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॥: Moorkhai naal na lujheeai ||19||: Don’t argue with a fool ||19|| (sggs 473). 

Foolishness is contradiction, which is the foundation of expansion of our false ego-sense. 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 (Joti-Svaroopa).

Foolishness indicates false wisdom 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. Due to shallow wisdom, he 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). Along the way, he commits countless foolish actions and sinful mistakes This is a fool’s way of life.

  • ਝੂਠੀ ਮਨ ਕੀ ਮਤਿ ਹੈ ਕਰਣੀ ਬਾਦਿ ਬਿਬਾਦੁ ॥: Jhoothee man kee mati hai karnee baadi bibaadu: False is the wisdom of the mind (of the fool, Manmukh…); its actions give rise to useless strifes (sggs 1343). 

Thus, the 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 conditionings, which grows stronger with time. Therefore, foolishness is the head of all sorrows and suffering. It expands beyond imagination and expectation as one becomes firmly gripped in it.

In nutshell, a fool just does not get it – he does not understand the Essence of Reality. The Gurbani further defines the 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 ॥: Moorakhu hovai so sunai moorakh kaa kahanaa…: 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॥: Moorakhu hoi n aakhee soojhai ..: That person is a fool who does not see (the All-pervading Lord…) 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 ॥: Moorakhu andhaa tatu n pashhaanai: The spiritually blind fool does not recognize the essence of Reality (ਅਸਲੀਅਤ ਨਹੀਂ ਸਮਝ ਸਕਦਾ). (sggs 1061).

3 replies on “Do Not Argue With a Fool”

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

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

ਮਃ ੧ ਸਲੋਕੁ ॥ ਮਛੀ ਤਾਰੂ ਕਿਆ ਕਰੇ ਪੰਖੀ ਕਿਆ ਆਕਾਸੁ ॥ ਪਥਰ ਪਾਲਾ ਕਿਆ ਕਰੇ ਖੁਸਰੇ ਕਿਆ ਘਰ ਵਾਸੁ ॥ 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॥: M:1 Saloku. Machhee taaroo kiaa kare pankhee kiaa aakaasu...: M:1 Saloku. What can deep water do to a fish (i.e., a fish cannot estimate the water’s depth…)? What can the vast sky do to a bird (i.e., a bird cannot estimate limits of the sky…)? What can cold do to a stone (i.e., cold cannot affect a stone…)? What is married life to an eunuch? You may apply sandalwood oil to a dog, but he (i.e., dog’s canine nature…) will still be a dog. You may try to teach a deaf person by reading the Simritees to him (i.e., religious recitations…), but how will he learn (i.e., he cannot hear what you tell him)? You may place a light before a blind man and burn fifty lamps (around him), but how will he see (i.e., he cannot see all that…)? You may place gold before a herd of cattle, but they will pick out the grass to eat (i.e., cattle has no appreciation for gold…). You may add flux to iron, it will melt, but it will not become (soft) like cotton. O Nanak! This is the nature (ਗੁਣ-qualities…) of a fool – everything he speaks causes destruction (ਉਹੀ ਬੋਲਦਾ ਹੈ ਜਿਸ ਨਾਲ ਕਿਸੇ ਦਾ ਨੁਕਸਾਨ ਹੀ ਹੋਵੇ). ||1|| (sggs 143).

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