Many aspects of organized and institutionalized religions (Mazhab-ਮਜ਼ਹਬ) are myths, fantasies, hearsays, impractical, unnatural and laughable that defy commonsense, but we believe anyway.
Gurmat is NOT a religion (Mazhab-ਮਜ਼ਹਬ) like other worldly religions. In fact, Sikhi is a distinct Way of life based on the Unique and Revolutionary Gurmat Wisdom of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS).
Hence, often misunderstood, Sikhi is not a combination or offshoot of any other worldly religions. It’s a revolutionary ‘Soch‘ (thinking) of all 35 revolutionary writers whose Baanee (ਬਾਣੀ) or hymns are present in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS). They brought the storm of Wisdom (Giaan-ਗਿਆਨ) to ‘blow away the thatched hut of doubt‘. They hit hard on the self-serving and corrupt clergy (Pujaaree system) of all organized religions (Mazhab-ਮਜ਼ਹਬ).
Gurmat talks about the life in present moment. It teaches us technique how to live life NOW, NOT nonsense such as after death life; after death hell or heaven; after death Sachkhand, separate god from man; illogical religious Karamkaand and paraphernalia, and so on.
History reveals that in any group or country, the organized religion, ruling class, government, judiciary, army or militia, commerce (business, traders etc.) and schooling (teachers etc.) are programmed to work in concert to keep the majority under the control of this small minority.
This control starts with the organized religion which seeks to control human mind. This starts with the idea of an all knowing god who is SEPARATE from man ‘up there’ somewhere!
Using powerful emotions, organized religion through the paid priests and clerics (Pujaaree) constantly bribes the human mind of afterlife rewards in fictitious ‘HEAVEN’, and scares of severe punishments here and hereafter in fictitious ‘HELL’ for non compliance.
Gurmat and Seekers of Realization reject both ‘Hell’ and ‘Heaven’!
Similar to the concocted and imaginary God, ‘Hell’ and ‘heaven’ are also imaginary locations concocted by the corrupt Pujaaree systems debunked and rejected by the SGGS.
- ਕਵਨੁ ਨਰਕੁ ਕਿਆ ਸੁਰਗੁ ਬਿਚਾਰਾ ਸੰਤਨ ਦੋਊ ਰਾਦੇ ॥ ਹਮ ਕਾਹੂ ਕੀ ਕਾਣਿ ਨ ਕਢਤੇ ਅਪਨੇ ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦੇ ॥੫॥ : What is the concern with the discourse on ‘hell’ and ‘heaven’ — both of which are rubbished by the Seekers of God Realization. By the blessings of Enlightenment from the Guru (Giaan–Wisdom), I have no concern with either. ॥5॥ (sggs 969).
- ਜਬ ਏਕਹਿ ਹਰਿ ਅਗਮ ਅਪਾਰ ॥ ਤਬ ਨਰਕ ਸੁਰਗ ਕਹੁ ਕਉਨ ਅਉਤਾਰ ॥ : When the only entity in the Eternity of the Existence was the Omnipresent Creator, Who were the occupants of ‘hell’ and ‘heaven’ then? (sggs 291).
Clearly, there is no such location as ‘hell’ and ‘heaven’. It is NOTHING more that a concoction of the clergy (Pujaaree) — including the Sikh clergy.
This concoction of the clergy (Pujaaree) is a two step process — ‘Paap’ and ‘Punn’. To match these two, the clergy (Pujaaree) concocted the notion of ‘hell’ for those who do ‘Paap‘ and ‘heaven’ for those who do ‘Punn‘! The Gurbani (SGGS) exposed these concoctions of the corrupt clergy (Pujaaree) as follows:
- ਪਾਪੁ ਪੁੰਨੁ ਤਹ ਭਈ ਕਹਾਵਤ ॥ ਕੋਊ ਨਰਕ ਕੋਊ ਸੁਰਗ ਬੰਛਾਵਤ ॥: The notion of sinful deeds (Paap) and pious acts (Punn) were concocted as a narrative; to make some to desire ‘Heaven’ and others fit or destined for ‘Hell’. (sggs 691).
- ਕਥਾ ਕਹਾਣੀ ਬੇਦੀ ਆਣੀ ਪਾਪੁ ਪੁੰਨੁ ਬੀਚਾਰੁ ॥ ਦੇ ਦੇ ਲੈਣਾ ਲੈ ਲੈ ਦੇਣਾ ਨਰਕਿ ਸੁਰਗਿ ਅਵਤਾਰ ॥ ਉਤਮ ਮਧਿਮ ਜਾਤੀਂ ਜਿਨਸੀ ਭਰਮਿ ਭਵੈ ਸੰਸਾਰੁ ॥: The narrative given to the world by the Vedas is that there are sinful deeds (‘Paap‘) and pious ones (‘Punn‘) — to give (Daan) more than one receives, and to receive more that one gives is the basis for becoming a resident of ‘Hell’ and ‘Heaven’. (Through this teaching of the Vedas) the world is lost and steeped in superstitions of high and low social class. (sggs 1243).
Baabaa Nanak further critiques this nonsense as follows:
- ਬੇਦੁ ਪੁਕਾਰੇ ਪੁੰਨੁ ਪਾਪੁ ਸੁਰਗ ਨਰਕ ਕਾ ਬੀਉ ॥ ਜੋ ਬੀਜੈ ਸੋ ਉਗਵੈ ਖਾਂਦਾ ਜਾਣੈ ਜੀਉ ॥ … ਬੇਦੁ ਵਪਾਰੀ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਰਾਸਿ ਕਰਮੀ ਪਲੈ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਰਾਸੀ ਬਾਹਰਾ ਲਦਿ ਨ ਚਲਿਆ ਕੋਇ ॥੨॥: (O Pandit!) The Vedas pronounce that the act of piosness (‘Punn’) and sin (‘Paap’) are the determinants of ‘Heaven and hell’ in the Afterlife — what is planted in this life will bear fruits in ‘Heaven’ or ‘Hell’. … (Thus, O Pandit, by mentioning the fruits of Paap and Punn) the Veda speaks of business (ਧੰਧਾ); (But the real capital for man) is the knowledge (of divine Virtues) and this knowledge is obtained (from the Guru-) grace (i.e., grace of the Gur-Giaan or Wisdom). O Nanak! Without this capital (of knowledge, Naam, Truth…) no human being (from the world) ever departs laden with the profit. (sggs 1243-1244).
Clearly the Gurbani says that those who have become seekers of God Realization — Bhagat, Daas Jan, Gurmukh, Guru-oriented, Enlightened — reject both hell and heaven (ਰੱਦ). In other words, those who believe in fictitious hell and heaven are Manmukh-Saakat-Mayadhaaree and they are already living in ‘hell‘ HERE AND NOW.
Again, here is a Gurmat’s clear defiance of the clergy’s (Pujaaree) concocted ‘Hell’ and ‘Heaven’
- ਸੁਰਗ ਬਾਸੁ ਨ ਬਾਛੀਐ ਡਰੀਐ ਨ ਨਰਕਿ ਨਿਵਾਸੁ ॥ ਹੋਨਾ ਹੈ ਸੋ ਹੋਈ ਹੈ ਮਨਹਿ ਨ ਕੀਜੈ ਆਸ ॥੧॥: (Kabeer) I have no desire whatsoever to go reside in ‘Heaven’. And I have no FEAR whatsoever of being sent to reside in ‘Hell’. I will not abide by your (concocted) narrative of come what may because I have no desire to go to ‘Heaven’. (sggs 317).
- ਕਬੀਰ ਸੁਰਗ ਨਰਕ ਤੇ ਮੈ ਰਹਿਓ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕੇ ਪਰਸਾਦਿ ॥ ਚਰਨ ਕਮਲ ਕੀ ਮਉਜ ਮਹਿ ਰਹਉ ਅੰਤਿ ਅਰੁ ਆਦਿ ॥੧੨੦॥: O Kabeer! By the grace of my ‘Satgur‘ (the true Wisdom – ਸਚਾ ਗਿਆਨ) I have escaped from (the desire of) heaven and (the fear of) hell. I am always in the Joy of ‘Charan Kamal‘ (i.e. Satgur’s Giaan-Wisdom…). ||120|| (sggs 1370).
In nutshell, the edict of the Gurbani is that there are no places or regions called heaven or hell. Thus, the hell, heaven, heavenly kingdom etc. is by no means a far-off thing to be experienced after death, but a very present reality fully existent in all of us this very moment.
- ਬੇਣੀ ਕਹੈ ਸੁਨਹੁ ਰੇ ਭਗਤਹੁ ਮਰਨ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਕਿਨਿ ਪਾਈ ॥੫॥: Says Baynee – Listen O devotees, nobody has ever attained liberation after death. ||5|| (sggs 93).
- ਮੂਏ ਹੂਏ ਜਉ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਦੇਹੁਗੇ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਨ ਜਾਨੈ ਕੋਇਲਾ ॥ ਏ ਪੰਡੀਆ ਮੋ ਕਉ ਢੇਢ ਕਹਤ ਤੇਰੀ ਪੈਜ ਪਿਛੰਉਡੀ ਹੋਇਲਾ ॥੨॥: (O God!) If You liberate me (from vices, outer domination etc.) after I am dead, no one would know about that liberation granted by You (i.e. that’s why I do not believe or accept such phony liberation). These pandits (i.e. clergy-Pujaaree) are calling me a person born in low caste, and in this way actually Your own honor is decreasing. ||2|| (sggs 1292)
- ਜੀਵਦਿਆ ਨ ਚੇਤਿਓ ਮੁਆ ਰਲੰਦੜੋ ਖਾਕ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਦੁਨੀਆ ਸੰਗਿ ਗੁਦਾਰਿਆ ਸਾਕਤ ਮੂੜ ਨਪਾਕ ॥੧॥ : As long as alive mortal does not remember (Rabb, Truth, Naam…), on dying he just mixes with dust! O Nanak! Such a foolish Saakat (i.e., one disconnected from his Mool), passes his life engrossed in the world. ||1|| (sggs 523).
Free of all mental encumbrances, notions of a vengeful god, eternal hell, Judgment Day and so on, such is a joyous and practicle spiritual teaching of the Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS.
That’s why a true Sikh, for example, celebrates birth and death alike, and sees Sukha and Dukha pleasure and pain or heaven and hell) with equal vision; for his joy is divine and his sorrow is divine too!
- ਗਲੀ ਭਿਸਤਿ ਨ ਜਾਈਐ ਛੁਟੈ ਸਚੁ ਕਮਾਇ ॥: By mere talks (ਗੱਪਾਂ ਨਾਲ), you do not obtain Heaven. Salvation comes only from the practice of Truth (Sach-ਸੱਚ) alone.(sggs 141).
- ਧਨੁ ਨਹੀ ਬਾਛਹਿ ਸੁਰਗ ਨ ਆਛਹਿ ॥ ਅਤਿ ਪ੍ਰਿਅ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਸਾਧ ਰਜ ਰਾਚਹਿ ॥ : They (true seekers) do not seek wealth, and they do not desire heaven. They are immersed in the deep love of their Beloved, and the Guru’s Giaan-Wisdom. (sggs 251).
Therefore, instead of fearing the so called hell and desiring the so called heaven, we are urged by the Gurbani to understand them. How?
- ਤਹ ਬੈਕੁੰਠੁ ਜਹ ਨਾਮੁ ਉਚਰਹਿ ॥: That (Heart) is heaven where the Naam (Wisdom…) is expressed (or lived in daily life). (sggs 890).
- ਸਾਧ ਕੈ ਸੰਗਿ ਨਰਕ ਪਰਹਰੈ ॥: By persuading the mind to associate with the Saadh within (Gurmukh, Bhagat, Daas, Jan, Wisdom etc.), hellish existence is eliminated. (sggs 272).
- ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਬਚਨਿ ਨਰਕਿ ਨ ਪਵੈ ॥: With the blessing of Guru’s teachings (Upadesh, Wisdom) man does not fall into hellish existence. (sggs 177).
To go beyond the Pujaaree’s LIES of hell and heaven, Baabaa Nanak provides us with a simple ‘Nuktaa-ਨੁਕਤਾ’ (point) as follows:
- ਅਮਲੁ ਕਰਿ ਧਰਤੀ ਬੀਜੁ ਸਬਦੋ ਕਰਿ ਸਚ ਕੀ ਆਬ ਨਿਤ ਦੇਹਿ ਪਾਣੀ ॥ ਹੋਇ ਕਿਰਸਾਣੁ ਈਮਾਨੁ ਜੰਮਾਇ ਲੈ ਭਿਸਤੁ ਦੋਜਕੁ ਮੂੜੇ ਏਵ ਜਾਣੀ ॥੧॥: Make your deeds the earth (i.e. perform Virtuous deeds), and let the Shabad (i.e. Gur-Giaan-Wisdom) be the seed (sown in the earth of Virtuous deeds); irrigate (i.e. practice) it continually with the water of ‘Sach‘ (i.e. let your deeds flourish in the Glory of the Creator). Become such a farmer and anchor your Spirituality in ‘Eemaan‘ (faith, belief, truth etc.). Only then you will realize the FOLLY of claims of ‘Heaven’ and ‘Hell’. (sggs 24).
- ਸੁਣਿ ਵਡਾ ਆਖੈ ਸਭੁ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਕੇਵਡੁ ਵਡਾ ਡੀਠਾ ਹੋਇ ॥ Every person (only from others) hears and says (O god!) You are Great or Big. How Great are you can only be told by seeing you (i.e. BUT, nobody can see you because you are not an embodied beings!!!!!!). (sggs 9).
Since man is not contented with simplicity, he has made his life complicated and complex. As a result, so many religions have come into existence with their fictitious or imaginary stuff and their own complex, impractical and unnatural adherents and antagonists! Although most of these religions often start good but later turn bad, and fork up into smaller and smaller sub groups or sects when they fall in the hands of those who want name and gain, or when a group or individuals collectively decide that their current version of organized religion does not work for them.
Over time, fictitious or imaginary stuff gets stuck in the mind and becomes the greatest mental ailment. Unfortunately, this mental ailment seems to afflict the intelligent (so called religious scholars and learned etc.) more than the unintelligent! Thus not easy to cure.
In a nutshell, the Gurbani repeatedly remind us that a Sikh creates his / her own ‘Heaven’, HERE AND NOW — NOT AFTERLIFE. Here is an another verse of Bhagat Naam Dev Ji!
- ਨਰ ਤੇ ਸੁਰ ਹੋਇ ਜਾਤ ਨਿਮਖ ਮੈ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਬੁਧਿ ਸਿਖਲਾਈ ॥ ਨਰ ਤੇ ਉਪਜਿ ਸੁਰਗ ਕਉ ਜੀਤਿਓ ਸੋ ਅਵਖਧ ਮੈ ਪਾਈ ॥੧॥ : With the blessings of Intellect received from the Guru (Enlightenment of the Shabad, Giaan-Wisdom, Message …), in the blink of an eye, men become Divine. (Bhagat Naam Dev says) I also have acquired that medicine (cure, solution, panacea …) by which, being born of men I have conquered ‘Heaven’ (i.e. I have realized the FOLLY of concocted ‘Heaven’).(sggs 873).
The Gurbani (SGGS) tells us that when stop living in the fear of Clergy fabricated ‘Hell’ and ‘Heaven’ etc., then we Liberate ourselves from fictitious notions and start living the Spirituality of the Shabad — the Spirituality of HERE AND NOW.
Clergy wants people to remain in fearful and greedy
This is designed to create fear, anxiety and greed in people’s minds. Although by doing so the Pujaaree misleads humanity, however, the corrupt clergy (Pujaaree) makes an easy living off this self-serving business in the name of god and religion (ਧੰਧਾ, ਰੋਟੀਆਂ ਦਾ ਜਰੀਆ).
- ਕਾਦੀ ਕੂੜੁ ਬੋਲਿ ਮਲੁ ਖਾਇ ॥ ਬ੍ਰਾਹਮਣੁ ਨਾਵੈ ਜੀਆ ਘਾਇ ॥ ਜੋਗੀ ਜੁਗਤਿ ਨ ਜਾਣੈ ਅੰਧੁ ॥ ਤੀਨੇ ਓਜਾੜੇ ਕਾ ਬੰਧੁ ॥੨॥: The clergy of the Muslim faith was corrupt, the Brahmin was murderous and the Yogi Un-Enlightened. These three (clergy) had become the root cause for the spiritual wreckage and desolation that mankind had come to endure. (sggs 662).
In order to impart the Truth (ਸਚ) and awaken us from the slumber of foolishness, all 35 contributors of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) have used terms that were already within the use and within the psyche of people of their time.
However, such terms — for example ‘hell’ and ‘heaven’ etc. — have been used in the SGGS as examples (ਹਵਾਲਾ), but explicitly with new meanings and understanding to fit the new spiritual paradigms of Sikhi or Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS.
The Gurbani is NOT meant to regurgitate outdated, irrelevant, illogical, fictitious, stone-age thinking, concocted stories (ਗੱਪ- ਕਹਾਣੀਆਂ) or imaginary nonsense that existed at the time of the Gurus and Bhagats.
- ਚਾਰੇ ਵੇਦ ਬ੍ਰਹਮੇ ਕਉ ਦੀਏ ਪੜਿ ਪੜਿ ਕਰੇ ਵੀਚਾਰੀ ॥ ਤਾ ਕਾ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਨ ਬੂਝੈ ਬਪੁੜਾ ਨਰਕਿ ਸੁਰਗਿ ਅਵਤਾਰੀ ॥੬॥: Brahma was given four Vedas, to read and reflecting on them. (But) the poor did not understand its Hukam (System-Rule-Law of Nature), instead he remained stuck in thinking about heaven and hell. ||6|| (sggs 423).
Instead, the Gurbani tells us hell and heaven are right Here and Now, not after death of the physical body.
So, a Sikh (learner-ਸਿਖਿਆਰਥੀ)…) does not have to wait until after death to have a final judgment on hell or heaven. It’s all within, HERE and NOW! BECAUSE, heaven or hell is a state of the mind. By changing thinking (thoughts, ਸੋਚ, ਵਿਚਾਰਧਾਰਾ), one can either suffer hellish life Here and Now or enjoy heavenly life by merging back into our Mool or Jot Saroop or Ocean (Sukh Saagar).
- ਕਾਇਆ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਜਗਜੀਵਨ ਦਾਤਾ ਵਸੈ ਸਭਨਾ ਕਰੇ ਪ੍ਰਤਿਪਾਲਾ ॥: All (Sukh) of planets, galaxies and nether regions is present in the body/mind. (sggs 754).
Clergy’s (Pujaaree) concocted imaginary ‘Heaven’
From the very childhood we are bombarded with the notion that somewhere ‘up there’ or ‘there yonder’ exist afterlife and otherworldly hell and heaven. Let’s consider this Shabad of Bhagat Kabeer Ji:
- ਸਭੁ ਕੋਈ ਚਲਨ ਕਹਤ ਹੈ ਊਹਾਂ ॥ ਨਾ ਜਾਨਉ ਬੈਕੁੰਠੁ ਹੈ ਕਹਾਂ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਆਪ ਆਪ ਕਾ ਮਰਮੁ ਨ ਜਾਨਾਂ ॥ ਬਾਤਨ ਹੀ ਬੈਕੁੰਠੁ ਬਖਾਨਾਂ ॥੧॥ ਜਬ ਲਗੁ ਮਨ ਬੈਕੁੰਠ ਕੀ ਆਸ ॥ ਤਬ ਲਗੁ ਨਾਹੀ ਚਰਨ ਨਿਵਾਸ ॥੨॥ ਖਾਈ ਕੋਟੁ ਨ ਪਰਲ ਪਗਾਰਾ ॥ ਨਾ ਜਾਨਉ ਬੈਕੁੰਠ ਦੁਆਰਾ ॥੩॥ ਕਹਿ ਕਮੀਰ ਅਬ ਕਹੀਐ ਕਾਹਿ ॥ ਸਾਧਸੰਗਤਿ ਬੈਕੁੰਠੈ ਆਹਿ ॥੪॥੮॥੧੬॥: They all make claims about knowing the Method to get to ‘Heaven’. (But) they don’t know where ‘Heavon’ is! ||1|| Pause || (In fact) they know nothing of themselves even. Its all concocted narrative (ਨਿਰੀਆਂ ਗੱਪਾ). ||1|| So long the desire to get to ‘Heaven’ remains, till then Realization of the Creator Within cannot happen. ||2|| (I don’t know) what kind of moat is there around heaven fort, what kind of city it is, what kind of wall it is. I don’t know what door is like (of the heaven of these people). ||3|| Kabeer, what do we say about such claims? Being in the Company of the Guru (Giaan-Wisdom) alone is to have created one’s own ‘Heaven’ (here and now). ||4||8||16|| (sggs 1161).
Clearly, the desire to go to ‘Heaven’ in the Afterlife is the obstacle to one’s Spiritual Realization, BECAUSE the claim itself is FAKE — the claim, according to Gurbani (SGGS) is for an imaginary place that does NOT even exist!
In exoteric thinking, hell is often viewed as place of extreme suffering, blazing fire, poisonous gas, boiling water, and so on, where people are sent by god to receive their punishment. On the contrary, heaven is generally viewed as a place full of pleasures and happiness!
Is so called God vengeful that he wants to send some of his children to hell, and rewards others by sending them to heaven?
Since the Gurbani’s god is NEITHER vengeful (‘Nirvair‘) NOR separate from man, god will not throw any one of us into blazing fire or boiling water, nor he will hand us over to someone with frightening face, long teeth, popping red eyes, and ugly head with horn. At the same time, he will not escort any one of us to enjoy damsels at some fictitious or imaginary ‘heaven’ either!
This sort of psychological set-up based on scare tactics that Rabb (Universal Energy) is vengeful and separate from man is unconducive to practicing a spiritual or divine Life. Because, it arbitrates against the very idea of Oneness of man and his Mool (Source, Jot Saroop…) which the seekers of Truth seek! Also, because of such subconscious barriers placed by a dualistic philosophy, a person who have been so indoctrinated may try but fail.
If the state of the mind is Gurmukh-Hood, Joyful, Blissful, Peaceful, Sahaj (Natural state of being, Wisdom, ਅਕਲ, ਸੂਝ-ਬੂਝ…), etc., then one is already in heaven (ਸਵਰਗ, ਦਰਗਹ, ਬੈਕੁੰਠ, Sukh Saagar…), Here and Now!
- ਜਾਸੁ ਜਪਤ ਕਈ ਬੈਕੁੰਠ ਵਾਸੁ ॥: By understanding whose (Naam) spiritual bliss or tranquility is found (this is akin to obtaining abode in heaven, Here and Now). (sggs 236).
The Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS logically rejects the fictitious or imaginary after-death hell or heaven.
In nutshell, the paid clergy or Pujaaree’s fake hell and heaven is that phantom place where an alive person can’t go, and a dead person can’t describe! What a FRAUD!
- ਜੋ ਜਨ ਪਰਮਿਤਿ ਪਰਮਨੁ ਜਾਨਾ ॥ ਬਾਤਨ ਹੀ ਬੈਕੁੰਠ ਸਮਾਨਾ ॥੧॥ ਨਾ ਜਾਨਾ ਬੈਕੁੰਠ ਕਹਾ ਹੀ ॥ ਜਾਨੁ ਜਾਨੁ ਸਭਿ ਕਹਹਿ ਤਹਾ ਹੀ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਕਹਨ ਕਹਾਵਨ ਨਹ ਪਤੀਅਈ ਹੈ ॥ ਤਉ ਮਨੁ ਮਾਨੈ ਜਾ ਤੇ ਹਉਮੈ ਜਈ ਹੈ ॥੨॥: There are people who say they know the Infinite (Universal Energy) which is beyond the reach of the mind; they think that as if they have reached heaven by talking alone (ਨਿਰੀਆਂ ਗੱਪਾ – useless talk etc.). No one knows where heaven is; but everyone talks of going there! ||1|| Pause || (The mind) cannot be pleased simply by someone saying or claiming something; this can happen only if false ego-sense (Haumai) leaves the mind, (this way, the mind) is satisfied. ||2|| (sggs 325).
Heavenly state is an integrated consciousness of universal oneness or sameness – a state of the mind beyond duality (Doojaa Bhaav).
- ਖਸਮੁ ਪਛਾਨਿ ਤਰਸ ਕਰਿ ਜੀਅ ਮਹਿ ਮਾਰਿ ਮਣੀ ਕਰਿ ਫੀਕੀ ॥ ਆਪੁ ਜਨਾਇ ਅਵਰ ਕਉ ਜਾਨੈ ਤਬ ਹੋਇ ਭਿਸਤ ਸਰੀਕੀ ॥੪॥: (O Qazi), recognize (same One) Rabb in all and have compassion in mind, kill false ego-sense and render it insipid. When a person makes himself aware – that Rabb is within – and understands others like himself, then that person becomes a partner of heaven (i.e. he lives a heavenly life here and now, NOT after death – a state beyond duality). ||4|| (sggs 480).
Clergy’s (Pujaaree) concocted imaginary ‘Hell’
Clearly, the heaven (ਸਵਰਗ, ਦਰਗਹ, ਬਹਿਸ਼ਤ, paradise, Sukh Saagar…) is when we are connected with the Gur-Giaan (Gur-Shabad, Naam, Wisdom, Virtues, Truth…) Here and Now, Not After Death.
To the contrary, if we are disconnected from the Gur-Giaan (Wisdom…) then we are in hell (Bhav Saagar, unwise, ਨਰਕ, ਦੋਜਕ, ਬੇਅਕਲ…) Here and Now, Not After Death.
Man’s false ego-sense or depraved mind gives rise to doubt (Bharam), fear and worry and keeps him unaware of his True Nature (Jot Saroop).
The role of egoistic mind in the play, therefore, is to keep the person in the dark (ignorance or Avidiya) and in the past. As revealed in the Gurbani, man’s this egoity is responsible for his repeated suffering. Owing to our lower or animal consciousness, the suffering resulting from this vicious cycle of repeated pain and delusion has been termed as ‘hell’.
- ਹਉ ਵਿਚਿ ਪਾਪ ਪੁੰਨ ਵੀਚਾਰੁ ॥ ਹਉ ਵਿਚਿ ਨਰਕਿ ਸੁਰਗਿ ਅਵਤਾਰੁ ॥: In Haumai or false ego-sense (i.e., as long as one is in the illusion of his existence separate from his Mool or Jot Saroop, until then) he considers Paap and Punn (i.e., counting or Ginatee-ਗਿਣਤੀ). (Similarly) In Haumai existence of heaven and hell. (sggs 466).
- ਹੁਕਮੁ ਭਇਆ ਚਲਣਾ ਕਿਉ ਰਹੀਐ ॥ ਨਰਕ ਕੂਪ ਮਹਿ ਗੋਤੇ ਖਾਵੈ ਜਿਉ ਜਲ ਤੇ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਮੀਨਾ ਹੇ ॥੮॥ ਚਉਰਾਸੀਹ ਨਰਕ ਸਾਕਤੁ ਭੋਗਾਈਐ ॥ ਜੈਸਾ ਕੀਚੈ ਤੈਸੋ ਪਾਈਐ ॥ : According to the Hukam (System-Rule-Law of Nature, ਨਿਯਮ), one has to depart from here, then he cannot stay here at all. (Disconnected from Truth, one) plunges into the well of hell (Here and Now) and suffers like a fish (upon disconnecting from water). A ‘Saakat‘ (hence, a person disconnected from Truth) suffers hell of ‘Chaouraasee‘ (at the level of the mind, Here and Now). (Hukam or the System-Rule-Law of Nature is such that) one reaps the fruits of one’s deeds (Here and Now). ||8|| (sggs 1028).
- This ego is hell, and hell is a dragon not diminished by oceans of water. It drinks down the seven seas, yet the heat of that man-burner does not become less. It makes a morsel out of a world and gulps it down. Its belly keeps shouting: Is there any more? (Rumi).
Thus, it’s our our false ego-sense (Haume) begets hell for us, not any outside agency.
Since we are the product of our own false ego-sense, the hell or heaven is nothing but a state of our conditioned mind.
To say it otherwise, on the Mayaic plane, we relive many experiences by reactivating our Vaasnaas, creating for ourselves hells or heavens. This process continues as long as we keep performing Mayaic efforts in our polarized awareness. After we evolve to the point that our life has become one of Understanding (ਸੂਝ, ਸਮਝ, Aatam-Giaan). Then our mind revert back to its True Nature (Jot Saroop) within, where there is no duality – hells or heavens, pain or pleasure, likes or dislikes etc.
What is it that leads us to enter hellish life here and now? It is our lower or animal nature (Dushat Sabhaa). Our false ego-sense begets lust. If this lust becomes fulfilled, it breeds greed. On the other hand, if this lust remains unfulfilled, it manifests into anger. These perverted off springs of ego-sense are said to be the doorways through which man enters hellish life or Spiritual oblivion, here and now. Simply put: hellish life is nothing but degradation of our mind.
- ਹਉ ਵਿਚਿ ਸਚਿਆਰੁ ਕੂੜਿਆਰੁ ਹਉ ਵਿਚਿ ਪਾਪ ਪੁੰਨ ਵੀਚਾਰੁ ॥ ਹਉ ਵਿਚਿ ਨਰਕਿ ਸੁਰਗਿ ਅਵਤਾਰੁ ॥: The mortal acts as truthful or false (untruthful), it is all with Haumai or false ego-sense. The mortal thinks of Paap Punn in Haumai or false ego-sense. The mortal becomes inhabitant of heaven or hell in Haumai or false ego-sense (here and now). (sggs 466).
- ਹੇ ਕਾਮੰ ਨਰਕ ਬਿਸ੍ਰਾਮੰ ਬਹੁ ਜੋਨੀ ਭ੍ਰਮਾਵਣਹ ॥: O lust (i.e. Bikaar), you lead the mortals to hellish existence and repeated suffering. (sggs 1358).
- ਨਿੰਦਾ ਕਰਿ ਕਰਿ ਨਰਕ ਨਿਵਾਸੀ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਆਤਮ ਜਾਪੈ ॥: Slandering others, (a Manmukh) knows within his soul that he is living a hellish life. (sggs 1013).
- ਜਿਸ ਕੈ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਰਾਜ ਅਭਿਮਾਨੁ ॥ ਸੋ ਨਰਕਪਾਤੀ ਹੋਵਤ ਸੁਆਨੁ ॥: One who has the pride of ‘Raj‘ within (to rule, contro or, dominate others etc.), (he is a dog and) that dog becomes vested in hellish existence (Here and Now). (sggs 278).
Therefore, the term such as ‘being consigned to hell’ simply indicates dealing with the effects of our own deeds (ਕਰਤੂਤਾਂ), here and now.
- ਮਾਇਆ ਮਗਨੁ ਨਰਕਿ ਲੈ ਜਾਈ ॥: The intoxication of Maya leads man to hellish existence (sggs 196).
As hell is nothing but our inner garbage or corruption, similarly heaven is none other then liberation (Mukti) from this inner pollution. The duration and intensity of one’s heavenly experience (or higher state of consciousness) depends upon the degree of his inner Purity (Wisdom, Virtues, Aatam Giaan…).
In other words, if we are living under the negative impact of lust, anger, greed, attachment, pride, jealousy, slandering, dishonesty, falsehood, false ego-sense (Haumai), Mayaic consciousness, doubt (Bharam-ਭਰਮ), misapprehension, confusion, delusion etc. then the Gurbani tells us we are already living in horrible hell HERE AND NOW (i.e. suffering, Dukh-ਦੁੱਖ)!
For example, a person who is living a lifestyle of a Manmukh-Saakat-Mayadhaaree is already living in hell of Bikaar (lust, anger, greed, etc.), here and now.
- ਜਿਤਨੇ ਨਰਕ ਸੇ ਮਨਮੁਖਿ ਭੋਗੈ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਲੇਪੁ ਨ ਮਾਸਾ ਹੇ ॥੧੨॥: The Manmukh undergoes hellish existence (i.e. sufferings); the Gurmukh is not even touched by them. ||12|| (sggs 1073).
- ਜਿਸ ਨੋ ਬਿਸਰੈ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਬਿਧਾਤਾ ॥ ਜਲਤਾ ਫਿਰੈ ਰਹੈ ਨਿਤ ਤਾਤਾ ॥ ਅਕਿਰਤਘਣੈ ਕਉ ਰਖੈ ਨ ਕੋਈ ਨਰਕ ਘੋਰ ਮਹਿ ਪਾਵਣਾ ॥੭॥: By whom the all-pervasive Creator (Universal Energy) is forgotten, that person ever remains in distress and suffering. No one can protect this ungrateful (selfish, ਨਾ-ਸ਼ੁਕਰਾ) person from being in horrible hellish condition. ||7|| (sggs 1086).
- ਕਪੜੁ ਰੂਪੁ ਸੁਹਾਵਣਾ ਛਡਿ ਦੁਨੀਆ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਜਾਵਣਾ ॥ ਮੰਦਾ ਚੰਗਾ ਆਪਣਾ ਆਪੇ ਹੀ ਕੀਤਾ ਪਾਵਣਾ ॥ ਹੁਕਮ ਕੀਏ ਮਨਿ ਭਾਵਦੇ ਰਾਹਿ ਭੀੜੈ ਅਗੈ ਜਾਵਣਾ ॥ ਨੰਗਾ ਦੋਜਕਿ ਚਾਲਿਆ ਤਾ ਦਿਸੈ ਖਰਾ ਡਰਾਵਣਾ ॥ ਕਰਿ ਅਉਗਣ ਪਛੋਤਾਵਣਾ ॥੧੪॥: The outer body (‘Kapparh‘) and the subtle Inner body (‘Roop‘), both can become charming or beautiful if you give up worldly ways (corrupt ways and thinking) and GO WITHIN (join the Giaan-Guru or ‘Dhur ki Bani‘ WITHIN). Each person gets the fruit of his / her own good and bad deeds. One may follow his own mind’s dictates or commands (ਅਪਣੀ ਮਰਜੀ, ਅਪਣੀ ਇਛਾ, ਮੰਨਮਾਨੀ ਕਰਨਾਂ…), but this would make his future life difficult (i.e. he would pay for his transgressions etc.). The wrongdoer is exposed of his bad deeds or transgressions, (thus, at the level of his mind) he falls into hellish existence (Here and Now – as punishment of his own wrongdoing) and at that time he looks very awful. By committing transgressions one regrets in the end. ॥14॥ (sggs 470-471).
Hell or heaven – a state of the mind, here and now
Simply put, heaven is higher Spiritual state of consciousness, and hell is a lower state of consciousness. To say it otherwise, the enlightened mind is its own heaven whereas the unenlightened mind is its own hell.
Therefore, hell and heaven are within, Here and Now. They are not at some ‘other time’ or ‘other place’. Neither they are after death phenomena; for they are not post-mortem states!
In other words, there is no futuristic and otherworldly hell or heaven ‘up there’ which is not within all of us here and now. If we can understand the hidden symbolism in these terms, only then we can appreciate their inner meanings. However, unfortunately, majority of us get stuck to symbols only!
In short, hell is a mental state of ‘pain’ or ‘anxiety’, which is not permanent. Similarly, heaven is a mental state of ‘no pain’ or ‘no anxiety’. This mental state is also not permanent. Because once the experience is over, the experiencer falls down to earthly or material consciousness (Mayaic Mandal). The famous analogy of deep-sleep can help us understand the condition of this type of temporary joy. In deep-sleep, this type of condition of temporary joy is experienced by us when we are in our causal body, and we have therein the state beyond ‘pain’ or ‘anxiety’. Upon our waking up from deep-sleep, our externalized mind (false ego-sense) takes over and we come back to square one.
That’s why the Gurbani declares that it’s the false ego-sense in which the hell and heaven are experienced.
So many (‘ਘਣੋ’-numerous, gross, large number) of us in this world who are sunk (drowned, absorbed-‘ਬੂਡਤ’) in this horrible hell (‘ਮਹਾ ਨਰਕ’) of attachment and doubt (‘ਮੋਹ ਭਰਮ’) are its dwellers (ਵਾਸੀ).
- ਮੋਹ ਭਰਮ ਬੂਡਤ ਘਣੋ ਮਹਾ ਨਰਕ ਮਹਿ ਵਾਸ ॥: Many are drowned in attachment (i.e. Bikaar) and doubt; this is dwelling in the most horrible hell (of suffering, Here and Now). (sggs 297).
- ਤ੍ਰਿਤੀਆ ਤ੍ਰੈ ਗੁਣ ਬਿਖੈ ਫਲ ਕਬ ਉਤਮ ਕਬ ਨੀਚੁ ॥ ਨਰਕ ਸੁਰਗ ਭ੍ਰਮਤਉ ਘਣੋ ਸਦਾ ਸੰਘਾਰੈ ਮੀਚੁ ॥: ‘Tritia‘ (i.e. third lunar day): Under the influence of the three attributes of Maya, the living beings get only the poisonous fruits (of Bikaar), sometimes some (for a while) enjoy a good state (i.e. heavenize state), sometimes they fall into a low state (i.e. hellish state). Creatures (thus) keep on wandering in hell and heaven (Dukh and Sukh or suffering and happiness), and the fear of death is always the cause of their spiritual death. (sggs 297).
Hence, there are many people walking on this earth this very moment who are living in heaven, and there are those who are living in hellish state as well.
- ਆਪਸ ਕਉ ਦੀਰਘੁ ਕਰਿ ਜਾਨੈ ਅਉਰਨ ਕਉ ਲਗ ਮਾਤ ॥ ਮਨਸਾ ਬਾਚਾ ਕਰਮਨਾ ਮੈ ਦੇਖੇ ਦੋਜਕ ਜਾਤ ॥: You believe that you yourself are great, and that others are of no consequence. Those who are false in thought, word and deed, I have seen them resorting to hellish existence (here and now). (sggs 1105).
Clearly, the Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS asserts it’s not necessary for a Sikh to wait until end of life to become aware of the results of his life. It’s a matter of changing the thinking (Soch-ਸੋਚ), habits, and actions — inner transformation.
In other words, the darkness or ‘Dhundh-ਧੁੰਧ’ of ignorance is like ghost. The Gurbani says the body that has become ghost-cage suffers all sorts of afflictions and thus putrefies in hellish existence here and now.
- ਪ੍ਰੇਤ ਪਿੰਜਰ ਮਹਿ ਦੂਖ ਘਨੇਰੇ ॥ ਨਰਕਿ ਪਚਹਿ ਅਗਿਆਨ ਅੰਧੇਰੇ ॥: (The ignorant beings are like) ghost. (For them, their body is like) ghost-cage and suffer all sorts of afflictions. (Thus these) spiritually blind ignorant beings putrefy in hellish existence (Here and Now). (sggs 1029).
As the Gurbani asserts, one thing seems to be crystal clear: The meaning of ‘Hell’ and ‘Heaven’ we often hear from our respective priest-class (Bhais, Raagees, Parchaarak, Deraa-Vaad, Pundits, Maulvis, Paadrees, Rabbis etc.) is not the true meaning of these terms!
Our mind is the hub, a vast ocean with infinite variety of creations or thought-forms (ideas, notions, fancies, thoughts-stuff). It is by firmly restraining that hub through intense Shabad-Vichaar that the whole wheel of illusion is brought to standstill. When the deluded mind is healed realizing its True Nature as Jot Saroop, the jugglery of imaginations (ਫੁਰਨੇ) is also healed.
In a nutshell, the hell is the life dictated by the Mayaic mind, the life dictated by ignorance (ਅਗਿਆਨਤਾ), the life devoid of the Naam (Shabad, Hukam, Wisdom, Virtues etc.), etc. So, according to the Gurbani, to avoid the hellish life or existence is to make self-efforts (Shabad-Vichaar…), and switch from the Manmukh-Saakat-Mayadhaaree lifestyle to the Gurmukh Lifestyle.
- ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਹੋਵੈ ਸੁ ਕਾਇਆ ਖੋਜੈ ਹੋਰ ਸਭ ਭਰਮਿ ਭੁਲਾਈ ॥: One who becomes Gurmukh searches within his body; all others just wander around in confusion (sggs 754).
- ਕਵਨ ਸੁ ਮੁਕਤੀ ਕਵਨ ਸੁ ਨਰਕਾ ॥ … ਹੁਕਮੇ ਮੁਕਤੀ ਹੁਕਮੇ ਨਰਕਾ ॥: (Outside of Your divine Hukam: System-Rule-Law of Nature) there is no liberation and no hell. … In (obeying) the divine Hukam (one finds) liberation, in (denying) the divine Hukam (one finds) hell (Here and Now). (sggs 1081).
- ਨਾਮੁ ਬਿਸਾਰਿ ਚਲਹਿ ਅਨ ਮਾਰਗਿ ਨਰਕ ਘੋਰ ਮਹਿ ਪਾਹਿ ॥: Forgetting the Naam (Wisdom…), those who treads an another path (Maya etc.), remain in horrible hellish existence (Here and Now). (sggs 1225).
Thank you Bhai Sahib Charanjit Singh Ji for your reply. Also, Thank you for the quotation. Welcome to Gurbani Blog.
ਇੰਦ੍ਰ ਪੁਰੀ ਮਹਿ ਸਰਪਰ ਮਰਣਾ ॥ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਪੁਰੀ ਨਿਹਚਲੁ ਨਹੀ ਰਹਣਾ ॥ ਸਿਵ ਪੁਰੀ ਕਾ ਹੋਇਗਾ ਕਾਲਾ ॥ : Indr puree mahi sarpar maranaa… (sggs 237).
Thank you brother. Welcome to the Gurbani Blog.
I think this will make some of your points clearer…