The Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) shows a profound understanding of the human life and its myriad dimensions.
As taught by the SGGS, there are ‘five lions’ (i.e. Bikaar) and ‘ten wolves’ (i.e. senses or Indriyas-ਇੰਦ੍ਰੀਆਂ) reside within each person.
- ਪੰਚ ਸਿੰਘ ਰਾਖੇ ਪ੍ਰਭਿ ਮਾਰਿ ॥ ਦਸ ਬਿਘਿਆੜੀ ਲਈ ਨਿਵਾਰਿ ॥ ਤੀਨਿ ਆਵਰਤ ਕੀ ਚੂਕੀ ਘੇਰ ॥ ਸਾਧਸੰਗਿ ਚੂਕੇ ਭੈ ਫੇਰ ॥੧॥: (As I abide in ‘Prabh’: Mool or Jot Saroop or Original Nature…) ‘Prabh’ killed the five tigers (from within me: lust, anger, greed, attachment, pride). The pressure of the ten wolves (i.e. the 5 senses of acquiring knowledge + 5 senses of action) has also been removed from within me. The three whirl-pools (i.e. three qualities of Maya) have stopped spinning (within me). In the Association of the Guru (Giaan or Wisdom), the fear of the transmigration is also gone. ||1|| (sggs 898).
- ਦਸ ਪਾਤਉ ਪੰਚ ਸੰਗੀਤਾ ਏਕੈ ਭੀਤਰਿ ਸਾਥੇ ॥ ਭਿੰਨ ਭਿੰਨ ਹੋਇ ਭਾਵ ਦਿਖਾਵਹਿ ਸਭਹੁ ਨਿਰਾਰੀ ਭਾਖੇ ॥੩॥: (Within each individual – Jeeva – are) the ten actors (i.e. ten senses) – the five sensory organs and the five action organs – dance to the five types of music playing together within as perceived by the five sensory organs. They all put on their own shows (ਕਲੋਲ), and speak in different languages (rouse different desires, ਕਾਮਨਾ, reactions in the body/mind). ||3|| (sggs 884).
These ‘five lions’ (‘Panch Singh-five lions’) are the lust, anger, greed, attachment, pride, and their numerous variations. They become powerful evils when their negative impact dominates a person’s mind.
These ‘five’ are called by various names in the SGGS including ‘Panch Singh’ (five lions), ‘Panch Chor’ (five thieves), ‘Panch Janaa’, ‘Panj Doot’, ‘Panj Mahaabalee’, ‘Panch Sikadaar’, ‘Panj Dusat’, ‘Panch Sakhee’, ‘Panch panihaaree‘ etc.
Like a lion, they torture their pray! These are man’s inner garbage (i.e. Bhangaar).
Since these are the negative pulls of human nature and very powerful and destructive, the Gurbani also calls them ‘Sikadaar’, ‘Mahaabalee’ and so on. Hence not easy at all to control the apatite these ‘five’!
These ‘five’ also have their numerous variations such as enviousness, stubborn mindedness, selfishness, deception, wickedness, falsehood, corruption, bigotry, hatred, insecurity, desires and fears, discontentment, intolerance, revenge, unforgiveness, unhappiness, and so on.
- ਪੰਚੇ ਰੁੰਨੇ ਦੁਖਿ ਭਰੇ ਬਿਨਸੇ ਦੂਜੈ ਭਾਇ ॥੧॥: The five relatives (the five senses of perception) weep and wail painfully, and waste away through the love of duality ||1|| (sggs 19).
These ‘ten wolves’ (‘Das Bighiaarhee-ਦਸ ਬਿਘਿਆੜੀ’) are man’s ten senses (Indriyas-ਇੰਦ੍ਰੀਆਂ ) — eyes, ears, nose, tongue (mouth), and skin makes five senses of acquiring knowledge (Giaan Indriyas). Similarly, the genital, anus, voice (mouth), and hands and legs make five senses of action or work (Karma Indriyas).
The SGGS also calls these ‘ten’ by various names including ‘Das Bighiaarhee-ਦਸ ਬਿਘਿਆੜੀ’ (ten wolves), ‘Das Naaree-ਦਸ ਨਾਰੀ’, ‘Indray Dasay-ਇੰਦ੍ਰੀ ਦਸੇ’, ‘Das Indree-ਦਸ ਇੰਦ੍ਰੀ’, ‘Das Paataou-ਦਸ ਪਾਤਉ’ etc.
In the wild, wolves are known to have an ever-present natural predator behavior to ‘mouse-pounce’, involving the chasing and capturing of their pray. If not checked and controlled the senses, one becomes a slave of these senses. This sense-slavery then drags the human mind down to the animal nature.
The senses (Indriyas-ਇੰਦ੍ਰੀਆਂ ) are liken to venomous serpents. Like snakes, the senses do not like to be restricted. Rather, they like to act not only loosely but also without any control. A spiritual seeker or learner (i.e. a Sikh) needs to be very strong to control these serpents of senses — like a snake charmer, who never allows his snakes to act on their own. Such person is called the ‘Gurmukh‘ in the Gurbani.
- ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਕੋਈ ਗਾਰੜੂ ਤਿਨਿ ਮਲਿ ਦਲਿ ਲਾਈ ਪਾਇ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਸੇਈ ਉਬਰੇ ਜਿ ਸਚਿ ਰਹੇ ਲਿਵ ਲਾਇ ॥੨॥: Some ‘rare’ who has become the Gurmukh knows the ‘Gaarurr’ Mantra (that neutralizes the poison of Maya-snake); he has trampled her (Maya) and destroy its influence or affect. Only those who remain absorbed in Truth are saved. ||2|| (sggs 510).
First off, the Gurmukh’s mind is not vexed in passions. Second, he does not let his senses act independently. Like a snake charmer, the Gurmukh never allows his senses to act on their own for he leaves his senses (i.e. snakes) ‘without fangs’!
Thus, a person who has become the Gurmukh, his senses are directed by his dictation or plan.
Man engages in the world of gross objects with his sensory faculties and the pleasures they afford only make him desire for more and more. But it’s not possible to satisfy desires.
Accordingly, we are asked by the Gurbani to learn to control them. In order to accomplish that, the Gurbani asks us to make the ten senses ‘widow’!
But, how can one go about making the senses ‘widow’? What does it really mean?
In short, mind is the ‘husband’ and the ten senses are its ‘wives’. Since the rebel mind is the center of all activities of the senses, when the senses become attracted toward their respective sense-objects, the mind becomes the source of all ideas of about sense-gratification. Thus, the mind and the senses become the repositories of uncontrolled Mayaic desires (ਮਾਇਆ ਦੀ ਭੁੱਖ-ਪਿਆਸ).
- ਏਕੁ ਮੰਦਰੁ ਪੰਚ ਚੋਰ ਹਹਿ ਨਿਤ ਕਰਹਿ ਬੁਰਿਆਈਆ ॥ ਦਸ ਨਾਰੀ ਇਕੁ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਕਰਿ ਦਸੇ ਸਾਦਿ ਲੋੁਭਾਈਆ ॥ ਏਨਿ ਮਾਇਆ ਮੋਹਣੀ ਮੋਹੀਆ ਨਿਤ ਫਿਰਹਿ ਭਰਮਾਈਆ ॥ : In this one body-temple there are five thieves (i.e. Bikaar: lust, anger, greed, attachment, pride) who are always doing evil (these five thieves have taken over the mind-elephant). (On one side) the mind is alone, (with it) there are ten senses, these ten are entangled in (the taste of Maya). They are fascinated by this fascinating Maya (for this reason) they are always wandering around. (sggs 1096).
Succinctly, when the mind stops engaging in sense-gratification, the senses become ‘widow’.
- ਦਸ ਨਾਰੀ ਮੈ ਕਰੀ ਦੁਹਾਗਨਿ ॥ ਗੁਰਿ ਕਹਿਆ ਏਹ ਰਸਹਿ ਬਿਖਾਗਨਿ ॥ ਇਨ ਸਨਬੰਧੀ ਰਸਾਤਲਿ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਹਮ ਗੁਰਿ ਰਾਖੇ ਹਰਿ ਲਿਵ ਲਾਇ ॥੫॥: I have made widows of the ten sensory organs (i.e. I don’t engage in sense-gratification anymore). The Guru (Giaan or Wisdom) has told me that pleasures (of the senses or sense-gratifications) are the fire (which brings death to spiritual life: ਆਤਮਕ ਮੌਤ). Who associates with them goes into the low abyss (i.e. fall into lower region of consciousness, spiritual death – ਆਤਮਕ ਮੌਤ). The Guru has saved me (from the sense pleasures) by attuning me to Hari (Mool, Jot Saroop, Wisdom, Virtues etc.) ||5|| (sggs 1347).
- ਇੰਦ੍ਰੀ ਦਸੇ ਦਸੇ ਫੁਨਿ ਧਾਵਤ ਤ੍ਰੈ ਗੁਣੀਆ ਖਿਨੁ ਨ ਟਿਕਾਵੈਗੋ ॥ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਪਰਚੈ ਵਸਗਤਿ ਆਵੈ ਮੋਖ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਸੋ ਪਾਵੈਗੋ ॥੩॥ : Ten senses wander unrestrained. Engrossed in the three qualities (of Maya) they do not stay (in one place) even for a moment. Living by the True Wisdom of the Guru, they are brought under control and then liberation (from Bikaar) is obtained. ||3|| (sggs 1310).
The Gurbani so aptly asks its learners (i.e. Sikhs) to continuingly ‘struggle’ with their own mind and keep it engaged in Shabad-Vichaar so it can develop a taste for the practical spiritual life (Gurmukh Lifestyle).
- ਗਿਆਨ ਖੜਗੁ ਲੈ ਮਨ ਸਿਉ ਲੂਝੈ ਮਨਸਾ ਮਨਹਿ ਸਮਾਈ ਹੇ ॥੩॥: Taking up the Sword of the Spiritual Wisdom, struggle with the mind, and (all Mayaic desires, thoughts, ਫੁਰਨੇ, ਖੋਟੀ ਮਨਸਾ, etc., ) born of the mind are nipped within the mind (ਮਨ ਦੇ ਵਿਚ ਹੀ ਮੁੱਕ ਜਾਂਦੇ ਹਨ). ||3|| (sggs 1022).
- ਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਸਬਦੁ ਰਿਦ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਧਾਰੈ ॥ ਪੰਚ ਜਨਾ ਸਿਉ ਸੰਗੁ ਨਿਵਾਰੈ ॥ ਦਸ ਇੰਦ੍ਰੀ ਕਰਿ ਰਾਖੈ ਵਾਸਿ ॥ ਤਾ ਕੈ ਆਤਮੈ ਹੋਇ ਪਰਗਾਸੁ ॥੧॥: A person who abides the Guru’s Shabad within (i.e. the Guru’s Wisdom); removes his connection with the ‘Five’ (Bikaar); he keeps the ten senses under his control; and his soul (i.e. mind) becomes Enlightened (he gets the insight of spiritual life). ||1|| (sggs 236).
If the Gurbani’s advice is followed with unshakable determination and sincerity, in course of time the mind will lose interest in hedonistic pursuits of the senses and become oriented to the Goal of Mool-abidance. The mind stands ‘conquered’ (killed or liberated) when it reverts back to its Jot Saroop (i.e. Original Nature).
- ਦਸ ਬੈਰਾਗਨਿ ਆਗਿਆਕਾਰੀ ਤਬ ਨਿਰਮਲ ਜੋਗੀ ਥੀਏ ॥: Ever since (through the Guru’s Wisdom) my ten senses have become detached and obedient (to the Guru’s Wisdom), since then I have become a Yogi with pious life. (sggs 208).
By becoming the Gurbani’s Sooraa or Braveheart, when one makes his senses ‘widows’ then he sees without eyes; he hears without ears; he walks without feet; he works without hands; he speaks without tongue…!
Seeing without eyes? Hearing without years? Walking without feet? Working without hands? Speaking without a tongue? This is the state of a ‘Jeevan-Mukta‘ — living liberated or living dead. Also called the Gurmukhs in the Gurbani, this is the state of those Mool-abided beings who have conquered their deluded mind.
- ਅਖੀ ਬਾਝਹੁ ਵੇਖਣਾ ਵਿਣੁ ਕੰਨਾ ਸੁਨਣਾ ॥ ਪੈਰਾ ਬਾਝਹੁ ਚਲਣਾ ਵਿਣੁ ਹਥਾ ਕਰਣਾ ॥ ਜੀਭੈ ਬਾਝਹੁ ਬੋਲਣਾ ਇਉ ਜੀਵਤ ਮਰਣਾ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਪਛਾਣਿ ਕੈ ਤਉ ਖਸਮੈ ਮਿਲਣਾ ॥੧॥: See without eyes (i.e. if we look at the world by removing lust from the eyes etc.), hear without ears (i.e. if we keep the ears from the habit of hearing slander etc.); walk without feet (i.e. if we keep our feet from running in the wrong direction etc.), work without hands (i.e. if we use our hands without doing harm to others etc.); speak without the tongue (i.e. if we remove the habit of slandering others from the tongue etc.); this is how one dies alive. O Nanak! When one understands/recognizes Hukam (System-Rule-Law of Nature), then one realizes Truth (‘Khasam’-Master etc.). ||1|| (sggs 139).