O Wandering Mind! Come Home

The Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) calls mind ‘Pavan Man(u) – ਪਵਨ ਮਨੁ’ (i.e., wind like – wavering, restless, wandering, Mayaic…), and ‘Pardaesee – ਪਰਦੇਸੀ’ (i.e., wandering mind, strange, alien, foreigner, looking for happiness outside, animal-natured mind, ਥਾਂ ਥਾਂ ਭਟਕਣ ਵਾਲਾ…) — buffeted by the winds of desire (Trishanaa, Maya).

  • ਕਬੀਰ ਮਨੁ ਪੰਖੀ ਭਇਓ ਉਡਿ ਉਡਿ ਦਹ ਦਿਸ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਜੋ ਜੈਸੀ ਸੰਗਤਿ ਮਿਲੈ ਸੋ ਤੈਸੋ ਫਲੁ ਖਾਇ ॥੮੬॥: O Kabeer! The mind becomes like a bird (as bird flies in different directions in search for food, etc., similarly) the mind soars and flies in ten directions (i.e., wanders around chasing mirage, desires, sense objects, Maya, etc.). According to the company (a man) keeps, gets the similar reward (i.e., acquires similar thinking or Soch, qualities…) ||86|| (sggs 1369).
  • ਮਨੂਆ ਪਉਣੁ ਬਿੰਦੁ ਸੁਖਵਾਸੀ ਨਾਮਿ ਵਸੈ ਸੁਖ ਭਾਈ ॥: O brother! If wind-like (i.e. wandering) mind rests even for a moment in the Bliss giving Naam, (such detached) mind enjoys the Divine Bliss. (sggs 634).
  • ਲੋਭੀ ਜੀਅੜਾ ਥਿਰੁ ਨ ਰਹਤੁ ਹੈ ਚਾਰੇ ਕੁੰਡਾ ਭਾਲੇ ॥੨॥: The greedy being cannot remain steadfast, it searches four directions or wanders everywhere for (Maya). ||2|| (sggs 876).

The Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS also teaches us that a person who is devoid of Satigur’s Wisdom or uninterested in it wanders in delusion.

  • ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਪੁਰਖਿ ਜਿ ਮਾਰਿਆ ਭ੍ਰਮਿ ਭ੍ਰਮਿਆ ਘਰੁ ਛੋਡਿ ਗਇਆ ॥ ਓਸੁ ਪਿਛੈ ਵਜੈ ਫਕੜੀ ਮੁਹੁ ਕਾਲਾ ਆਗੈ ਭਇਆ ॥ ਓਸੁ ਅਰਲੁ ਬਰਲੁ ਮੁਹਹੁ ਨਿਕਲੈ ਨਿਤ ਝਗੂ ਸੁਟਦਾ ਮੁਆ ॥ ਓਸੁ ਅਰਲੁ ਬਰਲੁ ਮੁਹਹੁ ਨਿਕਲੈ ਨਿਤ ਝਗੂ ਸੁਟਦਾ ਮੁਆ ॥: A person who is dead from Satigur-Giaan or Wisdom (i.e., who has no interest in Wisdom, Virtues, Truth…) wanders in delusion shaken from his Inner Home (Mool, Jot Saroop or True Nature, Nij Ghar, etc.). He is followed by hooting (of dishonor, shame, discredit, ill-repute, etc.) and he is so disgraced. Only nonsense comes out of his mouth, he is always spluttering forth spume (of slandering, Bikaar, etc.). (sggs 653).

The Gurbani is written at the level of the mind — it’s for the mind to reflect upon it, understand it, and then live its Wisdom in daily life, here and now, not after death!

In nutshell, the Gurbani is the mind’s Mirror that reveals to a mind its true face — its flaws, faults, defects, demerits, false ego-sense (Haumai), deceptions, doubt, hypocrisy, falsehood, fraud, Pakhand, duality, Bikaar (lust, anger, greed, attachment, pride etc.).

But this will not happen until we gain insights into the disorder created by the thinking (Soch) of the conditioned or ‘Pardaesee‘ mind. Ridden with doubts and Bikaar, it’s this mind that wanders from Tirath to Tirath, shrine to shrine, Deraa to Deraa, from tombs to tombs, from Jotish to Jotish, ritual bathing in one Sarovar (pond) to another, counting beads (ਮਾਲਾ ਫੇਰਨੀ), ritual reading (Paath) of Gurbani, religious paraphernalia etc.

  • ਮਨੁ ਪਰਦੇਸੀ ਜੇ ਥੀਐ ਸਭੁ ਦੇਸੁ ਪਰਾਇਆ ॥੭॥: If the mind becomes a stranger (to its Mool or Jot Saroop within), then all the world becomes a stranger to him. ||7||(sggs 767).

As soon as a person wakes up in the morning and till he /she goes to bed in the night, the mind driven by the negative impact of Bikaar (i.e. lust, anger, greed, attachment, pride, jealousy, doubt, falsehood, Haumai, etc.) wanders around all day, everywhere!

  • ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਕੇਤੜਿਆ ਜੁਗ ਭਰਮਿਆ ਥਿਰੁ ਰਹੈ ਨ ਆਵੈ ਜਾਇ ॥: (Man’s) this mind wanders through so many states; it does not remain stable and it continues coming and going. (sggs 513).

For example, depending on the situation, when the lusty mind dies, it may be reborn the very next moment as a greedy mind, or an angry mind, or an attached mind, or an haughty or arrogant mind, or a jealous mind, or a stubborn mind, or a corrupt mind, or an ignorant mind, or a wise mind, or a merciful mind, or a contented mind, or an enemy, or a friend, or a slanderer, and so on. This nonstop cycle of birth and death of the mind continues all day along, everyday!

Hence, the Gurbani asks us to bring this wandering mind Home!

  • ਮੇਰੇ ਮਨ ਪਰਦੇਸੀ ਵੇ ਪਿਆਰੇ ਆਉ ਘਰੇ ॥: O my dear stranger mind, please come Home! (sggs 451).
  • ਮਨ ਰੇ ਥਿਰੁ ਰਹੁ ਮਤੁ ਕਤ ਜਾਹੀ ਜੀਉ ॥ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਢੂਢਤ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਦੁਖੁ ਪਾਵਹਿ ਘਰਿ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਘਟ ਮਾਹੀ ਜੀਉ ॥: O my mind! Remain steady (within) and do not wander around outside (searching for Amrit-Naam, Amrit-Giaan, Sukh or Happiness or Anand…). By searching around on the outside, you will only suffer great pain(for the remedy is within, not outside); Amrit (that will make you Happy…) is found Within the Heart. (sggs 598).

Here, ‘Home’ is the Inner Home — Mool, Spiritual Center, Jot Saroop, True Nature etc. within.

Once the wandering mind liberates itself from the outer domination and traced it’s steps back to its True Nature (Jot Saroop) within, it’s said to have come Home (ਮਨ ਦਾ ਟਿਕਾ, frozen mind). Understandably, the Gurbani never gets tired of reminding the mind of its Reality (Jot Saroop).

Now, the question is: Why does the mind become ‘Pardaesee‘ in the first place? Let’s find the answer from within the Gurbani.

  • ਇਸੁ ਮਨ ਮਾਇਆ ਕਉ ਨੇਹੁ ਘਨੇਰਾ ॥: This mind is so much in love with Maya (sggs 1038).
  • ਮਨ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਹਉਮੈ ਰੋਗੁ ਭ੍ਰਮਿ ਭੂਲੇ ਹਉਮੈ ਸਾਕਤ ਦੁਰਜਨਾ ॥: Those who are separated from their Mool (Saakat, Mayadhaaree, Manmukh), within their mind is the disease of ego (Haumai). These perverse wander strayed in doubt and ego (sggs 1424).

Due to its hunger or love for Maya (ਮਾਇਆ ਦੀ ਭੁੱਖ, ਮੋਹ), naturally, the mind dances to the tune of Maya. A mind attached to Maya (Bhav Saagar) becomes a sick and weak mind. Such mind creates movement — desires or thoughts-stuff (imaginations, fancies, Phurne-ਫੁਰਨੇ, etc.).

In nutshell, duality (Doojaa Bhaav) is the pollution of the mind (‘Sootak‘). As the iron is destroyed by its own rust, similarly, a person is ruined by the rust (Sootak) of his own mind.

Furthermore, the Gurbani compares the wandering mind with a camel. The habit of wandering around is peculiar about the camel. Similarly, the camel-mind, the crow-mind, the dog-mind, the elephant-mind, the frog-mind, the animal-mind etc. wanders around as well.

  • ਕਰਹਲੇ ਮਨ ਪਰਦੇਸੀਆ ਕਿਉ ਮਿਲੀਐ ਹਰਿ ਮਾਇ ॥: O my wandering, camel -like mind – (think) how will you meet Hari (Mool…) which (takes care of you like) Mother). (sggs 234).

The deluded mind’s projection are Bikaar (lust, anger, greed etc.). Such crooked mind distances us from our own true self (i.e. Joti-Saroop) concealing it by superimposing names and forms.

In nutshell — according to the Gurbani — the mind wanders because it has abandoned, deserted or deprived itself of the Wisdom.

Furthermore, it will keep wandering until it gets dissolved in the Wisdom like a salt-doll gets dissolved in water! Lack of Wisdom gives rise to relativist consciousness or false ego-sense (Haumai) which creates confusion or psychic disturbances. Everything is only subsequent to this modification of the consciousness.

  • ਮਨੂਆ ਡੋਲੈ ਦਹ ਦਿਸ ਧਾਵੈ ਬਿਨੁ ਰਤ ਆਤਮ ਗਿਆਨਾ ॥: Without being devoted to (absorbed, pleased…) in ‘Aatam Giaan‘ (Spiritual Knowledge), the mind wavers and wanders in ten directions (due to hunger for Maya). (sggs 1013).
  • ਨਾ ਮਨੁ ਚਲੈ ਨ ਪਉਣੁ ਉਡਾਵੈ ॥: The mind (of a person of Shabad-Vichaar) does not waver, and he is not buffeted by the winds of desire (Trishanaa, Maya). (sggs 1040).

The ‘Pardaesee‘ or the wind-like wandering mind will get established in its Heart-Home (Nij Ghar) within once it has become frozen (stable- calm-ਸਾਂਤ…)!

When in liquid form, water spreads around in every direction. But when water is frozen and thus becomes ice, water stops running around, moving around, or spreading around. Not only that, when water is frozen into a block, it serves as a seat!

Similarly, in order to arrest the ‘Pardaesee‘ or wandering mind, the Gurbani urges us to freeze the wandering mind!

But how the wavy and turbulent mind can be frozen, arrested, settled? Specially, when it’s on fire — the hidden fire of Maya (desires, Trishnaa, doubts, Bikaars – lust anger, greed, etc.)!

The Gurbani shows us the Way out — the Gur-Shabad is like ice (‘ਹਿਵ ਸੀਤਲੁ ਸਬਦੁ’), which can cool the mind with Wisdom.

The SGGS teaches us that the wandering mind will not cool down (ਸਾਂਤ) by merely listening to the Gurbani; mere listening to Kirtan; mere listening to discourses; mere bowing down in front of the SGGS; by mere ritualistic reading or memorizing the Gurbani; by giving donations etc,

In addition, the Gurbani needs to be understood and then applied to daily life (ਅਮਲ).

In short, the mind (NOT the body) must earnestly and willingly present itself to the Wisdom (Giaan) of the SGGS (NOT the Pujaaree).

  • ਲਖ ਖੁਸੀਆ ਪਾਤਿਸਾਹੀਆ ਜੇ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਨਦਰਿ ਕਰੇਇ ॥: If ‘Satguru‘ (true Wisdom-ਸੱਚਾ ਗਿਆਨ) is in my life, then (I understand that) I have got the happiness of millions of kingdoms! (sggs 44).
  • ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਚਲਤਉ ਸਚ ਘਰਿ ਬੈਸੈ ਨਾਨਕ ਨਾਮੁ ਅਧਾਰੋ ॥: My wandering mind has stilled upon being imbued with the Realizations of the Creator’s Virtues. (sggs 698).

When the crazy and crooked mind goes under the hammer of the Guru’s Wisdom then it straitens out – changes and cools down.

  • ਹਸਤੀ ਸਿਰਿ ਜਿਉ ਅੰਕਸੁ ਹੈ ਅਹਰਣਿ ਜਿਉ ਸਿਰੁ ਦੇਇ ॥ ਮਨੁ ਤਨੁ ਆਗੈ ਰਾਖਿ ਕੈ ਊਭੀ ਸੇਵ ਕਰੇਇ ॥ ਇਉ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਆਪੁ ਨਿਵਾਰੀਐ ਸਭੁ ਰਾਜੁ ਸ੍ਰਿਸਟਿ ਕਾ ਲੇਇ ॥: Like the elephant offers his head to the goad and like the anvil offers its head (to hammer). Similarly offer the mind and body (to Satgur: True Wisdom – ਸੱਚਾ ਗਿਆਨ) and serve with full attention. By becoming a Gurmukh, this is how one eliminates his self-conceit (ਆਪਾ-ਭਾਵ) and, as if, come to rule the entire creation. (sggs 647-48).

Hence, according to the Gurbani, the sure and commonsense solution is this: Since the mind is being plundered without the Divine Wisdom, the Gurbani asks us to fill this vacuum with the Wisdom, awakened through Shabad-Vichaar!

  • ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦੀ ਜੀਵਤੁ ਮਰੈ ਤਾ ਮਨ ਹੀ ਤੇ ਮਨੁ ਮਾਨੈ ॥: (A Gurmukh) by the Grace of the Gur (Giaan, Wisdom of the Gur-Shabad…), remains dead (from Maya, Haumai, duality, Bikaar, doubt…) while yet alive, (consequently, his) mind becomes content in itself (i.e., does not wander around). (sggs 647).

Hence — according to the Gurbani — it’s only the Wisdom that can freeze or stabilize the doubt-ridden mind (‘ਗਿਆਨ ਕਾ ਬਧਾ ਮਨੁ ਰਹੈ’, sggs 469). There is no shortcut.

The Gur-Shabad helps its learners (i.e. Sikhs) resolve the riddle! Through the Wisdom of the Gur-Shabad the mind settles down and becomes firm and composed (ਅਡੋਲ, ਟਿਕਾਓ ਵਿਚ, Sahaj…). Free of Bikaars (lust, anger, greed, attachment, pride), the mind so purified in its thinking and behavior and actions becomes fit to transcend Bhav Saagar (Maya…) into Sukh Saagar.

  • ਸਚੁ ਕਹੈ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਚੇਤਿ ਰੇ ਮਨ ਜੀਅੜਿਆ ਪਰਦੇਸੀਆ ॥੩॥: Says Nanak – O my stranger mind! Remember the Truth. ||3|| (sggs 439).

So the Gurbani asks us to keep investigating the mind, until it has entered its ‘Khorr-ਖੋੜ’ (‘cave’ of the ‘Heart‘, Mool or Jot Saroop…) and stays there!

  • ਖਖਾ ਇਹੈ ਖੋੜਿ ਮਨ ਆਵਾ ॥ ਖੋੜੇ ਛਾਡਿ ਨ ਦਹ ਦਿਸ ਧਾਵਾ ॥: KHAKHA (a letter of the Gurmukhi alphabet): When the mind (who has realized Giaan or spiritual Knowledge) comes to remain in its ‘Khorr‘ (i.e. True Home, then) it does not escape to wander around everywhere. (sggs 343).

Hence — according to the Gurbani — ONLY that person can become a Sikh who has brought his mind Home and makes it follow the Gurmukh Lifestyle. In other words, Sikhi is to dispel the darkness of ignorance by applying the Wisdom ‘ਗਿਆਨ ਅੰਜਨੁ — Giaan Anjanu‘. Accordingly, the Wisdom of the Gurbani repeatedly reminds that hypocrisy and pretense cannot take us closer to the Gurmukh Lifestyle. Only the purity of our mind can do so.

  • ਮਨ ਖੁਟਹਰ ਤੇਰਾ ਨਹੀ ਬਿਸਾਸੁ ਤੂ ਮਹਾ ਉਦਮਾਦਾ ॥ ਖਰ ਕਾ ਪੈਖਰੁ ਤਉ ਛੁਟੈ ਜਉ ਊਪਰਿ ਲਾਦਾ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: O defective mind (flawed, deceitful, ਖੋਟਾ ਮਨ), no faith can be placed in you; you are very intoxicated (with Maya). The donkey’s leg-chain is only removed, after the load is placed on his back (i.e., similarly, O mind, you can free yourself from fetter or bondage of Maya by loading yourself with the Divine Wisdom or Brahm-Giaan). ||1||Pause|| (sggs 815).

In nutshell the Gurmati’s edict is : The mind will remain ‘Neeghariaa‘ (unstable, wandering around, homeless…) until the mind has not realized its True Nature.

  • ਹਰਿ ਕਥਾ ਤੂੰ ਸੁਣਿ ਰੇ ਮਨ ਸਬਦੁ ਮੰਨਿ ਵਸਾਇ ॥ ਇਹ ਮਤਿ ਤੇਰੀ ਥਿਰੁ ਰਹੈ ਤਾਂ ਭਰਮੁ ਵਿਚਹੁ ਜਾਇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: O mind! Listen to the Divine sermon (Divine Virtues, Giaan or Wisdom…), and enshrine the Shabad (Upadesh, Giaan or Wisdom, Virtues…) within the mind. (As a result) your intellect will remain stable and steady (i.e., will stop wandering around), and then doubt will depart from within (the mind). ||1||Pause|| (sggs 491).

In nutshell, the Gurbani asserts that this wandering mind will freeze or stop wandering only once it has become ‘Pang‘ (crippled) with the Wisdom of the Gur-Shabad.

  • ਕਤ ਜਾਈਐ ਰੇ ਘਰ ਲਾਗੋ ਰੰਗੁ ॥ ਮੇਰਾ ਚਿਤੁ ਨ ਚਲੈ ਮਨੁ ਭਇਓ ਪੰਗੁ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Where should I go? (Now) my (inner) Home (mind, Heart…) is elated with the Wisdom. My mind does not go out wandering (anymore). My mind has (now) become a cripple. ||1||Pause|| (sggs 1195).
  • ਕਬੀਰ ਗੂੰਗਾ ਹੂਆ ਬਾਵਰਾ ਬਹਰਾ ਹੂਆ ਕਾਨ ॥ ਪਾਵਹੁ ਤੇ ਪਿੰਗੁਲ ਭਇਆ ਮਾਰਿਆ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਬਾਨ ॥੧੯੩॥: O Kabeer! (I) have become mute (do not utter bad), mad (intoxicated with Wisdom…) and deaf (do not hear bad). (My mind) has become crippled, for the Satigur has pierced it with the Arrow (of his Wisdom). ||193|| (sggs 1374).