MIXTURE OF SUGAR AND SANDThe Lord is like sugar, scattered in the sand; hands (ego-mind) cannot pick it up.
Says Kabeer! The Gur (Giaan, Divine Knowledge, Spiritual Wisdom...)
has given me this Sublime Understanding (ਚੰਗੀ ਮੱਤ, ਸੂਝ-ਬੂਝ):
become an ant (i.e, humble or egoless being...), and feed on it ||238|| (sggs 1377).
If there is a mixture of sugar and sand, ants will come and nibble only on the sugar grains, leaving the sand grains behind. They will thus pick up the sugar and enjoy the sweetness. But hands cannot do that. Here "ant" symbolizes absolute humility, and the "hands" symbolizes the inflated ego (Haume) — egotistical pride or arrogance, self-centeredness haughtiness, lust, anger etc. The "sand" signifies the worldliness. The "hands" represents Jeeva (individual beings), who are full of enormously bloated and stubbornly potent false ego-sense (Haume), which makes people close-hearted and weak-minded (i.e., limited, arrogant etc.), unable to savor the real sweetness in life. Instead, people end up tasting bitterness, pain, sorrows, suffering, death, and so on.
- ਹਰਿ ਹੈ ਖਾਂਡੁ ਰੇਤੁ ਮਹਿ ਬਿਖਰੀ ਹਾਥੀ ਚੁਨੀ ਨ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਕਹਿ ਕਬੀਰ ਗੁਰਿ ਭਲੀ ਬੁਝਾਈ ਕੀਟੀ ਹੋਇ ਕੈ ਖਾਇ ॥੨੩੮॥: Hari hai khaandu retu mahi bikharee haathee chunee n jaai. Kahi Kabeer guri bhalee bujhaaee keetee hoi kai khaai ||238||: The Lord is like sugar, scattered in the sand; hands (ego-mind) cannot pick it up. Says Kabeer! The Gur (Giaan, Divine Knowledge, Spiritual Wisdom...) has given me this Sublime Understanding (ਚੰਗੀ ਮੱਤ, ਸੂਝ-ਬੂਝ): become an ant (i.e, humble or egoless being...), and feed on it ||238|| (sggs 1377).
False ego-sense is the fundamental cause of illusion about one's real identity and this in turn results in the assertion of false "I" (Haume), the consequence of which is the mind's slavery to the notion of "mine, mine" towards worldly relations and objects. False pride or arrogance is one of the faults of the false ego-sense. As the Haume is the cause of Jeeva's (individual being or unit consciousness) all troubles in the life, the Gurbani repeatedly tells us to relinquish it. For as long as the false ego-sense (false "I") remains, we cannot become humble and attain real understanding. Humility and the ego are diametrically opposing forces.
- ਹਉਮੈ ਮਮਤਾ ਮੋਹਣੀ ਸਭ ਮੁਠੀ ਅਹੰਕਾਰਿ ॥: Hayumai mamataa mohnee sabh muthee ahankaar: Egotistical
attachment and pride are enticing; they have plundered everyone (sggs 19).
- ਹਉਮੈ ਵਿਚਿ ਜੀਉ ਬੰਧੁ ਹੈ ॥: Hayumai vichi jeeyu bandh hai: In egotism, the Jeeva (individual being) is in bondage (sggs 560).
- ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਹਉਮੈ ਅਗਨਿ ਨਿਵਾਰੀ ॥: Gurmukhi hayumai agni nivaaree: By becoming a true Spiritual
Being, put out the fire of egotism (sggs 943).
Sometime we think our false ego-sense and its negativity — lust, anger, greed, attachment, pride, enviousness, stubborn mindedness (and their numerous variations) has subsided. But in realty it's like a cobra snake frozen in the ice. As soon as the cobra warms up due to the warmth of the sun, it will hiss and raise its hood again. Similarly, our ego becomes active and strikes again when circumstances are presented. The root of our unhappiness is the false ego-sense (Haume), which makes us blind to our spiritual nature ("Joti-Svaroopa"). Instead of realizing that we are the "Joti-Svaroopa" or the Pure Self, which is blissful and eternal, we identify with our body-mind-intellect personality and transfer their limitations to ourselves and thus do not experience our True Nature. Spiritual evolution thus involves removing the false ego-sense so that the Real Self can shine in its true splendor. Maya (illusion) lasts as long as the ego lasts. Where there is no ego, there is no illusion. The Gurbani says that an ant of humility and humbleness can eat the mountain of inflated ego and its false pride.
- ਕਹਤ ਕਬੀਰ ਸੁਨਹੁ ਰੇ ਸੰਤਹੁ ਕੀਟੀ ਪਰਬਤੁ ਖਾਇਆ ॥: Kahat Kabeer sunahu re santahu keetee parabat khaaiaa: Says Kabeer, listen, O Saints - the humility (ant) has eaten the ego-mind (mountain) (sggs 477).
Human birth is an opportunity given by God to attain freedom from repeated suffering caused by the false ego-sense (Haume). But, the majority of us get distracted from this goal in our yearning for name, power, wealth, prestige, and so on. As a result we end up only bolstering it. Family of birth, status, learning, youth, and beauty can also contribute to one's egoistic pride. An individual who becomes puffed up with pride will eventually fritter away his life in pursuits that will only distance him from the Truth (Sat). Pride makes the mind narrow and limited — belittle. It's the love for the "I-ness" and "my-ness" that is always on the move to support and promote the selfish interests. An another name of pride is "Mada", meaning intoxication or insanity. On account of intoxication with the false ego-consciousness, the man forgets his sane or true Self. This fault of the ego creates in one's mind a hostile power that expresses its self-centered haughtiness towards others as intolerance, prejudice, bigotry, unforgiving attitude, selfishness, blind hatred, rage and so on. This, in turn, causes the ego-mind to humiliate, gossip and criticize others; gloat on mistakes and misfortune of others; and find faults in others. In nutshell, it makes the egotistical man to cut off the heads of others to make himself appear taller! Love of such a pompous person is compared with "friendship with a fool" and the "line drawn in water".
- ਨਾਲਿ ਇਆਣੇ ਦੋਸਤੀ ਵਡਾਰੂ ਸਿਉ ਨੇਹੁ ॥ ਪਾਣੀ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਲੀਕ ਜਿਉ ਤਿਸ ਦਾ ਥਾਉ ਨ ਥੇਹੁ ॥੪॥: Naal iaanae dosatee vadaaroo siou nehu. Paanee andar leek jiou tis daa thaaou n thehu ||4||: Friendship with a fool (ignorant, blockhead, etc.), and love with a worldly big person (ਦੁਨੀਆਵੀ ਤੌਰ ਤੇ ਵੱਡਾ, etc.) are like lines drawn in water, leaving no trace or mark. ||4|| (sggs 474).
Egotisical pride can only cause one's downfall. Flood and cyclone can uproot trees, blow away buildings and other structures, but not the grass. Here the "grass" symbolizes humility. The bamboo tree is tall. On account of its tallness, although it may grow near the sandalwood tree, but it will not pick up sandalwood's fragrance (aroma). Here the "tallness" of the bamboo tree symbolizes our puffed up pride or arrogance.
- ਮੈਲਾਗਰ ਸੰਗੇਣ ਨਿੰਮੁ ਬਿਰਖ ਸਿ ਚੰਦਨਹ ॥ ਨਿਕਟਿ ਬਸੰਤੋ ਬਾਂਸੋ ਨਾਨਕ ਅਹੰ ਬੁਧਿ ਨ ਬੋਹਤੇ ॥੫॥: Melaagar sangen nimm birakh si chandnah. Nikat basanto baanso Nanak ahambudh na bohte ||5||: The lowly nim tree, growing near the sandalwood tree, becomes just like the sandalwood tree. But the bamboo tree, also growing near it, does not pick up its fragrance; it is too tall and proud ||5|| (sggs 1360).
The hallmark of a true devotion is absolute humility, when the individual realizes that whatever prowess he possesses is God-given and that it is through His infinite compassion that he is able to manifest it. When humility manifests in a devotee's actions and attitude, he remains absolutely humble, compassionate and loving, praising God in success or failure — he remains in His Hukam (Divine Will). Humility or modesty is not a weakness as some may think. It purifies one by eradicating ego. When ego is eradicated, one's good qualities emerge and is elevated to Divine Consciousness. Therefore the Gurbani declares humility as the essence of all good qualities.
- ਮਿਠਤੁ ਨੀਵੀ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਗੁਣ ਚੰਗਿਆਈਆ ਤਤੁ ॥: Mithat neevee Naanakaa gun changiaaeeaa tatt: Sweetness of humility, O Nanak, is the essence of all good virtues (sggs 470).
- ਗਰੀਬੀ ਗਦਾ ਹਮਾਰੀ ॥ ਖੰਨਾ ਸਗਲ ਰੇਨੁ ਛਾਰੀ ॥ ਇਸੁ ਆਗੈ ਕੋ ਨ ਟਿਕੈ ਵੇਕਾਰੀ ॥ ਗੁਰ ਪੂਰੇ ਏਹ ਗਲ ਸਾਰੀ ॥੧॥: Gareebee gadaa hamaaree. Khanna sagal ren saaree. Is aagai ko na tikai vekaaree. Gur poorai ih gal saaree ||1||: Humility is my spiked club. My dagger is to be the dust of all men's feet. No evil-doer can withstand these weapons. The Perfect Guru has given me this understanding ||1|| (sggs 628).
— T. Singh