True Love and Lover

When we hear this term ‘love’ (‘ਆਸਕੀ”: Aashakee), what immediately comes to the mind is a picture of a man and a woman having the fleeting lusty pleasure rising from a purely flesh-fleshy biological function!

That’s not the subject matter of the Gurmat Giaan or Wisdom of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS).

In nutshell, here the SGGS is talking about a life of selfless love: a Gurmukhs lifestyle, an embellished life (ਸੰਵਰੀ ਹੋਈ ਜਿੰਦਗੀ), committed life unconcerned about shame of the worldly people (ਲੋਕ ਲਾਜ), a life of sacrifice, a life of Braveheart, a life of Virtues (ਗੁਣ), a life of Wisdom, a life of Truth (Sach), a life of high spirit (ਚੜਦੀ ਕਲਾ), a life of knowing own self; a life free of falsehood, a life free of flattery (ਚਾਪਲੂਸੀ), a life free of ‘Parpanch’ or ‘Pakhand’ or imitation, a life free of false ego-sense (Haumai), a life free of sense-slavery, a life free of Bikaar (i.e., lust, anger, greed, etc.), an mind free of ‘Sootak‘, and so on.

  • ਜਉ ਤਉ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਖੇਲਣ ਕਾ ਚਾਉ ॥ ਸਿਰੁ ਧਰਿ ਤਲੀ ਗਲੀ ਮੇਰੀ ਆਉ ॥ ਇਤੁ ਮਾਰਗਿ ਪੈਰੁ ਧਰੀਜੈ ॥ ਸਿਰੁ ਦੀਜੈ ਕਾਣਿ ਨ ਕੀਜੈ ॥੨੦॥: If you desire to play this game of Divine Love with Me, then step onto My Way putting your head on palm. When you place your foot on this Way, give up your head (false ego-sense), do not be afraid or shrink ||20||. (sggs 1412).
  • ਦਾਗੇ ਹੋਹਿ ਸੁ ਰਨ ਮਹਿ ਜੂਝਹਿ ਬਿਨੁ ਦਾਗੇ ਭਗਿ ਜਾਈ ॥: These who have burned (with Virtues or Wisdom their Bikaar: lust, anger, greed, etc.) fight bravely (with Bikaar...) in the battle (of life), and those who have not run away (i.e., lose the battle of life). (sggs 970).

The term  ‘ਦਾਗੇ-Daagae’ is pretty significant in the foregoing verse. ‘Daaganaa’ is dehorning process of removing the horns of livestock when their horn buds are burned or cut out, never to comeback. The Gurbani urges us to burn (‘Daaganaa’) our Bikaar so they don’t ever reappear.

We can have such true love for the Gurmat (Wisdom of the SGGS), Truth (Sach), Hukam (System-Rule-Law of Nature, Kudrat…); for parents, children, friends, spouses, neighbors, humanity (ਇਨਸਾਨੀਅਤ), and so on.

But, it’s like chewing steel balls!

Nonetheless, the True Love is the key to True Happiness (Aatmic Anand or Bliss…).

However, we have 2 basic differences in love — the selfish love and the selfless love.

The selfish love is the love of Maya (duality, illusion …). The mundane or the worldly love is selfish. Fittingly, the Gurbani tells us that in this material world ‘all are concerned only with their own happiness’:

  • ਜਗਤ ਮੈ ਝੂਠੀ ਦੇਖੀ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ॥ ਅਪਨੇ ਹੀ ਸੁਖ ਸਿਉ ਸਭ ਲਾਗੇ ਕਿਆ ਦਾਰਾ ਕਿਆ ਮੀਤ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: In this world, I have seen love to be false. Whether they are spouses or friends, all are concerned only with their own happiness. ||1||Pause|| (sggs 536).

On the other hand, the selfless love is the love of the One, for the sake of the One. Because, all other love is false attachment of Maya:

  • ਹੋਰੁ ਸਭ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਮਾਇਆ ਮੋਹੁ ਕਾਚਾ ॥: All other love is false attachment of Maya. (sggs 164).

However, the Gurbani says that — those who becoming the Gurmukhs realize or understand (ਸੂਝ-ਬੂਝ, Giaan …) this Truth — are also very ‘rare’ in this world!

  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਸਚੀ ਆਸਕੀ ਜਿਤੁ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਮੁ ਸਚਾ ਪਾਈਐ ॥: The love of the Gurmukh is true; through which the True Beloved is realized (sggs 1422).
  • ਲਾਗੀ ਹੋਇ ਸੁ ਜਾਨੈ ਪੀਰ ॥ ਰਾਮ ਭਗਤਿ ਅਨੀਆਲੇ ਤੀਰ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: The one who is in pain (of the wound inflicted by the arrows of Bhagti) knows (what this pain is like); the arrows of Divine Bhagti are so sharp! ||1||Pause|| (sggs 327).

Thus, the very definition of the True Love is that it can never be selfish.

If love is motivated by selfishness, then it cannot be a True Love.

Selfish love is a mundane business. There is give and take in it — though very little ‘give’ (if any), but more ‘take’.

Such crooked and sneaky love is always in flux — goes up and down depending on whether things are going ‘good’ or ‘badly’ in life. As indicated in the Gurbani, this sort of love is a mundane trade.

On the other hand, the selfless love is divine. In selfless love, there is no ‘take’ — there is only ‘give’. I other words, to be a true lover means ‘I have something or I have something extra that I am going to give’!

Such True Love does not fluctuate. According to the Gurbani, those who are immersed in such unconditioned Love are the True Lovers.

Also, besides his beloved, if a lover fixes his mind on someone else, then his love cannot be called a true love. The Gurbani sums it up so beautifully as follows:

  • ਏਹ ਕਿਨੇਹੀ ਆਸਕੀ ਦੂਜੈ ਲਗੈ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਆਸਕੁ ਕਾਂਢੀਐ ਸਦ ਹੀ ਰਹੈ ਸਮਾਇ ॥ ਚੰਗੈ ਚੰਗਾ ਕਰਿ ਮੰਨੇ ਮੰਦੈ ਮੰਦਾ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਆਸਕੁ ਏਹੁ ਨ ਆਖੀਐ ਜਿ ਲੇਖੈ ਵਰਤੈ ਸੋਇ ॥੧॥: What sort of love is that, which clings to another? O Nanak! He alone is called a lover, who remains forever immersed in absorption (in the memory of his own Beloved). (A person) cannot be called lover if he behaves only in calculated love. ||1|| (sggs 474).

Accordingly, love is meaningless if it is motivated by selfishness (Mayaic calculations – ਨਫੇ ਨੁਕਸਾਨ ਦਾ ਲੇਖਾ ਜੋਖਾ …).

In other words, selfish love is just soulless. And a soulless person cannot be a True Lover.

  • ਸਭੇ ਕੰਤ ਮਹੇਲੀਆ ਸਗਲੀਆ ਕਰਹਿ ਸੀਗਾਰੁ ॥ ਗਣਤ ਗਣਾਵਣਿ ਆਈਆ ਸੂਹਾ ਵੇਸੁ ਵਿਕਾਰੁ ॥ ਪਾਖੰਡਿ ਪ੍ਰੇਮੁ ਨ ਪਾਈਐ ਖੋਟਾ ਪਾਜੁ ਖੁਆਰੁ ॥੧॥: All Jeeva (individual beings) belong to Rabb, all adorn (to please Rabb), But those who show off their adornment (motivated by selfishness, Mayaic calculations – ਨਫੇ ਨੁਕਸਾਨ ਦੀ ਗਿਣਤੀ-ਮਿਣਤੀ), their such (hypocritical) love or adornment is useless. Love is not obtained by showing off (if there is falsehood inside and there is false display of love outside), such hypocritical show brings only ruin. (sggs 54).

However, the Gurbani tells us in the True Love, the Lover forgets his false self-identity (Aapaa-Bhaav: ਆਪਾ-ਭਾਵ). For he is selfless.

The false self (Haumai) is crooked, deluded, doubt ridden, ruled by subtle and sneaky Bikaars (lust, anger, greed, etc.). In other words, a false lover is always preoccupied with sense-slavery.

  • ਆਸਕੁ ਆਸਾ ਬਾਹਰਾ ਮੂ ਮਨਿ ਵਡੀ ਆਸ ॥: (O Rabb – Universal Energy…! The true) lover is the one whom worldly desires cannot bear, but in my mind there are great worldly desires. (sggs 1100).

Nevertheless, the Haumai mind (false ego-sense) being devoid of Wisdom and Virtues, always thinks that it can gratify all mundane desires and at the same time it can Realize the True Love or the Truth. NOT possible!

Pure Love signifies pure Wisdom (Virtues, Awareness, etc.). To the contrary, the false love signifies ignorance (ਅਗਿਆਨਤਾ…) that causes depression, stress, regrets, ‘burn’ (torching of Spiritual life, divine Knowledge, Virtues…), and so on.

  • ਦੁਨੀਆ ਕੇਰੀ ਦੋਸਤੀ ਮਨਮੁਖ ਦਝਿ ਮਰੰਨਿ ॥: Making worldly friendships (the love of Maya), the Manmukhs burn and die (destroy their spiritual life – ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਸਾੜ ਕੇ ਸੁਆਹ ਕਰ ਲੈਂਦੇ ਹਨ). (sggs 755).
  • ਮਨਮੁਖ ਸਉ ਕਰਿ ਦੋਸਤੀ ਸੁਖ ਕਿ ਪੁਛਹਿ ਮਿਤ ॥ ਗੁਰਮੁਖ ਸਉ ਕਰਿ ਦੋਸਤੀ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਸਉ ਲਾਇ ਚਿਤੁ ॥: O friend! (Tell me) if you make friendship with the Manmukhs, how can you ask for Peace (ਆਤਮਕ ਆਨੰਦ)? Make friends with the Gurmukhs, and focus your consciousness on the Satigur (True Wisdom-ਸੱਚਾ ਗਿਆਨ). (sggs 1421).


  1. Bhai Gurpreet Singh ji, In Gurbani, Prem and Pyar are used interchangeably to mean love. Love can be of Maya or of God. Most references in Gurbani, of these two terms, refer to Love of God.

  2. Prem is both way.
    fish has prem with water but water has no prem with fish
    bhvra has prem with flower but flower has no prem with bhvra

    gursikh has prem with guru and guru has prem with gursikh

    in gurbani prem word is used for gursikh and guru.

    pl. update me if i am wrong in understading the meaning of prem. I have written what i have observed .

  3. Thanks for taking the time to comment on this posts.

    Prem Padaarath = Giaan Padaarath, Naam Dhann
    Which is Realized by becoming the Gurmukh, Wise, Virtuous, Mool-abidance (ਮੂਲ), following the Truth, Hukam (System-Rule-Law of Nature) …

    ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਪਦਾਰਥੁ ਪਾਈਐ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਤਤੁ ਵੀਚਾਰੁ ॥: Prem Padaarath(u) paaeeai Gurmukhi tat(u) veechaar(u) (sggs 61).
    ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਪਦਾਰਥੁ ਨਾਮੁ ਹੈ ਭਾਈ ਮਾਇਆ ਮੋਹ ਬਿਨਾਸੁ ॥: Prem padaarath(u) Naam(u) hai bhai Maya moh binaas(u) (sggs 640).
    ਹੁਕਮੁ ਮੰਨਿ ਸੁਖੁ ਪਾਇਆ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਸੁਹਾਗਣਿ ਹੋਇ ॥੧॥: Hukam manni sukh paaiaa prem suhaagan hoi (sggs 510).
    ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਪਲੀਤਾ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਹਵਾਈ ਗੋਲਾ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਚਲਾਇਆ ॥: Prem paleetaa surati havaaee golaa Giaan chalaiaa (sggs 1161).

  4. Satkar jog gurmukh T.Singh jio
    ‘Prem’ te ‘Pyar’ de vich farak hai Prem vich dena hi dena hunda hai te Pyar vich kuch lain di ichha vi hundi hai. Is karke Prem selfless love hai te Pyar selfish love hai.
    Manmukha de man di jhuthi yari sansar naal hundi hai te gurmukha de man di sachi yaari usde apne mool(chit) naal hundi hai. is sachi yaari karke gurmukh sansar vich vi sacha prem hi vanda hai te badle vich kuch nahi lainda.
    ਸਾਚ ਕਹੋਂ ਸੁਨ ਲੇਹੁ ਸਭੈ ਜਿਨ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਕੀਓ ਤਿਨ ਹੀ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਪਾਇਓ
    guru sahib ne ithe Prem lafz use kita hai pyar nahi.


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