The Gurbani says:

  • ਮਰਕਟ ਮੁਸਟੀ ਅਨਾਜ ਕੀ ਮਨ ਬਉਰਾ ਰੇ ਲੀਨੀ ਹਾਥੁ ਪਸਾਰਿ ॥ ਛੂਟਨ ਕੋ ਸਹਸਾ ਪਰਿਆ ਮਨ ਬਉਰਾ ਰੇ ਨਾਚਿਓ ਘਰ ਘਰ ਬਾਰਿ ॥੨॥: Marakat musattee anaaj kee man bouraa re leenee haathu pasaari. Shoottan ko sahasaa pariaa man bouraa re naachiou ghar ghar baari ||2||: 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).

To fully understand and appreciate what the Gurbani is talking about here, it is important to know as to how monkeys are caught in India:

A narrow-necked pot, filled with grains and other eatables that monkeys love, is placed on the ground as a bait to trap them. As a monkey comes to take the grains, he puts his hand into the narrow-necked pot and grab hold of the grains. Now, since his hand is full of grains, he cannot take his hand out of the narrow-necked pot and escape.

In greed, thus, the foolish monkey does not open his hand and let go of the grains so that he can escape. On account of greed (as he will not let go of the grabbed grains) the monkey gets trapped and caught. Consequently, the monkey loses the freedom he had in the forest of abundance of grains and fresh fruits of his liking. In other words, for a few grains he loses his entire world! Now caught and bound, he cannot freely play and enjoy life to his heart’s liking. Instead, he is made to dance door to door by his captive.

Human mind is much the same. Deceptive Maya (illusion, the principle of plurality…) is its captive. The mind tied to Maya suffers from threefold tendencies – Taamas, Raajas, and Saatav. “Crazy mind” can only produce crazy thoughts. On account of this craziness, it is trapped and caught in the transitory world, like the monkey. Trapped in bondage (Maya…), we do not let go the Haume (false ego-sense) and its faults ( lust, greed, anger…).

  • ਜਿਉ ਕਪਿ ਕੇ ਕਰ ਮੁਸਟਿ ਚਨਨ ਕੀ ਲੁਬਧਿ ਨ ਤਿਆਗੁ ਦਇਓ ॥ ਜੋ ਜੋ ਕਰਮ ਕੀਏ ਲਾਲਚ ਸਿਉ ਤੇ ਫਿਰਿ ਗਰਹਿ ਪਰਿਓ ॥੧॥: Jiou kap kae kar musati chanan kee lubadhi na tiaag daio: Jo jo karam keeye laalach siou te fir garahi pario ||1||: Like the monkey with a handful of grains (in the narrow-necked pot – ਦਾਣਿਆਂ ਦੀ ਭਰੀ ਹੋਈ ਮੁੱਠ), who will not let go (grains) because of greed (even he knows he is trapped!) – just so, all the deeds committed in greed ultimately become a noose around (man’s – he bcomes nore and trapped in Maya) neck. (sggs 336).

Thus, the human mind has chained itself to the narrow-necked pot of the body-consciousness — the rule of the senses (or Maya…). A mouse cannot enter its hole with a basket tied around its waist. A balloon anchored with ropes to the ground cannot take off either. Further, just as a man cannot run with his feet tied, or talk with his mouth closed; similarly, he cannot attain mental purity or liberation (from Mayaic consciousness…) with his mind tied to the diverse chains of his false ego-sense (Haumai). He then becomes slave and dance to the tune of Maya.

  • ਫਾਕਿਓ ਮੀਨ ਕਪਿਕ ਕੀ ਨਿਆਈ ਤੂ ਉਰਝਿ ਰਹਿਓ ਕਸੁੰਭਾਇਲੇ ॥: Faakiou meen kapik kee niaaee too ourajhi rahiou kasunbhaaile: (O mind!) You are caught, like the fish (due the bait) for and the monkey (due to a fistful of grains); you are entangled in the saf-flower (transitory Mayaic world…). (sggs 862).
  • ਬਿਖਯੰਤ ਜੀਵੰ ਵਸ੍ਹੰ ਕਰੋਤਿ ਨਿਰਤ੍ਹੰ ਕਰੋਤਿ ਜਥਾ ਮਰਕਟਹ ॥: Bikhayant jeevan vasyam karoti niratyam karoti jathhaa marakatah: You (anger) take the perplexed beings (corrupt, agitated, Bikaaree, full of desires or hunger of Maya…) in your power, and make them dance like monkeys (sggs1358).

Thus, the Gurbani indicates that everyone knows many ways of being trapped (or caught in Maya’s snare, desires, Bikaar-lust, anger, greed…). In the same breath, the Gurbani also tells us that “hardly anyone knows how to escape”.

  • ਫਾਸਨ ਕੀ ਬਿਧਿ ਸਭੁ ਕੋਊ ਜਾਨੈ ਛੂਟਨ ਕੀ ਇਕੁ ਕੋਈ ॥: Phaasan kee bidhi sabhu ko-oojaanai chhootan kee iku koee: Everyone knows how to be caught, but rarely anyone knows how to escape (sggs 331).

The Gurbani shows us the way out from this captivity. Only by becoming a Gurmukh (from a Manmukh), we can again free ourselves to the Freedom of our Essential Nature within (Mool, Source, Origin Jot…).

  • ਮਨਮੁਖਿ ਸੂਤਾ ਮਾਇਆ ਮੋਹਿ ਪਿਆਰਿ ॥ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਜਾਗੇ ਗੁਣ ਗਿਆਨ ਬੀਚਾਰਿ ॥: Manmukhi sootaa Maya mohi piaar. Gurmukhi jaage gun giaan beechaar (sggs 160).

2 replies on “Monkey-Mind”

Awesome reflections. In one line Gurbani can sum up life’s essence. Thanks for your endeavor of sharing these gems.

Deep Regards.

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