Try to be Better Than Yourself!

Enlightenment, Freedom, Liberation is to know one’s true self (Jot Saroop, True Nature, Mool, Reality)!

Hence, each person’s competition is with his ownself — try to be better than yourself!

So, instead of expecting others to change, the Gurbani’s wisdom teaches focusing on being better than yourself — change yourself, mend your own mind, transform your own thinking, improve your own self, become a Gurmukh...

  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਹੋਇ ਸੁ ਭਉ ਕਰੇ ਆਪਣਾ ਆਪੁ ਪਛਾਣੈ ॥: One who becomes the Gurmukh remains affrighted (of acting contrary to the Wisdom of the Gurbani), and tries to realize his own self (sggs 647).

Hence, the Gurbani’s edict is each one of us should recognize, know, or realize his own true self. Because, without knowing one’s true self, the moss of doubt cannot be eradicated from the mind; the Divine Virtues (mind’s purity) cannot be known; one cannot become fearless and realize his Mool (Source, Jot Saroop, etc.)….

  • 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).
  • ਆਪੁ ਪਛਾਣੈ ਸੋ ਸਭਿ ਗੁਣ ਜਾਣੈ ॥: One who realizes his own self, knows all Virtues (sggs 1056).
  • ਆਪੁ ਪਛਾਣੈ ਮਨੁ ਨਿਰਮਲੁ ਹੋਇ ॥: Who recognizes own self, (his) mind becomes pure (sggs 161).
  • ਆਪਾ ਪਦੁ ਨਿਰਬਾਣੁ ਨ ਚੀਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਿਆ ਇਨ ਬਿਧਿ ਅਭਿਉ ਨ ਚੂਕੇ ॥੨॥: (This mind, self…) does not realize its Mool which is liberated from Mayaic existence, in this way its doubt does not depart. ||2|| (sggs 475).

Called by many terms in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGS) such as “Manu Khoji – ਮਨੁ ਖੋਜਿ”, “Khoju Dil – ਖੋਜੁ ਦਿਲ”, “Aapaa Cheenai – ਆਪਾ ਚੀਨੈ”, “Aapu Vichaari – ਆਪੁ ਬੀਚਾਰਿ”, etc., it’s essentially constant “debugging” of oneself.

The Gurbani teaches practical spirituality. Therefore, the Gurbani’s Counsel is dictated by the sound common sense.

For example, let’s consider this age old question as to why does man suffer? One does not need to turn to this philosophy or that for an answer. Man suffers for he cannot and does not control his own mind. Baabaa Kabeer Sahib reminds us that “Whatever is done, is done by the mind” (“ਜੋ ਕਿਛੁ ਕੀਆ ਸੋ ਮਨ ਕੀਆ”). A person who does not and cannot control his mind is known as Manmukh, Saakat, Mayadhaaree, etc, in the Gurbani.

  • ਸਾਕਤ ਨਿਰਗੁਣਿਆਰਿਆ ਆਪਣਾ ਮੂਲੁ ਪਛਾਣੁ ॥: O Saakat (i.e., devoid of Virtues…)! Recognize your own Mool (Source, Jot…)! (sggs 63).

In the darkness of ignorance (“ਅਗਿਆਨੁ – Agiaanu“) we function with an arrogant sense of false ego-sense (Haume) – the Manmukh lifestyle. Which runs away with our good judgement and sinks us in the ocean of suffering (Dukha).

  • ਉਗਵੈ ਸੂਰੁ ਨ ਜਾਪੈ ਚੰਦੁ ॥ ਜਹ ਗਿਆਨ ਪ੍ਰਗਾਸੁ ਅਗਿਆਨੁ ਮਿਟੰਤੁ॥: When the sun rises, the moon is not visible. Where the Light of Divine Wisdom illuminates, ignorance is dispelled. (sggs 791).

For the betterment of one’s own self, the Gurbani urges us to wage the battle of life moment to moment. Because, the human body with its physical, mental, and soul faculties is the battlefield. The Gurbani calls this human body the “field of action” — the field (“ਖੇਤ”, “ਧਰਤੀ”) on which all activities of one’s life take place.

  • ਇਹੁ ਸਰੀਰੁ ਕਰਮ ਕੀ ਧਰਤੀ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਮਥਿ ਮਥਿ ਤਤੁ ਕਢਈਆ ॥: This body is the field of action; by becoming the Gurmukhs, constantly churn (the Gur-Shabad) and obtain the Essence (of the Divine Wisdom or Tatt-Giaan). (sggs 834).

As indicated in the very first verse of this post above, the process of recognizing one’s own self involves becoming a Gurmukh (Enlightened or Awakened one, who thoroughly understands and lives the Wisdom of the Gurbani…). A person who has truly realized his own self is called a Gurmukh in the Gurbani. Upon realizing the Gurmukh-hood, the mind becomes fearless and leave the “Trikutee-ਤ੍ਰਿਕੁਟੀ” and come to rest into the Heart (“Hirdaa-ਹਿਰਦਾ” or “Ghat-ਘਟ” or “Dasavaa Duaaru-ਦਸਵਾ ਦੁਆਰੁ”).

  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਜਾਗੈ ਸੋਈ ਸਾਰੁ : To be awake as Gurmukh is the Essence (of Wakefulness). (sggs 1194).

Hence, the Gurbani asks us to become the Gurmukh and look Within to know the true self to where there is no form-shape-color.

It’s clear what the Gurbani asks is difficult for ordinary mortals. But what’s the way out? None can get away for doing deeds he should not be doing.

  • ਜੇਹਾ ਬੀਜੈ ਸੋ ਲੁਣੈ ਕਰਮਾ ਸੰਦੜਾ ਖੇਤੁ ॥: (Life is the) field (of man’s actions); whatever (he) sows or does in life so does (he) reap the consequences. (sggs 134).

In other words, it’s the same mind that can take one to his Mool (Source, Jot…), and the same mind that can take one away from his Mool too! Understandably, the Gurbani time and again addresses the mind.

Hence, according to the Gurbani, linking the mind back to one’s Mool (Jot Saroop, Source, Reality) is the goal of human birth or purpose of life. The Gurbani repeatly indicates this is realized through self-transcendence.

  • ਜਿਨਿ ਆਤਮ ਤਤੁ ਨ ਚੀਨ੍‍ਆਿ ॥ ਸਭ ਫੋਕਟ ਧਰਮ ਅਬੀਨਿਆ ॥: Whoever does not Realize the Essence or Reality of the Soul (ਆਤਮਾ ਦੀ ਅਸਲੀਅਤ…), all his religious acts are of no value – worthless (sggs 1351).

According to the Gurbani, one can recognize own self through the Shabad-Vichaar. It cannot be made to an order or given to someone as a ready-made package or as a mundane gift! According to the Gurbani, each one of us must realize his Mool (Source, Jot …) himself:

  • ਆਪਿ ਪਛਾਣੈ ਸਬਦੁ ਵੀਚਾਰਾ ॥: Realize own self through the Shabad-Vichaar (sggs 1040).

In nutshell, the Gurbani wants it’s learners (i.e., Sikhs) to examine their own self and improve it — toe to top!

  • 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).

To call oneself better without improving the own self is nothing but “Kutiltaa(crookedness, perversity, etc.). Hence, the Gurbani edict is:

  • ਸੋ ਮੂਰਖੁ ਜੋ ਆਪੁ ਨ ਪਛਾਣਈ ਸਚਿ ਨ ਧਰੇ ਪਿਆਰੁ ॥੪॥: A fool is the one, who does not understand ownself. (Such fool) cannot hold on the Truth. ||4|| (sggs 492).


  1. Thank you Bharpur Ji for taking the time to reply. Also thank you for the kind words. Welcome to the Gurbani Blog Ji.

  2. As they say seek and you shall receive. I just came across this site just today. I thank the wonderful Lord for this precious discovery. May Vaheguru bless you wit even more Giann so we can all grow together.

  3. reading the response one word came to mind- faith… for a long time I gave up on ‘faith’ as my faith was in false efforts… but this is why I need faith… to make my mind ‘stay there’… faith in the truth.
    … Vaheguru :) Thanks for this humble reminder.

  4. As the saysing goes “practice makes one perfect”!

    The Gurbani also asks us to keep practicing — searching (Khoj-ਖੋਜ), investigating, reflecting, learning…

    • ਖੋਜਤ ਖੋਜਤ ਭਈ ਬੈਰਾਗਨਿ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਦਰਸਨ ਕਉ ਹਉ ਫਿਰਤ ਤਿਸਾਈ ॥੩॥: Khojat Khojat bhaee bairaagani prabh darsan kaou firat tisaaee (sggs 204).
    • ਜੋ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਖੋਜਹਿ ਸੇਈ ਪਾਵਹਿ ਹੋਰਿ ਫੂਟਿ ਮੂਏ ਅਹੰਕਾਰੀ ॥੨੦॥ (sggs 911).
    • ਆਪਣ ਹਥੀ ਆਪਣਾ ਆਪੇ ਹੀ ਕਾਜੁ ਸਵਾਰੀਐ ॥੨੦॥ (sggs 474).
    • ਜਿਨੀ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਇਆ ਗਏ ਮਸਕਤਿ ਘਾਲਿ ॥: Jinee Naamu dhiaaiaa … (sggs 8).

    So the Gurbani asks us to keep investigating the mind, until the mind has entered its “Khorr-ਖੋੜ”, and stays there!

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