Koee Janeiy Kavn Eha Jug Meet

 Karminder Singh PhD (Boston)

Koee Janeiy Kavn Eha Jug Meet

ਕੋਈ ਜਾਨੈ ਕਵਨੁ ਈਹਾ ਜਗਿ ਮੀਤੁ ॥ Koee Janeiy Kavn Eha Jug Meet

Karminder Singh PhD (Boston)



ਜੈਤਸਰੀ ਮਹਲਾ ੫ ਘਰੁ ੩ ॥ ੴ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ ॥

Jaitsree Mehla 5 Ghar 3 Ek Oangkar Satgur Parsad.

ਕੋਈ ਜਾਨੈ ਕਵਨੁ ਈਹਾ ਜਗਿ ਮੀਤੁ ॥

Koee Janeiy Kvn Eha Jug Meet.

Koee – One in many, Rare. Janeiy – Lit. Know; Realization. Kvn– How, What. Eha Jug– Lit. This world; Spiritual World, Spiritual Journey; Spirituality. Meet– Lit. Friend, Acquaintance, Associate; Mind. 

Rare is the Realization Pertaining to Spirituality, O Mind

Note: The messages of Gurbani are addressed to the mind. Words such as ਭਾਈ ਰੇ Bhai Ray, ਅਰੀ ਬਾਈ Aree Bayi, ਮਾਈ ਮੈ Mayi Mein, ਮੇਰੇ ਮੀਤ Mayrey Meet etc. even if literally referring to relations are often used to address the mind.

ਜਿਸੁ ਹੋਇ ਕ੍ਰਿਪਾਲੁ ਸੋਈ ਬਿਧਿ ਬੂਝੈ ਤਾ ਕੀ ਨਿਰਮਲ ਰੀਤਿ ॥ ੧ ॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥

Jis Hoey Kirpal Soi Bidh Bhujey Ta Ki Nirmal Reet

Jis – Which. Hoey – Lit. Happens, takes place. Jis Hoey – Through which. Kirpal – The Creator. Soi Bidh– That Way (of Spirituality). Bhujey– Lit. Know; Realization. Ta Ki– Of which, Whose. Nirmal– Lit. Without Contamination; Unique. Reet – Lit. Practices; Conduct, Manner.

Through Which Spirituality the Creator is Realized and Whose Manner is Unique.

BLUE – Context from previous verse.

ਮਾਤ ਪਿਤਾ ਬਨਿਤਾ ਸੁਤ ਬੰਧਪ ਇਸਟ ਮੀਤ ਅਰੁ ਭਾਈ ॥

Maat Pita Banta Sut Bhandup Esht Meet Ar Bhayee

Maat Pita– Lit. Parents. Banta– Lit. Wife. Sut– Lit. Children. Bhandup– Lit. Friends. EshtMeet– Lit. Close friends. Ar– O. Bhayee– Lit. Brother.

Note: The phrase “Maat Pita Banta Sut Bhandup Esht Meet” collectively refers to the family and associates. This verse is generally translated to mean that these relations and relatives are OBSTACLES and HINDRANCES to our spirituality and of no help in our spiritual journey.

The literal meaning cannot be applied for the following two reasons:

  1. Saying that our parents, spouses, siblings, family etc. are HINDRANCES and OBSTACLES to spirituality is NOT a Gurmat concept. All of these are God given and to be treated with love and respect – not with the suspicion that they are obstacles. Treating the family as such, and renouncing it was indeed part of the pre-1469 spiritual practices; but Gurbani has critiqued it.
  2. If accepted in the literal sense, the verse would NOT apply to a FEMALE because a female cannot have a Banta “wife” and because the word “husband” is not included in the list of family. This would mean that the verse would have no applicability to half the human world. This is not the norm in Gurbani. All of Gurbani applies to all of human-kind.
  3. The final two words of the verse “Ar Bhayee” (O Mind!) makes clear that Guru Arjun is addressing the Mind. If the word “Bhayee” is translated literally as “brother” then the question arises as to why “sisters” are left out.

The issue in the Rahao verse is Spirituality that brings about realization of the Creator. The issue in this verse is therefore being addressed to the mind.

The spiritual message of the verser therefore is with regard to “family and associates” of the MIND. The family of the Mind consists of the SENSES as they are closely related to the mind. The associates of the MIND are the innumerable thoughts and ideas that keep emanating from it, reside within the mind and define our mind.

The SENSES and our THOUGHTS have a REAL and IMPACTFUL bearing on our spirituality. This is the uniqueness of the messages of Gurbani in general and this shabd in particular. So the verse would have to be interpreted accordingly.

ਮਾਤ ਪਿਤਾ ਬਨਿਤਾ ਸੁਤ ਬੰਧਪ ਇਸਟ ਮੀਤ ਅਰੁ ਭਾਈ ॥

Maat Pita Banta Sut Bhandup Esht Meet Ar Bhayee

Maat Pita Banta Sut – Lit. Parents, Wife, Children, Family; Senses. Bhandup, Esht Meet– Lit. Friends, Close friends; Thoughts that are close to the mind. Ar– O. Bhayee– Lit. Brother; O Mind.

All My Senses and Thoughts That Remain Close to Me; O Mind!

ਪੂਰਬ ਜਨਮ ਕੇ ਮਿਲੇ ਸੰਜੋਗੀ ਅੰਤਹਿ ਕੋ ਨ ਸਹਾਈ ॥ ੧ ॥

Purub Janm Kei Miley Sanjogi Anthey Ko Na Sahayi.

Purub – Origin, start. Janm– Life. Kei– Of. Miley– Received. Sanjogi– Associates; partners. Anthey Ko – That Inner, Within. Na Sahayi– Do not assist.

They Originate with, and are Partners of Life; Yet Do Not Assist That Inner Journey of Realization of the Creator Within

BLUE – Context from Rahao Verse.

ਮੁਕਤਿ ਮਾਲ ਕਨਿਕ ਲਾਲ ਹੀਰਾ ਮਨ ਰੰਜਨ ਕੀ ਮਾਇਆ ॥

Mukt Mal Kank Lal Hira Mun Ranjun Ki Maya

Mukt– Freedom, Emancipation. Mal– Lit. collection of beads; Treasure. Kank Lal Hira – Lit. Gold, Gems; Invaluable. Mun – Mind. Ranjun– Origin (Runj) – Imbued. Ki – Of. Maya– Illusion.

My Senses and Thoughts Are an Invaluable Treasure for My Emancipation O Mind; Yet Are Imbued in Illusions

BLUE – Context from Previous Verse.

ਹਾ ਹਾ ਕਰਮ ਬਿਹਾਨੀ ਅਵਧਹਿ ਤਾ ਮਹਿ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ ਨ ਪਾਇਆ ॥ ੨ ॥

Ha Ha Karm Bihani Avdheh Ta Meh Santokh Na Paya

Ha Ha Karm– Deeds of Self Interest. Bihani– Spent, passed. Avdheh– Life. Ta – Result, Outcome. Meh– I. Santokh– Contentment. Na Paya – Not Realized.

Imbued in Those Illusions My Life Has Passed in Deeds of Selfishness; the Result of Which I have Not Realized Contentment

BLUE – Context from Previous Verse.

ਹਸਤਿ ਰਥ ਅਸ੍ਵ ਪਵਨ ਤੇਜ ਧਣੀ ਭੂਮਨ ਚਤੁਰਾਂਗਾ ॥

Hast Ruth Asth Pavan Tej Dhanni Bhuman Chatranga

Hast-Lit. Elephant; metaphor for Pride (of size and strength). Ruth Asth Pavan Tej– Lit. Charriots Pulled by Horses that Run Faster than the Wind; metaphor for Power. Dhanni– Wealthy. Bhuman– Lit. Land Proprietor. Chatranga– Lit. Four types of armies; metaphor for Enormous Power.

These Deeds of Selfishness Can Create Mammoth Pride, Immense Wealth and Enormous Power

BLUE – Context from Previous Verse.

ਸੰਗਿ ਨ ਚਾਲਿਓ ਇਨ ਮਹਿ ਕਛੂਐ ਊਠਿ ਸਿਧਾਇਓ ਨਾਂਗਾ ॥ ੩ ॥

Sungg Na Chaleyo En Meh Kachuaei Uth Sidhayo Nanga.

Sungg – Lit. Accompany; Assistance. Na Chaleyo– Lit. go along. En Meh– Amongst these. Kachuaei– None. Uth-Awaken. Sidhayo– Traverse, travel. Nanga– Lit. nude; metaphor for being devoid.

None of These Deeds Offer Assistance Along the Journey of Spirituality; Awaken O Mind! Traverse It Devoid of Such Deeds

BLUE – Context from Previous Verse and Rahao Verse.

ਹਰਿ ਕੇ ਸੰਤ ਪ੍ਰਿਅ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਮ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਕੇ ਤਾ ਕੈ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਗਾਈਐ ॥

Har Kay Sant Priya Pritam Prabh Kay Ta Keiy Har Har Gayeay

Har-Omnipresent Creator. Kay– Of. Sant (plural) – Seekers of Realization of the Creator Within. Priya Pritam– Beloved. Prabh – Lord. Ta Keiy– Of Whom (Creator). Har Har Gayeay- Lit. Singing of Virtues of the Omnipresent Creator; Imbuing Divine Virtues.

Seekers of Realization of the Creator Within Remain Imbued in Divine Virtues of the Beloved Lord

ਨਾਨਕ ਈਹਾ ਸੁਖੁ ਆਗੈ ਮੁਖ ਊਜਲ ਸੰਗਿ ਸੰਤਨ ਕੈ ਪਾਈਐ ॥ ੪ ॥ ੧ ॥

Nanak Eha Sukh Agey Mukh Ujal Sang Santan Keiy Payieay. SGGS 700


Eha –Here and Now. Sukh– Spiritual Bliss. Agey– Future, objective, goal (in spirituality). Mukh Ujal- Lit. Radiant Face; Joyous having achieved the spiritual goal. Sang– Assistance; Accompany. Santan– Of the Sant, Pertaining to the Sant (singular) Guru. Keiy– Of Whom (Creator). Payieay– Lit. Obtained; Achieved (the spiritual goal).


Nanak, Remaining Imbued in Divine Virtues Provides Spiritual Bliss Here and Now and in Realizing My Spiritual Goal; I Achieved this Goal through the Company of my Guru.

BLUE – Context from Previous Verse.

Note: The word “Sant” in singular refers either to the Creator or Guru in Gurbani. In the plural it refers to seekers of the Creator.


Points to Note.

  1. The intended message of the shabd is spiritual in nature. Specifically, it is about Realization of the Creator Within.
  2. The shabd points out that the primary driver of our spiritual process is our MIND.
  3. The primary obstacles faced by our mind are the worldly and temporal dictates of our SENSES and our THOUGHT PROCESSES.
  4. The GOAL of spirituality is Realization of the Creator Within the SELF. And the primary method is through the IMBUING of DIVINE VIRTUES.
  5. The IMBUING OF DIVINE VIRTUES provides bliss HERE AND NOW (while on the Journey) and provides ASSISTANCE towards ACHIEVING the GOAL of our spirituality.
  6. The company and assistance of the Guru is necessary in achieving our goal of spirituality.
  7. Literal translations that ask us to consider our family, relatives and friends as obstacles and for us to go into the company of mortals who proclaim themselves as “sants” rob us of the opportunity in getting to the intended messages of the shabd. Gurmat does not consider the family and relatives as spiritual obstacles. Gurmat also does not recognize the ability of self-proclaimed “sants” to assist us in our actual journeys. Sikhi is a spirituality of the Self, by the Self, for the Self. Guru Nanak says ਆਪਣ ਹਥੀ ਆਪਣਾ ਆਪੇ ਹੀ ਕਾਜੁ ਸਵਾਰੀਐ ॥ Apann Hathee Apnna Apey Hi Kaaj Swareay. (SGGS 474). End.