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 can act as ‘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 in the name of religion and god, all over the world!

For a moment, let’s forget about all worldly religions (Mazhab-ਮਜ਼ਹਬ) and their religious texts. Instead, let’s focus on Sikhi.

Sikhi is WAY of life based on the Gurmat Giaan or Wisdom of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS).

Often misunderstood, Sikhi is not a combination or offshoot of any other religion (Mazhab-ਮਜ਼ਹਬ). It’s a revolutionary ‘Soch‘ (thinking) of all 35 revolutionary writers whose Baanee (ਬਾਣੀ) or hymns are recorded in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib.

They did not start an another religion (Mazhab-ਮਜ਼ਹਬ). In fact, they openly talked about what had become a corrupt system (crafty clergy or Pujaaree-Vaad etc.) in all religions.

The Way of life shown by the Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS is the ‘medicine’.

By becoming a Gurmukh, however, this medicine has to be constantly consumed or administered (understood-assimilated-lived) in daily life to remove the bad impact of Haumai (false ego-sense).

  • ਥਾਲ ਵਿਚਿ ਤਿੰਨਿ ਵਸਤੂ ਪਈਓ ਸਤੁ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ ਵੀਚਾਰੋ ॥ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਨਾਮੁ ਠਾਕੁਰ ਕਾ ਪਇਓ ਜਿਸ ਕਾ ਸਭਸੁ ਅਧਾਰੋ ॥ ਜੇ ਕੋ ਖਾਵੈ ਜੇ ਕੋ ਭੁੰਚੈ ਤਿਸ ਕਾ ਹੋਇ ਉਧਾਰੋ ॥: In the human (Conscience), three things remain —  the truth, Contentment and thoughtful Reflection or Insight (into spiritual Life); in which has manifested the Amrit Naam (Giaan-Wisdom, Virtues…), the support of all. The benefit (Laahaa) is to he who consumes (‘ਖਾਵੈ-Khaavia), and he who digests it (‘ਭੁੰਚੈ Bhunchai‘. (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, it will positively affect our mind and leads it to realize its Untainted Nature (Jot Saroop).

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 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,  Gurmukh-hood, one-pointed mind 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 transform our 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).
  • ਦੁਖ ਮਹੁਰਾ ਮਾਰਣ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ॥ ਸਿਲਾ ਸੰਤੋਖ ਪੀਸਣੁ ਹਥਿ ਦਾਨੁ ॥ ਨਿਤ ਨਿਤ ਲੇਹੁ ਨ ਛੀਜੈ ਦੇਹ ॥ ਅੰਤ ਕਾਲਿ ਜਮੁ ਮਾਰੈ ਠੇਹ ॥੧॥ ਐਸਾ ਦਾਰੂ ਖਾਹਿ ਗਵਾਰ ॥ ਜਿਤੁ ਖਾਧੈ ਤੇਰੇ ਜਾਹਿ ਵਿਕਾਰ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Sufferings that have become poison due to Vikaar (i.e. lust, anger, greed etc.), the divine Naam (Giaan or Wsdom) is the antidote. Grind it up in the mortar of contentment, make the Daan (i.e. giving of Giaan or Wisdom etc. to help others or needy) a grindstone in your hand. Take this (medicine) everyday, and your body will not pine and waste away (i.e. diminute). Otherwise you will have to bear the brunt of Vikaar. ||1|| O foolish (mind)! Take such medicine, by which (the bad impact of) Vikaar leave you alone (i.e. stay at bay). ||1||Pause|| (sggs 1257).
  • 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 or Karamkaand (rituals, formalities), if not properly applied then the benefit (‘Laahaa’) will lost.

  • 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 or interpreting them by the paid clergy, let alone properly applying them to daily life!

In fact, on account of ignorance or greed, many (Particularly the paid clergy or Pujaaree) abuse or use religions or their texts as a mundane business (‘ਰੋਟੀਆ ਕਾਰਣਿ’ ਧੰਧਾ) or money game and mislead people in the process! Owing to their selfishness and greed, many people do follow religious con men blindly.

  • ਪੜਿਐ ਨਾਹੀ ਭੇਦੁ ਬੁਝਿਐ ਪਾਵਣਾ ॥ ਖਟੁ ਦਰਸਨ ਕੈ ਭੇਖਿ ਕਿਸੈ ਸਚਿ ਸਮਾਵਣਾ ॥ ਸਚਾ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਅਲਖੁ ਸਬਦਿ ਸੁਹਾਵਣਾ ॥ : Not by just reading (scriptures), but it is through spiritual Wisdom one Understands this fact (that God is infinite). No one can merge in the eternal God by merely adopting the garbs mentioned in the six Shastras (the Hindu holy books). The eternal God is unfathomable, but revealed through the Guru’s Shabad, He (i.e. Creation, Hukam) looks beautiful. (sggs 148).
  • ਬਿਨੁ ਬੂਝੇ ਪਸੂ ਭਏ ਬੇਤਾਲੇ ॥੬॥: Without understanding, people become beast (-nature) and demon ||6|| (sggs 224).
  • ਪਢੇ ਗੁਨੇ ਨਾਹੀ ਕਛੁ ਬਉਰੇ ਜਉ ਦਿਲ ਮਹਿ ਖਬਰਿ ਨ ਹੋਈ ॥੨॥: O crazy man! (You) gain nothing by reading and studying if you do not gain the Understanding (ਆਤਮਕ ਸੂਝ-ਬੂਝ) in the Heart. ||2|| (sggs 483).

As asserted in the Gurbani, If everybody in the world becomes the Gurmukh (follower of the Truth or the Divine Life etc.), then there will prevail only the Divine Vision and Understanding (Soojh-Boojh) of Oneness, 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 ॥: The Gurmukhs ever praise (Rabb: Universal Energy, Hukam: System-Rule-Law of Nature…); However, Manmukhs die by consuming the poison of Maya. (sggs 515).


  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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