Stubborn Mindedness – Religious Robes

Since the Creator is not a physical body, He does not wear any peculiar religious robes or symbols!

The Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) teaches us that our material body is born with two filthy robes: lust and anger.

  • ਕਾਮ ਕ੍ਰੋਧ ਕਾ ਚੋਲੜਾ ਸਭ ਗਲਿ ਆਏ ਪਾਇ ॥: All have come, wearing the robes of lust and anger (sggs 1414).

The human life’s ultimate aim is to rid the body of this inner ‘garbage‘ (i.e. all Bikaars, vices…). However, instead of liberating the mind from this internal filth, majority of us have further adorned the outer body-frame with external blemishes consisting of various religious paraphernalia. The Gurbani reveals to us this bitter truth:

  • ਫਰੀਦਾ ਕੰਨਿ ਮੁਸਲਾ ਸੂਫੁ ਗਲਿ ਦਿਲਿ ਕਾਤੀ ਗੁੜੁ ਵਾਤਿ ॥ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਦਿਸੈ ਚਾਨਣਾ ਦਿਲਿ ਅੰਧਿਆਰੀ ਰਾਤਿ ॥੫੦॥ : O Farid! on your shoulder is the prayer mat, around your neck is the black scarf (Sufi robe), candy in your mouth (i.e. deceptively sweet words), but a dagger in your heart (you have disguised yourself as a pious person, you speak sweet words but your heart is deceitful). outwardly you appear as spiritually wise but in your heart is pitch darkness of spiritual ignorance. ||50|| (sggs 1380).
  • ਜਤਨ ਕਰੈ ਮਾਨੁਖ ਡਹਕਾਵੈ ਓਹੁ ਅੰਤਰਜਾਮੀ ਜਾਨੈ ॥ ਪਾਪ ਕਰੇ ਕਰਿ ਮੂਕਰਿ ਪਾਵੈ ਭੇਖ ਕਰੈ ਨਿਰਬਾਨੈ ॥੧॥ : One makes several efforts to deceive others, but God, the knower within, knows everything. He wears religious garb of a renouncer, commits sins and then deny them. ||1|| (sggs 680).
  • ਮਨਮੁਖ ਕਰਮ ਕਮਾਵਣੇ ਜਿਉ ਦੋਹਾਗਣਿ ਤਨਿ ਸੀਗਾਰੁ ॥ : The Manmukh’s (Unenlightened being) religious rituals (or deeds) are like the ‘Duhaagan‘ (i.e. unwanted or deserted) bride adoring her body. (sggs 31).

The Gurbani (SGGS) teaches us that all these external body robes, symbols, and other paraphernalia are nothing but a pompous show (‘Adammbar‘) of man’s unripe ego (Haumai). Hence rejected by the Gurbani (SGGS).

  • ਬਾਹਰਿ ਭੇਖ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਚਤੁਰਾਈ ਮਨੂਆ ਦਹ ਦਿਸਿ ਧਾਵੈ ॥: (Devoid of the Gur-Giaan or Wisdom, one) outwardly wears religious robes and (acts as he is) very clever, but (his) mind wanders in the ten directions (sggs 732).
  • ਭੇਖੀ ਪ੍ਰਭੂ ਨ ਲਭਈ ਵਿਣੁ ਸਚੀ ਸਿਖੰ ॥: Mool (Source…) can be realized by the True Teaching, not by religious garbs (sggs 1099).
  • ਹਠਿ ਨ ਪਤੀਜੈ ਨਾ ਬਹੁ ਭੇਖੈ ॥: (Mool – Source) is not pleased by stubborn-mindedness, nor by various religious robes (sggs 686).
  • ਹਠੁ ਕਰਿ ਮਰੈ ਨ ਲੇਖੈ ਪਾਵੈ ॥ ਵੇਸ ਕਰੈ ਬਹੁ ਭਸਮ ਲਗਾਵੈ ॥: It is of no avail to dye in stubbornness (Yogic rituals or Karamkaand). (One may) wear religious robes and smear his body with ashes (These are also useless) (sggs 226).

Although the religious robes and symbols is rejected in the Gurbani, still many decorate their ephemeral body-frame with them. Why? The Gurbani provides us with authoritative answers as well as explanations.

According to the Gurbani, many put on such garbs etc. to:

  • cover up their wickedness;
  • make believe that they know God;
  • establish their religious authority;
  • show they are spiritual scholars;
  • show they are better than those who do not wear the;
  • hide the fire of worldly desires and fear;
  • hide the filth of Maya within;
  • show that they know the true teachings of the Gurbani;
  • hide their corruption, stubbornness, fanaticism, mental delusions, spiritual ignorance; and so on.

The Gurbani confirms all of this as follows:

  • ਅਧਿਕ ਤਿਆਸ ਭੇਖ ਬਹੁ ਕਰੈ ॥: Excessive thirst for Maya makes people wear all sorts of religious garbs (sggs 352).
  • ਭੇਖ ਅਨੇਕ ਅਗਨਿ ਨਹੀ ਬੁਝੈ ॥ ਕੋਟਿ ਉਪਾਵ ਦਰਗਹ ਨਹੀ ਸਿਝੈ ॥: Wearing various religious robes, the fire (of desire) is not extinguished; even making millions of (such) efforts, one will not be accepted in the Court of the Lord (sggs 266).
  • ਭੇਖ ਦਿਖਾਵੈ ਸਚੁ ਨ ਕਮਾਵੈ ॥: (To show off, the stubborn fool) ostensibly wears religious robes, but does not practice Truth (sggs 738).
  • ਬਾਹਰਿ ਭੇਖ ਕਰਹਿ ਘਨੇਰੇ ॥ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਬਿਖਿਆ ਉਤਰੀ ਘੇਰੇ ॥: Outwardly (to look pious and to impress others they), wear various religious robes, but within, they are enveloped by poison (of Maya). (sggs 372).
  • ਮਾਥੇ ਤਿਲਕੁ ਹਥਿ ਮਾਲਾ ਬਾਨਾਂ ॥ ਲੋਗਨ ਰਾਮੁ ਖਿਲਉਨਾ ਜਾਨਾਂ ॥੧॥: (People think they become Dharmic or Bhagat if they simply) apply (1) ceremonial marks to their foreheads, (2) hold Maalaa or rosary in their hands, and (3) wear religious dress. People think that Rabb (Universal Energy, System or Law of Nature…) is a toy or a play-thing (i.e., they think Rabb can be pleased or fooled by religious paraphernalia or symbols). ||1|| (sggs 1158)!
  • ਕਿਨਹੀ ਸਿਧ ਬਹੁ ਚੇਟਕ ਲਾਏ ॥ ਕਿਨਹੀ ਭੇਖ ਬਹੁ ਥਾਟ ਬਨਾਏ ॥ ਕਿਨਹੀ ਤੰਤ ਮੰਤ ਬਹੁ ਖੇਵਾ ॥ ਮੋਹਿ ਦੀਨ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਆਧਾਰਾ ॥੪॥: Some work spells using the miraculous spiritual powers of the Siddhas. Some wear various religious robes and establish their authority. Some perform Tantric spells, and chant various mantras. (But) I meek have support of the Lord’s Name (i.e., I only do His Bhagti)||4|| (sggs 913).
  • ਜੋਗੀ ਗ੍ਰਿਹੀ ਪੰਡਿਤ ਭੇਖਧਾਰੀ ॥ ਏ ਸੂਤੇ ਅਪਣੈ ਅਹੰਕਾਰੀ ॥੧॥ ਮਾਇਆ ਮਦਿ ਮਾਤਾ ਰਹਿਆ ਸੋਇ ॥ ਜਾਗਤੁ ਰਹੈ ਨ ਮੂਸੈ ਕੋਇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: The Yogis, the householders, the Pandits, the religious scholars, and the sectarians in religious robes — they are all asleep in egotism. They are asleep, intoxicated with the wine of Maya (being constantly robbed by lust, anger, greed, etc.). Only those who remain awake and aware (with Naam-Simran…) are not robbed. ||1||Pause|| (sggs 1128).

Thus the Gurbani (SGGS) repeatedly warns us that God cannot be realized by outwardly wearing any religious robes or symbols.

  • ਕਰਤੂਤਿ ਪਸੂ ਕੀ ਮਾਨਸ ਜਾਤਿ ॥ ਲੋਕ ਪਚਾਰਾ ਕਰੈ ਦਿਨੁ ਰਾਤਿ ॥ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਭੇਖ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਮਲੁ ਮਾਇਆ ॥ ਛਪਸਿ ਨਾਹਿ ਕਛੁ ਕਰੈ ਛਪਾਇਆ ॥: Although; human in name or creed, but actions are that of animalistic nature. But day and night he exhibits or shows off to people (that he is a human – ਬੰਦਾ)! Outside (on his body) he wears religious dress but in his mind is the filth of Maya. However he cannot conceal the filth of his mind with (outwardly wearing religious robes, cunningness, pleasing people etc.). (sggs 267).

For example, hunger of a beggar will never depart just by wearing begging robes! Similarly, we are warned that mind’s crookedness or false ego-sense (Haumai) can not be seized by any external show or display.

  • ਜੇ ਜਾਣਸਿ ਬ੍ਰਹਮੰ ਕਰਮੰ ॥ ਸਭਿ ਫੋਕਟ ਨਿਸਚਉ ਕਰਮੰ ॥: If (you) know the Way of the Brahm, (then you would) definitely know that all rituals are of no value. (sggs 470).
  • ਅਨਿਕ ਭੇਖ ਅਰੁ ਙਿਆਨ ਧਿਆਨ ਮਨਹਠਿ ਮਿਲਿਅਉ ਨ ਕੋਇ ॥: No one can realize (divine Union) by all sorts of religious robes, religious-debates (ਧਰਮ-ਚਰਚਾ) and meditation with stubborn mindedly. (sggs 251).
  • ਕਬੀਰ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਇਕ ਸਿਉ ਕੀਏ ਆਨ ਦੁਬਿਧਾ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਭਾਵੈ ਲਾਂਬੇ ਕੇਸ ਕਰੁ ਭਾਵੈ ਘਰਰਿ ਮੁਡਾਇ ॥੨੫॥: Kabir, the sense of duality and other doubts of the mind vanish only by developing love for the ONE Creator. It makes no difference to the Creator whether we keep long hair or a bald head. ||25|| (sggs 1365).

In this context, here are more verses from the Gurbani (SGGS). They are very clear and self-explanatory. They tell us exactly what we ought to wear.

  • ਬਹੁ ਭੇਖ ਕੀਆ ਦੇਹੀ ਦੁਖੁ ਦੀਆ ॥: The more one wears religious robes, the more pain he causes his body (sggs 467).
  • ਤਰਕਸ ਤੀਰ ਕਮਾਣ ਸਾਂਗ ਤੇਗਬੰਦ ਗੁਣ ਧਾਤੁ ॥: The pursuit of Virtues (Divine Qualities) is (my) quiver, arrow, bow, spear, and scabbard of sword (sggs 16).
  • ਕਮਰਬੰਦੁ ਸੰਤੋਖ ਕਾ ਧਨੁ ਜੋਬਨੁ ਤੇਰਾ ਨਾਮੁ ॥੨॥ : I have made Contentment my waist-band (Camarbandh), and Your Naam is my wealth and youth. ||2|| (sggs 16). ||2|| (sggs 16).
  • ਬਰਤ ਨੇਮ ਤੀਰਥ ਸਹਿਤ ਗੰਗਾ ॥ ਜਲੁ ਹੇਵਤ ਭੂਖ ਅਰੁ ਨੰਗਾ ॥ ਪੂਜਾਚਾਰ ਕਰਤ ਮੇਲੰਗਾ ॥ ਚਕ੍ਰ ਕਰਮ ਤਿਲਕ ਖਾਟੰਗਾ ॥ ਦਰਸਨੁ ਭੇਟੇ ਬਿਨੁ ਸਤਸੰਗਾ ॥੧॥ ਹਠਿ ਨਿਗ੍ਰਹਿ ਅਤਿ ਰਹਤ ਬਿਟੰਗਾ ॥ ਹਉ ਰੋਗੁ ਬਿਆਪੈ ਚੁਕੈ ਨ ਭੰਗਾ ॥ ਕਾਮ ਕ੍ਰੋਧ ਅਤਿ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨ ਜਰੰਗਾ ॥ ਸੋ ਮੁਕਤੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਜਿਸੁ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਚੰਗਾ ॥੨॥੩॥੩੬॥: Barat nem teerath sahit gangaa … (sggs 1305).
  • ਪੰਚ ਮਜਮੀ ਜੋ ਪੰਚਨ ਰਾਖੈ ॥ ਮਿਥਿਆ ਰਸਨਾ ਨਿਤ ਉਠਿ ਭਾਖੈ ॥ ਚਕ੍ਰ ਬਣਾਇ ਕਰੈ ਪਾਖੰਡ ॥ ਝੁਰਿ ਝੁਰਿ ਪਚੈ ਜੈਸੇ ਤ੍ਰਿਅ ਰੰਡ ॥੧॥ ਹਰਿ ਕੇ ਨਾਮ ਬਿਨਾ ਸਭ ਝੂਠੁ ॥: Panch majamee jo panchan raakhai… (sggs 1151).
  • ਕਾਇਆ ਬ੍ਰਹਮਾ ਮਨੁ ਹੈ ਧੋਤੀ ॥ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਜਨੇਊ ਧਿਆਨੁ ਕੁਸਪਾਤੀ ॥: Kaaiaa Brahma mann hai dhotee giyaan janeyoo dhiaan kuspaatee (sggs 355).
  • ਹਰਿ ਮਾਲਾ ਉਰ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਧਾਰੈ ॥ ਜਨਮ ਮਰਣ ਕਾ ਦੂਖੁ ਨਿਵਾਰੈ ॥੨॥: Hari maalaa ur antar dhaarai. Janam maran kaa dookh nivaarai ||2|| (sggs 388).

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