Spiritual Development

The Unique and Revolutionary Spirituality of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) is not only practical, but also logical and commonsense. There is no pretense (Dikhaavaa-ਦਿਖਾਵਾ). Realized through Internalizing the Spiritual Message of the Shabad, it is the compass that Guides learners and seekers (Sikhs) in traversing their Spiritual Journey. Furthermore:

  • The spirituality of Gurbani or Sikhi is a spirituality of the HERE and NOW, not afterlife or after physical death,
  • Since spirituality of Gurbani or Sikhi is a spirituality of the HERE and NOW, it is not the spirituality of the past or the future,
  • The spirituality of the Gurbani (SGGS) is of the SELF, for the SELF, by the SELF. Hence there is NO concept of transfer of blessings in the spirituality of the Gurbani.
  • The spirituality of the Gurbani is meant for the WHOLE of humanity throughout time – Sarab Saanjhee (ਸਰਬ ਸਾਂਝੀ ਬਾਣੀ).
  • Gurbani is never specific to any location, occasion, person, incident or era – Sarab Saanjhee.
  • Gurbani is composed for use by the Whole of humanity in all locations, all occasions, all persons or all eras – Sarab Saanjhee.
  • Gurbani and its spirituality is NOT confined by the walls of dogmas, phony formalities, structured rituals (Karamkaand), antagonistic adherents, Pakhand, religious paraphernalia, religious robes, pilgrimage obligation (Tirath locations), ritual bathing etc. The Unique and Revolutionary spirituality of the Shabad (SGGS) has CRITIQUED and DEBUNKED ALL this concocted nonsense of the self-serving Pujaaree systems.

Despite of the Gurbani’s (SGGS) rejection of the Pujaaree’s concocted narratives, it’s Ironic that in Sikhi the biggest hindrance to one’s Spiritual development in life is the same pre-1469 stale belief systems, fake concepts and rituals propagated by the self serving Sikh Pujaaree (clergy: Granthis, Parcharaks, Ragis, Dhadees etc.) and the freeloading Deraa-Vaad Baabaas (ਵੇਹਲੜ, ਪਖੰਡੀPakhnadee) etc.

  • ਬਿਨੁ ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦ ਨ ਛੂਟਸਿ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਪਾਖੰਡਿ ਕੀਨ੍ਹ੍ਹੈ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥੨॥ : No one can escape (the spiritual death) without Internalizing the Message of the Guru’s Shabad. No one finds liberation (from vices or Bikaar) by practicing ‘Pakhnad‘ (ਪਖੰਡ, hypocrisy). ||2||

Also, as we humans age, our old habits and nature solidifies and become more and more stubborn, making positive change more difficult with time.

Babaa Nanak’s Spirituality is not only UNIQUE and practical but also Universal! In a Revolutionary way, Baabaa Nanak redefined the stale of pre-1469 spiritual concepts and traditions such as Sanatan traditions, Brahmanical traditions, Yogic traditions, and that of Abrahamic religious traditions etc. Our Gurus, and Bhagat Sahibaan questioned every cultural, religious or political tradition and proclamations and redefined / changed as situation demanded.

  • ਕਾਦੀ ਕੂੜੁ ਬੋਲਿ ਮਲੁ ਖਾਇ ॥ ਬ੍ਰਾਹਮਣੁ ਨਾਵੈ ਜੀਆ ਘਾਇ ॥ ਜੋਗੀ ਜੁਗਤਿ ਨ ਜਾਣੈ ਅੰਧੁ ॥ ਤੀਨੇ ਓਜਾੜੇ ਕਾ ਬੰਧੁ ॥੨॥: The clergy of the Muslim faith was corrupt, the Brahmin was murderous and the Yogi Un-Enlightened. These three (clergy) had become the root cause for the spiritual wreckage and desolation that mankind had
    come to endure. (sggs 662).

Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS is capable of changing one’s mindset, habits, thinking (Soch), conduct etc. But, one must be sincerely willing to take this Wisdom and than live it in daily life.

Our Conscience (Surat)is the shadow of the Creator. It is the carrier that takes us Beyond. In other words, it is the Essence that Connects us to the Omnipresent Creator Within.

That being said, Conscious really is a junction between time and Timelessness — between Material Realm and Spiritual Realm, or between temporal and Virtual Realm.

  • ਮਾਨੈ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਸਭੇ ਗੁਣ ਗਿਆਨ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਦਰਗਹ ਪਾਵੈ ਮਾਨੁ ॥੫੬॥ : (Spiritual success is the) Realization of the Divine Virtues and Internalization of His Hukam. Nanak, the spirituality of the Shabad provides the Honor (of Realization) within my Conscience. ॥56॥ (sggs 944).
  • ਸਬਦੁ ਗੁਰੂ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਧੁਨਿ ਚੇਲਾ ॥: The SHABAD is my GURU, and my consciousness (Surat) is the disciple (of this SHABAD GURU). (sggs 943).

In a nutshell, Baabaa Nanak rejected all the religions of his day,
including the one he was born into — he was born into a Hindu household but with that faith his Gurmat or Sikhi shares nothing.

The Creator Linking Message of the Shabad-Guru (SGGS) is addressed to the human mind for its Inner Growth. Once Internalized, the spiritual Growth is assured – the spiritual Evolution is unstoppable!

Hence the mind of each one of us is asked by the Gurbani (SGGS) to witness its own spiritual Development, which boiled down to the mind witnessing itself reach its own Mool (Source, Jot Saroop) WITHIN – Realization of the Creator / Hukam WITHIN who – standing outside time and space – is present in every atom in the Universe, nothing is amiss.

  • ਰਮਤ ਰਾਮੁ ਸਭ ਰਹਿਓ ਸਮਾਇ ॥੧॥: Raam is omnipresent, present in all Creation. ||1|| (sggs 865).

Spiritual development takes place WITHIN

Spiritual development is NOT a matter of wandering at the so called Teerath locations (Teerath Yaatraa, Pilgrimages), observances (i.e. fasting, ritual worship or Poojaa, counting beads (rosary-ਮਾਲਾ ਫੇਰਨੀ), rituals or Karamkaand, obeying the self-serving Pujaaree’s concocted religious dogmas and robes or paraphernalia, paid ritualistic reading or recitation of the SGGS, paid ritualistic prayers (Ardaas), pre-1469 stale traditions that have been debunked in the Sikhi of the SGGS. It takes place WITHIN.

  • ਮਨ ਕਾ ਝੂਠਾ ਝੂਠੁ ਕਮਾਵੈ ॥ ਮਾਇਆ ਨੋ ਫਿਰੈ ਤਪਾ ਸਦਾਵੈ ॥ ਭਰਮੇ ਭੂਲਾ ਸਭਿ ਤੀਰਥ ਗਹੈ ॥: The man of false mind practices falsehood. He runs after Maya, and yet pretends to be Tapaa (a devotee, a hermit, a recluse, etc.). Deluded by doubt (he) visits all Teerath (external shrines of pilgrimage). (sggs 1142).
  • ਅੰਨੁ ਨ ਖਾਹਿ ਦੇਹੀ ਦੁਖੁ ਦੀਜੈ ॥ ਬਿਨੁ ਗੁਰ ਗਿਆਨ ਤ੍ਰਿਪਤਿ ਨਹੀ ਥੀਜੈ ॥: Those who do not eat food; they (just) tortures their body (because they don’t gain any spiritual benefit from this act). Without the Divine Wisdom from the Guru, he is not satisfied (ਮਾਇਆ ਵਲੋਂ, Bikaars, etc.). (sggs 905).
  • ਕਿਆ ਜਪੁ ਕਿਆ ਤਪੁ ਕਿਆ ਬ੍ਰਤ ਪੂਜਾ ॥ ਜਾ ਕੈ ਰਿਦੈ ਭਾਉ ਹੈ ਦੂਜਾ ॥੧॥: What use is Jap(u), Tap(u), fasting, and Poojaa to one whose heart is filled with the love of duality? ||1|| (sggs 324).
  • ਬਹੁ ਭੇਖ ਕੀਆ ਦੇਹੀ ਦੁਖੁ ਦੀਆ ॥: The more one wears religious robes, the more pain he causes his body (sggs 467).

Although one’s mind may not listen to the Conscience but it is always pulling at us — its force field is inescapable.

When the Gurbani says ‘ਅਪਣਾ ਮੂਲੁ ਪਛਾਣੁ-Recognize your Mool‘, it is asking Sikhs (seekers or learners) to focus, Internalize the Shabad or BECOME THE GURBANI.

Spiritual Journey to one’s Mool or Jot Saroop Within happens only in Awareness. If Awareness is blocked out, progress will certainly be impeded. To the contrary, if the mind focuses on the Message of the Shabad, momentum will be built up and assure the spiritual Growth in the Way of Sikhi.

As actions are the louder expressions of thoughts, action and mind cannot be separated. Hence, although this INNER JOURNEY is of the mind, our self-efforts will either help or detract. Thus our self-efforts counts

  • ਆਪਣ ਹਥੀ ਆਪਣਾ ਆਪੇ ਹੀ ਕਾਜੁ ਸਵਾਰੀਐ ॥੨੦॥: (So long there is breathPraan) accomplish the task (of God Realization) yourself ( i.e. with self-efforts: Shabad-Vichaar …). ||20|| (sggs 474).
  • ਕਰਿ ਕਰਿ ਕਰਣਾ ਲਿਖਿ ਲੈ ਜਾਹੁ ॥ ਆਪੇ ਬੀਜਿ ਆਪੇ ਹੀ ਖਾਹੁ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਹੁਕਮੀ ਆਵਹੁ ਜਾਹੁ ॥੨੦॥ : (The Internal cleansing is by a spirituality of) Internalizing (the Naam: Shabad, Hukam, Virtues, Giaan-Wisdom) through sustained deeds. Whatever you sow, you will reap. Nanak, (to reap as one saw) is the Hukam of the Creator pertaining to my cycle (of spirituality at the mind’s level). ॥20॥ (sggs 4).
  • ਆਪਣਾ ਕਾਰਜੁ ਆਪਿ ਸਵਾਰੇ ਹੋਰਨਿ ਕਾਰਜੁ ਨ ਹੋਈ ॥ ਜਿਤੁ ਕਾਰਜਿ ਸਤੁ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ ਦਇਆ ਧਰਮੁ ਹੈ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਬੂਝੈ ਕੋਈ ॥੩॥: (One) resolves his own affair himself (i.e. the ultimate Purpose of life of God Realization); anyone else cannot do this work (for him). Only a rare Guru’s follower (Gurmukh-Hood Mindset) understands that his Realization of God requires the Virtues like Godly Contentment, Compassion and Dharma. ||3|| (sggs 351).

Mind is a vital tool

When we humans wakeup in the morning, our first link is established with our mind! Therefore, the greatest miracle or Sidhi (ਸਿਧਿ-realization, fulfillment, accomplishment…) in this world is to control one’s mind — make it a WISE or Enlightened friend.

  • ਮਮਾ ਮਨ ਸਿਉ ਕਾਜੁ ਹੈ ਮਨ ਸਾਧੇ ਸਿਧਿ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਮਨ ਹੀ ਮਨ ਸਿਉ ਕਹੈ ਕਬੀਰਾ ਮਨ ਸਾ ਮਿਲਿਆ ਨ ਕੋਇ ॥੩੨॥: MAMMA: (The mortal’s real purpose or business of life) is with his own mind; (and that purpose or business) is to discipline or control his mind; by doing so, Spiritual Understanding (Soojh or Samajh of the Formless or Niraakaar…) is obtained (and thus life’s real purpose is realized). Kabeer says (that the real work of a person) is with the mind alone. (For he) has not met anything like the mind! ||32|| (sggs 342).

This mind is also mentioned in the Gurbani (SGGS) as a (1) DONKEY, as well as (2) JOT SAROPP! Choice is ours — if one wants to use it as donkey (stupidity, foolishness) or as a Jot Saroop.

  • ਮਨ ਖੁਟਹਰ ਤੇਰਾ ਨਹੀ ਬਿਸਾਸੁ ਤੂ ਮਹਾ ਉਦਮਾਦਾ ॥ ਖਰ ਕਾ ਪੈਖਰੁ ਤਉ ਛੁਟੈ ਜਉ ਊਪਰਿ ਲਾਦਾ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: O defective mind, you can not be trusted because you remain very intoxicated (by Maya). Just as DONKEY‘s leg-chain is removed only after it is loaded (similarly O mind, you should be controlled by loading you with the Wisdom / Virtues, and thus you should not be given a chance to be enticed Maya, vices or Bikaar etc.). ||1||Pause|| (sggs 815).
  • ਇਉ ਕਹੈ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਮਨ ਤੂੰ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਰੂਪੁ ਹੈ ਅਪਣਾ ਮੂਲੁ ਪਛਾਣੁ ॥੫॥ : This is what Nanak says: O my mind, you are the ‘Jot Saroop’ or embodiment of Light (God)! Recognize your Mool (ORIGIN, Source…) ||5|| (sggs 441).

Aptly the human mind is addressed time and again in Gurbani (SGGS), because one’s mind is a vital tool in Spiritual Realization or knowing onself WITHIN.

  • ਮਨ ਕਾ ਸੁਭਾਉ ਸਭੁ ਕੋਈ ਕਰੈ ॥: Every one acts according to his mind’s nature (habit, disposition, inclination…). (sggs 1167).
  • ਕਾਢਿ ਕੁਠਾਰੁ ਖਸਮਿ ਸਿਰੁ ਕਾਟਿਆ ਖਿਨ ਮਹਿ ਹੋਇ ਗਇਆ ਹੈ ਖਾਕੁ ॥ ਮੰਦਾ ਚਿਤਵਤ ਚਿਤਵਤ ਪਚਿਆ ਜਿਨਿ ਰਚਿਆ ਤਿਨਿ ਦੀਨਾ ਧਾਕੁ ॥੧॥ : The Creator axed the spirituality destructing vices from my mind and reduced them to ashes in an instant. The same mind that was in constant construction of sinful thought shoved all the vices out. (sggs 825).

When the mind’s Understanding of the Shabad (i.e. Upadesh, Advice, Guidance etc.) expands or extends towards its Jot Saroop Within, the both become Connected – the mind reconcile the mind!

  • ਬੀਉ ਬੀਜਿ ਪਤਿ ਲੈ ਗਏ ਅਬ ਕਿਉ ਉਗਵੈ ਦਾਲਿ ॥ ਜੇ ਇਕੁ ਹੋਇ ਤ ਉਗਵੈ ਰੁਤੀ ਹੂ ਰੁਤਿ ਹੋਇ ॥: Those who planted the seed (of Divine Naam) within have departed with honor; (but) those whose mind is split in duality (fragmented-ਦਾਲ ਵਾਂਗ ਦੋ-ਫਾੜ), how can the seed (of Naam: Wisdom /Virtues) sprout in their mind?The seed sprouts only if the seed is whole (undivided-Saabat…) and if the season is proper (the seed of Naam will sprout only if the mind is not split in duality: Unfragmented, Whole-Saabat…). (sggs 468).

In short, the Gurbani requires very sincere response of the mind. As a result of this diligent focus, the Unique and Revolutionary Message of the Gurbani will shake us out of our stale beliefs.

  • ਫਾਹੇ ਕਾਟੇ ਮਿਟੇ ਗਵਨ ਫਤਿਹ ਭਈ ਮਨਿ ਜੀਤ ॥: When one conquers his (own) mind, victory (Fatih-‘ਫਤਿਹ’) is obtained; (Maya’s) snares are cut (ਮਾਇਆ ਦੇ ਮੋਹ ਦੇ ਬੰਧਨ ਕੱਟੇ ਜਾਂਦੇ ਹਨ); and one’s (Mayaic-ਮਾਇਆ ਪਿਛੇ ਭਟਕਣਾ) wanderings cease. (sggs 258).
  • ਨਾਨਕ ਮਨ ਹੀ ਤੇ ਮਨੁ ਮਾਨਿਆ ਨਾ ਕਿਛੁ ਮਰੈ ਨ ਜਾਇ ॥: O Nanak, through the (Higher) Mind, the (lower) mind is satisfied, and then, nothing comes or goes (sggs 514).

For example if the mind is agitated, troubled or unrefined then the Spiritual Journey will be unsuccessful.

  • ਅਧ ਵਿਚਿ ਫਿਰੈ ਮਨਮੁਖੁ ਵੇਚਾਰਾ ਗਲੀ ਕਿਉ ਸੁਖੁ ਪਾਵੈ ॥: The wretched Manmukh wanders around stuck half-way (in duality, doubt…); how can (he) obtain peace by mere words? (sggs 305).
  • ਬਾਹਰਹੁ ਨਿਰਮਲ ਜੀਅਹੁ ਤ ਮੈਲੇ ਤਿਨੀ ਜਨਮੁ ਜੂਐ ਹਾਰਿਆ ॥: Those who are outwardly pure and yet polluted within, lose their lives (just as a gambler loses his money) in the gamble (sggs 919).
  • ਹਰਿ ਜੀਉ ਅੰਤਰਜਾਮੀ ਜਾਨ ॥ ਕਰਤ ਬੁਰਾਈ ਮਾਨੁਖ ਤੇ ਛਪਾਈ ਸਾਖੀ ਭੂਤ ਪਵਾਨ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ : The Creator is the knower of the minds and knows everything. One does evil deeds in secret from everyone thinking nobody is watching, but he doesn’t understand that the Creator (who is present Within) knows all about what one had done in past and what one is doing in the present (and in future, i.e. nobody can hide evil deeds from the Omnipresent Creator/Hukam/Law of Nature). ||1||Pause|| (sggs 1202).

The Gurbani asserts the path to Spiritual Realization is very arduous – like racing along the razor’s edge (‘ਏਹੁ ਮਾਰਗੁ ਖੰਡੇ ਧਾਰ’) or chewing steel balls.

  • ਫਰੀਦਾ ਗਲੀਏ ਚਿਕੜੁ ਦੂਰਿ ਘਰੁ ਨਾਲਿ ਪਿਆਰੇ ਨੇਹੁ ॥ ਚਲਾ ਤ ਭਿਜੈ ਕੰਬਲੀ ਰਹਾਂ ਤ ਤੁਟੈ ਨੇਹੁ ॥੨੪॥: O Fareed! The Path is muddy (with Maya, Bikaar…), and the House of my Beloved (Mool), whom I love, is far away (i.e., arduous, difficult…). If I go out, my blanket (i.e., Budh, intellect…) will get drenched (with rain and mud: Maya, Bikaar…), but if I do not go, then my heart will be broken ||24||. (sggs 1379).
  • ਵਾਟ ਹਮਾਰੀ ਖਰੀ ਉਡੀਣੀ ॥ ਖੰਨਿਅਹੁ ਤਿਖੀ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਪਿਈਣੀ ॥ ਉਸੁ ਊਪਰਿ ਹੈ ਮਾਰਗੁ ਮੇਰਾ ॥ ਸੇਖ ਫਰੀਦਾ ਪੰਥੁ ਸਮ੍ਹ੍ਹਾਰਿ ਸਵੇਰਾ ॥੪॥੧॥: The path of life upon which we must walk is extremely difficult. It is sharper than the two-edged sword and very narrow. I have to walk over this dreadful path (of life). Therefore, O’ sheikh Farid, plan and get ready for that path early in life. ||4||1|| (sggs 794).

If the mind is imbued in illusion, there will no spiritual Realization.

  • ਮੁਕਤਿ ਮਾਲ ਕਨਿਕ ਲਾਲ ਹੀਰਾ ਮਨ ਰੰਜਨ ਕੀ ਮਾਇਆ ॥ ਹਾ ਹਾ ਕਰਤ ਬਿਹਾਨੀ ਅਵਧਹਿ ਤਾ ਮਹਿ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ ਨ ਪਾਇਆ ॥੨॥: My Senses and Thoughts Are an Invaluable Treasure for My Emancipation O Mind; Yet Are Imbued in illusions. Imbued in Those illusions My Life Has Passed in Deeds of Selfishness; the Result of Which I have Not Realized Contentment. ||2|| (sggs 700).

Also, if the mind is under the control of the senses and thus emotionally and selfishly attached to the worldliness and its objects, spiritual progress will be impeded.

The Gurbani Guides the more one affectionately detached from the worldliness and material things, the greater grows one’s Spiritual Wealth. In that Spiritual Progress, the mind becomes peaceful and can examine one’s ownself Within.

  • ਅਧਿਆਤਮ ਕਰਮ ਕਰੇ ਤਾ ਸਾਚਾ ॥ : One who does deeds for spiritual uplift is a true yogi. (sggs 223).
  • ਅਧਿਆਤਮ ਕਰਮ ਕਰੇ ਦਿਨੁ ਰਾਤੀ ॥ ਨਿਰਮਲ ਜੋਤਿ ਨਿਰੰਤਰਿ ਜਾਤੀ ॥ : One who always does only those spiritual deeds which keep him connected to the Creator, he experiences the (same One) immaculate light (Universal Energy) of the Creator always pervading everywhere. (sggs 1039).
  • ਅਧਿਆਤਮੀ ਹਰਿ ਗੁਣ ਤਾਸੁ ਮਨਿ ਜਪਹਿ ਏਕੁ ਮੁਰਾਰਿ ॥ : The spiritually inclined beings realize One God within their mind who is the Treasure of Virtues. (sggs 38).

Gurbani says mere talks will not do the trick

The Gurbani time and again reminds us mere talks or mere bowing to SGGS (i.e. worthless rituals) will not do the trick.

  • ਗਲੀ ਜੋਗੁ ਨ ਹੋਈ ॥: Union (with divine Presence Within) is not realized by mere talking. (sggs 730).
  • Union (with the True Self within) is not realized by mere talks or words. (sggs 730).
  • ਗਿਆਨੁ ਨ ਗਲੀਈ ਢੂਢੀਐ ਕਥਨਾ ਕਰੜਾ ਸਾਰੁ ॥ ਕਰਮਿ ਮਿਲੈ ਤਾ ਪਾਈਐ ਹੋਰ ਹਿਕਮਤਿ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਖੁਆਰੁ ॥੨॥: Divine Giyan-Wisdom cannot be obtained through mere talking, to explain how to obtain it is extremely difficult like chewing iron. Other tricks and dictates (of the mind) are useless. ||2|| (sggs 465).
  • ਕਾਂਇਆ ਸਾਧੈ ਉਰਧ ਤਪੁ ਕਰੈ ਵਿਚਹੁ ਹਉਮੈ ਨ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਅਧਿਆਤਮ ਕਰਮ ਜੇ ਕਰੇ ਨਾਮੁ ਨ ਕਬ ਹੀ ਪਾਇ ॥ : Man tries to keep the body (i.e. the senses) under his control, hangs it upside down and performs penance, (but in this way) the false ego-sense (Haumai) does not go away from within. One may perform religious rituals, still that person would never attain the Naam (Wisdom / Virtues). (sggs 33).

In other words, the Message of the Shabad is not to be worshipped as an physical object or an idol. Instead, it is for the mind to sincerely take and digest, fully Understand, Internalize and then live it in daily life (practice -ਅਮਲ).

There is Baabaa Nanak’s Bani called ‘Sidh Gosati’ on page 938 of the SGGS. In this entire ‘Sidh Gosati’, there are a total of 73 stanzas or Pourhee . However, there is ONLY one Rahaou (ਰਹਾਉ) in the entire ‘Sidh Gosati’!

However this one Rahaou (ਰਹਾਉ) gives us a principle or the central point of the entire ‘Sidh Gosati’ Bani — the true spiritual Journey is travelled or transversed while living within the family, society and the world and BECOMIMG the SHABAD of the God Connected Guru.

  • ਕਿਆ ਭਵੀਐ ਸਚਿ ਸੂਚਾ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਸਾਚ ਸਬਦ ਬਿਨੁ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਨ ਕੋਇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: (Baabaa Nanak tells Yogis) It’s of NO use wandering around (in peculiar external appearances at places of pilgrimage, mountains, jungles etc.) — renunciation (of world, society, family etc.) is not the way to liberate from the trappings of life, world, material etc. There can be no liberation without the guidance of the God-connecting Shabad (divine Message of the God-Connected Guru). ||1||Pause|| (sggs 938).

Five Stages of Spiritual Development

Baabaa Nanak talks about FIVE STAGES of an individual’s Spiritual Development — (1) Dharma Khand, (2) Giaan (or Gyan) Khand, (3) Saram Khand, (4) Karam Khand, and (5) Sach Khand (sggs 7).

No doubt Baabaa Nanak’s goal is to imbue us with the divine Virtues, to be spiritually connected to the Creator within through these FIVE STAGES — become truthful or God-Realized beings (‘ਕਿਵ ਸਚਿਆਰਾ ਹੋਈਐ’). Briefly, these five stages or Khand are:

  1. Dharma Khand – the Realm Of Duty. This is the first part of Spiritual journey. Through the Guru’s Giaan- Wisdom, the Gurbani urges us to build the fence of Dharma around and abide by Dharma at all costs. The benefit of living a Virtuous life is that it entices us to put efforts in cultivating Divine Wisdom/Knowledge. As a result, we become qualified to experience the second part of our Spiritual Journey.
  2. Giaan Khand – the Realm of spiritual Enlightenment (Giaan-Knowledge). A Virtuous conduct makes man to detach from falsehood, and as a result one begins to think about Spiritual matters. In the light of such pure thinking, an individual then starts realizing the Omnipresence of the One Creator. This gives birth to a strong desire for understanding ‘Who am I‘, Divine matters, nature of the world, the purpose of human existence, and so on. With Wisdom comes the resolve to do the right thing. He then enters the third stage of Spiritual Journey.
  3. Saram Khand – the Realm of Spiritual Efforts (‘ਉਦਮੁ ਕਰਤ ਮਨੁ ਨਿਰਮਲੁ ਹੋਆ’). With the coming of spiritual Wisdom (Giaan) comes this quality of Effort (Uddam-ਉਦਮ). In this third realm, a Sikh (learner or seeker) sincerely tries to live by Internalizing the Message of the Shabad. In other words, in the realm of Spiritual Efforts, the Word is Spiritual Beauty. Due to such sincere endeavors, his subtle internal equipment (conscience, intellect, ego and mind) become purified and eliminates Bikaar and vices. Dharma becomes his habit. Such efforts may lead him to the next stage of Spiritual Journey.
  4. Karam Khand – the Realm of Grace. At this point, one’s Heart becomes filled with the Divine Love. At last, he becomes liberated from the spell of Maya. Absorbed in the Divine Naam, one’s mind becomes Joyful and Blissful. False ego-sense (Haumai) surrendered to its Mool (Source…) within. Now the individual sees the same One Realty in everything and every place.
  5. Sach Khand – the Realm of Truth (the One Creator Within). The preceding four Realms represent the four stages of Spiritual development of a seeker. After experiencing the fourth Realm, he Realizes the Creator Within. In this stage only Brahm is seen everywhere and in everything (‘ਸਚ ਖੰਡਿ ਵਸੈ ਨਿਰੰਕਾਰੁ’). In other words, this is a state beyond duality or description, a state of Eternal Wonder, which can neither be made to an order or given to an another person as a mundane gift. It can only be known in personal Experience.

In the final, 38th Paurhee (SGGS 8), Baabaa Nanak provides us a summary of the process (i.e. Sikhi) to realize this ‘Sach Khand‘ – the Creator Within, Here and Now. Baabaa Nanak uses the example or metaphor of a goldsmith to explain this process:

  • ਜਤੁ ਪਾਹਾਰਾ ਧੀਰਜੁ ਸੁਨਿਆਰੁ ॥ ਅਹਰਣਿ ਮਤਿ ਵੇਦੁ ਹਥੀਆਰੁ ॥ ਭਉ ਖਲਾ ਅਗਨਿ ਤਪ ਤਾਉ ॥ ਭਾਂਡਾ ਭਾਉ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਤਿਤੁ ਢਾਲਿ ॥ ਘੜੀਐ ਸਬਦੁ ਸਚੀ ਟਕਸਾਲ ॥ ਜਿਨ ਕਉ ਨਦਰਿ ਕਰਮੁ ਤਿਨ ਕਾਰ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਨਦਰੀ ਨਦਰਿ ਨਿਹਾਲ ॥੩੮॥ : Let morality be the workplace and forbearance the goldsmith. Let the mind (Conscience) be the anvil and Enlightenment (Knowledge-ਗਿਆਨ) the hammer. Fan (the Enlightenment) by intense toil (self-efforts) towards reverence of the Creator Within. (This toil, reverence and) devotion molds my mind (‘Bhaandaa‘) to become Virtuous (Amrit-Naam). (This is the way) the Shabad becomes sculptured in my mind (Conscience). As a result of this sculpturing, the Creator Graced Blessings from Within. Nanak, of supreme Joy are the Blessings of the Creator’s Grace. ||38|| (sggs 8).

This is the journey of a Spiritual aspirant (Sikh). This Journey begins from a material plane and ends at the Spiritual Plane.

However, we are told by the Gurbani that those who have completed this Journey are very ‘rare‘ in this world. It is ‘rare’ because willingness is very rare, earnestness is very rare, true faith is very rare, right living is very rare, Gurmat Bhagti or Shabad-Vichaar is very rare, clarity of vision is very rare, sincerity and goodwill is very rare, truthful conduct is very rare (‘ਸਚੁ ਆਚਾਰੁ’), the divine Lifestyle or Gurmukh Mindset is very rare, longing to transcend Maya is very rare, inclination to remove negative impact of Bikaar (i.e. lust, ager, greed, attachment, pride etc.) is very rare, and so on.

  • ਸਚਿ ਰਤੇ ਸੇ ਟੋਲਿ ਲਹੁ ਸੇ ਵਿਰਲੇ ਸੰਸਾਰਿ ॥: Search and find out those who are imbued with the Creator (Within); but such persons are rare in this world. (sggs 994).
  • ਇਕਿ ਮੂਲਿ ਲਗੇ ਓਨੀ ਸੁਖੁ ਪਾਇਆ ॥ ਡਾਲੀ ਲਾਗੇ ਤਿਨੀ ਜਨਮੁ ਗਵਾਇਆ ॥ : Some remain connected to their ‘Mool‘ (Source, God), they enjoy spiritual bliss. But those who remain attached to the worldly things (Maya) have wasted their life. (sggs 1051).
  • ਜੀਵਦਿਆ ਨੋ ਮਿਲੈ ਸੁ ਜੀਵਦੇ ਹਰਿ ਜਗਜੀਵਨ ਉਰ ਧਾਰਿ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਸੋਹਣੇ ਤਿਤੁ ਸਚੈ ਦਰਬਾਰਿ ॥੪੭॥ : Those who meet the spiritually Awakened, become spiritually Alive by enshrining Omnipresent Creator within. Nanak, the Gurmukhs (Enlightened) are Beautiful in this ‘Darbaar‘ (Hukam) of the Creator. ||47|| (sggs 1418).


  1. Excellent description of spiritual development & Journey. I was happy to see five khand meaning explained so well.
    I would like to see an article on “Rubbi guns “. Then we can connect that to our spiritual journey. Thanks!!!

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