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Gurbani And Nature By Rawel Singh


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Gurbani and Nature

by Rawel Singh from his blog Sadh Sangat: A Discourse on Comparative Religion from a Sikh Perspective


Gurbani, the guru’s word as contained in Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh holy scripture is meant for the learned and the common folks alike. Keeping in view the latter it makes extensive use of allegories and metaphors to convey the spiritual message. They are in the form of using physical/natural phenomena and drawing parallels with the need of the soul. One field in which this abounds is cosmology with the composition of the universes and parts of our universe. Another is nature and its flora and fauna. We thus have examples of the deer, fish, rain bird, bumblebee, moth, chakvi – which can see only during day, and elephant. Their characteristics are used to convey spiritual teachings. Then there are the seasons, process of rain, months, sun, lunar cycles, days of the week, day/night to draw inspiration from.

Gurbani is mostly laid out in Raags or musical measures and their connection with the seasons or the time of day/night shown. Two Raags namely Basant for spring and Malaar for rain are particularly relevant.

It is beyond the mortal’s capabilities to describe every thing about nature. However an attempt has been made to cover some aspects of it in the paragraphs below.

The article is laid out as follows:

1. General.
2. Cosmology
3. Animals, birds and insects.
4. Months of the year and associated seasons.
5. Lunar cycle.
6. Days of the week.
7. Raag Basant
8. Raag Malaar.
9. Trees and agriculture.


Given below are examples of the many ways by which nature is described in Gurbani and spiritual message derived.

ਰਾਤੀ ਰੁਤੀ ਥਿਤੀ ਵਾਰ ॥ ਪਵਣ ਪਾਣੀ ਅਗਨੀ ਪਾਤਾਲ ॥ ਤਿਸੁ ਵਿਚਿ ਧਰਤੀ ਥਾਪਿ ਰਖੀ ਧਰਮ ਸਾਲ ॥

Day/night, the lunar cycle, days of the week;
air, water, fire, nether regions;
in this environment the earth has been made the place for the humans to play their roles for which they took birth. M: 1, p 7.

Note: In the reference given at the end of the translation of a verse, the letter ‘M’ stands for ‘Mahla’ or the guru embodiment i.e. 1 to 5 and 9 whose compositions are included in Gurbani. The compositions of the saints have been shown by name. The page of Sri Guru Granth Sahib given after that.

Gurbani looks at nature with a poet’s fascination e.g. the guru sees the morning dew on blades of grass shining with the sun’s rays falling on it and exclaims:


ਧਰਣਿ ਸੁਵੰਨੀ ਖੜ ਰਤਨ ਜੜਾਵੀ ਹਰਿ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਮਨਿ ਵੁਠਾ ॥

The grass on the earth looks so beautiful as if it has been embedded with jewels; similar is the case with the mind in which love for the all-pervasive Master abides, M: 5, p 322

ਚਿੜੀ ਚੁਹਕੀ ਪਹੁ ਫੁਟੀ ਵਗਨਿ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਤਰੰਗ ॥ ਅਚਰਜ ਰੂਪ ਸੰਤਨ ਰਚੇ ਨਾਨਕ ਨਾਮਹਿ ਰੰਗ ॥੧॥
It is dawn, the sparrows chirp and there is a lot of breeze; the thoughts that come to the minds –
of saints are ‘these are wondrous’; and their minds experience this ecstasy when they become aware of Divine virtues within, M: 5, p 319.

ਧਨੁ ਜੋਬਨੁ ਅਰੁ ਫੁਲੜਾ ਨਾਠੀਅੜੇ ਦਿਨ ਚਾਰਿ ॥ ਪਬਣਿ ਕੇਰੇ ਪਤ ਜਿਉ ਢਲਿ ਢੁਲਿ ਜੁੰਮਣਹਾਰ ॥੧॥ 1 23

Wealth, youth and a flower (are guests =) last for a short period,
just as the leaves of the water lilly perish quickly. M: 1, p 23.

ਤੂ ਕਾਂਇ ਗਰਬਹਿ ਬਾਵਲੀ ॥ ਜੈਸੇ ਭਾਦਉ ਖੂੰਬਰਾਜੁ ਤੂ ਤਿਸ ਤੇ ਖਰੀ ਉਤਾਵਲੀ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
O silly mortal, why do take pride in yourself;
the mushroom grows fast in hot and humid weather; but increase in your pride outdoes that; remember the mushroom perishes fast too. Ravidas, p 1196.

ਕੂਪੁ ਭਰਿਓ ਜੈਸੇ ਦਾਦਿਰਾ ਕਛੁ ਦੇਸੁ ਬਿਦੇਸੁ ਨ ਬੂਝ ॥ ਐਸੇ ਮੇਰਾ ਮਨੁ ਬਿਖਿਆ ਬਿਮੋਹਿਆ ਕਛੁ ਆਰਾ ਪਾਰੁ ਨ ਸੂਝ ॥੧॥

The way frogs in a well know nothing of any thing outside,
similarly my mind is so fascinated by transitory pleasures that I forget what will happen next in life or in the hereafter. Ravidas p 346.

ਮਨਮੁਖ ਨਾਮ ਵਿਹੂਣਿਆ ਰੰਗੁ ਕਸੁੰਭਾ ਦੇਖਿ ਨ ਭੁਲੁ ॥ ਇਸ ਕਾ ਰੰਗੁ ਦਿਨ ਥੋੜਿਆ ਛੋਛਾ ਇਸ ਦਾ ਮੁਲੁ ॥

O self-willed person devoid of Divine virtues; do not be deluded seeing the bright color of the safflower;
its color lasts only a short while, and it fetches a pittance as its price. M: 3, p 85.

ਜੈਸੇ ਜਲ ਮਹਿ ਕਮਲੁ ਨਿਰਾਲਮੁ ਮੁਰਗਾਈ ਨੈ ਸਾਣੇ ॥ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਸਬਦਿ ਭਵ ਸਾਗਰੁ ਤਰੀਐ ਨਾਨਕ ਨਾਮੁ ਵਖਾਣੇ ॥

The way the lotus flower blossoms in water but remains untouched by it; or the duck swims in water but it does not wet it feathers;
similarly by (vakhaane = uttering) remembering and being conscious of Divine virtues we can avoid succumbing to vices and get across the world ocean, says Nanak. M: 1, p 938.

ਘਰ ਹੀ ਮਹਿ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਭਰਪੂਰੁ ਹੈ ਮਨਮੁਖਾ ਸਾਦੁ ਨ ਪਾਇਆ ॥ ਜਿਉ ਕਸਤੂਰੀ ਮਿਰਗੁ ਨ ਜਾਣੈ ਭ੍ਰਮਦਾ ਭਰਮਿ ਭੁਲਾਇਆ ॥ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਤਜਿ ਬਿਖੁ ਸੰਗ੍ਰਹੈ ਕਰਤੈ ਆਪਿ ਖੁਆਇਆ ॥

Just as the deer has musk on its body but in delusion runs all over in search of it,
similarly the self-willed person does not experience the presence of the Creator within the body,
and neglecting the nectar within gathers objects of transitory; s/he is led astary by the Creator IT-self. M: 3, p 644.

ਸਗਲ ਬਨਸਪਤਿ ਮਹਿ ਬੈਸੰਤਰੁ ਸਗਲ ਦੂਧ ਮਹਿ ਘੀਆ ॥ ਊਚ ਨੀਚ ਮਹਿ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਮਾਣੀ ਘਟਿ ਘਟਿ ਮਾਧਉ ਜੀਆ ॥੧॥ 5 617

The Creator is all-pervasive.

ਸਗਲ ਬਨਸਪਤਿ ਮਹਿ ਬੈਸੰਤਰੁ ਸਗਲ ਦੂਧ ਮਹਿ ਘੀਆ ॥ ਊਚ ਨੀਚ ਮਹਿ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਮਾਣੀ ਘਟਿ ਘਟਿ ਮਾਧਉ ਜੀਆ ॥੧॥

All vegetation has fire and all milk has butter inherent in it;
Similarly every person, high or low, has the Divine light, the Master pervades the body of every living creature. M: 5, p 617.

The Swan.

ਹੰਸਾ ਵੇਖਿ ਤਰੰਦਿਆ ਬਗਾਂ ਭਿ ਆਯਾ ਚਾਉ ॥ ਡੁਬਿ ਮੁਏ ਬਗ ਬਪੁੜੇ ਸਿਰੁ ਤਲਿ ਉਪਰਿ ਪਾਉ ॥੩॥
Seeing the swans swim in water, the cranes also wanted to swim;
but the poor cranes drowned and died with head down and feet up. M: 3, p 585.

The message of the above verse: One should first acquire virtues and only then copy the virtuous, otherwise there is embarrassment.

ਹੰਸੁ ਉਡਰਿ ਕੋਧ੍ਰੈ ਪਇਆ ਲੋਕੁ ਵਿਡਾਰਣਿ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਗਹਿਲਾ ਲੋਕੁ ਨ ਜਾਣਦਾ ਹੰਸੁ ਨ ਕੋਧ੍ਰਾ ਖਾਇ ॥੬੫॥

The swan flew and landed in a field of co{censored} grain and people tried to drive it away;
the ignorant people do not know that the swans do not feed on co{censored} grain. Farid, p 1381.

Evil company has evil influence.

ਕਬੀਰ ਮਾਰੀ ਮਰਉ ਕੁਸੰਗ ਕੀ ਕੇਲੇ ਨਿਕਟਿ ਜੁ ਬੇਰਿ ॥ ਉਹ ਝੂਲੈ ਉਹ ਚੀਰੀਐ ਸਾਕਤ ਸੰਗੁ ਨ ਹੇਰਿ ॥੮੮॥
Evil company harms; A plant of bananas suffers when next to a ptree of berries with thorny branches;
When the latter sways due to wind, it cuts into the bananas; so do not go for the company of one who has turned away from the Creator – s/he will harm you in self-interest. 88. Kabir, p 1369.

Vanity does not allow learning from good company.

ਕਬੀਰ ਬਾਂਸੁ ਬਡਾਈ ਬੂਡਿਆ ਇਉ ਮਤ ਡੂਬਹੁ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਚੰਦਨ ਕੈ ਨਿਕਟੇ ਬਸੈ ਬਾਂਸੁ ਸੁਗੰਧੁ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥੧੨॥

The bamboo loses out due its pride of being tall; let not any one perish due to pride in his/her greatness;
the bamboo plant growing next to the sandalwood tree does not get its fragrance as other plants do. 12. Kabir, p 1365.

ਫਰੀਦਾ ਗਰਬੁ ਜਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਾ ਵਡਿਆਈਆ ਧਨਿ ਜੋਬਨਿ ਆਗਾਹ ॥ ਖਾਲੀ ਚਲੇ ਧਣੀ ਸਿਉ ਟਿਬੇ ਜਿਉ ਮੀਹਾਹੁ ॥੧੦੫॥ 5, 1383
O Farid, those who are very proud of their greatness, wealth and youth;
they do not receive Divine grace like the mounds remain un-irrigated by rain. M: 5, p 1383.

Humility should be real and not for display.

ਸਭੁ ਕੋ ਨਿਵੈ ਆਪ ਕਉ ਪਰ ਕਉ ਨਿਵੈ ਨ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਧਰਿ ਤਾਰਾਜੂ ਤੋਲੀਐ ਨਿਵੈ ਸੁ ਗਉਰਾ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਅਪਰਾਧੀ ਦੂਣਾ ਨਿਵੈ ਜੋ ਹੰਤਾ ਮਿਰਗਾਹਿ ॥ ਸੀਸਿ ਨਿਵਾਇਐ ਕਿਆ ਥੀਐ ਜਾ ਰਿਦੈ ਕੁਸੁਧੇ ਜਾਹਿ ॥੧॥ 1 470

Every one bows to oneself i.e. to show one’s own greatness; no one bows to others to acknowledge theirs;
the heavier side in a weighing balance goes lower; hence one with virtues should be humble;
a person with ill-will bows doubly like the hunter lies down to shoot a deer;
but what use it is to bow the head if the mind is thinking evil. M:1, p 470.

Those who take sanctuary of the Master are saved.

ਦੁਇ ਪੁੜ ਚਕੀ ਜੋੜਿ ਕੈ ਪੀਸਣ ਆਇ ਬਹਿਠੁ ॥ ਜੋ ਦਰਿ ਰਹੇ ਸੁ ਉਬਰੇ ਨਾਨਕ ਅਜਬੁ ਡਿਠੁ ॥੧॥ 1 142

To two mill-stones with a central axis grind corn into flour; when they are put one below the other and one rotated to grind,
a strange phenomenon is noticed; the corns next to the axle escape grinding; similarly those who seek the sanctuary of the Almighty are spared from vices and their consequences, says Nanak. 1. M: 1.p 142.

Human birth is not obtained again and again.
ਕਬੀਰ ਮਾਨਸ ਜਨਮੁ ਦੁਲੰਭੁ ਹੈ ਹੋਇ ਨ ਬਾਰੈ ਬਾਰ ॥ ਜਿਉ ਬਨ ਫਲ ਪਾਕੇ ਭੁਇ ਗਿਰਹਿ ਬਹੁਰਿ ਨ ਲਾਗਹਿ ਡਾਰ ॥੩੦॥

Human birth is hard to get; one does not get it again and again;
just as fruits that ripen on the tree and fall on the ground cannot again be attached to the tree-branch. Kabir, p 1366.

Those who experience the Creator need to perform no rituals.

ਫਲ ਕਾਰਨ ਫੂਲੀ ਬਨਰਾਇ ॥ ਫਲੁ ਲਾਗਾ ਤਬ ਫੂਲੁ ਬਿਲਾਇ ॥ ਗਿਆਨੈ ਕਾਰਨ ਕਰਮ ਅਭਿਆਸੁ ॥ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਭਇਆ ਤਹ ਕਰਮਹ ਨਾਸੁ ॥੩॥

The fruit tree first forms the flower and then the fruit;
once the fruit forms, the flower vanishes;
Similarly people engage in rituals to know the Creator;
but once true knowledge is obtained – the Creator experienced within rituals are no longer necessary. Ravidas, p 1167.


ਪੁਰਖਾਂ ਬਿਰਖਾਂ ਤੀਰਥਾਂ ਤਟਾਂ ਮੇਘਾਂ ਖੇਤਾਂਹ ॥ ਦੀਪਾਂ ਲੋਆਂ ਮੰਡਲਾਂ ਖੰਡਾਂ ਵਰਭੰਡਾਂਹ ॥ ਅੰਡਜ ਜੇਰਜ ਉਤਭੁਜਾਂ ਖਾਣੀ ਸੇਤਜਾਂਹ ॥ ਸੋ ਮਿਤਿ ਜਾਣੈ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਸਰਾਂ ਮੇਰਾਂ ਜੰਤਾਹ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਜੰਤ ਉਪਾਇ ਕੈ ਸੰਮਾਲੇ ਸਭਨਾਹ ॥

Humans, trees, pilgrimage centers, river banks, clouds, agricultural fields;
islands, countries, galaxies, planets and universes,
four types of life by taking birth i.e. from egg, womb, soil and sweat;
the oceans, mountains and creatures; only the Creator knows their numbers;
having created the Creator looks after the creatures, 1, 467.

ਸੂਰਜੁ ਏਕੋ ਰੁਤਿ ਅਨੇਕ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਕਰਤੇ ਕੇ ਕੇਤੇ ਵੇਸ ॥੨॥੨॥
There is one sun and many seasons;
this is the many-sided manifestation of the Creator, M: 1, p12-13.
ਕਿਉ ਮੂਲੁ ਪਛਾਣੈ ਆਤਮੁ ਜਾਣੈ ਕਿਉ ਸਸਿ ਘਰਿ ਸੂਰੁ ਸਮਾਵੈ ॥ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਹਉਮੈ ਵਿਚਹੁ ਖੋਵੈ ਤਉ ਨਾਨਕ ਸਹਜਿ ਸਮਾਵੈ ॥੬੪॥
How does one know one’s roots and the self; how does the moon get light from the sun?

Be Guru oriented, shed ego and you will get this enlightenment in mind (M: 5, p 945).
ਜੈਸੀ ਧਰਤੀ ਊਪਰਿ ਮੇਘੁਲਾ ਬਰਸਤੁ ਹੈ ਕਿਆ ਧਰਤੀ ਮਧੇ ਪਾਣੀ ਨਾਹੀ ॥ ਜੈਸੇ ਧਰਤੀ ਮਧੇ ਪਾਣੀ ਪਰਗਾਸਿਆ ਬਿਨੁ ਪਗਾ ਵਰਸਤ ਫਿਰਾਹੀ ॥੧॥

Literal meaning: whatever is the type of earth terrain the clouds drop rain there; is there no water in the earth? The way water is present in the earth but it still travels all over all over as clouds and drops the rain. 1.
Message: We go to Sadhsangat, the holy congregation to listen to Divine virtues; is God not present in the mind? The Divine is present within but also pervades all over, watches and bestows grace. The practice of listening to Naam revitalizes the mind and enables vision of the inner-self, M: 3, p 162.

Gurbani also refers to the phenomenon of meteors. One can see them but not their origin. Similarly we can see the creation but not the Creator who may be known through the guru’s teachings:
ਤਾਰਾ ਚੜਿਆ ਲੰਮਾ ਕਿਉ ਨਦਰਿ ਨਿਹਾਲਿਆ ਰਾਮ ॥ ਸੇਵਕ ਪੂਰ ਕਰੰਮਾ ਸਤਿਗੁਰਿ ਸਬਦਿ ਦਿਖਾਲਿਆ ਰਾਮ ॥

We can see a meteor but how do we understand the phenomenonand its source? Similarly how do we understand the Creator of the visible creation?

An accomplished devotee sees this through the guru’s teachings (M: 1, SGG, p 1110).


Gurbani sees the whole creation as one integrated whole in which its components are mutually supporting, controlled by the laws of nature. For this the metaphor of (soot) a string that controls the beads in a rosary is used.

ਸਗਲ ਸਮਗ੍ਰੀ ਜਾ ਕੈ ਸੂਤਿ ਪਰੋਈ ॥ ਘਟ ਘਟ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਰਵਿਆ ਸੋਈ ॥੨॥

Every thing is subject to the laws/control of the Creator,

who pervades every body and mind – every thing, 2. M: 5, p 387.
The entire universe has a central control and harmony between its components as is clear from the relationship between the sun, the moon and the earth. Guru Nanak likens this harmony to that in a musical group where one director directs players of different musical instruments and many singers together sing to the same tune. The Guru addresses the Creator:
What is that place from where You direct all activity and watch?

There are innumerable sounds of the musical instruments and numerous players;

There are numerous melodies, their tunes and singers, M:1, p 6.

Creation has a hierarchical structure organized into khands (individual planets), Mandals (galaxies), and Brahmands or Varbhands (universes). There are numerous universes. Guru Nanak says they acknowledge the Creator by being subject to the laws of nature:

ਗਾਵਹਿ ਖੰਡ ਮੰਡਲ ਵਰਭੰਡਾ ਕਰਿ ਕਰਿ ਰਖੇ ਧਾਰੇ ॥
The planets, galaxies and universes sing praises of the Creator who has established them in space and maintains them
A Galaxy is a large system of stars held together by mutual gravitation and isolated from similar systems by vast regions of space. Each galaxy has a solar system like ours. Our Galaxy is called the Milky Way.
The five elements forming all existence.
Five elements namely air (gases), water (liquids), earth (solids – soil and minerals), fire (heat and light energy) and sky (space) make creation:

ਅਪੁ ਤੇਜੁ ਵਾਇ ਪ੍ਰਿਥਮੀ ਆਕਾਸਾ ॥ ਤਿਨ ਮਹਿ ਪੰਚ ਤਤੁ ਘਰਿ ਵਾਸਾ ॥

Air, water, fire, earth and sky; The universe comprises of these five elements and has their characteristics, M: 1, p 1031.

The characteristics of these five elements are given thus. Enlightened devotees of the Creator display them :

Such a devotee is (Brahm giaani = one having knowledge of the Creator) one who has found Divine virtues within and lives by them. S/he:

ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਸਦਾ ਨਿਰਲੇਪ ॥ ਜੈਸੇ ਜਲ ਮਹਿ ਕਮਲ ਅਲੇਪ ॥

is ever untouched by vices in the world-play,

just as the lotus flower remains above the water it s in.

ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਸਦਾ ਨਿਰਦੋਖ ॥ ਜੈਸੇ ਸੂਰੁ ਸਰਬ ਕਉ ਸੋਖ ॥
is ever (nir-dokh) without antagonism to any one i.e. sheds all jealousy and is friendly to all;
the way (soor) the sun (sokh = dries up) provides heat (kau) to (sarab) all without discrimination.

ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਕੈ ਦ੍ਰਿਸਟਿ ਸਮਾਨਿ ॥ ਜੈਸੇ ਰਾਜ ਰੰਕ ਕਉ ਲਾਗੈ ਤੁਲਿ ਪਵਾਨ ॥

(kai dristi = looks at) treats all (samaan) equally,
just as (pavaan) the breeze (kau laagai) touches the (raaj) king and (rank) the pauper (tul) equally.

ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਕੈ ਧੀਰਜੁ ਏਕ ॥ ਜਿਉ ਬਸੁਧਾ ਕੋਊ ਖੋਦੈ ਕੋਊ ਚੰਦਨ ਲੇਪ ॥
Barahm gi▫ānī kai ḏẖīraj ek. Ji▫o basuḏẖā ko▫ū kẖoḏai ko▫ū cẖanḏan lep.

has (ek = one) unqualified (dheeraj) patience to every thing,
the way (bsaudha) the earth is unconcerned whether (kou) someone (khodai) digs it or (chandan lep) covers it with sandalwood paste i.e. it is so tolerant as not to care how it is treated.

ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਕਾ ਇਹੈ ਗੁਨਾਉ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਜਿਉ ਪਾਵਕ ਕਾ ਸਹਜ ਸੁਭਾਉ ॥੧॥

has (Ihai) this – naturally acting in goodness – (gunaao) the virtue of the way (paavak) fire has (sahj = equipoise) unchanging (subhaau) nature – that it always burns – says Nanak. 1.

ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਨਿਰਮਲ ਤੇ ਨਿਰਮਲਾ ॥ ਜੈਸੇ ਮੈਲੁ ਨ ਲਾਗੈ ਜਲਾ ॥

is (nirmala) purer (te) than (nirmal) the purest – by shedding all vices;
the way (mail) filth (na laagai) does not stick (jala) to water i.e. the way water sheds impurities by physical or chemical means, the brahm giaani sheds them naturally.

ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਕੈ ਮਨਿ ਹੋਇ ਪ੍ਰਗਾਸੁ ॥ ਜੈਸੇ ਧਰ ਊਪਰਿ ਆਕਾਸੁ ॥

(Kai mani) the mind of a brahm giaani (hoe pragaas) is illuminated – by Divine virtues,

the way there is (aakaas) sky (oopar) above (dhar) the earth – and it is lit by the sun during day and the moon at night. M: 5, p 272.

Guru wonders when the creation came into being and avers that no one except the Creator can answer this. This is done using the terminology usually employed by the respective people. He asks:

ਕਵਣੁ ਸੁ ਵੇਲਾ ਵਖਤੁ ਕਵਣੁ ਕਵਣ ਥਿਤਿ ਕਵਣੁ ਵਾਰੁ ॥
ਕਵਣਿ ਸਿ ਰੁਤੀ ਮਾਹੁ ਕਵਣੁ ਜਿਤੁ ਹੋਆ ਆਕਾਰੁ ॥

What time, part of the day, what phase in the lunar cycle what day of the week;
Or the season, the month of the year it was when existence came into being?

And answers:

ਵੇਲ ਨ ਪਾਈਆ ਪੰਡਤੀ ਜਿ ਹੋਵੈ ਲੇਖੁ ਪੁਰਾਣੁ ॥
ਵਖਤੁ ਨ ਪਾਇਓ ਕਾਦੀਆ ਜਿ ਲਿਖਨਿ ਲੇਖੁ ਕੁਰਾਣੁ ॥
ਥਿਤਿ ਵਾਰੁ ਨਾ ਜੋਗੀ ਜਾਣੈ ਰੁਤਿ ਮਾਹੁ ਨਾ ਕੋਈ ॥
ਜਾ ਕਰਤਾ ਸਿਰਠੀ ਕਉ ਸਾਜੇ ਆਪੇ ਜਾਣੈ ਸੋਈ ॥

The Hindu Pundits did not know the time so as to write in the Vedas
The Muslim Qazis also did not know so they could write in the Quran;
The Yogis do not know the period of the lunar cycle or the day; no one knows the season or the month;
The Creator who made the universe alone knows.

It may be seen that the terms Vayla and vakht (vaqt) used by the Hindus and Muslims respectively have been employed for ‘time’. Similarly the lunar phases are given significance by the Yogis and hence that association has been shown. Seasons and months are used by all

The Guru continues:

ਕਿਵ ਕਰਿ ਆਖਾ ਕਿਵ ਸਾਲਾਹੀ ਕਿਉ ਵਰਨੀ ਕਿਵ ਜਾਣਾ ॥
ਨਾਨਕ ਆਖਣਿ ਸਭੁ ਕੋ ਆਖੈ ਇਕ ਦੂ ਇਕੁ ਸਿਆਣਾ ॥

How can any one know or describe the origin of creation and praise the Creator?
Every one however claims to know the answer; one trying to outdo the other in display of wisdom.

But it is futile:

ਵਡਾ ਸਾਹਿਬੁ ਵਡੀ ਨਾਈ ਕੀਤਾ ਜਾ ਕਾ ਹੋਵੈ ॥
ਨਾਨਕ ਜੇ ਕੋ ਆਪੌ ਜਾਣੈ ਅਗੈ ਗਇਆ ਨ ਸੋਹੈ ॥੨੧॥

The Master is great as are Its virtues and the creation;
One who claims to know ultimately cuts a sorry figure. 21.
Examples of animals, birds and insects.

ਜਿਉ ਮਛੁਲੀ ਬਿਨੁ ਪਾਣੀਐ ਕਿਉ ਜੀਵਣੁ ਪਾਵੈ ॥ ਬੂੰਦ ਵਿਹੂਣਾ ਚਾਤ੍ਰਿਕੋ ਕਿਉ ਕਰਿ ਤ੍ਰਿਪਤਾਵੈ ॥ ਨਾਦ ਕੁਰੰਕਹਿ ਬੇਧਿਆ ਸਨਮੁਖ ਉਠਿ ਧਾਵੈ ॥ ਭਵਰੁ ਲੋਭੀ ਕੁਸਮ ਬਾਸੁ ਕਾ ਮਿਲਿ ਆਪੁ ਬੰਧਾਵੈ ॥ ਤਿਉ ਸੰਤ ਜਨਾ ਹਰਿ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਹੈ ਦੇਖਿ ਦਰਸੁ ਅਘਾਵੈ ॥੧੨॥ 5, 708

The way the fish cannot survive without water,

the rain bird is not satisfied except by the rain drop falling into its mouth;

the deer fascinated by music starts running – and gets caught/killed;

the bumblebee gets caught because of its greed for the fragrance of the flower;

similarly the seekers love the Creator and are satisfied to have vision of the Master within. 12. M; 5, p 708.

For some virtues have no value.

ਚੰਦਨ ਲੇਪੁ ਉਤਾਰੈ ਧੋਇ ॥ ਗਰਧਬ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਭਸਮ ਸੰਗਿ ਹੋਇ ॥
If it is coated with sandalwood paste, it throws it away,
since the donkey loves dust. M: 5, p 267.

ਮਾਖੀ ਰਾਮ ਕੀ ਤੂ ਮਾਖੀ ॥ ਜਹ ਦੁਰਗੰਧ ਤਹਾ ਤੂ ਬੈਸਹਿ ਮਹਾ ਬਿਖਿਆ ਮਦ ਚਾਖੀ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥

O fly, you have been given your nature by the Creator;
you sit where there is filth; you have tasted and become intoxicated by poison; i.e. those caught in vices always run after them. M: 5, p 1227.

Pride in virtuous acts negates them.

ਤੀਰਥ ਬਰਤ ਅਰੁ ਦਾਨ ਕਰਿ ਮਨ ਮੈ ਧਰੈ ਗੁਮਾਨੁ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਨਿਹਫਲ ਜਾਤ ਤਿਹ ਜਿਉ ਕੁੰਚਰ ਇਸਨਾਨੁ ॥੪੬॥

If after living by (barat) resolution or giving in charity, one feels proud;
then consider that like bath to an elephant because it throws dust over itself. M: 9, p 1428.

Vices and creatures

ਮ੍ਰਿਗ ਮੀਨ ਭ੍ਰਿੰਗ ਪਤੰਗ ਕੁੰਚਰ ਏਕ ਦੋਖ ਬਿਨਾਸ ॥ ਪੰਚ ਦੋਖ ਅਸਾਧ ਜਾ ਮਹਿ ਤਾ ਕੀ ਕੇਤਕ ਆਸ ॥੧॥

The deer loves music, the fish goes for the bait, the moth for the lamp, the bumblebee for the flower and the elephant to satisfy lust; they all have one vice each for which they suffer;

what hope then for the humans who have five uncontrollable vices? 1. Ravidas, p 486.

ਕਾਲਬੂਤ ਕੀ ਹਸਤਨੀ ਮਨ ਬਉਰਾ ਰੇ ਚਲਤੁ ਰਚਿਓ ਜਗਦੀਸ ॥ ਕਾਮ ਸੁਆਇ ਗਜ ਬਸਿ ਪਰੇ ਮਨ ਬਉਰਾ ਰੇ ਅੰਕਸੁ ਸਹਿਓ ਸੀਸ ॥੧॥

This is the play of the Creator my crazy mind, that a mold of a female elephant is placed,
and because of its lust the elephant goes for it, gets caught and has to bear the iron rod used by its driver.1. Kabir, p 335.

This shabad has also examples of how the monkey and the parrot are caught.

Months of the year and associated seasons.

ਚੇਤੁ ਬਸੰਤੁ ਭਲਾ ਭਵਰ ਸੁਹਾਵੜੇ ॥ ਬਨ ਫੂਲੇ ਮੰਝ ਬਾਰਿ ਮੈ ਪਿਰੁ ਘਰਿ ਬਾਹੁੜੈ ॥

The month of Chet (March-April) is pleasant and the bumblebee looks good on the flowers blossoming in the open; how I wish my beloved comes home and takes me in his arms – i.e. I experience the love of the Creator within. M: 1, p 1107.

ਵੈਸਾਖੁ ਭਲਾ ਸਾਖਾ ਵੇਸ ਕਰੇ ॥ ਧਨ ਦੇਖੈ ਹਰਿ ਦੁਆਰਿ ਆਵਹੁ ਦਇਆ ਕਰੇ ॥

The month of Baisaakh (Apri-May) is pleasant when the tree branches are adorned with fresh leaves; the soul bride looks for (hari) the Creator at the mind’s gate, asking the Master to kindly come i.e. experience within. M: 1, p 1108.

These verse are from Tukhaari Chhant M:1. The other ten months follow these sequentially from page 1108 onwards.

A similar coverage is given to the twelve months in Baraah Maah Maajh 0n pages 133-136.

Six seasons M: 5, pp 927-929.

ਰੁਤਿ ਸਰਸ ਬਸੰਤ ਮਾਹ ਚੇਤੁ ਵੈਸਾਖ ਸੁਖ ਮਾਸੁ ਜੀਉ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਜੀਉ ਨਾਹੁ ਮਿਲਿਆ ਮਉਲਿਆ ਮਨੁ ਤਨੁ ਸਾਸੁ ਜੀਉ ॥

The enjoyable spring season falls in the months of Chet-Vaisaakh . Similarly when the human mind finds the Master, the mind, body and soul blossom.

ਗ੍ਰੀਖਮ ਰੁਤਿ ਅਤਿ ਗਾਖੜੀ ਜੇਠ ਅਖਾੜੈ ਘਾਮ ਜੀਉ ॥ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਬਿਛੋਹੁ ਦੁਹਾਗਣੀ ਦ੍ਰਿਸਟਿ ਨ ਕਰੀ ਰਾਮ ਜੀਉ ॥

The heat of summer in Jeth-Asaar is uncomfortable and so is the mortal who has lost Divine love and separated from the Master by not deserving Divine grace.

ਰੁਤਿ ਬਰਸੁ ਸੁਹੇਲੀਆ ਸਾਵਣ ਭਾਦਵੇ ਆਨੰਦ ਜੀਉ ॥

The rainy season of Saavan-Bhaadav is comfortable and blissful.

ਰੁਤਿ ਸਰਦ ਅਡੰਬਰੋ ਅਸੂ ਕਤਕੇ ਹਰਿ ਪਿਆਸ ਜੀਉ ॥

At the beginning of cool season in Asu- Katak one needs warmth of the heart and thirsts for the Creator.

ਰੁਤਿ ਸਿਸੀਅਰ ਸੀਤਲ ਹਰਿ ਪ੍ਰਗਟੇ ਮੰਘਰ ਪੋਹਿ ਜੀਉ ॥

The winter season of Manghar-Poh is cold; similarly one in whose mind the creator manifests, is at peace.

ਹਿਮਕਰ ਰੁਤਿ ਮਨਿ ਭਾਵਤੀ ਮਾਘੁ ਫਗਣੁ ਗੁਣਵੰਤ ਜੀਉ ॥

The snowy season is in Maagh-Phalgun and feels good.

Lunar cycle pp296-300.

The moon increases in size in the waxing phase from the new moon to full moon called Punia or Pooranmaashi in fourteen days. It decreases in the waning phase from full moon to the moonless night called Amaavas or Masia again in fourteen days. Gurbani draws spiritual messages from these numbers.

ਏਕਮ ਏਕੰਕਾਰੁ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਕਰਉ ਬੰਦਨਾ ਧਿਆਇ ॥

First: acknowledge unity of the Creator, remember and pay obeisance

ਦੁਤੀਆ ਦੁਰਮਤਿ ਦੂਰਿ ਕਰਿ ਗੁਰ ਸੇਵਾ ਕਰਿ ਨੀਤ ॥

Second: shed evil thoughts on duality and follow the guru’s teachings.

ਤ੍ਰਿਤੀਆ ਤ੍ਰੈ ਗੁਣ ਬਿਖੈ ਫਲ ਕਬ ਉਤਮ ਕਬ ਨੀਚੁ ॥

Third: the three modes of material nature look good for a while but then there is frustration.

And so on.

Days of the week. M: 3, 841-43

ਆਦਿਤ ਵਾਰਿ ਆਦਿ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਹੈ ਸੋਈ ॥

Sunday is the first day of the week; in the beginning of time it was the Creator.

ਸੋਮਵਾਰਿ ਸਚਿ ਰਹਿਆ ਸਮਾਇ ॥ ਤਿਸ ਕੀ ਕੀਮਤਿ ਕਹੀ ਨ ਜਾਇ ॥

Monday. One who remains absorbed in the Eternal Master,
his/her value (state) is hard to describe.

ਮੰਗਲਿ ਮਾਇਆ ਮੋਹੁ ਉਪਾਇਆ ॥ ਆਪੇ ਸਿਰਿ ਸਿਰਿ ਧੰਧੈ ਲਾਇਆ ॥

Tuesday: The Creator gave attachment to the world-play;
and put every one on their tasks.

And so on.

Comments on the lunar cycle and days of the week- Superstitions.

ਆਪੇ ਪੂਰਾ ਕਰੇ ਸੁ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਏਹਿ ਥਿਤੀ ਵਾਰ ਦੂਜਾ ਦੋਇ ॥ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਬਾਝਹੁ ਅੰਧੁ ਗੁਬਾਰੁ ॥ ਥਿਤੀ ਵਾਰ ਸੇਵਹਿ ਮੁਗਧ ਗਵਾਰ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਬੂਝੈ ਸੋਝੀ ਪਾਇ ॥ ਇਕਤੁ ਨਾਮਿ ਸਦਾ ਰਹਿਆ ਸਮਾਇ ॥੧੦॥੨॥ 3, 843

Whatever the perfect Master does happens,
these lunar cycle and days of the week are duality;
it is sheer ignorance without the true guru,
only ignorant fools believe in the lunar cycle and days of the week;
one who follows the guru’s teachings, understands this;
that person ever remains absorbed in the virtues of the One Master, says Nanak. M: 3, p 843.

Day and night

ਪਵਣੁ ਗੁਰੂ ਪਾਣੀ ਪਿਤਾ ਮਾਤਾ ਧਰਤਿ ਮਹਤੁ ॥
ਦਿਵਸੁ ਰਾਤਿ ਦੁਇ ਦਾਈ ਦਾਇਆ ਖੇਲੈ ਸਗਲ ਜਗਤੁ ॥
ਚੰਗਿਆਈਆ ਬੁਰਿਆਈਆ ਵਾਚੈ ਧਰਮੁ ਹਦੂਰਿ ॥
ਕਰਮੀ ਆਪੋ ਆਪਣੀ ਕੇ ਨੇੜੈ ਕੇ ਦੂਰਿ ॥
ਜਿਨੀ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਇਆ ਗਏ ਮਸਕਤਿ ਘਾਲਿ ॥
ਨਾਨਕ ਤੇ ਮੁਖ ਉਜਲੇ ਕੇਤੀ ਛੁਟੀ ਨਾਲਿ ॥੧॥

Treating the air is the guru, the water as father and the earth as the great mother;
The world plays the game of life guided by day and night as the nannies;
Deeds, good and bad are described by Dharam Rai in God’s presence;
As a result some are allowed near God and others kept away;
The toil of those who remember Naam (and obey Hukam) is successful;
They will be rewarded, numerous others being saved in their company. 1.

ਰੈਣਿ ਗਵਾਈ ਸੋਇ ਕੈ ਦਿਵਸੁ ਗਵਾਇਆ ਖਾਇ ॥ ਹੀਰੇ ਜੈਸਾ ਜਨਮੁ ਹੈ ਕਉਡੀ ਬਦਲੇ ਜਾਇ ॥੧॥
A person who wastes the night sleeping and day eating i.e. enjoying objects of pleasure,
his/her jewel like sublime human birth is spent on worthless pursuits. M: 1, p 156.

Raag Malaar represents rainy season.

ਸਾਵਣੁ ਆਇਆ ਹੇ ਸਖੀ ਕੰਤੈ ਚਿਤਿ ਕਰੇਹੁ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਝੂਰਿ ਮਰਹਿ ਦੋਹਾਗਣੀ ਜਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹ ਅਵਰੀ ਲਾਗਾ ਨੇਹੁ ॥੧॥

The rainy season has come – it is romantic – think of the Beloved, my friends;

one who does not enjoy the love of the Beloved dies wailing, says Nanak. M: 2. p 1280.

Rain brings happines to some and sorrow to some others.

ਨਾਨਕ ਸਾਵਣਿ ਜੇ ਵਸੈ ਚਹੁ ਓਮਾਹਾ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਨਾਗਾਂ ਮਿਰਗਾਂ ਮਛੀਆਂ ਰਸੀਆਂ ਘਰਿ ਧਨੁ ਹੋਇ ॥੧॥

Says Nanak: When it rains four types of creatures are enthused;

they are snakes, deer, fish and the revelers having money to enjoy. 1.

ਨਾਨਕ ਸਾਵਣਿ ਜੇ ਵਸੈ ਚਹੁ ਵੇਛੋੜਾ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਗਾਈ ਪੁਤਾ ਨਿਰਧਨਾ ਪੰਥੀ ਚਾਕਰੁ ਹੋਇ ॥੨॥ When it rains four types of creatures are uprooted/troubled;

they are the oxen (they have to till the soil), the poor who have no home or are on daily wages, the travelers and the servants. M:1. p 1279.


ਇਹੁ ਤਨੁ ਧਰਤੀ ਬੀਜੁ ਕਰਮਾ ਕਰੋ ਸਲਿਲ ਆਪਾਉ ਸਾਰਿੰਗਪਾਣੀ ॥ ਮਨੁ ਕਿਰਸਾਣੁ ਹਰਿ ਰਿਦੈ ਜੰਮਾਇ ਲੈ ਇਉ ਪਾਵਸਿ ਪਦੁ ਨਿਰਬਾਣੀ ॥੧॥

Look at your body as the soil, your deeds the seeds and remembrance of the Creator the irrigation,

treat your mind the farmer and grow the love of the Master in your heart; this is how you can attain the state of emancipation. M: 1, p 23.

ਅਮਲੁ ਕਰਿ ਧਰਤੀ ਬੀਜੁ ਸਬਦੋ ਕਰਿ ਸਚ ਕੀ ਆਬ ਨਿਤ ਦੇਹਿ ਪਾਣੀ ॥ ਹੋਇ ਕਿਰਸਾਣੁ ਈਮਾਨੁ ਜੰਮਾਇ ਲੈ ਭਿਸਤੁ ਦੋਜਕੁ ਮੂੜੇ ਏਵ ਜਾਣੀ ॥੧॥

Make your deeds the soil, the guru’s word/teachings the seeds, and irrigate it with the virtues of the Eternal Master,

do the above as a farmer, and let your righteous actions grow; you will then understand what leads to heaven and what to hell, M: 1, p 24.

Basant – the spring season.
ਮਉਲੀ ਧਰਤੀ ਮਉਲਿਆ ਅਕਾਸੁ ॥ ਘਟਿ ਘਟਿ ਮਉਲਿਆ ਆਤਮ ਪ੍ਰਗਾਸੁ ॥੧॥
ਰਾਜਾ ਰਾਮੁ ਮਉਲਿਆ ਅਨਤ ਭਾਇ ॥ ਜਹ ਦੇਖਉ ਤਹ ਰਹਿਆ ਸਮਾਇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥

It is spring; the earth blossoms and so does the (sky) atmosphere;
similarly the bodies and minds of creatures blossom when the inner-self is is enlightened by discovering the Divine within. 1.

The Sovereign all pervasive Master with IT’s unlimited love makes every thing blossom and it is so every where in spring. Dwel and contemplate, Kabir p 1193.

ਪਹਿਲ ਬਸੰਤੈ ਆਗਮਨਿ ਪਹਿਲਾ ਮਉਲਿਓ ਸੋਇ ॥ ਜਿਤੁ ਮਉਲਿਐ ਸਭ ਮਉਲੀਐ ਤਿਸਹਿ ਨ ਮਉਲਿਹੁ ਕੋਇ ॥੧॥

Nature blossoms in spring; but the Creator came before spring and blossomed first of all,

by IT’s blossoming (grace) every thing blossoms but none can make IT blossom. M: 1, p 791.