Leave Ego And Shoes Outside!

The priorities of the Gurmat (Wisdom, Teaching or Upadesh of the Gur-Shabad…) are totally different then the priorities of the mind which is ridden with  the false ego-sense (Haumai), doubt (Bharam), illusion (Maya)…

In Gurdwaras, for example, we see signs asking people to leave their shoes (and socks in some Gurdwaras) outside before entering the Gurdwara building. In fact, many Gurdwaras have made special “shoe Room” to place the shoes. Furthermore, there is usually a separate shoe room for men and women near the entrance of the Gurdwara.

But, honestly, has anybody seen a sign in any Gurdwara in the world asking people to leave their false ego-sense (Haumai– ਹਉਮੈ) outside before entering the Gurdwara building?

In fact, the Gurbani demands to remove the false ego-sense (Haumai– ਹਉਮੈ) before embarking on the Way of the Gurmat.

Obviously, the priorities are screwed up — the priorities of the Wisdom of the SGGS are different than the priorities of the false ego-sense (Haumai).

What’s the result of this screw-up? As evident, the result is lawsuits, legal disputes, assault with deadly weapons, shooting-fights, sword-fights, divisions, conflicts, etc., in Gurdwaras all over the world! The Gurbani asks:

  • ਜਉ ਤਉ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਖੇਲਣ ਕਾ ਚਾਉ ॥ ਸਿਰੁ ਧਰਿ ਤਲੀ ਗਲੀ ਮੇਰੀ ਆਉ ॥: If you desire to play this game of Divine Love with Me, then step onto My Path with your head in hand (after shedding false ego-sense…). (sggs 1412).

To put it otherwise, before we step on the Way of the SGGS, the Gurbani commands to “first” accept death (“ਪਹਿਲਾ ਮਰਣੁ ਕਬੂਲਿ”) — death of the ego or Haumai mind…

  • ਪਹਿਲਾ ਮਰਣੁ ਕਬੂਲਿ ਜੀਵਣ ਕੀ ਛਡਿ ਆਸ ॥ ਹੋਹੁ ਸਭਨਾ ਕੀ ਰੇਣੁਕਾ ਤਉ ਆਉ ਹਮਾਰੈ ਪਾਸਿ ॥੧॥: Pahilaa maranu kabooli… (sggs 1102).

Removing shoes before entering the Gurdwara building is a sign of respect, a commonsense hygiene, etc. Nothing wrong with it.

However, as time and again indicated in the Gurbani, the false ego-sense (Haumai- ਹਉਮੈ) is more despicable then the footwear or the socks! The Gurbani calls it the great disease (“ਵਡਾ ਰੋਗੁ”, “ਰੋਗੁ ਮਹਾ ਦੁਖ”, “ਰੋਗੁ ਕਠਿਨ”, “ਰੋਗ ਬੁਰੇ “, “ਦੀਰਘ ਰੋਗੁ”…) – mighty virus of the mind.

  • ਹਉਮੈ ਝਗੜਾ ਪਾਇਓਨੁ ਝਗੜੈ ਜਗੁ ਮੁਇਆ ॥: Through ego, the world is caught in conflict and strife, and it dies (in these quarrels and suffers…). (sggs 790).
  • ਨਾਨਕ ਹਉਮੈ ਰੋਗ ਬੁਰੇ ॥: O Nanak! The diseases (born or begotten) of ego are wicked (sggs 1153).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਰੋਗੁ ਵਡਾ ਸੰਸਾਰਿ ॥: Ego is a massive disease in the world (sggs 1278).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਰੋਗੁ ਮਹਾ ਦੁਖੁ ਲਾਗਾ ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਲੇਵਹੁ ਰੋਗੁ ਗਇਆ ॥੬॥ Haumai rogu mahaa dukhu… (sggs 906).

Footwear however have a role to play in our daily lives. For example, they are useful when we are outdoors to get protection from dirt, thorns etc.

Not so with the false ego-sense (Haumai– ਹਉਮੈ) — it is always despicable!

  • ਹਉ ਮੁਆ ਮੈ ਮਾਰਿਆ ਪਉਣੁ ਵਹੈ ਦਰੀਆਉ ॥: So long Jeev is smitten with “ego”, a river (of desires, Trishanaa) flow within (that Jeev). (sggs 1091).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਪੈਖੜੁ ਤੇਰੇ ਮਨੈ ਮਾਹਿ ॥: (O fool) your mind is tied with the rope of “ego” (ਪੈਖੜੁ-ਢੰਗਾ: A rope tied to the rear legs of an animal, which does not let the animal run or walk freely!) (sggs 1189).

Therefore, the Gurbani demands that no time can ego be entertained. The purpose of going to Gurdwara or any other spiritual practice is helping us learn the great lesson of surrendering the false ego-sense (Haumai- ਹਉਮੈ) so that we can improve the Inward Journey. To this end, the Gurbani demands the ego should be removed.

  • ਜਬ ਲਗੁ ਸਬਦਿ ਨ ਭੇਦੀਐ ਕਿਉ ਸੋਹੈ ਗੁਰਦੁਆਰਿ ॥: Until (one’s mind) is pierced through with the Shabad, (until then one does not) look Beautiful at the Guru’s Door (Inner Beauty: state Bliss or Anand, realization of Jot Saroop…). (sggs 19).

Hence, there should also be written on the doormats and walls of the Gurdwaras to leave the ego outside!!

This is unlikely to happen because the people who run Gurdwaras and their crafty priest-employees are full of ego themselves!

It’s convenient and easier to remove shoes instead of removing the false ego-sense (Haumai– ਹਉਮੈ)! It takes courage to remove ego, because removing ego is like chewing the steel balls! Since it’s not easy to remove ego, the majority of us instead get attracted to Karamkaand (useless rituals).

The Gurbani’s declaration — “With your head in hand-ਸਿਰੁ ਧਰਿ ਤਲੀ” — essentially indicates removing one’s ego (self-conceit…). It is a complete surrender of one’s head (i.e., false ego-sense). Because, the Gurbani says one must serve without ego (“ਵਿਣੁ ਸਿਰ ਸੇਵ ਕਰੀਜੈ”).

  • ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਸੇਵਾ ਗਾਖੜੀ ਸਿਰੁ ਦੀਜੈ ਆਪੁ ਗਵਾਇ ॥: It is very difficult to serve the Satigur (Shabad-Vichaar); (it’s difficult because to do so one must) surrender head (false ego-sense, self-conceit…) – give up ownself or selfhood (ਆਪਾ-ਭਾਵ ਦੂਰ ਕਰ ਕੇ). (sggs 649).

However, the Gurbani dares tell all of us that no one knows how to serve the “Gur” (ਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਸੇਵ ਨ ਜਾਣੈ ਕੋਈ ॥: Gur kee sev n jaanai koee (sggs 1078)).

Then, let’s ask the SGGS as to how are we supposed to serve (Sevaa) the “Gur” (“ਗੁਰ”) or the “Satiguru” (“ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ”)? The Gurbani tells us that we can serve the “Gur” (“ਗੁਰ”) or the “Satiguru” (“ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ”) through the Shabad-Vichaar (Reflecting on the Gur-Shabad, understanding the Gur-Shabad and living by its Brahm-Giaan or Divine Wisdom in daily life…).

  • ਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਸੇਵਾ ਸਬਦੁ ਵੀਚਾਰੁ ॥: The Gur-Sevaa is Shabad-Vichaar (Reflection on the Shabad…). (sggs 223).
  • ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਸੇਵੀ ਸਬਦਿ ਸਾਲਾਹੀ ॥: I serve the “Satiguru” by praising the Shabad (sggs 1048).

But the Gurbani reminds us that one can truly serve the Satigur only when his the false ego-sense (Haumai) is gone!

  • ਹਉਮੈ ਵਿਚਿ ਸੇਵਾ ਨ ਹੋਵਈ ਤਾ ਮਨੁ ਬਿਰਥਾ ਜਾਇ ॥: In ego, Sevaa cannot be performed so the mind goes wasted (useless, purposeless, troubled, no avail…). (sggs 560).
Therefore, as a Gurbani’s reminder, in addition to the signs for taking the shoes off outside, perhaps there should also be signs for taking the false ego-sense (Haumai- ਹਉਮੈ) off, outside!!
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35 Comments On This Post Join the Shabad-Vichaar

  1. J

    Great post, thank you T Singh Ji

  2. Rajinder Singh

    Waheguru ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji ki Fateh

    Sikhi Sikhya Gur Vichaar
    Congratulations for initiating the much needed subject

    Basic purpose of Satsang is to get rid of ego. Origin of ego and cure for this chronic disease are described in Pauri 7 of Asa di Vaar.

  3. Kirpal Singh

    According to Gurbani, there is ONE Step transformation that leads to ‘Gobind Millan’ i. e. by giving up one’s houmai:-

    ਆਪੁ ਤਿਆਗਿ ਸਰਨਿ ਗੁਰਦੇਵ ॥(Raag Gauri, M. 5, GGS. 288-13: Give up your selfishness and conceit, and seek the Sanctuary of the Divine Guru.

  4. Preton Singh

    Ego ( Haumai )is the worst vikaar as compared to the others like :-
    Kaam
    Krod
    Lobh
    Moh
    Thank you ji for sharing the Gurbani Vichaar on Ego. Appreciate if you could share more of such Gurbani messages for the benefit of people likeme.

    • Many thanks Veer Preton Singh Ji for taking the time to respond!
      Welcome to the Gurbani Blog!

      The Gurbani calls it the greatest disease or the chronic disease. Essentially all negativity is the fault of this ego (Haumai).

      The Gurbani tells us that the Shabad is the killer of ego.

      Fittingly, the Gurbani says a person is a walking-dead (ਆਤਮਕ ਮੌਤੇ ਮਰਿਆ ਹੋਇਆ) if he is devoid of Shabad-Vichaar (Brahm-Giaan, Divine Wisdom, Divine Virtues…):
      • ਬਿਨੁ ਸਬਦੈ ਮੁਆ ਹੈ ਸਭੁ ਕੋਇ ॥: Without the Shabad, everyone remains dead (Spiritual death – ਆਤਮਕ ਮੌਤੇ). (sggs 1418).

  5. Prakash s Bagga

    I think we must find what the “HAUMAI” is from within Gurbaanee

  6. Kirpal Singh

    ਜਿਹਿ ਪ੍ਰਾਨੀ ਹਉਮੈ ਤਜੀ ਕਰਤਾ ਰਾਮੁ ਪਛਾਨਿ ॥ ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਵਹੁ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਨਰੁ ਇਹ ਮਨ ਸਾਚੀ ਮਾਨੁ ॥੧੯॥ (Salok M. 9, GGS. 1427-10): That mortal, who forsakes egotism, realizes the Creator Lord – says Nanak, that person is liberated; O mind, know this as true. ||19||

  7. Kirpal Singh

    Dubida (Duality): A hurdle in Sikhi

    Houmai is caused by Dubidha and is revoved by Sabd Vichaar:-

    The destination in the life of a Sikh is to become Gurmukh through ‘Gobind Milan’ and the greatest hurdle in achieving success in Sikhi Marg is Duality (Dubida).

    For the removal of Dubida, the help of the Gurus who have successfully travelled on the same path and left guidelines for us in Gurbani to facilitate our journey is of paramount importance.

    Guru Nanak Sahib guides us for careful deliberation that leads to removal of duality and turns a devotee God-like. Let us delve deep into Gurbani in order to remove dubida, which separates us from Divine Wisdom:-

    ਰਖਿ ਰਖਿ ਚਰਨ ਧਰੇ ਵੀਚਾਰੀ ॥ ਦੁਬਿਧਾ ਛੋਡਿ ਭਏ ਨਿਰੰਕਾਰੀ ॥ (Raag Danaasree Guru Nanak Dev Ji, GGS. 685-14): After careful deliberation, the thoughtful person takes a step. Forsaking duality, he becomes a devotee of the Formless Lord.

    Guru Arjan Dev Ji, in the following Sabd, traces the abundance of divine attributes/virtues that await a Gursikh who with the grace of Waheguru is able to remove one’s duality (ਗੁਰਿ ਦੁਬਿਧਾ ਜਾ ਕੀ ਹੈ ਮਾਰੀ ॥ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਸੋ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਬੀਚਾਰੀ):-

    ਜੋ ਇਸੁ ਮਾਰੇ ਸੋਈ ਸੂਰਾ ॥ ਜੋ ਇਸੁ ਮਾਰੇ ਸੋਈ ਪੂਰਾ ॥ (Raag Gauri M. 5, GGS. 237-17).One who kills this is a spiritual hero.One who kills this is perfect…..

  8. Prakash S Bagga

    According to gurbaanee HAUMAI is the basic cause of Births. So its meaning should be understood in this context . I feel so.

  9. Harpreet Kaur

    Thank you sir for the great post.
    Sir, I would be very grateful if you can share the ways through which we can eliminate ego from ourselves. Although we all recite the holy hymns in guru sangat but are we really bestowed to his path? My dilemma always strikes me to this end. Through the holy SGGS, I have came across certain verses which signifies,”That one who understands his path shall never speak in ego”, ” One who wants to free from ego, is beyond praise and slander, who looks upon gold and iron alike”. But Sir, if this would have been the situation then why do we long for making successful careers? Why do we long for building great mansions, owe luxurious cars etc.
    Looking forward for the response for the same.

    • Many thanks Harpreet Kaur Ji for taking the time to respond to this post.
      Welcome to the Gurbani Blog Ji!

      ways through which we can eliminate ego from ourselves.

      The Gurbani has very simple way of thinning the false ego-sense.
      As indicated by the Gurbani, ego is directly proportional to the degree of our worry (ਚਿੰਤਾ)! This is the “thermometer”!
      That is to say, if one worries in life, then be assured that that person is also suffering from the chronic disease of ego (“ਹਉਮੈ ਦੀਰਘ ਰੋਗੁ ਹੈ”).
      Next, how much? More worries mean more ego. Less worries mean less ego. No worries mean no ego.
      Implication is that if there is no worry, there is no ego! Here is the Gurbani with its very simple formula for us:
      ਚਿੰਤਾ ਜਾਇ ਮਿਟੈ ਅਹੰਕਾਰੁ ॥: Worry departs, and ego is eliminated. (sggs 293). 
      ਹਉਮੈ ਬੂਝੈ ਤਾ ਦਰੁ ਸੂਝੈ ॥: When (one) understands ego (Haumai), then (one) knows the (Tenth-Dasam) Gate (sggs 466). 

      then why do we long for making successful careers? Why do we long for building great mansions, owe luxurious cars etc.

      The Gurbani indicates that the Gur-Shabad (Divine Wisdom, Aatm-Giaan, Brahm-Giaan) is the “terminator” of ego!
      ਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਸਬਦੁ ਮਨਿ ਵਸਿਆ ਹਉਮੈ ਵਿਚਹੁ ਖੋਇ ॥: The Gur-Shabad abides within the mind, and egotism is eliminated from within.

      False ego-sense is NOT the state of a building, or a great mansion, or a luxurious car, etc.
      Rather, false ego-sense is the sate of the mind.
      Therefore, it’s the instinctive mind which gets modified through the Vichaar and implementation of the Gur-Shabad (Divine Wisdom, Aatm-Giaan, Brahm-Giaan).
      Once the mind gets so mended, buildings remain as buildings, mansions remain as mansions, cars remain as cars, the world remains as the world….

      However, once died in the Shabad, the mind DOES NOT remain the same!!!

  10. Prakash s Bagga

    Everything will be done by “Satiguru” only.
    Thus one needs to recognize Satiguru .

  11. Bhai Harbans Lal

    Perhaps better word to translate Haumai is Narcissism as ego has many good qualities, we will cease to exist if we did not possess ego.

  12. Prakash S Bagga

    I feel we should try to get the meaning of HAUME from its fundamental grammar.And in this context I find this word “HAUME” as FEMININE GENDER ,SINGULAR but DUAL NUMBER.
    Within gurbaanee this word is being refered to SAREER(i)and further SAREER(i) is being refered as AASAA and MUNSAA.
    This is as per my observation from within SGGS ji.

  13. j

    Dear T Singh Ji,

    Please could you clarify the comment “we will cease to exist if we did not have ego”

    My understanding is the goal of life is to extinguish ego completely, and yes the ego dies, and while the ego ceases to exist but the human being continues to live.

    • Many thanks J Ji for taking the time to respond!

      Dear T Singh Ji,
      Please could you clarify the comment “we will cease to exist if we did not have ego”

      The statement you quoted is by “Bhai Harbans Lal” Ji above. Hope he can chime in and elaborate on it.

      My understanding is the goal of life is to extinguish ego completely, and yes the ego dies, and while the ego ceases to exist but the human being continues to live.

      Yes, because so long this mind is possessed by Haumai, it will remain crooked like a “dog’s tail” (“ਸੁਆਨ ਪੂਛ”). It becomes “Nirmal” (Pure, free of Bikaar…) upon shedding Haumai. This is the Gurbani’s edict:
      • ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਨਿਰਮਲੁ ਹਉਮੈ ਮਾਰੀ ॥: Ih mann nirmal hayumai maaree: The mind becomes pure when Haumai is killed (sggs 1049).
      • ਹਉਮੈ ਮਾਰਿ ਬਜਰ ਕਪਾਟ ਖੁਲਾਇਆ ॥ ਨਾਮੁ ਅਮੋਲਕੁ ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦੀ ਪਾਇਆ ॥: Killing Haumai, the rigid doors (of Maya, doubt…) are opened. (Such person) obtains the priceless Naam by the Gur-Grace (sggs 124).

      In other words, for this mind to realize its Mool (Source, Jot Saroop, True Nature…), Haumai must fold its tent and leave. This is the Gurbani’s edict:
      • ਨਾਨਕ ਹਉਮੈ ਮਾਰਿ ਮਿਲਾਇਆ ॥੪॥੯॥: O Nanak! Conquering Haumai, (one is) absorbed into (Hari, Mool Jot…). ||4||9|| (sggs 153).
      • ਹਉਮੈ ਮਾਰਿ ਮੰਨਿ ਵਸਾਇਆ ॥: (The one who follows the Gurbani’s Instructions) killing Haumai, (he) keeps (Shabad…) enshrined within the mind (sggs 110).

      Thus, according to the Gurbani, death of Haumai does not mean one cannot continue to live.

      In fact, according to the Gurbani, one who has annihilated his Haumai becomes the living liberated (or living dead) and continues to live … a Gurmukh Lifestyle!
      • ਜੀਵਨ ਮੁਕਤੁ ਸੋ ਆਖੀਐ ਜਿਸੁ ਵਿਚਹੁ ਹਉਮੈ ਜਾਇ ॥੬॥: He alone is called liberated-in-life, from within whom Haumai is eradicated (sggs 1009).
      • ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦੀ ਹਉਮੈ ਛੁਟੈ ਜੀਵਨ ਮੁਕਤੁ ਸੋ ਹੋਇ ॥: (sggs 948).

    • Peter Jansen

      Dear j,

      The goal of this human live is to realize God. We do not realize God because of our ego.
      In our minds we have a mental barrier (illusion of separation) that prevents us seeing God in everyone and everywhere.
      When this barrier is dissolved, that you might call that ‘we cease to exist’. At that point there is no I, you, we or them. Only Oneness.
      But that doesn’t mean that you cannot have (possess, be in) a human body. One who has no ego (has realized God) still breaths, eats, drinks, talks and sleeps. But his (or hers!) consciousness is 24/7 emerged in his/her Mool.
      That is what’s called the living liberated or being dead when still alive: these great beings have given up this world of sense objects, as if they were dead (left their body).

      Hopes this helps!

    • Bhai Harbans Lal

      As psychologists will tell you, we need an ego to be able to function in the world. Ego is a useful and necessary structuring of our humane personality and development. Thus, our egos are not negative per se! You will not find job if you do no show pride in your strength and accomplishments. Thus ego or at least some of it is not ego. What Guru meant from Haumea is narcissism meaning the pursuit of gratification from vanity or egotistic admiration of one’s own attributes or fell in love with your own image away from the creator.

      • Many thanks Bhai Harbans Lal Ji for taking the time to respond!

        As psychologists will tell you, we need an ego to be able to function in the world. Ego is a useful and necessary structuring of our humane personality and development. Thus, our egos are not negative per se! You will not find job if you do no show pride in your strength and accomplishments.

        Fortunately, the Gurbani is not written by psychologists or scholars (Pandits, ਵਿੱਦਵਾਨ)!

        Instead, it flowed under pure spiritual inspiration.

        Therefore, the subject of study and research of psychologists or scholars is materiality (i.e., material knowledge, Maya…).

        On the other hand, the subject matter of the Gurbani is spiritual (Aatam Giaan, Spiritual Knowledge…).

        There is no subject taught or studied in the universities that relates to Aatmaa (soul).

        Hence, the university education is good for finding a worldly job to earn money or to run a business.

        This is generally true all over the world. Those of us who got their education in India as well as in the west can attest to this fact.

        Therefore, due to the vast difference in the aim of the modern education and the Spiritual Message of the Gurbani, psychologists or scholars cannot decode the deeper or the inner gist of the Gur-Shabad.

        Further difficulties in decoding the meanings of Gurbani is that it is recorded in human language; however, the language being limited in the framework of time and space is available to us for expressing our experiences in the finite field only. On the other hand, the theme of the Gurbani is the Transcendental Truth, the Eternal and the Infinite; which is beyond the purview of the gross equipment of our body-mind-intellect (egocentric existence). Therefore, the language, words or phrases of any sorts can never hope to express, define or report upon the Infinite Reality.

        Clearly, in nutshell, the Gurbani cannot be decoded by mere scholarship of the learned.

        For this very reason, the Gurbani time and again call scholars (Pandits) “fool”, “lier”, “greedy”, “deluded”, “infatuated by Maya”, who “mislead people”…

        Here are a few verses from the Gurbani:
        • ਬਾਹਰਹੁ ਪੰਡਿਤ ਸਦਾਇਦੇ ਮਨਹੁ ਮੂਰਖ ਗਾਵਾਰ ॥: Outwardly, (Manmukh) call themselves Pandit, but mentally they are foolish and ignorant (sggs 1091).
        • ਮੂਰਖ ਪੰਡਿਤ ਹਿਕਮਤਿ ਹੁਜਤਿ ਸੰਜੈ ਕਰਹਿ ਪਿਆਰੁ ॥: The foolish Pandit, by their clever arguments (crafty tricks…), are fond of gathering wealth (Maya…). (sggs 469).
        • ਮਾਇਆ ਕਾ ਮੁਹਤਾਜੁ ਪੰਡਿਤੁ ਕਹਾਵੈ ॥: Infatuated by (the hunger of) Maya, (he) calls himself Pandit (sggs 231).
        • ਝੂਠੁ ਨ ਬੋਲਿ ਪਾਡੇ ਸਚੁ ਕਹੀਐ ॥: O Pandit! Do not tell lies, speak the Truth (sggs 904).
        • ਪੰਡਿਤ ਮੋਹੇ ਲੋਭਿ ਸਬਾਏ ॥: All Pandits are deluded by greed (sggs 370).
        • ਪਾਹਨ ਬੋਰੀ ਪਿਰਥਮੀ ਪੰਡਿਤ ਪਾੜੀ ਬਾਟ ॥੧੩੭॥: Paahan boree… (sggs 1371).

        Bhul Chuk Maaf

  14. J

    Many thanks T Singh Ji.

    This response makes sense thank you.

    :-)

  15. Kirpal Singh

    “Perhaps better word to translate Haumai is Narcissism as ego has many good qualities, we will cease to exist if we did not possess ego.” – Dr. Harbans Lal

    Houmai is Houmai and not “NARCISSISM”. Houmai is very well dealth in Gurbani. Houmai is a wall that hinders ‘Gobind Millan’.

    • Many thanks Veer Kirpal Singh Ji for taking the time to respond!

    • Bhai Harbans Lal

      Yes, I agree that Haume is bad, undesirable and is condemned in Gurmat. What I am saying is that the English meaning of the term Haume is not ego but the correct meaning of term Haume is narcissism.

    • Peter Jansen

      I think there is not a great deal of difference between narcissism and ego. From a ‘human’ point of view, narcissism is considered a disease and ego is considered necessary to exist. According to the dictionary the meaning of ego is:
      1 an inflated feeling of pride in your superiority to others
      2 your consciousness of your own identity

      The Gurbani are, I think, very clear: no human being (or any living or non-living entity) is superior to another and the (false) idea of one’s own identity is the root cause of all our suffering.

  16. prakash S Bagga

    I think we should make a clear distinction between EGO and HAUME. And that distinction is clear from a Quote in gurbanee that HAUME is the Cause of births n rebirths whereas EGO can be considered as one of the effects of HAUME.

  17. prakash S Bagga

    Let us give a thinking to a Sabab from SGGS ji in context of HAUME as
    ਵਡਹੰਸੁ ਮਹਲਾ ੩ ॥ ਹਉਮੈ ਨਾਵੈ ਨਾਲਿ ਵਿਰੋਧੁ ਹੈ ਦੁਇ ਨ ਵਸਹਿ ਇਕ ਠਾਇ ॥ ਹਉਮੈ ਵਿਚਿ ਸੇਵਾ ਨ ਹੋਵਈ ਤਾ ਮਨੁ ਬਿਰਥਾ ਜਾਇ ॥੧॥

    ਹਰਿ ਚੇਤਿ ਮਨ ਮੇਰੇ ਤੂ ਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਸਬਦੁ ਕਮਾਇ ॥ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਮੰਨਹਿ ਤਾ ਹਰਿ ਮਿਲੈ ਤਾ ਵਿਚਹੁ ਹਉਮੈ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥

    ਹਉਮੈ ਸਭੁ ਸਰੀਰੁ ਹੈ ਹਉਮੈ ਓਪਤਿ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਹਉਮੈ ਵਡਾ ਗੁਬਾਰੁ ਹੈ ਹਉਮੈ ਵਿਚਿ ਬੁਝਿ ਨ ਸਕੈ ਕੋਇ ॥੨॥

    ਹਉਮੈ ਵਿਚਿ ਭਗਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਵਈ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਨ ਬੁਝਿਆ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਹਉਮੈ ਵਿਚਿ ਜੀਉ ਬੰਧੁ ਹੈ ਨਾਮੁ ਨ ਵਸੈ ਮਨਿ ਆਇ ॥੩॥

    ਨਾਨਕ ਸਤਗੁਰਿ ਮਿਲਿਐ ਹਉਮੈ ਗਈ ਤਾ ਸਚੁ ਵਸਿਆ ਮਨਿ ਆਇ ॥ ਸਚੁ ਕਮਾਵੈ ਸਚਿ ਰਹੈ ਸਚੇ ਸੇਵਿ ਸਮਾਇ ॥੪॥੯॥੧੨॥ {ਪੰਨਾ 560}

    • Thank you Veer P. S. Bagga Ji for the quote!

      Thank you for sharing. As about quotations, the SGGS is full of many more related verses, but all cannot be given from a space point of view.

      Thanks again Veer Ji!

  18. Bhai Harbans Lal

    In no way I am contradicting anything all of you are saying about Haumai and its attributes given in Gurbani including that Haumai must be extinguished.
    All I am saying is how to translate the term Haumai into English language. Haumai is not an English word.
    I suggest that Haumai be translated into English as Narcissism. This term better describes what Gurbani meant from Haumai.
    If I am not clear, my apology.

    • Many thanks Bhai Sahib Bhai Harbans Lal Ji for taking the time to respond!

      I agree with you that the important thing is to learn from the Gurbani and recognize the faults of Haumai, adverse effects of Haumai, etc., and extinguish it!
      • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਹਉਮੈ ਸਬਦਿ ਜਲਾਏ ॥: By becoming the Gurmukh, burn Haumai through the Shabad (sggs 942).

    • Peter Jansen

      Dear Bhai Harbans Lal,

      No need to apolozie! Isn’t the purpose of this website and the possibility to discuss to learn and gain a better understanding?

      Since I do not understand Punjabi/Gurbani I am very glad that others were (and are) so kind to translate these text of Wisdom to english. And I can understand that some words are very hard to translate, or even impossible as there is no word for it in english.

      Point of matter is that it doesn’t make a huge difference if the word Haumai is translated to narcissism or ego. As I wrote in my previous post, there is no fundamental difference between the two. Only difference is, that in Western society narcissism is considered as bad and ego is considered to be good. Which is basically duality…
      Ego is considered ‘good’ because it brings you where you ought te be. By that I mean: it gives you material possessions, money, women, friends, respect, a big house and all those other things that people with material bondage consider to be the ultimate goal in life.

      But the Gurbani are trying to teach us what the real goal of life is. There is, I think, no need to elaborate this point here.

      So the real question is: what do we need to do, and what not, to achieve this ultimate goal? I am pretty sure ego is not one of those needs and everyone that thinks otherwise is clinging to sense objects and has doubts about the ultimate truth..There are many ways towards that ultimate goal, but all of them require a complete cessation of personal desires and full subjection to the Will of the One Lord. Maybe I put it a bit harsh. Not to offend anyone, but to clarify the point.

      After all, all the scriptures (not only the SGGS, but also the Veda’s, Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, etc) are hammering this message: the One Lord takes care and protects His devotees. We just have to offer our body, senses, speech, minds and everything we have to the Lord, without any thought of reward!

      • Many thanks brother Peter Jansen Ji for taking the time to respond!

        No need to apologize! Isn’t the purpose of this website and the possibility to discuss to learn and gain a better understanding?

        Yes! Well said!

        what do we need to do, and what not, to achieve this ultimate goal? I am pretty sure ego is not one of those needs and everyone that thinks otherwise is clinging to sense objects

        That’s the Gurbani’s edict as well! In fact the Gurbani calls it a chronic disease (“ਵਡਾ ਰੋਗੁ”, “ਰੋਗੁ ਮਹਾ ਦੁਖ”, “ਰੋਗੁ ਕਠਿਨ”, “ਰੋਗ ਬੁਰੇ “, “ਦੀਰਘ ਰੋਗੁ”).

        There are many ways towards that ultimate goal, but all of them require a complete cessation of personal desires and full subjection to the Will of the One Lord.

        This is also the Gurbani’s edict!
        The word “ਹਉਮੈ” (Haumai) consists of two words: ਹਉ (Hau) + ਮੈ (Mai).
        “ਹਉ” (Hau) essentially means “I, ਮੈ”, etc.
        And, ” ਮੈ” (Mai) means the same, that is, “I, ਮੈ”, etc.
        So, when both terms are combined (i.e., ਹਉਮੈ-Haumai), it simply indicates the sense of “ਮੈ ਮੈ”, “I, I” or “I-ness”, “mine, mine”, “mineness”, “I, me, mine”, ਆਪਾ-ਭਾਵ, etc.
        • ਹਉ ਮੁਆ ਮੈ ਮਾਰਿਆ ਪਉਣੁ ਵਹੈ ਦਰੀਆਉੁ ॥: So long Jeev is smitten with “Ego”, a river (of desires, Trishanaa) flow within (that Jeev). (sggs 1091).
        • ਹੁਕਮੁ ਪਛਾਨੈ ਸੁ ਏਕੋ ਜਾਨੈ ਬੰਦਾ ਕਹੀਐ ਸੋਈ ॥੩॥: Whoever realizes the Hukam, knows the ONE. (He) alone is said to be the humble self. ||3|| (sggs 1350).
        • ਨਾਨਕ ਹੁਕਮੈ ਜੇ ਬੁਝੈ ਤ ਹਉਮੈ ਕਹੈ ਨ ਕੋਇ ॥: Nanak hukamai je bujhai ta houmai kehai na koi (sggs 1).

        The Gurbani also makes it very clear that in “Haumai”, realization of “Bhagti” and “Hukam” is NOT possible:
        • ਹਉਮੈ ਵਿਚਿ ਭਗਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਵਈ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਨ ਬੁਝਿਆ ਜਾਇ ॥: Haumai vichi bhagati n hovaee hukamu n bujhiaa jaayi (sggs 560)

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