Evil Company-Kusang

Mayaic mentality is a source of perplexity for all of us. These perplexities are like wild forest fire that somehow seems to blaze without being set by anyone!

The Gurbani time and again describes the pathetic condition of our doubt-ridden minds caught in the vertex of these perplexities. The good news is that the Gurbani tells us how to get Free from such perplexed mind.

Those in Mayaic perplexities are called by different names in Gurbani. Some of these names include Kusang (evil or bad company), Saakat or Sakat ( pronounced Saakat ), Manmukh (self-willed…), Mayadhaaree (Maya-stricken or mammon worshipper), Bimukhan (nonbeliever), and so on.

Let’s pause here for a moment before going any further. Please note that the Gurbani’s fundamental Teaching is that all human beings, at the soul-level (Aatmic level), are equal — nobody is bad…

  • ਏਕ ਨੂਰ ਤੇ ਸਭੁ ਜਗੁ ਉਪਜਿਆ ਕਉਨ ਭਲੇ ਕੋ ਮੰਦੇ ॥੧॥: From this One Light, the entire universe has welled up. So who is good, and who is bad? ||1|| (sggs 1349).
  • ਹਮ ਨਹੀ ਚੰਗੇ ਬੁਰਾ ਨਹੀ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਪ੍ਰਣਵਤਿ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਤਾਰੇ ਸੋਇ ॥੪॥੧॥੨॥: (One who thinks) I am not good and no one is bad; prays Nanak – (the Lord) ferries him across (the dreadful ocean of Bikaar, Maya…) ||4||1||2|| (sggs 728).

Simply put: Gurmat (the Teaching of the Gurbani) teaches that there is but One Absolute Reality. This one Supreme Essence is the substratum (support or “Aadhaar“) of all. It is this Infinite Reality, the Homogeneous Oneness, the highest plane of Pure Consciousness, which runs in and through all beings.

Than what does it mean by disassociating, avoiding, or staying away from bad association?

It simple means to shun the Manmukh mentality or thinking, the Manmukh habits, the Manmukh nature, the Manmukh qualities, the Manmukh conduct, the Manmukh character, the Manmukh tendencies (ਮਨਮੁਖ ਵਿਰਤੀ), the Manmukh inclinations, Bikaar (lust, anger, greed…), negativity, and so on. Similarly, the Saakat or Mayadhaaree mentality, the Saakat or Mayadhaaree habits, the Saakat or Mayadhaaree nature, the Saakat or Mayadhaaree qualities, the Saakat or Mayadhaaree conduct, the Saakat or Mayadhaaree character, Bikaar (lust, anger, greed…), negativity — the useless way of life (“ਬਾਦਿ ਆਚਾਰੁ”, “ਆਚਾਰੀ ਬੁਰੀਆਹ”)…

Therefore, when the Gurbani advises not to associate with the Manmukh, Saakat, Mayadhaaree, no-devotees, etc., it does not mean to hate or dislike a person. Because the Gurbani has already told us “ਏਕ ਨੂਰ ਤੇ ਸਭੁ ਜਗੁ ਉਪਜਿਆ ਕਉਨ ਭਲੇ ਕੋ ਮੰਦੇ ॥੧॥: Ek noor te sabhu jagu upjiaa kaoun bhale ko mande ||1||“.

In nutshell, it means we become good or bad due to the quality of our mind; due to the quality of our thinking (Soch), tendencies, character, dispositions, and so on. Accordingly, the Gurbani’s instructions regarding associating or disassociating are at the level of the mind.

  • ਤੇ ਸਾਕਤ ਚੋਰ ਜਿਨਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਵਿਸਾਰਿਆ ਮਨ ਤਿਨ ਕੈ ਨਿਕਟਿ ਨ ਭਿਟੀਐ ॥੪॥: Saakat who have forgotten the Naam are thieves. O (my) mind! Do not draw near them ||4|| (sggs 170).
  • ਏ ਮਨ ਮੇਰਿਆ ਛਡਿ ਅਵਗਣ ਗੁਣੀ ਸਮਾਣਿਆ ਰਾਮ ॥: O my mind! Give up (your) demerits, and be absorbed in (the Divine) Virtue (sggs 1112).
  • ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਤਬ ਹੀ ਮਨ ਛੁਟੀਐ ਜਉ ਸਗਲੇ ਅਉਗਨ ਮੇਟਿ ਧਰਹਾ ॥: Says Nanak – O mind! (You will be) emancipated (from Maya…) only when (you) eradicate all (your) demerits from within. ||4||4|| (sggs 1203).

Thus, the Gurbani simply urges our minds not to associate, take, or identify with the Manmukh/Saakat/ Mayadhaaree mentality or thinking, the Manmukh/Saakat/Mayadhaaree habits, the Manmukh/ Saakat/ Mayadhaaree nature, the Manmukh/Saakat/Mayadhaaree qualities, the Manmukh/Saakat/Mayadhaaree conduct, the Manmukh/Saakat/Mayadhaaree character, the Manmukh/Saakat/Mayadhaaree tendencies, the Manmukh/Saakat/Mayadhaaree inclinations, Bikaar (lust, anger, greed…), negativity, and so on.

Simply put: what’s bad is the habit, nature (ਆਦਤ, ਸਭਾ…), not the human being (ਆਦਮੀ, ਬੰਦਾ)!

Unfortunately, totally contrary to Gurmat (Teaching of the Gurbani), all organized religions of the world are bent on pitting man against his fellow man!

The Gurbani indicates that the influence of the evil nature (Kusang) is such that one loses all his wisdom (Giaan) and discerning intellect (Bibek-Budhi), and thus earns only pain and suffering!

  • ਮਨਮੁਖ ਸੇਤੀ ਸੰਗੁ ਕਰੇ ਮੁਹਿ ਕਾਲਖ ਦਾਗੁ ਲਗਾਇ ॥: Whoever associates with Manmukhs (i.e., Kusang), will have his face blackened (stigma, ਬਦਨਾਮੀ, he will lose his Giaan and Bibek-Budhi…). (sggs 1417).
  • ਕੁਸੰਗਤਿ ਬਹਹਿ ਸਦਾ ਦੁਖੁ ਪਾਵਹਿ ਦੁਖੋ ਦੁਖੁ ਕਮਾਇਆ ॥੧੧॥: Kusangat bahe… (sggs 1068).

At the time of birth, an infant’s mind is more intact, innocent, etc. But, with the passage of time, it loses all that on account of all sorts of conditioning. Just as a rain drop which does not have any impurity of its own, but when it comes in contact with the ground or dirt, it becomes contaminated. Also, just as a piece of paper does not have any smell of its own, but when the same paper is used to wrap fish or fragrant flowers, gets the smell of the object it is associated with. Similarly, one’s mind is affected by the association of qualities it keeps.

To make us recognize Kusang and beware of it, we are provided with its numerous attributes throughout the Gurbani. Please note all verses cannot be given here from a space point of view (to keep the posts short and sweet). Therefore just a few verses are quoted here:

  • ਸਾਕਤ ਸਚੁ ਨ ਭਾਵਈ ਕੂੜੈ ਕੂੜੀ ਪਾਂਇ ॥: The Saakat do not like the Truth; false is the footing of the false (sggs 22).
  • ਸਾਕਤ ਨਰ ਅਹੰਕਾਰੀ ਕਹੀਅਹਿ ਬਿਨੁ ਨਾਵੈ ਧ੍ਰਿਗੁ ਜੀਵੀਜੈ ॥੭॥: Saakat are called egotistical; their living is disdainfull (for they live) without the Naam. ||7|| (sggs 1325).
  • ਸੇ ਮਨਮੁਖ ਜੋ ਸਬਦ ਨ ਪਛਾਨਹਿ ॥: They alone are Manmukhs who do not realize the Shabad (sggs 1054).
  • ਮਨਮੁਖ ਮੂੜ ਮਾਇਆ ਚਿਤ ਵਾਸੁ ॥: Residence of the consciousness of the foolish Manmukh is Maya (sggs 222).
  • ਮਨਮੁਖਿ ਮੈਲਾ ਸਬਦੁ ਨ ਪਛਾਣੈ ॥: The Manmukh’s (mind) remains filthy (with Bikaar); (he) does not understand the Shabad (sggs 415).

We can use the insight of the Gurbani as a tool for self-analysis — to determine as to what degree “Kusang”, “Saakat” or “Manmukh” qualities are present in each one of us! That self-analysis will help the mind turn away from Kusang (evil association).

Accordingly, the Gurbani time and again reminds us to share in the Divine Virtues only. Because, the Gurbani tells us that Bhagti (“ਭਗਤਿ”) is not even possible without acquiring the Divine Virtues!

  • ਸਾਝ ਕਰੀਜੈ ਗੁਣਹ ਕੇਰੀ ਛੋਡਿ ਅਵਗਣ ਚਲੀਐ ॥: Share Virtues; (in this way, one can) walk (on the Path of Spiritual Life by) abandoning faults (from within himself). (sggs 766).
  • ਵਿਣੁ ਗੁਣ ਕੀਤੇ ਭਗਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥: Without acquiring Virtues, Bhagti can not be performed (sggs 4).
  • ਇਕੁ ਉਤਮ ਪੰਥੁ ਸੁਨਿਓ ਗੁਰ ਸੰਗਤਿ ਤਿਹ ਮਿਲੰਤ ਜਮ ਤ੍ਰਾਸ ਮਿਟਾਈ ॥: I have heard the most exalted Path of all is the Gur-Sangat. Joining it, (I have) annihilated the terror or infliction of Jamm (doubt, fear of death, etc.). (sggs 1406).
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  1. Mansukh

    ਮਨਮੁਖ ਸੇਤੀ ਦੋਸਤੀ ਥੋੜੜਿਆ ਦਿਨ ਚਾਰਿ ॥ ਇਸੁ ਪਰੀਤੀ ਤੁਟਦੀ ਵਿਲਮੁ ਨ ਹੋਵਈ ਇਤੁ ਦੋਸਤੀ ਚਲਨਿ ਵਿਕਾਰ ॥ ਜਿਨਾ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਸਚੇ ਕਾ ਭਉ ਨਾਹੀ ਨਾਮਿ ਨ ਕਰਹਿ ਪਿਆਰੁ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਤਿਨ ਸਿਉ ਕਿਆ ਕੀਚੈ ਦੋਸਤੀ ਜਿ ਆਪਿ ਭੁਲਾਏ ਕਰਤਾਰਿ ॥੧॥: Manmukh setee dosatee thorrarriaa din chaar. Is pareetee tuttadee vilam na hovee it dosatee chalan vikaar. Jinaa andar sache kaa bhaou naahee naam na karahi piaar. Nanak tin siou kiaa keechai dosatee ji aap bhulaaeaye karataar ||1||: Friendship with the Manmukhs lasts for only a few short days. This friendship is broken in an instant; this friendship leads to corruption. They (Manmukhs) do not fear (respect) the True Lord in their hearts, and they do not love the Naam, the Lord’s Name; O Nanak, why become friends with these whom (as fruit of their own Karma) God Himself has forgotten (i.e. based on their own Karma they have separated themselves from God)? ||1|| (sggs 587).

    Mr. T Singh Ji,
    What does Guruji mean in this case, when he says that such Friendship leads to corruption? Is he talking about friendship/ association with the Manmukh mentality/habit/character, or is Guruji refering to an actual person?

  2. Mansukh

    Hi Ji,
    I have a question in pertinence to the following passage in the SGGS : ਝੂਠੈ ਕੀ ਰੇ ਝੂਠੁ ਪਰੀਤਿ ਛੁਟਕੀ ਰੇ ਮਨ ਛੁਟਕੀ ਰੇ ਸਾਕਤ ਸੰਗਿ ਨ ਛੁਟਕੀ ਰੇ ॥: Jhoothai kee re jhooth pareet shuttakee re mann shuttakee re saakat sang na shhuttakee re: False is the love of the false one; break the ties, O my mind, and your ties shall be broken. Break your ties with the faithless cynic (sggs 535).
    Is it right to say that the phrase Break your ties with the faithless cynic is in reference to the mentality and thinking of a faithless cynic, and not an actual person. In other words, does it imply that one should unfriend someone simply because he does not believe in God? Because I am sure that a lot of us have friends who may not necessarily believe in God but are good human beings nonetheless.

    • T Singh Post author

      Saakat is the one who’s mind is disconnected or separated from its Moo (Source, Jot, True Nature…).
      In words:
      Saakat is the one who is disconnected from the Divine Virtues.
      Saakat is the one who is disconnected from the Divine Wisdom.
      Saakat is the one who is disconnected from the Brah-Giaan.
      Saakat is the one who is disconnected from his True Nature as Jot Saroop.
      Saakat is the one who is disconnected from the Truth.
      Saakat is the one who is diseased with false ego-sense (Haumai).
      Saakat is the one who hungers for Maya (Mayadhaaree).

      Saakat is Manmukh (denier of Truth)…

      The SGGS gives us the invaluable Giaan (Spiritual Knowledge).
      Whether one wants learn that Giaan and then live life with the discerning intellect (Bibek Budhi) is up to the individual. Choice will determine the results and consequences.

      Thank you Mansukh Ji for taking the time to reply. Welcome to the Gurbani Blog!

      • Mansukh

        Hi ji,
        Thank you very much for your very comprehensive description of what a Saakat is. My question however, is not so much to focused on the definition of Saakat, but rather on whether or not we should disassociate/ avoid someone who may be considered a Saakat. Allow me to rephrase; lets say that I have friends who don’t necessarily believe in God, but are still good human beings. They are kind,compassionate,loving and so on. My question is, does the verse above imply that we should break our bonds/ disassociate with such people, or rather is it refering to disassociating with the mentality/habits/nature of a Saakat.

        Thank you so much for clarifying this matter.

        Warm regards,

        Mansukh

  3. prakash s bagga

    But ultimately any person is recognised by the company he keeps.

    • T. Singh Post author

      Yes, Bhai Sahib Jeo. You are right.
      Like minds attracts like minds.
      Like qualities attracts like qualities.
      Like character attracts like character.
      Like habits attract like habits.
      like nature attracts like nature.

      The Gurbani says:
      • ਮਨ ਕਾ ਸੁਭਾਉ ਸਭੁ ਕੋਈ ਕਰੈ ॥: Every one acts according to his mind’s nature (habit, disposition, inclination…). (1167).
      • ਵਿਆਪਿਆ ਦੁਰਮਤਿ ਕੁਬੁਧਿ ਕੁਮੂੜਾ ਮਨਿ ਲਾਗਾ ਤਿਸੁ ਮੋਹਾ ॥ ਠਗੈ ਸੇਤੀ ਠਗੁ ਰਲਿ ਆਇਆ ਸਾਥੁ ਭਿ ਇਕੋ ਜੇਹਾ ॥: The fool is engrossed in evil-mindedness; (because his) mind is attached (to Maya…). A Thug (cheat…), joins with similar Thug; it is a comradeship of like minds (sggs 960).

    • sukhwant

      But ultimately any person is recognized by the company he keeps.

      Slightly amending word “COMPANY” with IDEA :-

      A man is known by the IDEA he keeps.
      some time you have to work or live in Bad Company But your IDEA’s should not be affected i.e.

      ਜੈਸੇ ਜਲ ਮਹਿ ਕਮਲ ਅਲੇਪ ॥
      &
      ਦੀਸਹਿ ਸਭ ਸੰਗਿ ਰਹਹਿ ਅਲੇਪਾ ਨਹ ਵਿਆਪੈ ਉਨ ਮਾਈ ॥
      (He appears to keep company with everyone, but he remains detached, and Maya does not cling to him.)

      • T. Singh Post author

        Thank you Sukhwant Jio for Sharing Shabad Vichaar.

        The mind’s Original Nature (Jot Saroop, Mool…) is often depicted as the lotus flower. That is what the mind would look like if one could see his True Self (the Gurmukh state, Awakened state…).

        • 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 kamalu niraalamu muragaaee nai saane… (sggs 938).

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