STUBBORN MINDEDNESS: "Mann-Hatha"

Acting in stubbornness and egotism, (Truth) is not attained (Realized, etc.) (sggs 905).
One who stubbornly follows his own mind (ਮੂੰਹ-ਜੋਰ ਮਨੁੱਖ) will suffer ahead ||12|| (sggs 470).
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The Sikhi is born and brought up in Prema Bhagti (Gurmat-Aatam Giaan). Hence, the Sikh philosophy is the Way of the Soul; not the way of the stubborn mindedness, defiled senses, deluded mind, or corrupt intellect. Instead, it is the game of Shabad-Surti or God-Consciousness. As such, it is to be played in the Sahaj Maarag - Natural State of just "Being", ਆਤਮਕ ਅਡੋਲਤਾ ; the State which is Transcendental, Simple, Spontaneous, Intuitive, Peaceful, Pure, True, Still, Quiet, Wisdom, Dheeraj, Love, Inner Perfection, Goodness, Oneness, Spiritual Silence (Sunn Samaadhi), and so on. It is so because the nature of the Mool within (Source, Origin, Jot...) is "Sahaj" and Subtle. To realize this Subtlest Truth, one must take means which are equally subtle.

  • ਬਾਬੀਹਾ ਤੂੰ ਸਹਜਿ ਬੋਲਿ ਸਚੈ ਸਬਦਿ ਸੁਭਾਇ ॥ ਸਭੁ ਕਿਛੁ ਤੇਰੈ ਨਾਲਿ ਹੈ ਸਤਿਗੁਰਿ ਦੀਆ ਦਿਖਾਇ ॥: Baabeehaa toon Sahaj bol sachai Sabad subhaai. Sabh kish terai naal hai satigur deeaa dikhaai: O rainbird (of the mind - O amorist or lover of the drop of rainwater of the Lord's Name that bestows spiritual life - ਹੇ ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਦੇਣ ਵਾਲੀ ਨਾਮ-ਬੂੰਦ ਦੇ ਰਸੀਏ!), by being established in Sahaj (Intuitive Poise, Natural state of Being - ਆਤਮਕ ਅਡੋਲਤਾ ਵਿਚ ਟਿਕ ਕੇ), attune to the True Shabad, with love, engage in Naam-Simran. Everything (Bliss, etc., that emanates from the drop of the Lord's Name) is within you; (but only that person realizes it to whom) the Satguru has shown this (sggs 1420). (Note: a bird called Baabeehaa is said to be an amorist of the first drop of the rainwater, and cries out for it!).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਬਿਗਸੈ ਸਹਜਿ ਸੁਭਾਇ ॥: Gurmukh bigsai Sahaj subhhaai: The Gurmukh (Spiritual Being) blossoms forth with Sahaj (sggs 1173).
Like beads, all thoughts or states of our instinctive mind are strung on the basic obstinate error of Mool-forgetfulness. Each state of the mind is transitory, hence unreal. Since the mind is nothing but a collection of these transitory states or thoughts-stuff, it is also transitory. Non-reflection, non-investigation, non-inquiry or the absence of Shabad-Vichaar is the thread on which the beads of all these unreal states of mind are strung. For all the mental states, names and forms are rooted in the darkness of the Mool-forgetfulness; wherein the Truth that the living entity is nothing but the "Joti-Svaroopa" becomes forgotten. Consequently, one takes the transitory states of his mind as his real Mool (Source, Origin, Jot...).
  • ਆਪੁ ਬੀਚਾਰੇ ਸੁ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਹੋਈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Aap beechaare su giaanee hoyee ||1||Rahaaou||: One who engages in Vichaar (ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਦੀ ਪੜਤਾਲ) becomes truely Wise or Giaanee (ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਦੀ ਸੂਝ ਵਾਲਾ). ||1||Pause|| (sggs 152).
  • ਇਉ ਕਹੈ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਮਨ ਤੂੰ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਰੂਪੁ ਹੈ ਅਪਣਾ ਮੂਲੁ ਪਛਾਣੁ ॥੫॥: Iou kahai Nanak mann toon joti saroop hai apanaa mool pashaan ||5||: Thus says Nanak: O my mind, you are the embodiment or the True Image of the Divine Light (i.e., God) - recognize your Origin ||5|| (sggs 441).
  • ਨਾਨਕ ਨਾਮੁ ਨ ਚੇਤਨੀ ਅਗਿਆਨੀ ਅੰਧੁਲੇ ਅਵਰੇ ਕਰਮ ਕਮਾਹਿ ॥: Nanak Naam na chetnee agiyaanee andhule avare karam kaamaahi: O Nanak, the blind, ignorant fools do not remember the Naam; they involve themselves in other activities (sggs 648).
  • ਹਠੁ ਅਹੰਕਾਰੁ ਕਰੈ ਨਹੀ ਪਾਵੈ ॥: Hatha ahankaar karai nahee paavai: Acting in stubbornness and egotism, (Truth) is not attained (Realized, etc.) (sggs 905).
The state or nature of stubborn mindedness (Mann-Hatha, ਮਨ-ਹਠ), thus, is the way of the inflated ego; hence absolutely opposite to the Divine attributes of Sahaj Avasthaa, Prema-Bhagti, Spiritual Wisdom (Shabad-Giaan) or Naam Simran. Simply put, the Mann-Hatha is the way of the Manmukh - unwise, material or ego being in Mayadhaaree existence.

In the pages that lie ahead, the Gurbani (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, SGGS) will reveal to us the Truth about this ignoble and demoniac quality of "stubborn mindedness". In this context, this Gurbani Reflection will attempt to reflect on the followings:

  • What Is Stubborn Mindedness? Ritual Bathing In Stubbornness
  • Religious Wearing In Stubbornness
  • Performing Calculated Service In Stubbornness
  • Reading And Listening Gurbani In Stubbornness
  • Singing Kirtan In Stubbornness
  • Cooking Separate Food In Stubbornness
  • Destruction of Stubbornness

Since the Gurbani is of the nature of Parameshar, it only speaks the Truth. In the beginning, however, the Truth may taste bitter and unpleasant to our false ego, as our inner mind reveals to us our shocking crookedness, falsehood, corruption, perversions, and weaknesses. Overwhelmed by these shocks, many of us may shrink from pursuing It, as the inner self plays back unhappy thoughts on the screen of our instinctive mind. However, diligent attempt, consistent self-effort, and continuous mental alertness is the key to the conquest. In all earnestness if the Truth is given a chance, it will sink in and then taste sweet later! Baabaa Nanak Says:

  • ਤਬ ਲਗੁ ਮਹਲੁ ਨ ਪਾਈਐ ਜਬ ਲਗੁ ਸਾਚੁ ਨ ਚੀਤਿ ॥: Tab lag mahal na paaeeai jab lag saach n cheeti: As long as the Truth does not enter into the consciousness, the Divine Presence is not realized (sggs 58).

What Is Stubborn Mindedness?

The stubborn mindedness (Mann-Hatha) is the lack of the followings: Spiritual Wisdom (Aatam Giaan), Spiritual Understanding (ਸੂਝ-ਬੂਝ) of the Gur-Shabad. It is synonymous to the state of self-will (Manmukhataa) - selfishness, falsehood, unbelief, affliction, hardness of heart, impenitence, reprobacy, heinousness, fanaticism, crookedness, evil-mindedness, mental-weakness, immaturity, egoity, and raw or undisciplined mind, etc. Such person, although, may be aware of thinking, feeling and acting, but he is unaware of his Mool within (Source, Origin, Jot...)

Thus, the meaning, function, and outcome of stubborn mindedness is totally apposite to the Sahaj Maarag or Sahaj Avasthaa of the Gurmat. Consequently, any actions performed in mental stubbornness are condemned and rejected by the Gurbani. Baabaa Nanak declares in the following verses that:

  • ਅਗਿਆਨੀ ਅੰਧਾ ਬਹੁ ਕਰਮ ਦ੍ਰਿੜਾਏ ॥ ਮਨਹਠਿ ਕਰਮ ਫਿਰਿ ਜੋਨੀ ਪਾਏ ॥ ਬਿਖਿਆ ਕਾਰਣਿ ਲਬੁ ਲੋਭੁ ਕਮਾਵਹਿ ਦੁਰਮਤਿ ਕਾ ਦੋਰਾਹਾ ਹੇ ॥੯॥: Agiaani andhaa bahu karam drirhaae. Mann hathi karam hiri jonee paae. Bikhiaa kaaran lab lobh kamaavahi durmat kaa doraahaa he ||9||: The ignorant (of spiritual life - ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਤੋਂ) and blind (in love of Maya - ਮਾਇਆ ਦੇ ਮੋਹ ਵਿਚ) cling to all sorts of rituals. They stubborn-mindedly perform these rituals, and are consigned to reincarnation For the sake of poison (Maya), they act in greed and possessiveness; evil-minded duality (arises in their life-journey. ||9|| (sggs 1055).
  • ਮੈ ਅਵਰੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਨ ਧਿਆਨੁ ਪੂਜਾ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਵਸਿ ਰਹੇ ॥ ਭੇਖੁ ਭਵਨੀ ਹਠੁ ਨ ਜਾਨਾ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਸਚੁ ਗਹਿ ਰਹੇ ॥੧॥: Mai avar giaan n dhiaan poojaa Hari Naam antari vasi rahe. Bhekh bhavnee hath n jaanaa Nanakaa sach gahi rahe ||1||: God's Name dwells deep within me, I know no other wisdom, meditation or worship. I know nothing about religious robes, pilgrimages or stubbornness; O Nanak, I only hold tight to the Truth ||1|| (sggs 843).
  • ਮਨਹਠਿ ਕਰਮ ਕਰੇ ਸੋ ਛੀਜੈ ॥ ਬਹੁਤੇ ਭੇਖ ਕਰੇ ਨਹੀ ਭੀਜੈ ॥ ਬਿਖਿਆ ਰਾਤੇ ਦੁਖੁ ਕਮਾਵਹਿ ਦੁਖੇ ਦੁਖਿ ਸਮਾਇਦਾ ॥੧੧॥: Manhatha karam kare so sheejai. Bahute bhekh kare nahee bheejai. Bikhiaa raate dukh kamaavahi dukhe dukh samaaidaa: ||11||: Those who act stubborn-mindedly are destroyed (weaken of spiritual life - ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਵਲੋਂ ਕਮਜੋਰ). Wearing all sorts of religious robes, they do not please God. Tinged by corruption (love of Maya), they earn only pain (from whatever they do) ||11|| (sggs 1059).
  • But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward and not forward (Bible, Jer 7:24).
The intellect that's cut off from the Super Consciousness (Mool within) by becoming opinionated (stubborn mindedness) becomes the external or false ego (Haumai). When a person is represented by such contaminated intellect, his behavior becomes stubborn, unyielding or fanatic. He always wants to hold on to his ego-sense; as such, if agitated or disturbed, he behaves unfriendly or violently. Simply put: a stubborn person has no sense of consequences of his actions! Accordingly, he refuses to hearken to Gur-Shabad; and he refuses to receive correction.
  • ਮਨਹਠਿ ਕਰਮ ਕਰੈ ਅਭਿਮਾਨੀ ਜਿਉ ਬਾਲਕ ਬਾਲੂ ਘਰ ਉਸਰਈਆ ॥ ਆਵੈ ਲਹਰਿ ਸਮੁੰਦ ਸਾਗਰ ਕੀ ਖਿਨ ਮਹਿ ਭਿੰਨ ਭਿੰਨ ਢਹਿ ਪਈਆ ॥੭॥: Mann hathi karam kare abhimaanee jiou baalak baaloo ghar usareeaa. AAvai lahar smund kee khin mahi bhinn bhinn paaeeaa ||7||: (Whosoever) performs rituals in stubborn-mindedness, he becomes proudy (of being religious); but (these efforts of him) are like sand castles built by children -- when the waves of the ocean come in, they (sand castles) crumble and dissolve in an instant. ||7|| (sggs 835).
  • ਮਨਹਠ ਬੁਧੀ ਕੇਤੀਆ ਕੇਤੇ ਬੇਦ ਬੀਚਾਰ ॥ ਕੇਤੇ ਬੰਧਨ ਜੀਅ ਕੇ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਮੋਖ ਦੁਆਰ ॥: Mann hatha budhee keteeyaa kete bed beechaar....: There are so many (who perform all sorts of actions) with stubborn intelligence, and so many who contemplate the Vedas (etc.). There are so many (mother similar) entanglements for the Jeeva (individual beings). Only by becoming the Gurmukhs (spiritual beings, etc.) do we find the Gate of Liberation (from ego, entanglements, etc.). (sggs 62).
  • ਇਕਿ ਆਵਹਿ ਇਕਿ ਜਾਵਹੀ ਪੂਰਿ ਭਰੇ ਅਹੰਕਾਰਿ ॥ ਮਨਹਠਿ ਮਤੀ ਬੂਡੀਐ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਸਚੁ ਸੁ ਤਾਰਿ ॥੧॥: Iki aavahi iki jaavahee poori bhare ahankaar. Mannhathi matee boodeeyai Gurmukhi sach su taari ||1||: Totally filled with egotism, some come and go. Through the stubbornness of the intellect, (they are) drowned (in the ocean of corruption, Bikaars, etc.); one who becomes Gurmukh and truthful is saved ||1|| (sggs 20).
Therefore, as revealed in the Gurbani, the state of stubborn mindedness and Manmukh (material being) is one and the same; for it is characterized by doubts, egotism, foolishness, ignorance, mental trickery, falsehood, deception, untruth, duality, bondage, corruption, cheating, crookedness, fear, greed, insecurity, selfishness, desires and fear, Vaasnaa, etc. The opposite of such stubborn fanatic is the Gurmukh, the Mool-realized person.
  • ਵਿਣੁ ਮਨੈ ਜਿ ਹੋਰੀ ਨਾਲਿ ਲੁਝਣਾ ਜਾਸੀ ਜਨਮੁ ਗਵਾਇ ॥ ਮਨਮੁਖੀ ਮਨਹਠਿ ਹਾਰਿਆ ਕੂੜੁ ਕੁਸਤੁ ਕਮਾਇ ॥: Vin mannai ji horee naali lujhnaa jaasee janam gavaai. Manmukhee mannhathi haariaa koorh kusat kamaai Those who struggle with something other than their own mind, will depart having wasted their lives. The Manmukhs (the self-willed, materialistics, etc.), through stubborn mindedness and the practice of falsehood, lose the game of life (sggs 87).
As indicated in the Gurbani, some examples of stubborn mindedness are as follows: Bathing in cold water early morning, sitting in wilderness to perform penance, making pilgrimages, bathing at the so called sacred ponds (Srovars or Sar), mechanical reading of scriptures without understanding a word of them, applying the so called ceremonial religious garbs and symbols to the perishable body, worshipping images and embodied beings (But-Prastee and Aadam-Prastee), fasting, making vows, standing naked in the water, enduring hunger and poverty, sitting cross-legged, stubbornly practicing ritualistic postures and austerities, standing on their heads, making offerings and sacred feasts, intense meditations with the body upside-down, performing external worship services, making donations to charity in ignorance, performing fire sacrifices, clean shaving the head or keeping long hair, performing fire sacrifices, carrying ceremonial walking sticks, digging wells and pools, asceticism, observing celibacy, abiding in detachment as Udaasees, being naked renunciates, applying patch on the mouth, wearing patched coats, practicing occult powers, remaining always awake, bathing at holy places of pilgrimage, believing in untouchability, remaining secluded, thinking wise in their own minds, plucking the hair out of heads, afraid of cleanliness and drink in filthy water and beg endlessly and eat the garbage which others have thrown away, spreading manure and suck in rotting smells, smearing bodies with ashes, renouncing or asserting faith in family, having begging bowls hanging from waists and keeping fly-brushes in hands, practicing austere meditation and live on roots and the fruits, living at sacred shrines of pilgrimage, wandering all across the earth, disciplining body and the mind that run around in ten directions, practicing celibacy, wear religious robes for show, singing melodies and hymns without true love, practicing rigid meditation, practicing self-discipline, speaking of liberation like yogis, and so on. The Gurbani thunders forth the declaration that Mool within (Source, Origin, Jot...) cannot be won over with such stubborn mindedness.
  • ਮਨਹਠਿ ਕਿਨੈ ਨ ਪਾਇਆ ਕਰਿ ਉਪਾਵ ਥਕੇ ਸਭੁ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਸਹਸ ਸਿਆਣਪ ਕਰਿ ਰਹੇ ਮਨਿ ਕੋਰੈ ਰੰਗੁ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਕੂੜਿ ਕਪਟਿ ਕਿਨੈ ਨ ਪਾਇਓ ਜੋ ਬੀਜੈ ਖਾਵੈ ਸੋਇ ॥੩॥: Mannhathi kinai na paaiaa kari upaav thake sabh koi ..: No one has found God by (ਤਪ ਆਦਿਕ, rituals, etc. done through) stubborn mindedness. Aall grow weary of (such empty) efforts. (Those who) try thousands of (such) clever mental tricks (in stubbornness) the raw and undisciplined mind does not absorb the Color of the Lord's Love (Name, etc.). By falsehood and deception, none have found Him. Whatever one plants, so he eats ||3|| (sggs 39-40).
  • ਲਖ ਚਉਰਾਸੀਹ ਭਰਮਦੇ ਮਨਹਠਿ ਆਵੈ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਸਬਦੁ ਨ ਚੀਨਿਓ ਫਿਰਿ ਫਿਰਿ ਜੋਨੀ ਪਾਇ ॥੨॥: Lakh chaouraasee bharamade mann hathi aavai jaai. Gur kaa sabad na cheenio phiri phiri joonee paai ||2||: (ਮਾਇਆ ਦੇ ਮੋਹ ਵਿਚ ਬੱਝੇ ਹੋਏ ਜੀਵ) in stubborn-mindedness, people wander through 8.4 million incarnations. They do not realize (recognize, understand, etc.) the Gur-Shabad; they are reincarnated over and over again ||2|| (sggs 162).
Prior to Baabaa Nanak, all types of Mann-Hatha (stubborn mindedness) were prevalent in the society. However, he decisively condemned and rejected all of them by declaring that one cannot realize the Mool within (Source, Origin, Jot...) by such foolishness. In turn, he gave us the Divine Gurbani so that all future generations to come can understand the folly of stubborn mindedness.

But, surprisingly, rituals based on Mann-Hatha still are practiced by the Pujaaree group at the religious places, as well as in personal life by majority of us on a daily basis!

Further, interestingly enough, in spite of condemnation by the Gurbani, the term "stubborn mindedness" has made its way into the Sikh Ardaas (holy prayer) as well! For example, the portion of the Ardaas that was later composed and added by the Pujaaree group reads: "...Hatheeaan Japeeaan Tapeeaan jinna..."; here the use of word "Hatheeaan" (meaning one with stubborn mindedness) appears to be in direct contradiction with the Gurmat (Shabad-Giyan)! [footnote 1]. [footnote 1].

Since all types of Mann-Hatha are rejected and condemned by the Gurbani, it is very obvious that either we do not believe in the Gur-Shabad or we do not understand it! This Gurbani Reflection will attempt to reflect on a few of the widely practiced Mann-Hatha in our daily life. Baabaa Nanak says:

  • ਪਉੜੀ ॥ ਸਚਾ ਅਲਖ ਅਭੇਉ ਹਠਿ ਨ ਪਤੀਜਈ ॥ ਇਕਿ ਗਾਵਹਿ ਰਾਗ ਪਰੀਆ ਰਾਗਿ ਨ ਭੀਜਈ ॥ ਇਕਿ ਨਚਿ ਨਚਿ ਪੂਰਹਿ ਤਾਲ ਭਗਤਿ ਨ ਕੀਜਈ ॥ ਇਕਿ ਅੰਨੁ ਨ ਖਾਹਿ ਮੂਰਖ ਤਿਨਾ ਕਿਆ ਕੀਜਈ ॥ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਹੋਈ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਕਿਵੈ ਨ ਧੀਜਈ ॥ ਕਰਮ ਵਧਹਿ ਕੈ ਲੋਅ ਖਪਿ ਮਰੀਜਈ ॥ ਲਾਹਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਸੰਸਾਰਿ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਪੀਜਈ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਭਗਤੀ ਅਸਨੇਹਿ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਘੀਜਈ ॥੧੭॥: Pourree || Sachaa alakh abheou hathi n pateejaee ...: Pourree. The True, Unseen, Mysterious (God) is not won over by stubbornness. Some sing according to traditional Raag, but the Lord is not pleased by these Raag. Some dance and dance in perfect beat, but this is not the way of worship (either). Some refuse to eat; (tell me) what can be done with these fools? (i.e., how can it be explained to them that the Truth is not realized like this, etc.). By such acts, their thirst (desires) greatly increase; (consequently) nothing (done in stubbornness) can bring them satisfaction. Somany are tied down by rituals; they hassle themselves to death. In this world, the true profit (ਨਾਮ ਹੀ ਖੱਟੀ) comes by drinking in the Amrit Naam, Name of the Lord. By becoming the Gurmukh, (one) attains (the Bliss of) Bhagti (devotion) of the Lord ||17|| (sggs 1285).
  • ਮੁਹਿ ਚਲੈ ਸੁ ਅਗੈ ਮਾਰੀਐ ॥੧੨॥: Muhi challai su aggai maareeai ||12||: One who stubbornly follows his own mind (ਮੂੰਹ-ਜੋਰ ਮਨੁੱਖ) will suffer ahead ||12|| (sggs 470).
Ritual Bathing In Stubbornness

First, let us reflect on the ritual bathing or Ishanaan. In stubborn mindedness, many preach that if you do not take cold bath in the early morning, you cannot find God! Further, under the spell of duality (Maya) they preach that if you do not visit the places of pilgrimage and take ritual bath in their waters, then you are doomed as well. However, the Gurbani rejects such Mann-Hatha, and declares such Hathees to be Manmukhs. Further, the Gurbani proclaims that those who believe in such Mann-Hatha are no better than a "frog" who always remains in cold water!

  • ਤੀਰਥ ਨਾਤਾ ਕਿਆ ਕਰੇ ਮਨ ਮਹਿ ਮੈਲੁ ਗੁਮਾਨੁ ॥: Tirath naataa kiaa kare mann mahi mail gumaan: What is the use of bathing at sacred shrines of pilgrimage, when the filth of stubborn pride is within the mind? (sggs 61).
  • ਜਲ ਕੈ ਮਜਨਿ ਜੇ ਗਤਿ ਹੋਵੈ ਨਿਤ ਨਿਤ ਮੇਂਡੁਕ ਨਾਵਹਿ ॥ ਜੈਸੇ ਮੇਂਡੁਕ ਤੈਸੇ ਓਇ ਨਰ ਫਿਰਿ ਫਿਰਿ ਜੋਨੀ ਆਵਹਿ ॥੨॥: Jal kai majani je gati hovai nit nit menduk naavahi. Jaise menduk tese oyi nar phiri phiri joni aavahi ||2||: If salvation can be obtained by bathing in water, then what about the frog, which is always bathing (always remain in water)? As is the frog, so is that mortal; (without the Lord's Name, Naam) he is reincarnated, over and over again ||2|| (sggs 484).
  • ੂਚੇ ਏਹਿ ਨ ਆਖੀਅਹਿ ਬਹਨਿ ਜਿ ਪਿੰਡਾ ਧੋਇ ॥ ਸੂਚੇ ਸੇਈ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਜਿਨ ਮਨਿ ਵਸਿਆ ਸੋਇ ॥: Sooche ehi na aakheeahi bahani ji pindaa dhoi. Sooche seyee Nanakaa jini mann vasiyaa soi: They are not called pure, who sit down after merely washing their bodies. Only they are pure, O Nanak, within whose minds God abides (sggs 472).
  • ਅੰਤਰਿ ਮੈਲੁ ਲੋਭ ਬਹੁ ਝੂਠੇ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਨਾਵਹੁ ਕਾਹੀ ਜੀਉ ॥: Antar mailu lobh bahu jhoothe bahari naavahu kaahee jeeyu: Within you is the great filth of greed and falsehood; why do you bother to wash your body on the outside? (sggs 598).
As revealed by the Gurbani here, one's belief in ritual bathing is nothing but ignorance. Instead of focusing the consciousness on the Divine Name and , thereby, cleansing the mind, stubborn ritualists focus it on external cleansing. In the process, as indicated in the Gurbani, such "idiotic Manmukhs" end up accumulating more mental filth! Whenever there is a mention of Ishanaan (bathing) in the Gurbani, it is only pointed toward the Inner Ishanaan; bathing in the Inner Pool ("Sarovar") of the Naam-Simran located within the body.
  • ਮਨਮੁਖ ਮੁਗਧ ਕਰਹਿ ਚਤੁਰਾਈ ॥ ਨਾਤਾ ਧੋਤਾ ਥਾਇ ਨ ਪਾਈ ॥: Manmukh mughad kare chaturaaee. Naataa dhotaa thaaye na paaee: The idiotic Manmukhs (materialistics, self-willed, etc.) try to be clever (claim they have performed pilgrimmage and ablution -ਤੀਰਥ-ਇਸਨਾਨ -, etc.), but in spite of their bathing and washing, they will not be acceptable (ਪਰਵਾਨ ਨ ਹੋਂਣਾਂ) (sggs 114).
  • ਏਹੁ ਸਰੀਰੁ ਸਰਵਰੁ ਹੈ ਸੰਤਹੁ ਇਸਨਾਨੁ ਕਰੇ ਲਿਵ ਲਾਈ ॥੧੩॥: Ehu sareeru saravaru hai santahu ishnaan kare liv laaee ||13||: O saints, this (human) body is a pool (Srovar); (who) enshrine love for God (it's like he is) bathing (in the Srovar) ||13|| (sggs 909).
  • ਸਾਧ ਭਲੇ ਅਣਨਾਤਿਆ ਚੋਰ ਸਿ ਚੋਰਾ ਚੋਰ ॥੨॥: Saadh bhale ananaatiyaan chor si choraa chor ||2||: A saintly being is blessed, even without such bathing (at pilgrim places - ਤੀਰਥਾਂ ਤੇ), while a thief is a thief, no matter how much he bathes (at pilgrim places - ਤੀਰਥਾਂ ਤੇ) ||2|| (sggs 789).
  • ਭਾਈ ਰੇ ਮੈਲੁ ਨਾਹੀ ਨਿਰਮਲ ਜਲਿ ਨਾਇ ॥: Bhaaee re mailu naahee nirmal jal naai: O Siblings of Destiny, filth is washed away by bathing in the Pure Water of the Name (sggs 57).
As stated before, prior to the coming of Baabaa Nanak, rituals including bathing or ablution in Mann-Hatha were on the rampant in the society. Although they were totally disapproved by him, however, surprisingly enough, if we carefully read the Sikh Ardaas it will reveal to us that the ritual of bathing or ablution also has made its way into it! For example, the portion of the Ardaas that was later composed and added by the Pujaaree group reads as follows: "...Sri Amritsar ji de Ishnaan....". Since the Gurbani condemns making any pilgrimages and ablutions, this again appears to be in direct contradiction with the Divine Word! In this regard, the Gurbani questions all of us as follows: [footnote 2].
  • ਪੁੰਨ ਦਾਨ ਅਨੇਕ ਨਾਵਣ ਕਿਉ ਅੰਤਰ ਮਲੁ ਧੋਵੈ ॥: Punn daan anek naavan kiou antar mall dhovai: How can giving donations to charities and countless cleansing baths wash off the filth within the heart? (sggs 243)
  • ਕੂਰ ਕਿਰਿਆ ਉਰਝਿਉ ਸਭ ਹੀ ਜਗ ॥...: Koor kriiya urjhiyo sabh hee jag. Sri bhagvaan ko bhed na paaio: The whole World, being in the grip of false rituals, has not known God's secret (Guru Gobind Singh Jee).
  • ਹੁਕਮੁ ਨ ਜਾਣਹਿ ਬਪੁੜੇ ਭੂਲੇ ਫਿਰਹਿ ਗਵਾਰ ॥ ਮਨਹਠਿ ਕਰਮ ਕਮਾਵਦੇ ਨਿਤ ਨਿਤ ਹੋਹਿ ਖੁਆਰੁ ॥ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਸਾਂਤਿ ਨ ਆਵਈ ਨਾ ਸਚਿ ਲਗੈ ਪਿਆਰੁ ॥੬॥: Hukam na jaanahi bapurhe bhoole phirahi gavaar. Mannhathi karam kamaavade nit nit hoye khuaar...: The wretched fools do not know God's Hukam or; they wander around making mistakes. They go about their business stubborn-mindedly; they are disgraced forever and ever. Inner peace does not come to them; they do not embrace love for the True God ||6|| (sggs 66).
  • ਨ੍ਹਾਤ ਫਿਰਿਓ ਲੀਏ ਸਾਤ ਸਮੁਦ੍ਰਨਿ ਲੋਕ ਗਯੋ ਪਰਲੋਕ ਗਵਾਇਓ ॥: Naat phirio leee saat samundaran lok gayo parlok gavaaio: Those who have bathed even in seven oceans (i.e., all places of pilgrimages in the entire world) would loose this world as well as the next one (Guru Gobind Singh Jee, Savaiye 9).
Here the Gurmat (Divine Teaching of the Gurbani) makes it very clear that the true Ishanaan only consists of bathing the mind in the cleansing water of the Shabad or Naam (Aatam Giaan, Spiritual Wisdom...). Insistence on any other Ishanaan will only indicate no faith in the Gurbani, bewilderment of the mind, ignorance of the Mool within (Source, Origin, Jot...), absurdity of the intellect indulged in the worldly affairs or duality (Maya).
  • ਨਾਮ ਬਿਨਾ ਗਤਿ ਕੋਇ ਨ ਪਾਵੈ ਹਠਿ ਨਿਗ੍ਰਹਿ ਬੇਬਾਣੈ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਸਚ ਘਰੁ ਸਬਦਿ ਸਿਞਾਪੈ ਦੁਬਿਧਾ ਮਹਲੁ ਕਿ ਜਾਣੈ ॥੩॥: Naam binaa gati koi n paavai hathi nigrahi bebaanai. Naanak sach ghar Sabad sinjhaapai dubidhaa mahal ki jaanai ||3||: Without the Divine Name none attains salvation; stubborn self-discipline and living in the wilderness are of no use at all. O Nanak, the Truth is Realized through the Shabad. How can the Mansion of His Presence be known through duality (ਹੋਰ ਆਸਰੇ ਦੀ ਝਾਕ ਨਾਲ, etc.) ? ||3|| (sggs 243)
Religious Wearing In Stubbornness

"I am so tired of wearing all these necklaces, hair-ties and bracelets, and decorating myself. Meeting with my Beloved, I have found peace; now, I wear the necklace of Total Virtue. O Nanak, the Gurmukh attains God, with love and affection. Without God, who has found Peace? Reflect upon this in your mind, and see. Read about God, understand Him, and enshrine love for Him. Chant God's Name, and meditate on Him; hold tight to the Support of His Name" (sggs 937).

In the forgoing hymn, we are reminded that our material body is born with two filthy robes: lust and anger. The human life's ultimate aim is to rid the body of this inner "garbage". However, instead of liberating the body from this internal filth, majority of us have further adorned it with external blemishes consisting of various religious paraphernalia. Poor Soul! The Gurbani teaches us that all these external body robes, and other paraphernalia are nothing but a pompous show ("Adammbar") of man's unripe ego. Hence condemned by the Gurbani.

  • ਬਾਹਰਿ ਭੇਖ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਚਤੁਰਾਈ ਮਨੂਆ ਦਹ ਦਿਸਿ ਧਾਵੈ ॥ ਹਉਮੈ ਬਿਆਪਿਆ ਸਬਦੁ ਨ ਚੀਨ੍ਹ੍ਹੈ ਫਿਰਿ ਫਿਰਿ ਜੂਨੀ ਆਵੈ ॥੩॥: Baahari bhekh bahut...: Outwardly, he wears religious robes and he is very clever, but his mind wanders in the ten directions. Engrossed in ego, he does not remember the Word; over and over again, he is reincarnated. ||3|| (sggs 732).
  • ਭੇਖੀ ਪ੍ਰਭੂ ਨ ਲਭਈ ਵਿਣੁ ਸਚੀ ਸਿਖੰ ॥: Bhekhi prabhu na labhaee vin sachee sikham: God can be found by true instructions, not by religious garbs (sggs 1099).
  • Hathi naa pteejai naa bahu bhekhai...: He is not pleased by stubborn-mindedness, nor by various religious robes. (sggs 686).
Although the religious wearing are condemned by the Gurbani, still people decorate their ephemeral body with them. Why? The Gurbani provides us with authoritative answers as well as explanations. According to the Gurbani, many put on such garbs to cover up their wickedness; to make believe that they know God; to establish their religious authority; to show they are spiritual scholars; to show they are better than those who do not wear such robes; to hide the fire of worldly desires and fear; to hide the filth of Maya within; to show that they know the true teachings of the scriptures; to hide their corruption, stubbornness, fanaticism, mental delusions or spiritual ignorance (egoity); and so on. The Gurbani confirms all of this as follows:
  • ਅਧਿਕ ਤਿਆਸ ਭੇਖ ਬਹੁ ਕਰੈ ॥: Adhik tiyaas bhekh bahu krai: Excessive thirst for Maya makes people wear all sorts of religious garbs (sggs 352).
  • ਭੇਖ ਅਨੇਕ ਅਗਨਿ ਨਹੀ ਬੁਝੈ ॥ ਕੋਟਿ ਉਪਾਵ ਦਰਗਹ ਨਹੀ ਸਿਝੈ ॥: Bhekh anek agan nahee boojhai. Koti upaav dargah nahee sijhai: Wearing various religious robes, the fire (of desire) is not extinguished; even making millions of (such) efforts, one will not be accepted in the Court of the Lord (sggs 266).
  • ਕਰਤੂਤਿ ਪਸੂ ਕੀ ਮਾਨਸ ਜਾਤਿ ॥ ਲੋਕ ਪਚਾਰਾ ਕਰੈ ਦਿਨੁ ਰਾਤਿ ॥ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਭੇਖ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਮਲੁ ਮਾਇਆ ॥ ਛਪਸਿ ਨਾਹਿ ਕਛੁ ਕਰੈ ਛਪਾਇਆ ॥: kartoot pasoo kee maanas jaat. Lok pachaaraa karai din raat. Bahri bhekh antar mal Maya. Shapasi naahi kashu karai shapaaiaa: They (ਮਾਇਆ-ਧਾਰੀ ਜੀਵ - those in love with Maya, etc.) belong to the human species, but they act like animals. Day and night, they make show (ਲੋਕ ਦਿਖਾਵੇ ਦੇ ਕੰਮ). Outwardly, they (those who act like animals) wear religious robes, but within is the filth of Maya. They cannot conceal (their inner filth with outwardly wearing religious robes) (sggs 267).
  • ਭੇਖ ਦਿਖਾਵੈ ਸਚੁ ਨ ਕਮਾਵੈ ॥ ਕਹਤੋ ਮਹਲੀ ਨਿਕਟਿ ਨ ਆਵੈ ॥੨॥: Bhekh dikhaavai sach na kmaavai. Kahto mahalee nikit na paavai ||2||: He wears religious robes, but he does not practice Truth; he says that he has found the Mansion of God's Presence, but he can not even get near it ||2|| (sggs 738).
  • ਬਾਹਰਿ ਭੇਖ ਕਰਹਿ ਘਨੇਰੇ ॥ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਬਿਖਿਆ ਉਤਰੀ ਘੇਰੇ ॥: Baahri bhekh karhi ghanere. Antar bikhiaa utree ghere: Outwardly (to look pious and to impress others), they wear various religious robes, but within, they are enveloped by poison (of Maya). (sggs 372).
  • ਕਿਨਹੀ ਸਿਧ ਬਹੁ ਚੇਟਕ ਲਾਏ ॥ ਕਿਨਹੀ ਭੇਖ ਬਹੁ ਥਾਟ ਬਨਾਏ ॥ ਕਿਨਹੀ ਤੰਤ ਮੰਤ ਬਹੁ ਖੇਵਾ ॥ ਮੋਹਿ ਦੀਨ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਆਧਾਰਾ ॥੪॥: Kinhee sidh bahu chetak laaye. Kinhee bhekh bahu thaat banaaye. Kinhee tant mant bahu khevaa. Mohi deen hari hari aadhaaraa ||4||: Some practice many miracles and spells (ਰਿੱਧੀਆਂ ਸਿੱਧੀਆਂ ਦੇ ਤਮਾਛੇ). Some wear various religious robes and establish their authority. Some perform many Tantric spells and charms (ਤੰਤ੍ਰਾਂ ਮੰਤ੍ਰਾਂ ਦੀ ਦੁਕਾਨਦਾਰੀ). (But) I meek have only support of the Lord's Name (i.e., Divine Knowledge - Aatam Giaan...)||4|| (sggs 913).
  • ਜੇ ਜੇ ਭੇਖ ਸੁ ਤਨ ਮੈਂ ਧਾਰੈ ॥ ਤੇ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਜਨ ਕਛੁ ਕੈ ਨ ਬਿਚਾਰੈ ॥: Je je bhekh su tan mai dhaarai. Te prabh jan kashoo kai na bichaarai: Those who adopt different religious garbs are never liked by the men of God (Guru Gobind Singh Jee, Bachitra Naatak, Dasam Granth, page 140, line 7).
The Gurbani has thus repeatedly warned us that the Mool within (Source, Origin, Jot...) cannot be realized by any outwardly religious appearance or robes. In fact, as claimed by the Gurbani, one can go weary of such religious wearing or appearance but it will not bring him a bit closer to God. For example, hunger of a beggar will never depart just by wearing begging robes! Similarly, we are warned that mind's crookedness or ego-sense can not be seized by such unavailing ("Fokat") rituals.
  • ਜੇ ਜਾਣਸਿ ਬ੍ਰਹਮੰ ਕਰਮੰ ॥ ਸਭਿ ਫੋਕਟ ਨਿਸਚਉ ਕਰਮੰ ॥: Je jaanas Brahamam karmam. Sabh Fokat nisachau karmam: If one knew the Nature of God, he would know that all of these beliefs and rituals are in vain (sggs 470).
  • ਅਨਿਕ ਭੇਖ ਅਰੁ ਙਿਆਨ ਧਿਆਨ ਮਨਹਠਿ ਮਿਲਿਅਉ ਨ ਕੋਇ ॥: Anik bhekh ar giaan dhian mannhathi miliaou n koi: By all sorts of religious robes, knowledge (ਧਰਮ-ਚਰਚਾ, etc.) and meditation iwith stubborn-mindedness, no one has ever met God (sggs 251).
  • ਕਬੀਰ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਇਕ ਸਿਉ ਕੀਏ ਆਨ ਦੁਬਿਧਾ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਭਾਵੈ ਲਾਂਬੇ ਕੇਸ ਕਰੁ ਭਾਵੈ ਘਰਰਿ ਮੁਡਾਇ ॥: Kabeer preet ik siou keee aan dubidhaa jaai. Bhaavai laambe kes kar bhaavai gharari mudaai: Kabeer, when you are in love with the One Lord, duality departs. (Untill duality is departed) it does not matter if you keep long hair or if you shave your head bald (sggs 1365).
Can snow be found on Sun? Can one chew iron with the teeth of wax, or live in a snow house wearing robes of fire? Obviously not. Similarly, one can not captivate the Divine Substance with his external religious robes condemned by His own Word (Gurbani)! As revealed in the Gurbani, the only robes that can captivate Timeless Being are: (1) humility, (2) forgiveness, and (3) sweet speech.
  • ਕਵਣੁ ਸੁ ਅਖਰੁ ਕਵਣੁ ਗੁਣੁ ਕਵਣੁ ਸੁ ਮਣੀਆ ਮੰਤੁ ॥ ਕਵਣੁ ਸੁ ਵੇਸੋ ਹਉ ਕਰੀ ਜਿਤੁ ਵਸਿ ਆਵੈ ਕੰਤੁ ॥੧੨੬॥ ਨਿਵਣੁ ਸੁ ਅਖਰੁ ਖਵਣੁ ਗੁਣੁ ਜਿਹਬਾ ਮਣੀਆ ਮੰਤੁ ॥ ਏ ਤ੍ਰੈ ਭੈਣੇ ਵੇਸ ਕਰਿ ਤਾਂ ਵਸਿ ਆਵੀ ਕੰਤੁ ॥੧੨੭॥: Kavan su akhar kavan gun kavan su maneeaa mant. Kavan su veso haou karee jit vas aavai kant. Niwan su akhar khavan gun jihba maneeaa mant. Ye trai bhaine ves kar taa vas aavee kant ||127||: What is that permanent letter; what is that virtue; and what is that jewel-like spell? What are those clothes, which I can wear to captivate my Husband? ||126|| Humility is the word, forgiveness is the virtue, and sweet speech is the jewel-like spell. O sister (soul)! Wear these three robes and you will captivate your Husband. ||127|| (sggs 1384).
But, in Mann-Hatha, many still keep on preaching that in order to find God one must wear external marks or symbols such as sword or dagger, waistband (Camarbandh), ring, rosary, thread (Janeyu), peculiar clothes, Tilak (mark on the forehead), cross, so on and so forth. But God (in the Gurbani) rejects such claims since He being Subtle and Sublime cannot be approached and comprehended through such gross, external wearings in stubbornness.
  • ਬਰਤ ਨੇਮ ਤੀਰਥ ਸਹਿਤ ਗੰਗਾ ॥ ਜਲੁ ਹੇਵਤ ਭੂਖ ਅਰੁ ਨੰਗਾ ॥ ਪੂਜਾਚਾਰ ਕਰਤ ਮੇਲੰਗਾ ॥ ਚਕ੍ਰ ਕਰਮ ਤਿਲਕ ਖਾਟੰਗਾ ॥ ਦਰਸਨੁ ਭੇਟੇ ਬਿਨੁ ਸਤਸੰਗਾ ॥੧॥ ਹਠਿ ਨਿਗ੍ਰਹਿ ਅਤਿ ਰਹਤ ਬਿਟੰਗਾ ॥ ਹਉ ਰੋਗੁ ਬਿਆਪੈ ਚੁਕੈ ਨ ਭੰਗਾ ॥ ਕਾਮ ਕ੍ਰੋਧ ਅਤਿ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨ ਜਰੰਗਾ ॥ ਸੋ ਮੁਕਤੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਜਿਸੁ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਚੰਗਾ ॥੨॥੩॥੩੬॥: Barat nem teerath sahit gangaa ...: (To realize the Truth, some) go on fasts, make vows, and take pilgrimages to sacred shrines on the Ganges; (some) stand naked in the water, enduring hunger and poverty; (some) sit cross-legged, perform worship services; (some) apply religious symbols to their bodies, and ceremonial marks to their six limbs; but without joining the Sat Sangat, the True or Holy Congregation (its all useless). ||1|| (Some) stubbornly practice ritualistic postures, standing on their heads; (But by doing so) the disease of egotism afflicts more, and the lack of (spiritual life, ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ) within them does not diminish; they burn in the fire of lust, anger and desire. O Nanak, he alone is liberated (from lust,ange desire...), to whom the Good Satguru has met ||2||3||36|| (sggs 1305).
According to the Gurbani, Baabaa Nanak also wore a sword. But his sword was nothing but the Absolute Truth, secured in a scabbard made of Divine Virtues, and sharpened on the grindstone of the Shabad! Guru Gobind Singh Jee also compliments it by declaring that God is the Sword! Further, Baabaa Nanak says that his ring and the rosary are the remembrance of God's Name, and his Camarbandh is the contentment!
  • ਤਰਕਸ ਤੀਰ ਕਮਾਣ ਸਾਂਗ ਤੇਗਬੰਦ ਗੁਣ ਧਾਤੁ ॥: Taskar teer kamaan saang tegband gun dhaat: The pursuit of virtue is my bow, arrow, quiver, sword and scabbard (sggs 16).
  • ਸਚ ਕੀ ਕਾਤੀ ਸਚੁ ਸਭੁ ਸਾਰੁ ॥ ਘਾੜਤ ਤਿਸ ਕੀ ਅਪਰ ਅਪਾਰ ॥ ਸਬਦੇ ਸਾਣ ਰਖਾਈ ਲਾਇ ॥ ਗੁਣ ਕੀ ਥੇਕੈ ਵਿਚਿ ਸਮਾਇ ॥: Sach kee kaatee sach sabh saar ...: If the knife is of Truth, and the Truth is its steel iall steel, that knife's workmanship is incomparably beautiful. (That knife) is sharpened on the grindstone of the Shabad. (consequently) it remains in the scabbard of Virtue (sggs 956).
  • ਤੀਰ ਤੁਹੀ ਸੈਹਥੀ ਤੁਹੀ ਤੁਹੀ ਤਬਰ ਤਲਵਾਰ ॥ ਨਾਮ ਤਿਹਾਰੋ ਜੋ ਜਪੈ ਭਏ ਸਿੰਧ ਭਵ ਪਾਰ ॥:Teer Tuhee saithee Tuhee tabar tarvaar. Naam tihaaro jo japai bhaye sindh bhav paar: O Lord, You are the sword, arrow, and spear; whoever remembers your Name crosses the world-ocean (Guru Gobind Singh Jee, Dasam Granth, page 1356).
  • ਕਾਇਆ ਬ੍ਰਹਮਾ ਮਨੁ ਹੈ ਧੋਤੀ ॥ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਜਨੇਊ ਧਿਆਨੁ ਕੁਸਪਾਤੀ ॥: Kaaiaa Brahma mann hai dhotee giyaan janeyoo dhiaan kuspaatee: Let the body be (free of Bikaars, evil tendencies, etc.) the Brahmin, and let the (purified) mind be the loin-cloth; let spiritual wisdom (ਪਰਮਾਤਮਾ ਨਾਲ ਡੂੰਘੀ ਜਾਣ-ਪਛਾਣ, etc.) be the sacred thread, and meditation (ਪ੍ਰਭੂ-ਚਰਨਾਂ ਵਿਚ ਜੁੜੀ ਹੋਈ ਸੁਰਤਿ, etc.) the ceremonial ring (sggs 355).
  • ਕਮਰਬੰਦੁ ਸੰਤੋਖ ਕਾ ਧਨੁ ਜੋਬਨੁ ਤੇਰਾ ਨਾਮੁ ॥੨॥: Camarbandh santokh kaa dhann joban teraa Naam ||2||: I have made Contentment my waist-band (Camarbandh), and Your Name is my wealth and youth (sggs 16).
  • ਹਰਿ ਮਾਲਾ ਉਰ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਧਾਰੈ ॥ ਜਨਮ ਮਰਣ ਕਾ ਦੂਖੁ ਨਿਵਾਰੈ ॥੨॥: Hari maalaa ur antar dhaare. Janam maran kaa dookh nivaarai ||2||: (That person who) enshrines the rosary of God's Name within the Heart, is freed of the pains of birth and death cycle||2|| (sggs 388).
Among many external symbols or marks that Yogis applied to their bodies include keeping a begging bowl ("Khappar") in their hands; a specially made head-covering; smear body with ash and sit next to fire to keep the body alert ("Kaya Karhaasan"); a special under wear called Langoti for celibacy, and so on.

During the Sidh Gost, Baabaa Nanak was asked by the Yogis to show them symbols he wore on his body. Baabaa Nanak replied: "My inverted heart-lotus (Undhaou) turned up right is my begging bowl; the awakening of the Soul is my head-covering; I keep my body alert with mental control; the control of mind is my Langoti; truth, contentment and self-discipline are my companions. O Nanak, by becoming the Gurmukh dwells on the Naam ||11|| " (ਊਂਧਉ ਖਪਰੁ ਪੰਚ ਭੂ ਟੋਪੀ ॥ ਕਾਂਇਆ ਕੜਾਸਣੁ ਮਨੁ ਜਾਗੋਟੀ ॥ ਸਤੁ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ ਸੰਜਮੁ ਹੈ ਨਾਲਿ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਸਮਾਲਿ ॥੧੧॥: Oondhaou khappar panch bhoo topee. Kaaniaa karhaasan mann jaagotee. Sat santokh sanjam hai naali. Nanak gurmukh Naam samaali ||11||, sggs 939).

In these verses as well as many more, Baabaa Nanak has made it very clear as to what symbols a seeker ought to wear, and what we must do in the path of Sikhi! Since Baabaa Nanak's Shabad is the Eternal Word of the Absolute Truth, it's Attall (Permanent)! Only a concept or an idea can be changed. However, since the Eternal Word (Shabad) is not a concept or an idea, it is unchangeable. The edict of Baabaa Nanak is:

  • ਬਹੁ ਭੇਖ ਕੀਆ ਦੇਹੀ ਦੁਖੁ ਦੀਆ ॥: Bagu bhekh keeaa dehee dukh deeaa: The more one wears religious robes, the more pain he causes his body (sggs 467).
Baabaa Nanak cannot be more clear than this. He did not approve of any peculiar religious wearing; because they are nothing but the symptom of one's stubborn mindedness (spiritual ignorance). Complementing the First Mahal, Guru Gobind Singh Jee declares that those who put on peculiar religious wearing do not know God at all! Guru Gobind Singh Jee, therefore, declared that, among other vices, one must abandon his stubborn mindedness if he wants to Realize God.
  • Je je bhekh su tan mai dhaarai. Te prabh jan kashoo kai na bichaarai: Those who wear peculier clothes, remember that they are not familiar with God (Guru Gobind Singh Jee, Bachitra Naatak, 6-53).
  • Kaam krodh hankaar lobh hatha moh na man siyu laavai: Abandon from your mind lust, anger, self-conceit, greed, stubborn mindedness, and emotional attachment (Guru Gobind Singh Jee, Raamkalee, 3-1).
  • ਸੀਲ ਜਤ ਕੀ ਕਛ ਪਹਰਿ ਪਕੜੋ ਹਥਿਆਰਾ ।: Seel jat kee kachh pahiri Wear the Kachh (short or Kachheraa) of Goodness and Celibacy. (Bhai Gurdas, Vaar 41, Paurhee 15).
Performing Calculated Service In Stubbornness

In Mann-Hatha, many chant calculated rounds of beads, many read calculated Banis or Paaths, many perform calculated prayers, and so on. All calculations are in false ego or Maya (Manmukhtaa). This is the nature of the worldly, calculating mind. This is the way the mind free to escape through the defiled nine-holes of our body thinks. The Gurbani declares that no one can Realize God by such calculations or accounting.

  • ਤੂੰ ਗਣਤੈ ਕਿਨੈ ਨ ਪਾਇਓ ਸਚੇ ਅਲਖ ਅਪਾਰਾ ॥: Toon ganatai kinai na paaio sache alakh apaaraa: No one has attained You by clever calculations, O True, Unseen and Infinite Being (sggs 140).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਸਭਾ ਗਣਤ ਹੈ ਗਣਤੈ ਨਉ ਸੁਖੁ ਨਾਹਿ ॥: Haumai sabhaa ganat hai ganatai naou sukh naahi: All accounting is in egotism, in these, there is no Peace (sggs 36).

Since God cannot be calculated, this sort of businesslike stubborn practice is rejected by the Gurbani. Why? Because such practices can never transform our mind enchanted with unproductive thought-wanderings.Just few short prayers (Ardaas), some chanting, some Mantra recitation with rosary are totally insufficient. This sort of meditation cannot change us. Our psychological ego is so powerful that unbroken efforts are needed. If we practice constantly, only then negative emotions of mind will disappear.

  • ਗਣਤੈ ਪ੍ਰਭੂ ਨ ਪਾਈਐ ਦੂਜੈ ਭਰਮੀਤਾ ॥: Ganatai prabhoo na paaeeai doojai bharmeetaa: God cannot be obtained by counting; (by doing so the man only) wanders in duality or Maya (sggs 510).
  • ਤੂ ਕਰਤਾ ਆਪਿ ਅਗਣਤੁ ਹੈ ਸਭੁ ਜਗੁ ਵਿਚਿ ਗਣਤੈ ॥: Too karata aapi aganat hai sabh jagg vichi ganatai: You Yourself, O Creator, are incalculable, while the entire world is within the realm of calculation (sggs 314).

Sikhi is the game of Sahaj Avasthaa or Prema-Bhagti. The Shabad (Naam) cannot be tasted unless we are spontaneously and infinitely in love with the Supreme Self. Accordingly, the Gurbani teaches us to spontaneously keep God's Name in the heart while sitting, standing, walking, eating, working, and so on. To put it otherwise, by becoming a Gurmukh (Spiritual Being), the sincere seeker plunges headlong into Shabad-Surti or God Consciousness; he does not calculate his Bhagti or meditation.

  • ਗਣਤੈ ਸੇਵ ਨ ਹੋਵਈ ਕੀਤਾ ਥਾਇ ਨ ਪਾਇ ॥ ਸਬਦੈ ਸਾਦੁ ਨ ਆਇਓ ਸਚਿ ਨ ਲਗੋ ਭਾਉ ॥ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਪਿਆਰਾ ਨ ਲਗਈ ਮਨਹਠਿ ਆਵੈ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਜੇ ਇਕ ਵਿਖ ਅਗਾਹਾ ਭਰੇ ਤਾਂ ਦਸ ਵਿਖਾਂ ਪਿਛਾਹਾ ਜਾਇ ॥: Gantai sev n hovaee keetaa thaai n paai ...: Calculated service is not service at all, and what is done is not approved (ਸਫਲ, ਕਬੂਲ). The flavor of the Shabad is not tasted if the mortal is not in love with God. The stubborn-minded person does not even like the Satguru; he comes and goes (in his stubborness). (But by doing so - coming and going in stubborness - he does experience any any spiritual progress because) he takes one step forward, and ten steps back (sggs 1246).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਸਗਲੀ ਗਣਤ ਮਿਟਾਵੈ ॥: Gurmukhi sagalee ganat mitaavai: The Gurmukh erases all calculations (sggs 942).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਗਣਤ ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦਿ ਨਿਵਾਰੇ ॥: Haoumai ganat gur sabadi nivaare: Egotistic or mental calculations are relieved through the Shabad (sggs 1065).
  • ਕਬੀਰ ਜਪਨੀ ਕਾਠ ਕੀ ਕਿਆ ਦਿਖਲਾਵਹਿ ਲੋਇ ॥ ਹਿਰਦੈ ਰਾਮੁ ਨ ਚੇਤਹੀ ਇਹ ਜਪਨੀ ਕਿਆ ਹੋਇ ॥੭੫॥: Kabeer japnee kaath kee kiaa dikhlaavahi loi. Hirdai Naam n chetahee ih japnee kiaa hoi ||75||: Kabeer, why do you show other people your rosary beads? You do not remember God in your heart, so what use is this rosary (ਹੱਥ ਵਿਚ ਫੜੀ ਹੋਈ) to you? ||75|| (sggs 1368).
Reading And Listening Gurbani In Stubbornness

Today, in the Gurdawaaraa the page to page reading of Sri Guru Granth Sahib called Akhand-Paath is sold to the devotees in a businesslike manner. In mental stubbornness, many go and pay these Pujaarees dearly, or hire Paathees (professional Gurbani readers) to perform Akhand-Paath in their homes. Now, people can also buy Akhand Paath over the Internet! Also, many read the Gurbani themselves in ritualistic, and robotic manner. However, the Gurbani never tires of reminding us that this type of practice has nothing to do with the Prema-Bhagti or Naam-Simran.

  • ਅਖਰ ਪੜਿ ਪੜਿ ਭੁਲੀਐ ਭੇਖੀ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਅਭਿਮਾਨੁ ॥ Akhar parr parr bhuleeai bhekhee bahutu abhimaan: (In spite of) Reading books over and over again, people make mistakes (due the pride of this reading); wearing of religious robes also gives rise to much pride (in the mind). (sggs 61).
  • ਕਿਆ ਪੜੀਐ ਕਿਆ ਗੁਨੀਐ ॥ ਕਿਆ ਬੇਦ ਪੁਰਾਨਾਂ ਸੁਨੀਐ ॥ ਪੜੇ ਸੁਨੇ ਕਿਆ ਹੋਈ ॥ ਜਉ ਸਹਜ ਨ ਮਿਲਿਓ ਸੋਈ ॥੧॥: Kiaa parheeai kiaa guneeai ...: What use is it to read, and what use is it to study? What use is it to listen to the scriptures? What use is reading and listening, if (Truth ) is not naturally (spontaneously, Sahaj ਤੌਰ ਤੇ, ਕੁਦਰਤੀ ਨਤੀਜੇ ਦੇ ਤੌਰ ਤੇ, ਆਤਮਕ ਅਡੋਲਤਾ ਦੇ ਤੌਰ ਤੇ, etc.,) realized? ||1|| (sggs 655).
  • ਅਕਲੀ ਪੜ੍ਹ੍ਹਿ ਕੈ ਬੁਝੀਐ ਅਕਲੀ ਕੀਚੈ ਦਾਨੁ ॥ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਆਖੈ ਰਾਹੁ ਏਹੁ ਹੋਰਿ ਗਲਾਂ ਸੈਤਾਨੁ ॥੧॥: Aklee parh kai bujheeyai aklee keejai daan. Nanak aakhai raah eho hor gallan saitaan ||1||: One should read (Bani) with intelligence, and then understand its real essence (i.e., assimilate it). Also, one should use intelligence in giving charity. Says Nanak, this is the True Path; other things lead to Satanic life ||1|| (sggs 1245).
As revealed in the Gurbani, the mind bound by the stubbornness or three dispositions - the three modes of Maya: Taamas, Raajas, and Saatav - goes weary by reading and reciting religious books. But, as further as pointed out by the Gurbani, we can never realize the Supreme Essence by doing so. Thus, mere reading of countless Paath or Akhand-Paath in duality are of no avail, since the Pure Being cannot be reached by such practices.
  • ਮੂਰਖਿ ਪੜਿ ਪੜਿ ਦੂਜਾ ਭਾਉ ਦ੍ਰਿੜਾਇਆ॥ ਬਹੁ ਕਰਮ ਕਮਾਵੈ ਦੁਖੁ ਸਬਾਇਆ ॥: Parh parh doojaa bhaav driraaiaa. Bahu karak kamaavai dukh sabaaiaa: The fool reads and reads, but holds tight to duality. He performs all sorts of rituals, but still suffers terrible pain (sggs 424).
  • ਪੜਿ ਪੜਿ ਗਡੀ ਲਦੀਅਹਿ ਪੜਿ ਪੜਿ ਭਰੀਅਹਿ ਸਾਥ ॥ ਪੜਿ ਪੜਿ ਬੇੜੀ ਪਾਈਐ ਪੜਿ ਪੜਿ ਗਡੀਅਹਿ ਖਾਤ ॥ ਪੜੀਅਹਿ ਜੇਤੇ ਬਰਸ ਬਰਸ ਪੜੀਅਹਿ ਜੇਤੇ ਮਾਸ ॥ ਪੜੀਐ ਜੇਤੀ ਆਰਜਾ ਪੜੀਅਹਿ ਜੇਤੇ ਸਾਸ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਲੇਖੈ ਇਕ ਗਲ ਹੋਰੁ ਹਉਮੈ ਝਖਣਾ ਝਾਖ ॥੧॥: (One may) read cart-loads of books, (one may) read heaps and heaps of them. (One may) read boat-loads of books, (one may) read and fill pits with them. (One may) read year afte year, (one may) read all the months, that there are. (One may) continue to read entire life, (one may) read with all breaths. O Nanak! Only one thing is of any account (understanding, ਸੂਝ-ਬੂਝ...), all else is but useless and idle talk in ego ||1|| (sggs 467).
However, the Pujaaree or priest group is making a good return business out of all this Karamkaand (Jhoothaa Sodaa)! Why are they so successful in cheating people? Because people want something as Sublime as God and want it cheaply. As a result, they put themselves in a position to be easily cheated. In other words, a stubborn person has no sense of consequences of his actions!
  • ਏਕੋ ਨਾਮੁ ਨਿਧਾਨੁ ਪੰਡਿਤ ਸੁਣਿ ਸਿਖੁ ਸਚੁ ਸੋਈ ॥ ਦੂਜੈ ਭਾਇ ਜੇਤਾ ਪੜਹਿ ਪੜਤ ਗੁਣਤ ਸਦਾ ਦੁਖੁ ਹੋਈ ॥੧॥: Eko naam nidhaan pandit suni sikh sach soee. Doojai bhaai jetaa parhahi parhat gunat sadaa dukh hoee ||1||: The One Name is the treasure (of everythng), O Pandit. Listen to it, and learn this Truth (to meditate on the Naam, Simran, etc.). No matter what you read in duality (in the love Maya), reading and contemplating it, you only continue to suffer ||1|| (sggs 492).
  • 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).
As we can appreciate, the Gurbani makes it very clear that by reading religious books, one cannot catch God; also, by speaking and talking, His limits cannot be found. The purpose of reading or listening the Gurbani (or any other scripture for that matter) is to develop Divine Understanding (Aatam-Giaan), and then act upon it. If that does not happen, then, there is no difference between a human being engaged in reading or listening to scriptures and a beast engaged in filling his belly. The Gurbani say:
  • ਬਿਨੁ ਬੂਝੇ ਪਸੂ ਭਏ ਬੇਤਾਲੇ ॥੬॥: Bin boojhe pasu bhaye betaale: Binu boojhai pasu bhaye betaale ||6||: Without understanding, people become beast (-nature) and demon ||6|| (sggs 224).
  • ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਸੁਨਿ ਕਛੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਨ ਉਪਜਿਓ ਪਸੁ ਜਿਉ ਉਦਰੁ ਭਰਉ ॥: Gurmati suni kashu giaan n upjio pasu jiou udar bharaou: Despite listening to the Gurmati (Shabad-Giaan, Divine Teaching of the Gur-Shabad, etc.), (if) no spiritual wisdom (ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਦੀ ਕੁਝ ਭੀ ਸੂਝ) wells up within (me); (then it would be) like a beast (routinely) filling its belly (sggs 685).
Singing Kirtan In Stubbornness

In general, Kirtan is sung in greed and heard to gratify ears - ਕੰਨ ਰਸ - (with "rare" exceptions) at religious places, religious ceremonies, homes, radios, televisions, tape-players, CD-players, Internet, and so on.

As per the Gurbani, is it the purpose or definition of Kirtan? Not according to the Gurbani!

Kirtan is defined in the Gurbani as Viaakhiaa of the Gurbani, of the One... (Viaakhiaa - ਵਿਆਖਿਆ: ਬਖ੍ਯ੍ਯਾਨੁ, commentary, explanation, interpretation, definition, annotation, elucidation...).

  • ਅਨਦਿਨੁ ਕੀਰਤਨੁ ਕੇਵਲ ਬਖ੍ਯ੍ਯਾਨੁ ॥: Andinu Keertanu keval bakhyaanu (sggs 281).

In other words, the only purpose of Kirtan is to annihilate the ego-mind through the Shabad-Vichaar. Does that happen? Not "even in dreams"! To the contrary, world is full of corruption, danger, conflicts and animosity. As evident in the society, more and more Raagees (commercial or for-hire Kirtan singers) are coming into the market place, more and more listeners are falling into their trend, but their minds are becoming more crooked and restless. What a paradox! Why? The Gurbani answers as follows:

  • ਇਕਿ ਗਾਵਤ ਰਹੇ ਮਨਿ ਸਾਦੁ ਨ ਪਾਇ ॥ ਹਉਮੈ ਵਿਚਿ ਗਾਵਹਿ ਬਿਰਥਾ ਜਾਇ ॥: Ik gaavat rahe mann saad na paai. Haumai vich gaavahi birathaa jaai: Some sing on and on, but their minds do not find happiness. In egotism, they sing, but it is all wasted uselessly (sggs 158).
  • ਮਨਿ ਪਰਤੀਤਿ ਨ ਆਈਆ ਸਹਜਿ ਨ ਲਗੋ ਭਾਉ ॥ ਸਬਦੈ ਸਾਦੁ ਨ ਪਾਇਓ ਮਨਹਠਿ ਕਿਆ ਗੁਣ ਗਾਇ ॥: Mann parteet na aaeeaa sahaji n lago bhaaou. Shabade saad na paaio mannhathi kiaa gun gaai: O mind, you have no conviction (of Truth, ਹਰੀ ਦੀ ਹੋਂਦ ਦੀ, etc.) and you have not embraced love (for the Truth) with Sahaj (Natura State of Being, ਅਡੋਲਤਾ, etc.). You do not enjoy the sublime taste of the Shabad - what (is the use of) singing Praises of God (ਸਿਫਤਿ-ਸਾਲਾਹ) stubborn-mindedly? (sggs 549).
The Kirtan is Bhagti (Understaning the Gurmat). Kirtan performed in Mann-Hatha (greed and lust) for making money as we see at religious gathering does not constitute Bhagti or Naam-Simran or Shabad-Vichaar. That's simply a worldly trade. The Gurbani warns us that the mystery of the Shabad can only be grasped through it's proper understanding.
  • ਭਗਤਿ ਨਾਰਦੀ ਰਿਦੈ ਨ ਆਈ ਕਾਛਿ ਕੂਛਿ ਤਨੁ ਦੀਨਾ ॥ ਰਾਗ ਰਾਗਨੀ ਡਿੰਭ ਹੋਇ ਬੈਠਾ ਉਨਿ ਹਰਿ ਪਹਿ ਕਿਆ ਲੀਨਾ ॥੩॥: Bhagati Naaradee ridai n aaee kaash koosh tanu deenaa. Raag raagnee bhind hoyi bethaa un Har pahi kiyaa leenaa ||3||: That person who adorns his body (with religious symbols, marks, etc.), but loving devotional worship ("ਭਗਤਿ ਨਾਰਦੀ" - Naarad like loving devotion or ਪ੍ਰੇਮਾ-ਭਗਤੀ) does not enter into his heart; he sits and play music, but he sits as a hypocrite (ਪਖੰਡ ਦੀ ਮੂਰਤ); what can such person obtain from the Lord? (i.e., nothing) ||3|| (sggs 654).
Due to lack or absent of faith and love, the Raagees think, feel, and behave like movie stars; consequently, they perform and charge for their performance in a concert like manner. Apparently, they have taken this word "Kirtan" out of context and put the trademark of music on the Gur-Shabad. As a result, Shabad-Vichaar almost has been turned into a club activity. They memorize the Gurbani like a parrot, and sing it in attractive melody or Taals; however, it all goes in vain because they do it in greed and selfishness. The edict of the Gurbani is:
  • ਰੋਟੀਆ ਕਾਰਣਿ ਪੂਰਹਿ ਤਾਲ ॥: Roteeyaan Kaaran poorahi taal: For the sake of bread, they perform melodiously (sggs 465).
  • ਪਉੜੀ ॥ ਸਚਾ ਅਲਖ ਅਭੇਉ ਹਠਿ ਨ ਪਤੀਜਈ ॥ ਇਕਿ ਗਾਵਹਿ ਰਾਗ ਪਰੀਆ ਰਾਗਿ ਨ ਭੀਜਈ ॥ ਇਕਿ ਨਚਿ ਨਚਿ ਪੂਰਹਿ ਤਾਲ ਭਗਤਿ ਨ ਕੀਜਈ ॥ ਇਕਿ ਅੰਨੁ ਨ ਖਾਹਿ ਮੂਰਖ ਤਿਨਾ ਕਿਆ ਕੀਜਈ ॥ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਹੋਈ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਕਿਵੈ ਨ ਧੀਜਈ ॥ ਕਰਮ ਵਧਹਿ ਕੈ ਲੋਅ ਖਪਿ ਮਰੀਜਈ ॥ ਲਾਹਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਸੰਸਾਰਿ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਪੀਜਈ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਭਗਤੀ ਅਸਨੇਹਿ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਘੀਜਈ ॥੧੭॥: Pourree || Sachaa alakh abheou hathi n pateejaee ...: Pourree. The True, Unseen, Mysterious (God) is not won over by stubbornness. Some sing according to traditional Raag, but the Lord is not pleased by these Raag. Some dance and dance in perfect beat, but this is not the way of worship (either). Some refuse to eat; (tell me) what can be done with these fools? (i.e., how can it be explained to them that the Truth is not realized like this, etc.). By such acts, their thirst (desires) greatly increase; (consequently) nothing (done in stubbornness) can bring them satisfaction. Somany are tied down by rituals; they hassle themselves to death. In this world, the true profit (ਨਾਮ ਹੀ ਖੱਟੀ) comes by drinking in the Amrit Naam, Name of the Lord. By becoming the Gurmukh, (one) attains (the Bliss of) Bhagti (devotion) of the Lord ||17|| (sggs 1285).
  • ਕੋਈ ਗਾਵੈ ਰਾਗੀ ਨਾਦੀ ਬੇਦੀ ਬਹੁ ਭਾਤਿ ਕਰਿ ਨਹੀ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਭੀਜੈ ਰਾਮ ਰਾਜੇ ॥: Koyee gaavai raagee naadee bedee bahu bhant kar nahee Har Har bheejai Raam Rajai: Some sing of Lord' glories through musical Ragas, through the Naad (conch, etc.), through the Vedas, and in so many other ways. But the Lord is not pleased by these (sggs 450).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਰਾਗ ਸੁਆਦ ਅਨ ਤਿਆਗੇ ॥: Gurmukhi raag suyaad ann tiyaagai: The Gurmukh renounces other "Raag" and tastes. (sggs 415).
To illustrate the point, once it so happened that right after the Kirtan Divaan, a famous Raagee Jathaa had a fit with the host. They accused the host for not paying them enough money for the Kirtan they had just performed in his house. On the contrary, during the Kirtan the same Raagee had been preaching the Sangat not to be greedy and selfish in life. However, as soon as the Kirtan was over, they were fighting with the host for not paying them big buck! Finally, someone from the congregation politely asked them why they were asking for so much money which the host was financial unable to pay. The ring leader of the Raagee Jathaa replied: "Do you know the difference in the going rate for actor Amitaabh Bachan and the other actors in India?" Since the Kirtan has become nothing more than a mundane business, he was implying that he was equal to the topnotch actor so he should be paid high price for his Kirtan performance. This is the corruption - "Kanik Kaamini" or greed and lust the Gurbani so much speak of. The Gurbani wants us to know that this is not the Kirtan the Gurmat talks about. Any Kirtan performed and heard in such hypocrisy or egoism (stubborn mindedness) is useless, thus rejected by the the Gurbani. Because, such Kirtan has nothing to do with the Bhagti or Naam-Simran or Shabad-Vichaar, consequently, it only results in accumulating more mental "filth". This is the reason the false ego in both Raagees and their listeners is on the rampant!
  • ਕਹਉ ਕਹਾ ਅਪਨੀ ਅਧਮਾਈ ॥ ਉਰਝਿਓ ਕਨਕ ਕਾਮਨੀ ਕੇ ਰਸ ਨਹ ਕੀਰਤਿ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਗਾਈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Kahaou kahaa apnee adhmaaee. Urjgio kanak kaamnee ke ras nah keerati prabh gaaee ||1||Rahaoou||: What can I say about my base nature (ਨੀਚਤਾ)? (My mind) remains entangled in the love of gold and women (ਧਨ-ਪਦਾਰਥ ਅਤੇ ਇਸਤ੍ਰੀ ਦੇ ਰਸਾਂ ਵਿਚ ਹੀ ਫਸਿਆ ਰਹਿਣਾ), and I have not sung the Kirtan of God's Praises (ਪਰਮਾਤਮ ਦੀ ਸਿਫਤਿ-ਸਾਲਾਹ) ||1||Pause|| (sggs 718).
  • ਨੈਨ ਦੇਖਿ ਪਤੰਗੁ ਉਰਝੈ ਪਸੁ ਨ ਦੇਖੈ ਆਗਿ ॥ ਕਾਲ ਫਾਸ ਨ ਮੁਗਧੁ ਚੇਤੈ ਕਨਿਕ ਕਾਮਿਨਿ ਲਾਗਿ ॥੨॥: Nain dekh patang urjhai pasu na dekhai aagi. Kaal phaas na mugadh chetai kanik kaamini laagi ||2||: The moth sees (fire, light of a lamp, etc.) with its eyes, but it still becomes entangled in it. Similarly, attached to gold and woman (ਧਨ-ਪਦਾਰਥ ਅਤੇ ਇਸਤ੍ਰੀ ਦੇ ਰਸਾਂ ਵਿਚ ਹੀ ਫਸਿਆ ਰਹਿਣਾ), the fool does not think of the noose of Death ||2|| (sggs 482).
Therefore, it goes without saying that the Kirtan is not to be taken as the intellectual or recreational pastime; nor it is to be taken as a concert or a club activity as we witness at the organized religious gatherings nowadays. Singing or listening Kirtan in this manner for the sake of pleasing the taste of one's senses is unavailing; because it only aids in enticing the senses further. It is like supplying more fuel to a burning blaze! Hence the Kirtan performed in any manner other than the Gurbani's intention results in added mental agitation, disturbance, discontentment and restlessness (impurity). The realm of Truth (Sach Khand), as mentioned in the Gurbani, is way beyond all such circus of mental activities (Karamkaand).
  • ਰਾਗ ਨਾਦ ਸਭ ਕੋ ਸੁਣੈ ਸਬਦ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਸਮਝੈ ਵਿਰਲੋਈ ।॥: Raag naad sabh ko sunai sabad surti samjahi virloee: Everybody just listen to "Raag and Naad", but a very rare one understands Shabad-Surti (Bhai Gurdaas, Vaar 15, Paurree 16).
  • ਬਿਲਾਵਲੁ ਤਬ ਹੀ ਕੀਜੀਐ ਜਬ ਮੁਖਿ ਹੋਵੈ ਨਾਮੁ ॥ ਰਾਗ ਨਾਦ ਸਬਦਿ ਸੋਹਣੇ ਜਾ ਲਾਗੈ ਸਹਜਿ ਧਿਆਨੁ ॥ ਰਾਗ ਨਾਦ ਛੋਡਿ ਹਰਿ ਸੇਵੀਐ ਤਾ ਦਰਗਹ ਪਾਈਐ ਮਾਨੁ ॥: Bilaaval tab hee keejeeyai jab mukhi hovai Raam. Raag naad Shabadi sohane jaa laagai sahaji dhiaan...: When the Naam (Naam = Giaan or Divine Knowledge obtained after Understanding the Gurbani...) is in your mouth, then sing the Bilaaval (Raagees define Bilaaval as the name of a Raga. The word "Bilaabal" also means perfect Joy or bliss. accordingly, this verse can also be interpretd as: the perfect bliss can be experienced only if the Lord's Name is in the mouth). The melody and music are beautiful only when, through the (Gur-) Shabad, "Sahaji Dhiaan" is experienced, within (i.e., contemplation, self-communication, Reflection, attention - ਸੁਰਤ, ਬਿਰਤੀ - by means of the Natural State of Being ...). Forsaking the Raag and Naad, serve the Lord (by focusing on the Naam); then the Honor in the Court of the Lord is obtained.. (sggs 849).
The Gurmat cannot be more clear than this. Apparently, the true meaning of the Kirtan has been totally derailed by our greed and Mann-Hatha. Realization of the Amrit (Immortality) of the Naam or God-consciousness is possible only through the sincere practice of the Shabad-Kamaaee, not by mere mechanical singing or hearing of the Kirtan in a business like manner ("Badhaa chattee jo bhare naa gun naa upkaar"). This is the reason hypocrite Raagees and their listeners only remain ego or body-conscious, rather than becoming situated at the Higher Taste: God-consciousness or Shabad-Surti.
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਰਾਗ ਸੁਆਦ ਅਨ ਤਿਆਗੇ ॥ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਭਗਤੀ ਜਾਗੇ ॥: Gurmukhi raag suaad ann tiaagai. Gurmukh ihu manu bhagti jaagai: The Gurmukh renounces other "Raag" and tastes. By becoming the Gurmukh, this mind is awakened to Bhagti (remains alert from Maya's spell, etc.). (sggs 415).
  • ਬਧਾ ਚਟੀ ਜੋ ਭਰੇ ਨਾ ਗੁਣੁ ਨਾ ਉਪਕਾਰੁ ॥ ਸੇਤੀ ਖੁਸੀ ਸਵਾਰੀਐ ਨਾਨਕ ਕਾਰਜੁ ਸਾਰੁ ॥੩॥: Badhaa chattee jo bhare naa gun naa upkaar. Sethee khusee savaareeai Nanak kaaraj saar ||3||: Paying a fine under pressure ( ਜੋ ਮਨੁੱਖ ਕੋਈ ਕੰਮ ਬੱਧਾ-ਰੁੱਧਾ ਕਰੇ - doing something under pressure, compulsion, obligation, constraints, helplessness, etc., such as performing for the sake of making money or living, etc.,) does not bring either merit or goodness (to oneself or to others). That alone is a good deed, O Nanak, which is done happily. ||3|| (sggs 787).
Cooking Separate Food In Stubbornness

Before and during the time of Baabaa Nanak, Brahmins or Pundits in their stubborn mindedness or fanaticism used to cook their own food separately. They also used their on utensils and kitchens. Many still do! It seems like their is a new class of Sikhs as well: the Brahamin Sikhs, who also cook their separate food!

For example, many fanatics will refuse to partake in the Langar (common kitchen) and eat with rest of the Sangat. Instead, they cook their own food in their separate utensils and kitchens. This is one of the burning examples of a stubborn minded person's display of ignorance and deluded ego.

The Gurbani thunders that no one would be helped along with one's nonsense rituals stemming from his mental concoctions, doubts, superstitions and fear. Accordingly, the Gurbani repudiates such useless practices, because they will not help anybody find God.

It's not that the Gurbani is only telling Brahmins or Pundits not to practice such worthless rituals, it is also urging the Sikhs as well! If  a Sikh does than why wouldn't a Brahmin be helped along with his rituals, or a Muslim or a Christian or a Yogi with his? How absurd! The fact of the matter is that the Gurbani's instructions are for the good of all mankind; including Sikhs as well.

Yet, many self-appointed saints and Baabaas (and their followers), Sikh and non-Sikh alike, fanatically cook their own food; using their separate utensils and kitchens! Although they preach or attend the congregations at religious gatherings, but refuse to eat food from the Langar, or share their own cooking with others. Apparently, when it comes to God and Spiritual matters, such Manmukhs do not know the difference between the ear and the elbow! According to the Gurbani, whosoever practices such absurd ritual is a fanatic, ignorant or Manmukh; because he does not understand the true meaning of the Gur-Shabad, or on account of his greed he does not care.

  • ਉਦਮੁ ਕਰਿ ਲਾਗੇ ਬਹੁ ਭਾਤੀ ਬਿਚਰਹਿ ਅਨਿਕ ਸਾਸਤ੍ਰ ਬਹੁ ਖਟੂਆ ॥ ਭਸਮ ਲਗਾਇ ਤੀਰਥ ਬਹੁ ਭ੍ਰਮਤੇ ਸੂਖਮ ਦੇਹ ਬੰਧਹਿ ਬਹੁ ਜਟੂਆ ॥ ਬਿਨੁ ਹਰਿ ਭਜਨ ਸਗਲ ਦੁਖ ਪਾਵਤ ਜਿਉ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਬਢਾਇ ਸੂਤ ਕੇ ਹਟੂਆ ॥ ਪੂਜਾ ਚਕ੍ਰ ਕਰਤ ਸੋਮਪਾਕਾ ਅਨਿਕ ਭਾਂਤਿ ਥਾਟਹਿ ਕਰਿ ਥਟੂਆ ॥੨॥੧੧॥੨੦॥: Uddam kar laage bahu bhantee ...: (Many Men) are engaged in making efforts many ways. They reflect upon the various aspects of the six Shaastras. Rubbing ashes all over their bodies, many wander around at the various sacred shrines of pilgrimage; they fast until their bodies are emaciated, and braid their hair into tangled messes. Many perform worship ceremonies, draw ritual marks on their bodies, cook their own food fanatically (ਸੁੱਚ ਦੀ ਖਾਤਰ), and make pompous shows of themselves in all sorts of ways. Without devotional worship of the Lord, they all suffer in pain, caught in the tangled web of their love (of all their pompous shows - ਅਡੰਬਰ). ||2||11||20|| (sggs 1389).
  • ਮਾਣਸ ਖਾਣੇ ਕਰਹਿ ਨਿਵਾਜ ॥ ਛੁਰੀ ਵਗਾਇਨਿ ਤਿਨ ਗਲਿ ਤਾਗ ॥ ਤਿਨ ਘਰਿ ਬ੍ਰਹਮਣ ਪੂਰਹਿ ਨਾਦ ॥ ਉਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਾ ਭਿ ਆਵਹਿ ਓਈ ਸਾਦ ॥ ਕੂੜੀ ਰਾਸਿ ਕੂੜਾ ਵਾਪਾਰੁ ॥ ਕੂੜੁ ਬੋਲਿ ਕਰਹਿ ਆਹਾਰੁ ॥ ਸਰਮ ਧਰਮ ਕਾ ਡੇਰਾ ਦੂਰਿ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਕੂੜੁ ਰਹਿਆ ਭਰਪੂਰਿ ॥ ਮਥੈ ਟਿਕਾ ਤੇੜਿ ਧੋਤੀ ਕਖਾਈ ॥ ਹਥਿ ਛੁਰੀ ਜਗਤ ਕਾਸਾਈ ॥ ਨੀਲ ਵਸਤ੍ਰ ਪਹਿਰਿ ਹੋਵਹਿ ਪਰਵਾਣੁ ॥ ਮਲੇਛ ਧਾਨੁ ਲੇ ਪੂਜਹਿ ਪੁਰਾਣੁ ॥ ਅਭਾਖਿਆ ਕਾ ਕੁਠਾ ਬਕਰਾ ਖਾਣਾ ॥ ਚਉਕੇ ਉਪਰਿ ਕਿਸੈ ਨ ਜਾਣਾ ॥ ਦੇ ਕੈ ਚਉਕਾ ਕਢੀ ਕਾਰ ॥ ਉਪਰਿ ਆਇ ਬੈਠੇ ਕੂੜਿਆਰ ॥ ਮਤੁ ਭਿਟੈ ਵੇ ਮਤੁ ਭਿਟੈ ॥ ਇਹੁ ਅੰਨੁ ਅਸਾਡਾ ਫਿਟੈ ॥ ਤਨਿ ਫਿਟੈ ਫੇੜ ਕਰੇਨਿ ॥ ਮਨਿ ਜੂਠੈ ਚੁਲੀ ਭਰੇਨਿ ॥ ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਸਚੁ ਧਿਆਈਐ ॥ ਸੁਚਿ ਹੋਵੈ ਤਾ ਸਚੁ ਪਾਈਐ ॥੨॥: Maanas khaane karahi nivaaj ... (sggs 471-472).
Destruction of Stubbornness

Preceding are just a few examples of the man's stubborn mindedness as seen by the Gurbani. We are repeatedly asked by the Gurbani to destroy our mental stubbornness, once for ever. The abandonment of mental stubbornness will help us to retrace our steps back to our Mool within (Source, Origin, Jot...). Therefore, we are asked by the Gurbani to renounce all our Mann-Hatha.

But it's not so easy! First of all, from the very childhood we are systematically led into believing in stubborn-mindedness and related rituals. Second,our life is full of quarrel, cheating, deceit, cynicism, hypocrisy, duplicity, misinformation, etc. Further, we are short-lived; not very intelligent and fortunate; and perpetually disturbed and agitated by anxieties. Third, our mind is ever flickering, turbulent, swift, restless, obstinate, tossing around and so strong that it often overcomes even one's own intelligence. Thus, the present age is a bitter struggle for a life of short duration!

Just as a blind cannot see a garden of beautiful flowers, just as a drunkard cannot be instructed in the subtleties of spirituality, just as hair cannot grow on a tortoise's shell, just as a dead cannot get up and run, just as a lotus cannot grow on a rock, and just as there is no oil in the sand grains, similarly, the stubborn mindedness is not conducive for Bhagti or Naam-Simran or Shabad-Vichaar . Accordingly, the Gurbani challenges us to fight against our Mann-Hatha.

  • ਮਨ ਸਿਉ ਜੂਝਿ ਮਰੈ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਪਾਏ ਮਨਸਾ ਮਨਹਿ ਸਮਾਏ ॥: Mann siou joojhi marai prabh paae mansaa manahi sammae: One who dies (from ego, ਹਉਮੈ ਵਲੋਂ ) fighting against his own mind, and directs his mind's wanderings (ਫੁਰਨੇ) permeate in the mind finds God (sggs 353).
Maya is stubborn and persistent; so is Mayadhaaree (stubborn being). Prisoned in the fortress of ignorance of the Mool within (Source, Origin, Jot...), Maya has shut its stubborn doors on us; consequently, we cannot see the Light. Our stubborn mindedness does not allow us plant the seeds of Intuitive Wisdom. Caught in the love of duality (Maya), thus, we have forgotten the treasure of the Naam-consciousness (Aatam Giaan...). Instead, we attach our material consciousness to the foul-smelling pile of "filth", which is transitory, like the fading color of the safflower. In Mann-Hatha, we wander in ten direction; continually spinning around, like the potter’s wheel. In sorrow, we eat, and in sorrow, we gather things and try to enjoy them, but we only increase our stores of sorrow.
  • ਹੋਇ ਢੀਠ ਮੀਠੀ ਮਨਹਿ ਲਾਗੈ ਨਾਮੁ ਲੈਣ ਨ ਆਵਏ ॥: Hoi dheeth meethee manahi laagai naam lain n aavae: Maya is stubborn and persistent (ਭਾਵ, ਮੁੜ ਮੁੜ ਆਪਣੇ ਹਾਵ-ਭਾਵ ਵਿਖਾ ਕੇ); (because of he being so stubborn and persistent, finaly) she seems sweet to the the mind, and then (under her spell - ਇਸ ਮੋਹਣੀ ਮਾਇਆ ਦੇ ਅਸਰ ਹੇਠ) he cannot chant the Naam (sggs 847).
  • ਮਨਹਠਿ ਜੋ ਕਮਾਵੈ ਤਿਲੁ ਨ ਲੇਖੈ ਪਾਵੈ ਬਗੁਲ ਜਿਉ ਧਿਆਨੁ ਲਾਵੈ ਮਾਇਆ ਰੇ ਧਾਰੀ ॥: Mannhathi jo kamaavai til na lekhai paavai bagul jiou dhiaan laavai Maya re dhaaree: One who acts (performs religious acts, etc.) through stubbornness is of no account at all (his actions are of no avail); (because) like a crane, he pretends to meditate, but he is still stuck in Maya (i.e., he is Mayadhaaree - ਮਾਇਆ ਧਾਰੀ) (sggs 687)
This brings us to the following question: How can the stubborn mindedness (contaminated intellect or false ego) be destroyed? As reveals throughout the Gurbani, the stubborn mindedness can be eradicated by attaining Aatam Giaan through the Shabad-Vichaar.
  • ਮਨੁ ਕਠੋਰੁ ਸਬਦਿ ਭੇਦਿ ਤੂੰ ਸਾਂਤਿ ਵਸੈ ਮਨਿ ਆਇ : Mann kathor Sabad bhed toon shant vasai mann aai: Pierce your hard mind (that has become hard on account of stubbornness - ਭਾਵ, ਮਨ ਨੂੰ ਜੋ ਹਠ ਦੇ ਕਾਰਨ ਕਠੋਰ ਹੈ) with the the Shabad; so that Peace and Tranquility come to abide in your mind (sggs 551).
  • ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਸਬਦਿ ਮਰੈ ਮਨੁ ਮਾਰੇ ਹਉਮੈ ਜਾਇ ਸਮਾਇਆ ॥੫॥: Gur kai sabadi marai manu maare haumai jaai samiaa ||5||: Who dies in the the Gur-Shabad (Naam-Giaan...), conquers his mind; his egotism departs; and he merges (in his Mool-Source...) ||5|| (sggs 1068).
  • ਮਨਹਠਿ ਕਿਤੈ ਉਪਾਇ ਨ ਛੂਟੀਐ ਸਿਮ੍ਰਿਤਿ ਸਾਸਤ੍ਰ ਸੋਧਹੁ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਮਿਲਿ ਸੰਗਤਿ ਸਾਧੂ ਉਬਰੇ ਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਸਬਦੁ ਕਮਾਇ ॥੬॥: Mannhathi kitai upaai n shutteeai simriti saastra sodhahu jaai. Mil sangat saadhoo ubre Gur kaa Sabad kamaai: Acting in stubborn-mindedness, no one is saved (from the poison of Haumai or ego...); go and study Simritees and the Shaastras. Associating with the Saadhoo (the mended mind linked to its Mool within...), and practicing the Gur-Shabad (Shabad-Vichaar), (man) is saved (from Haumai or ego...). ||6|| (sggs 65).
When one’s mind abides in the Shabad-Surti, he radiates Aatam Giaan, and one becomes a Gurmukh (Spiritual Being) — one who understands his Mool. He then merges in Sahaj Avasthaa, and the stubborn foolishness departs.
  • ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦੀ ਹਰਿ ਪਾਈਐ ਹਰਿ ਪਾਰਿ ਲਘਾਇ ॥ ਮਨਹਠਿ ਕਿਨੈ ਨ ਪਾਇਓ ਪੁਛਹੁ ਵੇਦਾ ਜਾਇ ॥: Gursabadee hari paayeeai hari paar langhaai. Mannhathi kinai n paaio pushahu vedaa jaai: God that carries us acrosss (the world-ocean) is attained through the Gur-Shabad. Through stubborn-mindedness, none have found Him; go and consult the Vedas on this (i.e., the ancient scriptures also confirm this) (sggs 86).
  • ਮਃ ੨ ॥ ਮਨਹਠਿ ਤਰਫ ਨ ਜਿਪਈ ਜੇ ਬਹੁਤਾ ਘਾਲੇ ॥ ਤਰਫ ਜਿਣੈ ਸਤ ਭਾਉ ਦੇ ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਸਬਦੁ ਵੀਚਾਰੇ ॥੪॥: M: 2|| Mann hathi taraf n jipaee je bahutaa ghaale. Taraph jinai sat bhaaou de jan Nanak Sabadu veechaare ||4||: M: 2. Stubborn-mindedness will not win God to (your) side, no matter how much it is tried. O servant Nanak, God is won over to (your) side, by offering Him your true motives (love, devotion, etc.), and contemplating the Shabad (i.e., ਸੁਭ ਭਾਵਨਾ ਤੇ ਗੁਰ-ਸਬਦ ਨੂੰ ਵੀਚਾਰਣਾਂ) ||4|| (sggs 787).

—T. Singh 
www.gurbani.org


FOOTNOTE 1 & 2: This is not a criticism of anything or any entity, but instead, a specific point intended to foster a true spiritual understanding of the Shabad [Return to footnote 1] , [Return to footnote 2].