Ji-o jal Meh Jalu aai Khatana |Shabad by Guru Arjan Dev Ji


We are going to discuss in this article the meaning of the beautiful shabad from Sukhmani Sahib or the Pearl of Bliss. These shabads were sung by Guru Arjan Dev ji, fifth guru of Sikhs.

Most of us must have heard about Sukhmani Sahib recitation which is performed mostly at auspicious occasions in punjabi families. Sukhmani Sahib is itself a part of the Guru Granth Sahib. Let’s try to understand the meaning of this shabad by going deeper into each of its verse. It was written in Raag Gauri and sung in Raag Bilawal.

Translation below:

ਜਿਉ ਜਲ ਮਹਿ ਜਲੁ ਆਇ ਖਟਾਨਾ ॥

जिउ जल महि जलु आइ खटाना ॥

Ji▫o jal mėh jal ā▫e kẖatānā.

As water comes to blend with water,

ਤਿਉ ਜੋਤੀ ਸੰਗਿ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਮਾਨਾ ॥

तिउ जोती संगि जोति समाना ॥

Ŧi▫o joṯī sang joṯ samānā.

his light blends into the Light.

In the above lines, Guru Arjan Dev Ji compares merging of the light into HIS light to the blending of water into water.

This comparison has been beautifully drawn.

It can be understood by the example of a river flowing into the sea. When the river reaches its final destination and flows into the sea, it gets disappeared into the sea and after that one can not differentiate between the river and the sea. One can say the river itself has become the sea.

Similarly, when a human being attains moksha or nirvana, his consiousness, which is referred to as light, merges with the eternal consciousness, which is referred to as the Light of the Divine and becomes non-differentiable just like water mixes with the water.

ਕਬਹੂ ਸਾਧਸੰਗਤਿ ਇਹੁ ਪਾਵੈ ॥

कबहू साधसंगति इहु पावै ॥

Kabhū sāḏẖsangaṯ ih pāvai.

Sometimes, this being attains the Company of the Holy.

ਉਸੁ ਅਸਥਾਨ ਤੇ ਬਹੁਰਿ ਨ ਆਵੈ ॥

उसु असथान ते बहुरि न आवै ॥

Us asthān ṯe bahur na āvai.

From that place, he does not have to come back again.

In the above shabad, Guru Arjan Dev ji has mentioned the importance of the holy company in life of a human being.

It goes like this- it is only sometimes that a human being is fortunate enough to get the company of a holy person in this world where it is very easy to find someone who can misguide you and introduce you to bad activities.

It is rare when one finds company of a holy person (sadhu sangati) or Kalyan Mitra who can help you progress in your spiritual journey.

And once he finds such company, he doesn’t have to come back again. By this Guru Arjan ji means, once a person has got into the company of a holy person , it is unlikely that he will come back to this world which might mean that once he has taken a step towards inner journey, once this longing has arisen, it is sure that the person will reach the ultimate destination(self-realization) some day from where he won’t have to come back. Such is the power of the holy company.

ਅੰਤਰਿ ਹੋਇ ਗਿਆਨ ਪਰਗਾਸੁ ॥

अंतरि होइ गिआन परगासु ॥

Anṯar ho▫e gi▫ān pargās.

The light of spiritual wisdom dawns within.

ਉਸੁ ਅਸਥਾਨ ਕਾ ਨਹੀ ਬਿਨਾਸੁ ॥

उसु असथान का नही बिनासु ॥

Us asthān kā nahī binās.

That place does not perish.

Antar hoye gyaan pargas- Through continuous sadhana, one day, the devotee reaches the state where there is no darkness left, means there is nothing left to be known once the devotee knows the Self. Hence the self-realization is compared to the eternal light which illuminates the inner being & this light or this state of being is never lost or destroyed.

ਮਨ ਤਨ ਨਾਮਿ ਰਤੇ ਇਕ ਰੰਗਿ ॥

मन तन नामि रते इक रंगि ॥

Man ṯan nām raṯe ik rang.

The mind and body are imbued with the Love of the Naam, the Name of the One Lord.

ਸਦਾ ਬਸਹਿ ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਕੈ ਸੰਗਿ ॥

सदा बसहि पारब्रहम कै संगि ॥

Saḏā basėh pārbarahm kai sang.

He dwells forever with the Supreme Lord God.

This hymn beautifully explains the condition of the devotee. The devotee is so immersed in his act of devotion that when he is into it , he loses the sense of separate existence and his mind and body become one with the Almighty. And now the devotee, having surrendered his ego and imbued all over with the color of HIS name , is destined to dwell with the Supreme Lord forever.

ਮਿਟਿ ਗਏ ਗਵਨ ਪਾਏ ਬਿਸ੍ਰਾਮ ॥

मिटि गए गवन पाए बिस्राम ॥

Mit ga▫e gavan pā▫e bisrām.

Reincarnation is ended, and eternal peace is found.

ਨਾਨਕ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਕੈ ਸਦ ਕੁਰਬਾਨ ॥੮॥੧੧॥

नानक प्रभ कै सद कुरबान ॥८॥११॥

Nānak parabẖ kai saḏ kurbān. ||8||11||

Nanak is forever a sacrifice to God. ||8||11||

This last hymn sums it all as it explains the ultimate result of the sadhana. Devotee is rewarded the eternal bliss as the fruit of sadhana. This eternal bliss is nothing but freedom from the circle of life and death which is the ultimate purpose of this human life. The eternal peace is obtained means there is nothing left to be done now & the devotee is in a state of bliss & rest forever. Mit gaye gaman – no more to & fro journeys to the world.

And Guru Arjan Dev ji says that Nanak is forever a sacrifice to God. He means to say that every devotee should consider this true for himself too. A true devotee understands that he is forever a sacrifice to God & it’s the only way to realise the truth.

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