PLEASURES OF THE WORLD ARE FALSE

ਕੂੜੁ ਰਾਜਾ ਕੂੜੁ ਪਰਜਾ ਕੂੜੁ ਸਭੁ ਸੰਸਾਰੁ ॥ ਕੂੜੁ ਮੰਡਪ ਕੂੜੁ ਮਾੜੀ ਕੂੜੁ ਬੈਸਣਹਾਰੁ ॥ ਕੂੜੁ ਸੁਇਨਾ ਕੂੜੁ ਰੁਪਾ ਕੂੜੁ ਪੈਨ੍‍ਣਹਾਰੁ ॥ ...(sggs 468).
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The SGGS reminds us that the gross objects of the world are fleeting, ephemeral or temporary, and perishable; thus ultimately false ("ਕੂੜੁ" - Koorh). Hence, any pleasure derived from them is also temporary at best and ultimately flawed. As such, the sensory world can never give us any lasting or infinite satisfaction, contentment, happiness, peace, joy or blessed life. It's not that no happiness is gained from the objects of the world, but any happiness developed from them is not only fleeting but also minuscule or microscopic portion of the Infinite Bliss (Anand) of God.

  • ਕੂੜੁ ਰਾਜਾ ਕੂੜੁ ਪਰਜਾ ਕੂੜੁ ਸਭੁ ਸੰਸਾਰੁ ॥ ਕੂੜੁ ਮੰਡਪ ਕੂੜੁ ਮਾੜੀ ਕੂੜੁ ਬੈਸਣਹਾਰੁ ॥ ਕੂੜੁ ਸੁਇਨਾ ਕੂੜੁ ਰੁਪਾ ਕੂੜੁ ਪੈਨ੍‍ਣਹਾਰੁ ॥ ਕੂੜੁ ਕਾਇਆ ਕੂੜੁ ਕਪੜੁ ਕੂੜੁ ਰੂਪੁ ਅਪਾਰੁ ॥ ਕੂੜੁ ਮੀਆ ਕੂੜੁ ਬੀਬੀ ਖਪਿ ਹੋਏ ਖਾਰੁ ॥ ਕੂੜਿ ਕੂੜੈ ਨੇਹੁ ਲਗਾ ਵਿਸਰਿਆ ਕਰਤਾਰੁ ॥ ਕਿਸੁ ਨਾਲਿ ਕੀਚੈ ਦੋਸਤੀ ਸਭੁ ਜਗੁ ਚਲਣਹਾਰੁ ॥ ਕੂੜੁ ਮਿਠਾ ਕੂੜੁ ਮਾਖਿਉ ਕੂੜੁ ਡੋਬੇ ਪੂਰੁ ॥ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਵਖਾਣੈ ਬੇਨਤੀ ਤੁਧੁ ਬਾਝੁ ਕੂੜੋ ਕੂੜੁ ॥੧॥: Koorh raajaa koorh parajaa koorh sabh sansaar...: False is the... (sggs 468).

A person's false ego-sense or Haume may not like to hear such words that remind us of the impermanence of all that we call our own, and at the same time one may lack guts to say this Truth to others. Only a Fearless Being (Self-Realized) such as Baabaa Nanak can say these words of Truth. So, in the foregoing Shabad, he unflinchingly declares that this whole world and everything seen in it is totally false, including this very body we were born with and we are so proud of! Here he is telling us this Truth so that we do not wait for a major shock in our lives in order to realize it. We can gain this conviction by simply reflecting on these words with courage.

The Mahaatamaans never speak empty words. These words of Baabaa Nanak contain the authentic strain of power vibrating in them, impacting our flawed thinking that fancies infinitesimal pleasures derived from the fleeting objects of this world to be immeasurable, permanent and perfect. These words stir and inspire detachment (Bairaag) in the hearts of many, because dispassion arises when the nature of worldly pleasures is understood to be only as delusive as water in the mirage and hence insubstantial. Thus these words of Baabaa Nanak hammer the Supreme Truth into many heads that an impermanent object cannot give permanent pleasure or happiness. However, on account of delusion or doubts, the majority of us in Manmukhtaa (materialistic consciousness) wishfully think otherwise — we try to find everlasting joy in the never-lasting objects. The SGGS questions the craziness of such twisted logic, "How long can this go on?"

  • ਝੂਠੈ ਰੰਗਿ ਖੁਆਰੁ ਕਹਾਂ ਲਗੁ ਖੇਵੀਐ ॥: Jhoothai rang khuaar kehaan lagu khaeveeai: The mortal wastes away in false pleasures. How long can this go on? (sggs 1363).
  • ਜਗਤ ਸੁਖ ਮਾਨੁ ਮਿਥਿਆ ਝੂਠੋ ਸਭ ਸਾਜੁ ਹੈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Jagat sukh mann mithiaa jhootho sabh saaj hai ||1||Rahaaou||: Remember that the pleasures of the world are false; this whole show is just an illusion. ||1||Pause|| (sggs 1352).
  • ਮਿਥਨ ਮਨੋਰਥ ਸੁਪਨ ਆਨੰਦ ਉਲਾਸ ਮਨਿ ਮੁਖਿ ਸਤਿ ਕਹੇ ॥: Mithhan manorath supan aanand oulaas mani mukh sati kahe: The false desires, and the dream-like delights and pleasures - these, the self-willed Manmukhs call true (sggs 406).
  • ਬਾਵਰ ਸੋਇ ਰਹੇ ॥1॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਮੋਹ ਕੁਟੰਬ ਬਿਖੈ ਰਸ ਮਾਤੇ ਮਿਥਿਆ ਗਹਨ ਗਹੇ ॥: Baavar soi rahe ||1|| Rahaaou ||. Moh kuttamb bikhai ras maate mithiaa gahan gahe: The crazy people are asleep. ||1||Pause|| They are intoxicated with attachment to their families and sensory pleasures; they are held in the grip of falsehood (sggs 406).
  • ਬਿਨੁ ਬੈਰਾਗ ਨ ਛੂਟਸਿ ਮਾਇਆ ॥੧॥: Bin bairaag na shootas maya ||1||: Without detachment, Maya cannot be gotten rid of (cannot be liberated from Maya, etc.) ||1|| (sggs 329).

The SGGS indicates that from the false pleasures arise diseases — physical, mental, and psychological — leading to suffering (Dukha) as one tends to forget Supreme Self when enslaved by the sensuousness. Rooted in false ego-sense (Haume) and the sensuousness is desire for the prolongation of one's life in the body, improving health, amassing of wealth, indulging in worldly pleasures, and so on. These desires debilitate one's behavior and personality, followed by confusion, doubts, frustration, delusion, and bewilderment of the mind, giving rise to the feeling of "I, me, mine, you" causing one lose his Divine Freedom, and experiences grief and fear in return.

  • ਦੁਖੁ ਦਾਰੂ ਸੁਖੁ ਰੋਗੁ ਭਇਆ ਜਾ ਸੁਖੁ ਤਾਮਿ ਨ ਹੋਈ ॥: Dukh daaroo sukh rog bhaiaa jaa sukh taami n hoee: Suffering is (or becomes) the medicine, and Sukh (or pleasure becomes cause of) the disease; but if (the Real - spiritual or ਆਤਮਕ) Sukh (is experienced or Realized), then (no Dukh remains) (sggs 469).
  • ਜਨਮੰ ਤ ਮਰਣੰ ਹਰਖੰ ਤ ਸੋਗੰ ਭੋਗੰ ਤ ਰੋਗੰ ॥: Janamam ta maranam harakham ta sogam bhogam ta rogam: If there is birth, then there is death. If there is pleasure, then there is pain. If there is enjoyment, then there is disease (sggs 1354).
  • ਬਿਨੁ ਹਰਿ ਭਜਨ ਰੰਗ ਰਸ ਜੇਤੇ ਸੰਤ ਦਇਆਲ ਜਾਨੇ ਸਭਿ ਝੂਠੇ ॥: In har bhajan rang ras jate sant daiaal jaane sabh jhoothe: Without the Lord's meditation, all joys and pleasures are totally false and worthless; by the Kind Mercy of the Saints, I know this (sggs 717).
  • ਤਜਿ ਗੋਪਾਲ ਆਨ ਰੰਗਿ ਰਾਚਤ ਮਿਥਿਆ ਪਹਿਰਤ ਖਾਤ ॥: Taji gopaal aan rang raachat mithiaa pahirat khaat: Those who forsake the Lord, and become engrossed in other pleasures - false and useless are the clothes they wear, and the food they eat (sggs 1120).
  • ਸਾਦ ਬਿਕਾਰ ਬਿਕਾਰ ਝੂਠ ਰਸ ਜਹ ਜਾਨੋ ਤਹ ਭੀਰ ਬਾਟੁਲੀ ॥: Saad bikaar bikaar jhooth ras jah jaano tah bheer baatulee: (O man, you are) entangled in the taste of false pleasures and corrupt sins; the path which (you) have to take is very narrow (sggs 1216).
  • ਬਿਖਿਆ ਰੰਗ ਕੂੜਾਵਿਆ ਦਿਸਨਿ ਸਭੇ ਛਾਰੁ ॥: Bikhiaa rang koorraaviaa disan sabhe shaar: The pleasures of corruption are false. All that is seen will turn to ashes (sggs 134).
  • ਸੀਗਾਰ ਮਿਠ ਰਸ ਭੋਗ ਭੋਜਨ ਸਭੁ ਝੂਠੁ ਕਿਤੈ ਨ ਲੇਖਏ ॥: Seegaar mith ras bhog bhojan sabh jhooth kitai na lekhaye: Her (the soul-bride) decorations, sweet foods, sensuous pleasures and delicacies are all false; they are of no account at all (sggs 242).
  • ਰਾਜ ਰੰਗ ਰੂਪ ਸਭਿ ਕੂਰ ॥: Raaj rang roop sabh koor: Power, pleasures and beauty are all false (sggs 888).
In other words, when perverted ego (Haume) identifies with Vaasnaas — undigested desires, conditionings, latent memories, innate tendencies, dispositions, or subtle impressions of the past existing in our bosom — it gets entangled in the pursuit of the fleeting pleasures of the world, and thus one loses sight of his Pure Self ("Joti-Svaroopa"). Vaasnaas produce thoughts, and thoughts produce actions. The ultimate consequence of this advertence is suffering.
  • ਮਨਿ ਬਾਸਨਾ ਰਚਿ ਬਿਖੈ ਬਿਆਧਿ ॥: Mani baasanaa rachi bikhai biaadh: The mind is engrossed in Vaasnaa, and the disease of corruption (sggs 675).
  • ਜਗਿ ਹਉਮੈ ਮੈਲੁ ਦੁਖੁ ਪਾਇਆ ਮਲੁ ਲਾਗੀ ਦੂਜੈ ਭਾਇ ॥: Jagg haumai mailu dukh paaiaa mall laagee doojai bhaai: On account of the filth of Haume (egotism), the world suffers in pain. Because of the (love of Maya), the filth of duality sticks to the world (sggs 39).
  • ਕਾਇਆ ਹੰਸਿ ਸੰਜੋਗੁ ਮੇਲਿ ਮਿਲਾਇਆ ॥ ਤਿਨ ਹੀ ਕੀਆ ਵਿਜੋਗੁ ਜਿਨਿ ਉਪਾਇਆ ॥ ਮੂਰਖੁ ਭੋਗੇ ਭੋਗੁ ਦੁਖ ਸਬਾਇਆ ॥ ਸੁਖਹੁ ਉਠੇ ਰੋਗ ਪਾਪ ਕਮਾਇਆ ॥ ਹਰਖਹੁ ਸੋਗੁ ਵਿਜੋਗੁ ਉਪਾਇ ਖਪਾਇਆ ॥ ਮੂਰਖ ਗਣਤ ਗਣਾਇ ਝਗੜਾ ਪਾਇਆ ॥ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਹਥਿ ਨਿਬੇੜੁ ਝਗੜੁ ਚੁਕਾਇਆ ॥ ਕਰਤਾ ਕਰੇ ਸੁ ਹੋਗੁ ਨ ਚਲੈ ਚਲਾਇਆ ॥4॥: kaaeiaa haਨs saਨjog mel milaaiaa ....: Destiny has brought together and united the body and the soul-swan. He who created them (body and the soul), also separates them. (By forgetting this enavitable separation of the body and the soul) fools enjoy their pleasures; they must also endure all their pains. From sins (of sense-) pleasures, arise diseases. From (such sense-) pleasures come sorrow, separation, birth and death. The fools try to account for their misdeeds, and argue uselessly. The power (to free one from repeated suffering) is in the Hands of the True Guru, who puts an end to it. Whatever the Creator does, comes to pass. It cannot be changed by anyone's (clever) doings (sggs 139).

In nutshell, as indicated in the scriptures and the teachings of the Gurmukhs (Mahaatamaas), the root cause of all human sorrows is the mistaken self-identity. This mistaken self-identity with the false "I" (false ego-sense or Haume) arises in beings as soon as life takes a form. As a result, one identifies with his body-mind-intellect personality instead of with the true Self ("Joti-Svaroopa") within. It's this attachment to the false ego-sense (Haume) that is at the bottom of one's entanglement to the fleeting worldly objects and pleasures thereof, ultimately leading him to sorrows.

  • ਹਰਿ ਰਸੁ ਛੋਡਿ ਹੋਛੈ ਰਸਿ ਮਾਤਾ ॥: Har ras shod hoshhai ras maataa: Forsaking God's sublime essence, (the mortal) is intoxicated with worthless (false, fleeting or perishable) pleasures (sggs 376).
  • ਪੰਚ ਬਿਕਾਰ ਮਨ ਮਹਿ ਬਸੇ ਰਾਚੇ ਮਾਇਆ ਸੰਗਿ ॥: Panch bikaar man mahi base raache Maya sang: The five evil (i.e., lust, anger, greed etc.) passions dwell in the mind of one who is engrossed in Maya (sggs 297).
  • ਰੇ ਮੂੜੇ ਤੂ ਹੋਛੈ ਰਸਿ ਲਪਟਾਇਓ ॥ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਸੰਗਿ ਬਸਤੁ ਹੈ ਤੇਰੈ ਬਿਖਿਆ ਸਿਉ ਉਰਝਾਇਓ ॥: Re moorre tu hoshhai ras lapataaiou. Amrit sang basat hai terai bikhiaa siou ourajhaaiou: You fool! You are attached and clinging to worthless (false, fleeting or perishable) pleasures! The Amrit (Naam that gives eternal life) abides with you, but you are engrossed in sin and corruption (sggs 1017).
  • ਰਸਨਾ ਸਾਦ ਚਖੈ ਭਾਇ ਦੂਜੈ ਅਤਿ ਫੀਕੇ ਲੋਭ ਬਿਕਾਰੇ॥ ਜੋ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਸਾਦ ਚਖਹਿ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮਾ ਸਭ ਅਨ ਰਸ ਸਾਦ ਬਿਸਾਰੇ ॥: Rasanaa saad chakhai bhaai doojai ati feeke lobh bikaare. Jo gurmukh saad chakhahi raam naamaa sabh an ras saad bisaare: The tongue savors the bland, insipid taste of the love of duality, greed and corruption. By becoming Gurmukh taste the flavor of God's Name (sggs 980).

— T. Singh
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