Counting beads – ਮਾਲਾ ਫੇਰਨੀ, to take on Mala (pronounced as Maalaa), chanting with Maalaa (rosary)…
When Kabeer Sahib realized he wasted his life in Kashi (“ਸਗਲ ਜਨਮੁ ਸਿਵ ਪੁਰੀ ਗਵਾਇਆ ॥”, (sggs 326). ) by following the worthless rituals prescribed by the Brahmin / Pundit (such as counting beads – Maalaa or rosary, and so on), he moved from there. After realizing uselessness of empty rituals such as counting beads, he threw away the rosary and declared:
- ਭੂਖੇ ਭਗਤਿ ਨ ਕੀਜੈ ॥ ਯਹ ਮਾਲਾ ਅਪਨੀ ਲੀਜੈ ॥: Bhookhe bhagti na keejai. Jah maalaa apanee leejai: Bhagti (devotion…) cannot be performed while hungry (for Maya – Maya’s hunger, love of Maya…). (So) Here is Your Maalaa (rosary), take it back. (sggs 656).
The person who counts beads (ਮਾਲਾ ਫੇਰਨੀ) is full of hunger for Maya (ਮਾਇਆ ਦਾ ਭੁੱਖਾ) – totally Mann Mateeaa (ਮਨ ਮਤੀਆ-the Manmukh who lives against the Gurmat or Teaching of the Gurbani). Those who take on Maalaa are called “ਨਿਪੂਤੇ” (worthless son-ਔਂਤਰਾ) in the Gurbani, for in such worthless stubborn minded practice there can be no Sukha (ਸੁਖ).
- ਜਬ ਕੀ ਮਾਲਾ ਲਈ ਨਿਪੂਤੇ ਤਬ ਤੇ ਸੁਖੁ ਨ ਭਇਓ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Jabb kee maalaa laee nipoote tabb te sukhu n bhaio ||1||Rahaaou||: Ever since this worthless son (i.e., mind, ਔਂਤਰਾ ਮਨ…) has taken the Maalaa (rosary), since than there has been no Sukha (Joy, ਪ੍ਰਾਪਤੀ, Gain, etc.)! ||1||Pause|| (sggs 856).
Thus, the Gurbani repudiates (Khandan) Pakhand-Baazee (deception, hypocrisy, humbug, pretense, etc.) such as counting beads (chanting with Maalaa, rosary). Such nonsense was introduced by those who purposely intended to corrupt the Gurmat (Aatam-Giaan, Knowledge, Wisdom, or Teaching of the Gurbani). Instead of correcting this mistake, unfortunately, this falsehood is not only carried on, but further propagated by the Mayadhaaree Pujaaree-Group (Bhais, Granthees, Raagees, Jathedaars, Paathees, and so on). It’s all “Golak Daa Chakkar” (money)! The Gurbani wants us to make meditation (Naam-Simran: Gur-Giaan, Shabad-Vichaar…) the rosary enshrined in the Heart within.
- ਹਰਿ ਮਾਲਾ ਉਰ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਧਾਰੈ ॥ ਜਨਮ ਮਰਣ ਕਾ ਦੂਖੁ ਨਿਵਾਰੈ ॥੨॥: Har maalaa our antar dhaarai || 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).
But still, as seen everyday, the emphasis of most of the clergy, clerics, Bhais, Raagees, Kathaakaars, Giaanees, Parchaaraks, Sants, Baabaas, etc., is to promote religious symbols and rituals that are strongly repudiated by the Gurbani. They are totally in contradiction with the Divine Teaching (Aatam-Giaan…) and purpose of the SGGS. Why does Gurbani rejects this nonsense? Because all calculations or all calculated Bhagti is in false ego-sense (Haumai). Consider these verses:
- ਹਉਮੈ ਸਭਾ ਗਣਤ ਹੈ ਗਣਤੈ ਨਉ ਸੁਖੁ ਨਾਹਿ ॥: All accounting is in egotism. In this accounting, there is no Peace (sggs 36).
- ਗਣਤੈ ਪ੍ਰਭੂ ਨ ਪਾਈਐ ਦੂਜੈ ਭਰਮੀਤਾ ॥: Ganatai prabhoo na paaeeai doojai bharameetaa: God cannot be obtained by counting; the mortal wanders in doubt — Maya, duality etc. (sggs 510).
This Giaan of the Gurbani is also meant for the Sikhs!! If we don’t believe it then we are not Sikhs. the Gurmat and Saakat-Matt are two different and opposing things. All counting is for the conditioned or material being (Manmukh, Saakat, Mayadhaaree…) for his life or world is in the realm of calculations — egoism or Maya.
There is no counting or calculations for the one who has become the Gurmukh (one who lives the Shabad-Giaan, Gur-Giaan, Gurmat…); because he knows he is not separate from God. He thus relieves himself of all egoistic or mental calculations through the constant abidance in his Joti-Svaroopa within.
So the Gurbani urges us to stop counting beads and become the Gurmukhi.
- ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਸਗਲੀ ਗਣਤ ਮਿਟਾਵੈ ॥: Gurmukh sagalee ganath mittaavai: The Gurmukh erases all calculations (sggs 942).