Meaningful Poojaa

Literally, the term ‘Poojaa’ (ਪੂਜਾ) is seen translated in English as worship, etc.

Every object has three aspects — name, form and its essential nature. The mind can only dwell on the name and form of an object and not on its essence which is beyond name and form.

Thus, at the mental level Poojaa is done of the form.  This is the reason man is naturally inclined to idol-worshipping.

What is not Poojaa?

First off, let’s find out what’s not ‘Poojaa’. It isn’t what we generally understand by this word, for our perception of ‘Poojaa’ is only that which we have collected from the complex ritualistic displays propagated by the corrupt Pujaaree system that we routinely witness at various religious places and ceremonies.

Thus, Poojaa is not what we generally understand by this word, for our perception of Poojaa is only that which we have collected from the dogmatic and complex ritualistic displays witnessed at religious places and religious ceremonies by the corrupt Pujaaree-Vaad.

Such Poojaa is a business or beggary at an altar!

It is not in this sense that the term ‘Poojaa‘ is used in the Gurbani. Due to decadence of the Dharma, the term ‘Poojaa‘ has lost its real meaning and significance, and has become synonym for a kind of soul-killing, character-running, etc.

  • ਕਿਆ ਜਪੁ ਕਿਆ ਤਪੁ ਕਿਆ ਬ੍ਰਤ ਪੂਜਾ ॥ ਜਾ ਕੈ ਰਿਦੈ ਭਾਉ ਹੈ ਦੂਜਾ ॥੧॥: What use is Jap(u), Tap(u), fasting, and Poojaa to one whose heart is filled with the love of duality? ||1|| (sggs 324).
  • ਮਨ ਮਹਿ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਮਹਾ ਅਹੰਕਾਰਾ ॥ ਪੂਜਾ ਕਰਹਿ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਬਿਸਥਾਰਾ ॥ ਕਰਿ ਇਸਨਾਨੁ ਤਨਿ ਚਕ੍ਰ ਬਣਾਏ ॥ ਅੰਤਰ ਕੀ ਮਲੁ ਕਬ ਹੀ ਨ ਜਾਏ ॥੧॥: (If) the mind is filled with anger and massive self-conceit (i.e., Bikaar), (but) performs Poojaa all sort of ways with great ostentation; (even if ritual) bath is taken (at so called sacred shrines; and religious) marks are applied to the body; (however, this way) the filth within (the mind) never departs. ||1|| (sggs 1348).

True Poojaa

However, according to the Gurmat Giaan or Wisdom of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS), what kind of Poojaa is meaningful, useful, fruitful, or beneficial — ‘Poojaa Thaai Paaee-ਪੂਜਾ ਥਾਇ ਪਾਈ’?

Hence, according to the Gurbani, the true Pooja is:

  • ਪ੍ਰਭ ਪੂਜਹੋ ਨਾਮੁ ਅਰਾਧਿ ॥: Perform Prabh’s Poojaa by contemplating the Naam. (sggs 1304).
  • ਨਾਮੋ ਪੂਜ ਕਰਾਈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਬਿਨੁ ਸਭੁ ਕਿਛੁ ਮੈਲਾ ਸੰਤਹੁ ਕਿਆ ਹਉ ਪੂਜ ਚੜਾਈ ॥੨॥ ਹਰਿ ਸਾਚੇ ਭਾਵੈ ਸਾ ਪੂਜਾ ਹੋਵੈ ਭਾਣਾ ਮਨਿ ਵਸਾਈ ॥੩॥ ਪੂਜਾ ਕਰੈ ਸਭੁ ਲੋਕੁ ਸੰਤਹੁ ਮਨਮੁਖਿ ਥਾਇ ਨ ਪਾਈ ॥੪॥ ਸਬਦਿ ਮਰੈ ਮਨੁ ਨਿਰਮਲੁ ਸੰਤਹੁ ਏਹ ਪੂਜਾ ਥਾਇ ਪਾਈ ॥੫॥ ਪਵਿਤ ਪਾਵਨ ਸੇ ਜਨ ਸਾਚੇ ਏਕ ਸਬਦਿ ਲਿਵ ਲਾਈ ॥੬॥ ਬਿਨੁ ਨਾਵੈ ਹੋਰ ਪੂਜ ਨ ਹੋਵੀ ਭਰਮਿ ਭੁਲੀ ਲੋਕਾਈ ॥੭॥: Understand Naam, understand Naam, (the Guru) asks us to perform this Poojaa. ||1||Pause|| O Sants (Gurmukhs, Gursikhs, Satsangee…)! What should I offer (to perform Poojaa)? Everything else is filthy except the Divine Naam. ||2|| If a human being begins to like the Divine Hukam, then this is Poojaa by him. ||3|| O Sants (Gurmukhs, Gursikhs, Satsangee…)! The whole world (on its own) perform Poojaa, but Poojaa of the Manmukh is acceptable. ||4|| O Sants (Gurmukhs, Gursikhs, Satsangee…)! By dying in the Shabad (i.e., Upadesh, Giaan or Wisdom), the mind becomes Immaculate. Such Poojaa is meaningful (useful, etc.). ||5|| Such beings become pious, they enshrine love for the Shabad. ||6|| There is no Poojaa other than the Naam; (missing the Naam) the world remains deluded by doubt. ||7|| (sggs 910).

In short, according to the Gurmat Wisdom SGGS, dying in the Shabad Awakens the Divine Wisdom (Giaan, Bibek, Truth…) and Virtues (ਗੁਣ) within, and thus annihilate the bad impact of Bikaar (lust, anger, greed, attachment, pride, etc.). With this, one is saved from the death of his spiritual life or divine life or Gurmukh Lifestyle (i.e., Aatmic Maut – ਆਤਮਕ ਮੌਤ).

  • ਸਬਦਿ ਮਰੈ ਫਿਰਿ ਮਰਣੁ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥: One who dies in the Shabad (i.e., Wisdom, Virtues…), will never again have to die (ਫਿਰ ਆਤਮਕ ਮੌਤ ਨਹੀ ਹੋਵੇਗੀ). (sggs 153).
  • ਸਬਦਿ ਮਰੈ ਭਗਤਿ ਪਾਏ ਜਨੁ ਸੋਇ ॥੩॥: One who dies in the Shabad, obtains Bhagti ||3|| (sggs 159).
  • ਮਨੁ ਸਬਦਿ ਮਰੈ ਪਰਤੀਤਿ ਹੋਇ ਹਉਮੈ ਤਜੇ ਵਿਕਾਰ ॥: When one’s mind dies in the Shabad gains Knowledge and conviction, and (he) sheds egotism and ‘Vikaar’ (sggs 162).

Now perhaps we can appreciate as to why the Gurbani asserts that only the divine Naam (Virtues, Giaan or Wisdom, etc.), is fit to be worshipped.

  • ਜਪਿ ਮਨ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮੁ ਅਰਧਾਂਭਾ ॥: O (my) mind! Understand the Raam Naam; (this Naam) alone is worth understanding. (sggs 1337).

This is true Gurmat Bhagati. Hence, according to the SGGS, true ‘Poojaa’ can only be performed by constantly having the mind attending to the Naam.

Accordingly, the Gurbani tells us that any other ‘Poojaa’ is just meaningless ritual  or formality (Karamkaand). Due to ignorance of the Nature of the Spiritual Essence, the Gurbani says the Karamkaandee people just grope in the darkness of ignorance and carry on useless Karamkaand — Pakhand (pretending, hypocrisy)…

  • ਗਿਆਨ ਹੀਣੰ ਅਗਿਆਨ ਪੂਜਾ ॥ ਅੰਧ ਵਰਤਾਵਾ ਭਾਉ ਦੂਜਾ ॥: Bereft of Spiritual Wisdom, (people) worship ignorance. In the love of duality (in love of Maya, their) conduct or behavior (keeps them mentally blind or ignorant of their spiritual life). (sggs 1412).

Ingredients for performing true Poojaa

First off, according to the SGGS, true ‘Poojaa’ is performed within the mind (‘ਘਟ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਪੂਜਾ ਹੋਇ-Ghat Antari Poojaa Hoi’).

  • ਅੰਤਰਿ ਪੂਜਾ ਮਨ ਤੇ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਏਕੋ ਵੇਖੈ ਅਉਰੁ ਨ ਕੋਇ ॥: Poojaa is performed within, by the mind. (A person who performs such Puojaa within his mind) sees (One Dynamic Divine Essence) alone and none else (sggs 1173).

Now, what’s the true ingredients (Samaggree) of this true ‘Poojaa’? As seen in the world, Pujaaree’s fake Poojaa needs external articles such as flowers, incense, water, food, fire, lamps, useless religious rituals and garbs, designer’s Rumaalaas, fancy bed (Manjee) or Chowar (fan), mechanical and insincere recitation of the Gurbani, precious decorations, counting beads, elaborate temple buildings, etc.

However, according to the Wisdom of the SGGS, NONE of this stuff is needed for the true Pooja.

  • ਧੂਪ ਦੀਪ ਨਈਬੇਦਹਿ ਬਾਸਾ ॥ ਕੈਸੇ ਪੂਜ ਕਰਹਿ ਤੇਰੀ ਦਾਸਾ ॥੩॥: As the fragrance comes, the incense lamps and the Naivaed (an offering of eatables presented to deity or idol become false). (Then, O Rabb!) If Your Poojaa can be done only with these things, then by placing these false things before You) how will Your Bhagat worship You? ||3|| (sggs 525).

Then, according to the Gurbani (NOT according to the fool-o-sophy), what are the true ingredients for performing the real’Poojaa’? Baabaa Nanak tells us the important ingredients:

  • ਤੇਰਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਕਰੀ ਚਨਣਾਠੀਆ ਜੇ ਮਨੁ ਉਰਸਾ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਕਰਣੀ ਕੁੰਗੂ ਜੇ ਰਲੈ ਘਟ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਪੂਜਾ ਹੋਇ ॥੧॥ ਪੂਜਾ ਕੀਚੈ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਈਐ ਬਿਨੁ ਨਾਵੈ ਪੂਜ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: I would make Your Naam the sandalwood, and my mind the stone to rub it on. I would mix in them my good deeds (ਉੱਚਾ ਆਚਰਨ) as saffron; thus I perform Pooja within my Heart. ||1|| Contemplaion on the Naam is the Poojaa. Without the Naam, there is no Poojaa ||1||Pause|| (sggs 489).
  • ਨਾਮੁ ਤੇਰੋ ਆਰਤੀ ਮਜਨੁ ਮੁਰਾਰੇ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਕੇ ਨਾਮ ਬਿਨੁ ਝੂਠੇ ਸਗਲ ਪਾਸਾਰੇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: (O Rabb!) (Ignorant people do Aarti of idols, but for me) Your Naam is (Your) Aarti, and cleansing bath (at the shrines). Missing the Divine Naam, all other pretensions are false (useless, in vain). (sggs 694).
  • ਗਗਨ ਮੈ ਥਾਲੁ ਰਵਿ ਚੰਦੁ ਦੀਪਕ ਬਨੇ ਤਾਰਿਕਾ ਮੰਡਲ ਜਨਕ ਮੋਤੀ ॥ ਧੂਪੁ ਮਲਆਨਲੋ ਪਵਣੁ ਚਵਰੋ ਕਰੇ ਸਗਲ ਬਨਰਾਇ ਫੂਲੰਤ ਜੋਤੀ ॥੧॥ ਕੈਸੀ ਆਰਤੀ ਹੋਇ ਭਵ ਖੰਡਨਾ ਤੇਰੀ ਆਰਤੀ ॥ ਅਨਹਤਾ ਸਬਦ ਵਾਜੰਤ ਭੇਰੀ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਸਹਸ ਤਵ ਨੈਨ ਨਨ ਨੈਨ ਹੈ ਤੋਹਿ ਕਉ ਸਹਸ ਮੂਰਤਿ ਨਨਾ ਏਕ ਤੋਹੀ ॥ ਸਹਸ ਪਦ ਬਿਮਲ ਨਨ ਏਕ ਪਦ ਗੰਧ ਬਿਨੁ ਸਹਸ ਤਵ ਗੰਧ ਇਵ ਚਲਤ ਮੋਹੀ ॥੨॥ ਸਭ ਮਹਿ ਜੋਤਿ ਜੋਤਿ ਹੈ ਸੋਇ ॥ ਤਿਸ ਕੈ ਚਾਨਣਿ ਸਭ ਮਹਿ ਚਾਨਣੁ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਗੁਰ ਸਾਖੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਪਰਗਟੁ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਜੋ ਤਿਸੁ ਭਾਵੈ ਸੁ ਆਰਤੀ ਹੋਇ ॥੩॥: The whole sky is (as if) a plate, the sun and the moon (in this plate) are lamps, the clusters of stars, (in the plate) are pearls. The wind coming from the Malay mountain is like incense (burning), the wind is fanning (ਚੌਰ ਕਰਨਾ), all the vegetation is giving flowers for the Jot Saroop (Rabb‘s Aarti). ||1|| O Rabb! (In Nature or Kudrat) what a beautiful Your Aartee this is! (Roaming in all living beings) the celestial strain (ਇੱਕ-ਰਸ ਜੀਵਨ-ਰੌ) is the sounding of template drums for Your Aartee. ||1||Pause|| (Being pervasive in all beings) Thousands of eyes of all of us are Rabb’s eyes — Rabb has no separate eyes. Thousands of forms of all of us are Rabb’s forms — (being Formless) Rabb has no separate form. Thousands of feet of all of us are Rabb’s feet — Rabb has no separate feet. Thousands of noses of all of us are Rabb’s noses — Rabb has no separate nose. I am amazed by this wonder. ||2|| There is only one ‘Joti’ in all being and this ‘Joti’ is none other than That Rabb. With the Light of that ‘Joti’ there is Light (Soojh Boojh –understanding etc.) in all beings. But the knowledge of this ‘Joti’ comes only with the Teachings of the Guru (through the Guru’s Wisdom it is understood that Rabb is present within all beings as ‘Joti’ and that we are ‘Jot Saroop‘.). The Aarti (i.e., the meaningful Poojaa of this all-pervading Light) is that whatever is happening in Rabb’s Hukam (System-Rule-Law of Nature) is pleasing to beings. ||3|| (sggs 663).

The Gurbani says only the Gurmukh (Bhagat, Daas, Jan…) knows this true Pooja.

  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਹੋਵੈ ਸੁ ਪੂਜਾ ਜਾਣੈ ਭਾਣਾ ਮਨਿ ਵਸਾਈ ॥੧੧॥: One who becomes Gurmukh knows what Poojaa is; within his mind abides ‘Bhaanaa’ (Divine Hukam: System-Rule-Law of Nature…). ||11|| (sggs 910).

1 comment

  1. I am glad I read this piece. A long standing doubt is dispelled. I had often wondered as to why the ‘advice’ is directed to Saints at numerous places in SGGS.

    I agree, conventionally pooja has come to imply “the dogmatic and complex ritualistic displays witnessed at religious places and religious ceremonies”.

    Right again, “This is (in fact) a business or beggary at an altar!”

    During my Sahaj Path yesterday evening, I came across this verse … ਜਪਿ ਮਨ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮੁ ਅਰਧਾਂਭਾ ॥ and I was not sure of the precise meaning of ‘ardhaambhaa” (as worthy of worship). Glad again to have read this post.

    Thanks for your noble endeavor Veer Ji.

    Deep Regards

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