To Be Born Is One Thing But To Be Truly Alive Quite Another!

The Gurbani’s edict (ਫੈਸਲਾ) is that unless one is spiritually Awakened, he is not yet alive — he is as dead (Aatmac Maut-ਆਤਮਕ ਮੌਤੇ ਮਰਿਆ)!

Consider the following verses (and many more alike) in which we are told that anybody who has forsaken the Shabad (Hukam, Naam, Divine Wisdom of the Gurbani…) or the Mool (Source, Jot, Pure Presence…) is as dead in this world!

  • ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਜਿਨੀ ਨ ਸੇਵਿਓ ਸਬਦਿ ਨ ਕੀਤੋ ਵੀਚਾਰੁ ॥ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਨ ਆਇਓ ਮਿਰਤਕੁ ਹੈ ਸੰਸਾਰਿ ॥: (Those Jeev) who have not served the “Satiguru” – have not engaged in the Shabad-Vichaar – (in this way) no Divine Wisdom has dawned in their Heart, (they may appear as alive but they) are as dead in the world (spiritually dead-ਆਤਮਕ ਮੌਤ). (sggs 88).
  • ਸੋ ਜੀਵਿਆ ਜਿਸੁ ਮਨਿ ਵਸਿਆ ਸੋਇ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਅਵਰੁ ਨ ਜੀਵੈ ਕੋਇ ॥: (In reality) Only that person is truly alive within whose mind That (Mool, Prabh…) abides. O Nanak! No one else is truly alive (sggs 142).
  • ਹਰਿ ਬਿਸਰਤ ਸੋ ਮੂਆ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: One who forgets “Hari” (Mool, Virtues, Wisdom, Truth…) is dead (death of divine life – ਆਤਮਕ ਮੌਤ). ||1||Pause|| (sggs 407).

Clearly, here the Gurbani is talking about the “dead” or “alive” from a spiritual standpoint!

From a spiritual standpoint, the Gurbani Teaches us that to be born is one thing but to be truly alive quite another!

To be born is to be just biologically here in this world

Simply put, to be born is to be just biologically here in this world — the gross-body consciousness, ego-centric personality. In the gross-body consciousness, we confound our Jot-Sraoop (spiritual truth, our True Nature…) with the body-mind-intellect or an egocentric personality.

To be truly alive is the spiritual dimension: pure Awareness

However, on the other hand, to be truly alive is a totally different dimension — the dimension of spirituality, the dimension of Gurmukh Lifestyle, the dimension of Divine Life, the dimension of Awakened State, the dimension of being established in Brahm-Giaan (Divine Wisdom, Divine Virtues…); the dimension of knowing the own self; the dimension of seeing the True Nature; the dimension of Mool-realization (Source, Jot, Hari, Gobind, Raam, Gusaaee, Allaah…) etc.

  • ਨਾਨਕ ਨਾਮੁ ਜਪੈ ਸੋ ਜੀਵੈ ॥: O Nanak! That person alone lives who understands the Naam (Shabad, Hukam, Brahm Giaan, the Divine Wisdom…). (sggs 200).
  • ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਸਦ ਜੀਵੈ ਨਹੀ ਮਰਤਾ ॥: Brahm Giaanee ever lives and never dies (sggs 273).
  • ਜੀਵਨੋ ਮੈ ਜੀਵਨੁ ਪਾਇਆ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਭਾਏ ਰਾਮ ॥: Jeevano mai jeevanu paaiaa… (sggs 442).
To be truly alive is Gurmukh-hood

There are two polarities in us: the head and the Heart. Gurmukh-hood means a great synthesis of both, head and Heart. When the Pure Heart is joined together with a sharp Bibek-Budhi of the Gurbani (Parchand Giaan or the sharp Divine Wisdom of the Gurbani), then there is a great change, a transformation. That’s what being truly alive or Aware is all about (Aatmak Jeevan – ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ). The Gurbani Teaches us:

  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਹੋਇ ਬਹੁਰਿ ਨਹੀ ਮਰਨਾ ॥੪॥੬॥੯॥: Become the Gurmukh, and you shall never have to die again (spiritual death –  ਆਤਮਕ ਮੌਤ). ||4||6||9|| (sggs 872).
We are already decaying and dying if we lack the Wisdom

Thus, to be truly alive, the Gurbani urges us to move from the biological dimension to the spiritual dimension (realm of Truth, Gurmukh-hood, Brahm Giaan, Divine Wisdom…). If one keeps living at just biologically level, in fact he lives not. He only appears to live — he is living purposelessly, fruitlessly.

However, to move from the biological realm to the spiritual realm is difficult and arduous — the greatest challenge there is! It is like racing along the razor’s edge or chewing the steel balls with the teeth of wax…

  • ਮੈਣ ਕੇ ਦੰਤ ਕਿਉ ਖਾਈਐ ਸਾਰੁ ॥: How can iron be chewed with the teeth of wax? (sggs 943).
  • ਮਾਨ ਮੋਹ ਮੇਰ ਤੇਰ ਬਿਬਰਜਿਤ ਏਹੁ ਮਾਰਗੁ ਖੰਡੇ ਧਾਰ ॥: To forsake pride, attachment, and the sense of “mine and yours” (ego-sense), is the path of the double-edged sword (sggs 534).
Going from biological dimension to the spiritual dimension is a quantum leap

Thus, to move from the biological realm to the spiritual realm is a quantum leap from the body-consciousness to the soul-consciousness, from the visible to the Invisible, from the form to the Formless, from the perishable to the Imperishable, from the material to the Immaterial, from the mortal to the Immortal, from the time to the Timelessness, from Bikaar (lust, anger, greed, etc.) to the Divine Virtues, from the Mamukh lifestyle to the Gurmukh Lifestyle, from out to in…

However, Truth can only be there when deceit, falsehood, dissimulation, mental crookedness, lust, anger, greed, etc., are all defeated and thus one’s total energy is available and focused on the ONE. Only then one will be truly alive (ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ)!

  • ਨਾਨਕ ਸੋਈ ਜੀਵਿਆ ਜਿਨਿ ਇਕੁ ਪਛਾਤਾ ॥੬॥: O Nanak! That person alone lives who recognizes (or realizes) the One (Mool, Prabh…). ||6|| (sggs 319).


  1. ਸਾਹਿਬੁ ਮੇਰਾ ਏਕੋ ਹੈ ॥
    ਏਕੋ ਹੈ ਭਾਈ ਏਕੋ ਹੈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
    ਏਕੋ ਏਕੁ ਏਕੁ ਪਛਾਨੈ ॥
    ਇਤ ਉਤ ਕੀ ਓਹੁ ਸੋਝੀ ਜਾਨੈ ॥
    Thanks jio – it makes sense. Greatly appreciated your help.

  2. Thanks jio – Please allow me to take an example ਸਾਹਿਬੁ ਮੇਰਾ ਏਕੁ ਹੈ ਅਵਰੁ ਨਹੀ ਭਾਈ ॥
    Would it mean My Sahib (with aukud – is one , ANY ONE out of MANY ONE ) is One, there is no other (ਅਵਰੁ ( one only, no other).
    and / or
    ਏਕੋ ਏਕੁ ਆਪਿ ਇਕੁ ਏਕੈ ਏਕੈ ਹੈ ਸਗਲਾ ਪਾਸਾਰੇ ॥ this is the pankti from where I earlier drew my understanding about ਏਕੋ and ਏਕੁ as manifests through ਇਕੁ ( that Always remains) that holds several ਏਕੈ ( Dual- a combination of ਏਕੋ and ਏਕੁ ) everywhere spread when ever ਇਕੁ manifests through ( ਏਕੋ ਏਕੁ)

    1. Along with above quotes it would be interesting to see the true reference of the word EKO.
      1 SAHIB MERA EKO HAI……………….

      2. EKO EKu EKu PACHAANE……….Sukhmani Sahib ji.
      One can see that EKO is to be known as EKu EKu a pair (DUAL NUMBER word.
      If one considers quotes given by your goodself and these quotes together I think one should have more clarity about the references.

  3. Many thanks jio for further clarifications and suggestions. I find it interesting not boring though will follow your advise and go slow. Could you please also share some more on the difference between – ਇਕੁ and ਏਕੁ from Karta/karam karak

    1. CS Jio,
      In my understanding these two words refereto as
      ਇਕੁ …………..THE ONLY ONE
      ਏਕੁ …………..ANY ONE out of MANY ONE
      With matra of AUKAD as above these words are SINGLE NUMBER and without AUKAD these are Many Number and with matra of A or O these are DUAL NUMBER so we would find these words as
      IKu/IK/IKA or IKO and
      EK/EKu/EKA or EKO..

  4. CS ji,
    It is important to understand the difference in reference meanings of the words ਇਕੁ and ਏਕੁ Both are for mumerical number ONE but with great difference in their respective reference as KARTA/KARAM KARAK.

  5. CS ji,
    In my opinion it would be quite worth to first fully understand the ROLE of KARAKS in understanding the application of various gurmukhi matras used in gurbaanee. There are eight type of KARAKS
    and for each KARAK there are particular matras for the words.

    Therefore It is important to get the understanding of these matras as per KARAK and this should be done one by one . First one should confine to initial KARTA ,KARAM and KARAM KARAK .

    Grammar is a very complex subject and boring too so one should go as slow as possible for getting clarity in mind for application of different matras used in gurbaanee words.
    This is my personal suggestion only.

  6. Many thanks for a great blissful reading and reflections.
    ਸਦਾ ਸਦਾ ਇਕੁ ਏਕੰਕਾਰ ॥
    How appropriate it is to understand ਇਕੁ – as a core of ਏਕੈ that has ਏਕੋ+ਏਕੁ manifested?

  7. From within gurbaanee one can see that this .ਇਕੁ is very well clarified as ishould be clear from a quote from Sukhmani sahib as
    very clear the reference for ਇਕੁ is EKANKAAR… But we hardly accept this.

  8. The cocluding verse of the blog is extremely important as
    •ਨਾਨਕ ਸੋਈ ਜੀਵਿਆ ਜਿਨਿ ਇਕੁ ਪਛਾਤਾ
    Now what is this.ਇਕੁ as per gurbaanee ? One should look for this .

  9. Thanks T Singh Ji, this is profoundly true. All truths in Gurbani can be experienced to further validate them. In fact with introspection one can feel how alive you get when you focus on the Naam and how ‘dead’ you feel at other times.

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