In order to impart the Truth (ਸਚ), all 35 contributors of the SGGS have used terms that were already within the use and within the psyche of people of the time.
However, they have used these terms as examples (ਹਵਾਲਾ), but explicitly with new meanings and understanding to fit the new and unique spiritual paradigms of Sikhi or Gurmat (Giaan or Wisdom of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, SGGS).
“Paap’ (ਪਾਪ) and ‘Punn’ (ਪੁੰਨ) are one of these terms.
However, the Gurbani has used these terms with new meanings and understanding to fit the new and unique Messages of the Gurbani.
What’s ‘Paap’ for one person or in one religion or at one place may not me a ‘Paap’ for somebody else.
Similarly, what’s ‘Punn’ for one person or one religion or at one place, may not me a ‘Punn’ for somebody else.
In other words, what is good for one is bad for the other. For example, consuming alcohol, cannabis, meat, or staying naked etc., may be considered good by one but bad by somebody else.
Hence, according to the Gurbani, ‘Punn’ and ‘Paap’ are both the same, NOT what we have been led to believe by the Karamkaand (useless ritualism, formalities) corrupt Pujaaree systems of all organized and institutionalized religions.
- ਕਰਮ ਧਰਮ ਸਭਿ ਬੰਧਨਾ ਪਾਪ ਪੁੰਨ ਸਨਬੰਧੁ ॥: The religious rituals are all entanglements; Paap and Punn are (just to keep people) attached with them. (sggs 551).
In short, we have been fed wrong definition of ‘Paap’ and ‘Punn’. The Gurbani asserts:
- ਪਾਪ ਪੁੰਨ ਦੁਇ ਏਕ ਸਮਾਨ ॥ ਨਿਜ ਘਰਿ ਪਾਰਸੁ ਤਜਹੁ ਗੁਨ ਆਨ ॥੩॥: ‘Paap’ and ‘Punn’ are both the same. In the home of your own being, is the ‘Paaras’ (Prabh, Rabb…); renounce your search for any other virtue (and realize your Mool, or True Nature – Jot Saroop). ||3|| (sggs 325).
In literal sense, the term Paap (ਪਾਪ) can be seen translated as sin, vice, bad deed, Dukrit (ਦੁਕ੍ਰਿਤ), Ashubh, etc.
Also the term Punn (ਪੁੰਨ) can be seen translated as Sukrit (ਸੁਕ੍ਰਿਤ), virtue, good deed, Shubh, etc.
The sense of likes and dislikes (or Pair of opposites) is duality or Doojaa Bhaav (Mayaic consciousness, conditioned mind, etc.).
However, the Gurbani teaches us to transcend duality.
- ਦੁਕ੍ਰਿਤ ਸੁਕ੍ਰਿਤ ਮੰਧੇ ਸੰਸਾਰੁ ਸਗਲਾਣਾ ॥ ਦੁਹਹੂੰ ਤੇ ਰਹਤ ਭਗਤੁ ਹੈ ਕੋਈ ਵਿਰਲਾ ਜਾਣਾ ॥੧॥: The whole world is engrossed in (duality -) bad actions and good actions (as determined by the Pujaaree). The Bhagat (Daas, Gurmukh, Jan…) stays away from these two ideas, but such a person is rarely found. ||1|| (sggs 51).
- ਪਾਪ ਪੁੰਨ ਕੀ ਸਾਰ ਨ ਜਾਣੀ ॥ ਦੂਜੈ ਲਾਗੀ ਭਰਮਿ ਭੁਲਾਣੀ ॥: (one who) does not know the reality of Paap and Punn, is duality stricken and lost in doubt. (sggs 110).
- ਭਾਈ ਰੇ ਜਗੁ ਦੁਖੀਆ ਦੂਜੈ ਭਾਇ ॥: O brother! Engrossed in the love of duality, the world suffers. (sggs 29).
The Gurbani further reveals to us we it is the negative impact of egotism (Haumai) that gives rise to the concept such as Paap and Punn.:
- ਹਉ ਵਿਚਿ ਪਾਪ ਪੁੰਨ ਵੀਚਾਰੁ ॥: In Haumai or false ego-sense (i.e., as long as one is in the illusion of his existence separate from his Mool or Jot Saroop, until then) he considers Paap and Punn (i.e., counting or Ginatee-ਗਿਣਤੀ). (sggs 466).
In short, there is counting (Ginatee-ਗਿਣਤੀ-ਮਿਣਤੀ) in Duality. Hence, there is counting in Paap and Punn.
Similarly, there is counting in Paath and Poojaa (I have done or read so many Nitnem, Akhand Paath, etc.); there is counting in telling beads (ਮਾਲਾ ਫੇਰਨੀ); there is counting in charity or Daan (I have built so many Gurdwaras or temples, etc.), and so on.
Where Maya ends, counting ends!
- ਹੁਕਮੈ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਸਭੁ ਕੋ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਹੁਕਮ ਨ ਕੋਇ ॥: Everyone is subject to Hukam; no one is beyond (exempt or outside of) Hukam. (sggs 1).
In nutshell, acting against the Hukam is ‘Apraadh’ or Paap, and acting in accordance with the Hukam is Punn.
- ਹੁਕਮੁ ਨ ਜਾਣਹਿ ਬਪੁੜੇ ਭੂਲੇ ਫਿਰਹਿ ਗਵਾਰ ॥: The wretched fools do not know Hukam; they wander around making mistakes. (sggs 66).
The Gurbani further explains to us that it is our Mayaic mind that feeds both Paap and Punn. For our Manasaa (Budhi, intellect – ਬੁੱਧੀ, ਅਕਲ…) carries dictates of the mind.
- ਮਨ ਕਾ ਕਹਿਆ ਮਨਸਾ ਕਰੈ ॥ ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਪੁੰਨੁ ਪਾਪੁ ਉਚਰੈ ॥: Man carries out the dictates of his mind. This mind feeds on Punn and Paap (sggs 832).
Then how are we not to get subject to Paap and Punn? As indicated before, only the Bhagats are above the both Paap and Punn. For they transcend their Mayaic consciousness.
- ਚਉਥੇ ਸੁੰਨੈ ਜੋ ਨਰੁ ਜਾਣੈ ਤਾ ਕਉ ਪਾਪੁ ਨ ਪੁੰਨੰ ॥: One who is established in the Fourth State (beyond Maya), is not subject to Paap or Punn. (sggs 943).
One who has become the Gurmukh, ‘Sookh’ and ‘Dookh’ are both the same for him.
As a result, ‘Paap’ and ‘Punn’ are also both the same for a Gurmukh.
- ਸੂਖ ਦੂਖ ਜਨ ਸਮ ਦ੍ਰਿਸਟੇਤਾ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਪਾਪ ਪੁੰਨ ਨਹੀ ਲੇਪਾ ॥੬॥: (Jan – Daas, Bhagat, Gurmukh – efface malice from his mind, such beings) consider happiness and sorrow both the same. O Nanak! (That is why) Paap and Punn do not affect them. (sggs 266).
For them (i.e., Jan, Daas, Gurmukh, Bhagat), as the Gurbani asserts, Paap and Punn is just a ‘proverb-ਕਹਾਵਤ’, which began to be spoken of after the rise of Maya.
- ਪਾਪੁ ਪੁੰਨੁ ਤਹ ਭਈ ਕਹਾਵਤ ॥: (After the spread of the three-qualitied Maya) Paap and Punn then began to be spoken of. (sggs 691).
Although we all were born as ‘Saabat Soorat‘ (Intact or Undivided Consciousness, Jot Saroop, True Nature…), however, with rise of psychological conditionings, etc., we end up being a limited body-mind-intellect. Then, from this deluded personality arose the perceiver of objects, the feeler of emotions, and the thinker of thoughts. This is duality or separateness from the ‘Saabat Soorat‘.
The Gurbani asks the mind to retrace its steps back to its True Nature it was born with — ‘Saabat Soorat’, Jot Saroop, beyond the notion or duality of ‘Paap’ and ‘Punn’.
- ਜਬ ਅਕਾਰੁ ਇਹੁ ਕਛੁ ਨ ਦ੍ਰਿਸਟੇਤਾ ॥ ਪਾਪ ਪੁੰਨ ਤਬ ਕਹ ਤੇ ਹੋਤਾ ॥: When (there was no form: no rise of Maya or creation), then who (Jeev or being) could have committed Paap and Punn? (sggs 290).
In short, Pujaaree-Vaad (Brahmanism, etc.) have filled our minds with ‘Paap’ and ‘Punn’. However, the Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS tells us there is no ‘Paap’ and no ‘Punn’. In fact, by reading, listening to and understanding the Gurbani, we were to adapt our life to its Upadesh (teachings, Wisdom or Giaan).
- ਪਾਂਚਉ ਇੰਦ੍ਰੀ ਨਿਗ੍ਰਹ ਕਰਈ ॥ ਪਾਪੁ ਪੁੰਨੁ ਦੋਊ ਨਿਰਵਰਈ ॥੨੭॥: (A person who has experienced his Jot Saroop, within) controls his five senses, (he) removes the idea of Paap and Punn (ie, he controls the five senses in such a way that he does not have to think about his deeds anymore — every act of his is free from Bikaar: lust, anger, greed, etc.). (sggs 341).