Where does Soul go after Physical Death?

All life after death theories are based on the existence of the SOUL. However, the Gurmat or Sikhi of Baabaa Nanak completely rejects such a belief systems.

Having said that, Gurbani in Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) does not believe in SOUL as perceived by some religious faiths. The essence of our life is Universal Life Energy. After the physical body dies, individual life energy merges with Universal Life Energy as a drop of water merges with the ocean — ‘Jotee Mahi Jot Ral Jaaia: ਜੋਤੀ ਮਹਿ ਜੋਤਿ ਰਲਿ ਜਾਇਆ ॥ … (sggs 885).

The wagon of the self-serving Pujaaree (clergy) runs on two wheels of (1) concocted fear and (2) concocted promises. People who are brain washed by the institutionalized and organized religions keep riding the Pujaaree’s this wagon of concocted fear (of hell etc.) and promises (of heaven, constant asking, begging and pleading with God etc.).

To submit to this Pujaaree (clergy) concocted fear of God etc. is the beginning of mental slavery.

Most people do not really want the truth. Instead, they want constant reassurance that the tattle tale (ਗੱਪ ਕਹਾਣੀਆਂ) spirituality or beliefs which have been hammered into their deluded minds by the self-serving clergy is the truth! That being said, most people do not want to wakeup from the perpetual slumber of delusion.

All contributors of the SGGS have used terms that were already within the use and within the psyche of people of the time. However they all have used these terms as examples (ਹਵਾਲਾ), but explicitly with new meanings and understanding to fit the new spiritual paradigms of Sikhi of Baabaa Nanak.

Baabaa Nanak’s Unique and Revolutionary spirituality differs radically from other religious traditions. For example, it rejects the pre-1469 Pujaaree (clergy) concocted afterlife or after death concepts, including transmigration of ‘soul’.

Although the word ‘soul’ (Aatmaa-ਆਤਮਾ) is employed in the Gurbani, however with a RE-DEFINED meaning.

Also, Baabaa Nanak rejects the Pujaaree (clergy), and Pujaaree’s concocted idea of ‘soul’ leaving the body after physical death to receive punishment or reward depending upon the person whose body it inhabits.

Furthermore, Baabaa Nanak also rejects the idea of ‘soul’ as something that is separate from the ONE Creator (Universal Energy) who pervades everywhere including all Humans.

Phantom of the mind

The ocean at depth is calm and quiet. But waves arise at the surface due to disturbance created by the wind. Stronger the wind, stronger and higher the waves. If there is no wind, there will be no waves.

Similarly, the mind is nothing but turbulent waves on the surface of the pool of Pure Conscience (Jot Saroop). Wen veiled by nescience, it ignorantly and foolishly identifies itself as an existent separate individual, it is known as false-ego-sense (Haumai).

In a nutshell, mind is the only perception, and perception is movement in Conscience (Surt-ਸੁਰਤ). The expression of this movement is action, and fruition follows. Whatever the mind thinks of, the organs of actions strive to materialize. That said, mind is action. There is no division between mind and action. Before it is projected as action, it arises in the mind (thoughts-stuff). Hence action is nothing but the movement of Energy in Conscience. WHEN SUCH ACTION COMES TO AN END, THE PHANTOM OF MIND COMES TO AN END.

Thus, the sole Reality is the Infinite Consciousness (Universal Energy) in which all notions are conceived to exist. In truth duality itself is the creation of mind — an hallucination or delusion.

When this duality is not seen for what it is, there is the arising of the false ego-sense (Haumai). But when the mind inquires into its own Original Nature, the division and delusion disappears — mind reconciles mind! Hence we are asked: ‘Is Mann Kaou Koyi khojo Bhaayiਇਸੁ ਮਨ ਕਉ ਕੋਈ ਖੋਜਹੁ ਭਾਈ‘.

Consider the following two Shabads, one of Bhagat Kabeer Ji and one of Guru Amardas Ji. These Shabads (and many more) ask us to investigate the mind to solve its mystery:

  • ਸਨਕਾਦਿਕ ਨਾਰਦ ਮੁਨਿ ਸੇਖਾ ॥ ਤਿਨ ਭੀ ਤਨ ਮਹਿ ਮਨੁ ਨਹੀ ਪੇਖਾ ॥੩॥ ਇਸੁ ਮਨ ਕਉ ਕੋਈ ਖੋਜਹੁ ਭਾਈ ॥ ਤਨ ਛੂਟੇ ਮਨੁ ਕਹਾ ਸਮਾਈ ॥੪॥ ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦੀ ਜੈਦੇਉ ਨਾਮਾਂ ॥ ਭਗਤਿ ਕੈ ਪ੍ਰੇਮਿ ਇਨ ਹੀ ਹੈ ਜਾਨਾਂ ॥੫॥ ਇਸੁ ਮਨ ਕਉ ਨਹੀ ਆਵਨ ਜਾਨਾ ॥ ਜਿਸ ਕਾ ਭਰਮੁ ਗਇਆ ਤਿਨਿ ਸਾਚੁ ਪਛਾਨਾ ॥੬॥ ਇਸੁ ਮਨ ਕਉ ਰੂਪੁ ਨ ਰੇਖਿਆ ਕਾਈ ॥ ਹੁਕਮੇ ਹੋਇਆ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਬੂਝਿ ਸਮਾਈ ॥੭॥ ਇਸ ਮਨ ਕਾ ਕੋਈ ਜਾਨੈ ਭੇਉ ॥ ਇਹ ਮਨਿ ਲੀਣ ਭਏ ਸੁਖਦੇਉ ॥੮॥ ਜੀਉ ਏਕੁ ਅਰੁ ਸਗਲ ਸਰੀਰਾ ॥ ਇਸੁ ਮਨ ਕਉ ਰਵਿ ਰਹੇ ਕਬੀਰਾ ॥੯॥੧॥੩੬॥ : (Because of love and attachment to Maya) even Sanak and other three sons of Brahma, Narad and Shesh-Naag; did NOT realize the true nature of the mind in their body. ||3|| O brother, someone should search own mind (try to explore his/her own mind). Where the mind goes after it leaves the body. ||4|| By the Grace of the Guru‘s Giyan (Eternal spiritual Wisdom), Bhagat Jai Dev and Naam Dev, understood this secret through loving Bhagti. ||5||  The mind (soul) of that person is NOT cast in cycle of birth and death (NOT after physical death, BUT Here and Now). A person whose doubt has been dispelled has realized God. ||6|| This mind (soul) has no form or feature. It happens in Hukam (Universal System-Rule-Law of Nature, ਕੁਦਰਤੀ ਨਿਯਮ) and after understanding Hukam, it merges back into Hukam. ||7|| A person who realizes the mystery of the mind, that person become ONE with the peace giving God by merging within this mind itself. ||8|| There is only ONE PRIME BEING (Soul or Mind) which pervades all bodies, and it is this ONE PRIME BEING (Soul or Mind) upon whom Kabeer contemplates. ||9||1||36|| (sggs 330).
  • ਸੋ ਮੁਨਿ ਜਿ ਮਨ ਕੀ ਦੁਬਿਧਾ ਮਾਰੇ ॥ ਦੁਬਿਧਾ ਮਾਰਿ ਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਬੀਚਾਰੇ ॥੧॥ ਇਸੁ ਮਨ ਕਉ ਕੋਈ ਖੋਜਹੁ ਭਾਈ ॥ ਮਨੁ ਖੋਜਤ ਨਾਮੁ ਨਉ ਨਿਧਿ ਪਾਈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਮੂਲੁ ਮੋਹੁ ਕਰਿ ਕਰਤੈ ਜਗਤੁ ਉਪਾਇਆ ॥ ਮਮਤਾ ਲਾਇ ਭਰਮਿ ਭੋੁਲਾਇਆ ॥੨॥ ਇਸੁ ਮਨ ਤੇ ਸਭ ਪਿੰਡ ਪਰਾਣਾ ॥ ਮਨ ਕੈ ਵੀਚਾਰਿ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਬੁਝਿ ਸਮਾਣਾ ॥੩॥ ਕਰਮੁ ਹੋਵੈ ਗੁਰੁ ਕਿਰਪਾ ਕਰੈ ॥ ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਜਾਗੈ ਇਸੁ ਮਨ ਕੀ ਦੁਬਿਧਾ ਮਰੈ ॥੪॥ ਮਨ ਕਾ ਸੁਭਾਉ ਸਦਾ ਬੈਰਾਗੀ ॥ ਸਭ ਮਹਿ ਵਸੈ ਅਤੀਤੁ ਅਨਰਾਗੀ ॥੫॥ ਕਹਤ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਜੋ ਜਾਣੈ ਭੇਉ ॥ ਆਦਿ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਨਿਰੰਜਨ ਦੇਉ ॥੬॥੫॥ : He alone is a silent sage, who kills his mind’s duality (or ‘Dubidhaa’…). Killing his duality, he contemplates God. ||1|| O brother, someone should  search own mind (and try to find his/her own mind). By exploring one’s own mind, one realizes all the nine treasures of Naam (Giyan/Wisdom/Virtues). ||1||Pause|| Worldly love and attachment (Maya) are the foundation upon which the Creator has created the world. Attaching to mine-ness, the worldly people are strayed in doubt. ||2|| Because of mind’s mine-ness, the entire cycle of mind’s spiritual birth and death is formed. By understanding Hukam (Universal System-Rule-Law of Nature, ਕੁਦਰਤੀ ਨਿਯਮ) through the clear thinking of the mind, the living being gets united with God Within. ||3|| With the Grace of the Guru‘s Giyan (Eternal spiritual Wisdom), the mind Wakes up from the slumber (of Maya) and its duality vanishes. ||3|| The Innate Nature (i.e. Jot Saroop) of the mind is to remain forever detached.  (Also) the mind wants to remain United to the Affectionate God who is always detached (from Maya), and who resides Within all beings. ||4|| Nanak says that who understands this mystery of the human mind becomes the embodiment of Primal and Unstained God. ||6||5|| (sggs 1128).

Clearly, the Guru Sahibs and the Gurbani’s Bhagat Sahibs understood that this mind is nothing in itself. The birth of this mind is only due to man’s forgetfulness of its True Identity (Origin, Mool, Jot Saroop).

When a person realizes God or his Original Nature (Jot Saroop) Within, then the hold of Maya’s delusion ends, and the existence of human mind separate from its Mool (Jot Saroop, Gobind, Hari, Ram etc.) also ends.

  • ਸਭ ਮਹਿ ਜੋਤਿ ਜੋਤਿ ਹੈ ਸੋਇ ॥ ਤਿਸ ਕੈ ਚਾਨਣਿ ਸਭ ਮਹਿ ਚਾਨਣੁ ਹੋਇ ॥ : The light flowing in everyone is from the same Supreme Light (i.e. the One Creator). The Light that aluminates all is from the same (One Creator). (sggs 663).
  • ਨਾ ਜੀਉ ਮਰੈ ਨ ਡੂਬੈ ਤਰੈ ॥ ਜਿਨਿ ਕਿਛੁ ਕੀਆ ਸੋ ਕਿਛੁ ਕਰੈ ॥ ਹੁਕਮੇ ਆਵੈ ਹੁਕਮੇ ਜਾਇ ॥ : Neither the Jio (Joti, soul, Surat, conscience etc.) dies, nor it drowns or swims (i.e. does NOT transmigrate). The One who has created the Cosmos (Hukam: Universal System-Rule-Law of Nature) also controls its working. According to Hukam (Universal System-Rule-Law of Nature) one one is born and dies (sggs 151).

In Sikhi or Gurmat of Baabaa Nanak, God (Universal Energy) is envisaged both visible (manifest-Sargun) as Cosmos and invisible (Unmanifest-Nirgun) as HUKAM — Universal System-Rule-Law of Nature, ਕੁਦਰਤੀ ਨਿਯਮ) that pervades the Cosmos.

That being said, the Gurbani in SGGS describes ‘soul’ as a part (‘Ansh‘) of the Omnipresent Hukam, the invisible form of Omnipresent God that permeates the Cosmos, including all human beings.

  • ਕਹੁ ਕਬੀਰ ਇਹੁ ਰਾਮ ਕੀ ਅੰਸੁ ॥ ਜਸ ਕਾਗਦ ਪਰ ਮਿਟੈ ਨ ਮੰਸੁ ॥੪॥੨॥੫॥ : Kabeer says, now I understand that this (soul / mind) is part and parcel or an offspring of the Omnipresent God (i.e. of the same Essence, Qualities as God). Both God and soul are linked together just as ink from the paper cannot be removed. ||4||2||5|| (sggs 871).
  • ਆਤਮ ਮਹਿ ਰਾਮੁ ਰਾਮ ਮਹਿ ਆਤਮੁ ਚੀਨਸਿ ਗੁਰ ਬੀਚਾਰਾ ॥ : Omnipresent God (Universal Energy…) is in soul, and soul is in Omnipresent God. This is realized through Reflecting on the Guru’s Shabad. (sggs 1153).
  • ਜੀਆ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਜੀਉ ਸਬਦੁ ਹੈ ਜਿਤੁ ਸਹ ਮੇਲਾਵਾ ਹੋਇ ॥ : The Shabad (Upadesh, Giaan-Wisdom…) is the Source of Spiritual Life which unites one with God. (sggs 1250).

Gurmat Re-Defines Pre-1469 beliefs including ‘soul’

All this means that each person has to realize his/her own God Within. That is why in the 36th verse of ‘Japu’ Bani (SGGS 8-9), when Baabaa Nanak talks about the ‘Giyan Khamd-ਗਿਆਨ ਖੰਡ ‘ — the Realm of spiritual Enlightenment. He says that by reaching this Realm, a person with spiritual self-efforts has to refashioned his/her ‘Surat Matt Mann Budh-ਸੁਰਤਿ ਮਤਿ ਮਨਿ ਬੁਧਿ ॥’ with untainted spiritual Giyan (spiritual Wisdom/Knowledge). This Surat Matt Mann Budh’ is is the soul. This is the divine, Universal Energy or Jot, Surat, Jio or Jeev, Hans, divine ‘Ansh’, and so on. One has to trust this his/her Surat Matt Mann Budh’ only for this ‘Surat Matt Mann Budh’ is the God within the Self.

  • ਇਉ ਕਹੈ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਮਨ ਤੂੰ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਰੂਪੁ ਹੈ ਅਪਣਾ ਮੂਲੁ ਪਛਾਣੁ ॥੫॥ : This is what Nanak says: O my mind, you are the ‘Jot Saroop’ or embodiment of Light (God)! Recognize your Mool (ORIGIN, Source…) ||5|| (sggs 441).
  • ਸਚਾ ਸਾਹਿਬੁ ਮਨਿ ਵਸੈ ਤਾਂ ਮਨਿ ਚਿੰਦਿਆ ਫਲੁ ਪਾਇ ॥ : When a spiritual Giyan (spiritual Wisdom/Knowledge) which is based on truth (ਸਚਾ ਗਿਆਨ) settles in the mind, it creates the (will-) power to fulfill one’s desire (of realizing God Within). (sggs 1281).

Now, think about this: Since God is said to be ‘Ajuni‘ (beyond birth and death) in Gurmat, then what is there that transmigrates or goes to hell or heaven? The idea that the so-called ‘soul’ undergoes transmigration or goes to hell or heaven according to one’s deeds is the invention (tattle tale-ਗੱਪ ਕਹਾਣੀਆਂ) of the self-serving Pujaaree.

  • ਤੂ ਦਾਤਾ ਜੀਆ ਸਭਨਾ ਕਾ ਜੀਆ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਜੀਉ ਤੁਹੀ ॥੨॥ : You (Creator) are the Benefactor of all lives as well as the Jio (Joti, Surat, conscience…) within all. ॥2॥ (sggs 1254).
  • ਕਾਇਆ ਹੰਸਿ ਸੰਜੋਗੁ ਮੇਲਿ ਮਿਲਾਇਆ ॥ ਤਿਨ ਹੀ ਕੀਆ ਵਿਜੋਗੁ ਜਿਨਿ ਉਪਾਇਆ ॥ : It is Hukam (System-Rule-Law of Nature) that puts consciousness in the body. It is also Hukam that takes away consciousness from the body. (sggs 139).

In other words, the mind is born from the state of separation from its Jot Saroop (Mool). Clearly, the mind is a collection of thoughts of good and bad deeds done in separation from its Mool.

In other words, there is only One mind. In its pure form, this mind is Jot Saroop, Light, Pure Conscience (Saabat Surat) etc.

  • ਤਤੁ ਨਿਰੰਜਨੁ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਬਾਈ ਸੋਹੰ ਭੇਦੁ ਨ ਕੋਈ ਜੀਉ ॥ : The Essence which is free from the influence of Maya, the Light/Jot of all — I am He and He is me — there is no difference. (sggs 599).

Physical death of the body

Looking at it from the point of view of the Creator’s Hukam (Universal System-Rule-Law of Nature: ਕੁਦਰਤੀ ਨਿਯਮ) or the Gurbani, THERE IS NO DEATH – it is cyclic returning of the elements that make up our physical body back to their Origin (MOOL). 

Guru Arjan Sahib explains this process beautifully in the following Shabad that inquires: What or who is it that dies? It defines physical death as the CYCLIC RETURN of Elements to their Origins; it teaches us what happens to life after death (life itself returns to its Source-‘ਜੋਤੀ ਮਹਿ ਜੋਤਿ ਰਲਿ ਜਾਇਆ’). This is the only journey one undertakes. There is NO exception to this order, nature and cycle.

After physical death, whether you bury the body, burn it, throw it to animals, dump it in a well, or do anything else, it doesn’t matter, it is just a dust.

  • ਇਕ ਦਝਹਿ ਇਕ ਦਬੀਅਹਿ ਇਕਨਾ ਕੁਤੇ ਖਾਹਿ ॥ ਇਕਿ ਪਾਣੀ ਵਿਚਿ ਉਸਟੀਅਹਿ ਇਕਿ ਭੀ ਫਿਰਿ ਹਸਣਿ ਪਾਹਿ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਏਵ ਨ ਜਾਪਈ ਕਿਥੈ ਜਾਇ ਸਮਾਹਿ ॥੨॥ : (On death) some are cremated, some are buried, some are eaten by dogs, some are thrown in water and some are kept in dry wells. Nanak, no one knows where what goes after body being destroyed in these ways (this alludes to the entrenched beliefs of common people in the after death myths concocted by the Pujaaree-clergy). ॥2॥ (sggs 648).

Here the SGGS questions the entrenched, concocted belief in reincarnation or transmigration of the so called ‘soul’ or whether it is going to heaven or hell by pointing out that people use different methods to dispose the dead body for benefit of the ‘soul’ but have no clue as to what happens to it.

Giving salvation after death is the work of other man-made religions (ਮਜ਼ਹਬ), but NOT of Sikhi of Baabaa Nanak. The Way of Sikhi of Baabaa Nanak is living in the NOW.

Also, the Gurbani in SGGS teaches us as man does (deeds/actions), he has to suffer the consequences HERE AND NOW, not after death. In Hukam (Universal System-rule-Law of Nature, ਕੁਦਰਤੀ ਨਿਯਮ), a living being is born on this earth and according to the Hukam he/she departs from here.

  • ਸਤਜੁਗੁ ਤ੍ਰੇਤਾ ਦੁਆਪਰੁ ਭਣੀਐ ਕਲਿਜੁਗੁ ਊਤਮੋ ਜੁਗਾ ਮਾਹਿ ॥ ਅਹਿ ਕਰੁ ਕਰੇ ਸੁ ਅਹਿ ਕਰੁ ਪਾਏ ਕੋਈ ਨ ਪਕੜੀਐ ਕਿਸੈ ਥਾਇ ॥੩॥ : Satjug, Treta and Duapar are considered superior (by the Pujaaree-clergy) but clearly the Kaljug is the best, (BECAUSE in Kaljug) everyone gets the reward or punishment of one’s actions and no person is punished in place of another person (because of vices/Bikaar). (sggs 406).
  • ਕਰਿ ਕਰਿ ਕਰਣਾ ਲਿਖਿ ਲੈ ਜਾਹੁ ॥ ਆਪੇ ਬੀਜਿ ਆਪੇ ਹੀ ਖਾਹੁ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਹੁਕਮੀ ਆਵਹੁ ਜਾਹੁ ॥੨੦॥ : (The Internal cleansing is by a spirituality of) Internalizing (the Naam: Shabad, Hukam, Virtues, Giaan-Wisdom) through sustained deeds. Whatever you sow, you will reap. Nanak, (to reap as one saw) is the Hukam of the Creator pertaining to my cycle (of spirituality at the mind’s level). ॥20॥ (sggs 4).

Thus Sikhi of Baabaa Nanak rejects the pre-1469 beliefs of after death liberation as concocted by the crafty Pujaaree (clergy).

  • ਬੇਣੀ ਕਹੈ ਸੁਨਹੁ ਰੇ ਭਗਤਹੁ ਮਰਨ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਕਿਨਿ ਪਾਈ ॥੫॥ : Says Baynee – Listen O devotees, nobody has ever attained liberation after death. ||5|| (sggs 93).
  • ਜੀਵਦਿਆ ਨ ਚੇਤਿਓ ਮੁਆ ਰਲੰਦੜੋ ਖਾਕ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਦੁਨੀਆ ਸੰਗਿ ਗੁਦਾਰਿਆ ਸਾਕਤ ਮੂੜ ਨਪਾਕ ॥੧॥ : Mortal who does not remember God while alive and is consumed in DUST upon dying; Nanak, such a Saakat (separated from Mool), foolish and unholy person has wasted all his life engrossed in worldliness. ||1|| (sggs 523).
  • ਪਉਣੈ ਪਾਣੀ ਅਗਨੀ ਕਾ ਮੇਲੁ ॥ ਨਉ ਦਰਵਾਜੇ ਦਸਵਾ ਦੁਆਰੁ ॥ ਬੁਝੁ ਰੇ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਏਹੁ ਬੀਚਾਰੁ ॥੧॥ ਕਥਤਾ ਬਕਤਾ ਸੁਨਤਾ ਸੋਈ ॥ ਆਪੁ ਬੀਚਾਰੇ ਸੁ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਹੋਈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ॥ ਦੇਹੀ ਮਾਟੀ ਬੋਲੈ ਪਉਣੁ ॥ ਬੁਝੁ ਰੇ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਮੂਆ ਹੈ ਕਉਣੁ ॥ ਮੂਈ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਬਾਦੁ ਅਹੰਕਾਰੁ ॥ ਓਹੁ ਨ ਮੂਆ ਜੋ ਦੇਖਣਹਾਰੁ ॥੨॥ ਜੈ ਕਾਰਣਿ ਤਟਿ ਤੀਰਥ ਜਾਹੀ ॥ ਰਤਨ ਪਦਾਰਥ ਘਟ ਹੀ ਮਾਹੀ ॥ ਪੜਿ ਪੜਿ ਪੰਡਿਤੁ ਬਾਦੁ ਵਖਾਣੈ ॥ ਭਤਿਰਿ ਹੋਦੀ ਵਸਤੁ ਨ ਜਾਣੈ ॥੩॥ ਹਉ ਨ ਮੂਆ ਮੇਰੀ ਮੁਈ ਬਲਾਇ ॥ ਓਹੁ ਨ ਮੂਆ ਜੋ ਰਹਿਆ ਸਮਾਇ ॥ ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਗੁਰਿ ਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਦਿਖਾਇਆ ॥ ਮਰਤਾ ਜਾਤਾ ਨਦਰਿ ਨ ਆਇਆ ॥੪॥੪॥ : (O wise man! From the Guru‘s teachings) Understand that when water, air and fire (elements) unite then this body is created. Then the play of mercurial restless intellect starts within the body. All the nine doors of the body (such as nose, eyes, ears etc.) are involved in this rat-race), it’s only the mind through which the knowledge of the spiritual life can be obtained. O wise man! reflect upon this and understand. ||1|| The human being who (according to the Guru’s teachings) keeps on examining his spiritual life, becomes a human being with spiritual Wisdom. (He understands) that (the One Universal Energy alone pervades all beings) is the speaker and listener. ||1||Pause|| …. (sggs 152).

That said, the Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS teaches us it would not make any difference to the dead if we offer feasts in their name or if we celebrate their death anniversaries!

  • ਜੇ ਮਿਰਤਕ ਕਉ ਚੰਦਨੁ ਚੜਾਵੈ ॥ ਉਸ ਤੇ ਕਹਹੁ ਕਵਨ ਫਲ ਪਾਵੈ॥ ਜੇ ਮਿਰਤਕ ਕਉ ਬਿਸਟਾ ਮਾਹਿ ਰੁਲਾਈ ॥ ਤਾਂ ਮਿਰਤਕ ਕਾ ਕਿਆ ਘਟਿ ਜਾਈ ॥੩॥ : If a corpse is anointed with sandalwood perfume, what good does it do to the corpse? (Or) if a dead person is smeared in manure, even then the corpse doesn’t lose anything. ||3|| (sggs 1160).

According to modern science (Einstein etc.), mass–energy equivalence is the relationship between mass and energy. The equivalence principle implies that when energy is lost in chemical reactions, nuclear reactions, and other energy transformations, the system will also lose a corresponding amount of mass. What it means is that mass and energy are interconvertible but the sum total of the two remains constant.

Now let us examine death from this perspective. A human being is simply a temporary bundle of mass/energy. After the dissolution of the elements (mass/energy), we say that a person has died. But a more careful examination reveals that it is only that particular configuration of mass/energy which we previously identified as ‘person’ has ceased to exist. The mass/energy which previously comprised that person continues to exist in a constantly changing form. That is why Guru Arjan Ji says, no one dies, and no one comes and goes’ (‘ਨਾ ਕੋਈ ਮਰੈ ਨ ਆਵੈ ਜਾਇਆ‘).

Hence the SGGS rejects both the Hindu and the Semitic concepts of ‘soul’ and afterlife beliefs.

Gurbani asks becoming Living Liberated, NOW!

By intense self-efforts, when mind’s individuality (false ego-sense, individualized consciousness etc.) is broken, it gets absorbed in its Jot Saroop (Infinite Consciousness). When the mind is deprived of restlessness (false ego-sense, individualized consciousness etc.), it is referred to as the dead mind or the conquered mind and the person is referred to as living dead, living liberated or Jeevan Mukat etc.

Having said that, those who destroy false ego-sense (Haumai) and realize Truth in this life, never experience conscious death.

  • ਜੀਵਤ ਮਰਹਿ ਦਰਗਹ ਪਰਵਾਨੁ ॥੩॥ : (Abandoning false ego-sense) if you become living dead, then you will realize God Within. ||3||  (sggs 176).
  • ਜੀਵਨ ਮੁਕਤੁ ਸੋ ਆਖੀਐ ਜਿਸੁ ਵਿਚਹੁ ਹਉਮੈ ਜਾਇ ॥ : He alone is called liberated-in-life, from within whom Haumai (fasle ego-sense) is eradicated. (sggs 1009).

Ending Note

During discourse with Yogis (‘Sidh Gost‘), Baabaa Nanak was asked to answer many questions put forward by Yogis. For example:

  • ਕਹਾ ਤੇ ਆਵੈ ਕਹਾ ਇਹੁ ਜਾਵੈ ਕਹਾ ਇਹੁ ਰਹੈ ਸਮਾਈ ॥ : What Is the Origin of life; Where does it go? What is its Ultimate Destination? (sggs 940).
  • ਜਾ ਇਹੁ ਹਿਰਦਾ ਦੇਹ ਨ ਹੋਤੀ ਤਉ ਮਨੁ ਕੈਠੈ ਰਹਤਾ ॥ ਨਾਭਿ ਕਮਲ ਅਸਥੰਭੁ ਨ ਹੋਤੋ ਤਾ ਪਵਨੁ ਕਵਨ ਘਰਿ ਸਹਤਾ ॥ : Since the physical self is of no matter (in spirituality), then where does one locate the conscience (mind)? If the breath as base and root of spiritual life is of no matter (to spirituality) then how is it (i.e. spirituality) sustained?

Baabaa Nanak’s answers their questions from the Gurmat standpoint — NOT Yogis or Yoga standpoint, because the way of Yogis and their Yoga has been critiqued and rejected by Baabaa Nanak:

  • ਹੁਕਮੇ ਆਵੈ ਹੁਕਮੇ ਜਾਵੈ ਹੁਕਮੇ ਰਹੈ ਸਮਾਈ ॥ : The origin of life is by way of the Hukam (Universal System-Rule-Law of Nature, ਕੁਦਰਤੀ ਨਿਯਮ); its ultimate destination is by the Way of Hukam; it is to be lived in Realization of the Hukam. (sggs 940).
  • ਹਿਰਦਾ ਦੇਹ ਨ ਹੋਤੀ ਅਉਧੂ ਤਉ ਮਨੁ ਸੁੰਨਿ ਰਹੈ ਬੈਰਾਗੀ ॥ ਨਾਭਿ ਕਮਲੁ ਅਸਥੰਭੁ ਨ ਹੋਤੋ ਤਾ ਨਿਜ ਘਰਿ ਬਸਤਉ ਪਵਨੁ ਅਨਰਾਗੀ ॥ : The physical self is immaterial in Enlightenment; my Conscience remains imbued in Creator Realization. The BREATH as base and root of spiritual life is immaterial; my conscience remains imbued in realization of the Shabad. (sggs 945).

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