Who Am I?

‘Who am I?’

This is the most fundamental question. Gurmat Wisdom of Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) labors to provide us with satisfactory answer.

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

But what about seeing one’s inner being (Mool, True Nate or Jot Saroop…)? How can one see his  or her inner being?

This is where Gurmat Wisdom of SGGS can guide one, provided one is willing to learn and go within!

  • 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 Rabb (whom he sees within his clear mind). ||2||1|| (sggs 1318).
  • ਬੂਝੈ ਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਬਿਬੇਕੁ ॥੪॥: Realizing Brahm (Rabb, Jot Saroop…) within is Bibek (i.e., intellect that can discriminate between truth and untruth, etc. is Bibek). ||4|| (sggs 355).
  • ਸਭੈ ਘਟ ਰਾਮੁ ਬੋਲੈ ਰਾਮਾ ਬੋਲੈ ॥: Sbhai ghat Raam bolai… (sggs 988).

We can undertake this inner journey with our mind.

This sounds easy, but our social environment and upbringing often makes this difficult.

Sri Guroo Granth Sahib (SGGS) is the Giaan-Guroo (Wisdom-Guru, Bibek-Guru…).

With this Wisdom (Giaan), we all can inquire into “Who, or what, am I?”. And turn our awareness directly toward our Mool (Source, Jot Saroop, True Nature, Truth…) within; mend our wandering mind; and become established in the present moment (Now).

With churning the Gurbani, or the Shabad Vichaar, this Jewel of Wisdom is readily available to all of us, here and now!

Those who are sincere in their inquiry turn the mind within upon itself and become tuned to their True Nature (Jot Saroop…), within.

However, the Gurbani indicates that in the 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 True Nature, we identify ourselves wrongly with the body-mind-intellect apparatus and see the world outside, as a result its suffering becomes apparent to us.

However, instead, the Gurbani urges us to identify with the Jot Saroop (True Nature, Truth…). Because, we are not the body-mind-intellect personality but Jot Saroop, which lies within at the very core of our being and beyond our brain-consciousness (Trikuti).

In essence, core of our being is the Spiritual Center within, Spiritual Spark, Spiritual Power, Spiritual Energy, True Self or Jot Saroop, Center of Wisdom, Treasure of Virtues (ਗੁਣ), and so on.

  • ਕਹੁ ਕਬੀਰ ਇਹੁ ਰਾਮ ਕੀ ਅੰਸੁ ॥: Says Kabeer! This (i.e., soul that dwells within) is Raam’s Ansh (part…). (sggs 871).
  • ਮਰਣਹਾਰੁ ਇਹੁ ਜੀਅਰਾ ਨਾਹੀ ॥੩॥: This soul is not perishable (sggs 188).

The Gurbani indicates that the only fact we can be sure of is that we are Jot Saroop. Therefore, the Gurbani wants us to hold on to this Reality. For we are That!

  • 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).
If we have to think, the Gurbani says think “I am Jot-Saroop” (Pure Consciousness…)

From a practical standpoint, if Rabb is within all of us,  then what it means is that we are endowed with the Divine Virtues or Qualities — truth, harmony, fearlessness, Immortality, patience, forgiveness, purity, selflessness, love, goodwill, compassion, kindness, contentment, knowledge, mercy, humility, peace, joy, discerning intellect (Bibek-Budhi), and so on.

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 (Haumai) stand in the way. The Gurbani reveals to us that when we overcome false ego-sense, we become one with our Jot-Saroop again.

However, instead, the Gurbani says the man thinks himself as ego-center (Haumai). That is, the majority of us mistakenly confound our Jot Saroop with the body-mind-intellect personality. The 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).
We are what we think.

Clearly, the Gurmat Wisdom of 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 and live as such, our thinking (ਸੋਚ) gets transformed from body-consciousness to the Soul-Consciousness (Divine Wisdom, Divine Virtues, Naam-consciousness, Gurmukh Lifestyle…). Then, we start seeing the same One Spiritual Factor in everybody.

  • ਸਭੁ ਗੋਬਿੰਦੁ ਹੈ ਸਭੁ ਗੋਬਿੰਦੁ ਹੈ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਬਿਨੁ ਨਹੀ ਕੋਈ॥: Gobind (Universal Energy) is All (i.e., in everything and everywhere), Gobind is All (i.e., in everything and everywhere); without Gobind, there is nothing at all. (sggs 485).

Without such real shift in thinking (ਸੋਚ), and without truly aiming at Mool-abidance, the Gurbani indicates all religious paraphernalia acts are Pakhand (pretending, fraud, show, Karamkaand…).

  • ਮੂਲੁ ਨ ਬੂਝਹਿ ਆਪਣਾ ਸੇ ਪਸੂਆ ਸੇ ਢੋਰ ਜੀਉ ॥: Those who do not Understand their own Mool (Source, True Nature or Jot Saroop…); they are beasts, they are cattle (i.e., great fools-ਡੰਗਰ ਬੁਧੀ ਵਾਲੇ ਮਹਾਂ ਮੂਰਖ)! ||3|| (sggs 751).

With real shift in thinking (ਸੋਚ) through the Wisdom, Pakhand and fraud cease to be. We are then saved from Spiritual death (ਆਤਮਕ ਮੌਤ-death of spiritual life), and saved from our exploitation in the name of the Gurbani and Dharma by the Pujaaree groups and the Pujaaree sytem.

In nutshell, Gurmat of SGGS urges us to go within. Since our Jot Saroop is ever present within, we are never apart from it.

The Gurbani tells us that the mean to accomplish this task is Shabad-Vichaar (Reflections on the Shabad) or churning the Gurbani.

  • ਆਤਮ ਰਾਮੁ ਰਾਮੁ ਹੈ ਆਤਮ ਹਰਿ ਪਾਈਐ ਸਬਦਿ ਵੀਚਾਰਾ ਹੇ ॥੭॥: By engaging in the Shabad Vichaar, one obtains this understanding that) the soul and “Raam” are one and the same (ਇਕ-ਰੂਪ). ||7|| (sggs 1030).
Mind without understanding is perplexed.

Simply put: If there is hunger for understanding the Divine Wisdom (Aatam-Giaan) of the SGGS through the Gurbani-Vicchar, then Aatam-Giaan will Awaken within; leading to Spiritual Awakening or Mool-abidance within. Sipmly put: Shabad-Vichaar is finding out who am I?.

  • ਬਿਨੁ ਬੂਝੇ ਸਭ ਹੋਇ ਖੁਆਰ ॥: Without understanding, ALL are troubled (afflicted, distressed, perplexed…). (sggs 791).
  • ਭਗਤਿ ਭਾਇ ਆਤਮ ਪਰਗਾਸ ॥: Bhagti bhaai Aatam Pargaas (sggs 288).

Now, the question is: What does happen upon becoming Mool-abided or Spiritually Awakened (a person of higher consciousness, the Gurmukh…)? Does it mean one’s problems and strives will disappear? Does it mean that one retires from all activities of life and meditate twenty-four hours? No!

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

Upon experiencing Spiritual Awakening (Enlightenment…), 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 Divine Hukam (Law 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!

In nutshell, as Gurmat Wisdom of SGGS tells us, Enlightenment is to know one’s own True Nature (Jot Saroop...). Simply put: This is a Still mind. This Stillness of the mind is the greatest achievement.

36 comments

  1. My question, how can we Search our own mind?? Because being human our focus is more towards materialistic world and not towards our inner self. Is it like sitting quietly and chanting Waheguru directing ourselves inner side or being focused on void (without thought).

  2. Thank you Veer Ji!

    OR Guru Nanak Sahib is just giving a divine message without telling us how ਮਨ has to recognize its Mool

    My two cents – the Gurbani tells us:
    • ਮਨ ਸਮਝਾਵਨ ਕਾਰਨੇ ਕਛੂਅਕ ਪੜੀਐ ਗਿਆਨ ॥੫॥ (sggs 340).

    The Gurbani also tells us:
    • ਆਪਣ ਹਥੀ ਆਪਣਾ ਆਪੇ ਹੀ ਕਾਜੁ ਸਵਾਰੀਐ ॥੨੦॥ (sggs 474).
    • ਜੋ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਖੋਜਹਿ ਸੇਈ ਪਾਵਹਿ ਹੋਰਿ ਫੂਟਿ ਮੂਏ ਅਹੰਕਾਰੀ ॥੨੦॥ (sggs 911).

    In other words, Mool-realization cannot be made to an order or given to somebody as a mundane gift wrapped up as a ready-made package! It’s a personal experience. This is essentially what the Gurbani is telling us in a reasoning way. To look at it from an another angle, to know if it is sugar (not something else!) and to know if it is sweet, one must taste it. Because the proof of the sweetness is in the mouth not in the sugar! Of course one can begin by asking around, but, it is only by tasting it one’s all doubts will dissolve and his knowledge will become first hand and unshakable.

  3. Parkash Singh Veer ji:

    Thank you for your comment; I notice you made this point earlier in this post as well — we are created as a result of ANHAD NAAD or EKANKAARu (as you put it). Please help me understand in ਇਉ ਕਹੈ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਮਨ ਤੂੰ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਰੂਪੁ ਹੈ ਅਪਣਾ ਮੂਲੁ ਪਛਾਣੁ, is there an implication that ਮਨ has its own brian to follow Guru Nanak Sahib’s instruction OR Guru Nanak Sahib is just giving a divine message without telling us how ਮਨ has to recognize its Mool? If it is the later, then the question is WHO is going to direct ਮਨ to its Mool/Jot?

    Paramjit Singh Rana

  4. The whole universe is created from a SINGLE WAVE OF SOUND to be known as EKANKAARu.
    So the true nature or form of everything is just a part of this wave only.
    “ਇਉ ਕਹੈ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਮਨ ਤੂੰ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਰੂਪੁ ਹੈ ਅਪਣਾ ਮੂਲੁ ਪਛਾਣੁ ..this quote confirms this only.

  5. Dear Mr. T Singh Ji:

    Thank you for sharing your Gurubani wisdom through your GuruBani blog which I find to be one of the best among the few I enjoy reading. I admire your dedication, depth and effort in putting together these very informative write ups along with Gurubani references.

    I am particularly impressed by your views in this post: Who am I?

    In my own pursuit to understand Gurubani, the elusive nature of “I” has intrigued me for some time and has become focus of my intense interest. I often participate in an on-going spiritual/Gurubani discourse with a group of insightful individuals via internet and other tools that the electronic medium provides us these days. Even in these informative sessions, I often draw attention of the group that to fully comprehend the nature and influence of Gurubani discourse and its social manifestations, the centrality of “I’ (who is the key player to whom the Gurubani message is directed) must be recognized and therefore, by implication, understood. Unfortunately, I could not make any progress. It appears that perhaps I was not able to articulate the importance of understanding “Who am I?” with these some very informed individuals.

    Since you have raised the same issue that is of key interest to me and since your readership includes some very informed individuals like Dr. Harbans Lal, Mr. Parkash Singh Begga and many others, I look forward to some informed exchange with their participation to seek answer to the question that you have posed and expounded in detail in the blog. I have some clarifying questions on what you have written in the post. It is my sincere hope that you do not view me as being disruptive, I am asking these questions with a very honest and genuine interest in understanding Gurubani….

  6. Thank you for the translation. Of course also thank you to Prakash S Bagga for your reaction.

  7. Could you translate the sentence “The word “ਸੋਧੇ – Sodhae can be translated in Punjabi as: ਖੋਜ ਦੇਖੇ, ਸਮਝ-ਵਿਚਾਰੇ, ਘੋਖ ਭਾਲ ਕਰੇ, ਗਹੁ ਨਾਲ ਪੜ੍ਹੇ, ਵਿਚਾਰੇ, ਖੋਜ-ਭਾਲ ਕੀਤੀ, ਛਾਣ ਬੀਣ ਕੀਤੀ, ਜਾਂਚ ਕੀਤੀ…” into English for better understanding?

    In nutshell, the word “ਸੋਧੇ – Sodhae” is the past tense (from Sanskrit “शोध”, “सोध”…) => pursued for finding truth, searched, investigated, refined, set right, corrected, purified, etc.

  8. PETER JANSEN
    The word PONDER in English can be considered as equivalent to The word “ਸੋਧੇ
    ponder

    verb

    verb: ponder; 3rd person present: ponders; past tense: pondered; past participle: pondered; gerund or present participle: pondering

    think about (something) carefully, especially before making a decision or reaching a conclusion.
    “I pondered the question of what clothes to wear for the occasion”

    synonyms: think about, give thought to, consider, review, reflect on, mull over, contemplate, study, meditate on, muse on, deliberate about, cogitate on, dwell on, brood on/over, ruminate about/on, chew over, puzzle over, speculate about, weigh up, turn over in one’s mind; More

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