Ik Oangkaar

Ik Oangkaar
Ik Oankaar found in multiple parts of the Kartarpuree Beerr (Original Saroop of Compiled Gurbani by Dhan Dhan Guru Arjan Dev Sahib Ji as scribed by Bhai Gurdas Ji... Dhan Dhan Guru Gobind Singh Ji added Gurbani by Dhan Dhan Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji & Their Own Doharaa as divinely revealed which became Dhan Dhan Guru Granth Sahib Ji as we know today)

For previous sections, please see here
The following is a translation of Kavi Ji’s own words. The rest of this granth is written in prose (meaning not in poetry). Due to the length of the writing, we are not including the original Gurmukhi nor a transliteration. If you wish to follow along in the granth, here is the link to the pdf. This section begins on page 26 (digital) or page 5 (physical page number).
Please note the intentions behind Kavi Ji’s writings as we discussed in the introduction. Kavi Ji is writing this granth in response to Sadhu Anandghan’s Teeka. This granth is being written for the well-read Indian scholars and poets. Therefore, there is a lot of reference to Vedic texts as a result. In order to understand this section, you will need to have some knowledge of the Indic alphabet systems.
TN = Translator’s Note
The One ~ Maya-Sabal (The Wielder of the Power of Maya) Purakh (Being) who spoke ਓਅੰ (Oang). When Oang was spoken then all of the Universe expanded and thus, creation came to be.
The Vedas, Shaastras, Puraans don’t mention the number 1 in front of Oang.
Why did Guru Ji write the number 1 before Oang?
(TN: Oang is a term that previously existed in Indian tradition but how does Guru Sahib use it differently?)
Dhan Guru Nanak Dev Ji Maharaj are the All-Knowing One. Their Bani holds all of the Spiritual Wisdom of the Vedas. The Spiritual Wisdom of the Western Traditions (Abrahamic Faiths) is also contained within Maharaj’s Way of Thinking (Math). We currently live in the time of Kalyug (Age of Darkness) and due to peoples’ corrupt minds, Maharaj has blessed them with this Bani in a simple local language to present them with this Great Wisdom.
Maharaj blesses us with the Wisdom of ਏਕ ਓਅੰਕਾਰ (Ek/Ik Oangkaar) in order to maintain Dharam [righteous order] & to sustain this world. One can expand on this teaching with a line from the Vedas: ‘ਏਕੋਹੰ ਬਹੁ ਸਯਾਮ’ (Ekoha[n]g Bahu Syaam); When Brahm [Non-Dual Vaheguru] created Maya [Creation/Creative Power/Illusion/Dream-World] then the Form of Karthaa Purakh [Creator] came to be (TN: When the creation did not exist then there was no one to refer to as creator. This is important to note because this hints at the development of duality which came as a result of creation. The perceived duality of Creator and Creation) ਏਕੋ-ਹੰ (Eko-ha[n]g) = That One which I am... has become multiple. From saying this, the entire world expanded. There is nothing that can be said before ਏਕੋਹੰ.

Bhai Jagraj Singh providing some foundational information on Ik Oankaar

Oangkaar ‘’ can be made using the letters of ਏਕੋਹੰ . (Kakkar) and (Ukaar) were taken from ਏਕੋਹੰ, ਏਕੋ. Within ਹੰ, the (Akaar from Mukta) and (nasal m/n sound of tippi) were taken. There are 3 akhars ਉ (Ukaar), ਅ (Akaar), ਮ (Makaar). ਓਅੰ (Oang) was made from these 3 letters. Therefore, the meaning of ਏਕੋਹੰ is Ik-Oa[n]kaar. This is how Guru Sahib also keeps the Wisdom of the Vedas within Gurbani.
 The Entire Universe gives witness to Oankaar. This name Oankaar is in reference to a perceived separation between the Creator and Creation. The Name and the Named are treated as two separate entities due to ignorance. Both the Name and the Named become One through Spiritual Wisdom.
There are 3 akhars [characters/letters], matras [vowel accents], 3 padhs [states] accents], and the Naad [Sound].
Kavi Ji will now go into great depth into interpreting meanings from the different arrangements of the letters, matras, states, & other aspects of Oankaar. Please read this section multiple times to attempt to grasp Sangat Ji.

Bhai Jagraj Singh explaining the A-U-M symbolism and how Maharaj re-wrote their meanings by adding Ik.

(Akaar) represents the support of the universe, Eeshar (Vaheguru when seen as Master of Universe) giving consciousness to the Ever-Changing Universe. (Ukaar) represents the waking-state (Jaagrath)/the state where the individual overidentifies with the body...  where the individual perceiver as mind/body (Jeev) receives support from Eeshar and thinks that it also experiences/enjoys the dream-state. ਮ (Makaar) represents the perceived separated-self receiving support from the Hidden Eeshar in the state of Sukhopath (Deep Sleep). The Fourth State is the Naad [sound] which is referred to as the Spiritual State of Turiya [Witnesser among all 4 states]. Param-Aatmaa is in the form of (Ardhh Matra/Tippi) from which Maya came to be. This is why all of the dualistic creation is referred to as Maya. This is how the Creation referred to as Maya is given consciousness/awareness as the form of Param-Brahm. There is nothing that is separate from this duality.

Bhai Harman Singh explaining 3 Padhs/States of being Awake (Jaagrath), Dreaming (Swapn), Deep Sleep (Sukhopath) & how 4th State (Turiya) is among all 3.

After saying this, it is understood that Oankaar is in the form of (Akaar), (Ukaar), (Makaar), and (Ardhh Matra/Tippi)... which we know, collectively, to be Sansaar (ever-changing universe). There is nothing separate from Oankaar within this Sansaar. Just like an ocean is all water and nothing separate from water, and just like a desire is nothing besides a thought, and kaajal (traditional eye makeup) is nothing but black powder. Oang is a Name that describes the Nature of Param-Aatmaa. Just like hot is a descriptive name that describes the nature of sun. That’s why the worship of Oankaar is the highest. Worshipping any other is worshipping Brahm (TN: Vaheguru is within all, the act of worship any being is worshipping Vaheguru as nothing is separate from Vaheguru and all powers belong to Vaheguru). Worshipping Oankaar is worshipping Prabhoo (Pra-Bhoo, Pra = Away from, Bhoo = 5 Elements... Nirgun-Vaheguru). That is why Oankaar is highest among all. Oankaar is the Form of Brahm.
There is one concept called Brahm and one called Param-Brahm (Ultimate Brahm or = Paar-Brahm: Nirgun-Vaheguru away from the universe). That which is within sight, hearing, and understanding... is considered as Brahm. Param-Brahm is away from the understanding of the mind and cannot be put into words. This is why Oankaar is written first. Oankaar is all-inclusive of the entire Universe. Wherever a Mantra starts with Oankaar, that Mantra takes on the form of Oankaar. The Worship of Oankaar is properly understood throughout the lengthy works of the Upanishads, Shaastras, and Puraanas.
Out of the 7 main Indian philosophies, there are 9 divisions within them. (TN: 7 philosophies include: 6 Ashtik schools [those who believe in a Being] ~ Vedant, Yog, Mimaamsaa, Nyayae, Samkhyaa, Vaishaesheekaa) and a grouping of the Nashtik schools treated as 1 [those who do not believe in a Being] ~ Buddhist & Jain philosophies). Oankaar is understood to be the all-quality, physical/material form. The 7 main philosophies agree with this. We can only write this statement at this moment. If this was analyzed and explained in depth then this granth would get too lengthy.
One belief states that Hiranyagarab’s ਬ੍ਰਹਮਾ (Brahmaa) spoke Oankaar which is referred to as ਤ੍ਰਿ-ਮਾਤ੍ਰਾ (Thri-matra) Roop (Form of 3 Indian-syllables), ਤ੍ਰਿ-ਬ੍ਰਹਮ Thri-Brahm Roop (Form of 3 Brahm(a’s), ਤ੍ਰਿ-ਅਖਰ Thriakhar Roop (Form of 3 letters/characters) (TN: Hiranyagarab is the Cosmic Golden Egg which Brahmaa hatched from; Brahma is a personification of the quality of creation). Patanjali Rishi’s Philosophy (Yog Shaastra) also agrees with this understanding. Sage Kapal (creator of Shaankh Shaastra), refers to ਤ੍ਰਿ-ਗਯਾਨ (Thri-gyaan) Roop (Form of 3 wisdoms/knowledge), ਤ੍ਰਿਗੁਨ (Thri-gun) Roop (Form of 3 qualities/attributes), ਤ੍ਰਿਕਾਰਨ (Thri-kaaran) Roop (Form of 3 Causes). Sage Apaathr refers to ਤ੍ਰਿ-ਮੁਖ (Thri-mukh: Forms of 3 faces), ਤ੍ਰਿ-ਦੇਵਤਾ (Thri-devta) Roop (Form of 3 Deities), ਤ੍ਰਿ-ਪ੍ਰਯੋਜਨ (Thri-proyajan) Roop (Form of 3 Tasks). Sage Vyas’s Philosophy also accepts this. Sanath Kumar’s Philosophy believes in the worship of Oankaar in this way: ਤ੍ਰਿ-ਕਾਲ (Thri-kaal) Roop (Form of 3 Times), ਤ੍ਰਿਲਿੰਗ Thri-ling Roop (Form of 3 signs), ਤ੍ਰਿ-ਸੰਗਯਾ (Thri-sangyaa) Roop (Form of 3 Descriptors/companions). Brahmanisht Philosophy believes: ਤ੍ਰਿ-ਸਥਾਨ (Thri-sthhaan) Roop (Form of 3 Places), ਤ੍ਰਿ-ਪਦ (Thri-padh) Roop (Form of 3 Positions), ਤ੍ਰਿ-ਪਗਯਾ (Thri-pagyaa) Roop (Form of 3 Feet). The Shiv Philosophy believes in these principles: ਤ੍ਰੈ-ਅਵਸਥਾ (Thrai-avasthaa) Roop (Form of 3 spiritual states), ਤ੍ਰੈ-ਭੋਗ (Thrai-Bhog) Roop (Form of 3 Enjoyments), ਤ੍ਰੈ-ਭੋਗਤਾ (Thrai-Bhogthaa) Roop (Form of 3 Enjoyers). Vaishnav Philosophy’s Panchraathr Naaradh believes in these principles: ਤ੍ਰਿ-ਆਤਮਾ (Thri-Aathmaa) Roop (Form of 3 Aatmas), ਤ੍ਰਿ-ਸੁਭਵ (Thri-Subhaav) Roop (Form of 3 Natures), ਤ੍ਰਿ-ਬਾਯੂਹ (Thri-bayooh) Roop (Form of 3 bodies/totals). 7 times x 9 bodies = 63 forms of Oankaar which are Sagun (take on qualities/of Maya as listed above) and are physically present. The 64th Form is the Subtle ਨਿਰ-ਗੁਨ (Nirguna; Quality-less)... ਨਿਹ-ਕਲਹ Nihakalah (without characteristics = free from duality). After listing all of this, what can be understood? Brahm is experienced subjectively by all of the various distinct traditions. Thus, Oankaar is also described subjectively by these traditions. (TN: Please note it is not important to understand all of these 3 pronged concepts but to reflect on all of them belonging to Vaheguru)
In the way Brahm is free of everything, so is Oankaar. Oankaar can be referred to by 10 names, all of which are meaningful: ਓਅੰਕਾਰ (Oankaar), ਪ੍ਰਣਵ (PraNav: Through which praises come to be), ਸਰਬਵਯਾਪੀ (Sarab-vyaapee: Omnipresent), ਅਨੰਤ (Anant: Without an End), ਤਾਰ (Thaar: Concentration), ਸੁਕਲ (Sukal: Lightness/White/Pure), ਵੈਦਯੁਤ (Vaidhyuth: Electric/Energy), ਹੰਸ (Hans: representative of the quality of Bibek, taking 2 & seeing 1), ਤੁਰਿਯ (Thuriya: 4th State within all 3 as mentioned before), ਬ੍ਰਹਮ (Brahm: no difference between Jeev [separated sense of self] & Eesh [separated sense of God]). If we begin to explain each name then this granth will become even longer. This is why only Oankaar will be explained. When Oankaar is said, it elevates our body from our feet all the way to our heads. Upon reciting Oankaar the breaths elevate as well, this is why Oankaar is a Name. Reciting Oankaar causes the breaths to reach the Dasam Duaar (10th Gate).
[The Power of] Oankaar is understood through two akhars/characters (& ) which symbolize nourishing and protective properties. Whoever sings this will be nourished & protected through maintaining union [with Vaheguru] and being blessed with peace/liberation. That thing which cannot be attained, Oankaar makes it attainable. To protect that which has been attained is referred to as being ਖੇਮ (Khaem = Blissful, Peaceful; as this nature inherently allows the experiencer to feel nourished and protected). Whoever worships Oankaar will fulfill their desires. They will receive the thing which is needed and the protection of the things which they currently have. In other words: the one who has worldly desires will attain worldly things & the spiritual seeker will go through stages of spiritual wisdom. Whoever cannot gain spiritual states will now be able to receive them and those who have attained high spiritual states will be protected from the vices.  Oankaar has other meanings as well: ਅੰਗੀਕਾਰ (Angeekaar) meaning: whose word is accepted/obeyed. Devtay (Angels) do not turn away the wishes of those who worship Oankaar (TN: emphasizing the power of Oankaar). Oankaar also means Brahm (no difference between Jeev [separated sense of self] & Eesh [separated sense of God]). Whoever recites Oankaar, unites with Brahm Saroop. This One Name of Oankaar has so many meanings.
Kavi Ji now proceeds to do an analysis of
the arrangement of the syllables within Oankaar


Sage Yaagya-valkya Ji has described Oankaar as without having any matras/syllables. (TN: What is a matra? Indic languages have a consonant letter and an accent letter (laga akhar) which adds a vowel sound to the consonant. Matra is defined by whether the combination of the two letters count as 2 syllables (deeragh/long) or 1 syllable [laghu/short]). Some count Oankaar as being only half a syllable long, 1 matra long, 2 matras long, 3 matras long, and also 4 matras long. Sage Vashisht Ji refers to Oankaar as being 4.5 matras long. This proves Oankaar is the Form of Paarbrahm. As Onkaar can be without any matras/syllables or found within endless matras/syllables.
Whichever way someone has come upon learning about it: through the Guru, through the Buddha, through the Shaastar, etc... everyone worships that particular form, and everyone becomes fruitful. Brahm is made to be understood as formless and in a lot of traditions, this is seen as all-inclusive. In this way, Oankaar is also all-inclusive. Which traditions belong to those who worship as 1 or 2 matra? Those who see it as 1, 2, or half matra? If this is explained then this granth would only get longer. It cannot be explained in simple terms. Just grasp the following statement: all alphabetic akhars/characters are the form of Oankaar. All names which come to refer to Brahm are made of akhars/letters/characters. Oankaar is within all characters/akhars/letters. Without akhars/letters we cannot make sense of anything. This makes it clear that everything created in this universe is the form of Oankaar. There is nothing outside of Oankaar.

Kavi Ji makes a reference to the Chandogya Upanishad from the Sama Veda. To interpret Ik Oankaar.

ਏਕੋਹੰ ਬਹੁ ਸਯਾਮ’ (Ekoha[n]g Bahu Syaam): from this line of the Vedas & the Oankaar which can come out of it, we understand from Oankaar this universe has been created. Many mysteries come to be from this. If we do arth (interpret the meaning) of this to be removing this universe (destruction) then ਸੋਹੰ ‘Sohang’ and ਓਅੰ ‘Oang’ come out. To remove the duality, ‘Sakaar’ and ‘Oukaar’ come out, ‘Hakaar’ and ‘Akaar’ and the Bindi (nasal sound) then removing ‘Makaar’ then ਓਅੰ ‘Oang’ comes to be. Joining the 3 akhars then ‘Hakaar’ joins and disappears. Just like ਸੋਹੰ ‘Sohang’  and ਏਕੋ ‘Eko’ come to be... in the same way, the universe’s duality and oneness come to be. The meanings of Oankaar have only been explained in the amount of a tiny seed. By reading shaastra's and other scriptures, one can reflect further. This is the Root of them all. (TN: Dhan Dhan Guru Amardas Sahib Ji Maharaj give us the following teaching in Anand Sahib:
ਵੇਦਾ ਮਹਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਉਤਮੁ ਸੋ ਸੁਣਹਿ ਨਾਹੀ ਫਿਰਹਿ ਜਿਉ ਬੇਤਾਲਿਆ ॥
Vaedhaa Mah[i] Naam[u] Outham So SuNah[i] Naahee Phirah[i] Jio[u] Baethaaliaa
The Ultimate Objective within the Vedas is Naam – the Name of Vaheguru – but the followers do not listen to this. They wander around like a spirit as a result...)

(TN: Bhagat Kabeer Ji bless us with an understanding:
ਬੇਦ ਕਤੇਬ ਕਹਹੁ ਮਤ ਝੂਠੇ ਝੂਠਾ ਜੋ ਨ ਬਿਚਾਰੈ ॥
Baedh Kathaeb Kahah[u] Math Jhoottae Jhoottaa Jo na Bichaarai
Do not call the Vedas & the Books (Torah, Quran, Gospel [Bible], Psalms) false,
False are those who cannot contemplate upon them.

The Gurmukh can read other traditions' texts and able to reflect on the Truth while armed with the standard of Gurbani. It is important for a Sikh to be convicted in Guru's Lens in order to read other traditions' scriptures without getting carried away.
Dhan Dhan Guru Gobind Singh Ji Maharaj also bless us with the following:
ਰਾਮ ਰਹੀਮ ਪੁਰਾਨ ਕੁਰਾਨ ਅਨੇਕ ਕਹੈਂ ਮਤ ਏਕ ਨ ਮਾਨਯੋ ॥
Raam Raheem Puraan Kuraan Anaek Kahai[n] Math Ek n Maanyo
Both the traditions of Raam & Raheem, belonging to the Puraan scriptures and Qur'an scriptures, they say unique things but do not see Oneness of Vaheguru in the same way Guru Sahib teaches us.
A Sikh does not have any need to read other traditions' texts as Gurbani is all they require. In this case, Kavi Ji is writing to those who are well-versed in Vedic scholarly traditions. Thus, this is why we see a reference to the Vedas.
Likewise, we can read into Abrahamic Faiths to do the same.
Multiple times in the Qur'an, we see
كُن فَيَكُونُ (Kun Fa-yakun) meaning that when Allah (Vaheguru) says 'Manifest!' then Manifestation happens. Through the word of Vaheguru, creation comes to be.
In the Book of John (New Testament), we see ܒܪܫܝܬ ܐܝܬܘܗܝ ܗܘܐ ܡܠܬܐ ܘܗܘ ܡܠܬܐ ܐܝܬܘܗܝ ܗܘܐ ܠܘܬ ܐܠܗܐ ܘܐܠܗܐ ܐܝܬܘܗܝ ܗܘܐ ܗܘ ܡܠܬܐ (original Aramaic) meaning: "In the beginning there was The Miltha [The Word], and He, The Miltha [The Word], was with Alaha [God]. And Alaha [God] Himself was The Miltha [The Word]". Through the Word & Command of Oang, so did the Universe create. Vaheguru is not separate from Their Creation & thus, Oangkaar is a Form of Vaheguru as Kavi Ji discusses above. In this way, the Spiritual Wisdom of Ik Oangkaar is present in Abrahamic traditions as well. This is true but still, both the western and eastern traditions do not interpret their scriptures in this way.
Dhan Guru Nanak Dev Ji Maharaj guides them to ensure they grasp the truth.)
TN: Please forgive any mistakes. Please suggest any suggestions.
Although – this is a really deep text – it may not be understood by the average Sikh. Especially the level of analysis of Ik Oangkaar that Kavi Ji is doing.
Please subscribe to be able to see our posts right when we publish.

Guru Panth Ka Daas,

Our Parent Group