Stubborn Mindedness – Ritual Bathing

Any religion (ਮਜ਼ਹਬ) in which there is a provision for Pakhand to wash away sins/vices or Bikaar and become pure only with bathing, who will be afraid to commit sins/vices in that religion and society? NO BODY — that means there must be sin/vices!

First off, there is no such provision in Sikhi of Baabaa Nanak!

Here we are not talking about the meaning of bath which we routinely take (bath) at home. The Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) does not ask us not being hygienic. Second, the Gurmat Giaan or Wisdom of the SGGS does not promote or support ‘Frog-Philosophy‘ either!

Here, the Sri Guru Granth Sahib is talking about those people who go to the so called religious location (Tirath, Dhaarmak Asthaan-ਧਾਰਮਕ ਅਸਥਾਨ etc.) on certain dates or occasions for ablution and by doing so claim they have become pure and religious (Dhaarmak) by taking bath there!

At the time of Baabaa Nanak’s Journey on this earth, useless rituals (Karamkaand) like ritual bathing in stubborn mindedness were on the rampant in the society.

In the outset of the SGGS, Baabaa Nanak teaches humanity:

  • ਤੀਰਥਿ ਨਾਵਾ ਜੇ ਤਿਸੁ ਭਾਵਾ ਵਿਣੁ ਭਾਣੇ ਕਿ ਨਾਇ ਕਰੀ ॥ : Why undertakes the spirituality of cleansing at Teeraths (Locations of pilgrimage) when its NOT within the Domain of His Hukam. (sggs 2).
  • ਸੁਣਿਐ ਅਠਸਠਿ ਕਾ ਇਸਨਾਨੁ ॥ : Internalization of Shabad enables an evaluation of the reality of cleansing at sixty-eight Teeraths (Locations of pilgrimage). (sggs 3).

To impart the Truth (ਸਚ) and Awaken our mind slumbering in this foolishness, all contributors of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) have used terms that were already within the use and within the psyche of people of their time.

Since the Gurbani is NOT meant to regurgitate outdated, irrelevant, illogical, fictitious, stone-age thinking — concocted stories (ਗੱਪ- ਕਹਾਣੀਆਂ), rituals or other imaginary nonsense etc. — all 35 hit hard on them and negated them!

Terms such as ‘Ishnaan’ (bathing) and ‘Athsath‘ (‘ਅਠਸਠਿ’ Tirath – so called locations of pilgrimage concocted by the self-serving clergy/Pujaaree) etc. have been used in the SGGS as examples (ਹਵਾਲਾ), but explicitly with new meanings and understanding to fit the new spiritual paradigms of Sikhi or Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS.

  • ਅਠਸਠਿ ਤੀਰਥ ਨਾਮੁ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਨਾਨਕ ਜਿਸੁ ਮਸਤਕਿ ਭਾਗ ॥੧॥ : Athsath‘ (ਅਠਸਠਿ) Tirath are the Divine Naam (Eternal Giaan-Wisdom / Virtues). ||1|| (sggs 990).
  • ਕਾਂਇਆ ਮਾਂਜਸਿ ਕਉਨ ਗੁਨਾਂ ॥ ਜਉ ਘਟ ਭੀਤਰਿ ਹੈ ਮਲਨਾਂ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ਲਉਕੀ ਅਠਸਠਿ ਤੀਰਥ ਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਾਈ ॥ ਕਉਰਾਪਨੁ ਤਊ ਨ ਜਾਈ ॥੨॥ : O man, there is no use of you washing your body from the the outside, when there is filth (vices/Bikaar) inside? (Remember) the gourd may be washed at the sixty-eight sacred shrines, but even then, its bitterness is not removed (from inside) ||2|| (sggs 656).
  • ਜਲਿ ਮਲਿ ਕਾਇਆ ਮਾਜੀਐ ਭਾਈ ਭੀ ਮੈਲਾ ਤਨੁ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਗਿਆਨਿ ਮਹਾ ਰਸਿ ਨਾਈਐ ਭਾਈ ਮਨੁ ਤਨੁ ਨਿਰਮਲੁ ਹੋਇ ॥੫॥ : O brother, if we clean our body by scrubbing and washing with water, it becomes dirty again. O brother, by bathing in the supreme essence of Eternal Giaan-Wisdom, the mind and body become immaculate. ||5||   (sggs 637).

Fittingly, right in the onset of the SGGS, Baabaa Nanak teaches:

  • ਤੀਰਥੁ ਤਪੁ ਦਇਆ ਦਤੁ ਦਾਨੁ ॥ ਜੇ ਕੋ ਪਾਵੈ ਤਿਲ ਕਾ ਮਾਨੁ ॥ ਸੁਣਿਆ ਮੰਨਿਆ ਮਨਿ ਕੀਤਾ ਭਾਉ ॥ ਅੰਤਰਗਤਿ ਤੀਰਥਿ ਮਲਿ ਨਾਉ ॥ : The performance of rituals (Karamkaand) of pilgrimage (Teerath), penances, offerings and giving of alms (in the conduct of spirituality); earns one nothing beyond temporal praise. Listen and accept (i.e. Internalize) and BECOME (the Gurbani) with Love in the mind. This is the Inner Teerath bathing in which the mind is cleansed (of Bikaar / vices) and thus its filth is removed. (sggs 4).

Although rituals or Karamkaand (‘Kufakarhe‘) are totally rejected in the SGGS, however if we carefully read or listen to the Sikh Ardaas (prayer composed and added by the Pujaaree-groups), we will find that the ritual of bathing has also made its way into it! For example, a portion of the Ardaas reads as follows: ‘…Sri Amritsar ji de Ishnaan….’!

Since the SGGS rejects making pilgrimages and ablutions, this appears to be in direct contradiction with the Teaching of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS)!

The truth is visiting the so called Teerath (ਤੀਰਥ), making pilgrimages, and performing ritual bathing at these places is the concocted way of the self-serving Pujaaree (clergy: Granthis, Parcharaks, Ragis, Dhadees etc.) and the freeloading Deraa-Vaad Baabaas (ਵੇਹਲੜ), and the freeloading Yogis etc.

  • ਪਾਪ ਕਰਹਿ ਪੰਚਾਂ ਕੇ ਬਸਿ ਰੇ ॥ ਤੀਰਥਿ ਨਾਇ ਕਹਹਿ ਸਭਿ ਉਤਰੇ ॥ ਬਹੁਰਿ ਕਮਾਵਹਿ ਹੋਇ ਨਿਸੰਕ ॥ ਜਮ ਪੁਰਿ ਬਾਂਧਿ ਖਰੇ ਕਾਲੰਕ ॥੨॥ : Persons who commit vices/sins under the influence of the five Bikaar (i.e. lust, ager, greed, attachment, pride etc.), after ritual bathing at pilgrimage places, they think/claim that all their vices/sins/Bikaar have been washed away, and then without any hesitation start committing more vices/sins again and again! They thus remain bound to Bikaar (their ritual bathing at the so called pilgrimage locations cannot save them from Bikaar = Jum). (sggs 1348).
  • ਸੋਚ ਕਰੈ ਦਿਨਸੁ ਅਰੁ ਰਾਤਿ ॥ ਮਨ ਕੀ ਮੈਲੁ ਨ ਤਨ ਤੇ ਜਾਤਿ ॥ ਇਸੁ ਦੇਹੀ ਕਉ ਬਹੁ ਸਾਧਨਾ ਕਰੈ ॥ ਮਨ ਤੇ ਕਬਹੂ ਨ ਬਿਖਿਆ ਟਰੈ ॥ ਜਲਿ ਧੋਵੈ ਬਹੁ ਦੇਹ ਅਨੀਤਿ ॥ ਸੁਧ ਕਹਾ ਹੋਇ ਕਾਚੀ ਭੀਤਿ ॥ : One can bathe day and night, but impurities of the mind are not removed by removing dirt from the body. One undertakes many practices (e.g. bathing etc.) for the body. Yet the impurities of the mind do not get removed. One can keep cleansing the perishable body. How can a cluster of mud be purified. (sggs 265).
  • ਸੋਚੈ ਸੋਚਿ ਨ ਹੋਵਈ ਜੇ ਸੋਚੀ ਲਖ ਵਾਰ ॥ : Creator cannot be within me through ritualistic cleansing or bating or purification at (places of pilgrimages), even if I cleanse myself a hundred thousand times. (sggs 1).
  • ਅੰਦਰਹੁ ਝੂਠੇ ਪੈਜ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਦੁਨੀਆ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਫੈਲੁ ॥ ਅਠਸਠਿ ਤੀਰਥ ਜੇ ਨਾਵਹਿ ਉਤਰੈ ਨਾਹੀ ਮੈਲੁ : Those who are false within, and (display themselves as) honorable on the outside, are ample in this world (common, wide-spread…). Even if they bathe at sixty-eight Teeraths, the ‘filth‘ in their minds never comes off. (sggs 473).
  • ਨਾਵਣ ਚਲੇ ਤੀਰਥੀ ਮਨਿ ਖੋਟੈ ਤਨਿ ਚੋਰ ॥ ਇਕੁ ਭਾਉ ਲਥੀ ਨਾਤਿਆ ਦੁਇ ਭਾ ਚੜੀਅਸੁ ਹੋਰ ॥ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਧੋਤੀ ਤੂਮੜੀ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਵਿਸੁ ਨਿਕੋਰ ॥ ਸਾਧ ਭਲੇ ਅਣਨਾਤਿਆ ਚੋਰ ਸਿ ਚੋਰਾ ਚੋਰ ॥੨॥: (People of) evil mind and thievish bodies (body occupied with thieves like lust, anger, greed, etc.), go to bathe at the pilgrim places. The one part of their bodily filth (external filth) is washed off by bathing, but they accumulate twice as much (of mental filth – pride, ego…). (It’s like a gourd) a gourd may be washed off on the outside, but on the inside, it remains filled with poison (i.e., bitterness…). Saadh (good human beings, Bhagats, Gurmukhs, Guru’s Satsangi Jan etc.) are good without bathing (at shrines or pilgrim places), and thieves (even after bathing at the shrines) are only thieves. ||2|| (sggs 789).

Clearly, the way of the self-serving Pujaaree and the freeloading groups is strongly rejected by the Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS.

  • ਮਲੁ ਹਉਮੈ ਧੋਤੀ ਕਿਵੈ ਨ ਉਤਰੈ ਜੇ ਸਉ ਤੀਰਥ ਨਾਇ ॥ : The faults or impurities of false-ego-ego (Haumai) cannot be eliminated even if one bathes or washes oneself in one hundred locations of pilgrimage (Teerath Ishnaan). (sggs 39).
  • ਨਾਵਨ ਕਉ ਤੀਰਥ ਘਨੇ ਮਨ ਬਉਰਾ ਰੇ ਪੂਜਨ ਕਉ ਬਹੁ ਦੇਵ ॥ ਕਹੁ ਕਬੀਰ ਛੂਟਨੁ ਨਹੀ ਮਨ ਬਉਰਾ ਰੇ ਛੂਟਨੁ ਹਰਿ ਕੀ ਸੇਵ ॥੪॥੧॥੬॥੫੭॥: O crazy mind! There are so many places of pilgrimage in which to bathe, and so many gods to worship. Says Kabeer! O crazy mind, there is NO liberation like this; only by serving Hari (Mool, Truth, Wisdom…) will you find liberation (from doubt, Maya…). ||4||1||6||57|| (sggs 335).


The Gurbani asserts that those who believe in such foolish stubborn-mindedness are no better than a ‘frog’ for a ‘frog’ always remains in water!

  • ਜਲ ਕੈ ਮਜਨਿ ਜੇ ਗਤਿ ਹੋਵੈ ਨਿਤ ਨਿਤ ਮੇਂਡੁਕ ਨਾਵਹਿ ॥: If salvation can be obtained by bathing in water, then what about the frog, which is always bathing (always remain in water)? (sggs 484).
  • ਕੋਟਿ ਤੀਰਥ ਮਜਨ ਇਸਨਾਨਾ ਇਸੁ ਕਲਿ ਮਹਿ ਮੈਲੁ ਭਰੀਜੈ ॥ ਸਾਧਸੰਗਿ ਜੋ ਹਰਿ ਗੁਣ ਗਾਵੈ ਸੋ ਨਿਰਮਲੁ ਕਰਿ ਲੀਜੈ ॥੨॥ : The Inner Impurities (Vices) Remain even after Bathing at Millions of Teeraths. Inner Cleansing Comes Upon Internalizing Divine Naam (Giaan-Wisdom, Virtues …) Obtained from My Guru. ॥2॥ (sggs 747).

However, still the emphasis of a ‘frog mind‘ is on going to all sorts of so called Teerath locations or shrines and (ritually) bathing the body-frame there!

  • ਅੰਤਰਿ ਮੈਲੁ ਲੋਭ ਬਹੁ ਝੂਠੇ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਨਾਵਹੁ ਕਾਹੀ ਜੀਉ ॥: (O man) within (you) is the filth of greed and tremendous falsehood; so what for (you) wash your body on the outside? (sggs 598).

But our ‘frog-mind’ always thinks in terms of the gross body-frame — the focus of the ‘frog-mind’ is always on cleansing the physical body but not the superstitious or doubt-ridden mind.

We are advised by the Gurbani that if the MIND is filthy then everything is filthy…

  • ਮਨਿ ਮੈਲੈ ਸਭੁ ਕਿਛੁ ਮੈਲਾ ਤਨਿ ਧੋਤੈ ਮਨੁ ਹਛਾ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥: When the mind is filthy, everything is filthy; by washing the body, the mind is not cleaned (sggs 558).
  • ਬਾਹਰਿ ਮਲੁ ਧੋਵੈ ਮਨ ਕੀ ਜੂਠਿ ਨ ਜਾਏ ॥: Outwardly, he (hypocrite) washes off the filth, but the impurity of his mind does not go away (sggs 88).
  • ਕਬੀਰ ਮਨੁ ਜਾਨੈ ਸਭ ਬਾਤ ਜਾਨਤ ਹੀ ਅਉਗਨੁ ਕਰੈ ॥ ਕਾਹੇ ਕੀ ਕੁਸਲਾਤ ਹਾਥਿ ਦੀਪੁ ਕੂਏ ਪਰੈ ॥੨੧੬॥: Kabeer, the mind knows everything and knowingly it commits demerits. What is the use of that lamp (Giaan-Wisdom) if we fall into the well (of ignorance, Maya, vices or Bikaar) even with that lamp in our hands? (sggs 1376).

The Gurbani is all about developing Understanding and then living by that understanding (Giaan or Wisdom, Bibek-Budh, ਸਮਝ, ਅਕਲ…).

However on account of ignorance or stubborn mindedness, many, for example, preach that if you do not take ritual cold bath in the early morning then you cannot find God!

  • ਕਾਇਆ ਕੂੜਿ ਵਿਗਾੜਿ ਕਾਹੇ ਨਾਈਐ ॥ ਨਾਤਾ ਸੋ ਪਰਵਾਣੁ ਸਚੁ ਕਮਾਈਐ ॥: (First you) defile the body with falsehood and Bikaar (i.e., lust anger, greed, attachment, pride…). Then (you) took a bath and washed it (yourself) from outside and got the illusion of being pure! The real bath is live life guided by the righteous path of Truth (Sach). (sggs 565).

Furthermore, under the spell of duality (Maya) and mental corruption they defy the Gurmat by preaching that if you do not visit the places of pilgrimage and take ritual bath in their waters, then you will not attain salvation.

However, the Gurbani rejects such foolish stubborn-mindedness, and declares such stubborn-minded people (Hathee) to be Manmukhs-Saakat-Mayadhaaree etc.

  • ਇਸੁ ਦੇਹੀ ਕਉ ਬਹੁ ਸਾਧਨਾ ਕਰੈ ॥ ਮਨ ਤੇ ਕਬਹੂ ਨ ਬਿਖਿਆ ਟਰੈ ॥ ਜਲਿ ਧੋਵੈ ਬਹੁ ਦੇਹ ਅਨੀਤਿ ॥ ਸੁਧ ਕਹਾ ਹੋਇ ਕਾਚੀ ਭੀਤਿ ॥: (You) may subject body to all sorts of ‘Saadhanaa’ (practices, disciplines etc.), but the mind will never be rid of its ‘Bikhiaa’ (Maya). (One) may wash this perishable body with plenty of water, (still) this wall of mud (i.e. gross body) cannot be washed clean. (sggs 265).

Gurmat rejects foolishness of ritual bathing

As asserted in the Gurbani, stubborn belief in ritual bathing is nothing but ignorance and foolishness.

  • ਅੰਤਰਿ ਮੈਲੁ ਜੇ ਤੀਰਥ ਨਾਵੈ ਤਿਸੁ ਬੈਕੁੰਠ ਨ ਜਾਨਾਂ ॥: The bathing at places of pilgrimage does not remove inner impurities and does not take one to heaven. (sggs 484).
  • ਤੀਰਥ ਨਾਤਾ ਕਿਆ ਕਰੇ ਮਨ ਮਹਿ ਮੈਲੁ ਗੁਮਾਨੁ ॥: Of what use is bathing at locations of pilgrimage if the mind is filled with the filth of false ego-sense (Haumai). (sggs 61).

Instead, the Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS asks bathing the mind in the Pool of the Naam (Virtues, Wisdom, Hukam…).

To the contrary, foolish and stubborn ritualists focus it on external cleansing. In the process, the Gurbani asserts such ‘idiotic Manmukhs‘ end up accumulating more mental filth!

  • ਬਾਹਰੁ ਉਦਕਿ ਪਖਾਰੀਐ ਘਟ ਭੀਤਰਿ ਬਿਬਿਧਿ ਬਿਕਾਰ ॥ ਸੁਧ ਕਵਨ ਪਰ ਹੋਇਬੋ ਸੁਚ ਕੁੰਚਰ ਬਿਧਿ ਬਿਉਹਾਰ ॥੪॥ : (One can) externally wash (outer side of his body) with water, but all sorts of Bikaar (lust, anger, greed, etc.) remain within the Heart or mind. So how can he become pure (with this pilgrimage)? This practice of purification is like that of an elephant-bath (i.e., this process of purification is the conduct of the egoistic people). ||4|| (sggs 346).
  • ਜਿਉ ਜੋਰੂ ਸਿਰਨਾਵਣੀ ਆਵੈ ਵਾਰੋ ਵਾਰ ॥ ਜੂਠੇ ਜੂਠਾ ਮੁਖਿ ਵਸੈ ਨਿਤ ਨਿਤ ਹੋਇ ਖੁਆਰੁ ॥ ਸੂਚੇ ਏਹਿ ਨ ਆਖੀਅਹਿ ਬਹਨਿ ਜਿ ਪਿੰਡਾ ਧੋਇ ॥ ਸੂਚੇ ਸੇਈ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਜਿਨ ਮਨਿ ਵਸਿਆ ਸੋਇ ॥: Those who are false, fraud, crafty, hypocritical and there is always falsehood in their mouth; considered woman impure because she goes through her periods month after month. Such crafty people who (considered a woman impure, but) considered themselves pure by just washing their body from outside, they should not be considered pure (i.e. they should be considered false, fraud and hypocrites). Nanak, only they are truly pure within whose minds God is realized — their mind and conduct become pure and unbiased, and do not discriminate). (sggs 472).

True Bath – Inner Ishnaan

Whenever there is a mention of Ishanaan (bathing) in the Gurbani, it is only pointed toward the INNER Ishanaan; bathing the mind in the Inner Pool (‘Sarovar‘) of the Naam (Shabad-Vichaar, Wisdom, Upadesh or Message of the Shabad), Within.

  • ਏਹੁ ਸਰੀਰੁ ਸਰਵਰੁ ਹੈ ਸੰਤਹੁ ਇਸਨਾਨੁ ਕਰੇ ਲਿਵ ਲਾਈ ॥੧੩॥: O sants (good human beings, Bhagats, Gurmukhs, Guru’s Satsangi Jan etc.), this human body is a pool (i.e. Srovar); that person who keeps his consciousness paired with (his Mool within), he is, as it were, bathing in this pool. ||13|| (sggs 909).
  • ਸਾਧ ਭਲੇ ਅਣਨਾਤਿਆ ਚੋਰ ਸਿ ਚੋਰਾ ਚੋਰ ॥੨॥: Saadh (good human beings, Bhagats, Gurmukhs, Guru’s Satsangi Jan etc.) are good without bathing (at shrines or pilgrim places), and thieves (even after bathing at the shrines) are only thieves. ||2|| (sggs 789).
  • ਸਹਸੈ ਜੀਉ ਮਲੀਣੁ ਹੈ ਕਿਤੁ ਸੰਜਮਿ ਧੋਤਾ ਜਾਏ ॥ ਮੰਨੁ ਧੋਵਹੁ ਸਬਦਿ ਲਾਗਹੁ ਹਰਿ ਸਿਉ ਰਹਹੁ ਚਿਤੁ ਲਾਇ: So long the mind is in the grip of ਸਹਿਮ (doubt, worry, skepticism, etc., born of from our love for Maya), it is rendered filthy. By no ਸੰਜਮਿ (Jugati – external tact, skill, device, knack, etc.) this filth of the mind can be cleansed. Attach yourself to the Shabad (Gur-Giaan…), continue to fix your consciousness on Hari (-Naam: Wisdom, Virtues, Truth…), and (like this) wash your mind (sggs 919).
  • ਮਨੁ ਮੰਦਰੁ ਤਨੁ ਵੇਸ ਕਲੰਦਰੁ ਘਟ ਹੀ ਤੀਰਥਿ ਨਾਵਾ ॥ ਏਕੁ ਸਬਦੁ ਮੇਰੈ ਪ੍ਰਾਨਿ ਬਸਤੁ ਹੈ ਬਾਹੁੜਿ ਜਨਮਿ ਨ ਆਵਾ ॥੧॥ : (Now that the Enlightening spiritual Message of the Shabad has become the support of my life) my mind has become the temple, the dwelling for God, my body (i.e. all of my senses) has become mendicant (i.e. my wandering senses have returned within), now I only BATHE at this Teerath Within. The one divine Shabad has become the support of my life (now I’m convinced my mind) will not go astray in life again. (sggs 795).
  • ਹਰਿ ਧੂੜੀ ਨਾਈਐ ਪ੍ਰਭੂ ਧਿਆਈਐ ਬਾਹੁੜਿ ਜੋਨਿ ਨ ਆਈਐ ॥: (By meeting the Guru = Giaan or Wisdom) one may BATHE in the Wisdom or Giaan (‘Hari Dhoorhee-ਹਰਿ ਧੂੜੀ’ = divine Wisdom or Giaan), one may remember Prabhoo and (that person with an understanding of Guru’s Sidhaant) does may not go astray in life again. (sggs 780).

Therefore, the Gurbani (SGGS) asserts that the true bath is Guru’s Sevaa:

  • ਸਾਚਾ ਨਾਵਣੁ ਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਸੇਵਾ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: The true cleansing bath is Guru’s Sevaa (i.e. Shabad-Vichaarliving Spiritual Life through Message of the Shabad). ||1||Pause|| (sggs 484).

Now, what is Guru’s Sevaa? Let’s ask the Gurbani in SGGS.

As follows, the Gurbani in the SGGS reveals to its Sikhs (students, learners) the nature of the Guru’s Service (‘Gur Ki Sevaa‘).

  • ਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਸੇਵਾ ਸਬਦੁ ਵੀਚਾਰੁ ॥ ਹਉਮੈ ਮਾਰੇ ਕਰਣੀ ਸਾਰੁ ॥੭॥ : Undertaking the deed of controlling my false ego-sense (Haumai) and Enlightening myself with the spiritual Message within the Shabad (Shabad Vichaar) is service (Sevaa) of the Guru (ਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਸੇਵਾ – Gur Ki Sevaa). ॥7॥. (sggs 223).
  • ਕਿਸੁ ਸੇਵੀ ਤੈ ਕਿਸੁ ਸਾਲਾਹੀ ॥ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਸੇਵੀ ਸਬਦਿ ਸਾਲਾਹੀ ॥ ਸਚੈ ਸਬਦਿ ਸਦਾ ਮਤਿ ਊਤਮ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਕਮਲੁ ਪ੍ਰਗਾਸੀ ਹੇ ॥੩॥: Whom should I serve, and whom should I praise? I serve the ‘Satguru‘ (Creator-connecting True Wisdom – ਸੱਚਾ ਗਿਆਨ) through Shabad (i.e. living life with the Satguru’s Upadesh, Giaan, Wisdom, Naam etc.). Through the Creator-connecting Shabad, one’s intellect remains sublime and he feels so delighted, as if the Lotus within his Mind has bloomed (i.e. Enlightened). ||3|| (sggs 1048).

In a nutshell, according to the Gurbani (SGGS), the way to serve the Guru or Satguru is by Shabad Vichaar, then live a daily life based on the Message of the Shabad (Upadesh, Wisdom, Enlightenment…). In fact, that is the DEFINITION OF A SIKH per the Gurbani (SGGS). In short, Sikhi is thus a process of acquiring these Virtues or Giaan-Wisdom and then applying it – BECOMIG THE GURBANI.

  • ਜੇ ਕੋ ਸਿਖੁ ਗੁਰੂ ਸੇਤੀ ਸਨਮੁਖੁ ਹੋਵੈ ॥ ਹੋਵੈ ਤ ਸਨਮੁਖੁ ਸਿਖੁ ਕੋਈ ਜੀਅਹੁ ਰਹੈ ਗੁਰ ਨਾਲੇ ॥ ਗੁਰ ਕੇ ਚਰਨ ਹਿਰਦੈ ਧਿਆਏ ਅੰਤਰ ਆਤਮੈ ਸਮਾਲੇ ॥ ਆਪੁ ਛਡਿ ਸਦਾ ਰਹੈ ਪਰਣੈ ਗੁਰ ਬਿਨੁ ਅਵਰੁ ਨ ਜਾਣੈ ਕੋਏ ॥ ਕਹੈ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਸੁਣਹੁ ਸੰਤਹੁ ਸੋ ਸਿਖੁ ਸਨਮੁਖੁ ਹੋਏ ॥੨੧॥: If any ‘Sikh’ (learner-ਸਿਖਿਆਰਥੀ of the SGGS) wants to become truly faithful turn to the Guru (Shabad); then that Sikh must follow the Gur (i.e. Giyan-Wisdom. That Sikh should contemplate on the Guru’s spiritual Giyan-Wisdom and enshrine it in the mind. Renouncing self-conceit, he/she always contemplate on the Guru (Shabad), and does not consider anyone else except the Guru as spiritual Guide. Nanak says, listen, O seekers: such a ‘Sikh‘ has his/her mind always connected to the Guru (ShabadGiyan-Wisdom). ||21|| (sggs 919).

Here the Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS makes it very clear that the true Ishanaan only consists of bathing the mind in the cleansing water of the Shabad or Naam (Giaa-Wisdom, Virtues, Enlightenment…).

Stubborn insistence on any other Ishanaan will only indicate bewilderment of the mind, ignorance, absurdity of the intellect indulged in the worldly traps or duality and no regards for the Message of the SGGS whatsoever.

  • ਮਤਿ ਵਿਚਿ ਰਤਨ ਜਵਾਹਰ ਮਾਣਿਕ ਜੇ ਇਕ ਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਸਿਖ ਸੁਣੀ ॥: The Internalization of (this) one Priceless Message of my Guru (i.e. Shabad) makes my spirituality Shabad Based (i.e. Virtues-ਗੁਣ, Wisdom). (sggs 2).
  • ਹਜ ਹਮਾਰੀ ਗੋਮਤੀ ਤੀਰ ॥ ਜਹਾ ਬਸਹਿ ਪੀਤੰਬਰ ਪੀਰ ॥੧॥ ਵਾਹੁ ਵਾਹੁ ਕਿਆ ਖੂਬੁ ਗਾਵਤਾ ਹੈ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਕਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਮੇਰੈ ਮਨਿ ਭਾਵਤਾ ਹੈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ : My Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca…) and my (BATHING at the river) Gomti’s shore (is all in my mind), where abide the divine (Giaan or Wisdom, Virtues, Hukam…). ||1|| Wow Wow! How beautifully (my mind) is living (by the divine Wisdom, Virtues, Hukam…). (As) the divine Naam (Wisdom, Virtues, Hukam…) seems dear in my mind (this is the reason this mind is my bathing at the shore of Gomti, and this mind is my Hajj). ||1||Pause|| (sggs 478).

Thus, the Gurbani re-defines the pilgrim of ‘sixty-eight’ Teeraths explicitly with new meanings and understanding to fit the new and unique spiritual paradigms of Sikhi of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS); NOT to regurgitate the stale that existed pre-1469!

The Guru has given us the Shabad (Updesh, Message, Advice, Direction, Guide etc.) for the sole purpose of cleansing the mind.

  • ਅਠਸਠਿ ਤੀਰਥ ਮਜਨਾ ਗੁਰ ਦਰਸੁ ਪਰਾਪਤਿ ਹੋਇ ॥੨॥ : A person who Realized the Message of the Gur-Shabad (this is the Guru’s darshan), its as he has obtained the cleansing bath of sixty-eight Teeraths. ॥2॥ (sggs 597).
  • ਕਰਿ ਸੰਗਤਿ ਤੂ ਸਾਧ ਕੀ ਅਠਸਠਿ ਤੀਰਥ ਨਾਉ ॥ ਜੀਉ ਪ੍ਰਾਣ ਮਨੁ ਤਨੁ ਹਰੇ ਸਾਚਾ ਏਹੁ ਸੁਆਉ ॥ : (O my mind!) Join the Guru (i.e. Shabad: Upadesh, Message, Wisdom etc.) – this is the bathing of the sixty-eight Teeraths. (Keeping Shabad’s Company) life, breath, mind, body all become spiritual, and this is the real purpose of human birth. (sggs 47).
  • ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਨੀਰੁ ਗਿਆਨਿ ਮਨ ਮਜਨੁ ਅਠਸਠਿ ਤੀਰਥ ਸੰਗਿ ਗਹੇ ॥: The mind that bathes or cleanses in the Amrit water of the Giaan or Wisdom (of the Shabad or Baanee) takes with it the merit of bathing at the sixty-eight Teeraths. (sggs 1328).
  • ਨਾਨਕ ਗੁਰ ਸਮਾਨਿ ਤੀਰਥੁ ਨਹੀ ਕੋਈ ਸਾਚੇ ਗੁਰ ਗੋਪਾਲਾ ॥ : NANAK, THERE IS NO TEERATH EQUIVALENT TO THE GURU (Enlightening Message embedded in Shabad) because it is the Guru who connects me to the Creator Within. (sggs 467).
  • ਗੁਰ ਸਮਾਨਿ ਤੀਰਥੁ ਨਹੀ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਸਰੁ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ ਤਾਸੁ ਗੁਰੁ ਹੋਇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ : THERE IS NO TEERATH EQUIVALENT TO THE GURU (Enlightening Message embedded in Shabad). This Guru is the Pool of Contentment. (sggs 1328).
  • ਰਾਮਦਾਸ ਸਰੋਵਰਿ ਨਾਤੇ ॥ ਸਭਿ ਉਤਰੇ ਪਾਪ ਕਮਾਤੇ ॥ : Bathing in the Srovar of RamDas (i.e. the ‘Srovar’ or pool of Satsang, Gur-Giaan, Wisdom, Bibek), all ‘Paap’ are erased (i.e., filthy thoughts of the mind, Bikaar such as lust, anger, greed etc.). Taking this cleansing bath (in Naam: Giaan, Wisdom, Virtues…), one becomes immaculately pure (i.e., free of the filth of Bikaar).

In short, if WE ARE WILLING TO TAKE and PRACTICE the Message of the Gur-Shabad, the SGGS provides us spiritual Wisdom (Giaan), which:

In a nutshell, we are asked to BECOME THE GURBANI. The following Shabad of Baabaa Nanak will challenge (ਲਲਕਾਰ) our minds forever:

  • ਨ ਭੀਜੈ ਰਾਗੀ ਨਾਦੀ ਬੇਦਿ ॥ ਨ ਭੀਜੈ ਸੁਰਤੀ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਜੋਗਿ ॥ ਨ ਭੀਜੈ ਸੋਗੀ ਕੀਤੈ ਰੋਜਿ ॥ ਨ ਭੀਜੈ ਰੂਪੀ ਮਾਲੀ ਰੰਗਿ ॥ ਨ ਭੀਜੈ ਤੀਰਥਿ ਭਵਿਐ ਨੰਗਿ ॥ ਨ ਭੀਜੈ ਦਾਤੀ ਕੀਤੈ ਪੁੰਨਿ ॥ ਨ ਭੀਜੈ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਬੈਠਿਆ ਸੁੰਨਿ ॥ ਨ ਭੀਜੈ ਭੇੜਿ ਮਰਹਿ ਭਿੜਿ ਸੂਰ ॥ ਨ ਭੀਜੈ ਕੇਤੇ ਹੋਵਹਿ ਧੂੜ ॥ ਲੇਖਾ ਲਿਖੀਐ ਮਨ ਕੈ ਭਾਇ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਭੀਜੈ ਸਾਚੈ ਨਾਇ ॥੨॥ (God) is NOT won over (i.e. pleased, made happy etc.) with singing ragas, playing Naad or reading Vedas (i.e. religious books). (God) is NOT won over by meditation, debating knowledge or doing any means of Yoga. (God) can’t be won over even if you just sit there crying. (God) is NOT won over (on you) even when engaged in beauty, riches and pleasures. (God) is NOT won over by ritual bathing at Teerath (shrines) or wandering naked (in jungles, mountaintops etc.). (God) is NOT won over with giving alms (Daan). (God) is NOT won over by fighting and dying as a warrior in battle (i.e., by becoming a martyr or Shaheed). (God) is not won over even if you are mixed with dust. The test (of good and bad of people) is done according to what’s in the mind. O Nanak! (God) is pleased only through the True Naam (Wisdom or Giaan). (sggs 1237).


  1. Thanks Punit.

    The “frog-philosophy” => Body-consciousness (Mayaic-consciousness)

    Hence, a “frog-mind” cannot appreciate the Gurbani. For the Gurbani’s Subject is Absolute Truth, Aatam-Giaan…. A True Sikh is in search of This Truth, Aatam-Giaan….

    The Gurbani is not against being hygienic. But it urges us to constantly bathe the mind in the Water (Pool, Sarovar…) of the Naam (Giaan, Shabad…). A “frog-mind” cannot accept this.

    ਭਰੀਐ ਹਥੁ ਪੈਰੁ ਤਨੁ ਦੇਹ ॥ ਪਾਣੀ ਧੋਤੈ ਉਤਰਸੁ ਖੇਹ ॥ ਮੂਤ ਪਲੀਤੀ ਕਪੜੁ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਦੇ ਸਾਬੂਣੁ ਲਈਐ ਓਹੁ ਧੋਇ ॥ ਭਰੀਐ ਮਤਿ ਪਾਪਾ ਕੈ ਸੰਗਿ ॥ ਓਹੁ ਧੋਪੈ ਨਾਵੈ ਕੈ ਰੰਗਿ ॥: Bhareeai hath pair tanu deh. Paanee dhotai outaras khaeh. Moot paleetee kaparr hoi. Dae saaboon layeeai ouhu dhoi. Bhareeai Mati paapaa kai sangi. Ohu dhopai naavai kai rangi (sggs 4).

  2. Excellent!
    The “frog-mind” always thinks in terms of the external body.

    The Gurbani wants us bathe our mind in the Shabad-Vichar (Gur-Giyan).


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