RELIGIOUS FANATICISM — PART 2:
ITS ROOT CAUSE FALSE EGO

Through egotism, the world is caught in conflict and strife, and it dies (sggs 790).
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Differences arise from man's limited understanding of his Essential Nature, which is Truth-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute. This limited understanding comes into being on accounts of false ego-sense (Haume or "I-ness"); which is always at war, within and without. Thus, man's own thoughts, words, and actions guided by his false ego-sense are the root cause of all his troubles, including religious fanaticism and bigotry. It's the birth of this false ego-sense that causes the bondage of objectivity and conceptualization, which, in turn, creates havoc in the forest of man's body. From there it expands to engulf families, communities, nations and then the entire world. Clearly, conflict is inevitable until the psychological construction "I" (false ego) does not dissolve.

  • ਹਉਮੈ ਵਿਚਿ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਕੋਇ ਨ ਪਾਏ ॥: Haumai vichi prabh koi na paae: No one finds God through egotism (sggs 664).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਝਗੜਾ ਪਾਇਓਨੁ ਝਗੜੈ ਜਗੁ ਮੁਇਆ ॥: Haumai jgagrhaa paaionjhagrhai jag muiaa: Through egotism, the world is caught in conflict and strife, and it dies (sggs 790).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਰੋਗੁ ਵਡਾ ਸੰਸਾਰਿ ॥: Ego is a massive disease in the world (sggs 1278).
  • Bewildered by false ego, strength, pride, lust and anger, the malicious men despise God, who dwells Within them and Within all others, and blaspheme against the real religion (Geetaa 16:18).
  • And those who believe in vanity and disbelieve in Allah, they it is who are the losers (Quran 29:52).
  • Let us not become egotistical, stirring up competition with one another, envying one another (Bible, Ga 5:26).
  • This ego is hell, and hell is a dragon not diminished by oceans of water. It drinks down the seven seas, yet the heat of that manburner does not become less. It makes a morsel out of a world and gulps it down. Its belly keeps shouting: Is there any more? (Sufi Jalaluddin Rumi).

This leads to the following questions: what is this false ego-sense? How does it arise? What are its faults? What are its functions? How does it function? This is the subject of this Gurbani Reflection.

  • ਜਨਮੁ ਬਿਹਾਨੋ ਅਹੰਕਾਰਿ ਅਰੁ ਵਾਦਿ ॥: Janam bihaano ahankaar aru vaad: This human life is passing away in egotism and conflict (sggs 898).
  • ਜਿਤੁ ਤਨਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਨ ਭਾਵਈ ਤਿਤੁ ਤਨਿ ਹਉਮੈ ਵਾਦੁ ॥: Jit tani naam na bhaavaee tit tani houmai vaad: That body which does not appreciate the Divine Naam, that body is infested with egotism and conflict (sggs 61).
  • ਮੋਹਿ ਬਾਦਿ ਅਹੰਕਾਰਿ ਸਰਪਰ ਰੁੰਨਿਆ ॥: Mohi baad ahankaar sarapar runniaa: Those who indulge in attachment, conflict and egotism will surely weep and cry (sggs 761).

Ego Defined

False ego is the Aatamaan playing the fool amidst the unreal! Other names for false ego include time-bound consciousness, material or worldly or Mayaic consciousness, sensory intellectual consciousness domain, bodily consciousness, "I-am-the-body" idea, pseudo soul, sense of individuality, unreal personality, multiple personality syndrome, confused and disturbed head, Mayaic illusion, ignorance, false "I", thoughts-stuff, mental conditioning, false sense of self-limitation of consciousness, vanity, individual personality, sense of separateness, the feeling of "I, me mine, you", sense of doership and enjoyership, outgoing mind, duality (Doojaa Bhaav), sense of "likes" and "dislikes", veil or screen, non-self, unreality, inner "filth", wrong self-identity, delusion, illusion, ignorance, altered awareness, and so on.

Although the Aatamaan is of the nature of Truth-Knowledge-Bliss, but when this Pure Awareness descends into body consciousness, it comes under the influence of cosmic delusion called Maya. So deluded, it descends into Avidiya (individual ignorance) which creates ego consciousness (the pseudo reflection of the soul). Thus, when deluded and tempted by Maya, the Soul becomes the limited ego called Jeeva (individual being), which erroneously identifies itself with the finite body-frame and gross worldly objects. Once so confounded with the limited body consciousness, the Soul can no longer express its omnipresence, omniscience, and omnipotence. For it imagines itself to be limited and narrow, just as a king who agonizes to have become a beggar in his dream! The ignorance, thus, becomes a veil between the Jeeva and its Spiritual Nature, which is none other than the undifferentiated and unmodified Awareness.

  • ਹਉਮੈ ਵਡਾ ਗੁਬਾਰੁ ਹੈ ਹਉਮੈ ਵਿਚਿ ਬੁਝਿ ਨ ਸਕੈ ਕੋਇ ॥: Haumai vadaa gubaar hai haumai vichi bujhi na sakai koi: Egotism is utter darkness; in egotism, no one can understand anything (sggs 560).
  • ਮਾਇਆ ਪਟਲ ਪਟਲ ਹੈ ਭਾਰੀ ਘਰੁ ਘੂਮਨਿ ਘੇਰਿ ਘੁਲਾਵੈਗੋ ॥ ਪਾਪ ਬਿਕਾਰ ਮਨੂਰ ਸਭਿ ਭਾਰੇ ਬਿਖੁ ਦੁਤਰੁ ਤਰਿਓ ਨ ਜਾਵੈਗੋ ॥: Maya patal patal hai bhaaree ...: The veil of Maya is thick and heavy, a whirlpool which destroys one’s home. Sins and corrupt vices are totally heavy, like rusted slag. They will not let you cross over the poisonous and treacherous world-ocean (sggs 1308).
  • The intellect is luminous and seeks the good. How then can the dark ego vanquish it? The ego is in the body, and your intellect is a stranger; At its doorstep, a dog is an awesome lion! (Sufi Jalaluddin Rumi).
In essence, the rise of false ego is the birth of the person and his phenomenal world of names, shapes, causation, time and space! Once the ego-sense arose, there quickly followed the desire for the prolongation of life in the body, acquisition of wealth, health, material pleasures and so forth.
  • ਮਨਿ ਤਨਿ ਬਾਸਨਾ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਬਿਸਥਾਰਾ ॥ ਅਹੰਮੇਵ ਮੂਠੋ ਬੇਚਾਰਾ ॥: Mani tani baasnaa bahut bisthaaraa. Ahanmev mootho bechaara: Their minds and bodies are filled with immense, expansive Vaasnaas. The poor wretches are cheated by egotism (sggs 1005).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਏਹਾ ਜਾਤਿ ਹੈ ਹਉਮੈ ਕਰਮ ਕਮਾਹਿ ....: Haumai ehaa jaat hai haumai karam kamaahi ....: This is the nature of ego, that people perform their actions in ego. This is the bondage of ego, that time and time again, they are reborn. Where does ego come from? How can it be removed? This ego exists by the Eternal Law; people wander according to their past actions. Ego is a chronic disease, but it contains its own cure as well. With His Grace, one acts according to the Divine Teachings of the Gur-Shabad. Nanak says, listen, people, in this way, troubles depart (sggs 466).
Albert Einstein observes: "Nothing happens until something moves"! False ego is the direct result of movement (or disturbance) on the surface of Infinite Awareness. Just as waves are movement on the surface of the ocean, false ego is a movement at the surface of the infinite ocean of Pure Awareness. In other words, just as a mirror reflects an object held close to it, one's behavior reflects as the ego-sense in one's Self. Although man's True Nature is none other than this Pure Awareness, butthe instant the mind, drawing on its reserve of latent memories (Vaasnaas), begins to conceptualize, it then fills the space with objects and the time with incidents.
  • ਮਨਿ ਬਾਸਨਾ ਰਚਿ ਬਿਖੈ ਬਿਆਧਿ ॥: Mani baasnaa rachi bikhai biaadh: The mind is engrossed in Vaasnaas, and the disease of corruption (sggs 675).
False ego, thus, is a mental conditioning which gives rise to false self-identification with the time-bound consciousness, resulting in distortion of the state of Pure Being. This distortion arises with the rise of the ripples of disturbance on the surface of Timeless Awareness (Mool, Source... ), which corrupts seeing and understanding, creating the false sense of separateness (duality or Doojaa Bhaav) between the mind and the true Self. So long this duality persists, the mind rests in the ego-sense and the reflected consciousness in the senses; giving rise to the illusion of self-limitation of consciousness.
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਬਿਆਪੈ ਦੁਬਿਧਾ ਫੈਲੁ ॥: Haumai biaapai dubidhaa phai: Afflicted by egotism, duality only increases (sggs 893).
  • ਮਨ ਕਉ ਬਿਆਪੈ ਹਉਮੈ ਮੈਲੁ ॥: Mann kayu biaapai haumai mael: The filth of egotism clings to the mind (sggs 1149).
The expressions such as veil of false ego, the veil of ignorance, the veil of illusion, the veil of doubts, the veil of falsehood, the veil of Maya, etc., are essentially the same, which camouflage Reality. The bastard son of this false ego is the religious fanaticism and bigotry — miserable existence surrounded by mental filth and darkness (Agiaan-ignorance). We exhibit this false consciousness under the sense of limited individuality grown out of our body-bound inclinations. Due to the wrong impression that we are the product of material nature, we function with an arrogant sense of doership and enjoyership (false ego). Both these doership and enjoyership go together, and create in us the misapprehension that we are limited entities, separate from God as well as other beings.
  • ਜਬ ਲਗੁ ਜਾਨੈ ਮੁਝ ਤੇ ਕਛੁ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਤਬ ਇਸ ਕਉ ਸੁਖੁ ਨਾਹੀ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਜਬ ਇਹ ਜਾਨੈ ਮੈ ਕਿਛੁ ਕਰਤਾ ॥ ਤਬ ਲਗੁ ਗਰਭ ਜੋਨਿ ਮਹਿ ਫਿਰਤਾ ॥ ਜਬ ਧਾਰੈ ਕੋਊ ਬੈਰੀ ਮੀਤੁ ॥ ਤਬ ਲਗੁ ਨਿਹਚਲੁ ਨਾਹੀ ਚੀਤੁ ॥ ਜਬ ਲਗੁ ਮੋਹ ਮਗਨ ਸੰਗਿ ਮਾਇ ॥ ਤਬ ਲਗੁ ਧਰਮ ਰਾਇ ਦੇਇ ਸਜਾਇ ॥ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਕਿਰਪਾ ਤੇ ਬੰਧਨ ਤੂਟੈ ॥ ਗੁਰ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ ਨਾਨਕ ਹਉ ਛੂਟੈ ॥੪॥: Jab lag jaanai mujh te kashoo hoi ...: As long as (a person) thinks that he is the doer, he will have no Peace. As long as he thinks that he is the one who does things, he will wander in the womb of reincarnation (ਜੂਨਾਂ ਵਿਚ). As long as he considers (in duality) one an enemy, and another a friend, his mind will not come to Rest (ਮਨ ਟਿਕਾਣੇ ਨਹੀਂ ਆਉਂਦਾ). As long as he is intoxicated with attachment to Maya, the Righteous Judge (the Divine Law of Karma) will punish him. By God's Grace, his material bonds (Maya's attachment) are shattered. O Nanak! By the Guru's Grace, his ego is eliminated ||4|| (sggs 278).
  • ਹਮ ਕੀਆ ਹਮ ਕਰਹਗੇ ਹਮ ਮੂਰਖ ਗਾਵਾਰ ॥ ਕਰਣੈ ਵਾਲਾ ਵਿਸਰਿਆ ਦੂਜੈ ਭਾਇ ਪਿਆਰੁ ॥ ਮਾਇਆ ਜੇਵਡੁ ਦੁਖੁ ਨਹੀ ਸਭਿ ਭਵਿ ਥਕੇ ਸੰਸਾਰੁ ॥: Ham keeyaa ham karahage ham moorakh gaavaar...: "I have done this, and I will do that"—I am an idiotic fool for saying this! I have forgotten the Doer of all; I am caught in the love of duality. There is no pain as great as the pain of Maya; it drives people to wander all around the world, until they become exhausted (sggs 39).
  • ਜਬ ਹਮ ਹੋਤੇ ਤਬ ਤੁਮ ਨਾਹੀ ਅਬ ਤੁਮ ਹਹੁ ਹਮ ਨਾਹੀ ॥ ਅਬ ਹਮ ਤੁਮ ਏਕ ਭਏ ਹਹਿ ਏਕੈ ਦੇਖਤ ਮਨੁ ਪਤੀਆਹੀ ॥੧॥: Jab ham hote tab tum naahee ab tum hahu ham naahee. Ab ham tum ek bhaye hahi ekai dekhat man pateeaahee ||1||: (O Lord) So long we are in Haume (ਹਉਮੈ - false ego-sense), until then You are not (awakened within - ਤਦ ਤਕ ਤੂੰ ਸਾਡੇ ਅੰਦਰ ਪਰਗਟ ਨਹੀਂ ਹੁੰਦਾ / ਆਪਣਾ ਚਾਨਣ ਨਹੀਂ ਕਰਦਾ); now that You are (awakened within), we are not in Haume (ਹਉਮੈ). Now that You and we have become one; seeing this, our minds have faith (that You and we are one and the same - ਕਿ ਤੂੰ ਹੀ ਤੂੰ ਹੈਂ, ਤੈਥੋਂ ਵੱਖਰੇ ਅਸੀ ਕੁਝ ਭੀ ਨਹੀਂ ਹਾਂ). ||1|| (sggs 339).
Simply put: The man fashioned by delusion and ignorance is the false ego (pseudo soul). Perverted by intellect waves, mental vibrations, and sense impressions, we mistakenly accept the ephemeral apparatus of body-mind-intellect as the Self (or true "I"). Consequently, through the body we become perceiver of the world of objects, through the mind we become feeler of emotions, and through the intellect we become thinker of thoughts. The perceiver, the feeler, and the thinker constitutes the sense of individuality (false "I" or ego) in each of us. Whereas the world of objects, the field of emotions, and the realm of thoughts constitutes the world of gross objects (things and beings) which in totality provides our field of outer experiences.
  • ਅੰਤਰਿ ਅਲਖੁ ਨ ਜਾਈ ਲਖਿਆ ਵਿਚਿ ਪੜਦਾ ਹਉਮੈ ਪਾਈ ॥ ਮਾਇਆ ਮੋਹਿ ਸਭੋ ਜਗੁ ਸੋਇਆ ਇਹੁ ਭਰਮੁ ਕਹਹੁ ਕਿਉ ਜਾਈ ॥੧॥: Antar alakh na jaaee lakhiaa vich pardaa haumai paaiaa. Maya moh sabho jag soiaa ihu bharam kahahu kiou jaaee ||1||: The Unseen God dwells within (the Jeeva - an individual being), but (the Jeeva) cannot see (understand, comprehend, etc.) This; (because, within the Jeeva) is the veil of egotism. In emotional attachment to Maya, all the world is asleep. Tell me, how can this doubt (of the Jeeva's) be dispelled? ||1|| (sggs 205).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਸਭੁ ਸਰੀਰੁ ਹੈ ਹਉਮੈ ਓਪਤਿ ਹੋਇ ॥: Haumai sabh sareer hai haumai opati hoi (sggs 560).
In essence, the false ego is the thoughts-stuff (Phurne), Maya (illusion), world-appearance, our Spiritual ignorance, our body-consciousness, latent memory and time-space. Since it's a false construction of a confused and disturbed head, it's nothing but the phantom called mind. Just as no wave is outside the ocean, similarly, in truth, there is no ignorance (false ego) outside the mind, for the mind itself is ignorance. Just as the clouds veil the sun from our vision, similarly, the cloud of ignorance acts as a screen between us and the Real Self located behind the mind.

A mirror reflects a face held close to it, but the real face is beyond the mirror! Similarly, man's attitudes and character reflect as the ego-sense in one's True Self, but his attitudes and character is not his True Self. In that sense, it's said that false ego does not exist anymore than a son of a barren woman, or a pie in the sky, or oil in grains of sand, or water in a mirage, or snow on the sun, or blueness of the sky; because, there is in truth nothing else but the Supreme Reality (Jot, Mool, Allah, God, etc.). The Gurbani, therefore, calls false ego "homeless".

  • ਇਹੁ ਨੀਘਰੁ ਘਰੁ ਕਹੀ ਨ ਪਾਏ ॥: Ih neeghar ghar kahee na paae: This ego is homeless; it will never find a home (sggs 1347).
  • Concern yourself not with the thief-like ego and its business. Whatever is not God's work is nothing, nothing! (Sufi Jalaluddin Rumi).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਮਾਇਆ ਮੋਹਣੀ ਦੂਜੈ ਲਗੈ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਨਾ ਇਹ ਮਾਰੀ ਨ ਮਰੈ ਨਾ ਇਹ ਹਟਿ ਵਿਕਾਇ ॥ ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਸਬਦਿ ਪਰਜਾਲੀਐ ਤਾ ਇਹ ਵਿਚਹੁ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਤਨੁ ਮਨੁ ਹੋਵੈ ਉਜਲਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਵਸੈ ਮਨਿ ਆਇ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਮਾਇਆ ਕਾ ਮਾਰਣੁ ਸਬਦੁ ਹੈ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਪਾਇਆ ਜਾਇ ॥੨॥: Haumai Maya mohanee doojai lagge jaae. Naa ih maaree na marai naa ih haat vikaai ...: Ego Maya is fascinating, (under its influence, forgetting the One God) one gets trapped in duality. It's not something that can be  killed or something that dies itself, and it's not something that's sold at a store. When it is burnt through the Gur-Shabad, then it departs from within. (From within whom Haume Maya is so departed) that body and mind become pure, and the Name comes to dwell within the mind. O Nanak, Shabad is the killer of Maya (ਮਾਇਆ ਦਾ ਪ੍ਰਭਾਵ ਮੁਕਾਣ ਦਾ ਵਸੀਲਾ), and it is obtained by becoming the Gurmukh ||2|| (sggs 853).
Although false ego, after all, is a phantom, but tremendous is its influence, menace, and curse! It's only when this phantom has arisen that the perverse notions "I, me, mine, and you" arise. The ego thrives amidst thousands of thoughts relating to "this is mine", "that is his", and so on. Once the ego-sense arose, their quickly followed worldly desires and fear. Which, in turn, debilitate our personality. In such debilitated psyche then there arises doubts and confusion in the mind. Man's such ego-guided behavior results in the rise of real obstructions that separate him and his religion from God.
  • ਮੇਰਾ ਮੇਰਾ ਕਰਦੇ ਪਚਿ ਮੁਏ ਹਉਮੈ ਕਰਤ ਵਿਹਾਇ ..: Meraa meraa karde pachi muye haumai karat vihaai ....: Screaming, "Mine, mine!", they rot and die; they pass their lives in egotism. The egotistic beings are in limbo, neither on this side, nor the other; they are stuck in the middle (sggs 1417).
  • ਮੇਰੀ ਮੇਰੀ ਕਰਿ ਕਰਿ ਡੂਬੇ ਖਪਿ ਖਪਿ ਮੁਏ ਗਵਾਰਾ ॥: Meree meree kari kari doobe khapi khapi muye gavaaraa: Continually claiming,  "Mine, mine", the mortals are drowned; the fools waste away and die (sggs 380).
  • ਹਉ ਹਉ ਮੈ ਮੈ ਵਿਹੁ ਖੋਵੈ ॥ ਦੂਜਾ ਮੇਟੈ ਏਕੋ ਹੋਵੈ ॥:  Hau hau mai mai vihu khovai. Doojaa metai eko hovai: By eradicating egotism and individualism from Within, and erasing duality, the mortal becomes one with God (sggs 943).
Faults of Ego

With the false ego ("I-ness") up and active, all our handling of people is selfish. There is no other factor causing the illusory duality (Doojaa Bhaav) and the sorrow it entails than the psychological construction "I-ness". When the materially identified ego has sided with the materialistic forces of creation (Maya), it is said to have the following faults (Dosha): Kaam (lust), Krodh (anger), Lobh (greed), Moh (emotional attachment to delusion), Mada or Ahankaar (pride), Matsarya (envy) and Mann-Hatha (stubborn mindedness). Additionally, these faults have numerous variations of their own. Also called evil passions, man's Spiritual Heritage constantly gets looted by these internal thieves, causing him to lose the true knowledge of his real Soul Nature as Unconditioned Consciousness.

  • ਬੈਰ ਬਿਰੋਧ ਕਾਮ ਕ੍ਰੋਧ ਮੋਹ ॥ ਝੂਠ ਬਿਕਾਰ ਮਹਾ ਲੋਭ ਧ੍ਰੋਹ ॥ ਇਆਹੂ ਜੁਗਤਿ ਬਿਹਾਨੇ ਕਈ ਜਨਮ ॥: Bair birodhh kaam krodhh moh. Jhooth bikaar mahaa lobh dhroh. Eiaahoo jugati bihaane kaee janam: Hate, conflict, lust, anger, emotional attachment, falsehood, corruption, immense greed and deceit. So many lifetimes are wasted in these ways (sggs 267).
  • ਕਾਮ ਕ੍ਰੋਧ ਮਾਇਆ ਮਦ ਮਤਸਰ ਏ ਸੰਪੈ ਮੋ ਮਾਹੀ ॥ : Kaam krodh maya mada matsar ae sanpay mo maahee (sggs 971).
  • ਕਾਮ ਕ੍ਰੋਧ ਹੰਕਾਰ ਲੋਭ ਹਠ ਮੋਹ ਨ ਮਨ ਸਿਉ ਲਾਏ ॥ : Kaam krodh hankaar lobh hatha moh na man siyu laavai (Guru Gobind Singh Jee, Raamkalee, 3-1).
  • ਕਾਮੁ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਲੋਭੁ ਮੋਹੁ ਨਿਤ ਝਗਰਤੇ ਝਗਰਾਇਆ ॥: Kaam krodh lobh moh nit jhagarte jhagaraayaa: Lust, anger, greed and attachment to delusion bring continual conflict and strife (sggs 984).
  • ਕਾਮੁ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਲੋਭੁ ਮੋਹੁ ਨਿਵਾਰੇ ਨਿਵਰੇ ਸਗਲ ਬੈਰਾਈ ॥: Kaam krodh lobh moh nivaare nivare sagal bairaaee: When lust, anger, greed and attachment to delusion are eradicated; then I have no more enemies (sggs 1000).
Lust (Kaama) is the compelling, coercive materialistic desire to indulge in sensory temptations. It's the consummate enemy; for it's the instigator of man's wrong thoughts, wrong speech, and wrong actions. Lust applies to abuse of the senses in the pursuit of sense-gratification. Man's brooding over objects of the senses causes attachment to them. From such attachment, craving develops; from unfulfilled lust or craving, anger arises; from anger, mental delusion arises; from delusion comes bewilderment or loss of memory of our Mool (Source, Origin, Jot....); the loss of such memory causes loss of intelligence or the discriminating faculty (Bibek Budhi); upon loss of intelligence or discriminative judgment, one falls down into the material consciousness; which, in turn, brings annihilation of his Spiritual life. Kaama thus destroys man's happiness, health, brain power, clarity of thoughts, memory, and discriminative judgment.
  • ਕਾਮੁ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਲੋਭੁ ਮੋਹੁ ਨਿਤ ਝਗਰਤੇ ਝਗਰਾਇਆ ॥: Kaam krodh lobh mohu nit jhagarate jhagaraaeiaa: Lust, anger, greed and emotional attachment bring continual conflict and strife (sggs 984).
  • ਕਾਮਿ ਕ੍ਰੋਧਿ ਡੂਬੇ ਅਭਿਮਾਨੀ ਹਉਮੈ ਵਿਚਿ ਜਲਿ ਜਾਈ ...: Kaami krodhi doobe abhimaanee haumai vichi jali jaaee ...: In lust and anger, the proud ones are drowned. They are burnt in their egotism. They do not attain perfection or understanding; their intellect is dimmed. Tossed by the waves of greed, they suffer in pain (sggs 1265).
Frustrated or unfulfilled lust results in anger (Krodh). It drives man to commit misdeeds. It's the peace-destroying, reason-blinding, and health-impairing behavior which manifests in many forms such as impatience, violence, irritation, inner seething, jealousy, resentment, meanness, etc. It obscures one's memory of his Essential Nature as Pure Consciousness, causing decay of the discriminative faculty, followed by annihilation of one's righteous behavior and intelligence.
  • ਹੇ ਕਲਿ ਮੂਲ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੰ ਕਦੰਚ ਕਰੁਣਾ ਨ ਉਪਰਜਤੇ ॥: He kal mool krodham kadanch karunaa na uparajate: O anger, you are the root of conflict; compassion never rises up in you (sggs 1358).
  • ਭੰਉਕੈ ਕੋਪੁ ਖੁਆਰੁ ਹੋਇ ਫਕੜੁ ਪਿਟੇ ਅੰਧੁ ॥: Bhanoukai kop khuaar hoe fakarr pitte andh: Anger barks and brings ruin on itself, blindly pursuing useless conflicts (sggs 1288).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਮੇਰਾ ਜਾਤਿ ਹੈ ਅਤਿ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਅਭਿਮਾਨ ॥: Haumai meraa jaat hai ati krodh abhimaan: Ego, self-centeredness, excessive anger and pride are the lot of mankind (sggs 429).
  • ਨਾਨਕ ਕਾਮਿ ਕ੍ਰੋਧਿ ਕਿਨੈ ਨ ਪਾਇਓ ਪੁਛਹੁ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਜਾਇ ॥: Nanak kaami krodhi kinai na paaio pushahu giaanee jaai: O Nanak, through lust and anger, no one has ever found God - go, and ask any wise man (sggs 551).
  • ਬਸਇ ਕਰੋਧੁ ਸਰੀਰਿ ਚੰਡਾਰਾ ॥: Basai krodh sareeri chandaalaa (sggs 759).
  • ਕਾਮੁ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਕਾਇਆ ਕਉ ਗਾਲੈ ॥: Kaam krodh kaayaa kayu gaalai (sggs 932).
False ego makes us enslaved to our whims, "likes and dislikes". This enslavement to whims is greed (Lobh). Its nature is covetousness, avarice, and acquisitiveness. It's a confusion of the mind between necessary and unnecessary wants. Such behavior then leads one to stealing, dishonesty, cheating, self-surfeit at the expense of the well-being of others.
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਬਿਖਿਆ ਨਿਤ ਲੋਭਿ ਲੁਭਾਨੇ ਪੁਤ ਕਲਤ ਮੋਹਿ ਲੁਭਿਭਾ ॥: Haumai bikhiaa nit lobhi lubhaane put kalat mohi lubhibhaa: In egotism, people are continually lured by corruption, greed, emotional attachment to their children and spouse (sggs 1337).
  • ਕਾਮ ਕ੍ਰੋਧ ਲੋਭ ਰਤੁ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਸਤੁ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ ਬਿਦਾਰਨ ॥: Kaam krodh lobh ratu nindaa sat santokh bidaaran: Imbued with lust, anger, greed and slander; man abandons truth and contentment (sggs 620).
Moha is emotional attachment of the false ego to delusion (Avidiya), causing the mind to become dense (darkened or ignorant), unable to perceive what is Truth and Reality. Thus, Moh simply means delusion, attachment, illusion, ignorance, bewilderment, infatuation, etc. This fault of physical ego suppresses the evolution and manifestation of the Soul; for it obstructs the Soul's potentially omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent power.
  • ਮਿਥਿਆ ਮੋਹ ਬੰਧਹਿ ਨਿਤ ਪਾਰਚ ॥: Mithiaa moh bandhahi nit paarach: Man is constantly entangled in false attachments and conflicts (sggs 743).
  • ਮੋਹਿ ਬਾਦਿ ਅਹੰਕਾਰਿ ਸਰਪਰ ਰੁੰਨਿਆ ॥: Mohi baad ahankaar sarapar runniaa: Those who indulge in attachment, conflict and egotism will surely weep and cry (sggs 761).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਧਾਤੁ ਮੋਹ ਰਸਿ ਲਾਈ ॥: Haumai dhaatu moh ras laaee: Egotism attaches people to the juice of delusory attachment, and makes them run around (sggs 1047).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਮੋਹੁ ਉਪਜੈ ਸੰਸਾਰਾ ॥ ਸਭੁ ਜਗੁ ਬਿਨਸੈ ਨਾਮੁ ਵਿਸਾਰਾ ॥: Haumai moh upjai sansaraa:Out of egotistic attachment, the Universe is born. Forgetting the Naam (God), all the world perishes (sggs 1057).
Pride (Mada) makes the mind narrow and limited. It's the love for the "I-ness" and "my-ness" (false ego-self) that is always on the move to support and promote the selfish interests. Other meaning of Mada is intoxication or insanity. In other words, it's such an intoxication with the ego-consciousness that man forgets his sane or True Self. This fault of the ego creates in the mind a hostile power that expresses its self-centered haughtiness towards others as intolerance, prejudice, bigotry, unforgiving attitude, blind hatred and rage. Pride makes the ego-man belittle or humiliate others, to gossip and criticize, to gloat on others mistakes and misfortune, to find faults in others, and so on. In short, it makes the egotistical man to cut off the heads of others to make himself appear taller!
  • ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਕਾਮੁ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਮਦ ਮਤਸਰ ਕਾਟਿ ਕਾਟਿ ਕਸੁ ਦੀਨੁ ਰੇ ॥: Trisnaa kaam krodh mada matsar kaati kaati kas deen re: Cut up desire, lust, anger, pride and envy, and let them be the fermenting bark (sggs 969).
Matsarya means envy, jealousy, selfishness, hostility, and passion. It's intoxicating and exhilarating. It makes man forget his true duty. It makes ego-man a dreamer, causing him to run after the gross objects of dreamlike world through endless corridors of births and rebirths. It creates intoxication and addiction to the objects, rousing an exhilaration directed towards their attainment and enjoyment. One who is jealous or envious of others wealth, success, qualifications, beauty, strength, prosperity, etc., feels painful and resentful at their betterment, and would feel happy only when some miseries befall on them. It's the man's false ego that gets hurt upon seeing others enjoying an advantage.
  • ਸੁਆਦ ਬਾਦ ਈਰਖ ਮਦ ਮਾਇਆ ॥: Suaadh baad eerakh mad maaiaa: Tastes and pleasures, conflicts and jealousy, and intoxication with Maya (sggs 741).
  • ਕਾਮ ਕ੍ਰੋਧ ਮਾਇਆ ਮਦ ਮਤਸਰ ਏ ਖੇਲਤ ਸਭਿ ਜੂਐ ਹਾਰੇ ॥: Kaam krodh maya mada matsar ae khelat sabhi jooai haare: Kaam, Krodh, Maya, Mada and Matsara — these five have combined to plunder the world (sggs 974).
  • ਅਤਿ ਡਾਹਪਣਿ ਦੁਖੁ ਘਣੋ ਤੀਨੇ ਥਾਵ ਭਰੀਡੁ ॥: Ati daahapani dukh ghano teene thaav bhareed: Jealousy and envy bring terrible pain, and one is cursed throughout the three worlds (sggs 1091).
  • ਛਾਡਿ ਵਿਡਾਣੀ ਤਾਤਿ ਮੂੜੇ ॥ ਈਹਾ ਬਸਨਾ ਰਾਤਿ ਮੂੜੇ ॥ : Shaadi vidaanee taati moorhe. Eehaa basanaa raati moorhe: Give up your jealousy of others, O fool. Your stay here is only for one night: temporary (sggs 889).
The stubborn mindedness (Mann-Hatha) is the lack of Spiritual Wisdom, understanding, clarity, attention, alertness, and earnestness, which, in turn, is the result of lack of awareness. It is synonymous to the state of self-will, unbelief, affliction, hardness of heart, impenitence, reprobacy, heinousness, fanaticism, crookedness, evil-mindedness, mental-weekness, immaturity, and raw or undisciplined mind. Such person, although, may be aware of thinking, feeling, and acting, but he is unaware of his True Being (Sahaj-Avasthaa). Thus, the meaning, function, and outcome of stubborn mindedness is totally apposite to the Soul Nature (Sahaj). It's the way of the Manmukh (egoist being).
  • ਮਨਹਠਿ ਕੀਚੈ ਅੰਤਿ ਵਿਗੋਵੈ ॥: Mann hathi keechai anti vigovai: One who acts in stubborn-mindedness is ruined in the end (sggs 356).
  • ਮੁਹਿ ਚਲੈ ਸੁ ਅਗੈ ਮਾਰੀਐ ॥੧੨॥: Muhi challai su aggai maareeai ||12||: One who stubbornly follows his own mind (ਮੂੰਹ-ਜੋਰ ਮਨੁੱਖ) will suffer ahead ||12|| (sggs 470).
  • ਅਗਿਆਨੀ ਅੰਧਾ ਬਹੁ ਕਰਮ ਦ੍ਰਿੜਾਏ ॥ ਮਨਹਠਿ ਕਰਮ ਫਿਰਿ ਜੋਨੀ ਪਾਏ ॥ ਬਿਖਿਆ ਕਾਰਣਿ ਲਬੁ ਲੋਭੁ ਕਮਾਵਹਿ ਦੁਰਮਤਿ ਕਾ ਦੋਰਾਹਾ ਹੇ ॥੯॥: Agiaani andhaa bahu karam drirhaae. Mann hathi karam hiri jonee paae. Bikhiaa kaaran lab lobh kamaavahi durmat kaa doraahaa he ||9||: The ignorant (of spiritual life - ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਤੋਂ) and blind (in love of Maya - ਮਾਇਆ ਦੇ ਮੋਹ ਵਿਚ) cling to all sorts of rituals. They stubborn-mindedly perform these rituals, and are consigned to reincarnation For the sake of poison (Maya), they act in greed and possessiveness; evil-minded duality (arises in their life-journey. ||9|| (sggs 1055).
  • ਮਨਹਠਿ ਕਰਮ ਕਰੇ ਸੋ ਛੀਜੈ ॥ ਬਹੁਤੇ ਭੇਖ ਕਰੇ ਨਹੀ ਭੀਜੈ ॥ ਬਿਖਿਆ ਰਾਤੇ ਦੁਖੁ ਕਮਾਵਹਿ ਦੁਖੇ ਦੁਖਿ ਸਮਾਇਦਾ ॥੧੧॥: Manhatha karam kare so sheejai. Bahute bhekh kare nahee bheejai. Bikhiaa raate dukh kamaavahi dukhe dukh samaaidaa: ||11||: Those who act stubborn-mindedly are destroyed (weaken of spiritual life - ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਵਲੋਂ ਕਮਜੋਰ). Wearing all sorts of religious robes, they do not please God. Tinged by corruption (love of Maya), they earn only pain (from whatever they do) ||11|| (sggs 1059).
  • But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward and not forward (Bible, Jer 7:24).
These ego-born faults give rise to selfishness, wickedness, falsehood, corruption, lust, anger, greed, sense attachment, self-conceit, enviousness, stubborn mindedness, fraud, hatred, abuse, promiscuity, meanness, avarice, cruelty, ill will, unkindness, destructive instinct, impulsiveness, fickle-mindedness, harshness of speech and thought, inharmoniousness, revengefulness, cowardice, mental sloth, differences, bitterness, pessimism, dissatisfaction, fanaticism, danger, tension, animosity, vengeance, pain and suffering, cults, gurudoms, saintdoms, extremism, pathological hatred, blind rage, violence, quarrelsome attitude, radicalism, terrorism, impatience, bigotry, brutal intolerance, impatience, spiritual indifference, dullness, laziness, impurity (of body, mind, and soul), covetousness, ignorance, foolishness, narrow-mindedness, worry, lack of vision and foresight, impudence, ill feeling, materialism, slavery, personal idiosyncrasies, selective or narrow vision, inhuman tyrants, animalistic instincts, sins, irreligiousness (Adharma), fundamentalism, insanity, abandonment of reality and reasoning, grief, lawlessness, anarchy, oppression, saucy temper, anguish, blind-faith, destruction, mob-mentality, xenophobia, fear, wars, genocide, religious persecution, repression, chaos, confusion, doubts, superstition, immoderation, excessive eating and sleeping, troubles, conflicts, pretense of goodness, degeneracy, arrogance, high-handedness, worldly entanglements, mercilessness, brutality, animalism, killing, self-styled vigilantes, psychopaths as self-appointed leaders, totalitarianism, fascism, racism, partiality, communalism, barbaric criminals, relinquishment of human rights and civil liberties, misinformation, deception, hypocrisy, strife, ostentation, sacrilegiousness, moroseness, desecration of scriptures, sequestration of woman, madness of believing in caste (Jaat-Paat), racial pride, desire to hurt others, misappropriations, consummation of unnatural foods and drinks, decry of spiritual life, shunning Divine Nature, and enjoyment in evil nature (seeing evil, listening to evil, tasting evil, touching evil, thinking evil, willing evil, feeling evil, speaking evil, remembering evil, and doing evil). Thus, false ego-sense becomes cancer by cell proliferation.
  • ਵਿਚਿ ਹਉਮੈ ਕਰਮ ਕਮਾਵਦੇ ਜਿਉ ਵੇਸੁਆ ਪੁਤੁ ਨਿਨਾਉ ॥: Vichi haumai karam kamaavde jiou vesuaa put ninaaou: Those who do their deeds in ego (remain Fatherless or Godless. They) are like the prostitute’s son, who (cannot tell) the name (of his biological father) (sggs 82).
  • ਹਉ ਹਉ ਕਰਤ ਬਧੇ ਬਿਕਾਰ ॥: Hau hayu karat badhe bikaar: Acting in egotism and self-conceit, man's corruption only increases (sggs 1192).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਜਲਿਆ ਮਨਹੁ ਵਿਸਾਰੇ ॥: Haumai jaliaa mano vissare: Burnt by egotism, one forgets the Lord from his mind (sggs 993).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਵਿਚਿ ਸਦ ਜਲੈ ਸਰੀਰਾ ॥: Haumai vichi sada jalai sareeraa: In egotism, the body is forever burning (sggs 1068).
  • ਨਾਵਹੁ ਭੁਲਾ ਜਗੁ ਫਿਰੈ ਬੇਤਾਲਿਆ ॥: Naavahu bhulaa jagg firai baetaaliaa: Having forgotten the Name (God), the world is roaming around like a wild demon (sggs 149).
  • ਅਬਰਨ ਬਰਨ ਸਿਉ ਮਨ ਹੀ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ॥ ਹਉਮੈ ਗਾਵਨਿ ਗਾਵਹਿ ਗੀਤ ॥: Abaran baran siyu mann hee preeti. Haumai gaavani gaavahi geet: Those who believe in high and low social classes (Jaat-Paat), only sing songs and chants of egotism (sggs 1162).
  • : Shitaabee bavad kaari aahramnaa: Impatience (or absence of Sahaj) is the sign of evil persons (Guru Gobind Singh Jee, Zafarnaamaa).
  • ਅੰਧਾ ਝਖਿ ਝਖਿ ਪਇਆ ਝੇਰਿ ॥: Andhaa jhakh jhakh paiaa jheri: The spiritually blind fool is caught in conflict, bothered and bewildered (sggs 1287).
If the Mayaic illusion is a big poisonous tree, false ego is its seed, roots and trunk; Mayaic efforts are its fruits; lust, anger, greed, etc., are sprouts; three qualities (or three modes) of the material nature — Rajo (ignorance), Tamo (passion), and Sato (goodness) — are the buds; bodily senses are the twigs; likes and dislikes are the two main branches; and various sensual objects are the leaves. Latent tendencies, cravings, desires and fear nourish this illusory tree! This tree of individualized ego (or body) is born in the forest of repeated birth and death called Sansaar. The restless monkey of mind jumps from one branch to the other; it's the abode of worms (worries); it's constantly eaten by the insects (suffering and pains); and it shelters the poisonous snakes of evil passions. It's hollow and empty!
  • ਮ੍ਰਿਗ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਗੰਧਰਬ ਨਗਰੰ ਦ੍ਰੁਮ ਛਾਯਾ ਰਚਿ ਦੁਰਮਤਿਹ ॥: Misled by the wicked intellect, (mortal) assumes an illusory image of a city, mirage, and the transitory shade of a tree to be real (sggs 1356).
  • ਦ੍ਰਿਸਟਿਮਾਨ ਹੈ ਸਗਲ ਮਿਥੇਨਾ ॥: Dristimaan hai sagal mithenaa: All that is seen is an illusion (sggs 1083).
Functions Of Ego

With the false ego rises the error that we are the center of the universe! In this selfishness, in the pretext of false egotism, instead of practicing the True Religion, our minds follow deluded concepts, percepts, notions, and ideas only to corrupt the true religious philosophy. In other words, in accordance with our own body-bound inclinations, desires, fear or mindset, we use the religion for our own material, social, and political selfishness and personal idiosyncrasies.

The main function of the false ego ("filth") is to block the path of Truth ("Purity"); for the "filth" and "Purity" are incompatible. It's the source of error, doubts, superstitions, illusion, duality and so forth. It deceives it's victims by making them believe that they do not need any more self-improvement, self-knowledge and self-unfoldment. With such conditioned mind, we try to dominate the material nature and become subjected to its effects — lust, anger, greed, attachment, pride, enviousness, stubbornness, suffering from repeated birth and death, etc. The Gurbani calls such bonded beings "Manmukhs" (egoist beings).

  • ਮਨਮੁਖੀਆ ਸਿਰਿ ਮਾਰ ਵਾਦਿ ਖਪਾਈਐ ॥: Manmukheeaa siri maar vaad khapaaeeai: The problem of the Manmukh's (a material being) head is this: he is consumed by conflict (sggs 420).
  • ਏ ਸੂਤੇ ਅਪਣੈ ਅਹੰਕਾਰੀ ॥: Eae sootae apanai ahankaaree: They are all asleep in egotism (sggs 1128).
  • ਮਨਮੁਖ ਹਉਮੈ ਮਾਇਆ ਸੂਤੇ ॥ ਅਪਣਾ ਘਰੁ ਨ ਸਮਾਲਹਿ ਅੰਤਿ ਵਿਗੂਤੇ ॥ ਪਰ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਕਰਹਿ ਬਹੁ ਚਿੰਤਾ ਜਾਲੈ ਦੁਖੇ ਦੁਖਿ ਨਿਵਾਸੀ ਹੇ ॥੧੫॥: Manmukh haumai maya soote. Apnaa ghar na samaalahi ant vigoote. Par nindaa karahi bahu chintaa jaalai dukhe dukh nivaasee he ||15||: The self-willed Manmukhs are asleep (i.e., unaware of the ultimate purpose of life, etc.) in egotism and Maya. (From Bikaars) They do protect their own Homes (Heart etc,), and are ruined in the end. They slander others, and burn in great anxiety; they always live in pain and suffering ||15|| (sggs 1049).
Ego-infatuated mind imagines its own wisdom to be superior. It then goes on to establish religious systems, codes, sects, cults, and creeds; appoints priesthoods and builds organizations to propagate its own dogmas and convictions. In this false sense of superiority, it then assumes that it has selected the only perfect system of truth. Accordingly, it then expects the whole world to follow and support its declared dictums, and seeks instant destruction of all who oppose it. Thus, by contradicting the world around, it foolishly contradicts its very essence namely the Blissful Consciousness Existence. Such foolishness promotes nothing but psychological distress.
  • ਹਮ ਮੂਰਖ ਮੂਰਖ ਮਨ ਮਾਹਿ ॥ ਹਉਮੈ ਵਿਚਿ ਸਭ ਕਾਰ ਕਮਾਹਿ ॥: Ham moorakh moorakh mann maahi. Haumai vichi sabh kaar kamaahi: We are ignorant; ignorance fills our minds. We do all our deeds in ego (sggs 666).
  • ਮਨ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਹਉਮੈ ਰੋਗੁ ਹੈ ਭ੍ਰਮਿ ਭੂਲੇ ਮਨਮੁਖ ਦੁਰਜਨਾ ॥: Man antar haumai rog hai bharam bhoole manmukh durjanaa: Those within whose mind is the disease of ego (Haumai - ਹਉਮੈ), those self-willed (Manmukhs), the evil beings (ਬਿਕਾਰੀ ਬੰਦੇ - corrupt people), are deluded by doubt (sggs 301).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਕਰੈ ਨਿਹਕਰਮੀ ਨ ਹੋਵੈ ॥ ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦੀ ਹਉਮੈ ਖੋਵੈ ॥ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਬਿਬੇਕੁ ਸਦਾ ਆਪੁ ਵੀਚਾਰੇ ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦੀ ਗੁਣ ਗਾਵਣਿਆ ॥: Haumai kari nihkarmi hovai. Gur parsaadee haumai khovai. Antari bibek sadaa aap veechare gur sabadee gun gaavaniaa: Those who act in ego do not go beyond Karma. It is only by Guru’s Grace that one is rid of ego. Those who have discriminating minds, continually examine their Self. Through the Word of Gur-Shabad, they sing Glorious Praises (sggs 128).
This body-identified ego consciousness is the darkness so much talked about in the scriptures, whilst the Pure Soul Consciousness is the Light. Ego bitterly resents all our self-efforts to Spiritual Enlightenment (Shabad-Vichaar...); because it never admits its own shortcomings, faults, wrongs, and ignorance. It always assumes itself to be perfect, infallible, pure, good, wise, true, and complete. Due to such phony self-assertions, it never admits the need for Enlightenment and Liberation.
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਫਿਕਾ ਬੋਲਣਾ ਬੁਝਿ ਨ ਸਕਾ ਕਾਰ ॥: Haumai phikkaa bolnaa bujhi na sakaa kaar: Speaking shallow in egotism, no one understands the Ways of God (sggs 1420).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਪੈਖੜੁ ਤੇਰੇ ਮਨੈ ਮਾਹਿ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਨ ਚੇਤਹਿ ਮੂੜੇ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਜਾਹਿ ॥੬॥: Haumai paikharh tere mannai maahi. Hari na chetahi moorhe mukti jaahi ||6||: (O fool) your mind is tied with the rope of egotism (ਪੈਖੜੁ-ਢੰਗਾ, a rope tied to the rear legs of an animal, which does noe let the animal run!). (Because of this rope - ਢੰਗਾ - of egotism) you do not even think of God — you fool! (His Name or Simran) is the one who emancipates you (from Bikaars, etc.)||6|| (sggs 1189).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਜਾਈ ਤਾ ਕੰਤ ਸਮਾਈ ॥: Haumai jaaee taa kant samaee: But if she (soul-bride) gets rid of her ego, then she merges in her Beloved God (sggs 750).
This sense-identified physical ego incites man to make obtrusive show of his material wealth, possessions or power. When such people are in control of religious places, they are able to impose their personal agenda and will on others not by the virtue of their Spiritual Wisdom, credibility, ethics, or moral character but because they have behind them material power and influence (i.e., money). In truth, such people only want power and recognition without any responsibility such as dissemination of the scriptures and Dharma in their true perspective. Because they have no genuine interest in the aspirations of the people they claim to represent.
  • ਕਿਨਹੀ ਕੀਆ ਪਰਵਿਰਤਿ ਪਸਾਰਾ ॥: Kinahee keeaa paravirati pasaaraa: Some make a big show of their worldly influence (sggs 912).
  • ਅੰਧਾ ਆਗੂ ਜੇ ਥੀਐ ਕਿਉ ਪਾਧਰੁ ਜਾਣੈ ॥ ਆਪਿ ਮੁਸੈ ਮਤਿ ਹੋਛੀਐ ਕਿਉ ਰਾਹੁ ਪਛਾਣੈ ॥: Andhaa aagoo je theeai kiou paadharu jaanai. Aap musai mati hochheeai kiou raahu pachhaanai: If a blind man (blinded by the love of Maya, etc.) is made the leader, how will he know the Way (right Path - ਜੀਵਨ-ਸਫਰ ਦਾ ਸਿੱਧਾ ਰਸਤਾ - etc.). Due to his inadequate understanding (ਹੋਛੀ ਅਕਲ ਦੇ ਕਾਰਨ, lack of Wisdom, etc.), he himself is being plundered (by Maya, evil inclinations - ਵਿਕਾਰਾਂ ਦੇ ਹੱਥੋਂ - etc.); how will (those who follow such a blind or Mayadhaaree leader - ਉਸ ਦੀ ਅਗਵਾਈ ਵਿਚ ਤੁਰਨ ਵਾਲਾ ਵੀ) know the Way? (sggs 767).
  • ਜਿਤਨੇ ਸਾਹ ਪਾਤਿਸਾਹ ਉਮਰਾਵ ਸਿਕਦਾਰ ਚਉਧਰੀ ਸਭਿ ਮਿਥਿਆ ਝੂਠੁ ਭਾਉ ਦੂਜਾ ਜਾਣੁ ॥ : Jitne sah paatsah umraav sikdaar chaudharee sabh mithiaa jhooth bhaau doojaa jaan: All the kings, emperors, nobles, lords and chiefs are false, transitory, and engrossed in duality — know this well (sggs 861).
The false ego consciousness in man likes to make a show of its own piety in public, it takes pride in wearing all sorts of religious robes and symbols, it entangles in rituals and ceremonies, it pretends to be humble and kind, it exhibits dominating attitude, it advertises its own virtues (which in fact are its own shortcomings!), it thrusts its own opinions and wishes on others, it demands attention of others by noise or destruction, it seeks for name and fame, it loves material power, it enjoys seeing others bow down to him. It outlaws joy and humor!
  • ਬਾਹਰਹੁ ਹਉਮੈ ਕਹੈ ਕਹਾਏ ॥ ਅੰਦਰਹੁ ਮੁਕਤ ਲੇਪੁ ਕਦੇ ਨ ਲਾਏ ॥: Baaharahu haumai kahai kahaae. Anadarahu mukat lep kade na laae: One who speaks egotistically in public, never attains liberation within (sggs 412).
  • ਆਚਾਰ ਕਰਹਿ ਸੋਭਾ ਮਹਿ ਲੋਗ ॥: Aachaar karahi sobhaa mahi log: You practice good conduct to impress people (sggs 374).
  • ਹਉ ਹਉ ਕਰੇ ਤੈ ਆਪੁ ਜਣਾਏ ॥ ਬਹੁ ਕਰਮ ਕਰੈ ਕਿਛੁ ਥਾਇ ਨ ਪਾਏ ॥: Hau hau kare tai aap janaae. Bahu karam kare kish thaai na paae: Practicing egotism and selfishness, they try to impress others by showing off (sggs 127).
  • ੰਧਨ ਕਰਮ ਧਰਮ ਹਉ ਕੀਆ ॥ ਬੰਧਨ ਪੁਤੁ ਕਲਤੁ ਮਨਿ ਬੀਆ ॥: Bandhan karam dharam hau keeaa. Bandhan putu kalatu mani beeaa: Acting in ego, people are entangled with religious rituals, and religious faith. They are entangled with sons, wives and others in their minds (sggs 416).
  • ਕਰਮ ਕਰਤ ਬਧੇ ਅਹੰਮੇਵ ॥: Karam karat baadhe ahammev: Ritual practices bind people in egotism (sggs 324).
  • ਬੰਧਨ ਕਰਮ ਧਰਮ ਹਉ ਕੀਆ ॥ : Bandhan karam dharma hayu keeyaa: Acting in false ego, people are entangled with religious rituals, and religious faith (sggs 416).
  • ਅਧਿਕ ਤਿਆਸ ਭੇਖ ਬਹੁ ਕਰੈ ॥ : Adhik tiyaas bhekh bahu krai: Excessive thirst for Maya makes people wear all sorts of religious robes (sggs 352).
  • ਮੈ ਅਵਰੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਨ ਧਿਆਨੁ ਪੂਜਾ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਵਸਿ ਰਹੇ ॥ ਭੇਖੁ ਭਵਨੀ ਹਠੁ ਨ ਜਾਨਾ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਸਚੁ ਗਹਿ ਰਹੇ ॥੧॥: Mai avar giaan n dhiaan poojaa Hari Naam antari vasi rahe. Bhekh bhavnee hath n jaanaa Nanakaa sach gahi rahe ||1||: God's Name dwells deep within me, I know no other wisdom, meditation or worship. I know nothing about religious robes, pilgrimages or stubbornness; O Nanak, I only hold tight to the Truth ||1|| (sggs 843).
  • And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words (Bible, Matt 6:5-7).
Burning in the fire of ego consciousness, one takes himself to be good, superior, true, pure, spiritual, religious, pious, innocent, knower of God, charitable, Sevak, righteous, humble, forgiving, merciful, wise, virtuous, clean, etc. Since ego likes titles, he likes to be called Sant or Saint, Saadhoo, Guru, Satguru, Jagat Guru, Sri 108, Pundit, Swami, Naamdhaaree, Jatee, Yogi, Sanyasi (renunscient), Giaanee, Brahm Giaanee (knower of God), Mullah, Kaazi, Molvi, Imam, Shayikh, Jathedaar or Pardhaan, Preacher, Mahaan Purakh, Gurmukh, Raagee, Bhagwaan, Baabaa, Rabbi, Priest, Paadree, torch-bearer of religion, and so on.
  • ਜਉ ਜਾਨੈ ਹਉ ਭਗਤੁ ਗਿਆਨੀ ॥ ਆਗੈ ਠਾਕੁਰਿ ਤਿਲੁ ਨਹੀ ਮਾਨੀ ॥ ਜਉ ਜਾਨੈ ਮੈ ਕਥਨੀ ਕਰਤਾ ॥ ਬਿਆਪਾਰੀ ਬਸੁਧਾ ਜਿਉ ਫਿਰਤਾ ॥: When (one) deems, in ego, that (he) is a Bhagat (the Gurmukh...) and a Giaanee (One who possesses Giaan, ਵਿੱਦਵਾਨ...), then, in the world hereafter, the Master will have no regard for him at all. When he believes himself to be a sermoneer (ਧਾਰਮਿਕ ਕਥਾ-ਵਖਿਆਨ ਕਰਨ ਵਾਲਾ), he is merely a peddler wandering over the earth (sggs 255).
  • ਮਾਨ ਅਭਿਮਾਨ ਮੰਧੇ ਸੋ ਸੇਵਕੁ ਨਾਹੀ ॥: Maan abhimaan mandhe so sevak naahee: One who is influenced by praise and vanity is not God`s servant (sggs 51).
  • The ego always desires the necessities of the household — reputation, bread, food, and position... The ego sometimes displays humility and sometimes seeks leadership to remedy its plight (Sufi Jalaluddin Rumi).
  • Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men (Bible, Matt 6:1-2).
The unfailing outcome of such ego-guided behavior is chaos, widespread corruption, immorality, and unrighteousness. Unfortunately, such are the very individuals who consider themselves to be the torch-bearers of righteousness, spirituality, religion, and morality; as well as guides for other in the world! They then go on to interpret scriptural statements with their instinctive or egoist minds, and make religious edicts or decrees for others to follow.
  • ਮੂਲੁ ਨ ਬੂਝੈ ਆਪੁ ਨ ਸੂਝੈ ਭਰਮਿ ਬਿਆਪੀ ਅਹੰ ਮਨੀ ॥: Mool na buujhai aap na soojhai biaapee aham manee: The mortal neither knows the Primal Lord nor does he understands himself; because he is engrossed in doubt and egotism (sggs 1181).
  • ਨਾਨਕ ਹਉ ਹਉ ਕਰਤੇ ਖਪਿ ਮੁਏ ਖੂਹਣਿ ਲਖ ਅਸੰਖ ॥: Nanak hayu hayu karate khapi mooe khoohani lakh asankh: O Nanak, acting in egotism, countless thousands have wasted away to death (sggs 1413).
  • ਮਨ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਹਉਮੈ ਰੋਗੁ ਹੈ ਭ੍ਰਮਿ ਭੂਲੇ ਮਨਮੁਖ ਦੁਰਜਨਾ ॥: Mann antari haumai rog hai bharami bhoole manmukh durajanaa: The evil Manmukhs, deluded by doubt wander lost; (because) the disease of egotism is deep within the mind; (sggs 1317).
The foregoing analysis and reflection make it clear that the cause of religious fanaticism, bigotry, extremism, fundamentalism, conflicts and differences is rooted in our ignorance of ourselves as well as our ignorance of the True Religion or Dharma. Because our knowledge about these is incomplete, haphazard, wrong, and one-sided. As a consequence of this perverted egotism, we not only commit countless crimes in the name of religion and God, but we do so with a sense of enthusiasm and enjoyment. How absurd!
  • ਹਮ ਮੂਰਖ ਮੂਰਖ ਮਨ ਮਾਹਿ ॥ ਹਉਮੈ ਵਿਚਿ ਸਭ ਕਾਰ ਕਮਾਹਿ ॥: Ham moorakh moorakh mann maahi. Haumai vichi sabh kaar kamaahi: We are ignorant; ignorance fills our minds. We do all our deeds in ego (sggs 666).
When this religious zealotry becomes organized, it then inflicts great havoc on humanity. In their madness, zealots judge others and then label them as "infidel", "nonbeliever", "no good", "Patit", "Tankhaahia", "Manmukh", "Kaafir", "lowly being", "wrong doer", "beast", "false", "ignorant", "fool", "enemy of God", "bad Sikh", "bad Muslim", "bad Christian", "bad Hindu", and so on; while as a matter of universal experience, they only advertise their own foolishness! Then they go about making others the target of their blind hatred and rage, interfere with their religion and freedom, and create a sense of helplessness in the people; which dumps us in the swamp of lunacy, communal riots, looting, biases, confrontation, discord, destruction, antagonism, stagnation, killing, repression, wars, etc.
  • ਕਾਹੇ ਜਨਮੁ ਗਵਾਵਹੁ ਵੈਰਿ ਵਾਦਿ ॥: Kaahae janam gavaavahu vair vaadi: Why waste your life in hatred, vengeance and conflict? (sggs 1176).
  • ਛੋਡਹੁ ਕਪਟੁ ਹੋਇ ਨਿਰਵੈਰਾ ਸੋ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਸੰਗਿ ਨਿਹਾਰੇ ॥: Shodahu kapatt hoi niravairaa so prabh sangi nihaare: Abandon your deception, and go beyond vengeance; see God who is always with you (sggs 1220).
Perhaps, now we can appreciate as to how the formal religion is subject to abuse because of ignorance—false ego! When our minds are tainted with wrong religious dogmas and convictions, we become fanatic and bigots to the point of religious terrorism. Thus, when our false ego-sense puts on the robe of religion, it plays havoc in the humanity and makes a mockery of religion, scriptures and Prophets. Throughout the human history, in such blind religious zeal, we have perpetrated untold sufferings and cruelty on humanity in the name of religion and God, and we have butchered countless innocent people and crucified many godly beings.
  • ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਕੇ ਭਗਤ ਨਿਰਵੈਰ ॥: Paarabraham ke bhagat niravair: The devotees of the Supreme God are beyond hate and vengeance (sggs 1145).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਫਿਕਾ ਬੋਲਣਾ ਬੁਝਿ ਨ ਸਕਾ ਕਾਰ ॥: Haumai phikkaa bolnaa bujhi na sakaa kaar: Speaking in shallow egotism, no one understands the Ways of God (sggs 1420).
  • ਜਨ ਨਿਰਵੈਰ ਨਿੰਦਕ ਅਹੰਕਾਰੀ ॥ ਜਨ ਭਲ ਮਾਨਹਿ ਨਿੰਦਕ ਵੇਕਾਰੀ ॥ ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਸਿਖਿ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੂ ਧਿਆਇਆ ॥ ਜਨ ਉਬਰੇ ਨਿੰਦਕ ਨਰਕਿ ਪਾਇਆ ॥੬॥: Jan nirvair nindak ahankaaree. Jan bhal maanahi nindak bekaaree ... : The Lord's humble servant has no vengeance. The slanderer is egotistical (i.e. full of Bikaars like vengeance, etc.). God's humble servant wishes well, while the slanderer dwells on evil (conduct, intent, thinking, etc.). The Sikhs of the Guru meditate on the True Guru (they keep their mind attuned to the Shabad). The Lord's humble servants escape (from this hell of slandering, etc.), while the slanderers keep themselves in this hell. ||6|| (sggs 869).
The man blinded by the veil of false ego is concerned only about externalities of the world. He is caught, enthralled, and bound by selfish actions; which roam in his bodily forest like a mighty elephant in rut. As a result, the ultimate realization of his True Self is beyond his reach and remains to him obscure. To know God is to undo our false egoism. This is the edict of the scriptures and the Enlightened Beings.
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਵਿਚਿ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਕੋਇ ਨ ਪਾਏ ॥: Haumai vichi prabh koi na paae: No one finds God through egotism (sggs 664).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਮਾਰੇ ਤਾ ਦਰੁ ਸੂਝੈ ॥: Haumai maare taa dar soojhai: Kill your ego, then you will find God's Door (sggs 842).
  • ਸੋ ਜਨੁ ਸਾਚਾ ਜਿ ਹਉਮੈ ਮਾਰੈ ॥: So jan saachaa ji haumai maarai: That humble being is true, who kills his ego (sggs 230).
  • ਸੋ ਮੁਲਾਂ ਜੋ ਮਨ ਸਿਉ ਲਰੈ ॥: So mullah jo mann siyu larai: He alone is a Mullah, who struggles with his mind (sggs 1159).
  • Once the ego has been transformed, the sword — the body — is held in the hand of the Bountiful Lord's craftsmanship (Sufi Jalauddin Rumi).
  • Concern yourself not with the thief-like ego and its business. Whatever is not God's work is nothing, nothing! (Sufi Jalaluddin Rumi).

In essence, egoism is simply accepting the body-mind-intellect as Immortal Soul. This is the error. Thus, the process of linking with our Pure Nature, Soul-Consciousness, is undoing our egoism. This is the edict of the religious texts and the Enlightened Beings. Because egoism and Divinity cannot coexist — egoism is darkness, ignorance, impurity, unreal, falsehood, worldliness and death; whilst the Divine Principle (Divine Love, God, Self, Naam or Unconditioned Consciousness) is Eternal Light, Knowledge, Purity, Real, Truth, Sublime Spirit and Immortal. Meditation(Simran) is the sure cure for this chronic disease of worldliness. Hunting the egoism (false "I"), thus, requires awareness of the false in our life. We can know God, only when there is no false "I".

  • ਸਰਬ ਭੂਤ ਏਕੈ ਕਰਿ ਜਾਨਿਆ ਚੂਕੇ ਬਾਦ ਬਿਬਾਦਾ ॥: Sarab bhoot ekai kar jaaniaa chooke baad bibaadaa: I look upon all beings alike, and my conflict and strife are ended (sggs 483).ਹਉਮੈ ਧੰਧੁ ਛੋਡਹੁ ਲੰਪਟਾਈ ॥: Houmai dhandh shoddahu lanpattaaee: Abandon your involvement in egotistical affairs and conflicts (sggs 1026).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਨਾਵੈ ਨਾਲਿ ਵਿਰੋਧੁ ਹੈ ਦੁਇ ਨ ਵਸਹਿ ਇਕ ਠਾਇ ॥: Houmai naavai naal virodh hai due na vasahi ik thaae: Ego is opposed to the Divine Naam; the two cannot coexist (sggs 560).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਝਗੜੁ ਚੁਕਾਇਓਨੁ ਇਕੋ ਰਵਿ ਰਹਿਆ ॥: Gurmukh jhagarr chukaaeion iko ravi rahiaa: The Gurmukh (Spiritual Being) is free of conflict and strife, and sees the One Lord, pervading everywhere (sggs 790).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਨਿਰੰਜਨ ਪਾਏ ॥ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਹਉਮੈ ਸਬਦਿ ਜਲਾਏ ॥: Gurmukhi Naam Niranjan paae. Gurmukhi haumain sabadi jalaae: By becoming the Gurmukh, one obtains the Name of the Immaculate Lord. The Gurmukh burns ego through the Shabad (sggs 942).

— T. Singh
www.gurbani.org