Laahaa and Kufakarhe

In a spiritual sense, the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) calls all of us ‘TRADER’ (ਵਣਜਾਰਾ) in this world.

The span of our life is the ‘CAPITAL’ we all are given for engaging in this SPIRITUAL TRADING.

The Gurbani (SGGS) repeatedly reminds us to spend this ‘CAPITAL’ wisely so we can show profit — ‘Laahaa-ਲਾਹਾ’.

Literally, ‘Laahaa‘ (‘ਲਾਹਾ’) means profit, benefit, gain etc.

The Gurbani constantly reminds us that this human birth is meant for earning a specific Laahaa (ਖੱਟੀ ਖੱਟਣ) — Naam Dhann (Wealth of divine Virtues and Wisdom), Mool-abidance etc., which requires one to conquer his instinctive mind.


  • ਪ੍ਰਾਣੀ ਤੂੰ ਆਇਆ ਲਾਹਾ ਲੈਣਿ ॥:  O mortal, you came to earn a (Spiritual) Profit. (sggs 43).
  • ਮਨੁ ਤਨੁ ਜੀਤਿ ਸਬਦੁ ਲੈ ਲਾਹਾ ॥: Conquering mind body, earn the Profit of the Shabad (Gur-Giaan…). (sggs 699).
  • ਮਨੁ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮਿ ਭੀਨਾ ਲੈ ਲਾਹਾ ॥: My mind is drenched with the Naam of Raam, and so it earns this profit. (sggs 699).

Furthermore, the Gurbani time and again reminds us that one’s physical body constantly gets older, and, thus, the life diminishes each and every moment (‘ਅਉਧ ਘਟੈ ਦਿਨਸੁ ਰੈਣਾਰੇ ॥’, sggs 13).

Hence, according to the Gurbani, utilization of human body for earning Real ‘Profit’ is the true ‘Laahaa‘ of one’s life.

  • ਜਨਮੁ ਜੀਤਿ ਲਾਹਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਪਾਇ ॥: Be victorious in the game of life, and earn the Spiritual profit of the Naam (sggs 162).
  • ਕਾਇਆ ਵਿਚਿ ਤੋਟਾ ਕਾਇਆ ਵਿਚਿ ਲਾਹਾ ॥: (Missing from Naam) There is a loss (of spiritual life) in the body, and (attached to Naam) there is gain (of spiritual life) in the body. (sggs 1066).
  • ਯਾ ਜੁਗ ਮਹਿ ਏਕਹਿ ਕਉ ਆਇਆ ॥ ਜਨਮਤ ਮੋਹਿਓ ਮੋਹਨੀ ਮਾਇਆ ॥: (Man) is born in this life only to become ONE (with Prabh, Mool, etc. – through Naam…). (But) ever since (man’s) birth, (he) has been enticed and deceived by Maya. (sggs 251).

To the contrary, on account of body-consciousness (Maya), consummation of one’s life in frivolous pursuits, or wasting time and energy in religious rituals (Karamkaand, Dhaarmic Saoday-Baajee) and useless worldly entanglements is said to be the false ‘Laahaa‘.


As repeatedly mentioned in the Gurbani, that’s exactly what the majority of us do in life – Kufakarhe (ਕੁਫਕੜੇ): Karamkaand, undesirable work, useless or Mayaic activities (Manmukh-Saakat-Mayadhaaree lifestyle), ਫਜੂਲ ਕੰਮ…

  • ਲਗਾ ਕਿਤੁ ਕੁਫਕੜੇ ਸਭ ਮੁਕਦੀ ਚਲੀ ਰੈਣਿ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: What Kufakarhe are you attached to (Karamkaand, undesirable work, useless or Mayaic activities, Manmukh or Saakat lifestyle, ਫੱਕੜੀ ਪੈਣ ਵਾਲੇ ਕੰਮ, ਖੁਆਰੀ ਵਾਲੇ ਕੰਮ, ਫਜੂਲ ਕੰਮ…)? Your life-night is coming to its end. ||1||Pause|| (sggs 43).
  • ਲਾਹੇ ਕਾਰਣਿ ਆਇਆ ਜਗਿ ॥ ਹੋਇ ਮਜੂਰੁ ਗਇਆ ਠਗਾਇ ਠਗਿ ॥: For the sake of earning the (Spiritual) Profit, the mortal comes into the world. But he becomes a serf (of Maya), and is mugged by this mugger (Maya). (sggs 931).

So long we identify with name-form-color (body-consciousness, I-am-ness, ‘ਰੂਪੁ ਰੇਖ ਰੰਗੁ’…), we will be affected by desires for sense gratification.

Then, in the illusion to satisfy senses (which is impossible), we make plans for developing wealth or material success by hook or crook.

Participation in organized religious activities and rituals is also motivated by the hope for further sense gratification here in this world (hunger for Maya) as well as after death (listen to any prayer or Ardaas in any Gurdwara – ਮਾਇਆ ਦੀਆਂ ਅਰਦਾਸਾਂ!).

All such Mayaic actions are compared in the Gurbani with planting of seeds in ‘Kallar‘ (salt mud, salty soil, barren land, sterile land etc.).

Seeds planted in ‘Kallar‘ will not sprout!

  • ਕਲਰਿ ਖੇਤੀ ਬੀਜੀਐ ਕਿਉ ਲਾਹਾ ਪਾਵੈ ॥ : Planting seeds in the salty soil (Kallar), how can one reap a profit? (sggs 419).
  • ਮਨਮੁਖ ਮੂਲੁ ਗਵਾਵਹਿ ਲਾਭੁ ਮਾਗਹਿ ਲਾਹਾ ਲਾਭੁ ਕਿਦੂ ਹੋਈ ॥: Manmukhs lose their investment (ਰਾਸ-ਪੂੰਜੀ or life), and still they seek (spiritual) profits. How can they earn any profit? (sggs 1131).

Thus, a question the Gurbani asks us is: Are we utilizing this human body and our life for seeking spiritual profit or Lahaa (Mool-abidance…), or are we using it for Kufakarhe (Karamkaand…)?

  • ਮੂਲਹੁ ਭੁਲਾ ਜਨਮੁ ਗਵਾਏ ॥੨॥: (One who) has forgotten (his) Mool (Source, Jot…), (he) wastes away his life. ||2|| (sggs 664).
  • ਰੇ ਮੂੜੇ ਲਾਹੇ ਕਉ ਤੂੰ ਢੀਲਾ ਢੀਲਾ ਤੋਟੇ ਕਉ ਬੇਗਿ ਧਾਇਆ ॥: O fool! You are so slow to earn your Real Profits, and so quick to run up material losses. (sggs 402).

Gurmukh ‘Laahaa’, Manmukhs ‘Kufakarhe’

Simply put, an individual being (Jeeva) has two choices to his disposal — either he can use this life to yield the Laahaa the Gurbani talks about (Gurmukh Lifestyle), or he can use it for undertaking Kufakarhe, which would injure his Spiritual sensitivity and dull his subtler perceptions.

According to the Gurbani, the Gurmukhs (spiritually Enlightened,  who lives the Shabad) chose the former path (of ‘Laahaa‘) and gain all, while the Manmukhs (opposite of Gurmukhs) chose the latter (‘Kufakarhe‘) and lose all.

  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਲਾਹਾ ਲੈ ਗਏ ਮਨਮੁਖ ਚਲੇ ਮੂਲੁ ਗਵਾਇ ਜੀਉ ॥੧੯॥: Those who have become Gurmukhs, reap their (Spiritual) Profits (of Naam, Wisdom, Virtues, Truth…) and leave, while Manmukhs lose their investment (ਰਾਸ-ਪੂੰਜੀ or life) and depart. ||19|| (sggs 74).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਵਣਜੇ ਸਦਾ ਵਾਪਾਰੀ ਲਾਹਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਸਦ ਪਾਵਣਿਆ ॥: The Gurmukh, the trader (of Naam), always purchases the merchandise of the Naam, and always reaps spiritual profits (‘Lahaa’). (sggs 126).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਸਦਾ ਰਹਹਿ ਰੰਗਿ ਰਾਤੇ ਅਨਦਿਨੁ ਲੈਦੇ ਲਾਹਾ ਹੇ ॥੧੩॥: Gurmukhs remain forever imbued with the color of Love (of Naam: Wisdom…), and (thus) continuously earn spiritual profit (‘Lahaa‘). (sggs 1055).

Thus, the Gurbani’s Giaan or Wisdom guides all of us — while living amidst the worldly activities or Maya — how we can realize our Mool within (Source, Jot Saroop…), which alone lends meaning to human birth. In nutshell, the key to earning the True ‘Laahaa‘ in this life is becoming a Gurmukh through the Shabad-Vichaar.

  • ਲਾਹਾ ਹਰਿ ਧਨੁ ਖਟਿਆ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਸਬਦੁ ਵੀਚਾਰਿ ॥: Spiritual profit of the wealth of Naam can be earned by becoming the Gurmukh through the Shabad-Vichaar. (sggs 300).
  • ਲਾਹਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਸੰਸਾਰਿ ਹੈ ਗੁਰਮਤੀ ਵੀਚਾਰਾ ॥: (A man) who comes to understanding by taking the Gurmat (Guru‘s wisdom) earns the profit of Naam in the world. (sggs 1009).
  • ਲਾਹਾ ਭਗਤਿ ਸੁ ਸਾਰੁ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਪਾਈਐ ॥: The profit of Bhagti is excellent. It is obtained by becoming a Gurmukh (sggs 145).
  • ਨਾਨਕ ਨਾਮੁ ਰਤਨੁ ਜਗਿ ਲਾਹਾ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਆਪਿ ਬੁਝਾਏ ॥: O Nanak, the jewel of the Naam is the only Spiritual Profit in this world. By becoming the Gurmukh understand this yourself. (sggs 247).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਜਪਹੁ ਹਰਿ ਲਾਹਾ ॥: By becoming a Gurmukh, understand the Naam, and earn the profit of divine Naam. (sggs 699).
  • ਲਾਹਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਸੰਸਾਰਿ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਪੀਜਈ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਭਗਤੀ ਅਸਨੇਹਿ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਘੀਜਈ ॥੧੭॥: In this world, the true profit (of Naam) comes by drinking in the Amrit (Naam). Who become the Gurmukh gets soaked with the divine Love and Bhagti. ||17|| (sggs 1285).

The Gurbani cautions that only the repeated suffering will await if we miss this chance:

  • ਇਸੁ ਪਉੜੀ ਤੇ ਜੋ ਨਰੁ ਚੂਕੈ ਸੋ ਆਇ ਜਾਇ ਦੁਖੁ ਪਾਇਦਾ ॥੨॥: That human who misses this chance, will suffer through coming and going. ||2|| (sggs 1075).
  • ਦੁਰਮਤਿ ਤਿਆਗਿ ਲਾਹਾ ਕਿਛੁ ਲੇਵਹੁ ॥: Renounce evil-mindedness and reap the spiritual profit (sggs 356).
  • ਮਨੁ ਤਨੁ ਜੀਤਿ ਸਬਦੁ ਲੈ ਲਾਹਾ ॥: Conquering mind body, earn the Profit of the Shabad (Gur-Giaan…). (sggs 699).
  • ਨਾਨਕ ਨਾਮੁ ਲਾਹਾ ਪਰਵਾਣੁ ॥: O Nanak! Those who earn the spiritual profit of the Naam are accepted and approved (sggs 789).
  • ਲਾਹਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਪਾਏ ਗੁਰ ਦੁਆਰਿ ॥: The spiritual profit of the Naam is obtained through the Door of the Guru (Awakening the Guru’s Wisdom within). (sggs 841).
  • ਹਸਤੀ ਸਿਰਿ ਜਿਉ ਅੰਕਸੁ ਹੈ ਅਹਰਣਿ ਜਿਉ ਸਿਰੁ ਦੇਇ ॥ ਮਨੁ ਤਨੁ ਆਗੈ ਰਾਖਿ ਕੈ ਊਭੀ ਸੇਵ ਕਰੇਇ ॥ ਇਉ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਆਪੁ ਨਿਵਾਰੀਐ ਸਭੁ ਰਾਜੁ ਸ੍ਰਿਸਟਿ ਕਾ ਲੇਇ ॥: Like the elephant offers his head to the goad and like the anvil offers its head (to hammer). Similarly offer the mind and body (to Satgur: True Wisdom – ਸੱਚਾ ਗਿਆਨ) and serve with full attention. By becoming a Gurmukh, this is how one eliminates his self-conceit (ਆਪਾ-ਭਾਵ) and, as if, come to rule the entire creation. (sggs 647-48).


  1. Dear Karamjit

    My understanding is their is no here and there, “The creator is in his creation and his creation is in him”.

    The creator is omnipresent, you feel the separation because of the veil of illusion created by your mind.

    “He is closer than your own hand”

  2. Gurfateh Vir Ji, Greetings! Thank you for sharing your Vichaar.

    can we define LAAHA as, the thing (NAAM DHAN)…

    The Gurbani indicates yes:
    • ਪਾਵਹੁ ਨਾਮੁ ਰਤਨੁ ਧਨੁ ਲਾਹਾ ॥:Paavahu NAAMU RATANU DHANU laahaa (sggs 1043).
    • ਸੰਤਹੁ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਨੁ ਸੰਚਹੁ ਲੈ ਖਰਚੁ ਚਲੇ ਪਤਿ ਪਾਵੈਗੋ ॥: Santahu raam NAAMU DHANU sachahu chale pati paavaigo (sggs 1311).
    • ਹਰਿ ਧਨੁ ਖਾਟਿ ਚਲੈ ਜਨੁ ਸੋਇ ॥: HARI DHANU khaati chalai janu soi (sggs 295).
    • ਅਨਦਿਨੁ ਲਾਹਾ ਸਚੁ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਨੁ ਭਗਤਿ ਭਰੇ ਭੰਡਾਰਾ ॥੩॥: Andinu laahaa sachi NAAMU DHANU bhare bhandaaraa (sggs 565).

  3. waheguruji ka khalsa waheguruji ki fateh,
    veerji can we define LAAHA as, the thing (NAAM DHAN) that we will carry with us when we leave our body behind i.e., after death.

  4. Thank you Bhai Sahib Ji for your kind words and inquiries.

    What precisely is that ‘laaha”?

    The Gurbani says, for example:
    • ਜਗ ਮਹਿ ਲਾਹਾ ਏਕੁ ਨਾਮੁ ਪਾਈਐ ਗੁਰ ਵੀਚਾਰਿ ॥੬॥: (sggs 55).
    • ਤੇਰਾ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਲਾਲਾ ਮੰਨੇ ਏਹ ਕਰਣੀ ਸਾਰੁ ॥੬॥: (sggs 1011).

    And whereever we came from – the Almight’s abode;

    The Gurbani says, for example:
    • ਜੋ ਬ੍ਰਹਮੰਡੇ ਸੋਈ ਪਿੰਡੇ ਜੋ ਖੋਜੈ ਸੋ ਪਾਵੈ ॥: Jo Brahmande soee pinde jo khojai so paavay: Who (pervades) the Brahmand also (dwells) in the body; whoever seeks (within), obtains (Him within). (sggs 695).

    couldn’t we be allowed to live there and accomplish the ‘mission’…

    The Gurbani sums up:
    • ਤੁਮਰੀ ਗਤਿ ਮਿਤਿ ਤੁਮ ਹੀ ਜਾਨੀ ॥: Tumaree gati miti tum hee jaanee: You alone know Your state and Limit (i.e., it’s only known to You what you are doing, and what You will be doing…). (sggs 268).
    • ਲਖੀ ਨ ਜਾਈ ਨਾਨਕ ਲੀਲਾ ॥੧॥: Lakhee n jaaee Nanak leelaa: O Nanak! The Cosmic Play cannot be written or explained (ਬਿਆਨ ਨਹੀਂ ਕੀਤਾ ਜਾ ਸਕਦਾ). (sggs 250).
    • ਆਪੇ ਖੇਲੁ ਰਚਾਇਓਨੁ ਸਭੁ ਜਗਤੁ ਸਬਾਇਆ ॥: Aape khel rachaaio sabhu jagatu sabaaiaa (sggs 1237).
    • ਜੰਮਣੁ ਮਰਣਾ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਹੈ ਭਾਣੈ ਆਵੈ ਜਾਇ ॥: Jammau maranaa hukamu hai bhaanai aavai jaai (sggs 472).
    • ਆਪ ਕਮਾਣੈ ਵਿਛੁੜੀ ਦੋਸੁ ਨ ਕਾਹੂ ਦੇਣ ॥: Aap kamaaai vichhurhee dosu n kaahoo den (sggs 136).

  5. Sir I am not sure that i would be able to reply your question. But still i can share whatever i heard in Satsangs, that Kaal Practiced Tap and he demanded this Maat Lok and then he did it again and demanded Souls to make it lively.
    But as God knows everything means he knew that he would ask for it…… So it is all his PLAY and we are the players….. Someone Said… we are the puppets and Lord is getting us danced….
    the people who think that they are getting danced by Lord they are called as Gurmukh and the people who think that they are dancing themselves they are called Mankukh
    so i can share that it is all his Game and we are a part of it and one thing more as we are not at his level and we can never reach at his level… so we can never know why this why that…
    bhul chuk maaf

  6. Thanks Vir Jio for yet another enlightening and enriching piece.

    There is this doubt /vagueness that has been lurking in my mind since as long as I can remember being associated with Gurbani. And since you touched directly the subject in this piece, I guess I can vent it out in the form of a question (or perhaps a series of inter-twined queries).

    It relates to the very purpose / mission, we the mortals, were sent to this ‘maat-lok’.
    What precisely is that ‘laaha”?

    And whereever we came from – the Almight’s abode; couldn’t we be allowed to live there and accomplish the ‘mission’ or ‘assignment’ there? Why has the ‘examination center’ been chosen as this world?

    “Naam Japna” features very prominently all over in Gurbani as one of the sole reasons for us to be here, so as to be able to re-unite with HIM after our ‘tenure’ comes to an end here. Now would the Almighty God want or long for us to meditate on HIS name for us to rewarded? I mean GOD is GOD, and such a (forgive me to say that) ‘selfish’ motive seems unlikely to be HIS desire.

    A side question is – “Is our being sent to this mortal world a punishment, a reward, or a mission-oriented visit”?

    I am not sure if this bluting made any sense as to precisely what answer I am looking for? If you do understand, please, please, please do react.

    Bhul Chuk Maaf.

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