Poison Or Medicine

Recently heard someone repeating one of the most frequently paraphrased statements that the religion is the opium of the people!

If religion is properly understood, assimilated, and lived or if it transforms one’s intellect for Good (“ਬੁਧਿ ਬਦਲੀ”), it is “medicine”. If not properly understood, assimilated, and lived or if it does not change the intellect for Good, it can act as “opium” (poison…). Just look at all the wars and killing going on all over the world in the name of religion and God!!!!!!

For a moment, let’s forget about other religions and their religious texts. Instead, let’s focus on the Gurbani.

The Way of life shown by the Gurbani (Shabad, Naam, Hukam, Upadesh, Gurmat, Brahm-Giaan…) is the medicine.

But, by becoming the Gurmukhs, this medicine has to be eaten or administered (understood-assimilated-lived) in daily life to remove our Haumai (false ego-sense).

  • ਜੇ ਕੋ ਖਾਵੈ ਜੇ ਕੋ ਭੁੰਚੈ ਤਿਸ ਕਾ ਹੋਇ ਉਧਾਰੋ ॥: One who eats it (i.e., Amrit Naam or Giaan or Wisdom – ਆਤਮਕ ਭੋਜਨ) and digest it is saved (i.e., freed from Bikaar…). (sggs 1429).
  • ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਅਉਖਧੁ ਸਾਧ ਕਮਾਤਿ ॥: The Sadh (Bhagat, Daas, Jan, Gurmukh…) earn “Hari Hari” (accumulate / use the Divine Naam) as the medicine (sggs 265).

In other words, the Wisdom or Bibek-Budhi of the Gurbani must change or transform our own Budhi (intellect) for Good.

  • ਕਹਿ ਕਬੀਰ ਬੁਧਿ ਹਰਿ ਲਈ ਮੇਰੀ ਬੁਧਿ ਬਦਲੀ ਸਿਧਿ ਪਾਈ ॥੨॥੨੧॥੭੨॥: Says Kabeer! (The Giaan or Wisdom of the Gumat) has taken away my (worldly-ਮਨਮੱਤ) Budhi (i.e., intelligence, wisdom, ਅਕਲ). With this changed Budhi, now I have obtained Sidhi (Spiritual Perfection…). ||2||21||72|| (sggs 339).

Once our Budhi (intellect) is so transformed through the Shabad-Vichaar of the Gur-Shabad, it will positively affect our mind and leads it to realize its Untainted Nature (Mool, Jot...).

In other words, when our intellect (ਬੁਧਿ-Budhi) continually abides in the Wisdom (or Bibek-Budhi) of the Gur-Shabad, then it instructs (counsels, disciplines, etc.) the rebel mind (ਗੁਰਬਾਣੀ ਦਾ ਗਿਆਨ ਲੈਕੇ ਬੁਧਿ ਫਿਰ ਮਾਇਕੀ ਮੰਨ ਨੂੰ ਸਮਝਾਂਦੀ ਹੈ). To put it otherwise, our intellect’s (ਬੁਧਿ-Budhi) job is to understand the Gurbani, persuade the mind (Mann), and join Mann and Chitt, making them One again (the state of “ਇਕ ਮਨਿ ਇਕ ਚਿਤਿ” – Ik Mani Ik Chiti, “ਸਾਬਤ ਸੂਰਤਿ”, Gurmukh-hood, etc. ).

  • ਮਨ ਸਮਝਾਵਨ ਕਾਰਨੇ ਕਛੂਅਕ ਪੜੀਐ ਗਿਆਨ ॥੫॥: To instruct the mind one ought to study Knowledge to some extent. ||5|| (sggs 340).
  • ਯਾ ਜੁਗ ਮਹਿ ਏਕਹਿ ਕਉ ਆਇਆ ॥: (Man) has come into this world to become One (ਇਕ ਹੋਣ ਵਾਸਤੇ ). (sggs 251).

Thus, when we allow the Gur-Shabad to change our Budhi (intellect), it is the supreme medicine (“ਅਉਖਧੁ”-Aoukhadhu) – panacea !

  • ਅਉਖਧੁ ਹਰਿ ਕਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਹੈ ਜਿਤੁ ਰੋਗੁ ਨ ਵਿਆਪੈ ॥: The Divine Naam (Wisdom, Virtues, Truth…) is the medicine; with it, no disease afflicts (sggs 814).
  • ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦੁ ਕਮਾਇਆ ਅਉਖਧੁ ਹਰਿ ਪਾਇਆ ਹਰਿ ਕੀਰਤਿ ਹਰਿ ਸਾਂਤਿ ਪਾਇ ਜੀਉ ॥: Gur sabadu kamaaiaa aoukhadhu hari paaiaa… (sggs 446).

To the contrary, in foolishness, if not properly applied then the benefit will not be much, If any.

  • ਵੈਦ ਨ ਭੋਲੇ ਦਾਰੂ ਲਾਇ ॥ ਦਰਦੁ ਹੋਵੈ ਦੁਖੁ ਰਹੈ ਸਰੀਰ ॥ ਐਸਾ ਦਾਰੂ ਲਗੈ ਨ ਬੀਰ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: O foolish doctor! (if you don’t properly understand the disease…) Don’t give medicine. (Don’t give medicine to me, if with that medicine) the pain persists and the body continues to suffer. O brother (ignorant doctor)! Such medicine has no effect on me. ||1||Pause|| (sggs 1256).

Therefore, the key is in proper understanding (Soojh-Boojh).
Because, without proper understanding, one cannot properly understand subtle ailments of his diseased mind. The Gurbani says we need to understand both the (mental) disease and the medicine!

  • ਰੋਗੁ ਦਾਰੂ ਦੋਵੈ ਬੁਝੈ ਤਾ ਵੈਦੁ ਸੁਜਾਣੁ ॥: If someone understands both the (one’s own mental) disease and the medicine (treatment), only then is he a wise physician (sggs 148).
  • ਸੋ ਗੁਰੂ ਸੋ ਸਿਖੁ ਕਥੀਅਲੇ ਸੋ ਵੈਦੁ ਜਿ ਜਾਣੈ ਰੋਗੀ ॥: One is said to be a Guru, a Sikh, and a physician, who knows the patient’s illness (sggs 503).
  • ਵੈਦਾ ਵੈਦੁ ਸੁਵੈਦੁ ਤੂ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ ਰੋਗੁ ਪਛਾਣੁ ॥ ਐਸਾ ਦਾਰੂ ਲੋੜਿ ਲਹੁ ਜਿਤੁ ਵੰਞੈ ਰੋਗਾ ਘਾਣਿ ॥ ਜਿਤੁ ਦਾਰੂ ਰੋਗ ਉਠਿਅਹਿ ਤਨਿ ਸੁਖੁ ਵਸੈ ਆਇ ॥ ਰੋਗੁ ਗਵਾਇਹਿ ਆਪਣਾ ਤ ਨਾਨਕ ਵੈਦੁ ਸਦਾਇ ॥੨॥: O physician! O physician, you are a competent physician, (only) if you first diagnose the disease (pertaining to your own mind-ਆਪਣਾ ਹੀ ਆਤਮਕ ਰੋਗ)… (sggs 1279).

Hence, the problem is not with religions or their texts, but not properly understanding them, let alone properly applying them to one’s daily life!!

In fact, on account of ignorance or greed, many abuse or use religions or their texts as a mundane business (“ਰੋਟੀਆ ਕਾਰਣਿ” ਧੰਧਾ) or money game and mislead people in the process! And, on account of selfishness, many people do follow these religious con men blindly.

  • ਪੜਿਐ ਨਾਹੀ ਭੇਦੁ ਬੁਝਿਐ ਪਾਵਣਾ ॥: Not by reading (books), but through Understanding, is the Mystery Realized. (sggs 148).
  • ਬਿਨੁ ਬੂਝੇ ਪਸੂ ਭਏ ਬੇਤਾਲੇ ॥੬॥: Bin boojhe pasu bhaye betaale (sggs 224).
  • ਪਢੇ ਗੁਨੇ ਨਾਹੀ ਕਛੁ ਬਉਰੇ ਜਉ ਦਿਲ ਮਹਿ ਖਬਰਿ ਨ ਹੋਈ ॥੨॥: Padhe gune naahee kachhu baoure jaou… (sggs 483).

If everybody in the world becomes the Gurmukh (follower of the Truth or the Divine Life – the Gurmukh Lifestyle...) as indicated by the Gurmat, then there will prevail only the Divine Vision and Understanding (Soojh-Boojh) of Oneness or Sameness, eliminating poison (of Maya, Bikaar, ignorance, I-ness, mine mine…) from the minds. Change in the minds of the people translates into social change for good!

  • ਵਾਹੁ ਵਾਹੁ ਗੁਰਮੁਖ ਸਦਾ ਕਰਹਿ ਮਨਮੁਖ ਮਰਹਿ ਬਿਖੁ ਖਾਇ ॥: Waahu Waahu (Bravo, excellent…!) the Gurmukhs praise the Lord continually, while the Mamukhs (followers of falsehood, self-willed…) eat poison (of Maya…) and die (sggs 515).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਗਾਰੜੁ ਜੇ ਸੁਣੇ ਮੰਨੇ ਨਾਉ ਸੰਤੋਸੁ ॥੪॥: Gurmukhi gaararru je sune… (sggs 1009).


  1. Very well said Bhai Sahib Ji. Thank you!

    The bottom line (ਮੁੱਕਦੀ ਗੱਲ) is that the Gurbani is meant to be understood and constantly applied.

    For example, a sick person goes to a physician. In turn, the physician prescribes this patient medicine. Mere reading of the medicine’s label without taking the medicine will not cure this patient. In order to be cured of the disease and related pain and suffering, one has to take the medicine and stop mere reading its label.

    More or less, we are all sick. Our disease is Haumai (false ego-sense). The Instructions of the Gurbani (Brahm-Giaan) is like a medicine. Until it is diligently applied in daily life, its mere reading will not have any effect on the healing process.
    • ਹਉਮੈ ਮੈਲੁ ਲਾਗੀ ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦੀ ਖੋਵੈ ॥: Haumai mail laagee gur sabdee khovai: The filth of ego (ਹਉਮੈ) stuck to the (mind) is removed through the Shabad (sggs 123).
    • ਫਰੀਦਾ ਅਮਲ ਜਿ ਕੀਤੇ ਦੁਨੀ ਵਿਚਿ ਦਰਗਹ ਆਏ ਕੰਮਿ ॥੧੦੦॥ (sggs 1383).
    • ਫਰੀਦਾ ਲੋੜੈ ਦਾਖ ਬਿਜਉਰੀਆਂ ਕਿਕਰਿ ਬੀਜੈ ਜਟੁ ॥ ਹੰਢੈ ਉਂਨ ਕਤਾਇਦਾ ਪੈਧਾ ਲੋੜੈ ਪਟੁ ॥੨੩॥ (sggs 1379).

  2. Yes,
    First one should know the right MEDICINE(NAAMu),
    understand the prescription being given by GuRu and
    then consume this MEDICINE as per prescription.
    This is important for getting the EFFECTS of MEDICINE as one wishes.

  3. Thank you Bhai Sahib Jio for the quotations you provided in this as well as in your previous response! We appreciate it!
    So that we administer the medicine rightfully, the Gurbani also Guides us as to how to remember “Hari”:
    • ਮੁਖਹੁ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਸਭੁ ਕੋ ਕਰੈ ਵਿਰਲੈ ਹਿਰਦੈ ਵਸਾਇਆ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਜਿਨ ਕੈ ਹਿਰਦੈ ਵਸਿਆ ਮੋਖ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਤਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹ ਪਾਇਆ ॥੮॥੨॥ (sggs 565).
    • ਰਾਮ ਰਾਮ ਸਭੁ ਕੋ ਕਹੈ ਕਹਿਐ ਰਾਮੁ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦੀ ਰਾਮੁ ਮਨਿ ਵਸੈ ਤਾ ਫਲੁ ਪਾਵੈ ਕੋਇ ॥1॥ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਗੋਵਿੰਦ ਜਿਸੁ ਲਾਗੈ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਤਿਸੁ ਕਦੇ ਨ ਵੀਸਰੈ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਕਰਹਿ ਸਦਾ ਮਨਿ ਚੀਤਿ ॥ (sggs 491).
    • ਐਸਾ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਜਪਹੁ ਮਨ ਮੇਰੇ ॥ ਹੋਵਹੁ ਚਾਕਰ ਸਾਚੇ ਕੇਰੇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ (sggs 728).
    • ਅਜਪਾ ਜਾਪੁ ਨ ਵੀਸਰੈ ਆਦਿ ਜੁਗਾਦਿ ਸਮਾਇ ॥ ਸਭਿ ਸਖੀਆ ਪੰਚੇ ਮਿਲੇ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਨਿਜ ਘਰਿ ਵਾਸੁ ॥ ਸਬਦੁ ਖੋਜਿ ਇਹੁ ਘਰੁ ਲਹੈ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਤਾ ਕਾ ਦਾਸੁ ॥ (sggs 1291).

  4. Ang 374 Line 10 Raag Asa: Guru Arjan Dev

    ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਅਵਖਧੁ ਮੁਖਿ ਪਾਇਆ ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦੀ ਰਸੁ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਪੀਵੇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
    Har Har Naam Avakhadhh Mukh Paaeiaa Gur Sabadhee Ras Anmrith Peevae ||1|| Rehaao ||
    They place the Name of the Lord, Har, Har, as medicine in their mouths, and through the Word of the Guru’s Shabad, they drink in the Ambrosial Nectar. ||1||Pause||
    2. Ang 625 Line 2 Raag Sorath: Guru Arjan Dev

    ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਅਵਖਦੁ ਮੁਖਿ ਪਾਇਆ ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਸੁਖਿ ਵਸੰਤੀ ॥੪॥੧੨॥੬੨॥
    Har Har Naam Avakhadh Mukh Paaeiaa Jan Naanak Sukh Vasanthee ||4||12||62||
    The Lord, Har, Har, has placed the medicine of the Naam into my mouth; servant Nanak abides in peace. ||4||12||62||

  5. The greatest Rog that separates us from Waheguru is our HOUMAI ( EGO and DUALITY) and this can be erased only by full faith:-

    ਅਉਖਧ ਮੰਤ੍ਰ ਮੂਲੁ ਮਨ ਏਕੈ ਜੇ ਕਰਿ ਦ੍ਰਿੜੁ ਚਿਤੁ ਕੀਜੈ ਰੇ ॥ (Raag Gauri Chaytee M. 1, GGS-156-3).
    Aoukhadhh Manthr Mool Man Eaekai Jae Kar Dhrirr Chith Keejai Rae ||
    O mind, there is only the One medicine, mantra and healing herb – center your consciousness firmly on the One Lord.

    ਅਉਖਧ ਮੰਤ੍ਰ ਮੂਲ ਮਨ ਏਕੈ ਮਨਿ ਬਿਸ੍ਵਾਸੁ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਧਾਰਿਆ ॥(Raag Dhanaasre M. 5, GGS. 675-1).
    Aoukhadhh Manthr Mool Man Eaekai Man Bisvaas Prabh Dhhaariaa ||
    The Mul Mantra, the Root Mantra, is the only cure for the mind; I have installed faith in God in my mind.

  6. Gurbani is always Medicine…

    Yes. Also, the Gurbani will always act as medicine – panacea – provided it is properly understood and practiced in daily life. Otherwise, as the Gurbani says:
    • ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਸੁਨਿ ਕਛੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਨ ਉਪਜਿਓ ਪਸੁ ਜਿਉ ਉਦਰੁ ਭਰਉ ॥ (sggs 685).
    • ਮੁਖਹੁ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਸਭੁ ਕੋ ਕਰੈ ਵਿਰਲੈ ਹਿਰਦੈ ਵਸਾਇਆ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਜਿਨ ਕੈ ਹਿਰਦੈ ਵਸਿਆ ਮੋਖ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਤਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹ ਪਾਇਆ ॥੮॥੨॥ (sggs 565).
    Thank you Bhai Sahib Jio!

  7. In fact Religion can become POISON if misiterprated or mispropagated but DHARAMu as envisaged in Gurbaanee as NAAMu is ever A MEDICINE only. One can look for Quotes from Gurbaanee as

  8. Gurbani is always Medicine never Poison because – \
    Who sing Gurbani are saved, and those who listen Gurbani are saved; all their sins are erased
    1.ਗਾਵਤੇ ਉਧਰਹਿ ਸੁਣਤੇ ਉਧਰਹਿ ਬਿਨਸਹਿ ਪਾਪ ਘਨੇਰੇ ॥.ਪਸੂ ਪਰੇਤ ਮੁਗਧ ਕਉ ਤਾਰੇ ਪਾਹਨ ਪਾਰਿ ਉਤਾਰੈ ॥
    2.ਲੋਗੁ ਜਾਨੈ ਇਹੁ ਗੀਤੁ ਹੈ ਇਹੁ ਤਉ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਬੀਚਾਰ ॥

  9. I feel that Gurbaanee nowhere makes the reference of RELIGION on the contrary Gurbaanee
    gives very strong messages in reference of DHARAM.Thus it is important to understand the difference between RELIGION and DHARAM.
    Considering a quote from Gurbaanee as”SARAB DHARAM MAIN SHRESHAT DHARAMu
    HARi KA NAAMu JUPi NIRMAL KARAMu…Sukhmani Sahib one can understand that in Gurbaanee there is very SPECIFIC reference of DHARAMu and that is HARi NAAMu
    Now NAAMu is not a RELIGION.but HARi NAAMu is certainly A DHARAM (DHARAMu).

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