To be Born is One Thing but to be Truly Alive Quite Another!

The edict (ਫੈਸਲਾ) of the Gurmat Wisdom of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) 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 (Naam, Wisdom…) or disconnected from his Mool (Source, Jot Saroop…) is as dead in this world!

  • ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਜਿਨੀ ਨ ਸੇਵਿਓ ਸਬਦਿ ਨ ਕੀਤੋ ਵੀਚਾਰੁ ॥ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਨ ਆਇਓ ਮਿਰਤਕੁ ਹੈ ਸੰਸਾਰਿ ॥: (Those beings) who have not served the ‘Satiguru‘ (through the Shabad-Vichaar), no Wisdom has Awakened within them, (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 (i.e. One Hukam: System-Rule-Law of Nature…) abides. O Nanak! No one else (i.e., who denies the Hukam…) 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 or at the level of the mind!

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

Birth is the proof of impending death!

Fittingly, the Gurbani calls the human body ‘Jajaree-ਜਜਰੀ’ (meaning perishable, frail, weak, ਨਾਸਵੰਤ, etc.). The time eats it away, bit by bit! It dissolves slowly and steadily into the very elements from which it had come!

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 (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 or a Divine Life, the dimension of Awakened State, the dimension of being established in Brahm-Giaan (Wisdom, Virtues, Truth…); the dimension of knowing the ownself; the dimension of the True Nature (Jot Saroop); the dimension of Mool-Abidance (Source, Jot Saroop, Hari, Gobind, Gusaaee, Raam, Allah…) 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

Gurmukh-hood means an intuitively balanced life. When the mind Awakens to the sharp Bibek of the Gurbani (Parchand Giaan or the sharp 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 or 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 does one undertake Genuine spirituality without Enlightenment? (Idiomatically / Metaphorically speaking: its akin to chewing iron with 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 Shabad-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-Saakat-Mayadhaaree lifestyle to the Gurmukh Lifestyle, from out to in…

However, Truth can only be there when deceit, dissimulation, falsehood, mind’s crookedness, Bikaar etc., are all defeated and thus one’s total energy is available and focused on the ONE. Only then one will be truly Alive, Awake and Aware (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.

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