Debugging the Mind

Those in the technical world are pretty familiar with the term ‘debugging’, which is used to find defects and issues in the code. These errors, mistakes or defects are referred to as ‘bugs’, hence the term ‘debugging’. After debugging, one then understand what corrections need to be made in the bugged code.

Since the Gurbani in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) is the mirror of the mind, we can apply the Divine Wisdom of the Gurbani for debugging the mind at any time — iron out its defects, improve it, amend it, change its faulty thinking (Soch, ਬਿਰਤੀ) etc.! Consider Bhagat Kabeer’s priceless words:

  • ਪਹਿਲੀ ਕਰੂਪਿ ਕੁਜਾਤਿ ਕੁਲਖਨੀ ਸਾਹੁਰੈ ਪੇਈਐ ਬੁਰੀ ॥ ਅਬ ਕੀ ਸਰੂਪਿ ਸੁਜਾਨਿ ਸੁਲਖਨੀ ਸਹਜੇ ਉਦਰਿ ਧਰੀ ॥੧॥ ਭਲੀ ਸਰੀ ਮੁਈ ਮੇਰੀ ਪਹਿਲੀ ਬਰੀ ॥ ਜੁਗੁ ਜੁਗੁ ਜੀਵਉ ਮੇਰੀ ਅਬ ਕੀ ਧਰੀ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਕਹੁ ਕਬੀਰ ਜਬ ਲਹੁਰੀ ਆਈ ਬਡੀ ਕਾ ਸੁਹਾਗੁ ਟਰਿਓ ॥ ਲਹੁਰੀ ਸੰਗਿ ਭਈ ਅਬ ਮੇਰੈ ਜੇਠੀ ਅਉਰੁ ਧਰਿਓ ॥੨॥੨॥੩੨॥ : My mind’s previous thinking (Soch – ਬਿਰਤੀ…) was like an ugly and lowly bride of bad character; it was neither good for my temporal life nor for the Guru-oriented life. My present thinking (Awakened Intellect) is like a beautiful bride who is wise and Virtuous; I have taken her into my heart with Sahaj (Natural State of Being – state of Wisdom…). ||1|| It has turned out so well that I got rid of my previous bad thinking which I used to like. May my present Awakened Intellect last forever. ||1||Pause|| Kabeer says, since I have realized the Awakened Intellect, my previous evil thinking has become irrelevant. The newly acquired Awakened Intellect is always with me now, and the previous evil or egoistic thinking has gone somewhere else. ||2||2||32|| (sggs 483).

Clergy clique ‘bugs’ and enslaves human mind

The self-serving Pujaaree clique (clergy) is said to be responsible for overall destruction of the human society:

  • ਕਾਦੀ ਕੂੜੁ ਬੋਲਿ ਮਲੁ ਖਾਇ ॥ ਬ੍ਰਾਹਮਣੁ ਨਾਵੈ ਜੀਆ ਘਾਇ ॥ ਜੋਗੀ ਜੁਗਤਿ ਨ ਜਾਣੈ ਅੰਧੁ ॥ ਤੀਨੇ ਓਜਾੜੇ ਕਾ ਬੰਧੁ ॥੨॥ : The clergy of the Muslim faith was corrupt, the Brahmin was murderous and the Yogi Un-Enlightened. These three (clergy) had become the root cause for the spiritual wreckage and desolation that mankind had come to endure. (sggs 662).

That said, Pujaaree uses many mental traps to snare ignorant, gullible or foolish human minds. Not limited to, these traps include religious Karamkaand (formalities, rituals), path of Pakhand, religious robes, religious paraphernalia (Bhekh), Bikaar (lust, anger, greed etc.), Bharam-Jaal (superstitions …), phony fear and promises, pilgrimage (Tirath Yatra) etc.

  • ਨਾਵਨ ਕਉ ਤੀਰਥ ਘਨੇ ਮਨ ਬਉਰਾ ਰੇ ਪੂਜਨ ਕਉ ਬਹੁ ਦੇਵ ॥ ਕਹੁ ਕਬੀਰ ਛੂਟਨੁ ਨਹੀ ਮਨ ਬਉਰਾ ਰੇ ਛੂਟਨੁ ਹਰਿ ਕੀ ਸੇਵ ॥੪॥੧॥੬॥੫੭॥ : O crazy mind! There are so many places of pilgrimage in which to bathe, and so many gods to worship. Says Kabeer! O crazy mind, there is no liberation like this; only by serving Hari (Mool, Truth, Wisdom…) will you find liberation (from doubt, Maya…). ||4||1||6||57|| (sggs 335).
  • ਤੀਰਥਿ ਨਾਇ ਕਹਾ ਸੁਚਿ ਸੈਲੁ ॥ ਕੋਟਿ ਕਰਮ ਬੰਧਨ ਕਾ ਮੂਲੁ ॥ ਮਨ ਕਉ ਵਿਆਪੈ ਹਉਮੈ ਮੈਲੁ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਕੇ ਭਜਨ ਬਿਨੁ ਬਿਰਥਾ ਪੂਲੁ ॥੨॥ : The stone (stone-minded or foolish man) cannot attain (spiritual) purity by bathing at the Teerath (so called Pilgrimage centers). Millions of such religious Karamkaand (Pilgrimages etc.) is the cause of of traps of false ego-sense (Haumai). Without Uniting with Hari within (Mool, Source, Jot Saroop), these (prescribed religious Karamkaand on the human head) are useless (sggs 1149).
  • ਤ੍ਰੈ ਗੁਣ ਮਾਇਆ ਭਰਮਿ ਭੁਲਾਇਆ ਹਉਮੈ ਬੰਧਨ ਕਮਾਏ ॥ : The human being remains lost in the delusion of the three qualities of Maya, and thus only accumulates the shackles of Haumai or false ego-sense. (sggs 604).

The Gurbani asks to ‘Debug’ the ‘bugged’ or corrupted mind

To debug one’s mind, for example, the Gurbani in SGGS emphasizes daily introspection — self-examination, self-analysis, thinking about one’s own thinking (‘ਸੋਚ – Soch’, ਬਿਰਤੀ), etc., with the idea of debugging oneself.

Competing on the field of the body (‘Khet’, ‘Dhartee’) are two opposing forces — discriminating intelligence (‘ਬਿਬੇਕ ਬੁਧਿ-Bibek Budh) and the sense-bent mind. The wicked impulsive mental and material tendencies are the offspring of the sense-blind mind. On the other hand, divine Virtues are the offspring of the discriminating intelligence.

  • ਇਹੁ ਸਰੀਰੁ ਕਰਮ ਕੀ ਧਰਤੀ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਮਥਿ ਮਥਿ ਤਤੁ ਕਢਈਆ ॥ : This body is the field of actions; by becoming Gurmukh (Enlightened/Guru Shabad-Oriented beings), churn and modify these daily actions and obtain a higher spiritual life. (sggs 834).

The field of battle of these contending forces is the human body with its physical, and mental faculties; the field on which all activities of an individual’s take place. On this battlefield, daily war is raged between the soldiers of the pure discriminating tendencies and the uncontrolled activities of the ignoble, wisdom-blind mind.

Thus, every moment in life, there is a Spiritual and psychological battle going on between the mind’s Original-Nature (Jot Saroop) and the blind sense-infatuated mind under the delusive influence of the false ego-sense (Haumai).

The question is: How can one review and know the outcome of this ever raging battle? In other words, how can one go about determining who won the battle — the Good or the evil tendencies? The process to analyze the results of this battle between the Good and the evil is termed ‘introspection’.

The Divine Wisdom or Bibek-Budh of the Gurbani represents the power of impartial self-analysis and discerning introspection for an aspiring Sikh (learner or student of the SGGS). 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 a thorough introspection in daily 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, Origin, Jot…) within. And ‘evil’ being vices/Bikaar, ignorance, delusion, doubt, Haumai etc., that which repels the mind from its Mool.

Human beings have two kinds of temperaments — some are introspective (Gurmukhs or Enlightened mindsets), and the others are extravagant (Manmukh or Un-enlightened). The mind dedicated to extravagance is a bad bargain. Attracted to the external features of the phenomenal world, they are asleep to introspection. But those who have developed introspection are as grave as the ocean!

Called in the Gurbani (SGGS) by many terms such as ‘Mann Khoj – ਮਨੁ ਖੋਜਿ’, ‘Khoj Dil – ਖੋਜੁ ਦਿਲ’, ‘Aapaa cheenai – ਆਪਾ ਚੀਨੈ’, ‘Aap Vichaari – ਆਪੁ ਬੀਚਾਰਿ’, ‘Mann Kee Patree Vaachanee – ਮਨ ਕੀ ਪਤ੍ਰੀ ਵਾਚਣੀ’ etc. Introspection (or debugging oneself) 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 self-analysis or questioning by which one analyzes his/her thinking, actions etc. and assesses the strengths of the opposing armies of his Good and evil tendencies.

  • 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).
  • 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).

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 (i.e.,’ਅੰਤਰਿ ਮਲੁ: Antari Malu‘ – inner garbage). In the beginning, knowledge of this inner Bhangaar will not be pleasing to one’s false-ego-sense at all (Haumai)!

Nonetheless, since the mind is the cause of our Mayaic bondage and freedom from it, the Gurbani urges us for continuous searching or impartial introspection 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).

Unexamined life is not worth living

In a nutshell, the Gurbani of the SGGS counsels us  that the unexamined life is not worth living. Hence, in order to win the battle of life, the Wisdom of the Gurbani teaches us to turn the extrovert or the outgoing mind around, and turn it within:

  • ਬਾਹਰਿ ਜਾਤਉ ਉਲਟਿ ਪਰਾਵੈ ॥੫॥ : (Wisdom of the Gur-Shabad) turns the outgoing mind around. ||5|| (sggs 414).

Now, per the Gurbani, who is sure to win this battle or game of life and who is sure to lose it? According to the Gurbani in SGGS, a Gurmukh (Enlightened one) 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).

Since with the Gurmukh-hood comes the true understanding, the Gurbani challenges us to become the Gurmukh — Enlightened state of the mind developed by Internalizing the Enlightening Message embedded in the Guru’s Shabad.

  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਆਪੁ ਪਛਾਣਿਆ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਵਸਿਆ ਮਨਿ ਆਇ ॥ : By becoming the Gurmukh, (one) understands his own self (ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ. spiritual Lifestyle, etc.). (sggs 162).

The relativist mind is always engaged in wild wanderings (ਫੁਰਨੇ – Phurnae). However, with the aid of subjective introspection one can find what his/her mind is up to at a particular moment.

Such impartial self-analysis can be performed many times a day. Particularly, every night, prior to retiring, one can sit calmly and ask his intuition whether his Spiritual faculties or his physical inclinations of temptation won the day’s battle between Good and bad habits.

  • ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਬਿਨੁ ਆਪਾ ਚੀਨੈ ਮਿਟੈ ਨ ਭ੍ਰਮ ਕੀ ਕਾਈ ॥੨॥੧॥ : ‘Jan’ Nanak says, without KNOWING one’s ownself, the moss of doubt from the mind does not go away. ||2||1|| (sggs 684).

And this self-development or self-rediscovery (self-improvement, self-unfoldment etc.) is accomplished through the Shabad-Vichaar, not through any other pursuits.

In a nutshell, the Gurbani in SGGS teaches its Sikhs (lifelong learners or students) that an un-introspected life is not worth living!

  • ਸਤਿਗੁਰੂ ਨ ਸੇਵਿਓ ਸਬਦੁ ਨ ਰਖਿਓ ਉਰ ਧਾਰਿ ॥ ਧਿਗੁ ਤਿਨਾ ਕਾ ਜੀਵਿਆ ਕਿਤੁ ਆਏ ਸੰਸਾਰਿ ॥ : Those who have neither taken the refuge of the Satguru (True Wisdom-ਸੱਚਾਂ ਗਿਆਨ) nor have internalize the Enlightening Message of the Shabad, accursed is the time they lived here, why did they even come into this world? (sggs 1414).
  • ਊਤਮ ਕਰਣੀ ਸਬਦ ਬੀਚਾਰ ॥੩॥ : The ultimate action is Reflections on the Shabad – Shabad Vichaar ||3|| (sggs 158).
  • ਸਿਖੀ ਸਿਖਿਆ ਗੁਰ ਵੀਚਾਰਿ ॥ ਨਦਰੀ ਕਰਮਿ ਲਘਾਏ ਪਾਰਿ ॥ : Sikhi is contemplation on Guru’s teaching (Instructions, Wisdom, Counsel, Guide, Upadesh, Giyan, Bibek) and acting on it. Being blessed by the Grace of the Guru’s teaching one then crosses the ocean of worldly temptations and their corrupting influences (Bhav Saagar). (sggs 465).

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  1. Veerji ji if you allow, can I please use your comment on “humai” ਹਊਮੇ to share. Thank you!

  2. I would like present a different view from within Gurbanee for the wordਹਉਮੈ)
    If we look at the Grammar of this word it is FEMINIE GENDER DWIVACHAN means a reference for something TWO and these two things have been clarified to be as AASAA and MANSAA.
    ਹਉਮੈ is stated to be the BASIC CAUSE of taking Birth.
    So ਹਉਮੈ- means AASAA and MANSAA

  3. Thank you Veer Maninder Singh Ji for taking the time to respond!

    This is my take on your inquiry:
    The word “Haumai” (ਹਉਮੈ) consists of two words: ਹਉ (Hau) + ਮੈ (Mai).
    “ਹਉ” (Hau) essentially means “I, ਮੈ”, etc.
    And, ” ਮੈ” (Mai) means the same, that is, “I, ਮੈ”, etc.
    So, when both terms are combined (i.e., ਹਉਮੈ-Haumai), it simply indicates the sense of “ਮੈ ਮੈ”, “ਮੇਰੀ ਮੇਰੀ”, ਆਪਾ-ਭਾਵ, “I, I”, “I-ness”, “mine, mine”, “mineness”, “I, me, mine”, etc.

  4. Respected sir
    Is mai ‘ਮੈਂ ‘ and houmea ਹਉਮੈ same thing ?
    Could u please explain ਮੈਂ for me ?

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