GROWING UP OR GROWING OLD?

The Manmukhs (self-willed materialists) grow weary of wandering around in all four
directions (i.e., they deteriorate or abate their spiritual life or Aatamic Jeevan), but they
do not understand (the real purpose of life) (sggs 37). The Gurmukhs never grow old; within them is
Intuitive Understanding and spiritual Wisdom (understanding of the real purpose of life, consciousness
of Divine Knowledge, ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਦੀ ਸੂਝ ਦਾ ਟਿਕਾਵ, ਆਤਮਕ ਅਡੋਲਤਾ, ਸਹਜ ਧਿਆਨੁ, etc.) (sggs 1418).
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For a person, there are two ways to grow in life — either to grow up or to grow old. Growing up is to become a Giaanee or spiritually Wise. Growing old is to live in bondage and let the body just wither away only to meet the painful death at the end of the life's journey. Thus, to grow up spiritually is immateriality: that which is not material. It's Divine or Holy. In other words, growing up is to mend our ways and thus bring about a shift in our perception — from worldly to the spiritual, from the external to the internal, and so on.

Growing up is synonymous with becoming the Gurmukh. To the contrary, growing old and die like a worm in the end is synonymous with the term Manmukh used in the Gurbani (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, SGGS). As indicated in the Gurbani, the Gurmukh never grows old; for he possesses intuitive understanding and spiritual wisdom. The Manmukh, on the other hand, is exactly the opposite of the Gurmukh.

  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਬੁਢੇ ਕਦੇ ਨਾਹੀ ਜਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਾ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਗਿਆਨੁ ॥: Gurmukh budhe kade naahee jinhaa antar surat giaan: The Gurmukhs never grow old; within them is Intuitive Understanding and spiritual Wisdom (understanding of the real purpose of life, consciousness of Divine Knowledge, ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਦੀ ਸੂਝ ਦਾ ਟਿਕਾਵ, ਆਤਮਕ ਅਡੋਲਤਾ, ਸਹਜ ਧਿਆਨੁ, etc.) (sggs 1418).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਬਿਬੇਕ ਬੁਧਿ ਹੋਇ ॥: Gurmukh giaan bibek budh hoi: The Gurmukh is blessed with spiritual wisdom and a discerning intellect (sggs 317).
  • ਚਾਰੇ ਕੁੰਡਾ ਭਵਿ ਥਕੇ ਮਨਮੁਖ ਬੂਝ ਨ ਪਾਇ ॥: Chaare kundaa bhav thakke Manmukh boojh na paai: The Manmukhs (self-willed materialists or Mayadhaaree) grow weary of wandering around in all four directions (i.e., deteriorate or abate their spiritual life or Aatmic Jeevan), but they do not understand (the real purpose of life) (sggs 37).
  • ਹਰਿ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਕਾ ਸਭੁ ਖੇਤੁ ਹੈ ਹਰਿ ਆਪਿ ਕਿਰਸਾਣੀ ਲਾਇਆ ॥ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਬਖਸਿ ਜਮਾਈਅਨੁ ਮਨਮੁਖੀ ਮੂਲੁ ਗਵਾਇਆ ॥: Har prabh kaa sabh khet hai har aap kirasaanee laaiaa. Gurmukh bakhas jamaaeean Manamukhee mool gavaaiaa: Everyone (the entire world) is (like) the field of the Lord; the Lord has engaged (Jeeva) in cultivating this field (i.e, He sends Jeeva for Naam-Simran). Those who have become the Gurmukhs, the Lord mercifully grows their crop, while the Manmukhs even lose their capital (i.e, lose their human birth) (sggs 304).
  • ਮਨਮੁਖ ਮਰਹਿ ਅਹੰਕਾਰਿ ਮਰਣੁ ਵਿਗਾੜਿਆ ॥: Manmukh marahi ahankaar maran vigaarriaa: The Manmukhs (ego-being, mind-willed, material being ...) die in egotism, even their death is ugly (ਭਾਵ, ਦੁਖੀ ਹੋ ਕੇ ਮਰਦੇ ਹਨ , they degrade even their death - they die an ignoble death) (sggs 86).

Apparently, in the state of Manmukhtaa, we tend to follow the dictates of our mind (Haume or false ego-sense: lust, anger, greed, etc.), which are motivated only by our selfish likes and dislikes. Conversely, in the state of Gurmukhtaa, we lead life wisely (Divine Life). Therefore, the Gurbani time and again urges us not to follow the human nature that likes to relegate the pursuit of the spiritual goal — becoming the Gurmukh while living in the body — for attaining liberation from repeated suffering to old age. Because, first, there is no guarantee that one's life will follow a structured course wherein one will find the time and energy to execute the goals one has set for oneself or about one's life span. Second, a layperson cannot decide what is the right age for this.

  • ਨਾਨਕ ਮੁਸੈ ਗਿਆਨ ਵਿਹੂਣੀ ਖਾਇ ਗਇਆ ਜਮਕਾਲੁ ॥: Nanak musai giaan vihoonee khaaye gaiaa jamakaal: O Nanak, without divine knowledge, one is plundered, and devoured by death (sggs 465).
  • ਮਨਮੁਖ ਕਾਲੁ ਵਿਆਪਦਾ ਮੋਹਿ ਮਾਇਆ ਲਾਗੇ ॥: Manmukh kaal viaapadaa mohi Maya laage: The Manmukhs are afflicted by death; they cling to Maya in emotional attachment (sggs 1090).
  • ਗਿਆਨੀ ਹੋਵੈ ਸੁ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਬੂਝੈ ਸਾਚੀ ਸਿਫਤਿ ਸਲਾਹਾ ਹੇ ॥: Giaanee hovai su gurmukh boojhai saachee sifati salaahaa hae: One who is Spiritually Wise, understands himself by becoming a Gurmukh; he praises the True One (sggs 1056).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਤਤੁ ਬੀਚਾਰਾ ਜੋਤੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਮਿਲਾਏ ॥੩॥: Gurmukh giaan tat beechaaraa joti jot milaaye ||3||: By becoming the Gurmukh (spiritually Being), who engages in Vichaar (Contemplation, Inquiry, Reflection, etc.) of the essence of spiritual wisdom (ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਦੀ ਅਸਲ ਸੂਝ ਨੂੰ); his individual light merges into the Supreme Light ||3|| (sggs 1131).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਹੋਵੈ ਸੋ ਮੁਕਤੁ ਕਹੀਐ ਮਨਮੁਖ ਬੰਧ ਵਿਚਾਰੇ ॥: Gurmukh hovai so mukat kaheeai manmukh bandh vichaare: One who becomes Spiritual being (Gurmukh) is said to be liberated, while the poor materialists (Manmukhs) are in bondage (sggs 796).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਚਾਨਣੁ ਜਾਣੀਐ ਮਨਮੁਖਿ ਮੁਗਧੁ ਗੁਬਾਰੁ ॥: Gguramukh chaanan jaaneeai Manmukh mugadh gubaar: The Gurmukh knows the Divine Light, while the foolish Manmukh gropes around in the darkness (sggs 20).
  • ਮਨਮੁਖ ਮੂੜ ਮਾਇਆ ਚਿਤ ਵਾਸੁ ॥: Manmukh moorr Maya chit vaasu (sggs 222).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਪਚੈ ਮਨਮੁਖ ਮੂਰਾਖਾ ॥: Houmai pachai manmukh mooraakhaa: The foolish Manmukhs are consumed by their egotism or Haume (sggs 394).
  • ਮਨਮੁਖਿ ਭੂਲੇ ਸਭਿ ਮਰਹਿ ਗਵਾਰ ॥: Manmukh bhoole sabh marahi gavaar: The foolish Manmukhs all go astray and die (sggs 665).
  • 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 ||3|| (sggs 1159).

The true Gurmukhs and the rest of us (Manmukhs) live in the same world. However, the Gurmukh sees the world as it is, while the rest of us don't. For example, we see ourselves in the world, while the Gurmukh sees the world in himself; for everything exists in the Infinite Consciousness. Consequently, to us, we take birth and die; while to him it is the world that appears and disappears in the mind! The Gurmukh thus is a Timeless Being, and there is no birth or death in the state of timelessness. He realizes his own unassailable Nature (Joti-Svaroopa). People are afraid of death. However, the true Gurmukh is afraid of nothing; for he is fearless. It is natural for the Self or the Self-realized being to be fearless, but to be afraid of death or anything is not. Only the body-conscious person (Manmukh) is afraid of death. Since the Giaanee or the Gurmukh knows he is neither the body nor the mind, thus the event of death has no effect on him. He is the Changeless Reality, beyond time and space; thus Immortal and untouched by the death. The Gurmukh knows that what comes and goes is unreal. That which is Real never dies, and that which dies is not Real. Since the Gurmukh's mind is already dead, he has no reaction to death. For him it's natural for the body to die, as it is natural for the incense stick to burn out. He sees body and Soul as two separate entities — the body bound in time and space that comes and goes, whereas the Soul is eternal, free of birth and death.

  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਮਰੈ ਨ ਕਾਲੁ ਨ ਖਾਏ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਸਚਿ ਸਮਾਵਣਿਆ ॥: Gurmukh marai na kaal na khaaye Gurmukh sach samaavaniaa: The Gurmukhs do not die; they are not consumed by death. The Gurmukhs are absorbed in the True Lord (sggs 125).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਜੀਵੈ ਮਰੈ ਪਰਵਾਣੁ ॥: Gurmukhi jeevai marai paravaanu (sggs 125).
  • ਜਨਮ ਮਰਨ ਕਾ ਭ੍ਰਮੁ ਗਇਆ ਗੋਬਿਦ ਲਿਵ ਲਾਗੀ ॥ ਜੀਵਤ ਸੁੰਨਿ ਸਮਾਨਿਆ ਗੁਰ ਸਾਖੀ ਜਾਗੀ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Janam maran kaa bhram gaiaa Gobind liv laagee. Jeevan sunn samaaniaa gur saakhee jaagee ||1||Rahhaou||: With the Guru’s Teachings, (such intellect has) awakened (within me that my) illusion of birth and death is gone; and while living (in this world), I am absorbed in Sunn (where there are no Mayaic thoughts, noise of the Haume, etc.) ||1||Pause|| (sggs 857).
  • ਮਰਣੈ ਕੀ ਚਿੰਤਾ ਨਹੀ ਜੀਵਣ ਕੀ ਨਹੀ ਆਸ ॥: Marnai kee chintaa nahee jeevan kee nahee aas: (When mind is attuned to the meditation on the Divine) I have no worry about dying, and no craving for living (long life) (sggs 20).
  • ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਸਦ ਜੀਵੈ ਨਹੀ ਮਰਤਾ ॥: Brahm Giaanee sad jeevai nahee martaa: Brahm Giaanee ever lives and never dies (sggs 273).
  • ਤਤੁ ਬੀਚਾਰੁ ਕਹੈ ਜਨੁ ਸਾਚਾ ॥ ਜਨਮਿ ਮਰੈ ਸੋ ਕਾਚੋ ਕਾਚਾ ॥: Tatt beechaar kahai jan saachaa. Janami marai so kaacho kaachaa: One who Reflects (contemplates - Vichaar) the Essence of Reality, is said to be the true person (ਉਹ ਸਚ-ਮੁਚ ਮਨੁੱਖ ਹੈ). (But, the one who) takes birth (just to) die (without realizing the Essence of Reality) is totally false (ਨਿਰੋਲ ਕੱਚਾ) (sggs 288).
  • ਨਿਜ ਘਰਿ ਵਾਸੈ ਸਾਚਿ ਸਮਾਏ ॥ ਜੰਮਣੁ ਮਰਣਾ ਠਾਕਿ ਰਹਾਏ ॥: Nij ghari vaasai saachi samaae. Jamman marnaa thaaki rahaae: They (Gurmukhs) dwell in the home of their own inner beings, and merge in the True Being. Their cycle of birth and death is ended (sggs 222).
  • ਮਰਣੈ ਕੀ ਚਿੰਤਾ ਨਹੀ ਜੀਵਣ ਕੀ ਨਹੀ ਆਸ ॥: Marnai kee chintaa nahee jeevan kee nahee aas: (When mind is attuned to the meditation on the Divine) I have no worry about dying, and no craving for living (a long life) (sggs 20).
  • ਜਨਨੀ ਜਾਨਤ ਸੁਤੁ ਬਡਾ ਹੋਤੁ ਹੈ ਇਤਨਾ ਕੁ ਨ ਜਾਨੈ ਜਿ ਦਿਨ ਦਿਨ ਅਵਧ ਘਟਤੁ ਹੈ ॥: Jananee jaanat sut badaa hotu hai itanaa ku na jaanai ji din din avadh ghatat hai: The mother thinks that her son is growing up; (but) she does not understand that, day by day, his life is diminishing (sggs 91).

The Gurmukhs become Immortal for they ever remain immersed in the Naam or God-Consciousness. To the contrary, the Manmukhs remain mortals and experience the pain of death for they ever remain in Mayaic or material consciousness (falsehood). The Gurbani says that even though a Manmukh may grown weary chanting the Naam, but the "filth" of his mind (Kaam, Krodh, Lobh etc.) will not go away. Because, even while doing spiritual practices, his focus remains at the worldly level!

  • ਮਨਮੁਖ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਕਰਿ ਥਕੇ ਮੈਲੁ ਨ ਸਕੀ ਧੋਇ ॥: Manmukh har har kar thakke mail na sakee dhoi: The Manmukhs have grown weary of chanting the Name of the Lord, but their filth cannot be removed (sggs 39).
  • ਸਲੋਕੁ ਮਃ ੩ ॥ ਪੜਣਾ ਗੁੜਣਾ ਸੰਸਾਰ ਕੀ ਕਾਰ ਹੈ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਵਿਕਾਰੁ ॥ ਹਉਮੈ ਵਿਚਿ ਸਭਿ ਪੜਿ ਥਕੇ ਦੂਜੈ ਭਾਇ ਖੁਆਰੁ ॥ ਸੋ ਪੜਿਆ ਸੋ ਪੰਡਿਤੁ ਬੀਨਾ ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦਿ ਕਰੇ ਵੀਚਾਰੁ ॥ ਅੰਦਰੁ ਖੋਜੈ ਤਤੁ ਲਹੈ ਪਾਏ ਮੋਖ ਦੁਆਰੁ ॥ ਗੁਣ ਨਿਧਾਨੁ ਹਰਿ ਪਾਇਆ ਸਹਜਿ ਕਰੇ ਵੀਚਾਰੁ ॥ ਧੰਨੁ ਵਾਪਾਰੀ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਜਿਸੁ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਅਧਾਰੁ ॥੧॥: Slok M: 3|| Parhnaa gunanaa sansaar kee karr hai andar trisnaa vikaar ...: Slok M: 3. Reading and studying (have become) just worldly pursuits, (but still) greed and corruption remain present within. Reading in egotism, all have grown weary; through the love of duality (Maya), they are ruined. He alone is educated, and he alone is a wise Pandit, who reflects and contemplates the Gur-Shabad (i.e., consider that person Pandit - ਉਸ ਮਨੁੱਖ ਨੂੰ ਪੰਡਿਤ ਸਮਝੋ). He searches within himself, and finds the True Essence within; he attains the Door of Salvation. He finds God, the Treasure of Excellence, and contemplates with Sahaj (ਆਤਮਕ ਅਡੋਲਤਾ ਵਿਚ ਟਿਕ ਕੇ, Natural State of Being, etc.). Blessed is the trader (of Naam, the Name), O Nanak, who, as a Gurmukh (Spiritual Being, etc.), takes the Name as his only Support ||1|| (sggs 650).
  • ਮਨਮੁਖ ਮੁਗਧ ਗਾਵਾਰੁ ਪਿਰਾ ਜੀਉ ਸਬਦੁ ਮਨਿ ਨ ਵਸਾਏ ॥: Manmukh mugadh gaavaar piraa jeeou sabad mani ni vasaaye: The Manmukhs are foolish and crazy, O my dear; they do not enshrine the Shabad within their minds (sggs 247).
  • ਮਨਮੁਖੁ ਪ੍ਰਾਣੀ ਮੁਗਧੁ ਹੈ ਨਾਮਹੀਣ ਭਰਮਾਇ ॥: Manmukh praanee mugadh hai naamheen bharamaai: TheManmukh is foolish; he wanders around without the Naam, the Name of the Lord (sggs 313).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਨਾਮਿ ਰਤੇ ਸੁਖੁ ਪਾਇਆ ਸਹਜੇ ਸਾਚਿ ਸਮਾਈ ਹੇ ॥: Gurmukh naam ratay sukh paa-i-aa sehjay saach samaa-ee hay: The Gurmukh is imbued with the Naam, the Name of the Lord; he find peace, and is intuitively immersed in the True Lord (sggs 1047).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਜਮਕਾਲੁ ਨੇੜਿ ਨ ਆਵੈ ॥...: Gurmukh jamkaal nerhi n aavai ..: Death (Spiritual death - ਆਤਮਕ ਮੌਤ) does not even approach the one who has become the Gurmukh. Through the Shabad, he burns away his ego and duality. Attuned to the Name, he sing God's Glorious Praises (sggs 231).

— T. Singh
www.gurbani.org