Nij Bhagti

The term ‘Nij’ (ਨਿਜ) = own, personal, ਆਪਣੀ, ਆਪਣੇ ਆਪ ਦੀ, ਮੰਨ ਦੇ ਕੰਮ ਆਉਣ ਵਾਲੀ, beneficial to one’s Aatmaa or mind

The term ‘Bhagti‘ or ‘Bhagtee’ (ਭਗਤੀ) in the English translations of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) is seen translated as devotion, devotional service, or devotional worship.

That’s NOT the Gurbani’s understanding or meaning of ‘Bhagti‘!

In short, Bhagti in Sikhi is to (1) realize or awaken the Wisdom (Giaan) of the SGGS (Giaan Bhagti or Gurmat Bhagti) and Virtues (Rabbi Gun-ਗੁਣ) within, (2) and then live daily life responsibly according to that Wisdom (Giaan) of the Guru!

Thus, ਨਿਜ ਭਗਤੀ (Nij bhagtee) = One’s own Bhagti, to understand one’s ownself, to know one’s ownself, to search ownself (Khoj), to abide in one’s Mool or Jot Saroop etc. — ਆਪਣੀ ਭਗਤੀ, ਆਪਣਾ ਜਾਪ ਆਪੇ ਜਪਣਾ (ਕਿਸੇ ਹੋਰ ਦੀ ਭਗਤੀ ਨਹੀ ਕਰਨੀ: the Bhagti of the Self by the Self…).

The Gurmat Wisdom of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) says that one’s own Bhagtee (‘ਨਿਜ ਭਗਤੀ’) is the most soothing (ਠੰਡ ਪਾਂਣ ਵਾਲੀ, ਸੀਤਲਤਾ ਪ੍ਰਦਾਨ ਕਰਣ ਵਾਲੀ, bestower of Peace, Bliss, Divine Knowledge…) and Complete. Why? Because, according to the Gurbani, Raam or Rabb is situated in the Heart of each one of us. In other words, the Gurbani tell us there is no need to worship any other entity outside (ਕਿਸੇ ਹੋਰ ਦੀ ਭਗਤੀ ਨਹੀ ਕਰਨੀ). Essentially, this is: ‘ਆਪੇ ਗੁਰੁ ਚੇਲਾ-Aapae Guru Chaelaa’.

  • ਨਿਜ ਭਗਤੀ ਸੀਲਵੰਤੀ ਨਾਰਿ ॥ ਰੂਪਿ ਅਨੂਪ ਪੂਰੀ ਆਚਾਰਿ ॥ ਜਿਤੁ ਗ੍ਰਿਹਿ ਵਸੈ ਸੋ ਗ੍ਰਿਹੁ ਸੋਭਾਵੰਤਾ ॥ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਪਾਈ ਕਿਨੈ ਵਿਰਲੈ ਜੰਤਾ ॥੧॥: Nij Bhagti is akin to a sweet (natured-ਮਿੱਠੇ ਸੁਭਾਵ ਵਾਲੀ…) woman; whose beauty is incomparable, and whose character is perfect (complete). The House (of the Heart) in which (this woman) dwells is such a praiseworthy House (Beautiful, ਸੋਭਾ ਵਾਲਾ). But rare are those who, by becoming the Gurmukhi, attain (this woman-ਨਿਜ ਭਗਤੀ or the state of Nij Bhagti) ||1|| (sggs 370).
  • ਆਪੇ ਗੁਰੁ ਚੇਲਾ ਹੈ ਆਪੇ ਆਪੇ ਦਸੇ ਘਾਟੁ ॥: (Rabb Himself) is the Guru, (Rabb) Himself is the Sikh, and (Rabb) Himself shows the Way (direction, destination, landing place etc.). (sggs 517).

Bhagat Kabeer Ji tells us that he has given up his wavering disposition. Now only Raam’s (i.e., my Mool‘s) Bhagti has fallen to his own lot. The Gurbani also asserts that Raam dwells in the Heart of each one of us.

  • ਕਹੁ ਕਬੀਰ ਚੰਚਲ ਮਤਿ ਤਿਆਗੀ ॥ ਕੇਵਲ ਰਾਮ ਭਗਤਿ ਨਿਜ ਭਾਗੀ ॥੩॥੧॥੧੯॥: Says Kabeer! I have renounced my restless intellect. (Now) only the Raam’s Bhagti (i.e., my Mool’s Bhagti) is my lot ||3||1||19|| (sggs 327).
  • ਕਹੁ ਕਬੀਰ ਇਹੁ ਰਾਮ ਕੀ ਅੰਸੁ ॥: Says Kabeer! This (i.e., soul that dwells within) is Raam’s Ansh (of same essence as Rabb – Jot Saroop). (sggs 871).
  • ਸਭੈ ਘਟ ਰਾਮੁ ਬੋਲੈ ਰਾਮਾ ਬੋਲੈ ॥: Sbhai ghat Raam(u) bolai… (sggs 988).

Thus, the Gurmat indeed is ‘ਨਿਜ ਭਗਤੀ’ (Nij Bhagtee) — ਆਪਣਾ ਆਪ ਚੀਨਣਾ, ਆਪਣਾਂ ਆਪ ਖੋਜਣਾ, ਅਪਣਾਂ ਆਪ ਬੁਝਣਾ. Aptly, the Gurbani alerts us that without knowing oneself, the moss of doubt will not leave you.

  • ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਬਿਨੁ ਆਪਾ ਚੀਨੈ ਮਿਟੈ ਨ ਭ੍ਰਮ ਕੀ ਕਾਈ ॥: O Daas Nanak! Without Realizing one’s ownself (Mool, Original, or True Nature, etc. – ਆਪਣਾ ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਪਰਖਣ ਤੋਂ ਬਿਨਾ, etc.), the moss of doubt (ignorance of one’s True Nature, etc.) is not eradicated (from the mind) ||2||1|| (sggs 684).
  • ਇਸੁ ਮਨ ਕਉ ਕੋਈ ਖੋਜਹੁ ਭਾਈ ॥: O brother! Let someone search this mind (sggs 330).

Hence the Gurmat is totally different than all other worldly intellect or thoughts (ਸਭ ਸੰਸਾਰੀ ਮੱਤਾ ਤੌ ਅਲਗ). It is totally different because the advice of all other worldly belief (ਸਭ ਸੰਸਾਰੀ ਮੱਤਾ) is to worship an outside entity.

But the Gurbani does not want us to worship any outside entity. This is a huge difference!

Accordingly, the Gurbani repeatedly asks us to go within, look within, search within, find within, inquire within, contemplate within, be established within, Abide within…

Nij Bhagtee (‘ਨਿਜ ਭਗਤੀ’) is the most sweet, soothing and complete Bhagti.

  • ਜੋ ਜਨੁ ਭਗਤੁ ਦਾਸੁ ਨਿਜੁ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਕਾ ਸੁਣਿ ਜੀਵਾਂ ਤਿਸੁ ਸੋਇ ॥: The human being who becomes a Bhagat, Daas Jan(u) (i.e., Gurmukh) of his own Prabh (i.e., Mool), I attain spiritual life by listening to him. (sggs 1223).
  • ਗੁਰੁ ਅਮਰਦਾਸੁ ਨਿਜ ਭਗਤੁ ਹੈ ਦੇਖਿ ਦਰਸੁ ਪਾਵਉ ਮੁਕਤਿ ॥੪॥੧੩॥: Guru Amardaas(u) Nij Bhagat(u) Hai… (sggs 1394).