Search Own Self

The Gurbani urges us to become the searcher (ਖੋਜੀ) of own self.

Why search or explore own self?

The Gurmat Giaan or Wisdom of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) tells us that, since the same One Universal Energy (Rabb, god, Hukam or System-Rule-Law of Nature, etc.) functions within conscience all of us, Treasures such as Bliss (Anand), Grace, Virtues, Wisdom etc. are also within the human conscience! So, the Gurbani asks us to search own self within.

  • ਕਾਯਉ ਦੇਵਾ ਕਾਇਅਉ ਦੇਵਲ ਕਾਇਅਉ ਜੰਗਮ ਜਾਤੀ ॥ ਕਾਇਅਉ ਧੂਪ ਦੀਪ ਨਈਬੇਦਾ ਕਾਇਅਉ ਪੂਜਉ ਪਾਤੀ ॥੧॥ ਕਾਇਆ ਬਹੁ ਖੰਡ ਖੋਜਤੇ ਨਵ ਨਿਧਿ ਪਾਈ ॥ ਨਾ ਕਛੁ ਆਇਬੋ ਨਾ ਕਛੁ ਜਾਇਬੋ ਰਾਮ ਕੀ ਦੁਹਾਈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਜੋ ਬ੍ਰਹਮੰਡੇ ਸੋਈ ਪਿੰਡੇ ਜੋ ਖੋਜੈ ਸੋ ਪਾਵੈ ॥ ਪੀਪਾ ਪ੍ਰਣਵੈ ਪਰਮ ਤਤੁ ਹੈ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਹੋਇ ਲਖਾਵੈ ॥੨॥੩॥: Searching within my own self (ਅਪਣੇ ਆਪ ਦੀ ਪਰਖ, ਪੜਚੋਲ…) is my Devataa.  Searching within my own self is my temple, the place of pilgrimage, and the pilgrim. Searching within my own self is my incense, lamps and offerings. Searching within my own self is my flower offerings. ||1|| I searched throughout many realms outside, but I found the new treasure (of Naam) within. (Now that I have realized within my own self) the Glory of Raam (now I can say that) nothing comes, and nothing goes (i.e., I don’t go through repeated scuffing in my daily life). ||1||Pause|| That (Universal Energy), which functions outside in Brahmand, the same also functions within the body; whoever seeks, obtains (understands…). Prays Peepaa – If Satguru (Wisdom of Truth, ਸੱਚਾ ਗਿਆਨ) exists, then the greatest Reality (Real Source, ਅਸਲੀਅਤ, ਤੱਤ, ਸੱਚ) is revealed (within). ||2||3|| (sggs 695).

The next question is: What does it mean ‘search own self’?

In simple terms, searching own self is the search of one’s own mind or Mool (Source, Jot Saroop, Reality…) within — to find or explore or understand one’s own True Nature, to know ‘who am I?‘ ਅਪਣੇ ਯਥਾਰਥ ਸਰੂਪ ਦੀ ਜਾਣ, ਪਰਖ, ਪੜਚੋਲ), and so on.

  • ਆਪੁ ਖੋਜਿ ਖੋਜਿ ਮਿਲੇ ਕਬੀਰਾ ॥੪॥੭॥: O Kabeer! Those who have realized the Divine (Nature, Wisdom, Virtues…) have done so by searching and searching their own self or self-discovery (NOT realized with the help of Karamkaand of the Pujaaree-Vaad). ||4||7|| (sggs 1155).
  • ਬੰਦੇ ਖੋਜੁ ਦਿਲ ਹਰ ਰੋਜ ਨਾ ਫਿਰੁ ਪਰੇਸਾਨੀ ਮਾਹਿ ॥: O human being, search your own Heart every day, and do not wander around in confusion. (sggs 727).

In other words, searching own self leads to Mool-abidance. Hence, ultimately, Mool-abidance is the end of searching own self! Baabaa Nanak says:

  • 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).
  • ਇਸੁ ਮਨ ਕਉ ਕੋਈ ਖੋਜਹੁ ਭਾਈ ॥: O brother! Let someone search this mind. (sggs 330).
  • 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).

We are taught by the Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS that Naam (Wisdom, Virtues…) is realized through the inner search — inner exploration!.

  • ਤਨੁ ਮਨੁ ਖੋਜੇ ਤਾ ਨਾਉ ਪਾਏ ॥ ਧਾਵਤੁ ਰਾਖੈ ਠਾਕਿ ਰਹਾਏ ॥: Search your body and mind, and find the Naam. Restrain your wandering mind, and keep it in check. (sggs 110).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਸਬਦੁ ਪਛਾਣੀਐ ਹਰਿ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਨਾਮਿ ਸਮਾਇ ॥ ਗੁਰ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਪ੍ਰਚੰਡੁ ਬਲਾਇਆ ਅਗਿਆਨੁ ਅੰਧੇਰਾ ਜਾਇ ॥੨॥: By becoming the Gurmukh Shabad is realized; (and who realizes becomes) immersed in the Amrit-Naam. (Whosoever within) has lit the bright (Light or Lamp of) Gur-Giaan or Spiritual Wisdom, (from within him) the darkness of ignorance gets dispelled ||2|| (sggs 29).

Thus, the Gurbani is the subject of searching (ਖੋਜ) and understanding! Search leads to Soojh-Boojh (ਸੂਝ-ਬੂਝ: understanding, comprehension, Bibek-Budh…).

It is only with the Search and Understanding comes Mool-abidance, Liberation from delusion, Haumai (and all its faults or  Bikaar), doubt, Mayaic consciousness, 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 a subject of mechanical or ritualistic recitation of it, or worshiping it like an idol. Also, the Gurbani is neither a subject of mere reading nor mere singing with musical instruments for the sake of ‘bread’ (‘ਰੋਟੀਆ ਕਾਰਣਿ’), show off religiosity, formalities or Karamkaand, etc.

  • ਪੜਿਐ ਨਾਹੀ ਭੇਦੁ ਬੁਝਿਐ ਪਾਵਣਾ ॥: Not by reading (books), but through Understanding, is the Mystery Realized. (sggs 148).
  • ਗਾਵਹਿ ਗੀਤ ਨ ਚੀਨਹਿ ਆਪੁ ॥: You sing the songs, but you do not understand your own self (i.e., your Mool). (sggs 903).
  • ਮੂਲੁ ਨ ਬੂਝਹਿ ਆਪਣਾ ਸੇ ਪਸੂਆ ਸੇ ਢੋਰ ਜੀਉ ॥: 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).

Aptly, the Gurbani alerts us that without knowing oneself, the moss of doubt will not leave us.

  • ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਬਿਨੁ ਆਪਾ ਚੀਨੈ ਮਿਟੈ ਨ ਭ੍ਰਮ ਕੀ ਕਾਈ ॥: O Daas Nanak! Without Realizing one’s own self (Mool, Original, or True Nature, etc. – ਆਪਣਾ ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਪਰਖਣ ਤੋਂ ਬਿਨਾ, etc.), the moss of doubt (ignorance of one’s True Nature, etc.) is not eradicated (from the mind) ||2||1|| (sggs 684).
  • ਖੋਜੀ ਉਪਜੈ ਬਾਦੀ ਬਿਨਸੈ ਹਉ ਬਲਿ ਬਲਿ ਗੁਰ ਕਰਤਾਰਾ ॥: The searcher (Seeker-ਖੋਜਣ ਵਾਲਾ ਮਨੁੱਖ) grows (in Spiritual or Divine Life – ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ), and the arguer (Mayaic debater, quarrelsome, ਝਗੜਾਲੂ, etc.) annihilates (or ruins his Spiritual or Divine Life). O Gur Kartaaraa (Divine Wisdom…)! I am a sacrifice to you (sggs 1255).

Mool-abidance cannot be made to an order, or given out as a mundane gift, or blow into one’s mouth or ear! Accordingly, the Gurbani asks us to become the Gurmukh by searching one’s own inner ‘Home’ (Mool…).

  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਖੋਜਿ ਲਹੈ ਘਰੁ ਆਪੇ ॥੧॥: Who becomes the Gurmukh seeks, and finds (his Mool within) himself. (sggs 415).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਹੋਵੈ ਮਨੁ ਖੋਜਿ ਸੁਣਾਏ ॥: One who becomes Gurmukh examines his own mind, and instructs others. (sggs 1059).
  • ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਨਿਹਚਲੁ ਹਿਰਦੈ ਵਸੀਅਲੇ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਮੂਲੁ ਪਛਾਣਿ ਰਹੈ ॥: 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).

However, according to the Gurbani, individuals with Manmukh-Saakat-Mayadhaaree mentality have no interest in inner search or exploration.

  • ਮਨਮੁਖ ਅੰਦਰੁ ਨ ਭਾਲਨੀ ਮੁਠੇ ਅਹੰਮਤੇ ॥ ਚਾਰੇ ਕੁੰਡਾਂ ਭਵਿ ਥਕੇ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਤਿਖ ਤਤੇ ॥: Deluded (cheated, etc.) by self-conceit, the Manmukhs do not search within their own selves. Burnt by desire (of Maya…) within, they grow weary wandering in the four directions (sggs 1093).

In nutshell, to make us understand the Truth, many examples are repeatedly cited in the Gurbani. For example:

  • If a wave can know or find itself, then it will realize that it is not separate from the ocean!
  • If a ray can know or find itself, then it will realize that it is not separate from the sun!
  • If a bracelet can know or find itself, then it will realize that it is not separate from the gold!
  • If an earthen pot can know or find itself, then it will realize that it is not separate from the clay!

Similarly, if one can know or find his True Self, then he will realize that he is not separate from ‘Kaadar’ (Universal Energy, Rabb, Raam, Hari, Gobind, Jot, Allah, Darbar, Sukh Saagar, Kudarat, Hukam or System-Rule-Law of Nature…)!

  • ਤੋਹੀ ਮੋਹੀ ਮੋਹੀ ਤੋਹੀ ਅੰਤਰੁ ਕੈਸਾ ॥ ਕਨਕ ਕਟਿਕ ਜਲ ਤਰੰਗ ਜੈਸਾ ॥੧॥: You are me, and I am You—what is the difference between us? We are like gold and the bracelet, or water and the waves ||1|| (sggs 93).
  • ਜੋ ਬ੍ਰਹਮੰਡੇ ਸੋਈ ਪਿੰਡੇ ਜੋ ਖੋਜੈ ਸੋ ਪਾਵੈ ॥: That (Universal Energy), which functions outside in Brahmand, the same also functions within the body; whoever seeks, obtains (understands…). (sggs 695).

In nutshell, to find own self, or to get linked to own self within (ਅਪਣੇ ਆਪ ਨਾਲ ਜੁੜਨਾਂ),  or to Awaken divine Virtues within (ਗੁਣ ਪਰਗਟ ਕਰਨੇ), is to link with Rabb. Because, the Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS tells us Rabb is within!

  • ਕਬੀਰ ਮਨੁ ਪੰਖੀ ਭਇਓ ਉਡਿ ਉਡਿ ਦਹ ਦਿਸ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਜੋ ਜੈਸੀ ਸੰਗਤਿ ਮਿਲੈ ਸੋ ਤੈਸੋ ਫਲੁ ਖਾਇ ॥੮੬॥ ਕਬੀਰ ਜਾ ਕਉ ਖੋਜਤੇ ਪਾਇਓ ਸੋਈ ਠਉਰੁ ॥ ਸੋਈ ਫਿਰਿ ਕੈ ਤੂ ਭਇਆ ਜਾ ਕਉ ਕਹਤਾ ਅਉਰੁ ॥੮੭॥: O Kabeer! The mind becomes like a bird (as bird flies in different directions in search for food, etc., similarly) the mind soars and flies in ten directions (i.e., wanders around chasing mirage, desires, sense objects, Maya, etc.). According to the company (a man) keeps, gets the similar reward (i.e., acquires similar thinking or Soch, qualities…) ||86|| O Kabeer! (Through living a life with Wisdom, divine Virtues…, I) have realized That Place within (i.e., Nijj Ghar, Jot Saroop…) which I was searching. What I called ‘someone else’ before (i.e., whom I used to consider separate from me before, now I) have realized I’m That. ||87|| (sggs 1369).
  • ਜੋ ਦੀਸੈ ਸੋ ਤੇਰਾ ਰੂਪੁ ॥: Whatever is seen is Your form (sggs724).

4 comments

  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 ॥: Aapu pachhaanai… (sggs 1056).
    • ਆਪੁ ਪਛਾਣੈ ਮਨੁ ਨਿਰਮਲੁ ਹੋਇ ॥: Aapu pachhanai… (sggs 161).
    • ਆਪਣਾ ਆਪੁ ਪਛਾਣਿਆ ਗੁਰਮਤੀ ਸਚਿ ਸਮਾਇਆ ॥: Apnaa aapu pachaaniaa… (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॥: Kahu Nanak aapu mitaaiaa… (sggs 628).

  2. 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?

  3. Karamjeet Singh Ji…Thank you Bhai Sahib Ji for your elaboration.
    • ਸਾਹਿਬੁ ਸੇਵਕੁ ਇਕੁ ਇਕੁ ਦ੍ਰਿਸਟਾਇਆ ॥:Sahibu sewaku iku drisataaiaa (sggs 524).
    • ਉਦਮੁ ਕਰਤ ਮਨੁ ਨਿਰਮਲੁ ਹੋਆ ॥:Oudamu karat manu nirmalu hoaa (sggs 99).
    • ਖੋਜਤ ਖੋਜਤ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਪੀਆ ॥: Khojat Khojat amrit peeaa (sggs 932).

  4. Very educative piece indeed.

    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.

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