Chhinjh – Wresling Arena

When the Truth that has not been personally experienced, one can not grasp it directly. However, with the help of analogies, similes, allegories, metaphors, idioms, euphemism, symbolic expressions, apostrophe, personification, hyperboles, litotes, metonymy, figurative or mystic representations and illustrations etc. the Truth becomes relatively easier to grasp. Hymns of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) often employ them to deliver the universally relevant Message.

The Gurus and Bhagats frequently employ such statements as a teaching tool to help the willing seekers of Truth (ਸਚ) break free from the chains of fear, ignorance, doubts (ਭਰਮ), Bikaar (lust-desires, anger, greed…) etc.

Since all human languages are dynamic, the current form of these idioms may not be exactly the same as they appear in the SGGS.

‘Chhinjh’ (ਛਿੰਝ) is essentially a wresting competition (or tournament etc.) held in an open wrestling arena. This colorful festival of ‘Chhinjh’ is celebrated mainly in the rural areas of Punjab.

In the midst of the noise of bugles and drum beat (Dhol – ਢੋਲ), people and wrestlers from near and far gather in an open wrestling arena. The whole atmosphere of this celebration is so original and beautiful, it’s really difficult to put it in words. One got to see it! Fortunately, I had the opportunity to see it in my childhood!

To impart us the Wisdom, Guru Arjan Sahib beautifully captures the scene of ‘Chhinjh’ (ਛਿੰਝ) in his following Shabad.

  • ਹਉ ਗੋਸਾਈ ਦਾ ਪਹਿਲਵਾਨੜਾ ॥ ਮੈ ਗੁਰ ਮਿਲਿ ਉਚ ਦੁਮਾਲੜਾ ॥ ਸਭ ਹੋਈ ਛਿੰਝ ਇਕਠੀਆ ਦਯੁ ਬੈਠਾ ਵੇਖੈ ਆਪਿ ਜੀਉ ॥੧੭॥ ਵਾਤ ਵਜਨਿ ਟੰਮਕ ਭੇਰੀਆ ॥ ਮਲ ਲਥੇ ਲੈਦੇ ਫੇਰੀਆ ॥ ਨਿਹਤੇ ਪੰਜਿ ਜੁਆਨ ਮੈ ਗੁਰ ਥਾਪੀ ਦਿਤੀ ਕੰਡਿ ਜੀਉ ॥੧੮॥ ਸਭ ਇਕਠੇ ਹੋਇ ਆਇਆ ॥ ਘਰਿ ਜਾਸਨਿ ਵਾਟ ਵਟਾਇਆ ॥ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਲਾਹਾ ਲੈ ਗਏ ਮਨਮੁਖ ਚਲੇ ਮੂਲੁ ਗਵਾਇ ਜੀਉ ॥੧੯॥ ਤੂੰ ਵਰਨਾ ਚਿਹਨਾ ਬਾਹਰਾ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਦਿਸਹਿ ਹਾਜਰੁ ਜਾਹਰਾ ॥ ਸੁਣਿ ਸੁਣਿ ਤੁਝੈ ਧਿਆਇਦੇ ਤੇਰੇ ਭਗਤ ਰਤੇ ਗੁਣਤਾਸੁ ਜੀਉ ॥੨੦॥ ਮੈ ਜੁਗਿ ਜੁਗਿ ਦਯੈ ਸੇਵੜੀ ॥ ਗੁਰਿ ਕਟੀ ਮਿਹਡੀ ਜੇਵੜੀ ॥ ਹਉ ਬਾਹੁੜਿ ਛਿੰਝ ਨ ਨਚਊ ਨਾਨਕ ਅਉਸਰੁ ਲਧਾ ਭਾਲਿ ਜੀਉ ॥੨੧॥੨॥੨੯॥: I was an (ignorant) wrestler of Rabb, but by meeting the Guru (Giaan or Wisdom), I have become high-spirited. In the world arena all Jeev (individual beings) have come together, and (this arena) is being watched over by Rabb. ||17|| The bells are ringing, the drums are beating, the trumpets are beating (i.e., the noise of Maya – meaning, all beings are running after Maya). The wrestlers have come together, entering the arena circle around (around the world arena). With the Pat of the Gur (-Giaan, Wisdom), I have thrown the five challengers (Bikaar: lust, anger, greed, attachment, pride) to the ground. ||18|| All (male and female) have gathered together (in this world arena). But (depending on an individual mind‘s nature), we take different routes (in life). Those who have become Gurmukhs, reap their (Spiritual) Profits (of Naam, Wisdom, Virtues, Truth…) and leave, while Manmukhs lose their investment (ਰਾਸ-ਪੂੰਜੀ or life) and depart. ||19|| (O Rabb!) You have no special color or symbols. (Yet, O Rabb!) You are visible in the whole world (here and now). Your Bhagat remember You by hearing divine Virtues (ਗੁਣ); they remain imbued in Your love, the Treasure of virtues. ||20|| I am always engage in Bhagti to that Beloved. The Guru (-Giaan or Wisdom) has cut my (attachment to Maya) noose. O Nanak! (Say) now I will not wander again in this world-arena. (with the grace of the Gur-Giaan or Wisdom), I have obtained the opportunity (of Bhagti). ||21||2||29|| (sggs 74).

It is important to remember here that the Gurmat’s Rabb is within all of us (‘ਰਾਮ ਕੀ ਅੰਸੁ’), NOT separate from us! In other words, the Universal Energy that functions in the Brahmand also functions within the mind as Virtues, Wisdom, Truth.

Hence, the Gurbani tells us there is no need to find Rabb, but to understand Rabb!

That said, each one of us is responsible for our own thinking (Soch) and resulting actions and their fruits!

  • ਜੋ ਮੈ ਕੀਆ ਸੋ ਮੈ ਪਾਇਆ ਦੋਸੁ ਨ ਦੀਜੈ ਅਵਰ ਜਨਾ ॥: Whatever I do, the similar fruit I get (rewards, result etc.), don’t blame others! (sggs 433).
  • ਜੇਹਾ ਬੀਜੈ ਸੋ ਲੁਣੈ ਕਰਮਾ ਸੰਦੜਾ ਖੇਤੁ ॥: Life is the field of actions; I alone will reap all that I sow. (sggs 134).
  • ਸਭੁ ਗੋਬਿੰਦੁ ਹੈ ਸਭੁ ਗੋਬਿੰਦੁ ਹੈ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਬਿਨੁ ਨਹੀ ਕੋਈ॥: Gobind (Universal Energy) is All (i.e., in everything and everywhere), Gobind is All (i.e., in everything and everywhere); without Gobind, there is nothing at all. (sggs 485).

In the case of we humans, we are placed in this arena of the world or life to challenge and defeat the ‘five’ mighty opponents — Bikaar: lust, anger, greed, attachment and pride with their countless variations so that the mind does not have go through repeated suffering in life. Which is possible by taking the Wisdom of the Guru,

  • ਪੰਚ ਬਿਕਾਰ ਮਨ ਮਹਿ ਬਸੇ ਰਾਚੇ ਮਾਇਆ ਸੰਗਿ ॥: The five Bikaar (i.e., lust, anger, greed etc.) dwell in the mind of one who is engrossed in Maya (sggs 297).
  • ਇਸੁ ਦੇਹੀ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਪੰਚ ਚੋਰ ਵਸਹਿ ਕਾਮੁ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਲੋਭੁ ਮੋਹੁ ਅਹੰਕਾਰਾ ॥ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਲੂਟਹਿ ਮਨਮੁਖ ਨਹੀ ਬੂਝਹਿ ਕੋਇ ਨ ਸੁਣੈ ਪੂਕਾਰਾ ॥: Within this body dwell the five thieves: lust, anger, greed, attachment, and pride. They plunder the Amrit (-Naam, Virtues, Wisdom, etc., from within the body), but the Manmukhs do not realize it; (but once they are plundered, and so suffer, then…) no one hears their cry shout (i.e., then no one can help them). (sggs 600).

With the Wisdom and understanding obtained from churning the Gurbani or the Shabad-Vichaar, our challenge is to defeat these ‘five’ mighty challengers (i.e., Bikaar) by knocking them out.

  • ਸਬਦੁ ਸੂਝੈ ਤਾ ਮਨ ਸਿਉ ਲੂਝੈ ਮਨਸਾ ਮਾਰਿ ਸਮਾਵਣਿਆ ॥ ਪੰਚ ਦੂਤ ਮੁਹਹਿ ਸੰਸਾਰਾ ॥ ਮਨਮੁਖ ਅੰਧੇ ਸੁਧਿ ਨ ਸਾਰਾ ॥ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਹੋਵੈ ਸੁ ਅਪਣਾ ਘਰੁ ਰਾਖੈ ਪੰਚ ਦੂਤ ਸਬਦਿ ਪਚਾਵਣਿਆ ॥੨॥: When the Shabad (Naam, Upadesh, Wisdom…) is Realized then one wrestles with his mind; and by annihilating the mind’s desires, he Realizes the Creator Within. The ‘FIVE’ Doot (Kaam, Krodh, Lobh , Moh, Ahankaar) are robbing the world (of spiritual life). But a mentally blinded Manmukh (who has no Realization of the Shabad) has no intelligence nor is he aware (of this robbery). One who becomes ENLIGHTENED – Gurmukh Mindset – protects his Home (Inner Home – mind…); He destroys the FIVE DOOT with the MESSAGE of the Shabad. ||2|| (sggs 113).
  • ਦੇਹੀ ਨਗਰਿ ਤਸਕਰ ਪੰਚ ਧਾਤੂ ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦੀ ਹਰਿ ਕਾਢੇ ਮਾਰਿ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: The five plundering thieves (i.e., lust, anger, greed, etc.) are in the body-village; through the Gur-Shabad (Upadesh, Wisdom, Giaan, Naam, they are…), beaten and driven out. ||1||Pause|| (sggs 1135).

In nutshell, the Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS tells us that the key is in becoming a Gurmukh, here and now, not after death!!

  • ਆਪੇ ਛਿੰਝ ਪਵਾਇ ਮਲਾਖਾੜਾ ਰਚਿਆ ॥ ਲਥੇ ਭੜਥੂ ਪਾਇ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਮਚਿਆ ॥ ਮਨਮੁਖ ਮਾਰੇ ਪਛਾੜਿ ਮੂਰਖ ਕਚਿਆ ॥ ਆਪਿ ਭਿੜੈ ਮਾਰੇ ਆਪਿ ਆਪਿ ਕਾਰਜੁ ਰਚਿਆ ॥ ਸਭਨਾ ਖਸਮੁ ਏਕੁ ਹੈ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਜਾਣੀਐ ॥: (Rabb, Hukam: System-Rule-Law of Nature, ਨਿਯਮ…) has staged the Chhinjh (by creating this Universe, Creation, Kudrat, the arena of life, etc., as it were) the wrestling arena for the wrestlers (i.e., Jeev – individual beings). Making noise (Jeev-wrestlers) have entered this arena (taken birth in this world); those who have become the Gurmukhs are in High Spirit (ਚੜ੍ਹਦੀ ਕਲਾ). The false and foolish Manmukhs stand defeated (in life). (Since Rabb pervades in all beings, he) himself is fighting, defeating and staging (this wrestling game). The One (Truth) is the Master of all; the understanding of this comes by becoming the Gurmukh. (sggs 1280).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਕਦੇ ਨ ਆਵੈ ਹਾਰਿ ॥: The spirituality of the Shabad or Internalization of the Message of the Shabad (Mental State of Gurmukh-Hood) ensures my spirituality never gets obstructed. (sggs 942).

Hence, the Gurbani stresses the necessity for daily introspection in life so that one may clearly discern which force — the good or the evil, positive or negative — has won the daily battle. ‘Good’ being that which expresses Truth, Virtues, and Wisdom and attracts the mind to its Mool (Source, Jot Saroop or True Nature…) within. And ‘evil’ being ignorance, delusion, doubt, and Haumai (false ego-sense), or anything which repels the mind from its Mool.

  • ਰਾਜਨ ਰਾਮ ਰਵੈ ਹਿਤਕਾਰਿ ॥ ਰਣ ਮਹਿ ਲੂਝੈ ਮਨੂਆ ਮਾਰਿ ॥: The warrior of the All-pervading Creator, engages in battle of life (Within) to annihilate his mind. (sggs 931).


  1. Very well quoted piece of writing! The Creator created the five Bikaar, and humans are supposed to conquer them! Rather interesting!

  2. Something Guru has given to brood upon by serious thinkers.
    I like to consider recommending the Sikh Review to publish.

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