In nutshell, pride corrupts man’s mind and intellect (pride => self-conceit, arrogance, haughtiness, consciousness of exalted position, Abhimaan-ਅਭਿਮਾਨ, Ahankaar-ਅਹੰਕਾਰ, Garab-ਗਰਬ, etc.).
- ਬਡੇ ਬਡੇ ਅਹੰਕਾਰੀਆ ਨਾਨਕ ਗਰਬਿ ਗਲੇ ॥੧॥: O Nanak! (Even) the great ones – inflicted with pride – rot in their own pride. ||1|| (sggs 278).
Therefore, the Gurbani’s Counsel is not to take pride in any worldly stuff — material wealth or possessions, worldly power or influence, exalted position or greatness, glory, superiority, high social status, youth or beauty, ਧਨ-ਪਦਾਰਥ, and so on. Bhagat Kabeer Sahib explains it so beautifully as follows:
- ਕਬੀਰ ਗਰਬੁ ਨ ਕੀਜੀਐ ਊਚਾ ਦੇਖਿ ਅਵਾਸੁ ॥ ਆਜੁ ਕਾਲ੍ਹ੍ਹਿ ਭੁਇ ਲੇਟਣਾ ਊਪਰਿ ਜਾਮੈ ਘਾਸੁ ॥੩੮॥: O Kabeer! Do not be proud of your tall mansions. Today or tomorrow (upon death, you will leave them behind and your body) will lie beneath the ground (mingle with dust…) and the grass will grow on top (of you). ||38|| (sggs 1366).
In nutshell, regardless if cremated or buried, once dead, ultimately one’s physical body will mingle with dust, and grass will grow on top of it (“ਊਪਰਿ ਜਾਮੈ ਘਾਸੁ”)! So, Bhagat Kabeer Sahib urges us not to be proud of our worldly possessions. Because, for one, death can suddenly pounce on Jeev (individual beings), just as a hawk suddenly pounces on a bird engaged in play!
- ਕੇਲ ਕਰੇਦੇ ਹੰਝ ਨੋ ਅਚਿੰਤੇ ਬਾਜ ਪਏ ॥: While a Hans (swan, goose…) is engaged in play, a hawk suddenly pounces on it. (sggs 1383).
Kabeer Sahib also advises us not to look down those who may lack worldly possessions. Because, our life-boat is still in the (world-) ocean, and no one knows what will happen next (one may loose everything while still alive, any moment!).
- ਕਬੀਰ ਗਰਬੁ ਨ ਕੀਜੀਐ ਰੰਕੁ ਨ ਹਸੀਐ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਅਜਹੁ ਸੁ ਨਾਉ ਸਮੁੰਦ੍ਰ ਮਹਿ ਕਿਆ ਜਾਨਉ ਕਿਆ ਹੋਇ ॥੩੯॥: O Kabir! Do not be take pride and laugh at the poor. As yet the boat (of your life) is in the sea. Who knows what may happen? (sggs 1366).
Furthermore, Kabeer Sahib tells us not to be proud of beautiful body either. Because, we will have to leave it behind any time.
- ਕਬੀਰ ਗਰਬੁ ਨ ਕੀਜੀਐ ਦੇਹੀ ਦੇਖਿ ਸੁਰੰਗ ॥ ਆਜੁ ਕਾਲ੍ਹ੍ਹਿ ਤਜਿ ਜਾਹੁਗੇ ਜਿਉ ਕਾਂਚੁਰੀ ਭੁਯੰਗ ॥੪੦॥: O Kabeer! Do not be proud, looking at your beautiful body. Today or tomorrow, you will have to leave it behind, like the snake shedding its skin. ||40|| (sggs 1366).
Material wealth comes and goes, who knows what will happen tomorrow! To awaken detachment (Bairaag) in us, Kabeer Sahib tells us that even this body is nothing more than a bundle of “bones wrapped in skin” (ਹੱਡੀਆਂ ਦੀ ਮੁੱਠ).
- ਕਬੀਰ ਗਰਬੁ ਨ ਕੀਜੀਐ ਚਾਮ ਲਪੇਟੇ ਹਾਡ ॥ ਹੈਵਰ ਊਪਰਿ ਛਤ੍ਰ ਤਰ ਤੇ ਫੁਨਿ ਧਰਨੀ ਗਾਡ ॥੩੭॥: ||37||: Kabeer, do not be so proud of your (body, after all it just a bundle of) bones wrapped up in skin. (Proud of their bodies) Those who were on their horses and under their canopies (ਜੋ ਵਧੀਆ ਘੋੜਿਆਂ ਉੱਤੇ ਸਵਾਰ ਹੁੰਦੇ ਸਨ ਤੇ ਜੋ ਝੁਲਦੇ ਛਤਰਾਂ ਹੇਠ ਬੈਠਦੇ ਸਨ), were eventually buried under the ground. ||37|| (sggs 1366).
- ਫਰੀਦਾ ਗਰਬੁ ਜਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਾ ਵਡਿਆਈਆ ਧਨਿ ਜੋਬਨਿ ਆਗਾਹ ॥ ਖਾਲੀ ਚਲੇ ਧਣੀ ਸਿਉ ਟਿਬੇ ਜਿਉ ਮੀਹਾਹੁ ॥੧੦੫॥: O Fareed! Those who are very proud of their greatness, wealth and youth, will return empty-handed from (the Divine Grace of) their Lord, like mounds after the rain (remain dry!). ||105|| (sggs 1383).
Baabaa Nanak sums it up as follows:
- ਰਾਜੁ ਮਾਲੁ ਰੂਪੁ ਜਾਤਿ ਜੋਬਨੁ ਪੰਜੇ ਠਗ ॥: Power, wealth, beauty, (high) caste, and youth are the five robbers (sggs 1288).
Therefore, the Gurbani says, without the Naam-Consciousness (Shabad, Hukam, Wisdom, Virtues…), worldly stuff is in vain. Here the Gurbani is trying to make us aware of our pride. For the greatest pitfall for human beings is to become conceited and haughty. Arrogance and Haumai (egotism) become the cause of evil in self-important and worldly minded people. It makes us blind to Truth, Virtues, humility, and righteousness or goodness.
- ਰਾਜ ਮਿਲਖ ਧਨ ਜੋਬਨਾ ਨਾਮੈ ਬਿਨੁ ਬਾਦਿ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Without the Naam, power, property, wealth and youth are useless. ||1||Pause|| (sggs 810).
In nutshell, pride corrupts and causes one’s downfall. It makes us lose our sense of discriminating intellect (Viveka-Budhi) and perception of Truth. To put it otherwise, pride finishes one’s Divine Virtues (“ਗੁਣ”). And, once Virtues get annihilated, demerits (“ਅਉਗਣ”) take over!
As repeatedly pointed out in the Gurbani, Jeev (individual beings) who become bloated with pride will eventually fritter away his life in pursuits that will only distance them from their Mool (Source, Jot, Reality…). So, we are vehemently cautioned in the Gurbani not to be proud of material stuff. Instead, the Gurbani encourages us to cultivate Virtues like modesty, humility, non-attachment, and so on.
The Divine Virtues are the essential qualifications of a transcendentally situated person, endowed with the Divine Nature (i.e., Gurmukh Lifestyle).
- ਵਿਣੁ ਗੁਣ ਕੀਤੇ ਭਗਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥: Without acquiring Virtues, Bhagti can not be performed (sggs 4).
According to the Gurbani, humility is a formidable weapon. This weapon can be used to cut the roots of arrogant pride and false ego-sense (Haumai) — bringing an end to the arrogant and egotistical behavior. In addition, the Gurbani teaches us to remain detached (untainted by Maya…) while living in the midst of Maya (material world…). In other words, it is having a mind open to everything, but attached to nothing.
- ਸਭ ਕੈ ਮਧਿ ਸਗਲ ਤੇ ਉਦਾਸ ॥: Live in the midst of all, and yet detached from all (sggs 296).
- ਸੁਖੀ ਬਸੈ ਮਸਕੀਨੀਆ ਆਪੁ ਨਿਵਾਰਿ ਤਲੇ ॥ A humble person remains Happy. Deterring his egotism, he behaves meekly (sggs 278).
Wisdom of the Gurbani is the antidote to all our psychological ailments. In other words, when the mind is controlled and guided through a deep understanding of the Gur-Shabad (Wisdom or Brahm-Giaan of the Gurbani), it does not identify itself with the gross body and emotions. Instead, it then progresses towards the dynamic Realization of its Mool, within (Source, Jot….). Otherwise, it remains caught in its conditioned nature.
- ਹਉ ਹਉ ਕਰਤੀ ਮੈ ਮੁਈ ਸਬਦਿ ਰਵੈ ਮਨਿ ਗਿਆਨੁ ॥: My egotism, which proclaimed itself in “I, I” (or “I-ness”, “mineness”, ਆਪਾ-ਭਾਵ, etc.) , is dead. (Now my consciousness) is attuned to the Shabad, and Spiritual Wisdom has (Awakened) in my mind (sggs 937).
- ਤਿਨ ਕਾ ਖਾਧਾ ਪੈਧਾ ਮਾਇਆ ਸਭੁ ਪਵਿਤੁ ਹੈ ਜੋ ਨਾਮਿ ਹਰਿ ਰਾਤੇ ॥: Those who are in Love with the Hari Naam (Shabad, Hukam…), their use of Maya (for livelihood), eating and wearing all are sacred (clean, incorrupt, righteous, etc.). (sggs 648).