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Gur Panth Parkash

Gur Panth Parkash
by Rattan Singh Bhangoo
Translated by
Prof Kulwant Singh



Guest Editorial

Gurmat Perspectives on Khoji and Baadi

Pritam Singh Kohli

Gurbani is based on very strong, deep and wide foundations of an integrated system, inter-alia, of Faith, Revelation and Reason. The structure, contents and functions of these three individual concepts will be dealt with in detail in subsequent installments. The focus of this present write up is to indicate the clear cut guidelines in Gurbani on the theme that while arguing on any Gurbani aspect, the orientation of the participants should be that of a Khoji and not of a Baadi as per Gurmat perspectives.

Integration of “Anbhau” - Intuition and “Bibek Budhi”-Discriminating Intelligence in Gurmat:
Reason has been provided a very high place in the Sikh religious thought. The term reason refers generally to the critical faculty of human intelligence. "Objective" critical reason is the reflective power of the mind to ask questions, to look for evidence, and to infer answers in the light of data. It is critical insofar as it is reflective; it calls into question inadequate or tentative conclusions on the basis of lack of data or inconsistency and thus may appear negative. But its whole thrust is positive. It operates in the service of truth. By eliminating false leads it discovers new connections. By imaginative insight it comes to see new meaning. By creative inference it builds new understandings.

Thus the main functions of reason are to:

  1.   Discriminate between right and wrong. To know better, man should understand the things around him, in their proper perspective which is possible through reason only.

  2.   Make one understand, the religious knowledge, to apprehend it properly, to evaluate it and to share this knowledge with others and then to serve others with such knowledge.

  3.   Confirm or contradict empirical, and sensory knowledge. Through reason man rises above the animal level and becomes wise.

Faith or Sardha is an essential element of a disciple’s state of mind proceeding on the path of spiritual progress, but it  should be grounded in rational discrimination—Bibek  or right  knowledge.  The  Guru prays for rational  intelligence — Bibek Budhi. "O Master  bestow  on your servant the  discriminating  intelligence."

      ਹਾਰਿ ਪਰਿਓ ਸੁਆਮੀ ਕੈ ਦੁਆਰੈ ਦੀਜੈ ਬੁਧਿ ਬਿਬੇਕਾ ॥
It is  with  the help of reason, he says, that we can make ourselves worthy of His grace and mercy.– Guru Granth Sahib, p. 641
  a.   Slok Mahala I:
          ਸਚੈ ਸਰਮੈ ਬਾਹਰੇ ਅਗੈ ਲਹਹਿ ਨ ਦਾਦਿ ॥ 
ਅਕਲਿ ਏਹ ਨ ਆਖੀਐ ਅਕਲਿ ਗਵਾਈਐ ਬਾਦਿ ॥ 
ਅਕਲੀ ਸਾਹਿਬੁ ਸੇਵੀਐ ਅਕਲੀ ਪਾਈਐ ਮਾਨੁ ॥ 
ਅਕਲੀ ਪੜਿ@ ਕੈ ਬੁਝੀਐ ਅਕਲੀ ਕੀਚੈ ਦਾਨੁ ॥ 
ਨਾਨਕੁ ਆਖੈ ਰਾਹੁ ਏਹੁ ਹੋਰਿ ਗਲਾਂ ਸੈਤਾਨੁ ॥

– Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1244
  b.   Gauri Mahala I: ਅੰਧੇ ਅਕਲੀ ਬਾਹਰੇ ਕਿਆ ਤਿਨ ਸਿਉ ਕਹੀਐ ॥
– Guru Granth Sahib, p. 229
  c.   Sukhmani, Gauri Mahala V : ਬੂਝੈ ਬੂਝਨਹਾਰੁ ਬਿਬੇਕ 
– Guru Granth Sahib, p. 285

The Guru believes  in a  rational  faith.  The disciple who carries on an intelligent search for truth progresses and one who is  merely  dogmatic  and  who  sticks  unreasonably  to  his views perishes-
Malar Mahala I:
      ਸੇਵਾ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਰਹਸਿ ਗੁਣ ਗਾਵਾ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਬੀਚਾਰਾ ॥ 
               ਖੋਜੀ ਉਪਜੈ ਬਾਦੀ ਬਿਨਸੈ ਹਉ ਬਲਿ ਬਲਿ ਗੁਰ ਕਰਤਾਰਾ ॥

– Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1255

A Knowledge arrived at through intelligent search and rational conviction and realised practically by intuitive experience greatly benefits a devotee and such a knowledge is true—Sacha Bichar
4.   Ramkali Mahala I: Oangkar Dakhani:
      ਥਿਰੁ ਨਾਰਾਇਣੁ ਥਿਰੁ ਗੁਰੂ ਥਿਰੁ ਸਾਚਾ ਬੀਚਾਰੁ ॥
– Guru Granth Sahib, p. 934

Thus intellect/ reason and intuition are made use of in knowing God metaphysically and religiously. "There is no break", writes Sir Radhakrishnan, "between intuition and intellect. In moving from intellect to intuition we are not moving in the direction of unreason, but are getting into the deepest rationality of which human nature is capable. In it we think more profoundly, feel more deeply and see more truly. We see, feel and become in obedience to our whole nature, and not simply measure things by the fragmentary standards of intellect. We think with a certain totality or wholeness. Both intellect and intuition belong to the self. While the former involves a specialized part, the latter employs the whole self. The two are synthesized in the self and their activities are interdependent." The antagonism between reason and intuition or insight has also been bridged by Bertrand Russell in one of his essays entitled 'Mysticism and Logic'. He writes, that "intuition is what first leads to the beliefs which subsequent reason confirms or confutes. Reason is a harmonizing, controlling force rather than a creative one. Even in the most purely logical realm, it is insight that first arrives at what is new." In the same essay he also says that "insight, untested and unsupported, is an insufficient guarantee of truth". “Anbhau”-intuition and “Bibek Budhi”—discriminating intelligence are the two instruments of knowledge, recognized in the system of the Guru. The former guides and the latter assists. That is how the co-operation of the two is maintained.
Baadi and Khoji as per Gurmat

In Gurbani, the concepts of baadi and the khoji are deeply related with “Unbhau” and “Budh Bibek” synthesis. The baad is an ego-based, narrow aspect of reason which is subjective. It limits the reason to sensory knowledge only and is non-transcendent and uncreative mental force. It is a misapplication of intellect. The baadi is not an ideal form of a seeker. In order to become a true seeker, namely, the khoji, the negative aspect of the baadi is strongly highlighted in Gurbani

The Gurus have repeatedly drawn our attention to the fruitful as opposed to perverse application of reason. The former is a character of the true seeker (khoji) but the latter signifies a mere polemic (vaadi) exercise of a fruitless kind. The Gurus have extolled the former and advised the seeker to refrain from the latter.

A rational person has to proceed in his search of truth in the spirit of a khoji. A khoji may reach the correct conclusion or true knowledge while the vaadi would merely waste his and other’s time.

The baad has both the negative as well as the positive application. The baad, as a method of (futile) reasoning, is criticized and rejected by the Gurus. In this respect, the baad appears to signify an attempt to establish by reasoning a pre-conceived idea.

According to Guru Nanak, this process of reasoning (Baad) is a wastage and may not lead to any constructive results or leading to any fruitful culmination of thought.:
ਵਾਦੁ ਵਖਾਣਹਿ ਤਤੁ ਨ ਜਾਣਾ ॥ (Guru Granth Sahib, M.l, p. l032)  
      ਸਚੈ ਸਰਮੈ ਬਾਹਰੇ ਅਗੈ ਲਹਹਿ ਨ ਦਾਦਿ ॥ 
      ਅਕਲਿ ਏਹ ਨ ਆਖੀਐ ਅਕਲਿ ਗਵਾਈਐ ਬਾਦਿ ॥                    
       Lacking truth and humility, they shall not be appreciated in the world hereafter.           
       Wisdom which leads to arguments is not called wisdom.– Guru Granth Sahib, M.l, p. 1245

ਸਚੈ ਸਰਮੈ ਬਾਹਰੇ ਅਗੈ ਲਹਹਿ ਨ ਦਾਦਿ ॥ 
ਅਕਲਿ ਏਹ ਨ ਆਖੀਐ ਅਕਲਿ ਗਵਾਈਐ ਬਾਦਿ ॥

       Focusing my awareness on selfless service, I joyfully sing His Praises. As Gurmukh, I contemplate spiritual wisdom.      
       The seeker comes forth, and the debater dies down; I am a sacrifice, a sacrifice to the Guru, the Creator Lord. – Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1255

      ਵਾਦਿ ਵਿਰੋਧਿ ਸਲਾਹਣੇ ਵਾਦੇ ਆਵਣੁ ਜਾਣੁ ॥
       They glorify their disputes and arguments, and in these controversies they continue coming and going.– Guru Granth Sahib, p. 56

Thus the constructive role of the khoji and the destructive engagement of the baadi is highlighted by Guru Nanak. He has described the baadi as a possessor of false knowledge (mat jhuthe), the knowledge in this case being of the fallacious nature. The baadi is related to binse. The baad also limits the scope of knowledge. Its results are mostly negative.

According to the third Guru, Amardas this type of reasoning (baad) is unable to lead a man to any knowledge, though one may claim himself to be a great scholar and interpreter of the scriptures. According to him this may lead a person to confusion and not to knowledge.

ਪੜਿ ਪੜਿ ਪੰਡਿਤ ਜੋਤਕੀ ਵਾਦ ਕਰਹਿ ਬੀਚਾਰੁ ॥ 
ਮਤਿ ਬੁਧਿ ਭਵੀ ਨ ਬੁਝਈ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਲੋਭ ਵਿਕਾਰੁ ॥

       After all their reading, the Pandits, the religious scholars, and the astrologers argue and debate.  Their intellect and understanding are perverted;
       They just don't understand. They are filled with greed and corruption.– Guru Granth Sahib, p. 27

ਵੇਦੁ ਪੜੈ ਅਨਦਿਨੁ ਵਾਦ ਸਮਾਲੇ ॥ 
ਨਾਮੁ ਨ ਚੇਤੈ ਬਧਾ ਜਮਕਾਲੇ ॥

       He reads the Vedas, but he starts arguments night and day.
       He does not remember the Naam, the Name of the Lord;
       He is bound and gagged by the Messenger of Death. – Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1066

The third Guru, Amardas, considers the baadi as an ego-centric.
   i.   ਝੂਠੀ ਮਨ ਕੀ ਮਤਿ ਹੈ ਕਰਣੀ ਬਾਦਿ ਬਿਬਾਦੁ ॥
– Guru Granth Sahib, p. l343
  ii. ਕਾਇਆ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤਿ ਰਹੀ ਭਰਪੂਰੇ ਪਾਈਐ ਸਬਦਿ ਵੀਚਾਰੀ ॥....
      ਬਾਦੀ ਬਿਨਸਹਿ ਸੇਵਕ ਸੇਵਹਿ ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਹੇਤਿ ਪਿਆਰੀ ॥

– Guru Granth Sahib, p. 911

He highlights the creative and fruitful role of the khoji in contradistinction to the sterile role of the baadi whose sphere of knowledge is based in his desire to dominate and achieve mastery over others through the process of perverse and illegitimate reasoning.

Guru Arjun has mentioned about the baad at many places but has used the word vaadi and not baadi. While discussing about the baad Guru Arjan Dev has held that the baad keeps a man away from the real understanding of life. His knowledge is ego-based and is of the animal level. The baad leads to delusion and ignorance (Avidya). The egoistical people are deluded by useless doubts:

      ਭਰਮਿ ਭੂਲੇ ਬਾਦਿ ਅਹੰਕਾਰੀ ॥
The egotistical people are deluded by useless doubt.
– Guru Granth Sahib, p 888
      ਮੋਹਿ ਬਾਦਿ ਅਹੰਕਾਰਿ ਸਰਪਰ ਰੁੰਨਿਆ ॥
       Those who indulge in attachment, conflict and egotism shall surely weep and cry. – Guru Granth Sahib, p. 761
      ਗੁਰਿ ਪੂਰੈ ਦੇਖਾਲਿਆ ਵਿਣੁ ਨਾਵੈ ਸਭ ਬਾਦਿ ॥
       The Perfect Guru has shown me that, without the Name, everything is useless. – Guru Granth Sahib, p. 957
      ਬਾਦ ਸਾਦ ਅਹੰਕਾਰ ਮਹਿ ਮਰਣਾ ਨਹੀ ਸੂਝੈ ॥
       Entangled in conflict, pleasure and egotism,
       He does not even think of death.– Guru Granth Sahib, p. 809
      ਭਇਆ ਸਮਾਹੜਾ ਹਰਿ ਰਤਨੁ ਵਿਸਾਹਾ ਰਾਮ ॥ 
      ਖੋਜੀ ਖੋਜਿ ਲਧਾ ਹਰਿ ਸੰਤਨ ਪਾਹਾ ਰਾਮ ॥

       Joy has come! I have purchased the jewel of the Lord.      
Searching, the seeker has found the Lord with the Saints. – Guru Granth Sahib, p. 845

The bad is resolved in the khoj. When the badi transcends the narrow limits of sensory knowledge he becomes a seeker of truth.

Bhai Gurdas has discussed the khoji and the baadi together. According to him, the vaadi is talking aimlessly without reaching to any conclusion. He holds that the vaad is a wasting or energy and vanishing of spirit.

 When reason is used to suit one's own ideas it ends in the baad After discussing defects of the baad and the negative role of the baadi, we can find the positive aspect of reason in the khoj and constructive role of the khoji in seeking knowledge as per Gurbani.

The seeker has also been described as Gurmukh by the Gurus. The ideal for the Gurmukh, is held to be the seeking of knowledge and reflection (gian vichar). The khoji is also actively engaged in the fashioning of his insight, concentration (surati) through sabad. This type of seeking is fruitful. This is rational and  proper  seeking Hundreds of quotes from Gurbani can be given on concepts of Khoji and Baadi along with other concepts related to Reason such as sianap, vichar, soch and aql etc. These will be explored in subsequent installments.

This is submitted for the critique by learned readers with the objective of fuller exploration of the theme.

I express my gratitude to the authors as given in references for using their thoughts and vocabulary rather liberally.

   1.    Satnaam Kaur, Three Basics of Sikh Religious Thought :: Faith, Grace, Prayer
   2.    Gurnaam Kaur: Reason and Revelation in Sikhism; Cosmo Publications; 1990
   3.    Guy De Broglie, Revelation and Reason, Hawthorn Books, New York; 1965
   4.    Roger Haight, Dynamics of Theology, Paulist Press, New york; 1990
   5.    Dulles, Avery: Models of Revelation, Orbis Books; 1992.
   6.    Sher Singh, Philosophy of Sikhism, SGPC, Amritsar; 1993.


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