ਕਉਣੁ ਮੂਆ ਕਉਣੁ ਮਾਰਸੀ ਕਉਣੁ ਆਵੈ ਕਉਣੁ ਜਾਇ ॥
ਕਉਣੁ ਰਹਸੀ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਕਿਸ ਕੀ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਸਮਾਇ ॥੧॥ (sggs 1091).

Coming (birth) and going (death) is intrinsic to worldly life. The Gurbani's edict is what comes and goes is time-bound. Anything that is time-bound cannot be Eternal, hence not Real or permanent. To be Eternal or Real means to be free of beginning, middle and end. Whatever comes and goes is bound and limited by beginning, middle and end, therefore unreal — changeful, temporary, fleeting, impermanent, perishable, illusion, or simply "Mithiya". For example, we witness the natural phenomenon of an infant's body after birth going through the natural changes of childhood, youth, adulthood, old age and ultimately death. Accordingly, human life has been described metaphorically as a journey from the womb to the tomb. What begins has to end. Hence change is the constant factor in material life.

  • ਜੋ ਉਪਜਿਓ ਸੋ ਬਿਨਸਿ ਹੈ ਪਰੋ ਆਜੁ ਕੈ ਕਾਲਿ ॥: Jo oupajiou so binas hai paro aaj kai kaal (sggs 1429).
  • ਦ੍ਰਿਸਟਿਮਾਨ ਹੈ ਸਗਲ ਮਿਥੇਨਾ ॥: Dristimaan hai sagal mithnaa (sggs 1083).
  • ਮ੍ਰਿਗ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਜਿਉ ਜਗ ਰਚਨਾ ਯਹ ਦੇਖਹੁ ਰਿਦੈ ਬਿਚਾਰਿ ॥: Mrig trishnaa jiyu jag rachnaa yah dekhahu ridai bichaar (sggs 537).
  • ਜਗਤ ਸੁਖ ਮਾਨੁ ਮਿਥਿਆ ਝੂਠੋ ਸਭ ਸਾਜੁ ਹੈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Jagat sukh mann mithiaa jhootho sabh saaj hai ||1||Rahaaou|| (sggs 1352).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਆਵੈ ਜਾਈ ॥: Haumai aavai jaai(sggs 1003).
  • ਇਆ ਸੰਸਾਰੁ ਸਗਲ ਹੈ ਸੁਪਨਾ ॥: Iaa sansaar sagal hai supanaa (sggs 258)

This change, which is a law of the nature (Hukam), characterizes the entire universe. "Then why weep and grieve?", ask the Gurbani in Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS).

  • ਮਨਿ ਤਨਿ ਬਾਸਨਾ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਬਿਸਥਾਰਾ ॥: Mani tani baasanaa baht bisathaaraa (sggs 1005).
  • ਜਿਤੁ ਲਾਗੋ ਮਨੁ ਬਾਸਨਾ ਅੰਤਿ ਸਾਈ ਪ੍ਰਗਟਾਨੀ ॥: Jit laago manu baasanaa ant saaee pragataanee (sggs242).

On account of attachments, the common mistake we make is to be complacent that in life everything will be permanent. But, when inevitable change happens we are often caught unaware. It is similar to a boat navigating in the ocean with people aboard the boat enjoying themselves and suddenly confronted by an iceberg. The panic and fear that results can be imagined. But as with all laws of nature, the iceberg started the day the ocean originated and it is only the ignorance of its presence which is responsible for the boatmen's predicament. So also, change is intrinsic to mundane life. But it is our ignorance that is responsible for our suffering. To make the point, the Gurbani in SGGS says even this body that was born with us will deceive and vanish any moment, what to speak of other things! To put it otherwise, all that is in memory and everything seen will perish.

  • ਜੋ ਤਨੁ ਉਪਜਿਆ ਸੰਗ ਹੀ ਸੋ ਭੀ ਸੰਗਿ ਨ ਹੋਇਆ ॥: Jo than oupajiaa sang hee so bhee sang na hoiaa (sggs 726).
  • ਬਿਰਖ ਬਸੇਰੋ ਪੰਖਿ ਕੋ ਤੈਸੋ ਇਹੁ ਸੰਸਾਰੁ ॥: Birakh basero pankh ko taiso ihu sansaar (sggs 337).
  • ਇਹੁ ਮੋਹੁ ਮਾਇਆ ਤੇਰੈ ਸੰਗਿ ਨ ਚਾਲੈ ਝੂਠੀ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਲਗਾਈ ॥: Ih moh Maya terai sang na chhallai jhoothee pareet lagaayee (sggs 78).
  • ਪੰਚਮੀ ਪੰਚ ਭੂਤ ਬੇਤਾਲਾ ॥: Panchamee panch bhoot betaalaa (sggs 839).

In other words, anything made of the five elements is temporary. Because the time-bound consciousness (ego, instinctive mind or Haumai) to arise, it needs a form made of five elements. Once it has arisen, it cannot stand still — it must scurry around like a mouse. And this scurrying around takes place in the domain of Maya's three qualities: Taamas (ignorance), Raagas (passion), and Saatav (goodness). Thus, Maya is nothing but ignorance, for which a Gurmukh (Enlightened mindset) has no use at all. Evil passions — lust, anger, greed, emotional attachment, self-conceit, envy, stubborn mindedness, and their numerous variations — are the outward expansion of the five elements. In other words, these elements are the seed of which the world of name and shape is the tree. Upon end of the body, these five elements disappear along with the world-appearance.

  • ਅਪੁ ਤੇਜੁ ਵਾਇ ਪ੍ਰਿਥਮੀ ਆਕਾਸਾ ॥ ਤਿਨ ਮਹਿ ਪੰਚ ਤਤੁ ਘਰਿ ਵਾਸਾ ॥: Apu tej vaai prithamee aakaasaa. Tin mahi panch tatu ghar vaasaa (sggs 1031).
  • ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਪੰਚ ਤਤੁ ਤੇ ਜਨਮਾ ॥: Ihu manu panch tatu te janamaa (sggs 415).
  • ਪੰਚ ਤਤੁ ਮਿਲਿ ਕਾਇਆ ਕੀਨੀ ॥: Panch dhaat vich paaeean mohu jhooth gumaan (sggs 786).
  • ਪੰਚ ਭੂ ਆਤਮਾ ਵਸਿ ਕਰਹਿ ਤਾ ਤੀਰਥ ਕਰਹਿ ਨਿਵਾਸੁ ॥੨॥ ਮਨਮੁਖਿ ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਮੁਗਧੁ ਹੈ ਸੋਝੀ ਕਿਛੂ ਨ ਪਾਇ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਕਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਨ ਬੁਝਈ ਅੰਤਿ ਗਇਆ ਪਛੁਤਾਇ ॥੩॥: Panch bhoo aatmaa vasi karahi ta tirath karahi nivaas. ||2|| Manmukhi ih mann mughad hai sojhee kishoo na paai. Har kaa naam n bujhaee NT Gaiaa pashutaai ||3|| (sggs 491).

Man's false ego-sense (Haumai) is responsible for his bondage as well as his sorrows. Ego is difficult to overcome, as its manifestation is very subtle. Once the psychological ego (Haume) has raised its head, we want to make our worldly existence eternal. Strong material tendencies resulting from this attachment to individuality or false "I" forms bondage: ego-Maya. In other words, when mental modifications or objectivity arises in consciousness, the latter becomes conditioned and limited, that is bondage. Simply put, on account of foolishness, it is the subjection of the individual being to cycles of pain and pleasure (Doojaa Bhaav or duality).

  • ਮਿਥਿਆ ਤਨੁ ਸਾਚੋ ਕਰਿ ਮਾਨਿਓ ਇਹ ਬਿਧਿ ਆਪੁ ਬੰਧਾਵੈ ॥: Mithiaa tann saacho kar maanio ih bidh aap bandhaavai (sggs 1231).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਬੰਧਨ ਬੰਧਿ ਭਵਾਵੈ ॥: Houmai bandhan bandh bhavaavai (sggs 227).
  • ਮਾਇਆ ਮੋਹਿ ਸਭੋ ਜਗੁ ਬਾਧਾ ॥: Maya mohi sabho jagu baadhaa (sggs 394).
  • ਬੰਧਨਿ ਬਾਧਿਆ ਆਈਐ ਜਾਈਐ ॥: Bandhan baadhiaa aaeeai jaaeeai (sggs 832).
  • ਮਨ ਕਾ ਅੰਧੁਲਾ ਮਾਇਆ ਕਾ ਬੰਧੁ ॥: Mann kaa andhulaa Maya kaa bandh (sggs 354).
  • ਆਵੈ ਜਾਇ ਦੂਜੈ ਲੋਭਾਇ ॥: Aavai jaai dhoojai lobhaai (sggs 643).
  • ਅੰਤਰਿ ਜੋਰੁ ਹਉਮੈ ਤਨਿ ਮਾਇਆ ਕੂੜੀ ਆਵੈ ਜਾਇ ॥: Antar jor houmai tani Maya koorree aavai jaae (sggs 1414).

Evidently, that which comes or that which has beginning is not eternal and thus cannot escape end. So the Gurbani urges us to see deeper into the total unreality of the mind's repeated suffering between between birth and death. Because living in fragmented consciousness (or ignorance) prevents us from going within long enough to gain esoteric understanding (or Enlightened or a Gurmukh). In absence of such understanding, it is not possible for us to unwind and reeducate our conditioned consciousness. Consequently, on accounts of doubts created by misunderstanding, we are unable to free ourselves from the cycles of cause-and-effect, which are the vehicles of the foolish or external mind (ego or Haume).

  • ਬਿਨੁ ਬੂਝੇ ਵਡਾ ਫੇਰੁ ਪਇਆ ਫਿਰਿ ਆਵੈ ਜਾਈ ॥: Bin boojhay vadaa fer pa-i-aa fir aavai jaa-ee (sggs 511).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਆਵੈ ਜਾਇ ਭਰਮਿ ਭੁਲਾਵਣਾ ॥: Houmai aavai jaai bharam bhulaavanaa (sggs 751).

What then is the way out? The Gurbani says it is imperative that one has to make an effort to put an end to the transitory state by realizing the Creator Within, Here and Now. We are also repeatedly reminded by the Gurbani that we all are "Jot Saroop" which is without a beginning and hence neither cause nor effect — Immortal Factor who is never born and can never die. Here the Gurbani has shown us a simple way to end the consciousness of coming and going by training the conditioned mind to become a Gurmukh Enlightened mindset) and recognize that we are not this body, but "Jot Saroop". To put it otherwise, when Haumai — ego tendencies, movement in consciousness, subjection of senses to pleasure or false satisfaction — has ceased, there is the freedom from falsehood.

  • ਹਉਮੈ ਬਾਧਾ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਛੂਟਾ ॥: Houmai baadhaa garmukhi shootaa (sggs 131).
  • ਹਉ ਮੁਆ ਮੈ ਮਾਰਿਆ ਪਉਣੁ ਵਹੈ ਦਰੀਆਉ ॥ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਥਕੀ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਜਾ ਮਨੁ ਰਤਾ ਨਾਇ ॥ : Hau mooaa mai maariaa .. (sggs 1091).

Only the Jot Saroop (the Mool, Source, Reality) is Eternal, Unconditioned or Unchanging, free of coming and going. Hence Self-realization will give lasting Joy and end the repeated suffering at the level of the mind as the Divine Wisdom (Aatam Giaan) leads us to transcend Maya and the Mayaic efforts. How can one experience his Mool (Source, Origin, Jot...) within? As time and again indicated in the Gurbani, for the Spiritual Unfoldment, constant engagement in Shabad Vichaar is must. Once all the movements or impulse of the false ego-sense are ceased, the Mool stands Realized. To a person situated in that state of Spiritual Essence, nothing comes and goes. For him all happenings of the world are mere entertaining show.

  • ਭਉ ਭੁਇ ਪਵਿਤੁ ਪਾਣੀ ਸਤੁ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ ਬਲੇਦ ॥ ਹਲੁ ਹਲੇਮੀ ਹਾਲੀ ਚਿਤੁ ਚੇਤਾ ਵਤ੍ਰ ਵਖਤ ਸੰਜੋਗੁ ॥ ਨਾਉ ਬੀਜੁ ਬਖਸੀਸ ਬੋਹਲ ਦੁਨੀਆ ਸਗਲ ਦਰੋਗ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਨਦਰੀ ਕਰਮੁ ਹੋਇ ਜਾਵਹਿ ਸਗਲ ਵਿਜੋਗ ॥੨॥: Bhaou bhui pavit paanee sat santokh bled. Hal halemee haalee chit chetaa vattar vakhat sanjog. Naau beej bakhsees bohal duniaa sagal darog. Nanak nadree karam hoi jaavahi sagal vijog ||2|| (sggs 955).
  • ਗਿਆਨੁ ਭਇਆ ਤਹ ਕਰਮਹ ਨਾਸੁ ॥: Giaan bhaiaa tah karamah naasu (sggs 1167).

— T. Singh