People See, People Do

The Gurbani tells us that the majority of us imitate what we see other people doing – “Dekhaa Dekhee” (“ਦੇਖਾ ਦੇਖੀ”, ਰੀਸਾ ਰੀਸੀ, ਹੋਰਨਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਕਰਦਿਆਂ ਦੇਖ ਕੇ, ਨਕਲ ਕਰ ਕੇ, ਦਿਖਾਵੇ ਦੀ ਖਾਤਰ…).

Perhaps we are all familiar with the saying: “Monkey see, monkey do”. For many years, neuroscientists have been investigating whether this popular saying has a real basis in human behavior. Neuroscience research has discovered special brain cells (called mirror neurons) in monkeys. These cells appeared to be activated both when the monkey did something itself and when the monkey simply watched another monkey do the same thing.

Among researchers, the function of such mirror neurons in humans has since become a hot topic. Many distinguished researchers debate whether the mirror neuron system is involved in such diverse processes as understanding other people’s actions, speech, etc.

But, the Gurbani already revealed to us several centuries ago that Manmukh people (who have no understanding of the Gurmat, deniers of Truth…) do something themselves when they see other people doing it (“ਦੇਖਾ ਦੇਖੀ”, ਰੀਸਾ ਰੀਸੀ…) – people see, people do, “Monkey see, monkey do”…!

  • ਦੇਖਾ ਦੇਖੀ ਸਭ ਕਰੇ ਮਨਮੁਖਿ ਬੂਝ ਨ ਪਾਇ ॥: The Manmukh (who has no understanding of the Gurmat…) does everything seeing (other people do, ਦੇਖਾ ਦੇਖੀ, ਨਕਲ ਕਰ ਕੇ, ਹੋਰਨਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਕਰਦਿਆਂ ਦੇਖ ਕੇ, ਦਿਖਾਵੇ ਦੀ ਖਾਤਰ…), but he (himself) has no understanding (he does not understand the true way of living, ਸਹੀ ਜੀਵਨ ਜੀਊਣ ਦੀ ਸਮਝ…). (sggs 28).
  • ਦੇਖਾ ਦੇਖੀ ਸ੍ਵਾਂਗੁ ਧਰਿ ਭੂਲੇ ਭਟਕਾ ਖਾਹਿ ॥੧੩੫॥: (ਦੇਖਾ ਦੇਖੀ, ਨਕਲ ਕਰ ਕੇ, ਹੋਰਨਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਕਰਦਿਆਂ ਦੇਖ ਕੇ, ਦਿਖਾਵੇ ਦੀ ਖਾਤਰ…, people ) look at one another and disguise (in religious robe, impersonation, ਸਾਂਗ ਬਣਾ ਲੈਣਾਂ…), but they are deluded and lost (from the true Way of life-ਸਹੀ ਰਾਹ ਤੋਂ ਖੁੰਝੇ ਹੋਏ ਇਹ ਲੋਕ ਭਟਕਦੇ ਹਨ). ||135|| (sggs 1371).
  • ਦੇਖਾ ਦੇਖੀ ਮਨਹਠਿ ਜਲਿ ਜਾਈਐ ॥: Imitating (to do something seeing other people do it, ਦੇਖਾ ਦੇਖੀ…) what (the Satee-ਸਤੀ) sees (other people do), in stubborn mindedness, she gets burned (she jumps into the burning pyre of her husband).  (sggs 185).

The Gurbani here simply indicates that people who imitate what they see other people do are:

  • They are without real understanding (“ਬੂਝ”), Without Wisdom or Virtues.
  • They do not think or use their intellect.
  • They are stubborn minded (“ਮਨਹਠਿ”). The Gurbani repeatedly equates stubborn mindedness with the followings: Maya, duality, foolishness, ignorance, Manmukh, falsehood, disgrace, living in the wilderness, weariness, delusion, ruin, Bikaar (lust,etc.), absence of Naam and Peace, separation from the Mool, Haumai (egotism), rituals or Karamkaand
  • They are mentally deluded, or strayed-minded (“ਭੂਲੇ ਭਟਕਾ”), envious, jealous, rival, imitator, etc.
  • They just want to copy and imitate others without using their brain, commonsense, logic, etc. As a result, their mind remains undeveloped, and they end up following the path of Pakhand.

Simply put: The majority of us do things with either limited or no Knowledge (Wisdom) of the Gurbani, and, thus, with limited or no concern of the consequences, and then keep repeating them (ਬਹੁਰਿ ਕਮਾਵਹਿ ਹੋਇ ਨਿਸੰਕ ॥ sggs 1348). As a consequent of this foolishness, we pay the price!

  • ਹੰਸਾ ਦੇਖਿ ਤਰੰਦਿਆ ਬਗਾ ਆਇਆ ਚਾਉ ॥ ਡੁਬਿ ਮੁਏ ਬਗ ਬਪੁੜੇ ਸਿਰੁ ਤਲਿ ਉਪਰਿ ਪਾਉ ॥੧੨੨॥ : Seeing the swans swimming, the cranes became excited (i.e., decided to copy swans!). (But, by doing so) poor cranes were drowned to death, with their heads below the water and their feet sticking out above. ||122|| (sggs 1384).
  • ਬੀਜੁ ਬੋਵਸਿ ਭੋਗ ਭੋਗਹਿ ਕੀਆ ਅਪਣਾ ਪਾਵਏ ॥: As is the seed man sows, so is the experience he undergoes; he receives the consequences of his own actions. (sggs 705).

For example, we go on “Teerath Jaatraa” (ਤੀਰਥ ਜਾਤਰਾ) by seeing other people do it even though the Gurbani tells us not to – the Gurbani tells us the true Teerath is within. We count beads (ਮਾਲਾ ਫੇਰਨੀ) by seeing other people do it even though the Gurbani tells us otherwise – the Gurbani tells us theDivine and the true Bhagti is beyond calculations, and asks us to enshrine the rosary of the Naam within the Heart. By seeing other people do it, we pray for worldly things (Mayaic stuff: just listen to Aradaas in any Gurdwara!), even though the Gurbani tells us otherwise. Seeing other people do, we bow down at numerous spots, places, or objects…

However, the Gurbani’s edict is that the path of Karamkaand will never free anybody from Bikaar (lust, anger, greed, etc.), doubts (ਭਰਮ), Maya, wrong resolutions, stubborn-mindedness, Manmukh lifestle, duality, ignorance, foolishness…

  • ਗਲਿ ਮਾਲਾ ਤਿਲਕੁ ਲਿਲਾਟੰ ॥ ਦੁਇ ਧੋਤੀ ਬਸਤ੍ਰ ਕਪਾਟੰ ॥ ਜੇ ਜਾਣਸਿ ਬ੍ਰਹਮੰ ਕਰਮੰ ॥ ਸਭਿ ਫੋਕਟ ਨਿਸਚਉ ਕਰਮੰ ॥: Around (your) neck is a rosary, and on forehead is a sacred mark. (You) cover head with a cloth, and keep two loin cloths. If (you) know the Way of the Brahm, (then you would) definitely know that all rituals are of no value. (sggs 470).
  • ਤੀਰਥਿ ਨਾਵਣ ਜਾਉ ਤੀਰਥੁ ਨਾਮੁ ਹੈ ॥ ਤੀਰਥੁ ਸਬਦ ਬੀਚਾਰੁ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਹੈ ॥: Go bathe at the Teerath, (and that Teerath is) the Naam-Teerath. To Reflect on the Shabad (Shabad-Vichaar…) is the Teerath, (because of this) Spiritual Wisdom arises within (sggs 687).
  • ਸੀਸਿ ਨਿਵਾਇਐ ਕਿਆ ਥੀਐ ਜਾ ਰਿਦੈ ਕੁਸੁਧੇ ਜਾਹਿ ॥੧॥: What can be achieved by merely bowing the head, when the heart remains resorted to falsehood (i.e., nothing is achieved!)? ||1|| (sggs 470).

The Gurbani says people also imitate (“ਰੀਸਾ ਕਰਿਹ”) those Bhagat or Gurmukhs who are  Mool-realized. Not that we earnestly want to become like them, but we just want to imitate them for some ulterior motives. In other words, to become Mool-realized is one thing, and to just imitate is totally something else – imitation is phoniness, and Mool-realization is the Gurmukhhood (Pure inside…)!

  • ਗਲਂ​‍ੀ ਅਸੀ ਚੰਗੀਆ ਆਚਾਰੀ ਬੁਰੀਆਹ ॥ ਮਨਹੁ ਕੁਸੁਧਾ ਕਾਲੀਆ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਚਿਟਵੀਆਹ ॥ ਰੀਸਾ ਕਰਿਹ ਤਿਨਾੜੀਆ ਜੋ ਸੇਵਹਿ ਦਰੁ ਖੜੀਆਹ ॥: We are good at talking, but our conduct is bad (ਮਾੜਾ ਚਾਲ-ਚਲਣ ਜਾਂ ਆਚਰਨ…). Mentally, we are impure and filthy, but outwardly, we appear pure and clean. (However) We imitate those (Bhagat) who are established at the (Divine) Door. (sggs 85).
  • ਸੁਣਿ ਗਲਾ ਆਕਾਸ ਕੀ ਕੀਟਾ ਆਈ ਰੀਸ ॥: Suni galaa aakaas kee keetaa aaee rees (sggs 7).

Thus, the Gurmat is a Way of life, not a mental-circus! In other words, the Gurbani wants us to put the Gurmat to work (ਅਮਲ), here and now!

Therefore, instead of imitating others or acting “ਦੇਖਾ ਦੇਖੀ-Dekhaa Dekhee” in stubborn mindedness (ਰੀਸਾ ਰੀਸੀ, ਦਿਖਾਵੇ ਦੀ ਖਾਤਰ…), the Gurbani asks us to utilize Akal (ਅਕਲ, ਬਿਬੇਕ-ਬੁੱਧੀ, keen understanding, Wisdom, discerning intelligence…) while transecting in this world of things and beings. The Gurbani asserts this to be the True Path; for other things lead to Satanic life.

  • ਅਕਲੀ ਪੜ੍ਹ੍ਹਿ ਕੈ ਬੁਝੀਐ ਅਕਲੀ ਕੀਚੈ ਦਾਨੁ ॥ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਆਖੈ ਰਾਹੁ ਏਹੁ ਹੋਰਿ ਗਲਾਂ ਸੈਤਾਨੁ ॥੧॥: One should read (Bani) with intelligence, and then understand its real essence (i.e., assimilate it). Also, one should use intelligence in giving charity. Says Nanak, this is the True Path; other things lead to Satanic life ||1|| (sggs 1245).

However, the Pujaaree sytem wants people to remain ignorant, confused, ritualistic, fearful, etc. But, the Wisdom of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) frees the entire humanity from this crafty Pujaaree system!

Filed Under: Gurbani, imitation, ਦੇਖਾਦੇਖੀ, ਰੀਸਾਰੀਸੀ, Rituals, Karamkaand
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2 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Karamjeet Singh

    What a masterpiece yet again!

    For those who can’t (for whatever reasons – lack of efforts, time, or awakening) decipher the true message Gurbani wants to convey, your well-researched, brilliantly articulated prectives go a long way to perform the job of direction-setting. May Waheguru keeep us being benefitted continually for a long time to come.

    On a side note, I admire your ability to keep coining new appropriately suggestive terms like Mool-realized and Gurmukh-hood etc.

    Deep Regards.

    • You are very kind Veer Ji. Thank you! The Gurbani says:
      • ਤਿਨ ਕਉ ਕਿਆ ਉਪਦੇਸੀਐ ਜਿਨ ਗੁਰੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਦੇਉ ॥੧॥ (150).

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