his article is based on the book 'Sikhan di Bhagat Mala' by Shaheed Bhai Mani Singh Ji
ਮਲੂਸਾਹੀ ਸੂਰਮਾ ਵਡਾ ਭਗਤੁ ਭਾਈ ਕੇਦਾਰੀ ॥
A Sikh named Mallu Shahi was very brave and Bhai Kedari was a great devotee.
- Bhai Gurdas Ji, Vaar 11
Bhai Kedari came to the sanctuary of Guru Angad Dev Ji and made a request. He said, “Guru Sahib Ji, the whole world is burning in the fire of Kaam (lust) and Krodh (anger). However You can, please protect me.”
Guru Sahib Ji spoke, “When the forest burns, the deer jumps into the river to seek protection. Just like this, the world is engulfed with lust and anger, and Sadh Sangat (congregation of the holy) is the river that saves us and cools us. Those who dive into the reading and contemplation of Gurbani Shabad (Guru’s hymns), their mind becomes calm and composed. Therefore, you should always go into Sadh Sangat and do Seva (selfless service) of the Sikhs. Through this, you will obtain spiritual wisdom.”
Bhai Kedari followed the teachings of Guru Sahib and he was thus liberated from this world.
Let’s contemplate a bit more on the message of Guru Sahib Ji:
Gurbani tells us,
ਕਾਮੁ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਕਾਇਆ ਕਉ ਗਾਲੈ ॥
Lust and desire and anger rot the body away,
ਜਿਉ ਕੰਚਨ ਸੋਹਾਗਾ ਢਾਲੈ ॥
As gold is dissolved by borax.
Understanding Kaam and Krodh
Kaam can be translated to both lust and desire. This is an energy that causes the world to have the drive to live and survive. Without desire, one would not want to work or make any effort. Without this energy, procreation cannot happen as well. Krodh is the energy given to us for protection, safety, and to fight for justice.
These are energies given to us by Vaheguru (Wonderous Enlightener). But the problem comes when we let ourselves become controlled by them, rather than us controlling them. These energies are only to be used when needed.
The world is consumed by lust and anger. If we look at the world now, wars, fights, and divorces happen because we have allowed anger to take control of us. The worst thing is, we forget everything in moments of anger and lust. We forget our purpose, our consciousness and our self-control.
What’s worse is that when the anger and lust wear off, we are left with regret and guilt.
You see, Guru Sahib Ji makes us aware of lust and desire; therefore, Guru Sahib Ji is trying to save us from committing such sins that will leave us with guilt and regret. The feeling of guilt and regret lingers on and leads to anxiety, stress, depression and so on.
ਹਉਮੈ ਕਰਿ ਕਰਿ ਜਾਇ ਘਣੇਰੀ ਕਰਿ ਅਵਗਣ ਪਛੋਤਾਵਣਿਆ ॥੨॥
Acting in egotism, so very many have died. After making mistakes, they later repent and regret them. ||2||
The First Step: Awareness
We are human beings with emotions and feelings. The idea is not to discard these feelings and emotions, but rather to reach a level of awareness and clarity when we are engulfed with lust and anger.
Firstly, recognize when you are becoming overcome by lust or anger. Your body will give you a signal. Your heart palpitates, your breathing accelerates, your body stiffens, you might sweat, feel flushed, etc. The mind is only focused on that one thing, and you forget your surroundings. You forget everything else and you might even forget that what you are about to do or indulge in is wrong. Therefore, you lose the ability to reason.
The Second Step: Taking Action
Remember, you are not the body, nor the mind. Do not let them control you, rather, you must watch what is happening to them. When your body and mind are going through certain emotions,
- Close your eyes/ears– to stop any stimulation/information coming into your senses
- Slow down your breathing
- Step away from your environment – go to another room, step outside into the fresh air, and change your space
- Ask yourself these questions
- What am I feeling?
- Why am I feeling this way?
- What’s the real issue here?
- How can I respond now?
- What’s the best solution?
- Remind yourself with Gurbani – strive to have these Pangtiaan (lines) memorized:
- For anger:
ਫਰੀਦਾ ਬੁਰੇ ਦਾ ਭਲਾ ਕਰਿ ਗੁਸਾ ਮਨਿ ਨ ਹਢਾਇ ॥
Fareed, answer evil with goodness; do not fill your mind with anger.
ਦੇਹੀ ਰੋਗੁ ਨ ਲਗਈ ਪਲੈ ਸਭੁ ਕਿਛੁ ਪਾਇ ॥੭੮॥
Your body shall not suffer from any disease, and you shall obtain everything. ||78||
- For lust/desire:
ਨਿਮਖ ਕਾਮ ਸੁਆਦ ਕਾਰਣਿ ਕੋਟਿ ਦਿਨਸ ਦੁਖੁ ਪਾਵਹਿ ॥
For a moment of sexual pleasure, you shall suffer in pain for millions of days.
ਘਰੀ ਮੁਹਤ ਰੰਗ ਮਾਣਹਿ ਫਿਰਿ ਬਹੁਰਿ ਬਹੁਰਿ ਪਛੁਤਾਵਹਿ ॥੧॥
For an instant, you may savour pleasure, but afterwards, you shall regret it, again and again. ||1||
ਹੇ ਕਾਮੰ ਨਰਕ ਬਿਸ੍ਰਾਮੰ ਬਹੁ ਜੋਨੀ ਭ੍ਰਮਾਵਣਹ ॥
O sexual desire, you lead the mortals to hell; you make them wander in reincarnation through countless species.
The idea behind taking these steps is to bring a pause to the moment or slow everything down. When things go slow, you have the chance to evaluate and reason. There is a high chance that when you slow down, you will not RE-ACT.
Bringing Improvements in the Long Run
These are on-the-spot solutions, but what about the long run? Prevention is better than cure, and so it is true. If we can prevent it, then there is no need to go through the pain and cure it.
First, look around at the people that you keep company with. Are they the kind of people who help you stay away from lust and anger, or motivate you to indulge in them? Keeping good Sangat (company) is essential to keep us in check, motivate us and inspire us to get closer to Vaheguru. They can also counsel and advise us when we need help in these areas. Keep good company, go into Satsangat, listen to Kirtan (devotional music) and Katha (spiritual discourse), go to the Gurdwara Sahib and do Seva. Never underestimate the value of Seva and Sangat. These practices bring a lot of virtues into us and take our demerits away.
ਮਿਲਿ ਸਤਸੰਗਤਿ ਖੋਜੁ ਦਸਾਈ ਵਿਚਿ ਸੰਗਤਿ ਹਰਿ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਵਸੈ ਜੀਉ ॥੨॥
Joining the Sat Sangat, the True Congregation, I ask about the Path to God. In that Congregation, the Lord God abides. ||2||
Gurbani is our Saviour
Secondly, take the support of Gurbani. Through Gurbani, we can understand ourselves, how the mind works and what to do in difficult life situations. Start doing Simran (repeating Vaheguru’s name). Simran washes your sins away, just like soap washes dirt. Vaheguru Mantar (mantra) purifies the mind and settles it. The calmer the mind, the less interest there will be to indulge in lust and anger. Start reading Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, and understand the meaning. If you can’t do it on your own, then listen to Gurbani Katha and Kirtan.
ਮੂਤ ਪਲੀਤੀ ਕਪੜੁ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਦੇ ਸਾਬੂਣੁ ਲਈਐ ਓਹੁ ਧੋਇ ॥
When the clothes are soiled and stained by urine, soap can wash them clean.
ਭਰੀਐ ਮਤਿ ਪਾਪਾ ਕੈ ਸੰਗਿ ॥ ਓਹੁ ਧੋਪੈ ਨਾਵੈ ਕੈ ਰੰਗਿ ॥
But when the intellect is stained and polluted by sin, it can only be cleansed by the Love of the Name.
In summary, you can only heal yourself if you know and recognize that there is a disease within you. So, start contemplating daily, look into yourself, speak to yourself and understand what feelings you go through. Then, take the necessary steps to start your journey to betterment.
ਬੰਦੇ ਖੋਜੁ ਦਿਲ ਹਰਰੋਜ ਨਾ ਫਿਰੁ ਪਰੇਸਾਨੀ ਮਾਹਿ ॥
O human being, search your own heart every day and do not wander around in confusion.