Wring Hands

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. For example:

The purpose of employing this tool is to drive the Wisdom (Giaan) into heads of the immature learners (i.e., Sikhs, ਸਿਖਿਆਰਥੀ).

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

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

Bhagat Freed Sahib has used this idiom (ਮੁਹਾਵਰਾ) in one of the Shabads:

  • ਤਪਿ ਤਪਿ ਲੁਹਿ ਲੁਹਿ ਹਾਥ ਮਰੋਰਉ ॥ ਬਾਵਲਿ ਹੋਈ ਸੋ ਸਹੁ ਲੋਰਉ ॥: Burning and burning (ਬਹੁਤ ਦੁਖੀ ਹੋ ਕੇ, ਖਪ ਖਪ ਕੇ), writhing in pain (ਬਹੁਤ ਤੜਫ ਤੜਫ ਕੇ, I), wring (my) hands. Being insane now I’m looking for my Husban (i.e., Rabb). (sggs 794).

In the foregoing verse, ‘ਹਾਥ ਮਰੋਰਉ’ (Haath mroraou) = To wring one’s hands, to rub hands (ਹੱਥ ਮਲਣਾਂ), etc., which simply means to regret (ਪਛੁਤਾਉਣਾਂ), to repent, to fret, or to chafe.

The Gurbani time and again urges us to become Spiritually inclined from the early age. If we don’t, then the Gurbani warns us that we will regret later. For, once the Life Force has departed from within the gross body (death), it will be too late!

  • ਪਗਿ ਖਿਸਿਐ ਰਹਣਾ ਨਹੀ ਆਗੈ ਠਉਰੁ ਨ ਪਾਇ ॥ ਓਹ ਵੇਲਾ ਹਥਿ ਨ ਆਵਈ ਅੰਤਿ ਗਇਆ ਪਛੁਤਾਇ ॥: Upon falling of the body, (Jeeva) cannot stay here any longer and there is no place rest hear after. That opportunity (which is lost earlier) will not come again. In the end, (Jeeva) departs regretting (sggs 28).

The Gurbani reminds us that the human life is like that of a bubble that appears in water one moment, only to disappear the next. Just as we cannot avoid old age, in the same way, we cannot avoid death. Which can happen the next moment, carrying away all our material possessions instantly just as a river in spate wipes out everything in its course!

Hence the Gurbani asks us to pursue the Spiritual Life (the Gurmukh Lifestyle) along with our household life from an early age and not to wait for tomorrow, let alone the shriveled ugliness of the old age. Because habits that have not been cultivated in early age cannot be cultivated in old age when one’s body-mind-intellect apparatus is failing on him.

  • ਜੈਸੇ ਜਲ ਤੇ ਬੁਦਬੁਦਾ ਉਪਜੈ ਬਿਨਸੈ ਨੀਤ ॥ ਜਗ ਰਚਨਾ ਤੈਸੇ ਰਚੀ ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਸੁਨਿ ਮੀਤ ॥੨੫॥ ਪ੍ਰਾਨੀ ਕਛੂ ਨ ਚੇਤਈ ਮਦਿ ਮਾਇਆ ਕੈ ਅੰਧੁ ॥ ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਬਿਨੁ ਹਰਿ ਭਜਨ ਪਰਤ ਤਾਹਿ ਜਮ ਫੰਧ ॥੨੬॥: As the bubble in water wells up and disappears again, so is the (play of the) universe is created. ||25|| But, blinded by the intoxication of Maya (blinded from spiritual Life – ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਵਲੋਂ), the mortal does not think at all (about the spiritual Life – ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਬਾਰੇ). Says Nanak – without the uniting with Mool, (such mortal) is caught by the noose of death. ||26|| (sggs 1427).

Moment by moment, day-by-day, by the force of the all-powerful Time, the body wears away, the length of life shortens, bodily strength and keenness decline, and old age (‘ਜਰਾ ਰੋਗੁ’) overpowers it. In this pitiable state of the body-mind-intellect apparatus, we will not be able to focus, understand or unite with our Mool within.

  • ਜੋਬਨੁ ਘਟੈ ਜਰੂਆ ਜਿਣੈ ਵਣਜਾਰਿਆ ਮਿਤ੍ਰਾ ਆਵ ਘਟੈ ਦਿਨੁ ਜਾਇ ॥: O’ my merchant friend (who has come to trade the Naam)! Youth wears itself out, and old age triumphs, as time passes, your life (age) diminish. (sggs 75).

To whom does the Gurbani call ‘merchant friend’ (‘ਵਣਜਾਰਿਆ ਮਿਤ੍ਰਾ’) here? We are merchants or traders (ਵਣਜਾਰੇ) in this world – we are here to trade (ਵਣਜ) in Naam, Shabad, Hukam, Mool-abidance, Aatm-Giaan or Wisdom, Truth, Virtues

  • ਵਣਜਾਰੇ ਸਿਖ ਆਵਦੇ ਸਬਦਿ ਲਘਾਵਣਹਾਰੁ ॥: The trader Sikhs (who trade in the Gur-Shabad) come and through the Shabad, they are carried across (Bhavajal-Mayaic ocean…). (sggs 313).

The Gurbani repeatedly awakens our mind from Maya’s slumber to realize the purpose or goal (‘Laahaa‘ – Spiritual Gain or profit, etc.) of the human birth – realization of our Mool (to become One…).

  • ਪ੍ਰਾਣੀ ਤੂੰ ਆਇਆ ਲਾਹਾ ਲੈਣਿ ॥:  O mortal, you came to earn a (Spiritual) Profit. (sggs 43).
  • ਯਾ ਜੁਗ ਮਹਿ ਏਕਹਿ ਕਉ ਆਇਆ ॥ ਜਨਮਤ ਮੋਹਿਓ ਮੋਹਨੀ ਮਾਇਆ ॥: (Man) is born in this life only to become ONE (with Prabh, Mool, etc. – through Naam…). (But) ever since (man’s) birth, (he) has been enticed and deceived by Maya. (sggs 251).

This human birth is the golden opportunity and time to realize ‘Laahaa‘! Therefore, the gurbani reminds us that everything in our life can wait, but not the search (ਖੋਜ) through the earnest Shabad-Vichaar.

  • ਇਹੀ ਤੇਰਾ ਅਉਸਰੁ ਇਹ ਤੇਰੀ ਬਾਰ ॥ ਘਟ ਭੀਤਰਿ ਤੂ ਦੇਖੁ ਬਿਚਾਰਿ ॥ : This is your ONLY time. This (Human Life) is the ONLY opportunity. Contemplate Within with your Gurbani-Guided Conscience and you will Realize – that there will be NO second opportunity or second chance or coming back. (sggs 1159).
  • ਮਨੁ ਤਨੁ ਜੀਤਿ ਸਬਦੁ ਲੈ ਲਾਹਾ ॥: Conquering mind body, earn the Profit of the Shabad (Gur-Giaan…). (sggs 699).

The Gurbani says ‘NOW’ (‘ਅਬ’) is the time! Otherwise, we are sure to regret and repent afterwards.

  • ਭਜਹੁ ਗੋੁਬਿੰਦ ਭੂਲਿ ਮਤ ਜਾਹੁ ॥ ਮਾਨਸ ਜਨਮ ਕਾ ਏਹੀ ਲਾਹੁ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਜਬ ਲਗੁ ਜਰਾ ਰੋਗੁ ਨਹੀ ਆਇਆ ॥ ਜਬ ਲਗੁ ਕਾਲਿ ਗ੍ਰਸੀ ਨਹੀ ਕਾਇਆ ॥ ਜਬ ਲਗੁ ਬਿਕਲ ਭਈ ਨਹੀ ਬਾਨੀ ॥ ਭਜਿ ਲੇਹਿ ਰੇ ਮਨ ਸਾਰਿਗਪਾਨੀ ॥੨॥ ਅਬ ਨ ਭਜਸਿ ਭਜਸਿ ਕਬ ਭਾਈ ॥ ਆਵੈ ਅੰਤੁ ਨ ਭਜਿਆ ਜਾਈ ॥ ਜੋ ਕਿਛੁ ਕਰਹਿ ਸੋਈ ਅਬ ਸਾਰੁ ॥ ਫਿਰਿ ਪਛੁਤਾਹੁ ਨ ਪਾਵਹੁ ਪਾਰੁ ॥੩॥: Unite with Gobind (Mool, Source…) and don’t forget this. This is the profit of this human birth (ਮਨੁੱਖਾ-ਜਨਮ ਦੀ ਖੱਟੀ ਕਮਾਈ). ||1||Pause|| As long as the disease of old age has not come, and as long as Kaal (time, death…) has not seized Kaaiaa, as long as your voice has not become confused (cut into fragments…), (before that) O mind, unite (link with your Mool, become one, ਜੁੜ…) just as Saarig and water (i.e., as Saarig or rainbird chirps constantly for water). ||2|| O brother! If you do not unite now, when will you? When the end comes, you will not be able to unite. Whatever you have to do – now is the best (time) to do it. Otherwise (if you loose time), you will regret afterwards, and you will not be able to go across to the other side (i.e., cannot transcend Maya…) ||3|| (sggs 1159).

If the human body is used for any purpose other than what it’s meant for (Mool-abidance), then the following Salok of Bhagat Freed Sahib fits us!

  • ਫਰੀਦਾ ਜਿ ਦਿਹਿ ਨਾਲਾ ਕਪਿਆ ਜੇ ਗਲੁ ਕਪਹਿ ਚੁਖ ॥ ਪਵਨਿ ਨ ਇਤੀ ਮਾਮਲੇ ਸਹਾਂ ਨ ਇਤੀ ਦੁਖ ॥੭੬॥: O Fareed! If on that day when my umbilical cord was cut, my throat had been cut instead, I would not have fallen into so many worldly affairs (turmoil, tumult, ado, etc.), or undergone so many sorrows (suffering, grief, etc.). ||76|| (sggs 1381).


  1. Thank you Vikas Jee for sharing your Vichaar, and welcome to the Gurbani Blog!

    I was just wondering what did Gurbani have to say about Death.

    This post is categorized and tagged with words such as “death”; please click on it to see some possibly related posts.

  2. What a nice article you have written!! It is indeed a pleasure to reflect upon Gurbani. I was just wondering what did Gurbani have to say about Death. Since it is the eternal truth and one day every one has to die. I found some very good insights into “life before death” as how one should prepare himself to accept this fact and live according to Guru’s words. It has been my experience that whenever I have followed/surrendered myself to Guru’s shabad, I have found peace!! It is a fountain of pure joy and bliss raining continuously!!

  3. Thank you Bhai Sahib Jio for taking the time share your Vichaar.

    Let’s together ask the Gurbani (SGGS) if there is any difference between “Manmukh” and “Bemukh”.
    ਕਉਣੁ ਸੁ ਸਨਮੁਖੁ ਕਉਣੁ ਵੇਮੁਖੀਆ ॥ (sggs 131).
    The Gurbani answers: ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਸਨਮੁਖੁ ਮਨਮੁਖਿ ਵੇਮੁਖੀਆ ॥ (sggs 131).

    Here we have it. According to the Gurbani, there is no difference – “Manmukh” and “Bemukh” are essentially one and the same!!!!!!
    Similarly, the Gurbani tells us that “Gurmukh” and “Sanmukh” are essentially one and the same!!!!!!

    Thank you again Bhai Sahib Ji.

  4. It is repeatedly indicated in the Gurbani that there are only two groups of people living together on earth: the Gurmukhs and the Manmukhs ? NO there are Three (3) groups of people living together on earth: (1)the Gurmukhs (2) the Manmukhs & (3) the Bemukh
    (1)the Gurmukh – Who lives the life according to GURU’s teaching/advise.
    (2) the Manmukh -Who lives the life according to his own wish or his own mind & never take GURU’s teaching/advise.
    (3) the Bemukh – Who first take GURU’s teaching/advise & also take Amrit from five beloved BUT then again return to bad company & do Kurehat i.e. drink wine, do NO Nitnem etc. THEN about BEMUKH Guru Granth Ji says-
    ਜੇ ਕੋ ਗੁਰ ਤੇ ਵੇਮੁਖੁ ਹੋਵੈ ਬਿਨੁ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਨ ਪਾਵੈ ॥
    ਵੇਮੁਖ ਹੋਏ ਰਾਮ ਤੇ ਲਗਨਿ ਜਨਮ ਵਿਜੋਗ ॥
    Those who turn their backs on the Lord shall be separated from Him and consigned to reincarnation, over and over again.
    ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਤੇ ਜੋ ਮੁਹ ਫੇਰੇ ਤੇ ਵੇਮੁਖ ਬੁਰੇ ਦਿਸੰਨਿ ॥
    In brief we can say Bemukh is the worst category.because Manmukh may becomes Gurmukh any time but Bemukh…….ਵੇਮੁਖ ਹੋਏ ਰਾਮ ਤੇ ਜਿਉ ਤਸਕਰ ਉਪਰਿ ਸੂਲਿ ॥੨॥

  5. “Guru satgur ka jo sikh akhave, so bhalke uth har naam dhiave”

    Shammi ji,,,,,,,,You should read this shabad several times throughout the day to remind yourself of the qualities in a sikh.
    PLUS,,,,,,,,,,entire SGGS ji is full of shabads teaching sikhs to live the way of life.
    PLUS in ardaas, we pray to ” Sikhan da maan nivan, maat uchi” etc etc etc etc…………
    “Vekh parayian changian, dhiaya bhaina jaan”

    I don’t read too much of SGGS ji as I ought to,,,,,,,,but I can tell you the qualities in a Sikh or any Human Being are
    1. Compassionate
    2. Honest
    3. Help poor/weak
    4. Fight for weak and your rights
    5. Hard working
    6. Courageous
    7. Character of Steel
    8. Humble
    9. Content
    10. Remembering Waheguru with yearning 24 hours a day. PLUS MORE……..

  6. Thank you Shammi Ji for sharing. Thank you for the suggestions.
    It is repeatedly indicated in the Gurbani that there are only two groups of people living together on earth: the Gurmukhs and the Manmukhs. The Gurbani asks us to become the Gurmukhs.
    In nutshell, according to the Gurbani’s own definition of Sikhi, the Sikhi is in constant learning through the Shabad-Vichaar. That is, a Sikh is always a learner throughout his whole life – unceasingly developing own self through the Gurmat (ਉਪਦੇਸ, ਸਿਖਿਆ, Teaching or Aatam-Giaan of the Gurbani…), and live accordingly (implementation, ਅਮਲ – the Gurmukh Lifestyle…).
    • ਸਿਖੀ ਸਿਖਿਆ ਗੁਰ ਵੀਚਾਰਿ ॥ (sggs 465).
    • ਉਪਦੇਸੁ ਸੁਣਹੁ ਤੁਮ ਗੁਰਸਿਖਹੁ ਸਚਾ ਇਹੈ ਸੁਆਉ ॥ (sggs 963).
    • ਬਾਣੀ ਬਿਰਲਉ ਬੀਚਾਰਸੀ ਜੇ ਕੋ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਹੋਇ ॥ (sggs 935).
    • ਮਨੁ ਮਾਣਕੁ ਜਿਨਿ ਪਰਖਿਆ ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦੀ ਵੀਚਾਰਿ ॥ ਸੇ ਜਨ ਵਿਰਲੇ ਜਾਣੀਅਹਿ ਕਲਜੁਗ ਵਿਚਿ ਸੰਸਾਰਿ ॥ (sggs 1093).
    Thus, simply put: Gurmat is the Dharma of Truth (ਸਚ ਦਾ ਧਰਮ) and Love (ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਭਗਤਿ). And the Sikhi is to learn this Gurmat (Spiritual Wisdom of the Gur-Shabad)!!
    • ਸਚੁ ਤਾ ਪਰੁ ਜਾਣੀਐ ਜਾ ਸਿਖ ਸਚੀ ਲੇਇ ॥ (sggs 468).
    • ਨਾਨਕ ਸਿਖ ਸੰਤ ਸਮਝਾਈ ਹਰਿ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਭਗਤਿ ਮਨੁ ਲੀਨਾ ॥੫॥੧॥੨॥ (sggs 80).
    Note: If you search this Blog for the category “Gurmukh” and the tag “Gurmukh”, etc., you will find numerous related entries.

  7. There can be only ONE quality for any Gursikh as stated in Gurbanee as
    “Gur SatiGur Kaa Jo Sikh Akhaaye Bhalke Uth Hari Naamu Dhiyaaye….

  8. Very nice articles have been added to enrich our knowledge. Dear Veer Ji- “Can there be stuff regarding the qualities of a gurusikh, or i would say what should we do to become the loving child of guru or lord, means does gurbani say something on ideal disciple.”
    I read baani written by Bhai Gurdaas ji. He has written much upon this, but i wish to understand gurabani on GURUSIKH OR GURU KAA PYAARA

  9. study of Gurmat knowledge is essential and one must endeavour to practise to living a truthful life.

    Well said!
    Thank you Bhai Sahib Jio!

  10. Gurbani is eternal truth, it helps us to come out of Mayaic entanglement. Life is purposeful but rather perplexed which requires efforts to unravel mysteries of the world, so study of Gurmat knowledge is essential and one must endeavour to practise to living a truthful life. These mailing posts are helpful with explanations, I would regard these a boon of BLISS in disguise. Thank Bhai Sahib Jio.

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