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Gur Panth Parkash

Gur Panth Parkash
by Rattan Singh Bhangoo
Translated by
Prof Kulwant Singh



Concept of Mind, Body and Soul in the Sikh Scripture (SGGS)

Dr Hardev Singh Virk

Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS), the Sikh scripture, is a unique creation in the history of world religions as it contains the sacred writings of Sikh Gurus and more than 30 saints and bards belonging to different religious and cultural traditions of India. Sikhism is a monotheistic religion and hence, believes that "God" is One, and prevails in everything, as symbolized by the symbol Ik Onkar (one all pervading spirit). The fundamental belief of Sikhism is that God exists, indescribable yet knowable and perceivable to anyone who surrenders his ego and Loves the Almighty. The Sikh Gurus have described God in numerous ways in their hymns included in the SGGS, the holy scripture of Sikhism, but the oneness of the deity is consistently emphasized throughout.

God is described in the Mool Mantar (lit. Prime Utterance), the commencing verse in the SGGS:
ਸਤਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਕਰਤਾ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਨਿਰਭਉ ਨਿਰਵੈਰੁ ਅਕਾਲ ਮੂਰਤਿ ਅਜੂਨੀ ਸੈਭੰ ਗੁਰ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ ॥
There is but one all pervading spirit, and it is called the truth, It exists in all creation, and it has no fear, It does not hate and, it is timeless, universal and self-existent! You will come to know it through the grace of the Guru.

Mind, Body and Soul connection in SGGS
The human being is comprised of three components, Mind, Body and Soul. For a healthy person, all these components need to function in an efficient and coordinated manner. Their mind, body and soul all have to work together in harmony. What is confirmed by Gurbani is that the body, mind and soul are three distinct and necessary components that make up a person. Further, that these component are all the creation of God and together these three separate components function in unity to enable the human being to excel in the highest spiritual activities.

SGGS explores the relationship between mind, body and soul. Human body is obtained by good integrated after passing through a cycle of 8.4 million births as ordained in Hindu scriptures and similarly believed in by Sikh Gurus and is considered to be a gift of God. Body needs to be nurtured as it is the abode of God. Guru Nanak considers the human body as a vehicle of soul. Prime importance is given to soul in Sikh metaphysics. Body is also called temple of God (Hari Mandir). If a man's soul is not tuned to God, he is as good as dead.

ਵਡੈ ਭਾਗਿ ਇਹੁ ਸਰੀਰੁ ਪਾਇਆ ॥ ਮਾਣਸ ਜਨਮਿ ਸਬਦਿ ਚਿਤੁ ਲਾਇਆ ॥ 
ਬਿਨੁ ਸਬਦੈ ਸਭੁ ਅੰਧ ਅੰਧੇਰਾ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਕਿਸਹਿ ਬੁਝਾਇਦਾ ॥

By great good fortune, I obtained this body; in this human life, I have focused my consciousness on the Word of the Shabad. Without the Shabad, everything is enveloped in utter darkness; only the Gurmukh understands. (SGGS, M. 3, P. 1065)

ਜੀਉ ਪਾਇ ਤਨੁ ਸਾਜਿਆ ਰਖਿਆ ਬਣਤ ਬਣਾਇ ॥ 
ਅਖੀ ਦੇਖੈ ਜਿਹਵਾ ਬੋਲੈ ਕੰਨੀ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਸਮਾਇ ॥ 
ਪੈਰੀ ਚਲੈ ਹਥੀ ਕਰਣਾ ਦਿਤਾ ਪੈਨੈ ਖਾਇ॥ 
ਜਿਨਿ ਰਚਿ ਰਚਿਆ ਤਿਸਹਿ ਨ ਜਾਣੈ ਅੰਧਾ ਅੰਧੁ ਕਮਾਇ॥
ਜਾ ਭਜੈ ਤਾ ਠੀਕਰੁ ਹੋਵੈ ਘਾੜਤ ਘੜੀ ਨ ਜਾਇ ॥ 
ਨਾਨਕ ਗੁਰ ਬਿਨੁ ਨਾਹਿ ਪਤਿ ਪਤਿ ਵਿਣੁ ਪਾਰਿ ਨ ਪਾਇ ॥

He placed the soul in the body which He had fashioned. He protects the Creation which He has created. With their eyes, they see, and with their tongues, they speak; with their ears, they bring the mind to awareness. With their feet, they walk, and with their hands, they work; they wear and eat whatever is given. They do not know the One who created the Creation. The blind fools do their dark deeds. When the pitcher of the body breaks and shatters into pieces, it cannot be re-created again. O Nanak, without the Guru, there is no honour; without honour, no one is carried across. (SGGS, M.1, P.138)

ਹਰਿ ਮੰਦਰੁ ਏਹੁ ਸਰੀਰੁ ਹੈ ਗਿਆਨਿ ਰਤਨਿ ਪਰਗਟੁ ਹੋਇ॥
ਮਨਮੁਖ ਮੂਲੁ ਨ ਜਾਣਨੀ ਮਾਣਸਿ ਹਰਿ ਮੰਦਰੁ ਨ ਹੋਇ॥

This body is the Temple of the Lord, in which the jewel of spiritual wisdom is revealed. The self-willed manmukhs do not know anything at all; they do not believe that the Lord's Temple is within. (SGGS, M.3, P. 1346)

There are 105 hymns in SGGS where connection between mind and body is elaborated. The mind and body are offered to the Guru by the devotee in utter devotion. The Lord comes to dwell in the body of the devotee and his mind and body blossoms forth and flourishes. The fire of ego is extinguished and a soothing effect is produced in both body and mind:

sB[ wB[ r[o gfJnk t/funk wB[ dhnK f;o[ Bkfb..
I have sold my body and mind to the Guru, and I have given my mind and head as well. (SGGS, M. 1, P. 20)

ਸਭੁ ਮਨੁ ਮਨੁ ਹਰਿਆ ਹੋਇਆ ਨਾਨਕ ਹਰਿ ਵਸਿਆ ਮਨਿ ਸੋਇ||

Then, the body and mind totally blossom forth and flourish;
O Nanak, the Lord comes to dwell within the mind.
(SGGS, M. 4, P. 41)

ਚਿਤਿ ਆਵੈ ਓਸੁ ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਤਨੁ ਮਨੁ ਸੀਤਲੁ ਹੋਇ||
If you come to remember the Supreme Lord God,
then your body and mind shall be cooled and soothed
. (SGGS, M.5, P. 70)

Role of Consciousness in Mind, Body and Soul:
Consciousness is the state or quality of awareness, of being aware of an external object or something within oneself. In fact, consciousness is directed outwards to objects, inwards to soul (atma). Atma is pure consciousness without any content. Atma is not different from Paramatma, the Cosmic Consciousness. Bhagat Kabir designated it as Ram ki ans (an embodiment of the Divine). It is the subtlest, purest essence of life.
ਕਹੁ ਕਬੀਰ ਇਹੁ ਰਾਮ ਕੀ ਅੰਸੁ|
Says Kabeer, this is formed of the same essence as the Lord. (SGGS, Bhagat Kabir, P. 871)
fifB sB[ wB[ dhnk ;[ofs ;w'Jh.
He gave me body and mind, and infused consciousness into my being.
(SGGS, M. 1, P. 1027)
nfXnksw eow eo/ fdB[ oksh. fBowb i'fs fBozsfo iksh
Whoever does the deeds of the soul, day and night, sees the immaculate Divine Light deep within.
(SGGS, M.1, P. 1039)
Human body is comprised of five elements namely air, water, fire (heat), earth and ether. After the death, these elements merge in the elements of the environs and the soul is liberated from the body for its onward journey. The birth of human is a biological process explained in SGGS, viz. from union of male sperm and female ovum.
gku ss e' sB[ ofuU ikBj[ us[o ;[ikB.
fij s/ T[gfiU BkBek bhB skfj w? wkB[ ..
Your body is made up of the five elements; you are clever and wise - know this well. Believe it - you shall merge once again into the One, O Nanak, from whom you originated.
(SGGS, M. 9, P. 1427)
oes[ fpzd[ ek fJj[ sb' nrBh gkf; fgokD[ ..
This body is made of blood and semen.
It shall be consigned to the fire in the end.
(SGGS, M. 1, P. 60)
Since the body consists of five elements (Panch Tat); hence the soul in the body has therefore been called Panch Bhoo Atma, the soul of the five elements in SGGS. It means the soul is entangled in the body and has to overcome the influence of its elements.
gzu G{ nkswk jfo Bkw of; g'y?..
The soul, the subtle essence of the five elements, cherishes the Nectar of the Naam, the Name of the Lord.
(SGGS, M. 5, P. 299)
gzu G{ nkswk tf; eofj sk shoE eofj fBtk;[..
If your soul overcomes the five elements, then you shall come to have a home at the true place of pilgrimage.
(SGGS, M. 3, P. 491)
Mind is considered to be an integral part of God consciousness and it needs to be awakened to realize its true potential and origin. The mind is trapped by worldly illusion called Maya and is afflicted by ego, desire and pride. It is led astray from God consciousness and wastes its opportunity to attain liberation from the cycle of re-incarnation. The positive and negative qualities of Mind are elaborated in SGGS.
mn qUM joiq srUpu hY Awpxw mUlu pCwxu ]
O my mind, you are the embodiment of the Divine Light (consciousness) - recognize your own origin.
(SGGS, M. 3, P. 441)
mn qUM gwrib AitAw gwrib lidAw jwih ]
mwieAw mohxI moihAw iPir iPir jUnI Bvwih ]
gwrib lwgw jwih mugD mn AMiq gieAw pCuqwvhy ]
AhMkwru iqsnw rogu lgw ibrQw jnmu gvwvhy ]
mnmuK mugD cyqih nwhI AgY gieAw pCuqwvhy ]
ieau khY nwnku mn qUM gwrib AitAw gwrib lidAw jwvhy ]
O mind, you are so full of pride; loaded with pride, you shall depart. The fascinating Maya has fascinated you, over and over again, and lured you into reincarnation. Clinging to pride, you shall depart, O foolish mind, and in the end, you shall regret and repent. You are afflicted with the diseases of ego and desire, and you are wasting your life away in vain. The foolish self-willed manmukh does not remember the Lord, and shall regret and repent hereafter. Thus says Nanak: O mind, you are full of pride; loaded with pride, you shall depart.
(SGGS, M. 3, P. 441)
Mind is also considered as an entity composed of five elements in subtle form in SGGS. It is influenced by Maya and worldly desires. It has to be liberated by grace of God.
iehu mnu krma iehu mnu Drmw] iehu mnu pMc qqu qy jnmw]
This mind commits its deeds of karma, and this mind follows the Dharma. This mind is born of the five elements.
(SGGS, M. 1, P. 415)
qnu jil bil mwtI BieAw mnu mwieAw moih mnUru ]
The body is burnt to ashes; by its love of Maya, the mind is rusted through.
(SGGS, M. 1, P. 19)
The human Soul (Atma) and the Cosmic Soul (Parmatma) are intertwined and indistinguishable one from the other. Those who understand the working of their own soul are already in the realm of Supreme Soul or God. Soul (Atma) is also equated with the Creator God in the SGGS:
nksw wfj okw[ okw wfj nksw[ uhBf; r[o phukok..
The Lord is in the soul, and the soul is in the Lord.
This is realized through the Guru's Teachings.
(SGGS, M. 1, P. 1153)
fiBh nksw[ uhfBnk gowksw[ ;'Jh..
Those who understand their own souls, are themselves the Supreme Soul.
(SGGS, M. 1, P. 421)
The experiential realization of this identification of Soul (Atma) with the Supreme Soul (Parmatma) is the summum bonum of Sikh mysticism. The purpose of human birth is to reunite the atma with Parmatma but the humans have a characteristic affliction, that of ego, which is the real cause of the gulf that is sought to be bridged. Reunion is therefore possible by giving up the ego that caused the duality and hence the separation from God:
nkswk gokswk J/e' eo?.. nzso eh d[fpXk nzsfo wo?..
His soul and the Supreme Soul become one.
The duality of the inner mind is overcome.
(SGGS, M. 1, P. 661)
Thus, the Sikh Gurus have a holistic mystical experience and vision of human life in which human body, mind and soul should work in tandem and life in harmonious existence and proceed on a spiritual voyage in full consciousness to seek communion and spirit with the Divine.
1. Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS), the holy scripture of Sikh religion. Published by Golden Temple Press, Amritsar, 2017. M.1refers to the Bani of 1st Guru, Guru Nanak, and so on for other Gurus. P refers to page number of SGGS.
2. The Sikh Encyclopedia. Editor, Harbans Singh, Published by Punjabi University, Patiala, 1998; https://www.thesikhencyclopedia.com
3. Rawel Singh, The Creator, Soul and Body Relationship. Posted 14 June, 2011; http://www.sadhsangat.com.
4. Hardev Singh Virk, Gurbani Di Saral Viakhia. Published by Panj Pani Parkashan, Mohali, 2017.
5. Hardev Singh Virk, Scientific Vision in Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Published by Singh Brothers, Amritsar, 2007.
6. Mind, Body and Soul. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mind_Body_%26_Soul.



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