A frog who has lived all his life in a well knows nothing about the existence of the land or world outside the well. It always thinks in terms relative to the well. Because of the limited faculties, experience, etc., it has no capacity to think otherwise.

Similarly, as indicated in the Gurbani, the man with his conditioned mind and senses (Mayaic Budhi or intellect…) is unable to attain Understanding (ਸੂਝ-ਬੂਝ). Until we are Awaken to the Divine Knowledge (Aatam Giaan…) through the Shabad-Vichaar, and to our Mool within (Source, Origin, Jot…), we all suffer from the frog-mind or frog-philosophy.

  • ਕੂਪੁ ਭਰਿਓ ਜੈਸੇ ਦਾਦਿਰਾ ਕਛੁ ਦੇਸੁ ਬਿਦੇਸੁ ਨ ਬੂਝ ॥ ਐਸੇ ਮੇਰਾ ਮਨੁ ਬਿਖਿਆ ਬਿਮੋਹਿਆ ਕਛੁ ਆਰਾ ਪਾਰੁ ਨ ਸੂਝ ॥੧॥: Koopu bhario jaise daadiraa kashu desu bidesu na boojh. Aise meraa manu bikhiaa bimohiaa kashu aaraa paaru na soojh ||1||: As a well is filled with frogs, (but those frogs in the well) know 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).

The terms such as mind’s foolishness, ignorance, darkness, false ego-sense (Haumai), mental blindness, etc., are essentially synonymous, and point to a mind in control of the senses rather than the Divine Knowledge (Aatam Giaan). Such mind is so restless, turbulent, agitated and strong that it often overcomes even one’s own intelligence. Thus, a mind ignorant of its Mool (Source, Origin, Jot…) is like an acute infection that may even surpass the efficacy of the medicine! The Gurbani compares a person with such sense infatuated or Mayaic mind with a frog!

  • ਬਿਮਲ ਮਝਾਰਿ ਬਸਸਿ ਨਿਰਮਲ ਜਲ ਪਦਮਨਿ ਜਾਵਲ ਰੇ ॥ ਪਦਮਨਿ ਜਾਵਲ ਜਲ ਰਸ ਸੰਗਤਿ ਸੰਗਿ ਦੋਖ ਨਹੀ ਰੇ ॥੧॥ ਦਾਦਰ ਤੂ ਕਬਹਿ ਨ ਜਾਨਸਿ ਰੇ ॥ ਭਖਸਿ ਸਿਬਾਲੁ ਬਸਸਿ ਨਿਰਮਲ ਜਲ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਨ ਲਖਸਿ ਰੇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Bimal majhaar basas niramal jal padaman jaaval re...:  In a pond’s (Sarovar, etc.) clean water, both the lotus and the slimy scum (pellicle like stuff that grows in the water-ਜਾਲਾ) are found. (Although) the lotus flower lives with the slimy scum and the water, but, in their association, it remains untouched (i.e., ਉਸ ਨੂੰ ਕੋਈ ਦਾਗ ਨਹੀਂ ਲੱਗਦਾ). ||1|| O frog, you can never understand. (O frog!) While you dwell in the clean water, but you do not appreciate it (ਸਾਫ-ਸੁਥਰੇ ਪਾਣੀ ਦੀ ਕਦਰ ਨਹੀ ਜਾਣਦਾ). (Instead) you eat (only) the slimy scum (in that clean water). ||1||Pause|| (sggs 990).

Even though a frog may be living in a clean water with lotus flowers; however, it likes eating the mud and filth only! Similarly, the senses of a frog-mind person, even though he may be living with pious and wise people, likes to consume the mud of selfishness, falsehood or corruption only.

The difference between a frog and a lotus flower is the same as between a Manmukh (material being…) and a Gurmukh (follower of Gur-Shabad, Mool-realized person…). That is, a Manmukh is akin to a frog, while a Gurmukh is akin to a lotus flower.

Although a lotus flower lives with water and slimy scum, but it remains untouched or unpolluted. This is the characteristic of a Gurmukh who, while living in the midst of Maya, remains untainted. On the other hand, a frog eats slimy scum even though he lives with the same water and the lotus! This is the characteristic of a Manmukh; who thinks, speaks, acts, etc., in a way that is destructive to the society as well as not conducive to his own Spiritual Unfolding.

  • ਐਬ ਤਨਿ ਚਿਕੜੋ ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਮੀਡਕੋ ਕਮਲ ਕੀ ਸਾਰ ਨਹੀ ਮੂਲਿ ਪਾਈ ॥: Aib tan chickro ih man meedako kamal kee saar nahi mool paaee: (So long) there is the mud (of Bikaars: lust, anger, greed, etc.) in the body, and this mind is the frog (that dwells in that mud), (such) mind cannot appreciate the lotus (that grows in the mud) at all (the mind cannot understand God that dwells within) (sggs 24).

A mind polluted with doubts (Bharam) gets involved with empty rituals, superstitions, superficial or external show of religion, and so on. Why he does that? Because the unmeaning rituals aid to increase the fire of his false ego-sense; making him more phony and foolish in the process. Accordingly, such phony acts are rejected by the Gurbani as the Parameshar can not be pleased or known by them.

Accordingly, ritual bathing or ablution at the pilgrim places is compared in the Gurbani with the frog. The Gurbani asserts that such people may get their body washed off all right, but they end up accumulating twice as much of mental filth!

  • 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).
  • ਜਲ ਕੈ ਮਜਨਿ ਜੇ ਗਤਿ ਹੋਵੈ ਨਿਤ ਨਿਤ ਮੇਂਡੁਕ ਨਾਵਹਿ ॥ ਜੈਸੇ ਮੇਂਡੁਕ ਤੈਸੇ ਓਇ ਨਰ ਫਿਰਿ ਫਿਰਿ ਜੋਨੀ ਆਵਹਿ ॥੨॥: Jal ki majan…:  If salvation can be obtained by bathing in water, then what about the frog, which is always bathing (always remains in water)? As is the frog, so is that mortal; (without the Lord’s Naam, Giaan…) he is reincarnated, over and over again ||2|| (sggs 484).

According to the Gurbani, the practice of Shabad-Vichaar (Naam, Bhagati …) is said to be the powerful cleansing process. It helps cleanse the mind and the senses. Purification of the senses indicates ceasing of their material demands for sense-gratification (hunger for Maya-ਮਾਇਆ ਦੀ ਭੁਖ), and cleansing of the mind indicates becoming linked with the Mool within (Source, Origin Jot…).

  • ਮਨੁ ਮੁਗਧੌ ਦਾਦਰੁ ਭਗਤਿਹੀਨੁ ॥: Manu mugadho daadur bhagatiheen: The mind devoid of true Bhagti is like a foolish frog (sggs 1188).
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  1. Karamjeet Singh

    Another piece with in-depth analysis of Gurbani! The examplification of the inappropraiteness of a frog’s choice (the slimy scum) and lotus remaining impact-free from the same ‘neighbor’ so apt.

    Allow me to dwell on this wonderful example a bit more.

    In direct contrast to the choice made by frog, in both the referenced verses on pages 990 and 24 respectively of SGGS, Gurbani also applauds ‘Bhanvra’ [although not residing in the same neighborhood (water)] for recognizing the virtues of water resident ‘Lotus’ and benefit from its ‘nector’. So in the context of categorizing as Manmukh and Gurmukh, Gurbani appears to label Frog as Manmukh and ‘Bhanvra” as Gurmukh for the choices they make respectively (the filth Vs the ‘nectar’). I just wanted to share my two cents.

    Again please do keep on pouring out your reflections on Gurbani. I am sure many like me are being enlightened by your efforts. My Waheguru keep showering His blessings on you so that we all can also keep reaping the rewards of your efforts.

    Deep Regards.

    • T. Singh Post author

      Thank you Bhai Sahib Ji for sharing your beautiful Vichaar.

      • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਕਮਲੁ ਵਿਗਸਿਆ ਸਭੁ ਆਤਮ ਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਪਛਾਨੁ ॥ (sggs 1419).

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