ONE-TEN STAGES OF THE MENTAL REALM

In the first stage (after birth), (the baby's mind) becomes attached to
mother's milk....In the tenth stage (death takes over him and he),
is cremated and turns to ashes (sggs 137).
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The SGGS (Sri Guru Granth Sahib) has an in-depth and amazing analysis of the human mind and human life. The Gurbani describes as to how we humans usually waste our life. For example, about the first twelve years of our life pass in childhood. For about another twenty years, we live without practicing any self-discipline and Tapa. About the nest thirty years, we pass without engaging in any real devotion or worship. At the end, in the old age, our organs of action begin to tremble, and our tongue becomes incapable of speaking God's Name. In the end in regret and repent, we cry, lament and wail. Then, its too late to hope to practice the Dharma! The next thing we know is the noose of death hanging over our head, which comes so quickly and suddenly that it carries away everything in a moment what we had tried to preserve all our life as our own.

Similarly, the ten stages of the mental realm (Mayaic consciousness) are also revealed in the SGGS (page 137). These one-ten stages of the mind are summarized in a Shabad of Baabaa Nanak as follows:

1. ਪਹਿਲੈ ਪਿਆਰਿ ਲਗਾ ਥਣ ਦੁਧਿ ॥: Pahilai piyaar laggaa thann dudh: In the first stage (after birth), (the baby's mind) beomes attached to mother&'s milk.
2. ਦੂਜੈ  ਮਾਇ ਬਾਪ ਕੀ ਸੁਧਿ ॥: Doojai maayi baap kee sudh: In the second stage, (as he grows up he) learns of his mother and father.
3. ਤੀਜੈ ਭਯਾ ਭਾਭੀ ਬੇਬ ॥: Teejai bhayaa bhaabhee beb: In the third stage, (he begins to) recognize his brothers and their wives, and his sisters (and so on).
4.ਚਉਥੈ ਪਿਆਰਿ ਉਪੰਨੀ ਖੇਡ ॥: Chayuthai piyaar upanne khed: In the fourth stage, the love of play awakens in him.
5.ਪੰਜਵੈ ਖਾਣ ਪੀਅਣ ਕੀ  ਧਾਤੁ ॥: Panjvai khaan peean kee dhaat: In the fifth stage, he runs after food and drink (sense gratification).
6. ਛਿਵੈ ਕਾਮੁ ਨ ਪੁਛੈ ਜਾਤਿ ॥: Shivai kaam na pushai jaat: In the sixth stage, lust (overpowers him and in his lust he even) does not care for Jaat Kujaat.
7. ਸਤਵੈ ਸੰਜਿ ਕੀਆ ਘਰ ਵਾਸੁ ॥: Sattvai sanj keeyaa ghar vaas: In the seventh stage, he becomes householder and gathers wealth (i.e., greed takes over him).
8.ਅਠਵੈ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਹੋਆ ਤਨ ਨਾਸੁ ॥: Athvai krodh hoyaa tan naas: In the eighth stage, he becomes angry (due to unfulfilled desire), and his body is consumed (by anger).
9. ਨਾਵੈ  ਧਉਲੇ ਉਭੇ ਸਾਹ ॥: Naavai dhayulae ubhe saah: In the ninth stage, he turns grey, and his breathing becomes labored (old age and diseases take over him).
10. ਦਸਵੈ ਦਧਾ ਹੋਆ ਸੁਆਹ ॥: Dasvai dadhaa hoyaa suaah: In the tenth stage (death takes over him and he), is cremated and turns to ashes.

The remaining verses of this Shabad are: ਗਏ ਸਿਗੀਤ ਪੁਕਾਰੀ ਧਾਹ ॥ ਉਡਿਆ ਹੰਸੁ ਦਸਾਏ ਰਾਹ ॥ ਆਇਆ ਗਇਆ ਮੁਇਆ ਨਾਉ ॥ ਪਿਛੈ ਪਤਲਿ ਸਦਿਹੁ ਕਾਵ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਮਨਮੁਖਿ ਅੰਧੁ ਪਿਆਰੁ ॥ ਬਾਝੁ ਗੁਰੂ ਡੁਬਾ ਸੰਸਾਰੁ ॥੨॥:Gaye sigeet pukaaree dhaah. Oudiaa hans dasaaye raah. Aaiaa gaiaa muiaa naaou. Pishai patal sadihu kaav. Nanak Manmukh andh piaar. Baajh Guroo dubaa sansaar: (Those who go to cremate him) send him off, crying out and lamenting. The swan of the soul takes flight, and asks which way to go (i.e. moves on). (Thus, the Jeeva or an individual) came (into the world) and he went, and now, even his name has died (i.e., forgotten). After (he died), food was offered (by his) sons to the villagers), and birds come and eat (in other words the departed soul does not get any of this!). O Nanak, the self-willed Manmukh's love (of this world) is blind. Without the Guroo (i.e., without complete surrender to the Guroo), the world is drowning (in this blind love of the world) ||2|| (sggs 137).

All these one-ten stages are pretty self-explanatory. At the time of birth, one's consciousness is intact, untainted or unconditioned — "Saabat", "Joti-Svaroopa", and so on. But Afterwards, it gets conditioned or tainted upon the rise of the worldly love. Although everything exists in the "Joti-Svaroopa" or Pure Consciousness but when this Pure Joti (also spelt Jyoti) gets covered with illusion (Maya) or sense gratification, it becomes material consciousness. As defined in the SGGS, Maya is that illusion which gives rise to the following three things: (1) forgetfulness of God; (2) emotional attachments; and (3) duality. In nutshell, the Absolute Truth covered by the Mayaic consciousness is called matter. In the last verse above, the SGGS states that without the Guru, this material veil cannot be removed.

  • ਜਾ ਤਿਸੁ ਭਾਣਾ ਤਾ ਜੰਮਿਆ ਪਰਵਾਰਿ ਭਲਾ ਭਾਇਆ ॥ ਲਿਵ ਛੁੜਕੀ ਲਗੀ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਮਾਇਆ ਅਮਰੁ ਵਰਤਾਇਆ ॥ ਏਹ ਮਾਇਆ ਜਿਤੁ ਹਰਿ ਵਿਸਰੈ ਮੋਹੁ ਉਪਜੈ ਭਾਉ ਦੂਜਾ ਲਾਇਆ ॥: Jaa tis bhaanaa taa ja(n)miaa paravaar bhalaa bhaaiaa...: According to His (God's) Will, the child is born, and (then) the family is very pleased. (After birth) Connection (absorption, ਲੀਨਤਾ, etc., from the Mool) snaps, and (the child) becomes attached to desires; (thereafter) the script of Maya runs its course (ਮਾਇਆ ਉਸ ਉਤੇ ਆਪਣਾ ਜੋਰ ਪਾ ਲੈਂਦੀ ਹੈ). This is Maya, by which the Lord is forgotten; emotional attachment and love of duality is born (sggs 921).
  • ਦੂਜੈ ਬਹੁਤੇ ਰਾਹ ਮਨ ਕੀਆ ਮਤੀ ਖਿੰਡੀਆ ॥: Doojai bahute raah mann keeaa matee khindeeaa: In the second watch, the focus of the mind is scattered in all sorts of ways (sggs 145).

Thus, conditioning of the mind takes place gradually as we grow older. As a result, the consciousness also grows to be divided and scattered in all directions in all sorts of ways — the focus takes flight and swing from the Inner to the external or non-self. As a result one loses access to his Inner world and drifts farther away from his Essential Self.

In fact there was nothing wrong with the Original State (Baal-Budhi, Sahaj, Intuitive Ease, Changelessness, Saabat, Intact, wholesome, Complete Inner surrender, Perfect Detachment, Stillness, Undivided, Joti-Svaroopa, and so on). The problem arose with the rise of the ripples of disturbance on the mind's surface which distorted seeing and understanding, creating the false sense of individuality (Haume, ego-sense or "I-ness") and separateness (duality or Doojaa Bhaav). So the spiritual teachings urge us to revert back to the Original State we were born with. So long we perceive "I-ness" in the sense-bent mind, there exists the distorted vision. Where the mind's distortions have ended, there the mind ends, rebounding back to its Original, Natural State of Being.

  • ਦੁਬਿਧਾ ਬਉਰੀ ਮਨੁ ਬਉਰਾਇੳਾ ॥: Dubidhaa bouree manu bouraaiaa: The insanity of duality has driven the mind insane (sggs 1342).

Why is there so much emphasis on controlling the mind in the SGGS? The conflicts and problems a person faces are caused by the mind and hence the solution must also be found in the mind. For example, for him who has controlled or "conquered" the mind, the mind is the best of friends; but, on the other hand, for one who has failed to do so, his mind will remain the greatest enemy.

  • ਮਨੁ ਮਰੈ ਧਾਤੁ ਮਰਿ ਜਾਇ॥ ਬਿਨੁ ਮਨ ਮੂਏ ਕੈਸੇ ਹਰਿ ਪਾਇ ॥ ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਮਰੈ ਦਾਰੂ ਜਾਣੈ ਕੋਇ॥ ਮਨੁ ਸਬਦਿ ਮਰੈ ਬੂਝੈ ਜਨੁ ਸੋਇ ॥: When the mind is conquered, its turbulent wanderings are stopped. Without annihilating (conquering) the mind, how can God be found? Rare is the one who knows the medicine to conquer the mind. The mind is conquered through the Shabad; this is known to the Lord’s humble servant only (sggs 665).

As the mind has the quality of acquiring the nature of whatever it is engaged in, sensory engagement becomes a deterrent to spiritual progress. So we are urged to disengage the concocted mind (Haume or ego-mind) from its pre-occupations (preconceived notions, expectations, sensory engagement etc.) and redirect it inward. This way it will instead reflect the nature of the "Joti-Svaroopa", which is Eternal and Blissful. In other words, when one gives up desires for sense gratification, which arise from mental concoction, and when his mind, thus purified, finds satisfaction in the Real Self alone, then he is said to be in Pure Transcendental Consciousness ("Joti-Svaroopa"). The mind so established will remain unaffected even amidst Maya.

  • ਹਉ ਮੁਆ ਮੈ ਮਾਰਿਆ ਪਉਣੁ ਵਹੈ ਦਰੀਆਉ ॥ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਥਕੀ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਜਾ ਮਨੁ ਰਤਾ ਨਾਇ ॥: So long Jeev is smitten with "Ego", a river (of desires, Trishanaa) flows within (that Jeev). O Nanak! Desire is exhausted only when the mind is imbued with the Naam (Shabad, Hukam, Divine Wisdom, Divine Virtues...). (sggs 1091).
  • ਕਹੈ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦੀ ਜਿਨਾ ਲਿਵ ਲਾਗੀ ਤਿਨੀ ਵਿਚੇ ਮਾਇਆ ਪਾਇਆ ॥:Says Nanak by the Gur-grace (Grace of the Gur-Giaan, Wisdom…), who are connected with one-pointed consciousness (singule mindedly, ਇਕ ਮਨ ਇਕ ਚਿੱਤ ਹੋਕੇ) they realize (Him) in the midst of Maya (sggs 921).

Of Course this requires constant effort (Uddam) throughout one's life — which is like walking on a razor's edge. According to the SGGS, very "rare" one by becoming a Gurmukh wants to walk such a walk! The rest of us (Manmukhs) just talk. As repeatedly indicated in the SGGS, the mind can be trained to dwell on the Pure Consciousness through undivided meditation (Naam-Simran).

  • ਮਨਿ ਜੀਤੈ ਜਗੁ ਜੀਤੁ ॥: Mani jeetai jagu jeet: If you conquer the mind, you conquer the material world (sggs 6).
  • ਮਨਮੁਖ ਸੋਇ ਰਹੇ ਸੇ ਲੂਟੇ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਸਾਬਤੁ ਭਾਈ ਹੇ ॥: Manmukh soi rahae se loote gurmukh saabat bhaaee hea (sggs 1024).

— T. Singh
www.gurbani.org