It is said 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! At one or other time in our lives, many of us probably heard this expression either from our parents, school teachers, or others. This phenomenal world of names and forms is also liken to a dog’s tail: its nature is to curl!
The mind attached to this world (Maya) also behaves crooked like the tail of a dog. Due to ignorance (doubts, false ego, body-consciousness, etc.), it has become stubborn and fanatic. As such, it takes unreal to be real, ephemeral to be eternal, falsehood to be Truth, material consciousness to be Spiritual Consciousness, and so on. Like a dog’s tail, this conditioning of our Mayaic mind keeps us crooked and does not let us change or mend our ways and engage in Shabad-Vichaar, Naam, Bhagati…
- ਸੁਆਨ ਪੂਛ ਜਿਉ ਭਇਓ ਨ ਸੂਧਉ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਜਤਨੁ ਮੈ ਕੀਨਉ ॥: 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…). (sggs 633).
Among all species of living beings, human beings are most fit to be instructed about the nature of the Truth (Mool, Source, Origin, Jot…). However, even among the human beings, those who behave crooked like a dog’s tail are uncondusive to the instructions about the Truth. As the Gurbani says, no matter how many things are tried, they will behave like a dog’s tail, without mending or changing their ways.
- ਸੁਣਿ ਮਨ ਅੰਧੇ ਕੁਤੇ ਕੂੜਿਆਰ ॥ ਬਿਨੁ ਬੋਲੇ ਬੂਝੀਐ ਸਚਿਆਰ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Listen, O mind, you blind (i.e., ignorant…), false (i.e., ਝੂਠਾ…) dog (i.e., greedy…)! (A truthful person-ਸੱਚਾ ਮਨੁੱਖ) is known or recognized without him (even) speaking. ||1||Pause|| (sggs 662).
- ਸੁਆਨ ਪੂਛ ਜਿਉ ਹੋਇ ਨ ਸੂਧੋ ਕਹਿਓ ਨ ਕਾਨ ਧਰੈ ॥ ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਭਜੁ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮ ਨਿਤ ਜਾ ਤੇ ਕਾਜੁ ਸਰੈ ॥੨॥੧॥: Like a dog’s tail, this (mind) does not become straight; it does not attend to (any Advice, Teaching, ਸਿੱਖਿਆ…). Says Nanak, forever meditate on the Lord’s Name and your affairs (the ultimate purpose life, etc.) will get resolved (i.e., ਨਾਮ ਦੀ ਬਰਕਤਿ ਨਾਲ ਤੇਰਾ ਜਨਮ-ਮਨੋਰਥ ਹੱਲ ਹੋ ਜਾਏ) ||2||1|| (sggs 536).
The mid that behaves like a dog’s tail remains immersed in Bikaars (Haume or ego’s faults: lust anger greed, attachment, and pride; and their countless variations like slander, enviousness, stubborn mindedness, etc.), empty rituals, unmeaning rites, slander, outwardly superficial show of religion and Spirituality, and so on. Why? Because his mind is preoccupied with body-consciousness…
- ਸਾਕਤ ਸੁਆਨ ਕਹੀਅਹਿ ਬਹੁ ਲੋਭੀ ਬਹੁ ਦੁਰਮਤਿ ਮੈਲੁ ਭਰੀਜੈ ॥ ਆਪਨ ਸੁਆਇ ਕਰਹਿ ਬਹੁ ਬਾਤਾ ਤਿਨਾ ਕਾ ਵਿਸਾਹੁ ਕਿਆ ਕੀਜੈ ॥੬॥: The Saakat (Manmukh, one separated from his Mool…) is said to be very greedy – he is like a dog. He overflows with the wicked intellect. He talks excessively about his own interests; but he cannot be trusted. ||6|| (sggs 1326).
- ਲੋਭ ਲਹਰਿ ਸਭੁ ਸੁਆਨੁ ਹਲਕੁ ਹੈ ਹਲਕਿਓ ਸਭਹਿ ਬਿਗਾਰੇ ॥: The waves of greed are like mad dogs with rabies. Their madness ruins all (those whom they bite – ਵੱਢਣਾਂ – similarly, the greedy Jeeva makes other like him – ਤਿਵੇਂ ਲੋਭੀ ਮਨੁੱਖ ਹੋਰਨਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਭੀ ਆਪਣੀ ਸੰਗਤ ਵਿਚ ਲੋਭੀ ਬਣਾਈ ਜਾਂਦਾ ਹੈ…). (sggs 983).
- ਮਨਮੁਖੁ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਕਰਿ ਕਰਿ ਵਿਗੁਤਾ ॥ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਲੋਭੁ ਭਉਕੈ ਜਿਸੁ ਕੁਤਾ ॥: The self-willed manmukh indulges in slander, and is ruined. The dog of greed barks within him. (sggs 1046).
To the unwise, the Divine knowledge (Aatam-Giaan or Spiritual Wisdom) is a burden. If we want to straighten our minds, the Gurbani teaches us to mend our ways: We need to change our crooked habits and tendencies. We need to engage in Shabad-Vichaar (Naam, Bhagati…) with keen earnestness, faith, sincerity, and willingness. In turn, the Divine Knowledge attained through Shabad-Vichaar will strike our mind’s crookedness (dog’s tail) and drive it out. When the mind is mended, the Maya’s wheel ceases: the dog’s tail becomes straight, never to curl again!
- ਬਿਨੁ ਸਿਮਰਨ ਭਏ ਕੂਕਰ ਕਾਮ ॥: Without (Naam-) Simran, one becomes like a dog (sggs 239).
- ਏਕ ਭਗਤਿ ਭਗਵਾਨ ਜਿਹ ਪ੍ਰਾਨੀ ਕੈ ਨਾਹਿ ਮਨਿ ॥ ਜੈਸੇ ਸੂਕਰ ਸੁਆਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਮਾਨੋ ਤਾਹਿ ਤਨੁ ॥੪੪॥: That person, who does not feel Bhagati to God in his mind — O Nanak, know that his body is like that of a pig and a dog ||4||4|| (sggs 1428).