Raag Assa – SGGS Ang 411-412

From Angg 411 till Angg 416, there are 10 Astpadhis by Guru Nanak Dev Ji.

The 1st Astpadhi by Guru Nanak Dev Ji. As the last line of the Shabad indicates, this Shabad  is addressed to Bharthar jogi.

There are 5 Shabads in SGGS Ji by Guru Nanak Dev Ji, which are addressed to Bharthar Jogi. 

Bharthar Jogi was King of Ujjain around the 10th Century.  He became disillusioned when he saw the infidelity of his Queen. He gave up his kingdom to his brother Vikramditya and became a jogi, a disciple of Gorakh Nath. 

During his Udasis, Guru Nanak Dev Ji went to Ujjain. There, Guru Ji met Bharthari jogi. It is most likely that Guru Ji met a jogi who sat on the gurgaddi of Bharthar jogi as all jogis who sat on the seats of their Gurus used the name of their respective Gurus.

Jogi Bharthari tried to impress Guru Ji with his way of life and spiritual practices. These practices were mostly yogic asanas, breathing exercises, living in the hills away from society, havans, rituals, and other physical shows of their path. The jogis used practices like “nivli karam bhauyangam bhathi rechak kumbak purh kare.” 

(Ang 1343). 

Guru Ji’s Path was of Prema Bhagti and of the Shabad Surat, i.e.  to cleanse the mann, relying only on Naam, and to rise to the Daswa Dwar by Gur Parsad.

In this Shabad, Guru Ji describes what a jogi who relies only on Naam would do.

Firstly, the Naam jogi would descend from his egoistic hill, i.e. live in humility, and bathe in the cleansing pool of Naam.

(Jogis lived mostly in the hills, and descended to take a physical bath in pools of water.)

“Uttar avghat sarvar naavhe.”

“ਉਤਰਿ ਅਵਘਟਿ ਸਰਵਰਿ ਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਾਵੈ ॥

A true Naam jogi  would rather keep silent and not prattle uselessly. He would Sing Praises of the Lord.

“Bakke na bole Har Gunn gaavhe.”

“ਬਕੈ ਨ ਬੋਲੈ ਹਰਿ ਗੁਣ ਗਾਵੈ ॥”

His entire being becomes subtle and like water vapor in the Sky (of the mind), he remains absorbed in the Lord.

“Jal akaashi Sunn samaavhe; Ras sath jhol Mehaa Ras Paavai.”

“ਜਲੁ ਆਕਾਸੀ ਸੁੰਨਿ ਸਮਾਵੈ ॥ ਰਸੁ ਸਤੁ ਝੋਲਿ ਮਹਾ ਰਸੁ ਪਾਵੈ ॥੧॥”

Such a Naam jogi, churns (recites) the True Name and experiences the delight of the True Nectar (Naam, Attributes of God).

The jogis believed God could be found at tiraths, quiet places, especially in the mountains, at tombs, and shrines. In the Rahao to this Shabad, Guru Ji says He is in every pore of the Universe and is Pervading and Permeating all places.

“Aisa gyan sunho abh moray; bharpur dhar rehiya sabh dhauray.” (rahao).

“ਐਸਾ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਸੁਨਹੁ ਅਭ ਮੋਰੇ ॥ ਭਰਿਪੁਰਿ ਧਾਰਿ ਰਹਿਆ ਸਭ ਠਉਰੇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥”

The jogis believed in fasting on certain days. It was a way of cleansing the body and removing poisons. Guru Ji said the real toxins come from anger and if one keeps the discipline (fast) of Truth, he will be saved from death. A true jogi would dwell in the highest recesses of his mind, and absorb himself in deep meditation. As his surat was touched by the Shabad (Paras – Wizard’s  Mystical Stone), he would rise to the Supreme Status (of his mind).

“Sach baratt nem na kaal santaavhe; Satgur Shabad krodh jalavhe; gagan nivaas samadh lagaavhe; Paras parass  Param Padh paavhe.”

“ਸਚੁ ਬ੍ਰਤੁ ਨੇਮੁ ਨ ਕਾਲੁ ਸੰਤਾਵੈ ॥ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਸਬਦਿ ਕਰੋਧੁ ਜਲਾਵੈ ॥ ਗਗਨਿ ਨਿਵਾਸਿ ਸਮਾਧਿ ਲਗਾਵੈ ॥ ਪਾਰਸੁ ਪਰਸਿ ਪਰਮ ਪਦੁ ਪਾਵੈ ॥੨॥”

To make his mind true (pure), a true jogi would churn (repeatedly recite) the Essence of Reality (Naam); in the overflowing Tank of Nectar (Naam, Daswa Dwar)  there is no filth and he washes himself at that Plane (avastha); he becomes like the One he adores; but this happens only if the Lord, so wishes (i.e. with His Grace).

“Sach mann kaaran Tatt bilovhe; Sobhar Sarvar mailh na dhovhe; jai sio raata taiso hovay; Aape Karta Kare so hovay.”

“ਸਚੁ ਮਨ ਕਾਰਣਿ ਤਤੁ ਬਿਲੋਵੈ ॥ ਸੁਭਰ ਸਰਵਰਿ ਮੈਲੁ ਨ ਧੋਵੈ ॥ ਜੈ ਸਿਉ ਰਾਤਾ ਤੈਸੋ ਹੋਵੈ ॥ ਆਪੇ ਕਰਤਾ ਕਰੇ ਸੁ ਹੋਵੈ ॥੩॥”

The jogis smear ashes on their bodies and use sandalwood to cool their bodies. They believe their inner fiery passions get cooled by these acts. Guru Ji says, it is the (Guru) Shabad, which will cool all evil passions. As one engages in nishkaam sewa of the Guru, his suratt (consciousness) is cooled.  The way of the jogis is made of six schools known as darshan. Guru Ji says as one enters a state of inner equipoise, he acquires all the wisdom of the six darshan of jogis. Jogis will use a conch or deer horn to indicate the arrival of anhad vaaje. Guru Ji says, only the Pure Bani of the Guru will trigger off inner sweet melodies of anhad vaaje.

“Gur hiv seetal aggan bujhaave; sewa suratt bibhut charavhe; darshan Aap Sahaj Ghar aave; Nirmal Bani Naad vajaavhe.”

“ਗੁਰ ਹਿਵ ਸੀਤਲੁ ਅਗਨਿ ਬੁਝਾਵੈ ॥ ਸੇਵਾ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਬਿਭੂਤ ਚੜਾਵੈ ॥ ਦਰਸਨੁ ਆਪਿ ਸਹਜ ਘਰਿ ਆਵੈ ॥ ਨਿਰਮਲ ਬਾਣੀ ਨਾਦੁ ਵਜਾਵੈ ॥੪॥”

It is the inner Enlightenment we should seek. Contemplation on the Guru’s Shabad is one’s cleansing at pilgrim stations; the worship is internal at the Lord’s Own Home; the jogis depend on fire – aggan devta to carry their messages across. Guru Ji says as you reach the Lord’s Thaan (Plane/Dimension), it is there that the Lord’s Joti Unites  your Jote with Himself.

“Antar Gyan maha rass saara; tirath majjan Gur vichaara; antar puja thaan Murara;  Joti Jote Milavanhara.”

“ਅੰਤਰਿ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਮਹਾ ਰਸੁ ਸਾਰਾ ॥ ਤੀਰਥ ਮਜਨੁ ਗੁਰ ਵੀਚਾਰਾ ॥ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਪੂਜਾ ਥਾਨੁ ਮੁਰਾਰਾ ॥ ਜੋਤੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਮਿਲਾਵਣਹਾਰਾ ॥੫॥”

The jogis seek ecstasy from snorts of alcohol. Guru Ji says the supreme delight comes from Love of the One Lord; such a Naam jogi conquers his five evil passions and lives with the Lord Seated on His Throne.  His conduct is in obedience to the Will of the Lord. The Lord is beyond Fathom.


“Ras rasiya matt Ekay bhaye; takht nivaasi panch samaaye; kaar kamayee Khasam Rajaaiye; Avghat Nath neh lakhiya jaaye.”

“ਰਸਿ ਰਸਿਆ ਮਤਿ ਏਕੈ ਭਾਇ ॥ ਤਖਤ ਨਿਵਾਸੀ ਪੰਚ ਸਮਾਇ ॥ ਕਾਰ ਕਮਾਈ ਖਸਮ ਰਜਾਇ ॥ ਅਵਿਗਤ ਨਾਥੁ ਨ ਲਖਿਆ ਜਾਇ ॥੬॥”


Jogis use manhath methods to stay away from maya. They shun women, do not touch money with their hands, some  even cut off their limbs they think will drown them in maya. Guru Ji says the Naam jogi lives like the lotus, born of the waters, yet remains distinct from water. His Divine Jote is the waters too, from which the lotus remains detached. Who can claim to be near or said to be far from God?. One should Sing His Praises, and be aware that He is Ever Present.


“Jal meh upjhe jal te duur; jal meh Jote rehiya bharpoor; kis nerhe kis akhan duur; Nidh Gunn gaavan dekh hadoor.”

“ਜਲ ਮਹਿ ਉਪਜੈ ਜਲ ਤੇ ਦੂਰਿ ॥ ਜਲ ਮਹਿ ਜੋਤਿ ਰਹਿਆ ਭਰਪੂਰਿ ॥ ਕਿਸੁ ਨੇੜੈ ਕਿਸੁ ਆਖਾ ਦੂਰਿ ॥ ਨਿਧਿ ਗੁਣ ਗਾਵਾ ਦੇਖਿ ਹਦੂਰਿ ॥੭॥”


Guru Ji concludes the Shabad. The jogis tend to look for God outside themselves. Guru Ji says,  inwardly and outwardly, there is none other than Him. Whatever Pleases Him, comes to pass. Guru Ji addresses Bharthar jogi and says,  the Pure Naam is my only Support.


“Antar bahar avar na koye; Jo Tis bhave so funh hoye; sun Bharthar Nanak kahe bichaar; Nirmal Naam mera adhaar.” 

“ਅੰਤਰਿ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਅਵਰੁ ਨ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਜੋ ਤਿਸੁ ਭਾਵੈ ਸੋ ਫੁਨਿ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਸੁਣਿ ਭਰਥਰਿ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਕਹੈ ਬੀਚਾਰੁ ॥ ਨਿਰਮਲ ਨਾਮੁ ਮੇਰਾ ਆਧਾਰੁ ॥੮॥੧॥”


Manjeet Singh