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 Giaan– Wisdom.
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 with Me, then step onto My Way putting your head on palm. When you place your foot on this Way, give up your head (false ego-sense), do not be afraid or shrink ||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’).
- 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 Guru or the Satigur?
The Gurbani tells us that we can serve the Guru or the Satiguru through Shabad-Vichaar (Reflecting on the Gur-Shabad, churning the Gurbani, Internalizing or Becoming the Gurbani and living life accordingly).
- ਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਸੇਵਾ ਸਬਦੁ ਵੀਚਾਰੁ ॥ ਹਉਮੈ ਮਾਰੇ ਕਰਣੀ ਸਾਰੁ ॥੭॥: The Guru’s Sevaa or Service is Shabad Vichaar (Internalizing the Shabad – Enlightening oneself with the Upadesh or Message of the Shabad). Undertaking (this) essential Effort, control Haumai (i.e. false ego-sense and its faults – ‘Panch‘ i.e. Bikaar) ॥7॥. (sggs 223).
- 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 Bikaar — this is (also) an act of great ‘Punn‘. ||1||Pause|| (sggs 13).
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.
According to gurbaanee HAUMAI is the basic cause of Births. So its meaning should be understood in this context . I feel so.
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…..
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||
I think we must find what the “HAUMAI” is from within Gurbaanee
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).
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.
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.
Many Thanks Bhai Sahib Rajinder Singh Ji for taking the time to respond! Welcome to the Gurbani Blog Ji!
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.
Many thanks J ji for taking the time to respond!
Great post, thank you T Singh Ji