Spiritual Indigestion

When one eats without properly chewing (ਚੱਬਣ) the food or eats more than one can chew, it results in bad-stomach or indigestion.

Similarly, we get the spiritual indigestion when we read and read the Gurbani (or listen to it):

  • Without Vichaar or reflection,
  • Without contemplation or pondering,
  • without understanding or DIGESTING,
  • Without applying or living it in daily life (ਅਮਲ),
  • Without Awakening of the Divine Wisdom or Virtues,
  • Without Inner Transformation or change,
  • Without resulting in Gurmukh Lifestyle, without positive social change,
  • Without performing spiritual surgery on the mind suffering from psychological ailments,
  • Without attention, focus and concentration — reading of the Bani (ਬਾਣੀ) from more than one Beerh at the same time (i.e., ਇੱਕ ਤੋਂ ਵੱਧ ਬੀੜਾਂ  ਪ੍ਰਕਾਸ਼ ਕਰਕੇ: ਆਖੰਡਪਾਠ, ਕੋਤਰੀ ਪਾਠ, ਸੰਪਟ ਪਾਠ) — in Sikh society, it has become a business to do Akhand Paath (ਅਖੰਡਪਾਠਾਂ ਦੇ ਕਰਨ ਕਰਾਉਣ ਦਾ ਧੰਧਾ ),
  • Without any regard or respect whatsoever for the REAL Sikhi or Gurmat Wisdom of Baabaa Nanak — worshipping factitious (ਨਕਲੀ, ਕਾਲਪਨਿੱਕ, ਫ਼ਰਜੀ) photos / pictures / images of the Gurus as worship of idols in Sanatan temples (a Karamkaand made by the Pujaaree / Pandits / Brahmins) — a business (ਤਸਵੀਰਾਂ ਵੇਚਣਾ ਇੱਕ ਧੰਧਾ ਬਣ ਗਿਆ ਹੈ),

Baabaa Nanak says:

  • ਲਿਖਿ ਲਿਖਿ ਪੜਿਆ ॥ ਤੇਤਾ ਕੜਿਆ ॥ ਬਹੁ ਤੀਰਥ ਭਵਿਆ ॥ ਤੇਤੋ ਲਵਿਆ ॥ ਬਹੁ ਭੇਖ ਕੀਆ ਦੇਹੀ ਦੁਖੁ ਦੀਆ ॥: (Without Vichaar, the more or again and again one) reads the written, the more one boils or burns (in doubtprideegotism, anxiety, pain, thick-headedness…). The more one wanders at Teerath the more one talks uselessly (in ego, he goes around telling others that he has visited this Teerath or that Teerath). The more one wears religious robes, the more pain he causes his body. (sggs 467).

The term ‘Karhiaa’ (‘ਕੜਿਆ’) is pretty significant in the foregoing verses. It signifies how such people — who merely read the Gurbani, without Vichaar: ਗੁਰਬਾਣੀ ਦਾ ਨਿਰਾ ਪਾਠ — burn, or boil within; or how such people end up further inflaming the fire of their pride, false ego-sense or Haumai,  Bikaars (lust, anger, greed, etc.…); or how they become more and more entangled (ਫਸ ਜਾਣਾਂ) in the Mayaic bondage and the web of illusion (Maya, ਭਰਮ-ਜਾਲ…).

Thus, instead of liberating themselves from doubt or the Mayaic entanglements by churning the Gurbani or the Shabad-Vichaar (as recommended by the Gurbani), they become more fettered, trapped or imprisoned in useless ritualism or Karamkaand.

The majority of us are not even clear about why and how we should read or listen to the Gurbani in the first place!

For example, many read or listen the Gurbani to win court cases, improve business and profit, obtain sons (i.e., boys, not girls!), obtain immigration visa, cure chronic bodily disease (not diseases of the mind!), pass school or other examinations (regardless if a child has sincerely studied or not!), and so on.

Just listen to any Aradaas (congregational prayer-ਅਰਦਾਸ) in any Gurdwara in the world! You will get the idea! To supplement their income, the crafty or illiterate paid clergy has made people to do Ardaas blindly.

That’s not the purpose of reading or listening to the Gurbani!

The Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) is the Giaan-Guru.

Hence, the Purpose of reading or listening to the Gurbani is for obtaining Wisdom (Giaan) by churning the Gurbani or Shabad-Vichaar, and then live it in daily life (ਅਮਲ).

If we don’t, then, as the Gurbani says, our minds are no better than a frog — who in spite of living near the lotus flower — eats ‘Jaal’ (i.e., filth…).

  • ਦਾਦਰ ਤੂ ਕਬਹਿ ਨ ਜਾਨਸਿ ਰੇ ॥ ਭਖਸਿ ਸਿਬਾਲੁ ਬਸਸਿ ਨਿਰਮਲ ਜਲ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਨ ਲਖਸਿ ਰੇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: O frog (-mind)! You can never understand. (O fog like mind!) While you dwell in the clean water (pure spiritual knowledge or Amrit-Giaan), but you do not appreciate it. (Instead) you eat the slimy scum (of Bikaar in that clean water of the Amrit-Giaan). ||1||Pause|| (sggs 990).

Similarly, although we read or listen to the Gurbani that’s full of Wisdom, but our ‘frog’ mind eats only ‘Jaal’ of Bikaar (lust, anger, greed, etc.). The Gurbani confirms as follows:

  • ਐਬ ਤਨਿ ਚਿਕੜੋ ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਮੀਡਕੋ ਕਮਲ ਕੀ ਸਾਰ ਨਹੀ ਮੂਲਿ ਪਾਈ ॥: There is the mud (of Bikaars: lust, anger, greed, etc.) in the body, and this mind is the frog-mind (dwells in that mud of Bikaar), (such frog-) mind cannot appreciate the lotus at all (i.e., the Divine Naam: Wisdom, Amrit-Giaan…). (sggs 24).

For example, consider people involved day in and day out in robotic or mechanical reading of the so called Akhand Paaths (page to page, continuous reading of the SGGS). NOT just one Akhand Paath but several at a time (ਲੜੀਵਾਰ ਆਖੰਡਪਾਠ, ਕੋਤਰੀ ਪਾਠ, ਸੰਪਟ ਪਾਠ)! Similar to the fraud of Bippar-Vaad, they have put price tag on each type of Paath!

Also, consider those reading calculated daily readings (i.e., Nit-Nem) in stubborn-mindedness, without any Vichaar on what’s being read whatsoever!

All such people suffer from spiritual indigestion — including Ragi, Bhai, Granthi, Giaanee, Kathaakaar, Deraa-Vaad, Baabaa-Vaad, Sant-Vaad, Jathedaar-Vaad, Takhat-Vaad, foolish and dishonest so called scholars, etc.

In Sikhi, these fake and freeloaders (vagrants) have regurgitated Brahmani-Karamkaand — a business (ਇੱਕ ਧੰਧਾ). Let alone understanding the Gurbani, they don’t even read it with their mouth. Instead, they just roll their eyes over a page, then next page, then next page, and so on! They called ‘Naetar-Paath: ਨੇਤਰ ਪਾਠ, meaning doing Paath by eyes. Naetar = eyes ). What a fraud! 

  • ਪੜਿਐ ਨਾਹੀ ਭੇਦੁ ਬੁਝਿਐ ਪਾਵਣਾ ॥: Not by reading (books), but through Understanding, is the Mystery Realized. (sggs 148).
  • ਬਾਣੀ ਬਿਰਲਉ ਬੀਚਾਰਸੀ ਜੇ ਕੋ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਹੋਇ ॥: By becoming a Gurmukh (spiritual being, True Being, etc.), a rare one contemplates (ਵਿਚਾਰ, Refletion, spiritual Inquiry, etc.) the Bani (sggs 935).

Paid clergy, crafty and illiterate Pujaaree-Vaad has cheated and misguided people with anti-Gurmat rituals (Karamkaand, formalities), hypocrisy or Pakhand (ਵਹਿਮਾ ਭਰਮਾ ਦਾ ਪਖੰਡ), creating fear and greed, and so on.

Accordingly, the Gurbani time and again reminds us even if we were to read loads of books (Granths, etc.), it would be a ‘useless’ exercise!

  • ਮੂਰਖ ਦੁਬਿਧਾ ਪੜ੍ਹਹਿ ਮੂਲੁ ਨ ਪਛਾਣਹਿ ਬਿਰਥਾ ਜਨਮੁ ਗਵਾਇਆ ॥: Fools read in duality, (as a result, they) do not recognize their Mool (Jot…); (thus, they) waste their lives uselessly. (sggs 1133).
  • ਪੜਿ ਪੜਿ ਗਡੀ ਲਦੀਅਹਿ ਪੜਿ ਪੜਿ ਭਰੀਅਹਿ ਸਾਥ ॥…: Parhi parhi gaddee laddeeahi… (sggs 467).

Those suffering from the chronic ailment of the spiritual indigestion have no understanding of what they are reading or listening. Either they are doing it just for the sake of money (‘ਰੋਟੀਆ ਕਾਰਣਿ’, business-ਧੰਧਾ), further inflate their fat Haumai (egotism, foolishness, stubborn mindedness …), out of fear or greed, show off, to maintain a lifestyle of freeloading (ਐਸ਼-ਪਰਸਤੀ), Pakhand, and so on.

  • ਪਾਖੰਡਿ ਭਗਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਵਈ ਦੁਬਿਧਾ ਬੋਲੁ ਖੁਆਰੁ ॥: Pakhand (hypocrisy) is not Bhagti  — speaking words of duality leads only to misery (sggs 28).
  • ਪਾਖੰਡਿ ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਕਦੇ ਨ ਪਾਏ ॥: Paarbrahm cannot be obtained through Paakhand (hypocrisy…). (sggs 88).
  • ਪਾਖੰਡਿ ਕੀਨ੍ਹ੍ਹੈ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥੨॥: Practicing Pakhand (hypocrisy), no one finds liberation ||2|| (sggs 839).

According to the Gurbani, this is all ignorance or animal-consciousness; hence strongly repudiated in the Gurbani.

  • ਦੂਜੈ ਭਾਇ ਪੜੈ ਨਹੀ ਬੂਝੈ ॥ ਤ੍ਰਿਬਿਧਿ ਮਾਇਆ ਕਾਰਣਿ ਲੂਝੈ ॥: One who reads (scriptures), while attached to duality, does not understand (what he reads). (While reading scriptures, inside) He longs for the threefold Maya (sggs 127).
  • ਆਵਨ ਆਏ ਸ੍ਰਿਸਟਿ ਮਹਿ ਬਿਨੁ ਬੂਝੇ ਪਸੁ ਢੋਰ ॥: (Those who have) come into the world just for the sake of coming (i.e., they have not used this human birth for the purpose it was given to them); without Understanding (of their Mool, Aatm-Giaan, Essence, etc.), they are like animals and beasts. (sggs 251).

Nonetheless, to put it mildly, the spiritual indigestion stagnates the Spiritual Progress or the Inner Unfoldment (ਆਤਮਿਕ ਤਰੱਕੀ).

However, many care less for they don’t know any better (e.g., the ileliterate and crafty Pujaaree system and Deraavaad, etc.).

Gurdawaras don’t care either because it brings in huge amount of revenue (money-Golak!).

But the problem is that they jointly corrupt and fraud the Gurmat (Wisdom, Upadesh or Way of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, SGGS), thus misguide Sikhi and promote anti-Gurmat Bipparvaad in the process.

  • ਹਰਿ ਨਿਰਮਲੁ ਅਤਿ ਊਜਲਾ ਬਿਨੁ ਗੁਰ ਪਾਇਆ ਨ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਪਾਠੁ ਪੜੈ ਨਾ ਬੂਝਈ ਭੇਖੀ ਭਰਮਿ ਭੁਲਾਇ ॥: ‘Hari’ is Pure and Luminous; without the Gur (the Gur-Giaan, Aatm-Giaan, Wisdom, etc.), He cannot be Realized. (Those who merely) read (scriptures – ਧਾਰਮਿਕ ਪੁਸਤਕਾਂ ਦਾ ਨਿਰਾ ਪਾਠ) cannot understand (this secret); the ‘Bhekhee‘ (those who thus merely read disguised in religious garbs, deceitful pretenders, sham, false, impersonator, etc.) become more deluded by doubts.  (sggs 66).

One of the examples used in the Gurbani is that of ‘ladles‘ (ਕੜਛੀਆ). Although ladles (ਕੜਛੀਆ) cruise through all sorts of food, but they do not know the relish of food – they just remain empty of it!!

In short, the Gurbani is meant to be ‘DIGESTED’ — meant to be  understood and applied!

  • 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 ॥: (Through all the contributors of the SGGS, You O Paarbrahm!), have placed one Thing on this Plate (of the letters of the SGGS, ਗੁਰਬਾਣੀ ਦੇ ਅੱਖਰਾ ਰੂਪ ਥਾਲ…) — contemplation or Reflection on the true contentment (i.e., ਸਤ ਸੰਤੋਖ ਦੀ ਵੀਚਾਰ — How to experience or realize through the true contentment). (This is) the Amrit Naam of the Divine that has been placed (upon the Plate of the letters of the SGGS); it is the Support of all. 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).

Hence, the Gurbani is not meant to be merely robotically read, listened, or memorized. After reading, listening, or memorizing it is meant to be Understood through the diligent Shabad-Vichaar, and ultimately its Wisdom applied to the daily life (i.e., live it-ਅਮਲ). Otherwise, such exercise is empty (ਖਾਲੀ) akin to ‘ladles’ (ਕੜਛੀਆ)! Again, listen to what the Gurbani has to say in this context:

  • ਬਿਨੁ ਬੂਝੇ ਸਭ ਹੋਇ ਖੁਆਰ ॥: Without understanding, ALL are troubled (afflicted, distressed, perplexed…). (sggs 791).
  • ਬਿਨੁ ਬੂਝੇ ਕੋ ਥਾਇ ਨ ਪਾਈ ॥: Without understanding, (one) cannot obtained the Realm (of Truth). (sggs 412).
  • ਪੜਿਐ ਮੈਲੁ ਨ ਉਤਰੈ ਪੂਛਹੁ ਗਿਆਨੀਆ ਜਾਇ ॥੧॥: The filth is not removed by reading. Go ahead, and ask the Wise ones ||1||. (sggs 39).
  • ਚਿਤੁ ਜਿਨ ਕਾ ਹਿਰਿ ਲਇਆ ਮਾਇਆ ਬੋਲਨਿ ਪਏ ਰਵਾਣੀ ॥: Those whose consciousness has been lured by Maya keep reciting mechanically (ਫਰ ਫਰ, ਉਪਰੋਂ ਉਪਰੋਂ, ਤੇਜੀ ਨਾਲ…). (sggs 920).
  • ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਸੁਨਿ ਕਛੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਨ ਉਪਜਿਓ ਪਸੁ ਜਿਉ ਉਦਰੁ ਭਰਉ ॥: Listening to the Gurmat (Shabad-Giaan, Teaching of the Gurbani, etc.), (if) no Spiritual Wisdom (understanding of the Spiritual Life…) wells up within; (then it would be) like a beast (routinely) filling its belly (sggs 685).

10 comments

  1. As always, Sardar T. Singh jee exposes the religiosity increasingly creeping in our religious places. Usually, they are promoted by poorly paid granthies and sevadars to supplement their meager salaries by promoting akhand paaths, etc. The managements go along as the payments made by the Sangat members for those services complement the inadequate salaries of the granthis/sevadars. One of the solutions is to adjust the salaries of the granthis so that they can afford to take a stand against the empty rituals.
    A Hindu friend once told me that Hindus were grateful to the Sikh community for keeping the Brahmanic rituals alive as their own children once educated were discarding them. Hindus are concerned that they would lose their traditional rituals, but, as is evident, Sikhs can save them.

  2. in group settings have often felt spiritual indigestion when others are just reading gurbani as paath or doing ‘kirtan’; one shabad after another..more and more… so uncomfortable.
    Rather let’s just be honest with ourselves of understanding what gurbani is really telling us and where are we at in comparison; slowly the message will become digested on spiritual level in next few days.
    If we keep reading paath, doing ‘kirtan’ then we are fooling ourselves into thinking we have done something spiritual, when clearly gurbani says these efforts do not achieve anything.
    being honest with ourselves is necessary for spiritual digestion otherwise we keep adding more and fooling ourselves rather than truly unlearning (digest).

  3. Thank you brother Kirpal Singh Ji for taking the time to share your thoughts.

    it should be “Ritual Indigestion”.

    Excellent suggestion! A future post is planned under that title.

  4. The title is somewhat ambiguous?

    I am sorry to say that Instead of “Spiritual Indigestion” – it should be “Ritual Indigestion”.

  5. Dear H.S. Matharu Ji,
    Thank you for your taking the time to comment at our Gurbani Blog site.
    The Shabad you asked can be found at page 41, line 5 of the SGGS.
    ਸਿਰੀਰਾਗੁ ਮਹਲਾ ੪ ॥ ਹਉ ਪੰਥੁ ਦਸਾਈ ਨਿਤ ਖੜੀ ਕੋਈ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਦਸੇ ਤਿਨਿ ਜਾਉ ॥…

  6. Beautiful shabads on the importance of gurbani vichaar…..a shabad that comes to mind now (thanks to my dad) is ‘satgur noo sabh koh dekhda jetha jagat sansaar…ditthian mukat naa hoovaeei jichar shabad naa kareh vichaar’….Veer Ji please could you site this shabad in DSGGSJ.

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