Make Ten Senses Widows

The Gurus and Bhagats were not only God-Connected Within, they were also excellent communicators and poets. They effectively used idioms and metaphors to explain very complex spiritual ideas. Hence impregnated with practical spiritual Wisdom and suggestions, numerous idioms can be found in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS).

Since the entirety of the Gurbani (SGGS) addresses the Mind, idioms and metaphors express the subtlety of the spiritual experiences of the Gurus and Bhagats. They draw the reader’s attention, Awaken the defiled SENSES, magnify and boost the Message of the Guru’s Shabad.

Thus idioms and metaphors capture subtle nuances of spirituality and create imagery in the mind and make the reader see things in a new light, improve Understanding, and so on.

The Gurbani asks Sikhs (learners-ਸਿਖਿਆਰਥੀ) to make ten senses widows!

  • ਦਸ ਨਾਰੀ ਮੈ ਕਰੀ ਦੁਹਾਗਨਿ ॥ ਗੁਰਿ ਕਹਿਆ ਏਹ ਰਸਹਿ ਬਿਖਾਗਨਿ ॥ ਇਨ ਸਨਬੰਧੀ ਰਸਾਤਲਿ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਹਮ ਗੁਰਿ ਰਾਖੇ ਹਰਿ ਲਿਵ ਲਾਇ ॥੫॥: I have made widows of the ten sensory organs (I don’t engage in sense-gratification anymore). The Guru has told (i.e., the Gurbani’s Giaan has revealed to me) that pleasures (sense-gratifications) are the poison-fire (that brings death to the spiritual life: ਆਤਮਕ ਮੌਤ). Those who associate with them fall into lower region (of consciousness, degradation or downfall of Spiritual Life – spiritual death, ਆਤਮਕ ਮੌਤ, ਅਧੋਗਤਿ…). By attuning me to the Lord, the Guru (i.e, the Gur-Giaan) has saved me (from the sense pleasures) ||5|| (sggs 1347).
  • ਦਸ ਦਾਸੀ ਕਰਿ ਦੀਨੀ ਭਤਾਰਿ ॥: My Husband-God has made my ten sensory organs as my servants. (sggs 737).
  • ਤਸਬੀ ਯਾਦਿ ਕਰਹੁ ਦਸ ਮਰਦਨੁ ਸੁੰਨਤਿ ਸੀਲੁ ਬੰਧਾਨਿ ਬਰਾ ॥੭॥: Let your meditation beads (rosary) be the subjugation of the ten senses. Let good conduct and self-restraint (from Bikaar) be your circumcision. ||7|| (sggs 1084).

Out of the ten physical senses, the five sense-organs are of knowledge or perception (i.e. Giaan Indriyas — eyes, years, nose, tongue and skin), and the five sense-organs of action (i.e. Karam Indriyas — the genital, anus, mouth, hands and legs).

Man engages in the world of gross objects with his sensory faculties and the pleasures they afford only make him desire for more and more. But it’s not possible to satisfy desires.

For example, one sense object or idea leads the mind to another, and then on to another and another and so on.

We hear people talk and then we want to know what they will talk next. We taste something and then we want to taste something else. We see something and then we want to see something else. We feel something and then we want to feel something else. We smell something and then we want to smell something else.

Thus completely dominated by our senses, the instinctive mind goes on and on! Since the five senses are are always active, our instinctive or crazy mind is also always active and wandering. In this state, we are like a donkey with carrot in front of our nose. Trying to get that carrot, we are never happy, satisfied or contented!

  • ਦਸ ਪਾਤਉ ਪੰਚ ਸੰਗੀਤਾ ਏਕੈ ਭੀਤਰਿ ਸਾਥੇ ॥ ਭਿੰਨ ਭਿੰਨ ਹੋਇ ਭਾਵ ਦਿਖਾਵਹਿ ਸਭਹੁ ਨਿਰਾਰੀ ਭਾਖੇ ॥੩॥: (Within each individual – Jeeva – are) the ten actors (i.e. ten SENSES) the five sensory organs and the five action organs – dance to the five types of music playing together within as perceived by the five sensory organs. They all put on their own shows (ਕਲੋਲ), and speak in different languages (rouse different desires, ਕਾਮਨਾ, reactions in the body/mind). ||3|| (sggs 884).

The grass always seems to be greener on the other side of the fence!

That being said, we are repeatedly advised by the Gurbani (SGGS) to learn to control our senses. If we fail to do so, they will certainly create turmoil, chaos, misery and confusion in life.

  • ਸਤੀ ਰੰਨੀ ਘਰੇ ਸਿਆਪਾ ਰੋਵਨਿ ਕੂੜੀ ਕੰਮੀ ॥ ਜੋ ਲੇਵੈ ਸੋ ਦੇਵੈ ਨਾਹੀ ਖਟੇ ਦੰਮ ਸਹੰਮੀ ॥੨੯॥ : The seven companions (SENSES: two eyes, two ears, one nose, one mouth and one sex organ) always create commotion in his mind for the sake of short lived worldly pleasures. He earns lot of worldly wealth but remains miserable because whatever he earns, he does not share with others. ॥29॥ (sggs 1412).
  • ਮਨੁ ਕਰਿ ਮਕਾ ਕਿਬਲਾ ਕਰਿ ਦੇਹੀ ॥ ਬੋਲਨਹਾਰੁ ਪਰਮ ਗੁਰੁ ਏਹੀ ॥੧॥ ਕਹੁ ਰੇ ਮੁਲਾਂ ਬਾਂਗ ਨਿਵਾਜ ॥ ਏਕ ਮਸੀਤਿ ਦਸੈ ਦਰਵਾਜ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ : (O Mullah) make your mind the Mecca and your body as the Kiblah. (kaaba). Consider (the Creator) speaking within it as the Supreme Guru. ||1|| O Mullah, this body with Ten doors (Ten Senses: eyes, ears, nose etc.) is the real mosque, give the call for prayer and say your prayer from this mosque (of the body). ||1||Pause|| (sggs 1158).

Although the Gurbani (SGGS) asks us to make our TEN SENSES ‘WIDOWS’, but how can one go achieving it?

The mind – the hub or center of all activities – is the ‘husband’ and the ten senses are its ‘wives’. Whenever the senses become attracted toward their respective sense-objects, the mind becomes the source of all ideas about sense-gratification. Thus, the mind and the senses become the repositories of desires.

  • ਏਕੁ ਮੰਦਰੁ ਪੰਚ ਚੋਰ ਹਹਿ ਨਿਤ ਕਰਹਿ ਬੁਰਿਆਈਆ ॥ ਦਸ ਨਾਰੀ ਇਕੁ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਕਰਿ ਦਸੇ ਸਾਦਿ ਲੋੁਭਾਈਆ ॥ ਏਨਿ ਮਾਇਆ ਮੋਹਣੀ ਮੋਹੀਆ ਨਿਤ ਫਿਰਹਿ ਭਰਮਾਈਆ ॥ : In this one body-temple there are five thieves (i.e. Bikaar: lust, anger, greed, attachment, pride) who are always doing evil (these five thieves have taken over the mind-elephant). (On one side) the mind is alone, (with it) there are ten senses, these ten are entangled in (the taste of Maya). They are fascinated by this fascinating Maya (for this reason) they are always wandering around. (sggs 1096).

In order to make all senses ‘widow’, the mind (i.e. the ‘husband’) must ‘die’ (i.e. ‘killed’, annihilated, controlled or ‘conquered‘)!

Aptly the Gurbani urges Sikhs to constantly struggle with their own mind, and keep it engaged in unbroken Shabad-Vichaar so that it develops a taste for practical Spirituality early on in life (i.e. Gurmukh Mindset)

  • ਇੰਦ੍ਰੀ ਦਸੇ ਦਸੇ ਫੁਨਿ ਧਾਵਤ ਤ੍ਰੈ ਗੁਣੀਆ ਖਿਨੁ ਨ ਟਿਕਾਵੈਗੋ ॥ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਪਰਚੈ ਵਸਗਤਿ ਆਵੈ ਮੋਖ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਸੋ ਪਾਵੈਗੋ ॥੩॥ : Ten senses wander unrestrained. Engrossed in the three qualities (of Maya) they do not stay (in one place) even for a moment. Living by the True Wisdom of the Guru, they are brought under control and then liberation (from Bikaar) is obtained. ||3|| (sggs 1310).
  • ਵਿਣੁ ਮਨੈ ਜਿ ਹੋਰੀ ਨਾਲਿ ਲੁਝਣਾ ਜਾਸੀ ਜਨਮੁ ਗਵਾਇ ॥ : Those who struggle with something other than their own mind, will depart having wasted their lives. (sggs 87).

Bhagat Kabeer Ji explains it so beautifully as follows:

  • ਗੁਰਿ ਦਿਖਲਾਈ ਮੋਰੀ ॥ ਜਿਤੁ ਮਿਰਗ ਪੜਤ ਹੈ ਚੋਰੀ ॥ ਮੂੰਦਿ ਲੀਏ ਦਰਵਾਜੇ ॥ ਬਾਜੀਅਲੇ ਅਨਹਦ ਬਾਜੇ ॥੧॥ : (My) Guru has shown the ‘HOLE’ (i.e. my weakness); through which the animals (of Bikaar: lust-desires, anger, greed etc.) enter silently to steal my spiritual life. (With the help of the Guru’s Guidance) my Conscience have closed the doors of the senses (i.e. now my Conscience decide what comes in and what goes out). Now I hear the Voice of my Conscious clear and Loud (i.e. now I have BECOME REALIZED). (sggs 656).

If this Advice or Message of the Guru’s Shabad (SGGS) is heeded with unshakable determination and sincerity, in course of time the mind will begin losing interest in hedonistic pursuits of the senses and become oriented to the Goal of Mool-Abidance Within. The mind stands killed (or ‘conquered‘) when it Realizes its Original Nature as Jot Saroop Within.

  • ਮਨੁ ਤਨੁ ਜੀਤਿ ਸਬਦੁ ਲੈ ਲਾਹਾ ॥: Conquering mind body, earn the Profit of the Shabad (Gur-Giaan-Wisdom…). (sggs 699).
  • ਮਨਿ ਜੀਤੈ ਜਗੁ ਜੀਤੁ ॥: If you conquer the mind, you conquer the material world (sggs 3).
  • ਮਨੁ ਜੀਤੇ ਜਗੁ ਜੀਤਿਆ ਜਾਂ ਤੇ ਬਿਖਿਆ ਤੇ ਹੋਇ ਉਦਾਸੁ ॥੨॥: Conquering the mind is (as if) the world is conquered, (because, only by conquering the mind, one can remain) detached from Maya. (sggs 1103).

Succinctly, the senses become ‘widow’ when the mind stops engaging in sense-gratification or stops being a slave of the senses.

Aptly the Gurbani asks its learners (i.e. Sikhs) to keep the mind under control with the sword of Wisdom. Because, it is the sword of the Wisdom of the Guru (SGGS) which is capable of changing the nature of the deluded mind.

  • 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).
  • ਇਸੁ ਮਨ ਕਉ ਹੋਰੁ ਸੰਜਮੁ ਕੋ ਨਾਹੀ ਵਿਣੁ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਸਰਣਾਇ ॥ : There is no other way to purify this mind except by taking shelter of the ‘Satgur‘ (True Wisdom-ਸੱਚਾ ਗਿਆਨ). (sggs 558).
  • ਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਸਬਦੁ ਰਿਦ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਧਾਰੈ ॥ ਪੰਚ ਜਨਾ ਸਿਉ ਸੰਗੁ ਨਿਵਾਰੈ ॥ ਦਸ ਇੰਦ੍ਰੀ ਕਰਿ ਰਾਖੈ ਵਾਸਿ ॥ ਤਾ ਕੈ ਆਤਮੈ ਹੋਇ ਪਰਗਾਸੁ ॥੧॥: A person who abides the Guru’s Shabad within (i.e. the Guru’s Wisdom); removes his connection with the ‘Five’ (Bikaar); he keeps the ten senses under his control; and his soul (i.e. mind) becomes Enlightened (he gets the insight of spiritual life). ||1|| (sggs 236).

The mind stands ‘conquered’ when it reverts back to its Jot Saroop (i.e. Original Nature).

  • ਦਸ ਬੈਰਾਗਨਿ ਆਗਿਆਕਾਰੀ ਤਬ ਨਿਰਮਲ ਜੋਗੀ ਥੀਏ ॥: Ever since (through the Guru’s Wisdom) my ten senses have become detached and obedient (to the Guru’s Wisdom), since then I have become a Yogi with pious life. (sggs 208).
  • ਗ੍ਰਿਹੁ ਵਸਿ ਗੁਰਿ ਕੀਨਾ ਹਉ ਘਰ ਕੀ ਨਾਰਿ ॥ ਦਸ ਦਾਸੀ ਕਰਿ ਦੀਨੀ ਭਤਾਰਿ ॥ : Through the Guru (Shabad: Wisdom), I have taken charge of my HOME (i.e. Body and Mind) and I am now in Control of my HOME. (Realization of) my Husband-Lord (through the Shabad Guru) has caused my ten senses to be my servants. (sggs 737).

By BECOMING the Gurbani’s Sooraa (Braveheart), when one makes his senses ‘widows’ then, as the Gurbani says, he sees without eyes; he hears without ears; he walks without feet; he works without hands; he speaks without tongue…!

  • ਅਖੀ ਬਾਝਹੁ ਵੇਖਣਾ ਵਿਣੁ ਕੰਨਾ ਸੁਨਣਾ ॥ ਪੈਰਾ ਬਾਝਹੁ ਚਲਣਾ ਵਿਣੁ ਹਥਾ ਕਰਣਾ ॥ ਜੀਭੈ ਬਾਝਹੁ ਬੋਲਣਾ ਇਉ ਜੀਵਤ ਮਰਣਾ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਪਛਾਣਿ ਕੈ ਤਉ ਖਸਮੈ ਮਿਲਣਾ ॥੧॥: See without eyes (i.e. if we look at the world by removing lust from the eyes etc.), hear without ears (i.e. if we keep the ears from the habit of hearing slander etc.); walk without feet (i.e. if we keep our feet from running in the wrong direction etc.), work without hands (i.e. if we use our hands without doing harm to others etc.); speak without the tongue (i.e. if we remove the habit of slandering others from the tongue etc.); this is how one dies alive. O Nanak! When one understands/recognizes Hukam (System-Rule-Law of Nature), then one realizes Truth (‘Khasam‘-Master etc.). (sggs 139).

Seeing without eyes? Hearing without years? Walking without feet? Working without hands? Speaking without a tongue?

In a nutshell, this is the State of a ‘Jeevan-Mukta‘ — living liberated or living dead. Also called the Gurmukh Mindset (the State of Enlightenment), it’s the State that rises within upon getting rid of the crushing burden of false ego-sense (Haumai).

  • ਜਿਨ ਜਪਿਆ ਇਕ ਮਨਿ ਇਕ ਚਿਤਿ ਤਿਨ ਲਥਾ ਹਉਮੈ ਭਾਰੁ ॥:Those who have understood (Hari or Mool) ‘Ik Mann Ik Chit‘ or single mindedly, the burden of their egotism (Haumai) has been removed from their mind. (sggs 302).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਮਨੁ ਜੀਤਾ ਹਉਮੈ ਮਾਰਿ ॥: The spirituality of the Shabad the Message/Enlightenment of the Shabad (Gurmukh-Hood State of the Mind) enables the mind to overcome inflictions of the false ego-sense. (sggs 946).

Off course it’s not easy at all. In fact it’s like swimming upstream; chewing steel balls with the teeth of wax; racing along the razor’s edge or climbing a steep cliff.

  • ਜੈਸੇ ਜਲ ਮਹਿ ਕਮਲੁ ਨਿਰਾਲਮੁ ਮੁਰਗਾਈ ਨੈ ਸਾਣੇ ॥ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਸਬਦਿ ਭਵ ਸਾਗਰੁ ਤਰੀਐ ਨਾਨਕ ਨਾਮੁ ਵਖਾਣੇ ॥: The way to successful spirituality is to be detached from the world WHILE LIVING IN IT; just like the detachment of the Lotus from the stagnant water and the swan from the river water. O Nanak! The Journey of spirituality (i.e. to go across Bhav Saagar) is thus transversed in detachment by keeping the Message of the Shabad within our Consciousness in order to Realize / live the Virtues of God. (sggs 938).
  • ਮੈਣ ਕੇ ਦੰਤ ਕਿਉ ਖਾਈਐ ਸਾਰੁ ॥: How does one undertake Genuine spirituality without Enlightenment? (Idiomatically / Metaphorically speaking: its akin to chewing iron with teeth of wax!). (sggs 943).
  • ਆਪਣ ਹਥੀ ਆਪਣਾ ਆਪੇ ਹੀ ਕਾਜੁ ਸਵਾਰੀਐ ॥੨੦॥: (So long there is breathPraan) accomplish the task (of God Realization) yourself ( i.e. with self-efforts: Shabad-Vichaar …). ||20|| (sggs 474).

However the Gurbani (SGGS) assures this is possible through the Guru’s Giaan-Wisdom (Upadesh of the Shabad)!

  • ਗੁਰਸਿਖ ਮੀਤ ਚਲਹੁ ਗੁਰ ਚਾਲੀ ॥ ਜੋ ਗੁਰੁ ਕਹੈ ਸੋਈ ਭਲ ਮਾਨਹੁ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਕਥਾ ਨਿਰਾਲੀ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ : O my Gursikh friends (i.e. followers of the Spirituality of the Shabad, traverse the Spiritual Journey shown by the Guru. Whatever the Guru says (i.e. Guru’s Giaan-Wisdom), accept that as good because the Guru’s discourse is Unique. ||1||Pause|| (sggs 918).
  • ਭਗਤਾ ਕੀ ਚਾਲ ਨਿਰਾਲੀ ॥ ਚਾਲਾ ਨਿਰਾਲੀ ਭਗਤਾਹ ਕੇਰੀ ਬਿਖਮ ਮਾਰਗਿ ਚਲਣਾ ॥ ਲਬੁ ਲੋਭੁ ਅਹੰਕਾਰੁ ਤਜਿ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਨਾਹੀ ਬੋਲਣਾ ॥ ਖੰਨਿਅਹੁ ਤਿਖੀ ਵਾਲਹੁ ਨਿਕੀ ਏਤੁ ਮਾਰਗਿ ਜਾਣਾ ॥: The lifestyle of Bhagat (Daas, Jan , Gurmukh…) is unique (extraordinary…). The lifestyle of Bhagat is unique, for they follow the most difficult Way of life. (That is, they reform themselves by) renouncing greed, avarice, pride, desire and excessive talkativeness. This Way of life they take is sharper than a two-edged sword, and finer than a hair (i.e., very difficult). (sggs 918).

5 comments

  1. Bhai Sahib ji,
    Excellent job in your effort to translate and explain the authentic spiritual message of the Gurbani shabads.
    Appreciate if you could write the shabads in Romanised English for the benifit of those who are unable to read the Gurmukhi script.
    Stay blessed and save always ji
    🙏👍🙏

  2. wonderful article, simply explained, easy to understand, and life times to achieve…………… bahot dhanvaad for this!

  3. Wow! Wow!! Wow!!!

    Intense and deep. Your pieces are becoming more and more densely Gyaan-packed.

    One Husband-Mind and ten Senses-Wives. And the task is to kill the Husband. Difficult …. almost impossible because one needs Husband’s help and all these ‘wifes’ are so much ‘desire-fulfilling’……. But Gurbani has laid-out the way -this ‘Khanniahu tkhee vaalahu nikee’ Maarg.

    Thanks again for sharing your reflections on Gurbani.

    Deep regards

    PS ( A couple of words are missing in the following lines the the word eyes is missing and the words he hears without are missing too … please edit if possible )

    When, by becoming the Gurmukh, one makes his senses widows, he sees without years; walks without feet; works without hands; speaks without a tongue…!

    Thanks

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