Gurbani is the Mirror of the Mind

The Message of the Shabad (i.e. Upadesh, Advice, Guidance, Directions etc.) of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) is addressed to the human mind.

As there is a regular mirror to look at one’s own face, similarly, the Gurbani (SGGS) is the mind’s Mirror, which reveals the mind its true state or condition — its flaws, faults, defects, demerits, false ego-sense (Haumai), hypocrisy, deceptions, doubt, falsehood, fraud, Pakhand, duality, Bikaar (lust, anger, greed, etc.) and so on.

In other words, the difference between the regular mirror and the Gurbani’s Mirror is this: We look in a regular mirror to look at our outer body-frame, not for clues to ‘Who Am I?’. But, in the Mirror of the Gurbani, we look at our inner self, in real time — to KNOW ONESELF or ‘Who Am I?’ !

  • ਆਪੁ ਪਛਾਣਹਿ ਸਬਦਿ ਮਰਹਿ ਮਨਹੁ ਤਜਿ ਵਿਕਾਰ ॥: (Who has become the Gurmukh) recognizes his own (True) Self; he dies in the Shabad, (and through the Shabad) he banishes Bikaars from his mind (sggs 430).
  • ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਆਰਸੀ ਕੋਈ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਵੇਖੈ ॥: This mind is like a mirror, hardly any by becoming the Gurmukh (Spiritual Being…) sees himself in it. (sggs 115).
  • ਕਪੜੁ ਰੂਪੁ ਸੁਹਾਵਣਾ ਛਡਿ ਦੁਨੀਆ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਜਾਵਣਾ ॥ ਮੰਦਾ ਚੰਗਾ ਆਪਣਾ ਆਪੇ ਹੀ ਕੀਤਾ ਪਾਵਣਾ ॥ ਹੁਕਮ ਕੀਏ ਮਨਿ ਭਾਵਦੇ ਰਾਹਿ ਭੀੜੈ ਅਗੈ ਜਾਵਣਾ ॥ ਨੰਗਾ ਦੋਜਕਿ ਚਾਲਿਆ ਤਾ ਦਿਸੈ ਖਰਾ ਡਰਾਵਣਾ ॥ ਕਰਿ ਅਉਗਣ ਪਛੋਤਾਵਣਾ ॥੧੪॥: The outer body (‘Kapparh‘) and the subtle Inner body (‘Roop‘), both can become charming or beautiful if you give up worldly ways (corrupt ways and thinking) and GO WITHIN (join the Giaan-Guru or ‘Dhur ki Bani‘ WITHIN). Each person gets the fruit of his / her own good and bad deeds. One may follow his own mind’s dictates or commands (ਅਪਣੀ ਮਰਜੀ, ਅਪਣੀ ਇਛਾ, ਮੰਨਮਾਨੀ ਕਰਨਾਂ…), but this would make his future life difficult (i.e. he would pay for his transgressions etc.). The wrongdoer is exposed of his bad deeds or transgressions, (thus, at the level of his mind) he falls into hellish existence (Here and Now – as punishment of his own wrongdoing) and at that time he looks very awful. By committing transgressions one regrets in the end. ॥14॥ (sggs 470-471).

Since the Gurbani addresses the mind, its Spiritual Wisdom is meant to Awaken the mind (change Soch or thinking) from the perpetual slumber of delusion.

Since the Gurbani speaks at the level of the mind, it’s beyond man-made religions (ਮਜਹਬ), fanaticism, antagonistic adherents, religious robes or paraphernalia, social status, casteism (Jaat Paat), education, titles, color of skin, ancestry, region or geography, family of birth, heredity, religious rituals or Karamkaand etc.

For the doubt-ridden mind to become Awake, Aware, or Enlightened (wise, sane, rational, prudent, Bibeki…), the Gurbani asserts it must look into the Gurbani’s Mirror, unbrokenly — the Mirror of Truth, Spiritual Wisdom or Virtues. Why unbrokenly?

At first, what the perverse mind sees in the Mirror of the Gurbani will shake it to its core! As a result, the majority (99.9% category) will not like what they see in it. Because, they cannot face the Truth (Sach), for the Reality and the Spiritual Wisdom frighten them and burn them!

  • ਜਿਨਾ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਕੂੜੁ ਵਰਤੈ ਸਚੁ ਨ ਭਾਵਈ ॥: Truth does not suit those who are permeated by falsehood (sggs 646).

This is the reason a person may daily visit Gurdwaras or wander around many Teerath (places of pilgrimage) for entire life, still his / her stubborn mind remains the same — NO Positive change or transformation. Because a person permeated with falsehood cannot love Truth.

  • ਉਜਲੁ ਕੈਹਾ ਚਿਲਕਣਾ ਘੋਟਿਮ ਕਾਲੜੀ ਮਸੁ ॥ ਧੋਤਿਆ ਜੂਠਿ ਨ ਉਤਰੈ ਜੇ ਸਉ ਧੋਵਾ ਤਿਸੁ ॥੧॥: Bronze is bright and shiny, but when it is rubbed, its blackness appears. Washing it, its impurity (inner ‘blackness’) is not removed, even if it is washed a hundred times. ||1|| (sggs 729).

It’s easy to robotically chanting ‘Waheguru Waheguru…’, or ‘Raam Raam‘, or some other names; but it’s difficult to live a Divine Life — Gurmukh Lifestyle (Enlightenment).

  • ਰਾਮੁ ਰਾਮੁ ਕਰਤਾ ਸਭੁ ਜਗੁ ਫਿਰੈ ਰਾਮੁ ਨ ਪਾਇਆ ਜਾਇ ॥: The entire world roams around uttering ‘Raam, Raam, Raam‘; but ‘Raam‘ cannot be Realized like this. (sggs 555).
  • ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਕਰਹਿ ਨਿਤ ਕਪਟੁ ਕਮਾਵਹਿ ਹਿਰਦਾ ਸੁਧੁ ਨ ਹੋਈ ॥: One who utters ‘Hari, Hari‘, while constantly practicing deception, (his) Heart (i.e. mind) cannot become pure. (sggs 732).

However owing to our mind’s Bikaar, the Gurbani asserts weaving Naam into one’s daily life or conduct is the difficult thing to do (practice-ਅਮਲ). The Gurbani calls defects or demerits (‘Avgun‘) of the mind as chains or noose around one’s neck (‘Janjeer’, ‘Phaahaa‘) etc.

  • ਨਾਨਕ ਅਉਗੁਣ ਜੇਤੜੇ ਤੇਤੇ ਗਲੀ ਜੰਜੀਰ ॥ ਜੇ ਗੁਣ ਹੋਨਿ ਤ ਕਟੀਅਨਿ ਸੇ ਭਾਈ ਸੇ ਵੀਰ ॥: O Nanak! As many as are the demerits (Bikaar…), so many are the chains (bonds, Bandhan…) around (one’s) neck. If (one) possesses the Divine Virtues, then the chains are cut away; (hence Virtues) are (one’s) true brothers and mates. (sggs 595).
  • ਆਖਣਿ ਅਉਖਾ ਸਾਚਾ ਨਾਉ ॥: (It’s easy to chant, but) it’s difficult to Live the True Naam (in daily life or conduct). (sggs 9).

Therefore, without Shabad-Vichaar, and without applying the Gurbani’s Wisdom or Virtues to the daily life the mind (thinking or Soch) will not change.

  • ਨਾਨਕ ਮਨੁ ਸਮਝਾਈਐ ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਸਬਦਿ ਸਾਲਾਹ ॥: O Nanak! Instruct the mind through the Gur-Shabad’s Counsel (or Advice, Wisdom…). (sggs 23).
  • ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਬਿਨੁ ਆਪਾ ਚੀਨੈ ਮਿਟੈ ਨ ਭ੍ਰਮ ਕੀ ਕਾਈ ॥੨॥੧॥: ‘Jan’ Nanak says, without KNOWING one’s ownself, the moss of doubt from the mind does not go away. ||2||1|| (sggs 684).

Hence, mere seeing and bowing (Darshan, Mathaa Tekanaa-ਮੱਥਾ ਟੇਕਣਾਂ) of Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS), or mere reading it will not and cannot liberate anybody from the negative impact of Maya, Bikaar, Haumai (false ego-sense), worldly traps or bondage, duality, mind’s delusions, doubt, and so on. This is the Gurbani’s edict.

  • ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਨੋ ਸਭੁ ਕੋ ਵੇਖਦਾ ਜੇਤਾ ਜਗਤੁ ਸੰਸਾਰੁ ॥ ਡਿਠੈ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਵਈ ਜਿਚਰੁ ਸਬਦਿ ਨ ਕਰੇ ਵੀਚਾਰੁ ॥: Everybody in this the world physically see the Satgur. Nothing going to happen just by seeing (the Satgur); one can not be ‘Mukt‘ (liberated, unentangled, unhindered etc.) until and unless the Message within the Shabad is Reflected upon. (sggs 594).
  • ਸੀਸਿ ਨਿਵਾਇਐ ਕਿਆ ਥੀਐ ਜਾ ਰਿਦੈ ਕੁਸੁਧੇ ਜਾਹਿ ॥੧॥: What can be achieved by merely bowing the head, when the heart remains resorted to falsehood (i.e., nothing is achieved!)? ||1|| (sggs 470).

The Gurbani’s counsel is to bring about a storm of Spiritual Wisdom in the mind. For this storm of Wisdom will destroy the ignorance (Durmat or evil mindedness, Bharam or doubt, Abidiaa or false knowledge / Maya etc.).

  • ਦੇਖੌ ਭਾਈ ਗ੍ਹਾਨ ਕੀ ਆਈ ਆਂਧੀ ॥ ਸਭੈ ਉਡਾਨੀ ਭ੍ਰਮ ਕੀ ਟਾਟੀ ਰਹੈ ਨ ਮਾਇਆ ਬਾਂਧੀ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਦੁਚਿਤੇ ਕੀ ਦੁਇ ਥੂਨਿ ਗਿਰਾਨੀ ਮੋਹ ਬਲੇਡਾ ਟੂਟਾ ॥ ਤਿਸਨਾ ਛਾਨਿ ਪਰੀ ਧਰ ਊਪਰਿ ਦੁਰਮਤਿ ਭਾਂਡਾ ਫੂਟਾ ॥੧॥: O brother, the storm of Spiritual Wisdom or Enlightenment has struck my mind. (This storm of Wisdom) has blown away my mind’s Bharam (doubts, confusion, superstition etc.) and bonds of Maya like the thatched walls of my hut. ||1||pause|| The pillar of my double-mindedness and the beam of my emotional bonds of the hut has come crashing down. The thatched roof of worldly desires (supported on the beam of attachment) has fallen to the ground and the pitcher of evil intellect has broken. ||1|| (sggs 331).

In nutshell, the Gurbani (SGGS) is the source of Spiritual Wisdom (Giaan, ਉਚੀ ਮਤ, ਸਮਝ… ) which — by BECOMING THE GURBANI —we can apply to mend our conditioned minds (thinking-ਸੋਚ).

Hence, the Gurbani (SGGS) is NOT meant to be ritualistic or robotic reading, memorizing, or listening as propagated by the self-serving Pujaaree (clergy: Granthis, Parcharaks, Ragis, Dhadees etc.) and the freeloading Deraa-Vaad Baabaas (ਵੇਹਲੜ). These people severely corrupted the divine spirituality of Guru Nanak and brought it down to a self-serving business transaction. They are titled appropriately by Bhagat Kabeer Ji in the SGGS — ‘Baanaaras Kae Thugg‘.

Instead, the Gurbani is meant for the human mind (ਸੋਚ-thinking) to its True Nature (Jot Saroop) through diligent Shabad-Vichaar and then applied its Wisdom to daily life.

  • ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਊਚੋ ਊਚੀ ਪਉੜੀ ਗਿਆਨਿ ਰਤਨਿ ਹਉਮੈ ਮਾਰੀ ਹੇ ॥੪॥: The Gurmat is the ladder to reach the highest of the high (Spiritual Knowledge, understanding…), and with the Jewel of Spiritual Knowledge, egotism is conquered. ||4|| (sggs 1050).

The Mirror of the Gurbani helps the mind perform impartial self-analysis and debugging to assesses the mind’s daily conduct in life.

  • ਬੰਦੇ ਖੋਜੁ ਦਿਲ ਹਰ ਰੋਜ ਨਾ ਫਿਰੁ ਪਰੇਸਾਨੀ ਮਾਹਿ ॥ ਇਹ ਜੁ ਦੁਨੀਆ ਸਿਹਰੁ ਮੇਲਾ ਦਸਤਗੀਰੀ ਨਾਹਿ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ : O mortal, search your heart/mind everyday, then you would not wander around perplexed (confused, worried, distressed, anxiety-ridden etc.). This world is like a magic show; there nothing to be gained in it (through being perplexed etc.). ||1||Pause|| (sggs 727).
  • ਮਨ ਕੀ ਪਤ੍ਰੀ ਵਾਚਣੀ ਸੁਖੀ ਹੂ ਸੁਖੁ ਸਾਰੁ ॥: The greatest happiness comes from reading the horoscope of the mind (i.e., reading your own mind’s state or condition). (sggs 1093).

However, the Spiritual Wisdom of the Gurbani cannot be thrusted upon somebody by force (ਧੱਕੇ ਨਾਲ). If it could be thrusted upon somebody, Baabaa Nanak would have thrusted it upon his two sons Sri Chand and Lakhmi Das; Guru Ramdas Ji would have thrusted it upon his son Prithy Chand; and Guru Amardas Ji would have thrusted it upon his son Mohan. But they could NOT!

The Gurbani can explain it to us, or a Wise person can give us the information, BUT the Gurbani or anybody else cannot force somebody to take it if that person is unwilling to receive it. The Gurbani puts that responsibility on each one of us:


  1. Waheguru ji ka khalsa waheguru ji ki fateh,
    Very nice post khalsa ji. Gurbani is the light on the earth. Guru sahib teachings make us more powerful than other. We should follow them as line by line not as our choice. I am also operating a blog for spreading guru sahib’s message to all. You can find SGGS/Gurbani quotes in very informative style. I think you may like it. Thanks WGKWKF

  2. Sat sri akal veerji, very nice post. Harmony in our thinking,action and speaking in everyday life as per the gurbani is human birth aim, I believe.

  3. Well said! Thank you Bhai Sahib G Singh Ji for your reply. Welcome to the Gurbani Blog!

    If the Inner is linked to the “Gobind” (Trurh, Virtues, Giaan or Wisdom, Hukam…), than everything outside also looks “Sabh Gobind Hai Sabh Gobind Hai”. If inner is beautifu (“Thaan Suhaavaa“), then the outer will be good-looking too — in terms of good-looking conduct, good-looking behavior, good-looking actions, good thinking (Soch) and speech, Virtuous and Wise Lifestyle…

    The Gurbani does not claim that there will be no problems or diseases in life. It prepares us how to deal with it smilingly, how to handle it smilingly….

    If inner is disconnected from “Gobind”, outer will be ugly too — ugly looking conduct, unpleasant actions, harmful thinking (Soch)…

  4. Dear T Singh ji,
    Thank you for the Tat Vichar. I highly respect your diligence.

    Would you agree that references to body in Gurbani are primarily to the inner body?
    ਕਾਮੁ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਕਾਇਆ ਕਉ ਗਾਲੈ ॥ ਜਿਉ ਕੰਚਨ ਸੋਹਾਗਾ ਢਾਲੈ ॥ Oankar, 972
    ਘਟਿ ਵਸਹਿ ਚਰਣਾਰਬਿੰਦ ਰਸਨਾ ਜਪੈ ਗੁਪਾਲ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਸੋ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਸਿਮਰੀਐ ਤਿਸੁ ਦੇਹੀ ਕਉ ਪਾਲਿ ॥੨॥ M:5, 553

    Therefore, it was interesting to read your take on ਕਪੜੁ ਰੂਪੁ ਸੁਹਾਵਣਾ ਛਡਿ ਦੁਨੀਆ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਜਾਵਣਾ ॥ (Asa Ki Var, 470). The reference here is to the bag of skin with which most of us identify (the outer body) and which Gurbani calls ਕਪੜੁ. Therefore, ਰੂਪੁ is likely restricted to form in this context. How can the outside become beautiful by giving up worldly ways and going within?

    From what I have read so far, on your wonderful blog, I reason that you would affirm that the focus of Gurbani is primarily internal and not external. Nothing may change externally, and seldom does, for those traversing this path. If my outside body is diseased, then by being ਅਂਤਰਮੁਖੀ the external condition does not transform to a healthy one, let alone “good-looking”.

    What are your thoughts on the following interpretation of the above lines?
    “The allure of the (outside) body, akin to clothing (to which I feel attached), is but Mayic. Let me adorn virtues by shifting my focus (from the outer body) to dwell within (the inner, subtle, body).”

    Why insert virtues into that line? It is because of the context. That line (ਕਪੜੁ ਰੂਪੁ ਸੁਹਾਵਣਾ…) is the first one in a Paurhi, which is speaking of ਚਂਗਾ, ਮਂਦਾ while affirming personal responsibility / cause & effect (ਆਪੇ ਹੀ ਕੀਤਾ ਪਾਵਣਾ) and ends with regrets of a practicing misaligned/unvirtuous being (ਕਰਿ ਅੳੁਗਣ ਪਛੋਤਾਵਣਾ).

    Although, if one were really stretching it, then one may counter that once the inner body is in alignment with the 1, then even the diseased outer shell is in ਹੁਕਮ. But it still isn’t good looking, which is to be pleasing or ਭਾਣਾ. I may choose it, rather than fighting against the fact of that condition. But ਭਾਣਾ, which is ਭਾ ਜਾਣਾ, is more than mere acceptance.

    The rest of the post was very good and I thank you for it. As for that line, I am asking you to consider an alternative reading of that particular Gurbani reference, since it has to do with ਗੁਣ, ਅੳੁਗਣ. I would appreciate your thoughts.

    Akal Sahai!

Share Your Thoughts

Your email address will not be published. * = required fields. Comment Policy.