ਜੇ ਗੁਣ ਹੋਵਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਿ ਸਾਜਨਾ ਮਿਲਿ ਸਾਝ ਕਰੀਜੈ ॥ ਸਾਝ ਕਰੀਜੈ ਗੁਣਹ ਕੇਰੀ ਛੋਡਿ ਅਵਗਣ ਚਲੀਐ ॥
Je gun hovanih saajanaa mili saajh kareejai.
Saajh kareejai gunah kaeree shodi avagan chaleeai (sggs 765).

The bee focuses only on the nectar of flowers. Similarly, we are urged by the Gurbani (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, SGGS) to try to see good in everything. That is, we are asked to focus only on good in everything, not on bad.

The Gurbani asks shunning harmful conduct and mental habit patterns. We are here to deal with virtues or good. Because only virtues or good can be conducive to Divine Llife (Gurmukh Lifestyle). Accordingly, the Gurbani time and again reminds us to make this our business — leave behind our faults and be absorbed in virtues. This is possible when we develop a mind that seeks only the good in everything. In the final analysis: "Says Nanak, the mortal is emancipated only when all his faults are eradicated."

  • ਗੁਣਾ ਕਾ ਹੋਵੈ ਵਾਸੁਲਾ ਕਢਿ ਵਾਸੁ ਲਈਜੈ ॥ ਜੇ ਗੁਣ ਹੋਵਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਿ ਸਾਜਨਾ ਮਿਲਿ ਸਾਝ ਕਰੀਜੈ ॥ ਸਾਝ ਕਰੀਜੈ ਗੁਣਹ ਕੇਰੀ ਛੋਡਿ ਅਵਗਣ ਚਲੀਐ ॥ ਪਹਿਰੇ ਪਟੰਬਰ ਕਰਿ ਅਡੰਬਰ ਆਪਣਾ ਪਿੜੁ ਮਲੀਐ ॥ ਜਿਥੈ ਜਾਇ ਬਹੀਐ ਭਲਾ ਕਹੀਐ ਝੋਲਿ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਪੀਜੈ ॥: Gunaa kaa hovai vaasulaa kadhi vaasu laeejai. Je gun hovanih saajanaa mili saajh kareejai. Saajh kareejai gunah kaeree shodi avagan chaleeai. Pahire pattanbar kari addanbar aapanaa pirru maleeai. Jithai jaai baheeai bhalaa kaheeai jholi amritu peejai: If (one) has a box of fragrance (Virtues, then one) should open it and enjoy fragrance (of Virtues). If (one) wants to happen Virtues (in him, then he) should meet (the Gurmukhs - Saajanaa) friends and share (their) Virtues. Share Virtues; (in this way, one can) walk (on the Path of Spiritual Life by) abandoning faults (from within himself). (Wear) Virtues like silk clothes (soft or loving nature, etc. and) decorate (with Virtues, Good efforts, Virtuous conduct, etc.), and enter the arena (of life and conquer Bikaars). (Then) Wherever (we) go and sit (we will be able to) speak of Goodness; and skim off the (Naam-) Amrit and drink it in (sggs 765-766).
  • ਅਵਗਣ ਮਾਰੀ ਮਰੈ ਨ ਸੀਝੈ ਗੁਣਿ ਮਾਰੀ ਤਾ ਮਰਸੀ ॥: Avagan maaree marai na seejhai guni maaree taa marasee: (Jeeva who) dies (Spiritual death or ਆਤਮਕ ਮੌਤ) in faults (Bikaars, demerits) - (that Jeeva's life) is not successful (i.e., misses the target of life). But who dies in Glorious Virtue, (really) dies (sggs 1109).
  • ਏ ਮਨ ਮੇਰਿਆ ਛਡਿ ਅਵਗਣ ਗੁਣੀ ਸਮਾਣਿਆ ਰਾਮ ॥: Eae man meriaa shadi avagan gunee samaaniaa raam (sggs 1112).
  • ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਤਬ ਹੀ ਮਨ ਛੁਟੀਐ ਜਉ ਸਗਲੇ ਅਉਗਨ ਮੇਟਿ ਧਰਹਾ ॥: Kahu Nanak tab hee man shuteeai jaou sagale aougan meti dharahaa (sggs 1203).

Now the question is: why do we enjoy sharing in faults of others? Why we cannot share in their virtues? What makes us faultfinders instead of virtue-finders?

The reason, as indicated in the Gurbani, is our egoistic or manmukh life style: a lifestyle void of true humility or Divine Knowledge (Aatam-Giaan). The mind in such perverted and foolish state exhibits heinous qualities such as faultfinding, false pride, lust, haughtiness, worldly attachment, wickedness, guile, jealousy, evil instincts, hate, envy, anger, greed, arrogance, inordinate ambition, self-righteousness, animosity, duality, fear, selfishness, conflicts, slandering, lower quality thoughts, aggressiveness, cruelty, prejudices, cheating, lying, hypocrisy, deceptiveness, corruption, propensity for hearing flattery from others, thinking ill of others, and so on.

  • ਹਉਮੈ ਰੋਗੁ ਵਡਾ ਸੰਸਾਰਿ ॥: Houmai rog vaddaa sansaar: The world is suffering from the greatest disease of egotism (sggs 1278).
  • ਏਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਅਵਗਣਿ ਬਾਧਿਆ ਸਹੁ ਦੇਹ ਸਰੀਰੈ ॥: Ih mann avgan baadhiaa sahu deh sareerai: (So long) this mind is tied to its faults; (untill then one) suffers (pain) in ithe body (sggs 1012).
  • ਮੈ ਅਵਗਣ ਮਨ ਮਾਹਿ ਸਰੀਰਾ ॥ : Mai avagan mann maahi sareeraa: My mind and body are filled with faults (sggs 1189).

Where there is false ego-sense (Haume or "I-am-ness"), there is the consummate enemy called lust (Kaam). Where there is lust, there is the compelling, coercive materialistic desire of indulging in sensory temptations. Where there is desire, there is fear. This fear is the base of anger; it causes greed; it creates attachment, jealousy, etc.

To avoid hurting our unripe ego, we are always fearful to face our own faults in ourselves. But, faults that we cannot face in ourselves we will hate when we see them in others. As a consequent of this, we become evil-minded disparagers — habitual faultfinders, slanderers, gossipers, backbiters and the detectors of others frailties. By doing so, our false ego wants us think that we can make ourselves taller, so to speak, by exposing the shortcomings or weaknesses of others. This is the play of the outgoing mind that likes concentrating on nonessentials.

As we can see, the thinking or habit of faultfinding is a psychological tumor of the instinctive or Mayaic mind. In other words, when we find faults in somebody else, in truth we are reflecting our own flaws. That is to say, the sore spot is located within our own instinctive mind. But our ego-mind makes us insulate ourselves from the reality by hiding so far as possible our own faults within us. In other words, the feeling or urge of finding faults in others indicates that the seeds of that kind of faults or weaknesses are present within us, and we are trying to suppress them by cutting off the heads of others.

  • ਮੰਞੁ ਕੁਚਜੀ ਅੰਮਾਵਣਿ ਡੋਸੜੇ ਹਉ ਕਿਉ ਸਹੁ ਰਾਵਣਿ ਜਾਉ ਜੀਉ ॥: Manjhu kuchajee anmaavan dosarre hau kiou sahu raavan jaaou jeeou: I am ungraceful and ill-mannered, full of endless faults. How can I go to enjoy my Husband Lord? (sggs 762).
  • ਹਮਰੇ ਅਵਗਨ ਬਿਖਿਆ ਬਿਖੈ ਕੇ ਬਹੁ ਬਾਰ ਬਾਰ ਨਿਮਖੇ ॥: Hamare avagan bikhiaa bikhai ke bahu baar baar nimakhe: My faults and sins of corruption are countless; over and over again, I commit them (sggs 976).
  • ਅਵਗੁਣੀ ਭਰਪੂਰ ਹੈ ਗੁਣ ਭੀ ਵਸਹਿ ਨਾਲਿ ॥: Avagunee bharapoor hai gun bhee vasahi naal: He is overflowing with faults and demerits, but virtue dwells within him as well (sggs 936).

The One Parameshar lives in all. But in meanness we offend that God in others and in ourselves. Observing others through the prism of false ego-sense is a symptom and pastime of a worldly person called Manmukh in the Gurbani. The daily life of such person engrossed in evil ways is full of its natural contentions, contradictions, envy, usual competitions, selfishness, falsehood, etc. Consequently, he ends up living a wrong life in all his worldly contacts and experiences; thus wasting useful time and energy by undergoing tensions and strains, and creating chaos within for himself and confusion without for others. Such person, due to diminishment of his character or degradation of his soul, does not and cannot know the happiness of selflessness and humbleness.

  • ਮਨਮੁਖ ਬੋਲਿ ਨ ਜਾਣਨ੍‍ੀ ਓਨਾ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਕਾਮੁ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਅਹੰਕਾਰੁ ॥: Manmukh boli na jaananee onaa andari kaam krodh ahankaar....: The Manmukhs (material beings) do not even know how to speak. They are filled with lust, anger and false pride (i.e. all evil passions, which are the faults of the same false ego-sense or Haume). They do not know the difference between good and bad; they constantly think of corruption. In God's Court, they are called to account, and they are judged to be false (sggs 1248).

The truth is no one likes such habit. It is said that even an enlightened Giaanee does not like unjust criticism. But, since a Giaanee is bound by his spiritual wisdom to even-mindedness or nondefensiveness, he would bless those who find faults in him and take any criticism as an aid and help on the way to his own ultimate Improvement. But we novice react to the contrary. This is the difference between a novice and a true Giaanee.

For us, the novice, the habit of finding faults in others is very damaging. Because such habits are formidable barriers on the spiritual path, thus biggest hurdles to one's holistic development and perfection in life. Under the ego regime, we spend our energy and intelligence on superficialities and so have neither time nor vitality left to focus and meditate on essentials. A person who, like a trash-collector, is busy observing the "filth" (weaknesses) of others gets a false conviction of superiority. As a result, he begins to think either he has no weakness or he is qualified to appraise others. Blinded by the narrow obsessions of material considerations, the majority of us do not want to know ourselves. But we want to know everything about others! We want to find faults in others, but not in ourselves. We want to see good in others, but not in ourselves! Thus, condemning others makes us oblivious of our own faults, which then flourish unchecked. As indicated in the Gurbani, a Maya stricken ego-mind is like a fly that lands only on "filth": moral sores of others.

  • ਸੋ ਬਉਰਾ ਜੋ ਆਪੁ ਨ ਪਛਾਨੈ ॥ ਆਪੁ ਪਛਾਨੈ ਤ ਏਕੈ ਜਾਨੈ ॥੪॥: So baouraa jo aap na pachaanai. Aap pacchaanai ta eko jaanai ||4||: Man is crazy without Self-realization. When he knows himself (ਆਪਣੇ ਅਸਲੇ ਦੀ ਪਛਾਣ, the Reality of his Being, his True Nature, etc.), only then he comes to know the One (All-pervading Truth). ||4|| (sggs 855).
  • ਮਿਥਿਆ ਦੂਜਾ ਭਾਉ ਧੜੇ ਬਹਿ ਪਾਵੈ ॥ ਪਰਾਇਆ ਛਿਦ੍ਰੁ ਅਟਕਲੈ ਆਪਣਾ ਅਹੰਕਾਰੁ ਵਧਾਵੈ ॥ ਜੈਸਾ ਬੀਜੈ ਤੈਸਾ ਖਾਵੈ ॥: Mithiaa doojaa bhaau dharre bahi paavai. Paraaeiaa shidra atakalai aapanaa ahankaar vadhaavai. Jaisaa beejai taisaa khaavai (sggs 366).

The Gurbani asks us not to allow indulgence in faultfinding and calumny for even one moment. Because such detachment is necessary for cleansing the existing dross from the mind and intellect, and for not adding more into it. Also, it hastens one's spiritual unfoldment by freeing the mind and energy from focusing on the shortcomings of others, allowing us to concentrate on our own weaknesses. Otherwise we will never be able to improve our lives and attain perfection ("Jeevan Padvee").

  • ਮੈ ਤਨਿ ਅਵਗਣ ਝੁਰਿ ਮੁਈ ਵਿਣੁ ਗੁਣ ਕਿਉ ਘਰਿ ਜਾਹ ॥: Mai tani avagan jhuri muee vinu gun kiou ghari jaah: My body is filled with faults; I am dying of grief. Without virtue, how can I enter my inner Home: Mool? (sggs 936).
  • ਅਉਗਣ ਵੀਸਰਿਆ ਗੁਣੀ ਘਰੁ ਕੀਆ ਰਾਮ ॥: Aougan veesariaa gunee ghar keeaa raam: Forgetting faults, virtue and merit enter one's inner Home (sggs 1111).
  • ਅਵਗੁਣ ਵੰਞਨਿ ਗੁਣ ਰਵਹਿ ਮਨਿ ਸੁਖੁ ਵਸੈ ਆਇ ॥: Avagun vanjjan gun ravahi mani sukh vasai aai: Faults vanish, and virtues take their place; then peace comes to dwell in the mind (sggs 956).
  • ਫਰੀਦਾ ਜੇ ਤੂ ਅਕਲਿ ਲਤੀਫੁ ਕਾਲੇ ਲਿਖੁ ਨ ਲੇਖ ॥...: Freeda je tu akal lateef hai kaale likh na lekh. Aapanrhe gireevaan mahi sir neevaa kar dekh ||6||: Fareed, if you are so clever, (of keen understanding -ਬਰੀਕ ਅਕਲ ਵਾਲਾ, ਸਮਝਦਾਰ - etc.) then you should not do evil (e.g., ਹੋਰ ਬੰਦਿਆਂ ਦੇ ਮੰਦੇ ਕਰਮਾਂ ਦੀ ਪਛਚੋਲ ਕਰਨਾ, look for faoults in others, etc.). (instead) examine your own self. ||6|| (sggs 1378).

Therefore, we are challenged by the Gurbani to renounce our "evil ways" — judge not others, judge yourself. By exposing our own faults to the healing touch of the discerning introspection, self-analysis, self-control and meditation, we can protect our nature from becoming festered and poisoned by our misguided intelligence. In the soul regime, one who can constantly look within to examine and judge himself becomes the "real judge". He then sees "others" in "him" and "him" in "others".

  • ਨਾਨਕ ਪਰਖੇ ਆਪ ਕਉ ਤਾ ਪਾਰਖੁ ਜਾਣੁ ॥: Nanak parkhe aap kayu ta paarakh jaan: O Nanak, if someone judges himself, only then is he known as a real judge (sggs 148).
  • ਪ੍ਰਣਵਤਿ ਨਾਨਕ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਕੈਸਾ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਆਪੁ ਪਛਾਣੈ ਬੂਝੈ ਸੋਇ ॥: Pranvati Nanak giaanee kaisaa hoi. Aapu pashaanai boojhai soi: Prays Nanak, of what nature is the Giaanee (the Wise one, the knower of the Truth...)? (A true Giaanee is he who) recognizes his (Mool-ਮੂਲ, Source, Origin, Essential Nature, etc.), such (Giaanee-ਜੋ ਆਪਣੇ ਅਸਲੇ ਨੂੰ ਪਛਾਣਦਾ ਹੈ) Understands God (sggs 25).

— T. Singh