Gurbani’s Sooraa – Braveheart

Literally — in a worldly sense  —’Sooraa‘ (ਸੂਰਾ) means a brave person (fearless fighter, ਸੂਰਮਾ, ਬਹਾਦਰ, ਬਲੀ, ਯੋਧਾ, ਮਹਾਬਲੀ etc.).

However, in material life, depending on one’s perspective, a person who appears to be a Sooraa to one may be a murderer to another!

Thus, the term ‘Sooraa‘ could have different meanings in different contexts.

Some call themselves SOORAA based on their physical strength, blowing themselves up, killing innocent people, oppressing the destitute, terrorizing the weak, enslaving and ruling others, dying in the battle field, and so on.

Also, called Sooraa are those who are falsely pumped up and hyped up by the illiterate and crafty Pujaaree groups and the Pujaaree system in order to kill others and then get themselves killed in the process, all in the name of their religion and manufactured god!

None of the above is the Gurbani’s Sooraa!

  • ਨ ਭੀਜੈ ਭੇੜਿ ਮਰਹਿ ਭਿੜਿ ਸੂਰ ॥: (God) is not won over by fighting and dying as a warrior in battle i.e., by becoming a martyr or Shaheed (sggs 1237).
  • ਸੂਰੇ ਏਹਿ ਨ ਆਖੀਅਹਿ ਅਹੰਕਾਰਿ ਮਰਹਿ ਦੁਖੁ ਪਾਵਹਿ ॥ ਅੰਧੇ ਆਪੁ ਨ ਪਛਾਣਨੀ ਦੂਜੈ ਪਚਿ ਜਾਵਹਿ ॥: They are not called heroes, who die of egotism, suffering in pain. The (egotist, ignorant…) blind ones do not realize their own selves (i.e., True Nature, Jot Saroop, etc.); in the love of duality, they rot. (sggs 1089).

Nonetheless, The ‘Sooraa‘ of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) is a spiritual warrior or Hero who is brave enough to fearlessly fight or struggle with his own depraved mind, corrupted with vices/Bikaar (i.e., lust, anger, greed…). Eradicating Haumai (false ego-sense) from within, he conquers his own mind in the process.

  • ਜਿਨਿ ਮਿਲਿ ਮਾਰੇ ਪੰਚ ਸੂਰਬੀਰ ਐਸੋ ਕਉਨੁ ਬਲੀ ਰੇ ॥ ਜਿਨਿ ਪੰਚ ਮਾਰਿ ਬਿਦਾਰਿ ਗੁਦਾਰੇ ਸੋ ਪੂਰਾ ਇਹ ਕਲੀ ਰੇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Who has seized and conquered the five powerful fighters (i.e. Bikaar)? Is there anyone strong enough? He alone, who conquers and defeats the five demons (i.e., Bikaar), is perfect in this world. ||1||Pause|| (sggs 404).
  • ਨਾਨਕ ਸੋ ਸੂਰਾ ਵਰੀਆਮੁ ਜਿਨਿ ਵਿਚਹੁ ਦੁਸਟੁ ਅਹੰਕਰਣੁ ਮਾਰਿਆ ॥: O Nanak! He is a brave warrior, who kills (conquers, annihilates…) his vicious ego from within (sggs 86).

Put simply, Sooraa or Braveheart is resistance to fear or mastery of fear.

Stilling of the false ego-sense is also considered becoming living dead or living liberated (Jeevan Mukt) — as if one has died to the world while still alive. Such person becomes unaffected by the likes and dislikes (i.e., duality or two-ness).

  • ਜਉ ਤਉ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਖੇਲਣ ਕਾ ਚਾਉ ॥ ਸਿਰੁ ਧਰਿ ਤਲੀ ਗਲੀ ਮੇਰੀ ਆਉ ॥ ਇਤੁ ਮਾਰਗਿ ਪੈਰੁ ਧਰੀਜੈ ॥ ਸਿਰੁ ਦੀਜੈ ਕਾਣਿ ਨ ਕੀਜੈ ॥੨੦॥: If you desire to play this game of Divine Love, then step on the Way to me after completely shedding your false ego-sense (Haumai). One should step onto this path (of Love) only when one is ready with complete surrender (of false ego-sense) without any hesitation. ||20|| (sggs 1412).

The deluded or wandering mind is Maya, and Maya is the deluded or wandering mind.

Put simply, that which dwells on duality and thus has separated from its Mool (Source, Jot etc.) is mind. Also called veil, wall or curtain, it is that mountain of smoke which stands between an individual (Jeeva) and his Essential Nature (i.e. Jot Saroop). The Gurbani’s ‘Sooraa‘ fearlessly brings this mighty wall of the duality-ridden mind down.

  • ਜੋ ਇਸੁ ਮਾਰੇ ਸੋਈ ਸੂਰਾ ॥: One who kills this (i.e., duality) is a Sooraa — Spiritual Hero (sggs 238).
  • ਇਕਿ ਮਨੂਆ ਮਾਰਿ ਮਨੈ ਸਿਉ ਲੂਝਹਿ ॥: Conquering the mind (i.e. Bikaar), some continue struggling with the mind. (sggs 1046).

In this context, the word ‘Loojhahi‘ is very significant in the foregoing verse. It simply means to struggle, control, subdue, subjugate, gain mastery over, conquer, wrestle or annihilate. To put it otherwise, the Gurbani urges us to eradicate this dysfunction.

  • ਜਾ ਕਉ ਹਰਿ ਰੰਗੁ ਲਾਗੋ ਇਸੁ ਜੁਗ ਮਹਿ ਸੋ ਕਹੀਅਤ ਹੈ ਸੂਰਾ ॥ ਆਤਮ ਜਿਣੈ ਸਗਲ ਵਸਿ ਤਾ ਕੈ ਜਾ ਕਾ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਪੂਰਾ ॥੧॥: In this world, he who is imbued with God’s love (Widom / Virtues) is called brave (Sooraa‘, spiritual hero etc.). The one whose Satguru (Wisdom-ਸਚਾ ਗਿਆਨ) is perfect, conquers his mind and (his mind) overpowers all (bodily senses). ||1|| (sggs 679).

Mere knowing of the mind’s enemies (vices/Bikaar) is not enough. Because, to know them is one thing, however, to overpower them is another. Then, how can they be overpowered?

The Gurbani asserts that they can be overpowered by By becoming the Gurmukh, (Enlightened, God-Oriented, Guru Shabad-Oriented being). It is the Gurmukh who can continuously keep his mind in check. Like the snake-charmer, he never lets the snake of his mind act loosely or independently.

  • ਨਾਨਕ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਮਨ ਸਿਉ ਲੁਝੈ ॥੪੬॥: O Nanak, (the one who) becomes the Gurmukh, struggles with own mind (ਆਪਣੇ ਮਨ ਨਾਲ ਟਾਕਰਾ…) ||46|| (sggs 1418).

As time and again advised in the Gurbani, one can become the Gurmukh by internalizing the Enlightening Message contained in the Guru Shabad.

  • ਹਉਮੈ ਚਉਪੜਿ ਖੇਲਣਾ ਝੂਠੇ ਅਹੰਕਾਰਾ ॥ ਸਭੁ ਜਗੁ ਹਾਰੈ ਸੋ ਜਿਣੈ ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦੁ ਵੀਚਾਰਾ ॥੫॥: Man is playing the game of false ego-sense (Haumai) with the dice of falsehood and self-conceit. The whole world loses (the human life); he alone wins, who reflects on the Gur-Shabad (Upadesh, Giyan, Wisdom…). ||5|| (sggs 422).

It is the Shabad-Surti (Naam-Consciousness, Untainted Awareness, the state of true Wisdom, Virtues…) which can roast and fry the conditioned mind! By removing delusions, it sends the mind back to its Spiritual Nature, which is its Original Home, within.

  • ਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਸਬਦੁ ਮਨੇ ਸੋ ਸੂਰਾ ॥: He alone is a spiritual hero, who believes in the Gur-Shabad (sggs 1023).
  • ਸਚੈ ਸਬਦਿ ਮਹਾਬਲ ਸੂਰਾ ॥: Through the Shabad, one becomes brave spiritual hero (sggs 1060).
  • ਸਬਦਿ ਮਿਲਾਏ ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਸੂਰਾ ॥: Practice teaching of the Gurbani (Gurmati), become spiritual hero and emerge in the Shabad (sggs 1043).
  • ਕਬੀਰ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਸੂਰਮੇ ਬਾਹਿਆ ਬਾਨੁ ਜੁ ਏਕੁ ॥ ਲਾਗਤ ਹੀ ਭੁਇ ਗਿਰਿ ਪਰਿਆ ਪਰਾ ਕਰੇਜੇ ਛੇਕੁ ॥੧੯੪॥: Kabir, the Soorma Satigur has shout an Arrow (of the Wisdom) at me. As soon as it struck (my mind), I fell to the ground (become humble, egoless…) and a hole was made in the Heart (i.e., my mind got pierced with the Wisdom). (sggs 1374).

Thus, to become a Spiritual Hero and fight with the sense-bent mind simply means NOT to let the mind become extroverted. To realize this goal, we are urged by the Gurbani to live rightly the Divine Virtues to ensure a noble pattern for life (‘ਕੁਲਵੰਤੁ’).

Second, by honest introspection, we are asked to detect our mind’s wrong tendencies and eliminate them through constant and deliberate self-efforts.

Thus, to become a brave Spiritual Hero is not a question of physical strength or outer appearance (i.e. religious paraphernalia, symbols, ਚਿਨ…) of a person, it’s a question of defeating the ego-mind (Haumai) and becoming the Gurmukh, here and now!

  • ਗਗਨ ਦਮਾਮਾ ਬਾਜਿਓ ਪਰਿਓ ਨੀਸਾਨੈ ਘਾਉ ॥ ਖੇਤੁ ਜੁ ਮਾਂਡਿਓ ਸੂਰਮਾ ਅਬ ਜੂਝਨ ਕੋ ਦਾਉ ॥੧॥ ਸੂਰਾ ਸੋ ਪਹਿਚਾਨੀਐ ਜੁ ਲਰੈ ਦੀਨ ਕੇ ਹੇਤ ॥ ਪੁਰਜਾ ਪੁਰਜਾ ਕਟਿ ਮਰੈ ਕਬਹੂ ਨ ਛਾਡੈ ਖੇਤੁ ॥੨॥੨॥: When the divine Wisdom Enlightened the mind like a battle-drum resounds in the sky, then a focus in life takes place (to fight with vices/Bikaar). The brave warrior (mind) jumps into the battlefield of life to fight against vices/Bikaar. ||1|| He alone is known as a spiritual hero, who fights (with vices/Bikaar…) for the sake of Dharma (i.e. righteousness, Virtues…). He may be cut into pieces (harmed in every way), but never deserts the battlefield (of his life — never gives up fighting against his own vices/Bikaar, and never gives up fighting against social evils such as injustice etc.). ||2||2|| (sggs 1105).

Having said that, before one steps on the Way of the Gurbani, the Gurbani asks to ‘first’ accept death — death of the false-self (‘ਪਹਿਲਾ ਮਰਣੁ ਕਬੂਲਿ’).

  • ਪਹਿਲਾ ਮਰਣੁ ਕਬੂਲਿ ਜੀਵਣ ਕੀ ਛਡਿ ਆਸ ॥ ਹੋਹੁ ਸਭਨਾ ਕੀ ਰੇਣੁਕਾ ਤਉ ਆਉ ਹਮਾਰੈ ਪਾਸਿ ॥੧॥: (Message from God) O Mortal, first accept death (of your false ego-sense) and give up longing for worldly desires (selfishness etc.), become humble like the dust of the feet of all, only then come to Me. ||1|| (sggs 1102).

When all the senses of knowledge (Giyan-Indrae) become Wise or Virtuous with the Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS, the following happens:

  • ਗਗਨ ਨਗਰਿ ਇਕ ਬੂੰਦ ਨ ਬਰਖੈ ਨਾਦੁ ਕਹਾ ਜੁ ਸਮਾਨਾ ॥ ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਪਰਮੇਸੁਰ ਮਾਧੋ ਪਰਮ ਹੰਸੁ ਲੇ ਸਿਧਾਨਾ ॥੧॥ ਬਾਬਾ ਬੋਲਤੇ ਤੇ ਕਹਾ ਗਏ ਦੇਹੀ ਕੇ ਸੰਗਿ ਰਹਤੇ ॥ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਮਾਹਿ ਜੋ ਨਿਰਤੇ ਕਰਤੇ ਕਥਾ ਬਾਰਤਾ ਕਹਤੇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: From the ‘Gagan Nagar‘ (i.e. mind, brain), not even a drop (of bad thought…) rains down. Where is the ‘Naad‘ (noise of vices or Bikaar — lust, anger, greed, attachment, pride), which was contained in the mind? (This is all the kindness of) the Divine (Wisdom / Virtues) that has destroyed all Mayaic tumult of my mind. ||1|| Where have (vices or Bikaar) gone that were attached to the mind? They  (i.e. vices or Bikaar) used to dance in the mind (Mayaic dance), and always talked about body-consciousness or sense-gratification (where have they gone now?). ||1||Pause|| (sggs 480).
  • 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).

The Gurbani asserts that such brave (Sooraa) cannot be frightened by anyone!

  • ਭੈ ਕਾਹੂ ਕਉ ਦੇਤ ਨਹਿ ਨਹਿ ਭੈ ਮਾਨਤ ਆਨ ॥ ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਸੁਨਿ ਰੇ ਮਨਾ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਤਾਹਿ ਬਖਾਨਿ ॥੧੬॥: Whosoever frightens none nor is afraid of (threats of) anyone; says Nanak, listen, O mind! Call that person a Giyani (a Wise person, spiritually Enlightened). (sggs 1427).

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