ਹਉਮੈ ਮਾਇਆ ਸਭ ਬਿਖੁ ਹੈ ਨਿਤ ਜਗਿ ਤੋਟਾ ਸੰਸਾਰਿ ॥:
Haumai Maya sabh bikh hai nit jag totaa sansaar
Egoism-Maya are total poison; in these, people
continually suffer loss in this world (sggs 300).

Loss and profit is the rule of material life (Mayaic efforts) — both incessantly chase each other. That which arrives must depart. This is to say, everything has its end; for everything is limited in the framework of time and space. Loss gives way to profit and vice versa. Therefore we all suffer material loss. In spite of the hard work, sometime people end up losing their business, property and other possessions. This is the way of the gross, tangible and objective world (Maya).

  • ਜਿਉ ਲਾਹਾ ਤੋਟਾ ਤਿਵੈ ਵਾਟ ਚਲਦੀ ਆਈ ॥: Jiou laahaa totaa tivai vaat chaladee aaee: As is the material profit, so is the loss; this is the way of the world (sggs  418).
  • ਝੂਠਾ ਇਹੁ ਸੰਸਾਰੁ ਕਿਨਿ ਸਮਝਾਈਐ ॥: Jhoothaa ihu sansaar kin samjhaaeeai: This world is false, but only a few understand this (sggs 147).
  • ਧਨਿ ਗਇਐ ਬਹਿ ਝੂਰੀਐ ਧਨ ਮਹਿ ਚੀਤੁ ਗਵਾਰ ॥: Dhan gaiai bahi jhooreeai dhan mahi cheet gavaar: Losing his wealth, he cries out in anguish; the fool's consciousness is engrossed in wealth (sggs 934).
  • ਬਿਨੁ ਨਾਵੈ ਝੂਠਾ ਧਨੁ ਮਾਲੁ ॥: Bin naavai jhoothaa dhann maal: Without the Name, material wealth and property are false (sggs 197).

But the real "loss" the Gurbani (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, SGGS) talks about here is different from the material or phenomenal loss. What is it?

The Gurbani says the real purpose of life is served if one realizes his Mool within (Source, Origin, Jot...), while alve. When one is not established in this Purity within, his real "loss" begins. Working with the three qualities of Maya (illusion) or conditioned thinking the false ego-sense (Haume, material consciousness etc.) takes us away from the Truth — we move towards the mirage-like world-appearance and corruption than towards the Mool within! This delusive involvement with egoism-Maya gives rise to falsehood and causes forgetfulness of our Joti-Svaroop. As time and again indicated in the Gurbani, this is our real "loss". And we continually suffer this "loss" in the world so long we let the mind identify with the limited body-frame and the idea of "I-am-ness".

  • ਹਉਮੈ ਮਾਇਆ ਸਭ ਬਿਖੁ ਹੈ ਨਿਤ ਜਗਿ ਤੋਟਾ ਸੰਸਾਰਿ ॥: Haumai Maya sabh bikh hai nit jag totaa sansaar: Egoism-Maya are total poison; in these, people continually suffer loss in this world (sggs 300).
  • ਹਾਰ ਜੂਆਰ ਜੂਆ ਬਿਧੇ ਇੰਦ੍ਰੀ ਵਸਿ ਲੈ ਜਿਤਨੋ ॥: Haar jooaar jooaa bidhay indree vas lai jitno: Like the gambler losing the game of chance, you are held in the power of sensory desires (sggs 212).
  • ਲਾਹਾ ਮਾਇਆ ਕਾਰਨੇ ਦਹ ਦਿਸਿ ਢੂਢਨ ਜਾਇ ॥: Laahaa maaeiaa kaarnae deh dis dhoodhan jaae: For the sake of personal profit, man chases Maya (illusion), searching in the ten directions (sggs 261).
  • ਝੂਠਾ ਮਾਇਆ ਕਾ ਸਭੁ ਸੋਰ ॥ : Jhoothaa maaeiaa kaa subhu sor (sggs 178).
  • ਮਨ ਕਾ ਝੂਠਾ ਝੂਠੁ ਕਮਾਵੈ ॥: Mann kaa jhoothaa jhooth kamaavai: False mind practices falsehood (sggs 948).

If the inflated ego is false, then everything projected by it must also be false. In the final analysis, therefore, all worldly transactions turn into loss (Dukha, suffering...).

The Gurbani reminds us tht even the body that was "born" with us will one day be lost, what to speak of other things!

Mind is always worried and afraid of losing things it has collected, including the body. Since the world is false (temporary), all beings and things that appear and disappear like waves on the ocean are also false. Naturally, the false dealings of the false world lead only to loss. There can not be found everlasting profit in it. This is the nature of the external world; the world that hangs on the thread of memory and duality (Doojaa Bhaav).

  • ਸਗਲੀਂ ਸਉਦੀਂ ਤੋਟਾ ਆਵੈ ॥: Sagleen saoudeen totaa aavai: In all other transactions (Mayaic), one suffers loss (356).
  • ਦੂਜੈ ਭਾਇ ਕਾਰ ਕਮਾਵਣੀ ਨਿਤ ਤੋਟਾ ਸੈਸਾਰਾ ॥: Doojai bhaai kaar kamaavnee nit totaa saisaaraa: To work in the love of duality, brings constant loss in this world (sggs 1009).
  • ਕਾਚੀ ਸਉਦੀ ਤੋਟਾ ਆਵੈ ॥: Kaachee saoudee totaa aavai: The false dealings lead only to loss (sggs 1032).
  • ਜਉ ਸੰਚੈ ਤਉ ਭਉ ਮਨ ਮਾਹੀ ॥: Jaou sanchai taou bhaou mann maahee: If he collects things, then his mind is afraid of losing them (sggs 1019).

The false ego, baser desires, fears, bondage, attachment, frauds, corruption, falsehood, selfishness, foolishness, greed, etc., go hand in hand. Sorrows and death are there because this conditioned consciousness is there. In essence, the false ego limits us by hiding our Mool. Hence the "loss" is quintessence of false ego-sense, deluded mind, desires...

The one who keeps losing out to these is called a Manmukh in the Gurbani — a material or ego being. While a Gurmukh, a Spiritual or a True Being, is the opposite of a Manmukh. Therefore, as indicated in the Gurbani, the demand of the human life is to wipe out this limiting psychological construction of egoism (Haume) and become a Gurmukh: one with the Boundless Truth within.

  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਲਾਹਾ ਲੈ ਗਏ ਮਨਮੁਖ ਚਲੇ ਮੂਲੁ ਗਵਾਇ ਜੀਉ ॥੧੯॥: Gurmukhi laahaa lai gaye manmukh chale moolu gavaai jeeou ||19||: Those who have become the Gurmukhs (Spiritual Beings...), reap their (Spiritual) Profits (of Naam, Gurmat: Aatam Giaan...) and leave, while the Mmanmukhs (self-willed...) lose their Mool and depart. ||19|| (sggs 74).

As repeatedly mentioned in the Gurbani, the ego-feelings cannot be annihilated by external objects, people or places. Perfect tranquillity of the mind is realized only when it becomes established in its Pure Nature within. Until the Mool is known and understood, the ego-mind will not lose its identity and, as the wave rises on the ocean's surface, the ego-mind will rise to surface again and again. Consequently, as the Gurbani puts it: we will "continually suffer loss in this world". Upon Reflecting on the Mool through the Shabad-Vichaar the false ego and its desires and material concepts are satisfied. By being established in the Gurmat (Divine Knowledge, Aatam-Giaan), the menacing body-identity along with the mind's wanderings and its pleasuring seeking (sense-gratification) come to an end.

  • ਇਸੁ ਮਾਰੀ ਬਿਨੁ ਸਭੁ ਕਿਛੁ ਜਉਲਾ ॥: Is maaree bin sabh kichh jaulaa: Without killing this ego-mind, everything is a losing game (sggs 238).
  • ਧਨੁ ਗਇਆ ਤਾ ਜਾਣ ਦੇਹਿ ਜੇ ਰਾਚਹਿ ਰੰਗਿ ਏਕ ॥: Dhan gaiaa taa jaan deh je raachahi rang ek: If by losing your wealth, you may become absorbed in the One (Mool), then just let it go (sggs 934).
  • ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਏ ਤਾ ਸੁਖੁ ਪਾਏ ਬਿਨੁ ਨਾਵੈ ਪਿੜ ਕਾਚੀ ॥: Naam Dhiaae taa sukh paaye bin naavai pirh kaachee: Meditating on the Divine Name one obtains peace; without it, he plays a losing game (sggs 581).
  • ਵਿਣੁ ਨਾਵੈ ਸਭਿ ਭਰਮਦੇ ਨਿਤ ਜਗਿ ਤੋਟਾ ਸੈਸਾਰਿ ॥: Vin naavai sabh bharamday nit jag totaa saisaar: Without the Divine Name, everyone wanders around the world, losing (sggs 646).
  • ਸਫਲ ਸੇਵਾ ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਕੀ ਤਾ ਕੀ ਨਹੀ ਹਾਨਿ ॥: Safal sayvaa paarbarahm kee taa kee nahee haan: One who performs fruitful service for the Supreme Spirit, never suffers any loss (sggs 817).

Therefore, we are urged by the Gurbani to know as to what constitutes the real "loss" or "profit". Because, after understanding what the real "loss" and "profit" is, then one can transcend the dualistic principle of Maya. The complete Mool-abidance is freedom from the idea of opposites (duality or Maya) or human conditions such as attachment or detachment, bondage and salvation, loss and profit, praise and insult, joy and sorrow, eternity and death, knowledge and ignorance, partness and wholeness, being and non-being, etc. This is the highest state in which the re-linking between the Ultimate Reality and the world of subject-object relationship takes place — obliteration of the body, mind and phenomenal world in the non-dual Mool. This is the true wealth or true profit. Such a wise man (the Gurmukh) comprehends the entire world as his Mool. For him who has abandoned the passions of the blind-mind, who has lifted himself above the duality of attributes and is desireless, for him any experience that comes as a matter of course cannot effect his equal-mindedness or non-dual state. The Gurbani describes this transcendent state of the Gurmukh (spiritual or true being) as follows:

  • ਹਰਖ ਸੋਗ ਹਾਨਿ ਮਿਰਤੁ ਦੂਖ ਸੁਖ ਚਿਤਿ ਸਮਸਰਿ ਗੁਰ ਮਿਲੇ ॥: Harakh sog haani mirat dookh sukh chit samsar gur milay: Joy and sorrow, profit and loss, birth and death, pain and pleasure - they are all the same to my Consciousness, since I met or realize the Self (sggs 214).
  • ਸਚੁ ਧਨੁ ਵਣਜਹੁ ਸਚੁ ਧਨੁ ਸੰਚਹੁ ਕਬਹੂ ਨ ਆਵਹੁ ਹਾਰੇ ॥: Sach dhan vanjahu sach dhan sanchahu kabhoo na aavhu haaray: Deal only in this true wealth and gather in this true wealth (of the Divine Name), and you will never suffer loss (sggs 1220).

— T. Singh