When the Truth that has not been personally experienced, one can not grasp it directly. However, with the help of examples, analogies, similes, allegories, metaphors, figurative or mystic representations and illustrations, idioms (ਮੁਹਾਵਰੇ), etc., the Truth becomes relatively easier to grasp. Such methods have extensively been used in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS).
The Gurbani is the mirror for the mind – it shows the human mind its true face, and Awakens it from perpetual slumber. This shows that the Gurbani only concerns itself with the mind (Aatmaa) and not the body, external artifacts or religions paraphernalia and symbols.
Thus, as medicine is for the alive people not for dead, similarly the Wisdom of the Gurbani is for the minds of the living people, not for birds, animals, stones, or dead people.
In the Light or Wisdom of the SGGS, this post will reflect on the human mind that behaves like dog.
- ਸੁਣਿ ਮਨ ਅੰਧੇ ਕੁਤੇ ਕੂੜਿਆਰ ॥ ਬਿਨੁ ਬੋਲੇ ਬੂਝੀਐ ਸਚਿਆਰ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Listen, O mind, you blind (i.e., ignorant…), false (i.e., ਝੂਠਾ…) dog (i.e., greedy…)! (A truthful person-ਸੱਚਾ ਮਨੁੱਖ) is known or recognized without him (even) speaking. ||1||Pause|| (sggs 662).
It is said that one can keep a dog’s tail in a straight tube and hold it there for as long as the dog lives. But it will curl as soon as you take it out of the tube!
At one or other time in our lives, many of us probably heard this expression either from our parents, school teachers, or others. This phenomenal world of names and forms is also liken to a dog’s tail: its nature is to curl!
Mind emotionally attached to this world (Maya) also behaves crooked like the tail of a dog. Due to ignorance, doubts, body-consciousness, false ego-sense or Haumai, Bikaar (lust, anger, greed…), etc., it has become stubborn and fanatic.
- ਸਭ ਬਿਧਿ ਖੋਈ ਲੋਭਿ ਸੁਆਨ ॥੨॥: (O mind, due to Ahankaar – false ego-sense, self-conceit…) the dog of greed has ruined you in every way. ||2|| (sggs 374).
First thing in the morning, this dog of greed wakes up with the mind and starts barking — engages itself practicing falsehood and deception in transacting with the outside world.
Thus, like a dog’s tail, the conditioned consciousness of our Mayaic mind keeps us crooked and does not let us change or mend our thinking (Soch), and engage in Shabad-Vichaar, or churning the Gurbani.
- ਸੁਆਨ ਪੂਛ ਜਿਉ ਭਇਓ ਨ ਸੂਧਉ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਜਤਨੁ ਮੈ ਕੀਨਉ ॥: Like the dog’s tail, which does not straighten out, (Similarly) dispite many efforts on my part (this mind will not straighten out, change, mend itself, and engage in Naam, Shabad…). (sggs 633).
Among all species of living beings, human beings are most fit to be instructed about the nature of the Truth. However, even among the human beings, those whose minds behave crooked like a dog’s tail are uncondusive to the instructions about the Truth. As the Gurbani says, no matter how many things are tried, they will behave like a dog’s tail, without mending or changing their ways or thinking (Soch).
- ਸੁਆਨ ਪੂਛ ਜਿਉ ਹੋਇ ਨ ਸੂਧੋ ਕਹਿਓ ਨ ਕਾਨ ਧਰੈ ॥ ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਭਜੁ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮ ਨਿਤ ਜਾ ਤੇ ਕਾਜੁ ਸਰੈ ॥੨॥੧॥: Like a dog’s tail, this (mind) does not become straight; it does not attend to (any Advice, Teaching, ਸਿੱਖਿਆ…). Says Nanak, forever meditate on the Naam and your affairs (the ultimate purpose of life, etc.) will get resolved (i.e., ਨਾਮ ਦੀ ਬਰਕਤਿ ਨਾਲ ਤੇਰਾ ਜਨਮ-ਮਨੋਰਥ ਹੱਲ ਹੋ ਜਾਏ) ||2||1|| (sggs 536).
The mind that behaves like a dog’s tail remains immersed in Bikaars (Haume or ego’s faults: lust, anger, greed, attachment, and pride; and their countless variations like slander, enviousness, stubborn mindedness, etc.), empty rituals, unmeaning rites, slander, outwardly superficial show of religion and Spirituality, and so on. Why? Because his wandering mind is preoccupied with body-consciousness…
- ਸਾਕਤ ਸੁਆਨ ਕਹੀਅਹਿ ਬਹੁ ਲੋਭੀ ਬਹੁ ਦੁਰਮਤਿ ਮੈਲੁ ਭਰੀਜੈ ॥ ਆਪਨ ਸੁਆਇ ਕਰਹਿ ਬਹੁ ਬਾਤਾ ਤਿਨਾ ਕਾ ਵਿਸਾਹੁ ਕਿਆ ਕੀਜੈ ॥੬॥: The Saakat (Manmukh, one separated from his Mool…) is said to be very greedy – he is like a dog. He overflows with the wicked intellect. He talks excessively about his own interests; but he cannot be trusted. ||6|| (sggs 1326).
- ਮਨਮੁਖੁ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਕਰਿ ਕਰਿ ਵਿਗੁਤਾ ॥ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਲੋਭੁ ਭਉਕੈ ਜਿਸੁ ਕੁਤਾ ॥: The self-willed Manmukh indulges in slander, and is ruined. The dog of greed barks within him. (sggs 1046).
To the unwise, the Knowledge (Aatam-Giaan) is a burden.
For that the Gurbani asks us to engage in Shabad-Vichaar or churning the Gurbani with keen earnestness, faith, sincerity, and willingness. If a mind lacks the Wisdom or Virtues, then, deepening on the given situation, it exhibits behavior of animals:
- ਗੁਰ ਮੰਤ੍ਰ ਹੀਣਸ੍ਯ੍ਯ ਜੋ ਪ੍ਰਾਣੀ ਧ੍ਰਿਗੰਤ ਜਨਮ ਭ੍ਰਸਟਣਹ ॥ ਕੂਕਰਹ ਸੂਕਰਹ ਗਰਧਭਹ ਕਾਕਹ ਸਰਪਨਹ ਤੁਲਿ ਖਲਹ ॥੩੩॥: That mortal who lacks the Gur-mantra (Guru’s counsel, advice, Wisdom, Upadesh, ਸਲਾਹ), cursed and fallen (depraved, polluted…) is his life. That wicked person is a dog, a pig, a jackass, a crow, a snake (in this very life, here and now, not after death). ||33|| (1356).
In turn, the Knowledge attained through Shabad-Vichaar or churning the Gurbani will strike the mind’s crookedness (dog’s tail) and drive it out. When the mind is so mended, Maya’s wheel ceases: the dog’s tail becomes straight, never to curl again!
- ਕਾਮਿ ਕਰੋਧਿ ਨ ਮੋਹੀਐ ਬਿਨਸੈ ਲੋਭੁ ਸੁਆਨੁ ॥: (Remembering Naam – Wisdom…) lust and anger (i.e., all Bikaar) cannot seduce you, and the dog of greed also gets destroyed. (sggs 136).
- ਬਿਨੁ ਸਿਮਰਨ ਭਏ ਕੂਕਰ ਕਾਮ ॥: Without (Naam-) Simran, one becomes like a dog (sggs 239).
- ਏਕ ਭਗਤਿ ਭਗਵਾਨ ਜਿਹ ਪ੍ਰਾਨੀ ਕੈ ਨਾਹਿ ਮਨਿ ॥ ਜੈਸੇ ਸੂਕਰ ਸੁਆਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਮਾਨੋ ਤਾਹਿ ਤਨੁ ॥੪੪॥: That person, who does not feel the Bhagti of the Rabb in his mind — O Nanak, know that his body is like that of a pig and a dog (i.e., his mind acts like animals). ||4||4|| (sggs 1428).
Besides the undesirable quality of greed, the SGGS also highlights a good quality (ਗੁਣ) of dog — sticking to its master or owner. The SGGS encourages our mind to learn and adopt this good quality of dog — sticking to the the Gur-Wisdom, Bibek, or Shabad. Such persistent Bhagti will keep the mind wavering from the Way of the Truth, Virtues, Wisdom, and Hukam.
- ਸੁਆਮੀ ਕੋ ਗ੍ਰਿਹੁ ਜਿਉ ਸਦਾ ਸੁਆਨ ਤਜਤ ਨਹੀ ਨਿਤ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਇਹ ਬਿਧਿ ਹਰਿ ਭਜਉ ਇਕ ਮਨਿ ਹੁਇ ਇਕ ਚਿਤਿ ॥੪੫॥: A dog never abandons the home of his master. O Nanak! In this way, stay united with “Hari” (Mool, Jot Saroop, True Nature…) with single-mindedly — “Ik Mann Ik Chitt” (one-pointed consciousness). ||45|| (sggs 1428).
- ਅਜੁ ਨ ਸੁਤੀ ਕੰਤ ਸਿਉ ਅੰਗੁ ਮੁੜੇ ਮੁੜਿ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਜਾਇ ਪੁਛਹੁ ਡੋਹਾਗਣੀ ਤੁਮ ਕਿਉ ਰੈਣਿ ਵਿਹਾਇ ॥੩੦॥: (I: the Soul-bride, ਜੀਵ-ਇਸਤਰੀ) did not sleep with my Husband (True Wisdom, Virtues, Hukam or System-Rule-Law of Nature) during the night and every part of my body is pining in pain (i.e., as a result, my brain, eyes, ears, etc., have turned away from True Wisdom, Virtues, etc., and have become defiled). Go and ask the deserted soul-brides, as to how do they pass their life-night (i.e., those who never in their whole life associate with the True Wisdom, Virtues, Hukam)! ||30|| (sggs 1379).