Leave Ego Personality and Shoes Outside!

The priorities of the Gurmat Wisdom of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) are totally different then the priorities of the deluded mind ridden with the negative impact of the bloated egotism (Haumai).

In Gurdwaras, for example, we see signs asking people to leave their shoes (and socks in some places) outside before entering the Gurdwara building. In fact, many Gurdwaras have made special ‘shoe Room’ to place the shoes. Furthermore, some places have separate shoe rooms for men and women.

Gurdwaras were supposed to be the schools of Gurmat (Dharamsaal), for the purpose of learning the Guru’s GiaanWisdom.

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

  • ਹਉਮੈ ਬਿਖੁ ਮਨੁ ਮੋਹਿਆ ਲਦਿਆ ਅਜਗਰ ਭਾਰੀ ॥: Haumai or false ego-sense is poison (that brings death to divine life of wisdom and Virtues), (man’s) mind remains lured by this (poison of Haumai), and remains loaded by this heavy dragon fat egotism (Haumai). (sggs 1260).

In reality, nobody cannot totally remove his/her false ego-sense (Haumai). It defines our relationship with ourselves and our world, essentially providing meaning to the self to insure survival, success, protection, procreation etc.

However, what we are asked by the Gurbani is to annihilate the negative aspect or negative impact of the BLOATED egotism (Haumai– ਹਉਮੈ), which kills our True Nature. It feels real because we attach our false ego-sense to some perceived parameters in some form, such as power, status, beauty, youth, strength, wealth, education, knowledge, possessions, Jaat Paat (casteism) etc. Prior to the movement of the false ego-sense (Haumai), the Gurbani tells us our mind’s ORIGINAL NATURE is Jot Saroop.

  • ਨਾਨਕ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਦੁਆਰਾ ਅਤਿ ਨੀਕਾ ਨਾਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਾ ਹੋਇ ਸੁ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਹਉਮੈ ਮਨੁ ਅਸਥੂਲੁ ਹੈ ਕਿਉ ਕਰਿ ਵਿਚੁ ਦੇ ਜਾਇ ॥: O Nanak! The gate to liberation (from Mayaic attachment or bondage, etc.) is very narrow, only the one who becomes very narrow (i.e., mind with thinned egotism) can pass through it. But if the mind has become fat or bloated with egotism, then how can it pass through this (tiny gate or door)? (sggs 509).
  • ਕਬੀਰ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਦੁਆਰਾ ਸੰਕੁੜਾ ਰਾਈ ਦਸਵੈ ਭਾਇ ॥ ਮਨੁ ਤਉ ਮੈਗਲੁ ਹੋਇ ਰਹਾ ਨਿਕਸਿਆ ਕਿਉ ਕਰਿ ਜਾਇ ॥: O Kabeer! The gate of liberation is narrow, less than one-tenth of a mustard seed. (But bloated with egotism) the mind has become as big as an elephant; how can it pass through this gate? (sggs 509).

According to the Gurbani, annihilation of the negative aspect or negative impact of the BLOATED egotism is accomplished ONLY by the Wisdom of our Original Nature as Jot Saroop. Due to ignorance of this Jot Saroop, we identify with the body-mind-intellect apparatus. This is the birth of Haumai (egotism).

  • ਕਰਹਿ ਬਿਕਾਰ ਵਿਥਾਰ ਘਨੇਰੇ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਸਬਦ ਬਿਨੁ ਭਰਮਿ ਪਇਆ ॥ ਹਉਮੈ ਰੋਗੁ ਮਹਾ ਦੁਖੁ ਲਾਗਾ ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਲੇਵਹੁ ਰੋਗੁ ਗਇਆ ॥੬॥ (O crazy man) you act in corruption (Bikaar: i.e. lust, anger, greed, etc.), and put on ostentatious shows, but without awareness of the Shabad, you have fallen into doubt or confusion. You are afflicted with greatest pain from the disease of egotism. Following the Gurmat, you can be rid of this disease. ||6|| (sggs 906).

In short, the Gurmat Wisdom of SGGS asks its Sikhs (learners, seekers-ਸਿਖਿਆਰਥੀ) us enter the Gurdwara with an open mind (‘ਸਿਰੁ ਧਰਿ ਤਲੀ-Sir Dhari Talee‘) — a mind which is free of negativity willing to learn the Guru’s Wisdom. In other words, the Gurbani does NOT want us to come to the Shabad Guru with a closed or narrow mind (ਤੰਗ ਦਿਮਾਗ ਨਾਲ ਨਹੀ; ਅਪਣਾ ਦਿਮਾਗ ਖੋਲ ਕੇ ਗੁਰੂ ਦੇ ਕੋਲ ਆਣਾਂ).

  • ਜਉ ਤਉ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਖੇਲਣ ਕਾ ਚਾਉ ॥ ਸਿਰੁ ਧਰਿ ਤਲੀ ਗਲੀ ਮੇਰੀ ਆਉ ॥ ਇਤੁ ਮਾਰਗਿ ਪੈਰੁ ਧਰੀਜੈ ॥ ਸਿਰੁ ਦੀਜੈ ਕਾਣਿ ਨ ਕੀਜੈ ॥੨੦॥: If you desire to play this game of Divine Love, then step on the Way to me after completely shedding your false ego-sense (Haumai). One should step onto this path (of Love) only when one is ready with complete surrender (of false ego-sense) without any hesitation. ||20|| (sggs 1412).

Before milk is poured into a vessel (ਭਾਂਡਾ-Bhaandaa), we wash it clean and dry it out. After making sure the vessel is thoroughly clean and dry, then we pour milk in it. Similarly, before we can pour the milk of the Wisdom of the SGGS (Gur-Giaan) into our mind, it must be thoroughly cleansed of inner garbage.

  • ਭਾਂਡਾ ਧੋਇ ਬੈਸਿ ਧੂਪੁ ਦੇਵਹੁ ਤਉ ਦੂਧੈ ਕਉ ਜਾਵਹੁ ॥: (To obtain butter, first) you wash the vessel, let it sit in the sun (so it can dry out), then you go out and get the milk (in that vessel and then curdle it). (sggs 728).

Apparently, the priorities of the Wisdom of the SGGS are different than the priorities of the fat egotism (Haumai) and it negativity.

Nonetheless, Gurdwaras are no longer the schools of learning Gurmat of Baabaa Nanak or the SGGS.

Suffering from spiritual indigestion, the self serving Pujaaree (clergy: Granthis, Parcharaks, Ragis, Dhadees etc.) and the freeloading Deraa-Vaad Baabaas (ਵੇਹਲੜ) etc., in collaboration with the management committees of Gurdwaras have turned these places into anti-Gurmat Karamkaand (Brahmanical rituals). They don’t want people to become WISE. Instead, they want people remain ignorant, fearful, Karamkaandee, lost in religious paraphernalia and religious robes, greedy, worshiping them and their concocted god etc. They know well that they will lose their power and lucrative business (Golak, ਧੰਦਾ) if people were to become Wise.

The result is distortion of the Gurbani (SGGS), bloody conflicts in Gurdwaras, legal disputes, lawsuits, assault with deadly weapons, shootings, sword-fights, social divisions in the name of Jaat Paat (casteism) etc.!

To put it otherwise, before we step on the Way of the SGGS, the Gurbani commands ‘first’ to accept death (‘ਪਹਿਲਾ ਮਰਣੁ ਕਬੂਲਿ’) — killing of the mind negatively impacted with the bloated egotism (Haumai).

  • ਪਹਿਲਾ ਮਰਣੁ ਕਬੂਲਿ ਜੀਵਣ ਕੀ ਛਡਿ ਆਸ ॥ ਹੋਹੁ ਸਭਨਾ ਕੀ ਰੇਣੁਕਾ ਤਉ ਆਉ ਹਮਾਰੈ ਪਾਸਿ ॥੧॥: (Message from God) O Mortal, first accept death (of your false ego-sense) and give up longing for worldly desires (selfishness etc.), become humble like the dust of the feet of all, only then come to Me. ||1|| (sggs 1102).

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

However, as time and again indicated in the Gurbani, the negative aspect of the egotism (Haumai) is more despicable then the footwear or the socks!

The Gurbani calls it the greatest 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).

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 negativity of the egotism (Haumai) — the negative impact (ਬੁਰਾ ਪ੍ਰਭਾਵ) of egotism on the mind is always despicable!

  • 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).
  • ਹਉ ਮੁਆ ਮੈ ਮਾਰਿਆ ਪਉਣੁ ਵਹੈ ਦਰੀਆਉ ॥ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਥਕੀ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਜਾ ਮਨੁ ਰਤਾ ਨਾਇ ॥: So long the mortal is smitten with ‘ego’, a river (of desires, Trishanaa) flow within. O Nanak! Desire is exhausted only when the mind is imbued with the Naam (Wisdom, Virtues, Truth…). (sggs 1091). (sggs 1091).

Therefore, the Gurbani demands that no time can the negative impact of egotism (Haumai) be entertained.

What’s bad inside the Gurdwara is also bad outside the Gurdwara. Also, what’s bad outside the Gurdwara is also bad inside the Gurdwara!

  • ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਨੋ ਸਭੁ ਕੋ ਵੇਖਦਾ ਜੇਤਾ ਜਗਤੁ ਸੰਸਾਰੁ ॥ ਡਿਠੈ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਵਈ ਜਿਚਰੁ ਸਬਦਿ ਨ ਕਰੇ ਵੀਚਾਰੁ ॥ ਹਉਮੈ ਮੈਲੁ ਨ ਚੁਕਈ ਨਾਮਿ ਨ ਲਗੈ ਪਿਆਰੁ ॥: 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. (Because, without the Shabad-Vichaar) the filth of Haumai (false ego-sense) is not removed, and love for the Naam (Shabad, Hukam, Divine Virtues, Divine Wisdom, Giaan…) does not get affixed (in the mind). (sggs 594).

The purpose of going to Gurdwara or any other spiritual practice is to 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 that the negative impact (ਬੁਰਾ ਪ੍ਰਭਾਵ) of Haumai on the mind be removed.

  • ਜਬ ਲਗੁ ਸਬਦਿ ਨ ਭੇਦੀਐ ਕਿਉ ਸੋਹੈ ਗੁਰਦੁਆਰਿ ॥: As long as (one’s mind) has NOT Realized the Enlightenment of the Shabad, (until then one does NOT) look Beauteous (Inner Beauty: state of Bliss, abidance in one’s Jot Saroop) in the Pathway of the Guru (there will be NO Realization of the Creator in Conscience, Within). (sggs 19).

Hence, there should also be written on the doormats and walls of the Gurdwaras to leave the false ego-sense (Haumai) outside!

This is unlikely to happen because the people who run Gurdwaras and their paid clergy (Pujaaree) are full of it themselves!

It’s convenient and easier to remove shoes instead of removing the false ego-sense (Haumai– ਹਉਮੈ)!

It takes courage to remove negativity of egotism, because removing it is like chewing the steel balls! Since it’s not easy to remove it, the majority of us instead get attracted to Karamkaand (useless rituals or formalities).

The Gurbani’s declaration — ‘With your head in hand-ਸਿਰੁ ਧਰਿ ਤਲੀ’ — essentially means removing one’s false ego-sense (self-conceit…). Because, the Gurbani says one must serve without negativity of the egotism (‘ਵਿਣੁ ਸਿਰ ਸੇਵ ਕਰੀਜੈ’).

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 Guru or the Satigur?

The Gurbani tells us that we can serve the Guru / Satiguru through Reflecting on the Gur-Shabad, churning the Gurbani, Internalizing or Becoming the Gurbani and living life accordingly (Shabad-Vichaar).

As follows, the Gurbani in the SGGS reveals to its Sikhs (students, learners) the nature of the Guru’s Service (‘Gur Ki Sevaa‘). 

  • ਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਸੇਵਾ ਸਬਦੁ ਵੀਚਾਰੁ ॥ ਹਉਮੈ ਮਾਰੇ ਕਰਣੀ ਸਾਰੁ ॥੭॥ : Undertaking the deed of controlling my false ego-sense (Haumai) and Enlightening myself with the spiritual Message within the Shabad (Shabad Vichaar) is service (Sevaa) of the Guru (ਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਸੇਵਾ – Gur Ki Sevaa). ॥7॥. (sggs 223).
  • ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਸੇਵਾ ਸਫਲ ਹੈ ਜੇ ਕੋ ਕਰੇ ਚਿਤੁ ਲਾਇ ॥ ਨਾਮੁ ਪਦਾਰਥੁ ਪਾਈਐ ਅਚਿੰਤੁ ਵਸੈ ਮਨਿ ਆਇ ॥ : Service in the name of the Satguru (Creator-connecting True Wisdom – ਸੱਚਾ ਗਿਆਨ) is meaningful when done in sincerity. (In such service) the Treasure of Divine Naam (Wisdom / Virtues) is realized and the mind comes to reside in a worry Free State (State of Inner Peace). (sggs 552).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਹਉਮੈ ਸਬਦਿ ਜਲਾਏ ॥: Internalization of the spiritual Message of the Shabad (the Gurmukh-Hood State of Mind) burn Haumai (false ego-sense). (sggs 942).

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

Thoughts, actions, or words of such person will be the expression of Joy and fulfillment he experiences within. Thoughts, actions, or words pour out of him will benefit all being, including himself!

Therefore – in addition to the signs for taking the shoes off outside – perhaps there should also be signs for Leave Ego Personality Outside!

  • 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).

When coming to the Guru (Shabad), the SGGS teaches us to come with the mind that is straight like a ‘Dandaa‘ (a straight stick) — free of false ego-sense its faults (Bikaar: lust, ager, greed, attachment, pride, and their numerous variations), deception, pretense (Pakhand), fraud, trickery, Karamkaand etc. This is said to be the greatest ‘Punn‘ in the SGGS!

  • ਕਾਮਿ ਕਰੋਧਿ ਨਗਰੁ ਬਹੁ ਭਰਿਆ ਮਿਲਿ ਸਾਧੂ ਖੰਡਲ ਖੰਡਾ ਹੇ ॥ ਪੂਰਬਿ ਲਿਖਤ ਲਿਖੇ ਗੁਰੁ ਪਾਇਆ ਮਨਿ ਹਰਿ ਲਿਵ ਮੰਡਲ ਮੰਡਾ ਹੇ ॥੧॥ ਕਰਿ ਸਾਧੂ ਅੰਜੁਲੀ ਪੁਨੁ ਵਡਾ ਹੇ ॥ ਕਰਿ ਡੰਡਉਤ ਪੁਨੁ ਵਡਾ ਹੇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ : Meeting my Guru (i.e. Shabad, Upadesh or Message) shattered the hold of lust (worldly desires) and anger (i.e. all Bikaar) over me. My efforts towards connecting with my Guru destined my mind into realm of Godly Union. ||1|| (Hence, O mortal) show respect to the Guru (Shabad), it is an act of great ‘Punn‘. Straighten out (the mind) like a stick — become free of vices or Bikaarthis is (also) an act of great ‘Punn‘. ||1||Pause|| (sggs 13).


  1. Waheguru ji ka khalsa, waheguru ji ki fateh🙏
    Thank u ji for this wonderful divine write up, it is so accurate and hits the target so right!
    It came up for me v v timely and helped me much.
    I hav taken out a print out and read it daily. Its something i struggle with, may waheguru bless us all and rid us all of this dirty ego!
    Waheguru bless u for this divine message!

  2. Sardar T Singh ji,
    Thank you so much in writing great Tatt Gurmat Gyan articles.
    Appreciate if you could also write the Gurbani Shabad in Romanised English bedsides Gurmukhi, for the benefit of those Gurmukhi illiterate.
    Keep up the good work

  3. Agree that the Haumai is the cause of lust, anger, greed, attachment, pride, selfishness, jealousy, stubborn mindedness, and so on — the root of all trouble in the world.

    In fact, the whole purpose of religion is to kill the Haumai (false ego-sense).

    Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts

  4. I think that Haumai is the cause of other evils (lust, greed, attachment, desire
    ). If haumai goes by the blessings of god, all other evils vanishes because everywhere only he is seen transcending from his creation.Sabẖ mėh joṯ joṯ hai so▫e.
    Amongst all is the Light-You are that Light.
    ਸਾਰਿਆਂ ਅੰਦਰ ਜਿਹੜੀ ਰੋਸ਼ਨੀ ਹੈ, ਉਹ ਰੋਸ਼ਨੀ ਤੂੰ ਹੈਂ।
    ਜੋਤਿ = ਚਾਨਣ, ਪ੍ਰਕਾਸ਼। ਸੋਇ = ਉਹ ਪ੍ਰਭੂ।
    ਸਾਰੇ ਜੀਵਾਂ ਵਿਚ ਇਕੋ ਉਹੀ ਪਰਮਾਤਮਾ ਦੀ ਜੋਤੀ ਵਰਤ ਰਹੀ ਹੈ।

    तिस दै चानणि सभ महि चानणु होइ ॥
    Ŧis ḏai cẖānaṇ sabẖ mėh cẖānaṇ ho▫e.
    By this Illumination, that Light is radiant within all.
    ਉਸ ਦੇ ਨੂਰ ਦੁਆਰਾ ਸਾਰੀਆਂ ਆਤਮਾਵਾਂ ਅੰਦਰ ਨੂਰ ਪ੍ਰਕਾਸ਼ ਹੋ ਜਾਂਦਾ ਹੈ।
    ਤਿਸ ਦੈ ਚਾਨਣਿ = ਉਸ ਪ੍ਰਭੂ ਦੇ ਚਾਨਣ ਨਾਲ।
    ਉਸ ਜੋਤਿ ਦੇ ਪਰਕਾਸ਼ ਨਾਲ ਸਾਰੇ ਜੀਵਾਂ ਵਿਚ ਚਾਨਣ (ਸੂਝ-ਬੂਝ) ਹੈ।

    ਗੁਰ ਸਾਖੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਪਰਗਟੁ ਹੋਇ ॥
    गुर साखी जोति परगटु होइ ॥
    Gur sākẖī joṯ pargat ho▫e.
    Through the Guru’s Teachings, the Light shines forth.
    ਗੁਰਾਂ ਦੇ ਉਪਦੇਸ਼ ਦੁਆਰਾ ਈਸ਼ਵਰੀ ਨੂਰ ਜ਼ਾਹਿਰ ਹੋ ਜਾਂਦਾ ਹੈ।
    ਸਾਖੀ = ਸਿੱਖਿਆ ਨਾਲ।
    ਪਰ ਇਸ ਜੋਤਿ ਦਾ ਗਿਆਨ ਗੁਰੂ ਦੀ ਸਿੱਖਿਆ ਨਾਲ ਹੀ ਹੁੰਦਾ ਹੈ। (ਗੁਰੂ ਰਾਹੀਂ ਇਹ ਸਮਝ ਪੈਂਦੀ ਹੈ ਕਿ ਹਰੇਕ ਦੇ ਅੰਦਰ ਪਰਮਾਤਮਾ ਦੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਹੈ)।

  5. Blessed is he who is of pure heart. Another great read. By practice and shabad vichaar my ego can be destroyed. Keep up the excellent work T Singh. For waheguru has blessed you with Aatam Gian.

  6. 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 ॥ (sggs 1091).
    • ਹੁਕਮੁ ਪਛਾਨੈ ਸੁ ਏਕੋ ਜਾਨੈ ਬੰਦਾ ਕਹੀਐ ਸੋਈ ॥੩॥ (sggs 1350).
    • ਨਾਨਕ ਹੁਕਮੈ ਜੇ ਬੁਝੈ ਤ ਹਉਮੈ ਕਹੈ ਨ ਕੋਇ ॥ (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 ॥ (sggs 560)

  7. 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!

  8. 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 ॥: (sggs 942).

  9. 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.

  10. 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!

  11. 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}

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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 ॥: (sggs 1091).
    • ਮੂਰਖ ਪੰਡਿਤ ਹਿਕਮਤਿ ਹੁਜਤਿ ਸੰਜੈ ਕਰਹਿ ਪਿਆਰੁ ॥: (sggs 469).
    • ਮਾਇਆ ਕਾ ਮੁਹਤਾਜੁ ਪੰਡਿਤੁ ਕਹਾਵੈ ॥: (sggs 231).
    • ਝੂਠੁ ਨ ਬੋਲਿ ਪਾਡੇ ਸਚੁ ਕਹੀਐ ॥: (sggs 904).
    • ਪੰਡਿਤ ਮੋਹੇ ਲੋਭਿ ਸਬਾਏ ॥: (sggs 370).
    • ਪਾਹਨ ਬੋਰੀ ਪਿਰਥਮੀ ਪੰਡਿਤ ਪਾੜੀ ਬਾਟ ॥੧੩੭॥: Paahan boree… (sggs 1371).

    Bhul Chuk Maaf

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. “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’.

  18. 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!

  19. 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: (sggs 1049).
    • ਹਉਮੈ ਮਾਰਿ ਬਜਰ ਕਪਾਟ ਖੁਲਾਇਆ ॥ ਨਾਮੁ ਅਮੋਲਕੁ ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦੀ ਪਾਇਆ ॥: (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॥: (sggs 153).
    • ਹਉਮੈ ਮਾਰਿ ਮੰਨਿ ਵਸਾਇਆ ॥: (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॥: (sggs 1009).
    • ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦੀ ਹਉਮੈ ਛੁਟੈ ਜੀਵਨ ਮੁਕਤੁ ਸੋ ਹੋਇ ॥: (sggs 948).

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. Many thanks Bhai Harbans Lal Ji for taking the time to respond to this post.

    Perhaps better word to translate Haumai

    We use the word “false” ego-sense!

  23. 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.

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

  25. 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 ॥: (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 ॥:

    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!!!

  26. 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.

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

  28. 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…..

  29. 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||

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

  31. 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 ॥: (sggs 1418).

  32. Ego ( Haumai )is the worst vikaar as compared to the others like :-
    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.

  33. 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.

  34. 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.

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