MOH (ATTACHMENT) by Rajinder Singh ‘Arshi’ Some, with Guru’s Grace succeed in keeping greed (discussed in the previous article) under control. However, this fourth weakness ‘moh’ spares only the precious few. So strong is its stranglehold that even saints and sages struggle to overcome it. DEFINITION Moh has its Sanskrit roots which in current times represents a condition of stupefaction, utter bewilderment or perplexity. In simple terms we may define moh as an attachment to materialistic values and worldly relations. A person under the influence of moh is incapable of thinking clearly. Often people say one should follow the heart when or if the mind is confused. However, whether the decision comes from the mind or the heart it will not normally be, spiritually, the right one if made under the impact of moh. Maya moh gubaar hai ṯis ḏaa na ḏisai urvaar na paar (M: 3 – SGGS 89). Attachment to Maya is akin to an ocean of darkness and the person inflicted by this cannot see this shore or the one beyond. A manmukh (1) whether he thinks with his mind or follows his heart cannot be balanced or detached: Manmukh mohi vi*aapi*aa bairaag uḏaasee na ho*e (M: 3 – SGGS 29). In the previous article ‘Lobh’ three qualities (characteristics) were mentioned: tamm gunn: represents qualities of darkness and spiritual suffocation; rajj gunn: signifies characteristics of energy and activity tainted with worldly attachment and ego; sat gunn: embodies attitudes of tranquility, compassion and charity. Guru Amar Das states that these three qualities will keep people attached to Maya. Only the gurmukh attains the fourth state of higher consciousness i.e. PARAM PAD (trai guṇn maya moh hai gurmukh cha*uthaa paḏ paaey – SGGS 30). THE WEB OF MOH MAYA (MOH MAYA DA JAAL) Maya is an infatuation for the ’illusory’ world. The term ‘illusory world’ represents the transient world with all its delusions, distractions and illusory senses. This world is real, i.e. it actually exists and is not just an optical illusion, like a mirage. Nevertheless all this is a delusion since whilst the world is God’s creation it is not the Ultimate Reality. It is not eternal. The existence of jiva (2) on this earth is a passing phase and all the earthly achievements and worldly attachments will not travel with the soul (jiva atma) when the mortal life comes to an end. The Sikh Gurus have frequently used the term moh coupled with maya as in ‘maya moh’ or ‘moh maya’. Ih maya moh kutamb hai bẖaaey ḏoojai faas (M: 4 – SGGS 166). By entrapping himself in worldly delusions, attachments and duality a person ends up putting a noose around his neck. The pursuit of worldly pleasures and ego are also closely related. The desire for worldly status and recognition feeds a person’s ego. The chase for mundane things leads the soul astray and away from meditation. Guru Tegh Bahadur advises the prani to renounce ego, pride and bondage to maya and instead focus on Lord’s Name (taj abhimaan moh maya fun bẖajan raam chiṯ laava*o - SGGS 219). MAYA NOT ILLUSION BUT DELUSION Maya, as stated above, is a delusion as opposed to illusion. It is real but transient, i.e. it will pass away. It is not eternal and therefore one must not cling to things which in the end will not benefit the soul. Guru Nanak offers comfort when he says: The spectacle (of moh-maya) that you see will pass away. So do not be attached to this false show (jo ḏeesai so chalsee kooṛhaa moh na veykh - GGS 61). The world we see is real; the people we see are real. These are, no doubt, God’s creations but they represent are a transient phase in the journey of the soul. They react upon our minds and if we are not careful and discriminating, they may start permeating into our subconscious and such attachment to worldly possessions and pleasures is dangerous for the soul. That is why Guru Nanak says that what you see will pass; do not become attached to the itinerary world of falsehood and deception. None of this will assist the soul in its travels beyond this world. Guru Arjan also instructs the mind to focus on Lord’s Name, for he says without meditation all entanglements are worthless and obsession with Maya is utterly false (Aikas bin sabh dhandh hai sabh mithi*aa moh maaey – SGGS 44) MOH IS LIKE A DRUG Guru Nanak uses strong words when he says moh is like an addictive drug of emotional attachment and destroys the soul. As masses act under the influence of moh, it corrupts the whole world (moh ṯẖag*ulee ha*o mooee saa varṯai sansaar –SGGS 61). Moh creates boundaries as an individual’s interests are basically confined to his family and loved ones and to some extent his associations, e.g. membership of a social club. Love for and attachment to the family and its welfare propels a person to value materialistic comforts above his spiritual needs. The family pressures and obligations bear heavily on his spiritual requirements. The individual will identify himself more with family welfare and wealth rather than the needs of his soul. The tightening of boundaries will narrow down his scope for spiritual progress and he will simply resign himself to a mundane life of a mere mortal. So how can an individual rise above these narrow parameters? The influence of moh corrupts the mind. The psychological power of moh is so powerful it completely takes the mind over and renders the ability and efforts of a person to think rationally and ethically utterly futile. The antidote of moh is detachment but this also has negative connotations. The Sikh Gurus have shunned living in isolation. The real test of character is living a normal, healthy and a spiritual life. Running away into jungles, taking vows of isolation and celibacy are not recommended by the Sikh Gurus. Therefore, detachment is not the solution; it is not the way to conquer moh. This is discussed further under ‘remedies’ REMEDIES Transform the ecstasy of attachment (moh-ras) into the ecstasy of love (prem-ras). Prem ras here has far wider connotations than our worldly concept of love. Turn the attachment for family and close friends into love for the humanity at large, for the unfortunate and the downtrodden. Channel moh into love for the Lord who gave you this opportunity (the mortal form) to put right what you may have done wrong in a previous existence. Meditate on his Name so that you may escape the cycle of life and death. Clean living develops a clean mind and also a sharp but neat intellect. A clean mind will react like a processed film role, receptive of pure thoughts which in turn are translated into good and noble deeds. Pure intelligence is like the purest of paper ready for writing pure thoughts by burning the emotional attachment and grinding it into suitable ink for the task (jaal moh ghas mas kar maṯ kaagaḏ kar saar – Guru Nanak SGGS 16). On their own even the high and mighty cannot escape from the negative impact and influences of moh and maya. They cling to materialistic comforts and values which in the end will not benefit their spiritual development. These, Guru Amar Das says, will just turn into dust. Attachment to worldly comforts, whilst a natural tendency, is not beneficial for the soul. To counter the negative forces of moh and maya one must seek the company of the Holy (bin saadhoo sangaṯ raṯi*aa maya moh sabh chhaar - SGGS 52) The company of the holy and the pious (sadh sangat) will keep a person on course and offer him the opportunity of serving his Guru. For a Sikh sadh sangat and the allegiance to Guru Granth Sahib are essential if he has to escape from the grips of moh maya. Guru Amar Das offers the following advice: Saṯgur seyv moh parjalai ghar hee maahi uḏaasaa – SGGS 29. One does not have to go to the forest or lead the life of a hermit to escape the pangs of attachment. A person can burn his emotional attachment whilst leading the life a householder by serving the True Guru and invoking his blessings. Seek the True Guru and obtain from him the boon of Naam and your thirst of emotional attachment will depart (Gur mili*ai naam paa-ee*ai chookai moh pi*aas – Guru Amar Das, SGGS 26). ILLUSTRATIONS Guru Nanak cast aside moh and bestowed the gurgadi (Guru-ship) on his devout disciple Bhai Lehna (Guru Angad Dev) in preference over own his sons. Guru Amar Das (the Third Nanak) endured the wrath and hostility of Baba Dattu, the son of Guru Angad Dev, because the latter did not allow his mind to be clouded by moh and bestowed the Guru-ship on Guru Amar Das. Baba Dattu was livid with Guru Angad Dev’s decision. His intense jealousy drove him to kick Guru Ji. But, behold the humility of Guru Amar Das, who immediately started caressing and messaging Dattu's foot saying; "I am so sorry, you must have hurt your foot. My bones are rather old and hard." Guru Gobind Singh did not think for a second when he agreed with the Kashmiri Pundits that his father was the only spiritual leader of the Sikhs and the Hindus who could stand up to the Mogul Empire and make the supreme sacrifice for the honour of the country (3). Guru Gobind Singh Ji again cast aside moh and sacrificed his sons Ajit Singh and Jujhar singh in the Battle of Chamkaur Sahib. There are numerous examples how the Sikh Gurus sacrificed their self-interests for the welfare of the country and humanity. Contrast these with Dhritrashter’s love for his son Duryodhan. Dhritrashter allowed his moh for his son, to cloud his mind as to who deserved to be the next Emperor of Hastinapur. On merit Dhritrashter’s nephew, Yudhishter (the eldest of the pandavs), was way ahead of Duryodhan. However, Dhritrashter’s own ambitions and the moh for his son influenced his decision in favour of Duryodhan. This lead to disastrous and tragic consequences – The Mahabharata (The Battle of Kurukeshtra). Kakeyi smitten by the moh for her son Bharat schemed and tricked Dashrath into exiling Ram for fourteen years so that her own son Bharat could be crowned king instead of the crown price Ram (son of Dashrath other wife Kaushalya) (4). CONCLUSION Transform the ecstasy of attachment (moh-ras) into the ecstasy of love (prem-ras). Rememberthatour existence in this world is a passing phase – it is not eternal. Mortal existence is like a jungle where the prani is surrounded by dense overgrowth, distractions and hostile creatures. It is not easy to ‘see the wood from the trees’. However, the gurmukh, with the grace of his Guru and his teachings, can carve out escape routes to steer his way clear of all obstacles and keep on the straight and the narrow towards his real goal. Instead of getting lost in the back streets and alley ways, he is able to build flyovers and bypasses to reach his true destination. He will break the cycle of life and death. Manmukh: A self-centred persons who follows his mind rather than his conscious. Jiva originates from the Sanskrit term ‘jivas’, pronounced jeevaas. ‘Jeev’ means ‘to breathe’. Therefore literally jiva is a living being or living entity. Spiritual philosophers, saints have sometimes used the terms jiva and jiva atma to denote soul. On his refusal to convert to Islam or to perform miracles, Guru Tegh Bahadur offered his head instead of surrendering his faith. He was beheaded in public at Chandni Chowk, Delhi, on 11 November 1675.Guru Gobind Singh wrote about the martyrdom in Bachitra Natak: "Guru Tegh Bahadur was the protector of the tilak (ointment on the forehead) and janeu (sacred thread born across the torso) of the Hindus. Whilst the world bemoaned his departure, in the land of the gods he was greeted by accolades and garlands of adoration". There is no other example in the history of mankind where the religious leader of one faith sacrificed his life to save the freedom and honour of another Dasharath was the king of Ayodhya and had three wives Kaushalya, Sumitra and Kaikeyi. The son of Kaushalya was Ram, sons of Sumitra were Lakshman and Shatrughan and the son of Kaikeyi was Bharat. Author's notes: For simplicity, throughout this article, I have referred to the masculine gender but, wherever appropriate, this should be read as including the female gender. Differences of opinion are inevitable when interpreting Gurbani. The author most humbly regrets any inaccuracy or errors in quoting or interpreting Gurbani and prays Satguru grants him the boon of greater insight into understanding the Guru’s word. Copyright: ISBN 0 948522 02X Rajinder Singh "Arshi"