Common Sense Is Not Common Anymore

It said that we humans are living in the ‘age of information’.

There is an avalanche of information – internet, media…

However, ironically – although humanity has always been confused – we humans never have been this confused with existence and our life in general. Life seems to have become insanely complicated and we know not why.

We seem to have so much and yet we feel so empty, miserable, hollow, unstable, crazy, and agitated inside. In utter confusion, we look outwards (the world of see, touch, smell, hear and taste) and wander around confused; focusing on family, relationships, wealth, power, influence, etc. We thus struggle to make sense of our lives and find answers.

  • ਐਸੀ ਠਗਉਰੀ ਪਾਇ ਭੁਲਾਵੈ ਮਨਿ ਸਭ ਕੈ ਲਾਗੈ ਮੀਠੀ ॥੨॥: (Maya) confuses (misleads etc.) a person by administering such intoxicant that (Maya) seems sweet to everyone’s mind. ||2|| (sggs 673).

As the Gurbani is cognizant of the importance of the human birth as well its impermanence, its views about the human life are based on a sound common sense.

Accordingly, the Gurbani is neither mystic nor dogmatic. For it does not want us to waste our precious and rare human birth in doubts, formalities, empty religious paraphernalia, nonsense rituals (Karamkaand), etc.

The Gurmat Wisdom of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) rejects useless Karamkaand propagated by the corrupt Pujaaree-system and Pujaaree groups (priest-class) centuries ago!

But, instead of being the riddle solvers, we Sikhs are back to square one!!

Hence, it seems as the common sense is not common anymore!

For example, if we look into a basic question of as to why does the man suffer, we will understand from the Gurbani that the man’s own Mayaic mind is the seat of his troubles (Dukha-ਦੁਖ).

In other words, we suffer because we don’t control our instinctive and impulsive mind. Infected with the virus of Haumai (false ego-sense) and the hunger of Maya, it is out of whack.

Thus, the Gurbani’s common sense emphasis is on annihilating this phantom called the mind through the constant and earnest Shabad-Vichaar.

  • ਮਨ ਰੇ ਕਹਾ ਭਇਓ ਤੈ ਬਉਰਾ ॥: O mind, why have you gone crazy? (sggs 220).

The Majority of us have our minds ridden with the hunger or love of Maya (restlessness, wanderings, imaginations, Bikaar (lust, anger, greed, etc.), Haumai or false ego-sense, and so on. As a result, common sense of the Gurbani’s Bibek-Budhi (Wisdom, reasoning…) is missing from the mind.

  • ਮਨੁ ਮਾਇਆ ਮੈ ਫਧਿ ਰਹਿਓ ਬਿਸਰਿਓ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਨਾਮੁ ॥:  The mind is entangled in Maya; it has forgotten the Divine Naam (Wisdom, Virtues, Truth… (sggs 1428). .

Because of our mind’s hunger or love of Maya (ਮਾਇਆ ਦੀ ਭੁੱਖ), the greedy and crafty Pujaaree-Vaad  (Ragi, Bhai, Granthi, Giaanee, Kathaakaar, Deraa-Vaad, Baabaa-Vaad, Sant-Vaad, Jathedaar-Vaad, Takhat-Vaad, foolish and dishonest so called scholars, etc.) is having pretty easy time to deceive and defraud people (ਛਲ-ਕਪਟ), misleading them further from the Truth of the Gurbani; just as the greedy and ignorant Pandits have been misleading (“ਪੰਡਿਤ ਪਾੜੀ ਬਾਟ”) people for centuries. The Gurbani attest to this as follows:

  • ਕਾਦੀ ਕੂੜੁ ਬੋਲਿ ਮਲੁ ਖਾਇ ॥ ਬ੍ਰਾਹਮਣੁ ਨਾਵੈ ਜੀਆ ਘਾਇ ॥ ਜੋਗੀ ਜੁਗਤਿ ਨ ਜਾਣੈ ਅੰਧੁ ॥ ਤੀਨੇ ਓਜਾੜੇ ਕਾ ਬੰਧੁ ॥੨॥: Telling lies, the Qazi eats filth (of taking bribe and what pertains to others …). The Brahmin kills (inflicts pain on people by mistreating and misguiding them: ਆਤਮ-ਘਾਤੀ..), and then takes (cleansing, ਤੀਰਥ-ਇਸਨਾਨ) baths. The Yogi is (mentally or spiritually) blind, and does not know the way of life (ਜੀਵਨ ਦੀ ਜਾਚ). These three are the cause of destruction of spiritual life (of their own and other people by leading them astray from the Way of Truth.) ||2|| (sggs 662).

Hence, Rabb or any other outside agency cannot be blamed for our sorrows or troubles. Therefore, as time and again emphasized by the Gurbani, the urgent task at hand is to annihilate one’s own instinctive mind, here and now. To this end, the Gurbani asks us to become the Gurmukh, for only by becoming a Gurmukh one can conquer the mind by killing Haumai (false ego-sense).

  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਮਨੁ ਜੀਤਾ ਹਉਮੈ ਮਾਰਿ ॥: The Gurmukh conquers his mind by killing his Haumai (false ego-sense). (sggs 946).

Without getting the better of the mind, Knowledge (Aatam-Giaan) or Divine Life (Gurmukh Lifestyle) is not possible. Although this is like racing along the razor’s edge for the majority of us, but what other option we have? Therefore, through churning the Gurbani, we must become Lamp unto ourselves, here and now.

  • ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਸਬਦਿ ਉਜਾਰੋ ਦੀਪਾ ॥ ਬਿਨਸਿਓ ਅੰਧਕਾਰ ਤਿਹ ਮੰਦਰਿ ਰਤਨ ਕੋਠੜੀ ਖੁਲ੍ਹ੍ਹੀ ਅਨੂਪਾ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: The Satigur’s Shabad is like the light of the lamp (through which the Light of Giaan or Wisdom emanates – ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਦਾ ਚਾਨਣ). (When the Giaan-Light from this Lamp of the satigur’s Shabad enters in the body-temple) It dispels the darkness of ignorance from the body, and opens the beautiful chamber of Jewels (Virtues, ਆਤਮਕ ਗੁਣ-ਰਤਨਾਂ ਦੀ). ||1||Pause|| (sggs 821).

The important thing is to use that Lamp (ਅਮਲ, implementation…) to tread the Way in life. Otherwise, the Gurbani asks, what’s the use of having the lamp in hand if, despite the lamp in hand, we fall into a well (of ignorance, Maya, Bharam…)?

  • ਕਬੀਰ ਮਨੁ ਜਾਨੈ ਸਭ ਬਾਤ ਜਾਨਤ ਹੀ ਅਉਗਨੁ ਕਰੈ ॥ ਕਾਹੇ ਕੀ ਕੁਸਲਾਤ ਹਾਥਿ ਦੀਪੁ ਕੂਏ ਪਰੈ ॥੨੧੬॥: O Kabir! The mind knows everything and knowingly it commits demerits. What use is it to have a Lamp (i.e., the Light of Aatam Giaan, Divine Knowledge, Spiritual Wisdom…) in his hand, if the man still falls into a well (ignorance, Maya, Bikaar, ਅਉਗਨ / ਬਿਕਾਰਾਂ ਦੇ ਖੂਹ ਵਿਚ…)? (sggs 1376).

The Gur-Shabad is likened to a Lamp (the Light of Divine Knowledge – ਆਤਮ ਗਿਆਨ ਦਾ ਚਾਨਣ, ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਦਾ ਚਾਨਣ). If we allow it in our daily life, the Light of this Shabad-Lamp can remove the darkness of ignorance (the ignorance of our Mool-ਮੂਲ) from within.

The Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS tells us that this Shabad (Wisdom, Upadesh, Naam…) is located deep within our very Being. Of course, to cultivate Shabad-Surti (Shabad-Consciousness) or to Awaken it from its dormancy will require ਘਾਲਣਾਂ / ਕਮਾਈ (Uddam, practice, self-efforts, willingness, earnestness, etc.).

  • ਅੰਤਰਿ ਸਬਦੁ ਨਿਧਾਨੁ ਹੈ ਮਿਲਿ ਆਪੁ ਗਵਾਈਐ ॥੭॥: Within is the Treasure of the Shabad; (but) it is obtained by eradicating self-conceit (ਪਰੰਤੂ ਆਪਾ-ਭਾਵ ਤਿਆਗ ਕੇ ਮਿਲਦਾ ਹੈ) ||7|| (sggs 228).

The Universal Teaching of the SGGS can be appreciated only if we are cool-headedly open to its true understanding. Common sense must prevail. However, because of “Golak-ਗੋਲਕ” (greed, hunger of Maya…), we cannot expect helping hand from the corrupt Pujaaree-Vaad or the Gurdwara committees (who are in love with Golak and chieftainship-ਝੂਠੀ ਚੌਧਰ, power, etc., instead of propagating the true meanings of the Gurbani).


  1. Some pointers from the Gurbani:

    (1). Death is not the enemy of our true Being.
    • ਕਉਨੁ ਮੂਆ ਰੇ ਕਉਨੁ ਮੂਆ ॥ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਮਿਲਿ ਕਰਹੁ ਬੀਚਾਰਾ ਇਹੁ ਤਉ ਚਲਤੁ ਭਇਆ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: (sggs 885).
    • ਨਾ ਜੀਉ ਮਰੈ ਨ ਡੂਬੈ ਤਰੈ ॥ (sggs 151).
    • ਨਾਨਕ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਕਾ ਨਹੀ ਬਿਨਾਸ ॥੫॥ (sggs 273).
    (2). On account of doubts, we act in Aham or Haumai (false ego-sense).
    • ਮਲ ਭਰਮ ਕਰਮ ਅਹੰ ਮਮਤਾ ਮਰਣੁ ਚੀਤਿ ਨ ਆਵਏ ॥ (sggs 458).
    (3). Bharam (doubt, ਭਰਮ) is like a wedge in the Consciousness, cracking or dividing it in two. It is not easy to trace the exact moment of the beginning of Bharam (doubt, ਭਰਮ), but it does have an end.
    • ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦਿ ਭਰਮ ਕਾ ਨਾਸੁ ॥ (sggs 294).
    • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਪ੍ਰਾਣੀ ਭਰਮੁ ਗਵਾਇ ॥ (sggs 231).
    However, the Gurbani hints us that this crack (duality, division, ਭੰਗ, ਤੇੜ ) happens in Traytaa. But these Yugas don’t mean the same as of the Pandit’s definition. That will be the subject of a separate post.
    • ਤ੍ਰਿਤੀਏ ਮਹਿ ਕਿਛੁ ਭਇਆ ਦੁਤੇੜਾ ॥ (sggs 886)
    (4). When, having effaced the Haumai (false ego-sense), the individual soul realizes its Original Nature (Mool), all its doubts evaporates.
    (5). It is useless to brood over the past. It is like a cancelled check or a bygone thing; whatever has happened has happened. It’s not worth worrying about it. For, distracted by worries, we will not be able to take advantage of the present (NOW) and realize the Mool.
    • ਬਹੁ ਚਿੰਤਾ ਚਿਤਵੈ ਆਪੁ ਨ ਪਛਾਨਾ ॥ (sggs 159).
    • ਕਬੀਰ ਜੋ ਮੈ ਚਿਤਵਉ ਨਾ ਕਰੈ ਕਿਆ ਮੇਰੇ ਚਿਤਵੇ ਹੋਇ ॥ (1376)
    (6). Only the present moment (NOW) is relevant, because our entire future depends on what we do NOW.
    • ਸੁਣਿ ਮਨ ਮਿਤ੍ਰ ਪਿਆਰਿਆ ਮਿਲੁ ਵੇਲਾ ਹੈ ਏਹ ॥ (sggs 20).
    • ਜੋ ਕਿਛੁ ਕਰਹਿ ਸੋਈ ਅਬ ਸਾਰੁ ॥ (sggs 1159).
    • ਕਬੀਰ ਕਾਲਿ ਕਰੰਤਾ ਅਬਹਿ ਕਰੁ ਅਬ ਕਰਤਾ ਸੁਇ ਤਾਲ ॥ (sggs 1371).
    • ਸੁਣਿ ਮਨ ਮਿਤ੍ਰ ਪਿਆਰਿਆ ਮਿਲੁ ਵੇਲਾ ਹੈ ਏਹ ॥ (sggs 20).
    • ਵਤ ਲਗੀ ਸਚੇ ਨਾਮ ਕੀ ਜੋ ਬੀਜੇ ਸੋ ਖਾਇ ॥ (sggs 321).
    • ਭਈ ਪਰਾਪਤਿ ਮਾਨੁਖ ਦੇਹੁਰੀਆ ॥ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਮਿਲਣ ਕੀ ਇਹ ਤੇਰੀ ਬਰੀਆ ॥ ਅਵਰਿ ਕਾਜ ਤੇਰੈ ਕਿਤੈ ਨ ਕਾਮ ॥ ਮਿਲੁ ਸਾਧਸੰਗਤਿ ਭਜੁ ਕੇਵਲ ਨਾਮ ॥੧॥ (sggs 12).
    (7). Constant Naam-consciousness or Shabad-Surti (the Gurmukh Lifestyle) helps reveal the radiance of one’s Mool within in each moment of his lives. This will free us of the fear of death.
    • ਫੂਟੋ ਆਂਡਾ ਭਰਮ ਕਾ ਮਨਹਿ ਭਇਓ ਪਰਗਾਸੁ ॥ (sggs 1002).
    • ਗਇਆ ਭਰਮੁ ਰਹਿਆ ਪਰਮਾਨੰਦਾ ॥੩॥੨੦॥ (sggs 327).
    • ਜਿਸ ਕਾ ਭਰਮੁ ਗਇਆ ਤਿਨਿ ਸਾਚੁ ਪਛਾਨਾ ॥੬॥: (sggs 330).
    • ਕਹਿ ਰਵਿਦਾਸ ਪ੍ਰਗਾਸੁ ਰਿਦੈ ਧਰਿ ਜਨਮ ਮਰਨ ਭੈ ਭਾਗੀ ॥੩॥੪॥ (sggs 658).
    • ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਨਿਹਚਲੁ ਹਿਰਦੈ ਵਸੀਅਲੇ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਮੂਲੁ ਪਛਾਣਿ ਰਹੈ ॥ (sggs 945).

  2. Interesting question!

    Not sure though if Gurbani explicitly explores this issue.

    That said, the notion that we don’t remember our past lives is not entirely true. I myself have run into people who not only remmebered their past lives in vivid details, they even met their family members from past life.

    If we google PLR (Past Life Regression), we will find several verified testimonials. There’s a school of thought that most infants remeber their past lives till they turn two or so.

    What I personally think is that our recollection perhaps pertains to the most recent past life (assuming there are several) and the clarity of the ‘memory’ perhaps depends on how much time has elapsed between the latest previous incarnation and the current one.

    Also I think nature has a system of resetting or erasing the past memory to send us with a ‘clean-slate’ but exceptions are always there and those are the ones that get revealed.

    Besides, forgetting is a ‘feature’ that ‘living beings’ are charaterized with. We don’t even remember everything of our own childhood. So the re-incarnated ‘subject’ (again depending on the length of the separating time) is naturally bound to forget a lot – if not all.

    But as we all agree, only the Creator truly understands His own creation. We motrals can only speculate.

    Bhul Chuk aAaf.

  3. If ATMA is same ,why can’ t we remember/recall what we were before this life
    please clarify
    I think to get the answer one would need to understand the real character of ATMA and its
    relationship with remembrance(Present/Past or future)

  4. mout [death]
    what it is
    when flow of chemical stop in body or what else?
    If ATMA is same ,why can’ t we remember/recall what we were before this life
    please clarify

  5. Thank you Sammi Ji. Very briefly:
    kamal pragaas: ਅੰਤਰਿ ਕਮਲੁ ਪ੍ਰਗਾਸਿਆ: ਅੰਤਰਿ or Antari => within; ਕਮਲੁ ਪ੍ਰਗਾਸਿਆ or Kamal Pragaasiaa => Heart Enlightened with the Divine Knowledge (ਗਿਆਨ ਅਵਸਤਾ – Giaan Avastaa…)…
    Sehsaa => skepticism, doubt, anxiety, fear …
    Hinsa => Mercilessness, cruelty, hardness, rigidity, violence, outrage, fury…
    • ਇਕੁ ਤਿਲੁ ਪਿਆਰਾ ਵੀਸਰੈ ਰੋਗੁ ਵਡਾ ਮਨ ਮਾਹਿ ॥: Iku tilu piaaraa veesarai rogu vadaa man maahi: (If the mind) Forgets the Beloved (Mool…) even for an instant, (i.e., even if one breath gets wasted, it feels like) the mind is afflicted with a great disease! (sggs 21).
    Also, please see the post entitled “Persistent Bhagti“.

  6. Dear Vir ji
    Can you add light upon sehsaa, hinsaa and kamal pragaas with the help of Gurbani.
    As I was trying to understand the shabad… EIK TIL PYARA VISARAI, ROG VADAA MAN MAHE (SHRI GURU NANAK DEV JI)

  7. Thank you all for prompt reply……..I hope your guidance will be with me throughout this journey of comprehending knowledge upon gurbani….

  8. Shammi Ji,

    The very urge that has cropped up within you to compehend Gurbani has already put you on the right path.

    And as our Vir Ji has pointed out – analyzing each line in detail with love and devotion is the ‘key’.

    Fortunately there are quite a few resources on internet for the reference. But best would be to have some likeminded individual(s) to join you in this endeavor and pursue this collectively.

    One of the good sources that I personally like is the translation and explanation (with controversial topics reserached and discussed) in detail of Sri Guru granth Sahib Ji.
    A word of caution: Don’t be dismayed by the slowness of your initial progress. Celebrate every new term you comprehend and soon you would be very comfortable in comprehending most of Gurbani without much efforts.

    And then will come the most important and perhaps the most difficult phase of this journey – implementing the teachings – a stage which perhaps our T Singh Vir Ji seems to have reached and efforts are on on my part (and that puts me more or less in the same boat that you are sailing in) and Gurbani reassures us that we take one painda (step) and Guru will advance million steps to help us succeed.

    So congratulations Shammi Ji for having taken the first step; soon Waheguru will be motivating you to stride rapidly towards the intended destination.

    Bhul Chuk Maaf.

  9. Thank you Shammi Ji for taking the time to share your Vichaar.
    As the Gurbani itself indicates, each line must be read/listened with love and earnest Vichaar (Reflections…) to obtain its true understanding (ਸੂਝ-ਬੂਝ), only that will be of avail (ਉਹੀ ਕੰਮ ਆਵੇਗਾ). Essentially this is what the following verses indicate:
    • ਪੀਸਤ ਪੀਸਤ ਚਾਬਿਆ ਸੋਈ ਨਿਬਹਿਆ ਸਾਥ ॥੨੧੫॥: Peesat peesat chaabiaa soeee ibhiaa saath (sggs 1376).
    • ਖੋਜਤ ਖੋਜਤ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਪੀਆ ॥: Khojat khojat amrit peeaa (sggs 932).
    • ਖੋਜ ਬੂਝਿ ਜਉ ਕਰੈ ਬੀਚਾਰਾ ॥ ਤਉ ਭਵਜਲ ਤਰਤ ਨ ਲਾਵੈ ਬਾਰਾ ॥੪੦॥: Khoj boojhi jaou kare beechaaraa. Taou bhavjal tarat n laavai baaraa ||40||(sggs 342).

    The Gurbani says our Mool (Surce, Jot…) is within. So, our target is to begin moving towards our Mool.

  10. Dear Sir
    I have read your writings and am really grateful that it has certainly added knowledge to me.
    I just wish to know that how can i enhance my knowledge of gurbaani.

  11. Thank you Vir Ji for sharing your Vichaar.

    The day we learn not to depend on these ‘middlemen’ and make sincere attempts to interpret Gurbani directly, we will start acquiring the ‘commom sense’.

    Very true! ‘middlemen’ are Mayadhaaree. Because of their love for Maya (ਮਾਇਆ ਦੀ ਭੁਖ), they have lost their Giaan (Spiritual Wisdom of the Gurbani) and are Dukhee (“crying”). The Gurbani’s edict:
    • ਪੰਡਿਤ ਰੋਵਹਿ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਗਵਾਇ ॥: Pandit rovahi giaanu gavaai (sggs 954).
    • ਙਿਆਨੁ ਗਵਾਇਆ ਦੂਜਾ ਭਾਇਆ ਗਰਬਿ ਗਲੇ ਬਿਖੁ ਖਾਇਆ ॥: Giaanu gavaaiaa doojaa bhaaiaa garabi gale bikhu khaaiaa (sggs 930).
    One who is “crying” out for Maya himself (“ਦੂਜਾ ਭਾਇਆ”), how in the world he is going to free anybody else from it? He can’t. Such people are exactly doing what the greedy and corrupt Brahmins and Pandits were (and still are) doing at the time of the Gurus and Bhagats. Because, deep down, these people are followers of those greedy and corrupt Brahmins and Pandits (ਬ੍ਰਹਮਨ ਦੇ ਚੇਲੇ).
    They don’t want the true meangins of the Gurbani to come close to the masses. If they do, they risk losing their lucarative business. Therefore, things they continue to do or tell people are often contrary to the Gurbani’s Teaching (Gurmat). So, the Gurbani rejects them:
    ਹਮਰਾ ਝਗਰਾ ਰਹਾ ਨ ਕੋਊ ॥ ਪੰਡਿਤ ਮੁਲਾਂ ਛਾਡੇ ਦੋਊ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Hamaraa jhagaraa rahaa n ko-o. Pandit mullan chhaade do-oo (sggs 1159).
    Here, when the Gurbani says “ਪੰਡਿਤ ਮੁਲਾਂ ਛਾਡੇ ਦੋਊ”, it also includes the present day Sikh Pujaaree-Group (i.e., Bhais, Ragis, Parchaarak, so called Sant, etc.).
    The Gurbani declares that except the Mool-realization within (Source, Jot…), nothing else (i.e, Mayaic prayers – ਮਾਇਆ ਦੀਆ ਅਰਦਾਸਾਂ, etc.) will satisfy the human mind.
    • ਮਮਾ ਮੂਲ ਗਹਿਆ ਮਨੁ ਮਾਨੈ ॥: MANNAA mool gahiaa manu maanai (sggs 342).
    For this, the Gurbani’s unadultrated Giaan (Divine Knowledge, Aatam-Giaan) is necessary:
    • ਗਿਆਨ ਕਾ ਬਧਾ ਮਨੁ ਰਹੈ ਗੁਰ ਬਿਨੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥੫॥: Giaan kaa badhaa manu rahai gur binu giaanu n hoi ||5|| (sggs 469).
    Thus, it’s must to decipher and understand the Gurbani as we read or listen, ourselves. Essentially this is what the following verse indicates:
    • ਪੀਸਤ ਪੀਸਤ ਚਾਬਿਆ ਸੋਈ ਨਿਬਹਿਆ ਸਾਥ ॥੨੧੫॥: Peesat peesat chaabiaa soeee ibhiaa saath (sggs 1376).
    • ਮਨ ਸਮਝਾਵਨ ਕਾਰਨੇ ਕਛੂਅਕ ਪੜੀਐ ਗਿਆਨ ॥੫॥: Man samajhaavan kaarane kashooak parreai giaan (sggs 340).

  12. Vir Jio, you have hit the nail squarely on its head.

    Common sense is not all common. Period.

    Why else most of us keep resorting to rituals that heve been so strongly condemned in Gurbani – millions times over?

    And I completely agree with you. The greedy ‘massengers’ for their vested interests have been leading a commom man astray thus keeping them away from deciphering the true ‘message’.

    The day we learn not to depend on these ‘middlemen’ and make sincere attempts to interpret Gurbani directly, we will start acquiring the ‘commom sense’.

    Deep regards.

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