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GurMukh literally means Guru's mouth / voice/ SpokesWoMan . To be a Gurmukh is to follow the ways of SatGurBani and not to follow one's animal instincts and desires. The opposite of Gurmukh is ManMukh, which means a person who follows his own uncontrolled mind or wild desires.

Those who do not recognize the> TRUE PATH to TRUTH (GOD) are manmukhs.

--Ang 1054

Gurmukh (gur= Guru; mukh= mouth), is a word employed in Sikh Scripture, the Guru Granth Sahib, in several distinct shades of signification. The gurmukh is, for instance the "Primordial Guru (God) who created all forms; it is He, too, who strings them into one thread — oan gurmukhi kio akara ekahi suti provanhara" (GG, 250). In the Gurmukh, the Guru instils the awe of the Fearless One, and through the Word shapes the mis-shapen (minds). In another sense, gurmukh is the God-conscious being or the God-inspired man who, imbued with the Word, is crowned with glory at the Lord's portal — "The Gurmukhs are honored in the Court of the Lord - gurmukhi hari dari sobha pae" (GG, 125). In Maru Solahe by Guru Amar Das, "Gurmukh is the mystic sound (nad), spiritual knowledge (Ved), and the contemplation thereof" (GG, 1058). At a few places in the Guru Granth Sahib the word gurmukh is used in its literal sense of the face of the Guru. "Beholding the Guru's countenance one attains the highest bliss — guru mukhu dekhi garu sukhu payau" (GG, 1400). Varyingly, it signifies "by the Master's Word" (adv.). "By the Master's Word is attained the Name that is like cool water, whereby elixir of the Name divine is quaffed in long draughts — gurmukhi namu sital jalu paia hari hari namu pia rasu jhik" (GG, 1336).

However, the principal sense in which the word most frequently occurs in the Guru Granth Sahib is that of the God-inspired or theocentric man — one who follows the way of life prescribed by the Guru and acts on his precepts. In this sense, he has his "face turned towards the Guru." Gurmukh is a Siddha or the perfect being. Guru Nanak, according to Sidha Gosti, had as a pilgrim been searching for such a one all over — gurmukhi khojat bhae udasi (GG, 939). Gurmukh stands in contradistinction to manmukh, the ego-centred one, who has turned his face away from the Guru: the ego-centred one turns his back (upon him)—gurmukhi sanmukhu manmukhi vemukhia (GG, 131).

The gurmukh thus embodies the acme of the personality typology postulated in Sikh thought. The God-facing man (gurmukh) is inspired by the Guru's spirit. He scrupulously follows the Guru's teaching and lives as the Master bids, for he is merged in the Guru's Word, (GG, 1054-55). Gurmukh lives for truth and righteousness. Having bathed in the pool of truth the soul of the gurmukh is purified. Truth pervades his speech, Truth bedecks his vision, Truth fills his actions, too. To a gurmukh alone is Truth revealed, for he is rid of doubt, delusion and pride—gurmukhi hovai su sojhi pae haumai maia bharamu gavae (GG, 1058-59). His is an illumined mind—free from ignorance and dubiety. While a manmukh even at his best practises but deception, the gurmukh is a serene follower of truth. Discrimination (vivek) is his hallmark and he burns his ego through concentration on the Shabad (sabda)— gurmukhi haumai sabadi jalae (GG, 942).

The gurmukh dwells upon the Name of God. He constantly meditates through simran and gains stability of mind. Mind not attuned to the true self becomes limited. The gurmukh dispels all dubiety of the mind — gurmukhi sagali ganat mitavai (GG, 942). Freedom from attachment characterizes his conduct. The gurmukh carries out actions, but himself he transcends them. His deeds are good spontaneously. He is above pleasure and pain. The Lord Himself has apportioned woe and weal to man. . . but the gurmukh is untouched by these. He is a renouncer in spirit even while carrying out duties of the householder. The gurmukh indulges in the actions dictated by his destiny and yet is not lost in them because spiritual discipline and divine enlightenment qualify him to distinguish truly between desired action (pravrtti) and renunciation (nivrtti)—gurmukhi parvirati narvirati pachhani (GG, 941). Jnani, sant, brahmgiani are some other terms which are used in Gurbani] synonymously with gurmukh. In Sikhism the connotation of gurmukh is wide and comprehensive and the term has been applied to a whole continuum of the enlightened ones from the self-searching jigyasu through one who has attained sahaj (equipoise), mental and spiritual.


  • 1. Sabadarth Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Amritsar, 1964
  • 2. Santokh Singh, Bhai, Sri Gur Pratap Suraj Granth. Amritsar, 1927-33
  • 3. Jodh Singh, Bhai, Gurmati Nirnaya. Lahore, 1932
  • 4. Avtar Singh, Ethics of the Sikhs. Patiala, 1970
  • 5. Nripinder Singh, The Sikh Moral Tradition. Delhi, 1990
  • 6. Wazir Singh, Philosophy of Sikh Religion. Delhi, 1981
  • 7. Sher Singh, The Philosophy of Sikhism. Lahore, 1944

Above adapted from article By J. S. Neki