ਤ੍ਰਉਦਸੀ ਤੀਨਿ ਤਾਪ ਸੰਸਾਰ ॥:
Troudasee teeni taap sansaar (sggs 299).

Literally, Taap means fever. In the Gurbani (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, SGGS), the word "fever" is used to indicate sufferings, miseries, sorrows, pains, etc. Almost everyone is suffering in this material world; for the Jeeva (individual being) is soiled with the filth of false ego lust, anger, greed, emotional attachment, pride (and countless variations of these five).

Fevers of this material world are numerous - grouped them in three headings as follows:

All living entities are suffering from either one, two, or all three of them. No conditioned mind is immune from their effects. No one can claim otherwise, because it is impossible to be free of miseries and sorrows. Therefore, none can claim to be completely free from miseries. The Gurbani reminds this truth to us as follows:

Other interpretations of "three fevers" include three kinds of sufferings imposed by three different sources within this material world: (1) body and mind, (2) other living entities, and (3) other forces of the nature; or suffering inflicted by the three modes of Maya's material nature consisting of (1) Saatav, (2) Raajas and (3) Taamas. Sufferings inflicted by these sources would be the subject of separate articles.

The Fever Of Material Body

The material body is changeable. Between birth and death, it goes through changes such as youth, old age, disease and death. As indicated in the scriptures, it is the manifestation of our Spiritual ignorance or false ego (Haumai). Due to our ignorance, the soul passes through the evolutionary cycle of birth and death.

This human body is described as a city with nine gates (two eyes, two years, two nostrils, one mouth, the anus and the genitals). Due to conditioning or material contamination, all these nine gates are defilrd. The mind free to escape through these defiled gates binds the soul in the clutches of material bondage. How these nine gates can get an embodied soul in trouble is beautifully explained in the Gurbani. For example, the elephant is caught and enslaved by exciting his sexual urges; due to misuse of the eyes, the moth is attracted to light and gets burnt; due to uncontrolled urge of listening, the deer is caught by bell's music; the fish opens her mouth to eat "bate" and gets caught and loses its life; and due to uncontrolled urge of nose for smell, the black bee gets entrapped in the flower and kills itself.

Dwells in this "defiled" body city is the Soul. The True Nature of the Spirit Soul is the same as of the Sachidaanand (also spelt Sachidanand). This word is made of three Sanskrit words Sat, Chit and Anand. Sat means eternal, Chit means full of Knowledge, and Anand means Bliss - Sadaa Schidaanand satram pranaasee (Guru Gobind Singh Ji, Jaap Sahib).

On the contrary, the material body is neither eternal, nor full of knowledge or bliss. Consequently, all sufferings experienced in this world are the result of this material body. The Gurbani indicates that either we can use this opportunity to purify the nine gates of our body by Bhagti (thoroughly Understanding the Gurbani...), or we can waste this unprocurable ("dulambh") human body by accumulating more "filth". The choice is ours.

The Fever Of Mind

Our senses have affinity for enjoying their respective objects. Emotional attachment to these sense objects makes our mental conditioning (false ego) more and more dense. Such conditioned mind is akin to a camel. For instance, the camel eats bramble even though it makes his mouth bleed! Similarly, the mind of an ignorance-obsessed man indulges in sense gratification even though he suffers.

The mind is ever in the state of flux flickering, turbulent, restless, obstinate, and very difficult to control. Hence the diseases of our mind are subtle, thereby, invisible to our material eyes. The foremost of these diseases is the ignorance-born false ego (Haumai). The projection of this false ego are diseases like lust, anger, greed, attachment, and pride (and countless variations of these five). We are tormented by these mental ailments, day and night. Like jackal, we get caught in a self-created web.

Man's destiny and fate is shaped by his own thoughts. Consider the following example of silkworm. Silkworm spins silk cocoon around himself. Upon completion of the cocoon, the initial step in manufacture of the silk is to kill the insect inside the cocoon. This is done by throwing the live silkworm into boiling water or an hot oven. Thus, a silkworm shapes his own fate and destiny by weaving silk around himself. Similarly, we also weave our good or bad fate and destiny by our own thoughts and deeds. By weaving the cocoon of false ego around ourselves, we suffer here in this world and hereafter.

Due to its material nature from time immemorial, the Soul has been subjected to conditioning. As a result of this conditioning or material contamination of the Soul, one accepts this body as oneself and identifies with it. This is man's ignorance. This ignorance of the Real Self (Joti-Svaroop) is the cause of suffering. That's why the Gurbani reminds us again and again that: Ignorance of the true nature of the Real Self gives rise to false ego. In turn, this false ego binds us with objects of the material world. Caught in the vertex of ignorance born false ego, we keep swirling in the endless suffering. In fact, the mental ailments are responsible for many bodily diseases. Fortunately, the bodily diseases finish with the death of our physical body. However, the mental diseases sticks to Soul.

The Fever Of Doubts

Doubt or mental delusion (Bharam) is defined as "what we deem a thing to be, in reality, it is not like that". For example, a deer incessantly chases mirage in desert taking it as a source of water. However, owing to his delusion, he never gets water out of mirage and suffers the consequences. Although musk is stored within a deer's body. However, due to guiled by his own delusion, it wanders about in the forest to obtain it.

According to the Gurbani, man's condition is not any better than that of the deer. For instance, even though the Supreme Lord is within us, even though the Soul is filled with Amrit (Immortality) within, however, because of our mind's doubts, we keep searching outside in the perishable mundane objects. We all suffer from this disease in different ways, at different levels, and with different intensities.

The root cause of our doubts is spiritual ignorance, false ego, duality or the feelings of selfhood ("I, me, mine"). How's so? First, ignorance (ego, duality or the feelings of selfhood) deludes man's intelligence. Then, man's response to this delusion on his intelligence results in doubts. The influence of doubts is so contagious that it destroys man's ability to realize the purpose of this life.

Thus, this disease of doubts is attached to Jeeva (individual beings) since time immemorial, which has contaminated our subtle internal equipment of mind, intellect, ego and consciousness. Due to its pervasiveness, man becomes doubtful regarding the Gurbani's True Teaching, etc. For this reason, man's Divine qualities keep depleting; and evil qualities keep flourishing. Consequently, we lack Bebek-Budhi to discriminate between genuine (truth) and counterfeit (false). This is how man's deluded mind becomes the cause of his suffering (Dukha). Cure

When an ostrich finds himself in an imminent danger, he foolishly sticks his head in the sand, hoping that this will save his life! We all know this foolish act of ostrich cannot save him. Similarly, we stick our consciousness in the sand of "three fevers", and hope that this ignorant act of ours will liberate us! It will not. Our material knowledge, worldly cleverness, mental speculations, or logic will not help us rid these "fevers".

The Mool (Source...) is to be understood as distinct from, and beyond the physical equipment constituted of the body, mind, and intellect. As rituals, beliefs, religious robes, etc., are the play of only the material vehicle (Maya) made up of body-mind-intellect, the Mool is beyond their reach or apprehension. It is so as the body can't comprehend the Infinite Reality because He is not the object of senses or perception; the mind can't either because the Mool is not the object of emotions; and the intellect can't comprehend as well because the Mool is not the object of cognition. To experience the Unconditioned Consciousness, we need to attain freedom from the "three fevers". The royal road to this freedom is Shabad Vichaar. Through the Gurmat (Aatam-Giaan and Bebk-Budhi of the Gurbani), one slowly but surely becomes free from bewilderment. In turn, he becomes able to slash and torn apart his "fevers" with the sword of Spiritual Wisdom.

— T. Singh

Updated on Wednesday, February 1, 2012 9:01 AM (PST)

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