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Kaam: Lust Or Desire?


According to the Sikh view, and wherever in SGGS reference is made to "kaam", is it specifically referring to only sexual lust, or does it mean desire in general (which includes desire for sexual lust, and all other desires like desire for materialism, etc.)

Just looking for a more accurate translation/meaning.



ੴ / Ik▫oaʼnkār
Acts of God ji thanks for your post. I believe the word ਕਾਮ/ਕਾਮਿ (Kaam/Kamm-ih) and derivatives like ਕਾਮਨਾ/Kaamna are contextual and various forms in grammatical usage. Some beautiful diverse usage is illustrated by the following excerpts,

Example 1:

ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁਮਨਕਾਮਨਾਤੀਰਥੁਹੈਜਿਸਨੋਦੇਇਬੁਝਾਇ॥ सतिगुरु मन कामना तीरथु है जिस नो देइ बुझाइ ॥
Saṯgur man kāmnā ṯirath hai jis no ḏe▫e bujẖā▫e.
The True Guru is the mind's desire and the sacred shrine of pilgrimage, for those unto whom He has given this understanding.
ਜਿਸ ਨੂੰ ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂ ਦਰਸਾਉਂਦਾ ਹੈ, ਉਹ ਸੱਚੇ ਗੁਰਾਂ ਅੰਦਰ ਮਨ ਦੀ ਇੱਛਾ ਪੂਰਨ ਕਰਨ ਵਾਲਾ ਯਾਤਰਾ ਅਸਥਾਨ ਦੇਖਦਾ ਹੈ।
ਕਾਮਨਾ = ਇੱਛਿਆ। ਮਨ ਕਾਮਨਾ = ਮਨ ਦੀਆਂ ਕਾਮਨਾਂ। ਦੇਇ ਬੁਝਾਇ = ਸਮਝਾ ਦੇਂਦਾ ਹੈ।
ਸਤਿਗੁਰੂ ਮਨ ਦੀਆਂ ਇੱਛਾਂ ਪੂਰੀਆਂ ਕਰਨ ਵਾਲਾ ਤੀਰਥ ਹੈ (ਪਰ ਇਹ ਸਮਝ ਉਸ ਮਨੁੱਖ ਨੂੰ ਆਉਂਦੀ ਹੈ) ਜਿਸ ਨੂੰ (ਗੁਰੂ ਆਪ) ਸਮਝਾਏ।

Example 2:

कामि करोधि नगरु बहु भरिआ मिलि साधू खंडल खंडा हे ॥
Kām karoḏẖ nagar baho bẖari▫ā mil sāḏẖū kẖandal kẖanda he.
The body-village is filled to overflowing with anger and sexual desire; these were broken into bits when I met with the Holy Saint.
ਭੋਗ ਰਸ ਅਤੇ ਰੋਹ ਨਾਲ, (ਦੇਹਿ) ਪਿੰਡ ਕੰਢਿਆ ਤਾਈ ਡੱਕਿਆ ਹੋਇਆ ਹੈ। ਸੰਤ ਗੁਰਦੇਵ ਜੀ ਨੂੰ ਮਿਲ ਕੇ ਮੈਂ (ਦੋਹਾਂ ਨੂੰ) ਭੰਨ ਤੋੜ ਕੇ ਪਾਸ਼ ਪਾਸ਼ ਕਰ ਦਿੱਤਾ ਹੈ।
ਕਾਮਿ = ਕਾਮ-ਵਾਸਨਾ ਨਾਲ। ਕਰੋਧਿ = ਕ੍ਰੋਧ ਨਾਲ। ਨਗਰੁ = ਸਰੀਰ-ਨਗਰ। ਮਿਲਿ = ਮਿਲ ਕੇ। ਸਾਧੂ = ਗੁਰੂ। ਖੰਡਲ ਖੰਡਾ = ਤੋੜਿਆ ਹੈ।
(ਮਨੁੱਖ ਦਾ ਇਹ ਸਰੀਰ-) ਸ਼ਹਰ ਕਾਮ ਅਤੇ ਕ੍ਰੋਧ ਨਾਲ ਭਰਿਆ ਰਹਿੰਦਾ ਹੈ। ਗੁਰੂ ਨੂੰ ਮਿਲ ਕੇ ਹੀ (ਕਾਮ ਕ੍ਰੋਧ ਆਦਿਕ ਦੇ ਇਸ ਜੋੜ ਨੂੰ) ਤੋੜਿਆ ਜਾ ਸਕਦਾ ਹੈ।
In the first example ਮਨ ਕਾਮਨਾ /man kāmnā is descriptive of a very strong desire of mind or one's thoughts without anything to do with sex or lust. The fulfillment probably implies great spiritual ecstasy and happiness, perhaps long lasting.

In the second example from a spiritual perspective there is little linkage in the use of the word ਕਾਮਿ/Kamm-ih. It is used as an indulgence less spiritual. It is not the denial of ecstasy or happiness but it is devoid of spirituality or long lasting components of happiness.

From a spiritual or long lasting and sustained perspective, lust as a manifestation of desire is transient while positive desire in spirituality and results thereof lead to sustained and everlasting effect.

With advances in science and the actions and production of chemicals in our physical bodies, I would not be surprised that there are many chemicals created on a transient and sustained basis weather the manifestation is sexual (so called bad if over indulged) or more spiritual (good) that can last a life time.

All vices

  • so called five thieves in Kaam (lust),Krodh (anger), Lobh (greed), Moh (attachment, e.g. to material things or people), Hankaar (ego, pride);

  • virtues as most referred to in Sat (truth), Santokh (contentment), Daya (compassion), Nimrata (humility), Pyaar (love);
rarely are a catalyst or manifestation of only one part but more likely a combination. Kaam (lust) may be in part a manifestation or act jointly with Lobh (greed) and Moh (attachment). Hence one needs to always keep the contexts clear in many situation like this as otherwise wrong classifications and logically failing conjectures can develop.

Hope it adds to the dialog.

Sat Sri Akal.
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