What Is Killing The Mind

In this post, we will try to reflect on the “what”, “why”, and “how” of killing of the mind (“ਮਨੁ ਮਾਵਾਸੀ ਰਾਜਾ”).

First off, we need to know what the mind is before we can kill it. Without knowing a thing, how can anyone work on it? The Gurbani teaches that one can continuously (Lagaataar) keep something in his focus (ਧਿਆਨ) only if he has knowledge of it (Giaan, understanding, Soojh-Boojh...).

In other words, the Gurbani teaches us that we must know what we are contemplating on (ਪਹਿਲਾਂ ਪੂਰੀ ਤਰਾਂ ਜਾਣ ਕੇ/ਸਮਝ ਕੇ, ਫਿਰ ਧਿਆਨ ਕਰਨਾ ਹੈ – “ਜਾਨਿ ਭਜਹਿ”), or what we are trying remember or link. Otherwise – if we contemplate on something without Knowledge (without Giaan/Soojh-Boojh, ਗਿਆਨ ਬਗੈਰ ਧਿਆਨ) – we are sure to be disappointed in the end!

  • ਜੋ ਜਨ ਜਾਨਿ ਭਜਹਿ ਅਬਿਗਤ ਕਉ ਤਿਨ ਕਾ ਕਛੂ ਨ ਨਾਸਾ ॥ ਕਹੁ ਕਬੀਰ ਤੇ ਜਨ ਕਬਹੁ ਨ ਹਾਰਹਿ ਢਾਲਿ ਜੁ ਜਾਨਹਿ ਪਾਸਾ ॥੪॥੪॥: Those “Jan” (Daas, Bhagat, Gurmukh…) who remember the Invisible (Prabhoo) with the Knowledge (ਸੂਝ-ਬੂਝ…) are not ruined at all (i.e., their life is not wasted). O Kabeer! Those “Jan” who know how to throw dice (i.e., how to follow or live by the Divine Hukam, Gur-Giaan, Naam…), never lose the game of life. ||4||4|| (sggs 793).

The Gurbani says:

  • ਅੰਤਰਿ ਬਸੇ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਭੀ ਓਹੀ ॥: Antari basae baahari bhee ohee (sggs 294).

Half mind connected to Maya remains “without” or “outside” (“ਬਾਹਰਿ”) — disturbed and restless (“ਲਹਰੀ ਵਿਚਿ”).

  • ਮਾਇਆ ਡੋਲੈ ਬਹੁ ਬਿਧੀ ਮਨੁ ਲਪਟਿਓ ਤਿਹ ਸੰਗ ॥: Maya wavers many ways, the mind clings to this (Maya, also wavers many ways). (sggs 258).
  • ਜਿਚਰੁ ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਲਹਰੀ ਵਿਚਿ ਹੈ ਹਉਮੈ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਅਹੰਕਾਰੁ ॥: Jichar ihu manu laharee vichi... (sggs 1247).

The other half untainted by Maya (“ਅੰਤਰਿ ਬਸੇ”) remains stable (“ਅਡੋਲੁ”), within.

  • ਆਪਿ ਅਡੋਲੁ ਨ ਕਬਹੂ ਡੋਲੈ ॥: Aapi adolu n kabahoo dolai (sggs 294).

Thus, in actuality, as the Gurbani indicates, both are One (“ਅੰਤਰਿ ਬਸੇ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਭੀ ਓਹੀ”)!

The Gurbani refers to the real nature of our Mool (Source, Jot…) as immortal and as the essence of Consciousness-Knowledge-Bliss. The Haumai mind that dwells “without” (“ਬਾਹਰਿ”) in Maya has rebelled against its Mool.

Thus, in nutshell, the external mind is nothing but Mayaic thoughts-stuff (ਫੁਰਨੇ, ਬਾਹਰਲਾ ਧਿਆਨ…). Baabaa Nanak time and again reminds this rebellious mind to go within and realize its Mool (Source, Jot…).

Simply put, to kill the mind is to mend the Mayaic or conditioned mind that dwells “without” (“ਬਾਹਰਿ”) — it’s to reform the ego (Haumai) or contaminated mind; it’s to change the deluded mind; it’s to amend or restore the rebellious or doubt-ridden mind by making it understand the Truth through Shabad-Vichaar; it’s to make the mind shed its coloring of Maya-nature and dye it in the color of Naam (Shabad, Hukam, Giaan, etc.)….

Yet, to put it in simple Punjabi, the Gurbani indicates: ਮੰਨ ਮਾਰਨਾ => ਮੰਨ ਨੂੰ ਸੁਧਾਰਨਾ; ਹਉਮੈ ਵਾਲੀ ਸੁਰਤ ਜਾ ਹੰਕਾਰ ਵਾਲੀ ਸੁਰਤ ਜੋ ਮਨ ਵਿਚ ਹੁੰਦੀ ਹੈ ਉਸ ਨੂੰ ਮਾਰਨਾ; ਮੰਨ ਨਾਲ ਲੜਾਈ => ਮੰਨ ਨੂੰ ਸਮਝਾਣਾਂ; ਮੰਨ ਸਾਧਣਾਂ => ਬੁਧੀ ਦਾ ਕਾਲੇ ਮੰਨ ਨੂੰ ਸਾਧਣਾਂ, ਜਿਹੜਾ ਅੱਧਾ ਅਸਾਧ ਮੰਨ ਬਾਹਰ ਹੈ ਇਸ ਦਾ ਸੋਝੀ ਨਾਲ “ਊਜਲ” ਹੋਣਾਂ, ਅਰਥਾਤ ਮੰਨ ਨੂੰ ਸਮਝਣਾਂ ਹੀ ਇਸ ਨੂੰ ਸਾਧਣਾਂ ਹੈ…

  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਆਪਣਾ ਮਨੁ ਮਾਰਿਆ ਸਬਦਿ ਕਸਵਟੀ ਲਾਇ ॥ ਮਨ ਹੀ ਨਾਲਿ ਝਗੜਾ ਮਨ ਹੀ ਨਾਲਿ ਸਥ ਮਨ ਹੀ ਮੰਝਿ ਸਮਾਇ ॥: Gurmukhi aapanaa manu maariaa... (sggs 87).

Now perhaps it’s more clear as to, when the mind dies, what is it that dies? Or, when the Gurbani says kill the mind, what is it that gets killed or what is it that needs to be killed? Furthermore, when we hear expressions like ‘control the mind’, ‘annihilate the mind’, or ‘subdue the mind’, etc., what is it that needs to be controlled, annihilated, or subdued?

The Gurbani further simplifies it for us:

  • ਬੁਝੁ ਰੇ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਮੂਆ ਹੈ ਕਉਣੁ ॥ ਮੂਈ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਬਾਦੁ ਅਹੰਕਾਰੁ ॥ ਓਹੁ ਨ ਮੂਆ ਜੋ ਦੇਖਣਹਾਰੁ ॥੨॥: Understand (inquire…), O wise-man, who has died. Memory of (Maya), conflict and egotism dies. (But the Witness Conscious within – Mool, ਆਤਮਾ… ) That Seer does not die. ||2|| (sggs 152).

Thus when the conditioned consciousness dies, the Unconditioned Consciousness within awakens!! In other words, the idea behind killing the mind is to merge the tainted consciousness with the Untainted Consciousness of the Mool (Source, Jot...) within. Simply put: It’s the self mending the self!

  • ਨਾਨਕ ਮਨ ਹੀ ਤੇ ਮਨੁ ਮਾਨਿਆ ਨਾ ਕਿਛੁ ਮਰੈ ਨ ਜਾਇ ॥੨॥: Nanak man hee te manu maaniaa n kichh marai n jaai (sggs 514).

Why do we need to kill the external mind in the first place? The Gurbani tells us that without killing the instinctive mind neither we can transcend Maya nor we can realize “Hari” or “Bhagti”:

  • ਬਿਨੁ ਮਨ ਮੂਏ ਕੈਸੇ ਹਰਿ ਪਾਇ ॥: Binu man muae kaise Hari paai (sggs 665).
  • ਬਿਨੁ ਮਨ ਮੂਏ ਭਗਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥: Binu man muae Bhagati n hoi (sggs 1277).
  • ਨਾ ਮਨੁ ਮਰੈ ਨ ਮਾਇਆ ਮਰੈ ॥: Naa manu marai na Maya marai (sggs 1342).

Thus, the Gurbani tells us that our life will be wasted if we remain disconnected from our Mool. And, in order to Realize our Mool within (Source, Jot…), the Gurbani tells us to become One again (Ik Mann Ik Chitt, Whole, Total, Undivided, Unconditioned, ਸਾਬਤ…).

  • ਮੂਲਹੁ ਭੁਲਾ ਜਨਮੁ ਗਵਾਏ ॥੨॥: (One who) has forgotten (his) Mool (Source, Jot…), (he) wastes away his life. ||2|| (sggs 664).
  • ਏਕੁ ਰਹਿਆ ਤਾ ਏਕੁ ਦਿਖਾਇਆ ॥੨॥:Eku rahiaa taa eku dikhaaiaa (sggs 886).

How, then, can we kill our instinctive mind? It is the sword of the Wisdom of the Gurmat (the Divine Knowledge or Giaan of the Gurbani) that is capable of changing the nature of the external mind (i.e., killing it).

  • ਗਿਆਨ ਖੜਗੁ ਲੈ ਮਨ ਸਿਉ ਲੂਝੈ ਮਨਸਾ ਮਨਹਿ ਸਮਾਈ ਹੇ ॥੩॥: Taking up the Sword of the Spiritual Wisdom, struggle with the mind, and (all Mayaic desires, thoughts, ਫੁਰਨੇ, ਖੋਟੀ ਮਨਸਾ, etc., ) born of the mind are nipped within the mind (ਮਨ ਦੇ ਵਿਚ ਹੀ ਮੁੱਕ ਜਾਂਦੇ ਹਨ). ||3|| (sggs 1022).
  • ਸਬਦੁ ਸੂਝੈ ਤਾ ਮਨ ਸਿਉ ਲੂਝੈ ਮਨਸਾ ਮਾਰਿ ਸਮਾਵਣਿਆ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Sabadu soojhI taa man siou loojhai... (sggs 113).

Therefore, the Gurbani Teaches us:

  • ਮਨ ਸਮਝਾਵਨ ਕਾਰਨੇ ਕਛੂਅਕ ਪੜੀਐ ਗਿਆਨ ॥੫॥: To instruct the mind one ought to study Knowledge to some extent. ||5|| (sggs 340).

Thus, as the Gurbani indicates, by becoming the Gurmukh we need to search (ਖੋਜ) the mind in the body, and Jot in the mind (ਤਨ ਵਿਚੋਂ ਮਨ ਨੂੰ ਖੋਜਿਆ, ਤੇ ਮਨ ਵਿਚੋਂ ਜੋਤ ਨੂੰ ਖੋਜਿਆ)!!

  • ਇਸੁ ਤਨ ਮਹਿ ਮਨੁ ਕੋ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਦੇਖੈ ॥: Is tan mahi manu ko gurmukhi dekhai (sggs 124).
  • ਤਨੁ ਮਨੁ ਖੋਜਿ ਘਰੈ ਮਹਿ ਪਾਇਆ ॥: Tanu manu khoji gharai mahi paya (sggs 1129).


  1. thanks bhaji…
    ਸਭ ਬੁਧੀ ਜਾਲੀਅਹਿ ਇਕੁ ਰਹੈ ਤਤੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ॥੪॥
    Let all wisdom be burnt away, except for the essence of spiritual wisdom. ||4||
    I understand that, essence is the nirgun aspect where in the 5 elements, where these are present in its subtlest, unmanifested form…like ether as the Dhun Atmic..sound principle…air as breath melting and remaining steady in central channel of sushmana….FIRE as glowing turiya…..WATER as tasteless sliva….EARTH as matter lost out to spirit..likewise in sargun mode, where the elements take fully manifested form,,,,like ether as varan atmic bani….AIR as breath moving toward the external objects…fire as googling for destinations..WATER as performing the titration test,,and EARTH as the populating island…
    ਈਘੈ ਨਿਰਗੁਨ ਊਘੈ ਸਰਗੁਨ ਕੇਲ ਕਰਤ ਬਿਚਿ ਸੁਆਮੀ ਮੇਰਾ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ
    Bhaji your site has inspired me to info graph some of the SGGS rhymes and your explanations were bang on, could i put you as a reference on my info graphic booklet.
    Deep Regards.

  2. Nicely put it in simple terms Prince Ji! Thank you so much for taking the time to share.
    The Gurbani indicates Maya and the Brahm (Primal Energy…) are blended with everything.
    • ਮਾਇਆ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਰਮੈ ਸਭ ਸੰਗ ॥: Maya and Brahm are blended with everything (sggs 343).

    Thus, liberation from Maya dose not constitute disappearance of material energy or world.
    If liberation from Maya dose not constitute disappearance of material energy, then what is it? In nutshell, it is the change in one’s vision (“ਬੁਧਿ ਬਦਲੀ”-Budhi Badalee). To put it otherwise, it is the ceasing of the conditioned mind’s imagining (ਫੁਰਨੇ, desires…) or fascination for Maya. Thus, transcending Maya simply means living in the material world but not of it. It is complete liberation from doubts (Bharam), from Haumai (false ego-sense), from duality (two-ness, ਦੁਚਿੱਤੀ), from ignorance of the Mool (Source, Reality, Jot…), from all Mayaic intellect (“ਸਭ ਬੁਧੀ ਜਾਲੀਅਹਿ”)…
    • ਕਹਿ ਕਬੀਰ ਬੁਧਿ ਹਰਿ ਲਈ ਮੇਰੀ ਬੁਧਿ ਬਦਲੀ ਸਿਧਿ ਪਾਈ ॥੨॥੨੧॥੭੨॥: Kahi Kabeer budhi hari laee meree budhi badalee sidhi paaee (sggs 339).
    • ਸਭ ਬੁਧੀ ਜਾਲੀਅਹਿ ਇਕੁ ਰਹੈ ਤਤੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ॥੪॥: Sabh budhee jaaleeahi iku rahai tatu giaan (sggs 1413).

    In other words, to Realize our Mool (Source, Jot…), as you put it: “one has to understand both, then stay with the most subtle.”

    Shabad-Vichaar is the Work Of the Inner on the outer………………

  3. thanks bhaji,
    Trikut is the format by which we express externally, by the aid of cognitive and action senses,,for internal viewing we adhere to turiya..can we consider them antonyms, like nirgun and sargun, aren’t they both part and parcel of self,,to realize self one has to understand both, then stay with the most subtle. Deep regards..

  4. what is TRIKUT….,,
    the out going mind,,,that is the awake body,,sathoola sarira..which is in trikut mode operating in satv,,rajs,,tamas…trigun/trikut.
    my Q is…..being in [[awake ,drem, d sleep sequence]] a trikut…we are talking about which TRIKUT,
    this awake,dream and sleep….the first one….or
    rajs, tamas and satv mode of jiva in awake state….
    thanks for clearing.

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