Knowledge is Taken, not Given

We humans tend to be arrogant about who or what we are.

Rarely do we realize that, what we believe we are is not really us. Rather it is something simply given to us by others, such as name, family of birth, Jaat, citizenship of a country, religion, status, wealth, inheritance etc.

These things we receive are mere credits or props that we use to define ourselves. They create the illusion of the false ego-sense (Haumai, ‘I-ness’), our sense of the self. Because of our lifelong association with it, we will defend our false ego-sense and the props to the death.

As a result we are dismissive of what does not fit within our own paradigm. We behave hostile to whatever may even remotely threaten our false ego-sense and props.

However, we do not have the capacity nor the time, leave alone the interest or inclination, we need ready made answers. As a result, falsehoods are planted and spread, and we put ourselves in a position to be cheated and exploited.

History tells that much of what we learn is often incorrect, biased, myths, if not down right false. In many cases these falsehoods or myths lead to exploitation, intolerance, fanaticism, destruction, hostility to what is different, discrimination between one individual and the other being, rituals (Karamkaand, formalities, …), empty promises, ceremonies, superstitions, prayers with the lips, supposed or fabricated anecdotes, counterfeit gods, mystery-mongering, pilgrimages etc. Nowhere is this phenomenon observed more greatly than in organized religion and paid clergy.

Sikhi is a WAY of life. Hence, the Way of the Gurbani is the Way of UNDERSTANING – constant LEARNING or uninterrupted fresh or new supply of Knowledge in life (‘ਸਾਹਿਬੁ ਮੇਰਾ ਨੀਤ ਨਵਾ’).

Man is endowed with intellect. Using it man can comprehend his present state of limitations, bondage, mental traps, imperfections, demerits, incompleteness etc. He is naturally inclined to Free himself from them and realize Completeness within (Saabat Soorat-‘ਸਾਬਤ ਸੂਰਤਿ’).

  • ਕਬੀਰ ਜਾ ਕੀ ਦਿਲ ਸਾਬਤਿ ਨਹੀ ਤਾ ਕਉ ਕਹਾਂ ਖੁਦਾਇ ॥੧੮੫॥: O Kabee! The man who does not have Completeness in his Heart thinks that Rabb is nowhere. ||185|| (sggs 1374).

The Gurmat (Wisdom, Upadesh or Way of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, SGGS) ENCOURAGES QUESTIONING and guides the questioner to Awaken so as to find his or her own answers. Increasingly more and more people are questioning the emptiness in life, meaning and purpose of their existence etc.

Although the Gurbani is very tasteful (ਗੁਰਬਾਣੀ ਦਾ ਰਸ), but everybody cannot taste it. Because it’s tasteful only to those who chose to take it – understand and apply its Wisdom to daily life.

That said, to take Knowledge (ਗਿਆਨ) or not is a personal choice –Knowledge is taken, not given!

As a consequent, Sikhi (learning of the Way of the SGGS) is not a matter of giving, it is a matter of taking!

  • ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਪਰਵਾਹ ਛੁਟਕੰਤ ਸਦ ਦ੍ਵਾਰਿ ਜਿਸੁ ਗ੍ਯ੍ਯਾਨ ਗੁਰ ਬਿਮਲ ਸਰ ਸੰਤ ਸਿਖ ਨਾਈਐ ॥: The Stream of Amrit (-Giaan or spiritual Knowledge) flows constantly from the Door (of the Gur-Shabad). The Sikh Sant (Satsangee of the Gur-Shabad) bathe in the immaculate pool or Srovar of the Gur-Giaan (spiritual Knowledge). (sggs 1401).
  • ਸਿਖੀ ਸਿਖਿਆ ਗੁਰ ਵੀਚਾਰਿ ॥: Sikhi sikhiaa gur veechaari (sggs 465).

Thus, one becomes a Gursikh only when he has learnt or understood and applied the Gurbani’s Wisdom and has solved the riddle posed to him by the the Satguru.

In nutshell, it’s the mind (‘ਜੀਅਹੁ ਰਹੈ ਗੁਰ ਨਾਲੇ‘) that has to become a Sikh – NOT the external body-frame (ਅੰਦਰੋਂ ਮਨ ਕਰਕੇ, ਸਰੀਰ ਕਰਕੇ ਨਹੀ)!

  • 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 a Sikh turns (as ‘Sunmukhu‘) to the Guru (i.e., whose mind – NOT body – remains connected with the Gur-Giaan or Wisdom, ਅੰਦਰੋਂ ਮਨ ਕਰਕੇ, ਸਰੀਰ ਕਰਕੇ ਨਹੀ). (That Sikh) remembers the Gur-Wisdom in his Heart, and maintains it within his mind. Renouncing selfishness and conceit, Gur-Wisdom remains always his Support (ਟੇਕ), and he does not consider anyone except the Gu-Wisdom (as his Support). Says Nanak! Hear, O Satsangees, such a Sikh can remain as ‘Sunmukhu’ (i.e., his mind united to the Wisdom of the Guru). (sggs 919).

Hence, Wisdom or Sikhi cannot be thrusted upon somebody by force (ਧੱਕੇ ਨਾਲ). If it could be thrusted upon somebody, Baabaa Nanak would have thrusted it upon his two sons Sri Chand and Lakhmi Das; Guru Amardas Ji would have thrusted it upon his son Mohan; and Guru Ramdas Jee would have thrusted it upon his son Prithy Chand; …

  • ਪੁਤ੍ਰੀ ਕਉਲੁ ਨ ਪਾਲਿਓ ਕਰਿ ਪੀਰਹੁ ਕੰਨ੍ਹ੍ਹ ਮੁਰਟੀਐ ॥ ਦਿਲਿ ਖੋਟੈ ਆਕੀ ਫਿਰਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਿ ਬੰਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਿ ਭਾਰੁ ਉਚਾਇਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਿ ਛਟੀਐ ॥: Sons (of Baabaa Nanak: Sri Chand and Lakhmi Das) did not obey (Baabaa Nanak’s) Word; they turned their backs on Him as Guru. The evil-hearted ones become rebellious; they carry loads (of vices, Bikaar, defects…) on their backs. (sggs 967).
  • ਮੋਹਣੁ ਕਮਲਾ ਹੋਇਆ ਚਉਬਾਰਾ ਮੋਹਰੀ ਮਨਾਇਆ॥ ਮੀਣਾ ਹੋਇਆ ਪਿਰਥੀਆ ਕਰਿ ਕਰਿ ਤੋਂਡਕ ਬਰਲੁ ਚਲਾਇਆ॥: Mohan (son of Guru Amardas) got insane (ਝੱਲਾ, ਬੇ-ਅਕਲ…) and Mohart (the second son) lived in a lofty house and started getting served by the people. Prithy Chand (son of Guru Ramdas) came out as dissembling scoundrel and using his oblique nature spread his mental sickness all round. (Bhai Gurdas, Vaar 26 Paurhee 33).

Aptly, the Gurbani asserts you cannot give Knowledge or Wisdom (Giaan) to somebody as a mundane gift either, or as a ready-made package, or make it to an order, or blow it into somebody’s ear, or spit it into somebody’s mouth!

Furthermore, none else can take it for anybody either. It’s just as nobody can eat for anybody else if you are hungry, you must eat yourself! If you want to get married, then you need to take ‘Phere‘ yourself; you cannot substitute somebody else for you!

  • ਬਿਨੁ ਖਾਏ ਬੂਝੈ ਨਹੀ ਭੂਖ ॥: Without eating, hunger is not satisfied. (sggs 1149).

In short, Knowledge or Wisdom is the subject of willingly taking (ਲੈਣਾਂ). You may explain it to somebody, but you cannot force somebody to take it if that person is unwilling or uninterested to receive it. In other words, you have the choice of either taking it or not taking it. In other words, you have the choice to either follow Baabaa Nanak, or follow Auranzeb or Babar etc.!

  • ਆਪਣ ਹਥੀ ਆਪਣਾ ਆਪੇ ਹੀ ਕਾਜੁ ਸਵਾਰੀਐ ॥੨੦॥: (So long there is breath Praan) With own hands (with effort, ਉੱਦਮ ਕਰ ਕੇ: Shabad-Vichaar …), resolve your own affair yourself. ||20|| (sggs 474).
  • ਆਪਣਾ ਕਾਰਜੁ ਆਪਿ ਸਵਾਰੇ ਹੋਰਨਿ ਕਾਰਜੁ ਨ ਹੋਈ ॥: (Jeev-individual being) resolves his own affair (i.e., the Purpose of life of Mool Realization) himself; anyone else cannot do this work (for him). (sggs 351).

For example, a teacher teaches the entire class. However, students who listen to the teacher with full attention, willingness and interest excel, and those who don’t fail or do bad in exam.

Similarly, somebody can explain the spiritual Knowledge of the Gurbani to us, but whether to take it or leave it is up to an individual. The Gurbani says its the nature of some people that upon hearing the Divine Naam (Giaan or Wisdom, Virtues, Truth, Shabad, Hukam…), they feel like they have been stung by a scorpion!

  • ਨਾਮੁ ਸੁਨਤ ਜਨੁ ਬਿਛੂਅ ਡਸਾਨਾ ॥੨॥: If he (i.e., Saakat separated from Truth) hears Divine Naam (i.e., Divine Knowledge, Giaan…), he feels like he has been stung by a scorpion ||2||. (sggs 892).

But in order to take Wisdom or Mati (ਮੱਤ), the prerequisite is one has to admit he lacks it. In other words, the Gurbani tells us that Truth (Sach) can enter within only if the mind-vessel is fist emptied of its existing garbage falsehood, hunger for Maya (ਮਾਇਆ ਦੀ ਭੁਖ), Bikaars (lust, anger, greed etc.), doubts etc.

  • ਕੂੜੈ ਕੀ ਪਾਲਿ ਵਿਚਹੁ ਨਿਕਲੈ ਸਚੁ ਵਸੈ ਮਨਿ ਆਇ ॥: (When) the wall of falsehood is torn down from within, Truth comes to dwell in the mind. (sggs 591).

The Gurbani’s spiritual Knowledge is available to everybody. However, if the learner (i.e., a Sikh) is not interested in taking it, there is nothing SGGS can do – if he hears from one ear and let it out from the other!

  • ਕਬੀਰ ਸਾਚਾ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਕਿਆ ਕਰੈ ਜਉ ਸਿਖਾ ਮਹਿ ਚੂਕ ॥ ਅੰਧੇ ਏਕ ਨ ਲਾਗਈ ਜਿਉ ਬਾਂਸੁ ਬਜਾਈਐ ਫੂਕ ॥੧੫੮॥: The Satiguru can’t do anything, when there is a lapse (deception, etc.) in Sikhs (learners). (The Satguru’s Knowledge, Giaan…) can’t affect the blind (i.e., mentally blind – ignorant); it is as useless as blowing into bamboo. ||158|| (sggs 1372).

The SGGS indicates that taking the Guru’s Mati (Wisdom) is Bhagti.

  • 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).

Since Sikhi is in constant learning through sincere Shabad-Vichaar (or churning the Gurbani), there is huge emphasis on Shabad-Vichaar in the SGGS.

  • ਊਤਮ ਕਰਣੀ ਸਬਦ ਬੀਚਾਰ ॥੩॥: The ultimate action is Reflections on the Shabad – Shabad Vichaar ||3|| (sggs 158).
  • ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਜਿਨੀ ਨ ਸੇਵਿਓ ਸਬਦਿ ਨ ਕੀਤੋ ਵੀਚਾਰੁ ॥ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਨ ਆਇਓ ਮਿਰਤਕੁ ਹੈ ਸੰਸਾਰਿ ॥: (Those beings) who have not served the ‘Satiguru‘ (through the Shabad-Vichaar), no Wisdom has Awakened within them, (they may appear as alive but they) are as dead in the world (spiritually dead-ਆਤਮਕ ਮੌਤ). (sggs 88).

6 comments

  1. Thank you Bhai Sahib Amarjit Singh Khajuria Ji for taking the time to reply. Welcome to the Gurbani Blog Ji!

    Paid clergy is telling us one thing. However, the Gurmat tells us totally opposite of what we are told by the ingenuine paid clergy (a few in paid clergy may be genuine).

    For example, the Gurmat’s god/satguru/Guru is within us. This is the fundamental teaching of the Gurmat. If this basic Sidhaant is missed, then we miss out everything.
    – ਤੂ ਹਿਰਦੈ ਗੁਪਤੁ ਵਸਹਿ ਦਿਨੁ ਰਾਤੀ ਤੇਰਾ ਭਾਉ ਨ ਬੁਝਹਿ ਗਵਾਰੀ ॥: Tu Hirdai Gupat(u) Vasahi Din(u) Raatee Teraa Bhaou Na Boojhahi Gavaaree (sggs 607).
    – ਗੁਰੁ ਮੇਰੈ ਸੰਗਿ ਸਦਾ ਹੈ ਨਾਲੇ ॥: Gur Maerai Sang Sadaa Hai Naalae (sggs 394).
    – ਸਚਾ ਸਾਹਿਬੁ ਮਨਿ ਵਸੈ ਵਸਿਆ ਮਨਿ ਸੋਈ ॥: Sachaa Saahib(u) Mani Vasai Vasiaa Mani Soee (sggs 420).
    – ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਮੇਰਾ ਸਦਾ ਸਦਾ ਨਾ ਆਵੈ ਨਾ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਓਹੁ ਅਬਿਨਾਸੀ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਹੈ ਸਭ ਮਹਿ ਰਹਿਆ ਸਮਾਇ ॥੧੩॥: Satiguru Maeraa Sadaa Sadaa Naa Aavai Naa Jaai. Ohu Abinaasee Purakh)u) Hai Sabh Sabh Mahi Rahiaa Samaai ||13|| (sggs 759).
    – ਸਭ ਕਿਛੁ ਘਰ ਮਹਿ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਨਾਹੀ ॥ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਟੋਲੈ ਸੋ ਭਰਮਿ ਭੁਲਾਹੀ ॥ ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦੀ ਜਿਨੀ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਪਾਇਆ ਸੋ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਸੁਹੇਲਾ ਜੀਉ ॥੧॥: Sabh Kishu Ghar Mahi Baahari Naahee… (sggs 102).

    According to the Gurbani (Not paid clergy), if everything is within (‘ਸਭ ਕਿਛੁ ਘਰ ਮਹਿ’), then where the divine Nadar will come from? Obviously from Within!!!!!!!!

    god/satguru/Guru and Nadar is separate from man is the misguiding talking point of the Pujaaree.

    But, the unique and new spiritual paradigms of Sikhi or Gurmat Wisdom of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) demands a diametrically opposite ‘Soch‘ (thinking, ਵਿਚਾਰਧਾਰਾ…) that strengthens the mind and protect it from degradation, plundering, exploitation etc.

    In short, as the Gurbani asserts, since god/satguru/Guru is within, the NADAR is also within, NOT separate from any of us.

    To Awaken this NADAR within will require SELF-EFFORTS (Shabad-Vichaar…).

    However, 99.9% don’t want to put self-efforts.

    Hence the Gurbani asserts that those who are willing to take the Gur-Giaan or Wisdom are very ‘rare’ in this world!
    – ਗੁਰ ਤੇ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਪਾਏ ਜਨੁ ਕੋਇ ॥: Gur Tae Giaan Paae Jan(u) Koi (sggs 158).
    – ਸਾਚੇ ਕਾ ਗਾਹਕੁ ਵਿਰਲਾ ਕੋ ਜਾਣੁ ॥: Saachae Kaa Gahak(u) Viralaa Ko Jaan(U) (sggs 664).

    Instead, we want everything readymade. As a consequent of this we put ourselves in a position to be cheated, exploited etc.
    – ਆਪਣ ਹਥੀ ਆਪਣਾ ਆਪੇ ਹੀ ਕਾਜੁ ਸਵਾਰੀਐ ॥੨੦॥: Aapan Hathee Aapanaa Aapae Hee Kaaj(u) Savaareeai (sggs 474).
    – ਆਪਣਾ ਕਾਰਜੁ ਆਪਿ ਸਵਾਰੇ ਹੋਰਨਿ ਕਾਰਜੁ ਨ ਹੋਈ ॥: Aapnaa Kaaraj(u) Aapi Sawaarae Horani Kaaraj(u) Na Hoee (sggs 351).
    – ਆਪੇ ਬੀਜਿ ਆਪੇ ਹੀ ਖਾਹੁ ॥: Aapae Beeji Aaapae hee Khaahu (sggs 4).

    Prayer or Ardaas? Offer to Whom? Gurbani says “All-pervading” Universal Energy is within!
    – ਵਿਣੁ ਬੋਲਿਆ ਸਭੁ ਕਿਛੁ ਜਾਣਦਾ ਕਿਸੁ ਆਗੈ ਕੀਚੈ ਅਰਦਾਸਿ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਘਟਿ ਘਟਿ ਏਕੋ ਵਰਤਦਾ ਸਬਦਿ ਕਰੇ ਪਰਗਾਸ ॥੫੮॥: Vinu Boliaa Sabh(U) Kisu Jaanadaa… (sggs 1420).
    – ਕਿਆ ਮੁਹੁ ਲੈ ਕੀਚੈ ਅਰਦਾਸਿ ॥ ਪਾਪੁ ਪੁੰਨੁ ਦੁਇ ਸਾਖੀ ਪਾਸਿ ॥੨॥: Kiaa Muh(u) Lai Keechai Ardaas… (sggs 351).

    Hence the Gurbani’s Ardaas (prayer) is a silent self-talk — self talking to the self within, in silence!
    In short, it is dedicating oneself — to Knowledge, to Virtues, and to live according to it ….

    The Gurbani needs to be understood from the Gurbani, NOT from the paid clergy!
    – ਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਬਾਣੀ ਗੁਰ ਤੇ ਜਾਤੀ ਜਿ ਸਬਦਿ ਰਤੇ ਰੰਗੁ ਲਾਇ ॥: Gur Kee Baanee Gur tae Jaatee… (sggs 1346).

    Bhul-Chuk Maaf.

  2. Very nicely written Sir. I think to be eligible for Kirpa ,one must always prays to Waheguru for HIS blessings and may be one day Guru jee mehar kardain. Nothing is in our hands. Thanks once again Sir.

  3. Thank you sister Manjyot Kaur Ji for taking the time to reply.
    Gurmat’s Divine or Rabb is WITHIN.

    As such, the Divine Nadar/Kirpa etc. is also within. That said, one has to Kirpa on himself or herself to become Awake and Aware.

    – ਆਪਣ ਹਥੀ ਆਪਣਾ ਆਪੇ ਹੀ ਕਾਜੁ ਸਵਾਰੀਐ ॥੨੦॥: Aapan Hathee Aapanaa Aapae Hee Kaaj(u) Savaareeai (sggs 474).
    – ਆਪਣਾ ਕਾਰਜੁ ਆਪਿ ਸਵਾਰੇ ਹੋਰਨਿ ਕਾਰਜੁ ਨ ਹੋਈ ॥: Aapnaa Kaaraj(u) Aapi Sawaarae Horani Kaaraj(u) Na Hoee (sggs 351).

    Fittingly, the Gurbani’ edict is: Help Yourself To Realize The Ultimate Purpose Of Life.

    Thank you for correcting the page number!

  4. Many thanks Brother T. Singh ji, for this extremely thought-provoking article. What do you consider to be the role of Nadar/Gurprasad/Kirpa in the process of a person taking spiritual knowledge? Without being initially blessed by a Divine stirring or spark (“His Glance of Grace”), one cannot have the desire to taste the sublime Nectar. Also, there are those who do strive earnestly to perceive the Divine Wisdom, but do not succeed in gaining the understanding they seek. “Tere darsan kao ketee billaae. Virlaa ko cheenas gur shabad milaae. Rahaao.”/So many cry out for Your Darshan, Lord. How rare are those who realize the Word of the Guru’s Shabad and merge with Him. (SGGS 1188). Please forgive my mistakes and thank you again for this wonderful essay; it’s always a real joy when a new article of yours appears.

  5. Thank you Bhai Sahib Kirpal Singh Ji for taking the time reply! Thanks for quoting the verse. There are many many more verses in this context, however we cannot quote all of them here from a space point of view.

  6. Divine Kirpa leads to Gurmat Tat (ਤਤੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ – Essence of Reality)

    All the Gurus, Bhagats and Mahapurakhs whose compositions are compiled in the Guru Granth Sahib enjoyed Divine Tat (ਤਤੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ) – a sign of their closeness with the the Divine Source (Akalpurakh).

    Guru Nanak Sahib traces the Divine Sohji to love for Akalpurakh which makes a person fearless by inviting Gurmat:-

    ਨਿਰਭਉ ਜੋਗੀ ਨਿਰੰਜਨੁ ਧਿਆਵੈ ॥ ਅਨਦਿਨੁ ਜਾਗੈ ਸਚਿ ਲਿਵ ਲਾਵੈ ॥ (Raag Gauri M. 1, GGS. 223-17).
    The Yogis meditate on the Fearless, Immaculate Lord. Night and day, they remain awake and aware, embracing love for the True Lord…………….

    …..

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