It’s the Mind that Needs to Become a Sikh

The Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) addresses the human mind. It is easy to make the physical body-frame ‘Sikh‘. But, it is extremely difficult to make the mind ‘Sikh‘! Bhagat Freed Ji explains why:

  • ਸਰਵਰ ਪੰਖੀ ਹੇਕੜੋ ਫਾਹੀਵਾਲ ਪਚਾਸ ॥ ਇਹੁ ਤਨੁ ਲਹਰੀ ਗਡੁ ਥਿਆ ਸਚੇ ਤੇਰੀ ਆਸ ॥੧੨੫॥ : This (world) is like a pond, the bird (Jeeva / living being) in this pond is all alone; (however) the trappers (i.e. vices/Bikaar) in this pond are fifty (i.e. numerous). This body (of mine) is caught in the waves (of vices/Bikaar in this world-pond). O Creator! (To avoid these vices/Bikaar) my only hope is You (i.e. Naam: divine Wisdom / Virtues). ||125|| (sggs 1384).

Sidhs (Yogis) asked Baabaa Nanak to discourse on:

  • ਤੇਰਾ ਕਵਣੁ ਗੁਰੂ ਜਿਸ ਕਾ ਤੂ ਚੇਲਾ॥: Who is your Guru (i.e. what’s the Source of your Enlightenment or Wisdom) that you adhere to? (sggs 942).

Baabaa Nanak’s reply:

  • ਸਬਦੁ ਗੁਰੂ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਧੁਨਿ ਚੇਲਾ ॥: My Guru (i.e. the Source of my Enlightenment or Giaan-ਗਿਆਨ) is the Shabad, I adhere to its Instructions (Message, Advice, Guidance etc.) Within (sggs 943).

That being said, according to Babaa Nanak, physical body is neither a Guru nor a Sikh! Therefore, according to Babaa Nanak, becoming Sikh of the body does not make Sikh. Being a Sikh from Conscience (Surat – ਸੁਰਤ) is the real Sikhi.

Hence Baabaa Nanak gave Unique insight by declaring the COMBINATION OF SHABAD AND SURAT AS SIKHI.

In this way, the Shabad is considered as the Guru, and Baabaa Nanak taught man to live according to it.

The mind that Internalizes the Guru’s Shabad (Upadesh-Message), the mind that becomes a sincere learner (i.e. Sikh) of the SGGS, the mind that sincerely and willingly takes its wisdom, the mind that is dedicated to GurmatSoch‘ (thinking-ਸੋਚ), and the mind that lives daily life accordingly, is a Sikh.

In short, a Sikh is one who lives by the teachings enshrined in Sri Guru Granth Sahib that embodies the philosophy of Guru Nanak. In short, Sikhi is a Way of life and has to be earned (Kamauni-ਕਮਾਉਣੀ), in real life (practice-ਅਮਲ).

The bottom line is it’s the mind that has to do the Simran (remembering…).

  • ਸਿਮਰਿ ਮਨਾ ਪੂਰੇ ਗੁਰ ਮੰਤਾ ॥੨॥ : O my MIND, remember the Creator through the Guidance (Instruction, Teachings) of the Perfect Guru. ||2||(sggs 184).
  • ਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਬਚਨੁ ਬਸੈ ਜੀਅ ਨਾਲੇ ॥ ਜਲਿ ਨਹੀ ਡੂਬੈ ਤਸਕਰੁ ਨਹੀ ਲੇਵੈ ਭਾਹਿ ਨ ਸਾਕੈ ਜਾਲੇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ : Guru’s teaching (Sabad) is stored in Consciousness (Jio). Water can’t drown it, fire can’t burn it, nor can thieves steal it. ||1||Pause|| (sggs 679).

That being said — regardless of one’s religion, family of birth, nationality etc. — anybody can choose to take the Wisdom of the SGGS and become a Sikh! It is so the spirituality of the Gurbani is meant for the WHOLE of humanity throughout time – Sarab Saanjhee (ਸਰਬ ਸਾਂਝੀ ਬਾਣੀ). Consider the following Shabad which provides a clear definition of ‘Sikh‘:

  • ਜੇ ਕੋ ਸਿਖੁ ਗੁਰੂ ਸੇਤੀ ਸਨਮੁਖੁ ਹੋਵੈ ॥ ਹੋਵੈ ਤ ਸਨਮੁਖੁ ਸਿਖੁ ਕੋਈ ਜੀਅਹੁ ਰਹੈ ਗੁਰ ਨਾਲੇ ॥ ਗੁਰ ਕੇ ਚਰਨ ਹਿਰਦੈ ਧਿਆਏ ਅੰਤਰ ਆਤਮੈ ਸਮਾਲੇ ॥ ਆਪੁ ਛਡਿ ਸਦਾ ਰਹੈ ਪਰਣੈ ਗੁਰ ਬਿਨੁ ਅਵਰੁ ਨ ਜਾਣੈ ਕੋਏ ॥ ਕਹੈ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਸੁਣਹੁ ਸੰਤਹੁ ਸੋ ਸਿਖੁ ਸਨਮੁਖੁ ਹੋਏ ॥੨੧॥: If any ‘Sikh’ (learner-ਸਿਖਿਆਰਥੀ of the SGGS) wants to turn to the Guru (Shabad). That Sikh must be with the Guru (Shabad) from the mind (Surat-Conscience), only then he/she can Internalize the spiritual Message of the Guru (Shabad). He/she should contemplate on the Guru’s spiritual Instructions (Guru’s Charan) and submit to the Guru’s Instructions keeping them in mind (Surat-Conscience) – and acting on them. Renouncing self-conceit, he/she always depends on the Guru (Shabad), and does not consider anyone else except the Guru as spiritual Guide. Nanak says, listen, O seekers: such a ‘Sikh‘ has his/her mind always connected to the Guru (ShabadGiaan-Wisdom). ||21|| (sggs 919).

Hence, according to the Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS, one’s Surat (ਸੁਰਤ-consciousness, mind, Soch-ਸੋਚ) has to become a Sikh. Because, it’s the mind (not the physical body-frame) that needs to Awaken from sleep paralysis — slumbering mind attached to Maya.

  • ਜਨੁ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਬੋਲੈ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਬਾਣੀ ॥ ਗੁਰਸਿਖਾਂ ਕੈ ਮਨਿ ਪਿਆਰੀ ਭਾਣੀ ॥: Daas Nanak speaks the Amrit Bani. (Giaan or Wisdom of this Bani) is dear and pleasing to the minds of the GurSikhs (sggs 96).
  • ਸੇਵਕ ਸਿਖ ਪੂਜਣ ਸਭਿ ਆਵਹਿ ਸਭਿ ਗਾਵਹਿ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਊਤਮ ਬਾਨੀ ॥ ਗਾਵਿਆ ਸੁਣਿਆ ਤਿਨ ਕਾ ਹਰਿ ਥਾਇ ਪਾਵੈ ਜਿਨ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਆਗਿਆ ਸਤਿ ਸਤਿ ਕਰਿ ਮਾਨੀ ॥੧॥ : (Those who call themselves Guru’s) Sevak and Sikhs come and perform Poojaa and sing the Bani. But God accepts the singing and listening of those people who who have acted upon the (Giaan-Wisdom) of the Satguru knowing it true. ||1|| (sggs 669).

In a nutshell, it’s the mind that needs to become a Sikh (learner – ਸਿਖਿਆਰਥੀ) through the Spiritual Wisdom of the SGGS. In other words, you cannot imprint ‘Sikh‘ on the newborn! One has to become a ‘Sikh‘ by Internalizing the Message of the Shabad.

  • ਗੁਰ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਜੋ ਸਿਖੁ ਅਖਾਏ ਸੁ ਭਲਕੇ ਉਠਿ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਵੈ ॥ ਉਦਮੁ ਕਰੇ ਭਲਕੇ ਪਰਭਾਤੀ ਇਸਨਾਨੁ ਕਰੇ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਸਰਿ ਨਾਵੈ ॥ ਉਪਦੇਸਿ ਗੁਰੂ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਜਪੁ ਜਾਪੈ ਸਭਿ ਕਿਲਵਿਖ ਪਾਪ ਦੋਖ ਲਹਿ ਜਾਵੈ ॥ ਫਿਰਿ ਚੜੈ ਦਿਵਸੁ ਗੁਰਬਾਣੀ ਗਾਵੈ ਬਹਦਿਆ ਉਠਦਿਆ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਵੈ ॥ ਜੋ ਸਾਸਿ ਗਿਰਾਸਿ ਧਿਆਏ ਮੇਰਾ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਸੋ ਗੁਰਸਿਖੁ ਗੁਰੂ ਮਨਿ ਭਾਵੈ ॥ ਜਿਸ ਨੋ ਦਇਆਲੁ ਹੋਵੈ ਮੇਰਾ ਸੁਆਮੀ ਤਿਸੁ ਗੁਰਸਿਖ ਗੁਰੂ ਉਪਦੇਸੁ ਸੁਣਾਵੈ ॥ ਜਨੁ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਧੂੜਿ ਮੰਗੈ ਤਿਸੁ ਗੁਰਸਿਖ ਕੀ ਜੋ ਆਪਿ ਜਪੈ ਅਵਰਹ ਨਾਮੁ ਜਪਾਵੈ ॥੨॥ : A Sikh of the Satgur (Spiritual Wisdom of the Shabad: SGGS), starts early in life (i.e. here and now) to enduringly Awakens towards internalizing the divine Naam (Giaan-Wisdom / Virtues). (A Sikh of the spiritual Messages of the Shabad) puts forth self-efforts early on in life and cleanse the mind of vices in the pool of Amrit (-Naam). The Shabad Guides in eliminating the anguish of my vices towards becoming realized of the Omnipresent Creator within. Spiritual Life then dawns with the internalization of Gurbani (SGGS) and the inculcation of Divine Naam Permanently. The Sikh who considers the inculcation of the Omnipresent Creator as the Source and Sustenance of Spiritual Life accepts the Messages of the Shabad Guru Within the Mind. The one who is graced by my Creator Master is the Sikh of the Shabad’s spiritual Message; and who brings one’s Self to internalize the Guidance of the Shabad. Nanak, my devotion is humbled by the Sikh of the Shabad’s spiritual Message who realizes the Self and brings about realization of the Creator within the Self.  ||2|| (sggs 305).

In other words, the Advice or Wisdom of the Guru’s Shabad must reflect in the Sikh’s daily life. There was no difference in the kathani and karni of the Gurus and they did not expect anything less from their Sikhs.

Aptly, the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) reminds us that a person born of a Brahmin mother is not a Brahmin. One has to BECOME a Brahmin. Bhagat Kabeer Jee reminds us:

  • ਜੌ ਤੂੰ ਬ੍ਰਾਹਮਣੁ ਬ੍ਰਹਮਣੀ ਜਾਇਆ ॥ ਤਉ ਆਨ ਬਾਟ ਕਾਹੇ ਨਹੀ ਆਇਆ ॥੨॥ : If you are indeed a Brahmin, born of a Brahmin mother, then why didn’t you come by some other way? ||2|| (sggs 324).

Similarly – applying that logic of the SGGS – a person born from the womb of a Sikh mother is not a Sikh. One has to BECOME a Sikh by Internalizing the Message of the Shabad (Enlightenment) and Realizing the ONE Creator within (‘Karta Purukh‘)!

Also, the Gurbani talks about the present (NOW), not after death of the physical body. Being the mirror for the mind, the Gurbani Awakens our minds.

As medicine is for the alive people not for dead, similarly the Wisdom of the Gurbani is for the minds of the living people, not for animals, stones, or dead people.

It’s the mind that has been shut up and confined, as a chick in an eggshell of doubt by the self serving Pujaaree (clergy: Granthis, Parcharaks, Ragis, Dhadees etc.) and the freeloading Deraa-Vaad Baabaas (ਵੇਹਲੜ) etc.

Therefore, the mind must get pierced through by the Wisdom of the Gur-Shabad (‘ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦੀ ਮਨੁ ਬੇਧਿਆ’) — the mind needs to thoroughly understand it, digest it, and then infallibly live it in daily life (Gurmukh Mindset). Thus, clearly:

  • Sikhi => The Way of life based on the Divine Wisdom of the SGGS.
  • A Sikh => A Learner.
  • ‘Sikh’ or ‘Seekh’ of the Gur also mean Gur-Counsel, Gur-Wisdom., Gur-Giaan, etc.

The SGGS further clarifies as follows:

  • ਸੋ ਸਿਖੁ ਸਖਾ ਬੰਧਪੁ ਹੈ ਭਾਈ ਜਿ ਗੁਰ ਕੇ ਭਾਣੇ ਵਿਚਿ ਆਵੈ ॥: O Mind! He alone is a Sikh, a friend, and a relative, who walks in the Way of the Guru’s Bhaanaa (Gurmat, Shabad, Upadesh, Giaan-Wisdom). (sggs 601).
  • ਗੁਰ ਉਪਦੇਸਿ ਜਵਾਹਰ ਮਾਣਕ ਸੇਵੇ ਸਿਖੁ ਸੋੁ ਖੋਜਿ ਲਹੈ ॥੧॥: The Gur-Upadesh (i.e., Gur-Giaan or Wisdom) are the Gems and Jewels; a Sikh who serves (through the Shabad-Vichaar) searches and finds them. ||1|| (sggs 1328).
  • ਮੇਰੇ ਮਨ ਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਸਿਖ ਸੁਣੀਜੈ ॥: O MY MIND! Listen to the Gur-Counsel (Wisdom, Giaan…). (sggs 1334).
  • ਸਿਖੀ ਸਿਖਿਆ ਗੁਰ ਵੀਚਾਰਿ ॥: Sikhi sikhiaa gur veechaari (sggs 465).
  • ਜੋ ਤੁਧੁ ਭਾਵੈ ਸਾਈ ਭਲੀ ਕਾਰ ॥ ਤੂ ਸਦਾ ਸਲਾਮਤਿ ਨਿਰੰਕਾਰ ॥੧੬॥ : I accept all that You Command (me from within my Conscience). (Because) Your Eternal Formless Self is the Sustainer of my Conscience. ॥16॥ (sggs 3).

Since it’s the mind that must become a Sikh, hence it’s the mind that needs to become Pure and Truthful. A gross body can only be washed clean of dirt, BUT cannot become Pure or Truthful!

  • ਮਨਿ ਮੈਲੈ ਸਭੁ ਕਿਛੁ ਮੈਲਾ ਤਨਿ ਧੋਤੈ ਮਨੁ ਹਛਾ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥: When the mind is filthy, everything is filthy; by washing the body, the mind is not cleaned (sggs 558).

However, the Gurbani says such Sikh is very RARE who conquers the mind and realizes this Truth.

In nutshell, a ‘Sikh‘ being a ‘learner (ਸਿਖਿਆਰਥੀ’) is not bound by ideology — dogmas, complex and antagonistic adherents, religious parapgernalia or robes, useless Karamkaand or rituals, concocted stories (ਮੰਨ-ਘੜੰਤ ਸਾਖੀਆਂ) by the Pujaare groups or the Pujaaree system that have no place in Gurmat.

Bottom line is that the mind must become the Sikh.

Rest is mere business (ਧੰਧਾ) in the name of Gurus, Gurbani and Sikhi (‘ਬਿਉਹਾਰੀ-Biouhaaree‘. Baabaa Nanak confirms it as follows:

  • ਕੋਟਿ ਮਧੇ ਕੋ ਵਿਰਲਾ ਸੇਵਕੁ ਹੋਰਿ ਸਗਲੇ ਬਿਉਹਾਰੀ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Out of millions, hardly anyone is (Your attendant) ‘Sewak’. All others are mere traders (selfish, i.e., their religiosity is only for show off or business). ||1||Pause|| (sggs 495).

However what’s happening is to the contrary — we use the Gurbani or SGGS as a business! Implication is this: If the mind (Soch-ਸੋਚ, thinking) remains Un-Sikh, then everything else is of no avail. Because — according to the Gurbani — without the Divine Knowledge one’s mind stands plundered.

The Gurbani asserts that one who has truly become a Sikh, that ‘rareSikh constantly bathes the mind in the immaculate pool of the Spiritual Wisdom, within.

To put it otherwise, the SGGS teaches the the genuine Sikhs are those who have understood to live Sikhi by learning it through the Gur-Vichaar (through reflecting on the Gur-Giaan, Wisdom of the Gurbani…).

  • ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਸਿਖ ਕਉ ਨਾਮ ਧਨੁ ਦੇਇ ॥: Satiguru gives the Wealth of Naam (Giaan or Wisdom) to his Sikh (sggs 286).

Only such GurSikhs can solve the Riddle!

Sikhi is Giaan-Maarag (the Way of Wisdom)

SGGS is the Giaan-Guru or the Bibek-Guru – ਗਿਆਨ, ਬਿਬੇਕ or Wisdom).

  • ਕਹੁ ਕਬੀਰ ਮੈ ਸੋ ਗੁਰੁ ਪਾਇਆ ਜਾ ਕਾ ਨਾਉ ਬਿਬੇਕੋੁ ॥੪॥੫॥: Says Kabeer, I have found that Guru, whose Name is ‘Bibek(u)’ (Wisdom, Discerning Intelligence…). ||4||5|| (sggs 793).
  • ਗੁਰੁ ਮੇਰਾ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਗੁਰੁ ਰਿਦੈ ਧਿਆਨੁ ॥: Guru is my Giaan (Knowledge or Wisdom…), the Guru is (ever) within my Heart; this is my meditation (Dhiaan, Reflection, contemplation …). (sggs 864).

Therefore the SGGS is the Source or Means of Giaan (Wisdom), NOT the source of business or ‘Golak‘ (ਧੰਧਾ) in the name of Dharma and SGGS.

That being said, for a real Sikh, Gurmat is the Giaan Teerath (ਗਿਆਨ ਤੀਰਥ)!

In other words, Shabad-Vichaar is the pilgrimage in Sikhi (Gurmukh Mindset).

  • ਗੁਰ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਸਾਚਾ ਥਾਨੁ ਤੀਰਥੁ ਦਸ ਪੁਰਬ ਸਦਾ ਦਸਾਹਰਾ ॥: The Gur-Wisdom is Eternal sacred shrine of pilgrimage (for me, which is equal to) the congregation of ten (Holy days or festivals for me). (sggs 687).

However, the Wisdom Gurbani talks about differs from the ordinary knowledge of the relation of subject and object. It’s the absolute Knowledge. Hence, the Divine Knowledge the Gurbani talks about does not consists in knowing objects — knowing objects is relative knowledge.

The Gurbani (SGGS) asks its Sikhs to bathe or take a dip in the water or pond (Sarover) of the Giaan-Wisdom Teerath.

  • ਤੀਰਥਿ ਨਾਵਣ ਜਾਉ ਤੀਰਥੁ ਨਾਮੁ ਹੈ ॥ ਤੀਰਥੁ ਸਬਦ ਬੀਚਾਰੁ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਹੈ ॥: I (too) go to bathe at the Teerath (place of pilgrimage); but for me Naam (Giaan, Wisdom, Virtues…) is the Teerath. To Reflect on the Shabad (Shabad Vichaar…) is the Teerath, (because of this) Wisdom Awakens within (sggs 687).

One is not a real Sikh if mind is still stuck in ignorance…

Absence of Giaan (Divine Wisdom) is the darkness of ignorance talked about in the Gurbani. The Gur-Wisdom is the antidote for ignorance.

  • ਗਿਆਨ ਹੀਣੰ ਅਗਿਆਨ ਪੂਜਾ ॥ ਅੰਧ ਵਰਤਾਵਾ ਭਾਉ ਦੂਜਾ ॥: Bereft of Spiritual Wisdom, (people) worship or adore ignorance. In the love of duality (in love of Maya, their) conduct or behavior (keeps them mentally blind or ignorant. (sggs 1412).

Clearly, the target in Sikhi is to dispel the darkness of ignorance with the Light of Gur-Wisdom (Gur-Giaan). In other words, after reading or listening to the Gurbani, Wisdom must spring up within. Otherwise, the Gurbani indicates there is no difference between man and animals.

  • ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਸੁਨਿ ਕਛੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਨ ਉਪਜਿਓ ਪਸੁ ਜਿਉ ਉਦਰੁ ਭਰਉ ॥: Listening to the Gurmat (Shabad-Giaan, Teaching of the Gurbani, etc.), (if) no Spiritual Wisdom (understanding of the Spiritual Life…) wells up within; (then it would be) like a beast (routinely) filling its belly (sggs 685).

The Gurbani leads us to the Light – Wisdom or Giaan.

Hence, the only way to avoid the foolish mind falling into the dark pit of ignorance is to Awaken Wisdom through churning the Gurbani.

  • ਅੰਤਰਿ ਸਬਦੁ ਮਿਟਿਆ ਅਗਿਆਨੁ ਅੰਧੇਰਾ ॥: When the Shabad abides within, the darkness of ignorance is dispelled (sggs 798).
  • ਅਗਿਆਨੁ ਅੰਧੇਰਾ ਮਿਟਿ ਗਇਆ ਗੁਰ ਚਾਨਣੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਚਰਾਗੁ ॥: The Gur-Wisdom is (akin to) the kindled lamp that dispels darkness of ignorance (from within) (sggs 849).

Ignorance gives rise to duality (Doojaa-Bhaav — the sense of tow-ness, relativist consciousness, the principle of plurality, the notion of ‘I, you, me’, love of Maya, Dubidhaa, ਮੇਰ-ਤੇਰ…

In turn, duality gives rise to Bikaar, divisions, friction, separateness, animosity, hatred, unfriendliness, madness of Jaat-Paat and so on. As soon as our mind brings in the second (Doojaa), it creates subject-object relationship.

The SGGS is the duality breaker!

Therefore, if one calls himself/herself a Sikh, then his/her duality must break. Just maintaining Bhekh (robes, religious appearance) will not do the trick.

Implication is that one can call oneself whatever you like, but one cannot be a real Sikh if duality is still alive and active in the mind. Hence. unless duality of the conditioned mind is roasted through the Wisdom of the Gur-Shabad (SGGS), the deluded mind cannot realize the non-dual Truth! This is the Gurbani’s edict (ਫੈਸਲਾ).

  • ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਸਬਦਿ ਭਾਉ ਦੂਜਾ ਜਾਏ ॥: Through the Gur-Shabad, the love of duality departs (sggs 126).

According to the Gurbani, duality gets destroyed ONLY when our Conscience becomes one with the Creator Within.

Hence Sikhi is not a part-time job — taking the physical body to Gurdwara one-hour a week or so! Instead, it’s a perpetual or Nirantar Bhagti‘, ‘Nij Bhagati

  • ਦੁਖੀ ਦੁਹਾਗਨਿ ਦੁਇ ਪਖ ਹੀਨੀ ॥ ਜਿਨਿ ਨਾਹ ਨਿਰੰਤਰਿ ਭਗਤਿ ਨ ਕੀਨੀ ॥: That Jeev remains miserable like a discarded bribe, who is NOT engaged in persistent or ‘Nirantari Bhagti-ਨਿਰੰਤਰਿ ਭਗਤਿ’). (sggs 793).

4 comments

  1. Your writing is very good. Make me think a lot. I am glad to run across the post. I have read a few. Keep up the great work.

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