CAST OFF LIKES AND DISLIKESAs long as this (mind) believes in likes and dislikes, it is difficult for
him to meet the Lord. As long as he entertains the (faulty) notion of
"I, me, mine" (or himself) and "You" (or others), he will distance
himself from the Lord (because until then this mind will act as the
veil of Maya between him and the Lord) (sggs 609).
Also called "Raag-Dvesha" — Raag ("ਰਾਗਉ", "ਭਾਉ" - Raagaou, Bhaaou, etc.) means "likes" (love, attraction, friendship etc.), and Dvesha ("ਦੋਖ", "ਅਭਾਉ" - Dokh, Abhaaou, etc.) means "dislikes" (hate, aversion, enmity etc.) — these twin forces of personal "likes and dislikes" is the primary reason we human beings create disharmony within and without, creating chaos in our life and in the world. The entire life of the vast majority of us is dictated by these twin forces of our likes and dislikes. To put it otherwise, all human efforts and activities are aimed at two things: (a) gaining what we like; and (b) avoiding what we dislike. Thus, all human resources are aimed at and all endeavors are motivated by the impulse to seek what we like and eliminate what we dislike. It can be an object, a person, a place or a situation. The Gurbani (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, SGGS) reveals to us that with such a life of an illogical or irrational conduct, it will be difficult for one to link with his godly status ("Joti-Svaroopa") within.
- ਜਉ ਲਉ ਭਾਉ ਅਭਾਉ ਇਹੁ ਮਾਨੈ ਤਉ ਲਉ ਮਿਲਣੁ ਦੂਰਾਈ ॥: Jou lou bhaaou abhaaou ihu maanai taou laou milanu dooraaee: As long as this (mind) believes in love and hate (i.e., likes and dislikes), it is difficult (for this mind) to meet (its Mool, Prabh, Source...). (sggs 609).
- ਜਤਨ ਬਹੁਤ ਸੁਖ ਕੇ ਕੀਏ ਦੁਖ ਕੋ ਕੀਓ ਨ ਕੋਇ ॥: Jatan bahut sukh ke keeye dukh ko keeyo na koye: Man makes all sorts of efforts to find happiness; but none to earn pain (sggs 1428).
- ਸੁਖ ਕਉ ਮਾਗੈ ਸਭੁ ਕੋ ਦੁਖੁ ਨ ਮਾਗੈ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਸੁਖੈ ਕਉ ਦੁਖੁ ਅਗਲਾ ਮਨਮੁਖਿ ਬੂਝ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥: Sukh kaou maangai sabh ko dukh n mangai koi. Sukhai kaou dukh agalaa manmukh boojh na hoi: Every one asks (begs, craves, wishes, etc.) for Sukh (happiness, pleasures, joy, peace, etc) and none asks for Dukh (suffering, misery, etc). But in the wake of Sukh, there comes Dukh. The self-willed Manmukhs do not understand this (sggs 57).
If there is anything that we can call our own, then it is our Haume (false ego-sense) or our likes and dislikes. The SGGS indicates that human problems can be traced to desires (Kaam). In turn, Kaam can be traced to Haume or false ego-sense. So when the SGGS asks us to eradicate our Haume, it also implies that we ought to eradicate our likes and dislikes as well.
All beings have desires, from a tiny ant to largest animal, including human beings. They seem to be endless. Prompted by the twin forces of our personal likes and dislikes, desires impel beings to act in this world. In other words, the mirage-like world of gross objects is activated by our desires.Clinging to sensate life, fanciful ideas, whims and imagination, the mind turns outward and begins to desire the false and fear the Truth. Consequently, we end up searching the Reality too far away from the spiritual Center located within — in the sense-objects. The SGGS urges us to free our mind from all kinds of desires — material as well as celestial. We have only one mind. If we do not empty it of desires, we can not fill it with the Amrit of the Divine Name (Naam). When the mind is free of desires, it becomes free of personal likes and dislikes too. Thus, desire is considered the root of man's bondage in the world (Sansaar), which impedes one's spiritual progress. How? There is nothing wrong in satiating a desire but it does not stop with that. As soon as one is fulfilled, another one sprouts in its place and it becomes an endless seeking. Conversely, unfulfilled desire begets anger. Hence, it is necessary to weed out desire right in the beginning without becoming a slave to it
- ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਲਾਗੀ ਰਚਿ ਰਹਿਆ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਹਉਮੈ ਕੂਰਿ ॥:Trisanaa laagee rach rahiaa antar houmai koor: (Manmukhs) are engrossed in clinging desires; within their hearts there is ego and falsehood.(sggs 47).
- ਤਿਸਨਾ ਅਗਨਿ ਜਲੈ ਸੰਸਾਰਾ ॥: Tisanaa agan jalai sansaaraa: The world is burning in the fire of desire (sggs 120).
- ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਜਾਲੇ ਸੁਧਿ ਨ ਕਾਈ ॥: Trisanaa jaale sudhh na kaaee: Consumed by desire, people have no understanding at all (sggs 120).
- ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਰਾਚਿ ਤਤੁ ਨਹੀ ਬੀਨਾ ॥: Trisanaa raach tatt nahee beenaa: Trapped by desire, the Reality cannot be seen (sggs 225).
How does a man without control over his senses causes himself into the pitch darkness of spiritual ignorance? Here is a step-by step analysis of his descent. His brooding over sense-objects causes attachment to them. From such attachment, lust or craving develops; from unfulfilled lust or craving, anger arises; from anger, mental delusion arises; from delusion comes bewilderment or loss of memory of the real Self (one's "Joti-Svaroopa"); the loss of such memory causes loss of discerning intellect or the discriminating faculty (Viveka-Budhi); upon loss of Viveka-Budhi or discriminating intellect, one falls down into the material consciousness (Manmukhtaa); which, in turn, brings annihilation of his Aatamic-Jeevan (spiritual life). Thus, the man's problems are do not seem to be due to the absence or lack of material goods, but excess of desires.
Thus, there are two major hurdles faced by aspirants keen to resort to spiritual exercises — the feeling of "ego" (Haume) that lurks in one's mind, and "desire" relating to the body that tempts one to taste worldly pleasures and even get immersed in them. Since desire is one of the faults of the false ego-sense, once the ego (Haume) is eradicated from the mind, the desire is automatically overcome. On account of the false ego-sense, the man in general, always seems to be in the grip of some inexplicable fear — of his future, of death or of security in life. Desire and fear have glove-and-hand relationship.
One who is able to overcome desire for sensory gratification, worldly power and pelf is a spiritually evolved person (the Gurmukh). The Manukh is controlled by his sense organs, whilst the Gurmukh controls them. The SGGS asks us to become the Gurmukh. Thus, as indicated in the SGGS, in our daily life, it's essential to have a discriminating intellect (Viveka-Budhi). Just intellect alone is not enough! God has given man this faculty to choose what is good or right (truth, eternal etc.) and reject the evil or bad (untruth, ephemeral etc.). Also, we are time and again reminded to use this faculty in the right way. Otherwise this rare opportunity given to us in the human birth will be wasted and lost. This power of discrimination — the firm conviction that God alone is eternal, and that everything else we see is impermanent — can save man from ruining his Aatamic-Jeevan and lead him to Fateh (victory) in life. The SGGS indicates that to follow the Guru's words (Gur-Shabad) with full faith is necessary in eradicating the twin forces of likes and dislikes. Thus the Gurmat (the wisdom of the SGGS) is for the good of all and for the Soul's Peace.
- ਪੰਚ ਸੰਗੁ ਗੁਰ ਤੇ ਛੁਟੇ ਦੋਖ ਅਰੁ ਰਾਗਉ ॥ ਰਿਦੈ ਪ੍ਰਗਾਸੁ ਪ੍ਰਗਟ ਭਇਆ ਨਿਸਿ ਬਾਸੁਰ ਜਾਗਉ ॥: Panch sang gur te shute dokh ar raago. Ridai pragaas pragat bhaiaa nis baasur jaagou: Through the Guru's (Grace), I am rid of the five (evil passions: Kaam, Krodh, Lobh etc.), as well as likes and dislikes. My heart is illumined (with true understanding of the life), night and day, I remain awake and aware (of my evil passions and likes and dislikes) (sggs 808).
- ਹਉ ਨਿਮਖ ਨ ਛੋਡਾ ਜੀ ਹਰਿ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਮ ਪ੍ਰਾਨ ਅਧਾਰੋ ॥ ਗੁਰਿ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕਹਿਆ ਜੀ ਸਾਚਾ ਅਗਮ ਬੀਚਾਰੋ ॥ ਮਿਲਿ ਸਾਧੂ ਦੀਨਾ ਤਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਲੀਨਾ ਜਨਮ ਮਰਣ ਦੁਖ ਨਾਠੇ ॥ ਸਹਜ ਸੂਖ ਆਨੰਦ ਘਨੇਰੇ ਹਉਮੈ ਬਿਨਠੀ ਗਾਠੇ ॥ ਸਭ ਕੈ ਮਧਿ ਸਭ ਹੂ ਤੇ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਰਾਗ ਦੋਖ ਤੇ ਨਿਆਰੋ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਦਾਸ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਸਰਣਾਈ ਹਰਿ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਮੁ ਮਨਹਿ ਸਧਾਰੋ ॥: Hou nimakh na shodaa jee har preetam praan adhaaro... : I will not forsake, even for an instant, my Dear Beloved Lord, the Support of the breath of life. The Guru, the True Guru, has instructed me in the contemplation of the True, Inaccessible Lord. Meeting with the Holy, Naam - the Lord's Name - is obtained, and (who meditates on the Name, his) pains of birth and death leave him. He is blessed with Sahaj (Natural State of Being, ਆਤਮਕ ਅਡੋਲਤਾ, etc.), and abundant Joy- Bliss, and his knot of egotism (within) is untied . (God) is inside all, and outside of all; He is untouched by likes and dislikes. Slave Nanak has entered the Sanctuary of the Lord of the Universe; the Beloved Lord (alone) is the Support of the mind (sggs 784-785).
- ਸੁਖ ਦੁਖ ਸਮ ਕਰਿ ਜਾਣੀਅਹਿ ਸਬਦਿ ਭੇਦਿ ਸੁਖੁ ਹੋਇ ॥੫॥: Sukh dukh sam kar jaaneeahi Sabad bhed sukh hoi ||5||: Both pain and pleasure are to be known as one and the same; (real) Bliss is experienced when (the mind is) pierced through by the Shabad ||5|| (sggs 57).
- ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਬਿਬੇਕ ਬੁਧਿ ਹੋਇ ॥: Guramukh giaan bibaek budh hoi: The Gurmukh is blessed with spiritual wisdom and a discerning intellect (sggs 317).
- ਦੁਲਭ ਜਨਮੁ ਪੁੰਨ ਫਲ ਪਾਇਓ ਬਿਰਥਾ ਜਾਤ ਅਬਿਬੇਕੈ ॥: Dulabh janam punn phal paaio birathaa jaat abibekai: This precious human birth is obtained as a reward for (past) good actions, but without discriminating intellect, it is wasted in vain (sggs 658).
- ਇੰਦ੍ਰੀ ਸਬਲ ਨਿਬਲ ਬਿਬੇਕ ਬੁਧਿ ਪਰਮਾਰਥ ਪਰਵੇਸ ਨਹੀ ॥: Indree sabal nibal bibek budh paramaarath paraves nahee: With strong passions, and week discriminating intellect; one has no access to the supreme objective (sggs 658).
Hence, the true spirituality or spiritual life (the Gurmukh lifestyle) is to have awareness and alertness in thoughts and deeds. Whosoever can manage to let go of his personal likes and dislikes is truly victorious, "Sooraa" and Holy in life. As the SGGS says, he has "conquered" the world. If we conduct ourselves otherwise (without awareness and alertness in thoughts and deeds), such twisted mentality will only lead to more and more of psychological entanglement (Haume) for us and we would be caught deeper and deeper in the net of our own likes and dislikes. Thus, the SGGS stressed the importance of relinquishing one's personal likes and dislikes. Then, there will be no more individuality (Haume, ego or Jeevahood). In other words, without transcending likes and dislike, one's individuality cannot be transcended. When likes and dislikes are transcended, everything becomes sweet. Everywhere one looks, one sees "ਸਭੁ ਗੋਬਿੰਦੁ ਹੈ ਸਭੁ ਗੋਬਿੰਦੁ ਹੈ ... (Sabh Gobind hai sabh Gobind hai ...: God is everything, God is everything..., sggs 485).
— T. Singh