FLOUR FALLEN INTO THE MUD

Kabeer, the flour has fallen into the mud; nothing has come into my hands. That which
was eaten while it was being ground - that alone is of any use ||215|| (sggs 1376).
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To appreciate the Gurbani's message here, it will be helpful to know as to how the flour was grinded in old days in villages of India. Ladies used to get up every night early and grind fresh flour (Aataa Peesan) for about couple of hours, enough to make Rotee etc. for the entire family and any guests. Manual grinding-mill called Chakkee consisting of two circular grinding stones (Purre or millstones) was commonly used. The top stone of the circular mill apparatus had a little hole (Moree) in its middle for pouring grains (Daane), and a handle near the edge to facilitate its rotating on the bottom stone. Around both stones was a small and narrow channel (usually made of clay) to collect flour. At times many ladies from the neighborhood would assemble in one place to grind the flour together in a concert like manner, mothers with their infants in their laps. They would joyously sing folk songs (Lok Geet), and eat a bit of grains here and there while grinding. They would generally finish this daily chore before the day light (Poh Pahatanee), collect their flour and walk in the dark and often muddy street back to their respective homes. It was very natural and wonderful scene, not easy to describe. Sometime, while walking back to their homes, one would slip in the unlighted muddy street (Galee), spilling her entire flour into the mud! Kabeer Sahib is using that incident here as an example to impart Spiritual Wisdom to all of us.

  • ਕਬੀਰ ਕੀਚੜਿ ਆਟਾ ਗਿਰਿ ਪਰਿਆ ਕਿਛੂ ਨ ਆਇਓ ਹਾਥ ॥ ਪੀਸਤ ਪੀਸਤ ਚਾਬਿਆ ਸੋਈ ਨਿਬਹਿਆ ਸਾਥ ॥੨੧੫॥: Kabeer keecharr aataa gir pariaa kishoo na aaio haath. Peesat peesat chaabiaa soee nibihiaa saath ||215||: Kabeer, the flour has fallen into the mud; nothing has come into my hands. That which was eaten while it was being ground - that alone is of any use ||215|| (sggs 1376).

There are some Spiritual suggestions offered by this verse. First, many of us visit a religious place or attend a Spiritual activity for couple of hours here and there, and as soon we leave the place, we end up engaging ourselves rest of the day in the worldly nonsense (lust, anger, greed, attachment, self-conceit, jealousy, stubborn mindedness and there numerous variations), leading us to actions that cause grief or inconvenience to other living entities, and serious damage to the environment and ecology of the planet. Such efforts of ours visiting religious places or attending Spiritual activities for few hours and than allowing in rest of the time our life to fritter away in the pursuit of sense objects is similar to the efforts of the woman whose flour has fallen into the mud and has nothing to show for her labor. It is like shaking off whatever we learn right there, and head home empty handed. By just attending congregation, the mind thinks it has become Dharmaatamaa, Spiritual or better than others, without applying the teachings to daily life. This ia trap of our mind (false ego-sense or Haume). A little story may elaborate this point.

A shop keeper took his young son to a religious congregation. His young son enjoyed it so much that he regularly started going there by himself. One day he was alone minding his father's shop. A cow came and started eating flour from one of the the barrels in the shop. The son saw it but did not stop the cow from eating the flour. Meanwhile his father showed up at the shop and became furious upon seeing a cow eating flour, and his son doing nothing about it. The old man angrily inquired, "Are you brain damaged? Do you not see the cow eating flour?". "Yes father, I see it", replied the son. "Then why are you not doing anything about it?", asked the father. "Because I heard in the yesterday's congregation that the same One God ravels in all beings", explained the son. The old man said, "You fool, you are supposed to shake off all you learn right there in the congregation. You are not supposed to bring any teachings home! Look at me, I have been attending the congregation all my life, have I become like you? No, because I leave teachings behind right there before departing the congregation!"

There are also some stories along these lines attributed to Baabaa Nanak's life. "Sachaa sodaa" is one of them. It is said that once when he was a young boy, Baabaa Nanak was given some money by his father for trade. But on his way, young Baabaa Nanak met some hungry Saadhoos (Spiritual Men) and spent all that money to feed them, infuriating his father. Also, when one day young Baabaa Nanak was minding the shop his father had setup for him, during a transaction he forgot counting beyond the count "13" (Teraan, which also means "Yours" or belonging to God) and thereafter thus kept distributing free merchandise to a customer, again exasperating his father.

Second, life is not only short but also unpredictable. It can finish any moment. Therefore, we should not put off Spirituality or Simran (meditation on God, Jap) till old age, certain time of the day or certain place. It should be done naturally, all the time, everywhere, spontaneously. Being immersed in passions and worldly pleasure seeking, the majority of us do not even get started on the Spiritual path. Some others may feel the need for Spiritual Life (Gurmukh Lifestyle) but the desire to pursue it is either superficial or totally absent. For example, one may read a Granth, a scripture or attend a Spiritual event here and there only if he has nothing else to do! Others make the excuse that their time to take on Spirituality has not yet come, and that when God will wish they will do it! Yet there are some who make the excuse as it's already too late for them, or the path of Spirituality is too difficult for them to tread. "We want to do all that, but now I neither have time nor deep interest for it", they say! The scriptures and the Men of Light try to awaken us from this sleep of unenlightened existence. "Don't wait for old age", they roar. For longer we wait, more repeated suffering and delusion we will experience. They urge us that everything in one's life can wait, but not the search to know the nature of the Self - "Who am I?". Because this Spiritual-inquiry (Shabad-Vichaar) is the fire in which the very seed and roots of the conditioned mind (false ego-sense or Haume etc.) are burnt completely. Only then does the Original state ("Joti-Svaroopa") manifest itself, within. Self-imposed limitations of age, place or time for practicing Bhagti or devotion will block Spiritual progress of an aspirant. The Gurbani indicates that devotional service should be performed keeping in mind that God is Omnipresent, Omniscient and Omnipotent. A sincere devotee, for that reason, will not limit his devotional service to a particular place or time. They ever see the All-pervading Spirit in everything and every where, all the time. The limitation of time and place belongs only to hypocrites (Manmukhs) who have very limited vision.

  • ਜਬ ਲਗੁ ਜਰਾ ਰੋਗੁ ਨਹੀ ਆਇਆ ॥ ਜਬ ਲਗੁ ਕਾਲਿ ਗ੍ਰਸੀ ਨਹੀ ਕਾਇਆ ॥ ਜਬ ਲਗੁ ਬਿਕਲ ਭਈ ਨਹੀ ਬਾਨੀ ॥ ਭਜਿ ਲੇਹਿ ਰੇ ਮਨ ਸਾਰਿਗਪਾਨੀ ॥੨॥ ਅਬ ਨ ਭਜਸਿ ਭਜਸਿ ਕਬ ਭਾਈ ॥ ਆਵੈ ਅੰਤੁ ਨ ਭਜਿਆ ਜਾਈ ॥ ਜੋ ਕਿਛੁ ਕਰਹਿ ਸੋਈ ਅਬ ਸਾਰੁ ॥ ਫਿਰਿ ਪਛੁਤਾਹੁ ਨ ਪਾਵਹੁ ਪਾਰੁ ॥੩॥: Jabb lagu jaraa rogu nahee aaiaa. Jabb lagu kaal grasee nahee kaaiaa. Jabb Lagu bikal bhaee nahee bani. Bhaji lehi re mann saarigapaanee. ||2|| Ab na bhajasi bhajasi kab bhaaee. Aavai antu na bhajiaa jaaee. Jo kish karahi soee ab saaru. Firi pashutaahu na paavahu paar (sggs 1159).
  • ਭਗਤਿ ਕਰਹਿ ਜਨ ਦੇਖਿ ਹਜੂਰਿ ॥: Bhagti kare jan dekh hajoor: Seeing God just present, his slave performs His devotional service (sggs 1174).
  • ਹਰਿ ਸਿਮਰਨ ਕੀ ਸਗਲੀ ਬੇਲਾ ॥: Hari simran kee saglee belaa: Any time is a good time to meditate in remembrance (Simran) of God (sggs 1150).
  • ਵਿਣੁ ਨਾਵੈ ਨਾਹੀ ਕੋ ਥਾਉ ॥: Vin naavai naahee ko thaayu: O Lord, without Your Name, there is no place at all (sggs 4).

The ultimate goal of life is to get out of the shackles of worldly life and seek God through sheer individual effort. God has endowed man with freedom and freewill to act. So how one makes the optimum use of the opportunity given (human life) is within one's control. This is the reason the scriptural texts and the Men of Light emphasize that one must adopt Spirituality when he is young and awaken Divine Grace within. As one progresses Spiritually through the Spiritual practice, one's negativity and defilement disappear. Unconditioned mind gives one equanimity to accept the vagaries of life without getting dejected when beset with adversities or elated when blessed with fortune. Such a seeker lives a right lifestyle, without emotional attachment. An individual's spiritual prosperity depends on the commendable virtues (detachment, humility, Wisdom, truthful living, compassion, contentment in all situstions, and so on) he has consciously learned to cultivate. But one should guard against the tendency of virtue to turn vicious, when one becomes discontented, or one falls a prey to one's false ego-sense or Haume.

  • ਫਰੀਦਾ ਏ ਵਿਸੁ ਗੰਦਲਾ ਧਰੀਆਂ ਖੰਡੁ ਲਿਵਾੜਿ ॥ ਇਕਿ ਰਾਹੇਦੇ ਰਹਿ ਗਏ ਇਕਿ ਰਾਧੀ ਗਏ ਉਜਾੜਿ ॥੩੭॥: Fareedaa ye vis gandalaa dhareeaaan khan livaarr. Ik raahede rahi gaye ik raadhee gaye oujaarr ||37||: Says Fareed, these (sense objects) are poisonous sprouts coated with sugar. Some die planting them, and some are ruined, harvesting and enjoying them ||37|| (sggs 1379).
  • ਫਰੀਦਾ ਚਾਰਿ ਗਵਾਇਆ ਹੰਢਿ ਕੈ ਚਾਰਿ ਗਵਾਇਆ ਸੰਮਿ ॥ ਲੇਖਾ ਰਬੁ ਮੰਗੇਸੀਆ ਤੂ ਆਂਹੋ ਕੇਰ੍ਹੇ ਕੰਮਿ ॥੩੮॥: Fareedaa chaar gavaaiaa hand kai chaar gavaaiaa sam. Lekhaa rab mangaeseeaa tu aaanho kerhe kam ||38||: Fareed, (for these worldly objects) the hours of the day are lost wandering around, and the hours of the night are lost in sleep. God will call for your account, and ask you why you came into this world ||38|| (sggs 1379).
  • ਬੁਢਾ ਹੋਆ ਸੇਖ ਫਰੀਦੁ ਕੰਬਣਿ ਲਗੀ ਦੇਹ ॥ ਜੇ ਸਉ ਵਰ੍ਹ੍ਹਿਆ ਜੀਵਣਾ ਭੀ ਤਨੁ ਹੋਸੀ ਖੇਹ ॥੪੧॥: Budhaa hoaa sekh Fareed kanban lagee deh. Je sou varihaaa jeevanaa bhee tann hosee kheh ||41||: ( Running after these gross objrcts of the world) Shakh Fareed has grown old, and his body has begun to tremble. Even if I could live for hundreds of years, still my body will eventually turn to dust (leaving behind the sense objects) ||41|| (sggs 1380).
  • ਫਰੀਦਾ ਬਾਰਿ ਪਰਾਇਐ ਬੈਸਣਾ ਸਾਂਈ ਮੁਝੈ ਨ ਦੇਹਿ ॥ ਜੇ ਤੂ ਏਵੈ ਰਖਸੀ ਜੀਉ ਸਰੀਰਹੁ ਲੇਹਿ ॥੪੨॥: Fareedaa baar paraaiai baisanaa saanee mujhai na dehi. Je tu evai rakhasee jeeou sareerahu lehi ||42||: Fareed begs, O Lord, do not make me sit at another's door (for the sake of sense objects). If this is the way you are going to keep me (making me dependent on sense objects), then it's better You suck the life out of my body ||42|| (sggs 1380).
  • ਫਰੀਦਾ ਇਕਨਾ ਆਟਾ ਅਗਲਾ ਇਕਨਾ ਨਾਹੀ ਲੋਣੁ ॥ ਅਗੈ ਗਏ ਸਿੰਞਾਪਸਨਿ ਚੋਟਾਂ ਖਾਸੀ ਕਉਣੁ ॥੪੪॥: Fareedaa ikanaa aataa agalaa ikanaa naahee lon. Aggai gaye sinjhaapasan chotaan khaasee koun ||44||: Fareed, some have lots of flour (of the worldly objects), while others do not even have salt. When they go beyond this world, it will be seen (based on one's Karma), as to who will be punished ||44|| (sggs 1380).
  • ਪਾਸਿ ਦਮਾਮੇ ਛਤੁ ਸਿਰਿ ਭੇਰੀ ਸਡੋ ਰਡ ॥ ਜਾਇ ਸੁਤੇ ਜੀਰਾਣ ਮਹਿ ਥੀਏ ਅਤੀਮਾ ਗਡ ॥੪੫॥: Paas damaame shatt sir bhaeree saddo radd. Jaai sute jeeraan mahi theeeye ateemaa gadd ||45||: (Why to be proud of these sense objects becuse) In whose honor Drums were beaten, there were canopies above their heads, bugles announced their coming, and were praised. They have also gone to sleep in the cemetary, buried like poor orphans. ||45|| (sggs 1380).
  • ਫਰੀਦਾ ਕੋਠੇ ਮੰਡਪ ਮਾੜੀਆ ਉਸਾਰੇਦੇ ਭੀ ਗਏ ॥ ਕੂੜਾ ਸਉਦਾ ਕਰਿ ਗਏ ਗੋਰੀ ਆਇ ਪਏ ॥੪੬॥: Fareedaa kothay mandap maarhee-aa usaarayday bhee ga-ay. Koorraa soudaa kar gaye goree aai paye ||46||: Fareed, those who built houses, mansions and lofty buildings, are also gone. They made false deals (i.e. dealing with sense objects), and were dropped (empty-handed) into their graves ||46|| (sggs 1380).
  • ਫਰੀਦਾ ਖਿੰਥੜਿ ਮੇਖਾ ਅਗਲੀਆ ਜਿੰਦੁ ਨ ਕਾਈ ਮੇਖ ॥ ਵਾਰੀ ਆਪੋ ਆਪਣੀ ਚਲੇ ਮਸਾਇਕ ਸੇਖ ॥੪੭॥: Fareedaa khintharr mekhaa agaleeaa jindh na kaaee mekh. Vaaree aapo aapanee chale masaaik sekh ||47||: Fareed (what to speak of worldly objects, even our own soul is undependable. Better than this own soul is a patched coat), there are many seams on the patched coat, but there are no seams on the soul (it can separate from the body any time). The so called shaykhs and their disciples have all departed, each in his own turn ||47|| (sggs 1380).
  • ਫਰੀਦਾ ਵੇਖੁ ਕਪਾਹੈ ਜਿ ਥੀਆ ਜਿ ਸਿਰਿ ਥੀਆ ਤਿਲਾਹ ॥ ਕਮਾਦੈ ਅਰੁ ਕਾਗਦੈ ਕੁੰਨੇ ਕੋਇਲਿਆਹ ॥ ਮੰਦੇ ਅਮਲ ਕਰੇਦਿਆ ਏਹ ਸਜਾਇ ਤਿਨਾਹ ॥੪੯॥: Fareedaa vekh kapaahai ji theeaa ji sir theeaa tilaah. Kamaadai ar kaagadai kunne koiliaah. Mande amal karediaa eh sajaai tinaah ||49||: Fareed, look at what has happened to the cotton and the sesame seed (in the mill), the sugar cane and paper, the clay pots and the charcoal. This is the punishment for those (who frittter their life away chasing worldly objects) who do evil deeds for them ||49|| (sggs 1380).
  • ਕਬੀਰ ਜਉ ਤੁਹਿ ਸਾਧ ਪਿਰੰਮ ਕੀ ਸੀਸੁ ਕਾਟਿ ਕਰਿ ਗੋਇ ॥ ਖੇਲਤ ਖੇਲਤ ਹਾਲ ਕਰਿ ਜੋ ਕਿਛੁ ਹੋਇ ਤ ਹੋਇ ॥੨੩੯॥ ਕਬੀਰ ਜਉ ਤੁਹਿ ਸਾਧ ਪਿਰੰਮ ਕੀ ਪਾਕੇ ਸੇਤੀ ਖੇਲੁ ॥ ਕਾਚੀ ਸਰਸਉਂ ਪੇਲਿ ਕੈ ਨਾ ਖਲਿ ਭਈ ਨ ਤੇਲੁ ॥੨੪੦॥: Kabeer joou tuhi saadh piram kee sees kaat kar goi. Khelat khelat haal kar jo kish hoi ta hoi ||239||. Kabeer jaou tuhi saadhh piram kee paake setee khel. Kaachee sarasoun pel kai naa khal bhayee na tel ||240||: Kabeer, if you desire to play the game of Love with the Lord, then cut off your head (false ego-sense or Haume), and make it into a ball (i.e develop humility, remove ego even if being kicked around). Lose yourself in the play of it, and then whatever will be, will be. ||239|| Kabeer, if you desire to play the game of such Love with the Lord, play it with someone (True One) with complete surrender. Pressing the unripe mustard (i.e. playing with someone false and empty rituals) seeds produces neither oil nor flour ||240|| (sggs 1377).
  • ਕਬੀਰ ਗਹਗਚਿ ਪਰਿਓ ਕੁਟੰਬ ਕੈ ਕਾਂਠੈ ਰਹਿ ਗਇਓ ਰਾਮੁ ॥ ਆਇ ਪਰੇ ਧਰਮ ਰਾਇ ਕੇ ਬੀਚਹਿ ਧੂਮਾ ਧਾਮ ॥੧੪੨॥ : Kabeer gahgachi pario kuttamb kai kaanthai rahi gaeio raam. Aai pare dharm raai ke beechahi dhoomaa dhaam (sggs 1372).
  • ਕਿਆ ਖਾਧੈ ਕਿਆ ਪੈਧੈ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਜਾ ਮਨਿ ਨਾਹੀ ਸਚਾ ਸੋਇ ॥ ਕਿਆ ਮੇਵਾ ਕਿਆ ਘਿਉ ਗੁੜੁ ਮਿਠਾ ਕਿਆ ਮੈਦਾ ਕਿਆ ਮਾਸੁ ॥ ਕਿਆ ਕਪੜੁ ਕਿਆ ਸੇਜ ਸੁਖਾਲੀ ਕੀਜਹਿ ਭੋਗ ਬਿਲਾਸ ॥ ਕਿਆ ਲਸਕਰ ਕਿਆ ਨੇਬ ਖਵਾਸੀ ਆਵੈ ਮਹਲੀ ਵਾਸੁ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਸਚੇ ਨਾਮ ਵਿਣੁ ਸਭੇ ਟੋਲ ਵਿਣਾਸੁ ॥੨॥: Kiaa khaadhai kiaa paidhai hoi. Jaa man naahee sachaa soi. Kiaa mevaa kiaa ghiou gurr mithaa kiaa maidaa kiaa maas. Kiaa kaparr kiaa sej sukhaalee keejahi bhog bilaas. Kiaa lasakar kiaa neb khavaasee aavai mahalee vaas. Nanak sache naam vin sabhe tol vinaas ||2||: What good is food, and what good are clothes, if the True Lord does not abide within the mind? What good are fruits, what good is Ghee (clarified butter), what good is sweet jaggery, what good is flour, and what good is meat? What good are clothes, and what good is a soft bed, to enjoy pleasures and sensual delights? What good is an army and soldiers ( i.e. power etc.), servants and mansions to live in (i.e. wealth etc.)? O Nanak, without the True Name, all this paraphernalia will disappear ||2|| (sggs 142).

— T. Singh
www.gurbani.org