Rebel Mind-King and its Formidable Fortress

The Gurmat Wisdom of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) indicates that the deluded mind (disconnected from its Mool but connected to Maya: duality-stricken, doubt-ridden, illusioned, separated from the Hukam…) is like a rebellious king (‘ਮਾਵਾਸੀ ਰਾਜਾ’-Maavaasee Raajaa).

The Gurbani tells us that this mind is very powerful (‘ਅਤਿ ਸਬਲ’), and the fortress (‘ਬਿਖਮ ਗਾਰ੍ਹ’, ‘ਗਢੁ’) of this rebel mind-king is not easily pregnable!

This fortress of the rebel mind is called ‘fortress of doubt‘ (‘ਭਰਮ ਗੜੁ’…).

  • ਸੋ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਧਨੁ ਧੰਨੁ ਜਿਨਿ ਭਰਮ ਗੜੁ ਤੋੜਿਆ ॥: Blessed, blessed is the Satiguru (ਸੱਚਾ ਗਿਆਨ-true Wisdom), who has demolished the fortress of doubt. (sggs 522).
  • ਗੁਰ ਮਿਲਿ ਜੀਤਾ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਕੀਤਾ ਤੂਟੀ ਭੀਤਾ ਭਰਮ ਗੜਾ ॥: Meeting the Guru, I am victorious; praising the Har (-Naam), the walls of the fortress of doubt have been destroyed. (sggs 453).

Bikaars (ਕਾਮਾਦਿਕ) – lust, anger, greed, attachment, pride (and their numerous variations) – are its commanders (ਰੌਲਾ ਪਾਣ ਵਾਲੇ, ਝਗੜਾਲੂ, fierce soldiers or fighters of the Mayaic or sense-blind mind…).

  • ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਰਾਜਾ ਲੋਭੀਆ ਲੁਭਤਉ ਲੋਭਾਈ ॥: This greedy mind (becomes the king of the body-city) trapped in greed (always) keeps greed for Maya. (sggs 419).
  • ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਰਾਜਾ ਸੂਰ ਸੰਗ੍ਰਾਮਿ ॥: This mind behaves as a king and a warrior in battle. (sggs 415).
  • ਇਹੁ ਮਨੂਆ ਅਤਿ ਸਬਲ ਹੈ ਛਡੇ ਨ ਕਿਤੈ ਉਪਾਇ ॥: This mind is very strong (other than the Guru’s Wisdom) by no means does it give up (going astray). (sggs 33).

Religions exist because there exists this phantom called the mind – rebellious king of Bikaars doubts etc. When this mind is conquered (i.e., when the illusioned mind gives up its association with Maya through the Wisdom of the Gurbani…), it becomes ‘no-mind‘ — becomes one with Chitt, within.

Not so easy, says the Gurbani! Because the Mayaic or ego-mind (Haumai) has a very formidable army which consists of no less Sooraas (mighty warriors)! The mind’s army includes mighty fighters like lust, anger, greed, attachment, and pride (with their numerous variations such as hypocrisy, cunningness, corruption, crookedness, arrogance, deceit, selfishness, jealousy, stubbornness, delusion…). These are the fast friend of our Mayaic mind, and will go out of their way to defend it! Bhagat Kabeer Ji in the Gurbani provides us with a wonderful description of this invisible army of the instinctive mind and its fortress as follows:

  • ਕਿਉ ਲੀਜੈ ਗਢੁ ਬੰਕਾ ਭਾਈ ॥ ਦੋਵਰ ਕੋਟ ਅਰੁ ਤੇਵਰ ਖਾਈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਪਾਂਚ ਪਚੀਸ ਮੋਹ ਮਦ ਮਤਸਰ ਆਡੀ ਪਰਬਲ ਮਾਇਆ ॥ ਜਨ ਗਰੀਬ ਕੋ ਜੋਰੁ ਨ ਪਹੁਚੈ ਕਹਾ ਕਰਉ ਰਘੁਰਾਇਆ ॥੧॥ ਕਾਮੁ ਕਿਵਾਰੀ ਦੁਖੁ ਸੁਖੁ ਦਰਵਾਨੀ ਪਾਪੁ ਪੁੰਨੁ ਦਰਵਾਜਾ ॥ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਪ੍ਰਧਾਨੁ ਮਹਾ ਬਡ ਦੁੰਦਰ ਤਹ ਮਨੁ ਮਾਵਾਸੀ ਰਾਜਾ ॥੨॥ ਸ੍ਵਾਦ ਸਨਾਹ ਟੋਪੁ ਮਮਤਾ ਕੋ ਕੁਬੁਧਿ ਕਮਾਨ ਚਢਾਈ ॥ ਤਿਸਨਾ ਤੀਰ ਰਹੇ ਘਟ ਭੀਤਰਿ ਇਉ ਗਢੁ ਲੀਓ ਨ ਜਾਈ ॥੩॥: O brother! This (physical: ਸਰੀਰ-ਰੂਪ) fort is very difficult to control. It is surrounded by a double wall of duality and a triple gap of threefold (Maya). ||1||Pause|| Its mean of defense are the five elements, with their twenty five categories, worldly love, pride, jealousy and the crooked and very powerful Maya. O Rabb! Poor me has no strength to take the fortress, (tell) what should I do? ||1|| Lust is the shutters of this fortress), Dukh and Sukh its gate-keepers and Paap and Punn its gates. The great fighter anger is the chief (of the body-fort), and the mind is the rebel king there. ||2|| The (mind-king)  armored with the taste (of the tongue-ਚਸਕੇ), helmet of worldly love and bow of evil understanding to aim with. The arrows of Trishnaa (yearning, greed, craving, desire) are tightened within. Such a fort cannot be conquered (by me). ||3|| (sggs 1161).

How Jeeva (individual beings) can conquer this fortress (along with its rebel mind-king is explained in the next verses of the foregoing Shabad:

  • ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਪਲੀਤਾ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਹਵਾਈ ਗੋਲਾ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਚਲਾਇਆ ॥ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਅਗਨਿ ਸਹਜੇ ਪਰਜਾਲੀ ਏਕਹਿ ਚੋਟ ਸਿਝਾਇਆ ॥੪॥ ਸਤੁ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ ਲੈ ਲਰਨੇ ਲਾਗਾ ਤੋਰੇ ਦੁਇ ਦਰਵਾਜਾ ॥ ਸਾਧਸੰਗਤਿ ਅਰੁ ਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਕ੍ਰਿਪਾ ਤੇ ਪਕਰਿਓ ਗਢ ਕੋ ਰਾਜਾ ॥੫॥ ਭਗਵਤ ਭੀਰਿ ਸਕਤਿ ਸਿਮਰਨ ਕੀ ਕਟੀ ਕਾਲ ਭੈ ਫਾਸੀ ॥ ਦਾਸੁ ਕਮੀਰੁ ਚੜ੍ਹ੍ਹਿਓ ਗੜ੍ਹ੍ਹ ਊਪਰਿ ਰਾਜੁ ਲੀਓ ਅਬਿਨਾਸੀ ॥੬॥੯॥੧੭॥: Make the Divine Love the fuse (gun-cotton, torch …), and Surati (ਸੁਰਤਿ – Chit, Awareness, ਮੂਲ ਨਾਲ ਜੁੜੀ ਹੋਈ…) the Havaaee (ਹਵਾਈ-moving in the air, ਹਵਾਈ ਤੋਪ, rocket …); (then) actuate the bomb of Spiritual Wisdom (Divine Knowledge, Aatam-Giaan …). In Sahaj Avastaa (Natural state of Being, ਆਤਮਕ ਅਡੋਲਤਾ, ਗਿਆਨ ਅਵਸਤਾ…), lit the fire of Brahm Giaan, and conquer (the fortress) in one shot. Taking the true contentment with me, I begin the battle and storm both the gates. With the Grace of the Saadsangat (abiding in the Mool, ਅੰਤਰ ਆਤਮਾਂ ਨਾਲ ਜੁੜ ਕੇ…) and the Gur (Gur-Giaan…), I captured the king of the fortress (i.e., conquered the mind). ||5|| With the power of the Simran (Naam-Simran, Reflections on the Gurbani, Shabad-Vichaar…) this coward has snapped the noose of the (worldly) fear. Daas Kabeer has (thus) climbed to the top of the fortress (i.e., has secured perfect control over the body-consciousness, ignorance…), and has obtained the Eternal Empire (Imperishable-ਕਦੇ ਨਾਹ ਨਾਸ ਹੋਣ ਵਾਲੀ ਆਤਮਕ ਬਾਦਸਾਹੀ, ਅਬਚਲ ਰਾਜ). ||6||9||17|| (sggs 1161-1162).

Simply put, Bhagat Kabeer Sahib says we must:

  • Make ‘Prem Paleetaa‘ (ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਪਲੀਤਾ) or Divine Love the fuse (Prema Bhagti – perfect understanding of the Gurbani…).
  • Make ‘Surati‘ (ਸੁਰਤਿ) the cannon or the rocket (ਸੁਰਤਿ – Chit, Awareness, Divine Understanding, Aatam Giaan, Surati linked to its Mool within…).
  • Be established in Sahaj Avastaa (Natural state of being, ਸਹਜ, ਆਤਮਕ ਅਡੋਲਤਾ, ਗਿਆਨ ਅਵਸਤਾ…), true contentment…

With this setup, explosion of the bomb of the Spiritual Wisdom (‘ਗੋਲਾ ਗਿਆਨੁ’- bomb of Aatam-Giaan…) takes place within. Then, in one shot, this bomb of the Gur-Giaan conquers (ਜਿੱਤ ਲੈਣਾਂ, ਸਫਲ ਹੋਣਾਂ, ਕਾਮਯਾਬ ਹੋਣਾਂ) the fortress of the rebel mind that is intoxicated with Maya, doubts (ਭਰਮ), duality, ignorance, Haumai, Bikaars…

  • ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਵਸਤੁ ਮਾਇਆ ਗੜ੍ਹ੍ਹਿ ਵੇੜ੍ਹ੍ਹੀ ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਸਬਦਿ ਲੀਓ ਗੜੁ ਜੀਤਿ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: The commodity of the Har (-Naam) is locked in the fortress of Maya; through the Gur-Shabad, I have conquered the fortress ||1|| Pause || (sggs 1295).

Conquering the ‘fortress’ simply indicates to go beyond the love or hunger for Maya, duality, doubts (ਭਰਮ), body-consciousness (one’s own material nature-ਮਾਇਆ/ਸਰੀਰ ਦਾ ਮੋਹ) …

In other words, when the mended mind (ਸਾਧਿਆ ਹੋਇਆ ਮੰਨ) sees itself as ‘Jot Saroop‘, the material world or Maya is said to have been conquered! Only a Spiritual Hero (the Gurmukh…) can cut the mind’s roots with the sword of the Spiritual Wisdom (‘ਗਿਆਨ ਖੜਗੁ’: the sword of Aatam-Giaan, Divine Knowledge or Spiritual Wisdom of the Gurbani), obtained through the earnest Shabad-Vichaar.

  • ਗਿਆਨ ਖੜਗੁ ਲੈ ਮਨ ਸਿਉ ਲੂਝੈ ਮਨਸਾ ਮਨਹਿ ਸਮਾਈ ਹੇ ॥੩॥: I fight to overcome the desires of my mind with the double-edged Sword (Kharag) of Wisdom (of the Satguru). ||3|| (sggs 1022).
  • ਨਾਨਕ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਮਨ ਸਿਉ ਲੁਝੈ ॥੪੬॥: O Nanak! (The one who) becomes the Gurmukh struggles with his own mind (ਆਪਣੇ ਮਨ ਨਾਲ ਟਾਕਰਾ ਕਰਦਾ ਰਹਿੰਦਾ ਹੈ) ||46|| (sggs 1418).
  • ਦਰਸਨਿ ਤੇਰੈ ਭਵਨ ਪੁਨੀਤਾ ॥ ਆਤਮ ਗੜੁ ਬਿਖਮੁ ਤਿਨਾ ਹੀ ਜੀਤਾ ॥: Darsani terai bhavan puneetaa. Aatam… (sggs 99).
  • ਮਨੁ ਰਾਜਾ ਮਨੁ ਮਨ ਤੇ ਮਾਨਿਆ ਮਨਸਾ ਮਨਹਿ ਸਮਾਈ ॥: Man(u) raajaa man(u) man te maaniaa … (sggs 1125).

In nutshell, the Gurbani tells us that the Gur-Giaan (Wisdom) is necessary to understand and conquer the rebel mind-king.

  • ਗੁਰ ਬਿਨੁ ਕਿਨਿ ਸਮਝਾਈਐ ਮਨੁ ਰਾਜਾ ਸੁਲਤਾਨੁ ॥੪॥: (The deluded) mind remains the king (of this body-city), remains the Sultan. Apart from the Gur (-Giaan or Wisdom), no one has ever given it Wisdom. (sggs 61).
  • ਸਬਦੁ ਸੂਝੈ ਤਾ ਮਨ ਸਿਉ ਲੂਝੈ ਮਨਸਾ ਮਾਰਿ ਮਾਵਣਿਆ ॥:When someone understands the Shabad, then he wrestles with his own mind; annihilating his desires, he merges (in Mool). (sggs 113).
  • ਨਾਨਕ ਮਨਿ ਅਨੰਦ ਭਏ ਗੁਰਿ ਬਿਖਮ ਗਾਰ੍ਹ ਤੋਰੀ ॥੨॥੬॥੧੩੫॥: O Nanak! The Gur (Giaan) has untied the knot (of attachment to Maya from within me), now my mind is only in ‘Anand‘ (Bliss…). (sggs 1230).


  1. One can look at a quote from Gurbanee as
    ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮੁ ਉਰ ਮੈ ਗਹਿਓ ਜਾ ਕੈ ਸਮ ਨਹੀ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਜਿਹ ਸਿਮਰਤ ਸੰਕਟ ਮਿਟੈ ਦਰਸੁ ਤੁਹਾਰੋ ਹੋਇ ॥੫੭॥੧॥ {ਪੰਨਾ 1429}
    This is the most conclusive quote in Gurbanee about the great significance of
    ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮੁ .
    I think this should be concern of every sikh to know this from within Gurbanee.

  2. Thanks Brother for sharing Vichaar!

    From Gurbanee it becomes abundantly clear that the panicea of all the ills is
    NAAMu only.

    • ਗੁਰ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਪਦਾਰਥੁ ਨਾਮੁ ਹੈ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੋ ਦੇਇ ਦ੍ਰਿੜਾਇ ॥: Gur giaan(u) padaarath(u) Naam(u) hai… (sggs 759).
    • ਐਸਾ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਪਦਾਰਥੁ ਨਾਮੁ ॥ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਪਾਵਸਿ ਰਸਿ ਰਸਿ ਮਾਨੁ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Aisaa giaan(u) padaarath(u) Naam(u)… (sggs 831).
    • ਗਿਆਨ ਕਾ ਬਧਾ ਮਨੁ ਰਹੈ ਗੁਰ ਬਿਨੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥੫॥: Giaan ka badhaa manu rahai gur binu giaanu n hoi… (sggs 469).

  3. Very good presentation of Quotes in context of “Mun” .
    From Gurbanee it becomes abundantly clear that the panicea of all the ills is
    NAAMu only.
    And this NAAMu is HARi NAAMu/ RAM NAAMu only.This is
    VERY SPECIFIC and is yet to be appreciated.
    Thus one should make use of Correct medicine for the best results of the treatment.

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