ਮਨ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਹਉਮੈ ਰੋਗੁ ਹੈ ਭ੍ਰਮਿ ਭੂਲੇ ਮਨਮੁਖ ਦੁਰਜਨਾ ॥:
Man antari haumai rogu hai bhrami bhoole manmukh durjaanaa
Those within whose mind is the disease of ego (Haumai),
those self-willed (Manmukhs), the evil beings (ਬਿਕਾਰੀ ਬੰਦੇ - corrupt people),
are deluded by doubt (sggs 301).

The word "Haumai" (ਹਉਮੈ) consists of two words: ਹਉ (Hau) + ਮੈ (Mai).

"ਹਉ" (Hau) essentially means "I, ਮੈ", etc.

And, " ਮੈ" (Mai) means the same, that is, "I, ਮੈ", etc.

So, when both terms are combined (i.e., ਹਉਮੈ-Haumai), it simply indicates the sense of "ਮੈ ਮੈ", "I, I" or "I-ness", "mine, mine", "mineness", "I, me, mine", ਆਪਾ-ਭਾਵ, etc.

  • ਹਉ ਮੁਆ ਮੈ ਮਾਰਿਆ ਪਉਣੁ ਵਹੈ ਦਰੀਆਉੁ ॥: So long Jeev is smitten with "Ego", a river (of desires, Trishanaa) flow within (that Jeev). (sggs 1091).

Some of the words are so profound that it's not so easy to translate them into other languages. Haumai ("ਹਉਮੈ") is one of those words. The closest English words may be considered ego, egotism, false ego-sense, and so on.

In nutshell, Haumai ("ਹਉਮੈ") arises from the notion of false selfhood ( "ਹਉ", I-ness , ਮੈ ਮੈ, etc.), which is essentially considering oneself separate from the rest. This is why the Gurbani so much talks about "One", "Oneness", etc. For, as the Gurbani time again emphasizes, existence is one. That is, there is no "other"; there is no separateness; and there are no boundaries.

"ਮੈ ਮੈ" or "I, I" is nothing but the idea of being separate from the universe. Although, we all live in "One" Ocean of Consciousness, but deluded by and identification with the limitations and boundaries of the body-mind-intellect personality, we think in "ਹਉਮੈ" (Haumai) - mistaken or false identity.

Hence, Haumai ("ਹਉਮੈ") is the disease (ਰੋਗੁ) of the mind. Not just an ordinary disease, but, according to the SGGS, a big disease; a great disease and suffering; a terrible disease, deadly disease, bad disease, chronic disease, and so on ("ਵਡਾ ਰੋਗੁ", "ਰੋਗੁ ਮਹਾ ਦੁਖ", "ਰੋਗੁ ਕਠਿਨ", "ਰੋਗ ਬੁਰੇ ", "ਦੀਰਘ ਰੋਗੁ"...).

In nutshell, Haumai ("ਹਉਮੈ") is the virus of the mind. As indicated in the SGGS, it has infected minds of the majority of the people in the world. In other words, bodies of the majority of us (the over 99.9 percent category) is afflicted with this terribly painful illness of egotism.

  • ਹਉਮੈ ਰੋਗੁ ਵਡਾ ਸੰਸਾਰਿ ॥: Ego is a massive disease in the world (sggs 1278).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਰੋਗੁ ਕਠਿਨ ਤਨਿ ਪੀਰਾ ॥: Ego inflicts ardous pain in the body (sggs 1172).
  • ਨਨਾਨਕ ਹਉਮੈ ਰੋਗ ਬੁਰੇ ॥: O Nanak! The diseases (born or begotten) of ego are wicked (sggs 1153).
  • ਕਰਹਿ ਬਿਕਾਰ ਵਿਥਾਰ ਘਨੇਰੇ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਸਬਦ ਬਿਨੁ ਭਰਮਿ ਪਇਆ ॥ ਹਉਮੈ ਰੋਗੁ ਮਹਾ ਦੁਖੁ ਲਾਗਾ ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਲੇਵਹੁ ਰੋਗੁ ਗਇਆ ॥੬॥ Karahi bikaar vithaar ghanere surati sabad bin bharami paiaa. Houmai rog mehaa dukh laagaa guramati levahu rog gaiaa ||6||: (O crazy man) you act in corruption (ਬਿਕਾਰ: lust, anger, greed, etc.), and put on ostentatious shows, but without awareness of the Shabad, you have fallen into confusion. You are afflicted with greatest pain from the disease of egotism. Following the Guru's Teachings, you can be rid of this disease. ||6|| (sggs 906).

We routinely hear about new and more deadly viruses of the body ( e.g., swine flew, bird flew, AID, etc.). Also, in this age of information, we hear about computer viruses, that enter our computers and corrupt everything inside of them. A virus primarily acts in three main ways:

  • It duplicates
  • It infiltrates
  • It spreads

Haumai ("ਹਉਮੈ") - virus of the mind - is no different. That is, it also fits this pattern. For example, this is how it duplicates itself. As an infant, we have Unconditioned Consciousness (Pure, Intact, Total, Undivided, Saabat, Joti-Svaroopa). However, as we grow, our parents and society condition us. That is, as we grow, our hunger for Maya also grows (ਮਾਇਆ ਦੀ ਭੁੱਖ), and our consciousness becomes corrupt for our Haumai becomes stronger. Our parents and society infect us with this virus. This process is duplicated when we infect our own children, and others in the society.

Once this virus of Haumai (ਹਉਮੈ) has entered the mind, it spreads like a wild fire in one's entire being - thoughts, speech, actions, and so on. It mutates into ਬਿਕਾਰ (inner "filth", corruption): lust, anger, greed, attachment, pride (and countless variations of these such as jealousy, stubborn mindedness, selfishness, and so on).

  • ਸੁਣਿ ਸੁਣਿ ਗੰਢਣੁ ਗੰਢੀਐ ਲਿਖਿ ਪੜਿ ਬੁਝਹਿ ਭਾਰੁ ॥ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਅਹਿਨਿਸਿ ਅਗਲੀ ਹਉਮੈ ਰੋਗੁ ਵਿਕਾਰੁ ॥ Suni suni gandhan gandheeai likh parr bujhahi bhaar. Trisanaa ahinis agalee houmai rog vikaar: Again and again, we hear; we read and write and understand loads of knowledge, but still, desires increase day and night, and the disease of egotism fills us with corruption. (sggs 20).
  • ਅੰਤਰਿ ਮਮਤਾ ਰੋਗੁ ਲਗਾਨਾ ਹਉਮੈ ਅਹੰਕਾਰੁ ਵਧਾਇਆ ॥: Antar mamataa rog lagaanaa houmai ahankaar vadhhaaiaa: (The one who is) afflicted with the illness of attachment, his egotism and pride increase (sggs 445).
  • ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਸੇਵ ਨ ਕੀਤੀਆ ਸਬਦਿ ਨ ਲਗੋ ਭਾਉ ॥ ਹਉਮੈ ਰੋਗੁ ਕਮਾਵਣਾ ਅਤਿ ਦੀਰਘੁ ਬਹੁ ਸੁਆਉ ॥ : Satgur kee sev na keeteeyaa shabad na laggo bhaayu. Haumai rog kamaavanaa ati deeragh bahu suyaayu: One who does not serve the True Guru, and who does not love the Shabad, earns the very painful disease of egotism; he is so very selfish (sggs 850).
  • ਮੰਮੈ ਮਤਿ ਹਿਰਿ ਲਈ ਤੇਰੀ ਮੂੜੇ ਹਉਮੈ ਵਡਾ ਰੋਗੁ ਪਇਆ ॥: Manmai mati hir laee teree moorre houmai vadaa rog paiaa. Mamma (a letter of the Gurmukhi alphabet): You have been cheated out your intellect, you fool, and you are afflicted with the great disease of ego (sggs 435).
  • ਮਨ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਹਉਮੈ ਰੋਗੁ ਭ੍ਰਮਿ ਭੂਲੇ ਹਉਮੈ ਸਾਕਤ ਦੁਰਜਨਾ ॥: Man antar houmai rog bhram bhoole houmai saakat durajanaa: Within the minds of the faithless cynics is the disease of egotism; these evil people wander around lost, deluded by doubt (sggs 424).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਪੈਖੜੁ ਤੇਰੇ ਮਨੈ ਮਾਹਿ ॥: Haumai paikharh tere mannai maahi: (O fool) your mind is tied with the rope of egotism (ਪੈਖੜੁ-ਢੰਗਾ, a rope tied to the rear legs of an animal, which does not let the animal run or walk freely!) (sggs 1189).

The mind free of the virus of Haumai ("ਹਉਮੈ") is Joti-Svaroopa (Pure Consciousness, Pure Awareness, Unconditioned Consciousness, Undivided Consciousness, the Divine state of Gurmukhtaa, and so on). Simply put, it is the Higher State (call it Truth, God, Self-Realization, or whatever you may).

  • 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).

To the contrary, when Joti-Svaroopa is covered or curtained with the false self or Haumai ("ਹਉਮੈ"), it is the lower mind. Simply put, it is the sate of Manmukhtaa, conditioned consciousness, divided consciousness, Asat (untruth), Bikaars (corruption, passions, negativity, etc.), falsehood, delusion, cynicism, and so on. It is confinding the physical body (false identity, ਆਪਾ-ਭਾਵ) with the Original Spirit.

  • ਹਉ ਹਉ ਭੀਤਿ ਭਇਓ ਹੈ ਬੀਚੋ ਸੁਨਤ ਦੇਸਿ ਨਿਕਟਾਇਓ ॥ ਭਾਂਭੀਰੀ ਕੇ ਪਾਤ ਪਰਦੋ ਬਿਨੁ ਪੇਖੇ ਦੂਰਾਇਓ ॥੩॥: Haou haou bheet bhaio hai beecho sunati desi niktaaio. Bhhanbheeree ke paat paardo bin pekhe dooraaio ||3||: (O my mother, I) hear this that the Lord dwells near (within, in my heart, etc.). (But) the wall of egotism and pride separates us. Like the wings of a butterfly, there is a veil between (Him and I); without being able to see Him (due to the curtain of egotism), He seems so far away ||3|| (sggs 624).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਵਡਾ ਰੋਗੁ ਹੈ ਭਾਇ ਦੂਜੈ ਕਰਮ ਕਮਾਇ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਮਨਮੁਖਿ ਜੀਵਦਿਆ ਮੁਏ ਹਰਿ ਵਿਸਰਿਆ ਦੁਖੁ ਪਾਇ ॥੨॥: Haumai vadaa rog hai bhaai doojai karam kamaai. Nanak Manmukh jeevadiaa muye Har viasariaa dukh paai ||2||: Egoism is such a terrible disease; in the love of duality, people do their deeds. The self-willed (Manmukhs) are in a living death; forgetting the Lord, they suffer. ||2|| (sggs 589).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਵਿਚਿ ਸਭੁ ਜਗ ਬਉਰਾਨਾ ॥ ਦੂਜੈ ਭਾਇ ਭਰਮਿ ਭੁਲਾਨਾ ॥: Haumai vich sabh jagg bauraanaa. Doojai bhaai bharamai bhulaanaa: The entire world has gone insane in egoism. In the love of duality, it wanders deluded by doubt (sggs 159).
  • ਹਮ ਮੂਰਖ ਮੂਰਖ ਮਨ ਮਾਹਿ॥ਹਉਮੈ ਵਿਚਿ ਸਭ ਕਾਰ ਕਮਾਹਿ ॥: Ham moorakh moorakh mann maahi. Haumai vichi sabh kaar kamaahi: We are ignorant; ignorance fills our minds. We do all our deeds in ego (sggs 666).

As indicated in the SGGS, both Haumai ("ਹਉਮੈ") and Joti-Svaroopa cannot coexist. In other words, false ego-sense and Pure Awareness, or false self and Authentic Self (Originality, Mool, etc.), or filth and Purity (i.e., untruth and Truth, etc.) cannot coexist. They are just not compatible.

  • ਮਨੁ ਮੈਲਾ ਸਚੁ ਨਿਰਮਲਾ ਕਿਉ ਕਰਿ ਮਿਲਿਆ ਜਾਇ ॥: Mann mailaa sach nirmalaa kiyu kar miliaa jaae: The True Lord is Pure; (so long the man's) mind is impure (with Haumai, Bikaar, etc.); he cannot meet (Truth or the Lord) (sggs 755).

Ego-mind is the habitual mind. We are the way we think with this habitual mind. Ego-mind is misalignment to Joti-Svaroopa - the Place it Originated from. To align back to Joti-Svaroopa is to think like God (Original or Intact Consciousness, Saabat Soorat...) or become God-like. All excuses not to align with Joti-Svaroopa are misalignments that arise from Haumai ("ਹਉਮੈ").

The SGGS tells us that, although the Haumai ("ਹਉਮੈ") is a terrible disease, but it also contains its own cure. As indicated in the Gurbani, the key is proper Understanding (ਸੂਝ-ਬੂਝ).

  • 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).

What this essentially indicates to us is that Haumai ("ਹਉਮੈ") can be outgrown. In other words, ego is not in charge of us, something else is. That "something else" is calling in us.

Joti-Svaroopa (Original State, etc.) is Perfect and Faultless. That is our True Nature, not the false ego-sense, which is faulty. Thinning of ego takes place when we move from false self to our Authentic Self (Joti-Svaroopa).

In other words, when the Divine Consciousness is allowed to grow within, Haumai ("ਹਉਮੈ") diminishes. It's removal of the lower mind (corrupt consciousness) with the Higher Mind (Original Consciousness). It requires continuous enthusiasm, willingness, Surrendering, and earnestness. It demands undivided thinking from the Higher Place (Joti-Svaroopa). It is to become alert, to live life consciously, full of Awareness, Thoughtfulness, Mindfulness, and so on. When the mind Awakenes to its True Nature (Original Consciousness - Joti Svaroopa), all its faults die (i.e., then the lower mind stands removed).

  • ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਜਾਗੈ ਇਸੁ ਮਨ ਕੀ ਦੁਬਿਧਾ ਮਰੈ ॥੪॥: Ihu man jaagai is man kee dubidhaa marai ||4||: When the duality (ਮੇਰ-ਤੇਰ, the sense of "I, me, mine,you", etc.) of this mind dies, then this mind is Awakened. ||4|| (sggs 1129).
  • ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਨਿਰਮਲੁ ਹਉਮੈ ਮਾਰੀ ॥: Ih mann nirmal hayumai maaree: The mind becomes pure when ego is killed (sggs 1049).

Freedom (or Mukti) is nothing but liberation from Haumai ("ਹਉਮੈ"). When one experiences Freedom while alive in the body, he is called Jeevanmukti (Living Liberated or Living Enlightened). The idea is to think and act from the end (Joti-Svaroopa), rather than just thinking or merely talking about the end!

The Gurbani gives us an impetus, a thirst, and a tremendous enthusiasm. It shows us the simple way, it helps us Understand, and it Guides (ਸੇਧ) us so that we may Awaken to our Higher Consciousness within. More we understand the deeper we go and more the idea of "ਮੈ ਮੈ" or "I, I" (the notion of separateness) disappear.

  • ਬਹਲੇ ਭੇਖ ਭਵਹਿ ਦਿਨੁ ਰਾਤੀ ਹਉਮੈ ਰੋਗੁ ਨ ਜਾਈ ॥: Bahale bhekh bhavahi din raatee houmai rog n jaaee: Trying on all sorts of (religious) robes, those who wander around day and night, (this way) the disease of their egotism is not cured (sggs 1131).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਰੋਗੁ ਗਵਾਈਐ ਸਬਦਿ ਸਚੈ ਸਚੁ ਭਾਖੁ ॥੮॥: Houmai rog gavaaeeai sabadi sachai sachu bhaakhu ||8||: Eradicate the disease of egotism chanting the True Naam (through Shabad-Giaan, living a life of Divine Virtues, etc.) through the True Shabad (Shabad-Vichaar, Guru's Teaching or Giaan, etc.). ||8|| (sggs 62).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਰੋਗੁ ਗਇਆ ਦੁਖੁ ਲਾਥਾ ਆਪੁ ਆਪੈ ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਖਾਧਾ ॥: Houmai rog gaiaa dukh laathaa aap aapai guramati 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).
  • ਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਬਿੰਦੇ ਸੋ ਬ੍ਰਾਹਮਣੁ ਕਹੀਐ ਜਿ ਅਨਦਿਨੁ ਹਰਿ ਲਿਵ ਲਾਏ ॥ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਪੁਛੈ ਸਚੁ ਸੰਜਮੁ ਕਮਾਵੈ ਹਉਮੈ ਰੋਗੁ ਤਿਸੁ ਜਾਏ ॥: Braham binde so braahaman kaheeai ji anadin har liv laaeae. Satigur pushai sach sanjam kamaavai houmai rog tis jaae: One who understands God, who lovingly centers his mind on the Lord night and day, is called a Brahmin. Consulting the Satguru, he practices Truth and self-restraint, and (like this) he is rid of the disease of ego (sggs 512).
  • ਏਹਾ ਕਾਇਆ ਰੋਗਿ ਭਰੀ ਬਿਨੁ ਸਬਦੈ ਦੁਖੁ ਹਉਮੈ ਰੋਗੁ ਨ ਜਾਇ ॥: Ehaa kaaiaa rog bharee bin sabadai dukh houmai rog n jaai: This body is filled with disease (of ego); without the (Guru's) Shabad, the pain of the disease of ego does not depart (sggs 588).
  • ਜਪਿ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਕਮਲ ਪਰਗਾਸੇ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਨਵੰ ਨਿਧਿ ਪਾਈ ॥ ਹਉਮੈ ਰੋਗੁ ਗਇਆ ਦੁਖੁ ਲਾਥਾ ਹਰਿ ਸਹਜਿ ਸਮਾਧਿ ਲਗਾਈ ॥: Jap har har naam kamal paragaase har naam navan nidh paaee. Houmai rog gaiaa dukh laathaa har sahaj samaadh lagaaee: Chanting the Name of the Lord, the heart-lotus blossoms forth, and through the Name of the Lord, (it seems as I) I have obtained the nine treasures (of the world). The disease of (my) egotism has been eradicated, suffering (of egotism) has been eliminated, (and with) the Lord's Name, I am established in Sahaj Samaadhi (ਆਤਮਕ ਅਡੋਲਤਾ, the Natural State of Being, etc.) (sggs 572).

As the Haumai ("ਹਉਮੈ") thins out, Awareness Grows within (Joti-Svaroopa), then one begins to think like God, act like God, contemplate like God... That is, in nutshell, one becomes God-like (ਪਰਮਾਤਮਾ ਦਾ ਰੂਪ ਹੀ ਹੋ ਜਾਣਾਂ, the Gurmukh...).

  • ਆਪੁ ਗਇਆ ਤਾ ਆਪਹਿ ਭਏ ॥: Aap gaiaa taa aapahi bhae: When ego (ਆਪਾ-ਭਾਵ, etc.) is gone, (one) becomes the Lord (ਉਹ ਪਰਮਾਤਮਾ ਦਾ ਰੂਪ ਹੀ ਹੋ ਗਇਆ) Himself (sggs 202).

Thus, clearly, the Teaching of the SGGS (Gurmat) is not materialistic, dogmatic, and so on. The SGGS is very Simple, and simply gives us the Spiritual Wisdom (Aatam Giaan, Bibek Budhi...) so that we can deveop real Understanding. For, the way of the SGGS appears to be the way of true Understanding, and becoming the Gurmukh (Spiritual Being, follower of the Truth, Aatm-Giaanee, etc.). But, as the SGGS says, the Gurmukh are very "rare" in the world :

  • ਬਾਣੀ ਬਿਰਲਉ ਬੀਚਾਰਸੀ ਜੇ ਕੋ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਹੋਇ ॥: By becoming a Gurmukh, a rare one contemplates (ਵਿਚਾਰ, Refletion, spiritual Inquiry, etc.) the Bani (sggs 935).
  • ਕਹਨ ਕਹਾਵਨ ਕਉ ਕਈ ਕੇਤੈ ॥ ਐਸੋ ਜਨੁ ਬਿਰਲੋ ਹੈ ਸੇਵਕੁ ਜੋ ਤਤ ਜੋਗ ਕਉ ਬੇਤੈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ Kahan kahaavan kaou kaee ketai...: Many speak and talk (about God, Truth, Source, etc.). But one who understands the (real) Essence of Union (Yoga, ਪਰਮਾਤਮਾ-ਮਿਲਾਪ; Realization of Truth, Realization True Consciousness, Realization Joti-svaroopa, Realization of one's True Nature, and so on) - such a humble servant (ਸੇਵਕ) is very rare||1||Pause|| (sggs 1302).

— T. Singh