Actions are the Louder Expressions of Thoughts

Innumerable creatures live in this world. However, man alone is roof and crown of Creation. Man has come to dominate all other species simply because of the power of his brain.

Hence, it will be man’s thinking (Soch-ਸੋਚ) that will be seen or judged, NOT his/her religious attire (Bhekh-ਭੇਖ or religious paraphernalia)!

  • ਅਵਰ ਜੋਨਿ ਤੇਰੀ ਪਨਿਹਾਰੀ ॥ ਇਸੁ ਧਰਤੀ ਮਹਿ ਤੇਰੀ ਸਿਕਦਾਰੀ ॥ ਸੁਇਨਾ ਰੂਪਾ ਤੁਝ ਪਹਿ ਦਾਮ ॥ ਸੀਲੁ ਬਿਗਾਰਿਓ ਤੇਰਾ ਕਾਮ ॥੪॥: (O human beings) other living species are at your service. You have dominion over this earth. You have gold, silver, wealth (other species do not have these things). BUT, lust (i.e. Bikaar) has corrupted your nature. ||4|| (sggs 374).

Like any complicated device the human brain works best and its capabilities enhanced when it is kept free of the negative impact of false ego-sense (Haumai) and its Bikaar (lust, anger, greed, etc.), and used wisely, qualitatively, positively, appropriately, virtuously, etc. As a result, intelligence, mental capabilities and the quality of thoughts are enhanced.

Mind is thoughts-stuff (Phurne-ਫੁਰਨੇ) — the continuous flow of thoughts. The thoughts are of innumerable objects. These objects may be perceivable gross objects, emotions (i.e., desires, anger, etc.) or ideas and concepts.

Thinking is invaluable for learning, assimilating, and ideas. It also provides meaning to the self to insure survival, success, protection, procreation etc.

Thus, thinking is not an option. 

However, what to think and what not to think is an option we all have. In other words, to change negative thinking into positive thinking or Charhdi Kalaa is in our hands (ਚੜ੍ਹਦੀ ਕਲਾ-positive state of mind, optimism, etc.).

Aptly, the Gurmat Giaan or Wisdom of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) does not want us to become thoughtless BUT mindful, and urges us (i.e., Sikhs-learners) to keep the mind like a sharp sword to cut through doubts, confusion, ignorance, and so on.

Whatever the mind contemplates, the organ of actions strive to materialize. Notions (ideas, concepts, plans, etc.) are the fuel of the mind.

Our thoughts determine our habits and actions. In other words, as the Gurbani asserts, whatever is in the mind comes forth (i.e., manifests as actions). Hence, as a matter of fact, we can tell from one’s actions how much he has read and understood the Gurbani!

  • ਜੋ ਜੀਇ ਹੋਇ ਸੁ ਉਗਵੈ ਮੁਹ ਕਾ ਕਹਿਆ ਵਾਉ ॥: Whatever is in the mind comes out; spoken words from mouth otherwise are of no value (i.e. one may try to hide one’s thoughts about something but what is in the mind comes out). (sggs 474).
  • ਖੇਤਿ ਸਰੀਰਿ ਜੋ ਬੀਜੀਐ ਸੋ ਅੰਤਿ ਖਲੋਆ ਆਇ ॥: Whatever one plants in the farm of the body, that will appear before him (ਪਰਗਟ) in the end. (sggs 1417).

The mind happens to us, we do not happen to the mind! The mind is a wave that arises when the Soul (Mool, Jot…) and the body (Maya) joins together. To put it otherwise, when veiled by nescience, the Infinite Consciousness views diversity in an agitated state and identifies objects as such, it is known as mind.

Due to its hunger or love for Maya, naturally, the mind dances to the tune of Maya (illusion). A mind attached to the material world (Bhav Saagar) becomes a sick and weak mind.

  • ਇਸੁ ਮਨ ਮਾਇਆ ਕਉ ਨੇਹੁ ਘਨੇਰਾ ॥: This mind is so much in love with Maya (sggs 1038).
  • ਮਾਇਆ ਮਮਤਾ ਪਵਹਿ ਖਿਆਲੀ ॥: Maya-attachment drops (Jeeva) in thoughts (imaginations, fancies…). (sggs 993).

Hence, the mind creates movement — desires or thoughts-stuff (imaginations, fancies, Phurne-ਫੁਰਨੇ, etc.).

Whatever the mind thinks of or desires for, the organs of action go all out to make it happen.

Thus, mind is action (Karma) and action is mind — the two are like the flower and its scent. Before it is projected as action it arises in the mind. Hence, actions are the louder expressions of thoughts. When such actions come to an end, the mind also comes to an end (ceasing of desires, thoughts-stuff, imaginations, fancies, Phurne).

  • ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਧੰਧੈ ਬਾਂਧਾ ਕਰਮ ਕਮਾਇ ॥: Entangled in worldly affairs (Maya), this mind creates Karma (sggs 1176).
  • ਮਨੁ ਭੂਲੋ ਬਹੁ ਚਿਤੈ ਵਿਕਾਰੁ ॥: The misled mind thinks much of perversion (Bikaar: lust, anger, greed, etc.). (sggs 222).
  • ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਕਰਮਾ ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਧਰਮਾ ॥: This mind is ‘Karma’, and this mind is ‘Dharma‘ (sggs 415).
  • ਨਾਨਕ ਮਨ ਕੇ ਕੰਮ ਫਿਟਿਆ ਗਣਤ ਨ ਆਵਹੀ ॥: O Nanak! Wicked are actions of the mind, (these actions of the mind) cannot be counted (sggs 789).

Clearly, the quality of one’s actions depend on the quality of one’s mind, or thoughts, or thinking (Soch-ਸੋਚ), or habits.

And the quality of one’s mind is ordered by the degree to which it is inspired by the Shabad-Vichaar (Reflections on the Gurbani), and implementation (ਅਮਲ) of the spiritual Knowledge or Virtues in daily life.

  • ਅਮਲੁ ਕਰਿ ਧਰਤੀ ਬੀਜੁ ਸਬਦੋ ਕਰਿ ਸਚ ਕੀ ਆਬ ਨਿਤ ਦੇਹਿ ਪਾਣੀ ॥ ਹੋਇ ਕਿਰਸਾਣੁ ਈਮਾਨੁ ਜੰਮਾਇ ਲੈ ਭਿਸਤੁ ਦੋਜਕੁ ਮੂੜੇ ਏਵ ਜਾਣੀ ॥੧॥: Make your deeds the earth (i.e. perform Virtuous deeds), and let the Shabad (i.e. Gur-Giaan-Wisdom) be the seed (sown in the earth of Virtuous deeds); irrigate (i.e. practice) it continually with the water of ‘Sach‘ (i.e. let your deeds flourish in the Glory of the Creator). Become such a farmer and anchor your Spirituality in ‘Eemaan‘ (faith, belief, truth etc.). Only then you will realize the FOLLY of claims of ‘Heaven’ and ‘Hell’. (sggs 24).

Implication is: Where the Shabad-Vichaar or Bhagti and implementation is shaky, thoughts are likely to be shaky as well (vague), and the resulting actions will be week and purposeless, indecisive and timid, etc.

The Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS unfolds this to all its learners (i.e., Sikhs). Penetrating Shabad-Vichaar takes us into the depth of the Wisdom of the SGGS, and understanding (Soojh Boojh-ਸੂਝ ਬੂਝ) of the divine Way of life (Aatmic Jeevan). The divine life or the Gurmukh Lifestyle mapped by the Gurbani transforms the thought-pattern in the learner (i.e., Sikh), and he discovers for himself a new purpose and a clearer Vision of the Goal of life (i.e., Mool-abidance).

To discover new horizon in one’s life, the Gurbani asks us to Inquire (Khoj-ਖੋਜ), assimilate it through Reflections (Shabad-Vichaar), accept the Divine Wisdom and live it in daily life. With this Inner expansion of Vision, the Divine Wisdom of the Gur-Shabad helps the mind leave the ‘Trikutee-ਤ੍ਰਿਕੁਟੀ’ and come to rest into the Heart (‘Hirdaa-ਹਿਰਦਾ’ or ‘Ghat-ਘਟ’ or ‘Dasavaa Duaar(u)-ਦਸਵਾ ਦੁਆਰੁ’).

  • ਖੋਜ ਬੂਝਿ ਜਉ ਕਰੈ ਬੀਚਾਰਾ ॥ ਤਉ ਭਵਜਲ ਤਰਤ ਨ ਲਾਵੈ ਬਾਰਾ ॥੪੦॥: When someone understand by Searching (‘Khoj’), and engages in Vichaar (Reflection on the Divine Virtues, Wisdom…), then (he) crosses over the ‘Bhavjal’ (Bhav Saagar or dreadful ocean of Maya, etc.) in no time. ||40|| (sggs 342).

If the convictions are True — Gurmati-like — then virtuous actions spring forth from Virtues: Truth (ਸਤ), honesty (ਇਮਾਨਦਾਰੀ), contentment (ਸੰਤੋਖ), mercy (ਦਯਾ), patience (ਧੀਰਜ), Sahaj (ਸਹਜ-Natural State of Being), Wisdom (ਗਿਆਨ), humility (ਮਨ ਨਿਮਾਣਾ, ਬੁਧਿ ਗਰੀਬੀ), sweet speech (ਮਿਠ ਬੋਲੜਾ), Love etc.

To a Gurmukh, such mind is an obedient servant, good counselor, able commander of the senses, trustworthy friend, protecting father, etc. It impels him in good actions.

To the contrary, if the convictions are false and ignoble — demon-like (non-Gurmukh) — then good deeds rattle out.

In nutshell:
Wicked mind => wicked thinking (i.e., Soch) => wicked Karma.
Enlightened mind => pious thinking (i.e., Soch) => pious Karma.

Bhagat Kabeer Jee reminds us that ‘Whatever is done, is done by the mind’ (‘ਜੋ ਕਿਛੁ ਕੀਆ ਸੋ ਮਨ ਕੀਆ’). Those who don’t control their mind are called Manmukh-Saakat-Mayadhaaree, unwise, foolish, etc, in the Gurbani. They all act according to the nature of the mind which is bound to dense psychological conditioning or limitation.

  • ਮਨ ਕਾ ਸੁਭਾਉ ਸਭੁ ਕੋਈ ਕਰੈ ॥: Every one acts according to his mind’s nature (habit, disposition, inclination…). (sggs 1167).
  • ਕਬੀਰ ਮਨੁ ਜਾਨੈ ਸਭ ਬਾਤ ਜਾਨਤ ਹੀ ਅਉਗਨੁ ਕਰੈ ॥: O Kabir! The mind knows everything and knowingly it commits demerits (sggs 1376).

No wonder the Gurbani never gets tired of addressing the mind – rejuvenating and uplifting it with Spiritual Knowledge (Aatam-Giaan) through churning the Gurbani. The Spiritual Knowledge or Wisdom removes the mind’s filth (or Sootak) is removed, destroying its related Karma..

  • ਗਿਆਨੁ ਭਇਆ ਤਹ ਕਰਮਹ ਨਾਸੁ ॥੩॥: When the spiritual Wisdom wells up within, then the (love of Mayaic efforts or) deeds end. ||3|| (sggs 1167).

The worldly mind is always engaged in thinking, planning, feeling, inquiring, desiring or fearing. According to the Gurbani, with the aid of witnessing the mind or subjective introspection, one can find what his mind is up to at a particular moment. Such impartial self-analysis or debugging can be performed throughout a day, and at bedtime.

  • ਬੰਦੇ ਖੋਜੁ ਦਿਲ ਹਰ ਰੋਜ ਨਾ ਫਿਰੁ ਪਰੇਸਾਨੀ ਮਾਹਿ ॥ ਇਹ ਜੁ ਦੁਨੀਆ ਸਿਹਰੁ ਮੇਲਾ ਦਸਤਗੀਰੀ ਨਾਹਿ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ : O mortal, search your heart/mind everyday, then you would not wander around perplexed (confused, worried, distressed, anxiety-ridden etc.). This world is like a magic show; there nothing to be gained in it (through being perplexed etc.). ||1||Pause|| (sggs 727).

The idea is to turn the mind inside, then concentrate all its powers and throw them upon the mind itself so that it may realize its Unconditioned State (Jot Saroop). Each such practice would increase one’s victories over the wandering mind, and lessen its bewilderment. While incarnated, that’s the target of a Sikh in lifefreezing or killing the conditioned or limited mind.

That’s the whole purpose of daily reading of ‘Sohilaa’ Paath at bedtime (‘ਸੋਹਿਲਾ’, sggs 12)!

  • ਇਹੁ ਸੰਸਾਰੁ ਬਿਕਾਰੁ ਸੰਸੇ ਮਹਿ ਤਰਿਓ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਗਿਆਨੀ ॥: This world is engrossed in Bikaar and doubts. Only the Brahm Giaanee (one who possesses spiritual Knowledge) swims across (this world of Bikaar and doubt). (sggs 13).

However, just reading or repeating blindly everything we have been told without thinking is of little value, it can even be dangerous and disastrous, causing grief and frustration.

  • ਰਖਿ ਰਖਿ ਚਰਨ ਧਰੇ ਵੀਚਾਰੀ ॥ ਦੁਬਿਧਾ ਛੋਡਿ ਭਏ ਨਿਰੰਕਾਰੀ ॥: (The Gursikh) being very conscious, sets foot (in the journey or battle of life) with full consideration. (He) Becomes Nirankaaree (becomes united with the Formless Principle) by forsaking duality (sggs 685).


  1. We are so blessed to read these posts. Sometimes they come on such a time that there is no chance for the mind to run away from the Meditative contemplation even at work. God bless you T Singh Ji, Love on your way. 🙏

  2. Thank you Veer Gurmukh Singh Ji for taking the time to respond to this post. Also, thank you for your kind words! Welcome to the Gurbani Blog!

  3. Thank for such a great insight in the concept of mind and it’s relation to our actions. It is always pleasure to read your articles.

    ਧੰਨ ਧੰਨ ਗੁਰੂ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਸਿੰਘ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਜੀ ਮਹਾਰਾਜ

    🙏Waheguru g ka khalsa

    Waheguru g ki fateh jio 🙏

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