ਤ੍ਰਉਦਸੀ ਤੀਨਿ ਤਾਪ ਸੰਸਾਰ ॥:
Troudasee teeni taap sansaar (sggs 299).

Literally, Taap means fever. In the Gurbani (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, SGGS), the word "fever" is used to indicate sufferings, miseries, sorrows, pains, etc. Almost everyone is suffering in this material world; for the Jeeva (individual being) is soiled with the filth of false ego lust, anger, greed, emotional attachment, pride (and countless variations of these five).

  • ਜੋ ਜੋ ਦੀਸੈ ਸੋ ਸੋ ਰੋਗੀ ॥: Jo jo deesai so so rogee (sggs 1140).
  • ਕਾਮ ਕ੍ਰੋਧ ਕਾ ਚੋਲੜਾ ਸਭ ਗਲਿ ਆਏ ਪਾਇ ॥: Kaam krodh kaa cholarraa sabh gali aaye paai (sggs 1414).
Fevers of this material world are numerous - grouped them in three headings as follows:
  • Aadhi (also spelt Adhi) or fever arising from the material body;
  • Biaadhi (also spelt Biadhi) or fever arising from the mind;
  • Upaadhi (also spelt Upaddhi)or fever arising from doubts (delusions).

All living entities are suffering from either one, two, or all three of them. No conditioned mind is immune from their effects. No one can claim otherwise, because it is impossible to be free of miseries and sorrows. Therefore, none can claim to be completely free from miseries. The Gurbani reminds this truth to us as follows:

  • ਮਿਤ੍ਰ ਪੁਤ੍ਰ ਕਲਤ੍ਰ ਸੁਰ ਰਿਦ ਤੀਨਿ ਤਾਪ ਜਲੰਤ ॥: Mitra putra kalatra sur rid teeni taap jalant (sggs 502).

Other interpretations of "three fevers" include three kinds of sufferings imposed by three different sources within this material world: (1) body and mind, (2) other living entities, and (3) other forces of the nature; or suffering inflicted by the three modes of Maya's material nature consisting of (1) Saatav, (2) Raajas and (3) Taamas. Sufferings inflicted by these sources would be the subject of separate articles.

The Fever Of Material Body

The material body is changeable. Between birth and death, it goes through changes such as youth, old age, disease and death. As indicated in the scriptures, it is the manifestation of our Spiritual ignorance or false ego (Haumai). Due to our ignorance, the soul passes through the evolutionary cycle of birth and death.

  • ਹਉ ਵਿਚਿ ਆਇਆ ਹਉ ਵਿਚਿ ਗਇਆ ॥: Haou vichi aaiaa haou vichi gaiaa (sggs 466).
This human body is described as a city with nine gates (two eyes, two years, two nostrils, one mouth, the anus and the genitals). Due to conditioning or material contamination, all these nine gates are defilrd. The mind free to escape through these defiled gates binds the soul in the clutches of material bondage.
  • ਨਉਮੀ ਨਵੇ ਛਿਦ੍ਰ ਅਪਵੀਤ ॥: Naoumee nave shidra apaveet (sggs 298).
How these nine gates can get an embodied soul in trouble is beautifully explained in the Gurbani. For example, the elephant is caught and enslaved by exciting his sexual urges; due to misuse of the eyes, the moth is attracted to light and gets burnt; due to uncontrolled urge of listening, the deer is caught by bell's music; the fish opens her mouth to eat "bate" and gets caught and loses its life; and due to uncontrolled urge of nose for smell, the black bee gets entrapped in the flower and kills itself.

Dwells in this "defiled" body city is the Soul. The True Nature of the Spirit Soul is the same as of the Sachidaanand (also spelt Sachidanand). This word is made of three Sanskrit words Sat, Chit and Anand. Sat means eternal, Chit means full of Knowledge, and Anand means Bliss - Sadaa Schidaanand satram pranaasee (Guru Gobind Singh Ji, Jaap Sahib).

On the contrary, the material body is neither eternal, nor full of knowledge or bliss. Consequently, all sufferings experienced in this world are the result of this material body. The Gurbani indicates that either we can use this opportunity to purify the nine gates of our body by Bhagti (thoroughly Understanding the Gurbani...), or we can waste this unprocurable ("dulambh") human body by accumulating more "filth". The choice is ours.

  • ਭਈ ਪਰਾਪਤਿ ਮਾਨੁਖ ਦੇਹੁਰੀਆ ॥ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਮਿਲਣ ਕੀ ਇਹ ਤੇਰੀ ਬਰੀਆ ॥ ਅਵਰਿ ਕਾਜ ਤੇਰੈ ਕਿਤੈ ਨ ਕਾਮ ॥ ਮਿਲੁ ਸਾਧਸੰਗਤਿ ਭਜੁ ਕੇਵਲ ਨਾਮ ॥: Bhaee praapai maanukh dehureeaa. Gobind milan kee ih teree bareeaa. Avari kaaj terai kitai n kaam. Miul saadhsangati bhaju keval Naam (sggs 12).
The Fever Of Mind

Our senses have affinity for enjoying their respective objects. Emotional attachment to these sense objects makes our mental conditioning (false ego) more and more dense. Such conditioned mind is akin to a camel. For instance, the camel eats bramble even though it makes his mouth bleed! Similarly, the mind of an ignorance-obsessed man indulges in sense gratification even though he suffers.

  • ਮਨ ਕਰਹਲਾ ਮੇਰੇ ਪਿਆਰਿਆ ਵਿਚਿ ਦੇਹੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਮਾਲਿ ॥: Man karhalaa mere piaariaa vichi dehee joti samaali (sggs 235).
The mind is ever in the state of flux flickering, turbulent, restless, obstinate, and very difficult to control. Hence the diseases of our mind are subtle, thereby, invisible to our material eyes. The foremost of these diseases is the ignorance-born false ego (Haumai). The projection of this false ego are diseases like lust, anger, greed, attachment, and pride (and countless variations of these five). We are tormented by these mental ailments, day and night. Like jackal, we get caught in a self-created web.

Man's destiny and fate is shaped by his own thoughts. Consider the following example of silkworm. Silkworm spins silk cocoon around himself. Upon completion of the cocoon, the initial step in manufacture of the silk is to kill the insect inside the cocoon. This is done by throwing the live silkworm into boiling water or an hot oven. Thus, a silkworm shapes his own fate and destiny by weaving silk around himself. Similarly, we also weave our good or bad fate and destiny by our own thoughts and deeds. By weaving the cocoon of false ego around ourselves, we suffer here in this world and hereafter.

  • ਜੈਸਾ ਸੇਵੈ ਤੈਸੋ ਹੋਇ ॥੪॥: Jaisaa sevai taiso hoi ||4|| (sggs 223).
Due to its material nature from time immemorial, the Soul has been subjected to conditioning. As a result of this conditioning or material contamination of the Soul, one accepts this body as oneself and identifies with it. This is man's ignorance. This ignorance of the Real Self (Joti-Svaroop) is the cause of suffering. That's why the Gurbani reminds us again and again that:
  • ਇਉ ਕਹੈ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਮਨ ਤੂੰ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਰੂਪੁ ਹੈ ਅਪਣਾ ਮੂਲੁ ਪਛਾਣੁ ॥੫॥: Iou kahai Nanak mann toon joti saroop hai apanaa mool pashaan ||5|| (sggs 441).
  • ਜਨਮ ਜਨਮ ਕੀ ਇਸੁ ਮਨ ਕਉ ਮਲੁ ਲਾਗੀ ਕਾਲਾ ਹੋਆ ਸਿਆਹ ॥: Janam janam kee isu man kaou malu laagee kaalaa hoaa siaah (sggs 651).
Ignorance of the true nature of the Real Self gives rise to false ego. In turn, this false ego binds us with objects of the material world. Caught in the vertex of ignorance born false ego, we keep swirling in the endless suffering.
  • ਹਉ ਵਿਚਿ ਆਇਆ ਹਉ ਵਿਚਿ ਗਇਆ ॥: Haou vichi aaiaa haou vichi gaiaa (sggs 466).
In fact, the mental ailments are responsible for many bodily diseases. Fortunately, the bodily diseases finish with the death of our physical body. However, the mental diseases sticks to Soul.

The Fever Of Doubts

Doubt or mental delusion (Bharam) is defined as "what we deem a thing to be, in reality, it is not like that". For example, a deer incessantly chases mirage in desert taking it as a source of water. However, owing to his delusion, he never gets water out of mirage and suffers the consequences. Although musk is stored within a deer's body. However, due to guiled by his own delusion, it wanders about in the forest to obtain it.

  •  ਮਾਧਵੇ ਕਿਆ ਕਹੀਐ ਭ੍ਰਮੁ ਐਸਾ ॥ ਜੈਸਾ ਮਾਨੀਐ ਹੋਇ ਨ ਤੈਸਾ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Maadhve kiaa kaheeai bhramu aisaa. Jaisaa maaneeyai hoi n taisaa ||1||Rahaaou|| (sggs 657).
  • ਫੂਟੋ ਆਂਡਾ ਭਰਮ ਕਾ ਮਨਹਿ ਭਇਓ ਪਰਗਾਸੁ ॥: Phooto aandaa bharam kaa manahi bhaio paragaas(u) (sggs 1002).
According to the Gurbani, man's condition is not any better than that of the deer. For instance, even though the Supreme Lord is within us, even though the Soul is filled with Amrit (Immortality) within, however, because of our mind's doubts, we keep searching outside in the perishable mundane objects. We all suffer from this disease in different ways, at different levels, and with different intensities.
  • ਸਭ ਕਿਛੁ ਘਰ ਮਹਿ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਨਾਹੀ ॥ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਟੋਲੈ ਸੋ ਭਰਮਿ ਭੁਲਾਹੀ ॥ ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦੀ ਜਿਨੀ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਪਾਇਆ ਸੋ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਸੁਹੇਲਾ ਜੀਉ ॥੧॥: Sabh kishu ghar mahi baahari naahee. Baahari tolai so bharami bhulaahee. Gur Parasaadee jinee antari paaiaa so antari baahari suhelaa jeeou ||1|| (sggs 102).
  • ਭ੍ਰਮ ਭਯਾਨ ਉਦਿਆਨ ਰਮਣੰ ਮਹਾ ਬਿਕਟ ਅਸਾਧ ਰੋਗਣਹ ॥: Bharam bhiaan udiaan ramnam mahaa bikat asaadh rognah (sggs 1358).

The root cause of our doubts is spiritual ignorance, false ego, duality or the feelings of selfhood ("I, me, mine"). How's so? First, ignorance (ego, duality or the feelings of selfhood) deludes man's intelligence. Then, man's response to this delusion on his intelligence results in doubts. The influence of doubts is so contagious that it destroys man's ability to realize the purpose of this life.

  • ਭਰਮੇ ਆਵੈ ਭਰਮੇ ਜਾਇ ॥: Bharme aavai bharme jaai (sggs 161).
  • ਮਨ ਕਾ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਦੂਜਾ ਭਾਉ ॥ ਭਰਮੇ ਭੂਲੇ ਆਵਉ ਜਾਉ ॥੧॥: Man kaa sootaku doojaa bhaau. Bharme bhoole aavaou jaaou ||1|| (sggs 229).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਮੇਰਾ ਭਰਮੈ ਸੰਸਾਰੁ ॥: Haumai meraa bharmai sansaaru (sggs 841).
  • ਐਸਾ ਤੈਂ ਜਗੁ ਭਰਮਿ ਲਾਇਆ ॥ ਕੈਸੇ ਬੂਝੈ ਜਬ ਮੋਹਿਆ ਹੈ ਮਾਇਆ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Aisaa tain jagu bharami laya. Kaise boojhai jab mohiaa hai maya ||1||Rahaaou|| (sggs 92).
Thus, this disease of doubts is attached to Jeeva (individual beings) since time immemorial, which has contaminated our subtle internal equipment of mind, intellect, ego and consciousness. Due to its pervasiveness, man becomes doubtful regarding the Gurbani's True Teaching, etc. For this reason, man's Divine qualities keep depleting; and evil qualities keep flourishing. Consequently, we lack Bebek-Budhi to discriminate between genuine (truth) and counterfeit (false). This is how man's deluded mind becomes the cause of his suffering (Dukha).
  • ਖੋਟੇ ਕਉ ਖਰਾ ਕਹੈ ਖਰੇ ਸਾਰ ਨ ਜਾਣੈ ॥: Khote kaou kharaa kahai khare saar n janai (sggs 229).

When an ostrich finds himself in an imminent danger, he foolishly sticks his head in the sand, hoping that this will save his life! We all know this foolish act of ostrich cannot save him. Similarly, we stick our consciousness in the sand of "three fevers", and hope that this ignorant act of ours will liberate us! It will not. Our material knowledge, worldly cleverness, mental speculations, or logic will not help us rid these "fevers".

  • ਹਉਮੈ ਨਾਵੈ ਨਾਲਿ ਵਿਰੋਧੁ ਹੈ ਦੁਇ ਨ ਵਸਹਿ ਇਕ ਠਾਇ ॥: Houmai naavai naali virodhu hai dui n vasahi ik thaai (sggs 560).
  • ਜਬ ਲਗੁ ਤੁਟੈ ਨਾਹੀ ਮਨ ਭਰਮਾ ਤਬ ਲਗੁ ਮੁਕਤੁ ਨ ਕੋਈ ॥: Jab lagu tootai naahee man bharmaa tab lagu mukatu n koee (sggs 680).
  • ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਬਿਨੁ ਆਪਾ ਚੀਨੈ ਮਿਟੈ ਨ ਭ੍ਰਮ ਕੀ ਕਾਈ ॥: Jan Nanak binu aapaa cheenai mitai na bhram kee kaaee (sggs 684).
The Mool (Source...) is to be understood as distinct from, and beyond the physical equipment constituted of the body, mind, and intellect. As rituals, beliefs, religious robes, etc., are the play of only the material vehicle (Maya) made up of body-mind-intellect, the Mool is beyond their reach or apprehension. It is so as the body can't comprehend the Infinite Reality because He is not the object of senses or perception; the mind can't either because the Mool is not the object of emotions; and the intellect can't comprehend as well because the Mool is not the object of cognition.
  • ਬਹੁਤੁ ਸਿਆਣਪ ਭਰਮੁ ਨ ਜਾਏ ॥ ਪਚਿ ਪਚਿ ਮੁਏ ਅਚੇਤ ਨ ਚੇਤਹਿ ਅਜਗਰਿ ਭਾਰਿ ਲਦਾਈ ਹੇ ॥੮॥: Bahutu siaanap bharamu n jae. Pachi pachi mue achet n chetahi ajagar bhaar ladaaee hae ||8|| (sggs 1025).
To experience the Unconditioned Consciousness, we need to attain freedom from the "three fevers". The royal road to this freedom is Shabad Vichaar. Through the Gurmat (Aatam-Giaan and Bebk-Budhi of the Gurbani), one slowly but surely becomes free from bewilderment. In turn, he becomes able to slash and torn apart his "fevers" with the sword of Spiritual Wisdom.
  • ਬਿਨੁ ਸਬਦੈ ਭਰਮੁ ਨ ਚੂਕਈ ਨਾ ਵਿਚਹੁ ਹਉਮੈ ਜਾਇ ॥੬॥: Binu sabadai bharamu n chookaee naa haoumai vichahu jaai ||6|| (sggs 67).
  • ਅੰਧਕਾਰੁ ਮਿਟਿਓ ਤਿਹ ਤਨ ਤੇ ਗੁਰਿ ਸਬਦਿ ਦੀਪਕੁ ਪਰਗਾਸਾ ॥ ਭ੍ਰਮ ਕੀ ਜਾਲੀ ਤਾ ਕੀ ਕਾਟੀ ਜਾ ਕਉ ਸਾਧਸੰਗਤਿ ਬਿਸ੍ਵਾਸਾ ॥੧॥: Andhkaaru mitio tih tan te guri sabadi deepaku pargaasaa. Bhram ki jaalee taakee kaatee jaa kaou sadhsangati bisvaasaa ||1|| (sggs 208).
  • ਬਿਰਾਜਿਤ ਰਾਮ ਕੋ ਪਰਤਾਪ ॥ ਆਧਿ ਬਿਆਧਿ ਉਪਾਧਿ ਸਭ ਨਾਸੀ ਬਿਨਸੇ ਤੀਨੈ ਤਾਪ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Biraajat Raam ko partaap. Aadhi biaadhi upaadhi sabh naasee binse teenai taap ||1||Rahaaou|| (sggs 1223).

— T. Singh

Updated on Wednesday, February 1, 2012 9:01 AM (PST)

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