O Nanak! (One's) doubt, fear and the limitations of the three qualities (of Maya)
are dispelled, and like water blending with water,
(he) blends with the Lord (ਇਕ ਰੂਪ ਹੋ ਜਾਂਣਾ). (sggs 578).

On account of one's material nature — Mayaic life — one's consciousness shrinks. This shrinking of consciousness creates future limitations of the senses, mind and intellect. If the consciousness is allowed to delimit itself, as time goes by, it will shrink and shrink until one becomes unaware of it. According to the Gurbani, the majority of us live in this state of delimited consciousness just as the frog of a well. With consciousness so shrunk, we close the door to our Mool within (Source, Origin, Jot...). If one is desirous of relinking with his Mool, the Gurbani's advice is to reverse the lifestyle.

  • ਨਾਨਕ ਭ੍ਰਮ ਭੈ ਗੁਣ ਬਿਨਾਸੇ ਮਿਲਿ ਜਲੁ ਜਲਹਿ ਖਟਾਨਾ ॥: Nanak bhram bhai gun binaase mil jal jalahi khataanaa: O Nanak! (One's) doubt, fear and the limitations of the three qualities (of Maya) are dispelled, and like water blending with water, (he) blends with the Lord (ਇਕ ਰੂਪ ਹੋ ਜਾਂਣਾ). (sggs 578).
  • ਦਾਦਰ ਤੂ ਕਬਹਿ ਨ ਜਾਨਸਿ ਰੇ ॥ ਭਖਸਿ ਸਿਬਾਲੁ ਬਸਸਿ ਨਿਰਮਲ ਜਲ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਨ ਲਖਸਿ ਰੇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ : O frog (-mind)! You can never understand. (O fog like mind!) While you dwell in the clean water (pure spiritual knowledge or Amrit-Giaan), but you do not appreciate it. (Instead) you eat the slimy scum (of Bikaar in that clean water of the Amrit-Giaan). ||1||Pause|| (sggs 990).
  • ਦੁਬਿਧਾ ਬਉਰੀ ਮਨੁ ਬਉਰਾਇਆ ॥: dubidhaa bouree manu bouraaiaa: The delusion of duality has deluded the mind (sggs 1342).

What really is the limited or shrunken consciousness? How can one know if he is under the control of such limited consciousness? In nutshell, delimited consciousness is thinking of ego-body-senses-mind-world-illusion. In other words, it is the consciousness that has been altered, fragmented, modified or differentiated from its Original State (Mool). A Mayaic mind in control of senses rather than the Mool is a mind of limited consciousness. Such conditioned mind confined to the modes of material nature (time-bound or individualized consciousness) has limited expression as "I, me, mine", which is the same as Haume, false ego-sense or "I-am-ness". The mind so infatuated with corruption and possessed with particularized consciousness exhibits contradictory qualities. In other words, the Self, as conditioned by various contradictory limiting adjuncts, is possessed of likes and dislikes (duality or Doojaa Bhaav). Other terms that are virtually synonymous to the delimited consciousness include desires and fears, lust, anger, greed, emotional attachment, pride, enviousness, stubborn mindedness, foolishness, ignorance (darkness), selfishness, mental blindness, Manmukhtaa, Malla, Durmat, Paravirti, inverted heart-lotus, doubts and related illusoriness, and so on.

  • ਮੇਰੀ ਮੇਰੀ ਕਰਿ ਕਰਿ ਡੂਬੇ ਖਪਿ ਖਪਿ ਮੁਏ ਗਵਾਰਾ ॥: Meree meree kar kar doobe khap khap muye gavaaraa: Continually claiming, ""mine, mine"", the mortals are drowned; the fools thus waste away and die (sggs 380).
  • ਹੰਉਮੈ ਮਾਇਆ ਮੈਲੁ ਹੈ ਮਾਇਆ ਮੈਲੁ ਭਰੀਜੈ ਰਾਮ ॥: Haumai Maya mailu hai Maya mailu bhareejai Raam (sggs 570).
  • ਅੰਤਰਿ ਰੋਗੁ ਮਹਾ ਅਭਿਮਾਨਾ ਦੂਜੈ ਭਾਇ ਖੁਆਈ ॥: Antar rog mahaa abhimaanaa doojai bhaae khuaaee (sggs 732).
  • ਮਨਮੁਖ ਮਨੁ ਨ ਭਿਜਈ ਅਤਿ ਮੈਲੇ ਚਿਤਿ ਕਠੋਰ ॥: Manmukh mann na bhijaee ati maile chit kathor (sggs 755).
  • ਪੁਤ੍ਰ ਕਲਤਿ ਧਨਿ ਮਾਇਆ ਚਿਤੁ ਲਾਏ ਝੂਠੁ ਮੋਹੁ ਪਾਖੰਡ ਵਿਕਾਰੁ ॥: Putr kalat dhann maya chit laaye jhooth mohu paakhand vikaar (sggs 363).
  • ਕਾਮੁ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਮਨਿ ਮੋਹੁ ਸਰੀਰਾ ॥ ਲਬੁ ਲੋਭੁ ਅਹੰਕਾਰੁ ਸੁ ਪੀਰਾ ॥: Kaam krodhu mani mohu sareeraa. Labu lobhu ahankaar su peeraa (sggs 414).

As indicated in the Gurbani, self-limitation — the sense of separation from the Cosmic Unity — is thus seen everywhere in "fools" which is conducive to repeated suffering. It exists in the minds devoid of the Divine Knowledge (Aatam Giaan), which arises from things like body-consciousness (sensual or psychological experiences). When the consciousness is conditioned (restless, limited or shrunk), the body and mind reflects the lower nature. According to the Gurbani, such limitation of the conscious mind is the real obstacle, the real barrier to the path of enlightened existence. In fact our all fear and misery arise from our sense of self-limitation or our separation from the Universal Unity.

  • ਮਨੁ ਮਾਇਆ ਮਨੁ ਧਾਇਆ ਮਨੁ ਪੰਖੀ ਆਕਾਸਿ ॥: Manu Maya manu dhaaiaa manu pankhee aakaas: The mind is Maya, the mind is chaser; the mind wanders arounds like the bird flying across the sky (sggs 1330).
  • ਮਾਇਆ ਬੰਧਨ ਟਿਕੈ ਨਾਹੀ ਖਿਨੁ ਖਿਨੁ ਦੁਖੁ ਸੰਤਾਏ ॥: Maya bandhan tikai naahee khin khin dukh santaaye: Bound by Maya, the mind is not stable. Each and every moment, it suffers in pain (sggs 247).
  • ਮਨੁ ਵਸਿ ਦੂਤਾ ਦੁਰਮਤਿ ਦੋਇ ॥: Mann vas dootaa durmati doi: The mind is in the control of evil passions, evil intent, and duality (sggs 222).
  • ਮਨਮੁਖ ਮੈਲੇ ਮਲੁ ਭਰੇ ਹਉਮੈ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਵਿਕਾਰੁ ॥: Manmukh maile mal bhare haumai trisanaa vikaar: The Manmukhs are polluted. They are filled with the pollution of egotism, cravings and evil passions (sggs 29).
  • ਕਾਇਆ ਆਰਣੁ ਮਨੁ ਵਿਚਿ ਲੋਹਾ ਪੰਚ ਅਗਨਿ ਤਿਤੁ ਲਾਗਿ ਰਹੀ ॥ ਕੋਇਲੇ ਪਾਪ ਪੜੇ ਤਿਸੁ ਊਪਰਿ ਮਨੁ ਜਲਿਆ ਸੰਨ੍ਹ੍ਹੀ ਚਿੰਤ ਭਈ ॥੩॥ Kaaiaa aaran man vich lohaa panch agan tit laag rahee. Koile paap parre tis ooper man jaliaa sannee chint bhaee ||3||: The body is a furnace, and the mind is the iron within it; the five fires of passion (lust, anger, etc.) are heating it. Sin is the charcoal placed upon it, which burns the mind; the tongs are anxiety and worry ||3|| (sggs 990).
  • ਅਗਿਆਨੀ ਅੰਧੇ ਦੂਜੈ ਲਾਗੇ ॥: Agiaanee andhe dhoojai laage: The blind (blind because of the love of Maya) ignorant (who don't not know their True Nature - ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਤੋਂ ਬੇ-ਸਮਝ ਮਨੁੱਖ) iare attached to duality (sggs 1063).

How can the restricted or finite consciousness be seen as Unlimited and Unchangeable again?

What is the Unlimited Consciousness? Why one should pursue it? Simply put, the Unlimited Consciousness is the abandonment of all mental conditionings (Maya...). It is the lotus of the mind (or heart) untouched by the water of the false ego-sense. It is the Total Consciousness — individual consciousness linked or yoked with the Mool within (Source, Origin, Jot...). The mind so unconditioned is indicated in the Gurbani as Saabat Soorat (Intact or Timeless Consciousness), Joti-Svaroopa (True Image of God), Sahaj Avasthaa (Natural State of Being), Truth, Purity, Nirankaar, Fourth State (Chauthaa Pada or Turiyaa Avasthaa), Param Pada (Jeevan Padvee or Supreme State), Jeevanmukti (the State of Emancipation), Gurmukhtaa (the State of Spiritual Being), Sunn Samaadhi (the State of Spiritual Silence or Peace), Pure Love or Devotion, Mool-realization, the state of complete detachment etc.

  • ਇਉ ਕਹੈ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਮਨ ਤੂੰ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਰੂਪੁ ਹੈ ਅਪਣਾ ਮੂਲੁ ਪਛਾਣੁ ॥੫॥: Iou kahai Nanaku man toon joti saroopu hai apanaa moolu pashaanu ||5||: Thus says Nanak - O mind! Your "Saroop" (your own, True State) is "Joti" (Divine Light)! Recognize your Mool (Source, Origin, Reality...) ||5|| (sggs 441).
  • ਨਾਪਾਕ ਪਾਕੁ ਕਰਿ ਹਦੂਰਿ ਹਦੀਸਾ ਸਾਬਤ ਸੂਰਤਿ ਦਸਤਾਰ ਸਿਰਾ ॥: Naapaak paaku kari hudoori hudeesaa saabat soorati dastaar siraa (sggs 1084).
  • ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਮਨਿ ਭਇਆ ਪਰਗਾਸਾ ਪਾਇਆ ਪਦੁ ਨਿਰਬਾਣੀ ॥: Kahu Nanak mani bhaiaa pirigaasaa paaiaa pada nirabaanee: Says Nanak, the Divine Light has dawned within my mind; I have obtained the state of Nirvaana (sggs 206).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਜਾਇ ਪਰਮ ਪਦੁ ਪਾਈਐ ॥: Houmai jaai param padu paaeeai: When egotism departs, then the supreme state is obtained (sggs 226).
  • ਚਉਥੀ ਪਉੜੀ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਊਚੀ ਸਚੋ ਸਚੁ ਕਮਾਵਣਿਆ ॥੪॥ chouthhee pourree guramukh oochee sacho sach kamaavaniaa ||4||: The Fourth State, the Highest (the state above the influence of Maya), is obtained by becoming the Gurmukh, who practices Truth, and only Truth. ||4|| (sggs 113).
  • ਸੁੰਨ ਸਮਾਧਿ ਗੁਫਾ ਤਹ ਆਸਨੁ ॥ ਕੇਵਲ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਪੂਰਨ ਤਹ ਬਾਸਨੁ ॥ ਭਗਤ ਸੰਗਿ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਗੋਸਟਿ ਕਰਤ ॥: Sunn samaadhi guphaa tah aasan. Keval brahm pooran tah baasan. Bhagat sang prabh gost karat (sggs 894).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਦੀਰਘ ਰੋਗੁ ਹੈ ਦਾਰੂ ਭੀ ਇਸੁ ਮਾਹਿ ॥: Houmai deeragh rogu hai daaroo bhee isu maahi: Ego is a chronic disease, but it contains its own cure as well (sggs 466).
  • ਮਨੁ ਤਨੁ ਮੈਲਾ ਵਿਚਿ ਜੋਤਿ ਅਪਾਰਾ ॥: Manu tanu mailaa vich joti apaaraa: Within the polluted mind and body is the Light of the Infinite God (sggs 1053).

Realization of Truth, cessation of the limited or lower mind and the ending of conditioning is interwoven. When in deep sleep (wherein one's senses are not active anymore), one's delimitation of Consciousness ceases. Similarly, when one is in such a state of deep Peace and Purity (sleep), where senses are tamed and the mouse of egoism has stopped scurrying around, the Mool is seen as All-pervading and all Bliss. However, when in a state of delimited consciousness (false ego-sense), the same Mool, in accordance with the movement of the conditioned mind, appears to toss around on account of doubt and illusoryness. But in reality, the Mool continues to remain in its Natural State, deep in the "Cave of the Heart". It is the illusioned mind (or Mayaic vision) that intervenes and makes the Mool appears as it is a some kind of limited phenomena. This reality that one is Unchangeable Awareness in which all activity takes place is indicated by Baabaa Nanak in the Gurbani as follows:

  • ਆਪੇ ਜੋਗੀ ਆਪੇ ਭੋਗੀ ॥: Aape jogee aape bhogee: He Himself is the Yogi (the Self or Mind in a state of egolessness: Unlimited or Pure Consciousness). He Himself is the sensual enjoyer or pleasure seeker (the Self or mind in a conditioned state: Haume, limited consciousness or false ego-sense) (sggs 1021).
  • ਮਨੁ ਜੋਗੀ ਮਨੁ ਭੋਗੀਆ ਮਨੁ ਮੂਰਖੁ ਗਾਵਾਰੁ ॥ ਮਨੁ ਦਾਤਾ ਮਨੁ ਮੰਗਤਾ ਮਨ ਸਿਰਿ ਗੁਰੁ ਕਰਤਾਰੁ ॥ ਪੰਚ ਮਾਰਿ ਸੁਖੁ ਪਾਇਆ ਐਸਾ ਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਵੀਚਾਰੁ ॥: Manu jogee manu bhogeeaa manu moorakh gaavaar...: This mind alone is the Yogi, the pleasure-seeker, the fool, and the ignorant. This mind alone is is the giver, the beggar, and the Supreme Being. When the five thieves (all evil passions: lust, anger etc.) are conquered, Peace is attained; contemplate such Divine Wisdom (sggs 1330).
  • ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਜੋਗੀ ਭੋਗੀ ਤਪੁ ਤਾਪੈ ॥: Ihu manu jogee bhogee tapu taapai: This mind alone is a Yogi, a sensual enjoyer, and a practicer of austerities (sggs 415).

Once mind's doubt is removed and its illusoryness has fled (conditioning, anxiety, hankering, distraction, worldliness etc.), the same mind regains its balance and sees itself as the Mool. In other words, the Mool can be known only by Itself. To a detached (desireless) man, having meditated on the Mool alone as "I am Joti-Svaroopa", the Mool of that seeker reveals Its True Nature to him. To put it otherwise, the attained and the attainer, or the goal and the goer are one and the same. Thus, as time and again indicated in the Gurbani, by becoming a Spiritual Being (Gurmukh), only Spiritual Consciousness (Divine Wisdom, Shabad-Surti, God- or Naam-consciousness, Truth etc.) is worth pursuing and worth sacrificing everything for because everything else is just a mirage rising out of this Fathomlessness.

  • ਮਨ ਤੇ ਮਨੁ ਮਾਨਿਆ ਚੂਕੀ ਅਹੰ ਭ੍ਰਮਣੀ ॥: Man te manu maaniaa chookee aham bhramanee: The lower mind is reconciliated with the Higher Mind, and the ego's wandering ways come to an end (sggs 227).
  • ਨਾਨਕ ਮਨ ਹੀ ਤੇ ਮਨੁ ਮਾਨਿਆ ਨਾ ਕਿਛੁ ਮਰੈ ਨ ਜਾਇ ॥: Nanak man hee te man maaniya na kish marai na jaayi: O Nanak, through the (Higher) Mind, the (lower) mind is satisfied, and then, nothing comes or goes (sggs 514).
  • ਮਾਣਕੁ ਮਨ ਮਹਿ ਮਨੁ ਮਾਰਸੀ ਸਚਿ ਨ ਲਾਗੈ ਕਤੁ ॥: Manak man mahi manu maarsee sach na laagai kat: The Divine Jewel within the (Higher) Mind subdues the (lower) mind; thus attached to the Truth, it does not wander deluded again (sggs 992).
  • ਗੁਪਤੁ ਪ੍ਰਗਟੁ ਸਭ ਜਾਣੀਐ ਜੇ ਮਨੁ ਰਾਖੈ ਠਾਇ ॥: Gupatu pragatu sabh jaaneeai je manu raakhai thaai: The mysteries of the seen (immanent, apparent...) and the unseen (transcendent, hidden...) are all known, if the mind is kept centered at One Place (ਥਾਂ ਸਿਰ, ਇੱਕ ਟਿਕਾਣੇ ਤੇ...). (sggs 57).
  • ਮਨਸਾ ਮਾਰਿ ਮਨੈ ਸਿਉ ਲੂਝੈ ॥: Mansaa maari manai siyu loojhai: Subdue your desires, and struggle with your mind (sggs 1021)
  • ਦੁਰਮਤਿ ਜਾਇ ਪਰਮ ਪਦੁ ਪਾਏ ॥: Durmat jaai param padu paae: When evil-mindedness is eradicated, the supreme state is attained (sggs 737).
  • ਗੁਰ ਬਚਨੀ ਸਚੁ ਕਾਰ ਕਮਾਵੈ ਗਤਿ ਮਤਿ ਤਬ ਹੀ ਪਾਈ ॥: Gur bachanee sach kaar kamaavai gat mat tabb hee paaee: When the mortal follows the Divine Teachings and practices the true activity of meditation or Naam-Simran, then he attains the understanding for realizing the Higher State of Consciousness (sggs 1260).
  • ਮੈ ਮੈਲੌ ਊਜਲੁ ਸਚੁ ਸੋਇ ॥ ਊਤਮੁ ਆਖਿ ਨ ਊਚਾ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਮਨਮੁਖੁ ਖੂਲ੍‍ ਿਮਹਾ ਬਿਖੁ ਖਾਇ ॥ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਹੋਇ ਸੁ ਰਾਚੈ ਨਾਇ ॥: Mai mailo Oojal sach soi ...: I am filthy (with evil passions); only the Truth is Immaculate. By merely calling oneself sublime, one does not become exalted. The Manmukh in material consciousness openly eats the poison (of worldly consciousness that veils his Sipiritual Consciousness). Only the one who becomes Gurmukh, Spiritual Being, is absorbed in the Naam-consciousness (sggs 1330).

— T. Singh