Concept of Body, Mind and Soul in Sikhism

Concepts of body, mind, and soul in Gurbani

The Bani of Guru Granth Sahib describes the three qualities of the mind in the human body. They are matter, power, and entity. The mind is a part of the body. The body is a pure substance and being a part of the body, the mind is also a substance. The mind moves and controls the body through the intellect. The body needs the energy to move. The power of the body is controlled by the mind and it allows the body to use the power. Only by entering the body of the mind is a human being born and by leaving his body a human being dies.

What is Mind?

The existence and existence of human life are due to the mind. Gurbani states:

ਏ ਸਰੀਰਾ ਮੇਰਿਆ ਹਰਿ ਤੁਮ ਮਹਿ ਜੋਤਿ ਰਖੀ ਤਾ ਤੂ ਜਗ ਮਹਿ ਆਇਆ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਜੋਤਿ ਰਖੀ ਤੁਧੁ ਵਿਚਿ ਤਾ ਤੂ ਜਗ ਮਹਿ ਆਇਆ ॥Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Page 921

The mind has been described as the light of God as well:

ਮਨ ਤੂੰ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਰੂਪੁ ਹੈ ਆਪਣਾ ਮੂਲੁ ਪਛਾਣੁ ॥Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Page 441

These three qualities of the mind are also described in Gurbani as follows:

ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਸਕਤੀ ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਸੀਉ । ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਪੰਚ ਤਤ ਕੋ ਜੀਉ ।।Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Page 342

The mind is Shakti, Shiva is the Anand Saroop Prabhu and the is body made up of five elements.”

Again it is said This mind does karma and this mind does dharma. This mind is born out of five elements.

ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਕਰਮਾ ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਧਰਮਾ ॥ ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਪੰਚ ਤਤੁ ਤੇ ਜਨਮਾ ॥Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Page 415

The mind is the working force and the righteous being who walks on the path of Dharam. It is born in a body made up of a combination of five elements.

ਤਨ ਮਹਿ ਮਨੂਆ ਮਨ ਮਹਿ ਸਾਚਾ ॥ ਸੋ ਸਾਚਾ ਮਿਲਿ ਸਾਚੇ ਰਾਚਾ ॥Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Page 686

The mind is in the body and the True Lord abides in the mind. The mind unites with the Creator Lord. The ability to unite with the Lord is only in the mind because that is the part of the Lord.

Are Mind and Soul Same?

Due to the existence of matter, the body keeps changing every moment and at death, it becomes dust and merges in it but the mind does not die. Gurbani states:

ਇਸੁ ਮਨ ਕਉ ਕੋਈ ਖੋਜਹੁ ਭਾਈ ॥ ਤਨ ਛੂਟੇ ਮਨੁ ਕਹਾ ਸਮਾਈ ॥ ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦੀ ਜੈਦੇਉ ਨਾਮਾਂ ॥ ਭਗਤਿ ਕੈ ਪ੍ਰੇਮਿ ਇਨ ਹੀ ਹੈ ਜਾਨਾਂ ॥ ਇਸੁ ਮਨ ਕਉ ਨਹੀ ਆਵਨ ਜਾਨਾ ॥ ਜਿਸ ਕਾ ਭਰਮੁ ਗਇਆ ਤਿਨਿ ਸਾਚੁ ਪਛਾਨਾ ॥੬॥Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Page 330

means Hey brother! Somebody search for this soul, only after separating from the body, where does this soul go? The person whose illusion is erased, and he recognizes the truth, his soul does not fall in the cycle of birth and death. Here “Man” is treated as soul clearly. But as this is just a Drishtant, a Viveksheel Sikh can clearly differentiate the existence of Body, Mind, and Soul.

The death of the body does not cause the death of the mind but the mind which is dirty under the influence of ‘Haumai’ and ‘Maya’ that is Hangta-Mamta is not reunited with the Lord. Regarding the state of mind at the time of death of the body, there are some statements of Gurbani:

ਏਹੁ ਜੀਉ ਬਹੁਤੇ ਜਨਮ ਭਰੰਮਿਆ ਤਾ ਸਤਿਗੁਰਿ ਸਬਦੁ ਸੁਣਾਇਆ ॥Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Page 465

This means This soul kept wandering in many births, but after coming under the shelter of Satguru, Satguru told him the secret of the word.

ਹਉਮੈ ਏਈ ਬੰਧਨਾ ਫਿਰਿ ਫਿਰਿ ਜੋਨੀ ਪਾਹਿ ॥Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Page 466

This means This ego is the cause of the bondage of the soul, so the soul repeatedly falls into the lifecycle again and again.

Praise of Body in Guru Granth Sahib

Materialists and scientists do not have a sufficient amount of knowledge to comment on the ‘mind’ or ‘ਮਨ’ yet. They acknowledge the human intellect as the controller of matter and power and consider human existence to be the result of the sexual relations between man and woman. They do not believe in the unseen mind and the Lord nor give any clear opinion about them. They also offer no satisfactory idea of ​​the source of the power that keeps the human body alive.

The mind is not visible even though it is in the body but despite being invisible it is the driver and owner of the body and considers the body as its home and property. Only by abiding in the body does he become able to unite with the Lord by removing the filth of the mind through the Gur Shabad. That is why Gurbani attaches so much importance to the body.

ਗੁਰ ਸੇਵਾ ਤੇ ਭਗਤਿ ਕਮਾਈ ॥ ਤਬ ਇਹ ਮਾਨਸ ਦੇਹੀ ਪਾਈ ॥ ਇਸ ਦੇਹੀ ਕਉ ਸਿਮਰਹਿ ਦੇਵ ॥ ਸੋ ਦੇਹੀ ਭਜੁ ਹਰਿ ਕੀ ਸੇਵ ॥Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Page 1159
This human body is attained only by the service and devotion of the Guru. The gods also aspire to get this priceless body. So in this body always worship and worship God.

And

ਕਬੀਰ ਮਾਨਸ ਜਨਮੁ ਦੁਲੰਭੁ ਹੈ ਹੋਇ ਨ ਬਾਰੈ ਬਾਰ ॥ ਜਿਉ ਬਨ ਫਲ ਪਾਕੇ ਭੁਇ ਗਿਰਹਿ ਬਹੁਰਿ ਨ ਲਾਗਹਿ ਡਾਰ ॥Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Page 1366

Kabir Ji preaches that human birth is rare, it is not obtained again and again. As a fruit ripens in the forest and falls on the ground, it does not touch the branch again.

The human body provides the opportunity for the union to the Lord:

ਤਨੁ ਹਟੜੀ ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਵਣਜਾਰਾ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਸਹਜੇ ਸਚੁ ਵਾਪਾਰਾ ॥Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Page 942

This human body is a shop and the mind is a merchant sitting in it. Nanak says that this mind easily keeps on doing business of truth.

and

ਭਈ ਪਰਾਪਤਿ ਮਾਨੁਖ ਦੇਹੁਰੀਆ॥ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਮਿਲਣ ਕੀ ਇਹ ਤੇਰੀ ਬਰੀਆ ॥Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Page 12

O human! You have received this human birth. This is your auspicious occasion to meet the Lord: that is, you have received this human birth only to sing the name of the Lord.

Body and Ego

There are three basic needs of the body in which the mind also participates. They are food, clothing, and shelter. Gurbani teaches self-restraint for the fulfillment of bodily needs as it is neither a supporter of various dishes, new fashions, and luxurious mansions nor fasting, nude hermits, and living in forests.

In addition to the basic needs of the body, other needs of family and social life are also important. These include work, education, recreational activities, and disability in old age. The Lord has already made arrangements to meet the personal and social needs of human beings.

ਮਾਟੀ ਅੰਧੀ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਸਮਾਈ ॥ ਸਭ ਕਿਛੁ ਦੀਆ ਭਲੀਆ ਜਾਈ ॥ ਅਨਦ ਬਿਨੋਦ ਚੋਜ ਤਮਾਸੇ ਤੁਧੁ ਭਾਵੈ ਸੋ ਹੋਣਾ ਜੀਉ ॥ ਜਿਸ ਦਾ ਦਿਤਾ ਸਭੁ ਕਿਛੁ ਲੈਣਾ ॥ ਛਤੀਹ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਭੋਜਨੁ ਖਾਣਾ ॥ ਸੇਜ ਸੁਖਾਲੀ ਸੀਤਲੁ ਪਵਣਾ ਸਹਜ ਕੇਲ ਰੰਗ ਕਰਣਾ ਜੀਉ ॥Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Page 100

The bodies of the living beings are made of ignorant soil and the conscious nature is contained in these bodies. Oh, God! You give everything to living beings. you give living beings a good place to live. And these creatures get various kinds of luxury, humor, amazing prodigy, and entertainment. whatever pleases you, that’s what happens. (Remember that God) from whom we are taking everything.

And eating thirty-six kinds of food. We are getting a soothing bed to sleep in, we enjoy the cool breeze and indulge in luxurious sports. O, dear Lord! Give me the wisdom that will not forget you. Grant me such a mind so that I can keep meditating on you only.

The biggest problem of a human being is not his needs but ego. The ego in a human being is with him from his birth:

ਜਿਨਿ ਰਚਿ ਰਚਿਆ ਪੁਰਖਿ ਬਿਧਾਤੈ ਨਾਲੇ ਹਉਮੈ ਪਾਈ ॥Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Page 99

The Creator who created the body has put pride in it. Due to ego, a human being is not satisfied with a contented life and the belief in a separate independent existence drives him away from the Lord. The mind, instead of uniting with the Lord dwelling within it, makes the main aim of its life to participate in the race for fame and glory in the world under the influence of fear and desire.

Humans as One Race in Sikhism

According to Gurbani, the Lord’s will is used in the world and every human being has a share of the Lord. Gurbani states:

ਨਾ ਕੋ ਮੂਰਖੁ ਨਾ ਕੋ ਸਿਆਣਾ ॥ ਵਰਤੈ ਸਭ ਕਿਛੁ ਤੇਰਾ ਭਾਣਾ ॥ Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Page 98

There is no fool in this world and no one is intelligent. Your will is working everywhere.

ਸਭੇ ਸਾਝੀਵਾਲ ਸਦਾਇਨਿ ਤੂੰ ਕਿਸੈ ਨ ਦਿਸਹਿ ਬਾਹਰਾ ਜੀਉ ॥Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Page 97

All beings are called your partners and no creature feels that you reside in any other place outside it.

This view of Gurbani is considered unique by the present age of consumerism because the structure and existence of society are based on the division in humanity and in today’s life competition, controversy and wars have become predominant. But Gurbani exhorts the human being to establish and maintain peace, unity, equality, and personal freedom in this conflicting and unjust society.

Gurbani does not accept the existence of anyone other than the Lord. The man also has no independent existence but due to the presence of mind in his body, which is a part of the Lord, he has existence. The Lord is present in all of humanity and His visions in the human race are made possible by inculcating the virtue of Nirvairta, because Nirvairta provides the vision that Gurbani describes as

ਨਾਨਕ ਸੇ ਅਖੜੀਆ ਬਿਅੰਨਿ ਜਿਨੀ ਡਿਸੰਦੋ ਮਾ ਪਿਰੀ ॥Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Page 1100

means O Nanak! Those eyes are different through which the beloved Lord is visible.

The Uncontrollable Mind

Manna is Shakti and due to living in the body and getting work done from it, he gets trapped in worldly Maya. Maya resists him from looking inside himself and keeps busy with family and social activities outside. The five peccant themes of Maya – Kama, Krodha, Lobha, Moha, and Ahankara – control the human mind. Due to the powerful effect of this evil nature of Maya, the mind does not have the capacity to escape from them. A person who claims to have mastered Maya is making such a claim under the influence of Maya. Salvation from the influence of Maya is possible only by taking refuge in the Lord’s grace and his word.

It is important for a human being to fulfill family and social responsibilities but it is useless to worry about them by setting a goal in life. By walking in the Lord’s will and obeying His will the extra worries are removed. If he has protected life in his mother’s womb, he wouldn’t let you go unprotected outside the world either.

Gurbani’s teaching is:

ਹੁਕਮਿ ਰਜਾਈ ਚਲਣਾ ਨਾਨਕ ਲਿਖਿਆ ਨਾਲਿ ॥Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Page 1

Describing the way to be the true form, Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji says – It has been written since the beginning of the creation that only a worldly creature can do all this by following the orders of God.

ਨਾਨਕ ਚਿੰਤਾ ਮਤਿ ਕਰਹੁ ਚਿੰਤਾ ਤਿਸ ਹੀ ਹੇਇ ॥Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Page 955

Nanak says that O soul! Do not worry, because the concern of all is with God Himself.

But it is very difficult for a human being to follow the Bhana or Hukam and control the mind. The uncontrollable mind often takes the wrong path under the influence of Haumai and Maya.

Gurbani states:

ਸਾਧੋ ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਗਹਿਓ ਨ ਜਾਈ ॥ ਚੰਚਲ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਸੰਗਿ ਬਸਤੁ ਹੈ ਯਾ ਤੇ ਥਿਰੁ ਨ ਰਹਾਈ ॥Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Page 219

O, saints! This cannot be done under the control of the mind. Because this fickle mind resides with craving. so it doesn’t standstill.

Also

ਕਹੈ ਕਬੀਰੁ ਸੁਨਹੁ ਰੇ ਸੰਤਹੁ ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਉਡਨ ਪੰਖੇਰੂ ਬਨ ਕਾ ॥Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Page 1253

Kabir ji says that O gentlemen! Listen to me, this mind is a bird flying in the forest (don’t know when, where it will fly).

How Mind(मन) can be killed?

Gurbani instructs us to take refuge in the Shabad in order to kill the mind:

ਏਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਮਾਰਿਆ ਨਾ ਮਰੈ ਜੇ ਲੋਚੈ ਸਭੁ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਮਨ ਹੀ ਕਉ ਮਨੁ ਮਾਰਸੀ ਜੇ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਭੇਟੈ ਸੋਇ ॥Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Page 1089

Even if everyone wants it, it does not die even by killing the mind. O Nanak! The pure mind kills the impure mind if one is interviewed with the Satguru.

ਸਬਦੁ ਚੀਨਿ ਮਨੁ ਨਿਰਮਲੁ ਹੋਵੈ ਤਾ ਹਰਿ ਕੇ ਗੁਣ ਗਾਵੈ ॥ ਗੁਰਮਤੀ ਆਪੈ ਆਪੁ ਪਛਾਣੈ ਤਾ ਨਿਜ ਘਰਿ ਵਾਸਾ ਪਾਵੈ ॥Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Page 565

When the mind becomes pure by recognizing the word, it praises God. When a man recognizes his Self by the instruction of the Guru, then he becomes abode at the feet of the Lord.

In Sikhism, the method of taking Amrit, wearing Panj Kakar, performing daily rituals are prescribed for religious life. These are all physical activities. The body does not have the ability to control the mind because the body is subject to the mind. It is not possible to control the mind through physical discipline but Sikhism in modern times believes in cultivating the mind through a physical discipline which Gurbani does not favor.

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