Egotism And Egoism. Does Gurbani Or Punjabi Differentiate? | Sikh Philosophy Network
  • Welcome to all New Sikh Philosophy Network Forums!
    Explore Sikh Sikhi Sikhism...
    Sign up Log in

Egotism And Egoism. Does Gurbani Or Punjabi Differentiate?

Ishna

Enthusiast
Writer
SPNer
May 9, 2006
3,249
5,182
(As of 1/10/11) 8 years and 3 days ago a fellow by the handle of 'Mickwick' posted to a Usenet forum the following example of the difference between Egotism and Egoism:

An egotist talks about himself a lot whereas an egoist thinks he's so bloody marvellous that nobody else matters. Egotists can exhibit egoism and egoists can exhibit egotism but it is quite possible to be an egoist who doesn't talk about himself much and to be an egotist who doesn't think much of himself.
(Source)

Does Gurbani or Punjabi language differentiate between these two ideas?

Does the Sikh concept of 'ahankar' mean egotism, egoism, or a combination of both?

What's worse for a Sikh, being an egotist or an egoist?

Is it truly possible to ever do anything which is not self-centered? Can you truly say your actions are truly motivated JUST BECAUSE and not to bring you closer to Realisation? Can you say you read Gurbani JUST BECAUSE and not to bring you a sense of peace?

Can the thorn truly be extracted in a mere mortal?

What ways can a Sikh's thinking be changed to be less 'me' centered? Should we be encouraged to refer to ourselves as 'Das' (ie. 'this slave') and not as 'I'? Is that helpful to deconstruct one's 'I-ness'? Could our speech (and writing) contain more references to the True Doer instead of our selves?

Das prays for Guruji's kirpa to understand this.

Is that egoistic in itself?!
 

Attachments

spnadmin

1947-2014 (Archived)
SPNer
Jun 17, 2004
14,500
19,206
Re: Egotism and Egoism - Does Gurbani or Punjabi differentiate?

Gurbani uses one word HAUMEI which does not mean ego, egoism or egotism. In fact this word is fascinating to me from a philosophical point of view. It means YOUME. Or the distance, the difference, between you and me, which is the source of all discord, war, terrorism, brutality, oppression, greed and anger.

It is like the I/Thou connection that Martin Buber discusses in his philosophical work. The separation of I/human from Thou/God is taken as a beginning assumption. In western religions and islam this separation is a given. Among Christian and Jewsih religions the task is to close the gap. In islam it is a sacrilege to presume to do that.(Sufism the exception) In Sikhi conversely there is never the purpose to bridge a gap, which does not exist in the first place.

We have not so much egotism or egotism, but rather we lack awareness of that connection that HAUMEI conveys. Unconnected to Kartar Purakh we are unconnected to each other, and the rest is unavoidable.

In Sikhi we are not ever disconnected. We are blind to the connection of oneness.

p/s. So in answer, the difference between egoism and egotism is only technical or semantic in Sikhi, because both are products of Haumei.
 
Last edited:

Scarlet Pimpernel

We seek him here,we sikh
Writer
SPNer
May 31, 2011
995
1,095
In the Self
Re: Egotism and Egoism - Does Gurbani or Punjabi differentiate?

Isi Ji ,ego might be thinking that 'you' are in some way better than 'me' ,or is that egocentrism?
 
Last edited:

Gyani Jarnail Singh

Sawa lakh se EK larraoan
Mentor
Writer
SPNer
Jul 4, 2004
7,688
14,345
71
KUALA LUMPUR MALAYSIA
Re: Egotism and Egoism - Does Gurbani or Punjabi differentiate?

The whole WORLD is in the blame game...anything bad..disaster..its GOD who did it..bad luck..evil spirits..whatever...
Anything "good"..lottery..my Good Luck..promotion..MY Effort...kid passed exams..MY GENES...

ONLY a "GURU ARJUN" can sit on the SIZZLING HOT PLATE in the Height of the Indian Summer where shade temp can touch 45Degrees Centigrade....with burning hot sand being poured on hsi head and body from above...HUM DOS NA KAHOON DEVOHN...I blame NO ONE....Tera Bhanna Meetha Laggeh..YOUR WILL is sweet my beloved !!

And should anyone say..OH Guru Arjun is a fluke shot..one in a million...impossible odds..WRONG....just look at the LONG LINE..of Guru Arjun's Jis SIKHS....Bhai mati dass being sawed alive..Bhai Sati dass being burnt alive..Bhai Dyala Ji being BOILED alive..Bhai mani Singh being cut from joint to joint..Bhai Banda Singh bahadur having his mouth stuffed with the beating heart of his toddler son...Bhai fateh Singh Bhai Zorawar Singh standing atll in the wall being brocked up alive...THOUSANDS upon THOUSANDS..with NOT a SINGLE "BLAME/CRY of Pain/dissatifaction/annoyance/upon nay ones lips..just WAHEGURU/JAPJI SAHIB recitation..loud and clear..." Bhai Ghaniyah ji tending to the wounded muslim and sikh alike saying..Na ko beri nahin BEGANNAH...all are my brothers...
That is proof that HAU is there in full glory and MEI is a tiny dot in the distance...if at all present...
 

spnadmin

1947-2014 (Archived)
SPNer
Jun 17, 2004
14,500
19,206
Re: Egotism and Egoism - Does Gurbani or Punjabi differentiate?

Isi Ji ,ego might be thinking that 'you' are in some way better than 'me' ,or is that egocentrism?

When we come back to the question of ego, then we are indeed looking at ahankar. But that does not translate well imho into ego. Ego in its western sense is both good and bad. Not so ahankar. The beauty of Punjabi is that a single word can pack a punch that is so full of subtle grades of meaning. English cannot do that. English needs many related words to achieve what Punjabi gets to in one word.

Personally, and members correct me, but ahankar gives a bigger picture of Prideful Self, to be full of conceit. It is ego run amok, not unlike a teenage elephant who breaks from his handler and tears up a corn field because "I AM WHO I AM" ... and how dare anyone try to rein me in? Sometimes in Gurbani, elephant is a symbol of mind, seat of ego. ਮਨੁ ਮੈਗਲੁ ਸਾਕਤੁ ਦੇਵਾਨਾ ॥Man maigal sākaṯ ḏevānā.The mind of the faithless cynic is like a crazy elephant. For humans, this, in my way of understanding, arises from a sense of HAUMEI...that we are not interconnected, or not understanding that when I hurt you I am also hurting myself through pride in self.

I think of this example: A really naughty boy puts chewing gum on the teacher's chair. She sits on it, and then is enraged by the fact that the children are laughing away. She finds out who did it. Now we have ahankar/pride of self mixed with Krod/anger, the two often go hand in hand. The trouble with ego now begins. Rightfully she is angered by the lack of respect of HER VERY IMPORTANT SELF. But wrongly she begins a campaign of getting even with that boy. She humiliates him at each turn. Gives him lower grades. What is she teaching him? Certainly not how to respect teachers. She is not teaching how to be just or fair. She is teaching him to be a cynic and he learns that this is a world where it is better to get someone else before they can get you. So both teacher and child are losers from this experience. Maybe she is even teaching him how to be an oppressive government official or a dictator.

The way out Guru Amardas ji tells us:

ਸਲੋਕੁ ਮਃ ੩ ॥
सलोकु मः ३ ॥
Salok mėhlā 3.
Shalok, Third Mehl:

ਹਸਤੀ ਸਿਰਿ ਜਿਉ ਅੰਕਸੁ ਹੈ ਅਹਰਣਿ ਜਿਉ ਸਿਰੁ ਦੇਇ ॥
हसती सिरि जिउ अंकसु है अहरणि जिउ सिरु देइ ॥
Hasṯī sir ji▫o ankas hai ahraṇ ji▫o sir ḏe▫e.
The elephant offers its head to the reins, and the anvil offers itself to the hammer;

ਮਨੁ ਤਨੁ ਆਗੈ ਰਾਖਿ ਕੈ ਊਭੀ ਸੇਵ ਕਰੇਇ ॥
मनु तनु आगै राखि कै ऊभी सेव करेइ ॥
Man ṯan āgai rākẖ kai ūbẖī sev kare▫i.
just so, we offer our minds and bodies to our Guru; we stand before Him, and serve Him

ਇਉ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਆਪੁ ਨਿਵਾਰੀਐ ਸਭੁ ਰਾਜੁ ਸ੍ਰਿਸਟਿ ਕਾ ਲੇਇ ॥
इउ गुरमुखि आपु निवारीऐ सभु राजु स्रिसटि का लेइ ॥
I▫o gurmukẖ āp nivārī▫ai sabẖ rāj sarisat kā le▫e.
This is how the Gurmukhs eliminate their self-conceit, and come to rule the whole world.

ਨਾਨਕ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਬੁਝੀਐ ਜਾ ਆਪੇ ਨਦਰਿ ਕਰੇਇ ॥੧॥
नानक गुरमुखि बुझीऐ जा आपे नदरि करेइ ॥१॥
Nānak gurmukẖ bujẖī▫ai jā āpe naḏar kare▫i. ||1||
O Guru Nanak, the Gurmukh understands, when the Lord casts His Glance of Grace. ||1||

Ang 546/547
 

Tejwant Singh

Mentor
Writer
SPNer
Jun 30, 2004
5,028
7,180
Henderson, NV.
Spnadmin ji,

Guru Fateh.

Thanks for explaining it so well.

Now we have ahankar/pride of self mixed with Krod/anger, the two often go hand in hand.
Indeed. Hankaar is a collection of inflating once's chest while showing disdain and hatred towards others. In other words, Hankaar is cake made of Me-ism which has the icing of loathing with the inscription,"I give a damn".
 

Kanwaljit.Singh

Writer
SPNer
Jan 29, 2011
1,496
2,166
Vancouver, Canada
I think the idea about Hau-mei is not to fight it but TRANSFORM it. Whenever you wish to say 'I did this..' 'I helped them..' 'I know this..' etc, transform and replace the I with Waheguru. That becomes the cure!


ਮਹਲਾ ੨ ॥

Mėhlā 2.

Second Mehl:


ਹਉਮੈ ਏਹਾ ਜਾਤਿ ਹੈ ਹਉਮੈ ਕਰਮ ਕਮਾਹਿ ॥

Ha▫umai ehā jāṯ hai ha▫umai karam kamāhi.

This is the nature of ego, that people perform their actions in ego.


ਹਉਮੈ ਏਈ ਬੰਧਨਾ ਫਿਰਿ ਫਿਰਿ ਜੋਨੀ ਪਾਹਿ ॥

Ha▫umai e▫ī banḏẖnā fir fir jonī pāhi.

This is the bondage of ego, that time and time again, they are reborn.


ਹਉਮੈ ਕਿਥਹੁ ਊਪਜੈ ਕਿਤੁ ਸੰਜਮਿ ਇਹ ਜਾਇ ॥

Ha▫umai kithhu ūpjai kiṯ sanjam ih jā▫e.

Where does ego come from? How can it be removed?


ਹਉਮੈ ਏਹੋ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਹੈ ਪਇਐ ਕਿਰਤਿ ਫਿਰਾਹਿ ॥

Ha▫umai eho hukam hai pa▫i▫ai kiraṯ firāhi.

This ego exists by the Lord's Order; people wander according to their past actions.


ਹਉਮੈ ਦੀਰਘ ਰੋਗੁ ਹੈ ਦਾਰੂ ਭੀ ਇਸੁ ਮਾਹਿ ॥

Ha▫umai ḏīragẖ rog hai ḏārū bẖī is māhi.

Ego is a chronic disease, but it contains its own cure as well.


ਕਿਰਪਾ ਕਰੇ ਜੇ ਆਪਣੀ ਤਾ ਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਸਬਦੁ ਕਮਾਹਿ ॥

Kirpā kare je āpṇī ṯā gur kā sabaḏ kamāhi.

If the Lord grants His Grace, one acts according to the Teachings of the Guru's Shabad.


ਨਾਨਕੁ ਕਹੈ ਸੁਣਹੁ ਜਨਹੁ ਇਤੁ ਸੰਜਮਿ ਦੁਖ ਜਾਹਿ ॥੨॥

Nānak kahai suṇhu janhu iṯ sanjam ḏukẖ jāhi. ॥2॥

Guru Nanak says, listen, people: in this way, troubles depart. ॥2॥
 

spnadmin

1947-2014 (Archived)
SPNer
Jun 17, 2004
14,500
19,206
See how Haume is translated as ego? HAUMEI does not mean EGO. Haumei refers to the duality, the separation, the disconnect of You/Me. Why they do that I do not know. So I am going to retranslate by substituting...separation and/or duality...the separation between us, of you from me. In this shabad the separation refers to separation from Ik Oankar, separation from oneness.

ਹਉਮੈ ਏਹਾ ਜਾਤਿ ਹੈ ਹਉਮੈ ਕਰਮ ਕਮਾਹਿ ॥

Ha▫umai ehā jāṯ hai ha▫umai karam kamāhi.

This is the nature of ego, that people perform their actions in ego.
This is the nature of that disconnect, that separation between us, that people perform their actions in duality.

ਹਉਮੈ ਏਈ ਬੰਧਨਾ ਫਿਰਿ ਫਿਰਿ ਜੋਨੀ ਪਾਹਿ ॥

Ha▫umai e▫ī banḏẖnā fir fir jonī pāhi.

This is the bondage of ego, that time and time again, they are reborn.
This is the bondage that comes from the separation, from the duality, that time and time again, they are reborn.


ਹਉਮੈ ਕਿਥਹੁ ਊਪਜੈ ਕਿਤੁ ਸੰਜਮਿ ਇਹ ਜਾਇ ॥

Ha▫umai kithhu ūpjai kiṯ sanjam ih jā▫e.

Where does ego come from? How can it be removed?
Where does this separation, this duality come from? How can it be removed?


ਹਉਮੈ ਏਹੋ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਹੈ ਪਇਐ ਕਿਰਤਿ ਫਿਰਾਹਿ ॥

Ha▫umai eho hukam hai pa▫i▫ai kiraṯ firāhi.

This ego exists by the Lord's Order; people wander according to their past actions.
This separation of self exists by His Hukam; people wanter according to their past actions.

ਹਉਮੈ ਦੀਰਘ ਰੋਗੁ ਹੈ ਦਾਰੂ ਭੀ ਇਸੁ ਮਾਹਿ ॥


Ha▫umai ḏīragẖ rog hai ḏārū bẖī is māhi.

Ego is a chronic disease, but it contains its own cure as well.
Separation between us, duality is a chronic disease, but it contains its own cure as well.
 

Ishna

Enthusiast
Writer
SPNer
May 9, 2006
3,249
5,182
What a terrible, terrible mistranslation. :( I wish it was made clear to me sooner (but by kirpa it happens when it happens). Thank you SPNadmin ji for taking the time to re-emphasize your point. The proper concept of haumai is essential and foundational. Without it, the idea of 'me here' and 'God "The Man" Bigguy' over there perpetuates within the minds who already have a propensity to think/feel that way. It is one of those missing pieces of the puzzle that leaves a new or primarily English speaking Sikh feeling a bit lost. The English just doesn't cut the mustard. You only get half the picture. And then run yourself in circles looking for answers when they're in front of you all along in the original language.

*facepalm* I wish I could plug in one of those little slides from the Matrix movie and download all the language info to get a head start on this!
 

spnadmin

1947-2014 (Archived)
SPNer
Jun 17, 2004
14,500
19,206
Aye, 'tis so, Ishna ji

It is one of those missing pieces of the puzzle that leaves a new or primarily English speaking Sikh feeling a bit lost. The English just doesn't cut the mustard. You only get half the picture. And then run yourself in circles looking for answers when they're in front of you all along in the original language.
That is why we must try to learn even a little of the Punjabi/Gurmukhi of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.

When I reread the shabad a little bit later, it suddenly dawned on me...if our goal is to fall in love, if Ik Oankar is the Beloved, if we are seeking to be consumed by the Name of the Beloved, then that shabad is a kind of love song. Yet with Haumei translated as Ego, the love song is not heard, and the shabad seems more like a spiritual regimen. When Haumei is seen as separation from the beloved, from the pyaare, then a love song is heard. Many a love song is about the pain of separation. I too felt I had been cheated, as if for years, until yesterday. Then I understood the cure: There can be no unrequited love.
 

Ishna

Enthusiast
Writer
SPNer
May 9, 2006
3,249
5,182
Clarification for future readers: Haumai translates directly as "I/me" and not "you/me". In the preceding thread, where haumai has been discussed as 'you/me', the idea is to highlight the solitary 'I' state, as opposed to the "You" state that Guru Sahib expresses repeatedly throughout Gurbani. Everything is You, it is all You, etc.
 

chazSingh

Writer
SPNer
Feb 20, 2012
1,644
1,641
Clarification for future readers: Haumai translates directly as "I/me" and not "you/me". In the preceding thread, where haumai has been discussed as 'you/me', the idea is to highlight the solitary 'I' state, as opposed to the "You" state that Guru Sahib expresses repeatedly throughout Gurbani. Everything is You, it is all You, etc.
my feeling is that, the feeling of 'I' starts to subside when it starts to become apparent that when Guru Ji says God is within you...it is true...
then you start to realize, if Waheguru is within me, then Waheguru is also within you, and everyone and everything else...and there is only Him, only 'You' ... waheguru..

until then we try to recognize by effort that Waheguru is within all, but through the art of chasing desires, anger, greed etc, we very quickly fall back into the separation and all is lost in maya again.
 

Ishna

Enthusiast
Writer
SPNer
May 9, 2006
3,249
5,182
my feeling is that, the feeling of 'I' starts to subside when it starts to become apparent that when Guru Ji says God is within you...it is true...
then you start to realize, if Waheguru is within me, then Waheguru is also within you, and everyone and everything else...and there is only Him, only 'You' ... waheguru..

until then we try to recognize by effort that Waheguru is within all, but through the art of chasing desires, anger, greed etc, we very quickly fall back into the separation and all is lost in maya again.
You nailed it, bro.
 

Create an account or login to comment

You must be a member in order to leave a comment

Create account

Create an account on our community. It's easy!

Log in

Already have an account? Log in here.

Top