Gian Khand

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'Gian Khand' is the second Khand or sphere of spiritual reality. Gurbani tells us that there are five levels or domains of such reality. The Five Realms described in the Bani are:

  • 2. Gian Khand: the realm of knowledge (pauri 36),

The second level is Gian Khand. "Gian" means "knowledge" or "intelligence" and is also a place of desires, but the desires here are more abstract or mental then material. The need for mental satisfaction - the desire to gain power through knowledge or "gian". The artist given to the painting of beauty, the musicians and poets who want to earn fame and admiration and the devotees who are intensely desirous of meeting the objects of their worship and devotion.

All these souls find here a fertile land for play and development of their imaginations. They shape their surroundings as they like just by desiring it. Everybody who resides here is a victim of his or her desires. In stanza 34 of Japji Sahib, Guru Nanak Dev Ji describes the second spiritual stage Gian Khand (Sphere of knowledge):

Kete pavan pani besantar kete kan mahaes
Kete Braham gharat ghariah, rupe rang kay vase
Ketia karam bhumi, mer kete kete dhu updhase
Kete ind chand, su kete kete mundel dhase
Kete sidhu buddha naath kete kete devi vase
Kete dev danav mun kete kete rattan samundh
Ketia khani ketia bani kete paat narind
Ketia surti sevek kete Nanak ant na ant.
Pauri 35, Japuji Sahib.

Gian khand meh gian parchand
Tithai naad binod kode anand.
Pauri36, Japuji Sahib.

In Gian Khand there are many waters, fires, mountains and lands. Many Krishnas and Shivas fashion the world with shapes and colours. There are many Sidhas, Buddhas and Nathas, there are many gods and saints. There are many who possess divine understanding and many who are only disciples. In Gian Khand it is knowledge that predominates. Here one hears songs that produce endless joy and pleasure. In these worlds there are not just those who are evolving and progressing upwards but those who are fully evolved and possess full knowledge but come down to help and uplift the inhabitants. There are also many false gods, but there are also many Krishnas and Shivas too, who come down to help.

The next is gian khand. “In the realm of knowledge, knowledge is ignited, i.e. illumination dawns.” The seeker here becomes aware of the universe and the mystery of existence. Through the creation, he gains knowledge of the Creator from whom it emanates. Knowledge here is not merely intellectual or sensual; it is intuitive awareness, a spiritual consciousness which expands the vision of the seeker. His sense of wonder is born not merely of his awareness of the many forms of life or the ordered movement of numerous celestial spheres, but of his perception of God who is the sole force behind all. In front of this limitless variety of cosmic life, he feels humble. This simultaneous experience of expansion of vision and of the sense of humility leads to vismaya or vismad (wonder).

In the above stanza Guru Nanak starts by stating that such was the Dharma (meaning laws of Dharm Khand, the sphere of awareness of divine law that govern nature). It is in that first sphere an individual from being self-centered becomes conscious of more than himself/herself and begins to seek his/her true self beyond his/her ego.

To seek means to acquire knowledge. Thus he/she begins to, in second Khand, pursue the myriad avenues of knowledge. The second sphere of spiritual development is Gian Khand. In the above stanza Guru Nanak tries to convey the wonderful infinite varieties of knowledge that an individual who travels the sphere of knowledge over many life times may experience. The individual, who in its true form is Atma (particle of Parmatma, the highest God) moves towards Va-eh Guru by feeding on Gian (knowledge). Guru Arjan Dev the fifth Guru in, ‘Sukhmani Sahib’, states:

‘A Brahmgiani [person who knows God], his food is knowledge.’ (Guru Granth Sahib, Sukhmani Sahib

In the, ‘Chankaya Niti Darpan’, translated by Kavi Sainpat for Guru Gobind Singh is written this advice:

‘Study knowledge until there is life in your body.
There where the wealthy can not reach the wise man reaches.’ (‘Chankaya Niti Darpan', translated by Gulab Singh, Pa.50)


  • Study and experience all forms of knowledge.
Five Khands

ಭಭ Dharam Khand ಭಭ Gian Khand ಭಭ Saram Khand ಭಭ Karam Khand ಭಭ Sach Khand ಭಭ