When the Truth that has not been personally experienced, one can not grasp it directly. However, with the help of examples, analogies, similes, allegories, metaphors, figurative or mystic representations and illustrations, idioms (ਮੁਹਾਵਰੇ), etc., the Truth becomes relatively easier to grasp. Such methods have extensively been used in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS).

The Gurbani teaches us a practical and logical Way of living. It’s the mirror for the mind – it addresses the human mind and Awakens it. As medicine is for the alive people not for dead, similarly, the Wisdom of the Gurbani is for the minds of the living people, not for birds, animals, stones, or dead people.

The Gurbani talks about the human mind that behaves like crow. In this context, first, consider the following verse of the Gurbani:

  • ਕਊਆ ਕਹਾ ਕਪੂਰ ਚਰਾਏ ॥ ਕਹ ਬਿਸੀਅਰ ਕਉ ਦੂਧੁ ਪੀਆਏ ॥੨॥: Offering camphor (ਕਪੂਰ, a fragrant grass) to a crow is of no avail (because his habit of eating filth will not go away – ਕਾਂ ਦੀ ਗੰਦ/ਵਿਸਟਾ ਖਾਣ ਦੀ ਆਦਤ ਨਹੀਂ ਜਾ ਸਕਦੀ). (Similarly) feeding a snake on milk is of no avail (because he will not stop biting — his poison will only grow)? ||2|| (sggs 481).

Here, crow (ਕਊਆ, ਕਾਂ) is likened to the Manmukh-Saakat-Mayadhaaree — Unenlightened mindsets. Their conditioned mind is akin to a black crow — filthy with vices/Bikaars (lust, anger, greed, etc.).

Camphor (ਕਪੂਰ – Kapoor) is likened to the Gurmukh — Enlightened or Gru Shabad-Oriented mindset. The Gurmukh Lifestyle is totally opposite of that of Manmukh-Saakat-Mayadhaaree.

Pious life, Wisdom, Virtues or Truth to Manmukh-Saakat-Mayadhaaree is same as offering camphor to a crow, offering of milk to a snake, married life to an eunuch, sandalwood oil to a dog, reading of scriptures to a deaf, placing of a light before a blind man, placing of gold before a herd of cattle, placing of precious ornaments on a monkey’s body, etc.

  • ਕੁਤੇ ਚੰਦਨੁ ਲਾਈਐ ਭੀ ਸੋ ਕੁਤੀ ਧਾਤੁ ॥ ਬੋਲਾ ਜੇ ਸਮਝਾਈਐ ਪੜੀਅਹਿ ਸਿੰਮ੍ਰਿਤਿ ਪਾਠ ॥ ਅੰਧਾ ਚਾਨਣਿ ਰਖੀਐ ਦੀਵੇ ਬਲਹਿ ਪਚਾਸ ॥ ਚਉਣੇ ਸੁਇਨਾ ਪਾਈਐ ਚੁਣਿ ਚੁਣਿ ਖਾਵੈ ਘਾਸੁ ॥ ਲੋਹਾ ਮਾਰਣਿ ਪਾਈਐ ਢਹੈ ਨ ਹੋਇ ਕਪਾਸ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਮੂਰਖ ਏਹਿ ਗੁਣ ਬੋਲੇ ਸਦਾ ਵਿਣਾਸੁ ॥੧॥ : Perfume a dog (with sandalwood paste etc.) all you want but the dog will remain a dog. Tutor someone born deaf on the essence of the scriptures but nothing will enter their mind for they are deaf. Light as many lamps and torches as you desire but the blind will still remain in darkness. Deposit mountains of gold in front of cattle but they will unhesitatingly run to consume the grass. Amalgamate as much flux as possible with iron but iron will still remain unbending. Similar, Nanak, is the fool: he causes the destruction of others through his actions and speech. ||1|| (sggs 143).

A crow enjoys filth. Hence, its beak is always in the ordure! Its unpleasant sound of ‘kaaon kaaon‘ resembles speech of a wrathful fool.

The Gurbani teaches us that without churning the Gurbani or without the sincere Shabad-Vichaar, one is a self-murderer and his mind is like that of a crow, snake, a mad dog, a donkey, a stork etc. (i.e. Manmukh-Saakat-Mayadhaaree).

  • ਕਲਰ ਕੇਰੀ ਛਪੜੀ ਕਊਆ ਮਲਿ ਮਲਿ ਨਾਇ ॥ ਮਨੁ ਤਨੁ ਮੈਲਾ ਅਵਗੁਣੀ ਚਿੰਜੁ ਭਰੀ ਗੰਧੀ ਆਇ ॥ ਸਰਵਰੁ ਹੰਸਿ ਨ ਜਾਣਿਆ ਕਾਗ ਕੁਪੰਖੀ ਸੰਗਿ ॥ ਸਾਕਤ ਸਿਉ ਐਸੀ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਹੈ ਬੂਝਹੁ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਰੰਗਿ ॥: The crow (Bikaaree or Mayaic mind…) rubs and washed itself in the pool of the saline land (pool of Bikaar: lust, anger, greed, attachment, pride etc.). (As a result) the mind and body remains polluted with demerits (Bikaar, delimited consciousness…), just as a crow’s beak always remains filled with filth. Associating with the crow-minded (i.e., Saakat: those separated from their Mool, Mayadhaaree, Manmukh …), the soul-swan (i.e. mind) did not respect the Pool of the Gur-Giaan or spiritual Wisdom). Such is the love with the Saakat. O Enlightened one! Understand (the true Way of life) through the Divine love. (sggs 1411).

The Gurbani compares an association with the Manmukh-Saakat-Mayadhaaree with that of a crow, stork etc.

  • ਬਗੁਲਾ ਕਾਗ ਨੀਚ ਕੀ ਸੰਗਤਿ ਜਾਇ ਕਰੰਗ ਬਿਖੂ ਮੁਖਿ ਲਾਈਐ ॥: The stork and the crow like the lowly association. (Even if some come for their own selfish purposes to the Guru) but after leaving they feed on a carcass of poison (Maya) (sggs 881).

The Mayaic mind is vast in its combinations of time, space and form. The Gurbani indicates that before one’s Maya-ridden or crow-mind is transformed into the Pure Mind, it is of the animal-nature. A mind devoid of the Naam (Wisdom, Truth, Virtues…) is compared in the Gurbani with that of a crow, and many other animals.:

  • ਢੀਲੁ ਰਬਾਬੀ ਬਲਦੁ ਪਖਾਵਜ ਕਊਆ ਤਾਲ ਬਜਾਵੈ ॥ ਪਹਿਰਿ ਚੋਲਨਾ ਗਦਹਾ ਨਾਚੈ ਭੈਸਾ ਭਗਤਿ ਕਰਾਵੈ ॥੧॥: (The mind’s animal nature) plays the guitar of the elephant-nature (egoism…); it plays drums of the ox-nature (indolence, ignorance…); it plays cymbals of the crow-nature (material cleverness…). (The mind’s animal nature) performs dance of the donkey-nature (lust…), and perform Bhagti of the buffalo-nature (uncontrolled conduct or intoxication with Maya…) ||1||. (sggs 477).
  • ਗੁਰ ਮੰਤ੍ਰ ਹੀਣਸ੍ਯ੍ਯ ਜੋ ਪ੍ਰਾਣੀ ਧ੍ਰਿਗੰਤ ਜਨਮ ਭ੍ਰਸਟਣਹ ॥ ਕੂਕਰਹ ਸੂਕਰਹ ਗਰਧਭਹ ਕਾਕਹ ਸਰਪਨਹ ਤੁਲਿ ਖਲਹ ॥੩੩॥: That mortal who lacks the Gur-mantra (Guru’s counsel, advice, Wisdom, Upadesh, ਸਲਾਹ), cursed and fallen (depraved, polluted…) is his life. That wicked person is a dog, a pig, a jackass, a crow, a snake (in this very life, here and now, not after death). ||33|| (1356).

In a nutshell, friendship of the Manmukhs-Saakat-Mayadhaaree, etc., is akin to a crow behavior.

Deep within, a Manmukh-Saakat-Mayadhaaree has no interest in Awakening the Wisdom ( Bibek). In foolishness, although, he takes great pride in describing or talking about God. But, his true nature is to speak only falsehood.

Bhagti or Understanding the Gurbani through the Shabad-Vichaar  or churning the Gurbani is same to a Manmukh-Saakat-Mayadhaareeas as offering camphor to a crow.

  • ਝੂਠੇ ਕਉ ਨਾਹੀ ਪਤਿ ਨਾਉ ॥ ਕਬਹੁ ਨ ਸੂਚਾ ਕਾਲਾ ਕਾਉ ॥: The false (ਮਾਇਆ/ਕੂੜ ਦਾ ਵਪਾਰੀ ਜੀਵ) one has no respect or honor; like the black crow (who’s mind has become black with Bikaars, Mayaic efforts…), never becomes Pure. (sggs 839).
  • ਫਿਰਿ ਫਿਰਿ ਫਾਹੀ ਫਾਸੈ ਕਊਆ ॥ ਫਿਰਿ ਪਛੁਤਾਨਾ ਅਬ ਕਿਆ ਹੂਆ ॥: Again and again, the crow (of the Mayaic mind or Jeeva…) falls into the net (ਫੰਧਾ, ਬੰਧਨ, ਫਾਸੀ, ਫਾਹਾ, noose…). Then (after having been so trapped) he grieves, but what can he do then? (sggs 935).

There is this totally nonsensical story about black crows that enter a pool of water and come out at as white — miracle! Chamatkaar!

Many of us (if not all) have heard this story from the Sikh clergy clique (Pujaaree)Ragi, Bhai, Kathaakaar, Parchaarak, Deraa-Vaad, Baabaa-Vaad, Sant-Vaad, so called ‘scholars’ etc. The Gurbani in SGGS teaches to discard the tendencies of the crow:

  • ਜਗੁ ਕਊਆ ਨਾਮੁ ਨਹੀ ਚੀਤਿ ॥ ਨਾਮੁ ਬਿਸਾਰਿ ਗਿਰੈ ਦੇਖੁ ਭੀਤਿ ॥ : The nature of a person devoid of the divine Naam (Wisdom / Virtues…) is like that of a crow in this world. Foregoing the Naam, he pecks at trivial baits. (sggs 1187).

These self-serving Pujaaree groups narrate such concocted, fake Karamaatee stories despite the fact that the Gurbani assertively rejects such nonsense — a black crow cannot become white by taking a dip in a Sarovar or pond!

  • ਕਾਗਉ ਹੋਇ ਨ ਊਜਲਾ ਲੋਹੇ ਨਾਵ ਨ ਪਾਰੁ ॥ ਪਿਰਮ ਪਦਾਰਥੁ ਮੰਨਿ ਲੈ ਧੰਨੁ ਸਵਾਰਣਹਾਰੁ ॥ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਪਛਾਣੈ ਊਜਲਾ ਸਿਰਿ ਕਾਸਟ ਲੋਹਾ ਪਾਰਿ ॥: The crow does not become white, and an iron boat does not float across. One who lives by the Divine Wisdom (Naam Padaarath, Giaan Padaarath) is blessed; he exalts and embellishes others as well. One who realizes the Hukam (Law of Nature, Universal Energy…) becomes Pure; he floats across, like iron upon wood. (sggs 1089).
  • ਝੂਠੇ ਕਉ ਨਾਹੀ ਪਤਿ ਨਾਉ ॥ ਕਬਹੁ ਨ ਸੂਚਾ ਕਾਲਾ ਕਾਉ ॥ : The false one (Manmukh, Saakat, Mayadhaaree…) has no honor or respect; like the black crow (i.e., filthy mind imbued in Bikaar), it never becomes pure. (sggs 839).

On this crow-mentality, here are a couple of more pertinent verses from the SGGS.

  • ਦੁਰਮਤਿ ਭਾਗਹੀਨ ਮਤਿ ਫੀਕੇ ਨਾਮੁ ਸੁਨਤ ਆਵੈ ਮਨਿ ਰੋਹੈ ॥ ਕਊਆ ਕਾਗ ਕਉ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਰਸੁ ਪਾਈਐ ਤ੍ਰਿਪਤੈ ਵਿਸਟਾ ਖਾਇ ਮੁਖਿ ਗੋਹੈ ॥੩॥ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਸਰੁ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਸਤਿਵਾਦੀ ਜਿਤੁ ਨਾਤੈ ਕਊਆ ਹੰਸੁ ਹੋਹੈ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਧਨੁ ਧੰਨੁ ਵਡੇ ਵਡਭਾਗੀ ਜਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹ ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਰਿਦੈ ਮਲੁ ਧੋਹੈ ॥੪॥੨॥: Those unfortunate persons, misguided by bad advice, are of shallow intellect; upon hearing Naam (Giaan-Wisdom, Virtues…) they feel enraged in their minds. Just as a crow gets satisfied eating filth instead of good food, similarly these evil people, forsaking Amrit of Naam, are satiated by indulging in vices. ||3|| The Satiguru (True Wisdom-ਸੱਚਾ ਗਿਆਨ), who always speaks truth, is like the pool of Giaan-Amrit, bathing in which, a crow like mind becomes immaculate like a swan (i.e. Enlightened, Virtuous). Nanak, extremely blessed and very fortunate are those who, through the Guru’s teachings (Giaan-Wisdom), wash away the filth of their Hearts with Naam realized through the Gurmat (Upadesh or Message of the Guru’s Shabad). ||4||2|| (sggs 493).
  • ਕਿਆ ਹੰਸੁ ਕਿਆ ਬਗੁਲਾ ਜਾ ਕਉ ਨਦਰਿ ਕਰੇਇ ॥ ਜੋ ਤਿਸੁ ਭਾਵੈ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਕਾਗਹੁ ਹੰਸੁ ਕਰੇਇ ॥੨॥ : What is the swan (-mentality), and what is the crane(-mentality)? It is by the Grace (of the Gur-Wisdom, one’s mind becomes Hans-like: Pure, Gurmukh). O Nanak! Whoever has Awakened the Wisdom within is transformed from a crow (filthy or Bikaaree mind – Manmukh) into a swan (pure mind – Gurmukh). ||2|| (sggs 91).

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  1. Many readers of the bible deny these truths although many of the same are contained within it. I don’t speak to my friends much of the Gurbani because they immediately turn away. It seems of no avail to try. It truly is for the few.Christ said this himself. So much is misinterpreted.

  2. Good read.

    Sir why is that a person who is full of lobh, moh, dridra also a person of God. Karmically he must be having things to pay off by still living by pure force of animal nature . So it rightful to hate or look down upon such a person ? Havent we been taught to be nice to everyone- even the so called “pappi or horrible people”.
    Please would like to know your perspective.

  3. So it rightful to hate or look down upon such a person ?…

    Based on my understanding of the Gurbani, the Gurbani does not want anybody to hate anybody.

    • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਵੈਰ ਵਿਰੋਧ ਗਵਾਵੈ ॥ (sggs 942).

  4. It was amazing to read above details.
    First time I read these few lines from Gurbani!!

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