Author : Harpreet Singh Khalsa
Title : Mind, Jot and Joti in Gurbani – A Thought
“Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa
Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh.
Before going into further veechar about any characters within Gurbani and how they symbolise Brain and Mind, it will be better if try to understand two key words of Gurbani – Jot and Joti.
Normally, these two words are taken as synonyms within Gurbani but we need to closely look into these words before coming to any conclusion. Firstly, let’s start with the word Jot and see in what context it is coming within Gurbani
1) ਸਭ ਮਹਿ ਜੋਤਿ ਜੋਤਿ ਹੈ ਸੋਇ ॥ਤਿਸ ਦੈ ਚਾਨਣਿ ਸਭ ਮਹਿ ਚਾਨਣੁ ਹੋਇ ॥
2) ਸਾਚੇ ਤੇ ਪਵਨਾ ਭਇਆ ਪਵਨੈ ਤੇ ਜਲੁ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਜਲ ਤੇ ਤ੍ਰਿਭਵਣੁ ਸਾਜਿਆ ਘਟਿ ਘਟਿ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਮੋਇ ॥
3) ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਚਾਨਣੁ ਜਾਣੀਐ ਮਨਮੁਖਿ ਮੁਗਧੁ ਗੁਬਾਰੁ ॥ ਘਟਿ ਘਟਿ ਜੋਤਿ ਨਿਰੰਤਰੀ ਬੂਝੈ ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਸਾਰੁ ॥4॥
4) ਸਗਲੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਤੇਰਾ ਸਭੁ ਕੋਈ ॥ ਆਪੇ ਜੋੜਿ ਵਿਛੋੜੇ ਸੋਈ ॥ ਆਪੇ ਕਰਤਾ ਕਰੇ ਸੁ ਹੋਈ ॥4॥
One thing that becomes quite clear from above panktees is that Jot is a plural word and is used for Jot within us. Jot is not used for Waheguru Ji, it’s used for HIS element that is within us. Another pankti, which clearly distinguishes between our Jot and HIM is
ਸਭ ਜੋਤਿ ਤੇਰੀ ਜਗਜੀਵਨਾ ਤੂ ਘਟਿ ਘਟਿ ਹਰਿ ਰੰਗ ਰੰਗਨਾ ॥
This pankti clearly provides a clear distinction between Jot and JagJeevan. All Jots are of JagJeevan. It means Jot is different from Jag Jeevan.
Now let’s try to understand the concept of Joti within Gurbani:
1) ਜੋਤੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਮਿਲੀ ਸੁਖੁ ਪਾਇਆ ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਇਕੁ ਪਸਾਰਿਆ ਜੀਉ ॥4॥3॥10॥
2) ਕਮਲੁ ਬਿਗਾਸਿ ਸਦਾ ਸੁਖੁ ਪਾਇਆ ਜੋਤੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਮਿਲਾਵਣਿਆ ॥6॥
3) ਨਿਰਮਲ ਨਾਮੁ ਵਸੈ ਘਟ ਭੀਤਰਿ ਜੋਤੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਮਿਲਾਵਣਿਆ ॥5॥
4) ਨਾਨਕ ਸਦਾ ਸੋਹਾਗਣੀ ਜਿਨ ਜੋਤੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਮਾਇ ॥4॥2॥19॥
5) ਪੁਨਰਪਿ ਜਨਮੁ ਨਾਹੀ ਜਨ ਸੰਗਤਿ ਜੋਤੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਮਿਲਾਈ ॥7॥
One thing becomes apparent from above panktees is that there are two entities Jot and Joti. Jot has to merge within Joti. Joti is like an Ocean and is used to symbolise HIM and Jot is like a drop from that ocean and is used to symbolise us or every form of life. In following pankti Gurbani further clarifies that Joti is singular
ਏਕੋ ਨਾਮੁ ਏਕੁ ਨਾਰਾਇਣੁ ਤ੍ਰਿਭਵਣ ਏਕਾ ਜੋਤੀ
By now most of you would have guessed that it’s nothing but Nirgun and Sargun Saroop of Waheguru Ji and it’s nothing new. We have taken this topic of discussion because of following reasons:
1) To identify the relation between mind and these two Jots
2) To identify how else Gurbani distinguishes between these two jots by using similar words
1) Relation between mind and these two Jots
Now that we know there are two Jots within Gurbani i.e. Jot and Joti. Let’s see which one is Mind linked to?
ਮਨ ਤੂੰ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਰੂਪੁ ਹੈ ਆਪਣਾ ਮੂਲੁ ਪਛਾਣੁ ॥
Mind is embodiment of Jot and not Joti. Jot is HIS light within us and then out of this Jot, Mind has taken the birth. Jot is exactly same within everyone; animal, birds, human beings etc but mind is different for everyone. It’s that part of Jot which is now connected to Maya and everyone’s connection to Maya is different; depending upon their personal circumstances, surroundings, brought up, views and ideologies. The first step is to know jot within our self, which is commonly referred as Aatam Darshan, Aatam Khoj or Aatam Gian. Within the same Shabad, Gurbani then guides us the path to Paarbraham:
ਮੂਲੁ ਪਛਾਣਹਿ ਤਾਂ ਸਹੁ ਜਾਣਹਿ ਮਰਣ ਜੀਵਣ ਕੀ ਸੋਝੀ ਹੋਈ ॥
Once again this pankti is addressed to Mind. O Mind’ once you identify your origin, then only you shall know your Husband (Paarbraham).
Normally, mind is thought to be originated directly from Joti (Paarbraham) but from above examples, it’s apparent that we have missed a step in between. The first step is to know our self and then Jot or drop of water will automatically guide us to the Ocean. Drop always knows where Ocean is and that’s one of the reasons why humility is so much stressed within Gurbani. The drop of water knows that it has to keep going downwards to meet the ocean and similar is the case with Jot; Humility will automatically lead the Jot to merge into Ocean (JOTI), one day.
How else Gurbani portrays this relationship between these three (mind, Jot and Joti)?
Let’s look at following pankti from Satta & Balwand Jee
ਪਿਯੂ ਦਾਦੇ ਜੇਵਿਹਾ ਪੋਤਾ ਪਰਵਾਣੁ ॥
This pankti is normally interpreted as if it’s being referred to GURU Amardaas ji and His father is Guru Angad Dev Ji and Grand Father as Guru Nanak Dev Ji. There are only two possibilities on how Guru Nanak Dev Jee and Guru Angad Dev Jee could be forefathers of Guru Amardass Jee:
1) At the level of Jot – Let’s assume they were forefathers at the level of Jot. Now let’s look at following pankti from same bani of Satta and Balwand Jee
ਜੋਤਿ ਓਹਾ ਜੁਗਤਿ ਸਾਇ ਸਹਿ ਕਾਇਆ ਫੇਰਿ ਪਲਟੀਐ ॥
If Jot is same, then how can it become Father and Grand Father. Then in this pankti, Satta Balwand Jee should have mentioned that Jot is not same. It’s grandson of First Nanak’s Jot. It means at the level of Jot Guru Nanak Dev Jee and Guru Angad Dev Jee are not forefathers of Guru Amardaas Jee. Now let’s go to second assumption
2) At biological level – May be Guru Amardaas Jee was born at house of Guru Angad Dev jee.
Now let’s look at following panktee from same Baani by Satta and Balwand Jee
ਫੇਰਿ ਵਸਾਇਆ ਫੇਰੁਆਣਿ ਸਤਿਗੁਰਿ ਖਾਡੂਰੁ ॥
This panktee is normally interpreted as follows:
“Then, the True Guru, the son of Pheru, came to dwell at Khadoor”
Here in same bani it’s being interpreted that Guru Amardaas Jee was born at the house of Pheru Mal Jee. Hence, we couldn’t find this relation of father, son at any level. Let’s try to look at this in light of veechar that we have done above for – Mind, Jot and Joti.
ਸੋ ਟਿਕਾ ਸੋ ਬੈਹਣਾ ਸੋਈ ਦੀਬਾਣੁ ॥
ਪਿਯੂ ਦਾਦੇ ਜੇਵਿਹਾ ਪੋਤਾ ਪਰਵਾਣੁ ॥
This panktee is describing the spiritual state of Guru Amardaas Jee. It’s addressed to Mind of Guru Amardaas jee, Gurbani guides us that grandson (Mind of Guru Amardaas Jee) has got same stillness (ਟਿਕਾ), sitting (settled ਬੈਹਣਾ) and spiritual throne (ਦੀਬਾਣੁ) like Father (Jot) and Grand Father (Joti). Here Tikka doesn’t refer to Tikka of Hinduism but refers to stillness (ਟਿਕਾਅ).We are so immersed into rituals of Brahmanism that we connected sakhis of Guru Sahibaans with Tikaa, whereas Gurbani is against such things from the step one itself. Once again Gurbani is addressed to Mind and Body and has no reference to physical entities. Even in the following pankti, it’s possibly not referring to Guru Amardaas Jee being son of Pheru Mal Jee.
ਫੇਰਿ ਵਸਾਇਆ ਫੇਰੁਆਣਿ ਸਤਿਗੁਰਿ ਖਾਡੂਰੁ ॥
Guru Amardaas Jee’s father was Pheru Mal and not Pheru Aan, as mentioned above. We just saw similar words and tried to link the things to names that we found in physical world. The word Vasaya (ਵਸਾਇਆ) can possibly be combination of (ਵਸ+ ਆਇਆ) which means it came under control. The word Pheruaan (ਫੇਰੁਆਣਿ) can possibly be combination of (ਫੇਰੁ + ਆਣਿ) which means the one who used to have the Phere (circles) of maya i.e. Mind. It means that the mind which was spiralled into the web of Maya is now under control. The next part of this panktee needs deeper veechar about what is Khaadur of spiritual world, which we will try to discuss in some other veechar.
The main point of this veechar is that we need to identify relation between three things in spiritual world i.e. Mind, Jot and Joti.
2) How else Gurbani distinguishes between these two jots by using similar words
From above reference it’s become quite clear that Mind has to first meet its own origin (Jot) and then lead into Joti. These two Jotis are referred by various names within Gurbani but with slight variation. The sample list of words used for Jot
Prabh (ਪ੍ਰਭ) ,Har(i) (ਹਰਿ), Ram (ਰਾਮ),Parmatm (ਪ੍ਰਮਾਤਮ), Bhagwaan (ਭਗਵਾਨ), Chit (ਚਿਤ), Gobind (ਗੋਬਿੰਦ) ,Gopal (ਗੋਪਾਲ)
Sample list of names used for Joti
Prabhu (ਪ੍ਰਭੂ), Hari (ਹਰੀ), Paarbraham (ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮ), Parmeshar (ਪਰਮੇਸਰ)
Another rule of thumb to identify this distinction is that normally the words used to signify our internal Jot are pre-fixed with Mera (ਮੇਰਾ), Mere (ਮੇਰੇ) or Apna (ਅਪਨਾ); whereas words used to represent HIM are never pre-fixed with Mera (ਮੇਰਾ), Mere (ਮੇਰੇ) or Apna (ਅਪਨਾ). For e.g. on numerous occasions we can find Mere Raam (ਮੇਰੇ ਰਾਮ) , Prabh Mere (ਪ੍ਰਭ ਮੇਰੇ), Mere Har (ਮੇਰੇ ਹਰਿ) ,Mere Gobind (ਮੇਰੇ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ), Mere Gopal (ਮੇਰੇ ਗੋਪਾਲ)but we won’t see similar patterns with words Prabhu, Hari, Parbraham or Parmeshar.
To get some further clarification on this segregation of Jot and Joti, let’s focus on word Parmatma as part of this veechar. Parmatma is normally used to refer Waheguru Ji. It’s one of the most common words used in our liter ature and during katha veechar by parcharaks. It’s quite interesting to know that there is no such word called “Parmatma” within Gurbani. The closest match within Gurbani for this word is as follows:
ਜਿਨੀ ਆਤਮੁ ਚੀਨਿਆ ਪਰਮਾਤਮੁ ਸੋਈ ॥
It’s quite clear from above reference that Gurbani terms that GURSIKH as Parmatam who understands his own soul (Jot). The One who connects his mind and Jot is called as Parmatam. The soul (jot) of such GURSIKH itself becomes Supreme Soul(Jot). There is no concept of Akal Purakh being referred as Parmatam(a) in Gurbani and yet this is so heavily used word in our various mediums of parchar. Sikhism is unique in its ideology and philosophy. GIAN and implementation of gurbani can transform a Gursikh into Parmaatam. The state that was attached only with hypothetical characters in other religions became a reality for Gursikh but in distinctive manner. Once again, instead of doing research of Gurbani, we loved to borrow the concepts of other cultures and loved to propagate their words rather than what Gurbani guides. Sadly, we didn’t try to understand this uniqueness and got caught into the trap from where we were taken out by GURUS. We try to see the meaning of Gurbani from the lens of other religions.
There is a difference between Mind, Soul and Waheguru Jee. We need to be cautious of these differences while doing the Gurbani Veechar. There are different words used to symbolise Soul and Waheguru Jee, which should be taken care of while trying to understand Gurbani.
SIKHISM IS ABOUT SPIRITUALISM (ਸੁਰਤਿ ਮਤਿ ਮਨਿ ਬੁਧਿ) AND NOT RITUALISM (Body)”