Two Birds

It is repeatedly indicated in the SGGS that there are only two different groups of people living together on earth: the Gurmukhs and the Manmukhs (including Saakat, Mayadhaaree etc). The SGGS asks us to become the Gurmukhs.

In addition to analogies, similes, allegories, metaphors, idioms, euphemism, symbolic expressions, figurative or mystic representations and illustrations, the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) has also used birds, animals etc. to hammer Wisdom (Giaan) into our heads.

For example, consider the following Shabad:

  • ਨਾਨਕ ਤਰਵਰੁ ਏਕੁ ਫਲੁ ਦੁਇ ਪੰਖੇਰੂ ਆਹਿ ॥ ਆਵਤ ਜਾਤ ਨ ਦੀਸਹੀ ਨਾ ਪਰ ਪੰਖੀ ਤਾਹਿ ॥ ਬਹੁ ਰੰਗੀ ਰਸ ਭੋਗਿਆ ਸਬਦਿ ਰਹੈ ਨਿਰਬਾਣੁ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਰਸਿ ਫਲਿ ਰਾਤੇ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਕਰਮਿ ਸਚਾ ਨੀਸਾਣੁ ॥੨॥: Nanak Tarvar(u) Ek(u) Phal(u) Dui Pankheroo Aahi… (sggs 550).

In the above Shabad:

  • Tarvaru‘ (‘ਤਰਵਰੁ’) = a tree — this world or mind can be likened to a tree (ਸੰਸਾਰ ਰੂਪ ਰੁੱਖ).
  • ‘Ek(u) Phal(u)‘ (‘ਏਕੁ ਫਲੁ’) = one fruit — the fruit ofthe material world is Maya’s attachment or delusion (love and hunger of Maya etc.). However, the fruit of the mind is Wisdom, Virtues etc.
  • Dui pankheroo‘ (‘ਦੁਇ ਪੰਖੇਰੂ’) = two birds — (1) Gurmukh (Truth, Jot Saroop, True Nature, untainted Surat or thoughts etc.) and (2) Manmukh (opposite of the Gurmukh: False ego-sense or Haumai, falsehood, tainted or conditioned thoughts etc.).

Combining these terms:

  • ਨਾਨਕ ਤਰਵਰੁ ਏਕੁ ਫਲੁ ਦੁਇ ਪੰਖੇਰੂ ਆਹਿ ॥ ਆਵਤ ਜਾਤ ਨ ਦੀਸਹੀ ਨਾ ਪਰ ਪੰਖੀ ਤਾਹਿ ॥ ਬਹੁ ਰੰਗੀ ਰਸ ਭੋਗਿਆ ਸਬਦਿ ਰਹੈ ਨਿਰਬਾਣੁ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਰਸਿ ਫਲਿ ਰਾਤੇ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਕਰਮਿ ਸਚਾ ਨੀਸਾਣੁ ॥੨॥: O Nanak! This (world) is a tree; attached to this tree is one fruit (i.e. Maya); two types of birds come and sit on this tree (i.e. Gurmukh and Manmukh). Those two birds do not have wings and cannot be seen coming and going. (The Manmukh) enjoys so many pleasures (sense gratification, ਸੁਆਦ etc.) while the other (i.e., the Gurmukh), through the Shabad, remains in ‘Nirvana’ (detached, Mukat or liberatedSukhi or Happy, free of worldly bondage etc.). O Nanak! (the mind that) remains imbued with the essence of the fruit of Naam, (that mind) is ideal to receive divine Grace. ||2|| (sggs 550).

Second purport of this Shabad:

  • ਨਾਨਕ ਤਰਵਰੁ ਏਕੁ ਫਲੁ ਦੁਇ ਪੰਖੇਰੂ ਆਹਿ ॥ ਆਵਤ ਜਾਤ ਨ ਦੀਸਹੀ ਨਾ ਪਰ ਪੰਖੀ ਤਾਹਿ ॥ ਬਹੁ ਰੰਗੀ ਰਸ ਭੋਗਿਆ ਸਬਦਿ ਰਹੈ ਨਿਰਬਾਣੁ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਰਸਿ ਫਲਿ ਰਾਤੇ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਕਰਮਿ ਸਚਾ ਨੀਸਾਣੁ ॥੨॥: O Nanak! This (mind) is a tree; attached to this tree is one fruit (i.e. Wisdom, Virtues); two types of birds come and sit on this tree (i.e. two types of thoughts – Gurmukh thoughts that facilitate the mind to realize its Mool or Jot Saroop within and Manmukh thoughts that impede this). Those two birds (or thoughts types) do not have wings and cannot be seen coming and going. (The Manmukh thoughts) enjoy so many pleasures (sense gratification etc.) while the other (i.e., the Gurmukh thoughts) follows the Shabad (Guru’s Wisdom) and remains free from temptations of the world-play (detached, Mukat or liberatedSukhi or Happy, free of worldly bondage etc.). O Nanak! (the mind that) remains imbued with the essence of the fruit of Naam, (that mind) is ideal to receive divine Grace. ||2|| (sggs 550).

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