What is ਭਾਣਾ (Bhana) or Acceptance? 

The word ਭਾਣਾ Bhana in Gurmukhi has multiple meanings depending upon the context.  

  1. ਰਜ਼ਾ, ਚੰਗਾ ਲਗਾ, ਭਾਅ ਗਿਆ। liking, pleasing 
    1. ਜੋ ਤਿਸੁ ਭਾਣਾ ਸੋ ਥੀਐ ਅਵਰੁ ਨ ਕਰਣਾ ਜਾਇ ॥੩॥ Whatever pleases Him comes to pass; nothing else can be done. ||3|| p -18 
    2. ਜਿਤੁ ਜਿਤੁ ਭਾਣਾ ਤਿਤੁ ਤਿਤੁ ਲਾਏ ॥ As it pleases You, You assign the tasks to everyone. 
  2. ਹੁਕਮ – command; the natural order of events; the natural order of the universe; 
    1. ਵਰਤੈ ਸਭ ਕਿਛੁ ਤੇਰਾ ਭਾਣਾ ॥ Everything is happening according to your hukum. 
    2. ਜੰਮਣੁ ਮਰਣਾ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਹੈ ਭਾਣੈ ਆਵੈ ਜਾਇ Birth and death are subject to the Hukum of the Kartar; through His Will we come and go.
  3. ਮਰਜ਼ੀ – will
    1. ਭਾਣਾ ਮੰਨੇ ਸਦਾ ਸੁਖੁ ਹੋਇ ॥ One who surrenders to the Kartar’s Will is peaceful forever. 
    2. ਬੰਦਿ ਖਲਾਸੀ ਭਾਣੈ ਹੋਇ Liberation from bondage comes only by Your Will.

Gurbani Dictionary

Living life as it is

Most of the time when we say that we should remain in Bhana, it means living our life as it is with least resistance. Let life unfold itself without fussing about why certain things are happening or not happening according to our wishes. The person in Bhana will not complain about why it’s raining or why it’s so hot outside, why there’s so much traffic etc. He understands that the mundane events happening in the natural course of life are happening according to Kartar’s Bhana and he does not have any control over these events and circumstances. The only thing in his control is his reaction to events and circumstances – accept them as they are, and deal with them gracefully; or fuss over them and keep complaining about them and feel miserable. He understands that we must honor the laws of nature, which are unavoidable. He chooses to live in agreement with nature. This gives him inner peace and tranquility. 

ਜੋ ਕਿਛੁ ਵਰਤੈ ਸਭ ਤੇਰਾ ਭਾਣਾ ॥  

Whatever happens, is all according to Your Will. 

ਹੁਕਮੁ ਬੂਝੈ ਸੋ ਸਚਿ ਸਮਾਣਾ ॥੩॥  

One who understands your Hukam, remains absorbed in the True Naam of Kartar. ||3|| 

M5 – SGGS – Ang 193 

On the other hand, the person who does not live in Bhana tries to plan and control everything. If things do not work according to his plans he complains and gets frustrated. He wastes so much time and energy in complaining and whining that he may not have enough time to prepare and react to events and circumstances gracefully. The repeated actions or reactions become habits and the habits become his character. Nobody wants to deal with such a person and hence he alienates good people from his life. 

ਨਾਨਕ ਮਨਮੁਖਾ ਨਾਲੋ ਤੁਟੀ ਭਲੀ ਜਿਨ ਮਾਇਆ ਮੋਹ ਪਿਆਰੁ ॥੧॥  

O Nanak, it is good to break away from the manmukhs (self-willed), who have love and attachment to Maya. ||1|| 

M4 – SGGS – Ang 316 

Living in reality

Most people live in their own fantasy, having unrealistic expectations and ambitions. When those unrealistic expectations meet reality, they can’t handle it and get frustrated and worried. Having expectations and ambitions are a normal part of worldly life, but those should be according to abilities, and reasonable goals of practice and preparation. Fantasy will hit the wall when it meets reality. 

On the other hand, a person in Bhana lives in reality, rather than in fantasy. He knows his limitations, strengths, weaknesses and works on improving the conditions, where he has control and accepts the things where he doesn’t have control. He makes peace with life happening as it is without too much resistance. This makes his life peaceful with an abundance of time preparing for the future. 

ਭਾਣਾ ਮੰਨੇ ਸਦਾ ਸੁਖੁ ਹੋਇ ॥  

One who surrenders to Kartar’s Will remains peaceful forever. 

ਨਾਨਕ ਸਚਿ ਸਮਾਵੈ ਸੋਇ ॥੪॥੧੦॥੪੯॥  

O Nanak, he remains absorbed in remembrance of eternal Kartar. ||4||10||49|| 

M3 – SGGS – Ang 363 

Navigate ambiguity and uncertainty gracefully

The person in Bhana can navigate ambiguity and uncertainty, because he is not a perfectionist and is conditioned to deal with reality. Ambiguity and uncertainty are the realities of life. These do not surprise him or throw him off track. His expectations are grounded in reality. He understands that unrealistic expectations will frustrate and cause suffering. He adopts unpredictability, does not waste too much time in planning or perfecting anything. Instead, he makes himself adaptable to anything happening, even if it’s not going according to plan. 

Nothing is good or bad in itself. It’s our perception or reaction which makes things good or bad. Rain may be perceived as good by some people and bad by others. A farmer may be delighted by rain, but a person having an outdoor event may feel miserable.  

ਨਾਨਕ ਸਾਵਣਿ ਜੇ ਵਸੈ ਚਹੁ ਓਮਾਹਾ ਹੋਇ ॥  

O Nanak, when it rains in the month of Saawan, four are delighted: 

ਨਾਗਾਂ ਮਿਰਗਾਂ ਮਛੀਆਂ ਰਸੀਆਂ ਘਰਿ ਧਨੁ ਹੋਇ ॥੧॥  

the snakes, the deer, the fish and the wealthy people seeking pleasure. ||1|| 

ਨਾਨਕ ਸਾਵਣਿ ਜੇ ਵਸੈ ਚਹੁ ਵੇਛੋੜਾ ਹੋਇ ॥  

O Nanak, when it rains in the month of Saawan, four suffer the pain of separation: 

ਗਾਈ ਪੁਤਾ ਨਿਰਧਨਾ ਪੰਥੀ ਚਾਕਰੁ ਹੋਇ ॥੨॥  

the oxen (gets yoked to plough), the poor (lose workday), the travelers (difficulties in rain) and the servants (have to work in rain). ||2|| 

M1 – SGGS – Ang 1279 

So instead of complaining about events you have no control over, focus on your reaction to make good use of what’s happening or plan to mitigate the risks. 

Live in gratitude 

The person in Bhana lives in gratitude. He remembers the blessings of Kartar like the breath of life, healthy body, place to live, clothes to cover the body, food and water etc. and expresses gratitude for everything given. He knows that nobody will get everything. There will always be some things which we don’t get, and he is okay with some things missing, and he enjoys what he has been given. On the other hand, the ਮਨਮੁਖ manmukh (who follows his own mind’s desires) fixates on what he is not given, why it’s not given. Due to this ਗਿਲਾ-ਗੁਜਾਰੀ (complains and grievances) he forgets to enjoy what is given to him. This lack of gratitude is the condemnation of the natural order of the universe. 

ਦਸ ਬਸਤੂ ਲੇ ਪਾਛੈ ਪਾਵੈ ॥ ਏਕ ਬਸਤੁ ਕਾਰਨਿ ਬਿਖੋਟਿ ਗਵਾਵੈ ॥ 

He obtains ten things, and puts them behind him; for the sake of one thing withheld, he forfeits his faith. 

ਏਕ ਭੀ ਨ ਦੇਇ ਦਸ ਭੀ ਹਿਰਿ ਲੇਇ ॥ ਤਉ ਮੂੜਾ ਕਹੁ ਕਹਾ ਕਰੇਇ ॥ 

But what if that one thing was not given, and the ten given were also taken away? Then, what could the fool say or do? 

M5 – SGGS – Ang 268 

Let it go

The person in Bhana is not consumed by the circumstances when tough times hit. He lives life as it is and does not hold on to grudges, complaints or regrets. He acknowledges human fallibility and does not attach too much significance to his abilities in case of success and does not lose faith in himself in case of failures.

ਨਾ ਕੋ ਮੂਰਖੁ ਨਾ ਕੋ ਸਿਆਣਾ ॥ ਵਰਤੈ ਸਭ ਕਿਛੁ ਤੇਰਾ ਭਾਣਾ ॥ 

No one is foolish, and no one is clever; everything is happening in Your Will. 

M5 – SGGS – Ang 98 

Due to the mindset of acceptance, he does not try to hold on to anything, instead he lets go of success and failure alike. 

Live in bliss

The person in Bhana lives in harmony with Guru’s Will, his sufferings and doubts are cut out from within, and he lives in bliss, filled with inner peace and Naam. 

ਅੰਤਰਹੁ ਦੁਖੁ ਭ੍ਰਮੁ ਕਟੀਐ ਸੁਖੁ ਪਰਾਪਤਿ ਹੋਇ ॥ 

Suffering and doubt are cut out from within, and peace is obtained. 

ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਭਾਣੈ ਜੋ ਚਲੈ ਦੁਖੁ ਨ ਪਾਵੈ ਕੋਇ ॥੩॥

One who walks in harmony with the Guru’s Will shall not suffer in pain. ||3||

M3 – SGGS – Ang 31

ਗੁਰ ਕੇ ਭਾਣੇ ਵਿਚਿ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਹੈ ਸਹਜੇ ਪਾਵੈ ਕੋਇ ॥ 

Naam Amrit, the Ambrosial Nectar, is in the Guru’s Will. The one who walks in harmony with Guru, enjoys the Naam Amrit being in spiritual steadiness.

ਜਿਨਾ ਪਰਾਪਤਿ ਤਿਨ ਪੀਆ ਹਉਮੈ ਵਿਚਹੁ ਖੋਇ ॥ 

Those who received the Naam Amrit, drank it being free from ego.

ਨਾਨਕ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਈਐ ਸਚਿ ਮਿਲਾਵਾ ਹੋਇ ॥੪॥੧੩॥੪੬॥ 

O Nanak, meditate on the Naam in the sanctuary of Guru. It unites us with the Eternal Kartar. ||4||13||46||

M3 – SGGS – Ang 31

Template of life 

Sikhi provides the template of life to live in Kartar’s Bhana all the times, which anybody can apply to live in gratitude, peace and harmony with nature and the natural order of events happening without resisting or complaining.

Guru Nanak Dev gave the template of life  

Guru Nanak Dev gave the template of life to Sikhs and taught them to remain in Kartar’s Bhana. In the first pauri (stanza) of Japji Sahib, Guru asks the question, how can we become ਸਚਿਆਰਾ Sachiara (ready to receive the enlightenment by the True Naam)? The answer follows – ਹੁਕਮਿ ਰਜਾਈ ਚਲਣਾ (live according to the Will of Kartar). 

ਕਿਵ ਸਚਿਆਰਾ ਹੋਈਐ ਕਿਵ ਕੂੜੈ ਤੁਟੈ ਪਾਲਿ ॥  

So how can we become the receivers of True Naam? And how can the veil of falsehood be torn away? 

ਹੁਕਮਿ ਰਜਾਈ ਚਲਣਾ ਨਾਨਕ ਲਿਖਿਆ ਨਾਲਿ ॥੧॥  

O Nanak, it is written from the beginning that you shall obey the Hukam and walk in the Way of His Will. ||1|| 

M1 – SGGS – Ang 1 

Guru Angad Dev, Guru Amar Das, Guru Ram Das told us the importance of this template, living according to the Will of Kartar and following the True Guru’s teachings. 

ਸੋ ਸਿਖੁ ਸਖਾ ਬੰਧਪੁ ਹੈ ਭਾਈ ਜਿ ਗੁਰ ਕੇ ਭਾਣੇ ਵਿਚਿ ਆਵੈ ॥  

He alone is a Sikh, a friend, a relative of Guru, who walks in the Way of the Guru’s Will. 

ਆਪਣੈ ਭਾਣੈ ਜੋ ਚਲੈ ਭਾਈ ਵਿਛੁੜਿ ਚੋਟਾ ਖਾਵੈ ॥  

The one who walks according to his own will, O brother, suffers pain, and separation from Kartar. 

M3 – SGGS – Ang 601 

Guru Arjun Dev Ji demonstrated this template of life 

Guru Arjun Dev Ji demonstrated this template of life in Bhana, by sitting on the Tati Tavi (hot plate). He remained peaceful and calm while the Mughals tortured him to death. When Sai Mian Mir (a Muslim saint) offered to help, Guru forbade him from interfering in Kartar’s Bhana and recited the Sabad. 

ਤੇਰਾ ਕੀਆ ਮੀਠਾ ਲਾਗੈ ॥  

Everything done by You seems so sweet (pleasing) to me. 

ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਪਦਾਰਥੁ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਮਾਂਗੈ ॥੨॥੪੨॥੯੩॥  

Nanak begs for the treasure of the Naam, the Name of Kartar. ||2||42||93|| 

M5 – SGGS – Ang 394 

Guru Teg Bahadur Ji witnessed the live demonstration of this template of life  

Guru Teg Bahadur Ji witnessed the live demonstration of this template of life in Bhana by his Sikhs with his own eyes. Bhai Mati Das was sawed alive, Bhai Sati Das was burnt alive, Bhai Dyal Das was boiled alive, because they refused to leave Sikhi and convert to Islam. These inhuman tortures couldn’t shake their faith. 

  • What if Bhai Mati Das was sawed alive, he still had Japji on his tongue – Waheguru, Waheguru. 
  • What if Bhai Dyal Das was boiled alive, he still had Sukhmani on his tongue – Waheguru, Waheguru. 
  • What if Bhai Sati Das was burned alive, he still had Gurbani on his tongue – Waheguru, Waheguru. 

Guru witnessed his beloved Sikhs getting tortured to death. The Guru himself was martyred by getting beheaded in public. 

Guru Gobind Singh Ji etched this template of life 

Guru Gobind Singh Ji etched this template of life in Sikh psyche by writing the Zafarnama, challenging the Mughal emperor that they can’t subdue the Sikhs who follow this template and remain in Kartar’s Bhana. 

ਚਿਹਾ ਸ਼ੁਦ ਕਿ ਚੂੰ ਬੱਚਗਾ ਕੁਸ਼ਤਹ ਚਾਰ ॥ ਕਿ ਬਾਕੀ ਬਿਮਾਦਅਸਤੁ ਪੇਚੀਦਹ ਮਾਰ ॥੭੮॥ 

What if you have killed my four sons, the hooded cobra still sits coiled up.78. 

P10 – SDG – Ang 1389 

After leaving the Anandpur Sahib, Guru Gobind Singh Ji was in the Machhiwara jungle, where he recited this ਖਿਆਲ Khyal (thought) expressing his acceptance of Bhana and remaining in Chardi Kala even during the toughest times. 

ਮਿਤ੍ਰ ਪਿਆਰੇ ਨੂੰ ਹਾਲੁ ਮੁਰੀਦਾਂ ਦਾ ਕਹਣਾ ॥  

Convey to the Dear Friend (Kartar) the condition of the disciples, 

ਤੁਧ ਬਿਨੁ ਰੋਗੁ ਰਜਾਈਆਂ ਦਾ ਓਢਣੁ ਨਾਗ ਨਿਵਾਸਾਂ ਦੇ ਰਹਣਾ ॥  

Without You in mind, the taking over of quilt is like disease and living in the house is like living with serpents 

ਸੂਲ ਸੁਰਾਹੀ ਖੰਜਰੁ ਪਿਯਾਲਾ ਬਿੰਗ ਕਸਾਈਯਾਂ ਦਾ ਸਹਣਾ ॥  

Without You in mind, the water flask is like the spike, the cup is like a dagger and the separation from You is like enduring the chopper of the butchers, 

ਯਾਰੜੇ ਦਾ ਸਾਨੂੰ ਸੱਥਰ ਚੰਗਾ ਭੱਠ ਖੇੜਿਆਂ ਦਾ ਰਹਣਾ ॥੧॥੧॥੬॥  

The Sathar (bed of straw or bare ground) given by the beloved Friend is the most pleasing; and towns with worldly pleasures (in separation from Him) are like furnace.1.1.6 

P10 – SDG – Ang 711 

In Zafarnama (Epistle of Victory), Guru Gobind Singh Ji reaffirms that the one who lives in Kartar’s Bhana (Will) is always taken care of by the Generous Kartar. He enjoys the grace of Kartar in any condition. 

ਨ ਸਾਜ਼ੋ ਨ ਬਾਜ਼ੋ ਨ ਫ਼ੌਜੋ ਨ ਫ਼ਰਸ਼ ॥ ਖ਼ੁਦਾਵੰਦ ਬਖ਼ਸ਼ਿੰਦਏ ਐਸ਼ੁ ਅਰਸ਼ ॥੪॥ 

The one without any wealth, falcon, army, property and authority, can be provided with Heavenly Enjoyments with His Generosity.4. 

P10 – SDG – Ang 1389 

Sikhs adopted this template of life 

Sahibzade proved that this template of life can be applied by kids and adults alike. The mothers who saw their babies getting cut into pieces in front of them said their evening Ardaas (prayer) – Dear Kartar, the day has passed in your Bhana, may the coming night pass in your Bhana.  

We can apply the same ਕੀ ਹੋਇਆ ਕਿ (what happened if) template to our own life events and circumstances to remain in Kartar’s Bhana no matter how hard things go in life and recites ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂ Waheguru (the Wondrous Enlightener). 

  • ਕੀ ਹੋਇਆ ਕਿ (What happened if) my son is martyred in the freedom struggle; my faith became stronger – Waheguru, Waheguru.

ਇਨ ਪੁਤਰਨ ਕੇ ਸੀਸ ਪਰ ਵਾਰ ਦੀਏ ਸੁਤ ਚਾਰ, ਚਾਰ ਮੂਏ ਤੋ ਕਿਆ ਹੂਆ ਜੀਵਤ ਕਈ ਹਜਾਰ ||
I have sacrificed my four sons for these sons (Khalsa Panth). What if my four sons died, when thousands are alive the Khalsa Singhs – Sri Guru Gobind Singh

  • What if Ahmed Shah Abdali captured thousands of Hindu women to sell in Afghanistan; Guru’s Khalsa was there to get them released and unite them with their families – Waheguru, Waheguru.

ਖਾਲਸਾ ਸੋਇ ਸ਼ਸਤਰ ਕੋ ਧਾਰੈ ਖਾਲਸਾ ਸੋਇ ਦੁਸੰਟ ਕੋ ਮਾਰੈ। (੫੪)
Khalsa is the one who adorns the weapons. Khalsa is the one who exterminates the vicious.(54) – Tankhah Naama – Bhai Nand Lal

  • What if people couldn’t get hospital beds to recover from COVID; Guru’s Gurdwaras were there with free food, water, and Oxygen langar – Waheguru, Waheguru.
  • What if the fear of COVID didn’t let the families perform the last rites of their loved ones; Guru’s Khalsa was there to perform the cremation seva – Waheguru, Waheguru.

ਖਾਲਸਾ ਸੋਇ ਨਿਰਧਨ ਕੋ ਪਾਲੈ ਖਾਲਸਾ ਸੋਇ ਦੁਸ਼ਟ ਕੋ ਗਾਲੇ। (੫੦)
Khalsa is the one who looks after the poor. Khalsa is the one who annihilates the the evil-doers.(50) – Tankhah Naama – Bhai Nand Lal

  • What if the ungrateful people don’t even acknowledge our par-upkaar (favors); we don’t expect anything back for our Seva – Waheguru, Waheguru.

ਸੇਵਾ ਕਰਤ ਹੋਇ ਨਿਹਕਾਮੀ ॥ ਤਿਸ ਕਉ ਹੋਤ ਪਰਾਪਤਿ ਸੁਆਮੀ ॥
One who performs selfless service, without expecting any reward, shall attain Swami (Kartar). – M5 – SGGS – Ang 286

  • What if people call us terrorists; we will keep serving fearlessly with same love and affection – Waheguru, Waheguru.

ਕਬੀਰ ਸੰਤੁ ਨ ਛਾਡੈ ਸੰਤਈ ਜਉ ਕੋਟਿਕ ਮਿਲਹਿ ਅਸੰਤ ॥ ਮਲਿਆਗਰੁ ਭੁਯੰਗਮ ਬੇਢਿਓ ਤ ਸੀਤਲਤਾ ਨ ਤਜੰਤ ॥੧੭੪॥
Kabeer, the Saint does not forsake his Saintly nature, even though he meets millions of evil-doers. Sandalwood does not give up its cooling fragrance, even when it is surrounded by snakes, . ||174|| – Bhagat Kabir – SGGS – Ang 1373

  • What if we are less than 1% of the world; our ਕਿਰਦਾਰ Kirdaar (conduct) will be the lighthouse to the truth seekers – Waheguru, Waheguru.
ਇਸੁ ਜਗ ਮਹਿ ਵਿਰਲੇ ਜਾਣੀਅਹਿ ਨਾਨਕ ਸਚੁ ਲਹੰਨਿ ॥੩੪॥੧॥੩॥
In this world, there are only a rare few, O Nanak, who obtain the True Kartar. ||34||1||3|| – M3 – SSGS – Ang 755
  • What if I couldn’t pass that exam; it didn’t shake my faith – Waheguru, Waheguru. 
ਮੇਰੇ ਮਨ ਹਰਿ ਊਪਰਿ ਕੀਜੈ ਭਰਵਾਸਾ
O my mind, place your faith in Kartar. – M4 – SGGS – Ang 860
  • What if my loved ones left me; I have my Guru with me – Waheguru, Waheguru. 
ਤੂੰ ਮੇਰਾ ਪਿਤਾ ਤੂੰਹੈ ਮੇਰਾ ਮਾਤਾ ॥ ਤੂੰ ਮੇਰਾ ਬੰਧਪੁ ਤੂੰ ਮੇਰਾ ਭ੍ਰਾਤਾ ॥ ਤੂੰ ਮੇਰਾ ਰਾਖਾ ਸਭਨੀ ਥਾਈ ਤਾ ਭਉ ਕੇਹਾ ਕਾੜਾ ਜੀਉ ॥੧॥
You are my Father, and You are my Mother. You are my Relative, and You are my Brother. You are my Protector everywhere; why should I feel any fear or anxiety? ||1|| – M5 – SGGS – Ang 103

Do you have any problem bigger than the ones faced by our elders?  

Then why don’t you say – Waheguru, Waheguru? 

Author:

Tej Partap Singh

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