Who Am I?

‘Who am I?’

We humans tend to be arrogant about what we really are.

Rarely do we realize that, what we believe we are is not really us. Rather it is something simply given to us by others, such as name, family of birth, Jaat Paat-casteism, citizenship of a country, religion, status, wealth, inheritance etc.

These things we receive are mere props that we use to define ourselves. They create the illusion of the false ego-sense (Haumai). Because of our lifelong association with it, we will defend our egotism and the props to the death.

As a consequence we are dismissive of what does not fit within our own paradigm. To the contrary, we behave hostile to whatever may even remotely threaten our props.

Man is endowed with an intellect. Using it man can comprehend his present state of limitations, bondage, imperfections and incompleteness. He is naturally inclined to Free himself from them and realize Completeness or Intactness (Saabat Soorat – ‘ਸਾਬਤ ਸੂਰਤਿ’, fully contented within etc.).

  • ਸੇਖ ਸਬੂਰੀ ਬਾਹਰਾ ਕਿਆ ਹਜ ਕਾਬੇ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਕਬੀਰ ਜਾ ਕੀ ਦਿਲ ਸਾਬਤਿ ਨਹੀ ਤਾ ਕਉ ਕਹਾਂ ਖੁਦਾਇ ॥੧੮੫॥: O Sheikh, if you do not have Godly contentment within you, then why do you go to Kaaba (in Macca) for pilgrimage? O Kabir, one whose Heart (mind) is not Complete (fully contented, doubt free, ‘ਸਾਬਤ’ etc.), how can he Realize God? ||185|| (sggs 1374).

Fundamental and natural inquiry: ‘Who am I?’

Hence, ‘Who am I?’ is the most fundamental and natural inquiry for humans for the human mind is hardwired to realize its Mool within (Source, Original Nature or Jot Saroop).

  • ਇਸੁ ਗ੍ਰਿਹ ਮਹਿ ਕੋਈ ਜਾਗਤੁ ਰਹੈ ॥ ਸਾਬਤੁ ਵਸਤੁ ਓਹੁ ਅਪਨੀ ਲਹੈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: A rare person remains Awake (Aware, Alert, Conscious) of the onslaught of Maya (worldly attractions and their corrupting influences – Bhav Saagar). (Whosoever remains Awake within) remains Intact, (Complete, Whole, Undivided – Saabat…). ||1||Pause|| (182 sggs).

However, without knowing the correct answer to the question, ‘Who am I?’, we take the risk to keep on creating new identities of ourselves, consequently going farther away from our True Identity.

  • ਮਨਮੁਖ ਸੋਇ ਰਹੇ ਸੇ ਲੂਟੇ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਸਾਬਤੁ ਭਾਈ ਹੇ ॥: O Brother! The Mnmukhs remain asleep (in bondage, delusion…), and are plundered. Who have become Gurmukhs (Enlightened Mind) remain Intact or Complete (Undivided Consciousness-Saabat…). (sggs 1024).

The Gurmat Wisdom of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) provides us with the logically correct answer to this basic self-inquiry: ‘Who am I?’.

None of us can see our own face. We need a mirror to see it.

However, mirror has to be clean: If the mirror is clean, we can see our image clearly reflected in it. However, on the other hand, if it is filthy then our image will be distorted and crooked.

The Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS is the mirror of the mind. It performs spiritual surgery on our sick mind and its crooked vision. The Gurmat Wisdom shows our mind its true face, provided one is willing to learn and understand, followed by living it in daily life (implementation, practice, ਅਮਲ)!

  • ਐਸੋ ਰਾਮ ਰਾਇ ਅੰਤਰਜਾਮੀ ॥ ਜੈਸੇ ਦਰਪਨ ਮਾਹਿ ਬਦਨ ਪਰਵਾਨੀ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ … ਪਾਨੀ ਮਾਹਿ ਦੇਖੁ ਮੁਖੁ ਜੈਸਾ ॥ ਨਾਮੇ ਕੋ ਸੁਆਮੀ ਬੀਠਲੁ ਐਸਾ ॥੨॥੧॥: Raam is situated within everybody as clearly as one’s face reflected in a mirror.||1||Pause|| … As one sees (his reflected) face in (clear) water, so is the Naam Dev’s God (whom he sees within his clear mind). ||2||1|| (sggs 1318).
  • ਸੋ ਤੁਮ ਹੀ ਮਹਿ ਬਸੈ ਨਿਰੰਤਰਿ ਨਾਨਕ ਦਰਪਨਿ ਨਿਆਈ ॥੩॥੫॥: O Nanak! (God dwells in you) as the image dwells in the mirror. ||3||5|| (sggs 632).
  • ਕਾਹੇ ਰੇ ਬਨ ਖੋਜਨ ਜਾਈ ॥ ਸਰਬ ਨਿਵਾਸੀ ਸਦਾ ਅਲੇਪਾ ਤੋਹੀ ਸੰਗਿ ਸਮਾਈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਪੁਹਪ ਮਧਿ ਜਿਉ ਬਾਸੁ ਬਸਤੁ ਹੈ ਮੁਕਰ ਮਾਹਿ ਜੈਸੇ ਛਾਈ ॥ ਤੈਸੇ ਹੀ ਹਰਿ ਬਸੇ ਨਿਰੰਤਰਿ ਘਟ ਹੀ ਖੋਜਹੁ ਭਾਈ ॥੧॥ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਭੀਤਰਿ ਏਕੋ ਜਾਨਹੁ ਇਹੁ ਗੁਰ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਬਤਾਈ ॥ ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਬਿਨੁ ਆਪਾ ਚੀਨੈ ਮਿਟੈ ਨ ਭ੍ਰਮ ਕੀ ਕਾਈ ॥੨॥੧॥ : (O mind!) Why search the Creator outside in the forest? (The Creator) who is omnipresent but always detached (from the influence of Maya), is always Within you. ||1||Pause|| Just as fragrance resides in a flower and reflection in the mirror, similarly the Creator resides within all; O brothers, search Him Within. ||1|| The Guru has imparted this understanding — realize the presence of the same One Creator both within you and outside in everything. ‘Jan’ Nanak says, without KNOWING one’s ownself, the moss of doubt from the mind does not go away. ||2||1|| (sggs 684).

Mann Toon Jot Saroop Hai

Let’s ask the Gurbani:

Question: ‘Who am I’?
Answers of the Gurbani: Mool, Source, Jot Saroop.

  • 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).

In a nutshell, a ray is nothing but the sun; a wave is nothing but water or ocean; a necklace is nothing but gold etc.

Similarly, the Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS assures us that we are nothing but God or Rabb’s ‘Ansh‘ (of same essence as God) – Jot saroop.

  • 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).

That said, we humans are always and only Energy beings – our energy being manifested in physical, mental and spiritual forms within us. Particularly we humans are at our best when these three energy forms (physical, mental and spiritual) are synchronized within us. But, in reality, due to a variety of reasons we are rarely in synch with these three energy forms (physical, mental and spiritual) of ourselves and our existence.

We spend lifetime searching outside for WHAT WE ALREDY ARE (i.e. Jot Saroop), HERE AND NOW!

But – without searching ownself – we remain unaware or clueless about it!

Baabaa Nanak makes it crystal clear in the following Shabad who we already are, at this very moment, HERE AND NOW!

  • ਸਹਸ ਤਵ ਨੈਨ ਨਨ ਨੈਨ ਹੈ ਤੋਹਿ ਕਉ ਸਹਸ ਮੂਰਤਿ ਨਨਾ ਏਕ ਤੋਹੀ ॥ ਸਹਸ ਪਦ ਬਿਮਲ ਨਨ ਏਕ ਪਦ ਗੰਧ ਬਿਨੁ ਸਹਸ ਤਵ ਗੰਧ ਇਵ ਚਲਤ ਮੋਹੀ ॥੨॥ ਸਭ ਮਹਿ ਜੋਤਿ ਜੋਤਿ ਹੈ ਸੋਇ ॥ ਤਿਸ ਕੈ ਚਾਨਣਿ ਸਭ ਮਹਿ ਚਾਨਣੁ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਗੁਰ ਸਾਖੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਪਰਗਟੁ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਜੋ ਤਿਸੁ ਭਾਵੈ ਸੁ ਆਰਤੀ ਹੋਇ ॥੩॥: (Being pervasive everywhere and in all beings) Thousands of eyes of all of us are God or Rabb’s eyes — Rabb has no separate eyes. Thousands of forms of all of us are Rabb’s forms — (being Formless) Rabb has no separate form. Thousands of feet of all of us are Rabb’s feet — Rabb has no separate feet. Thousands of noses of all of us are Rabb’s noses — Rabb has no separate nose. I am amazed by this wonder. ||2|| 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). But the knowledge of this ‘Joti’ comes only with the Teachings of the Guru (through the Guru’s Wisdom it is understood that Rabb is present within all beings as ‘Joti’ and that we are jot-Saroop.). The Aarti (i.e. meaningful Poojaa of this all-pervading ‘Joti‘) is that whatever is happening in Hukam (System-Rule-Law of Nature, Universal Energy) is pleasing to beings. ||3|| (sggs 663).

That said, the Gurbani wants us to hold on to this Reality – WHAT WE ALREDY ARE (i.e. Jot Saroop), HERE AND NOW!

In other words, according to the Gurbani, when we say Rabb (God) is within, it simply means we are THAT! To say it otherwise, it simply means Rabb is NOT SEPARATE from us – everything or ALL is Gobind!

  • ਸਭੁ ਗੋਬਿੰਦੁ ਹੈ ਸਭੁ ਗੋਬਿੰਦੁ ਹੈ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਬਿਨੁ ਨਹੀ ਕੋਈ॥: Gobind (Universal Energy) is All, Gobind is All (i.e., everything); without Gobind, there is nothing at all. (sggs 485).
  • ਜੋ ਦੀਸੈ ਸੋ ਤੇਰਾ ਰੂਪੁ ॥: Whatever is seen is Your form (sggs724).
  • ਸਾਜਨੜਾ ਮੇਰਾ ਸਾਜਨੜਾ ਨਿਕਟਿ ਖਲੋਇਅੜਾ ਮੇਰਾ ਸਾਜਨੜਾ ॥ ਜਾਨੀਅੜਾ ਹਰਿ ਜਾਨੀਅੜਾ ਨੈਣ ਅਲੋਇਅੜਾ ਹਰਿ ਜਾਨੀਅੜਾ ॥ ਨੈਣ ਅਲੋਇਆ ਘਟਿ ਘਟਿ ਸੋਇਆ ਅਤਿ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਪ੍ਰਿਅ ਗੂੜਾ ॥ ਨਾਲਿ ਹੋਵੰਦਾ ਲਹਿ ਨ ਸਕੰਦਾ ਸੁਆਉ ਨ ਜਾਣੈ ਮੂੜਾ ॥ ਮਾਇਆ ਮਦਿ ਮਾਤਾ ਹੋਛੀ ਬਾਤਾ ਮਿਲਣੁ ਨ ਜਾਈ ਭਰਮ ਧੜਾ ॥ ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਗੁਰ ਬਿਨੁ ਨਾਹੀ ਸੂਝੈ ਹਰਿ ਸਾਜਨੁ ਸਭ ਕੈ ਨਿਕਟਿ ਖੜਾ ॥੧॥: God is my dear friend, and this dear friend is always standing right beside me. God is my beloved, and I have seen Him with my own eyes. I have seen with my own eyes God pervading each and every heart, He is spiritually rejuvenating (Amrit-like) and an extremely loving friend. God is always present with all, but the foolish human being cannot realize Him because he doesn’t know the taste of Union with Him. The fool remains engrossed in the love for Maya and talks about trivial affairs; being swayed by doubt, he cannot realize God. Nanak says, even the beloved God is standing near everyone, yet He cannot be realized without the Guru (i.e. Giaan-Wisdom). ||1|| (sggs 924).

Now the question arises: if man is by nature THAT (i.e. Jot Saroop), then why does he strive towards gaining what he already is?

One does not strive to gain the already gained! In case he does, the only reason for this could be IGNORANCE — ignorance of the gained thing. Man strives to be Free and Complete (Saabat-ਸਾਬਤ) due to ignorance of his Original Nature as Jot Saroop!

The self serving Pujaaree (clergy: Granthis, Parcharaks, Ragis, Dhadees etc.) and the freeloading Deraa-Vaad Baabaas (ਵੇਹਲੜ), social environment, and our upbringing often creates doubt, confusion and illusion that we are separate from Rabb (God or Universal Energy), thus making it difficult to digest this simple Truth of the Gurbani.

  • ਮਾਧਵੇ ਕਿਆ ਕਹੀਐ ਭ੍ਰਮੁ ਐਸਾ ॥ ਜੈਸਾ ਮਾਨੀਐ ਹੋਇ ਨ ਤੈਸਾ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ : O God, what can we say, we are so deluded by doubt, that what we believe, the reality is not  like that. ||1||Pause|| (sggs 657).
  • ਯਾ ਜੁਗ ਮਹਿ ਏਕਹਿ ਕਉ ਆਇਆ ॥ ਜਨਮਤ ਮੋਹਿਓ ਮੋਹਨੀ ਮਾਇਆ ॥: (Man) is born in this life only to become ONE (with God, Prabh, Mool, etc. – through Naam…). (But) ever since (man’s) birth, (he) has been enticed and deceived by Maya. (sggs 251).

For Sikhs (learners, seekers-ਸਿਖਿਆਰਥੀ) is SGGS is the Giaan-Guroo (Wisdom-Guru, Bibek-Guru…).

By churning the Gurbani through Shabad Vichaar, this Jewel of Wisdom is readily available to everybody in the world, here and now!

In the Light of this Wisdom (Giaan), we all can inquire into ‘Who am I’ and remove our ignorance, doubts or illusion. And turn our deluded mind directly toward its Mool within (Source, Jot Saroop, True Nature, Truth…), here and now.

Since we are not the body-mind-intellect personality but Jot Saroop, the Gurbani urges us to recognize this truth and identify as such. Those who are sincere in their inquiry can recognize their Original Nature within (Jot Saroop).

However, as the Gurbani reminds us, in case of the majority of us, our condition is similar to that of a grieving and agonizing king who saw himself become a beggar in his dream!

  • ਨਰਪਤਿ ਏਕੁ ਸਿੰਘਾਸਨਿ ਸੋਇਆ ਸੁਪਨੇ ਭਇਆ ਭਿਖਾਰੀ ॥ ਅਛਤ ਰਾਜ ਬਿਛੁਰਤ ਦੁਖੁ ਪਾਇਆ ਸੋ ਗਤਿ ਭਈ ਹਮਾਰੀ ॥੨॥: It is like a king, who falls asleep upon his throne, and dreams (that he has become a) beggar. (Although) his kingdom is intact, but separated from it (in his dream), he suffers pain. Such is our condition. ||2|| (sggs 657).

The Gurbani reminds us that owing to our own ignorance of our Original Nature as Jot Saroop, we identify ourselves wrongly with the body-mind-intellect apparatus, separate from God, and see the world outside, as a result its suffering becomes apparent to us.

From a practical standpoint, if God is ALL, then what it means is that we are endowed with the divine Virtues as well — truth, contentment, Knowledge (Bibek-Budhi), and so on.

We are what we think!

But our Jot Saroop, the Original state of our True Being, is not clearly seen all the times.

It is not clearly seen when we let the wall of our false ego-sense (negative impact of Haumai) stand in the way. The Gurbani reveals to us that when we overcome false ego-sense, we become one with our Jot-Saroop within again.

However, instead, the Gurbani says the man thinks himself as ego-center. That is, the majority of us mistakenly confound our Jot Saroop with the body-mind-intellect personality. The hidden fire of this ego-center (lust, anger, greed, attachment, pride, enviousness, stubbornness, etc.) burns within and keeps our doubt-ridden and Maya-driven mind separated from its Jot Saroop.

  • ਕਬੀਰ ਪਰਦੇਸੀ ਕੈ ਘਾਘਰੈ ਚਹੁ ਦਿਸਿ ਲਾਗੀ ਆਗਿ ॥: O Kabeer! The kilt (of sense-organs) of this alien (i.e., mind-‘ਮਨੁ ਪਰਦੇਸੀ’) has caught fire on all four sides (i.e., fire of Bikaar – lust, anger, greed, etc.). (sggs 1366).
  • ਮੂਲੁ ਨ ਬੂਝੈ ਆਪੁ ਨ ਸੂਝੈ ਭਰਮਿ ਬਿਆਪੀ ਅਹੰ ਮਨੀ ॥੧॥: Engrossed in doubt and egotism, (the mortal does) not know the Mool; he does not understand his own self. ||1|| (sggs 1186).

Clearly, the Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS wants us to bring about complete transformation in our outlook or thinking (ਸੋਚ).

  • ਜੇਹੀ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਤੇਹਾ ਤਿਨ ਰਾਹੁ ॥: As is (beings’) awareness, so is (their) way (sggs 25).

When we think we are Jot Saroop or ‘Ansh’ of God, and live as such, our thinking (ਸੋਚ) gets transformed from body-consciousness to the divine-Consciousness. Then, we start seeing ourselves as Jot Saroop.

Without such real shift in thinking (ਸੋਚ), the Gurbani asserts all religious acts, religious robes, and religious paraphernalia are Pakhand (pretending, fraud, show etc.).

  • ਚਿਟੇ ਜਿਨ ਕੇ ਕਪੜੇ ਮੈਲੇ ਚਿਤ ਕਠੋਰ ਜੀਉ ॥ ਤਿਨ ਮੁਖਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਨ ਊਪਜੈ ਦੂਜੈ ਵਿਆਪੇ ਚੋਰ ਜੀਉ ॥ ਮੂਲੁ ਨ ਬੂਝਹਿ ਆਪਣਾ ਸੇ ਪਸੂਆ ਸੇ ਢੋਰ ਜੀਉ ॥੩॥: Their clothes are white (beautiful religious robes) but their conscience is cruel and filthy (full of vices — they look holy or Mahaatamaa on the outside only). Their minds don’t acquire Naam (Giaan-Wisdom, Virtues…); engrossed in duality they cheat people (i.e. their external appearance is only pretense-Pakhand to cheat people). They do not Understand their own Mool (Source, Jot Saroop…); that’s why they are fools with animal intelligence ||3|| (sggs 751).

Pakhand, doubt, fraud, illusion etc. cease to be with real shift in thinking (ਸੋਚ) through the Wisdom. We are then saved from Spiritual death (ਆਤਮਕ ਮੌਤ), and saved from our exploitation in the name of the Gurbani and Dharma by the crafty and illiterates paid clergy.

Mind without understanding is perplexed

Simply put: If there is hunger for understanding the Wisdom of the SGGS by churning the Gurbani through the Shabad-Vichaar, then Wisdom will Awaken within.

  • ਬਿਨੁ ਬੂਝੇ ਸਭ ਹੋਇ ਖੁਆਰ ॥: Without understanding, ALL are troubled (afflicted, distressed, perplexed…). (sggs 791).

As doubt (Bharam) is removed with the Wisdom, illusoriness flees like the night at dawn.

Upon experiencing Spiritual Awakening (Enlightenment, Gurmukh Mindset), one’s problems still will be there, one’s duties still will be there, life’s strife and situations still will be there, body’s diseases and sickness and death still will be there.

However, what changes is the perception or angle of vision of approaching life. One simply becomes witness to his life, without any trace of delusional attachment – be in the world, but not of it.

According to the Gurbani, he accepts everything as the Hukam (System-Rule-Law-Order of Nature) with equanimity of the mind. He is like the water drops which do not adhere to the lotus leaf! His mind becomes open to everything, but remains detached!

During the ‘Sidh Gost’ Sidhas (Yogis) asked Baabaa Nanak:

  • 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).

Baabaa Nanak replies:

  • 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).

In short, the Message of the Gurbani is (if we want to put it in words): Know Yourself, Recognize or Realize Your Mool (Origin, Root, Source, Reality, Jot Saroop…). To recognize one’s Mool is to ‘Know oneself’ – ‘who am I?’ (ਆਪਣੇ ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਦੀ ਪਰਖ, ਅਪਣੇ ਯਥਾਰਥ ਸਰੂਪ ਦੀ ਜਾਣ, ਅਪਣੇ ਆਪ, ਅਪਣੇ ਅਸਲੇ ਨੂੰ ਦੀ ਪਛਾਣ).

  • ਸਾਕਤ ਨਿਰਗੁਣਿਆਰਿਆ ਆਪਣਾ ਮੂਲੁ ਪਛਾਣੁ ॥: O devoid of Virtues – ਗੁਣ-ਹੀਨ, Saakat – recognize your own Mool! (sggs 63).

Some Related Posts:


  1. The very Essence in which everything appears, comes and goes. Wandering in the wilderness of delusion, this essence identified with body and mind suffers in delusion. Guru simply points back home , to abide in the very essence but as the essence , as it is, unwavering, unchanging. A pathless journey as in essence , it never left home but only in delusion.

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