What Is Searching Ownself

The Gurbani urges us to become the searcher (ਖੋਜੀ) – searcher of ownself…

But the question is: What does it mean by “searching ownself”? In very simple terms, “searching ownself” is the search of one’s Mool within (ਅਪਣੇ ਮੂਲ ਨੂੰ ਖੋਜਣਾਂ, ਆਪਣੇ ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਦੀ ਪਰਖ, ਅਪਣੇ ਯਥਾਰਥ ਸਰੂਪ ਦੀ ਜਾਣ, ਅਪਣੇ ਆਪ ਨੂੰ (ਅਪਣੇ ਮੂਲ ਨੂੰ) ਪਛਾਣ ਲੈਣਾ – Source, Jot…).

  • ਆਪੁ ਖੋਜਿ ਖੋਜਿ ਮਿਲੇ ਕਬੀਰਾ ॥੪॥੭॥: By searching and searching (his Mool within), Kabeer merged (in his Mool). ||4||7|| (sggs 1155).

In other words, “searching ownself” leads to Mool-realization (ਮੂਲ ਦੀ ਪਛਾਣ, realization of one’s Jot-Saroop…). Therefore, ultimately, Mool-realization is the end of “searching ownself”. Baabaa Nanak asks our mind to recognize its Mool, within:

  • ਇਉ ਕਹੈ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਮਨ ਤੂੰ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਰੂਪੁ ਹੈ ਅਪਣਾ ਮੂਲੁ ਪਛਾਣੁ ॥੫॥: Thus says Nanak – O mind! You are embodiment of Pure Light (Pure Consciousness, Pure Nature, Original or Real Nature, Wisdom, Virtues – Jot Saroop …)! Recognize your Mool (ਅਪਣੇ ਆਪ ਦੀ ਪਛਾਣ, recognition of mind’s Original or True Nature – Jot Saroop…) ||5|| (sggs 441).

The Gurbani tells us that it is only by searching the body and mind the Naam is obtaind within. In fact, the Gurbani tells us that the Naam is recognized and obtaind within by searching through Shabad.

  • ਤਨੁ ਮਨੁ ਖੋਜੇ ਤਾ ਨਾਉ ਪਾਏ ॥: Search your body and mind, and find the Naam. (sggs 110).
  • ਅੰਤਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਸਬਦਿ ਪਛਾਤਾ ॥: Antari Naam sabadi pachhaataa (sggs 1048).

Thus, the Gurbani is the subject of searching (ਖੋਜ) and understanding (ਬੂਝਿ). It is only with the Search (ਖੋਜ) and Understanding (ਬੂਝਿ) comes Mool-realization, and the Liberation from Maya, doubt, Haumai, Bikaar, and so on.

  • ਖੋਜ ਬੂਝਿ ਜਉ ਕਰੈ ਬੀਚਾਰਾ ॥ ਤਉ ਭਵਜਲ ਤਰਤ ਨ ਲਾਵੈ ਬਾਰਾ ॥੪੦॥: When someone understand by Searching (“Khoj”), and engages in Vichaar (Reflection on the Divine Virtues, Wisdom…), then (he) crosses over the “Bhavjal” (Bhav Saagar or dreadful ocean of Maya, etc.) in no time. ||40|| (sggs 342).

Clearly, the Gurbani is not the subject of mere reading, or mere singing (for the sake of Maya)…

  • ਪੜਿਐ ਨਾਹੀ ਭੇਦੁ ਬੁਝਿਐ ਪਾਵਣਾ ॥: Parriai naahee bhedu bujhiai paavanaa: Not by reading (books), but through Understanding, is the Mystery Realized. (sggs 148).
  • ਗਾਵਹਿ ਗੀਤ ਨ ਚੀਨਹਿ ਆਪੁ ॥: Gaavahi geet n cheenahi aapu (sggs 903).
  • ਮੂਲੁ ਨ ਬੂਝਹਿ ਆਪਣਾ ਸੇ ਪਸੂਆ ਸੇ ਢੋਰ ਜੀਉ ॥: Moolu na boojhahi aapanaa se pasooaa se dhor jeeou: Those who do not understand their own Mool (Source, Origin, Jot…); they are beasts and they are cattle (i.e., great fools-ਡੰਗਰ ਬੁਧੀ ਵਾਲੇ ਮਹਾਂ ਮੂਰਖ)! (sggs 751).

Khoj (ਖੋਜ-searching, seeking…) leads to Samajh (understanding, ਸਮਝ, ਸੂਝ, ਸੁਧ, ਗੁਰ-ਸਬਦ ਨੂੰ ਪਛਾਣ ਲੈਣਾਂ/ਸਮਝ ਲੈਣਾਂ…). Then comes Boojh (ਬੂਝ-Understanding, Comprehension, ਉੱਚੀ ਮਤਿ, ਅਪਣੇ ਮੂਲ ਨਾਲ ਡੂੰਘੀ ਸਾਂਝ, ਵਿਵੇਕ-ਬੁਧ, etc.). The Gurbani alerts us that without knowing onself, the moss of doubts will not leave us.

  • ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਬਿਨੁ ਆਪਾ ਚੀਨੈ ਮਿਟੈ ਨ ਭ੍ਰਮ ਕੀ ਕਾਈ ॥੨॥੧॥: Jan Nanak binu aapaa chenai mitai n bhram kee kaaee (sggs 684).
  • ਖੋਜੀ ਉਪਜੈ ਬਾਦੀ ਬਿਨਸੈ ਹਉ ਬਲਿ ਬਲਿ ਗੁਰ ਕਰਤਾਰਾ ॥: Kojee oupajai baadee binasai haou bali bali gur kartaaraa: The searcer (Seeker-ਖੋਜਣ ਵਾਲਾ ਮਨੁੱਖ) grows (in Spirtual or Divine Life – ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ), and the arguer (debater, disputant, etc.) annihilates (or ruins his Spiritual or Divine Life – ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ). O (my) Gur! O (my) Creator Lord! I am a sacrifice to You (sggs 1255).

So, the Gurbani asks us to become the Gurmukh and search the own “Home” within (Mool…).

  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਖੋਜਿ ਲਹੈ ਘਰੁ ਆਪੇ ॥੧॥: Gurmukhi khoji lahai gharu aape (sggs 415).
  • ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਨਿਹਚਲੁ ਹਿਰਦੈ ਵਸੀਅਲੇ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਮੂਲੁ ਪਛਾਣਿ ਰਹੈ ॥: Ihu manu nihachalu hiradai vaseeale gurmukhi moolu pachhaani rahai: By becoming the Gurmukh, when one Realizes his Mool (Source, Origin…), then his mind (that has become stable-ਅਡੋਲ) abides in the Heart within (sggs 945).

Once search is over, one realizes that Parameshar was searching him instead, contrary to common view, he searching Parameshar!!

  • ਹਰਿ ਆਪੇ ਕਾਨ੍ਹ੍ਹੁ ਉਪਾਇਦਾ ਮੇਰੇ ਗੋਵਿਦਾ ਹਰਿ ਆਪੇ ਗੋਪੀ ਖੋਜੀ ਜੀਉ ॥:Hari aape kaanhu oupaaidaa mere govidaa hari aape gopee khojee jeeou (sggs 114).
  • ਹਰਿ ਆਪੇ ਠਾਕੁਰੁ ਸੇਵਕੁ ਭਗਤੁ ਹਰਿ ਆਪੇ ਕਰੇ ਕਰਾਏ ॥: Hari aape thaakuru sevaku bhagatu hari aape kare karaae (sggs 550).


  1. SSA .Very nice articles I would request you please clarify my doubt , I defined “knowing yourself” as understanding right values to all things and right values comes from self knowledge and Gurbani guides us in it .Is this correct way of interpretating it?

    1. Thank you Angad Ji for taking the time to reply. Welcome to the Gurbani Blog!

      The Gurbani says one who recognizes oneself (become established in Virtues, Purity, Truth, Divine Wisdom…), the mind of that person becomes Pure or full of Virtues (free of Bikaar, negativity…).
      • 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).
      • ਆਪਣਾ ਆਪੁ ਪਛਾਣਿਆ ਗੁਰਮਤੀ ਸਚਿ ਸਮਾਇਆ ॥: Realizing one’s own self through the Gurmat (Wisdom of the SGGS, the mortal) is absorbed into Truth (sggs 1290).

      Effacing self-conceit, once the mind is established in Virtues or Purity, it sees Brahm everywhere — within and without.
      • ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਆਪੁ ਮਿਟਾਇਆ ॥ ਸਭੁ ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਨਦਰੀ ਆਇਆ ॥੨॥੧੬॥੮੦॥: Says Nanak! When self-conceit is eradicated, Paar-Brahm is seen everywhere. ||2||16||80|| (sggs 628).

  2. Very educative piece indeed.

    However the concluding lines – “Once search is over, one realizes that Parameshar was searching him instead, contrary to common view, he searching Parameshar!!” might perhaps need a bit of elaboration, in the absence of which a basic doubt might surface –

    If Parmeshar was seaching for us, there would be no-one stopping HIM.

    Here’re my two cents in an attempt to elaborate.

    Interpreting on just one line (a common mistake most of us make while quoting Gurbani), could be misleading (and that’s why I admire this column of Gurbani reflections, that invariably substantiates the thoughts by quoting multiple verses sharing the same theme).
    The game of searching for oneself, comes with its own rules perhaps. The Parmeshar will reveal HIMSELF, only if we make our own share of sincere efforts. As Gurbani attests – we take one ‘painda’, HE will advance million ‘paindaas’ to help us in our endeavor and make us feel that we have succeded in our ‘Khoj’ where as the real ‘Khoji’ is none other than the Parmeshar Himself.

    Bhul Chuk Maaf.

    1. Karamjeet Singh Ji…Thank you Bhai Sahib Ji for your elaboration.
      • ਸਾਹਿਬੁ ਸੇਵਕੁ ਇਕੁ ਇਕੁ ਦ੍ਰਿਸਟਾਇਆ ॥:Sahibu sewaku iku drisataaiaa (sggs 524).doojaa karataa (sggs 1185).
      Yes, we need to do our part, that is, we need put the earnest self-efforts (ਉਦਮੁ): Shabad-Vichaar…
      • ਉਦਮੁ ਕਰਤ ਮਨੁ ਨਿਰਮਲੁ ਹੋਆ ॥:Oudamu karat manu nirmalu hoaa (sggs 99).
      Sincerely “Searching ownself” requires our own share of sincere efforts…
      • ਖੋਜਤ ਖੋਜਤ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਪੀਆ ॥: Khojat Khojat amrit peeaa (sggs 932).

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