One of personal choices made will shape not only one’s own life, but also the world. Thus goes the ceaseless battle of life!
This battle of life consists of a constant spiritual and psychological battle going on between the two contending forces. These two forces or magnetic poles are (1) Bibek Budhi (pure discriminating intellect attuned to the soul or the Mool), and (2) the doubt-ridden or sense-infatuated mind under the delusive influence of the false ego-sense (Haumai).
The battlefield of these opposing forces is the human body with its physical, mental, and soul faculties. The Gurbani calls this human body the “field of action” — the field (“ਖੇਤ”, “ਧਰਤੀ”) on which all activities of one’s life take place.
- ਇਹੁ ਸਰੀਰੁ ਕਰਮ ਕੀ ਧਰਤੀ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਮਥਿ ਮਥਿ ਤਤੁ ਕਢਈਆ ॥: This body is the field of action; by becoming the Gurmukhs, constantly churn (the Gur-Shabad) and obtain the Essence (of the Divine Wisdom or Tatt-Giaan). (sggs 834).
Since the human body is also called the medium of practicing “Dharma” in the Gurbani, battle is waged between the Divine Virtues of the soul’s discriminating intelligence (Bibek Budhi, Divine Wisdom) and the ignoble, uncontrolled activities of the blind mind
- ਇਹੁ ਸਰੀਰੁ ਸਭੁ ਧਰਮੁ ਹੈ ਜਿਸੁ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਸਚੇ ਕੀ ਵਿਚਿ ਜੋਤਿ ॥: This body is the (place of practicing) Dharma; the Divine Light of “Sach” (Truth, Hukam…) is within it (sggs 309).
The Gurbani is not referring to only one particular battle. Because, life is a series of battles between Spirit and matter (Maya), soul and body, life and death, wisdom and ignorance, health and disease, form and formless, eternal and fleeting, self-control and temptations, discrimination and the blind sense-bent mind, and so on.
Thus, from cradle to grave (from the moment of conception to death) man fights innumerable battles — so many varieties of inner and outer conflicts.
- ਮਿਥਿਆ ਮੋਹ ਬੰਧਹਿ ਨਿਤ ਪਾਰਚ ॥੧॥: (Man) constantly entangles in false attachments and conflicts. ||1|| (sggs 743).
- ਕਈ ਕੋਟਿ ਮਾਇਆ ਸ੍ਰਮ ਮਾਹਿ ॥: Many millions struggle in (their hunger for) Maya. (sggs 275).
The Divine Wisdom or Bibek-Budhi of the Gurbani represents the power of impartial self-analysis and discerning introspection for the aspiring seeker (Sikh). The Gurbani teaches us that this power of one’s introspection can and must be invoked to review the conflicts of the daily life in one’s instinctive mind to determine the favorable or unfavorable outcome.
Therefore, the Gurbani stresses the necessity for daily introspection in life so that one may clearly discern which force — the good or the evil — has won the daily battle. “Good” being that which expresses Truth, Virtues, and Wisdom and attracts the mind to its Mool (Source, Jot Saroop, True Nature…) within. And “evil” being ignorance, delusion, doubt, and Haumai, that which repels the mind from its Mool.
Human beings have two kinds of temperaments — some are introspective (the Gurmukhs), and the others are extravagant (the Manmukh). The mind dedicated to extravagance is a bad bargain. Attracted to the external features of the phenomenal world, they are practically asleep to introspection. But those who have developed introspection are as grave as the sea!
But, what’s Introspection? Called in the Gurbani (SGGS) by many terms such as “Manu Khoji – ਮਨੁ ਖੋਜਿ”, “Khoju Dil – ਖੋਜੁ ਦਿਲ”, “Aapaa cheenai – ਆਪਾ ਚੀਨੈ”, “Aapu Vichaari – ਆਪੁ ਬੀਚਾਰਿ”, “Mann Kee Patree Vaachanee – ਮਨ ਕੀ ਪਤ੍ਰੀ ਵਾਚਣੀ”, etc., introspection is the ability to stand aside, observe, search, inquire, and review without any prejudice the conflicts of the day in one’s mind to ascertain the favorable or unfavorable outcome.
To put it otherwise, it’s the impartial intuitive self-analysis or discerning introspection by which one analyzes the actions and assesses the strengths of the opposing armies of his Good and evil tendencies (Bikaar…).
- ਬੰਦੇ ਖੋਜੁ ਦਿਲ ਹਰ ਰੋਜ ਨਾ ਫਿਰੁ ਪਰੇਸਾਨੀ ਮਾਹਿ ॥: O man! Search your own heart every day, and do not wander around in perplexity (distress, trouble…). (sggs 727).
- ਮਨ ਕੀ ਪਤ੍ਰੀ ਵਾਚਣੀ ਸੁਖੀ ਹੂ ਸੁਖੁ ਸਾਰੁ ॥: The greatest happiness comes from reading the horoscope of the mind (i.e., reading your own mind’s state or condition). (sggs 1093).
- ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਬਿਨੁ ਆਪਾ ਚੀਨੈ ਮਿਟੈ ਨ ਭ੍ਰਮ ਕੀ ਕਾਈ ॥: O Daas Nanak! Without Realizing one’s own self (Mool, Original, or True Nature, etc. – ਆਪਣਾ ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਪਰਖਣ ਤੋਂ ਬਿਨਾ, etc.), the moss of doubt (ignorance of one’s True Nature, etc.) is not eradicated (from the mind) ||2||1|| (sggs 684).
- ਰੋਸੁ ਨ ਕਾਹੂ ਸੰਗ ਕਰਹੁ ਆਪਨ ਆਪੁ ਬੀਚਾਰਿ ॥: Don’t be angry with anyone else; look within your own self instead (sggs 259).
When the mind is carefully studied with the power of introspection consisting of a pure discriminating reasoning (Bibek Budhi), patient and vigilance, it reveals to us our defects, shocking crookedness, perversions, and weaknesses. In the beginning, all of this will not be pleasing to one’s false-ego-sense at all!
Nonetheless, since the mind is the cause of our Mayaic bondage and freedom from it, the Gurbani urges us for continuous searching of the mind, impartial introspection of the mind, and analysis of the mind…
- ਆਪੁ ਖੋਜਿ ਖੋਜਿ ਮਿਲੇ ਕਬੀਰਾ ॥੪॥੭॥: O Kabeer! Those who have realized the Divine (Nature, Wisdom, Virtues…) have done so by searching and searching their own self or self-discovery (NOT realized with the help of Karamkaand of the Pujaaree-Vaad). ||4||7|| (sggs 1155).
- ਸੋ ਬਉਰਾ ਜੋ ਆਪੁ ਨ ਪਛਾਨੈ ॥: Man is crazy without knowing himself (Mool-realization…). (sggs 855).
In nutshell — in order to win the battle of life — the Wisdom of the Gurbani teaches to turn the outgoing mind (i.e., extrovert) around, and turn it within (i.e., introvert). The Gurbani’s Divine Wisdom teaches:
- ਬਾਹਰਿ ਜਾਤਉ ਉਲਟਿ ਪਰਾਵੈ ॥੫॥: (Wisdom of the Gur-Shabad) turns the outgoing mind around. ||5|| (sggs 414).
- ਰਾਜਨ ਰਾਮ ਰਵੈ ਹਿਤਕਾਰਿ ॥ ਰਣ ਮਹਿ ਲੂਝੈ ਮਨੂਆ ਮਾਰਿ ॥: Who lovingly remembers “Raam” (i.e., his Mool…), fights the battle and conquers the mind (sggs 931).
Now, per the Gurbani, who is sure to win this battle of life and who is sure to lose it? Per the Gurbani, a Gurmukh (The follower of the Truth, Naam, Shabad, Hukam, Wisdom of the Gurbani…) is sure to win this battle whereas a Manmukh (opposite of the Gurmukh) is sure to lose it.
- ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਜਿਤਾ ਮਨਮੁਖਿ ਹਾਰਿਆ ॥੧੭॥: Becoming the Gurmukh, (one) wins (the battle of life) whereas a Manmukh loses it. ||17|| (sggs 310).
- ਦਾਗੇ ਹੋਹਿ ਸੁ ਰਨ ਮਹਿ ਜੂਝਹਿ ਬਿਨੁ ਦਾਗੇ ਭਗਿ ਜਾਈ ॥: These who have burned (their Haumai, lust, anger, greed, etc. with Bhagti) fight bravely (with Bikaar...) in the battle (of life) and those who have not run away. (sggs 970).
The term “ਦਾਗੇ-Daagae)” is pretty significant in the foregoing verse. Literally, “Daaganaa” is dehorning process of removing the horns of livestock when their horn buds are burned or cut out, never to comeback. The Gurbani urges us to burn (“Daaganaa”) our Bikaar so they don’t ever reappear!
The Gurbani roars:
- ਅਗੋ ਦੇ ਜੇ ਚੇਤੀਐ ਤਾਂ ਕਾਇਤੁ ਮਿਲੈ ਸਜਾਇ ॥: If the mortal is alert (about duty, Wisdom, Virtues, Truth…) before hand, then why he be punished later (i.e., then he will not have to suffer later in life). (sggs 417).
- ਬੇੜਾ ਬੰਧਿ ਨ ਸਕਿਓ ਬੰਧਨ ਕੀ ਵੇਲਾ ॥ ਭਰਿ ਸਰਵਰੁ ਜਬ ਊਛਲੈ ਤਬ ਤਰਣੁ ਦੁਹੇਲਾ ॥੧॥: You were not able to make yourself a raft (of Naam – Wisdom, Virtues, Truth…) when you should have. When the ocean is churning and over-flowing, then it is very difficult to cross over it (i.e., when already drowning in the Bhav Saagar of Maya or Bikaar, then not possible to escape). ||1|| (sggs 794).
- ਅਬਹਿ ਨ ਮਾਤਾ ਸੁ ਕਬਹੁ ਨ ਮਾਤਾ ॥: One who is not intoxicated (with the Divine Wisdom, Virtues, Truth…) now, will never be intoxicated. (sggs 855).