Rituals Bind Us in Egotism

The Gurbani thunders from the top of its voice that the performance of rituals bind people in more and more false ego-sense (Haumai). Why? Because the chronic disease of this false ego-sense makes us do useless acts, devoid of any spiritual vibrations.

  • ਕਰਮ ਕਰਤ ਬਧੇ ਅਹੰਮੇਵ ॥: Ritual practices bind people in egotism (sggs 324).

This is the Gurbani’s edict. One’s instinctive mind (Manmukhtaa, self-willed materialistic consciousness, ignorance…) may disagree or overrule what the Gurbani is saying here, but that does not change the Gurbani’s Truth. In this context, consider a few verses from the SGGS as follows.

  • ਕਰਮ ਧਰਮ ਸਭਿ ਹਉਮੈ ਫੈਲੁ ॥: Religious rituals are all just egotistical displays. (sggs 890).
  • ਅਗਿਆਨੀ ਅੰਧਾ ਬਹੁ ਕਰਮ ਦ੍ਰਿੜਾਏ ॥ ਮਨਹਠਿ ਕਰਮ ਫਿਰਿ ਜੋਨੀ ਪਾਏ ॥ ਬਿਖਿਆ ਕਾਰਣਿ ਲਬੁ ਲੋਭੁ ਕਮਾਵਹਿ ਦੁਰਮਤਿ ਕਾ ਦੋਰਾਹਾ ਹੇ ॥੯॥: The ignorant (of spiritual life – ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਤੋਂ) and blind (in love of Maya – ਮਾਇਆ ਦੇ ਮੋਹ ਵਿਚ) cling to all sorts of rituals. They stubborn-mindedly perform these rituals, and are consigned to reincarnation For the sake of poison (Maya), they act in greed and possessiveness; evil-minded duality (arises in their life-journey. ||9|| (sggs 1055).
  • ਮਾਇਆ ਵਿਚਿ ਸਹਜੁ ਨ ਊਪਜੈ ਮਾਇਆ ਦੂਜੈ ਭਾਇ ॥ ਮਨਮੁਖ ਕਰਮ ਕਮਾਵਣੇ ਹਉਮੈ ਜਲੈ ਜਲਾਇ ॥: (In love of) Maya, the Sahaj Avasthaa (natural state of being, in which everyone longs to be centered) is not produced. Maya leads to the love of duality. By engaging in Manmukh activities (materiallistic, self-centered, ਮਨਮੁਖਤਾ ਵਾਲੇ ਕਰਮ, etc.), (one) only burns in Haumai (egotism) (sggs 68).
  • ਬਹੁ ਕਰਮ ਕਮਾਵੈ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਨ ਪਾਏ ॥: By performing all sorts of rituals (religious or ਮਿਥੇ ਹੋਏ ਧਾਰਮਿਕ), (one) does not obtain liberation (ਮੁਕਤਿ) through them (sggs 123).
  • ਕਰਮ ਕਾਂਡ ਬਹੁ ਕਰਹਿ ਅਚਾਰ ॥ ਬਿਨੁ ਨਾਵੈ ਧ੍ਰਿਗੁ ਧ੍ਰਿਗੁ ਅਹੰਕਾਰ ॥੩॥: (Those who) perform all sorts of (religious) rituals and formalities, (but remain) devoid of the Naam, (such Karamkaand or rituals only give rise to) egotism (in them and their lives just remain) disdainful. ||3|| (sggs 162).
  • ਕਾਹੂ ਜੁਗਤਿ ਕਿਤੈ ਨ ਪਾਈਐ ਧਰਮਿ ॥: (Naam) cannot be obtained by any devices (cleverness, contrivance, ਹੋਰ ਕਿਸੇ ਢੰਗ ਨਾਲ, etc.), and any religious rituals (ਧਾਰਮਿਕ ਰਸਮ ਰਿਵਾਜ, etc.) (sggs 274).
  • ਕਰਮ ਕਰਤ ਜੀਅ ਕਉ ਜੰਜਾਰ ॥੩॥: Performing religious rituals, the soul is entangled. ||3|| (sggs 385).

The Gurbani concludes that above all rituals is the Naam (“ਮਹਾ ਰਸੁ”).

  • ਕਹੁ ਕਬੀਰ ਬਹੁ ਕਾਇ ਕਰੀਜੈ ॥ ਸਰਬਸੁ ਛੋਡਿ ਮਹਾ ਰਸੁ ਪੀਜੈ ॥੪॥੫॥: O Kabir! Why should (we) perform so many ceremonies (religious rituals, ਅਨੇਕਾਂ ਧਾਰਮਿਕ ਰਸਮਾਂ)? Forsake all others and quaff only the supreme Name Nectar. (sggs 324).

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