Foolishness

The Unique spirituality of the the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) is the spirituality of the SELF, for the SELF, by the SELF. Hence the Gurbani Teaches Sikhs to judge ownself — principle of self-accountability and self-responsibility. Because judging others is a madness and goes against the Message and principle of the Gurmat or Sikhi (SGGS).

  • ਨਾਨਕ ਪਰਖੇ ਆਪ ਕਉ ਤਾ ਪਾਰਖੁ ਜਾਣੁ ॥: O Nanak, if someone judges himself, only then is he known as a real judge (sggs 148).

The Gurbani addresses the mind. It is akin to a mirror that shows mind its true face!

  • ਇਸੁ ਮਨ ਕਉ ਕੋਈ ਖੋਜਹੁ ਭਾਈ ॥: O brother! Let someone search this mind (sggs 330).
  • 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).

That being said, it’s the mind that is called fool (Mugadh) or stupid in the SGGS.

  • ਮਨੁ ਜੋਗੀ ਮਨੁ ਭੋਗੀਆ ਮਨੁ ਮੂਰਖੁ ਗਾਵਾਰੁ ॥ : The mind is foolish and ignorant (without Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS); in its foolishness) the mind becomes Yogi (renouncing the family, society, world and sometimes) the mind becomes engrossed in worldly pleasures. (sggs 1330).
  • ਤੁਮ੍ਹ੍ਹ ਸਾਚੁ ਧਿਆਵਹੁ ਮੁਗਧ ਮਨਾ ॥: O (my) foolish mind! Contemplate the eternal God. (sggs 1176).
  • ਅਸੰਖ ਮੂਰਖ ਅੰਧ ਘੋਰ ॥: (In this world) there are countless fools who act in thick ignorance. (sggs 4).

The mind is foolish, even when it has knowledge. Even having the Shabad-Guru’s knowledge, it acts like an ignorant fool due to greed etc.

Hence the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) talks about both minds – ignorant fools as well as learned/educated fools (ਵਿਦਵਾਨ).

  • ਪੜਿਆ ਮੂਰਖੁ ਆਖੀਐ ਜਿਸੁ ਲਬੁ ਲੋਭੁ ਅਹੰਕਾਰਾ ॥: In spite of being learned / educated, one is considered a fool if full of Trishanaa (desires…), greed and pride (i.e. Bikaar) — because he has understood nothing! (sggs 140).

You can’t argue against idiocy or foolishness for you cannot convince an idiot or a foolish mind! By engaging with the fool in his foolish/ ignorant arguments or manipulations, you’ll eventually be drawn into stooping to his level and behaving foolishly yourself.

Therefore, the Advice of the Gurbani is — when it is not possible to live forever in this world then we should not live in pride and we should not interact with the world with foolishness or stupidity.

  • ਕੀਤਾ ਆਪੋ ਆਪਣਾ ਆਪੇ ਹੀ ਲੇਖਾ ਸੰਢੀਐ ॥ ਜਾ ਰਹਣਾ ਨਾਹੀ ਐਤੁ ਜਗਿ ਤਾ ਕਾਇਤੁ ਗਾਰਬਿ ਹੰਢੀਐ ॥ ਮੰਦਾ ਕਿਸੈ ਨ ਆਖੀਐ ਪੜਿ ਅਖਰੁ ਏਹੋ ਬੁਝੀਐ ॥ ਮੂਰਖੈ ਨਾਲਿ ਨ ਲੁਝੀਐ ॥੧੯॥: One should do self-analysis of one’s own deeds. When we are not to remain in this world for ever, then why indulge in pride or ego? None is to be considered worthy of condemnation; Wisdom (Enlightenment) brings such Realization. Do not struggle (or pass life) in foolishness (Un-Enlightened State). ||19|| (sggs 473).

SGGS on Signs (ਲੱਛਣ) of foolishness

A foolishness mind rejects Wisdom, plans evil schemes; repeats own mistakes; also convinces itself to be right and therefore can disregard and even ridicule what other people has to say.

Hence, at the level of the mind, a foolish is more interested in speaking his/her mind than in expanding it!

It is so because a foolish mind takes no joy in understanding, but only in expressing its own opinion.

The Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) gives us a glimpse of a fool’s mind as follows:

  • ਮੂਰਖੁ ਹੋਵੈ ਸੋ ਸੁਣੈ ਮੂਰਖ ਕਾ ਕਹਣਾ ॥ ਮੂਰਖ ਕੇ ਕਿਆ ਲਖਣ ਹੈ ਕਿਆ ਮੂਰਖ ਕਾ ਕਰਣਾ ॥ ਮੂਰਖੁ ਓਹੁ ਜਿ ਮੁਗਧੁ ਹੈ ਅਹੰਕਾਰੇ ਮਰਣਾ ॥ ਏਤੁ ਕਮਾਣੈ ਸਦਾ ਦੁਖੁ ਦੁਖ ਹੀ ਮਹਿ ਰਹਣਾ ॥: Only a fool listens to the words of the fool. What are the signs (ਲੱਛਣ) of the fool? What does the fool do (ਮੂਰਖ ਦੀ ਕਰਤੂਤ)? A fool is stupid (Maya stricken); he dies of false ego-sense (ਆਤਮਕ ਮੌਤੇ ਮਰਿਆ ਹੋਇਆ, his spiritual life is dead). (In intoxication of Maya and egotism, whatever he does) his actions always bring him pain; he lives in pain (sggs 953).
  • ਮੂਰਖੁ ਹੋਇ ਨ ਆਖੀ ਸੂਝੈ ॥ ਜਿਹਵਾ ਰਸੁ ਨਹੀ ਕਹਿਆ ਬੂਝੈ ॥ ਬਿਖੁ ਕਾ ਮਾਤਾ ਜਗ ਸਿਉ ਲੂਝੈ ॥੬॥: That person is a fool who does not see (the All-pervading…) with his eyes; whose tongue is devoid of the (Naam-) Ras (ਨਾਮ-ਰਸ, Taste of Naam…), and who does not understand. Intoxicated with the poison (of Maya), he querrels with the world ||6|| (sggs 414).
  • ਮੂਰਖੁ ਅੰਧਾ ਤਤੁ ਨ ਪਛਾਣੈ ॥: The spiritually blind fool does not recognize the Essence (ਅਸਲੀਅਤ ਨਹੀਂ ਸਮਝ ਸਕਦਾ). (sggs 1061).
  • ਮੂਰਖ ਪੜਹਿ ਸਬਦੁ ਨ ਬੂਝਹਿ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਵਿਰਲੈ ਜਾਤਾ ਹੇ ॥੧੫॥: Fools read (religious texts), but do not understand the Shabad (i.e. Message, Upadesh, Naam, Wisdom or Giaan, Hukam etc.). A rare person who becomes the Gurmukh understands (them). ||15|| (sggs 1053).
  • ਪੂਰੇ ਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਨ ਮੰਨੈ ਓਹੁ ਮਨਮੁਖੁ ਅਗਿਆਨੁ ਮੁਠਾ ਬਿਖੁ ਮਾਇਆ ॥ ਓਸੁ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਕੂੜੁ ਕੂੜੋ ਕਰਿ ਬੁਝੈ ਅਣਹੋਦੇ ਝਗੜੇ ਦਯਿ ਓਸ ਦੈ ਗਲਿ ਪਾਇਆ ॥ ਓਹੁ ਗਲ ਫਰੋਸੀ ਕਰੇ ਬਹੁਤੇਰੀ ਓਸ ਦਾ ਬੋਲਿਆ ਕਿਸੈ ਨ ਭਾਇਆ ॥ ਓਹੁ ਘਰਿ ਘਰਿ ਹੰਢੈ ਜਿਉ ਰੰਨ ਦੋੁਹਾਗਣਿ ਓਸੁ ਨਾਲਿ ਮੁਹੁ ਜੋੜੇ ਓਸੁ ਭੀ ਲਛਣੁ ਲਾਇਆ ॥: The human being who does not obey the Upadesh (Gur-Giaan, Wisdom etc.) of the perfect Satguru, that ignorant Manmukh is deceived by the Maya-poison. Within him is falsehood, and he sees everyone else as false; according to Hukam (System-Rule-Law of Nature…), useless conflicts around his neck get tied. He makes many efforts to earn a living by selling frivolous talks (ਗੱਲਾਂ ਦੀ ਖੱਟੀ ਖਾਣੀ), but no one likes his words. He wanders from house to house like an abandoned woman, whoever keeps in touch with him is also stigmatized. (sggs 303).
  • ਮੂਰਖਾ ਸਿਰਿ ਮੂਰਖੁ ਹੈ ਜਿ ਮੰਨੇ ਨਾਹੀ ਨਾਉ ॥੨॥: Who does not accept or live by the Naam (Wisdom) is a great fool. ||2|| (sggs 1015).
  • ਸੋ ਮੂਰਖੁ ਜੋ ਆਪੁ ਨ ਪਛਾਣਈ ਸਚਿ ਨ ਧਰੇ ਪਿਆਰੁ ॥੪॥: A fool is the one, who does not understand ownself. (Such fool) cannot hold on the Truth. ||4|| (sggs 492).

Bhagat Kabeer Jee says conversing with foolishness is as blowing into bamboo – if one is to hear from one ear and let it out from the other!

  • ਅੰਧੇ ਏਕ ਨ ਲਾਗਈ ਜਿਉ ਬਾਂਸੁ ਬਜਾਈਐ ਫੂਕ ॥੧੫੮॥: (The Satguru’s Knowledge or Giaan…) can’t affect the blind (i.e., mentally blind – ignorant); it is as useless as blowing into bamboo. ||158|| (sggs 1372).
  • ਮੂਰਖ ਸਿਉ ਬੋਲੇ ਝਖ ਮਾਰੀ ॥੨॥: To speak with a fool is to waste time for nothing (i.e. fruitless: ਵਿਅਰਥ ਖਪ-ਖਪਾ). ||2|| (sggs 870).

Foolishness is contradiction

Foolishness is contradiction, which is the foundation of expansion of false ego-sense (negative impact of Haumai) and Bikaar.

Aptly, the edict (ਫੈਸਲਾ) of the Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS is that Truth and falsehood can NOT coexist.

  • ਹਉਮੈ ਨਾਵੈ ਨਾਲਿ ਵਿਰੋਧੁ ਹੈ ਦੁਇ ਨ ਵਸਹਿ ਇਕ ਠਾਇ ॥: False-ego-sense (Haumai) is opposed to the Naam (Giaan or Wisdom); the two cannot coexist. (sggs 560).
  • ਵਿਚਿ ਸਚੇ ਕੂੜੁ ਨ ਗਡਈ ਮਨਿ ਵੇਖਹੁ ਕੋ ਨਿਰਜਾਸਿ ॥: Check it out and see in your mind — falsehood does not mix in Truth. (sggs 313).

Contradiction is bondage, and the absence of contradiction is liberation. As long as we take refuse in contradictions, our mind remain separated from the Truth and live as Manmukh-Saakat-Mayadhaaree.

By contradicting the world around, a fool’s mind contradicts its very essence namely the Blissful Existence (i.e. Jot Saroop or Original Nature…).

An ignorant person, instead of acquiring Wisdom (Giaan) or being Aware and Awake, fights over stuff like whether to eat meat or not etc.

  • ਮਾਸੁ ਮਾਸੁ ਕਰਿ ਮੂਰਖੁ ਝਗੜੇ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਧਿਆਨੁ ਨਹੀ ਜਾਣੈ ॥: (A person or Pujaaree who claims to be the renunciant of meat or flesh) the fool querrel about meat or flesh, but neither he has Wisdom or understanding nor Awareness (of spiritual life). (sggs 1289).

Nature of foolishness is to destroy (ਨੁਕਸਾਨ)

  • 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॥: (You) may apply sandalwood to a dog, but its real nature will still be of a dog! You may try to teach a deaf person by reading the Simritees (i.e. religious books) to him (but he cannot not hear)! You may place a blind man in light and burn fifty lamps around him (i.e. no matter how much light is put around him, he will not see anything)! Though gold may be placed before a herd of cattle, but they will pick out the grass to eat (i.e. cattle have no appreciation for gold)! If flux is added to iron, it cannot be softened like cotton! O Nanak! This is the nature of a fool (i.e. doesn’t matter how much you teach him, it has no effect on him but has the opposite effect) – whenever a fool speaks, he always does things that causes destruction (i.e. hurts others and ends up ruining the lives of others – ਨੁਕਸਾਨ)! ||1|| (sggs 143).

Foolishness indicates a mind stuffed with falsehood. Incited by ignorance, thus a fool’s actions inspire useless disputes, destruction and suffering. He annoys others with his words, thoughts, actions and feelings.

  • ਝੂਠੀ ਮਨ ਕੀ ਮਤਿ ਹੈ ਕਰਣੀ ਬਾਦਿ ਬਿਬਾਦੁ ॥: False is the wisdom of the mind (of the fool, Manmukh…); its actions give rise to useless strife (sggs 1343).

Due to shallow wisdom, a foolish mind believes a false thing to be true; that which is for his own good he thinks is evil; and if someone tells him the truth, he looks upon that as poison.

  • ਪੰਡਿਤ ਸੰਗਿ ਵਸਹਿ ਜਨ ਮੂਰਖ ਆਗਮ ਸਾਸ ਸੁਨੇ ॥ : Foolish people live in the company of Pandit (religious scholars), they also hear scriptures (Shaastra) from them (but they remain fools, they do not give up their foolish nature). (sggs 990).

In such mental-blindness, one falls in love with that which wears out, breaks down, and dissolves (i.e. affinity for Kusang).

  • ਮੂਰਖੁ ਸਬਦੁ ਨ ਚੀਨਈ ਸੂਝ ਬੂਝ ਨਹ ਕਾਇ ॥੫੩॥: The fool does not think of the Shabad. He has no understanding, no comprehension ||53|| (sggs 938).
  • ਭਗਤਿ ਕਰਹਿ ਮੂਰਖ ਆਪੁ ਜਣਾਵਹਿ ॥: The fools perform Bhagti by showing off (sggs 159).
  • ਮਾਇਆ ਕਾਰਨਿ ਧਾਵਹੀ ਮੂਰਖ ਲੋਗ ਅਜਾਨ ॥: For the sake of Maya, the fools and ignorant people wander around. (sggs 1427).

Thus, a fool is a person whose mind is bound or trapped. Bondages of foolishness only invite misery. He imprisons himself in the cage of self-limitation or conditioning, which is likely to grow stronger with time if not mended.

  • ਅੰਤਰਿ ਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਨ ਚੀਨਈ ਮਨਿ ਮੂਰਖੁ ਗਾਵਾਰੁ ॥: The foolish and ignorant man does not recognize Brahm within. (sggs 86).

Ridden with Maya or duality, Haumai, Bikaar (lust, anger, greed, attachment, pride etc.), etc., a foolish mind misappropriate everything. Along the way, he commits countless foolish actions and mistakes and suffers. This is the way of life of a foolish mind.

  • ਏਹੁ ਮਨੋ ਮੂਰਖੁ ਲੋਭੀਆ ਲੋਭੇ ਲਗਾ ਲੋੁਭਾਨੁ ॥: This foolish mind is greedy; it’s always attached to and lured by greed. (sggs 7).
  • ਵਸਤੁ ਪਰਾਈ ਆਪਿ ਗਰਬੁ ਕਰੇ ਮੂਰਖੁ ਆਪੁ ਗਣਾਏ ॥: The object belongs to someone else, but himself priding on it, shows himself great grand, noble, etc.). (sggs 1249).

Thus, foolishness is the head of all sorrows and suffering. It expands beyond imagination as one becomes firmly gripped in it.

  • ਦੂਜੈ ਲਗੇ ਪਚਿ ਮੁਏ ਮੂਰਖ ਅੰਧ ਗਵਾਰ ॥ ਬਿਸਟਾ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਕੀਟ ਸੇ ਪਇ ਪਚਹਿ ਵਾਰੋ ਵਾਰ ॥: Like worms living in manure, and in it, they die over and over again, similarly, attached to duality, the foolish, (spiritually). blind and stupid people (ਮਤਿ-ਹੀਣ ਜੀਵ) waste away and suffer, repeatedly. (sggs 85).

Babaa Nanak Instructs (explains, persuades, advises) a fool with the help of many practical examples as follows:

  • ਕੈਹਾ ਕੰਚਨੁ ਤੁਟੈ ਸਾਰੁ ॥ ਅਗਨੀ ਗੰਢੁ ਪਾਏ ਲੋਹਾਰੁ ॥ ਗੋਰੀ ਸੇਤੀ ਤੁਟੈ ਭਤਾਰੁ ॥ ਪੁਤੀ ਗੰਢੁ ਪਵੈ ਸੰਸਾਰਿ ॥ ਰਾਜਾ ਮੰਗੈ ਦਿਤੈ ਗੰਢੁ ਪਾਇ ॥ ਭੁਖਿਆ ਗੰਢੁ ਪਵੈ ਜਾ ਖਾਇ ॥ ਕਾਲਾ ਗੰਢੁ ਨਦੀਆ ਮੀਹ ਝੋਲ ॥ ਗੰਢੁ ਪਰੀਤੀ ਮਿਠੇ ਬੋਲ ॥ ਬੇਦਾ ਗੰਢੁ ਬੋਲੇ ਸਚੁ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਮੁਇਆ ਗੰਢੁ ਨੇਕੀ ਸਤੁ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਏਤੁ ਗੰਢਿ ਵਰਤੈ ਸੰਸਾਰੁ ॥ ਮੂਰਖ ਗੰਢੁ ਪਵੈ ਮੁਹਿ ਮਾਰ ॥ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਆਖੈ ਏਹੁ ਬੀਚਾਰੁ ॥ ਸਿਫਤੀ ਗੰਢੁ ਪਵੈ ਦਰਬਾਰਿ ॥੨॥: When pieces of bronze or gold or iron break, the metal-smith join them together (i.e. welds them) with the help of fire. If the husband and wife separate from each other, their children unite them back together in the world. The king collects tax from people (to run his administration), if people pay the due taxes, the bond (between king and subjects) is established. A person who is hungry establishes a connection with his body only if he eats food (otherwise death may follow). The famine will end only if it rains a lot and the rivers overflow. There is a bond between love and words of sweetness (i.e. mutual love becomes firm with sweet words). The benefit of reading Veda (i.e. religious books) is only if the Truth and high morals revealed from them are also revealed in one’s life. A person’s association with society after death is maintained only if he has done good and benevolent deeds for others during his lifetime (otherwise humanity forgets his existence). Foolishness of a fool stops when he suffers in life (then he learns his lesson and mends; ‘Muhi Maar-ਮੁਹਿ ਮਾਰ’ is used as idiom). (On this Baabaa Nanak says that) such are the bonds which prevail in the world (from which the affairs of the world are run. Nanak says this after deep reflection: through the Praise (i.e. living daily life by the divine Virtues, Wisdom…), we establish a bond with Hukam (System-Rule-Law of Nature, Universal Energy, Rabb…). ||2|| (sggs 143).

2 comments

  1. Gur fateh!
    Respected veer jeo, please be kind enough to write an article on the issue of gurdwara management.We have got thousands of gurdwaras world over managed by committees, duly elected/selected by sadh sangat or by any approved manner. The post of president and his teammates have gained a certain prestigious identity.If some one suggests, as a meausre to overcome this anamoly, to vest all the powers of gurdwara management in the hands of Sri Guru Granth Sahibji and all the members be sevadars only. Will such a thing solve our all the problems.Are we not running away from our responsibilities by taking refuse under the authority of Guru Granth Sahibji.As such Guru granth sahibji is all powerful and who are we to vest him with powers,-fm Balwant Singh Seera
    i will be pleased if you cud please give a brief opinion on my mail address

  2. Sorry the interpetetion of Moorkhai naal na lujheeai is all wrong here.
    All the indications of Moorkhani in gurbani is towards your heart (Mann)
    Gurbani says that you should not listen to your moorkhani mann and lesten to the guru. Nam maat tyag and gumat appanaa

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