Living Dead!

In order to impart the Truth (ਸਚ), as examples (ਹਵਾਲਾ), all the 35 contributors of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) have used terms in their Bani (ਬਾਣੀ) that were prevailing in common language spoken by average citizens of their time. BUT, WITH DIFFERENT OR CHANGED MEANINGS!

A case in point is ‘Mukti-ਮੁਕਤਿ’ – literally, Mukti means liberation, freedom, emancipation, salvation, etc.

The crafty and deceptive Pujaaree groups and the Pujaaree system have brainwashed people to believe in their manufactured concept that Mukti or liberation is an after death occurrence.

This fraud of the Pujaaree is going on for a long time. The purpose of the Gurbani is not to regurgitate it.

The Gurmat (Wisdom, Giaan, Upadesh or Way of the SGGS) assertively rejects this manufactured idea or fantasy of the crafty and illiterate Pujaaree-Vaad.

Instead, the Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS believes in liberation while alive (‘Jeevan Mukati-ਜੀਵਨ ਮੁਕਤਿ’), Here and Now – NOT AFTER DEATH!

  • ਬੇਣੀ ਕਹੈ ਸੁਨਹੁ ਰੇ ਭਗਤਹੁ ਮਰਨ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਕਿਨਿ ਪਾਈ ॥੫॥: Says Baynee – O Bhagat! Listen (to this truth): Nobody has ever attained liberation after death. ||5|| (sggs 93).
  • ਮੂਏ ਹੂਏ ਜਉ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਦੇਹੁਗੇ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਨ ਜਾਨੈ ਕੋਇਲਾ ॥: If You liberate me after I am dead, no one will know that I am liberated. (sggs 1292).
  • ਜੀਵਦਿਆ ਨ ਚੇਤਿਓ ਮੁਆ ਰਲੰਦੜੋ ਖਾਕ ॥: As long as he was alive he did not remember (Rabb, Truth, Naam…), on dying he just mixes with dust! (sggs 522).

Although the SGGS exposed and rejected this fraud of the cunning Pujaaree-Vaad several centuries ago, however, this fraud is still ongoing, including Sikhi!

In fact, the Way of the Gurbani is so pure that a Wise person (i.e., a Gurmukh, ਗਿਆਨੀ) even gives up the desire for Mukti or liberation!

  • ਰਾਜੁ ਨ ਚਾਹਉ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਨ ਚਾਹਉ ਮਨਿ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਚਰਨ ਕਮਲਾਰੇ ॥: (O Prabhoo, I) neither desire for empire (Bhugati or materiality) nor liberation (Mukti); (my) mind longs for the love of your lotus feet (Virtues, Wisdom, Naam, Hukam…). (sggs 534).
  • ਮੁਕਤਿ ਬਪੁੜੀ ਭੀ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਤਿਆਗੇ ॥: A spiritually Wise forsakes even liberation (sggs 1078).

Now, the question is: Mukti or liberation from what?

As per the Gurbani, Sikhs we must become liberated — here and now — from fetters (‘ਗਲੀ ਜੰਜੀਰ’), such as demerits, doubt (ਭਰਮ), ignorance of one’s Jot Saroop (True Nature, Mool…), Maya, Haumai and its countless faults (Bikaar: lust, anger, greed, attachment, pride, jealousy, sense-slavery, slandering, dishonesty, stubborn mindedness…) etc.

  • ਨਾਨਕ ਅਉਗੁਣ ਜੇਤੜੇ ਤੇਤੇ ਗਲੀ ਜੰਜੀਰ ॥ ਜੇ ਗੁਣ ਹੋਨਿ ਤ ਕਟੀਅਨਿ ਸੇ ਭਾਈ ਸੇ ਵੀਰ ॥: O Nanak! As many as are the demerits (Bikaar…), so many are the chains (bonds, Bandhan…) around (one’s) neck. If (one) possesses the Divine Virtues, then the chains are cut away; (hence Virtues) are (one’s) true brothers and mates. (sggs 595).
  • ਬੰਧਨ ਤੋੜੇ ਸਦਾ ਹੈ ਮੁਕਤਾ ॥: One who breaks out of bondage is liberated forever. (sggs 125).

Once liberated from these fetters through the Satguru or True Wisdom (ਸਚਾ ਗਿਆਨ), liberation is realized, HERE and NOW, NOT after death!

However, only those who possess Bibek-Budh (discriminating intellect) or Wisdom (Gur-Giaan) understand this.

  • ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦੀ ਹਉਮੈ ਛੁਟੈ ਜੀਵਨ ਮੁਕਤੁ ਸੋ ਹੋਇ ॥: by the Grace of the Gur (Giaan, Wisdom…), man is rid of the Haumai (false ego-sense) and then he becomes liberated whilst alive. (sggs 948).
  • ਬਿਨੁ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਕਿਨੈ ਨ ਪਾਈ ॥: Without the Satgur (True Wisdom, ਸਚਾ ਗਿਆਨ), no one is liberated. (sggs 1343).
  • ਪਾਵੈ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਰ ਥੈ ਕੋਈ ਪੁਛਹੁ ਬਿਬੇਕੀਆ ਜਾਏ ॥: Go and consult the men of discrimination, (without the Satgur – True Wisdom, ਸਚਾ ਗਿਆਨ) nobody can find liberation anywhere else. (sggs 920).

Once accepted this truth through the Shabad-Vichaar (Reflection on the Gur-Shabad...), we become living dead.

The Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS helps remove Aapaa Bhaav (ਆਪਾ ਭਾਵ, Haumai or false ego-sense, love of one’s own existence, body-consciousness, I-ness…), which is a big hurdle indeed!

  • ਆਪੁ ਛੋਡਿ ਜੀਵਤ ਮਰੈ ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਸਬਦਿ ਵੀਚਾਰ ॥: Abandon your self-conceit, and remain dead while yet alive through the Vichaar (Reflection…) of the Gur-Shabad (sggs 34).
  • ਜੀਵਨ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਜਿਸੁ ਰਿਦੈ ਭਗਵੰਤੁ ॥: He is living liberated in whose mind Bhagvant abides (i.e., Wisdom, Virtues, Truth…). (sggs 294).

The Gurbani tells us that when we so annihilate the Aapa Bhaav while yet alive, then we stand to realize the noble attainment (ਪ੍ਰਾਪਤੀ) – the transformation or freezing of the wandering mind.

  • ਮਨੁ ਮਾਰੇ ਜੀਵਤ ਮਰਿ ਜਾਣੁ ॥: Whoever kills his mind, knows the state of being dead while yet alive (sggs 1343).

This is the state of turning away from the worldly ways (Maya), Haumai, Bikaar (lust, anger, greed…), Manmukh-Saakat-Mayadhaaree Lifestyle etc.

  • ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਮਿਲਿਐ ਉਲਟੀ ਭਈ ਭਾਈ ਜੀਵਤ ਮਰੈ ਤਾ ਬੂਝ ਪਾਇ ॥ ਸੋ ਗੁਰੂ ਸੋ ਸਿਖੁ ਹੈ ਭਾਈ ਜਿਸੁ ਜੋਤੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਮਿਲਾਇ ॥: O brother! Meeting the Satgur (True Wisdom, ਸਚਾ ਗਿਆਨ), one understands (true Way of living – ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ), and then turns away (from Bikaar, demerits, falsehood…), and remains living dead. O Brother! He is the Guru (Giaan, Bibek, Wisdom…) and he is the Sikh (learner), who has merged (his individual consciousness or) light in the Universal Light (i.e.,  Universal Consciousness or Energy…). (sggs 602).

Accordingly, this is the Awakened State (ਆਤਮਕ ਜਾਗ). This is the state of True Bhagti, Pooran-Giaan, the Gurmukh Lifestyle.

  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਹੋਇ ਬਹੁਰਿ ਨਹੀ ਮਰਨਾ ॥੪॥੬॥੯॥: Become the Gurmukh, and you will never have to die again (spiritual death –  ਆਤਮਕ ਮੌਤ). ||4||6||9|| (sggs 872).

Thus, the Gurbani tells us we can become living dead or liberated through ‘ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦੀ – Gur Parasaadee’ (the Grace of the Gur-Wisdom, Aatam-Giaan…).

  • ਸੋ ਮੁਕਤਾ ਸੰਸਾਰਿ ਜਿ ਗੁਰਿ ਉਪਦੇਸਿਆ ॥: Who listens, understands and applies the Gur-Upadesh or Wisdom, that person is liberated in this world (here and now). (sggs 519).

Realization of this Wisdom requires self-effortsnobody else can do it for you! The Gurbani uses this simple example to understand: If you are hungry, you have to eat yourself to satisfy your hunger. You cannot ask somebody else to eat for you! Can you?

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

Hence, the SGGS emphasizes one must read the Gurbani himself, understand it through Shabad-Vichaar, and then apply its Wisdom to one’s day-to-day life. Mechanical, robotic, or ritualistic reading of the Gurbani as propagated by the illiterate and deceptive paid clergy or Pujaaree-Vaad in Sikhi is of no avail and will not do the trick.

  • ਸਾਚੈ ਸਬਦਿ ਸਦਾ ਹੈ ਮੁਕਤਾ ਮਾਇਆ ਮੋਹੁ ਚੁਕਾਇਦਾ ॥੫॥: (The Gurmukh) through the True Shabad (i.e., Upadesh, Wisdom…) is liberated forever; he renounces emotional attachment to Maya. ||5|| (sggs 1066).
  • ਜੈਸੇ ਧਰਤੀ ਸਾਧੈ ਬਹੁ ਬਿਧਿ ਬਿਨੁ ਬੀਜੈ ਨਹੀ ਜਾਂਮੈ ॥ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮ ਬਿਨੁ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਈ ਹੈ ਤੁਟੈ ਨਾਹੀ ਅਭਿਮਾਨੈ ॥੨॥: As the land may be prepared in many ways, but nothing sprouts without being planted. Similarly without the ‘Raam Naam‘ (Wisdom, Virtues, Truth…), no one is liberated, nor is egotistical pride eradicated. ||2|| (sggs 1205).

In nutshell, according to the Gurbani, liberation comes from true understanding (ਸੂਝ-ਬੂਝ). If learning does not translate into understanding, no Liberation will come! This is the Gurbani’s edict (ਫੈਸਲਾ). Baabaa Nanak says:

  • ਮੁਕਤਿ ਨਹੀ ਬਿਦਿਆ ਬਿਗਿਆਨਿ ॥: Liberation does not come from (spiritual) teaching or learning without understanding. (sggs 903).

Hence, true or real Mukti (liberation) is to continuously remain in the state of Bliss (Ananad) while alive — freedom from both Dukh and Sukh (i.e., duality)…

  • ਪ੍ਰਭ ਕੀ ਆਗਿਆ ਆਤਮ ਹਿਤਾਵੈ ॥ ਜੀਵਨ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਸੋਊ ਕਹਾਵੈ ॥ ਤੈਸਾ ਹਰਖੁ ਤੈਸਾ ਉਸੁ ਸੋਗੁ ॥ ਸਦਾ ਅਨੰਦੁ ਤਹ ਨਹੀ ਬਿਓਗੁ ॥ ਤੈਸਾ ਸੁਵਰਨੁ ਤੈਸੀ ਉਸੁ ਮਾਟੀ ॥ ਤੈਸਾ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਤੈਸੀ ਬਿਖੁ ਖਾਟੀ ॥ ਤੈਸਾ ਮਾਨੁ ਤੈਸਾ ਅਭਿਮਾਨੁ ॥ ਤੈਸਾ ਰੰਕੁ ਤੈਸਾ ਰਾਜਾਨੁ ॥ ਜੋ ਵਰਤਾਏ ਸਾਈ ਜੁਗਤਿ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਓਹੁ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਕਹੀਐ ਜੀਵਨ ਮੁਕਤਿ ॥੭॥: One who, in his soul (mind), loves the Divine Hukam (Law of Nature, Instruction…), is said to be Jeevan Mukta – liberated while yet alive. As is joy, so is sorrow to him. In that state, there is everlasting Bliss and no separation (from Hukam, Wisdom, Virtues…). As is gold, so is dust to him. As is nectar, so is bitter poison to him. As is honor, so is dishonor to him. As is the beggar, so is the king to him. Whatever (Hukam or law of Nature) sets in rotation, that is the proper way (rational, befitting, etc.). O Nanak! That person (who follows this proper way) is known as living  Liberated (Jeevan Mukta, living dead, etc.). ||7|| (sggs 275).

In nutshell, to be liberated or dead while alive is to have the mind or intellect Awakened to the Gurmat, which causes the expansion-development-progress-blooming of intellect or Budhi, within.

  • ਅਨਦਿਨੁ ਜਾਗਿ ਰਹੇ ਲਿਵ ਲਾਈ ॥ ਜੀਵਨ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਗਤਿ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਪਾਈ ॥੪॥: By focusing their consciousness (on Gurmat or Wisdom of the SGGS), those who remain Wakeful night and day (i.e., in daily life), realize the state of living liberated within — expansion-development-progress-blooming of intellect or Budhi. (sggs 904).


  1. Thank you Barjinder Ji for sharing Bellow’s suggestion.
    In fact, the Gurbani indicates that the Bhagti (Devotion…) is to live as one is dead.
    • ਏਹਾ ਭਗਤਿ ਜਨੁ ਜੀਵਤ ਮਰੈ ॥: Ehaa bhagati jan jeevat marai (sggs 365).

  2. Satkar jog gurmukh T.Singh jio,
    Sat bachan ji

    >>This is the state of turning away from the worldly ways or Mayaic efforts (Manmukh / Saakat Lifestyle, “ਸਾਕਤ ਸਿਉ ਕਰਿ ਉਲਟੀ ਰੇ” …) through the Gurmat (Aatam-Giaan).<>ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦੀ ਜੀਵਤੁ ਮਰੈ ॥: Gur Parasaadee Jeevatu Marai (sggs 662).<<

    Das Gurpreet Singh

  3. This state of ” Living Dead” is the very beginning of an enlightened self though it may seem contradictory at first look. Saul Bellow in his novel Herzog seems to suggest a similar idea when he propounds the theory ” live as you are dead”.

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