Thought is mind, there is no distinction between the two. Hence, whatever the mind contemplates, the organ of actions strive to materialize. Notions (ideas, concepts, thoughts-stuff) 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 (i.e., intellect, wisdom, intention, motive, ਨੀਯਤ…) comes forth; spoken words are just wind (i.e., useless, if a person has something else in his mind). (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.
- ਇਸੁ ਮਨ ਮਾਇਆ ਕਉ ਨੇਹੁ ਘਨੇਰਾ ॥: This mind is so much in love with Maya (sggs 1038).
- ਮਨੁ ਮਾਇਆ ਕੈ ਹਾਥਿ ਬਿਕਾਨਉ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: The mind is sold out in the Maya’s hands (sggs 710).
- 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, the 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 (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 ॥: Make “Amal(u) “(implementation or application in daily life) the earth, and let the Shabad (i.e. Gur-Giaan or Wisdom) be the seed (sown in the earth of “Amal(u)“); irrigate it continually with the water of Truth. (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 Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) unfolds this to all its students (i.e., Sikhs, learners). 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 Duaaru-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, bringing Daya (compassion), truth, contentment, Wisdom, Love, Peace, and so on. To the Gurmukh (i.e., whose mind is free of psychological conditioning or limitation…), 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.
Wicked mind => wicked thinking (i.e., Soch) => wicked Karma.
Enlightened mind => pious thinking (i.e., Soch) => pious Karma.
Baabaa Kabeer Sahib 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) realized by churning the Gurbani. The impure mind (or thinking) is destroyed with the Divine Wisdom. With that Karma (actions and their residual impressions) also get destroyed.
- ਗਿਆਨੁ ਭਇਆ ਤਹ ਕਰਮਹ ਨਾਸੁ ॥੩॥: With the Divine Knowledge (ਉੱਚ-ਜੀਵਨ ਦੀ ਸੂਝ) ends the deeds (Mayaic efforts) ||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 ॥: O human being, search your own heart every day, and do not wander around in confusion (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 life — freezing or killing the conditioned or limited mind.
That’s the whole purpose of daily reading of “Sohilaa” Paath at bedtime (“ਸੋਹਿਲਾ”, sggs 12)!