Gurbani Is The Mirror Of The Mind

As there is a regular mirror to look at one’s own face, similarly, the Gurbani 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.).

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 ourselves, not for clues to who we are. But, in the Mirror of the Gurbani, we look for ourselves, in real time!

  • 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 ॥: The outer body (“Kapparhu”) and the subtle Inner body (“Roopu”), both can become good-looking (if you) give up worldly (ways or thinking), and go within (join the Giaan-Guru or “Dhur ki Bani”, within). (sggs 470).

The Gurbani speaks at the level of the mind. Hence, the Wisdom of the Gurbani 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, robes, race, social status, caste, education, titles, color of skin, ancestry, region or geography, family of birth, heredity, and so on.

For the doubt-ridden mind to become Awake, Aware, or Enlightened (wise, sane, rational, prudent…), the Gurbani asserts it must look into the Gurbani’s Mirror, unbrokenly — the Mirror of Truth, Wisdom, or Virtues. Why unbrokenly? Because the mind never sleeps — it’s only the physical body that experiences this indulgence!

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 Truth or Giaan (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 for 50 years or more, still his or her stubborn mind remains the same — NO change or transformation. Because a person permeated by 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 repeat “Waheguru Waheguru…”, or “Raam Raam“, or some other names. But it’s difficult to live a Divine Life — Gurmukh Lifestyle of understanding, Giaan (Wisdom), Virtues.

  • 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 cannot become pure. (sggs 732).

However, the Gurbani asserts, owing to our mind’s Bikaar to weave Naam (Truth, Wisdom, Virtues) into one’s daily life or conduct is the difficult thing to do (ਅਮਲ). The Gurbani calls defects (“Avgun”) of the mind as chains or noose around one’s neck (“Janjeer”, “Phaahaa”), etc.

  • 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).
  • 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).

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

Hence, mere bowing (Mathaa Tekanaa-ਮੱਥਾ ਟੇਕਣਾਂ), or mere seeing (Darshan) of Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS), or mere reading it will not and cannot liberate anybody from Maya, Haumai (false ego-sense), worldly bondage, duality, mind’s delusions, doubt, Bikaar, 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 beholds the Satigur. (One is) not liberated by merely seeing (the Satigur), unless 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 ॥: Behold, O brother! (When) the storm of Spiritual Wisdom comes, (then) the thatched hut of doubt gets blown away; supported by bonds of Maya (this thatched hut of doubt) cannot continue to remain behind (the storm of Spiritual Wisdom or Aatam-Giaan). ||1||Pause|| (sggs 331).

In nutshell, the Gurbani is the source of Wisdom (Giaan, ਉਚੀ ਮਤ, ਸਮਝ… ) which we can apply to mend our conditioned minds (thinking-ਸੋਚ). Hence, it’s NOT meant to be ritualistic or robotic reading, memorizing, or listening as propagated by the Pujaaree system. Instead, it’s meant for the human mind (ਸੋਚ-thinking) to be thoroughly churned for better understanding through the diligent Shabad-Vichaar and then applied to the 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 to assesses the mind’s daily conduct in life.

  • ਬੰਦੇ ਖੋਜੁ ਦਿਲ ਹਰ ਰੋਜ ਨਾ ਫਿਰੁ ਪਰੇਸਾਨੀ ਮਾਹਿ ॥: O man! Search your own heart every day, and do not wander around in perplexity (distress, trouble…). (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 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. You or the Gurbani can explain it, but you or the Gurbani cannot force somebody to take it if that person is unwilling to receive it. The Gurbani puts that responsibility on each one of us:

  • ਆਪਣ ਹਥੀ ਆਪਣਾ ਆਪੇ ਹੀ ਕਾਜੁ ਸਵਾਰੀਐ ॥੨੦॥: (So long there is breath – Praan) With own hands (with self-efforts: Shabad-Vichaar …), resolve your own affair yourself. ||20|| (sggs 474).


  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!

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