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! (Wisdom) has taken away my (worldly) intelligence (ਅਕਲ). With this altered intelligence, 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 ॥ ਜਨਮਤ ਮੋਹਿਓ ਮੋਹਨੀ ਮਾਇਆ ॥: (Man) is born in this life only to become ONE (with Prabh, Mool, etc. – through Naam…). (But) ever since (man’s) birth, (he) has been enticed and deceived by Maya. (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. Veerji, Very beautifully you have written the article.
    I have recently started following this website. The kind of contribution you are making is really commendable.

  2. Yes, Bhai Sahib Ji. Thank you!
    According to the Gurbani, Shabad-Kamaaee (ਸਬਦ-ਕਮਾਈ – practice, implementation, ਅਮਲ…) is must.
    • ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦੁ ਕਮਾਇਆ ਅਉਖਧੁ ਹਰਿ ਪਾਇਆ ਹਰਿ ਕੀਰਤਿ ਹਰਿ ਸਾਂਤਿ ਪਾਇ ਜੀਉ ॥: Gur sabadu kamaaiaa aoukhadhu hari paaiaa… (sggs 446).
    • ਨਾਨਕ ਨਾਮੁ ਨ ਵੀਸਰੈ ਛੂਟੈ ਸਬਦੁ ਕਮਾਇ ॥੮॥੧੪॥ (sggs 62).
    • ਗਲੀ ਜੋਗੁ ਨ ਹੋਈ ॥: (sggs 730).

  3. This is true that without properly understanding of Gurbaanee its correct application is also not possible.
    From Gurbaanee one can know that the true understanding of Gurbaanee shall be given by “GuRu” only. A quote from Gurbaanee in this context is worth consideration as

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