Interpretation and Concept of Mool Mantar

Morning Meditation Mantra

Mool mantar meaning root mantra was composed by First Guru Nanak Dev and is the heading of the morning nitnem prayer Japji Sahib. It is also very first verse of Guru Granth Sahib.

Mool Mantar is considered to have has two parts. The 12 words preceding Jap is refereed to as Beej Nantar, or "Seed Mantra", while the two lines following Jap which proceed the 40 pauris, or stanzas, of Japji, is referred to as Sach Mantar, or the "Truth Mantra". About 12 abbreviated modifications of mool mantar also appear interspersed as headings to various sections of Gurbani through out the scripture such as "Ik Onkar Sat Gur Prasad"

Mool mantar may be recited by anyone as a part of morning and evening worship, and anytime through out the day. Mool mantar may be recited using a prayerbead mala to keep count of recitations, for a specified period of time, or as the spirit moves one. Recite mool mantra silently while working, or audibly during preparation of bibek langar, and Karah Prasad, or Naam Ladoo.

Mool mantar is also recited by administrators of Amrit during the final phase of the initiation ceremony and repeated by initiates. Instructions are given to initiates to make recitation of mool mantar a meditation mantra that is part of everyday life.

Mool Mantar
Mool Mantar. Photo © [S Khalsa]

Mool Mantar is considered to be the most important verse of all Gurbani scripture and the underlying foundation of all Sikh teachings.

"Ik Onkar Sat Naam Kartaa Purakh Nirbhou Nirvair Akaal Moorat Ajoonee Saibhan Gur Prasaad||
One manifest truth identifiable as the creator, without fear, without enmity, an undying individual, unborn, an entirely self contained guide, offering grace." SGGS||1

Supportive explanatory examples from Gurbani scripture are given along with each phrase and phase of Mool Mantar. Phonetic spellings offer clues to pronounciation of Gurmukhi and differ slightly from simple spellings. All interpretation and transliteration are of my own rendering. More »

Ik Onkar
Ik Onkar. Photo © [S Khalsa]

"Ik Oan Kaar
One Creative principle is manifest as Everything."

  • Oan gurmukh keeo akaaraa ||
    "Everything from the One Enlightener's mouth is created.
    Ekeh soot parovanaaraa ||
    On one thread He as strung everything."  SGGS||250
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Sat Naam - Truth is His Identity

Satnam. Photo © [S Khalsa]

"Sat Naam
All Truth is contained within His Name."

  • "Jap man sat naam sadaa sat naam ||
    Contemplate O my mind the identity of truth while ceaselessly reciting the true name." SGGS ||670
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Karta Purkh - Creative Creator

Artistic Impression of Creator and Creation
Artistic Impression of Creator and Creation. Photo © [S Khalsa]

"Kartaa Purkh
The creative Creator is the Personification of His own created creation."

  • "Too kartaa purkh aganm hai kis naal too varheeai ||
    Thou art the personification of creative creation O inaccessible Creator, with whom can I compare Thee?" SGGS||301
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Nirbhou - Fearless

Fearless Student Spars with Gatka Master
Fearless Student Spars with Gatka Master. Photo © [S Khalsa]

He is without fear."

  • "Jin nirbhou jin har nirbhou dhiaa-i-aa jee tin kaa bhou sabh gavaasee ||
    Those who without fear meditate on the fearless Lord, their fears are all dispelled." SGGS||11
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Nirvair - Free of Animosity

Humility. Photo © [S Khalsa]

He is free of hatred and without enemies."

  • "Nirbhou nivair athaah atolae ||
    Without fear without hate (Thou art) unfathomable and immeasurable." ||SGGS||99
Akal Takhat
Akal Takhat. Photo © [S Khalsa]

"Akaal Moorat
He does not die. He is an image of perfection."

  • "Akaal moorat ajoonee sanbhou kal andhkaar deepaa-ee ||18||
    Undying, the manifest being is unborn; and self existent, the dark age by Him alone is illuminated. " ||18|| SGGS||916
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Ajoonee - Beyond Birth or Death

Mortal Remains
Mortal Remains. Photo © [S Khalsa]

He does not take mortal birth and so is beyond mortal death."

  • "Sadaa ek jotyanaa ajunee saroopan || Mehaa daev daevan mehaa bhoop bhoopan ||
    Ever is He the One and only illuminated Lord, an unborn Entity. He is supreme God of gods and is King of Kings." Dasam Granth ||95
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Saibhan - Lighted From Within Himself

Self Illumined
Self Illumined. Photo © [S Khalsa]

He is self illumined, self existent, entirely self contained."

  • "Akaal moorat ajoonee saibhan man simrat tthonddha theevaan jeeo ||2||
    (Thou art) of immortal form, unborn and self illumined, contemplating Thee, my soul is filled with profound peace." SGGS||99
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Gur Prasaad - Realized by Guru's Grace

Prashad. Photo © [S Khalsa]

"Gur Prasaad
By the offering of the Enlighener's guidance and grace, one realizes Him."

  • "Gur prasaad antar liv laagai ||3||
    By the Enlighening guru's grace the inner being of the heart is touched with Divine adoration." SGGS||92
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Sach Mantar

Sach Mantar
Sach Mantar. Photo © [S Khalsa]

Jap ||
Meditate by repeatedly reciting His Name (Waheguru).
Aad Sach Jugaad Sach ||
He is True since the very beginning of Time, and is True through out all ages.
Habhee Sach Naanak Hosee Bhee Sach ||
He is True in the present Time. He is True forever and ever through out all of time." SGGS||1

Insights Into Mool Mantar

The writings of Bhai Gurdas are considered as the key to understanding Gurbani. He expounds upon the insights imparted by Mool Mantar as the root formula of the Guru Granth.

  • "Ik oankaar satigurprasaad ||
    One primal creative energy is realized through the grace of the True divine Enlightener.
    Ekankaar ikaang likh oorraa oankaar lakhaaiaa ||
    That Supreme Reality God first was written in Gurmukhi as numeral one  and then inscribed as Ooraa along with Oankaar.
    Satinaam kartaa purakh nirbhou hoe nirvair sadaaiaa ||
    Then He was called the Truth by name, the creative personality,  the fearless one who is without rancor.
    Akaal moorat partakh hoe naao ajoonee saibhan bhaaiaa ||
    Then emerges as the timeless being unborn and self-existent
    Gurparsaad su aad sach jugeh jugantar hondaa aaiaa |
    Comprehended by the grace of the Divine Enlightening Guru, the current of primal Truth has continuously existed since before the beginning and continues to assert Truth throughout the ages.
    Haibhee hosee sach naao sach darsan satiguroo dikhaa-i-aa ||
    He is verily Truth and shall forever continue to be Truth.
    Sabad surat livleen hoe gur chaelaa parchaa parchaaiaa ||
    The living word of the True Enlightener has made available to His disciples this glimpse of Truth.
    Gur chaelaa rehraas kar veeh ikeeh charrhaao charrhaaiaa ||
    That one who merges consciousness in the Word establishes the relationship of Guru and disciple, only that one who singularly devotes himself to the Enlightening Guru progresses from worldliness and attunes their consciousness within the Lord.
    Gurmukh sukhaphal alakh lakhaaiaa ||1||
    Whosoever follows the instructions from the mouth of the Enlightener   glimpses the imperceptible Lord who is the fruit of delights." Bhai Gurdaas  Var (1)