In order to instruct, explain or persuade us (ਸਮਝਾਣ ਲਈ), the Gurbani has used all sorts of examples including many animals, etc.

However, the Gurmat (Wisdom, Giaan, Upadesh or Way of the SGGS…) is not meant for frogs or other animals! Neither are the Gurdwara congregations (or any other religious congregation for that matter) meant for frogs or other animals!

It’s for the human mind for learning and mends!

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 SGGS.

From ignorance comes the perception of individuality (false ego-sense, Haumai…).

A frog who has lived all his life in a well knows nothing about the existence of the land or the world outside the well. It always thinks in terms relative to the well. Because of the limited faculties, experience, etc., it has no capacity to think otherwise.

Similarly, the Gurbani tells us the conditioned mind and senses (Mayaic or confused intellect…) is unable to attain understanding (ਸੂਝ-ਬੂਝ).

  • ਕੂਪੁ ਭਰਿਓ ਜੈਸੇ ਦਾਦਿਰਾ ਕਛੁ ਦੇਸੁ ਬਿਦੇਸੁ ਨ ਬੂਝ ॥ ਐਸੇ ਮੇਰਾ ਮਨੁ ਬਿਖਿਆ ਬਿਮੋਹਿਆ ਕਛੁ ਆਰਾ ਪਾਰੁ ਨ ਸੂਝ ॥੧॥: As a well is filled with frogs, (but those frogs in the well) know nothing of the world (outside the well); just so, my mind, infatuated with the poison (of Maya), understands nothing from one side to the other. ||1|| (sggs 346).

Until we Awaken to the Wisdom (Aatam Giaan…) through churning the Gurbani or Shabad-Vichaar , we all suffer from the frog-mind or frog-philosophy.

The terms such as mind’s foolishness, ignorance, darkness, false ego-sense (Haumai), mental blindness, etc., are essentially synonymous, and point to a mind in control of the senses rather than the Wisdom (Aatam Giaan). Such mind is so restless, turbulent, agitated and strong that it often overcomes even one’s own intelligence.

Thus, a mind ignorant of its own Mool (Source, True Nature, Jot Saroop...) is like an acute infection that may even surpass the efficacy of the medicine! The Gurbani compares a person with such sense infatuated or Mayaic mind with a frog!

  • ਦਾਦਰ ਤੂ ਕਬਹਿ ਨ ਜਾਨਸਿ ਰੇ ॥ ਭਖਸਿ ਸਿਬਾਲੁ ਬਸਸਿ ਨਿਰਮਲ ਜਲ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਨ ਲਖਸਿ ਰੇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: O frog (-mind)! You can never understand. You eat the water-moss (slime, scum…), while you dwell in the immaculate waters. You Don’t recognize the Amrit. ||1||Pause||(sggs 990).

Even though a frog may be living in a clean water with lotus flowers; however, it likes eating the mud and filth only!

Similarly, the senses of a frog-mind person, even though he may be living with pious and wise people, likes to consume the mud of selfishness, falsehood or corruption only.

The difference between a frog and a lotus flower is the same as between a Manmukh and a Gurmukh (follower of the Gur-Wisdom or Truth…).

Hence, a Manmukh is akin to a frog, while a Gurmukh is akin to a lotus flower.

Although a lotus flower lives with water and slimy scum, but it remains untouched or unpolluted. This is the characteristic of a Gurmukh who, while living in the midst of Maya, remains untainted.

On the other hand, a frog eats slimy scum even though he lives with the same water and the lotus! This is the characteristic of a Manmukh; who thinks, speaks, acts, etc., in a way that is destructive to the society as well as not conducive to his own development (expansion, blooming, ਵਿਕਾਸ).

  • ਐਬ ਤਨਿ ਚਿਕੜੋ ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਮੀਡਕੋ ਕਮਲ ਕੀ ਸਾਰ ਨਹੀ ਮੂਲਿ ਪਾਈ ॥: There is the mud (of Bikaars: lust, anger, greed, etc.) in the body, and this mind is the frog-mind (dwells in that mud of Bikaar), (such frog-) mind cannot appreciate the lotus at all (i.e., the Naam). (sggs 24).

A mind polluted with doubts (Bharam) gets involved with empty rituals (Karamkaand), superstitions, superficial or external show of religion, and so on. Why he does that?

It’s because the unmeaning rituals aid to increase the fire of his false ego-sense; making him more phony and foolish in the process. Accordingly, such phony acts are rejected by the Gurbani as Rabb can not be pleased or known by them.

Accordingly, ritual bathing or ablution at the pilgrim places is compared in the Gurbani with the frog. The Gurbani asserts that at these people may get their body washed off all right in the ponds at these places, but they end up accumulating twice as much of mental filth!

  • ਸੰਧਿਆ ਪ੍ਰਾਤ ਇਸ੍ਨਾਨੁ ਕਰਾਹੀ ॥ ਜਿਉ ਭਏ ਦਾਦੁਰ ਪਾਨੀ ਮਾਹੀ ॥੧॥:  Those who take their ritual baths in the evening and the morning (and think that by doing so they have become pure) are like the frogs living in the water ||1|| (sggs 324).
  • ਜਲ ਕੈ ਮਜਨਿ ਜੇ ਗਤਿ ਹੋਵੈ ਨਿਤ ਨਿਤ ਮੇਂਡੁਕ ਨਾਵਹਿ ॥ ਜੈਸੇ ਮੇਂਡੁਕ ਤੈਸੇ ਓਇ ਨਰ ਫਿਰਿ ਫਿਰਿ ਜੋਨੀ ਆਵਹਿ ॥੨॥: If salvation can be obtained by bathing in water, then what about the frog, which is always bathing (always remains in water)? As is the frog, so is that mortal; (without the Naam, Giaan, Wisdom…) he is reincarnated (at the level of mind), over and over again ||2|| (sggs 484).

According to the Gurbani, the practice of churning the Gurbani or  Shabad-Vichaar is said to be the powerful cleansing process. The Gur-Wisdom learnt through this process helps cleanse the senses and the mind of ignorance, doubts, etc.

Cleansing of the mind indicates becoming linked with the Mool within (Source, Jot Saroop, True Nature…). Purification or cleansing of the senses indicates ceasing of their material demands for sense-gratification (hunger for Maya-ਮਾਇਆ ਦੀ ਭੁਖ),

  • ਮਨੁ ਮੁਗਧੌ ਦਾਦਰੁ ਭਗਤਿਹੀਨੁ ॥ ਦਰਿ ਭ੍ਰਸਟ ਸਰਾਪੀ ਨਾਮ ਬੀਨੁ ॥: The mind devoid of true Bhagti is like a foolish frog. Bereft of the Naam (Wisdom, Virtues, Truth…), the mind (becomes as it) is corrupt and cursed. (sggs 1188).


  1. Thank you Bhai Sahib Ji for sharing your beautiful Vichaar.

    • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਕਮਲੁ ਵਿਗਸਿਆ ਸਭੁ ਆਤਮ ਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਪਛਾਨੁ ॥ (sggs 1419).

  2. Another piece with in-depth analysis of Gurbani! The examplification of the inappropraiteness of a frog’s choice (the slimy scum) and lotus remaining impact-free from the same ‘neighbor’ so apt.

    Allow me to dwell on this wonderful example a bit more.

    In direct contrast to the choice made by frog, in both the referenced verses on pages 990 and 24 respectively of SGGS, Gurbani also applauds ‘Bhanvra’ [although not residing in the same neighborhood (water)] for recognizing the virtues of water resident ‘Lotus’ and benefit from its ‘nector’. So in the context of categorizing as Manmukh and Gurmukh, Gurbani appears to label Frog as Manmukh and ‘Bhanvra” as Gurmukh for the choices they make respectively (the filth Vs the ‘nectar’). I just wanted to share my two cents.

    Again please do keep on pouring out your reflections on Gurbani. I am sure many like me are being enlightened by your efforts. My Waheguru keep showering His blessings on you so that we all can also keep reaping the rewards of your efforts.

    Deep Regards.

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