Target of a Sikh in Life Per the Gurbani

In Gurmat Sikhi — according to the Sidhaant of the Wisdom of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) — one’s Surat (ਸੁਰਤ-conscience, mind, Soch-ਸੋਚ) has to become a Sikh for it’s the mind (not the physical body-frame) that needs to Awaken from sleep paralysisslumber of Maya.

However, in truth, our current lifestyle or mindset is as described by Bhagat Fareed Ji:

  • ਫਰੀਦਾ ਚਿੰਤ ਖਟੋਲਾ ਵਾਣੁ ਦੁਖੁ ਬਿਰਹਿ ਵਿਛਾਵਣ ਲੇਫੁ ॥ ਏਹੁ ਹਮਾਰਾ ਜੀਵਣਾ ਤੂ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਸਚੇ ਵੇਖੁ ॥੩੫॥: O Fareed! Anxiety is my bed, pain is my mattress, and the pain of separation is my blanket and quilt. O True Rabb! See, this is my lifestyle (resulted from my separation (from Truth or Rabb, Virtues, Wisdom…). ||35|| (sggs 1379).

Therefore, as time and again asserted in the Unique and Revolutionary Message of the Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS, the target of a Sikh in life (Here and Now) is to investigate and conquer his deluded mind, and solve the riddle.

  • 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).

The SGGS starts with ੴ (Ik or Ek + O = IK or EKO = One). The rest of the Gurbani helps us Understand This ‘IK’, and provides us with the necessary Knowledge (Giaan) to become One with this IKO or EkO (ੴ ).

Once the mind becomes abided in its Mool within (Jot Saroop), we become One with everything else (i.e. become ‘Saabat-ਸਾਬਤ: Whole or One, Undivided, Unmodified etc.).

  • 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).
  • ਇਉ ਕਹੈ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਮਨ ਤੂੰ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਰੂਪੁ ਹੈ ਅਪਣਾ ਮੂਲੁ ਪਛਾਣੁ ॥੫॥ (sggs 441).

However, on account of conditioning, the mind is unprepared to know this IKO or EKO.

The good news is the Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS can properly prepare an individual mind PROVIDED ONE IS WILLING TO BE PREPARED, CHANGE, LEARN etc. for the Knowledge (Giaan) is taken, not given!

According to the SGGS, thus, the target (Aim, Goal, or Purpose) of a Sikh in life is to obtain ‘Fatih‘ or victory over his mind tainted with doubts (ਭਰਮ), Haumai (false ego-sense), Maya, darkness of ignorance, modifications, fragmentation, divisions, delusions, foolishness and stubbornness (‘ਮਨ ਕਾ ਮੂਰਖੁ ਢੀਠਾ’) etc.

In other words, according to the SGGS, the Goal of a Sikh in life is to drive away all vices or Bikaars (i.e lust, anger, greed, attachment, pride etc.) and realize the Creator within, HERE AND NOW — not Afterlife or physical death.

  • ਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਸਿਖੁ ਬਿਕਾਰ ਤੇ ਹਾਟੈ ॥: The Sikh of the Guru recoils (withdraws, ਹਟ ਜਾਂਦਾ ਹੈ…) from Bikaars (sggs 286).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਪ੍ਰਾਣੀ ਭਰਮੁ ਗਵਾਇ ॥: Mortals who become the Gurmukh give up (destroy, ਖਤਮ ਕਰਣਾਂ…) doubts. (sggs 231).

The Gurbani asserts this can be accomplished with the Understanding (ਸੂਝ-ਬੂਝ) obtained by churning the Gurbani through the Shabad-Vichaar and then applying that Wisdom of the Gurbani in our daily life.

  • ਇਹੁ ਸੰਸਾਰੁ ਬਿਕਾਰੁ ਸੰਸੇ ਮਹਿ ਤਰਿਓ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਗਿਆਨੀ ॥: This world is engrossed in Bikaar and doubts. Only the Brahm Giaanee (the one who possesses spiritual Knowledge) swims across (this world full of Bikaar and doubt). (sggs 13).

As indicated in the following verse, the Gurbani also teaches us that a person who does not gain the Wisdom in life is crazy, and wastes his life in vain (regardless of what else he might have done or accomplished in life).

  • ਸੁਣਿ ਮਨ ਭੂਲੇ ਬਾਵਰੇ ਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਚਰਣੀ ਲਾਗੁ ॥: Listen, O deluded and demented mind: hold tight to the Guru’s Feet (i.e., Gur-Shabad, Wisdom…). (sggs 57).

Accordingly, as the Gurbani time and again asserts, to be a True Sikh or Khalsa is not a question of heredity, family of birth, ancestry, religion, race, region, social status, caste (Jaat Paat), creed, education, titles or any peculiar external appearance of a person; it is a question Of dying in the Shabad and becoming a Gurmukh.

Having said that, the words ‘Sikh-ਸਿਖ’ and ‘Khaalse-ਖਾਲਸੇ’ do not represent one’s physical state.

To the contrary, they indicate a Higher State to be experienced within by applying the Gurbani’s Wisdom to daily life.

The Gurbani helps Awaken divine Virtues within.

  • ਪਰਿਓ ਕਾਲੁ ਸਭੈ ਜਗ ਊਪਰ ਮਾਹਿ ਲਿਖੇ ਭ੍ਰਮ ਗਿਆਨੀ ॥ ਕਹੁ ਕਬੀਰ ਜਨ ਭਏ ਖਾਲਸੇ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਭਗਤਿ ਜਿਹ ਜਾਨੀ ॥ : The superstitious scholars write that the whole world is under superstitions and fear of death. O Kabeer! Those beings who UnderstoodPrem Bhagti become ‘Khaalse‘ (‘ਖਾਲਸੇ’ ==> ‘liberated‘ from superstitions and fear of death or became ‘pure’ beings free from superstitions, Inner Purity). (sggs 655).
  • ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਮਿਲਿਐ ਉਲਟੀ ਭਈ ਭਾਈ ਜੀਵਤ ਮਰੈ ਤਾ ਬੂਝ ਪਾਇ ॥ ਸੋ ਗੁਰੂ ਸੋ ਸਿਖੁ ਹੈ ਭਾਈ ਜਿਸੁ ਜੋਤੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਮਿਲਾਇ ॥: O Mind! Submitting to the ‘Satigur (True Wisdom, ਸਚਾ ਗਿਆਨ), one understands (true Way of living – ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ), and then turns away (from Bikaar, demerits, falsehood etc.) and remains living dead. O Mind! Whose Conscience merges with the Universal Light (the One Creator) through Internalization of the Guru’s Shabad (Enlightenment) becomes a (real) Sikh. (sggs 602).

Hence, as indicated in the Gurbani, Bhagti for a Sikh is to Realize the Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS. Which, In turn, prepares the mind to trace its steps back to its Mool or Jot Saroop within (i.e., become Ik Mann Ik Chit, Saabat, Complete…).

  • ਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਮਤਿ ਤੂੰ ਲੇਹਿ ਇਆਨੇ ॥ ਭਗਤਿ ਬਿਨਾ ਬਹੁ ਡੂਬੇ ਸਿਆਨੇ ॥: You ignorant fool, take the Gurmati (i.e., Divine Wisdom or Aatmic-Giaan of the Gur-Shabad); without (this) Bhagti, even many clever have drowned (in perplexity). (sggs 288).

Since the Gurbani addresses the the human mind (ਸੋਚ-thinking), it asks the mind be reformed (‘ਆਪੁ ਸਵਾਰਹਿ’) to recognize its Original Nature (Mool, Source, Jot Saroop), within.

Towards that end, we are given the spiritual Knowledge (Giaan) for mending the conditioned mind (thinking-ਸੋਚ), and thus changing our lifestyle in the process. However, this will only happen if we BECOME THE GURBANI and then live daily life of Wisdom / Virtues. Hence, the SGGS asserts:

  • ਆਪੁ ਸਵਾਰਹਿ ਮੈ ਮਿਲਹਿ ਮੈ ਮਿਲਿਆ ਸੁਖੁ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਫਰੀਦਾ ਜੇ ਤੂ ਮੇਰਾ ਹੋਇ ਰਹਹਿ ਸਭੁ ਜਗੁ ਤੇਰਾ ਹੋਇ ॥੯੫॥: If you REFORM yourself then you will Realize Me (i.e. God), and when you Realize Me (i.e. God), you will rejoice in Spiritual Bliss. O Farid, (reforming yourself) if you become Mine then the entire world would become yours. ||95|| (sggs 1382).

In a nutshell, when we become ONE with our Mool or Jot Saroop within, then we become ONE with the Creator within. Otherwise, we stand plundered, deceived, defrauded by the self-serving Pujaaree (clergy: Granthis, Parcharaks, Ragis, Dhadees etc.) and the freeloading Deraa-Vaad Baabaas (ਵੇਹਲੜ) etc.

Aptly, the Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS challenges us to become complete within.

  • ਪੂਰਾ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਆਰਾਧਿਆ ਪੂਰਾ ਜਾ ਕਾ ਨਾਉ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਪੂਰਾ ਪਾਇਆ ਪੂਰੇ ਕੇ ਗੁਨ ਗਾਉ ॥੧॥: (A person) who has remembered the complete or Perfect Prabhu whose Naam is complete, he has realized that complete Prabhu; (then) O Nanak! (you also become a complete person and) live a virtuous or Prabhu-like daily life (sggs 295).
  • ਨਾਨਕ ਕਚੜਿਆ ਸਿਉ ਤੋੜਿ ਢੂਢਿ ਸਜਣ ਸੰਤ ਪਕਿਆ ॥: O Nanak! Break away from those who are false (unfaithful, incomplete, ਦੁਖੀ, ਡਾਵਾਡੋਲ, ਪਰੇਸ਼ਾਨ, ਕੱਚੇ-ਪਿੱਲੇ – don’t consider them an everlasting companions). Look for the Gurmukhs, because they are true friends. (sggs 1102 ).
  • ਜਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਾ ਦਿਸੰਦੜਿਆ ਦੁਰਮਤਿ ਵੰਞੈ ਮਿਤ੍ਰ ਅਸਾਡੜੇ ਸੇਈ ॥ ਹਉ ਢੂਢੇਦੀ ਜਗੁ ਸਬਾਇਆ ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਵਿਰਲੇ ਕੇਈ ॥੨॥: Our (real) friends are those keeping whose friendship or Company (ਜਿਨਾ ਨਾਲ ਪੁੱਛ-ਗਿੱਛ, ਗਲ-ਬਾਤ ਕੀਤਿਆਂ) wicked corrupt intellect is dispelled. (However) I have been searching the whole world, and found that such JAN’ (Gurmukh, Bhagat, Daas) are very RARE. ॥1॥ (sggs 520).

Off course, this will require commandment towards this target of life. And, to meet this ultimate purpose of life, the Gurbani asks us to keep aimed at the target with the sword or arrow of Gur-Giaan or Wisdom.

  • ਭਈ ਪਰਾਪਤਿ ਮਾਨੁਖ ਦੇਹੁਰੀਆ ॥ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਮਿਲਣ ਕੀ ਇਹ ਤੇਰੀ ਬਰੀਆ ॥ ਅਵਰਿ ਕਾਜ ਤੇਰੈ ਕਿਤੈ ਨ ਕਾਮ ॥ ਮਿਲੁ ਸਾਧਸੰਗਤਿ ਭਜੁ ਕੇਵਲ ਨਾਮ ॥੧॥: (O Human being!) You have been blessed with a human body. This is your only opportunity to unite with the Creator. Other worldly deeds (e.g. Karamkaand, rituals, formalities, concocted concepts etc.) are of no use to you in realizing God. Therefore join the holy congregation (i.e. Satsangee Jan, seekers) and lovingly remember the divine Naam (Virtues / Wisdom). ||1|| (sggs 12).

In short, the Gurbani cautions us that NOBODY else can do it for us.

In other words, it can NOT be made an order, or given to somebody as a readymade package, or blown into somebody’s ears, or spit into somebody’s mouth, etc.

  • 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).
  • 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).

In ‘Sidh Gost’ Bani, Sidhas (Yogis) asked Baabaa Nanak to discourse on: 

  • ਕਿਤੁ ਬਿਧਿ ਪੁਰਖਾ ਜਨਮੁ ਵਟਾਇਆ ॥ ਕਾਹੇ ਕਉ ਤੁਝੁ ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਲਾਇਆ ॥ (Towards Realization of the Creator WITHIN) what is the method of traversing the human life? (While traversing the human life towards Realization of the Creator) what is focus of your mind? (sggs 939).

Baabaa Nanak discoursed the above questions of Sidhas (Yogis) as follows:

  • ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਜਨਮੇ ਗਵਨੁ ਮਿਟਾਇਆ ॥ ਅਨਹਤਿ ਰਾਤੇ ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਲਾਇਆ ॥ : Being born into the Spirituality on account of the Satgur ends the cycle of spiritual death (‘Gavan’). (While traversing the human life towards Realization of the Creator) the mind is immersed in undivided focus and love of the Shabad. (sggs 940).


  1. we people first remove five evils from our life( kaam, krod,lob,mph,ahankar), then only we can meet with waheguru.

  2. Dear T Singh ji,

    Sat Sri Akal.
    It is just excellent , excellent and just excellent. I could have read it earlier. I am talking about your articles on Shabad, Guru, Satguru, Shabad Guru. It was so deep that first time I read it went over my head , but I did not give up and started reading again and again. After reading so many times and puting together all the articles written by you on GURU under your Gurbani Articlers, I came to understand and went close to their real meanings. I am just a starter and I feel so lucky that I am getting such knowledge in my starting phase. People waste so many years and still go in wrong direction. May be it is because my strong inner urge from inside takes me to that understanding. I just read read and read then I get even more close to Shabad which is inside me.

    Thank you very much ji.

    Thank you.

  3. dear roop,
    To my understanding the principle meaning of the term Guru used in the Gurbani is for the one all pervading God who was true before the ages began,was true when the ages began,is true and will always be true.He is the Guru of Nanak.The Gurbani also uses the term Guru for Nanak and his successors as they are God realised and one with God.The Guru Granth Sahib is the eternal shabad Guru of the sikh as it has come from divine inspiration.To sum it up, to my understanding the terms used in the Gurbani should be understood in the context in which they are used.We should apply our minds to think upon what the shabad is telling us, understand it, accept and learn from it.

  4. Veer Roop Ji, in your comment you stated:

    Guru himself in person emancipates his servant

    We take by “in person” you mean “embodied being, person”),
    Sri Guru Granth Sahib does not support the concept of embodied Guru (ਦੇਹਧਾਰੀ ਗੁਰੂ, “in person”…), nor it recommends to adop an embodied being as Guru. This is very fundamental Teaching of the Gurbani.

    The Gurbani’s Guru is “Abinaasee” (Eternal – beyond birth and death, beyond coming and going…)
    • ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਮੇਰਾ ਸਦਾ ਸਦਾ ਨਾ ਆਵੈ ਨਾ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਓਹੁ ਅਬਿਨਾਸੀ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਹੈ ਸਭ ਮਹਿ ਰਹਿਆ ਸਮਾਇ ॥੧੩॥: Satgur meraa sadaa sadaa n aavai n jaai. Ohu abinaasee purakhu hai sabh mahi rahiaa samaai ||13|| (sggs 759).

    Accordingly, the Gurbani repeatedly mention the “Antar Guru”:
    • ਅੰਤਰਿ ਗੁਰੁ ਆਰਾਧਣਾ ਜਿਹਵਾ ਜਪਿ ਗੁਰ ਨਾਉ ॥: Antari guru aaraadhanaa jihava japi gur naaou (sggs 517).
    • ਗੁਰਸਿਖਾ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਵਰਤੈ ॥: Gursikhaa andari satigur vartai (sggs 312).
    • ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਪੂਰਾ ਮੇਰੈ ਨਾਲਿ ॥: Satiguru pooraa merai naali (sggs 618).
    • ਗੁਰੁ ਮੇਰੈ ਸੰਗਿ ਸਦਾ ਹੈ ਨਾਲੇ ॥: Guru merai sangi sadaa hai naale (sggs 394).
    • ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਸਾਚਾ ਮਨਿ ਵਸੈ ਸਾਜਨੁ ਉਤ ਹੀ ਠਾਇ ॥: Satigur saachaa mani vasai ut hee thaai (sggs 1087).

    Accordingly, the Gurbani says no one is without the Satgur (“ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਤੇ ਖਾਲੀ ਕੋ ਨਹੀ”):
    • ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਤੇ ਖਾਲੀ ਕੋ ਨਹੀ ਮੇਰੈ ਪ੍ਰਭਿ ਮੇਲਿ ਮਿਲਾਏ ॥: Satigur te khaalee ko nahee merai prabhi meli milaaye (sggs 850).

    Now, how would one go about serving such Niraakaar Satgur? Through the Shabad-Vichaar, says the Gurbani:
    • ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਸੇਵਨਿ ਆਪਣਾ ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦੀ ਵੀਚਾਰਿ ॥ (sggs 1415).
    • ਸਚੈ ਸਬਦਿ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਸੇਵ ॥: Sachai sabadi satgur sevai (sggs 1044).
    • ਸਬਦੁ ਗੁਰੂ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਧੁਨਿ ਚੇਲਾ ॥: Sabadu Guroo surti dhuni chelaa (sggs 943).

    The Gurbani asks: why serve another (i.e., embodied being-ਦੇਹਧਾਰੀ) who is born, and than dies?
    • ਅਵਰੁ ਦੂਜਾ ਕਿਉ ਸੇਵੀਐ ਜੰਮੈ ਤੈ ਮਰਿ ਜਾਇ ॥ (sggs 509).

  5. Dear T Singh ji and all other Respected readers,

    Sat Sri Akal.

    I was reading page 982 of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. I came to read Bani Hai Guru and Guru Hai Bani, and also next line says that if the humble servant put the Bani in practice the Guru himself in person emancipates his servant.

    Now my understanding of the above is that: The Bani has come straight from Akal Purukh, Par Brahm and that Bani is the guide to take us to God and the who takes us to God is the Guru and that s why the same bani which are the praises of god is considered as Guru and the whole Granth that contains this Bani is called Guru Granth Sahib Ji and we all can consider Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji as Guru.

    So my conclusion is SGGS is my Guru and The Guru will only comes in person and emancipates his servant only if the servant follows the Gurbani and put into practice.

    Some people say that SGGS is only the giaan saroop of Parbrahm and there can be other guru as well in the world and a lot has been written on Gur, Guru, Gurbani, Shabad Guru and Satguru . I will be very thakful to you if somebody please tell me the meaning of the above in crystal clear words , not the worldly meanings please. I am just the seeker and in the starting phase.

    Bhul Chuk Maaf Ji.

  6. Thanks a lot Vir Jeo for clarifying on Beej Mantra in response to a question by Roop ji. I too had this at the back of mind that Beej Mantr perhaps is yet another Mantra like Mool Mantr but now I understand that the usage simply highlights divine Naam as the very prime and the only source just like a seed. So Beej has been used as an adjective here.

    So the verse ਬੀਜ ਮੰਤ੍ਰੁ ਸਰਬ ਕੋ ਗਿਆਨੁ ॥ ਚਹੁ ਵਰਨਾ ਮਹਿ ਜਪੈ ਕੋਊ ਨਾਮੁ ॥ basically means that of all the four varnas (Braahman, Khatri, Vaish and Shoodr), anyone (implying everyone) may try meditating (implying should meditate) on the divine Naam, as it (NAAM) is the source (beej) of all other mantras as well as the true knowledge (provider).

    Thanks again for your continued efforts of sharing your knowledge with us all.

    Deep Regards

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