In order to instruct, explain or persuade us (ਸਮਝਾਣ ਲਈ), the Gurbani has used numerous examples of our world around us, including many animals.
However, the Gurmat (Wisdom, Giaan, Upadesh or Way of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, SGGS…) is not meant for deer or other animals! Neither are the Gurdwara congregations (or any other religious congregation for that matter) meant for deer or other animals!
It’s for the human mind for learning and mends!
However, what we see in Sikh community today, most people are struck with examples instead of the Wisdom (Giaan, Bibek, Knowledge…) given in a particular Shabad to make us understand the deep sense of the Gurbani.
It’s like holding on to a finger that points to fruit on a tree. If you want to go pick the fruit and taste it, then you must let the finger go!
When the Truth that has not been personally experienced, one can not grasp it directly. However, with the help of examples, analogies, similes, allegories, metaphors, figurative or mystic representations and illustrations, idioms (ਮੁਹਾਵਰੇ), etc., the Truth becomes relatively easier to grasp. Such methods have extensively been used in the SGGS.
The mind so conditioned (i.e., the “filthy”) is also called “black deer” in the Gurbani.
- ਤੂੰ ਸੁਣਿ ਹਰਣਾ ਕਾਲਿਆ ਕੀ ਵਾੜੀਐ ਰਾਤਾ ਰਾਮ ॥ ਬਿਖੁ ਫਲੁ ਮੀਠਾ ਚਾਰਿ ਦਿਨ ਫਿਰਿ ਹੋਵੈ ਤਾਤਾ ਰਾਮ ॥: Listen, O black deer (i.e., the depraved, wandering mind)! Why are you so attached to the orchard (i.e., objects of the enchanting world)? The fruit (of this orchard) is poisonous, it taste sweet for only a few days, and then it turns painful (it brings spiritual death). (sggs 438).
- ਸਚੁ ਕਹੈ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਚੇਤਿ ਰੇ ਮਨ ਮਰਹਿ ਹਰਣਾ ਕਾਲਿਆ ॥੧॥: Nanak says. O black deer – O mind! Understand the True (Naam: Wisdom, Virtues…), otherwise you will end up spiritually dead. ||1|| (sggs 439).
As indicated in the Gurbani, our mind has been accumulating Malla (Bikh, Sootak; inner filth, inner dirt, inner scum, inner pollution, inner impurity, falsehood, duality or Doojaa Bhaav, Bikaar…) over and over again. Covered with the countless layers of this Malla, our mind has become “pitch black”, and as a result, it is unable to see its own Illumined State (Mool) or Divine Nature (Jot Saroop).
- ਜਨਮ ਜਨਮ ਕੀ ਇਸੁ ਮਨ ਕਉ ਮਲੁ ਲਾਗੀ ਕਾਲਾ ਹੋਆ ਸਿਆਹ ॥: The scum (i.e., impurity) of so many births is attached to this mind and it has become pitch black (sggs 651).
- ਸਭੁ ਜਗੁ ਕਾਜਲ ਕੋਠੜੀ ਤਨੁ ਮਨੁ ਦੇਹ ਸੁਆਹਿ ॥: The whole world is (like) a store-house of lamp-black; (whosoever becomes attached to it, his) body and mind are blackened with it. (sggs 64).
As a result, the Gurbani says that the Lamp (of Wisdom or Giaan) within has become filthy.
- ਮਾਧੋ ਅਬਿਦਿਆ ਹਿਤ ਕੀਨ ॥ ਬਿਬੇਕ ਦੀਪ ਮਲੀਨ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: O Maadho (i.e, Universal Energy)! (Man) is in love with ignorance. (As a result, his) Lamp of discerning intellect (ਪਰਖ ਵਾਲਾ ਦੀਵਾ – intellect that can discriminate between right and wrong…) has become dirty (i.e., dim or hazy). ||1||Pause|| (sggs 486).
The mind’s “filth” that has made it “pitch dark” include doubts, Haumai, Maya, Bikaar (lust, anger, greed, worldly attachment, pride, and their countless variations such as enviousness, stubborn mindedness, hatred, animosity, fear, selfishness, falsehood, quarrel, slandering, cruelty, wickedness, prejudices, Jaat Paat, cheating, hypocrisy, lying, deceptiveness, etc.).
With a fantastic example of deer’s attachment to hunter’s bell which becomes the cause of deer’s death, the Gurbani Guides the Mankind:
- ਕਾਮ ਹੇਤਿ ਕੁੰਚਰੁ ਲੈ ਫਾਂਕਿਓ ਓਹੁ ਪਰ ਵਸਿ ਭਇਓ ਬਿਚਾਰਾ ॥ ਨਾਦ ਹੇਤਿ ਸਿਰੁ ਡਾਰਿਓ ਕੁਰੰਕਾ ਉਸ ਹੀ ਹੇਤ ਬਿਦਾਰਾ ॥੨॥ ਦੇਖਿ ਕੁਟੰਬੁ ਲੋਭਿ ਮੋਹਿਓ ਪ੍ਰਾਨੀ ਮਾਇਆ ਕਉ ਲਪਟਾਨਾ ॥ ਅਤਿ ਰਚਿਓ ਕਰਿ ਲੀਨੋ ਅਪੁਨਾ ਉਨਿ ਛੋਡਿ ਸਰਾਪਰ ਜਾਨਾ ॥੩॥: Lured by sexual desire, the elephant is trapped; the poor beast falls into the power of another. Lured by the sound of the hunter’s bell, the deer offers its head; because of this enticement, it is killed. ||2|| Gazing upon his family, the mortal is enticed by greed; he clings in attachment to Maya. Totally engrossed in worldly things, he considers them to be his own; but in the end, he will surely have to leave them behind ||3|| (sggs 671).
On account of its “filth”, a conditioned mind searches for “everything” outside. Although the Gurbani repeatedly reminds the mind that everything is within.
To demonstrate this truth, the Gurbani gives us an another wonderful example of deer who is known for searching for musk (Kastooree) in the bushes. In reality, the musk is stored within the deer’s own body, but in illusioned, he keeps searching it outside.
- ਵਿਣੁ ਕਾਇਆ ਜਿ ਹੋਰ ਥੈ ਧਨੁ ਖੋਜਦੇ ਸੇ ਮੂੜ ਬੇਤਾਲੇ ॥ ਸੇ ਉਝੜਿ ਭਰਮਿ ਭਵਾਈਅਹਿ ਜਿਉ ਝਾੜ ਮਿਰਗੁ ਭਾਲੇ ॥੧੫॥: Those who search for this Treasure (of the Naam) outside of the body, in other places, are foolish and inharmonious. They wander around in the wilderness of doubt, like the deer who (not knowing that the musk is ever present in his own body) searches for the musk in the bushes ||15|| (sggs 309).
- ਘਰ ਹੀ ਮਹਿ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਭਰਪੂਰੁ ਹੈ ਮਨਮੁਖਾ ਸਾਦੁ ਨ ਪਾਇਆ ॥ ਜਿਉ ਕਸਤੂਰੀ ਮਿਰਗੁ ਨ ਜਾਣੈ ਭ੍ਰਮਦਾ ਭਰਮਿ ਭੁਲਾਇਆ ॥: As the body-house (the Soul, Heart, etc.) is brimful with the Amrit (Naam), still, because of the deluded mind, the self-willed Manmukh (perverse, one in material consciousness, etc.) does not recognize or experience it. (He is) like the deer, who does not recognize its own musk-scent (that is located within its own body); (but to find the musk-scent) it wanders around, deluded by doubt (sggs 644).
The Gurbani uses an another superb example of deer’s illusion or delusion (“ਮ੍ਰਿਗ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ”, mirage,) to Awaken the Wisdom in the Mankind.
- ਮ੍ਰਿਗ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਜਿਉ ਜਗ ਰਚਨਾ ਯਹ ਦੇਖਹੁ ਰਿਦੈ ਬਿਚਾਰਿ ॥: Reflect in your Heart and see that this world creation (Maya) is like a deer’s illusion, a mirage (sggs 537).
- ਮ੍ਰਿਗ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਗੰਧਰਬ ਨਗਰੰ ਦ੍ਰੁਮ ਛਾਯਾ ਰਚਿ ਦੁਰਮਤਿਹ ॥: Misled by the wicked intellect, (mortal) assumes an illusory image of a city, mirage, and the transitory shade of a tree to be real (sggs 1356).
- ਮ੍ਰਿਗ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਜਿਉ ਝੂਠੋ ਇਹੁ ਜਗ ਦੇਖਿ ਤਾਸਿ ਉਠਿ ਧਾਵੈ ॥੧॥: This world is false like the deer’s delusion (mirage). (As a deer chases after mirage and dies chasing it), similarly, (the Maya stricken person) on beholding this world runs after it (and suffers – ਆਤਮਕ ਮੌਤ) ||1|| (sggs 219).
Last but not least, the Gurbani Teaches us how deer trained by hunters trap their own kind. Similarly, the crafty trained leaders (rulers, officials, ਹਾਕਮ) trap their own fellow human beings dishonestly (ਬੇਇਮਾਨੀ ਨਾਲ).
For example, consider how people get cheated and plundered by the so called learned and clever Pujaare groups — crafty Ragi, Bhai, Giaanee, Kathaakaar, Deraa-Vaad, Baabaa-Vaad, Sant-Vaad, Jathedaar-Vaad, Takhat-Vaad, foolish and dishonest so called scholars, etc.
- ਹਰਣਾਂ ਬਾਜਾਂ ਤੈ ਸਿਕਦਾਰਾਂ ਏਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਾ ਪੜ੍ਹ੍ਹਿਆ ਨਾਉ ॥ ਫਾਂਧੀ ਲਗੀ ਜਾਤਿ ਫਹਾਇਨਿ ਅਗੈ ਨਾਹੀ ਥਾਉ ॥: Deer, falcons and leaders are known to be “learned”. When the trap is set, they trap their own kind; in future they find no peace (i.e., the trained deer and eagle trap their own brethren, just as the official sucks the blood of his own fellows human beings – ਬੇਇਮਾਨੀ ਨਾਲ). (sggs 1288).