ਰਹਾ ਕਰਤਾਰ ॥੩॥ : The people sitting in the shrines are dressed as angles/ascetics (i.e. dressed in religious robes, symbols etc.). But their deceitful mind’s focus is on defrauding or trapping people. These big thugs are looting the people. They pretend to be wise. But they carry too much load of sins on their heads. Such righteous looking people are very cruel. ||3|| (sggs 24).
  • ਏਕੁ ਸੁਆਨੁ ਦੁਇ ਸੁਆਨੀ ਨਾਲਿ ॥ ਭਲਕੇ ਭਉਕਹਿ ਸਦਾ ਬਇਆਲਿ ॥ ਕੂੜੁ ਛੁਰਾ ਮੁਠਾ ਮੁਰਦਾਰੁ ॥ ਧਾਣਕ ਰੂਪਿ ਰਹਾ ਕਰਤਾਰ ॥1॥: One dog (of greed) and two bitches (desires, avarice, ਆਸਾ, ਤ੍ਰਿਸ਼ਨਾ, etc.) are with (the mind of humans). In the early morning, they (rise and) constantly bark (constantly engage in corruption, etc.). The greedy person lies incessantly (i.e. through deception he cheats his own people and strangers). His cunningness is as sharp as a knife. taking what rightfully belongs to other people is equivalent to eating carcasses. O Creator! (the mind) lives as a wild hunter (ਭਾਵ ਭਯਾਨਕ ਅਤੇ ਨੀਚੁ-lowly and scary). ||1||  (sggs 24).

Since ‘Haraamkhor‘ persons conduct in a way that is contrary to the Wisdom of the SGGS, their corrupt lifestyle (Manmukh-Saakat-Mayadhaaree lifestyle) is rejected and condemned in the Gurbani.

  • ਜੇ ਜੀਵੈ ਪਤਿ ਲਥੀ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਸਭੁ ਹਰਾਮੁ ਜੇਤਾ ਕਿਛੁ ਖਾਇ ॥: If a person (devoid of Naam may) be alive but he lives a life of dishonor. Whatever that person eats (here), its all Haraam (forbidden, prohibited, wring, unlawful, improper…). (sggs 142).
  • ਗੈਬਾਨ ਹੈਵਾਨ ਹਰਾਮ ਕੁਸਤਨੀ ਮੁਰਦਾਰ ਬਖੋਰਾਇ ॥: The heedless human being (i.e. the one who has forgotten his Mool) like ghosts, phantoms and animals eats Haraam (i.e. eats other people’s wealth) by killing (other’s right-ਦੂਜਿਆਂ ਦਾ ਹੱਕ). (sggs 723).
  • ਲੂਣ ਹਰਾਮੀ ਗੁਨਹਗਾਰ ਬੇਗਾਨਾ ਅਲਪ ਮਤਿ ॥: An ungrateful Haraamee person is a criminal (offender, culprit, sinner…),; has shallow understanding, and is alienated from (his Mool). (sggs 261).

In fact, many such ‘Haraamkhor‘ who steal or take from others, and exploit others call themselves Sant, Saadh, Baabaa, Brahm Giaanee, Mahaatmaa etc.!

  • ਗਲੀ ਜਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਾ ਜਪਮਾਲੀਆ ਲੋਟੇ ਹਥਿ ਨਿਬਗ ॥ ਓਇ ਹਰਿ ਕੇ ਸੰਤ ਨ ਆਖੀਅਹਿ ਬਾਨਾਰਸਿ ਕੇ ਠਗ ॥੧॥ ਐਸੇ ਸੰਤ ਨ ਮੋ ਕਉ ਭਾਵਹਿ ॥ ਡਾਲਾ ਸਿਉ ਪੇਡਾ ਗਟਕਾਵਹਿ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Who have rosaries around their necks, and glittering jugs in their hands, (just because of such religious paraphernalia) they should not be called the Divine’s Sant — they are thugs of Banaras (i.e., religious conmen, robbers, cheats…). Such sants are not pleasing to me. They devour (trees including) stems and branches (i.e. who do not even hesitate to kill human beings for the sake of Maya, etc.). (sggs 476).
  • ਰਹਤ ਅਵਰ ਕਛੁ ਅਵਰ ਕਮਾਵਤ ॥ ਮਨਿ ਨਹੀ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਮੁਖਹੁ ਗੰਢ ਲਾਵਤ ॥ ਜਾਨਨਹਾਰ ਪ੍ਰਭੂ ਪਰਬੀਨ ॥ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਭੇਖ ਨ ਕਾਹੂ ਭੀਨ ॥: The outward signs of religion are different and practical life is different; (i.e., Gurbani’s Rahat is quite different than what’s being practiced; the outward display of Dharma is quite different than living actual spiritual life; the man professes one thing and practices quite another, etc.). There is no divine love in (his) mind, but with his mouth he talks big. The Inner Knower (Rabb) is Wise. (Rabb is never) impressed (pleased) with anyone’s outward appearance. (sggs 269).

Now, going back to the three practices mentioned above, if one is devoid of ‘Kirat Kamaaee‘ (ਕਿਰਤ ਕਮਾਈ), he will remain devoid of the practice of ‘Vand Shaknaa‘ (ਵੰਡ ਛਕਣਾ)! In turn, in the absence of both ‘Kirat Kamaaee‘ and ‘Vand Shaknaa‘, one cannot honestly practice ‘Naam Japnaa‘ (ਨਾਮ ਜਪਣਾ – ਨਾਮ ਦੀ ਕਮਾਈ, Shabad Vichaar, gain Understanding of the Gurbani and then live that Wisdom in daily life…)!

Now perhaps we can appreciate as to why Baabaa Nanak thunders forth the following declaration:

  • ਗਿਆਨ ਵਿਹੂਣਾ ਗਾਵੈ ਗੀਤ ॥ ਭੁਖੇ ਮੁਲਾਂ ਘਰੇ ਮਸੀਤਿ ॥ ਮਖਟੂ ਹੋਇ ਕੈ ਕੰਨ ਪੜਾਏ ॥ ਫਕਰੁ ਕਰੇ ਹੋਰੁ ਜਾਤਿ ਗਵਾਏ ॥ ਗੁਰੁ ਪੀਰੁ ਸਦਾਏ ਮੰਗਣ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਤਾ ਕੈ ਮੂਲਿ ਨ ਲਗੀਐ ਪਾਇ ॥ ਘਾਲਿ ਖਾਇ ਕਿਛੁ ਹਥਹੁ ਦੇਇ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਰਾਹੁ ਪਛਾਣਹਿ ਸੇਇ ॥੧॥: Someone sings the hymns (Kirtan etc. as a source of livelihood or bread, but he lacks Giaan or wisdom (since he uses it as a source of income, his understanding could not be higher). The mosque of the starving mullahs is also for the sake of livelihood (i.e. the Mullahs have also made the act of praying in the mosque a source of livelihood or bread). There is another (third one) lazy bum (unemployed, ਹੱਡ-ਹਰਾਮ, ਵੇਹਲੜ) gets his ears pierced (to look like a Yogi). Someone else becomes a panhandler and lives life of a beggar-ਮੰਗਖਾਣਾਂ), and thus loses his social status. Someone pretends to be respected by becoming a Guru or a Pir (spiritual guide…) but is also greedy for material things (i.e. accumulates wealth by craftiness and making excuses. Don’t ever touch such person’s feet (i.e., don’t consider him a Guru or a Pir – don’t follow him). One who eats by working diligently (with honesty…) and helps the needy in the right way out of this noble work; O Nanak! Only such people have come to know the right way of life. ||1|| (sggs 1245).

In addition to crookedness, a ‘Haraamkhor‘ (ਹਰਾਮਖੋਰ) is said to be very unappreciative and ungrateful

  • ਮੈ ਕੀਤਾ ਨ ਜਾਤਾ ਹਰਾਮਖੋਰੁ ॥: (O Creator, Hukam, Rabb…)! I do not appreciate your gifts, I am ‘Haraamkhor’ (I take from others and exploit them). (sggs 24).
  • ਮੂੜੇ ਤੈ ਮਨ ਤੇ ਰਾਮੁ ਬਿਸਾਰਿਓ ॥ ਲੂਣੁ ਖਾਇ ਕਰਹਿ ਹਰਾਮਖੋਰੀ ਪੇਖਤ ਨੈਨ ਬਿਦਾਰਿਓ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: O fool! You have forgotten Raam (i.e. Mool, True Nature or Jot Saroop…) from your mind! Having benefitted from (Raam), you do not acknowledge it; you shamelessly commit ‘Haraamkhoree‘. ||1||Pause|| (sggs 1001).

Why does a ‘Haraamkhor‘ conduct himself this way?

As asserted in the Gurbani, a ‘Haraamkhor‘ conduct himself this way because he is a Virtueless person (‘Nirgun-ਨਿਰਗੁਣ’).

In other words, ‘Haraamkhoree‘ and being devoid of Virtues (‘Nirgun-ਨਿਰਗੁਣ’) is synonymous!!

  • ਹਰਾਮਖੋਰ ਨਿਰਗੁਣ ਕਉ ਤੂਠਾ ॥ ਮਨੁ ਤਨੁ ਸੀਤਲੁ ਮਨਿ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਵੂਠਾ ॥ : (Hukam, Rabb…) is pleased to forgive even a virtue-less person (i.e. the one who goes astray but then mends and gives up Haraamkhoree to become established in Wisdom, Virtues…). Then the life-giving Amrit (-Naam: Virtues, Wisdom…) abides in that the mind and the total being of that person become cool or attain Peace. (sggs 1142).
  • ਚਿਟੇ ਜਿਨ ਕੇ ਕਪੜੇ ਮੈਲੇ ਚਿਤ ਕਠੋਰ ਜੀਉ ॥ ਤਿਨ ਮੁਖਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਨ ਊਪਜੈ ਦੂਜੈ ਵਿਆਪੇ ਚੋਰ ਜੀਉ ॥ ਮੂਲੁ ਨ ਬੂਝਹਿ ਆਪਣਾ ਸੇ ਪਸੂਆ ਸੇ ਢੋਰ ਜੀਉ ॥੩॥: Those who are wear beautiful clothes or religious robes for show (i.e. they look religious or Mahatma on the outside only), but minds are hard, false and vicious. In fact, they are not acquiring Naam (i.e. Wisdom: Giaan-ਗਿਆਨ). Their Naam-Simran is only hypocrisy (Pakhand). It is as if they are thieves (of Rabb and people who lead people astray. But they look holy on the outside). They do not Understand their own Mool (Source, True Nature or Jot Saroop…); that is why they are great fools with animal intelligence (ਡੰਗਰ ਬੁਧੀ ਵਾਲੇ ਮਹਾਂ ਮੂਰਖ)! ||3|| (sggs 751).


  1. Satkar jog gurmukh T.Singh jio
    Man jo sochda hai oh kirat hai te tan(body) jo karda hai oh karam hai. Man agar bibek budhi de naal sach(naam) bare sochda hai tan oh sachi kirat hai te is sachi kirat karke tan(body) jo akaal purakh de hukam (bhana) vich reh ke jo kam karda hai oh sacha karam hai. Te naam nu jap ke(samajh ke, bujh ke) jo naam di kamayi karni hai te pher os kamayi vicho horna nu vi gyan(chanan) dena hai ohi vand ke chhakna hai.
    Oh manmukh jo sachi kirat, sacha karam te sachi kamayi nahi kar reha ohi Haramkhor hai te bharam bhulekhe vich pai ke dharam de na te thagiye mar ke kamayi kar reha hai.
    Gurpreett Singh

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