MONKEY-MIND

O crazy mind! The monkey stretches out his hand (into the narrow-necked pot),
and takes a handful of grains; now unable to escape (since his hand is full of
grains, he cannot take his hand out of the narrow-necked pot and escape.
Because of greed, he will not let go of the grabbed grains - ਦਾਣਿਆਂ ਦੀ ਭਰੀ ਹੋਈ ਮੁੱਠ).
O crazy mind! (because of his greed, now) he is made to dance door to door ||2|| (sggs 336).
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To understand what the Gurbani is talking about here, it is important to know as to how the monkeys are caught in India. This is how it is done. A narrow-necked pot, filled with grains and other eatables that monkeys love, is placed on the ground as a bait to trap them. As a monkey comes to take the grains, he puts his hand into the narrow-necked pot and grab hold of the grains. Now, since his hand is full of grains, he cannot take his hand out of the narrow-necked pot and escape. In greed, thus the foolish monkey does not open his hand and let go of the grains so that he can escape. As he will not let go of the grabbed grains because of greed, he gets trapped and caught. Stupid monkey, by holding on to a few grains, loses his freedom to roam around the forest where he can find abundance of grains and fresh fruits of his liking. In other words, for a few grains he loses his entire world! Now caught and bound, he cannot freely play and enjoy life to his heart's liking. Instead, he is made to dance door to door by his captive. In India, spiritual Masters often cite this story to compare humans with it.

  • ਮਰਕਟ ਮੁਸਟੀ ਅਨਾਜ ਕੀ ਮਨ ਬਉਰਾ ਰੇ ਲੀਨੀ ਹਾਥੁ ਪਸਾਰਿ ॥ ਛੂਟਨ ਕੋ ਸਹਸਾ ਪਰਿਆ ਮਨ ਬਉਰਾ ਰੇ ਨਾਚਿਓ ਘਰ ਘਰ ਬਾਰਿ ॥੨॥: Marakat musattee anaaj kee man bouraa re leenee haathu pasaari. Shoottan ko sahasaa pariaa man bouraa re naachiou ghar ghar baari ||2||: O crazy mind! The monkey stretches out his hand (into the narrow-necked pot), and takes a handful of grains; now unable to escape (since his hand is full of grains, he cannot take his hand out of the narrow-necked pot and escape. Because of greed, he will not let go of the grabbed grains - ਦਾਣਿਆਂ ਦੀ ਭਰੀ ਹੋਈ ਮੁੱਠ). O crazy mind! (because of his greed, now) he is made to dance door to door ||2|| (sggs 336).

Human mind is much the same. It is "crazy" or restless because of ego or Haume. Deceptive Maya (illusion, the principle of plurality) is the captive. The mind tied to Maya suffers from threefold tendencies - Taamas (stupor ignorance), Raajas (passion or greed), and Saatav (goodness). "Crazy mind" can only produce crazy thoughts. On account of this craziness, it is trapped and caught in the transitory world, like the monkey. Trapped in bondage, we do not let go the Haume (ego) and its faults that bind us to the falsehood and the sensuous world. The false ego (the faults of ego are lust, greed, anger, attachment, pride, enviousness, stubborn mindedness, and so on), which is the root of material tendencies or passions, flourishes in the externalized and differentiating consciousness caused by the three qualities of deceptive Maya.

  • ਜਿਉ ਕਪਿ ਕੇ ਕਰ ਮੁਸਟਿ ਚਨਨ ਕੀ ਲੁਬਧਿ ਨ ਤਿਆਗੁ ਦਇਓ ॥ ਜੋ ਜੋ ਕਰਮ ਕੀਏ ਲਾਲਚ ਸਿਉ ਤੇ ਫਿਰਿ ਗਰਹਿ ਪਰਿਓ ॥੧॥ ਭਗਤਿ ਬਿਨੁ ਬਿਰਥੇ ਜਨਮੁ ਗਇਓ ॥ ਸਾਧਸੰਗਤਿ ਭਗਵਾਨ ਭਜਨ ਬਿਨੁ ਕਹੀ ਨ ਸਚੁ ਰਹਿਓ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Jiou kap kae kar musati chanan kee lubadhi na tiaag daio: Jo jo karam keeye laalach siou te fir garahi pario ||1||. Bhagati bin birathhe janam gaio. Saadhasangat bhagavaan bhajan bin kahee n sach rahiou ||1|| Rahaaou||: Like the monkey with a handful of grains (in the pot), who will not let go (grains) because of greed (even he knows he trapped!) - just so, all the deeds committed in greed ultimately become a noose around one's neck. ||1|| Without devotional worship, human life passes away in vain. Without the Company of the Holy, without vibrating and meditating on the Lord, one does not abide in Truth ||1|| Rahaaou|| (sggs 336).
  • ਫਾਕਿਓ ਮੀਨ ਕਪਿਕ ਕੀ ਨਿਆਈ ਤੂ ਉਰਝਿ ਰਹਿਓ ਕਸੁੰਭਾਇਲੇ ॥: Faakiou meen kapik kee niaaee too ourajhi rahiou kasunbhaaile: (O mind!) You are caught, like the fish (due the bait) for and the monkey (due to a fistful of grains); you are entangled in the saf-flower (transitory Mayaic world...). (sggs 862).
  • ਬਿਖਯੰਤ ਜੀਵੰ ਵਸ੍ਹੰ ਕਰੋਤਿ ਨਿਰਤ੍ਹੰ ਕਰੋਤਿ ਜਥਾ ਮਰਕਟਹ ॥: Bikhayant jeevan vasyam karoti niratyam karoti jathhaa marakatah: You (anger) take the perplexed beings (corrupt,agitated, Bikaaree, ires...) in your power, and make them dance like monkeys (sggs1358).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਰੋਗੁ ਮਾਨੁਖ ਕਉ ਦੀਨਾ ॥: Hayumai rog maanukh kayu deenaa : Mankind is afflicted with the disease of egoism (sggs 1140).
  • ਮਨ ਰੇ ਹਉਮੈ ਛੋਡਿ ਗੁਮਾਨੁ ॥: Mann re houmai shod gumaan: O mind, renounce your ego-pride (sggs 21).
  • ਤਜਿ ਹਉਮੈ ਗੁਰ ਗਿਆਨ ਭਜੋ ॥: Taj houmai gur giaan bhajo: Renounce your ego, and dwell upon the spiritual wisdom of the Guru (sggs 241).
  • ਤਜਿ ਲਾਜ ਅਹੰਕਾਰੁ ਸਭੁ ਤਜੀਐ ਮਿਲਿ ਸਾਧੂ ਸੰਗਿ ਰਹੀਜੈ ॥: Taj laaj ahankaar sabh tajeeai mil saadhhoo sang raheejai: So let go of your shame and renounce all your egoism; join and remain with the Saadh Sangat, the Company of the Holy (sggs1326).
  • ਪ੍ਰਥਮੇ ਤਿਆਗੀ ਹਉਮੈ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ॥ ਦੁਤੀਆ ਤਿਆਗੀ ਲੋਗਾ ਰੀਤਿ ॥ ਤ੍ਰੈ ਗੁਣ ਤਿਆਗਿ ਦੁਰਜਨ ਮੀਤ ਸਮਾਨੇ ॥ ਤੁਰੀਆ ਗੁਣੁ ਮਿਲਿ ਸਾਧ ਪਛਾਨੇ ॥੨॥: Prathme tiyaagee hayumai preet ...: (After having tasted the Prema-Rasa or Prema-Bhagati: Shabad-Vichhar, Aatam-Giaan, Gurmat...) first, I renounced my love of egotism (ਹਉਮੈ). Second, I renounced the ways of the world. (Then) I renounce the three qualities of Maya and I recognize friend and enemy alike. And then, (renenouncing the three qualities of Maya) the Turiyaa Avasthaa (which is above the three qualities of Maya - the Fourth State of Bliss) was realized. ||2|| (sggs 370).
  • ਜਗ ਮੋਹਨੀ ਹਮ ਤਿਆਗਿ ਗਵਾਈ ॥: Jag mohanee ham tiaag gavaaee: I have renounced and discarded Maya, the Enticer of the world (sggs 392).
  • ਸਭ ਤਜੀ ਮਨੈ ਕੀ ਕਾਮ ਕਰਾ ॥: Sabh tajee manai kee kaam karaa: I have renounced all of the affairs of my mind's desires (sggs 408).

Thus, the human mind has chained itself to the narrow-necked pot of the body-consciousness — the rule of senses. A mouse cannot enter its hole with a basket tied around its waist. A balloon anchored with ropes to the ground cannot take off either. Further, just as a man cannot run with his feet tied, or talk with his mouth closed; similarly, he cannot attain mental purity or liberation with his mind tied to diverse chains of false ego. He then becomes slave and dance to the tune of Maya. Only by calming the mouse of false ego within, and becoming a pure Gurmukh (spiritual or egoless being), it can again free itself to the Freedom it once had. The Gurbani shows us the way out from this captivity.

  • ਕਾਲਬੂਤ ਕੀ ਹਸਤਨੀ ਮਨ ਬਉਰਾ ਰੇ ਚਲਤੁ ਰਚਿਓ ਜਗਦੀਸ ॥ ਕਾਮ ਸੁਆਇ ਗਜ ਬਸਿ ਪਰੇ ਮਨ ਬਉਰਾ ਰੇ ਅੰਕਸੁ ਸਹਿਓ ਸੀਸ ॥੧॥ ਬਿਖੈ ਬਾਚੁ ਹਰਿ ਰਾਚੁ ਸਮਝੁ ਮਨ ਬਉਰਾ ਰੇ ॥ ਨਿਰਭੈ ਹੋਇ ਨ ਹਰਿ ਭਜੇ ਮਨ ਬਉਰਾ ਰੇ ਗਹਿਓ ਨ ਰਾਮ ਜਹਾਜੁ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਮਰਕਟ ਮੁਸਟੀ ਅਨਾਜ ਕੀ ਮਨ ਬਉਰਾ ਰੇ ਲੀਨੀ ਹਾਥੁ ਪਸਾਰਿ ॥ ਛੂਟਨ ਕੋ ਸਹਸਾ ਪਰਿਆ ਮਨ ਬਉਰਾ ਰੇ ਨਾਚਿਓ ਘਰ ਘਰ ਬਾਰਿ ॥੨॥ ਜਿਉ ਨਲਨੀ ਸੂਅਟਾ ਗਹਿਓ ਮਨ ਬਉਰਾ ਰੇ ਮਾਯਾ ਇਹੁ ਬਿਉਹਾਰੁ ॥ ਜੈਸਾ ਰੰਗੁ ਕਸੁੰਭ ਕਾ ਮਨ ਬਉਰਾ ਰੇ ਤਿਉ ਪਸਰਿਓ ਪਾਸਾਰੁ ॥੩॥ ਨਾਵਨ ਕਉ ਤੀਰਥ ਘਨੇ ਮਨ ਬਉਰਾ ਰੇ ਪੂਜਨ ਕਉ ਬਹੁ ਦੇਵ ॥ ਕਹੁ ਕਬੀਰ ਛੂਟਨੁ ਨਹੀ ਮਨ ਬਉਰਾ ਰੇ ਛੂਟਨੁ ਹਰਿ ਕੀ ਸੇਵ ॥੪॥੧॥੬॥੫੭॥: Kaalaboot kee hasatanee mann bouraa re chalat rachiou jagadees. Kaam suaae gaj bas pare mann bouraa re ankas sahiou sees ||1|| Bikhai baach har raach samajh mann bouraa re. Nirabhai hoi na har bhaje mann bouraa re gahiou na raam jahaaj ||1|| rehaao || Marakat musattee anaaj kee mann bouraa re leenee haath pasaar. Shoottan ko sahasaa pariaa man bouraa re naachiou ghar ghar baar ||2|| Jiou nalanee sooataa gahiou mann bouraa re Maya ihu biouhaar. Jaisaa rang kasunbh kaa mann bouraa re tiou pasariou paasaar ||3|| Naavan kou teerathh ghane mann bouraa re poojan ko bahu dev. Kahu kabeer shhootan nahee mann bouraa re shhootan har kee sev ||4||1||6||57||: Like the straw figure of a female elephant, fashioned to trap the bull elephant, O crazy mind, the Lord of the Universe has staged the drama of this world. Attracted by the lure of sexual desire, the elephant is captured, O crazy mind, and now the halter is placed around its neck. ||1|| So escape from corruption and immerse yourself in the Lord; take this advice, O crazy mind. You have not meditated fearlessly on the Lord, O crazy mind; you have not embarked upon the Lord's Boat. ||1||Pause|| O crazy mind! The monkey stretches out his hand (into the narrow-necked pot), and takes a handful of grains; now unable to escape (since his hand is full of grains, he cannot take his hand out of the narrow-necked pot and escape. Because of greed, he will not let go of the grabbed grains - ਦਾਣਿਆਂ ਦੀ ਭਰੀ ਹੋਈ ਮੁੱਠ). O crazy mind! (because of his greed, now) he is made to dance door to door ||2|| Like the parrot caught in the trap, O crazy mind, you trapped by the affairs of Maya. Like the weak dye of the safflower, O crazy mind, so is the expanse of this world of form and substance. ||3|| There are so many holy shrines in which to bathe, O crazy mind, and so many gods to worship. But, Says Kabeer, you will not be saved like this, O crazy mind; only by serving the Lord will you find release ||4||1||6||57|| (sggs 335).
  • ਏਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਅਵਗਣਿ ਬਾਧਿਆ ਸਹੁ ਦੇਹ ਸਰੀਰੈ ॥: Ih mann avgan baadhiaa sahu deh sareerai: (So long) this mind is tied to its faults; (untill then one) suffers (pain) in ithe body (sggs 1012).
  • ਅਨਿਕ ਭਾਂਤਿ ਕੀ ਏਕੈ ਜਾਲੀ ਤਾ ਕੀ ਗੰਠਿ ਨਹੀ ਛੋਰਾਇ ॥੧॥: Anik bhaant kee ekai jaalee taakee ganth nahee chhoraai ||1||: In all sorts of ways, Maya has cast the net (ਜਾਲੀ, ਫਾਹੀ, etc.); its knot cannot be escaped ||1|| (sggs 1302).
  • ਸਾਕਤ ਸੂਤੁ ਬਹੁ ਗੁਰਝੀ ਭਰਿਆ ਕਿਉ ਕਰਿ ਤਾਨੁ ਤਨੀਜੈ ॥: Saakat soot bahu gurjhee bhariaa kiou kar taan taneejai: The thread of the (life of ) the faithless cynic (the one separated from Truth) is totally knotted and tangled (with Bikaars: lust, enger, greed, etc.); how can (a Pure Life, spiritual Life, Gurmukh Lifestyle, etc.) be woven with such a thread (sggs 1324).
  • ਛਾਡਿ ਸਿਆਨਪ ਸਗਲੀ ਮਨਾ ॥: Shhaadd siaanap sagalee manaa: Renounce all clever tricks, O mind (sggs 289).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਹਉਮੈ ਮਾਰੀਐ ਮਨੁ ਨਿਰਮਲੁ ਹੋਈ ॥: Gurmukh houmai maareeai manu niramal hoee: The Gurmukh conquers his ego, and his mind is immaculately pure (sggs 230).
  • ਤਿਨ ਕੂੜ ਤਿਆਗੇ ਹਰਿ ਲਿਵ ਲਾਈ ॥: Tin koorr tiaagae har liv laaee: Renounce falsehood and enshrine love for the Lord (sggs165).

— T. Singh
www.gurbani.org