Until the mind is tied to its faults;
one suffers in the body (sggs 1012).

The Gurbani indicates that all suffering is of the human mind; for it's the mind that is the cause for sorrows or discomfort. Therefore, the root cause of man's all suffering lies in the human mind itself. To help us, accordingly, there is tremendous coverage of the mind's functioning and control in the Gurbani. "Deluded mind thinks of all sorts of corruption" and "This mind is ruined by its attachment to Maya", says the Gurbani. The Gurbani goes on to say, "The mind is in the control of evil passions, evil intent, and duality." The external mind being the false ego-sense or Haume, its faults are lust, anger, greed, emotional attachment, self-conceit, enviousness, stubborn mindedness (and their numerous variations). The subtle defects of such intrinsic mind are inner impurity, restlessness, and ignorance. Thus, the external mind can be compared with the eclipsed moon. If such faulty and deluded mind is allowed to run our life, the result will undoubtedly be repeated suffering.

  • ਮਨ ਰੇ ਕਹਾ ਭਇਓ ਤੈ ਬਉਰਾ ॥: Mann re kahaa bhaio tai bouraa: O mind, why have you gone crazy? (sggs 220).
  • ਮਨ ਕਾ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਦੂਜਾ ਭਾਉ ॥: Mann kaa sootak doojaa bhaaou: The pollution of the mind is the love of duality (sggs 229).
  • 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).
  • ਮਨੁ ਭੂਲਉ ਭਰਮਸਿ ਭਵਰ ਤਾਰ ॥: Man bhoolau bharmas bhara taar: The mind, deluded by doubt, buzzes (wanders) around like a bumblebee (sggs 1188).
  • ਮਨੁ ਭੂਲੋ ਬਹੁ ਚਿਤੈ ਵਿਕਾਰੁ ॥: Manu bhoolo bahu chitai vikaar: Deluded mind thinks of all sorts of corruption (sggs 222).
  • ਬਿਨੁ ਬਸਿ ਪੰਚ ਕਹਾ ਮਨ ਚੂਰੇ ॥: Bin bas panch kahaa mann chooray (sggs 1140).
  • ਇਸੁ ਮਨ ਮਾਇਆ ਮੋਹਿ ਬਿਨਾਸੁ ॥: Isu mann Maya mohi binaas: This mind is ruined by its attachment to Maya (sggs 1344).
  • ਦੁਰਮਤਿ ਬਾਧਾ ਸਰਪਨਿ ਖਾਧਾ ॥: Durmati baadhaa sarpani khaadhaa. Man is bound by evil-mindedness, and consumed by the serpent (of Maya) (sggs 939).
  • ਮਨੁ ਮਾਇਆ ਮਨੁ ਧਾਇਆ ਮਨੁ ਪੰਖੀ ਆਕਾਸਿ ॥: Manu Maya manu dhaaiaa manu pankhee aakaas: The mind is Maya, the mind is chaser; the mind is a wanderer 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).
  • ਕਾਮੁ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਮਨਿ ਮੋਹੁ ਸਰੀਰਾ ॥ ਲਬੁ ਲੋਭੁ ਅਹੰਕਾਰੁ ਸੁ ਪੀਰਾ ॥: Kaam krodhu mani mohu sareeraa. Labu lobhu ahankaar su peeraa: Mind and body afflicted with lust, anger, attachment, greed and pride lead only to pain (sggs 414).
  • ਹੰਉਮੈ ਮਾਇਆ ਮੈਲੁ ਹੈ ਮਾਇਆ ਮੈਲੁ ਭਰੀਜੈ ਰਾਮ ॥: Haumai Maya mailu hai Maya mailu bhareejai Raam: Ego-Maya is filth; mind is filled with this Maya filth (sggs 570).

The mind is negativity. It hides the Truth. As a fly likes to sit on the trash and filth, the mind likes to brood over the the past and the future. When the memories of the past, which is dead, and the worries of the unknown future are absent, there is the state of no-mind. In other words, the phantom of the mind exits so long we live in the dead past and unknown future. When we start living in the eternity of the Now, the phantom of the mind is no more active to haunt us. So the mind is what we make of it. In other words, as the Gurbani indicates, it will become like Maya (illusion, duality etc.) if guided and channeled to identify with the worldly illusion; it will become like God if it it is guided and channeled to identify with the godly consciousness; and it will indulge in sense-gratification if identified with the menacing body-consciousness. Similarly, it will be miserable if identified with the past and future. It will be happy if identified with the eternity of the Now or Infinite Wisdom.

  • ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਸਕਤੀ ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਸੀਉ ॥ ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਪੰਚ ਤਤ ਕੋ ਜੀਉ ॥ ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਲੇ ਜਉ ਉਨਮਨਿ ਰਹੈ ॥ ਤਉ ਤੀਨਿ ਲੋਕ ਕੀ ਬਾਤੈ ਕਹੈ ॥੩੩॥: Ih manu sakti ih manu seeou. Ih mnu panj tatt ko jeeou... (sggs 342).

The Gurbani says that the Goal of human life is to experience the Transcend Comprehension while alive. But it is not possible with sorrowful ("filthy") mind. The mind's "filth" is false ego-sense (Haume) — one's individual consciousness or the the sense of "I, me, mine you". This "filth" needs to be washed away. The "filthy" mind, in nutshell, is a consciousness of time or essence of time and space. Thus, it creates itself every moment. It revolves around our thoughts, emotions, fears, and worries. Such faulty and defective mind and its wanderings interfere with experiencing the Truth. This is the problem with the deluded mind.

  • ਬਿਨੁ ਮਨ ਮੂਏ ਕੈਸੇ ਹਰਿ ਪਾਇ ॥: Binu mann mooye kaise hari paai: Without annihilating (conquering) the mind, how can God be found? (sggs 665).
  • ਜਗਿ ਹਉਮੈ ਮੈਲੁ ਦੁਖੁ ਪਾਇਆ ਮਲੁ ਲਾਗੀ ਦੂਜੈ ਭਾਇ ॥: Jagg haumai mailu dukh paaiaa mall laagee doojai bhaai: On account of the filth of Haume (egotism), the world suffers in pain. Because of the (love of Maya), the filth of duality sticks to the world (sggs 39).
  • ਦੁਖ ਵਿਚਿ ਜੰਮੈ ਦੁਖਿ ਮਰੈ ਹਉਮੈ ਕਰਤ ਵਿਹਾਇ ॥: Dukh vich janmai dukhi marai houmai karat vihaai: In sorrow one is born, and in sorrow he dies. Acting in egotism, his life passes away (sggs 947).

To arrest the mind is easier said than done. The mind is ever changing. It is restless, unsteady and imbalanced. That's why our thoughts, emotions, fears, and worries are ever unsteady and changing. — what makes us happy this moment may cease to provide us the same degree of happiness and joy the next moment. Also, what offers happiness to one person's mind may not offer the same degree of joy to another person. Accordingly, the Gurbani urges us becoming the Gurmukh (egoless being) and arresting (conquering or annihilating) the mind and making it intuitively balanced and steady (purified or single-pointed). The wobbling and unsteady mind becomes steady when it has realized its essence or True Nature as Pure Consciousness. Therefore, true understanding or right viewpoint is said to be the key in the Gurmat (Divine Teachings of the Gurbani).

  • ਮਨਮੁਖ ਮਾਇਆ ਮੋਹਿ ਵਿਆਪੇ ਦੂਜੈ ਭਾਇ ਮਨੂਆ ਥਿਰੁ ਨਾਹਿ ॥: Manmukh Maya mohi viaape doojai bhaai manooaa thir naahi: The Manmukhs (ego-beings) are engrossed in emotional attachment to Maya; in the love of duality, their minds are unsteady (sggs 652).
  • ਮਨ ਰੇ ਨਿਜ ਘਰਿ ਵਾਸਾ ਹੋਇ ॥: Mann re nij ghar vaasaa hoi: O mind, dwell in the balanced state of your own inner being (sggs 36).
  • ਏਕ ਸੁਮਤਿ ਰਤਿ ਜਾਨਿ ਮਾਨਿ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਦੂਸਰ ਮਨਹਿ ਨ ਆਨਾਨਾ ॥: Ek sumati rati jaan maani prabh doosar manzhi na aanaanaa: Imbued with a balanced single-mindedness, I know and obey God; nothing else enters my mind (sggs 339).
  • ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਮਨੂਆ ਅਸਥਿਰੁ ਰਾਖਹੁ ਇਨ ਬਿਧਿ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਪੀਓਈਐ ॥: Gurmat manooaa asathir raakhahu in bidh anmrit peeoeeai: Through the Gurmat, hold your mind steady and stable, and this is the way to drink Nectar (sggs 332).
  • ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਨਿਹਚਲੁ ਹਿਰਦੈ ਵਸੀਅਲੇ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਮੂਲੁ ਪਛਾਣਿ ਰਹੈ ॥: Ihu manu nihachal hiradai vaseeale gurmukh mool pashaan rahai: When the mind becomes steady and stable, it abides in the heart, and then the Gurmukh realizes the Rroot, the Source of all (sggs 945).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਮਨੁ ਬੇਧਿਆ ਅਸਥਿਰੁ ਹੋਇ ॥: gurmukhi manu bedhiaa asathir hoi: The mind of the Gurmukh is pierced through and held steady (sggs 232).
  • ਬਿਨੁ ਬੂਝੇ ਕਹਾ ਮਨੁ ਠਹਰਾਨਾ ॥: Bin boojhe kahaa manu thaharaanaa: Without understanding, how can the mind become steady? (sggs 1140).
  • ਪੂਰਾ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਸਹਜਿ ਸਮਾਵੈ ॥ ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਡੋਲਤ ਤਉ ਠਹਰਾਵੈ ॥: Pooraa satgur sahaj samaavai. Ihu manu dolat taou thaharaavai: Through the Perfect True Guru, one is intuitively absorbed into the Lord. Then this wobbling, unsteady mind is stabilized (sggs 1344).

Religions, scriptures and spiritual practices exist because there exist the phantom called mind. Their underlying message is to look beyond the lower or external mind — the individual self, false ego-sense or Haume, and so on. The Gurbani says we need to look beyond "I, me, mine, you". This is the foundation for righteous and truthful conduct or spiritual way of life. In other words, the external or lower mind must be annihilated with the help of the Inner or Higher Mind. Right viewpoint, and the Knowledge of the ultimate Truth is attained only when one tears asunder the mind's faults and defects. Those of us caught in the wheel of material existence (bondage) find it difficult to extricate from the ties that bind us to the enchanting gross objects of the world. To the defective and faulty mind seeking relief and Peace, the Gurbani (also other scriptures and the Enlightened Persons) offer plenty of practical tips and guidelines, which can provide sincere seekers relief and Peace.

  • ਮਨ ਰੇ ਨਾਮੁ ਜਪਹੁ ਸੁਖੁ ਹੋਇ ॥: Mann re naam japahu sukh hoi: O mind, chant the Lord's Naam and find peace (sggs 67).
  • ਮੇਰੇ ਮਨ ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦੀ ਸੁਖੁ ਹੋਇ ॥: Mere mann gur sabadee sukh hoi: O my mind, you will find peace through the Gur-Shabad (sggs 46).
  • ਸਹਜ ਅਨੰਦੁ ਭਇਆ ਮਨਿ ਮੋਰੈ ਗੁਰ ਆਗੈ ਆਪੁ ਵੇਚਾਇਆ ॥: Sahaj anand bhaiaa mani morai gur aagai aap vechaaiaa: Within my mind, intuitive peace and bliss have arisen; I have sold myself to the Guru (sggs 172).
  • ਕਰਿ ਕੀਰਤਨੁ ਮਨ ਸੀਤਲ ਭਏ ॥: Kar keeratan mann seetal bhaye: Singing the Kirtan of His Praises, my mind has become peaceful (sggs 178).
  • ਮਨ ਕੀ ਮਤਿ ਤਿਆਗਹੁ ਹਰਿ ਜਨ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਬੂਝਿ ਸੁਖੁ ਪਾਈਐ ਰੇ ॥: Mann kee mati tiaagahu har jan hukam boojh sukh paaeeai re: Renounce the intellectual cleverness of your mind, O humble servants of the Lord; understanding the Hukam (God's Will), peace is found (sggs 209).
  • ਪਾਇਓ ਬਾਲ ਬੁਧਿ ਸੁਖੁ ਰੇ ॥: Paaiou baal budhh sukh re: Adopting the child's innocent mind, I have found peace (sggs 214).
  • ਹਰਿ ਸੁਖਦਾਤਾ ਮਨਿ ਵਸੈ ਹਉਮੈ ਜਾਇ ਗੁਮਾਨੁ ॥: Har sukhadhaathaa man vasai houmai jaae gumaan: The Lord, the Giver of peace, will dwell in your mind, and your egotism and pride will depart (sggs 512).
  • ਸਾਧ ਕੈ ਸੰਗਿ ਨ ਕਬਹੂ ਧਾਵੈ ॥: Saadh kai sang na kabahoo dhaavai: In the Holy Company, the mind never wanders (sggs 271).
  • ਮਨੁ ਅਸਮਝੁ ਸਾਧਸੰਗਿ ਪਤੀਆਨਾ ॥: Mann asamajh saadhasang pateeaanaa: The ignorant mind is encouraged, in the Saadh-Sangat, the Holy Company (sggs 890).
  • ਸਾਧਸੰਗਤਿ ਮਹਿ ਮਨੁ ਪਰਬੋਧਾ ॥: Saadhasangat mahi mann parabodhaa: The mind is awakened and enlightened in the Saadh-Sangat, the Holy Company (sggs 1298).

So there is the need for self-efforts. Mind is a powerful force. Therefore, it can be one's friend or foe. Thus, on the whole, it is such a companion of ours that wisdom lies in making it a good friend, while keeping a constant watch over its movement and doing what is truly appropriate or right at a given moment. In other words, its better to have a mature relation with the mind — do not either trust it fully nor walk away from it (you cannot) in desperation. Thus, be friends with the mind and let there be a respectful distance too in the friendship. It can be harnessed to lead an individual to any path, either right or wrong.

The Gurbani asks us to focus God's Name, which, in turn, will bring the mind control and Peace with oneself - "ਬਿਸਰਾਮੁ". Just as a child that places absolute faith in the mother and is not worried about anything, if one places faith in God, one gains Peace. Awareness of God's Omnipresence is a great asset. The Gurbani also advises us to seek and keep the association of those who are steeped in devotion to God. Such evolved souls can inspire and influence others in the spiritual path. So it is very clear that man has to strive for the Spiritual Goal as we strive to achieve worldly objectives. The Gurbani urges us to totally look beyond the external mind, which is under the siege by an undue amount of self-centeredness.

  • ਹਉਮੈ ਰੋਗੁ ਗਇਆ ਦੁਖੁ ਲਾਥਾ ਆਪੁ ਆਪੈ ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਖਾਧਾ ॥: Houmai rog gaiaa dukh laathaa aap aapai gurmati khaadhaa: Through the Gurmat (Guru's Teaching), the sickness of my ego has been dispelled, and my pain (of ਹਉਮੈ or egotism) is over and done; the knowledge (Giaan) of my (True) Identity has consumed my identical identity(false identity, ਆਪਾ-ਭਾਵ) (sggs 78).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਮਾਰਿ ਸਦਾ ਮਨੁ ਨਿਰਮਲੁ ਰਸਨਾ ਸੇਵਿ ਸੁਖਦਾਤਾ ਹੇ ॥: Houmai maar sadhaa man niramal rasanaa saev sukhadhaathaa hae: Conquering egotism, the mind becomes pure forever; with tongue, serve the Lord (by Naam-Simran), the Giver of Peace (sggs 1053).
  • ਵਿਚਹੁ ਹਉਮੈ ਦੁਖੁ ਉਠਿ ਗਇਆ ਭਾਈ ਸੁਖੁ ਵੁਠਾ ਮਨਿ ਆਇ ॥: Vichahu houmai dukh outh gaiaa bhaaee sukh vuthaa man aai: The pain of egotism within is eradicated and banished, O Siblings of Destiny, and Peace comes to dwell in the mind (sggs 1177).
  • ਮਨੁ ਮੇਰੋ ਧਾਵਨ ਤੇ ਛੂਟਿਓ ਕਰਿ ਬੈਠੋ ਬਿਸਰਾਮੁ ॥: Mann mero dhaavan te shootiou kar baitho bisaraam: My mind has stopped its wanderings, and now, it has come to Intuitive Rest (sggs 1186).
  • ਇਉ ਕਹੈ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਆਪੁ ਛਡਿ ਸੁਖ ਪਾਵਹਿ ਮਨ ਨਿਮਾਣਾ ਹੋਇ ਰਹੁ ॥: Iou kahai Nanak aap shad sukh paavahi man nimaanaa hoi rahu: Thus says Nanak: renounce your ego, and obtain Peace; and let your mind abide in humility (sggs 441).

— T. Singh