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Gati: the destiny of the soul after the body’s death

This is an audio recording of katha by Baba Gurpal Singh Ji on the topic of mann tu jot saroop hai, apna mool pehchaan [1]. Below, I translate an excerpt of it, starting at 32:19. I added words in parentheses to facilitate comprehension.

There are two things that can take the human after death. Either the guru, or Dharam Raj. The soul is taken, that is; this body in which we reside stays here. Those who are niguray, or those who do not have a link with a guru, the Dharam Raj’s dooths will come for them. There are two types of destinies after death: one for sinners and one for those who do good deeds. For the niguray who have committed many sins, the jam dooth take them away after death. They have red eyes, black faces; such a frightening appearance.

Here is a story from just a few days ago. One man had a fever that the doctors couldn’t get rid of with any treatment. It remained for 6 or 7 months. He would keep saying, “they are coming, they are coming.” Some people brought him to me. They said the man is very scared and his fever doesn’t go away. I said he had a frightening dream. I asked the man, “Did you have a scary dream?” The man said, “yes, they had red eyes, horns that looked like so.” Then the man became quite frightened and said, “They grabbed me by the neck and started pulling me.” I said this man saw the jam dooth in a dream. Could you believe his fever wouldn’t go away? It’s been 7 months. I told the man, “Listen to what I’m saying. If you die as a nigura, then they will come back. If you want to be saved from them, then attach yourself to the feet of the guru and then not even the jam dooth’s father will come for you.


This mention of the Dharam Raj is written in Gurbani [2]. The Dharam Raj gives his jam dooth strict instructions: do not go to a place where the sadhu resides, where Gurbani is read.

Let me make a request (speaking to the congregation). Even if all your worldly duties are left incomplete… even if you have to skip eating and drinking… whenever you wake up—and try to wake up early, at Amrit Vela—take your bath and be fresh. Then at the very least, read one Jap Ji Sahib [3]. If you don’t know how to read it, then listen to it. If you can’t even do that, then do 5 pauris [4] of Jap Ji Sahib. If not that, then read the mool mantar [5] and first pauri 108 times. If you don’t even know how to read that, then use the mala [6] for 10 rounds to repeat the gurmantir while focusing on Guru Nanak Dev Ji. This is because in that home in which Gurbani is read, in that heart in which it is read or on that tongue by which it is read, at the very least those people will be saved from the jam dooth.

When there would be a smagam [8] at Ratwara Sahib (near Chandigarh, India), about 200,000 to 250,000 members of the sangat [9] would be gathered. They listened so attentively, you could not even hear anyone breathe. At one such smagam, Sant Waryam Singh Ji strongly told the congregation, “Those of you who have come in the sangat, remain connected with the sangat and Gurbani. Even if you are not able to become guru wale [10], at least you will be saved from the jam dooth’s beatings.” Because those who spend time in the sangat, the Dharam Raj treats them with respect and gives them concessions.


So again, for sinners, the jam dooth come. They face so many pains; they do not get even one relaxing breath. They are born and die again and again, pain again and again.

Those who come in the sangat, do good deeds, refrain from committing sins (e.g. drinking alcohol, eating meat, stealing, etc.) but are niguray—if these people come in the sangat, they gain much poon (i.e. a good deed causes your poon to increase; according to the laws of karma, you will get some benefit in the future as a result of having earned that poon). So to get these people after they die, the devgan come. The devgan don’t beat them; they take them with respect. Now, these people still go to the Dharam Raj. When they go there, their balances are reviewed. Poon brings a benefit, while sins bring a negative consequence. A benefit of poon is getting into one of the heavens. The result of sin is pain. There cannot be a very in depth explanation about how the Dharam Raj administers justice; this is part of the afterlife. Balances are reviewed and it is determined whether a person’s poon is greater or their sins are greater. Various benefits are given if a person’s poon is greater. Basically, the benefit of poon is something that brings sukh, or happiness. They may get sent to one of the heavens. If they instead need to be sent back into this world, they will be sent to a good home. This is what was explained in a story from Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s time. There was a black dog in Anandpur Sahib (Punjab, India). Guru Sahib paid special attention to her. Sikhs asked why Maharaj took such special care of this one dog. After all, there are plenty of others wandering around neglected. To this one you give a blanket when it’s cold, warm food, a bath, you cool her off in the hot weather. Guru Sahib said she built up so much poon. Despite dying niguri in her past life, the benefit of her poon is this sukh. The other dogs didn’t do any good deeds in their past lives, so they whine all night. The Sikhs of course then asked Guru Sahib to bless them with the full story. Maharaj said in her past life, this dog was a queen. Sadhus would come to her home, there would be satsang, she would donate money, and did a lot of seva (i.e. selfless service). Because of all that, she got all this sukh.

Sant Waryam Singh Ji also said that those who gave donations in a previous life are now (for example) cats or dogs in America, or Chandigarh. They ride around in cars worth 10 lakh rupees. Those who didn’t do a poon, they become animals in the villages, neglected, beaten wherever they go, eating filth.

(Back to the story of Guru Gobind Singh Ji) Maharaj said this is the benefit of her poon. The Sikhs were surprised. How could someone who did so many good deeds and was in fact religious end up in the birth of a dog? Guru Gobind Singh Ji said this is the divine law.


The life of a nigura is like that of an animal, so once they die it is not a surprise if their next birth is an animal birth. Sure, if someone did enough good deeds, they’ll go to one of the heavens, but then they have to come back to this world again. This dog is getting sukh now. If as a queen she became guru wali, then things would have been different. Note that there are both fake gurus and samrath (all-powerful) gurus. After death, you will go to where your guru is. A fake guru will not have a good gati [11], and any followers of such a guru will have to follow him after death. There is an example of this from the time of the 7th Sikh Guru. Maharaj was traveling and saw a large snake coming. Maharaj took out a silver headed arrow. The snake laid its head on the ground in front of Maharaj. Then Maharaj shot the snake, ending its life. Out of the snake came out a ruh, or soul. It was in the form of a human dressed in very religious clothing, wearing beads and looking very much like a guru should. The soul said thank you so much for releasing me from this birth. Now please free my followers. In the body of the snake were many insects. The ruh said I was a fake guru, an incomplete guru, a blind guru, a guru who cheated people. I used many tricks to get people to follow me, and told them what do you need from the house of Guru Nanak? So after my human birth was over, I became a snake and my followers became stuck in that body. Now you have blessed me by giving me the benefit of your darshan (vision). Please free my followers.

So you see sadhsangat, the followers of a guru go to him after death. The other type of guru is the samrath guru.




Guru wale are taken after death by the guru, whether the guru sends angels, singhs or whatever. There are many examples of this, even now. It’s up to us, sadhsangat. Do we want to be beaten by jam dooths? Do we want to become dogs or cats in the next life? Or do we want to go to the guru and be in a state of bliss forever.


[1] An excerpt from Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, translated as follows. “Thus says Nanak: O my mind, you are the very image of the Luminous Lord; recognize the true origin of your self.”

[2] Gurbani refers to compositions found in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.

[3] Jap Ji Sahib is a section of from the Guru Granth Sahib Ji that Sikhs read daily. You could say that this is one of the Sikhs’ daily prayers.

[4] A pauri is a section of Jap Ji Sahib.

[5] The mool mantar is the first section in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.

[6] A mala is a string of beads; in this case, it refers to a string of 108.

[7] gurmantir =   the word Waheguru

[8] smagam = a lengthy satsang program

[9] sangat = the congregation

[10] guru wale are those who have taken amrit.

[11] gati is the destiny of the soul after death. That is, does the soul go to heaven, hell, return to this world?


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