5th Pauri: 3rd Ashtapadee: Sukhmani Sahib | SIKH PHILOSOPHY NETWORK
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5th Pauri: 3rd Ashtapadee: Sukhmani Sahib


Jun 11, 2004
Dear Khalsa Ji
With the grace of ‘The Sat’, I share my understanding of 5th Pauri of 3rd Ashtapadee of Sukhmani Sahib.
1. cwir pdwrQ jy ko mwgY ] chaar padaarath jay ko maagai.
Four substances if someone seeks.

2. swD jnw kI syvw lwgY ] saaDh janaa kee sayvaa laagai.
Should enter the service of spiritually enlightened ones.

My understanding:
These two sentences need to be understood.
First of all one has to know what is meant by the word Padaarath. Literally it means; substance or elements. In Siri Guru Granth Sahib it has been used in association with Ratan (Jewels) as Ratan Padaarath, which is a substance. It is also used in association with ‘Naam’ as Naam Padaarath, which is not a substance; ‘Naam’ is intangible entity. However the word element can apply to both tangible and intangible entities. For my understanding I have taken Padaarath to mean element.
Next I have to understand what are the Char (four) Padaarath i.e. the four elements that Guru Sahib is referring to. The Gyanis tell me that these are what the ancient scripture of the land call Parmaarth. The ancient scripture of the land says that one is born in human form to do four things – Artha (every task that is connected with, livelihood, earnings and wealth); Dharma (all that is related to duties towards the parents, family, society, God and oneself); Kama (all that is connected with desires including sex for the sake of procreation); and Moksa (liberation from the cycles of birth and death and rebirth). I have accepted these to be the Char Padaarath .i.e. four substances (elements).
Now we see the way the first sentence is constituted. It uses the word ‘if’. This condition means it is neither normal nor obligatory to seek the four elements from ‘The Sat’. As I deliberate, I find that the first three elements are part of our worldly life. As I understand, ‘The Sat’ has equipped us to do all that is worldly. In human form we have the best of features for physical work and the beast of mental faculties. Deploying these extra-ordinary abilities we have to live and succeed in our worldly life. We can not and should not again ask ‘The Sat’ to do it for us. We can see from the lives of our Gurus; they never asked ‘The Sat’ to come and join them in performing their worldly tasks and fighting their battles. Though all what Guru Sahibs did was dedicated to ‘The Sat’. This was made explicit by Siri Guru Gobind Singh Ji in the slogan ‘Siri Waheguru Ji Da Khalsa, Siri Waheguru Ji Di Fateh’. When I see the recorded history of mankind, I do not see any where God descending from heavens and interfere with what is happening in the world – it did not happen when Church burnt millions alive, when Muslims killed so many Sikh, it did not happen during second world war when Jews were killed in large number, it did not happen during partition of India, it did not happen when Sikhs where killed 1984, it did not happen during troubled period in Balkans, Afghanistan, Uganda, Congo etc. Though, the ancient scripture of the land says other wise. From this I conclude that all that is worldly has to be done by the individuals themselves, asking ‘The Sat’ to do it for us is not justified.
The forth element – ‘Moksa’, again we cannot seek or demand it from ‘The Sat’. As I understand ‘The Sat’ has again equipped us with the mental abilities to live beyond instincts. Our mental faculty is so evolved that it can do what ever it wants. The mental faculties that are driven by desires make the person more worldlier leading to debasement. The same mental faculties when deployed in search of truth penetrate the veil of Maya, purify the mind that leads to progressive spiritual evolution. All this again the individual has to do on its own; this effort the individual has to make. The Moksa cannot be demanded; it comes by the will of ‘The Sat’; it is what comes as the result of ‘Gurparsadi’. We humans can only ready ourselves for it, by our own efforts, keeping in mind that ‘The Sat’ is always with us.
If the person is seeking these four elements i.e. Char Padaarath from ‘The Sat’ as divine gift, it means the individual needs to evolve further; she or he has not yet realized her or his own potential fully. How can she or he be blessed with Moksa which comes to pure humans only? The person with this frame of mind which asks for Char Padaarath needs guidance, hence in the second sentence Guru Sahib has asked this person to serve the Saddhs. Saddhs are those individuals who have perfected themselves and reached the highest level of spirituality.
The service of these humble Saddhs, the ‘Ahamkara’ of the individual will crumble and with ego gone she or he will start seeing things in their true perspective. Simplicity of life of the Saddhs will make this individual see the taste of real nature and remove the veils that the worldly entities had put on her or his mental faculties. This person will become capable of attachment and detachment at will in pursuit of her or his Dharma. This individual will now learn to live on the fruits of her or his honest work and will enjoy the bliss of a clean mind. The person will move progressively closer to the truth and in the process will evolve and to achieve the first three elements of Char Padaarath on his own and prepare herself or himself to receiving the fourth i.e. Moksa from ‘The Sat’. The Char Padaarath which earlier this individual was seeking from ‘The Sat’ will now be within the reach of the individual through her or his own efforts.
This way Guru Sahib is putting his Sikhs on the track which will enable them to achieve what they want i.e. Char Padaarath.
3. jy ko Awpunw dUKu imtwvY ] jay ko aapunaa dookh mitaavai.
If someone wants to erase its sorrow

4. hir hir nwmu irdY sd gwvY ] har har naam ridai sad gaavai.
The individual should live imbued with the ‘Naam’ of ‘The Sat’ who is capable of absorbing all (har)

My understanding:
What happens in our lives is in accordance with the ‘Hukam’ of ‘The Sat’. Birth is a result of ‘Hukam’; death is also a result of ‘Hukam’ of ‘The Sat’; all that happens in between these two events is also the result of ‘Hukam’.
The impact of this ‘Hukam’ on our lives becomes joy or sorrow for us because of our likes and dislikes, which are the creation of our minds. Likes and dislikes stems from our ‘Ahamkara’, which is our own creation, we were not born with it; it grew in us as we progressed in life. The ‘Hukam’ of ‘The Sat’ is not subordinate to our ‘Ahamkara’; in fact ‘Hukam’ does not recognize any Ahamkara’.
The word ‘ridai’ is not to be taken literally; it does not mean heart - a part of our body. As we know ‘The Sat’ cannot be contained in any physical entity. The word ‘Gaavai’ means singing; we know that the heart does not sing. These words have to be understood in the context in which they are said.
Guru Sahib has used the word ‘Har’ twice. First, Guru Sahib is referring to the process of absorption of the sorrow and second time Guru Sahib has used this word followed by ‘Naam’. The second time ‘Har Naam’ means ‘The Sat’.
The sentence is not to be taken literally. Guru Sahib is pointing towards something else, other than what it means literally; the sentence is acting as metaphor. As I understand, Guru Sahib, in this sentence, has asked his Sikhs to soak their being with ‘Har Naam’. ‘Har’ is an entity which can win over any entity –material or abstract i.e. acquire anything and absorb it within itself without any effect or change. This can only be done by ‘The Sat’.
Taking all this together, to me it means that the being of the seeker should resonate with ‘The Sat’. Resonance is also a term used in music and is equivalent to Gaavai, it needs to be explained. Here resonance means that the being of the person should reflect the illumination it receives from ‘The Sat’, which is always in us sustaining our life. In other words the being of the person should be pure, selfless, and free from vices of the world and should be based in spiritual knowledge and wisdom. This person’s thoughts, speech and actions should naturally be in accordance with the teaching of Siri Guru Granth Sahib. This means the being of this person is singing (Gaavai) the teachings of Siri Guru Granth Sahib.
Once the person has reached this level of spiritual evolution, the dualities get totally dissolved for her or him. Joy and sorrow get merged into One - the ‘Hukam’ of ‘The Sat’. The person remain equipoised in all the circumstances
This way Guru Sahib has raised the problem in the first sentence, and in the second sentence has suggested the path to his Sikhs which frees her or him from sorrow.
5. jy ko ApunI soBw lorY ] jay ko apunee sobhaa lorai.
If one is searching one’s intrinsic beauty

6. swDsMig ieh haumY CorY ] saaDhsang ih ha-umai chhorai.
Leave the ‘Ahamkara’ in the company of spiritually evolved persons (Saadh)

My understanding:
The intrinsic beauty is not physical features of the body. Physical beauty is only appearance. The source of intrinsic beauty is beautiful mind – which is pure, wise, and agile and, for Sikhs, committed to ethics and morality preached in Siri Guru Granth Sahib. Guru Sahib mentions this need in the first sentence and put his Sikhs on the right path in the second sentence.
Guru Sahib asks his Sikhs to dissolve their ‘Ahamkara’. Guru Sahib suggests the environment in which this can be done. He tells his Sikhs to live in the company of ‘Saddhs’. These Saddhs are spiritually evolves individuals (and not those who just wear saffron cloths) who have succeeded in taming their mental faculties. Their Buddhi (intellect which consists of knowledge and wisdom of both the world – spiritual and material) controls the senses. This Buddhi tells the senses what information from the outside world is to be acquired; this way their mind which is the out put of a functioning brain become Saatvik i.e. pure. The minds of the Saddhs are driven by their Buddhi which is illuminated by ‘The Sat’ and is not driven by senses which, if left alone, seek objects of worldly pleasures.
In these two sentences also, Guru Sahib has raised the issue and in the second given the solution so that his Sikhs can follow the right validated course.
7. jy ko jnm mrx qy frY ] jay ko janam maran tay darai.
If one fears birth and death.

My understanding:
When we are tired, we go to sleep. We do not fear sleep; because we know that after the rest we will get up again and live our normal life to which we are attached. Most of us live with worldly attachments and the associated pleasures. We do not want to loose these attachments; we are bound to them very intimately. Death brings an end to this worldly living. With the realization that death is near a feeling of gloom, loss and fear descends on the person; she or he feels that every thing is going to be lost. What is beyond death is not known to the person. The fear of unknown further accentuates this fear. It is this fear which Guru Sahib is referring to in this sentence.
8. swD jnw kI srnI prY ] saaDh janaa kee sarnee parai.
Live as a humble servant in the environment that gets created in the company of Saddhs.

My understanding:
Guru Sahib asks his Sikhs to seek the company of Saddhs. They environment that exists in this company is conducive for spiritual realization. These Saddhs live true life in this material world. They are not susceptible to the game played by Maya; they can see it through; they see the truth as it is; they live their lives beyond Maya. They live their lives obeying the Hukam of ‘The Sat’. Their being imbued with ‘Naam’ knows that birth and death are part of ‘Hukam’. These Saddhs, naturally and willingly accept the ‘Hukam’ of ‘The Sat’. Each ‘Hukam’ they accept as blessing from ‘The Sat’ and death too is part of it. Saddhs are not afraid of death; it is only an endless sleep for this body. It signifies that the role designed for this person in human by ‘The Sat’ is over and now the time has come to leave the stage. This Saddhs leave this world with the same feeling as an actor leaving the stage. The actor comes plays her or his role and leaves the stage; there is no feeling of sorrow in it.
When the person lives in the company of Saddhs to learn, the views and values of Saddhs start sinking into the mind of this person. The hold of ‘Ahamkara’ i.e. ego starts loosening on the person and finally gets dissolve. The attachments to the worldly pleasure which are associated with ‘Ahamkara’ progressively get dissolve and the person becomes free from Maya. This person is now evolved and is on path to spirituality. This person too now accepts birth and death as part of ‘Hukam’. This person now knows that birth and death is the way of ‘The Sat’ for renewal of the world and is the scheme of ‘The Sat’ for all-round evolution of life i.e. ‘Chardian Kalan’. It is in this way that ‘The Sat’ has allowed the life to evolve from materials into a primitive organism and then progressively to the complex form of life called humans. Each person, in her or his life, has to contribute to this will of ‘The Sat’. The person comes to this world of forms, where it has the chance to participate in carrying out the will of ‘The Sat’ (Chardian Kalan i.e. all round evolution – material and spiritual) and leaves when ‘The Sat’ withdraws this form from the world. With this realization and purity of mind the person does not feel any sense of loss or fear. It is for this transformation to take place, Guru Sahib has asked his Sikhs to keep companies of Saddhs – the Saddhs who are mentally so, no matter what type or the colour of dress they wear.
9. ijsu jn kau pRB drs ipAwsw ] jis jan ka-o parabh daras pi-aasaa.
To the person who has the thirst of the vision of ‘The Sat’.

My understanding:
Here the word ‘Daras’ i.e. physical view or vision needs to be understood. As I understand this word Guru Sahib has used because it was readily understood by his audience. To me it is a metaphor. Gurbani mentions about Dasam Dwar i.e. tenth door as the way to link-up with ‘The Sat’. This door is not physical. Tenth door is also mentioned in the ancient scripture of the land and said to be in the higher level of brain/mind. As I understand this is the way of divines (those who have experienced ‘The Sat’) to say that this vision of ‘The Sat’ is not a physical one; it is a mental experience. One experiences ‘The Sat’ and this is called Daras, Darshan or vision. Since it is a mental experience and not a physical vision no one who had passed through it can explain what this experience is; there are no wards for it. I explain this inability with an example. When you have pain or joy, you experience it mentally; you can tell other that it was minor or intense but you have no way to make the other person understand what exactly you are experiencing; only the mother who has given birth to a baby knows what that pain is.
This happens with all experiences that are mental in nature; they cannot be described in words. The experience of ‘The Sat’ is ultimate in this class; it for this reason, the divine could never describe it. They have used the words that are nearest to it which the commoners can understand; in my understanding, Daras or vision is one such approximation.
Guru Sahib in this sentence now talks about the person who is approaching the ultimate level in spirituality and is seeking to personally experience ‘The Sat’.
10. nwnk qw kY bil bil jwsw ]5] naanak taa kai bal bal jaasaa. ||5||
To such person, Nanak is a sacrifice; is sacrifice to her or him.

My understanding:
Here Guru Sahib expresses his joy as his Sikh has reached the pinnacle in spirituality and is only a step away from divinity. Guru Sahib gives expression to his joy by saying that I am a sacrifice for such person. It is Guru Sahib’s way to tell this person that you have evolved above the world of vices and Maya. You are about to become Jiwan Mukta (liberated while living). This is a great moment for the Guru Sahib too. The Joy of Guru Sahib is expressed in this sentence.
With this I close the post.
With love and respect for all.
Amarpal Singh
May 6, 2007
It is a most beautiful write up I have ever seen.Kudos to you and keep it up.Would you kindly inform me if I can also start writing on Sukhmani Sahib ji and then learned people like you can offer their comments.Is it possible. I do not know.There may be duplication.KIndly advise.
I shall come up with my doubts on Gurbani.
Best regards


Jun 11, 2004
Re: 5th Pauri: 3rd Ashtpadi: Sukhmani Sahib

Dear Vinod Ji,

Write or not is your decision. You can certainly ask for information to clear your doubts

Amarpal singh

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