Ritual bathing or physical cleansing has nothing to do with Spirituality. Physical cleansing is purely for health and hygiene reasons. We have the means and intellect to decide when to take bath or when to eat.
That being said, to bathe or eat is not part and parcel of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS). Spirituality does not go into that. Because we can decide for ourselves.
In Sikhi, there is no concept of Soch, Sucham, Suchamtaa etc. Those are concocted Brahmanical concepts which have been rejected by the Gurbani (SGGS).
Instead, the Message of the spirituality of the Shabad is to CLEANSE THE MIND by bathing it in the pool of the Giaan-Wisdom of the Guru’s Shabad.
- 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).
- ਬਾਹਰਿ ਮਲੁ ਧੋਵੈ ਮਨ ਕੀ ਜੂਠਿ ਨ ਜਾਏ ॥: Outwardly, the (hypocrite) washes off the filth, but the impurity of his mind does not go away (sggs 88).
- ਸੂਚੇ ਏਹਿ ਨ ਆਖੀਅਹਿ ਬਹਨਿ ਜਿ ਪਿੰਡਾ ਧੋਇ ॥ ਸੂਚੇ ਸੇਈ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਜਿਨ ਮਨਿ ਵਸਿਆ ਸੋਇ ॥: Such people are NOT called or considered pure who only cleanse or wash their body from outside. O Nanak! Only they are truly pure whose minds abide in Rabb (Hukam: System-Rule-Law of Nature, Truth…) — their mind and conduct become pure (i.e. free of Bikaar: lust, anger, greed etc.). (sggs 472).
The Gurbani is the mirror for the mind – it addresses human mind for Inner Cleansing, and provides Guidance for its Awakening and Spiritual Realization of the ONE Creator Here and Now!
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 dead people, animals, stones etc.
It’s the mind that has been shut up and confined, as a chick in an eggshell (of doubt, Karamkaand, ignorance, Bikaar , demerits, religious paraphernalia etc.).
- ਅਸਮਾਨ ਮ੍ਯ੍ਯਿਾਨੇ ਲਹੰਗ ਦਰੀਆ ਗੁਸਲ ਕਰਦਨ ਬੂਦ ॥: In the mind, a stream flows (i.e., the stream of Virtues, Wisdom, Amrit, Truth, Universal Energy…); take your bath in it. (sggs 727).
Hence, the Gurbani is written for the human mind that needs to change its bad habits or bad thinking (Soch-ਸੋਚ) and actions, Here and Now, not after death.
The Gurmat (Wisdom, Giaan, Upadesh or Way of the SGGS…) does not believe in the nonsense of after-death or afterlife liberation (Mukti). Instead the Gurbani (SGGS) talks about the present (NOW):
- 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).
Addressing the mind, the Gurbani asserts that the Sikhi’s or Gurmat’s Sarovar (ਸਰੋਵਰ – Pool) is within, which consists of the Wisdom (Giaan / Virtues…). The Gurbani asks the mind to Bathe in this Pool Of the Divine Wisdom.
- ਹਰਿ ਚਰਣ ਸਰੋਵਰ ਤਹ ਕਰਹੁ ਨਿਵਾਸੁ ਮਨਾ ॥ ਕਰਿ ਮਜਨੁ ਹਰਿ ਸਰੇ ਸਭਿ ਕਿਲਬਿਖ ਨਾਸੁ ਮਨਾ ॥: O my mind! The ‘Hari Charan‘ (the Divine Wisdom…) is the Sarovar (Pool); your dwelling is there. O Mind! Take your cleansing bath (in this Pool of Wisdom), and all of your defects (faults, Bikaar…) will be wiped away. (sggs 544).
- ਸਰੀਰ ਸਰੋਵਰ ਭੀਤਰੇ ਆਛੈ ਕਮਲ ਅਨੂਪ ॥: (O mind!) The Srovar (Pool) is within the body. (sggs 857).
- ਸਰੀਰਿ ਸਰੋਵਰਿ ਗੁਣ ਪਰਗਟਿ ਕੀਏ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਮਥਿ ਤਤੁ ਕਢੀਏ ॥੪॥੫॥੫੭॥: The body-Srovar (body-pool) yields Virtues. O Nanak! By becoming the Gurmukh, who churns this (body-pool through Shabad-Vichaar), discovers Knowledge (ਤੱਤ ਗਿਆਨ…). ||4||5||57|| (sggs 367).
- ਗੁਰਦੇਵ ਤੀਰਥੁ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਸਰੋਵਰੁ ਗੁਰ ਗਿਆਨ ਮਜਨੁ ਅਪਰੰਪਰਾ ॥: The Gurdev (Giaan or Wisdom) is the (true) Teerath, the ‘Sarovar’ or pool of Amrit; the bath of the Guru’s wisdom (-water) is superior (to the bath of all other pilgrimages). (sggs 262).
- ਦਸਮੀ ਨਾਮੁ ਦਾਨੁ ਇਸਨਾਨੁ ॥ ਅਨਦਿਨੁ ਮਜਨੁ ਸਚਾ ਗੁਣ ਗਿਆਨੁ ॥: To understand Naam (Wisdom…) is giving charity and taking ablution on ‘Dasamee’ (tenth day). Daily (i.e., always) bathe (mind) in Virtues and Wisdom. (sggs 840).
Thus, the Gurbani stresses on the importance and need of Internal Cleanliness and not the external one. Because, it’s the mind that must become pure and truthful — Gursikh.
As far as the gross body-frame is concerned, it can only be washed clean of dirt on the outside, BUT, by doing so it cannot become pure or Truthful!
To the contrary, the mind can NOT be washed or cleansed with water!
- ਪਾਣੀ ਚਿਤੁ ਨ ਧੋਪਈ ਮੁਖਿ ਪੀਤੈ ਤਿਖ ਜਾਇ ॥: You may drink water to quench your thirst, (but) the water cannot wash the consciousness (mind). (sggs 1240).
- ਬਾਹਰੁ ਧੋਇ ਅੰਤਰੁ ਮਨੁ ਮੈਲਾ ਦੁਇ ਠਉਰ ਅਪੁਨੇ ਖੋਏ ॥: (A Person who) washes outwardly but keeps his mind filthy (with Bikaar -lust, anger, greed, etc.); he loses both present and future. (sggs 381).
Therefore, the SGGS asserts that the Wisdom (Giaan) is the Teerath in Sikhi, and it’s the mind that needs to bathe in the Pool (Srovar) of this Teerath of Giaan-Wisdom / Virtues Within. Because, only a continuous bathing in the Wisdom (-water) of the Gur-Shabad or SGGS can lead us to Enlightenment.
- ਗਿਆਨੁ ਸ੍ਰੇਸਟ ਊਤਮ ਇਸਨਾਨੁ ॥: Supreme Giaan (Wisdom) is the best bath (of the mind). (sggs 296).
- ਪੂਰੈ ਗਿਆਨਿ ਧਿਆਨਿ ਮੈਲੁ ਚੁਕਾਇਆ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਸਰਿ ਤੀਰਥਿ ਜਾਣਿ ਮਨੂਆ ਨਾਇਆ ॥: Through the complete Giaan (Knowledge) and Reflection, (mind’s) filth is dispelled. Hari (Mool within) is the Pool (Srovar) and shrine of pilgrimage (Teerath); bathe the mind in there. (sggs 1286).
According to the Gurbani, it’s the Giaan (Spiritual Knowledge) that can purify the mind, make it truthful, and make it recognize its Mool or True Nature within (Jot Saroop). Accordingly, for a Sikh (a learner or Seeker), the Gurbani asserts that the Wisdom is the Giaan-Teerath.
Giaan (ਗਿਆਨ) = Spiritual Knowledge, Wisdom, Brahm-Giaan, Aatam-Giaan, Naam, Shabad, Hukam…
Teerath (ਤੀਰਥ) = A place or shrine of pilgrimage…
- 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). (sggs 687).
However, this Spiritual Knowledge the Gurbani talks about differs from the ordinary or relative knowledge of the relation of subject and object. It’s the Spiritual Knowledge (Tatt Giaan, Aatam Giaan, Brahm Giaan…) — the best bath for the mind. Hence, the Giaan the Gurmat talks about is NOT relative knowledge.
- ਗਿਆਨ ਰਤਨਿ ਮਨੁ ਮਾਜੀਐ ਬਹੁੜਿ ਨ ਮੈਲਾ ਹੋਇ ॥: When the mind is cleaned (scrub, polish, scour-ਸੁਧ ਜਾਂ ਸਾਫ ਕਰਨਾ…) with the Jewel of the Giaan (Gur-Giaan or Wisdom), it does not become dirty again (with Bikaar). (sggs 992).
- 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).
In nutshell, in Gurmat, Giaan Teerath = Wisdom Teerath = Naam Teerath = Shabad Teerath!
- ਸਾਚਾ ਨਾਵਣੁ ਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਸੇਵਾ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: The true cleansing bath is Guru’s Sevaa (i.e. Shabad-Vichaar — living Spiritual Life through Message of the Shabad). ||1||Pause|| (sggs 484).
- ਮਨੁ ਤਨੁ ਧੋਵਹਿ ਸਬਦਿ ਵੀਚਾਰੀ ॥: (Pure and unique Bhagti is) to wash the mind, and the body (i.e., senses: eyes, ears, etc.) with Shabad-Vichaar (sggs 1059).
- ਨਾਮੁ ਹਮਾਰੈ ਮਜਨ ਇਸਨਾਨੁ ॥: Naam is my cleansing bath and ablution (sggs 1145).
- ਭਰੀਐ ਹਥੁ ਪੈਰੁ ਤਨੁ ਦੇਹ ॥ ਪਾਣੀ ਧੋਤੈ ਉਤਰਸੁ ਖੇਹ ॥ ਮੂਤ ਪਲੀਤੀ ਕਪੜੁ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਦੇ ਸਾਬੂਣੁ ਲਈਐ ਓਹੁ ਧੋਇ ॥ ਭਰੀਐ ਮਤਿ ਪਾਪਾ ਕੈ ਸੰਗਿ ॥ ਓਹੁ ਧੋਪੈ ਨਾਵੈ ਕੈ ਰੰਗਿ ॥: Water cleanses my stained physical self (external body). Soap cleanses my stained garments. (Beyond the stained physical self or the garments) my intellect is stained by vices. The cleansing of which (i.e. intellect) is by imbuing in Naam (Hukam, Virtues, spiritual Giaan-Wisdom etc.). (sggs 4).
In other words, in Sikhi, Teerath Yaatraa is Yaatraa of the Giaan Teerath (of Gur-Shabad, ਗਿਆਨ ਤੀਰਥ) within! It’s to consciously remember the Giaan of the Gurbani’s Message (Advice, Direction, Guidance etc.) and live it (Gurmukh lifestyle).
To clarify it further, here are the Instructions of the SGGS to its Sikhs:
- ਗੁਰ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਜੋ ਸਿਖੁ ਅਖਾਏ ਸੁ ਭਲਕੇ ਉਠਿ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਵੈ ॥ ਉਦਮੁ ਕਰੇ ਭਲਕੇ ਪਰਭਾਤੀ ਇਸਨਾਨੁ ਕਰੇ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਸਰਿ ਨਾਵੈ ॥: One who calls himself a Sikh of the Satigur (Spiritual Wisdom of the Shabad: SGGS), Awakens or starts early in life contemplating on the Divine Naam (Giaan-Wisdom / Virtues). He puts forth self-efforts early on in life and he (thus) bathe his mind in the pool of Amrit (‘ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਸਰਿ’ = in the pool of Giaan Amrit…). (sggs 305).
The Gurbani connects us to the Shabad-consciousness or Naam-consciousness, NOT body-consciousness.
Hence, the Gurbani tells us that it’s the MIND that must take dip in the pool of Giaan Amrit, NOT the gross body-frame!
Clearly, in Sidhaant of the Gurmat, it’s the mind that needs to become a Sikh! For, according to the Gurbani, it’s the mind that needs to be purified or frozen, NOT the gross body-frame!!
The Gurbani shows us this can be accomplished by dipping the mind in Shabad-Vichaar — churning the Gurbani. For the Gur-Shabad is like ice (‘ਹਿਵ ਸੀਤਲੁ ਸਬਦੁ’) that cools the mind with the Spiritual Wisdom or Aatam-Giaan (Gurmat Bhagti).
- ਅੰਤਰਿ ਅਗਨਿ ਸਬਲ ਅਤਿ ਬਿਖਿਆ ਹਿਵ ਸੀਤਲੁ ਸਬਦੁ ਗੁਰ ਦੀਜੈ ॥: The powerful fire of Maya (desires, Bikaars…) is raging greatly within (Jeeva-individual beings); (O Raam!) Give (me) the ice-cold Gur-Shabad (so that the raging fire of Maya may be quenched). (sggs 1325).
Clearly, the Gurbani is the subject of inner search (‘Khoj‘, investigation, inquiry…), Reflections (Vichaar), Understanding, Realization etc. Hence, unequivocally, the Way of Sikhi or Gurbani is the Way of UNDERSTANDING (Gurmukh Lifestyle).
- ਖੋਜ ਬੂਝਿ ਜਉ ਕਰੈ ਬੀਚਾਰਾ ॥ ਤਉ ਭਵਜਲ ਤਰਤ ਨ ਲਾਵੈ ਬਾਰਾ ॥੪੦॥: When someone understand by Searching (‘Khoj‘), and engages in Vichaar (Reflection on the Divine Virtues, Wisdom…), then (he) crosses over the ‘Bhavjal‘ (Bhav Saagar or dreadful ocean of Maya, etc.) in no time. ||40|| (sggs 342).
Therefore, as butter is obtained by churning the cream or curd, similarly, by churning the Gurbani the Butter (ਮੱਖਣ, Essence…) of Naam (Naam Tatt, Wisdom, Giaan Tatt, Virtues) is obtained. In other words, the Gurbani is a riddle (‘ਮੁਦਾਵਣੀ’, ‘ਬੁਝਾਰਤ’, etc) which, by becoming the Gurmukh, needs to be understood and solved (ਬੁੱਝਣਾਂ).
- ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਮਨੁ ਨਿਰਮਲੁ ਸਤ ਸਰਿ ਨਾਵੈ ॥ Pure is the mind who has become the Gurmukh; he bathes in the Pool of Truth (sggs 1058).
- ਮੰਨੁ ਧੋਵਹੁ ਸਬਦਿ ਲਾਗਹੁ ਹਰਿ ਸਿਉ ਰਹਹੁ ਚਿਤੁ ਲਾਇ ॥: Attach yourself to the Shabad (Gur-Giaan…), continue to fix your consciousness on Hari (Mool), and (like this) wash your mind (sggs 919).
- ਬਾਹਰਿ ਦੇਵ ਪਖਾਲੀਅਹਿ ਜੇ ਮਨੁ ਧੋਵੈ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਜੂਠਿ ਲਹੈ ਜੀਉ ਮਾਜੀਐ ਮੋਖ ਪਇਆਣਾ ਹੋਇ ॥੨॥: As the stone idols are washed from outside, (instead) if one were to wash his mind, (then his inner) filth would be removed (i.e., filth of Bikaar: lust, anger, greed…) and his soul would be cleansed and thus his life-journey would be liberated (from Bikaar…). ||2|| (sggs 489).
This is the real Spiritual Advice or Message of the SGGS. Now, pause for a moment, and think and compare this True Spiritual Wisdom of the Gurbani with what’s going on out there in stubborn-mindedness!
Clearly, what the Gurbani is saying is totally opposite of what people are being preached by the self serving Pujaaree (clergy: Granthis, Parcharaks, Ragis, Dhadees etc.) and the freeloading Deraa-Vaad Baabaas (ਵੇਹਲੜ) etc.
The Pujaaree groups and members of the Gurdwara committees have hijacked and tortured the real Gurmat with concocted Karamkaand (rituals), distortion of the Gurbani, plundering masses in the process etc. The self-serving Pujaaree system has connected people to mere body-consciousness (Maya) instead of the Gur-Shabad or Naam. People believe whatever the Pujaaree-Vaad tattles (ਗੱਪ) in the name of the Gurus, Gurbani, Dharma etc. because they have closed people’s minds shut!
The Pujaaree system has turned the Gurmat into mundane business (ਧੰਧਾ). As a result, they sell fake (ਨਕਲੀ) God who takes bribe, accepts recommendations, engages in favoritism, likes flattery, believes in Jaat-Paat (casteism etc.) etc.
On account of fear or greed, vulnerable people believe in this fake God concocted by the Pujaaree. However, Pujaaree’s fake god is NOT the God of the Gurmat or Sikhi.
Thus, the ‘Parpanchee‘ (deceitful etc.) Pujaaree-Vaad has connected unsuspecting people to ‘Parpanch‘ (ritual bathing, illusion, worldliness, fraud, deception, ostentation, doubt, Karamkaand, religious robes etc.). The Gurbani tells us that those who are NOT engrossed in ‘Parpanch‘ in this world are very ‘rare‘ for it’s an uphill climb.
- ਦੂਜੈ ਭਾਇ ਪਰਪੰਚਿ ਲਾਗੇ ॥: In the love of duality, (by forgetting their Mool, Jeeva) remain attached to ‘Parpanch‘ (sggs 842).
Clearly, since the SGGS is the Giaan-Guru, the Way of the Gurbani is the Way of the Spiritual Wisdom of the Gur-Shabad (Gurmukh Lifestyle). Otherwise — without Wisdom — the Gurbani says one is sure to get plundered!
- ਗਿਆਨ ਵਿਹੂਣਾ ਕਿਛੂ ਨ ਸੂਝੈ ॥: Without Wisdom, (one) understands nothing at all (sggs 1044).
Waheguru ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji ki Fateh.
You said it well!
Many posts already have been written on this, for example:
Waheguru ji ka Khalsa,
Waheguru ji ki Fateh.
Veerji, I have read almost all of your posts about gurbani, and i have to say that what gurbani teaches and what is being taught in the gurdwaras is completely different. So, veerji please tell me what does gurbani say about how to DO naam simran, i do have read your posts about naam in which you tell that gurbani is to be thoroughly understood( i get that), my question is around, when i am sitting and chanting Waheguru , some people have said that while chanting my aim should be to dissolve my ego in the ever present akaal purakh/jot. Is this practice in accordance with gurbani or not? Bhul chuk vaste muaaf karna, ate aapji gubani da chaanan pao.
Waheguru ji ka khalsa,
Waheguru ji ki fateh.
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