My Tool Box -SGGS


The Workman

When 5-year old preschoolers are given art paper, scissors, pencils, paints or glue for a project, each draws and paints on a given topic BUT the end project is never the same! Each kid draws “My Parents” yet each drawing differs from the rest. The same tools are used but the end project is dissimilar as it is dependant on the prowess of the ‘workman.’





The primary kid begins to write up school projects and this continues right up to Phd where he has to write a thesis. Although not every kid makes it from drawing his parents to writing a thesis like Prof Sahib Singh has on SGGS ji, each kid and his parents appreciate what he does as do others.

Each of us is a ‘workman’ who has to use tools to produce our own ‘project’ unlike a robot simply standing and watching the production of a machine-made ‘project’ go by on the line! The ‘workman’ has to use the tools in his toolbox to show what he has done with them and one is even able to erect a factory by using available tools though one does not use all the tools at the same time.‬‬

The Manual

Any procured equipment or machine comes with a manual with explicit instructions on what to do and what not to do. When an incompetent mechanic opens up an engine without reading the manual properly, he will end up with a lot of extra screws/nuts/bolts after his re-assembly.

The same happens with some Sikhs. When they read the SGGS ji without proper guidance they end up with many tuks (lines) that seem EXTRA to them! Actually just as each screw/nut/bolt has its place and function, each tuk too has its place and function in the verse.

The Divine Toolbox

SGGS ji is an encyclopedia resplendant with messages that guide us on our spiritual journey. This ‘toolbox’ is for all of us to access as we work on our personal ‘project.’ Each progressive stage in our ‘project’ is dependant on our choice of tool from the toolbox (divine text) and its application. How we read, interpret and accept the tools within Gurbani poetry will decide what our internalisation will be and what our end project (away from I, me, mine) becomes.

Naam can be “uttered” at the basic learning stage but the goal is to go beyond the A for apple, B for Ball stage and proceed to ajaap which is no more merely tongue-twisting and begin to “SEE HIM” in all His Creation. Have a constant reminder of HIM in our conscious and subconscious memory.

Guru ji gives us examples of the cow grazing in the fields busy feeding its seven stomachs but its mind is constantly on the calf she left behind in the farmer’s house. Flamingoes fly hundreds of miles looking for food but constantly in their minds are the chicks left behind in the nests!

SGGS 10Rag Gujri M : 5

ਊਡੇ ਊਡਿ ਆਵੈ ਸੈ ਕੋਸਾ ਤਿਸੁ ਪਾਛੈ ਬਚਰੇ ਛਰਿਆ ॥

Oodey Oodd Avai Sai Kosa Tis Pachai Bachrey Chhareya ||

The flamingoes fly hundreds of miles, leaving their young ones behind.

The cow and the birds obviously don’t utter the “Naam” (jap) but obviously they constantly remember the object of their devotion as they are cows and birds. We humans are on a higher plane so we are expected to do much more. But are we?

SGGS 612 Rag Sorath M : 5

ਗੁਰੁ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਜਿਨ ਸੁਣਿਆ ਪੇਖਿਆ ਸੇ ਫਿਰਿ ਗਰਭਾਸਿ ਨ ਪਰਿਆ ਰੇ ॥੪॥੨॥

Nanak Jin Sunniah Pekhiyah Se Fir Garbhas Na Pareya Rey

Millions saw him, millions heard him, they still do, but the sunniah pekhiah is not seeing in 20/20 vision or with goggles on. It’s following HIM in what HE did/does and not to be ‘reborn.’

The “sunniah pekyhiyah” that Guru Nanak Sahib ji is talking about is to listen/see HIM (Creator); that which is impossible with our physical eyes and ears.

BUT the Nanaksarees and other dehdharees are going around saying that “seeing/listening” to Nanak the deh (body) is enough to save us from rebirth (and their refernce to rebirth is another fallacy). That’s why their Baba Nand Singh claims he saw Guru Nanak Sahib ji jumping out of the SGGS ji and eating the parshaada (bread) he prepared on a daily basis!

Many continue to practise the Nanaksaree way of seeing/listening by peeking under the rumalla (cloth covering) during daily matha tek (supplication with head bowed) they hope that seeing the words of Gurbani is enough to save them.

This is a fallacy. How do you complete a project without proper use of the toolbox? Without reading, understanding and internalising SGGS text?

The Basic Apparatus

SGGS 433 Rag Asa M :1

ਫਫੈ ਫਾਹੀ ਸਭੁ ਜਗੁ ਫਾਸਾ ਜਮ ਕੈ ਸੰਗਲਿ ਬੰਧਿ ਲਇਆ ॥

ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦੀ ਸੇ ਨਰ ਉਬਰੇ ਜਿ ਹਰਿ ਸਰਣਾਗਤਿ ਭਜਿ ਪਇਆ ॥੨੫॥  

We are trapped in the net of Maya and fear of death. Those who escape this net are those who can grasp the true message.

The divine message is devoid of external references, one that can be validated within Gurbani text and is reiterated throughout the SGGS ji. It is an authentic and complete manual!

Gurmatt is not about multiple chanting of any name. HE can’t have a name because he’s beyond names. All we can hope for is to emulate his gunns (attributes like kindness, truth etc) and spend our lifetime gathering those diamonds of gunns and living them.

SGGS 102 Rag Maajh M : 5

ਜੋ ਕਿਛੁ ਠਾਕੁਰ ਕਾ ਸੋ ਸੇਵਕ ਕਾ ਸੇਵਕੁ ਠਾਕੁਰ ਹੀ ਸੰਗਿ ਜਾਹਰੁ ਜੀਉ ॥੩॥

Jo Kich Thakur Ka So Sevak Ka, Sevak Thakur Hee Sang Jahar Jeeo ||3||

That which belongs to the Lord and Master, belongs to His servant. The servant becomes distinguished in association with his Lord and Master.

Although SGGS ji is a toolbox, our manual on life ; it is not a factory that churns out similar products. We must put our own take on each shabad. Not everyone is a learned scholar and we don’t have to be one, but each of us is definitely a student or apprentice. The apprentice shows his “projects” to the teacher/master who will then evaluate and grade accordingly as well as provide the corrections.

SGGS 1048 Rag Maru M :3

ਦੇਹੀ ਕਾਚੀ ਕਾਗਦ ਮਿਕਦਾਰਾ ॥

Dehee Kaachee Kagadh Mikdhara ||

ਬੂੰਦ ਪਵੈ ਬਿਨਸੈ ਢਹਤ ਨ ਲਾਗੈ ਬਾਰਾ ॥

Boondh Paveh Binseh Tehath N Lageh Bara ||

ਕੰਚਨ ਕਾਇਆ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਬੂਝੈ ਜਿਸੁ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਨਿਵਾਸੀ ਹੇ

Kanchan Kaeya Gurmukh Boojheh Jis Antar Nam Nivasee Hai ||4||

The body is frail and perishable, like paper.

When the drop of water falls upon it, it crumbles and dissolves instantaneously.

But the body of the Gurmukh, who understands, is like gold; the Nam, the Name of the Lord, dwells deep within. ||4||

The Master Device

In a composition called Patee, Guru Nanak Sahib Ji writes this.

SGGS 433 Rag Asa M : 1

ਪਪੈ ਪਾਤਿਸਾਹੁ ਪਰਮੇਸਰੁ ਵੇਖਣ ਕਉ ਪਰਪੰਚੁ ਕੀਆ ॥

ਦੇਖੈ ਬੂਝੈ ਸਭੁ ਕਿਛੁ ਜਾਣੈ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਰਵਿ ਰਹਿਆ ॥੨੪॥

Pappeh Paatshah Parmeshar, Vekhann Kao Parpanch Keeyah.

Dekheh, Bujheh, Sabh Kich Janneh, Antar Bahar Rav Raheeya.

Akal Purakh, the Emperor has created this world, so that we the mortals can behold him through it. Like a mirror (darpan), the world is a reflection of the Creator. He understands all beings. He knows them all by pervading in and out of this Creation.  

It is the shabad guru who holds the master key.


SGGS 293 Rag Gauri Sukhmani M : 5

ਗਿਆਨ ਅੰਜਨੁ ਗੁਰਿ ਦੀਆ ਅਗਿਆਨ ਅੰਧੇਰ ਬਿਨਾਸੁ ॥

Gyan Anjun Gur Deeya Agyan Andher Binas ||

The enlightenment (Gyan) of Shabad (Anjun) Guru has eliminated completely (Binas) my spiritual ignorance (Agyan Andher). 

The word Anjun literally means eyeliner (Kajol or Surma). The belief is that putting Surma daily improves the wearer’s eyesight.  But in this salok Anjun means the Shabad because the task of giving us 20/20 spiritual “sight”is the function of the Shabad.

ਹਰਿ ਕਿਰਪਾ ਤੇ ਸੰਤ ਭੇਟਿਆ ਨਾਨਕ ਮਨਿ ਪਰਗਾਸੁ ॥੧॥

Har Kirpa Tey Sant Bhetiya Nanak Munn Pargaas ||1||

This spiritually enlightening (Munn Pargas) Shabad Guru (Sant) has been gifted (Bheytia) to me through the Grace (Kirpa) of the Creator (Har)

If we read it carefully each verse talks of a gift. It is the same gift even if two different metaphors are used.  The first verse says Deeya (given) and the second verse says Bhetiya (gifted). 

What is given in the first verse is Anjun.

What is gifted in the second verse is Sant (Sant Bhetiya). 

Therefore we can conclude that Anjun is equivalent to Sant. Since enlightenment is the outcome of both these gifts – they refer to the Shabad. That is why they are both translated as Shabad

SGGS 945 Rag Ramkali M : 1

ਸੁ ਸਬਦੁ ਨਿਰੰਤਰਿ ਨਿਜ ਘਰਿ ਆਛੈ ਤ੍ਰਿਭਵਣ ਜੋਤਿ ਸੁ ਸਬਦਿ ਲਹੈ ॥

So Sabad Nirantar Nij Ghar Acheh Tribhavan Jot So Sabad Laheh ||

This Shabad permeates the nucleus of the self, deep within, in its own home; the Light of this Shabad pervades the three worlds.

Guru Nanak Sahib ji has gifted every Sikh the SGGS ji, and it is THE DIVINE TOOLBOX indispensable to our spiritual journey.

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