MIND-MIRROR

This mind is like a mirror (or looking-glass, through which one can see his Mool,
Source, Originality, Authentic Nature, Jot-Svaroop, ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ, etc., but); hardly
any by becoming the Gurmukh (Spiritual Being...) sees himself in it. (sggs 115).
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If we physically stand in front of a mirror, the following will happen: if the mirror is clean, we can see our image clearly reflected in it; on the other hand, if its surface is filthy, then there will be no clear image. Yet, our image will be distorted and crooked if the reflecting surface of the mirror happened to be concave or convex.

This analogy of mirror and image has been used by many scriptures and world Masters to indicate relationship between the mind and its Spiritual Nature, the Unconditioned Consciousness.

The mind is similar to a mirror as it reflects whatever thoughts preoccupy it. If the mind-mirror is covered with "dirt" (false ego-sense), we cannot see our real Self clearly. In other words, the layers of "filth" (mind's perversions) will disallow its True Nature to shine forth. As a result, we will be unable to get to the Substratum of our mind wherein lies the Eternal Bliss (Anand) and Immortality (Amrit).

  • ਸੋ ਤੁਮ ਹੀ ਮਹਿ ਬਸੈ ਨਿਰੰਤਰਿ ਨਾਨਕ ਦਰਪਨਿ ਨਿਆਈ ॥: God dwells deep within your inner Self, O Nanak, like the image in a mirror (sggs 632).
  • ਬਾਹਰਿ ਢੂਢਤ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਦੁਖੁ ਪਾਵਹਿ ਘਰਿ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਘਟ ਮਾਹੀ ਜੀਉ ॥: O my mind, remain steady, and do not wander away. By searching around on the outside, you will only suffer great pain; Amrit, the Ambrosial Nectar, is found within the home of your inner being (sggs 598).
  • ਰਸਨਾ ਹਰਿ ਰਸੁ ਪੀਜੈ ਅੰਤਰੁ ਭੀਜੈ ਸਾਚ ਸਬਦਿ ਬੀਚਾਰੀ ॥ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਖੂਹਟਾ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤਿ ਭਰਿਆ ਸਬਦੇ ਕਾਢਿ ਪੀਐ ਪਨਿਹਾਰੀ ॥: Rasanaa hari rasu peejai... (sggs 571).
Interesting point to note here is that although the mirror reflects the image, however, the image cannot improve the mirror! If this point is missed, then it will be difficult to fully grasp the essence of this analogy. Why? Because it is the mirror that is unclean, concave or convex, therefore, gives us false images. To put it otherwise, if we intend to improve images, or if we want to end the ugliness of reflections then we must either destroy or straighten the mirror's reflecting surface!

Similarly, to improve or end the images reflected in the mind-mirror, we must either destroy or straighten its reflecting surface. Since the mind is nothing but thought-current, how can one go about doing it? By becoming Spiritual Beings (Gurmukhs), says the Gurbani. In order to become a Spiritual Being, the mind's perversions must be removed. These perversions can be ended only when the mind and its faculties have become steady and clean.

  • ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਆਰਸੀ ਕੋਈ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਵੇਖੈ ॥ ਮੋਰਚਾ ਨ ਲਾਗੈ ਜਾ ਹਉਮੈ ਸੋਖੈ ॥ ਅਨਹਤ ਬਾਣੀ ਨਿਰਮਲ ਸਬਦੁ ਵਜਾਏ ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦੀ ਸਚਿ ਸਮਾਵਣਿਆ ॥੪॥: Ihu manu aarsee koee Gurmukhi vekhai ...: This mind is like a mirror (or looking-glass, through which one can see his Mool, Source, Originality, Authentic Nature, Jot-Svaroop, ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ, etc., but); hardly any by becoming the Gurmukh (Spiritual Being...) sees himself in it. The rust (of ego or Haume, Maya...) does not stick to (the mind of him who becomes the Gurmukh and) burns his ego (and, with ego burnt, he can see himself through this mind-mirror). The Unstruck Melody of the Bani, the Pure Shabad resounds (within the Gurmukh); through the Gur-Shabad, (the Gurmukh) remains absorbed in the Truth ||4|| (sggs 115).
What is mind? When veiled by ignorance, the Consciousness sees diversity in an agitated state and views the world of gross objects, it is known as mind. To put it in other way, deluded mind is nothing but disturbance in consciousness. It is this disturbance in the Pond of Awareness that has rendered the mind-mirror clouded, resulting in thought-current followed by action and fruition. Upon ceasing of this disturbance, that is, upon cleansing of the clouding off the mind-mirror, the mind sees clearly and reverts back to its Essential Nature.

There is nothing wrong with us as the Soul or the Self. The problem arises with the rise of the ripples of disturbance on the mind's surface which distorts seeing and understanding, creating the false sense of separateness (duality or Doojaa Bhaav) between the mind and the Self. All we need to do is to set right our ideas of ourselves. So long we perceive the ego-center, there exists the sense of individuality or separateness between the mind and the Self. Where the mind's perversions have ended, there the mind ends, and rebounds back to its Original Nature, the Self.

Looking at it from an another angle, the man fashioned by delusion and ignorance is the false ego-sense (Jeeva). The reality of this ego-sense is "Joti-Svaroopa". Not knowing this, it erroneously identifies with the finite body-frame, which it desires to protect. With destruction or straightening of the false ego (or deluded mind) dawns the Truth that the mind and the Self are one and the same.

  • ਧਨਾਸਰੀ ਮਹਲਾ ੯ ॥ ਕਾਹੇ ਰੇ ਬਨ ਖੋਜਨ ਜਾਈ ॥ ਸਰਬ ਨਿਵਾਸੀ ਸਦਾ ਅਲੇਪਾ ਤੋਹੀ ਸੰਗਿ ਸਮਾਈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਪੁਹਪ ਮਧਿ ਜਿਉ ਬਾਸੁ ਬਸਤੁ ਹੈ ਮੁਕਰ ਮਾਹਿ ਜੈਸੇ ਛਾਈ ॥ ਤੈਸੇ ਹੀ ਹਰਿ ਬਸੇ ਨਿਰੰਤਰਿ ਘਟ ਹੀ ਖੋਜਹੁ ਭਾਈ ॥੧॥ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਭੀਤਰਿ ਏਕੋ ਜਾਨਹੁ ਇਹੁ ਗੁਰ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਬਤਾਈ ॥ ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਬਿਨੁ ਆਪਾ ਚੀਨੈ ਮਿਟੈ ਨ ਭ੍ਰਮ ਕੀ ਕਾਈ ॥੨॥੧॥: Kaahe re ban khojan jaaee ...: Dhanaasaree Mahalaa 9. Why do you go looking (for God) in the forest? Although he is ever detached, he dwells everywhere. He even abides with you. ||1||Pause|| Like the fragrance which remains in the flower, and like the reflection in the mirror, the Lord dwells deep within (all). (Therefore) search for Him within your own heart, O brother. ||1|| the Guru has imparted this wisdom: outside (the body) and inside (the body), know that there is only the One Lord (pervading everywhere). O Daas Nanak! Without Realizing one’s own self (Mool, Original, or True Nature, etc. - ਆਪਣਾ ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਪਰਖਣ ਤੋਂ ਬਿਨਾ, etc.), the moss of doubt (ignorance of one's True Nature, etc.) is not eradicated (from the mind) ||2||1|| (sggs 684).
Cleansing or purification of the mind-mirror is nothing but the quietness of the mind and the ultimate sublimation of all it's wanderings. This state of the mind is known by various terms such as "controlled mind", "intuitively balanced mind", "no-mind", "conquered mind", "enlightened mind", "annihilated mind", "pure mind", "killed mind", "destroyed mind", and so on, in which the mind sees itself as Unconditioned Consciousness. This is also same as the state of thoughtlessness, egolessness, desirelessness, Spiritual Silence, Intuitive Poise (Sahaj-Avasthaa), Spiritual Perfection, Pure Awareness, Turiyaa Avasthaa (Chauthaa Pada or Fourth State), opening of the Tenth Gate (Dasam Duaar), Self Realization, Mukti (liberation), and so on. In nutshell, it's the state where the mind sees itself as "Joti-Svaroopa".
  • ਇਉ ਕਹੈ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਮਨ ਤੂੰ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਰੂਪੁ ਹੈ ਅਪਣਾ ਮੂਲੁ ਪਛਾਣੁ ॥੫॥: Iou kahai Nanaku man toon joti saroopu hai apanaa moolu pashaanu ||5||: Thus says Nanak - O mind! Your "Saroop" (your own, True State) is "Joti" (Divine Light)! Recognize your Mool (Source, Origin, Reality...) ||5|| (sggs 441).

Thus, when the mind sees its True Nature, it is not experience of one thing discovering another. It's the self experiencing the Self, or its the mind experiencing the Mind. In other words, upon emerging of this Sublime State, there is no separation between the experience, experiencer and experiencing left; there is no separation between the seer, seen and seeing left; there is no separation between the knower, known and knowing left; there is no separation between the body, perceiver and perceiving left; there is no separation between the mind, feeler and emotions left; there is no separation between the intellect, thinker and thoughts left; there is no separation between the witness, witnessed and witnessing left; there is no how, when, and where left.

  • ਅਚਰਜੁ ਕਿਛੁ ਕਹਣੁ ਨ ਜਾਈ ॥ ਬਸਤੁ ਅਗੋਚਰ ਭਾਈ ॥: This thing is wonderful and amazing! It cannot be described. It is an unfathomable object, O brother! (sggs 883).

Just as when the darkness of the night is dispelled, the objects that were shrouded by the darkness are clearly seen; similarly, when the perversions of the mind are removed, the Illuminating Principle becomes revealed at once — the surface of the mind-mirror shines forth as "Joti-Svaroopa". When the mind is thus established in Stillness, Purity or Peace (Sahaj), there arises the Blissful Realm (Anand) of the Self without delay.

  • ਐਸੋ ਰਾਮ ਰਾਇ ਅੰਤਰਜਾਮੀ ॥ ਜੈਸੇ ਦਰਪਨ ਮਾਹਿ ਬਦਨ ਪਰਵਾਨੀ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਬਸੈ ਘਟਾ ਘਟ ਲੀਪ ਨ ਛੀਪੈ ॥ ਬੰਧਨ ਮੁਕਤਾ ਜਾਤੁ ਨ ਦੀਸੈ ॥੧॥ ਪਾਨੀ ਮਾਹਿ ਦੇਖੁ ਮੁਖੁ ਜੈਸਾ ॥ ਨਾਮੇ ਕੋ ਸੁਆਮੀ ਬੀਠਲੁ ਐਸਾ ॥੨॥੧॥: Aiso Raam re antarjaamee ...: Such is the Sovereign Lord, the Inner-knower; He sees everything (within everybody) as clearly as one’s face reflected in a mirror.||1||Pause|| He dwells in each and every Heart; no stain or stigma (of Maya) sticks to Him (that is, He is ever Immaculate). He is liberated from bondage (of Maya); He is not seen (in bondage).||1|| As one’s face is reflected in the water (but the water does not wet that reflected face), so is Naam Dev’s God (i.e., God, Beethal, is never affected by Maya's bondage) ||2||1|| (sggs 1318).
Thus, a clean or Pure mind is one which is calm, free from agitations. The man whose mind is well-controlled is said to be firmly established in the Intuitive Peace (Sahaj). How can such cleansing be accomplished?

Removing "dust" from the mind-mirror refers to a cleansing process of the mind-mirror — the inner subtle equipments of perception (Antahakaran), the mirror in which one can see the true and real nature of his Self. There are many Spiritual practices available to the seeker. It is said that the best suited for these times is Naam-Simran (meditation or Jap) which cleans the inner equipments from the dirt settled therein like forgetfulness of the Pure Being within due to the mind's affinity with worldly objects. If chanted with love, concentration, faith and feeling, it strengthens one's selfless attitude, Self-knowledge, contemplation, love, detachment, Self-inquiry (Vichaar), and devotion. When the surface of the mind-mirror is dusted and polished through such Spiritual well-being, the Soul's reflection will be clear, and, thereby, it will present the real Character.

  • ਕਲ ਮੈ ਏਕੁ ਨਾਮੁ ਕਿਰਪਾ ਨਿਧਿ ਜਾਹਿ ਜਪੈ ਗਤਿ ਪਾਵੈ ॥ ਅਉਰ ਧਰਮ ਤਾ ਕੈ ਸਮ ਨਾਹਨਿ ਇਹ ਬਿਧਿ ਬੇਦੁ ਬਤਾਵੈ ॥੨॥ ਸੁਖੁ ਦੁਖੁ ਰਹਤ ਸਦਾ ਨਿਰਲੇਪੀ ਜਾ ਕਉ ਕਹਤ ਗੁਸਾਈ ॥ ਸੋ ਤੁਮ ਹੀ ਮਹਿ ਬਸੈ ਨਿਰੰਤਰਿ ਨਾਨਕ ਦਰਪਨਿ ਨਿਆਈ ॥੩॥੫॥: In this Dark Age of Kali Yuga, God's Name is the treasure of mercy; chanting it, one obtains salvation. No other religion is comparable to this; so speak the Vedas ||2||. He is beyond pain and pleasure, forever unattached; He is called God of the world. He dwells deep Within your inner Self, O Nanak, like the image in a mirror ||3||5|| (sggs 632).

— T. Singh
www.gurbani.org