Do Not Argue With a Fool

The Gurbani teaches us not to argue with a fool (ਮੂਰਖ, ਬੇ-ਅਕਲ…). In the 19th Paurree of the Bani popularly know as Asa Di Var (pronounced Aasaa Dee Vaar ), Baabaa Nanak says:

  • ਮੂਰਖੈ ਨਾਲਿ ਨ ਲੁਝੀਐ ॥੧੯॥: Don’t argue with a fool ||19|| (sggs 473).

Furthermore, Baabaa Kabeer says:

  • ਮੂਰਖ ਸਿਉ ਬੋਲੇ ਝਖ ਮਾਰੀ ॥੨॥: To speak with a fool is to babble uselessly (ਵਿਅਰਥ ਖਪ-ਖਪਾ). ||2|| (sggs 870).

The Gurbani defines a fool 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 (the Gurmat, Gurbani’s Teaching…). Intoxicated with the poison (of Maya), he argues 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).

The Gurbani also talks about the learned fool (“ਪੜਿਆ ਮੂਰਖੁ”)! A person full of Bikaar (lust, anger, greed, etc.) is a fool even if he is educated!

  • ਪੜਿਆ ਮੂਰਖੁ ਆਖੀਐ ਜਿਸੁ ਲਬੁ ਲੋਭੁ ਅਹੰਕਾਰਾ ॥: That educated person who is full of greed, avarice and pride, is said to be a fool (sggs 140).

Foolishness is contradiction, which is the foundation of expansion of our false ego-sense (bad impact of Haumai).

As long as we take refuse in contradictions, we remain separated from the Truth. Therefore, contradiction is bondage, and the absence of contradiction is liberation.

By contradicting the world around, a fool contradicts his very essence namely the Blissful Consciousness Existence (Jot Saroop, True Nature…).

  • 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 to him (but he cannot not hear)! You may place a light before a blind man and burn fifty lamps (but he would not see)! 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 will melt but will not become soft like cotton! O Nanak! This is the nature of a fool (doesn’t matter how much you teach him) – everything he speaks causes destruction (ਨੁਕਸਾਨ…)! ||1|| (sggs 143).

Foolishness indicates falsehood in the mind. Incited by such empty wisdom, a fool’s actions inspire useless disputes. 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 fool 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. In this ignorance, he falls in love with that which wears out, breaks down, and dissolves. He has affinity for Kusang (bad association).

  • 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 Moorakh is one who is bound, and his Moorakhtaa (foolishness) is bondage, which invites misery. He imprisons himself in the cage of self-limitation or conditioning, which grows stronger with time.

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

Ridden with Maya, duality, greed, Haumai, Bikaar, 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 fool 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 and expectation 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) again in the fire. If the husband separates away from wife, their children may unite them back together in the world. When the king makes a demand (i.e., tax, etc.), and it is met, the bond (between king and subjects) is established. When the hungry man eats, he is satisfied, and the bond (between him and his body) is established. In the famine, the rain fills the streams to overflowing, and the bond is established (i.e., the famine ends). There is a bond between love and words of sweetness. When one speaks the Truth, a bond is established with the Veda (i.e., scriptures). Through goodness (Virtues) and truth, the dead establish a bond with the living (in the world). Such are the bonds which prevail in the world. The fool is mended only on being struck in the face (i.e., get beating in life). Nanak says this after deep reflection: through the Praise (living daily life by the Divine Virtues…), we establish a bond with the Divine (the Universal Energy, Rabb, Hukam-Law or System of Nature…). ||2|| (sggs 143).


  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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