Sharing in Virtues

A person without Virtues (Gun-ਗੁਣ) is as useless as a cow without milk; a bird without wings; vegetation or crop without water; an emperor without respect, etc. This is the edict (ਫੈਸਲਾ) of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS):

  • ਦੁਧ ਬਿਨੁ ਧੇਨੁ ਪੰਖ ਬਿਨੁ ਪੰਖੀ ਜਲ ਬਿਨੁ ਉਤਭੁਜ ਕਾਮਿ ਨਾਹੀ ॥ ਕਿਆ ਸੁਲਤਾਨੁ ਸਲਾਮ ਵਿਹੂਣਾ ਅੰਧੀ ਕੋਠੀ ਤੇਰਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਨਾਹੀ ॥੧॥:  A cow without milk; a bird without wings; vegetation without water (i.e. useless)! What is an emperor without respect? (Similarly) without the Naam (i.e., ਗੁਣ, Virtues, Wisdom, Truth…), the soul (or the mind) is just a dark room. ||1|| (sggs 354).

The Gurbani is the ‘Gun Bani-ਗੁਣ ਬਾਣੀ’ (Gun = Virtues). The more Divine Virtues Awaken within, that translate into more gain in Aatam-Giaan or spiritual Knowledge.

  • ਜਨੁ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਬੋਲੇ ਗੁਣ ਬਾਣੀ ਗੁਰਬਾਣੀ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮਿ ਸਮਾਇਆ ॥੪॥੫॥: ‘Janu’ Nanak utters the Bani of the Divine Virtues [i.e., the Divine Wisdom (‘Gur-ਗੁਰ’) and the Divine Virtues (‘Gun-ਗੁਣ’) are embedded in the Gurbani]; one gets absorbed in the Hari Naam through the Gurbani (i.e., living by the Divine Wisdom and the Divine Virtues of the Gurbani). ||4||5|| (sggs 494).
  • ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਸਾਹੁ ਪਾਇਆ ਵਡ ਦਾਣਾ ਹਰਿ ਕੀਏ ਬਹੁ ਗੁਣ ਸਾਝਾ ॥੩॥: Who has found the great wise and mighty Satiguru (True Wisdom-ਸੱਚਾ ਗਿਆਨ), the Satiguru share with him many of divine Virtues. (sggs 697).

In short, dealing (‘ਸਾਝ ਕਰੀਜੈ’: taking or giving, ਲੇਨ ਦੇਨ) of a Sikh should be in Virtues/Wisdom (Gun/Naam). In fact, the Gurbani Speaks of One Universal Dharma of Virtues.

  • ਸਾਝ ਕਰੀਜੈ ਗੁਣਹ ਕੇਰੀ ਛੋਡਿ ਅਵਗਣ ਚਲੀਐ ॥ ਪਹਿਰੇ ਪਟੰਬਰ ਕਰਿ ਅਡੰਬਰ ਆਪਣਾ ਪਿੜੁ ਮਲੀਐ ॥ : One should share virtues (with Gurmukhs), thus one can walk on the Way of life by giving up defects (faults, blemishes, demerits etc.). By treating everyone with love and by doing good deeds, one can win the wrestling of life (battle of life, game of life etc. – ਜੀਵਨ-ਘੋਲ) against (defects…). (sggs 766).

Since only Virtues can be conducive to a Wise Life (the Gurmukh Lifestyle), we are urged to churn the Gurbani and collect the Divine Virtues in life (Divine Qualities, ਆਤਮਕ ਗੁਣ, ਦੈਵੀ ਗੁਣ…). In fact, we are reminded by the Gurbani that Bhagti (‘ਭਗਤਿ’) or obtaining the Wisdom is possible only with Virtues!

  • ਵਿਣੁ ਗੁਣ ਕੀਤੇ ਭਗਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥: Without acquiring Virtues, Bhagti can not be performed (sggs 4).
  • ਗੁਣ ਵੀਚਾਰੇ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਸੋਇ ॥ ਗੁਣ ਮਹਿ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਪਰਾਪਤਿ ਹੋਇ ॥: (One who) reflects on the Divine Virtues is spiritually Wise. Spiritual Wisdom is realized through the Divine Virtues (sggs 931).

Devoid of the Divine Virtues, one remains stuck in a mentality of Manmukh, Saakat, Mayadhaaree !

  • ਗੁਣ ਵਿਹੂਣ ਮਾਇਆ ਮਲੁ ਧਾਰੀ ॥: (Those) without Virtues, bear the filth of Maya (in their minds). (sggs 367).

Accordingly, we are time and again reminded by the Gurbani to share (‘Saajh-ਸਾਝ’) in the Divine Virtues/Wisdom (Gun/Naam) only.

  • ਗੁਣ ਕੀ ਸਾਝ ਸੁਖੁ ਊਪਜੈ ਸਚੀ ਭਗਤਿ ਕਰੇਨਿ ॥: With the blessing of sharing in Virtues, ‘Sukh’ (happiness…) wells up, (such individuals) continue to do unwavering Bhagti. (sggs 756).
  • ਆਪਿ ਜਪਹੁ ਅਵਰਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਜਪਾਵਹੁ ॥: Understand the Naam yourself and motivate others to Understand it. (sggs 289).

Now, the question is: Why some in life just tie up bundles of demerits (faults, Bikaars, ਅਵਗਣ, ਅਉਗੁਣ) instead of Virtues/Wisdom?

  • ਲੋਕੁ ਅਵਗਣਾ ਕੀ ਬੰਨ੍ਹ੍ਹੈ ਗੰਠੜੀ ਗੁਣ ਨ ਵਿਹਾਝੈ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਗੁਣ ਕਾ ਗਾਹਕੁ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਵਿਰਲਾ ਕੋਈ ਹੋਇ ॥: People tie up bundles of demerits; no one deals in Virtues. O Nanak! Rare is the purchaser appropriator of Virtues. (sggs 1092.

The Gurbani teaches Haumai or egoistic mind enjoys being absorbed in Mayaic qualities (Rajo, Tamo, and Sato) instead of Virtues/Wisdom!

Hence, the pastime of ourdeluded or Mayaic mind is to collect and commit demerits! The Gurbani cautions us of this habit of the instinctive mind:

  • ਕਬੀਰ ਮਨੁ ਜਾਨੈ ਸਭ ਬਾਤ ਜਾਨਤ ਹੀ ਅਉਗਨੁ ਕਰੈ ॥: O Kabir! The mind knows everything and knowingly it commits demerits (sggs 1376).

Where there is Haume (false ego-sense), there is the consummate enemy called Bikaar (lust, ager, greed, attachment, pride etc.). Where there is lust etc., there is the compelling and coercive materialistic desire of indulging in Maya or sensory temptations.

The Gurbani asserts Jeeva (individual beings) are brimful with demerits. The Gurbani also tells us that Virtues abide within Jeeva as well. By becoming the Gurmukh, one can discover Virtues from the Inner or body-Srovar (‘ਸਰੀਰਿ ਸਰੋਵਰਿ’) via churning the Gurbani (or Shabad-Vichaar...).

  • ਸਭ ਕਿਛੁ ਘਰ ਮਹਿ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਨਾਹੀ ॥ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਟੋਲੈ ਸੋ ਭਰਮਿ ਭੁਲਾਹੀ ॥: (The Divine Virtues, Wisdom, Spiritual tranquility, Naam, Shabad, Amrit, Prabh, ਆਤਮਕ ਸੁਖ…) all that is within the Heart-Home; not outside. Who searches outside is deluded by doubts (sggs 102).
  • ਸਰੀਰਿ ਸਰੋਵਰਿ ਗੁਣ ਪਰਗਟਿ ਕੀਏ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਮਥਿ ਤਤੁ ਕਢੀਏ ॥੪॥੫॥੫੭॥: The body-Srovar (body-pool) yields Virtues. O Nanak! By becoming the Gurmukh, who churns this (body-pool through Shabad-Vichaar), discovers Knowledge (ਤੱਤ ਗਿਆਨ…). ||4||5||57|| (sggs 367).
  • ਅਵਗੁਣੀ ਭਰਪੂਰ ਹੈ ਗੁਣ ਭੀ ਵਸਹਿ ਨਾਲਿ ॥: (The mortal) is overflowing with demerits, but Virtues dwell within him as well. (sggs 936).
  • ਨਾਨਕ ਸਬਦੁ ਵੀਚਾਰੀਐ ਪਾਈਐ ਗੁਣੀ ਨਿਧਾਨੁ ॥੮॥੧੦॥: O Nanak! Shabad should be reflected upon, (reflecting on the Shabad) Treasure of Virtues is obtained. ||8||10|| (sggs 59).

Followings are crystal clear from the above verses:

  1. Demerits are foreign to our mind — external, unnatural, not inherent etc.
  2. Virtues are native (inherent, natural, within etc.).
  3. The Treasure of all Virtues, one’s Mool or Jot saroop  is ever present within!
  4. The Treasure of all Virtues is realized through Shabad Vichaar or churning the Gurbani.
  5. No importance is given in the SGGS to any external place, external building, external Sarovar, external religious paraphernalia, religious Pakhand, rituals or Karamkaand (‘Kufakarhe) etc.

Message of the Gurbani centers on self-efforts to improve ownself, persuade ownself, search ownself, change ownself,  instruct own mind, Self-Transcendence etc. — each person’s competition is with ownself; try to be better than yourself! (become the Gurmukh).

  • ਜਿਨ ਗੁਣੁ ਪਲੈ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਮਾਣਕ ਵਣਜਹਿ ਸੇਇ ॥: O Nanak! They alone deal in the gem (of Naam, Shabad, Wisdom…) who have Virtue (in their mind). (sggs 954).
  • ਮਾਨੈ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਸਭੇ ਗੁਣ ਗਿਆਨ ॥: (One who) accepts the Divine Hukam, he is blessed with all Divine Virtues and total Spiritual Wisdom. (sggs 944).
  • ਆਪਣਾ ਕਾਰਜੁ ਆਪਿ ਸਵਾਰੇ ਹੋਰਨਿ ਕਾਰਜੁ ਨ ਹੋਈ ॥: (Jeev-individual being) resolves his own affair (i.e., the Purpose of life of Mool Realization) himself; anyone else cannot do this work (for him). (sggs 351).

Virtues (Gun-ਗੁਣ) are said to be the best friends for they never desert a person. Instead, they always protect him!

  • ਸਜਣ ਸੇਈ ਨਾਲਿ ਮੈ ਚਲਦਿਆ ਨਾਲਿ ਚਲੰਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਿ ॥ ਜਿਥੈ ਲੇਖਾ ਮੰਗੀਐ ਤਿਥੈ ਖੜੇ ਦਿਸੰਨਿ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: (Virtues – ਗੁਣ) alone are my friends, who (always) travel along with me; and where the accounts are called for (i.e., wherever I’m in trouble, my Virtues) appear standing with me. ||1||Pause|| (sggs 729).
  • ਨਾਨਕ ਅਉਗੁਣ ਜੇਤੜੇ ਤੇਤੇ ਗਲੀ ਜੰਜੀਰ ॥ ਜੇ ਗੁਣ ਹੋਨਿ ਤ ਕਟੀਅਨਿ ਸੇ ਭਾਈ ਸੇ ਵੀਰ ॥: O Nanak! As many as are the demerits (Bikaar…), so many are the chains (bonds, Bandhan…) around (one’s) neck. If (one) possesses the Divine Virtues, then the chains are cut away; (hence Virtues) are (one’s) true brothers and mates. (sggs 595).


  1. Thank you Bhai Sahib Dr.Sabbar Singh Khalsa Ji for taking the time to write commend. Also, welcome to the Gurbani Blog!

  2. Sat Sri Akaal.
    thank tou for your articles… alway is a blessing to rerad it.
    with respect.
    Dr. Sabbar Singh Khalsa.

  3. Yes it is very much true that we have to gain virtues. Man has to gain/develop those virtues /qualities which are in GOD. In Mool Mantar :-
    ੴ – indicates that we have to try to attain virtue of Unity.
    ਸਤਿ ਨਾਮੁ – indicates that we have to try to attain virtue of Truth/truth full life
    ਕਰਤਾ ਪੁਰਖੁ – indicates that we have to try to attain virtue of honest earning
    ਨਿਰਭਉ – indicates that we have to try to attain virtue of fearless (because GOD
    has no fear & He is also fearless)
    ਨਿਰਵੈਰੁ – indicates that we have to try to attain virtue of No Enemy(because GOD
    has no enemy)
    ਅਕਾਲ ਮੂਰਤਿ – indicates that we have to try to become Example/Picture of truth
    ਅਜੂਨੀ ਸੈਭੰ – indicates that we have to try for freedom from life/ Birth or death
    ਗੁਰ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ ॥ – Above virtues will come by Grace of GURU,
    if anyone attains/gets above virtues/qualities he/she becomes GOD
    ਹਰਿ ਜਨੁ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਹੋਇਆ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਹਰਿ ਇਕੇ

  4. Thank you Bhai Sahib Jeeo!
    Our lives are interwoven with the thread of Divine Presence within (Mool, Jot…). Thus, we are all in it together, learning from each other.

  5. Bhai Sahib T. Singh jio,
    Your efforts are meaningful and the Gurbani messages come out clear. Those who read and understand may one day in life would realise what they have had missed out. To enlighten someone with GUR-SHABAD is the best gift ever that one could offer. Please keep it up, it is helping us all.

  6. Gurbani is eternal package with full of virtues, provided one believes and live accordingly. Gurmukhs who remain dedicated and submitted to God’s WILL surely could enlighten others if one chooses to develop one’s mind. Such is one device to help eradicate indwelling egoist nature. It is true to quote that a man is known by the company he keeps, but one must ensure that he is in the company of the true God lovers; fake groups are common so one must be aware of.

  7. Thank you Bhai Sahib Jeeo!
    ਨਾਨਕ ਸਬਦੁ ਵੀਚਾਰੀਐ ਪਾਈਐ ਗੁਣੀ ਨਿਧਾਨੁ ॥੮॥੧੦॥ (sggs 59).

  8. I think one should FOCUS on NAAMu only…..Virtues are the fruits resulting from focusing on

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