Toe To Top

The Gurus and Bhagats were not only God-Connected Within, they were also excellent communicators, poets, writers, and presenters. They effectively used idioms / metaphors to explain very complex spiritual Messages. Hence, impregnated with spiritual Wisdom or suggestions, numerous idioms can be found in SGGS.

Since the entirety of the Gurbani is for the Mind, idioms / metaphors etc. express the subtlety of the spiritual experiences of the Gurus and Bhagats, draw the reader’s attention, awaken senses, amplify the Message, capture subtle nuances of spirituality, they create imagery in the mind and make the reader see things in a new way, improve understanding, and so on.

The Gurbani has made beautiful use of many idioms (ਮੁਹਾਵਰੇ) throughout.

One of these idioms used in the Gurbani goes something like: Toe to Head (“ਨਖ ਸਿਖ”: ਨਖ = the nails or tips of toes, and ਸਿਖ = the top of head, etc.).

It simply means to examine something thoroughly, to understand something completely, to judge something in its entirety, to know something fully, whole, ਸਾਬਤ, and so on.

  • ਬੰਧਚਿ ਬੰਧਨੁ ਪਾਇਆ ॥ ਮੁਕਤੈ ਗੁਰਿ ਅਨਲੁ ਬੁਝਾਇਆ ॥ ਜਬ ਨਖ ਸਿਖ ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਚੀਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਾ ॥ ਤਬ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਮਜਨੁ ਕੀਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਾ ॥੧॥: (Maya) captivates. (However the Guru) got (that Maya) in captivity! The Guru, who is liberated himself, has quenched the fire (of Maya, i.e., has liberated me from Maya). When I came to understand this mind from the nails of toes to the top of head (i.e., when I understood my mind completely…), then I bathe within my self (i.e., I bathe in my Mool within…). ||1|| (sggs 972).

The forgoing verse indicates that when one understands his mind completely through the Gur-Shabad (or Shabad-Vichaar, Gur Giaan…), then his fire of Maya (hunger for Maya, desires, Trishnaa, etc.) ceases to be. In other words, the hunter (i.e., Maya) becomes the hunted!

  • ਮਾਇਆ ਮੋਹੁ ਬਿਨਸਿ ਜਾਇਗਾ ਉਬਰੇ ਸਬਦਿ ਵੀਚਾਰੀ ॥੨੮॥: Maya mohu binasi jaaigaa oubare sabadi veechaaree (sggs 911).
  • ਮਾਇਆ ਮੋਹੁ ਸਬਦਿ ਜਲਾਇਆ ਗਿਆਨਿ ਤਤਿ ਬੀਚਾਰੀ ॥੭॥: Maya mohu sabadi jalaaiaa giaani tati beechaaree (sggs 911).

When Maya is transcended and the mind is totally understood, then magic happens!

That is, then one takes the Ishanaan (cleansing bath of the mind) within, in the pool of his Mool (the Inner Srovar…).

  • ਅੰਦਰਹੁ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਅਗਨਿ ਬੁਝੀ ਹਰਿ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਸਰਿ ਨਾਤਾ ॥: (Whosoever) bathes in the Pool of the Hari’s Naam-Amrit within, (his) fire of desire is quenched (sggs 510).
  • ਦਸਮੀ ਨਾਮੁ ਦਾਨੁ ਇਸਨਾਨੁ ॥ ਅਨਦਿਨੁ ਮਜਨੁ ਸਚਾ ਗੁਣ ਗਿਆਨੁ ॥: To understand Naam (Wisdom…) is giving charity and taking ablution on ‘Dasamee’ (tenth day). Daily (i.e., always) bathe (mind) in Virtues and Wisdom. (sggs 840).
  • ਨਾਮੁ ਹਮਾਰੈ ਮਜਨ ਇਸਨਾਨੁ ॥: Naamu hamaarai majan isanaanu (sggs 1145).

The emphasis here is that the mind has to be understood COMPLETELY. In other words, the mind has to become Whole, Undivided, Intact, linked to Mool within “ਹਿਵੈ ਘਰ”, ਸਾਬਤ, ਸੰਪੂਰਨ, etc. This how Jeeva (individual beings) become fit for the Divine Grace (“ਨਦਰਿ ਤਿਨਾ ਕਉ”).

  • ਕਬੀਰ ਕਾਇਆ ਕਾਚੀ ਕਾਰਵੀ ਕੇਵਲ ਕਾਚੀ ਧਾਤੁ ॥ ਸਾਬਤੁ ਰਖਹਿ ਤ ਰਾਮ ਭਜੁ ਨਾਹਿ ਤ ਬਿਨਠੀ ਬਾਤ ॥੨੨੨॥: O Kabeer! The Kaaiaa is (like) a raw (ਕਾਚੀ: ਕੱਚੀ, unripe, crude, clay-built) pot (i.e., the racing mind attached to Maya is Kachaa-ਕੱਚਾ…). If you wish to keep it Intact (Total, Whole – free of Bikaars, Maya…), then Unite (Join…) the Raam (the Inner, “Aatam Raam”); otherwise, it will break (ਵਿਅਰਥ ਹੀ ਬਿਨਸ ਜਾਏਗੀ) ॥੨੨੨॥. (sggs 1376).
  • ਸਾਬਤੁ ਵਸਤੁ ਓਹੁ ਅਪਨੀ ਲਹੈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Saabatu vasatu ohu apanee lahai ||1||Rahaaou|| (182 sggs).
  • ਨਦਰਿ ਤਿਨਾ ਕਉ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਜਿ ਸਾਬਤੁ ਲਾਏ ਰਾਸਿ ॥: Nadari tinaa kaou Naanakaa ji saabatu laaey raasi (sggs 1238).

Complete annihilation of the deluded mind translates into complete transcending of Maya.

Because, so long there is enticement of Maya in the mind (hunger for Maya), the target of human life (Mool-realization…) cannot not be completed. This is the Gurbani’s edict:

  • ਸੁਪਨੇ ਸੇਤੀ ਚਿਤੁ ਮੂਰਖਿ ਲਾਇਆ ॥ ਬਿਸਰੇ ਰਾਜ ਰਸ ਭੋਗ ਜਾਗਤ ਭਖਲਾਇਆ ॥ ਆਰਜਾ ਗਈ ਵਿਹਾਇ ਧੰਧੈ ਧਾਇਆ ॥ ਪੂਰਨ ਭਏ ਨ ਕਾਮ ਮੋਹਿਆ ਮਾਇਆ ॥: The fool attaches his consciousness to the dream (like world, fleeting objects, etc.). Forgetting (Mool) in power, pleasures, and enjoyments (he) gibbers (in delirium, ਬਕਬਾਦ ਬੋਲਣਾ, ਅਬਾ ਤਬਾ ਬੋਲਣਾ…) while awake. (He) passes his life chasing after worldly affairs. Enticed by Maya, (his) Kaam (desires, affairs, Mayaic appetite, ਕੰਮ, ਕਾਰਜ, etc.) are not completed (sggs 707).

The Gurbani tells us that when the mind is completely understood, held in check, or stabilized (“ਬੀਸ ਬਿਸੁਏ” – ਪੂਰਨ ਤੌਰ ਤੇ, ਪੂਰੇ ਤੌਰ ਤੇ ਮੰਨ ਦਾ ਠਹਿਰ ਜਾਣਾਂ / ਟਿਕ ਜਾਣਾਂ, 100 percent stillness…), then the target of human life is realized.

  • ਬੀਸ ਬਿਸੁਏ ਜਾ ਮਨ ਠਹਰਾਨੇ ॥ ਗੁਰ ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਏਕੈ ਹੀ ਜਾਨੇ ॥੨॥: When the mind is totally paused (stabilized, abided, ਟਿਕ ਗਿਆ…), then the “Gur PaarBrahm” (“ਗੁਰ ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮ”) are deemed as one and the same (sggs 887).
  • ਗੁਪਤੁ ਪ੍ਰਗਟੁ ਸਭ ਜਾਣੀਐ ਜੇ ਮਨੁ ਰਾਖੈ ਠਾਇ ॥ Gupatu pragatu sabh jaaneeai je manu raakhai thaai (sggs 57).

And this self-development or self-rediscovery (self-improvement, self-unfoldment, etc.) is accomplished through the Shabad-Vichaar.

  • ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਬਿਨੁ ਆਪਾ ਚੀਨੈ ਮਿਟੈ ਨ ਭ੍ਰਮ ਕੀ ਕਾਈ ॥੨॥੧॥: ‘Jan’ Nanak says, without KNOWING one’s ownself, the moss of doubt from the mind does not go away. ||2||1|| (sggs 684).
  • 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).
  • ਬੰਦੇ ਖੋਜੁ ਦਿਲ ਹਰ ਰੋਜ ਨਾ ਫਿਰੁ ਪਰੇਸਾਨੀ ਮਾਹਿ ॥ ਇਹ ਜੁ ਦੁਨੀਆ ਸਿਹਰੁ ਮੇਲਾ ਦਸਤਗੀਰੀ ਨਾਹਿ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ : O mortal, search your heart/mind everyday, then you would not wander around perplexed (confused, worried, distressed, anxiety-ridden etc.). This world is like a magic show; there nothing to be gained in it (through being perplexed etc.). ||1||Pause|| (sggs 727).
  • ਮਨ ਕੀ ਪਤ੍ਰੀ ਵਾਚਣੀ ਸੁਖੀ ਹੂ ਸੁਖੁ ਸਾਰੁ ॥: The greatest happiness comes from reading the horoscope of the mind (i.e., reading your own mind’s state or condition). (sggs 1093).

In fact, according to the Gurbani’s own definition of Sikhi, the Sikhi is in constant learning through the Shabad-Vichaar.. That is, a Sikh is always a learner throughout his whole life – unceasingly developing own self through the Gurmat (ਉਪਦੇਸ, Teaching, or Aatam-Giaan of the Gurbani).

  • ਸਿਖੀ ਸਿਖਿਆ ਗੁਰ ਵੀਚਾਰਿ ॥ ਨਦਰੀ ਕਰਮਿ ਲਘਾਏ ਪਾਰਿ ॥ : Sikhi is contemplation on Guru’s teaching (Instructions, Wisdom, Counsel, Guide, Upadesh, Giyan, Bibek) and acting on it. Being blessed by the Grace of the Guru’s teaching one then crosses the ocean of worldly temptations and their corrupting influences (Bhav Saagar). (sggs 465).
  • ਮਨੁ ਮਾਣਕੁ ਜਿਨਿ ਪਰਖਿਆ ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦੀ ਵੀਚਾਰਿ ॥ ਸੇ ਜਨ ਵਿਰਲੇ ਜਾਣੀਅਹਿ ਕਲਜੁਗ ਵਿਚਿ ਸੰਸਾਰਿ ॥: Who have assayed the mind-jewel through the Vichaar of the Gur-Shabad; such Jan are known to be rare in this Kaliyug, in this world. (sggs 1093).


  1. It is a virtuous task to educate people about insight of Gurbani. The thrust may well be at a gradual pace, but surely one day, it will penetrate in minds of many. It requires each of us to propagate ‘The Gurbani Blog’ to our relatives, friends and associates. I believe people often become deluded from the realism of Gurbani and are easily trapped in Mayaic allurements, some fall as prey in the hands of hypocrites. For our own development of mind, an understanding of Gurbani is essential, one should consider it seriously.

  2. If this SABADu is not understood from bottom to top,all other knowledge is going to be secondary only.

    ਬਾਬਾ ਹੋਰ ਮਤਿ ਹੋਰ ਹੋਰ ॥ (sggs 17)
    Thank you Bhai Sahib Jio.

  3. Thank you Bhai Sahib Jio.

    The guru shabd helps us to understand this role from top to bottom in its entirety.

    ਮਾਣਸ ਜਨਮਿ ਹਰਿ ਪਾਈਐ ਹਰਿ ਰਾਵਣ ਵੇਰਾ ਰਾਮ ॥ (sggs 844)

  4. I observe that there is great significance of knowledge of SABADu in the whole of SGGS ji.If this SABADu is not understood from bottom to top,all other knowledge is going to be secondary only.

  5. ‘Mind’ is a carrier of inner growth for aptitude which could uplift the entire integrity of a person to reach onto the state of composure mind

    ਮਨ ਕੀ ਪਤ੍ਰੀ ਵਾਚਣੀ ਸੁਖੀ ਹੂ ਸੁਖੁ ਸਾਰੁ ॥ (sggs 1093).
    Thank you Bhai Sahib Jio.

  6. waheguru ji ka khalsa ,waheguru ji ki fateh.
    Veer jeo, sacred hymns of gurbani in sri guru granth sahibji has not left any aspect of the entire universe untouched.By referring to human beings,animals, birds, greenery, earth , skies,rivers, mountains,all the faiths and rituals , the gurbani highlights the role assigned to the human beings as the leader of the whole creation. The guru shabd helps us to understand this role from top to bottom in its entirety.You have very kindly taken up very very fundamental issue. May Waheguru ji bless you

  7. Bhai Sahib jio,
    The most substantial part of human being, ‘Mind’ is a carrier of inner growth for aptitude which could uplift the entire integrity of a person to reach onto the state of composure mind, as the Gurbani has indicated in your message. It is essential to scrutinise one’s own mind to progress for spiritual phase of living, otherwise birth cycle will continue and suffering of pain would remain intact. The body is mortal, but the mind is immortal, so let us avail the opportunity to enrich our intellect with Shabad-Guru to accomplish the life purpose.

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