Bhai Harbans Lal*
The opening verse of Sri Granth Sahib is given the primary
position in the Sikh theology that enunciates the relationship
of a human being with the Creator and sketches out a strategy
for the evolution of human consciousness to God consciousness.
The opening verse is among the poetics, i.e., imaginative
writings of Guru Nanak that are assigned the status of divine
It is traditionally recited among Sikhs as moolmantar. In
gurmukhi Punjabi it reads as below:
< siq nwmu krqw
purKu inrBau inrvYru Akwl mUriq AjUnI sYBM gur pRswid ]
This verse was given a primary position in the Sikh theology.
Guru Arjun considered this verse worthy of inaugural to
his monumental works of compiling Sikh Scripture, the Sri
Guru Granth Sahib. He assigned the moolmantar verse the
first place on the first page of the Guru Granth Sahib.
The Guru Granth is the Sikh scripture with the rank of the
eternal Guru among the Sikhs. Being the first verse on the
first page of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib it is believed to
embody the most basic or sacred words of the faith. Being
the scripture’s opening, it has acquired an extraordinary
significance for its followers and become the subject of
continuous discussion among Sikh scholars.
This verse is recited by Sikh congregations as moolmantar,
though no such title is given to it in the Holy Book. Even
Bhai Gurdas who wrote a highly significant commentary on
the verse did not use this title. The term has, however,
gained currency in discussions among Sikhs because of its
The moolmantar occurs before the beginning of the Guru Nanak’s
seminal composition, Jap, popularly known and read as Japji.
Considered the formal statement of Guru Nanak’s spiritual
and religious beliefs, moolmantar of Japji is the subject
of discussion in many monographs.1-2
According to a Sikh tradition3, Guru Nanak recited moolmantar
upon his emergence from the vein river. The vein river incidence
was the occasion that Sikh traditions accept as a juncture
of the first divine revelation to Guru Nanak4-5. The moolmantar
composition was the first of the many hymns that Guru Nanak
claimed as the knowledge from divine revealed to him during
his first revelation.3
The moolmantar means the root mantar or mantra. Accepted
scholarly etymology links the term mantra with the Sanskrit
words ‘manas,’ meaning ‘mind,’ and
‘trâna,’ meaning protection or bringing
under control. Thus, a mantar is a technique or practice
employed to bring the mind under control for meditating
on divine attributes towards attaining a state of higher
In Indian theological literature, particularly in vernaculars
of Hindu traditions, the word mantar or mantra stands for
a secret word or phrase to be practiced and/or recited to
invoke deities who perform miracles.6 These miracles are
meant to fulfill the devotee’s desires and to impart
occult powers to one who practices it. In Buddhist tradition
the mantra is practiced as a word or verse to bring acquiescence
and tranquility to mind.
In many other religious traditions of the East, a mantar
is imparted usually as a secret word or phrase to a disciple
by a holy man, a monk, a saint, a guru, or a yogi. In Punjab
and certain other parts of India, the practice of imparting
a mantar refers to the esoteric practice of initiating disciples
by giving them naam (name) and inducting them into the inner
circles of a sant (saint).
The Sikh gurus did not adopt the above described practices
of mantra meditation; they disseminated their teachings
of Gurbani and the rite of initiation freely and openly.
During the times of Sikh gurus, the Guru would freely distribute
the gift of the naam in the presence of holy congregation.
This practice, called guru vartae in Sikh annals, was described
by Sikh scholars of Guru Arjun’s court as follows:
lMgru clY gur sbid hir qoit n AwvI KtIAY ]
Krcy idiq KsMm dI Awp KhdI KYir dbtIAY ]
Langar, the free café of the Guru’s teachings,
is always open, and its provisions may never run out.
Its supplies were granted by the Creator to be freely
shared, and they would never run out.
– Balvand and Sata, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p 967
It is not uncommon, however, to find many Sikh clerics who
continue to follow the practice of giving mantar in a way
similar to the Hindu custom. Even at the time of initiating
a Sikh in the Khande-ke Pahul ceremony, the Hindu-like ritual
of initiation is gradually being introduced.7 Furthermore,
this mantra-giving tradition continues today among the Sikh
sects of Naamdhari, Radhaswami, Nirankari, Ruhani Satsang
Guru Nanak, obviously, did not approve of the contemporary
naam-giving practices. His disapproval of giving naam through
the mantra ritual is particularly significant in this context.
iDRgu iqnw kw jIivAw ij iliK iliK vycih nwau ]
KyqI ijn kI aujVY KlvwVy ikAw Qwau ]
Condemned are the practices of earning livelihood by writing
the divine numenon as an incantation on a piece of paper
and then selling it for profit from gifts (guru dakhna)
accepted from their disciples. Those who do it are actually
devastating the seedlings, their initiates, not realizing
that they will harvest no crop. – Guru Nanak, Sri
Guru Granth Sahib, p 1284
Sikh theologian Bhai Gurdas actually condemns those who
subscribe to any mantra besides Guru Sabd or hymns of the
Guru Granth for meditation or any religious practice.
iDRg ijhbw gur sbd ivxu hor mMqR ismrxI ]
The lips and tongue who recite any mantra accept Guru Sabd
or hymns of the Holy Scripture deserve condemning. –
Bhai Gurdas, Vaar 27, Pauri 10
Although the Sikh gurus discarded the tradition of mantra,
they kept the term in Sikh vocabulary and reinterpreted
its meaning differently for a Sikh. This was explained by
Sikh theologian Bhai Gurdas, who wrote extensively on the
practice of mantra. The following verses from his compositions
encapsulate the use of mantra concept in Sikh tradition.
According to Bhai Gurdas, when a seeker comes to the Guru,
he or she is given the mantra of faith and trust in meditative
life. They are taught the life of naam, daan and isnaan,
that is, persistently experiencing divine attributes, altruism,
and life of deeds that cleanse body and mind.
Bwau Bgiq Bau mMqR
dy nwm dwn ieSnwn idRVwXw]
imparts the mantra of faith and conviction in spiritual
life, and reinforces the practice of naam, daan and isnaan,
that is, experiencing divine attributes, altruism and gratitude,
and deeds that cleanse the body and the mind. – Bhai
Gurdas, Vaar 5, Pauri 13
Bhai Gurdas further explains:
siqgur sbd suriq
ilv mUlmMqR, Awn qMqR mMqR kI n isKn pRqIiq hY ]
The root mantra for Sikhs is to bring the consciousness
in tune with the Sabd of True Guru; Sikhs do not have any
other religious or mythical formulas or words meant to invoke
deities. – Bhai Gurdas, Kabit 183
For a Sikh, Guru Sabd or teachings of the Guru as imbibed
in Sri Guru Granth Sahib is considered the only mantra of
any significance. This may be further emphasized through
the following quotations from Bhai Gurdas:
mMqR mUlu siqguru
bcn iek min hoie ArwDY koeI ]
The teachings of a true Guru is the root mantra that is
worth practicing with single mindedness.
– Bhai Gurdas, Vaar 26, Pauri 9
mMqR mUlu guru vwk
hY scu sbdu siqgurU suxwey ]
The root mantra is hymns of the Guru; it is the eternal
teachings that the True Guru speaks to the seeker. –
Bhai Gurdas, Vaar 40, Pauri 22.
Thus, there is no doubt that whenever there is a mention
of any sort of acceptable mantra for a Sikh it always refers
to the teachings or the hymns of the Guru as composed in
the Guru Granth.
To Realize Life Goals
The sacred words of faith in moolmantar are meant to be
recited and meditated upon by a seeker to realize oneself
as fulfillment of the life goal according to the concepts
guided by gurmat. They are embedded in Moolmantar which
consist of a set of sacred words. There is an ocean of intelligence
in this set of sacred words.
The moolmantar is not a secret, esoteric formula, but it
is a statement of God’s attributes we humans should
emulate so that we all can be elevated to become god-like.
Its practice is to awaken to new dimensions of who we are
with our ‘Journey of Self Awareness’. The goal
of the practice is to transform our awareness from separation
to unity. In unity we perceive only divine power, express
only love and freedom.
There is an innate urge in each one of us to succeed, be
happy and find fulfillment. However, there is no universal
consensus as to how to be happy and fulfilled. Guru Nanak
composed the moolmantar as the Sikh Articles of Faith. These
sacred words were designed for an objective of meditative
practices as an incredible opportunity to the civil society:
the opportunity not simply to pray to God, obey God, fear
God, or reject God, but in fact, to Become Like God.
In revealing this opportunity for humanity, Guru Nanak outlined
the transformative method by which all those who practice
may now escape the prison of animal instincts and ego nature;
they may actually realize all the joys and verve, ‘like
God.’ The practice of moolmantar is to attain a state
of having necessary divine attributes and doing as God does.
Such a state is to be enjoyed by all exalted, embodied,
and intelligent beings. According to Guru Nanak, we are
destined to become God-like, but have been tricked into
becoming inmates, posing as creatures of destiny, a ghastly
spread between what we are and what we could be.
hir kw syvku so hir
jyhw ] Bydu n jwxhu mwxs dyhw ]
ijau jl qrMg auTih bhu BwqI iPir sllY sll smwiedw ]
A worshipper of God is like unto the God. Being in a human
body deem him not distinct from the God. As water waves
rise in various ways, but water merges in water again.
– Guru Arjun, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p 1076
Through the opening verse of his composition in the Guru
Granth, Guru Nanak teaches us that the more you recognize,
practice and express your authentic self and inculcate the
desired attributes, the more meaning, joy and fulfillment
you will experience in your life. If you desire spiritual
and personal growth, a change in your outer world, a new
or better relationship with environments, a more fulfilling
job, or more fulfilling life in general, then you may need
to awaken your divine inner self.
mn qUM joiq srUpu
hY Awpxw mUlu pCwxu ]
O my mind, you are the embodiment of the Divine Light -
recognize your own basis. – Guru Amar Das, Sri Guru
Granth Sahib, p 441
This exactly is the purpose of reciting the sacred words
embedded in moolmanter.
ey mn jYsw syvih
qYsw hovih qyhy krm kmwie ]
O my mind, you will become like the one you serve and emulate,
and your deeds will transform accordingly. – Guru
Amar Das, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p 755
In short, the Sacred Words of moolmantar are meant to be
employed in daily practices of mindfulness in order to achieve
the life goal of inner realization. Their practice will
lead any one to live a life at the level of inner soul;
at a level where we truly know ourselves as divine-like,
as the creators and the miracle-makers, and as the limitless
Exegesis of the Mool Mantar
Ik Onkaar, 1st term, consists of a numeral
and a letter or more correctly two symbols combined into
one. IK means indivisible One God as a virtual and eternal
reality. Ik is followed by a symbol read as Onkaar, meaning
IK’s manifestation in all the creations to include
all worlds and all humanity, and all human beings with one
soul residing within them. The Soul here is defined as the
manifested extension of the ONE. Thus the whole creation
and all creations are considered as ONE. One reality manifests
in all creation that embodies the Infinite Wisdom (vwhguurU)
in the nature and in the universe. In the colloquium of
the civil society it may be abbreviated as One Spirit One
World as it was presented to NGO assembly at the United
Nations and adopted by reprehensive Sikh organizations and
many non-Sikh organizations working on global platforms.
Guru Arjun explains the meaning of Ik Onkaar in the following
hymn with multiple examples.
First he describes it with an example of drama players,
magicians and jugglers. A player is usually an entertainer
who entertains the audience by staging variety of plays
that are made up of make-believe situations. The player
plays many characters in many costumes. Here every character
seems real in itself and believable engrossing the audience.
But when the show is over, it is realized that the only
reality in the show was the player. Rest was manifestation
of the same player in many costumes and roles. There were
many forms and many characters formatted with suitable costumes.
Similarly there are other examples cited in this hymn. Countless
waves and bubbles are manifestation of water. Countless
ornaments are manifestation of gold. The sky is reflected
with apparent differences in many pots and pans full of
water. Behind all those there is only one entity that provides
for countless formats. Guru Arjun puts it like this.
bwjIgir jYsy bwjI pweI ] nwnw rUp ByK idKlweI ] sWgu auqwir
QMim@E pwswrw ] qb eyko eykMkwrw ] 1 ]
kvn rUp idRsitE ibnswieE] kqih gieE auhu kq qy AwieE ]jl
qy aUTih Aink qrMgw ]
kink BUKn kIny bhu rMgw ] bIju bIij dyiKE bhu prkwrw ] Pl
pwky qy eykMkwrw ] 2 ]
shs Gtw mih eyku Awkwsu ] Gt PUty qy EhI pRgwsu ] Brm loB
moh mwieAw ivkwr ]
BRm CUty qy eykMkwr ] 3 ] Ehu AibnwsI ibnsq nwhI
] nw ko AwvY nw ko jwhI ]
guir pUrY haumY mlu DoeI ] khu nwnk myrI prm giq hoeI ]
The actor stages the play, playing the many characters in
different costumes; but when the play ends, he takes off
the costumes, and then he is one, and only one. How many
forms and images appeared and disappeared? Where have they
gone? Where did they come from? Stop here and contemplate
on the message of the hymn. Countless waves rise up from
the same water. Ornaments of many forms are fashioned from
the same gold. I have seen seeds of all kinds being planted
– when the fruit ripens, the seeds appear in the same
form as the original. The one sky is reflected in thousands
of water pans and pots, but when the pots are broken, only
the sky remains. Human minds are full of doubts, greed,
attachment, corruption and numerous manifestations of Maya.
When the human mind is freed from the layers of those misgivings
one realizes that all is One Reality and its manifestation.
At the end the Creator alone is imperishable; God will never
cease. He does not come, and He does not go. Through these
teachings, the Perfect Guru has washed away the filth of
ego from my mind. Says Nanak, I have attained the realized
state of mind. – Guru Arjun, Sri Guru Granth Sahib,
This sacred word of Sikh faith enunciates the principle
of the unity of humanity, environment and all creation.
It states that human spirit is engaged in a collective growth
process and oneness is the motive force in humankind’s
collective evolution. This is Sikhee’s metaphysical
and religious position. God is everything and everything
is God ... the world is either identical with God or is
a self-expression of His nature. Because of that everything
that exists constitutes a sacred unity and this all-inclusive
unity is divine. Every existing entity is only one Being;
and that all other forms of reality are either modes of
appearances of it or identical with it. Then, through Ik’s
manifestation within us we are destined to be god-like.
One spirit and one unified world form the basis of unity
among all humans; we may experience God by experiencing
that unity of God’s creation. In God alone can we
transcend the divisions inherent in our separatist attitudes
of “mine” and “yours,” and “we”
and “others.” This spirit lifts us from the
narrow confines that divide us and that remain the source
of prejudice and discrimination.
From the sacred symbol of Ik Onkaar may be derived another
doctrine fully elaborated in the later verses of Japji.
It is the doctrine of Hukam. It provides us with a sense
of universe as God’s blueprint. This derivation is
evident from the following hymn. It simply states that all
laws of nature, regardless of how we are accustomed to defining
and classifying them, are God’s purpose in action.
They permeate into all creation and manifestation of ONE.
eyko hukmu vrqY sB loeI ] eyksu qy sB Epiq hoeI ]
rwh dovY Ksmu eyko jwxu ] gur kY sbid hukmu pCwxu ]
The Blue Print of God’s Will prevails throughout all
the world. Everything arises from One. There may be seen
multiple avenues but we must consider them as one. Through
the Guru’s teachings we learn to realize God’s
Guru Nanak, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p 223
Ik Onkaar is followed by seven sacred words describing divine
attributes that humans must emulate to be God-like. Their
emulation is only a dynamic realization that those attributes
are ours on account of the divine within us.
siq nwmu -
God’s identity is the Truth so is our real identity,
“Satnam” the truth identity; by meditating on
Satnam we are liberated from our worldly identities. Our
real identity is not our worldly name, worldly religion,
nation, or profession, but truth is the name of the God,
so is ours.
All the social identities are given to us to cope with everyday
existence, but they work to convince us that we are those
things that the labels describe. They pigeonhole us into
many entities. Some are to preserve our evolutionary history;
others are to trap us in the present or in the future, still
others to enslave us to serve the culture and the society.
As long as one can discriminate the identities for worldly
chores as distinct from the real and eternal identity, it
is alright. But, in reality, these identities fill our mind
and keep it engaged in social bondage and mundane identities.
On the other hand, the sacred word of Satnam inculcates
the Cosmic Awareness as our True Identity. As Guru Arjun
ikrqm nwm kQy qyry
ijhbw ] siq nwmu qyrw prw pUrblw ]
You speak those names that are given to you or to indicate
the deeds or professions. But Satnam identifies you with
the Eternal Truth. – Guru Arjun, Sri Guru Granth Sahib,
krqw purKu -
The Guru urges us to meditate on God as “karta purakh,”
the creative Soul, and to discover our creativity by identifying
with God the Creator within us. This sacred word inculcates
in us that we are not passive observers of reality, instead,
we are creators in a partnership with the Creator God. Guru
ipqw hmwry pRgty
mwJ ] ipqw pUq ril kInI sWJ ]
My Father has revealed Himself within me. The Father and
son have joined together in partnership.
– Guru Arjun, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p 1141
In the Guru Granth view, human soul is created not as a
passive observer of reality but a partner in divine creativity.
Its nature is to expand and unfold its full potential. For
example, evolution of human species is a unique creation.
The impulse to evolve is thus inherent in the very nature
of life. As creators in partnership with the Creator, we
are not limited to evolving through tiny, incremental steps.
With our potent imaginations, we can design and manifest
dramatic and profound change. How remarkable! What an awesome
responsibility. What fun! Our challenge is to break free
of our present concept of limited reality to create brand
new dreams that will bring the ultimate to life.
inrBau - Meditate on God as “nirbhau,” the fearless
within you, says the Guru, so that you are liberated from
your fear of all varieties, fear of helplessness, fear of
people’s judgment, fear of the Day of Judgment, fear
of disease and death, and all other fears.
Recent researches in behavioral sciences reveal that evil
of fear makes people the most miserable social creatures.
In today’s world, the challenge of ‘fearlessness’
is most consuming where all the objectives of modern life
are to create a world of competition, meaning everyone should
be afraid of competition from others for jobs, resources
for life, natural or industrial; niceties of life are even
judged from continuously causing fear among others and fear
of not winning. Above all fears is imposed the fear of life
Fearless state is so rare a phenomenon that how to achieve
and maintain the inner harmony without fear has been the
aim of all world thinkers. Amongst these, Socrates- ‘know
thy self’ was the last attempt of a free mind to gauge
its own depth and to attain inner harmony. Buddha renounced
the world only in protest against fear of suffering and
pain. Saint Kabir sought for the guidance to a path that
leads to liberation from the incarceration of fear. He said,
dyv krhu dieAw moih
mwrig lwvhu ijqu BY bMDn qUtY ]
O Divine Guru, show compassion on me, and put me on the
path that may free me from incarceration of fear. –
Kabir, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p 475
In Sikh philosophy the elevated consciousness of the fearless
state begins with first strengthening of our belief that
the fearless entity of the divine resides within us.
kwieAw ngir bsq hir
suAwmI hir inrBau inrvYru inrMkwrw ]
The Eternal Master who is without fear, without vengeance,
and is virtual entity abides in the body-village. –
Guru Ram Das, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p 720
Guru Arjun questioned as if where from a sense of fear would
come if the fearless God is always with us.
Ehu AibnwsI rwieAw
] inrBau sMig qumwrY bsqy iehu frnu khw qy AwieAw ]
God is the eternal master. He is fearless and abides within
you. Then from where should come your fears and fear instincts?
– Guru Arjun, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p 206
With the belief that the Fearlessness is a divine virtue
and may be realized by meditation on nirbhau, Guru Nanak
inculcated worship of the fearlessness through the sacred
word of nirbhau in moolmantar. In its support, Guru Arjun
inrBau jpY sgl Bau
By meditating upon the Fearless, all fears vanish. –
Guru Arjun, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p 293
Guru Ram Das had earlier stressed the same point when he
had composed the following verse:
ijn inrBau ijn hir inrBau iDAwieAw jI iqn kw Bau sBu gvwsI
who meditate on the Fearless One, all their fears are dispelled.
– Guru Ram Das, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p. 11.
It was this theology of fearlessness which impelled Guru
Teg Bahadur to put forward a worldwide system of human behavior
that would exclude any behavior which either inflicted fears
on others or accepted fear of any one. In the following
‘shalok’ he lays out this rule for human behavior
that a person of God should neither fear nor frighten anyone:
BY kwhU kau dyq nih
nih BY mwnq Awn ]
khu nwnk suin ry mnw igAwnI qwih bKwin ]
One who does not frighten anyone, and who is not afraid
of anyone else or anything else - says Nanak, listen my
mind: call that person spiritually wise. – Guru Teg
Bahadur, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p 1427
- Meditate on God as “nirvair,” one without
animosity or malice, so that you are able to look at others
without those feelings, so that you may achieve that state
of life in which you are free from ill feelings toward others,
feelings that take away your power to love one another.
Our feeling of “vair” (animosity) makes us see
“vair” all around and perpetuate violence in
ieku sjxu siB sjxw
ieku vYrI siB vwid ]
If the One within me is my friend, then all around me are
my friends. If there is animosity within, then all around
is in conflict with me. –
Guru Arjun, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p 957
It is observed that Sikhs who practice meditation of moolmantar
refuse to hate even their enemies; even those who wish them
either eclipsed from this earth or be subjugated. They refuse
to hate because they practiced nirvair attribute. They learn
that hate takes away their power of love and reason; it
deprives them of their triumph over the effects of their
To learn to love and reason from the depth of their heart
is the form of religious practice Sikhs learn from their
moolmantar meditation. As Guru Gobind Singh made his congregation
hear the explanation of Bhai Kanayia who was found offering
water to the fallen enemy soldiers. To the Sikhs trusting
and healing the enemy expressed the Sikhs’ belief
in the presence of their Creator in front of them, explained
Bhai Kanayia. It is their way of confirming their evolution
to the higher God-like consciousness.
It is the meditation of the sacred word of Nirvair that
the Sikhs’ world order is based on sarbat ka bhalla
principle. This has been the dream and prayer of every Sikh
for the past three centuries. Every Sikh individually and
collectively makes the following statement and repeats this
statement in his/her daily congregation. In Punjabi vernacular
the wording of this statement is:
nwnk nwm cVHdI klw
qyry Bwxy srbq kw Blw ]
May the Religion of the God’s Name, as taught by Nanak,
increase and prevail in the world and may in the will of
God there be good fortune of all humankind.
- Meditate on God as Akal Murat, Being Beyond Time, not
subject to time cycles, free from life and death, says the
Scripture. Our real Self never dies. Instead such a practitioner
learns the real meaning of life and death by understanding
the “Akal Murat,” nature of the real self.
mUlu pCwxih qW shu
jwxih mrx jIvx kI soJI hoeI ]
Identify your real basis and origin, and then you shall
know your Master, and so you will comprehend the real meaning
of death and birth.–
Guru Amar Das, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p 441
AjUnI - Recognize
that God is “ajooni,” beyond incarnations or
reincarnation, one who is neither born nor dies.
When we live in animal consciousness we go through numerous
lives of animal instincts and animal behaviors. Thus we
live and die continually when we think and act like animals,
when we live and think as social entities, or live in the
lower forms of consciousness.
For example Guru Arjun illustrates how one may go through
many animalistic states of mind and behaviors deprived of
the spiritual vision bestowed by the Guru:
gur mMqR hIxs´
jo pRwxI iDRgMq jnm BRstxh ]
kUkrh sUkrh grDBh kwkh srpnh quil Klh ]
That mortal who lacks the Guru’s Mantra meaning Guru’s
teachings - cursed and contaminated is that person’s
life. That dupe lives just like a dog, a pig, a jackass,
a crow, and a snake. – Guru Arjun, Sri Guru Granth
Sahib, p 1356
Rising to the divine consciousness of ajuni we are liberated
from these comings and goings, reaching a true state of
nirvana. This is in contrast to the ancient concepts of
meditating one’s life away to end transmigration cycles
into thousands of animal species. Guru Nanak prepares his
followers to end the ever changing cycles of different forms
of consciousness within a human life span.
sYBM - “Saibhang”
is a state in which one is self-created, self-existent,
self creating and beyond beginning or ending.
gur pRswid - In the meditation of Gur prasad a sense of
gratitude is inculcated. The idea of meditation on moolmatar
is that if we meditate on these sacred attributes and emulate
those attributes in our consciousness and behaviors, we
become God-like where we are liberated from the bondage
of human existence and become one with God. However, this
would happen only when we invoke blessing of Guru-in-God
by meditation on “Gur prasad,” literary meaning
by the Guru’s blessing and grace. When we realize
and inculcate the meaning of gratitude we begin to live
in gratitude and the gratitude becomes our eternal attitude.
Gratitude is a fundamental and universal spiritual principle
in all religious traditions. Inculcation of gratitude let
loose the underlying moral and spiritual forces in each
one of us for the benefit of humanity as a whole and raises
society to a higher level of culture. It helps us to open
ourselves to connecting with God’s gifts that we enjoy
every day. When the roots of spirituality are nourished
by the water of thanksgiving, all cultures and religions
become dynamic, creative and altruistic. The spirit of thanksgiving
permits all of us to live side by side with people and environment
in friendly cooperation. It promotes harmonious and peaceful
relationships with environment. As such, it is relevant
to the solution of the contemporary crisis from which humanity
is suffering. Thus Guru Nanak ends his profound composition
of moolmantar with the meditation on Gur prasad.
In summary, with meditation on moolmantar with full understanding
of its meaning and the intention underlying its composition
by Guru Nanak the objective of the Gurmat would be fulfilled.
We would become awakened divine beings.
According to the Sikh scriptures, the mantar means a sacred
word or a verse of Sikh faith to be imbibed in the deep
consciousness as the sacred knowledge. In contrast to the
usual meaning of a mantar which is to praise a deity, the
commencing verse of the Guru Granth is meant to inculcate
in human consciousness select attributes of God. The purpose
is to prescribe practices and philosophy that elevate man
to a god-like personality. The commencing verse of Sri Guru
Granth Sahib referred to as moolmantar is taken as the essence
of the Sikh philosophy. Therefore, the words in the composition
of moolmantar may be re-defined as the Sikh Words of Faith
or even the Sikh Articles of Faith in the accepted terminology
of world scriptures. They draw our mind to divine attributes
that our Guru identified to meditate upon. The idea is to
elevate human consciousness to god consciousness within
the human life span. By moolmantar practice every one will
worship the Infinite and nourish the finite for metamorphosis
to the god-like mind and consciousness which will then mirror
God-like human behaviors. This was the objective of the
Guru as Guru Nanak defined it.
ijin mwxs qy dyvqy
kIey krq n lwgI vwr ]
He made angels out of humans, without delay.
– Guru Nanak, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p 462
The verses from Sri Guru Granth Sahib are often not the
literal translations but the author’s sense of central
idea contained in them.
1) Bhai Vir Singh, Santhaya Sri Guru Granth Sahib, vol.
1, p 2,
2) Pritam Singh, ed., Sikh Concept of the Divine published
by Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, 1985.
3) Vilaytvali Janam Sakhi, translation by Kirpal Singh in,
Janamsakhi Tradition: An Analytical Study, p. 74, Pub. Singh
Brothers, Amritsar, 2004
4) Lal, (Bhai) Harbans, Guru Granth: A Unique Approach to
Eternalize Revealed Theology, Studies in Sikhism and Comparative
Religion, 23 (2), 2003
5) Lal, Harbans, Sikhism’s Revealed Theology, Sikh
Review, 52: (6), 23-26, 2004
6) Lal, (Bhai) Harbans, Guru Granth Worship: The Sikh Way,
Studies in Sikhism and Comparative Religion, 25 (1): 21-44,
7) Singh, Pashaura. Observing the Khalsa Rahit in North
America: Some Issues and Trends, in The Transmission of
Sikh Heritage in the Diaspora, eds, P Singh and N Barrier,
pp 149-175, Manohar Publishers New Delhi, 1996.
8) Neki, Jaswant Singh, Ardas: Darshan Roop Abhyas (1989),
Singh Bros, Amritsar, p 339.
ęCopyright Institute of Sikh Studies,
2007, All rights reserved.