News & Views
I S C
Gur Panth Parkash
by Rattan Singh Bhangoo
Prof Kulwant Singh
Sikhan Da Mann Nevan Mat Uchi
Guru Nanak gave a religion of practice, which has potential to heal the perverted mind and transform it to God oriented. He emphasised on unity of God, meditation, universal brotherhood, humility, service of mankind and humanitarianism. Guru Nanak and his successor Sikh Gurus laid stress on having true understanding or intellect because degenerated mind or intellect is a hindrance in the way of attainment of higher consciousness. Sikh scriptures and traditions give a message to develop God oriented reason and rising above narrow concerns. In Sikh congregational prayer (Ardas), Sikh recites “Sikhan da mann nevan mat uchi” It implies, may the passions in the hearts of the Sikhs remain calm and their reason flow clear, and may the reason always be guided by the light of God.1 In other words, “May the Sikhs always remain in humility, sublime intelligence.”2 May the Khalsa be humble in mind and exalted in understanding.3
Baba Farid said, “Farid, make thou thy mind a plain and even up its hollows and heaps.” 4 It implies that one should make an attempt to eschew the sense of superior and inferior because as long as the feeling higher and lower and mine and thine exists individual will not be in position to interact freely with others in the true sense. Guru Nanak said, “He, who restrains his restive mind and slays his five evil passions. He in whose mind the True Name arrives at Lord’s mansion.”5 Sikh Gurus envisage a religious path for Sikhs to seek salvation through higher consciousness. To Guru Nanak, truthful living and good moral conduct are tools to attain superior understanding which is above social, racial, class, gender, regional and parochial sectarian concerns. He said, “(As) everything is underneath Truth, the living with the Truth is superior to all.”6 Guru Nanak gave advice to Bhai Phirna and Jodh that it is essential to hold transcendent intellect to follow the ‘Sikhi’ (Sikh way of life).7 Once Bhai Chur from Luckhnow asked Guru Hargobind Sahib what are the basic postulates of Sikhism? Guru Hargobind Sahib in reply of his answer stressed on sublime mind as one of the basis of Sikhism.8 The Sikh scriptures established close relationship between true understanding, truthful living and self-righteousness. Guru Nanak said, “I make wisdom as my mother, contentment as my father, and truthfulness as my brother. These are my good relations.”9 Here true knowledge is a symbol of mother which not only gives birth but also guides the child at every step, contentment symbolise the role of father which plays a role of vanguard to restrict ego which stems out of wisdom and truthful way of life is like a brother which remains helpful to follow the path of God centric understanding and keeping away from evil passions.
Guru Nanak said, “Where the deeds are virtuous, there is the perfect understanding.”10 He said, “The perverse men read, but know not the way.”11 Inner directed person, i.e., manmukh believes in reading the scripture and ignores the practical aspect of religious teachings. This deviation from the virtuous path leads to hallucination of mind. To Guru Nanak, “They, who practise truth obtain honour and become acceptable.”12 For a Sikh, God is the sole custodian of self esteem of an individual. One may become liberated-in-life by meditating on God in loving devotion. One becomes a mukta in the world through the instruction of the Guru (gur-updes). In a state of liberation one is devoid of haumai, affection and attachment. As long as durmat lasts there is no scope of attaining parm-pad. In order to recognise God one has to die-in-life. One can die-in-life and cross the ocean of fear through God’s grace.13
It is imperative to understand the functioning of mind through analysis of role of its components. It would help us to explore the place of ‘mann’ in relation to ‘mat’ in the light of teachings of Guru Granth Sahib. For this purpose there is a need to discuss the meaning of Indriyas, Antahkarana, Mann, Budhi, Chitta, Ahankar and Soul. Indriyas are sense organs. There are two types of Indriyas viz. ‘Giyanan indriyas’ and ‘Karm indriyas’. The five organs of ‘giyanan indriyas’ to develop perception are the eyes, the ears, the nose, the skin, the tongue and the mouth. The five karm organs of movement are the hands, the feet, the anus and the genitals. These indriyas together constitute Antahkaran. Antahkarana is composed of four elements viz. Manas (Lower emotional mind), Buddhi (Higher discriminative mind), Ahankar (Ego) and Chitta (feeling or memory) together constitute the Antahkarana.14 Guru Ram Das, fourth Nanak, gave a solution to control sense organs to seek liberation through submission to omnipresent Supreme truth. He said, “There are ten organs and all the ten continue qualities, too, remain not stable even for a moment. Pleasing the True Guru man overpowers them and he attains deliverance and emancipation.”15
In Guru Granth Sahib Mann (mind) has been discussed in various ways. Man is mind, heart and soul. It is the faculty with which one thinks, decides, and feels, the source of all good and evil, and that one indestructible attribute which must be released from the body and merged in the being of God.16 Guru Nanak said, “The mind is in the power of evil passions, evil intent, and duality.”17 Guru Nanak said, “False is mind’s will. They, who the duality, are all ruined.”18 Guru Nanak said, “False is the wisdom of the mind and its deeds give rise to useless strife.”19 Mind in Guru Granth Sahib is very powerful agency, it is one who has conveniently established its rule on total body system. It has the power that can sway and direct the total or partial functioning of human frame. It is impossible to control it, but God can make it possible.20 In Guru Granth Sahib four stages of mind have been analysed as ‘jwgRq’ (Conscious mind) ‘supn’(sub conscious mind) ‘suKopqI’ (Unconscious mind) ‘qurIAw’ (Blissful state of mind or Higher Consciousness).
In ancient Indian philosophy, moon reflects speculative faculty of mind and sun represents objectiveness of mind. Rig Veda (Rig Veda, 10. 90.13) declares that, “the moon took birth in the mind and sun in the eyes (of the cosmic Man).” The metaphysical correlation and occult equivalence of ‘moon’ then is ‘mind’ and of ‘sun’, the percipience, the facts revealed through perception.21 Chandra is the moon, ruler of emotion. The Moon represents our subconscious or unconscious state of mind, emotions and feelings. Surya is the sun, ruler of intellect, source of truth. . The Sun represents our ego, will and our conscious nature. To Guru Angad Dev this division of faculties of mind is of no use. Without the grace of God speculative faculty and objectivity of mind, man cannot understand the Divine Truth. He in his divine hymn says, “If hundred moons arise and a thousand suns appear, even with such light, there would be pitch darkness without the Guru.”22
Buddhi gives us the power to know, decide, judge, and discriminate between what is beneficial for us and what is not. Buddhi influences the way we understand and interprets our experiences and judgements, develop bias and prejudices, control our lives, behaviour, relationships, expression etc. The buddhi has an inclination to be influenced by the sense organs and endless lust to satisfy the self of individual. Generally human beings consider their capacity to differentiate as final. Infact, judgement of individual is not final. It is the grace of God that makes possible for persons to make distinction between binary relations in the true sense. Guru Gobind Singh in Dasamgranth 33 Swayyiyas said that with Divine light fully ablaze in his heart he is awakened to discriminate between real and unreal.23 Chitta is sum total of past experiences, ideas feelings and emotions. In the context of modern psychology chitta is the subconscious mind.
The word ‘Ahankar’ is equivalent to excessive pride. It can be explained in terms of unreasonable and inordinate self esteem. It has two fold dimensions. One is sense of superiority on the one side and contempt and hatred for others on the other side. It is one of the great five evils which are regarded as obstacles in the way of spiritual journey of an individual. In Sankh Shastra ‘Ahankar’ is regarded as a fluid which comes out of buddhi and gives birth to proud goddess of indriyas. Guru Arjan Dev said, “O’ proud Man! Thou takes pride and art engrossed in thy mind’s intellect”.24
Sikhism considers Soul (atma) as an embodiment of Supreme Soul, which is God (Parmatma). To Guru Nanak, the ultimate aim of an individual is to strive for reunion of atma with Parmatma. Individual will remain incomplete, if he is departed from Ultimate Soul. A Sikh can find perfection and completeness through meditation and service of the humanity. He can achieve this higher objective if he follows the path as suggested in Sikh scripture, i.e., Guru Granth Sahib. Guru Nanak said, “The soul is God which is obtained by you pondering over the Name.”25 He said, “The Lord abides in the soul and the soul in the Lord. Through the Guru’s wisdom, I have realised this.”26 He said “His soul, he makes one with the Supreme soul. His mind’s duality is re-absorbed in the mind.”27 Guru Amar Das said, “My soul, thou art the embodiment (image) of Divine light, so know thy source.”28 Reunion of individual soul with supreme soul is in itself a realisation of higher consciousness.
The wall of selfishness or egoism stands between soul and the God. According to Guru Nanak salvation or deliverance from the transmigration can be attained through good deeds and by the grace of the personal, absolute God. Grace could be invoked by Nam Simran or worship of God with love and devotion.29
In Indian religious traditions, sense organs and mind is regarded as one of root causes of sin. It creates sense of ‘I’ which restrains individual from merging with ‘He’, i.e., God. In Bhagavad-Gita, Lord Krishna said, “Freeing himself from passion and dispassion, keeping the senses that are acting on the sense objects under firm control, and by following the dictates of the inner soul, he can gain the mercy of God.” (2.64). Therefore, says the Bhagavad-Gita, a yogi should firmly establish his intelligence by controlling his senses from all directions (2.68). Lord Buddha said, “Greater in battle than the man who would conquer a thousand-thousand men, is he who would conquer just one-mind.”30
Guru Granth Sahib teaches Sikhs to hold passions, sensations and emotions under control to avoid situation in which individual becomes slave of unrestrained selfish desires. Sikh Gurus put forward a new way of life which enables Sikhs to seek triumph over his mind. Guru Nanak said, “Make the brother hood with all, the highest sect of yogic order and deem the conquering of self the conquest of the world.”31 Guru Amar Das third Nanak said, inconformity with the views of Guru Nanak, “The mortal, who by Guru’s instructions conquers his mind, obtains salvation and deliverance in his own home.”32 Guru Arjan Dev said, “Forsake thou thy mind’s cleverness and hearken to the Guru’s gospel.”33 Bhagat Kabir said, “Conquering his mind, man conquers the world, whereby he is detached from the sins.”34 In the light of above quoted divine hymns from Guru Granth Sahib mann i.e. mind is required to put under control through ‘Nam Simran’. Guru Arjan Dev, fifth Nanak also prays for such true understanding through which he always remains close to God. He Said, “Bless me with such an understanding, O my Lord, that ever and ever I may meditate on Thee.”35 Guru Arjan Dev said, “That alone is intelligence and that the intellect and wisdom, which makes man not forget his Lord, even for an instant.”36 Man can attain such true understanding through sense of fatherhood of God and brotherhood of mankind which is essence of eternal and supreme truth. The elementary characteristic of God oriented intellect is that it never permits individual to lose the righteous path. To come out of duality and to seek quintessence of Supreme truth, one has to realise the presence of God in every human being. Guru Arjan Dev said, “He, who perceives God’s light within every heart, comes to understand the essence of Guru’s teaching.”37 Guru Nanak said, “Know that the good perceive the Divine light and the perverse fools remain in spiritual darkness. He, who perceives God’s light within every heart, comes to understand the essence of Guru’s teaching”.38
Through transformation of intellect the dignity and prosperity will remain perpetual. Guru Nanak said, “Wisdom honour and wealth in the lap of those in whose mind God remains permeated.”39 Guru Ram Das, “Sublime is their intellect and sublime is their honour, within whose mind the flower-gift Lord dwells.”40 Individual can protect promote his self respect and dignity only if he liberates his mind from evil passions with the grace of God. If human being is overwhelmed with uncontrolled passion then he endures endless pain in dichotomous classification on the basis of class, caste, creed etc. The ultimate fate of such ego centric person is self destruction.
Here a question arises how one can acquire higher consciousness or realisation of Supreme truth. Guru Arjan Dev gave answer to this question, He said, “By meeting saints society acute becomes my understanding.”41 Interaction with God-directed person, i.e., Guru Sikh is essential to modify ideas or thoughts of any individual. Guru Nanak said, “Meeting with the True Guru, man’s intellect becomes sublime, his mind is rendered immaculate and his ego is washed off.”42 Individual is not sufficiently potent to search out ultimate truth alone. Therefore, Guru Nanak had established the institutions of Sangat-Pangat and Dharmsal where man and woman both can meditate collectively and also take part in spiritual interaction. In the end of Sikh prayer (Ardas) Sikhs recite that, ‘Seyee piyaarey mel jinha mileyaan tera Naam chitt aavey’, i.e. grant us the association of those dear ones on meeting whom one is reminded of Your Name. Guru Granth Sahib advocates the search for those who are God ward directed.
Ardas in Sikhism is not merely for the welfare of the individual salvation but also for collective salvation. Sikh is a cosmopolitan individual and he cannot remain confined to the well being of himself alone rather he is expected to stand for the welfare of all by rising above sectarian consideration. So, when a Sikh wishes for ‘mann nevan mat uchi, infact, he wishes for transformation of degenerated mind which gives birth to evil, petty and contemptible worldly concerns. The future of mankind can be made safe and sound through meditation of ‘shabad’ because if mann (mind) continues to seize the man, he is bound to be engrossed in racial, religious, regional and violent conflicts. Thus through developing true understanding, submission to higher consciousness and realisation of eternal truth the individual can hope for a promising future.
1. Sirdar Kapur Singh, Parasharprasna, Hind Publisher Ltd, Jullundhar, 1959, pp. 448
2. Singh, Gurbhagat And Deepinder Jeet Randhawa, The Sikh Memory, Singh Brothers, Amritsar, 2009, p. 118.
3. Bhagat Singh, “Sikh Institutions and their role in the development of the Sikh Panth” in Journal of Sikh Studies, Vol.28, No. 2, 2004, p. 57.
4. PrIdw, mnu mYdwnu kir; toey itby lwih ] Guru Granth Sahib, Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1381
5. cMcl miq iqawgY, pMc sMGwrY ]3] aMqir swcu shj Gir awvih ] Guru Granth Sahib, p. 226
6. schu ErY sBu ko; Aupir scu awcwru ]5 ], isrIrwgu, mÚ 1, Guru Granth Sahib, p. 62.
7. Bhagat Ratanvali, commentary of Pauri 14, cited by Kahan Singh Nabha, Gurmat Martand, SGPC, Amritsar, p. 158.
8. Bhagat Ratanvali, commentary of Pauri 31, cited by Kahan Singh Nabha, Gurmat Martand, SGPC, Amritsar, p. 158.
9. mwqw miq, ipqw sMqoKu ] Guru Granth Sahib, p. 151
10. jh krNI, qh pUrI miq ] Guru Granth Sahib, p. 25
11. pVih mnmuK, pru ibiD nhI jwnw ] Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1032
12. swcI krNI, piq prvwN ] Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1188
13. J. S. Grewal, A Study of Guru Granth Sahib, Singh Brothers, Amritsar, 2009, p. 122.
14. Bhai Kahn Singh Nabha, Mahankosh, Bhasha Vibhag, Patiala, 1974, p. 113.
15. ieMdRI dsy dsy Puin Dwvq; qRY guNIaw iKnu n itkwvYgo ] siqgur prcY vsgiq awvY; moK mukiq so pwvYgo ]3] Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1310
16. W. H. McLeod, Guru Nanak And The Sikh Religion, OUP, New Delhi, 2001.p. 180.
17. mnu vis dUqw durmiq doie ] Guru Granth Sahib, p. 222
18. mnmiq JUTI, scw soie ] sgl ibgUqy, BwvY doie ] Guru Granth Sahib, p. 222
19. JUTI mn kI miq hY; krNI bwid ibbwdu ] Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1343
20. Darshan Singh, Darshan, Key Words In Guru Granth Sahib, The Sikh University Press, Waremme, 2009, p. 80.
21. Sirdar Kapur Singh, Sikhism for Modern Man, GNDU, Amritsar, 2006, p. 132.
22. jy sAu cMdw Augvih sUrj cVih hjwr ] eyqy cwnN hoidaw; gur ibnu Gor aMDwr ]2] Guru Granth Sahib, p. 463
23. pUrn joiq jgY Gt mY qb Kwls qwih nKwls jwnY , Dasamgranth. 33. Swayyiyas cited by Sirdar Kapur Singh, Parasharprasna, Hind Publisher Ltd, Jullundhar, 1959, pp. 282-283
24. AhMkwru krih ahMkwrIaw; ivawipaw mn kI miq ] - Guru Granth Sahib, p. 42
25. Awqm rwmu, rwmu hY awqm; hir pweIaY sbid vIcwrw hy ]7] Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1030
26. Awqm mih rwmu, rwm mih awqmu; cInis gur bIcwrw ] - (Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1153
27. Awqmw prwqmw, eyko krY ] aMqr kI duibDw, aMqir mrY ] Guru Granth Sahib, p. 661
28. mn qUM joiq srUpu hY awpNw mUlu pCwNu ] Guru Granth Sahib, p. 441
29. Hari Ram Gupta, History of Sikh Gurus, U. C. Kapur & Sons, New Delhi, 1973, p.63-64.
30. Xo shzsm shzsynw sMgwmy mwnusy ijny [ Aykm c jzXw azqwnm sw vy sMgwmjuzqmo ] 46, ‘Dhampad’ cited by Sirdar Kapur Singh, Pundreek, Bhai Chatar Singh Jivan Singh, Amritsar, 2001, p. 192.
31. AweI pMQI sgl jmwqI; min jIqY jgu jIqu ] - Guru Granth Sahib, p. 6
32. gur kY sbid mnu jIiqaw giq mukiq GrY mih pwie ] Guru Granth Sahib, p. 26
33. mn kI miq iqawgIaY suNIaY Aupdysu ]1] rhwAu ] Guru Granth Sahib, p. 814
34. mnu jIqy jgu jIiqaw jW qy ibiKaw qy hoie Audwsu ]2] Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1103
35. AYsI miq dIjY myry Twkur sdw sdw quDu iDaweI ]1] rhwAu ] Guru Granth Sahib, p. 673
36. sweI miq, sweI buiD isawnp; ijqu inmK n pRBu ibsrwvY ] Guru Granth Sahib, p. 978
37. Git Git joiq inrMqrI; bUJY gurmiq swru ]4] - Guru Granth Sahib, p. 20
38. gurmuiK cwnNu jwNIaY; mnmuiK mugDu gubwru ] Git Git joiq inrMqrI; bUJY gurmiq swru ]4] Guru Granth Sahib, p. 20
39. iqn miq, iqn piq, iqn Dnu plY; ijn ihrdY rihaw smwie ] Guru Granth Sahib, p. 15
40. iqn miq AUqm iqn piq AUqm ijn ihrdY visaw bnvwrI ] Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1135
41. swDsMgiq imil, buiD ibbyk ]3] Guru Granth Sahib, p. 377
42. siqgur imilaY, miq AUqm hoie ] Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1188
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