Sukhmani Sahib: 5th Ashtapadee: 4th Pauri: My Understanding | SIKH PHILOSOPHY NETWORK
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Sukhmani Sahib: 5th Ashtapadee: 4th Pauri: My Understanding


Jun 11, 2004
Dear Khalsa Ji,
I share with you all, my understanding of the 4th Pauri of 5th Ashtapadee of Sukhmani Sahib. Please note that the English sentence after the Transliteration is not the exact literal translation of the sentence, it is the meaning of the tuk as understood by me.
First the summary:
In this Pauri, Guru Sahib has named a number of entities and attribute of our worldly living that are false. Guru Sahib has said that all the images that the mind creates are false i.e. Mithyya. He has emphasized that we must concentrate and latch on to what is real i.e. ‘The Sat’. This is what Guru Sahib has said after reaching the highest level of consciousness from where he could watch the cosmic drama being enacted on earth and deciphered the truth; this truth he is communicating to us in this Pauri.
In the context of this Pauri, my understanding of the word ‘Mithyya’:
The literal meaning of the word ‘Mithyya’ is all that is lie; that is not true; all that is false; that is not real.
My understanding of the meaning, in the context of this Pauri, I elaborate below:
Each one of us lives its life at different level of consciousness; the level of consciousness keeps changing from time to time. What appears to be true at one level of consciousness becomes false at some other level of consciousness.
When the person is in deep sleep and is dreaming, all that the person sees and feels appears true to her/him. Yet the person finds that all it saw and experiences was false when it awakens i.e. moves to the other level of consciousness.
All that is said in Gurbani is with respect to our linkage with ‘The Sat’. So when Guru Sahib say that the worldly entities and attribute are false or are ‘Mithyya’, he is saying so from his personal experience and realization after reaching the level of consciousness that of a divine person. At that level of consciousness, the body of the divine with all the limitations that humans have, alone separates her/him from ‘The Sat’. It is only because of the ‘Akaar’, (form or body) that the divine person appears different from ‘The Sat’, which is ‘Nirakaar’; otherwise the divine person and ‘The Sat’ are one and the same. It will become more and clearer as I proceed with sharing my understanding of this Pauri with you all.
1. imiQAw qnu Dnu kutMbu sbwieAw ] mithi-aa tan Dhan kutamb sabaa-i-aa.
False are body, wealth, and extended family.

My understanding:
Let us first take up the ‘body’ which Guru Sahib has mentioned to be false in this Tuk. We all know that in theater and in cinema dramas are enacted. Actors come and play their part and leave to come again. What the person has done on the stage is drama and nothing more; all those in the audience who are watching the drama know it
Similarly, we are born in this world (the stage) we play our part in our life (drama) and then die (leave) to come again in this world. In this way, our life is also a drama only. One drama is enacted on the stage of a theater where the people change their cloths to come to stage repeatedly to play different roles. The cloths acquire meaning only when they are worn by the actor, without the actor wearing them the cloths have no meaning; they are dead. The second drama is being played at cosmic stage were the actor (beings, you and I) change her/his body (cloths) to make repeated entry and play its part in the world. Body is nothing more than a cover for the real inside. Without the real inside the body it is dead. Body is only an instrument powered by the real; it has no independent existence. From this we can see the body, though physical, is false and is only a machine like entity, carried moved around by the real inside it only to perform acts (drama) in this world. The worth of the body is not more than the cloths that the actor wears to perform its role in theater of cinema. Body as such is non-being, it becomes being because of the real inside – ‘The Sat’.
To know the truth of our experience we have to evolve to a higher state of consciousness. While in deep sleep, we see dreams. In that state of consciousness, we consider all that we see and feel in dream as true. When we wake up, which is another state of consciousness, we realize that what was in the dream was not true.
Now I come back to the example of dramas on the stage of a theater and at cosmic stage. As grown-ups, because of our level of consciousness, we are able to understand that the performance in a theater or cinema is only acting and is not real, but a child who is at a different level of consciousness cannot make this out. Similarly, a commoner who has not evolved to the highest level of consciousness cannot make out that life is only a drama being enacted on cosmic stage and is not real, body is only the cover (cloth) for such drama and thus not real.
Guru Sahibs, who were living at the highest level of consciousness, knew this, and to help and guide us on the spiritual path, have told us that body is false
Now I come to ‘wealth’ which Guru Sahib has said to be false in this Tuk.
Wealth is an entity – material or abstract – to which some value is attached and which can be bartered or traded for money.
As small child we all have played with dolls, toys etc. We made our parents purchase them for us, collected them and even exchanged with other children, as in barter trade. We had attached some value to them, they were very important for us. At that stage of mental development these entities were our treasure. We guarded them and even fought with other children to retain their possession.
As our development of the brain progressed and we entered adulthood, this wealth of childhood - toys dolls etc - lost their original meaning for us; the attachment to dolls or toy became false – ‘Mithyya’. All this happened because the state of consciousness during childhood and adulthood is different. As adult our level of consciousness is higher than child hood, we are at higher level and thus are able to see much wider canvas of life, wherein the attachments of childhood to toys etc loose to have any meaning – they become false; ‘Mithyya’.
Our evolving to a higher level of consciousness allows us the see the game of life better, in a much wider context. As we progress in such evolution we are able to sift facts from fiction and truth from falsehood. The entities that we cherish as adult will cease to be important as the wisdom of advancing age dawns on us – they too will become ‘Mithyya’ – some other entity will take its place. Yet all this is part of worldly living.
When the person is able to understand the game that ‘Maya’ plays with our lives and transcend it, goes beyond the veil of ‘Maya’, the person reaches the highest state of consciousness – the state in which Guru Sahibs lived their lives. Material entities cease to have sway on the individual, Satvikta dawns on the person; the person becomes a perfect instrument of the will of ‘The Sat’. Such person life gets dedicated to the cause of ‘The Sat’. This person realizes that only what is real is ‘The Sat’ rest all are derived dependent entities. All that we call wealth, for such person becomes ‘Mithyya’.
Now I come to Kutambha. Pariwar means family; Kutambha means extended family which includes all the relatives.
We have already discussed the falsehood of ‘body’. Kutambha is a group of bodies connected together through blood line. Naturally if one body is false, a group of bodies too are false. What constitutes the Kutambha is the feeling of oneness; otherwise they are just bodies, which any ways, are false.
The feelings are creation of our functioning brain and are deposited in what we call ‘Mind’. Feelings are not real they are our own creation – from this birth and the earlier births. Kutambha related feelings of have origin in ‘my and mine’ that is ingrained in the baby from the earliest days of life. My father, my mother, my brother, my aunty my --------------- are repeatedly told to the child. Child finds emotional, physical and material security in this my and mine – these are requirements of worldly living. All these become part of the child’s consciousness. When the individual grows and evolves to the highest level of consciousness, the person finds that she/he is one with ‘The Sat’; the creator and creation is one – the concept of ‘Ek’ is realized by the person. The feelings of Kutambha as an entity get dissolve in this ‘Ek’ i.e. ‘The Sat’. Incidentally this realization in ancient scripture of the land is termed as ‘Aham Brahmasmi’ i.e. ‘I am Brahama’.
At this level of consciousness there remains no individual, no Pariwar, no Kutambha – all stand merged in ‘Ek’ – ‘The One’ i.e. The Sat’. This realization makes the idea of Kutambha false.
In this Tuk, Guru Sahib has told us the very deep understanding resulting from his own realization. Entity that appears to be true at one level of consciousness becomes false at the next higher level of consciousness.
To know the ultimate truth, one has to evolve to the highest level of consciousness where all except ‘Ek’ – ‘The Sat’ remains and all the products of ‘Maya’ stand dissolved as false.
This is what I understand from this Tuk of Guru Sahib. ‘Wah-e-Guru’.
2. imiQAw haumY mmqw mwieAw ] mithi-aa ha-umai mamtaa maa-i-aa.
False are ego, mother’s attachment and Maya.

My understanding:
Guru Sahib is making aspects of our living obvious to us. We all know day dreaming and building castles in air have no meaning; they all are false. Ego is creation of our mind. We were not born with ego. The feeling of ‘I-ness that we developed as we grew created a feeling of being some body that separated us from others. All this is creation of our thought process, the sum total of which we call ‘Ahamkara’ i.e. ego. It connects us to the body and separates us from our ‘Inner-self’ what we call ‘Antaratman’. This false sense of self importance resulting from ego makes us worldly. Ego is just another castle in the air –its falsehood in spiritual world is evident. This fact Guru Sahib has brought to our notice.
Similarly, the attachment that the mother has towards its child is also a result of thought process with a sense of self importance with respect to the child and a feeling of ‘I’ and ‘mine’. Khalil Gibran has demolished this ownership of the child beautifully, centuries ago when he said ‘Your children are not your children; they are sons and daughters of life born to you; remember they are through you and not from you.
Mother is only used by ‘The Sat’ as host for the natural processes involve in conceiving and developing the baby to get completed; mother does not even control any of the processes that go on in her womb, she does not even know what is going on there. Then how can she own the off-spring which has given to her by ‘The Sat’ to take care of it. The mother is only custodians of this beautiful gift i.e. the baby from ‘The Sat’; the owner is ‘The Sat’ and ‘The Sat only.
All children, in fact the entire creation belongs to ‘The Sat’; we, with the grace of ‘The Sat’, may sometime become temporary custodian of some part of it. Ownership is always is of ‘The Sat’, never ours. Khalil Gibran has made this fact very explicit when he said about children ‘You may house them, you may cloth them, but you cannot own them’. The feeling of ownership and consequent ‘Mamta’ – mother’s attachment towards her baby - is creation of the mother’s mind – another beautiful castle in the air – it is false. This is what Guru Sahib has pointed out to us in part of this Tuk.
Mind is again a major contributor to our entrapment in Maya. We have a sense of likes and dislikes, good and bad, rights and wrongs, ethical and unethical, and all the dualities in this world. The collection of our preferences taken form these dualities create what we call the personality of an individual. These preferences in fact create biases in us and do not allow us the see the truth as it is. What we see happening, if it is accordance with what we prefer, our mind immediately accepts that without review. The context in which it is happening may be different which may render what is happening improper. So you see, the veil that the mind has created has failed us, we are not able to see the truth – the process of such happening is Maya.
I give another example of Maya: When a person is emotionally involved with some one, all that the other person has appears beautiful – the features, the voice, the way of walking, the mannerism etc. All this happens because the emotional involvement in the other person has created a presume aura about the person which results in suspension of the usual mental process of checks and balances of the brain. All the inputs the individual receives from her/his beloved thus deemed to be good and proper. This results in the individual’s failure to realize the truth; this is Maya.
In my earlier posts I have already elaborated on how our sense of colour and smell is Maya. I am not repeating it again.
In short Maya creates an understanding that is not true and what is true it does not allow us to understand. Maya is false; this is what Guru Sahib has said in part of this Tuk.
3. imiQAw rwj jobn Dn mwl ] mithi-aa raaj joban Dhan maal.
False is sway over other’s life, youth, and material wealth.

My understanding:
Guru Sahib has said that sway over other’s life i.e. domination is false. Domination is achieved by manipulating and controlling the objects that the other person needs for her or his life. This is an artificial state. Any thing that is artificial is facade and thus false; this is what Guru Sahib has said.
Childhood, adolescence, youth, middle age and old age are all phases of life classified according the capabilities that the person normally possesses, when living through the respective phase. Guru Sahib has chosen youth specifically because this is the phase humans like the most. Children like to grow fast and become an adult. Once they are adult they love to be in this phase. However, the time continues to impact on this phase of life; when as the person comes to the end of this phase, she or he tries all sorts of thing to prolong her or his youth – no one wants to enter the middle age and then become old. We all get attached to the life we enjoyed during the youth. It is for this reason Guru Sahib has specifically chosen this particular age to say that it is false.
In the first sentence of this Pauri, Guru Sahib has said that the body is false. If the body itself is false then all the phases through which it lives naturally become come under the same category. No one can remain youthful throughout the normal span of life, thus the desire to remain youthful all the time and attachment to it naturally is false. Youth is a temporary stage of life, it will pass away. Attachment to youthful life is false. This is what Guru Sahib has said.
Material wealth has significance in worldly life because of the value attached to it be the business world. If that value is withdrawn for some reason, the importance disappears. I explain my point by giving a few examples.
(i) It happened to Gold long time back. Value of currency of a country in international market was based on the stock of gold that the country possesses. To support the currency, governments were buying gold and its price was soaring. USA delinked its currency from its gold reserve and a established new system, replacing the old, for supporting its currency in the market. This way this particular factor (Govt. purchasing gold) which was driving the gold price disappeared and value of gold stablised.
(ii) Long back, when purchasing a company the purchaser paid the owner based on the market value of the material assets. I know a company in USA, some time back, was bought for more than $ 6 billion while the material assets at prevailing market values of this company were around $ 4.8 billion, the extra amount over and above the material assets was paid for the good will that the company had in the market, its product was loved by the consumers; this intangible asset was capitalized and included in the market value of company. The way to ascribe value to an asset has changed.
(iii) There was a place in USA which was barren and the Department of Energy wanted to built a nuclear waste depository there; technically it was a perfect site, no one was living there. All of a sudden the Govt. of that state legalized gambling, casinos sprung up there, people and visitor started flocking that area, hotels came up and service companies moved in; all this rendered the site totally unsuitable for nuclear waste depository.
This all is to say that the assessing system that confers value to the material is what the society creates. If the value system changes, the worth of the material also changes.
This explains that none of the material has intrinsic worth; the worth of the material comes from external factors which are not permanent. What is of value today may not remain so in the coming time. That means the worth of material is artificial and thus false. This is what Guru Sahib has said in part of this Tuk.
4. imiQAw kwm k®oD ibkrwl ] mithi-aa kaam kroDh bikraal.
False are desires and excessive anger.

My understanding:
What is not existent is naturally not true. Desires and anger are not existent in nature; both are creation of mind. They are artificial. They are our own intangible creations; they occur and disappear depending on our mental disposition. One person may be angry on something the other may not even respond to that and be neutral. Guru Sahib has told us that they are Mithyya.
5. imiQAw rQ hsqI AsÍ bsqRw ] mithi-aa rath hastee asav bastaraa.
False are chariots, elephants, horses and expensive clothes.

My understanding:
Clothes, vehicle and animals used for transport all reflect the effluence of the person who possesses them. They individually and collectively create an image of the person in people’s mind. The image too is creation of mind, it can evaporate or change; it is not real. Like all other creations of mind this to is false. Ego that the person possessing the entities has is also a creation of mind and thus not real, it is Mithyya. The satisfaction that the person derives from material possessions is again a mental feeling and thus our own imagined creations and thus not real or truly existing. All these are Mithyya. This ia what guru Sahib has said.
6 imiQAw rMg sMig mwieAw pyiK hsqw ] mithi-aa rang sang maa-i-aa paykh hastaa.
False is the love of gathering wealth, and reveling in the sight of it.

My understanding:
The material goods are requirement of householder’s life, which as Sikh we are asked to live. Possessing more than what is reasonable sufficient, amounts to accumulation for purpose other than need to live comfortably. This as I understand is done by people to display their wealth and impress others – more, better and big is what people keep going for. They see their possession and through them they measure their worldly success. All this is to satisfy one’s own ego. As we know that ego is false, all that go in constituting it are thus also false. Guru Sahib has mentioned love for material goods and also the satisfaction that the person derives from looking at them as false. They both are synthesized by mind, they are images of the ego and to me all images created by mind are false. This is what I understand.
7. imiQAw DRoh moh AiBmwnu ] mithi-aa Dharoh moh abhimaan.
False are deception, attachment and pride.

My understanding:
All attribute that Guru Sahib has mentioned in this Tuk are images created by mind, which are unreal. Thus they are false.
8. imiQAw Awps aUpir krq gumwnu ] mithi-aa aapas oopar karat gumaan.
False is self-aggrandizement.

My understanding:
Possession of any positive attribute - actual or imagined - feeds the ego and then the person thinks herself or himself as important. Such person even tries to draw attention of other to his or own possession, achievement or personal attribute (house warming ceremony is one such act). All these convey the sense of ‘Gumaan’ in the person. This to is creation of mind and is false.
9. AsiQru Bgiq swD kI srn ] asthir bhagat saaDh kee saran.
The unsteady devotee goes to the care of Sadhus.

My understanding:
Sthir means steady; asthir means unsteady. Guru Sahib has used the adjective ‘Asthir’ for devotee. As I understand, it refers to a devotee who has some doubt about ‘The Sat’. This devotee is still at the level where she or he is to discus the doubt with those who are much advanced compare to him in their destiny to realize ‘The Sat’. Going to the Sadhus is an indication about the state of the devotee.
10. nwnk jip jip jIvY hir ky crn ]4] naanak jap jap jeevai har kay charan. ||4||
Nanak lives by meditating, meditating on the feet of ‘The Sat’

My understanding:
Guru Sahib says that those who have realized ‘The Sat’ (Nanak) are with ‘The Sat’ proper. As I understand, such individuals are one with ‘The Sat’ only their body gives an appearance of being separate from ‘The Sat’; Their ‘Nirakaar’ being is always one with ‘The Sat’
With this I close the post.
With love and respect for all.
Amarpal Singh

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Shabad Vichaar by SPN'ers

The shabd under discussion in this article is composed by Guru Teg Bahadur ji and is contained on Page 633 of the SGGS. The complete shabd is as follows:

ਸੋਰਿਠ ਮਹਲਾ ੯॥...​

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