Gurbani Defines Parjat

In order to CONVEY the truth of the BANI, all 35 composers of Bani (ਬਾਣੀਕਾਰ) who are included in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) have used language, vocabulary, beliefs, phrases, terms, metaphors and traditions that were already within the use and within the psyche of people of the time. The verses written in different poetic forms and various languages in the SGGS highlight this aspect well. The use of this vocabulary does NOT at all mean that they have accepted the meaning of the vocabulary in the form in which it was prevalent.

For example, when speaking to a farmer Baabaa Nanak used the language of farmers. When in discussion with Brahmin/Pandit, Yogi, Qazi etc. he used their spiritual language of the time. This way it was easy for the people to relate and understand his Unique spiritual Message.

However, as noted above, the use of this vocabulary does NOT at all mean that the writers (ਬਾਣੀਕਾਰ) of the Bani in the SGGS have accepted the meaning of the vocabulary in the form in which it was prevalent at the time. GURUS and BHAGATS have used these terms as examples (ਹਵਾਲਾ), but explicitly with new meanings and understanding to fit the new spiritual paradigms of Sikhi or Gurmat of Baabaa Nanak.

There are many words of Puranic/Vedic literature have been used in the SGGS to convey the truth. One of these words is ‘PARJAT’, the subject of this post.

Just as the Gurus and Bhagats have not used all other words of Puranic/Vedic literature or Hindu mythology in their prevailing sense, similarly they have not accepted the prevailing sense of ‘PARJAT’ either.

Our Gurus, and Bhagat Sahibaan questioned every cultural, religious or political tradition and every proclamations and RE-defined / changed as situation demanded. They all courageously and firmly stood up against the long held useless traditions, concocted narratives, and futile rituals (Karamkaand) of Hindus, Musalmans, Yogis, Jain etc.

  • ਕਾਦੀ ਕੂੜੁ ਬੋਲਿ ਮਲੁ ਖਾਇ ॥ ਬ੍ਰਾਹਮਣੁ ਨਾਵੈ ਜੀਆ ਘਾਇ ॥ ਜੋਗੀ ਜੁਗਤਿ ਨ ਜਾਣੈ ਅੰਧੁ ॥ ਤੀਨੇ ਓਜਾੜੇ ਕਾ ਬੰਧੁ ॥੨॥: The clergy of the Muslim faith was corrupt, the Brahmin was murderous and the Yogi Un-Enlightened. These three (clergy) had become the root cause for the spiritual wreckage and desolation that mankind had come to endure. (sggs 662).

For example, when speaking to a Brahmin/Pandit on the subject of PARJAT, GURU SHABAD says:

  • ਗੁਰੁ ਤੀਰਥੁ ਗੁਰੁ ਪਾਰਜਾਤੁ ਗੁਰੁ ਮਨਸਾ ਪੂਰਣਹਾਰੁ ॥ : Gur Teerath Gur PARJAT Gur Mansaa Pooranhaar. (sggs 52).

Note the word ‘ਪਾਰਜਾਤੁ’ in the foregoing verse (PARJAT; also found written as PARIJAT). Before reflecting on the verse and before knowing the GURU’s own definition of ‘PARJAT‘, let’s briefly discuss this concept in Puranic literature/ Hindu mythology.

PARJAT per pre-1469 belief system

This word ‘PARJAT‘ comes from Vedic spirituality. This mythical tree is said to be in mythical heavens that fulfils worldly desires when worshiped. This tree is worshiped even today for fulfillment of desires.

In Hindu mythology, there are lots of stories related to it. In Hindu mythology, the PARJAT tree is believed to have originated from the churning of the cosmic ocean (‘Samudra Manthan’) — one of fourteen jewels. It is said that Lord Krishna brought the tree to Earth as a gift for his wife, Satyabhama.

According to the Hindu mythology, Indra Devata took Kalpa Taru or Parjat (or Parjat) tree to mythical Indraloka and planted it in his garden and gifted it to his wife, Indrani. Kalpa Vriksh or Kalpa Taru literally means wish-granting tree. Since then, the tree is referred to as Tree of the Universe and its flowers are considered as the Jewels of Gods. Kalpa Vriksh or Kalpa Taru literally means wish-granting tree.

Another belief in Hindu mythology related to the Parjat tree is that there used to be a princess named ‘Parjat‘, who fell in love with Lord Surya (i.e. sun). According to the myth, despite all the efforts, Lord Surya did not accept Parjat’s love and Princess Parjat committed suicide. The place where the tomb of Princess Parjat was built, the Parjat tree was born!!!!!!

Note that in the SGGS, neither the existence of heaven, nor the existence of the god Indra, nor the myth of ‘Samudra Manthan’ etc. has been accepted. Because, the Gurbani in the SGGS is NOT regurgitation of the pre-1469 belief system or concocted messages already in use in India’s religious traditions and teachings.

Gurbani Re-defines PARJAT

Now coming back to the Gurbani’s own definition of the metaphorical ‘PARJAT’. GURU SHABAD says:

  • ਗੁਰੁ ਤੀਰਥੁ ਗੁਰੁ ਪਾਰਜਾਤੁ ਗੁਰੁ ਮਨਸਾ ਪੂਰਣਹਾਰੁ ॥ : Gur Teerath Gur PARJAT Gur Mansaa Pooranhaar. (sggs 52).

GUR TEERATH‘ (ਗੁਰੁ ਤੀਰਥੁ) : the SHABAD, BANI, the divine Giyan-Wisdom or spiritual Enlightenment is the ‘Teerath

GUR PARJAT‘ (ਗੁਰੁ ਪਾਰਜਾਤੁ): the SHABAD, BANI, the divine Giyan-Wisdom or spiritual Enlightenment is the ‘PARJAT

GUR MANSAA POORANHAAR‘ (ਗੁਰੁ ਮਨਸਾ ਪੂਰਣਹਾਰੁ): the divine Giyan-Wisdom or spiritual Enlightenment transforms thought process, makes one SACHIAARRA, a good human being.

Putting all together, GURU Re-Define ‘PARJAT‘ as follows:

  • ਗੁਰੁ ਤੀਰਥੁ ਗੁਰੁ ਪਾਰਜਾਤੁ ਗੁਰੁ ਮਨਸਾ ਪੂਰਣਹਾਰੁ ॥ : (GURU SHABAD says) the spirit of spiritual Enlightenment is (my) definition of ‘PARJAT‘ (wish fulfilling metaphorical tree) and ‘Teerath‘. This ‘PARJAT‘ and ‘Teerath‘ of divine Giyan-Wisdom/ Enlightenment transforms my thought process, makes me SACHIAARAA, a good human being. (sggs 52).

Since the Guru in Sikhi of Baabaa Nanak is SHABAD, BANI (Eternal Giyan-Wisdom), the Core of Gurmat Spirituality is to become ‘SACHIAARAA’ (‘Kiv Sachiaaraa Hoeeai’).

  • ਪਾਰਜਾਤੁ ਇਹੁ ਹਰਿ ਕੋ ਨਾਮ ॥ : The divine Naam (Giyan-Wisdom / Virtues) is the ‘PARJAT‘ (wish fulfilling metaphorical tree). (sggs 265).

Here are a few more ‘PARJAT‘ related verses from the SGGS:

  • ਤੁਮਹਿ ਪਾਰਜਾਤ ਗੁਰ ਤੇ ਪਾਏ ਤਉ ਨਾਨਕ ਭਏ ਨਿਹਾਲਾ ॥੨॥੩੩॥੫੬॥ : (O God) You are like ‘PARJAT‘ (wish fulfilling metaphorical tree), Nanak says, when God is realized through the Guru (SHABAD), then the mind become delighted.॥2॥33॥56॥ (sggs 1215).
  • ਬਿਰਖੁ ਜਮਿਓ ਹੈ ਪਾਰਜਾਤ ॥ ਫੂਲ ਲਗੇ ਫਲ ਰਤਨ ਭਾਂਤਿ ॥ ਤ੍ਰਿਪਤਿ ਅਘਾਨੇ ਹਰਿ ਗੁਣਹ ਗਾਇ ॥ ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਧਿਆਇ ॥ : by remembering and practicing the divine Wisdom / Virtues, PARJAT (wish fulfilling metaphorical tree) has sprouted Within me, which has been laden with precious Virtues like many kinds of flowers and fruits. (I am now) fully satisfied living with the divine Wisdom / Virtues. Jan Nanak, always remember the divine Naam (Wisdom / Virtues). (ਪੰਨਾ 1180).
  • ਤੁਮਹਿ ਪਾਰਜਾਤ ਗੁਰ ਤੇ ਪਾਏ ਤਉ ਨਾਨਕ ਭਏ ਨਿਹਾਲਾ ॥ : Nanak says, You (O God) are PARJAT (wish fulfilling metaphorical tree) and You are realized through the Guru’s spiritual Wisdom, and when realized then one is delighted. (sggs 1215).

Ending Note

Thus, the Gurmat or Sikhi of baabaa Nanak calls the divine Naam supreme.

By calling the divine Naam supreme, Baabaaa Nanak has urged the gullible public to connect with the truth by rejecting the mythical desire-fulfilling ‘PARJAT‘ tree, invented by the clever Pujaaree (clergy).

Aptly, living a divine life of divine Wisdom / Virtues, and living in harmony with the divine Hukam is considered the remembering of God‘s Naam – Gurmat Simron or Meditation, Enlightened or Gurmukh state of the mind (Guru Shabad-Oriented).

Having said that, it is a serious mistake to take Puranic/Vedic meaning of ‘PARJAT‘ to be the spirituality of Baabaa Nanak.

Baabaa Nanak’s spirituality or Sikhi is Unique and Revolutionary, which critiques, debunks and rejects blind worship, rituals (Karamkaand), fake stories (ਗੱਪ ਕਹਾਣੀਆਂ), religious paraphernalia, religious robes, pilgrim (Teerath Yatra), Pakhand, ritual bathing (Ishnaan), Pujaaree-Vaad, chanting etc.

  • ਮਾਰਿਆ ਸਿਕਾ ਜਗਤ੍ਰਿ ਵਿਚਿ ਨਾਨਕ ਨਿਰਮਲ ਪੰਥ ਚਲਾਇਆ । : In the world of spirituality, the Panth of Nanak has its Trademark in its Uniqueness as being ‘NIRMAL‘-uncontaminated (by existing pre-1469 beliefs). (Bhai Gurdas Ji, Vaar1, Pauree 45).

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  1. Many thanks Brother T. Singh Ji, for sharing this intriguing example of the revolutionary uniqueness of Gurmat. The Parjat tree metaphor helps us imagine what can germinate and grow in our minds when we connect with Naam, align ourselves with Hukam, and recognize our Mool within. Your exposition of it made me think immediately of another of the so-called “fourteen jewels”: Kamdhenu, the mythological wish-fulfilling cow. Indeed, it is mentioned directly after the Parjat in the citation you provided from SGGS 265: “Paarajaat ih har ko naam. Kaamadhen har har gun gaam.” These brilliantly re-defined metaphors, along with the myriad of others which are used in Gurbani, must serve to make us reflect upon the One who is the ultimate Source of all fulfillment: “Sabhe ichhaa pooreeaa jaa paaiaa agam apaaraa.” (SGGS 746)

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