BRAHMGIANI (Skt. brahmajnanin), lit. the knower of Brahman or one possessing the knowledge of Brahman. The knowledge (giana, jnana) of the Universal Spirit (Brahman) consists not in the mere recognition of His existence, but in a continuous consciousness about HimHis realization in the heart or rather the realization of a total identity of the individual soul (atman) with that Universal Soul (Brahman), which makes the former transcend joy and sorrow and life and death.
This total identity signifies, in essence, the oneness of the Universe with that Universal Soul and of the latter with the individual souls which a Brahmgiani realizes as the Ultimate Reality.The concept of Brahman in Sikhism delineates the Universal Spirit in theistic terms as the Absolute, the Creator and the Ordainer of the Universe which is, as it were, His visible form. The concept of Brahmgiani in Sikhism is elaborated in sublime poetry of Guru Arjan, Nanak V, in his Sukhmani (GG, 27274). According to him Brahmgiani is one who has realized, in his life, the One Supreme Spirit as well as his identity with the individual selves.
Such a person has also been called gurmukh, sadhu or sant. The Brahmgiani enjoys the highest spiritual status and he is accorded the highest veneration.The Brahmgiani in Sukhmani is postulated as being unattached (nirlep) like the lotus in water. He is endowed with Divine realization; he is deeply humane and compassionate. To all is he gracious casting an equal glance on all like the sun, and indifferent to praise or dispraise like the earth. He has humility and is ever anxious to do good to others.
In a moment of exaltation, Guru Arjan pronounces him the Supreme Being Himself such is his merit, such his holiness: “Nanak brahmgiani api parmesur” (GG, 273).He is compared to the earth to whom he who is digging it with the shovel and he who is plastering it with sandalwood are alike. Brahmgiani is gracious, compassionate to all. From all bonds is he free.On God is solely his reliance and on Him are all his hopes centred. Ever is he awake in spirit. To all does he bring liberation by his counsel.
Brahmgiani is the creator of all, immortal, dying never. Brahmgiani is the conferrer of the way of liberation, the perfect being, re-warder of deeds. Brahmgiani is the succourer of the helpless; Brahmgiani affords protection to all. All creation is Brahmgiani`s image; Brahmgiani himself is the Supreme Being. Brahmgiani alone is deserving of his high repute; Of all is Brahmgiani the overlord, sayeth Nanak. (GG, 27374) Brahmgiani looks on all beings equally and impartially brahmgiani sada samdarsi (GG, 272). He showers the nectar of love and affection of all (GG, 373).
An embodiment of compassion, he does good to others and helps those in distress. A model of piety and righteousness, he is the repository of all ethical virtues and a shunner of all vices and sins (GG, 272. 273). He is unaffected by the pleasures and enjoyments of the world just as the lotus leaf remains untouched by water. He is fully in control of his mind and is pure and blemishless (GG, 27273). He takes pleasure and pain, profit and loss alike. A Brahmgiani leads others to the path of holiness and piety.
He commands their spontaneous respect and reverence by virtue of his great glory and pro-fund spiritual influence over them (GG, 273). He is a serene and sublime soul and an ideal human entity of ineffable greatness, who, in his supreme spiritual attainment, eminently commands the vision of the Universal Soul in himself and who has even been exalted by Guru Arjan to the position of the Supreme Being, in the eighth astpadi or canto of Sukhmani: “Brahmgiani puran purakhu bidhata… Brahmgiani api nirankaru (GG, 27374).
1. Winternitz, M., History of Indian Literature. Tr. S. Ketkar. Calcutta, 1927
2. Sher Singh, The Philosophy of Sikhism. Lahore, 1944
3. Nripinder Singh, The Sikh Moral Tradition. Delhi, 1990
4. Jodh Singh, Bhai, Gurmati Nirnaya. Lahore, 1932