What is Mind?

That which separates man from his True Nature or Jot Saroop is mind.

In short, the wall — also called veil, curtain, screen, etc. in the Gurbani — that stands between man in his Mool is mind.

Gurmat Giaan or Wisdom of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) says pull the wall down through the Guru’s Wisdom and we will come face to face with our Mool.

The ocean at depth is calm and quiet. But at the surface, due to disturbance created by the wind, waves arise. Stronger the wind, stronger and higher the waves. If there is no wind, there will be no waves.

Similarly, the phantom of the instinctive mind is nothing but turbulent waves on the surface of the pool of the Pure Consciousness (Jot Saroop). The seed of the mind is Haumai or false-ego-sense (‘I’-ness and ‘mine’-ness or self-centeredness, etc.).

  • ਮਾਇਆ ਮੁਈ ਨ ਮਨੁ ਮੁਆ ਸਰੁ ਲਹਰੀ ਮੈ ਮਤੁ ॥: (Neither the mind’s love for) Maya has died, nor the mind has died (i.e, the mind has not turned away from the worldly desires); and the mind-ocean remains brimful with waves of ‘I, I’ (self-centeredness, etc.). (sggs 992).
  • ਇਹੁ ਤਨੁ ਲਹਰੀ ਗਡੁ ਥਿਆ ਸਚੇ ਤੇਰੀ ਆਸ ॥੧੨੫॥: This body is caught in the waves (of desire-ਸੰਸਾਰ-ਰੂਪ ਸਾਗਰ ਦੀਆਂ ਵਿਕਾਰਾਂ ਰੂਪ ਲਹਰਾਂ). (To escape from these waves of desires) O my True Rabb, You are my only hope! ||125|| (sggs 1384).
  • ਤੋਹੀ ਮੋਹੀ ਮੋਹੀ ਤੋਹੀ ਅੰਤਰੁ ਕੈਸਾ ॥ ਕਨਕ ਕਟਿਕ ਜਲ ਤਰੰਗ ਜੈਸਾ ॥੧॥: You are me, and I am You—what is the difference between us? We are like gold and the bracelet, or water and the waves ||1|| (sggs 93).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਦੀਰਘ ਰੋਗੁ ਹੈ ਦਾਰੂ ਭੀ ਇਸੁ ਮਾਹਿ ॥: Ego is a chronic disease, but it contains its own cure as well (sggs 466).

The body is only a shadow of the mind.

In other words, body is the mold prepared by the mind for its expression.

When the mind is agitated, then this body also is agitated. What it means is that when the mind is in control, the body (including all senses) also is in control.

How do these waves of the mind arise?

Haumai or ‘I’ thought is the base of all other thoughts. This idea of ‘I’ will bring in its train of thoughts (Phurnae-ਫੁਰਨੇ), the idea of time space and other potencies.

Hence, waves of the instinctive mind include waves of Maya, ‘desires’, Bikaar (i.e., lust, anger, greed, etc.), defiled senses chasing their respective sense-objects, and so on.

For example, when we see something, there arises desire in the mind. That creates disturbance or waves in the mind. Without seeing (or without desires or love for Maya), there will be no waves or disturbance in the mind. It’s similar to as if there is no wind, there will be no waves at the surface of ocean.

  • ਬਿਨੁ ਦੇਖੇ ਉਪਜੈ ਨਹੀ ਆਸਾ ॥: Without seeing something, the desire for it does not arise. (sggs 1167).

When in mother’s womb, our eyes are closed and don’t see anything. As a result, there are no waves of desires or disturbance. The Gurbani explains this to us beautifully.

If the mind is moored to its Mool within (Har, Raam, Rabb, Gobind, Allah…: Universal Energy), then there will be no Waves of Maya or desires arising in us.

  • ਇਉ ਕਹੈ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਮਨ ਤੂੰ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਰੂਪੁ ਹੈ ਅਪਣਾ ਮੂਲੁ ਪਛਾਣੁ ॥੫॥: Thus says Nanak – O mind! You are embodiment of Pure Light (Pure Consciousness, Pure Nature, Original or Real Nature, Wisdom, Virtues – Jot Saroop …)! Recognize your Mool (ਅਪਣੇ ਆਪ ਦੀ ਪਛਾਣ, recognition of mind’s Original or True Nature – Jot Saroop…) ||5|| (sggs 441).

But, on account of our love or hunger for Maya, there will be the waves of desires arising in BudhiIn nutshell, that’s the mind. Hence, mind happens to us, we don’t happen to mind!

The Gurbani in the following verse indicates to us that if we want to arrest waves of the mind, we need to switch our seeing or vision from Maya to ‘Har‘ or Mool.

  • ਏ ਨੇਤ੍ਰਹੁ ਮੇਰਿਹੋ ਹਰਿ ਤੁਮ ਮਹਿ ਜੋਤਿ ਧਰੀ ਹਰਿ ਬਿਨੁ ਅਵਰੁ ਨ ਦੇਖਹੁ ਕੋਈ ॥: O my eyes, the ‘Har’ has infused (His) Light into you; therefore, without ‘Har’, you don’t see another (i.e., you see the entire world as the Har’s manifestation). (sggs 922).
  • ਮਨ ਤੇ ਮਨੁ ਮਾਨਿਆ ਚੂਕੀ ਅਹੰ ਭ੍ਰਮਣੀ ॥: The (lower) mind is reconciliated with the (Higher) Mind, and the ego’s wandering ways come to an end (sggs 227).

To put it otherwise, the Gurbani tells us that If we look or live at body-level (i.e., Maya, body-consciousness…), then there will be waves of Maya in the mind. But, if we see or live at the level of the Mool or Jot Saroop, then there will be no waves of Maya in the mind.

  • ਮਾਇਆ ਡੋਲੈ ਬਹੁ ਬਿਧੀ ਮਨੁ ਲਪਟਿਓ ਤਿਹ ਸੰਗ ॥: Maya wavers many ways, the mind clings to this (Maya, also wavers many ways). (sggs 258).

In short, mind is a dual power.

For the sake of discussion, if we must put it in words, this dual-power mind can be represented as follows (‘ਕਹਨ ਸੁਨਨ ਕਉ’):

One part or aspect of mind connected to Maya remains ‘without’, ‘external’ or ‘outside’ (‘ਬਾਹਰਿ’) — ever changing, disturbed and restless (‘ਲਹਰੀ ਵਿਚਿ’). Thus this instinctive mind is NOT only made daily, but ALWAYS MADE. Haumai (false ego-sense) and Budhi (intellect) work in healthy-cooperation with this mind — a collection of though-stuff; a collection of desires; a bundle of habits. This aspect of the mind binds the man and is the cause of his sorrows.

The other part or aspect which is untainted by Maya (‘ਅੰਤਰਿ ਬਸੇ’), remains stable (‘ਅਡੋਲੁ’), within. This aspect of the mind does not cause any problems to us. In fact it aids our life.

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

In short, mind that gives up hunger for Maya realizes its Mool, within.

Similarly, if we listen at the body-level, we are likely to practice falsehood or Maya in life. But If we listen at the level of the Truth, then we are likely to live Truth.

Now, how can we rid of seeing and listening at the body-level? The Gurbani shows us how:

  • ਹਉਮੈ ਮੇਰਾ ਜਾਤਿ ਹੈ ਅਤਿ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਅਭਿਮਾਨੁ ॥ ਸਬਦਿ ਮਰੈ ਤਾ ਜਾਤਿ ਜਾਇ ਜੋਤੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਮਿਲੈ ਭਗਵਾਨੁ ॥੨॥: Haumai, self-centeredness (ਮੈਂ ਮੈਂ, ਮੇਰੀ ਮੇਰੀ) and ‘Jaati’ (pride of being superior, separate, different…), (gives rise to) too much anger and pride (i.e., all Bikaar). (If) died through the Shabad (i.e., becoming absorbed in Naam, Hukam, Shabad-Vichaar, Wisdom….), then ‘Jaati’ (pride of being superior, separate, different…) goes away, (and then one’s) light merges into the (Supreme) Light and (he) Realizes ‘Bhagwaan’ (Mool, Parmaatam…). ||2|| (sggs 429).
  • ਏ ਸ੍ਰਵਣਹੁ ਮੇਰਿਹੋ ਸਾਚੈ ਸੁਨਣੈ ਨੋ ਪਠਾਏ ॥: (O my ears!) You are sent to listen to the Truth. (sggs 922).

Mind creates havoc through its power of imagination, wandering, etc. Imaginary fears of many sorts, exaggeration, concoction, mental dramatization, building castle in the air are due to this power of imagination or fancy. It broods over the perceived objects, creating feelings of likes, dislikes, desires (Trishanaa), etc. For example, once a desire arises, man finds no peace till it is fulfilled. All this because man feels that he gains happiness from objects. Therefore, the gain and loss of objects become a source of joy and sorrow.

a wandering mind has a goat’s mind. For example, a goat grazes for a few seconds in patch of green grass and immediately jump to another patch, even though there is plenty of grass to eat in the first patch. Similarly, a wavering or wandering mind jumps from one so called Teerath (place of pilgrimage) to another Teerath, from one Deraa to another Deraa, from one Guru to another Guru, from one Baabaa/Sant to another, and so on.

The aim of the Gurmat Giaan or Wisdom of the SGGS is to freeze this wandering mind — bring about cessation of its wild imaginations or fancies, and help it trace its steps back to its True Nature (Jot Saroop), here and now — shift it from Bhav Saagar to Sukh Saagar.

Maya is a big poisonous tree. This tree of Mayaic illusion is watered by desires. The Guru‘s Shabad (Upadesh, Wisdom…) is the death knoll for the Maya’s waves. AND the end of Maya’s waves result in the end of mind’s waves.

  • ਨਾਨਕ ਮਾਇਆ ਕਾ ਮਾਰਣੁ ਸਬਦੁ ਹੈ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਪਾਇਆ ਜਾਇ ॥੨॥: O Nanak! Shabad is the killer of Maya (ਮਾਇਆ ਦਾ ਪ੍ਰਭਾਵ ਮੁਕਾਣ ਦਾ ਵਸੀਲਾ), and it is obtained by becoming the Gurmukh ||2|| (sggs 853).

Hence, the SGGS asks us to conquer, or annihilate or kill the instinctive or Mayaic mind. Because, the Gurbani tells us that without killing the instinctive mind neither we can transcend Maya nor we can realize ‘Hari’ (Mool) or ‘Bhagti‘:

  • ਨਾ ਮਨੁ ਮਰੈ ਨ ਮਾਇਆ ਮਰੈ ॥: Maya can not be conquered without annihilation of the mind (sggs 1342).
  • ਬਿਨੁ ਮਨ ਮੂਏ ਭਗਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥: Without subduing the mind, Bhagti cannot be practiced (sggs 1277).
  • ਬਿਨੁ ਮਨ ਮੂਏ ਕੈਸੇ ਹਰਿ ਪਾਇ ॥: Without annihilating (conquering) the mind, how can ‘Hari’ (Mool, Source…) be realized? (sggs 665).

4 comments

  1. Thank you sir, actually I was contemplating on the mind as it is called jot saroop but one thing keep on disturbing how it is divine.. How we can search our mind as it is mentioned that even demigods have failed to see their mind in their body,

  2. The question then arises What is Maya. Gurbani says Aiya Jag sache ki hai kothri, sache ka vaas. The body and mind are then part of Truth.
    The fouth quote sggs 922 says much the same thing. But there is maya. Qote 5 sggs 429 says; through the Word, maya is eliminated.
    The first quote SGGS 992 is apparently a prayer: O Lord, the mind is still full of desires. (Grant that they be removed).

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