ANIMAL-MAN

This world is like a wild jungle. (All Jeeva or individual beings) live in this world-jungle (ਸੰਸਾਰ-ਜੰਗਲ, ਸੰਸਾਰ-ਉਜਾੜ),
where one's relatives are dogs, jackals and donkeys (i.e., the conduct of Jeevas in this world is like dogs, jackals and donkeys).
In this difficult place, the mind is intoxicated with the wine of emotional attachment; the five unconquered thieves
( lust, anger, greed, etc.) lurk there. Jeevas wander lost in love and emotional attachment, fear and doubt; they are
caught in the sharp, strong noose of egoism. The ocean of this fire (desires, etc.) is terrifying and impassable (sggs 1359).
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Why are we put on earth? Is "eat, drink and be merry" the purpose of life? The scriptures unanimously declare otherwise; for human life is only meant for Spiritual-realization. Therefore, the Divine purpose in placing us on this earth in human form is to enable us to take measures which will ensure no repeated suffering. Animals live by uninhibited lust and self-centered instincts to preserve their own existence. But, the intelligent man is expected to rise above his animal nature and come to live a more noble, useful, creative, unselfish life, etc. - the Divine or Gurmukh Lifestyle. The quality of our actions, however, cannot be raised above animal passions without raising the texture of our thoughts and the depth of our understanding (ਸੂਝ-ਬੂਝ).

  • ਮੂਲੁ ਨ ਬੂਝਹਿ ਆਪਣਾ ਸੇ ਪਸੂਆ ਸੇ ਢੋਰ ਜੀਉ ॥: Moolu na boojhahi aapanaa se pasooaa se dhor jeeou: Those who do not understand their own Mool (Source, Origin, Jot...); they are beasts and they are cattle (i.e., great fools of animal intellect-ਡੰਗਰ ਬੁਧੀ ਵਾਲੇ ਮਹਾਂ ਮੂਰਖ)! (sggs 751).
  • ਖਾਤ ਪੀਤ ਖੇਲਤ ਹਸਤ ਬਿਸਥਾਰ ॥ ਕਵਨ ਅਰਥ ਮਿਰਤਕ ਸੀਗਾਰ ॥੨॥ ਜੋ ਨ ਸੁਨਹਿ ਜਸੁ ਪਰਮਾਨੰਦਾ ॥ ਪਸੁ ਪੰਖੀ ਤ੍ਰਿਗਦ ਜੋਨਿ ਤੇ ਮੰਦਾ ॥੩॥: Khaat peet khelat hasat bisathaar. Kavan arath miratak seegaar. ||2|| Jo n sunahi jasu paramaanandaa. Pasu pankhee trigad joni te mandaa ||3||: (People devoid of the Naam) make ostentaion of eating, drinking, playing, and laughing. (But it's as) useless as decorations on a dead body ||2|| Those who do not listen to the Praises (ਸਿਫਤ-ਸਾਲਾਹ, Divine Virtues, Divine Wisdom...) of the (Lord of the) Supreme Bliss, are worse off than beasts, birds, or creeping creatures (sggs 188).
  • ਮਨਮੁਖ ਤਤੁ ਨ ਜਾਣਨੀ ਪਸੂ ਮਾਹਿ ਸਮਾਨਾ ॥੩॥: Manmukh tatu na jaananee pasoo maahi samaanaa ||3|| (sggs 1009).

The Gurbani asks human beings to understand the significance of their birth and the Gurmukh and live a Divine Life. A Wise man, therefore, will use this human life to engage in the Shabad-Vichaar from early on, and strive for the attainment of Aatam Giaan (Divine Knowledge, Spiritual Wisdom). Therefore, how one makes the optimum use of the opportunity given is within one's sway and capacity.

  • ਜੇਵੇਹੇ ਕਰਮ ਕਮਾਵਦਾ ਤੇਵੇਹੇ ਫਲਤੇ ॥: Jevehe karma kamaavadaa tevehe phalate: One obtains fruits according to the deeds which he does (sggs 317).
  • ਭਈ ਪਰਾਪਤਿ ਮਾਨੁਖ ਦੇਹੁਰੀਆ ॥ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਮਿਲਣ ਕੀ ਇਹ ਤੇਰੀ ਬਰੀਆ ॥ ਅਵਰਿ ਕਾਜ ਤੇਰੈ ਕਿਤੈ ਨ ਕਾਮ ॥ ਮਿਲੁ ਸਾਧਸੰਗਤਿ ਭਜੁ ਕੇਵਲ ਨਾਮ ॥੧॥: Bhaee praapat maanukh dehureeaa. Gobind milan kee ih teree bareeaa. Avar kaaj terai kitai n kaam. Mil saadh sangat bhaj keval Naam ||1||: (You) have obtained (this) human body. This is your chance (time, opportunity...) to meet God. (If no effort is put forward to Realize God, then) all other efforts (work, ਉੱਦਮ) will be of no use (to your Soul). (Therefore) merge with the Saadhsangt and contemplate the Naam (Gur- or Aatm-Giaan...) alone ||1|| (sggs 12).

Human are also endowed with the discriminating intellect known as Bibek Budhi. This subtle sense of discrimination helps one to know the difference between the Sat & Asat (truth and falsehood). Accordingly, among all living species, the man is most fit to be instructed about the nature of the Supreme Truth, the Essence of Divinity. In other words, the Spiritual Knowledge (Aatam-Giaan) is primarily meant for human beings, not for non-human species; because Bhagti (Understand the Gurmat-Aatam Giaan) is possible only in this human body; not in any non-human form such as animals, birds, insects, worms, vegetation, stones, etc. This leads to a question: Are we really living this human life any better than non-human beings? Is our conduct any better than non-human entities? Or, are we foolishly wasting it away in repeated pain and delusion?

  • ਮਾਇਆ ਮੋਹਿ ਵਿਸਾਰਿਆ ਸਚੁ ਮਰਣਾ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ॥ ਧੰਧਾ ਕਰਤਿਆ ਜਨਮੁ ਗਇਆ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਦੁਖੁ ਸਹਾਮੁ ॥: Maya moh visaariaa sach marnaa Harinaam. Dhandaa kartiaa janam gaiaa andar dukh sahaam: Emotionally attached to Maya, the mortal forgets Truth, death and God's Name. Engaged in worldly affairs (Maya), his life wastes away; and deep within himself, he suffers in pain (sggs 1248).
There are four things common in animals and human beings: eating, sleeping, mating, and defending. Due to material conditioning of the Soul, we essentially conduct ourselves in these four animal propensities and, consequently, remain in material consciousness. The effects of such mental conditioning are so overwhelming that we render ourselves unfit for ascending to the more uplifting mode of goodness. Thus illusioned in the dense forest of ignorance, we try to dominate the material nature; subjecting ourselves to its adverse effects in the bargain.
  • 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).
  • ਬਿਨੁ ਨਾਵੈ ਸਭ ਨੀਚ ਜਾਤਿ ਹੈ ਬਿਸਟਾ ਕਾ ਕੀੜਾ ਹੋਇ ॥੭॥: Bin naavai sabh neech jaat hai bista ka keeraa hoi ||7||: Without the Name, every one is of Jaati, like the worm of ordure ||7|| (sggs 426).

To be merely interested in the satisfaction of bodily demands like animals; or to have the animalistic knowledge of eating, sleeping, mating, and defending is the Spiritual ignorance (Maya, impurities, ego-sense, etc.) so much talked about in the revealed scriptures. With such defective "knowledge", one cannot expect to be linked with the Mool within (Source, Origin, Jot...). In fact, as we know it, man's conduct can be even worse than that of non-human entities!

In this context, With the help of the Divine Guide of the Gurbani (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, SGGS), this Gurbani Reflection will attempt to reflect on the conduct of some non-human species - deer, donkey, jackass, camel, horse, monkey, elephant, dog, sheep, beast, lion, tortoise, hog, pig, frog, fish, vultures, cuckoo, sparrow-hawk, Chakvee, swan or Hans, duct, crane, heron, stork, parrot, ant, snake, crow, scorpion, jackal, honeybee, butterfly, bumblebee, flies, silkworm, moth, tick, lotus, Chandan, and so on -  and see what we humans can learn from them!

  • ਮਾਰੂ ਕਬੀਰ ਜੀਉ ॥ ਦੀਨੁ ਬਿਸਾਰਿਓ ਰੇ ਦਿਵਾਨੇ ਦੀਨੁ ਬਿਸਾਰਿਓ ਰੇ ॥ ਪੇਟੁ ਭਰਿਓ ਪਸੂਆ ਜਿਉ ਸੋਇਓ ਮਨੁਖੁ ਜਨਮੁ ਹੈ ਹਾਰਿਓ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਸਾਧਸੰਗਤਿ ਕਬਹੂ ਨਹੀ ਕੀਨੀ ਰਚਿਓ ਧੰਧੈ ਝੂਠ ॥ ਸੁਆਨ ਸੂਕਰ ਬਾਇਸ ਜਿਵੈ ਭਟਕਤੁ ਚਾਲਿਓ ਊਠਿ ॥੧॥: Maaroo Kabeer jeeou || Deen bisaariyo re divaane deen bisaariyo re ...:  Maaroo Kabeer jeeou. O madman, You have forgotten your Dharma; you have forgotten your Dharma. Like animals, you fill your belly and sleep; you have wasted and lost this human life. ||1||Pause|| You never joined the Saadh Sangat, the Company of the Holy. You are engrossed in false pursuits. Wandering like a dog, a pig, a crow you will depart (from this world). ||1|| (sggs 1105).
As repeatedly quoted in the Gurbani, the conduct of a deer (Marig) exhibits a very peculiar three-phased behavior. First, he is mentioned for his illusion of perceiving water in the mirage (Marig-Trishnaa); second, he is mentioned for his ignorance of searching musk (Kastooree) in the bushes instead of its own body; and third, he is mentioned for his sense-slavery whereby he gets hunted due to his misuse of his senses! Deer's behavior in all of these instances is equated to "ignorance" or "illusion", for there is neither water in the mirage, nor musk in the bushes, nor real joy in sense gratification. However, to the deluded mind of the deer all these situations appear to be very real!

In reality, the musk is stored within the deer's body, but in illusioned he searches for it outside in the jungle. The mirage is nothing but rising hot air in the desert, but the deluded deer perceives it to be a real river of water and chases it till he dies. Similarly, even though the world-appearance is no more than a long dream or mirage-like illusion, we humans have taken it to be real. Even though the Mool within (Source, Origin, Jot...), the source of Truth-Knowledge-Bliss, dwells within our body, we keep searching Him in the gross objects of the outer world! The important thing humans can learn from deer's deluded conduct is that "what we deem a thing to be, in reality, it is not like that"!

  • ਘਰ ਹੀ ਮਹਿ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਭਰਪੂਰੁ ਹੈ ਮਨਮੁਖਾ ਸਾਦੁ ਨ ਪਾਇਆ ॥ ਜਿਉ ਕਸਤੂਰੀ ਮਿਰਗੁ ਨ ਜਾਣੈ ਭ੍ਰਮਦਾ ਭਰਮਿ ਭੁਲਾਇਆ ॥: Ghar hee mahi amrit bharbhoor hai manmukhaa saad na paaiaa. Jiou kastooree mirg na janai bharamdaa bharm bhulaaiaa: As the body-house (the Soul, Heart, etc.) is brimful with the Amrit (Naam), still, because of the deluded mind, the self-willed Manmukh (perverse, one in material consciousness, etc.) does not recognize or experience it. (He is) like the deer, who does not recognize its own musk-scent (that is located within its own body); (but to find the musk-scent) it wanders around, deluded by doubt (sggs 644).
Accordingly, the Gurbani declares that the root of man's suffering is his ignorance of his True Nature - the Unconditioned Consciousness. Identifying ourselves with the world of sensory experience we attempt to find the everlasting Bliss in the evanescent sense gratification, deluding ourselves in the bargain. These efforts provide us temporary joy, followed by long spells of miseries and sorrows! It is a rare person, declare the scriptures, who rise above the world-illusion and tries to find out the real Source of the True Joy that will be everlasting in nature. Thus, as the scriptures point out, there is not much difference in the conduct of the man and that of a deer. Just like the deer, we also wander around in the wilderness of doubts caused by Maya's deception (mental delusion). Consequently, we also search outside, in other places and objects, for the sublime thing such as the Lord, Bliss, Naam, Panch Shabad, Anahad Naad, etc. The fact is: It is all hidden within our own body!
  • ਸਭ ਕਿਛੁ ਘਰ ਮਹਿ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਨਾਹੀ ॥ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਟੋਲੈ ਸੋ ਭਰਮਿ ਭੁਲਾਹੀ ॥ ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦੀ ਜਿਨੀ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਪਾਇਆ ਸੋ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਸੁਹੇਲਾ ਜੀਉ ॥੧॥: Sabh kishu ghar mahi... (sggs 102).
  • ਮ੍ਰਿਗ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਗੰਧਰਬ ਨਗਰੰ ਦ੍ਰੁਮ ਛਾਯਾ ਰਚਿ ਦੁਰਮਤਿਹ ॥: Misled by the wicked intellect, (mortal) assumes an illusory image of a city, mirage, and the transitory shade of a tree to be real (sggs 1356).
Under the influence of corrupt senses, man looses his sanity and acts like animals, says the Gurbani. In the name and guise of fulfilling his necessary needs, false ego (ignorance) lures him to continuously seek self-satisfaction until death, resulting only in further suffering, sorrow, worry, and anxiety. In such conditioned state of his mind, the only enjoy known to man is five fields of the objects of the five cognitive senses - forms, taste, sounds, smells, and touches. Conditioned consciousness (false ego-sense, Maya, etc.) confounded itself with the frame of the body, seeing through the ignorance of its own True Nature, perceives a world of sense-objects, and thus deluded by its own false perceptions, experiences the world of gross objects, and ruins his happiness, health, mind, intelligence, memory, and discriminative judgment.
  • ਮਨੁ ਭੂਲਉ ਭਰਮਸਿ ਭਵਰ ਤਾਰ ॥ ਬਿਲ ਬਿਰਥੇ ਚਾਹੈ ਬਹੁ ਬਿਕਾਰ ॥ ਮੈਗਲ ਜਿਉ ਫਾਸਸਿ ਕਾਮਹਾਰ ॥ ਕੜਿ ਬੰਧਨਿ ਬਾਧਿਓ ਸੀਸ ਮਾਰ ॥੨॥: Man bhoolau bharamas bhavar taar ...: The mind, deluded by doubt, buzzes (wanders) around like a bumblebee. Through the holes (senses organs) of the body, the mind desires to indulge in worthless passions (Bikaars). It gets trapped like the elephant gets trapped by its own lust; who is held tight by the chains, and beaten on its head. ||2|| (sggs 1188).
How our out-going senses can get us in trouble is beautifully explained in the scriptures through the illustration of the conduct of the deer, elephant, moth, fish, and black bee. For example, the elephant is caught and enslaved by exciting his sensuousness; due to misuse of its eyes, the moth is attracted to light and gets burnt; due to its uncontrolled urge of sound, the deer is caught by bell's music; the fish opens her mouth to eat "bate" and gets caught to lose its life; and because of its nose's uncontrolled urge for smell, the black bee gets entrapped in the flower and kills itself.

Likewise the mental disease of deer, elephant, fish, moth, and bee, the man is inflicted with the disease of false ego (Haumai). The first perverted son of this false ego is lust. It is the lust in man that creates the need for material wealth ("Kanik Kaamini"). He then tries to satisfy his lust. When he cannot, anger and greed arise. This trio is known as the three gates leading man to a hellish life, or degradation of his Soul. In such degraded condition, one cannot act as he likes. As a result, through the corrupted sense of vision, man lusts after material objects; through the corrupted sense of hearing, man craves to hear the slow poison of flattery and other sounds that rouse his material nature; through the corrupted sense of smell, he is enticed toward wrong environments and actions; through the corrupted sense of taste, he is lured to consume such foods and drinks that destroy his physical and mental well being; and the contaminated sense of touch lusts him for indulgence in physical comforts and sensuousness.

  • ਹਉਮੈ ਰੋਗੁ ਮਾਨੁਖ ਕਉ ਦੀਨਾ ॥: Haumai rog Maanukh kaou deenaa: Mankind is afflicted with the disease of egoism (sggs 1140).
Haumai gives rise to all evil inclinations - that is, animal nature. In foolishness, we refuse to flow with the life or accept it as it comes; consequently, we get stuck in the mud of material bondage - the rule of senses. Instead of observing the passing show as a passing show (Leelaa) with dispassion, man gets stuck to worldly objects and move along with them. Like the bumblebee which collects honey, we eagerly gather and collect mere material wealth. With relish and delight, our uncontrolled senses continually bite at the bait; entrapping us in the snare of Maya. Immersed and engrossed in our possessions, we act in false pride. Unable to go beyond the "I-am-the-body" idea, with us the world of names and forms is all - the world that is mind-made, subjective, temporary, and hanging on the thread of memory or conditioning (Vaasnaas).
  • ਪੰਕਜ ਫਾਥੇ ਪੰਕ ਮਹਾ ਮਦ ਗੁੰਫਿਆ ॥ ਅੰਗ ਸੰਗ ਉਰਝਾਇ ਬਿਸਰਤੇ ਸੁੰਫਿਆ ॥ ਹੈ ਕੋਊ ਐਸਾ ਮੀਤੁ ਜਿ ਤੋਰੈ ਬਿਖਮ ਗਾਂਠਿ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਇਕੁ ਸ੍ਰੀਧਰ ਨਾਥੁ ਜਿ ਟੂਟੇ ਲੇਇ ਸਾਂਠਿ ॥੧੫॥: Pankaj phaathe pank mahaa mad gunphiyaa ...: The wings of the bumble bee become intoxicated (with the fragrance of the lotus flower, and) get caught in the fragrant petals of the lotus. With its limbs entangled in the petals, it forgets to fly (This is the condition of Jeeva-individual beings - ਇਹੀ ਹਾਲ ਹੈ ਜੀਵ-ਭੌਰੇ ਦਾ - intoxicated with Maya, it is stuck or tied to her). Is there any such Friend (the Gurmukh, the Saint, etc.), who can untie this difficult knot (of Maya to which the Jeeva is tied)? O Nanak, the One Supreme God of the earth reunites the separated ones ||15|| (sggs 1362-1363).
Emotional attachment to the sense objects results in nothing but further thickening of our mental conditioning (ignorance, delusion, desires, fear, etc.). The mind so conditioned is compared in the scriptures with a camel. For example, the camel never stops from eating thorny bushes and trees even though the sharp thorns make his mouth bleed! Similarly, the mind of a  person obsessed with ignorance and evil passions indulges in sense gratification even though he suffers!
  • ਕਰਹਲੇ ਮਨ ਪਰਦੇਸੀਆ ਕਿਉ ਮਿਲੀਐ ਹਰਿ ਮਾਇ ॥: Karhale mann pardeseeaa kiyu mileeai Hari maai: O my wandering, camel -like mind - (think) how will you meet God, the Mother (i.e., who takes care of us like a mother)?  (sggs 234).
Untrained horse and uncontrolled senses behave in a similar manner. It's safe to ride a trained horse, however, it's suicidal to ride a wild one. Similarly, the purified (Spiritualized) senses are harmless to use, whilst the uncontrolled senses brings one nothing but troubles. Our bodily senses are directed by the sense objects; sense objects are directed by the mind; the mind is directed by the intelligence, and so on. However, the untrained or deluded mind is so restless, turbulent, obstinate and strong that it often overcomes even one's own intelligence, like an acute infection that may even surpass the efficacy of medicine.

To look at it from another angle, this material body is like a horse-cart, an individual Jeeva is the passenger in this cart, intelligence is the driver, the senses are the horses, and the mind is the driving instrument. If the mind is in complete control of the Spiritual Wisdom, the individual will be the enjoyer in the association of the mind and the senses. On the contrary, if the mind is not in the control of the Spirit, the individual will be the sufferer.

  • ਦੇਹ ਪਾਵਉ ਜੀਨੁ ਬੁਝਿ ਚੰਗਾ ਰਾਮ ॥ ਚੜਿ ਲੰਘਾ ਜੀ ਬਿਖਮੁ ਭੁਇਅੰਗਾ ਰਾਮ ॥ ਬਿਖਮੁ ਭੁਇਅੰਗਾ ਅਨਤ ਤਰੰਗਾ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਪਾਰਿ ਲੰਘਾਏ ॥: Deh paavou jeenu Bujhi Changaa Raam ...:I place the saddle of the realization of the Good Lord on the body-horse. Riding this horse, I cross over the treacherous world-ocean (ਸੰਸਾਰ-ਸਮੁੰਦਰ). This treacherous world-ocean is rocked by countless waves (of Bikaars), but becoming the Gurmukh (one) is carried across. (sggs 575).
Our body has two sets of sensors - the sensor of nerves, and the sensor of sensory apparatus. The sensor of nerves keeps our organs, limbs, and muscles functional. The sensor of sensory apparatus keeps our brain informed of the outside world of sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing. A Self-realized being (Gurmukh) can control both sensors at will, because he never let them act independently. Through constant practice, he is able to control them according to his own plan. The best example or analogy can be given that of a tortoise. The tortoise's defense consists of his outer shell. He extends his six limbs (four legs, head and a tail) or senses out of the shell for particular purpose. However, as soon as he feels harm or danger, he immediately withdraws them within the armor of his shell.

Diseases of the mind are subtle, thereby, invisible to our material eyes. The greatest of all these diseases is the ego born ignorance of our Essential Nature as Joti-Svaroopa. The projection of this false ego are diseases like lust, anger, greed, attachment, pride, jealousy, stubborn mindedness, enviousness, hatred, animosity, duality, fear, selfishness, quarrel, slandering of others, lower quality thoughts, aggressiveness, cruelty, wickedness, prejudices, cheating, lie, hypocrisy, deceptiveness, and so on. These mental ailments shape our thoughts and actions, which, in turn, shape our destiny and fate. Like jackal, we thus get caught in the self-created web of our own mental ailments. An example of silkworm may help understand it better. As we know, a silkworm spins silk cocoon around itself. Upon completion of the cocoon, the initial step in manufacture of the silk is to kill the insect inside the cocoon. This is done by throwing the silkworm (and its cocoon that it has spinned aroud itself) into boiling water or an hot oven. Thus, a silkworm shapes its own fate and destiny by weaving silk around itself. Similarly, we also weave our good or bad fate and destiny by our own thoughts, speech and deeds. By weaving the cocoon of false ego around ourselves, we suffer here in this world and hereafter.

  • ਦਦੈ ਦੋਸੁ ਨ ਦੇਊ ਕਿਸੈ ਦੋਸੁ ਕਰੰਮਾ ਆਪਣਿਆ ॥ ਜੋ ਮੈ ਕੀਆ ਸੋ ਮੈ ਪਾਇਆ ਦੋਸੁ ਨ ਦੀਜੈ ਅਵਰ ਜਨਾ ॥: Daddai dos na deyoo kisai dos krammaa aapaniaa. Jo mai keeaa so mai paaiaa dos na deejai avar janaa: Dadda (a letter of the Gurmukhi alphabet), I should not blame anyone else (for my suffering); I blame instead my own actions. Whatever I did, for that I have suffered; I don't blame anyone else (sggs 433).
  • ਜੇਹਾ ਬੀਜੈ ਸੋ ਲੁਣੈ ਕਰਮਾ ਸੰਦੜਾ ਖੇਤੁ ॥: Jehaa beejai so lunai karma sandarhaa khetu (sggs 134).
  • ਜੈਸਾ ਸੇਵੈ ਤੈਸੋ ਹੋਇ ॥੪॥: Jaisaa sevai taiso hoi ||4||: one becomes just like the One he serves (as one thinks, so he becomes). ||4|| (sggs 223).
  • ਤੁਮ ਮਖਤੂਲ ਸੁਪੇਦ ਸਪੀਅਲ ਹਮ ਬਪੁਰੇ ਜਸ ਕੀਰਾ ॥ ਸਤਸੰਗਤਿ ਮਿਲਿ ਰਹੀਐ ਮਾਧਉ ਜੈਸੇ ਮਧੁਪ ਮਖੀਰਾ ॥੨॥: Tum makhatool suped sapeeal ham bapure jas keeraa. Satsangat mil raheeai maadhaou jaise madhup makheeraa ||2||: (O Lord) You are (beautiful like) the white and yellow threads of silk, and I am like a poor (silk) worm (who dies after separation from the silk-cocoon it spins around itself). O Lord, I seek to live in the True Company (Satsangat), like the bee with its honey ||2|| (sggs 486).
A donkey or an ass is known to be the beast of burden. It carries burden day and night, without knowing for who he is doing it, and why he is doing it. It is happy so long its belly is filled! Similarly, in madness, people work day and night like a donkey to develop material wealth, without caring for the Eternal Spirit or advancement in Spiritual Understanding (Aatam-Giaan). Such life style corrupts one's sensory apparatus. As a result, we end up working like a donkey to cultivate nothing but ignorance.

The human life is meant for churning the Truth through the Shabad-Vichaar. Instead, most of us just churn falsehood! The life of those churning falsehood is like the donkey who grazes upon the green grass; arising each day, he laughs and brays, and then dies. Or, like the intoxicated bull who runs around wildly, romps, eats and then is completely ruined. Here, the donkey and the bull symbolize the deluded, or the conditiond mind (attached to Bikaars, Maya...).

  • ਹਰੀ ਅੰਗੂਰੀ ਗਦਹਾ ਚਰੈ ॥ ਨਿਤ ਉਠਿ ਹਾਸੈ ਹੀਗੈ ਮਰੈ ॥1॥ ਮਾਤਾ ਭੈਸਾ ਅੰਮੁਹਾ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਕੁਦਿ ਕੁਦਿ ਚਰੈ ਰਸਾਤਲਿ ਪਾਇ ॥੨॥: Haree angooree gadahaa charai. Nit outhi haasai heegai marai ||1|| Maataa bhaisaa ammuhaa jaai. Kudi kudi charai rasaatal paai ||2|| (sggs 326).

For example, the Gurbani repeatedly reminds us that the mystery of the Gur-Shabad can only be grasped through it's proper Understanding. However, in donkey-mentality, we are engrossed in external, dry and mechanical Kirtan, counting beads (ਮਾਲਾ ਫੇਰਨੀ) , robotic reading of the Gurbani, empty rituals, decorating body with religious garbs and paraphernalia, etc. According to the Gurbani this is all unavailing; because the Sikhi or Spirituality is the internal way of life. Therefore, for our Bhagti to register, it must be internal. By internal means, one must understand, comprehend and realize the Gur-Shabad, and than act upon it. After reading, hearing, and singing, those who still do not attain Intuitive Understanding are compared by the Gurbani to a donkey and a beast!

  • ਇਕਨਾ ਨਾਦ ਨ ਬੇਦ ਨ ਗੀਅ ਰਸੁ ਰਸ ਕਸ ਨ ਜਾਣੰਤਿ ॥ ਇਕਨਾ ਸੁਧਿ ਨ ਬੁਧਿ ਨ ਅਕਲਿ ਸਰ ਅਖਰ ਕਾ ਭੇਉ ਨ ਲਹੰਤਿ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਸੇ ਨਰ ਅਸਲਿ ਖਰ ਜਿ ਬਿਨੁ ਗੁਣ ਗਰਬੁ ਕਰੰਤਿ ॥੨॥: Iknaa naad n beda n geea rasu ras kas n jaananti. Iknaa sudhi na budhi na akali sar akhar kaa bheou na lahanti. Nanak se nar asali khar je bin gun garabu kranti ||2||: (Those who are blind from the mind) do not have taste for understanding the Naad and the (essence of) Vedas; nor (they have) understanding of (other worldly) tastes. (These blind-minded) are not blessed with Awareness, intelligence (wisdom...), or reservoir of reasoning (intellect...); they do not grasp the mystery of the Word (i.e., ਅਖਰ ਦਾ ਭੇਦ...). O Nanak! Those who are very proud of themselves without any Virtues, they in reality are just donkeys ||2|| (sggs 1246).
  • 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).
Religious actions based on ritualism and dogmatism have no place in the Gurbani because, being external, they only increase egoism. Many, for example, observe the ritual of religious fasting. For a true devotee, any rituals have no significance. The idea of rituals only enters in the mind of those who have confounded the their True Being (Joti-Svaroopa) with the physical body. This body-consciousness, in turn, gives rise to the sense of doership and enjoyership which constitutes the false ego. Any act performed in false ego is nothing but suffering in disguise. The Gurbani, thus, strongly condemns rituals or any external show of religion.
  • ਕਬੀਰ ਹਰਿ ਕਾ ਸਿਮਰਨੁ ਛਾਡਿ ਕੈ ਅਹੋਈ ਰਾਖੈ ਨਾਰਿ ॥ ਗਦਹੀ ਹੋਇ ਕੈ ਅਉਤਰੈ ਭਾਰੁ ਸਹੈ ਮਨ ਚਾਰਿ ॥੧੦੮॥: Kabeer Hari kaa simran shaadi kai ahoee raakhai naari. Gadahee hoyi kai ayutarai bhaar sahai mann chaari ||108||: Kabeer, the woman who gives up meditation on God, and observes the ritual fast of Ahoee (i.e., the reason a woman observes fast is that she has forgotten God. ਅਹੋਈ = ਕੱਤਕ ਦੇ ਮਹੀਨੇ ਸੀਤਲਾ ਦੇਵੀ ਦੀ ਪੂਜਾ ਤੇ ਵਰਤ - Ahoee is associated with fast and worship of Seetalaa Devee - ਸੀਤਲਾ ਦੇਵੀ - in the Desi month of Katak). Consequently (as she is trying to please Seetalaa Devee by observing fast) she will be reincarnated as a donkey , to carry heavy burdens (Why donkey? Because Seetala Devi's riding or vehicle - ਸਵਾਰੀ - is said to be the donkey!) ||108|| (sggs 1370).
  • 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).
  • ਕਰਮ ਕਰਤ ਬਧੇ ਅਹੰਮੇਵ ॥: Karam karat baadhe ahammev: Ritual practices bind people in egotism (sggs 324).
The level of intelligence of an utterly foolish person is generally compared with that of a donkey. For example, if some one acts in foolishness, he takes the risk of being called "Gadhaa" or "Khotaa" (donkey). Also, if a child behaves or acts foolishly, parents or teachers may call him "Gadhaa" or "Khotaa" to make the point.

Monkey is known for its restlessness, and so is the conditioned mind. Roaming in the dense jungle of ignorance, our mind becomes confused and bewildered. Such unsteady mind is likened to a monkey who is intoxicated with wine and the same time has been bitten by thousands of scorpions! The reason all religions, paths, or Mantras exist because there exists this phantom called mind. So fickle, even if it is tamed it does not remain steady, but gets restless in a moment like the surface of the ocean. It jumps from one sense-object to the other like monkey jumps from one tree to the other. This mind alone provides the senses with their intelligence; who, in turn, generate countless evil notions. Hence, this ghost called mind must be destroyed. This is the teaching of the all true world scriptures and Masters. Otherwise, like the monkey, we will be "made to dance door to door"!

  • ਮਰਕਟ ਮੁਸਟੀ ਅਨਾਜ ਕੀ ਮਨ ਬਉਰਾ ਰੇ ਲੀਨੀ ਹਾਥੁ ਪਸਾਰਿ ॥ ਛੂਟਨ ਕੋ ਸਹਸਾ ਪਰਿਆ ਮਨ ਬਉਰਾ ਰੇ ਨਾਚਿਓ ਘਰ ਘਰ ਬਾਰਿ ॥੨॥ ਜਿਉ ਨਲਨੀ ਸੂਅਟਾ ਗਹਿਓ ਮਨ ਬਉਰਾ ਰੇ ਮਾਯਾ ਇਹੁ ਬਿਉਹਾਰੁ ॥: Markat mustee anaaj kee mann baouraa re leenee hathu pasaari ...: O crazy mind! The monkey stretches out its hand (into the narrow-necked pot), and takes a handful of grains; now unable to escape (since its hand is full of grains, it cannot take its hand out of the narrow-necked pot and escape. That is, because of the greed, the monkey will not let go of the grabbed grains - ਦਾਣਿਆਂ ਦੀ ਭਰੀ ਹੋਈ ਮੁੱਠ). O crazy mind! (because of its greed, now the monkey) is made to dance door to door ||2|| (sggs 336).
  • ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਲੇ ਧਾਵਤੁ ਬੰਧਾ ॥: Brahm giaanee le dhaavat bandhaa: Brahm Giaanee - the knower of Truth - keeps his wandering mind in check (sggs 273).
When we think of a dog, two things come to our mind: it's crooked tail and it's faithfulness. The Wise say that one can keep a dog's tail in a straight tube and hold it there for as long as the dog lives. But it will curl as soon as you take it out of the tube! This material world of sense-objects is likened to the crooked tail of a dog; its nature is to curl! The man attached to this world also behaves crooked like a dog's tail. Due to our desires and fear, we have become stubborn and fanatic. As such, we take unreal to be real, ephemeral to be eternal, falsehood to be truth, and so on. Like a dog's tail, our mental conditionings keep us crooked and do not let us change or mend our ways.
  • ਸੁਆਨ ਪੂਛ ਜਿਉ ਭਇਓ ਨ ਸੂਧਉ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਜਤਨੁ ਮੈ ਕੀਨਉ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਲਾਜ ਬਿਰਦ ਕੀ ਰਾਖਹੁ ਨਾਮੁ ਤੁਹਾਰਉ ਲੀਨਉ ॥੩॥੯॥: Suaan poosh jiou bhayo na soodhaou bahutu jatanu mai keenaou. Nanak laaj burad kee raakhahu naamu tuhaarou leenaou ||3||9||: Like the dog’s tail, which does not straighten out, (Similarly) dispite many efforts on my part (this mind will not straighten out, change, mend itself, and engage in Naam, Shabad...). O Nanak! (O Lord) uphold the honor of Your disciple (i.e., help me Lord, so that I may) utter Your Name (i.e., I may Understand the Giaan or Wisdom of the Gurbani...). ||3||9|| (sggs 633).
  • ਮਾਣਸ ਮੂਰਤਿ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਨਾਮੁ ॥ ਕਰਣੀ ਕੁਤਾ ਦਰਿ ਫੁਰਮਾਨੁ ॥: Maanas moorati Nanak naam. Karanee kuttaa dari phurmaan: O Nanak, man looks human beings in form and name only; but in his deeds or conduct he behaves like a dog - who sits at (his master's) door and follows his commands for food only (sggs 350).
The Gurbani repeatedly labels us as criminals (Apraadhee). Why? Because we are unfaithful to our Mool within (Source, Origin, Jot...). A dog's faithfulness towards its master (owner) is unparalleled. Some call it "man's best friend"! Regardless of if a dog is well fed by its master or not, regardless of if it takes beating from its master, regardless of how the master treats it, but it will not leave its master's door. It always contemplates on serving its master, in any situation or circumstances. Similarly, the Gurbani teaches us to serve the Divine by contemplating on the Divine Name (Aatam Giaan, Divine Knowledge...), regardless of external circumstances.
  • ਸੁਆਮੀ ਕੋ ਗ੍ਰਿਹੁ ਜਿਉ ਸਦਾ ਸੁਆਨ ਤਜਤ ਨਹੀ ਨਿਤ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਇਹ ਬਿਧਿ ਹਰਿ ਭਜਉ ਇਕ ਮਨਿ ਹੁਇ ਇਕ ਚਿਤਿ ॥੪੫॥: Suaamee ko grih jiou sadaa suaan tajat nahee nit. Nanak ih bidhi Hari bhajau ik mani hui ik chiti ||45||: As a dog never abandons the home of his master, O Nanak! similarly, stay united with Hari within (Mool...) by becoming "Ik Mann Ik Chitt" (single-mindedly...) ||45|| (sggs 1428).
  • ਸੂਕਰ ਸੁਆਨ ਗਰਧਭ ਮੰਜਾਰਾ ॥ ਪਸੂ ਮਲੇਛ ਨੀਚ ਚੰਡਾਲਾ ॥ ਗੁਰ ਤੇ ਮੁਹੁ ਫੇਰੇ ਤਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹ ਜੋਨਿ ਭਵਾਈਐ ॥ ਬੰਧਨਿ ਬਾਧਿਆ ਆਈਐ ਜਾਈਐ ॥੫॥: Sookar suaan gardhab manjaaraa. Pasoo malesh neech chandaalaa. Gur te muh phere tin joni bhavaaeeai: The human is a pig, a dog, a donkey, a cat, a beast, a filthy, lowly wretch, an outcast; if he turns his face away from the Guru (God), he wanders in reincarnation. Bound in bondage, one comes and goes ||5|| (sggs 832).
Is our conduct better than a dog? First of all, do we know who our True Master is? Are we faithful to Him? Do we truly believe in Him? Do we ever remain in His Hukam, the Divine Law? If not, then, as the Sufi Poet Bulle Shah says, the dog's conduct has secured victory over us!
  • ਕਬੀਰ ਕੂਕਰੁ ਰਾਮ ਕੋ ਮੁਤੀਆ ਮੇਰੋ ਨਾਉ ॥ ਗਲੇ ਹਮਾਰੇ ਜੇਵਰੀ ਜਹ ਖਿੰਚੈ ਤਹ ਜਾਉ ॥੭੪॥: Kabeer kookar Raam ko mutiaa mero naau. Gale hamaare jevaree jah khinchai tah jaau ||74||: Kabeer, I am God's dog; Moti is my name. There is a chain around my neck; wherever I am pulled (by God), I go ||74|| (sggs 1368).
  • ਉਠ ਬੁਲਿਆ ਉਠ ਰੱਬ ਨੂੰ ਮਨਾਲੈ ਨਹੀ ਤਾ ਬਾਜੀ ਲੈ ਗਏ ਕੁੱਤੇ: Uth Bulliaa chall Rabb noo manaa lai nahee taa baajee lai gaye Kutte: Bulle Shah says: O man, get up and reconcile with God, otherwise know that the dog has secured victory over you! (Punjabi Soofee poet Bulle Shah).
  • ਕਬੀਰ ਬੈਸਨਉ ਕੀ ਕੂਕਰਿ ਭਲੀ ਸਾਕਤ ਕੀ ਬੁਰੀ ਮਾਇ ॥ ਓਹ ਨਿਤ ਸੁਨੈ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮ ਜਸੁ ਉਹ ਪਾਪ ਬਿਸਾਹਨ ਜਾਇ ॥੫੨॥: Kabeer baisnou kee kookar bhalee saakat kee buree maai. Oh nit sunai Hari naam jas oh paap bisaahan jaai ||52||: Kabeer, even the dog of a devotee is good, while the mother of the faithless cynic is bad. The dog hears the Praises of the Divine Name, while the other is engaged in sin ||52|| (sggs 1367).

Inflicted with the acute disease of rabies, the dog goes mad and runs around in ten directions - biting everyone in its way. Unsatisfied greed is likened to the disease of rabies; and the man with greed is compared by the scriptures to the rabies-ridden dog. Greed arises from passion, resulting in limitless hankering for sense enjoyment. Indulged in sensory pleasures, one slides down into the dark pit of ignorance, resulting in foolishness, madness and illusion.

  • ਜਿਉ ਕੂਕਰੁ ਹਰਕਾਇਆ ਧਾਵੈ ਦਹ ਦਿਸ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਲੋਭੀ ਜੰਤੁ ਨ ਜਾਣਈ ਭਖੁ ਅਭਖੁ ਸਭ ਖਾਇ ॥: Jiou kookar harkaaiaa dhaavai dah dis jaai. Lobhee jant n jaanaee bhakh abhakh sabh khaai: Like the mad dog running around in all directions, the greedy person, unaware, consumes everything, edible and non-edible alike (sggs 50).
Wandering at large, a dog without a master is called a "stray dog" or a "street dog". He wanders from door to door for the sake of filling its belly. It hangs around charnel-pits, eating dead animals for food. Similarly, without meditating on the Divine within, man is lost in the dense jungle of Maya. Overtaken by his evil dispositions, he wanders around in all directions. Like the "street dog", he also eats the food of dead carcasses; and his words, thoughts and actions spell unrighteousness, falsehood, deception and cynicism.
  • ਸੁਖ ਕੈ ਹੇਤਿ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਦੁਖੁ ਪਾਵਤ ਸੇਵ ਕਰਤ ਜਨ ਜਨ ਕੀ ॥ ਦੁਆਰਹਿ ਦੁਆਰਿ ਸੁਆਨ ਜਿਉ ਡੋਲਤ ਨਹ ਸੁਧ ਰਾਮ ਭਜਨ ਕੀ ॥੧॥: Sukh kai heti bahutu dukhu paavat sev karat jan jan kee. Duaarahi duaari suaan jiou dolat nah sudh Raam bhajan kee ||1||: For the sake of pleasure, (one) attend to (serve - ਖੁਛਾਮਦ ਕਰਦਾ ਫਿਰਦਾ ਹੈ, etc.) each and every person, (as such, instead of Sukh), he suffers (Dukh). (He) wanders from door to door like a dog, unconscious of the Lord's meditation ||1|| (sggs 411).
Vultures are known for their sharp vision. Wandering all over the land, water and space, they fly high in the sky. But there eyes are always fixed on the charnel-pits - the depositories of dead animals or bones. Similarly, under the spell of ignorance or foolishness, many travel thousands of miles and climb high mountains to visit the so called sacred shrines of pilgrimage and bathe in their waters. But the eyes of their vulture mind are always fixed on evil passions - unfulfilled lust, unresolved anger, unsatisfied greed, emotional attachment, self-conceit, enviousness and stubborn mindedness.
  • ਫਿਰਦੀ ਫਿਰਦੀ ਦਹ ਦਿਸਾ ਜਲ ਪਰਬਤ ਬਨਰਾਇ ॥ ਜਿਥੈ ਡਿਠਾ ਮਿਰਤਕੋ ਇਲ ਬਹਿਠੀ ਆਇ ॥੨॥: Phirdee phirdee dah disaa Jal parbat banraai. Jithai dithaa mirat ko ill baithee aai ||2|| (sggs 322).
A crow's beak is always in the ordure! Its unpleasant sound of "kaaon kaaon" resembles the speech of a wrathful person. The Gurbani declares that, without the true devotion, one is a self-murderer and his life is like that of a crow, snake, a mad dog, a donkey, a stork, etc. The Gurbani also compares activities of such Manmukh (unenlightened being) at religious places with that of a stork and a crow; for his visits to religious places are only meant for fulfilling his own undigested desires. Therefore, his sitting in the Gurdwaaraa (or any other religious place for that matter) is no different than the stork's phony Samaadhi (meditational stance) at a fish pond.
  • ਇਕਿ ਅਪਣੈ ਸੁਆਇ ਆਇ ਬਹਹਿ ਗੁਰ ਆਗੈ ਜਿਉ ਬਗੁਲ ਸਮਾਧਿ ਲਗਾਈਐ ॥੩॥ ਬਗੁਲਾ ਕਾਗ ਨੀਚ ਕੀ ਸੰਗਤਿ ਜਾਇ ਕਰੰਗ ਬਿਖੂ ਮੁਖਿ ਲਾਈਐ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਮੇਲਿ ਮੇਲਿ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਸੰਗਤਿ ਮਿਲਿ ਸੰਗਤਿ ਹੰਸੁ ਕਰਾਈਐ ॥੪॥੪॥: Ik apanai suaai aai bahahi Gur aagai jiou bagul samaadhi lagaaeeai. ||3|| Bagulaa kaag neech kee sangat jaai karang bikhu mukh laaeeai. Nanak mel mel prabh sangat mil sangat hans karaaeeai ||4||4||: Some come for their own selfish purposes (motives), and sit before the Guru; they pretend to be in Samaadhi, like storks with their eyes closed.  The stork and the crow like the lowly association. (Even if some come for their own selfish purposes to the Guru) but after leaving they feed on a carcass of poison - filth. Prays Nanak: O God, unite me with the Sangat, the Congregation. United with the Sangat, I will become (from stork and the crow) a swan - Hans ||4||4|| (sggs 881).
  • ਸੂਤਕਿ ਕਰਮ ਨ ਪੂਜਾ ਹੋਇ ॥: Sootak karma na poojaa hoyi: Worship cannot be performed with polluted actions (sggs 229).
Action is the expression of one's mind. Therefore, the quality of our actions reflects the quality of our mind (thoughts). As indicated in the Gurbani, without intuitive devotion our actions stink. Jap (Understanding the Gurbani...) helps aspirants to begin upward journey. It gives one a fair amount of concentration required to gain the stage of Dhiaan or absorption in Bhagti. The consciousness devoid of the Naam is compared with a crow, dog, a pig, a jackass and a snake as follows:
  • ਗੁਰ ਮੰਤ੍ਰ ਹੀਣਸ੍ਯ੍ਯ ਜੋ ਪ੍ਰਾਣੀ ਧ੍ਰਿਗੰਤ ਜਨਮ ਭ੍ਰਸਟਣਹ ॥ ਕੂਕਰਹ ਸੂਕਰਹ ਗਰਧਭਹ ਕਾਕਹ ਸਰਪਨਹ ਤੁਲਿ ਖਲਹ ॥੩੩॥: Gur mantra heenasah jo praanee dhrigant janam bhrasatanah: Kookarah sookarah garadhbhah kaakah sarapanah tuli khalah ||33||: That mortal who lacks the Gurumantra — cursed and contaminated is his life. That blockhead is just a dog, a pig, a jackass, a crow, a snake ||33|| (sggs 1357).
Just imagine if crows, storks, cranes or herons try to be equal to a swan! They are certain to make fool of themselves! Similarly, living in animal consciousness, many mortals also claim to be equal to Spiritual Masters or the Lord. In faulty knowledge, without raising our consciousness to the level of the Spiritual Master, we logic that: "If the Master did this, or if the Master ate this, what is wrong me doing it". This is the heinous show of our false ego or ignorance at its best!
  • ਖਸਮੈ ਕਰੇ ਬਰਾਬਰੀ ਫਿਰਿ ਗੈਰਤਿ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਪਾਇ ॥: Khasmai kare braabaree phir gairat andar paai: If one claims to be equal to his Master, he earns his Master's displeasure (sggs 474).
  • ਹੰਸਾ ਵੇਖਿ ਤਰੰਦਿਆ ਬਗਾਂ ਭਿ ਆਯਾ ਚਾਉ ॥ ਡੁਬਿ ਮੁਏ ਬਗ ਬਪੁੜੇ ਸਿਰੁ ਤਲਿ ਉਪਰਿ ਪਾਉ ॥੩॥: Hansaa vekh trandiaa bagaan bhi aaiaa chaaou. Dub mue bag bapurre sir tali uppari paaou ||3||: Seeing the swans swimming, the herons wanted to do it too. But the poor herons drowned and died, and floated with their heads down and their feet up ||3|| (sggs 585).
  • ਸਰਵਰ ਹੰਸ ਧੁਰੇ ਹੀ ਮੇਲਾ ਖਸਮੈ ਏਵੈ ਭਾਣਾ ॥ ਸਰਵਰ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਹੀਰਾ ਮੋਤੀ ਸੋ ਹੰਸਾ ਕਾ ਖਾਣਾ ॥ ਬਗੁਲਾ ਕਾਗੁ ਨ ਰਹਈ ਸਰਵਰਿ ਜੇ ਹੋਵੈ ਅਤਿ ਸਿਆਣਾ ॥ ਓਨਾ ਰਿਜਕੁ ਨ ਪਇਓ ਓਥੈ ਓਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਾ ਹੋਰੋ ਖਾਣਾ ॥ ਸਚਿ ਕਮਾਣੈ ਸਚੋ ਪਾਈਐ ਕੂੜੈ ਕੂੜਾ ਮਾਣਾ ॥: Saravar hans dhure hee melaa khasamai evai bhaanaa. Saravar andar heeraa motee so hansaa kaa khaanaa. Bagulaa kagu n rahaee saravari je hovai ati siaanaa. Sach kamaanai sacho paaeeai koorrai koorraa maanaa: The Union between the Lake (of the True Guru...) and the Swan (of the Gurmukh) was pre-ordained from the very beginning, by the Hukam (Lord's Will). The diamonds (of Aatam-Giaan, Bibek-Budhi...) are in this Lake; they are the food of the (the Gurmukh) Swans. The cranes and the ravens (the false one, the Manmukh...) may be very smart, but they do not remain in this Lake (ਸਰੋਵਰ). They do not find their food there; their food is different (i.e., Mayaic, falsehood...). Practicing Truth, the True Lord is found. False is the pride of the false one (sggs 956).
A Hans (swan) is mentioned to have two unique qualities: a mystic quality of separating milk from the water, and for eating only the real pearls found at bottom of the lake! Like the Hans, we also need to separate Truth from all that enters our years, eyes, and other physical senses; for everything we perceive through our senses is not Truth. Like a Hans, we need to learn separating Truth from the worldly nonsense by utilizing the unique power of reasoning. This material universe is like a lake, we are like Hans living in this lake. While there are present pure pearls (Truth or Sat) in this lake, there are also fake pearls and other rubbish in it (Asat or falsehood). We need to find and eat the true pearls only, leaving the rubbish for the storks, frogs, crows, herons and cranes (i.e., hypocrites or Manmukhs)!
  • ਹਰਿ ਕੇ ਦਾਸ ਸਾਧ ਸਖਾ ਜਨ ਜਿਨ ਮਿਲਿਆ ਲਹਿ ਜਾਇ ਭਰਾਂਤਿ ॥ ਜਿਉ ਜਲ ਦੁਧ ਭਿੰਨ ਭਿੰਨ ਕਾਢੈ ਚੁਣਿ ਹੰਸੁਲਾ ਤਿਉ ਦੇਹੀ ਤੇ ਚੁਣਿ ਕਾਢੈ ਸਾਧੂ ਹਉਮੈ ਤਾਤਿ ॥੨॥: Hari ke daas saadh sakhaa jan jin miliaa lahi jaai bharaanti. Jiu jal dudh bhinn bhinn kaadhai chuni hansulaa tiyu dehee te chunni kaadhai saadhoo haumo taati ||2||: The slaves of the Lord (His devotee - ਪਰਮਾਤਮਾ ਦੇ ਭਗਤ) are our Holy companions (ਸਾਧ-ਮਿੱਤਰ). Meeting with them, doubt (wanderigs, ਭਟਕਣਾ, etc.) is taken away. As the swan separates the milk from the water, the Holy Saint removes the fire of egotism from the body ||2|| (sggs 1264).
  • ਹੰਸਾ ਵਿਚਿ ਬੈਠਾ ਬਗੁ ਨ ਬਣਈ ਨਿਤ ਬੈਠਾ ਮਛੀ ਨੋ ਤਾਰ ਲਾਵੈ ॥: Hansaa vich bethaa bag na banayee nit baithaa machhee no taar laave: Sitting among the swans, the crane does not become one of them; sitting there, he keeps staring at the fish (sggs 960).
  • ਹਰਿ ਸਰੁ ਸਾਗਰੁ ਨਿਰਮਲੁ ਸੋਈ ॥ ਸੰਤ ਚੁਗਹਿ ਨਿਤ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਹੋਈ ॥: Har sar saagar niramal soee. Sant chugahi nit Gurmukh hoee: The Lord is the most pure and sublime Ocean. By becoming Gurmukhs, saints always peck at the Naam-pearl (like swans pecking at pearls in the ocean) (sggs 128).
  • ਸਬਦਿ ਰਤੇ ਵਡ ਹੰਸ ਹੈ ਸਚੁ ਨਾਮੁ ਉਰਿ ਧਾਰਿ ॥: Sabad rate vad hans hai sach Naam uri dhaari: The great swan-souls are imbued with the Shabad; they enshrine the True Name within their hearts (sggs 585).
  • ਕਬੀਰ ਮਾਇਆ ਡੋਲਨੀ ਪਵਨੁ ਝਕੋਲਨਹਾਰੁ ॥ ਸੰਤਹੁ ਮਾਖਨੁ ਖਾਇਆ ਛਾਛਿ ਪੀਐ ਸੰਸਾਰੁ ॥੧੮॥ ਕਬੀਰ ਮਾਇਆ ਡੋਲਨੀ ਪਵਨੁ ਵਹੈ ਹਿਵ ਧਾਰ ॥ ਜਿਨਿ ਬਿਲੋਇਆ ਤਿਨਿ ਖਾਇਆ ਅਵਰ ਬਿਲੋਵਨਹਾਰ ॥੧੯॥: Kabeer maya dolanee pavan jhakolanhaar. Santan maakhan khaaiaa shaash peeai sansaar. ||18|| Kabeer maya dolanee pavan vahai hiv dhaar. Jin biloiaa tin khaaiaa avar bilovanhaar ||19|| (sggs 1365).
A frog living in a well knows nothing about the existence of the land or world outside the well. He always thinks in terms relative to the well. Because of his limited faculties, experience, logic, and the power of speculation, he has no capacity to think otherwise. Similarly, according to the Gurbani, the man with his corrupt mind and contaminated senses is unable to know this world or the next. He speculates the Infinite Consciousness with his imperfect or limited senses and mind, and  becomes bewildered in the process. With the illustration of frog, the Gurbani helps us understand very important points such as importance of devotion, mind's foolishness, uselessness of religious rituals, and so on.
  • ਕੂਪੁ ਭਰਿਓ ਜੈਸੇ ਦਾਦਿਰਾ ਕਛੁ ਦੇਸੁ ਬਿਦੇਸੁ ਨ ਬੂਝ ॥ ਐਸੇ ਮੇਰਾ ਮਨੁ ਬਿਖਿਆ ਬਿਮੋਹਿਆ ਕਛੁ ਆਰਾ ਪਾਰੁ ਨ ਸੂਝ ॥੧॥: Koop bhario jaise daadiraa kashu des bides na boojh. Aise meraa man bikhiaa bimohiaa kashu aaraa paar na soojh ||1||: Ad a well is filled with frogs, (but those frogs in the well) knows nothing of its own country or other lands (outside the well); just so, my mind, infatuated with corruption (trapped in the well of Maya), understands nothing about this world or the next ||1|| (sggs 346).
  • ਮਨੁ ਮੁਗਧੌ ਦਾਦਰੁ ਭਗਤਿਹੀਨੁ ॥: Mann mugdhau daadar bhagti heen: Without devotional worship, the mind is like a foolish frog (sggs 1188).
  • ਸੰਧਿਆ ਪ੍ਰਾਤ ਇਸ੍ਨਾਨੁ ਕਰਾਹੀ ॥ ਜਿਉ ਭਏ ਦਾਦੁਰ ਪਾਨੀ ਮਾਹੀ ॥੧॥: Sandhiaa praat isnaan kraahee. Jiou bhae daadur paanee maahee ||1||: Those who take their ritual baths in the evening and the morning (and think that by doing so they have become pure, they) are like the frogs living in the water ||1|| (sggs 324).
A butterfly sails on with the breeze, indiscriminately sitting on various flowers, it drinks the honey for temporary pleasure of its senses. Similarly, the mind of a spiritually ignorant (Manmukh) is like that of a butterfly. It sails on with the breeze of its Vaasnaas. It foolishly dwells on various blossoms of worldly and celestial cravings and engages in superficial religious actions or rituals, drinking the honey of never-lasting meager pleasure or inspirations. Such a conditioned, restless, or shallow mind engrossed in material bondage forgets to seek the Divine Name and Self-realization (supreme nectar of Bliss). Thus, the choice of most people concerning religious practices and beliefs is guided by fancies, whims, false ego, indiscrimination or ignorance of Sat (Truth) and Asat (falsehood).
  • ਹਉ ਹਉ ਭੀਤਿ ਭਇਓ ਹੈ ਬੀਚੋ ਸੁਨਤ ਦੇਸਿ ਨਿਕਟਾਇਓ ॥ ਭਾਂਭੀਰੀ ਕੇ ਪਾਤ ਪਰਦੋ ਬਿਨੁ ਪੇਖੇ ਦੂਰਾਇਓ ॥੩॥: Haou haou bheet bhaio hai beecho sunati desi niktaaio. Bhhanbheeree ke paat paardo bin pekhe dooraaio ||3||: (I) hear this that the Lord dwells near (within, in my heart, etc.). (But) the wall of egotism and pride separates us. Like the wings of a butterfly, there is a veil between (Him and I); without being able to see Him, He seems so far away ||3|| (sggs 624).
The honeybee with its six legs enjoys gathering nectar from flowers. With his five senses and mind, the man is likened to this six-legged bee with which he experiences the outer world of gross objects. Unlike flies which are attracted to all kinds of filthy food and trash, the honeybee is very choosy in that it gathers honey only from flowers. Similarly, the True and Wise do not run after sensory pleasures but only seek the Eternal Bliss of Divine Knowledge flowing from the honey-sweet Divine Name. However, in our material consciousness, we are unable to use the Divine faculty of discriminating intellect (Bibek Budhi) like the honeybee does. Consequently, instead of seeking the Satsang or the Source of the True Bliss within, we wander around after sensory pleasures.
  • ਸਤਸੰਗਤਿ ਮਿਲਿ ਰਹੀਐ ਮਾਧਉ ਜੈਸੇ ਮਧੁਪ ਮਖੀਰਾ ॥੨॥: Satsangat mil raheeai maadhaou jaise madhup makheeraa ||2||: O Lord, I seek to live in the Satsangat, like the bee with its honey ||2|| (sggs 486).
Fanaticism, fundamentalism or stubborn mindedness comes from ignorance of the Mool within (Source, Origin, Jot...). As the Gurbani reveal to us, in such conditioned state of one's mind, one can not practice devotion and become Mool-realized. This is the reason Baabaa Nanak rejected any fanaticism, fundamentalism, stubborn mindedness, religious garbs, religious rituals, and so on. Instead, he told us to only stick to the Truth or Holy Name (Aatam Giaan...); which is the only True Dharma. For example, some believe that the Lord can be pleased only by clean shaving the head, etc. Apparently, people have taken the Lord as a plaything. The Gurbani repudiates such mental concepts, because the Lord is beyond any such notions. If the emancipation can be attained by keeping long hair or shaving the head, then all those animals in the jungle should be able to do so because they never cut their hair, or a sheep who does get trimmed!
  • ਮੂਡ ਮੁੰਡਾਏ ਜੌ ਸਿਧਿ ਪਾਈ ॥ ਮੁਕਤੀ ਭੇਡ ਨ ਗਈਆ ਕਾਈ ॥੨॥: Moond mudaaye jo sidh paayee. Mukti bhed na gayeeyaa kaayee||2||: If the spiritual perfection of Sidhaas can be obtained by shaving the head, then why havn't sheep found liberation ||2|| (sggs 324).
  • ਕਬੀਰ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਇਕ ਸਿਉ ਕੀਏ ਆਨ ਦੁਬਿਧਾ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਭਾਵੈ ਲਾਂਬੇ ਕੇਸ ਕਰੁ ਭਾਵੈ ਘਰਰਿ ਮੁਡਾਇ ॥੨੫॥: Kabeer preet ik siyu keeye aan dubidhaa jaai. Bhaavai laambe kes kar bhaavai gharari mudaai ||25||: 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 ||25|| (sggs 1365).
  • ਵਾਲ ਵਧਾਇਆਂ ਪਾਈਐ ਬੜ ਜਟਾਂ ਪਲਾਸੀ: Vaal vadhaaiaan paaeeai barh jataan plaasee: If God can be attained by growing long hair then the tree of Boharr should be able to attain God because it also grows long creepers (rootlets) like matted hair (Bhaai Gurdaas, 33-14-2).
  • ਨ ਜਟਾ ਮੂੰਡ ਧਾਰੋਂ ॥ ਨ ਮੁੰਦ੍ਰਕਾ ਸਵਾਰੋਂ ॥ ਜਪੋ ਤਾਸ ਨਾਮੰ ॥ ਸਰੈ ਸਰਬ ਕਾਮੰ ॥੫੧॥: Na jataa moond dhaaro. Na mundraka savaaro. Japo taas namam. Sarai sarab kaamam: neither wear matted hair on the head nor bedeck myself with ear-rings. meditate on the Name of the Lord, which helps me in all my errands (Guru Gobind Singh Jee, Bachitra Naatak 51, Dasam Granth, 140).
What is a lion's diet? In a shear display of cruelty and plundering, the lion kills other beings and then consumes their flesh and blood! In utter foolishness, humans plunder others. The Gurbani does not teach cruelty and plundering; It only teaches us to kill our false ego. Accordingly, the Gurbani thunders that the man who feeds like a lion, is to be known the "god of thieves"!
  • ਸਿੰਘਚ ਭੋਜਨੁ ਜੋ ਨਰੁ ਜਾਨੈ ॥ ਐਸੇ ਹੀ ਠਗਦੇਉ ਬਖਾਨੈ ॥੨॥: Singhch bhojan jo nar jaanai. Aise hee thag deou bakhaanai ||2||: That man who feeds like a lion (earns his living by plundering), is called (by the world) the god of thieves (ਠੱਗਾਂ ਦਾ ਦੇਵ) ||2|| (sggs 485).
  • ਸੋ ਜਾਗੈ ਜੋ ਤਤੁ ਬੀਚਾਰੈ ॥ ਆਪਿ ਮਰੈ ਅਵਰਾ ਨਹ ਮਾਰੈ ॥੩॥: So jaagai jo tatt veechaarai. Aap marai avraa nah maarai ||3||: One who contemplates the essence of reality remains awake and aware (spiritually alert, etc.). (He) kills his ego; (he) does not kill others ||3|| (sggs 1128).
Snakes are dreaded by many and would feel extreme reluctance to meet or face one. No wonder the scriptures have greatly adduced the analogy of snake's lifestyle such as snake-hole, snake's skin, snake's poison, snake's lengthy life span, offering of milk to snake, snake's fangs and bite, snake's feet, snake charmer, snake's hiss, and so on. We can learn a great from these terms.
  • ਬਿਨੁ ਸਿਮਰਨ ਹੈ ਆਤਮ ਘਾਤੀ ॥: Bin simran hai aatam ghaatee: Without Simran, the man is a self-murderer (sggs 239).
  • ਕਾਮ ਕ੍ਰੋਧ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਕੇ ਲੀਨੇ ਗਤਿ ਨਹੀ ਏਕੈ ਜਾਨੀ ॥: Kaama krodh trsnaa ke leene gati nahee ekai jaanee: Man indulged in lust, anger and greed does not know the way of the Lord(sggs 1123).
One can not kill a snake by merely destroying his hole in the ground! In material existence, once we are faced with a problem, we start thinking about it's solution, rather than it's cause. Unless the root cause of any problem is known, one will be unable to see the reality of that problem. And, without thinking about the reality or understanding the nature of the problem, one will be unable to eradicate it once for ever. One may solve the problem for time being, however, the problem will arise again. By Shabad-Vichaar, one can seek to understand the nature or root cause of our problems. By destroying the snake and the snake-hole scriptures mean killing the mental delusion, the false ego. The destruction of the mind really means the removal of the ignorance of one's own true nature (removal of false ego), not destruction of the perceiving aspect of the mind, by which we transact with the outer world. Once the seeds of the ignorance are roasted in the fire of the Divine Knowledge (Aatam Giaan), it never makes comeback. The snake and the snake-hole, both get destroyed, once and for ever.
  • ਵਰਮੀ ਮਾਰੀ ਸਾਪੁ ਨ ਮੂਆ ॥: Varmee maaree saap na mooaa: By destroying its hole (ਖੁੱਡ), the snake (that lives in that hole) is not killed (sggs 1348).
  • ਬਾਘੁ ਮਰੈ ਮਨੁ ਮਾਰੀਐ ਜਿਸੁ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਦੀਖਿਆ ਹੋਇ ॥: Baagh marai manu maareeai jis satgur deekhiaa hoi: The tiger-mind is killed, through True Guru's teaching (sggs 1410).
As the snake alone knows his feet, only the the Mool within (Source, Origin, Jot...) knows the Divine! Therefore, the only purpose of human life and all religions is Mool-realization. If that does not happen, then the human life as well as the religions have no meaning. As the Gurbani asserts, the rituals, ceremonies, and rites are the fruits of our ignorance! For that, the true worship is not an external show of religion or spirituality; it is the constant fixing of the mind unto the Infinite Consciousness with sincere love and devotion.
  • ਆਤਮ ਦੇਉ ਦੇਉ ਹੈ ਆਤਮੁ ਰਸਿ ਲਾਗੈ ਪੂਜ ਕਰੀਜੈ ॥੧॥: Atam deou deou hai aatam ras laagai pooj kareejai: The soul is divine; divine is the soul. Worship Him with love (sggs 1325).
Therefore, without true love for the Mool within (Source, Origin, Jot...), the cavities of our ears are nothing but two snake-holes, and the speech of our tongue is no better than the croak of a frog. The eyes that do not long for the Divine Darshan are like eyes on a peacock feather, totally inert. The mind or head that does not surrender its ego-sense to God is mere burden on this body, the hands that do not serve the Divinity are hands of a corpse, and the feet that do not walk on the Divine path are like immovable trees. The heart that does not melt with the loving Devotion (Prema Bhagti) is nothing more than a piece of rock.
  • ਸਪੁ ਪਿੜਾਈ ਪਾਈਐ ਬਿਖੁ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਮਨਿ ਰੋਸੁ ॥: Sapp pirhaaee paaeeai bikhu antari manni ros: The snake may be locked in a basket, but it is still poisonous, and the rage (to bite others) within its mind remains (sggs 1009).
  • ਨਉਮੀ ਨਵੇ ਛਿਦ੍ਰ ਅਪਵੀਤ ॥: Naoumee nave shidra apaveet ...: Naoumee (denotes the ninth day of the lunar cycle): The nine holes of the body (sense organs) are defiled. (They) do not try to understanding the Naam (Shabad, Hukam, Gur-Giaan...) and act contrary (to the Naam). (sggs 298).
Friendship of materialistics (Manmukhs, Saakats, etc.) is likened to snakes. Deep within, a material being has no interest in the Transcendental Knowledge. In foolishness, although, he takes great pride in describing God. But, his true nature is to speak only false. Spirituality or Devotion to him is same as married life to an eunuch, sandalwood oil to a dog, reading of scriptures to a deaf, placing of a light before a blind man, place of gold before a herd of cattle, placing of precious ornaments on a monkey's body, offering of milk to a snake, offering camphor to a crow, etc.
  • ਮਨਮੁਖ ਹੀਅਰਾ ਅਤਿ ਕਠੋਰੁ ਹੈ ਤਿਨ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਕਾਰ ਕਰੀਠਾ ॥ ਬਿਸੀਅਰ ਕਉ ਬਹੁ ਦੂਧੁ ਪੀਆਈਐ ਬਿਖੁ ਨਿਕਸੈ ਫੋਲਿ ਫੁਲੀਠਾ ॥੩॥: Manmukh heearaa ati kathor hai tin antri kaar kareethaa. Bisiar kayu bahu doodh peeaaeeai bikh niksai pholi pholeethaa ||3||: The hearts of the Manmukhs are hard and cruel; their inner being is dark from the filth of evil inclination: Bikaars). Even if the poisonous snake is fed large amounts of milk, it will still yield only poison (The Manmukh is just like that snake) ||3|| (sggs 171).
  • ਕਊਆ ਕਹਾ ਕਪੂਰ ਚਰਾਏ ॥ ਕਹ ਬਿਸੀਅਰ ਕਉ ਦੂਧੁ ਪੀਆਏ ॥੨॥: Kayooaa kahaa kapoor charaae. kah bisiar kaou doodhu piaae ||2||: Offering camphor (ਕਪੂਰ, a fragrant grass) to a crow is of no avail (because his habit of eating filth will not go away - ਕਾਂ ਦੀ ਗੰਦ/ਵਿਸਟਾ ਖਾਣ ਦੀ ਆਦਤ ਨਹੀਂ ਜਾ ਸਕਦੀ)? (Similarly) feeding a snake on milk is of no avail (because he will not stop biting - his poison will only grow)? ||2|| (sggs 481).
  • ਦੂਤਨ ਸੰਗਰੀਆ ॥ ਭੁਇਅੰਗਨਿ ਬਸਰੀਆ ॥ ਅਨਿਕ ਉਪਰੀਆ ॥੧॥: Dootan sangareeaa. Bhuiangan baasareeaa. Anik oupareeaa ||1||: To associate with demons (i.e., evil passions: lust anger,greed, etc.) is to live with snakes. They have ruined many (lives) ||1|| (sggs 537).
The Spiritual practice is meant for purging the mind of mundane thoughts and then making it one-pointed (Ik Mann Ik Chit). The Shabad-Vichaar helps remove poisonous fangs of the mind serpent. After fangs are removed, the serpent still remains serpent, but it does not pose any danger to the snake charmer!
  • ਦਸਨ ਬਿਹੂਨ ਭੁਯੰਗੰ ਮੰਤ੍ਰੰ ਗਾਰੁੜੀ ਨਿਵਾਰੰ ॥ ਬ੍ਯ੍ਯਾਧਿ ਉਪਾੜਣ ਸੰਤੰ ॥: Dasan bihoon bhujangam mantra gaarurhee nivaaram. Baadhi upaarhan santam: The snake-charmer, by his spell, neutralizes the poison and leaves the snake without fangs. Just so, the godly souls remove suffering (ਆਤਮਕ ਰੋਗ) (sggs 1361).

The Gurbani declares that the Mool within (Source, Origin, Jot...) is not this physical body. Therefore, taking this body as the Mool is the gravest mistake we can commit. Our chance of linking with our Pure Being within depends on our true identification. If we miss this point, that is, if we blunder in recognizing our Essential Nature as Pure Being (Joti Svaroop), then we will be lost in the pitch darkness of material existence.

How can we abandon the menacing body-consciousness? As revealed in the scriptures, the seemingly unending body-consciousness is sustained by our impure, spiritually ignorant mind. Just as the snake abandons his skin effortlessly, similarly the body-consciousness can easily be abandoned by ascending to the more uplifting mode of goodness or purity. Those who are of a pure nature always inquire into the origin and the nature of this body-consciousness. When such investigation is conducted with the help of the Shabad-Vichaar, there arises a clear understanding within oneself in which the Truth is seen, as the light is seen in a lamp.

  • ਸਾਪੁ ਕੁੰਚ ਛੋਡੈ ਬਿਖੁ ਨਹੀ ਛਾਡੈ ॥ ਉਦਕ ਮਾਹਿ ਜੈਸੇ ਬਗੁ ਧਿਆਨੁ ਮਾਡੈ ॥੧॥ ਕਾਹੇ ਕਉ ਕੀਜੈ ਧਿਆਨੁ ਜਪੰਨਾ ॥ ਜਬ ਤੇ ਸੁਧੁ ਨਾਹੀ ਮਨੁ ਅਪਨਾ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Saanp kunch shodai bikh nahee shaadai. Udak maahi jaise bagg dhiaan maadai. ||1|| Kaahai kaou keejai dhiaan japannaa. Jab te sudh naahee mann apnaa ||1||Rahaaou||: The snake sheds its skin, but does not lose its venom (from within). The heron (standing in water) appears to be meditating, but it is concentrating on the water (to catch a fish). ||1|| Why do you practice meditation or chanting, when your mind is not pure? ||1||Pause|| (sggs 486).
Everyone knows that someday he will die; but no one believes it! However, the truth is someday we all have to leave this material body behind - like the snake sheds its skin. Although the snake may shed its skin, but that does not liberate him from its venom. Similarly, if we leave our body in material consciousness, the Soul will not attain liberation from bondage, and we must wander in repetitive existence in the process.
  • ਕਬੀਰ ਗਰਬੁ ਨ ਕੀਜੀਐ ਦੇਹੀ ਦੇਖਿ ਸੁਰੰਗ ॥ ਆਜੁ ਕਾਲ੍ਹ੍ਹਿ ਤਜਿ ਜਾਹੁਗੇ ਜਿਉ ਕਾਂਚੁਰੀ ਭੁਯੰਗ ॥੪੦॥: Kabeer garab n keejeeai dehee dekh surang. Aaj kaal taj jaahuge jiou kaanchuree bhujang ||40||: Kabeer, do not be so proud, looking at your beautiful body. Today or tomorrow, you will have to leave it behind, like the snake shedding its skin ||40|| (sggs 1366).
There is a folk belief that the older snake has a mystic precious stone (Manee-ਮਣੀ) in his head! However, he seems to be perfectly satisfied by eating mere frogs! Also, looking at frog's habits, we will find that although they live in the same water with the Lotus flower, but they are satisfied by mere eating of slimy scum! Similarly, the scriptures tell us that the mystic and precious Jewel of the Infinite Bliss is hidden within our body and that we can attain It at this very moment if we want to. But the problem is we insanely and tumultuously crave the enjoyment of evil passions instead!
  • ਕਨਿਕ ਕਾਮਨੀ ਹੇਤੁ ਗਵਾਰਾ ॥ ਦੁਬਿਧਾ ਲਾਗੇ ਨਾਮੁ ਵਿਸਾਰਾ ॥: Kanik kaamani gavaaraa. Dubhidaa laage naam visaaraa: The fool loves gold and women. Attached to duality he has forgotten the Naam (sggs 416).
The control of senses means to utilizes one's senses only for Spiritual Realization. Our deluded mind shelters the poisonous snakes of cravings. Our senses are liken to venomous serpents. Like snakes, our senses do not like to be restricted. Rather, they like to act not only loosely but also without any restrictions. As indicated in the scriptures, a seeker needs to be very strong to control or silence these serpents � like a snake charmer, who never allows his snakes to act on their own. As a Mool-realized being (the Gurmukh) is the master of his senses, his senses are directed by his dictation or plan. He never allows them to act independently.
  • ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਬੁਝੈ ਹਰਿ ਕੈ ਨਾਮਿ ॥: Trishnaa bujhai Hari ke Naam: Sensual desires are stilled with God's Name (sggs 683).
Maya, the Cosmic Charmer, is likened to a serpent clinging to this world. Being illusory in nature, Maya's primary function is to allude mortals through her deceitful nature. Attached to this cosmic illusion, we fall into the deep sleep of unenlightened existence; unable to apprehend the Reality. In such deluded condition, we take an impermanent thing to be a permanent, a fake to be a real, a false to be a truth, an endfull to be an endless, an unlimited to be a limited, an infinite to be a finite, and so on.
  • ਮਾਇਆ ਹੋਈ ਨਾਗਨੀ ਜਗਤਿ ਰਹੀ ਲਪਟਾਇ ॥ ਇਸ ਕੀ ਸੇਵਾ ਜੋ ਕਰੇ ਤਿਸ ਹੀ ਕਉ ਫਿਰਿ ਖਾਇ ॥: Maya hoee naaganee jagti rahee lataai. Is kee sevaa jo kare tis hee kaou phir khaai: Maya is a serpent, clinging to the world. Whoever serves her, she ultimately devours (that person) (sggs 510).
  • ਬਿਨੁ ਗੁਰ ਬਿਸੀਅਰੁ ਡਸੈ ਮਰਿ ਵਾਟ ॥: Bin Gur biseear dasai mari vaat: Without the Guru, one is stung by the poisonous snake (of Maya), and dies (of spiritual death - ਆਤਮਕ ਮੌਤੇ) on the path (of life's journey - ਜਿੰਦਗੀ ਦੇ ਸਫਰ ਦੇ ਅੱਧ ਵਿਚ ਹੀ) (sggs 942).
To understand Maya's illusion, we can revisit the famous analogy of rope mistaken for the snake. In the dark, a rope laying on the ground may be mistaken for a snake. We know that the rope alone is real, not the snake. However, the non apprehension of the rope gives rise to the misapprehension of the snake. Once the darkness is removed, the rope alone remains; the snake disappears. Similarly, in the dark, a pole may be mistaken for a ghost. As the darkness is removed, the ghost disappears; only the pole remains as reality.
  • ਸਕਤਿ ਅਧੇਰ ਜੇਵੜੀ ਭ੍ਰਮੁ ਚੂਕਾ ਨਿਹਚਲੁ ਸਿਵ ਘਰਿ ਬਾਸਾ ॥: Sakti adher jevarhee bhram chookaa nihchal siv ghari vaasaa: In the darkness of Maya, I mistook the rope for the snake, but that is over, and now I dwell in the eternal home of the Lord (sggs 332).

Our mind or heart is likened to a house; our body made of five elements (space, air, fire, water, and earth) is the roof on this house. Under the spell of ignorance and mental delusion (ego and duality), we have allowed the poisonous snake called Maya to install the doors made of sense pleasures, cravings and pains of material slavery. In addition, we have appointed our corrupt and untrustworthy senses to guard this house.

We can also compare our body with a tree: arms for the branches, torso for the trunk, nine 'gates' for holes, head for fruits, numerous diseases for leaves. As a tree is the resting place for many, the body is also a resting place for living beings. This tree of body is born in the forest of repeated birth and death (Sansaar). The restless monkey (mind) jumps from branch to the other, it is the abode of worms (worries), it is constantly eaten by the insects (suffering and pains), it shelters the poisonous snakes (cravings), and wild crow (anger) dwells on it. On this tree of the body are the flowers (laughter), and fruits (good and evil). It appears to be animated by the wind (Praana or life-force), it shelters the wild birds (senses). This tree of the body is habitually visited by the traveler (desire and fear), for it provides the shade (of pleasure). A formidable vulture (false ego) is seated on top this hollow and empty tree.

The Gurbani declares that the Gur-Shabad or Divine Name is the killer of serpent-Maya. With the Shabad-Vichaar comes the real understanding of the human apparatus consisting of body-mind-intellect. This Inner Understanding of the Shabad causes one to die while living (dissolving of the mind or false ego), making his senses widow! In the process, one kills the Maya-snake as well as destroys the snake-hole (senses: Maya's sitting place) with the sword of Divine Knowledge (Aatam-Giaan).

Without any identification with the worldly objects, a true Giaanee (the Gurmukh) lives in the world fenced with two swords: The one of Divine Knowledge (Aatam-Giaan), and the other of God-centered activities. With these swords, he kills the snake of Maya. With the power of detachment, he thus succeeds in conquering the material world, and set himself free from worldly entanglements and their fruits, while the Agiaanee (ignorant being) falls slave to the same world!

  • ਬਿਸੀਅਰ ਬਿਸੂ ਭਰੇ ਹੈ ਪੂਰਨ ਗੁਰੁ ਗਰੁੜ ਸਬਦੁ ਮੁਖਿ ਪਾਵੈਗੋ ॥ ਮਾਇਆ ਭੁਇਅੰਗ ਤਿਸੁ ਨੇੜਿ ਨ ਆਵੈ ਬਿਖੁ ਝਾਰਿ ਝਾਰਿ ਲਿਵ ਲਾਵੈਗੋ ॥੨॥: Biseear bisoo bhare gur garurr mukh paavaigo. Maya bhuiang tis nerr n aavai bikh jhaar jhaar liv laavaigo ||2||: The snakes are filled with poisonous venom; (to protect from their poison is the Mantra - ਮੰਤ੍ਰ - called) ਗਾਰੁੜ (Gaarurr). (Similarly,) the Gur-Shabad is the antidote (to the poison of the Maya-serpent) - (so) place it (Gur-Shabad) in your mouth. Maya, the serpent, does not even approach one who (with the help of the Mantra of the Gur-Shabad) is rid of the poison (of the Maya-serpent); he lovingly becomes attuned (to the Lord). ||2|| (sggs 1310).
  • ਨਾਨਕ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਜਗੁ ਜੀਤਾ ਜਗਿ ਜੀਤਾ ਸਭੁ ਕੋਇ ॥: Nanak Giaanee jag jeetaa jagi jeetaa sabh koi: O Nanak, the Giani has conquered the world (Maya's Moh), but (except the Giaanee) the world has conquered everyone else (sggs 548).
The antidote to a snakebite is the venom that comes from the same snake! Similarly, the spell of Maya (snakebite) as well as the power of the Divine Name (antidote) also come from the same Source. As such, the sectarian spell of the Shabad-Surti or Name-consciousness is said to be the antidote to the non-nectarian spell of Maya. However, as a raft should be built before the flood, or a well should be dug before the fire, similarly, the antidote should be prepared on timely manners! As indicated in the Gurbani, it can be accomplished by becoming a Gurmukh (Spiritual Being). The Gurmukh is likened to the snake-charmer, to whom the snake of Maya does not pose any danger!
  • ਕਾਗਦ ਕੋਟੁ ਇਹੁ ਜਗੁ ਹੈ ਬਪੁਰੋ ਰੰਗਨਿ ਚਿਹਨ ਚਤੁਰਾਈ ॥... ਉਲਟੀ ਨਦੀ ਕਹਾਂ ਘਰੁ ਤਰਵਰੁ ਸਰਪਨਿ ਡਸੈ ਦੂਜਾ ਮਨ ਮਾਂਹੀ ॥੫॥: Kaagat kot ih jag hai bapuro rangani chihan chaturaaee ... Ulatee nadee kahaan ghar taravar sarpani dasai doojaa mann maanhee ||5||: This wretched world is a fortress of paper, of color and form and clever tricks. A tiny drop of water or a little puff of wind destroys its glory; in an instant, its life is ended. ||4|| It is like a tree-house near the bank of a river, with a serpent's den in that house. When the river overflows, what happens to the tree house? The snake bites, like duality in the mind ||5|| (sggs 1274).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਕੋਈ ਗਾਰੜੂ ਤਿਨਿ ਮਲਿ ਦਲਿ ਲਾਈ ਪਾਇ ॥: Gurmukh koee gaararroo tini mali dali laaee paae: The Gurmukh, Spiritual Being, is a snake-charmer (who knoews how to neutralize the poison and leave the Maya-snake without fangs); he has thrown her down (this snake of Maya), he has trampled and crushed her under his feet (sggs 510).
Metaphysically speaking, the snake is nothing but our false ego! By making the Divine Name the ocean, our mind the rod, and our false ego the rope, we can remove the poison from this snake-ego. Pulled forward and backward by the mighty teams of the lower-self (demoniac instincts) and the Higher-self (Divine Virtues), the process of churning the Shabad or Naam starts. In the early stages of this churning, many tempting Sidhis or occult powers emerge out. However, if the seeker ignores the Sidhis and continues the churning, just before experiences of the Immortality (Ambrosial Nectar or Amrit), the ego will vomit out its entire subconscious and unconscious poison of Vaasnaas (undigested desires). Also known as ignorance, this terrible poison cannot be completely eliminated until the Spiritual Wisdom awakens within. Hence, the churning (Shabad-Vichaar) must continue, until the Supreme Essence is unfolded and the ultimate Goal is attained!
  • ਮਾਧਾਣਾ ਪਰਬਤੁ ਕਰਿ ਨੇਤ੍ਰਿ ਬਾਸਕੁ ਸਬਦਿ ਰਿੜਕਿਓਨੁ ॥: Maadhaanaa parbatu kari netri baasaku Sabadi rirhkionu: Making the mountain (of Higher Consciousness, Shabad-Surti, ਉੱਚੀ ਸੁਰਤ...) churning stick; and making (the mind) the churning string, (he) churned the Shabad. (sggs 967).
The manifestation of ignorance seems real only to the spiritually ignorant (the Manmukh). Roaming in this dense jungle of ignorance, hearing the Divine Name (Aatam Giaan...) to him feels like as a scorpion has stung him. In such conditioned state, the mind behaves like it is separate from the Mool (Jot, Source, Origin...). This is our disease; and in this diseased condition, we perform worthless deeds. In general, the mental ailments are the basic cause of our bodily diseases. Fortunately, the bodily diseases finish with the death of our physical body. However, the mental diseases remain with the soul hereafter, and become determining factor for next material body. This is how the living entities get caught in the vicious cycle of repeated birth and death. Contentment in every situation coupled with loving compassion is the antidote to subdue and conquer dark mental forces. It is the Spiritual Wisdom that helps destroy the dense forest of ignorance (body-consciousness), and brings one back to the Infinite Consciousness which alone is true. The Gurbani describes the mental condition of an ignorant being (Manmukh) as follows:
  • ਰਾਮਕਲੀ ਮਹਲਾ ੫ ॥ ਕਉਡੀ ਬਦਲੈ ਤਿਆਗੈ ਰਤਨੁ ॥ ਛੋਡਿ ਜਾਇ ਤਾਹੂ ਕਾ ਜਤਨੁ ॥ ਸੋ ਸੰਚੈ ਜੋ ਹੋਛੀ ਬਾਤ ॥ ਮਾਇਆ ਮੋਹਿਆ ਟੇਢਉ ਜਾਤ ॥੧॥ ਅਭਾਗੇ ਤੈ ਲਾਜ ਨਾਹੀ ॥ ਸੁਖ ਸਾਗਰ ਪੂਰਨ ਪਰਮੇਸਰੁ ਹਰਿ ਨ ਚੇਤਿਓ ਮਨ ਮਾਹੀ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਕਉਰਾ ਬਿਖਿਆ ਮੀਠੀ ॥ ਸਾਕਤ ਕੀ ਬਿਧਿ ਨੈਨਹੁ ਡੀਠੀ ॥ ਕੂੜਿ ਕਪਟਿ ਅਹੰਕਾਰਿ ਰੀਝਾਨਾ ॥ ਨਾਮੁ ਸੁਨਤ ਜਨੁ ਬਿਛੂਅ ਡਸਾਨਾ ॥੨॥ ਮਾਇਆ ਕਾਰਣਿ ਸਦ ਹੀ ਝੂਰੈ ॥ ਮਨਿ ਮੁਖਿ ਕਬਹਿ ਨ ਉਸਤਤਿ ਕਰੈ ॥ ਨਿਰਭਉ ਨਿਰੰਕਾਰ ਦਾਤਾਰੁ ॥ ਤਿਸੁ ਸਿਉ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਨ ਕਰੈ ਗਵਾਰੁ ॥੩॥ ਸਭ ਸਾਹਾ ਸਿਰਿ ਸਾਚਾ ਸਾਹੁ ॥ ਵੇਮੁਹਤਾਜੁ ਪੂਰਾ ਪਾਤਿਸਾਹੁ ॥ ਮੋਹ ਮਗਨ ਲਪਟਿਓ ਭ੍ਰਮ ਗਿਰਹ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਤਰੀਐ ਤੇਰੀ ਮਿਹਰ ॥੪॥੨੧॥੩੨॥: Ramkalee Mahalaa 5 || kouddee badalai tiaagai ratan ...: Ramkalee Mahalaa 5. In exchange for a shell, (Saakat: the one who is disconnected from Truth) gives up a jewel (of the Lord's Name). He tries to get what he must give up. He collects those things which are worthless. Enticed by Maya, he takes the crooked path ||1||.  You unfortunate man — have you no shame? You do not remember in your mind the ocean of peace, the perfect Transcendent God ||1||rahaaou||. Amrit (Naam) seems bitter, and poison sweet. Such is the Saakat's condition, which I have seen with my own eyes. He is fond of falsehood, fraud and egotism. If he hears Naam, he feels like he ahs been stung by a scorpion ||2||. He continually yearns for Maya, and he never chants God's Praises in his mind (and/or) with his mouth. The Lord is fearless and formless; He is the Great Giver. But you do not love Him, you fool! ||3|| God, the True King, is above the heads of all kings. People are intoxicated by emotional attachment, entangled in doubt and family life. Nanak: they are saved only by Your Mercy, Lord. ||4||21||32|| (sggs 892).
Maya is likened to a fly (Makhee). Sugar and filth is the trap for flies. Similarly, the mind bewildered by Maya's delusion is the deadly trap for the Jeeva (individual being). Just as the flies are attracted to the filth and sugar, similarly the Maya-ridden mind is attracted to the worldly objects and nonsense  - lust, anger, greed, emotional attachment, self-conceit, enviousness, stubborn mindedness, etc.
  • ਪੰਖੀ ਮ੍ਰਿਗ ਮਾਇਆ ਮਹਿ ਰਾਤੇ ॥ ਸਾਕਰ ਮਾਖੀ ਅਧਿਕ ਸੰਤਾਪੇ ॥: Pakhee marig maya mahi raate. Saakar maakhee adhik santaape: The birds and the deer are imbued with Maya (ਸਭ ਮਾਇਆ ਵਿਚ ਰੰਗੇ ਪਏ ਹਨ). Sugar (i.e., Maya) is a deadly trap for the flies (Jeeva...) (sggs 1160).
The value of sandalwood (Chandan) lies in its lovely fragrance. This aspect of the sandalwood represents the Divine qualities found in godly Beings, the Gurmukhs. The smell of sandalwood is so sublime that its fragrance spreads out far and wide. As a result, the lowly trees growing near sandalwood also smell just like it. Thus, whatever comes into contact with the sandalwood is uplifted. For example, the soothing fragrance emanating from the sandalwood tree attaches to the other ordinary trees of the forest. The scriptures compare the nature as well as the association of godly Beings with that of a sandalwood; for in such company a lowly conditioned being is transformed into Divine Consciousness!
  • ਭਾਰ ਅਠਾਰਹ ਮਹਿ ਚੰਦਨੁ ਊਤਮ ਚੰਦਨ ਨਿਕਟਿ ਸਭ ਚੰਦਨੁ ਹੁਈਆ ॥ ਸਾਕਤ ਕੂੜੇ ਊਭ ਸੁਕ ਹੂਏ ਮਨਿ ਅਭਿਮਾਨੁ ਵਿਛੁੜਿ ਦੂਰਿ ਗਈਆ ॥੨॥: Bhaar athaarah mahi chandan ootam chnadan nikat sabh chandan hueeaa. Saakat koorre oobh suk hooe mani abhimaan vichhurr doori gaeeaa ||2||
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਜਾਇ ਲਹਹੁ ਘਰੁ ਅਪਨਾ ਘਸਿ ਚੰਦਨੁ ਹਰਿ ਜਸੁ ਘਸੀਐ ॥੨॥: Gurmukh jaai lahahu ghar apanaa ghas chandan har jas ghaseeai ||2||: As Gurmukh, go and enter within your own Home within; anoint yourself with the sandalwood oil of the Lord’s Praises ||2|| (sggs 170).
  • ਮਿਲਿ ਸਤਸੰਗਤਿ ਪਰਮ ਪਦੁ ਪਾਇਆ ਮੈ ਹਿਰਡ ਪਲਾਸ ਸੰਗਿ ਹਰਿ ਬੁਹੀਆ ॥: Mil satasangat param pad paaiaa mai hirad palaas sangi har buheeaa: Joining the Sat (Truth), I have obtained the supreme status. I am just a castor-oil tree, made fragrant by their association (sggs 834).
The blade of an ax that cuts the Sandalwood becomes fragrant itself! Similarly, the nature of unconditioned Souls is that, if someone hurts or inflicts miseries unto them, they show compassion toward that person just as the sandalwood imparts fragrance to the ax that cuts it! Also, it's said that the sandalwood trees remain encircled by the poisonous snakes. However, the sandalwood does not change its nature -  it does not become poisonous. To the contrary, it accommodates the poison and remains fragrant at the same time!
  • ਕਬੀਰ ਸੰਤੁ ਨ ਛਾਡੈ ਸੰਤਈ ਜਉ ਕੋਟਿਕ ਮਿਲਹਿ ਅਸੰਤ ॥ ਮਲਿਆਗਰੁ ਭੁਯੰਗਮ ਬੇਢਿਓ ਤ ਸੀਤਲਤਾ ਨ ਤਜੰਤ ॥੧੭੪॥: Kabeer sant na chhadai santayee jayu kotic milai asant. Maliaagar bhuyangam bedhiyo ta seetaltaa na tajant ||174||: Kabeer, the saintly being does not forsake his saintly nature, even though he meets with millions of evil-doers. Even when sandalwood is surrounded by snakes, it does not give up its cooling fragrance ||174|| (sggs 1373).
God's Name (Aatam Giaan...) is likened to the sandalwood. As the sandalwood is cooling and soothing, so is the Name. Therefore, the Gurbani asks us for becoming scented with the perfume of the Divine Name. Its fragrance spreads gloriously far and wide. Whosoever sit close to those imbued in the Divine Name also get uplifted; just as the bitter Nimm tree, growing near the sandalwood tree, becomes permeated with the fragrance of the sandalwood.
  • ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਸੀਤਲ ਜਲੁ ਧਿਆਵਹੁ ਹਰਿ ਚੰਦਨ ਵਾਸੁ ਸੁਗੰਧ ਗੰਧਈਆ ॥: Har har naam seetal jal dhiaavahu har chandan vaas sugandh gandhaeeaa: Meditate on the cool water of the God's Name. Perfume yourself with the fragrant scent of God, the sandalwood tree (sggs 833).
In the Gurbani the Inner Awareness, the Inner Heart (Spiritual Center...) or the Inner Mind is depicted as the lotus flower (Kamal). However, with the rise of false ego, it becomes inverted (or "filthy"). For the inverted heart-lotus to turn upright, the Gurbani asks us to cultivate the Aatam Giaan (Spiritual Wisdom) through the Shabad-Vichaar, and then live it (the Gurmat).
  • ਉਲਟਿਓ ਕਮਲੁ ਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਬੀਚਾਰਿ ॥: Ultio kamal Brahm Vichaar (sggs 153).

The Gurbani assert that the Pure Blissful state of the Mool within (Jot, Source, Origin...) can be realized by quieting the mind (of the noise of Maya, egotism...). Accordingly, a tranquil or peaceful mind is indicated to be the real locus of a True Happiness; for Happiness is a state of the mind. Therefore, the degree of Happiness is directly proportional to the degree of tranquility of our mind. For example, if one's mind is in peace for a moment, he will enjoy momentary happiness, on the other hand, if one has learnt the art to have peaceful mind at all the time, he can enjoy everlasting Happiness. Once the true nature of Happiness is understood, one can bring about lasting tranquility within, without having to depend on any outside objects or circumstances.

We are provided with a unique capacity to quieting the mind. The Gurbani tells us that we can awaken this dormant capacity simply detaching the mind from the externalities of the world and then turning it inward, or simply remaining without worldly distractions. Just as a bird flies in the sky without leaving any mark, just as a fish swims in the water without making any footprints, just as the lotus lives in the water without being touched by the slime, just as the swan swims across the stream without becoming wet, similarly, the Gurbani says that one can and must live amidst the so-called impurities of the material world without being affected, disturbed or distracted.

  • ਜੈਸੇ ਜਲ ਮਹਿ ਕਮਲੁ ਨਿਰਾਲਮੁ ਮੁਰਗਾਈ ਨੈ ਸਾਣੇ ॥ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਸਬਦਿ ਭਵ ਸਾਗਰੁ ਤਰੀਐ ਨਾਨਕ ਨਾਮੁ ਵਖਾਣੇ ॥ ਰਹਹਿ ਇਕਾਂਤਿ ਏਕੋ ਮਨਿ ਵਸਿਆ ਆਸਾ ਮਾਹਿ ਨਿਰਾਸੋ ॥ ਅਗਮੁ ਅਗੋਚਰੁ ਦੇਖਿ ਦਿਖਾਏ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਤਾ ਕਾ ਦਾਸੋ ॥੫॥: Jaise jal mahi ... (sggs 938).
The mind of the sparrow-hawk thirsts and longs for the raindrops from the clouds. Until then, in separation, he cries, chirps and calls his Beloved rain clouds every moment. Hearing the thunder of rain clouds, the sparrow-hawk, as well as the peacock, lovingly sing and dance in joy. As soon as the first drop of rain pours down into its mouth, the pain of sparrow-hawk comes to an end and he attains Sahaj (natural state of Being, ਗਿਆਨ ਅਵਸਤਾ). Just so, the Soul-bride is separated from her Divine Beloved, the Unconditioned Consciousness. But, the false ego has intervened. By attaching the sparrow-hawk of the mind to the raindrop of the Divine Name, she attains the state of Sahaj. The clouds of Divine Love mercifully burst forth, and the rain of the Amrit-Name pours down in torrents. The cries and wailing (wandering) of the mind's sparrow-hawk ceases to be, and the Sahaj comes to abide in the mind. The Soul-bride then feels completely satisfied and satiated; never again to be afflicted by thirst (egoism). The Gurbani puts it so beautifully as follows:
  • 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 thar 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!).
  • ਨਾਨਕ ਸੰਤ ਚਾਤ੍ਰਿਕ ਕੀ ਨਿਆਈ ਹਰਿ ਬੂੰਦ ਪਾਨ ਸੁਖ ਥੀਵਨਿ ॥੨॥੬੮॥੯੧॥: Nanak sant chaatrik kee niyaayee Hari boond paan sukh theevan ||2||68||91||: Nanak, the saints are like the rainbird (as the rainbird is comforted or satiated by drinking the raindrop - ਜਿਵੇਂ ਪਪੀਹਾ ਸ੍ਵਾਂਤੀ ਨਛੱਤ੍ਰ ਦੀ ਵਰਖਾ ਦੀ ਬੂੰਦ ਪੀ ਕੇ ਤ੍ਰਿਪਤ ਹੁੰਦਾ ਹੈ); the saints (similarly) are comforted, drinking in the drops of God’s Name ||2||68||91|| (sggs 1222).
  • ਬਾਬੀਹੈ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਪਛਾਣਿਆ ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਸਹਜਿ ਸੁਭਾਇ ॥: Baabeehai Hukam pachhaaniaa Gur kai Sahaj subhaai ...: That rainbird (of the mind) who by being established in Sahaj (Intuitive Poise, Natural state of Being - ਆਤਮਕ ਅਡੋਲਤਾ ਵਿਚ ਟਿਕ ਕੇ), and by following the Guru, realizes the Hukam (Divine Will); (sggs 1284).
  • ਹਉ ਇਕੁ ਖਿਨੁ ਤਿਸੁ ਬਿਨੁ ਰਹਿ ਨ ਸਕਾ ਜਿਉ ਚਾਤ੍ਰਿਕੁ ਜਲ ਕਉ ਬਿਲਲਾਤਾ ॥: Haou ik khin tis bin rahi na sakaa jiou chaatric jal kaou billaataa I can not live without Him (God or the Truth) even for a moment, (in sepration from Him) I cry for Him as song-bird does for the water (of rain drops - ਵਰਖਾ ਦੀ ਬੂੰਦ) (sggs 564).
The cuckoo (Koyal or black bird) is known for its pitch black color, its sweet voice, and its love for the mango tree. In one of his hymns, Bhagat Fareed asks cuckoo why she was so black. "I am burnt in the fire of separation from my Beloved", replies the cuckoo. By making Divine Name (Aatam Giaan...) the mango tree, chanting His sweet Name with intense longing, and contemplating the Gur-Shabad, we can link back to our Mool within (Jot, Source, Origin...).
  • ਚਕਵੀ ਸੂਰ ਸਨੇਹੁ ਚਿਤਵੈ ਆਸ ਘਣੀ ਕਦਿ ਦਿਨੀਅਰੁ ਦੇਖੀਐ ॥ ਕੋਕਿਲ ਅੰਬ ਪਰੀਤਿ ਚਵੈ ਸੁਹਾਵੀਆ ਮਨ ਹਰਿ ਰੰਗੁ ਕੀਜੀਐ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਕਰੀਜੈ ਮਾਨੁ ਨ ਕੀਜੈ ਇਕ ਰਾਤੀ ਕੇ ਹਭਿ ਪਾਹੁਣਿਆ ॥ ਅਬ ਕਿਆ ਰੰਗੁ ਲਾਇਓ ਮੋਹੁ ਰਚਾਇਓ ਨਾਗੇ ਆਵਣ ਜਾਵਣਿਆ ॥ ਥਿਰੁ ਸਾਧੂ ਸਰਣੀ ਪੜੀਐ ਚਰਣੀ ਅਬ ਟੂਟਸਿ ਮੋਹੁ ਜੁ ਕਿਤੀਐ ॥ ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਛੰਤ ਦਇਆਲ ਪੁਰਖ ਕੇ ਮਨ ਹਰਿ ਲਾਇ ਪਰੀਤਿ ਕਬ ਦਿਨੀਅਰੁ ਦੇਖੀਐ ॥੩॥: Chakvee soor sanehu chikvai aas ghanee kade dineear dekheeai. Kokil amb preet ..:  The Chakvee bird is in love with the sun, and thinks of it constantly (all night); her greatest longing is to behold the dawn. The cuckoo is in love with the mango tree, and sings so sweetly. O my mind, love God in this way. Love God, and do not take pride in yourself (wealth, possession, etc.); everyone is (just) a guest for a single night. Now, why are you entangled in pleasures, and engrossed in emotional attachment? Naked (empty-handed, etc.) we come, and naked (empty-handed, etc.) we go. Seek the Sanctuary of the Holy and fall at their feet, (in sanctuary of the Holy, the mind becomes) stable (ਅਡੋਲ), and the attachments you have cultivated (with Maya) will depart. Says Nanak, chant the Hymns of the Merciful God, and enshrine love for Him (just as the Chakvee bird loves the sun and longs for the dawn ), O my mind; otherwise, how will you come to behold the dawn? ||3|| (sggs 455).

Humility belongs to a godly person endowed with Divine Nature (the Gurmukh Lifestyle). True quality of humility, therefore, is one of the essential qualifications of a Transcendentally situated person; for humility puts him in a right relation to God, his Pure Being, and the creation. Therefore, it is the Divine Will (Hukam) for us to acquire humility. "But what is humility?", one may ask. True humility, in nutshell, is the recognition of one's imperfections, and considering others better than yourselves.

However, the material conception of life makes us finding faults in others by ignoring our own; because we are lacking. Due to this lack, we are unable to recognize our own imperfections. The humble and modest feeling of being meek and lowly comes when we attain humility. How can we attain it? The Gurbani tells us that, in order to acquire humility, we need to replace our fleshly nature with the Divine Nature; we need to "annihilate" the existing mind, and renew it with Divine Name (Divine Knowledge...) as we strive for humility. The Gurbani adduces the analogy of an ant picking up the sugar grain. A grain of sugar spilled onto the sand cannot be picked up by hands (ਹਥਾਂ ਨਾਲ ਚੁਣੀ ਨਹੀਂ ਜਾ ਸਕਦੀ); however, an ant can easily pick it up! The Lord is like a sugar grain, spilled onto the sand of Maya. hands (the deluded mind, false ego...) cannon pick it up. Only the ant (of egoless being) can. Thus, the Lord is only known to the humbles.

  • ਹਰਿ ਹੈ ਖਾਂਡੁ ਰੇਤੁ ਮਹਿ ਬਿਖਰੀ ਹਾਥੀ ਚੁਨੀ ਨ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਕਹਿ ਕਬੀਰ ਗੁਰਿ ਭਲੀ ਬੁਝਾਈ ਕੀਟੀ ਹੋਇ ਕੈ ਖਾਇ ॥੨੩੮॥ : Hari hai khaandu retu mahi bikharee haathee chunee n jaai. Kahi Kabeer guri bhalee bujhaaee keetee hoi kai khaai ||238|| : God is like sugar, scattered in the sand; hands (ego-mind) cannot pick it up. Says Kabeer! The Gur (Giaan, Divine Knowledge, Spiritual Wisdom...) has given me this Sublime Understanding (ਚੰਗੀ ਮੱਤ, ਸੂਝ-ਬੂਝ): become an ant (i.e, humble or egoless being...), and feed on it ||238|| (sggs 1377).

— T. Singh
www.gurbani.org