Living Dead

“First”, the Gurbani urges us to accept that death of our physical body is inevitable. Therefore, we are time and again reminded: whatever is born will die. For example, this body is born, so it must die. So, the Gurbani asks us to give up the hope of living forever or thinking that this body will never die

  • ਪਹਿਲਾ ਮਰਣੁ ਕਬੂਲਿ ਜੀਵਣ ਕੀ ਛਡਿ ਆਸ ॥ ਹੋਹੁ ਸਭਨਾ ਕੀ ਰੇਣੁਕਾ ਤਉ ਆਉ ਹਮਾਰੈ ਪਾਸਿ ॥੧॥: First accept death and give up the desire for life (i.e., give up attachment to body…). Become the dust of the feet of all (i.e., become truly humble…), then, come to me. ||1|| (sggs 1102).
  • ਜੀਵਨ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਸੋ ਆਖੀਐ ਮਰਿ ਜੀਵੈ ਮਰੀਆ ॥: He who effaces his ownself (false ego) and is so dead in life, is said to have been liberated while alive (sggs 449).

Once accepted this reality through the Shabad-Vichaar (Reflection on the Gur-Shabad...), we become living dead. Because, by accepting this through the Gurmat (Aatam-Giaan), we remove the death out of the way (ਜੀਵਨ ਦੀ ਤਾਂਘ, ਸਰੀਰ ਦਾ ਮੋਹ, ਮਾਇਆ ਦਾ ਮੋਹ, body-consciousness…). A big hurdle indeed!

  • ਆਪੁ ਛੋਡਿ ਜੀਵਤ ਮਰੈ ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਸਬਦਿ ਵੀਚਾਰ ॥: Abandon your self-conceit (love of one’s own existence…), and remain dead while yet alive through the Vichaar (Reflection…) of the Gur-Shabad (sggs 34).
  • ਜੀਵਤ ਮਰੈ ਮਰੈ ਫੁਨਿ ਜੀਵੈ ਐਸੇ ਸੁੰਨਿ ਸਮਾਇਆ ॥: Jeevat marai marai funi jeevai aise sunni samaaiaa (sggs 332).

Thus, once we have taken the death out of the way (i.e. become Jeevanmukat), Aapaa Bhaav (Haumai, false ego-sense, love of one’s own existence, love of the body, body-consciousness…) gets annihilated, and the Mool (ਮੂਲ, Source, Origin, Jot...) is Realized.

  • ਜਿਹਿ ਪ੍ਰਾਨੀ ਹਉਮੈ ਤਜੀ ਕਰਤਾ ਰਾਮੁ ਪਛਾਨਿ॥ ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਵਹੁ ਮੁਕਤ ਨਰੁ ਇਹ ਮਨ ਸਾਚੀ ਮਾਨੁ॥: O mind! Says Nanak: Know this as true that only that person, who has forsaken one’s egotism by realizing Raam (Mool, Jot…) as the creator, is liberated. (sggs 1427).
  • ਰਾਮ ਰਤਨੁ ਤਬ ਪਾਈਐ ਜਉ ਪਹਿਲੇ ਤਜਹਿ ਸਰੀਰੁ ॥੩੧॥: Raam ratanu tab paaeeai jaou pahile tajahi sareeru ||31|| (sggs 1366).

The Gurbani tells us that when we so die while yet alive, then we stand to Attain – ਪ੍ਰਾਪਤੀ. The noble attainment (ਪ੍ਰਾਪਤੀ) is the transformation of the deluded mind (ਮਾਇਕੀ ਮਨ ਦਾ ਬਦਲਨਾ – “ਬੁਧਿ ਬਦਲੀ ਸਿਧਿ ਪਾਈ”).

  • ਮਨੁ ਮਾਰੇ ਜੀਵਤ ਮਰਿ ਜਾਣੁ ॥: Man maarae jeevath mar jaan: 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 or Bikaar – lust, anger, greed, etc. (Manmukh, Saakat or Mayadhaaree Lifestyle, “ਸਾਕਤ ਸਿਉ ਕਰਿ ਉਲਟੀ ਰੇ” …) through the Gurmat (Wisdom or Aatam-Giaan of the Gurbani).

  • ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਮਿਲਿਐ ਉਲਟੀ ਭਈ ਭਾਈ ਜੀਵਤ ਮਰੈ ਤਾ ਬੂਝ ਪਾਇ ॥: Satigur Miliai Oulatee Bhaee Bhaaee Jeevat Marai Taa Boojh Paai (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 shall never have to die again. ||4||6||9|| (sggs 872).
  • ਉਲਟ ਭਈ ਜੀਵਤ ਮਰਿ ਜਾਗਿਆ ॥: Ulatt bhaee jeevat mari jaagiaa (sggs 221).
  • ਭਗਤਿ ਕਰਹਿ ਮਰਜੀਵੜੇ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਭਗਤਿ ਸਦਾ ਹੋਇ ॥: Bhagti karahi marjeevarre gurmukhi bhagti sadaa hoi (sggs 364).
  • ਅਖੀ ਬਾਝਹੁ ਵੇਖਣਾ ਵਿਣੁ ਕੰਨਾ ਸੁਨਣਾ ॥ ਪੈਰਾ ਬਾਝਹੁ ਚਲਣਾ ਵਿਣੁ ਹਥਾ ਕਰਣਾ ॥ ਜੀਭੈ ਬਾਝਹੁ ਬੋਲਣਾ ਇਉ ਜੀਵਤ ਮਰਣਾ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਪਛਾਣਿ ਕੈ ਤਉ ਖਸਮੈ ਮਿਲਣਾ ॥੧॥: Akhee baajhahu vekhanaa… (sggs 139).

The Gurbani tells us we can become living dead through “ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦੀ – Gur Parasaadee” (the Grace of the Gur-Wisdom, Aatam-Giaan…):

  • ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦੀ ਜੀਵਤੁ ਮਰੈ ਤਾ ਮਨ ਹੀ ਤੇ ਮਨੁ ਮਾਨੈ ॥: (a Gurmukh) by the Grace of the Gur (Giaan, Wisdom of the Gur-Shabad…), remains dead (from Maya, Haumai, duality, Bikaar, doubt…) while yet alive, (consequently, his) mind becomes content in itself (i.e., does not wander around). (sggs 647).

The existence of this state of living dead or liberated can be validated through the Divine wisdom, and this Divine wisdom is contained in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS). To realize this Divine Wisdom will need self-efforts. The Gurbani uses this simple to understand example: 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 its instructions (Giaan, Wisdom…) then applied to one’s day-to-day living. Mechanical, robotic, or ritualistic reading of the Gurbani as propagated by the Pujaaree system will not do the trick.

  • 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).
  • ਸਾਚੈ ਸਬਦਿ ਸਦਾ ਹੈ ਮੁਕਤਾ ਮਾਇਆ ਮੋਹੁ ਚੁਕਾਇਦਾ ॥੫॥: (The Gurmukh) through the Shabad (i.e., Upadesh, Wisdom…) is liberated forever; he renounces emotional attachment to Maya. ||5|| (sggs 1066).
  • ਪ੍ਰਭ ਕੀ ਆਗਿਆ ਆਤਮ ਹਿਤਾਵੈ ॥ ਜੀਵਨ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਸੋਊ ਕਹਾਵੈ ॥: One who, in his soul (mind), loves the Divine Hukam (Law of Nature, spiritual Knowledge…), is said to be Jeevan Mukta – liberated while yet alive. (sggs 275).

3 replies on “Living Dead”

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

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”.

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).

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