FIVE WATER CARRIERS

ਕੂਅਟਾ ਏਕੁ ਪੰਚ ਪਨਿਹਾਰੀ ॥ ਟੂਟੀ ਲਾਜੁ ਭਰੈ ਮਤਿ ਹਾਰੀ ॥੩॥
ਕਹੁ ਕਬੀਰ ਇਕ ਬੁਧਿ ਬੀਚਾਰੀ ॥ ਨਾ ਓਹੁ ਕੂਅਟਾ ਨਾ ਪਨਿਹਾਰੀ ॥੪॥੧੨॥ :
Kooataa eku panch panihaaree. Tootee laaju bharai mati haaree.
Kahu Kabeer ik budhi beechaaree. Naa ohu koo-ataa naa panihaaree
||4||12|| (sggs 325).
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These five water carriers are also called by many other names such as "Panch Chor", "Panch Janaa", "Panj Doot", "Panj Mahaabalee", "Panch Sikadaar", "Panj Dusat", "Panch Sakhee" or 5 companions, five evils, five thieves, evil passions, or simply the man's inner garbage— lust, anger, greed, attachment, and pride (along with their numerous variations). Some of the other numerous variations of these five evils include all mental impurities such as enviousness, stubborn mindedness, selfishness, deception, wickedness, corruption, bigotry, hatred, insecurity, desires and fears, discontentment, intolerance, revenge, unforgiveness, unhappiness, and so on. They bring man down to the animal nature. These are the negative pulls of human nature, very powerful and destructive. Consider the following wonderful and mystic Shabad of Bhagat Kabeer Sahib from the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS).

  • ਕੂਅਟਾ ਏਕੁ ਪੰਚ ਪਨਿਹਾਰੀ ॥ ਟੂਟੀ ਲਾਜੁ ਭਰੈ ਮਤਿ ਹਾਰੀ ॥੩॥ ਕਹੁ ਕਬੀਰ ਇਕ ਬੁਧਿ ਬੀਚਾਰੀ ॥ ਨਾ ਓਹੁ ਕੂਅਟਾ ਨਾ ਪਨਿਹਾਰੀ ॥੪॥੧੨॥ : Kooataa eku panch panihaaree. Tootee laaju bharai mati haaree. Kahu Kabeer ik budhi beechaaree. Naa ohu koo-ataa naa panihaaree ||4||12||: ਕੂਅਟਾ ਏਕੁ - Koo-ataa ek = one well of human body (or body-consciousness), and ਪੰਚ ਪਨਿਹਾਰੀ - Panch panihaaree = five bodily senses - which like water carriers constantly work on this body for sense-gratification on account of ignorance (or lack of Aatam Giaan or Divine Knowledge), (ਟੂਟੀ ਲਾਜੁ - Tootee laaj = broken rope) and polluted intellect (ਭਰੈ ਮਤਿ ਹਾਰੀ - Bharai mati haaree). But its all in vain just as one's efforts to draw water from a well with broken rope. Kabeer Says: when Spiritual Wisdom is awakened within (ਕਹੁ ਕਬੀਰ ਇਕ ਬੁਧਿ ਬੀਚਾਰੀ - Kahu kabeer ik budh beechaaree), then there is no more menacing body-consciousness and senses along with their sensuous demands (ਨਾ ਓਹੁ ਕੂਅਟਾ ਨਾ ਪਨਿਹਾਰੀ - Naa oh koo-ataa naa panihaaree) ||4||12|| (sggs 325).

The five water carriers (i.e. all evil passions) are the various faults and defects of the same false ego-sense (Haume). They are the mental ailments. They instigate all the problems in an individual's life and in the world. They all disappear when the false ego-sense has dissolved and disappeared. Also, they all rush back marching with the rise of the delusion or psychological ego in the individual's mind. In nutshell, it is the result of one's forgetfulness of his True Nature as Pure Consciousness: "Joti-Svaroopa". When we forget godliness (i.e. our True Nature), all mental ailments come and stick to our negative and defiled mind and stays there so far we remain in illusion, misunderstanding, doubt-ridden or ignorant of our true Self. As when the wind blows away the clouds and the sun is seen clearly again, similarly, only when the breeze of pure Self-knowledge (Aatam-Giaan) blows away the mental impurities, then we see our Pure Being again, untainted.

  • ਪਰਮੇਸਰ ਤੇ ਭੁਲਿਆਂ ਵਿਆਪਨਿ ਸਭੇ ਰੋਗ ॥: Paramaesar te bhuliaaan viaapan sabhe rog: Forgetting God, all sorts of illnesses are contracted (sggs 135).
  • ਇਸੁ ਦੇਹੀ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਪੰਚ ਚੋਰ ਵਸਹਿ ਕਾਮੁ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਲੋਭੁ ਮੋਹੁ ਅਹੰਕਾਰਾ ॥ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਲੂਟਹਿ ਮਨਮੁਖ ਨਹੀ ਬੂਝਹਿ ਕੋਇ ਨ ਸੁਣੈ ਪੂਕਾਰਾ ॥: Within this body dwell the five thieves: lust, anger, greed, attachment, and pride. They plunder the Nectar (of the Naam, ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਦੇਣ ਵਾਲਾ ਨਾਮ ਧਨ/ਨਾਮ ਰਸ - Aatam Giaan, Divine Knowledge, Divine Virtues...), but the Mmanmukh (self-willed, Mayadhaaree, Saakat...) does not realize it; (but once he is plundered, and so suffers...) no one hears his complaint. (sggs 600).
  • ਪੰਚ ਚੋਰ ਤਿਨਾ ਘਰੁ ਮੁਹਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਿ ਹਉਮੈ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਸੰਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਿ ॥: Panch chor tinaa ghar muhanih houmai andar sannih: The five thieves plunder their (who have forgotten the Naam...) Home (Heart, because of continous) break in by the egotism. (sggs 854).
  • ਪੰਚ ਚੋਰ ਚੰਚਲ ਚਿਤੁ ਚਾਲਹਿ ॥: Panch chor chanchal chit chaalahi: The five thieves cause the fickle consciousness to waver (sggs 1021).

The Gurbani says our minds get conditioned the wrong way from the very childhood. Therefore, one needs to fix it by unlearning. The Gurbani also urges us we must know as to how these evil passions (man's animal-nature) work and how to get rid of them. To that end, spiritual discipline (Naam-simran or meditation, spiritual company or Saadh-sangat, truthful living, contentment, detachment, humility, compassion, Daya or mercy, spiritual wisdom, patience, courage, etc.) is essential to lead one get rid of the evil passions, which is the purpose of life. But due to mind's conditionings, it is not easy for all to grasp this real purpose of life. But just because it is difficult, it does not mean we should ignore it and stop perusing. Mere knowledge of this purpose cannot lead one to God-realization, his True Nature. One has to make a sincere effort to understand what the scriptures say. Knowing the message in them alone is not enough. One has to act on the message and practice it in his daily life. It is just as mere reading of the medicine label will not be enough to cure the disease; one has to make the effort to administer the medicine.

  • ਪੰਚ ਚੋਰ ਕੀ ਜਾਣੈ ਰੀਤਿ ॥: Panch chor kee jaanai reet: O man, you must know the way the five thieves work (sggs 344).
  • ਪੰਚ ਚੋਰ ਮਿਲਿ ਲਾਗੇ ਨਗਰੀਆ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮ ਧਨੁ ਹਿਰਿਆ ॥: Panch chor mil laage nagareeaa raam naam dhan hiriaa: The five thieves join together and plunder the body-village, stealing the wealth of the Lord's Name (sggss 1178).
  • ਕਲਿਜੁਗ ਮਹਿ ਧੜੇ ਪੰਚ ਚੋਰ ਝਗੜਾਏ ॥: Kalijuga mahi dharre panch chor jhagarraae: In Kalijuga, the five thieves (i.e., all evil passions or Bikaar) instigate alliances and conflicts (sggs 366).
  • ਪੰਚ ਚੋਰ ਆਗੈ ਭਗੇ ਜਬ ਸਾਧਸੰਗੇਤ ॥: Panch chor aagai bhage jab saadhasangat: The five thieves run away, when one joins the Saadh-sangat, the Company of the Holy (sggs 810).
  • ਜਪਿ ਮਨ ਨਰਹਰੇ ਨਰਹਰ ਸੁਆਮੀ ਹਰਿ ਸਗਲ ਦੇਵ ਦੇਵਾ ਸ੍ਰੀ ਰਾਮ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮਾ ਹਰਿ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਮੁ ਮੋਰਾ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਜਿਤੁ ਗ੍ਰਿਹਿ ਗੁਨ ਗਾਵਤੇ ਹਰਿ ਕੇ ਗੁਨ ਗਾਵਤੇ ਰਾਮ ਗੁਨ ਗਾਵਤੇ ਤਿਤੁ ਗ੍ਰਿਹਿ ਵਾਜੇ ਪੰਚ ਸਬਦ ਵਡ ਭਾਗ ਮਥੋਰਾ ॥ ਤਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹ ਜਨ ਕੇ ਸਭਿ ਪਾਪ ਗਏ ਸਭਿ ਦੋਖ ਗਏ ਸਭਿ ਰੋਗ ਗਏ ਕਾਮੁ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਲੋਭੁ ਮੋਹੁ ਅਭਿਮਾਨੁ ਗਏ ਤਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹ ਜਨ ਕੇ ਹਰਿ ਮਾਰਿ ਕਢੇ ਪੰਚ ਚੋਰਾ ॥੧॥: Jap man narahare narahare suaamee har sagal dev devaa sree raam raam naamaa har preetam moraa ||1|| rahaaou|| ...: O my mind, meditate on the Lord, the Lord, your Lord and Master. The Lord is the Most Divine of all the divine beings. Chant the Name of the Lord, Raam, Raam, the Lord, my most Dear Beloved. ||1||Pause|| That household, in which the Glorious Praises of the Lord are sung, in which the Glorious Praises of the Lord are sung, in which His Glorious Praises are sung, where the Panch Shabad, the Five Primal Sounds, resound - great is the destiny written on the forehead of one who lives in such a household. All the sins of that humble being are taken away, all the pains are taken away, all diseases are taken away; lust, anger, greed, attachment and pride are taken away. The Lord drives the five thieves out of such a devotee ||1|| (sggs 1201).
  • ਪੰਚ ਭਾਗੇ ਚੋਰ ਸਹਜੇ ਸੁਖੈਨੋ ਹਰੇ ਗੁਨ ਗਾਵਤੀ ਗਾਵਤੀ ਗਾਵਤੀ ਦਰਸ ਪਿਆਰਿ ॥: Panch bhaage chor sahaje sukhaino hare gun gaavatee gaavatee gaavatee daras piaar: The five thieves have run away, and I am in Peace and Poise; singing, singing, singing the Glorious Praises of the Lord, I obtain the Blessed Vision of my Beloved. (sggs 1305).
  • ਜਿਹਿ ਬਿਖਿਆ ਸਗਲੀ ਤਜੀ ਲੀਓ ਭੇਖ ਬੈਰਾਗ ॥ ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਸੁਨੁ ਰੇ ਮਨਾ ਤਿਹ ਨਰ ਮਾਥੈ ਭਾਗੁ ॥੧੭॥: Jihi bikhiaa sagalee tajee leeou bhekh bairaag ...: One who has forsaken all sin and corruption, and who practices detachment - says Nanak, listen, mind: good destiny is written on his forehead ||17|| (sggs 14270).

— T. Singh
www.gurbani.org