When the Truth that has not been personally experienced, one can not grasp it directly. However, with the help of analogies, similes, allegories, metaphors, idioms, euphemism, symbolic expressions, figurative or mystic representations and illustrations, etc., the Truth becomes relatively easier to grasp. Hymns of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) often employ them to deliver the universally relevant message.
There are multiple similar expressions. For example:
- Dog’s tail,
- Toe to Top,
- Wring Hands,
- Paap Punn,
- Fish Climbs a Tree,
- Ladles do not know the Taste Of Food They Cruise In,
- Chewing iron with the teeth of wax,
- Uphill climb,
- The wife gives birth to her husband,
- The son leads his father in play,
- Without breasts the mother nurses her baby,
- Son marries his mother,
- Without feet the mortal jumps,
- Without a mouth he bursts into laughter,
- Without feeling sleepy he lays down and sleeps,
- Without a churn the milk is churned,
- Without udders the cow gives milk,
- Without traveling a long journey is made,
- Destruction of wall,
- Son born before his mother,
- The guru falls at the feet of the disciple,
- Fish of the water gives birth upon a tree,
- Saw a cat carrying away a dog,
- Branches are below, and the roots are above,
- Trunk of tree bears fruits and flowers.
- Riding a horse, the buffalo goes out to graze,
- Bull is away, while the bull’s load (cart) has come home,
- Lion herds cows,
- Donkey grazes upon green grass,
- Gur Charan Kamal, Gur Charan Dhoorh, Gur Moorat,
- An empty vessel makes noise
- Walking along a double-edged sword,
- Cripple crossing over the mountain, and so on.
The purpose of employing this tool is to drive the Wisdom (Giaan) into heads of the immature learners (i.e., Sikhs, ਸਿਖਿਆਰਥੀ).
Since all human languages are dynamic, the current form of these idioms may not be exactly the same as they appear in the SGGS.
Nonetheless, here is another one: ‘ਕੰਧੁ ਛੇਦਾਵੈ’ (Kandhu Chhedaavai), or ‘ਕੰਧੁ ਛੀਜੈ’ (Kandhu Chheejai), or ‘ਪੜੈ ਨ ਕੰਧੁ’ (Parrai Na Kandhu), and so on.
The Gurus and Bhagats frequently employ such statements as a teaching tool to help seekers of Truth (ਸਚ) break free from the chains of fear, ignorance, doubts (ਭਰਮ), Bikaar (lust, anger, greed…), etc., and thus Enlighten us in the process. Literally:
Kandh (ਕੰਧ) = a wall;
Chhijjanaa (ਛਿੱਜਣਾ) = crumble, shatter, collapse, demolish, etc. — destruction.
Since the Gurbani speaks at the level of the mind, the Gurbani in this idiom seems to hint towards:
In addition to Kandh (ਕੰਧ) = a wall, it also seems to have been used to suggest the mind’s mind’s equilibrium or equipoise.
- Forgetfulness or separation of the Mayaic mind from its Mool or True Nature as Jot Saroop,
- destruction or shattering of one’s discerning intellect or Bibek Budh (‘ਦੁਰਮਤਿ ਕੁਬੁਧਿ ਕੁਮੂੜਾ ਮਨਿ ਲਾਗਾ’…),
- depletion or loss of Wisdom (Giaan) (‘ਅਗਿਆਨਿ ਤਿਮਰਿ ਮੋ ਮਨੁ ਰਹਿਓ ਉਰਝਾਈ’…),
- degradation of the mind, or weakening of the mind with Bikaar such as lust, anger, greed, etc. (‘ਮਨੁ ਭੂਲੋ ਬਹੁ ਚਿਤੈ ਵਿਕਾਰੁ’…),
- the mind becoming doubt-ridden (‘ਰੋਗੁ ਭਰਮੁ ਭੇਦੁ ਮਨਿ ਦੂਜਾ’…),
- the mind becoming ignorance-ridden (‘ਅੰਤਰਿ ਅਗਿਆਨੁ ਅੰਧੇਰੁ’…),
- the mind becoming unstable (‘ਚੰਚਲ ਮਨੁ’…),
- breaking of the mind’s equilibrium or equipoise (‘ਮਨੁ ਟਿਕਣੁ ਨ ਪਾਵੈ ਰਾਈ’…),
- ਅਗਿਆਨਤਾ ਦਾ ਛਾ ਜਾਣਾਂ, ਭਰਮ ਦਾ ਛਾ ਜਾਣਾਂ, ਬੁਧੀ ਦਾ ਨਾਸ ਹੋਣਾਂ, ਗਿਆਨ ਦਾ ਨਾਸ ਹੋਣਾਂ, ਅਡੋਲਤਾ ਦਾ ਭੰਗ ਹੋਣਾਂ , and so on.
The question is: destruction of what wall?
Let’s take some verses from the Gurbani to understand:
- ਹਉ ਭੀਤਿ ਭਇਓ ਹੈ ਬੀਚੋ ਸੁਨਤ ਦੇਸਿ ਨਿਕਟਾਇਓ ॥ ਭਾਂਭੀਰੀ ਕੇ ਪਾਤ ਪਰਦੋ ਬਿਨੁ ਪੇਖੇ ਦੂਰਾਇਓ ॥੩॥: (O my mother, I) hear this that (my Beloved) dwells near within (me but) the wall of egotism separates us. Like the wings of a butterfly, there is this thin veil (of egotism that separates us); without being able to see (due to the curtain of egotism, my Beloved), seems to be far away. ||3|| (sggs 624).
- ਕਮਲਾ ਭ੍ਰਮ ਭੀਤਿ ਕਮਲਾ ਭ੍ਰਮ ਭੀਤਿ ਹੇ ਤੀਖਣ ਮਦ ਬਿਪਰੀਤਿ ਹੇ ਅਵਧ ਅਕਾਰਥ ਜਾਤ ॥: Maya is the wall of doubt – Maya is the wall of doubt. It is such a powerful and destructive intoxicant; it corrupts and wastes away one’s life (sggs 461).
In addition to Kandh (ਕੰਧ) = a wall, it’s also employed to suggest a stable mind fixed in Gur-Giaan or Wisdom like a wall — mind’s equilibrium or equipoise.
- ਜਿਨੀ ਇਕ ਮਨਿ ਇਕੁ ਅਰਾਧਿਆ ਤਿਨ ਕਾ ਕੰਧੁ ਨ ਕਬਹੂ ਛਿਜੈ ॥: Those who adore the One (Truth) with Ikk Mann Ikk Chitt (joining their mind and Chitt together – complete Jot…), their Wisdom or equilibrium never breaks down (they ever remain stable or fixed like a wall, their life is never diminished or wasted by Bikaar, Maya, etc…). (sggs 312).
- ਚੰਦ ਸੂਰਜ ਕੀ ਪਾਏ ਗੰਢਿ ॥ ਤਿਸੁ ਉਦਾਸੀ ਕਾ ਪੜੈ ਨ ਕੰਧੁ ॥: (Who) ties (his) moon and sun (mind and Chitt…), the Wisdom or equilibrium of such an Udasi (one detached from Maya…) never breaks down (ਉਹਨਾ ਦੀ ਅਡੋਲਤਾ/ਗਿਆਨ ਕਦੇ ਭੰਗ ਨਹੀ ਹੁੰਦੇ…). (sggs 952).
- ਮੀਨ ਕੀ ਚਪਲ ਸਿਉ ਜੁਗਤਿ ਮਨੁ ਰਾਖੀਐ ਉਡੈ ਨਹ ਹੰਸੁ ਨਹ ਕੰਧੁ ਛੀਜੈ ॥੧॥: Keep (the fickle) fish-like mind (in check; in this way) the swan (of the mind, soul…) does not fly away, and the Wisdom or equilibrium does not break down (ਅਡੋਲਤਾ/ਗਿਆਨ ਕਦੇ ਭੰਗ ਨਹੀ ਹੁੰਦੇ…). ||1|| (sggs 991).
In addition to ‘Kandh’ (‘ਕੰਧ’) or wall, it’s also called by some other terms in the Gurbani. For example ‘Bheet’ (ਭੀਤਿ’), ‘Paal’ (‘ਪਾਲਿ’), etc.
- ਕੂੜੈ ਕੀ ਪਾਲਿ ਵਿਚਹੁ ਨਿਕਲੈ ਸਚੁ ਵਸੈ ਮਨਿ ਆਇ ॥: (When) the wall of falsehood is torn down from within, Truth comes to dwell in the mind. (sggs 591).
- ਖੋਲ੍ਹ੍ਹਿ ਭੀਤਿ ਮਿਲੇ ਪਰਮਾਨੰਦਾ ॥੪॥੧੪॥: Tearing down the wall, I have obtained the Supreme Bliss. ||4||14|| (sggs 1206).
Furthermore, in addition to ‘Kandh’ (‘ਕੰਧ’) or ‘Bheet’ (ਭੀਤਿ’) etc., this separation between the deluded mind and its Mool or Pure Nature as Jot Saroop is also called curtain or veil of false ego-sense (Haumai) and Maya in the Gurbani — ‘Pardo’, ‘Pardaa’, ‘Patal’-‘ਪਰਦੋ’, ‘ਪੜਦਾ’, ‘ਪਟਲ’, and so on.
- ਅੰਤਰਿ ਅਲਖੁ ਨ ਜਾਈ ਲਖਿਆ ਵਿਚਿ ਪੜਦਾ ਹਉਮੈ ਪਾਈ ॥ ਮਾਇਆ ਮੋਹਿ ਸਭੋ ਜਗੁ ਸੋਇਆ ਇਹੁ ਭਰਮੁ ਕਹਹੁ ਕਿਉ ਜਾਈ ॥੧॥: Within (the Jeeva – an individual being) dwells the Invisible Rabb, but (the Jeeva) cannot comprehend this because (within the Jeeva) lies the veil of false ego-sense (Haumai). In attachment to Maya, all the world is asleep. Tell me, how can this doubt (of the Jeeva) be dispelled? ||1|| (sggs 205).
- ਮਾਇਆ ਪਟਲ ਪਟਲ ਹੈ ਭਾਰੀ ਘਰੁ ਘੂਮਨਿ ਘੇਰਿ ਘੁਲਾਵੈਗੋ ॥: The veil of Maya is thick and heavy, a whirlpool which destroys one’s Home (mind, Heart…). (sggs 1308).
All we need to do is tear down the wall, veil or curtain of the false ego-sense (Haumai), doubt, Bikaar (lust, anger, greed…), etc. that separates us from our Mool, and this inhibits us from experiencing ‘Anand’!
- ਭ੍ਰਮ ਭੀਤਿ ਜੀਤਿ ਮਿਟਾਵਉ ॥: By conquering the wall of doubt, I demolish the wall (of separation from from Prabh or Mool). (sggs 408).
This wall, veil or curtain is that mountain of smoke which stands between an individual being and his Essential Nature. The Gurbani’s ‘Sooraa‘ (Hero, Braveheart) brings this mighty wall of the duality-ridden mind down.
- ਜੋ ਇਸੁ ਮਾਰੇ ਸੋਈ ਸੂਰਾ ॥: One who kills this (i.e., duality) is a Sooraa — Spiritual Hero (sggs 238).
- ਊਚਨ ਊਚਾ ਬੀਚੁ ਨ ਖੀਚਾ ਹਉ ਤੇਰਾ ਤੂੰ ਮੋਰਾ ॥੨॥: (When there is the Gur-Giaan or Wisdom in the mind) then only that highest of the high Rabb appears to dwell, no curtain remains (i.e., no separation between me and Rabb; at that time it’s thus said, O Rabb!) I am Yours and You are mine. (sggs 821).
Babba Nanak tells us in the outset of the SGGS how to destroy this wall, veil or curtain of illusion:
- ਕਿਵ ਸਚਿਆਰਾ ਹੋਈਐ ਕਿਵ ਕੂੜੈ ਤੁਟੈ ਪਾਲਿ ॥ ਹੁਕਮਿ ਰਜਾਈ ਚਲਣਾ ਨਾਨਕ ਲਿਖਿਆ ਨਾਲਿ ॥੧॥: How then can you become God-Realized being within (‘Sachiaaraa‘)? How can I remove the obstacle of my non-realized state within? O Nanak! (The way to realize Creator within is to) remain within the confines of His Hukam (the System or Law of Nature…) and abide in Sahaj, as (Creator and His Hukam) is contained with us. ||1|| (sggs 1).
Literally ‘Kandh’ means separation, which is reflection of partition of Chetna from God’s WILL. Memory of an incident only remains for certain time, but it eludes eventually when physical detachment persists. Life and death are two such entities, the span in between is a mode of existence related to Maya and Spirituality, it is subjective to changes, for some people progression is easier and for others it is difficult, which are dependent on our past and present deeds. Those who remain attached and indulged deeply into KAM, KRODH, LOBH, MOH and HANKAR, Gurbani often call them worse than animals in behaviour. Kuttey di puch is only symbolic indication to those who listen to Guru Shabad, but still never change mentally, but remain as incarnated.
Please ref kabhu sadh sangat eh pawe us asthan te bahar na awe!
antar hoi gyan parkash us asthan ka naahi vinash man tan nam rahe ek rang !
sada base par brahm ke sang jion jal mahi jal aye khatna teon jyoti sang jyot samana
MIT GAYE GAVAN PAYE VISHRAM NANAK PRABH KE SADA KURBAN
Another good message, ‘Kandh’ reflects a binary conjunctive between mind and chitt, both entities are inter-related, but remain in isolation until a permanent bond is formed when self-realisation of one’s existence as part of God is admitted. Such conformity of ‘Kandh’ a typical bond, resultantly relieves human mind from worldly attachment. It reminds us to submit ourselves to God’s WILL that is the only purpose of life in order to surpass this journey for emancipation. Gurbani repeatedly awakens our mind to realise our motive, those who make an effort would probably succeed.
There is very interesting observation that the application of the word ਕੰਧੁ is always
as SINGULAR NOUN and therefore for each context its meaning is also single as per
content of the mesaage.
Very wonderful assimilation of messages for the appropriate word ਕੰਧੁ
The Guru Granth hymns frequently employ metaphors, apostrophe, personification, idioms, similes, euphemism, hyperboles, litotes, metonymy, and symbolic expressions to deliver its universally relevant message. You have done us a favor by illustrating examples of idioms. Please illustrate other expressions with examples to complete the subject. We will be obliged. This will be a service.
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