Good and Bad

The Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) teaches ‘good’ and ‘bad’ do not exist!

How so?

If we all act, behave or conduct ourselves in accordance with the Hukam (i.e. System-Rule-Law of Nature), there will be NO ‘good’ or ‘bad’!

  • ਕਿਵ ਸਚਿਆਰਾ ਹੋਈਐ ਕਿਵ ਕੂੜੈ ਤੁਟੈ ਪਾਲਿ ॥ ਹੁਕਮਿ ਰਜਾਈ ਚਲਣਾ ਨਾਨਕ ਲਿਖਿਆ ਨਾਲਿ ॥੧॥: How can you become Truthful (‘Sachiaaraa’)? How can the wall of falsehood (Koorh) be torn away? (The process, ਵਿਧੀ, ਤਰੀਕਾ…) is that (one should) walk (in the Way) of the Hukam (the System or Law of Nature…). O Nanak! (this process…) has been pre-ordained. ||1|| (sggs 1).
  • ਹੁਕਮੈ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਸਭੁ ਕੋ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਹੁਕਮ ਨ ਕੋਇ ॥: Everyone is subject to the Hukam; no one is beyond (exempt or outside of) Hukam. (sggs 1).

Then why do we see some as ‘good’ or ‘bad’; ‘enemy’ or ‘friend’; ‘superior’ or ‘lowly’ etc.?

The negative impact of Haumai (i.e. false ego-sense) counters the Hukam (the System or Law of Nature…).

Hence, according to the Gurbani, it’s because of the negative impact of Haumai (i.e. false ego-sense) we think ourselves to be good, better, flawless, superior etc. (ਚੰਗੇ)!

In other words, if we see negativity, violence, wars, oppressions etc. in the world, it’s because of our Haumai (false ego-sense), NOT because because of our True Nature (i.e. Jot Saroop)!

In short if we think something will benefit us then we think of it as ‘good’, and so on.

To the contrary if we think something will harm us or bring misfortune to us then we think of it as ‘bad’, ‘evil’, ‘enemy’, and so on

This is duality (Doojaa Bhaav). Good and bad is a product of this illusive Mayaic consciousness or contaminated thinking (Haumai or false ego-sense…), which counters Hukam (i.e. System-rule-Law of Nature), Naam, Shabad, Wisdom.

  • ਹਉ ਵਿਚਿ ਪਾਪ ਪੁੰਨ ਵੀਚਾਰੁ ॥ ਹਉ ਵਿਚਿ ਨਰਕਿ ਸੁਰਗਿ ਅਵਤਾਰੁ ॥: In Haumai or false ego-sense (i.e., as long as one is in the illusion of his existence separate from his Mool or Jot Saroop, until then) he considers Paap and Punn (i.e., counting or Ginatee-ਗਿਣਤੀ). (Similarly) In Haumai (man notions or thinks) existence of heaven and hell. (sggs 466).

It is our perception tainted by the negative impact of our Haumai (false ego-sense).

  • ਨਾ ਹਮ ਚੰਗੇ ਆਖੀਅਹ ਬੁਰਾ ਨ ਦਿਸੈ ਕੋਇ ॥: I am not called good, and I see none who are bad (sggs 1015).
  • ਬੁਰਾ ਭਲਾ ਤਿਚਰੁ ਆਖਦਾ ਜਿਚਰੁ ਹੈ ਦੁਹੁ ਮਾਹਿ ॥: One calls others bad and good, as long as he himself is in the control of duality (sggs 757).
  • ਜਬ ਧਾਰੈ ਕੋਊ ਬੈਰੀ ਮੀਤੁ ॥ ਤਬ ਲਗੁ ਨਿਹਚਲੁ ਨਾਹੀ ਚੀਤੁ ॥: As long as a person considers one an enemy, and another a friend, until then, his mind does not come to rest. (sggs 278).

The Gurbani urges us keeping and maintaining Samdrishtee (even eye, neutrality, equanimity, sameness, oneness…).

Bhagat Kabeer Jee says ‘whoever understands this is a friend of mine’.

  • ਕਬੀਰ ਸਭ ਤੇ ਹਮ ਬੁਰੇ ਹਮ ਤਜਿ ਭਲੋ ਸਭੁ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਜਿਨਿ ਐਸਾ ਕਰਿ ਬੂਝਿਆ ਮੀਤੁ ਹਮਾਰਾ ਸੋਇ ॥੭॥: O Kabeer! I-ness (Haumai, false ego-sense, Durmat or wicked intellect, bad thinking or ideology…) is the worst of all (thoughts). All thoughts except I-ness (or false ego sense) are good. Whosoever understands this is a friend of mine ||7|| (sggs 1364).

In other words, if one does not think this way is not a friend of the Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS.

Since good and bad is a product of Mayaic consciousness (Doojaa Bhaav or duality), . the Gurbani asserts when one is able to conquer this Mayaic or conditioned mind, one’s divine nature (Jot Saroop or True Nature) is near at hand.

Only grit and great strength of the mind can help in this effort to counter negative perceptions or tendencies (Bikaars, negativity…). Harmony can be attained only when the evil thinking (Soch-ਸੋਚ), and ignorance or misconception (illusion, doubts etc.) are removed from the mind.

Thus, the Gurbani stresses the importance of cleansing the mind through Viveka-Budhi (sense of discriminating or discerning intellect) and Bairaag (spirit of non-attachment). Pure mind alone can lead one towards divine life style (the Gurmukh Lifestyle).

  • ਕਬੀਰ ਜਾ ਦਿਨ ਹਉ ਮੂਆ ਪਾਛੈ ਭਇਆ ਅਨੰਦੁ ॥ ਮੋਹਿ ਮਿਲਿਓ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਆਪਨਾ ਸੰਗੀ ਭਜਹਿ ਗੋੁਬਿੰਦੁ ॥੬॥: O Kabeer! (By living the Divine Virtues) on the day when my egotism dies (bad influence of false ego-sense on my mind…), afterwards there is Bliss within. (Also) I met my Prabh (Truth, Virtues, Wisdom, Mool…). and now my companions (all senses-ਇੰਦ੍ਰਿਆਂ) are united with Gobind (i.e., Prabh). ||6||(sggs 1364).

For this to happen, the Gurbani asks us to transcend duality thinking (Soch-ਸੋਚ). In other words, our false ego ego-sense (Haumai) must go for it’s the negative impact of Haumai that kills our True Nature (i.e. Jot Saroop).

The Gurbani teaches us humility (ਇਨਸਾਨੀਅਤ). True humility is the recognition of one’s imperfections. Further, humility is not to consider oneself better than the others. The material conception of life makes us finding faults in others by ignoring our own; because we are lacking. Due to this lack, we are unable to recognize our own imperfections.

  • ਬਿਸਰਿ ਗਈ ਸਭ ਤਾਤਿ ਪਰਾਈ ॥ ਜਬ ਤੇ ਸਾਧਸੰਗਤਿ ਮੋਹਿ ਪਾਈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਨਾ ਕੋ ਬੈਰੀ ਨਹੀ ਬਿਗਾਨਾ ਸਗਲ ਸੰਗਿ ਹਮ ਕਉ ਬਨਿ ਆਈ ॥੧॥ : All enmity vanishes when you come into the Company of the Guru (Gur-Shabad, Gur-Wisdom…). ||1||Pause|| No one is my enemy, no one is a stranger, I have BECOME ONE with the entirety of the humanity. ||1|| (sggs 1299).
  • ਹਮ ਨਹੀ ਚੰਗੇ ਬੁਰਾ ਨਹੀ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਪ੍ਰਣਵਤਿ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਤਾਰੇ ਸੋਇ ॥੪॥੧॥੨॥: (One who thinks) I am not good and no one is bad; reverberate Nanak – He ferries across (the dreadful ocean of Maya…) ||4||1||2|| (sggs 728).
  • ਆਪਸ ਕਉ ਜੋ ਭਲਾ ਕਹਾਵੈ ॥ ਤਿਸਹਿ ਭਲਾਈ ਨਿਕਟਿ ਨ ਆਵੈ ॥: One who calls himself good — goodness will not draw near him (sggs 278).

According to the Gurbani, humility is a formidable weapon. This weapon can be used to cut the roots of arrogant pride, false ego-sense (Haumai)…

  • ਗਰੀਬੀ ਗਦਾ ਹਮਾਰੀ ॥ ਖੰਨਾ ਸਗਲ ਰੇਨੁ ਛਾਰੀ ॥ ਇਸੁ ਆਗੈ ਕੋ ਨ ਟਿਕੈ ਵੇਕਾਰੀ ॥ ਗੁਰ ਪੂਰੇ ਏਹ ਗਲ ਸਾਰੀ ॥੧॥: Humility is my spiked club. My dagger is to be the dust of all men’s feet. No evil-doer can withstand these weapons. The Perfect Guru has given me this understanding ||1|| (sggs 628).

The Gurbani tells us that engrossed in the pull of ‘good’ and ‘bad’, we come to ruin.

  • ਖਿੰਚੋਤਾਣਿ ਵਿਗੁਚੀਐ ਬੁਰਾ ਭਲਾ ਦੁਇ ਨਾਲਿ ਜੀਉ ॥: By indecision and inner conflict, you will come to ruin. Good and bad both pull at you (sggs 751).

The Gurbani also tells us that the one who is above ‘good’ and ‘bad’, is very rare.

  • ਦੁਕ੍ਰਿਤ ਸੁਕ੍ਰਿਤ ਮੰਧੇ ਸੰਸਾਰੁ ਸਗਲਾਣਾ ॥ ਦੁਹਹੂੰ ਤੇ ਰਹਤ ਭਗਤੁ ਹੈ ਕੋਈ ਵਿਰਲਾ ਜਾਣਾ ॥੧॥: The whole world is engrossed in (duality -) bad actions and good actions (as determined by the Pujaaree). The Bhagat (Daas, Gurmukh, Jan…) stays away from these two ideas, but such a person is rarely found. ||1|| (sggs 51).

In short, what’s bad is the negative impact of man’s Haumai (i.e. false ego-sense) or ‘Kubudhi-ਕੁਬੁਧਿ’ or ‘Durmati-ਦੁਰਮਤਿ’ — corrupt or polluted thinking or intellect, evil thoughts, evil understanding, false-mindedness, evil-mindedness, false wisdom etc.

  • ਕੁਬੁਧਿ ਡੂਮਣੀ ਕੁਦਇਆ ਕਸਾਇਣਿ ਪਰ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਘਟ ਚੂਹੜੀ ਮੁਠੀ ਕ੍ਰੋਧਿ ਚੰਡਾਲਿ ॥: False-mindedness (within a person is as) the drummer-woman; cruelty is the butcheress; slander of others is the cleaning-woman, and deceitful anger is the outcast-woman (sggs 91).
  • ਸ੍ਵਾਦ ਸਨਾਹ ਟੋਪੁ ਮਮਤਾ ਕੋ ਕੁਬੁਧਿ ਕਮਾਨ ਚਢਾਈ ॥: The (mind-king) armored with the taste (of the tongue-ਚਸਕੇ), helmet of worldly love and bow of evil understanding to aim with. ||3|| (sggs 1161).
  • ਮਨ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਹਉਮੈ ਰੋਗੁ ਹੈ ਭ੍ਰਮਿ ਭੂਲੇ ਮਨਮੁਖ ਦੁਰਜਨਾ ॥: Those within whose mind is the disease of ego (Haumai – ਹਉਮੈ), those self-willed (Manmukhs), the evil beings (ਬਿਕਾਰੀ ਬੰਦੇ – corrupt people), are deluded by doubt (sggs 301).

This Kubudhi-ਕੁਬੁਧਿ’ or ‘Durmati-ਦੁਰਮਤਿ’ can be removed by removing the negative impact of Haumai (i.e. false ego-sense) through the Gur-Shabad (Gur-Upadesh, Wisdom, Giaan…).

  • ਕੁਬੁਧਿ ਮਿਟੈ ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦੁ ਬੀਚਾਰਿ ॥: Corrupt intellect is wiped out by Reflecting the Gur-Shabad (Shabad-Vichaar). (sggs 944).
  • ਦੂਜੀ ਦੁਰਮਤਿ ਸਬਦੇ ਖੋਈ ॥: The polluted intellect of duality is destroyed by the Gur-Shabad. (sggs 1051).
  • ਮਨੁ ਸਬਦਿ ਮਰੈ ਪਰਤੀਤਿ ਹੋਇ ਹਉਮੈ ਤਜੇ ਵਿਕਾਰ ॥: When one’s mind dies in the Shabad gains Knowledge and conviction, and (he) sheds egotism and ‘Vikaar’ (sggs 162).
  • ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਤੇ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਪਾਇਆ ਹਰਿ ਤਤੁ ਬੀਚਾਰਾ ॥ ਮਤਿ ਮਲੀਣ ਪਰਗਟੁ ਭਈ ਜਪਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਮੁਰਾਰਾ ॥: Receiving Giaan (Wisdom) from the Satigur and reflecting on Hari Essence (Mool, True Nature or Jot Saroop…), the polluted intellect becomes enlightened by understanding the Wisdom. (sggs 163).