Ritual Bathing In Stubbornness (ਮਨ ਹਠ)
First, the Gurbani does not ask us not being hygienic. Second, the Gurbani does not promote or support “Frog-Philosophy” either. But, our “frog-mind” always thinks in terms of the body – focus on cleansing the body but not the mind…
- ਮਨਿ ਮੈਲੈ ਸਭੁ ਕਿਛੁ ਮੈਲਾ ਤਨਿ ਧੋਤੈ ਮਨੁ ਹਛਾ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥: Mani mailai sabh kish mailaa tani dhotai manu hashaa na hoe: When the mind is filthy, everything is filthy; by washing the body, the mind is not cleaned (sggs 558).
- ਬਾਹਰਿ ਮਲੁ ਧੋਵੈ ਮਨ ਕੀ ਜੂਠਿ ਨ ਜਾਏ ॥: Baahar mal dhovai man kee jooth na jaaye: Outwardly, he (hypocrite) washes off the filth, but the impurity of his mind does not go away (sggs 88).
- ਅੰਤਰਿ ਮੈਲੁ ਲੋਭ ਬਹੁ ਝੂਠੇ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਨਾਵਹੁ ਕਾਹੀ ਜੀਉ ॥: (O man) within (you) is the filth of greed and tremendous falsehood; so what for (you) wash your body on the outside? (sggs 598).
The Gurbani is all about understanding and living the Aatmic-Giaan (the Divine Wisdom, Brahm-Giaan).
However, in stubborn mindedness, many preach that if you do not take cold bath in the early morning, you cannot find God! Further, under the spell of duality (Maya or illusion) they preach that if you do not visit the places of pilgrimage and take ritual bath in their waters, then you are not to attain salvation. However, the Gurbani rejects such Mann-Hatha (stubborn-mindedness), and declares such stubborn-minded people (Hathees) to be Manmukhs (self-willed, devoid of Aatam-Giaan…). Further, the Gurbani asserts that – those who believe in such stubborn-mindedness (Mann-Hatha) – are no better than a “frog” who always remains in water!!
- ਜਲ ਕੈ ਮਜਨਿ ਜੇ ਗਤਿ ਹੋਵੈ ਨਿਤ ਨਿਤ ਮੇਂਡੁਕ ਨਾਵਹਿ ॥: If salvation can be obtained by bathing in water, then what about the frog, which is always bathing (always remain in water)? (sggs 484).
- ਸੂਚੇ ਏਹਿ ਨ ਆਖੀਅਹਿ ਬਹਨਿ ਜਿ ਪਿੰਡਾ ਧੋਇ ॥ ਸੂਚੇ ਸੇਈ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਜਿਨ ਮਨਿ ਵਸਿਆ ਸੋਇ ॥: People who sit (thinking they have become pure) after merely washing their body are not called pure. O Nanak! Only they are pure within whose mind (ਸੱਚ-Truth) abides (sggs 472).
As revealed by the Gurbani here, one’s stubborn belief in ritual bathing is nothing but ignorance and foolishness. Instead of focusing the consciousness on the Divine Name, Divine Qualities, etc., and , thereby, cleansing the mind in the Pool of the Divine Naam, stubborn ritualists focus it on external cleansing. In the process, as indicated in the Gurbani, such “idiotic Manmukhs” end up accumulating more mental filth! Whenever there is a mention of Ishanaan (bathing) in the Gurbani, it is only pointed toward the Inner Ishanaan; bathing the mind in the Inner Pool (“Sarovar“) of the Naam-Simran (Shabad-Vichaar, Aatam-Giaan…) located within the body.
- ਏਹੁ ਸਰੀਰੁ ਸਰਵਰੁ ਹੈ ਸੰਤਹੁ ਇਸਨਾਨੁ ਕਰੇ ਲਿਵ ਲਾਈ ॥੧੩॥: O saints, this (human) body is a pool (Srovar); (the man who stays connected to his Mool with) one-pointed consciousness or single mindedly, (it’s like he is) bathing (in this Srovar) ||13|| (sggs 909).
- ਮਨਮੁਖ ਮੁਗਧ ਕਰਹਿ ਚਤੁਰਾਈ ॥ ਨਾਤਾ ਧੋਤਾ ਥਾਇ ਨ ਪਾਈ ॥: Manmukh mughad kare chaturaaee. Naataa dhotaa thaaye na paaee: The idiotic Manmukhs (materialistics, self-willed, etc.) try to be clever (claim they have performed pilgrimmage and ablution, etc.), but in spite of their bathing and washing, they will not be acceptable (sggs 114).
- ਸਾਧ ਭਲੇ ਅਣਨਾਤਿਆ ਚੋਰ ਸਿ ਚੋਰਾ ਚੋਰ ॥੨॥: Saadh bhale ananaatiyaan chor si choraa chor ||2||: A saintly being is blessed, even without such bathing (at pilgrim places), while a thief is a thief, no matter how much he bathes (at pilgrim places) ||2|| (sggs 789).
- ਸਹਸੈ ਜੀਉ ਮਲੀਣੁ ਹੈ ਕਿਤੁ ਸੰਜਮਿ ਧੋਤਾ ਜਾਏ ॥ ਮੰਨੁ ਧੋਵਹੁ ਸਬਦਿ ਲਾਗਹੁ ਹਰਿ ਸਿਉ ਰਹਹੁ ਚਿਤੁ ਲਾਇ: Sahasai jeeo maleenu hai kitu sanjam dhotaa jaaai. Mannu dhovahu sabadi laagahu hari siou rahahu chit laai: So long the mind is in the grip of ਸਹਿਮ (doubt, worry, skepticism, etc., born of from our love for Maya), it is rendered filthy. By no ਸੰਜਮਿ (Jugati – external tact, skill, device, knack, etc.) this filth of the mind can be cleansed. Attach yourself to the Shabad (Gur-Giaan…), continue to fix your consciousness on Hari (Mool), and (like this) wash your mind (sggs 919).
As stated before, at the time of Baabaa Nanak’s Journey on this earth, rituals including bathing or ablution in stubborn mindedness were on the rampant in the society. Although they were totally disapproved by him, however, surprisingly enough, if we carefully read or listen to the Sikh Ardaas it will reveal to us that the ritual of bathing or ablution also has made its way into it! For example, the portion of the Ardaas that was later composed and added by the Pujaaree-group reads as follows: “…Sri Amritsar ji de Ishnaan….”. Since the Gur-Shabad repudiates making pilgrimages and ablutions, this again appears to be in direct contradiction with the Teaching of the Gur-Shabd!
- ਤੀਰਥ ਨਾਤਾ ਕਿਆ ਕਰੇ ਮਨ ਮਹਿ ਮੈਲੁ ਗੁਮਾਨੁ ॥: Tirath naataa kiaa kare mann mahi mail gumaan: What is the use of bathing at sacred shrines of pilgrimage, when the filth of stubborn pride is within the mind? (sggs 61).
Here the Gurmat (Divine Wisdom or Teaching of the SGGS) makes it very clear that the true Ishanaan only consists of bathing the mind in the cleansing water of the Shabad or Naam. Stubborn insistence on any other Ishanaan will only indicate bewilderment of the mind, ignorance, absurdity of the intellect indulged in the worldly bondage or duality and no faith in the Gurbani.