They Are Real Donkeys

The level of intelligence of an utterly foolish or stupid person is generally compared with that of a donkey. Poor Donkey!

For example, if some one acts stupidly, he takes the risk of being called “Gadhaa” or “Khotaa” (donkey). Also, if a child behaves or acts foolishly, parents at home, or teachers in the school may call him “Gadhaa” or “Khotaa” to make the point!

The Gurbani compares those who remain bloated in pride (ਐਵੀਂ ਆਕੜ ਦਿਖਾਲਣ ਵਾਲੇ) with donkeys.

  • ਮਨਹੁ ਜਿ ਅੰਧੇ ਘੂਪ ਕਹਿਆ ਬਿਰਦੁ ਨ ਜਾਣਨੀ ॥ ਮਨਿ ਅੰਧੈ ਊਂਧੈ ਕਵਲ ਦਿਸਨਿ ਖਰੇ ਕਰੂਪ ॥ ਇਕਿ ਕਹਿ ਜਾਣਨਿ ਕਹਿਆ ਬੁਝਨਿ ਤੇ ਨਰ ਸੁਘੜ ਸਰੂਪ ॥ ਇਕਨਾ ਨਾਦੁ ਨ ਬੇਦੁ ਨ ਗੀਅ ਰਸੁ ਰਸੁ ਕਸੁ ਨ ਜਾਣੰਤਿ ॥ ਇਕਨਾ ਸਿਧਿ ਨ ਬੁਧਿ ਨ ਅਕਲਿ ਸਰ ਅਖਰ ਕਾ ਭੇਉ ਨ ਲਹੰਤਿ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਤੇ ਨਰ ਅਸਲਿ ਖਰ ਜਿ ਬਿਨੁ ਗੁਣ ਗਰਬੁ ਕਰੰਤ ॥੧੫॥: Those who are totally blind in their minds (utterly foolish), do not have the integrity to keep their word. With their blind minds, and their upside-down heart-lotus (from Dharma), they look totally ugly (i.e., their living is ugly). Some know how to speak and understand what they are told. Those people are wise and look good. Some do not know Naad (inner melody), spiritual wisdom, or any other enjoyment or taste (ਰਸੁ ਕਸੁ). Some have no idea of Sidhi (attainment of liberation), wisdom or understanding; they know nothing about the mystery of the Word (and still remains bloated with pride!). O Nanak, those people are really donkeys; they have no virtue, but still, they are very proud ||15|| (sggs 1411).

Please note neither a donkey is going to read the Gurbani nor a donkey is going to reflect or contemplate it. Hence, in nutshell, here the Gurbani is talking about the human mind which behaves like animals!

People feel hubris for different things – education, intelligence, wisdom, money, status, titles, beauty, virtues or qualities, possessions, land, property, Jaap Paat (caste), and so on.

Pride (ਗਰਬ, ਅਭਿਮਾਨ, ਹੰਕਾਰ, ਅਹੰਕਾਰ, ਮਾਣ, ਆਕੜ…) is one of the Bikaars (negative tendencies, internal negatives…). According to the Gurbani, this is indicative of a person being a Manmukh (self-willed, who lives at material consciousness, ignorant, who lacks spiritual Understanding, ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਵਲੋਂ ਬੇ-ਸਮਝ…)

The Gurbani asserts that in such Manmukh lifestyle (which is opposite of a Gurmukh Lifestyle), we just waste away human life, without realizing the Truth.

  • ਮਨਮੁਖੁ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਕਰੇ ਅਭਿਮਾਨੁ ॥: The Manmukh takes great pride in himself (sggs 1066).
  • ਮਨਮੁਖਿ ਗਰਬਿ ਨ ਪਾਇਓ ਅਗਿਆਨ ਇਆਣੇ ॥: The Manmukhs are ignorant and foolish (ਜੀਵਨ-ਜੁਗਤਿ ਤੋਂ) ; they remain in pride; they do not find God (sggs 163).
  • ਜੋ ਜੋ ਗਰਬੁ ਕਰੇ ਸੋ ਜਾਇ ॥: Whoever indulges in pride, wastes away (from standpoint of spiritual life – ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਵਲੋਂ) to ruin (sggs 868).

if we wish to eradicate pride or conceit, the Gurbani asks us to become the Gurmukh (the true spiritual Being, Living Enlightened, the follower of Truth and truthful living, Divine-conscious being, one who has Realized his Mool or Real Self as Joti-svaroopa, one who lives the Gur-Shabad, one who is established in Undivided or Intact Consciousness (Gurmukh Lifestyle…).

  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਜਾਗਿ ਰਹੇ ਚੂਕੀ ਅਭਿਮਾਨੀ ਰਾਮ ॥: Who have become the Gurmukhs remain Awake and Aware (from the spell of Maya – ਮਾਇਆ ਦੇ ਹੱਲਿਆਂ ਵੱਲੋਂ); (from within them, their) pride is annulled (sggs 1111).
  • ਤਜਿ ਮਾਨੁ ਸਖੀ ਤਜਿ ਮਾਨੁ ਸਖੀ ਮਤੁ ਆਪਣੇ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਮ ਭਾਵਹ ॥: O my companions! Renounce your pride, renounce your pride, (so that we may) become pleasing to (our) Beloved (sggs 847).


  1. Thank you Bhai Sahib Balvinder Singh Gill Ji for taking the time to share your thoughts, and kind words. Welcome to the Gurbani Blog.

  2. Your posts are truly enlightening for me thank you so much. I understand your humble approach but it gives me such knowledge and enjoyment to read

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