Pride Rots the Mind

A persons intellect gets corrupted by his worldly pride (pride => self-conceit, arrogance, haughtiness, consciousness of exalted position, Abhimaan-ਅਭਿਮਾਨ, Ahankaar-ਅਹੰਕਾਰ, Garab-ਗਰਬ, etc.).

This pride could be of being religious (ਧਰਮੀ ਹੋਣ ਦਾ), power, wealth, beauty, high caste (Jaat Paat), youth, possessions, titles, education, knowledge, family of birth, and so on.

Baabaa Nanak sums it up as follows:

  • ਰਾਜੁ ਮਾਲੁ ਰੂਪੁ ਜਾਤਿ ਜੋਬਨੁ ਪੰਜੇ ਠਗ ॥ ਏਨੀ ਠਗੀਂ ਜਗੁ ਠਗਿਆ ਕਿਨੈ ਨ ਰਖੀ ਲਜ ॥: Power, wealth, beauty, (high) caste, and youth are the five robbers. These robbers have robbed the world and no one (from them) saved his honor. (sggs 1288).
  • ਰੂਪੈ ਕਾਮੈ ਦੋਸਤੀ ਭੁਖੈ ਸਾਦੈ ਗੰਢੁ ॥ ਲਬੈ ਮਾਲੈ ਘੁਲਿ ਮਿਲਿ ਮਿਚਲਿ ਊਂਘੈ ਸਉੜਿ ਪਲੰਘੁ ॥ ਭੰਉਕੈ ਕੋਪੁ ਖੁਆਰੁ ਹੋਇ ਫਕੜੁ ਪਿਟੇ ਅੰਧੁ ॥ ਚੁਪੈ ਚੰਗਾ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਵਿਣੁ ਨਾਵੈ ਮੁਹਿ ਗੰਧੁ ॥੧॥: There is friendship between beauty and lust and alliance between hunger and taste. A greedy man obtaining wealth becomes hand and glove with it, and a sleepy man deems a tiny place as abed-stead. Anger speaks a lot, (a man blinded by anger) is ruined and uselessly speaks rubbish (nonsense, etc.). O Nanak! Without the Naam, one’s mouth spews forth only nonsense. (Hence, instead of speaking) it is better for him to be silent. ||1|| (sggs 1288).

Pride plunders and rots the mind

In short, pride plunders. It rots one’s mind and detours one from the Way of the Sikhi or Gurmat Giaan (Wisdom) of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS).

  • 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, Jaat Paat, glory, high social status, youth or beauty, ਧਨ-ਪਦਾਰਥ, and so on. Bhagat Kabeer Ji explains it so beautifully as follows:

  • ਕਬੀਰ ਗਰਬੁ ਨ ਕੀਜੀਐ ਊਚਾ ਦੇਖਿ ਅਵਾਸੁ ॥ ਆਜੁ ਕਾਲ੍ਹ੍ਹਿ ਭੁਇ ਲੇਟਣਾ ਊਪਰਿ ਜਾਮੈ ਘਾਸੁ ॥੩੮॥: O Kabeer! Seeing one’s high palace one should not be arrogant (this is also a game of four days only: temporary). Today or tomorrow (leaving this palace when death comes), we will leave them behind) and our body will mingle with dust and grass will grow on top (of our body). ||38|| (sggs 1366).

In nutshell, regardless if cremated or buried, 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).

Bhagat Kabeer Ji also advises us not to look down those who may lack worldly stuff. Because, our life-boat is still in the (world-) ocean, and no one knows what will happen next moment in life (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, Bhagat Kabeer Ji 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, Bhagat Kabeer Ji 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), like mounds after the rain (remain dry!). ||105|| (sggs 1383).

Thus, the Gurbani says, without the Naam-Consciousness (Shabad, Hukam, Wisdom, Virtues…), pride of worldly stuff is rubbish. Here the Gurbani is trying to make us aware of our pride. For the greatest pitfall for human beings is to become conceited, haughty, arrogance and egoistic (Haumai), which causes people to think, speak or act  uselessly. 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).

Hence, pride corrupts and causes one’s downfall. It makes us lose our sense of discriminating intellect (Bibek-Budhi) and perception of Truth.

To put it otherwise, pride erodes one’s Divine Virtues (‘ਗੁਣ’). When Virtues get annihilated, demerits (‘ਅਉਗਣ’) take over!

Pride destroys one’s Virtues

As repeatedly pointed out in the Gurbani, Jeev (individual beings) who become bloated with pride will eventually fritter away life in pursuits that will only distance them from their Mool (Source, Jot Saroop or True Nature…).

So, we are vehemently cautioned in the Gurbani not to be proud of material stuff. Instead, the Gurbani encourages us to cultivate Virtues — Truth (ਸਤ), honesty (ਇਮਾਨਦਾਰੀ), contentment (ਸੰਤੋਖ), mercy (ਦਯਾ), patience (ਧੀਰਜ), Sahaj (ਸਹਜ-Natural State of Being), Wisdom (ਗਿਆਨ), humility (ਮਨ ਨਿਮਾਣਾ, ਬੁਧਿ ਗਰੀਬੀ), sweet speech (ਮਿਠ ਬੋਲੜਾ), etc.

The Divine Virtues are the essential qualifications of a transcendentally situated person, endowed with the Divine Nature (i.e., Gurmukh Lifestyle). On the other hand, a Manmukh is the opposite.

  • ਵਿਣੁ ਗੁਣ ਕੀਤੇ ਭਗਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥: Without acquiring Virtues, Bhagti can not be performed (sggs 4).
  • ਮਨਮੁਖ ਅਹੰਕਾਰੁ ਸਲਾਹਦੇ ਹਉਮੈ ਮਮਤਾ ਵਾਦੁ ॥: Manmukhs (perverse) loud arrogance (pride, self-conceit…), egotism and attachment; and (because of this, they cause) quarrel (controversy, dispute, argument…). (sggs 301).

The Gurbani says be in the world but not of the world!

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.

  • ਸੁਖੀ ਬਸੈ ਮਸਕੀਨੀਆ ਆਪੁ ਨਿਵਾਰਿ ਤਲੇ ॥ A humble person remains Happy. Deterring his egotism, he behaves meekly (sggs 278).

In addition, the Gurbani teaches us to remain detached 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).

Wisdom Kills false pride

The Gurbani teaches that Wisdom is the best when it is experiential, not intellectually learned and then remembered.

  • ਬਿਨੁ ਹਰਿ ਭਗਤਿ ਨਾਹੀ ਸੁਖੁ ਪ੍ਰਾਨੀ ਬਿਨੁ ਗੁਰ ਗਰਬੁ ਨ ਜਾਈ ॥੨॥: O mortal! Happiness is not obtained without Bhagti, pride is not removed without the ‘Gur‘ (-Wisdom or Giaan). (sggs 504).

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 SGGS), it does not identify itself with the gross body and emotions. Instead, it then progresses towards the dynamic Realization of its Jot Saroop or Trur Nature, within. Otherwise, the mind 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).


  1. Thanks for the hospitality and sharing of the Gyaan Bhandaar of Gurbani.

  2. Thank you brother Prithvi S Dhani Ji for taking the time to respond. Also, thanks for sharing!
    Welcome to the Gurbani Blog Ji!

  3. Kaam, Krodh, lobh, moh, and ahnkaar are all thieves. Ahnkaar being the most clever one since it always hide behind the other four therefor mentioned last after the other four. Pride is the Ego that is attached to the creation, forgetting the Creator. Gurrbani repeatedly warns about it and encourages to start the path to liberation thru the first step of JUPP meditation.

  4. Kot Kot Pranam Shri T Singh Ji. Every post of yours is doing wonders by awakening the consciousness of so many beings on this platform . Love and just love to you. 🙏🙏🙏

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