What is Mind?

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, our mind (conditioned-consciousness, Mayaic-consciousness, body-consciousness, the sense of “I, I” or self-centeredness, Haumai…) is nothing but waves on the surface of the pool of the Pure Consciousness (Joti-Svaroopa).

  • 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 wordly 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 Lord, You are my only hope! ||125|| (sggs 1384).

How do these waves of the mind arise? The waves of the mind are waves of “desires” (i.e., all passions or Bikaar such as lust, anger, greed, etc.) or waves of Maya. For example, when we see something, there arises desire in us. That creates disturbance or waves in the mind. Without seeing (or without desires or love for Maya), there will be no waves, as if there is no wind, there will be no waves. For example, when in mother’s womb, our eyes are closed and don’t see anything, hence there is no desire. The Gurbani explains this to us beautifully:

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

If we see Har, there will be no Waves of Maya or desires arising in us. But if we see Maya, then there will be the waves of desires arising in the Budhi, in nushell that’s the 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“.

  • ਏ ਨੇਤ੍ਰਹੁ ਮੇਰਿਹੋ ਹਰਿ ਤੁਮ ਮਹਿ ਜੋਤਿ ਧਰੀ ਹਰਿ ਬਿਨੁ ਅਵਰੁ ਨ ਦੇਖਹੁ ਕੋਈ ॥: O my eyes, the Lord has infused (His) Light into you; therefore, without the Lord, you don’t see another (i.e., you see the entire world as the Lord’s manifestation). (sggs 922).

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 Aatmaan (as the Gurbani does), then there will be no waves of Maya in the mind.

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 likey to live Truth. 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 (only) to listen to the Truth. (sggs 922).


  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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