In order to impart the Truth (ਸਚ), all 35 contributors of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (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 (Wisdom of the SGGS); NOT to regurgitate what already existed before the Gurus!
‘Paap’ (ਪਾਪ) and ‘Punn’ (ਪੁੰਨ) are one of these terms.
In literal sense, the term ‘Paap’ (ਪਾਪ) can be seen translated as sin, vice, bad deeds, Ashubh, etc.
Also the term ‘Punn’ (ਪੁੰਨ) can be seen translated as virtues, good deeds, Shubh, donations (Daan), charity, etc.
World in the grip of Paap Punn
The Gurmat Wisdom tells us that faulty concept of Paap Punn set in motion by the crafty Pujaaree is grinding the whole world.
In Sikhi Or Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS, Paap and Punn, as practiced by the illiterate Deraa-Vaad, Baabaa-Vaad, Saadh-Vaad, or the Pujaaree-Vaad (i.e., ਮੰਨਮੱਤ, ਅਨਮੱਤ, ਮੂੜਮੱਤ) is the concept derived from the Karamkaand (rituals, formalities…) practices of others (ਮੰਨਮੱਤੀ, ਅੰਨਮੱਤੀ, ਮੂੜਮੱਤੀ ਸੋਚ ).
- ਪਾਪ ਪੁੰਨ ਵਰਤੈ ਸੰਸਾਰਾ ॥ ਹਰਖੁ ਸੋਗੁ ਸਭੁ ਦੁਖੁ ਹੈ ਭਾਰਾ ॥ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਹੋਵੈ ਸੋ ਸੁਖੁ ਪਾਏ ਜਿਨਿ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਪਛਾਤਾ ਹੇ ॥੬॥: (Under the influence of Maya) the world is engrossed in Paap and Punn. (In the attachment of Maya itself) there is happiness and sorrow everywhere; tremendous sorrow (pervades the world resulting from the love or hunger of Maya). One who becomes Gurmukh, and as a Gurmukh realizes Naam finds happiness. ||6|| (sggs 1052).
- 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).
Before going further, to fully digest the Gurmat’s point of view, it’s very important to keep Gurmat’s this point in mind — ‘BECOME GURMUKH‘ (Daas, Bhagat, Jan: Wise person, brave person, good person, pious person, virtuous person, fearless, ਵਿਦਵਾਨ, ਬਹਾਦੁਰ, ਭਲਾ ਇਨਸਾਨ, ਨੇਕ ਇਨਸਾਨ, ਗੁਣੀ ਇਨਸਾਨ…).
In the Brahminical Karamkaand, the biggest Paap is indicated as the murder of a Brahmin. Also, the biggest Punn is indicated as Daan (charity, donation…) of the highest material value to a Brahmin.
As a result, the foolish and brainwashed people gave in Daan to Brahmins things like land, money, their wives, daughters (‘Devadasi’ – ਦੇਵਦਾਸੀ – system), horses, elephants, cows, etc. (ਅਸੁ ਦਾਨ ਗਜ ਦਾਨ ਸਿਹਜਾ ਨਾਰੀ ਭੂਮਿ ਦਾਨ ਐਸੋ ਦਾਨੁ ਨਿਤ ਨਿਤਹਿ ਕੀਜੈ ॥ sggs 973).
First the crafty Brahmin manufactured a counterfeit god. Then, scaring people of the ‘Paap Punn’ cycle, he made them worship his counterfeit god, fake spirituality, Pakhand, Kapat (ਪਖੰਡ, ਕਪਟ), and so on!
This concept of Punn and Paap as defined by the Brahmin is rejected in Sikhi or Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS.
The result is that our lives have become a kind of superstitious, doubt-ridden, and Pakhand (hypocritical). Instead of the Gurmat Wisdom, we have a plethora of ideas from others (ਮੰਨਮੱਤੀ, ਅੰਨਮੱਤੀ, ਮੂੜਮੱਤੀ ਸੋਚ ).
- ਕਥਾ ਕਹਾਣੀ ਬੇਦੀ ਆਣੀ ਪਾਪੁ ਪੁੰਨੁ ਬੀਚਾਰੁ ॥ ਦੇ ਦੇ ਲੈਣਾ ਲੈ ਲੈ ਦੇਣਾ ਨਰਕਿ ਸੁਰਗਿ ਅਵਤਾਰ ॥ ਉਤਮ ਮਧਿਮ ਜਾਤੀਂ ਜਿਨਸੀ ਭਰਮਿ ਭਵੈ ਸੰਸਾਰੁ ॥: The narrative given to the world by the Vedas is that there are sinful deeds (‘Paap‘) and pious ones (‘Punn‘) — to give (Daan) more than one receives, and to receive more that one gives is the basis for becoming a resident of ‘Hell’ and ‘Heaven’. (Through this teaching of the Vedas) the world is lost and steeped in superstitions of high and low social class. (sggs 1243).
- ਪੰਡਿਤੁ ਪੜਿ ਨ ਪਹੁਚਈ ਬਹੁ ਆਲ ਜੰਜਾਲਾ ॥ ਪਾਪ ਪੁੰਨ ਦੁਇ ਸੰਗਮੇ ਖੁਧਿਆ ਜਮਕਾਲਾ ॥: Involved in many domestic or Mayaic entanglements; even after reading (Vedas, Puraan, etc.), the Pandit cannot reach the stage (of abidance in his Mool, Jot, Rabb, etc.). (According to the Pandit’s theology) even while considering what is Paap and Punn, he remains in the snare of duality, he is tormented by the hunger for Maya and Jamm (i.e. Bikaar, fear of death etc.). (sggs 1012).
- ਬੇਦੁ ਪੁਕਾਰੇ ਪੁੰਨੁ ਪਾਪੁ ਸੁਰਗ ਨਰਕ ਕਾ ਬੀਉ ॥ ਜੋ ਬੀਜੈ ਸੋ ਉਗਵੈ ਖਾਂਦਾ ਜਾਣੈ ਜੀਉ ॥ … ਬੇਦੁ ਵਪਾਰੀ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਰਾਸਿ ਕਰਮੀ ਪਲੈ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਰਾਸੀ ਬਾਹਰਾ ਲਦਿ ਨ ਚਲਿਆ ਕੋਇ ॥੨॥: (O Pandit!) The Vedas pronounce that the act of piousness (‘Punn’) and sin (‘Paap’) are the determinants of ‘Heaven and hell’ in the Afterlife — what is planted in this life will bear fruits in ‘Heaven’ or ‘Hell‘. … (Thus, O Pandit, by mentioning the fruits of Paap and Punn) the Veda speaks of business (ਧੰਧਾ); (But the real capital for man) is the knowledge (of divine Virtues) and this knowledge is obtained (from the Guru-) grace (i.e., grace of the Gur-Giaan or Wisdom). O Nanak! Without this capital (of knowledge, Naam, Truth…) no human being (from the world) ever departs laden with the profit. (sggs 1243-1244).
What’s ‘Paap’ for one person or in one religion or at one place may not me a ‘Paap’ for somebody or somewhere else.
Similarly, what’s ‘Punn’ for one person or one religion or at one place, may not me a ‘Punn’ for somebody or somewhere else.
In other words, what’s good for one may be bad for the other. For example, consuming alcohol, cannabis, meat, smoking, staying naked etc., may be considered good by one but bad by somebody else.
For example, the Pujaaree ritualistically (Karamkaand) slaughter goat (after goat is bathed!) at Hajoor Sahib Gurdwara in the name of the Guru and god while reciting some verses! The Pujaaree at Hajoor Sahib Gurdwara may not considered it Paap, BUT other Gurdwaras may have different ideas!
Similarly, what’s considered Paap or Punn in one Hindu temple may not be considered Paap or Punn in other temples! for example, in some temples liquor is offered to deity, in some temples meat is severed as Prasad, in a temple in south India naked women worship, some village temples (particularly in south India) practice Devadasi system that amounts to abuse and slavery of young girls, etc. The truth is other temples may considered all of this ‘Paap’!
Also, what’s considered Paap or Punn in one religion (ਮਜ਼ਹਬ) may not be considered Paap or Punn in other religions!
As far the Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS is concerned, forgetfulness of Rabb (Universal Energy, Hukam or System-Rule-Law of Nature or Kudrat) is the greatest sin in Sikhi:
- ਪਰਮੇਸਰ ਤੇ ਭੁਲਿਆਂ ਵਿਆਪਨਿ ਸਭੇ ਰੋਗ ॥: Forgetting Parmeshar, (one) gets afflicted with all the sorrows (of the world). (sggs 135).
‘Punn and Paap are both the same’
The Gurbani further reveals to us that it is the negative impact of the false ego-sense (Haumai), which gives rise to the concepts or ideas 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).
- ਕਾਇਆ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਪਾਪੁ ਪੁੰਨੁ ਦੁਇ ਭਾਈ ॥: In the body (of a person living under the negative influence of egotism or Haumai), both brothers ‘Paap’ and ‘Punn’ live (inner mental-Soch or thinking, and make life’s decisions accordingly). (sggs 126).
Since both ‘Paap’ and ‘Punn’ show false ego-sense (Haumai), according to the Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS, they both are the same — on account of egotism, both keep the mind occupied in lust or Vaasanaa!
- ਪਾਪ ਪੁੰਨ ਦੁਇ ਏਕ ਸਮਾਨ ॥ ਨਿਜ ਘਰਿ ਪਾਰਸੁ ਤਜਹੁ ਗੁਨ ਆਨ ॥੩॥: ‘Paap’ and ‘Punn’ are both the same (i.e., both shoe egotism or Haumai, both keep the mind occupied in lust or Vaasanaa). (O mind!) Within the home of your own being, is the ‘Paaras’ (Paaras = the stone that is believed to change a base metal to gold by touch — Naam, Prabh, Wisdom, etc.); renounce your search for any other virtues (such as Paap and Punn, instead, stay connected to ‘Paaras’ within). ||3|| (sggs 325).
This sounds contrary to what we have been led to believe in our entire lives by the crafty and illiterate Pujaaree-Vaad in Sikhi as well as the Pujaaree systems of all other organized and institutionalized religions.
In short, we have been fed wrong definition of ‘Paap’ and ‘Punn’ by the Sikh Pujaaree-Vaad.
The sense of likes and dislikes (or pair of opposites) is duality or Doojaa Bhaav (Mayaic consciousness, conditioned mind, etc.).
- ਪਾਪ ਪੁੰਨ ਕੀ ਸਾਰ ਨ ਜਾਣੀ ॥ ਦੂਜੈ ਲਾਗੀ ਭਰਮਿ ਭੁਲਾਣੀ ॥ ਅਗਿਆਨੀ ਅੰਧਾ ਮਗੁ ਨ ਜਾਣੈ ਫਿਰਿ ਫਿਰਿ ਆਵਣ ਜਾਵਣਿਆ ॥੫॥: A person who does not understand the essence (reality-ਅਸਲੀਅਤ…) of ‘Paap’ and ‘Punn’, is attached with duality and is lost in illusion. That ignorant and (mentally) blind man knows not the right Way of living or life. (His mind) remains in the cycle of coming and going (his mind remains perplexed, wavering, wandering, not reaching any conclusion thus keep suffering in the ignorance of the Gurmat…). (sggs 110).
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).
To put it in simple terms, there is counting (Ginatee-ਗਿਣਤੀ-ਮਿਣਤੀ) in Duality (‘two-ness’). Hence, there is counting in Paap and Punn.
Similarly, there is counting in Paath and Poojaa (I have done or read so many Nitnem; so many 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’s illusion or slumber ends, counting ends!
To the contrary, Punn is acting in accordance with the Hukam or Gurmat Wisdom. In other words, it is living a Gurmukh Lifestyle (guided by the divine or Virtues).
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).
- 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).
Our Mool is unaffected by Paap and Punn
The Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS confirms that our Mool (Jot Saroop, Hari Prabh, Gobind, Raam, Allah….) is unaffected by Paap or Punn.
- ਪਾਪ ਪੁੰਨ ਕਾ ਇਸੁ ਲੇਪੁ ਨ ਲਾਗੈ ॥: (Since Jeeva is Jot Saroop) Paap and Punn have no effect on it (sggs 868).
The implication is if our Mool is unaffected by Paap or Punn, then the mind abiding in its Mool is also unaffected by Paap or Punn.
In Other words, if Jot Saroop is unaffected by Paap or Punn, then the mind firmly linked to its Jot Saroop is also unaffected by Paap or Punn.
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‘.
- ਨਹੀ ਲੇਪੁ ਤਿਸੁ ਪੁੰਨਿ ਨ ਪਾਪਿ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਕਾ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਆਪੇ ਆਪਿ ॥੪॥੨੫॥੩੬॥: (Parabhu) is influenced by NO Punn and NO Paap (ever). Nanak’s Prabhu is Himself all in all. (sggs 894).
- ਇਉ ਕਹੈ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਮਨ ਤੂੰ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਰੂਪੁ ਹੈ ਅਪਣਾ ਮੂਲੁ ਪਛਾਣੁ ॥੫॥: Thus says Nanak – O mind! You are embodiment of Pure Light (Pure Consciousness, Pure Nature, Original or Real Nature, Wisdom, Virtues – Jot Saroop …)! Recognize your Mool (ਅਪਣੇ ਆਪ ਦੀ ਪਛਾਣ, recognition of mind’s Original or True Nature – Jot Saroop…) ||5|| (sggs 441).
Gurbani says go beyond this ‘Kahaabat’ of Paap Punn
As the Gurbani assert, those who have become the Gurmukhs (Bhagat, Daas, Jan…) for them Paap and Punn is just a ‘proverb or say-ਕਹਾਵਤ’, which began to be spoken of after the rise of hunger for Maya.
- ਪਾਪੁ ਪੁੰਨੁ ਤਹ ਭਈ ਕਹਾਵਤ ॥ ਕੋਊ ਨਰਕ ਕੋਊ ਸੁਰਗ ਬੰਛਾਵਤ ॥: The notion of sinful deeds (Paap) and pious acts (Punn) were concocted as a narrative; to make some to desire ‘Heaven’ and others fit or destined for ‘Hell’. (sggs 691).
- ਜਬ ਅਕਾਰੁ ਇਹੁ ਕਛੁ ਨ ਦ੍ਰਿਸਟੇਤਾ ॥ ਪਾਪ ਪੁੰਨ ਤਬ ਕਹ ਤੇ ਹੋਤਾ ॥: When (there was no form: no rise of Maya), then who could have committed Paap and Punn? (sggs 290).
The Gurbani asks the mind to retrace its steps back to its True Nature it was born with — ‘Saabat Soorat’ or Jot Saroop, which is unaffected by the duality or ‘Paap’ and ‘Punn’.
As indicated before, only the Gurmukh (Bhagats, Daas, Jan…) are above both Paap and Punn. Because, transcending their three-qualitied Mayaic consciousness, they become established in the FOURTH STATE.
- ਅੰਤਰਿ ਸੁੰਨੰ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਸੁੰਨੰ ਤ੍ਰਿਭਵਣ ਸੁੰਨ ਮਸੁੰਨੰ ॥ ਚਉਥੇ ਸੁੰਨੈ ਜੋ ਨਰੁ ਜਾਣੈ ਤਾ ਕਉ ਪਾਪੁ ਨ ਪੁੰਨੰ ॥: Th Creator is Within and without all of His Creation for the entirety of its Existence. The Highest Level of Realization (Fourth Sate, beyond three qualities of Maya) is where one is above sinful and virtuous deeds (i.e. Paap Punn). (sggs 943).
One who has become the Gurmukh, ‘Sookh’ and ‘Dookh’, etc., 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).
In short, Pujaaree-Vaad have filled our minds with ‘Paap’ and ‘Punn’. However, the Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS tells us otherwise.
In nutshell, the Gurbani asks us to remove our inner garbage — the negative pulls of human nature (Bikaar, Vaasanaa…). If not checked and controlled, it will bring the Jeeva (individual beings) down to the animal nature.
- 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 (i.e., he controls the five senses acquiring knowledge 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).
- ਪੁੰਨ ਦਾਨ ਜਪ ਤਪ ਜੇਤੇ ਸਭ ਊਪਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ॥: (Prescribed deeds such as) Punn, charity, Japa, and Tapa – Naam is the best of all. (sggs 401).
- ਕਿਛੁ ਪੁੰਨ ਦਾਨ ਅਨੇਕ ਕਰਣੀ ਨਾਮ ਤੁਲਿ ਨ ਸਮਸਰੇ ॥: People give donations to charity; perform a variety of rituals (Karamkaand); all of this is in vain because none of this is equal to Naam. (sggs 566).
There is NO ‘Paap Punn‘ for those Gursikh brothers and sisters who who as the Gurmukh live a Divine Life guided by the divine Virtues and the divine Wisdom.
The reason is whatever a ‘Gurmukh‘ does results in ‘Sarbatt Daa Bhalaa – ਸਰਬੱਤ ਦਾ ਭਲਾ’ (meaning ‘well-being of all of humanity’, ‘peace for all of humanity’, ‘prosperity for everyone’, ‘welfare of all’, ‘may everyone be blessed’, ‘may good come to all’…).
- ਬੁਰਾ ਨਹੀ ਸਭੁ ਭਲਾ ਹੀ ਹੈ ਰੇ ਹਾਰ ਨਹੀ ਸਭ ਜੇਤੈ ॥੧॥: (To a person established in Mool-abidance or in his Jot Saroop) no human being seems bad to him, everyone looks good to him, (against the Bikaar or perversions or defects of the world) he never loses, always wins (sggs 1302).
Since the Gurmukhs have transcended the negative impact of egotism (Haumai), they don’t entertain the Brahmani or Deredari ideas, and they don’t need to! For them instilling Divine Virtues and Wisdom and live a divine Life is the gist or essence of Sikhi.
- ਪਾਪ ਪੁੰਨ ਹਮਰੈ ਵਸਿ ਨਾਹਿ ॥ ਰਸਕਿ ਰਸਕਿ ਨਾਨਕ ਗੁਣ ਗਾਹਿ ॥੪॥੪੦॥੫੧॥: Paap and Punn are not under our control. O Nanak! (Those who remember their Mool or Jot Saroop…) live remembering the Divine Virtues with great love (sggs 899).
- ਖੇਤੀ ਵਣਜੁ ਨਾਵੈ ਕੀ ਓਟ ॥ ਪਾਪੁ ਪੁੰਨੁ ਬੀਜ ਕੀ ਪੋਟ॥: Life should be lived by taking, acquiring, possessing the divine Virtues and Wisdom in the form of Naam.Doing deeds according to the ‘Paap Punn’ thinking becomes a bundle of seeds (meaning our Sanskars, thoughts and thinking are made according to that). (sggs 152).
- ਪੁੰਨੀ ਪਾਪੀ ਆਖਣੁ ਨਾਹਿ ॥: Mere talking about Paap Punn does not become either Paapee or Punnee (i.e., it does not remove the doubt of the mind. For that one has to live a practical life as the Gurmukh). (sggs 4).